open thread – September 14-15, 2018

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

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

{ 1,751 comments… read them below }

  1. What’s with today, today?*

    Remember last week my 80-something male co-worker asked me (37-female) asked me why I hadn’t made dainties for our staff meeting? He considered dainties to be finger sandwiches, while I’ve always known it to be women’s underwear. Anyway, when he explained they were sandwiches not underwear I told him to ask the man next to him to make the dainties next time. Case closed. I thought.

    Apparently, he told his wife about it, and on Monday, he went on and on during our staff meeting (boss out of town all week) about how his wife just couldn’t believe I thought dainties were underwear, that everyone knows they are desserts, and blah, blah, blah… He has made jokes about dainties everyday this week. Anything from, “We don’t have any dainties in the break room today?” or “Now, you’ve got your dainties on, right?” and, more often, “I just can’t believe you didn’t know what that meant!” Followed by laughter.

    Boss has been gone all week (he’s usually gone at least three days a week, won’t be back until middle of next week). I’m ignoring but about ready to strangle my co-worker. I WILL be discussing this with boss next week. Still just venting, but I’m getting a little fed up. He just thinks this is hilarious. (Again, for those who suggested he may be having a dementia problem, he’s ALWAYS been this way for the 15 years I’ve known him, and 10 years we’ve worked together, my tolerance has just decreased a lot as I get older and bolder and learn from AAM what is reasonable to put up with).

    1. Teapot librarian*

      AAAARGGHHHHHHH. I am SO UNBELIEVABLY sorry that you have had to put up with this for a week. I hope your boss can help put an immediate end to this so that you don’t resort to putting an immediate end to him!

      1. Indie*

        “I wasn’t going to say anything about the sexism of asking me to supply sandwiches but if we’re still talking about it a week later I no longer care about the easy road. You make it impossible. So let’s talk about you and your sexist comments” Then make it as awkward as awkwardly possible. Tell him he is deliberately using a word that means both underwear and food because he thinks that’s all women are good for. That it’s grossly sexist to start making underwear jokes at female colleagues. That his being old is no excuse for immaturity and lack of professionalism.

        I would go there but I am a hothead and I would love both my colleague and my boss giving me the perfect set of excuses to indulge in telling someone off.

        I know the energy cost involved is not for everyone though.

      1. What's with today, today?*

        I did! If you read my post last week, remember he meets any push back on his comments with “Well, I’m old!” When I said the joke was getting old, he said, “Well, today, you know I’M old!”

        1. NotASnowflake*

          That’s ridiculous. Him being old doesn’t excuse being obnoxious. =/

          I’d be tempted to confirm that he is OLD and keep asking when he’s going to retire.

        2. OlympiasEpiriot*

          I probably would, without thinking, say, “Usually when things get old, they start to smell.”

          And, he’d probably be mad at me.


          Ugg. Advice is document like your life depends on it. Times, dates, words. Keep a notebook.

          1. Observer*

            I agree. You are right to be OVER this garbage. But, you are going to need to document your head off to make a case that will give some chance at getting traction with your management. You are going to have to show that this is really and truly pervasive, and that it’s not just you “over-reacting” to “occasional” jokes.

        3. Kittymommy*

          He could be 180, it doesn’t give him license to be an obnoxious jackass? Gah, I’m so irritated for you!!

        4. Not a Mere Device*

          Every time he says “well, I’m old” answer “Yes, old enough to know better” (even if you’re thinking “12 years old, from the sound of it.”

    2. ContentWrangler*

      Asking if you have underwear on is sooo far past the line, the line is now a dot on the horizon. How are you responding to him? My auto-reaction would be, “what the f* did you just say?” But seeing as this is a workplace – a cold, stern “That’s extremely inappropriate” could work.

      I hope your boss does something about this.

      1. Rachel*

        This was my reaction, too! I am, as the kids say, shook. “Now, you’ve got your dainties on, right?” is so incredibly inappropriate and yucky and reeks of sexual harassment.

      1. What's with today, today?*

        They all mostly roll there eyes at him too, although the other two older employees both knew he meant finger sandwiches, so they kinda think the whole thing is funny.

        1. Michelle*

          “Hmm … you are really loving saying this word that I told you means ‘underwear’ for some people … How is it that you don’t find that inappropriate?”

    3. Redundant Department of Redundancy*

      Are your other co-workers amused when he’s saying this stuff??
      I’d be tempted to respond with ‘I can’t believe you haven’t retired yet’.

      Seriously though, this sounds awful on so many levels!

    4. Long Time Fed*

      If you haven’t told him to stop, he won’t. Tell him to stop. Otherwise, I think you are overreacting.

      1. What's with today, today?*

        Oh, I have, he’s been talked to about it. If you read my post last week, remember he meets any push back on his comments with “Well, I’m old!”

        1. ContentWrangler*

          By old do you mean senile? Is that why you can’t remember how I told you to stop making this joke yesterday?

        2. SaraV*

          “Well, I’m old!”

          “And that excuse is ancient. Knock. It. Off.”

          “Well, I’m old!”

          “Obviously too old to learn when enough is enough. Knock. It. Off.”

          Repeat ad nauseum.

    5. Work Wardrobe*

      I can’t even. Have you told him to just STFU already please? Because I would NOT be able to hold back.

    6. Ewww*

      “Now, you’ve got your dainties on, right?” could be considered sexual harassment. That honestly made my skin crawl. I’m glad you’re not giving him a pass just because he’s from a generation where rampant sexism was tolerated. I’d be talking to HR ASAP.

      1. Snickerdoodle*

        Seriously. He knows damn well what he’s doing and is using the “I’m old” excuse to get away with it. Don’t let him. Tell him to stop, document it, and file a complaint. That’s gross.

        1. Snickerdoodle*

          Also, if you’re female, the “joking” expectation that you’re supposed to provide food for him is sexist AF and another issue to be addressed.

          1. Falling Diphthong*

            Seriously–if I’m reading a Victorian novel and they enter a tearoom and order a pot of tea and a selection of dainties, I think finger sandwiches and small scones. Because context.

            Unless you are a catering company, there is no reason for him to nag you about making him a sandwich and so ‘dainties’ is going to just hang there being weird.

      2. nep*

        I’m super late so this is pretty much futile, but just have to chime in
        So F*ing wrong on any and all levels for anyone to say this to anyone in a workplace.
        I’m gagging.

    7. Sally*

      What a jerk.

      And FWIW, I have only heard of dainties as underwear. says it’s both:
      – of delicate beauty; exquisite: a dainty lace handkerchief.
      – pleasing to the taste and, often, temptingly served or delicate; delicious: dainty pastries.

    8. Kes*

      Ugh. I would have assumed they’re food, but it’s gross that he assumed you would make them, and that he won’t let the joke die. It might have been funny once, but that’s awkward and annoying to keep going on about. Hopefully at some point he’ll move on.

      1. Marthooh*

        Yes. For anyone who’s still unclear, this is what the phrase “hostile work environment” means (or “really very rude” in Canada).

    9. Phoenix Programmer*

      Some ideas for anytime he goes on and on.

      All said on a dry flat bored tone.
      “This joke is tired. Let’s move on.”
      “Are you still on about that?”
      “……..” With a flat bored face.

      But when he makes a joke about if you are wearing dainties that’s different. Try in a serious but calm tone:
      “Wow. Did you just ask me if I am wearing underwear”
      After he laughs
      “That’s inappropriate. Don’t talk about my underwear”
      When he claims hese notcause ‘dainties mean sandwiches’ cut him off with
      “I don’t care what term you use. When you ask me am I wearing dainties today you are clearly referencing underwear. That is gross and inappropriate and it needs to stop.”

      1. Seriously?*

        Also, in that context, it does not mean sandwich. I don’t see how he could spin it as asking if she is wearing a sandwich.

    10. NotASnowflake*

      Is there something he wouldn’t know anything about that you can taunt him about too?

      Probably not the best example but, “Creepy Rude Dude, I can’t believe you don’t use Roku. EVERYONE use Roku. How do you even watch TV and movies? I told my whole family you don’t know what Roku is and they were flabbergasted. Did you get a Roku yet? When are you getting a Roku?”

    11. AnonEMoose*

      Maybe some variant of “Wow. Not only are you beating the dead horse, you’ve hired Dr. Frankenstein to revivify it. And now it stinks and bits are falling off”?

    12. SleepyInSeattle*

      Have you just said, “this joke is getting old. You’ve made your point. Please stop bringing this up.”

      Not everyone picks up on eyerolls. He’s being rude. You should have no qualms about very direct in asking him to knock it off.

    13. Workerbee*

      If this would work…start a rumor that Mr. Old is retiring. Circulate a card. Order a cake (using corporate funds, of course). When he protests, say, “Oh, did you forget that you’d announced your retirement? Must be nice to be OLD!”

      …I heartily sympathize with what you’re going through. He probably was this way even when he was young; he just used different excuses to keep from being accountable for his obnoxious behavior, and has been allowed to get away with it. (I also doubt that his wife really was So Aghast about the dainties/underwear mixup; he seems to hear what he wants to hear or will fill in his own interpretation if reality doesn’t suit.)

      I hope your boss will DO something concrete about it.

      1. Binky*

        I’d be concerned that that may amount to a hostile work environment based on a protected characteristic (over 40) – which actually is illegal.

            1. Falling Diphthong*

              Seriously. People are only going to respond to your revenge fantasies the way they do in the fantasy if you keep them as fanfic. Don’t start executing them in the real world, where the target and witnesses haven’t agreed to their lines.

        1. Marion Ravenwood*

          I agree. For similar reasons, I wouldn’t use any of the suggested retorts along the lines of ‘that joke isn’t the only thing old enough to retire’. (The exception might be ‘old enough to know better’ in response to ‘but I’m old!’, because that could arguably be applied to pretty much anyone of working age, but it’s still a bit risky.)

      2. Dirty Paws*

        This is my favorite reply. Can you buy a Happy Retirement card and somehow start circulating it among your co-workers without anyone knowing that you started it? And if he points a finger at you, you would just say “Why would I do that? What have you ever done to me to make me want to do that?”

        1. Workerbee*

          Thoughts like these have made it possible for me to grin & bear it when dealing with the long-lived odious.

          1. Workerbee*

            Thanks! :) We’ve got one of those “When are they going to retire?” folks with behavior that ranges from dubious to obnoxious, so we’ve bandied around fond fantasies like this.

            I can’t edit or I’d go back and put in a sarcasm tag for good faith.

    14. Myrin*

      Contrary to his proclaimed old age, he’s being annoyingly childish here. I mean… you didn’t know a word/knew a word with a different meaning to what he knew.

      That can be a chuckle-worthy misunderstanding the moment it happens, but certainly not something to harp on for over a week. It’s not that funny, dude, seriously.

    15. Anono-me*

      He is being ridiculous, icky and completely out of line professionally.

      While I would suggest responding to any more bad jokes about underwear with a firm “That’s not appropriate, nor is it funny.” However, I would take the high road and not make any old age comments, even when he does. Both to keep the moral high ground and to avoid any retaliatory claims of agism once your boss returns and calls Mr. Ick on the carpet.

    16. Crylo Ren*

      Maybe I’m just blunt but honestly I’d just call this out for what it is when he does it. Tell him straight up that it’s sexist and inappropriate. If he comes back with “Well, I’m old!”, then repeat: “It’s inappropriate and you need to knock it off.” I’m glad you’re going to discuss it with your boss and I hope you have the outcome you’re hoping for.

    17. Not So NewReader*

      People who repeat themselves like this are super annoying.

      Visibly, with in his range of sight, start writing in a note book. Date, time, remark, let him see you doing it.
      Instead of replying to the context of the remark, say out loud “Monday, 9/17, 1o am. Bob asked me if I had my dainties on”. Next time, talking out loud as you write, “Monday 9/17, 10:35 am. Bob asked me if there were dainties in the break room.” Notice you are not making any comments in your notes,you are just jotting down exactly what was said. Read out loud what you are writing for added emphasis.

      If he tells you to stop writing it down, you tell him you can only stop when he finally stops. This one takes a moment to sink in and work, so hang in there and keep writing.

    18. Squirrel*

      By gone do you mean your boss is on vacation or working remotely/traveling for work? Honestly if he’s not “on vacation”, I would schedule a call with him as soon as possible to get this on his radar. Of course, document in the meantime and shut him down with “It’s not funny, please stop” and all the other scripts suggested, but you shouldn’t have to be in a hostile work environment longer than you need to.

      1. Indie*

        I really like this. Maybe email something like: “I’ve been letting olddude’s sexist remarks go past me but they are getting so offensive that I am going to have to ask you to act. He went from asking me to provide sandwiches for a meeting to asking me if I am wearing underwear (hes using a play on the word dainties meaning both sandwiches and food) This latest ‘joke is being rehashed on almost a daily basis for a week now. Of course I have asked him to stop and that I consider the language sexist but he is under the impression the company allows this behaviour if you’re ‘old’.

    19. Traffic_Spiral*

      Man, I’d start getting out the spray bottle like he was a cat that I wanted off the furniture, and everytime he said some crap I’d be like “no, [name], no creepy comments. no.” Then if he complained, I’d be like “well, telling you to cut it out doesn’t seem to work, so we’re trying this.”

      Ok, so maybe I wouldn’t, but I’d want to.

        1. Traffic_Spiral*

          Well the beauty of it is if he complains, the reason for the spray bottle has to be addressed, and then it’s like “well, how else can we stop you from acting like this? Since you’re so old that you can’t understand words, and all.”

    20. Nacho*

      Is there any way you can explain to him that he’s an old fart and the meaning of the word changed some time after all the dinosaurs died out?

    21. bunniferous*

      Realistically the only way to respond to this is ….to not respond. Every single time he goes on and on about this just put him on ignore. Don’t say a word to him, walk away if you can, in other words pretend that you can’t hear him. Don’t reinforce it by giving him any attention-and yes, he is doing this to get attention.

    22. BadWolf*

      Would a deadpan, “Gross” and walk away/change topics get you anywhere?

      Tempted to tell him to call up someone in the UK and inquire about their fanny packs… See how funny he thinks different meanings are then.

    23. That Would be a Good Band Name*

      I’d be really tempted to ask him if his wife knows that he’s talking to a coworker about her underwear every day.

    24. Belle of the Midwest*

      Maybe it’s because I have had a long week and I’m so tired that everything is either funny or annoying, but I would be so sorely tempted to start calling him “Dainty-dude” every time I see him. “Hey Dainty-dude, have you seen my TPS reports?” “Dainty-dude, what time is the staff meeting?” I might even sing, “oh Dainty-dude, the pipes, the pipes are calling. . .”

    25. Someone Else*

      This is especially ridiculous of him since he could presumably check a dictionary, rather than just his wife, and find both usages.

    26. mcr-red*

      Well I’ve never heard of dainties as a food or underwear so…

      But at this point, if he brings it up as in, “Why didn’t you know what it meant? Or why don’t you bring them in for me?” tell him “This isn’t the 1950s, that’s why!” If he asks about “Are your dainties on?” ask him if he’s ever heard of the “Me Too movement” and walk away. Even if you’re in a meeting, walk away. A good walk out kind of let’s the air out of the room and gives everyone a pause.

    27. fogharty*

      Hi Old Worker! How are your drawers today? Are your drawers clean? Do you even use drawers, I wonder? Must get messy if you don’t. Are your drawers full? Hmmm… something smells off, do you have something stinky in your drawers?

      What? I was talking about your desk! That can mean underwear too? I didn’t know that…. I’m young!

    28. tink*

      He sounds like one of those jerks that mentally gets off on knowing he’s annoying other people and they can’t do anything about it. Middle school me suggests jabbing a pencil through his hand.

    29. Londoncallingbutafterhourswhenratesarecheaper*

      Next time he makes the dainties comment, make eye contact with him. Do not break the eye contact, wait for him to stop laughing and then say, “Bob, you are the only person I know who can make a sexist comment, not only find it funny but keep laughing about it for a week”.
      Any response he makes (its a joke/I’m kidding/you just dont have a sense of humour) gets the follow up — “Bob, it just isn’t funny.” or “Bob, you are the only one laughing at your ‘jokes'”

    30. Close Bracket*

      Not only am I sorry that you have to put up with this jackass, but I am sorry people are being so dismissive of your assessment that they are grasping at dementia straws to excuse his behavior. Some people are just jerks. He is one of them. I’m sorry. You have my permission to hiss “If you ask me about my dainties one more time, I will shiv you.”

    31. Anonymous Ampersand*

      “I don’t get why that’s funny”

      “I still don’t understand why that’s funny. Can you explain it?”

      Or, y’know, just give him a blank stare, wait until it’s uncomfortable, then move onto a work related topic. Or “I’ve got to get back to work”. Whatever you do, don’t laugh or smile.

      Good luck. He sounds absolutely obnoxious.

    32. Carol*

      I have to add that I’m a 60-year-old woman who has always thought that dainties are women’s underwear.

    33. Database Developer Dude*

      And you haven’t killed him yet? I want to be you when I grow up, that’s an impressive amount of self control there… I admire that.

    34. skyline9*

      This is totally textbook harassment. You’ve probably already said some variation of this, but at your next opportunity, I would say as directly as possible, “These comments are inappropriate for the workplace, and I am telling you they are unwelcome and need to stop immediately. I am not going to repeat this request.” Even better if you can do this in front of witnesses. I’d also follow that up with an email to him documenting your request in writing, and then forward it to your manager so they have a copy. And document the fuck out of anything and everything.

      And frankly, if you have an office anti-harassment policy, you and anyone else who has witnessed it is probably required to report it to a manager or HR.

      1. T. Boone Pickens*

        Op, you have the patience of a saint. I would be lighting this guy up with every old person underwear crack I could think of. He makes a crack about you wearing underwear, you crack back by asking what people did before underwear was invented You know, because he’s old. That would get me absolutely rolling and I’d start asking him about what they did before ‘xyz’ got invented…cars, trains, etc. I usually stop when I get to electricity.

        They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. *That’s* the *Chicago* (and the Ask A Manager) way!

  2. Doug Judy*

    I am interviewing next week for a position that is remote. I have occasionally worked from home, like a day here and there, but this would be about 95% remote, with a few times a year at the corporate office. The corporate office is 1.5 hours away from me, and I could go work in the office occasionally if I wanted/needed to. The company seems great and makes an effort to make a virtual collaborative environment. As a mom, I am excited about the possibility of having more work/life integration, where the seeing the school call me to come get my sick child doesn’t send me into an immediate panic, or having to use all my PTO for appointments or random school days off.

    However, I know working from home isn’t perfect and has its own set of challenges. If you work/have worked in mostly a remote capacity, give me the good, bad and ugly.

    1. anna green*

      I actually just left a position exactly like this! The office was 1.25 hours away and I worked from home most days but went in to the office at least once per week. Honestly, I hated working from home. I found it lonely. I did it for 5 years though, because I have young kids, and it was incredibly convenient. When they were sick, snow days, school holidays, etc., it was no problem they just stayed home with me. Of course, the challenge to that is its hard to get in a full days work with kids at home, so then I would need to work in the evenings/early mornings to make it up. So, I did sometimes feel like I was always working and it was hard to separate my time. Now that I am at a different job, its stressful when there are snow days and kids sick because I have to scramble, but I’ve been able to work it out and when I am home, I am home, and I like that.

      I eventually left that job for numerous reasons, but one of them was because I was starting to get depressed from being by myself all the time. If you are the type of person who likes being alone then you may not have that problem, I know lots of people love it, and many people don’t understand why I hated it.

      1. Avid reader infrequent commenter*

        100%, all of that. And I actually adore my alone time! But working from home was just way too isolating in the end.

        1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

          Yeah, that was part of it for me too. I’m an introvert who loooooooves solitude, but working by myself all day was still disorienting for me.

      2. BF50*

        I love my alone time and I can see the huge convenience from working from home, but on the days when I do, I find it too isolating. I have to turn on the TV in the other room because the silence bothers me. I’ve occasionally worked for an hour or two at a coffee shop, which I really enjoy, but I don’t like that aspect of working from home.

        I do love being able to walk the kids to school, not getting dressed until lunch time, not having to deal with traffic, being able to throw on a load of laundry over my lunch hour, and an array of other things, but I don’t think I would like 100% remote work. I would feel to isolated.

      3. Hamburke*

        My husband works remotely (home office is 3/4 the way across the country, he’s never been there) and I used to work remotely.
        Hubby thrives – he loves the quiet house with few interruptions, he likes wearing tees and cargo pants to work, he likes everything about working from home. But he definitely wants to do something out of the house on the weekend.
        I’m more social and was lonely working full time from home. I liked the convienince of being able to grab the kids if needed (although I was responsible for answering phones so I did have set hours). Now, I work out of my boss’s home. It’s a nice in between – there is someone else in the office most of the time but it’s not bussling & busy like some offices I’ve worked in. But since I’m gone all week, I want to cozy up at home all weekend!

        FYI – there was overlap of 9 months where we both worked from home but we have separate offices so I only saw him for lunch or water breaks. And our kids are older – youngest is in middle school, oldest graduates high school this year.

    2. Phoenix Programmer*

      The reality of working from home – especially in an environment where most don’t wfh – is that you are slacking. My general experience is I put in more hours and face time to combat this perception bit to me it is worth it. Mainly because it is less stressful to me to be home working and I am more productive with less interruptions.

      1. Lexi Kate*

        I’ll second that everyone at least passively assumes you are slacking off watching tv, playing with your kids, doing housework even if you are on all the time and turn in more work than anyone.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          I think this really depends how much of the office is remote. I freelance, which is different, but in my remote meetings a good portion of the staff are calling in from home (one can tell by the dogs), and your reputation is set by whether you meet your deadlines with solid work–what you did with your time in order to send off your part of the project before 9 am Thursday isn’t of interest to anyone.

          1. Doug Judy*

            Yes this is almost an exclusively remote office. They have a corporate space and you are welcome to work out of there whenever you would like but by and large everyone is at home. I think that does make a huge difference because working remote is the norm there.

            1. ten-four*

              The key point is that the company is remote first, so it wouldn’t just be you off by yourself. My company is remote-first too, and I have adjusted to this really well for the reasons you outline: I have two kids (and was pregnant my first year so I was sick and cranky), and working from home makes my life So. Much. Easier.

              I do miss working more collaboratively – oh whiteboards, I love you – but the benefits outweigh the negatives for me to the point where I can’t imagine wedging a commute back into my working life.

              Not everyone weathered the transition to remote-first (the company shifted right when I joined). For me the key is that I can turn it off when my day is over, and that took a little practice. Also my job involves a lot of meetings so I still get a fair bit of people/face time, and I can walk my kiddos to school in the morning, so I still get out of the house.

              I actually thought I’d want to work outside the house a lot more often than I do. A bunch of my peers meet at co-working spaces or the office, for example. It turns out that I just…don’t want to bother because I can get a lot done at home and I’m too lazy to go out.

              All of which is to say that working remote first can be extremely awesome if your temperament fits.

              1. ten-four*

                Argh, I forgot an important thing: it’s harder to get integrated into a remote-first company when you start working. There’s no easy way to chit chat over coffee or wander over to say hi to folks – all the interactions are very intentional, which took me a while to adjust to. It felt presumptuous to put myself on calendars for intros/chitchat, but I found that no one minded and it made my life easier. It also took a while to figure out how to communicate around work – slack vs. email vs. video chat. Ultimately my relationships got built through working with people and proving myself, and that just takes longer.

                1. Doug Judy*

                  Thanks for this! One of the questions I have is how they integrate new people in a remote environment.

                  The work is still people and relationship forward, and I would still be getting out of the house for client meetings.

                  From what everyone seems to be saying it can be isolating but I think I can set things up so I still have human interaction and make it a point to sometimes go work in a public space.

                2. BF50*

                  You know, I’ve found that outside my individual team, I don’t really know who is working remotely vs who is not. Our office is not remote first and most people work in office, but have the option to work remotely when needed. One teammate works remote one day a week, but there are several people who are living in different states. In fact when one moved, half our team didn’t notice she was remote because she sat on the other side of the building.

      2. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

        Ugh, yes — putting in the extra time to make up for the perception (or my own perception!) that I was slacking off. I never got comfortable taking advantage of the best parts of working from home — I didn’t go work out in the middle of the day, or take a nap when I was tired, or whatever. I just plowed through the regular work day and then kept working later into the evening because I was stressed out.

        (I know I’m all over this thread, and I’ll take it down a notch. This conversation has reminded me of how stressed out and unhappy I was in that situation!)

      3. OhGee*

        Yup, and one way to minimize this is to always be on top of your stuff, and never tell coworkers anything like “i’m wearing sweatpants” or “I’m working from bed with my three dogs” (yes, a teammate — who became uncommunicative when he went full time remote — announced that in a chat channel one day), even if it’s true, because it reinforces their assumptions about your remote ‘work’.

    3. 99 lead balloons*

      If you make it to the offer stage – I moved and took my office job with me and I really wish I had asked for a laptop in addition to or instead of a desktop. With a desktop computer that meant I couldn’t work at a coffee shop for a change of scenery or work on my back patio when the weather was nice.

      It’s nice to be able to choose your own music or put on a tv show you’ve watched a million times while doing stuff like data entry/file cleanup, choose the strength of the coffee/tea, and use mental breaks to throw in a load of laundry or dust something.

      Definitely ask for examples of what that virtual collaboration looks like practically. How often do remote workers usually interact with each other or their office counterparts etc.?

      1. Doug Judy*

        I think they have daily Skype calls with whatever team you are working with, so you do get some face to face every day. I will for sure ask what else they do to make it interactive.
        I like the laptop idea too. I live in the northern part of the Midwest, so being able to work outside for a bit would be nice to take advantage of the 80 days a year we have nice weather, or like you said go to a coffee place just to get a change of scenery seems like a good idea.

        I am a big fan of letting Parks and Rec play on Netflix while I do mindless tasks, except when it asks me if I am still watching. Yes, I am Netflix, stop judging me!

    4. Sally*

      I mostly worked from home for the last 6 years, and I’m so relieved that I have a desk in my new office and that I’m expected to be there every day (barring the occasional WFH day because of an appointment). I should say that I’m an extrovert, so it was hard on me being home by myself (with the dogs) every day. But it was also very convenient! I could get up at 8:00, walk the dogs, and then fix everyone’s breakfast while working. I didn’t have to shower or get dressed if I didn’t want to unless there was a video conference meeting. BTW, I highly recommend taking advantage of all opportunities for video conference. Otherwise, it’s really easy to feel disconnected from everyone else in the office, even if you have lots of phone meetings. Now I get up at 6:00 and get ready, walk the dogs, feed the dogs, etc. before I leave the house.

      I really had to be disciplined to stay at the desk in my home office and work when I was supposed to be working. That’s much harder when no one’s going to see you go grocery shopping and stop by Marshall’s on the way home in the middle of the day. I think doing laundry, making lunch, etc. are fine to do while WFH because they don’t take very long, but in the last couple of years, I found myself napping or doing other time-consuming things, and I wasn’t actually doing 8 hours or work per day, and I felt pretty bad about that.

      So I’m more tired now – still not able to get into bed by 9:30 (new job started just a few weeks ago). But I really like being in the office with my team, and I can stop by someone’s desk on the way to the coffee machine and have a quick conversation, which previously would have required an IM (and the realization that I wanted to ask them something without the benefit of walking past their desk).

      I hope this is helpful.

      1. Sally*

        Oh, and I meant to say that when I was working from home, I would pick up my laptop and work in the evenings. Now when I go home, I don’t do any work until the next day in the office, which I prefer.

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        I think remote work is best suited for introverts–possibly even introverts with roommates, so you’re going to be getting some personal interaction when spouse/kids/friends return home, with no conscious effort on your part.

        I could see it working for an extrovert if they do well with focused alone time, and have an established social network so that lunches or other chances to interact are easily incorporated in the week.

    5. Bigintodogs*

      I hate it. My entire team is offshore so I rarely talk to anyone all day. It’s boring and depressing. I know I have a unique experience because my job is really weird, but I’m looking for a new job because the remote aspect is terrible.

    6. BRR*

      I work from home most days while most of my company works in the office. I find it hard sometimes to stay focused. Being in an office helps keep me accountable. I would like a mild amount of in-person interactions some days and can’t work form anywhere besides home. I think being mostly remote has killed any upward mobility I might have had. My employer has a tendency to be out of sight out of mind (not on purpose but it’s happened). Since my manager isn’t that involved in my work, they have no clue how I’m operating at a higher level than my position and I think don’t really see me being able to grow.

      1. Doug Judy*

        The company as a whole is mostly remote and is something they promote as part of their company perks, so I think that makes a difference. I would not want to work from home where mostly everyone else is working in the office for the exact reasons you described.

    7. MosaicLife*

      I work from home four days a week and go into the office one day. I love working from home. It’s not a huge deal if your kid needs to stay home, you can do housework when you’d normally be stuck in traffic, you can throw dinner in the crockpot at lunch. I get more work done because there are fewer interruptions. I don’t feel like I have to whisper when I’m on the phone so those in neighboring offices don’t hear every word (especially helpful when I need to pass along negative feedback or sensitive information).
      When I’ve been out of the office a while, I feel a bit disconnected from the group and honestly tend to become a little paranoid. For instance, when my boss is brisk on the phone, I might wonder if something is up, when if I were in the office, I might pass by her and have a very normal interaction, reassuring me that whatever is going on isn’t about me. You do miss out on water cooler chats and making connections with other staff with whom you might not directly interact. So basically, networking is harder. I’m an introvert, so I don’t mind not having the same interaction as those in the office, but I know others feel differently. You also may find you actually work longer hours, as you don’t need to leave right at five because you don’t have to sit in traffic.
      Lastly, you miss out on face-to-face interactions. It’s harder to have tricky conversations over the phone, as you can’t read body language and quickly change directions if needed. So for instance, if I have a big ask of a coworker, I often save it for the day I go to the office (it’s nice to be able to abort the mission if the coworker is sending hard no signals).

    8. Ealasaid*

      I’m working from home right now! I wfh M/W/F at my current gig, and was full time from home on a past multi-year gig. I love working from home SO MUCH. Caveat: I do not have children. I live with my partner (he’s full-time wfh) and our three cats. My partner and I each have an office with a door that closes, which I view as a requirement for successfully working from home.

      Things I like about home:
      – When I take breaks, I can do something that needs doing (put laundry in the dryer, vacuum, work on personal projects, etc)
      – People aren’t coming into my office all the time and I don’t have to deal with rowdy coworkers (I’m in tech; my coworkers have nerf guns)
      – I can really focus on something without being interrupted.

      Things I like about the office:
      – Bonding with coworkers is WAY easier.
      – Getting in touch with my in-office coworkers is a lot easier (I needed to talk with our busybusy VP yesterday and ran into him in the break room, so I could get him to take a couple minutes and talk with me)
      – The office park I work in is super nice, and it’s fun to take my daily walk in a place that’s less familiar than my own neighborhood.
      – It makes the “I am working” boundary super clear. I’m lucky that my partner doesn’t bug me all the time, but I know some folks have trouble getting others in their household to understand that no, working from home does not mean you’re available all the time for whatever they need.

      I like mixing wfh and in-office, myself, but would happily go back to full-time-remote. I am never ever doing full-time-in-the-office if I can possibly avoid it. (I’m a technical writer and need quiet time to actually get my work done.)

    9. Avid reader infrequent commenter*

      I worked part time from home for over 5 years before transferring to a different place in the company and full time. Looking back on it, by far the hardest and most annoying part is that I felt like it was just always THERE, nagging me that I needed to work, even if I’d put in my hours for the week already. There was no “walking away.” I wasn’t in a position that required me to be on call, but it just felt like a constant presence because I *could* work. Motivation was hard and it felt like there was no boundary between work and home. I absolutely love being able to leave my office at 5p now and be 100% done for the day.

      1. Doug Judy*

        Yeah that is I think going to be more of a challenge, but I do have a dedicated office space, so I am hoping that will help a bit with being able to leave it behind and be done for a bit.

        1. soon 2be former fed*

          I have a separate room for my office, and when I enter it I am at work. I had a long commute and don’t miss any of it. Love working at home exclusively.

    10. Red Reader*

      I’m going on four years of fully remote work. I love it, personally, I feel like I have so much extra time that isn’t burned on commuting to and fro or getting ready for work or changing back out of work clothes and whatever. I’m super introverted, so not having to interact with people in person most of the time is wonderful for me.

      I will say – for my employer, it is absolutely not permitted under any circumstances to be the sole caretaker of a child under the age of 12 while on the clock, so if your kid’s school called and told you to come get them or they were otherwise home, you would absolutely still have to use PTO, unless you wanted to risk the lie and violate that policy.

      Other things to consider: who supplies what? My employer provides a laptop, docking station, two monitors, and an optional keyboard/mouse (I prefer my own so I don’t take theirs), but no other equipment or office supplies. They don’t cover any of my internet costs. Before I was management level, if I had to call into a webex I had to either use my personal phone or provide my own headset to connect via computer. I’m required to have a fire extinguisher in the room where I work and to maintain a homeowners or renters insurance policy that will cover the work-owned equipment.

      Work-life balance – depends on you. I’m bad at being home on a workday and not working, and I’ve called in sick once in four years. But I’m fine with that. Some people aren’t. I have one coworker who goes out and walks around her block as her “commute” to put herself into work mode, then does again at the end of her day to “commute home.” Some people make rules about “I always get fully dressed for work” or “I wear shoes while I’m working” or whatever. I’m fine in sweats, lounging on my comfy chair with a dog curled up under me. It’s finding what works for you. And not keeping snack foods in the kitchen. That’s my personal bugaboo – too easy to go grab a snack. On the other hand if I throw a filet of salmon into the rice cooker to steam for lunch, nobody bats an eyelash :)

      1. Doug Judy*

        Good point on clarifying what the provide/cover/reimburse for, I’ll make sure to ask.

        I did do my undergrad online, so I do have some experience having to self manage, and
        “being home, but not home” and having a schedule/routine. The kid thing, from what I gather, as long as it’s occasional and you aren’t trying to care for a young child, it’s ok, but I will clarify. My oldest is almost 13 and the other one is almost 5. I did my grad program a few years ago, so they are used to “Mom needs to do some work upstairs, do not bother me”

        But yes the snacks will be a challenge. I recently lost 40lbs and I do not want to gain it back!

        1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

          I actually thought that eating healthy was one of the big benefits of working from home. Having access the kitchen and my own refrigerator was great.

          Another perk was that working from home meant that I very rarely took a sick day (which was a perk because I had combined PTO, so taking a sick day meant losing a vacation day). I could work from home through most sicknesses; I only actually took a day off if I couldn’t stay awake or upright.

          1. Red Reader*

            it depends on the individual and knowing your own foibles. For me, I have a kitchen full of snacks because everyone else in my house either has a very physical job or the metabolism of a hummingbird and it’s easier to avoid potato chips when eating them involves paying the vending machine.

    11. Emmie*

      I am 100% WFH. I WFH about 2 days / week in my last position.
      – I second everyone’s comments about being isolating or lonely. You have to build an outside social life.
      – WFH doesn’t always mean flexibility. Find out if you have to work structured hours, or if you need to live in specific locations (such as to travel to the home office as you noted, or so the company does not have to monitor laws in a new state.)
      – Although my business clothing and commute expenses decreased, my a/c and heat costs increased and I spent more money on other household products like bathroom tissue.
      – Working from home in your PJs is nice until 10 am when you’re dirty and haven’t showered!
      – Find out what your distractions are, and handle them. I am irritated by piles of laundry, so I get that done the night before. I also had to teach my friends and family that I was working. I cannot work from the pool, or pick your kids up from school.
      – Your in office work environment matters. My company has a remote culture, and it makes it easy to work with everyone across the country. But, other cultures may not be accustomed to this and you’ll have to manage that.
      – I am in a leadership position managing people. Think about how you’ll measure performance when you cannot always see worker productivity. My employees and I have ways to do that, and it works for us.
      – It was hard when I first started. I didn’t know people in my company, and didn’t have the normal conversations you have around the office to build relationships. Every impression matters b/c there are so few of them. I over-prepare for meetings. I am extra friendly, and professional in meetings. If I have one off day, it would look like I was unprofessional to people who are meeting me for the first time. I won’t get many opportunities to correct that. WFH attracts introverts, but you have to pull out your social side to build relationships with people.
      Do you have any specific questions? I have been either full or part time WFH for 7 years. I am happy to answer them.

      1. Doug Judy*

        I think you hit on a lot of the things I was wondering about.

        Any suggestions on setting up the home office?

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          Who else is in your house?

          I often wind up in the dining room when I am home alone (plus animals)–it’s nice for calls because I can reach the tea kettle with my headphones on. My teenage son can be home, and he will reliably be off in a separate room, gaming or doing homework. My spouse had a day off, and he kept doing the “ah here you are in the dining room, I can ask you stuff” thing.

          1. Doug Judy*

            My husband and our two boys, 12 and 4. We have a spare bedroom that is large and has a large desk in it and is upstairs, so its very easy to remove myself when they are around. I finished grad school a few years ago so they are used to me having to lock myself in there and figure it out themselves.

      2. Emmie*

        It sounds like you have your own rhythm with grad school. Think about the things that worked for you. For me, I have a separate room in my home for my office with windows and a view. It’s nice to see the sun, and activity outside. I need to buy an ergonomic desk. I need a different set up for 100% WFH vs. 40% WFH. I take conference calls / videos standing up from a bar height counter. Moving helps me focus, and avoid surfing the net. I have a lot of overhead lights, and that helps for dark days. It helps me to be really organized, and in a quiet part of the house too.

      3. Paquita*

        The hours is an important point. My sister works from home but she still has set 8-5 hours. It is similar to a call center ‘butt in seat’ job. She doesn’t have the flexibility that people thinks she does. Best thing is the no commute. Worst thing is she is not a ‘people person’. She is professional, but doesn’t enjoy it.

    12. It's the little things*

      I have worked from home for the past 2 years and as an extreme extrovert I was worried at first if I would be OK. I actually love it, however, I do have a number of hard and fast rules and boundaries I use to make it work. So here they are, hope it helps:
      1. I have a dedicated office – my personal computer/files are in a different area of my house, my office is treated as a magic door into my company. Once I leave the office, I leave it, I will check my phone as I would if I was office based, but I will not go back onto that office after I have decided to finish for the day – for any reason.
      2. I have coffee making facilities in my office – the only time I go to the kitchen is for lunch (I do work from my deck/porch sometimes but I get very distracted by the kitchen – emptying dishwasher, laundry etc.)
      3. I decorated my office in a really warm, welcoming way – in a way I couldn’t in a company office – my office as actually one of my favorite rooms in my house! I use fun and pretty office supplies etc. to make my work day more visually pleasant.
      4. I don’t have to video conference every day (maybe a couple of times a week) but I do set up regular ‘coffee chats’ with coworkers, where the purpose is to get on camera and just drink coffee/chat as if we were in the break room.
      5. I have a TV in my office, on really low – it actually helps me as I see movement and there is some sound (I came from an HR role so was used to a revolving door of people and voices) – it prevents that echo chamber feeling and I rarely even know whats on the TV, its the white noise and visual movement that matters.

      Hope this helps in some way if you move forward – its taken me time to lock down how I manage it, people who know me well are always surprised that I enjoy WFH as I’m very social, but this is how I make it enjoyable. I would be really sad if I had to go back into an office environment now (as would my dog :).

      1. Doug Judy*

        I like this. I am the same way about TV, I always have it on when I am home, even if I am doing other tasks. For whatever reason music isn’t the same for me, and I think it’s the movement aspect. I never thought of it that way.

    13. Lexi Kate*

      The bad: I feel like I use more of my pto now working from home than I ever did in the office, I could justify a longer lunch in the office but I really can’t at home. I also work more than I ever did at the office but still deal with the passive “oh did you watch such and such on tv, since your home I’m sure you are watching tv and doing household stuff”. Having a sick kid at home was fine when I worked in the office to stay and work from home, but with working from home all the time it’s seen as unacceptable. So on calls I have to go hide or keep kids and dogs quiet so no one knows they are there. On the home front it causes significant fighting with husband who doesn’t get that I am not home to run errands and have his dinner ready when he gets home. Collaboration is not the same and you do start falling through the cracks if you are not on top of being heard.

      The good: yoga pants are so so so much more comfortable than slacks or dresses, and I am saving so much money not wearing makeup it’s insane. It is easy to keep laundry done and to stay on my diet. I don’t hit traffic ever. I am not voluntold to do other people’s work anymore, and I have the ability to do my work the way I want withou interruptions or gossip.

      1. Doug Judy*

        I work in an field now that is business formal dress code, so fancy clothes, hair and make up every day. Sometimes I don’t mind being dressed up but having to every day is not fun. I would love not to have to spend money on those things as much as I do now.

        1. Lexi Kate*

          I’m not kidding on the makeup and clothing looking back at the expense there made me sick to think I was spending so much. I now throw away makeup because it goes bad, and my morning routine is like 20 minutes now ( shower, brush teeth, brush hair, moisturize, get dressed).

          1. WFH Mom*

            This is one of my favorite parts of WFH. I save so much money. No commute is a huge savings on gas and vehicle maintenance costs. I don’t buy makeup or clothes nearly as often. I just have a handful of client facing outfits for each season when I need to go onsite to meet a client. Plus, it’s just so relaxing to me to not have to be business-polished all day every day. I can listen to any music out loud in my office with my dog at my feet and no one will ever complain.

      2. jackers*

        “stay on my diet”

        This is the part I struggle with when I work from home (which is flexible for me and can do whenever I want – working from home right now). At the office, I can avoid the constant snacking/grazing because I don’t want to spend the money on it. At home, it’s right there 20 feet away in the kitchen “free”.

        It’s one of the few cons for me.

        1. Lexi Kate*

          I quit buying anything ready made so I have to prepare everything so I eat less. But in the beginning if there was cake or ready to bake cookies I could them down in an afternoon or so

        2. caryatis*

          Just don’t buy convenience foods. You need meals (although some people are fine with one or two a day); you don’t need snacks.

    14. pcake*

      Everyone is different, but for me, I love everything about working in my living room.

      I do have some friends who found they had trouble getting started or keeping going, and others who got lonely, but working at home suits me perfectly as I’m a motivated self-starter who isn’t social during work hours.

    15. Persimmons*

      I do partial WFH, I adore it, and I found that what works for me runs opposite the conventional wisdom.

      For example, a common tip suggests that you need to get up and change into work clothes to get into a professional mindset and prevent slacking. Some people even suggest getting into your car and going for coffee or a breakfast sandwich to simulate a commute. WTF is the point of doing all the annoying things that WFH helps you avoid? You’re shooting your perk in the foot. I get up, shlump downstairs in jammies, and turn on the laptop. Getting to do those little things that I can’t do as a cubicle dweller keeps me grateful for the option to WFH and keeps me mindful of my work.

      TL;DR: Give yourself some time to learn your own WFH style and figure out what works best for your personality and environment. It’s okay to change it up if you find it more efficient/effective to buck the system.

    16. seller of teapots*

      I have worked remote most of my career and I love it!!

      Some advice:
      *Take a shower and/or get dressed every morning.
      *Have a designated work space that is not your living room couch, kitchen table, or bed. Creating separate physical spaces helps, imo, create emotional boundaries, too.
      *Use IM or skype or phone to talk with your colleagues and try to build relationships beyond projects and deadlines.
      *Find a local coffee shop or library that you enjoy working from, and take yourself there regularly so you can get out of the house

    17. legalchef*

      Keep in mind that unless your kids are old enough to be largely self-sufficient (i.e. of an age where they won’t need constant attention if they are home sick or have the day off of school), you’d still really need back-up childcare for those times.

      When I WFH I like that instead of having chit-chat breaks I can take care of a load of laundry, or can run to the grocery store on “lunch.”

      1. Doug Judy*

        My oldest is almost 13 so for him it’s mostly I just need to be in the house in case he needs me. The other one is 4 and in daycare full time and absolutely would remain that way. If he was sick I’d have to supervise but from what I know about the position, there aren’t set hours so I could attend to him and then log back into work once my husband gets home. Which is a much better solution than now where I’d have to use a full day of PTO and be behind at work. Plus the eye rolls from childless coworkers when I suddenly have to leave for the day because daycare called are my biggest pet peeve, or worse the assumption that my kid really isn’t sick.

    18. Twenty Points for the Copier*

      I work from home full time (except when traveling or in meetings) and my husband works from home about 80% of the time. I love it but have also talked to a lot of people who really don’t like it.

      I think permanent WFH works best for two types of people – extreme introverts and motivated extroverts. Both of us are in the latter category. We make sure to have a lot of regular evening activities and plans on the weekend so that we’re seeing people other than each other (and our other neighbors with dogs) at least a couple days a week. In addition, my work involves a lot of talking on the phone and in person networking so I don’t end up feeling isolated. It was a little tough when we first moved here and I didn’t know very many people – the people I know who really hated FT WFH had also just moved and found it really isolating.

      I find productivity can be an issue, but no more or less so than in an office. I am self employed so I have a LOT of flexibility to work when I want so buying groceries, doing laundry, etc. in the middle of the day is fine as long as I am not off the grid for hours on end and get work done.

      I hate hate hate hate traffic so very much so I find that not having to commute has opened up a lot of time and is very freeing. I also find it easier to eat healthy when I can always throw something together. There is no temptation to eat lunch out because going out seems like too much effort. I am not a snack person so that’s not really an issue for me. We also save money on a dog walker (though we now have very spoiled dogs).

      Dressing like I am at work/wearing shoes/etc is not really a thing for me. I do have a dedicated work space and think it’s really helpful. Maybe not 100% neccesssary (my husband works from the bedroom), but gives me a work space which helps separate work time from personal time.

      Honestly, I’m not sure I could ever go back to a set schedule or face time expectation. I think that can be a risk for people who are FT WFH and not self employed (or possessing a super in demand hard to find skill) in terms of being reluctant to change jobs in the future even when it is a good move for other reasons. Though hopefully the world will move more towards realizing that (at least some portion of) people can be at least as productive from home as from the office.

      1. Red Reader*

        Spoiled dogs, yes – I adopted my younger dog about three months after I started working from home and she’s never known me not to be home 95% of the time, so now she gets a little anxious when I go on vacation.

    19. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

      I worked 100% from home, and I hated it.


      – I never got into a good, comfortable relationship with my manager — which is something that matters a lot to me. I never learned how to read her because I never saw her face or had those casual, in-the-hallway opportunities to connect with her. So every time her number popped up on my phone it felt formal and serious and like I had to drop everything, rather than just another moment in a regular workday.

      – I had a hard time knowing what was enough work, which made me work too much. Like a lot of us, I’m in a job where the work is never done — I don’t have discrete tasks that I can complete and check off and know that I’ve accomplished what I needed to accomplish for the day/week/etc. So I value the rhythm of being in the office and then being done and going home (I still bring my computer home most nights, but I only take it out and do more work once I’m home if there’s something really pressing).

      One note: You should still plan on using PTO for random school days off or sick kids, if your kids are at an age when they need care or supervision. Working from home is still work.

      1. Doug Judy*

        The kid thing is more for my middle schooler right now. He gets done with school at 2:30 but if he has something after school it is done at 4/4:30 so I have to leave work early to go pick him up because my office is across town. I feel the perception that I’m “leaving early” every day, even though I work through lunch and will log in later. It would be great to just run down to the school quick and come home, round trip being 15 min.

      2. BF50*

        In my experience it’s pretty easy to get a bunch of work done with a sick 4 yr old. They lay around when they are sick so really I get almost as much work done, in the same amount of time, unless they are so sick that I need to clean up vomit or take them to the doctor. I leave the office door open or work at the dining room table, but they usually sleep, color, or watch tv all day.

        Snow days or no school days, however are impossible. On those days, I get up before the kids sneak into the office and my husband tells them I am at work so they don’t bug me. Then I get no bathroom breaks until lunch. :D Healthy 4 & 5 year old bounce and scream and can’t help interupting me. They also need supervision so they don’t do something dumb.

        1. Doug Judy*

          Snow days wouldn’t be too much of an issue. My husband has a home remodeling business and 90% of the time there is a snow day, he’s home anyway. There’s been many evil stares from me on snow days where there all in their pjs and I have to go to work.

    20. Someone Else*

      It sounds like you’re assuming working from home automatically means you can flex your schedule. If you haven’t, I would confirm that explicitly about the new role. I am 100% work from home and do still need to use PTO for appointments (or random school days off, unless your kid is over 13). In an emergency sure I could run out, and occasionally I am able to shift hours around an appointment, but it’s not a given and not something I’d do without approval first, and not something that should be frequent (and that would be true even of our staff who do work in the actual office).

    21. Melonhead*

      I am one voice saying there was very little downside to working remotely for 9-10 years. I loved it! Husband works from home 2 days/week, and those were great days.

      I now work at a place 3 mi. from home, with no telework, and I’m really enjoying that, too!

      1. Melonhead*

        PS: Neglected to mention that I was a freelancer with several clients, so I faced very little day-to-day scrutiny. If I did a great job, that’s all they cared about.

    22. Audra*

      I work from home 95% of the time and visit my home office once every few months. I’ve been working remote for two years now.

      – Technology. Always waiting for a video call, or waiting for someone to figure out how to set up a video call.
      – Communication. Until I was given a direct manager, it was extremely hard to get in contact with either of my extremely busy bosses and would be reprimanded for not being a self-starter. I was in a very junior role at the time, not knowing what the heck some of this stuff was. So, I recommend that you are in a role where you are in charge of what you’re doing or have great communication with those you work with.
      – Distracting significant others/husbands/etc. Mine also works from home.
      – Traveling to the home office. This is probably just relevant to me, but my company always wants to see me and it’s not always for business purposes. I’m being brought down for busy work when I could be doing the work from my home office without paying expenses.
      – Missing out on office drama. Sounds petty but you’re the last to know who quit or got fired.

      – Maybe contradictory to the last statement, but no in-office tension. And there is a lot.
      – Introvert’s dream. You can keep to yourself unless you need information on projects and deadlines. No chit-chat that keeps you unproductive.
      – Play your music loud and have your office set up how you like.
      – Work in PJs and no makeup. (Though I don’t recommend this too much because for me, it can be a demotivator if I am too sloppy.)
      – Work from coffeeshops, your bed, the couch.

    23. Public Health Nerd*

      Congrats on the new gig! I’m WFH at my job and I love it. A few tips:
      – You have to ask for help and mentoring when you’re stuck, which can feel awkward.
      – I do better working in a room that’s just for working and crafting. I walk in and I know I’m there to get things done.
      – It really helps if a critical mass of your group is also WFH – then there’s an existing structure for how people do things.
      – I’m switching to exercise out of the house – helps to get face time with other humans.
      – Gear to ask for: Headset with microphone, laptop, separate monitor, mouse and keyboard (so helpful for ergonomics)

    24. beachlover*

      I’ve been working remote for a year now.
      no commute – “extra” income savings on Gas + wear and tear on my car
      don’t have to get dressed
      can walk into kitchen and fix my breakfast or lunch.
      Being able to travel and still keep up on my work- I have worked from all over the country.

      isolation – even though I go into the office one a week (if I am not traveling, which is not too often). I do miss the human connection and camaraderie of being in an office environment.
      I do tend to work longer, not be cause I feel I am slacking, but because I lose track of time.
      lots of conference calls and since we are all spread across the USA, it can make my day a little hectic.

    25. WFH Mom*

      I’ve been 100% telecommuter for the last 6 months. Overall, I’m really happy with my job change, but a lot of it is the job I now have. Working from home has been more of a mixed bag than I expected, but working in an office is not an option for me in my current position. Here’s my experience, in your terms…
      The Good:
      – So much more time in the day without a commute! I have young kids and the work week required so much planning when I worked in office. I also don’t require a hard stop at the end of the day like OldInOfficeJob to commute and pick up kids. If I still had to finish up a project at OldInOfficeJob, I was logging in from home after putting the kids to bed. That habit is pretty draining if it’s frequent.
      – Flexible schedule. It’s important to get to know the company’s expectation on this. My boss cares about the work getting done, not the hours in which I do it. I do need availability during business hours to meet with coworkers/clients, but we are a global company so business hours varies a bit.
      – I never ever wear makeup anymore. It’s amazing! But I now have to evaluate the state of my appearance before leaving the house. Did I shower today? Will I be using a drive-thru or seeing people face to face?
      – I work out on weekdays! I have kids. My mornings and evenings do not belong to me. If I have a slow spot in my day, I can go out for an afternoon run if I feel like it.

      The Bad:
      – I’m surprised how lonely I am. I’m an introvert and this started out as a dream come true. But I realize now how I built relationships at work based on face to face interactions. It’s still possible, but it’s different now. It helps that most of my coworkers also work from home.
      – It’s harder for me to be self-aware of the quality of my work. Part of this is being new to the role and the learning curve, but I also don’t feed off the skills from my peers as easily. It has to be more deliberate, like asking questions and getting time set aside with a colleague.

      The Ugly:
      – I once had a client call when a full blown toddler tantrum went off outside my office door. My walls are paper thin. Boss took it well, but I can NEVER let that happen again. If you have kids, pets, spouse, or whatever in the home during work hours, figure out a system that ensures silence for conference calls.

    26. Anonama doo doo doo doo do*

      My husband works remotely and while he loves that he never has to fight the subway on an endless commute, he doesn’t have the interactions that are normal to an office. He is an introvert, so while this isn’t as much of a problem, he noticed that the holidays were a bit depressing; as there is no central office and people are scattered across the US, there are no holiday events that would normally bring everyone together. He doesn’t even like holiday parties, if that gives you an idea of how isolated he felt. It probably doesn’t help that I’m a high school art teacher who runs around school in reindeer antlers. Maybe the contrast is a bit much. Except for that, he overall prefers working remotely. Just prepare yourself for feeling disconnected at times.

    27. BetsCounts*

      Hi Doug, good luck!
      I am self employed and WFH most of the time.
      Good: I have a separate office space so it is easier to keep everything separated. I picked up a wardrobe from IKEA to store all the office supply/filing cabinet/printer stuff so my workspace isn’t all cluttered. I like being able to wear pajamas and no makeup
      Bad: It is very isolating. I visit a client site less than 1 day out of 10, so I joined a co-working space just to get more adult interaction. I miss having a superbowl square to fill out. :-( I also made an effort to be more active in my professional association, so I still have holiday/office type parties with other people in my industry.
      Ugly: I often struggle with keeping on task- it’s been difficult to take a few minutes to start a load of laundry / unload the dishwasher and then get back on point with my work responsibilities. It’s also been hard to train my kids to LEAVE ME ALONE when I am in my office with the door closed, but that may be more a ‘mom’ problem than a ‘WFH’ problem.

  3. TheWonderGinger*

    News on the Northern Front:

    I GOT A NEW JOB! After six months of searching, interviewing, and more than a few tears and bottles of wine I GOT A NEW JOB!
    Last Friday the 7th, I had an interview at notmayonnaise hospital for a position that I had interviewed for and been passed over in July. Some of you might recall from last Fridays open thread that I have been very frustrated about going through THREE rounds of interviews, and using over 20 hours of PTO, for several positions within notmayonnaise and continuing to come in second each time. In fact, the night before the interview I had told Steve Trevor that I was considering cancelling because I was so frustrated with the system and was ready to take a break. Well, he encouraged me to go because I had scheduled it in a time frame that didn’t use my PTO and was good practice. I went and I thought it had went well but honestly didn’t have high hopes after my past experiences.
    Well, Monday morning I got a call and they offered me the position! AND at a higher starting wage than advertised (which was still a considerable increase from currentjob)! We negotiated a start date for the second week of October (the last week of September I am out of town) and I was able to give notice to currentjob that morning! Everyone at current job is excited for me, including my supervisors. I did end up giving about three weeks’ notice, mostly because I will be out of town for a week in that notice period and I wanted to make my transition as easy as possible. Thanks to AAM and everyone for all the great advice that I was able to apply during this process!

    1. NotASnowflake*

      Sounds like you committed a lot of time and effort to this place. I’m glad it finally paid off for you! :]

        1. PhyllisB*

          Just curious, why would the username “snowflake” be a reason to send a comment to moderation? I understand you wouldn’t want anyone calling any of the commentors a “special snowflake” or any variation, but when you are referring to yourself?

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            The filter doesn’t know you’re referring to yourself because it doesn’t distinguish between a user name or the comment body. There’s no way to say “moderate it if it’s here but not here.” It just sees the word itself and that triggers the filter. It’s because the vast majority of the time that word gets used, it’s in a rude way.

  4. Redundant Department of Redundancy*

    We recruited a new admin about 6 months ago, and they’re still asking pretty basic questions about tasks when they are assigned to them. We have lots of process sheets for reference but even when they check them they still ask for help. Any suggestions on scripts or redirects to say to them in the moment when they’re asking something that they should really know by now?
    While not directly their line manager, I deputise for their line manager when they are away.

    1. Doug Judy*

      I’d take a look at these process sheets if you haven’t in a while. I’ve been in positions where, yes there are process sheets but the either: 1. Are horribly written (too much jargon/acronyms) 2. Out of date and no longer make sense. 3. Are missing some key details.

      If those look good, maybe she needs some more hands or interactive training. If you are always directing her to read an SOP, she might not learn well that way.

      1. Redundant Department of Redundancy*

        We do try to keep up to date with our process sheets, but I might ask if he feels they could reworded/improved. Our concern is that we’ve given training on a lot of it (and extra training on bits he’s gotten wrong), and it still doesn’t seem to be sinking in.

        We aren’t sure if there is a deeper issue or if they’re being lazy and not trying to work it out themselves!

        1. Bea*

          I have had many issues with people who lack confidence along with developed critical thinking skills.

          I would make sure you’re encouraging them to look for the answer and to follow their instincts. But only of errors aren’t going to cause drastic issues of course. I’ve had to drill into a few folks trying first is best. If they’re then clarifying they understand, my patience is a lot thicker. “These are completed…I file then in The Room, right?” instead of “I’m done. What do I do with them now?”

          If they’re asking how to proceed, you can always try digging in with a “think back to when you did this last week…” and coaxing them to answer. It’s obnoxious in ways but still shows them they need to try harder.

        2. NotASnowflake*

          Can you point out to him that you’ve trained on or answered this specific question x times, and ask him to tell you what he did last time? Sometimes people default to asking questions either because they aren’t confident in themselves or because it’s easier. So this might make him realize he *does* know what to do or that he’s asking things he shouldn’t be asking

          You could tell him you can’t keep taking time to explain basic x thing to him and he needs to write down what to do for future reference.

        3. Trixie*

          In some situations, this is a golden opportunity to review/update process notes in live time. Each new employee can help review and highlight discrepancies. Given shared drives and document access these days, I am amazed how often there are simply no process sheets or guidelines at all.

      2. SWOinRecovery*

        Where have you looked (for the answer) so far? As the initial response to every time they ask a question (with some exceptions).
        This gives them the opportunity to point out any confusion in the process sheet organization, but mostly trains them to troubleshoot independently before asking for help. And if the question is for something that would clearly not be in a process sheet, the answer can be google or other public means.

        You could also try to give them a sense of ownership/teamwork in the process sheets, which may motivate them to use and fully understand them more. You could say something like, “As the newest admin, you have the latest experience with learning these tasks from the sheet. Please add any language to the instructions that you think would help out our next new team member or someone relearning the process after a software update.” Asking them to review & edit the sheets might make the processes stick more.

      3. Mephyle*

        Please don’t be like my biochem professor, who used to answer all questions with, “It’s all in the book.” If we understood the textbook, sir, we wouldn’t be asking you.
        I suggest it would be worth scheduling a bit of time to do a detailed trace of what happens when they check the process and then still ask for help. I don’t see how the problem can be fixed without first diagnosing how much of the problem lies in NewAdmin, and how much in the process sheets. Simple scripts or redirects won’t help much if, say, the process sheets are deficient, or NewAdmin has a reading comprehension problem.

    2. Kes*

      “Have you checked the sheet?”
      And if you do have to show them, “It should say how to do that here” (and show them on the sheet) “Is anything in particular unclear?”
      That can be really annoying to have to deal with though.

    3. Bea*

      Have you been answering her questions? I would direct get to the process docs. “On there’s a procedure doc on the share drive in the BLAH BLAH folder.”

      If you’re answering AND mentioning it, she’s given a choice to just ask. Then if she responds the docs don’t make sense, that’s another kettle of fish.

    4. Anna Canuck*

      First question every time: “What do you think you should do?”
      They probably know after 6 months, but lack confidence. It’s hard to say why, but it’s probably a crappy previous job. Rehabbing a rescue employee can take longer than you think it should, if their confidence has been shredded by outside forces.

    5. Milksnake*

      It took me a full year to get a grasp of everything at my admin position. Somethings I could complete but I didn’t understand their purpose so I asked a lot of questions about the details. Once I reached that point in the annual cycle where it was useful everything clicked! But it took a full year to understand how things were connected. Or to grasp my coworker’s preferences and how long I should expect something to take, or hold off before giving it to them.

      Other aspects of my job were tiny and only happened once a month, so there would be huge gaps between the last time I had done this one thing and I needed a reminder.

      And all of our process sheets had been written by someone who knew the office so there was a list of locations, and the process sheet would reference that list, and it was much faster to just ask “Where can I find X account’s files?”

      So I guess it’s not really advice, just insight. Especially if the person who formerly held their position wasn’t there to train them directly.

      1. Doug Judy*

        Once I had a job where there was an SOP for everything but there were so many, and they weren’t all saved in one spot, or the file name was vague that sifting through all of that would take up so much time that I gave up and just asked.

    6. Sleepytime Tea*

      I had this issue with some coworkers I was responsible for training. After hand holding them through a particular task multiple times, I asked them to go back to their desk, use the process document, and come get me if they still had any questions. Unfortunately that turned out poorly with a very sensitive process, where they did NOT use the process document, decided to try by themselves, messed it up and we all stayed until midnight fixing it. So, my lesson learned is to go back to their desk with them, MAKE them pull up the process document, and have them walk through it while you watch. Then you are there to answer their questions or prevent them from making a mistake (if it’s a sensitive process like my unfortunate incident was). THEN, if they come back again, you can ask them if they remember doing it using the process document the previous time, ask if they feel comfortable trying that again, and reassure them that if they run into an issue you would rather have them come ask you for help than try to do it themselves and make a mistake.

      The downside is that sometimes, people just don’t learn. That critical process? 2 years that same person had made that mistake 3 times in total. They were frankly just lazy and sloppy. That may not be the case for who you’re working with, but that is an unfortunate possibility.

    7. That Would be a Good Band Name*

      Are they allowed to make changes to the process sheets? When I started this job, one of my more involved tasks had a binder full of how-to stuff but they just didn’t work for me. I had to make my own notes that actually looked less detailed but worked better for me.

      Also, you may want to double check the process sheets. I use a program that makes small updates all the time. The changes were so gradual that it was hard to realize how much had changed until I was updating the instructions a few weeks ago and realized it was almost to the point of needing completely redone.

    8. valentine*

      Have them physically check off each completed item. If there’s a way to prove each step is done, say, with screenshots, they can do that as well, prior to asking. He may just continue expecting y’all to be his reminder system.

    9. Hi there!*

      Have you asked about how they learn and operate? Sometimes what works for you in how instructions, context, and manuals are organized and arranged do not work for others. Or creates information overload.

      I have some coworkers who see a mega manual or folder with tons of SOP files and they feel defeated in trying to remember what to look where. To make it seems more manageable (which is really more of reframing of the tools available), we created script FAQs.

  5. Panda*

    My company is going through a “transformation” which means layoffs. Whole departments have been gutted or completely eliminated. I work in legal and my director says we are already lean and we should be fine. He also said that they could tell our VP (the general counsel) that they have to get rid of everyone below him. The bottom line is that the company is not very stable. Given this, I have been thinking about applying for other jobs even though I’ve only been in this job since the end of April, love it, and since it’s a step up in terms of skills, I may not have the experience I need to make the same money. While the “transformation” has not reached my division, it could in the next year or two or never come at all. We just don’t know and the company is not very transparent. We don’t know how they’re deciding who is laid off or what departments to cut.

    Should I ride it out or start looking now? If I start looking how do I explain my short term in this job? Do I mention in my cover letter that although I am very happy in my position, the layoffs as the reason I’m searching?

    1. Detective Amy Santiago*

      It can’t hurt to start looking and I think most interviewers will understand restructuring/layoffs as a reason to look so soon.

    2. irene adler*

      Start looking now. That will give you a leg up and also help inform you of the market out there.
      I wouldn’t put anything about why you are looking for a job in the cover letter. Instead, focus on how you meet the job description and why you are interested in the advertised position. Leave the ‘why are you leaving your current position’ discussion for the interview. Some might not even bring it up, although it is a common question.

    3. The Original K.*

      In your shoes I would probably start putting out some feelers and if/when I got interviews, explain that while I wasn’t expecting to make a transition so soon after starting a new job, particularly a job I enjoyed, the threat of layoffs has me exploring other options.

    4. Bend & Snap*

      Look. My company got acquired in a very large merger and I lived under the layoff ax for 2 years till I got fed up and got another job. It’s horrible.

      Also we had the “lean” justification too and then a bunch of my coworkers got laid off.

      My best advice is use what you’ve seen with your own eyes and use it as motivation to find something different.

      1. Argh!*

        I experienced the layoff ax for over a year. To make things worse, my boss played head games with us knowing that everyone would try to suck up to her.

        I did not suck up to her.

        I got laid off.

    5. neverjaunty*

      If you get laid off, you will be in the same situation of trying to find a job with a recent short stint, only you’ll also be unemployed.

    6. Anna Canuck*

      Definitely be ready. It’s stressful to go through a “transformation” even if you make it through. It’s hard to get work done when everyone is worried about their job. Start looking, but be choosy.

    7. Bea*

      Casually look and be choosy. If you see something great you like, yes, apply and let them know of the restructure happening. There isnt any issues attached to someone seeking job stability.

    8. I'm A Little Teapot*

      Start looking. You don’t need to actually make the jump if you don’t want to, but if you do get laid off, you’ll be glad you’ve started.

    9. Frankie*

      One thing to keep in mind is that even if you stick it out, after layoffs some companies really end up struggling with morale. So it can make sense to stay with your particular job if layoffs never come calling to your department, but it can impact the org as a whole in a way that makes your job worse.

      Could be tough if you interview and get an offer without layoffs hanging over your head, but something to keep in mind. The job you love is not necessarily that job anymore.

    10. Quackeen*

      I was in a similar position about 6 months ago, and did eventually end up getting laid off. I would start putting out feelers, with the understanding that you can start out choosy if nothing’s changing at your current job. I tried to start looking early because I had about 20 coworkers who were in the same geographical area and I knew we’d all be competing for the same jobs.

    11. Argh!*

      Been there. Tried to ride it out. I thought I’d be one of the survivors when the layoffs came, but I was actually transferred to a horrible situation.

      Try to find out how severence is being handled. I had the good fortune to have a steady income while I was unemployed. This also gave me time to deal with the emotional fall-out. Even though I was laid off, it feels like being fired.

      Leaving on your own terms is definitely preferable!

    12. Cindy Featherbottom*

      It doesn’t hurt to look so I’d get a jump on it now. A friend of mine had this happen to him a few years back, but he chose to ride it out and see what happened. He ended up getting laid off and wasn’t nearly as prepared as he could have and frankly should have been. While he ended up with a job again not long after, he probably could have gotten something he liked more if he wasn’t in such a crummy spot. And +10000 to what ..Kat.. said. Save. Money. NOW! If you are caught a little off guard by a lay off, at least you will have some kind of cushion to get you through for a while.

    13. valentine*

      Maybe Wakeen gave her a different reason and she was using you to call him out. If he was avoiding the work, by doing it and saying he was behind, you covered for him, which will keep backfiring on you. Why not leave Wakeen’s work to him/his division and write with the assumption your audience is wider than your addressee?

    14. BetsCounts*

      Panda, start looking now!!! I think mentioning the layoffs on the cover letter is a reasonable plan. I know if I got a resume now from someone who just started in April my eyebrows would raise pretty high.

  6. Phoenix Programmer*

    Are my thoughts of the situation realistic or do others have a more generous interpretation?

    This week was rough. A manager who I have bent over backwards to help on at least 8 occasions over the past 3 weeks caused drama for me and I can not see any benefit to her other than, well stirring the pot!

    I am in TS and have helped her set up a program even though I am not on that team. I have told her this and she has been very appreciative. Well last week I did not have time to hop on her request. The person who is supposed to do it just didn’t and let it sit two weeks. Typical for that team sadly. Well I got to it yesterday and sent an email that said “I covered this issue for you. Usually Wakeen covers this but he is running a bit behind.”

    I suddenly get angry email from Wakeen that if I have a problem with his work I should directly tell him.

    Confused I looked at his forwarded email and it turns out the manager had forwarded my email straight to Wakeen!

    I am floored. Why would a manager I have gone above and beyond for the past couple of months cause trouble like that? There is literally no benefit to her at all! It’s not like she forwarded my message along with a line – I need you to better get on my tickets so Phoenix doesn’t have to cover your work or anything tangeible. She literally just forwarded my email with no text on her email at all. It feels like she did it solely to cause drama. Wakeen and I are on the same level and she is a manager on the same level as our managers.

    1. Detective Amy Santiago*

      Your email to her seems a bit out of line IMO.

      Why did you need to say something about Wakeen being behind? It kind of sounds like you were calling him out.

      1. Phoenix Programmer*

        Part if it is context. She had actually been verbally ragging on him the past several weeks. I was just going for an explanation for the ticket sitting so long. Also I wanted to reiterate that it’s not my job. It’s Wakeens.

        1. AvonLady Barksdale*

          I think your wording was a big part of the problem. “Wakeen is running behind” makes it sound like Wakeen can’t manage his work, and if she already has a problem with him, this wording just adds fuel to the fire. Was he “behind” because he’s lazy or because he’s overworked? If it’s the former, then ok (not great, but I get it), but if it’s because the team is swamped, or you wanted to help out, or they asked you to take on this one project, then you would have been better off saying, “Wakeen has been swamped and I stepped in this time. For future requests, please contact him directly.”

          If I were Wakeen and I found out what you’d said, I’d be put off too. I once overheard a salesperson blaming an information delay on my team when that wasn’t the case at all– he knew it, he just wanted to placate his client. Well, his wording may have placated the client, but it made us sound like we were lazy or incompetent, and it had a big effect on my relationship with that salesperson.

          1. Phoenix Programmer*

            Wakeen had literally just finished the day before trying to dump his work on me. He doesn’t like work related to this program. It’s been that way for years.

            1. AvonLady Barksdale*

              Then you have a Wakeen problem, but you also expressed your displeasure with him and now he knows. So now you have to deal with the consequences of that. Sounds like it’s time to use this opportunity to discuss your issues either with Wakeen or with your own manager.

              1. Phoenix Programmer*

                Way ahead of you. My first response was to apologize in an email and ask to speak. I asked when a good time to catch up would be.

                He if ignored that email and tried to avoid it. I gave him a few days and tracked down his number. I spoke with him today and feel we are in a good spot.

      2. Youth*

        I wonder if Phoenix Programmer is trying to prevent the manager from coming back with more requests for this kind of work when she should be taking the requests to Wakeen.

        Could be wrong, but it sounds like Phoenix Programmer voluntarily picked up something Wakeen was supposed to do and doesn’t want to reinforce the idea that they will continue to do his work when they have their own stuff to take care of.

      3. Teapot librarian*

        I don’t think that “he’s running a bit behind” is calling him out. Now, “he’s been sitting on his tush for two weeks so I did this instead of him” would be calling him out.

        1. CastIrony*

          I agree, Teapot librarian. I read “he’s running a bit behind” as Wakeen being swamped (and needs help). Then again, I work in a cafeteria, where being behind is caused by something unexpected or that something is taking longer than anticipated. :\

    2. JokeyJules*

      all you can do is just keep it extremely professional and factual.
      It seems like this person loves drama and will do whatever they can to start more drama. They suck. I’ve worked with people like that before. You’ll become less of a target by staying extremely neutral and professional.

      It isn’t personal.

    3. Reba*

      Not knowing email norms in your company, I see the move on the manager’s part as being like “Wakeen, I see you” and Wakeen as the drama llama here. But probably it would have been better for her to send such a comment to Wakeen’s manager? Or something?

      1. Phoenix Programmer*

        Hmm. If I get an email from someone with no text and it is just a forward from someone else with text about me in it I would never read that as the manager saying – I see and agree with this person. I usually read those as FYI thought you should know what this other person said.

        1. LCL*

          In my workplace (not just in my mind) Reba’s interpretation would be the correct one. If someone wanted to pass on an FYI it would never be put in writing, they would tell you.

    4. Nita*

      Maybe she forwarded it to Wakeen so he knows the work is done – that sounds like a reasonable thing to do, and “running a bit behind” isn’t much of a criticism! If Wakeen took it as a criticism, that’s his problem.

      But. Since you did help her last time, was Wakeen aware he needs to do it this time? When you step in to do something hat’s normally not your job, there’s always the risk of crossed wires and people assuming someone’s on it when no one really is!

      1. Super dee duper anon*

        This was my initial read as well. The they forwarded the email to let Wakeen it was taken care of.

        I’d typically say that is kinda common sense – you let the person who’s supposed to do something know if they don’t have to do it anymore.

        However I’d say the lack of context (and not removing your comment) might have been some passive agressive directed at Wakeen and this writer just got caught up in the crossfire.

        I’d try not to take the forwarding of the email as a deliberate attempt to stir shit up, but I definitely would keep in mind that anything written to that manager might not be handled discretely, so just be extra careful.

      2. Lehigh*

        Yeah, I agree with this. I’d probably reply with, “Wakeen, you ARE running a bit behind. I don’t have a problem with that or a problem with you, or I wouldn’t be helping with your work.”

    5. Utoh!*

      Typical damned if you do and damned if you don’t. I have started caring less and less so it does not affect me as much as it used to. Hopefully you can just let Wakeen know that you were asked to cover this task by said manager directly. Who is to say though that this was a dig on Wakeen and not you?

    6. Q without U*

      Manager could have forwarded it so that Wakeen would know that it’s been taken care of and by who, and that it was no longer on his plate. Manager might not have been thinking about the greater implications, but I can see this as having been done without intending to cause drama.

      1. Phoenix Programmer*

        Nah. She knows I let him know. That’s how it has worked for the past 2 months of dealing with these stalled tickets on her program.

    7. Aurélia*

      Some people LOVE doing that. Manager likely knew the answer and just wanted you to do it for them vs. dealing with Wakeen. If I were in your shoes I would respond to Wakeen and mention that you were attempting to clarify roles and responsibilities, and it seemed like a pretty neutral statement that he was running behind as this action has been in the inbox (or wherever) for 2+weeks when the typical turnaround time being 3 business days (or whatever). Maybe ask him how he’f like you to address that going forward. I like to add that you’ve flagged his comment for future reference and will address things with him before going to manager in the future.
      If manager wants you to do Wakeen’s work for him in the future, how would you feel about responding with something like, “Please address this with Wakeen directly.” and not engage?

    8. SWOinRecovery*

      If you haven’t already, make sure you loop in your manager here. Just in case there are any issues from Wakeen or Wakeen’s manager in the future. Also, it’ll be good for them to know that you were helping out another team for a bit if they wanted to account for your workload (or if you want to play the “team player” card come evaluation time).

    9. Bea*

      Wakeen is the jerkbag here. The manager is no saint but there’s no need for him to snap back at you.

      I would have been a jerkbag and then just forwarded his tirade to his manager all “he’s mad. Deal with your man child please.”

      1. Troutwaxer*

        I’m of two minds on this. Wakeen does sound like a bit of a jerk, but it’s also important to always phrase emails in such a fashion that you do not throw someone under the bus, and sometimes this means verbally overcompensating. Instead of saying “Wakeen is behind” you say “We’re generally understaffed and we’ve both been buried in work, so Wakeen may not have gotten to your request yet, but he is your point of contact for this issue.”

        So you may or may not owe Wakeen an apology, if for nothing else than not phrasing the letter so it couldn’t be misinterpreted.

        1. Phoenix Programmer*

          I apologized to Wakeen immediately. I was in a hurry when I wrote the email.

          But I will say that that manager who forwarded this email to Wakeen has been verbally ragging on him and his team the entire time I have been helping with the program. Calling them useless, incompetent, etc. I have not participated. I guess I am feeling a bit baited and that all my extra help/work to Wakeen is being ignored.

          I guess it is also relevant that Wakeen was already mad at me. He had tried to get me to take on some of his work and I firmly but professionally put my foot down.

          1. LKW*

            In the future, you have to point to other influences. Like “Wakeen is behind because of higher priority projects that left unsolved would cause issue #1, issue #2, issue #3.” Basically – clarify that although this is important to StupidManager, she works for a company with other priorities.

            Then you’re acknowledging that this is behind but not the direct fault of Wakeen.

        2. Not So NewReader*

          Better yet, don’t name names. “I did X because it hasn’t been done yet. Now it is done.”

          But basically, OP, she is letting you do her boss work for her. Wakeen stood up for himself. I am not sure what the boss expected would happen here. It only makes sense that a person would stand up for themselves to some degree even if they are wrong.

          I’d hit reply to all and say, “I did not intend to create a problem here. Going forward I will wait until Boss directly assigns Xs to me, rather than taking on myself.”

      1. Lissa*

        I agree! I’m also kinda surprised the general consensus was that Phoenix was wrong to send the email – “running a bit behind” isn’t anything other than factual and seems pretty neutral to me? It wasn’t like it was a tirade about Wakeen’s terrible haircut or something, it seemed relevant.

    10. Marthooh*

      Maybe she’s a passive-aggressive mommy-style manager: “Why can’t you be more like that nice Phoenix Programmer, always ready to help, making sure things get done ON TIME, never putting things off like SOME PEOPLE do! I hope you’re very grateful to Phoenix Programmer, Wakeen!”

      1. Indie*

        I thought something similar; rather than take ownership of a complaint and say “I think you’re slacking, Wakeen” she’s added ‘and Phoenix Programmer agrees with me!’ for group-pressure effect.

        Worse if she’s not even made a complaint but passive aggressively let someone else’s email do it for her.

        Bad co-worker. No more favours for you!

  7. Anonymous404*

    Hi Everyone! I have a quick question, I applied to a job 4 months ago and made it to the first round of interviews then was rejected. The job was posted again this morning. Is it weird to re-apply?

    1. ContentWrangler*

      I wouldn’t reapply. It was only four months ago – you won’t have changed as a candidate and it seems clear that they decided you weren’t the right fit.

      1. Justme, The OG*

        I disagree. If someone were a better fit then they are now obviously out of the running. I would definitely apply again.

        1. Trixie*

          Eh, even if someone else is out of the running, hiring manager would move to next strongest candidate. Chances they want a fresh applicant pool. Manager still has application materials from previous applicants and if they were interested, they would have contacted someone previously declined.

          1. Smarty Boots*

            Let them decide that they want a fresh pool. Also, you don’t know that it’s the same hiring manager. And, it may not be a place that goes back into the existing pool, or they may not be allowed to (at the state U I work at, there’s a time limit for going back).

            I don’t see any downside to applying. If they don’t want you, you won’t hear back. I doubt anyone is going to say, OMG, what a fool, why is she applying again?! And you might be invited back.

        2. Lily in NYC*

          I would agree except that LW didn’t make it past the first round of interviews last time, which means they are probably looking for a different skill set/job background/level of experience.

      2. Zennish*

        I’m in the middle. If you’ve thought of things you really didn’t bring out in your previous interview that makes you a stronger candidate, or they’ve changed the job description in a way that might make you a better fit, it could be worth a go.

    2. irene adler*

      Why not?
      This way they know you are still interested in the position. Maybe they sat back, and wondered if you were interested but felt that they could not reach out for fear you’ve moved on.
      Applying shows them you are still interested.

    3. OtterB*

      I don’t think you have anything to lose by applying. It’s not like you’re flooding them with resumes. You don’t know why they went with another candidate before.

    4. Deus Cee*

      I wouldn’t re-apply with exactly the same resume/cover letter as last time. I’d try and see where I can say anything more about what I might have achieved in the last 4 months to boost the application if possible – I’m assuming you didn’t get feedback from the interview you were rejected from, but if had, and you’d addressed that in the meantime then it would definitely be worth re-applying.

      1. BetsCounts*

        yes Deus Cee makes an excellent point. Obviously your resume/cover letter got you a call 4 months ago, but document on there what else you’ve done with your time. Also, you probably have contact information from whoever interviewed you? You could drop them a brief note and let them know you saw the position open and are still enthusiastic about the opportunity?

    5. Bea*

      Did they give a reason? It could be they went with someone else who was “stronger” fit. Then they fell through.

      I’m not going to call my #2 or #3 choice 4 months later asking them if they still want the job. But if they reapplied I would be thrilled they’re an option.

      Reapply. But do not do any weird follow up stuff. Do not call them and ask to be considered etc. But send your resume and mention in your cover letter you would like to be reconsidered. Worse case, you don’t hear back. You shouldn’t burn them or upset them by trying UNLESS you were told you didn’t meet their requirements and therefore will not be considered.

      You are usually rejected after an interview because someone else just had a leg up.

    6. TheWonderGinger*

      DO IT!

      Serisously! That’s what happened to me this summer, I reapplied when it reposted and got it this time. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

    7. irene adler*

      RE: the rejection
      Were you given an actual communication that indicated they were not continuing the hiring process with you?
      Or are you equating a rejection with their not continuing to contact you after the interview? This is not clear.

      It could be they stopped the hiring process after interviewing candidates- and are now picking it up again.

      1. Anonymous404*

        They sent me an email saying we will not be moving forward with your application at this time. Very generic

    8. Alice*

      I think you should reapply, with a different cover letter, one that references your first application somehow. (I know that I’d like to work at your llama grooming studio because I met the hoof clipping team when I interviewed for the left back leg holder position in May.)
      Just because you weren’t the candidate that best matched their needs last time around doesn’t mean you aren’t this time.
      But if “first round of interviews” means a phone screen, in that case I might just move on.
      Good luck.

      1. The New Wanderer*

        I don’t think it hurts to reapply, but I would update your materials like this. I frequently see jobs reposted that I was either not considered for at all, or rejected after the initial phone screen. I have only reapplied to a few that I still felt I was a really good fit and tried to improve my cover letter to highlight that, and only once heard anything back because they had missed my application the first time (made it to the final stage but no offer).

        The upshot is, it didn’t take much time/effort for me and I’d rather be sure, but I’d only do it for a job I really wanted and think I’d be excellent at.

      2. Jean (just Jean)*

        Reading waaay late but I wanted to compliment you on your wonderful buildout of the llama grooming metaphor! Hoof clipping team? Left back leg holder? Brilliant!

    9. Could be Anyone*

      Do you know why you were rejected the first time? That would influence my answer.

      I would think if they were re-posting so soon (whether the original hire didn’t work out or they are creating a new position) they would take it upon themselves to reach out to second or third choices from the previous applicant pool – especially if it’s so recent.

      1. TheWonderGinger*

        I really think it depends on the organization if they will reach out again. I know government agencies often will use previous interview results to fill future positions for a designated period of time, but I got my newjob because I reapplied (after being rejected for a “stronger canidate”) when they reposted the listing after 2 months.

    10. AnonyMouse*

      As others said, if you’re going to reapply it would probably be a good idea to update/change your cover letter. I’m of the mindset that you never know what the applicant pool looks like. You may not have been the strongest candidate last time, but in a new pool you might be. I also don’t see why it’s a big deal for you to reapply. If they don’t want to interview you, they won’t contact you. It seems pretty harmless to me.

  8. Detective Amy Santiago*

    UK Folks – any major differences between the norms Alison shares re: CVs/resumes and what you’ve found is true across the pond?

    A friend asked me to review hers and I want to make sure I’m considering cultural differences.

    1. Niki*

      Nope, Alison’s suggestions would work fine here. Only key difference I can think of is that in a lot of areas the distance recruiters would see as reasonably commutable is probably smaller than in the US, so if she’s relocating she might want to be quite specific about the area she intends to be based in.

    2. Ruth (UK)*

      I have typically been quite successful with my written applications (my most recent serious job search was about a year ago and I applied to 5 jobs, resulting in 4 interviews, and then 1 job (ie. my current job). In feedback, interviewers have often mentioned they felt my written application (CV/cover letter) was very strong. For reference, I work in admin at a university, and previously did admin for the national health service. It might be different in other job types.

      Generally, I tend to agree with Alison’s advice when it comes to CVs/resumes and I would typically follow her advice. One of the differences is one that I actually saw on a comment thread here the other day when reading old posts (I was using the ‘surprise me’ button and reading random old posts). Basically, the 1-page rule isn’t such a thing here, I think. Alison (and many American commenters) tend to say younger/newer-to-the-workforce people need to stick strictly to 1 page for their resume. I think the UK CV tends to be longer than the American resume but shorter than what Americans call CVs. Education info including GSCE and A level results (ie. a list of all the subjects you did and the grade for each) are often expected to be presented on it and that can take some space.

      Therefore I would say the length rule in the UK would be strictly not over 2 pages, rather than strictly not over 1.

      My CV has usually been 2 pages.

      I put my work info / history at the top, and my education lower down, but I used to do it the other way round until fairly recently (I graduated from uni 6 years ago). I think if you’re a uni graduate, you want that at the top if your work history so far is only retail/temp/etc but you want your work first once it’s a more relevant job to what you’re applying for.

      A lot of people include some sort of statement of several lines at the top about themselves but I have never done this, as I feel it’s unnecessary if you’re also providing a cover letter (which I always am).

      I also don’t think thank-you letters/emails are such a thing here (I’ve never sent one and don’t know anyone who has). Though I don’t think it would be especially odd to do so.

      Nothing else I can think of. I’m curious what others think. It might vary by job type and other things.

      1. Niki*

        See, I do include the statement at the start of the CV – you’re right that it duplicates the cover letter but in my experience a lot of recruiters don’t bother reading cover letters, or at least scan the CV first to see whether it’s at all relevant and only bother with the cover letter after that.

        I don’t think it’s a necessity but if there’s a piece of information you think it’s important somebody knows that isn’t instantly obvious from your CV itself then a summary can be a good way to highlight it – relocation is probably the best example. A couple of years ago I moved from Scotland back to England and included a summary that said I was relocating to X city so that I wouldn’t be filtered out based on my address.

        1. Niki*

          Oh, and I completely agree with you on thank you notes. I’ve worked in recruitment for various companies over the last ten years and I think I’ve received maybe ten from the hundreds of people I’ve interviewed?

          1. SarahKay*

            Yes, thirded on the thank you notes not being a thing in the UK.
            When I started reading AAM I was really taken aback, and rather worried, by talk of thank you notes. I’d never written one for an interview in my life. Had I been missing an important step?!? Had I left a chain of interviewers all thinking I was rude?!? I was immensely glad to discover a couple of months later that in fact, they’re just not a thing over here.

        2. Ruth (UK)*

          I think it makes sense for you to include the statement for that reason (drawing attention to your relocation). I don’t necessarily think that one shouldn’t include such a statement either, and as it seems to be at least as common to do so as to not, I think it perhaps boils down to personal preference and what your applications materials end up looking like as a whole.

      2. Tau*

        +1 to all of this. I only worked in the UK for one job, but I remember I left off my high school results and got a lot of requests for them. (On the one hand, it was my first job out of uni… on the other, I had a PhD. Really, employers?)

        1. Ruth (UK)*

          Yes I’m not sure why but employers do tent to want school results from GCSE (which are taken in years 10 and 11 when you’re 14-16). It’s very common for education requirements for admin jobs, for example to say something like “including c or above in GCSE English and maths, or equivalent” even for jobs where most people applying would have a degree.

      3. Indie*

        I agree with you about the longer CV, (I’ve always heard keep it to two pages) but I don’t really agree with putting on your high school results (unless that was your most recent education).
        I do it nowadays, because I’m in teaching, where certain GCSE scores for certain subjects are a requirement) When I was in journalism or admin or PR it would have been seen as out of touch.

        1. Ruth (UK)*

          I did wonder if it varies a bit but the university I work at specifically asks for them to be included in the application for admin positions (it’s a web form and there’s a specific section for highschool (gsce) grades.

          1. Indie*

            Oh yeah, universities absolutely want that stuff. No idea why. The education sector is weird about wanting your whole educational background. I think that’s why they typically provide application forms specifying that they want it. Because they get a lot of non teaching staff not including it in their CV.
            During teacher training I was specifically told they’d want it (as well as hard copies of my certificates!) But I’ve never figured out why because I would never have got on my teacher training course without the requisite GCSEs and ALevels. So that latter qualification should suffice. Some of it is safeguarding and avoiding picking up jailbird predators: ‘what have you been doing since turning 16 and where is the evidence?’ The application will ask for an entire chronology if so.

    3. SarahKay*

      Don’t put your age / date of birth on it.
      Which Alison probably says anyway, but in the UK it’s illegal to discriminate on any grounds of age (too old, too young, too middle-aged – all illegal to discriminate for/against) and I know my HR leader strongly prefers CVs without any age information being clearly given because it reduces any likelihood of immediate unconscious (or conscious!) discrimination.
      Now, obviously, there are going to be all sorts of clues to age anyway – if someone has 20 years of experience, it’s a good guess that they’re not super-young – but at that point you’re reading the CV and hopefully getting a bigger picture of the candidate than just their age.

      1. Jennifer Thneed*

        > Don’t put your age / date of birth on it.

        I’m pretty sure that nobody does that in the US? Just to avoid this same issue. I’ve never seen it, anyway.

    4. Jemima Bond*

      I understand that’s it’s not done in the USA but here it is fine to put at the end of the CV a few words about your outside interests (that wording is better than hobbies imho). But choose ones that make you look good and like a fine upstanding pillar of society. So not “socialising”. Also not reading or swimming; everyone puts that. Probably not more than three things I’d say.

      For example:

      Outside Interests:
      Girl Guide Unit Helper
      Qualified Platypus Trainer


      Outside Interests:
      I am a keen member of my local history society and in my spare time I also walk alpacas at my local animal rescue and enjoy marshalling light hovercraft races.

    5. Erika22*

      I asked something similar in the open thread a couple months ago and got some really helpful tips! (I’d post the link to the comment but alas, I’m at work still). I feel like making the CV is the easy part as an American looking for a job here – for me the real learning curve was realizing so many companies didn’t want cover letters per se, but like a mini essay about how you match the person specification. It went against most of my cover letter instincts but in the end is what got me interviews. But YMMV on that.

      1. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

        I would be interested in that link if you could post it – or some further information on this “mini essay” aspect. Im American in the UK and on my second corporate job here, but I REALLY need to move on to something new and I know I have struggled in the past with the issue of no place to upload a cover letter but I need to draw parallels between what they are looking for and what I have. I do have a statement at the top, along with info on my work status, but I don’t know, it just feels like something isn’t clicking right in this market.

        Any tips would be massively helpful!

        1. Babycarrot*

          I have used the Resume that Alison posted, I’ll have to look for the blog post and add it later. I changed the cover letter as I felt it was a bit too direct for the company I work for (applying for an internal job offer) but I took a similar approach. It has a profile section and a “key experience” or highlights section which I put in bullet points for emphasis, they are directly related to the job application I am going for.

    6. ElspethGC*

      Following – as a soon-to-be grad from uni here in the UK, I want to make sure I’m doing things how we do them rather than how you lot on the other side of the pond do them!

  9. dwigt*

    Myself and another coworker were recently moved from one company suite to the other – in the same building, but on different sides. The new suite is a few doors down from a plastic surgeon’s office. It’s not uncommon to see people coming and going from procedures with bandages on their face and being escorted by a nurse. The other coworker who moved is a nice middle-aged lady, and we bonded a bit over both of us having to move suites (it makes sense for our job descriptions, but we both fit in better with the other crowd, if that makes sense). The first time she saw someone coming out of the doctor’s office with bandages on their face, she made a remark about how upsetting it was to her. I wasn’t sure if it was because she found it visually unappealing, if she is opposed to plastic surgery, or if she was expressing sympathy for someone’s health, but she talked about it for a few minutes. I didn’t know how to respond, other than “mmm,” and “hopefully they have a speedy recovery!”

    I thought that was that, but she was WAITING FOR ME IN THE PARKING LOT while watching a very elderly woman with bandages on her face walking in to the clinic, and she talked about it non-stop the whole way in. I know the patient couldn’t hear us, but it was very clear at this point that she just found it gross and personally disturbing for someone to have the audacity to be outdoors after (gasp!) elective plastic surgery. This woman could have been a burn victim, for all we know. Plastic surgery is not for me, but I don’t have a problem with it. Also, a good deal of plastic surgery is reconstructive after an accident, surgery, etc! These comments that my coworker makes make me very uncomfortable. We usually arrive around the same time, and she sits near the entry/exit to my parking lot, so I have to pass her coming and going. I’m the only person who is ever around when she makes these comments, so if I said something to HR about it I feel our relationship would be damaged. That doesn’t bother me on a personal level, but I do have to pass her every time I leave my office. Anyone have any ideas for how to quickly change the subject or diffuse the situation? I especially don’t want someone else walking in to think that I am participating in shaming someone for having an operation, elective or not.

    1. MechanicalPencil*

      FWIW, my dad went to a plastic surgeon to have a cancerous growth removed from his knee since the plastic surgeon better understood the vascular system and how to apply the skin graft; granted I was maybe 8 at the time, so my memory is a bit fuzzy, but it was definitely a plastic surgeon. So not all everyone leaving the office may be having “elective” surgery.

      1. blackcat*

        My mom has gone to a plastic surgeon repeatedly for skin cancer issues.

        One surgeon cuts out the cancer, plastic surgeon stitches her up. The awkward thing is, since these are simple, in office procedures, someone has to drive her from one office to the other, with a gauze packed opened wound. It’s quite grizzly, but insurance only covers it as “outpatient” which means it’s her job to get from point A to point B for the two portions of the minor surgery.

        1. Alice*

          What a nightmare. I mean, I’m glad that your mom and her providers have figured out how to treat it and get it covered, but what kind of misaligned incentives produce this kind of health care system….

      2. HoorayCollegeFootball*

        My husband had to go to a plastic surgeon to repair an injury to his face. He split his lip in half (dropped weights he was lifting on it), and the regular surgeon in the ER wouldn’t touch it. He said there were too many nerves and he could do more damage if it wasn’t done properly. Definitely not elective.

      3. Lily in NYC*

        But it shouldn’t matter either way! No one should ever have to justify going to a plastic surgeon, even if they simply don’t like their nose.

        1. Observer*

          That’s completely true. The point is, though, that it’s doubly gross because she doesn’t know what’s behind the surgery. And in the case of an older patient, it’s VERY unlikely to be purely about looks.

      4. ElspethGC*

        Some pretty unusual things fall under the remit of plastic surgery. My mum’s finger reconstruction, after she de-gloved the top of her finger past the nail bed, was done by a plastic surgeon.

      5. NoMoreMrFixit*

        Me too. A plastic surgeon took care of melanoma years ago. Went to him a few years later for another quick procedure that was also not cosmetic. This person needs to be reminded that not all patients are there for “trivial” issues. And even if people are going for purely cosmetic reasons it’s their business why and shouldn’t be a topic for ongoing discussion. You’ve got more patience than I would as I’d have already told off your coworker.

    2. ContentWrangler*

      I would first go with a simple, straight-forward – “I don’t want to talk about others’ medical procedures.”
      If she keeps pushing the topic, maybe ask her manager to address it with her? I wouldn’t go straight to HR.

      If the manager doesn’t think it’s a big deal, you could point out that if any of the patients hear someone from your company talking about them that way, it would look bad.

      1. dwigt*

        Oh, I didn’t even think about what would happen if someone actually overheard her! That would be awful. I definitely need to say something to someone.

    3. Detective Amy Santiago*

      I’d just tell her you aren’t interested in discussing the medical conditions of strangers.

      And there are so many necessary surgeries that fall under the auspices of plastic surgery that if she’s really being judgy about that, she is a terrible person.

      1. dwigt*

        Honestly, it doesn’t seem like it has even occurred to her that any of the procedures might be necessary, not that that makes it any better at all. She rolls her eyes, like she’s thinking “Another rich housewife, scarring all these innocent pedestrians because she wanted a face lift.” It’s so….gross and weird.

        1. Detective Amy Santiago*

          My breast reduction was medically necessary and considered plastic surgery. But it’s really not your responsibility to educate her either.

        2. Observer*

          I don’t know what is weirder to me: The fact that she’s being so judgemental about this (I mean, really, this is NONE of her business, and doesn’t affect her life in the least!) Or the fact that the sight of the bandages is SO disturbing to her.

    4. Rey*

      I think any comment similar to “Oh, I’m so burned out talking about this every day. Let’s talk about (subject change here)” or “It’s so weird how often we talk about this. Let’s talk about (subject change here)”

    5. LilySparrow*

      “I don’t want to talk about other people’s medical issues. It’s none of my business, and I’m not interested. If it upsets you to see people with bandages, then don’t look at them.”

      Lather, rinse.

      “Look, I’ve told you before that I don’t want to talk about this. It’s really wierd that you keep bringing it up. Let’s just change the subject.”

      And if she won’t drop it, “If you can’t talk about anything else, then let’s just stick to work subjects. Please stop hanging around waiting for me. You keep saying mean things about strangers, and I don’t want to hear it.”

    6. Not So NewReader*

      I’d take a straight read on this one. I would figure it meant she felt badly for the pain/suffering the individual had to go through. I don’t know what she discussed with you in the parking lot so maybe my take here is off the mark.

      However, I think I would just shrug and say, “It comes with the job.” Then share your thoughts with her, this could be, ” I frame it as the person needed/wanted help and they got the help they were looking for. Then I let it go.” She is probably just wondering how you can just continue on about your day.

      I have found that sometimes I can say, “X comes with the job” and a light bulb goes on for people. Oh, this is just part of our normal day. I have also added, “I have never had a job where some aspect of the job left me uncomfortable. There is always something that I could do without and be okay.”

      I have also gone into a conversation about how sometimes the things I work hardest at have very little to do with the work itself. I have a person who I am working with now who has an Extreme Injury. Person is used to the idea as the injury happened long ago. But this whole story is new to me and I consider myself successful if I do not start crying for this person in front of them. My heart just breaks for the amount of damage this person has suffered on their body. I work harder at keeping a professional face than I work at the actual tasks required there. You might point out that keep a professional face sometimes is harder than the actual work we have to do.

      I see suggestions for going to HR etc. which you could do. I would be more inclined just to see if you cue her in to how you think about it and move on that might be enough right there. My boss was a help to me regarding our person. We chatted briefly and we each found a path for ourselves.

      1. LCL*

        This.., this is good advice. I can see certain family members of mine behaving as older coworker, because they are freaked! out! by things medical. There are people who are fortunate enough to have gone through life without ever having had to get physically close to someone who is broken and bleeding, and their vision of the medical world is a very simple one-you get sick or hurt, you go to the doctor or hospital and get better.

    7. gecko*

      “It makes me feel weird to talk about patients’ surgeries and bandages.” Maybe shrug. “Plus I definitely don’t want a patient to hear us.”

      After that you can just say, “Hope they recover well,” or “Hope they’re doing better soon,” if it comes up again in a friendly way.

      I wouldn’t get into the maybes and the it-might-be-necessaries; I think it would be making it a bigger deal than it needs to be. I think the comments will also fade sharply once you all get more used to your office.

    8. here and now*

      I … literally faint at the sight of blood … is the sight of bandages disturbing … YES. Could it be squeamishness instead of judgement? But you could still tell her that you want to decline to discuss the situation rather than focus on it. Maybe send her to management to brainstorm solutions on how to avoid seeing patients?

    9. Garland not Andrews*

      I really think you may need to be blunt. When she starts up, interrupt her with “Can you leave off already? Why they go the that doctor is none of our business and I don’t want to hear it!”
      Sometimes you need to be pointed to get the message across.

    10. HannahS*

      “Oof, Jean, I don’t want to talk about medical procedures.”
      She can think that it’s because they make you feel a bit faint or sick or something. It’ll also save you from ever hearing about her medical procedures, so double-benefit!

    11. Girl friday*

      I may be the only one that’s picking up on this, but why was she waiting for you in the parking lot? I think that would be odd.

    12. Anonama doo doo doo doo do*

      My husband had to work with a plastic surgeon after his pinky needed to be amputated due to melanoma cancer. Next time, perhaps tell your colleague that you know someone who had to go to a plastic surgeon for cancer. Maybe that will work?

      1. C*

        Or you could tell her that some random internet stranger (me) has to get her deviated septum fixed by a plastic surgeon because some abusive ex beat the crap out of me. It was SEVEN years ago, but my breathing/bloody nose have grown steadily worse. The reason I waited so long? He literally has to break my nose. And I already spent months walking around looking like something out of a horror movie. I seriously made a little girl cry on a bus. So no, I do not want to get my face re-broken; I just want to be able to breathe.

    13. Indie*

      Some people are really squeamish and would never choose to work near a medical place. I know people with such bad phobias they never have check ups and won’t even wait in a dentist’s office to give a friend a ride home.

      Practically though, this is annoying AF. Since she’s seeking validation/a partnership in being grossed out just let that hope die on the vine: “Oh, it doesn’t bother me”, “I didn’t notice”, “I’m always really glad when people get the medical attention they need”.

      Other than that use a tone for this topic which implies youre listening to paint dry and perk up again with a quick! subject! change!

  10. Kes*

    I know this has come up in previous posts, but since I’m currently in this situation I wanted to ask people who hire: what do you think of 1.5 page resumes?

    Backstory: After watching a guy with half my experience being promoted past me for the second time this year (after taking over the senior role on a project earlier this year after my coworker left), with radio silence on the possibility of my getting promoted (although I asked my boss about it months ago and he seemed to think it reasonable at the time), I’m planning to apply to senior positions elsewhere. I have 7 years of experience total: 2 at this job, 3 at my last job, and 2 in the form of six work terms of four months each during university. In university I had a two page resume with awards and extracurriculars, but since I graduated and have been working I stripped that down to one page of just summary, work (leaving off older/less relevant work terms) and education. However, for applying to senior positions for the first time I obviously want to play up and include all my experience, so it will no longer fit on one page, but it’s nowhere near two pages either… So I’m wondering if having a partial page looks bad/awkward, or if there’s anything else I should add to make it longer, or if I should keep it to one page (while still trying to make sure I list all my experience)?

      1. irene adler*


        The overarching goal is to get the reader interested in you/your skills/your experience and want to set up an interview with you. Plowing through 6 pages is likely to create dis-interest. No one is going to downgrade the length of the resume (at 1 to 1.5 pages) because of lack of experience or over experience.

      1. Super dee duper anon*

        Ok so this a personal pet peeves of mine, and I would never actually disqualify someone for this alone… But I hate when resumes go onto a second page by only a line or two. Play with spacing/margins/sizing or something!

        Otherwise though, I’ve never cared if it was a quarter page, half page or full page.

    1. straws*

      An extra half page wouldn’t bother me unless it was due to a lot of unnecessary information. Even then, it would be less about length and more about having to read through fluff I don’t care about. Since you’re talking about relevant work experience only, that wouldn’t deter me one bit!

    2. Zuzu*

      I’m a recruiter for a large finance company – 2 pages is totally fine! Just make sure it focuses on your work accomplishments vs. educational ones. If you’re 5 years out of school, most people aren’t interested in your college awards/extracurriculars.

    3. Bea*

      Once you’re established and have enough to fit on 2 pages, it’s completely fine.

      Don’t feel pressure to be one just the 1 page limit. It’s a guide to detour those from over compensating or keeping in useless GPAs and your hobbies kind of stuff.

      If it’s relevant, keep it. If it’s fluff or ancient, delete it. But don’t play into any hard and fast rule of only one page.

      1. Mickey Q*

        I just got a 3-pager from a guy who graduated high school in 1986 and put his varsity sports, position, and that he was a starter – in addition to every job he had since he graduated from college.

        1. Bea*

          I’ve gotten these. They’re never a qualified applicant. Shocker, right?

          Someone once listed every temp assignment they did with a staffing company. Including the tools they used. Box cutters, tape guns and staplers :|

    4. voluptuousfire*

      Perfectly fine! My resume is 1.5 pages as well. For anything after mid-career, a resume of 3 pages is the best. I see resumes all day every day and resumes that are 6 pages long appear more often than you would expect.

      1. The New Wanderer*

        I don’t think this is universal – in the US the general advice is still keep it to 2 pages max for most fields. I have 20 yrs experience and my resume is either 1 page or 2 pages, depending on the type of job I’m applying to. (My CV is 7+ pages but that’s only used for academia here.)

    5. AnotherLibrarian*

      Formatting matters a lot in resumes. I would rather read a 2 page than a 1.5 page. It’s really hard to make a 1.5 page resume not look sloppy. Can you add some spacing? More white space in a resume isn’t bad, as long as it doesn’t make it look like you were just trying to fill room.

    6. Evil HR Person*

      Ditto all the above, plus: when I first look at the resumes that come through, they are formatted by an ATS (applicant tracking system) so I can’t really tell whether it’s 1 or 2 pages long. Once I print it out, if I print it at all, I can see whether it’s more than one page, but by the printing stage I’ve either thought the person is a strong candidate, or the person has been hired. As long as everything on your resume is relevant, more than one page is fine. More than 2 would be fine also, but only in certain professions. So… go for it! And good luck!

    7. Kes*

      Thanks everyone for the feedback so far! I’m definitely not doing six pages, and I understand two is fine. I’m more concerned about whether having a partial page looks weird and I should try and make it be only full pages somehow, or whether it’s fine. It’s true that I’m likely to be submitting online though.

    8. Lexi Kate*

      2 pages wouldn’t be a big deal the only thing is You have only have two jobs out of college I really think you should try and consolidate to 1page. The majority should focus on your skills and your current job, summarize the others. You have been in the workforce long enough your education should just be a few lines, No school awards should be mentioned, you work experience will outweigh the education extras.

    9. BRR*

      I’m in the middle of hiring right now and I think I’ve landed on the opinion of 1.5 is better than 2. It seems like every candidate has so much extra stuff to either stretch it out or they think it’s important (quantity over quality I guess) and I’m not liking it. I’d prefer if they left out the minor things that aren’t impressive overall and aren’t impressive for this particular role.

    10. Yojo*

      Whatever you do, don’t try to make things smaller by shrinking font, margins and white space. Readability and visual appeal matter way more than keeping things contained to a certain area.

    11. Lucille2*

      I would avoid adding content to try to reach 2 full pages rather than leaving a half page. It might come off as obvious or awkward. Also, keep in mind that many large companies have online application/recruiting systems that change the formatting of your original resume anyway. It’s great when you can upload a pdf version and keep the formatting you prefer, but that’s not always the version the hiring manager gets to see.

      Also, if a resume is 2 or less pages, I don’t really notice the length of the resume. I’m more interested in its content. I start noticing if it seems very short for the level of experience for which I’m hiring, or excessively long. I’m pretty amazed that I get as many 5+ page resumes as I do. THAT is a major turn off.

    12. skyline9*

      Up to 2 pages if fine as long as you’re midcareer or later. Which you are! But I think you want the second page at least half full without needing fluff to reach that length – just a second or two on the second page makes me think you can’t edit.

  11. Miss M*

    So I’ve been looking for a new job for 5 months now. I’m currently employed, but miserable at my job and in my city, and my partner relocated to another state to start their PHD. Their state is relatively saturated with my type of work, so when I see a job opening, I hop on it.

    I’m interviewing for one position soon. The thing is, I’ve got it drilled in me from my parents that the only new job I should take will significantly pay me more or pay for relocation. In my industry, this isn’t super common, but has happened to me before for my current job, but it’s a big university.

    This new position sounds interesting, but would be a pay cut or offer the exact same pay as it’s for a school district, but a better title and a little bit more responsibility. It pays less because it’s only contracted for 220 days of the year (this wasn’t mentioned until the invitation to interview.)

    My whole spirit wants so desperately to join my partner and try something new, but my parents are seriously bashing me for considering taking a new job across the country for less or similar pay. “You’ll never move up in salary if you take this job.” The benefits are nearly the same as my current job. In my mind, it might be easier to find another higher paying job in that state once I’m physically there (so maybe I should take the job.)

    I’m in my mid twenties and this would be my third full time job if I took it. Lower or lateral salary, but possibility of learning more and gaining experience and a new title. Sigh. Any advice?

      1. Reba*

        Agreed, time to put your folks on a information diet. They are negging you, giving you advice they are probably unqualified to give, and possibly discouraging you for their own reasons (they want you nearby, they don’t like partner, who knows?).

        Look at cost of living differences between locations, that could mitigate the pay difference. Consider potential future earnings and job paths, since you say it offers better title and more responsibility.

        I say go for it! I mean at this point, you’re still interviewing. You still have time to learn more that will help you confirm if you–YOU, not your parents–want to take the job. Good luck!

        Also, think about some contingency plans for what you will do if it doesn’t work out with partner (assuming you will move in together in New Place).

    1. ContentWrangler*

      Also, have you compared the costs of living between your partner’s city and yours? If it’s a cheaper place to live, it makes sense that the pay would be lower.

      1. Miss M*

        The cost of living is cheaper than where I live in almost all aspects except for rent. It’s a college town so apartments are stupid expensive. I could also find a roommate or move in with my partner again to mitigate those costs.

    2. OtterB*

      Maybe tell your parents less detail about your job search. Because unless you’re asking for money from them, I don’t think they get a say here.

      It seems to me that being back in the same location with your partner is a big plus and it’s worth a lateral move pay-wise. It also seems true that being in the new location will make it easier to job hunt there.

    3. Kes*

      You could try to negotiate a bit on pay, but it sounds like there are plenty of other reasons to take the job – pay is only one aspect. If the job seems good otherwise, I’d say take it and stop talking to your parents about the job search.

    4. Work Wardrobe*

      Yeah, leave salary discussion out of your conversation with parents. I know it’s hard, but practice saying, “I’m making my own decisions about my career, thanks for understanding.”

    5. Not a Real Giraffe*

      I’m on your side with this one. Plus, with those additional 145 days, maybe you can find a temporary position to offset the salary difference. I agree that it’s easier to job search when you’re local, and it sounds like this position might be a good launching pad to bigger and better things! Tell your parents you hear them and appreciate their opinion but that you’ve made the decision that’s best for you right now. You get to disagree with them — and good luck with the move!

      1. JessicaTate*

        Agreed. I’d factor in the additional time off / opportunity for a side gig into the calculation. If you break the salary down to an hourly rate, you’re actually making more than your current gig.

        Also, assuming you and the partner are serious and thinking long-term, that has to factor in. Sometimes we accept trade-offs in our professional lives (including taking a salary hit) because of the context of our personal lives. Just think of all the costs of flights or driving to see one another that will be saved in a move!

        Good luck!

    6. M. Albertine*

      I think you should look at it more in terms of career progression and not focus solely on pay (since it seems you can afford to do so). In your head, justify the move to potential future employers, not your parents: what will this job add to your resume?

      It sounds like you know what you want and just need advice on how to get your parents to butt out. On that end, shut down the information train on your salary and keep the conversation focused on “here’s where I am in the process, I’m pretty excited about this opportunity, aren’t you happy for me?” kind of attitude. They might be picking up on some hesitation on your part, and need a different cue from you.

    7. blackcat*

      Both my husband and I have moved for the other and been unemployed for some time as a result. One of those moves happened pre-marriage, in our early twenties.

      Tell your parents less. You are an adult. They do not get votes on your professional and personal life.

    8. KnottyFerret*

      I think you need to consider benefits and cost of living before I’d agree with your parents.
      In your case, living in the same city as your partner would be a significant benefit, as well as learning opportunities and ability to move up.
      You might point out to your parents that being hired at slightly lower pay with lots of learning opportunities and options for promotions is better long-term than taking a dead-end position, even if it’s at the top of the payscale.

    9. Essess*

      If you want the job, then do it. And there’s absolutely no reason for your parents to know what your salary is once you are an adult. If they ask, you simply tell them that money is one of those adult topics that is simply ‘not discussed’ in polite society. :-) If they get pushy, you tell them you are happy with what you negotiated, and leave it at that.

    10. Miss M*

      Thank you all for your replies. I totally know y’all are right about not involving my parents in the job search (and I’m actually in therapy working on boundaries with my parents.) My family is very small and close knit and especially due to their culture they definitely want to be involved in every step of life. I’ve relied on them for advice for so long that I’m used to oversharing with them. You all have given me lots to think about! The job may not even pan out, but I want to be prepared if it does.

      Perhaps I can negotiate something if it does work out? Or find a temp job in my off days.

      1. Bea*

        Also remember sometimes a small cut in salary is short term.

        I took a modest cut, still could live fine off of it. Six months in, I’m making 10% more with regular raises and bonuses on the horizon.

        Many cultures also instill employer loyalty and leaving only under the circumstances your parents have listed. It’s an old traditionalist POV. This isn’t true in our generation.

      2. blackcat*

        You can definitely negotiate, but I highly recommend using your days off to explore a new city, find things to do, meet friends, and generally build community.
        It’s a totally valid choice to move to be with a partner, even without something lined up.
        It’s also a totally valid choice to just move to move. One of my friends quit his job, moved, and couch served until he found a job in the city he wanted to live in. He was 25 at the time.
        Not every choice in life has to “make sense” at the time you make it. If you don’t have kids/a lot of debt, your 20s can be a great time for trying new things, failing, and regrouping after learning a lot.

        1. OH GOD BEES*

          I love this advice!

          I also think that the time off provides some really interesting opportunities for your growth as a professional, even if a lot of it can be “fun”. For example, if you initially invest the time into things like volunteering, trying new things, learning, and meeting other people in your new location, you may find it easier to eventually take on work consulting, start a side-gig, or you might identify some neat certifications/professional development opportunities that could really prepare you for the next step in your career.

        2. MrsCHX*

          (roundabout relationship) but the best friend of an ex-boyfriend had lived in about 4 different cities during her 20s and was getting ready to relocate while he and I were dating. He was SO offended! She “needed to stay put” and “build” somewhere.
          Uhmm, what?! She had no kids and wasn’t in a serious relationship…she should do whatever she wants!!!!! She’s been in city #5 for the last decade plus and has created a fantastic life there.

        3. Miss M*

          That’s a good idea!!

          I don’t have much debt and no kids (but am thinking of a dog one day) so nothing really to tie me down. thanks!

        4. sincerely confused*

          I honestly don’t understand the OP’s take on this. I am a hiring manager who has heard many times that an applicant (usually a woman) came to my town to follow a romantic interest and when the relationship didn’t work out felt “stuck” and had regret about moving here.

          I understand that in this specific case the OP has a good chance to finding good job, but if she’s willing to move to do that, why restrict her choices to the once location that the partner has selected? Maybe I don’t appreciate the degree of connection described by the word “partner,” but it sounds like someone who is more committed to his career than he is to the relationship.

          When I read “It’s a totally valid choice to move to be with a partner, even without something lined up” this makes me wonder why I would move and change jobs just to follow somebody else, unless we were married. If somebody could explain this to me, I’d be grateful.

          1. Miss M*

            Eh. I get you, but not everyone in a partnership wants marriage. My partner is not a male, please don’t assume that.

            If our partnership didn’t work out, this would not be detrimental to the move. I do have other friends and ties out there. But it is important to my well being to have my partner in the same state, long distance is not ideal. If they were not pursuing a PhD, it would be a different story rather than they starting a career. They have made moved to my location while I got a new job, I would like to move their as they are in school for 5 years. There are compromises. That’s all.

      3. pcake*

        You could find work for your off-work periods or even do a little freelance writing or something like that. But you’d be near your partner or possibly living with your partner and you wouldn’t be in a miserable job.

      4. Cascadia*

        You mentioned it’s for a school district, so I’m assuming the large amount of days off is summer and school breaks off. As a teacher myself, just know there are soooo many opportunities for stipend paid seasonal work in the summer. A lot of teachers work for summer camps, summer school, lead trips, nanny, house/dog sit, or many other gigs in the summers to earn some extra cash. I’d say go for it! I’ve done long-term long distance with my partner and it blows.

    11. Bea*

      PLEASE work on following your heart and detaching from your parents having so much pull on you.

      You are an adult. Please make decisions on your own. You are smart and talented, you deserve it.

      Follow your partner. Take a job that you enjoy and pays your bills. End story.

    12. There is hope even with a lower paycheck*

      Four years ago, I moved to a new city and took a job with a slight pay cut. Within a year, my raise was enough where it was more than what I made at my old job. The starting salary at Current Job was $1,250 less than my final salary at Old Job, which I knew that I could also make up the difference elsewhere, even with my added expenses of rent etc in New City. I lived at home with parents in Old City.

      I really liked the people I met and I knew I wanted Current Job so I accepted the offer. I’ve been here for 4+ years and it’s one of the best jobs I’ve had.

      1. Miss M*

        Hey, that’s great to hear! I don’t know how much upward mobility there is at the job I’m interviewing for. I know promotions are definitely a thing, but the max range they’ve budgeted is less than I make currently. So I probably can’t hope for that… But! I don’t know, I’m going to go into the interview and see what happens. Thanks for your encouraging story!

    13. Lily in NYC*

      It is time to stop telling your parents details about your job search -I know it’s easier said than done. I made that mistake for way too long and didn’t realize how much my mother’s anxiety affected my decisions. It finally hit me after I almost turned down a job because it entailed a move and my mom was just so negative about it. I was absorbing her negativity without realizing it. The next time I look for a new job I’m not even going to mention it until I accept a new offer. I don’t know if you live near your parents, but if you do, it’s not unrealistic to assume they just don’t like the idea of your moving away.

      1. Miss M*

        Totally easier said than done!! But working on it. Thank you for sharing that story as well. I realized that most of my decisions (about my life, but especially work) revolved around making sure I pleased my parents. I know they love me and want the best for me, but I also want to do things on my own decision. It’s scary because they account for so much of my support system (emotionally, only financially if I was in a tough bind.) My mom is actually all for me moving away because she wants me to be closer to my partner, but my dad is the “business man” of the family. He’s military and worked his way up the ranks and now makes a lot of money. We’re in two completely different fields, so he constantly compares myself to him, and feels I don’t measure up success wise (i.e., I’m not a director of a division or something at 26.)

        Even if it’s scary to make a decision that my parents won’t approve of, at least it’s my own, right? If I make a mistake, they can always say “told you so” but as another commenter said, 20s are definitely time to explore and make some mistakes.

        1. Lily in NYC*

          Interesting! So it’s more about money and career advancement than anxiety about your moving away. That’s a different type of pressure than I dealt with and seems more difficult to manage. Have you tried telling him you have different priorities and that you define success a bit differently than he does? But I totally get how hard it is – I also wanted to please my parents; they’ve done so much for me. It took me until my mid-30s to set some boundaries and not share as much about my life choices.
          Your gut is telling you this move is the right thing for you. GO FOR IT! I wish I hadn’t made so many safe choices in my 20s – I didn’t realize how young I truly was and that it was ok to fail at something or take a risk.

        2. Argh!*

          If you stay, invest some of your disposable income in therapy to help you deal with your parents. Then, when you do move away, they won’t hitch a ride in your head.

    14. Smarty Boots*

      Stop telling your parents everything. When you get the job, tell them about it, but keep the details about pay and so on to yourself. I myself tell my dad such details, but that’s because he is savvy and understands the complex considerations one might have when changing jobs — and he’s in his 80s! Your parents are not like this. Don’t keep feeding them.

    15. Garland not Andrews*

      Sometimes a lateral transfer is perfectly ok. The reason you are changing is NOT because it is time to move up, it is all about being with your partner. Get a job where you want to be and as others have said, put the parent on an information diet.
      Do what makes you happy and good luck!

    16. Jennifer Thneed*

      Another thing to factor into your projected expenses is how much it will cost to visit your partner in the new city.

      But really, actual dollars are only part of the job. There’s tangible benefits (like health insurance) and intangible ones (like the new city has more trees, or you see your partner more often).

      But the single biggest reason to move and change jobs is in your own words: “miserable at my job and in my city”.

  12. ExcelJedi*

    My coworker invited me to her Pure Romance party.

    We’re not close. We’ve gone out for drinks once and are friendly, but as coworkers.

    There’s nothing else to that story. I just can’t even.

    1. OlympiasEpiriot*

      I had to look that up.

      So sorry, I’d find that pretty intrusive. I like doing my sex toy shopping *not* with co-workers.

    2. Detective Amy Santiago*

      You don’t want to go buy sex toys with your coworkers? How come? /s

      (I went to one of these with family. I don’t want to talk about it.)

    3. anon24*

      I can relate. One of my coworkers is very obnoxious with no boundaries and is also a Pure Romance consultant. I was… not very nice when she tried to talk to me about it the second time I’d ever met her

    4. Bad Janet*

      Don’t do it. Their sex toys are pretty poor quality, and way over-priced. You can get much better options elsewhere.

      1. Lily in NYC*

        I don’t think the issue is the quality of the products but the fact that a coworker invited her to a sex toy party. Boundaries!

      2. Fabulous*

        I have a few friends who peddle Pure Romance. I haven’t found that their toys are poor quality, though I definitely agree that many of them are extremely overpriced! I prefer their perfumes and pheromone-infused oils.

      3. Lonely Aussie*

        Agreed. Poor quality jelly crap by the looks.
        Sex toys are unregulated and many contain phthalates and other nasty chemicals. They can cause all kinds of issues (in some people it can cause burning, rashes and blistering from direct contact as well as head aches and cramping from absorbing chemicals) and it’s porous meaning it’ll never be able to be cleaned properly. They’ll also break down over time or melt in to other jelly toys. Basically any jelly type toys should be discarded and replaced with either 100% pure silicone, sealed wood, glass, metal or ASB plastic. You can run a flame test on suspect toys, if it burns/bubbles it’s likely bad but if you just get a bit of soot, it’s probably silicone.

        I looked into running these types of parties and couldn’t find a company that didn’t sell jelly in one form or another and since I’m not interested in selling something I consider unsafe I didn’t end up joining any of them.

    5. Bea*

      MLM peddlers are not the best at social norms. Of course a drink or asking her how her weekend at the beach went means you’re a shoo in for these invites!

      Ick. Now avoid her like she’s got the noro virus.

    6. Traffic_Spiral*

      Man, first I thought she was throwing a Romance-Novel themed party where you all had to come up with a character for your shitty romance book and dress like them, and I was like “ok that actually sounds kinda fun I don’t see what the… oh… O_o. Nope. Nopenopenope.”

      My coworkers do not need to know what I like down there, and I don’t need to know that about them.

      Just… nopes all around.

      1. lapgiraffe*

        I thought for a moment it was a True Romance party, the Christians Slater/Patricia Arquette 90s Classic, and I was very confused why the OP would want to turn down an excellent screening ;-)

        I’m now glad to know that I know no one peddling this Pure Romance stuff

    7. Not So NewReader*

      Just say a simple, “No, thanks” without explanation. She will probably barely notice you said no.

    8. LDP*

      I had a coworker that I actually was friends with invite me to a Pure Romance party…I still didn’t feel comfortable going. As luck would have it, I came down with strep the week before and was still contagious, so that got me out of it! …or so I thought. She brought me a goodie bag from the party and left it on my desk. At work. It was just lip gloss and some shave gel, but I was still mortified, especially since I’d only been at my job maybe 3 months when this happened.

    9. Former Retail Manager*

      Of all the MLM’s to suggest to co-workers, Pure Romance is NOT on the list. What on earth??

    10. Can't Sit Still*

      MLM “parties” with co-workers are awkward enough already. I was ambushed at work twice (holiday party and baby shower) and we were not happy about it. I think it was jewelry and/or makeup with the option for a Pure Romance party later at one of them. Thankfully, I now work for a company that doesn’t allow solicitation in the office.

      Now that I’m thinking about it, because I guess I blocked the horror from my mind, a group of co-workers attended a Pure Romance party together and they informed me afterwards that I made the right decision to decline. I just don’t need to know my co-workers THAT well.

    11. redbug34*

      I once (youngly, foolishly, naively) went to an Avon party thrown by a coworker. I had never been to an MLM thing, and wanted to be social with my team. In hindsight, it was a bad idea. I have terrible skin & don’t use makeup because it just exacerbates the problem. So these ladies tried to get foundation that “fit me” and I ended up looking like a clown. It was humiliating. I bought a weird $6 purple eyeshadow thing just so that I could leave.

      The best part though was the Mary-Kay-loyal coworker who also came, and spent the whole party applying her Mary Kay products, to the chagrin of the hostess. It was some weird MLM animosity for sure.

  13. MuseumChick*

    I had a really good interview for a job I ended up not getting. The hiring manager sent me a very nice personalized email express how much they like me and how I had great experience but the other candidate simply had more experience. He strongly encouraged to apply to future opening. Which, I plan to do.

    My question is, should I mention my previous interview in my cover letter when I apply again? I’m just not sure of the protocol here.

    1. Reba*

      Yes, I think something like “I enjoyed learning about Company when I interviewed with Person back in September” can work. I believe Alison has answered a similar question so have a look in the archives for scripts.

      Sorry you didn’t get it, but sounds like it was a good application experience.

    2. Shiara*

      I think you can also drop the hiring manager an email when you next apply to remind him who you are/note that you’ve submitted materials and hope you’ll get the opportunity to talk again.

      Good luck. Near misses are so frustrating

      1. MuseumChick*

        And this was an extreme near miss, lol. I have a friend who works at the company who gave me a heads up about the opening. A week after I applied she asked if I had heard anything back, I said no. She investigated. Turns out the HR there had a new person start and my application got lost in transition. The hiring manager reached out to my directly when he found out.

        It is frustrating. I really want to give my notice, sigh.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        I think this is your best bet. Save his email and when that job comes up hit the reply button, so his comments are beneath your current email.

    3. Bea*

      Absolutely mention it next time. They may not recall your name but a “I interviewed last spring” will ring a bell or they can look back on the old file etc. Otherwise they’ll have too much going on and you’ll fade a bit just by the natural progression of time not because you weren’t a great candidate.

  14. Glinda*

    I work with “Elphaba”- it’s just the two of us in our dept. Elphaba has been with the company for 10 years and I started about a year ago. (She is also best friends with the boss.) The boss wanted me to work on a project setting up a new software program and Elphaba was livid that I was chosen and she wasn’t. Elphaba was complaining about it to everyone when I wasn’t around and kept giving me the stink eye and dirty looks when I would see her.

    Well, turns out that they’re hiring someone else to manage the software- which is good because I know that I don’t have the required industry experience (though I have the tech background). Elphaba is happy because we’re both doing a minor role in the project, but I’m not heading it as originally planned. (I found this out from Elphaba, who has to know anything and everything.)

    I guess all is good, but why did Elphaba have to make such a big stink about it? It was so embarrassing! Plus, wouldn’t you be happy for your coworker? If my coworker could do something that I couldn’t, I would try to learn from them and be happy for them. I would be a team player, unlike Elphaba.

    Has anyone ever experienced this? Am I making a big deal out of nothing?

    1. Red Lines with Wine*

      I can understand the other side of this, because I can be territorial, and that’s something I’m working on. When I have a defined role and feel that I have the proper experience and knowledge on how to do something but I am left out on the project, I get salty, too. However, I would never give my coworkers the stink eye or gossip behind their back. I would simply clarify with my manager the roles on the team and ask to be included since I can see that I would be of some help. If my manager says no, so be it. But I get that people can be miffed when they feel left out, and can take it really personal. Job insecurity (or personal insecurity/anxiety) can be a real bitch sometimes.

      1. Utoh!*

        Agreed! I actually wish someone on my team would feel that way, it seems all the difficult projects/tasks are always given to me, and no one bats an eye. I am the only woman on the team though, so maybe that’s the difference…!

    2. Auntie Social*

      You might suggest to her, to mollify her somewhat, that she’s been there a long time and they already know what she can do. You’re relatively new so they’re giving you chance(s), to see what you can do.
      We had to have this talk with our senior paralegal when the junior paralegal was left in charge for a week during our vacation. We just needed to see what people’s strengths are—it wasn’t that senior paralegal had done a bad job before. And it’s good for a junior staffer’s morale to know the boss thinks that they’ve got this.

  15. Anonymous Today*

    I need to vent about Facebook! I hate it! Our company’s offices, like many others in the retail business, have Facebook pages. Our corporate office posts helpful information for our customers, like fraud prevention, office closure info, etc. on our office’s page. We post local stuff like charity functions and shout-outs to our customers. We get nice comments/compliments often.

    Last week, our manager was lambasted in a Facebook post on our page by a person (not a local, so nobody knows them) who was unhappy with the way their transaction unfolded. This person completely twisted their “story” to make themselves seem like a victim. It was full of lies! They questioned our manager’s ethics, integrity and professionalism! Our corporate people asked our manager about what happened. Manager gave the actual story, which is the complete opposite of the facebook post. There are several of us who can vouch for the manager’s version as we were involved in the jerk’s transaction, too. Our corporate people were so mad they wanted to counter the mean, untruthful post with the real story. They decided that it would just make us look like we are making excuses – for something that NEVER happened – and, instead, replied with a post that they were sorry the person’s perception of our service wasn’t up to our excellent standards. They also contacted jerk privately. Our manager was the bigger person, too. Their feeling is that they know the truth about what happened and that has to be good enough for them. I’m proud that upper management and my manager took the high road. I might have not been so generous.

    I hate that we even feel like we have to have a Facebook page. Anyone with a keyboard and internet connection can trash someone else, even if it’s not true. So unfair.

    End of rant.

    1. Holly*

      If it helps, I know when I see a company respond *POLITELY* to a negative review and alludes to the situation without too much detail I tend to buy the company’s side of a story. A long paragraph that goes “well actually, YOU said this and YOU did that” comes off as a bit unhinged, even though the manager/company may have the right to be upset!

      1. Chalupa Batman*

        Agree. When a company is polite, I tend to give them the benefit of the doubt, especially if the comment itself was rude or looked like there may be some exaggeration happening. When the company gets defensive, I wonder how they’d handle it if I had a complaint. Something like “We’re so sorry you had a negative experience, please send us a DM and we’ll see what we can do” tells me that they’ll at least try. Some people are never happy…and the Venn diagram with those people and the type of person who posts diatribes in public forums has a LOT of overlap.

        1. Holly*

          Exactly. I once saw a really bad review of a wedding vendor, and the vendor politely responded saying something like “Unfortunately we could not accomodate your brother’s last minute request for a bouncy castle – we’ll make it more clear next time that such requests should be discussed in an advance of the night of the wedding. I am sorry you were not fully satisfied. ” It was such a skilled way of revealing that the commenter was the one who was completely unreasonable, while still being POLITE, apologizing and mentioning a way to avoid it in the future.

            1. Holly*

              I honestly can’t remember exactly but I think it really was about that! The brother in law apparently suggested a lot of activities including a bouncy castle the day before the wedding, which couldn’t have been done any way for insurance reasons, according to the vendor. It was too funny.

    2. Workerbee*

      I feel this.

      It is an anthropological dream to see how people conduct themselves on corporate Facebook pages. The off-topic rants. The all-caps typing. The Only The First Letter Of Every Word typing (which, why??). The deriding of your product/program when the poster clearly hasn’t actually _used_ it…are there people that just sit on Facebook all day waiting to swoop in because they must feel heard to escape the emptiness gnawing at them inside?

      Kudos to your people for handling it the way you did. I always pay attention to how a brand handles negative comments. It’s not easy because oh, the temptation to hand the troll’s arse to them–! But taking the high road really does pay off.

    3. Bea*

      This is the grotesque side of online marketing platforms and reviews.

      Thankfully your corporate folks are SOLID it sounds like and did the right thing investigating and trusting the store side version.

      Fighting back is not good. It looks bad to see a company stoop to their level. Instead please know most reasonable folks know the angry “wronged” person is probably exaggerating their issue.

      It’s like on Yelp where a review is over the top. You ignore the crap unless it’s an on going theme.

    4. epi*

      I’m sorry, that sucks. I would be super annoyed too.

      If it makes you feel any better, I (and I think a lot of people based on comments I have read here and elsewhere) read these reviews looking for patterns and don’t necessarily credit a single really angry review. It can be hard to read reviews about your own company with any distance, but if this person was such a jerk I also wonder if their review even sounds that credible to most readers. I read Yelp reviews all the time where it is clear that the problem is with the person writing review.

      I strongly agree with you about Facebook, also. Frankly I never read those reviews, I stick to Yelp or to sites specifically intended to review whatever type of business or product I am interested in. Whenever I do read Facebook comments and reviews, I find them incredibly low quality even compared to other sites where people can review anonymously. It comes across as a mix of spam/bot accounts, very odd and ignorant people many of whom reached the page by mistake, and other people with credibility problems e.g. family members, oversharers, people with a grudge. I suspect that since (in my circles) very few people review businesses on Facebook, only inappropriate people do it. I know no one cares about seeing my restaurant review in their news feed. So you’re left with reviewers who don’t know or don’t care about social norms. Just because Facebook offers a feature, doesn’t mean you have to use it!

    5. Former Retail Manager*

      Yeah….I almost always check reviews of businesses (mostly restaurants) before frequenting them, but I typically discard reviews like the one the jerk customer left. Unless there are a multitude of them over a long period of time, it is likely a rare occurrence and may not be entirely true. Just comes with the territory of being in business today. Any decent customer is not going to decide to stop doing business with your company over a single review. The world is full of jerks.

    6. Le Sigh*

      Agree with everyone here. I do this on Airbnb, too. And given the risk of a bad Airbnb, if a host has even one snarky, aggressive, or even overly defensive reply to someone — esp. if the person is leaving what sounds like measured, reasonable criticisms — I’m out. If they reply in a measured, rational way, even if the complainer seems over-the-top, I’m less likely to nix the place. I know there are two sides to every story, but the last thing I need on vacation or on business is to find out that the host I rented from is a huge jerk who will mess up my trip. Your company handled it the right way and I promise you most people will see through the complainer.

      1. jolene*

        I had such a bad experience with someone at a company that I went onto their FB page to complain. Hilariously, it turned out that several other customers had problems with ‘Rashida’ as well and had posted very similar complaints. Which had been up for months. I’m guessing the FB person at that company doesn’t much like her either, as the page had been regularly updated…

  16. Anon anony*

    How do you deal with very competitive coworkers? I find myself getting very frustrated and annoyed because I’m trying to work as a team, but they don’t seem to get the memo.

    1. Meh.*

      I HATE dealing with “personalities.” I had co-worker like that a few jobs ago and I would either ignore it or let her find her own mistakes even when I noticed them. What industry are you in? There are some industries where this competitive nature is more common.

        1. Argh!*

          Does everybody receive bonuses or raises based on individual contributions? Some companies are putting a stop to that because it damages teamwork (and demoralizes people).

    2. Not So NewReader*

      I have targeted different grounds than the competitive coworker targeted. This is a little tricky because you want to pick a target that is of value to the company. And you want to chose something that is within your own natural abilities so you are not knocking yourself out trying to “beat” this person.

      Look around. Let’s say Jane really excels at selling widgets. You notice the gadgets are neglected. You can sell gadgets you are good at it. Decide to be the best gadget seller you can possibly be.
      Ex #2. Let’s say that Jane has very good productivity. Your productivity is good, you won’t lose your job any time soon so you can try to beef your productivity just because you should. However, your real target could be cost savings as you have notice the company is all about reducing costs. And this is something you are great at, you see opportunities to reduce costs every day. So you decide to target helping the company save money and distinguish yourself from Jane in this area.

      See, people can’t read into our minds. They don’t know our plans. Jane can only compete on what she sees, not on what you plan to do to make yourself outstanding. Look around. What is Jane NOT doing? Target the missed areas that happened to also be things that are important to the company. Jane starts doing the thing you target, keep doing well with your targeted thing but find a new target and run at that.

    3. Ender*

      I just make sure my manager knows exactly who did which parts and don’t much care if other people are going around saying they did more than me.

  17. Toxic waste*

    Has anyone ever had a coworker who has “already paid their dues” concerning certain job responsibilities and are basically coasting until they retire/find a new job/leave?

    My coworker claims that she doesn’t have to do certain things like pass out forms because she “has been there, done that” and therefore won’t do it.

    1. Aurélia*

      Yes. In newjob and lastjob. Lastjob lady did not respond to a single email I sent her in almost a year of working together. Newjob lady complains VERY LOUDLY to NO ONE IN PARTICULAR about how everyone has retired and left her and they “can’t make” her learn the new finance system that seems like 100% of her job. Every time I hear her frustrated manager have a coaching/accountability check-in with her I want to hug him. She sings hymns and watches/listens to family feud on her desktop somehow and it drives me up a wall. She has advised me that it’s my problem if I don’t want to hear it.

    2. Princess Scrivener*

      Yep. In the military, we called them ROAD (retired on active duty), or short, or having shortitis, as in their remaining time on active duty was short. Over my career, though, I figured out those types of people (lazy, irresponsible) would have been the same way at the beginning of their careers, or in any job.

    3. Alternative Person*

      Yeah, there’s a guy where I work who basically expanded his cubicle into the storage space at the back of the floor into his own mini office and uses that as an excuse not to put in front office time. He also keeps one of the few computers the staff have to share back there. He says other staff can use it but in practice everyone just makes do with the few remaining at the front. These issues has been brought to the manager in various forms over time but it basically comes back that he’s been here a long time and management doesn’t want to upset him.

      It’s not like we do much in the front office but it really shows when he doesn’t know even longtime clients and is basically invisible to both clients and staff for days on end. Frankly though, I’d rather him be back in his little corner than up front because he combines being a sycophant to his immediate peer with irritating performative helplessness, and the sharing of free, unsolicited, bad advice.

      (And I kind of get the urge to carve out a corner at a decent workplace, call it yours and ride the good wave for as long as humanly possible at minimum effort but he’s such a stick in the mud that it’s difficult to make things better/easier because he’s so focused on protecting his own interests, he can’t process the idea that someone else might have something to offer that would be in his interest.)

    4. Audiophile*

      I’ve worked with people who were clearly phoning it in until they could retire. It’s definitely frustrating. I usually just found ways to work with them/deal with it until I could find a new job.

      If this person is a co-worker and not a manager, you can definitely bring this up to TPTB.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      I have seen a lot of this. My thought is, “Silly person.”

      See there are opportunities in everything, it’s just a matter of figuring out what opportunity is there.
      You are using the example of passing out forms. I will assume you walk around and hand the forms to people. Hey, lots of opportunity here. You can chat and pick up the latest news from that person. How are they doing, how’s the job going, etc. It takes time but in the process of handing forms to people you can gain a lot of info that you would not have had any other way.

      I hear but-but-but. Okay so you have to email the forms? You can find that conversations start up and you just follow or participate in the conversation. Perhaps you ask the recipients to contact you if they have questions, maybe a couple people ask some very good questions and you grow yourself as an employee because of increased knowledge and because of your increased value.

      It’s usually worked into an opening for me, when other people refuse to do various aspects of the job. You can leverage that.

    6. Bea*

      Yeah…I’ve phoned it in when I was leaving but not to the extent I refused to do anything. I just didn’t do any extra because Ef it why bother.

      These people are miserable anyways so just roll your eyes and enjoy that they’ll be gone soon.

  18. user_loser*

    My current situation is similar to this one:

    The difference is: My manager doesn’t have my back. He tells me there are complains about me and tells me I lack communication skills, because if I had them people wouldn’t complain about me.

    For example, he tells me to introduce a huge process change, which is bound to provoke protests. I work to introduce it and it does provoke protests. People complain about the changes by turning against me personally. They contact my manager telling them I’m rude so they won’t work with me.

    When I propose that we go through the complains together (most of the communication is by email and I can prove that I haven’t done anything wrong), he screams that he won’t waste time on that.

    Basically, he gives me no chance to prove I haven’t done anything wrong.

    Another situation: some people decided they won’t talk to me. They ignore me, my calls and emails. When I ask my manager for an intervention, he tells me he’s not there to solve my problems and I evidently lack soft skills. He does intervene in such situations for some colleagues and doesn’t have any problems with that, but evidently, he won’t do that for me.

    When I write minutes or emails (I normally try to solve the situation verbally first, but if someone doesn’t answer my phone for hours and doesn’t call back or tells me verbally that they won’t do something, I do turn to writing in order to have in writing that I requested something), he tells me I lack soft skills and people hate me for writing emails (which he sees as a CYA strategy).

    I do search for a new job intensively but haven’t had luck so far. My job is a quite specialistic one and it’s not like I can apply for most adverts I see.

    Can you give me some tips how to survive it? I feel I’m losing my sanity and health. I’ve started losing hair massively several months ago and I have migraines because of stress. I can’t rely on family or friends, most of which live far away from me.

    1. MuseumChick*

      Wow, I’m sorry you have to put on with this. First, do you have an HR department? If yes and if they even half way know what they are doing I would contact them. A second option would be to go above your boss if possible.

      This sounds like a grit your teeth until you find a new job situation.

    2. Product person*

      Your manager sounds awful, and I hope you find a new job soon! Meanwhile, regarding this:

      When I write minutes or emails (I normally try to solve the situation verbally first, but if someone doesn’t answer my phone for hours and doesn’t call back or tells me verbally that they won’t do something, I do turn to writing in order to have in writing that I requested something), he tells me I lack soft skills and people hate me for writing emails (which he sees as a CYA strategy).

      I think you need to try as best as you can to show that you are not the problem and that means being as polite and professional as possible and explaining the consequences if the person refuses to cooperate.

      Person doesn’t answer your phone for hours: Leave a voicemail, and follow-up with a polite email saying something like, “Hi, person, I left you a voicemail about X, but in case you see this first, I was asked by boss to get Report ABC from you, and it’s needed by tomorrow morning if we are to meet our deadlines here. Would you please confirm if you’ll be able to fulfill this request by tomorrow morning? Your help is much appreciated!”

      Person tells you verbally they won’t do something: Tell them, “I understand you may have other priorities, but I was asked to finish project XYZ by the end of the week, and told that you’d be the source for ABC info I need. If you are unable to fulfill this request, should we go together to our(my) manager to discuss?”

      Person ignores you or refuses to go talk to the manager: OK, I’ll speak to my manager about this then, to see if there are other means for me to receive the information I need to finish the job I was given. Thank you, and have a nice day.

      It may seem infuriating to try to accommodate colleagues who you believe are in the wrong, but sometimes that’s what we have to do in order to survive a bad situation until we’re ready to leave.

      1. user_loser*

        Thanks Product Person. But we have no voicemails. If you can’t reach somebody for hours, you simply waste hours. You can’t leave a message.

        Your advice is actually good, but I’ve been cooperative as much as it’s possible really. I always involved them in decisions etc. I went to great lengths to include them – some of them acknowledged that and I have emails in my mailbox telling me “You are so different, I love the way the things get done now, it’s so better now than it was before you came”. But some don’t want things to change and there’s no way to make someone love you if they don’t feel like it.

        Btw. in this case my mistake was being “too accommodating”, not “not enough accommodating”. I was so accommodating at the beginning that some people started to see me as weak and now they behave the way they behave.

        1. Product person*

          I think you’re missing the point, user_loser. The solution has nothing to do with being cooperative or more or less accommodating, or about peo “make someone love you”. It’s about aligning perception with reality to show that you’re very polite and communicate clearly why you need what you’re asking for, exposing the complaints as lies.

          But we have no voicemails. If you can’t reach somebody for hours, you simply waste hours. You can’t leave a message.

          The suggestion to send a very polite and respectful email after an unanswered call stands. Perhaps you can create a checklist so that your email is clear on the following:

          – What you’re asking of the recipient.
          – When the information is due.
          – Why they are the right person to provide it.
          – Why it’s important (for the company, or someone above you) that the request is fulfilled.

          Then, if your boss complains to you that people are saying you’re rude and lack communication skills, you can pull up these emails and say, “Can you please help me understand where I’ve been rude here? Where I wasn’t clear about the request? I’d really like to improve, but without more specific direction about what I’m doing wrong, I won’t be able to.”

          1. user_loser*

            “Then, if your boss complains to you that people are saying you’re rude and lack communication skills, you can pull up these emails and say, “Can you please help me understand where I’ve been rude here? Where I wasn’t clear about the request? I’d really like to improve, but without more specific direction about what I’m doing wrong, I won’t be able to.”

            I think you are missing this part of my post where I write that my boss reacts aggressively to my proposing to show him emails.

            I don’t need to change the way I write emails to feel comfortable showing him what I wrote. I would be happy to give him access to all my emails for him to show me where I was rude. But that’s the point:

            “When I propose that we go through the complains together (most of the communication is by email and I can prove that I haven’t done anything wrong), he screams that he won’t waste time on that.”

            1. Jennifer Thneed*

              Time to ask for a meeting with your boss’s boss.

              Important question: who hired you? Was it your current boss or someone else? I’ve had managers who “inherited” me be pretty bad because I wasn’t their choice, never mind that I’d been there long enough to be a very useful resource for information.

    3. President Porpoise*

      It’s counterintuitive, but I find it easier to deal with criticism (deserved and undeserved) if I can stop worrying whether I was in the right or not. Most of the time it doesn’t matter – all that matters is the perception. So, your boss perceives you as a poor communicator and your coworkers perceive you as rude. Being defensive cannot help you with that. And, in truth, if someone doesn’t like you anyway and they receive an email that could potentially be read as insulting or cold, they’re not going to give you the benefit of the doubt unfortunately.

      So, call as often as you can instead of using email. Be warm and friendly, even if you have to fake it. Talk to your boss to see if you can take some customer service training specific to effective communication. Show that you’re taking this seriously and that you want to improve. Change perception.

      1. user_loser*

        But they don’t receive mails that can be perceived as “insulting or cold” from me.

        Instead, I do receive such emails from them.

        I’m not in customer service. And at my previous jobs, I was praised for excellent communication skills in every performance review.

        1. President Porpoise*

          Again, don’t worry about whether you deserve their criticism. Try to improve anyway – there’s room for everyone to do that.

          Also, everyone is always in customer service. Your coworkers are internal customers, of a sort, and the same basic principles should be applied to them.

          1. user_loser*

            A course won’t change the fact that I need information from some people and need to request it either by phone or by mail. I don’t work in a 10-person company but in a huge one, with many offices. It’s not possible to go and chat with all the people I need something from.

            I’m all for self-improvement, but I’m currently in a situation when I contact people many times very politely and don’t get any reaction. Then I write “hey, could we please think about how to communicate a bit more regularly in the future since now this doesn’t seem to be working that well. Is it any particular time I could reach you? Any particular channel?” and as a response, I get told I’m rude and I should work on my communication skills.

            And as I write above: In this case, my mistake was being “too accommodating”, not “not enough accommodating”. I was so accommodating at the beginning that some people started to see me as weak and now they behave the way they behave. A course won’t help with that. Actually, the opposite is true. I don’t want to let others think that I acknowledge lacking comms skills, because I don’t. It’s the only job I’ve had so far, in which I’ve been screamed at, repeatedly. I’ve gone to great lengths to be the most accommodating person ever when I joined. This didn’t work. Strategies that don’t work should be changed. Me taking a course on communication would be a continuation of my accommodating strategy which resulted disastrous.

            1. Smarty Boots*

              You’re missing PresPorpoise’s very good point. You need to try to get your manager to see you differently. If you ask her for a people skills type training course, it’s not because you NEED it to improve your skills, it’s because you’re showing that you’re taking your managers criticism seriously. (And frankly, just about everyone can benefit from such a course.) Taking a course like that does not = OMG, everyone thinks I don’t know how to communicate. You may think so, but it’s not rue.

              I have been in just your position, where people deliberately did not respond to questions I needed answered or did not do work that I needed to get my own work done. It’s incredibly frustrating. It is really hard not to say to yourself, I’ve been too nice and this is what I get for it, so now I’m just going to say F U. That is NOT going to work. Particularly since you have already gotten evidence from other colleagues that your accommodating style does work.

              As a side note, if this workplace is not a good fit, start looking for another job.

            2. President Porpoise*

              Yes, Smarty Boots gets what I’m saying. It doesn’t matter if you are actually good at communication if you’re perceived as unhelpful, rude, defensive, etc. This is how your boss and some coworkers see you, so don’t double down and keep doing what you’re doing. Be humble and SHOW your boss and your coworkers that you are adjusting your communication style to fit their needs. You can adjust your style to fit specific individuals, and you should. Keep doing what you’re doing with those that have shown that they are happy with that approach, but you need to make clear and obvious changes to the way you communicate with the Boss and your problem internal customers. Things like requesting training show you’re serious about receiving the feedback you’re getting.

              1. Argh!*

                Learning better communication skills won’t help when the people you communicate are terrible communicators who have normalized their toxic style.

                A course in abnormal psychology might be a better use of your time!

    4. Not So NewReader*

      You are being set up to fail.

      Any chance that you are a woman and the people he stands up for are men?

      You are in a large company, perhaps you can find a way to get outsiders involved in this mix, such as HR.

      Can you look for a transfer to another department?

      I suspect that people hate your boss and are targeting him through you. They avoid you because they know eventually he will look bad. Look around, do you have a friend in the place, someone who is a got-your-back type person? Maybe people are trying to tell you something is Rotten in Denmark here and you skipped by it? Eyes wide open, look at everyone with fresh eyes, do you notice an ally that you have not noticed before?

      1. user_loser*

        Thanks, Not So NewReader.

        Yes, I’m a woman, my boss is a man and most people he likes and stands up for are men.

        I was trying to get a transfer as there is an interesting opening elsewhere in the company. When I told my boss he told me he would never recommend me and thinks I’m unsuitable for working at our company since I dramatically lack communication skills and he sees me as an underperformer.

        A fun fact is that I got very positive opinions about my work from high managers in other departments. My own boss was visibly upset because of this positive feedback however and he made it clear he would sabotage my transfer.

        It’s a depressing situation for me since I’ve always been a good employee and got excellent reviews at my previous jobs. Most of my previous reviews stressed my communication skills and ability to find a common language with everybody. And I find it important to do my best and excel at what I’m doing. I’m not a person who doesn’t care about the quality of her work.

        1. Binky*

          Can you go talk to the managers from other departments that like your work, to see if they have a position open? Cause your boss sucks and isn’t going to change. But if the other manager is above Terrible Boss in the hierarchy maybe his sabotage won’t work? You could also treat one of those managers as a mentor – and see if they’ll help you either deal with Terrible Boss or find a new job.

          It sounds like you’re also dealing with health effects from all the awfulness, so you might want to look into gathering the resources to quit without a new job lined up (or take FMLA if you’d qualify). This job isn’t worth your health.

        2. Argh!*

          I was going to guess that too. I am in the same situation, but my boss is a mousy cowardly woman. She relates complaints about me anonymously, but I have been able to trace most of them back to specific people. All of them blue-eyed white men, and our workplace is 50/50.

          My boss has even used the sexist term “abrasive” yet she can’t cite anything I’ve said or done that really deserves that term. She also calls my communication style “unproductive” even though I get more done than other people. Apparently she believes my job duties include letting lazy men get away with laziness and letting stupid men think they’re smart.

          I have had ZERO success with her, and her boss is even worse. I have attempted to file an EEO complaint but I didn’t have enough details. You don’t have to raise your voice to be a bully. This is a toxic work culture that’s bigger than just my relationship with my boss, and it sounds like you’re stuck in the same situation.

          My only technique, and I hate myself for doing it, is to rat out as many other people as I can, especially my boss’s pets. My boss apparently trusts rumor to judge me rather than spending actual time with me or examining my work (she nitpicks some things and never looks at others, including those that were my goal accomplishments for the year!).

          So… I am playing their game and I actually feel better than I did before I started that. I don’t feel like a victim. I’m a shark in a shark tank. I used to work in a really friendly, warm, genuine workplace with just a few obvious jerks.

          p.s. any chance you are an East Coaster working in the Midwest?

        3. Ender*

          Do you actually need a recommendation from your boss to apply? Is that an official rule? If not then apply anyway and just put one of the managers you get on well with as a reference.

          If they do have that official rule then here is what I think you should do In the following order:

          Ask some of the managers you have a good rapport with if they would recommend you for the other position if you get permission from HR to use them. I’m assuming they’ll say yes. If they ask why (and only if they ask) tell them you have a personality conflict with your boss and you don’t get on well with him and you don’t think he would give a fair reference.

          Contact HR. Tell them the entire situation. Tell them you have the many emails that prove you are not being rude and the others are, but that your boss screams at you every time you try to show him them. Tell them you want to apply for the position in the other department but your boss has told you he won’t recommend you, but that you have multiple other managers in other departments that you’ve worked closely with who are willing to recommend you. Ask them if you can please apply for the position using a different reference to your boss.

          If they refuse then say you want to make an official complaint about bullying. If they still refuse, start the complaints process because this absolutely is bullying.

          If you don’t manage to get your transfer, and if the bullying complaint/investigation doesn’t change his behaviour, then I honestly think you should just quit. I know you haven’t managed to find a job in your specialist field, but there must be something else you can do that would pay the bills while you continue looking for a job in your field. You’d be much happier working as a temp and job searching in the evenings than in this job.

      2. user_loser*

        And: I know “something is Rotten in Denmark”.

        Another colleague was subject to the same kind of unfounded criticism and then fired by the boss. For example, exactly the same people who now complain about “my communication skills”, told our boss back then that the colleague had screamed at them at a meeting, which was why they didn’t want to attend any more meetings with him. I attended these occasions on which the colleague “screamed” and they definitely didn’t scream at anybody. I didn’t even like the colleague, but they didn’t scream at anybody.

        But it didn’t matter. Our boss excluded this colleague from our meetings and then fired. I was the good guy back then. Now the colleague is out so I’m targeted.

        1. RVA Cat*

          It sounds like your boss is a bully who needs to have a victim. The problem isn’t you, it’s him and a disfunctional culture that enables him.
          Could it be that people are ignoring you because they know you are his Designated Victim and they don’t want to risk him targeting *them* if they dare be nice to you? This is so middle school but unfortunately it wouldn’t surprise me.

    5. Close Bracket*

      I am really, really sorry. I have been in almost exactly your situation. I actually did not survive. I was forced out. One thing that kept me sane-ish was attending a local vipassana meditation session and leaving the house to do things around other people. I also didn’t have friends or family nearby, and I was pretty isolated at work- I could go for multiple days without an in person conversation there (which makes me wonder how they managed to accumulate so many complaints about me). Social dance (swing, salsa), professional events, and just going out and sitting in a coffee house gave me the human contact I needed.

      I hope this gets better.

    6. valentine*

      Your manager sounds like he wants you to quit or to keep you in his department so everyone can be miserable together. If there’s no one who’ll do an end run around him and transfer you, you’ll need a new employer.

  19. CopperBoom*

    Feeling a little blue this week. Interviewed for an amazing position, and they hired an intern from last year (making me about 10 years older than that person). Sigh. It’s making me question a lot of things in regards to my career. How do you pick yourself up after a setback?

    1. SleepyInSeattle*

      I’m sorry to hear that. Been there!

      On the hiring side, I’ve occasionally hired a less experienced person over a more experienced and qualified candidate because during the interview process we determined that the role was actually more jr. than we originally thought. Or when I knew that the growth potential was going to be very limited for an extended period of time and I didn’t want to frustrate an employee who I knew would be ready to grow the job sooner rather than later. There are lots of things that can go into a decision like that that aren’t any reflection of your talents and abilities. Good luck in your job search!

    2. Bea*

      Was this internal?? It sounds like it since you know it’s an intern and their age etc.

      In that case it could be an issue that your company doesn’t want to “lose” you in your position now. Which is a bad process to follow but it’s not a “you” thing. So it may tilt your natural instinct to take it personally like a younger person is more qualified or what have you.

      Don’t let this detour you from trying again. Maybe you’ll have up look for a different company to grow with.

      1. CopperBoom*

        Kinda internal? My industry has many freelancers and very few full-time positions. So I’ve worked with all involved (those I interviewed with, and the intern ultimately hired). I’m trying to remind myself that the positions are so few, it would be impossible to hire all the qualified people. Thank you for your response!

        1. Bea*

          Ah contracting! That makes sense now. I’m willing to bet it’s because the former intern starts out at the lowest end of the salary and your skills would cost them more :( It’s the difficult part of being TOO GOOD at your job, they’re scared that they have to pay for those skills up front.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      A pint of coconut milk ice cream seems to make the world okay for a moment.

      That’s not too helpful though.

      In the specific situation you are talking about here, I would figure they did not want to pay higher wages. For whatever reason they assumed the younger person would be cheaper than me.

      Get yourself busy. Pick something you will have success at. For myself after a setback like this I can figure on being successful at scrubbing the bathroom from ceiling to floor. So I go do it. It gives me back some sense of success/completion. Then I get busy on the next thing- be it another home project or more job hunting.

      And I get some extra sleep. Because this stuff can leave a person feeling pretty beat-up.
      Very sorry about your bad news.

      1. CopperBoom*

        The pay was non-negotiable from the start (it would be considered low for many people, but it was a significant raise over my current job). Love your suggestions of finding something to be successful at! And some treat yo’ self style indulgences.

    4. OhGee*

      I’ve been through this situation (I am very qualified for a mid-career job, have a good interview, they hire someone who is 2 years out of school with little to no experience) several times. I’ve also lost out to people with decades *more* experience than me, which just goes to show there’s no telling what an organization really wants! I usually vent about it to friends, some of whom have been through the same thing…and read AAM, because the experiences here make me realize that I’m not alone in this.

      1. CopperBoom*

        Preach! My field is largely freelancers, and few full-time positions. So while I have many years of hands on experience, it feels like I’m somewhere in the middle of what they want full-time positions to be (too much experience for the entry level positions, too little for the director levels). I started reading AAM about a year ago and it has been hugely helpful in navigating workplace experiences how to make the most of my somewhat-related-but-ultimately-boring day job. And seeing that things could be so much worse, lol!

    5. Loser*

      I don’t pick myself up after a setback. Wherever I was set back to, I stay there, unhappy. Don’t be like me.

  20. Sheila*

    I have a supervisor (a shift supervisor) that is pressuring me to work full time. I told her that I had a health issue and yet she has still harassed me about it twice after I told her that I would discuss it with our manager or assistant manager if anything changes. She has since completely flipped and started being rude to me and making working with her unbearable. I want to discuss it with the manager, but I don’t want to cause a fuss.

    Does anyone have any advice?

    1. Reba*

      Sorry this is happening! I think you need to tell your manager. You can keep your cool and not cause a fuss, but do use the word “retaliation,” because it is that serious, especially since it touches on health, it could have a flavor of disability discrimination. (Not saying that I think you have a case of illegal discrimination on those grounds — I am very very far from being a lawyer — just that a good manager would want to be alerted to this.)

      What about something like, “Manager, I want to let you know that Supervisor has been treating me terribly ever since I declined to take more hours, like [example of rudeness or, better, example of impeding your work]. You know the reasons for my schedule (if that is true, if you know it is reasonable and safe to disclose this to them). How would you like me to handle it if she continues to retaliate against me for this issue?”

    2. MuseumChick*

      You are not causing a fuss. She is the the one causing drama by being unprofessional.

      I agree with Reba, use the word retaliation. Maybe something like “Jane has been pressuring me to work full time even after I’ve explain my health prevents that. Since then she has been retaliating by (insert behaviors).”

    3. WellRed*

      I am a big proponent of just saying, “sorry, I am not available to work more hours.” It doesn’t matter whether it’s health, school schedule, family responsibilities or a Netflix marathon.
      But yeah, agreed it’s time to kick this up the chain. Your supervisor is wrong and childish.

      1. Sheila*

        The annoying thing is, I once made a joke about her flirting with a customer, and she went to him and said I was sexually harassing her, so I feel like he may think I am retaliating against her. He gave me a verbal warning, but I think he too thought that one comment was not sexual harassment.

        1. Bea*

          He shouldn’t think it’s retaliation. She’s acting out towards you and it’s appropriate to escalate it. She’s not nature enough to be a lead, report everything she does since she’s not to be trusted to handle things correctly.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      It sounds like she is a person who needs to hear a flat out no.
      If you say “No. but if anything changes I will talk with the bosses” what she hears is “I will probably do this in a few weeks”.
      She could be one of these people that need total stunning clarity or she just does not get what is being said.

      Go to your manager and ask if is it a big deal for you to just work part time. Listen to his answer. Tell him that Jane seems to think it’s a problem. Listen to his answer to this also. If he says it’s no problem, then you can go back to Jane and her that, you checked with the boss and it’s not a problem.

    5. LGC*

      Document (both your illness and her harassment) and go to your manager. I wouldn’t go at them with the full documentation just yet, but have that as backup if you need it.

      I say that because I think it is worth causing a fuss. Trust me – she’s probably pressed for hours (I know the feeling), but the answer to that isn’t to force her employees to significantly alter their work agreements and then snipe at them when they say it’s for their health. That’s something she needs to escalate.

      Even outside of that, the fact that she’s mistreating you is reason enough to go over her head. I don’t say that lightly – I get annoyed when my employees go over my head to my boss – but this is serious enough where it’s warranted. I’m not saying that she’s creating a hostile work environment (which is a legal phrase), but the fact that she’s being hostile to you in your work environment is bad enough on its own.

      But also, the manager and assistant manager might be jerks about it and take her side (you should work FT even if you don’t feel like you can). That’s why I’d suggest protecting yourself beforehand. I don’t know your job, but I’d say assume the best and prepare for the worst.

  21. Neurotic Questioner*

    I’m in the final stages of interviewing for a company that seems amazing, but only has meh reviews on Glassdoor. If I do get an offer, I’d really like to make sure it’s a good fit before I sign on. A few people at the company I used to work for are there now, but I don’t know them (old company was massive).

    Would it be weird to email my former manager to ask if she has any impression of the company? We still have a pretty good relationship and she’s lovely and really well connected so she’s probably heard of them. She has been a mentor to me in the past so generally I wouldn’t feel weird about reaching out, but since this is technically a competitor (both are in a special area of publishing) I’m not sure if it would be inappropriate to send a message where essentially the subtext boils down to “Hey, remember how I left your my position with you a few years ago? Now I’m interviewing for a similar job at a competitor organization — got any gossip?”

    Am I overthinking?

    1. SleepyInSeattle*

      That kind of thing is pretty common if you have a good relationship. I’ve shared similar feedback many times. But know that her impression is not going to be the whole truth. I always couch it pretty heavily.

      My company has pretty awful glassdoor reviews because we’re small, and 3 or 4 people all reviewed it when we were going through some major transitions with a very divisive person taking on a sr. leadership role. She didn’t last long and I’m sure the reviews would be much more positive now but people don’t really feel compelled o go write good stuff when things are going well in the same way they do when things are going poorly. I wouldn’t put a ton of weight on it unless it got very consistent negative reviews over a period of time.

    2. anonymoushiker*

      If she’s mentored you in the past and is generally a decent understanding person, she should be happy to help out. She’s not the organization she works for and should understand that you have a career to manage too.

    3. ..Kat..*

      Email her asking for a phone call (or meet for coffee) to talk about the new company. She might not want to put anything in writing.

  22. SL*

    I’m working on transitioning into an adjacent career path and I reached out (through email) to a few people who do this kind of work to see if I could ask them questions about what they did. The work is very specialized and there are only a handful of people who do this kind of work in the country, so the people I reached out to were strangers. I got one reply and two other people didn’t reply. Is there any way to politely follow up with the no-reply’s and see if they might have just missed my email? How would I word an email like that? Or should I just let it go and not bother following up?

    1. soupmonger*

      Drop it. People are busy, and it takes time to compose replies to emails like the one you’re sending. And in my experience of receiving emails like yours (to which I have replied) is that there’s not even a ‘thank you’ for taking the time to respond.

      1. SL*

        Yeah I kind of suspected that was going to be the advice I got, but was hoping otherwise. On another note, it’s really shitty that people haven’t even bothered to thank you.

  23. KatieKate*

    I posted about my phone interview two weeks ago, and in the meantime I had a first interview this week AND already got called back for a second interview! Working on scheduling it now!! *excited flailing*

  24. Spegasi*

    I just went on an interview for a teaching position at a high school. I hope to be called back soon and then I have to give a sample class to see how I handle groups. Any teachers here who might be able to offer some advice? Also, I hear this particular class is particularly troublesome, any advice for dealing with 15 year old girls who really don’t want to spend an hour in history class?

    1. Gaia*

      So this is just general history teaching advise (hi! History major who hated high school history class, here!):

      Don’t make it about memorizing names, dates, battles. If they don’t know the date the Civil War ended but know it was after the Emancipation Proclamation and before the Industrial Revolution, that’s fine as long as they also know what it was like for people living then and what the reasons behind it were (both political, modern ideas, and historical ideas). Use diaries, letters, interviews. Help them understand history from the perspective of the people living it.

      History is consistently listed as the most disliked topic in US schools except in those schools that take this approach. It was this approach that made me love history. You have the ability to do that for these kids!

      1. Spegasi*

        I like the idea of letting them deal with primary sources (at least very basic ones) and foregoing most dates and maybe focus on a couple of big ones.

        1. Gaia*

          Certainly dates are important, but some people are just absolutely terrible at rote memorization and more important than dates is context.

          Good luck!

        2. Annie Moose*

          The way my favorite history professor in college put it is that he cared we knew what order things happened in/what stuff was happening at the same time, not the precise date when it actually happened. If we knew Event A happened before (and helped cause) Event B, that was what he felt was important.

      2. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

        I love history. I am particularly fond of the Civil War. I could not tell you what years it happened.

        Timelines were great. We started out with about ten feet of paper with just dates on it and put everything we were learning about on it. With pictures. Though maybe that’s a little young?

    2. blackcat*

      Former high school teacher, here.

      Definitely make it active. Have two plans, one to use if it’s possible to get them out of their seats. If it’s an option, make it about something outside the regular curriculum that might be extra interesting.

      1. Spegasi*

        I was thinking to do a bit of active participation. One of my high school teachers had a small ball he would toss at you to give you a turn to talk. When I was in school I often found that a little bit of discussion went a long way and some small competitions for extra points or a test waive went a long way. I just hope the same its true 10 years later.

        1. blackcat*

          Oof, that’s not what I would call active participation. That’s what I would call lecture +.

          I’m thinking more along the lines of give different groups something to research/make an argument about. You have an hour, right? That’s a good amount of time. Provide resources and set up a debate. Doesn’t have to be controversial or anything.

          Ex: Tell three groups of students that you are trying to set up a new settlement. One group gets a paper with a preface that farming is super important. Another gets a preface that defense is super important. Another get something that’s like good views of the stars matter for X religious ceremony or trade is important. (Something important to old societies. I’m a scientist not a historian.) Give them all some data on maps about a fictitious land. Don’t tell the groups that the others have different assumptions. Give groups 20 minutes to develop an argument about where the settlement should be then present to the class for 5 minutes. When disagreements ensues, have a discussion about how different people in a society have different wants/needs/etc, ask if there’s a reasonable middle ground.

          Or give students a bunch of paintings and ask them to figure out which ones seem to be from the same time period.

          Something active! Anything active! Don’t just ask them questions. Make them *do* something.

          1. blackcat*

            And for the record, this is pedagogically better and will help classroom management.

            To divide groups, have students count off numbers. Or divide the alphabet. Draw color paper out of a hat. Do not let them choose their own groups.

            1. Spegasi*

              Oh I know I shouldn’t let them decide groups, mostly cause I was that awful student who messed around when I was left with my friends but somehow managed to get good grades.

          2. Spegasi*

            Oh I specialized in art history and would love to bring in something like that to class. I also like the debate aspect, I do think its important to be able to make an argument and defend it properly which isn’t something you are always taught.

            1. blackcat*

              Then do that! Use your specialty!

              You do not have to lecture. At. All. Not one bit. You can just do an activity, where you will circulate among groups and then moderate full group discussion.

    3. Dr. KMnO4*

      I’m a STEM teacher, but I think I have a few tips that might help
      1. Make your demo class interactive. There is a push in education to make learning more student-centered, so it’s very likely that the administrators want to see you doing more than just lecturing.
      2. Be kind but firm. You want to maintain control of the class without being too heavy-handed. Unless it’s absolutely necessary, don’t try to talk/yell over the students. If you need to get their attention I’ve found saying, “Okay everyone” and then going silent works wonders. The disapproving look is a helpful tool as well. Generally students know when they are doing/saying something they shouldn’t. Giving them a look shows them that you realize it too, and should be your first step in getting the behavior to change. Not all students respond only to a look, but it’s a good place to start.
      3. Don’t be dismissive of your students. If they say/ask something inappropriate then say (in a calm, level tone), “That was inappropriate”, and move on. Don’t roll your eyes at them or take a tone that suggests that you think what they are saying/asking is stupid or not worth hearing. It might well be, but your job is to treat them with respect at all times. If they think you don’t respect them they will definitely not respect you.
      4. Think about why they probably don’t want to spend an hour in history class. When I was a 15 year old girl I didn’t much care for history class because we only ever read things written by white men and pretty much exclusively about white men. If the entire class is girls then definitely try to bring in sources by or about women at the time. Also, my experience with history was that it was a class about memorizing useless information. Even in my AP history class we didn’t do as much critical thinking as we could (should, perhaps) have done. The question running through the minds of your students is likely something along the lines of, “Why do I need to learn this? I’m never going to use it.” And they’re probably right that they won’t use information like the date of Antietam, or how many troops died there. But they will use skills that you can teach them. You might want to orient your class around making connections between things that have happened in the past and things that are happening today. Don’t just make it seem like all they’ll have to do is memorize.
      5. Overprepare. Bring more material than you think you’d ever get through in an hour. Until you’ve taught something a dozen times you don’t really know how long the content will take to get through. And even then you can be surprised. The last thing you want is to run out of material 30 mins in.
      6. Start and end the class with mini reviews. Either entrance questions for them to think about as they’re settling in, or just opening the class with a discussion of what you (would have) covered the previous day. And ending class with a recap, or mini-quiz, is a great way to tie things together.
      7. Take things in stride. Do your best to present a calm and collected demeanor at all times. This is true when you’re teaching but especially important when it’s part of an interview. Don’t let the students get under your skin. If they’re a troublesome class then they will try to, but don’t rise to the bait. I once told a student to put their phone away during lab, and she turned to me and said, “Ms. KMnO4, you look sloppy as f***”. I don’t remember my exact response, but it was calm and gave her no satisfaction. I wrote her up and called her mom in for a conference, so there were consequences, but I didn’t lose my cool in the moment.

      Tl;dr – make your class interactive, be respectful, don’t let them rattle you, and make history appealing to them

      1. Spegasi*

        Oh I love all your suggestions. I was thinking that if I do get the job (fingers crossed!) I would like to orient the class a bit towards source criticism. Like learning to question whether something is true based on the source of the information, what interests the author might have had and why the context of a source matters.

        One concern I have is that I look pretty young, so while I’m older by almost 11 years I’m afraid they won’t respect me as much. I was thinking that trying to show some empathy while remaining calm and a bit stern might do the trick? Like I can understand why they would rather be doing other things but as long as they turn in their work, do some studying for their tests and aren’t too distruptive I won’t be too harsh on them. Of course, if they refuse to do the bare minimun I would be tougher.

        1. blackcat*

          Source criticism is great!
          Provide multiple primary sources showing different perspectives on the same event. Doesn’t matter what event! I’d steer clear of current events to avoid political issues (fine while teaching, not file while interviewing). Have them try to figure out what “actually” happened.

        2. Double A*

          Yes, but also don’t apologize for what you’re teaching. I wouldn’t even say anything like, “I know you’d rather be X” because that’s patronizing and also they will take cues from you about how interested they should be in this stuff. If you act like it’s not the most interesting thing they could be learning, they’ll follow that lead and lap you by a mile.

          Instead, explain why it connects to their lives. I’m an English teacher, so when we’re finding evidence for essays, i connect it to the way other disciplines use evidence, and how they use evidence in their own arguments, say to try to convince their parents or friends of something.

          Also, history is super relevant– you can definitely find some way to connect what you’re teaching to contemporary events. That would even be part of your lesson or long term objective, to explain how the events of X are still playing out today.

        3. Smarty Boots*

          A nice way to end is with a stop light reflection:green = I totally got this, yellow = hmm, I’m not sure, I have questions, and red = whuuuuut? I don’t understand. Kids write a sentence or so for each color.

          Or, if that feels too cheesy for 15 year old girls (weirdly, college students love it. Maybe they are old enough to enjoy the cheese), a short written reflection on 1. What I know, 2. What I don’t understand, 3.questions I have.

          Or, a couple sentences on how what I learned today connects to what we learned in class last week.

          Or, if you use a primary text, say a woman’s or girls diary: pretend you are the author and write the next entry.

          And…probably you already do this, but be sure to circulate through the room. It’s a great way to “do discipline” — stand near the biggest misbehaver, moving closer if she doesn’t stop. Literally lean against the back of her seat if need be. Reach over and, without saying anything, close her laptop or take her phone and set it facedown on the table.

        4. Gaia*

          One of my favorite topics is public history focused on the history of statues. What does it mean when a horse has one leg in the air and what message is that meant to send to society? What do the statues erected say about a culture at a given time. Is that message factually accurate? Etc, etc, etc. Teens will usually love it because it is all abut questioning authority and the accepted narrative.

        5. Dr. KMnO4*

          I also look young for my age, so I understand your concern. Empathizing with them while also staying calm and enforcing standards is a great way to approach things. They will appreciate and respect you more if you show them that you believe they can succeed, want them to do well, and understand why they aren’t exactly excited about your class.

          I would also say, pick your battles carefully. When I was a student teacher I called on everyone at least once a week. Initially I had one student who never answered when I called on her. I would give her a minute to possibly answer, then when she didn’t I would say, “Anyone want to give [student] a hand?”. I didn’t make a big deal out of it, or try to force her to answer me. By the end of the year she was answering my questions. I think that since I didn’t turn it into a power struggle she was able to get comfortable with me eventually.

          If you are into music, there’s a metal band called Sabaton that sings about history. I’ve actually learned a lot more about history recently because I’m interested in their songs and I go look up the people/events they are singing about. You might want to check them out.

        6. Smarty Boots*

          Just to add, re your last couple of sentences about empathy/not being too harsh. Do not do this at your sample class, and do NOT do this if you get the job. You can be friendly, but you’re not their friend. You’re not there to say, Its ok as long as you’re not too disruptive and do some studying for tests. You’re there to challenge them and help them learn to think. Also, even though you think that you look younger (and to people your age and older, you do) — trust me, the students do not think you look that young. Dr KM’s advice above to kind but firm is spot on.

          1. Spegasi*

            Alright, I’ll take it all into consideration. But also when I say I look young I mean as in a month ago a high school kid hit on me at the mall, but for my peace of mind I hope it was because I wasn’t wearing any make up and wearing a Batman tshirt.

          2. blackcat*

            “the students do not think you look that young.”

            For realz. One parent saw me as I was helping load the bus for the beginning of the school year trip. I was in casual clothes. He asked his son who the “pretty new girl” was (ick). Kid’s eyes bugged out and he said, “That’s my physics teacher.”

            Several students thought I was 30+ when I was a young-looking 22. When one teacher wished me happy birthday and a student asked my age, he didn’t believe my answer until I showed him my ID. Parents struggled to believe I was older than their children.

        7. Ender*

          I think if you look young you can use that to connect with them. If you pick a bunch of young women from history who were awesome and make a PowerPoint about them on your first day you will get them interested. I’m thinking Sacagawea, Harriet Tubman, Sophie Scholl, etc. For every period in history you are teaching about Im guessing you can find and awesome young woman to do a project on.

          I would have probably been a lot more interested in history if we had done that!

    4. disney+coffee*

      Hi! Not a teacher, but when I was in high school, I was actually a student in a number of sample classes (I graduated in 2014). I always appreciated it when the teacher really seemed to respect us and ask us our opinion and our take on the material. That being said, it was always really obvious when someone was changing their personality trying to be “cool” just to keep our attention, so I would definitely recommend to be 100% genuine in that sense.
      I would also really avoid gimmicks and one-time things. In one of these mock classes, we were learning about Mesopotamia and the teacher brought in clay and sticks so that we could write in cuneiform. Yeah, it was fun to do something other than sit and listen but it was also really obvious that this was not an everyday sort of thing. We ended up learning basically nothing about Mesopotamia because the teacher spent all his time talking about cuneiform trying to tie in the activity. So it’s about finding that balance of doing something engaging and interesting, without it being too far from an everyday class.
      In terms of material, most schools really heavily cover up until WWII, but nothing after that. I think it can be hard to keep a group’s attention if you’re going over something they’ve seen how many times before. If you have the chance to choose the time that you’re teaching, maybe do something on the 50’s, 60’s, or 70’s and that’ll keep their attention longer simply because it’s something they probably haven’t seen before. In one class, we watched a few relevant SNL videos and then talked about the social commentary and the contrasting opinions of the time. Seven years later, I still remember that discussion because it was engaging and funny, yet it allowed us to come to our own conclusions about the topics.

    5. Traveling Teacher*

      You’ve got a lot of great ideas here, and I’m an EFL teacher, so my tips lean more towards “managing the unknown” re: timing. These are the top tips I give any new teachers because they help to manage both the students and your own behavior, especially if you’re feeling rushed or nervous. Our unconscious biases about the amount of time something “should” take a student are often unrealistic, causing a lot of unnecessary misunderstandings and missed learning opportunities.

      1. Write an agenda on the board, somewhere on the side. You can make it really obvious or use intriguing titles for your activities (Warning: using intriguing titles only works if your activity is, in fact, intriguing!). As you finish tasks, cross them off or erase them. For the students who are bursting to escape, this works as a calming mechanism. For you, it’s a quick visual reminder of what you still have to accomplish in the lesson, and you can pick up or slow things down accordingly.

      2. When you ask a question, make sure you wait at least 10 seconds before you begin speaking again to give the students time to process (I do 20 seconds with a new group because they’re EFL). Hopefully you will have practiced this during practicums and student teaching, but it’s so easy to forget if you’re feeling nervous. If you have a class with one or two “star” participators or even for a more complicated question, give the class exactly one minute to think and write down an answer. For students who hang back or need extra time to think, this can be a game changer in getting them to participate or offer an answer beyond “Uh, I don’t know.”

      3. When you give a time for an activity, also write the time on the board. For a 15 minute activity, write “15” plus the end time on the board: “10:20.” Update every 5 minutes, both written and verbal, and give a one minute warning at the end. This is an excellent “soft” way of putting pressure on them to complete their activity and on you to make sure things keep moving or adjust your expectations of the activity if things don’t go as planned.

      Then these are all about you and the preparations:

      4. Practice! Practice every piece of the lesson, no matter how routine it may seem. Time it. See how long that one hour lesson really takes to teach and adjust your plans from there.

      5. Always bring extra materials, activities, and games. Plan activities that have only a couple of steps to explain for this class. Double check your packing for your main lesson materials. If an activity doesn’t work or the lesson is tanking, you can confidently switch.

      6. Make sure you can do an hour with no technological support, even if you’ve been guaranteed a SmartBoard with all the bells and whistles. Always best to prepare for the worst! Also, wouldn’t it be terrible to waste 10 minutes trying to get your amazing, lesson-dependent powerpoint to work?

      7. When concepting your lesson, can you draw on something you’ve previously planned or tested? Either a cool learning activity you’ve done before, or subject matter that you have down cold, something along those lines. Just like planning a dinner party, pick one new thing to try plus the things you know you can already do well…

      Also, for your situation with the 15 year olds, can you ask a few friends to be a “test” class for you? Acting like 15 year olds, being as annoyed and annoying as possible, would be a fun way to work out the lesson on a real group of people. In my experience, friends love to do this, especially teacher friends. Great stress release and great feedback!

      If you can stand it: film it! Either your practice run-throughs alone or with friends. You’ll pick up on any strange gestures you make repetitively while speaking and see if you’re turning your back to the group often or other off-putting habits.

      Good luck!

    6. tangerineRose*

      There are a lot of places that do reenactments of various parts of history, some about battles, but others about what life was like in different times – some of these must be online, right? Showing the kids what things were really like where they can actually see it might make it more real for them.

      Kids might be more interested in learning about some specific people who lived in the time period and what their lives were like.

      I am not an expert on history, but I know enough about it to have felt annoyed by many of my history classes in school.

      History is generally all of the dramatic things that happened in the past – history now was the front page news of the day. It should be exciting or at least interesting, but most of the history classes I took were boring.

    7. Marshmallow*

      Sorry to be blunt (this will probably get removed for being unkind) but shouldn’t you already have some ideas on this from your teacher training?

    8. Indie*

      1) Develop an awesome, confident poker face. Greet them at the door with it. Kids don’t want an unsure leader, so keep your showface on and while it might get stern, or raise an eyebrow never let it slip off.
      2) Seating plans are your friend. Split up friendships and allies and get everyone comfortable working with anyone. Its also easier to learn names by referring to said plan. Mark out your territory in other ways too with wall displays etc.
      3) Break the ice with activities or introductions. Tell them something about yourself and encourage them to do the same. Its easy to disobey a stranger.
      4) Make it contraversial and hook them with debates. Put up a piece of historical propaganda or a contraversial question and ask for people’s responses. If you want to play this safe/keep the interruptions to a minimum have them respond via Post It and use the responses to address them and ask them questions.
      5) Give warnings in an even tone before consequences but follow through with whatever school behaviour policy is consistently. Use detentions to (genuinely) ask ‘what’s going on’? The answers may surprise you.
      6) Be still. Teachers like actors have to learn to not fidget and where to put their hands. When they are kicking off it can be outrageously confident to just freeze and keep looking at your watch for how many minutes they are losing from break time.

  25. sweet potatoes*

    Annual inventory (of our 1500 sq meter warehouse that is literally above capacity) was just announced for next Friday. I’m literally crying.

    1. Wishing You Well*

      Ask about inventory tolerances, meaning “what’s close enough?” One manager at my work stayed overnight re-counting hundreds of tiny little parts, because her count did not precisely match a previous count. Turned out we had a +/- 5 % inventory allowance on those tiny parts, so her overnight stay at work was for naught!
      Stay well and try to survive!

  26. Meems*

    Anyone have advice on networking, particularly if you are looking to move to a city where you don’t know anyone? I’ve been trying to use all the AAM advice as well as what has worked for me in the past, but I feel stuck. Perhaps it’s because I got laid off for the first time. I had expected that would make things much easier (eg no need to hide my search from current employer), but I’m still struggling on the best way to do this. Any advice (or just encouragement about the job hunt) would be much appreciated.

    1. irene adler*

      Find the local chapter of the professional organization in your field. Contact them and arrange to attend their monthly meetings. Also ask about their networking opportunities. Tell them your situation. Ask for their advice.

    2. Violaine*

      I just moved to a new area at the end of June due to my husband’s job relocating my family, and found a job easily in my industry through Indeed. They headhunted me, though, and my particular position in healthcare is in demand. I was lucky, in that respect. As for networking.. I’ve done very minimal networking. I’ve been in my role about a month and I’m still adjusting into it, getting to know people and involving myself in collateral projects in addition to training. A friend of mine used pretty extensively when she moved to a new area without knowing anyone. That could be beneficial for you, too. I haven’t, yet, but I’m still settling in. I wish you all the best of luck in your search!

  27. Youth*

    Good news: I’ve got a phone interview next week. It’s my first ever, so any tips are appreciated.

    Bad news: It’s with a company I didn’t actually apply to, and I don’t think I’m super interested in the position. They reached out to me on LinkedIn. Looks like the culture there is similar to the culture here…which is what I’m trying to get away from.

    Guess I’ll find out, though!

    1. Work Wardrobe*

      This will be good practice! I always had my resume and notes in front of me, so I could answer confidently.

      Seriously, I always looked at any interview as a way to try to master the process.

    2. ThatGirl*

      Be ready to answer basic questions – tell me about yourself, why are you interested in this job, etc. Have a quiet place to take the call, practice your answers out loud before hand, keep a glass of water nearby for sips and a notepad to take notes.

      Be ready with a few basic questions to ASK but remember this is probably an HR screen – so “tell me more about the position” and “how would you describe company culture” are fair – more details are good if it’s an actual hiring manager.

      1. Youth*

        I think it’s just an in-house recruiter. Not sure when the actual hiring manager will come into the process. Thanks for the tips!

  28. Frustrated Librarian*

    Our library offers a free, one-on-one career help service that has really taken off, and we are struggling to figure out how to deal with registration now that it’s become super popular.

    Right now we are doing it first-come, first-served via a sign-in sheet kept at the reference desk. My colleagues are putting the sign-in sheet out 30 minutes before the program starts. There are only five available slots per day. After 5+ years of conducting this service in an orderly way with no issues, suddenly over the past few weeks we’ve gotten an explosion of new patrons, who are coming anywhere from one hour to five hours before the program starts, and there’s a free-for-all when the sign-in sheet is put out. Both the librarians who conduct the service and the librarians at the reference desk who keep the list are at the end of their rope with this Walmart-on-Black-Friday type behavior. So are the patrons who actually show up at 2:50 or 2:55 pm for a 3 pm service, and are shut out. And patrons that show up at 10 am to be first and then aren’t are the angriest of all.

    The staff rejected my suggestion to do it by lottery system instead of first-come first-served free-for-all (having anyone who is interested pick numbers out of a hat, or something similar, at 3 pm when it starts), saying it’s too much work. I don’t know what else to suggest.

    I’ve started turning away the super early birds and curtly telling them to come back 15 minutes before the program starts, but none of my colleagues do this. We tried taking advance appointments and it was a disaster; half the appointments didn’t show, another large proportion were late, and we still had walk-ins anxiously waiting for the appointments not to show. Do any other librarians (or anyone else!) have experience managing registration for popular programs? I appreciate any suggestions.

    1. GrapefruitHero*

      Fellow librarian here. Congrats on running such a successful program!!

      Have you tried requiring registration in advance of the program date? When we hold programs that require registrations, we publicize them with a little blurb to call or email to register by the program date. As soon as it’s filled up, we have a waiting list. Folks on the waiting list get called before registration opens for the next session and get “first dibs.” If the program fills up with folks on the waiting list, we’ll advertise the program with something like, “Call to be added to the waiting list of this popular program! You will be contacted as soon as a spot becomes available.”

      Honestly, limiting registration to the day sounds like a huge mess and I would hate it.

      1. Frustrated Librarian*

        Thank you for your kind words. We tried exactly as you said above and results were disastrous. The patrons who registered in advance either didn’t show up at all, or showed up late and got pissed that we saw walk-in ahead of them. We scrapped that after a few weeks because it only made things worse. But thank you.

        1. GrapefruitHero*

          What a tough situation. My only other suggestion would be one I don’t quite agree with but was used at a former workplace for our popular computer classes: require people to register in advance and put down a $5 deposit. They’ll get the money back when they show up. It did cut down on no-shows, but it didn’t sit well with me because we were automatically excluding people who didn’t have $5 to spare.

          1. Hi there!*

            Just to tack on this, a local institution talked about doing this with their preserving family photos workshops. It reduced the number of no-shows as it gave people an inventive to show up on-time. Granted someone wanting career advice may not have the same disposal income as someone wanting to know more about preserving their photographs, but $5 may be the sweet spot. If they show up, they get their money back.

    2. Atlantic Toast Conference*

      If you’re committed to first-come first-served (since the lottery idea got rejected), can you put the sign-up sheet out when the library opens? That seems like a good way to avoid a brawl. It won’t solve your problem of making the program unavailable for people who arrive promptly, but it sounds like maybe that’s unavoidable for now, if you don’t have the resources to serve everyone.

      1. Justme, The OG*

        But if the library opens at 8 and services don’t start until 3, you’re rewarding those who can come in hours ahead of time.

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

      While the one-on-one service is really nice, are there any ways of making 1 or 2 of the 5 available slots into small group sessions of 3-4 people? Some people need a lot of individual help and some only need general questions answered.

      Other than that, make the sign-in sheet available first thing in the day, and at the start time, you start calling names at the top of the list, if someone isn’t immediately there at the start time, you go to the next person on the list, any walk-ins get added to the end of the list — no exceptions. If those early birds are desperate enough to wait around all day, they can and if they leave and aren’t back, the next one on the list gets the spot. Each day is a new list so it doesn’t get complicated.

    4. AnotherLibrarian*

      When I worked at the public library (mind you this was over a decade ago) we have free tax service that was similarly popular. We did not offer a sign up sheet for the day of. It was first come first serve; however, if you weren’t seen the first day than your name was added and you those folks were first up for the next day. However, we had more than 5 slots available.

      I really see only two options for this service: Require pre-registration and just deal with no-shows and don’t fill those slots with other people. And if people are more than 15 minutes late to their slot than too bad. That sucks for them, but you have a job to do beyond career counseling.

      Put out the sign up sheet exactly 1 hour early and don’t allow people to sign up earlier than that. You may need to go to your boss and explain that situation. Do they know what is going on? Are they willing to enforce stricter rules?

      Programs can die from their success. If this program has become deeply disruptive to your other patrons, you may need to scale it back or only offer it on specific days when you can run a larger workshop for 20 or 30 people at once.

    5. LilySparrow*

      Our library does advance online reservations, where you are automatically put on a wait list if it’s full, and the wait list cuts off after a reasonable point, it’s just shown as “fully booked, please try again next time.”

      They post all over the place that if you have a reservation, you must check in 5 minutes before the start time, or they will give your seat to the next person on the list. And if you’re on the wait list you must respond when your name is called, or they will pass over you.

      They open check-ins about 20-30 minutes before start time. They do check-in away from the front desk, close to the program rooms. There’s a bit of a crowd at check-in time, but there’s no free-for-all because everyone knows they are just going down the list in order. And everyone stays pretty quiet because they want to hear the names.

      1. LilySparrow*

        Not a librarian, but as a patron I have never seen “Black Friday at Walmart” reactions under this system. I think if chaos is your problem, clear & transparent structure is a good answer.

    6. Persephone Mulberry*

      Not a librarian, but I don’t see how a lottery system could possibly be more work than the mess you’re dealing with now. I’d have a numbered sign-up sheet available, people can put their name on the list at any time during the day, or maybe even at the previous session if they aren’t chosen for that day, and return at the program start time to see if their number is picked. Must be present at the time of the drawing. Random dot org to pick the “winners.”

    7. epi*

      I would be moving this to an online sign-up, stat. Any survey software should let you set this up, and then easily duplicate the survey for future sessions. From there it’s easy to select the first five responses or pick them randomly from the list. You’re in a library, so most people should be able to spread out to computers and do it there if they don’t have their own. People who call to inquire can give their information to whoever answers the phone, and let that person fill out the survey. This also gives you the option to let people sign up a few days out and know whether it is worth coming in or not. Plus, then if you want to offer future slots to people who signed up before and weren’t selected, you can easily do so.

      Just a tip with regard to randomly selecting participants– this is super easy and there is no need to pick out of a hat. Number the list. Then Google “random number generator” to get a Google card that will do exactly what it says on the tin. Set the number of hopefuls as the max, then hit “Generate” five times.

    8. ExcitedAndTerrified*

      I do a similar sort of program for computer training and job search assistance at the library I work at, and it is insanely popular (I usually end up providing between 50 and 70 hours of 1-on-1 assistance each month, with just me offering the service. I’ve never had a month where the number was less than 40 hours of patrons served, even if I took two weeks off for vacation). So, congratulations on serving your patrons well! Having a program be this popular is a wonderful thing, but definitely a harrowing experience for the staff.

      For my sake, I’ve moved to an appointment based system, rather than going first come first serve, but I only allow appointments to be made in the window between 48 and 24 hours before you want to have it. People who schedule things a week or more out tend to forget, or get offered a more attractive option, and I just don’t have the time to deal with that baloney. By making folks schedule things for tomorrow or the day after, they usually show up without too much fuss (about 80% of them show up on time, and most are only 5-10 minutes late). I also have become pretty strict about an only one strike policy – if you blow me off once, life happens, and I don’t hold a grudge. If you miss two appointments in a row, I put your name on a list, and you’re on a 30 day cool down before you can schedule another appointment.

      Now, you say advance appointments don’t work for you all – I’m curious if narrowing the window for what advance means would help or not. But its up to you if you want to experiment like that.

      One thing I might recommend though – Ask the folks who have all started coming in where they’re hearing about the service from. It may be that there’s a local shelter or unemployment office which, having found out you’re offering this service, is using you all as an auxiliary to the services they provide. If that’s the case, a polite phone call explaining the limitations of the service, and some pre-printed material about it’s hours and expectations delivered to them, can often do wonders for helping to set patron expectations and keep people from being upset (as an example, when a local senior center was telling people that they could just drop in at my library and get help with their smartphones, I was seeing a lot of angry people about the fact that I only had 15 minutes to offer, or that I’d gone on lunch break, or that I was on vacation/sick/in a car accident). When I figured out who was sending the patrons my way, I stopped by with a couple of flyers explaining how I wanted to do things, had a nice little sit down with their director for twenty minutes where I explained it was a single person running things, and also taking care of all the IT needs in the building, and how I was happy to serve his population within certain rules and expectations.

      Once the public knew the expectations, and were being told how things were going to be handled, I didn’t actually see any decrease in the number of folks stopping by, but they level of irritation anyone would show tended to be much less – They knew everyone had to make appointments, and that sometimes I would be too busy to see them right away. Because of that, they tended to understand, and when I do take a walk in, the person knows they’re being an exception.

    9. Ender*

      Put the sign-in sheet out as soon as you open. Let them sign and then leave and come back at three. When the sheet is full, put next weeks sheet out and next person who comes in tell them today is full but they can sign up and be guaranteed next week.


    10. Eve*

      Could you do advanced registration but mandatory checkin 15 minutes before and if you don’t check in your lose your spot to someone at the library at a first come basis?

  29. Why Do Managers Do These Things??*

    I need to rant.

    Well, no change in office mate behavior, he complains about having to do any work at all, is more focused on his phone than anything else, and it appears nothing is going to be done. The person assigned to help me with my work hasn’t been here for 2 weeks, and I’m not sure if she will return. I spoke with my manager, and while she was sympathetic and said she would do her best to find help for me, I’ve completely lost my patience with this whole mess. Seriously, you need to hire people who will show up to work, and if they do show up, actually do something!

    If there are any other managers out there who don’t like to deal with slackers and do what needs to be done, here’s what has happened. One of your highest performers is now at the point where she is ready to just say the hell with it, do the bare minimum, and call it a day. Why? What’s the reward if I go above and beyond? Nothing. And judging by what’s going on in front of my eyes, you’re not going to fire me, either. I’m pretty sure this isn’t the result you were looking for.

    1. Bea*

      Continue to do what you can and if you have time maybe pick up some of the extra that the slackers aren’t bothering with.

      You’re being taken advantage of and they do not care.

      Also please take your work ethic and desire to do well to another company. These people do not deserve you. They’ll give you fleas from all the dogs they keep laying down with.

    2. $!$!*

      This has happened to my husband. At his old job his boss told him that he couldn’t trust the other two workers so he just dumped everything on my husband. He got out ASAP and refused a counteroffer bc it wasn’t worth the hassle

      1. Bea*

        If you can’t trust someone there’s an ejection button for that purpose…omg omg omg. I’m glad he pressed s button himself!

  30. Cheesecake 2.0*

    Do you have a set of small tasks you save for when times are slow? I tend to clean up my desktop/office, make sure shared folders are all updated appropriately, write out a detailed 3-month chronological-order list of upcoming deadlines, read old emails to make sure I didn’t miss anything in the past and ask coworkers if they need assistance with anything smallish (since I will assuredly be busy again in a day or two).

    1. Amber Rose*

      I have a bunch of tracking spreadsheets that I only update when I’m bored. In them, I track all the serial numbers of the products we sell, who bought them when, and on what PO number. It’s monotonous, time consuming, and looks impressive if someone walks by my desk.

      I also do document reviews, where I check for spelling/grammar errors and any other changes or updates I need to make. I almost always find something.

    2. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I am working from home today because of the hurricane (after a couple of flickers, I am lucky to still have power and Internet) and there is nothing going on. My boss basically cleared his calendar, which cleared mine. I spent two hours this morning organizing my Outlook and got my inbox down to fewer than 100 messages, most of which are important things I want to keep for reference. In the office, I usually clean my space. Recently I updated some documents with things that only I care about. I also tend to make a lot of to-do lists.

    3. Bea*

      In the life I had when free time was limited, I used it for filing and reviewing accounts for accuracy. This is how I’ve found many errors before they were cemented into a period close…and seen many a mistake by former accountants who aren’t as uptight as I am about reviewing.

      I also have rewards accounts and so on to track.

      Or research upcoming employment laws or business news happenings to stay current.

    4. epi*

      I straighten up, re-check my to-do list, put anything on there I think I might forget even if it’s a ways off, and decide whether I want to do any of it today or if it can (or must) wait.

      Then I use my sweet university library access to read academic books and journal articles on topics of personal interest to me.

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

      Paper files. I keep electronic files organized and up-to-date as I go along in a project and we have an online job queue to track notes should any of my coworkers need to jump in while I’m out, but we also have a old fashioned back up paper file system where we are supposed to print out the job tracking notes, have a printed sample of the project, print out relevant emails, copy of the purchase order or invoice, etc. I hate filing papers and I almost never need to go back and reference the paper file so I tend to stack things up neatly but not quite collated until I have down time. I think some of my papers from the bottom of my stack might be almost a year old. I also tend to file the simple jobs more often and leave the complicated jobs for “another day.”

  31. Amber Rose*

    I have to face The Thing. The Thing is something I have been putting off since June, and the longer it goes the worse it feels. I know that I just have to suck it up and get it done, but it’s causing me such extreme stress and anxiety that I am having a very hard time. I have done every periphery thing related to The Thing except the actual Thing. I’m terrified someone is going to see me doing it and want to know why it wasn’t done three months ago when I said I’d do it. Also it has to get done soon because I have to start my audit within the next three to four weeks.

    I could use some encouragement or words of wisdom.

    1. anna green*

      Oh gosh, same. I am currently looking at something on my screen that was supposed to be done a few days ago, and today was the LAST. MINUTE. and I am still finding ways to not get it done. I am a horrible procrastinator.

      Just start. You’ll feel so much better once you start. That icky feeling in your stomach will go away and life will be sunshine and rainbows and birds helping you get dressed in the morning (okay maybe not, but really you’ll feel so much better)

    2. Greg NY*

      I just do it, knowing that once it’s done, it’s done, and it won’t be looming over my shoulder anymore.

      For those who don’t have the ability to focus all-in like I do, one strategy that really works is to commit to doing a little of it (e.g. 15 minutes worth). At the 15 minute mark, if you really can’t stand it, take a break. But chances are pretty high that once you start it, you will get into a groove and be able to finish off a large chunk (maybe all) of it.

      1. Reba*

        Yeah, this helps me. (In fact I need to do this, myself, pronto!) I tell myself, “I can do this for 20 minutes. Just see how far I can get in 20 minutes.”

    3. Almost Academic*

      Honestly, whenever this happens to me just starting is the best way forward. I remind myself that at multiple times in the past when I’ve felt like this, facing the anxiety head on and just doing it makes me feel way better than avoiding it (which just maintains the anxiety and worsens it instead).

      Also, better putting it off three months and getting started on it today, than three months and another day (which then has a way of spiraling to three months and a week, four months, etc…) Even just start by telling yourself to face it and work on it for five minutes today can help.

      Good luck!

    4. The Person from the Resume*

      I know this exact feeling. I hate my jerk brain which despite feeling so relieved when it is done throws up all those procrastination roadblocks.

      Best advice (which I have trouble following myself) is to just get started. Get staring promising yourself you only have to work (but really work) for at least 15 minutes (or however long it takes to accomplish a little something) but you can stop then if you want to.

      As long as I actually know what needs to be done (and the problem is not uncertainty on how to do it) I usually get going and work for longer than 15 minutes. It’s the starting that’s sooooo hard.

      1. Amber Rose*

        Uncertainty on all of what needs to be done is definitely one aspect of my anxiety. The other part is that what I know needs to be done will be an inconvenience to everyone until I’ve finished.

        Maybe I’ll work through lunch, try to do it when fewer people are around.

      2. epi*

        This is what works for me too. The uncertainty about what even needs to be done can be a huge demotivator!

        Another thing that sometimes works for me is breaking it down in my to-do list and writing down as much as I *do* know needs to be done. So I’ll have an item just for “read the edits on The Thing and make a to-do list as you go”, or “find out what data you already have for The Thing and what is outstanding” or “Read the instructions”.

        I recently paired the second approach with a suggestion I read to make *short* to-do lists, like five items long. I try to put a due date on mine which leads to figuring out: given the other stuff I have to do, what can I reasonably finish on The Thing this week? It feels way better to know.

    5. Random*

      Nearly every time that I feel this way about a project and procrastinate until the very last possible second to get it done, I find once I get working on it it’s not nearly as bad as I had worried it would be! Just starting is half the battle. You can do it!

    6. Bluebell*

      My useful motto is I can do anything for 15 minutes. That helps when it’s a really annoying task, and I often find that at the end of 15 minutes I’ll just finish things up. Good luck!

    7. Jemima Bond*

      Have you had to do The Thing before, or anything like it? Could you say to yourself, well I was really worried about Similar Thing last year and in the end it was fine.

      Suggesting this because a great technique I learned to deal with catastrophising is to think about previous times I was worrying something was going to go apocalyptically wrong, but it didn’t.

      1. Amber Rose*

        No. Part of the stress is just how much I have to do that I’ve never done before as a result of us moving to a new building. I feel very much adrift at sea.

    8. Scubacat*

      You can do this!
      Just start doing it, commit to interacting with scary thing for 15 min
      I’ve found that anxiety of Scary Thing is usually worse than actually dealing with Scary Thing.

    9. Persimmons*

      Pomodoro Technique! Customize and break it down into smaller bites until it’s tolerable. You can do anything for five minutes, right? Just start there, and keep putting one foot in front of the other. You got this!

    10. Not So NewReader*

      Line up your answer to the question why it wasn’t done 3 months ago.
      “Because I was working on A, B and C [labor intensive tasks].” Is probably good enough for anyone who is not your boss. Honestly, the only person you really have to explain yourself to is your boss, no one else.

      You can go in and chat with your boss. “I am finally starting Dreadful Task. I have concerns x, y and z. [Here pick your top 3 worst concerns, just enough so you can start the process.] See what your boss says about these things.

      You can line up resources (websites, phone numbers, cohorts) that you will use to help you to do the Task.

      I assume the Task will take a while to do. Let yourself up for air. I don’t know what is reasonable in your setting, I have taken my dreaded task and allotted a set amount of time each day. Once the time is up I move on to other work. This gives me the satisfaction of having done something and also gives me pressure relief as I move on to work I am more comfy with. I tend to prefer doing the difficult stuff in the morning before the day has a chance to wear on me. Other people might prefer the afternoon for opposite reasons.

    11. Anonymosity*

      You can do The Thing.

      My Thing was going through my files (at home). I had put it off for years–so long, that I ended up with four 13-gallon trash bags of shredded paper. It took forever because the damn shredder overheated. There is one bag’s worth left.

      We can do this.

    12. Earthwalker*

      What works for me is to get all the materials out onto the desktop (real or virtual) and go take a break. If I promise myself that I don’t actually have to DO it right now, it’s easier to get the stuff out. Once I come back from break, there it is all ready to dive into and can’t be ignored. If that’s still too daunting, I promise myself that all I have to do next is write down the steps I need to take to approach the problem and then I can stop and have coffee. It’s sort of like sneaking up on the procrastidon from behind.

    13. Tim Tam Girl*

      I’m not sure if this will be helpful to you, but whenever I’m feeling that way about a task – regrettably often, if I’m honest – I remember a line from a short story written by a kid I went to high school with, lo these many years ago: ‘If you do your homework, all of a sudden it’s done, and if you don’t it’ll never get that way.’

      Over-simplification? Absolutely. But also true. And it works particularly well for me because inevitably at some point, (the work I’m doing to avoid doing the work) + (the anxiety and distress the avoidance is causing me) > (the pain of just doing the bloody thing), and that line helps me do that math and mobilise myself.

      Good luck, Amber.

  32. Kristinemk*

    I need advice on how to let go while still doing a good job.

    Things are changing at my place of work – I’ve been there almost seven years, and seen it move from a small company that was sort of run on the side with me as the only home office employee to a larger company with a dedicated CEO and three accountants. This is great! It’s a great place to work!

    We’ve expanded quite a bit in the past several years, which is also great, but I’ve been wearing a lot of hats and working a lot of hours. We have a good accounting team, and we’re trying to move things to be scale-able instead of me touching everything. (great!) We’ve recently also gotten an operations manager, who is taking some of the things off the CEOs plate, so he can focus on acquisitions.

    However, the operations manager came in and decided to change everything to the way her last company was. We have a lot of room for improvement and a lot of streamlining that can be done, and I’m happy to get on board with making our processes better. There has been some conflict because I feel that she hasn’t taken the time to find out how and why we do things before she changes them, but I think we’re getting better with that. Our CEO isn’t someone that clearly defines roles and gives a lot of direction, so he has given her some high level conversations on what he wants to happen, and I think she is making that happen as best she can. I am also trying to let go of all the operations things I was handling – it’s a little difficult, because there’s no clear line between “this is your job” and “this is operations that you were handling” since I’ve done everything from the beginning.

    How do I not feel so invested in this company? I have poured hours and so much of my energy into it, and now many things are changing (maybe for the better, maybe not). I come in each day, and I no longer know if what was considered a good job yesterday is now going to be considered unacceptable work (yes, this is a quote) or what will change.

    I know I just need to come in and do a good job and leave work at work, but at the same time, I will need to get year end done, which normally involves a lot of late nights and weekends – if I don’t change my attitude, and am constantly wondering what will change next with no warning, I don’t know how I can motivate myself to do that.

    1. SleepyInSeattle*

      Wow. I could have written this a few years ago. right down to the operations manager who came in and did the exact same thing. It’s a tough position to be in. You don’t want to be seen as resisting change. Or being that person who is desperate to maintain the status quo when you need to grow. But it’s understandable to be irritated and worried when someone comes in and makes changes before they even really understand what you do and why you do it that way now.

      In my experience, I needed to be very honest with my boss and the new person coming in. I had built up a lot of credibility over that time and decided I was going to play some of those cards because it was making me miserable and I knew I was a valued employee. I also knew that there was a good chance the best move was going to be to leave. So I played my cards, but also started job hunting right away while I waited to see how it played out. I had a heart to heart with the new person and said “hey look, I’m totally open to change. And I respect that you have been brought in to improve this. I think it’s great. I’ve been doing all of this on my own for a long time and have invested a lot of myself in this role when I was doing it independently and I’m so glad to see that investment paying off in growth. But I also, given my deep experience here, would love to be more involved and it would be really great if we could collaborate more on these new processes/expectations. I have a lot of valuable information and context that will help you make the best decisions possible. I respect that the final decision with this lies with you, but maybe you could work with me to understand why we have things structured a certain way before making changes. Or ask for input, again with the understanding that the final decision is yours, about new processes. It would go a long way towards helping us work as productively as possible together.”

      I did the same thing with my boss, who was also her boss. He really understood and asked her to slow her roll on some of the new changes and get more input from existing staff. it helped.

      But again, know that it may not be the place you loved working anymore. Sometimes growth changes what we liked about a job. It might be a good push to see what else is out there and go into that search with the knowledge that you’ve helped grow a company and have now outgrown your role and that’s a great accomplishment.

      1. Auntie Social*

        You might suggest that you and some other long term staff are sort of the institutional memory since you’ve been there so long, and maybe you could help her realize why Teapotz Ltd. has always done things a particular way. Maybe staff could have some input when new programs are being rolled out. It sounds like she’s doing that for HER comfort, because that’s what she’s used to, rather than living with your system a while to see what works and what needs improvement.

    2. Bea*

      First off your investment in your company is not bad and you don’t need to detach completely. You don’t need to just “do your job well and leave it all to the wind” if that’s not your natural state.

      Now on to advice to lessen your stress.

      I’ve been there in other ways and always worked in small growing businesses (except the ones that stopped growing and were dying, which brings in similar issues, believe me!)

      Try working close with your ops manager. Let her know you’re game for change and happy she’s there. Tell her you want to continue being a team player and if you can get on the same page. Approach it as a good time to shake out those wrinkles.

      She could be so focused on the CEO’s vision they’ve spoken of,she’s blind to The Original Setup and that you need to be involved if only so you can provide your best contributions. You’re not resisting change and that’s what will make this work well for you all.

      These will bond you more to the manager who will appreciate it. It’s growing pains.

      Please don’t detach unless the manager makes it clear she’s not taking you into consideration or is totally disregarding you, you know?

      You’re expertise and experience and loyalty matter even when you feel brushed off vaguely. It’s about adjusting to going with the current flow. That’s why I plug into the oddest situations and I’m all in to a company I’m with until I’m ready to leave.

  33. Amy Farrah Fowler*

    Tangentially work related. My husband works as a teacher at a tiny private school. They’ve been decreasing in enrollment over the last few years. 2 years ago it was bought out by a new owner. Most teachers made it through just fine, but even my husband is seeing the writing on the wall that with less and less enrollment, it could close down. Here’s the rub. My husband works as the computer teacher and since that’s an elective (and he’s proven himself time and time again), it’s not *required* that he have a teaching certificate in our state. And he doesn’t. He also doesn’t have a college degree because he never finished.

    I think I have finally convinced him that he needs to make the effort to go to school and get the degree so that he will be able to find another teaching job in the future (should the need arise). I am a super into education, love school, have toyed around with getting a masters in education. I am so entrenched in how this could affect our joint finances and how he could be doing something he would enjoy much more (teaching just high school instead of having to deal with little kids which he finds annoying).

    What are the best ways I can support him as we embark on having him go back to school? He’ll still be working and he’ll likely need to be a part-time student most of the time. He didn’t do well at his first attempt at school because he “didn’t know what he wanted to do” and I think to some extent he’s still not sure what he wants to “be when he grows up”, but he’s nearly 35! At some point you just have to make a decision and do something! At his first attempt he also failed a number of classes. This was before I knew him, but from what I’ve been able to glean, he didn’t really try very hard because he didn’t have a goal to use the degree, so it wasn’t a priority. He also said that sometimes he just stopped going to class. As such, he doesn’t have a ton of confidence in himself, and so I’ve tried to really point out the differences and that I know he can do it and that I’ll be there every step of the way. What else can I do to make sure this is a success for him?

    1. Alice*

      There is a lot more support for students now than I remember when I was in school. So, encourage him to be proactive about counselors, tutoring, workshops that are offered for free to students.

    2. Jenna P.*

      Before encouraging him to go back to school, I would do research into the job market in your area and pull up a bunch of job descriptions for him to look at, to see if he is interested in any of them. Then if he finds some he likes, he can look at the qualifications for them and see what type of education he needs to work in that job.

      1. Amy Farrah Fowler*

        He enjoys the teaching he’s been doing, and this job he got as a sheer fluke (his best friend’s wife used to be the admissions director at the school and managed to get him hired). He’d never get in at another school without a degree/teaching certificate, so that’s what I think we’re trying towards.

        1. Smarty Boots*

          Your last sentence is telling: is this what your husband is trying for? Or what “we” (or you, for us) are trying for?

          That’s meant kindly, truly. If he wants to continue in this field, then that’s great and you can direct him to the school/department he’d go to so that he can talk to them about what he needs to do to continue in this field. But he needs to want to do it, and he needs to do the follow through.

          Of course you can discuss with him what your hopes are, what the needs are for your marriage and household.

          If he doesn’t want to do it, all the effort you put into it will not help.

          1. Amy Farrah Fowler*

            Yeah, we have been having those conversations which are hard, and he admitted that he needs a bit of a push, and I made sure with him that he wouldn’t resent me for helping give him that push towards what he wants, but is afraid to try. So I say we because we are a team, and I want to help him in any way I can, but I know that he has to be the one to take the classes and do the assignments.

          2. AMPG*

            Yeah, that was my thinking, too. You have a lot of “we” language in your post, and it seems unclear to me whether he actually wants to be on this path. And for that reason, I would suggest backing off quite a bit with your help. Be there for him if he asks, but beyond that let him do it on his own.