sending flowers on someone’s first day of work, I have a view of the apartment of an enthusiastic nudist, and more

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

1. Sending flowers on someone’s first day of work

I work at a smaller organization, and Sansa, who manages our 10-person junior staff, is leaving after working here for the better part of the last decade. She’ll be sorely missed, and the head of the organization has indicated plans to do some kind of sendoff for Sansa. Today a fellow junior staffer named Arya emailed the junior staff saying that she wants to send a flower arrangement to Sansa’s new office on the first day of her new job “instead of a parting gift.” Arya specified that each junior staffer might consider contributing $5-10, but that no one should feel pressured to contribute. Everyone else is on board with the idea.

What do you think of this? If it were me, I wouldn’t really want old coworkers sending me flowers at my new office on Day 1. I’d be nervous about meeting new people, setting the right tone, and getting set up at a new organization. I think I’d be self-conscious if a big flower arrangement from my old coworkers showed up at my desk on my first day. I also just think it would be nicer to give Sansa a gift in person when we’re still in the office together, since realistically many of us probably won’t see her again after she leaves.

If it matters, Sansa is a pretty senior-level woman. I think part of my knee-jerk unease might come from being an early-career woman in a field dominated by older men, and getting flowers at my desk on day 1 feels a bit at odds with the professional image I’d want to project during my first impression. I’m probably overthinking this though. I plan to pitch in and join the gift because it doesn’t seem worth objecting to, but I wanted to know if you have any thoughts about this gift idea.

Yeah, it’s a really nice thought, but a lot of people wouldn’t want flowers on day 1.

For one thing, some people don’t even have a desk on day 1! They’re in training, or moving from one orientation meeting to another, and may not have anywhere to put a vase of flowers. And you really don’t want the distraction on your first day of trying to figure out what to do with a big bouquet.

For another, assuming you do have a desk to put them on, you’re going to get a lot of “flowers already?” comments and will have to explain they’re from your old coworkers, and that’s sweet but also maybe a little odd, and you’d probably rather be focused on other things. It’s also … pulling you back to your old job mentally, at exactly the moment when you want to be focused on the new one.

That said, some people would love and appreciate it! It depends on the person, but it’s the kind of thing where you need to know them well enough to be sure they’d be into it. In this situation, where Arya is junior and Sansa is senior, I don’t think Arya can know, and so a gift in person before Sansa leaves is a better idea.

Read an update to this letter here.

2. My office window looks right into the apartment of an enthusiastic nudist

My colleagues and I decided to reach out to you with a problem that’s recently developed. Our office is on the seventh floor of a downtown building. Two streets away is a recently completed apartment complex with a penthouse level with two apartments with floor to ceiling windows. One apartment keeps the shades down. The other always has them fully up. The resident routinely walks around during office hours naked or in a bra and underwear. Today she walked out on her balcony undressed.

The apartment is exactly in our line of sight (particularly in my office), and it’s impossible not to notice. This may seem funny or titillating to some, but we find this very distracting and unwelcome. What is the best course of action? Email the management company? Stop by the lobby and say something to the front desk person? Maybe she doesn’t realize just how visible she is.

Well … it’s really up to her what she does in her own apartment. In some jurisdictions the balcony piece of this would violate public decency laws, although it sounds like that may have been a one-time occurrence. If this is mainly about her being in underwear or naked in her own home, that’s not really something you can or should interfere with. It’s more just a reality of city living; people are crammed together and you’re going to see things.

But I certainly understand why it’s distracting when you’re at work! I’d instead look into measures you can take on your own side, like curtains (gauzy ones would let you still have sunlight but would probably make her less noticeable) or changing the angle of your desk.

At the very most, if you can figure out how to get a note directly to her, you could leave a note saying that she may not realize she’s so visible to people across the way — but you don’t really have standing to insist she put on more clothes in her own home.

3. Can my resume say I’m still employed while I’m getting severance?

I was recently laid off as part of a company reorganization. A friend advocated for listing my employment with my former employer (on LinkedIn and my resume) as extending until the end of my severance period. After hearing that, I began to notice when former colleagues had end dates on LinkedIn that didn’t jive with what I knew about their circumstances.

I can understand where the recommendation comes from, as it eliminates any unfair stigma of being unemployed. However, I don’t want to be behaving unethically, nor do I want to set up incorrect expectations around my separation date. This decision also has other downstream consequences like what I list as my “current employer” on job application forms, what my profile headline is on LinkedIn, how I discuss my situation in networking, and in particular how to address this in-person interviews. Part of me wants to set expectations well upfront (and be clear about my separation date) so people are not surprised, but I also don’t want to self-sabotage myself at the application stage—especially if others are not and it is seen as appropriate.

In short, I would feel much better about my choices knowing what was the right and ethical thing to do. I’m fine being transparent and accepting the stigma if that’s right. Alternately, I would be much less anxious about addressing it in the interview if extending the separation date was an acceptable practice.

The key question is: What dates of employment would your employer confirm? Because some prospective employers are going to check that as part of a reference check, and if you’re saying you were employed there until August and they’re saying you left in May, that’s going to be a problem. And while there are some employers willing to say you were “employed” for the duration of your severance, most won’t do that.

Your LinkedIn is less of an issue than your resume. Lots of people don’t update their LinkedIn instantly when they leave a job. But your resume should be accurate — or at least line up with whatever your employer will say if they’re called.

4. Does this rejection email mean they could still come back to me?

Today I got a very unexpected rejection email from a job I was sure I was going to get after three rounds of interviews. I’m a graphic designer and interviewed with the creative director. He emailed me this:

“I appreciate your interest in [company name] and the time you’ve invested in applying for the designer opening. We are going to move forward with another candidate, but I’d like to thank you for talking to me and giving me the opportunity to learn about your skills and accomplishments, along with completing the creative brief and presenting back. You are a talented designer, and am sure you will do will in your next position. I wish you good luck with your job search and future endeavors.”

The part I have a question on is when he says “We are going to move forward with another candidate.” Does that mean the other candidate has already accepted the offer? Is it possible the other candidate may actually reject the job offer, and then it will be turned over to me? Is this wishful thinking? I’ve been trying to get a new job for a very long time now, and I am repeatedly being rejected. This job was the closest I came to being hired. If you could give me some insight, that would be very helpful.

It doesn’t necessarily mean that another candidate has accepted an offer, but it does mean that they’ve taken you out of the running. Typically if they were going to want to hire you if their top choice declined, they wouldn’t have rejected you yet. It’s not 100% impossible that they could come back to you at some point, but it’s very unlikely. This is a rejection. I’m sorry!

5. My boss wants me to work a weekend day to make up for a vacation day

I used PTO on Saturday. I am off Sunday and Mondays. My boss’s exact words in text to me were this: “Hey —- just a friendly reminder since you’ll be taking Saturday off, Monday is mandatory to come in and stock.” 

Can my employer make me come in on my day off because of a day I used PTO for?

Legally, yes, they can change your schedule on a whim. But this is weird because Sunday and Monday are your weekend, and using PTO to take a day off generally means you don’t need to make it up. This would be like telling someone who works Monday through Friday, “Since you’re taking off Tuesday, you’ll need to come in on Saturday.”

You could try replying back, “I was planning to be back at work on Tuesday as normal, since my schedule is Tuesday through Saturday.” If necessary, you could say, “I have other commitments on Monday since that’s not a day I’ve ever been scheduled for.” And if necessary, “Are you saying that when I use a paid vacation day, I need to make up that day afterwards?”

{ 549 comments… read them below }

  1. EtherIther*

    #2 – In my opinion, leaving a note would be really weird… I don’t think it’s likely she is unaware that she lives in a major city. She doesn’t care. Let her live in her home.

    And uh, not to mention, some people might take that as a challenge and act even more so in ways you don’t like.

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        That’s literally all I could think of.

        But I agree that the onus is on OP/OP’s employer to come up with a way to limit visibility (i.e., window treatment), not to try to convince someone two streets away that they’re not allowed to exist in whatever state of (non)clothing they wish in their home. If I received a note from a building two streets away, I would think they were using binoculars or other sight-aids and being generally creepy.

        (I’m not saying OP is being creepy; just saying that once it’s farther than “across the street,” the person receiving the complaint is going to wonder, rightly or wrongly, why someone is expending so much energy to watch them in their home.)

        1. min*

          The two streets away part stuck out to me, too. How distracting can she be from that far away?

          1. LavaLamp*

            Depending on the buildings orientation, the physical address may be two streets away, but the angle of the builidngs could make it a lot closer than it seems? I live near Denver and most of our buildings are built at an angle which is what made me think of this.

            1. Krabby*

              Yeah, 2 blocks is a lot. We had this same problem, but way closer. She was always completely naked and sat on her balcony and smoked for an hour every morning. We were so close together that she used our mirrored windows to apply her makeup sometimes. So in essence we had a naked woman sitting three meters away from a room full of tech guys who she could not see. It was very weird, but there wasn’t really any way to address it because curtains that worked would have blocked off all the light on the floor. You just learn to live with it, and we took clients and candidates in through the other side of the office.

              1. WillowWeep*

                Wow, she was 10 feet away and applying makeup? Impressive. Most people I know need to be 10 inches away from the mirror!

                1. Ego Chamber*

                  I could maybe do lipstick from 10 feet away but anything more fiddly than that? I call bullshit.

        2. HannahS*

          I have to wonder, if she’s two streets away, how much they’re really able to see? The people in the apartments two streets away from me are very small. I could tell if someone was naked on their balcony, but they would occupy a small part of my window. Is it distracting because seeing someone (especially someone opposite-sex) undressed in the middle of the workday is jarring and feels weird? More to the point, would it be equally distracting if she were clothed? Because if having someone move about at your eye-line is distracting, they need curtains or frosted glass regardless of what she’s wearing. If it’s distracting because of the surprise and discomfort around nudity, then they need curtains or frosted glass. Or they need to be able to direct their eyes elsewhere.

          I’m sympathetic to the situation–I’d be uncomfortable if I was working an office job and a naked man was in my line of sight, but people can do what they want in their home. And while your eyes certainly can feel pulled to look at things that are unexpected and (or uncomfortable, or taboo), it really is within a person’s power to learn to avert their gaze.

          1. Micklak*

            I kind of wish that I was still at a point in my life when nudity would be so distracting to me that I wouldn’t be able to work.

        3. valentine*

          I would think the nudity would soon get old. I’d lead by example and kill the discussion.

          There are decorative privacy panels with a blurred image or lace that claim to block the view but let in light.

          1. The Cosmic Avenger*

            The cheapest method would be a window cling, which is thin vinyl/plastic usually just sticks by static cling. I found one that gives your window a frosted look for $7 on Amazon, and it’s over 1 foot by 6 feet! And that still lets in sunlight. In fact, the OP could cut it to just block the area of the apartment from where they normally sit, if they wanted to look out at other things. (I find it helps prevent eyestrain to look out the window for 10 seconds or so a few times an hour.)

            1. Falling Diphthong*

              I put these up in the bathrooms–a challenging environment for them per the packaging–and they’ve been no problem. You could cut out a decorative panel and stick it to the window so it blocks the view of her apartment.

              1. Psyche*

                I like that idea. If the main problem is the view from OP’s desk it is a very easy solution that still lets her have a view of the city.

              2. Goya de la Mancha*

                This. But because I think a office with a window/view is something some people find very appealing, you could even cover just part of the window. So if you’re at your desk or a work table it’s not visible, but if you’re walking around your office on a call you can still see your view of everywhere else.

            2. JSPA*

              Good for preventing bird deaths, too, if you do it right. And explicable as such. And not a fire code violation, so far as i know. If there’s direct sun, the ones you wet down before sticking will work more reliably, btw.

            3. SunnyD*

              My neighbor complained that I breastfed in my kitchen, which he (and wife & young daughter) could see into. He didn’t close his blinds, just got my number from the landlord and called me. I stammered an apology, then after got mad and started breastfeeding regularly outside, on my front porch along a busy road, as is legal where I live.

              I did put up frosted window film on all bottom windows though, because I wanted to be able to run to the laundry when half-dressed or after a shower if necessary.

              1. AKchic*

                I would have complained to the landlord about giving out your phone number to a strange man who had (for all intents and purposes) been peeping into your window.

        4. animaniactoo*

          Yup. I work in Manhattan. A hotel went up across the street from my building. On the side of the building that all the conference room and showroom windows face.

          Initially we were a bunch of little 2nd grade voyeurs laughing about it when people were walking around naked, and then it became old news. Nobody cares anymore.

          But curtains did go up in the showroom to make the skyline visible but hide the direct view of the hotel rooms so that visitors don’t get the titillation/outrage experience.

      2. Not Tom, Just Petty*

        I thought that was kind of a contrived device on the show, I mean who does that? And then I started working in an office building downtown that was connected perpendicularly to a hotel. A few times a year, we’d be in the little 20th floor cafeteria eating breakfast and see a naked guy on a cell phone, maybe two floors down, one leg up on the window sill talking on his cell phone or something like that. So the answer is, people. People are naked in their homes and hotels.

      3. Patty Mayonnaise*

        And Rear Window! Well without nudity. The ease with which city dwellers can spy on their neighbors is well-documented in pop culture.

    1. fhqwhgads*

      I don’t think she’s unaware that she lives in a major city, but I think it’s 50/50 whether she knows she’s visible and doesn’t care or thinks she so high up/ far away from anyone else that she must not be visible and does not realize she is very visible.

      1. Jasnah*

        This was exactly my thought and I’m rather perplexed that Alison and others are already taking the “she must know, and must prefer not to change her ways” stance.

        Why not find a way to get a message to her door, to the effect of, “Just so you know, our office is at exact eyeline with your apartment and has clear visibility of your balcony and apartment when the curtains aren’t drawn. We just wanted to let you know to protect your privacy.”

        Then if the resident chooses to ignore that, you can buy curtains for your office. But it saves face for everyone involved.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Wait, what? That’s not my stance at all. My stance is that you can’t complain because she can do what she wants in her own home, but if you must do something, you can leave a note letting her know she’s visible because she may not realize it. So basically what you just said :)

          1. Jasnah*

            Sorry for mischaracterizing you! I realize it wasn’t clear from my comment, but my first assumption was like fhqwhgads, that perhaps she doesn’t know she is visible from that far away, and might appreciate a heads-up. Not a complaint, but a heads-up (or at least treat it that way). I was confused that people are jumping to “well she can do what she wants”/ “I’d be creeped out if someone was watching me” instead of “maybe she can’t tell that she is visible from that angle.” I live in one of the biggest cities in the world and it’s not always obvious what is visible to people outside the house, especially since the building is new so no one has dealt with it before.

            1. Jasnah*

              Also for what it’s worth, one of the other parts of city living is using curtains/frosted glass in your apartment especially if you have many large windows and a balcony, as well as generally being considerate of others, even while you’re in your own home… so while OP may have legal standing to complain, I do sympathize.

              1. Working Hypothesis*

                Eh. I grew up in midtown Manhattan. It’s true there are a few things people routinely don’t do in their own homes out of courtesy to their neighbors (playing their music too loud without headphones, etc), but walking around inside the apartment wearing whatever the heck they please has never been one of them. If I were told that somebody two blocks away wanted me to put down MY blinds for the sake of THEIR feelings, I’d tell them to put down their own and quit bothering me.

                Why the LW *doesn’t* simply put down their own — or an the boss for permission to put up an equivalent if they’re in one of those obnoxious offices that don’t have window coverings — is not mentioned in the letter, but frankly, everything that *is* discussed in the letter oozes entitlement to such a degree that I’d be surprised if it ever ever crossed their mind that they could actually do something on THEIR end if they didn’t want to see. Their pearl-clutching and demands to be allowed to go to this woman’s LANDLORD, for crying out loud, and try to get them to pressure her to obey their orders in her own home, is one of the most offensive things I’ve seen from a letter writer on this site and I’m frankly surprised Alison didn’t come down harder on him for it.

                I’m all for urban manners, but the polite way to handle people being nude inside their own space has always been to either pretend you can’t see it or take your own steps within your own space to make it so.

                1. Triplestep*

                  Also grew up in Manhattan, and totally agree.

                  And please don’t bring in gauzy curtains or rearrange your furniture. Speak to the person who is in charge of such things. (Said with my office designer hat on. So many reasons not to do this, the most important being commercial fire code.)

                2. EOA*

                  You keep saying that the LW proposes to go to the person’s “landlord” but LW does not say that. OP said that they were thinking of approaching the women’s property management company, which is not the same as the landlord.

                  Quite frankly, I don’t see this letter oozing entitlement. I think that has to do with your own emotional reaction to it as opposed to what is actually in the letter.

                3. The Original K.*

                  I’m all for urban manners, but the polite way to handle people being nude inside their own space has always been to either pretend you can’t see it or take your own steps within your own space to make it so.
                  Lifelong city dweller here, and I agree. You either ignore it or do what YOU can do in the space you have control over. So either OP hangs up window coverings or just has a nudist person she can see sometimes, and that’s part of what it means to work where she works. Asking the woman to cover up in her own home is way, way out of bounds.

                4. No Longer Working*

                  Agreed! As Stuart Smalley once said, “It is easier to put on slippers than to carpet the world.”

                5. Phoenix Programmer*

                  Typically the property management company employs the landlord … So yeah it really is the same as reaching out to the landlord to get her in trouble for how she acts on her own home.

                6. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

                  Never lived in Manhattan (though wish I’d have), but came to say something like this. Being nude in your own space is a pretty common thing that people do. LW says they work “downtown”, so I assume they live in a suburb where houses are far enough apart that they’ve never seen anyone do that – well, it is being done nonetheless.

                  Tangential story: I dated someone for two years who basically stripped naked the minute he walked into his house. He just didn’t like having clothes on while being in his own space. It was his own house, but on a street where houses are close together, so I imagine people occasionally got an eyeful – no one complained. He told me that one morning, he woke up and happily walked into his kitchen buck naked to start breakfast and whatnot, only to find his elderly female neighbor and her adult daughter standing in his kitchen. The door was unlocked and they just wandered in, to ask to borrow a cup of sugar or whatever it was they wanted. No words were exchanged, no complaints were filed, and that neighbor never came into his house without knocking again.

                7. Aunt Vixen*

                  Phoenix – the landlord owns the place. The property management company is employed *by* the landlord. You may be thinking of the super(intendent).

                8. Phoenix Programmer*

                  In every place I have rented the landowner employs the property Management group who act as the landlord (eg maintenance and eviction rights). But in both of those cases reaching out to the property management is essentially reaching out to their landlord. It’s going too far to risk getting someone evicted for being naked in their home.

                9. neeko*

                  @EOA I mean, this seems like a nitpicky quibble. Landlord, property manager, front desk person? The OP intends to basically tattle and/or embarrass on the person in the apartment.

                10. sam*

                  part of the issue may be also that most office buildings these days have those reflective windows, so while you can see her, she may not be able to see you, and may not realize that she’s visible.

                  I worked in an office with a similar…issue – we were on sixth avenue directly across from a large hotel, and once in a while there would be…something…going on in full view of our offices. we’d just shut our blinds and go on with our day. Because it was a hotel it wasn’t worth trying to get a message out as the visitors were transient.

                  But also in an even prior office job, I worked in a building with a view of, well, Playboy’s headquarters. Also, Howard Stern used to broadcast from *our* building when he was still on terrestrial radio, and some of his stunts ended up being visible in the neighborhood.
                  That was a whole other level of weird.

                11. Elizabeth West*

                  @I Wrote This in the Bathroom

                  I hate when people just think they can come in without knocking.

            2. Seeking Second Childhood*

              A lot of people look out at mirrored glass and *assume* their own building is mirrored when it might not be. And even mirrored glass isn’t reflective if the interior is lit more brightly than the outside — which is easy in a city because the “downsun” side can be in shade while the building across the street is in full sun.
              That doesn’t address the balcony issue though… so I’d suggest sending a note to the building management asking them to inform penthouse residents that their balconies & windows are visible from office buildings that are occupied during working hours. And then consider if you want your view enough to put up with the occasional nudity or if you’d rather put up one of those static-film removable posters that cling to your window.

              1. MoopySwarpet*

                Like the pilot who thought he was behind mirrored glass at the hotel at DIA and flashed the entire terminal resulting in indecent exposure charges (they were dismissed).

          2. Bulldog*

            Your assumption is in error. You cannot do what you want in your own home. In most states you can be guilty of indecent exposure in your own home if others can see you.

            1. Dust Bunny*

              . . . because if you’re readily visible from the street/neighboring building, what you are doing is effectively no longer just in your own home.

              I walk around my house naked all the time, but either with the blinds down or on the side that doesn’t face the street.

            2. Working Hypothesis*

              I have never heard of that charge being supported unless the person was very, very obviously doing it **on purpose** to be seen by those outside.

        2. rider on the storm*

          I would feel very uncomfortable in my own home after receiving a note like that.

          1. Traffic_Spiral*

            Yeah, but I think if I was giving a show to the neighbors I’d want to know about it.

            1. Anonymeece*

              I’m with you. I think a lot of people are taking the stance that the woman doesn’t mind being seen naked, and that’s fine! That’s totally cool! But some people do mind. It doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy walking around in their underwear or naked, but they might mind being seen by strangers in an office building.

              1. Anonymeece*

                Clarifying: For the record, if the woman doesn’t mind, then no, the OP does not have any standing to enforce it. Get a decal or curtains for your office windows. But I don’t think it’s inherently awful to think of giving a heads-up to the woman just in case she doesn’t realize.

                1. Dust Bunny*

                  If she’s on the balcony, I’m guessing she either doesn’t mind or is actively sort of exhibitionist. I cannot imagine anyone assuming that they couldn’t be seen *on a balcony*. It’s not like she can’t see that there are other buildings around.

                2. Working Hypothesis*

                  The problem is that going to the property manager of her building is not simply letting her know that she can be seen, in case she might mind. It’s getting her in trouble with someone who has the power to evict her. There is no way the LW has mentioned considering — and since they don’t know who she is, I’m guessing there is no way the LW *could* consider — to communicate the information to her in a private way that does not bring those with power over her into the matter.

                  And once those with power to evict come into the situation, it ceases to be simple notification and becomes pressure to obey. Really nasty pressure, backed up by implicit threat (and maybe explicit, if the property manager decides this is embarrassing to the building).

                  Given that the LW has said nothing in the entire letter about wanting to communicate for the sake of the woman’s own possible feelings, and everything about wanting to communicate because the LW themself doesn’t want to have to see her, I’m betting considerable stakes that this was the intention in the first place, not merely notifying her in case she prefers not to be seen.

            1. Phony Genius*

              You remind me of an old Benny Hill sketch where he removed his clothes, then his skin, then his bones.

              1. virago*

                As Lee Morse sang so well:
                “When you hear sweet syncopation
                “And the music softly moans
                “T’ain’t no sin to take off your skin
                “And dance around in your bones…”

          1. Goya de la Mancha*

            Lol this was my original thought. Post-its or a giant posterboard :-p

            OP – don’t do this.

      2. Mookie*

        She was well aware she could, theoretically, have been seen by any number of people/drones/cameras/whatever while on her balcony, so even if she’s not aware of her anti-fan club across the way, she pretty obviously doesn’t care about random witnesses seeing her in post-drop trou mode on occasion.

        I can’t imagine a note doing anything good for anybody and there are numerous possible reactions to such communication that may not be very pleasant for the LW and their colleagues.

        1. Blue*

          I do think there’s a difference between knowing it’s theoretically possible people can see you and having that confirmed. I live in a similar set up (in a big city, but higher up than the buildings immediately around me) and it’s easy to assume no one can see me even though there are taller buildings on the next street that could give you a view in – with binoculars, anyway.

          Personally, I think OP should just deal since how distracting can they possibly be from two blocks away? But I don’t think it would be super inappropriate to send a short, non-judgmental note not asking her to change her behavior but just giving her a heads up that the interior of her apartment is viewable in case she isn’t aware and would want to know.

          1. Fieldpoppy*

            There was a letter to the “urban decoder” advice column in Toronto Life this month asking a similar question about neighbours doing naked yoga in their back yard. The answer was “don’t look, they can do all the naked yoga on their property thet want.” I would apply the same advice here.

            1. Jennifer Juniper*

              I’d be inclined to ask the neighbor if they needed bug spray or sunscreen if I knew them well enough!

      3. Falling Diphthong*

        A lot of people are very unclear on how glass works–e.g. at night if the glass is mirroring the room they figure it must be doing that outside too. And the angle of the sun might mean the office windows are reflecting a sheen of white when her windows are transparent.

        1. Psyche*

          I agree that she might be unaware people can see her inside her apartment. But being naked on the balcony is pretty obviously visible. After hearing that part I would be 95% sure she just doesn’t care.

        2. RandomU...*

          I once had to tell my boss that it was inadvisable to change into his running gear in his office in the late afternoon/evening (floor to ceiling windows).

          During the day the glass is mirrored… when it’s dark the interior lights nullify any and all mirror ability of the glass. Luckily I mentioned this before I ever saw anything on my way to the car!

      4. Patty Mayonnaise*

        Yeah this could go either way. When the Highline in NYC was built, and one of the buildings literally around it became a hotel (not sure which happened first), some people in the hotel didn’t realize they could be seen and then threatened legal action. Others realized they could be seen and put on a show for people on the Highline :) My hunch is that she supposes she could be seen but doesn’t care.

      5. CatMom*

        We don’t have a good inherent understanding of space/physics as humans, I find! I live on the top floor of a 7 story building that backs up to single-family homes, and I’m pretty sure they don’t realize that I can hear every word they say in the backyards as clearly as if they were on my fire escape, for example.

        However, I’d never tell them, because it’s not like I *care*, and I imagine it would make them feel pretty uncomfortable, to no real end.

        1. TardyTardis*

          This reminds me of the part in Breaking Cat News where the cats are upset that the Woman doesn’t have whiskers (though they approve of the Man, who does). “How does she know if the door is wide enough for her to go through without them?”

    2. Mme Pince*

      I lived across the hall from a woman in college who needed but rarely wore glasses. One day, we were getting ready to go out, and she started to get changed in front of her window. The window faced the men’s half of an H-shaped dorm. I made some sort of joke about her giving the guys a show, and she had no idea that the other rooms were close enough to see in, because she couldn’t see them since she never wore her glasses. I realize it’s a long shot, but I don’t think it’s completely out of the question for folks to not realize the extent to which they’re visible.

      1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        I live in a small house on a street with many small houses standing close together, so both my next-door neighbor and the neighbor next door to them can get a full view of my bedroom at any time. I have blinds and curtains, but the curtains are typically up because the cats like to sit on windowsills, and the blinds are typically up because I don’t like living in the dark. I try to keep out of my neighbors’ line of vision, but at the end of the day, I can only be so considerate when I am in my own bedroom. I figure, if they can see me and it upsets them, it’s kind of on them. No one has complained so far. So, what I’m saying is, at least in my case, I do realize the extent to which I am visible, but am not willing to go terribly far to prevent that.

        1. Observer*

          Everyone has the right to make that choice. The issue here is whether it’s reasonable to assume that someone knows they can be seen.

          Given the set up, I think it’s quite possible that she doesn’t realize how visible she is – even from the balcony.

    3. JSPA*

      Or feel harrassed. And respond legally. She may have no issue with being seen at a distance by nameless strangers, but one who cares enough to Google stalk her (which is what it would take to identify her?)–creepy.

      1. CmdrShepard4ever*

        I don’t think it would take that much work. The penthouse level only has two apartments. OP could easily go to the door-person/security guard and say “Could you let the tenant of penthouse apt that faces east know that we work in the office building across the way and we can see directly into the apartment.”

        1. Alli525*

          Or, in a worse but funnier method, just hang a giant sign in your window (one letter per sheet of paper, for example) that says “WE CAN SEE YOU NAKED”


        2. Working Hypothesis*

          …and then the doorperson goes officiously to the person’s house and tells them, “You have caused this building considerable embarrassment. If you ever stir up trouble like that again, your lease will be terminated.” Or simply reports it to the management, who does the same.

          This is, I’m pretty sure, what the LW intends to have happen. It is a terrible thing to do to someone for taking normal actions in their own home, just because it happens to bother *you* two blocks away. The LW can damn well choose to look away or cover their own window instead.

    4. Karo*

      It’s definitely possible that this is a purposeful choice, but it’s also possible that she assumes that as the penthouse in a skyscraper with the nearest building 2 blocks away, that no one can see her – and would therefore want the heads up. I absolutely walk around my house naked but would be mortified to find out that my neighbors could see me through the single window without a shade that I do my best to avoid if I’m in my birthday suit.

    5. Ms. Ann Thropy*

      Yeah, anyone naked on their balcony knows they are being seen, and likes it. A note might encourage her.

    6. Jennifer*

      Agreed. Or put up shades or something on their own windows if they don’t want clients to see or workers to be distracted and become less productive. You can’t change what other people do. You can only modify your own behavior.

      I actually think it’s hilarious.

    7. Beth*

      Yeah, this is just life in a city. There’s a real blurring of public and private space when people are packed this tight, and you just have to deal with the fact that sometimes people’s private space and activities are unavoidably visible/audible to others.

      I walk around my apartment in my underwear all the time. I keep the shades down in the window that looks directly into my neighbors’ living room five feet across the alley as a courtesy, since it’s so close (and they do the same, generally). But the other windows that aren’t so direct a view? I want light, my apartment doesn’t get enough of it anyways, other people can look elsewhere or close their own curtains if they don’t want to see in.

    8. WillowWeep*

      right? She can probably see all those office buildings with all their windows and infer that there might be people looking out of those windows. And it’s TWO STREETS AWAY? Are you using binoculars? Do you have the vision of a sniper? Have you never seen a naked person before? Stop gawking, and leave her alone!

    9. lilsheba*

      I don’t make it a constant habit of walking around nude in my apartment, but have been known to do so on occasion, and while my windows are not easily visible to people walking by on the street or in the parking lot, if they took the time to stop and gawk they’d see me. I don’t care, I will walk around in my own home the way I see fit. This lady is entitled to do the same thing.

    10. Jennifer Juniper*

      Also, since the nudist is a woman, she would be especially liked to be terrified and traumatized. Hard pass on the note! Get some curtains, change your desk angle, and keep your eyes to yourself.

    11. Tangurena*

      My sister did this all the time when she lived with me in Denver. State law had statutes prohibiting “indecent exposure” (CRS 18-7-302) which required knowledge that it would excite others, and “public indecency” (CRS 18-7-301) which didn’t require the same amount of “criminal mind” (mens rea – for the lawyers among us). Your state may have similar laws. At that time, my house was also within a sufficient distance of a grade school that would have gotten her permanently on the sex offender registry if any one complained. Her argument was that if it was OK for our mother (who has been dead for more than a decade) was able to get away with it (in totally different states), then it was OK for her to do.

  2. Alldogsarepuppies*

    two streets away seems really far for it to not come across extremely creepy for you to comment.

    1. Raine*

      I’ve seen people in offices that are next to/in line of sight of hotels/apartments put up signs that say “We can see you. Please use your blinds” along with notes/warnings to staff in said offices that people in the hotels/apartments are likely to be naked and not to stare.

      1. CmdrShepard4ever*

        Depending on the design/layout of the buildings two streets away is not that far. I just looked out one of our office windows and could see into the windows of a building 2 streets away perfectly without binoculars.

        It seems really weird to think someone letting you know that they can see you when you are walking around naked is creepy, if I didn’t know I would appreciate the heads up, and if I knew people could see me then it shouldn’t matter. I think the people that are really bring creepy are ones who watch but never say anything because they want to keep enjoying the “show”.

        I say this as someone who lives in a city with a building behind mine that has higher floors. Even though my bedrooms windows are high and small (no one from below can see into them) people from above my level can look down into them. I will occasional to to the bathroom or kitchen in underwear with some of the blinds open. I know that could see me but I don’t care, and if someone sent a note I would still not care.

        1. Working Mom Having It All*

          Sure, you probably can see into the window of someone 2 streets away “without binoculars”, but unless OP is a binocular quality tester, it should be trivial to just tune this out. Like… at 2 streets away, she could be wearing flesh-toned clothes and OP probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference unless they were looking for nipples or pubic hair.

          Which they shouldn’t be. Keep your eyes on your own work. Problem solved.

          1. CmdrShepard4ever*

            Without knowing the particular design of the two buildings and streets I can’t say for sure, but I have been in plenty of buildings where one office/living-space looks directly into another office/living-space. In some situation if you notice movement you are likely to look up and see what it was. Even if OP is eventually able to tune it out OP might be required to meet with people in their office who are not used to it and will see what is going on.

            Ultimately there is only so much OP can control. The best course of action is for OP to try and install blinds/shades/curtains if they don’t already have them and if they are allowed. The women is absolutely within her rights to wear what she pleases in her own home, and OP can’t control that. But I don’t think that OP would be out of line to try and give her a gentle heads up/fyi.

    2. ..Kat..*

      Some cities have very short street blocks. So, this could be closer than you think it is.

    3. D'Arcy*

      Agreed, it’s extremely creepy and if I got such a note, I would definitely be complaining to the business whose employees did it.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        I don’t get this. If I’m roaming around naked, it’s with the assumption that no one can see me. I wouldn’t have some sort of “It’s okay for people 50 ft away to comment, but 100 ft away is rude.”

        If the office or apartment looked down on a park and mobs of people were wandering the park naked, then it would not be unusual for the people 100 ft away to think “Huh, there are a bunch of naked people in the park. That’s odd.”

        1. Psyche*

          But it would be odd for people to be naked in a park. It really isn’t odd for people to be naked in their own homes.

          1. DerJungerLudendorff*

            But it is a bit weird to be naked in front of your street-facing windows.

            1. Beth*

              Not really in a big city. In your average urban apartment, all the windows face some street or another (unless they look directly into a neighbor’s building across an alley, which isn’t any more private. People still like to not wear clothes at home. There’s a common assumption that people won’t try to see into others’ private spaces (even if they technically can); if you do catch a glimpse, the polite thing to do is ignore it and pretend you didn’t. If you really want to never see anything private, it’s on you to keep your eyes away from private spaces or close your own blinds.

            2. Working Hypothesis*

              No, it really isn’t in an urban apartment. The custom in city centers, where *every* window faces somebody else’s, is for people to wear or not where whatever they wish inside their own homes, and for others either to pretend they don’t see, avert their eyes, or use their own blinds or curtains to protect their sensitive eyes from the sight. While some people personally *prefer* to avoid being seen, and therefore close their blinds before undressing, this is definitely not considered a mandatory courtesy to others.

              There are tradeoffs to living in the same place a lot of other people want to live, with all the conveniences of city centers. Common ones include small spaces, high rent, and a lot of other people unavoidably in your business. One learns to ignore it… or at least one should.

        2. ArtsNerd*

          Thing is, it’s not 1) 100 feet and it’s not 2) a bunch of people in the park and it’s not 3) OP saying “huh, that’s odd.”

          Again, unless I’m missing something, “a couple of streets away” is 500+ feet (and if you google image search “500 feet” you can see some super helpful images of a person with a sign at various distances.) “Across the street” totally changes the context here.

          I live on the second floor. At home, I rarely put clothes on unless I need to, and I frequently have my shades up. I don’t prance right in front of the windows with the interior lights on after dark, and there are trees, but it’s still perfectly conceivable that someone looking up from the street or one of my neighbors across the way would be able to see me. I’m sure someone has. I would be pret-ty upset if they tried to send me a message asking me to stop. If I lived on the seventh floor, and the closest neighbor at that height were two blocks away? I would do exactly the same as she has without concern.

          1. Inch*

            But this just underscores how individual this sort of situation is. I am a pretty modest person and if I were visible in my naked glory by office workers — not just as a one-off, oops-I-forgot-to-put-my-blinds-down, but routinely — I would want to know that, and I would be pretty upset to think people are just over there getting an eyeful (welcome or not) without the courtesy of a “Hey, just to let you know, we can see you.” And making sure she is aware of that is not the same as asking her to stop; it’s just information, she can do what she wants with it. If I’m the office worker, I also am going to be more comfortable knowing that she is informed, because at that point I would know I was not involuntarily invading her privacy.

            1. Falling Diphthong*

              It’s just information.

              This is my take. For the people who wouldn’t care, it’s information they can shrug at. For the people who would care, it’s information they can apply. As someone who would have been nude under the theory that I was also screened, I’d be dismayed to have someone say “Yeah, I can see you doing your naked stretching, but I always figured you didn’t care that it’s fully visible to the building across the way.”

              1. Washi*

                But if you never knew anyone could see you, there’s no difference to you (in a big city where you presumably aren’t personally acquainted with the office workers.) It only gets awkward once someone says something.

                1. valentine*

                  I would want to know that
                  The onus is on you to find out. OP2 shouldn’t ride to this person’s theoretical rescue.

              2. Working Hypothesis*

                The problem is, it isn’t just information, because there’s no way to get her the information which doesn’t also inform her property manager. Who has the power to evict her for doing anything they don’t like (or at least, most leases are written so that’s possible in effect, because of broad language; if you want to contest it, you’ll be dealing with a court who strongly favors the corporation).

                So it’s not just information, it’s pressure, with an implicit threat backing that pressure up.

      2. General Ginger*

        How is it creepy for someone to alert you that hey, you may not have known this, but you’re visible?

        1. Beth*

          If someone I know told me this, it wouldn’t be creepy. If someone I don’t know, who had to take time out of their life to come over to my building, figure out which apartment I’m in, etc. to contact me, gave the same message? That’s kind of creepy, largely because of how far out of their way they had to go to make that contact happen.

          1. General Ginger*

            Which is why the OP was thinking of just contacting the landlord to do the alerting.

            1. Beth*

              That’s not actually better? It’s still a total stranger taking an unusual amount of time and effort out of their day to contact me. The unusual method (asking a landlord to pass a message to their tenant that you don’t know isn’t a common thing anywhere I’ve lived) shows that they put a lot of thought into it, too, which makes it into even more of a Big Thing. There’s just no need for that kind of escalation here.

            2. Working Hypothesis*

              Which allows the landlord to threaten her housing security for failure to comply. Not better.

    4. ArtsNerd*

      Yeah I can’t move past this point. I live in a reasonably dense urban environment and I’m struggling to picture streets short enough to make her more than a 1/2” high in their view? I’m not typically an advocate of telling people “just don’t look at the thing that you find offensive” but unless OP mistyped or I’m missing something here, it feels really squicky that they’ve fixated on this. Especially since they are hoping to have her change her behavior, instead of changing the office layout or accessories to keep her private home and activities out of their line of sight.

      It’s a very different letter to say “I can see this happening from my desk and I’d much rather not, not the least because it’s super distracting. My office doesn’t allow curtains, so how can I advocate for an exception?”

      1. wittyrepartee*

        I’m thinking that they’re at say… the north and south corners of blocks with short buildings in between. So it’s one full city block away and two streets.

        1. Kyrielle*

          Our downtown – and I’m definitely in the suburbs – has some areas where it’s more like strips-of-things rather than blocks – a block long in one direction, 1-2 buildings in the other. Or a park between two streets. Both of those are significantly shorter than a standard block distance, so “two streets” wouldn’t be that far. Or where streets angle to a point – again, two streets but not much distance.

      2. Patty Mayonnaise*

        Yeah, I have to agree – I hate to pile on the LW but it doesn’t seem like they are close enough to this woman for it to be a true distraction unless they are actively looking for her. I’m a city-dweller and the only time I’ve been distracted is when I’m sitting facing the window and there’s someone across the street. Two blocks away? That person looks tiny.

      3. alphabet soup*

        Same here. My office is downtown in a major US city. I’m on the 12th floor, and I’ve got a good view of the building that’s directly across the plaza from our building– I can see what people are doing in their offices. But even just one street over, I can’t see anything, let alone two streets– all I see is windows.

    5. Jennifer*

      I agree that leaving a note is weird, but I don’t think being able to see her from two streets away is creepy. She clearly knows people can see her. She’s in a large city and went onto the balcony naked for goodness sakes.

      1. Not One of the Bronte Sisters*

        Jennifer, I agree. And wouldn’t someone who has the wherewithal to live in a penthouse apartment in a big city be sophisticated enough to know that people might be able to see her, especially on the balcony?

    6. Alli525*

      In Manhattan that is not true, and probably isn’t the case in many other large cities with mixed zoning and skyscrapers.

  3. CouldntPickAUsername*

    hold on. so you’re using paid time off to take a day off but they want you to then work 6 days to “make up” for it. Are you not allowed to have a day off? and I assume you’re getting paid for Monday should you go in? So now aren’t you possibly into overtime? This is so bizarre. What happens when you take a vacation?

    1. Sleve McDichael*

      I could be wrong, but I was assuming that the LW works somewhere that stocking for the week has to be done at the beginning of the week, preferably Saturday, but Monday will do in a pinch, that kind of thing. So OP’s boss will let them take a different day off or pay overtime, but then that gets messy pretty quickly. But then again, I would have thought that OP would know if they were in one of those kind of jobs. It’s strange all around.

      1. EPLawyer*

        So OP doesn’t lose a day of PTO then? If she is switching her days off, then that is not PTO and should not be docked. If she is docked PTO as noted, then she gets paid for 6 days that week, not 5. Which might get into OT or something else.

        This is a weird situation that I don’t think the boss thought through real well.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          Yeah–best case the boss forgot it was a PTO day and thought she just asked to swap her day off.

          I would open with the “Gosh, must be a misunderstanding” off-ramp deployed, but if he’s really trying to say “We offer PTO as long as you work for free on other days to make up the time” he needs a firm talking to from whoever at the company is well versed in employment law.

          I suppose maybe he thinks Saturday was PTO and Monday will be overtime because the work just has to get done before Tuesday.

          1. AnnaBananna*

            ding ding ding! Yeah, if I was LW #5, I would just jump straight to Alison’s last suggestion, seeking clarification on what her boss thinks ‘PTO’ is. Because who knows, maybe OP doesn’t have enough PTO hours to cover the day off and the boss is giving her an opportunity to make up the day. Or maybe only those with seniority get actual paid time off but the org calls all time away PTO. It could be anything.

            Seek to understand and then go from there.

        2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          It depends on the pay week and her hours. I get the feeling she’s not being pushed into OT. We are assuming she’s a 40hr a week employee. This sounds like retail with Sunday/Monday off and stocking involved. You usually get 35hrs if you’re lucky.

          Also if one day is PTO, that’s not going to be OT. It’s hours worked not hours paid in areas I’m familiar with.

          1. All monkeys are French*

            Right, but after her Saturday off, she is presumably working Monday (the extra day her boss wants) through Saturday (her regular schedule). That would be six in a row.

            1. RedinSC*

              For that it really depends on when their work week starts. If it starts on Saturday, then she’ll really only work 5 days in the work week.

        3. JM60*

          It would still technically be Paid Time Off so long as they pay her for both the PTO she spent on the day of her PTO, plus for the work she would do on Monday, plus for any overtime she might get when accounting for PTO. However, I thinly it would still be a bad practice, and the laws here would vary by jurisdiction.

    2. Jasnah*

      Yes, where I work this isn’t considered a paid vacation day, this is a carry-over day. Either way you’re paid but carry-over days aren’t subtracted from your PTO, and paid vacation days aren’t expected to be made up or have your time tracked.

    3. Engineer Girl*

      If you’re being forced to work six days then remind your boss that the 6th will be overtime. Make it cost $$$$$$.

      1. Half-Caf Latte*

        I’d only lead with this approach if OP is fine with not getting the day off. Boss clearly has no regard for the schedule, could easily say: ok, come in Monday, you’ll be off Thursday instead. Or worse, cut them loose an hour or two early each day.

      2. Natalie*

        Barring some odd company policy or union agreement, overtime calculations only have to include hours worked, not all hours paid. Paid time off isn’t included when determining if someone has hit 40 hours that week. So I would probably not take this approach.

        1. sarawr*

          Right, but this person will now be working Monday-Saturday — six days at presumably eight hours per day, for a total of 48 hours.

          1. Kate*

            It would depend on what their pay period is. My office week is Wednesday – Tuesday.

            1. boop the first*

              Ugh, good point, they can really get you with these. In retail specifically, I’d get so many 10-day stretches all because of how the weeks naturally lined up. 10 days of work gets to be a bit much. I don’t understand why employers insist on making the schedule so vastly different every week with only 24 hours of notice.

              1. CmdrShepard4ever*

                That sucks, I worked retail in a big box store (not the blue one) and we had our schedules out a full two weeks (almost three weeks) in advance. For example today we would have this weeks (5/26-6/1) schedule, the next week (6/2-6/8) and the week after (6/9-6/15) that out. On this coming Friday the schedule for the farthest week (6/16-6/22) out would come out. But I did know plenty of people who worked in smaller local retail/food service establishments when the next week schedule didn’t come out till the Saturday before in went into effect.

                1. All monkeys are French*

                  Ugh, yes. At my old job I made the schedule and I took it really seriously. I posted two weeks out and I did my absolute best to accommodate people’s requests. At my current job I often won’t know until the night before if I’m expected to work in the morning. I’m willingly a flexible part-timer, so it’s sort of okay, but it still feels pretty disrespectful of my time.

          2. JM60*

            That would depend on how many hours a day they work. If they work work in retail, they might work less than 8 hours on most days.

            There are some states that OT rules that apply based on number of days worked in a week regardless of number of hours. However, I believe even in those states, OT applies to the 7th day worked in a work week.

            1. Ego Chamber*

              That last part isn’t accurate. Overtime laws are part of the FLSA, which is federal, so states can make laws that give more benefits to workers but they can’t make laws that undermine or nullify the FLSA regulations (eg: California pays OT starting at more than 8 hours worked in one day instead of at 40 hours in one week).

              If you have a link that says otherwise, please let me know. Google isn’t giving me anything for OT based on number of days worked.

        2. Lynn*

          My company does this. If I have a holiday in a week (or PTO) for 8 hours plus I work 35 hours, I will get paid for 43 hours-but it will be 43 hours of straight time, not 40 regular plus 3 hours of time and a half. Not a big deal-they don’t force us to work extra time in holiday weeks, but I have done it occasionally when an extra hour this week would make a big difference in my work for the next week.

          That said, the way the OP’s boss is doing it sounds like there is a misunderstanding and somehow boss thought that she was planning to switch days off rather than using PTO. And that is the angle I would approach it from.

          1. JM60*

            I’m not 100% sure sure, but I think that if you live in a state that legally mandates that PTO/vacation is paid wages (such as California), your employer may be violating the law by not paying you OT for those 3 hours. In live in one of those states, and my employer pays OT in that case.

            1. Lynn*

              I’m about 99% sure it is fine in my state. My last employer did exactly the same thing. OT is only paid based on hours worked, and PTO/holidays don’t count as days worked, even though I get paid for them.

              I don’t particularly like it-but since my schedule is mostly up to me, I just try to make sure not to have any extra hours in a holiday/PTO. If I do work any, I limit it to an hour or maybe two (at most). It doesn’t happen often enough to be a major gripe here. With the prior job (banking) any time over 40 hours per week was absolutely and strictly forbidden-so it never became much of an issue there either.

              1. Hamburke*

                Where I live (VA), OT is only calculated on hours worked, not PTO or Holiday time. This would be fine. I’ve only worked in one other state (MD), albeit quite a long time ago, and OT was calculated the same way.

    4. poolgirl*

      This is happening to me this week. We get no PTO, just vacation days. I took yesterday off, but the eight hours were added back on to the other four days of my week. This is a frequent occurrence, as it reduces the amount of overtime my company pays out, since I have to be replaced by another worker.

      1. Southern Yankee*

        What? I don’t think I understand exactly what your employer is doing but I’m giving it the side-eye. It sounds like they are manipulating how they record your vacation time in order to avoid paying valid overtime?

        1. poolgirl*

          Unfortunately no, what they’re doing is legal, just really bad for morale. What he does is when you have three days off during a 7-Day work week, he adds the eight hours you took off on to the other four work days so that you still work 40 hours. Or he will add on an 8 hour day on one of your regular days off, so you still work 40 hours and basically you’re just switching one of your off days. That way he doesn’t have to pay another person overtime to cover your 8 hour shift.

          1. Southern Yankee*

            This is veering into off topic, but I find it an interesting work related topic, so I have more questions!

            So, your employer is recording your vacation hours on different days than you actually took the vacation? I guess that doesn’t impact you much as long as you are still getting paid the correct amount. But I don’t understand how that impacts getting coverage or avoiding paying overtime to cover your shift? The boss has to have the actual shift covered, not the one that “is marked” on your hours, right? And why would recording your hours a certain way impact the overtime for someone else covering that shift? I’m so curious….

            No matter the details, it still sounds crappy. Sorry you have to deal with it!

            1. Jen*

              I think she doesn’t truly get any vacation days. Any time off is just treated like a shift change. It sounds like number of hours worked is all that matters, rather than coverage. If she took off an 8 hour shift, someone needs to make up that 8 hours some other time during the week. If she’s the one to make up the shift, she’s still working 40 hours in the week, but if a coworker made up the 8 hours, they’d be at 48 hours for the week and entitled to overtime.

              1. Eukomos*

                Agreed, this is how it’s done at my job because it’s a part time job without any vacation time. If you want to take a vacation you can, but you need to make up the hours on another day.

            2. CmdrShepard4ever*

              My understanding is (correct me if I am wrong poolgirl) is that in the job they get no paid time off. So if you take a “vacation day” it will be unpaid for example in a 7 day work week a person normally works 5 days of 8hrs a week (M-F) with two days off (Sat and Sun). But if you wanted to take off work Friday, then Monday through Thursday you work 10 hour days; or if you take Friday off you end up having to work on Saturday or Sunday one of the days you normally have to take off. So that every week you work 40 hrs and get paid for 40 hours.

              1. poolgirl*

                CmdrShepard4ever that’s close, you have it right that basically it’s just shifting the two days off, or making it four 10-hour days. We do get paid for the vacation day, it just doesn’t count towards overtime, we get 48 hours of straight time. Sorry, I could have been clearer. I don’t want to derail anymore, thanks for the support Southern Yankee! Maybe I will post about some of the even crazier things that have happened here on a Friday free for all of if anyone’s interested.

                1. Ego Chamber*

                  Here’s where you’re confused: you said you don’t get PTO, just vacation days, but PTO stands for “paid time off,” so if your vacation days are paid, that’s PTO. :)

                  Overtime is based on hours worked, so there’s nothing illegal about paying you 48 hours of straight time and adjusting your usual 40 hours + giving you 8 hours of vacation pay (but I am confused about why they’re doing that instead of just making vacation days unpaid: that would be even cheaper for the company—it’s weird all around and I don’t blame you or your coworkers for being miserable there).

    5. JSPA*

      Might be, “you can’t take PTO in a way that stops essential work from getting done.” If stocking has to happen between Sat and Mon, you could stock Sat and then have Sun Mon Tues (wed) off; but if you’re PTO Sat, then you must be in Sun or Mon. And take some other day as the second day of your weekend.

    6. Phoenix Programmer*

      I had a boss once who thought taking days off before the weekend was “cheating your way” into more time off. It was nuts. He argued staff who took Fridays off would need to come in on Sunday. If you took the whole week it was ok. Basically he did not like people having 3 day weekends.

      1. Mama Bear*

        That is messed up. I often stack PTO with a holiday or weekend for my own mental well-being. It also has less of an effect on the work schedule since people only need to cover for me one day vs three. You had a weird boss.

        RE: the LW, I think the manager is not thinking PTO. I would go back to the original request where it was approved and ask for clarification on the PTO policy and that approval. Either it is paid time off, or it’s not. LW needs to clear that up with management. I would be angry if I was told I needed to make up a PTO day, regardless of overtime.

      2. Jadelyn*

        ????? That’s such a bizarro stance to have on the issue.

        I take the odd Friday or Monday to give myself 3-day weekends so I can burn some of my vacation time and not hit the accrual cap (where I stop accruing and lose out on vacation hours I should be banking). It’s less intrusive on my team since instead of “Jadelyn’s out this week, we need to find someone else to handle XYZ” it’s “Jadelyn will be back tomorrow, they can wait til then.” I also take occasional whole weeks, but not very often, so if I don’t take my little self-created holiday weekends on a regular basis I will hit my cap and lose out on PTO.

      3. Becky*

        That’s so…strange.
        lol I took last Thursday and Friday off so with Memorial Day paid holiday I had a 5 day weekend–it was great!

      4. Roy G. Biv*

        The owner at my previous job had this mentality, as well, and was especially steamed if someone tried to add vacation days to a paid holiday, to do frivolous things, such as visit out of town relatives for Christmas. Lucky for us, the site manager, who approved vacation times, wisely pointed out not everyone asked for the same Friday or holiday-adjacent days, so there was plenty of coverage.

        It has been my observation that the most “attendance in the office is important” sticklers have frequently played very fast and loose with their own attendance.

  4. Pam*

    For #1, I think that the gifting upward could also be an issue. Per h asp a group photo in a nice frame?

    1. Meg Murry*

      Yes, it sounds to me like it is only the junior staffers who would be contributing to the flowers for the departing boss – and that is definitely in the sticky territory of gifting upward and can cause all kinds of awkwardness.

      As junior staffers, I think the best thing to do would be to ask Sansa’s boss or one of Sansa’s peers if there is some kind of group parting gift you can all opt in to contribute to if you want, and don’t worry about spending money or arranging flower delivery at Sansa’s new job.

      Honestly, as junior staffers, I think the best gift you can give to Sansa is an honest card where you write a couple of lines about how she specifically helped you in your career and thanking her for that. Not in a suck-up way, but in a “thank you for being a good boss, you will be missed” way. And honestly, if she is staying in your industry, it is quite possible at least some your paths will cross hers again at some point in your careers, so that is a good note to end on.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Agreed. I’m not as concerned about gifting upward when someone has left/is leaving (see below), but a heartfelt card with personal notes specific to how she helped them is a way better gift anyway.

        1. Lora*

          Agreed. I still have a couple of the cards I got during farewell lunches. Other nice gift options:

          -When I was leaving a job for grad school and moving, a senior scientist gave me a gift card for a restaurant chain, because moving across several states in a single day meant we would not have time or energy to grocery shop for supper at the end of unloading the truck.
          -Books or e-books relevant to the industry, especially if there’s a new edition coming out
          -Professional memberships: I got memberships for the Society of Women Engineers and AWIS from one job
          -I have a huge collection of mugs that came from previous jobs which were gifted with a package of fancy tea or hot chocolate

          But the cards with notes and people’s contact information for references in them were the most memorable ones.

          1. TootsNYC*

            similarly, I’d suggest scoping out the immediate area of Sansa’s new office and giving her a gift card to a coffee place that the staff thinks she’d like. Along with a map of where it is. (Google Maps is your friend here)

            1. Anne of Green Gables*

              Yes, I’ve done this. Found a lunch or coffee shop near the new job and gotten a gift card to that location. It was well received, as far as I know.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      The concerns about gifting upwards aren’t as big of a deal when the gift is to a manager who has left/on their last day, as long as there’s zero pressure to contribute. At that point the person doesn’t have power over you (aside from references, which isn’t nothing of course — but it’s really different than when it’s the person who will be continuing to manage you).

    3. pleaset*

      The main problem with gifting upward is the power dynamic, with people fearing repercussion if they don’t give. That’s not the case here since the person is leaving.

    4. TootsNYC*

      no, not a picture in a frame!

      I get that they all had high regard for her, but I don’t think that’s cool, to give a picture of yourself to someone else.

      Send flowers, but send them to her home. Bonus points if you can arrange for them to be delivered in the evening, after she’s come home from that slightly stressful first day at work.

      1. londonedit*

        Not sure if other countries have this sort of thing, but here there are flower companies that will deliver ‘letterbox flowers’ – really nice bouquets that will fit through a standard letterbox, so you don’t need to worry about the person being at home to receive a delivery.

      2. Anne of Green Gables*

        I also thought that if flowers are what the group really wants to give, sending them to the home was the best bet. Perhaps to arrive the day before the first day, like a “good luck tomorrow, we’re thinking of you” kind of sentiment?

  5. Maria Lopez*

    #2 She knows you can see her. If you are really concerned, put down your binoculars and go to the building to leave a note for her to let her know you entire floor can see her.

    1. Observer*

      Maybe not – it’s actually far enough that I’m surprised that they can get to that level of detail.

      1. Star*

        With binoculars, it’s probably easy to see the details.

        Ok, I don’t if really believe they’re using binoculars, but I am uneasy. That’s far enough away that it shouldn’t be distracting… unless you’re actively looking out the window on purpose. It kind of reminds me of the excuse many men that have trouble keeping their gaze off your assets and on your face, “I just can’t help it, I swear!” But that’s just my perspective. I personally dislike the idea of letting her know, because for some people who honestly didn’t realize they could be seen, it can feel almost like a violation (even if no one intended it as such.)

        Personally, for certain window coverings, I’m fond of these decal things (what they’re called is escaping me) that make them look like frosted glass and still let’s lots of light in. I cover the bottom half of windows (and maybe two-thirds of a sliding glass door) so you get the privacy and even more light than if you cover the entire thing.

        1. Jasnah*

          Genuinely confused about “I personally dislike the idea of letting her know, because for some people who honestly didn’t realize they could be seen, it can feel almost like a violation (even if no one intended it as such.)” So you wouldn’t tell her she is visible because her knowing the truth would cause her discomfort? That sounds like not telling your friend their fly is down because it would embarrass them. I know some people make that choice but it’s not one I would make.

          Also I can really easily picture OP being on the 7th floor and looking out the window past the building next door that’s only a couple stories, to the new apartment complex with a penthouse level at the 5-8th floor level…you could easily see in if you’re looking out the window. Even looking out the window “on purpose” while thinking about something or taking a break.

          1. Mookie*

            Forgetting your fly happens to everyone and pointing out an overlooked fly or button rarely involves an air of judgment or disgust. Strangers piqued because you’re naked in your home is not an everyday occurrence, and when someone complains under these conditions, it’s not for the naked person’s own good. Cf, this LW, who wants it to stop for their own sake.

        2. Mookie*

          I’d be interested in hearing what these vexed office workers have done to mitigate their discomfort thus far. Should be enlightening.

          1. Mel*

            I doubt they have a lot of control over window dressings or furniture arrangements. I never have.

            When one of my managers mandated that I move my desk in front of a window where the sun was so bright I couldn’t face my computer’s for a couple hours each day, I couldn’t move it. I had to request that the office manager hang curtains, which eventually happened.

            1. Working Hypothesis*

              Then their first move shouldn’t be to talk to the person who is only using their own home in a way that are absolutely entitled to do; it should be to talk to their lab manager and request some changes to the arrangements at the office.

    2. Ms 45*

      I don’t like the idea of leaving her a note. If I got a note like that, I would feel like someone was trying to scold or shame me for being naked. The fact that it’s a woman’s nakedness in this case (and not a man’s nakedness, or some other non-nude issue) lends itself to that extra element of shaming, since it’s so common for people to moralise about women’s clothing choices.

      If she lives in an urban area I think it’s safe to assume that she knows people can see her and doesn’t need to be told.

      1. Working Hypothesis*

        “If I got a note like that, I would feel like someone was trying to scold or shame me for being naked.”

        Which is, in fact, *exactly* what the LW is trying to do. Their first proposal was to go to her freaking *landlord*, for heaven’s sake. That is hardly a friendly warning for the person’s own good. It’s simply pressure.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          I took going to her landlord as a normal intermediary way to get a message to someone. Where a note mailed to “Apartment on northeast corner, top floor, 123 Third St” might go to the wrong apartment, a message to the landlord of “Hey, the tenant on the top floor, northeast corner, may not realize she is visible to the surrounding offices when her shades are up; please pass that message to her.” And the landlord can say “Okay, northeast corner, that’s… Anna Sharp.” You’re just passing the message to an intermediary person who knows the name based off your general description.

          I am not getting the attempt to shame aspect that some people are picking up on. In a context where I don’t expect to see naked people, naked people wandering around in the distance is distracting. And if they don’t actually realize I can see them (and based on how the sun bounces off glass this is very possible) some sort of neutral approach to alert them seems polite.

          1. Samwise*

            Agreed. If that were me, I’d appreciate knowing that I’m on public view in an apt that I assume is high up enough to be private. I think folks are getting way too slammy on the LW — whose letter does not express horror, finger-pointing, or creepiness, just — we’d like to be able to look out our windows without feeling we’re violating someone’s privacy and, some of us feel uncomfortable seeing nude people while we’re at work (not an unreasonable feeling, right?)

            1. Working Hypothesis*

              She was on the *balcony*. That’s not somebody who cares so deeply about not being seen that she’d welcome someone bringing her landlord into a complicated and effortful attempt to tell her that she’s doing it. And indeed, nothing in the letter suggested remotely that the LW’s intention was to let her know *for her own sake* that she was visible… it was all to stop her from bothering the LW themself.

              I am completely not buying this “Really, they’re just going to the landlord in case SHE would want to know!” thing. It is possible to want to make sure someone else knows, in case that person would wish to, that they’re visible. But that isn’t AT ALL what we’re being told is the concern in this instance.

          2. Shan*

            See, for me, your first paragraph makes it seem creepier. I live in a building that surrounds a central courtyard, I walk around in my underwear sometimes with my blinds up, and I’m sure people have seen me. I’m fine with the idea that someone I bump into getting the mail might think “oh, I’ve seen that woman in her knickers.” But the idea of someone contacting my condo manager and making it A Thing, and making it so Condo Manager Bob knows that Shan in Suite 615 walks around in her underwear… that makes me way more uncomfortable. If Bob discovered it “organically,” so be it, but to basically be tattled on for it so that’s what my actual identity is associated with (“oh, the exhibitionist is complaining about the parkade door sticking”) would bother me.

            1. CmdrShepard4ever*

              My sense is that OP wasn’t trying to “tattle” but rather let the women know that she can be seen. Plenty of people on the thread have said that they themselves might assume that being high up in the penthouse apt people can’t see them naked.

              People contact condo boards/landlords about things people do in their own homes all the time, loud music, tv too loud, unregistered pets/guests. If you don’t want to risk someone contacting the board about you walking in your underwear don’t do it or close the blinds. To be clear, I think people are entitled to walk around naked/underwear with the blinds open if they want. I myself walk around naked/underwear with the blinds open sometimes sometimes I forget and other times I don’t care. But to then feel uncomfortable if someone mentions it and blame it on the other person seems wrong. It is one thing if someone sends creepy notes like “I enjoyed the show last night, or nice boxers” but if someone says “FYI I can see you when you walk around inside your apt” is different.

          3. JM60*

            Unless we’re talking about a sealed letter, someone sending a message through my landlord instead of to me directly would seem like a threat to me, as if they’re trying to get me in trouble with my landlord. I think the OP should keep the landlord out of this.

      2. StressedButOkay*

        Also, depending on how the note was worded, it could come across incredibly creepy. If I found a note from strangers on my door telling me they could see me naked, I’d feel watched, not given a “helpful heads up”. Also, many apartment buildings, especially highrises in cities, have security guards – how on earth are you going to explain your business there?

        And how would you be 100% sure you had the right door once you were inside? It’s a messy situation and the OP needs to control their environment, not hers.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          Sincere question: How would you (“you” = anyone who feels a note must be creepy) feel if you later found out that the neighbors had been able to see you naked for the past year or two–when that was totally not your intent, you thought the windows had a reflective film on them or something–but no one wanted to say anything because they thought it might be awkward to mention it?

          I’m picturing her at some point needing to go to one of the surrounding buildings, glancing over, realizing that she can see right into the apartment, and someone casually says “Yeah, the lady in there is always wandering around naked.” Not realizing that this is what she looks like at close range in clothing.

          It’s possible to make the “I can see you naked” observation in a lot of creepy ways, but also in a “You probably didn’t realize this, but…” way. To me this comes closer to telling someone her skirt is caught in her underwear in back–I assume it is not a deliberate fashion choice but an oops she would be embarrassed to discover. And I accept that pointing it out is going to involve a bit of uncomfortable mortification–but that was inevitable, better I tell her now than someone else after 10 minutes of walking around like this.

          1. StressedButOkay*

            It’s a hard question to answer! Speaking as just myself, as a woman who has lived in a highrise, no matter how it was worded, I would probably feel far more uncomfortable receiving the note than finding out people could see me naked without it. But I’m speaking as someone who is very conscious about the fact that even in a highrise, someone could very well see me so I think I’d be more disturbed by someone figuring out where I lived in the complex, getting through security – if there was any – to leave a random note.

            1. CmdrShepard4ever*

              This is why I think going to the door-person and/or management company is better because OP does not need to find out that Jane Smith in Penthouse B is the naked lady. OP can just say I can see the women in the East Penthouse apt when they walk around, could you just let them know for me.

          2. Ella*

            I’m torn on whether a note is inherently creepy, per say, but I would find one at the very least somewhat distressing. I live in a city, and I sometimes wander through my apartment without clothes knowing full well it’s possible someone might be looking at my window at that moment and see me, but part of living in an urban environment is letting everyone have their own polite fictions about their neighbors can see/hear. Right now, my brain is happy to pretend no one has ever once looked in my window when I’ve had to wander around for a forgotten towel, but a note would make pretending much harder in the future.

            1. neeko*

              This is exactly how I feel about this. I’ve lived in a large city all of my life. It’s very possible that my neighbors have seen me in my bra/nude before as I’ve seen neighbors as well. I look away and move on with my day and assume that others do the same. I honestly don’t want to know if that isn’t true.

          3. Sydney Bristow*

            So I actually can answer that question. Growing up, my family thought that nobody could see us in the shower in our second floor bathroom because of the way the eaves were situated. YEARS later the neighbor behind us mentioned something about seeing us in the shower at a neighborhood party. We all definitely wish we’d known!

          4. Beth*

            Urban living comes with a polite fiction that what we do in private is private. Anyone who’s lived in a downtown area of a city knows it’s a fiction to some extent–I’ve heard my neighbors having sex, I’ve seen people in the next building over wandering around in their underwear, I know when someone in the neighborhood is having a screaming argument with their spouse, etc.

            But I’d never go up to my upstairs neighbor and say “Wow, you guys were really going at it last night!” We mutually respect the fiction of privacy because it’s the only privacy we have, and that matters. When people break that, that’s a violation of local social norms, and it’s really uncomfortable, even though we’re aware it’s a fiction. In OP’s case, sending this kind of note would be this kind of break. It’s different in a suburb, maybe, where you have more space and can have actual privacy–but in a dense urban setting, minding your own business is the way to go.

            1. Jasnah*

              See, I think that this is the kind of thing where someone would have a reasonable expectation that being seen naked in their own home is beyond “polite fiction” private… it’s actually private, ie isn’t seen to others! Plus there is a way to maintain the polite fiction while cluing people in on this fact– “Sorry, were we noisy last night? I was worried we were loud, I know sometimes you can hear loud voices through the thin walls. Sorry if we bothered you!” ie hinting that voices can be heard, not that you heard them specifically.

              1. Beth*

                In a lot of areas this is true! But in dense urban settings, a lot of times it’s not. My bedroom looks directly into my neighbor’s kitchen, with about a 6′ gap; even with blinds, I’m sure they get the occasional glimpse. My walls are thicker than a lot of places in my area, but it’s just inevitable that some sounds travel.

                In this kind of environment, I don’t see the point in telling someone I heard or saw them doing something private. They see and hear all the same things I do from all our other neighbors; they know as well as I do that these things happen. The only thing they could do to stop it from happening would be to black out their windows and be utterly silent at all times, and that’s neither reasonable nor desirable. So why call attention to it at all? Instead, I politely ignore it and assume they’ll do the same for me in turn. That’s the kind of privacy we can give each other.

              2. neeko*

                Asking “Were we loud last night?” after being sex loud is not polite fiction imo.

          5. Jasnah*

            This is exactly my thought process! I’m so surprised that many people would find this creepy instead of helpfully sparing them from embarrassment. And if she’s not embarrassed by it, then sending her a note that she can be seen would not embarrass her. It can only prevent further embarrassment.

          6. Working Hypothesis*

            Except this particular LW made it super clear that they didn’t give a hoot about what the woman felt — they were trying to protect their own sensibilities, not hers. “We find this very distracting and unwelcome. What is the best course of action?” was their exact phrasing.

            For the record, what I’d feel if I found out that someone else’s window looked directly into mine, where I’d been walking around nude for the last two years, is “shrug.” I assume that someone else’s windows look directly into mine when I live in urban apartments. I grew up in New York City. This happens. The only time I’ve ever bothered to do anything about it was when I was designing a professional massage studio, and that was for the privacy of my clients… for myself, I just don’t care.

      3. Observer*

        On the one hand, it definitely is a problem that the OP wants her to stop rather than trying to do something on their end – talking to facilities can’t be THAT hard.

        On the other hand, I think it’s a mistake to assume that the person knows. Because it really is surprising that they can see this much.

        1. Samwise*

          I don’t see that it’s “a problem” that this didn’t occur to the OP. That’s why OP wrote the letter — to get advice about what to do.

    3. Susana*

      It seems people assume that if someone can be seen in a window undressed, the only explanation is that the person is an exhibitionist and not only knows, but *wants* people to see him/her. This office is TWO blocks away! I would never assume people two blocks away could see into my apartment. In fact, I’d assume the opposite. Seriously, how prominent is the image of said naked person from two blocks? Initially, I was sympathetic to LW, but really, you’d have to be looking closely to make out much detail. Just don’t look.

    4. Jadelyn*

      The “put down the binoculars” comment seems unnecessarily unkind to OP. They specifically said it’s “impossible not to notice”, which to me says they’ve tried to tactfully ignore it already and can’t. So I’m not sure why it was necessary to basically accuse OP of being a deliberate creep about it.

    5. Close Bracket*

      She knows you can see her.

      I don’t know about that. I was inadvertently flashing my neighbors for months bc I didn’t realize that my horizontal blinds weren’t fully closed. She might think that she isn’t visible from 2 streets away.

  6. Bilateralrope*

    For #2, if it’s really bothering you, talk to your police. They should know if she is breaking any laws and what action they can take if she is.

    1. Airy*

      Unless they live somewhere extremely oppressive it’s unlikely there are any laws specifying clothing requirements to be worn within one’s own residence, regardless of visibility from nearby buildings.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Right, typically that’s only going to be a legal matter if you’re intentionally exposing yourself — like pressing your naked self against the glass in a lewd way in order to harass passersby, etc. Just walking around your own home without clothes isn’t a police matter in most U.S. jurisdictions, as far as I’m aware.

        1. Star*

          I remember a guy that actually was charged, a few years ago, for being naked in his house- just having a cup of coffee, nothing else- and may have even been convicted, but it might have been overturned. I believe the woman that called it in had been cutting through someone’s yard with her kid, and she freaked out. Now I’ll have to see if I can find it, it was interesting but to me, pretty scary.

            1. NerdyKris*

              100% of the time when there’s a story like that, the new report is leaving out super important information, like actively trying to get children’s attention or masturbating.

              1. Ulf*

                Very curious how you can be sure that these reports leave out this information “100% of the time” or anywhere close to it. You may be right, but based on what evidence?

              1. Scarlet*

                “If a woman is “walking along and sees someone naked,” Young argued in his closing, “the last thing they’re going to be looking at is his eyes.”

                That’s a good point there and I hadn’t thought about it. People suck.

                1. Close Bracket*

                  That is not a good point at all. I don’t even know what to say about the implication that seeing a naked person means you stare right at their genitals. Some of us know how to focus on a person’s face and not their body. It’s the same skill I use when somebody is wearing something that inadvertently exposes more of them than is appropriate. I am NOT saying that this woman had a case or that the man was acting inappropriately. I AM saying that the whole, “she was totally staring at his dick” argument is unnecessarily salacious.

                2. JM60*


                  I think it’s a bit different when you’re talking about *unexpectedly* seeing someone naked. That’s likely to draw most people’s attention in the moment, and therefore is a good argument that casts at least some doubt on the prosecution’s allegations.

                3. Venus*

                  @Close Bracket
                  I agree that it shouldn’t be assumed that eye contact is never possible, but she obviously looked somewhere other than his face if she noticed that he was naked (the comment doesn’t specify staring at a particular place). Perhaps more importantly to my argument, I would feel socially awkward about making eye contact with a naked stranger (unless it was a sauna or other social situation where it makes sense).

                  The fact that the distance was too far to make this possible is more important to the argument.

              2. Jennifer Juniper*

                Thank goodness! I’d hate to think someone would be jailed, placed on the sex offender list for life, and be barred from housing and employment at best or a lifetime of civil commitment following jail at worst.

            2. Mr. Shark*

              The funny part is his roommate said he saw him earlier in the morning, walking around “naked…with a hard hat.” Um, what? Lol!

        2. DBG*

          Not to mention that there are laws on the books about voyeurism, so OP may be in trouble for reporting *themselves*.

        3. Falling Diphthong*

          I recall an odd case where the exhibitionism was deliberate and aimed at a tricky intersection (cars entering it had a great view of the bedroom lit up at night), and after a couple of crashes the cops were like “No, when you have special time you close the *^%^% blinds.”

          For the nonmalicious version as here, I think there’s a fair distinction between “visible to people going about their lives off your property” and “visible to people who hopped the fence into your backyard.” And I think a lot of people genuinely don’t realize they are in that first bucket, because they can’t see the people who can see them, due to plantings or sun angle or window screens.

        4. JM60*

          Unfortunately, I believe you’re wrong. It’s my understanding that public decency laws in most jurisdictions in the US usually forbid nudity when it can be observed from outside of that private property. That being said, I think that getting law enforcement involved in this situation would be heavy handed, and the OP shouldn’t do it.

        5. JM60*

          I also wanted to add that people can be put on sex offender registries for indecent exposure, at least in some states!

      2. Coffee Nut*

        Just saw this after I made my post, but in my community we have arrested someone for indecent exposure in his own home. It is considered public indecency if someone (in this case it was children and an older lady) can see your exposed body from the street, even if you are in your own home. Blinds are to be drawn.

        Now, I don’t know if this is the case in every community and I don’t think jumping to arresting someone is always the answer. In this case, the guy had been warned before.

        1. Observer*

          The OP is in a city center that’s mostly business zoned. The likelihood that there are any such ordinances AND that the police are going to want to spend 10 seconds doing anything but laughing their heads off is about zero.

          Which is a good thing….

        2. Naked Under My Clothes*

          I have heard of a similar story, and the person arrested was even required to register as a sex offender. Not saying it’s right, but there are places where these laws exist. I don’t remember where this took place.

          I live in an apartment, and it is a lease violation in my complex to be naked indoors without the blinds drawn. I’m not sure if this is in alignment with local laws or just something the complex chooses to enforce. I am in Georgia.

          I personally think adults who are disturbed or distracted by the naked human body should grow up. But I wonder if the general attitude on this post would be the same if the workplace were, say, a school or a day care?

          1. Working Hypothesis*

            If the workplace were a school or a day care, I would assume it was capable of putting up blinds or curtains rather than relying on the expectation that other people in their own homes would behave in a way which suited the needs of a nearby business for which they cared nothing. The school is the one responsible for taking care of the children; the neighbors are not.

    2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      I understand that folks have different relationships or experiences with police, but I would discourage getting police involved in determining whether someone can be naked, especially in a non-lewd manner, in their own property. This isn’t the kind of scenario where you want to bring the full weight of the criminal justice system against someone for doing something that isn’t harming anyone.

      1. Mookie*

        My thoughts exactly. Policing color in public, women’s bodies in private. When in doubt, don’t swat people.

      2. The Original K.*

        Yeah, my hackles immediately went up at mention of police. I’m a Black woman; I limit my interactions with police as much as humanly possible, which includes not involving them in things unnecessarily – and I do think police involvement here is completely unnecessary.

      3. Gazebo Slayer*

        Yes, especially if she’s a woman of color – or just considering some horrifying stories I’ve heard of police sexually harassing and assaulting women in general in their custody.

    3. rider on the storm*

      Wow. That could ruin someone’s career -all for being naked in their own home.

      I would like to know how the OP and others can even see from so far away.

      1. Working Hypothesis*

        They’ve already proposed going to her landlord, for heaven’s sake. That’s effectively asking that she be threatened with eviction if she doesn’t comply. It may be dressed up in fancier language, but there is only one tool that landlords can really use to make people do as they say inside the house, which is to say, “This is the rule and if you don’t obey it, we won’t rent to you anymore.”

        The LW is either blithely willing to demand that this woman obey their wishes or lose her home, or else they’re so focused on their own wishes that they haven’t even realized the implications of what they’re suggesting. Either one is deeply selfish.

        1. EOA*

          You’ve said this three times now. LW never said that he or she is going to the landlord but to the management company. There is a difference.

          1. JSPA*

            There may be a regional difference in the terminology, then. Where I’m based, the management company is the de- facto landlord, to the point of being the name on the lease. What’s it mean, where you’re based? A group that does superintendent duties and cleaning?

            1. londonedit*

              In the UK, unless you’re talking about social housing (which would be owned by a local council or a ‘housing association’) then an apartment building would usually be owned by a company or individual (the ‘freeholder’) but each separate apartment would be owned by a separate person/couple/family/whatever (this is called ‘leasehold’; you own the apartment, but technically on an extremely long lease of say 99 years, and you usually pay a fee to the freeholder to cover the upkeep of communal areas etc). A landlord is someone who rents out a property that they own, either leasehold or freehold. We don’t really have ‘property management companies’ that would both own an entire building and also rent out the apartments within it; if it’s a private rental (i.e. not a social housing rental) then you deal with your own private landlord, who is the leaseholder for your apartment.

              I can see someone sending a letter to whoever owns the building as a whole, and there may be a management company that oversees maintenance, finances etc – they might be able to post a notice in a communal area, or post letters through the door of each apartment. But the woman’s landlord would be a private individual who has nothing to do with the overarching owner of the building.

              1. Ella*

                In every apartment building I’ve lived in (all in the US) either the entire building was owned by one landlord/company, in which case calling the management company would essentially just be calling the landlord, or there’s a condo board that reports back to the individual unit owners, in which case it’s still functionally the same as alerting the landlord.

              2. I Don’t Remember What Name I Used Before*

                I’m in the US and “landlord” is commonly used as “the person who takes my rent payments”, regardless of whether that person is the actual property owner, a property manager hired directly by the owner, the employee of a property management company hired by the owner, or the employee of a property management company that itself owns the property. Sometimes “apartment manager” is used, again, regardless of actual ownership or hiring status.

                I can’t think of any kind of apartment housing in the US that does long terms leases or where you “own” your apartment except for condominiums, though from extensive reading I seemed to have picked up that this is a “thing”, but only in areas with VERY expensive/high end properties (like NYC penthouse apts, maybe), which is something the average person isn’t familiar with.

            2. doreen*

              What it means where I live is the company/person that manages the property. The landlord is the person who actually owns the property. For example, I might buy a second home in Florida to retire to. I would most likely hire a property manager to handle the details of finding and screening tenants , collecting rent and maintaining the property physically. If I bought a second house local to me, I might choose to rent it out without hiring a property manager.

              In any event , I think the landlord mention was to pass on a message , and jumping to “trying to get her evicted” is unjustified

          2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            I think this may be a difference in terms, but it’s not necessarily inaccurate. Property managers are agents of the landlord, and nearly all of them are empowered to collect rent, evict people, enforce lease terms, hire and supervise people to make repairs and take care of common areas, coordinate trash pickup, etc. if this is in a U.S. city, notifying the property manager is functionally equivalent, for the tenant, to notifying the landlord.

          3. Working Hypothesis*

            The management company handles the owner’s landlord business on their behalf, so the owner doesn’t have to do it themself. They are the owner’s legal agent, and all typical landlord duties are their job. There is zero substantive difference between going to the landlord and going to the property manager, except that the property manager is perhaps more likely well-versed in the law regarding what power they are permitted to exert, and therefore even more likely to feel confident being aggressive with a tenant who displeases them.

        2. Falling Diphthong*

          I really think the going to the landlord was to pass her a message via someone who could connect “top floor, the northeast corner” to “Ms Smith.” The reading into that of a threat of eviction is completely unwarranted.

          1. Falling Diphthong*

            Adding: This is kind of like not having a group meeting to address a problem with one person–people who weren’t messing up fear they are, while the person to whom it’s secretly addressed figures they must mean someone else. A note to everyone in the building that they can be seen from the surrounding offices is going to have a mix of “even through the blinds?!!” and “well not me because of the window film thing” where a note to one person alerts them that they might not realize their morning naked workout routine is clearly visible to a couple of hundred people. Which maybe they don’t care! But maybe they do and thought the venue they had chosen was screened.

          2. Mr. Shark*

            Yes, I don’t see it as going to the landlord to get her in trouble, but rather going to the landlord so he/she can pass on the message to the woman, since the landlord would know who occupies the apartment and how to get ahold of her.

        3. JB (not in Houston)*

          Or the landlord can pass along a message of “Hey, don’t know if you realize this, but you are visible to people in nearby buildings.” It doesn’t have to be “stop it or else.” I am on the side of not saying anything, but people are assuming the OP wants the landlord/management company to threaten the person, and the letter isn’t that explicit. It can just as easily be read to mean they want to let her know she’s visible. Not to mention that it’s quite doubtful the management company would threaten to evict her over this–I don’t there’s a “nudity in your own home” clause in their leases. And while there are people in the comments saying that they wouldn’t want to know (and that it’s creepy), there are also people saying they *would* want to know. So no, going to the landlord is not effectively asking that she be threatened with eviction.

          1. Working Hypothesis*

            The letter explicitly states, “we find this very distracting and unwelcome. What is the best course of action?” It is very clear that it is their own wishes, not the potential wishes of the tenant, that they are concerned with. This makes me believe that it is deeply misguided to think that all they want to do is let her know that she’s visible… in case, for her own sake, she might wish the information. NONE of that letter has anything to do with what the tenant might wish or need. It’s all about what the LW wants.

        4. Jadelyn*

          That’s both a wild overreach and a really uncharitable assumption about the OP’s intent in this situation. What ever happened to giving those who write in the benefit of the doubt…?

          1. So long and thanks for all the fish*

            Yeah, between the people who are doubting that the OP can REALLY see her that easily and those that are assuming that the OP must really want to get her in trouble, there’s a real lack of the benefit of the doubt today.

          2. Working Hypothesis*

            The LW is not concerned with the tenant’s own potential desire to know that she’s visible; the LW says explicitly that their concern is their own distraction. Therefore, the overreach is by those who claim that all the LW wants to do is let her know, in case she might *want* to know. The LW has said explicitly that that is not the case: “we find this very distracting and unwelcome. What is the best course of action?”

            It is certainly possible that their intention is simply to request her, without pressure, to consider their feelings and lower her blinds. But 1) even that is a really intrusive and rude thing to ask of someone in a city, and 2) it really is not possible to tell a landlord or property manager that their tenant is doing something your company does not like, without the very serious risk of that property manager exerting pressure on her, whether or not you intend for them to.

            It’s very much like calling the police on somebody black for trespassing… even if all you want to have happen is for them to politely let the trespassers know that this is private property, you are opening a keg of dynamite and somebody is very likely to end up in much more trouble than you ever planned for.

            So, at absolute best, the LW is 1) being incredibly rude to ask someone to change their behavior when alone inside their own apartment; and 2) also being incredibly naive, to think that contacting the property manager will have zero effect on the woman’s housing situation and she’s in no danger from their so doing. That’s the best-possible-case scenario. And it’s really not a stretch to think that they’re very unlikely, as urban dwellers themself, to be quite that naive.

    4. pleaset*

      F3ck that. Really. Don’t go to the police because someone makes you uncomfortable from two streets away. Don’t go to the police for little stuff.

    5. Blue Bunny*

      …literally policing someone’s body in their own home is your answer to this? Under his eye, I guess.

    6. Stanley Nickels*

      What I was curious about was being undressed on the balcony. Not sure if that means in underwear (which could be the same coverage as a bikini) or fully naked, but at that point I was wondering if the legality might change since she is outside in a more public setting (especially if it’s so visible from two streets away?). Or, is it a gray area since it’s still attached to her home?

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        Totally depends on the city, whether she’s fully nude, and who can usually see her in light of the neighborhood. But larger cities are less likely to have ordinances, let alone police time and resources, that restrict people from being nude in their home (including their penthouse balcony).

        1. Stanley Nickels*

          I guess it’s a bit of a sociological discussion too; when does public nudity/indecency become public? Your doorway threshold, your porch, your property line, etc.?

    7. afiendishthingy*

      W H A T??? Nobody is getting hurt because she is naked in her own freaking apartment. If OP did this and the police actually showed up (which is hard to imagine) the OP would go viral on social media for harassing people for living their lives. And rightfully so. This is a bonkers idea. Police should always be your absolute last resort. Don’t call them on homeless people or black people just trying to live their lives either.

    8. Observer*

      Wait, you really think that sending the police in is a REMOTELY reasonable response to the situation?

      On the other hand, if the police is any good, they are actually not going to waste any time on this. The thing is that it might get the OP marked down by the police as a nuisance and / or someone to be ignored.

      1. TootsNYC*

        they may be required to waste time on it–most municipalities are required to respond to EVERY call.

  7. Heidi*

    For OP1: My boss got me a plant on my first day, and I still have it. It feels less ostentatious than a bouquet of flowers and more like an office warming gift. When someone leaves our group, we all sign a photo and frame it.

    For OP2: There is a kind of contact paper you can apply to your windows to make them like frosted glass. It comes in patterns too. You won’t get your city view, but you also don’t need to see unwelcome nudity. Also, people move in and out of apartments frequently. This may not be a problem forever.

    1. Polyhymnia O'Keefe*

      I use those because I like the natural light of having the blinds open, live in an apartment building where people can see into my windows, and am not always fully clothed in my own apartment. It was quite inexpensive to get a couple of rolls on Amazon, took half an hour to install on my living room windows, and my problem was totally solved.

    2. Properlike*

      Just did this last weekend in our house with a glass door in our bedroom that looks put into other houses. You don’t have to cover the entire window either; set it below eye level if you’d like to still be able to see out.

    3. sacados*

      Re: OP1
      That’s a really nice idea actually, and I think conveys the spirit of what Arya is intending with the gift. If they give Sansa (in person, on her last day!) a plant that she can take with her to have at her desk in the new office, it is a nice reminder.

      1. Lucy*

        I like this suggestion partly because if the workplace conventionally gives a leaving gift but Sansa is allowed to leave empty handed then she might have a moment’s sadness/slightedness.

        1. Daisy*

          Yes, that was my first thought, more that what the new workplace might think (although that too). She’s going to leave thinking they haven’t got her anything, and then get something a couple of days/weeks later when she’s forgotten all about it/her old job and won’t see them again to say thank you. Isn’t most of the point of a leaving gift presenting it when you say goodbye and are full of fond feelings on both sides? I can’t really see the point at all if you do it this way.

        2. Paulina*

          Doing the gift after leaving (instead of at or right before) can also make it look like they forgot and then tried to make up for it. (Or appreciate her only in retrospect.) If they want to be kind to her and also leave a good impression (eg. for future references), it’s better not to wait until after she’s gone.

          1. Lance*

            Yeah, I’m… not really sure what the rationale is for giving a gift on her first day at the new job, rather than in the moment when she’s still around the gift-givers at all. ‘Congrats on the new job, we still remember you’, I… guess? Except that she just left, and there’s no functional reason the gift couldn’t have been given while she was still there, so it’s… awkward.

            1. londonedit*

              They probably mean it to be a nice ‘Good luck! We’re thinking of you!’ gesture, but to me it would seem really odd if a new colleague got a bunch of flowers from her old workplace on her first day. I’m not sure what feels so…off…about it to me, but it just seems awkward. Like the old workplace couldn’t let her go. And I’d feel really awkward if I was the centre of attention on my first day at work because a big bunch of flowers had arrived for me. It’s awkward enough being the newbie as it is!

            2. Heidi*

              I think that part of the reason would be to show that Sansa is not out of mind just because she is out of sight and that people are still thinking of her and wishing her well. I also think that the flowers might be intended to show new coworkers that Sansa is highly thought of. There are numerous reasons this would not work out as intended, but I think the intention is good.

            3. TootsNYC*

              I get the point of sending it on her first day at the new job: “good luck with this thing right in front of you”; “don’t forget us.”

              But I think it’s just kind of weird. It’s not a conventional gesture.

              1. That Girl From Quinn's House*

                If someone wants to wish her good luck on her first day, they can send her a text or email.

    4. Jasnah*

      This is a great idea, they are cheap on Amazon. Some even are frosted/designed to be blurry up to a certain height (so only the bottom half is frosted, etc.)

    5. Marzipan*

      #2 – yeah, you can get obscured or partly-obscured film that sticks to the window without actually being sticky (you spray on some water when you initially put it up, and after that it stays put). You still get the light through from outside, but minus the distracting visuals.

    6. Kuododi*

      I like the idea of the plant over flowers. My one suggestion would be to double-check if a plant would actually be a welcome gift. If someone were to purchase a plant for me as a going away gift, they would have done better to light their $$on fire. I appreciate plants as a concept but neither I nor DH are capable of keeping the darn things alive. (Animals yes- plants no) In the past, I’ve been given a set of coffee mugs, scarves, gift package of gourmet coffee, gift card toward my favorite book store as going away gifts….you get the idea!!! There are oodles of gift giving possibilities limited only by budget and imagination. Hope this helps!!!

  8. sacados*

    OP4: Unfortunately, it is definitely a rejection. But on the plus side, it also shows that this company liked you and your skills a lot, even if they ultimately went with someone else. So I think you can take it to mean that if another similar position ever opens up at this company, you would be at the least very strongly considered and should definitely reach out!

      1. Anonymeece*

        Seconding this. It is definitely a rejection (I’m sorry!), but it seemed like they would be open to you applying for other positions. They might also be open for feedback – Alison, I think, has some recommendations on how to ask for that without sounding defensive – and you may find out some things that will help you in the future with that company or another.

        1. OP #4*

          I actually did ask for feedback after and we had a great conversation. I knew from the beginning it was a rejection, I just was being optimistic in that maybe it was able to change somehow… -OP #4

  9. sacados*

    Another problem is that Arya and the others don’t know what Sansa’s new office is like. Even if receiving flowers on the first day is something that Sansa herself would personally appreciate, it might be something that is seen as Not A Thing/out of sync with the culture of her new office and potentially get her in trouble.

    1. Coffee Nut*

      Agreed, as there are several places with policies against flowers due to people with allergies.

      1. L.S. Cooper*

        Or people who are immunocompromised– if it’s bad enough, even the little bits of mold in flowers can be bad. If someone is trying to work while going through chemo, it could make for an awkward situation.

    2. bibliovore*

      except if the flowers included the dreaded star lilies that are guaranteed to to trigger my asthma.

    3. JSPA*

      Yep; allergies to pollen, flower fragrance etc are not rare. Lily pollen allergies can be extreme.

    4. 342g*

      we had a ban on plants in the office from building management because it “could attract insects”

    5. BadWolf*

      Or depending on the size of the office/knowledge of the front desk person, there might be an awkward “We don’t have an Ayra” when the delivery person stops at the front desk. Maybe the flowers get to Ayra, maybe they don’t.

  10. Jimming*

    I’m curious why #3 thinks there is a stigma for being laid off? It happens all the time. It happens for reasons unrelated to performance and related to a million other things. It’s actually pretty great you have severance! Let potential employers know you were laid off and you’re looking for a new opportunity. It’s a normal thing that happens to a lot of people.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      There’s not much of a layoff stigma, but it’s true that it can be harder to find a job when you’re unemployed, which is where I think the OP was coming from.

      1. Jimming*

        That’s true. I just found it interesting they mentioned stigma twice in the letter. I wanted them to know it’s okay to be honest about that since it happens to a lot of us.

    2. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      I don’t get it either. And if you’ve been laid off and it takes time to find a job, you explain that to interviewers. Any reasonable person wouldn’t hold it against you. I’ve been laid off twice, and explaining the gaps on my resume was never an issue. I wouldn’t fudge my end date. I don’t know legal things, but in my mind, you’re no longer an “employee” once you stop working, even if they’re paying you severance.

    3. Ali G*

      Agreed. The line I used during my last job search (it was by choice, but I was also on severance), was “When I left Company X, I was lucky enough to be in a position where I could take some time to figure out my next move, rather than jumping on the first opportunity that came my way.” This also gives you the chance to dive right into what excites you about the job and conveys you have options, so you must be really interested in the position (even if you aren’t).

    4. Pink Peonies*

      When I was laid off the big issue was that I was being low-balled on salary by employers when they found out I was not working.

    5. BeeGee*

      I’m dealing with this as my lay-off was at the end of April. I think the issue I struggle with is the written aspect of unemployment – even though I am without a job due to something outside of my control, my resume and LinkedIn will flatly list that my employment ended and I am not currently working; this can lead to people making an assumption that I quit or was fired unless I am able to explain elsewhere that it was due to a layoff, which some recruiters may not follow through on why my employment ended. Plus fear that I can be low-balled into taking lower pay…

    6. I'mOP3!*

      Yeah, my fear was mostly around what Alison identified—it was a fear that not being employed was a mark against me and that employers seeing a gap or unemployed candidate would decide not to bother finding out if they were fired or laid off or whatever the reason is.

      So I had actually submitted my question to Alison a little over a month ago.

      I ended up deciding to go the “honest” approach which thankfully ended up being consistent with Alison’s advice (thinking about it in terms of what the employer would report seems so obvious now, but in the aftermath of a layoff, I admit to not thinking my clearest).

      And I’m happy to report that in the meantime, I ended up finding that the conversation about my layoff to be not much of an issue. Since my submission, I aggressively worked through my network and ultimately had many many conversations about my career search and this really helped me to refine my narrative around the lay off and helped to normalize things for me. I’ve had several interviews (and routinely mentioned my lay off) and recently accepted a job offer. Thank you everyone for adding your notes of support and continuing to help normalize layoffs—I hope they help someone else like me just reeling from a layoff.

  11. in a fog*

    Letter #2 also reminds me of that movie with Ben Stiller and Jenna Elfman…”Keeping the Faith”? Her character is some big shot who uses binoculars to watch an amorous couple from her high-rise office in Manhattan! Ben Stiller eventually goes to the couple’s apartment to get her attention because she won’t take his calls, and he uses signs to communicate.

    All that to say, maybe hang some signs in your windows? Like “We can see you” with one word to a page so it’s legible?

    1. Mookie*

      Rear Windowing people living their private lives in their private homes seems disproportionate and aggressive, though.

    2. neeko*

      Yeah, don’t hang those signs. That seems so aggressive when you can put up a damn curtain.

    3. LizB*

      Omg, I totally forgot that part of that movie (which I love). Just more evidence that things people do in romantic comedies are 99.9% of the time NOT acceptable things to do in real life.

    4. ThursdaysGeek*

      And the bonus to that is all those sheets of paper will cover up the windows and solve the problem. So maybe instead the signs should spell out “Now we can’t see you”.

    5. Working Mom Having It All*

      I think this is the only possible solution that goes beyond either ignoring it or putting something up so that you can’t see her. Because the way it’s described, she is probably too far away to read a sign (even a biggish sign) in their window. Which means she is also likely too far away for them to really be able to see her without scrutinizing. So there’s no problem, and nobody needs to know. It’s a win-win!

  12. Lionheart*

    OP1 İ think it’s also worth bringing up that these flowers will be in lieu of a parting gift. İf İ left my current business with no gift, İ would be hurt and disappointed. İf İ then arrived at my new place of work and there was a giant bunch of flowers there, İ would probably assume that my old work realised they had messed up the gift thing, and were now trying to make up for it.
    İf any of the other problems people had mentioned (nowhere to put the vase, flower deliveries frowned upon etc) came in to play, it would definitely sour the experience and my impression of the company. İ wouldn’t do it. İ second the plant suggestion – give it to Şansa on her last day, and let her decide if or when to take it to the office.

    1. MK*

      I don’t understand why they can’t arrange the flower delivery for the last day in her old job instead of the first in the new one, or at her home the day before she starts.

      I would encourage the OP to say something about the timing, at least. It would be a shame if what was meant to be a nice gesture ends up annoying the recipient.

      1. Lucy*

        If I may speak from experience, it’s a huge PITA to drag a big bouquet home on public transport when you’re also taking your personal effects and even worse if you’re having a leaving drink before you go … so the very last day is not what I would recommend for elaborate flower gifts.

        1. The Grammarian*

          Why not have the flowers sent to her home after hours on her last work day? Then she feels appreciated immediately and there’s no need to lug the flowers around.

          1. Lucy*

            The only problem with that is that she leaves the building without a gift – which obviously is actually fine, but if other leavers had a gift of some kind on their last day then she might have a moment’s “oh it’s like that is it?” and feel a bit slighted all the way home. Also, she might not be in to take the delivery!

    2. Lily*

      Yeah – if she cares, it puts her on an emotional rollercoaster of “guess they didn’t like me that much – oh wait they did notice I ‘m gone” at a time where she needs to be level-headed.

      Sometimes the usual, “boring” solution is actually the best one and people should’t try to be creative and change stuff without good reason.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Sometimes the usual, “boring” solution is actually the best one.

        This! Rituals are a thing! They help people know what to do in various situations, and that’s a good thing.

    3. Bagpuss*

      YEs, that was my thought, that it would come over as if they forgot on her last day, and were playing catch up!
      Plus, unless you know what the new office is like, it could be weird and awkward there.

      I think they would do better to get her a leaving gift in the usual way.

    4. NYWeasel*

      It’s interesting bc I am trying to think of a job I’ve left where I’ve ever been given anything more than a card on the last day. Most of the time it’s just parting drinks and not even a card. I wouldn’t think anything of not getting a gift. That said, I definitely would NOT want flowers on my first day because I’d hate to have it be the first thing people are thinking of me there.

        1. ceiswyn*

          I’ve never left a job without a gift.

          In the case of my last two jobs, the gifts were actually in the £70-£100 range. I guess maybe my colleagues just like me :)

        2. I’m an engineer*

          And some sort of parting gift has been the norm everywhere I’ve worked in the industry.

    5. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      I’ve never received a gift when leaving a job. Expecting one is a bit entitled to begin with IMO. The bottom line is that while they have good intentions, some gifts can be cumbersome or send the wrong message. Someone who knows her well should be making the decision on what to do for the person leaving.

      1. Imprudence*

        That is so different from every office I have ever worked in, in the UK. Leaving means an anonymous collection for a gift: flowers, card a speech and send off. And quite often lunch / drinks after work as well. If there wasn’t such a thing, I would think the person was leaving under a cloud.

        1. londonedit*

          Same here. I’m sure there are industries/offices in the UK where that sort of thing doesn’t happen, but in my experience whenever someone leaves a job there’s a card, a collection that goes towards a present, and usually a leaving lunch/drinks/both. A colleague of mine just left, and she got all of that (the lunch was a smaller thing for just our department, and we paid, but the company put money towards booze and snacks for an after-work drinks party in the office, and people gave money to a collection for a card and a couple of presents). Heck, when I left after just a year’s fixed-term contract I still got a card and a voucher, and I went out for lunch with my department.

          1. UKDancer*

            Also in the UK and the same thing happens in my company. We take an anonymous voluntary collection up and sign a card and whoever knows the person leaving the best gets a gift (usually a gift voucher and some form of token present reflecting their interests). Then there’s usually a presentation on the last day unless the person has specifically said they don’t want one.

            Sometimes there are leaving drinks / lunch but that’s up to the person leaving to arrange as they prefer. A Muslim colleague for example asked if we could have tea and cake rather than going to the pub so we did that and all enjoyed it.

  13. in a fog*

    OP #1: My best friend and I send flowers to each other’s new offices on the first day of new jobs. It’s definitely specific to the culture of an office, but we’re both in relatively informal fields, and in my experience, it has always broken the ice with new coworkers. We both also use a particular floral delivery service that ships via FedEx, so there isn’t a live person showing up with a bouquet in hand.

  14. Lena Clare*

    5. Sounds like your boss thinks you’ve just swapped your usual day off as opposed to taking PTO! I’m sure if you explained it as Alison suggests, it’ll be fine (but if it’s not – what?!)

    1. Myrin*

      We’d probably need to know more about the exact structure in this workplace, but wouldn’t a boss know whether one of her reports took PTO? Like, wouldn’t she have been the one to approve it in the first place?

      1. KP*

        Yes, and boss presented it “as a friendly reminder” of … the workplace policies, presumably?

        I worked at place that did something similar — but I think the policy was regarding taking an unscheduled paid day off immediately before or after the start/end of a paid holiday. It was a decade ago, I don’t remember the details, but there were several reasons for it, including the fact it was a service type job, and you could have time off immediately before or after a paid holiday to extend it — but it had to be scheduled and approved in advance.

        1. Half-Caf Latte*

          I read the text as “manager screwed up getting coverage, now is trying to coerce OP into working to CYA”.

          I have worked many jobs with a coverage requirement, and absolutely know managers who would pull this

    2. Kate R*

      Agreed. I wasn’t keen on Alison’s suggested scripts because she didn’t mention taking paid vacation until the end. Maybe the boss just forgot or maybe the boss has some warped view of how PTO should be used, but I would lead with “I used PTO for Saturday, so I wasn’t planning to swap it for another day.” Then I liked Alison’s scripts for explaining OP can’t come in on Monday and asking for clarification of the PTO policy, but I’d first reiterate that I took PTO.

      1. LegalBeagle*

        Yes, I was confused by the answer. If you have to make up the time, it’s not PTO! The LW should clarify this with her boss because it sounds like she’s being told she can’t actually use her vacation time.

    3. MagicUnicorn*

      Sounds as though the OP took PTO with the intent of enjoying a 3 day weekend and the boss is, intentionally or not, being obtuse about that.

    4. Kimmybear*

      Also wondered if the OP is hourly and will end up with overtime the next week by working Monday – Saturday and if the manager thought of that.

  15. Lena Clare*

    1. When I was in my first job as a teacher, my coworker got a HUGE bunch of flowers from someone she’d just met (This was 20 years ago and they’re actually married now) but she was not happy about it. Where on earth can you put flowers in a classroom with kids in! She had to leave them in reception, so everyone knew about it, and she felt embarrassed rather than flattered.

    Agree with the consensus here – don’t send them to your colleague on the first day. Do it the last day when she’s there with you all.
    Do you have standing, OP, to make this change?

    1. ..Kat..*

      Even on her last day at old office, it could be problematic to take the flowers home with her. Public transportation with a big arrangement would be a nightmare (plus she might be toting other possessions home with her). Even in a personal car, an arrangement is hard to transport. Steadying a vase with an arrangement is difficult while driving.

      1. June*

        Second last day then! Or at the start of the last week. They will probably be done by the end of the week.

    2. LegalBeagle*

      A male teacher of mine in high school once got a plant delivered from his girlfriend in the middle of a class; he was embarrassed and made a comment about how it wasn’t appropriate. To a classroom full of 15-year olds, this was high drama! We talked about it for weeks.

  16. Lily*

    2: if she’s mostly wearing a bra and underwear, she’s (most of the time) not more naked than in a bikini at the beach.
    Maybe you can label the appartmentas some kind of beach in your head? So whenever you see something, it’s more of “oh yeah, the occasional nude swimmer on that beach again” and not something else?

    1. Amerdale*

      Maybe it’s a cultural thing but calling her nudist while she is wearing underwear confused me a lot.

      But yes, just get some curtains or put a thin sheet of paper on to your window to block her out.

      1. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

        Seconded. Depending where OP2 lives, it could backfire and damage OP’s reputation.

    2. hermit crab*

      I used to have an office with this exact kind of across-the-street neighbor! My office was on the top floor facing the back, and across the alley/access road was the penthouse floor of a condo building. One occupant liked to sunbathe on her balcony wearing a bikini during business hours. Good for her! There was some idle speculation during long conference calls (was she fantastically wealthy? if so, why was she living in our decidedly uncool neighborhood?) but mostly we were just jealous. I can’t imagine telling her that she was doing something wrong.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        She probably worked a late shift…not everyone works 9-5 o.O I find it fascinating that there was speculating on her income when she could have been a lot of things that didn’t require an office. Maybe she was remote and could do all her work during the early mornings or late night?

        1. hermit crab*

          Oh, that’s totally fair. I think the fact that we were all super over-worked and burnt out was probably the driving force there! Like, wishful thinking, but on her behalf.

  17. cncx*

    interesting cultural difference between the US and where i live (switzerland) for OP3
    for most jobs (obviously excluding high stakes management and so on where people trade insider info or don’t depending on non competes and NDAs) companies usually say you’re employed while you’re on severance or gardening leave, the rationale being that because people who have jobs are likely to get jobs and if they were laid off it’s a kindness to put chances on their side to get hired elsewhere. We also have long notice periods here (between three and six months) but for some jobs you obviously need to leave sooner, which is another reason people can be on payroll a while.

    However, when the banks do their famous “lay off one hundred people at a time in staggered layoffs so they avoid fines” stuff it’s usually understood that someone is probably on gardening leave

    1. ANOTHER friday anon*

      Hi cncx, this is slightly off topic (apologies OP3), but I’m also in a locale where we have 3 months notice period depending on your contract and I’ve missed out on jobs because they assumed I could start sooner (4 weeks being the legal minimum you have to give notice). Obviously it depends on whether your employer agrees which many don’t due to finding and training replacements, but in Switzerland it’s possible to leave for your new job and still be theoretically on payroll for your previous one?

    2. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

      I would like to be on gardening leave for a month or so then come back to my current job… sounds lovely, except for the being unemployed part.

    3. I'mOP3!*

      “companies usually say you’re employed while you’re on severance or gardening leave, the rationale being that because people who have jobs are likely to get jobs and if they were laid off it’s a kindness to put chances on their side to get hired elsewhere”

      Wow, that is such a kindness. Thank you for sharing another culture’s perspective on how to more humanely manage a tough event like a layoff.

    4. Jennifer Thneed*

      Please tell me what “gardening leave” is? I thought it must be a typo but maybe I’m wrong? Is it your region’s term for “unpaid time off”?

  18. Lily*

    Ha! I just realized I’m the woman in # 2, except in an appartment complex instead of near an office.

    I walk every morning in my underwear from the sleeping room to the kitchen, due to various aspects of my pre-work routine (a specific item of clothing still drying in the kitchen, plus deodorant needing to dry before putting on the rest of the clothes, and there’s no point of standing in a bathroom for 10 minutes waiting for it to dry, etc).

    Also occasionally I’m nude in the bathroom and realize that something I need is in another room so I’ll just quickly walk over and get it. Quickly, but still.

    The next block has some distance and several trees between us, and I don’t think lots of people have seen me but it’s totally possible someone is totally annoyed by it.

    The thing is, I won’t awkwardly cover myself just to get my nightgown from the sleeping room after working 12 + x hours, especially as I’m alone in my own appartment.

    And if I got an awkward message from the people in the block across from me I’d think that they needed to learn not to look into other people’s windows or live with whatever they’d seen. I certainly wouldn’t change anything.

    There’s probably some cultural aspect to it – I’m in Europe, and while I believe nudity doesn’t belong in the general public I also don’t understand why people would feel weird of it in places where it’s warranted (e.g. locker rooms etc).

    Also, my last flatshare had a “no intentional nudity but bathroom to own room nude is totally fine” rule.

    1. Sunny today*

      Haha, I’m the sunbathing in bikini on the balcony woman. Though there is no office opposite me.

    2. Ammonite*

      I’m also that woman. My apartment is on a narrow street and I can easily see into the windows of the apartments across from me, so I assume they can see into mine as well. The neighbors directly across have curtains closed most of the time, but the others do not and I really don’t care. I will exist in my own home in whatever state of dress is most comfortable to me, which means I am rarely fully clothed.
      I’m with you- if they sent me a note, I’d write it off as their problem, not mine.
      As a side note, I do leave a dress or something else quick to throw on near the door in case someone knocks. I’m comfortable with nudity through the window, but not in person.

    3. Falling Diphthong*

      I think there is a stark difference US vs Europe here. I find the European one more sensible, but “other places in the world have a more sensible approach” isn’t really relevant if you are trying to get by this week in a different part of the world that doesn’t do that.

      I also think there’s a stark difference between “I glimpsed you naked–SHAME ON YOU” and “You may not realize that we can see right into your kitchen from our living room, so here’s a polite heads-up in case the naked morning routine has been in the belief that you are invisible.” Like, if people might be appalled–rather than amused or apathetic–to go next door and discover that what they view as a completely sheltered part of their house is actually very visible, then an early heads-up of the “gosh, in case you don’t realize” variety is the civil approach. As someone who defaults to the latter, I’m surprised how many people are defaulting to the former.

      1. Working Hypothesis*

        The LW made it pretty clear that it was their own sensibilities, and not the tenant’s which concerned them. They weren’t just trying to do a good deed by letting her know something which might be beneficial to her.

    4. Gardener*

      Yes! Same! And I’m in the Midwest in the US. I have neighbors within a hundred feet on all sides, and I still walk around in just underwear, or just a tank top and no pants, basically constantly, and occasionally totally nude as well. I’ve caught a glimpse of them through their window before in undies, and just quickly avert my eyes to give them their privacy and sometimes close my blinds if I’m going to be in that room of my house for awhile.

      1. londonedit*

        I live in an apartment with a huge glass window on one wall, and it’s on the ground floor. I have gauze curtains up at the windows, but I’m never *quite* sure how much anyone can see at any given time of day. Obviously I wouldn’t prance around naked all the time with no curtains at all, but the path outside my window is very quiet so the chances of anyone actually looking in and seeing me in my underwear are pretty remote. I’m pretty happy to wander around in my bra and pants occasionally without feeling like anyone is going to be looking in!

    5. TootsNYC*

      plus deodorant needing to dry before putting on the rest of the clothes,

      A total aside: Did you know that deodorant lasts a long time? And that you can put it on before bed, and it will be effective all day the next day?

      1. Rainy*

        With it needing to dry, I suspect it’s either one of the heavy-duty clinical deos or else it’s one of the “natural” ones–with the clinical it probably lasts all night, but the natural ones really don’t, in my experience (of being around people using them–they give me a ferocious allergic reaction so I don’t have any direct experience that’s not “well, now my pits smell like this suppurating rash”).

      2. General Ginger*

        I think that’s highly individual. For example, I’ve never used a deodorant that reliably lasted more than, at most, one work shift (8 hrs). Also, I could literally shower before bed, apply deodorant, and still wake up in the morning needing a shower and deodorant :(

  19. Indisch blau*

    OP 2: Why not send flowers to her home on the day before her first day at New Job?

      1. Phony Genius*

        Good thing you corrected it. That would have definitely taken #2 to a whole new level.

  20. londonedit*

    I’m definitely in the ‘I would find it weird and awkward’ camp when it comes to the sending flowers on someone’s first day idea. I’d find it awkward enough if a partner or family member did it – generally on your first day in a new job, you’re focused on fitting into the new office culture and you don’t want your new coworkers’ initial impression of you to be That Person who gets called to Reception to pick up a giant bunch of flowers. And I’d find it especially weird if former colleagues sent flowers – again, the impression you want to give when you start a new job is that you’re totally invested in the new job, you’re looking forward, you’re keen to get started on the new challenges. Not that you’re still attached to your previous workplace.

    If they want to send flowers – which is a nice gesture – why not send them to her home on the weekend before she starts the new job?

    1. Triplestep*

      Just chiming in for anyone whoever might consider first day flowers for a partner or family member … The day I got some from my then-new husband 15 years ago remains one of my most cringe-inducing memories. I was the only woman in a way-too-small open studio with six other architects, and since there was no reception, the flowers walked right in the door. (Had there been a reception, I might have just taken them directly to my car.) The looks on people’s faces; mortifying! And of course a big fight with my husband followed, poor guy. But he really should have known better.

      1. TootsNYC*

        There’s a resemblance to the guy who jumps into the marathon to propose to his sweetheart. “Let me make this important event in your life all about me.”

        I once got birthday flowers from my now husband. That was OK, but it was a fuss, and I wouldn’t want it to happen again, really. Or, at the very least, not a BIG arrangement.

        1. Triplestep*

          Yes! And my husband is the most mild mannered, non-attention-seeking person there is! He really thought he was doing a nice thing. This took place in the days when we used cell phones for calls and not so much for texting, so when I hadn’t mentioned it by the time I got home and he had to ask me if I had gotten the huge arrangement, he was SO not prepared for how mad I was.

    2. Sorrel*

      I just don’t see any benefit and see lots of disbenifits (even if they’re not major problems, they’re not positive) of sending the flowers to the new workplace)

      I’ve worked at plenty of places where it wouldn’t even get to you as it takes a couple fo weeks to be set up in the internal postal system. It’s just a randomly weird distraction from what you actually want to be doing on your first day!

      1. londonedit*

        Yep I agree, I can see way more cons than pros with the whole thing. The receptionist or whoever takes in deliveries might not even know the new person’s name, or where their desk is, which could make it even more awkward! And then as well as being ‘The New Person’ you have to be the one with a bunch of flowers on your desk as well. I guess some people would enjoy the attention, but personally, I think it would add another layer of ‘newbie’ awkwardness if I was having to field a load of ‘Ooh, flowers! Who are they from??’ comments from people I’d only just met.

  21. Delta Delta*

    #2 – Is she naked all day? I mean, it seems like the easiest thing to do is… not look at her.

    1. Mel*

      I assume she’s naked all day if he’s calling her a serious nudist. And I can see where that would be annoying to have to be consciously not looking at her all day, 5 days a week,

      I might feel like my right to not see random naked people is a little more important than someone else’s right to be naked with the windows open.

      But, the easiest solution is probably curtains.

      1. Myrin*

        The “enthusiastic nudist” wording comes from Alison, not the OP; OP’s only reference to a timeframe is “routinely […] during office hours”.

      2. Working Hypothesis*

        Your right not to see random naked people, though, is between you and your workplace. They’re the ones who have a duty not to inflict the sight of naked people on you at the office. Individuals who are going about their business in their own homes and have nothing to do with your employers have zero obligation to you on this matter. So curtains, or something else done at the LW’s workplace to block the window, is not only the easiest solution, it’s the only one they have any standing to request.

      3. Susana*

        Naked with the windows open (actually, un-curtained) in *penthouse* apartment with the aggrieved watchers two blocks away.
        Sorry – if this was someone walking around naked all day in front of a picture window, at street level, on a block where people were walking by a lot, sure. But a penthouse apartment dweller? Nope. Look away or put up your own damn curtains.

        1. Grapey*

          Reminds me of lyrics from Remy Ma’s “Conceited”: “Who’s that peekin’ in my window? Nobody ‘cuz I live in a penthouse”

      4. Mr. Shark*

        I might feel like my right to not see random naked people is a little more important than someone else’s right to be naked with the windows open.

        But she’s in her own home, so I don’t think this is the case. She’s allowed to parade around naked in her own home with the expectation of a certain amount of privacy. In this case, I can see that the LW may want to just let her know that she is visible from the office, even if it is 2 blocks away.

      5. Beth*

        Re: “I might feel like my right to not see random naked people is a little more important than someone else’s right to be naked with the windows open”…

        You have the right to point your eyes somewhere else. You have the right to get curtains or other window coverings. You don’t really have the right to insist that a total stranger in their own private home change their behavior to suit you.

  22. Cynthia*

    Letting someone in a city know that others can see them through windows seems pointless, whether you’re trying to help the person or yourself. Windows are transparent, people have vision, buildings have height and windows align. She’s either aware and doesn’t care or she’s aware and wants to be seen. Focus on your own issue of seeing a naked person and modify what you can on your end to prevent that.

    1. Susana*

      Why are you so sure she’s “aware?” If someone told me someone saw me naked two blocks away, I would not only be stunned but would consider reporting them as peeping toms.

      1. GillysGotIt*

        But if this woman can be seen clearly from two blocks away, then she can see people in windows two blocks away. I can’t imagine she’d be stunned or surprised in this case.

    2. Observer*

      She’s either aware and doesn’t care or she’s aware and wants to be seen.

      That’s just not a reasonable assumption.

      I do think that curtains or something on the windows is the practical way to go. But that’s because it’s easier that letting the other person know. And it does work regardless of the other person’s motivation. But a lot of people REALLY don’t realize how visible they are in situations like this.

        1. JB (not in Houston)*

          It’s not, though! This building is two streets away. We don’t know if there other tall buildings that are closer. She may really believe that she can’t be seen because the only building that could see her is too far away.

      1. LCL*

        Yes. The courteous thing to do, and the way I would want this handled if I was the one being seen, would be a soft notice. Go through the property company, don’t be anonymous, and emphasize you are only letting them know so they can inform the tenant and won’t contact them about this again.
        “Hey, were you aware you are visible to others?” And then drop it. I would be furious if I found out it had been known for some time that I was visible to the outside world but nobody thought to tell me.

  23. Snowball*

    Re #2 – my office is next to an apartment building and I believe that in the past they had the building management leave notes for all tenants saying something along the lines of “you cannot see into our windows it we can see into yours”. Luckily I cannot see the apartment building where I normally sit but a bunch of conference rooms look into it and I was in a meeting where those looking outside were distracted by a cat

    1. Danger: GUMPTION AHEAD*

      I’m going to admit that I would be way more distracted by a cat or dog in an apartment than a naked person and would absolutely spend and entire meeting watching pets.

    2. MoopySwarpet*

      I think the apartment complex putting a note in their monthly newsletter or whatever method they use for conveying information to tenants would be appropriate. Just a reminder to keep in mind that people can see into your windows. That way it’s not singling out one person, but still giving her information she needs if she is unaware of her exposure.

      Generally, though, I would agree that it’s on the looker to not look and/or pretend not to see. There are so many really good suggestions here for making that a reality.

      1. Working Hypothesis*

        The thing is, when an outsider goes to the apartment complex, they don’t get to control what the apartment complex management does in response. It is very unlikely, in my experience, that what it would do would be to put a note in their monthly newsletter. Either it would shrug it off and do nothing, or it would regard the issue as an embarrassment to the building and come down on her with all the weight of a powerful position. And in either case, there’d be exactly zero that the LW could do about it.

    3. Loux in Canada*

      Omg!! Yeah, if I lived in an apartment building next to an office building I think I would keep at least those gauzy white curtains so that at least they weren’t getting a hi-def view of me at all times… Not that I walk around naked, but I still don’t want people spying on what I’m doing. :)

  24. Half-Caf Latte*

    Op #5- my money is on boss screwed up getting coverage and is trying to cya by getting you to cover it.

    I’d double check there is no weekend coverage policy, and then push back as Alison suggested.

  25. sheworkshardforthemoney*

    From my personal experience in condo living, some people know they are nude or semi nude and don’t care who might see them. Our city allows condo buildings so close to each other that the expectation of total privacy is gone.

  26. Bookworm*

    #4: In any case, I’d accept that they decided you weren’t the best fit. Depending on where you were in the process (was this the final round?) it could mean they did choose that person and sometimes it means they decided to keep that other candidate in the process (but they still have further to go). I’m inclined to think that they were down to the wire and it was the two of you.

    I’m sorry this happened, though. I’ve absolutely been there and it’s so frustrating to go through multiple rounds of interviews only not to get it (and have this happen so many times!!!). It’s hard when you’ve invested a lot of time/effort and that’s all they can or will tell you.

    Good luck! I hope things improve soon!

    1. Samwise*

      My experience is that I get that kind of letter (or email) when the other candidate has accepted the offer.

    2. TootsNYC*

      One thing I want to point out–that’s a nice rejection letter!

      It’s very complimentary. So feel encouraged that your skills are strong and you interviewed well.

      You just never, ever know who your competition is, and it’s just not worth worrying about it. It’s like running track–you do your personal best, and let fate deal with the rest.

      But I would ONLY write that kind of rejection letter, with that many compliments in it, if I really liked the candidate.

      1. OP #4*

        Hi all,

        OP here! I wanted to add that I’ve exchanged a few emails with the employer after the initial rejection, saying thank you and asking for feedback to make me a better candidate in the future. He was really kind and helpful. He basically said that the person they went with was just a better fit in terms of their design style. So it seems like his decision was made, and I respect that (although it stings a bit). I have really bad social anxiety, and while getting multiple rejections is painful for most, for me it’s a deeper pain that is almost paralyzing. But still, I’m thankful for this experience and I’m glad he let me down softly :)

        1. TootsNYC*

          So it seems like his decision was made,

          Their decision is ALWAYS made.

          It is never a good idea to think that you could influence them to change their minds once they’re told you they’re going with someone else. And it’s very damaging to give them the impression that you’re trying to talk them out of it.

          Be confident in your skills! And best of luck on the next one.

          1. OP #4*

            Yes, Toots, that is what I meant when I said “seems like.” I’m aware he made his decision at this point!

            Did I mistakenly imply I was trying to change his mind? I would never! I just told him I respected his decision and asked for feedback. He responded by saying he appreciated my positive response. That’s all.

            1. writenow*

              OP #4, Rare exception here! This happened to me, also in a creative role, so you weren’t wrong for wondering… I received a rejection email a few weeks after having a good phone interview with the hiring manager. She was very complementary but explained she had decided to “move forward” with candidates that more closely matched the job requirements. I was disappointed and didn’t even acknowledged her email (I should have). I never expected to hear from her again. Then 3 weeks later she reached out to see if I was still interested and asked me to come in for an in person interview with members of the team. She ended up hiring me quickly and the job has been a better fit than either of us imagined. I don’t know what happened with the candidates she moved forward, but I think the manager wanted to be transparent so she sent the rejection earlier than she should have. I also got the impression her boss considered me a better fit than she did (or was more willing to take a chance), and so she eventually reconsidered. It sounds like you did the right thing in being gracious and asking for feedback. I hope you find something great!

  27. Amy*

    I wonder if the team would send a male colleague flowers on his first day?
    I’m a gardener and my house is currently filled with allium, roses and lilies.

    But for work? It has far too much of a “Here’s your new Miss America!” vibe for me. My work persona is much less soft, more no nonsense. I wouldn’t like receiving flowers at work. Full stop. But especially not while new.

    1. GillysGotIt*

      Great observation and I love that phrase. You’re totally right – plus, it could possibly even come off as the new employee worked with the old employer to do this so she looks important – or even that she did it herself, only pretending that the old employer sent the flowers. The act is unusual enough that it just might seem deceptive like this.

    2. Artemesia*

      Ewwww Felt like that to me too. I think flowers at work are embarrassing and they have that sort of ‘oooo whose the guy’ vibe when women receive them. This is not the look I would want in a male dominated profession on my first day of work. Would they be thinking of this, if you were a guy on his first day? If the new office gave you something– well I still think flowers feel sexist, but at least everyone would know where they came from. A big floral display delivered to the new employee? oooo ick. Don’t do this.

    3. Hodie-Hi*

      As a parting gift, I once got a small photo album. It contained individual candid shots of the co-workers I was leaving, in the office setting, with a personal message handwritten by each of them. I was so touched and I still have it decades later. We were a fairly small group and had grown close over ten years.

  28. Jam*

    My parents sent me flowers on my first day at my first adjunct teaching job — I love flowers and was really touched and delighted. That said, there was a lot of luck involved in my being able to accommodate them (small arrangement, I happened to be on campus all day that day, I had had an office assigned in advance of the first day) and there was a degree of eyebrow raising that some people might have been uncomfortable with. (I did take them home with me on a bus + train, for the record, but again I love flowers and don’t see that as a hassle.) I can so easily imagine this gesture going awry.

    1. Anon Adjunct*

      I’m just thrilled for you that you even have an office and desk to put flowers as an adjunct. I have a shared office (with the entire adjunct faculty of a 30,000+ enrollment university) over a mile from my department’s building… Oh, and they just removed the printer from the adjunct office to save money.

      1. jam*

        Ha, as if :) The office was shared with a beardy guy who clearly thought he was Next Stop Harvard. I got the feeling he disapproved of the flowers but who cares.

    2. Adminx2*

      Like mine. I didn’t have a proper desk for three weeks. I didn’t have a phone or computer and the receiving receptionist had zero clue who I was. They asked about the flowers when I got home (Friday) and then they sat for 3 days at the front desk.

  29. londonedit*

    Re: the naked woman – this reminds me of the (ongoing, I think) argument between some residents of a London apartment block and Tate Modern. The gallery opened a new viewing platform a while back, with spectacular views of the city – and also spectacular views into the flats next door (which, this being a prime location in London, cost an absolute fortune). Some of the people living in the flats have taken their case to the High Court citing an ‘invasion of privacy’ – basically the argument is whether the Tate should respect the residents’ privacy, and screen off the view into their flats, or whether the residents should accept the fact that they live in central London and there are tall buildings around from which people might get a view into their windows.

    1. I GOTS TO KNOW!*

      The flat owners ended up losing and part of the reasoning the judge used was that they bought flats with floor to ceiling windows. But the observation deck didn’t exist when they bought it so I thought that was a little unfair.

      As someone who is fully on the side of one being able to do what one wants in one’s own home, I really feel like the judge missed the mark here and the Tate should have had to put up screens.

      Just like I feel like it is on the office here to put up curtains or window clings or something to block the line of site. The onus is on the looker, not the person in their home, IMO.

      1. Loux in Canada*

        Or even for the Tate to, like, help pay for tinting on the buildings’ windows or something.

    2. Mr. Shark*

      Yes, I thought of that situation as well. I can see that it’s a big problem for the tenants, but not sure what they could do or what the gallery could do.

  30. Coffee Nut*

    OP #2, I disagree with Alison’s response. Only because in my town, even in your own home, if you are visibly indecent (privates are visible) with your blinds open, it is still illegal. If someone can see you from the street in a manner that is considered public indecency, even if you are in your own home, you will be arrested.

    I don’t encourage starting legal troubles, but I do understand how this can be an issue, especially if you have clients coming and going. I don’t know the best solution, but surely your local government can provide a way to notify her that she still has to provide some sort coverage, even in her own home – assuming your community has the same laws.

    1. JSPA*

      Fail to see how “from the street” laws apply here. Mores do differ, as far as people (children) walking by a house at close range. But that’s nothing to do with, our office lines up with your penthouse.

      1. Curious*

        I’m curious if the advice would be the same if it were a man walking around nude.

        1. Curious*

          To be more specific, I am curious if LW’s office has a responsibility to provide something to block the view or to move LW to a different space, and if it would be different based on the gender of the nude person and/or the employee. I’m a woman, so I’m feeling like it would bother me to have to deal with essentially an unsolicited d*ck pic every time I looked up from my desk. Would my office be obligated to provide me with a solution?

          1. Grapey*

            To me, a d*ck pic is something sent to have power (shock) over someone else.

            I personally think if you imagine that a man minding his business in his own apartment equals “unsolicited d*ck pics”, those are your feelings to overcome.

          2. L.S. Cooper*

            Hm, I’m not sure I agree with the dick pic analogy (also a woman)– the person hasn’t given any indication of being naked *at* the LW and their office; they’re just….existing while naked in their own home.
            I do think the office is obligated to provide the solution, and that it’s on them to solve it inside their own building, be it through a decal or curtains, if people can’t refrain from staring.

          3. Rainy*

            I have excellent vision, despite the ravages of advancing age, and from two blocks away, even Ron Jeremy wouldn’t be providing me with the equivalent of an unsolicited dicture whenever I looked up.

      2. TootsNYC*

        it may be “from any place that someone else is entitled to be” (i.e., not on your property, but on theirs)

      3. fhqwhgads*

        I’m wondering whether the distance intended by the OP with the phrase “two streets” and what a lot of us are imagining from that phrasing are in fact even close to the same.

        1. Beth*

          My window is about 6′ from my neighbors’ window, and even when both of our blinds are up, I don’t generally notice what’s going on in there unless I’m actively and intentionally looking. Maybe if it were dark outside and all their lights were on, they would actually stand out to me? But mostly they’re just background–it’s brighter (to my eyes) where I am than looking across the way into their unit, I’ve got things I’m doing in the foreground to focus on, they’re mostly a few feet into their apartment which makes them stand out even less. Mostly I notice when their cats sit in the windowsill.

          I have a hard time believing “two streets away” is closer than that, so I have a hard time believing that this neighbor’s underwear is so persistently invasive that OP and their coworkers can’t possibly ignore it. But more to the point, even if it is that impossible to ignore, it doesn’t really matter–the solution is still to put up curtains or to look away, not to police what a random person does in their own home.

    2. TootsNYC*

      “from the street”

      Or from another dwelling, I’m wondering?

      This reminds me of Alex Rodriguez’s being photographed on his toilet, playing on his phone, from the offices of a hedge fund across the street. (Page Six reported it; google will help you find it)

      1. Artemesia*

        laws of privacy have not kept up with technology. I hope we get something in place before the deep fakes are all over the net.

    3. I GOTS TO KNOW!*

      But that isn’t true of all jurisdictions. And most jurisdictions interpret the law incorrectly and while arrests happen, convictions don’t.

      In most jurisdictions where indecent exposure covers nudity in your own home, it still has to be with intent. You have to be trying to be obscene – aka actively trying to get people to look at your junk. While uptight people might call the cops on someone merely existing nude in their own home because they saw it, getting a conviction would require proving they were doing it on purpose. Even in the example linked in the comments above, it was overturned because they couldn’t prove he was actively trying to be obscene.

      So, yes, while some jurisdictions are more apt to arrest due to nudity in one’s own home, that doesn’t mean they are right to do it or that the law prevents nudity.

      In mot cities, which this seems to be, statues absolutely allow for walking around naked. The onus is on the other party not to look.

    4. Working Mom Having It All*

      It must be amazing to live in a place with so few problems and so little crime that the police will immediately come out to arrest — and the local court system actually prosecute — someone for being naked in their own home.

  31. Squeeze of Lemon*

    I live in a tall-ish building near a public park. Our windows and balcony face the park. One of the first things we did when we moved in was to test what could be seen from the park. As in, “You walk around naked right now and I’m going to go into the park and look. Ok, try turning the light on/off. Try opening and closing the curtains.” Thus we determined what level of detail could/couldn’t be seen and what we were comfortable with.

    Being naked outside on the balcony is different because any of the neighbors (with their own balconies on the same level) could easily see you. If you are naked outside on your balcony, you are 100% ok with people seeing your bits.

    1. RandomU...*

      At least you performed your test after you moved in and not during the showing.

      …checks water pressure… flips on light switches… “ok hunny, strip down and I’ll run to the park and call you”…


  32. LadyByTheLake*

    OP#3 — As noted above, some people are laid off with a long notice period, during which they do not work (I learned today from the comments above that in the UK that is called “gardening leave.”) In the US, sometimes large companies have to give the 60 day WARN notice but find it disruptive to have people who have been laid off still working. So it could be that someone is still officially employed with the company but just isn’t coming in. Hence the disconnect between what you observed and their official end date.

    1. londonedit*

      In the UK longer notice periods are more common anyway (I have three months, and I’m not even in a higher-level job) and gardening leave is usually used when someone resigns from their job and the company doesn’t want them hanging around for three or six months potentially hearing information that they could take to a competitor. It doesn’t happen in most industries; more often things like banking or where the person is at a very high level within the company. So you’re paid for your notice period, but you’re not allowed to come to work (hence, the idea is that you’re paid to stay at home and enjoy doing some gardening).

    2. Ms. Meow*

      This. And hopefully you were given some kind of documentation that states exactly what your last day is. That is the date you should put as your ending date because that is the date that your company is going to confirm, no matter how much severance you receive.

      1. I'mOP3!*

        I posted a small update upthread, and yes, it makes such perfect sense to rely on this (and yes I did receive paperwork with my severance that indicated my “final date”) that I feel sheepish this didn’t occur to me earlier. I blame it on my reeling from the layoff! :) Thankfully even without reasoning it through to the specific ending date, I went with this approach as it felt like what would make me most comfortable when talking to people. Thank you for your reply.

        1. Ms. Meow*

          I’m glad you got it all figured out! Layoffs hit like a runaway bus, and it can be so disorienting. Wishing you all the best in your job search!

  33. bibliovore*

    I’m a no to the flowers. I had no desk or office the first week, and flowers are showy at the least. Best parting gift I got from my old job was a gift certificate to Patagonia. (I was moving from the big east coast city to the upper midwest.) 7 years later I am still wearing that jacket rated for 30 below zero.

  34. lnelson in Tysons*

    @OP #5, are you non-exempt? Because if you have used your PTO time on Saturday (assuming that you are in the US) and then working a normally not-scheduled work-day on Monday, you are supposed to be paid for both days. If you are exempt, you might want to ask if you can get that PTO time back since you came in on an extra day. I know that I would. No guarantee that you will get it back. There are “events”at companies that will require extra time or all hands on deck so to say.
    @OP#2 I used to work at an office building and the guests in the hotel across the street didn’t realize that people could see in. No idea if the hotel ever warned people or they just didn’t care. I did give people the heads up. The people in my office got an eye-full many times. Although I will say that the house keeping staff looked like they were doing their jobs. On the lighter side, it was fun to watch people take photos from the upper floor (I’m in the city that attracts tourists). Kids seemed to love to look out the windows. And if I had a dollar for every time I saw someone ironing in their underwear, I could have afforded a nice spa weekend.

    1. VictorianCowgirl*

      This is what I wanted to say to #5. It almost sounds to me as if the boss is wanting them to work Monday as a sort of reverse comp time. That would be illegal and unethical! I would keep my eye on this boss for other shady practices.

  35. Iron Chef Boyardee*

    Re #2: Not directly related to the matter at hand, but this reminds me of the photographer who took pictures of people through their apartment windows and displayed the images in an exhibit of his work, and when the residents tried to sue for invasion of privacy they lost because the photos were ruled to be works of art.

    1. TootsNYC*

      that seems less that the defense is “it’s art” and more that the defense is free speech–that the photographer was in a place he was entitled to be, and that the people he was photographing should have been aware that they could be seen, similar to him. being on the sidewalk.

      1. TootsNYC*

        though, on further reading, I see the “it’s art, not commerce” defense.
        (frankly, if the artist is paid for that work, it’s commerce)

  36. Moocowcat*

    1) Actually, I think that this may depend on where you live. In my city, people can’t walk around naked in their homes if there is a strong likelyhood that an outside person would see them. So you might have the option of contacting them/ their building owner with a request to use privacy shades or something.

  37. Batgirl*

    OP1, Some people would adore getting flowers at work, including me, but even I’m a bit stumped as to the meaningfulness of it on the first day, after letting someone leave empty handed?!
    It’s not like it’s going to be a humdrum day in need of a pick-me-up and it has a high chance of annoying your new hayfever-prone office mate or interfering with all kinds of logistics, like not knowing where to put them. Is it supposed to be a distraction from nerves? A popularity badge? I dunno. Odd.
    Plus, does the junior even know if she likes flowers? Or attention? It’s a very specific type of person who would enjoy this gift.
    I’d opt out and send her my own card; if I really wanted to give her a first day treat I’d put in a Starbucks card or something. If I was quizzed I’d just say that I have no idea whether she, or her new office would even have somewhere to put flowers.

  38. QuestionfromtheOffice*

    One of the OP2s here. Lots of interesting assumptions going around in the comments, especially regarding gender and a desire to call the police. So more background: No one has binoculars. Literally, if you glance out the window from most of our offices, you are looking right at her. We included the information about “two blocks” because her apartment isn’t like 20 feet away. But the way the streets run, it’s still quite close. Also, given the size of our building’s windows and the sun position, I doubt she can see us.

    No one wants to call the police or get her specifically in trouble. I honestly think she may not realize just how visible she is. Being on the top floor can give you a sense that you are “hidden” from everyone. It’s a new building, in a mostly business district. It would just be nice if the building reminded tenants that they are visible during work hours. Sure, we can move our desks and close the blinds all the time to avoid guests and others seeing her but wrote in to see if there were other ideas for how to be sensitive to this women and still be able to look out our windows.

      1. Working Hypothesis*

        Because they are taking something which is unequivocally their own problem, and which they possess obvious, easy internal solutions for, and making it somebody else’s problem, simply because they don’t feel like using the solutions they have. This is rude, unethical, and reeks of entitlement.

    1. Molly*

      But if the problem can be solved by closing, blinds, why should she be the one to close her blinds (and lose her view), rather than you, if you’re the ones who don’t like the situation?

      1. Batgirl*

        There’s no situation where they can make her do that and OP has stressed they don’t want to cause trouble for her in any way.

        1. Working Hypothesis*

          They can get her threatened with losing her home if she doesn’t change her actions. This is hardly “no situation where they can make her do that.” They might even do it without meaning to, if they’re so innocent of the ways of corporate property management firms as to involve one.

      2. LCL*

        The problem isn’t the office seeing. The problem is the office seeing while the tenant is unaware they are seeable. Once the tenant knows, she can do whatever she wants. I posted above earlier but will repeat myself to OP-go through the property management firm, leave them a note/email letting them know and don’t be anonymous, and then drop it. Don’t try to contact the tenant yourself, that is creepy. Do be descriptive of where your building is, so she and other tenants can get a better idea of the issue.

        1. Working Hypothesis*

          Nobody knows whether the tenant is unaware or not. Also, nobody knows what the property management firm will do if they are aware that it’s bothering a corporation across the road. People tend to bend over backwards to please companies (which are perceived, usually correctly, as more powerful) over individuals (perceived, usually correctly — though not always, especially for someone who can afford a center-city penthouse, as less powerful), and whether the intention is to persuade the property management to crack down on the woman’s behavior or not, that is a very realistic possibility which must be considered before dragging them into the matter.

    2. Observer*

      Seriously, but some lightweight gauzy type curtains – they won’t block the light but they will obscure the view.

      Also, I think you could send a note – but it would not be “We can see that you are not wearing anything” But “You probably don’t realize this, but people can see everything in your apartment without really trying.” At that point she has all the information she needs, without it being a complaint.

    3. The Redshirt*

      Alerting her to the situation wouldn’t be getting someone in trouble. As you say, she might not realize how visible the situation is. In my city, it would be perfectly acceptable to contact the individual/building manager/ even a peace officer to pass on a polite “Hey, did you know?”

      1. Working Hypothesis*

        You have no way of knowing that dragging the building manager or police into it “wouldn’t be getting someone in trouble.” You might not *intend* it to get them in trouble, but as soon as you involve someone with power over that person, you lose control of what happens next. This is something decent people consider before they do that.

    4. Mediamaven*

      I’m pretty surprised by all the comments suggesting you just ignore it or insinuating that you guys are being creepy! I would find that situation extremely distracting and I think it would be perfectly legit to leave a note. She may even appreciate it because there very well may be actual creeps looking at her in another office. Neighbors also need to be respectful of each other and exposing people by walking naked on your balconey isn’t being that.

      1. Jessen*

        Yeah, I’d appreciate knowing before someone put it on youtube or something. Because that sounds exactly like what would happen.

    5. Batgirl*

      I was also baffled by some of the certainty that she definitely knows. Or the view that your standpoint was selfish rather than concerned. Possibly she knows and doesn’t care, but I can’t see how an ‘In case you didn’t know’ is offensive. I am super lazy about putting on my robe if I don’t think I can be seen, but I would appreciate a heads up if I’ve not calculated well. If she knows and doesn’t care then where’s the harm in making sure? I’d also offer to put up some privacy glass or frosting or screenings on your end (If this would would work for your office and you’re willing to) but let her know you’re still figuring out what will work.

      1. Princess prissypants*

        If she goes on her balcony butt ass naked she doesn’t care if she’s visible. Leave the nudist alone. MYOB.

        1. Mediamaven*

          I honestly think this would be different if it was a man. When I lived in an apartment with my sister there was a man who would undress and walk around when ever he saw us in the window. He was doing it purposely. Completely in appropriate.

          1. Working Hypothesis*

            Doing it on purpose to try and draw someone’s attention *is* inappropriate, and in some areas, illegal. Living your life, including happening to be without clothing in your own home, is not. This is true regardless of the genders involved.

        2. Batgirl*

          That’s definitely a point in favour of ‘she doesn’t care’ but OP thinks that her balcony appears deceptively private. I must say that I would feel creepy if I had a view of someone who seemed to have apparent privacy. How is passing on a friendly warning going to meddle with her in any way? They can ‘leave her alone’ with a clear conscience once they’ve made sure she doesn’t mind.

    6. RachelM*

      I’m not sure how long this has been going on but we had a similar problem with a high end hotel at my old office. People were always naked or “busy” while naked. For awhile it was talk of the office but then everyone just stopped noticing, and I’m not sure why. It was just how our brains handled the situation, maybe? Even the woman who had it all in her direct line of sight just seemed to give up on it caring or being distracted.
      I’m not sure it will happen that way for all of you, but I sure hope it does.

    7. Delphine*

      Funnily enough, someone I know had this problem in their downtown Boston office. They did not find a solution (there were no curtains and no possibility of curtains), the woman was immediately across the street, and she seemed to think that because she couldn’t see anyone in the opposite building they couldn’t see her either. She’d walk around completely naked regularly, and the open office setup meant she was clearly visible to about 50 employees. It would have been nice to let her know, I think.

    8. Working Mom Having It All*

      Wait, all of this and YOU HAVE BLINDS?

      Close the blinds when she’s on her balcony naked, especially if you have visitors.

      If she’s in her apartment either naked or in underwear… don’t look. You said it was 2 blocks away, and then you doubled down by saying it was a significant distance away (“not like 20 feet”). Just don’t look.

      It’s sort of like how, technically, because of the construction of most public restroom stalls, a person could peer inside to see who is pooping in there. But we don’t, because the unspoken rules of sharing space with others indicate that it would be rude. The same goes for this situation. The unspoken rules of city life mean that it’s not nice to stare into others’ windows, even if you can.

    9. Beth*

      I think all you can really do here is choose to close the blinds or not look. That’s how cities work–you can control your own actions, you can make suggestions about your friends’ actions, but you can’t give input on a total stranger’s choices without getting invasive. Sometimes you have to decide if you’d rather give up something you like (window views) or deal with a stranger’s choices that you don’t like (mostly naked woman). That’s just part of being in such close proximity to so many other people.

    10. Working Hypothesis*

      If you can move your desks and close your own blinds, why should she have to do *anything* to avoid allowing you to see her if you choose not to do those things?

      In fact, even if you couldn’t, her apartment is her apartment. She gets to decide what happens in it, not you. I don’t really care whether you are actively trying to get her in trouble; if you say a word to her building’s property manager you lose control of what happens next. The extreme likelhood is that they’ll laugh you off the property, but the second most likely response is to threaten her with loss of her home, rather than to simply give her information (that she very likely already has).

      This is your problem, and you are trying to make it her problem. Stop it. It’s very rude of you.

    11. I Don’t Remember What Name I Used Before*


      You already have a solution.


  39. Luna*

    Re 1: I think gifting something before Sansa leaves would be a better approach, and allow her to process with the group prior to this new transition.

    The person who took over my position in my previous job sent me flowers on the first day of my new job. I felt very uncomfortable with that gift; I didn’t expect anything from this person because I barely knew them but would have felt way more comfortable with a card or something smaller before I left. It added another layer of awkward because my new colleagues were commenting on them and they were in a transition period with their offices so there wasn’t really a permanent place I could put them. If it would have been from the whole office, it might have been different but I just felt uncomfortable about the whole thing.

    1. TootsNYC*

      You know what WOULD be nice, at least to me? If the person who left the position sent flowers to their replacement on their first day, as a good-luck gesture.

      of course, I never know who has taken my place, because I am outta there!

  40. LaDeeDa*

    You can purchase a vinyl window film that goes on super easy, this would allow you to keep your blinds open and still get light. They won’t do any damage and can be removed easily, they go on by spraying the window with some water and pressing the vinyl onto the window.

    1. Batgirl*

      I think this might be the best solution and they can put panels of frosting in strategic places so that they can still get some views of the sky, or views of the opposite direction. They’re removable too, I think? So easy to try out.

  41. Amethystmoon*

    #5 If they are trying to get you to make up the time, you may as well not have PTO. I wonder if they understand the idea of PTO. You can double-check with HR to make sure it’s not the official policy, but you should never have to make up a PTO day. That’s what it’s there for.

    1. Smiling*

      I interviewed for a position years ago that offered 1 week of paid time off. However, you were expected to use it in one lump sum (like take a week’s vacation). Any other time that you missed, including sick leave, was expected to be made up after hours. OP#5’s situation reminds me of this.

      1. TootsNYC*

        one thing about that–it does make sure people get a real break. and you have a steady income, if they don’t pay sick time.

      2. TootsNYC*

        but why is it that those weird and crummy policies are only focused on low-wage earners?

        Oh, right–because low-wage earners have no clout.

        I didn’t use to have much of an opinion about unions, and I certainly saw that some of them had become quite corrupt–but in 2019, I’m ready to insist they happen, and I’m ready to refuse to cross a picket line.

        1. Gazebo Slayer*

          Not to mention that our society equates one’s paycheck with one’s rights and worth as a person.

  42. Princess prissypants*

    #2 – Just remember that Ugly Naked Guy eventually moved out. Just don’t strip down and eat muffins with him (her) when it happens. And never try to poke her with a stick to see if she’s dead.

  43. J.*

    LW #1, I once had a former boss send me flowers after a huge professional victory at my new job, and they were waiting for me when I got home from work with a nice note. Maybe a compromise would be to send the flowers to her home wishing her luck and letting her know you’ll all miss her, without the baggage that comes with having them at the office.

    1. TootsNYC*

      This is my suggestion. if you can get someone (Task Rabbit, maybe?) to agree to deliver them in the evening, or if it’s possible for them to safely wait to greet her when she arrives home, that would be a really nice boost at the end of a stressful day.

      I still remember the colleague (dad of 5 kids, so…) who sent me flowers after the birth of my first child–at home, about 2 days after we got out of the hospital.
      It was SUCH a lift to get them at home, right when other flowers were fading.

      and bonus–we didn’t have to make room for them in the hospital (the crowded surfaces of my hotel room contributed to my dropping my MIL’s camera on the floor), nor did we have to lug them home.
      NEVER send flowers to the hospital. (many won’t allow them anymore, but even if they do…send them to the house)

  44. Czhorat*

    THe only advice I have for OP2, with the nude neighbor, is to be VERY careful with how you handle and discuss it at work; someone needs to put the kibosh on anybody showing up with binoculars and a bowl of popcorn, for example, when it’s “showtime!”. The wrong kind of attention given it from your end could make coworkers uncomfortable and even rise to hostile work environment harassment. IT doesn’t sound at all like this is what’s happening, but that’s the biggest potential risk I see.

  45. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

    So … there are two tall office buildings facing each other in my city. For awhile, someone in one building would drop his pants in his window (with the blinds hanging to cover waist up) every day at a regular time … I think it was 11 am.

    There was a distinct shift of office workers in the other building every day to watch the show.

    1. Close Bracket*

      You say “show” … and based on what you said, that sounds like exactly what he was putting. Every day? At the same time? With face hidden? Yeah, that would be my mid-morning break. 11 am–time to refill my coffee, check my mail box, and watch naked guy drop his pants.

  46. cmcinnyc*

    #5 sounds like retail, and retail is the worst. I once had a job that made us “make up” for national holidays (so, if we were closed on Xmas, we had to make up that day somewhere). What it amounts to is zero PTO–because every day you take, you have to give back. It’s utter crap, but not that unusual in retail. But still utter crap.

  47. Errol*

    # 2 – Leave it be. It’s weird but put up some curtains. That is her home so let her be naked in her home.

    Story time – About 10 years ago I used to live down town in my city. I lived on a party block of historical buildings with apartments upstairs, so I was on the 3rd floor. The buildings around us were huge sky scrapers with solid wall until about the 10-11 floor. So, as it’s a historical building – no A/C in the heart of a concrete jungle in summer time. We had these huuuuge bay windows that opened onto the roof next door, so we were not facing outward onto the street. It’s hot, all I have is this window. So I am pretty much naked all the time, topless in my underpants with giant widow wide open.
    This is my second year living in this apartment, so I’m comfortable and happy being rather naked. I used to sit in my giant window and read as I worked evenings so my day’s were my relaxing time.
    One day I’m sitting there and there’s this weird bird that fly’s by. I’m watching him go and then notice behind him, there is a man in the office building staring at me in shock. Took a second and then I realize I AM PRETTY MUCH NAKED and fling myself back into my apartment from my window.

    It ruined that apartment for me realizing people can see me even though I can’t see them.

  48. TootsNYC*

    And if necessary, “Are you saying that when I use a paid vacation day, I need to make up that day afterwards?”

    Add to this: “And if so, does that mean I get my PTO back, to use later? Since I wouldn’t really have time off.”

  49. Jess the Kat*

    #1 – Yet another good reason to never tell where you are going next when you leave a job. Even just for the privacy ans space to para glide into your next role. I wonder how Arya even knows what Sansa’s first day is.

  50. AnastasiaD*

    Re flowers at new job. My spouse sent me flowers on one of my first days (not day 1) at a new job. I worked at a huge corporate office with security desk, and when I didn’t answer my phone (cause I was having new phone problems, or wasn’t at my desk), they would not accept the delivery and sent them back. Yeah. :(

  51. Risk of Flowers*

    #1 My parents sent me flowers my first day of my job (first post-grad employment), which was an incredibly sweet gesture…except I work on a campus with incredibly high security — so high that I had to leave campus to meet the flower delivery driver outside the gates. That’s when I learned that the temporary ID card you receive on your first day does not grant you security access without being escorted by a current employee. Since I was brand new, I didn’t have any cell phone numbers and had to look up my boss’ desk phone online and keep calling until he got back from a meeting and could rescue me. Definitely an anomaly, but also a warning that deliveries on the first day can have unintended consequences!

  52. No Name Poster*

    I don’t understand why workers have to look at a naked lady two blocks away. Just ignore her.

  53. drpuma*

    #3, I know from experience how stinky this feels when it happens to you, but I swear layoff timing is a thing that people deal with all the time. Anyone you’re working with who has some experience hiring will also be aware of the wide range of conventions around this.

    In my experience (US), my last day at Company X is also the day I receive any final severance payment. I’m conflating a few different experiences into one, but here’s an example timeline:
    Late May: Unpleasant conversation. Work out terms and last day in the office. Start my job hunt.
    Early June: Last day on paper working at the company. Lump payment of 3 months’ severance; employer-provided health insurance ends at the end of the calendar month (which FYI is why it’s worth pushing my technical last day to the beginning of the next month when possible).
    Early September: If I’m sticking to my same budget, theoretically this is when my 3 months severance would “run out.”
    End employment date I put on my resume: June YYYY.

    Best of luck to you! Being laid off can feel terrible but there are definitely positive ways to spin it. You can do it!

    1. I'mOP3!*

      Thank you for your kind words and your thorough explanation!

      I left a little update upthread, but in short, I submitted my question a month ago and in the meantime, I went with the approach as you suggested. I ended up finding in my conversations, networking, and ultimately interviewing, that layoffs and timing are in fact—normal things people deal with all the time. I learned to be confident and not shaken by it and no longer am flustered bringing it up in conversation.

  54. Ophelia*

    OP2, I have no useful advice, but just had to mention that this reminded me that my office once had an extremely amorous nesting pair turkey vultures who took up residence on a ledge just outside the conference room where we often conducted interviews, and frankly it was the topic of office chatter for several weeks, so I feel you on the distraction angle.

  55. SEM*

    #5- if they’re making you make up work for a vacation day, that’s not a vacation day, that’s a “lieu day” and frankly should not be considered PTO. What other weird employment practices are going on there???

  56. Nicki Name*

    #1, it could come across as weird to have Sansa’s old job still trying to get her attention at her new job. The flowers sound like a lovely idea, but give them to her the day she’s leaving the old job instead.

  57. Nicki Name*

    #3, if you’re not being paid for actual work, you’re not employed. I realize some people attach a stigma to it, but sometimes making it clear that you’re available to start immediately can give you a boost in the hiring process.

    1. BeeGee*

      Right, but the issue can be two fold: will the recruiter/HR take the time to investigate on what terms they left their last position on a resume or LinkedIn, whether through reading a cover letter or through a conversation? Will the lack of employment allow a new employer to low ball your salary because you’re in a financial bind?

    2. I'mOP3!*

      I ended up going with the “honest” approach, mostly because I felt more at ease being completely transparent. I’m glad it was the approach recommended by you, Alison, and others. The reasoning seems so embarrassingly obvious to me now! Thanks for weighing in!

  58. Lilysparrow*

    I don’t think being naked in your own home is the same as being a nudist?

    It’s entirely possible that the penthouse dweller never noticed that the office workers were visible to her. (Probably because staring into office windows isn’t particularly interesting, so she didn’t bother looking).

    The striking thing about this letter is that there is zero concern for the woman’s privacy. It’s not motivated by, “Oh, I’d want to know, she might be embarrassed, let’s alert her to the problem so she can protect herself.”

    No, it’s “She is wrong, being at home in her home. It’s bothering me. Make her stop.”

    As if we didn’t spend enough time policing women’s bodies and clothes in public, now you want to police her in her own house?

    Leave the woman in peace and police yourself. If you can’t stop yourself from staring at her, cover your own windows.

  59. BeeGee*

    #3 : I am dealing with a lay-off currently and I struggle with this as well. Any advice as to best explain that the loss of a current role is due to a lay-off rather than quitting or being fired? I know my LinkedIn and resume has the end date but what is the best way to address this so recruiters don’t screen you out immediately? Should this be addressed in the cover letter or on your LinkedIn page? Should this only be addressed upon a call or interview?

    1. Close Bracket*

      Wait for the interview, and tell them you were laid off when they ask. I was laid off from a previous job, and I have answered this question many, many times.

    2. I'mOP3!*

      Hey BeeGee! I’m so sorry to hear you were laid off as well and are struggling through this. I do have encouraging news though—much like what the other posters say, I ended up finding out (in the month between my submitting this and it going live) that it doesn’t have to be a barrier to finding success in getting your next job. I posted a brief update upthread but in short, I found pretty good success in putting feelers through my personal network, getting a lot of resumes submitted by my network (and bypassing some of the early screens) and ended up with several interviews which now has matured into an offer.

      To answer some of your questions—

      I chose not to address the termination in my resume or cover letter, with the rationale that it’s easier to discuss in a conversation. Truthfully, in the dozens of conversations and interviews I had, it rarely came up impromptu. I have a memory of one time a person asked what my current situation is because she couldn’t figure it out from the resume, but it was by far the minority. And, as far as I can tell, the termination date on my LinkedIn and resume hadn’t materially and negatively impacted my search. When comparing the “hits” I got now versus when I was previously job searching while gainfully employed, my hit ratio didn’t seem any different.

      If you’re worried about the screen, I would also recommend leaning on your network (and growing your network while unemployed!). A lot of times an internal referral means you’re not subject to someone making bad and arbitrary decisions about your resume. I expanded my network in many unexpected ways like an unemployed meetup group and parenting listserv I was in.

      The networking thing happened to have a secondary benefit too—by talking to A LOT of people about my situation, it was a lot of practice in terms of feeling comfortable talking about my layoff. And the more people you speak to who don’t even flinch or react to you dropping it in, the more you will feel confident that it’s a normal thing. In the meanwhile Google “exit statement” – there are resources out there to help you craft and practice how you want to talk about it. It’s helpful to do as an exercise so you don’t have to fumble through it for the first time—the more you practice a brief statement about your layoff, the more comfortable you’ll be!

      I also think you overcome the potential (though probably minor) questions about wondering if there is a layoff or quitting or being fired by just presenting a strong resume. Tailor the resume to the job description if possible. Really refine your template! Basically the counter to all that stuff is being a candidate where none of that stuff matters because regardless of it all, you look like a good fit on paper and they want to talk to you to find out for sure.

      Anyway, you’ve got this. I was in your very shoes a month ago really frustrated and anxious about how I would be perceived. But I pushed through and found that it’s not the mountain you think it is, and that it really is a thing that lots of people go through. Good luck and if you have more questions, I’ll try to answer them!

  60. In a fishbowl*

    #2 – There are window films that they sell at Home Depot, etc. that let in light but provide varying levels of opaqueness. Maybe consider adding this to your office window to blur/ block out the nude apartment lady? They go on with static only, no adhesive, and are available in really pretty colors and designs. Very easy to do yourself!

  61. MrsFillmore*

    #4 – Do others think that using language like, “We are going to move forward with another candidate” is ambiguous? I’m asking because I’ve written this or something quite similar and never imagined that it would interpreted as anything other than a clear rejection! Is there a better, clearer yet not overly harsh alternative that I should consider using?

    1. Working Mom Having It All*

      To me that’s the exact correct way to phrase this. Anything more direct would be rude. What would you say, “you didn’t get the job; please don’t contact us further”?

    2. OP #4*

      The issue definitely was not necessarily the meaning of this phrasing. I was aware it was a rejection. Just wanted some more knowledge behind it.

  62. Observer*

    I’m contrasting the reaction to #2 – a lot of “just don’t look”, with yesterday’s reaction to the crafter. Somehow, a surprising number of people strongly expressed the idea that “just don’t look” is an extreme burden that is extremely unreasonable, regardless of the reason.

    1. Close Bracket*

      Maybe people can practice their “just don’t watch” skills on the naked person so they are ready to implement them when somebody knits.

    2. Guy Incognito*

      I think the difference is that the person who lives across the street has a reasonable expectation that someone won’t look in their windows vs. the knitter who is doing so in the middle of a meeting and should be interacting with the place in which they are employed.

      1. Observer*

        Except that interaction was explicitly NOT the issue – people were pointing out that crafters can often do their thing while still being clearly, obviously and appropriately engaged, but the response was “but I would see it and that would distract me.”

        It’s not like the crafter is exposing anything.

        1. Jasnah*

          I’m so confused why these two scenarios are equivalent in any way. “Just don’t look” is not an appropriate solution to every problem. And it’s not necessarily a solution to either of these scenarios.

    3. neeko*

      I feel like it’s a huge difference between ignoring something outside when it really has nothing to do with what you are doing vs in the room with you/next to you/in front of you in a meeting when often engaging with people in the room is part of the gig.

      1. Observer*

        As I noted to Guy Icognito, engagement was not the issue. The explicit issue was “I don’t want see it because it would distract me”.

        1. neeko*

          I’m wasn’t referring to the engagement of the crafter. I would say that the majority of the meetings I’m in require the engagement of whoever is speaking/presenting/etc with the other people in the meeting. Like, you tend to look at others when you are speaking. That isn’t the same as something distracting outside of your office window. Unless your job is looking out the window. This is pretty off topic though.

          1. Close Bracket*

            Learn to focus on people’s faces. It’s useful for interacting with naked people, too.

          2. Observer*

            So? Again, engagement is not at issue – it’s perfectly possible to have a conversation with someone who is using their hands while you are looking at them- Especially if you are looking that their face!

            I’m mostly with all of the people here saying “Just don’t look”. But I think it’s worth pointing out that “just don’t look” applies in a lot of situations, and it’s just as easy to find reasons why it does not apply here as to yestrday’s situation.

    4. The Redshirt*

      The crafter is aware that they are being observed. The naked person may not be aware that others can see her. It would be hard for me to Not Look at the naked person because of that. Society often teaches us that it’s polite to point out accidental gaffs like Spinach in Teeth or Unintentionally Sheer Clothing.

    5. Beth*

      There’s a big difference between “This coworker is doing this non-work thing in the office on work time” and “This random stranger is doing this thing in their own home, on their own time, and I happen to be able to see it from my office”.

    6. Allonge*

      Except the woman across the street has zero obligation to make any meeting a success, by causing as little distraction to others as possible. In direct opposition to actual participants of the meeting.

      If someone would just randomly knit in a non-knitting meeting, I would find it distracting. If this is a colleague, I would probably ask wtf is going on with the needles and yarn and such. If they explained that this is absolutely necessary for them to be able to be involved in the meeting, I would try mv best to get used to the knitting happening. If after an honest effort it would still be distracting to me (IDK, never happened yet), we would have to come to an agreement on whose distraction can be resolved how. There is a shared goal here either way: that we all should be able to participate in the meeting with minimal distraction.

      There is no such shared goal with someone who just happens to live in my office line of sight. They get to do anything they want to in their own home. I would just need to learn to not look, period. Or, you know, have curtains etc.

  63. Rose*

    I’d love to get flowers at a new job because I’ve always liked former coworkers, but the whole “just getting settled in and may not even have a desk, etc. etc.” logistical practical applications give me pause. Maybe send them to her home her first week with a note that’s like “we hope your first week at new job is going great! From your fans at (old job)” That would brighten my first week for sure!

  64. happymeal*

    I’m sure others have said this, but I’ve been in HR for 20 years and termination dates in the system, and therefore for reference purposes, are always, always at the end of the severance period.

  65. cartoonbear*

    I used to work on the 11th floor of a building directly across from a convention hotel. One day everyone was making a hubub and gathering around a particular window. Clear as day was… how can i say this politely? Umm… when two daddies love each other very much, sometimes they may want to have special time… in front of the window with no curtains on it.

    We saw lots of nudity but that was the only, um, intimacy I personally ever saw, thank heavens.

  66. Close Bracket*

    “Enthusiastic nudist” is quite the framing. Did OP say that in some part of the letter you didn’t publish? I don’t think walking around your very own living space while not completely dressed is being an “enthusiastic nudist.” You have no actual insight into her mindset, either whether she is enthusiastic about it or whether she is an actual nudist.

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