{ 908 comments… read them below }

  1. Boo*

    Anyone have any advice on how to deal with a slightly sticky situation?

    We have a part time person here who has some learning disabilities; we employ a support worker and work closely with her to ensure she is properly supported with her work – the reason I mention this is that she is given much more leeway than other employees as a result. The issue is that due to a combination of personal issues and sickness, her attendance has been really poor. Her manager has asked to meet with me to discuss how we approach this and to be honest I am not sure – there is no way we will let her go, so all I can think is we offer to reduce her days and try to do a phased return to work approach that way? Anyone have any ideas/advice?

    1. Venus*

      I feel like Alison has had some responses for people with physical illnesses, so maybe look those up, but I think they essentially sum up to approaching it as “How can we help you be as successful as possible, knowing that we would benefit from X” where X is likely predictability based on scheduling / attendance, or something like project completion. If they respond with “Oh, everything’s going to be fine!” then maybe suggest some core places where you want more reliability (“We’re happy to have you any time this week, but Tuesdays would be most valuable for us”)

    2. Some Sort of Management Consultant*

      What kind of job does the employee have?
      Is it something where attendance matters, like a cashier, or where performance matters?

      1. Boo*

        She’s in an admin support role, so we can manage without her but inconsistent attendance means it’s really hard to plan her work. People don’t want to give her things to do if she’s then going to not be in, which is understandable.

        1. anonagain*

          Do you have any projects that can be done over a longer period? I’m thinking of those tasks that have been on the to do list forever, but no one has time to do them. At one job I had to alphabetize a bunch of boxes of archival materials to be digitized. At another job there was a file storage closet (and offsite storage unit) that were at least 5 years overdue to be re-organized. Other types of projects in this vein are updating things or putting together materials no one has been able to get to (documentation, contact lists, brochure layouts, etc.) or tasks associated with far off events (planning for next year’s conference, putting things together for the holiday client appreciation gifts).

          An alternative would be projects that can be done within the day (set up conference room for a breakfast meeting, putting together presentation binders, delivering mail) or picked up and resumed by anyone (stuffing envelopes, shredding old documents).

          You said that you can manage without her, so I wonder if it could be helpful to re-imagine her role for the time being as being an extra set of hands/back up. If she’s there, she can make copies of the agenda, print off shipping labels, and call the vendor to ask who your new contact person there is. If she’s not there, who ever is doing those things now can do them.

          You might also look at whether she might do better with a different schedule or some other modification.

          These are all obviously examples and they’ll depend on your company, your work, and your employee’s role. Mostly I just hope that it gives you some idea of things to try in addition to the phased return to work. If you can get everything done without her, I think the goal might be to figure out how to parcel out work to her in a way that doesn’t leave other employees stuck.

          I am glad that you are working to keep her on. If you can get the work done either way and you have the capacity to continue to employ her, I think that’s an awesome thing to do. I’m confident that you’ll find a way to minimize the disruption her absences cause. It won’t necessarily be easy, but the way you stated your commitment to your longtime employee suggests to me that you and your company are the sort that will figure it out.

          1. Boo*

            Thank you! We had been offering smaller tasks to be done on the day, but then if she’s not in the people who are relying her feel a bit let down, but I think your idea of long term tasks is a fantastic idea, thank you! This will lessen the impact when she’s out but ensure she feels valued and is properly utilised.

    3. Pinky Pie*

      If she has a learning disability, does she have a connection to voc rehab? You mentioned a support worker, so I was thinking a job coach. She needs help from the job coach to save her job.

    4. Christmas*

      Boo: Your idea to reduce her workdays and phase her return sounds great. Just for clarification, you said that there is no way you’re letting her go… Is it because you truly don’t want to, or because you don’t think you are able to? Allison frequently cites the ADA, and I’m not expert, but I believe that if you can prove you’ve done everything you can to accommodate her, and she is unable to perform the basic functions of the job even with this variety of accommodations, then you are in the clear to let her go. If that’s what you want. I really hope you can find a workable solution, though! Rooting for you!

      1. Wishing You Well*

        Agreed. I think the law is “reasonable accommodation”. So if attendance is key and she can’t meet a needed minimum, you might have to let her go. Let’s hope some compromise will happen instead.

      2. Boo*

        That’s a good point, but really we just don’t want to let her go. She’s been with us a long time and mostly her performance has been very good… it’s just that she’s become increasingly unreliable over the last 18 months and while she has said she’ll do better, it’s only been in the short term. Now my boss has gone so I’m the default HR lead and I’m keen to do right by her but I’m not sure how.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      I am guessing but perhaps her support worker can help her get her attendance up, that would be something a professional support person would address. I am not sure if the supporting person is just another one of your employees OR if the support person is a job coach who happens to be compensated by your company for this particular person.
      If she is a job coach then it would be totally appropriate for the manager to discuss this with her. Probably between the two of them they can find a workable plan.

    6. EinJungerLudendorff*

      I don’t have any advice on the disability front, but I think you should separate the sickness from the disability related issues. Assuming that they’re unrelated of course.
      Otherwise it might come across as blaming someone for being sick at the “wrong” time, and that this is something they need to fix somehow. Which is probably not what you want.

      If she has a chronic illness or is sick far more often then usual, address those problems as you usually would with other employees.
      If she just happened to use her sick days during this period, that’s just a part of life. People don’t choose when they get sick after all.

      1. Boo*

        Absolutely right! Just to confirm the sickness isn’t anything to do with her learning disability.

  2. QueenB*

    Hey everyone! I posted about my new job, but I’m really struggling now to find a flat in London! It’s such a nightmare. Can anyone give me advise? And Happy Independence Day to Americans!

    1. The Rain In Spain*

      I studied abroad there 8-9 years ago. The only thing I was comfortable doing was going through a letting agency both times (I used the same one). However, many of my classmates just rented a hotel for a few days and then did an on-site search. Not sure how far in advance you’re looking, but the market tends to move pretty quickly!

    2. HR Lady*

      London property market is a nightmare, to be blunt – the suggestion about a letting agency is a good one but it helps to be onsite for the search if you can to see the room/studio/flat and get a feel for the area etc, particularly if you’ve not lived in London before.

      South London is cheaper but has less transport options so depending on where your job is you might find it easier to look there?

      1. londonedit*

        Oh, that reminds me – definitely factor in transport costs when you’re thinking about where to live. Zone 6 might look cheaper in terms of rent, but think about how much extra you’ll be paying for a monthly travelcard!

        1. TPS Cover Sheet*

          Add to that the unreliability of trains and you will be looking at commute times that make your socks twirl.

    3. londonedit*

      Hello, Londoner here!

      It’s a little hard to give concrete advice without knowing when you’re looking to move, what sort of situation you’re looking for (a room in a shared house? A flat by yourself?) and what sort of areas/budgets you’d consider. I had success with Spareroom when I had to find someone to take over my housemate’s half of our shared lease (with landlord’s full permission, obviously!) but if you’re looking for a flat by yourself then a) that’s going to be expensive (you know that already) but b) I’d recommend getting in touch with or going to see some local independent letting agents. I find the big agencies tend to just spam you with stuff that in no way meets your requirements, whereas when I rented my current flat through an independent agent who knew the area really well, it was a different experience.

      The market does indeed move very quickly – what I’ve done in the past is to ask an agent to just drive me round for an afternoon and show me all the flats they have within my budget/area of choice. You’ll probably need to be able to act fast with a holding deposit if you do see something you want.

      1. Fiddlesticks*

        Seconding that more info would help with better advice!

        But to piggyback off of what londonedit said: Generally it’s probably smart to know what your budget is, and to prepare the commensurate amount of likely deposit so you’ve essentially got cash in hand for when you do your estate agent runaround. Also, similar to londonedit’s advice: I’d go to the neighborhoods you’d like to live in and go for the local agencies there; I’ve always had better luck with that than through random Foxtons or what have you. (Also, Foxtons fees are highway robbery. But so is so much other stuff in London.)

    4. Weegie*

      Try the Spareroom website, if you haven’t already, and if you don’t mind renting a room in someone’s house rather than having your own flat. (The reality is, even well-paid, quite senior people are flat-/house-sharing in London these days.)

      1. londonedit*

        Yeah, I rent a studio flat by myself because I am ridiculous (and I got past 35 and was just sick of living with people) but it literally takes up half my salary each month. That’s the choice I made, and I’d much rather have my flat than have the money and still be sharing, but it’s not easy! If you’re new to the city then a houseshare can also be a good way of meeting people.

    5. Heather*

      Hi, I live in London and in can be tough. Do you know roughly what area you’d like to live in/where you need to commute too? and what kind of place you are looking for i.e. on your own or shared place? As that would have change where I’d suggest looking. Spareroom.com used to be good and does have studio/1 bed places as well as shared, there’s a few other websites that might be good, the market does tend to move pretty quickly. If you give a bit more info I might be able to help more!

    6. Discordia Angel Jones*

      As other commenters have said, the London property market really moves quickly and is expensive (one of the most expensive cities in the world). Moving out too far means transport costs are high. I used to live in zone 6 and my monthly travel card was £220 – I’m sure it’s gone up now, I’ve been driving to work for a couple of years.

      I would echo the recommendation to go with a letting agent and let them show you everything they have in your budget in their area in, say, an afternoon. You also need to be ready to offer and place a deposit immediately, or you might lose the flat.

      Also, keep an eye on what fees the letting agents try and charge you. Some legislation has just come into force which means they cannot charge you certain things, and you will want to challenge anything you think they shouldn’t be asking you to pay (link in separate comment).

      Once you’ve found somewhere, make sure you check the “check in inventory” carefully and dispute anything that’s been done wrongly, or you might be faced with the landlord trying to take your deposit money when you leave.

      1. londonedit*

        100% yes to the inventory. Landlords must protect your deposit under the Deposit Protection Scheme but that doesn’t mean they won’t try to ding you for random ‘damage’. Take photos of any wear and tear when you move in, and make sure you physically go round the place with the inventory clerk – make sure they write down every scratch and bump!

    7. Eleanor Shellstrop*

      Renting in London is tricky, and echoing the others, more info would be very helpful.

    8. Rez1123*

      It’s hard to give advice without more info. Are you already in London? It’s easier when you live there already. When we were moving, we used rightmove and had one full day of viewings. We actually moved to Hertfordshire and we had 18min train ride to central London. I think it was a good choise for us. It’s not London, but I think we enjoyed going traveling there rather than having the people around us all the time.

    9. QueenB*

      So I’ve lived in London 3 years. I’ve tried spare room. I’m looking for a room in a shared flat, for not very much lol, and zone 2 ideally. It’s hard to find a place that actually has communal space. I’ve lost two flats because someone else got there often just hours before me. I’m just very demoralised I guess lol.

      1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

        Ugh, yeah, tough area to get something decent. I’m shocked at how much more it costs to live there. Do you have any luck going further out? Our place is zone 4, I think, in the south east, but it’s right on the Thameslink and is actually pretty convenient. Costs are a bit more reasonable though it takes an hour to get to central London.

        1. QueenB*

          I just can’t find a place for the right money! In zone 4 my commute plus rent is unaffordable. The problem is I want a place with 2 or 3 people which is hard to find if I want communal space or a big kitchen. It just feels like there’s nothing reasonable. In my hometown, I could have a house for the money.

          1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

            I sympathize. We have a house up north and a flat in London because of work. The rent in London is three times the mortgage on the house.

    10. QueenB*

      Hey! So you guys are my lucky charm – I just got offered a perfect place! Thank you for all your advice!

  3. CatCat*

    I have been doing a lot to improve my physical health including working out regularly and tracking my food. I feel totally derailed this week by an injury that occurred on the weekend. The injury is healing and I know that I need to rest and let it do that, but I’ve been making very poor eating choices this week. My body does not feel good. My head has just NOT been in it. I’ve struggled with emotional eating my entire life and my usual strategies have not been helping me this week for some reason.

    I welcome any strategies my fellow emotional eaters would care to share! I need to add some more tools to my emotional eating tool belt. Thanks for any help.

    1. JenRN*

      I was laid up with a summer time injury a few years ago. I’d recommend iced tea popsicles. Herbal tea, no sugar (unlike juice or add a splash of juice), and you can “eat” as many as you’d like. I also got into a habit of gum chewing which I’d not recommend because my jaw still clicks and aches occasionally as a result. I’m not (much of) an emotional eater but am a sugar fiend in summer so the popsicles helped stay away from, well, as much ice cream basically while I was non-weight bearing for three months.

        1. Blue_eyes*

          Try adding diced fruit pieces too, like nectarines. It will add some sweetness and taste extra “summery”.

    2. Hazelthyme*

      Oh, CatCat, I’m in the same boat and will be watching this topic closely to see if anyone else has ideas I haven’t thought of. Some of what sometimes works for me (though there is no foolproof solution here):
      – Keep foods I tend to binge on when I’m upset out of the house.
      – Find a go-to that feels like enough of a treat to scratch the emotional eating itch, but isn’t THAT bad. (I like lattes for this.)
      – If I know certain situations tend to make me more likely to overeat/make poor choices, I try to pre-plan and prepare for healthier options in advance. Travel is a big one for me (I’m on the road a lot for work) so I try to bring snacks with me and suss out a few reasonable food options in my usual airports.
      – Sometimes I’m able to substitute comfort TV/Netflix or trashy novels for comfort food. Even if I have a big bowl of popcorn with it, it’s better than some of the alternatives.
      – Finally, don’t beat yourself up too much if you fall off the wagon and find yourself halfway through a sweet & sour lunch combo before you come to your senses. It’s one meal or one day. If you notice you’re feeling full or ashamed mid-meal, stop and put the rest away for later (or just toss it) and go do something else. You can always have a big stir-fry or bowl of fruit at your next meal and get back on track.

      1. Nobby Nobbs*

        I’d go even further on that last point and suggest factoring “failure” into your expectations as a neutral, rather than negative, thing. It takes a while to retrain your brain, but I’ve found that habit-breaking and habit-making in general get a lot easier when you stop demanding perfection of yourself.

        1. CatCat*

          Yes, thank you both, that is a great perspective to have and I will work on cultivating it.

    3. The Other Dawn*

      I’m watching this thread, too.

      I’m feeling like crap, too. Eating like crap and eating too much, plus barely preparing food at home. I’d like to go with prepared food for a while to help, but that gets expensive since a lot of the prepared foods that appeal to me are at Whole Foods. CatCat, are prepared foods an option right now? It might help to not have to think about preparing food from scratch and doing so much grocery shopping while you heal.

      I’ve had tendinitis in my left elbow since mid-February and it’s just not going away. I finally went to the doc last month. He started me on physical therapy and gave me a cortisone shot, but it didn’t help. In fact, I feel like it’s gotten worse. Plus one of the physical therapy exercises aggravated the pulled bicep muscle I got last month by…just getting into bed (no joke). The PT place taped up my arm with kinesiology tape a few times, which helped a tiny bit; I have a Freeze Sleeve to use; and I have a tennis elbow strap for pain relief, but it still hurts quite a bit. I’ve also stopped doing any kind of arm movements and exercises, as well as weights, but it isn’t helping. Since insurance would only pay for six PT sessions and it’s not helping anyway, it’s back to the doc I go next week. Guessing MRI next.

      1. CatCat*

        Preparing food from scratch is something I’m used to doing. I’m a meal planner so that usually works really well for me. But then I’ve been overeating a lot of the food lately.

        Ugh, what you’re dealing with sounds worse than what I am on the injury front. I hope your doctor can get you answers and solutions here.

        You said, “Plus one of the physical therapy exercises aggravated the pulled bicep muscle I got last month by…just getting into bed (no joke).”

        I LOLed in commiseration because I injured myself similarly. It feels so moronic. I moved on my bed and now I can’t turn my head without sharp pain. WHY.

      2. Crooked Bird*

        I had tendinitis in both elbows for over six months. It got worse and worse and finally prevented me from working entirely. (It was an overuse injury from computer use, but in the end it bled over into even grasping or picking anything up, so normal daily activities were pretty curtailed as well.) I’m an author & only finished my last edit for my latest book at the cost of a lot of pain. I wasn’t sure it would ever go away & was afraid I’d never write again (except by voice recognition which I find extremely awkward.) I did a lot of research (since I couldn’t do anything else) and learned a lot about the causes of tendinosis (it’s commonly called tendinitis but if it’s long-term, it’s 98% sure to be technically tendinosis.) Short version, what’s responsible is highly sensitive scar tissue (often caused by repetitive stress) in the affected area. There are new therapies (that is, a few years old, this isn’t cutting edge but it’s not universal yet) which treat by breaking up the scar tissue (which is a tangled mass compared to normal tissue & therein lies the problem) and prescribing exercises & stretches that allow it to realign correctly. These are non-surgical, they use metal or plastic instruments on the surface of the skin to break up scar tissue underneath it. Weirdly, there doesn’t seem to be a universal term for this sort of therapy (there are quite a few types), but “scar tissue therapy,” “scar tissue remodeling,” and “soft tissue mobilization therapy” are all used. The most widespread one at this point is called A-STYM (https://www.astym.com/Main). It’s quite gentle and gradual. I was treated with it for over two months and saw some improvement but frankly it wasn’t enough–once I resumed full work, some of the pain came back. I had a really hard case though. In the end I went to this chiropractor (https://www.doctorschierling.com/tendinosis.html) who was the only person I could find who does scar tissue therapy hard & in one go rather than gently and gradually. He literally fixed me in one session. I know it sounds insane. Lest it sound too easy, it hurt a *lot*, and for the next three days I had to do prescribed stretches every 1/2 hour (except when sleeping) and for the next week after that, the same stretches every hour. I’ve been pain-free for almost a year now, with all my normal computer & daily activity.
        Sorry to dump so much info on you, I hope it’s not a bother. It’s the info I wish I had known. I hope it may be helpful, and that you can find the therapy that works for you. Tendinitis (/osis) is terrible and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. We humans need our hands so badly.

    4. Seeking Second Childhood*

      It has taken me years to figure out that I eat less when I am more active. If you’re like me, is the nature of the injury something that would let you swim or even just loll around in a pool? That keeps weight off of leg & back injuries, but certainly wouldn’t help for any open cuts.

    5. Perstephanie*

      Oh, I hear you. I injured myself badly last summer, spent a couple of months on the couch. What turned the corner for me — and I don’t know if this’ll help you, of course — is doing extremely simple physical-therapy-type exercises. (Stand in place; bend your knees; hold for 10; straighten. Sit in a chair, feet on the floor; lift one foot, hold for 10; return foot to floor; repeat on other leg. For butt muscles: Clench your butt; hold for 10; the end.) I felt silly calling them “exercises” but when I concentrated on doing them right … it was a surprising amount of work and sweat. And it gave me a “project” to work on: “Every time I repeat this, I’m making progress.” That sense of “project” and “improvement” was maybe what helped me the most. Instead of just letting go of all focus on my body, I had a small, easy way to think my way back into it, if that makes sense. I felt like a person-with-a-body again, instead of a person-trying-to-ignore-her-body.

      Are there any non-injured parts of you that you could work on stretching or doing simple exercises? (I found approximately ten billion on the internet.)

      It got better. It really did. At the worst, it felt like it never would; like I’d just live breath-to-breath forever. But it healed.

    6. Lissa*

      I hear you. The cycle of “I don’t feel good so I’m going to eat like crap” and then “I ate like crap so now I feel worse” is very real. Breaking cycles is so hard. One thing that can sometimes work for me is making sure I have a lot of good choice/better choice food around, because I am often more lazy than I am craving so if I can grab a piece of fruit or hard-boiled egg out of the fridge I’ll eat that and it can get me through the worst of it.

      My main problem is that I have started taking really long walks, which I absolutely love doing, but what I really like is then going and sitting in a new coffee shop or restaurant I find after a good long walk. So that can lead to bad choices!

    7. irene adler*

      Folks have given you a lot of really good suggestions re: food.
      So I’m going to suggest something outside of the food realm.

      Hobbies.

      I like reading.

      I have found that if I’ve got a really engrossing book going, this draws my attention away from thinking about food, emotions, etc.
      Find a hobby that engages you to the degree that your focus is on something other than food or emotional eating.

      1. Jshaden*

        Yes! I’m the weird one who brings knitting everywhere. I have “social” projects that are simple enough that I can talk with people, but since my hands are busy I don’t keep going back to chips and guacamole. And since I don’t want to get my project dirty, it forces me to think before I go to the fridge/buffet/whatever for food. Also, planned “treats”, like on Sunday I go to the local coffee shop and get a latte and pastry. I also use a food/calorie tracker app, because it keeps me honest on how much I’ve eaten.

        And my recent stress eating wasn’t injury related, but the combo of move/new job/had to euthanize my dog/dad dying in a six week period really threw my workout and eating habits off kilter to the tune of 20lbs. Slowing working that off.

        1. whatthemell?*

          So sorry about your father and your dog! That’s just awful, I really hope you’re ok.

    8. ThatLibTech*

      One of the best tidbits I got about healthy living/eating was that minor derailments in the big scheme of things do not matter; it took (some of us) years and years to get where we were at before we started taking our eating and activities seriously, so derailing for a day, a week, or even longer (provided you get back to eating better/activity) won’t “ruin” it.

      1. Ron McDon*

        That’s what I came here to say; I lost 3.5 stone a couple of years ago, then put about a stone back on over the past few months through poor food choices and not exercising – at all.

        I just determined that ‘tomorrow’ I was going to restart exercising (just walking for the first week, then back to running three times a week), and I was going to get back on the wagon, food-wise, as well.

        That was about three weeks ago, and I’ve lost the stone and feel motivated and back on track again.

        Don’t let a short derailment convince you that you should just give up because you’ll never get back on track – if you want to, have a ‘wallow week’ where you eat what you want, but please do set a date to restart healthy eating and exercise and stick to it. It is worth it.

        1. Jasnah*

          Great advice. Every day we start from scratch. Every meal is a chance to make a choice. Decision fatigue is real but in a way, each decision is its own thing. If I have a big breakfast I can choose to skip lunch and have a bigger dinner. If I have a big dinner and dessert, I can choose to go to the gym in the morning and have a healthy breakfast. Each decision is a chance to get it right, and I don’t have to bring the baggage of past decisions with me if I choose not to!

      2. jDC*

        Totally agree. After baby weight left I was in amazing shape, had an 8 pack (who knew that was possible). Then I went back to not being so strict with my diet, running less due to health problems and feeling icky about it all. I’ve gone back to eating a bit better although not like before and doing yoga so I can eventually run again. I lost a few lbs but of course not where I was before. It’s taken me almost a year to say ok I’m fine with not being like I was before. I’d rather share a pizza and veg on the couch with my husband on a Saturday than run and meal prep all day and in exchange not look exactly like I used to. At first I really beat myself up but progress in all things in life goes back and forth. So right now I’m not in amazing shape but am comfortable and got back to where my clothes fit better. Maybe my plan to get in even better shape before next baby (not possible to get pregnant currently) will motivate me. Maybe it won’t but I’ll at least do a little better then I am now. As much as I miss the days of my body being amazing I am happier with it being pretty good and enjoying myself more. Granted I love running so I enjoyed myself then but right now I’m enjoying this. It isn’t easy to change the perspective or not feel bad but you can. Also remember that each meal, not even day, is a chance to do better.

    9. Jack Russell Terrier*

      This might not help at all, as I’m not an emotional eater. I teach yoga and many of us yoginis find that during an injury / difficult emotional times restorative yoga really, really helps with the emotions and headspace. If that happens to strike a chord, you could check out this Brett Larkin free youtube class. I haven’t done it myself but I’m a great fan of Brett. She has other restorative practices too. I went to her channel and searched for restorative.

      I’m sorry you’re going through this – good luck.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtVrPUylxp8

    10. CatCat*

      Thank you all for your thoughtful suggestions!

      I didn’t do great on the eating from again today. I am going to work through these suggestions and make a plan.

      1. Argh!*

        If you can figure out which times of day are the worst, and which triggers are the worst, you could plan for a health(-ier) treat for those times, and move lower-calorie options to your optimal times. I have the same tendencies, especially late at night. I have found a few damage-control items, such as Kroger’s Carbmaster chocolate milk and their yogurts. I tend to like crunchy foods when I’m angry, but my late night binge choices would be smooth like the yogurt (formerly ice cream).

        Another option: a craft that uses both hands. Origami, sewing, knitting, etc. It may not keep you from eating but it could slow you down.

    11. Michael Scott*

      Weight loss is eating less calories then you burn. I lost about 60 lbs without exercising at all. Exercise maybe increases losing by 10%, but it’s a bonus. Keep at it, it’s not easy!

  4. LadyL*

    So I’m looking for a job in informal education (museums, nature centers, etc) after getting a master’s in education. My question: do I put student teaching on my resume, and if so, how should I do that?

    My concern is that my last job was in 2017, then I quit to be a full time student (I mean I babysat and did odd jobs, but not resume-worthy work). Will someone looking at my resume understand that an education degree = I was student teaching & taking classes full time, or will they think the gap in employment is weird?

    1. fposte*

      I don’t think it would hurt to include student teaching on its own just as a reminder that you were active in the field during your education period. You’re not talking about getting a straight out teaching job where it’ll be known that it’s the convention (and FWIW I’m not actually sure what the resume convention is for student teaching on a resume for a first-time teaching job anyway–maybe teachers include it?).

      So I’d list it as “Student Teaching” and treat it as a job entry on the resume.

      1. Teach*

        Yes – teachers applying for their first teaching position always list student teaching. It is often the best source of references, as well, as the cooperating/supervising teacher (and principal, if possible) were direct observers and evaluators of the candidate’s skills.
        If I were writing a resume for an audience that might not see student teaching as work experience every day, I would emphasize the full-time nature of it, including planning and giving feedback on student work, as well as any individual accomplishments. That might look like designing a unit, developing an activity, simulation, or experience, planning a field trip, etc. Those would be more “outstanding” accomplishments beyond just following the supervising teacher’s lesson plans, which is assumed for at least part of the experience. Also mention any specific classes taken, units or lessons or concepts taught, or content connections to the museum position, if applicable.

        1. Archangels girl*

          Also have your student teaching evaluation assessments available in case anybody asks for them. In my board, you have to present these when you apply for a job. I realize you’re not specifically asking for teaching jobs but you never know. If you have those somewhere I would rummage around and have them at the ready in case you’re asked for them.

    2. Fortitude Jones*

      I would think you could add your student teaching assignment(s) to your resume and be fine, especially when you put your advanced degree on it as well. I don’t think it would be weird, but I’m not in education, so take that with a grain of salt.

    3. Asenath*

      Would they really take “full-time student” as a gap in employment? I wouldn’t have thought so. I also never put student teaching on my resume – I assumed that anyone hiring for education-type work would know that a degree in education implied that you had some student teaching experience. If you think they might assume that you wouldn’t do student teaching at the graduate level – and in some programs, you wouldn’t – it would be a good idea to put it in there somewhere, since it’s obviously a useful skill for the type of informal education you’re aiming for.

      1. Alice*

        I’m always surprised when people are concerned about this. It’s not a gap, we all know what you were doing – you were in school!

    4. JediSquirrel*

      Yes, student teaching should definitely be on your resume, along with any accomplishments you had while doing it (awards, student clubs you helped out with, etc).

      Could you organize your resume me chronologically, so that it says

      2017-2019 Master Degree, Teapot University (+student teaching)
      2009-2017 Teapot Consultant at Teapots-R-Us

      etc, etc?

    5. just a random teacher*

      I was applying for traditional teaching jobs rather than what you’re looking for, but my resume right out of teaching college was organized using a template from my school’s career people specifically for education. It had information about my licensed areas at the top, then a section for “education-related experience”, then a section for “other experience”, so student teaching was an entry under “education-related experience that looked something like this:

      Student teaching (2005-2006)
      -Middle School Name
      –Taught Algebra 1, Pre-Algebra, supervising teacher Mr. So-and-So
      -High School Name
      –Taught Geometry, supervising teacher Mr. Other-Guy

      Since when first applying for a teaching job it was the second-most relevant thing on my resume (after my license information about what I was certified to teach), it made sense to put it near the top and give it a lot of space and detail even if that meant condensing my non-education-related work experience into fewer bullet points later in the resume. It gradually got less and less space and detail as I’ve been teaching longer and had more recent paid experience teaching those classes. I probably wouldn’t list it at all now, since every class I taught while student teaching I’ve since taught for over 5 years of non-student teaching. (At least in math, I was encouraged to call out which specific courses I’d been teaching on my resume so that school districts could see what I’m specifically experienced with teaching and how to compared to what the position would be teaching. When interviewing for my current job, I’m sure it helped that I could show on my resume that I’d taught all but one of the math courses that school offered previously.)

      I’m not sure how much of that will be helpful to you if you’re not looking for employment in a school.

    6. Tort-ally HareBrained*

      I have an informal education certificate on my Education Masters and did NO student teaching as a part of that program. It also wasn’t full time for me, so I remained employed. But if I were looking at your resume I would like to see student teaching, both to know that the program included active teaching practice but also as another commenter mentioned to have references for your teaching skills. Good luck! It can be a hard field to break into, but so rewarding.

    7. Double A*

      I’m a teacher with over 9 years experience and I actually still include my student teaching on my resume! It’s not an extensive entry but it’s the last entry in my “teaching experience” section.

    8. NatureSu*

      Hi, I’m in the same field! Best wishes on you job search, full-time informal Ed work can be challenging to find. I would include student teaching, not all Ed programs include it.

  5. Glasses, Nose, and Mustache Disguise*

    I’m starting a new job soon after being laid off from a toxic job and two months of funemployment. I’m really nervous about both working with competent and nice coworkers and overall just going to work again. I was so undervalued and unappreciated I’ve lost my reference point on how an office can not be awful. I don’t know what exactly my question is. Any tips or advice for getting back into a 9-5 routine and getting acclimated to a functional office? I’ve been keeping a regular sleep schedule.

    1. Fortitude Jones*

      Go into this new job with a blank slate, meaning, try not to carry the toxicity of your last job into this one. Go in with the expectation that everyone you work with will be professional and nice, but also be aware of your surroundings. If something seems “off,” note it to yourself and then ask a trusted friend for a gut check to make sure you’re not just looking for problems where there are none – that can happen when you’ve been burned before.

      Not to get too “woo-wooey,” but visualize yourself going into work everyday and having collegial relationships with your boss and coworkers, imagine yourself getting kudos for a job well done, just generally try to put yourself in as positive a mindset as you can every day and, hopefully, the new job jitters will subside.

      Good luck!

      1. Pink Hair Don't Care*

        One thing you can do is take things at face value. I too, was so undervalued at last Toxic Job. It took me a while to just take things for what they are. Just try not to read too much into things and let anxiety get the best of you. Know your worth and know its “old jobs” loss and “new jobs” gain to have you. Best of luck to you!

        1. Fortitude Jones*

          Yes! When you’ve been undervalued/under appreciated in a job, it’s easy to read too much into every interaction you have with people in a new job – you’re afraid this new place will do the same.

    2. Christina*

      I’m just going through this myself (but coming from 2 terrible jobs and 6 months unemployment). It’s definitely been an adjustment going from jobs working with very sarcastic, cynical people to one were most people seem very earnest and sincere. One thing that’s helped is just trying to be extra conscious of my responses to previous bad managers when I start to notice my immediate response is to be defensive or get pissed off at someone I think is trying to undermine me. I’m also trying to go to my manager to talk about concerns I have with coworkers before I actually respond. But the biggest thing is just keep reminding myself to assume these are good, smart people and to be kind and helpful and do good work that I know I can do. It’s working pretty well so far!

      And congrats!

    3. iglwif*

      That is tough! Like, it’s an awesome problem to have in that you’re not in the horrible job anymore, but it feels so risky!

      I started a new job–which I love!–a couple of years ago after quitting a stressful and anxiety-exacerbating job and then freelancing for a while, and there were some really tricky bits. Based on my experience I would suggest:

      – try to default to trusting people and giving them the benefit of the doubt, rather than the other way around
      – ask all the questions! even when it feels awkward!
      – if, like me, you suck at remembering a whole bunch of new names at once, try to take discreet notes about people after you meet them (like, “marketing mgr–Bianca–red glasses, curly black hair”)
      – resist the urge to tell everyone all about how awful your last job was
      – whenever you experience surprise at how nice someone is or how well something is handled in your new workplace, try to take some time to sit with that feeling and analyse where it’s coming from! (For me, this was the first step in getting over my maladaptive coping mechanisms from ex-job. After a while, my mindset started shifting from “Holy cow, I raised a concern and it was taken seriously and we discussed it and reached a solution that everyone is happy with! That’s amazing!!” to “Once again we discussed a concern someone had and arrived at a solution everyone is happy with. That’s how we do things here, and it’s important for that to keep on being the case.”)
      – in the same vein, maybe take this opportunity to write down a list of things you would like to be different (from Toxic Job) in your workplaces going forward, starting with New Job — focusing on the positive — so it’s kind of in your mind as you start this new endeavour :)

      about the regular scheduling part:
      – build in time for breakfast, if you’re a breakfast person (I try not to be a breakfast evangelist, but I only started eating breakfast when I got pregnant and started being hungry ALL THE TIME, which is to say in my late 20s, and now I am a huge fan and I think it has improved my life a lot)
      – leave earlier than you think is necessary for the first few days, because running late is stressful and you don’t need the additional stress
      – plan your outfits in advance and lay out your clothes for the next day before you go to bed (this made me feel like a child the first few times I did it, but I am a disaster first thing in the morning and it helped SO MUCH, and now it’s a settled habit! I work at home 90% of the time so nobody cares what I’m wearing, and yet I am still capable of dithering for 10 minutes if I have to make clothing decisions before coffee. YMMV)
      – in the words of my kid’s school’s dress code, wear clothing that makes you feel comfortable and confident!

      1. Fortitude Jones*

        resist the urge to tell everyone all about how awful your last job was

        This is a good one because constantly talking about how dysfunctional your last job was keeps it fresh and you won’t be able to mentally move on. Also, you don’t want to be a Debbie Downer in your new office.

    4. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I do think if you recognize any manager triggers it might be useful to warn your manager. For example if you’re like other letters to AAM and never got feedback that wasn’t critical, it might help to acknowledge your reaction and state that it’ll take a little while for your subconscious to stop expecting heavy criticism at every 1on1. She’s not doing something wrong, it’s just a habitual expectation you know is now not needed.

    5. Zircon*

      Thank people for giving you advice, answering questions or being helpful. That probably didn’t happen in your last workplace, so you might not “remember” to do it.
      Smile.
      Be gracious when people compliment you – even if you have to plan a script. I had gone so long with no positive feedback that for a long time when people said “thank you” and “well done, that was great” and “Wow, what a great idea” I got a bit flustered and didn’t know what to do – and then, because this workplace is normal and appreciative, it was sometimes awkward. I realised that was a clear sign that I had come from a bad situation.

      1. Seven If You Count Bad John*

        “It’s kind of you to say so” is an amazingly useful phrase.

    6. Argh!*

      I continued to have nightmares about OldJob for several years after starting NewJob even though I went to therapy for several months while I was unemployed. Everyone is a bit tentative in a new job, so give yourself some time to figure things out. In my case, I was relieved to be out of the old toxicity, so I missed signs of the new toxicity. There are many ways for people to be toxic, so I would say beware of smiling faces. Don’t be too open until you know who’s who and what’s what there.

    7. whatthemell?*

      I have SO been there and can understand exactly what you’re talking about. Personally, I had a horrible case of losing my mojo at one job that was toxic beyond belief, and it truly stole my confidence. I had a difficult time faking it at my next job, but I knew I was a good employee and that I could kick ass – I just needed my mojo back.

      I still get mad thinking about how that toxic job completely turned me into an insecure person who was unsure of my abilities when prior to that toxic job, I had always been the “go-to” person who knew all the answers.

      It took a minute but I eventually got back on track, and I promise you will too. Don’t let your past experience at a place that didn’t value you ruin things. Fake it til you don’t have to fake it anymore. If you act sure of yourself then others will follow suit. Good luck!!

  6. Some Sort of Management Consultant*

    Happy Independence Day, Americans!

    I have a low stakes work question:

    My office has a hot desking policy and uses “activity based workspaces” so there are big tables for collaboration, proper desk with monitors and the whole she-bang, some where you are allowed to talk, and some that are quiet “focus tables”.
    Technically, no one is allowed to have their own desk, but that’s not quite the reality. A lot of people use ergonomic chairs and the like, and our executive assistants have their own desks for simplicity’s sake. My current project has a meeting room booked permanently at the moment. Basically, there are plenty of exceptions. Generally, we’re out of the office a lot and the hot desking solution work well for us.

    I’m starting a new project after the summer where I will be supporting our Big Boss full-time for some months, which means I’ll be in the office pretty much all the time, and probably having a bunch of different things to keep track of.
    It would simplify my life enormously if I had a desk where I could leave important papers, my planners, etc, especially since I have ADHD.

    Do you think this is an accommodation I might ask HR for? My boss and my colleagues are aware of my ADHD. (I survived telling Big Boss about my ADHD this week!)

    1. nutella fitzgerald*

      Could you carry the important papers in one of those plastic folders that zips shut, and keep the folder and planners in a large tote or something? Or keep everything in a particular spot in the meeting room that’s already reserved for this project?

      1. Some Sort of Management Consultant*

        Ah! Sorry, I was unclear! The room is for a different project.

        I have a locker, but that still means to have to clear everything every evening and put it back in the morning.

          1. Some Sort of Management Consultant*

            Hahahaha, no that would absolutely not be possible, there’s simply no space. It would’ve been nice. Then simply making a desk mine would be more feasible.

            1. Jaid*

              Maybe something that can be rolled under the desk?
              Studio Designs Home Office Newel 3 Drawer Wooden File Cabinet with Casters, 16″W x 19″D x 26.25″H , locking.

              However it shakes down, I wish you well.

    2. Some Sort of Management Consultant*

      Happy Independence Day, Americans!

      I have a low stakes work question:

      My office has a hot desking policy and uses “activity based workspaces” so there are big tables for collaboration, proper desk with monitors and the whole she-bang, some where you are allowed to talk, and some that are quiet “focus tables”.
      Technically, no one is allowed to have their own desk, but that’s not quite the reality. A lot of people use ergonomic chairs and the like, and our executive assistants have their own desks, for simplicity’s sake. Since we’re consultants, we’re out of the office a lot and the hot desking solution work well for us.

      I’m starting a new project after the summer where I will be supporting our Big Boss full-time, which means I’ll be in the office pretty much all the time, and probably having a bunch of different things to keep track of.
      It would simplify my life enormously if I had a desk where I could leave important papers, my planners, etc, especially since I have ADHD.

      Do you think this is an accommodation I might ask HR for? My boss and my colleagues are aware of my ADHD.
      Side note: I was originally supposed to do this internal role and a project manager role for a client but I completely messed up the first meeting with the client last week, who felt I was condescending and inexperienced. You can imagine my mortification

      I’ve cleared the air with the responsible partner, and my counselor assures me that sometimes things go wrong and otherwise shrugged it off and said I shouldn’t blame myself. I know the partner spoke with my counselor and I suspect my counselor had some choice words for her. I definitely messed up but i think I handled the aftermath as well as I could.

      The internal role is a “operations”/executive assistant role to our Northern European Head. It’s customary for our regional managers to someone like that, who work with them for 6-12 months instead of with a client. It’s everything from business development to coordination and follow up. It’s considered to be a Good Opportunity™ since you’re the manager’s right hand, get to spend lots of time with the entire leadership team and get to learn the business side.

      My counselor recommended me and I’m really honored and kinda nervous. I’ve always been pretty sure Big Boss doesn’t like me, but we’ve had some great meetings this week and talked everything from global strategies to cost effectiveness and gossip about the executive team.

      There! Boast over!

      1. Some Sort of Management Consultant*

        Darn, I meant to post second part only, not the entire thing.

        Side note: I was originally supposed to do this internal role and a project manager role for a client but I completely messed up the first meeting with the client last week, who felt I was condescending and inexperienced. You can imagine my mortification

        I’ve cleared the air with the responsible partner, and my counselor assures me that sometimes things go wrong and otherwise shrugged it off and said I shouldn’t blame myself. I know the partner spoke with my counselor and I suspect my counselor had some choice words for her. I definitely messed up but i think I handled the aftermath as well as I could.

        The internal role is a “operations”/executive assistant role to our Northern European Head. It’s customary for our regional managers to someone like that, who work with them for 6-12 months instead of with a client. It’s everything from business development to coordination and follow up. It’s considered to be a Good Opportunity™ since you’re the manager’s right hand, get to spend lots of time with the entire leadership team and get to learn the business side.

        My counselor recommended me and I’m really honored and kinda nervous. I’ve always been pretty sure Big Boss doesn’t like me, but we’ve had some great meetings this week and talked everything from global strategies to cost effectiveness and gossip about the executive team.

        There! Boast over!

    3. New Normal*

      Little advice but lots of sympathy- I have adhd and my own bosses have come to accept my disaster-area desk (in a very visible area) as a trade off for my high productivity. Hot-desking would be my nightmare. Can you give it a go as-is for a week and keep track of how much time you spend setting up and breaking down and then ask? If it’s for a limited time and would significantly increase productivity then I think you have a decent case. Granted, the closest I’ve ever been to hot-desking was the study booths in the library in grad school so take my advice as an outside looking in.

    4. Nacho*

      I wouldn’t start straight with HR. Maybe talk to your boss about how, since you’re not going to be out of the office very much, hot desking doesn’t make as much sense for you as for others. Don’t treat it as a medical accommodation, treat it as something that just makes sense like what the executive assistants and ergonomic chair people get.

    5. Anonymouse for this*

      If you’re going to be in the office on a day to day basis then it sounds like it’s a valid business reason to have an allocated desk for the duration of your new role. I wouldn’t class it as an ADHD accommodation – it’s just something that anyone (with/without ADHD) taking on that role would need to be able to do their job efficiently.

    6. MissDisplaced*

      I hate open offices and hotdesking!
      They do make rolling briefcases, so maybe that type of thing would jeep you organized?

      But it seems what you really want is an assigned desk, right? I suppose you could ask, framed as “I have a large project for X boss that is expected to take 3 months. Is it possible to have an assigned spot for that time?” It doesn’t hurt to ask pleasantly, but don’t expect anything.

      1. Some Sort of Management consultant*

        Yes, exactly! My own desk for the duration of this project :)

    7. Jasnah*

      Where do people in your office store important, non-digital information? Or private belongings that you only use at the office? Could you store it there?

      I’m confused when you said you have to clear your locker out every evening. Do you mean you have to bring your computer, mouse, notepads, etc. with you every day? Could you ask for an exception to store your things longer-term in that locker?

      I have yet to see an office that is 100% permanently paperless and therefore requires no storage of any kind, so I would think you could put your stuff there somehow.

      1. TPS Cover Sheet*

        I always get management stinkeyes when they say they are having a paperless office and I innocently ask ”do we have to bring our own three seashells?”

        1. Database Developer Dude*

          That movie was pretty awesome, especially the way Stallone was making fun of himself in it.

      2. Some Sort of Management consultant*

        Sorry, I obviously can’t communicate properly today!

        We have lockers to store personal belongings in. But that means I have to take all my stuff out of my locker, bring it to my desk and then bring it all back to my locker at the end of the day.
        It’s totally doable! But it does involve time and energy everyday to set everything up the way I like it.

    8. TPS Cover Sheet*

      Yes, I worked in a ”blue work” hell… I promised I would never neverever complain about a cubicle farm ever again. Sheesh, it took hours you didn’t have just to adjust those chairs even the settings were supposed to be simple. Nevermind the monitors always being weird and the network cables fitzed.

      Which brings me to the obvious to ”get a desk”. Go to the mirror and say ”I have a back problem”. Now say it convincingly, with tormented puppy eyes. Then go do the needful and get an ergonomic chair that nobody else is allowed to touch for obvious reasons. Problem solved and a two finger salute to the system.

      1. only acting normal*

        And thus those of us with actual back problems get the stink eye from everyone who thinks we’re just after special treatment we don’t actually need. :-/

        Meanwhile, in my own hot desking hell: we have chair parks for the special chairs, they don’t get a desk, but ADHD/autism/other neurodiversity is a reason for an allocated desk (if it means you need one). You can only ask.

        1. Some Sort of Management Consultant*

          Both groups deserve accommodations!

          I won’t lie. Either I will ask it as a “sensible business practice”-thing or as an adhd accommodation but I won’t lie.

  7. DWA*

    I am about to start a new job that will be my first salaried position. I’ve always been hourly / non-exempt. This is with a different organization, but the same field I am currently in.
    Any suggestions on adjusting to a new scheduling system or determining how to decide when I’m done for the day? Thanks!

    1. The Rain In Spain*

      Congrats! I would recommend keeping similar hours to your coworkers and boss, particularly at the beginning. Once you get a feel for the work flow (and an understanding of busy/slow seasons) you can start to adjust more. I vaguely target working about 8 hours a day, but it can be anywhere from 6-9 (or 10 when it’s really busy). I probably work a little more than 40 hrs/week on average. I am fortunate to have a boss who understands how our work ebbs and flows and trusts me to get my work done. I start early, eat at my desk most of the time, and leave early because that’s my preference. Basically make sure you don’t start working 9-3 with an hour lunch if your team members and boss are working 8-5 with a 30 min lunch!

      1. Fortitude Jones*

        I would recommend keeping similar hours to your coworkers and boss, particularly at the beginning.

        Agreed. After you’ve been there a few months, you’ll probably be able to adjust your time as you see fit, but for now, I wouldn’t recommend having a wildly divergent schedule from everyone else.

    2. Kimmybear*

      This is really organization specific. I was just in a conversation about this yesterday. Some orgs require 8 hours a day even if you are exempt and take leave for any hours you don’t work. Others are more flexible, get your work done and we don’t care how long it takes. Also depends on your supervisor. My colleague and I both took a couple hours off on our remote work days for doctors appointments. She worked late that night and put in her hours. I ended normal time and took leave for those hours. Our manager told her she was supposed to take leave but when discussing with another group of managers, they all disagreed with him. He was going on the rules of his previous organization not the culture of our current one. All this is to say, ask and observe.

    3. June First*

      This is easier said than done, but learn how to say no without feeling guilty. My previous salaried positions looked down on employees who stuck to scheduled hours. There would be snide remarks about how that person was “just punching a time clock” and not willing to go the extra mile. But you can prioritize and get stuff done within the regular workday. And it’s ok if you are unavailable, depending on your actual job. In most cases, the world will not end if you save emails for your regular shift.

    4. LPUK*

      I find it helpful to write a to do list with essential items and also a couple of nice to tackle if I can. This means you can find a natural place to stop for the day rather than going on past your productive stage.

      1. CedarCat*

        My to do lists are a saving grace, over the years it’s gotten very detailed so I don’t forget daily, weekly, or monthly tasks. It keeps me on track throughout the day, because if I’m caught up in special projects or email hell all day it’s helpful to see that “oh, I’ve restocked brochures 3 times this week so it’s ok to skip it today”.

    5. Anonymous Educator*

      Most of my jobs have been exempt, but that hasn’t meant I can just go home whenever. I’ve always had set hours (just no timesheet to fill out). Being exempt means sometimes you might have to stay a bit later to get something done or leave a bit earlier if you need to, but I haven’t worked anywhere that has exempt=comeinwheneverleavewhenever. If your workplace doesn’t have any set hours, I’m sure they’d let you know that.

      1. whatthemell?*

        Just came here to agree: I’ve been classified as Salaried + Exempt at every job I’ve held after graduating college, and I’ve always been expected to work a minimum of 40 hours every week, and I usually do 45-48 hours every week.

        A few times I’ve been told I could make my own hours but those hours needed to consist of at least 8 working hours each day. I could do 9-6 with an hour lunch, or 9-5 with no breaks, or whatever I wanted to do as long as I got in at least 8 hours.

    6. gsa*

      Pay attention. And ask your workmates if it comes to that.

      Many moons ago, I made a move for salaried to hourly, opposite of what you said. Watching how everyone worked was helpful.

      Good Luck,

      gsa

    7. Evergreen*

      The first few weeks I usually find are slow as people get to know you and have work for you – I still try and do 8 or 8.5 hrs so you’re in the same hours as your boss. Use spare time to look through old projects, meet people etc

      Once settled I usually work about 8 hours total for 7.5 hr billable target; I try and set out things that need doing before I leave each day and use that as timekeeper. I still try and use people one step above me as a yardstick on what kind of hours, start time and finish time to aim for (it’s harder to collaborate on projects in engineering if you’re not in the office at the same time). But on any given day I might leave a little earlier or stay a little later depending if i’m in the zone or not – i’m sure you’ll hit a normal rhythm quite quickly!

  8. nutella fitzgerald*

    I skimmed the post about the underage intern who drank at a company event and just kind of blew it off, thinking that it wasn’t a big deal.

    Yesterday at a work happy hour an intern got drunk and threw up. Her vomit splashed onto my foot and sandal :(

    1. WellRed*

      She didn’t even make it to the bathroom? That’s bad. Was she obviously drunk or not till that moment?

      1. tetsal*

        Oh lordy, same. I would have puked twice at having someone else’s puke on me as well…would not have gone well at all.

    2. Seeking Second Childhood*

      If there’s no stomach flu running around? Yikes….sounds like you or her manager will have an uncomfortable conversation after the weekend!

    3. Policy wonk*

      One of the many reasons why I prefer interns who are in graduate school. I don’t have to worry about underage drinking, and most have passed the stage where they don’t know their limits.

      1. Polymer Phil*

        My experience is that binge drinking is much more prevalent among grad students than undergrads, at least where I went to grad school!

      2. Ra94*

        In my experience as a 25-year-old (in a country where the drinking age is 18, so always been legal to drink at work events), people 18-23 are much likelier to binge drink on the weekend but stay sober at work events, because they’re terrified of messing up. 23-30somethings who feel more comfortable in the work environment and have fewer chances to ‘let loose’ are routinely the ones getting absolutely wasted. (And don’t get me started on my 45-year-old boss, who drives home drunk after every company event.)

    4. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Ewwwww, my drunk tolerance is sky high until you vomit on someone. If you can’t even beeline to the restroom or outside, you’re messier than messy AF.

  9. Erika*

    I have nothing to add, as I’m working my butt off today, except MY GOD, THAT PICTURE! :)

    1. Washed Out Data Analyst*

      The Cat Fireworks picture is one of my favorite things right now.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Maybe Alison would do a London skyline version for November 11. :)

  10. Laura H.*

    Work related:

    I work for a small business that just started up and has very little formal policies set in place for things like calling in to say that I can’t make it in due to illness. (I had to for yesterday due to a Stomach bug) I contacted boss the night before because I wasn’t gonna chance that it gets worse.

    However, I know other things are gonna come up that, at other, larger, more established places I’ve worked would have covered under a policy/ procedure. My gut feelings (pun totally unintended) are by no means infallible, but I’d like to think they’re pretty solid.

    What to do? Ask as it comes up? Just go with “past experience at different company suggests this”?

    1. Some Sort of Management Consultant*

      Do you mean that there might be an issue, like time off for a funeral, you don’t know how they handle or specifically what to do when sick?

      If it’s the former, I probably would handle it on a case by case basis, if only because there are so very many different situations that it’s impossible to predict them all.

    2. Abe Froman*

      I work in a similar situation. If your boss is reasonable (mine thankfully is), I think it’s totally fine to bring up your ideas. Did example, I got a jury summons and asked about his jury duty policy. It didn’t exist, so he did a little research and made one. It could also be good to bring things up now that might be important in the future for you (parental leave, for example).

      1. Laura H.*

        It would have to be easily understandable though. I (and some of my coworkers) have varying special needs, and while I’m as independent in regards to work (short of a miracle or being able to drive) others aren’t in that ability yet and so the parents/caregivers would also have to understand processes.

        Thankfully, boss is super understanding.

        There are only 10-15 employees/ not a lot of us so I don’t think anything HAS to be written down in a handbook quite yet but I’m customer-facing, pricing items, and filling popcorn bags level, not managing the store operations level (though if given the opportunity I would like to learn some of that.)

        1. Abe Froman*

          I think in your situation it would be good to get in front of things and advocate for good policies, especially since you’re boss is understanding. Do some good initial research, present it as an idea, then offer to present a draft of something. I think a lot of managers really appreciate a concrete proposal versus just an idea or a question.

        2. Zephy*

          I’m of the opinion that it’s never too early for a handbook.

          It’s a living document, so it’s not like policies can’t be revised or changed as business needs change, but it’s good to have some kind of system in place and written down, so everyone is clear about how things are supposed to work.

    3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Being small isn’t an excuse. The first rule of hiring is never start bringing in employees until you’ve got a basic handbook. There’s literally handbook generators out there for a few bucks!

      I would just ask how they want to proceed and inquire if they’re going to establish a handbook or what. That’s them leaving their butts hanging out, not good got you or them!

    4. Jeanne*

      If you think this is an organisation you want to be involved in, and they’re open and interested, you could write an example of one policy (I’d suggest around sick leave), take it to your boss and ask if they’d like to use it, and would they like you to write out a few more? Write DRAFT all over it (use a watermark) so boss knows its not the final version. If you’ve got experience at bigger companies, you may have the most information and examples. You may find yourself with a different role!!

  11. Rebecca*

    Oh man, my Mom fell yesterday morning and broke her right wrist, ambulance, etc. and I was only gone from the house for an hour. She was outside walking out to the paper box when I left, and fell inside in her bedroom trying to change clothes. This was after she was outside pulling weeds, etc. Just a freak thing. Yesterday the ER x rayed her wrist, set and splinted it, and I have to take her to an orthopedic surgeon tomorrow. Yikes.

    She’s gonna have to make some adjustments. And, if she needs surgery, lots of things around here are going to change. She’s quite upset, but at least she’s ambulatory and didn’t break a hip, her spine, or something more critical, and she’s left handed. But oh my, she is a handful. Please keep good thoughts for us, and prayers if you are so inclined. Would so much appreciate this! Will know more tomorrow and update on open thread on Saturday.

    1. WellRed*

      My mom broke her wrist, didn’t need surgery thankfully but did need PT. Unfortunately, parents start to fall. Fingers crossed for your mom.

    2. Laura H.*

      Good thoughts coming your way. Happened to my dad last week. He didn’t break anything but geeze, I completely get the scary factor.

        1. minion*

          I supported a friend through this break. This is so, so common. Thank your lucky stars they’re doing surgery. The recovery is much quicker and easier, since the bones are stabilized. Once she’s out of her cast, she MUST wear her splint/brace and not use that hand (even though she’ll probably think she can). Particularly with osteoporosis (my friend also has, not quite osteoporosis, but not great bone density), it’s really important that this thing heals the first time. If your mom isn’t a big person, there’s not much meat around that area, so healing can take some time. It’s a relatively big plate going into an area that doesn’t have much perfusion. It took the doctor threatening my friend with the possibility of a second surgery before she backed off trying to rush her recovery. Your mom, really, really doesn’t want a non-union.
          Best wishes for your sanity in the upcoming weeks. This sucks.

          1. Rebecca*

            Thank you so much, she did the same thing to her left wrist in 2011, plates, screws, surgery, lots of recovery time, but my Dad was there to drive her to appointments, etc. I’m an only child, I work full time, and of course this happened right on a holiday where I can’t make phone calls to get her signed up for help, make arrangements, etc. And she’s a tiny person, like half my size, so yeah, a lot of hardware going into a small space.

            1. ..Kat..*

              I am sorry that you are having to deal with this. Can you talk to the doctors and/or nurses and see if they will take care of her urinary tract infections at the same time. One side effect of an untreated UTI in the elderly is poor balance (which leads to falls).

              Also, ask your mom to indicate in her chart that healthcare staff are allowed to talk with you about her healthcare – otherwise, you will not get the information you need to help her recover.

    3. fposte*

      Oh, crap, Rebecca, that’s really not good. While it’s good that it wasn’t her hip, I think this really does classify her as a fall risk in general. However, this might be an opportunity for her to get a little physical therapy to help with balance, etc. as she heals–worth looking into when the immediate emergency subsides.

      1. Rebecca*

        Oh crap is right. I’m on vacation this week from work, but I have to report back with my butt in the seat on Monday morning at 7:30. Mom is not a morning person, and I told her, we are going to be making adjustments and changes. She’s going to have to get up, let me leave cereal in a bowl on the table, no heating up tea in the microwave and trying to carry it with one hand while the other is in a sling, and she could be prone to falling. I have two leads on a caregiver, and I’m going to need help. I can do a lot of stuff, but I can’t work full time, take care of her, the house, yard, etc. It’s too much. Plus, she is the world’s premier fussbudget. Everything has to be just so, I sat her down, said, for the time being, things are going to be “good enough to get by” and not up to HRH’s extreme standard’s. Example – she has multiple towels in the kitchen, one specifically for drying dishes (which I find pointless…but) I accidentally touched it while making a salad, and she immediately put it in the laundry because “germs”. I get it if I had raw meat blood on my hands, but seriously, I was cutting up a pepper, which I had washed, and had clean hands, also freshly washed with antibacterial soap. Not no one gonna have time for this crap.

        1. fposte*

          Oh, I’m *so* glad you’re going to be able to get a caregiver. I mentioned the PT and thought “Well, that’s just one more thing Rebecca has to pile on her plate,” and the notion that some things may be able to come off is wonderful.

          And your mother would not enjoy my kitchen practices :-).

          1. Rebecca*

            She’s also going to get signed up for STEP, it’s our senior transportation network, and I know she will hate it, as they pick up people, then take them to a place, like a doctor’s office, and you might wait several hours for the ride home. I told her, she’s going to get signed up. She can make appointments in the late afternoon, then I can stop by after work at the doctor’s office to pick her up after they drop her off. I only have so much time off, work is butts in seats, and if I have to sign up for intermittent FMLA to get them off my back about attendance, I will. I shouldn’t even have to worry about this. My work is not customer facing and most of the time, as long as I get it done, it doesn’t have to be within a strictly prescribed time frame. Honestly, give me a laptop, I can log my time with ADP, and be done with it.

        2. Not So NewReader*

          At some point her difficultness becomes a health issue on its own. For the most part, where it changes over to a health issue tends to be at the same point where we draw our lines. Know your limits and stick to your limits.

        3. Anon because it seems like a good idea right now*

          Sending good thoughts in your direction. Maybe there will be a miracle: your mom will pull a better attitude and/or some nicer behavior out of a metaphorical hat. In the meantime, keep on hiring a caregiver and stick to your limits. Good for you for already announcing that the new standard is going to be “it’s good enough.”

    4. Jaid*

      Oh, jeeze, yet another thing you have to deal with.

      My sympathies to you and your Mom.

    5. Wishing You Well*

      Sending you good thoughts.
      You’re wise to be thankful it wasn’t a leg break. My relative broke her ankle and spent 6 weeks in a wheelchair. She had to move in with her daughter’s family until she was on crutches.
      Ambulatory is good! Still sending you Jedi hugs.

    6. anon24*

      I’m sorry Rebecca. I will be keeping you in my thoughts and looking forward to your update. Best of wishes to you both!

    7. Lizabeth*

      Ask the doctors about getting a prescription for a supplement high protein drink to help with the healing. Mom had a bad, bad gash that the nurse practitioner immediately put her on the protein drink supplement even tho Mom was eating pretty well. It did help. Sending good wishes.

      1. Rebecca*

        I will, but she is so fussy about what she eats, always going on about saturated fat, salt, too many carbs, something. She measures everything too, honestly, I think she has some sort of eating disorder. She has no medical reasons to eat the way she does. It’s so frustrating trying to deal with mealtimes.

    8. Observer*

      Oh, goodness, this is tough!

      A couple of thoughts.

      See what services you can get in addition to the transportation you’re already signing her for.

      I got my mother one of these trackers designed for seniors. The reason my mother agrees to wear it is because it has fall detection, so someone will know if she falls and contact you and emergency services if necessary. It also has an emergency call button. Maybe see if you can get something like that for your mother.

    9. WoodswomanWrites*

      So sorry to hear this! I’m really glad you’re going to get your mom a caregiver and sign her up for transportation. I know your mom’s attitude has been challenging and you’ve been trying to address that as well. I realize this may be a longshot but tossing it out there just in case: now that she’s seeing doctors at last, might she be open to discussing medication to deal with anxiety to make this medical journey less difficult for her? Perhaps that conversation wouldn’t be anathema to her given the circumstances, if she can see that having less stress promotes healing.

      I’m glad you’re drawing boundaries around what you are able to do yourself for her, and I hope your employer respects what’s going on. That’s one more hassle you truly don’t need for sure. Sending internet hugs your way!

    10. Steggy Saurus*

      My thoughts are definitely with you and your mother. Please be well and try to look after yourself too.

    11. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      Oh, no!!! Rebecca, I’m so sorry to hear!
      My heart goes out to you… And yes, good enough will do. I will keep you in my thoughts. You have been so strong, for so long. Just hang in there…

    12. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Hang in there! Is it her primary hand?
      I had a rough time with a sprained primary hand many years ago…it was extremely frustrating.
      Hang in there, both of you!

    13. Nana*

      Little Mary Sunshine here…perhaps this is the time you / her doctors / pastor / anyone she might listen to [I know she doesn’t] could push HARD for a change in her living arrangement. Blessing in disguise, blah, blah. I know this is going to be harder on YOU than on her; and I hope you can find a solution that works for both of you.

  12. BRR*

    What do you all do for a good recharge to your energy? I’m currently unemployed and start a new job in a couple of weeks. I burned out from my last job due to a long commute, being completely unappreciated, and general dis functionality. I was hoping to give my batteries a good recharge before starting my next job but I still feel burnt out after several weeks. It’s gone so far as I’ve had blood work done but a few doctors have all said it’s from the stress and depression (which I am being treated for). Thanks in advance!

    1. PB*

      I’m sorry you’re still so drained from your last job. I was in a similar place after I left my last toxic job, so I understand.

      I think recharging is very personal, but here are some things that have worked for me:
      *Watching a favorite TV show, especially something light. The Great British Bake Off is my go-to when I want to feel better.
      *Exercise. When I’m exhausted, this might just be a half hour walk while listening to an audio book. For me, just getting some additional movement helps me feel better, and helps me sleep better at night.
      *Yoga. Something about deep breathing, stretching, and sweating my brains out really helps me feel a million times better afterwards.
      *Revisiting a favorite book. I read constantly, but when I’m burned out, I’m not going to reach for Ulysses or a history of climate change. This is a great time to revisit something you love and know well. You don’t have to think too hard about it, and it’s like visiting old friends.

      1. Fortitude Jones*

        Agreed in regards to yoga. I do it once a week for an hour and it’s so relaxing. It really helps you to leave your mind and be focused on your body and how it feels. I get so comfortable in these classes that I have to fight the urge to pass out when I’m in resting poses! Lol

    2. Alternative Person*

      I don’t know how much cash you have right now, but a nice trip to somewhere I like perks me up. Doesn’t necessarily have to be a long trip, even a day can make a difference, or simply going to an event near where I live. If that’s out of the question, doing/watching something I like from my childhood helps. Watching my favourite episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or playing video games often work.

      Also, have done whatever you do to get rid of bad feeling? When I was done with a previous bad job I wrote a massive long private post on livejournal, fully locked down, long and painfully detailed. No-one ever saw it, but writing down everything helped a lot and got me into a place to get ready for my then new job.

      Congrats on your new job!

      1. Fortitude Jones*

        You just reminded me I need to start my yearly Buffy/Angel rewatch soon. It’s amazing how well those shows hold up.

    3. NicoleK*

      A vacation usually will helps me to recharge. It doesn’t have to be a week long trip. Maybe just a weekend getaway.

      1. Earthwalker*

        Second this. You can be a tourist in your own town and go see something you’ve never seen before. Treat yourself to lunch or a special coffee and make a don’t-have-to-do-anything day of it.

    4. Fran*

      Exercise! Try a new class where you do not have to think just follow the directions of the instructors. Hiking. Go to the beach. Take a break from electronic devices.

    5. londonedit*

      I recently had two weeks between jobs, and I made a point of using the time for a bit of a recharge before diving back in to the 9-5. I mainly went to free things in my local area – a historic house/museum that had free entry to local residents, and the glorious Sky Garden in central London, for example. I did a bit of running (which is one of my ways of recharging; you could take time to do some yoga or indulge in a favourite hobby) and I went for some nice walks. I also treated myself to a couple of days with absolutely nothing to do, and the rule was I couldn’t let myself feel guilty about it – I slept in, enjoyed breakfast and coffee in my pyjamas, had a bath in the middle of the day. It felt great!

    6. AvonLady Barksdale*

      For me, I did a lot of baking, watched a lot of Bake Off and got a retail job. That last part won’t work for you right now. :-) But basically I did things with measurable goals. For example, I took great pleasure in cleaning my house because once I started, I knew it would be clean. A loaf of bread or a cake required following steps carefully and getting an expected result. It was a wonderful change from the feeling that I could never get anything done.

      You can do this passively, too. Been meaning to re-watch Mad Men? Give it a shot. Been meaning to go to the movies more? Make a plan and go.

      Take time to breathe and take pleasure in the things you enjoy. Even naps.

      1. BRR*

        Baking and specifically bread baking has been incredible for my mental health. I’m a little sad how my bread baking schedule is going to affected. At least when I worked from home I could squeeze some folds in.

    7. purple otter*

      My favorite and low-cost thing to do to recharge is to take a walk or very easy and short hike at the local county or state parks, in the heavily tree-shaded trails. Being surrounded by nature and taking deep breaths of fresh air really helps me reset and relax from the hustle and bustle of urban working life.

    8. Emma*

      When you were stuck in your old job, with no energy for life, were there things that were permanently on your “I’d like to, but I’m just not up to it right now” list? Local places you wanted to see but never got round to? Friends you haven’t caught up with for a while?

      It can be hard to get the momentum going when you’re coming off a burnout, and you *should* allow yourself a certain amount of indulgent laziness, but it’s also really fulfilling to realise that you can DO stuff now that you didn’t have the bandwidth for previously.

    9. Applesauce*

      When I feel like I need to be refreshed I go for a nice long walk/hike/run/bike ride and then have an at home spa night. I take a bath with a bath bomb, light some candles, listen to Harry Potter on audiobook, do a face mask, then get out, cover myself with a lightly lavender scented lotion, make a cup of chamomile tea and paint my nails and then go to bed early.

    10. LPUK*

      I’m not exactly a hiker, but I do find countryside very calming, so when I am stressed I head for the nearest wood, find a comfortable place to sit and just listen to the sounds of the forest, wind through the trees, birdsong, the occasional squirrel, and also the smells of greenery, earth and ferns. I have my trusty kindle with me so I can read something relaxing and lighthearted as well, and after an hour or so, I finish off with a Nice Cup of Tea TM. As I live in Britain, I can head for one of the four National Trust properties near me and just chill out ( that’s the nice thing about membership if you live near a property!

    11. CedarCat*

      I went from a 3 hour daily commute to 1.5, and now down to 1, and I found myself at a loss with how to spend my evenings and fell back into the habits that exhaustion required: tv, takeout. Like, what do people do after 5 pm? Turns out there is a lot, but it’s taken me awhile to get back the energy.
      I love cooking so it was very satisfying to have time to do that again. Also gardening: Being in my garden gives me fresh air, and I find that being productive gives me more life. And plants are marvelous and miraculous, looking closely at them can take you out of your head a bit.
      Congrats, good luck, and be patient – the energy may not return immediately but given time it hopefully will!

    12. Zephy*

      I think now that you have a job lined up, you might be able to convince yourself it’s OK to relax until your start date. I, a Stranger from the Internet, hereby give you permission to Do What You Like for the next couple of weeks. I don’t know what your budget is like right now, but if you can squeeze in a bit of relaxing self-care, do so. It doesn’t have to be extravagant – whatever relaxing self-care looks like for you is okay.

      Treat yourself to that book that’s been on your Amazon wishlist for years.
      Sign up for a free trial of your streaming service of choice and watch that show you’ve heard so much about (I recommend Good Omens on Amazon Prime, it’s delightful).
      Walgreens and CVS sell face masks and bath bombs now, if that’s your jam.
      Maybe there’s a park nearby you can visit and just enjoy being in nature – maybe there’ll even be dogs!!

    13. Metikon*

      Coming late to this, but for me the combo of sunlight, sweat, and sleep does wonders. Getting out for a bracing hike or swim, and then going to bed early, would be the most restful day possible for me.

  13. Tomato Frog*

    I’d be interested to hear about people’s experiences hiring with search committees! I just finished serving on my first (academic library), and I had a good experience. But also I can say with confidence that the committee did not have any significant impact on who was hired; it would’ve been the same person if it had just been the hiring manager making the decision.

    What about everyone else? Have you seen cases where a better hire was made because of a search committee? A worse one?

    1. PB*

      Fellow academic librarian here! I’ve served on search committees at two large state universities. In my experience, where the committee makes the most difference is in the early phases (screening resumes, phone interviews, selecting candidates for on-site interviews). By the time candidates come for on-site interviews, the decision is largely beyond the committee, as the dean will make the final hiring decision.

      I find committees helpful for bringing a variety of perspectives. We’re a tenure-track institution, so candidates need to demonstrate potential for tenure success. For this reason, it’s really good to have one person who has tenure and understands the process. It’s also wise to include staff, especially for supervisory positions. The last two searches I’ve been on, the committee included a direct report for the position we were hiring, and they had great feedback.

      As to whether I’ve seen better or worse hirings made by a search committee, it’s hard to say! Whenever I chair a search, I make sure to work closely with the hiring manager. I do not want to hire someone they don’t want to work with!

      1. Steggy Saurus*

        I suffered through a search committee at a large research university library. We were looking for a tenure-track librarian, too. One candidate’s resume referred more than once to “pier-reviewed” articles they’d written. I wanted that candidate weeded out in the first round. They ended up getting a campus interview and hired for the job. I left shortly thereafter. It was a miserable place.

        At smaller academic libraries, the search committees I’ve been on have been much more collegial and I felt like it was a good process, that the dean/director wasn’t the only one who had a say.

    2. Wordnerd*

      I’m in academia, but not the library. I agree with PB that for us, the search committee has complete control over the candidates until the on-campus interviews, then we provide either a ranking of those candidates or strengths/weaknesses of each, and the hiring manager takes that and her conversations with the candidates to make her final decision. Once or twice I’ve disagreed with my manager about which of the candidates is the absolute best, but she’s always pulling from our small pool of finalists, so it’s not like I hated the person she chose. It is possible to have a search committee with issues, which might lead to a bad pool of finalists, though.

    3. Thankful for AAM*

      I served on my first hiring team for my city library recently. It was the opposite of PB’s experience. City HR did all of the early legwork so our decision input was at the end.

      We have that very limited gov’t interview process (predetermined question list, no variations, asked in order by each of us, round robin style) that other commentators have described and Alison says is a misinterpretation of the laws. It was very interesting to see this process from the employer side.

      Also, I think the team approach really did make a big impact on who got hired. Two of us often agreed about things but the third interpreted perfectly normal and professional comments by every person we interviewed in the most tortured ways. The hiring manager (not part of the hiring team) was initially swayed by the 3rd person’s perspective.
      Example (made up example, the real ones would give too much away!): we say, do you have any questions for us, applicant says, can you tell me about the timeline for the process?
      2 of us think – appropriate question asked politely.
      3rd person thinks – bizzare question so clearly this person will challenge their supervisor at every turn. She had a long and purely imaginary backstory to explain each of her very odd interpretations.

      It made me think of all the ways job hunters try to read between the lines; what did this handshake or laugh or phone call mean? She did that but was making hiring decisions!

    4. Suggest*

      Another academic librarian here! I’ve been on a dozen or more search committees at multiple libraries and while the process is similar to what PB and Wordnerd described, I’ve been fortunate in that the director/dean has always chosen the candidate the committee preferred. Always. A few times the dean liked another candidate better, but they would talk to to the committee and ultimately went with our suggestion.

      I hadn’t realized that was so unusual until I served on a few search committees for other entities on campus. On one search, the head administrator forced us to invite their friend on campus (even though the phone interview was awful), and I knew the fix was in. Sure enough, even though the on campus interview was equally terrible and our letter to the hiring manager made our concerns very clear, the friend was hired. Friend is still there, wreaking havoc.

      So I’d say when a committee is allowed to play fair, yes, it does a better job!

    5. Policy wonk*

      Not academia, but yes, I’ve been on screening committees that successfully weeded out unqualified applicants, including one that was the hiring manager’s clear favorite, but who didn’t meet minimum qualifications, and another who, had he actually been qualified, would have been a must hire because he was in the process of being laid off from a different department. I agree with other posters that once the screening is done the commiittee has little or no influence.

  14. KatieKate*

    Cat folk–how much play time do you do with your adult cats? My new 3 year old adoptee and I are still getting used to each other’s schedules, but I feel like she wants to play all of the time. She has so much energy in the morning when I’m getting ready for work, and in the evenings I’ve become even more of a homebody giving her an hour or more of ‘hunting’ time. She doesn’t seem to be able to entertain herself too well with the enrichment I’ve already gotten her–catnip toys, scratching posts/hammock, window perches–they just seem to get her more worked up. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    1. Teapot Librarian*

      1. I definitely don’t play with my boys enough.
      2. The conventional wisdom is that a second cat will help with the playing and energy because they have each other to play with. That said, there are very valid and important reasons why that might not be an appropriate or practical or possible option.
      3. If she fetches, you can play fetch with her while expending minimal energy yourself. My boys don’t fetch, but I’m sitting for one who does, so I’ll lie in bed reading, he’ll bring me a mousie, I’ll toss it in the hall, he’ll bat it around a bit, bring it back, I’ll toss it… and that really helps with his nighttime energy.

      1. KatieKate*

        I’ve been told she doesn’t like other cats, so that’s not an option even if I could. No fetching either–just bringing toys to me and yelling lol

        1. New Normal*

          We initially got two adult cats thinking they’d entertain each other. They did … if girl-cat’s bullying of boy-cat until he spent much of his time hiding counts as entertainment. So that didn’t work as planned. We accidentally solved it by taking in an injured kitten and boy-cat became her protector. Girl-cat lost her place as alpha-cat but things have finally settled down into a (mostly) peaceful democracy.

          All to say you’re smart to know your own cat and not get a second as a playmate. A needy cat dependent on you for entertainment is a lot but two needy cats who spend most their time spitting at each other and leaving tuffs of fur around the place is much worse.

      2. What’s your damage, Heather?*

        2. That’s a myth. Most cats prefer being solo.

        Plastic balls are good self propelling toys….

        1. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

          Actually, that’s not true. Many cats want a feline friend–(or dog friend, someone). Being alone all day can drain any animal. Many shelters only adopt kittens out in pairs because the kittens need each other, socially and emotionally. Many cats do fine solo but certainly not most.

          1. Venus*

            Yeah, kittens almost all want a buddy. Older cats often don’t do well with a new cat, likely because they haven’t been around other cats and can’t communicate well.

        2. tangerineRose*

          I’ve got 3 cats that get along. I think they generally like having each other along.

    2. Bagpuss*

      IS she an indoors only cat?
      If so, is a catio or taking her out on a leash an option? It would give her more to explore and while it would still take up your tim, it may add some variety!
      I know that a friend of mine has a wheel for her cats (like a larger verion of a hamster wheel) which they enjoy, and lets them get exercise so uses up some energy.
      You could also look into the puzzle feeder type of toy – they would let her use her hunting instincts and may be more interesting to her than cat nip toys.

      I think part of it is finding things which give her stimulation and exercise when you aren’t actively involved, so things like the puzzle feeder or a wheel, that she can use when you aren’t around, may be a good start, and may help her to use up some of her energy by herself.

      1. KatieKate*

        I’m in a high rise, so indoor only. And she’s very nervous, so I’d be worried about talking her on a walk. A puzzle feeder is a good idea! I’ll have to look into those.

        1. Lucy*

          We recently tried a puzzle feeder with our 4yo tuxedo shorthair.

          He. Was. Furious.

          He spent three days glaring at us until we removed the offending object. Now he’s sweet as candy again.

          He doesn’t “play” much as such but he’s indoor/outdoor and we’re semi-rural so I think he uses up most of his energy hunting and climbing in the fields behind the house.

        2. Beaded Librarian*

          Kong makes a feeder toy for cats that wobbles around to let the food out.

          1. Zephy*

            You can also make a DIY version of the Kong wobble toy by taking one of those little half-pint water bottles, cutting a few ~1/2″ holes in it, and putting in a handful of kibble or treats.

    3. KR*

      My meow meow is 12 and rarely wants to play. Sometimes I can catch her in a playful mood maybe every other day or so. Her toys do move about the house and she has several strategically placed hanging ribbons and paracord so I know she plays by herself when I’m not looking.

    4. Lena Clare*

      Laser lights are fun, you can sit in your chair and just move the light up and down for them to chase. One of mine loves it on the wall so she gets a nice stretch and the other one loves it on the floor so he runs up and down like a possessed cat for 3 minutes then they get bored and wander off.

      Alison, cute photo!

      1. Sleve McDichael*

        Seconding the laser, just make sure you get one that is low wattage or marketed for cats. Normal laser pointers can burn your cat’s retina if they look into it and because there are no nerve endings there the cat won’t feel pain or realise it should look away. If you use a higher powered laser you won’t realise the damage until the cat has looked into the pointer a bunch of times and burnt a bunch of little holes into it’s retina so it’s vision starts to go bad.

        Scary warnings aside, I have two cats and I use a laser pointer all the time. One loves it, it’s her absolute favourite toy. The other one doesn’t seem to notice it at all. That’s cats for you.

    5. Clever Name*

      My cats love those “interactive” toys. Their favorite is a circular tube with a ball in the center that they bat around through holes in the sides. A laser is a great toy because it’s low-effort for you high reward for them.

    6. Kathenus*

      I’m a new cat person of about a month, so she’s teaching me every day what she wants and needs from me. I’m experimenting with a lot of different options for both activities when I’m not there and interactive stuff with me to burn off her energy and to make me feel that I’m doing the best by her in the windows that I’m with her around work and other pets.

      So, first to toys – it’s absolutely been trial and error. Her absolute favorite hands down (paws down?) is a three level ball track toy. I move it to different areas regularly too because she’ll both sit there and play in one place and if she’s really energetic she likes to stalk it and leap back and forth over it while playing – putting it in different areas has seemed to help with it staying more novel as she plays differently in different places. I’m going to try one of the Catit track toys because you can change the configuration, fingers crossed she likes it as much because then there are a whole lot of new options with this type of toy.

      Things that light up or crinkle sacks/tubes – no interest whatsoever, so maybe that will change over time but for now not investing any more money in this type. The mice that make noise when hit are pretty good – she LOVES the one that hangs on a door frame that she has to jump up to get, some interest but much lower level for the one that’s on a floor platform on a spring that she can bat around.

      The biggest favorite next to the ball track toy are various wand toys. Still figuring out what makes one awesome to her and others just OK, but she does really love them overall and I’ve now gotten about 4-5 different types so I can keep her interest and figure out her favorites. These are great for getting out energy for her in a more limited space and a good playtime before I go to be has helped a lot. I’ve also found ways to prop these up throughout her space so that the toy is hanging down from somewhere and she likes playing with them on her own as well this way, when I’m there and presumably when I’m not.

      The smaller toys are also hit or miss, ignores the jingle balls, loves some new fabric (wool?) balls I just got, one mouse-shaped is a favorite another gets ignored. Go figure, so now I get a variety of cheaper ones to figure out what type of thing she likes (for example, I’m learning she likes balls she can bat around but they need to be a softer material versus plastic), then I’ll invest in that style a bit more.

      I concur with food puzzles, I just tried one with her today, we’ll see how it goes. If it works I’ll get more varieties so I can rotate them to keep them interesting. You can also put smaller bowls of food around instead of one larger one in the same place all the time, let her forage for her food by moving the number and location of bowls regularly while you’re gone. If she likes cat treats, try placing them in different places to encourage exploration, you’ll also find out if she got them or not so that you’ll know if it’s working – if not don’t give up, but try making them closer/easier at first and further out/harder as she figures out that they’re there. This might also build a more positive association with the things you say she doesn’t seem to use or gets her worked up (what do you mean by worked up, what does she do?).

      I get the homebody thing so much, I have two separate sets of pets right now until/unless I can integrate them, and between my natural introvert tendencies outside of work and pet guilt, I find myself opting to spend more time at home recently too. I think it’ll get better over time.

      Looking forward to other responses as well. Good luck!

    7. Angwyshaunce*

      My kitty just turned 10, so he’s less crazy than he used to be. Usually one or two ten-minute stints of play time keeps him happy.

      One small trick I’ve learned – instead of just giving him treats, I throw them so he has to chase them down. He seems to like this.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        My sister hides the treats all around the house so her cat can hunt them down. It takes him a while to find them all and he absolutely loves it. He also likes it when he randomly finds a treat he didn’t find the first time around.

    8. CoffeeOnMyMind*

      My cat was the same way when I got her, she was 2 and now is 3. I play with her before I leave for work, when I get home, and before I go to bed. It took adjusting because when I first got her she would sleep for an hour and then want to play immediately after waking up. She plays hard: chasing, running, fetching. I use a feather wand that she can chase while I sit on the couch. I also had to experiment with different toys to see what she preferred. She really likes these bouncy sticks that she can chase and chew, as well as toy mice. She played with a cat tunnel for a while but not so much anymore. Same with a laser toy; interested for a minute then didn’t care. I recommend finding a few minutes to pet or play with your cat at least a few times a day, and try different toys to see how she prefers to play. Local pet stores may have suggestions on things you can try, and some even give out samples of toys/treats.

    9. The Other Dawn*

      Does she prefer flying “prey” or crawling “prey”? If you have one of those teaser wands with the toy at the end, try waving it around in the air so she can jump up to get it mid-air if you haven’t already. I have a few cats that prefer to jump up and catch their “prey” and others that like to chase it on the ground or under things.

    10. Jaid*

      My cat’s 19, so mostly we just cuddle. Sometimes she will meow to get me to follow her around the apartment. There’s toys for her, but she’d prefer to sleep.

    11. New Normal*

      My girl cat was like that when we got her at about the same age. She refused to play with any toy that wasn’t human-powered and didn’t like the laser pointer so we spent many hours with various fishing type toys. All I can say is that this too will pass and in a year or so you’ll have a much calmer kitty.

      1. New Normal*

        Also! Get one of those bags of assorted cat toys from the pet store and see if there’s one she takes to for individual play. Our kitten, being a kitten, will play with anything for a minute or two but can entertain herself for HOURS with those little plastic springs. But only pink or yellow ones. She gets bored quickly if they’re any other color. And boy-cat will only play with bugs and nerf darts. Since I’m not about to import cockroaches into our house, he gets all the nerf darts he wants.

        If you can, a window bird feeder can provide a full day of entertainment to an indoor cat. Our kitten also loves watching bird videos on YouTube. Our other two couldn’t care less. So much of it is just figuring out each little weirdo’s preferences!

    12. New Normal*

      Last reply, I swear, but the one battery-powered toy all three cats love is the SmartyKat Hot Pursuit toy. It moves a ball with tail around under a ‘sheet’ and for some reason it’s the BEST TOY EVER. Even girl-cat, who otherwise ignores battery-powered toys loves it. It’s loud and you have to put it on carpeting/a rug to make it bearable but it’s so worth it. I need to get a second as they’ve worn this one out. It’s the perfect toy to pull out when one of our cats wants attention and we just can’t give it.

    13. Owned by a Siamese cat and not too proud to admit it*

      I agree with recommendations to try laser toys, playing fetch, tossing kibble treats to chase … but I am curious, since you just adopted her, if your cat knows how to relax with a human. I adopted mine (who is now 3 yo) as a kitten, but he was feral and naturally high-strung, and I made a big mistake in focusing our time together on high-energy play. Long story short, I’ve spent the last two years teaching him that it’s good to be touched and handled, and to just hang out with me. He’ll never be a gentle, easy-going cat, and a lot of our physical interaction is on his terms, lol. But we are really bonded, and I love him like crazy!

    14. Twa’ Moggies*

      Have you looked into “video catnip”? We had s vhs tape back in the dark ages, but there might even be apps for it now. Squirrels and birds to watch—suchlike.

    15. MonteCristo85*

      Well, I have two, a litter pair, and they have always played with each other or the dog, not with me. They demand a lot of snuggles and pets, but no playing. I don’t know if you are open to the possibility of more than one cat, but I’ve always heard it is better to have more than one as they can entertain each other. Mine are always carrying on with each other, even at 8, I know I wouldn’t have time to play with them that much.

  15. Elspeth Mcgillicuddy*

    I just joined linkedin, and am wondering who it is normal to connect to? I’ve already connected (or invited or whatever it is) the people I talk to occasionally at work, and we know each other’s names. Should I keep going? The big boss who may or more likely may not know my name? The lady who does the ordering who I’ve sent occasional emails but probably doesn’t recognize me?

    Who do you connect to?

    1. JediSquirrel*

      Are there people you’ve met at conferences that would be open to a LinkedIn connection? Anyone else in your industry that you know but that work at a different company?

    2. Filosofickle*

      I typically only request connections from people who would recognize my name. So, a top boss or client I may not connect to, until something significant comes along where my name/face gets in front of them. Then I act quickly, before they forget! The way I think about it is if we don’t have at least a little bit of recognition or connection, how can we help each other in the future? However, total strangers have requested connection and I have no idea who they are so clearly that’s not a rule.

      I wouldn’t worry too much about it, though. It’s a bit like a virtual rolodex, a way to keep track of people as you and they move on. Maybe you’ll be able to help each other years from now! If you come across someone interesting or kind or in your field, give it a go. If they don’t accept, don’t take it too personally. Many people are inactive on LI and don’t see notifications. Or they may not remember you. But they won’t think poorly of you for trying. Just make sure you put a personal note in the request! That’s a must. Say how you know/met them, to help them place you.

    3. Blossom*

      I basically connect to anyone I’ve ever met (in a work context) who isn’t irrelevant or dislikeable. Well, that said, I do shy away from very senior people wherever I’m currently working – I don’t want the worry of what they might think of my latest post or comment. I mean, I keep it professional, but still.

    4. Seeking Second Childhood*

      People from previous jobs that I liked or admired enough to want to stay in touch with.

    5. dealing with dragons*

      as a rule of thumb I only connect with recruiters or people I’ve met. I sometimes connect with people if a connection puts us in contact – for instance for my current job, I reached out to a past coworker who told me to connect with another person.

      Currently, I generally only connect with new people who join my team, or with people as they leave. I connected with a few people when I came into my current role (about a month ago) and connected with a bunch of now-ex-coworkers.

      connections are to keep in contact with people for future networking opportunities – so keep that in mind and you should be golden :)

    6. Blue Eagle*

      I do not connect to anyone at work. My network are people I know outside of work.

    7. Patty J*

      Right now, I’m connecting with almost everyone who can possibly assist me in my career further down the line. I have my associates degree and work full time in my desired field of work, and I’m a part-time student getting my bachelors. At first, I was just making “safe” connections but I didn’t feel like I was getting anywhere. Then I bit the bullet and was just clicking “Connect” on the Big Guys. From the President and CEO of my company who I have met in person a few times and may or may not know my name, to even the founder and CEO of a huge consulting company within my field that I’ve never met but I idolize and would like to work for one day (and she accepted!). I figure if they don’t connect, it won’t hurt or help either way. I’m just a small fish in the LinkedIn pond right now. I try to always add a note to my connection, whether it’s how we met or why I would like to connect (“Hi Linda, I’ve worked with your dietitians and would love to join your crew one day when I myself am a dietitian!”)

      Reading the other responses though, I guess it does depend on what you want to do with your LinkedIn. Are you actively trying to connect? Are you just trying to keep a Rolodex?

    8. Sam Foster*

      Assume all of these have the “professional need to connect:”
      All incoming contacts = read their profile and make sure there is a reason for the networking to be mutually beneficial (could just be that we both know “Susie” and he’s a great guy so let’s connect), then additional filters:
      *Met in person = yes
      *Connected through someone I know and trust with or with out introductory note = yes
      *Not connected to someone I know and trust WITH introductory note = probably if note is networking not something dumb
      *Not connected to someone I know and trust without introductory note = no
      Outgoing invites:
      *Clear and precise reason for contact especially if I haven’t met in person. Reasons include “it was great meeting you at the conference,” “I see that you work in teapot design, I’m curious about the field and was hoping you would share 15 minutes to give me advice on how you started,” “Hi, our mutual colleague, Jimothy, shared that you might be able to provide some insight I have, can I buy you lunch sometime and see what you think?” “Hello fellow University alumni, I am planning to move to your town on June 1 and I was hoping to get some advice on living there, would you be willing to have a 30 minute call with me in the next couple of weeks?” etc. have worked for me in the past.

    9. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      It depends on how you’re currently using LinkedIn. If you’re on a job search, then connect with anyone who might reasonably accept your invitation. The goal is to make sure that your name and qualifications are out there for someone to see.

      If you’re using it for professional connections while you’re doing your current job, then a more conservative and steady approach can be more appropriate.

      But whatever you do, ALWAYS PERSONALIZE the invitation. That means probably not doing invitations via the app. Use the PC version, and connect from the person’s profile so you’re sure you’ll have plenty to talk about.

    10. Ezmerelda*

      I have been evaluating cleaning up my LinkedIn connections. I freelanced for 8 years and many connections are former clients or fellow freelancers in same industry.
      I have some former coworkers in there…the ones I want to stay somewhat connected to.
      I have some people who I currently work with now that I only accepted because they requested a connection when I started working there. I think many times it’s just to snoop on you. I’m realizing I wouldn’t use them as a connection to further my career. One person I rarely even interact with at work.
      I dont think people get notified if you unconnected so I think I will do a little cleaning.
      I also connect to people if I read something they wrote that I really like. I follow companies who may be potential future employers so I can get a better idea of their culture.

  16. Sandra Dee*

    A couple months ago I had a discussion with someone regarding an opening in his group, which is one my team works with closely, as I knew the person was retiring and the person they hired for the backfill did not work out, but it would be a lateral move for me. I expressed my interest in the position, if there was a chance of it being upgraded. I sent him my resume, for good measure. Low and behold, a few weeks ago he let me know it was upgraded and has been posted (he emailed me 30 min after the internal recruiter let him know it was posted). I promptly applied, and was informed early this week for an interview for next week. After a short moment of panic, I knew I needed to let my boss know, in case someone reached out to her. We may be a large company, but upper management communicates across groups a lot. After her initial moment of shock, she has been very supportive. She is a great boss, and I will miss working for her if I get the position. I also know that it will not negatively impact our working relationship.

    No advise needed, just good thoughts on the interview. And proof that it doesn’t hurt to ask for what you want, because the worse they could say is No.

    1. Fortitude Jones*

      Good luck! It sounds like you’re valued wherever you end up, so that’s great news no matter how it plays out.

  17. Jessen*

    To all of you who suggested a house cleaner would be willing to help with an organization project: thank you so much! There’s still a lot left to do, but she at least got it to where I feel like I have some breathing room. Now the challenge is going to be getting things to not go back to being a problem. I have her booked to come back in two weeks too.

    1. boredatwork*

      I feel like the only reason my house is clean is because once a week my housekeeper rounds up all the random crap we leave out and puts it in a pile for me to put away. This usually takes all of 5 mins but it’s a huge help.

    2. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      So glad it is working out…. and the regular follow up helps. congrats!

  18. I'm Busy*

    Every summer my work takes on interns, students who are either going into their junior/3rd of college or their senior/4th year. It’s not done through their schools, the students do this all on their own. One of our interns was also an intern here last year. The first week the interns were here for the summer I accidentally found out that my boss and the return intern are dating and living together. It started last summer when he was here the first time but I only found out just now. The intern reports to my boss and she’s also already offered him a job here (where she would be managing him) after he graduates next spring. She has already given him a written offer and completely skipped any hiring process. They also started dating when she was managing him. I’m the only one who knows about them so if I say anything to HR she will know it was me and she told me not to tell anyone. We don’t even have any open jobs in this section for him to take. How do I go about telling HR when she will know it is me and possibly retaliate? Whether I’m anonymous or not she will know it was me. I’m not a manager or boss like she is.

    1. JB*

      Why would you report a relationship between 2 adults? [the intern is about to start his last year so unless he was a child genius he is an adult]. You should mind your own beeswax. This isn’t anything you should be concerned about.

        1. Fortitude Jones*

          Yup, especially since the manager went around the company’s hiring process to give him a job that wasn’t even available in the first place makes it clear there is favoritism going on here – she can’t be objective as his boss. This is a mess.

        1. WellRed*

          And she knows it’s wrong or she wouldn’t have asked to keep it secret. This is sooo sketchy and gross. She’s giving him a job? Is his internship legit?

          1. I'm Busy*

            The internship is legitimate. It was through HR and hiring where my boss has zero control. Her job offer to him is not though even though she’s given it to him in writing.

      1. I'm Busy*

        They are 21 and 41 so definitely both adults, and if she wasn’t his boss and didn’t secretly offer him a job that doesn’t exist with no hiring process than I wouldn’t care what they did on their own time. But her being his boss especially while he is still an intern is problematic and an HR nightmare waiting to happen.

          1. Clever Name*

            I gasped when I read the age difference. I mean yeah, both are legal adults, but let’s be real. That 20-year age gap is pretty momentous. And she’s going to be his boss?!? AND they’re living together??? If this moves forward, I predict the new employee will be given undue power and in return will work very little. But I guess I’m a cynic.

          2. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

            I don’t see an issue with the age. They’re adults and plenty of May December romances work out. The issue here is she is his boss and the work situation.

          3. Anon attorney*

            The power differential and management relationship are problematic, but the age gap per se is not. It may be unwise, but men have been dating younger women without critique for generations, so why shouldn’t they be together (employment issues aside) if they both want to be?

          4. Hrovitnir*

            I think the important part in WellRed’s comment is “in this context”. My partner (of 16 years) is 18 years older than me, I hardly have an inherent problem with age gaps, but the power differential is already huge. And that she’s bypassing hiring practices to get him a job (where she’ll still be his boss?) hardly speaks well to her ethics.

        1. That Girl From Quinn's House*

          Given that the intern in question is 21, I very seriously doubt you are the only person who knows about this relationship. College students are not known for their discretion, and my guess is he’s got evidence of it on social media or he’s been foolish enough to brag about it to someone, somewhere. Especially since they’re living together! That’s just not something you can hide for any sustainable period of time.

          If you report it, report it anonymously and make the report generic enough that it could be written by a classmate he bragged to (so no internal jargon) and then deny up and down that you’re the one who reported it. His roommate must have done it. Or another intern? Maybe his parents, were they unsupportive?

          1. Jules the 3rd*

            This.

            If you know, other people know. Try to come at it anonymously and like a student. Also, give it another two weeks before you tell, to give him more chances to tell other people.

            The age differential drives a small power imbalance that careful couples can cope with. The ‘she’s your boss’ drives a *huge* power imbalance that is just… no. Nope no no.

        2. iglwif*

          And *especially* because
          – they are living together, which almost certainly means living together in HER home (because he’s a 21yo uni student), so breaking up would leave him at least temporarily homeless
          – she *clearly* knows exactly how sketchy this is, or she would not have told you not to tell anyone, which may mean he has no one he can talk to honestly to about the issues that are bound to arise in this set of circumstances

          Everything about this sucks.

      2. iglwif*

        Because manager-employee dating is a terrible idea? Because by offering him a job outside the normal procedures, the manager is both behaving unethically and almost certainly violating the organization’s hiring policies?

    2. Myrin*

      When reporting to HR, tell them you fear retaliation from your boss and ask how you should handle retaliatory action. Ideally, you’d then be able to report those actions and they would to something about it.

    3. WellRed*

      This is so far over the line she may not be a manager either once this gets found out.

    4. JediSquirrel*

      What are your company’s specific policies about this? If you were to report her and she were dismissed, you wouldn’t have an issue, at least workwise.

      If this is prohibited, you really do need to talk to HR. If they are good, they can handle this without getting you involved. But it depends on how good your HR department is.

      My worry is that if this thing blows up, you may get in trouble for it as well, since knowing about it but not reporting about it could be viewed as your giving tacit approval of it, or even helping to cover it up. I don’t know how you found out about it, but your boss telling you not to tell anyone means she is making her problem your problem, as well.

    5. LuckySophia*

      What the ever-lovin’ actual WHAAAAAAT? So many kinds of wrongness here! Nevertheless, I’m not sure you have standing to report any of this to anyone unless (1) the intern was legally a minor when this began, and/or (2) unless your company has explicit policies that state “managers dating someone they manage” is a fireable offense. Even if (1) or (2) is applicable, since you are at present “the only one who knows” you absolutely do run the risk of retaliation– which could make your future working life hellish, or even (however unjustly) end up with you getting fired. It sounds like finding a new job with a less dysfunctional boss might be a wise move. BUT… if you value or really need this job, I’d just keep mum for a while and count on the fact that in time, others WILL find out about this , through observation, or gossip, or when HR suddenly has to on-board a new employee who never went through any of the normal hiring channels. (That last one may or may not get the boss lady in trouble…it’s possible she has been given the power/discretion to hire people outside of normal processes.) I understand all the EWWWW-ness that you are reacting to in this situation. But I think it’s time to start chanting “not my circus, not my monkeys”.

      1. Polymer Phil*

        I agree. Reporting it could blow up in your face, and there isn’t much upside for you in doing so. Best to say “not my circus, not my monkeys” and wait for them to get caught on their own.

    6. Thankful for AAM*

      Go to HR, say I accidentally found this out, I dont know if it matters or not but when I was asked to keep it secret it made me feel it might be against policy, and if it is, I don’t know if I am obligated to let you know. I am also worried about retaliation.

      Be matter of fact and concerned for the organization.

    7. Anono-me*

      Please find out what the official and UNOFFICIAL company policies are on this at your organization. They can be very different. Once you know what those both are, you can consider what your different possible actions would be.

      From the way you wrote the letter, it sounds like you are very much concerned about retaliation. If this is the case, please consider consulting an EEOC & Retaliation lawyer before proceeding.

  19. bibliovore*

    Happy fourth. I am on lockdown for uncontrolled asthma. High doses of steroids are making me feel a little unhinged.
    Better living through chemistry.

      1. Bibliovore*

        I know. Number one is avoiding the emergency room. Two. Pacing. Three being meds compliant. oh that is probably 2. My Dr. yesterday confirmed the squirrelly feeling and lack of brain power. Forgot to ask-Do steroids make you ravenous?
        Air conditioner on high.

        1. A tester, not a developer*

          Oh lord, yes. Steroids make you incredibly hungry, fuzzy headed, squirrelly feeling, unable to sleep (which you may be able to mitigate by taking them super early in the morning, and in my case – super emotional. I used to be able to tell when the pred was kicking in by playing the song Rocket Man; uncontrollable sobbing = drugs are working. :)

        2. Wheezer*

          I am a fellow wheezer, and have been on the steroid pack for exacerbations numerous times. It sucks. A friend of mine dubbed them “The Devil’s Tic Tacs” and that seems appropriate. I progress from squirrelly, spacey, and starving to irritable, exhausted, and at OCD-levels of cleaning and purging. (I do not use the OCD term lightly; I am being treated for that as well!) Make sure you are eating, staying hydrated, and taking care of the asthma. Call the pharmacist if you need advice on sleeping or symptoms. Hopefully they gave you a tapered dose so you can come down gradually.

    1. LCL*

      I hope you feel better soon.
      I feel great when I am prescribed a short course of steroids for my asthma. Strong, powerful, ready to rumble and hungry for everything. But the boyfriend won’t be around me when I get this way (not blaming I would do the same in his place) and the comedown is a bitch.

      1. Auntie Social*

        Hangry. I like the steriods “20 minutes? I’ll go clean the garage!” feeling while it lasts though.

    2. WoodswomanWrites*

      Crap. I’ve been there, steroids, air conditioner, the whole shebang. I find that taking the steroids in the morning prevents the sleepless nights I got when I took them in the evening. They make me talkative. I use the energy they give me to clean the house, etc. They can definitely affect your appetite, making some people more hungry and others less so. Steroids also make your body hold water and it’s normal to gain a couple pounds. A positive side effect for me is that they make any little ache and pain completely disappear.

      Depending on how long you’re on the medication, make sure your doctor is giving you a dosage that includes tapering off gradually. It’s not fun to just stop. I hope you feel better soon, and especially hope you can find a regimen to control your asthma that works for you long-term.

  20. Matilda Jefferies*

    I wanted to share my own “I didn’t know I was supposed to turn the page” moment from earlier this week. You know how sometimes you wonder how some people can function with so little brain power? That was me the other day.

    The email thread went like this:

    Admin Assistant: Hi Matilda, here are the docs for publishing. Note that we’re missing doc 3 and doc 4 – I’ll get those to you as soon as I can.

    Me: Okay, thanks – I’ll have these posted right away.

    Me: Hi AA, it looks like we’re missing doc #3. Thanks!

    Me: Hi AA, sorry, it looks like we’re missing doc #3 and doc #4.

    Me: (finally reads email)
    (headdesk)
    (phones AA to apologize profusely)

    I don’t even have an excuse! I have twenty years of experience in my field, and five years at this job posting documents (and reading emails) just like that one. Apparently my brain just completely went on vacation. Fortunately, the AA was amused rather than annoyed, and we did eventually get everything published. It certainly gives me more sympathy for when other people have moments like that as well!

      1. Emma*

        Haha, I do this too! Tabs are confusing and then I always feel like such an idiot when someone tells me all the information I need is in tab 3.

      2. EinJungerLudendorff*

        To be fair, they’re squirreled away in a corner you never look at, many people never use them, and I can’t think of any other Microsoft Office application that even has tabs.

      3. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

        I particularly have this issue with Google Sheets, because those can take a while to load fully and so the tabs aren’t there yet when I initially open the sheet. So I open the sheet, may or may not notice that it’s not done loading yet, start looking for Thing or notice that sheet doesn’t have Entire Category Of Information I Need. I’m now getting used to this and often think of Google Sheets as “something that you open, ignore for 5 minutes, and then try to interact with”, but it’s so easy to miss those tabs when they load late.

      4. Karen from Finance*

        Ooooh all of you would HATE me. O don’t think I’ve ever sent an Excel file with a single tab.

    1. The Rat-Catcher*

      I’m really bad about reading only the top message of a forward and not the rest if there isn’t a “see below’ somewhere in the message. So a few weeks ago:

      Work Person: Hi RC, I need a conference call booked and Awesome Person is out this week, can you help?
      Me: Sure, I just need *lists five pieces of information*
      Me: *goes to move the email, sees there is a below message*
      Below message: Four of the pieces of information you needed, and context that explains why you don’t really need the fifth one!
      Me: *ughhhhh*

    2. Blue_eyes*

      I have an employee who frequently responds only to the last person in a chain instead of replying all (causing other people to think he hasn’t replied to their message). This happened last week:

      Me (to employee and boss): [Employee], please make sure you “reply all” so everyone can see your response. Your last message went only to me and [boss] didn’t know that you had answered.

      Employee: Ok. Got it. (sent only to me, not reply all)

      Umm…but do you actually understand what I asked you to do? Like, this would have been a great chance to show that you know how to use reply all.

      1. Matilda Jefferies*

        Ha, I have so much sympathy for your employee…and for you! How did you respond to that one?

      2. Zephy*

        Maybe a silly question but are you sure your employee has Reply All enabled? Apparently it can be disabled by IT to prevent Reply All Hell from breaking loose.

    3. Cat Meowmy Admin*

      My mom shared a funny story of something similar when she was a well respected and skilled bookkeeper in the 1940s. She was reading some figures over the phone to a supervisor. One particular line item was $111.11. Knowing how it should be read, but Mom inadvertently lost her brain for a moment and read it out loud as “one hundred and one-ty one dollars and one-ty one cents”! Confused dead silence on the other end of the phone call, she hadn’t even realized what she said until nearby coworkers began chuckling (not mean spirited at all). They all had a good laugh that day and everyone tried rephrasing numbers just for the fun of it. Mom had a plethora of funny workplace stories!

    4. MonteCristo85*

      There are a couple people I work with who constantly forget to scroll when I send them excel worksheets. They’ll call me up after I send them a file and say something like “I needed such and such too” which is already on the file. It is very hard to say “um, did you scroll” without sounding rude, lol.

    5. Seeking Second Childhood*

      We used to have someone who would send out Excel files to answer a simple question…. except they would have large swaths of the sheets hidden. And they wouldn’t tell me that. And for a follow up question, they would just send me the same spreadsheet again. Still with no explanation.
      First time I sent three emails and several voice messages before reaching him to get the d’uh reaction…

  21. Still Looking*

    I’ve been looking/interviewing since November of last year, and still nothing. I wanna lose hope but I can’t lol. Really want to get out of here.

    1. The Rain In Spain*

      Hang in there! Take a short break if you want, but it’s good to be selective and make sure your new role will be a good fit for you.

    2. Cat Meowmy Admin*

      With you in solidarity, friend! I’m in a “survival” job (house of bees) that I took out of desperation after a too long job search where I was losing hope too. I’m still looking, as you are, and you know what? You *WILL* land softly in the place where you are meant to be, when it’s meant to be. You deserve the right job and it will happen for you. Never lose hope!

    3. PBJnocrusts*

      I hear you friend . Been looking since November also. It’s now approaching my birthday and dang their ain’t gonnna be no
      Hot guys and cakes for my party which I will not have. I get to interviews who are like’well done for getting to this stage. We had 100 applications, narrowed it down to 38 and narrowed it again to the 10 peeps we will now interview one of which is you.’
      This is in the yay column. But radio silence since then。
      They gave a timeline of 2 weeks (which ends today, Friday. Should I follow up on Monday?

    4. Too Many Details*

      Don’t lose hope! {waves pom-poms} After ten months and fifty applications, I landed a kickass three-month temp job with a staffing agency, followed by a great part-time but well-paying job with a half-mile commute, followed by a permanent full-time job at one of the best companies in my area.

      Bonus: I got a promotion after a year, even though I was new to the industry. It can happen!

  22. Courageous cat*

    Anyone feel like they have a legit food addiction? What kind of foods do you eat to battle that?

    I’m finding that I feel like I treat myself like an alcoholic when it comes to food. I can’t have “just one” of something bad for me, or eat it in moderation. There is never “just one”. If I get an inch, I take a mile.

    So the only way I can really lose weight or be healthy is to eat foods that I like enough to eat, but don’t really love. Bland or boring things. When I’m at the grocery store, I steer well clear of foods I really like, even if they’re healthy, because just eating one/enjoying just one thing so much can set me off on a carb binge so quickly.

    1. Laura H.*

      It’s more expensive but I tend to find I do really well with individual wrapped items/ snack sizes for things like chips. I still get the “satisfaction” of eating the whole bag, but don’t have to wrestle the “maybe I should stop” feeling.

      I hope this helps…

    2. fposte*

      I think that’s pretty common, actually, and it’s likely both a microbiome thing–you pretty much get the microbiome you feed for–and a behavioral psych thing. I can’t throw out stuff for my own good if I really want it, for instance (while traveling once, I I could only get an oversized serving of a product I usually enjoy, and my companion pointed out that I could just dump out the excess and be left with my original size. Not going to happen). Brian Wansink has unfortunately tarnished his rep by being caught fudging results, but I think a lot of his behavior psych work on eating is still pretty sound, so you could have a look at Slim by Design, which is good at giving tips for how to shop and keep stuff in your house to minimize overconsumption.

      I also think it’s incorrect (but interesting) that you’re reading this as a personal weakness. That’s kind of the contemporary, especially American, discourse about food, but it’s pretty much how we’re made. We’ve just gotten efficient enough at production of stuff to make how we’re made a problem for us in these days.

      1. Courageous cat*

        Yeah, I think it’s a problem for me personally simply because it doesn’t seem to be one for everyone. For a lot, obviously, but the mainstream diet suggestions these days are “just eat what you want in moderation, if you want a slice of cake, have it, but don’t go overboard”. That’s just not doable for me but it seems like it may be for lots of others? Who knows.

        1. Jasnah*

          Everyone has different battles they’re fighting. Some people are fighting “I can’t have any cake because then I’d be a Bad Person” and need to be told it’s ok to eat cake sometimes.

        2. londonedit*

          I can totally relate to this. I only have about 7lbs to lose to get me to a weight at which I’d feel more comfortable, yet I keep yo-yoing between losing 5lbs, putting on 3lbs, losing 1lb, putting on 4lbs…it’s so frustrating! And I absolutely catch myself thinking ‘It’s not fair, everyone else seems to go out for ice cream and go to the pub and have a weekly takeaway and eat what they want for lunch, and I can’t ever do any of those things ever, because I pile on the pounds when I do’. Realistically I know that a) people who can do all of the above in the same week and not gain weight are few and far between, b) the person I see ‘eating what they want at lunch’ probably has a small dinner and/or goes to the gym, rather than going home and eating a whole pizza, and c) it is totally fair that if I genuinely want to lose that half-stone, yes I am going to have to commit to not eating whatever the hell I want all the time. But the ‘no one else seems to struggle with their diet’ thing is something I’m constantly battling.

          1. Courageous cat*

            Yep. I feel like fit people are always eating whatever they want, but you’re right, we don’t see the behind the scenes where they go home and hit the gym. I just don’t have anyone to model what that type of moderation looks like for me, so I can’t imagine a world in which I do that. If I eat something that tastes a LITTLE too good, then I need to have 100x more of it later that day and forever more.

            It’s a vicious, vicious cycle.

      2. MJ*

        I was reading some studies looking at bacteria and how people can’t stop eating junk food (i.e. report addiction). Junk food increases certain types of bad bacteria, which in turn can affect the brain (release chemicals or something like that) causing the person to crave more junk food. Eating whole, unprocessed foods lets the good bacteria take back ‘control’ and the bad bacteria can’t affect the brain and die off.

        So to overcome a food addition (which is 99.99% junk food because people don’t report being addicted to kale or egg-white omelettes), the idea is to eat only whole, unprocessed foods for several months. After that, any craves or reported addiction is likely psychological.

        1. Courageous cat*

          That’s what I’m trying to do, not with the whole/unprocessed (I don’t cook much) but just eat really bland and unexciting foods, and see if I can’t overcome that physiological hump in order to get better with the psychological one.

      3. Argh!*

        There is evidence that our DNA determines our taste sensitivities and preferences.

        I have a terrible sweet tooth & carb addiction, just like my mom. Unlike mom, I finally ate my way into a diabetes diagnosis and started taking metformin. Since starting on that I’ve had an easier time with appetite and sticking to a high-protein / low-carb diet. I’m not at keto level but eliminating most carbs and all sweets mainly. I can’t give up sweets entirely though, so I drink sweetened soft drinks, and Kroger’s Carbmaster chocolate milk. Also, though I may have to stop this: Russell Stover sugar-free candies, which have Stevia. They’re yummy!

    3. Alex*

      I think I do. But even foods I don’t love I do it with!

      For me, there’s something about finishing on my plate that makes my brain tell me “what else can I eat?” The time when I most want to eat is when I’ve just finished eating. It is so hard for me to stop.

      I try to combat this by putting food away before I start to eat it (like, leftovers, or the rest of the bag of whatever), and meticulously planning what I’m going to eat for the day. But…my results are not 100%…

      I’m trying to lose a few pounds over the next month because I’m going on vacation and my vacation pants are feeling a bit snug. But man, I just want to eat all the food!

      1. Armchair Expert*

        If I’m eating something delicious, I start mourning the end of the meal or snack before I’ve finished. Like, anticipating that I’ll run out of the food soon and feeling anxious about it, and sometimes thinking about what else I could eat. I have to talk myself into believing that by the time the food is gone, I will feel satiated. While I’m eating. It’s exhausting.

      2. Not a cat*

        Just a thought, have you considered finding a local OA chapter? A former roommate of mine did really well on their program.

    4. Stuff N Things*

      Yes…. all food, but particularly sugar and I just discovered a cure earlier this year!

      1) eat a lot of fermented foods… kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir (I like the cashew version) and prefer to keep it unsweetened
      2) Intermittent fasting – I know this is controversial and it’s easier for me because I live alone, but it has seriously changed my life. I find it easier to eat breakfast and lunch and skip dinner (I usually workout in the evenings anyway, so I can distract myself). The easiest way to start a regimen is to just adjust your first and last meal of the day by 30 minutes each way until you get yourself into a ~8 hour eating window. I feel lighter and don’t miss 3 meals.

    5. All Hail Queen Sally*

      I am totally addicted to tapioca pudding. It is smooth and creamy (which is what I look for when stress eating) but oh so bad for a diabetic.

      1. All Hail Queen Sally*

        Grrrr…my tablet decided to post my comment before I was done! I am trying really hard to get myself to eat Greek yogurt instead of tapioca as it has much higher protein and much lower carbs, but it is a struggle. I wish someone would invent tapioca flavored Greek yogurt.

        1. Alex*

          Have you tried making chia pudding instead? Would that be OK with your diabetes? (I would think so but I am not an expert on diabetes). I would imagine chia pudding would be closer to tapioca than yogurt.

          I make this suggestion not because I’ve eaten chia pudding, but I was just looking at some recipes for it this morning and it looked a lot like tapioca pudding.

      2. MJ*

        For me, it’s sticky toffee pudding. So I put a few drops of stevia caramel flavouring in my yoghurt.

    6. Nacho*

      What helps me is pre-selecting portions and not picking up any more than that. I’ll have one apple or 1/4 cup of popcorn, prepare them in the kitchen, then leave the area to eat them so I’m not tempted to have any more. If I pick up something I can easily indulge in like nuts, I’ll just take a handful every time I pass where they’re at and they’ll be gone in a day.

    7. Policy wonk*

      Chips. If I am at a party don’t let me near the chip bowl. If I buy an individual bag I’m OK, but I can’t even buy the large packages of individual bags (the ones I bought when packing my kids’ lunches) because I’ll eat them all. It’s the salt and crunch that get me, so very few real substitutes, but I can eat nuts instead, particularly peanuts, as they aren’t my favorites.

      1. anonforthis*

        I worked in a salty snack manufacturing facility for a number of years. It *is* possible to get tired of potato chips, LOL. Caramel corn fresh off the line, on the other hand… it’s always time for a quality check!

    8. Emma*

      For a lot of people this comes from restricting what food you’re “allowed” to eat – or what you can eat without having to feel guilty about it.

      If Tasty Thing is a treat that you only allow yourself to have occasionally, then when you do give yourself the opportunity you want to take full advantage of it! And we tend to think of “I’ll have one more of these” as a smaller ‘concession’ than “I’ll have another Treat Instance tomorrow”, so it feels safer to have three now even though you really only want one, than to have one now and then another this afternoon, and another in a couple of days.

      When I was adjusting to being in a position where I had ready access to food, after several years when I couldn’t eat much because I didn’t have any money, I did eat a lot to begin with because I was so conditioned that if there’s food available, and eating it doesn’t mean you’ll have to keep the electricity off at the end of the month, you should eat it! Who knows when you’ll next get the chance to just eat things because they’re nice! But after a while I re-learned what it’s like to eat what I want, then stop, knowing that next time I fancy the nice food it will still be there, and available, and I’ll be able to eat it if I want. It’s a happier way of thinking about food, for me. (Then I moved in with someone who routinely gets through a family pack of crisps in a day, and that threw a wrench in the “it will still be available whenever I next want it!” thing, but hey!)

      This is part of intuitive eating, which is part of Health At Every Size, which is a whole school of nutritional science itself but I heartily recommend the book by the same name to anyone who’s interested.

  23. Laburnum*

    Quick question — I am employed and have an interview for another position in the same organization (but I have not told my boss I applied for it).
    When I have had other interviews that are for other jobs, completely outside of my organization, I ask for vacation time for “an appointment.” Since this interview is basically in-house, I was thinking I might just say I have a meeting at the location . . . and not ask for vacation time. If it were morning, I could just come in late, but the interview times are in the afternoon. Having a meeting is totally normal for my work, so I don’t think it would make my boss wonder —- but I’m not sure if I feel it’s ethical.

    Thoughts? Thanks!

    1. MommyMD*

      That’s a tough one. You don’t want to stay on the clock if you’re hourly. How about “I need an hour off for a quick matter I have to attend to. It shouldn’t take long.”

      1. Laburnum*

        I can’t take the afternoon off — I work a 12-9 shift that day. The interview is at 2. I’m not hourly, I’m salaried (although we use payroll software that we all have to enter 8 hours in each day). I am thinking of the “I need an hour off” and just using 1 hour of vacation and then part of my dinner time (since I need to get there and back, which is about 30-35 minutes total).

        1. WellRed*

          I think there’s too much opportunity for something to go wrong in that short of a timeframe (traffic or interview runs long). They seriously couldn’t schedule you in the am?

    2. Call me St. Vincent*

      I would tell your boss. It’s going to come out as they will likely ask your boss about you. This just happened at my workplace. The person didn’t tell and then it was awkward to get the call that the person interviewed for this position in a different department. The call was to get a sense of her current performance. The managers were caught totally off guard. The person who conducted the interview thought everyone in our division was aware this person was interviewing and found it odd that the managers were not informed since it was internal. She didn’t get the position (I don’t know if that was part of the reason or not.)

      1. NicoleK*

        Ugh. Now this has me worried. I’m going to be applying for a different job within my company. I wasn’t planning on telling my boss because she’s partly why I want to leave.

        1. Call me St. Vincent*

          I think it might be different since it was at the interview stage and it was literally after she had the interview and was one of the finalists. Probably only got awkward since they were seriously considering her. It’s definitely a tough one.

          1. NicoleK*

            Thank you for trying to reassure me. I was already playing out conversations in my head. Me: Boss, I’m applying for other jobs because you suck and that’s not going to change and I can’t work with BEC coworker anymore. Lol

            1. Laburnum*

              I’m actually on the fence about the position — I didn’t put in for it because I don’t like my boss, but because I’m interested in doing some different kinds of work in a different location within the organization. I’m thinking the interview will be a good opportunity for me to learn about what they are looking for for this position, but also to learn a little more about their thoughts about the organization as a whole, which could affect me in the future if my boss retires.

              I’m going to let them know that I didn’t tell my boss. And, I’ll think about telling her — maybe after I get a sense of how the interview went.

    3. Fortitude Jones*

      What is your company’s policy on interviewing internally? Two companies ago, my employer made internal candidates alert their current manager that they were applying for the internal position, and then HR sent the manager an automated task that they had to complete that said we were in good standing and the manager was okay with the employee interviewing. I was salaried when I went through that process, so I just gave my manager a heads up when my interview was scheduled and went to it with no problems.

      If you’re hourly though, they may make you clock out to attend the interview – I think that was my company’s policy. Basically, check your employee handbook for guidance. Good luck!

      1. Laburnum*

        Our handbook doesn’t have anything about this. I’m friends with the head of HR, so I was going to ask her for some guidance on this (she’s not interviewing me for the position, so no conflict of interest there). Hopefully, she’ll be in tomorrow (although I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s taking a long weekend . . . )

    4. The Rat-Catcher*

      My job allows for administrative leave if you are interviewing for a promotion (even if it’s not strictly a promotion but is higher pay). But as others have said, they would also certainly ask your boss about you, so it’s still probably time to give her a heads-up, but it’s possible you may not need to use vacation time.

    5. ThatGirl*

      I think “a meeting” is fine. That’s what I told my coworkers when I had my internal interview.

    6. MonteCristo85*

      If it is for the same organization, you might want to go ahead and tell your boss. In my experience, s/he will be told if it’s an internal position. And it will make scheduling easier.

  24. Angwyshaunce*

    A distressing amount of men are just boys who got taller. Sounds like you’ve been getting the (un)luck of the draw.

    It doesn’t sound like any of this is your fault – more like you’re dealing with guys that have the unfortunate combination of hormones, lack of decency, and no self-awareness.

  25. Ethyl*

    Non-work related: I figured out why my mozzarella was so squeaky! In fresh cheeses, there’s a robust calcium network that provides structure to the cheese and also is what causes that squeaky-ness. After a day or so of sitting in its brine, the calcium dissolved and my mozz was soft and creamy and worked great on pizza. Huzzah!

        1. purple otter*

          I’m not quite sure what MommyMD is referring to, but when utility locators mark out underground utilities, blue is commonly used for water lines. Red/yellow/orange for electric and or gas. White or pink for cable and telephone. Sometimes green for sewer lines.

    1. JediSquirrel*

      Squeaky cheese is a required ingredient for poutine. I would definitely make poutine.

      1. Ethyl*

        Well, cheese curds and fresh mozzarella have really different flavors so I don’t think it would have worked.

          1. New Normal*

            I’ve had that before! It was really good. Apologies to any Canadians for the food blasphemy but I really liked the creativity.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      They sell the fresh squeaky cheese curds at the Tillamook Cheese Factory. I’m still upset they were out last time I got to visit.

    3. Bluebell*

      Glad that it turned out well. I do love how halloumi cheese is squeaky. It’s so good!

      1. Ethyl*

        Fresh cheeses of all sorts go through a squeaky phase because of the calcium molecules. The calcium dissolves away in fresh mozz after it sits for a day or so.

  26. Courageous cat*

    Also, I am planning on making a move from Atlanta to Chicago. Anyone have any tips? Good companies to look for openings at? Best places to live (trying to live by myself on $1k or less)? How the hell I’ll make the move in winter if it comes to that?

    1. KatieKate*

      $1k or less will be tough on your own, but completely doable with roommates. It just depends on how far you plan to live from city center and your comfort level with different areas of the city. Do you plan to have a car? Chicago is a really easy city to go without because we have a great transit system, but I would work on finding a job first and then deciding where you want to live based on that.

      1. E*

        You could do a studio for less than $1K in Rogers Park, but it will likely be small and not very nice – you’re also looking at an hour commute to downtown. Maybe you could get something for less than $1K in Humboldt Park/Ukrainian Village if you’re far from the train.

      2. Courageous cat*

        Hmm, I have a friend in Humboldt Park, wherever that is, who pays $1,100 for a 2br. She said $1k for a studio or something is totally reasonable. I guess it depends on the neighborhood! I have a car now, so I’m open to either keeping or leaving it.

        1. E*

          Humboldt Park is a historically Puerto Rican neighborhood that is gentrifying pretty rapidly as people get priced out of nearby neighborhoods like Wicker Park and Logan Square. My impression is that it has struggled with gun violence and gang-related crime for a long time but has gotten safer in recent years.

    2. KayEss*

      I’ve lived in Chicagoland all my life: what you hear about Chicago winters is wildly overblown at this point. Yes, it gets cold–particularly relative to the south–but truly disabling weather of the kind that would impede the process of a move is not a weekly (or even monthly) occurrence. My observation is that the highest-risk time for severe, business-impeding snow weather is late January/early February. Otherwise, it’s about 50-50 whether there will even be any snow on the ground at all. Either way, we’re an area that is extremely accustomed to dealing with winter weather and–barring a severe storm situation–local services are not going to be impeded, roads will be made clear and safe quickly, etc.

        1. KayEss*

          I mean, you’re probably still going to hate it at first because it’ll be super cold and snowy compared to what you’re used to, but unless you’re very unlucky you won’t get stranded mid-move just because it’s winter.

    3. Chicago resident*

      I love living in Chicago! You can probably find a one bedroom apartment at that price range in Rogers Park or Uptown or a a studio in a few other neighborhoods like Edgewater or Lincoln Park. These neighborhoods are more affordable but are longer commutes to downtown if that’s where you end up working.

      Keep in mind that in a lot of areas in Chicago you don’t need to own a car and it can be a huge hassle to find parking. You will be saving a lot of money by using public transportation so maybe you can factor that into your budget

      1. Courageous cat*

        Thank you! Yes, I planned to get rid of my car if it was going to be more of a hindrance than a convenience.

        1. Good luck with that*

          Don’t get rid of your car until you have a job. There are a lot of employers in the suburbs, or in areas not close to public transportation. A nice half-hour stroll to/from the train is all well and good in nice weather, but not in sub-zero weather – nor any type of precipitation, of course.
          There’s a relatively good network of commuter rail lines between downtown Chicago and the suburbs. If you decide to look for cheaper rent in the suburbs, check the Metra service, both route and schedule. I’m very close to a station, but the schedule is limited. Within the city, there are buses and “El” trains: check the routes and hours of service.
          While evaluating salary offers, you should be aware that rent isn’t the only cost issue. The sales tax in Chicago is over 10%, and the state income tax is nothing to sneeze at, either.

          1. Courageous cat*

            Yowch at that sales tax! Might be worth it for me to live in a bluer city, but still. Great info. Thank you.

    4. ThatGirl*

      Winter can be all over the place. We’ve had mild, low-snow winters and miserable, polar vortex, snow storms every other weekend winters. But you learn to deal.

      What sort of work are you interested in? Lots of places hiring right now.

      1. ThatGirl*

        I should add that KayEss makes a great point, we know how to deal with winter here so 2” of snow does not cripple us. You just make sure to have boots and a good coat and move on with your day.

      2. Courageous cat*

        My background is in operations/inventory/customer service management, so I’m reasonably flexible. Also been trying to get into HR from time to time, which I know a lot about.

        Totally open to any suggestions for companies!

        1. ThatGirl*

          That does leave you pretty open. I’d probably focus on companies in the loop or near north or south sides, which are easy to get to via public transit. I live and work in the burbs so mostly know companies around here, but there are a lot of big corps in the city. I would avoid Sears like the plague, I can’t believe they still exist.

          Salesforce, Accenture, McDonalds, Walgreens, United, ConAgra, Groupon are all in the area.

          1. Courageous cat*

            Thank you! Yes there is no chance in hell that Sears is going to make it much longer. I will absolutely check those out. What’s “in the loop”?

            1. ThatGirl*

              The Loop is the center of downtown Chicago, named for the circular L (elevated train) tracks that frame it. It’s also where three of the major highways converge, so basically, easy access and a lot of businesses.

    5. Brrr*

      I recently moved to the Midwest from the South and my advice is to wait until you get here to buy winter clothes. The stock is warmer. It’s taken me a couple years to have enough sweaters. Also make a winter plan to avoid some seasonal blues I invested in a membership at a good gym with lots of classes. I’ve also figured out winter activities which are different than summer ones and made a plan about what to do after work most evenings once it starts getting dark and cold. Just going home after work wasn’t healthy for me.

      1. Courageous cat*

        That’s a great idea. I do need to exercise during the winter so that is exactly what I will do. I am worried about the days of endless grey and snow, in the south it looks very different here when we have that, and can get a little depressing. I’m hoping having a city where everyone continues to live their lives will help.

        All very solid input, thanks.

  27. Grand Admiral Thrawn Is Still Blue*

    I no longer have to worry about my S. Baptist church employer, since they fired me on Monday. Wouldn’t tell me why, just that “my services were no longer required. I would be paid through the end of the day, and for any unused vacation time, leave my keys on the desk”. Literally would not say another word no matter what question I asked. Wouldn’t even say if this was a layoff or a firing.

    I knew he didn’t like me much, but to set fire to my world like this… that was brutal. I nearly had a mental breakdown on Monday. There was no real warning, no official discussions, write ups or improvement plans. Just… get out.

    Ah, but the foolish man left me alone to pack up my stuff. :) So I also sent a group email to the church leaders and told them. Some knew, some didn’t. I also pointed out that I have no money, and deserved some kind of severance pay. I refused to allow this to be done in the shadows with only his version.

    Of course, he wins. If nothing else happens for me, on Aug. 5 I will be homeless, since I can’t afford my rent now. And without a job, no one will want me for a roommate either. When my coworker was laid off, she got four months warning as to her final date and three months severance. I got… nothing. I made their stupid plan work when they let her go last year, and this is how they thank me for my hard work and devotion.

    Out of desperation I’ve started a GoFundMe; it can be found by looking for “fired without cause from church” in Tallahassee FL. I know everyone hates these things but I have very little time to find a way to survive. I’m hitting up the temp agencies, as that’s usually the fastest way to get work.

      1. Grand Admiral Thrawn Is Still Blue*

        I did but I don’t think it’s available for me, as churches are exempt from paying unemployment tax.

        1. Troutwaxer*

          You might well be right, but finding requires nothing more than a quick web-search or phone call.

        2. Jules the 3rd*

          Churches are not required, but some pay unemployment tax anyway. Call and ask.

        3. ..Kat..*

          Until you get a job, you can make your money last longer by getting your food at a food bank.

          Good luck with your job search.

      2. Jessen*

        A lot of church jobs aren’t eligible for unemployment. It’s very likely Grand Admiral doesn’t qualify.

    1. Audiophile*

      So sorry this happened to you.

      Here’s my suggestion: apply for any and every job you can over the next few weeks. I’m sure you know that already, but it’s easy to forget in the first few days of unemployment when your confidence is really low.

      Additionally, as you apply for jobs, I would not say you were fired. Since they did not explicitly state that, I would suggest saying you were laid off. If you get official paperwork from them stating termination, you can clarify after that.

      I’ve never had an issue with a former employer pushing back when I’ve stated I was laid off. I didn’t feel I was lying since many times the dismissal was as vague as yours.

      Unfortunately, I’m not sure what the market is like in your area or exactly what kind of work you did.

      Summer can be a good and bad time to be job searching, especially this week. Several former coworkers are in the same boat, at least 1-2 reached out this week to say they’d lost their jobs.

      I hope you’re able to find something quickly.

    2. Amity*

      What about emergency rent assistance? Is that available through your city/county/state?

      1. Grand Admiral Thrawn Is Still Blue*

        I’m looking into that as well. There’s some short term crisis help available, I have to apply for that too.

    3. Fortitude Jones*

      No advice, I just wanted to say I’m sorry this happened to you and the way it was done was very cruel. Sending you good vibes that you find another position quickly through the temp agencies you’re applying to.

      1. Grand Admiral Thrawn Is Still Blue*

        Thanks! I really appreciate that. I need all the good thoughts I can get.

    4. All Hail Queen Sally*

      Don’t forget about applying for food stamps (now called SNAP) and visiting food pantries. See if there are any consignment thrift stores or similar close to you to sell excess stuff you might have. Tell every single one of your friends you are looking for a job–you never know where a lead might come from. Try fast food jobs and similar places–a little money is better than none. (Been there, done all that.)

      1. WrenF*

        In some states there is a program where the state will pay you to look for a job. You have to submit a list of everything you’ve applied for each week but for a couple of months it can help with a cushion. Maybe your state has this? It’s not exactly unemployment but it’s definitely worth checking on.

        So sorry this happened. Sending lots of hopes & prayers.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      I am saying this as a church person, this type of garbage annoys the heck out of me. So much for looking at the bible for management principles, eh? Just because a group is an NPO or specifically a church does not give them a free pass on how they treat their employees.

      Sending you many good vibes.
      Maybe someone in the congregation will “get” how unfair this is and tell you of a job opening somewhere soon.
      I do believe that for every rotten action there are many people who will step in and try to help counterbalance the unfairness of that rotten action. May this be the case for you, too.

      1. Grand Admiral Thrawn Is Still Blue*

        The problem is with the new breed of pastors. More showman and CEO than spiritual leaders, they care about money, power and position. This one bounces from corporate to church and back again.

        There have been a few wonderful people who are helping me in various ways. But most, are indifferent.

    6. Karen from Finance*

      Hi Grand Admiral. I’m really sorry this has happened to you, this is awful.

      You’ll be in my thoughts, I have faith that something good will come up. Please keep us updated.

    7. Mindovermoneychick*

      Grand Admiral, if you are looking at homeless on Aug 5th, remember you can be late on your rent and they can’t kick you out immediately. They will have to go through an official eviction which takes time and is unlikely to even start the first few weeks you are late on rent. So just keep that in mind if you need to buy some time while trying to get some money flowing.

      Then if you can get some money in relatively soon you can get caught up on rent possibly even over a period of time. Evictions are a hassle. If you aren’t out of a job for months you can probably salvage your place by letting rent slide a month and then negotiating a payment plan to get back on track.

      1. Grand Admiral Thrawn Is Still Blue*

        Oh. I thought proceedings started immediately after the last day of grace period. I’ve been a good tenant, always paid early or on time these last three years.

        1. Not a cat*

          I was out of work for over a year and was evicted. In California, you get a set of notices that extends out to 30 days. Then they serve you an Unlawful Detainer. If you respond (and you should) they will set a court date. The court will “encourage” you to work it out before you go before the judge. I was the same as you, never late, 20-year resident, etc. My last rent payment was 12/1 and I had to be out by 4/22–so I was able to negotiate time. The court sealed the record, so any future landlords will not be able to tell I was evicted.
          I found a place w/a roommate. And finally found full-time employment last month.
          I wish you the best!

  28. Lizzy May*

    I graduated from college in 2007 so when I first hit the workforce, there was a very real sense of “be grateful for any job you can get” and the idea that people were lucky to be working. In the time since then, I’ve noticed a shift in thinking about the importance of giving workers more rights, in questioning working conditions, in acknowledging that employment isn’t a favor and that employers are benefiting from the labor and many other pro-worker opinions. Is this just a natural shift from getting away from a truly awful recession or a deeper change in society as people are frustrated with working conditions or is it just that I spend my time with like-minded people and this change isn’t really happening at all? I find even reading older posts and comments on here that I see a shift but I could just be looking for one.

    1. DCR*

      The change is happening. It’s An effect from getting away from the recession, and having low unemployment when employers have to compete for employees.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      It’s both! Just like any change, it comes in waves. Depending on the economy and political climate

      1. Jules the 3rd*

        Yep – the labor market is very tight right now, so workers are starting to see some ability to negotiate individually. Income / wealth inequality is at record highs, so the middle class is getting hollowed out and starting to resist.

        It’s not a coincidence that the initial US labor movement started in the Golden Age, the last time income / wealth inequality got almost this high.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      Nope. Not your imagination. As the economy goes up and down other many other things flex also. My father was a depression kid. His observation was that in a bad economy clothes get looser fitting. When the economy is good clothes get tighter. I can’t prove or disprove this observation but it makes sense, less money for food equals weight loss. Of course, without money people keep wearing the clothes they have as they don’t buy new. He said the hardest thing to fake was shoes. Shoes just plain wear out and it can’t be helped. So people borrow shoes and maybe the shoes fit but probably the shoes do not fit.

      In bad economic times, people have to put up with what employers are dishing out. When the economy relaxes, people can chose to move on. In the Great Depression, my father said you got whatever job you could and you were grateful you had something at any rate. He was a kid, he worked ALL day delivering baked goods and he made ten cents for that day’s work.

      Through his stories I kind of learned to watch the economy when thinking about job moves. For a long time we had some fluctuations with periods of tight job markets. But this recent Recession hit hard. I saw from my father that stuff like this can stick with a person and make them wary. It’s good to have a general idea of which way the economy is going, this will help with that wariness.

  29. Asenath*

    I find repetition is helpful. I think through a situation, decide what (if anything) I am responsible for and should handle – and then keep reminding myself of my decision when that little voice in the back of my head says something like “Maybe I made Joe make fun of me”. I find with my particular mind I have to do this many, many times, but it becomes easier with practice until the little voice shuts up. I just think “I already decided that Joe is just weird and his behaviour is not my fault” and immediately turn my mind to something more interesting. The only exception is if I think I might need to try another tactic to shut up Joe – then I might reconsider that aspect of the situation – but that doesn’t involve self-blame.

    1. CJM*

      I recently signed up for the Detox Your Thoughts newsletter by Dr. Andrea Bonior of Washington Post’s Baggage Check column, and she addresses a similar issue in her first newsletter. Search on “Goodful’s Detox Your Thoughts Buzzfeed” for the sign-up page. (If you have trouble signing up, you may need to update your browser before it’ll work.)

      Anyways, what you’re doing sounds smart and effective. It reminds me of what I struggle with: “understanding that a dysfunctional or negative thought becomes a trap when we decide to treat it as important” (from the first newsletter). Maybe the ideas in the newsletters will help you. Another idea that helped me a lot came from my wisest friend: When she has to choose (maybe because she doesn’t know for sure what the other person’s motive is) whether to think about something in a positive or negative way, she always chooses the positive way. For some people like me, it’s an old habit to choose the negative way and get caught up in it.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Self-blame has an aspect of it that says we are in charge of everything. And that is simply not true. In your example here, you are not in charge of Joe. Actually, Joe is in charge of Joe.

      Your only part in this is to walk away from Joe OR tell Joe, “Okay, that’s enough of that.”

      One of the problems I have seen with self-blame is that it’s not solutions oriented. I never found solutions by beating myself up with blame.

      You might find it actually interesting to read some of the boundaries books that are out now. You sound like you are interested in proactive steps. Perhaps reading about people setting boundaries with others would be a piece of the puzzle for you.

      Going the opposite way, I found it helpful to apologize for the things I was actually responsible for. Think carefully on this one, because I am NOT saying apologize all the time. noooo. If we are in the hallway together and I bump you, then I owe you an apology for my moment of carelessness. This is a legit thing to apologize for. I made more of an effort to apologize where it was appropriate and I found that very freeing. It released a lot of that self-blame crap. This is a really odd thing and it’s hard to explain. When we know we WILL indeed take ownership when we slip up, it can make us feel lighter on the inside. We can take away Negative Nancy’s power inside our heads.

  30. Public Facing Librarian*

    Just an update. The public criticism of my work by a few very vocal on social media stakeholders has died down. (or I am not seeing it, I am off facebook and twitter as advised by my administration) I didn’t agree with some of the way my supervisors handled the “controversy” but I truly didn’t have the experience to deal with it better. I did feel supported, I did get the highest performance appraisal plus merit raise.
    I was able to attend the ALA conference in DC and very informative sessions on intellectual freedom. Quite the eye-opener. Found out that I wasn’t alone and the anxiety, stress and personal attacks were real and that I handled all of it the best that I could. Brought back tools for future practice. Had fabulous public feedback for my work from librarians whose opinions that I respect.
    Re-entry has been a bit stressful. End-of -the-year reports, statistics, upcoming project plans. Showing up. Keeping my head down.
    Shout out to the librarians facilitating and managing summer reading programs. I salute you.

    1. fposte*

      Go, you. This is a big thing in the academia side as well, since publishing makes people targets. I’ve had colleagues who were the recipients of hate campaigns. I think that ALA should consider drafting some guidelines on this–they’ve got the Hateful Conduct standards but nothing, AFAIK, that explicitly covers librarians being targeted for being librarians outside of the face-to-face realm. Patrons absolutely deserve protection, but so do professionals.

      1. Public Facing Librarian*

        fposte,
        Here’s the really absurd thing about my situation. One of the most vocal negative public commentary came from a professor at our local accredited MLIS program. So here I was a librarian, targeted with hate speech, name calling, demands for material removal, and demands to publicly apologize for my work by a librarian who should have a basic understanding of intellectual freedom as a core value of all librarianship. What I didn’t know was that I could have asked for help from the ALA, Office for Intellectual Freedom and they would have kept my query confidential. The ALA session was terrific and gave good guidelines for future issues, it was like a booster shot. I highly recommend Beyond Banned Books: Defending Intellectual freedom Throughout Your Library by Kristin Pekoll.
        Thank you for your comment.

    2. FutureLibrarianNoMore*

      Don’t hesitate to seek additional support through your library’s EAP or a counselor.

      It really helps to deal with some of the more challenging parts of public facing work.

      1. Public Facing Librarian*

        I did go see a EAP councilor in the very heat of the controversy. It was helpful to see the perspective that the outraged trolls didn’t actually know me, know my work, and that the pile on was just that. It was also good to hear a responses from someone not tangled up in my small world and a mental health professional. We were able to tease out evidence that my work was well-informed, solid, that I was reflective in practice and action. I was able also to accept the higher-ups’ plan-of-action and stop “second guessing” and “what if-ing.” We worked out a plan of next right steps and focus to be able to concentrate on what was in front of me and not be distracted by the twitterati and haters.

    3. Flyleaf*

      What is your attorney advising you to do? If you don’t have an attorney, you are out of your league. Let someone who understands your legal options deal with this.

      1. Public Facing Librarian*

        Funny you should mention an attorney. I did consult one in the beginning when it seemed that I might need someone to protect my interests and perhaps job security.(was not an issue) Her advice was to follow my administration’s direction in response to the social media outrage, to not put my name on any public document put out by the library unless I 100% agreed with the statement, and to stay off the internet. She did review all statements and documents. I shared her insights with my supervisors. Again. I know that I was very lucky to have been completely supported in my work by my supervisors and their director.

    4. Anonymouse*

      As a young librarian in her first job, half the world away – I’m sending support. It is not an easy job.

      1. Public Facing Librarian*

        Congratulations on your first job. Please know that being a librarian is a passion and a joy. It is work. That is why we get paid. It is service. For me the joy, the psychic rewards, the engagement, the life-long learning, the service (working with public- kids, teens, diverse communities, literacy, teachers, parents, peers) have tangible rewards. Every job has its tedium and stress. I am not sorry not to be the hand-on librarian for summer reading anymore. ( 4 years it was exhilerating, turns out 5 years was my breaking point) Its a marathon, not a sprint.

  31. Just Laid Off*

    I was laid off this week after 2 1/2 years. Part of me had a feeling it might be coming, the company has been really struggling financially for the past year. They had a large round of layoffs in January, after a smaller round in August.

    The department I worked in had four people quit in the span of two months. Since I was the only one responsible for my little subunit, I imagine they’ll just cut it from the budget it completely which will be a significant revenue loss for them.

    I had already been searching, pretty actively, for a few months now since I knew the financial predicament meant I wouldn’t see a raise or another promotion.

    Thankfully, when I got laid off I already had a few phone interviews scheduled for this week but the holiday definitely slows down the process.

    I expect to get a severance but will file for unemployment next week anyway.

    The two times I’ve been unemployed after layoffs, it hasn’t taken me very long to find a new job, roughly 3-4 weeks both times. I’m hoping that it moves that quickly this time, especially with it being summer.

    So far, no one has asked if I am currently still in the same job, but I imagine if this stretches beyond a few weeks, the question will be asked at some point. When do I bring it up? What should I say? I don’t want to appear desperate. And I’m not angry or upset, just disappointed because I was hoping to quit shortly.

    Happy Fourth of July!

    1. Matilda Jefferies*

      Aw, I’m sorry to hear it. I think the layoff feels bigger to you than it will to most other people – and probably also bigger to you now than it will in a few weeks once you’ve had time to get used to it a bit. If anyone asks, you can probably just tell the truth – likely there will be some mild expression of sympathy, but that’s about it. Good luck with your job search!

    2. BRR*

      I was recently laid off and I sometimes would throw it into why I was interested in a role or why I was looking to leave. “It was recently announced my job is going to be eliminated as part of a restructuring and I was excited to see this position because a, b, and c.”

    3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Layoffs are completely normal and reflect nothing on you personally. Businesses fail all the time and it’s due to economy or the general precarious setup of a company structure! So nobody should be judging you and why you’re looking for a new job.

      Best of luck. It’s good to apply for IU immediately like you plan to, that’ll leave no unnecessary gaps in your payments!

    4. Grand Admiral Thrawn Is Still Blue*

      You have my complete sympathy. I was fired on Monday without warning. Best wishes to you for a quick new job.

  32. NicoleK*

    So I’ve posted previously about my slow, incompetent, annoying BEC coworker. I’ve reached the point where I’m done. I can’t do it anymore. I’m going to apply for a different position in my company. The open position is in a different department so I won’t have much interaction with BEC coworker if I’m offered the position. One of the major downsides is that this job will be a significant pay decrease. The pay decrease will suck, but I don’t know how much more I can take of BEC coworker. I’ve been telling myself: pay decrease is temporary, carrying BEC coworker’s weight is permanent (at least for the foreseeable future).

    1. Even Steven*

      Yikes! I hear ya. But just a thought – do you think when you are elderly that you will remember your coworker’s name? I ask that because when you are elderly, Future You could probably really have done with your current salary and savings, and it would be a shame to lose ground on prepping for the future because of a super annoying person in the present (although I totally get your reasoning). Are there other options you could try? Other companies? Asking coworker’s manager to intervene? No matter what I am cheering for you!! I hope the solution works out OK.

      1. NicoleK*

        We share the same Boss. And Boss has enabled and propped up BEC coworker for the past 6 years. I have spoken to our Boss about BEC’ coworker’s issues (punctuality, very slow worker, technology challenged, extremely unorganized, poor time management, needs a lot of hand holding, low productivity, struggles with writing, and etc). She takes three times as long to complete tasks and regularly needs help completing tasks. Our Boss is very conflict avoidant and doesn’t really like to manage people. I have no idea if our Boss has ever spoken to BEC coworker as not much has changed. To me she’s more concerned about BEC coworker’s feelings than managing.

        I would like to stay with the same company. It’s a decent sized company (employs 600 people) and there is some mobility. I’m quite interested in the position and it’s a good match for my strengths. But my concerns may be premature, I may not even get an interview.

        1. Jasnah*

          Sounds like you also have a manager issue. Hopefully you can find a better match that’s also up/lateral.

    2. The New Wanderer*

      Having a BEC coworker who impacts your work to this extent just sucks (and so does your management if they can’t or won’t remedy the situation). I don’t recall the specifics of your situation but a significant pay decrease is a pretty big deal, especially long term as Even Steven points out. If it’s something you’re doing to get out from under the coworker ASAP while you look for other, better-paying opportunities, that sounds like a good move so you’ll be in a better head-space in the interim.

      Good luck, I hope things improve soon!

  33. Horrified*

    I work at a higher learning institution and am very new, and just got my first sexual harassment report from a student. It’s a pretty clear case and there are even witnesses to her harasser’s behavior. I am horrified at how the school is handling it.

    They made it clear that that’s not okay, but their plan moving forward is COMPLETELY centered around this being a learning opportunity for him to do better, and not on removing a harasser or dealing with it properly. In fact, when I brought this up to the highest person in the institution I have access to, he’d mentioned that after he talked to a student who was harassing women in a different department, that guy “turned his behavior around and even asked to not be seated near women so he wouldn’t have the temptation!” and this was celebrated as a victory.

    If he can’t be seated near women without being tempted to harass them, he needs to be GONE. Yesterday. I’ve brought this up to everyone I can. I’m horrified and furious and I don’t know what to do.

    1. fposte*

      That’s really horrible. Is the Title IX coordinator involved yet, or do they just suck?

        1. fposte*

          Ah, okay. It wouldn’t necessarily help you, as some Title IX coordinators do suck, but this sounds much harder; I’m sorry.

          FWIW, in the U.S. it wouldn’t be uncommon for the harasser not to be removed entirely–they’d be separated from the student and reprimanded, but probably wouldn’t be fired (this obviously depends on the specifics of the situation and, unfortunately, the star power of the harasser).

        2. Quandong*

          Consider whether you have access to free legal advice about what to do next, through womens’ services, or a union if you’re a member.

          If you have the time, seek out the agencies most likely to have people that can advise you e.g. groups promoting equality, women’s rights, education, safety, prevention of violence. Those created to support women who are victims of assault, sexual assault, stalking, DV etc may also have good advice.

          Best wishes.

    2. blackcat*

      Sadly, this is common in higher ed. Faculty are rarely removed in these circumstances.
      The best you can do is work on a plan to protect the student from him and make sure that he will have no authority over her or her friends.

      1. Horrified*

        It’s actually another student in this case but he should still be removed IMO!

    3. Anon July Fourth*

      Is there scope to bypass the institution’s processes and report to police?

      I am also struggling with a situation where the bosses appear to be covering up troubling behavior and I’m concerned it will reoccur as a result. Whistle blowing is available in theory but I am the person you blow the whistle to AND the bosses are the ones who investigate. So I’m left thinking it needs to go outside of the organization.

      Big sympathy. And why can’t people just be nice and kind to each other?

    4. Emma*

      It might be worth suggesting that the victim gets the SU women’s officer involved, if this is how the uni handles complaints then they may have experience of putting pressure in the right places.

  34. Christy*

    I manage a team of nine. Of these, several have small children, and several others are caring for aging parents/in-laws. Is there anything I can do to support them other than being flexible when they need to unexpectedly take care of something?

    1. Kimmybear*

      Thank you for asking. As someone juggling a small special needs child and elder care issues, it’s important that you are even thinking about this.
      -Flexibility is key because you never can plan when someone is sick or gets hurt.
      -A quiet place that people can make private phone calls if they sit in a cube is awesome. It can just be an informal “if I’m out of the office or in a meeting, feel free to use my office to call the school, babysitter, pediatrician, nursing service”.
      -Treat everyone as an individual. Some need to vent, some need to cry, some need to use work as a refuge, some may need all of those things on the same day.
      -Make sure your staff knows what HR resources are available to them: FMLA, parental leave, EAP, respite care, elder care services, emergency daycare. These are things you don’t look into until you need them and then you don’t have time to look into them.
      -Finally, don’t get caught in the trap of thinking that someone with a stay-at-home spouse has someone taking care of it all. They don’t. The spouse needs a break too. They get sick. They have to go to the dentist.

      1. Doing Too Many Thing*

        Seconding the point about folks with at-home spouses. My spouse is at home full time with the kiddo in the summer — but she needs to be able to get to weekly medical appointments that are not the kind you can takes kids to. (Kiddo can’t go to full time day care or camp because Reasons). It has taken us a few weeks to find a sitter who can help during the day, so up to now I’ve been the backup plan…

        Also seconding the work from home. If I need to watch the kiddo for an hour in the midmorning, but can work from home the rest of the day and not deal with the commute time, I can work a full (very productive) day from home and not need to use paid time off. If I had to go back and forth to the office I’d do less work AND be out some PTO.

    2. Clever Name*

      If you don’t already, and it’s possible for their jobs to be done remotely, offer work from home when needed. It benefits the company when an employee can work from home with a sick kid rather than having to take a sick day and do no work.

    3. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

      One thing to remember is to offer that flexibility to all. If Jane is off with a sick fido, don’t blame her or dismiss her concerns because Betty has kids. If an emergency happens, then everyone needs to pull their weight, parents, non parents, etc. Don’t let the childless/childfree/singles do all the work. Expect the same from all and treat them all fairly. If childfree Ned needs a day off, give him the day off no matter what parent Bob complains about.

      1. Kathenus*

        Agree so much. Great that you’re looking to offer flexibility, and totally agree with the above comment to offer it to all as everyone has their own life challenges that benefit from a flexible workplace. The description of balancing accountability and flexibility for everyone is perfect.

      2. VT*

        Totally agree. Once you create that policy, you have to be uniform in enforcing it. My boss is especially lenient to one coworker with chronic (but well managed) health conditions with a family member who has a chronic (but also well managed) health problems but has different feelings about a different coworker who has young kids who have some health concerns. It’s causing some hard feelings between my coworkers and it’s very hard on my boss. He’s having trouble getting a good level of coverage because he feels like he has to say yes to every time off request, regardless of how much advanced notification is given, because he already let underling A work half days all week due to health reasons and now underling B wants to go camping on Friday, etc.

      3. Christy*

        Oh good point, thank you! I try to be flexible with all but it’s good to think about this specifically.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          I used a two pronged approach. I said that we as a group need to assume that a time off request was necessary for the person who was asking. And I said the person who was asking needed to be aware that working with one or more less people was not fun for those left behind.

          The way our work was set up, the best time of day to be short a person was first thing in the morning or last thing in the day. There was a two hour window at the beginning or end of the day where it was just easier to be short a person. So if people needed an hour or two those would be better times to take the hour or two- IF possible. Sometimes it’s not possible.

          This worked out really well. People knew the best times of day to squeeze in an appointment without causing a bottleneck. And people knew I would approve their time off request and the onus was on them to make sure the time off was of value to them. I did not even want to know their reasons why they wanted time off. And that was not because I did not care, it was because I assumed that a fellow adult was responsible enough to decide when they had to leave work. (They told me anyway. Go figure.)

          Sometimes groups can pull together if they know in advance that a certain day or week is going to be a big push of work. If you can announce that something like, “Thursday is Big Deadline, if people can avoid taking Thursday off that would be helpful for X project.” This is amazing to watch, people who know they can get time when they need it are more willing to stay when they are needed.

    4. Ginger ale for all*

      I have several chronic illnesses and one thing that helps a great deal when it comes to doctor’s appointments is my schedule where I work one late night a week. I can have the freedom to make all of my medical appointments for that one morning a week. Another added benefit is that I can get different kinds of work done when it is quieter.

    5. Policy wonk*

      Don’t make assumptions about their cicumstances and availability. Ask them. If they are usually off on Wednesday, but that is the only day VIP is available for a meeting ask if they can do it, don’t assume they can’t. Ditto if it is their turn to go to a conference or something, ask if they can do it. If not you can offer it to the next in line. And allowing work from home or flexible hours can be a godsend – but again, offer it, don’t require it.

  35. Liz*

    To Liz/confused anon/etc.: Repeatedly posting different versions of the same question over months while posing as different people is taking advantage of this community’s good will and desire to help. Please stop doing this. Thank you. – Alison

  36. What’s with Today, today?*

    TL:DR My coworkers cover letter is awful, but I saw it by accident and don’t know how to tell him.

    It’s no secret my coworker has been looking for a new job. He’s been with us a couple of years (first job out of college) and is ready to move on. He’s confided in me he’s sent dozens of resumes and received no calls.

    We are in broadcasting and use a shared studio. I use it in the morning; he uses it in the afternoon. We both use this computer numerous times a day.

    I came in early this week, and his cover letter was up on the shared computer in the shared studio. I didn’t go looking for it; it was there. I thought it was a work thing at first, so I started skimmed, and, a glaring spelling mistake in the first line popped out at me. I ended up reading the whole thing, and it’s awful. (I know, I know, I know, I shouldn’t have) Terrible grammar, boring as all get out, and spelling mistakes everywhere. His resume was also up behind it, but I just closed it without looking.

    When he came in, I told him both documents had been up on the screen & cautioned him to make sure not to leave them up b/c the boss can and does access that computer (it’s used as an audio production and news writing computer. I’m also not sure why he’s doing this on work computers, seems naïve). Because he’s asked me for job search advice before, and b/c I’ve served on several hiring committees, I also offered to look over his materials if he wanted – not letting on that I’d already read the cover letter. He readily accepted, but three days later hasn’t brought the materials to me to review. He did tell me that day that he’d pulled the documents up because he’d realized he misspelled “broadcasting” on the resume. He figures that’s why he got no calls. He then said, “…but the cover letter is good, I just change the company name and send it as is.” Oh no.

    So do I tell this 23-year-old that I saw his cover letter and it sucks, ask him again if he wants me to review the stuff, or chalk it up to not my circus and move on?

    FWIW, he won’t be mad about me reading the letter, but I feel guilty and know I shouldn’t have. I have 15 years seniority to him but he’s not my direct report(we both report to the same boss, small market media), but I am in management over the news department. He’s sports, which is kind of a one-person dept. He comes to me for direction, though, a lot, and I have the authority to pull him into news if extra help is needed for some reason.

    1. Errol*

      I think in the situation where you offered and he accepted there’s nothing wrong with being honest with him about it. I’d word it as nicely as possible though, like “Hey when it was up the other day I did take a look at it. One thing I noticed is that there were a fair amount of spelling mistakes and it didn’t highlight any of your skills like A, B, and C. Did you wanna have lunch / coffee/ sit down and go through it to focus on why you’d be an excellent candidate?”

      1. fposte*

        Yeah, I’d be really low-key about this, and it seems like that’s how he is.

        Realize also that it’s not the end of the world if you don’t talk to him. You’re not here to save him.

      2. Wishing You Well*

        Yes, offer just ONE more time. Then stop trying to help if he doesn’t take you up on your offer. He’s an adult; this is his problem to solve.
        I do hope he is successful in finding his next job.

      3. Errol*

        yeah the wording I’m not sure on, but pointing out his accomplishments and/or even saying it should focus on those things would probably be the best way of doing it, should you feel inclined. Until about 5 years ago when I found this blog I thought that cover letters were supposed to be technical and more of a in depth summary of your resume vs a place to highlight what you are good at.

        You don’t owe him anything to say something, but I think I would have really appreciated it when I was younger. You know him well enough to know if he would or would not take this well. And definitely don’t chase him, you’ve offered and he’s accepted. It’s his responsibility to come to you with the paperwork.

    2. Thankful for AAM*

      I think his statement that he reuses the cover letter was the perfect time to say that cover letters are a very important chance to make an impression and they should be customized for each position.

      You can still say, I was thinking about what you said about your cover letter . . . my paragraph above, etc.

    3. Sherm*

      I’m pretty sure the majority of us would have read it, too! He left it up on the work computer, and it was too much of a train wreck to peel one’s eyes away from. I would give him the gift of telling him, and then let him do as he wants with the gift.

  37. I edit everything*

    Someone used the phrase “going all summer’s eve” in the comments the other day, and I was gratified to have an opportunity to use it myself this morning in a post on FB. I expect the people it was aimed at will be too dense to get it. But it sure felt good.

      1. Jemima Bond*

        I assumed behaving in a manner likened to a popular American personal hygiene item for ladies. And the bag it came in.

  38. KatieKate*

    Also: I have a four day weekend with no plans, and I’m starting to realize how isolated I am. I don’t have too many close friends, and the ones I do have are partnered up and traveling for the holiday. Everyone at work was talking about their plans for today and had nothing to contribute. Most of the time I’m fine being alone. Most of the time I enjoy being alone, and I find I don’t get a lot out of interactions with people I’m not super close to.

    I’m not even sure what I’m asking for, but I need the kick in the pants to go out and make new friends, even though any kind of “Meet Up” or casual get together scares the heck out of me.

    1. Errol*

      Me too. It’s so wild to me that some people can just go outside and just make friends, no planning required. I am not at all one of those types and do not understand how that happens.

      I took up some hobbies that are weird but keep me busy and have really helped me meet new people. It really helps as there’s an easy topic of conversation. It’s not a bunch of strangers in a room trying to connect with a beverage in hand but you’re all trying to do the same thing.

      1. fposte*

        I have a couple of friends who can do that, including one introvert, and it’s really interesting to see the difference between them and me. One difference is that they’re more actively offering social contact to people with a lower bar for inclusion. A day trip for me is something I think of as a good-friends outing, but for them it’s fine to do it with somebody you had a cool conversation with at a party.

        1. Errol*

          a day trip with someone I had a conversation with at a party sounds like a living nightmare to me haha

          1. fposte*

            That’s kind of my reaction, but I also think that that’s a certain amount of risk aversion–that it’s actually reasonably likely to be a good time but I’m so concerned that it won’t be that I don’t do it. Whereas my friends who gather friends quicker can shrug off a day where things were a little awkward at times as “Oh, well, I still got to go to the concert” or whatever, so they’re not as skittish.

          2. New Normal*

            Same! There’s only so many people I can even do a dinner party with without hitting a “get me outta here” point early on, let alone a full day.

          3. Not So NewReader*

            I’d agree. I am not good at taking risks. And this kind of goes back to my world view. I believe I have to be careful. Other people believe grabbing opportunities is primary.

      2. nekosan*

        I second the “hobbies” thing. I find it much easier to be doing something instead of just trying to talk to people. Knitting, line dance, martial arts, cat rescue – there are a lot of things out there.

        1. Errol*

          I also found hobbies are better then taking a one off class. Join a series of classes if going the class route, there’s more opportunity to connect when you see them 3 or 4 times vs once for a single class.

          But I have been blessed with spectacular social awkwardness so either people need to come to me to lead the conversation or I need a few interactions to be able to interact like a human being.

          1. Seeking Second Childhood*

            Consider looking for one umbrella organization that deals with many varied interests. Think back to what you know of Scouting&4h…she’s working on an award for X and I’m working on Y, and we’re both in the same parade as members of this group.

            This is one thing I like about history clubs, whether it be Ren Fair, Civil War groups, or full-on museum reenactment. The overall group is a framework for lots of smaller interests. So let’s say you get caught by a history group”s demo booth at the county fair because you’ve always wanted to learn to knit socks…someone loans you an outfit and you come back the next day to learn. Then you realize you know their songs from school and join in. Volunteer to chop vegetables or firewood and the camp cooks find you. Then someone asks you to help with a last-minute task “because I forgot the X to hold the Y and I’ve only got 2 hands” …and it’s fascinating to watch and you ask to try and you have things to oral about at the same time too.

            1. Seeking Second Childhood*

              You have things in common too.
              I should know better than to trust speech to text.

    2. Clever Name*

      Can you expand on why meet ups scare you? If you want to be less isolated, those things are great ways to expand your personal horizons. What about taking a class? Those will expose you to new people and there is less pressure to socialize about random topics.

      1. KatieKate*

        Residual “girl standing against the wall at a party” feelings? I’ve had so many instances as a teen and as an adult where I thought I was being included until I just… wasn’t. I’ve tried taking classes and have ended up feeling the same way, noticing other people connecting when I’m not.

        1. Tris Prior*

          Right there with you. I was just at a meetup and after the initial introductions everyone just sort of coupled off (not in a dating/romantic way or anything though) and I was left alone. I’m bad at inserting myself into conversations that I’m not a part of; I feel like I’m intruding. There’s also this thing I’ve noticed around here where people go to meetups in groups so they already know others? Is that a thing elsewhere? I never see anyone come alone with a clear intent to make friends.

    3. Annon Annie*

      I’m going to someone’s summer house where I only know one person in a few weekends and I’m terrified. I feel like a “friend of a housewife” on RHOB or something. I’m dieting, I’m thinking up conversation starters, I’m looking at ways to improve my body language. My social fear are those hours when people are kind of milling around, waiting to go to dinner, for example, and everyone is kind of sitting there and you have to say something, but I have no clue what to say. So I feel your pain! Sometimes I’m tempted to skip out on stuff completely. I’m going somewhere tonight that I’m dreading due to the traffic, crowds, parking, and the fact that I’m going to get back late and I’m a morning person. And I have no control over the food or drink they’ll be serving, which can suck as someone who doesn’t drink and eats healthy. So not having plans on the 4th is not the end of the world, though I do feel it is important to find real connections. I just don’t think that rushing to make plans on the 4th is the answer.

    4. Filosofickle*

      How I made Meetups less scary : Picking groups that seemed to be a moderate size with regular, attended events and a core group of regulars. (Which I learned from reading the reviews/comments if visible.) Because being new in a room of strangers once is bad enough, I don’t want to do that over and over again! If they have regulars, that means they are more than an activity group. They have actually formed relationships with each other and there will be familiar faces if I go back.

      I ruled out huge groups (like happy hours with 1000 members) and ones that have really minimal participation (events where 2 people show) and pick-up scenes. I also went to women-only groups to start, bc that seemed less intimidating.

    5. Policy wonk*

      Sign up to volunteer someplace. You will have work to do to fill time if you don’t connect with anyone, and a natural topic of conversation if you do. There are all kinds of places that can use extra hands, and as we get into political season there are campaigns, including for school board or other local seats that don’t have the intense polarization of national campaigns.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        This is what I do. The work fulls in the conversation lulls and it can also jump start conversation.

    6. Gloria*

      At this point, I find it very easy to strike up conversations, but are used to be painfully shy. What helped me was two things:
      1. Making the conversation all about the other person. That took the focus off of me and I didn’t feel quite so awkward by the time they start asking about me.
      2. Doing it lots. Which I’m sure strikes chills through your entire being. However, there is nothing like practice to take the insecurity out of something.

    7. Alice*

      I just moved to a new city – bad time for a 4 day weekend – and have been going to meetups. Yeah it’s a bit awkward, but everyone is there for the same reason. It’s actially better than a party that way, and there’s no need to feel like high school because everyone is there because they don’t have enough friends and want to make more

    8. Analytical Tree Hugger*

      If it helps, the thing about MeetUp is you can go into the meeting thinking, “I’ll never see these people again, so who cares!”

      I’ve been described as shy (and I’m on the far side of introverted), so I can empathize with your fear of MeetUps. Do try them, though, to push you out of your comfort zone. Find your edge, as we say in yoga. Target groups around hiking and outdoor activities (if you like those sorts of things) because: a) Those folks seem to be less clique-ish (in my experience) and b) even if you don’t mesh with the group, you’ll learn new placea to go. Rock climbing is also good, since that requires you to work together with someone.

  39. BetsCounts*

    How much do other people leave as a daily tip for housekeeping staff in hotels? I am pretty standard at $5 each day- I figure that’s a reasonable amount for a nicer hotel (Marriott, etc) and for people who work at low end hotels they could probably really use the money. However, my husband was surprised at the amount the last time we traveled- he thought it was too much. My main travel is to Los Angeles and other large cities- very occasionally I’ll have to road trip and stay in rural/suburban areas along the 5.

    1. Aurion*

      My parents generally leave about $2-3. I leave about $5 + change. Housekeeping cleans my room once after I check out (I have the “privacy please” tag on my door all other nights), and on top of the regular tip I dump whatever loose change I don’t feel like taking with me that I collected on my trip. I counted it once and it added up to $9+, close to $10.

      I don’t know if it’s a jerk move to make housekeeping count all those coins, though; I just don’t want to take them with me on the plane! They’re usually international trips too, so it’s not like I’d use those coins any time soon.

    2. fposte*

      I think anything between $2 and $5 is okay; I leave $5 because it’s an easier increment and because I can. I do tend to leave it all the last day, which I know isn’t optimal since it’s not necessarily the same staff, but I’m not a big cash carrier and really don’t want to haul around a bunch of bills.

      1. BetsCounts*

        fposte to clarify when you say you leave it all the last day, does that mean you are not leaving a tip each day someone comes in and cleans your room? are you leaving $5 per night you are in the hotel or $5 total? I leave $5 each day I have housekeeping service (I am usually in the same room for multiple days and sometimes leave the ‘pls dont clean’ sign out)

        1. fposte*

          I leave the equivalent of $5 for each day but I leave it all at the end, so for a recent 4-day stay I left $20 the morning I left. Even for days that I didn’t have housekeeping service I leave $5–they still had to check on the room and maybe even come back an extra time to see if I’d changed the tag, so I figure I might as well include it.

          1. fposte*

            BTW, I don’t sweat the exact number to the point of, like, going down to get changed to smaller bills. If I stayed for 5 days I might also just leave $20 if I didn’t have another 5. Or I’d toss in a couple of singles on top if I had them.

          2. ..Kat..*

            Please consider leaving a tip each day. You won’t have the same housekeeper each day.

    3. retirement is all it's cracked up to be*

      I leave $5 every day. Every $5 bill I get, I put in an old wallet that I keep in my suitcase, so there’s always one when I need it. I do every day so that the person who cleaned that day gets it for sure. I figure if I can afford to travel, I can be generous with people in service jobs.

      1. BetsCounts*

        that’s a great idea, the week before I leave I have to add ‘go by atm then go buy something small so I have 5’s to leave’ to my list of chores/errands

    4. JediSquirrel*

      I don’t travel much, but I tend to leave $5 a day, each day. (You never know if the same housekeeper is cleaning your room every day. If it’s a different one each day for four days, I’d hate to stiff it to the first three and give the last a huge bonus.)

    5. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Same, $5 a day. I would be seriously peeved if my partner ever acted like I tipped too much. I tip $5 minimal for all services, including at Starbucks. Generosity to service providers is essential, it’s my way of showing my gratitude for ppl who do hard thankless work so I’m given a luxury!

    6. Come On Eileen*

      This is interesting to me, because I don’t tip hotel housekeepers. I’ve never witnessed anyone in my family doing it so I guess I never picked up on it. I don’t think everyone does this.

      1. dealing with dragons*

        yeah I don’t think I’ve ever thought to tip a housekeeper….that’s why I’m paying the hotel?

        1. Jasnah*

          Agreed, I don’t like tipping for this reason but I live in a country where not tipping is the norm.
          But I feel for people in low-paying menial-but-important jobs like housekeeping and wait staff so I try to tip when I’m abroad. Actually I forgot tipping housekeeping was a thing, I’ll try to remember next time I’m in the US.

    7. Public Facing Librarian*

      I know this sounds weird but my roomate in college did housekeeping in a motel so…
      Most of my travel is for work. The tips come out of my pocket/perdiem. I check in and immediately call housekeeping for extra towels, cups for the coffee maker, and hangers. I tip whoever brings those to me $10.00.
      I leave $5 a day on the dresser with a thank you note. (it may be a different housekeeper on Friday than on Saturday)

      1. A day at the zoo*

        I cleaned motel rooms during my student days. The pay is very low, the work can be disgusting— please leave a couple of dollars daily. It made such a huge difference.

    8. tiasp*

      For people who tip daily, do you just leave it sitting somewhere or do you leave a note? I tip on the last day because I assume they aren’t going to take any money they see laying around unless I’ve checked out.

      1. ..Kat..*

        I either put the tip in an envelope or fold a piece of paper over it and write “Tip for housekeeping.” Otherwise, I had housekeepers who did not realize it was a tip – so they would not take the money.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        We regularly go to a motel in a semirural area… nearest breakfast place is a mile or so away. The motel delivers simple breakfast foods to the rooms in the evening. (Fridge for milk, coffeemaker, and I can have a dawn swim OR sleep in without clock-watching yay.) Housekeeping removes the trays when they do the room.
        So we leave the tip on the tray under our used coffee cups. (And stash the extra fruit for afternoon snack :) )

      3. BetsCounts*

        I leave the $$ folded lengthwise at the end of the unmade bed, with nothing else on the bed (dirty towels/clothes/etc). I think it’s pretty obvious to the housekeeper from context. I don’t leave it on a counter or dresser of anything because I **do** leave my stuff spread out on those and it would be hard to distinguish a random fiver from extension cords/shopping bags/misc purse stuff.
        One time I forgot to leave the ‘pls dont clean’ sign on the door and I was so mortified when I came back that my bed was nicely made and I had new towels- I went to the front desk and got an envelope and left a note with the housekeepers name on it (and a tip).
        In the US (or at least in urban California) it seems like a pretty big deal to not tip a housekeeper.

  40. Alice*

    Happy 4th of July, US peeps! To join the celebrations I have asked for a day off and used it to attend 2 (two!!) technical interviews for new jobs! I am at the end of the rope in my current office so all my fingers are crossed. Both jobs would mean a longer commute but nice salary bump and promotion, and one office in particular would be a great culture fit. I think I have a shot at least at one offer. I’m going to be a bundle of nerves until I hear back.

  41. Sad and anonymous*

    I just need to let this out to strangers. can you tell me if i’m being a bad person?
    I am so, so, so sad. My husband and I are separated and I’ve been living with my parents for months. But I never meant to be gone from my husband this long; when i first left i thought it was just going to be a short break. my apartment with him is only 7 min away from my parents. but we couldn’t figure out what to do. i want to move back BUT he has unmanaged OCD where he always asked me to wash my hands and follow his rules, almost the whole time we lived together and it’s been a few years. he also was very irritable and critical and was prone to anger. nothing physically abusive but the shit he’d say to me was hurtful. he also left his job a little before i moved out and hasn’t looked for a new job. it was too stressful for him and it’s not the first time.
    but despite all that i love him and want to be with him. all i want is for him to go back to therapy and take medication again. he’s tried it all but always regressed. the last couple months he’s been doing better, not depressed, getting out of the house more, and he sees everything he’s done as huge and wants to be praised. but he doesn’t seem to be tackling his biggest issues and he knows what i need in order to feel trusting that if we moved back in together, we wouldn’t just be repeating our dysfunctional behaviors. and every time i express hesitation and caution he acts so hurt and rejected that i don’t want to live with him. we talk about getting back together but then he complains when i do something that triggers his OCD and said he’s “scared” to live with me again. how can i jump into a new home like that? he wanted to vacate our apartment, the one i left, so we are doing so on august 1. the plan is that he will stay with his family 1.70 hours away, but he doesn’t want to do that either. he just wants me to jump into a new apartment with him, all paid by me (i’ve been paying the rent for the last several months on the apartment i’m not living him) and just try again. he claims this apartment will be different, but OCD has ruined the last few apartments we’ve been in. without him committing again to treatment, i don’t think he’ll be able to handle me acting normally and not following his compulsions. he’ll be anxious all the time about the germs and just fight with me again. the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. whenever he’s upset with me, like he is now, i beg him to see me again and i get so upset and i tell him how much i love him. then when he comes around and we try again (because all he actually wants to do is be with me because he does love me) , he just thinks we’re fine again and starts talking about looking for apartments, without doing anything to treat his mental issues, and then i hesitate, and then he acts hurt again. he’s not responding to my texts and we’re probably just going to spend the 4th of july alone, individually. i could’ve gone with my parents to a family BBQ but i’m not in the mood to act fake-happy. i care about him so much. people ask me what i get from the relationship, because i’ve always been the one to support him and take care of him, but what i get is companionship and his love and friendship. he’s the closest person to me in my life. i know everyone who reads this is probably just going to say “give up” but i don’t think i’m capable of that. for context i’m 32 and we’ve been together overall like 7 years.

    1. BetsCounts*

      You are not a bad person. At all. You are not a bad person. You know in your heart that you are doing the right thing. No one can be a true partner to someone who is not willing to try to change (medication, therapy, etc).
      Have you considered discussing with a counselor? Loving someone with this serious of a mental health issue (not able to work or look for work, damage to physical property) can be o v e r w h e l m i n g and you would probably really benefit by talking with someone who has no skin in the game. your parents and friends probably all have their own opinion on what you should do so a neutral 3rd party would be v v helpful. Remember, you are NOT A BAD PERSON. sending warm thoughts through the ether.

    2. fposte*

      Oh, this really sounds hard; I’m sorry.

      I would really like you to change your framing here if possible. It’s not go back to him or give up; it’s make a choice about your future and how you want it to look, and either road is okay. Most relationships aren’t for forever, and you get no particular prize for staying with somebody who makes you unhappy–you’re not a better person for reuniting with him than for deciding it’s time to move on.

      That doesn’t mean you have to end the marriage either–I’m just saying it’s not a failure to choose that. I would strongly recommend you go to therapy on your own, since it sounds like that’s not happening right now, to help work through this, and not to move in with him until after you’ve done that for a while.

      I will say that a friend of mine had a situation that was similar, in that her husband had physical and mental illness issues that he was expecting her to handle instead of his getting treatment or therapy. She said the marriage was only tenable if he on his own, without her doing it, made appointments and started going to them and using professionals instead of her, because this was unfair and untenable. And he eventually did, but it was a close thing, and I like her husband a lot but totally supported her decision, because that wasn’t otherwise a partnership with a viable future.

      I hope you’ll find a way to a peaceful future as well.

    3. Ethyl*

      Definitely NOT a bad person. You sound so caring and concerned and loving, but it also sounds like you are pretty at the end of your rope. It sucks when we learn up close and personal that move sometimes *isn’t* enough, even though we kinda know it logically. You can’t *make* anyone change, if they don’t want to. I’m sorry.

      Do you have a mental health person that you are talking to? That could be a great idea; it sounds like you could use some help untangling stuff like what your ideal outcome is vs what you can realistically expect, plus it doesn’t hurt to have someone entirely on your side.

      There’s a couple of Captain Awkward posts that may be helpful to you also — I’ll plonk those in a separate comment.

      1. Ethyl*

        * love sometimes isn’t enough. Thanks autocorrect.

        CA posts you might find helpful:

        This one seems very relevant:
        https://captainawkward.com/2017/05/15/963-my-husbands-extreme-environmental-beliefs-are-a-problem-how-can-i-get-him-to-give-up-this-obsession/

        This one is maybe less relevant but may have good ideas for you:
        https://captainawkward.com/2017/10/07/1029-i-know-this-relationship-is-over-why-cant-i-let-go/

        And I hope this post can help you to center yourself a bit more in this situation….it’s not directly related but I think some of it could be really useful:
        https://captainawkward.com/2018/07/19/rule-explainer-why-we-dont-diagnose-people-through-the-internet/

    4. Clever Name*

      I hope this doesn’t sound harsh, but please get yourself into therapy. Living with a person with severe mental illness skews everything, and you deserve to talk to someone about all this. Also, I’d like you to ask yourself 2 questions. You don’t have to have the answers right now, just think about the questions: 1-are you happy when you live with your husband? 2-what would it look like if you put yourself first?

      Hang in there.

      1. Myrin*

        I would like to add a third question to that, if I may (a question which has become semi-known as the Sheelzebub Principle because of the commenter on Captain Awkward who coined it):
        Sad, can you live like this for another month? Six months? A year? Ten years? The rest of your life? And how do you feel when you think about continuing to live like this for these time spans?
        I think there might be a lot of insight inherent in the answers you give yourself here.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          A corollary: think how you would feel about him teaching those habits to your child.

    5. Lee*

      I’m sorry to say this but unless he commits to getting help nothing will change. A good friend and former neighbor, now 76, just left her husband last year. He kept saying he would get help, would change, but didn’t and once they both retired she could not stand living with him 24/7. Don’t wait until you are 76 and have two grown sons who have really serious issues with their father, and you for allowing this. Good luck.

      1. fposte*

        But also, go her. You don’t have to shrug and give up and say “No point in improving my life” just because you’re 76 either.

    6. LadyGrey*

      Everyone’s given brilliant advice- I just want to add one thing. You don’t need to move in together anytime soon: it might be easier on both of you if you can live freely and peacefully at one place- your own or with a friend- and he can live elsewhere and work on himselff in a place where only he adfects- let him get into the habits you want him to have before you move in together. There are long term and married couples who live in different place, it’s a completely valid choice and I think it would be more restful for you.

      Wishing you the best and a place where y can relax!

    7. LCL*

      Of course you’re not a bad person. You are sad because you are starting to mourn the loss of your marriage, unless he changes drastically and you realize that he isn’t going to. I read other websites and blogs besides this one. I have learned that your situation is distressingly common, there are way more people out there like your husband than I ever knew. What is going on looks like this:

      you are married to someone who can’t function without someone else (that’s you) caretaking him and taking on all of the mundane financial and logistical daily problems. He blames you for his problems, and whatever you do is not good enough. He basically needs a parental figure and a partner all in one. As long as you are willing to do that, things are good.

      So what do you want? Are you willing to live like this for the rest of the marriage? Because it sounds like he makes just enough effort to keep you quiet and keep his good thing going. How will his criticisms sound when you aren’t youthful, and develop physical problems of your own? Because we all do. What if you have a baby with him? Will you let him treat the child the way he treats you? How will you stop it?

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Well done here, LCL.

        OP, LCL has some good questions here for you to think over.

        In your marriage, you two do not have equal footing. He needs you to help him in ways above and beyond anything you will ever need him to do for you. This causes a lop-sidedness as you work harder and harder to keep the two of you together. And how much has he done or is he willing to do to keep the two of you together?

        It sounds like you are paying his rent even though you don’t live there and he wants you to continue paying his rent. My wise friend used to say, we can tell when we give people too much. The recipient turns ungrateful, then recipient demands more and becomes verbally (or sometimes physically abusive) when we do not give them more on top of all that we have given them. From what you say here he seems to fit this pattern.

        Please get with a therapist and perhaps a lawyer to help you sort through things here. This is too big to try to deal with alone. Seeking inputs of well-chosen people is your next wise move.

    8. Matilda Jefferies*

      Oh, this must hurt so much for you. I’m sorry. <3

      My ex-husband has addiction issues, which is why we split up. We went through the same cycles as you and your husband – there would be problems for a while, then we'd hit a breaking point, he would promise to get help, we would reconcile, things would get better for a bit, and then there would be problems again. For me, it wasn't the addiction itself that was a problem, it was the behaviour associated with the addiction – this sounds like it's splitting hairs, but it was really important to me to separate the behaviour from the person. The person I fell in love with was strong and smart and funny and good in bed…and also angry and manipulative and disrespectful and he stole money from the household line of credit to buy beer. He was all of those things. And ultimately, as much as I loved him, I just couldn't deal with the behaviour any more.

      We were together for 11 years, and have now been separated for 7. And honestly, our relationship is a thousand times easier now, than it was when we were married. It's so much easier for me to say "nope, I don't deserve this" and walk out of a conversation if I need to. I don't have to talk to him at all if I don't want to, other than what we need to communicate about the kids. But we do chat by email periodically, and have gotten to a (careful) point where we can reminisce about the good parts of our marriage, or have a coffee together when he comes to pick up the kids. The alcoholism was never going to go away, so I took control of the only thing I could, which was the marriage. It was so hard, but so worth it.

      TL;DR – you are not a bad person. You are a person who is tired of being hurt by someone you love. Even if he has a mental illness, even if he doesn't mean to hurt you (and I do believe that), that doesn't change the fact that he is hurting you. If you need to protect yourself from that by not living with him for a while, then that's what you need to do. It's okay to take care of yourself first.

    9. Wishing You Well*

      Go to therapy to figure out what you want. Don’t live with him for the time being.
      He should live with his family because he has no income, no job and is very unlikely to change. You need to stop paying for a place you’re not living in. You will need that money. You don’t have to divorce, although that would protect you financially. He can still be your best friend living apart from you.
      Sorry you’re dealing with this. Sending good thoughts your way.

    10. Sad and anonymous*

      thanks everyone. i did start going to therapy. i like the idea of taking a different kind of break where he’s with family and we’re both living alone and we can have some sort of reset. where he learns healthier habits. but we don’t have kids, and i did want kids, so how long do i wait? it sucks cause we wanted soo many things together but we always had these major issues in the background and they just came to a head.

      1. blackcat*

        So another question to you is: how important to you is it that you have kids? Not how important was it, but now, how important to you is it?
        I frankly don’t think it’s fair to bring a child into a household where a parent might try to force them to follow their compulsions. First off, young children don’t work that way! Secondly, it sounds like he wants to outsource the managing of his illness to you, and I’d worry about him doing the same to a child as they grow up.
        It doesn’t make you a terrible person to decide that this is too much for you.
        It doesn’t make you a terrible person to decide you want kids, but not with him.
        It just makes you a person.

      2. Jules the 3rd*

        If you want kids, how long you wait depends on how old you are. A 24yo can wait around for a few years, a 34yo not so much.

        Here’s the thing: there’s no current progress. He’s not actually trying right now (and I say this as someone with OCD, under medication). When my OCD starts to impact my life, then I get help and I work on it. Period, end of sentence. Because I actually know it’s a problem and don’t want to drive my partner away. Because my mental health is my responsibility. I can ask my partner for support, but I must obtain and take my own meds, I can not just expect him to fall in with my unmedicated requirements, and I can not lash out at him for my unhappiness.

        I actually recommend you go ahead and start the divorce. He’s trying to lean on you to externalize the work of dealing with his mental health, and truly breaking the legal bonds will help you resist that. If he works on it himself before you find another partner, then he can come courting again.

      3. Not Alison*

        First of all I’m sending positive thoughts and energy your way as you deal with this difficult situation. You are not a bad person, you are just a person stuck in a no-win situation.

        But then, oh my. Please don’t bring children into a situation where their father has such issues. Even if he is fine for awhile, what happens if he backslides in the future. And the two of you separate then? Will your child/children be stuck with making sure their father is OK for the rest of their lives? I already feel bad for you and you volunteered to be married; I cringe at the thought of the children that would be brought into this situation who might feel morally obligated to help their dad – when they had no choice to be brought into the situation.

        1. Good luck with that*

          Yes! +1000
          He would not, in any reasonably foreseeable future be a good parent.
          If that isn’t enough reason, some experts believe there is a genetic component to OCD, as there is to other illnesses. Don’t do that to a child, and don’t do it to yourself.

      4. Clever Name*

        Please do not have children with this man. You will be tied to him for the rest of your life whether you want to be or not. Even if that does not give you pause, imagine him at his lowest and imagine trying to also parent a newborn. Or a teenager.

        There are men out there who care about your needs and want nothing more than to make you happy. I promise. I divorced my abuser (emotionally abusive with his own mental health problems), and I am currently living with my boyfriend of 1 year. I will be 40 next week and I’m starting over. When I first started dating my boyfriend, I was kind of shocked that he cared about my comfort and happiness. You deserve someone who can not only care for himself, but who has the emotional resources to care about you too.

        1. Quandong*

          Echoing Clever Name’s comment. I was in an abusive relationship from the age of 20 and left my ex when I was 32. My life is 1000x better and I have never regretted breaking up with him.

          My ex had multiple mental illnesses and he didn’t want treatment to manage them. He cycled through periods of functionality but overall was not able to keep a job.

          The freedom I felt once I left and cut all ties to Ex was indescribable – but there was a lot of grief to process and it was hard at first. When I was ready to date I was also shocked to experience kind and considerate partners. But I had wanted children, and I shudder to think that I might still be with my abuser right now if I made different choices.

          You deserve to be happy, supported, and in a relationship that enhances and enriches your life. Even if you don’t end up where you expected, turn away from what you know will cause lifelong trauma.

          Please give yourself the chance to heal and recover. Keep going to therapy and break up with your husband.

          Your life can be so different! Don’t bring more pain to yourself by having children with him.

      5. Wren*

        If you definitely want children, do not have them with your husband.

        There are better ways for you to have children than to permanently entangle yourself with your husband, who is unable to be a good partner for you. He is showing you who he is. Believe him!

        Please, please do not make the same mistake my sister did. All through her 30s she stayed with her abusive partner (who has no intention of addressing his mental illness) because she wanted kids but was scared to break up. Now she is the sole breadwinner, has two young sons, and her abusive partner is teaching them to treat women badly.

        My sister is thinking of how to leave in terms of years…and she will have some kind of contact with her abuser until her kids turn 18. Her choice to have children with him has caused great suffering.

      6. Name withheld to protect the innocent*

        I knew my boyfriend was a slob from multiple camping trips. We broke up over it, but I missed him too much to make it stick and we got married. 22 years later I realize he’s close to being hoarder and our kid’s the same. I see it in his mother too, only sometimes she goes on a tear and throws out TOO much. (Including our stuff because OF COURSE we could store some boxes in her guest room closet during a move, then she changed her mind and moved them to the musty dusty basement with mouse problem… so much for my interview suit and good leather jacket.)

        1. Name withheld to protect the innocent*

          Sorry I went on such a tangent, but believe me I’d recommend against staying with someone who doesn’t demonstrate and sustain behavior you can live with _on his own_

    11. WellRed*

      He’s critical, angry and verbally abusive. He blames you for his OCD. He wants you to foot all the bills and follow his rules. He isn’t hearing you on your concerns. You blame yourself. This is not love and friendship. Get yourself to a therapist to get support and perspective.

      1. Public Facing Librarian*

        All of this. He has an illness. You are not responsible for his illness. You are a warm, generous, loving person who deserves respect, kindness, and love.
        Seek professional help. Kids. Take care of yourself first. You cannot fix him nor should you try.

    12. Sybil Fawlty*

      Your story really touched me, and I am so sad for you. This is such a horrible situation for you both to be in.

      I just don’t think he’s able to give you what you need, and I don’t think he will change enough to make that happen.

      You’re definitely not a bad person to recognize this! And you have a right to be happy, too.

      I hope things work out for you and you have peace with whatever you decide to do.

    13. Observer*

      You’re not a bad person, but what you are doing is NOT working for you.

      Step one, I think, is for YOU to get yourself some therapy. What you are describing sounds pretty dysfunctional both on his part, and on yours. You need to find a better way to deal with all of this, and a good therapist should be able to help you.

      A few things that might be useful:

      1. Understand that this relationship may be unsustainable. Not “give up” but that the relationship may not survive you doing the things you really, really need to do. And even if you bend yourself into a pretzel, it STILL might not survive.

      2. Shut down any and all attempts to blame you for “triggering his OCD” or any of his other problems.

      3. Do NOT even *consider* moving in with him again until he’s back in therapy and making significant progress. At minimum, he needs to NOT need or expect you to live by his compulsions. If that makes you feel; bad, keep in mind that giving in to him this way is NOT doing him any favors.

      4. Vacate the apartment. Start saving money. It’s probably a good idea for your to move into YOUR OWN place. Living as an independent adult, without a toxic SO is likely to give you the perspective you need to realize what you need out of a relationship. And, an SO who tries to control you, vents his anger at you, blames you for his illness, tries to make you cater to his OCD *IS* toxic.

      1. Good luck with that*

        I’m not sure about getting her own place at this point. He might try to move in with her. If he catches her at a weak moment, and she agrees, it will be an ordeal trying to get him back out.
        While she’s with her parents, she has backup if he tries.

    14. Sleve McDichael*

      He needs to decide what he wants. Either he wants you back enough to go get treatment, or he wants to avoid getting treatment more than he wants to have you back. That might sound harsh, but it’s what the situation really boils down to. There is nothing that you have to do, or even that you can do to force him to make up his mind. No action from him is actually still making a choice, and it’s a choice for you to stay away. We can only control our own actions.

      But! You get to decide how long you will wait. Maybe, because you love him so much, you would wait a year of living apart before you start thinking about divorce. Maybe two years. Maybe a month. You’re allowed to do that, and you wouldn’t be the first person to do that. If, at the end of the time period that you choose, he still hasn’t sought help, then he’s made his choice and you should honour that.

      This is all horrible and I’m so sorry for you. Sending Jedi hugs if you want them.

    15. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      Wonderful advice above. My heart breaks for you. I did not discovery the depth of my husband’s mental issues and addiction (my head buried in believing I was in part responsible) until it was too late. Please remember you can and should take care of yourself first. TRUST your gut, get help. He will not change with you doing the work for him.

      The only suggestions I’d add are:
      1) – do get the divorce. You can remarry him if he does grow to become the partner you deserve, and addresses his issues. But you do not owe him support or mothering Staying married just helps him have false hope that you will continue to do his emotional and mental work. And makes it more complicated financially. 0
      2) remember, you can become the person you want to be – emotionally healthy, able to be a mother. Then – you can have children without him. There is adoption, there is single-parenthood. When you are ready. But do NOT cling to him thinking that you need him – and a difficult relationship – to have children. (I made that mistake, and then wound up not having the children after all that..)

    16. Is It Performance Art*

      Ugh, OCD runs in my family, so I can very much sympathize.
      I’m going to suggest a different approach: instead of saying he needs to go on medication and go back to therapy, decide what you’re willing and not willing to deal with and let him decide how to get there. It’s entirely reasonable to refuse to wash your hands the way his OCD tells you to. It’s not acceptable for him to take his anger and frustration out on you, even if it is a result of his OCD. And it’s perfectly reasonable to refuse to move apartments because his OCD has ruined it. I would also make it clear that you’re not going to raise children in a situation where his OCD wins. Some of this is his OCD, but some of it is how he copes with his OCD and it may be easier for him to tackle how he copes with it first.
      I don’t know what type of medication trial he’s done, but he should probably see a psychiatrist who specializes in OCD. OCD requires a higher dose of medication, it takes longer to get an effect and even then he shouldn’t expect his OCD to go into remission. A psychiatrist who treats a lot of OCD is going to have a realistic idea of what to expect. You don’t mention what type of therapy he’s had, but Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy is the only type that has strong scientific evidence supporting it. If he’s been getting treatment that isn’t really effective, getting him effective treatment may make him more willing to continue with it and not backslide.

    17. Lilysparrow*

      You are not a bad person. You are a loving, caring person in a terrible situation.

      The thing is, his compulsive behaviors/rules are not the whole picture in terms of his illness. They aren’t even the main obstacle to your relationship.

      His denial and refusal to take responsibility for supporting himself or taking care of his OCD – that’s the big obstacle. I don’t know if that’s part & parcel of OCD, or if he also has other issues going on. But until he gets himself to a point where he’s willing & able to treat you as a partner instead of a caretaker + scapegoat, there’s no chance for you to be together in a remotely healthy or happy way.

      And, no matter how much he tries to make you responsible for his feelings, you’re not. You aren’t the one causing him to have bad feelings, and you can’t fix it. His bad feelings are coming from inside himself, partly from his brain, and partly from his actions.

      If you could magically make him feel things, you’d make him feel happy & peaceful, because you love him!

      I’m sorry you’re in such a tough situation, but you are being very wise. I wish you all the best.

    18. Mrs. Fletcher*

      It is called “Tough Love” because it is tough on the person who is setting the boundary.
      It is tough because you must hold that line against the person you love the most, must hold that line against the emotional entreaties made by the person you want to help the most. It is tough because the entire time you are being told that the problems only exists because you are making it a problem. You cannot solve your partner’s physical and mental illness issues for him, only he can do that by getting treatment or therapy.

  42. Jen RO*

    One of the people reporting to me is great in most aspects of her work; considering she only has a bit over a year of experience in the role, she is exceeding my expectations. But she is convinced that she is slow, doesn’t understand the subject matter and all her questions are stupid. Basically, a bad case of imposter syndrome. She has also shared that she suffers from low self esteem in her personal life, which may be related.

    How can I, as a boss, make sure she understands she is one of the best people I’ve hired and she will have a successful career if she just gains a bit more confidence and starts engaging with other departments more? (I have used these words and she still thinks she is not good enough; I’m looking for some perspective from people who may know how she feels.)

    1. Frustrated Today*

      “she suffers from low self esteem in her personal life, which may be related.”

      I have someone like this and it doesn’t seem to matter what is said to her, what important projects she takes on, etc., she still suffers from low self esteem. There are other issues, such as taking everything very personally, crying over insignificant things, and reading into things that aren’t there, none of which it sounds like you have on your end, which is good! From what I’ve told, she’s been like this for years so I don’t see it changing for me.

      Maybe giving her a project to work on? Something for which she is responsible, but is relatively low stakes. I wish I had some words of wisdom for you, but all I can really say is I hear you and good luck!

    2. fposte*

      It sounds hard, but I don’t think your goal is reasonable. You can’t make somebody think somebody that they have walls against thinking. If your words had the power to change her into somebody to believe your praise, she’d have already believed your words of praise.

      I’d stick to behavioral advice–rather than “have more confidence,” which people can’t really do on command, focus more on “I recommend you take initiative more often in arranging meetings and speaking up, like in this situation here and that one there. Your contribution is important and people need to hear it.” And tell her when she’s done a thing well or what specific characteristic you appreciated in a moment, but don’t just praise her and praise her–praise above and beyond isn’t going to fix this, and to a lot of people with low self-esteem it just starts to sound fake.

    3. New Normal*

      One of my past jobs was tutoring teens and most of the time their struggles had more to do with their attitude than their abilities. Thus my job was more completely unlicensed and untrained therapist than tutor. My approach started with being incredibly matter-of-fact with them – no coddling so they knew if I said something, it was because it was unquestionably true. Then I refused to listen to negative talk. With the older kids I could just say “don’t want to hear it” or even “whatevs” (obviously worked best in our more casual setting) and moved on. The moving on is key. Don’t give the self-doubt oxygen.
      In serious cases I even pulled rank and asked them if they thought I was a liar or didn’t know my stuff. Because when they contradicted me and said they weren’t good when I said they were, that’s what they were saying – that I’m lying about their ability or can’t judge accurately. I think I only did that once or twice but it was good for shocking the occasional kid out of their spiral. But after that, it’s really up to them. Don’t dwell on it and don’t come back to it, just move on and assume she’s got it and don’t let her wallow at all. My goal was just to limit their time spent in negative self-talk and focus on the work at hand in the hopes that doing so would reroute the neural pathways. And, you know, it worked. Obviously in a different context but I think a lot of the lessons are transferable. Good luck!

    4. Anon attorney*

      I think these are great suggestions. I agree that there’s only so much you can do here. This individual clearly has a deep-rooted and systemic problem with self-confidence and valuing herself and work is only one of the domains in which this shows up. I actually wonder if trying to encourage her to this extent is something of a double edged sword – I understand why you would do it, but it means you are both focusing on her lack of confidence as A Problem, rather than focusing on the actions you want her to take and the results of those actions. I have worked with people like this and I have found that setting them up to succeed (giving them stretchy-but-doable projects, clearing the way for them at management level) and having them experience success can make a difference, but ultimately only she can address why she cannot internalise validation.

      Also, if you can swing it, I have found myself that nothing gave me confidence in my working abilities as much as getting a pay rise – I hate what capitalism has done to me :) but the fact that the company was prepared to part with more loot as a result of my performance really got through as a message of value.

    5. Policy wonk*

      I had some success with an employee like this when I pointed out that she was the expert on “x” and that was the value she was adding. She said something like “why would anyone want to listen to Sue Jones about this?” I told her bluntly that no one cared at all what Sue Jones had to say. But everyone was interested in what the expert on “x” had to say. Told her to remind herself that she was the expert on “x” before every meeting, speak from that place and people would listen. Sort of a twist on fake it ’til you make it, and it worked for her.

    6. EinJungerLudendorff*

      I too seem to have a case of imposter syndrome, so maybe I can shed some light on this with my own experiences.

      TL DR: You can’t fix her imposter syndrome. But you can help her realize she has it, and help her get and work through therapy of some kind.

      One important thing to realize is that imposter syndrome is not rational behaviour. That probably sounds obvious, but it’s easy to mistake it for a simple misunderstanding. Arguing with it is not a rational discussion between reasonable adults, it’s a word fight with a deeply entrenched conspiracy theorist hiding in the brain of the person you’re talking to.

      I don’t just have reasonable doubts about my own capabilities. At some deep level, I am utterly convinced of my own inferiority.Anyone challenging that fact is obviously wrong, and either ignorant of your incompetence or lying out of pity or some kind of misguided attempt to help you.
      Any evidence to the contrary will not cause my brain to doubt that fact, but to reflexively dig for any possible angle or excuse to throw doubt on the evidence and discount it entirely. Boss told you you’re doing great? They just haven’t looked closely enough. Or they’re not an expert. Or they’re lying and hoping you’ll improve. Or they’ve already written you off and are just playing nice until they have their ducks in a row. Or they’re secretly conflict avoidant. And so on, and on, and on.

      Ultimately, you cannot fix her imposter syndrome. It’s almost certainly deeply rooted, and has been for many years. This is something that will likely take a lot of time and effort on her part to fix, and the help of a professional mental health expert.

      Having said all that, it’s not like you can’t help her at all. Is she aware that she has imposter syndrome, and that her self-assessment is often so unreliable?
      It’s one thing to know you have low self-esteem (because of course you do, you suck) and quite another to know that you have a real mental health issue that’s screwing with your perception. From the inside, it often looks like you’re being completely rational, even if it’s obvious to any outsiders you’re really not.

      If she is aware, you can obviously help her to find some professional treatment for it if she wants to, and support her during that process. Therapy helped me a lot to help me deal with it and reduce the impact on my life.

    7. NicoleK*

      You can’t fix her low self confidence issue. My BEC coworker has the same issue. And I found myself getting sucked into validating her all the time. So don’t be too hard on yourself if nothing changes despite your attempts.

    8. Frustrated Today*

      This thread has been helpful for me. It’s made me realize that I can’t fix my problem employee. It’s something she needs to work on herself. I guess it’s telling that my person has been like this for the whole X number of years she’s been there, and multiple people have tried to help her to no avail. I never know what I’m going to get from week to week, or even day to day.

      1. EinJungerLudendorff*

        Yeah, mental health problems are like that. Hard and long to fix, insofar that is even possible. And the person themselves needs to commit to fixing it before you can even start the process.

      2. Jane of all Trades*

        I have the same issue (of having imposter syndrome). I work for an amazing person who is very generous with positive feedback. On some level I know that I do good work. But when they tell me that my work was excellent, I either focus on the things that had to be changed, or worry because for the next project there surely will be something that needs to be corrected and will crush my confidence. There is nothing at all my boss could tell me to fix this. So I try my best to believe them when they give me good feedback, accept it gracefully and enthusiastically, and continue to work with my therapist on addressing my issues.
        Jen Ro, I would recommend that you treat her the same as you would treat an employee performing at the same level who doesn’t have imposter syndrome. The rest you can’t fix, but I think it is great that you care so deeply about your employees – just keep being a caring boss and you’ll have done what you can for her.

    9. Jennifer @unchartedworlds*

      “How to talk so kids will listen & listen so kids will talk”, Faber & Mazlish, has some really good clear advice (with cartoons!) on how to give praise so that the other person hears it & takes it in. Don’t be put off by the fact that it’s written as a parenting book – young humans and older humans are pretty similar in this regard :-)

  43. Jaid*

    I…pulled a muscle in the back of my heel. I don’t even remember doing it, but there it is.

    At least I have a four day weekend to keep off my feet and devices from previous ailments to keep my foot comfortable

    1. Kathenus*

      Definitely a muscle, or could it be a strained Achilles? I ask because I got the latter once, and was told by the doctor that it was actually worse to completely stay off it with an Achilles strain (note a tear/rupture might be different), but that I should be still using it but cautiously.

      1. Jaid*

        From what I can tell, it’s a calcaneal bursitis. The pain is directly in the back of the heel, not in the tendon. It doesn’t hurt to move my foot, only when I take the pressure off of it, say in walking. Putting ice on it was agonizing.
        I’m walking on it, but very carefully and keeping the area wrapped so it doesn’t move as much. I think it was worse yesterday because at work, I have to do a lot of walking (my office building is literally the size of a city block and the train station is bigger).

  44. Career Path*

    My boss wants me to have a career path conversation with a direct report. I’ve never done this before, at least nothing beyond, “Hey, you would be great at X.” Any tips?

    The reason for the career path discussion is that he is budgeted for a certification (by the previous boss), which is similar to one he just got. Both of these really are not needed for the work he does. Although the first one I could argue is at least relevant to the area in which he works, the second one is more for someone following that particular path. He’s doing things that are much different than others who have these certifications (think systems vs. research and analysis) and he has no intention of following their path. (Even if he left, he would not follow this path.) I told my boss this, that it doesn’t make sense for him to get this next certification. Hence, the career path talk I’m supposed to have with him. As to why he has a certification and is getting another similar one, I feel as though it’s a combo of the higher-ups throwing stuff at him to make him happy and help him grow, and him wanting to take as many classes as possible thinking it will make him more valuable here, when these are not needed for what he does and he’s not really using much of the knowledge in his regular work. Also, it’s become apparent recently they’re trying to fit a square peg into a round hole; they made him a manager before I arrived, even though he has said before he doesn’t want to be one, but he took it because he thinks it makes him more valuable.

    What’s going to make this a difficult discussion is that he’s already having a hard time with the fact that he has a new boss and things are changing (even though he knows I’ve been tasked with making big changes), and he is quite sensitive. I don’t want to go into more detail just in case coworkers read AAM, but just trust me when I say I’ve never dealt with anyone like this before and it’s exhausting. (Yes, managing the person out may have to happen at some point, but it’s off the table due to other things and people’s–higher-ups–opinions at the moment.)

    1. Oranges*

      Honestly this doesn’t sound like a one and done conversation. It sounds like it should be one conversation saying “ Hey you are a systems guy and most people generally do research which is why X and Y credential are helpful to them in their career path. Is systems something you want to do or would you be interested in moving toward more research? What do you want from your career? I’m happy to have you get, and you’re budgeted for, Y credential but if it’s not where you see yourself is there another credential we should be aiming for?” And then following up with him a week or so later so he has time to think about what does he want, what options are out there, etc.

      1. Career Path*

        Thank you! Now that I’m looking at this, I’ve been doing some form of this with him over the last couple months due to all the upheaval my arrival has created with him. My boss had a version of this talk with him, too, while I was present. I guess the whole “have a career path discussion” made me think it was much more than this.

        I feel like he’s someone who chases all the certifications, learning, etc. even though it might have nothing to do with what he does or wants, just because. I also feel like he would follow any direction he’s told he needs to follow, whether it’s what he wants or not.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Is there a nonmanagement option for advancement at your company? If yes, that’s worth pointing out, especially if a technical track cert is available too.

    2. Analytical Tree Hugger*

      I would add, this type of conversation seems like an essential part of getting to know a new employee.

  45. Yaaaay*

    I’d like some advice.

    I recently started a new job (that I’m loving!) where my employer issues us uniforms. Per protocol, these uniforms are not allowed to be worn outside, so in practice there’s a supply of separates next to the time clock. We enter, take the appropriate sizes, and go into the locker room. Once we’re done with our shift, we change back and put the uniforms into the supplied laundry basket.

    Here’s my question: are there any rules/restrictions on what I can wear to work? I’ve been eyeing my coworkers when we come in and there’s no pattern. Some come in slacks and blouses, some come in jeans and plain tees or summery tops. Since starting, I’ve been hitting my collection of sundresses pretty hard, but I’ve also been toying with the idea of coming in a pair of shorts and a tank top. What about, say, a tee with a slogan? And what sort of slogans? Would a Pride shirt be okay?

    If literally the only time I’m on site and not in my uniform is for the trip between the parking garage and the locker room, and my ID badge is usually in my pocket or bag, are there any rules for attire other than “cover your bits”? Am I overthinking this?

    1. Laura H.*

      I think this is a question better fielded to your own manager than to us

      Looking at the choices of others for a little longer and asking them about it would also be something I’d suggest.

    2. Matilda Jefferies*

      Probably overthinking. But I got dinged once for coming into the store with messy hair, before I had my uniform on. I brushed it before I started working, but apparently it was still a problem for my manager. People can be weird about stuff like that, especially in retail and food service and places where they don’t feel that they have a lot of control otherwise.

      On the other hand, though – my partner used to be an usher for an MLB team, and took great joy in wearing other team’s shirts to work before he changed into his uniform. Why? Why not!

      I’d say just keep doing what you’re doing for another couple of weeks to get a feel for what other people are doing.

    3. WellRed*

      Two rules of thumb: observe what coworkers are wearing. Consider how you’d feel dressed in shorts/tank if you ran into the big boss or a customer.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      Know your employer. I worked for one place that was super sensitive to every customer complaint. I only wore plain clothing into the store, I did not wear anything that would provoke any type of comment- good or bad.
      The goal was to sell products/services and that was it. On any other topic at all, we had to be totally neutral at all times, so nothing got in the way of making that sale.
      Until you find proof otherwise, no logos, no sayings, nothing on clothes, until you know for sure that it is okay.

    5. PurpleMonster*

      I once worked in a place like that, and it never occurred to me to wonder what to wear into the building! The place was huge, so you’d enter and then slip through a ‘staff only’ side door to get your uniform on. Nobody could identify you as staff until you were uniformed up, and I don’t think any staff members would care what you wore, even if they knew who you were.

      Check with your own workplace, but I think you’d be fine as long as you’re not wearing something that would be generally considered offensive (T shirt covered in swear words, SS uniform, meat dress).

  46. Aurion*

    I am at total BEC with an external contact (I’m the customer, she’s my sales rep). My boss keeps telling me I should just get on the phone and call her, but I hate doing it because a) it wastes my time and I can’t multitask while on the phone, and b) she never has an answer anyway and gives me endless platitudes and promises to “find out”, c) no paper trail.

    Her sales support coordinator is sharp and on the ball, but herself is…not. She literally tried to argue “but you don’t know xyz was not shipped because they’re invoiced separately from the rest of your shipment” when the separate invoice she sent me, which I read but she evidently did not, clearly indicates “xyz: quantity backordered 20, quantity shipped 0”. I have noticed my emails getting terser and terser (I’ve started omitting the “Hi xxx” salutation and my usual “thanks, Aurion” closing).

    How this person managed to become a “senior account manager” is beyond me.

      1. Aurion*

        My boss suggested that too. Realistically I think we’re pretty small fry to them. We’re pretty big for our region, but measuring up to their total overall volume I think we’re still pretty small.

        I wouldn’t be half as irritated if she’d own up to her mistakes. She can send me a two paragraph email full of fluff and platitudes about sunny weather, but when I send a one-sentence email asking “what’s the ETA for Widget A into Location 1?” she’ll send an emoji-filled reply of “yes all incoming shipments for Widgets are destined for Location 1!! :D” without actually, y’know, answering the question of what the ETA is.

        1. Dr. Anonymous*

          If you haven’t asked for a new account manager and been turned down, maybe there’s hope. Ask!

        2. Lucy*

          You’d think that if you’re a small customer it ought to be MORE easy to get a different contact, not less. A small account won’t make much difference to anyone’s targets or workload. I think it’s worth asking.

    1. I edit everything*

      Can you go straight to her support coordinator (I’m not familiar with the different titles–is that her assistant?) for answers? And maybe drop a note to Account Manager’s boss saying, “When you promote Support Coordinator to a sales rep position, we’d love to be her first account” or something along those lines.

      That’s a subtle “we’re not wedded to Account Manager,” and a clear “this other person is really great.” Might not have immediate results, but positive long-term effects.

    2. Clever Name*

      I assume they’d like to keep your business? Then it would behoove them to find someone you can at least stand talking to

  47. AnnonAunt*

    So we have our 14 year old niece visiting! We’re really excited to share the city with her and her parents told us she was excited to come … the problem is her phone. She is totally buried in it. Partly as a creative outlet (she’s engrossed in creating some characters for something or other) and partly talking with her friends. She seemed excited to visit a museum yesterday that’s featured in a book series she reads but when we were there she kinda rushed through the exhibit talking to a friend on her phone until the phone died, then seemed a little .. down I guess. She is talking to us about her characters and stuff she’s watching on the phone but doesn’t give much input when we ask if she has anything in particular she wants to do. We don’t want to be a bummer, but we also don’t want her to be bored. Should we be letting her just do her own thing and keep trying to get her to interact, or should we be trying to encourage her to put down her (damn) phone and actually see what the city has to offer? We are obviously not parents ourselves so we just don’t know if we’re doing ok or should be trying harder to get her involved.

    1. Fortitude Jones*

      Since she’s 14, let her do her own thing. If she wants to spend the bulk of her time chatting with friends on the phone, so be it. Ask her what kinds of things she’d like to do for fun while she’s with you and then do those things, but if she’s not really responsive, I’m not sure what else you can do short of forcing her to come along to things which usually doesn’t turn out well.

      She’s a teenager – a lot of people her age aren’t really trying to hang with adults like that unless they’re like I was as a teen and didn’t really relate to people my own age. When my brother was 14, I don’t think we saw him the entire summer, lol. He was too busy doing stuff with his friends. Try not to take it personally. If it really bothers you that she doesn’t seem as into this trip as you’d like, maybe mandate that family time is dinner time and then let her do what she wants for the rest of the day? That was the compromise my mom used to give my brother that seemed to work.

    2. Thankful for AAM*

      One thought I have is to ask her!
      I feel like telling her to be off the phone is counterproductive and you probably don’t have a long enough visit to model different behavior.

      Take her to an event/museum/place and ask on the way in, do you want to talk about (cool place) while here or are your friends and projects/characters on your mind? Something like that.

      1. WellRed*

        Don’t take her places if she’s going to be talking on the phone and bothering other patrons.

    3. Teach*

      Teacher and parent of 14 year olds here:
      It would actually be okay to very nicely and in an upbeat manner tell her that as her hosts and as people who have been looking forward to her visit for a long time that you would like everyone (including the adults) to have their phones put away during specific going-on-an-outing-together times and at the dinner table. You could also offer that if she wanted to, she could share her favorite YouTubers or games with you to play together (like Pokeman Go, or whatever character game she is playing) so you can learn about the things she enjoys. Most summer camps would have this same policy, and a lot of kids report that they actually like the “enforced break.”
      Also, 14 year olds are kind of hard in that they want to do stuff, but they don’t always know what they want to do and are self-conscious about everything and also don’t always know how to ask a question. If she is generally a nice girl, she probably also is not used to expressing her opinions to adults. So, you might present her with choices – “Hey niece – tomorrow’s weather is supposed to be really nice so we were thinking about doing an outdoors thing. Will you come look at these websites and see what looks fun to you? Here’s a water park and it has this stuff, or here’s a walking tour by the river and there is a really fun cupcake place, or this state park is a little farther drive but it has this waterfall and we could pack some snacks to bring with. Which one looks good to you?” Another idea is that if you have a camera, especially a “good” camera, ask her to document the trip so you can make an album or something. A final idea: board games are usually a hit with this age group – maybe there is a board game cafe’ in your area? Or you can check out or borrow some? If she likes phone games, look for board games like Exploding Kittens, Settlers of Catan, Snake Oil, Scrabble, Fluxx, Apples to Apples, Pandemic, etc. My teens like Truth Bombs, which comes from some popular YouTubers, but might get a little edgy? I haven’t played that one, but they enjoy it with their younger aunt and uncle.
      Lastly, she’s probably really enjoying herself and looks up to you tremendously and is just awkward in the manner of most 14 year olds.

      1. Ginger ale for all*

        Seconding the suggestion of no phones at meal times. I wish some of my adult friends knew to do this as well.

        I also think maybe watching a tv show that encourages chatting while watching might be nice. Like when you are watching Project Runway and comment on the design choices or Hell’s Kitchen and talk about the contestants food choices.

    4. AnnonAunt*

      Thanks everyone! We will use your advice. Thankfully Coney Island seems to be a hit, so even if the rest of the weekend stinks for her, we’ll always have Coney Island as a fun memory.

    5. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I was a book nut in the days before cell phones. Mom’s guideline was that I could bury my nose when it wasn’t something she was paying for. Trip to camp, dinner, museum yes. Inside I had to participate or she stopped letting me for them for a while.
      I don’t know if that helps…but it’s a thought.

  48. Good eyes*

    Would it make sense to go to the eye doctor for a checkup, when nothing in particular is wrong? I’m 33 and have never been to the eye doctor as an adult. I have free vision insurance through work so I signed up, but my vision is good. Is there any reason to go in on a semi-regular basis, like the dentist, or only if there is an issue?

    1. matcha123*

      You should go and get your eyes checked because some eye issues will not come with pain or vision problems. The eye doctor can give you a better idea of how often you should return based on your exam. If you have free vision, use it!

    2. Matilda Jefferies*

      You should go. Even if you don’t need glasses, the doctor will check for glaucoma and other eye-related thingys (that’s the technical term.) The doctor will tell you if you need regular checkups after that, but it’s definitely worth going for that first one!

    3. Aurion*

      Yes. My sibling’s optometrist detected their cholesterol issues via eye exam and told them to hie thee to a doctor for a blood workup.

      If you’re not paying for it, I think it’s a great idea to get a checkup periodically.

    4. Lost in the Woods*

      It’s a good idea, especially if you don’t need to pay for it, since they test for and can catch early signs of eye diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration. In diseases like that early intervention can be the key to maintaining your vision for a substantially longer period of time.

    5. LCL*

      …going to channel what my eye doctor said, when I mentioned how unfair it was my sister had never seen an eye doctor and never needed glasses. This is a paraphrase because it was a few years ago.
      ‘People like your sister are the ones I see who walk into the office with full blown glaucoma that has caused vision loss, because they never had their eyes checked. By the time they notice something is off, it’s too late.’

    6. Asenath*

      I go regularly. My eyes have changed somewhat over time, and I want the screening for common eye problems, particularly as a close relative had one of the ones that can cause blindness with little warning.

    7. OperaArt*

      Absolutely get them checked. In fact, get them checked every year or two. It’s a routine preventative measure that any good optometrist conducts many times a day.

      I’ve had my eyes checked every one or two years for the last 45 years or so—and I had 20/20 vision for at least 30 of those years.

    8. New Normal*

      Go! If absolutely nothing else, going when you’re healthy establishes a baseline for if/when something goes wrong.

      I say this as someone who has put off my eye checkup for far too long and am finally going next week.

      1. New Normal*

        Also (sorry, thought of this just as I hit submit) it helps to be an established patient somewhere if something does go wrong.

    9. Clever username goes here*

      Absolutely go. I apparently had tiny holes in my retinas (?!) that were asymptomatic but potentially serious. You never know what crazy shenanigans your body will pull when you’re not paying attention.

      1. tetsal*

        Oh, we have the same condition, I think! My optometrist terrified me because this had never come up on older exams (I’ve been wearing glasses since at least 13) and she bandied the word “blind” like it was nothing. I went to the ophthalmologist who explained it’s not critical (the symptoms could emerge and a few days can pass before it’s bad), it’s a simple outpatient procedure to fix and that I should avoid being hit in the head…which I was already doing, but it’s nice to be reminded.

    10. Come On Eileen*

      Yes, definitely go! I work for a vision insurance company, and we talk to our members constantly about how eye exams check for a lot more than just your vision/refraction. Eye doctors can spot a lot of health issues through your eyes. Please get them checked :-)

    11. tiasp*

      Husband hadn’t been to an eye doctor in years. Finally went because we are at the age where we can’t read small print anymore and he needed glasses. Optometrist detected his extremely high blood pressure and told him to get himself to a doctor. He did and was immediately put on medication to get that under control (it was 200 something over I don’t know what).

      It’s recommended that adults have an eye exam every two years.

    12. londonedit*

      Absolutely, please do go regularly! Here in the UK, the recommendation is for adults to go for a full eye test every two years. Not only do they test your vision but they also check for early signs of glaucoma, general eye health, etc. I go every two years for a full eye test and also every year for a contact lens check, as I wear lenses every day.

    13. tetsal*

      As someone with eye issues with good insurance whose only a little younger than you and doesn’t even go as often as they should, I would go anyways to get a baseline at least.

  49. matcha123*

    “Older” people, is there a certain way of speaking or carrying oneself that makes you respect someone younger?

    I’m older millennial age and work with a woman in her early 60s. I have been polite from day one, but don’t feel like I’m getting the same level of respect in return. I think she originally thought I was a recent grad, but now that she knows my real age, I still get this sense that she has no faith in anything I say or in any area I have expertise or knowledge in.
    I have another friend who is a year older who has in the past told me that she didn’t believe things I said because it seemed like I didn’t know what I was talking about. Firm and polite pushback (“I actually have a certificate in clown juggling, so I am basing my answer on that,” “This map to Dumbledore’s office was drawn for me by Harry Potter himself,” etc.) have been met with exasperated sighs or more comments on how I don’t know what I’m talking about.
    While it shouldn’t be important, I will add that I don’t dress like I’m about to hit the club, I don’t use a lot of slang when I talk, I don’t get worked up or visibly agitated in general. I also don’t jump into conversations at work on topics that I’m not specifically asked to comment on. I generally try not to vocalize my opinions on whether or not another department is incompetent or someone’s copy was crap.

    1. Asenath*

      I’d assume that these problems were personal to those two people, and nothing to do with age – especially as one of them is only a year older! And it could be anything from actual lack of respect to respect that isn’t displayed in a way you expect (different mannerisms; different personalities).

      But if someone told me directly that I didn’t know what I was talking about when in fact I did, and could prove it to them, they wouldn’t be my friend very long.

      1. matcha123*

        This person gets very offended when I give her a taste of how she responds to me. She can be very kind in other aspects of her life, but she is judgemental and needs to be right all of the time.

    2. Nacho*

      Fuck that kind of older person. There’s no way to carry yourself that will make them respect you, because it’s not how you’re carrying yourself that they disrespect. Just ignore them and take solace in the fact that they’ll all be dead soon, and definitely don’t change anything about how you act to appease them.

    3. Thankful for AAM*

      Well, you are describing a pattern in how others see you and the two you mentioned are different ages. So it might be worth looking at what things you are doing that sends the same signal to both of them.

      I am “older” and what makes me respect someone younger (and older) is the quality of their work. I am more tolerant of any lack of professional awareness in a younger person. I also respect a person of any age who appears open to input and feedback.

      Example: there are 2 new staff under 30 in my dept. One does excellent work, asks questions, and welcomes the answers. The other does not do great work (but I don’t think they realize that), never asks any questions, spends time on their phone, and has to be told to do tasks and then does not figure out that the next time there is down time, to do those tasks. As a result, I look out for the first one, point out opportunities, and generally go out of my way for and respect them. I don’t do that for the 2nd person and find they don’t care if I do; they don’t respect me or maybe they just don’t think I have anything to offer.

      The second person will tell me things but I basically don’t trust their work, their professionalism, or what they are saying.

      1. Thankful for AAM*

        I should have added that both of them have technical skills in different areas that I do not. At this point, I only ask the second one for help when I have no other choice.

      2. matcha123*

        The older person I mentioned has said to our shared supervisor that I don’t ask her enough questions. However, she’s been very cold? to me since I joined, and her way of answering questions can be quite condescending. She makes assumptions that I don’t understand something and will explain things that I already know about. While I try to produce high quality work with lots of checking, citing sources, etc., the result only seems to make her question my work more.
        As to why I don’t ask her more questions, it is because I don’t really have any for her and prefer to check things myself and ask other coworkers before going to her.

    4. OperaArt*

      I’m 61. It sounds to me like you are dealing with rude people who happen to be older. I generally respect people of any age until they give me a reason to do otherwise. Don’t let the age difference cloud things. How would you deal with a lack of respect from someone your own age? From someone younger?
      Or, if your situation allows, stay away from them.

    5. That Girl From Quinn's House*

      I’m your age and I actually worked in a field that was adjacent to senior-citizen services. We had a lot of employees in the 60-70 range, and a lot of patrons in that range too. They mostly liked me and respected me. I’m not sure what the particular trick was, but I made a point of being patient, helpful, and respectful when their age started to show in some way or another, because it will show for everyone in some way, eventually, no matter how physically fit/mentally sharp/tech savvy they are.

      The problem I think you are seeing is probably more based in sexism, ex: as a younger female you can’t possibly be an expert in anything! Is that an issue in your company/organization/geographical region?

      1. WonderingHowIGotIntoThis*

        I’m a bit confused by the whole “millenial generation” definition. One range given started with people born in 1980 – which makes you 40 next year! If you are nearly 40 and are being disrespected by people only 20 years your senior, it’s because THEY are rude and disrespectful people, not because you are a millenial.
        FWIW I’m a 1980 baby and regularly spend time with a bunch of ladies who are in their seventies- and they’ve never been anything but supportive and respectful.

        1. matcha123*

          ’83 here :)

          Many of you have reminded me that it is a personality issue rather than an age one. I am spending more time with that person for work, so I should remind myself to take a step back!

        2. londonedit*

          It’s definitely their personalities and not an age thing. People can be rude at any age! According to some of the definitions I’m apparently a ‘millennial’ (1981) which makes me nearly 38 years old, not exactly the ‘self-centred, sulky teen’ stereotype that seems to have been conflated with the whole ‘millennial’ thing. I have friends in their 20s and friends in their 60s and they’re all lovely people!

    6. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Discrimination isn’t based on anything you do or can change.

      I’ve only encountered older individuals who have a problem with my perceived youth recently. They’re obtuse and simply bigoted, it’s not something that can be changed by our approach. They have something inside clouding their idea of who we are.

    7. Not So NewReader*

      I’ll be 60 next year, fwiw.
      I am wondering if you are trying too hard and she is reflecting back your awkward feelings?
      Is there a small chance that she could see you as seeking her approval, when her approval is not necessary?
      I have read enough of your posts here, where you are relaxed and conversational. I think I would enjoy working with you. But if someone tenses up on me, I can’t make them get UNtense. They have to decide to relax.

      But honestly, it looks like this woman could just be acting like a jerk. I have little tolerance for exasperated sighs, adults use words and children use sighs. The comments on not knowing what you are talking about are over the top.

      Do you have anyone at your place who is a trusted confidant? Perhaps you can ask them for tips for getting a better working relationship with this woman. In the process of asking for tips you might find out that she does this to everyone. With her it could be that it’s not personal but rather it’s just a way of life.

      If you don’t come up with a better plan perhaps you can touch base with your boss. “Jane frequently comments that I don’t know what I am talking about and I am not sure how to respond to that.” I’d save this option for last, though.

      1. matcha123*

        I have noticed that I easily pick up on people’s moods and, as you mentioned, can sometimes tense up when I sense they are tensing up or vice-versa. With some reflection I have started to think that she may have felt, or feels, put off because she wanted to be in more of the motherly teacher position, and my workstyle of trying to be as thorough as possible circumvents that process. I have a hard time sensing what kind of questions are thoughtful and allow her that role, but also don’t make me look like a fool.
        We definitely have a style clash, which isn’t the end of the world. But I think she takes it as a personal attack.
        Her treatment towards other staff is perhaps more professional? As they are all permanent members, while I am considered part-time. She is, too, but I do notice a difference in the way she interacts with other full-time members who are in my age range.
        And thank you for the kind words!

    8. tetsal*

      I am a little convinced this is a personal issue on her part. I have a coworker who views me as much younger than I am (she is only 1.5 years older than me; she knows this but is frequently shocked when my other sympathetic coworker reminds her on my behalf) and she treats me exactly as you described.

      Continue to do your best work and speak with confidence. When her attitude begins to interfere with work, I would speak to your manager. At the end of the day, your work speaks for itself and she is not your manager – just remember who you are accountable to.

      1. matcha123*

        That sounds like it might be the case with my friend! We have about the same difference in age as you and your coworker. That’s so weird that she would try to use such a small difference in age as a reason for treating you like that!

  50. Annon Annie*

    I’m going Anon today if that’s OK as I’ve introduced someone I know to AAM. I may just want to write this out, but it’s been really bothering me. I feel that the dynamics at my job are exactly the same as they were five years ago even though my responsibilities and role have changed and grown, and it is just annoying beyond belief. At my last company, I was seen as a higher status contributor as time went on and I handled larger customers and problems. Here, I still feel like I am seen and treated as unknowledgeable or not the go-to person. I don’t get invited to things, but then end up cleaning up problems resulting from those meetings after the fact. Then I talked to my boss about that and got pulled into more stuff, but most of my suggestions and comments fell on deaf ears and I still fixed the same sorts of problems behind the scenes. I still have people discussing problems in my area without pulling me in. With our dynamics, I think it’s because some of the problems are seen as fancy or managerial, and people want to superficially get involved. This creates additional costs though, as they outsource solutions we could easily do in house through my department. I’m finding it hard to motivate my staff in this sort of environment where we are viewed as second class citizens, I can only say “this is the way it is” in so many different ways.

    On another note, I feel like I can’t get more social because a few of my coworkers have gotten competitive with me in ways I haven’t had at other jobs. For example, if I say I’m running and did a mile in 6:30, they did it in 6:30 as well, even though I hadn’t heard of that person running or even exercising at all before that point even though they are always talking.

    I tried to get another job, but the search was extremely time consuming and I gave up after I wasted a few days off getting to the top of a candidate pool for a competitive role, only for both of us to realize it wasn’t a perfect fit at the last stage. I also make good (though not extremely high) money, and don’t want to shake that up. I’m saving and maxing my 401K and there is no reason to rock the boat, especially as a recession definitely looms (and I follow the financial news and even though some people have been saying that for a few years, I think it actually is here this time).

    I just feel stuck and isolated. In my previous jobs, my colleagues were always older and could teach me stuff but also seemed more jovial and humorous and I got along with them on a deeper level. At this job, I am older than 70% of my coworkers and the dynamic is different. Groups go to lunch without me, but I’m still too young to fit in with the older management crowd, so I feel stuck in the middle. When I do try to socialize with them, I hear alot of 20 something dating stories and apartment hunts and those sort of starting out stories and feel like I’m just standing there shaking my head, I don’t really relate anymore and I try to, but it just feel like an unnaturally forced attempt to make a connection. Throw into that mix that no one seems to understand my cultural references and jokes, and then I’m not even attempting to talk to people anymore, because instead of getting a chuckle I’m going to get “I don’t know who (insert popular classic sitcom character) was.”

    1. fposte*

      Oh, that’s really frustrating; this sounds like an unhappy position.

      I suspect some of this is circular; you’re not happy so infelicitous interactions loom larger, and then they make you even unhappier. But is therapy in the mix anywhere here? Because it sounds like the negative is taking up a disproportionate amount of space and making movement harder than necessary–it sounds, for instance, like you were a strong competitor for a challenging job, which is a good story, but all it’s saying to you is that you wasted time.

      As far as the recession goes, a recession is *always* coming at some point, and nobody actually knows when that point is; if you knew it wasn’t for another ten years, would you do anything different? In some situations I’d say hey, can you reframe and reapproach your work, but it sounds like all you like about it is the money. I bet you could get somebody else to pay you money.

    2. Ginger ale for all*

      If you are worried about a recession coming, start (or enlarge) an emergency fund and start paying down any debt you have.

      And when someone runs the mile slightly faster than you, turn the conversation into a how cool that we share the same hobby conversation. Start asking how their running is going every so often.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      Do you like these people?
      At some point it stops mattering if they like us or not. It’s more to the point to figure out if we like them or not.
      For myself, when I end up in trains of thought similar to what you have here it usually because I have decided I don’t like these people. And I don’t want to admit that to myself. It feels judgey and I don’t like me much when I get judgey.

      My wise friend used to talk about changing one thing that you are doing and see where that puts you. Then move on and change another thing you are doing and see where that next change puts you. Keep going until you feel less stuck, or hopefully no longer feel stuck at all.

      What I see here is a list of things you cannot change. So yeah, it makes sense that you feel stuck. Start looking for things you can change. This is going to sound stupid, but we have to start somewhere: Get up on the left side of the bed rather than the right side; if you always ate breakfast then showered, reverse that; if you are always five minutes late for work decide to arrive five minutes early every day and so on. Stupid little changes that seem like nothing, but keep following a path of changes or life tweaks that have some meaning to you even if the meaning is small. Do one change at a time so you can see its impact or lack of impact. Then move to the next change. Keep doing this until your setting starts to look different. Right now you are saying everything is beyond your control. Do small things to take back your power and prove to yourself that everything is NOT beyond your control and you CAN be in charge of your life.

  51. Hazelnut Bunny*

    A couple months ago I posted I had a blighted ovum and had to have a medically induced miscarriage. It was tough to deal with but we accepted it and moved on. My SO and decided we weren’t in a hurry to have a baby just yet as I have children already. I went back on my birth control but I also take a medication for migraines that lessened the effect of birth control and can make my memory a little foggy. I’ve been on this combination for about 7 years and never ended up pregnant until this past miscarriage. Ob said it was a fluke. Well I took a test last night and I’m pregnant again. I only took it because I felt a little off-short with people, extremely exhausted. I did not think it would be positive so I about had a heart attack when it was positive. I have no idea what to do. I’m afraid to tell my SO as it was hard on our relationship when it ended the way it did. I’m so terrified it’s going to be a repeat of last time. And I’m afraid if we do have this baby, something could end up wrong.

    1. Matilda Jefferies*

      Oh wow – you must have so many mixed feelings right now. I hope everything works out for the best for you. <3

    2. fposte*

      Oh, Hazelnut, how very complicated. I hope all goes well for you.

      FWIW, there doesn’t seem to be any indication that hormonal birth control or most migraine medications (wasn’t sure which you were worried about there) have a higher association with birth defects. Hope that’s good news at least.

    3. Ginger ale for all*

      I wish I had the right words for you but I don’t. Sending kind thoughts.

    4. Anon for this*

      The good news is that having one mc doesn’t mean you have a higher risk of mc in your second pregnancy. I have double checked sources on this and its fact. I also read somewhere that if you get pregnant within 6 months of a mc, your chances of a second mc are actually lower than in a first pregnancy. But I haven’t double checked this as it is asnt referenced and I couldn’t find the study.

      Personally I had a mc followed by two healthy full term babies, and I know loads of people who’ve had healthy babies after a loss. And as fposte said, there is no evidence that getting pregnant on birth control causes any health issues for the baby.

      I’m so sorry for your loss and I wish you all the best with this LO.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      Sending comforting vibes your way. When life roller coasters like this it is so hard. Take extra time to do self-care as that is how You Today invests in You Tomorrow.

  52. Lady Jay*

    We got SEVEN INCHES of rain in <12 hours last night, so I spent the first part of the 4th helping family clear water from the basement. Fun stuff.

    Thankfully the sun is starting to come out.

    1. Snazzy Hat*

      For the past week or so, weather reports have been predicting rain and/or thunderstorms every freaking day. We’ve gotten a few sprinkles here and there. Nothing that I would label even as “light rain” or “mist”. O_o

  53. matcha123*

    Apologies for the double-post, but this question is in a completely different room from my previous one.

    Any fans of used (pre-loved) luxury items? Or bargain hunting in general?
    This has been a small obsession of mine for years. I don’t go after the uber expensive, big-ticket items like Kelly bags, but I will obsessively stalk sites for small leather goods (SLGs) and watch YouTube videos. I think I’ve gotten some pretty good deals, especially considering I tend to pay way less than some resellers in the States seem to sell for.
    I’ve been all about the key cases for the past few months.

    1. Ethyl*

      Idk if this is what you mean, but I love looking for vintage fountain pens and mechanical pencils at estate sales, flea markets, etc. They’re delightful, and usually cheap, and I can occasionally find one that I can resell on eBay at a nice profit. One time, I found a gorgeous Sheaffer pen/pencil set in it’s original box for $5, and sold it on eBay for $100!

      (Of course, I wind up keeping a fair few too…..not my fault! I just have a slight Parker addiction!)

      1. matcha123*

        I love fountain pens. I haven’t worked myself up to actually buying one, but I do spend a bit of time gazing at them at department stores. Check out rakuten, I feel like they might have some ones you may like.

    2. Fortitude Jones*

      I stalk The RealReal and thredUP for pre-loved luxury items, mainly purses and shoes. I’ve gotten some really nice bags from Chloe, Ferragamo, Mulberry, and Marc Jacobs (not from his mid-tier line) that way (and my favorite sunglasses, a pair of white and gold Alexander McQueen shades, are from The RealReal as well) – hunting for these things is such a rush, plus, it’s much better for my wallet! Lol. I also love Gilt for non pre-loved luxury items. Most of my designer glasses come from there – I’ve gotten Fendi and Roberto Cavalli shades for $99 a piece! TJMAXX online also has lower-priced luxury bags and glasses, so you should check that out as well.

      1. matcha123*

        Looking for, and then finding, the perfect piece is soo satisfying. The hunt is addictive. There are stores near me that sell maybe last season? items at a discount. When Marc Jacobs was getting rid of the Marc by line, they further discounted all of those items and I got some sunglasses for about $40 or so. Will have to swing by TJMAXX next time I’m home. TJMAXX and Marshalls were part of my family’s weekend trips after checking out yard sales.

    3. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I come from a family of sidewalk shoppers and thrift store fans. It’s amazing what people will discard– I found a 1920s Stickley lamp put out for bulky waste… just needed rewiring. Likewise I paid $6 each for my “new” Hitchcock chairs because I’m not afraid of gluing dried-out joints.
      My daughter just learned the love of thrift stores… she’s realized it gives her access to brand names I won’t pay for and styles I think she’ll lose interest in quickly. That’s on the list for the weekend!

      1. matcha123*

        Yes! This! I loved going to garage and yard sales, the flea market, and second-hand stores as a kid. There was just so much to see and many places had deals like fill a paper bag with whatever and pay $5.
        The smells take me back and like you said, picking up some styles for cheap that might not be ‘cool’ in a few months is a great way to save money.

  54. Rez1123*

    I just got my first ever phone interview! I’ve been applying to jobs to move closer to my long distance boyfriend and few companies have shown interest. The other places have refused a phone interview and therefore I’ve withdrawn my application. I just cannot afford to take days of and fly for an interview when I’m one of many. But this company requested a phone interview. Yay! Problem is that the portal where you can read the listing and application has moved in the website and cannot be accessed. Whoops. Hope it becomes available so I can check the form I sent.

    Any tips for the phone interview? Unfortunately it’s during day when I’m at work so I have to figure something out. The salary was listed annoyingly as “competative” and I think I was a bit too truthful with my notice period. My contract states 2 week notice period, but I cannot realistically move countries within that time and also since it is July, I have made some holiday plans. I wonder how much I can push my availability without going to no pile. I know it’s just an interview and they have several other cnadidates, but I’m just nervous since it has been a while since I’ve gotten an interview.

    1. Sherm*

      If you can’t get out of work (no PTO etc) try to find an empty office or conference room. Or outside if it’s quiet. Have a copy of your resume in front of you. And any notes that you’d want. When you’re nervous, your memory flies out the window, but the nice thing about phone interviews (unless it’s Skype) is that you don’t have to worry about looking weird with a bunch of notes in front of you. It probably wouldn’t hurt to have access to Google in case you want to (quietly) look something up during the interview.

  55. RoseGrows*

    I’m working on my resume today (fun holiday!), and have run into a problem. I have been promoted several times at my current company, but I don’t know when I was promoted. Only one was discussed with me, and I’m not even sure when that one became official, since I was asked to take on the responsibilities before the actual promotion went through.
    I don’t even know for sure what job titles I have held. I’ve been in the same field the whole time, but can only guess that I went from “Junior 2” to “Junior 3” to “Senior 1” to “Senior 2,” etc. I am not even sure of that.
    The company has been through a lot of turmoil; a merger, multiple tracking systems implemented, a revolving door of managers. I’m going to ask HR for the information if I can figure out who my HR person is, but if they don’t have it, how can I show this on my resume?

    1. Agent J*

      Can you talk about it in your accomplishments, like the increased responsibility and skills and project successes. It might also be something to touch on in your cover letter.

    2. Lunavesca*

      I have no advice, only sympathy; I am in pretty much the exact same situation. I was starting to put together my resume today and realized that (1) I don’t know my current official job title, (2) I don’t know my past official job titles or at what points they changed, and (3) I don’t have any copies of documentation like annual reviews to use to look this information up. I work for a small company; we didn’t have an “HR” person until about 2 years ago, only started doing formal reviews on an annual schedule about 5 years ago, and I only have access to a copy of last year’s review. I had to resort to looking up past versions of the company’s website team page to see what my title was and when it changed. I’ve never gotten a formal promotion, it was more, “we noticed your job responsibilities have changed so we’re changing your title to reflect what you’re actually doing.” I am becoming increasingly suspicious that I may, in fact, work on a bee farm.

      I’m not sure how wrong it’s considered to have this information be slightly inaccurate in detail, but correct in principle on a resume. Like, if I say I was Lead Teapot Painter from June 2016 on, but according to my company I was actually Senior Painter of Teapots from August 2016 on – does that sort of distinction really matter at the end of the day?

      1. RoseGrows*

        This is mostly just a rant, since you’re in the same boat:
        So my company has changed internal systems at least three times, and it seems like they have lost information each time. With the newest change, all our old reviews have disappeared completely. And this one even deletes old managers. I got another new manager on Monday and now, according to the system, he has been my manager for 9 years because none of my previous managers work for the company anymore, so the system doesn’t know how to assign anything. I have also, according to this system, had the same title and made the same wage the entire 9 years.

        Several years ago things were more laid out for us. I was able to look back on my reviews within the system for years, but one day they just up and disappeared. We never received any documentation of promotions (true even of the one discussed with me), but I think it had the job title at the top of the review so they may have helped.

        If you’ve found anything at all showing actual information, I encourage you to screenshot it or print it or something.

    3. WellRed*

      If there were no discussions or even job titles what makes you think you’ve been promoted more than the once? There must be something that points to the promotions. Start there.

      1. RoseGrows*

        I know where I started and I know where I am. If it was one promotion, the difference between the two would mean I jumped at least four job titles at once (the merger throws a wrench in the exact count- it may be five). While that’s technically possible, I am also very sure that it didn’t happen that way.

        1. Ali G*

          I think it’s OK to not list every job title. At my first job that I was at for almost 9 years, I must have had 6 different titles. Since I was there for so long, I pared it down to the 3 that worked the best for showing my progression (Coordinator, Manager, Director). It didn’t matter if the responsibilities weren’t quite correct to the job, it just mattered that I could show how I advanced in the position.
          Is something like that possible for you?

          1. Ali G*

            Oh and you don’t need to have the dates for each position. I just use the total dates I was there and list the different job titles and responsibilities under each one.
            I actually called my former company (I am still friends with people who work there) and they didn’t have the details of each of my positions, so it wasn’t an issue.

            1. RoseGrows*

              I think that does help, thank you. If I can leave off the dates and can make educated guesses as to which job title I technically had when I accomplished different things, that makes it a lot easier.
              In my case, I am displaying growth in a technical field, so for these promotions I was often just taking on more responsibilities of the same overall task, or shifting my focus in one overall task. That, and the whole “promotion-to-the-job-you’re-already-doing” issue that I share with Lunavesca, means that the whole thing is kinda muddy.
              But in the end, if I say I accomplished whatnot on the so-and-so project under the “Senior 2” heading and in reality it should have gone under the “Senior 1,” it’s surely not the end of the world, right?

    4. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I’ve been with my corporate overlord for 20 years, including a few years before they bought us. They did the same frustrating changeover of a system where they purged old info — for me it was the awards system I needed because I wanted them for successes to add to my resume. I had to go to my offline archive of email and do a text search. If you’re an email pack rat maybe you have something like that — for example would you have emailed friends saying it’s your turn to buy drinks because you got a promotion?

  56. Agent J*

    Has anyone dealt with lipomas before? I just discovered one and had it checked out by a doctor. Doc says as long as it doesn’t grow and doesn’t hurt, it’s fine to leave it there. Dr. Google says they don’t go away on their own usually and I’d have to have it removed with the chance it could grow back again. It’s not very noticeable and in a place most people won’t see or notice.

    It doesn’t bother my physically but knowing that it’s there when it wasn’y before has me wondering what I did to cause it. Just wondering if others have experiences with them and letting them be vs. getting it removed vs. them going away on their own.

    1. fposte*

      Oh, stupid skin stuff. That’s part of growing older that nobody warned me about–that you can just get lumpier in all manner of ways. It’s not likely that you did anything to cause a lipoma; it’s just a way in which bodies get weird.

      I have one on my finger; it’s pretty small so I’ve just largely ignored for it except for occasional glares. I don’t think lipomas usually go away on their own, but I wouldn’t necessarily rush to removing it; it just depends on what else you have going on in your life and what cost there would be to you.

      1. Agent J*

        No one warned me either! But your comment makes me feel better about it. Watching Dr. Pimple Popper did not necessarily help. LOL

        I’m not in a huge rush to remove it but I may consider removing it in the future.

    2. Valancy Snaith*

      My dad has one almost the size of a walnut on his arm. His doctor said exactly the same as yours–not growing, not hurting, don’t bother it, they usually come back. I don’t believe there’s any rhyme or reason to them–they just come along occasionally to irritate us.

    3. The Doctor is In*

      MD here. Lipomas just happen, some people have several. They don’t need to be removed unless they get big enough to press on nearby nerves or muscles and cause pain, or if they bother you cosmetically. They do not go away by themselves. They are fat tissue enclosed in a capsule.

    4. Art3mis*

      All I know about them I learned on YouTube from Dr. Pimple Popper. I know they don’t just go away. But I don’t think that insurance would cover a removal.

    5. NewReadingGlasses*

      I have several on my legs. I mostly don’t notice them, apart from getting them looked at when they first appear to make sure they aren’t something else. I’ve been a little mystified about how they can just suddenly appear one day. I have had one disappear, leading the doctor to shrug at me. I have one I’m thinking of having removed, as it has slowly grown to the point that it is annoying me. If it doesn’t bother you, I’d just ignore it. If you find you can’t keep yourself from poking at it, get it removed. You might get more, but they are not dangerous.

    6. WS*

      I had one that was in an awkward and painful spot (under my arm where it rubbed) so I had it removed and it didn’t grow back. Sometimes they can be caused by trauma, but sometimes they just randomly happen – if other people in your family have them it makes it more likely that you will too.

    7. Healthcare Worker*

      I had one on my thigh; for several years it was just there, then it slowly began to push on a nerve causing pain in my leg. I had it removed with good results. I was surprised I was sent home with a drain and it drained for what seems like forever! It has come back, but it’s very small, less than a fourth of the size when it was removed. Good luck!

  57. Lost in the Woods*

    Fireworks-related venting:

    Street-level fireworks are illegal in our area, but the police seem to have decided that enforcing the ban is a lost cause. As a result, for about two weeks surrounding the 4th we have fireworks going off every night. It’s abominable. I have a dog who is unbelievably terrified of loud noises; she just shakes like a leaf and goes to hide under my bed; it’s so sad. She’s so scared that she won’t pee in the evening, and because she’s pretty small that means I need to take her out at about 2 am. A combination of that and the fireworks means that I haven’t gotten a full night’s sleep since Jun 29th. It would be one thing if it was just the one night with a scheduled start and end time and I could plan around it, but since it’s illegal the amateur fireworks tend to be late-night and somewhat scattered, so they’re impossible to predict.

    I am so sick of this.

    1. fposte*

      Ugh. Is a Thundershirt a possibility at all? What about going to a behaviorist to desensitize her a little before next year? It doesn’t solve the people being jackasses but might at least help with her peeing.

      1. Lost in the Woods*

        Tried a thundershirt this year, and it doesn’t seem to be helping much. I’ve had a hard time finding the right size, though – she’s bigger than the xsmall but larger than the small. The behaviorist is a good idea! I’ll talk to the vet next time I bring her in.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          A friend made one for her dog so he could wear her business logo to a street fair! She cut up a human longsleeved tshirt and then sewed the sleeves tight where they needed to be. I didn’t see the finished product in person so I don’t know what she did about back legs, but her snapshots on fb showed a happy dog face.

    2. I edit everything*

      My dog is similarly terrified, though fireworks don’t bother her as much as thunderstorms. I tried posting in one of our town’s Facebook groups today, asking people to please not go all night long. The replies I received were…less than encouraging. I think some of those people will now purposefully go out at 2 or 3 a.m. and set a bunch off.

      We give our dog treats with CBD oil in them. They seem to help a bit.

      1. Lost in the Woods*

        It really doesn’t make sense to me why people want to be such jerks.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          I saw someone being a jerk about a post from an *army vet* with PTSD asking people to wait until one weekend… I am not following my town”s community page anymore. :(

    3. Damn it, Hardison!*

      I watched a segment about this on my local news this morning. One of the vets had a couple of suggestions: a white noise machine and medication if it is very severe. Good luck to you and the pup.

    4. Wishing You Well*

      Can you try a kennel that’s HEAVILY insulated with multiple blanket layers? (A sound chamber) Can you play any kind of noise in the background to mask the fireworks? Also, puppy pads inside the house?
      We used to live with fireworks for 2 months every year until state law changed when fireworks could be sold. It’s been a partial blessing, but we’re grateful.
      Best of Luck

      1. Lost in the Woods*

        Puppy pads aren’t really an option; she was a rescue and had bad early house training which has made the whole process much more difficult. We’re going on 6 months with no accidents, and I’m really concerned she’d regress if she got any indication at all that peeing inside is OK.

        Insulating her crate is a great idea! The reason she goes under the bed must be partly to insulate herself from the noise. Plus, she loves to make a little blanket nest in the crate, maybe it would make her feel more secure to have the walls around her.

        If all this fails, I’m going to talk to the vet about dog xanax just for these two weeks.

    5. Ali G*

      Same here. We use Xanax prescribed from the vet, turn the TV up and run a white noise machine. Last night I left the TV on and the noise machine too all night, since someone decided to start fireworks at like 11 pm.
      I feel ya. July 4th has become my least favorite holiday just for this reason.

      1. Lost in the Woods*

        I think xanax might be the next step. Good luck with your pup tonight!

    6. Ginger ale for all*

      I dated a guy with a dog who was terrified of the sound of thunder. I found some kind of spray at Target years ago that we would spray on his doggie bed and around a neck kerchief for him. It calmed him down so he was able to cope and relax. He looked like he was an extra in a Cheech and Chong movie and was a bit smiley with glassy eyes. I don’t remember the name of it but I suspect a good pet store would be able to steer you towards a similar product.

    7. Anono-me*

      Then make ear mufflers for dogs. I’ve seen dogs who have them. I’ve never looked into getting any, so I don’t know the name. But, in no one on here knows, I bet your vet would.

      Recently, I was close enough to nearby big city to watch their news. Nearby Big City Police Department actually was in the news instructing people to not call 911 on illegal fireworks, unless there was a second issue (fire, injuries, etc.).

    8. jDC*

      Ugh we have a neighbor who starts in early June and will continue through September. My dog is fine but my husbands is in misery. They are illegal here and he lives right across from the police station. Come on guys.

    9. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      Sitting here with panting, upset doggie. First year with this (new to me) rescue dog, but my previous dog would also not go outside, completely upset, for days… at the end, she’d have an accident everytime someone set off a flash bang. (yes, they do that here; yes, 1/2 mile from a police station). Hopeful it ends soon. I do have the TV way up, and trying as many other hints as possible (did a walk of over an hour earlier to wear her out).

  58. Rexish*

    I’m going to a music festival tomorrow. The weather forecast says that it will rain and be 55f or 13c. What the heck do I wear? I will cycle there and the vanue itself is a sandy beach and a field.

    1. Lost in the Woods*

      I think this is a moment for comfort. Maybe a rain jacket over a light sweater, and a comfortable pair of pants (not jeans, denim retains water like nobody’s business), wool socks and sturdy, waterproof pair of shoes? You should be able to enjoy the music without being chilly!

    2. LCL*

      Sunscreen. 55F is cold enough you won’t feel the heat from the sun, but if you are on a beach or in a field you can get burned.

    3. lulu*

      rainboots. sweater and rain jacket. clothes you don’t mind getting mud on because the field will be muddy.

    4. Koala dreams*

      Rain jacket, rain pants, warm sweater, extra socks in a plastic bags to change into.

    5. Rexish*

      I am glad you guys were on the same lines with me. Needed just someone else to agree with me :D
      It rained like hell the whole night, like it seriously woke me up (and nothing wakes me up). But somehow during the day “odds of rain 100%” turned into no rain the whole evening! And again, by some miracle the field wasn’t muddy eventhough it had rained for hours in the night and morning.

      Everyone was prepared for rain and I’m appreciating the yellow raincoat and rainhat fashion!

      P.S. my wellies are coral pink

  59. DrTheLiz*

    Just a grumble: got rejected for a fairly choice job because they had an internal candidate already lined up. I really, really wish they wouldn’t force organizations to advertise “jobs” that are just contract extensions and for which they have zero intention of actually hiring their applicants.

    1. I edit everything*

      I’m still miffed about the time that happened to me, and that was 15 years ago. They did send me home from the interview with piles of books, though (feeling guilty, maybe?), so it wasn’t all bad.

    2. coffee cup*

      That happened to me a few months ago! I was so close apart from that fairly obvious obstacle. I wasted money and time going to another city for the interview and actually believed I had a shot.

    3. Anonymous Educator*

      Yeah, that sucks. What’s the point in having the letter of the “law” if you’re not following the spirit of it?

    4. Searching*

      I worked for an org that posted such jobs with a note “A highly qualified candidate has been identified; however, all qualified candidates are encouraged to apply and will be considered” (or something like that) – which I always interpreted as code for “don’t bother.”

    5. Rusty Shackelford*

      I hate that too. However, I’ve been on an interview committee where we were pretty sure we were going to hire the internal candidate, but an external candidate blew us away. So there’s always that possibility.

    6. Inefficient Cat Herder*

      I was recently on a hiring committee that thought the internal candidate was a shoo-in, but she bombed and another candidate blew us away. So just because an internal candidate has been identified doesn’t necessarily mean the deal is done!

  60. Forrest Gumption*

    After years working various editorial roles in the online publishing/magazine business, I seem to have hit the wall in terms of finding my next position. It’s very demoralizing to find that despite all my experience, no one wants to hire me. Maybe it’s ageism, maybe I’m overqualified, maybe there just aren’t enough jobs out there for talented people (I’m not willing to move to NYC, where I’m sure I could find something, because I have no desire to pay sky-high rent and commute for hours). So I’ve decided I’ve had enough, and want to purchase a small publishing business. Time to be my own boss! I have my eye on a couple of possible businesses for sale. Has anyone done this before, and can they give me some tips/inspiration? Doesn’t have to be the same line of business… I just need other people out there to tell me that they made the switch from employee to business owner and were able to do it successfully (and how).

    1. I edit everything*

      I can’t offer any help at all, but did want to offer you a cheer! Running my own publishing company (books, for me) has been a dream of mine for a long time, but I can’t envision it ever happening.

      I wish you all the success you can manage!

  61. DouDou Paille*

    Just got rejected from an awesome six-month contract position that I was a shortlisted candidate for. The feedback from the hiring manager really burned me up. They seem to have totally misconstrued many of my interview answers. Can’t believe that with my level of experience and qualifications (not to mention excellent references) that they would take some benign comments I made about my work style and twist them into negatives. I know I should see this as a bullet dodged, but instead I’m letting it affect my ego. Job hunting is so demoralizing! Thanks for letting me rant.

    1. New Normal*

      I’m so sorry! Yes, from the outside it’s easy to say it was a nice dodged bullet but I know it doesn’t feel that way right now to you. Is it possible that they needed some reason to reject you in favor of another candidate and making the worst of your answers was the best they could do? I know that’s not any more comforting but it’s another reason they could have said what they did.

      Sorry for the rejection and the frustration! Take care of yourself today; you’ve earned it!

    2. Matilda Jefferies*

      Ugh, that sucks. Definitely a bullet dodged, but I can see how it doesn’t feel that way right now! Hope your next one is even more awesome.

      1. DouDou Paille*

        Thanks guys, I know I need to let it go, but it’s still fresh so it will take a while. But I appreciate the positive thoughts!

  62. Laika*

    No questions, just a small celebration. :)

    I communicated my interest in a position at my existing company that was a bit of a stretch (in terms of experience and seniority) and I am really pleased with how they handled it! I interviewed as a candidate, but they were very candid in the meeting about their reservations, expectations, and where they’d like to see me at before stepping into the role. I felt comfortable expressing my own reservations too, which I wasn’t sure about initially when going into the interview.

    They met with me yesterday to say that I didn’t get it (no surprise!) but I appreciate that they even let me know before making the hiring announcement. I was also told that they would do their best to prepare me for the role should it open up again in the future. They even said how impressed they’ve been with me in the short time I’ve been there!

    Overall it was so positive and thoughtful, it really gave me a confidence boost in their methodologies and processes, made me felt very valued and seen, and was quite motivational, in a way. And I don’t think I’d ever have had the courage or skills to apply or without reading AAM so regularly. Yaaay!

    1. Matilda Jefferies*

      That’s a great story! Sounds like a good boost of confidence for you, plus some useful advice about next steps for your career. Well done!

  63. Nacho*

    Got my quarterly review yesterday, a “very strong meets expectations” just like pretty much every other quarter. Seriously beginning to wonder if I should be volunteering for half the stuff I do (spirit team, decorations team, stats team, etc…) if all I’m going to get is a meets just like everybody else, no matter how strong it is.

    1. Fortitude Jones*

      My rule of thumb is to only volunteer for things at work I actually enjoy doing so that I’m not upset if it doesn’t lead to advancement later. A lot of the things you mentioned just don’t register as important to managers.

    2. MonteCristo85*

      At the last place I worked, they had quotas for the different grade levels. So even if everyone on the team was a rock star, only 2 people get get exceeds (for example). So just because you didn’t get “exceeds” this time, doesn’t mean that your boss doesn’t consider you in that category, and you just have to wait your “turn” to get the rating.

      Not saying I like this method, but it is something to consider, before throttling back your work level.

      I’m not sure that manager’s don’t actually care about those type of things…I spend several years asking my (not very good) boss what I needed to do to get promoted, and never got a straight answer. When I finally had a review with the big boss and asked the same thing, she said I need to get out of our department and let the other people on the management team see my work ethic. She got me assigned to a couple of committees and projects outside of the realm of finance, and a year later I got promoted.

    3. Blue Eagle*

      Stop volunteering for anything that does not advance the bottom line of the company/organization. Your hard work on the spirit team, on the decorations team, on the morale team, on the potluck team, on the bake sale team, etc do NOT count for anything when it comes time for your performance evaluation.
      On the other hand if you want to volunteer for a special project that is a new area of business or something else that helps serve customers or increase the bottom line – then Go For It! (because it is those kinds of projects that will be viewed positively when performance evaluation time comes around)

    4. Manage,ent*

      Why would you think that that a “spirit team” or “decorations team” (WTF?) should make any difference to your performance evaluation? That seems really odd to me. Those things are not integral to your job performance, and should not be considered in your evaluation. You should only volunteer for those because you like doing that stuff, not because you think it will get you a better evaluation.

      Maybe you need to volunteer for less extraneous stuff and spend more time and effort on your actual work tasks to improve your performance?

    5. Management material*

      Why would you think that that a “spirit team” or “decorations team” (WTF?) should make any difference to your performance evaluation? That seems really odd to me. Those things are not integral to your job performance, and should not be considered in your evaluation. You should only volunteer for those because you like doing that stuff, not because you think it will get you a better evaluation.

      Maybe you need to volunteer for less extraneous stuff and spend more time and effort on your actual work tasks to improve your performance?

  64. Candy*

    My husband has been out of work for four months now and is getting really discouraged. His backstory: he moved here from Europe almost two years ago. In his home country he was a self-employed contractor (residential and commercial renovations). He found work here within a few months of landing, purely by coincidence — we were having a drink at a bar, he started talking with a guy at the table next to us, the guy was VP of a residential building company, by the end of the night the guy had offered my husband a contract position. So he worked with that guy for about a year, until the project completion a few months ago.

    Now he’s having trouble finding more work. It seems like here, the same as in his home country, finding work in building and construction is more about who you know than where you send your resume. Problem is, he still doesn’t have those connections here. He knows the half-dozen or so guys he worked with for the last year, but none of them have any leads. He’s sent out over 50 resumes and had only four interviews and no offers since his last contract ended.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for what he can do next — networking ideas, etc? Because just applying to posted jobs doesn’t seem to be getting him anywhere and he’s met with three recruiters who also haven’t been much help

    1. purple otter*

      If you’re in the US, try reaching out to the local chapter of the National Home Builders Association. Or maybe your husband could reach out to that VP and see if the VP has connections to other builders that might have openings? Construction/renovation is definitely more of a word-of-mouth and connections type industry to break into.

    2. Anono-me*

      In my neck of the woods there are home improvement fairs. Lots of small LLC contractors participate. Is that something that would be good for him?

      If he decides to specialize, I know window replacement, deck building and closet upgrades are popular.

    3. irene adler*

      Are you on Nextdoor.com?
      You can develop a reputation and garner customers via recommendations through that website. Might be a bit difficult at first; but then when folks see his work, they will be quick to recommend him for anyone looking for a contractor.

    4. Bagpuss*

      Does he have a range of skills, or is hea specialist in one type of work (e.g. carpenter / joiner)?

      If he has a wider skill set then maybe while he waits he could look at advertising as a general handyman / man who can – not eveyone is skilled at DIY and need help with smaller jobs, and that might also help him to get a bit better known locally – if he has the skills / qualifications for some types of work but not others he could also look at building up connections with people with complemetary skills, so that they can cross-refer to each other.

  65. VT*

    My org is switching from annual performance evaluations to quarterly “check-in”. Basically, you meet with your boss at least 4 times a year to have a conversation about work performance and goals, with no long form that needs to be filled out. Has anyone else had their company do this? How did it go?

    1. Fortitude Jones*

      The insurance company I used to work for did this, and everyone was super happy about it. Employees and managers hated having to fill out performance reviews and honestly, checking in more frequently with management makes way more sense than just doing it once a year. Problems get pointed out and corrected sooner and there’s less of a chance of forgetting the great things you’ve accomplished because you waited until the end of the year to write it all down.

      Plus, yearly reviews made no sense at that company because salary adjustment recommendations were made in January and had to be approved by March, which was when employees actually filled out their evaluations. So your manager already knew what raise you were getting before you even sat down to write up anything – formal evaluations in that kind of situation is a waste of time.

    2. TechWorker*

      My company has moved to this and so far I don’t really have enough data.. I would say previously the process was pretty arduous and managers often wouldn’t even get through all the sections that were meant to happen. May or may not be the same for you but at least ‘more frequent/short’ means it’s more likely to happen..?

    3. Babycarrot*

      We still have annual reviews with forms, where we meet 3 times a year but my manager also has a weekly one-on-one with each of us where we can talk about what is blocking our work, where we’re at, and all the small things. I take notes all week for the next meeting so I don’t have to go to her desk every day to let her know about more trivial stuff, I keep it all for the weekly meetings.

  66. TechWorker*

    We used to have strict and imo bizarre rules around business travel, because we were billing clients for time. Basically ‘wherever possible fly on a Saturday because it’s cheaper’ plus needing to take holiday for any time you were technically in the country during business hours – including if your 11hr flight arrived back at 6am and you’d clearly be jet lagged to high heaven. (Who seriously does a useful day of work immediately after a transatlantic flight?)

    Since then we’ve been acquired and the rules have relaxed a bit – notably they’re more chilled about people flying midweek. A junior colleague (not a direct report but on a very close team) has been told by his (also my) manager that he needs to take PTO for the day of his flight and due to this he is planning to come in to work half a day, immediately after an 11hr flight, to avoid having to take the whole day off. Confusing the situation slightly, he is adding a day of PTO *before* he travels – but this is totally normal/encouraged and the flight back would be midweek without that regardless.

    From my perspective it seems pretty ridiculous to make him use PTO – especially when he’s worked a bunch of overtime in the last month. I fear I may have slightly involved myself by suggesting he double check but also like my manager may have misinterpreted the policy… (I’ve never been given said policy to read!!)

    1. Fortitude Jones*

      Are you guys salaried exempt? If so, that’s a dumb ass rule to make you guys take PTO when you’re traveling for work. I’ve had work travel with three different companies over the last five or so years, and none of them made salaried employees take PTO when we were traveling to or from a location for work and it was a mandatory trip – they counted it as work time.

      1. TechWorker*

        We’re based in Europe so I’m not sure it’s categorised in exactly that way, but essentially yes. Salaried, no overtime pay.

        I think it’s ridiculous – hopefully my manager has just misunderstood the dates and will be more reasonable on a second look…

      2. MissDisplaced*

        I also wanted to add that travel policies like this basically amount to wage theft. Company is appropriating your PTO for work-related travel time.

        I see you’re in Europe and maybe laws are different, but I’d check with your department or ministry of labor to see if this is even legal.

    2. blackcat*

      So he’s flying mid-week, during normal work hours, and being told that he has to take PTO for the travel time?
      That really doesn’t seem right. I’m not even sure if it is legal.

      1. AcademiaNut*

        I think it’s a case of the flight arriving in the early morning, but being expected to take PTO for the rest of the day. So you travel for 15+ hours (11 hour flight plus airport time), drop your stuff off at home, shower, change and go straight to work for the day.

        I take flights like this for work, and the day we arrive is counted as a travel day, regardless of when our flight gets in. If we have a flight that arrives late the night before, it’s totally acceptable to come in late (or leave early) the following day, depending on which way the jetlag is. Any company that’s making people give up their weekends for work travel, but makes you take PTO if you want to sleep after a full day of travel is doing it wrong.

    3. MissDisplaced*

      OMG! I’ve never worked anywhere so cheap that you’re forced to use your PTO the day of your flight!
      Flying for work IS WORKING TIME

    4. Jasnah*

      I’m really confused by the concept that flying for a business trip requires someone to take time off. The company is making them travel, so I understand not counting it as “time worked” necessarily, but they should have some category of “travel time” because it’s not a day off, it’s a day of working for the company. That’s probably not only illegal but also a good way to anger an employee who worked a bunch of overtime for your company already!

    5. Bagpuss*

      Does your organisation have any arrangement for claiming time in lieu?

      I would be inclined to ask about that (e.g. “I will be flying out of hours, so howdo I claim back time in lieu for those 11 hours?”)

  67. To Botox or not to Botox*

    So, to put it bluntly, I’m not aging well. Objectively, I’ve got more wrinkles than I should for my age, despite attempts with lots of different regimens over the years to combat skin issues. At the same time, maybe no one really notices but me. BUT, I am now considering some cosmetic intervention. I’m just turning 50 this year and would like to avoid something dramatic (like a forehead/eye lift), but think botox or similar might make a difference. My only hesitation is that I don’t want to end up looking like I had “work” done. I work in higher education administration and there’s a tendency among my female colleagues to judge women for caring too much about their appearance. Things like hair extensions, eyelash enhancements, and even gel nails are given the side-eye by many. Presumably we are supposed to care about our brains and not our looks? So, I’d want to keep things simple to look like me, only better, as opposed to looking “extra.” Is botox a slipperly slope to ending up looking like Joan Rivers, or a reasonable way to stem the tide for a professional woman looking to be fresher looking?

    1. Young with Botox*

      I get Botox to treat migraines, so it’s not exactly the same as for cosmetics, but it’s a pretty similar process. If you already have wrinkles, they won’t really go away but they won’t get any worse. It just stops the muscles from moving, which is what makes wrinkles happen. For me, no one notices that I’ve had Botox unless I specifically try to move my face to show them that it doesn’t move a lot. Filler is what people get if they have really deep wrinkles that show when the muscles are relaxed, because Botox won’t fix that.

    2. The New Wanderer*

      I know one person who gets Botox every 6-8 weeks and I can’t really tell, probably because it’s so consistent. I would guess that’s the least dramatic of your options because there’s basically no recovery time (anything more invasive will have swelling and/or bruising, I think).

      I also know one person who is 20 yrs older than you and just had her eyelids ‘done’ which is very subtle. In fact she was a little put out we didn’t notice (I couldn’t even see the scars up close), but she really likes the effect. She did say there was some swelling for close to a week so you’d want to factor that in.

      I have emergent jowls (thanks, genetics) and have been idly wondering if there’s an extremely minor procedure I could have done before it gets too far… An older relative had a full face lift and she looks good (like rested, not artificially young-like), but she was older, like early 60s, when she did it and it’s a pretty extensive procedure from what I understand. Her sister thought she was being frivolous or vain or something, which isn’t really important except that the sister doesn’t like the way her own face has aged and her solution is to actively avoid mirrors. Personally, I think hating your own reflection is worse than trying a fairly common procedure.

    3. b*

      Botox can help if you have crows feet and/or “angry forehead ” wrinkles. A good skincare regimen is also valuable; both for now and how you will look in the future. Check out the blogger Hot and Flashy for great advice for over 50s. The problem I find with working around so many young people is that the difference in looks between a 20 year old and a fifty year old is so startling. But a little self care is a good confidence booster.

    4. Blue Eagle*

      This question makes me sad. It is sad that so many of us women have been brainwashed into thinking that our looks are more important than what we bring to the table with our brains and abilities.
      I don’t have any advice for you on this issue, especially if in your situation not looking younger is a detriment for you, but the whole thing makes me sad.

      1. fposte*

        I have multiple different feelings on that, and they’ve gotten more complicated as I get older. That used to be the feminist line on dyeing hair, after all, which has become incredibly common; I also feel a bit that way about piercings and makeup.

        I think most of us are ready for some kinds of aging and surprised by others–witness the discussion Agent J and I had upthread about lipomas. If there are elements of your face that bug the crap out of you, maybe it’s okay to change them, whether they’re getting a lipoma removed, a hyperplasia reduced (been there, done that), or a line made less visible.

      2. Courageous cat*

        I hear what you’re saying but it also kind of makes me sad that this sentiment kind of ends up shaming the person in question for wanting to change something about themselves, which can ultimately be very empowering.

        Long story short, I don’t think this is a helpful response, and being sad about it seems slightly disingenuous.

    5. Trixie*

      About ten years ago, my mother also had an eye lift and was such a subtle difference for smaller eyes. Followed last year when she had a neck lift and was so happy to have it done. Again not drastic but “fresher” as you describe. Last week, she tried micro sculpting but I haven’t heard yet how much she likes it. Eyebrows were practically gone and this was most attractive option available.

      I am approaching 50, similar genetics. Will definitely consider some cosmetic options in the future. I haven’t started Botox but am considering it in the next few years for the “11” between my eyebrows. (Not for the forehead.) Looking at my “hooding” and neck area, I can see having similar procedures. I am trying to take more care of neck, decolletage, and hands with serums and such which worked well on my face.

      On a side note, those with lighter coloring might consider lash/brow tinting which can be very effective yet subtle.

    6. Catherine*

      I Botox about 4 times a year because people consistently say really wild shit to me and it’s socially useful to physically restrict my ability to react. (Everyone thinks I’m so much more unflappable now that my eyebrows can’t jump up my forehead anymore!) No one seems to really think I look fake or anything, just very collected.

    7. To Botox or not to Botox*

      Thanks, everyone. It helps to hear that subtle assistance has been good for some of you. Following up with Blue Eagle, I get where you are coming from, and don’t disagree, but it’s complex. I work in a field where brains are the coin of the realm and I don’t think the visible effects of the natural aging process hold me back in any way. In fact, it’s the opposite. Very few people think twice about looks in academia. But, I care. I don’t feel my best. And oddly enough what I care about is a bit random. About 8 years ago I stopped coloring my hair and embraced my grey. My hair is about 80% grey and I love it. It feels freeing and awesome. At the same time, I get regular gel manicures (to which a fellow Dean commented to another colleague about those of us with painted nails in general: “who has time for that?”) What makes me sad is that we judge each other for the decisions we make about our own bodies, lives, and choices. My sister-in0-law works in the corporate world and her peers are judged if they don’t do this kind of fancying up, and in my field we’re judged if we do. The struggle is real.

  68. Lena Clare*

    I don’t know who recommended watching Kim’s Convenience on Netflix to me, but it’s very sweet and I’m liking it so thank you!

    1. Middle School Teacher*

      I saw the play it’s based on! A lot of the cast is the same, I think. It was super good as well!

    2. Agent J*

      Not sure if it was me or not but I have been recommending the show to lots of people lately. It is such feel-good TV.

    3. CatCat*

      I super love this show and it makes me so happy. We’ve been s l o w l y going through the most recent season because we don’t want to get to the end.

  69. Luna123*

    My job is part time, and yesterday morning my boss did an informal check-in with me and asked “So, for your dream job, what would your hours be? Full time? Thirty hours a week?” because there are always some projects that need to be worked on. I said thirty hours a week would be perfect, and she said that was great. I don’t know when my increased hours are going to start or exactly what I’m going to be doing, but I’m excited. My current income really varies month to month because of the weird hours, so I’m looking forward to some stability. And I think I’m going to feel a lot more secure once I’m almost full time, vs. being the only permanent part time person.

    1. just another lurker*

      That sounds like a very positive development! Hope it works out to be everything you want.

      1. Luna123*

        Thanks! I have a good idea of what I’ll be doing most of the time, but I’m excited and curious to see what other projects my boss has in mind.

    2. Anonymous Educator*

      That’s excellent! Don’t be afraid to ask when the switch will happen either, if you want to know now instead of later.

  70. Lars*

    Quitting a job at a bad time… my department has gone from 4 people to just me in about 8 weeks. We’ve hired a person for my dept who does not do any of the work that the three others did, and a new hire (who will supervise me and probably won’t do any gruntwork) will be starting in about a week.

    I just got a job offer but I am terrified to give my notice knowing my boss, the recent new hire, and the new hire starting don’t know how to do my day to day duties and I’m putting them in a crappy position… is this normal? I know that if I just stopped showing up one day or if I was hospitalized they would just deal w/ the workload but I can’t stop feeling so mich stress over giving notice!

    1. Agent J*

      It’s normal to care but remember that they will figure out a way to adjust and move on. This is simply a business decision and you’re doing what’s best for you. You can do your best in your notice period to smooth some of the transition but beyond that, move forward with excitement for your new job.

    2. Blue Eagle*

      Congratulations on the new job! Please don’t worry about your boss as she did not worry about giving you the extra work of the people who left. Two new people were hired (including someone to supervise you) who aren’t able (or willing) to do the work that you and you old co-workers did. Which begs the question – – why didn’t your boss replace the three who left, leaving you holding the bag? Just give your notice with the confidence your boss will figure it out some way and that it is not your responsibility to be the fail-safe for your company.

    3. JediSquirrel*

      I wouldn’t worry about this. Employees leaving is just part of doing business. Good businesses try to make sure that organizational knowledge is shared by two or more people or documented somewhere. Expect some phone calls and emails once you leave, but don’t feel any obligation to your old company which didn’t handle organizational knowledge properly.

    4. Observer*

      Take the job.

      Give your notice and document every. single. thing. If at all possible. That’s the best help you can give everyone. This way they will at least have access to the information they need.

  71. Matilda Jefferies*

    I need some advice from ADHD and other neurodivergent people please!

    I have a job interview next week – the first one since my diagnosis. And it’s becoming a bit of a “don’t think about pink elephants” issue, in that it’s literally all I can think about right now. Every time I practice my answers, I have to stop myself from saying “I have ADHD, so I am awesome at X and I struggle with Y and also I overshare about everything.”

    So, is there a good way to slow my brain down enough that I don’t start babbling about this in the interview? I don’t mind disclosing once I’m hired if need be, but I’d rather not introduce any doubt into the interview process if I don’t have to.

    1. BRR*

      Can you remind yourself to pause before every answer to gather your thoughts so you focus on your strengths? It definitely won’t raise any eyebrows timing wise. Timing usually passes differently to others than it does for you in interviews. Plus taking a moment to think before speaking is typical in interviews. Doing it for every answer will help so that you don’t have to remember before some answers on not others (which would be a lot harder for me to remember).

    2. New Normal*

      For me, the first few months after my diagnosis were the best and worst – I was learning SO MUCH and suddenly all these things I thought were personal failings had names and reasons and I was learning how to work with them and it was all so new and exciting and crazy … people around me learned a lot about ADHD, whether they wanted to or not.

      I’m SO GLAD I didn’t have to interview during that time.

      It sounds like you’re on the right track with the role-play and the mindset that you shouldn’t bring up your ADHD until it’s necessary (I hate that the world’s that way but it’s not exactly something you can fix in an interview). For me, having bullet points to focus on and a lot of time in front of a mirror helps.

      Also plan how you’re going to fidget. I HAVE to have a notepad and pen (without any parts easily clicked, spun, or otherwise played with) to keep myself from picking my nails or spinning my rings.

      Good luck with the interview from a fellow ADHDer!

    3. anonagain*

      I haven’t used this strategy myself, so I am just brainstorming here. What if you come up with and use an alternate phrase instead of ADHD for all of this week. Something that captures the aspect of ADHD that you see yourself slipping up while trying to talk about in the interview.

      E.g. maybe you want to say, “I’m a generalist, so I am awesome at working across disciplines,” but keep finding yourself bringing ADHD into it. So what if for the rest of this week, you say “I’m a generalist” instead of saying “I have ADHD.”

      Basically rehearse the vocabulary you want to use in other contexts so it’s what’s at top of mind during the interview. Or just practicing a bunch of different alternative phrases in your answers and starting from a script (that you then relax) might be useful.

      My other suggestion, which will be hard, is to take a break from reading about ADHD or to limit it. I’d also spend time reading and talking about other things. If one of you biggest assets is creativity (or whatever), reading something about creativity could help reinforce those words for you. (I find the verbal residue of whatever I’m reading lately is always present in my speech patterns.)

    4. Matilda Jefferies*

      @BRR, New Normal, and anonagain – this is all fabulous advice! Thank you!

  72. Name Under Development*

    I’m looking for suggestions on how to handle a pending office move. I will be changing sites and in the move I will probably end up sharing an office with a coworker. I genuinely like the guy, but he is EXTREMELY talkative. I’m a strong extrovert/ talker and he makes me seem taciturn. One big part of my job requires concentration and I’m worried about maintaining my focus when sharing space with Mr. Motormouth. I have ADHD, so focus is difficult as it is. I have already requested that we get a mini divider ( basically like a giant bulletin board with feet ) to separate our space. My boss was receptive but all purchases go to the executive director and I don’t know how she will respond. I have not disclosed my ADHD to my employer so I can’t frame his as an accommodation. We’re a small nonprofit so we are very careful with our money.

    This move will have some pluses but the distraction issue concerns me. I can work in shared space if the other people are comparatively quiet ( I do so intermittently now).. What else can I do proactively? I am not helped by white noise and music distracts me so those options won’t help. I suppose I could try headphones but I do need to hear the phone as the people I support call me and I also get regular calls about our organization’s services.

    Thoughts?

    1. fposte*

      I’m not seeing anything about talking to the guy. So…talk to the guy. Don’t wait until it’s a problem. I’m chatty but also need quiet to focus, and that’s a confusing thing for other people to negotiate without clear signals. If you deal matter-of-factly in advance, it’ll probably be a lot easier; consider also a goofy non-verbal signal like “When the big pink elephant is out on the desk, I’m not available for conversation and I need to focus.”

      1. Cat Meowmy Admin*

        Came here to say that a big pink elephant on our desks as a symbol for “need to focus” should be SOP in my own office- and in workplaces throughout the land! Picture it – a thing of beauty. :D

    2. Cat Meowmy Admin*

      And for real, Name Under Development, I second the suggestion by fposte. Good luck!

    3. Anono-me*

      fpost as usual has wonderful advice. And I love the elephant idea.

      Something else to consider, you don’t need to turn the music on, just because you put your music headphones on. (I did this and when my constantly whining coworker spoke to me, I made a big production of not having heard what was ssaid, taking the headphones off, and asking my coworker to repeat everything)

    4. ..Kat..*

      Can you advocate for sharing an office with someone else? Tell your boss that your job requires concentration, and that you can’t concentrate around this guy.

      1. Name Under Development*

        The move is 90% a done deal and it would be only me and the guy at this site, so I don’t have any other potential office mates. I like the pink elephant idea from fposte, though.

  73. Looking At Fall*

    Could I please get some advice on when to start job hunting?

    Just ended my second week for my entry-level temp position (filling in for someone on paternity leave) and my contract ends in mid-August, so I’ll be working for 6 more weeks. I got this job with the intention of trying out something different since I was previously in a STEM position. So far, I’ve learned that this is not the best fit for me and am looking forward to moving on along with continuing my education. But when should I start looking for the next job? I was thinking of starting in 2 weeks (half-way into the temp job) but that gives me around 4 weeks to look for a position, which seems a bit short?

    1. Alex*

      Start now. Hiring processes can take longer than 4 weeks, and that’s if you got an interview right away.

      1. Looking At Fall*

        So it wouldn’t be a big issue to start looking now, even though I don’t end for another 6 weeks? I’ll make sure to write in the resume that it’s a temporary position but I hope it’s not an issue that I’ve only been there for 2 weeks so far and am already looking for the next position. I’ve never been in this situation before so I appreciate your help!

        I was also thinking of waiting till the position is over because a nice HR lady mentioned that she could help refer me to other open positions within the company once my contract ends… but that’s a bit naive of me to wait right?

        1. BRR*

          It’s not weird to look for a new job when you’re in a temp position. Even if a hiring process moves at light speed, you can almost always set a start date another week or two in advance.

          And don’t count on HR. There’s no guarantee anything will come through. You can reach out to them though before your assignment is up. It’s perfectly normal to be trying to line up work when you have an end date.

        2. Matilda Jefferies*

          Definitely start now. Especially with it being summer (assuming you’re in the northern hemisphere), hiring processes can take even longer than forever at this time of year.

          Also, you can talk to your HR person right away! Send her an email today that says something like this:
          “Hi Jane, thanks again for your offer to refer me to open positions at the end of my contract. I would love to take you up on that. What information do you need from me in order to get started?” If it’s too soon, she’ll let you know, but I would imagine there are things you both can start working on right away. Good luck!

        3. That Girl From Quinn's House*

          Always take the Nice HR Lady with a grain of salt. A lot of people will say things like that to temps, part-timers, etc., to string them along, without any ability or intention of follow-through.

        4. Alex*

          I would include an end date on your resume for your current job.

          So “Teapot Designer at Teapot Inc. June 2019-August 2019 (temp position)” or some such thing.

  74. Queen Anon*

    Just started reading (actually listening to in the car) The Accident by Natalie Barelli. Character A has just learned that Character B is looking for a job and knows of an opening for an executive assistant at her company. This is basically her informal interview with Character B: “Can you type?” “Sure.” “And you know how to answer the phone?” “Of course.” “Then you’re qualified.” A few paragraphs later Character A thinks to herself that Character B is just as qualified for the position as anyone else. Grrrrrr.

    1. Troutwaxer*

      Does the author seem to feel that way, or are they trying to tell you something about Character A?

      1. Queen Anon*

        I don’t know, but because of the prevalence and persistence of this attitude in real life, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the author does believe it.

      1. Queen Anon*

        It is – however it so truly reflects a very real and very persistent attitude toward assistant roles in real life that it’s just frustrating. (I got sick enough of it that after 20+ years in various assistant roles, I don’t do them anymore and pray I won’t need to ever again. At my last job, the office manager said that trained monkeys could do the assistant work. First time I heard it expressed like that, but hardly the first time I’d heard that sentiment. )

        1. SpellingBee*

          Yes – I was a legal secretary for 40 years. One time a client that I dealt with a lot asked me if I liked my job. I said yes, I did. He told me that a friend’s wife had been in a car accident and sustained a traumatic brain injury, and he wondered if he should recommend that she look at legal secretarial work because she had a lot of memory problems now and wasn’t capable of holding down a “real job” anymore. I managed to tell him fairly politely that I didn’t think it would be a good idea, but I was (as you might imagine) incredibly insulted.

          1. Fortitude Jones*

            I see why you were insulted – legal secretaries are not blithering idiots, you guys have to know something about whatever law your practice is based in.

  75. Introvert girl*

    How to say no?
    I’ll be going back to a departement that I left for a couple of months due to another project that ends in two weeks. The problem with that department is that it’s permanently understaffed. It literally takes almost half a year to find someone for our positions. I’m already stressed out thinking about the amount of work I’ll be getting. I want to say no to working at 200%, doing overtime and working weekends. I already had one sit down with my managers last year which was helpful, but from what I’m hearing from coworkers, it’s still chaotic and to much work. The problem isn’t as much the amount of work, but the complete chaos. Coming into work, not knowing at what time you’ll be leaving. As a person on the spectrum, I’m having a lot of issues with this. I need stability and order.

    1. Kathenus*

      Reframe the message from saying no, to identifying what can and can’t be done in a workday, and then working with your boss how to prioritize. Right from the beginning. Since you know the basics of the position, think about what category of tasks there are and what you think the order of prioritization might be. Then when you move back to that department meet with the manager right at the beginning to discuss – some thing like “When I worked here before there tended to be more requests/tasks than time available, so I wanted to open a conversation on what your priorities are so I know which tasks to do first and which to decline or do if time allows. I was thinking that tasks A and B might be the most time sensitive, with C and D being done only as time permits. Does that prioritization work for you or do you have other thoughts on this?”

      Note you’re not asking whether or not you can de-prioritize things or say no/defer to time available, you’re stating this as a basic assumption since there isn’t enough time in the day/week to do it all. We all fall into the trap of trying to ‘make it work’ and then calling out when we’re drowning, but it’s better to address it up front to get agreement on how to move forward to reduce that stress of trying to juggle everything on your own.

  76. Cat Meowmy Admin*

    “You’ve cat to be kitten me right meowww!!” “Check meowwt!”
    Sooo… No gonna lie, that fireworks photo *gives me life*!!! As a lifelong animal lover/advocate and Cat Mom, I enjoy seeing weekly photos of Alison’s furkids.
    Happy Independence Day to Alison and the AAM Commentariat!

    1. Sybil Fawlty*

      Oh, I’m sorry to hear that! I hope you can forget about it and move on. Good luck to you!

    2. Clever Name*

      Whoops! Reminds me of when my professor of cell biology kept giggling when she described how viagra works on a cellular level…..

  77. coffee cup*

    I have a week off work next week and I really need it. I’m close to burn-out at the moment as I haven’t had a week off since January. Usually I have to have a ‘thing’ lined up before I take decent time off, like a holiday away. But this week is just… no plans. So naturally I need to fill my time with a few things! Friends will be at work so it’ll probably just be me doing stuff myself, which I don’t mind, but I also don’t want to be at home the whole time because I’m trying to avoid slump/depression/overthinking and work towards fun distraction.

    So far I have perhaps trying a hot yoga class (I do yoga but have never tried that before), a few running sessions, maybe a day trip or two to do some hillwalking if the weather is decent (I’m in Scotland so this is not a given!). Take myself for lunch one day. I’m getting stuck beyond that, though. Any ideas? I half thought find a cheap hotel and go to another city overnight for a change of scene, but the idea of being in a hotel room on my own doesn’t feel that great right now, either.

    1. WonderingHowIGotIntoThis*

      Whereabouts in Scotland? Could you “play tourist” for a day in your home city? There can be some guilty pleasures in doing silly fun things, especially if you end up as part of a crowd of strangers participating in the same experience.
      ( I used to live in Blackpool so I was spoilt for choice, but if you’re near Inverness and can go Nessie spotting, for example, it’ll certainly be distracting)

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Wow I got flashbacks from this…I grew up near NYC and as a kid asked my mom to take me to the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, etc., and frequently remember her saying “how have I never done this before?”
        Local attractions get overlooked.

    2. Alex*

      I’m not familiar with your area, but is there a way you could volunteer for a day? I find giving back to the community a great recharge activity and antidote to depression.

      Do you have something like Habitat for Humanity? Here you can sign up to help build a house for a day. It is just a one-day commitment, you don’t have to build the whole house!

    3. Incantanto*

      Are you day trippable to the coast? sea is always a relaxing thing.

      Find a ceilidh for some socialising?

  78. Aphrodite*

    I am being forced to move by a change in rules here where I live so I am looking for a new place. It’s tight and outrageously expensive so it’s not easy. I am willing to downsize from a two-bedroom to a one-bedroom so in preparation for that yesterday I put an ad on my local CraigsList for the guest bed for free. It is in excellent condition, about five years old but other than my best friend, who is in her sixties, visiting for two weeks a year ago no one has slept in the bed.

    I wasn’t sure if I’d get any calls but I ended up with 30 responses before I pulled the ad.. The first woman who responded actually showed up on time this morning and was thrilled. She explained she left a domestic violence situation and had been sleeping on an old futon. She was so excited. I also asked her if she wanted a very lovely and oversized canvas image of Venice and she said yes, that it would give her something to put on her walls.

    So I am feeling really, really, really good about today.

    1. Fortitude Jones*

      That’s lovely that even though you’re being forced out of your own home, you are able to do something nice for someone else.

  79. Gatomon*

    It looks like the purchase of my new home is going to go through, so I’m getting excited. Visions of paint palettes are running through my head! But I will actually be making my first task replacing the hot water tank since it’s quite old. I’m strongly considering replacing it with a tankless model. I don’t need to keep 50 gallons of hot water on tap for one person and a cat, and I’d love to lower my energy usage.

    Has anyone gone the tankless water heater route? Is there anything you dislike or wished you had known before installing one?

    1. Dear liza dear liza*

      Our last house had a tankless water heater and it was fabulous. We thought we might have issues being on well water, but nope. 10/10 I would do it again.

      1. Gatomon*

        Ooh I didn’t think of that! I’ll be on city water, but it all comes from an aquifer and is very hard. I’m constantly battling hard water buildup in my apartment.

    2. Seven If You Count Bad John*

      No advice on the water heater front, but an internet fist bump for impending home buyer solidarity–if all goes well, we’ll be in our 1st house by August.

      And yeah, paint palettes–the first thing I’m gonna do is paint the front door bright red.

      1. Gatomon*

        Thanks! I’ll be moving in by the end of the month too!

        I wish I could paint the front door a different color, unfortunately I’m buying a condo and I sort of doubt they’ll let me. I might ask though. The outside is light blue so I’d love to do a bright yellow! The inside will be all sorts of fun colors though. There aren’t a ton of windows so I’m going to go bold and dark. I haven’t decided if the main living space color will be a deep navy or a deep purple though.

        1. Seven If You Count Bad John*

          We had a rental once that the owner didn’t care at all as long as the (incredibly low) rents were paid, and we got some “oops” paints we liked and painted every room a different color (and the ceilings too). My spouse is looking forward to recreating a similar effect. We’re both so tired of “Rental eggshell”.

          (“Oops paint” is paint that was mis-mixed at the paint counter and came out the wrong color for the customer, so it’s sold at a discount. It can be a terrific resource.)

    3. Elf*

      Tankless hot water has plusses and minuses. You never run out of hot water in the shower, which is great, but it isn’t making hot water all the time. It only starts heating the water when it notices you are running the hot water, so instead of just waiting for the hot water to get through the pipe, you have to run enough water for the heater to kick on, then wait for it to heat some water and for that water to get through the pipe. It can also be annoying for washing dishes; I prefer to turn the water off and on a lot when doing dishes to save water but you can’t do that with tankless because that won’t be calling for enough hot water to make any, so you may not have hot water and have to wait.

      1. Gatomon*

        That could be annoying. My apartment can take a bit to deliver hot water in the depth of winter and I get frustrated when I’m not sure if the boiler is out again or if I just have to wait longer because its been depleted. Hopefully a dishwasher would still cope, right? Most of my kitchen supplies are dishwasher safe but I like to keep my pots in good condition by handwashing.

      2. Anono-me*

        And the heat and mix takes longer if you are somewhere that gets really cold in the winter, since the water does too.

    4. Elspeth Mcgillicuddy*

      Don’t pick out the paint first. Pick out fabrics. Unless you don’t need to get any new furniture. It’s way easier to get the paint people to match your fabric than to find fabrics to match your paint.

      1. Seven If You Count Bad John*

        Fortunately, our style is “Comfortable Eclectic”, so matching isn’t an issue (we kinda coordinate within a range of favorite colors and styles), but that’s a good tip. The place is a blank slate so we could definitely paint it to match the furniture rather than the other way around!

    5. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      Love the tankless (I’m a renter, but the house just got it’s second one. I do have to run some water to get it “started” but no worse than my old house (where the hot water heater was in the garage). I use some “catch” of the water to water plants (I’m in California)… YMMV. But I’d buy one for my own in heartbeat.

    6. Rusty Shackelford*

      I looked into a tankless heater when we had to suddenly (ugh) replace ours recently, and found out that when your energy source is natural gas, you can’t simply replace a tank with tankless. New plumbing and venting is required, and the installation would have cost two to three times as much as the heater itself.

  80. The Dread Pirate Buttercup*

    Advice? I have a co-worker whom I’ll call “Leslie.” Most of the time she’s a lovely hard worker and super-sweet, but when her anxiety starts in, she starts being incredibly abrasive, taking EVERYTHING as criticism (“I’m going to check the paper in the kiosks, the lines are astronomically long today and people have been complaining about paper jams in one of them.” “I checked them this morning. Are you saying I didn’t do a good job? I know you think you’re better than me at that.” Verbatim.) , making sure everyone around her knows that she is the only one who does any work around here, loudly pointing out unprofessionalism (often just stylistic differences: she gets angry that I say “PIN code,” rather than “PIN number” because the program we use calls it a “PIN number”), insisting on tidying up other people’s not-untidy workspaces ESPECIALLY when they are working with customers (she will literally get between us and the computer screen/ customer to turn our pens perpendicular to the keyboard) or crawl under the desk while we are at the desk serving customers (I have politely asked her not to do this, and she says she “has” to).

    She also goes one weird personal vendettas against people she perceives as threats. (And may a thousand blessings rain down upon the head of Alison for providing, “I don’t care to engage with you in malicious gossip,” scripts. They worked a treat!) Last week, “April” got fed up with her constant sniping (Leslie told an angry customer that her co-worker didn’t know how to do her job when her computer froze and the customer ran with it) and just walked out. Because she never engages in these behaviors with the bosses, they are focusing on how unprofessional April was. Is there a gracious way to say, “How are you not seeing this shit?”

    Bonus: they are considering Leslie to be promoted to manage me. I’m polishing up my resumé.

    1. Nacho*

      It was unprofessional for April to walk out no matter what was going on, but I’d definitely have a talk with her boss about the mitigating circumstances of Leslie throwing her under a bus like that.