coworkers are mad they can’t play with my puppy, my work anniversary gift is causing drama, and more

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

1. People are mad that they can’t play with my puppy at work

My partner and I recently adopted a puppy together, and she’s the best! We agreed beforehand that, since my office is 100% dog-friendly, she’d be coming into work with me most days at first. She has a little pen and she sits under my desk and is quiet all day, doesn’t disrupt mine or others’ work, and mostly just sleeps (she’s under three months old still and needs to sleep 18-20 hours per day). We’re planning on training her to be a service dog, so I’ve explained to my coworkers that talking to/playing with the dog isn’t allowed so that she has the capacity for her evening training.

The problem is this: everyone in my office is (understandably) obsessed with her, and they’re getting upset that they can’t play with her. When people come up to her pen I make sure to say “She needs her sleep right now!” in a chirpy, non-confrontational voice, and that makes most people back off. Others, however, will respond with “But I want to see her!” or “Oh, just for a second.” Of course, that one second wakes her up, gets her over-excited, and makes her bark in an office where people are often on the phone with clients. Today, there was even an incident where a coworker began loudly complaining to someone while standing directly behind my desk that “we USED to be able to say hi, but not anymore.” (I took her around the office and let everyone meet her the first day I brought her in.)

I really want this situation to work, and it does, as long as everyone respects my wishes. How firm can I be with the “stay away from the puppy under my desk” orders without turning into the office Helicopter Dog Mom?

If your office isn’t so large that this would be weird (and if the culture allows for it), one option is to send an email to everyone explaining the situation — that she’s training in the evenings to be a service dog, has to sleep during the day to have the energy for that, and hey, did you know baby puppies need to sleep 18-20 hours a day, so you’re asking people to let her sleep and not try to wake her.

The other thing you could try is putting up a sign on her pen that says something like, “Please don’t wake me! I am so small that I still need to sleep most of the time and I may bark if you wake me.”

And actually, you could probably lean on the barking thing. If anyone complains that you’re not letting them wake her, you could say, “She’s been barking if she’s woken up, and if she barks I risk not being allowed to bring her in anymore.” Hopefully that will resonate with her fans.

2. My coworkers are upset about my work anniversary gift

Thanks to your blog, I have been at my job for five years. My company marks certain years of employment as an anniversary and provides a gift when you reach that anniversary. In my department, another colleague and I reached our anniversaries and were given gifts. These gifts are fairly high-end and nice and much different from the pen or pin I received in a previous position. Mine was a Tiffany necklace. (We are given a list to choose from based on years of service.)

I recently wore my necklace to work and received many compliments but a few people were a bit taken aback that this gift was paid for by the company. They felt this was unfair to everyone else. I reiterated that this was something we all get once we work for a certain number of years but some felt that was still not fair. Those who found it unfair were fairly young in their careers, have not been in a position for more than a few years at a time, and may be not be familiar with work anniversaries. One of the people who was unhappy has spoken to my other colleague who received a gift to ask for the written policy since she’s never heard of it. We initially thought she was excited to learn more, but turns out she’s gone to HR to complain.

I didn’t think wearing the gift to work would cause any issues and if I had known I wouldn’t have worn it. I know this person will see me and bring this up again, and I’m not sure what to say. What would be the best way to respond when she asks for more information or my views on fairness? I don’t want to argue with her or defend this gift that I will not wear again to work.

They’re being obnoxious — and do seem awfully inexperienced — and luckily, this is not a problem that you have to solve. They can bug HR about it, and HR can deal with it as they see fit. But you don’t need to defend the gift policy or argue with them, and you don’t need to stop wearing the necklace to work if you don’t want to.

If they make any more comments about it to you, give them a weird look and say, “Wow, what an odd reaction to a really common practice.” If they keep pushing, then say, “I don’t set our gift policies and I’m not the right person to talk to about it. I’m sure you can talk to HR if you want more information.” If they still keep it up, then say, “It’s really weird that you’re trying to debate this with me! I don’t set this policy and I’m not up for discussing it any further.”

Wear your necklace and enjoy it!

3. Candidates keep asking me if I have time to chat

I recently made a career change into recruiting. I am working for a large software company, and since I updated my LinkedIn profile, I have been bombarded with connection requests from people looking for an in into my company. I don’t mind accepting the random requests, but what I’m not sure how to handle is, how do I respond to these people I don’t know who inbox me asking me if I have time to chat? Or, that they are looking for xyz role and would love my input. I typically tell people to go to our company website and apply to the roles that they are interested in, but the people who want me to immediately talk to them live on the phone are throwing me off. I’ve definitely been on the other side of the table, so I do not want to come across rude or condescending in any way, but I also do not want to “chat” with scores of random people trying to get a shortcut into a job at my company, or else I will never be able to get my actual work done. Help!

Some of this depends on your team’s philosophy about recruiting work, your specific role, and the roles you’re working to fill. If you have hard-to-fill roles and/or your team wants you actively recruiting strong potential candidates, then usually you’d want to talk with people who look like strong potential matches.

But that’s not going to be everyone! When someone doesn’t look like a particularly strong candidate, you can just say, “The best way to get started is to apply through our jobs portal and then we can take it from there.” If the person still pushes for a call after that, you can say, “Because we get a high volume of interest in our openings, we’ve found the best way to explore possibilities is to throw your hat in the ring via our regular application process.”

4. Cancer talk, compassion, and boundaries with a coworker

Within the last year, I started at a new higher education workplace. I have one coworker and two direct reports on my team. My coworker and I are often alone in our suite since our boss is busy running more projects in our area. My coworker, “Daryl,” is a blandly nice, older, slightly hard of hearing, forgetful man who will talk constantly about anything he can think of. I once heard about his wife’s doctor’s common cold. I set some boundaries early about doing work (looking only at the screen, repeating that I had a lot of work) and invested in headphones.

However, Daryl’s wife has been diagnosed with stage 0 breast cancer and is currently undergoing treatment. My mother was diagnosed and beat breast cancer over 10 years ago, but my father died of brain cancer — after an arduous three years of operations and treatments — two years ago. Daryl’s conversations have all turned to how his wife is doing and how exhausted she is after chemotherapy and the details of her medical procedures. I am smiling politely and nodding understandingly, but I am not sure if he even remembers that my father died. It was something I had disclosed last winter around the anniversary when I needed to take a sick day for grief reasons. I want to be sympathetic and kind to him, as I understand the impact that this is having, but I am not his therapist and I am not his boss. His constant updates and running commentary is starting to impact me (though I am working with my therapist on my own mental health). Do you have any suggestions on working with Daryl or approaching my boss? Having to remind Daryl every day that my Dad is dead would be awful.

I suspect you’re right that Daryl doesn’t remember your dad died, or doesn’t remember it was from cancer — or if he does, just doesn’t realize that so much talk about cancer would bother you. (In fairness to Daryl, not everyone would be bothered by it — but a lot of people would be.) So the first thing to try here is to just be straightforward and say something like, “I’m so sorry you and Jane are going through this. Because my dad died of cancer not too long ago, it’s hard for me to talk about cancer, especially at work where I need to keep my composure. I don’t want to seem unsympathetic because I’m not, but it’s just still too tough a topic for me and so I can’t be a sounding board for you. I’m sorry about that.”

You mentioned you’re worried you’d have to remind him of this every day, but since he’s still holding down a job, I’m thinking he’s likely capable of remembering this, although it’s true you might have to remind him a couple of times at first. But those reminders can just be, “Like I said, this topic is still too hard for me. I’m sorry I can’t hear you out.”

Also, I’m assuming you’ve already thought of this because of the previous levels of chattiness, but if you haven’t, it might be worth investigating whether you can change offices, framing it as Daryl liking high levels of interaction while you need quiet in order to focus.

5. How thorough should my LinkedIn profile be?

I know you’ve said many times that a resume is a marketing tool, not a comprehensive work history, and I assume the same goes for LinkedIn. However, I am a recent grad without much idea of what my future is going to look like. I have pretty much every job and internship I’ve done listed (I only recently removed summer camp counselor since I can pretty safely say that’s not necessary). I also have fill out almost every other section: bio, skills, publications, languages, organizations. It seems smart to me to include everything that might catch someone’s attention. More and more, though, I’ve been noticing that most people include barely more than their current position on their profiles, and I worry too much content is probably distracting. But I don’t want to remove anything! How do I figure out the right balance between too much and too little? How do I decide what to keep and what to remove?

Any chance you’re looking mainly at peers’ profiles and they haven’t been super thorough on LinkedIn because they’re recent grads too and either don’t have a ton to put there or just don’t see much value in the site?

In any case, what you’re doing sounds fine. The one exception to that is the skills section — I’d skip that since skills listings on LinkedIn are notoriously unreliable. The rest all sounds good.

{ 658 comments… read them below }

  1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

    OP#2, your complaining coworkers sound inexperienced, and the complaint to HR is straight up immature. And Alison is right—you don’t have to debate it or prove the policy exists or defend its existence. I’m sorry they’re ruining a lovely gesture, and I also vote for wearing the necklace and letting HR field their complaints.

    1. periwinkle*

      Right, this is hardly your fault nor is it some unfair exotic perk. My employer does anniversaries like this, too – you choose from a catalog. I recently celebrated my 5th year here and had fun deciding what to pick.

      I opted for the food processor instead of a necklace. Would OP #2’s inexperienced co-workers have gotten this bent out of shape if she had started bringing in delicious homemade soups?

        1. Stitch*

          That’s where my tent is from.

          There are tons of other benefits that work like this. I work in government and you get more vacation hours after a certain number of years.

        2. WonderingHowIGotIntoThis*

          Those are some really nice gifts for 5 years! I got a £20 gift voucher, which was a substitute gift because they traditionally gift a bottle of wine and I don’t drink.
          I’m approaching ten years after the summer, which is a £125 gift voucher. The gift cards vouchers are decently universal, so (assuming I don’t ragequit) I’m planning on putting it towards a nice handbag I’ve seen in the department store.

          1. Hi there*

            These sounds like fancy gifts to me, too! People tend to stay at my higher ed employer a long time. 5 years was attending the longevity and awards lunch, ten years was the same plus a print of famous building on campus (mine got beat up in the mail), 15 years was the lunch and a pin that had the university shield logo with a 15 on it. I hear that at some point you get a cool wooden chair. I can’t decide if I want to find out.

            1. roisin54*

              You get a cool wooden chair for your 25th anniversary here, and a gold watch for your 50th. Other than that all we get is a longevity bonus after 10 years. I believe the bonus increases slightly every five years, but I’m not 100% sure on that.

              I’ve never heard of an anniversary gift for 5 years. Aside from two short-term entry-level jobs in academia I’ve worked in the public sector for my entire working life, so I have no idea how the “normal” job world does things. That’s the main reason why I follow this blog.

              1. Alexander Graham Yell*

                My old (very large multinational) company did gifts every 5 years – a gold pin with the company logo at 5 and a new pin with a little diamond in it for every 5 years after that, plus a gift from a catalog. I think I got a camelback?

                Not sure if my new company does much, but I know you get a company branded polo or cardigan on your first anniversary. The cardigans actually look super comfy, so I’m pretty excited for that one!

              2. Galloping Gargoyles*

                I’m in the public sector and our state government recognizes at 3 and then 5 years and every 5 years after that. A colleague recently celebrated 35 years and the amount of the gift was $250. We allow staff to choose any item as long as it is within the price range, including tax and shipping. Staff can opt for a gift card but then of course it is taxed.

                When I worked in public libraries, we got gift cards for every 5 years.

              3. SusanIvanova*

                Tech companies go for 4, 8, 12-year gifts, because 4 years in the same company is a long time. Many companies don’t even last that long.

                1. hayling*

                  At my high-growth tech company, you get a very personalized gift at *3* years: a custom bobblehead of your likeness!

                2. Glitsy Gus*

                  My tech company does 5… it’s a clock… an analog clock. We all find that very amusing.

                  At ten, you get a plexiglass tchotchky. I don’t want to look a gift horse int he mouth, but I would rather get a bottle of wine or an item from a catalogue. We do also get more PTO, so that’s something actually useful.

              4. Cubicles*

                Where I work you get to choose from certain items for your 2-year anniversary! Definitely not super expensive items but still nice. I picked the necklace, which I like but is not a Tiffany necklace or anything. I think other choices included a clock and an insulated lunchbox. There were a few other things but I can’t recall them anymore. I think there’s a 5-year gift too and not sure of the intervals after that.

                Once place I worked years ago gave you a pin with the employer’s logo on it at 5 years. I still have that and actually have nice memories from looking at it.

          2. I WORKED on a Hellmouth*

            At a printing company that I once worked for, the work anniversary gifts at every 5 year mark (5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, etc) were NICE. They actually would give you a price range and you would give them a list of three things that you would like–a basic Tiffany necklace would have been right in place for year 5.

            1. Mr. Shark*

              We get a gift every five years, and yes, it’s basically a catalog of things you can choose from. The gifts do seem to get better with longer service. These coworkers of the LW just need to be informed by HR that this is standard and they’d better get back to work or they will never last long enough to get theirs! :)

              1. Stormfeather*

                To be honest I’m wondering if this is where this is coming from – these particular people haven’t been in a job for very long at a stretch and don’t see themselves being here in 5 years to get Nice Things like that, so they’re bent out of shape that other people are.

                If it’s not something like that (and probably even if it is), it’s pretty self-sabotaging, since it’s not like the company would take back the gift after it’s given, and if they do change the policy then it’s just going to prevent the complainers (and some other people as collateral damage) from getting Nice Things later on.

                1. kristinyc*

                  Our org does the catalog too. Someone on my team got a waffle iron. I’ll be 5 years next year…can’t wait to see what the options are! :)

                2. Hummus*

                  Did their families not stop the “you get a gift on your sibling’s birthday, too” thing after age three? It’s just such a strange definition of fair, since it’s so objective.

                  And you are so right. What if HR is like, “You are so correct, we are going to stop this policy. You’ve been here ten months, so I think the policy stops exactly four years from now.”

                3. darsynia*

                  That’s where I’m facepalming, too. Like, first of all, where are these co-workers growing up that they think it’s appropriate to make someone feel bad for earning a gift at work, and second of all, what on Earth do they think an appropriate reaction from HR is even going to BE?!

                  I’m super hoping that someone higher up in HR can articulate this in a way these coworkers can understand because I would be flat-out mortified if I made this kind of ignorant mistake at work. It just takes a little bit of logical thinking to completely understand why their complaints are inappropriate.

                4. Kat in VA*

                  Whatever happened to being pleased that someone else got something nice?

                  More and more I see people who are just naysayers about EVERYTHING.

                  What’s so hard about, “Hey, a Tiffany necklace, that’s SO pretty!” and then moving on with your day, pleased that someone else got something nice? Why are people so selfish and self-centered?

                  It’s like everyone wants everyone else to do well…as long as they’re not, you know, doing BETTER.

                5. Cubicles*

                  This is such a weird reaction these coworkers are having. I guess they’d be happier if no one got anything for their milestone work anniversaries? Maybe they think they won’t be working for a particular employer long enough to qualify for an anniversary gift – I do get that because job security to make it to 5 or 10 years or more can be elusive. But in my world it’s not uncommon at all for there to be anniversary gifts. I haven’t stayed anywhere long enough to see what the most expensive gift would be, but I’m not going around questioning people who did and complaining to the company, either!

        3. Aquawoman*

          I get a piece of paper in a frame and a pin. And healthcare when I retire, so I’m good with that :)

          1. Liz*

            I’d take that over ANY gift any day! My dad took early retirement from a big pharma in the early 90’s. got a great package, including health benefits, which continued, even after he passed, to my mom. Who is now 84 and paying significantly less than most of her contemporaries for her medicare supplemental policy.

          2. codex*

            I work in the arts, so I wouldn’t have minded just a pin. My five-year anniversary was a couple months ago and everyone either forgot or didn’t care.

          1. SarahKay*

            That sounds significantly more fascinating than most company gifts! Were they in a catalogue, or your workplace asked you what you’d like? Or..or..? Enquiring minds would love to know more.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        I just got my pick-a-gift catalog for five years earlier this week and chose a butt warmer for my car. (It did seem odd to be excited about such a thing when facing down a heat wave, but this winter…)

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          I went with jewelry for my 5-year and 10-year, but this time at 20-year the jewelry options weren’t my style. I may decide to mess with their predictions and get a rolling tools cabinet. It keeps my trend of picking durable objects… and amuses me by thinking about them shipping it to me.
          OP2’s co-workers might also not realize that fine jewelry retailers have a huge markup* so a big company’s awards program could get a significant discount.
          (*totally valid costs — capital is tied up and their insurance is high.)

          1. Kat in VA*

            I second this remark. I thought heated seats were silly and wasteful in the extreme…until I moved from Southern California to north Idaho and realized they weren’t silly, they were a necessity.

            Next up – completely changing my attitude about air-conditioned seats when I moved from north Idaho to the DC metro area…

          2. Dahlia*

            They’re also great for if you have period cramps and get back pain. Or just back pain in general.

          3. TardyTardis*

            Oh, God, yes. Still remember with great fondness the Volvo sedan that had them. What a pity that smoke came out the dashboard when it hit 250K (wiring, no explosions. But quite a tow back home!).

        2. Dasein9*

          That kind of foresight and practical thinking is probably precisely why you’re such a valued employee!

      2. JessaB*

        Mr Bs company doesn’t do gifts like that but you get points for certain things and they have a catalogue you can get stuff from everything from mugs to computers, all non company branded stuff. Our main convection microwave died, we had zip in the way of available money, he said “lemme check my points” and voila brand new microwave delivered and enough points left over to get himself some dvd/blu ray movies. Would they have gotten out of shape because someone who worked there for four years had earned enough points (longevity, good quality, all kinds of measurable things, also when things go really wrong, they often throw points at people with their apology,) to exchange for a brand name microwave?

        1. TootsNYC*

          this might not have bothered them so much, because they would have been eligible for SOMEthing.

        2. periwinkle*

          We have both – anniversary catalogs for the 5-year increment milestones plus a regular catalog through which you redeem recognition points. The latter is available to everyone and you can select gift cards or charitable donations as well as merchandise.

          These coworkers might be happier if there were an ongoing opportunity to earn rewards like this, but seriously, there are so many companies that don’t have any kind of rewards. Not every employer gives out gold star stickers.

          (Also, I am so glad I’m not in operational HR anymore because complaints like this make tactful responses challenging…)

      3. Liz*

        My company does the same thing. They give you a code, and there’s a website with all kinds of gifts you can choose from, going up in value as you hit higher anniversaries. My last one was 15 and I got a fancy pricy toaster oven! Which I love and use frequently.

        I agree they are inexperienced, and while I hate to generalize, kind of have the attitude that if one person gets “something” everyone should. Kind of like the participation trophies.

        1. Iris Eyes*

          Well they will get their participation trophy once they too participate for the full five years ;)

          1. LizB*

            Ha, I guess a work anniversary gift is essentially a participation trophy. You just have to participate for quite a long time.

        2. EmKay*

          Or younger siblings who also get a present when it’s the older sibling’s birthday, otherwise they throw a fit.

          1. RUKiddingMe*

            Don’t get me started on this!

            How exactly does an under one year old understand being “left out” when it’s her five year old sister’s “special” (right…never again!) day?

            1. SusanIvanova*

              Any kid old enough to understand “someone is having a special day” should be old enough to get “we’re going to have the fun of watching them open what we picked out!”

              1. RUKiddingMe*

                Exactly. And aless-than-one-year-old isn’t even understanding that someone else got a shiny new piece of plastic crap anyway.

                To her credit my sister gets it. She was never “what about meeeeee…” that was all on my parents/grandparents.

                Likeeise I was never, ever jealous despite what the books/doctors told them to expect.

                They finally believed me at about age 40 when I said something like “why would I have ever been jealous when I was always so obviously better anyway…?”

                Not my best moment, but they finally STFU about it. In my defense…Forty, 40!!!!! years…years!

      4. wittyrepartee*

        My reaction was: “I feel like no one would say boo if this was a man’s watch”.

      5. ZK*

        That is so much better than the crummy glass plaque I got for 5 years that stayed in my desk drawer always. I left it there when I left. This was the same company that changed our sales bonus from cash to a points system where eventually we could turn the points in for items. It took me 3 months of max bonuses to get a toaster. I previously could have bought 10 decent toasters with one month’s bonus. Y’all’s companies are so much more thoughtful.

        I hope HR shuts this down fast.

    2. Engineer Girl*

      I agree. I’ve found that one technique is to help people look toward their own future.
      “Yes, I earned this by working at the company for five years. You’ll get one yourself in X years! Do you think you’d like the same style?”

      Conversely, your coworker is so silly that she thinks everyone should be paid the same regardless of performance. Sadly, those kind exist.

        1. Myrin*

          I think EG is just talking about a second, different-but-related, point: Coworker thinks it’s unfair to get a gift for certain years at the company. What else does she think is unfair? That people with a better performance are paid more?

          1. Kat in VA*

            Or that people who go the extra mile and out of their way to be helpful and useful are generally well-regarded by their peers and management?


      1. Lance*

        Yeah, I’d just be crystal clear about it: that this was a gift for years of service, and they can have much the same if they stay there that long. If they don’t, or they complain otherwise… well, then they’re just making themselves look worse, which ultimately won’t be OP’s problem.

        1. Genny*

          I wonder if the company has modified the program at all so that newer employees don’t get the same longevity gifts (or any?). That’s the only reason I can find for them being mad and petty about someone else for getting a gift from the company. Even then, their reaction is way over the top. As a younger millennial myself, I’d just chalk it up to workplace norms changing and go on with my day (basically how I treat things like pensions and staying with one company your entire career).

          1. Perse's Mom*

            Sounds like the one complainer wasn’t even aware of the service anniversary policy; they seem focused entirely on ‘company gave OP a necklace, where’s MY necklace?!’

          2. LJay*

            Yeah, most places I’ve worked, someone getting a nice longevity gift was met with a few snarky comments about how the company wouldn’t be around long enough for them to get a 20 year gift, or that their longevity gift was going to wind up being a Bic pen and a thing of off-brand sticky notes notes or something. But they wouldn’t be to the recipient, they’d be said to other uninvolved people and nobody was ever actually worked up about it.

            1. Lexi Lynn*

              My company actually did that. I got a stick vacuum for my 5-year. About 18 months later, they changed it and people got certificates emailed to them. Then a few years later, it was changed again and people were getting taken out to lunch. No one got bent out of shape because it was obvious that the company was awful, not that co-workers were cheating.

        2. Hummus*

          Exactly. I’d be like, “Crazy how fast the time flies! You’ll be here five years before you know it!”

          It’s in the company’s interest to show off the necklace, so that others can see how generous the company is with rewarding longevity. I mean, I’m assuming that a company who gives Tiffany necklaces also pays at least market rate and has good benefits otherwise.

      2. Escapee from Corporate Management*

        Boy, your coworker sounds entitled. I can see this repeating itself:

        “Why did OP get a gift and not me?” “She EARNED it by performing well enough to stay here five years.”

        “Why did OP get a promotion and not me?” “She EARNED it by performing well enough to stand out.”

        “Why did OP get an office and not me?” “She EARNED it by performing well enough to be promoted.”

        And so on…

      3. Finally Friday*

        “everyone should be paid the same regardless of performance. ”

        In a union shop, that’s exactly what happens. And there are days where that’s hard to digest.

        1. lew*

          That’s a pretty broad generalization. I’ve worked in multiple unionized workplaces where merit raises are just another aspect of the collective agreement.

    3. alienor*

      I’m baffled how they can even think it’s “unfair.” The company gives a gift when someone’s been working there for five years. When they’ve been there for five years, they’ll also be able to choose a gift. I can see someone being annoyed if they’d been there for four years and eleven months and the gift policy was discontinued just before they became eligible, but as it is they haven’t got a leg to stand on.

      1. FD*

        I suspect that a lot of what’s driving it is that they just haven’t ever heard of that sort of thing before.

        Alternatively, while I feel this is wrong-headed, I could also see someone who’s new to the workforce but knows enough to know they likely won’t stay at the same company for 20 years (just because that’s not really all that common anymore) feeling it’s unfair that they’ll likely never stay at the same place long enough to earn a particularly cool milestone gift.

        If I was the manager they spoke to, I might explain it in the context of, “Hey, you’re free to manage your career however you see fit. It’s true that a lot of people find that they end up moving jobs in order to meet their goals. But from the perspective of the company, retaining good people for a long time is great, because they really know their jobs and the company, and because finding new people is a challenge. It makes sense from the company’s point of view, then, to reward people who have been here a long time.”

        1. SarahTheEntwife*

          If it were 20 years I could kind of understand it because that really is more of a generational thing, where the job market in most fields has changed such that very few people stick around for that long. But in most white-collar jobs staying 5 years is really common.

          Or is it not? I’m in libraries, which does tend to be one of the remaining places you get people spending their entire career at once institution, so maybe I’m more out of touch than I thought?

          1. sssssssssssssssss*

            White collar my entire career and the longest I’ve been with any one employer, so far, is four years. I’m hoping to buck that trend with my current employer now that I have a pension plan.

            I would “complain” that I’ve never made to the catalogue stage at any job. But really, I don’t mind as I left previous jobs for all sorts of reasons and I certainly never thought it wasn’t fair. I’m really not sure what this person is truly complaining about.

            1. Iris Eyes*

              And probably you are coming out ahead. People who transition to a new job are probably leaving for more than a one time $20-$2000 bonus.

              If they are going to be upset about something real then maybe they should have a look at their company’s retirement vesting policy. I’m not sure what industry norms are but around here its 6 years to be fully vested.

              1. Liz*

                Mine was five I believe. and when I started we had two separate plans; one they called a savings plan aka pension, which was 5 years all or nothing, and the 401K, which vested at 20% for each year, until you hit 5 and were then fully vested. The savings plan has gone away but they still kind of do it, as my co. contributes an additional % to our 401K on top of the matching percent. another reason i am going nowhere until they make me!

                1. VictorianCowgirl*

                  The tiered vesting is really nice! I’ve never worked anywhere that offered that.

          2. Anonym*

            The averages for the under 40 set run 2.5-3 years in the US (per Deloitte’s research arm). Although I’ve been with my company 7 years. Then again, I’ve averaged 2-3 years per role, and I’m now looking and willing to leave if I can’t find the next role within.

          3. Brett*

            Depends on the type of white-collar job. I’m in white-collar tech, and in our division of ~700 employees, less than 30 have been here more than 3 years.

          4. Emily K*

            It depends on the level of the position. When I’ve hired/interviewed for roles at the past I am generally looking for a candidate who is aligned on these minimum tenures –

            – very entry-level/first-job type type roles to stay 1 year
            – junior-level/non-management role but not entry-level/first-job to stay 2-3 years
            – mid-level manager or very senior independent contributor to stay 3-5 years
            – senior manager or director to stay >5 years

            This is directly related to the learning curves for the positions. At the very bottom rung you can master the job in a few months and probably be ready to move on in a year, and that’s fine because we got most of the year out of you at full performance. The further up the ladder you go, the longer it takes for you to reach your full performance level in the job and the longer it takes for you to actually accomplish the kinds of long-term/big-picture goals that people in those senior roles are asked to accomplish. A senior manager/director might take a full year just to really settle into their role and begin turning the air craft carrier in a new direction, and the turn can take another few years to be completed.

            1. Paquita*

              We have an ‘Assistant Director’ now for the first time. Director is retiring, AD has been with us about 8 months now. He is still learning things but he should be ready to take over in November. I think it was a good idea, there’s a lot of different things in our department for him to get comfortable with.

              1. uranus wars*

                I had a year to get ready for my role before taking over as Director. I think when companies can do this it is a great way to ease the transition and allow for almost immediate change/impact instead of having that gap year of understanding the position/department that can sometimes stall progress.

          5. sheworkshardforthemoney*

            A friend was a librarian at the same academic library for 35 years and retired with full retirements benefits about 10 years ago. She is unique because many people can’t conceive of staying in one job for that long. She loved her niche job and never wanted to leave.

          6. Alanna of Trebond*

            In my field, 5 years is pretty uncommon early career, which it sounds like the complainers probably are, but that’s partly because you’re moving up by moving on — the goal is still to get to a job where you can have some stability (which I’d define as 3-4 years at least).

            I’ve been at my current company 5 years and plan to stay at least one more, but when I started here my longest stint anywhere was just over 2 years and I would have laughed in disbelief at the idea of staying anywhere SIX YEARS.

            Five years also just seems a lot longer at 23 than at 30.

          7. RUKiddingMe*

            But not staying in jobs for decades isn’t a new thing. Most of the young people coming into the workforce while yes absolutely face challenges, this all started in full force in the 80s.

            Most of their parents (gen-x) came of age into an economy that was staggeringly worse than what it is now. Sure college was (tons!) cheaper then, but when I graduated HS in 1980 the national deficit was like 13%…it’s like 2% right now, mortgage interest was 20%, whereas it’s about 4% today…

            It wasn’t a whole lot better by 1984 when I graduated college. We absolutely had it much, much worse than our parents (boomers) coming into adulthood and most of us weren’t welcome to move back home due to economic reasons.

            Our parents who had grown up in the most prosperous time in American history didn’t understand that we *couldn’t* pull ourselves up because we didn’t even have boots much less bootSTRAPS.

            As hard as it is today, there are better jobs and a whole lot more future to look forward to…including jobs that one might stay in for many years.

            1. Emily K*

              I agree with your overall point but just wanted to play devils advocate on the mortgage interest sub-point. High interest rates cut both ways – savings and investments return higher rates when the prime rate is higher, too. And when loan interest rates are low, it encourages more borrowing and thus more purchasing, and high demand drives up prices. So you get a better interest rate on your mortgage, but your house probably costs more, because the lower the interest rate the more house people think they can afford and the more bidders you’re competing against. The rock-bottom-of-the-barrel interest rates have been a significant factor in the runaway cost of housing over the past ~30 years.

              1. RUKiddingMe*

                All true.

                Also, just so we’re on the same page, my understanding of economics is hereby maxed out… :-D

                This is a lot of what contributed to all of the housing boom/bust thing in recent years isn’t it? That and people who probably should not have been getting financing getting said financing?

                I just hear/read a lot of ‘look at how bad it is today…our parents just don’t understand it…” happening. If by ‘parents’ they are speaking of boomers…then yeah, I’m on it, but if they mean the average gen-xer who didn’t have a whole lot of help, privilege, etc. then nah it wasn’t like that way back in the olden days of the 80s and people should be aware of that.

                I just saw a thing about how fans of Stranger Things forgot/don’t know how much the 80s sucked. It was supposed to be funny (meh…it was o…k, but not haha funny) but as I read it, I was like..’oh yeaaahhhh that was a thing, yup, yeah, uh huh…I remember *that*… etc.”

                And, millennials, gen-y, gen-z (did I miss anyone?) did not grow up with the ever present, oppressive shadow of nuclear war, so yanno…I win. (•–•)

        2. doreen*


          I could also see someone who’s new to the workforce but knows enough to know they likely won’t stay at the same company for 20 years (just because that’s not really all that common anymore) feeling it’s unfair that they’ll likely never stay at the same place long enough to earn a particularly cool milestone gift.

          is the part I don’t get. Employers that give gifts for work anniversaries have a lot of employees who reach those anniversaries, too many for someone to just assume that they won’t stay long enough to hit an anniversary. It’s true that lots of people change jobs more frequently than used to be common – but it’s also true that jobs like mine still exist. I’ve worked for my agency for 25 years and have known hundreds of people. And the all but two of the people I know who voluntarily left without able to transfer their pension service*moved out of state.

          ( *The state and many local governments are part of the same pension system, and contributions can be transferred back and forth between that system and local systems . It’s common for people to leave State Agency A to go Local Agency B but they don’t move to Nonprofit C or Corporation D until after retirement.)

          1. Washi*

            Ha, I agree but was simultaneously coming to say the opposite. What allows many companies to give expensive anniversary presents is that a relatively small number make it that far!

            Basically, the number is nonzero, but also small enough that staying 5/10/20 years is both noteworthy and feasible to honor with progressively more expensive gifts.

            1. Venus*

              It is also financially beneficial for them to have people stay a long time, because it saves on training and other costs. The money they are spending as a gift is insignificant in comparison to all their other expenses.

              1. Drewski*

                I agree and don’t see where it would be unfair at any number of years. The rarity just highlights the need for recognition!

                One of my coworkers is about to celebrate his 40th(!) anniversary with the company. If anyone thought a gift for that was unfair I would love to hear the justification.

                1. Banker chick*

                  I celebrated 26 years at my company (which marks the anniversaries every five years with a pin) but that is nothing compared to the woman who celebrated 58 years before retiring!! She was even on the the local news, them replaying the segment each broadcast all day. I am sure someone was complaining about the special treatment she got.

          2. Brett*

            I’m curious what state that is. My spouse and I have worked government in several midwest states, and none of them had this system. Not even the school districts transfer plans, so if you leave one district for another, you lose your vesting and points and start all over.

            1. fposte*

              Illinois has a bunch of pensions with reciprocity, including several teachers’ retirement systems. Additionally, it offered a version of the pension known as “portable” that means basically you can haul a better lump sum out if you leave.

              1. Brett*

                My spouse is Illinois now, but on the newish tier II SURS plan which is so awful (because of the earnings limited pegged to the lesser of 3% or half the CPI) she opted for the SMP. I don’t think she can move from state to local (if she was on regular SURS), only from state to state, but I’m not sure.

                1. Brett*

                  (And I worked for local government in Missouri, where not only could I not transfer to another local government, but I won’t collect until I am 70, with no adjustment for inflation in the intervening decades.)

                2. fposte*

                  I don’t know whether it includes the SMP, because that’s a whole nother ball of wax, but here’s a list of the pensions with reciprocity:

                  County Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund of Cook County
                  Forest Preserve District Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund of Cook County
                  General Assembly Retirement System
                  Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund
                  Judges’ Retirement System of Illinois
                  Laborers’ Annuity and Benefit Fund
                  Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Retirement Fund
                  Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago
                  Park Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago
                  Public School Teachers’ Pension and Retirement Fund of Chicago
                  State Employees’ Retirement System of Illinois
                  State Teachers’ Retirement System

            2. wittyrepartee*

              City goverment in NYC lets you transfer between local and state goverment. I’m not sure what happens with people that go to federal work, but I think they can often cut a deal.

            3. schnauzerfan*

              In South Dakota we have a pension plan managed by the state. My 5 years with the city will be added in with my mumble years with the state. And the local school district belongs to the same plan.

            4. Anon in NC*

              In North Carolina, state employees in one agency do not leave their existing plan if they go to another agency. That’s for the pension plan or the ORP (TIAA-CREF and other similar options), also for other things like health insurance, # of years working for the state is continuous across agencies, and so on.

              State employees includes employees of the various state agencies, the university of North Carolina system (faculty and non-faculty), public school teachers. Legislators, judicial system employees, registers of deeds are on different pension systems.

            5. doreen*

              The pension plan I am in covers NYS employees and employees of local governments which choose to participate – there are a couple of thousand participating employers. I can transfer my credit to or from the following pension systems, most of which are NYC specific – here’s a list

              New York State and Local Employees’ Retirement System
              New York State and Local Police and Fire Retirement System
              New York State Teachers’ Retirement System
              New York City Employees’ Retirement System
              New York City Teachers’ Retirement System
              New York City Police Pension Fund
              New York City Fire Department Pension Fund
              New York City Board of Education Retirement System

      2. Mookie*

        Yeah, I suspected the initial inquiry into a “written policy” was launched with the expectation that none existed; now that it’s been demonstrated that everyone is equally eligible when the calendar strikes, they are still clinging to “unfairness” as their objection of choice. I personally don’t care for these policies, but I can’t imagine how much fairer they can be implemented, particularly with the list of options. (If one of those options is a charitable donation, I’d almost be a convert of the practice.)

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Our company gift catalogs include many things without the company logo, any of which could be turned into a charitable donation by offering it to a charity’s annual fundraising auction.

        2. Former Admin turned Project Manager*

          Our system (as of 5 years ago; I’ll find out this year whether the policy has changed) the following options:
          – choose from among a small catalog of items
          – receive a monetary gift, amount based on number of years
          – designate a charity to whom the organization would donate, amount based on number of years worked.

          We do an annual ceremony for everyone who has hit milestones, but the prize/gift was always linked to the anniversary of your hire date, so you might get a gift but not be around for the ceremony. The ceremony includes speechifying by your boss if you’ve been 15 years or more, lunch if you’re at 10 years or more.

      3. PB*

        Or if they started on February 29 and had to wait 20 years for their anniversary.

        For those new to AAM, this is based on a real letter from a manager who denied an employees birthday.

          1. RUKiddingMe*

            Right? I’m Feb 9 and for as long as I can remember I’ve had low level, irrational stress about just how close I came to being Feb 29… It wasn’t even a leap year that year…but there ya go. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

            1. Former Admin turned Project Manager*

              My son was born February 28th, and people are always “Oh, I bet he’s glad he wasn’t born a day later!” Um, even if you are unsure of the year he was born, odds are in his favor that a day later would have been March 1st.

        1. Feb 29 Birthday Here*

          SERIOUSLY? My birthday is February 29 and I’ve never been denied my birthday holiday or birthday recognition.

        2. Iconic Bloomingdale*

          OMG! That February 29th birthday letter (and the LW’s follow up letter) enraged me. Utter nonsense and lack of reasoning, not to mention such a blatant lack of fairness to the employee. But I digress…

          Anyway, I just completed 30 years of service with a local municipal government and next January, I will be included in our annual Employee Recognition Ceremony. My agency presents awards and gifts based on years of service (5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, etc.). The gifts get progressively more expensive as the years of service increase. They are not on par with a Tiffany necklace, but for local government, okay I suppose.

          Last year, the longest tenured employee, who at the time completed 45 years of service, wanted a wooden cuckoo clock. So the agency special ordered him the cuckoo clock he selected from a catalog and added a personalized plaque with his name, congratulating him on his 45 years of service.

          I want a Lucite plaque honoring my 30 years of service – that’s it. Let’s see what the gift will be for the 30 year employees though, since we do not have a choice in selecting the gift. The planning committee selects the gift for each anniversary group and presents the gifts to the honorees during the ceremony. Whatever it ultimately is though, I’m fine with it.

          At any rate, the co-worker who complained to HR about the colleague who received a company paid anniversary Tiffany necklace can go kick rocks. If I was the recipient of such a company anniversary gift, I would wear it everyday. Too bad to those who didn’t like it.

          And if the complaining coworker approached me with any further complaints or commentary, I would tell them in no uncertain terms that the topic is not open for any further discussion. I would further add that once you stick around long enough to achieve a company anniversary milestone, then maybe you’d receive a Tiffany necklace as well.

          1. Former Employee*

            Thank you for your service, wherever you are. It doesn’t matter where you are located, I am grateful to people who stay in government work long term so that institutional memory is built up, which makes life easier for all who live in the area, whether they know it or not.

            Regarding the complainer, I would want to respond by channeling the late, great Joan Rivers:

            “Oh, grow up!”

      4. Sharkie*

        The only way I can logically get the reaction is if this person asked for something that they needed to do their job (Their computer is on its last legs/ their office chair is falling apart/ the department copier has gone rogue and started spitting ink at people) and they were turned down for budget reasons right before OP got the gift. The scale of the reaction is still wrong however.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          That would make sense. But even if there is a budget crunch at the business, there may still be other expense-related minutia that explains it: anything from discounts for pre-paid bulk buys to cost of looking cheap so long-time employees go elsewhere.
          My HugeWorkplace had a corporate-wide freeze on spending & raises not long after my particular building completed a new extension. There were a lot of complaints about landscaping that continued because people couldn’t understand that the bushes were contracted & paid for long before the spending freeze hit. The nursery wasn’t going to give much money back if we cancelled ~100 bushes that they’d trimmed to match for the year since the architect contacted them.

        2. Steve C.*

          Well… maybe she feels she put in the time but it isn’t being recognized because of particular circumstances that apply to her.

          For example, I worked in government as a co-op student for three summers, got a term contract after graduating and worked for a year and a half, then got another year-long contract in another department, which was renewed twice. But because of the political climate when I graduated I was never able to land a permanent job. Well, public service long-service awards in are only based on your time in a permanent position, so people who had only been in for a few months longer than me– at the same level, doing the same job– were getting 5-year pins when I had not one day toward them, based on the HR process that was used to hire me.

          That kind of annoyed me.

        3. Mousse*

          Or the money in the budget is already allocated and can’t be shifted to pay for anything outside that category.

          1. RUKiddingMe*

            Or it’s a whole different allotment of money. For instance $XXXX for advertising, $XX for team building, $X for longevity gifts…don’t cross the streams.

      5. SarahKay*

        My company actually decided to discontinue the anniversary gifts on the 5-year multiples, and just do them on 10-year multiples. They warned us of this change over a year in advance, precisely so that no-one would be at the “almost there, what shall I order from the catalogue?” stage of thinking and then be disappointed.

      6. Booksalot*

        Yeah, I’m trying to figure out what these weirdos would consider “fair” since apparently existing in a job longer than someone else does not meet their criteria. No one ever getting raises, or promotions, or increased vacation?

    4. MJ*

      Removed because this isn’t generational and painting it that way is unfair and unkind (and derailing, but I’ve cleaned that up). – Alison

      1. Cg1254*

        Although this is less exclusionary and more celebrating on the basis of merit. I suspect once they’ve gotten through their anger, they’ll feel embarrassed for acting so. I hope HR nips this in the bud before they really ruin their work reputation for good

      2. FD*

        Could we please not? Those of us who are millennials, many of whom are in our thirties and some of whom are going to be turning forty soon, have been hearing the same tired rag for the last ten to twenty years of our work careers.

        Encouraging inclusion and socially conscious behavior isn’t even a new thing. Have you ever watched one of the videos they used to show in the 50s or 60s about ‘being a good citizen at school’ or the like?

        And for the record, think a little bit about the meta implications of what you’re saying, if you turn it another way. See, most people think about it from the more powerful position. They think about it from the POV of a kid who has to invite everyone, not from the POV of the kid who would otherwise get excluded for being different through no fault of their own. They think about it from the POV of the kid who has to share the glory of winning with others who participate, rather than being able to be the only one recognized. Everyone in this world experiences loss, hardship, and failure. Are we seriously going to kvetch forever about how occasionally cushioning that a little is ruining things for everyone?

        People throughout time have been inexperienced at the start of their careers, and prone to jealousy and pettiness. It doesn’t need to be a Failing of Today’s Youth.

        1. FD*

          Edit, phrased it wrong: They think about it from the POV of the kid who has to share the glory of winning with others who participate, rather than that painful awareness of never being quite good enough to be recognized.

          1. Engineer Girl*

            I was never good enough to get recognized in many things. That forced me to look for other things I was good at.

            I didn’t resent the kids that were good at track and field any more than they resented me being good at math.

            Don’t lessen the hard work and achievements of others by withholding or lessening the prize.

            1. FD*

              I hear you and I don’t entirely disagree. I’m more pointing out that there are some unfortunate implications of the way people hand-wring over this kind of thing sometimes.

              I actually have fairly complex ideas about this, and wouldn’t mind discussing it more in the open thread, but I don’t want to derail here.

            2. Amethystmoon*

              It’s ironic but I’ve been recognized for more things with the organization I volunteer for than work. If only I could get paid for the volunteering!

            3. uranus wars*

              I think this is the best part of not getting a participation ribbon or trophy – I worked harder to hit my potential in the things I wasn’t getting rewarded for but knew I could do better in…and I never resented those who did.

              It also helped me find new interests and seek out things I was good at, as you pointed out.

              I think when we all get a trophy it does lessen the prize and hard work of others. I also don’t think it’s limited to one generation; it’s a personality type. As I get deeper and deeper into the workforce I hear “that’s not fair for XYZ from people ranging in age from 25 to 65…and the majority aren’t under 40.

        2. That Girl From Quinn's House*

          Think of it from the POV of a kid who is normally excluded for being different, who now has to invite their bullies to their birthday party or not have a party at all.

          This can and does have toxic implications when taken too far.

    5. Green*

      That coworker is going to have their mind blown when they learn about performance bonuses.

      1. Drewski*

        All I could think about.
        Anything good for someone else is a result of their privilege or my victim status. An anniversary is the most cut and dry, benign measure to give one of these gifts that I really cant comprehend someone thinking it is unfair…. unless the policy was administered unequally.

    6. Massmatt*

      I would push back hard on anyone giving me crap about a work anniversary gift.

      Evil me would make a show of putting the necklace on, taking it off, making sure it was on straight, talking about it, etc. “oh, do you like it? Well, you get it for being here x years, so you know, probably not likely for you… I can understand your resentment, petty as it is”

      Evil me would especially single out the person who asked about it and then complained to HR for RELENTLESS mockery.

      1. Jules the 3rd*

        wow – evil you is exactly the kind of workplace bully that people write in about. Mocking is a toxic behavior.

        New people don’t come into the workplace knowing all the rules and mores automatically. Good coworkers and managers model good mores. They don’t announce cheerfully how they would bully a coworker.

        It’s never just a joke – toxic attitudes sneak through.

        1. Drewski*

          I think that was the point of saying “evil me”… to point out that the real “me” wouldn’t do that but is tempted to (and knows that they shouldn’t).

          That or they are actually the evil version of themselves and make a point to let people know.

          1. Massmatt*

            Exactly right. “Evil me” is the person that says the things you’d like to say but can’t.

            I do actually think people trying to essentially ruin an employer recognition deserve strong pushback however, the one who complained to HR especially. What’s next, complaining about the unfairness of someone taking LTD due to cancer treatment?

    7. Utoh!*

      My company also has these work anniversary perks. They used to provide a catalog of items to choose from but now have done with a Visa gift card which is so much better! I don’t understand why the complaining employee(s) don’t understand how this works and would even think to go to HR…entitled much?

    8. MusicWithRocksInIt*

      This is extra confusing for me, because every company I’ve ever worked for had a vacation policy where you get more vacation the longer you’ve been at the company. Is she going to freak out when she realizes the LW has 3 weeks vacation when she only has 2? Or when the receptionist who’s been with the company for 20 years has five weeks? Extra benefits for people who have been there longer are so common because it’s one of the few ways they can try to entice people to stay longer now that pensions aren’t a thing any more.

      1. Liz*

        exactly! I’m coming up on my 20th year next year, and my anniversary is in August. But my company is awesome in that you don’t accrue vacation; its all upfront as of Jan 1, including the extra week you get for years of service. So as of 1/1/2020 i will get that extra week!

      2. Grace*

        My dad’s coming up on thirty years with his company – joined right out of university and worked his way up through the ranks until he’s about as high as he can go with his speciality. We all get 28 days of holiday as standard in the UK, and I think he’s now somewhere in the upper 30s, and he gets a monetary bonus for his anniversaries. The last bonus bought him a tablet, and the last-but-one bought a nice watch. Is he not allowed to wear his watch at work?

        Their benefits are clearly working – I think most people at his level have been there for more than fifteen years.

    9. Sharkie*

      I agree! These coworkers are being ridiculous, however, I can kinda see how this might rub a person the wrong way especially if they asked for something they needed recently and they were turned down because of budget reasons(my old company did this all the time to people and even though it is different budget pools it is kinda demoralizing when you have to sit in a broken office chair cause there is no money for a new one while they were sending people to NYC for a weekend for their 5 year anniversary) . Their reaction is still over the top and kinda rude but that is not your problem OP. Just ignore them and move on!

      1. LITJess*

        I agree. I can understand and totally sympathize with feeling like the anniversary policy is kinda unfair. But as you point out, this is not OP’s fault or problem. Just like Alison said, OP didn’t set the policy and shouldn’t feel shamed for taking part in something that seems fairly common in their office. Next time they bring it up, shut it down and redirect.

    10. Kiki*

      Unless there’s also some additional context we’re not privy to (like some roles are staffed by long-term contractors who don’t get anniversary gifts because they’re not technically employees), it’s a really odd complaint!! Every company I’ve worked for has given anniversary gifts, with the gifts getting progressively cooler/ more expensive for each anniversary. It’s a really bizarre thing to be mad about!!

      1. Iris Eyes*

        OH yeah! That would add a layer of frustration that I could understand. Or if it was common for people to be temp to hire for 6+ months or something.

        1. Sharkie*

          Or for some reason, they had to have 5 years in one department to get the gift. If they spent 4.5 years in department A then transferred to department B and didn’t get a gift I would be annoyed too

      2. Booksalot*

        This is an aspect that might have some validity, in theory, but maybe not directly in LW’s case.

        My field is usually temp-to-hire. When my current job switched from contracted to permanent, I was explicit during re-negotiation that I wanted my temp time to count towards my company tenure. I’d already been here several years and I was not about to wait another entire year for benefit/retirement/tuition eligibility, bare minimum PTO, etc.

        Another employee on a very similar timeline was absolutely furious to discover I had done this–she saw my name in the monthly newsletter “work anniversary” section and questioned why I was listed already when she wasn’t. I understood her frustration at not knowing that was even an option, but what could I do? She was fresh out of school, and I’m in my forties. I found out the same way she did–by seeing it done earlier by someone else.

        1. Kiki*

          If she was mad at you personally and wanted to take away your company tenure, that definitely strikes me as unreasonable. But I can totally understand being very frustrated to learn this information. It was smart of you to negotiate, but it also strikes me as poor form on the employer’s part not to bring up the option to every employee in this situation.

    11. Phony Genius*

      With all the stories on this website we’re read about bad HR departments that always want to take the “safe” way out of situations rather than deal with them, I wouldn’t be surprised if we get an update where HR met with higher-ups and decided to end the program to make the complaints go away. (But they’ll claim it’s for budgetary reasons or something.)

      Or has this website made me cynical about employers?

      1. Drewski*

        I hope you are just cynical.

        The only thing that would be unfair about this whole ordeal is if they canceled the policy and therefore people were actually deprived of the gifts on their upcoming anniv that would ultimately make the policy fair to everyone.

        1. uranus wars*

          In my history with this type of thing they have grandfathered discontinuing a program like this, so anyone hired after X date is no longer eligible for the company gift, or is eligible in 10 year increments not 5…but in the 2 instances I have experience with it wasn’t just blanket taken away so people at 4.75 years were just screwed. But I have also worked for some good companies (which is no synonymous with good bosses)

      2. Rose*

        Nope, that’s exactly what I thought. Depends on how many people are at this company. If it’s thousands and just the one complaint then hopefully not but… The ONLY thing I can understand is if as others have mentioned, the complainers are temp or contract and thus not eligible but have worked there the same length of time. That’s the only thing that would make this “unfair.”

    12. NomdePlumage*

      It sounds like a complaint someone would make if they have trouble with longevity in a position and bounce around a lot. I can’t imagine having a problem with this when you know you’ll get the same opportunity if you do your time. 5 years isn’t even very long. I wonder if this person would also complain about increased PTO for number of years worked.

      1. Drewski*

        If I were HR and received this complaint from a new employee it would basically tell me they weren’t planning on staying any length of time. Not a great impression to make for sure!

    13. Feline*

      How did the other employees know it was a company-funded anniversary gift? If it isn’t in the shape of the company logo, and I’m guessing a Tiffany necklace isn’t, there’s no reason for them to know. On the elevator one day, I complimented our facilities manager on her bracelet, and she immediately volunteered that it was an employee anniversary gift. I didn’t want to know that. I’m a very private person, though, so maybe my outlook on this is outside the norm.

      1. Iris Eyes*

        It might be a regional background thing. There was a meme going around about how “midwesterners” generally volunteer where they got something and how great of a deal they got on it when someone compliments them on some physical object.

        Its an interesting social thing that probably is meant to show a kind of humility. Its a form of politeness.

        1. Pebbles*

          Midwesterner here: For myself and my circle it is done out of politeness, but not really humility. It’s more a “oh, you’re complimenting me on thing. You must like thing. I should share specific details just in case you want to get your own thing.” It’s preemptively answering what might or might not be your next question “where can I get thing?”.

        2. Alanna of Trebond*

          Midwesterner and I absolutely do this, as does every woman in my family! It’s a weird mix of humility (“oh, you think I have a nice thing, but don’t worry, the nice thing wasn’t expensive!”) and brag (“not only is this a nice thing, you won’t believe how cheaply I got it!”)

          the tell is this is only done when the source/price undercuts the compliment — “that’s such a great jumpsuit!” “oh thank you, it’s rent the runway” = “I don’t actually just go around acquiring designer jumpsuits, but I would love to have a conversation about my mail-order clothing service” but never “oh thank you, it’s gucci,” even if both are technically true

          1. RUKiddingMe*

            Do you ask the price of other peoples’ things or where they acquired it, etc? I’m not being snarky, it’s a totally serious inquiry.

            1. Pescadero*

              As a midwesterner:

              “Do you ask the price of other peoples’ things or where they acquired it, etc?”

              Generally price would be no, where they acquired it would be yes. Generally if the other person was a midwesterner and they had gotten a deal on the item – they would volunteer that information.

              1. RUKiddingMe*

                Wow that’s so…unusual to me.

                I don’t know if it’s a west coast thing or just a way I was raised thing but anything like that is just so…private I guess.

                I mean if you ask me where I got XYZ, I would tell you, but if you asked me the price I would be shocked that you asked and ”not really recall…”

                Although this explains why when I say to my one friend who originated in Chicago “oh I really like that widget…” she automatically tells me where she got it!

                I never put that together before. Thank you!

                1. Former Admin turned Project Manager*

                  I’m from the mid-Atlantic US and totally do this- someone complimented me on my immediate response was “Thanks! It was from a Stitch Fix shipment,” even though she and I had never discussed clothing subscription services before.

                  I suspect the OP’s situation was either an automatic reaction to show where it came from, as already stated, or a slightly motivational statement (it’s an option for the company tenure gift, so you could get one at some point as well if you like mine!)

      2. Bee*

        Yeah, I think your reaction is a bit outside the norm here. I also think that many people feel uncomfortable receiving compliments, and if it’s a gift of some sort, explaining that takes the pressure off. They’re redistributing the compliment to someone else’s taste. (The other really common angle is “I got it on sale!”)

      3. bonkerballs*

        Yeah, I think this is an odd thing to think of as private information you wouldn’t want to know. Plus, you opened up the conversation by mentioning her bracelet, you can’t really fault her for continuing it. She assumed (correctly) that you were interested in it enough to compliment it, so why wouldn’t she share with you where she got it, especially since she got it in a way that you too could get at some point?

      4. Myrna M*

        I mean why’d you even open up the discussion then? “I didn’t want to know that” is an utterly bizarre reaction. Like, don’t talk to people if you can’t handle a totally innocuous response back.

    14. Decima Dewey*

      Now I’m jealous. My 25th work anniversary present was a Plexiglas paperweight with the library mascot on it. And a tie tack that I out on my staff badge.

        1. That Girl From Quinn's House*

          A tie tack? That’s weirdly gendered, since women don’t wear ties.

          1. TootsNYC*

            or was it a lapel pin, and Decima Dewey just used the word “tie tack”?
            Because a true tie tack might be awkward on a badge.

            1. Decima Dewey*

              Nope, it’s the kind of pin that would poke me in the shoulder and leave scratches if I tried to wear it with a blouse. But it fits just fine on the plastic case (the case is on a lanyard) that my staff budge slips into.

              1. TootsNYC*

                that’s probably a lapel pin (it doesn’t have a chain on it, which is what a tie tack has).

                It’s called a lapel pin bcs it’s intended to be worn on the lapel of a suit jacket (not the lapel of a blouse).

      1. schnauzerfan*

        For 30 I got a plaque in the shape of the state with my name on it. It also has a decal “30 years 2017” I understand that in 2022 (God willing and the creek don’t rise) I’ll get a decal “35 years 2022” to add to the plaque. When I retire, I expect a plaque with the campus mascot on it. We have many perks, but the recognition gifts are lame.

    15. Anonymousse*

      OP2’s co worker really boggles my mind. If someone explains to me that they received a nice workniversary present, my first instinct would probably be astonishment at that I’ve finally found a work environment that isn’t penny-pinching to the extreme (kneejerk reaction due to how my current workplace is runned). As a young professional (I’ve been out of law school and employed for 2 years), I personally would look very favorably at a workplace where years of service and satisfactory performance are rewarded with something that someone actually wants, even if I’m not so sure that I would be able to stay there for 5, 10, 15 years for that present. SMH some people these days…

    16. Kikishua*

      5 years would be amazing! Do you get gifts at other anniversaries, too?

      We get a £100 gift at 25 years, and a £200 gift at 40 years. Better than a poke in the eye with a stick, but that’s local government!

    17. Minocho*

      I would be “jealous” of this necklace too, in a “I can’t wait for my five year anniversary so I can get one too!” sort of way. I would find it a nice little incentive to stay focused on the job sometimes when I’m feeling less motivated. I find that resenting other people’s achievement is poisonous for me, but using it as a spur to pursue my own goals has been really helpful for me.

      Enjoy it, OP! Don’t let someone with a less mature attitude ruin your achievement! Think of the people like me, who may be having a blah day, and seeing your symbol of success and achievement will give us the kick we need to tackle the day with gusto!

    18. OnTheSpot*

      As an employer, this gift tradition is not something I would want to put in an official handbook, as I would then be locked into it even if we were having a downturn. Those inexperienced staffers (changed that from ‘entitled brats’), in their quest to see it as a “rule” are likely to ruin it for everyone.

    1. Grand Admiral Thrawn Is Still Blue*

      Removed — let’s not debate dogs in offices here as it will derail and there are lots of previous posts where that’s the topic! – Alison

    2. Decima Dewey*

      OP 1: You’re doing a wonderful thing, adopting a puppy and training it to be a service dog. At the same time, you’re asking a lot of your coworkers. People will want to pet the puppy, squozzle it, wake it up to play, and, as you’ve noted, get the pup all overly excited. I worked at a Library for the Blind for a year or two, and curbing my interactions with guide dogs was hard. But I managed it.

      1. TootsNYC*

        I don’t think it’s THAT hard. I get the appeal of puppies, honest–but people need to respect boundaries.

      2. kiwidg1*

        This +1000.

        Another thought comes to mind and that’s that the dog does need to be socialized with people too, so maybe you could set up “visiting hours” (maybe during lunch?) where coworkers can visit and you can work on socializing the puppy at the same time. Invite coworkers to go walking on potty breaks with you.

        But yeah, having dogs in the workplace then denying all the animal lovers access is kind of frustrating for everyone involved. Seriously – the puppy will sleep when it needs to sleep, whether there are people around or not. And the novelty of having the puppy will wear off on the coworkers.

        1. EH*

          Visiting hours is a great idea! When I was working at a summer learning center and also raising a feral kitten years ago, I brought the kitten in,using a big dog crate as a kennel. Thankfully it had hard sides, so the kitten was less visible, but the kids REALLLLLYYYYY wanted to see the little guy All The Time at first. I explained that during our class time, the kitten was sleeping, but during breaks I would bring him out for them to pet if they were on their best behavior. Being able to see and pet him during set times helped them stay focused the rest of the time.

        2. TheSnarkyB*

          The puppy obviously will not sleep when it needs to sleep, because the OP is identifying that when it is woken up, it gets excited, and then is too tired to learn and behave appropriately during its evening training sessions.

          OP, you’re not asking a lot of people. I second Alison’s advice. Also, the idea of a visiting hour is fine, but only do it if it works for you and your schedule.

        3. Lassiter come home*

          I agree with kiwidg1. People opt-in to dog friendly workplaces because they, um, like dogs and enjoy socializing with dogs. Dig friendly workplaces aren’t only meant to be “I don’t have to pay for doggie day care/leave Fido home alone.”

          Personally, I would question the wisdom of bringing a service animal in training to a dog friendly workplace. However, if you must do this, but him one of those “service animal / do not pet” vests.

      3. bonkerballs*

        Yikes. No, she’s not asking a lot of her coworkers. They’re all adults and can keep their hands to themselves. Same way they would if it was a cute baby or an attractive coworker or a coworker’s expensive looking purse.

      4. Belle of the Midwest*

        One of the faculty members at my university has been a service dog trainer for years. She takes them to meetings, to class, wherever she goes, the dogs go as well. But I have never seen anyone approach the dogs.
        In addition to her matter-of-fact body language about having a dog with her, the puppies she brings to campus have a vest that says “Service Dog–Please DO NOT Pet.” When a dog in training is in a vest or harness, that’s like their work uniform and you aren’t supposed to touch them or talk to them. If they aren’t wearing their work uniform, they are off duty and can be petted. Maybe something like this would help keep people from trying to pet the dog when they aren’t supposed to, and signal when they can. I helped do crowd simulations to train a bomb sniffing dog and when he was harnessed, we were not to interact with him. But once the harness came off, he was Mr. Congeniality. I

        1. Arts Akimbo*

          Yes, for serious, people need to control themselves around service dogs and not pet them!

          I have a friend whose service dog is getting old, and nearing retirement. He told her he wanted to retire by starting to solicit head-rubs while in harness from, like, everyone. :) His replacement is a pup and being trained as we speak. My friend is happy that her longtime companion and faithful service dog will finally get to be a Mr. Congeniality dog full time. <3

      5. Alanna of Trebond*

        I understand that people love and get excited about dogs, but this isn’t asking any more of her coworkers than any other workplace norm — adults at work need to be able to respect boundaries and keep their hands to themselves even when they would prefer not to.

      6. Shay*

        Seconding it’s not THAT hard. I’ve raised 2 puppies to be service dogs and the difference between “OMG, PUPPY” and “OMG SERVICE DOG” is not that different.
        Both are novel. Since this is a puppy who is going to be a service dog, it should be respected as one. Which people have a problem doing, but that’s a them problem. And it’s rude.

      7. Micklak*

        I was coming to say the same thing. Bringing a puppy to the office and then expecting your coworkers not to play with it is a big ask, because puppies are designed to be irresistible and because it goes counter to the culture of dogs in an office.

        Dogs in the office conveys a casual atmosphere where dogs roam and get skritches. Forbidding people to pet a puppy is frankly a little hostile in that atmosphere. I’m actually not joking.

      8. SpiderLadyCEO*

        I just want to point out that the people saying “the puppy is cute, asking people to back off asking to touch it is asking a lot” sound an awful lot like “that woman is attractive, asking people to not ask about touching her is asking a lot”.

        Puppies are cute. Boundaries are important.

      1. ZeldaFitz*

        Oh my GOODNESS I know it’s frustrating but that FACE.

        I’ll echo about visiting hours just to pay the puppy tax and hopefully get everyone puppy-ed out. I’m sure as the dog gets older everything will calm down!

      2. AKchic*

        That is an adorable pupper. However, grown ups know that they can’t touch that which doesn’t belong to them, and shouldn’t be complaining to other people to try to guilt trip, campaign, or otherwise harass the owner of what they want. The owner has said “no”.

      3. Mr. Shark*

        Unfortunately, she’d have to yell at me every day to stay away.

        I like kiwidg1’s idea above of visiting hours, and hold them to that.

      4. Sami*

        Squee!! My jaw literally dropped— she’s so cute!
        Thanks, OP, for the photo. Please give her hugs and kisses from afar!

    3. Squab*

      Just this morning I squee’d at a coworker’s new Berner pupper. She put out her hand and said “she’s afraid of people” and I backed TF off. Dogs have needs! Your coworkers are annoying. I don’t think you’re wrong here. I like Alison’s advice, particularly re: pointing out you might not be able to bring the pup in anymore.

  2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

    OP#4, I’m so sorry. This sounds like a really difficult and trying situation, especially when piled on top of all the feelings (including grief) that you’ve had to carry with respect to cancer.

    This may be an overreach, but in addition to Alison’s script and suggestions (which are perfect), it may be worth giving Daryl a one-time referral to a therapist/EAP. The frame would be Alison’s script, followed by, “Something I found really helpful at the time was speaking to [a therapist / counselor / someone].”

    I’m really sorry for what you’ve gone through and what you’re currently going through.

    1. OP #4*

      Thank you for your kind thoughts and words. I think offering alternative suggestions of who to talk to (not me) and framing it as wanting to help and needing to be functioning it at work would (hopefully) get through to him.

      1. M&Ms Fix Lots of Problems*

        OP, one of my husband’s co-workers has been dealing with major health issues with his wife. He actually asked everybody to not bring it up, because the office was to him an “oasis of normalcy” in his otherwise stressful world. It apparently worked well for him.

  3. Engineer Girl*

    #1 – I really like the email idea. And cc your manager. You should get additional enforcement from the other puppy lovers who want the puppy to do well. Social pressure seems to work wonders with boundary stompers.

    1. EPLawyer*

      I would put a sign on the pen that says “Service Dog in Training. I need my sleep so I can help others someday.” Now some people STILL want to play with and pet service dogs who are helping their human, but most people will get it.

  4. MommyMD*

    What a dim bunch of sour apples you have at work, jealously complaining about a work anniversary gift.

  5. Confused*


    Would it be possible to designate a few minutes of interaction time when you first arrive at the office so people can get their puppy-fix before she goes to her pen to sleep (with the posted sign)? Or do you think she’ll become too hyper to then go to sleep?

    1. TL -*

      Similar idea, but modified: Put up a sign that says, “I’m sleeping but my office hours are (lunchtime, before walkies) and (right before you leave). Come say hi then!” and then reinforce verbally – “she’s sleeping right now but I always wake her up at 4:45 to prep to come home, so come say hi then!”

      People will adjust to the pattern fairly quickly and putting a routine on it will be helpful to make the pup feel accessible without being always available.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        This sounds lovely. I’d also suggest that as soon as the pupster is big enough for a “service dog in training” vest, OP1 get it and use it as an indicator. When the vest is on the dog, she’s on duty and shouldn’t be petted. When the vest is on the crate, she’s resting and shouldn’t be woken up. When the vest is on your door handle? COME VISIT!

      2. Rose's angel*

        If shes is training to be a service dog this can be a problem. People are supposed to ignore service dogs because they are working and can’t be distracted. Better to reinforce that shes a service dog by getting a vest.

        1. Jules the 3rd*

          Do service dogs not get social time? I like the vest signal, but wouldn’t want to disrupt anything.

            1. SheLooksFamiliar*

              A very nice man and his service dog take long walks on the hiking trails where I do my morning run. We’ve chatted through the years, and he lets me pet his dog – but ONLY when her vest is off or she’s off her leash. That’s Betsy’s signal to take a break, and she’s a sweet, loving doggie. Once the vest or leash go back on, she’s strictly business. He told me that’s part of her training, starting as a puppy.

              OP, thank you for taking on this training. Your pup will surely change someone’s life for the better!

        2. Seeking Second Childhood*

          I’m not sure which part of the comments above yours you see as a problem. Service dogs do get off-duty downtime — they learn that when they’re on leash or in harness they’re not supposed to socialize. Since OP has training in the evening, it would be perfect to schedule a (brief) playtime at the end of the human’s workday when the puppy’s about to go on leash for training.

          1. Rose's angel*

            I have known many people with service dogs and everyone of them has had problems with people trying to play with their dogs. Service dogs are working dogs they need to focus on their job. I have always been told never to distract, pet or attempt to play with a service. They should be ignored. And yes I understand they do get down time but people need to learn to respect OP 1 wishes.

            1. Anna*

              She’s not a service dog yet. She has no vest because she’s starting training in classes. Shoot, they don’t even know if she has the temperament to be a service dog at this point.

              1. Working Mom Having It All*

                Yeah, while I think it is wonderful and noble of OP to express an interest in training a future service dog, the way it’s written here, they “plan to” train the puppy as a service dog. They are not currently doing that, and nothing here suggests that the dog is already a service dog, or that the dog is coming to work in a service dog vest and acting in a service dog capacity.

                Also, for what the OP needs, no mention of the service dog idea is even necessary, because the reality is that the office needs to be a bark-free workplace and the puppy needs her sleep. The service dog angle is a distant third place in terms of what’s going to get OP’s needs met.

                Until the pup is actually undergoing service dog training, is wearing a vest, and has been determined to be service dog material, that’s not really something coworkers need to know. It also creates a minefield down the road if they decide service dog training is not something they’re interested in after all, the dog doesn’t take to it, etc. and suddenly OP has an office full of annoyed coworkers who think they were lied to for no reason when all they wanted to do was pet a dog.

                1. Burned Out Supervisor*

                  “and suddenly OP has an office full of annoyed coworkers who think they were lied to for no reason when all they wanted to do was pet a dog.”
                  OP #1 has asked her co-workers not to disrupt a sleeping dog, because it not only disrupts the dog, but also her and the rest of the office. That should be enough for people to back off because they’re grown ups, not 5-year-olds. Service dog training, not withstanding, people need to learn how to respect others’ wishes. If they’re annoyed by that, that’s their problem, not the OP’s.

        3. Anna*

          But she’s not a service dog. The OP’s concern is that because she trains in the evening and puppies need so much sleep, that the puppy is well rested during the day for her training at night. The thing is, the puppy IS awake at intervals during the day for things like eating and going outside, so reserving interactions for those times is a great way to socialize the puppy and let people enjoy some puppy-time. I understand the OP’s concern about having a well-rested dog, but puppies are active and play and move around, too, so it’s possible the OP is being a little too rigid about interactions. Don’t wake the puppy up, but why not during the times the pup is awake?

          1. Shay*

            Because the problem is the people wanting to wake the puppy up. That’s what the letter is about.
            Another issue could be it distracts form OP’s work, but that doesn’t seem to be what the letter is about.

            1. RUKiddingMe*

              This isnt hard. OP’s dog, OPs rules. Coworkers are adults and need to respect “no.” Full stop.

              1. Lassiter come home*

                I don’t think that’s entirely true. If the company decides to have a dog friendly workplace it can also say “people get to pet the dogs.” Again, you don’t set up a dog friendly workplace just to relieve employees of having to pay for doggie day care. You also do it because interacting with dogs improves morale, has a calming effect, etc.

                1. bonkerballs*

                  What person in their right mind would want to bring their dog to a place where someone else gets to force them to allow people to interact with it in ways that are disruptive and damaging? I don’t think you’re ideas of what dog friendly means are correct.

                2. valentine*

                  people get to pet the dogs
                  Dog-friendly means “You’re welcome to bring in your dog (who doesn’t bark, run, jump, or eliminate in the office),” not “You lend your dog unpaid for our petting zoo.”

                  I think OP’s entitled coworkers will sabotage them, though, the way people offended by scent allergies have steeped themselves in perfume or sprayed it on the allergic coworker’s mask.

              2. Lassiter come home*

                I don’t think that’s entirely true. If the company decides to have a dog friendly workplace it can also say “people get to pet the dogs.” Again, you don’t set up a dog friendly workplace just to relieve employees of having to pay for doggie day care. You also do it because interacting with dogs improves morale, has a calming effect, etc. None of this works if you routinely hide your dog in a private office in the grounds that it needs extra sleep.

                1. Anonymous 5*

                  As many people have already pointed out, it is not correct that the office gets to insist on dogs being available for petting. The owner is still the authority.

                2. Clisby*

                  Good lord, no. That’s like saying if you have a kid-friendly workplace, random co-workers get to manhandle your children. No, no, no.

    2. Bagpuss*

      Yes, I wondered about this – msybe combned with the e-mail. If you have a specifc time when you need to take her out or feed her, let people know there is a brief winow when they can come say hello.

    3. Bazinga*

      This is what i was thinking. Let people have a bit of puppy time now and then. Also I would worry that someone would get salty about not getting to pet her, and complain about dogs at work to management.
      Obviously people can’t come over all day but maybe if they see you taking her out to potty give them the opportunity to say hi. Or as your coming in or leaving?

      1. Amethystmoon*

        Lunch time might be a good time to do this, or right after work, and do it outside if the weather is decent. Then it wouldn’t be distracting to people at their desks if the puppy barks.

    4. CupcakeCounter*

      This was my thought as well – a mini-tour through the office or a quick “Hey I’m taking puppy out for a walk and potty break if you want to tag along and play for a few minutes.”
      I also like the signs idea…
      Puppy is sleeping now, please do not disturb
      Next walk potty break is at 2PM – feel free to join us outside for a few minutes of pets and playtime

    5. fposte*

      I would also say that while you absolutely have to do the best for the dog, it’s optimal to think about ways for your co-workers to get bit of benefit here. It’s a perk for you and it’s one that requires some forbearance from other people in the space, so anything you can do to keep them happy the pup is there will be helpful. So something like the puppy office hours people are suggesting, where you have a time where you can say “Yes!”, is likely to go over better than a constant “No!” Because people are like dogs in that way :-).

      1. Anna*

        I’m also confused with the idea that puppies sleep for 18 to 20 hours a day. Does the OP think they sleep that much in one long stretch? I think puppy time lined up with the normal rhythm of the puppy waking up and needing to go out or eat or play is a great way to get social interactions in between naps.

        1. Wow.*

          Agreed. My puppy could play an hour, crash for a couple hours, and then be up and raring to play again. He didn’t just sleep for 20 hours in one go. That’s bizarre, and frankly sounds boring for the pup. Unless he is extremely low energy.

  6. Quadong*

    OP 4, I’m sorry for the loss of your dad from cancer.

    Due to my experiences I also don’t have the ability to tolerate coworkers talking about cancer treatments. I have a suggestion if you think it may be worth trying – when you tell Daryl that you aren’t available to listen to him talk about his wife’s treatment, add something like ‘there are good cancer support networks for partners if you’d like to talk with somebody for support. Or you might ask HR if you have access to a counsellor through an EAP.’

    I’m reaching my lifetime limit of being used as an emotional support person by well-meaning older dude types at work so I encourage you to prioritize yourself and let Daryl find somebody else to do this emotional labour for him. Good luck!

    1. Alphabet Pony*

      It’s possible he’s mistakenly assuming that someone with experience of cancer will be a sympathetic audience. Or not remembering individual losses because many, many people have lost someone to cancer so there will be others at work.

      I don’t think it’s fair to expect anyone not to mention cancer at all, that’s not realistic, but you can work on ways of shutting it down.

      1. OP #4*

        I don’t expect no one to ever mention it – I’ve sturdied myself over time to mentions and short stories of loss to cancer. But a daily check in that never ceases is a different case. The idea however, of suggesting resources, asking Daryl to understand that this hurts, and that I, as Alison says, need to keep my composure at work.

        I want to respect that this is a difficult time for him. I know. I’ve done it. I just don’t want to hear about it every day.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        The comment is referring to the phenomenon of some men leaning on women in the workplace for emotional support in a way they don’t do with other men, because they see women as caretakers (I think this got a lot of discussion on a recent letter, in fact). Let’s leave it be.

    2. OP #4*

      Thank you. Daryl is mild compared to my last job (president of company sending out company-wide mailers about her treatment/status/thoughts/feelings *during* my dad’s treatment), so it’s a dull ache in comparison, but one I want to deal with with more professionalism and grace. Suggesting resources, while backing away is a compromise to listening.

      1. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

        The other thing I feel is important to mention is that even if you didn’t have the experience of losing your dad to the cancer, him sharing this with you daily is inappropriate. It sounds like you’ve tried to politely steer him from monopolizing your day with talking about personal things and he’s not getting it. I think you need to be sympathetic but also be direct that he’s taking you away from your work and he needs to stop with the daily reports. It would be different if you were close, and shared your personal lives on the regular. If he doesn’t stop, you need to speak with your manager because it’s affecting your work.

        1. Meh*

          Thank you for pointing out the inappropriateness of the situation. I have a Daryl at work too who daily uses our boss as a sounding board for every single one of their personal life issues and problems, including marriage trouble, other problems with their kids, and many other things that he should be talking to a therapist about, not wasting valuable hours of work time for our boss and for me who have to sit there and listen to it.

        2. Michaela Westen*

          Daryl may not have anyone else to talk to, so maybe suggest he find friends outside of work to talk with.

    3. Michaela Westen*

      This is why I’m single. All the men who show interest in me are all about what they want from me – whether it’s the One Thing, or general babysitting. I know supportive men who would actually care about me (instead of seeing me as something that exists to meet their needs) do exist, one or two are in my social circle and married to women luckier and smarter than me. One day the right one will come along. I hope.

  7. Auntie Social*

    I’d go buy Tiffany’s famous “Bird On A Rock” brooch just to annoy your coworker. At the very least I’d wear the necklace every day. (Your coworker understands that Tiffany’s is open to all, and she can buy that necklace or something similar without having to wait five years?)

    1. SarahTheEntwife*

      Sure, but she seems to be annoyed specifically that it was paid for by the employer. Which I absolutely agree is an absurd thing to be annoyed by, but if someone got an expensive thing for free and told me I could have one too if I just bought one, that would not reduce my annoyance.

      1. Auntie Social*

        Isn’t it? And not every Tiffany’s gets to have one–you have to do a certain dollar volume, etc. I think I’d choose aquamarine or pink tourmaline for my ‘rock’.

    2. TeapotDetective*

      I had to google that brooch and… wow. That’s an impressive level of ostentation. It’s almost tacky enough to come back around to being chic :P

  8. k.k*

    #1- I’d really lean into the barking thing. You can play it slightly differently depending on who you’re talking to. For casual dog likers emphasize that the barking will disrupt the office. For the “OMG i luuurve doggies” type, waking her upsets her and she’ll bark (they won’t want to make the cute baby dog upset).

    1. Mookie*

      I like it, too. Alison always brings the goods when it comes to elegant, polite escape hatches.

    2. Margaret*

      Or the ‘puppies need sleep’ thing. If your mantra is “I’m sorry, it’s just not healthy for her!” “I would but it really wouldn’t be healthy for her” then they can’t really insist on hurting your dog.

      1. Venus*

        People can be persistent. The response could easily be “I played with my puppy and it was good for her” or “But it will only be a few minutes”. Hopefully they will understand, but people can be weirdly insistent with puppies and kittens, especially if they have their own.

      2. janon*

        Agree. I have a 7 month puppy and there are still times that people will ask why I didn’t bring him to a family thing and I say that he’s had a busy few days and is tired, so he needs sleep. It’s for my sanity too – if he’s tired and cranky, he’s hard to deal with and train. I try and ask people would they say the same if it was a sleeping baby?

    3. Auntie Social*

      And “you don’t want to get us in trouble–she’s a barker!” with a sad face is good.

  9. Avasarala*

    OP5, I would also keep in mind that Linked In is an online social media platform. I’m sure your peers are a lot less forthcoming on Facebook than mine were at the same age (I’m a few years older than you). We’re starting to realize that as we add people to our online circles, this gives them access to more information about us than we might like. Especially on Linked In where people are more willing to add recruiters and professional contacts they don’t actually know.

    This is an extreme example, but based on the information I had on Linked In, a man I connected with for professional reasons was able to Google me and find out more information than I liked. And then when his intentions turned inappropriate, I realized how much he knew about me and how much he could find.

    So I think it’s wise to learn lessons from other social media platforms and have your resume be the most detailed version of your job history, and just let Linked In be the bare bones. Maybe this will damage my career in some way, but I just can’t recommend being fully honest on social media anymore.

    1. Lady Ariel Ponyweather*

      I agree. Your example isn’t extreme at all and is why I don’t even list my current job. I don’t want people knowing exactly where they can find me from 9-5 every day.

    2. Clementine*

      You do have a point, but concealing this information will make it harder to network. I have gotten numerous opportunities through LinkedIn, and I hate to see people loss out. I am sorry you are in the position of having to hide to a large extent.

    3. thestik*

      Given how there are new concerns about AI generated profile pictures for non-genuine LinkedIn profiles, I’d say having scaled back info on LinkedIn is a good call.

    4. Linzava*

      I agree completely, I’m strongly considering deleting my LinkedIn. When I job hunt, I get very little activity on it and now there are weirdos using it like it’s tinder.

      1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

        A thought on deleting your LinkedIn: A friend of mine pointed out that you should keep the profile, so no one can pretend to be you. Leave the information blank, but hold onto your account.

        1. Sandman*

          This is an interesting idea. I had recently deleted my account, but maybe it’s worth signing back on just as a placeholder.

    5. Audiophile*

      I’m sorry you had to deal with that.

      I used to have a much more detailed LinkedIn profile with accomplishments/duties, eventually, I realized it was too similar to my resume and scaled it back.

      Now, I just have job roles/companies for the last 5-10 years of employment. I do not have a photo for a lot of reasons but that may change soon.

  10. AcademiaNut*

    For #3 –

    I personally wouldn’t put a lot of time into answering requests from people who are randomly contacting employees to get an inside track on applying for jobs. And I would definitely not be taking phone conversations with them! If you’re being bombarded, even sorting through to find strong candidates is a lot of work.

    What might help is to decide in advance how much time each week you want to put into this sort of thing, and what sort of candidates you are most interested in helping – for example, new grads, or experienced professionals interested in changing jobs. Then for the people you do contact, screen them before a phone conversation or meeting – send a message asking what sort of questions they have for you. That can help filter out the people who want a short cut to a job rather than advice.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      It’s a little different for the OP, though, because she’s a recruiter, which means that her job *is* to find and talk to good candidates. So for her, I wouldn’t look at it through the lens of “who do you want to help,” but rather “who are the strongest people for you to be recruiting?”

    2. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      I have found that when I am getting vague requests for job search assistance (which is my actual job) I can weed out the short-cutters by simply asking them to provide a resume and a few specific questions that they wanted to get addressed.

      The folks that actually want to work on their goals are forthcoming and they get appointments. The folks that don’t get back to me for weeks …. well, that’s pretty diagnostic.

      1. Antilles*

        For OP the recruiter, asking for a resume and specific questions *also* lets her figure out which candidates are actually be good fits for the current openings.

    3. Not your Dad's Recruiter*

      I am a recruiter as well and get such requests every now and then.
      If they are asking about ‘my’ position, I ask them to apply formally and promise to keep an eye out on their application – that is if I am not really interested in them judging by their LI profile. If I think they are a good fit – of course I’d talk to them.
      If they are asking about some random position, I tell them I am not a recruiter for it. If I have time, and they ask whom to contact, I may look the position up and give them the name of the recruiter, but not email, not no LinkedIn profile address.
      Sometimes I get a request to comment on a resume – those I mostly ignore. There are professionals out there who get paid for such services. Unless, of course, they appear to be a fit for our open positions.
      Generally, I accept all requests to connect, with some cursory checking for weirdness.

  11. Airy*

    Wild how the coworkers in #1 appear to think someone else’s puppy is there for their benefit and should be available at their convenience.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Eh, people just like puppies and aren’t always perfectly thoughtful — I don’t think there’s anything more than that going on.

    2. MommyMD*

      Not really. If someone brings a puppy to work they’ve got to expect there’s going to be lots of interest. It’s human nature.

      1. Kc89*

        I agree

        Having a puppy at work is generally not the norm so there’s going to be interest

        It will wear off when the puppy gets bigger and less cute lol

      2. ClumsyCharisma*

        And many puppy owners do want to show them off and let everyone else play with the puppy.

      1. MusicWithRocksInIt*

        This JUST happened to me. My parents were having a party out on their deck, my baby fell asleep so I put him in his pack and play in their empty living room and stepped away to use the bathroom. I came back less than five minutes later to find my aunt had woken him up and was playing with him. WTF dude – it is so darn hard to get him to take a nap and you wake him up? I was so annoyed.

        1. Environmental Compliance*

          My mother in law is like this. Oh, it’s 11PM and the baby is attempting to sleep? Definitely wake him up and play with him!! Just like when he was trying to nap at 2PM, or at 10AM, or any other time he tried to nap today! I wonder why he’s grouchy?

          I wish I had even a third of the patience of my sister in law (it’s her children). The woman is a *saint*.

          I think with nearly any cute baby thing, people lose their Common Sense function in the brain, at least momentarily. Want to play with puppy? *Definitely* wake up the puppy, and disturb everyone. But it’s just oooonce! Well, no, not when there’s 5 of you doing this, that means at least 5 times a day someone is disturbing Pupper and causing barking. If *you* want to play with Pupper, you can make the easy assumption that *others* also want to play with Pupper.

            1. Totally anonymous*

              The counterexample is the need to train a puppy/kid to sleep when it’s appropriate.
              No my MIL didn’t WAKE a baby…but she didn’t think there was any problem missing bedtimes in the summer. We had kept a school-year sleep for the summer and the kid was happy to wake up early and do things in the cool mornings. One August week with MIL blew it to pieces. They stayed out UNTIL TEN… and the first month of school we lived in the Hell of Missed School Buses because kid physically couldn’t go to sleep early enough to wake up for an 8am school bell.
              Funny thing, my husband was raised to go to bed on time always so the cow would get milked on time… I wonder what the housing development would say to a cow.

        2. TootsNYC*

          it’s mean to the kid!
          how would an adult like it if they were so tired and fell asleep, and people kept waking them up just because they were bored and wanted company?

          1. Environmental Compliance*

            Right?? and a kid can’t say “hey, you’re not letting me sleep, bugger off”….they’ll just go with it and then be extraordinarily grumpy later because they’re overtired. And then it’s the kid’s fault for crying? Heck to the no.

          2. Michaela Westen*

            I know the type – a narcissist. Everyone, including the sleeping baby, is required to meet the needs of the person who wants to play. That’s why other people exist, right, to meet your needs? :p

          3. Michaela Westen*

            I really hope in both the situations here the parent stood up to the narcissist. MIL does not get to take the child out alone anymore. The aunt is shooed away firmly to allow the baby to go back to sleep, if possible.

        3. Lepidoptera*

          I feel like anyone who wakes up a sleeping baby, who isn’t one of the primary caregivers, has forfeited the right to having their own sleep be uninterrupted.
          I would honestly put an alarm in their room for an inconvenient hour and then tell them the baby did it because the person felt they had the right to interrupt the baby’s sleep.
          Probably not going to work but the thought makes one happy.

          1. nonegiven*

            I would honestly put a …hidden… alarm in their room for an inconvenient hour and then tell them the baby did it because the person felt they had the right to interrupt the baby’s sleep.


    3. Arctic*

      I like to think I’m a pretty considerate co-worker. I make small talk but never excessively. I never grill or even ask anyone about their food but feign interest if for some reason they want to talk about their diets. I’ve never cooked fish in the microwave. I’ve never even made popcorn in the microwave (a smell I love.) I close my door when I’m on the phone. I’m generally quiet. I don’t chew gum or whistle. I keep mints in my office for others to have a treat but they aren’t calorie dense or sweet to tempt people on diets. I don’t ask invasive questions about medical stuff. To my knowledge, I’ve never slept with a co-worker’s husband or wife.

      But I would definitely want to see the puppy if someone brought one in. I would absolutely 100% accent it when told “no, she needs to sleep.” Of course! But my first instinct would be to try to play with the puppy if possible.

  12. Granger Chase*

    OP #1 I think the suggestions to maybe make a quick round in the morning or at the end of the day when she’s already awake and it’s keeping to your routine could be a good idea for now.

    If her training to become a service dog will eventually be extending from evenings to during the work day as she gets older, you can always let your coworkers know that a big part of training a service dog is having them learn to not be distracted by others so they can be attentive to the needs of their handler. This should hopefully get your coworkers to start understanding that they cannot distract or try to play with your puppy whenever they walk past your desk, because they’ll be interrupting both of you while you’re working!

  13. StaceyIzMe*

    Your office is dog friendly but that doesn’t necessarily make it an appropriate place for a puppy, and especially not for a puppy in need of specialized hours of training that have to be delivered in the evening, thus necessitating the ban that you have on even momentary socializing with your wee canine. You have an attractive nuisance and it’s disingenuous to assert that this situation will work perfectly as long as everyone respects your wishes. Your wishes are too stringent to be supported by the environment that you’re in. Your pup has become a distraction and the unnecessary (and I’d say also unsustainable) extent of focus on a non-work related matter is problematic. You’re in a different position than you believe. It is a dog friendly office, not an office designed for puppy socializing that is specific and highly specialized. Your goal of training her to be a service dog isn’t easily compatible with the place that you’re working in, not so much because others won’t leave the pup alone but because your goal of absolutely no socialization for a service-pup-in-training is going to be hard to enforce, distracting and could even be considered as not likely to work well. Service dogs that are actually on duty? Sure, most people understand (or can be made to understand) that they aren’t pets and aren’t there for socializing, but to support a person in a highly specialized manner. A puppy that is on a schedule that allows for service dog training in the evening? That’s a harder sell, since the “dog friendly” policy was put in place so that- well, friendly dogs in the office. It’s a perk. You get to control your own dog. But your coworkers may not find your “rules” reasonable in the workplace. And really? They kind of have a point.

    1. Alphabet Pony*

      “That’s a harder sell, since the “dog friendly” policy was put in place so that- well, friendly dogs in the office.”

      I would have thought it meant “the office is friendly to dogs” ie that dogs are welcome, not that the dogs have to be friendly. It’s a dog-friendly office, not a friendly-dog office! (On this occasion I think the wording does matter.)

      1. Willis*

        Yeah, this. Dog-friendly doesn’t mean your dog has to be available for others to play with. If the OP had complicated dog-related rules they were asking their co-workers to follow, that would be one thing. But “don’t play with my puppy,” shouldn’t be that hard. I don’t think the OP is asking their co-workers anything unreasonable or stringent.

        1. Avasarala*

          Agreed, Stacey makes it sound like dog-friendly offices have an obligation to provide doggy play time for their employees. Or that OP wanted the opposite situation where coworkers MUST entertain her dog for her.

          I agree with Stacey’s point that if OP requires that no one interact with her dog and people keep doing so, then maybe the office isn’t the best place for the dog. But I don’t think we’re at the stage where we can decide that yet–that’s like a level 10 response and from the letter it seems like a level 4 issue.

      2. Joielle*

        Haha yes! “Dog-friendly office” doesn’t mean “on-demand petting zoo.” There’s literally zero problem with the dog, just with the people. “Don’t wake the dog” isn’t some unreasonably complicated request.

        And assuming there are other dogs around, the nosy coworkers have plenty of furry buddies to choose from.

      3. Manon*

        Yep. The point of dog-friendly offices is to be a perk for owners so they don’t have to coordinate dog walkers/doggy daycare during the workday. It’s not so that everyone else can have access to a dog petting zoo.

        Plus it sounds like this puppy isn’t distracting at all – LW wrote “She has a little pen and she sits under my desk and is quiet all day, doesn’t disrupt mine or others’ work, and mostly just sleeps”. Problems are only arising when coworkers try to interact.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Whoa, that’s a much more dire outlook than is warranted! She’s bringing in a puppy who needs to sleep all day — that’s not “specific and highly specialized.” And dog-friendly means the office allows dogs, not that all dogs must be available for socializing. (Frankly, that would be more distracting than what the OP is doing.)

    3. Engineer Girl*

      Hard disagree. She’s working with adults. That means that they should understand the word “no” and also have enough self control to stay away from someone else’s property.

      1. Auntie Social*

        Maybe we spritz the pesky coworkers with water. Either they’ll quit bugging the OP about the pup, or they’ll stay off the couch!

      2. Micklak*

        I don’t know. It just feels like bringing in a plate of cupcakes, putting them on your desk and then telling everyone that they are for a party later and no one can have any. It’s awkward.

        1. Engineer Girl*

          No it’s not. I’m an adult. I know that:
          • These are not my cupcakes. I did. Not bake them. I did not earn them. I do not deserve them.
          • If I really want cupcakes I can go out and get my own.
          • Maybe I’ll get leftover cupcakes
          • Maybe coworker will bring cupcakes for us next time

          Those that are able to handle delayed gratification have the highest success rates.

      1. Joielle*

        How is it unrealistic to expect people to exercise some self control around a puppy? Since it’s a dog-friendly office, I assume there are other dogs around – if someone REALLY needs a dog fix, they can go pet one of the other ones. I get that puppies are cute, but nobody’s entitled to puppy-petting time.

        1. fhqwhgads*

          Yeah, the coworkers are being weird. I suspect because “cute, I wanna!” brain is taking over. I’ve never worked in a completely dog-friendly office, but I did work in one where people who worked odd hours were allowed to bring their dogs during off-hours times (ie you have to work Saturday, your dog can come with). But even that came with a bunch of extra rules: anyone else working Saturday had to agree they were OK with it. If the dog became a distraction to anyone it’d be asked to not come back. And that distraction rule wasn’t just about barking, or the dog-owner spending more time interacting with the dog than working. If there were constant people coming by wanting to play with the dog or pet the dog, it’d get shut down. I’m not saying this is universal, but it seemed so incredibly reasonable at the time. It was basically “if your dog is going to come and chill in your office, but other than maybe an occasional bark, or people seeing him in there with you, pretty much no one should know he’s there.” It the dog were either not well-behaved enough – or other people lacked the self-control to not be distracted by the dog, no dog. OP’s coworkers seem to be crossing the line into they are too focused on the dog. That said, the culture in that office doesn’t seem like it’s one where she could use that to her advantage. But based on my admittedly limited frame of reference, her coworkers are being way unreasonable here.

          1. MusicWithRocksInIt*

            So one dog-obsessed person could ruin the ability of any dog to come in again if they wanted to pet it too much? I feel like that is a situation where you talk to the dog botherer rather than ban the dog forever.

            1. fhqwhgads*

              The scenario I was dealing with was different than the OP’s in that on those occasions when someone would be there in the off hours and thus allowed to have the dog present, it’d be incredibly rare for there to be more than 1-3 people at work at all. So yeah if 1 of the 2 people who were supposed to be working wasn’t because of the dog, no dog. It was not presented as a perk. It was more an acknowledgement that if you might be practically all alone in a nearly empty building on a Saturday, you know what, yeah fine your dog can sit at your feet while you knock out that work. But if one of those other two people said “actually I’m afraid of dogs” no dog, if they said “actually I’m allergic to dogs” no dog. And if they just couldn’t help themselves from constantly coming by and trying to play with the dog (and continued even after being told “not now, go back to work”), no dog. That wouldn’t be a ban on all dogs forever though. More like the next time one of those random Saturdays/late nights came up, if it’d be the same combination of humans and specific-dog, everyone would already know, nope, need dog-care that day. If it’s a completely different dog and set of humans, they’d be allowed to try it if it were cleared first.

      2. Valprehension*

        Seriously? I am appalled that people think their desire to pet a cute puppy outweighs the *puppy*’s own need for sleep. It needs it’s sleep. Anyone who doesn’t care about that is a complete jerk.

        I am admittedly a bit sensitive about this sort of thing because my in-laws are just appalled that my baby has a bedtime (and a nap schedule, which is apparently beyond the pale, somehow) and I’m strict about it (because there are consequences if I’m not! consequences my partner and I hae to deal with, not them!)

        Tiny creatures need their sleep. Let them sleep!

      3. Micklak*

        I’m with Stacey and MommyMD. It’s weird to have a dog friendly office and then forbid people to interact with the dog. Yeah, people can control themselves and should understand no, but that’s not what a dog friendly office is about. The LW is going counter culture and is experiencing the tension of that.

        I would say the same if someone brought in a dog that bit or barked at anyone who tried to pet it. That’s not what a dog friendly office is about.

        1. tangerineRose*

          A lot of this is just that she doesn’t want people to wake up her puppy or tire out the puppy – how is that possibly unreasonable?

    4. Tallulah in the Sky*

      Well this is extreme, I think you totally misread the letter here. OP didn’t say she never wants people to socialize with the puppy, but to not wake her up just so people can pet her because she needs her sleep. A dog friendly office doesn’t mean that the pets are there for the pleasure of all employees. The perk is to have your dog near you (and not pay for dog day care or walkers), not being near dogs and play with any of them when you wish.

      Also, as someone who’s aware into what goes into training a service dog, there’s no problem for the dog to socialize when he’s not “in service”, so unless OP plans to train her dog during office hours, there’s no issue here. The fact that she’s being trained to be a service dog is irrelevant here, OP could have left that out. The only thing OP asks is to not wake her up, which is pretty reasonable. The unreasonable ones here are her coworkers. Coworkers that can, and should, control their impulses. The puppy is not the problem here, the coworker’s attitude is. Or do you also believe girls are responsible if boys are getting distracted by the sight of a bra strap if they wear tank tops ?

      Really, this response to today’s letter is mindblowing to me. “But your coworkers may not find your “rules” reasonable in the workplace. And really? They kind of have a point.” No they don’t. They really don’t.

    5. Bagpuss*

      I disagree. I think that if the (and possibly when!) the puppy is a little older and more energetic, then it may well become an ‘attractive nuisance’ and it may not be feasible to have it in the office.
      But a puppy which is asleep under the LW’s desk 90% ofthe time?
      The puppy isn’t a dsitraction, the issue is wih other epople being unwillign to listen to a simple, clear request.

      I think thepossible service training is irrelvent – it would be difernt iof LW was either expecting others to intereact with the puppy in order to help with training, or if she were imposing unusual or onerous rules, but she isn’t doing either.

    6. Mookie*

      Dog-friendliness is a policy that accommodates the dog-owners, not a perk for dog-lovers. Everyone is free to partake if they’ve got the right dog, but the partaking doesn’t obligate owners to host a petting zoo. That WOULD be the distraction you’re worried about.

      1. Washi*

        Yeah, this is like saying that because you’re allowed to eat at your desk, everyone has a right to eat your food. Or if you bring in a fan, everyone gets to come park themselves in front of it when they get hot.

        And if this is, somehow, an office where the dog-friendliness is supposed to be a perk for dog-lovers, then the management should explain that to the OP. If that were the policy, it wouldn’t be communicated and enforced by random guilt trips from coworkers.

        1. tangerineRose*

          I thought the idea of a dog friendly office was to have dogs who didn’t cause problems. This puppy is just sleeping.

    7. Ana Gram*

      My coworker is training her dog to be a service dog and she’s been bringing him in since he was small. I don’t particularly like dogs so I have no interest in messing with him but she’s been really straightforward about his training and the fact that he’s not a pet everyone can play with. He gets some ear scratches when they go out for a walk but, by and large, people are really respectful of my coworker’s requests. It helps that he wears his service dog in training vest when he’s out nd about. It’s definitely doable but the OP needs to be pretty proactive about setting boundaries.

    8. Anononon*

      OP: Writes in a dog letter where 1) no one has any issues with her dog actually being in the office/upset that her dog is there and 2) she states that the dog has no disruptive behavior issues (and nothing in the letter indicates anything to contradict that).

      Commenter: Goes out of their way to twist the letter to show that the dog situation is untenable and could never work.

      We get it, people. Not everyone likes dog-friendly offices (or friendly dog offices).

    9. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      Being trained to be a service dog can be EXACTLY relevant to learning to sleep quietly in an office environment, if that’s the environment that the dog will be providing service in.

      OP is controlling this pup well, and setting the limits that will reinforce appropriate behavior in this environment. Pup is tucked away and would otherwise not be noticed, which is exactly what a service dog should do.

      Folks who want to play with puppies can find other ways to do that.

    10. Alice*

      Uh, what? A puppy who needs sleep is not an attractive nuisance. As a matter of fact the doctrine of attractive nuisance is specifically designed to protect children who might not realize that they should not do something. OP’s coworkers are presumably adults capable to respect OP’s wishes regarding the dog. If anything OP’s coworkers are the ones who are being unreasonable.

      1. Joielle*

        Yes! Attractive nuisance makes no sense here. It’s for, like, an unfenced yard with a pool or something that kids physically can’t resist because their brains aren’t fully developed. I assume OP’s coworkers wouldn’t rush over and drown in an unattended body of water. They have the self-control to not wake the puppy, they’re just being entitled jerks.

        1. Ada Doom*

          I am just sitting here chortling at the idea of an office of people who keep wandering over to an unattended body of water and needing to be rescued. Like,
          Fergus: “Where’s Jane? I thought she was getting the flea census off the printer?”
          Brunhilda: “OH NOES! SOMEBODY GET THE LIFE RAFT!”
          Fergus: “What, again!?”
          Brunhilda: “Argh, get 2, Wakeen has gone in as well.”

          I get over it, and then say the words “unattended body of water” to myself and start up again. Good thing it’s Friday afternoon.

      2. Lissa*

        Yeah. This is what happens of taking Internet fun too seriously. “Pet ALL the doggos!” “I’d die for this random animal” and so on might be cute among your friends but you’re not supposed to act on that in real life with actual people and dogs. At work. Just like how we don’t actually scream at people who like Hawaiian pizza, murder people for spoiling movies, or break up with someone who prefers chicken to bacon.

    11. Silence Will Fall*

      This seems like an extreme read on the situation.

      I had a coworker who started doing puppy training for service dogs. It was a small company of 12 people. My coworker sent an email at the beginning and explained the program and that the puppy needed to learn to focus on its tasks and ignore everything else, so please don’t distract the puppy unnecessarily. Because we were all reasonable adults, everyone got on board. When the puppy wasn’t “working”, everyone could have their fill of puppy snuggles and games.

      It did nothing to take away from our dog friendly office and we all had a sense of pride when “our” puppy would graduate to the next stage of training.

    12. Dana B.S.*

      I actually was thinking something along those lines, just less extreme. However, as much of a dog-lover as I am, I don’t really understand the point of dog-friendly offices.

    13. Anon for this*

      I am glad someone said this although I would not be quite so hard. If someone brings a puppy to work they should expect that there would be a lot of interest and desire to interact with it. However, if they explained, via a cute sign or any other nice way, that the puppy should not be disturbed and why, I would understand and respect that but be quietly annoyed.

      1. Anononon*

        You would really be annoyed??? If there was a puppy at my work that I couldn’t play with, I’d be bummed but not annoyed. Annoyed implies that the OP is doing something wrong.

        1. Alanna of Trebond*

          You can feel as annoyed as you want as long as you don’t act on it — being annoyed at reasonable requests is kind of a baseline condition for being at work for me some days — but your annoyance is your problem, and your coworker doesn’t need to care that you find the sign annoying.

          Part of drawing a healthy boundary, for dogs or humans, is understanding that people are going to have feelings about it and that’s OK, as long as they respect the boundary and don’t have those feelings about it at you.

    14. bonkerballs*

      No. None of her coworkers have any rights to her dog. If a person can’t control themselves around every cute dog they see, that’s a personal problem they need to deal with.

      You are correct in one thing. “It’s a dog friendly office, not an office designed for puppy socialization.” OP’s coworkers should realize that fact and stop trying to socialize with a puppy after being told no.

      1. Micklak*

        Wanting to pet a dog that someone brought to the office isn’t an attempt to claim rights over it. It’s pretty benign to want to pet a puppy.

        1. Tarx*

          But it’s not benign to make snippy comments about your coworkers when they ask you not to disturb their pet, which is what the LW’s coworkers are doing.

        2. Valprehension*

          It’s not benign to wake up a sleeping puppy (or any baby animal). The Dog. Is. Sleeping. It needs it’s sleep. I do not understand how this is remotely controversial.

      1. I WORKED on a Hellmouth*

        I mean, the only thing I’m persuaded of is the existence of sock puppet accounts, arguing the right to make decisions/demands regarding the personal property of another person (which also happens to be a living, breathing, sentient creature with its own needs) seems like a less than okay position to me…

    15. Courageous cat*

      Sorry y’all but I kind of agree. I don’t think this is that intense of a comment either. This has some degree of merit imo

      1. Anonymous 5*

        It has…zero merit. A dog’s owner calls the shots on the dog’s socialization, even in a dog-friendly office. Adults have the obligation to respect the boundaries of others. There’s not wiggle room here.

  14. Alphabet Pony*

    #5 Are you by any chance viewing profiles of people you aren’t connected to? Many people restrict their public profiles to just their current position – for example if you’re not in my network that’s all you’ll see (because I’m not job searching and I only want to network fairly selectively). Alison I’m surprised you didn’t mention this!

    With your own profile, as time goes on you might find you start removing some things so that, for example, there’s a clear focus on the really key achievements you want people to notice, or on a particular niche you’re in.

    1. Peachywithasideofkeen*

      I had no idea you could do that, although to be fair, I don’t spend a lot of time on LinkedIn. I just updated my privacy settings to restrict somethings from people not in my network. Thanks for the tip :)

  15. Chaotic Neutral*

    We are also hoping to train our pupper as a therapy dog. I like the email idea and would also
    maybe include some info of the behaviors expected of a therapy animal so that your colleagues understand how important it is that 1) your doggo gets plenty of rest and 2) learns to be very calm in public.

    1. Alphabet Pony*

      Actually I wouldn’t do that. If you’re trying to give people a really clear and absolute instruction – don’t disturb the puppy, for example – you need to keep it simple. If you include a lot of detail like this your message will get lost.

      1. Mongrel*

        I’ve found you can keep it simple and big letters at the top, then explain the ‘why’ further down.

    2. Dahlia*

      Just FYI a therapy dog and a service dog aren’t the same thing. I’m sure you knew that, though.

  16. Kwebbel*

    OP5 – one thing I’ve noticed – and this may just be my own network – is that the most senior people I’m connected with include very little detail on their work history. Usually just a title, and maybe a line about the most basic description of what they did in that role. But I imagine a person with a title like CFO at a well known company in the industry wouldn’t need to put much more detail to drum up interest from recruiters in their profile?

    Others in my network are really all over the place with their profiles in terms of amount of detail and whether they list tasks or accomplishments. I’m curious to hear what others think are best practices when it comes to LinkedIn profiles!

    1. FD*

      I’ve noticed the same thing. I wonder, though, if it’s a deliberate choice of a coincidence. LinkedIn is actually fairly old for a social media site–it started to get big around 2006. But even so, a lot of people with high level titles now probably started their career before LinkedIn was really a thing and later decided to create a profile.

      People a little earlier in their careers are often encouraged to make a profile in college and keep it updated. If you attended a four-year university and made your profile when you graduated in 2006 at the age of 22, for example, you’d only be 35 now, still a little young for a CFO role, for instance (a search seems to indicate that the average age for that role is in the mid to late 40s).

    2. mourning mammoths*

      As a hiring manager said to my husband once, who himself has a three-letter job title, “You don’t have much in your LinkedIn profile, which probably means you’re working hard and not interested in being headhunted. When can you come in for an interview?”

    3. Joielle*

      I’ve noticed that too. Ultimately, it’s a marketing document, and if your accomplishments speak for themselves then you don’t need to do much marketing (especially passive marketing, for jobs you aren’t even looking for).

      I, too, have very little on my Linkedin profile, but just because I’m too lazy to fill it all out and I don’t really see the point? I don’t think it’s ever worked against me. Also everyone in my network who’s really active on Linkedin seems kind of… smarmy? That’s probably not the right word, but it’s a very specific sort of disingenuous, performative networking that I absolutely hate. So I guess I’m biased against Linkedin anyways.

      1. Emma*

        I’m OP#5 and these comments are very helpful. My university pushed LinkedIn very heavily and creating an extremely detailed profile was a required assignment, so I was surprised that I don’t see many of those – among my peers, yes, but really across all groups. I’m glad to know it isn’t actually as important to have every detail of my professional life online as my professors claimed it was. I actually think I will go through and revise some things.

    4. ThatGirl*

      In 2017 I was laid off and got “transition service” (I forget the term they actually used) to help with my resume and job search. They heavily emphasized LinkedIn and as a result I did bulk up my profile to help with my search. I will say, while the offers I ultimately got were not because of LinkedIn, I did get a lot of attention from recruiters – and I still do sometimes. But I don’t trawl the message boards or use it for much now, and I definitely am a little skeptical of heavy LinkedIn users who repost the same “inspirational” messages and treat it like Facebook for Work.

    5. Booksalot*

      I’m curious to hear what others think are best practices when it comes to LinkedIn profiles!

      I start by looking at heavy hitters in my field–not just the C-suite, but anyone who excels at SME, gets speaking engagements, etc.

      Next I track the type of skills that come up in LI job listings in my field (they show you a blue checklist of how you stack up), and include the relevant phrasing when it applies.

      Then I cheat a bit and look at profiles for people whose jobs value brevity or precision–editors, in-house legal, LEAN engineers/managers, etc.

      Finally, I cross-reference all three categories in order to cull the highlights.

    6. RR*

      I am not a big fan of social media, but LinkedIn is the one account I do have. My profile consists of a summary paragraph outlining my qualifications using key terms for my field, so that it will pop up for recruiters using key search terms, and a listing of my work experience: job titles and companies only. And that’s pretty much it. I’m fortunate that my job titles fit with common searches, and do a decent job of conveying my experience level. My current and former employers are well-known, and that also helps. I’ve had good recruiters reach out to me through LinkedIn, and I know our internal recruiters do make heavy use of it.

    7. Not your Dad's Recruiter*

      Also, people who are not interested in being recruited on LinkedIn have very sparse profiles.

    8. Blue Horizon*

      LinkedIn is interesting because it’s young in comparison to print resumes, and doesn’t have the same set of established norms and traditions around it. I’ve seen people do all kinds of different things with it. Mostly they seem to fall into three main categories:

      1. Minimal – job titles, maybe a brief description, not much else
      2. Detailed – full copy of the resume, formatted to fit LinkedIn structure
      3. Conversational – something personal and engaging (my values, what’s important to me, things I’m interested in and that you might be interested in, who I’d like to contact and why) with light to moderate detail in the work experience section below the fold.

      Category 1 is the people who are happy in their current job, not actively engaged, and who use it mainly as a tool for keeping track of professional contacts. Category 2 are actively looking and targeting recruiters, and LinkedIn is a job search tool for them. Category 3 are cultivating an active professional social media presence, either out of interest or because it’s important to them professionally. They use LinkedIn for networking, lead generation, knowledge sharing and a host of other things, and are generally the most active of the three types.

      1. Lance*

        Plus the OP isn’t writing in for dog advice; they’re writing in for people advice. I’d just assume they’re already working with a trainer that knows what they’re doing, and have the dog covered on that end.

        1. RUKiddingMe*

          This. I think that absent any evidence to the contrary, OP’s got the training/socialization/vaccines/etc., etc., etc… covered. She is asking how to make *people* listen.

    1. PeteyKat*

      That article is a good read. The puppy should be socialized with many different people prior to age 12 weeks, critical before the age of 16 weeks. How old is this puppy?

      1. Beth Jacobs*

        Probably very young, considering the sleep needs. But does it matter? This ain’t AskADogTrainer.

        1. PeteyKat*

          I removed the opening hostility — don’t do that here. I left the rest of the comment. – Alison

          The OP wants people to respect her boundaries, which she has a right to request and a right to expect people to uphold. Her boundaries should be stated clearly and held to firmly. If she wants no interruptions or socialization except for certain time periods, she should say so in no uncertain terms so that there can be no misunderstandings or miscommunications. An e-mail doesn’t have to be so blunt as to be rude, but it can be clear in it’s meaning. Because really, if these co-workers aren’t respecting the OP’s boundaries, they aren’t respecting the OP. And that may be a bigger issue.

      2. JamieS*

        OP said she’s under 3 months so I’d guess her to be 2 months since she’d have to be weaned before OP got her.

      3. Natalie*

        Dog socialization doesn’t actually mean constant interaction. It would be better described as exposure – you want the dog to have neutral exposure to a lot of different things and people, so they don’t develop irrational fears. Particularly for a service dog, you don’t want them to think of other people as “play time!”. (Which puppies will do, constantly, until they are overtired bite monsters.)

        1. FoxyDog*

          This! The goal of socializing is to get the dog comfortable around novel people, dogs, things. Not to teach the dog that every new person/dog is to be played with. Forcing a fearful dog to interact can make the fear worse, and a friendly dog can easily get scared by a negative interaction and become a fearful dog. Letting a friendly dog interact with everyone teaches them that interaction is the default. Which makes it much harder to teach the dog to focus on the trainer.

      1. Arts Akimbo*

        You’re going to hate me, but I’m going to change my position on our whole ear cleaning debate…

      1. Former Young Lady*

        It is possible to be both. Every emotional vampire I’ve ever known was perpetually going through a tough time, and simply lacked the radar that normally signals, “the person I’m leaning on is going through something tougher.”

        Like OP, I’ve had one parent beat cancer and the other die prematurely from it. Times like that, you find out a lot about the character of the people around you. One-uppers and scene-stealers and shoulder-drenchers are not irredeemably evil, but the simultaneous lack-of and demand-for empathy is indeed draining. Pile it on top of major grief, and it really does feel like they’re sucking the life out of you.

  17. The Wall Of Creativity*

    #OP2 It’s not often I say this (not being remotely religious) but you should get them to read the bible. Matthew 20 1-16. It’s a story we had countless times in school assemblies about not being jealous because somebody else is being kind.

    1. Former Young Lady*

      For what it’s worth, I am deeply religious, but I would strongly advise against assigning Bible study to one’s colleagues in a secular workplace. I appreciate the parable you’re referring to, but it would not be an effective or appropriate way to teach the lesson in this context.

  18. Tallulah in the Sky*

    OP#1 – Because some people apparently think differently : OP, your rule is completely fair and normal. You’re not being unreasonable, or have weird expectations. Dogs in dog friendly offices are not there for the enjoyment of all employees. This is a perk so that dog owners can have their dog with them, not to have an office full of friendly dogs any employee is entitled to. Your coworker’s reaction is rude, and their expectation to disturb someone just for their own enjoyment is not something I would appreciate at all.

    People’s suggestion to give them a time to come pet the puppy when you know she’ll be awake is a good one, but frankly their attitude would have put me off so much I don’t think I would make the effort for them. I have no patience for people who can’t respect an animal, who only sees it as a toy and something to enjoy, not a living being with its own needs. “She needs her sleep” should have been enough, not being responded with “But I want to play, so I don’t care, let’s wake her up.”

    1. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Tallulah , you said it perfectly. A dog will be content calmly hanging out at her person’s feet….or in this case sleeping adorably in the crate next to her person… as long as they know the schedule includes active play after the period of calm time. I too like the end-of-day “puppy’s office hours” idea.

    2. FoxyDog*

      Exactly! My only advice to the OP would be maybe try a crate or a pen with solid walls, assuming that the current set up is a wire pen. If people can’t see the puppy, they might be less tempted to try to play with him.

  19. Nym*

    Alison, what’s wrong with LinkedIn skill sections? It might be my field (tech), but I’m getting much more relevant interactions since I’ve updated that. Recruiters are reaching out with relevant jobs, where I’d be using technologies I’m actually familiar with, and the quantity increased as well now I’m more easily found in the recruitment search systems.

    1. SarahTheEntwife*

      Tech seems like it might be an exception, since you’re probably talking about very specific software or programming languages or things like that. When I still had a LinkedIn profile (it’s not hugely used for networking in my field so I decided I’d rather not have one than have one I kept forgetting to keep current) friends kept “recommending” me for things they’d never seen me do and it was really annoying.

      1. Kiki*

        Yeah, I think tech is an exception when the skills are being used the way you describe. Listing Ruby, React, Kubernetes, or whatever as skills does make it easier for people interested in Ruby, React, and Kubernetes to find you.
        I think the issue comes from the vague skills that people include (Communication, Fun Personality, Organized) and the fact endorsements of those skills are meaningless because they don’t necessarily come from anyone who actually saw you demonstrate said skill.

    2. FD*

      Probably this is different in tech.

      In fields where soft skills are more important, you get things like “X has endorsed you for the skill ‘Communications'” and it just…doesn’t really mean useful.

      For example, it might mean “This person has been responsible for organizational communications in a number of high-stakes situations, including defusing something that could have become a PR disaster if handled poorly.” Or it might mean “This person does a good job when it’s her turn to present at our team meetings.” Essentially, something like ‘Good at communications’ just isn’t all that useful without context.

      I suspect it would be more useful in fields with hard skills. “X has endorsed you for the skill ‘C++'” could still mean “Master engineer with 20 years working with C++” or it could mean “Competent enough to get around in it but not an expert.” Nonetheless, that’s still a narrower band of meanings than the first example.

    3. EPLawyer*

      Because for lawyer they have things like “skilled in legal research, writing, etc.” Yeah no duh, kinda goes with the job. If I am NOT skilled in those things then there is a problem. I shouldn’t have to list them.

      Plus anyone can recommend someone as “skilled” in anything. So your childhood friend that you connect with on LinkedIn but has no clue what your skills are can literally recommend you are skilled in Llama grooming. Even if you have never been near a Llama.

      1. Environmental Compliance*

        ^ Yup. Same for environmental compliance. I have had so, so many old classmates recommend me for the strangest of things, and it’s always something that I did maybe once in a class like 10 years ago, and I haven’t talked to this person in like 6 years. Thanks, I think?

        Right now, I’m recommended for “Research”, “Higher Education”, “Report Writing”, “Water Quality”, and “Records Management” among others. What does ‘research’ even mean? Collecting research articles? Reading research articles? Understanding research articles? Who knows? But that’s my top recommended skill on LinkedIn. And somehow one of my other recommended skills is public speaking. I *hate* public speaking. I have gone out of my way to be in positions where I rarely need to Public Speak. And one person that recommended me for it was my dad (who, now that I check on that section, has managed to recommend me for like 35 things, most of which I know he has never seen me do, and probably doesn’t know what they actually are, but it *sounds* like it’d be vaguely connected to my job. Thanks, Dad).

        In a lot of fields it’s just meaningless.

        1. Anna*

          You can actually remove skills if you don’t like these endorsements. I had several people endorse me for Teaching, which I have never done and do not particularly want to do. The fact that the ‘skill’ was sitting there attracted more endorsements, until one day I managed to remove it. Now people only endorse me for skills I actually have. I suppose there is no particular use to it, but it looks nice to have a well-filled profile I guess.

      2. Joielle*

        Yeah, I’m endorsed a bunch of times for “Powerpoint”… which I do know how to use, but I’m not some Powerpoint wizard or anything, and I don’t use it often. And I think the more times people endorse me for it, the more it recommends that other people endorse me for it. It’s useless (except maybe in tech, which makes sense).

    4. Daughter of Ada and Grace*

      I think it varies, even in tech. I’ve gotten endorsements for skills I don’t use, or that I use, but the person endorsing me has never seen me use.

      I think it’s people clicking on “Would you like to endorse NAME for SKILL?” buttons, where SKILL is something you might plausibly have used in one or more of your jobs (including current). Some people will just click the button to endorse, whether or not they would say the same thing in, say, a reference check. (Sometimes they aren’t even reading the question, they just want the box to go away.) Heck, I think I may have even given one of these accidental endorsements.

      That said, I do agree that if you’re curating the skills section yourself, you can definitely benefit, particularly in tech. For instance, I know how to code in Java, but I don’t want to, so I’d make sure that was off my skills list and C# was on it instead.

      1. Lynn Whitehat*

        Yes, LinkedIn is pushy about that. It unfortunately makes the skills meaningless, because people click yes to make the box go away. You can get rid of it without clicking, but it’s not obvious.

    5. Yorick*

      Because my stepmom who doesn’t know anything about my job endorsed me for a bunch of skills.

      1. Willis*

        Lol, yes, this. I find there’s an inverse relationship between how well someone knows me and/or what I do and how likely they are to endorse me for something. I never accept the endorsements and don’t think my LinkedIn shows any of that.

  20. londonedit*

    I just can’t understand the mindset of people who are upset by a colleague receiving a long service award. It’s ‘unfair’ that they haven’t been there five years yet? How on earth does that even make sense? I’ve never worked for a company that gives gifts for anything under about 20/25 years’ service, but I have worked for companies that gave sabbaticals after 10 years, or an extra day’s holiday after 5 years. Sure, I felt envious when a colleague took a six-week paid sabbatical, but I also knew I wasn’t going to be sticking around for 10 years! Staying at one job for such a long time is increasingly rare these days, and I can totally understand why companies reward long service. What a shame that OP’s enjoyment of her gift has been tarnished by people who can’t just let other people enjoy nice things.

    1. Bagpuss*

      They can feel unfiar to people who have more difficulties in achieving long service – a bit like attendance awards at school. If you have had to be out of the workforce due to health or caring responsibilities, for instnace.

      I know that here (UK) there was a lot of advice from professionals in the HR / employment law field some yeas ago that offering things like extra holidays to longer serving employees can result in indirect sex discrimination as women are far more likely to take career breaks to care for children, for instance, so the advice was to be careful about those kinds of perks. I don’t know whether there were ever any cases where actual claims were made on that basis.

      It doesn’t sound as though that is in play in the LW’s case or that her coworker has given any reason except that they feel it is unfair, but I mention as it is a factor that explains why not everyone may be comfortable with this kind of award system.

      1. Jules the 3rd*

        My experience is that switching companies is the best way to get pay raises (esp if you switch while the market’s hot like now), and the pay differential is going to more than make up for a single necklace.

        1. Drewski*

          For sure. I don’t think anyone would recommend staying for a small gift or to rack up years for bragging rights. But I think it is great that employers would try their best to keep you… however they see fit.

        2. Former Young Lady*

          This is such a good point.

          Further, from the company’s perspective, the service award is a much smaller expense than a comparable retention raise, let alone also the cost of hiring and training a replacement for someone who has all those years of institutional knowledge. It basically says, “Thanks for sticking around. We know you have a choice.”

          The complainers are demonstrating an embarrassing lack of cost-benefit-analysis skills.

      2. londonedit*

        Wow, I’d assume (I’m also in the UK) that if someone was on maternity leave it would still count as part of their service, because they’re still employed by the company during their leave, but then again sadly I can well imagine some companies being awful enough to say ‘Nope, sorry, doesn’t count as continuous service’.

        Long service awards/recognition seem to be a fairly normal thing in my industry, so I’ve never really questioned them, but my industry is often a bit behind the times.

        1. Rexish*

          I took bagpuss to mean that women are ingeneral more likely to be out of the workforce, not on maternity leave but just be out of work to take care of the family so they are not employed in any company. In my company all parental leaves, study leaves, sabbatical still count as long as you are enlisted in the company.

          I’m totally fine with these awards. If we look at societal structure, they might be unfair. In my experiece these awards are not so impressive that people are actually motivated by them. THey are more of an aknowledgement that doesn’t really take away from others.

          1. Drewski*

            I agree there are more benefits to long term employment than an anniversary gift anyway.

            But then again there are untold benefits to not working an 8-5 for decades straight too!

        2. Bagpuss*

          I think f they were on maternity leave it woul, as they would still be employed. But if they take a couple of yeas out while the child is young and then return to work they wouldn’t.

          I think that the argument was that, statistically, women are far less likley than men to have unbroken service , so it wouldn’t be that individual companies would be acting unfairly but that over all, men would be disproportionately likely to benefit from those kind of policies.

          As I said, i don’tknow whther there were any actual claims, or if it was something which was riased as a concern. From memory, it was around the time that the first of the big equal pay cases were in the news , relating to peole with different but equaivalent jobs being underpaid by councils etc, so I think indirect discrimination was very much on the radar.

          I think it was specifcially with regard to giving tangible benefits like extra holida as a reward for long service – I don’t think it was ever saying you can’t rcognise it at all,or shouldn’t give peopl a carriage clock and a bunch of flowers when they hit 25 years!

        3. nonegiven*

          I think being on FMLA would count as continuous service but that’s just 12 weeks. If you want to take a year off with a baby, you would have to quit and find a new job when you are ready to go back unless your company had provisions for that.

      3. Drewski*

        If that is considered gender discrimination… wouldn’t long term employment in general and its perks be considered gender discrimination? Policies like promoting from within, merit based pay increases, exempt status, cost of living adjustments, greater PTO allowances, accumulation of retirement benefits… all of that increases or becomes more likely as you extend your career at a given employer.

        Health, children, parents, interests, career changes… there are a million things that can take you out of the long term employee game… but that is life as we know it. From the employers perspective long term employees are a great asset and are often rewarded. I don’t see any issue with that at all.

        1. Valprehension*

          To some extent, you’re right! The problem isn’t so much with regarding long-term employees, so muc has the societal problem that women are more likely to take on child-care, family care and other unpaid vocations. I definitely don’t think that stopping rewards for service solves the problem in any way, but it can be useful to be mindful of these kinds of accidental implications.

  21. Jaid*

    Geeze. I work for a three letter Federal Agency and even we get plaques for so many years of service. I’d rather have a catalogue to look through. That food blender sounds nice!

  22. Carlie*

    OP1, could you set up a screen in front of the crate while the puppy is sleeping? If they can’t see it, the “omg must snuggle” instinct won’t kick in as strongly for your coworkers.

    1. WellRed*

      The puppy is under her desk. I imagine the very knowldege there’s a puppy in the office is too exciting for some people.

    2. FoxyDog*

      I second this, or try a crate/pen with solid walls. Out of sight, (hopefully) out of mind.

  23. Mel*

    When the letter about the anniversary gift started, I was all prepared for it to be that she got a great gift and everyone else got garbage gifts. The fact that they’re a catalog makes it SO fair that I really can’t underestimate what the complaint would be.

    I worked for 12 years at a company that only recognized us with more vacation time. When I hit my 10 year they decided they wouldn’t do that anymore and we were all capped at the 5 year mark (3 weeks vacation. 1 week personal/sick time). A couple years later a coworker hit 10 years and they bought her a flat screen tv.

    1. Seeking Second Childhood*

      The co-worker is related to Guacamole Bob (the accountant from that long-ago letter)?

    2. Rexish*

      I was expecting the same. Like people last year got a pen and this year they decided to go all out with something super nice and expensive or extra two weeks of PTO. I get that it feels unfair. I’m all for having feelings and sometimes things might feel unfair, but going to HR when there really isn’t anything to complain?

    3. WellRed*

      We did have a letter that was similar. Other people got spa weekends or what have you and the LW got a teddy bear.

  24. Juli G.*

    Oh, as an HR person, number 2 strikes a cord with me.

    Organization: “Why aren’t you working on Very Important Initiatives?”
    Me: “Because people are mad about necklaces and won’t leave me alone.”

    1. Not Me*

      That’s what I was thinking! I can just imagine my face if someone with 2 years of service walked into my office to complain that someone with 5 years of service received a work anniversary gift and they felt that was unfair.

      1. Aurion*

        In the HR person’s place, I would have a hard time keeping my eyebrows from reaching escape velocity, that’s for sure.

  25. TyB*

    OP1: I’d lean into using the service animal training aspect more. Having worked in dog friendly offices and worked in offices where someone trained service animals, the dogs in training received very different interactions then the dogs there to play with. Much harder to gripe about not playing with a puppy if people are more aware that the dog is training to help a person with disabilities and they are actively interfering with that person getting the help they need.
    Regardless, even if the puppy wasn’t training it’s ridiculous that people aren’t respecting your wishes, but if you can hammer home the detriment they are having it should help

    1. The Other Dawn*

      I agree. Someone at my previous company trained service dogs and she would have a new puppy recruit every year. We were told that when the puppy/dog is wearing the service vest we’re not to pet it because it’s in training/work mode. If it wasn’t wearing the vest we could pet it, play with it, etc. I don’t know at what point the puppy gets a vest, but maybe that’s a way to help people understand and enforce the boundaries.

  26. Oryx*

    For #2, I wonder how much of this is the coworker knowing they won’t be at the job long enough to get the gift? I’ve had previous jobs where coworkers who had been there for decades had a ridiculous amount of vacation time and I was always a little jealous (only because who wouldn’t want more vacation time?) but I also knew I had zero plans to stay there long enough to rack up that much time.

    Not that it excuses going to HR of course. Would I have liked an extra two weeks of vacay? Sure. Was I going to complain about it? Of course not. Leaving a job before the anniversary gift was a choice I was making and I needed to just suck it up.

  27. The Other Dawn*

    RE: #2

    “I reiterated that this was something we all get once we work for a certain number of years but some felt that was still not fair.”

    I’ve had direct reports and coworkers like this and it’s exhausting. No matter how many times you explain something, it’s still “unfair.” OP, you’re not going to get these people to see the light. It’s just who they are and will always have their feelings about what’s fair and what isn’t. Just tell them to talk to HR if they have a problem with it. If your HR is any good, they will explain the work anniversary process the same way you did.

    1. irene adler*

      I think you are right. Some folks just do not grasp the concept of “time served”, so to speak, at work.

      Just to be snarky: I’d offer to divide the necklace up between all the complainers- if they would agree to completely drop the topic.

      I’d reach for some scissors and ask, “Okay, who wants the clasp? Who wants the next piece? Come and get ’em!”. Then I would point out that, when they reach the 5 year mark, and are given a gift, they must agree to divide up said gift, into tiny pieces, and give one piece to each co-worker- effectively rendering the gift useless.

      Is it a deal?

  28. Paula*

    I’m sorry OP#1 but a dog friendly office is a two way street and if my colleague had an adorable puppeh under the desk and didn’t let me pet it from time to time I would be pretty pissed. I get your reasons but it’s pretty crappy of you. And anyway, a service dog needs to be socialized. The training books I had all recommended meeting new people every day. It’s good for the pup and good for your relationship with your justifiably annoyed coworkers.

    1. Jules the 3rd*

      I literally can’t tell if this is sarcasm or not. I hope it’s sarcasm.

      Sez the woman who loves All Teh Puppehs but still wouldn’t be mad if a coworker didn’t think it was right to share their puppeh. Key word is ‘their’ – the coworker knows what the puppy and its family needs, not me.

      It’s like being mad if a mom says, ‘my kid is napping please don’t wake them up.’ That’s so weird.

    2. WellRed*

      Do you also insist your coworkers share their lunch with you when you think it smells really good?

      1. Lassiter come home*

        That’s not a fair analogy. The appropriate analogy would be a workplace that openly says “foodies thrive here,” has weekly gourmet potluck lunches, and some outlet refuses to share her dish at said potluck (“because it’s mine, and I’m donating my leftovers to charity “) while partaking of the dishes everyone else brought.

      1. Paula*

        It may not be right, but I get the coworkers’ frustration. I’m just being honest that I truly would be irritated at the no-pet rules. It’s not in the spirit of a dog friendly workplace, which is a perk not just for pet owners but for the collegial environment as a whole. Can the OP not offer a time for socializing? Surely the dog has to go out every couple hours? Can colleagues pet the pupper then?

        1. Lance*

          I feel like you’re stretching the point of dog-friendly offices a bit. The point is for the owners to be able to have their dogs nearby and not have to leave them at home/in a kennel; not for coworkers to have free reign to pay attention to the dog. Yes, it can be difficult knowing there’s a dog there that’s effectively off-limits, but the OP’s not doing anything wrong just keeping the dog nearby in their office to quietly sleep.

          1. Yorick*

            That is the point, but I think the non-dog owners can overlook the annoyances that come with a dog friendly office a little easier if they’re sometimes able to pet cute dogs.

          2. Lassiter come home*

            Strong disagree. The dog friendly office exists for dog people to socialize with dogs, and because socializing with dogs had positive externalities, like better mental health for most everyone. It’s not free doggie day care.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              No, that’s not correct. Dog-friendly offices generally do it because it’s a perk for dog owners to be able to have their dogs with them. It’s not so everyone can socialize with the dogs.

              1. Courageous cat*

                I mean… I think this is kind of a letter of the law, not the spirit thing. Yes, on paper, that’s the reason. But in spirit, you get so much support and love and desire for dog friendly offices because people like seeing and petting dogs. I don’t think dog owners are such a wild and overwhelming majority that that’s Literally The Only Reason Why you see this.

            2. Lance*

              Sorry, but no. If that were the case, then it would be the office providing the dogs; not the actual dog owners choosing to bring in their dogs because they’re able to, and because it’s better than leaving them at home/paying for a doggy daycare. Again: the dogs still belong to the owners. They get to decide who interacts with them and when, in and out of the office.

        2. I WORKED on a Hellmouth*

          Why don’t you just get your own puppy? Then you can pet it and cuddle it and have the right to make all of the decisions surrounding access to it.

        3. Moray*

          Yeah…if I brought a a dog to work, the last person I would let play with it would be hugely entitled, pushy person who called it a “pupper” and insisted they know more about its care than I did.

          1. Mother of Doggos*

            Yep, especially because this person tends to also be the type to encourage bad habits (like letting them jump on them)or to run over any boundaries the dog may need (grabbing/getting in it’s face, pulling ears, trying to play in a way that scares them) and then get mad when the dog pulls away or does a warning nip/snarl.

    3. Tinybutfierce*

      This is a weirdly rude and unnecessary attitude to have about this sort of situation. It’s really NOT a two-way street; as other posters have said, a dog-friendly office is a perk for dog owners, presumably to help spare the expense of daycare and whatnot. It’s not intended to turn the office into an on-demand petting zoo for folks who like dogs. The puppy isn’t there for coworkers’ entertainment, it’s there because the owner has decided it’s best to take advantage of their workplace perk for the sake of their dog. And just because the dog isn’t interacting with her coworkers whenever they like certainly doesn’t mean the dog isn’t getting socialized at all. Socializing a dog doesn’t mean making it interact with every person who wants to interact with it ever.

      Getting “pretty pissed” because you don’t like what your coworker has decided is best for their own animal is honestly an unreasonable reaction; the OP isn’t responsible for managing the feelings of her coworkers because they don’t have the self-control to respect someone else’s boundaries about their pet that they presumably know best.

      1. tangerineRose*

        Yeah. I think it’s crappy of people to wake up a sleeping puppy who needs his sleep.

    4. The Other Dawn*

      Wow. I hope this is sarcasm. Sure, it would be nice to be able to play with or pet the puppy, but no one is entitled to it. OP is the dog’s owner and has every right to enforce whatever boundaries she feels are right for the dog.

    5. Catherine Tilney*

      No, it’s not a two-way street. The point of a dog-friendly office is to make life easier for the owners. I understand wanting to pet all cute doggies, but coworkers are not obligated to let you do so. Saying that someone should be “justifiably annoyed” sounds awfully entitled.

    6. Joielle*

      This is wildly off-base. You’re not entitled to puppy playtime. If you want to play with a puppy, get your own puppy or go volunteer at an animal shelter or something. A dog friendly office is absolutely NOT a two-way street, it’s a perk for the dog owner, who gets to use that perk as she sees fit.

    7. CupcakeCounter*

      Pretty sure OP isn’t saying her coworkers can’t play with the puppy ever. Just that they cannot wake up the sleeping puppy to pet and play. The coworkers simply want to play with the puppy at THEIR convenience not on the OP and the puppy’s schedule. The PUPPY needs the sleep. The OFFICE needs the puppy not riled up and barking. The needs of the puppy and the office trump the desires of a few pouting adults who want to play with a dog on command.
      And unless you are the one OP is working with to train their dog, you have no idea what the evening training sessions are like and how much socializing they are getting so your comment is not helpful.

    8. I GOTS TO KNOW!*

      Are you the entitled coworker from the 2nd letter?

      You get that you have absolutely zero standing to be pissed that you don’t get to pet someone else’s dog, right? I mean, you must not, since you wrote this comment. So let’s be clear – you do not get to be pissed that someone else won’t let you play with their dog.

      Want to play with a dog at work? Adopt your own dog.

      1. Economist*

        “You get that you have absolutely zero standing to be pissed that you don’t get to pet someone else’s dog, right?”

        I think this is a very extreme attitude, because an office is a communal space and you’re foisting the dog on the communal space. U

        Under your view, everyone else in the office has to put up with the downsides of dog ownership (excessive barking, allergies, perhaps the occasional housebreaking accident, etc.), but misses out on the benefits. That’s not a fair trade. It’s what economists call “externalizing an internality.”

        If you’re going to take the absolutist view that “no one can pet my dog EVAH,” I think you’re better off leaving the dog at home.

        1. VintageLydia*

          I mean my lunch comes with me, too, but that doesn’t make other people entitled to my food. You are acting weirdly e titled to other people’sproperty, especially living breathing property with its own needs that has nothing to do with entertaining you.

    9. Eirene*

      Service dogs do need to be socialized, but you’re making a rather large presumption that OP #1 isn’t already socializing her puppy with new people every day outside the office. Work is only one part of OP’s and her puppy’s day, and dogs can get overstimulated just as easily as people can, especially small people who also need their sleep – just as puppy does.

      1. Laura H.*

        I’d also put forth that just acclimating the dog to a public place- in this case, the dog friendly office- is also crucial to the development of dog as service dog along with whatever socializing is done away from the office.

        I imagine (as I have no training in what goes into preparing a service dog for its job) that getting the dog acclimated to being passively in a public/ semi-public space and away from being a(n admittedly adorable) tripping hazard would also be part of that process.

      2. Aurion*

        Yes, and socializing dogs–especially service dogs–are done at the owner’s discretion and timeline, not outsiders’.

        The only valuable socializing this puppy will get from pushy coworkers is training on how to ignore nuisances distracting it.

    10. Kiki*

      I know that puppies are adorable, but that does not entitle you to pet them without permission from the owner! It’s really not at all crappy of the LW not to allow their coworkers to pet her dog for the reasons they mentioned. Not all puppies you see are going to be able to play with you and accepting that is just part of being an adult.

    11. AnotherAlison*

      Honestly, I think the assumption that you can pet someone’s dog is pretty weird. I mean, if you’re at my house and my dog is sniffing you, by all means pet her. If she’s sleeping in her kennel, please don’t go pet her. Had a guy at the park ask if he could pet my dog a couple days ago, and I think that’s the first time I’ve ever had that request from someone over the age of 7.

      1. calonkat*

        We taught all the kids in the 4-H dog project to ask before petting any dog. And the best way to teach is to model the behavior. And the best way to model is to always do the behavior. So my daughter is now in her mid 20’s and I asked someone last week if I could pet their dog in a park :) It IS a thing, and honestly should be more widespread. Asking to pet gives the owner a chance to say “no” because even a friendly looking dog can be irritable or touchy about how he’s petted.

        And it’s perfectly fine for someone to have the most adorable dog in the world and not want the dog to be woken up and played with at random times that are convenient for co-workers.

        1. AnotherAlison*

          I agree with the practice of asking, but I just don’t pet other people’s dogs except when I’m in their home and the dog comes up to me. I guess I assume that if a dog isn’t safe to pet in a situation where you have guests at your house, it would be outside or kenneled. (I keep my distance from animals and people!)

        2. Perse's Mom*

          Also don’t necessarily know if a dog has certain things that set them off. I’ve known dogs who flat out did not like men and others that got very upset around anyone with a hat on, not to mention dogs who don’t like other dogs or any variety of thing in between. Now chances are low that a dog with major reaction triggers is going to be off-leash at a dog park, but they might be there on-leash to work on their behavior issues via gradual exposure. Dogs-you-don’t-know (any animal you don’t know) are a living example of “better safe than sorry” and “ASK FIRST.”

    12. Give me your baby!*

      Would you apply this same thought process to a kid friendly office? “Your baby is cute, let me hold it.” “I don’t care if the baby is asleep. Wake it up, so I can play with it?”

  29. Bibliovore*

    I would place signage on the crate and send an email that simply states
    I know how much everyone wants to give the puppy love and I appreciate it but Samuel is in training to be a working dog and part of that is that the dog is in training all the time and we need to keep to a sleep/wake/training schedule to be successful. Thank you for your support.

    AND ask your employer to avail themselves for a Paws for Pause program to bring in working dogs for therapy to reduce stress.

  30. Same Girl*

    I’m going to get blasted out of the water for this, but am I the only one who thinks it’s a little short sighted to expect people to not want to play with, pet, look at, interact with a puppy, arguably one of the most delightful things in the world? In the legal field, we call that an attractive nuisance. If you don’t want to share the fun, cute, adorable, sweet little people with the world, keep it home.

    1. Tinybutfierce*

      Coworkers should still respect that it’s not their dog and that they don’t work in an on-demand petting zoo. The OP should be able to take advantage of their job perk without having to manage her coworker’s feelings because they can’t be adults with self-control and respect the pet owner’s wishes.

      1. Same Girl*

        Sure she should be able to, and I agree, boundaries are always a good idea. But this doesn’t mean other people can’t feel disappointed. It feels stingy. She introduced the pup to everyone, once, at the very beginning when she first got it. How about a little puppy play time once a week or something? It’s standard that therapy dogs must be well socialized. Win/Win.

        1. Tinybutfierce*

          Sure, coworkers can be disappointed. And then they can be adults, deal with it, and move on. OP isn’t obligated to do anything differently with her dog juts because her coworkers wish she would.

        2. Delphine*

          It’s not their puppy though. It’s a weird amount of entitlement to someone else’s pet.

        3. Lassiter come home*

          Except that OP should consider what happens when the first dog hater/allergic person comes along. Does the rest of the workplace speak up for dog friendly policies, or do they think that OP is being vaguely ridiculous with this stance and side with the folks lobbying to end the “dogs allowed” rule? Without buy-in, they’re more likely to do the latter.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            When someone allergic to dogs come along, the dogs may need to stay at home, if the office can’t otherwise accommodate the person. That’s been covered here a lot previously if you do a site search.

            It wouldn’t be a good outcome for people to lobby to keep the dogs in the office at the expense of a human.

        4. Close Bracket*

          OP said “service dog.” Service dogs and therapy dogs are not the same thing at all. They both need to be calm in all sorts of situations, but service dogs are not expected to interact with people, just to be calm around them. Interacting with people actually interferes with providing service.

          People can be disappointed, but that doesn’t mean OP is doing anything wrong. The solution is for the coworkers to learn to mange their emotions.

      2. Economist*

        “Coworkers should still respect that it’s not their dog and that they don’t work in an on-demand petting zoo.”

        I’ve heard this “on-demand petting zoo” line one too many times.

        Surely there’s a difference between an “on-demand petting zoo” and “I get to bring this dog to my office, but no one can ever, ever pet it, except maybe for two minutes in the morning.”

        Reality is somewhere in between.

        1. Close Bracket*

          Not for service dogs. For service dogs, reality is, “no one can ever, ever pet it.”

      1. Eirene*

        That’s not what you said. You said you would be “pretty pissed” if your coworker didn’t allow you to pet their dog from time to time and called OP “crappy”. That’s not disappointment; that’s unwarranted entitlement.

    2. Joielle*

      Attractive nuisance applies to children, who literally do not have the brain development required for self control. It has absolutely nothing to do with this situation (and I am an actual lawyer).

      People can WANT to play with the puppy all they like, but they can also exercise self control and admire the puppy only from a distance.

      1. Same Girl*

        Ok fine, it’s almost like an attractive nuisance. And puppies bring out child like wonder and interest in many adults. Is that better?

        1. I WORKED on a Hellmouth*

          Well, no, because adults are also… well, ADULTS, and should be able to refrain from (in no particular order):
          Having weird reactions to not being allowed to handle someone else’s cute pet
          Snatching cute babies out of the arms of bystanders so they can “sniff their heads”
          Touch a pregnant stranger’s belly and/or share birthing horror stories
          Grab and use a coworker’s shiny new tech without permission because it is “just so cool”

          1. Lassiter come home*

            Except that when someone comes along and argues “adults should also be able to work for 8-10 hours without their dog at their feet,” no one will be speak up to oppose that argument on the grounds that dogs create a better working atmosphere for the entire office.

    3. lawschoolmorelikeblawschool*

      Some of my coworkers have candy in their desk drawers and I know its there and I sure want to eat it! I’m a little disappointed I can’t eat it! But I have zero expectation to be allowed to dig through their drawers and eat their candy! I don’t get this entitled attitude.

    4. Rusty Shackelford*

      I thought the attractive nuisance doctrine only applied to children. Surely the LW’s coworkers are adults.

      1. Same Girl*

        I meant the term in spirit, not literally. , I always make the mistake of assuming people get the gist of what I’m saying on the internet. If it helps, I meant that puppies and kittens and many other things bring out child-like wonder in adults that turn them in to puddles of goo, and so many people are naturally attracted to things like kittens and puppies, just like kids might be attracted to trampolines and pools in other peoples’ yards.

        1. Lepidoptera*

          Candy and chocolate also tends to induce child-like cravings in adults and yet we expect them to be able to resist the temptation of going through a coworkers desk to get some sugar known to be kept in there.
          We expect adults to have control of their impulses, acknowledge that they exist but not succumb.
          The idea that no one can have nice things because we can’t trust a few to control themselves is unfair and relatively lazy way of handling a situation.

        2. Rusty Shackelford*

          And I was being too subtle, since I did know exactly what you meant, and my point was that it’s not really too much to expect adults to avoid playing with a dog, no matter how cute it is, when they are told it’s inappropriate to do so.

        3. tangerineRose*

          I think adults and many children can at least be expected to not wake up a puppy who needs his sleep!

    5. fhqwhgads*

      She’s not expecting people to not want to interact with a puppy. She’s expecting them to accept “you can’t right now because puppy is sleeping” as a perfectly valid answer. People can want all they want. Doesn’t mean they’re gonna get.

      All the comments saying “of course people see a puppy and want to play” are ALMOST making me think of people who say someone wearing “revealing” clothing is “asking to be harassed”. It’s the other people behaving badly here. Not OP “tempting” them with a puppy.

      1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

        +1 for the parallel. No, you aren’t entitled in either case, coworkers!

    6. Manon*

      > If you don’t want to share the fun, cute, adorable, sweet little people with the world, keep it home.

      “If you don’t want to share your delicious lunch, keep it home.”
      “If you don’t want to share your quality pen, keep it home.”
      “If you don’t want to share your cozy sweater, keep it home.”

      See how ridiculous this sounds when you apply it to other things? You’re not entitled to pet anyone’s dog, just like you’re not entitled to any of their other personal things.

      1. I WORKED on a Hellmouth*

        “If you don’t want your cute butt grabbed, keep it home.”
        “If you don’t want your chest to be fondled, keep it home.”
        “If you don’t want me to take those awesome new shoes off of your feet and walk around in them, keep them home.”
        “If you don’t want urine poured on your dishes as you wash them in the company sink, keep them home.”

        1. bonkerballs*

          Thank you. Your top two examples are why the entitlement to in this discussion is so disgusting. I don’t even like dogs and I’m horrified at the people who think they just get to touch and play with whatever dog they want just because it’s cute.

        2. Colleen*

          Thank you for front-loading this with the two that are, sadly, still a thing, but ending it with the great throwback so that I didn’t feel depressed for too long :)

        3. Ada Doom*

          I have literally been thinking the butt one through these comment threads. It’s been super creepy, and I’m glad I’m not the only one to have been thinking that the claim that some things are just naturally so amazingly attractive that adult humans are entitled to touch them whenever they want because they literally do not have agency to control themselves is *BARF*.

        4. Courageous cat*

          Hmmm I personally find it very offputting to compare wanting to pet a dog to sexual assault…?

          1. I WORKED on a Hellmouth*

            I mean, I find it off putting to think you can do anything that you want to just because you want to do it. Touch me when I don’t want you to, and it’s a problem. Touch my kid after I tell you not to, and it’s a problem. Touch my dog after I said no, it’s a problem. Touch my stuff, problem. This is not a hard concept to grasp unless you are a toddler.

    7. smoke tree*

      While I agree with others who think it’s totally reasonable in theory to expect coworkers to control their insatiable puppy desires, I think the pragmatic option would be to carve out some puppy office hours at a time of day that’s minimally disruptive to both the puppy and LW, in the interest of building office goodwill. Fortunately this is a problem that will solve itself in time.

  31. CupcakeCounter*

    You work with a lot of jerks. Are they giving the other 5-year employee the same crap they are giving you or is it simply because they can see your gift?
    Either way, those coworkers are very much in the wrong. Next time they go off on a tangent about it being unfair roll your eyes at their entitled ass and walk away.
    They were probably the kids who threw a fit when a friend or sibling got a birthday present and they didn’t (but I doubt they cared that the friend or sibling didn’t receive a present on coworkers birthday). Hate that mindset of you can’t have something if everyone doesn’t get one – life isn’t fair and no one owes you shit. (yes I am currently dealing with an entitled asshole but that is a post for tomorrow’s open thread)

    1. Drewski*

      I wonder if they thing it is unfair that Suzie who is 5 years older has paid off her student loans. Or that Bob who is in his 50’s paid off his mortgage last year.

      I mean who is so naive that they think everyone is in the same place in work, life, finances, etc. Or that everyone should be paid/rewarded the expect same. I would love to know what HR thought about the complaint!

      1. pentamom*

        Yes, these are very likely “must be nice” people. The sort of people who respond to “must be nice” about things that, for all they know, cost the person who achieved them a lot of effort and sacrifice.

  32. OP#1*

    Hi everyone, and thanks so much Alison for the response! I thought I should clear a few things up.

    – Yes, the “dog friendly” nature of my office means that people are welcome to bring in well-behaved dogs to save money on dog walkers/care/etc. It doesn’t mean that we have, like, a dog buffet where people can come and play with whichever dog they choose to. (Though honestly that sounds pretty fun). There are three other dogs who frequent the office but we’re limiting exposure until she has all her shots (we’re so close!!) The other dogs are older, quieter, and don’t seem to care about this New Kid as long as she stays away from their food.
    – The culture of my office is such that an email would feel really jarring and out of place, but I have sent two “@here” slack messages at different times to account for different schedules, saying she’s here, this is her situation, feel free to come and say hi in the mornings if she’s awake but more often than not she’ll be asleep.
    – I’m usually the first person in the office, so by the time people start arriving she’s already asleep. I definitely let people say hello when I take her out for bathroom breaks and as I’m leaving, but I think the problem is that people who miss those chances take it personally (which I don’t think is something I can control/help). I love TL’s idea of giving her “office hours”!
    – The puppy will be my partner’s service dog. We are working with the appropriate channels in terms of training/socializing her, and I’m not comfortable disclosing what, specifically, we’re training her to do/help with. I appreciate the concern, but, as someone pointed out above, I’m asking for people advice, not dog advice!
    – I understand that dog-friendly offices aren’t for everyone! My issue, as Engineer Girl and a few others also touched on, is the fact that I’m saying “No,” and they’re saying “But I want to.” Definitely frustrating! Some of the worst offenders have come to my desk and basically crawled on the floor to reach her, grabbing her face to get her attention. The LAST thing I want is for her to get overexcited (or scared from the rude awakening!) and nip at someone, for everyone’s safety. The one time she started chewing (more in a sleepy/teething way) on someone’s fingers when they reached into her pen, they said “oh, it’s fine!! it’s cute!!” when I removed her from the situation and asked the coworker to leave her alone for a bit. It won’t always be cute, and how is she supposed to know that she can chew on THESE fingers, but not OTHER fingers?
    – I know it might sound a little wild that this puppy (who is 11 weeks old, I know someone asked but I can’t find the comment) genuinely doesn’t bother anyone and keeps quiet all day (she usually gives me one bark when it’s time to go outside). Puppies can be little tornados!! But she’s extremely calm and sweet-natured (she has the perfect personality for working as a service dog, really) and really does just want to hang out at my feet during the day. The only time she gets over-excited is when people come up to her and start playing rough with her/poking/grabbing at her.
    – I’ll definitely send Alison a picture, no worries there!!

    Thanks so much for all of the thoughtful comments/advice, everyone!! I really appreciate it.

    1. I GOTS TO KNOW!*

      When ever I said “I want to” or “I want it” as a kid, my parents responded “what’s it feel like to want?”

      Maybe you need to start shaming them for their boundary stomping. “Why are your wants more important than her needs?” “What does you wanting to have anything to do with it?”

    2. Anal-yst*

      Hi OP1, dog trainer here.

      Alas, this is the nature of people. Years of working with my own reactive dog and working with the public on their dogs have taught me that you will always need to manage people and grabby hands.

      So think of how to manage people’s behavior. Kind of similarly to how you might manage dog behavior. The signage outlining that puppy needs sleep will be helpful. Anything you can do to physically block access will be helpful.

      Redirection will be helpful if you can manage it in someway. Praise people who respect your wishes. Tell them what TO do as well if there’s some sort of task or interaction that may help redirect them from being disruptive. It will get tiring, you will have to do this constantly, but you will eventually become well practiced.

      Finally, ask the organization you are working with. The service dog organization you are working with should be able to provide you with resources for how to navigate people.

      1. Reba*

        I’m laughing at the fact that training OP’s coworkers is going to be harder than training her dog…

        I wonder if it would help at all to try to shut down the “but socialization!!!” whine by explaining — maybe in a posted sign, or pinned FAQ on slack if there’s an apt place for that — that dog socialization is not what you think it is, it’s not “socializing” like how you and I go to happy hour. It does not mean “play with everyone,” it means “learn to handle new things calmly”!

        This could be part of your campaign to get people on your side with the training needs as others have suggested.

        1. Anal-yst*

          It sounds ridiculous I know (people have Big Brains and should use reason right? Haha no.) but managing the environment and training people to interact appropriately (or to not interact with) dogs is much more challenging than teaching a dog appropriate behavior!

          I can’t exactly reinforce people with liver treats ;)

          1. TootsNYC*

            and similarly:

            Potty training children is MOSTLY about training the adults in charge of the child.

        1. Close Bracket*

          Keep chocolate at your desk to hand out when people respect a “no.” See how long it takes for them to figure out what you are doing.

    3. Lance*

      Sounds like you got a perfect little puppy for yourself! Good luck with your coworkers; hopefully, if you keep up the boundaries long enough, most of them will finally get the hint and leave it alone. Though I think I would suggest the times you take her out and let people interact with her be the exclusive times they can interact with her; no coming into your office for that purpose, regardless of whether she’s awake or asleep, for that purpose. Especially if they’re going to act so weird as to crawl under your desk to get to them.

      Some of your coworkers need boundary lessons, badly.

    4. Aurion*

      You already have open socializing hours (albeit earlier in the day) for your puppy and have explained why she needs sleep and extra vigilance in her behaviour, and people are still pouting about “but I wanna”? To the point of crawling under your desk and waking her up???

      Oh man, I would’ve snapped at this coworkers already. OP, I commend your patience.

    5. Gene Parmesan*

      Thank you for the update! My mom always said, “People with puppies have a duty to share because we don’t ALL need puppies.” I think a lot of people share that sentiment, despite being a pretty entitled view. It sounds like you’re being thoughtful to try to give coworkers some opportunities to interact, so anyone who gets really pushy beyond that is pretty blatantly out of line (plus, people crawling on the floor to grab her after you’ve said no?! WHAT). Hopefully some of the suggested tips will work.

      Best to you and your ADORABLE pup!

    6. Perse's Mom*

      As someone who used to work for an animal shelter and had to deal with people sticking their hands in dog kennels and slapping the glass on cat cages, OP, I would have gone OFF on the coworkers climbing under the desk and grabbing the dog and shoving their hands in her mouth. Your patience is to be admired.

      Perhaps explain the laws around what happens if Sue shoves her hand in the puppy’s mouth and gets bitten. There are consequences to these things and SO many people don’t think about it. I actually wonder if there are policies around behavior expectations for people around the dogs in your office. If not, perhaps there should be. Something along the lines of “the owner of each dog has the final say on whether or not (and how) their dog may be interacted with at any given time.”

    7. Usually Lurks, Sometimes Comments*

      Could you develop a “look but don’t touch, coo, or otherwise disturb her” rule? That might help ward off the bad biped behavior. I know that when one of my coworkers brought her adorable puppy into the office, just looking at him was enough. He happily slept near her in his crate. Just being able to walk over and watch him sleep was enough and a major morale boost for everyone. That might go over better than people feeling like they are told they can’t even look at the puppy. Because puppies are awfully hard to resist.

      I think really playing up the service dog part could go a long way. Maybe even start talking about the training (you don’t have to give too many specific details) to your coworkers from time to time so that they see that she’s actually a hard-working professional like everyone else.

    8. TootsNYC*

      also, if you can identify specific people who are a problem, it would be totally OK for you to directly approach them and quietly but firmly explain that they are harming the puppy and harming you, and that they need to respect the boundaries you have stated.

      Make it direct and matter-of-fact (not scoldy, etc.), but don’t sugar-coat it or be nice. Be firm. Channel your inner daycare worker.

      It’s OK if it’s a little awkward for them at first–you can just go on through the next days as though there are no hard feelings, modeling the proper way to behave.

  33. Watry*

    While OP2’s coworkers are definitely way overreacting, I can see why it was surprising to them. Milestone gifts aren’t super common in my experience*, and the only reason I’ve ever even heard of them is because my dad works a job with them. So you can get a younger, entry-level person who:

    1) Has never worked a job where a milestone gets you more than a very small merit raise, not even PTO
    2)Doesn’t have the knowledge base to know milestone gifts are ever a thing
    3)Knows they probably aren’t going to be in any job that long, ever, because that’s not really how things work in most situations anymore

    Once it was explained to them, though, it should have stopped there, and I can’t even begin to explain that.

    *I’m surprised at all the comments along the lines of “haven’t they heard of this?” Well, no, maybe not. The kinds of jobs young, inexperienced people tend to work don’t have tons of loyalty toward their employees. Even my mom, who has been with her company for 19 years this month, has never gotten more for her seniority than PTO and attempts to squeeze her out before she can retire next year.

    1. Kathleen_A*

      Watry…it truly is very common. I don’t want to estimate the number of companies that do it because I very much doubt I can find any data, but yes, totally normal and totally common. I’ve had a long career at this point, and just about every place I’ve ever worked (including some pretty crappy or cheap places) recognizes years of service in some form or other. My current employer starts recognizing people at 5 years and then continues to do so at 5-year intervals from them onward.

      I believe you when you say that it’s possible for younger workers to not know about it, but try to believe the rest of us when we tell you that this is pretty startling. :-)

      1. Watry*

        Eh, either way those coworkers are being jerks.

        Honestly, I spend a whole lot of time in these comments being surprised at what people say is common, because it my experience, it’s not. Then I remember how geared towards professional, white-collar jobs the site is. Which I’m glad for, because I didn’t want to work in retail and call centers anymore.

        1. M&Ms Fix Lots of Problems*

          I worked at two different hotels that did anniversary gifts for employees (both were family owned). I recognize they weren’t the norm for that industry, but it was really nice appreciation of the staff. You had some normal turnover, but then you had a whole bunch of people who were there 10+ years as well.
          They did things like gift cards to restaurants, savings bonds, insulated travel mugs (none logo-branded, and they were high-quality ones – think Yeti brand level ones). But they also recognized all yearly anniversaries, not just the five year multiple ones. It was nice, made the employees feel appreciated. They also were respectful of us and paid well, gave benefits that weren’t standard (think health insurance that they helped pay for as a front desk clerk), and they would work with you on schedules if you were in school.

        2. Kathleen_A*

          My husband is a mechanic, and while many of his jobs haven’t had years-in-service gifts, he worked for a while at a landscaping company and later at an equipment dealership, and they both did. So it’s not just white-collar jobs that have these things, Watry, though I suspect you’re right that it’s more common with white-collar jobs.

      2. AnotherAlison*

        I’ve gotten a two 5 year gifts and a 10 year gift, and I’m surprised to see how nice the OP’s gift was. My gifts were a golf umbrella, a generic hiking backpack, and a juicer. I had a catalog to select different options, but I’m not a company-logo clock/watch/necklace person, and those were the fancier options. OTOH, my company used to give out annual meeting gifts that were pretty nice to everyone ($50ish items like iPod nanos and external hard drives when those were cool). No longer. . .

        1. Kathleen_A*

          The OP’s gift is (in my experience, anyway) really nice for a 5-year gift. Where I work now, the really nice gifts don’t start until year 20. We get a little token gift at 5 years, a nice watch at 10, and they kind of go up in value after that.

    2. lawschoolmorelikeblawschool*

      I didn’t realize it was common either, to be honest. But if I heard someone senior to me received a nice gift for reaching a milestone, I can’t imagine being angry about it. If this was a one time extravagant gift that was a result of favoritism or corruption, sure that would be shady, but otherwise, what the heck?

      1. Watry*

        Oh yeah, like I said to Kathleen_A, those coworkers are being jerks and they need to stop, now that it’s been explained. A lack of knowledge justifies misinterpreting it until it’s explained, not complaining it to HR.

      2. Drewski*

        The only reaction I can imagine is.. “Oh cool!” even if I wasn’t planning on being there.

    3. mlem*

      I learned it was a thing here and was surprised; it’s not a thing at my company for *employee* anniversaries. (They do give out stuff for five-year *company* anniversaries, though.) OTOH, my company has started getting pretty generous with extra time off for employee anniversaries. I like swag, but I like getting a fifth vacation week (separate from everyone’s two weeks of sick time *and* two days of unrestricted PTO) a lot more, really.

    4. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      Any response other than “wow that’s really generous of the company, I had no idea they did that” is out of line and ridiculous. It doesn’t matter how young or inexperienced a worker is…acting like a jealous toddler is highly inappropriate. I’ve never worked at a company that gave out such nice gifts (especially after 5 years), but I would never react like that, whining that “it’s so unfair”. I’d wear that necklace proudly, and the next time someone brought it up say “I didn’t make the policy and I’m not discussing it anymore.”

    5. Dana B.S.*

      If HR had written in on OP#2’s topic, then the advice would definitely be to advertise the super kind wonderful benefit that the company chooses to award to their loyal employees!!! That would solve the confusion. Plus advertise the likely other kind benefits

      Yes, I agree that really isn’t common. I’ve worked in a few different places and some did something small for 5-year anniversaries and some did nothing. My current company and previous company do nothing (small organizations with recent leadership changes). Another company gave people an extra week of vacation every 5 years which was awesome. In the retail world, I think people got gift cards to that store.

    6. fhqwhgads*

      Even if they haven’t heard of the specific milestone gift practice, I think it’s extremely common for other things to be tied to years of service -a few people mentioned vacation increasing the longer you work somewhere. That’s near-universal. To me, even if the complaining employees are completely stunned by the notion of “pick a thing from a catalog of specific options” or even “necklace”, the notion that hitting a milestone in terms of service gets you SOMETHING…so it’s not that big a jump to “yeah you get an extra week PTO at 5 years, and also a trinket”. Especially once they asked for and presumably received the written policy, which applies to everyone, that they’re still complaining is weird. It’s not a secret. It’s not something that only applied to OP. It’s probably not that what she got is way out of line value-wise with the other options. OK they maybe they hadn’t heard of it before, but then they asked and were shown that is a thing. It’s the continued griping that makes it unreasonable.

  34. Kathleen_A*

    It seems to be Whiny, Demanding People Week here at AAM (even more so than usual, I mean :-)). I’m not talking about Daryl, poor man, who has plenty of great reasons to feel whiny, but people insisting they MUST pet the puppy no matter what the puppy and her owner thinks about this? People who DEMAND JUSTICE to combat the totally normal and totally understandable practice of giving a nice present to folks to recognize their years with the company? People who CAMPAIGN talk to you about jobs even if they don’t know you and don’t know if you have a possible job for them?


  35. Joie De Vivre*

    OP #1 – When I was in college, I volunteered at the disabled student services office on campus. I saw a lot of service dogs that were extremely well trained by professional trainers.

    If I’ve read your letter wrong, I apologize. But it sounds like you and your partner aren’t professional service animal trainers; you’ve just decided to train your pet as a “service animal”. If that is the case, please don’t. The proliferation of people passing off their pets as service animals causes issues for people who have professionally trained service animals.

    If I was your co-worker, and I realized that your dog was really a pet rather than a service animal, I would question your honesty and judgment.

    Again, if I’ve misread your letter, I’m sorry.

    1. Kathleen_A*

      It appears (at least to me, who knows only a teensy snippet about the training of service dogs) that the OP has answered some or maybe all of your concerns with her comment above. She’s contributing under the name OP#1, in case you haven’t seen those remarks yourself, Joie. At least I assume that’s what “We are working with the appropriate channels in terms of training/socializing her” (which is what the OP says) means.

    2. Reba*

      OP pointed out in a comment above that they are training the dog for a family member’s use, and using a professional training protocol. Her dog is legit.

    3. fposte*

      I also want to clarify that it is absolutely legitimate to train your own dog as a service dog–the law recognizes and permits that. It’s not “passing off their pets.”

      1. Joie De Vivre*

        I guess the ones I notice are the pets passed off as service animals.

        The owners who legitimately train their pet as a service animal, have an animal so well trained/behaved that it is obvious it isn’t “just a pet”.

        1. fposte*

          Right, there’s definitely confirmation bias. Keep in mind also that unless you talk to them you don’t know that they’re self-trained; they could be professionally trained dogs that were still not well trained, or they could be dogs that were initially well trained who’ve had their training destabilized by poor handling.

          1. Joie De Vivre*

            Definitely confirmation basis – thank you for pointing that out.

            As a college student, all of the service dogs I came into contact with were professionally trained & well behaved. Any dog that was not well behaved did not pass the seeing eye dog training program & was not given to someone as a guide dog. It was something that was discussed in the disabled student services office where I volunteered.

            I made the (wrong) assumption that all of the well behaved service animals were professionally trained & that the problematic ones weren’t.

            I don’t comment much, but I do appreciate fposte’s insights.

            1. Close Bracket*

              ” Any dog that was not well behaved did not pass the seeing eye dog training program & was not given to someone as a guide dog.”

              Not all service dogs are guide dogs. There are lots of services that dogs are trained to perform.

        2. Yorick*

          But that’s why she said “training as a service animal.” She didn’t say “buy it a vest so I can take it anywhere.”

      2. OP#1*

        Thanks so much for saying this! We’re following a professional guide and working with an organization, but doing most of the training ourselves and have already gotten a few “oh, so you just want to take her to the mall” comments, which have really stung.

        1. frequent flier*

          this is an issue with “emotional support animals” not service animals. ppl are getting their pets accredited as ESAs so that they can get it off paying airline fees to transport animals.

          1. Close Bracket*

            Oh, people lie about their dogs being service dogs, too. It’s really terrible for the actual service dog owners.

    4. Grace*

      In addition to the fact that OP#1 has addressed this, owner-training is a thing. Lots of people do it. Yes, some of the people who claim to owner-train their dogs are very much *not* training them well, but certainly not all. Someone can work with a professional for guidance but still do the majority of training themselves, particularly if they have specialised needs. The ADUK (UK coalition of assistance dog organisations) outright acknowledges that not all disabilities/needs are covered by the registered/accredited organisations, particularly if the needs are psychiatric such as panic attacks or PTSD, and says that they can’t help provide dogs for those needs.

      1. fposte*

        FWIW, not all facility-trained/professionally trained dogs are well trained either. There’s no regulation there in the U.S.

        1. Grace*

          There’s not any formal regulation in the UK, but the ADUK is a voluntary coalition of organisations whose service dogs all meet a certain level of training. There’s one hearing dog organisation, two for guide dogs, one for medical alert dogs, and four for assistance dogs of various types.

          They don’t get any special rights that non-ADUK-trained dogs don’t, it’s just going “Hey, any dog you get from any of these organisations is guaranteed to be trained to a high level, will be tested on their ability to work with the disabled person who will be using them, the future user will be examined on their ability to use the dog, the dog will have been cared for to a high standard during training, etc”. Having a dog from an accredited organisation doesn’t get you better treatment, but it probably gets you a guarantee that the dog is at the top of its game and that you’ll be matched to the right dog.

          (FYI, I’ve never used a service dog, this is all going off what I’ve heard and what ADUK describes itself as.)

    5. TootsNYC*

      also–aren’t many service dogs raised and socialized by laypeople for a while, before they go to a pro for specialized training?

      Those laypeople probably have some training in how to be an effective owner and trainer of a dog.

    6. Dahlia*

      There is no law that says that you cannot train your service dog, or that you need to go through any outside sources to train them. And there is no law that says that a self-trained service dog is actually “really a pet”.

  36. Jerk Store*

    #2 Along with the excellent comments here, don’t forget that there are times Right Fighters are going to be upset with you when you didn’t do anything wrong. It’s not your responsibility to manage their emotions around that.

    1. Drewski*

      Right Fighter. Just had to look that up but that sure can have a lot of applications around the workplace.

      I find it satisfying to let people like this remain incredibly naive, rather than trying to force them to see the light :) Yea sure go to HR about it let me show you to their office. It is a way to do nothing and be petty at the same time!

  37. Kat A.*

    OP 4,
    Many hospitals have free cancer support groups, one for patients and another for family members and caregivers. They’re usually held evenings or weekends.

    Perhaps you can suggest your coworker try going to one.

  38. Allison*

    #3 I’m a sourcer, so I’m definitely not meant to be first-point-of-contact for interested applicants, my focus is specifically on finding people for hard-to-fill roles, but people do still message me about the roles that get a lot of applications, or ask me if we have any openings they’re suited for (I guess they think we have secret jobs we reserve for people who ask about them?). It’s been a big problem recently, and has made me hesitant to talk up the company on my LinkedIn like I’m supposed to because people will figure “oh, she’s hiring, better ping her about jobs!”

    I suspect they’re hoping to circumnavigate the application process, because applying to jobs can be a pain sometimes and there is this idea that applying online doesn’t work, and that you have to make a connection with someone who works there. I also suspect some of these people messaging me aren’t actually that qualified, but they’re hoping I’ll advocate for them and convince the recruiter to give them a chance. I *might* do this for people I know, but even when I know someone, I can’t magically make them more attractive to the recruiter when there’s tons of more qualified candidates in play.

    Anyway, when people message me the ol’ “oh hey, this role caught my eye and your company looks really interesting, but I’m not sure I should apply, do you have a few minutes to chat about the position?” I tell them I’m glad they’re interested in the company, but that’s not one of the roles I’m working on, and if they’re interested they should apply directly and one of my colleagues will be in touch. Sometimes this is enough, but I did recently have to spell out to a very persistent person that I really wasn’t the right person to talk to if she’s interested, because my job is X and not Y. It’s always a last resort because it might sound rude to someone who’s just looking for a job (and possibly following some very misguided advice), but sometimes it needs to be said.

    And, fellow commenters, I’m not saying you should never cold message someone about a job opportunity, it can work, but you can’t just message a random person on the recruiting team and expect them to drop everything and usher you into the super secret express passage to employment (nor should you ever take it as a personal rejection if they don’t respond). It’s all about messaging someone who’s actually working on the role. But even then, if it’s a high volume role, they may already be swamped with applicants, and that may impact their ability to pay special attention to you.

    1. Clementine*

      I work for a company that a lot of people are trying to join. I am happy to help people, even strangers, if they are qualified. Someone I don’t know messaged me to say that she had just applied for a position, but it “didn’t work”, and could I give her resume directly to the hiring manager?
      I said it was sorry it hadn’t worked, and asked what exactly had happened. I got a vague response, so I pointed to the IT support link. I also suggested she try applying again with a different email address. She got more and more insistent that I send her resume directly to the hiring manager. Finally it dawned on me that this supposed problem with the site was completely imaginary.

  39. Cartographical*

    OP #1, your co-workers are
    being super obnoxious and immature about your dog. It’s not a “puppy”, it’s a “dog-in-training”. Puppies need sleep & schedule for their immune systems and for proper development. You could try a “help me stay cute” tactic, emailing a picture of your puppy and a message to the offending parties or the whole office: “I’m tiny now but I won’t be for long! I need my sleep and my schedule to become a productive, healthy dog. If you want to see more of me, then help me do my job of sleeping and growing right now. Later, I’ll need lots of help learning to greet you nicely, practice my commands, and get my exercise — and you’ll have lots of chances to see me and play with me (and I’ll still be cute).”

    Sometimes, framing it as “you’re really helping us out by respecting Puppy’s schedule” gets a good bit of traction. Otherwise, an “I don’t bite but my owner does” warning sign may be the way to go.

    1. TeapotNinja*

      Not only that, but it’s HER puppy, not theirs. It doesn’t magically become community property when its brought into the office.

      1. TootsNYC*

        I often want people like the OP to start saying, “I need you to respect my boundaries. Please respect my ‘no.'”

      2. Cartographical*

        Absolutely. “You get the fun, I get the consequences” is a major source of arguments between people with a new dog. The dog also gets the consequences, which is usually my go-to point regarding discipline and interaction with a dog: if you like the dog, you’ll respect the requirements of its upbringing; if you can’t do that, you just like the way the dog makes you feel when you use it as you please, and that abrogates any requirement of politeness from the person doing the training, for the dog’s sake and the owners’.

  40. NoMoreLurking*

    I want to play devil’s advocate with question 2.

    I work in an industry which is bleeding layoffs. The company that I was laid off from 2 years ago went from taking up 8 floors in its NYC office building to 4. Every 6 months we braced for a new round.

    The fact that my company was giving out extravagant gifts to employees while this was going on (e.g. Cartier watches) doesn’t sit well with a lot of us who were let go and this practice at my specific company was called out in a WSJ article about a year ago.

    I’m all for rewarding employees, especially for loyalty, and understand that some of this practice at my old place was to boost morale during a bad time, perhaps there is more at play here?

    1. Allison*

      True, stuff like that – super expensive gifts, lavish Christmas parties, etc. – don’t sit well with me when a company keeps saying they’re tight on cash. Even if they’re not laying people off, if they’re giving skimpy raises, refusing to improve their scant benefits, and continuously putting off converting their contractors to employees because money is supposedly tight right now, maybe Tiffany necklaces are inappropriate, unless these are huge work anniversaries, like 20 years of service that only one or two people celebrate each year.

    2. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      I agree that it can seem justifiably unfair in some cases, but they shouldn’t be whining to the OP. She didn’t make the rules and shouldn’t be made to feel guilty and not want to wear her necklace to work because people think it’s unfair. She isn’t rubbing it in their faces, she’s wearing it and being honest when they ask where it came from.

    3. Reba*

      Whew, there’s gifts and then there’s GIFTS.

      I definitely see the optics issue you raise, but I think OP would have given us this context if that were the background in her case.

      And while Tiffany necklaces and high-end food processors (as others have mentioned) are expensive as individual items — assuming the classic sterling line, the necklace falls between a couple and several hundred dollars, ditto a Magimix — they are not like, profligate, and small in comparison to overall pay and annual budgets. They are a like a nice bonus, not a big injustice in compensation.

    4. TootsNYC*

      Even if it’s not a lavish gift, there IS some weirdness when you get rewarded for not getting laid off.

      My company similarly has given up floors in the office building, and they start laying people off every October through December. So there are people who WOULD have stayed, were loyal, who got laid off before they could receive a gift.

      But that’s just one of the weirdnesses of life. It doesn’t make it wrong.

    5. Usually Lurks, Sometimes Comments*

      It does feel like there is some context missing from Q2. That isn’t a normal response from her coworkers. Maybe inappropriate/inappropriately directed, but not normal based on what LW2 has written. I do wonder if the company is acting super stingy, laying people off or something similar and but still handing out expensive gifts to some people. That could send an unintended favoritism message. I, too, would be irked if I didn’t get a raise and was constantly worried about layoffs and someone else was walking around with a Tiffany’s necklace from the company. Like you can’t afford to pay us well, but you can afford to dole out expensive gifts to your favorites? Even if it wasn’t true, the optics could upset people.

      Assuming people generally respond reasonably, it seems like something else is going on. Especially since they are more than curious, but are complaining.

      Then again, people aren’t always reasonable, so maybe they are just behaving poorly.

      1. nonegiven*

        I’m guessing the necklace sold for something less than a 2% raise would have been for an office worker with 5 years service. Maybe these coworkers didn’t get a COLA?

  41. Lygeia*

    #5 – I think the skill section on LinkedIn can be very useful, but it’s field dependent. If you have a more technical or quantitative background, it’s a good place to list programming languages and other concrete skills. It’s less useful for those nebulous or over-broad skills like “communication” or “writing”.

    In the case of technical skills, those are good to add because they act as searchable keywords so recruiters and hiring managers that are looking for candidates for current openings can more easily find your profile.

  42. agnes*

    op #1–have you thought about having a few minutes of “puppy welcome” time in the morning for everyone? Maybe if you told them puppy welcome time is between 8:45-9:00 that might help.

  43. Brett*

    #2 I was once at an awards ceremony where a police officer was getting his 40 year pin and paper certificate. At the same ceremony, a two fire fighters were getting their 25-year solid-silver full size axes.

    Trying to think how mind-blowing that would have been for the co-worker in letter #2.
    But it is a good illustration that different organizations have can different practices and traditions and it has little to do with fairness or unfairness.

    (I do think it was a little mind-blowing for everyone else in attendance, especially when the recipients had to all pose together for a picture. The reason for the disparity is that fire departments in our area have their own separate property tax and are considered separate governments from the city, whereas police departments are paid only out of the general fund property tax for the city and considered a department of the city.)

    1. acmx*

      I’m not opposed to awards to government employees but silver axes? That seems pretty expensive and not a good use of tax dollars!

      1. Brett*

        Sounds extravagant, but they are only a couple thousand each for an award a firefighter will receive once in a very long career. I frankly thought it was more interesting that a 40-year police officer received nothing but a 10 cent piece of paper, a $5 pin, and a few handshakes.

        Splitting off the fire departments into separate government entities was a bit of genius. It is very rare that anyone fights against spending or tax increases for a standalone fire department. We have had a few politicians try to take on the departments over use of tax dollars, and the politicians always lose.

        1. acmx*

          Oh, definitely agree that LEO should receive more. Do they get to pick something? I can see that presenting an ax to a firefighter is more ceremonial.

          I am used to FD tax being separate.

  44. Rainbow Roses*

    #2 Those coworkers don’t know the meaning of “fair.” It *is* fair since everybody gets the same chance.

    I once worked at a company for over 10 years before they started a gift program. So I (and many others) got 10 year gifts but missed out on the 1 year, 3 year, and 5 year gifts. Did I want those back gifts? Yes, a little bit. Did we make a stink? No. We are adults.

    That one coworker is ruining her reputation and for something that *is* fair. She can get a necklace too once she hits the 5 year mark.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      We’re thinking of doing gifts because we’re finally established long enough for them. And this is at the forefront of my mind since we have two long term basically from day 1 employees that I’ll certainly not want to hurt their feelings. So we will most likely stack gifts for them so they don’t miss out! I’m sad that they didn’t think of that at your organization, that’s a brain fart hopefully on their end more than anything.

  45. I WORKED on a Hellmouth*

    OP#2: NEVER TAKE OFF THAT NECKLACE. Seriously. Wear it daily. Or at least weekly. And if the immature person keeps bugging you after you have used Alison’s scripts a few times, tell HR that they are making you uncomfortable and are harassing you about your gift and ask HR to please clarify the policy for them so you can go about your workday in peace.

    Maybe I’m just ornery, but if I got such a fab and thoughtful gift for my service and someone was a jerk about it, I would 1) not only be wearing it 24/7 (and specifically selecting tops and dresses that would best show it off), I would also 2) be doing my very best to highlight WHAT A WEIRDO anyone who was taken aback or trying to complain to HR (tf?!) was. I would make it awkward for them. Because THEY are the ones who deserve to feel awkward here, not you. You haven’t done anything weird or out of step. Honestly, OP, making them feel like the crazy weirdos that they are could only be doing them a kindness, as they clearly need to learn some social and workplace lessons so they don’t go around being dinks and making people that they work with feel bad for absolutely no reason.

    1. Rusty Shackelford*

      I love the idea of leaning into the nonsense. Which is why my favorite response to “must be nice” is “yes, it is.” Keep this necklace polished and shiny, play with it in meetings, keep the freaking blue box on your desk.

      1. Drewski*

        I fully agree. Let it drive them mad, and they can sabotage their own career making a stink about it.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I would do the same and then cackle at them when they mentioned it or so much as side eyed across the room.

      My entire response is “if you are this outraged by a business spending money on their employees, go work where this isn’t a problem. I hear the government is a great place for someone who isn’t okay with gifts or any percieved extravagance!”

    3. Rusty Shackelford*

      “Oh, sorry, did you say something? I couldn’t hear you over the jingling of my necklace.”

  46. Rusty Shackelford*

    I think a lot of these problems could be solved with one simple idea – mandatory puppies at work. Letter #1? The office is going to be full of puppies, so there are plenty to play with. Letter #2? Who’s going to be annoyed about your boring old necklace when they’re playing with the office puppy? Letter #4? Darryl can vent to the puppy. And/or the LW can cuddle the puppy after a conversation with Darryl to make her feel better.

    Puppies, man. They solve everything.

    (Yes, of course there will be puppy-free workplaces for those who need one. They’ll have kittens or hamsters or funny cat videos on a loop.)

    Spin-off idea: puppies as work anniversary gifts.

  47. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    They’re not paying consumer retail rates on those anniversary gifts. It’s essentially a bonus in the form of a gift as well in the end. It’s a valid business choice even if they were cutting jobs or other costs. What an annoyingly ignorant batch of colleagues you’ve got over there.

    It’s like Uline’s “buy X amount of stuff, pick a gift!” promotion. That stuff retails for a heck of a lot more than they’re actually paying for it. Yet I’m sure they have budgets and plenty of low salaries within the organization. I wonder how many folks are enraged about that business expense.

    It’s an incentive program, it’s a necessary expense. These people remind me of the dude who freaks out on his boss not always choosing the cheapest option for purchases.

  48. I coulda been a lawyer*

    “Back in the day” I was a coop student, attending classes at technical school every other day, and working for a large prestigious national company every other day. We earned minimum wage while at work but no PTO or insurance or other perks. When we graduated our hourly rate doubled and we became real employees with benefits. If we stayed two years after graduation we received a refund of our tuition as a bonus – 50% on our first anniversary, remainder on our second. And in those days I didn’t know anyone who didn’t get lovely gifts from a catalog on their 5/10/15/20/25 anniversaries plus catalog gift, cash, and walk plaques for every 5 years past that. Your coworkers parents might be the reason that is gone lol.

  49. TootsNYC*

    Re: anniversary gifts from work

    A couple of years after I started at my job, one of my direct reports hit a 10-year anniversary, so I coordinated a gathering and the gift

    She and I were musing that the BIGGEST reason she had lasted 10 years wasn’t because she was so phenomenal at her job (though she absolutely was), but because the company hadn’t laid her off in any of their yearly purges.

    The gift rewards loyalty–after all, she didn’t go looking for a job elsewhere during that time–but her loyalty was only part of the equation.

    So many people we’d worked with over those 2 or 3 years had been laid off, and they hadn’t looked for work elsewhere either.

    One thing I think is important is to not give credence to people’s inappropriate reactions. Their reaction is inappropriate, and so don’t bother trying to explain it, etc., because in a way, that only validates the idea that they deserve an explanation, and that it’s important that they be placated, or that their agreement/acquiescence is required.

    Blow them off as though they’re ridiculous–which they are.

  50. aka Duchess*

    OP 1 – Just say – “She is in training to be a service, as I am sure you are all aware, service dogs are not to be played with or distracted while they are working. Please treat her like she is already is a service dog so we can reinforce her training.”

    1. MicroManagered*

      I was thinking too if the puppy has a little service vest, could this be displayed somehow? Like, hung over her pen if she is not wearing it? I agree that people do generally seem to get the boundary of “service animal – no touch” easier when they specifically understand that.

  51. Jennifer Thneed*

    A dog-friendly office needs office-friendly dogs.

    Some dogs are okay in settings like that, some aren’t. And too many people are fine with some particular pet quirk or misbehavior and don’t remember that other people have their own preferences. (I’m a pet-having person and I accept things that come with that territory. Likewise, if I come to someone’s home, I’ll accept less-than-ideal behavior from their pets if it doesn’t actually endanger me or damage my belongings. But if I’m meeting someone’s animal in public, I expect that they will have good manners. And the workplace counts as “in public” for this.)

    1. Samwise*

      But her dog *is* office-friendly: she keeps the puppy in a pen tucked away under her desk, the puppy sleeps most of the day, and is only office-unfriendly (barking) when people insist on talking loudly to/at it despite the OP’s requests. The problem is the office mates who are not respecting boundaries WRT the puppy and to the OP, these are not hard boundaries to follow. The problem is not the OP and it is not the dog. I’m not a crazy dog person, either. I don’t want to work in an office with dogs — love dogs, do not love them at work, please keep your mutts however lovable at home. But clearly, the problem in this situation is not the dog at all.

    2. tangerineRose*

      I expect the people to be dog friendly too by not waking up puppies who need to sleep and by listening to the dog/puppy’s owner about what is OK for their pet.

  52. RUKiddingMe*

    Since I *never really worked for anyone else for any length of time I don’t really have a good handle on a lot of corporate type stuff beyond “please kill me before ever making me work for ‘the man’ again.”

    *I do some teaching in my expertise area because I like it but it’s just contract work as an adjunct without any perks (or stress of working towards) tenure, etc.

    I give an anniversary bonus equal to $100.00 per year of working here. So one year $100.00, five years $500.00, twenty years $2000.00…etc. It’s just a cash gift (all tax stuff is handled by the accountant to make sure everything is all legal and stuff).

    So in all y’all’s experiences/opinions does this sound fair/ok? Is cash ok?

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Cash is always okay. They’ll still say its unfair you weigh it by years of service. But they’ll also say it’s unfair you pay yourself more than you pay them or that June in Accounting is making X more than Julie on the production team. People only see amounts and will find anything short of “everyone gets the exact same” as fair in their minds.

      My yearly bonuses are staggered by longevity and position. So say all leadership folks got 1000, line workers got 750. And yeah, there are times that was something I heard about.

      1. RUKiddingMe*

        Thanks! No one has ever complained (to me) and I always try to treat others the way I would have wanted to be treated as a staff member.

        I just like to check in sometimes if something I’m doing sounds right because…the whole “Corporate America Can Kiss My Ass(TM) Therefore I’m kinda limited” thing…thing.

      1. RUKiddingMe*

        LOL. My Seattle staff is full right now but we’re opening an office in Casablanca….

  53. msk*

    Our company has a reward program where you get points for years of service. I got 1000 points for 20 years, 1500 points for 25 and if I don’t retire before hitting 30 years, I’ll get 2000. They are 1 point =$1, so this is pretty generous. You can redeem for gift cards or merchandise. I usually redeem for department store or hotel gift cards, or at Christmas, for restaurant cards that I can give for gifts. It’s an incredibly good program, though we do get slammed with taxes. I’ll see around 30% of the price of the gift cards deducted from my pay check in taxes. I suspect that’s why the award amounts are on the high side–to offset the taxes. I wish the company could pay the taxes so the gift would be a true gift, but I’m sure that would be a logistical nightmare and probably not even possible.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      It’s not hard for the company to pay the taxes. One of my old bosses always covered our taxes on yearly bonuses. It’s just ran through our payroll processor in such a way that the company opts to pay the tax portions at 100÷.

  54. Lepidoptera*

    You could make a schedule for the office for puppy duty.
    As in, whenever puppy wakes up and needs to go out you message the next person on the list to come take her out.
    All fair, you don’t have to pick up poop, they do, and you can stay at your desk. Hopefully your coworkers won’t forget that they also have a job and remember to bring her back.
    I’m 99% joking.

  55. Lisa Large*

    LW1 leave your to be trained service puppy at home and focus on the work you are being paid to accomplish. No need for this ‘unapproachable’ dog to be brought into your office!

    1. OP#1*

      This feels a little unfair, since you don’t know what my work performance is like and whether or not having the dog with me is hurting it. I’m pretty good at my job (and, not to toot my own horn, just got a fairly significant raise) and no one, including my manager, has noticed any issues with the dog being here. I worry I phrased something that made it seem as if the dog is aggressive or interrupting work, so let me explain a bit more. She’s extremely friendly and loves interacting with people, which she’s very happy to do when she’s awake – and I’m happy to encourage it! When she’s asleep, though, for the sake of her own health and happiness (and the long-term happiness and comfort of my partner), she needs to stay asleep.

    2. SarahKay*

      It’s not a trained service puppy, right now it’s a very young puppy that is just starting it’s training in the evenings.
      It’s also not ‘unapproachable’, but OP#1 takes what I would say is an entirely reasonable stance, that people shouldn’t wake it when it’s sleeping because (a) very young, so needs lots of sleep and (b) barks when woken unexpectedly by coworkers who apparently haven’t learnt that No means No. In fact this is literally a case of “Let sleeping dogs lie”.

    3. Lana Kane*

      It’s not really appropriate to assume that you know better than the OP as to whether the puppy should be there, or whether she is doing her job.

    4. RUKiddingMe*

      Wow. This seems pretty…hostile.

      I don’t like dogs (or kids!) in the office, but you don’t know anything about OPs work. Also the dog is mot unapproachable, it’s sleeping and Coworkers are being entitled jerks.

  56. MAB*

    Regarding #1 I would also appreciate a sign on my desk that says something to the effect of “I need sleep and might bark if you wake me”

  57. Ripley*

    After 5 years at my old company, I got a clock…with my name engraved on it. It was worth about $50 or $60. I would’ve preferred to just get the $50 or $60. I know someone else who got the clock and figured out what department store the company bought it from and returned it for the money.

  58. Delta Delta*

    #2 – I read this perhaps differently than do others. It isn’t the fact it’s a necklace – it’s the fact it’s from TIFFANY, which has made itself from a stationery store into a household name equated with luxury. And I’m guessing (I hope OP will tell me if I’m wrong) that it’s a “Return To Tiffany” tag, which shines like a beacon “I’m something from Tiffany!” But it might feel … slighting, somehow that the company is giving away something that looks like luxury. Like, “oh, she gets a Tiffany necklace but we can’t even get a box of pens for our department. Hrumph.” That kind of thing.

    However, there’s no reason for OP to feel badly about a) her term of service with the company b) being rewarded for her work or c) selecting a gift she wants when she’s told she can select the gift she wants. Should she have selected a blender that she doesn’t need or want just to make the awful coworker happy? I’m going with no. And if the coworker also wants a Tiffany necklace she can a) work at the company until they give her one or b) you know, go to Tiffany and buy one. I’m wearing a Tiffany necklace right now. I bought it. (I’m also wearing a $20 ring I bought at a street fair; life can be a mix of things)

    I think OP also ought to get lots of Tiffany blue things: eyeglass frames, a scarf, mittens, etc. That would be great fun. Also, get a puppy (see #1) and name it Tiffany. Dig out an old cassette tape of Tiffany. Play it on full volume. *wink*

  59. KJ Dubreuil*

    I would like to know more about the service dog designation. A service dog is trained (or will be trained) to do one or more specific tasks to assist a person with a disability. The dog is handled by the disabled person (unless that person is a child or requires a human assistant also, then the parent or human assistant can also help manage the dog while it is working.) So if this puppy will be trained to be a legitimate service dog then either the OP or their partner has a disability OR they are training the dog for someone else and will transfer the ownership once the dog is fully trained. If they are training the dog for emotional support (in the US) that is an ESA, not a service dog. And if they are training the dog to comfort or work with others (such as visiting schools or hospitals) then that is not a service dog it is a therapy dog. Can OP clarify the role they intend the dog to fulfill? It is important because representing a dog as a service dog or service dog prospect when the conditions above are not fulfilled is fraudulent and damaging to disabled handlers of actual service dogs. Please note I am not accusing the OP of fraud, just asking the two questions that may be asked of a service dog team: does the handler have a disability and what specific task is the dog trained to do to assist with that disability?

    1. TootsNYC*

      None of that is your business.

      The OP said in her original post, “We’re planning on training her to be…”
      Have some manners and assume that the OP is making appropriate and honorable plans.

      1. TootsNYC*

        Plus, that is not the topic of her post.

        She would have the same problem even if she was only taking the dog to obedience training in the evenings (which is probably all that’s going on now anyway) and wanted her dog to be alert enough for it to be effective.

    2. RUKiddingMe*

      For the umpteenth time…the question is about how to deal with coworkers, not about the dog at all. Plus “we are *planning* to…” “planning” implies intent, not carved in stone.

    3. nonegiven*

      OP said the dog will be trained as a service dog, to aid OP’s partner, who has a disability. You don’t get to know what their partner’s disability is or what task(s) the dog will be trained to do.

      The two questions may be asked by staff of public accommodations and as far as I know OP, their partner, and their puppy are not now trying to enter your place of work.

    4. Close Bracket*

      ” just asking the two questions that may be asked of a service dog team: does the handler have a disability and what specific task is the dog trained to do to assist with that disability?”

      I’m afraid you’ve mistaken the two questions that can be asked of the owner of a service animal. You are absolutely NOT allowed to ask whether the handler has a disability. Covered entities (which you are not) are allowed to ask (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability? and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform? Covered entities and gracious people are not allowed to ask any questions about the nature of the handler’s disability.

  60. Candid Candidate*

    I’m super curious about OP #2’s workplace and whether they’re paying everyone a living wage and benefits, because that might explain the intense reaction from her coworker. I have worked for companies where some workers aren’t earning a living wage and it’s justified as company frugality, even when the worker tries to negotiate, while their coworkers are not only getting a generous salary and benefits, but the kinds of perks that really make one question whether the company is applying that “frugality” policy to everyone: one group gets Rolex watches, expensive handbags, luxury travel perks and company credit cards, and open-bar happy hours, while another group (shout out to unpaid interns!) are eating Ramen every day, defaulting on their student loans, fronting their own travel expenses and getting reimbursed for a fraction of it later. And when those two groups of people – the ones not earning a living wage, and the ones who are – work side-by-side everyday, that can create resentment and lead to situations like this.

Comments are closed.