updates: the fake pregnancy rumor and more

Here are three updates from people whose letters I answered here previously.

1. My coworkers are joking that I’m pregnant when I’m not

Firstly, thank you so much for publishing my letter and for your thoughtful response. I was intensely frustrated when I wrote to you and worried I was overreacting, but your response along with the insight and stories of your commentators proved exactly why pregnancy isn’t something to joke about.

Thankfully, I have a positive response!

A few commentators wondered if I was the only woman on the team. Staggeringly, the team is mostly women. We’re all around the same age, but I’m the only person who isn’t vocal about staying child-free. I think this is why they didn’t consider the prank to be a big deal, but every way I look at it just shows some terrible judgement.

As we’re a small company, the HR is split between our office manager (female, who was in on the prank) and our director (male, who wasn’t). The director wasn’t in the day after I heard the announcement, but I shut down any attempts to laugh about it with “stop, I don’t like this.” The following day, I pulled my director aside and told him that a) I wasn’t pregnant and b) the whole thing was problematic and needed to stop immediately. He was shocked that I hadn’t been in on the prank and was very supportive.

Not long after, he pulled the office manager aside for a chat and then asked if I could help him with an errand that took us both out of the office for a while. When we came back, everyone was very sheepish and the radio was turned right down. No-one has apologized so I don’t know if they thought of me as a spoilsport, but I don’t really care!

A few people wondered if the radio presenter knew the pregnancy was fake, but I think he believed it was genuine. My coworkers have played the game of “what crazy thing can we get him to say” before, and I think I was just collateral damage this time around. One of my coworkers emailed him and he stopped all mentions of the prank right away. But, in a twist, the radio station is (almost) no more! A couple of weeks after all this went down, every live show stopped and it looks like it’ll fold any day now.

From what I’ve gathered, he’s just a regular guy who did an afternoon show for fun. None of his shows have ever featured shock value or pranks, which is why the whole thing felt cruel. On the other hand, my coworkers do have a habit of taking things too far.

2. Letting my office know about my child’s transition (#3 at the link)

I just wanted to let you know that I did tell my department about my trans child. It was actually a huge relief to be able to just say, “Hey, just so you know, my middle child goes by Sam and he/him pronouns now.” No one was freaked out about it (or if they were, they sure didn’t say anything in the moment). As far as I can tell, everyone is treating me the same. One of my colleagues thanked me for sharing the information with them. My manager just asked how things were going, and complimented me on being a good, supportive parent! (My response: “He’s my kid.”)

Anyway, I want to thank you for sharing my letter, and all the commenters who weighed in with advice. What a great community you have built here!

3. Is it ethical not to ask for more work when you have room to do more?

I wanted to let you know that I got the promotion/raise!!

I ended up keeping my head down and when I got really bored, asking my marketing boss what she had that I could help with. I discovered late in June that there was talk of creating a position explicitly for me as a marketing assistant. The job was posted, but due to the salary they were saying the position deserved, grand-boss made it a professional-only posting requiring a degree. I was disappointed, my marketing director was disappointed, and she told me there was no way the job would get any applicants because the specific experience/knowledge that nobody else in our area would meet (because it was tailored to me!).

The job was reworked in July and posted as a still-significant bump but not as a professional position, and with the blessing and encouragement of my bosses I applied and got it! In fact, I was later told I was the only applicant. This position will be more work of the kind that I enjoy and find fulfilling, and I will have lots of new unique challenges and very little of the work that bored me. I start soon and will have a salary that’s about $7,000 more than my previous position, something like a 30% jump. It will look great on my resume once I graduate and I know I’ll really enjoy the increased workload and the variety. And I’ll be moving into my own office from a hallway desk. And I’ll have increased flexibility that will allow me to take day classes and get my degree faster!

I don’t think I could have asked for a better outcome, and I seriously credit my success to all the AAM reading I’ve done, so thank you Alison and the insightful commenters!

{ 140 comments… read them below }

  1. Jaid*

    LW 1, It’s shameful that your co-workers haven’t apologized for their stupid prank. But not terribly surprising.

    1. Doug Judy*

      I’m not either. The type of people who would think this was funny in the first place wouldn’t have the integrity to admit they were in the wrong. I’m still baffled how a group (of mostly women!) would ever think this was cute or funny. I’m glad the director put a stop to it but I’d have a super hard time continuing to work with people like that.

      1. Witchy Human*

        I would not be able to handle working with those people.

        If you think someone is a “spoilsport” for not wanting to be the target of a lengthy, unfunny, sexist “prank,” then please just…rethink both your personality and judgment.

      2. Miss Astoria Platenclear*

        I am surprised not so much that women did the prank, but that apparently women who identify as child-free were involved. They of all people should get how annoying the “young woman = obsessed with pregnancy” trope is.
        Not funny as in possibly hurtful/stressful to the victim, and not funny ha-ha either.

        1. kittymommy*

          Yeah, I’m not surprised it was mostly women since most of the shock I get from when I tell people I do not have nor do I want are women. I am surprised it’s child-free (sounds by choice) women.

          An apology should happen, but seems unlikely. The director handled it great and I still feel bad for the radio announcer. I was getting from the beginning that it was likely he wasn’t in on it. They should apologize to him as well.

        2. Marthooh*

          “…I’m the only person who isn’t vocal about staying child-free.”

          So OP is the oddball in the group, and it’s sadly unsurprising that she got pranked.

          1. Airy*

            Yeah, it sounds awfully like a mean little “So she wouldn’t mind having a child? Then she’s fair game for us to tell everyone she’s pregnant!” which… is just bizarre, and that’s as a woman with no interest in childbearing.

      3. RUKiddingMe*

        “I’m still baffled how a group (of mostly women!) would ever think this was cute or funny.“

        Internalized misogyny…

        1. Gary Lowe*

          Given that misogyny means “dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women”, I’m not sure this qualifies. This just sounds like an insensitive prank.

          1. Parenthetically*

            Did you miss the “internalized” part? Lots of women perpetuate and participate in misogynistic systems, enforce rigid gender roles, and use the social power they have as participants in those systems to punish women who step outside of those roles. Many women feel safer/more powerful in a system where they “know their role” and can rely on the protection of men within that system.

            Have you truly not ever met a woman who denigrated other women for, say, not taking their husbands’ last names, or not having children (or “enough” children), or not being stay-at-home moms? Women are absolutely able to internalize prejudices against women — whether against themselves/all women or against “those women.”

            1. bonkerballs*

              It looks like this group is doing the flip side of that (though it’s no less sexist or misogynistic). Women who think they are progressive and denigrate other women for wanting children, for taking their husband’s last name (look at all the shit Beyonce got for the Mrs. Carter tour for example), or for being stay at home moms. OP says she’s the only who’s NOT vocal about wanting to be child free.

              1. Gazebo Slayer*

                Yeah, having been on the receiving end of that kind of crap in my youth from vocally “feminist” classmates who deemed me too girly, I’m inclined to suspect this flavor of internalized misogyny.

          2. tamarack & fireweed*

            It’s kinda a textbook example. Speaking as someone who has first hand familiarity with internalized sexism and misogyny.

        2. Jennifer Juniper*

          Or a desire to shame the OP by implying she is promiscuous (if she is unmarried). Even if she is married, if the pregnancy rumor gets around, further shaming can be heaped on her if she is seen eating sushi, taking an aspirin, having a beer, etc. for being “a bad mother.”

          Shaming is frequently weaponized by women to keep other women in their place.

          NOTE: I am a woman.

    2. AFRS*

      I’m especially disgusted that the Office Manager didn’t apologize, especially since she is part of HR (I would hope that if the Director could remove those responsibilities from her, that he would) and thought this was in any way appropriate behavior.

  2. Clorinda*

    Wow. I’m glad the manager shut that pregnancy thing down so efficiently. Best possible ending, though it’s too bad about the local radio station folding.

    1. Justme, The OG*

      Best possible ending would have been an apology in addition to what happened, but this is a really good update.

      1. Matilda Jefferies*

        Yeah, part of me is still hoping for some public shaming of the coworkers – I believe I used the term “holy hellfire” in my original response to this post, and I stand by that!

        However, if there’s not going to be fire and brimstone, an apology + immediate stopping of the behaviour would be the next best thing. And if there’s not going to be an apology, then at least they stopped making the jokes, and they had the good sense to be embarrassed about their behaviour. My hope now is that this incident – and its associated embarrassment – remains burned in their collective memories for at least as long as it remains in the OP’s.

        1. Witchy Human*

          If I’m reading correctly, it sounds like the director only talked to the office manager and left speaking to the rest of the staff to her?

          So LW doesn’t know exactly what the office manager as “HR” actually told the rest of the staff, and whether she communicated that this was unacceptable and they should rethink their attitudes about what is workplace appropriate. or “funny,” or if it boiled down to warning them “know your audience, watch your back, some people don’t have a sense of humor.”

          1. LizardOfOz*

            My reading was the director was pretty discreet in telling the office manager “Get the LW out of here, ’cause I’m gonna tear these idiots a new one and I’d rather she not have to sit through it.” Except more politely.

            1. OhNo*

              I think you might have it backwards – the director spoke to the office manager, and then the director and the OP went for a walk. That would’ve left speaking to the other employees up to the office manager.

              Have to say, though, if they’re acting sheepish I think they probably got a stern talking to. If they’d only been told “OP is a spoilsport” or “Someone doesn’t have a sense of humor, so rein it in”, I’d expect a very different response.

            2. AKchic*

              Except the Office Manager (who is also partly HR) was IN ON THE JOKE.

              You can’t exactly chastise a group very well when you, yourself, are part of the problem. It’s really hard to slap hands away from the cookie jar when you, yourself just got your rear end handed to you for eating half the cookies and still actively have cookie crumbs all over your face and shirt while you slap everyone else’s hands and smilingly say “naughty naughty”.

              Were I the director, I’d have called the office manager and everyone else involved in the joke in all at once and given them all the same verbal slapping. The office manager deserves a special one for not recognizing her role as supervisor and allowing the whole thing to have happened in the first place. Office manager is not effective as an HR person and should not have those job duties assigned to her.

              1. EmKay*

                THANK YOU. She probably said something along the lines of “LW didn’t think that joke was funny, she tattled to director, and now we’re ALL in trouble”

  3. ZK*

    OP#2, you are a good, supportive parent, please don’t downplay that! I follow a ton of LGBTQ folks on Twitter because my teenager is queer and it helps me to see what to do or not do to support her and others (plus, they’re all great folks!). As a result, I see every day just how many people don’t have supportive families. Your support of Sam is huge, and goes beyond him just being your child.

    1. MicroManagered*

      My manager just asked how things were going, and complimented me on being a good, supportive parent! (My response: “He’s my kid.”)

      I came here to comment on this too. I think it’s great that OP2 considers supporting her child a matter of course.

      However, sometimes people are complimenting your supportive parenting because they’ve experienced the opposite in their life, and it really is a sincere compliment. As someone in that boat, I have definitely complimented coworkers when they demonstrate the kind of loving, supporting parenting that I didn’t always get growing. “He’s my kid.” would feel like you just wiped your ass with my sincere compliment.

      I know that’s not what OP2 would intend, but it’s something to think about.

      1. NotMyRealName*

        I’m the mom to 3 non-cis/het kids and I probably have said more than once “this is my kid.” I’m not wiping my ass with your compliment, I’m saying my truth. I’m sorry you didn’t have supportive parenting, but I really don’t want to be complimented for doing what I consider basic parenting, just like how I don’t think we should go crazy complimenting men who change diapers. It should be normal and we should treat it as normal.

        1. MicroManagered*

          I’m sorry you didn’t have supportive parenting, but I really don’t want to

          Sorry for the double-reply–hit submit too fast! This comes across as really dismissive and sarcastic. If someone takes time out of their life to say they see you doing a great job at something (especially a task that not all people who do, do well), the kind response is “yes thank you.” Not all the defensiveness. That’s what I’m getting at.

          1. Jennifer Thneed*

            That. Just say “Thank you”. Accept compliments, don’t deflect them. You needn’t go on at length. Just “thank you” and continuing on with the conversation is enough.

            1. NotMyRealName*

              No. I have a right to feel weird about being complemented about not being a shit to my kid. Their struggles are not about me. It’s like saying “Good job not abandoning your kid.” It’s weird.

              1. MommyMD*

                It’s not the same. So many parents are HORRIBLE to their gay and trans kids. It’s appalling. Boss is just recognizing a supportive parent in what can be a fragile situation.

            1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

              But on the flip side, it’s illegal to beat your kids. It’s not illegal to disown them for something that a lot of people have been disowned over.

              It’s illegal to neglect your kids. So saying “Good job feeding those kids!” falls under that kind of umbrella as well.

              1. Avasarala*

                Sounds like an extension of the famous Chris Rock bit. “[People] always want credit for stuff they’re supposed to do. ‘I take care of my kids.’ You’re supposed to!” etc.

              2. Anonforthis*

                Should be illegal, especially when they’re minors. Fully a quarter – 25% -of homeless kids in the UK are LGBT which is doubly shocking since only 6% of the general population is LGBT. Imo those parents should be imprisoned.

          1. NotMyRealName*

            You and MicroManaged don’t get to decide how I feel about my life. I’m not defensive here, to me this is like complimenting me on taking my kids to school. Just because some parents don’t take their kids to school doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t be expected to do just that.

        2. merula*

          I’m a mom to two gender non-conforming kids, and I have absolutely used this. I’m struggling to see how it’s dismissive of those who didn’t experience this support from their parents.

          The way I see it, establishing “support your child’s identity” as a basic tenet of parenting AFFIRMS that those who didn’t receive that suffered a wrong at the hands of their parents. And they absolutely did.

          I’m not dismissing a compliment; I recognize that people are acknowledging me for efforts that are not always standard, but they SHOULD BE standard. The comparison to men being active parents is apt.

          1. Ben Thair*

            well said. I think more men are active parents than you think. And it would be nice if people would recognize when guys are stepping up to the plate instead of looking for some reason to put them down.

            1. RUKiddingMe*

              “And it would be nice if people would recognize when guys are stepping up to the plate instead of looking for some reason to put them down.”

              Sorry but you* don’t get cookies for doing the bare minimum.

              *The general “you.”

          2. Jennifer Thneed*

            It’s not dismissive of “those who didn’t experience this support”. It’s dismissive of the compliment.

            Maybe expand a little. “They’re my kids; of course I do xyz. I wish every child got that support” acknowledges your point: this is basic parenting. It also acknowledges that not every child gets the respect they should.

              1. Perpal*

                General workplace norms; do what you want but we talk a lot about when and how it might be appropriate to soften some kind of criticism. I certainly see your point though.

            1. Mary*

              It’s OK to dismiss a compliment though! The point of a compliment is to make the other person feel good, not to make yourself feel good. If your compliment doesn’t make them feel good, let it go and move on. A compliment doesn’t create any kind of obligation on the person you’re complimenting.

          3. Blue Horizon*

            Agreed. I have trouble reading the response as dismissive of anything here. There’s no contradiction – being a supportive parent is both a good thing (the compliment) and something that all kids should have a right to expect (the response). Acceptance of one of those premises is not implicitly a dismissal of the other.

        3. smoke tree*

          I agree with this, although I do think it kind of depends on the individual. I don’t think anyone should be patted on the back for, say, doing the bare minimum to tolerate their kids, but it does say a lot about the LW that they’re being so thoughtful about how to navigate their kid’s transition and work, and are engaging with other people’s experiences here. And I personally find it pretty heartwarming when parents are that considerate to their gender-diverse kids, although I realize that speaks to my low expectations of the world.

    2. Bree*

      Parenting is hard at the best of times, and can be even more challenging when you need to advocate for your child and help them navigate a world that will unfortunately have unique obstacles. It is, of course, simply the right thing to do to support and your kid, but it also takes a lot of effort. So good for you, OP#2!

      1. TimeTravelR*

        I was really flabbergasted when I started hearing about how unsupportive some parents are of their LGBTQ children. It’s still my kid!!!

        1. Not Australian*

          You don’t have to be LGBTQ to have unsupportive parents, either; it’s a miracle to me how/why some people decide to have children at all, since they sometimes have very little idea how to look after them.

        2. MommyMD*

          Exactly. My kid who just told me he is gay is the same kid earlier I instructed to take out the garbage. Nothing changes about their core being. Some people don’t get it.

    3. Siege*

      As a queer trans person, I actually really liked the answer op gave. Maybe it’s not the norm to be this supportive of your kids, but what they’re doing should be what all parents of trans kids do as a matter of course, and I appreciate that they recognize that.

    1. Clorinda*

      Gilead doesn’t work without Aunt Lydia and Serena Joy. See also: ISIS women enforcing rules in refugee camps.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          Is it? I feel like we often really forget how awfully sexist and gendered we are, even when it’s aimed at our own. So it’s really a shock to a lot of people who all assumed it was a “you work with all men, don’t you?” situation=(

          1. MommyMD*

            I didn’t make that assumption. I assumed it was females. Women can be catty, vindictive beasts. Much more than men at times. I don’t see a group of men doing this. This is why generalized men bashing bothers me. Women can be just as bad. Look at the letter from the heinous manager who harassed her attractive direct report to the point of torment. And lied about it.

            1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

              Yes. On the other hand, I literally just had a conversation about how cruel and crude men are to each other often enough. I’ve never had much of an issue as a woman in a male dominated business but the things they do to each other is absurd. Especially ones that they want to lump under “we’re just joking though!”. Some of those jokes have indeed ended in lawsuit settlements as well.

              I rarely assume gender when reading these stories due to that kind of knowledge. I was treated the worst by other women growing up as well. My bullies were mostly women who were vicious in their rumors and their “pranks”.

            2. Detective Amy Santiago*

              I also assumed it was women who perpetrated this prank. It just doesn’t seem like the kind of thing that guys would do. I mean, I am a woman and I still don’t understand how it’s even supposed to be funny, but I definitely don’t think that it would occur to most men to joke about that sort of thing.

          2. RUKiddingMe*

            Yup. Internalized misogyny is a thing. It is a strong drug that has been socialized into us for eons.

          3. Observer*

            I didn’t really assume either, but in thinking about it, I think that if someone would have asked me what I think I would have come down on “it sounds like some women.” Somehow I don’t see guys going there. Not because men are “nicer” or more sensitive than women, but because I don’t think it’s something guys would think of.

        2. Goliath Corp.*

          Yeah my shock was that a manager who’s responsible for HR would play a prank like this — I don’t really care about their gender.

          1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

            In a lot of small settings [and sometimes not so small, argh] “HR” is a weird vague thing, where they just deal with benefits and payroll…they don’t actually know rules, regulations and how to act like a good employee :(

          2. EPLawyer*

            As we have seen time and time again here, HRs can vary widely. If its a small company HR may be “person who does the benefits” without any actual HR training. So she’s just one of the gals.

            Quite frankly it was the last paragraph that got me. They have a history of going too far. This is not a one off. I would seriously be polishing up the old resume and looking for a new job .

  4. Detective Amy Santiago*

    These are wonderful updates!

    OP#1 – I am so happy your director took your concerns seriously and shut it down. It’s shitty that no one apologized, but at least they aren’t doing it anymore.

    OP#2 – You are a good human. I hope that if Sam has any friends who are struggling with similar issues, they also get the support they need.

    OP#3 – Congrats! I’m so glad that you got the job that you deserved.

    1. mom of trans*

      I’ve always told my children that if their friends needed sanctuary, they could come to our house.

      1. Super Admin*

        Thank you for doing that – kids who are trans or queer or questioning or just not fitting in for any reason need to know people in their communities support them, and by putting out there that you’d be there for them just as you are for your own kids undoubtedly means so much, even if they also have loving supportive families. The more people who make it clear that they support LGBT+ youth the better chance they have of living healthy, happy lives.

    1. lyonite*

      I wonder if maybe this situation could lead to a conversation about bringing in someone new to handle HR? Because at least one of the people who’s doing it now clearly isn’t up to the job.

      1. The New Wanderer*

        I hope so. Office manager clearly doesn’t understand what HR does and telegraphs this to the point where the rest of the office was apparently totally fine going to their half-time HR person with “let’s prank OP.” Who knows what else the rest of the office gets away with, or may have their own problems with, because HR isn’t HR-ing.

  5. Phony Genius*

    On #1, in the original post, I suggested that losing the office listeners could put the small radio station out of business. I didn’t think it would actually happen, though. (Although they’re probably closing down for unrelated reasons.)

    1. Sharikacat*

      A handful of radios in a single office should not be the deciding factor on whether a radio station stays alive. “Oh, we lost ten listeners! Time to shut everything down!” The station was already on the verge of closing, and it was only a question of “when,” not “if.”

      1. Bee*

        Frankly, unless any of the coworkers are Nielsen reporters, the station wouldn’t even know! (Radio stations are closing left and right, it’s totally unrelated.)

          1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

            They did seemingly email the DJ about it. With that knowledge they may have had a discussion about the whole thing and how they were used in this awful prank. So they’re retooling their setup to avoid this ever happening again.

            1. Hope*

              I have helped out as a volunteer at a radio station, including being the on-air announcer. I would have been angry and sick to my back teeth if I’d been used (and the whole community radio service had been used) like that. Fake news as a “joke”.

          2. Ask a Manager* Post author

            I’m thinking it’s more likely that the fact that the DJ repeated the pregnancy news so often was a sign of how small the station was / how small its listenership was.

            So this isn’t in any way the cause, but there were clues to its size in the original letter.

  6. Sharikacat*

    For LW1’s director, an additional way for him to make sure that any potential blowback onto the LW was minimal would be for him to phrase it as, “I don’t care if LW found it funny or not. *I* don’t find it funny, so it needs to stop. Period.” Point being twofold: First, when pranks have the potential to cause very real stress and trauma, even though it might not have done so against this particular person, that might not be the case if they pull this stunt again on someone else, which may put the company in some legal trouble. And second, part of a manager’s job is to be the bad guy sometimes, such as enforcing a necessary but unpopular policy. The coworkers can instead be mad at the director instead of the LW. Strictly speaking, the team doesn’t have to like their boss so long as they respect the boss’s orders and directives, and if the manager doesn’t have to pull this card often, then it’s just a case of the manager doing his job and managing the team to keep them from stepping too far out of line.

  7. KimberlyR*

    I’m happy about all 3 updates but I’m still shaking my head about #1. I won’t get into whether or not pranks are ok for the office (as it has been discussed to death), but I think pranks about specific subjects should be completely off the table, and pregnancy is definitely one of them!

  8. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    I’m glad that the director took immediate action and that the joke was shut down. I feel so bad for the DJ, I would be horrified if I had honestly been shouting out a fan/listener for their “good” news and then found out that I was an instrument of humiliation. Nobody stops to think that a pregnancy announcement is a frigging joke, seriously since it’s not something most would find funny.

    And now the station is phasing out, so sad. But at the same time one of our stations went into automation awhile back and came back on, they were just overhauling the station. So it may not be folding but of course with how media is, you just never know until the plug is pulled completely.

  9. morning person in training*

    LW 1 I am glad it worked out. Indeed, what a plot twist with the radio station shutting down. At least that closes that avenue of pranking, though it sounds like they find other ways to do so

    1. MommyMD*

      It was cruel to do to the DJ. These are thoughtless cruel people. And I wonder if this prank had anything to do with the station shutting down. I don’t know how these idiots sleep at night.

      1. MsSolo*

        Yeah, I do wonder with the timing of it whether the DJ just threw his hands up and decided if that’s the only kind of audience he gets, who thinks it’s funny to make him repeat cruel jokes, then why bother. It’s unlikely to be the sort of thing that would make someone up and quite (or a station to shut down) on its own, but if there’s other factors involved it could definitely be the thing that persuades you it’s not worth the emotional toll to stay on the air.

    2. JSPA*

      I’d wonder if the live show was shutting down, and maybe the station, because the “prank” was shattering for the DJ, and put the station in fear of a lawsuit. This so-called joke was a terrible, cruel idea all around.

  10. MommyMD*

    That pregnancy prank was horrible. I’m glad they got a dressing down. Nothing funny about it.

    My son is gay. Once your kid tell you they are gay, your ears become attuned to how much hateful homophobia there is in the world. Some of it very subtle. One employee a couple of years ago was making snide gay references. I said my son is gay. She laughed. I said I’m serious. I did love the look on her face. It shut her up. Good luck to your kid. It’s your kid. The same kid you told to take out the trash. It doesn’t change anything. It’s not the horrible travesty some act like it is. It does make you more protective.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Thankfully you are a parent who stepped up and now are in tune with it! I applaud you for being so invested in your love for your child that this kind of thing now turned on your ears to hearing the jabs others throw that you wouldn’t be necessarily aware of before!

      Sadly, it doesn’t always turn into this. Lots of parents to this day fully reject and shun their kids who come out to them. It’s a real problem, we have homeless shelters and programs just for thrown out gay youth, that’s how big this is. So it doesn’t always change you like that, it often even cranks it up a notch.

      I say this as a person who took her mom to Pride and she was thrilled by it. Whereas when she told her friends and family about some of the festivities, while wearing her Pride shirt they said some really gross shi*t in return. We’ve weeded out a lot of our family due to this mentality. Sadly we can’t weed out coworkers as easily most of the time.

  11. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

    OP2: Yes, he’s your kid. It’s still worth saying “well done” because you are doing, *well*, a thing that a lot of other parents don’t even try to get right.

    1. NotMyRealName*

      Depending on the relationship I have with the person saying “well done” it can be okay or it can feel weird. I’m doing what I consider basic parenting for my kids. It feels kind of like complimenting me on feeding them to me, if that makes any sense. My kids have the hard battle, I’m just the support team.

      1. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

        Point. In practice, I’m more likely to say something like “I’m impressed by how much you do to support your trans kids”–but that would be to a friend who does all the “that’s just good parenting” stuff, plus was going to rallies to protect trans rights here in Massachusetts last year. [There are other details, but that might identify me–which I can accept–or them, which wouldn’t be appropriate.]

    2. Filosofickle*

      Agreed. When i was young I found it weird that I was constantly being thanked and praised for fulfilling my duties at work. “It’s my job! What do you expect?” Decades later I understand that someone doing a job *really well* isn’t always the expectation or the norm. When someone does something extraordinary, tell them so, even if that person doesn’t think it’s extraordinary.

    3. Tin Cormorant*

      I’ve found throughout my life that simply putting effort into doing anything well already puts me above most other people, even if my results aren’t the quality I would personally like.

    4. anony anon*

      Agreed to a point. Everyone needs to be careful not to over compliment and congratulate allies. I know it rankles a bit when my straight family or friends have people bending over backward to compliment them for being a good person in supporting me and I’m just sort of…ignored. There’s a big problem right now in the LGBT community with focusing on allies and congratulating them for being decent people and not, you know, focusing on the people who are part of the community. It sometimes seems like allies get more recognition for going to rallies or supporting protective bills, etc. than LGBT people do.

        1. NotMyRealName*

          Ugh. Should NOT get you a blue ribbon. Allies are the support crew, not the people doing the really hard stuff.

          1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

            Allies are also putting themselves in their own amount of danger at times as well though, so it’s not a completely cut and dry thing.

            Yes, the biggest risk is the LGBTQ person because more people out there have actual malice in mind.

            However there are allies that are also targeted and “traitors” in some militant minds. Have you ever experienced the “protesters” at Pride? They don’t care if you’re a member of the community or just a bystander enjoying a parade. They hate you and they will try to strike fear about your safety into your own heart. People have lost jobs, homes, friends and other family because of their affiliations with community members and refusal to shun their own kids.

            It’s not about deserving a medal for being a decent human in the end. It’s about taking that step and risk supporting people who are readily targeted for hateful awful crimes. Lots of allies have been harmed and worse. Speaking out is not as dangerous as being LGBTQ but it comes with ugly backlash and danger of its own. This is why so many people stayed so quiet, for so long.

            We can share the spotlight with each other, that’s pretty much the entire point of the fact we keep expanding over the years to be even more and more inclusive. In the end, a whole lot of people aren’t traditionally “straight” it turns out as we keep finding more subsets among us.

            1. carrots and celery*

              Straight allies do not get to share the spotlight with the LGBT community because they’re not part of the community. They’re guests of the community.

              Your comment is implying that allies are targeted just as much as LGBT individuals and there’s no evidence to support that, and it’s incredibly disrespectful to those of us who have been targeted for our sexualities because what we face every day is far, far worse than anything an ally has to face.

    5. mom of trans*

      Thanks, and I do sincerely appreciate the recognition. We get it from the school too, which has been very supportive of our son.

    6. JSPA*

      It’s always a sort of a painful, back-handed reminder that some people don’t do even that less-than-minimum for their LGBT+ kids though, y’know?

      “I’m so glad he has you as a parent”– that’s an actual compliment. Not because you do the less-than-minimum, but because they know you are and will continue to be thoughtful, engaged, proactive and actively supportive.

      Otherwise, it’s like getting thanked for not kicking your dog. Which nobody should do. And we have laws that penalize them, when they do. I have no idea why child abandonment laws apparently don’t (functionally) cover mature juveniles, nor why children apparently have fewer rights than renters to continue to inhabit the residence they have habitually inhabited and where they would reasonably expect to continue to live. Anyone know the answer?

  12. anony anon*

    I feel horrible for the radio station in #1. They really did nothing wrong in this situation. Not really sure what the station folding has to do with the rest of the update, though, but sad all the same.

    1. Kathleen_A*

      I don’t think it really has much to do with the update, except that in the comments on the original post, some of the commenters were pretty harsh about the radio station’s role in this. That’s just a guess. Having worked (for a very short time) in community radio, and having known quite a few radio news folks, I’m pretty sure the station was pranked, too, but not all commenters agreed with me.

      1. RUKiddingMe*

        I think they were likely pranked. That said, they shouldn’t have been sharing the “news,” even had it been true, without OP’s ok first. So yeah, they were in the wrong even if only because they were pranked into it.

        1. anony anon*

          I don’t really think that’s feasible. Radio shows get news or requests like that all the time. Implying that they need to check if it’s okay to announce anything without OP’s approval first is not something anyone is going to invest any time into. That’s a bit of a reach to be honest.

          1. Kathleen_A*

            Yeah, this was clearly just some sort of community news/bulletin board/Around the Town-type thing featuring items such as “Mikala Hernandez would like to wish her mom a happy birthday” and “Bertha and Buck Jones send love and congratulations to their grandson, Billy, who just made the honor roll” and so on. It’s news, sure, but these things are always dependent on the people who call them in or fill out some sort of online form. It’s not like the announcer misread a list or anything. He was misled. The fault belongs entirely to the pranksters.

            It’s exactly like a wedding announcement in a local paper. The paper isn’t going to check to see if the couple actually received a marriage license or anything.

              1. Kathleen_A*

                I’m not sure how, but even if that’s the case…well, how exactly were they supposed to get the OP’s approval? Even if the station had a rule that only the pregnant person could turn in this kind of announcement, how could they confirm that the actual pregnant person is the one turning in the announcement? You see what I mean? It’s hard to imagine that pranksters who see nothing wrong with turning in a false pregnancy announcement would draw the line at turning that same false pregnancy announcement in someone else’s name.

                Community bulletin boards like this are almost completely dependent on the honor system, and the pranksters exploited that.

  13. Amy*

    #3. I’m glad you’re happy with your promotion. But it’s not great that the job was originally posted at a higher salary (and intended for you), but you were then excluded by apparently non-essential requirements. I hope when the salary was reduced, the demands were as well.

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Yeah, that’s a whole load of bs. We argue a lot around here about the necessity of a degree, and this post is one of those situations where it is crystal clear that the degree requirement is just a box to be ticked and doesn’t actually mean anything. There are positions where the degree means a lot, of course. This just ain’t one of ’em.

    2. A Poster Has No Name*

      Yeah, no kidding. Especially since, if I do the math right, the position now is still paying under $30K for a job that has specialized skills (even if those skills were written for LW, they’re still presumably not found everywhere, at least at that crappy salary, or they’d have gotten more applicants). And they wanted to pay a (apparently) not that much more with the requirement of a college degree. One that’s not apparently required, since LW can do the job just fine without one.


      Happy you got the bump, LW3, but I would encourage you to do a little looking around. Can’t hurt.

      1. OP3*

        It’s just at $30k, actually! And yeah, less than it should be for the skillset that’s needed, and low enough to explain why I was the only applicant. They were wanting to pay a degreed person just under $40k, which is pretty good for our lowish COL area, but the other requirements coupled with a degree meant anyone who met it all could get a way better job anywhere else.

        I plan to stay at least a couple years to get the nice resume addition, and I’ll either leave when I’ve gotten my degree or I’ve hit that mark of a year or two. Right now jumping ship, even to an incredible opportunity, would burn more bridges than I’d like at this stage in my career.

    3. Persephone Mulberry*

      This. I am REALLY irked at this company. “This job pays too much for us to give it to someone without a degree” is just…really disgusting.

      1. OP3*

        I’ve never worked anywhere where they didn’t have that attitude and it’s always frustrated me because I don’t need a degree to be a rockstar, and I’ve never been paid what I’m worth because I’m “just a secretary” who happens to know/handle IT and marketing. Unfortunately that’s the attitude at government-funded non-profits. People love their salary bands and strict professional/non-professional definitions.

      2. Blue Horizon*

        That burns me as well. I feel like pulling grand-boss aside and giving him/her the Good Will Hunting speech about the local library. Pure credentialism.

    4. OP3*

      They did rework the job description, but yeah, honestly, no, the demands aren’t any less. To be fair, they never were meant for someone with a degree. This position doesn’t NEED one. Someone with a degree probably would have been dissatisfied with the level of work expected and the relative lack of autonomy permitted.

      Either way, I’ll stick with this position for a couple years or until I finish my degree, and then take the wonderful experience, title and pay bump, and go somewhere else.

  14. CubeFarmer*

    That first update is a little disappointing. There should have been copious apologies, and a reexamination of the office manager’s HR role, in light of this incredibly unprofessional behavior. In fact, I don’t know why anyone in that office would think it was funny.

    1. juliebulie*

      Horrifying, no?
      Talk about red flags in the workplace.

      They should have been falling all over one another trying to apologize to OP. But even the manager wouldn’t do it.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*


      Sadly having read so much in this community, it’s not the first time we’ve seen HR in on the nonsense.

      And people want to know why HR has such a bad rep :(

    3. Annie*

      This is why it’s important to hire actual HR professionals, instead of thinking of it as a chunk of admin tasks that anyone can do and throwing it to an office manager. This office manager may have been tagged to some HR duties, but that does not make them an HR person. No professional HR person would participate in this… that’s kinda the whole point of HR. It’s unfortunate that a serious profession often gets lumped in with the misbehavior of mis-titled amateurs.

  15. mom of trans*

    Just saw the little dust-up about “He’s my kid.” I’m sorry if people felt I was being dismissive of my manager’s support. I can share that in the moment, it was warmly said, with a smile. It is a compliment, for sure, and I do wish that every parent could just be loving and supportive of their children regardless. We’ve been trusted with these lives; they need our unwavering support and encouragement. Maybe having a trans kid is a challenge I didn’t foresee, but it doesn’t change the calculus of me wanting to do right by my child.

    1. JacobM*

      Yes, this. I also have a trans son, and we are completely supportive, and we get way too much praise for that. I tend to say “thanks! to me, it isn’t even a question”. I agree with the poster that it should be said in a way that doesn’t dismiss the compliment or insult the complimenter, but I don’t like to simply accept praise for something that I feel is basic decency.

  16. Jennifer Juniper*

    If OP1 is not married, that pregnancy prank could have fueled other nasty rumors about OP’s promiscuity, who the father of the non-existent child was, etc. etc. etc.

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