Thanksgiving free-for-all – November 28, 2019

This comment section is open for any discussion (work or non-work) you’d like to have with other readers.

Happy Thanksgiving!

2 cats dressed as a pilgrim and turkey

{ 512 comments… read them below }

  1. Anonadog*

    I got laid off last Monday. Even though I know there’s never a “good time,” this still feels like an awful time. I know all the advice: The holidays can be a good time to job search, etc. it just feels awful.

    I’m trying to focus on being thankful, so I guess that makes it a good time of the year for it to have happened? I’m thankful for my friends and family, my network which is already rallying around me, my health and more.

    What are you thankful for?

    1. Cat Whisperer*

      I am so sorry that you lost your job. My husband suddenly lost his immediately after the holidays last year, after having been told that they were going to hire them on permanently because he had done such an amazing job as a contract worker. Luckily, he ended up with an amazing job that was so much better than the one he left, but it’s terrifying to have to try to figure finances out. I wish you much luck.

      I am so thankful for my husband and my daughter. My husband has been so supportive of me through some crazy family stuff that has been going on. I’m so thankful for my daughter because I never thought having her would be possible. After going through cancer, a diagnosis of infertility, and pregnancy/birth complications, I have a little girl who is kind, inquisitive, hilarious, and just challenging enough to make me believe she’s a real kid. She’s amazing, and I’m thankful for her every day.

    2. Sled dog mama*

      I’m about a week ahead of you on the lay off.
      I’m focusing on how thankful I am for my partner who has managed our finances really well and we have 6 months expenses saved up.
      The part that sucks the most for me is that the lay off came the week between our birthdays so I was super distracted and totally failed at celebrating his birthday.

    3. AP No Noir*

      I was laid off last year right before Thanksgiving and started a new job January 2nd. I wish you the best of luck in your job search.
      I am thankful for so much, including two goofball kitties that constantly entertain my whole family.

    4. Anonawife*

      Sorry you lost your job. My husband had an awful job loss situation 2 years ago, and just this week he told me how much he enjoys his current job. I hope everything works out for you.

    5. Elizabeth West*

      I’m sorry; that sucks. A layoff is better than a firing, in terms of the why-did-you-leave-your-last-job question. It’s okay to feel bad about it, however. It sounds like you have a lot of support, which is good. And I found a job in December once, so it’s not impossible.

      I’m thankful that I have family who was willing to help me when I needed to get out of a crap job market, even though needing it makes me feel like pond scum. Here’s to both of us finding the perfect fit!

    6. Thit'se Man, Becky Lynch*

      I’ve heard folks say before the holidays is better to try to head off spending too much with the “giving” season fast approaching.

      It still sucks and is no consolation, I know.

      I hope your journey to the next opportunity is a fast process. And that wherever you find yourself next is fulfilling.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        I can attest to that…my layoff was in February so we had just paid bills & taxes and earned we would NOT going to get reimbursed by my company for a spring college class.
        That said, there is NO good time for layoffs. Here’s hoping your Alison lessons help you find something you love quickly.

    7. corporate engineering layoff woo*

      Hey, join the club! I’ve got food in the house and good prospects for the near future, so looking forward to some less structured time and the next round of holidays.

    8. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I’m sorry about your job, Anonadog.

      I’m thankful that although my contract is probably ending, if that happens (which is seeming very possible right now), I have 6 months lead time. I’m already applying for Federal jobs here and there that seem like a good fit, and I might even be able to find another position with my current company, but I’m feeling like I could get a better offer from elsewhere.

    9. CMC*

      First and foremost, I am sorry for the job loss, as it doesn’t sound like it was something you were anticipating. And while there is no good time to be laid off, I think layoffs at the holiday season suck more than anything else (and I don’t even celebrate holidays).

      Second, I’m thankful that I know I will always find a way to get back on my feet and be better than I was before, no matter what happens. I know this feels awful, and I wish I could take that away for you, but it *will* get better…if you’re on this site enough to comment on the Thanksgiving thread, you know you have all of the tips and tricks at your disposable to help put you above the rest of the people looking.

      I’m sending internet hugs to you every day until you find the job you’re looking for.

      (And if you ever need a laugh, just know that I barely caught the typo “internut hugs” before I posted this comment — I don’t even know what “internut hugs” could possibly be?????)

    10. Myrcallie*

      I got laid off earlier this week, so I know the feeling. Commiserations to you- it’s a tough time of year, even if you do have a bit more time for job hunting.

      This year, I’m thankful for surviving (2019 has been the year from hell, with the layoff being the icing on the terrible events cake), for my family, for my friends, and for my D&D group. I’m thankful for Christmas food planning with my BFF and their partner, and for the fact that I downsized earlier this year, so the layoff won’t be as much of a financial hit as it would have been four months ago.

  2. The Other Dawn*

    I’m so excited to see that my two barn cats have remained on my property and have started coming around, close to the house, looking for food. One even sits on the step in front of the side door. It seems like she wants to come in, but she runs as soon as I approach the door.

    My husband and I made a couple shelters with plastic totes and hay, which we put in the barn. I can’t tell if they’re using them, but at least they’re there if they want someplace warm, out of the wind. They also have the hay loft they can use.

    We’ve been putting dry food in the barn, but now that they’re starting to come close to the house, I’ve started putting bowls on the patio. I looked out the other night and both of them were eating together. (A third cat showed up, too. I don’t know if he has an owner, but we see him every year.) When I got up this morning, the female, Tessa, was on the patio looking for breakfast.

    Hopefully at some point they’ll become trusting of humans again. If not, at least they have food and a warm place to sleep.

    1. Anita Brayke*

      The acts of service you and your husband perform for the cats makes me happy to be a part of the human race again! Thank you. You’ve made my day!

  3. Loopy*

    1. Does anyone know if the balloons are grounded for the Macy’s day parade?

    2. I’m trying to pack light for my upcoming trip to London and Paris, I have layers but only four outfits and maybe 1-2 pairs of PJs for 7-8 days. Does this sound way out of wack?

    1. CTT*

      For 2, I just went to London and Paris last month, and that’s about what I packed! I did buy a dress while there, which I had planned for (I saw a show at the Paris Opera and didn’t have any nice-but-cold-weather-appropriate dresses, so I went knowing I would get something there)

    2. Bagpuss*

      I don’t think it sounds out of whack. If it were me, I might add in a coule more shirts and stick with one set of PJs (If you won’t have access to a washing machine / won’t want to pay hotel laundry prices) just because I’d prefer not to have to wear the same shirt or blouse twice. Although of course you could easily pick up a couple while you are her if you ran short.

    3. londonedit*

      I always pack light, and then end up throwing in a couple of extra tops ‘just in case’. If your layers are things you can mix-and-match, then I think you’ll probably be about right. Are you coming next week? After a week of rainy drizzle it looks like we’re going back to sunnier weather, which means crisp days and chilly nights. Temperatures just below 10C (which is, what, probably 45-50F?) which is normal for this time of year.

    4. epi*

      Your packing sounds right to me. Every time I pack much more than that I end up not using part of it. The suitcase is like a capsule wardrobe and no matter how small I make it, I end up picking favorite items.

      I would certainly not be mad to need to buy a souvenir outfit in London, anyway! I ended up doing it last time I was there just for because, but it’s fun when you “have to” IMO. Worst case scenario, I have washed favorite things in the sink to get them back.

    5. Cheese Cheese Cheese CHEESE*

      It’s apparently going to be cold and wet in the UK for the next couple of weeks – I don’t know where in the US you are, so it may be that our daytime cold (5-8C in this case) is laughable to you but don’t underestimate how rainy it can be!

      1. londonedit*

        My weather app shows 7-10 degrees and sunny next week in London! But yeah, always prepare for rain anyway.

        1. Cheese Cheese Cheese CHEESE*

          Hah, really? Considering how far away Swindon isn’t you wouldn’t think it would be that different!

          1. londonedit*

            I know! I do often have totally different weather from my parents in the south-west, though. And London is usually a little warmer in general thanks to all the buildings and whatnot.

          2. embertine*

            Swindon high five!
            (Not there any more but I did grow up by there and briefly lived in Haydon Wick as an adult)

            1. ItsOnlyMe*

              More Swindon love – worked in Swindon, lived in RWB for many years, now in Canada. Would love to be shopping at the Outlet Mall about now.

              1. Grandma Mazur*

                Wow, so many Swindonites! I’ve been commuting to work there for most of the last decade (I don’t drive so I’ve managed to avoid the delightful Magic Roundabout!!).

                1. Cambridge local*

                  I’m from Swindon originally as well! I got laughed at at a Guide meeting in my new town for naming ‘Magic Roundabout’ as a type of roundabout, which is particularly galling given that we moved quite near to Hemel Hempstead, ie site of the OTHER magic roundabout

                2. Cheese Cheese Cheese CHEESE*

                  I nearly had heart failure the first time I had to drive round it. Now if I’m giving visiting family lifts I detour to go round for the lols…

    6. I'm A Little Teapot*

      #1 – I’ve got the parade on right now, and there are balloons. I think they’re struggling a bit to steer them, but overall looks ok.

      #2 – I think that’s ok. Worst case, find a laundromat or something.

    7. Loopy*

      Thanks all! I feel better about packing. I’m in the southern US so we have had a brilliant few days of 68-75 F weather so it will feel very cold to me… but I have warm socks and base layers and such! And we are right near a laundry

    8. Snowball*

      I was just at the parade and I did see the balloons (I guess lower than normal) but some really did look like they wanted to fly away

    9. AcademiaNut*

      2. Sounds pretty reasonable. If it were me, I’d pack a full set of underpants and socks, 1 pair of PJs, and more first layer shirts than pants or sweaters/blazers. Underwear and socks get dirty faster, and the first shirt layer is the one that absorbs sweat and is more likely to get food spilled on it (I’m pretty clumsy). I’d also make sure I have one outfit that could be worn to a nice restaurant or concert.

  4. They Don’t Make Sunday*

    Shoutout to everyone traveling with a toddler! And anyone trying to keep said toddler asleep in a noisy house with people who don’t normally live with a toddler (or face consequences when they wake up).

    My MIL set an alarm for 5 or 6am (2-3am my time) and let it go off for several minutes; probably she was already out of the room? Luckily the kid didn’t wake up, but the kitchen noise I otherwise would have been able to sleep through kept me from going back to sleep. We had our family Thanksgiving a few days early, so the noise isn’t in service of a grand purpose. MIL is making pies for a friend’s gathering that ended up being earlier than she assumed, hence her early wakeup. Fun fact, the friend’s gathering is scheduled around the host’s grandbaby. So the existence of a toddler not even in this house + poor planning on my MIL’s part is what woke me up. Bah humbug.

  5. Cat Whisperer*

    My almost 4-year-old would like a baby doll. I am woefully ignorant of the various baby dolls offered. When I look at them & their various selling points on Amazon, I get overwhelmed.

    When I asked her what she wanted for Christmas, she told me a baby doll, a bicycle bell, and a kazoo. Needless to say, I really want to get her a baby doll. (She’s getting the bell & kazoo as well).

    1. mreasy*

      When I worked in toys, many moons ago, Madame Alexander baby dolls were the ones – looks like they’re still around and similarly priced with similar models to the ones back then. I find dolls terrifying but I hope this info helps!

    2. fposte*

      I’m ignorant of current brands, but I think there’s still a spectrum of the baby doll you can hold, and cuddle, and pretend to feed real food to without much damage, to the very beautiful dolls that get admired on the shelf. Do you know which kind she’d be likeliest to enjoy?

      1. Anax*

        I feel like there should be more to that spectrum – the kind of doll that will take an inordinate amount of damage without being destroyed!

        But, uh, I was a little menace and chewed all the fingers off my baby dolls – reaaal oral fixation at that age.

    3. Ranon*

      The vinyl soft bodied dolls are the most popular at my kiddo’s daycare since they look the most like babies but are still cuddly. You can find them in lots of skin tones and ethnicities and I think the biggest trick is just to find one with a face that won’t give you nightmares.

      Haba makes wonderful plush dolls that are machine washable if you think she might want an older looking doll and easy to clean is still a feature you need

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

      I have a soft spot for hand-made ragdolls, especially the ones with long “hair” that can be braided. I still have the blue-haired one I was given for my fifth birthday.

    5. Pinkie pie*

      It depends on your budget. Upper end, Bitty Baby from American Girl is fantastic. My mother bought each of my girls one and the weight and feel is great. I wish my kids would play more with them. Medium range, Melissa and Doug is good. Lower end, the target dolls are wonderful. My youngest has her own nursery going on… but her favorite doll came from the thrift store.

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

        I saw the Try Guys playing with the Bitty Baby. Let me tell you something, it gave me flashbacks of the the mean kid at kindergarden who hit everyone at reach with its head. The pain…

    6. Book Lover*

      My daughter has Mon Premier Poupon Bebe Calin 12′ Baby Doll and I love it. She loves it too, of course, or I wouldn’t recommend it :).

    7. em*

      My 4yo and 1yo love their baby dolls from Target. The brand has been called both “Honestly Cute” and “Perfectly Cute.” They’re pretty cheap but have survived several years of play so far :) The extra outfits you can buy them are terrible quality but they have other accessories (stroller etc) that are decent for the price.

    8. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      You’ve got good suggestions.

      My advice is to pick one you think is cute. She’s 4! She’s not at that age where there’s a rush on brands and specifics. She’s going to love that baby doll regardless.

      Look for ones with good reviews for durability. Lots of kids grow up and still have that baby doll in 30 years. I know a few 40yr old teddies as well.

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

        I’m one of those!! I still have my blue-haired ragdoll. And my father kept his teddy bear, which is in pretty good shape after all these years.

    9. Not enough coffee*

      Corolle dolls (or knockoffs) are great. Soft bodies, real eyes, smell like baby powder. 12” or 16”. I’d go 16” for a 4 y/o but she would love either.

      You could get a Bitty Baby, too, but I’d hold off and get Corolle then straight up American girl.

      Source: have 3 girls ages 1.5, 3.5 and 6. My younger two are baby doll obsessed and love their corolle and knockoffs. My 6 y/o is getting an American Girl this Christmas and my middle will be super jealous. But she’s not quite ready for a $100 toy.

    10. Big Bird*

      My daughter is my second child; my first is a boy. My daughter just played with whatever was around the house, including my son’s trucks, until she was about 18 months old and found a baby doll when we were visiting friends. Well, she went absolutely nuts over that baby doll–we had to borrow it until we could get her one of her own. Before I had children I thought that I would somehow prevent them from playing with stereotypical gendered toys, but that it not how it ended up. And that was only the first of many times when my original ideas on child-raising proved to be unrealistic!

  6. HandelWaterMusic*

    Taking advantage of this because I was anxiously awaiting Friday’s work free for all!

    My coworker put out a cardboard box to collect pads and tampons for a local program that provides sanitary products to women without housing. She put it underneath a whiteboard on the wall, and drew a cute cartoon uterus with a smiley face and details about the collection.

    One of our HR staff erased it and told her it was inappropriate. Coworker feels really shamed over it and no longer plans to do the collection as a result.

    Necessary details: the whiteboard IS quite central in the office (but hence why it seemed like a good spot for the box) and no one knows if this was from our HR head/dept, or just the individual HR woman being personally offended (she does have a reputation for being out of touch and saying things that while not quite racist/sexist, veer far too close to that line for my comfort). Our office is pretty fun and progressive, but we are a local non-profit so donors, city officials, etc. visit from time to time.

    Wanting perspective: do you think a smiling uterus is office inappropriate?
    If not, how would you handle this situation?

    1. Asenath*

      I don’t think I’d draw cartoon body parts on any poster at my job, perhaps especially not something associated with reproduction (and “private parts”) like a uterus (as opposed to a hand or a face or an entire cartoon person). Now, probably half of the people here would love a cartoon uterus, working in clinical fields as they do, but the other half, plus the occasional visitor, well, I don’t know their response and I wouldn’t take the chance of causing embarrassment or offense. I’d still do the collection and use text for the information – maybe a cartoon woman or something to draw attention to the poster. If there was opposition to the collection itself, which would be a different issue, I’d check my employer’s policies on collections at work. My workplace allows boxes to hold various charitable donations, especially this time of year, but I’m pretty sure some don’t.

    2. Fikly*

      Did they erase the cartoon uterus or the whole thing? And what was coworker told was inappropriate, the cartoon or the collection?

      I’m fine with all of it. And I don’t think the uterus should be counted as any different than any other internal organ. Which is to say, if they’d be fine with a cartoon heart, but not a cartoon uterus, that’s a double standard. Also, it’s a cartoon, so it’s not graphic.

      I’m a huge fan of this type of collection! Women/teens who are inpatients in mental health units are hugely lacking in basic hygiene supplies as well.

      I would ask why it was inappropriate. And if they have any answer that isn’t based in sexism or ewww, women are gross, I’d be shocked. But because this is so important, I might decide to play by their rules if all they object to is the cartoon. And definitely go to head of HR on this, maybe couched as “I just wanted to check about x”

    3. epi*

      Caveat that I work in public health, but no, I would absolutely not find a cartoon of a uterus offensive. Your HR person was wrong to take it down. The uterus is an internal organ. A cartoon of it is nothing like a picture of external genitalia that could be considered sexually explicit. In fact, a cartoon of the uterus is the logo of the “Protect Your Privates” campaign to fight ovarian cancer. They’re common in public health messages where they’re relevant.

      Sexualizing and stigmatizing women’s body parts contributes to the problem your coworker was trying to address with her very thoughtful collection. Lack of access to menstrual products and the privacy to use them is a serious problem for vulnerable women, girls, and other people who menstruate. Certainly, I would call your HR rep’s action out of touch and sexist. It had a stigmatizing effect on your coworker and a material effect on the people she was trying to help.

      I hope your coworker decides to continue to support this cause, either through this collection or in some other way. I think it is important enough to continue, even if she chooses not to fight over the cartoon and just privately know that she is in the right here.

    4. Nother view*

      People with reproductive issues (infertility, cancer, hysterectomy) may not want to look at a smiling uterus. It’s not necessary to the message, so let it go.

      1. Coffee Cup*

        I mean this kindly and absolutely not in a confrontational way, but if those people with fertility issues are at such a point that a smiling cartoon uterus is a problem, they really need to get help, and I would argue that that level of accommodation should not be expected anywhere.

        1. Wells*

          Agreed. During my four years of struggling with infertility, I reacted very strongly to many things in the workplace. A smiling uterus associated with a donation call of this kind would not have even pinged my radar.

    5. Chaordic One*

      Your HR person is wack!

      While I don’t believe the cartoon was inappropriate, your coworker should certainly not feel shamed. Indignant, perhaps, but certainly NOT shamed. It sounds like very worth-while program and it is sad that your coworker allowed this HR person to interfere with it and with her participation in it. I hope you can persuade her to continue with the program (sadly without the cartoon) because it really is something that is needed.

    6. Meepmeep*

      I don’t think it is inappropriate. Would a smiling liver or lungs be inappropriate? I’d push back on this and ask exactly what is inappropriate here. The fact that it’s an internal organ? I guess Valentine’s Day hearts are out. The fact that it’s all about women and periods and yucky things? That would make me go hmmmm.

      1. fposte*

        I don’t know if the HR person was insufficient in explanation or your friend give you the short version. If it’s the first, your friend could definitely follow up with HR to say “Hey, just wanting to clarify–are you saying the collection itself is a problem, or you just preferred a different way of advertising it? Is there a way you think I could make this happen and get the blessing of the company?”

        Maybe it was the uterus that pushed her over the edge, but there are a lot of offices where you couldn’t individually decide to do a drive that allowed you to collect stuff in central office space without departmental authorization. You’d announce the collection over email or Slack and then the collection and any body parts depictions would be in your own space. If this is that kind of office, this may have been HR’s version of a grudging compromise.

        1. Anon Here*

          I agree. She should have either gotten permission first or put the box by her desk and sent out an email about it (maybe also with permission first). She approached it the wrong way and then over-reacted. She should have just apologized and asked where a better place for the box would be.

    7. whistle*

      I have no problem with a cartoon smiling uterus. I also think it is ok for a workplace to request that a central whiteboard not have a cartoon smiling uterus on it. The collection itself sounds awesome and I hope it can continue.

      Agreeing with fposte’s advise and assessment.

      (For the knitters around, knitty has a fantastic stuffed uterus pattern. I made one for a friend, and it turned out great! It also promptly turned into a cat toy. Of course it did.)

      1. FabJob Tag*

        Of course! I had put my most expensive piece of jewelry on a table while getting ready and my cat found it and — new cat toy! (Discovered almost immediately, no damage was done to either jewelry or cat.) It reminds me of that funny meme about if the world really were flat, cats would have pushed everything off by now!

    8. fhqwhgads*

      I don’t think a smiling uterus is inappropriate but I agree with others who think this needs clarification on whether the HR person was saying the cartoon itself was the inappropriate part, or the whole thing. Everywhere I’ve worked has policies against doing this sort of thing without explicit advanced approval. So the drive itself would’ve been a problem, not because of the drawing or the nature of the drive. In other words: you can’t just set this up without clearing it first. If that’s what the eraser person meant – but communicated it poorly, then it’s a valid point. If her complaint were literally about the drawing, that’s silly.

    9. Eeeek*

      The drive itself is not inappropriate but the cartoon is. We all know where periods come from! (Hopefully!)

    10. FabJob Tag*

      Wow, HR person could have done this in a kind non-shaming way. She could have acknowledged coworker for doing an awesome thing and said the cartoon uterus might be too much for some visitors so let’s do something like X instead to draw attention. Why does that HR person continue to work in your pretty fun, progressive non-profit?

  7. Loopy*

    We will do laundry one morning exactly half way through, so I’m feeling much comforted by access to laundry!

  8. The Other Dawn*

    I scheduled myself for an MMJ evaluation with the pain management doctor at the orthopedic practice. I’ll be going in a couple weeks. I really hope my condition qualifies. The Percocet is great pain relief, but I really don’t want to live on it until surgery in the springtime. I’d rather have an alternative. I also don’t like the increased tolerance to the Percocet and the physical dependence.

    In other news, the tenants moved out finally. They left behind a mess. I have a lot of deep cleaning to do and stuff to bring to the dump that they decided to leave behind. Big stuff, like a bed and some other furniture. They also ran the oil tank dry and the furnace won’t go on, so we’ll have to have it serviced. It could have been worse, I guess. At least now I can move on and sell the house and never think of it again.

    1. Mainely Professional*

      Most states with legal med have doctors who basically make their living doing evals. For $100 you are guaranteed to get a card.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        He’s part of the practice and this is only one of the things he does. A majority of what he does are pain management procedures, which I’ve had already.

    2. Venus*

      So happy for you that the tenants are out!

      They were going to leave a mess whenever they moved out (because they are non-paying assholes), so at least they went now and not in two months. Best of luck with cleaning everything up and getting it ready to sell.

    3. Seeking Second Childhood*

      An oil furnace needs to have the line purged of air, probably 15 minutes. Not a bad idea to have service done anyway–when we were buying, we liked seeing it on a seller”s maintenance checklist.
      (First year in the new house we ran out because the gauge is adjusted funny, and had a delivery delay that had us running on diesel…my husband did it himself after the first time.)

      1. The Other Dawn*

        We stopped by last night since SIL’s house is at the top of the street. Luckily we got it running. But yeah, we have to have it serviced.

    4. Analytical Tree Hugger*

      If the furniture is in decent condition, places like your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore will pick it up for free and you can get a donation tax write-off (at least in the United States).

    1. Thit'se Man, Becky Lynch*

      If people actually used Linkedin to look for jobs…

      That’s why we stopped bothering with it. Traffic was awful. But that’s possibly regional and industry based of course.

      All my blasts pointing me to job ads show very few applicants for everything listed. Despite some appearing pretty old postings!

      1. Holly*

        Ooooh really? That’s interesting to hear! I’ve pretty much only been using indeed and LinkedIn to look for jobs.

    2. T. Boone Pickens*

      For me, it’s just cutting through the clutter. There are soooooo many bad recruiters that spray and pray on LinkedIn with absolutely awful messaging. Seriously, there is so much useless crap on there. Thankfully (for me) I recruit in a sector that isn’t as heavily saturated so I do ok with LinkedIn. I just make sure I create a strong value prop and have a clear reason why I’m reaching out to connect with someone whether it’s via Inmail or a video message once I’m connected. You’ll never catch me sending a cookie cutter message, I always personalize my message.

  9. DrTheLiz*

    Loopy’s packing thread reminds me of my Worst Packing/Wardrobe Malfunction, which seems like a fun thing to share! What were you guys’ Worst Packing Choices?

    The scene: my in-laws are visiting us (in Germany, where we had recently moved) the week before my PhD viva (in London, Monday morning). It makes more sense than it doesn’t to drive back with them. So I pack my best suit and blouse, along with some shorts and a bunch of t-shirts so I can spend a week knocking out corrections before going back home. So I take my suit out to give it a quick press… and leave it in the damn hotel. And don’t notice until going back for it would miss the ferry. Cue frantic scrabbling through my bag – I have one semi-formal very summery blouse and one pair of shorts and a pile of T-shirts. I now have between Belgium and London to find a shop open on a Sunday that’ll sell me something formal. Finally found one in Dover, got a pair of trousers that made the summer blouse look more work-appropriate than it really was. Passed the viva. Worst idea ever, 0/10 do not recommend.

    1. Asenath*

      Not packing, exactly – but when I still had a car, I managed to leave a disabled relative’s cane behind when driving said relative to the airport. I managed to get back, pick up the cane from the driveway, and get it to my relative before the flight left, but it was a close call.

      1. londonedit*

        My dad used to travel a lot with work, and he’d hired a car on one occasion in the country he’d been visiting. He got to the airport at the end of his trip, gave the car keys back to the hire company, hopped on the shuttle bus to the terminal, and was about to go through security when he reached for his passport in the top pocket of his shirt, and…no passport. Not only that, no top pocket on that shirt at all. Where was his passport? In his jacket. Where was his jacket? Hanging up in the back of the hire car. So it was back on the shuttle bus, back to the car hire company, and they thankfully retrieved his jacket (complete with passport and boarding pass). Thanks to the fact that he’s always early for everything, he made it back to the airport with plenty of time to spare, but since then he’s made a point of always travelling in a shirt with a top pocket, because that’s just where his passport lives when he’s in an airport.

        1. Hrovitnir*

          *twitch* This is horrific. I have had more than one dream about misplacing a passport, I think I’d have a heart attack if I actually did it.

      2. Colette*

        Years ago, my mom brought my nieces aged 10, 10, and 12 to visit. The youngest plugged in her iPad to charge, and then left it on the counter. We realized that halfway to the airport.

        I dropped them off and raced back home. My mom sent the girls through security alone, then met me at the curb.

        Luckily, everyone made their flight.

    2. Overeducated*

      Forgot my wallet on vacation this summer! Fortunately I was traveling with my spouse and we have joint finances….

    3. Meepmeep*

      I live in San Francisco, in a very touristy neighborhood, so I see other people’s bad packing choices regularly. The poor things think they are traveling to sunny California where it’s always warm and there are palm trees. Then they come here in their shorts and t-shirts and find out that it’s 50 degrees and foggy.

      PSA to potential visitors: it’s COLD here. Bring warm clothes.

      1. I Go OnAnonAnonAnon*

        Ha, that’s the SF tourist tell when they come out to Ocean Beach: they’re in shorts and an over-sized SF fleece or hoodie that they bought on Pier 39 or at Ghirardelli Square, and shivering and complaining as they scurry out of the bus/car, take a selfie with Seal Rocks & Cliff House behind, and jump back in vehicle.

      2. Elenna*

        Yeah, my sister is doing an internship in that area and she definitely did not realize she needed to pack a jacket! Fortunately for her, our mother is flying down to tour Utah with her this week (she gets the whole week off, because Apple) and she’s bringing a jacket with her.

      3. Filosofickle*

        I moved to SF in June (many years ago), from the midwest. I knew it wouldn’t be warm, but I was unprepared for it to be COLD. I planned for sleeves and very light sweaters, figuring that was more than enough, and the rest of my stuff went into storage. Oops. Now I giggle when I see a San Francisco sweater, because some embarcadero merchant saw them coming.

        The weird thing was I arrived during a heat wave. It was in the mid 90s at night when I drove in, the city lights seeming to shimmer in the hot air. Within a few days, I had the heat on and my mom had mailed me a sweatshirt.

        That summer I lived on Twin Peaks and worked in Half Moon Bay. A very foggy intro to the city.

      4. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Hah – husband and I were there in September, we DID pack for 55 and foggy, and it was in the high 70s the whole time and I got sunburnt!

        1. Cambridge local*

          This makes me sound stalkery, but I remember a previous comment from you where you mentioned something your guide said on a Chinatown tour. You weren’t in the group where a load of firecrackers went off right at the end, were you? If so, hello from one of the two English women also in that group!

      5. blackcat*

        I went to a wedding in Squaw Valley one August. It was an evening/night wedding. Being an avid backpacker who had spent a lot of time in the high Sierras, I packed a wool winter coat. At the 5pm ceremony, people looked at me like I bonkers. It was 75, sunny, beautiful.

        6 hours later, I was the only person not huddled under one of the heaters OR getting absolutely trashed to deal with the 40 degree weather.

        Much of California, from Sacramento south, has desert-like air, and the temperature drops far more than people from the east coast realize.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        I go to morning lap swim on my way to work when my schedule allows… after a hiatus I once forgot underwear. I was very uncomfortable going commando to the grocery store , but at least it was only a few blocks from the store!

    4. Elizabeth West*

      I failed to pack any period supplies when I went to the UK in 2014, despite my trip being nearly three weeks long. On the way back, the flight was delayed due to a medical emergency and we all ended up spending the night in Atlanta. Guess what? Yep, Flo showed up and I had NOTHING. The hotel the airline took us to was in a very remote location, and the solitary shop across the street was weirdly male-oriented. Not a pad or tampon in sight. Luckily, the hotel front desk had a stash. I also had no PJs in my backpack (did have underpants) and had to sleep in my leggings.

      And when I went back, I did the same thing again! This time, I caught it before leaving for the airport and was able to run down the street to a nearby corner shop. Now I keep a bunch permanently in the suitcase, although it’s kind of moot at this point, really.

    5. Elenna*

      Scene: I am heading off to a city five hours drive from my hometown, for a 4-month internship. My parents drive me there in order to help me move and enjoy a few days of touristy stuff. At the end, we go grocery shopping (since I might as well take advantage of their car while it’s there) and they drive away.
      About 4.5 hours of packing and web surfing later, I decide to make sure I have everything for the next day and go to bed early. Bag, lunch, wallet… wait, where did my wallet go? Insert frantic searching here. Turns out I left it in my parents car (still no clue why I didn’t put it in my purse like any other shopping trip) and it’s now 5 hours drive away. Needless to say, my parents aren’t really interested in driving another 10 hours to bring it back. Note that my wallet contains a) all my cash & debit/credit cards, b) all my means of getting any cash, c) my bus pass, and d) all my ID, which I need the next day to get a security pass.
      I ended up asking them to send photocopies of the ID and mail my wallet, and then getting up early the next day to walk 4km to work. Fortunately, the security people allowed the photocopies, and my supervisor lent me some cash to take the bus for the next couple days till my wallet arrived. Not exactly the best first impression!

      1. Elenna*

        Bonus packing malfunction: After a couple months at that job, my jacket zipper broke, and my parents happened to be coming up for the long weekend anyways so they brought me a new one. Needless to say, after the above I carefully checked that I had my wallet… and completely forgot my security pass was in the inside pocket of the jacket they were taking back with them! (I used a temporary pass for a week until Security could make me a new one.)

    6. loislolane*

      My fiancé put all his toiletries in a separate bag by the front door with his suitcase. And then left them there. We were headed to my brother’s wedding on a long weekend, and nearly everything was closed – luckily for him we were able to find a grocery store that had the basics before the wedding. He always forgets something but this was probably the worst haha.

    7. Nessun*

      I always forget something – once it was my power cord for my (company!) laptop, once it was medication, once it was pajamas…the list goes on and on. I’m at a point now where I’m always sure I can figure out how to survive until I can buy whatever, but I will PANIC until I KNOW what it is I’ve forgotten. I’ll run a list in my head in the taxi/plane trying to figure out what I’m going to have to deal with, and once I’ve figured out what it is and how I’ll deal, I’m fine!

    8. WellRed*

      I had a big work trip to Atlanta. Stupidly waited till the day before to wash and hang dry my conference tops. Yep, left those behind. Had to take an expensive cab ride to Macy’s to spend even more money I didn’t have.

    9. Sparkly Librarian*

      I lived in the same house from the age of 5 until 18+, so the first time I packed moving boxes was when I went off to college. I paired up the largest cardboard box with my largest collection, which was my books. And my dorm room was on the top floor of a 5-story building with no elevator.

      Then over the winter break my mom took me to Costco and bought me a bunch of my favorite canned soup to take back to school with me. My dad was going to drive me back after the break, but the pass near school was snowed in, so in order to make it back in time I had to fly on short notice. So there I was in the airport, kneeling on the floor shifting soup cans back and forth between two bags, trying to get below the checked baggage weight limit (which, as a kid traveling for short trips before, I had never previously approached).

    10. Jackalope*

      My first ever trip off my native continent I was traveling for a week or two with my high school French club to France and I was afraid I would forget something I needed. I packed a huge bag with at least 40 lbs of stuff – in particular, I think I wanted to bring my whole library with me so I would never lack for reading material (since it’s nit like there’s anything else to do in France or anything). I then ended up having to haul that bag around the entire trip. I’d never had to haul my luggage so far before (I’d travelled but always had a car to transport things so I was just taking my stuff from house to car to house and not, say, hauling it all over Paris…). It was a useful life lesson that I did not need to repeat. (Or at least, most of the time I travel fairly light these days, and when I need to carry a lot of weight [like when I was overseas and would bring back 30 lbs of peanut butter from my trips home for me and my other American friends, for example], I at least bring luggage that I can toss on my back….)

      1. Hrovitnir*

        Oh, that was some great skimming on my part, I see that was probably not recent. Still, retrospective sympathy and congratulations. :D

  10. JediSquirrel*

    I am making the turkey at my house and taking it over to my parents house later, which means I can watch Bigfoot/crypto videos on my tablet while chopping vegetables and cooking. I am very happy.

    1. That Girl from Quinn's House*

      Yes those turkey-cats made my day!

      I have a turkey costume for my cat (it’s actually for guinea pigs, but I can make it fit her.) She…is not a fan.

  11. Fikly*

    I left my abusive parents in July.

    It’s my first Thanksgiving, as a result, where I am doing nothing. I’ve always loved Thanksgiving. It was never a huge thing, it was really just my parents, my sister and I, but I adore cooking/baking, so it was fun to have the opportunity to indulge that.

    Just a bit weird not to be doing anything. I find myself getting annoyed about the grocery stores being closed, instead, just because I’m out of raspberries. (Not that I think retail workers should have to work Thanksgiving, just…I don’t know.)

    1. Mimblewimble*

      I’m not doing anything for thanksgiving either. My parents are divorced and after last years’ holiday drama, I decided to spend thanksgiving and Christmas alone. No family. I’m ok with that because it means I can relax and not worry about cooking or cleaning up. But I am bummed that my go-to Chinese restaurant is closed today through Saturday. Not sure if I’ll brave the grocery stores today to find something or just eat what I have at home.

    2. Mimosa Jones*

      I get it. You’re only think of your need for raspberries and not what it would mean for you to be able to get them today. I’m sure if there was a way to magic you some fresh raspberries, you’d take it.

      Good for you for getting free. I hope you have many happy and safe Thanksgivings in the future.

    3. Jessen*

      It’s annoying to not be able to get stuff, even if it’s for a perfectly justifiable reason.

      I haven’t talked to my parents since August. (Although my mother still texts me 2-3x a week.) Right now I’m just enjoying a quiet day at home. But it’s a little weird when everyone is all BIG HOLIDAY and I’m just kind of here doing housework.

    4. Meepmeep*

      We are not doing anything for Thanksgiving for a different reason – sick kid with a stomach bug – and I get what you’re saying. We are actually not sure what we’ll do for whatever groceries we are missing at home.

    5. Wishing You Well*

      Today it’s just the two of us and it’s blissfully quiet!
      I am grateful and relieved to not attend the big family event. It’s easier to feel grateful when you’re observing a holiday the way you want to. I hope y’all can do what you prefer today.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        This; I’ve spent many holidays alone. I usually cook something nice for myself (doesn’t have to be fancy, just something tasty) and lie around in PJs all day and watch whatever I want.

      2. Fikly*

        I’ve got nothing to do, really. I’m catsitting for a friend who is away, and between my Celiac, and developing type 1 diabetes this year, I have no idea what I would eat. The number of foods that remain safe for me to eat, between a variety of medical conditions, can be counted on two hands. I’m watching tv and cross stitching, which is my usual free time activity, and then I’ll sleep, and tonight I have work as usual.

        1. Anax*

          Any chance for nice tea?

          Adagio has some nice holiday flavors, and it looks like they’re actually mindful enough of cross-contamination to be safe for celiacs.

    6. Thit'se Man, Becky Lynch*

      Grocery stores are closed where you are??? Woah, even in the backwoods we had ours open until 2pm!

      Mind blown.

      I hope you eventually have your own tradition.

      We’re doing things Saturday due to work schedules. So I’m home today. Watching mind rotting tv with my cat. I am making a Turkey loaf. He will get a cat sized amount as well. (He probably won’t eat it, he prefers to just put his face in my dish for a sniff…gotta make sure it’s safe for human consumption!)

  12. Beancat*

    I tried so hard to avoid my fiancé while he was sick and unfortunately I got sick anyway. I feel fine other than I can’t talk! Oh well.

    Unfortunately he works today, but we’ll have some time for a meal with his family this afternoon between his split shift, which will be nice. I’m bringing a triple layer chocolate cake as requested by the family :)

  13. Three owls in a trench coat*

    I am thankful, believe it or not, for my job.

    Yes, it’s not exactly where I want to be and it’s had it’s share of ups, downs, and difficult co-workers. But reading some of the letters and comments here on AAM has made me realize I actually have it pretty good and I should be grateful that it’s not much, much worse. I’m in the field I want to be in, working full-time with great benefits, and learning while building relationships and trust with colleagues.

    On a lighter note I am thankful for books, cats, and the fancy-ass rolls.

    1. Dan*

      Same. Good pay. Good benefits. Intellectualy stimulating work in a field I want to be in. Truly flexible schedule with WFH. Competent co-workers and a boss who stays off our ass.

      Couldn’t ask for much more, really.

    2. Pony tailed wonder*

      I am into the whole Dave Ramsey thing so I have a full time job and two part time jobs and I am grateful for them all. I really enjoy one of the part time jobs so much that I think when I am debt free and retired, I will keep at it.

      1. Three owls in a trench coat*

        Oh, I don’t joke about food! (Well, sometimes I do).

        I really was thankful for the rolls. My aunt, who hosted Thanksgiving this year, got these delicious cranberry walnut rolls from her local bakery because she knows how much I like them.

    3. Middle School Teacher*

      I am also thankful for my job. 300 teachers got laid off last week, but my school is safe. And our principal got us pizza last night since we were here until 7pm for parent teacher interviews.

    4. Yiminy*

      I am also thankful for my job. I love the work, my coworkers, and my manager. The commute is 10 minutes door to door. The pay isn’t great, but I’m managing.

  14. StellaBella*

    Thank you Alison for the Girl Boss post and in general for this blog and community and your external articles, too.

    Thank you all of the commentariat for your insights and stories and advice and shared ideas and being a part of this community.

    Thanks for another good year of letters and questions and thought-provoking comments.

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone. You all make the world a better place.

  15. Mark M*

    Hi everyone, quick workplace kitchen etiquette question. My office space of ~100 people share one (decent sized) kitchen area with two microwaves. Sometimes if both microwaves are occupied, but one is finished and the person is not around for a minute or two, I will take out their food item and put it on the counter so I can start heating up my food. Most of the time I leave before the person returns to pick up their food from the counter, but in the people I have seen pick up their food, no one has given any indication that they care having found their food taken out.

    So I’d just like to check, would this annoy you personally? Is there a better way I could be going about this?

    1. Asenath*

      People have done that to me once in a while. I don’t think it’s a big deal. If I don’t like it (say, I think it’s getting cold sitting there..) well, I have the solution in my own control. I can pick up my own food as soon as the microwaves bings.

    2. epi*

      It would not annoy me personally. I avoid doing it if I can, just in case, but sometimes you have to move someone’s food.

      My office kitchen is shared by far fewer people, so sometimes if they are still not back and no one is waiting when I am done, I will put their food back in the microwave to keep it warmer.

    3. Lexin*

      I think this is fine, everyone seems to do it in my office where there’s only one microwave for ~50 people.

      Worse is the perpetual issue of the dishwasher – only my admin manager colleague and me (the PA) ever seem to empty the dishwasher or fill it.

    4. Pony tailed wonder*

      I am pretty prickly around food and that would not bother me in the least. I think if it was something you know would bother you then you would stand by the microwave until your food was ready.

    5. Thit'se Man, Becky Lynch*

      Given the time issues you’re usually dealing with, it’s pretty cruddy if anyone leaves and has the audacity to get annoyed by you moving their stuff so you can use the microwave.

      So most people know that’s a possibility if they leave the kitchen and take the risk!

      I wouldn’t care needless to say.

    6. Gatomon*

      Totally fair game. If someone was annoyed by that, my suggestion to them would be to stick around until their food is done so they can remove it promptly.

      My college dorm operated on similar rules in the laundry. There were maybe 8 washers and 10 dryers for an 11-story dorm. If your load finished and you weren’t around, it WOULD get removed and piled up somewhere, wet or dry. I usually hung out there to get homework done and laundry done faster, so I had a 20 minute rule. If your load finished and sat for 20 minutes, and no other machine was available, I moved it. So I would give microwavers a 2 minute grace period and no more.

      1. Lucky black cat*

        Yes this – I do mind this, which is completely unreasonable of me. So, I don’t leave the area and if I do I don’t blame anyone for moving my food.

    7. Koala dreams*

      Yes, it would annoy me to have to either wait or take out somebody else’s food from the microwave. However, if you can manage without getting annoyed, more power to you. I guess it’s no point in saying something if it’s different people every time. Maybe you can imagine that they had to run to the bathroom or take an important call from the hospital?

    8. Blue Eagle*

      Yes, it would annoy me to have someone take my food out of the microwave. Which is why I stand there while it re-heats. If it annoys someone else, then they should stand there while their food is in the microwave and take it out once its done.

    9. Kat in VA*

      I get in before anyone else does, usually about 1/2 hour early. I will go and make my tea in the Keurig, and then get distracted or caught up with an exec when he swans through the door or whatever. People just move the cup and get their coffee or whatever. Doesn’t bother me in the slightest.

  16. Malia*

    So I got a part-time admin job where, during the interview, I was told I needed to use my own laptop. I lied that my personal laptop is slow and only good for browsing and streaming, not doing work on. In reality it’s perfectly fine – I just didn’t want to use my own laptop for work. The requirement to bring my own laptop wasn’t mentioned in the job ad btw.

    They ended up getting a brand new Macbook Pro for me to use – which I discovered is entirely superfluous for their level of tech savviness. For example, I’m required to print documents for my manager to edit/okay, rather than simply inviting her to view and edit the doc on Google Sheets. My manager also made a big show of how they “got this laptop especially for [me]”. No, they got the laptop for me to use at work, to do work. The laptop is not mine.

    I arrived at work recently to find a note pasted on my desk.
    “Malia, please keep your power plug properly. From: James”

    James is the owner of the company. I was confused as to what he meant. Was he talking about the Macbook power plug? Did I not put it away properly? Just as I was going to retrieve it (I put it in a laptop bag and store it in a locked cabinet at the end of the day as I’m told to do), James came in. The first thing he said to me (in a very patronising tone) was, “Malia, did you see the note I left you? Do you know what I mean by it?” I said I didn’t and that I was going to ask him when I saw him.

    I took the laptop out of the cabinet as James watched. Then he said, “See how there is no bulge? You need to separate the two components of the power plug when you put it away, so that it keeps flat in the bag. I went and did that for you but next time you must do it. We got the Macbook especially for you, you know? So you need to take care of it.” Again with the “we got this for you”. I replied, “Ah, okay, sorry about that. I won’t do it again. It’s just that I’m not a Macbook user so I didn’t even realise the power plug had two components that can be separated.” James said in a snooty tone, “Oh, you’re a Windows user.” Yep, I said, as I walked away, secretly rolling my eyes.

    That encounter left me feeling a bit…bleh. On one hand I get it? James being the boss had every right to tell me to care for the company equipment properly. But on the other… I feel like he was being nitpicky? Plus the re-emphasis that they got the laptop “especially” for me just didn’t sit well with me. Like, enough already!

    So, readers, was James nitpicking? Or am I right to feel bleh? I’m not young and this is not my first job. But it is my first job in 1.5 years as I took some time off to care for a family member who was ill. Am I just extra sensitive because I haven’t had a boss for this long? If it is, I’d want to know as I might need to work on taming my ego.

    Looking forward to your input and thanks very much in advance.

    1. otterbaby*

      Nope, I agree that he’s being unnecessarily nitpicky! I can understand his point about putting the charger away properly, but to keep reminding you that they bought this laptop just for you – no, they bought it for the company, so their employee can do work for them.

      If they bought the laptop especially for you, surely they would’ve asked what kind of computer you prefer? But they didn’t, because they bought it in their company’s interest…I imagine when you leave that job, it will come in handy for your replacement as well!

      1. Observer*

        Well, he’s actually wrong about the charger. Sure, you need to take care of equipment properly. But making sure that the cable lies flat has nothing to do with it. That’s just utter nonsense and shows that he know nothing about how computers actually work.

        The only thing I would caution anyone about is making sure you don’t make tight bends in the cable, especially at the junctions. But you don’t need to separate the pieces.

        It’s all of a piece with reminding the OP that “we bought this just for you.” He’s looking for things to prove how SPESHUL they are, how KIND they are, how the OP should SOOO grateful for how nicely they are treating them, and for ways to make the OP “Prove” that they get it.

    2. CR*

      Nope, he’s being an ass, and any reasonable organization would provide the equipment their employees needed.

    3. londonedit*

      So…did he go into the cabinet once you’d left the previous day, check how you were storing the charging cable, and then berate you about it? That seems incredibly odd to me!

      I can also understand him wanting to make sure that you’re going to look after the laptop properly, but there are better ways of having that conversation that don’t involve being patronising or expecting you to show ridiculous levels of performative gratitude because they chose to buy an expensive laptop to use in the office.

    4. Fikly*

      Telling you to do something “properly” without defining properly is deliberately setting you up for failure.

    5. I'm A Little Teapot*

      I don’t know about macs, but I do know a bunch of IT folks and I’m pretty sure they’d laugh hysterically that you’re supposed to disconnect the brick from the power cord.

      At a minimum, your boss is weird.

    6. ten-four*

      Yeah, the laptop is for you to do work for his company. It’s not for you. Less importantly, I’ve had a Mac for nearly a decade, I work at a tech company, and I’ve never heard anyone say the proper way to put the cord away is to disconnect the two components. I suppose it might be some best practice I’ve never heard of, but he’s still being a condescending tool about it.

      Tl;dr he’s being a weirdo. Roll your eyes (privately) and cash your checks.

    7. Marthooh*

      Think of it this way: one of the things you’re being paid for is putting up with James and his fancy-ass power-cord rules. Tell your ego it’s a job skill and you’re good at it.

    8. Mimosa Jones*

      Yes, your boss is nitpicking and doesn’t know much of anything about computers. If everyone else uses their own machine, then he not only had to buy something “for you” but he also spent a lot of money on it. Let’s hope this will all die down once the newness has worn off the computer.

      And no, you don’t need to disconnect the two cords. You do want to be careful about how you bundle up the cord when you put it away. If you wrap the cord around the brick and you don’t leave a little extra cord at the junction between the cord and the brick, you risk damaging the cord over time. It’s possible that someone told him something about the power cord and this is how he’s interpreting it.

    9. Pony tailed wonder*

      James is being officious and nit picky. And it is weird that they keep reminding you that they bought equipment so you could do the job that they hired you for. It’s the standard for employers to do that in my opinion.

    10. Zap R.*

      You’re giving James waaaaaay too much credit here. That level of mansplaining condescension is not okay.

    11. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      You’re a part time admin…and they wanted you to use your own computer.

      That’s absurd.

      James is obnoxious and needs more to do with himself than worrying about a computer he spent too much money on for the task at hand.

    12. Observer*

      Actually, not only was James nit picking, he was being a total idiot. This had nothing to do with Windows vs mac. A lot of Windows laptops have the power cable in two pieces, especially if they sell into multiple markets with different power standards.

      It is also totally not necessary to separate the pieces. And one could even make an argument that it is better not to do so, because insertions are THE thing that is most likely to eventually damage the cable. In fact the durability of stuff like this is measured, in part, by number of insertions it’s expected to handle.

      Not that it’s worth arguing over – these cables are designed for a LOT of insertions, and they are not so hard to replace. But, it does tell you something about the people you’re working for.

      1. Anax*

        Not worth arguing over, but… Man, that’s ESPECIALLY awful advice for a Macbook!

        Macbook chargers are the most fragile ones I’ve ever encountered – the ‘main’ cable is veeeery thin, to the point where there was a class-action lawsuit in 2011. And the ‘wall’ cable tends to get stuck and requires a lot of yanking to get free, which makes it super easy to damage the ‘main’ cable in the process.

        And to make matters worse, the genuine chargers are $80 each. I probably went through six of them while I was in college, with normal, gentle use, just going between classes, my dorm, and the library.

        1. Filosofickle*

          Yeah, actually I’d say the one thing that would be an “ideal practice” for a mac cord is not to wind it up tightly, ever. (Especially not around the little flip-up hooks that come on the brick.) The thin bit is delicate, and the less stress you put on it, the better.

    13. Anon Here*

      Yeah, he’s being passive-aggressive and power-trippy. Here’s my take on these things. At any job, we’re paid to tolerate and get along with our co-workers and bosses (within reason). So you’re being paid to deal with this kind of thing. Is it worth it? Could you or should you find something better? Are there any solutions? Answer those questions and proceed accordingly!

    14. Malia*

      Thanks, all, for confirming that my not-good feeling about that encounter is valid. James has said and done other dumb things before/since and I started casually looking for another job. What does that say about me that I refuse to tolerate over-inflated egos?

      Anyway, I got me a new gig, and I start next week. Not only will my new job provide me with a laptop, but I work fewer days in the week for a lot more pay. New Boss seems very easygoing, whereas I could detect James’s snootiness during my interview. My instincts about people are rarely wrong. So hopefully my new job will work out better!

    15. Akcipitrokulo*

      Reasonable to say how he wants it put away (I didn’t know that was how to do it either).

      Attitude and approach not reasonable. Leaving a note instead of a quick chat – or even an email/IM – is not great. Rest of it is bordering on obnoxious imo.

  17. Just a Manger*

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

    We got a new person in our department a couple months ago. He doesn’t work for me, he works for my peer but our department is small and he interacts daily with my team and I. I wasn’t a fan of hiring him. It’s a senior position and I didn’t feel he had enough experience (only four years total in the industry with short stints in several positions.) My peer (the hiring manager) was insistent on bringing him on board.

    The problem is that everytime this new person talks, my BS meter goes off. There is no way he could have done all these projects and other things he talks about when he worked a few months here, a year there, etc. So far he has done a couple good things but some other things which my team depend on haven’t been completed while he still talks a big game.

    How do I move forward with this? The overall department manager doesn’t necessarily see what I do but she doesn’t have the industry experience.

    1. fposte*

      Turn the sound off :-). Ignore what he says, and focus on his work. There’s work your team still needs from him? Then follow up how you would with anybody. I wouldn’t worry too much about people believing his words over his deeds; that’s not likely to last all that long if he can’t do anything.

    2. Thit'se Man, Becky Lynch*

      The good news is also that he sounds like he won’t be there long. He runs out of BS quickly and leaves within months.

      So look at him as a short term annoyance.

      Also agree with ignoring his blabbering and focus on the deliverables! But seriously he’s not the guy who stays anywhere long for a reason.

      1. Just a Manger*

        Yeah, I’ve been telling myself that his work history is two years, one year, 8 months. Given that he won’t be here long. I’ll take both of your suggestions.
        Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving

  18. bassclefchick*

    This is the first major holiday since my Dad died. I don’t even know how I feel. Sad? Tired? Numb? I don’t know. I wish I didn’t have to spend today with other people. But, Mom wants to celebrate and my husband really likes Thanksgiving. So, I’ll pretend I’m fine.

    1. MommaCat*

      I feel you. My mom died a few days ago. At least, with her long battle with dementia, I’m already used to not spending the holidays with her anymore, but yeah. Sad, tired, numb, and a dash of relief makes up my thanksgiving dish this year. Be easy on yourself if you can, while I try to do the same. Jedi hugs if you want them.

      1. Laura Beth*

        This is also my first holiday without my dad, and my sister in law lost her father as well. She is here with my brother and their kids and it’s definitely bittersweet. I hope you can take some time to be sad if you need to today! Sending hugs and strength.

      2. bassclefchick*

        I’ll take Jedi hugs! Same to you. He was ill and in and out of the hospital for the last 6 months, but it’s still hard.

    2. Sabina*

      Yes this is really hard. Try to offer yourself the same compassion you would a friend in the same situation. Peace to you and your family.

    3. Filosofickle*

      Do you have to pretend you’re fine? Sounds like you want to show up and be present for them, which is good. That’s not the same as pretending everything’s awesome or that you’re not grieving. Your sadness can coexist with your mom’s celebration.

  19. Ihmmy*

    I’ve slowly been rolling out to folk that I use she/her and they/them equally, but that words like ‘girl’ and ‘lady’ don’t apply and shouldn’t be used. Everyone’s great when I talk to them but one person has been pretty… awful about still using gendered titles when she comes into the office (like “good morning ladies” or if it’s just me “bonjour mademoiselle” [I’m in Canada so French sometimes pops up in tiny snippets like that]). I don’t wanna be a jerk about correcting her but it’s grating on me a little for what feels like such a small ask on my part.

    1. fposte*

      Can you ask specifically for what you want? I think group terms are often harder for people to shift than specific pronouns. “Hey, Jane, you remember what I said about my gender identity? When you greet the room as ‘ladies’ that ends up excluding me. Could you switch to a term that includes me, like ‘everybody’?”

    2. Observer*

      I think that fposte has a point, but I’d start with the situation where she is talking to you only. It’s one thing to “not remember” about your when she’s talking to a group. But when she’s talking to you directly, it’s like claiming she can’t see who she’s talking to. That’s pretty blatant.

    3. Princesa Zelda*

      It might also be a good idea to know how you’d like to be addressed in French. If you tell Jane, “It makes me feel ___ when you call me a lady or mademoiselle. When addressing a group I’m part of, please use a different word, like “everyone.” When addressing me alone, please address me like ____.” And if it’s different in French, put ti there.

      1. Ihmmy*

        Yeah I don’t really know of anything gender neutral that’s equivalent to mademoiselle (what she often says if it’s just me in here) or Mx. (the prefix I’ve switched most everything to). French is just so heavily gendered linguistically. I’ve suggested ‘mes amies’ when there’s a couple of us in here, or ‘team’ for English. Honestly just saying ‘bonjour’ or ‘good morning’ is entirely sufficient.

    4. Hrovitnir*

      Oh god, solidarity. No advice, sadly.

      I haven’t ever (and probably will never be comfortable to) requested any change but I am the same. I actually like masculine pronouns a lot but am not bothered by feminine – but I hate, hate, haaaaaate being gendered with titles or words like ‘girl’ or ‘ladies’. Fortunately it seldom happens at work etc., and with friends I can be like ‘no pls’ but. Yeah. I feel you.

      My thoughts on how to avoid gendering people with thinks like ‘good morning ladies’ are just that there’s no need to do that at all (just ‘good morning’ is fine), regardless of the presence of a non-binary person, but I’m aware many people are unwilling to let that kind of thing go.

  20. KD*

    I am staying with my parents for Thanksgiving, who had invited other extended family to stay over a couple days. I am sad because I don’t get to see my parents that often, so I was looking forward to some quality alone time with them. These house guests just announced this morning that they are planning on staying two extra days than we originally thought, and I am sad because they are now leaving the same day I am. Every year in the past, they have always left the day after Thanksgiving, so we just assumed it’d be the same this year… but apparently not. As a very introverted person, I hate having to be “on” all the time, and I am really disappointed by how my entire time here will also have them in the same small space where I can’t feel like I can truly relax. I’m bummed.

    1. Lexin*

      I know what you mean. I was miserable the year my (now late) mother decided to invite some family members for Christmas (we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in my country) and that mean that I had to be ‘on’ the whole holiday. I ended up spending some time in my bedroom, reading, just to have some peaceful time to myself.

      Plus, the family members had a small child, and had bought said small child a drum for Christmas. I’m a very quiet person and oh, the pain! The very real pain!

    2. londonedit*

      Oh, I know exactly what you mean too. I always like to have a bit of time with my family where nothing’s actually *happening*, you know? No other guests, no random people visiting, just us chilling out and doing normal things rather than having to entertain. I was so annoyed earlier this year when I went to visit my parents for a weekend and discovered that my mum had invited a load of their neighbours round for a drinks party on the Saturday. It was fine, but I didn’t know these people and I had to spend my Saturday afternoon making small talk instead of just hanging out with my mum and dad as I’d imagined I’d be doing.

      1. Washi*

        Surprise guests are the worst! I don’t necessarily mind groups, but I have a hard time switching gears when my brain is prepped for quiet small group time, and then suddenly there are tons of people I barely know.

        1. londonedit*

          Exactly. I actually really like socialising, but when I’d planned to visit my family for a chilled-out weekend, and then I found out there’d be a whole group of people coming over, none of whom I’d met before, that was quite a gear change!

    3. Jdc*

      Can you and mom maybe just go out and grab lunch the two of you. Or dad. Sorry im a woman and my dad lives in another country so my brain always goes to mom. Lunch or a manicure or something? If one parent is still around to “entertain” maybe you can slip away?

  21. Corky's Wife Bonnie*

    This is the first Thanksgiving in a while that I’m not hosting, so I’m very happy sitting here in my jammies watching the parades. My parents and in-laws are getting up there so I know I’ll have to take over the holidays soon so I’m relishing this relaxing time while I can. I am making a mini thanksgiving dinner tomorrow so we have turkey and leftovers. :-) What are some of your favorite leftover dishes? I love to make turkey soup, turkey Dijon in puff pastry, and of course turkey sandwiches.

    1. Damn it, Hardison!*

      I was looking for new ideas for my leftover turkey, and the turkey Dijon in puff pastry sounds wonderful. Thanks for the idea!

      1. Corky's Wife Bonnie*

        You can find it on the Pepperidge Farm website as chicken Dijon and you can put it in their puff pastry shells. Totally simple and my hubby LOVES it!

        1. NoLongerYoung*

          Thank you for this – I have an extra puff pastry sheet thawed… and leftover turkey access tonight!

    2. Jdc*

      Turkey salad sandwich. I also did the moist maker turkey sandwich from friends. Found it in Pinterest. I get why Ross was so mad. So good. We didn’t cook but found a turkey for 50 cents a lb and any meat that cheap is coming home, so I made a mini thanksgiving last week.

  22. Holly*

    I really appreciate that this website/free-for-all is here. I am surprised that it exists! Are there any other sites that exist where there is this kind of positive forum every day?

    1. Chaordic One*

      From time to time I’ve found some interesting conversations on various Reddit threads, and there are a couple of other sites I visit regularly that have interesting conversations related to narrow subjects, but I’ve never found any other site as consistently fun, interesting, thoughtful and helpful as this one.

      Today especially, I’m thankful for the people who post here and for Alison for doing the heavy-lifting of keeping it moderated and up-and-running.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Free for alls are pretty common on forums.

      But positive isn’t necessarily how I’d categorize them? It’ll depend on the reader base and administration.

  23. Asking for a Promotion and/or Raise*

    I basically have two concurrent and related issues.

    First, I was hired 15 months ago and have not received a raise or even adjustment. Not because of anything wrong with me, but because my company is a mess and doesn’t have a procedure in place for regular reviews and raises. My manager claims there will be reviews and raises in March. Personally I don’t want to wait that long, partly because it’ll be a year and a half from my hire and partly because my company always does things later than they say they will.

    Second, I’m the data manager, which is the most technological role at my company. We have an IT vendor, but there s no person at the company managing the vendor and ensuring our tech works. Projects always get bottlenecked because the vendor basically needs approval from the CEO for everything. I want to take managing the vendor over, partly for increased responsibility, partly because the company needs me to do it. Our IT systems literally don’t function right now. Basic stuff like computers auto-locking aren’t put into place, we don’t have a common drive, etc. It’s a mess.

    So my question is… how should I navigate the two? If my boss agrees to #2, should I treat it like a promotion and request a significant raise? Do you think it’s worth fighting for a “Senior Manager” title if I take on this role? (I’m not totally sure if I want to stay at this company for long, so a title promotion would really help demonstrate the increased responsibility.) Or should I request a raise based on my work of the past year alone?

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      If they’ve told you they do adjustments in March, you may come across poorly asking before that if nothing changes first.

      However if you are given extra responsibility, that’s always as good time to bring up additional compensation for the role. So first ask to increase your duties and then ask about what that added responsibility will mean for your salary.

      But if you’re given a raise before March, they’ll most likely skip over you come annual adjustment time. Or your March increase may be low to the point of possibly offensive.

    2. Gatomon*

      I wouldn’t think #2 would be a promotion-worthy change at the outset. It sounds like the CEO is the only person the vendor knows is authorized to approve changes and/or charges on the account. That’s just a simple administrative change. If you can get authorized with the vendor and then start pursuing some of those needed security and IT improvement projects, the results of that would be something you could use during a promotion conversation. But your company is likely going to want to see results before they give you a big raise.

      Another thing to consider is what the budget is. If the company can’t afford to pay the vendor to make environment improvements, then not much will change as a result of this, unless you want to take on the role of sysadmin and get rid of the vendor. (I don’t really see that as a path to more money or a promotion either – most places will be looking to save money with that kind of change, not transfer the vendor spending to your paycheck.) Budget is the number one issue we run into for managed clients at my company, and a big reason why we’re pushing new contracts with flat monthly charges instead of hourly. We have clients who pay nothing for years because they won’t approve any changes or improvements, and then get slammed with massive charges when they inevitably get cryptolocked.

      Finally you will also need to convince them that they need a shared drive, auto-locking machines and whatever other changes you are considering, or this all dies on the vine. Management buy in is critical and where you need to start at. Users tend to flip their lids when things like changing save locations or auto-locking are implemented, but if you can get management to see the serious risks of being cryptolocked or document loss due to hardware failure, they will be insulated against anyone who puts up a fuss. And if you take on this responsibility but there are no results, well there’s no real incentive for them to pay you more.

      Honestly it feels like you’re just looking for some way to get them to pay you more money right now. Are you underpaid? If they are underpaying you today, they’re not likely to rectify that now or in March or via a promotion or ever. Your energy might be better placed looking for a company that pays better and has more formalized procedures. (Even my job doesn’t really “do” performance reviews, but we still get excellent raises every January like clockwork.)

  24. Juddddddddy*

    I am learning to code and want to come up with a project to work on. Is there anything that you wish would exist but doesn’t? I’m hoping that I can make something that adds value to at least somebody life.

    1. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I suspect this exists, but I haven’t gone looking for it yet so im not sure. A joint-checkbook register online. Shared access for two or more family members to enter checks, withdrawals, and deposits to joint accounts.

      1. Jdc*

        Oh that’s good! A shopping list. I’m sure some exist but not a simple one like the reminders that exist in iPhone. I’m actually amazed this isn’t a standard preinstalled app on all phones.

  25. Curious*

    How normal is it to stay at the same job/role/company for decades?

    When I was in school, I kept getting told that jobs are changing, careers shift, new technology means new, different jobs, etc. But in my limited work experience (under 10 years out of school), I’ve only seen people stay in their jobs and companies. Both companies I’ve worked at have people staying for 20-30 years, even people retiring after 20+ years, etc. There’s not much movement either: they may get promoted into a senior level but they still do the same role. In my office besides me, the next “newest” person has been with the company for 6 years with many having 20, 25, 30 year plagues on their desks.

    I like the company but don’t want to keep doing what I do for decades. I expected to move around, get promoted, work in different roles throughout my career, but I find this doesn’t seem to be the case. People just stay and do what they’ve been doing for years. Is this normal?

    1. I'm A Little Teapot*

      It varies a lot. Some industries have a lot more movement, some geographic regions are up or down. Depending on local culture that’ll influence it. Some specific companies have lots of people who’ve been there for a long time too. Also, I’ve worked at places with lots of 20+ year employees, but they have moved around within the company.

    2. Lexin*

      I was in my previous job for 27 years. Then I got made redundant due to reorganisations. In that organisation, it wasn’t unusual for a person to be in post for decades – not always doing the same job, but working for the same organisation.

      Same seems to apply in my new place, though I’ve only been here for 18 months.

    3. Nicki Name*

      Yeah, it definitely varies by industry. My first job was at a blue-collar place where the monthly announcement of work anniversaries sometimes included 40-year ones! At more techie companies I’ve come across occasional people with 10+ year tenures, but they’ve definitely moved around a bunch in that time.

    4. A tester, not a developer*

      I’ve been with my (large) company for over 20 years, and I’m hoping to stay 5-10 more so that my pension is fully vested. I haven’t stayed in the same role or business unit during that time though, and I have been promoted several times.

      I do know people who’ve stayed in the same specialized role for decades though. Personally, I’d lose my mind…

    5. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      It varies depending on industry but also personal choices.

      I have a few “lifers” but the other positions rotate.

      My parents worked for 35 and 20 (and counting) years for the same labor jobs at their companies. Whereas their siblings bounced around every few years. My auntie still bounces between facilities in her 70s!

      Government or jobs with pensions tend to lean into more long term life leaning individuals.

      You’re never stuck. Don’t base your career on what others choose to do with theirs. Many are happy with little or no change! Others are not. Both are options in the end and you get to choose.

      I’m in the middle. I started out assuming I would be my parents. Nope. But I’m not a nomad either, I like to stay for a few years at least or until “my time here is clearly done” settles in.

      My brother is like our auntie. But he manages kitchens. That’s absolutely the norm in service given the constant options and networking. He gets itchy feet.

      1. Resents Feeding Everyone*

        Thanks for the assurance that I’m not stuck! I think that’s what I needed to hear. I’m seeing all these lifers around me, and I’m thinking, “Is this what I should strive for: find a good job and just hunker down for benefits and rewards for years of service instead of moving around and starting new?”

        There was recently one management opening that all the supervisors here applied for. All are super qualified in different areas, but only one got promoted because she had direct experience with X, which the company needed. The rest of the supervisors are bummed. If I were them, I’d want to leave and find another better opportunity, but they’re probably thinking their years of experience here won’t mean the same elsewhere.

    6. Filosofickle*

      Yeah, mileage varies. My first career lasted about 12 years. Then I shifted to a related field, been in that for 10+. I’ll probably shift one more time. In the places I worked, there wasn’t a lot of room to grow, so it was normal for me to change jobs to move up. And, besides, I’m antsy that way. I say that to acknowledge my bias towards shorter tenures, so you should take this next bit with a grain of salt. My observation is that once people stay in one place past a certain point (maybe 10 years?) it becomes harder for them to get out. For reasons like they’re only learning one company’s way of doing things, they earn extra PTO they don’t want to give up, or their work is limited to one sphere. This is not always the case, of course. But I’ve seen friends in stable jobs eventually feel like they’re in handcuffs.

    7. Pennalynn Lott*

      The Fortune 5 company I’m at now has several 10-, 20-, and 30-year employee anniversaries at each quarterly global department meeting. But no one in my immediate team (20-ish people under one VP) has been with the company for more than 7 years. And even they are on their 3rd or 4th (or 5th) role within the company.

      I’ve been here going on 6 months (for full-time, with a 5-month, part-time internship beforehand) and I’m already interviewing with other companies for a similar, but more senior, role.

      Prior to this, I was in IT sales for 20+ years and worked for 9 or 10 different companies. No one in sales stayed anywhere for more than 3 years.

      Which is all to say that, in my experience, “lifers” aren’t the norm.

    8. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Duration =/= stagnation.
      I’ve had a similar title for 20 years (Cat Herder to Senior Cat Herder), but my actual role has changed drastically many times over the years. If they’d changed my title for different roles, I’d be on my 10th or 12th title. Every time I started to get bored, something new came up.

    9. Jdc*

      My mom has. She’s had three jobs ever. She likes it, is pretty much the highest paid person in her industry at this point and only ever moved jobs due to moving states. If it works, do it.

  26. Kumquat*

    I’ve been in my job for 6 months and am seriously questioning it. I have to work with “Fergus”. Fergus was recently made Assistant Manager. I work on Teapot Orders and Fergus is in charge of Shipping Teapot orders, so we have to work with one another.
    We had to work on a huge order for another department and the manager complimented us and told my boss that we did a great job, which is a major compliment. I was proud and happy. My boss told Fergus that the both of us work well together.
    That seemed to upset Fergus somehow because he responded by saying, “I don’t see Kumquat that often. I’m in the back and she’s out here…”
    I don’t know if he’s just a “lone wolf” type or just doesn’t want to share the credit, but I’m a little hurt. I’ve always been nice to him. I thought we got along well, but now I’m not so sure? Fergus is mainly in the back joking with the guys and likes to flirt with the 20-something interns, and I like to focus on my work, so maybe we’re just different personalities?

    Am I overreacting? Any advice? Has anyone worked with someone like this?

    1. fposte*

      Or maybe he’s being literal–it sounds like he *doesn’t* see you that much–or maybe he had an oops moment. Did he seem upset, or did he just neutrally say “I don’t actually see her that much”? It’s possible you’re drawing an emotional landscape for Fergus that doesn’t match what he feels.

      One possibility is to check in with Fergus–“Hey, I was surprised by what you said when Boss complimented our work, since I had thought we’d worked together well on this and your response made me wonder. I hope if you have concerns about my work you’ll bring them to me, but in the meantime, would you like to have a quick post-mortem to see if we could improve in future?” Note that this isn’t about Fergus liking you–that’s not something you get to press for in a workplace. This is about whether you worked together effectively. Maybe he covered for you in ways you don’t know, for instance, so this would be a chance to explore that.

      Additionally, you say you’re “seriously questioning” your job. Is it over this comment alone, or have there been concerns you don’t mention? Questioning a whole job over this would seem a lot, and it would make me wonder if this situation hit on some existing insecurities or concerns.

      1. Kumquat*

        I’m questioning the job on other factors as well- (I didn’t list them because the post would be way too long.)
        There’s high turnover in the company, there’s 6 months-1 year backlog of work from the previous person, general office gossip/drama, negativity, swearing, and other stuff as well. I look forward to Fridays and dread Sunday nights, etc.

  27. Gaia*

    I’m telling you all right now I am THANKFUL to be on meds for my anxiety because I’m LIVID with my family right now.

    My Uncle is my favorite relative outside of my immediate family. We aren’t close in a traditional sense, but I love him dearly and I always enjoy seeing him on the holidays. Two years ago he got married to a woman that most of the family doesn’t like for reasons no one can really explain. I don’t know her well, but she makes him happy so she’s good in my book. I found out today he was told to leave her at home or not come to Thanksgiving. So he’s not coming. I am not happy. He lives on the same block so I’ll be going there today to spend some time with him but it won’t be the same. And it isn’t right.

    1. Elizabeth West*

      Gah, that’s terrible.

      I can’t blame him for not coming. I would be very upset if my family pulled such a crap move on my spouse. I’m glad you’re going to see him, and this will be a good chance to get to know her better too.

      1. Gaia*

        Agreed. I look forward to getting to know her better and I made it clear it was completely correct for him not to come given the circumstances. I’m not mad at him for this. They’re being mistreated.

    2. Lcsa99*

      I hate when people totally forget the spirit of Thanksgiving and pull stuff like this. I am so sorry. I wouldn’t blame you if you blew off thanksgiving and just spent the day with the two of them, or told him to just bring her anyway. Sending virtual Turkey hugs to all three of you.

      1. Gaia*

        I wish I could have but that would have turned into a bigger Thing. Instead I’m headed there now for our and general merriment and leaving the cranks to clean up.

    3. Observer*

      That’s pretty wild. What did they expect – that he would actually come without her?!

      Unless there is something REALLY big that they are not telling you, your family is a mess.

    4. Filosofickle*

      There are reasons to disallow people — when they yell, steal, get trashed, insult people, bring cheap-ass rolls, shit like that. But otherwise you do not get to demand they leave their spouse at home. That sucks.

      1. Gaia*

        Yep. One of my cousins is not allowed because he stole very valuable items and has never apologized. That’s fine. As best I can tell with my uncle’s wife, there is some vague idea that she’s with him for his inheritance (which is nothing amazing) even though there’s no evidence of that.

      2. FabJob Tag*

        OMG I’m LOLing at “bring cheap ass rolls”. I hope rolls jokes will be a thing at AAM for a long time.

    5. Akcipitrokulo*


      They suck. (Assuming no valid issues with her – but would need to be serious not just we don’t like her/think she just wants his cash).

      I am very glad he has you. It must be really lonely for him and having at least one family member who accepts him and his wife will matter.

  28. Lost but thankful*

    This community seems very wise so thought I’d ask for relationship advice!

    There’s this guy that I really like, who also feels the same way. He’s expressed a desire to date me, but I have refused. My head (and maybe my gut?) is telling me he’s all wrong for me and it will end in flames, but my heart feels really strongly for him. Sorry for the cheesiness.

    I don’t know what to do. Background about myself: I’m very, very private and independent and don’t need a partner to complete my life. I really like the single life but would date if it’s the right person. The thing is, I’m perfectionistic and idealistic, so what if my expectations for “right” are too much? How do you know of they are?

    Background about him – he’s the first person ever whose mind has seriously intrigued me. I’m very introverted, but hours and hours can go by with him and me just talking about anything and everything and being in each other’s presence, off in our own world, and I would not feel tired at all. He makes me laugh and think and excited. He makes me want to grow in areas where I’m weak. He makes me want to experience the world together.

    At the same time, I see flaws. I wish he was a little kinder and thoughtful. I wish he had higher self-esteem. I wish he was less self-absorbed. I wish he didn’t flirt with women and date SO MUCH (although to be fair, I’ve refused him and said I just want to be friends – so do I have the right to judge?). I wish he tried to understand me more.

    I see the good and bad and still like him. I catch him looking at me sometimes with this expression – and I can tell he has some strong feelings. But I’m scared of trusting, of being vulnerable and intimate, and now as I’m typing I feel like I understand more now lol. Ok so if you’re still with me so far, Random Internet Stranger, I apologize for rambling and thank you for your time. So what do you think?

    1. Washi*

      Can you go on a date and see how it goes? It seems like there should be more options between “not date at all” and “we immediately get into a serious relationship and it goes up in flames.”

      1. fposte*

        Agreed. It’s easy to overweight the significance of a date, especially if you’re not a big dater. But they would allow you to get to know him better, maybe to do some fun stuff you wouldn’t otherwise do, and to get a better sense of what you like in relationships; they’re valuable even if you decide this guy isn’t for you.

        1. Lost but thankful*

          @Washi and @fposte – haha you’re right, I’m getting ahead of myself! I tend to look at the possible sequence of events, but as The Man, Becky Lunch said, I should be taking steps, not leaps, and worry less about the stories I’ve made in my head.

    2. OperaArt*

      Go on a date doesn’t necessarily mean the start of a serious relationship. Go on a first date. See how it goes. Decide from there.

    3. Laura Beth*

      I think the biggest question here is, do you think he’s willing to try and capable of working on improving with some of the things that are bothering you? Everyone has flaws, but not everyone is willing to admit it and address the way their flaws affect other people. And the things that are unlikely to change, can you see yourself coming to accept them as just a part of a person you care about? Increasing self esteem is a struggle for a great many of us, so that flaw is unlikely to change much. Him not trying to understand you more could be a big one. Do you think he’s interested in doing that, but doesn’t know how? Or do you think he just wants or expects you to be a certain way and isn’t interested in discovering that you are a different way? One is worth giving it a shot, one is a giant red flag.

      I will say that I’m currently in a relationship with someone who is loving but not particularly thoughtful, who has low self esteem, and who can be very self-absorbed (he very frequently monologues for entire “conversations”). It’s been a struggle at times and something we’ve talked about. But he makes an effort and is always willing to apologize, which makes a world of difference.

      Another question for you to consider is, is a relationship that doesn’t end in marriage/spending a life together one that is still worthwhile to you? Some people don’t see the point in being with someone they don’t think they could stay with for a significant amount of time, but some feel that the experience of loving and knowing someone, of having that openness and vulnerability for a time, is worth it. Maybe you’ve done that in the past and don’t want that again, which is completely understandable. But if you haven’t thought about if you would ultimately be glad you spent time with him even if it didn’t last, then that’s one I would ponder as well. Things with my boyfriend are unlikely to end in marriage, and due to a lot of things other than the flaws mentioned above, it’s possible that our relationship will come to an end sooner rather than later. But I am so thankful for the time we’ve spent with each other. He’s the first person I’ve dated who has LOVED me, and his steadfastness has been a blessing since my life otherwise has been extremely tumultuous in the last year. I am not sure how I would have made it through without him. So for me, even if we break up soon, it was worth being together while we were.

      1. Talia*

        Yes! Relationships can totally be worthwhile even if they don’t last. I’m going to Thanksgiving with an ex-boyfriend and his girlfriend today (and a whole bunch of other people). We had an absolute mess of a breakup, but at the time we were together, he was what I needed, and yesterday he was over here baking pies with me, and today we’re going to Thanksgiving, and that’s not because we’re heralding any particular change in status; it’s just the level of involvement in each other’s lives we’re happy with. (I mean, possibly all of us being poly makes this slightly less weird, but I don’t think that much.)

        It’s also very, very important not to pigeonhole a relationship into a specific corner– if anyone’s seen the Relationship Escalator essay, it’s like that. Do the thing you want to do, see if it works out, and if it doesn’t, at least you tried and you aren’t forever wondering if you made the wrong choice. (“Make your choice, adventurous stranger / Strike the bell and bide the danger / Or wonder, ’til it drives you mad / What would have followed if you had.”) As long as you’re still enjoying it more than you aren’t, and you’re talking about problems as they come up, you’re still okay– the real trap is getting too caught up in what you think you *should* be doing rather than what you want to be doing.

        1. Lost but thankful*

          Ooh I’ve never read that poem before – I like it and it’s so on point.

          Your last sentence really resonated with me and it’s definitely something I should keep in mind. I tend to overthink (if that wasn’t obvious already :D).

          Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

      2. Lost but thankful*

        Thanks so much for your detailed response! You’ve really made me think.

        Initially he tried to understand me and that is actually what drew me to him. But the more I fend him off by saying I want friendship only, the more he distances himself (understandably so). Also, I’ve been told by other people before that I’m difficult to know, so me not wanting to date + me being super private in general has discouraged him.

        I do believe you’re right – even IF something doesn’t work out, the experience and lessons learned can make that relationship still worthwhile. Thanks for sharing, and I really hope I can have even just half of your bravery!

    4. StellaBella*

      maybe go on 2 dates. If they go well and you still talk openly for hours ask him about this thing you wrote:
      “At the same time, I see flaws. I wish he was a little kinder and thoughtful. I wish he had higher self-esteem. I wish he was less self-absorbed. I wish he didn’t flirt with women and date SO MUCH (although to be fair, I’ve refused him and said I just want to be friends – so do I have the right to judge?). I wish he tried to understand me more.”
      Define kinder.
      Define thoughtful.
      what does he define these as?
      same for other things listed.
      understand what about you, exactly, more? what do you mean? ask him how he sees this.
      I wish you the best. You sound amazing and strong and self aware.

      1. Lost but thankful*

        Thank you! I agree it would be a good idea to have that kind of conversation with him so I get a better sense of his core attributes. And thank you for the well wishes :)

    5. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      You’re spinning wheels right now by choice at this rate. You’re worried about things you cannot possibly know are real or not until you’ve progressed with him.

      You can’t know someone is truly all the things you’re worried about until you allow them to be closer to you. Right now you’re blocking him and any possible growth that could happen.

      It’s a defense mechanism. I have precious few s chance by eliminating them on similar things you’re worried about.

      But when I allowed myself to inch towards the one that finally gave me enough interest to tiptoe into those possibly cold, maybe shark infested, oh no can I still touch the bottom?! waters, I slowly had my fears removed.

      Take steps. Not leaps. Give him room to prove the truth not the stories you’ve made up in your head to avoid what you’re deciding is just a failure waiting for you.

      I’m happy alone too. I’m demisexual and am hard to crack intimacy wise due to not being attracted to people who I’m not emotionally invested in. But I’m another happy with my partner that I eventually let all the way in after a crazy stressful start similar to yours!

      1. Lost but thankful*

        Haha cold, shark-infested waters! That encapsulates it perfectly and I think you’ve read my situation so well I feel kinda exposed. :D

        You’re right, I do need to think about steps, not leaps, and worry less about the what-ifs and unknowns and stories in my head. And I think it’s only fair that I give him the opportunity to prove the truth, whatever that may be. Thank you so much for your advice!

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          You’ll be grateful you did even if it ends up not being a fairytale. It has taught me a lot about myself in the process!

          I literally almost didn’t even respond to my partner’s first attempt to talk to me because my head spun into that wirlwind of “it couldn’t work! He’s 4 years younger!!” and other nitpicking nonsense.

          People say 2 or 3 dates. If you’re like me which it seems like, think more like 2 or 3 months of casual dating. You warm up very slowly. It took me literally a year to get my nerves in check but I’m OTT and so a few months should be enough for others!!

          1. Lost but thankful*

            Haha, I did the same thing (“noo, he’s three years younger!!”)!

            And you’re absolutely right – fairytale of not, I think this can/will help me grow as a person, and understand myself better, and that should be enough.

            Thanks again!

    6. OyHiOh*

      “We” (meaning north american/western european social mores) tend to think of dating as goal driven, results oriented. The way I describe “dating” the man I’m seeing right now is that it seems we were on different paths, met at a cross roads, and like each other enough that we both decided to change paths and walk together. Neither of us is looking for a traditional goal driven relationship. It’s friendly companionship, it’s mutual support, and if/when the relationship get to a point where one or both of us isn’t getting companion/support/something else beneficial, it will be time to turn off on our own paths. It’s a weird way to approach relationship but it works for us.

      Like you, the man I’m seeing started as a dear friend. One of the big things I considered as we eased from friends to dating was the quality of his friendships with women in his past. He’s still good friends with all of the women he had serious relationships with, one of those relationships going back to college years. That was really comforting to observe – that I’m not as likely to lose a treasured friendship if/when the “dating” relationship ends. So look at your friend’s past. Is he friends with past romantic partners? Does he at least speak kindly of them?

      Very brief backstory – I’m a younger widow with school age kids and Neptune is a quarter century older than me. He’s bonded with my kids and my kids like and trust him but we’re at such wildly different stages of life that on the odd chance I want to establish a family-like unit with someone in the future, it won’t be with Neptune. I’ve written a lot about the experience on weekend open threads, for more detail.

    7. Anon Here*

      I’m going to be a contrarian on this one.

      Gut feelings are often accurate.

      Once you start dating someone, even if it’s just one date, things get more complicated and it gets harder to back away. It’s easy to back away when you haven’t dated at all.

      Whenever I have the kind of intensely mixed feelings that you described, it eventually turns out to be a bad type of situation. The “no” side eventually wins.

      It sounds like you only want to date someone who’s really great, and really right for you. So skip this one. He’s partly what you’re looking for but not 100%. You said you don’t feel the need to date anyone to be happy, so keep enjoying being single until you find someone you definitely really like.

      1. AcademiaNut*

        I land on this side too.

        The things you mention – particularly lack of kindness and self-absorption – are for me the kind of things that mean that I keep someone firmly in the friends category, even if they give me tingly feelings and I really enjoy their company. Kindness and thinking of others are really important for me in a relationship, and lack of them tends to make a breakup a lot messier and painful than it needs to be.

        If you do decide to give it a go, do it in the full expectation that he cannot and will not change. Starting a relationship on the assumption that if you can just get him to change X he’ll be perfect for you tends to end in a lot of frustration and heartache, particularly when you’re asking them to change fundamental personality traits. Also – there’s no guarantee that you can go on a couple of dates, reject him, and then reset to platonic friends, particularly if he has strong feelings.

  29. Salary Sally*

    Both my coworker and I talked about leaving, and we had finally discussed our salaries out in the open. I know he’s earning more coz he’s licensed and I’m on the lower level of the chain., but boy I didn’t expect the difference to be that big- like I got half!
    So I felt miserable since, and all the more I want to get out here as soon as possible coz i’m pretty sure my people with the same job as me earn way more elsewhere. I’m was right all along that I was undervalued, I just didn’t know the exact number

    1. Filosofickle*

      One of the biggest cons employers have ever pulled is convincing us we can’t talk about what we earn. Wishing you better jobs ahead!

  30. Quiet as a mouse*

    Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it! I’m often told that I’m quiet. During work, my coworker will often comment that I’m quiet, but does that stand for something else? I’m asking because I do greet my coworkers, we make chit chat, but I like to focus on my work because it is complicated stuff. I’m also the only one in the department that handles this type of work, so I can’t talk to my other coworkers about it because they don’t use the same system. I don’t mind if they chat, but they sometimes see it as they have to be quiet around me because I’m quiet. (When I leave the room or go and talk to my boss, they start talking. They then stop when I return to my desk!)

    This is stressing me out because it has happened in 2 previous jobs. I don’t know if they think I’m stand offish, but I’m just a little more introverted and have trouble connecting socially.

    Has anyone been through this? What did you do?

    1. matcha123*

      I kind of have the same problem. When it comes to a handful of people, we fall into natural sounding conversation that flows well and ends smoothly. With most other people, I speak when spoken to. I do try to look interested in their conversations when they are chatting with each other near me, but it seems that not matter what, I am too quiet for some people.
      The best advice I can give is to smile at people you pass in the hallway and maybe try to have lunch a time or two every month with someone in your section.

    2. Pennalynn Lott*

      I work as part of an audit team of three in a big open room with a bunch of coders. We auditors tend to be heads-down, glued to our screens or on global video conference calls where we have to concentrate because accents and poor connections make it hard to understand what people are saying. In other words, we aren’t chatting with each other (because we’re on separate projects) or with the coders as part of our normal business work.

      We moved into the coders’ space about six months ago. The room was lively and noisy at first but gradually got quieter and quieter as they realized that we weren’t jumping in and participating in their conversations. So I started making a conscious effort to eavesdrop on what they were saying and then pipe up from my side of the room (“Wait. Are you all talking about Central Market? Man, that place is like Disneyland for foodies! I love going there! Have you checked out their olive bar?”) The noise level and camaraderie has increased, and now I feel comfortable bringing up my own random topics and addressing them to the entire room.

      Could you do something like that? Find a way to indicate that you’re not averse to chitchat but just have times when you’re concentrating on your work? Like, maybe on the times you come back to your desk you address all of them with something silly or innocuous? Because I legit walked right into a glass wall on a bathroom break a few months ago when the one on my floor was closed for cleaning and I rode the elevator up to another floor, staring at my phone, and turned left like I always did on my floor but — bam! — there was a solid wall of glass where I would normally expect a hallway. I came back from that trip and announced to the whole room that I’d just face-planted into the glass on the 10th floor and left a lipstick smear that I was embarrassed to go back and clean. I also stand up and invite everyone when I head to the monthly Farmers’ Market that is set up in the parking lot a couple buildings over. No one has come with me yet, but at least I’m reaching out.

      P.S. I’m very introverted and talking to people Wears. Me. Out. BUT, at age 53, I have come to realize that not talking to anyone wears me out even more. So I actively try to take breaks and engage. It actually makes it easier to signal to my co-workers when I need to be left alone to concentrate, and when I need to come up for air and engage in small talk.

  31. Lady Jay*

    Running thread! How many of you did your local Turkey Trot? How’d it go for you? Any fun costumes?

    I wasn’t able to travel home to be with family this year, so while I usually run with 4-6 aunts/uncles/cousins/parents, this year it was just me (!!). Great day, though–upper 30s and brilliantly sunny. I ran a 21.47, which I was pleased with.

    1. londonedit*

      Was that 5k? That’s a really impressive time!

      We don’t have such a thing as a Turkey Trot (what with not having Thanksgiving) but I have a slightly crazy thing where I do a 5k run at 5:45am twice a week, and so far I’ve been pretty successful at roping in other people from my running club to come with me. There were four of us this morning! It was fairly mild (8 degrees C, which from my earlier Googling I now know is somewhere just under 50F?) and we take it pretty easy, so this morning’s run was just over 29 minutes. People think I am insane, but it’s a great way to start the day and it means my evenings are free to do as I please!

      1. Lady Jay*

        Yes, sorry! For non-US readers, Turkey Trots (including mine!) are nearly always 5K.

        Your run this morning sounds delightful–that’s a beautiful temperature for running!

        1. londonedit*

          It was – I started the whole thing up over the summer, when we had a few really hot (by our standards) days. No one wanted to be running in 35+ degrees (we had one day that got up to 39, which is over 100F!) so I decided to run early in the morning (when it was a mere 24C) and recruited a merry band of other heat-averse people. And we all really enjoyed it, and it fits with my work schedule, so I’m trying to keep it up! It’s actually been really lovely seeing the changing light over the last few months – it’s now totally dark but after the New Year we’ll start seeing the skies lightening up again as the weeks go by!

    2. Ktelzbeth*

      I had a huge internal debate and ended up doing the bike ride instead of the run this morning. No one had costumes, but we all had fun and ended at a bakery where we had pie.

      Happy Thanksgiving!

      1. Lady Jay*

        Bike rides (which end at bakeries w/ pie!) are also a fantastic way to celebrate. Happy Thanksgiving!

    3. LGC*

      That’s pretty impressive! Did you place in the top? (For quite a few races, that’ll get a decent showing on the women’s side.)

      I detailed my experience this year below – but on the back end it can be a little bit chaotic. Where I’m at, it’s the same temperature (a few degrees warmer, so 40s and sunny), and…like, it was hectic for me! It was controlled until 8 AM and then suddenly there was a rush of people at the table asking for shirts (like 30-40). We tried to do it as quickly as possible – thankfully, two of my other teammates jumped in to help – and I think after a bit of a hiccup things worked out.

      Same deal with the water. We…kind of misjudged how many people would need water, since the three of us manning the table are all fairly experienced (and to be quite honest I don’t stop in a 5k or 10k unless it’s 80-90 degrees). So when the 25-minute crew came by the water went flying off the table! (Figuratively and literally, since we also got hit by a gust of wind at that moment.)

      As for costumes: one of my teammates wore a full-body turkey costume. I was not surprised because he showed up to our Halloween practice in a hotdog costume.

    4. LGC*

      Argh, the internet ate my comment!

      First of all, congratulations! That’s pretty legit. Did you end up placing?

      I didn’t race today but a few of my friends did. One of them broke 20 for his first time and another broke 18. A third did not PR but wore a full body turkey costume (and ran our 5k and fun run in it). So really, he won the 5k.

      Also, I was not prepared for the turnout. To compare, last year we had 900 register and way less than that show (it was in the teens F). This year we had roughly 1600 between pre-registration and race day. It was wild for a minute.

    5. acmx*

      I did a 5k Trot. It was okay but glad I did one else I wouldn’t have run at all (cold and rainy). Probably do a different one next year.
      Quite a few people had turkey hats and a handful of women had on autumn colored tutus.

  32. Meepmeep*

    Anyone else missing Thanksgiving? My kid got a stomach bug just in time for the holiday, so we are sitting it out at home. Sigh.

    1. Digley Doowap*

      I am. Wifey going to her family while I’m staying home due to my catastrophic tinnitus. The hum of chatter really rattles my head.

      Unfortunately, this is my lot for all holidays. Birthdays. Parties ect.

    2. TheOtherMother*

      Oh, that’s a bummer. Hope your kiddo heals up soon. Someone needs to bring you leftovers so you can have your own celebration!

      I had one Thanksgiving at work this week. Last night, I went to my daughters house for a second Thanksgiving. Today, my son and have reservations at a restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner.

      What I do miss is all the leftovers, but don’t miss all the cooking.

  33. Logical Thinker*

    Date him, see how it goes. While you two are dating, pay attention to how he behaves. Is he unkind to servers at restaurants? Does he look at his phone while you are in the middle of telling a story, or turn to look at any pretty woman who happens to enter the room?

    You may end up positively surprised, and if not, at least you won’t spend your life wondering how it might have turned out. Good luck!

  34. Indisch blau*

    Need advice. We were in Greece last fall and stayed in an AirBnB. Everything went fine, except that apparently the host should have gotten my full name and passport number for his Greek taxes. Now he’s sent a message through the AirBnB message function asking for these. I have no problem giving him my name but I really don’t want to send my passport number through the ether (or via snail mail for that matter). Any advice?

      1. Wishing You Well*

        Agreed. Why would he ever need your passport number? Ask AirBnB if this is normal for Greece taxes.

      2. embertine*

        He probably does – it is definitely the law in Italy that each place you stay has to register you using a form that includes your passport number, and I would imagine it’s the same in Greece.

    1. acmx*

      I stayed at an AirBnb in a different country and needed to give my passport info (actually a image of it). Anytime I check into a hotel in another country, I have to show my passport.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      He goofed up. So honestly I would just ignore the request for the information.

      Other options include a locked pdf file.

      1. Indisch Blau*

        They really do need the full name and passport number of the primary guest. Of the three other places we stayed, two asked for my passport. This guy was our first host. Thanks for the suggestions.

  35. New Job So Much Better*

    Happy Thanksgiving fellow Americans! There’s lots to be thankful for, no matter where or how you celebrate. Or with who.

  36. Super Duper Anon*

    I work at the Canadian office of a US headquartered company. It is so quiet today! Happy Thanksgiving US people.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Some Yankees do. This New Yorker grew up with holiday spreads that included “ambrosia salad” , and mashed sweet potatoes with mini marshmallows on top.
          (Ambrosia : sour cream, mini marshmallows, canned mandarin orange slices, and maybe coconut shreds and/or maraschino cherries.)

          1. 653-CXK*

            My aunt made ambrosia salad all the time, usually with grapes instead of maraschino cherries. It was delicious, especially when cold!

  37. Rose's angel*

    I am super thankful that the job I started a month ago is as awesome as I hoped it would be. Its not perfect but its definitely the right job for me. I hope everyone has a fabulous holiday.

  38. The Meow*

    One of my friends asked me to photograph her sister’s super low key wedding. She mentioned it would be a paid job. (I have an office job but very occasionally take paid photography gigs as a hobby). Then she never mentioned payment again and it wasn’t a biggie so I didn’t ask her for money.

    Anyway, the whole day was just weird. The wedding started MUCH later than the time I was originally told. When I got there the bride’s family was still out trying to do last minute wedding preparations. The bride was standing around in her bra because the make up person forgot their make up kit and had to drive back home to get it. By the time it started I actually had to go into work so I got maybe 5 minutes of the actual wedding before I had to leave.

    Anyway, I heard later that my friend was unhappy about my services. She said I waited around not taking enough pictures. But what was I supposed to take photos of- the bride half nude with dishevelled hair? I did try to walk around and get photos of guests but there are only so many pictures of Uncle Bob I need?

    She also complained it took too long to get the photos back. Yes it did take a few weeks to edit. She knows this is not my main job and I do it late night when I have spare time when my kids are asleep.

    The few pics that I did get were good quality. But after sending it to my friend I did not get *any* acknowledgement. Not even a “cool, thanks for that”. I can see on Facebook messenger she received them all but total silence.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      This is sadly very typical for people who get friends to do photography for theirs or other people’s events. The expectations are all over the place and often completely unrealistic.

      I’m sorry you’re dealing with someone who’s entitled and thinks you’re a mind reader of some kind. I would just use this as a lesson of who she is and reevaluate the friendship itself.

      1. The Meow*

        I emphasised beforehand to NOT expect what they would get from a professional photographer who costs thousands of dollars. But yeah, you’re right…I guess people hear what they want to hear.

        I arranged babysitting for my kids, drove through peak hour traffic, stood around with nothing to do for a couple of hours, took the best photos I could with the limited time I had, then spent several more hours editing them. I don’t care about payment but I feel that deserves at least a quick “thanks for doing this.” I don’t even know the bride and groom; it was purely a favour for my friend.

    2. Not enough coffee*

      Sounds like there was a general lack of communication- there’s a HUGE difference between “hey, they aren’t hiring formal photographers- could I ask a huge favor? Could you bring your good camera and send us any nice shots you get? (And during the reception perhaps grabbing you and asking you to be the one to take a particular shot)” And “hey would you mind being in charge of photographing the day?”

  39. Zap R.*

    Fellow office admins/office managers/receptionists:

    How do you deal with everyone treating you like trash? My coworkers see me as less “colleague” and more “concierge.”

    1. Nessun*

      Stand up for yourself. Be calm, tactful, straightforward and honest – which is to say, speak about the ways that you bring value to the team, and ask for the respect you deserve as a member of that team. (I once worked with an admin who told her boss, You have been very disrespectful in your tone and demeanor. I’ll take this away to do it, and when I come back, I expect you to thank me and treat me like a human being. And he apologized!)

      Also, I recommend Not “Just An Admin!” by Peggy Vasquez – read, and then maybe leave it lying out… But seriously, know your value, and know how to communicate it in a non-confrontational way.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*


      Every single person is doing this?

      Leave. You leave. That’s a nest of ugly souls.

      I’ve never had an entire office treat me poorly. A one off person? They get stood up to. Everyone else has my back. And in the end they’re the ones who will be removed.

      But everyone trampling on an admin is a sign that place is vile.

    3. Fikly*

      They need to learn that you do not mess with the admin staff, because they are the ones who actually make the office run.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        If it’s everyone, then it’s just a general consensus that admins are replaceable and unworthy of their respect.

        They aren’t thinking in the same light of “this position keeps things going smoothly and easily for us, we appreciate them and trust them, etc.”

  40. Resents Feeding Everyone*

    Joined this company and the Social Committee this fall. We had a lot of events this season, and it’s always the Social Committee members that bring and donate food. The events are for open to everyone in the office, of course, in honour of the special employee (ie. baby showers). But I’m annoyed that it’s always us who chip in the time, energy, and money for food for everyone. I’ve brought meat platters and tortilla chips/guacamole before for everyone to share, and meat and avocados aren’t cheap! Another coworker always brings her popular homemade hummus and babaganoush, which she spends her own time and money making big portions.

    Am I being cheap/selfish that it’s always a limited number who feeds the office? I do agree that the time we spend on the Social Committee is voluntary, but it’s beneficial for morale, especially when morale is quite low now. But I don’t like that we should spend so much time and money bringing food for everyone because we want to organize these events to make the office a nicer place to work.

    1. Colette*

      Stop feeding everyone and do something different. You don’t like doing it, and the group does not it.

      Just because that’s what you always do doesn’t mean you’re stuck doing it forever.

    2. Sometimes Always Never*

      First, does the committee want to continue, even if they have to fund it themselves? Seems like maybe not, but it’s good to know where each member stands.

      Second, since it’s beneficial for morale, would the company have a budget to reimburse the committee? The company might not realize just how much money and effort goes into this by members of the committee, and it can’t hurt to ask.

      Third, if company won’t pony up, is there any way to collect from the participants (a voluntary donation). It occurs to me that at least some of the participants might already think the company funds these social activities. (I wouldn’t predicate participation on donation, though, as this would require even more work tracking who gave, how much, etc., and you don’t want to be speculating or assuming about others’ finances.)

      You don’t want your generosity to turn into bitterness, which it could if it continues as is. I think you my need more information from management and possibly from your coworkers to get a better idea of whether this is worth your continued time and effort.

    3. Resents Feeding Everyone*

      I got involved with the Social Committee because I genuinely like getting together with coworkers and organizing social events for everyone to enjoy at work. It’s completely voluntary and it’s on top of my workload. Managing morale isn’t my responsibility, but it is nice to do things like celebrate coworkers’ milestones or have fun holiday activities like Secret Santa. And frankly, I want to help out so it’s not just a few people doing all the work organizing events for everyone. I’m just realizing that other than my time, which I’m happy to contribute, I’m actually giving money that I can’t really afford to buying ingredients or food for events. But I don’t want less people to have to bear the burden of doing or bringing more by not helping out. You’re right that I shouldn’t let my generosity turn into bitterness, but it is a lot of giving.

      And no, there is no budget in the company for this. We don’t get meetings catered, or even stationery like agendas, just generic office supplies.

      1. Yiminy*

        No way would I spend my own money on feeding everyone things like meat and avocados. Omg, that’s a lot of money! If you must bring food, make it snacks, like cheap cookies and crackers.

  41. Sparklingstars*

    Just a little rant. I have a friend with whom I’m feeling like I’m having to do all of the work to remain friends. This is especially true since her child was born almost 4 years ago. I like to send birthday and Christmas presents for him – I don’t have any nieces or nephews so he is the closest thing I have, and I really want to be a part of his life even though we live 600 miles apart. But my friend rarely if ever acknowledges having received the gifts, and then only if I ask her about them. And then she does thank me – but I am so tired of having to prompt her to respond. I know she’s busy and all, but it takes just a minute to send a thank you text, and that’s all I’m looking for. But we’ve been friends for more then 20 years and I’m reluctant to just cut her out of my life entirely.
    Rant over. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

    1. Colette*

      I think you have other options between “send her child gifts she doesn’t acknowledge” and “cut her out of your life”. What if you just pulled back a little?

      It’s frustrating when you’re the only one putting the effort in, but you can’t make her do more. I find that some people have children and then arrange their life around their child to the point of letting everything else drop. It’s possible that over time you’ll drift back to being closer.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I would stop sending gifts. They’re obviously not very important to her for what could be various reasons.

      But don’t stop being friends. You can quietly stop sending gifts and continue to talk to her.

      When the kid is older, try again when they can respond directly! If they are as ungrateful as their mother then stop again.

      You don’t owe your friends or family or anyone gifts. Gifts are just a thoughtful idea wherever you feel like gifting.

      I’m a huge gifter. And I choose to start and choose to stop!

    3. Koala dreams*

      I like sending postcards to that kind of friend. I don’t expect anything back. It’s festive but you don’t need to spend lots of thoughts on what to buy.
      Happy Holiday!

    4. Super Duper Anon*

      Yeah, I would just pull back on the gifts. I used to be really good about sending things on each of my nephews and nieces birthdays and carefully picking out things for Christmas to bring when we went. But they never went to the same effort and barely ever got thanked by either the parents or the kids, it made me so frustrated. So I stopped sending things for the birthdays and while I always bring Christmas presents for them, I don’t put as much effort into picking them out like I used to. I still don’t get thanked, but I now don’t care.

    5. Blueberry*

      I second the postcard recommendation. You could even send them to her child to encourage him as he learns to read. It doesn’t take long for you but it’s still tangible.

  42. Siri says*

    what to say to manager who wants me to manage (who I did not hire) someone remotely who is on the other side of the globe while I am already doing the work of at least 3 people?

    1. tangerineRose*

      Talk to the manager and discuss what projects you may have to postpone in order to have time to do this?

    2. Fikly*

      I would focus on the real issue, which is that your workload is way too high.

      They will find reasons to ignore points one and two, but three is something they should not be able to get around.

  43. Forrest Rhodes*

    To you who’re having a first Thanksgiving after the death of someone you love: I’m sorry you’re dealing with this and am wishing you well; I know how tough those “first holidays without them” can be.

    My dad died on Nov. 29, 2003, which happened to be Thanksgiving Saturday that year. Without him, my mom kinda drifted away from us—gently, and I think happily—on a sea of Alzheimer’s; she died on June 13, 2007, which happened to be that year’s Mother’s Day. I was well into my 50s when I lost both of them (count myself lucky to have had them for so long) but even when a death isn’t entirely unexpected, that doesn’t make it easier to handle.

    For my entire life, at least once on every Mother’s Day—say, when we were giving her friendly grief about her breakfast consisting of leftover tamale pie—my mom would give us a steely glare, put her hands on her hips, and announce, “Mother’s Day means I can do any darn thing I please!” When I got the call from the hospital at 6:30 a.m. that Sunday in 2007, telling me she’d gone, through the tears I had to smile—I still suspect she planned it that way, and she was right: it was her day, for whatever she was ready to do.

    From the time I was old enough to recognize the holiday, I could never predict who or how many would show up for Thanksgivings at our house. Besides my two brothers and their spouses, and me and whatever guest I brought, there were next-door neighbors on both sides and from down the street, people my folks knew from work and church, and assorted other “holiday strays” who’d been on the receiving end of my mom’s usual, “Come join us! There’s plenty of room.” It was almost like those TV commercials that seem so contrived—but every year there would be many repetitions of “Great! We’re so glad you came!” at the front door.

    My family was never financially rich, and all of these gatherings took place in a tiny two-bedroom house that was maybe 800 square feet (including the front porch), but in terms of laughs and friendship and a sense of community? Man, we had it all.

    So now it’s years later and I’m in my sweats and slippers, enjoying a solitary quiet gray rainy morning. My middle brother died several years ago, and my youngest brother and his kids are off for their own holiday weekend, and I’m enjoying having my day to myself. For breakfast I’ll have a couple of bowls of green chile stew (which I made day before yesterday, and it only improves with age); settle in with one or three good books and a cat; and at regular intervals I’ll look out the window at the clouds, relive the joy of those past holidays, and say, “Thanks, Mom and Dad. I’m okay, and you did good.”
    * * * * *
    Apologies if my stories are more than you all wanted to hear, but thanks for reading. I’m hoping each of you has the exact kind of holiday you’re wishing for—but if you’re someplace you’d really rather not be, let me hope something serendipitous makes you smile anyway. Regards.

    1. NoLongerYoung*

      Thank you. it was helpful and thoughtful. Second Thanksgiving since the death of my husband. Not teary, but it’s good for me to hear how others cope over time.

      1. Forrest Rhodes*

        Thank you, Honk. It’s a pleasure to hear you say it. I know there’s no such thing as perfection (and that’s okay with me—have you ever tried to live with a perfect person?), but today is coming pretty close.
        Also, I love Thanksgiving: it’s the only day of the year you can tell someone to “Get stuffed!” and not receive a punch in the nose in return!

    2. Forrest Rhodes*

      Thanks, Jane and No Longer Young, for reading and responding. (I always fear that I’m boring the socks off people when I tell these tales.) And yes, NLY, I’m sorry about your loss, and am certain that you too will get to a place where the celebrations and memories bring good feelings instead of sadness.
      I do miss my family, and others, who’ve moved on to whatever that next stage is—if there is one—and it took me a while to understand that when I focused on missing them I was losing all the joys, pleasures, and even annoyances of knowing those folks in the first place. It seems to me that the best parting gift I can give them is to tell the stories and let them bring a smile, even if it’s a bittersweet one.
      Anyway, enough with the philosophizing. Thank you for the kind words, and yes, I’m having a great day. I just returned from being Emergency Electrician for my landlady, figuring out for her which circuit breaker switch to throw in order to get her kitchen light to work—and no, “electrician” is not remotely in my bag of abilities. But it worked, and as Snoopy once told Charlie Brown, “Every now and then I feel like my existence is justified!”
      Here’s to a warm and pleasant holiday for us all.

    3. Archangels girl*

      It’s not Thanksgiving for me but your story made me want to share one of my own. In April my grandmother and my dad died 2 days apart. My mom went to wake up my dad to get ready for my grandma’s funeral and he was gone.

      In cleaning up the house Mom asked if I would like to have Papa’s Christmas cactus. He had grown it from a little stalk and it is really green and luxurious with over 30 shoots but he had never been able to get it to flower all the many years he had it. He was in poor health the last 7 years of his life. I have a black thumb but I said I’d take it because it was his and I didn’t want to dump it.

      Readers, it is COVERED with blooms and I don’t even know why. When it droops I throw a little water on it, maybe once a month. I have no other plants.

      I just think it’s my dad’s way of letting me know he’s still here…

      1. Forrest Rhodes*

        I love your story, Archangels girl, and have no difficulty agreeing that the cactus flowers are a hello from your dad. I can imagine you smiling every time you glance over and see them blooming.
        What a great gift.

    4. Pam*

      My mom, gone since 2008, shows up in ladybugs. On this year’s trip to Idaho to visit our niece and kids, we saw a ladybug made of scrap metal.

  44. Amber Rose*

    I have a Christmas party tomorrow.
    I tried on my favorite dress and it fell right off again. :(
    The company that made it went out of business. :( x2

    I just don’t know where to get nice dresses anymore. The mall sucks, and I don’t like online shopping for clothes.

    1. Jdc*

      I mean online or the mall are the only options really. Although if it’s tomorrow online probably isn’t. I think you just have to suck it up and go.

    2. NaoNao*

      Not sure if you have a Nordstrom, but if you do, I’d recommend Boden, Eliza J. 1901, and Adrienne Papel as brands. They all carry a standard range of sizes and extended sizes. Nordstrom Rack is even better! they’re doing additional 50% off sale, and they always have a rack of formal gowns/cocktail dresses.

      If Nordstrom is not an option, I’d look at Macy’s. My local Macy’s isn’t terrific but they have a pretty large formal-wear section with Calvin Klein, DKNY, Eliza J., Betsey Johnson, and Ralph Lauren among others. They have plenty of sale options, plus full price as well.

      Other mall stores:

      J.Crew may have a fun plaid dress or sparkle dress.

      Forever 21 might have a sparkly little something if it’s just for one night.

      Express does fancy, sparkly holiday stuff really well.

      Non-Mall stores:

      David’s Bridal

      Nieman Marcus Last Call or other department store outlets

      Upscale consigment stores are a goldmine of cocktail and formal wear, usually

      Tj Maxx and Marshall’s, maybe Ross

      SteinMart might have something

      Good luck!

  45. stuckinacrazyjob*

    I have a work related question. I told my boss that I’d like to move into a different area of the company, and she suggested shadowing. I think she thinks that I mean in a few years, but I already want to apply for a new position within the company. How should I handle this?

    1. Fikly*

      Ask her for clarification!

      Also, does your company require boss approval for transfers, or check with your current boss for a recommendation, or do they just look at your most recent eval? Whether or not I would apply for a transfer would depend on that as a factor.

      1. Stuck In A Crazy Job*

        They do notify your manager if you apply for another job in the company. I hope they don’t use your last review I got all 3s because my boss says I’m still learning the job. It’s been 6 months and I am beyond overwhelmed in my role.

  46. Daydreaming Admin Assistant*

    I’m Canadian, and I’ve never paid attention to the specifics of American Thanksgiving, but I’m surprised to learn that it’s on a Wednesday. Is it always on November 28th (in which case, fair), or did someone back in the day decide to create a super inconvenient holiday? If the latter, do you automatically get Monday and Tuesday (or Thursday and Friday) off?

    1. Daydreaming Admin Assistant*

      Oh wait, I just realized it’s Thursday! Oops! Well, my questions still mostly apply… seems weird not to have it closer to the weekend.

        1. Elenna*

          My sister is doing an internship with Apple and she gets the whole week off, so, uh, that’s another option I guess? :D

      1. Catherine Tilney*

        When Thanksgiving became a national holiday in 1841, it was set as the 4th Thursday on November. The Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock (maybe) on Nov 21, 1621, so maybe Nov 21 was a Thursday in 1941?

        Many offices have Friday off, but many also do not. I’ve rarely worked at a place that has. I took it off this year though, and will be thoroughly enjoying sleeping in while other shop.

        1. Fikly*

          Thanksgiving actually became a federal holiday in 1863, during the Civil War, to promote families that were torn apart by the war having a big family dinner together.

          It was then officially placed on the fourth Thursday of November in 1942, by Congress, in a compromise between the president and Congress.

    2. Princesa Zelda*

      It’s the third Thursday that falls after a Tuesday, for Reasons I guess. Government services are usually closed the day after in my state.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        It’s the 4th Thursday of November.

        It’s “late” this year because the month started on a Friday.

    3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      It’s no more inconvenient than the fact Christmas and New Year’s Day and 4th of July float around the days!

    4. Fikly*

      Well, Thanksgiving is a created holiday, so yes, someone (congress and the president) back in the day did decide to create a super inconvenient holiday.

      Fun trivia: the first Thanksgiving was actually two Thanksgivings, as the president wanted the fourth Thursday in November, and Congress wanted the third Thanksgiving in November, and a decision hadn’t been made when November came around, so people pretty much just picked which one they wanted, and some people did both.

      1. Jdc*

        Yep. My husband works half days fridays so only had to use 4 hours of vacation time and has a long weekend. Wohoo. Oddly I’ve always gotten the Friday after off but he is government and does not. That being said he does get a lot of extra holidays non government dont.

    5. BelleMorte*

      If you think about it, it makes sense since 5 day work weeks are a relatively recent invention. It wasn’t introduced until 1908 and wasn’t standardized until 1926.

      I personally think having two major holidays within a month of each other is asking for trouble. I like how thanksgiving in Canada is in October, that gives us a full two months of buffer time before we have to deal with insane family stress again.

      1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

        Yeah, the timing with Christmas is awkward. I’ve celebrated Thanksgiving with family all of once in the decade since I moved out on my own, simply because I’d rather make one long trip at Christmastime rather than break it up into two shorter trips (with two extra plane flights) less than a month apart. Blech.

  47. Jessen*

    Apparently my plan to rearrange the furniture has met with a snafu. I forgot that the pet steps MUST be next to my desk. I was reminded. Loudly. From on top of my keyboard. On the other hand, the placement of the large cat tree next to my bed has been met with approval.

    You’d think the little brat paid rent with all the opinions she has!

  48. Erika22*

    Work related question (sorry!)

    Does anyone have tips as to how to introduce someone to norms for your workplace/team? Or maybe a better question is how to ask someone to respond more timely to communication attempts?

    Context: I work with several contractors and we’ve just hired a new one. I’m really struggling to communicate with her in a timely way – all of our contractors have full time day jobs so there’s understandably a lag in getting responses, but my experienced contractors tend to reply to emails within a few hours, max 24 hours. With my new contractor I will go for days without getting a response to multiple emails. I had set up a check in to go through some things for an upcoming project at an agreed time, and the day of the meeting she 1. hadn’t yet accepted the calendar invite, 2. didn’t join the video call, 3. didn’t tell me she couldn’t join, 4. didn’t respond to my phone call when she ghosted. Then a day later she responded to my email (asking if then was still a good time and if she was having trouble joining) by saying something about always being free after 3. I can tell struggles to use technology are a part of it, as she’s already had some issues with basic things (she needed to be led to click on a very obvious link on two different occasions) but overall the communication thing is something I’m struggling to address – I’ve never encountered this level of unresponsiveness from someone at work (who was just contracted less than a month ago!) Anyone have advice for scripts?

    1. WellRed*

      I actually don’t think this is salvageable. She’s either unable to do the job, or is simply not doing it. Either way, it’s not getting done.

    2. tangerineRose*

      Can you ask her to check her e-mail at least once a day and/or let her know what the general expectation is for getting back to people?

    3. Username required*

      I can’t tell from your post but have you specifically told her she needs to check her email x times per day and respond to your requests within x days? She may be applying standards from a previous job and not realise what the office norms are for your company. I have a new coworker who does not respond to my email but will do the task requested. They don’t see the point in emailing me to say “yes got your email, am taking care of it” and I equally don’t understand why they can’t simply acknowledge my email, especially when the task is urgent, so I know they’re working on it.

  49. LGC*

    …somehow, I might end up combining “work” and FFA in this!

    Also, Happy “run a 5k to absolve yourself of your sins later on” Day! (Seriously. Thanksgiving is actually the biggest single race day in the US.) I didn’t run – my knee’s been bothering me for the past week – but I did volunteer at my club’s 5k this morning. No one told me that after the past couple of years of ~900 runners, we were going to get ~1600. (For comparison, Ashenfelter – the premiere Thanksgiving race in New Jersey – is roughly 3000, so – a lot!) And that I would be manning the t-shirts AND the on-course water.

    (Also, because it’s New Jersey in November, it was windy. I think I raked at least three people’s lawns just trying to get cups collected. Big ups to Zoe who we drafted in to work the water stop!)

    The work part is…so I also paced the Philadelphia Half Marathon last weekend. (I have also started stanning Dietz & Watson because their booth at the expo was kind of epic.) It went…okay! It’s been the largest race by far that I’ve been a pacer at – Long Branch (NJ) has about 6000-7000 between all three races, I did a small one on Sandy Hook in October, and then Philly has well over 10,000 for the half alone.

    So, I was a bit lost as to how to act! I wasn’t sure whether I should talk more, talk less, or what! Normally, my strategy is…obviously to run on pace, but if I have the chance I’ll provide encouragement to people who might be falling a bit behind. (I could do it in this case because I was one of three.) I’m not that talkative naturally. Since I’ve worked faster groups for the most part (1:30 at Philly and Jersey Shore, 1:35 at NJ), I think that generally works well, but I felt a bit weirdly quiet. (I do try to follow the lead of the group, though.)

    On the other hand, what I’ve tried to think of is that I’m running with people whose ability level is roughly 1:30 for a half. And when I’m racing, I don’t really want to talk too much myself. But I’m good with someone encouraging me. And I feel like my job is really to get as many people to the goal as possible (depending on how they’re feeling).

    I also have a bit of a habit of minimizing things or talking them down – like, if we’re coming up on a hill, I’ll try to talk it down a little bit, since that’s what works for me. But is that annoying to people?

    1. Ktelzbeth*

      I’ve run one race so far with a pacer, a half marathon, and it is my longest race to date. She was super encouraging and talkative, which I really appreciated. I’m mostly an introvert and have trouble talking while running hard, naturally, but listening to her was mostly nice. She left some openings for us pacees to comment, but seemed very aware that we were probably all running our hardest while she wasn’t, so the conversational burden was hers. It was a fairly small race, made smaller by bad weather, so I think only 3-5 of us both started and finished with her. That’s a very conversational sized group.

      As far as talking hard parts down, I think I’d rather just hear it like it is. If you talk it down and then I have trouble, I’m likely to feel bad about myself or incompetent, which is not helpful in the middle of a race. You could mention the next easy thing that comes after the hard thing. “After this big hill, we have a nice long slight decline to recover and make up time,” type thing.

      1. LGC*

        Yeah – it’s actually a bit easier to work with a smaller group. (I had 10-20 at NJ, and maybe 10 at the other. We had at least 50 between the three of us, which was out of my league (especially since I’m pretty introverted!).

        I think it went well? Like, I’m extremely worried about messing things up, but I got a few compliments. (Even after panicking a bit at the start and weaving through the first mile.)

        I tend to say something like, “okay, it’s just a small hill, we’ll be over it and then we get to the fun part.” I’ll work on that!

        1. Ktelzbeth*

          Your example doesn’t actually sound bad, as long as the hill isn’t truly monstrous. I had something much more dismissive in my mind’s ear when you said you minimize. If it is a really bad hill, I’d be fine with “It’s just this hill, then the fun part.”

          I think you probably did fine, as long as you came in on pace and even more so since you got compliments! That’s the job description and everything else is gravy.

    2. Delta Delta*

      I love pacers. I’m a turtle in the back, and I find it really helps to have someone consistent to run near so I don’t get discouraged. (Especially when the doublers are meeting me face-on at mile 9. I get it: they’re better than the slow pokes. No need to rub it in.)

    3. londonedit*

      I think you should just do your own thing, and people will either like it or they won’t! I don’t think you can please everyone with pacing – some people want a pacer who’ll talk and encourage and keep everyone going, and some people just want to get their head down and get on with it. You’re definitely right to bear in mind that people running with you will probably be running at the limits of their capability, so they might not want to talk much, but whenever I’ve paced (I’ve done 65 and 70 minutes for 10k, and pacing at parkrun around 28-30 minutes) I’ve tried to strike a balance between not chatting so much that it’s irritating (I never want people to feel like I’m finding it all so easy-breezy while they’re struggling) but chatting enough to offer encouragement. I definitely talk people through any tough bits on the course – ‘OK, we’ve got a bit of a hill here, so let’s dig deep for this bit, stay relaxed, use those arms – we’ve just got to get to the top and then we’ve got a lovely downhill coming!’ – and I’ve had good feedback on that. I think ultimately what people care most about is that your pacing itself is consistent (can I just say I really, really hate it when pacers go out too quickly to ‘get some time in the bank’ – no, if I’m trying to run a 2-hour half I can’t run at 1:50 pace for the first five miles).

  50. Catherine Tilney*

    When Thanksgiving became a national holiday in 1841, it was set as the 4th Thursday on November. The Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock (maybe) on Nov 21, 1621, so maybe Nov 21 was a Thursday in 1941?

    Many offices have Friday off, but many also do not. I’ve rarely worked at a place that has. I took it off this year though, and will be thoroughly enjoying sleeping in while other shop.

  51. topics for my therapist*

    Oof this is a weird place for it but I need to get this out of my brain.

    A good friend (who is still friends with my ex) sent me some snapchats from hanging out with my ex last night and it has brought a lot of things back. This was a super unhealthy relationship, not abusive or anything but just bad for my self-esteem and it’s still something I’m working to fix 10 months later. Feeling like kind of a screwup for letting it get to me so much. My friend apologized and we’re all good but I can’t help but feel like I should be over it by now.

    Sending good thoughts to everyone, the holidays can be tough.

    1. Jdc*

      Some things just trigger you. I’ve been apart from my ex for years and have zero desire to be with him but he recently got married and I lost my shat. I was just beyond logical upset at him. (Probably because we dated for 15 years and he wouldn’t commit but married someone after a year). Some things will just trigger you. It doesn’t mean you aren’t over him or want to be with him.

  52. Ktelzbeth*

    The conversation about heating water for tea in the microwave vs the kettle was interesting to me, so I’m going to throw a related question out for opinions. I make a chocolate tart for which the filling is basically ganache. The recipe as written calls for coarsely chopping the chocolate and the butter and placing them in a bowl. Then heat the cream with the honey on the stove. Pour half the cream over the chocolate, let sit, and stir. Repeat. By this time, the chocolate should be fully melted. Occasionally, I have not felt like doing it this way for one reason or another, most commonly because chopping the chocolate is a pain. Instead, I melt the chocolate with the butter in the microwave and stir in the cream, slightly heated so as not to solidify the chocolate again. Then the whole thing goes in the crust and in the fridge to set up. Except it doesn’t set nearly as well if I use the microwave as if I use the stove, no matter how long it sits in the fridge. There is clearly a difference in the characteristics of the melted chocolate, but what is it and why?

    1. Clever username goes here*

      I am not at ALL a chef, but I think it might have something to do with tempering. If you overheat something with proteins/fats in it, it won’t set correctly. Chocolate is one of those tricky things that you can melt, but you shouldn’t overheat. Anyone with more detailed knowledge, feel free to chime in!

        1. Ktelzbeth*

          I’d heard of tempering chocolate but, despite doing lots of baking, never read about it until now. Even though I found a site that explained it in very simple terms, the whole thing is so complicated I’m almost afraid to ever make anything again. You can both overheat it and underheat it!
          Fortunately, I prefer the stovetop method for melting chocolate in general and the recipe as written always works, so I’ll try not to worry too much. Thank you!

    2. Ktelzbeth*

      Now off to work on a flourless chocolate cake (the tart went last night) and then the quiche whose crust is resting in the fridge already. Did I mention I like to cook and bake?

  53. Seeking Second Childhood*

    The room we usually use at my MIL’s home was rearranged to remove one of the bedside table. Both of us use CPAPs to sleep, so I get to rearrange today and restore tomorrow. At least I did find my pillow where it had migrated. I’m taking it home with me LOL because it’s not staying in the closet between my visits, apparently!

  54. Taking The Long Way Round*

    Just a petty rant here:
    There are people in the office who NEVER close the door. In they come, having opened the closed door, they ask their question, then they go back out without shutting the door behind them.

    One guy comes in in the morning and leaves the door open behind him, says “oops sorry” when we ask him to shut it, then does it again the next day.

    Every. Single. Time.

    Why people, why???
    So irritating!

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Just a different ways of doing things and hard to break habits.

      Just remind them. That’s why there’s so many “please close door behind you” signs all over the place!

      Maybe they really were raised in a barn even ;)

    2. Lora*

      People do this in my HOUSE. In winter, with side/kitchen doors letting all the warm air out, and then they complain they are chilly because duh, normal house heating systems are designed to heat one house, not a whole state. It’s maddening. I have no answers for you other than constantly reminding the offenders. They are definitely the same people who don’t turn off lights when they leave the room, leave the gate open so the dog runs away, and leave their kid’s sippy cups all over the entire world, then are baffled when Junior throws a hissy because her favorite Frozen Princess sippy cup isn’t in the car.

      Ahem. I may have some issues about this.

  55. Miso*

    No Thanksgiving here, but I’m home anyway.
    Absolutely everyone at work is on vacation or sick. I was alone for a week, which was bad enough, then it got me, too.
    So we actually had to close this week for 3 days…
    I felt very guilty at first and like it usually is, on the couch you don’t feel as bad, and it might’ve worked after all… But yeah, on day 2 it was very apparent that no, wouldn’t have worked.

    I feel like this is a good argument when we want one coworker more in the future…

  56. Liane*

    So in the wee hours, I posted why I am really not into Thanksgiving* & my kids and husband don’t mind. And I have been doing nothing but sneezing & blowing my nose on this rainy day. But I did figure out what we are having for un-Thanksgiving dinner:
    Popcorn Shrimp
    Sugar Snap Peas aka Snow Peas
    Spanish-style Rice
    “Sprite Biscuits” **
    Peach Pie

    *TL;DR for those who missed it, my dad died years ago at Thanksgiving, so it was The Worst for me. My mom-in-law made it better, but she passed away a few years ago. So am over it again.

    **This is actually a copycat Popeyes biscuit recipe–so Alison doesn’t have to okay links today, please google. It’s the one with Bisquik, light sour cream and 1/2 cup Sprite on the Food website

  57. Anon PhD*

    I have a question at the intersection of work life and personal life. I’ve posted here before about finally having completed my PhD :) and I am now also on the job hunt..I have a full time job, but my employer is not in good shape..layoffs always seem to be looming and almost no opportunity for advancement. I am also single and looking for a nice man who can hopefully become a nice husband. So I went on a nice ( and long! ) date with a guy last week, that I met at a dancing social. He’s a bit from out of town so we spent half a day together, went to the museum and for a bite..but since it was a first date, gotta keep the conversation relatively light. I didn’t disclose my job hunt, even though it consumes some chunks of my weekends. We are goinf on a second date…and what to do? Have any of you ever told new dates that you’re job hunting, if you were job hunting? We told each other where we work, we’rein different industries, though he seems quite impressed with my profession, but that’s beside the point. What do you folks think?

    1. Fikly*

      I don’t see any reason to hide it? I mean, especially as you are currently employed.

      I would mention it if it comes up naturally, like if it would interfere in plans, or if you get to the point in the relationship where you would want to talk about it, either to vent/get empathy/or bounce an idea off him. It’s definitely not a red flag in any way.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      My partner told me on the first date he was applying for jobs, he was currently employed but trying to get into a specific niche…

      I didn’t find it weird or oversharing for having just met. It’s not that personal!

    3. Anon PhD*

      My thanks is delayed, but very heartfelt, thank you :) What you both wrote makes a lot of sense, job hunting is something many ppl are often doing/having to do, it isn’t oversharing. Lesson learned for future dates with this guy, or another one, in case this one doesn’t pan out haha.

  58. Lcsa99*

    I would love to get other people’s tricks and tips for their favorite thanksgiving staples. Our big one would be baking the potatoes instead of boiling them for the mashed potatoes. You can wrap them in foil and bake them (in the skins or peeled depending on what you like) then run them through a ricer and the mashed potatoes come out sooooo fluffy and delicious.

    So what are your tricks in the kitchen this time of year?

    1. Jackalope*

      My favorite is using a turkey roaster to cook the turkey instead of the oven. It’s kind of along the lines of a crockpot only it goes to higher temperatures. It’s SO helpful. I can bake all sorts of other things and not worry about oven room. Sometimes we will put it in a random bedroom, sometimes in the garage…

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Keeping the coffee station stocked. I do it because training people to stop asking me if we’re out of coffee/sugar/creamer isn’t worth the annoyance.

      For actual job, scanning documents. Department of one is full of menial tasks though.

    2. The Meow*

      Print, cut out, and stamp the vouchers we give to staff to spend at our stores.

      I can never cut them straight and it annoys the fergus out of me.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        Omg they’re not printed to be able to cut on a cutter?! That would drive me up the wall.

    3. Zelda*

      Make coffee for my supervisor (I’m supposed to take her stupid dirty lunch dishes down to the kitchen too, but I pretend not to see them).

    4. Amber Rose*

      Print, hole punch and arrange our product catalogs in binders. Thankfully we’re getting a new printing system and that stuff will all be automated soon.

    5. Pennalynn Lott*

      Set up meetings with my boss when he reaches out and tells me he wants to meet with me.


      I’m remote. We only communicate via electronic devices.

      In the time it took him to type the IM, he could have sent me a meeting request. But, okay.

    6. embertine*

      Taking the towels home to wash them because my colleagues are a bunch of bog beasts with no concept of personal hygiene, but who are mystified as to why they get sick all the time.

  59. Every place is bad*

    I’m staying in a long-term Airbnb rental.

    I felt my bed jolt. It made a loud noise and I fell down. I got up to see what happened and looked under the mattress and the slats that were supposed to be holding up the bed were not attached. The whole bedframe was not secured. It fit together but not by any kind of screws or anything. I didn’t even realize that that was the problem at first… I thought it was my fault, so I actually apologized to my landlord for making noise.

    She responded saying, oh yeah I didn’t get any of the screws in before you moved in.

    I am so angry. I’m so angry I can’t even talk to her right now because I feel like I’m gonna start screaming at her. What the actual f***? Like I could’ve hit my head on the metal bed frame and died for all I know. And she just decided that she wasn’t going to tell me that she didn’t have any of the screws?

    She said she would HELP ME to fix it another day.

    Yeah, I could complain Airbnb and get a refund but like…. Maybe that’s what I should do. I just I’m so tired of moving every single month. It is so tiring and so expensive and there’s always something wrong with anywhere I live. Literally like I’ll move somewhere else and it will be bad for some other reason. Besides it’s close to public transit here so it’s easy to get to work. I just can’t handle the fact that she was so nonchalant about this.

    This isn’t the first time that something is happened and she acted like, oh yeah I forgot to tell you this really pertinent piece of information that I was just hoping that you would never find out about.

      1. Every place is bad*

        Yeah so I saw someone’s comment below and I thought I would ask her when she would fix it and she responded with this long thing about how no one ever complained about it before (that’s her go-to for everything I ask about). She tried to frame it like this is allllll my fault because I didn’t give her permission to go into my room like two weeks ago for something (only because it was for something I didn’t want anyway).

        Long story short — she kicked me out.

        1. Every place is bad*

          Oh — I didn’t ask for a refund yet because I want to make sure I have somewhere to sleep and I feel safe before I start an even bigger fire soooooo wish me luck!

    1. Anon Here*

      You have options because it’s a long-term rental. If it’s at least 30 days, you’re protected by rental laws as well as what AirBnB can offer you. Look up the local laws about furnished housing rentals. Google: your state + rental laws, then your city/county + rental laws.

      You can also call AirBnB. They have an 800 number. They can give you a refund and help you find another place to rent.

      I was going to say you could try to reason with the host one last time. But, honestly, if she neglected something this basic, what other safety hazards could there be?

      AirBnB can read the messages you exchange on the site. If you communicated about this that way, they should be able to see that she’s at fault when you bring it to their attention. If you spoke with offline, try to get some messages via the AirBnB site. Message her with a summary of what happened, ask for confirmation of when the bed will be fixed, ask to be refunded for the night with no bed, and then call AirBnB and see what they can do about it.

    2. Diana Barry*

      Are you in these long term AirBnB rentals because of work? or personal choice / circumstances? Because if this is work related, can’t you ask about a hotel option or a non-AirBnB long term rental? Sorry to hear about your situation that really sucks. The other commenters have good advice, I don’t know that much about rental laws.

    3. Anono-me*

      I think it might be helpful to ask your landlady (via the Airbnb app) if there are any other safety steps that she has skipped or deemed good enough.

      I think having your landlady repair the bed with you there is a good thing. I don’tknow that I would trust her to fix the bed properly with out supervision. (But supervision and holding a flashlight should be the extent of your labor.)

      Good luck

    4. Delta Delta*

      I stayed in a similar Airbnb. The bed was held together with tape. Bed fell apart. Owner didn’t care and said, “I forgot to tell you I have a fish. Can you feed the fish?” Just commiserating. Also, a fish.

  60. HONK*

    A quick vent – I just had to sit through an almost hour-long conversation with coworkers that was initially very nice but eventually turned to how needy and entitled and spoiled millennials are. When I pointed out I was one and that my peers and I seem to be doing fine, one of the coworkers (a middle manager) looked straight at me and sarcastically asked “Do you though?” and I kind of wanted to bite him. Or steal his keys and throw them in the river.

    I wish I had asked him to clarify what he meant because now I’m just wondering what he meant. I’ve had a series of semi-serious illnesses and injuries recently and I did take advantage of our organization’s sick leave policy… are people judging me for that? Or, is it because I tend to dress a bit more eccentrically than some of my coworkers, while still following the dress code? I do stand out a bit, but I usually get compliments since it kinda goes well with the work I do (I work with young people). Or, is there something wrong with my work itself, or my sense of humor?

    I think that comment just made me insecure, because all I just listed are personal insecurities that I never got negative feedback about.

    1. MeepMeep*

      It’s probably not about you at all. Some elderly people just love to pick on “young people these days”, and it’s more about them blowing off steam than about anything you personally are doing or not doing.
      Next time he does that, smile, nod, and pretend you’re listening to a raving lunatic ranting about the Illuminati. The “young people these days” rant should never be taken seriously.

  61. HONK*

    Oof, it really sounds like she’s a terrible landlady. Some of them, I swear, don’t realize how much of an impact that sort of thing has a impact.

    I’m kind of in the same boat as you, apartment-wise. In the past 10 years I’ve lived in maybe 15 different apartments and I felt they all had glaring, terrible issues. Usually, 6-8 months in, I would adapt and learn to maneuver around most of the issues. However, you’ve been moving so much though that you sorta never get to that stage.

    You could always ask the landlady if she can fix the bed for you instead of with you (assuming it’s her responsibility?), arguing that you’re very busy with work and will be out and stuff. Then you take yourself to the movies and rejoice in finding a sturdy bed upon your arrival. I don’t really have better advice, just a Back Pat of Solidarity and assurance that when one day you settle into something more long-term, it won’t suck forever.

  62. MOAS*

    I’m interested in learning to do hair & makeup as a hobby. I’ve always loved makeup and do mine pretty well I’d say. Clueless about hair. I have no desire to quit my job, so this would be something during free time. maybe I’ll get sick of It, maybe it’ll be a fun hobby/side gig, who knows. I’m open. Just need the push.

    (Then again I said the same about drawing and painting and sewing).

    Any advice on where to start?

      1. MOAS*

        I hate YouTube lol but I’ll check it out. I can’t practice on my own head and I don’t have friends.

        I think people Get wigs and put them on heads and practice?

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          Yes. Get mannequin heads! That’s what everyone uses.

          YouTube is sadly the best platform for this. They have good content for beauty! With a range. So if you hate someone’s voice or style there’s someone to switch to.

  63. sad and lonely*

    Annual trip to in-laws city. It’s a big city, and if I was with any other set of people I’m sure I’d have fun. whenever I say “going to city” people wonder why I’m not so excited. Im sure there’s a million and one fun things to do here and I’m not shackled to the bed but… I guess I’ve made an invisible cage for myself. Anyways….I’ve been here many times so I knew what to expect and Despite past history, I was still ready to make the best of it.

    And I’ll try to be as fair and balanced as possible. We’re staying with my MIL who lives alone.. everything is low key. All together there are 9 adults and 11 kids which we will see 1/2 times on a 7 day trip. I was planning on this being a staycation-just do mostly home stuff like sleep in, do face masks, Read a book, take a bubble bath. Things that I would typically do if I was home.

    Here’s why I always have a rough time. My husband gets SUPER WEIRD when his mother/siblings are around. This trip has been relatively drama free but in the past it’s been not. Weird as in he’s — he always has an angry tone with me. Alone or w family around. We’re almost at the end of the trip and he’s finally a little more calm but the last 4 days have been tough for me.

    My in-laws are nice. My MIL is low key, I don’t see the siblings often, so it’s just light and fluffy. So I don’t think they are a problem. I want him to see his family and have a good time….I just wish he wasn’t so frustrated to me 99% of the time we’re here. Even when they’re not around he’s just so on edge and takes it out on me…. I know he gets frustrated a lot sometimes. And he feels inadequate and rejected a lot. I just wish he wouldn’t take his frustration out on me.

    1. Observer*

      You are right – he most definitely should not be taking this out on you.

      Can you talk to him about it? Call it out in the moment, or have a more general conversation when he’s NOT taking it out on you? Not as in digging into WHY he’s so on edge (unless he WANTS to discuss this) but more in a manner of addressing a behavior pattern. Like “when we’re by your parents, you seem on edge and you take it out on me, speaking in an angry tone, etc.”

      Or maybe don’t go visit them. Sure, you want them to have a relationship, but you can’t be the one doing all the work to make it happen. He’s got to want this and work to make it happen.

  64. Here’s what I’m mad about this week-*

    I joined a few professional groups on FB and oh lord. The amount of people posting “make 3000/month as a bookkeeper no experience necessary!” Excuse me? I think the fork not. One ad in particular was aimed at stay at home moms with no experience no skills nothing necessary. Very similar to the MLM ads. For BOOKKEEPING. That made me cringe so hard.

    Why do people think professions that require hard work, training, and skill is something that anyone who has NO experience and skill can do?

    I’ve seen this same “advice” play out wrt teaching and daycare. I’d say it seems like professions that were traditionally done by women are considered “easy” and fallbacks.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I’m in the world of a 2773 a month minimum wage so the 3000 a month being impressive made me choke a bit.

      So if it’s actually just bookkeeping, you can learn on the job. They only require a high school degree.

      1. Here’s what I’m mad about this week-*

        Idk, it might’ve been higher, definitely wayy more than I make as an accounting manager on salary. The whole ad just felt so. MLM-y.

        I would disagree that only a HS degree is necessary and it’s easy to learn on the job. Basic accounting knowledge (not Necessarily a degree) is needed We hire remote bookkeepers with flexible hours For a decent salary, but they have years of experience.

        I was busting my ass trying to find ANY accounting/bookkeeping job (Hello hiring managers wanting to pay $15/hour for a CPA degree), so for people to think it’s just so easy is…not impressive.

        1. Here’s what I’m mad about this week-*

          Sorry I meant $15/hour for someone w a masters or a CPA license. *side eye*

    2. Pennalynn Lott*

      Wait. What?

      What part of the country are you in that $36K is a great salary for a CPA (based on your other comments, not just this one)?? I have friends who have a Bachelor’s degree in accounting, no certs (and certainly not a CPA) who are making $65K/year.

      I have a Master’s in accounting, no CPA, but a couple of other [non-licensed] certs and make $95.5K/year in North Texas.

      Before I went back to school to get my Bachelor’s and Master’s in accounting, I would have absolutely expected *at least* $36K for a [non-licensed, non-certified] bookkeeping job. It’s not hard to learn QuickBooks, to do data entry, or to file franchise and payroll taxes. A bookkeeper is NOT a licensed CPA. The employers who thought they could pay $15/hour for a licensed CPA are not in their right minds. Dang, CPAs make waaaay mor than that doing seasonal work at H&R Block.

      1. Here’s what I’m mad about this week-*

        Those were the ads I was seeing when I was looking for a job as a bookkeeper/accountant. CPAs wanted for $15 an hour — I found that extremely ridiculous. Thus was in 2008-2012. Unf someone recently posted this ad and it’s sad some employers still think this is ok.

      2. Here’s what I’m mad about this week-*

        36k by any means is not a great salary. I’ll be totally honest, I went back and looked for that ad that started my rant and reread it. it didn’t have a fixed amount—just said “I’ll teach you how to make a full time salary while working part time at whatever hours you want with 0 experience or skill necessary.” It was one of those “buy my book that has all the secrets to being successful.” The whole pitch sounded very much like an MLM

  65. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    Watching National Dog Show with my cat.

    He’s unimpressed but I want all the doggies. So many squeals met with cat side eye every time.

      1. Scarlet Magnolias*

        I am so not a dog person, but that pekinese! He looked like a white walking fur footstool. And you could tell he thought well of himself too.

  66. Ugh*

    Sometimes, I don’t like being judged over how my family does things. This time it’s over Thanksgiving. Which has never really been a holiday my family likes to celebrate, even in a normal year. Which this isn’t. Last Thanksgiving, my grandmother died. So this Thanksgiving, as is normal for us, we all left town in different directions. All of us want to be somewhere away from Grandma’s house (which my aunt and uncle now own), and nobody really wants any soet of family gathering. And my roommate and classmates are insisting that we need to come together as a family today, because that’s what families DO, especially on the anniversary of a major death, and it’s just, like, no. That’s not what my family does. We get away from each other. We all live in the same fricken county. We see each other constantly (which is a big reason we never got super into Thanksgiving in the first place, since we never have to travel to see each other). Everyone just wants to do their own thing today. My dad took the Thanksgiving shift at work so his employees can stay home, my sister is in Tahoe, I don’t know where my aunt and uncle are, and I’m in Canada. And that works. But I also feel judged, and instead of being out exploring British Columbia, I’m sitting in a cafe dwelling on this because I’m insecure.

    1. Hedgehug*

      Well it’s not Thanksgiving up here, so enjoy your cafe drink and ignore the comments. I’m in the next province over so you’re welcome to over here and play in the snow. We have plenty! haha

      1. Ugh*

        I’m in Vancouver, so no snow. Just cold. It’s actually pretty refreshing to get a chill in the air, because California was just getting off a very warm November when I left. But, yea, the fact it’s not Thanksgiving is why I’m up here. I’m visiting museums and shopping today, and if I were traveling in the US, I couldn’t do either of those things.

    2. Observer*

      Why are you even having this conversation. ESPECIALLY with classmates? Your family does this the way that works for them, and it is NOT open for discussion with people who don’t know your family and have zero standing.

      My point is, you absolutely do NOT have to justify anything here to anyone.

  67. Invisible Fish*

    People I work with, but am not close to, have involved me in text chain filled with cliched good wishes for the holidays. There are some corny gifs, too. WHY?? Why would you even think to text people you don’t connect with outside of work? Why? We spend entirely too much time together anyway- let’s stay out of each others’ consciousnesses when we’re not at work, okay?

  68. Serious Pillowfight*

    Recently got in my first fender-bender (not even) in 20 years of driving. I was stopped at an awkward off-ramp and a woman was stopped in front of me waiting to enter the road. I was focusing too hard on craning my neck to see oncoming cars coming from the left and accidentally took my foot off the brake, rolling into her rear bumper. I had just gotten a new car a month earlier that is larger than any car I’ve ever had, so I guess I was still getting used to handling it. I was also on my way back from the funeral of a friend’s dad and wasn’t in the best frame of mind.

    I was super apologetic (it was obviously my fault) and she was actually quite nice and we chatted about a bunch of things while we waited for a cop to write up a report for our insurance companies. My front license plate holder left two superficial scratches on her bumper, which she said she wanted to get fixed. No dents or anything. She had a really nice car. Figures I couldn’t have done this to a beat-up car whose owner wouldn’t have cared. The cop even said if this had happened in a parking lot, she probably wouldn’t have even noticed. I was hoping she wouldn’t file the claim, but she did, so now I’m waiting to see what happens to my insurance rates. So annoyed.

    Others who have been at fault in car accidents, what happened to your rates and what did you do?

    1. Amber Rose*

      I slid down an icy hill into a truck last winter. Destroyed my front end, and lightly chipped his paint. So unfair lol. He was super nice about it, made sure I was OK (because I was freaking out) and since there was crazy damage to my car I had to go down to the police station and file a report.

      My rates went up like $10 a month. Which may actually have been because insurance rates are generally going up.

      Five or six years ago I was in a more serious t-boning accident that was my fault, and my rates went up a good chunk. If that happens again, god forbid, I’ll probably just cancel my insurance and have my husband insure the thing. Probably cheaper. But they did come back down after about three years so it wasn’t the end of the world.

    2. Pennalynn Lott*

      I used to market to insurance agencies. Like, drive around town to every insurance office I could find and try to get them to refer their clients to us if they sustained any water damage to their homes. As a way of making conversation — because there are only so many times you can say, “Got any water heater damage claims you can send my way?” — I asked about how much auto and home claims affected rates. Every single office, representing dozens of insurers, all said that auto rates are part of such a complex formula that any individual claim wasn’t likely to have a material effect on an insured’s rate.

      This was in Texas. Other states might be different. But I’m pretty sure that a one-off accident with minimal damage won’t raise your rate substantially.

      1. Serious Pillowfight*

        Thanks for the insider info! Here’s hoping since it was so minor, it won’t affect much.

    3. Gatomon*

      I scraped my car up in an underground parking garage and it was $1500 to fix, so I sent it through my insurance. I paid my $750 deductible and used my rental car benefit for a week (~$200 in value). My rates went up about $10/month for about 3 years, so definitely worth it in terms of savings and simplifying things for me. Something that minor I wouldn’t be too worried about. You probably won’t see a change until your next renewal period.

      Unless you trust the other party involved, I do think it’s better to go through insurance. I scraped someone’s car in the college lot, left a note and they came back with an utterly ridiculous quote from a body shop to fix it. And they refused to go through insurance when I said I’d prefer to go that route based on the estimate. (They did not get anything from me in the end, and no, I don’t feel bad about it after the way they handled it.) Since then the only time I’ve dealt with a car accident privately was when a city vehicle hit my car, and it was still a bit of a pain to get a rental car sorted due to city payment rules. In retrospect it might’ve been worth letting insurance handle that one too.

      1. Serious Pillowfight*

        Thanks for the info. I posted about this on Facebook and a bunch of people I knew were all, “Track her down on Facebook and send her a message that you’ll pay for it yourself!” I mean, the woman seemed nice and reasonable, but the last thing I wanted was to get totally ripped off or find myself in small claims court. Plus if I were her, I’d have been creeped out if the person who hit me tried to go off-book.

    4. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Travelers informed me they were taking away my no-accidents discount and doubling my premium because my car was totaled when a texting teenager plowed into my tailgate at 50mph while I was flat out stopped at a red light. I am not a fan of insurance shopping without reason, but I felt that was a solid reason. :-P my husband has a couple of at-fault minor fender benders and one taking out a utility pole (black ice) and so far as I can tell, the difference in his premium has been negligible.

      1. Serious Pillowfight*

        Do you remember how long it took before you knew how much your rate was going up? Do they tell you or is it just a fun surprise the next time your monthly payment is due?

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          It was at the end of the 12-month policy, when renewal came due. The letter I got was just, here’s the new amount effective (date), and I had to call them and find out why it had doubled.

      2. Serious Pillowfight*

        Also WTF Travelers!!! How are they going to deem YOU a higher risk when someone else was at fault??

    5. Jdc*

      I mean at the end of the day you did hit her. I’d get mine fixed too. It’s likely a cheap claim so it won’t hurt you too much. It’s just life. No way I wouldn’t get my car fixed. That’s my resale value at the end of the day and you did hit her. Also, never apologize or admit fault. I get that it’s against any instinct we have but don’t.

      1. Serious Pillowfight*

        Yes, I realize I hit her. Thanks for weighing in (twice) on that. Also, too late re: apologizing, but thanks for the tip.

          1. Serious Pillowfight*

            I do realize I was being super defensive in my response to you, so I apologize for that. It’s a sensitive topic for me and I’m still embarrassed. You did have a good point about the resale value of her car, which I hadn’t considered. I drive my cars until they stop moving and then I’m lucky if the dealership gives me $100 toward my next car.

            FWIW, I’m not mad she filed the claim. I admittedly was hoping she’d decide it wasn’t worth it, but I don’t blame her for wanting the scratches fixed that I know I caused. I’m more stressed out about how much my insurance rate is going to go up.

  69. Laika*

    Oof, I was just offered a new position in my department that I’m genuinely interested in but… it comes with no pay raise for at least six months, added hours on a weekly basis, and more responsibility and intensive work on top of what it sounds like is still doing the bulk of my current responsibilities?

    I got extremely worked up in a lather on my drive home because it just seems so preposterous. I would love to take on the duties and responsibility they outlined, but what the heck do I get out of it if I need to work harder, for longer hours, in a more complex and badly-defined role… and no more money? It’s an entirely one-sided proposition! Ugh!

    1. Anon Here*

      Get the offer in writing. Then ask your boss why there isn’t a raise to go with it. Then go up the chain and ask his boss and/or HR for verification of this. “I received this offer. This is the salary, which is the same as my current salary of X for role Z. My boss said this is due to budget constraints. I want to verify this before proceeding. This would effectively be a pay cut, considering the longer hours and added responsibilities involved.”

      Keep asking questions and advocating for appropriate pay. You can also do some googling and find the average salary for the type of role you’re being offered in your area. That would be a good thing to share with the management.

  70. Pennalynn Lott*

    I often joke that, since so many people in my department have quit recently, my boss has bought a human-skin suit and a “How to Be Human for Dummies” book because it’s *painfully* obvious when he is trying to Be Human. Yesterday (the Wed before Thanksgiving) was a super clear example:

    Boss (wearing human-skin suit): “Why don’t you wrap up anything you’re working on and head home…”

    Me: “The handful of us who showed up today in the [remote] office are going to lunch in a few minutes.”

    Boss: “OK, sounds like fun. Go home after that.”

    Boss (having shed the human suit and seeing that I’d gotten back online after lunch): “You’re still there? Great. Please reach out to Canada, where they don’t celebrate our Thanksgiving so everyone is still in the office, and get info to produce a report on X, Y, and Z — even though those items aren’t due until Dec 31 — and send me a summary email status update that I can share with our [Fortune 1, global] CIO before EOD today.”

    Me: [leaves office at 4:30, hours after everyone else had gone home]

  71. Anon Here*

    I’ve been spending a lot of time alone working on things that I will then sell. I’m just reaching that turning point where I get out and bring the stuff to people. It’s fun. I just drink a lot of coffee, talk passionately about my work, and ask people about their lives and projects. Then I share the stuff and they usually enjoy it.

    Still struggling with the cold weather. The dog is whining a lot. I might back out on plans to visit family this weekend. Or just make it a short visit.

    I cooked the dog some human-grade meat for Thanksgiving. We’re snuggling, staying warm.

    1. Banana naan*

      Sounds like a solid holiday. It’s raining here and I have a slight cold, so I had a short Thanksgiving lunch with my family, drank tea and watched Frozen.

  72. Banana naan*

    I need advice on how to approach a coworker whose behavior towards me has become so nasty that other coworkers have come to me privately to express their concern.
    Katie (fake name) complains about people constantly. Mistakes that other people make are cataclysmic. Worse, she doesn’t talk to the people who can do something about the thing (often minor and easily fixable). Plus, she has started to judge the work I do that she has nothing to do with!
    For example, I was watching a webinar for software associated with my new role (with my supervisor’s approval). My cubicle neighbor was folding paper for something and, since my hands were free, I helped her fold while listening and jotting down notes. Katie saw me folding paper and made some comment about how helpful I was being. Later, both my cubicle neighbor and I overheard her say to my supervisor, “I don’t think [my name] is engaged with her work.” What she didn’t know what that I was done with my projects and was waiting on review from my supervisor. My supervisor had also encouraged and approved me to watch the webinars when I had time and had asked me to build a quick n’ dirty cheat sheet for others to use the software too.
    I’ve also overheard her say things to other coworkers like, “I feel like [my name] asks questions to make it seem like she’s working.” That comment felt like a dark scribble hanging over my head for a week. Months before she made that comment, I brought up to my supervisor privately that my workload is not enough to keep me busy— we both know that it’s because of delays that neither of us have control over (and thank you for the helpful podcast episode for giving me the words to go to her about it!) I try to create my own projects and suggest new ones and try my best to stay off my phone and social media. I don’t know how my supervisor responded to her. My supervisor didn’t come to me about it.
    Typing this out, I realized that I’ve overheard her say quite a bit. I try not to purposefully listen to other people’s conversations. This week, I realized it’s not just me— other people overhear her too.
    Recently, Katie and I were working together on a mailing list. I was asked to clean the duplicates from the mailing list to print labels, count envelopes, and help fold the contents. Because the last time I had helped with a bulk mailing was last year, I didn’t remember where all the material was, and Katie was getting visibly annoyed. She responded sarcastically when I asked where labels were, she showed me how to fold and stuff envelopes when I was trying to ask her which envelopes were correct for bulk mail. (It turned out later that she got the wrong envelopes and I had to unstuff about 200 envelopes.)
    To cap it all off, I and several other coworkers found out that I didn’t do a good job at cleaning the mailing list when we overheard Katie say to another coworker, “Wow, there are a lot of errors.” Pure disgust. I felt like crawling into a hole and dying.
    When she says stuff like this, I think about what I did and how I could have done it better. There were errors on that list. I feel like I took her instructions too literally and didn’t check the spreadsheet as thoroughly as I should have. I should have asked her about the things I was iffy about before printing the labels.
    Yet, the earlier comment about me asking questions and the way she treats me when I do ask questions makes me dread going to her for more information or clarification. Plus, later, when she dropped off the labels with the errors, I found out that most of them could be easily fixed. She also didn’t present it as a huge deal, despite what she said to the other coworker. After she had left for the day, one of my coworkers came to my desk and said, “Hey, we heard what Katie said and noticed that she had been treating you poorly recently. You have a tough skin.”
    I need to have a spine now. How do I approach her? Do I even approach her, or go straight to my supervisor? Does anyone have scripts for this?

    1. Anon Here*

      I think this is beyond the point where approaching her would be reasonable. Say something to someone about it. I don’t have any scripts, but I wish you luck!

    2. Observer*

      Stop worrying about what Katie thinks – and ESPECIALLY don’t second guess yourself over what you overhear her saying. Your boss clearly knows the facts, so that helps.

      When you approach your boss talk about the impacts – she didn’t give you information you needed, instead of talking to you about a problem that you would have fixed she complained to others about it which is behavior that insures that problems don’t get fixed, she blowing issues out of proportion, there is a level of gossip about people’s mistakes that is making people uncomfortable, she making judgements on issues and performance that she knows nothing about which could lead to someone getting incorrect information.

  73. Bob Ross*

    I was offered an amazing sales job earlier this week and I only have until monday to accept. It’s a great offer, but I admit I’m weirded out by a restrictive clause in the offer letter. It says I can’t agree to any other employment, conduct any other business, or consult for anyone else without my employer’s written permission. This doesn’t just apply to things in my industry/with competitors/etc – it’s literally anything where I would earn money.

    The job pays well, but this clause still seems uncomfortably controlling. I have creative hobbies that I have made small profits from in the past, and I’d like to continue that. They are not related to my work or my industry and they wouldn’t interfere with my job. And the idea of having to ask for permission to do something like selling my art on my own time really makes me itch. Similarly, I have a website that makes a steady amount of side cash with 1-2 hours of maintenance per week. (Again, it’s not related to my industry and it’s not something that is controversial/inappropriate/bad for the optics of my main job.) How weird is it that I would have to get written permission to keep doing that?

    I don’t want to end up like the former DJ who wasn’t allowed to moonlight, because that sounds frustrating and demoralizing:

    And since it’s Thanksgiving week, I have almost no time to ask questions about how this would actually be put into practice. I’m not even sure it is a good idea to ask about future creative pursuits, as I wonder if it would sound like a red flag to them. I don’t want it to sound like I want to do tons of work outside this job. I just want to have the freedom to make a little money from my hobbies.

    I don’t want to specify my industry, but I will say that it is -not- an industry like finance or law where there are unique concerns about conflicts of interest.

    I would really appreciate advice, thoughts, new perspectives, horror stories, positive stories – anything about work experiences with similar restrictions!

    1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

      Maybe you can get a consultation through your local bar association?

      I’m not a lawyer, so take this with a grain of salt: That clause seems overly broad and unlikely that it’s enforceable. How would they even know…?

  74. Not enough coffee*

    Any tips on making/nurturing couple/family friends? My kids are 1.5/3/6. We have gotten – very friendly vibe from a family that has kids that are 3/6/9 (and our 3 and 6 y/os are friendly).

    We were casually invited to their end of (adults only) summer party along with 80 or so other people we peripherally know, and went and hit it off. A month or so later they reached out and invited our entire family over for dinner/drinks/kids playing one weekend afternoon/evening. It was about another month by the time we found a time that worked. A few weeks ago I had the 3 y/o over for a play date (kiddo goes to preschool with my 3 y/o) and her mom stayed and we had coffee.

    Hubs and I want to reciprocate / continue to be friendly. Do we invite them over? If we had a party in the future we’d certainly invite them, but it’s been hard. Any other ideas since it’s cold and wintery? Also, if we invite them, how do we entertain a 9 y/o boy? We have a house full of girls age 6 and under and there is snow outside ;).

    1. AcademiaNut*

      I’d just ask them over. Either very soon, though, or after the holidays because December tends to be kind of nuts for scheduling. For the nine year old, you can ask his parents if he’s fine playing with the younger kids, or whether he wants to bring something with him.

  75. Can I get a Wahoo?*

    Oof, I hit my people wall HARD this evening and now finally, and somewhat b*tchily, was able to pull myself away and hide from the world. I’m lucky enough to have real great relationships with my extended family, but I’ve already spent the past few days with them non stop, so me who is usually and happily alone 90% of her free time nearly got herself into a panic by the end of dinner.

    Did that make any sense? Whatever. I’m alone in bed and don’t have to talk to anyone for a few hours and am THRILLED

  76. I guess I'm the Grinch?*

    Wondering if anybody has any advice on this one – my workplace goes all out for Christmas each year. They hold not one, but 3 parties. Two of them are mandatory attendance during work hours and we’re all made to stand up together and sing Christmas songs. Not just less religious songs like Jingle Bells, but also songs with lyrics that refer to Jesus as our saviour. This is a non-religious company. Clients are invited to these parties. If I choose not to sing and a client or colleague asks why I’m not singing, what do I say? Is there a good reply that doesn’t invite a discussion on my religious affiliation?

  77. Every place is bad*

    I was the one that commented above about the airbnb… this is related but not totally.

    I put sooooooooo much effort into just keeping a low profile and staying out of the way. Turns out that’s the #1 key to success. Do that to keep my job and keep my apartment. The moment I start “making friends” with people, sharing about myself, standing up for myself, sharing ideas, finding solutions — I get fired, kicked out, etc.

    It’s the same feeling I had in high school when I would argue with my humanities teachers because I didn’t agree with their (totally subjective) opinion and they’d give me a lower grade. Or call me out for trying to make them look bad! This happened!

    Versus, when in math class I would say, “Hey but can’t you also use this other thing and solve the problem this other way?” instead of being defensive or angry at me for trying to look smarter than them, I would get extra credit.

    It feels like every workplace and every roommate is just a collective of all the bad humanities teachers I’ve had.

    I used to go, “But it’s not fairrrrrr!” Now… I just… realize that’s the reality of life!

    Case in point — I created a super brief proposal in a job I had 8 years ago. I presented it to my boss. The feedback I got was that my boss’s boss was not happy about it! They assumed it took me hours to put it together (when it literally took me the length of a coffee break). Then they were mad because they thought I was trying to take over the jobs of the people in the overseas office who work with a different market. I was like…. what?!?!?!?!?! I just had an idea and was like, “What if we did this?” aidfaoidjfoaidoadihfa

    Anyway……………. it seems like my role right now is to keep myself as small as possible, don’t let anyone know you or recognize you, don’t start conversations, keep interactions as brief as possible. Don’t propose ideas, don’t tell people you finished you work faster than they anticipated, don’t ask for more work. I have been way more successful following this advice than “taking initiative.” The more I avoid building a relationship with a roommate, the less they expect me to act “perfect” in some way that they’ve never specified to me, and then kicking me out when I inevitably don’t live up to their standard.

    1. Remote Cat Herder*

      Ugh, I’m so sorry to hear that your workplaces have all been like that.

      I feel very lucky right now to be in a job that is the opposite, where initiative and creative ideas are generally rewarded. I don’t know if you’re job hunting, but you sound like someone who would be very happy at a startup! Small, fast-growing companies tend to be a lot more open to employees who let them know how things are going and what needs to be changed. (This isn’t universal, of course, but it’s a pattern.)

  78. Retail not Retail*

    We did an employee survey this summer and they’re actually addressing the biggest issue – money! Our health insurance premiums are dropping (mine by 20%!) and they’re raising the minimum starting wage – I’ll see $2 more an hour at least.

    I also got two overtime opportunities this week driving the train. Cue Janet on the Good Place: “Aren’t trains neat? Choo choo!” It’s all a lie, they’re neat until they throw sparks while completely full (right this way folks through the gate behind the horse barn) or as it did tonight literally throw the drive shaft across the tracks. I’m signed up for more train driving shifts next week but like I told the supervisor, it’s apparently not up to me!

  79. Lost in the Woods*

    Ugh. I do not like this holiday, mostly because it’s always fraught. My dad’s family has always been unpleasant in a passive-aggressive way to my mom, but my dad is one of the least socially aware people around and would really like to ignore it and pretend that we’re a happy family. My mom is the caregiver for her dad on holidays, and so there was this whole dramatic argument about who was going where for Thanksgiving (including fun side discussions of the nasty comments that have been made about my mom’s family’s religion by members of my dad’s family, and my dad implying that I’m obligated to work for a closer relationship with my cousins despite the fact that we have absolutely nothing in common).

    Ultimately my dad decided to go to his family’s thanksgiving, and we had a quiet four person thanksgiving with my grandfather, my mom, my step-uncle, and me. It was quiet and pretty nice, but when I came home I made an ill-advised snide comment about my dad’s family’s less than stellar cooking and we rehashed the whole fight, so now I’m in a terrible mood. Great. At least the clinic is closed tomorrow so I don’t need to work.

  80. MOAS*

    Someone I know has a 4 year old son who just got diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. No family history so she’s new to all of this And she’s so worried. she’s giving him injections and counting carbs. Anything I can tell her that’ll be comforting or helpful?

    I have been living with type 2 diabetes most of my life and insulin dependent so i can confidently speak about it from that perspective but I also know there is a huge difference between the two types. She’s joined a few support groups and is working with medical professionals. I see her tomorrow, I just want to make sure I don’t say the wrong thing or be a jackass. I just know I can definitely relate with the Emotional impact of this disease.

    1. Anon parent of a Type1 kid*

      One of my kids was diagnosed at age 10. The amount of information and the requirements seems completely overwhelming at first. But, in our case, this got MUCH better over time. There’s a learning curve, and once we got into a routine, the handle of everything just became second nature. Fast forward a few years and he’s totally self-sufficient in testing, calculating, dosing, etc.

      I would encourage your friend to stay in contact with her child’s healthcare team and not be afraid to ask lots of questions. In our case, my child goes to a large specialist practice so they’re set up with a 24-hour number we can call with any issue that arise.

      And that leads me to another recommendation to make sure that your friend is comfortable with the practice that is treating her child. In my area we have the large specialist practice that I mentioned above. But I know several people that see individual practitioners instead, and in their cases it has been hard to get clinical support outside of office visits.

      Things will get better. This is a manageable condition. What she is experience now will not be the norm for her and her child going forward.

      Sending positive thought to all.

  81. Badger*

    Opinions on email invites for serious performance discussions?

    I’m a manager who sometimes has to have the “you’re on thin ice” talk and sometimes also the “sorry it’s not working out” talk.

    What kind of calendar invite would you like to receive for these discussions? Which wording? On which timeline? (morning of the discussion/a week in advance/meetings only Friday afternoon/…)

    So far I’ve tried to schedule them not too far in advance and written something like “I want to review your work”.

    It feels kinf of ill-advised to put the “It’s not going well part” directly in the mail because I want people to have the full picture (by having a conversation) before they churn it over in their head.

    1. Fikly*

      They’re churning it over in their heads just based on the invite.

      I’d rather hear the invite from you in an email, so there’s more context but I don’t have to respond to you in the moment. And then follow up with the calendar invite. But there’s no one someone is going to hear that they need to have a talk with their manager about how their work is doing, unless it is preceded by “your work is great!” that won’t lead to panic.

      Are you not having regular 1-on-1s? Because this seems like something that could also be covered in one of those, and then not cause someone to worry ahead of time.

      1. Badger*

        Thanks for your thoughts!

        I do use regular one on ones for “you know, this really needs to change” but when no performance plans are on the horizon yet.
        The most pressing reason why I haven’t used them for more serious talks is a) I needed to adhere to certain notice periods and the one on one was on the wrong week day or b) they’re in the middle of the day and I wanted to deliver the message at the end of the day so the employee has time to deal with the news afterwards.

  82. Anonymoose Panic*

    I’m completely panicking, again, over a job I just accepted. Everything was great, I was excited for it, the location wasn’t awful (I’d be moving East coast to Midwest but nice city), the people seemed great, it would be a step up.

    But then they sent me the benefits info, it just all sucks. I ended up mentally accepting the more expensive health insurance that eats up a chunk of the pay difference, the limited retirement benefits for two years, but the vacation… It’s only 8 days a year for the first two years. I just don’t understand. It’s a faculty position at a major university and that’s all they get.

    I mean what happens if I decide to job search again in a year? How would I even do that? Every job interview would require two days off, for flying anywhere. There’s nothing else around there for the type of position I’d be looking for.

    I went on five out of state job interviews this year alone. Realistically this job should give me more experience so hopefully the next time shouldn’t take as long.

    My family already thinks I’m insane for taking this job (I’d be so far away, seeing them wouldn’t be easy especially as we usually take our dogs and driving would almost be a two day affair), so there’s been a lot of roller coaster emotions, but I’ve been job searching for over three years. But the thought of being stuck there for years while trying to build vacation to just be able to job search is totally leaving me wide awake in the middle of night covered in sweat, heart racing.

    I did try to ask for more vacation days but they said no. I just don’t know what to do, I’ve never had so little vacation, and I like my time off but also have a chronic illness, so I do tend to use it all. Only 8 days a year…I just don’t know what to do, and I’ve already sent in the acceptance letter so I would burn so many bridges.

    1. Fikly*

      They didn’t send you the benefit information before you accepted? That’s super shady.

      Not having the full offer details is a completely acceptable reason to rescind your acceptance. It’s part of your compensation, and thus can significantly alter whether or not you would want to take the job. Explain it like that.

      1. Anonymoose Panic*

        Oh no they did. They gave me two days to think it over, and I’ll admit I did look at the wrong info for the first day and a half, so I didn’t have as long to think about vacation as the rest of the underwhelming benefits. But I was also hopeful they’d give me more hours. They didn’t, but I was just so excited about the job, that I accepted.

        Now though, it just seems like there’s not a good exit strategy.

    2. Analytical Tree Hugger*

      I mean what happens if I decide to job search again in a year? How would I even do that? Every job interview would require two days off, for flying anywhere. There’s nothing else around there for the type of position I’d be looking for.

      You might be catastrophizing a bit. What if you love it here and are happy to stay for years and years? You were excited about the job, after all.

      It’s a university, so how generous are the campus-wide holidays? That’s not exactly adding to your vacation days, but it is time off.

      Also, is this your first faculty position? I’m wondering, since you probably have many (many) teaching responsibilities as a relatively new hire, if that’s part of why the vacation time is low.

  83. MC*

    Hello! I have a question: Can an increase in bullying (insults/condescending remarks) by a coworker legally be counted as retaliation if it happened after they have been talked to about a similar incident by a manager in the past?

Comments are closed.