boss invites my predecessor to our parties, interviewing your potential manager, and more

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

1. My boss keeps inviting my predecessor to our holiday parties

My manager has invited the previous employee who held my position to the last two holiday parties. Now they are invited to this year’s party as well. There are no other outside people invited; it’s all employees or vendors. There have been other employees that left since I started working here and they are not invited. I feel disrespected because of this. Am I right to feel this way?

It’s an odd reaction to have. There could be all kinds of reasons this person is invited — they were a long-time employee, they were particularly close with your boss, they just clicked well with lots of people there, or who knows. It’s very unlikely that your boss intends this to be a slight toward you.

2. Half day off, full day of vacation time

Why is it that if a company is giving a half day off (for instance, most companies I have worked for work a half day on Christmas Eve), they require you to use a full day of vacation time if you want to take the entire day off? This has been the rule/standard in any job I’ve held since college and I’ve never quite understood it. If they’re only working a half day, why can’t I use a half day of vacation time to get the full day off? Seems like a little unfair to require this, if they’re only working a half day anyway. It’s a waste of vacation time, so I never take Christmas Eve off, but I would like to if I could only use four hours of vacation time instead of eight. I know there’s probably got to be a reason for this, but I haven’t figured it out if there is!

It’s a reward/thank-you/incentive for the people who do come to work that day. They’re essentially gifting them a half day off in exchange for coming in on a day a lot of people want to take off.

3. Questions to ask when interviewing my potential new manager

I’m going to be on a staff panel interviewing people for a manager position in my group. This person will likely become my new manager after a group re-org. I am excited for the opportunity to give my input but I am wondering what are some good questions to ask now to make sure I’m not writing back to you in a few months. Most of the posts on interviews at AAM focus on what to do when you are being interviewed, not the other side of the table.

I’m still on vacation (but wanted to get some more holiday questions in before the holiday is over) so I’m taking the easy way out with this one and sending you over to this 2011 post on exactly this!

4. A salary negotiation success story

I wanted to say thank you because your advice not only helped me land a job (that was terrible, more below), but also land another job just three months into the new terrible job!

Essentially what happened was that I accepted a contract to-hire position with Big Company A. On day one there, they told me they just acquired Big Company B and my entire job would be different than discussed. Not only was the job different and something I would have absolutely turned down, but in my first week they made fun of a challenged coworker and made multiple antisemitic and homophobic remarks. On top of that, the CIO was pushing down dates for a major systems merger that were in no way feasible if the systems needed to actually function.

So very luckily I was able to continue networking and used your advice on how to explain why I was job searching again so quickly. Once I knew I was going to accept an offer, I re-read all your negotiation posts. It was the first time I would be asking for a higher salary and was pretty nervous about, it especially since I ended up asking for $15k over their offer. I took your advice on asking and then staying silent and it worked great. As uncomfortable as I felt, the hiring manager never once batted an eye at my request and even mentioned it should be easy to get a certain amount at minimum. I ended up getting $13k over their initial offer and am so so happy I didn’t let my nerves get in the way!

So long story short thank you again and I can’t wait to keep reading all the updates :)

{ 143 comments… read them below }

    1. Sondra Uppenhowzer*

      plenty of people who work holidays get paid double time. So if you are immediately compensating your employees for working a holiday with time, you would have them work 1/2 day.
      People who don’t work holidays get paid regular compensation.

    2. KayDeeAye*

      The way it works at my office is that it’s only last minute, quasi-spontaneous partial days off are treated this way. For example, it was decided a couple of weeks ago to give the entire staff a half-day off on Christmas Eve, and since it was planned in advance, those of us who had already scheduled a full vacation day for that day (e.g., me) were allowed to go back and change our requests so that we were charged for only a half-day’s vacation.

      But when TPTB tell us things like “You can take off early today,” those of us who are already taking the day off must simply glory in the fact that we didn’t have to get ourselves into the office and we got to plan our day off. It’s not perfect, but it’s also not a bad trade off, if you look at it this way.

      1. rayray*

        I agree. I remember when I worked a call center job, sometimes we’d run out of people to call. Sometimes entire shifts would get cancelled (a shift was a four hour block, you could work 4,6,8, or 12 hours). There were even times where we’d run out of names, and once we’d hit an hour of waiting and the system hadn’t refreshed, we’d get sent home. On days when my shift was cut short, it was frustrating sometimes thinking about how I could have just stayed home that day and slept in and made plans for the day, rather than commuting in for a short time then leaving again.

    3. Sharkie*

      Thanks for this link! The thing that is bugging about op #2 situation (they commented below) is that the half-day on Christmas Eve is already on the company calendar so having to use a full day (8 hours) seems more silly to me since it is pre-planned on the company’s part.

      1. KayDeeAye*

        I agree that it’s really unfair if the half-day is announced in advance. It’s also…kind of mean!

      2. Triumphant Fox*

        It does – you just know the exchange rate in advance and it’s at a premium because the demand for that day’s PTO is also high. This year is especially true – I could have left town Friday and been gone all week, but I’m at work today – breaking up my holiday – because I determined that coming for 5 hours is worth it if I didn’t have to take a full day of PTO. I am doing important work today – keeping projects moving and putting out fires that literally no one else is here to do – and the company is rewarding me by saying that these hours are more valuable to them because so few people want to take them.

        1. Jen S. 2.0*

          Agree it does. However many hours are in that workday, it takes 8 hours of leave to avoid working any of them. Knowing ahead of time that there will be only 4 or 6 hours in that workday, and so you will pay a premium on that day, doesn’t change that. It’s certainly more ANNOYING to know that ahead of time, but it doesn’t change the concept that not working on this day might mean spending more hours of leave than the people in the office are working.

    4. Rec*

      This “buying futures” concept reminds me of a similar trade off with telework in my office. People can pick 2 weekdays to telework a week but have to stick with that schedule. A lot of people pick Monday and Friday so the weekend feels longer without a commute. But, the big boss sometimes walks around and sends people home early on Fridays (particularly before a holiday weekend). Also, the office closes on Federal holidays, so teleworking on Mondays means that you’ll only be able to telework 1 day a week when Monday was a holiday. The Mon/Fri folks lose some perks, but I know some of them are able to live much further away because having 4 days of no commute in a row just seems more doable than breaking up the workweek with telework days.

    5. CatMintCat*

      A previous place of employment would often send us home at lunchtime on days before holidays. It was meant to be seen as a perk, but I would have loved the opportunity to take the full day off ahead of time. Due to my commute, and the scarcity of public transport in the middle of the day, I would spend the “bonus” hours mostly lurking in railway stations waiting for something to be headed in the right direction, or sitting on a slow all stations (instead of peak hour express) train.

  1. MissGirl*

    OP1, listen to Alison—unless they bring cheap rolls—then all bets are off. You need to challenge them to a duel and force them to eat your Hawaiian rolls.

    Joking aside. I notice sometimes people focus on small things like this either because they are insecure and offended easily or they have real problems with their boss and this is a an easy thing to latch onto. How’s your relationship with your boss generally? Do you feel secure in your position?

    1. Mae West*

      OP#1, I completely understand where you’re coming from. I was in a similar situation where my predecessor kept dropping by the office to visit. This would happen several times a year, and she’d spend at least an hour or two chatting with everyone, including the boss. I felt insecure and wondered if I was just a placeholder until my predecessor decided to come back to work. (It was made clear to me that everyone at work loved her). Since I had no control over her visits or how others felt about her, I decided to just focus on doing a great job and learning the most that I could so, if need be, I would at least have gained some experience for my next job. Well, I’m still there, almost 6 years later, and she still visits, just not as often. I no longer feel insecure about my job, but it still bothers me when she visits. My advice is do great work because that’s all you can control.

      1. WellRed*

        I’d look at it as weird on the former employee’s part. Six years later is a long time to keep visiting regularly. I mean, what’s really going on there.

        1. LGC*

          Well, to be fair, it sounds like she was very well liked, so I think that’s a huge part of it. Six years isn’t that long to keep visiting close friends.

          (Disclaimer: yes, this is not an appropriate way to look at a workplace, but I don’t think whether it’s appropriate or not is the issue.)

          1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

            I have to wonder if she lives or works nearby.

            We had a few old former employees stop by semi frequently. Usually looking for stuff though and using it as a social engagement as well. But they worked nearby and needed to borrow tools or buy something at the same time. So my boss always took them to lunch as well.

            But they knew the flow and showed up on or near breaks so they weren’t in the way.

            My boss’s wife didn’t make a formal funeral service announcement when he passed to avoid these folks, he was a popular dude in the area.

            1. LGC*

              Yeah, I’ve had that as well – although I work in a VERY different field! (And our employees – myself included – have a different relationship to the organization.)

              One of my employees literally moved across the country this month. She might visit us when she’s back in the area in May.

            2. CoveredInBees*

              I had to walk past a former office when going home. Occasionally, I’d text people I had gotten along with to see if they if it was a good time for a quick visit. I’d left on good terms and moved to a different industry, so the visits were always pleasant but brief. It wasn’t unusual for former employees to stop by and it tapered off when they moved their offices to a location out of the way for me. I never gave it much thought.

      2. Sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

        We had a secretary leave and she was very well liked. She visited often…and then noticed the Christmas decorations were not up yet so she put them up on a day the new secretary happened to be away. To me, that crossed a line.

        And the visits were in fact a way to try to get her job back. She regretted leaving. The interim boss finally set her straight and she stopped coming.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          Wtfffff did the new secretary even know to decorate? That’s the kind of stuff you’re never told about when learning a job and gets lost in transition unless someone brings it up. I can imagine when the new person came back it was a weird vibe. Yucky overstep for sure.

          1. Sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

            Unknown! The new secretary started very late in the year, think late November, early December and was desperately trying to settle in and literally the week after she started, we all got our transition packages for our new owner/employer (TL/DR: Company A was involved in illegal stuff so after the court dust settled, we were sold to Company B). Settling into a new job and then hey, you’ll have a different employer in four weeks should take precedence over Xmas decorations.

      3. pentamom*

        But dropping by the office during business hours just to hang out, several times a year, is different not only in degree, but in kind, from being invited to an after hours party once a year. It’s so different that your reasonable discomfort does not explain LW’s discomfort over a very different thing, let alone LW’s inclination to take personal offense over it.

        1. annony*

          Yep. Coming to the holiday party could be her way of low key networking. Since it isn’t in the office and she is explicitly invited it doesn’t really seem as boundary pushing to me as stopping by the office.

        2. Door Guy*

          I know one of our former employees was invited to the Christmas party this year (he retired May 1). He came and had a great time, and is still very well liked. A difference between this and other situations is that he still does a little bit of part time work for us on rare occasions (think 2-3 hours every few months), so he’s technically still on payroll (no cash under the table).

      4. AvonLady Barksdale*

        I get it too. I once replaced a woman everyone raved about, and she would come by during lunch to hang out with her former co-workers. She was always nice to me, but I didn’t feel like I fit in as long as she kept doing that. She ended up hating her new job and asking to come back– which freaked me out when I heard. A position opened up on another team and she did come back and we became co-workers. I was there for eight years. So while I had nothing to worry about, it still raised my hackles a bit.

        I used to date someone who claims he was laid off because his predecessor wanted her job back, so it apparently can happen, but I take that with a grain of salt because I think he had other issues.

      5. MOAS*

        TBH I think that’s weird to keep coming back after 6 years and staying for hours. We have a similar situation here where 2 ppl left about 6 years ago but come back every so often only to talk to the 3 people they’re still in touch with. If I ever leave, while I’d keep in touch with a small handful, I’m not sure if I ever could drop by unannounced or uninvited, I’d be way too self conscious about not being welcome.

        On another note, we did have a former employee stop by at our holiday party, she came after the food and appetizers were over, and stayed for the remainder of the night. She had quit 2 weeks prior but she was very much welcome to be there.

        1. MOAS*

          and fwiw, I myself am not sure why I find it weird. I’ve been here long enough that I’m secure in my role and one of htem is a truly lovely person (we’ve talked a few times and she’s def someone I could see myself being friends with).

      6. tangerineRose*

        “I decided to just focus on doing a great job and learning the most that I could so, if need be, I would at least have gained some experience for my next job.” Good for you! That was a great way to frame this.

    2. Mockingjay*

      My company reaches out to former employees for events. It’s never meant as a slight to us current employees. My company genuinely likes the people it hires. When people leave for other opportunities, management is happy to see them move on to other successes. We’re a small business and while growing, recognize that not everyone can find the career path they want with us.

      1. pleaset AKA cheap rolls*

        When we could afford it we’d invite past staff to our holiday party. Or almost all former staff – typically not those who had been fired, but certainly even those who were laid off.

        This is in the nonprofit sector.

        1. KinderTeacher*

          Former employees are also invited to the holiday luncheon where I work. But the longest standing staff where I work have been with the department for 15-20 years and the former employees similarly were with the department for between 10 and 20 years so people really did form friendships. It certainly isn’t meant as a slight to any new employees, just a chance to catch up with old colleagues who are also friends to some if they are able to swing by the office that day.

          This is also in the nonprofit sector.

    3. Richard Hershberger*

      One of my predecessors comes by the office to visit every year or so. Why does she do this? Because my boss is a total mensch. She was with him a long time, and the detail that she no longer worked for him didn’t make their relationship go away. I’ve just passed my ten year mark with him, so it wasn’t anything for me to worry about. For that matter, if I should ever leave, I will probably be dropping in occasionally to catch up.

  2. Kanye West*

    OP2 you are not crazy. Alison’s answer is how employers like to frame it (in the US I guess) but it actually makes no sense and it is not how it’s handled where I live.

    1. Chinook*

      I disagree. The half day off is never guaranteed any given year and can mean anything from leaving an hour to 4 hours early depending on many factors.

      On the other hand, if you want to be guaranteed th time off, then you need to use a vacation day.

      I see it as a type of gamble – you can either spend the vacation day and be guaranteed to get time off or go in and risk getting some bonus time for showing up or working the full day because nobody bothered to release you or officially close the office or because a last minute issue came up that needs to be finished by year end.

      I have had all variations of that happen to me and, if I wanted to guarentee not workin, then it is worth the cost of a vacation day.

      1. Reality.Bites*

        In at least one place I worked the ½ day off for Christmas Eve was “official” and I think was actually only counted as ½ day off if you were taking it. Canada though.

        1. Sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

          That was my experience in some jobs for years but it was still dangled like a carrot and the announcement of when we could leave was made very close to the leaving time, making us all wait every year.

          Only one job made it clear we were all done by noon. That was great but I was temp and therefore only being paid for 4 hours. But I also had to have my time sheet in my noon to the temp agency. I found the acting boss and he knew it was also my last day…and he gave me a full days’ worth of hours and signed off on it. That was a nice gift!

        2. Ashloo*

          My husband’s job is like this and everyone is taking the half day off, charged at a half day because it’s scheduled.

        3. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

          In the US, same as @Reality.Bites. Tomorrow is officially a half-day that ends at one pm. I’m taking a half-day off, in the morning, ending at 1 pm. This is the first job I’ve had that does half-days, but we’ve always been able to do this. (In fact, I was reading OP2’s letter with some trepidation that our upper management might read it too and get ideas, lol.)

          It’s the early-release days (ending at 3pm) that we need to take a full day for if we need to be out that day.

        4. Caramel & Cheddar*

          Same. We close at 3pm on New Year’s Eve, though, and that (fairly!) counts as a full day if you take it off.

      2. PossiblyEnoughDetailToBeIdentified*

        Yup – that’s how it works at my company too. Last year we were gifted the full day (probably because it was a Monday), but in prior years the managers didn’t know if they’d be allowed to gift a half-day or two hours, right up until the day before (or even the morning of).

        Also not-US based so this really doesn’t have to be country specific.

      3. Seeking Second Childhood*

        My husband’s company commonly and informally sends people home early–but if something has gone wrong with a project, customer, database, etc., it’s a full workday. Thanksgiving is close to their fiscal year-end, so that half day becomes a wistful thing for financial department and anyone who supports them.

      4. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        Our 1/2 day is guaranteed and we only charge 1/2 day PTO if it’s taken off completley.

        But this is because we classify the day as holiday pay.

        It all boils down to companies nitpicking and being greedy with PTO in my experience. It’s easier for them to not split days and require folks to use a full day at a time.

        1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

          Same here, our 1/2 day tomorrow is considered a holiday. Same as Christmas Day or the 4th of July, except the holiday is 4 hours instead of 8.

      5. Ori*

        I think the problem I have with it is that in my workplace people can come in anywhere from 7am to 9am (or even later) — so if we’re told to go home at 2pm, that’s a much better deal for people who are coming in late than those who came in early and have already worked almost a full day! I come in later, so I get the “good” deal, but it still seems unfair.

      6. Door Guy*

        I’ve had that at previous jobs – one year I was home by 11 am, the next year I didn’t get home until 6:45 pm. I got double pay for all the hours worked, but ended up missing Christmas Eve dinner with my grandparents. Current job, if it’s a half-day (like Christmas Eve is scheduled) and you take PTO, you only use 4 hours.

    2. Avasarala*

      Same here (also not US). I can take PTO in half-day increments so I would only be charged the 4 hours I didn’t work. Others in my area who can only take PTO in daily increments would be SOL like OP.

      It doesn’t make sense to me because
      -the exchange rate never seems to work in the employee’s favor. What if the employee decides that today, a work day is 6 hours, but they want to be paid the same as if they worked for 8? The “exchange rate” as explained in the link in the comment further up is decided by the employer, at the employer’s whim, and that seems unfair to me.

      -the benefit is often said to be the advance warning you get of a day off. Why does advance notice of working hours factor in? If an employee gives advance notice that they’ll be out Friday, do they get something in exchange for giving the employer that advance notice instead of calling in?

      -This seems like mixing hourly/salaried thinking to me. Either the employees are paid hourly, in which case sure just pay them for the hours they worked, and they can spend PTO to get paid for those hours off instead. Or they’re salaried, in which case you’re paying them for that day regardless, so why does the employee have to “buy back” that afternoon? I’m very confused too because this is not how it works in my country at all and seems very unfair to the employee.

      1. MK*

        These points don’t make much sense to me, frankly. I mean, if being sure ahead of time that you will get the day off isn’t worth anything to you, then OK, come in at work and take the chance that you will have to work the whole day.

        The only time it makes sense to complain about this is if there is an official half-day, not simply a company allowing employees to go home earlier. Otherwise, there are just perks to coming to work on pre-holiday days, like not much work and earlier closing time.

      2. KayDeeAye*

        Yes, the way it works here is that it’s only last minute, quasi-spontaneous partial days off are treated this way. For example, it was decided a couple of weeks ago to give the entire staff a half-day off on Christmas Eve, and since it was planned in advance, those of us who had already scheduled a full vacation day for that day (e.g., me) were allowed to go back and change our requests so that we were charged for only a half-day’s vacation.

        But when the staff is told things like “You can take off early today,” those of us who are already taking the day off must simply glory in the fact that we didn’t have to get ourselves into the office and we got to plan our day off. It’s not perfect, but it’s also not a bad trade off, if you look at it this way.

        And yes, it does sometimes work in the employees’ favor. At least it does for me. When I’m told “You can leave at noon” or “2” or whatever, I often can’t actually leave at noon or 2 or whatever because I have tasks X, Y and Z to complete, and I can do those tasks even if nobody else is here. I’ll usually manage to get away a little early but not nearly as early as those who have more structured jobs. But when I take a vacation day, I actually take the day off. So at least for me, there’s a lot of value in having that time off scheduled, in advance.

    3. What's with Today, today?*

      My company gives it back. As an example, I took off the day after Thanksgiving, but they ended up shutting down the office, so I got my day off back on the books. I’m in the United States.

      1. schnauzerfan*

        We (state gov’t ran university) have sick leave, annual leave and administrative leave. Annual leave, you schedule in advance, it’s granted, or not no questions asked. You want to be sure of getting a given day off you request annual leave… as long as there is sufficient coverage, your golden. Sick leave is illness, medical appts. etc. Administrative leave is granted at the discretion of the governor or campus administrators. So sometimes in November the gov. announces that everyone scheduled to work will get the Friday after Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve or what have you off. If you weren’t scheduled to work, you don’t get the day. Doesn’t matter if you were on AL, SL or just don’t work on Fridays… You don’t get admin. leave. Sometimes the gov doesn’t give the leave at all or gives different leave than you were hoping for… Sometimes we get 1/2 day for both Christmas Eve and New Years Eve. This year we have both Monday and Tuesday and nothing for NYE. Campus officials give admin leave for a blizzard, power outage, or other unexpected closure. If you weren’t scheduled you don’t need Admin leave, right?

    4. Not Me*

      I think the important difference is whether the 1/2 day is official or not. Some companies don’t announce and schedule only 1/2 day of operations, but they’ll close early depending on business needs. Those are the places where you take a full day of vacation time, but some people get a “free” 1/2 day off.

      Places where it’s scheduled ahead of time, in my experience, don’t charge people for a full day of vacation time.

      1. Got Cats?*

        I also work for a state university, but if the governor gives us extra time off around holidays, we use holiday pay. Our leave buckets are slightly different; annual leave, personal and family leave, sick leave, and even community service leave. The university closing because of weather comes from another bucket entirely. If we’re given a half-day off that was a previously scheduled full day, then we use 4 hours of holiday pay. We are also off from now to the 2nd of January.

    5. pleaset AKA cheap rolls*

      It does “make sense” in that there is a logical rationale. You may not agree (I’m not sure I do either) but it has a logic to it.

  3. Fikly*

    LW1: It’s easy to perceive things as being about you (it’s human nature), but most people’s actions/behaviors are about them, and have nothing to do with you.

  4. fhqwhgads*

    OP1 if no other outsider people or former people are invited, I don’t think you’re wrong to perhaps find it puzzling why this person is, but I do think you’re wrong to think it has anything to do with you, or is some sort of slight and/or coded message to you. That said, you did mention vendors are invited so I wonder if this person is still in the industry in some other fashion (maybe freelancing) such that there are other business-related reasons to want them there.
    Other possibility that probably doesn’t apply because I imagine you’d know, but I have two former coworkers who are married. One left the company, still came to holiday parties with the still-at-the-company spouse. At one point had a confusing conversation with a different colleague who didn’t know they were married, and I didn’t know they didn’t know and it was sort of a who’s on first situation for a minute.

    1. Reality.Bites*

      We don’t know the boss’s reasons for inviting the ex-employer or their reason for continuing to attend – most people aren’t that anxious to attend a holiday party for a company they don’t work for/have close connection to.

      I do feel confident it has nothing to do with the LW. That would be world champion class passive aggressiveness – “I’m going to intimidate you slightly, once a year, at the holiday party instead of, you know, firing you if I don’t like you.” At least, if this was aimed at the LW, boss could have ex-employee come around the office for lunch or mysterious seeming meetings that are actually just shooting the breeze.

    2. MK*

      Maybe other outside people are invited, but this ex-employee is the only one who comes, for whatever reason.

    3. Falling Diphthong*

      Maybe they literally know where the bodies are buried, but the annual opportunity for punch and Hawaiian rolls keeps them quiet.

      … Now that I type that, it seems like how you would deal with, say, leprechauns if they helped you move a body.

    4. Jennifer*

      Agreed. I don’t think it has anything to do with the OP, but I don’t think they are out of line for thinking it’s kind of strange. But maybe they are dating someone who still works there or are best friends with a current employee and they just come as a plus one.

      1. KayDeeAye*

        I agree that it is a little strange – but I also agree that it’s almost certainly nothing to do with the OP, and if the OP persists on thinking that it is, she is making herself unhappy for no good reason.

        I mean, Reality.Bites is right that this is just so weird and low-key. I have to think if they did want to tell the OP “We don’t like you and you’re not doing a good job,” there are much better – and easier! – ways to say this.

      2. aebhel*

        It’s a little strange, but it’s not that strange. One of our former employees is invited to office Christmas parties and she usually comes; she’s retired now, but she worked here for more than 46 years, so she’s just sort of a fixture at the library (and is well-liked by the current staff). Other former employees that left on a good note are usually invited as well; she’s just the only one who comes regularly. It’s definitely not intended as a slight against the person who took over her job.

    5. The pest, Ramona*

      I’ve been gone from my former job for a year and just attended their holiday party. I was there a long time, I still enjoy the people I worked with, and it was great to catch up. I even got to chat with my replacement, a fun person as I found out! Perhaps your new coworkers just enjoy their former coworker and it has nothing to do with you.

      1. boo bot*

        I really think this is the most likely scenario for the OP as well! Barring some strange interpersonal dynamic between the boss and the predecessor, it actually speaks well of their workplace that someone who doesn’t work there anymore still wants to come to the holiday parties, and is welcome.

  5. Uldi*

    #1 I’m going to disagree with Alison on this one. If it was just a one-time thing, perhaps the person left a few months before the party, I would say it’s nothing. But coming up on three years running? That is odd. Both the asking and the accepting seems to imply an inability to let go and move on.

    Of course, I could be misreading this. This is a company party, not your manager’s personal Christmas party, right?

    1. Renata Ricotta*

      Even if we stipulate it’s odd, certainly the OP has no reason to believe it is intended to disrespect or offend them, right? Sometimes things are just a little weird but not in a way that’s offensive. Or, there’s a non-odd reason but OP just doesn’t know it. Either way, it’s nothing for OP to be concerned or upset about.

      1. Marzipan*

        This. Is it unusual? Sure, whatever. Does it therefore follow that it’s a deliberate act of veiled personal disrespect against #1, which their predecessor is for some reason also happy to participate in? No, not at all.

        1. Database Developer Dude*

          I always say never assume malice where thoughtlessness and incompetence is more likely. Other people are thinking about you a lot less than you think they are.

      2. Parenthetically*

        Precisely. It’s neither logical nor smart to assume that there’s some nefarious, disrespect-based reason for this invitation rather than any number of perfectly understandable reasons. Who invites a former employee to the Christmas party as an intentional slight against someone?

    2. MK*

      Maybe it is inability to move on and maybe it is a habit they don’t know how to break,and don’t especially want to. Could be that the first time the employee was invited, it was close to their leaving and everyone wanted to say goodbye, and the second time the manager run into them and invited them on the spur of the moment, or they had to contact them to ask something and invited them as a thank-you, or whatever. And now it’s the third year and they ‘ve always come to the party and not inviting them will feel like disinviting them, if you know what I mean. Sometimes people keep in contact because no one wants to be the first one to break it off.

    3. SaeniaKite*

      We invite previous employees on our Christmas nights. One lady worked with the team for 10 years, this is our way of catching up with how they are and how their year has gone. The company doesn’t cover their food/drink like they do us but they are still invited. And I myself have gone to a couple of Christmas parties with my old teams (one in a completely different field to the on I am in now) to see friends/colleagues. Maybe things are just more relaxed in the UK or I have a skewed set of data but it just doesn’t seen that big of a deal

      1. EPLawyer*

        This is the ONLY former employee invited. For reasons unknown. I would be wondering too. Because the person keeps coming. With all the letters about “do I HAVE to go to my company party” you have to wonder why someone goes to a company party where they no longer work.

        1. MK*

          One, I wouldn’t take it for granted that the people who write to AAM because they don’t want to go to their holiday party are the majority. It’s probable that there are many more people who like it, or are OK with it, or don’t think a couple of hours every year are a big deal, and these people aren’t going to be asking for advice about a non-issue. And, you know, not everyone has a busy life with a gazillion obligations. Thirty years from now, I will in all probability be retired, with no partner or kids/grandkids or living parents and not too many engagements durig the holiday season, and I might enjoy spending a few hours with ex-colleagues and catch up on what is happening in the organisations. If at that time people who hate going look at me and think ”weirdo”, frankly that would be more about them than me.

          Two, it might not be that big of a mystery why this person only is invited; if the OP could ask in a non confrontational manner, they would probably be told why.

        2. Qwerty*

          Not everything is a conspiracy. Some people actually enjoy their jobs and their coworkers, even after they’ve moved on. Not only have I seen former coworkers show up a company party as the platonic date of an existing employee, I’ve had a former coworker’s girlfriend decide that I needed to bring her as my date to future company parties now her boyfriend was no longer there (the members of HR who overheard this conversation thought it was a wonderful plan)

          The “for reasons unknown” part is just because there is no mention of the OP asking anyone why that particular person keeps coming to the parties. Maybe she is dating a current employee, maybe she’s a vendor, maybe she’s just a really good industry contact so they keep her around, or maybe she made a big impact while there and everyone just loves having her visit.

        3. Parenthetically*

          I mean, I’d be wondering too, but my default assumption wouldn’t be, “Because Boss wants to personally offend me with this person’s presence.”

        4. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          I have people constantly asking starting in about October about our holiday party. It’s pretty well recieved.

          One coworker had never had a job with one before. Their doe eyes and excitment was all that kept me from exploding this year with ours being a bit rough this year. Everyone is preplanning next year to avoid our hiccups this year.

          People tend to forget we’re a large internet community but we’re often talking to the minority stakeholders more so than a majority in terms of shared opinions in the workplace. Which is why we’re talking to people about how to get their feelings and boundaries respected.

        5. pleaset AKA cheap rolls*

          Because they like parties? Because they like their co-workers? Because they want to network.

          It’s really not hard to imagine reasons if we recognize that there is a diversity of opinions about office parties and also that the commenters here are way out a normal distribution of opinion on some things. Or at least don’t recognize the diversity of opinion.

          “It’s probable that there are many more people who like it, or are OK with it, or don’t think a couple of hours every year are a big deal, and these people aren’t going to be asking for advice about a non-issue. ”

          This. Or even if they are the majority, people who actually like parties do exist.

    4. LGC*

      I think the issue might have been with LW1 saying they felt “disrespected” (bolded relevant sentence with context):

      There have been other employees that left since I started working here and they are not invited. I feel disrespected because of this. Am I right to feel this way?

      That is…pretty strong language, in my opinion! That frames it as LW1 thinking the former employee (who I’ll call Jane) being invited is a personal attack on them – and while it might be, I wouldn’t put money on it.

      That said, LW1 is definitely within their rights to feel a bit uncomfortable and weirded out by it. (I mean, I do think it’s a little odd myself, personally – you’re right in that sense.) It just sounded like they were offended by Jane’s presence, which I don’t think they should be offended by that. (Now, if their coworkers – say – kept Jane’s old cubicle as a shrine and they fawned over her to the exclusion of LW1 at past holiday parties, that’s an issue. But that’s way bigger than the party invite.

    5. Asenath*

      These things do vary. I stay away from all the big formal office parties, but we do have an annual Christmas lunch with my immediate work group that we organize ourselves, and we always invite retirees. Generally, they do come for a few years after retirement at least, until they get too busy or die; one at least never showed up again at all. And we don’t tend to invite those who just moved on, partly because there haven’t been many of them, and partly I suppose because it’s assumed they’re attending Christmas lunch with their new co-workers. I wouldn’t think it that odd for previous employees to be invited, and sometimes to accept the invitation, in workplaces where that is the custom.

      1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

        One of our old employees comes to our holiday party. She left because of health issues and is unable to work. She was in her role for 12 years and is close to a lot of folks. People miss her, even though they like her replacement.

    6. Smithy*

      One thing that I think is deeply insightful during the letter updates is how different LW’s will acknowledge that even if wildly unprofessional contexts where the situation is not their fault – that being in a bad work environment can trigger personal unprofessional or unhelpful attitudes or behaviors.

      I used to work for an ngo where I was on a team of one. I had a fairly long handover period with the woman I was replacing, and it definitely created feelings that my approach or perspective was getting stepped on in favor of a previous “favorite” employee. When she returned a few months later to consult on another project, again feelings of frustration, disrespect, jealousy, etc. all came back.

      That issue alone was entirely me in my feelings. However a lot of it was triggered by the ngo’s Executive Director being highly volatile and difficult to work for. I stayed for 3.5 years, and when I left my poor replacement spent months of hearing “this isn’t how Smithy did this”, “Smithy figured out what I meant” and all sorts of incredibly unhelpful and diminishing comments.

      So OP#1 – while your personal feelings about this specific incident are not professional – maybe there are larger issues a foot? Maybe this seems like a specific issue you can call out, but in reality there are larger dysfunctions that feel harder to name or prove? Maybe not – but I have learned that overtime while I may not be responsible for bad workplace environments – my own stress levels, attitude, and behaviors are certainly prone to slipping in those environments.

    7. kittymommy*

      See to me the fact that this has happened three times makes it less weird/threatening. The former employee is at this point just being invited because they just like her, not as anything else.

  6. Marzipan*

    #1, liking people – or whatever other connection is going on here between your predecessor and your colleagues – is not a finite resource. It’s not a pie that your predecessor is eating your share of. They can simultaneously like and value (and want to spend time with) both of you as people. Indeed, they can like and value and want to spend time with a pretty much infinite number of people, as can we all. There’s no disrespect in what you’ve described; it’s not taking anything away from you and the connection you personally have with your colleagues.

    Have peaceful and lovely holidays!

    1. Avasarala*

      Agreed. OP you sound defensive and territorial… is there something that is making you feel insecure in your job?

      What if you approached this from a place of strength and security: “How wonderful that Jemima will be back for the party this year! Did she work here long?”

  7. Wakeens Teapots LTD*


    My company changed our policy this year and my jaw dropped to the floor. Wakeens, god love us, is a nice place to work but it is never cutting edge on benefits.

    Not only did HR announce in advance, company wide, the exact hours employees would have to work on Christmas Eve, and not only did that *include*, *fairly* , an allowance for people with flexible schedules, NOT ONLY, but it also, (well in advance, see how I am still shocked about the pre-planning) , told people who were taking Christmas Eve they would only be charged .5 PTO. Which – allowed people to plan for their additional .5 PTO they weren’t expecting since at least 70% of the company takes Christmas Eve.

    I’m like where is Wakeen’s and what have you done with it.

    I wrote our HR director such a nice thank you. Talk about making my life easier (although I am sure there is a negative take someone will find and complain to me about).

    1. 2 Cents*

      I’m just shocked it was announced in such detail ahead of time. At Old Job everyone knew we’d get out early, but it was such a farce the day of because “would we get the announcement at 12? Last year it was 10:30??”

    2. straws*

      This is great, I’m still arguing to do the same thing at our company. May I ask how far in advance the notice was given?

      1. Wakeen Teapots, LTD*

        I think the beginning of December.

        Maybe it was the end of the first week. But enough time that people could plan the extra .5 they had to spend.

        Meanwhile, I never advocated for this change and am annoyed I can take zero credit for this development.

        1. straws*

          That makes sense. In the past when we’ve given “slightly in advance notice”, such as the day before, there was always grumbling that they won’t have time to use up the extra PTO before it rolled over and they’d lose it (we have a rollover cap). The beginning of the month does sound like a good length of time.

          How many people actually know that you didn’t advocate for it? Perhaps there were some confidential emails that got the ball rolling ;)

    3. Wakeen Teapots, LTD*

      I should say explicitly that the reason this works and makes total sense for us is we are
      D E A D
      the week of Christmas.

      We are business to business and extremely busy in the lead up to Christmas but that all goes over a cliff by second week of December. If our business wasn’t like that, maybe this would make less sense but dammit, it makes sense and it actually happened. Happy Holidays!

    4. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      We always post holiday schedules by October. We know darn well that far in advance, it’s absurd not to announce it.

      But we also want people to use PTO and actively chase people around to warn them if they’re near “gonna lose it” soon stages. I’m still sad this isn’t the norm elsewhere but I’m glad your company is getting with it!

      1. Wakeen Teapots, LTD*

        We do virtually all of that. The gap was the “letting people go home a few hours early” days. Our actual holiday schedule is distributed in January and I don’t think there is a single person at Wakeens who misses an ounce of a PTO day.

        You start out as a company of a handful of people – the company owner gets to come out and say “hey, anybody who is here on Christmas Eve, why don’t you all pack up and go home, Merry Christmas!” and everybody is like yay, thanks, packing up now, Merry Christmas to you. Which! Is what Wakeens was in the 1980’s. (yeah, I was there for that, ha, long time)

        That was several hundred employees ago and there was no such thing as flex time, so they tried to keep it up wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy too long.

        Yay. Happy Holidays!

        p.s. I know that I know that I know there is something in all of this for some people to complain about. We’ll see what happens next.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          Ah see, the 1/2 days were all built in from day 1, so there was not ever a tradition of surprise half days. I personally loath the idea of “Hey everyone, thanks for coming in and getting settled for work! But you know what, let’s just cut out of here now, it’s so dead.” even when I’m being paid, it’s a huge annoyance. So I don’t advocate for it and always push ownership away from that kind of behavior.

          But this is also a world of shift-work and a lot of people have a union background, despite us not being unionized. So being called in and then cut loose is their biggest beef, lol. They could have slept in! Or they could have gotten the kids off to school without rushing and they could have told their after school care or doggy daycare that it was a short day and save money.

          1. straws*

            We do it the same way typically (same day announcement), and I’ve also found it very annoying. I like to plan my day out and not knowing how many hours are in my day makes that difficult. I either end up doing busy work to use up extra time, having to cut loose in the middle of something, or staying late anyway because I can’t cut loose in the middle of my something… it never works out just right!

    5. Mim*

      OMG so jealous!

      And yeah, my co-workers whose normal schedules have them leaving at 2 or 3 get screwed over by random “go home early!” days.

      What really gets me is when the weather is really bad and after-school care gets cancelled, so a bunch of people (me included) have to leave at 2:30, and then the company decides to close early at 3 so people can get home safely. And they will pay for the rest of your hours for the day, if you haven’t left yet. This has happened a couple of times, and it sucks. And while this isn’t the company’s fault, it so often feels like another pay disparity thing, because you know that 90% of the parents who end up leaving work early in this situation are the moms. (I guess in the end it’s vacation time disparity, not pay disparity. But that this point in my life, I would honestly take a pay cut just to have more time off. Unfortunately, there is no way to buy time. It’s all I want for the holidays.)

  8. hillrat*

    Regarding the first poster… I think it’s a little odd that they’re responding so negatively to the previous person being invited to Christmas parties (and after 2 years this is still bugging them?) but it sounds like they have some insecurities about how they’re perceived on the job and maybe the answer to that question could have probed into that some more instead of just saying “That’s weird, your boss doesn’t mean anything by it, next question.”

    When I was a young and insecure college freshman, I was bitterly disappointed when my new roommate (also a freshman) already had friends from her high school who went to our same college and lived in the same dorm building. I felt like I couldn’t compete with her old friends and quickly stopped trying to build a relationship with her. In hindsight, that was my insecurity talking, I didn’t want to tag along with her and her existing friends and had been hoping we would be better buddies discovering college together. If you are very insecure on your job you might overreact to your predecessor still having a presence at your place of employment.

  9. Andy*

    Hey there op1! You filled a position, but what if that person wasn’t just an employee or coworker? Maybe they’re a friend?
    I started a new job 3 years ago. The last person in the position was there for 35 years. No matter how amazing I am at the job, I’m not gonna be able to back fill that kind of relationship. So I make sure she gets an invite to campus for our annual lunch and a parking pass and our department gets to keep a line of communication open to someone with mad history here. Vy valuable. And she’s a gem so it’s nice to have her shine on us for a bit.
    One day maybe you and I will be that person! But that takes time. Can’t rush it.
    Happy holidays!

    1. Grudzeinchica who loves Snake Jazz*

      Exactly my point(except yours is written way better lol). This person is a friend/family at this point – really nothing that OP can do or should worry about. Just enjoy the food and drinks and chill.

    2. Brogrammer*

      Bingo. My company invites a handful of long-tenured former employees to the holiday party and occasional happy hour. This is because we’re a tight-knit team who genuinely like each other and enjoy each other’s company. It’s also a way of demonstrating over all that while we like each other, it’s still business and there’s genuinely no hard feelings toward people who move on to another job.

  10. Here for randomness*

    #1 Is the previous employee retired or perhaps left for other reasons where they did not immediately switch to a new employee (e.g. stay at home parent)? A previous employer of mine invited (and paid for) all retired employees to their holiday lunch. It was a nice way for retired employees to stay in touch with colleagues. I agree that this is most likely a nice way for your manager and coworkers to stay in touch with a former coworker.

    1. Sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

      We also invite local retirees to the annual Xmas lunch. But I also found out that the list of local retirees is sent to the C-suite first where it is looked over, culled (!!!), approved and then invites go out. We had the awkwardness of a retiree asking why she wasn’t invited two years in a row and the party committee chair was wondering: was this retiree culled? We ended up sending her an invite with apologies.

  11. Lusara*

    On #2, is it a scheduled half day off for everyone, or is it an unofficial “let people leave early” thing? My company has Cristmas Eve and New Year’s Eve as official half days, so if we want to take the day off it is only four hours of PTO.

    So if half-day Christmas Eve is your official company policy, then you should only need to use four hours of PTO and you should push back on it. But it sounds like it’s an unofficial thing in this case, so there’s a always a chance they might not let people go early.

    1. OP #2*

      Hi, it is a company-wide thing. It was on our calendar when it was released back in January. They make a point of announcing it – “as a reminder, if you want a full day off on a day we only work a half day, you must use a full day of PTO.” This is my 4th professional job out of college (been 10+ years) and it’s been this way at every job I’ve had. I’m surprised at how many people have commented and said they only have to use 1/2 day of vacation if they’re already off a half day.

      1. schnauzerfan*

        OK that does suck. For us, with that kind of notice hourly employees would be able to take just the 4 hrs and salaried would take a whole day because we can’t take partial (you either worked or did not work on a given day… ) If I need an hour off, I take it. If I want 1/2 day for some reason, I just need to check the calendar for coverage, then pencil myself in.

      2. fhqwhgads*

        Your experience is also consistent with the places I’ve worked that had official “close early day before a holiday” policies, and the reasoning was as Alison explained. I’m mentioning this only because I know you’re getting a lot of comments from folks whose companies do not have it that way, and while I’m glad such companies exist, what you’ve seen is not uncommon.

        1. Lusara*

          Alison’s reasoning only makes sense it if is an unofficial closing early. Her reasoning doesn’t make sense for an official early closure.

      3. Avasarala*

        This makes no sense to me. If they know in advance they’re closing, then how come they get to charge you double PTO for those days? Do they really want to incentivize working those days?

        I encourage pushing back as a group (in my area we have benefits because of unions and shift work and labor laws).

  12. cncx*

    i work in europe and my company has generous pto and most people take the entire weeks around christmas-new year’s off. yet we still do the light duty/leave early (i will leave between 3 and 4pm when my normal hours are 930-630) for people who show up and 1 full day pto for people who take off. It’s not an official half day, but it’s understood that it’s presenteeism only.

    in my case, me working today, even a half day, means i leave almost 4 days later for my holiday. so like, i had three phone calls and a couple emails so i’m cruising AAM and get to leave early today, but i still had to come in even if it is butt in chair and leave early. my coworkers who took pto are either relaxing, travelling or already at their holiday destination now. that’s how i think of it- also, i get an extra day of pto that i can take when the rest of the people are really busting it here and that’s also the price i paid for coming in. you can’t have it both ways. either come in and surf the internet for five or six hours or take the hit to pto and go on vacation early.

  13. LDN Layabout*

    I’m public sector (arm’s length body) and the 24th is an unofficial half day because otherwise it’d have to be part of our contracts.

    I don’t mind taking it as a full day off because it means I can plan ahead more easily (and probably because I have generous PTO, for the UK)

    1. Asenath*

      My soon-to-be former workplace always made an announcement partway through Christmas Eve morning saying that after a particular get-together, the place would close down, probably with the usual exemptions for the people who had to be on hand in case something exploded or the plumbing flooded or whatever, I never worked in a department for which it was essential to have staff on hand 24/7. As with OP, if you didn’t show up at all, you needed a day’s pay. I was a bit cautious about using my leave up, didn’t live far away (so the commute wasn’t an issue) and always chose to work those few hours. There were offices in which no one came in OR applied for leave – and no one was disciplined for not coming in. I don’t know if any of us at my site attended the final holiday event mid-morning on Christmas Eve, which was at another site, so that didn’t really matter, even though the official reason for leaving one’s office was to attend. It never bothered me to work a few hours to take the rest of the day off, but it certainly annoyed some of my co-workers, hence the fact that non-compliance was common.

  14. Grudzeinchica who loves Snake Jazz*

    OP #1 – it is weird that an former employee keeps coming back… but with some people their work family is their life. I have seen people stop by who had stopped working at the company ten years ago. This person could have a real bond with your boss and he is inviting over a friend who used to work there.

    I strongly suggest you don’t think about it – unless you see a difference in DIRECT behaviour towards you.. it’s not your circus, not your monkey type of scenario. Hope you enjoy your party!

  15. Parenthetically*

    I’m really struck by the contrast between the assumptions in #1 and #2! Pretty instructive.

  16. Observer*

    #1 – Unless there is a lot going on at your company that you haven’t mentioned here your reaction really is very odd, and not particularly helpful to you. Sure, it is odd that this employee is coming back to the holiday parties, but it’s just so unlikely that it’s intended as a dig at you that you are going to look badly if you react that way.

    In fact, I would advise taking the other tack. See if you can use this person as a resource – this is clearly someone with institutional knowledge which you might just find useful to tap when unusual situations come up. At worst, you look gracious and confident, which are good characteristics to present.

  17. Academic Librarian*

    alas, I am that revisiting former employee. In my defense, it is an academic institution. Former employees do come back and visit. I was beloved. I do miss everyone. I left and live a half of a continent away and will never want my job back. I drop in with notice about 2 times a year. I am an invited guest lecturer once a year. I never until this moment gave a thought about how my replacement felt about my visits. Something to think about.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I personally like a few of my predecessors, the ones who left for reasons other than being fired for mucking things up of course ;)

      I’m kind of shocked by the idea they’d be some kind of threat.

      Some of us have come back… when asked in an emergency situation but nobody has had their job poached or been swapped out. It’s not a competition like that in a functional and well ran company!

      So you’re probably very much welcome back. I hate seeing these one off gripes taken so seriously by people who aren’t doing anything wrong at all.

      I bring treats for everyone, including the people I don’t know when I visit. So unless you’re pulling weird moves like the lady who decorated the office above or saying things like “oh we did it another way when I was here, how awful and shameful you’ve changed things.” kind of stuff, don’t put much thought into it.

    2. Politico*

      I have been in political jobs where my predecessors come back for visits. I have found them to be an invaluable source of advice and wisdom.

  18. CaptainoftheNoFunDepartment*

    OP 3: I work in a high level HR position and one thing I always do when I am hiring people managers from outside the organization is require that one of the references be a person who the candidate has managed previously. It doesn’t sound like you’re going to be checking references, but if you’re in a position to suggest this, I recommend it.

  19. Hiring Mgr*

    Even after reading all the explanations, I still don’t understand the logic behind #2. this is one of many reasons I prefer “unlimited” vacation policies. You just take off when you need and you don’t have to worry about this kind of thing.

    1. Alex*

      No way! I would hate an unlimited vacation policy because you can’t save it and get it paid out. I consider my vacation balance part of my savings account.

      Plus, I’m betting that these policies are a hotbed of inequality–women feeling like they can’t take time off or they will not be viewed as dedicated, etc. I don’t have evidence to back that up but I have a hunch it is true.

      1. JimmyJab*

        My husband has had unlimited vacation at his last couple jobs. He’s really looking forward to an interview for a new job where they have actual allotted vacation time. He hates having “unlimited” because then your dedication is judged on how little you take.

        1. Hiring Mgr*

          Yes, my post should probably be amended to say, unlimited CAN work very well if you’ve got mature, intelligent management behind it. I’m in the tech world, where it’s fairly common.. fortunately I’ve been part of the leadership team at most of these so I’ve been able to have some influence and make sure Unlimited isn’t weaponized as in your husband’s case.

          1. Avasarala*

            I agree, unlimited is tough because there is no barometer for what is acceptable. I am also in favor in theory, but in practice I think several weeks PTO, combined with a company culture that encourages time off, as well as leave of absence for parent/caregiver/illness situations, is a more realistic generous practice.

    2. tangerineRose*

      The thing with limited vacation, is that most people tend to think it’s OK if you take all of it. With unlimited, who knows how much to take?

  20. Augusta Hawkins Elton*

    While I certainly wouldn’t jump on it as a sign of disrespect, having to encounter your predecessor, even socially, can be more than a little awkward. Taking a job where your predecessor was beloved can add significant emotional baggage to your job. Even if they weren’t particularly beloved, if they had held the job for a long time and still maintain social relationships with the crew, that can also add some strain onto the new person.

    In a previous job, I had to see my predecessor at conferences. I only spoke to her once, about six months after I started, but she was condescending and made several comments that bothered me, implying that I was probably still struggling with my new role (not the case). Thinking of seeing her at a party would have elevated my stress levels for sure.

    I agree with everyone else that having your predecessor invited to a party is not a sign of disrespect, but it can certainly get stressful fast. Go to the party armed with some good coping strategies, OP, and a conscious intention to be relaxed and gracious.

  21. Indy Dem*

    In my company, it seems like the decision to give a half day off is by division or business unit. That being said, on most holidays, we are let know a few weeks (1 week at the least) ahead of time that we will have early out on the day before a major holiday. However, if you want the whole day off, you have to take the whole day. Our company is relatively generous with PTO for a US based company (parent company is in Europe, which I think helps), so I usually have a day or two of vacation and/or sick time, so perhaps it doesn’t bother me that much. Although, when the half day is given, most employees are also allowed to WFH that half day, even if it isn’t your normal day. For some reason, that does makes me upset (until I chuckle at myself) because I’m missing out on an extra WFH day.

  22. FairPayFullBenefits*

    OP1 – I for one think it’s very odd that this former employee is being invited to (and attending) office parties, years after leaving – especially when nobody else outside the company is there. It’s probably not a slight toward you, but I don’t blame you for thinking it’s strange!

  23. voyager1*

    I work in a department now that requires people to be in the office on pretty much everyday. We only get New Years, Thanksgiving and Christmas off. You want any day off that normally you will be working, well that is what PTO is for.

    My prior job did early dismiss on Christmas Eve. It was a set thing, but nobody knew exactly when we were leaving. One year it is as 1pm the next 3pm then maybe 1:30 the following year. If you took off Christmas Eve then you took a whole day. The years we left at 1pm people thought it wasn’t fair. The years we left at 3pm folks were more okay with it. The reality was the company was open and it needed people, so the early dismiss was the incentive to get folks to work. If not then the only option was to go by seniority or who could put in for time off the quickest.

    Both of these jobs are in banking.

    Personality I think folks are confused about what is fair and what it is equitable. It is totally unfair to use a full day if the company closes at say 1pm. However it is is equitable because, those employees showed up to work should be the ones who get some benefit since they are giving up time off. If you took the day off, seriously what difference does it make in the end? You are not work, enjoy your day off. If you really feel cheated of four hours, then well go to work on Dec 24th.

  24. learnedthehardway*

    OP#3 – Having been in your situation, and regretted it, I would be very careful. Find out how the candidates came to the attention of the company (were they referrals from your grand-boss, for example?), find out exactly what is expected of you in the interview (are you supposed to be interviewing for functional experience, culture fit, management skills, etc?). Find out how your questions and feedback will be used in the decision process.

    In my situation, colleagues and I were asked to do an interview of the finalist candidate to make sure they were a good fit and that they had the experience required. Nobody informed us that they were the grand-boss’ best friend. The person was manifestly not qualified, and our questions elicited answers that proved that. The person was hired anyway, and proceeded to let every one of us who were on the interview panel go.

    Hopefully, your situation will be a much different story, but it is definitely putting you in an awkward position to be interviewing your potential manager.

    1. OP3*

      Thank you for sharing your experience.
      I find my grandboss to be open and honest and I believe he is really interested in hearing my opinion. I know he does have the final say though. If the dynamics of my group and management chain were different, I might not have wanted to be on the panel.

  25. Sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

    OP#1: You can choose to feel disrespected…but it’s probably better not to. Is there someone who’s been there longer you trust who perhaps knows the background story of this person?

    Your letter doesn’t give us much to go on. Because if this is the ONLY time they come into the office/event – once a year! – it’s hardly disrespectful, as far as I think. A touch odd, maybe. But after the third time, ask someone. There might be a story there that completely explains everything.

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