updates: coworker calls me “mama,” office-mate broke up with me, and more

It’s “where are you now?” month at Ask a Manager, and all December I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past. Here are four updates from past letter-writers.

1. Coworker calls me “mama” because I’m pregnant

I wrote to you earlier this year about people calling me “Mama” while pregnant at work. I am happy to have a very boring update. Once the newness of the news of my pregnancy wore off, it was never an issue. One person said it once, a coworker who I am close with, and I cheerfully told her “I’m just Jane, thanks!” and she took it in stride. The queries in meetings about pregnancy details just naturally subsided.

For what it’s worth, I learned a lot of things through trial and error. There were some people who would ask how I was, in one-on-ome conversations. For me, I’m the kind of person who wears my heart on my sleeve, and I felt like even when things weren’t going smoothly (it was a high risk pregnancy), it was more natural for me to tell people some details rather than just keep it under wraps. I know some people wouldn’t, but I think I learned that every person should do what feels okay for them in their pregnancy and not be caught up in what I should or shouldn’t do as long as I was keeping it professional and stayed mindful that not everyone wanted to know all the details. I let others take the lead in asking and kept my answer to a two sentence update and that seemed to keep people informed and happy.

Because I telecommute, and mostly work by myself, I was really able to control how I talked about it and when, so that helped. There were people who didn’t know I was pregnant even up to week 36, so I think that’s a good sign.

Long story short, I learned that there are many ways to be a professional pregnant woman and that none are wrong as long as you are mindful of yourself and others. Every situation and workplace and person is so different, and I did what worked for me and that seemed to work fine.

The original offender didn’t say anything until the very end of my pregnancy when she offered me unsolicited advice on birthing positions and labor medications. I just brushed it off and chalked it up to some people having no filter but meaning well.

This might not be the most coherent response as I am currently sleeplessly enjoying maternity leave. Thanks for the advice during an emotional and complicated time!

2. My coworker just broke up with me, and we share an office

My coworker and I still work together. Due to a recent change in organization, he now reports directly to me. In the last two and a half years, we did date once or twice more, and we also had a casual, no strings attached relationship that exists to this day. (Note from Alison: Oh nooooo. You can’t do this if you’re his boss!) It’s a smaller organization, and I feel confident that it’s not an issue – it’s well known that we are friends as well as coworkers.

Things were awkward, then stopped being awkward, then were awkward again. Some people suggested I move my desk after my initial letter – I did right after we broke up. I made up an excuse on why I was moving – I took on a new-ish project and decided it made sense to sit elsewhere.

We are now good friends that have made a mutual decision that a serious relationship isn’t in our future. I don’t regret getting involved with a coworker because I learned a lot about myself and my wants in this relationship, but I wouldn’t do it again. That said, a commenter on the original thread did mention that it can be difficult to meet people outside of work. I work more 60 hours/week and I’m in my mid 20’s. Meeting people this way comes naturally, unfortunately.

The irony is that I suspect one of my peers (another manager) is in a relationship with an employee that I’ve put on an performance improvement plan. He works directly with her on some projects and he defends her work constantly, even when I know for a fact that she did not complete her assigned work. I feel like a hypocrite for suggesting he is unbiased because of their personal relationship!

3. My assistant doesn’t know how to prioritize

Thank you for publishing a response and a huge thank you to your followers for such a great discussion in the comments! I tried to keep up as best I could and was able to suss out a few extra details and pieces of advice.

I think two things worsened the problem – the first was that our team was going through a massive overhaul of our program, so much of our time and energy was directed at that and not taking care of a clearly sub-par employee. All of us were so focused on just keeping the program afloat while trying to make improvements that the fact that she wasn’t doing things correctly or timely or effectively just wasn’t on the list of things that needed to be taken care of. This situation I wrote in about was when I finally realized how bad the problem had gotten. The second issue was that this was also my first job out of college and I wasn’t sure how much authority I had, given that I was not a manger by title and not her manager by structure. Age dynamics also played a role in this as she was only a year older than me – having managed people my age in college organizations I was mind-boggled that someone might actually need that much hand-holding and then wrongly assumed it was my colleague’s, who was actually her manager, responsibility.

All that to say, I did start spelling things out for her as explicitly as you and the comments suggested. I also started writing a short to-do list, along with notes on how to do it and when it was due by, on a post-it note for her every time I assigned a new task – so not too much detail, but enough that she could fall back on. That seemed to help quite a bit and I saw her refer back to them consistently. I also spoke with my supervisor because she had also begun to see some larger problems with Jane’s work. We planned additional check-ins and began asking her to provide updates at every weekly meeting, when before she had only been nodding along.

However – plot twist – I didn’t get to see how all of this panned out. About two weeks or so after my letter was published I got into my dream law school off a waitlist! The next two weeks were a whirlwind of wrapping up and winding down. In all of that mess though I had a rather lengthy conversation with Jane when I told her I was leaving and really impressed upon her that with me leaving and the team still focused on the overhaul she really needed to step up, do her tasks accurately, and help wherever she saw the others needed support – sort of a “trial-by-fire/you don’t know what you can do until you do it” thing. That seemed to hit home.

I’ve continued working part-time remotely for this company while in law school – I love my team and the program, so anything I can do to support them, I will. In that time I have not needed to talk to Jane as much, save for a few email forwards of things I know she can handle. I get the sense from my supervisor that she has learned new tasks and has been a help in the more rote tasks of our overhaul, but has unfortunately not grown or stepped up in the way I had hoped.

4. I share space with a coworker who throws temper tantrums (#2 at the link)

The advice I received in response to my question was very helpful, mostly because it assured me I a) wasn’t crazy for being upset and b) wasn’t alone when it comes to weird officemates. After I read through the comments, I decided to respond gently the next time she started shouting (spoiler alert: I didn’t have to wait too long). Because she is volatile, I used humor to gently remind her we’re sharing the space and sometimes it happens while I’m on the phone. In response to her singing and muttering, I started asking her if she needed help or something from me. It turns out she really wasn’t aware she did any of that; she has a PhD and is very, very smart and I attribute it to a ‘nutty professor’ personality. At first, she felt extremely bad about the shouting and would send an email to me at the end of the day apologizing, but I’ve noticed the shouting has happened less and less as a result.

However, there is a very happy ending to this story: our firm is in the process of remodeling our building and we’ll both be moved to new seats in the process. Good for me, somewhat unlucky for her future neighbor.

{ 151 comments… read them below }

  1. Lena Clare*

    LW2 yes you are being hypocritical! This is a terrible idea, and extremely unfair to your other colleagues.

    1. kittymommy*

      Seriously. They feel like a hypocrite because they are a hypocrite. I mean dating a colleague who works so close to you is not really a great idea, but this is so, so, so much worse. Sleeping with a subordinate, and a direct subordinate at that, is truly not a good decision.

      1. Argus*

        So, they had a romantic relationship, then she became his boss and they had a casual sexual relationship. Given LW2’s position of power at work, can she credibly argue that the sex is 100% consensual if higher-ups were to find out?

        Is HE 100% confident he could say no to sex, without it affecting his work life/happiness?

        1. Fellow Boot Fancier*

          Exactly! And if their relationship is just about one specific thing, well, safer for OP and the company to, er, buy a toy for said thing if work/life balance is currently skewed in a way that makes it hard to meet people. Not an ideal solution but much less problematic for their future career until the work/life balance shifts. -Especially since OP says the relationship is going nowhere so…..

          1. Inner ears have more balance*

            The work-life balance is never going to shift and we are going to see a lot more of this in the future and juries (also composed of people with no work/life balance) being sympathetic to it. I have never worked a job that requires less than 60 hours per week and 80 is more common.

            1. Wintermute*

              I’m with you on this one. There’s all kinds of reasons people might not be objective, in fact I would argue it’s fairly impossible to treat coworkers/subordinately truly objectively. I realize our culture has drawn a firewall around this specific kind of relationship and singled (no pun intended) it out but… meh, I don’t see it as a big deal, as long as the organization is reasonably functional they would know if someone is getting unreasonably preferential treatment.

              Especially if the relationship began before the reporting relationship did, you can’t really expect people to dump a partner because the business decided to change what you do, that’s just giving them too much veto power over your life.

              1. Kendra*

                That sounds less like giving your employer veto rights over your life to me, and more like “something you should think really, really, REALLY hard about before you decide to accept a promotion, because you WILL need to break things off, completely, with anyone who’s going to report to you.”

                Humans being humans, there is NO WAY that this situation isn’t going to be a problem at some point. Even if OP and her FWB/report are totally reasonable people and keep things perfectly professional at work, it will still affect both of their reputations when others hear of it (just look at how OP is reacting to rumors that her fellow manager is involved with the employee she has on a PIP; it’s made her question his judgement and impartiality, and other people will think exactly the same thing of her once this gets out).

                There are very valid reasons that many, many employers have rules against this exact thing, and it’s not because they’re being the Fun Police.

              2. LJay*

                Nobody expects anybody to dump their partner because the business changes what you do.

                They expect you to disclose the relationship to HR so your significant other doesn’t get moved to being your subordinate to begin with.

                Every job I’ve been in has had an anti-neoptism clause, but they all pretty mush said that if a relationship did develop that the company would move one employee or the other to a position out of their family member’s direct reporting line.

                I do agree that it is difficult to be objective. It was hard for me at the beginning of my managing career to realize that blatantly favoring someone because they were an excellent worker who made my life a ton easier by doing their job well without any complaints or drama was, in fact, still favoritism and bad for morale.

                And close friendships can make objectivity just as or more difficult than family relationships or romantic relationships. And are probably more common than the other two.

                I don’t think it tracks though that that makes romantic relationships in the workplace not a big deal. For one, the chance for sexual harassment (or the appearance of it) is just too great. We’re getting the story from the point of view of the person in power. And it sounds like everything is actually consensual and on the up-and-up. But what if in a similar situation the friend-with-benefits didn’t want to be friends with or have sex with their manager anymore, but feared that there would be retribution for cutting things off completely? What if the friend-with-benefits uses their intimate knowledge of the manager to blackmail them into giving them better assignments, etc.

                Do you think people can be truly objective when they know that giving their child or their significant other different opportunities will have a positive effect on their family’s life? If I send my (non-existent) daughter to this training she’ll be better positioned for promotions later on. If I give my boyfriend this easy account he’ll bonus on it easily and we’ll be able to afford a nice night out. (And on the other hand if I don’t give him the easy account he’ll ask me why I didn’t and I’ll have to explain myself to him and maybe get into an argument or deal with him sulking while the other person who doesn’t get it is just going to move on with life without confronting me over it. And maybe my daughter and my boyfriend are almost or just as qualified as the other candidate so picking them for this opportunity isn’t unreasonable. And then the next time choosing them again also isn’t unreasonable. But at some point it does become unreasonable and at that point it’s already affected everyone else.

                Or maybe my boyfriend is a superstar employee and absolutely does need to be put on the high risk, high-reward account and he does amazingly and gets a huge bonus. But instead of seeing that he was more deserving and looking at what they need to do to improve, my other employees just assume that he got the opportunity because I’m sleeping with him and sit around and become resentful and either complain to HR or just leave to another department or company where they don’t feel like they are missing out on opportunities for something out of their control.

                I just don’t see a lot of situations where it works out well for everyone – the employee, the manager, the team, and the company – and a lot of situations where one or more of those people get hurt in some way.

                I do think companies should do more management training on how to have good professional relationships with their staff, and be more attuned to impropriety happening in situations where it’s a platonic friendship as well as the relationships they already focus on, though.

            2. Entry Level Marcus*

              This is a ridiculous generalization. I don’t know what industry you’re in, but I don’t know anyone who is expected to work more than 40-50 hours in a typical week (this is across a variety of industries). I’m fact, most of us work closer to 40 a week.

                1. Windchime*

                  I’m not entry-level, and I rarely work more than 40 hours a week. I work in a professional, white-collar career and my workplace values work/life balance. I will absolutely pitch in and work extra hours during crunch times or if a big project requires it, but that happens a couple of times a year (at most).

                2. JayNay*

                  Glug, that’s a mean comment and completely unneccessary.
                  It’s strange to think that working more hours automatically means the person is more important or higher up. Sometimes that’s true, but if someone generally works 60 or 70 hours a week, they’re either doing too much work for one person or they’re working very inefficiently. (I shudder to think of industries where that is the norm.)

    2. Batgirl*

      I know, right, you can’t just squeeze out of your conscience with words like ‘irony’ and a golly gosh exclamation mark. OP just plain old needs to stop taking advantage of their position. Also, OP, the word you’re looking for as regards your colleague is not ‘unbiased’. That’s a little too neutral for someone deliberately neglecting their duty to people for a roll in the hay.

  2. Kit*

    LW 2! Please rethink… all of this! Having any kind of sexual relationship with a direct report is a bad idea on a million axes, and it’s in no way ameliorated by the casual no-strings-attached nature. You’re his boss!

    1. Sara without an H*

      “It’s not a problem for us, because reasons….” Until it all blows up in the OP’s face.

      OP, I get it that you’re young, and you’re working a 60+ hours a week. But you really, really need to break up with your “friend” and start job hunting. The workload is not sustainable, and you’re in a relationship that, however casual, is still a gross violation of professional norms that will trash your reputation if/when it becomes known.

      And it will become known. That peer manager who’s trying to protect the employee you’ve put on a PIP? Do you really think he’ll keep his mouth shut if/when he finds out about it?

      Start the new year right: break up with your report, start job hunting, and resolve to never, never get into a situation like this again.

      1. Observer*

        Start the new year right: break up with your report, start job hunting, and resolve to never, never get into a situation like this again.

        This X 1,000

      2. Ego Chamber*

        I agree with all the suggestions you give here about OP getting their sh!t together but I don’t think the relationship is a secret? OP said “everyone knows we’re friends” and I took that to mean “the whole office knows we’re banging, obviously, because how could they not know?” It seems like the kind of workplace where everyone knows who’s sleeping together (spoiler: a lot of them are) and it’s mostly ignored.

        I hope OP gets out and finds something better soon, the job sounds like a soulkiller.

        1. LJay*

          Your post kind of makes me think that maybe it’s a restaurant or something because I’ve worked in a couple and everyone was sleeping with everyone and that was the least unprofessional thing about the situation (the drug deals happening behind me while I washed dishes were probably the most. Or the blatant sexual discussions). And also the hours were long and terrible and it was soulkilling.

          I still think that OP needs to extract themselves because accusations of impropriety could still pop up. And having to work 60 hours a week while being underpaid and unappreciated sucks.

          But in that situation her casual attitude towards it makes more sense than if it were in a typical office job.

          I guess with the mentions of moving desks and switching projects it’s probably not. But maybe she changed information to disguise the situation more. Or I guess maybe it’s a more casual environment with a lot of people the same age that’s contributing to the same atmosphere.

  3. Top Scallops*

    Nooooooooooo Update #2. Sleeping with your direct report, even if they didn’t originally report to you is BAD.

    There is no planet on which this is not bad.

    1. Sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

      I’ve worked with folks who did this…and they made steps to change departments/reporting structure ASAP since the relationship and work was that important to them.

      The optics will never, never, ever look good. So, break it off before it becomes an open secret (like the aforementioned folks).

      Oh, wait, there was another couple in the same office, he was the director, she a direct report (but a manager), the affair was a badly kept secret and then they finally were open about it…and didn’t change departments. They swore they were able to keep it professional and fair (as there were other managers other him). Their love really was blind to how bad it looked to everyone else.

  4. Middle School Teacher*

    “It’s a smaller organization, and I feel confident that it’s not an issue – it’s well known that we are friends as well as coworkers.”

    OP 2 it is a HUGE issue. And even if no one has said anything, I’m willing to bet your colleagues see it as an issue too.

    1. Wednesday of this week*

      Yes, and “I feel confident that it’s not an issue” is what everyone says when they’re breaking rules and don’t want to stop. LW2, please recognize that the bias you’re trying to call out in your coworker is absolutely at work within yourself as well.

      1. Alexander Graham Yell*

        I mean, LW2 talks about how they have trouble believing another person is unbiased about their direct report that the person might be dating – odds are that everybody in the organization in a position to know LW2 and their direct report are close think the same thing about them.

      2. Lissa*

        Yeah, you just can’t say “I feel confident this isn’t an issue” about your OWN possible issue. It’s like saying “I know my quirk doesn’t bother people because nobody’s ever said anything” or “I’m a really modest person and a great multi tasker.” Some things you can’t self evaluate.

    2. Flyleaf*

      It may not be an issue now, but it could turn into an issue. If the employee is ever disciplined or demoted, or receives a non-stellar raise/bonus, your employer could be facing a lawsuit claiming that you sexually harassed your employee. OP would be in a very bad position.

      1. PollyQ*

        Or if the subordinate gets a promotion or other perk over another employee, that one can make a (quite possibly valid) claim of discrimination.

    3. 1LFTW*

      It being a smaller organization might make it even more of an issue, as far as the group dynamic goes, and it’s not at all safe to assume that nobody knows or suspects that your friendship extends to “full benefits”.

      1. Sara without an H*

        Oh, I can almost guarantee that it’s known. Up to now, nobody has had any incentive to rat the OP out. The employee on the PIP is acquiring an incentive.

        1. Middle School Teacher*

          It’s entirely known. And dollars to donuts everyone in the office talks about it, gripes about it, and doesn’t trust OP2 because of it.

          1. Decima Dewey*

            And coworkers are taking bets on when it’ll all blow up, and whether OP2 or their subordinate is called into HR first.

            1. Ego Chamber*

              They don’t have HR. Everybody knows. Nobody cares. It’s not right but it’s happening anyway and there will probably be no repercussions for anyone involved other than a messy breakup. Source: Apparently I’ve worked somewhere just like this, which is disappointing because I wanted it to be the only place like that.

              Hopefully OP and her friend with detriments won’t take this habit to their next jobs because a lot of places would have fired them for the first thing and most would definitely fire them for the current thing. (I know they said they won’t do it again but … really? I mean really-really?)

              1. Gay Drunk Patriots Fan*

                Chiming in just to say that #FriendsWithDetriments is officially the final fantastic phrase of the 2010’s. I want to send you cash in the mail for making me laugh that hard just now.

    4. Cookie Captain*

      And…just because something is (so far) consequence-free doesn’t mean it isn’t unethical or unwise or otherwise a terrible idea.

      It almost doesn’t matter if it ends up biting you in the ass or not–a romantic or sexual relationship with a direct report is Not Okay.

    5. MiddleGenerationMillennial*

      LW2, your situation is exactly why most companies have no dating policies. Honestly, this may be a good wake up call to start fresh elsewhere. It may sound extreme, but your office sounds like it’s rife with so many interpersonal issues that a change might be the best option.

    6. tinybutfierce*

      Given that there’s now two employees at this place who are romantically/sexually involved with their immediate subordinates, it honestly makes me question what the vibe of that organization as a whole has. The only places I’ve ever worked where that would have been even remotely considered acceptable were not places I wanted to stay at long, to put it mildly, because it usually spoke to a loooot of other dysfunction and workplace inappropriateness.

      1. GreyjoyGardens*

        Same here. The places I’ve worked at that tolerated romance and sex between boss and subordinate also were seething messes of dysfunction in every other way possible. It is very, very rare for a company to be inappropriate in just ONE area.

    7. I Like Math*

      The original letter was in 2017. I’m guessing it’s widely known, but it’s weird that no one in the organization has done anything about it. I agree, it’s a HUGE issue. Look for another job. Don’t do this again.

  5. Shocked Pikachu*

    #1 Sounds like congratulations on your new bundle are in order, so congrats and wishing all the best :)
    Also, you handled the work stuff like a total pro. Thanks for the update.

  6. Justin*

    #2, nooooooo.

    Please don’t take this as if I’m saying men have it harder, but it would definitely be looked at poorly if a man were writing this. (I suppose this could be a man writing about a man, so I apologize for heteronormativity if I am incorrect.)

    You are being both unethical and hypocritical, however, uh, it seems like it’s sort of the culture, so I have a feeling it’s the whole rotten industry of whatever. I hope you are able to extricate yourself.

    1. Justin*

      (Ignore the gender reference if it doesn’t make sense, I was just trying to say, it’s not okay even if the more common roles are not in place.)

    2. Observer*

      Let’s put it this way – it if were a man writing about a relationship with a woman reporting to him, there is NO way anyone outside of the organization would fail to see that it’s a problem.

      The fact that it may not be seen as a problem within your organization (regardless of the genders of the people involved) says more about the toxicity of the organization than anything else. This is not about “formal” vs “casual” or “big” vs “small”. To the extent that size and level of formality makes a difference, the smaller and more informal the place is, the WORSE it is, because there are fewer guardrails around the power dynamic.

      1. Justin*

        If/when she leaves, even if she is lucky enough not to have this follow her, acting this way elsewhere is… not going to work.

      2. NCKat*

        I feel this could be a lawsuit waiting to happen. This is in no way OK no matter how small or large your firm.

        1. Dove*

          It’s absolutely a lawsuit waiting to happen. Heck, one person in the video game developer community got MeToo’d for *this exact behaviour* with *two* of his direct reports (consecutively, not concurrently). His reputation in the industry is (deservedly) tainted, and not just because of the ‘sleeping with direct reports’ issue but also because 1) it came out that he lied about having been open about the relationship, and about having moved asap to make sure his partner was reporting to someone else (he did neither of these things!), 2) he attempted to victim-blame one of his former partners, the one who came out about this behaviour of his, 3) other people came out about how this is a pattern of behaviour with him, and how it’s not the only abusive behaviour he’s got a pattern of engaging in.

          I’m pretty sure the only reason that there isn’t a lawsuit (that I recall hearing about) over that is due to the fact that the company they both worked for at the time came out, during the whole thing, and stated that they had *no idea* that he had been in a relationship with a direct report and that they would have been horrified and attempted to take steps to make sure she wasn’t reporting to him, if they had known.

          1. Observer*

            That’s not necessarily a defense against a law suit. Companies say that all the time, and they often need to prove that in court – and sometimes they can’t (prove it).

      3. Wintermute*

        eh, could be the field they’re in too. There are some where this is totally normalized and fairly common, others where it would be professional suicide.

        1. Observer*

          Well, yes, there are fields where being a predator (especially if you are a man) is perfectly normal as long as you bring in the money. In that case the OP should realize that it still doesn’t mean that this behavior is ethical, healthy, or even good management. And that moving into another field is going to mean unlearning a LOT of bad behavior.

          And, if that’s the kind of field the OP is in, she needs to think about what kind of human being she wants to be – clearly this field is bringing out some pretty ugly behavior.

          1. GreyjoyGardens*

            Agreed. There’s a corollary of Gresham’s Law operating in a few fields – the bad employees drive out the good, because the field/atmosphere encourages the bad.

            Though even in fields which tolerate male sexual predators, the double standard might still apply, so LW Beware in that case. And yes, do you really want to be That Person – especially if LW wants to switch fields one day and her new field does not tolerate such shenanigans, and now she has a reputation which follows her?

            It is best to not fish off the company pier, so to speak, and if you must, only fish for peers, NOT managers and certainly not subordinates!

          2. Wintermute*

            I was thinking more restaurants and call centers, where at some places everyone is dating someone there, or sleeping together, and it’s definitely not a big deal until the upper levels of management, not places where supposed rainmakers get a pass for all kinds of bad behavior.

    3. Batgirl*

      I dont have any problem judging a woman for this. The power imbalance burden and the distrust of her other employees would be exactly the same.

  7. Librarian of SHIELD*

    #4, I’m glad you were able to help your colleague notice how often her emotions were breaking through into the outside world. Even if she’s still not regulating perfectly, you’ve done a huge favor to whoever her next desk neighbor is.

    1. Richard Hershberger*

      We don’t diagnose over the internet, but just saying… My ten-year-old is very smart and on the spectrum. I can totally see her down the road with a Ph.D. and acting exactly like this person. The key to maintaining sanity with my daughter is to break through into her mental world and tell her to stop. It usually works. She doesn’t mean to be annoying (except with her sister, but that is different…). She just doesn’t intuit how her behavior affects those around her.

  8. Shocked Pikachu*

    “I don’t regret getting involved with a coworker because I learned a lot about myself and my wants in this relationship, but I wouldn’t do it again.”

    Except you keep doing it. Sure, it’s casual, no string attached involvement, but it’s an involvement. What changed is that your co-worker is now your report which makes this involvement completely inappropriate. I hope you re-consider.

    1. Justin*

      ” because I learned a lot about myself and my wants in this relationship”

      Shockek pikachu is an appropriate reaction

      1. Shocked Pikachu*

        When I changed my nick (upon other commenter’s suggestion) I planned it to be a temporary thing. Now I am starting to feel like I should keep it. It’s like a superhero calling. You need Shocked Pikachu here ! ;)

    2. Parenthetically*

      “I wouldn’t do it again”

      I had the same reaction to this line. Like? You… literally ARE doing it RIGHT NOW? You are 100% still involved with this guy? You are literally sleeping with your direct report?

      People can define relationships however they want, it’s a free country, etc., but there is no universe in which ” having sex with someone who reports directly to me” is not “getting involved” with that person.

      1. Dual Peppin Whiskey*

        Did any other Office fans immediately think of The Negotiation episode with this update?

        Jan: Right now we can offer you a 6% raise.
        Michael: Six percent? After all we’ve been through?
        Jan: Oh, God.
        Michael: I got you… jade earrings.
        Jan: Michael—
        Michael: No!
        Jan: Michael—
        Michael: No. You gonna play it like this? You give me a good raise, or no more sex. [Toby begins to write] [to Toby] What are you writing, perv-ball?
        Toby: Just preparing for the deposition.

        Toby: This may be the first time that a male subordinate has attempted to get a modest scheduled raise by threatening to withhold sex from a female superior. It will be a groundbreaking case when it inevitably goes to trial.

      2. Uldi*

        It’s going to be a glorious mess in the worst way. This company is going to learn the hard way why most companies have a ‘don’t bang co-workers and definitely don’t bang those below you on the org chart’ rules.

        And I’m really tired of the ‘I don’t have time to meet someone’ excuse, too. Either you are choosing your work over a social life, or you need to be looking around for another job because the company you work for is in trouble.

        I personally believe that allowing coworkers to date just opens the door to toxicity. If they are allowed to date, then they are allowed to ask coworkers for a date while at work, right? If you can ask, then you can flirt, right? If you can flirt, you can express how attractive someone is, right? If you can express how attractive they are, then commenting about Jane’s/John’s backside is okay, right? And it actually gets worse from that point on and you end up paying millions to settle a class action lawsuit like a certain video game company recently did.

        1. tangerineRose*

          At a previous job, some people at work did date, and some even ended up married, but people weren’t allowed to date someone who was their subordinate or whom they were subordinate too, which helped a lot. My personal rule for dating at work includes “only if the person is someone I can easily avoid if it goes bad”.

          1. Wintermute*

            This feels reasonable. I mean we are not automata, we have feelings about people we interact with, but at the same time you need to be aware of potential consequences. I’ve known people who felt they really would regret it the rest of their lives if they didn’t try, and were prepared to end up out of a job if things went poorly. They’ve been married a while now, so… turns out it payed off.

            1. Uldi*

              But those are exceptions, not the common outcome. “Hope for the best, plan for the worst,” is pretty good advice for this sort of thing. And just because it’s allowed does not mean it’s healthy. See: Lawsuit against RIOT Games that cost them $15 million to settle.

    3. GreyjoyGardens*

      I get the “it’s all about ME, ME, ME” from that LW. “*I* learned something about *myself* and *my wants*.” Me, me, me. That’s not the healthiest outlook, or one that will win the LW plaudits with her peers and managers.

      A reputation as a narcissist will damage her as much as a reputation for sleeping with subordinates. Combine them and I hope Alison doesn’t hear from the same LW five years from now “why will no-one hire me? Why is my reputation so bad?”

  9. Phony Genius*

    I hope writer #2 updates us once they’re found out and the whole situation disintegrates as expected. But I doubt they’ll write back.

  10. The Original K.*

    LW2, don’t fool yourself. You’re still involved with your report – you are sleeping with a person you manage, whose livelihood you affect. You need to either stop sleeping with him or stop managing him. You are a hypocrite for pointing out the other manager’s bias; just because you’re not in a capital-R Relationship with this person doesn’t make what you’re doing OK.

    1. NotAnotherManager!*

      This right here. It’s hard to see our own biases, sleeping with a direct report – regardless of whether it’s a “relationship” or not – is just a terrible idea. There is no way that OP #2’s personal relationship with this person doesn’t have some bearing on their managerial relationship with him. Maybe it’s not OP’s bias playing out as special favors, maybe it ends up that the coworker holds it over her head when they disagree at work. Who knows, but more likely than not, it comes to a bad end.

      Also, when you work a lot, and I say this from quite a bit of experience, work is NOT the only place to meet people, particularly in the age of a bazillion dating apps. When you work that much, it’s a much better idea to date someone who does not work for the same small, we’re-all-friends company.

      1. GreyjoyGardens*

        I agree, in this age of dating apps – Tinder, Bumble, Grindr, apps tailored for users of a particular religion or other specific – “I don’t have tiiiimmmee” rings hollow. That might have been an excuse pre-Internet, but now, our dating pools have enlarged considerably. It takes maybe a few minutes to swipe on Tinder.

        1. The Original K.*

          Especially if you want a no-strings-attached thing. If you just want sex, you can have it the same day you create a profile. Dating for a relationship is harder, of course. It takes time to get to know people. But if you just want a physical thing or something casual, that’s pretty easy to come by in the age of apps, especially if you live in a decent-sized city.

    2. Veronica Mars*

      To me the casual nature almost makes it worse. If it was “true love” that’s one thing, maybe, kind of (no, not really, it’s still not ok). But you’re really telling me hes the only guy in the city who lives up to your casual sex standards? And honestly, is “just sex” more important than your career? Because make no mistake, that’s the choice you’re making.

  11. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    Oh. No problem right now, until it ends up becoming a case of hostile work environment. You cannot just have a casual fling setup with you report. That’s not how that ever works. You’re setting yourself and your company up for big problems.

    1. Iconic Bloomingdale*

      Yep. Or their “non-relationship” crashes and burns and he files a sexual harassment complaint against you and the company.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        My brain is screeching so I’ll spew it out there.

        You’re just friends. And you have this setup. Cool. But that guy has you in a really scary position and has a lot of power over your career and livelihood now, despite you supposedly being in the power position as their boss.

        Hopefully he’s a solid dude, who would never use this to his advantage. But who’s to say you’re not going to get into a fight with him one day and the ugly side comes out? What’s there to gain here? Casual hookups are not worth your a career that can be imploded so easily with this kind of stuff.

        What if he starts shagging another coworker and it gets messy? What if someone gets into his head and tells him he’s got this golden ticket and could get places by selling you out and making a thing out of this?

        Two words that haunt every company. Disgruntled employee. They’re well known in the employment law world. Everything is great until it isn’t! Even if he’s a great guy, who knows how this spins out and he may very well be being taken advantage of…who knows.

        1. LQ*

          And lets be fair here. The OP has that guy in a really scary position too. OP doesn’t even have to do anything bad because OP is THE BOSS and that comes with a whole lot of baggage. If Guy has had a bad week and OP has been on Guy’s case all week over poor performance and then calls up Saturday night because it’s been long week and it would be nice to just get a little. Does Guy know for sure that this won’t impact, consciously or not, what OP thinks of Guy next week? It doesn’t have to for Guy to think, well if I say no then OP will still be annoyed and crabby with me next week, but if I say yes then OP will not get on my case as much next week.

          That’s terrifying for Guy and OP doesn’t need to ever do anything that’s out of scope of what’s laid out for that to play out on any given weekend.

          1. Batgirl*

            Exactly. This is why power imbalances are so horrifying. They are invisible to the person with the power. They just think everything magically got smoother and easier.

          2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

            This is completely fair and true.

            My mind is spinning towards the fact that women’s careers don’t bounce back the same as men’s when they get caught in an ugly mess like this. But you’re right, dude is in a precarious scary position as well.

      2. ThatsMyFavoritePen*

        This. Or something won’t go his way at work and what do you know, there’s a conference room with HR waiting for you.

      3. RC Rascal*

        Here’s another angle: how is OP2 going to feel & react if her squeeze breaks it off in favor of a serious relationship with a different girl? What is he proposes to and marries a different girl? My hunch is the green eyed monster is going to come out even if it’s supposed to be a casual thing. Frequently everyone’s OK with FWB until one party gets seriously involved with someone else. Then the other party feels scorned.

        1. Uldi*

          I’m not a believer in the friends-with-benefits thing really staying that way for long. And the longer it goes on, the less casual it becomes; especially when they were in a romantic relationship with each other previously.

          This is going to blow up in OP’s face, sadly. Their best bet is to start looking for another job before it does.

  12. Justin*

    ” because I learned a lot about myself and my wants in this relationship”

    …but did you learn appropriate professional boundaries?

  13. President Porpoise*

    OP 2, this could also affect your reputation in the industry if/when it comes out. Find someone else who doesn’t report to you to explore you needs/wants in relationships with!

  14. Observer*

    OP – what you are doing IS a problem. It’s a HUGE problem. It could wind up torching your career.

    You’re managing the guy you’re sleeping with. That CANNOT be a “no strings attached” relationship. Because there ARE strings – you control his employment. And it’s a small place, which means you probably have a lot more power in this than in a large bureaucratic environment where there are all sorts of processes in place to make sure that people have the basics of appropriate (and legal) treatment, that things are properly documented, etc.

    You could get yourself and your company sued, both by your FWB and any other staff person who figures out what’s going on and believes that you favored him for that reason. If this gets out – especially in a not-so-amicable break up, this could also tarnish your reputation and burn some bridges. I’m not saying it WILL happen, but it easily could. I know a LOT of people who would not touch someone who did this with a 10 foot pole, even in non-supervisory position. There are just too many questions about boundaries, judgement and ethics here.

    1. Observer*

      And by the way, skip the excuse making that you work 60 hours a week. Even if you do get into a relationship with someone in your work circle, that’s one thing. Any sort of relationship with someone you manage is another thing, and the fact that all of your waking hours are spent at work does not make a difference. Get set up with someone in a different department or who works in a related business!

  15. Blackcat*

    #4: As a PhD holder, being smart is no excuse for that sort of behavior. Bad behavior among PhDs is almost always due to lack of good workplace norms among faculty not innate issues. People can and do reign in the behavior when it’s in appropriate–as happened here.

    1. Sara without an H*

      I wonder what the profane officemate’s field of study was? Some graduate students work in isolation and it would be easy to develop a habit of talking/swearing to oneself.

      In any case, OP#4 has done her colleague a huge favor by making her aware of the issue.

    2. Junior Assistant Peon*

      Grad school can really screw up your idea of professional norms. My first industry boss was a tantrum-thrower, and I saw absolutely nothing wrong with this because I had seen much worse in academia.

      1. Filosofickle*

        I have a friend who went to work for a super dysfunctional org that only hires PhDs. The hiring philosophy seems at least as much about culture as credentials — they want employees who will see all the tantrums, berating, and expectations of fealty as totally normal. After all the years it takes to get a PhD, sadly many have normalized that behavior. (There are of course those who wouldn’t put up with it, but the organization doesn’t hire them!)

  16. Jennifer*

    LW2 I get that you’re super busy and meeting people at work is pretty much the only way you can meet people, in person at least, but you need to move on from this and try to meet someone else. If there’s no one else in the office, maybe try dating apps.

  17. Box of Kittens*

    +1 to all these reactions to LW2, and also, sounds like they’re working 60+ hours/week on the regular?? None of this is sustainable or beneficial to the employees or the company.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      60+ hours is sustainable for the right people, lots of people do it. [They’re often called doctors but there are of course others who do it throughout the world].

      1. MsSolo*

        I mean, is not sustainable for doctors, and it’s appalling we’ve reached a point where instead of making sure the people whose hands we put our lives in work sustainable hours and get sufficient rest and relaxation to ensure they’re at their best while working, we just make it a condition of the job that only superhumans need apply (leading to massively high rates of stress, depression, burn out, and staff shortages).

        1. Wintermute*

          Bingo! I decided against medicine in favor of law because of those hours, which leads to a nasty catch-22– we don’t have enough doctors so we work the ones we have like rented mules, leading to burnout, suicide and people that have the aptitude for medicine choosing not to pursue it as a career, leading to us having fewer doctors, and so it goes…

          1. GreyjoyGardens*

            The same is happening with teachers in some areas, with the added complication that teaching salaries are very low. So some places have resorted to importing teachers – rather than raising salaries or reducing workload.

            What we have going on in the various caring professions cannot be sustained.

      2. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

        I seriously want to know where all these physician are who work 60+ hours. Certainly not the majority in the communities I live in (small or big towns). Most work in a clinic, 8-5 M-F. Maybe an ER doctor works these hours but most rotate. Heck, our nursing home physician doesn’t work those hours and he is the only doctor for that home. (He does go on call but any emergency goes to the hospital with the rotating ER doctors).

        1. Helena*

          It’s generally juniors. I’ve certainly worked those hours in certain posts, usually due to rota gaps (so you are covering more than one post).

          But as a staff physician, I work a capped 48hrs per week.

    2. NotAnotherManager!*

      This is very normal for my industry (BigLaw) and lots of people do it (and more), with and without complaint. Other people do it for a while to pay off student debt and then get the job they really want. The ones who are real jerks about it see people who only work 40 hours a week as unambitious slackers.

      It’s also normal for finance, consulting, and a number of medical fields.

        1. RadManCF*

          Construction, particularly in manufacturing, oil and gas, and utilities. In my previous career as a millwright, working seven twelves was very common for turbine outages. Nuclear outages are typically six twelves, as there are strict limits on how long nuclear workers can work. The flip side to long hours in construction is that they are inherently temporary. They aren’t always hard, either. I spent a week in an ethanol plant near Des Moines during a turnaround. The contractor I was working for wasn’t responsible for anything on the critical path, so we typically wouldn’t get a work permit until about nine in the morning (we started at seven). We’d do the work (mostly piddly little things, like changing drive belts and checking sweep conveyors for stretch), and find ourselves sitting in the break area between assignments, sometimes for hours. There were some new apprentices on that job, and they’d gripe a bit about all the sitting around, and I’d tell them to cherish the experience, since those are some of the easiest twelves you could have as a millwright.

        2. MsSolo*

          Which is why so many teachers burn out. That there are persons where it’s normalised (and that so many of them are vital to a functioning society) did not mean it’s sustainable for the individuals involved in them. People burn out because of the long hours, leading to staff shortages, leading to the rejoining staff working longer hours, leading to more burn out…

      1. Mx*

        I work 35 hours – full time where I am-and I would be exhausted if I had to work more. I can’t imagine working 60 hours! And I love my job….I must be a big slacker !

      1. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

        I’d love to know where these doctors work. Clinics are 8-5, M-F in the places I live (small or big towns).

        1. New Jack Karyn*

          That’s when they see patients. They’ve also got to write up their notes, answer emails, look up answers to tricky questions, that sort of thing. I don’t know, but I assume they have to take some continuing education along the way as well.

          1. Brizzzy*

            I work in a hospital…am not a doctor, but support doctors as an admin and can confirm. All of that, plus many of them do research/write papers as well as seeing patients, and they are expected to be on various committees, do peer reviews for trade publications, etc. Burnout is a major issue for doctors. 60 hours is more the minimum than the cap. Most of the ones I work with are pulling closer to 80 hours per week.

            It’s worth noting, lots of non-doctors/non-highly-skilled professionals work 60+ hours per week, too. If you’re poor and low-wage or minimum wage, odds are you’re working 2 or even 3 jobs just to get by in America. I was once an admin making $30K in Southern California working for a nonprofit. After two years of employment there and increasingly struggling to pay SoCal rent, I finally went to my boss and asked for a cost-of-living raise. I was tired of living in an illegal shed conversion in somebody’s back yard. He had otherwise always been a lovely boss, but his response was that although I was a great employee, the organization couldn’t afford a higher salary for me, and maybe I should look at getting a second job in the evenings, at a restaurant or something, in addition to my 40 hours per week working for him. I had worked up to 3 jobs at a time in the past and didn’t want to go back to that. As much as I loved my job, that hurt so much that I started looking for another position immediately.

  18. Laura*

    #2 Sure it’s fine now, but what has your fellow manager told their SO? And when the PIP comes to its end, do you really think the SO won’t use this as ammunition?

  19. Cookie Captain*

    #4 is a lot more forgiving than I would be. No amount of intelligence or eccentricity justifies a grown-ass adult throwing a temper tantrum at work.

    Having fewer tantrums? Having tantrums but later apologizing for them? Still massively unacceptable.

  20. HBJ*

    “In the last two and a half years, we did date once or twice more, and we also had a casual, no strings attached relationship that exists to this day. It’s a smaller organization, and I feel confident that it’s not an issue – it’s well known that we are friends as well as coworkers.


    The irony is that I suspect one of my peers (another manager) is in a relationship with an employee that I’ve put on an performance improvement plan.”

    Lololololol. Yup, it’s not an issue for you, but you totally suspect it of someone else, but no one would possibly suspect of you. *sideeye*

  21. Sara without an H*

    OP#3, it sounds as though you handled this well, especially given your lack of management experience and not having clear-cut authority over the assistant.

    And congratulations on getting into law school!

  22. CaliCali*

    Oh, LW#2, I don’t think you realize that “we’re not in an actual relationship, we’re just FWB” doesn’t really change anything in terms of how problematic this is. In regards to your working relationship with him, with him REPORTING to you, it’s a distinction without a difference.

  23. Daffy Duck*

    #2 – You need to cut this supposedly “no strings” relationship right now. Even if you think your partner would never complain/cause problems. Anyone else in the company can claim you discriminated against *them* so as to help your report/f-buddy out. And yes, everyone else knows you tear up the sheets together, 99% of them will never say anything unless they are backed in a corner.

    1. RC Rascal*

      What can happen in this kind of situation is that you and your boyfriend end up as a collusive duo who them violate a company policy or make another kind of bad decision in a way that affects a third party and her ability to do her job. Then the third party is blowing the whistle on you.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Backed into a corner or decides to go there to get what they want. If someone decides they want your job, they can use this against you to get you removed and try to move in that way.

  24. NotAnotherManager!*

    I have to confess that sometimes, when making decisions at work, I think in my head, “Would Alison respond to this with ‘Wow.’ or a ‘no’ with multiple Os?”

    It’s like “WWAAMD?”.

    1. Tedious Cat*

      I occasionally joke with a friend about wanting to be Alison’s lazy understudy who answers every question with “lol no.”

  25. AppleStan*

    OP #2: For the love of all that is holy, stop right now. STOP RIGHT NOW. I would honestly be shocked if you’re not violating MAJOR parts of your personnel manual. If you’re not violating your manual, I guarantee you will be the reason why certain policies will be created.

    You are definitely failing the “momma” test.

    My motto is…if you can’t tell your momma you’re doing something, you probably shouldn’t be doing it.

    The corollary in the professional world is…if you can’t tell YOUR boss or YOUR HR about it, you probably shouldn’t be doing it.

    You shouldn’t be doing this.

    You should NOT be doing this.

    This will follow you for decades WHEN, NOT IF, it comes out and your saving grace might be that you called a halt to the relationship and you moved on on your own accord.

    End this relationship, find another job, and take this lesson to heart.

    1. Argus*

      Seriously, TINDER. I work in an industry where 60+ hour weeks are normal and even when I was in my 20s, we didn’t date our coworkers. That’s what Tinder is for! Yes, you have to make an actual effort to meet people but you’re going to meet a much greater variety of people than you would just settling for whoever sits next to you.

    2. Parenthetically*

      Seriously. This is literally what Tinder is FOR. “Busy professional female looking for cool, fun FWB to watch Avengers movies, eat ice cream, and do the sex, so I don’t completely blow up my career by banging my subordinate at work.”

      1. Entry Level Marcus*

        Yep. A mid-20s woman looking for a casual relationship will have no problem finding dates off dating apps.

  26. Derry Murbles*

    LW2, your coworkers may know and have no issue with you and ex-bf/subordinate being friends, but do they know you two are also FWB? How confident can you be it’s not an issue if they are wholly unaware you’re sleeping with your subordinate?

  27. Diana*

    In all the years I’ve been reading AAM, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Alison do a “STOP! DO NOT PASS GO! DO NOT EVEN READ UNTIL THE END OF THIS SENTENCE THINKING THAT THIS IS OKAY!” interruption in a reader letter, update or otherwise. LW2, you are being wildly unprofessional and will end up in enormous trouble if you don’t cut this out…yesterday. “No strings attached” is a lie. The strings which are attached to you are LEGAL STRINGS. Harassment strings! Preferential treatment strings! Oh my god. It is a bulletin board with pushpins and three yards of red yarn strings, interconnecting all the ways in which this is such a bad! idea!

  28. MissDisplaced*

    Hm. Interesting w/#3
    I guess at some point you have to decide if you’re ok with Jane doing just ok. I mean, if she does her job and assigned tasks well, but cannot seem to step up to a more advanced level, are you ok with that staying that way?
    It could be Jane has reasons for that (pay level, personal responsibilities outside work, or plain old abilities) and that’s just as much as she can give. Not everyone can be rock stars after all.

  29. Close Bracket*

    I worked at a company where a couple was hired with one (mid-20s, female) partner reporting to the other (early 40s, male), and I work now with a couple who met at work and one (female) is in the project reporting line to the other (male). In general, sleeping with people who report to you is a bad idea, but I guess it works under select circumstances. One thing these couples had in common was that they disclosed the relationship. OP2, I hope at this point that it’s well known that you are fwb as well as co-workers.

  30. Book Badger, Attorney-at-Claw*

    I hardcore sympathize with LW #2: I am also in my 20s and have little opportunity to make friends outside of work (I also have the added problem of working in law – the last thing you want is to have someone you know be a client, so I do all my socializing as far from my practice area as possible).

    But that doesn’t mean that sleeping with a direct report is now a good idea. It just means you have to be more creative when trying to find people to date, or find another workplace that has better hours and less of a coworker-incestuous environment.

  31. Holly*

    *internal screaming of agony*

    Oh my word, you cannot do any of those things if you’re his manager. Not appropriate. Not professional. You can’t have a no strings attached fling with a direct report. Strings exist even if neither of you recognize them.

  32. Maya Elena*

    LW1, congratulations on your baby!
    I think you approached the”Mama” interaction wisely and tactfully; and suggest the same view on things when everyone asks about how your little one is doing!
    Pregnancy and childbirth is something women bond over, and it’s a natural topic of discussion and small talk, and in general it’s people way of sharing good will towards you.

  33. Anon for this*

    Ugh, I just got the worst flashback to when I had a coworker who everyone knew was sleeping with her boss. She and I didn’t report to the same manager, but her boss was the lead on some projects that we both worked on. One of those projects was an objective my manager had highlighted when we set my annual goals, and when I mentioned during a 1:1 with my manager that my coworker had become involved with the project, my manager turned beet red and started awkwardly talking about how we could reassess my goals so that they were more attainable. I got the worst raise of my entire working life that year and I still blame that coworker and her manager’s poor impulse control.

    1. New Jack Karyn*

      Wait, I don’t understand what happened here. Your manager, who wasn’t sleeping with anyone at work, downgraded you because a coworker was sleeping with her boss and you wanted in on a project they both worked on? I’m not connecting the dots.

      1. Adric*

        SB boss is sleeping with GD worker.*
        Anon got a set of annual goals.
        One of the big, highlighted, with stars and glitter around it, goals was for a project lead by SB boss.
        GD worker got assigned to project for Major Goal.
        Anon informed their boss of said assignment.
        Anon’s boss realized the problem and tried to minimize the importance of the previously Major Goal.
        Late goal rearrangement still negatively impacted Anon’s performance and subsequent raise.

        Obviously, not an ideal outcome, but blowing up the whole thing would probably have had at least as bad a result. All in all I’d give Anon’s boss at least half credit for making a sincere effort to minimize the damage.

        *I’m expanding “SB” as Sleaze-Ball, and “GD” as Gold-Digging, but feel free to use your own.

  34. Randomity*

    #2: I have a mild crush on someone in work that I think might be reciprocated but I’ll never do anything about it because there is a slight possibility that I might end up in a team lead role over him.

    You’ve gotta stop, or you’ve gotta leave. I know it’s hard but it’s just going to get worse.

    1. Maya Elena*

      I feel like in your case, the risk of having too change jobs later is worth the reward of having a chance at a good relationship now!
      I was talking with someone and we were remarking how people basically don’t date anymore, and just tension alone together or play the Tinder game… My armchair philosophizing says, totally go for it with this crush!

    2. Moocowcat*

      Oh, you are absolutely doing the right thing avoiding following through with the crush. Especially if you enjoy your job and want to be there for a while.

  35. GreyjoyGardens*

    LW2, your whole workplace sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen. More than one manager in a relationship with a subordinate? One who is on a PIP? It doesn’t matter the gender of the participants. What matters is that there is the power imbalance and a HUGE potential of negative publicity and/or lawsuits. Not to mention ruined reputations!

    Worst case scenario: if the company is large or well-known enough, “How Lannister Teapots Became A Terrible Place To Work” makes it onto a business website or a newspaper, and even if no names are mentioned, EVERYONE WILL KNOW IT’S ABOUT YOU. That will be a big stinky professional albatross to hang around your neck.

  36. Observer*

    #2 – You’re getting a lot of criticism here, and it must be hard to read. Please take it seriously, though.

    This is not a bunch of people being mean or not able to abide someone else doing something different or someone else’s enjoyment. This is a bunch of people with enough distance to see what you are missing – and what they are seeing is a major, major problem.

    Please act on this information.

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