updates: the boss who dumps pee in the kitchen sink, 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 five updates from past letter-writers.

1. My boss pees in a cup and dumps it in the kitchen sink

No one has spoken up because they all say it’s their word against his. I only work one day a week as independent contractor so I can’t say anything. I guess it’s just something they are going to live with. But, when I am there we do eat in the conference room instead of the kitchen.

All the advice given was great and of course, it was right. Something should be done. It’s just so damn embarrassing.

2. My new company is all about the Law of Attraction and other pseudoscience

I am still at the same company, for now. Luckily, there’s not been too much activity on the Law of Attraction front. I never directly talked to my boss about how I felt about the woo. Something about it really seemed like a “this is what we’re doing, period.” I know others had originally expressed religious concerns, but “they eventually came around.” I mostly used the “wait and see” approach. We did have a day long seminar hosted by Jane with the whole office but it wasn’t absolute torture. I think those in charge have met with her personally multiple times over the last year, but it’s surprisingly started to fizzle out. It appears that a lot of these company initiatives are mostly talk.

However, all of this Law of Attraction stuff has seeped into management style – for example, my first real review. I was told I am super talented, do great work and my coworkers seem to enjoy working with me, but I wasn’t positive enough. If I didn’t shape up and become more positive, they would have to reconsider my position. So, uh… that was fun. My “positivity” hasn’t been brought up in any official capacity since other than an odd comment here or there, so I’m trying not to worry too much about it. It still hangs above my head like a Sword of Damocles. I do have clinical depression but don’t think I’m overly Eeyore…

Because of this and a variety of other reasons, I am making plans to leave but I don’t feel the urgent need to do so. Thank you again for all your advice. You’ve been a huge help over the years.

3. How to tell coworkers “you need to do that yourself”

Your scripts and the advice here worked beautifully. Mostly I got a lot of embarrassed and apologetic reactions from people who had been genuinely confused about the change. I also have had several very visible projects in my new role, which I think has helped with clarification. I also spoke with Robin and we agreed on an explanation of new job duties that we both would give when asked. A few of the worst offenders either moved on to new roles or have had other unrelated performance issues. If anyone complained to Lily, I never heard about it.

In not-so-great news, we are going through a reorganization and I was reassigned from Lily to one of her direct reports, Victoria. I like Victoria a lot and don’t foresee problems with her as a manager, but there is sort of a learning curve in figuring out what a new manager wants (I’ve reported to Lily for four years). There is also a push at higher levels of our agency to centralize my currently decentralized unit and in so doing, to put me back into a support role. It has been widely acknowledged that this is not because of my performance, which has been well above par according to them, but because my role doesn’t “fit in.” Lily created it for me and no one else here has one quite like it. Victoria and Lily both have promised to do everything they can to protect me, but I’m quite disheartened by these conversations and am experiencing a high level of anxiety when going to work.

Update to the update:

I’ve been assured that my going back to a support role is not on the table, regardless of what happens with the restructuring. I’m still feeling anxious and would like some answers about what I will be doing day to day in the new year (this has been an ongoing conversation for six months with no answers), but for now I’m trying to focus on things outside work until then. 

4. My coworker is badmouthing my work – and some of her complaints are true

My letter left a lot out for brevity’s sake. A lot of commenters criticized me for getting my lesson plans in Sunday night, but I do want to be clear that the latest I ever had them uploaded was on Sunday morning, and I included plans, Google slides, and all the copies/materials she would need. This particular coworker was responsible for a different subject, and while her plans were always early, they were so vague as to be virtually unusable. It wasn’t a great situation, in that no one had enough time to do everything we needed to. I sacrificed getting them in by the weekend; she sacrificed detail.

This past year was so much better. I moved to a different grade level, and while my team wasn’t perfect, we were a much better fit. They were very…flexible about lesson plans, shall we say. In fact, most weeks, I ended up writing lesson plans for all the subjects, and mine were of better quality than theirs (when they wrote them at all). It was a lot of work, but I really preferred it to getting badmouthed for my lesson plans while also having to use terrible plans from someone else, and no one cared that they sometimes got done on Sunday. We are technically required to write our own plans anyway, although pretty much every grade level team splits up their lesson planning by subject. I got a glowing evaluation from my coach, and my students made incredible growth, which put to rest my fears that I’m just a bad teacher and not cut out for the job.

I did talk to my former coworker about her concerns. A couple of weeks after my letter was published, I apologized for the way I handled lesson plans, using your script. She waved it off and said it was not a problem, we were all muddling through. I haven’t heard of any more complaints from her since then, and we’re still cordial when we see each other.

5. Company-wide thank-you writing (#4 at the link)

We had our third annual thank you card making session today. The CEO’s advisor left this year and I wasn’t sure about running the session by myself, so I posted on Slack asking if it was a thing people still wanted to do and got a really positive response and lots of offers to help. I’ve just gone down to the canteen to pick up the bag of thank you cards at the end of the day and it is STUFFED. I had 20 minutes budgeted for two colleagues and me to sort the cards tomorrow ready for delivery, but I think I may have underestimated!

{ 145 comments… read them below }

    1. Quill*

      I can, based on the trunchbull principle of “people don’t believe it when people do something REALLY extremely not right.”

      1. KoiFeeder*

        You would be amazed at what real teachers will do (and get away with!) based on that principle. Usually it doesn’t work as well on adults, but most adults have enough shame to not be that egregious to other adults, either.

        1. Ella*

          Yes! And, it is totally unsurprising that the teacher with the mediocre lesson plans trashes the one with good plans behind her back. The best defense is a good offense!

    2. Fibchopkin*

      Same! OMG!!!! I have legit used that letter as a reference point in conversations at my org about annoying/smelly/frustrating bosses – As in: “Well, she may be a bit overbearing and constantly smells like the tuna sandwiches she eats for EVERY lunch, but at least she doesn’t pee in a jar in her office and dump it in a communal sink!”
      I really, really wanted an update to this one, but I wanted it to be so much better!

  1. The Original K.*

    People are really just going to let this man continue to dump urine in the kitchen sink? On dishes people use for food? Unchallenged? I CANNOT.

      1. LCH*

        someone should put a sign on the sink that says “this sink for pee only.” since no one is using it anyway…

        1. HairApparent*

          I can barely stop laughing long enough to type this reply! I really needed this today, so thank you!!!

    1. boop the first*

      Yeah, what a lousy excuse too… “Our word against his.” I mean… usually?? Is there going to ever be a situation where that is not true? Yet people say things all the time. What a group!

      I’m pretty sure if they went to a higher up and said “so-and-so has been peeing in cups and bringing them to us,” that person would be fascinated enough to see for themselves. You’d only have to casually visit the office. I’m pretty sure just the act of peeing at your desk and leaving it there is a problem in itself.

  2. Donna*

    Kinda disappointed about the update for the PEE boss, was hoping for a better resolution…more along the lines of him not using the sink as a toilet!!!
    I hope eventually someone says something, who cares about he said/she said, because it is beyond disgusting.

    1. The Original K.*

      I don’t even think he said/she said applies here! They’ve seen him do it! In the original letter, the OP said he’d poured it on her dishes while she was washing them!

      I guess he could lie and say it’s not urine …?

      1. Janet, Sower of Chaos*

        Right, the issue is that you go to HR/his manager and say “Fergus poured pee on my dishes while I was washing them” and he says “No I didn’t” and then … I don’t think this is actually a real problem if you multiple people have all witnessed it.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          I think the problem comes from nobody is willing to risk the boss being unreasonable and having this result in them loosing their job. OP is a contractor, and I wonder if maybe everybody else is related in some way to boss, and knows that this is just the way their family is…

        2. the irreverant*

          It wouldn’t even matter if it was clean water – dumping something on dishes while someone is washing them is just plain rude!

    2. sequined histories*

      “It wasn’t a great situation, in that no one had enough time to do everything we needed to.”
      As a fellow teacher, I feel you on this with every fiber of my being.
      60+ hours per week and you still can’t get it done–week after week–and you have to compromise somewhere.

            1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

              I kind of wish this was my superpower now. It would save so much time and awkwardness in my life. I had a 2 1/2 hour meeting with no pee breaks (for anyone) today! The rest of the people in that meeting are either low-grade dehydrated or have impressive bladder capacity, because that is too damn long without a break.

              1. KoiFeeder*

                Being a carp person would be a pretty great superpower for a bunch of reasons, including ensuring that you never have to sit through a 2 1/2 hour meeting ever again, having striking patterns, and still being able to eat as much chocolate and caffeine as you want.

                I really love the evolutionary niche of carp. They’re very broad-band omnivores, and they can (and will!) eat things that are poisonous to other fish without any trouble. I’ve seen my koi go after tiger moth caterpillars, holly berries, and aquatic forget-me-nots (still can’t figure out this one) with no trouble at all.

                Now, the thing about being a broad-band omnivore is that carp aren’t very good at eating any one particular thing. They’re not fast, they’re not filter-feeders, they don’t even have teeth in their mouths to chew food with (they have pharyngeal teeth). So in an area filled with other, more specialized fish, one would assume that the carp simply wouldn’t be able to compete with the fish that are just better at eating specific things.

                This is why carp have evolved to become what I affectionately term the ultimate poop machines. Carp have one of the highest ammonia and low oxygen tolerances, somewhere around snakeheads and betta fish which evolved in those sorts of environments. Even snakeheads won’t do so well in a glass bowl with no water changes, but carp can live years and years in an environment which is invariably fatal to all fish. And, in turn, unlike betta fish and snakeheads, carp have, gram for gram, some of the highest ammonia production per weight. Carp will outcompete the specialized fish by virtue of making the habitat completely unlivable for fish that are not carp. And they never stop eating, so they never stop producing ammonia.

                This has been your daily infodump courtesy of carp being my special interest. Say good things about carp where I can see them for more infodumping.

    3. bluephone*

      I couldn’t read the original bc the whole subject is disgusting but can’t OSHA be called if it’s an American company??

      1. Fikly*

        IANAL but I believe OSHA only applies if it’s the employer making unsafe conditions, not an individual employee.

          1. Fikly*

            He’s still an individual acting as an individual, in his individual role in the company – he’s not the company. OSHA is for things like not providing enough bathrooms or heat, or defining safety standards when working with dangerous equipment.

  3. IT But I Can't Fix Your Printer*

    Going to write a thank you note to every boss in my company for not dumping pee in the sink.

  4. mcr-red*

    I know everyone’s talking about #1, but #2 – (see what I did there) “I was told I am super talented, do great work and my coworkers seem to enjoy working with me, but I wasn’t positive enough. If I didn’t shape up and become more positive, they would have to reconsider my position. ” WTF! It feels like the bosses are telling you to smile, which is all kinds of flames on my face. If you’re good at your job, do good work and your coworkers like you who flipping cares if you are pessimistic or not???

    The calls are coming from inside the house, OP, run!

    1. GIF-happy*

      Well, they’re asking OP to have a positive attitude at work, which is a reasonable expectation. We don’t have a lot of details to go on, but we know that it’s serious enough for management to re-evaluate her employment. This company has red flags, but just because they do doesn’t necessarily mean any negative feedback they give is invalid. It sounds like this isn’t a great working environment for OP, and making a switch in the long term is probably a good idea. But OP might want to ask for specific examples of the attitude they found objectionable (if those weren’t provided during the evaluation) to see whether there’s any substance to the complaint. I definitely got into negative mindsets at jobs I disliked, and they tended to go away once I got jobs I liked – but I wish I’d caught it earlier before slipping into annoying habits which probably irritated my coworkers! (Not saying that IS what OP is doing.)

      1. GIF-happy*

        I missed OP’s mention of clinical depression. OP, I’m so sorry that you’re struggling with depression, it can be so hard sometimes! I hope you have access to the resources you need. I want to clarify that my advice is NOT “cheer up!” – I’m not trying to change anything about you, internally. I had a terrific manager who used to frame feedback in terms of concrete impact (“Because you said X, that resulted in Y”) and this helped me figure out that I needed to make changes without internalizing the negative feedback. What I’m advising is that you ask for clarification about what X was, and exactly what Y resulted from it. If there are negative repercussions to something you’re saying (even unintentionally) it’s important to be aware of that. If there AREN’T actual, concrete negative repercussions to your actions, then you can hopefully sleep a little sounder at night knowing that this is more handwavey Law of Attraction bullshit which won’t follow you to another job.

      2. New Jack Karyn*

        I get the idea that showing a positive attitude–or at least a neutral one–and not being a total Eeyore can be a reasonable expectation. However, I suspect that the supervisor who gave her that evaluation is not a reliable narrator.

      3. Kimmy Schmidt*

        I think the fact that the evaluation noted that OP2’s coworkers enjoyed working with them means that OP2 is reasonably calm, polite, professional, and pleasant to be around. No more positivity needed.

      4. Close Bracket*

        Well, they’re asking OP to have a positive attitude at work, which is a reasonable expectation.

        As a matter of fact, it’s not. Faking good cheer so you don’t bum out your colleagues is a form of emotional labor, which has been shown to be detrimental to workers. Furthermore, the brunt of the performance, and therefore the impact, falls on women, making it one more damn thing that women have to do twice as well as men just to be acceptable.

        1. Senor Montoya*

          It depends on what is meant by “have a positive attitude” — it would be good for OP to get specifics.

          Right now I have a mentee who is generally cheerful, peppy, enthusiastic — good attitude about work and life in general, but gripes multiple times a day about their students. Out loud and LOUD, in the hallways, in the break room, in their office, in other people’s offices. That’s a negative attitude about a significant area of the job and it’s the sort of thing that can snowball, with others starting in to gripe too — we’ve had several convos about it, followed by a sit-down where I explained, clearly, why they cannot do that any more, at all, and that I would be discussing it with their manager. If it doesn’t stop, it can get them fired.

          They can feel gripey about students if they want, but they absolutely MUST present a positive attitude at work about their students. That’s a basic requirement of this job. I don’t mean, be all pollyanna-ish about students; I do mean expressing a positive attitude about working with them.

          1. vlookup*

            I think this is actually a perfect example of why telling someone to have a positive attitude is terrible feedback. If you give your mentee feedback about the behavior – i.e., don’t gripe about students because it has XYZ negative impact – they’ll know exactly what to change.

            If you just tell them they need to have a more positive attitude, they won’t necessarily know what they’re doing wrong, just like OP.

            (It sounds like in this case you have gotten specific, so it’s on them if they continue doing something that could get them fired.)

      5. WearingManyHats*

        I once had a manager tell me and my team she was going to put my direct reports and I on an action plan to ‘improve our energy’. I said ok, can you quantify that? What specific things can you call out that need to be changed? She couldn’t name a single specific instance for either me or my team and eventually dropped the write up. This reeks of that nebulous hand-waving.

        1. Sara without an H*

          If the manager can’t be specific about the behavior that needs to change, then it isn’t legitimate feedback. Senor Montoya’s mentee, who gripes loudly and publicly about students, can be appropriately counseled to dial back that behavior. Telling OP#2 to improve her “positivity” doesn’t actually give her anything to act on. (And what is it, anyway?)

          And now I plan to spend the evening with an adult beverage, reading Barbara Ehrenreich’s “Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America.”

      6. Fikly*

        I don’t know that I agree with that.

        Have a positive attitude is the sort of vague thing that often goes along with smile more and other delights that women get told than men don’t, and very rarely have anything to do with job performance.

        Unless the LW is given specific examples of not having a positive attitude, and how that is causing a problem, it’s very likely nonsense.

    2. anonymouslee*

      There’s also a good chance it’s not pessimism, but simply not buying in wholeheartedly to the ‘woo-woo’ stuff or being overly and outwardly peppy. I have a positive outlook on things at work, but I’m not beaming and joyful all day long. It could be that OP is not a sourpuss at all but their bar for ‘positive attitude’ is exceptionally high.

      1. Quill*

        As discussed on the original post, there was some concern that the workplace was going to start down a Toxic Positivity route, wherein attempting to set boundaries (I can’t finish that in an unreasonable timeline, I don’t want to engage in this woo stuff) would be seen as “negative” and punished.

        1. BrotherFlounder*

          That’s exactly what I was thinking is in play here. Not buying in = not positive. Particularly since OP seems to get along well with their co-workers.

        2. cmcinnyc*

          Yes. I’ve had the misfortune to work with people who think the word No in any form is a display of unacceptable negativity. Literally any disagreement, at all, about anything, was framed as “negative.” That’s just a nasty power play all dressed up in a smile.

          1. Quill*

            I’m trying to make the phrase “gaslighting pseudoscience in the workplace” scan to the tune of “chestnuts roasting on an open fire” and not quite managing it.

      2. TooTiredToThink*

        This. And also its not uncommon to gaslight people to say they aren’t being positive but what the person means is that they aren’t being positive about whatever the gaslighter is trying to sell. That was my impression here.

        But also, since OP has clinical depression, would this go against ADA if they were to fire her for being “not positive enough”?

        1. AKchic*

          If she’s disclosed her diagnosis, then probably. If the bosses/HR didn’t know about her diagnosis, then they couldn’t hold it against her, y’know?

      3. That Girl from Quinn's House*

        Right. And I once got called negative at work for pointing out that there were things we could not do. Because we *legally could not do them.*

        The biggest smile and most upbeat attitude in the world won’t magically change the reality of law.

        1. L*

          I’m going through this right now. I’m “difficult” and “uncooperative” because I deigned to tell people that their ideas for raising money were illegal and would make us lose our nonprofit status. TOXIC.

          1. Quill*

            Same from my worst job ever, pointing out that if we cut down on sample numbers to save money our tests were scientifically worthless is “uncooperative.”

        2. whingedrinking*

          “We’re screwed.”
          “Hey! I don’t want to hear that defeatist attitude. I wanna hear you upbeat!”
          “We’re screwed!”
          “There ya go!”

      4. pope suburban*

        Yes, this seems a likely read on it to me. The OP’s coworkers all enjoy working with them, and OP has not had any complaints against them, so I trust that they are maintaining good professional boundaries and exercising appropriate emotional regulation. I have also had run-ins with Law of Attraction people that were…deeply unpleasant. They skewed very victim-blamey (You’d have a job in a recession if you were just more positive! That guy crashed his car into your because you manifested negativity. Your health problems are because you aren’t happy enough!) and curated their emotional palette to exclude anything that might look like stress, concern, illness, sadness, or frustration. Like…there’s choosing to focus on good things in bad situations, and there’s making non-happy emotions forbidden, and boy howdy is the gulf between those two points huge. So it sounds like OP is a perfectly fine employee and person, and it’s their colleagues who are having a little trouble separating work from their personal beliefs. I hope OP finds a wonderful new job somewhere that they are not expected to be a very cheerful robot.

        1. Charlotte Collins*

          This is an extreme version of when at my last job all our managers went to see some sort of inspirational business speaker. In a massive misunderstanding of “Winnie the Pooh” (how does one misunderstand a children’s story?!), they were told that some employees are Tiggers and some are Eeyores, and your employees should be a Tigger. I asked if that meant we were supposed to destroy Rabbit’s garden.

          There are two types of people in this world, those who think there are only two types of people in this world, and the rest of us.

          Side note: Eeyore is my favorite A. A. Milne character.

          Spoiler alert: You’re supposed to emulate Christopher Robin. If you’re a child. If you’re an adult, find your own hero. I can’t help you. Because I’m an Eeyore.

    3. Close Bracket*

      I got told I didn’t seem enthusiastic and that I should show more enthusiasm. I’ve been told to smile more often, too. *shrug* Performative enthusiasm/positivity/whatnot is a common expectation. I roll my eyes and accept my personality-based marginalization.

      1. mcr-red*

        The “smile more often” comment is usually said to women, not men. People who tell me to smile, and it’s usually men, just get stared at blankly.

        1. Close Bracket*

          My point is that the expectation of performing positivity in the workplace is quite common, and I did acknowledge the gendered fall out of the expectation in a comment above. You seemed quite shocked at the expectation, but the answer to your rhetorical question of “who flipping cares if you are pessimistic or not???” is “lots and lots of employers.” It’s so common that it’s not even worth the flames on the side of my face. It’s like, Myers-Briggs level of common–just more background noise that makes the corporate environment a rigid place where people cannot be their authentic selves.

    4. Allypopx*

      I do wonder if this kind of feedback would trigger any ADA accommodations, if OP is willing to disclose her depression.

      Though I can also see that going badly in this environment.

      1. JJ Bittenbinder*

        The purpose of an ADA accommodation is to remove any barriers to the employee performing the essential functions of their job, so I’m not really sure how an accommodation would be structured here. It’s an interesting concept.

        1. Allypopx*

          It can also be used to excuse non-essential job functions….if putting the heavy box of paper in the closet is not a necessary requirement of my job and I have a medical reason not to lift heavy things, they can’t make me be the one to do it (example based on true events).

          So I wonder if feedback construed as “don’t be depressed” could be flagged as a non-essential work requirement, assuming the OP is not in customer facing roles or the like.

          1. Close Bracket*

            It could, and you would need a really good lawyer and the emotional bandwidth to fight that fight, and then the resilience to stay at that company after a protracted legal battle regarding whether a positive attitude is a core job function. #notallcompanies, but companies will make things like having a positive attitude an essential job function or a core value that is equivalent to an essential job function.

    5. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      Right? It was right up there with the pee boss to me.

      What better way to ensure positivity in your employee than telling them “we’re going to fire you if you don’t act positive”, but not providing any specifics as to how, or as to why they are considered to be not positive at this time?

      Doesn’t the fact that OP’s coworkers enjoy working with her already mean that she is positive enough???

      And the clinical depression added into this makes it multiple layers of wrong.

      I am sorry, OP. This is ridiculous.

    6. seller of teapots*

      As someone who *is* into the woo (& takes a daily antidepressant and sees a therapist), this update makes me so livid!!! Burrying your feelings, asking someone else to lean into false cheer and deny what they are actually feeling, what is actually going on…ugh. I have no words, but it’s irresponsible and cruel and bad management and imo misses the whole damn point of spiritual new age stuff anyway (the latter of which is beside the point because–work! but I just had to throw that in).

      Sorry OP. Hope you get a new, exciting job soon!

  5. MechanicalPencil*

    I made the unholiest of sounds at the title re: update on pee boss. I can’t believe that’s a thing! I can’t believe no one has accidentally said something! Words are failing me still.

  6. Where’s the Orchestra?*

    OP 1, you say your a contractor, if you’re working thru an agency is it possible to report this up the line to so that maybe the agency can handle the issue?

    1. valentine*

      Here’s a good idea!

      And it’s not he said/they said when HR can walk into his office and see (and smell?) the cups.

  7. voyager1*

    I am left with so many questions about the Peeing guy.

    Is it the same cup? What kind of cup? Does he run the water afterwards? Where does he actually pee?

    I mean it could be worse, he could go full Howard Hughes and start keeping jars.

  8. MsM*

    Someone seriously needs to just tape the original letter up on the fridge. Maybe scrawl “EVERYONE KNOWS” at the top.

    1. CatCat*

      I support this. Because W the ever loving F.

      Leave it on his desk next to his pee pee cup. OMG.

      I just can’t even.

      He’s not going to change though. So revolting.

  9. Jennifer*

    According to many, MANY knowledgeable commenters on the original post, peed-on plates and cutlery are no biggie, so you should be good.

    Still not letting that one go.

        1. Quill*

          The commentariat asking the wrong questions on almost all food and hygeine related issues, always.

          The answer is never related to “technically humans shouldn’t be disgusted / should be more disgusted” and always related to “is this behavior reasonable to expect other humans to put up with?”

    1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      What?! I somehow missed all of those comments, and I suspect that I’m better off staying that way.

      Mind you, I was at one point friends with a couple who were big believers in urine therapy. So, while I don’t agree it, at least I’ve seen it done and know that some people do, for whatever reasons, use urine and are somehow staying alive. But even they meant your own urine, processed and stored in specific ways. Not your elderly boss’s stale pee.

      1. Carrie Fisher’s Middle Finger*

        I have never been sorrier than the moment I decided to Google “urine therapy” … holy cats.

        1. Charlotte Collins*

          I have had reference sprung on me twice: once in the book “Yoga Bitch” – not a bad read, but I don’t think I’d like the author if I met her. And once in the letter section of my local food co-op newsletter, when someone asked about whether they’d ever consider providing sterilized urine for sale. The answer was much nicer than the “Hell no!” I would have come up with.

          I kind of love the letter section of the co-op newsletter. You never know what people will come up with next.

          1. Close Bracket*

            Man, I’d provide sterilized urine for sale. Let’s see, a product that I produce anyway at no cost to myself … I can over look a lot of things for that kind of easy money. :)

            1. Charlotte Collins*

              Yes, but would you buy groceries where they sold it? I sure wouldn’t.

              We have vegans complain that there’s a meat section. I’m pretty sure the urine section would not go over well…

    2. Mongrel*

      Yeah didn’t see them but they’re ‘technically correct’ (although people always miss the caveats – ‘fresh’ & ‘In a healthy person’ are the biggies) and there should be no issues if cleaned correctly in hot soapy water…

      But it’s still a disgusting thing to do, has too many points of failure, risks spreading a variety of fun and persistent diseases and breaks virtually every social norm I can think of. I’d point out the precautions hospitals take against body fluid spills and ask those people why this is?

      And personally I’d grab a Biohazard sticker and put that above the sink, they’re pretty cheap on Amazon…

    3. Oranges*

      If you were purely logical, yes. However, humans aren’t logical and cannot survive if they were*. We have a disgust reaction for good reason!

      *If we were all emotionless and purely logical we literally couldn’t function in day to day living (we would have no positive/negative associations with any plan of action so we’d have to figure it out step by step each time). Not to mention our brain’s energy demands would go through the roof which in turn would either a) make us “dumber” if we kept the current energy consumption for the brain or b) our bodies wouldn’t be able to work if we upped the brain’s energy consumption unless we started eating 24/7.

  10. Where’s the Orchestra?*

    I love that the Thank You letters are becoming contagious. It says good things that you underestimated how long to sort and deliver as well. Happy traditions are awesome updates!

    1. Merci Dee*

      I know! That was my favorite update of the bunch. It’s nice to see when gratitude is catching. :)

  11. Janet, Sower of Chaos*

    I know others had originally expressed religious concerns, but “they eventually came around.”


  12. Observer*

    On #1 – something is SERIOUSLY wrong at this place if everyone is going to report it and it will still be seen and his word vs someone else’s word. If they are right it’s a problem. If they are wrong, it’s ALSO a problem.

  13. Rainbow Roses*

    #1- Just save yourself and wash dishes at home. If others know and does nothing, let them live with pee drenched dishes. Shrug.

  14. AnotherAlison*

    #3 – If the reorg and your ultimate role don’t work out, don’t hesitate to move on. I had some things happen like that in the past. Sometimes the company >> the role, but sometimes it’s not. Don’t get stuck in a dead end role or doing something you don’t want to do because that’s all they have for you. Give it enough time to evaluate, but don’t be dumb like me and give 6 years to a role that was turned on it’s head within 6 months of accepting it!

    1. OP 3*

      Thank you!! I haven’t decided how long I’m willing to wait around for answers – but I’m definitely comfortable here and it’s probably past time to consider moving on.

  15. Bunny Girl*

    #1 – I would quit that job and on my last day I’d go into the boss and tell him that everyone knows he is dumping his pee in the sink and he was a vile person.

    #2 – I would quit that job and leave flavor-aid packets in the break room.

    Nothing helpful – Just petty ways to leave when you move on.

    1. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      Ha! I like the subtly of the flavor-aid packets, but it may go whooshing over their head since Kool-aid has somehow become associated with Jonestown.

  16. LaurelBee*

    Pee boss – I think you should try to figure out some way to publicly shame him – like “outside his company” public shame. That guy deserves to go out in a blaze.

    1. valentine*

      The family, including his relative who is an employee, could easily turn this around and say, “If only they had told us!” (They did.) And make it all about ungrateful, unnecessarily cruel employees.

    2. OhBehave*

      #1 – He’s not going anywhere as he is the owner and boss! I call bull on the excuse that OP can’t say anything because they only work one day a week as a contractor.

    3. Arts Akimbo*

      The only problem with this is the dude is really old, and I suspect his behavior is due to dementia. His family at the company who are sticking their heads in the sand about it are the ones who ought to be shamed.

  17. anonnnnnn*

    i’m in shock that no one at OP1’s workplace has considered it The Hill to Die On and made a brouhaha about it. also, i fail to see how working one day a week means OP can’t say anything – a grown ass man is still pouring out his own urine in a shared office space and that’s not okay!!!

    1. YouGottaThrowtheWholeJobAway*

      It’s a big hill. Die on it! Someone! For the love of cthluhu. The grossest update of all.

      1. Emelle*

        I volunteer in tribute! OP, hire me specifically to lose my ever-loving mind on this dude when he dumps his pee cup!

  18. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

    In a way, I would think that OP #1 being an independent contractor, she would have better standing to push back because, presumably, she has other clients and could just drop this one and tell the PEE Boss exactly, in detail, why he is a disgusting jerk. O.M.G.

  19. Meredith*

    It’s bizarre what you just absorb as semi-normal in toxic work environments. I’ll just encourage LW1 to consider that.

  20. No Pee Zone*

    If I were employees in No. 1, I’d advise every one to bring in some sort of sink cleanser – Lysol, etc – and stash it all near the sink.

    Or, I’d write an anonymous letter to the boss.

    Or, report him to the county health department.

    1. valentine*

      I’d advise every one to bring in some sort of sink cleanser
      They shouldn’t use the sink, much less clean up after him.

      1. No Pee Zone*

        Oh, right, but I didn’t say actually clean it, just leave the many cleansers out so he gets the hint.

        1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

          I cannot imagine a subtle approach like leaving cleaners around working with someone who dumps a cup full of pee in the sink WHILE SOMEONE IS WASHING DISHES. That is just not the move of someone who takes the time to appreciate subtleties and worry about what people think about them.

  21. Sara without an H*

    Hi, OP#4 — Glad to hear the situation has resolved itself. I find it interesting that your co-worker essentially quit griping behind your back as soon as you addressed the issue with her. Or maybe she’s found something else to complain about???

    At any rate, it sounds like you’re doing well. Best of luck in the new year!

    1. Black Targaryen*

      It didn’t really seem like OP 4’s situation is all good IMO. I think they should definitely start job hunting. They’re not getting clear answers about being pushed back into a support role, and while Lily and Victoria say they don’t want that to happen, OP 4 needs to start preparing for that outcome.

  22. Carlie*

    Op#1: I would be tempted to analyze it. Bring in test strips, leave them in the sink with a different random note every day. “The person who left this urine has a protein level of X. You may want to see your doctor.” “Glucose looks high today. Watch those donuts!” “Leukocytes detected. Do you have a cold?”

  23. jamberoo*

    “No one has spoken up because they all say it’s their word against his.”

    But WHO would lie and make up something like this???

    1. WellRed*

      Yeah, that’s unfortunate. I mean, many things boil down to that. Does it mean no one should ever speak up ever again about wrongdoing? oP you only work there one day. Put your head above the parapet! And then go to a normal workplace.

  24. OhBehave*

    #1 – He’s not going anywhere as he is the owner and boss! I call bull on the excuse that OP can’t say anything because they only work one day a week as a contractor.

  25. OhBehave*

    Pee boss – No one is saying anything because you don’t think you’ll be believed? Who would make up something like this?
    You all need to pull up your brave pants and say something! I know it’s hard to do, but really! This is inexcusable behavior. Changing dining locations is not enough.

    Are there other things happening in this workplace that would lead to such complacency? The fact that those related to him don’t say anything is odd.

    1. WellRed*

      I think you’ve hit the nail. I wonder if there’s other wackiness here that makes the peeing seem less outrageous?

  26. Perpal*

    OP1: Why…. why does no one say anything? This is like some weird comedy sketch. OP, maybe since you are there the least, you are the BEST one to say something? Like, if he fires you for daring to mention that maybe he shouldn’t pee in the sink, sounds like you’ve got other contracts? Or is it just that you haven’t caught him at it recently and only want to say something in the moment? Or are you worried he’s going to start dumping pee on something of yours in retaliation?

    1. Perpal*

      Hypothetical argument?
      OP1: Is that urine?
      Boss: No
      OP1: what is it?
      Boss: not urine
      OP1: it smells like urine
      Boss: but it’s not
      OP1: are you going to dump it out?
      Boss: yes. Right on your mug.
      OP1: how about in the toilet
      Boss: no. That would be gross.
      *”accidentally” spills dubious liquid on OP1 then and forever after*
      Is that the hypothetical scenario we are trying to avoid???

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