updates: the dog-phobic coworker, the ghost expenses, 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. How much should we compromise for a dog-phobic coworker in a dog-friendly office?

Initially there were a few conversations about what we needed to do re people bringing dogs in – an email went around asking anybody bringing a dog in to put it in the office calendar so others could check in advance but that didn’t really happen. In practice, at least three colleagues other than Lucille have started bringing their dogs in regularly (much more frequently than Lucille does actually), as have a couple of other workers on our floor from other businesses.

The other colleagues are less conscientious than Lucille was about having dogs in the main office space, so they’re regularly wandering around under desks etc. Jane just doesn’t come in very much – hard to gauge how much of that is dog-related because at this tie of year her work does typically require her to travel a lot – and sits on another if she’s in on the same day as a dog.

Basically, dog has been allowed to trump human in this situation – I don’t think Jane’s being professionally disadvantaged as a result (her team and boss are based in another city anyway so being in the office doesn’t help her much there) but it does seem a bit unfair that she’s been driven out. In sort of good news, the co-working space owners have recently gone into administration so we will need to move office again soon – if we move somewhere that isn’t dog friendly the situation might end up resolving itself.

Thanks for the advice – I think that in this particular case the fact that Jane could work from home as much as she wanted and didn’t want to make a fuss means that it didn’t escalate to the point where a human or dog decision needed to be made, but it’s good to know that I’m not alone in thinking human is the right answer if it comes to it!

2. Can you expense an extra hotel because of ghosts?

The advice was really helpful and the story has a good outcome.

We chalked this one up to experience. It was clear from talking to her that it was a sincerely held belief and she honestly thought she was helping by booking herself another hotel.

In light of the incident, we revisited our document that lays out the lines of communication and what our team should do if they are ever in a place that feels unsafe or unclean. We also list out examples of what we consider unacceptable e.g. locks being broken, must have private bathroom etc. There was a long discussion about what to put if a team member should find themselves confronted by supernatural phenomenon but copped out with the line ‘If you have any other concerns please discuss with your mentor or line manager as soon as possible.’

Any suggestions for tactful wording are welcomed!

As a side note one of our team outings is a trip to a West End Theatre, the team submit options and then we vote. I can’t tell you how fast I removed Woman in Black from the list when it appeared (Matilda was much better).

3. My job is getting reposted for a lot more money than I’m making now

I didn’t end up discussing the job posting with my manager. I wanted to, but things got really busy right before I left and they were hardly in the office while I was trying to finish up work. I was already stressed out from the international move and just decided to let it go. That being said, I did tell a few of my coworkers and they were sympathetic. A few days after the job was posted, a bunch of old coworkers that I’m friends with on social media reached out to say they saw the posting and had had similar things happen to them (leaving and job being re-posted at half responsibility and considerably more salary).

Maybe I should have gone ahead and said something, but in the end, it was easier to move on (literally and figuratively). I’m now a few months into my new grad program in my new country and loving it. I’m going to take this as a lesson for the future and will be a stronger advocate for myself when it comes to asking for a raise. Huge thanks to all the advice and empathy from you and the commenters – it was encouraging to hear from all of you and got me through the last few weeks at work!

4. I’m terrified of graduating and am panicking about finding a job

It’s been almost two years since my graduation and I’m happy to say that I ended up with a great job that really combines my experience in science and my background in the humanities. I took your advice and held a few simultaneous part-time internships my senior year, which (while a lot of work!) was absolutely the contributing factor in being able to secure an opportunity that was a good fit for me. I’m on the east coast in my dream city, and in my current role I have more responsibility and autonomy than I thought I would have as a new grad. I’m very grateful for Ask a Manager and all your help – the answer to my question came at a perfect time.

{ 145 comments… read them below }

  1. Shadowbelle*

    I love animals and did animal rescue for 20 years. And yet. I don’t want people bringing their dogs to work. Why should dogs get the preference, anyway? What about cats, rabbits, and birds? Degus, chinchillas, guinea pigs, sugar gliders, hamsters? My neocaridina shrimp eat out of my hand, but I have to leave them at home. This is blatant pro-canine discrimination! /s

        1. Elm*

          Haha I have four cats. Though I appreciate that they can go to the bathroom on their own and I don’t need to hire a walker or a sitter for anything less than three days of absence, they each do need nearly as much attention as a dog. One even demands we play fetch for hours on end!

          1. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

            OOO, watch this. I would suggest having someone check on kitties daily. Too much of a risk if something happens.

      1. TechWorker*

        I mean children need even more attention and they’re not generally welcomed in offices (only a little facetious I think I’d have to quit if my office became ‘dog friendly’)

    1. Mediamaven*

      I feel the same way. One of my employees brings her dog in with my blessing every once in a while but one time he smelled so awful it was nauseating. I had to tell her he couldn’t come in smelling like that. He also can’t be left without her or he starts freaking out. So, if there is an emergency it’s fine but I’m not creating a dog friendly office any time soon.

      1. Shadowbelle*

        Neocaridinas are quite easy to keep, and they are super cute. The red ones are called “cherry shrimp”, but they have been bred to a bunch of colors. They’re freshwater shrimp that grow to maybe 3 – 4 cm. I have a 20 gallon aquarium. When I feed them, I grab a pinch of food, put my fingertips under the surface of the water, and “sprinkle” under the water so that the food gets soaked quickly and falls to the bottom so that I can watch them feed. But they are very alert to food smells (tastes?) in the water. They will zip up to my fingers and clean all the tiny leftover bits.

        1. Pomona Sprout*

          I just googled them, and omg, the range of colors is amazing and some of them are stunningly beautiful. I can see why you enjoy them.

        2. Elizabeth West*

          That is beyond cute.

          I better not get some, because then I won’t want to eat shrimp any more and I love eating shrimp.

    2. Avasarala*

      Jokes aside, I vote for a hard ban on anything that can’t consistently crap in the same spot. That means no chinchillas, monkeys, birds, and anything else not house trained. Also no rodents outside their cages. I’ve had too many cables chewed!!

      1. Shadowbelle*

        “What is it chinchillas do?
        They chew and poo, that’s what they do!”

        (I’ve done my share of chinchilla rescue. I still have 3, aged 15 and 16.)

    3. Kate H*

      My workplace’s pet policy technically allows any pet that won’t chew on cords. One of my coworkers brought in a kitten (barely old enough to be away from her mother) and she slept on my chest for about an hour. I’m still a little upset with him for not asking if I wanted her when it came time to find her a new home…

  2. Furr Realz?*

    Removed because this is derailing and you’re also commenting under multiple user names to make it appear people agree with you. – Alison

  3. MOAS*

    I mean… I’m allergic to dogs so can never have one but I love watching videos of them and saying hi to them on the street and stuff. And I know the love is real. But I don’t think it’s fair to bring them to work if one person is allergic or has a phobia.

    1. Lance*

      In theory, especially with Jane being frequently out on travel from the sound of things, that’s what the calendar listings of when people are bringing their dogs in should be for. I wish OP or someone could suggest having Jane mark in-office calendar days and barring dogs on those days… but I feel like it might come off too heavy-handed.

      1. Anonariffic*

        Jane may have been against that too, since OP said she didn’t want to make a fuss. Having her explicitly being the one putting no-dog days on the calendar may have felt too pushy or confrontational.

        (And unfortunately, I can definitely imagine someone looking at the calendar for later in the week and then loudly complaining that the weather was supposed to be good on Thursday and she was going to bring Fluffy and have a nice walk at lunchtime but now she can’t because Jane is going to be in that day.)

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        It might be easier to be proactive about “dog days” and “dog-free days”. I’d suggest dog-free should include Friday so Jane isn’t prevented from attending after-work socializing & networking events.

        1. MatKnifeNinja*

          I don’t see what is wrong with Fido Free Fridays, even if Jane doesn’t show up.

          That job must offer some awesome, off the chain benefits, because if not, I’d be gone. Adults with a sketchy benefit, couldn’t pull it together to accommodate a coworker. Good and bye!

          1. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

            Thing is, this was not all co workers. Ths was several different businesses and while Jane’s company may do the calendar, the other are under no obligation to Jane.

  4. Antilles*

    #2: ‘If you have any other concerns please discuss with your mentor or line manager as soon as possible.’
    Any suggestions for tactful wording are welcomed!

    This wording is perfect. You can’t have language that covers every possible one-off scenario; including a couple common examples and then dumping everything else under the “other concerns” blanket is ideal.
    Especially for this in particular – including ‘supernatural phenomena’ on your list of named examples would come across as incredibly strange to anybody who reads the policy and isn’t familiar with the backstory.

    1. Tidewater 4-1009*

      If they’re not already, include a reminder to cancel the existing reservation if they’re booking a different hotel.

    2. Retail not Retail*

      I don’t know, including it would be cool down the line when everyone who knows the story has quit or whatever – it’s like a safety sheet that says don’t lick the bears. There’s a reason for it but we never want to know.

    3. Wintermute*

      Also, if you’re clear the policy is not exhaustive, then that leaves way less weasel room for people that want to claim their thing they did or issue they had or whatever else isn’t covered by the policy. If you make it clear that the policy goes beyond the stated examples by including a few highlights for illustrative purposes and including expansionary language (“and other similar situations,” “Or comparable conditions,” “or as shall be deemed by management,” etc) then you cut the rules lawyering off at the knees.

    4. Jennifer Juniper*

      Exactly! If I ever saw the words “supernatural phenomena” in a workplace policy, I’d wonder what the hell kind of cult was trying to take over our office.

  5. Autumnheart*

    Hope the dogs are learning how to use a computer keyboard, because it seems insane to me to spend the money on hiring and on-boarding a valuable employee, and then prioritize a dog running around the office over an employee producing work that results in a profit.

    The “dogs need to be everywhere” mentality is really starting to chap my hide. (To be clear, I mean pets, not registered service animals.) As a pet-owner with 4 cats, I always rebut with something like, “Sure, I’ll bring all my cats to work, what could go wrong?” What if I brought all my cats with me to Target, or the mall, or out to eat at a sidewalk cafe? People would think I was utterly bonkers. Hint: it’s just as bonkers to expect to be able to do this with a dog.

    1. Mama Beagle Bear*

      Removed because this is derailing and you’re also commenting under multiple user names to make it appear people agree with you. – Alison

      1. Librarian of SHIELD*

        In terms of parental leave, in most US companies the paid portion of that leave comes out of your already accrued paid time off, and is not a separate pool of paid leave time. If you choose to take some staycation time to acclimate your new pet to their new home and family, you’d be using the same pool of paid leave that most parents are using. You are not being discriminated against by working for an employer that doesn’t offer paid “new pet” leave.

    2. Jules the 3rd*

      I’ve had 12 cats over the years, and I prefer cats. I currently have both a cat and a dog, who both hang out in my home office and both like to go for walks with me.

      It is not bonkers to expect to be able to take dogs some places and not cats. I wouldn’t take either to Target, the mall, or inside a restaurant, but the dog loves trips to the hardware stores and outdoor cafes. She meets people enthusiastically but politely, sits and waits, and loves the car rides. Every cat I’ve ever had would hate all the newness, and the car.

      I would not take my dog to work, too many people have allergies, but cats are not a good comparison.

      1. Alienor*

        Same – I’ve got three cats and all of them hate leaving home for any reason, while the well-behaved dog I often dogsit for is thrilled to go for car rides and see new people. I wouldn’t take any of the cats out because they would be miserable, not to mention a flight risk if something spooked them, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to take the dog to most outdoor public places (for example, there’s a big outdoor shopping center near my house that’s very popular with dog owners, and a lot of the businesses will put water bowls and treats out for passing dogs).

      2. Triumphant Fox*

        I once saw a man bicycling around a busy lake with a cat on his shoulder, and I still think about how much he wins at life. Generally, though, none of the cats I have ever had would enjoy being taken out into the world very much.

        1. Jules the 3rd*

          I could see my current cat on a bicycle. He likes to take walks on a leash, he’s interested in new things, I’ve carried him at the end of some walks. But he’s much more laid back than most cats.

        2. Glitsy Gus*

          There’s a guy in my neighborhood who takes his cat on the bus! She has a little leash and just sits on his shoulder or lap, chill as can be. It’s crazy and awesome and I smile every time I see them. I have never met another cat that would be at all OK with that.

        3. TardyTardis*

          My husband’s family had a cat who *loved* to travel–so much that he stowed away in a neighbor’s RV when he felt deprived (family emergency) of the second week he was used to getting for vacation.

      3. RC Rascal*

        When my parents were newlyweds they adopted a Siamese cat and leash trained her as they expected to relocate with her. They traveled all over with her to friends & families homes. There was one trip about when my then college age uncle picked up my mom & the cat for a cross country trip in his GTO. Cat rode on the console.

      4. Autumnheart*

        No, see, the issue is not that pets shouldn’t be in public spaces because they might or might not freak out. Pets shouldn’t be in public spaces because they’re ANIMALS and not humans.

            1. Fikly*

              I’m mostly amused, myself, at the birds flying around inside Home Depot.

              Also, public spaces include the outdoors.

        1. SarahTheEntwife*

          I’m probably more at risk from other humans in public places than I am from anyone’s pet. That said, pets should absolutely be leashed or otherwise restrained, and should be removed if they can’t behave.

        2. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

          Humans are animals. And most animals of four legs behave better than two legged humans.

      5. Shadowbelle*

        I once knew a trucker who took his rabbit with him everywhere. The rabbit was totally cool with travelling.

    3. I love office dogs so much*

      True, but you’re also making a cost/benefit tradeoff about what it will cost to hire and onboard replacements for employees who quit because they’re no longer able to bring their dogs to work. It’s a very serious perk for a lot of folks. I have dog owning friends who have quit jobs because this perk went away and it upended the logistics of their day to day life. I don’t own a dog, but GOD I love working in a dog friendly office and would seriously consider leaving a good role for a similar role at an office that allows dogs.

      I’m not saying that you shouldn’t prioritize human over dog. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t accommodate a new employee who is dog-phobic or allergic. I’m saying that there are indeed administrative/recruitment costs to banning dogs in a previously dog-friendly office, and you should be prepared for those expenses if you decide to make the change.

      1. Shadowbelle*

        “… there are indeed administrative/recruitment costs to banning dogs in a previously dog-friendly office …”
        That’s very true. Employers who want to have a dog-friendly office need to consider all aspects of the policy, including the impact if they decide it isn’t working out.

        IMHO the problem with making an office “dog-friendly” is that it is inherently discriminatory towards people who
        1. don’t like dogs
        2. are afraid of dogs
        3. are dog-phobic
        4. are allergic to dogs
        5. can’t bring other pets
        6. find dogs distracting
        7. can’t bring their personal dog because of conflicts with other dogs

        Specific owners of specific dogs shouldn’t get preferential treatment.

        1. Wintermute*

          At the same time the owners should have the right to set the tone they want for their company, and if pet-friendly is a perk they want to be able to offer, well they own the place. It’s a fine line between being open and inclusive and telling people that own businesses that they must adhere to the standard corporate monoculture.

          1. Shadowbelle*

            Agreed in principle. In practice, I don’t see a difference between a workplace set up to prefer dog owners, and a workplace set up to prefer tall blond people with tatoos. Or a workplace that gives extra vacation days to married employees and even more to parents. It’s still promoting a monoculture.

    4. Koala dreams*

      Oh, their are people out there who take their cats to work and other places. There are boxes and even backpacks for bringing your cat out with you.

    5. Close Bracket*

      In the spirit of The More You Know,

      Service animals are not registered. Since you are allowed to train your own service animal, there is literally no way to know whether a given dog or miniature pony really is a service animal.

      1. MayLou*

        Is this really the case? It’s not true in the UK. It is possible to train your own assistance dog but it has to be through an approved training scheme and it’s more common to use an external trained dog. We don’t have emotional support dogs as a concept here though, so perhaps that’s what you mean by service dogs that aren’t registered? Or can you really claim additional legal rights and protections for an animal with no verifiable training history or authentication?

        1. SarahTheEntwife*

          In the US there is no formal licensure required. If you’re bringing a service animal into an area pets are not allowed, you can be required to state what task the animal is trained to perform.

        2. BelleMorte*

          There are some state-based registrations, but those are optional since the ADA protections are federal. Generally speaking the requirements are: 1. handler is disabled in some way. 2. Service animal is behaving as a trained, clean and obedient service animal 3. Tasks the dog perfoms can be clearly listed (straight out Emotional support is NOT an accepted task, but alerting to behaviours i.e. picking or rocking is).

          If the person is admitting they don’t have a disability, or the dog is running around or misbehaving they can be asked to leave. Housing and employment and airlines fall under different rules and can require additional documentation, usually in the form of a doctor certificate.

          As well, the legal rights belong to the handler, not to the dog. It’s kind of like if you start requiring registrations of disability to people in wheelchairs before you let them use your elevator/ramp. They look disabled, they act disabled, lets just give them the benefit of doubt, no?

          In Canada, it falls under the human rights act, however, some provinces have been trying registration with mixed results. In some areas, handlers are being outright harassed, i.e. they are being carded by every single employee they meet, sometimes by other customers as well. Can you imagine going into a grocery store and being stopped by every single clerk that passes you and needing to provide identification over and over? That’s what’s happening.

  6. Mid*

    Not related to the letters- on mobile, I’m getting an ad for “Total” that is putting a border around the page and cutting off text. It does have an x to close it out, but it pops up multiple times while scrolling. Not a huge deal, just mildly annoying. No such issue on desktop.

      1. CastIrony*

        Me, too. Do you have an ad blocker installed for your browser on your desktop? I do, and I think that is why I see more ads when I am on mobile.

    1. Squidhead*

      Literally while reading this a similar ad for Capital One Spark appeared. The frame receded after 2-3 seconds but it’s somewhat disruptive. (I mean, I know I’m complaining about an ad that funds content I enjoy on my magic hand-held communicator…).

      For reference, I’m using Chrome on an Android device without any ad-blockers. I don’t read this site from any other devices.

  7. Elm*

    I’ve always wondered who wins if you have an employee who has an ADA covered dog phobia or similar and an employee with a service dog.

    I once had someone try to convince me that their child’s public school banned service dogs because of their kid’s allergies…definitely, definitely not a thing.

    1. JJ*

      I was also wondering this exact thing. It feels like it could turn into a “battle of the protected disabilities” or something, although I’m sure there’s a simple answer I’m not thinking of.

    2. Jules the 3rd*

      Based on nothing but reading here, my guess is that the employer would need to try to work with the two employees to figure out reasonable accommodations – different floors or buildings; work from home schedules; changing positions; etc. If they can’t figure it out, then they can’t, and someone would be fired, but as long as they try to develop reasonable accommodations, the company is not liable under the ADA.

      I don’t *think* there is a ‘physical disability trumps mental disability’ hierarchy (ie, seeing-eye dog beats ADA dog phobia), I think the law just requires people to give it a good faith try.

    3. ...*

      That would be tough. I am thinking try to find a way for them to use separate entry and exits. I don’t really know though. Dueling ADA’s would be really tough, but I think it’s pretty rare. Is a phobia an ADA covered thing? I suppose it would fall under mental illness if it were that severe. I’m wondering if your dog phobia was that severe though would you be able to even leave the house to work? Idk about other places but in my neighborhood dogs are everywhere and you’d have to pass multiple dogs to get onto public transit or whatever.

      1. Blueberry*

        Steeling oneself to walk quickly past a dog isn’t the same as having one running around one’s office and barking and sniffing under one’s desk and licking one, though. Anyway, arguments of “if you really have X how can you do Y?” are often used to “prove” that people don’t have the issues they report having, so they tend to not be useful in troubleshooting what to do about helping people with their issues.

        1. Desperately seeking cute kitty*

          Also, most public spaces require dogs to be on a leash, because the behaviour that scares people like me also annoys a lot of non-phobic people. The areas where dogs are allowed off leash are few enough that it’s easy to avoid them.

          1. Desperately seeking cute kitty*

            With that said, I can’t speak for all dog phobic people (especially since I’m not disability-level scared of them), but having a service dog in the office wouldn’t freak me out the way pet dogs would because service dogs are trained to focus on their job, whereas pet dogs often get excited about meeting someone, which is the behaviour I’m scared of. Someone being scared of service dogs too is a possibility, but it’s not as likely as someone not wanting to work with pet dogs.

        2. Wintermute*

          That’s why actual service animals are incredibly highly trained. They’re not supposed to be barking unless it’s for a reason related to their “occupation”, they’re not supposed to be licking people, they aren’t supposed to interact with other animals when “on duty” or react to other dogs, etc.

          Service animal training takes into account that dogs can be very disruptive in public spaces by training them strictly and rigidly not to be disruptive. They, ideally, should be no more noticeable and disruptive than someone pulling a suitcase oxygen concentrator behind them or someone’s walker sitting next to their chair.

          1. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

            Service dog training is NOT standardized. USA that is. Any owner can train their own service dog.

            1. Wintermute*

              Yes, that is true but there are still expectations to qualify for that status, they must be non-aggressive, non-reactive to other animals, non-reactive to people, and unobtrusive. If they act in any of those ways service animal or no they can be excluded from a place of business.

        3. PeanutButter*

          I am very allergic to dogs, where I would not be able to keep healthy in a generally “dog-friendly” office – I get angioedema and severe, body-wide hives after being exposed to dog saliva. However, I have taken classes and worked in the same area as someone with a seeing-eye dog, and it was no problem, because the dog was clean, did not lick/scratch itself while working, and the woman always used the same furniture in each room (we kept clear paths to parts of the rooms she needed to use and the furniture was never rearranged so she could navigate using her dog and cane.) I would just sit at the opposite end of the room and not use the chairs that she and the dog used, and everything was fine, thankfully. Because the dog was only “doggy” (running around, scratching, etc) when he was outside with his vest off (off duty) there was very little dander and shed fur, and he always sat in the same spots in the building so they were easy to avoid.

    4. Detective Amy Santiago*

      This has come up in other comment sections about dogs at work. Basically, the onus is on the employer to figure out how to accommodate both. Most likely involving working at work stations as far away as possible, judicious use of air filters, and/or allowing work from home for one or both.

      1. Detective Amy Santiago*

        I mention use of air filters because previous conversations have been about severe allergies versus service dog.

    5. Burned Out Supervisor*

      We’ve had to make sure that there’s a dog free area if people are allergic because we also had to accommodate a service dog (no one had phobias though). We worried a lot about it, but it ended up being OK. The most we had to do is remind people that the dog is working and should not be bothered.

    6. Blueberry*

      There was discussion of this in the original letter’s comments. Alison called it “dueling accomodations” and in general people, well, figure it out on a case by case basis.

  8. Anonariffic*

    If you read the original letter, Jane was already an employee of the company when they moved to a new co-working office space that allowed pets and people started bringing in their dogs. It’s not like there were dogs running around during her interview process and she ignored them, Jane was there first.

    1. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

      There are also other business in the building that Jane is not an employee of. This building is pet friendly and the company moved there knowing it.

  9. Elm*

    I agree this is a “Jane problem,” but probably in a slightly different way. I’m worried about Jane. If she is that afraid of dogs, how does she function? Dogs are literally everywhere! Can you imagine if she was on a plane and someone with a dog got on? Or if a client brought in a service animal to a closed-door meeting with her? I hope she’s getting help with her phobia.

    I have a legitimate phobia of moths (like, even photos set me off, and writing this is making my heart speed up) and would likely have a similar reaction if one showed up in my office, but it’s definitely a me-problem. If someone brought in their pet moths or even butterflies in a…whatever bugs live in? A terrarium?…I would talk to my therapist about how to handle it before talking to HR or anything. But, it sounds like Jane didn’t go to anyone to complain, and I’m proud of her for that. Phobias suck!

    1. ...*

      Yeah I just said that upthread, dogs are everywhere! You could not get to my office without walking past several dogs. And they can show up randomly too especially if they’re a service dog. I do feel for Jane but maybe remote work is best until she is more functional? RE: Moth fear: Once I was napping and thought I saw a moth flying around (im not afraid of them) and was like eh I’ll check it out later. woke up and it WAS A BAT!!!!!!!

      1. Elm*

        No!!! I love bats, but I definitely don’t want one inside! I’d probably open all the windows and try to chase it out before calling animal control unless I had reason to think it was rabid, though. I really, really like bats. It’s weird since they fly so similarly to moths and butterflies, now that I think on it, though. Especially since bats can hurt you, and moths and butterflies (to a lesser extent than moths, but they still freak me out) can’t.

        1. valentine*

          maybe remote work is best until she is more functional?
          Not being able to be on the same work floor as a dog doesn’t mean she’s less functional and she has no onus to overcome her phobia. She should be able to use her workspace. The people refusing to use the calendar are gross and ableist.

        2. Fikly*

          FYI, you should get a rabies vaccine if you’ve been near a bat (particularly while sleeping) regardless of whether or not it acted rabid, because the vast majority of bat bites are really hard to visually detect, and the consequences of not getting the vaccine if you were bit by a rabid bat are so terrible.

          1. fposte*

            The public health rule when I got my rabies shots because of bat exposure was that mere proximity wasn’t an issue, because you won’t get rabies just from that; it’s that if you’re asleep you can’t be sure you *weren’t* bitten (apparently the little buggers can bite quite painlessly).

          2. Door Guy*

            My mother woke up to one crawling on her pillow one night and had to get the shots. She used to just get annoyed by bats in the house, but after that she had a bad reaction to seeing them for years.

      2. TechWorker*

        As someone who had a dog phobia as a child and is still not exactly comfortable around them – there is totally a difference between walking past a dog on the street or even service animals who are extremely well behaved and generally not interested in other people, and having dogs running round the office. It’s a different level of space invasion at a time she is trying to concentrate. Maybe Jane copes just fine with moving over to the other side of the pavement, because it’s over in seconds, but not with the stress of wondering when a dog is going to come up under her desk when she’s trying to work. I think that would be a perfectly reasonable line to draw.

      3. Close Bracket*

        Dogs are not everywhere, and can you imagine saying maybe a service dog owner should work remotely until they are more functional and don’t need the dog? No. Nobody’s disability is better or worse or more noble than anyone else’s disability.

    2. Door Guy*

      I have that with frogs and toads. I have physical jump reactions just from seeing one in the grass while walking. As long as I don’t have to handle, or go near the terrarium, or feed it, I’d be okay, but I DO NOT LIKE.

    3. the washes and the dryers*

      Thank you for acknowledging that my dog phobia does, indeed, suck to have. :)

      And it is not helped by people bringing their dogs everywhere. Service dogs I see on the street or in stores, I can assume are well behaved and will not jump on me. I can avoid them. And honestly, there are just not that many service dogs that I encounter in my daily life. But dogs that aren’t on leashes that aren’t service dogs barking aggressively at me in the hallways of my own damn apartment building? Happens frequently! It’s pretty horrible!

      1. Pomona Sprout*

        Ugh, I like dogs and am not at all afraid of them when they are going about their normal business. But dogs barking AGGRESSIVELY in the hallway of my apartment building would definitely make me uneasy, and if the owner(s) refused to do anything about it, would piss me off mightily! You have my sympathy, as that is completely beyond the pale.

    4. Manu*

      Your first paragraph reads snarky and condescending, but let me try to explain. My SO is afraid of dogs. No phobia, just afraid. She will tense up if she has to walk past a dog in the street, and jerks if it even looks at her. When we are visiting friends with dogs, she will become nervous everytime the dog licks her hand or tries to rest on her lap: *it never gets old for her*. These are friendly dogs that she knows well and they know her. If this was her workplace, she wouldn’t be able to function *at all*.

      You say dogs are everywhere, but are they really? They’re not at our home, they’re not at her workplace. Outside, they’re generally on a leash, and generally disinterested in her. They’re generally not in bars or stores, so it’s really not that hard to lead a dogless life as long as you avoid dog specific locations like the dog park.

      “There’s a dog”, she’ll announce everytime.

      1. Pomona Sprout*

        I don’t think Elm was being snarky at all in either paragraph of their comment.

        I also strongly suspect that your SO does have a dog phobia. A phobia is a fear that is excessive or out of proportion to the object or situation. What you describe sounds like a textbook description of a phobia of dogs ( albeit a relatively mild one).

        I hasten to add that there is absolutely nothing wrong or shameful about having a phobia. They’re extremely common. They can range from mild to very severe. Some may seem less based in reality than others, especially to those of us who don’t share that particular phobia, but all of them are very real to the sufferers thereof. Someone who has a phobia can choose to live with it (particularly if the phobia is a mild one or if the feared thing is something that’s relatively easily avoided). If it’s getting in the way of being able to live a full and happy life, there is help available.

        1. Manu*

          Yeah no. We need to acknowledge regular fear as just that, otherwise anything could be a mild phobia, which puts the burden on you for having a condition, instead of on dog owners for not respecting healthy boundaries. Many people are not at ease near a dog, and that doesn’t mean they need to get help. They can definitely live a full and happy life without being near dogs. If your dog has separation anxiety perhaps it’s the dog that needs therapy and not your coworker that doesn’t like dogs.

          1. Tau*

            Yeah, that comment took me aback because your SO sounds a lot like me and there is no way I have a phobia. I wouldn’t even call myself afraid of dogs so much as… wary, because I am very aware that this is an animal in close proximity which I do not understand and cannot communicate with, and oh yeah it has teeth. It really doesn’t cause major issues in my life! It is not that hard to stay away from dogs except for brief, passing encounters on the street and the occasional service dog going about its work in your near vicinity.

      2. with a comma after dearest*

        This is me exactly. And I agree that it’s a difference between walking past a dog on the street (I always start and tense up, doesn’t matter the size or breed) or being in a meeting with someone with a service dog (I’m still irrationally scared but recognize the important necessity they serve.)
        But in this office, dogs roaming the halls freely, popping up all day long under your desk or table? No, hard no. I can see myself being like Jane and working from home or on another floor so as not to cause a fuss. I know my fear is beyond the norm and not rational and yet I couldn’t function in an office with dogs just running around – or even confined to offices, honestly, if there were a lot of them every day, and I assume the owners have to take them in and out to attend to bio needs, etc.

    5. EventPlannerGal*

      You might be aware of this already but a lot of the time, people with phobias of common things will come up with workarounds to deal with or avoid the object of their phobia that won’t be obvious to most people because they’ve never really thought about it. For example, someone with a dog phobia might have researched where the local dog parks are in order to avoid living near one, not walk down particular paths that are popular dog-walking spots, host friends at her home instead of going to theirs if they have a dog, avoid dog-friendly stores, etc. Depending on the severity of the phobia, she also might be perfectly able to deal with the few seconds it takes to walk past a dog on the street, but full days of having one around could be too much. She could have been dealing with it just fine until this situation arose.

  10. Clisby*

    And the odds of a child being as dangerous as a dog are vanishingly small.

    I was also horrified at the idea that dogs brought into a dog-friendly office are allowed to wander around. At the very least, they should be tightly leashed, or confined to someone’s office.

    1. Elm*

      Yeah, the idea of free range dogs (or children, hehe) in an office setting is bewildering to me as well. I would LOVE to work in a pet-friendly office and would probably demand that the dogs get to visit me and would watch them during their owners’ meetings, but they should generally be confined to their owners’ areas if for no other reason than their bathroom needs. And propensities for stealing snacks. :) Cats are a different story and I’m on board with them roaming as long as they’re not bothersome. I have a cat who was an office cat before we adopted him and I think he would love that job again! So many people to pay attention to him! (He is a tripod and accentuates the limp when he wants something. It’s amazing.)

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        The one person I know who used to bring his dog to work had a *VERY* well-trained Austrian shepherd. This was one of those dogs so well-trained that he would walk next his person without a leash. At the office he would stay next to his person. Mostly he slept under the desk, sometimes looedk up when there were strange noises or people coming in, sometimes chewed a toy, but generally just hung out resting until he was invited to go for a walk. Or if owner got into the code, the dog might quietly put a paw on his owner’s foot to say he needed the walk.
        As well behaved as that dog was with his person, he was a problem when left alone at the house — he taught himself to open he door to the back deck, but not close it for example. Owner had to lock the door to a completely inaccessible upper-level deck to avoid letting in mosquitoes.

    2. ...*

      Yeah I LOVE dogs, but they should be grounded in some way near their owner. I have a dog, and I wouldn’t want it wandering around unknown people, doors, etc.

    3. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I think it depends on the office. This one sounds multi-story, so I agree with you. But when I worked in a very small open plan office, the dog wandered and was fine. He was never out of my sight, he would just occasionally go over to the sofa or to a colleague’s desk and ask for rubs.

      1. Clisby*

        And what if that colleague didn’t like dogs? I don’t know whether this office was a place clients/customers would come, but if I entered an office where there was a free-roaming dog, I’d turn around and leave.

        1. TechWorker*

          I would also smell it the second I entered the room… (people who claim *their* dog doesn’t smell – nah, you’re just used to the smell :D)

          1. Door Guy*

            Nose blindness can happen FAST. Worked in a factory that processed cheese. Didn’t know how I’d ever learn to deal with it during orientation, didn’t even notice it anymore before my first week was finished.

        2. Door Guy*

          I walked into a rental office of a local town home complex and right under the FRONT of the front desk was a Scottish Terrier chilling out. He came over, smelled me a second, and then went and laid down again – no lead, just going where he pleases. If I’d actually needed to do business at the front desk (my meeting was in a side office) I’ve have been standing practically on top of him.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            I went into a staffing firm’s office in OldCity to take some clerical testing and while I was on the computer, the manager’s dog came into the room unnoticed, got right up under my chair, and stuck its face up for pets. It’s a good thing I’m not afraid of dogs, because otherwise I would have ended up on the ceiling.

            Also, she was cute but yes, many dogs do smell (she did), and I don’t want to walk around smelling like one all day.

        3. AvonLady Barksdale*

          Mine wasn’t. Clients never came to our office. And all of my colleagues loved my dog (if they didn’t, they were very good actors).

        4. I love office dogs so much*

          I mean, eventually you just get into an area of “this is the company culture, and if you don’t like it, you might want to consider another role” right?

          Like, yes, this might be something that you personally detest, and you can turn around and leave. That’s totally fine! There are many other offices with different arrangements, and you are welcome to find one that is personally agreeable to you. The person who prefers free-roaming dogs will walk into the office and be delighted.

          There are people who will turn around and leave if they see an open office plan, or no natural light, or no free snacks for employees. That doesn’t mean the companies are wrong for using open office plans, or for being located in a basement, or for cutting costs on perks. Your dealbreaker isn’t everybody’s dealbreaker, and that’s okay.

          1. Yorick*

            I don’t think “employees letting their dogs roam all over the office” is an acceptable aspect of company culture, though. That’s an inappropriate behavior by employees. (In most public spaces that allow dogs, the dog has to be on a leash that is controlled by the dog owner.) A dog friendly office might be an aspect of company culture, but only if people keep the dog at their desk.

            In other situations (racism, sexual harassment, nepotism, etc.), we’ve come to learn that problematic behavior within a company isn’t just “their culture, and you can quit if you don’t like it.”

      2. Yorick*

        I love dogs, but I’d be so annoyed if my coworker allowed their dog to just wander over to me to ask for rubs.

    4. Zaphod Beeblebrox*

      “At the very least, they should be tightly leashed, or confined to someone’s office.”

      That applies to some co-workers too.

    1. Elm*

      Now I’m imagining an office full of herrings just flopping around. Thanks for the chuckle! (I know it’s not what you meant, but that’s where my brain went!)

  11. Mannheim Steamroller*

    Re: #3…

    If my previous job is reposted for less responsibility and more money, would it be weird if I simply reapply for it? Or would that violate some “business etiquette” rule?

    1. Burned Out Supervisor*

      Depends on the company. At my part time gig, if you leave and then reapply a few years later you get hired back at your wage when you left (unless it’s less than what minimum wage is set for in the city/state).

      1. another Hero*

        Is the assumption that NONE of your professional experience outside of that place makes you more valuable? Even figuring it’s the same level, adjusted for cost of living, …yikes

  12. Asenath*

    She didn’t. She worked for a company that didn’t allow dogs, and then changed. And in general, there’s a problem with bringing anyone or anything that needs supervision to a place which you are in because you have agreed to perform certain services for your pay. The employer might turn a blind eye once in a while if a new baby is being shown around for a few minutes, or due to some unavoidable circumstance a friend or relative needs to wait for someone, but that’s not the same as having family member or a pet around all the time.

    Perhaps I’m not the proper person to comment – I’m not a pet parent although I have pets. They aren’t my children or equivalent.

  13. Door Guy*

    Employers don’t discriminate against the type of children being raised.

    Fur-babies, cat/dog mama, whatever you want to call your relationship with your PET, however, is of no bearing to your job, who does not need to provide anything at all for non-humans. Are there companies that do? Yes. Are they required to do so by anything other than their own internal policies? No.

    Even if they do offer something, does it open the floodgates to all species of pet? Or is it something like dog daycare but no cat daycare? What about the pet Angora Goat I had growing up? She was a good girl, won me Grand Champion at the county fair, I bet she’d behave! Or exotic pets? My neighbor had a pet buffalo that used to follow him around and demand pets! Or my aunt’s pot bellied pigs? (Key note, they do not stay small and cute. They are very big and everyone in a 1/2 mile radius knows when they are being made to do something they don’t want to thanks to that SQUEAL).

    Even if the company DOES want to offer those amenities to their employees/customers, WHERE do they put them? There is not an infinite amount of space at your office or shop. Not to mention staff. You can’t just put 1 person in there and call it good. Do the animals need exercise? Where are they going to do their business? What about noise? Or smell? Are the animals well trained or are they spastic little sh*theads? Do you have segregation for when Juakene brings in his big well lazy lump of a dog to keep it away from Anya’s neurotic 2 lbs of terror that wants to pick fights?

    1. Wing Leader*

      One of my high school teachers brought her puppy and her goat to work with her so, uh, there’s that.

      1. Autumnheart*

        As irate as I was upthread about dogs in the office, I have to LOL at the mental image of an office goat.

        1. Door Guy*

          She was pretty chill (fairs aren’t great for freedom of mobility), but not sure how she’d have done in a day in day out. That and all the lanolin getting on your hands from petting her soft soft coat.

      1. Aquawoman*

        This. A lot of people seem to be treating a phobia as a choice, which it isn’t. The ADA applies here.

  14. Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves*

    Why can’t people keep their dogs leashed in their cubes? I used to work in a small office and my coworkers would bring their large dogs in on occasion and just be underfoot the whole day. Not to mention getting yelled at because one ate some food trash out of my wastebasket. I didn’t appreciate being stared and pawed at while trying to eat my lunch.

  15. Old Med Tech*

    Re Ghost OP: I have stayed at haunted hotels (the Stanley Estes Colorado, Taos Inn Taos NM, La Fonda Santa Fe NM, Plaza hotel Las Vegas NM) and except for the Stanley did not know their history before I checked in. I never saw a “ghost” but could not relax in any of these hotel rooms. I have stayed in other non-haunted historic hotels and slept very well. Having a well rested employee is important, so letting your employee check into another hotel was probably the best thing for your business.

  16. Elizabeth West*

    #2 — Revisiting the guidelines for what to do in an unacceptable travel situation probably needed to happen anyway. It should on a regular basis; nothing stays the same forever, so this was a good update.

    I must say, for me, a haunted hotel and a trip to see The Woman in Black would be a feature, not a bug. :) But employees can do that on their own if they want to.

  17. Hokius*

    LW3: If it makes you feel any better I once saw the same thing happen with my company and I went to my manager to discuss it with him – I wasn’t planning on leaving and they were trying to fill a hole in our team – and he made excuses as to why the new position was somehow different from mine and therefore I didn’t deserve to be paid on the same scale.

    1. LW3*

      That’s terrible!

      I’ve kept up with a friend who still works there and she’s on her way out as well. Someone recently left and they didn’t rehire for that position AND are now increasing goals for the next year to an insane amount while cutting resources back significantly, so she’s ended up with way more responsibility and worse work/life balance with no extra pay. I’m glad I got out when I did and am much happier in a program where everyone respects each other and faculty set challenging but reasonable goals.

      Good luck with things at your company (if you’re still there).

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