updates: the wife messing up business travel, and more

It’s a special “where are you now?” season at Ask a Manager, when I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past. Here are three updates from past letter-writers.

1. Telling my boss his wife messed up his business travel

I’m the letter writer who wasn’t sure how I should have dealt with my boss’s wife messing up his travel.

When I wrote the letter, the event had already happened so no action needed to be taken to address it specifically. However, your advice and the reactions of some of the commenters made me realize “Ok, hmmmm. This wasn’t a normal reaction to have.” I mentioned in some of the comments that I had had a really really tough year, basically classic burnout due to hellmouth-esque events at work and in my personal life. What I didn’t mention was that I also struggle with the effects of some childhood emotional abuse/abandonment stuff. Coupled with the burnout, the husband/wife dynamic of my specific work situation was clearly a bit of a trigger for some childhood stuff and so my response to it wasn’t ideal. Up until writing Ask a Manager, I had thought my reactions/overreactions to stuff was only in personal relationships with family/friends, but obviously it would affect Work-Me as well!

A few months before the travel mess-up event, I had gone back to therapy because I had started to feel off due to the burnout etc. In the few years since this happened, I’ve continued going to therapy for my childhood stuff, started taking meds for anxiety, and have made huge progress in being able to recognize triggers or reactions in myself that I don’t think are “normal” or “proportionate” to what is actually happening. Now, if something happens at work and I feel myself getting anxious I can step away, not react in the moment, and put it aside until I can talk to my therapist or a trusted person and basically get a reality check. “Is this something that I should be feeling this strongly about? Or do I need to figure out where this emotion is coming from and then go back to square one?” I’m working towards being able to do this on my own, but for now this is where I’m at and it works.

I’m really proud of myself for making this much progress and being so much more comfortable with dealing with work situations that aren’t ideal. I can’t tell you how unnerving it was to be competent/high performing one minute and then feeling like a scared child the next. Being able to get a handle on this and tackle it in a way that is constructive and healthy is huge, and that’s a skill that will serve me well in the 30ish years until retirement.

2. Should I really follow up on my job applications a week after applying?

As I mentioned in my original question, I’d been in the post-uni-job-search for a while, and it had not been a very fun time. About a week before I sent the question I’d actually applied to a job (not from that website) that I was pretty stoked about – good pay, good work, good organisation, exciting progression opportunities, and based in my favourite city in the country (England) – but which had a really long application process. I passed the online/in person tests and had an interview, which I also passed! Given the long application process, the November application ended with a job starting in mid April.

Which, while it seemed great at first, obviously became more of an issue as time went by. I have a health condition that puts me at risk for the Coronavirus, and the job isn’t one you can do at home. I ended up having to tell them that I wasn’t able to start when I was supposed to. I was pretty devastated as I’d been looking forwards to starting the job for almost six months at this point, and was really worried that they’d simply retract the offer. At best I hoped they’d let me start later. Instead, they’re paying me in full, keeping in touch to make sure I’m okay, and giving me some online work (the ‘homework’ from the actual job training) to do in the meantime. I didn’t think I could be more thrilled about starting the job, but knowing this is how they treat their staff has done it.

I’m sure you hear this all the time, but your website definitely helped me a ton with all this. I literally read through the entire ‘interviewing’ tag in the days coming up to my interview, and took the advice to heart. I also did read through all the comments on the original question, and truly appreciated the additional advice and anecdotes. Thank you!

3. My boss says I talk too much to coworkers

First, I regret using the word “force” in my letter. I clarified it in the comments, but I never actually would force people into conversations. It was much more saying hello as people walked by in the morning or asking how their day was going as we waited for the microwave. Thank you for your advice, it did help put things in perspective. Thank you to all the commenters too. I always appreciate how diverse the commenter field is.

I ultimately ended up leaving the position. I took your advice and checked in with the other employees. I approached it as an apology for talking more than necessary and causing distraction and everyone assured me that wasn’t the case. Upon talking to others, she did pull one other person in the office to tell them the same thing. We knew that giving her feedback about the issue would likely cause more problems, so we decided that we would take the talk/warning at face value though and made an effort to stop the office chit-chat. We decided to take our lunches together, but that was stopped almost immediately by the boss coming in and asking if we were in a private meeting, were we taking unpaid time, when did we come in that morning, etc. We were very clearly eating lunch together, never take paid lunches, and she was in before us so knew what time we came in. It was all bizarre and uncomfortable.

Things just got more uncomfortable from there with a handful of interactions similar to above. I enjoyed the position and the benefits were great, but ultimately it wasn’t enough for me to be unhappy every week and to feel like I was walking on eggshells around my boss. I interviewed and accepted a new position and started right before COVID hit. They are a talkative cohort and I have so much fun working with them. Luckily they’ve continued to pay me as we work remotely and things have been great. I can’t imagine being in the old job in the current climate and having success, so I am happy I ended up where I am.

{ 83 comments… read them below }

  1. HoHumDrum*

    LW 3: Oh, so your boss just thinks it’s wrong for coworkers to be friendly with each other/do literally anything besides work in the office aka your boss is completely unreasonable. I mean I know I’m a talker so I’m biased, but while I can imagine offices where quiet is necessary while working, I cannot imagine working at place where it’s even frowned upon to be friendly to each other during lunch! Oof, that sounds like my nightmare.

    I am glad you got confirmation that it was a fit/weird boss problem and not a “you” problem, and that you’re at a better job now! Hope your other chatty coworker can get out as well.

    1. Mama Bear*

      Wow, asking employees who are clearly just eating lunch together if it’s a meeting was just rude. Glad OP is somewhere else now.

        1. Who Plays Backgammon?*

          Or if not a nutjob, a total paranoid. I once worked at a small company in a dept. of three under the manager. We usually brought lunch and everybody took their lunch by themselves, but we three fell into the habit of going out together on Fridays. After a few months of this, the owner of the company (our grandboss) saw us going out and joined in. It was uncomfortable and intrusive. It was obvious he was checking up on us (like we were plotting an insurrection or something). We couldn’t even have a usual conversation, which mostly wasn’t about work. We stuck him with the check.

    2. Sparrow*

      I’m not a talker, at all, and I still think this boss’ reaction to them having lunch together (in what sounds like a separate space) is unreasonable and just bizarre. Definitely sounds like getting out was the right move.

      1. Kes*

        Yeah. I’d be tempted to just reply cheerfully ‘No Boss, we’re just having lunch together! No, of course our lunches are unpaid. Came in at the usual time” and just keep on with the lunches, but really longer term I’m glad for OP they got out of there

        1. The Kat*

          I think that would be a perfect way to respond. What can boss say in response to that? I’m sure they could say plenty and would make for some great stories!

    3. Important Moi*

      I am not a talker. The boss is ridiculous. (Don’t worry commenters, I know that’s a harsh word.)

      private meeting? taking unpaid time? when did you come in that morning?

      1. JSPA*

        Whether she’s working out personal issues, generally controlling, afraid that some funny business will be exposed if people actually, y’know, talk to each other, or afraid that they’ll all…what, leave en masse to start their own company (?), this is just painful. I mean, I like quiet during work hours. I even like to read at lunch, sometimes. But being guilted / fielding suspicion for chatting at lunch? Bite me.

        1. That Girl from Quinn's House*

          That’s exactly it, she doesn’t want her victims comparing notes. Divide and conquer and all.

    4. Yorick*

      Maybe this is a bit of a reach, but it seems like she doesn’t want employees to have a chance to talk to each other. She asked the outgoing ones not to do so much chit-chat, and now she’s preventing them from having lunch together. Is she afraid they’ll discuss work conditions and push back on something as a group?

      1. Pennalynn Lott*

        I don’t think it even needs to be that nefarious. I had a manager at a household-name global software company get upset when anyone on her team looked to be happy or having a good day. Her favorite line was, “Work isn’t meant to be FUN.”

        We were in sales. If someone just closed a big contract and we got up to congratulate them, she’d come scurrying out of her manager cube and tell us all to get back to work. Let me tell you, sales without being able to celebrate a big win is pure h*ll.

        1. dog in a bag*

          I used to sit next to a sales team for 2 years, and my impression from observing them is they play as hard as they work. My husband was in sales for years and he’s the same way. Taking away the release after the grind of making a deal sounds heinous.

        2. Kes*

          “Well, I’ve been in lots of successful places where it was, but you’re definitely on top of making sure it isn’t here” – things you wish you could reply

        3. T. Boone Pickens*

          I’m sorry…but Fuck. That. Boss. Has your ex-boss actually ever been in sales?

        4. HoHumDrum*

          Jesus, what a sad outlook on life. Fun isn’t the primary purpose of work but honestly you’ll probably do a better job if you’re having fun doing it. What kind of person would go out of their way to refuse to feel any kind of joy at the place you spend a huge chunk of your life at???

          1. Who Plays Backgammon?*

            And even if it isn’t outright fun, it should at least be a pleasant place to be for a third of your life.

      2. PollyQ*

        I doubt she was thinking that hard. My guess is that she singled out these employees to be scapegoats, so whatever they did would’ve gotten some kind of snark or reprimand. LW was smart to move on — there’s no winning with a boss like that.

    5. Strictly Speaking*

      What’s a way of calibrating a reasonable standard? I know it’s not practical to avoid all small talk, but I try to hold myself to that standard (i.e., doing anything that does not further something work-related is wrong) because I can’t think of a way to define a reasonable threshold. So I’ll respond when I’m directly addressed, but I won’t start any conversation (including saying hello) unless it’s about a necessary task.

      1. HoHumDrum*

        I mean at my job that small talk is essential. Like a) we’re a team that needs to be able to trust each other and it’s a lot easier to trust someone who you feel comfortable with and talking to them about non-work stuff is usually key to that comfort and b) we do stuff that requires creativity, and it’s always wonderful to see how often those tangents actually do end up bringing about ideas that improve the work tasks. I think sometimes we don’t always appreciate enough how our brains need to play and roam around through a variety of thoughts to work things out, like achieving clarity on something upon waking up from a weird dream.

        So that’s to say, I definitely don’t know the calibration, and I’m definitely talking too much for sure, but I do think having non-work conversations with coworkers is often productive and is actually necessary.

        Also I guess for me it’s like, I’m giving you (the workplace) the majority of my life, working 5 days a week means I get a total of 8 days off a month. You can give me some chitchat time in exchange without bean counting.

        But I definitely know a lot of people who would disagree with me on that perspective, I guess the question is, is the lack of chitchat good for *you* or do you wish to talk more?

      2. EM*

        This is not calibrated at all – If you never say hello or initiate any contact at all you’re way too far down the unfriendly-end of the spectrum for most workplaces. It might help to think about fostering a cohesive workplace as part of your job rather than “wrong”, given you’re worried about it you’re very unlikely to overcorrect and suddenly become a Chatty Cathy.

      3. Jules the 3rd*

        It varies by office. Watch what your coworkers do, especially your manager. Aim for ‘more than 0 but less than the manager’. I’m not chatty, but when we were in the office, I aimed for
        * hellos to people I work with physically
        + 1 conversation / week, 5 minutes or so, with a remote coworker
        + walk to meetings with someone and chat

        A chunk of my coworkers walk to coffee together most mornings (5 minute walk across our work campus) and chat then, and ‘walking together to get coffee’ has been a team activity in most of the teams I’ve worked with in this company. That’s 5 – 10 minutes of chat most days. I seem to remember a similar amount of breaks / chats at the other company I worked for that was more than 50 people.

    6. designbot*

      My read on this is that the boss thinks they are talking about her or otherwise complaining about working conditions.

    7. Jennifer Juniper*

      Know who else frowns upon people being friendly to each other within the group? Cult leaders. All loyalty and allegiance belongs to the cult and the cult leader.

      1. Who Plays Backgammon?*

        Ooh, that struck a chord. By coincidence I was reading about Jim Jones and Jonestown recently and how afraid everyone was.

    8. Koala dreams*

      Yes, the boss was clearly unreasonable. The workers weren’t even allowed to chat on their break!!!

      I’m so happy that you found a new, better job!

  2. HailRobonia*

    LW3: My situation was different, but in my office my previous manager would occasionally tell our team to be careful with office chit-chat, not because she objected, but because some of the other directors would complain that our team wasn’t busy enough… even though we are the busiest program and our chit-chat is either legitimately work-related or a much needed brief escape from the crushing workload.

    1. SansaStark*

      We would get that, too. I always wanted to ask our manager if she could just point to the monthly financial statements that were emailed to all directors and remind any complainers that we’re generating hundreds of thousands of dollars each month so obviously we’re all plenty busy?

    2. Over Analyst*

      I used to work as a contractor for a larger organization, and someone in the larger organization complained to my boss (same company/contract as me) that we were talking too much and that someone was reading the newspaper at her desk (she only did so during her required lunch break, and she read at her desk because we didn’t have a break room or anywhere to eat besides at our desks). My boss told me to try to keep the chat to a minimum but also I got the most work done and was the sole reason an employee of the larger organization didn’t hate us (for some reason my introverted self was the only person able to become friends with this person), so I should err on the side of continuing to be overtalkative and friendly rather than cutting it back too much. My boss was willing to take the heat as long as I maintained my productivity. That was a good boss, and while we’ve all moved on (our company lost the follow on contract), we all still got together regularly for lunch, until COVID had us all start working from home.

  3. Jennifer*

    LW3 That comment section was fun! It brought out all the misanthropes. People that get angry because someone said “Good morning, how was your weekend?” to them confuse me.

    Glad you got out of there.

      1. anonaccountant*

        I think this is funny. I’m pretty introverted, and tend to be really reserved around new people. Once I get comfortable with people, I still need my alone time, but I can get pretty goofy. It’s fun to me to see how it plays out at work. Like the extroverts talk to me anyway, and were the first group to be friendly when I started, which I appreciated because otherwise I would totally clam up. I can barely support my end of a conversation with someone I don’t know. Then there’s the mid-ground people, and we just say ‘hey,’ ‘good morning,’ etc. Then there’s the other deep introverts. We pass each other in the hall or break room and don’t make eye contact or say a word. We have an unspoken introvert pact that we don’t need to use words to be friendly. We communicate normally over email. It makes me chuckle.

        I just really like seeing the different personalities interact, and I can’t imagine being hostile that someone is being chatty with you.

      2. Important Moi*

        I also remember that comment section. It got to be so….much I didn’t post. I am an introvert.

        Introvert =/= Misanthrope

      3. Jdc*

        I’m not an introvert just not human before 10am. That being said I just nicely say good morning back because I’m sane. My voice often doesn’t even work in the morning. Hopefully this new sinus medication will solve that. F Midwest allergies.

    1. AngryAngryAlice*

      Hard agree. I understand not wanting to have prolonged conversations with coworkers if you’re an introvert or just view work as a place to come in, do a job, and get out, but the deep dislike that some people have for anyone who talks to them in even the mildest exchange is baffling to me. Yes, some people talk too much. But not showing any signs of friendliness to coworkers – even just a quick smile and nod of acknowledgment when you pass each other in the morning – is borderline hostile (not in the sense of “hostile workplace” legalese, but in terms of coexisting in the same place with the same people everyday).

      Thankfully, the vast majority of people on this site are somewhere in between the two extremes, and I deeply appreciate their diversity of personalities and opinions in this community.

      1. bluephone*

        I worked with someone like that and it was legit hell. Like, I’m sure she was probably good at her job but she was so rude 24/7 that you wanted to avoid her at all costs.

      2. Jennifer Juniper*

        If someone did that, I would think that I did something to piss them off and blame myself, then try to guess what I did wrong and send them a profuse apology by e-mail.

      3. GreyjoyGardens*

        Being someone who takes offense at a friendly “good morning!” or “How was your weekend?” will get you a reputation as brusque and/or cold. And “brusque” translates into “jerk” for almost everyone. Jerks are disliked and avoided even if their work is great. Jerks don’t get their mistakes forgiven or any slack cut them because, well, they’re jerks!

        I’m not saying introverts are jerks – I am one! You also don’t have to be friends with your coworkers – but you DO have to be friendLY, no matter how “private” you are. This is for your career’s sake. You need to be liked, unless you are VERY well-connected or are VERY good at some particular in-demand skill.

      4. Tenebrae*

        I always wonder if they’ve had a particularly difficult extroverted coworker. I’m an introvert, I say good morning but I’ve definitely had coworkers who made making small talk kind of a trial.
        E.g. I had a co-worker who always came in and wanted to have the normal chat about what we did last night etc. But work was supposed to start at 8:30 and she’d wander in at 11 so she’d be trying to have morning small talk while I was knee deep in concentration on a project. Definitely put me in the headspace of “Okay, what if we just didn’t interact?”

    2. The Other Dawn*

      Agreed. That was such bizarre comment section that day. Although, those comments come out anytime someone mentions they like to say “good morning’ or “hello” to their coworkers.

      1. Jennifer*

        A smoke signal goes out to them whenever there’s a letter basic social niceties in the workplace.

      2. Kes*

        Yeah. I’m very introverted, but the anti-social-interaction-with-coworkers comments here are weirdly strong, even to me. I guess it makes sense people reading and posting on an online blog would skew introverted, but I don’t think the comments here are representative of people’s feelings about interacting with coworkers in general.
        You also see this for any discussion of social activities at work – just about anything will get shot down here, but my experience in general is that most people are willing to (optionally) spend a bit of time with coworkers in a fun activity from time to time.

        1. Kiki*

          Yeah, I love this site and get a lot of great advice and insight from the comments section, but have learned to ignore comment sections that have to do with socializing just because people here are so aggressively anti. I get not wanting to hang out with coworkers– I usually don’t either– but once in a while going to lunch and playing some arcade games together won’t kill anyone.

          *waiting for the response of someone saying they would in fact die immediately just upon hearing the suggestion*

          1. Jdc*

            I’m pretty not into hanging out with coworkers often but a happy hour at one of those arcade places would be fantastic. Always have a blast at those.

            1. Jules the 3rd*

              (sorry, the death scene in Buffy the Movie is a huge favorite in my household…)

        2. Jdc*

          I will say my comment back then was rather sarcastic but that’s also aimed at people who don’t even let you put your bag down before they inundate you. Let me pour my coffee first.

        3. allathian*

          I do enjoy social chat occasionally, or even daily at work and yes, I greet my coworkers in the morning and say goodbye to them in the afternoon or evening when I leave. That said, I prefer to focus on work. So if I have to work in a very noisy environment, I’m much less likely to be social and fun, because I spend all my energy on trying to focus. But if I’m in a good headspace and able to focus properly on my work, I’m much more likely to chat with my coworkers during my breaks.
          When I go to the office I usually get there at 7, have coffee with some coworkers at around 9 unless I have a meeting scheduled, take 30 or 45 minutes off for lunch around 11.30 and have another cup of coffee with coworkers around 2 pm. Obviously, if we’re extremely busy I skip the socializing and just grab a coffee. Although, to be fair, sometimes if we’ve been very busy for a while, my boss will ask me if I’ve had time to grab a coffee with coworkers.
          Officially we are allowed one 15-minute coffee break on the clock (I’m salaried but we do keep track of working hours with a working hours bank to ensure that people aren’t working either too much or too little), but we are allowed two, because promoting a friendly working environment is important to my employer. It’s also a way of exchanging ideas with people who I don’t work with every day. These informal coffee chats have sparked some ideas. Most of the talk is not about work, but some of it is.

    3. Elenna*

      Yeah, I’m not a talker either, to the point where I would love OP’s former workplace and be mildly annoyed at being asked how my day was at the microwave, but I wouldn’t react in an annoyed way because I’m fully aware that it’s my own weirdness and OP was just trying to be a normal friendly person. I definitely wouldn’t get angry about it, what the heck was that.

    4. Potatoes gonna potate*

      LOL I remember some of those comments. I think OP even said she wasn’t forcing people, but man….. the whole situation is weird.

    5. Pomona Sprout*

      I really wonder if people would have reacted so strongly if the word “forced” hadn’t been used in the way it was. That seemed to trigger a lot of folks, and even though the o.p. tried to clarify, well, you know what they say about unringing a bell!

  4. MassMatt*

    #3 Your (former) boss sounds far worse in this update than in the original letter. Wanting such a quiet office seemed extreme and oppressive. The interrogation of employees simply having lunch together is bizarre and paranoid. Congratulations on the new job!

  5. Wordnerd*

    LW1, I’m so glad you are making so much progress! Congratulations. This sounds a lot like how my childhood stuff comes up in my responses to criticism or conflict – you’re not alone!
    Also, “hellmouth-esque” — Buffy fan? :-)

    1. Chance of thunderstorm*

      Buffy fan and/or reader of the Saturday comments where there was an ongoing (real and terrible but sooo well written) saga from a commenter that may have actually worked on the real life Hellmouth.

    2. Alexis Rose*

      (Op1, aka Alexis Rose checking in) Thank you! Yes a Buffy fan but also a fan of the I Work on a Hellmouth saga here on AAM!

  6. Mx*

    2 : That’s a great outcome ! As you’re in England, if you are a shielder, the employer was maybe legally obliged to keep you anyway. Nice to hear happy news !

    1. OP2*

      I don’t know if you’re a fellow U.K. person, but shielders are only the people most severely at risk, and they’ve all received letters from the NHS telling them to stay home. So you can be at risk, but not so much at risk that they legally have to let you stay home. I’m in the ‘ask your job to let you stay home but if they say no tough luck’ category (paraphrased but that’s the basic gist), so they could have insisted I work.

    2. Pomona Sprout*

      I never watched Buffy*, so I learned what “hellmouth” meant right here at AAM! :-D

      *I really need to binge watch that series one of these days, because it sounds very entertsininf!

      1. Pomona Sprout*

        “entertaining,” argh! (If only we had educated post editing capability here. *sigh*)

        1. Rob aka Mediancat*

          I am now auctioning off “Entertsininf” as the next cool user name. Do I hear 10? Do I hear 20?

          (And Buffy is basically awesome.)

  7. Anon for this*

    OP1: Oh, this spoke to me. I did something kind of similar at my last job – I offhandedly insulted my boss (who I loved) in front of an outside vendor, and realized minutes later that my daddy issues had shown up in my workplace. I’m so glad therapy has helped you like it helped me.

    1. Alexis Rose*

      (Op1, aka Alexis Rose checking in) Oh yes it was quite the realization for me! I’ve made a tonne of progress and being able to see the changes in myself is a huge motivator to keep going!

  8. Seven If You Count Bad John*

    Did we ever get an update from the manager whose team had had a death, and they drove off everyone hired to replace her?

    1. KayDeeAye*

      I’ve wondered about that, too, but I don’t think so. I’d be very happy to find out I’m wrong about that.

    2. KoiFeeder*

      Pretty sure we did not. I hope it’s just the “oh man my update can’t top how crazy my letter was” anxiety and not because the problem never got fixed.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        Part of me always hoped that eventually that team was split up. They just seemed to have formed a toxic clique.

          1. Rick Tq*

            As I recall the late Jane provided a fairly technical/certified/licensed resource that had to be replaced for the team to operate within the law, she wasn’t the 3rd staff person on the left.

            1. KoiFeeder*

              Specialized and there were legal complications for doing that job without proper licensing/certifications, yeah.

    3. CatMintCat*

      I’ve always wanted an update to that one too. The situation was just so bizarre.

  9. Eukomos*

    LW #3, your boss kind of reminds me of my old boss. Her issue wasn’t noise specifically, but she hated it when her coworkers would talk to each other, so the office ended up as a tomb anyway. It was clearly a control thing for her, she wanted to control what information moved between people as part of a larger micromanaging issue. I ran for the hills a few months ago and it’s amazing how much my mental health has improved, even with the pandemic situation!

    1. J.B.*

      I had a boss who might show up at 10 and leave at 2, and “work from home” the rest of the time, who would complain about normal social conversations in another workgroup… projection much?

    2. Batgirl*

      This is probably projection, but the update reminded me of a former friend who had very segregated friend groups who she never allowed to mix. At first it seemed like a mild quirk. Then her mother threw her a surprise party and invited all the different groups. Former friend spent the whole evening dashing around, preventing conversation between groups and breaking up any mingling to the point of rudeness. It turned out she’d told people the most outrageous lies and was trying to stop them comparing notes on her, which failed miserably since she was the thing everyone had in common.

      1. allathian*

        Ouch! Did she have any friends left after that party?
        How old were you at the time? Sounds like junior high or high school rather than work… For sure, my parents don’t have the contact info for my friends (I’m not active on social media beyond WhatsApp and that goes for my parents, in-laws and husband as well).
        I have a bit of a quirk, too. I hate surprises. I don’t even care if they’re happy surprises, but I just hate them. When a friend of mine got married 15 years ago, her fiance wouldn’t even tell them where they were going on their honeymoon. He did tell her what kind of clothes she needed to pack and she only found out at the airport. I think he checked in all of their bags, so she only found out where they were going when she got to the gate. They’re still happily married. If my husband had tried to pull a stunt like that on me, I would probably have refused to go and filed for an annulment the next day. Luckily he knew me well enough when we got married to understand that I really don’t appreciate surprises of any kind. Even when we were still giving Christmas and birthday presents to each other, we’d write lists so the giver had two or three gifts to choose from. Now we just don’t bother anymore, because we have enough stuff as it is, and because the effort of trying to figure out a suitable present for the other person to buy far outweighs the pleasure of getting more stuff. I know there are people who love figuring out what their friends and family members might like to have, and are annoyed when they don’t reciprocate and just give something fairly impersonal.

  10. EvilQueenRegina*

    I remember my gut reaction to #3 at the time was “Well, I guess I know where my ex-boss Umbridge went!” I have definitely been there. Glad you escaped your boss.

  11. Who Plays Backgammon?*

    Ooh, that struck a chord. By coincidence I was reading about Jim Jones and Jonestown recently and how afraid everyone was.

  12. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    And here’s why you don’t want to know people’s vacation plans!

    One of our very important managers takes long motorcycle trips for vacation. He’s also a casual rider. I’m terrified when I see him come to work in the summer because I lost my uncle and others in bike accidents. But. It’s life and people take a risk every day they wake up.

    I slipped outta the shower and was out for a week. My boss got a nasty GI bug while on an international trip and got stranded there for almost 2 weeks.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      LOL well that’s a weird ef up, this was for today’s questions but I’m a goober who shouldn’t post half a wake. Whomp whomp whomp, sorry if anyone is confused.

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