employee named her dog after a coworker’s baby, a coworker who works all night, and more

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

1. My employee gave her puppy the same unusual name as a coworker’s new baby

A team member has just announced she’s getting a puppy and naming him Achilles, which, though an unusual name, is the same name of another team member’s baby. (“Achilles” isn’t the real name, but it’s a similar degree of unusualness.) We are a small team of 10, and Achilles is the first and only baby anyone on the team has had.

She didn’t mention anything to her colleague before making this decision, and announced it in a team (Zoom) meeting. We were all stunned. As her manager, should I address it? The two already have a fairly tenuous relationship and I hope this won’t tip it over the edge!

Oh dear.

I’m a big believer that you don’t really get dibs on names. If she wants to name her dog Achilles and a coworker already has a baby named Achilles … well, she gets to do that. If her coworkers think it’s weird and want to judge her for it, they also get to do that.

However, if your sense is that she named the dog after the baby as a way to needle her coworker, it’s time to intervene in whatever is going on in that relationship. But you wouldn’t be addressing the dog’s name; you’d be addressing whatever is going on more broadly. You can’t have two people on your team not getting along and at least one needling the other, and that’s where I’d focus.

2. My coworker works all night

I have been helping to train a colleague at the same level as myself for five months. She came to us from a very similar role, but we quickly found she lacks basic skills that are key to any office job (email and calendar management), as well as the critical thinking and problem solving skills necessary to do a quality job in this role.

I have developed extensive training materials for her, spent hours providing intense and personalized coaching, and been available for questions. Since the pandemic started, my boss has taken a more hands-on approach with her, which is good because I don’t know how I would handle the intensity with which she needs to be monitored and coached, and my own increased workload, along with general pandemic-related stress.

I recently learned (through email time stamps, and her own admission) that she is routinely working well into the evening, and has twice stayed up until the middle of the night trying to get caught up on work. I am very familiar with the role, and I can say with certainty that there is no way her workload could justify this. These actions reek of debilitating work anxiety to me. I reached out to her, expressing my concern that this is unsustainable, offering my support as a person to talk to, and offering to give advice if she could tell me what some of the particular “time sucks” she is dealing with are. She did respond, but we didn’t really have a productive conversation. My impression is that she thinks this is a silly little quirk and that she will feel better if she can get caught up. I can tell from emails received the following evening that she was working at least three hours extra.

Should I give our supervisor a heads-up about this? Here is the wrinkle: I do not trust my supervisor to handle this in an appropriate, sensitive, or productive manner. While she does occasionally surprise me, her default mode is a barking hot head who blows up every issue that comes across her desk. Her language and manner are often abusive, to the point where I have considered filing a complaint many times, and am mulling over turning down a promotion if it would mean working more closely with her. How do you think I should proceed?

Ugh. If you had a decent manager, I’d tell you to share your concerns with her — all of them, but including the number of hours your coworker is having to work to keep up (especially if the company legally needs to pay her overtime but she’s not reporting it).

But a bad manager of the sort you described? If that’s the case, I’d lean toward staying out of it. You offered your coworker help, she declined, and you can reasonably decide to leave it there if you want to.

My one caveat is that because you’re helping to train her, you do have an obligation to keep your boss in the loop if her progress isn’t what it needs to be. It’s possible that “working all night and still not meeting the bar we need” is info your boss needs to fully understand what’s going on. That said, it also sounds like your boss has seen enough to know what the general situation is — so my ultimate answer hinges on how much you think knowing about the long hours would add to your boss’s overall understanding of how your coworker is doing in the role.

3. Not applying for an internal opening because I dislike the new manager

I applied for a new position within my company a few months ago and wasn’t hired for it, but the hiring manager at the time strongly encouraged me to apply again the next time they posted a similar job. However, since then, the original hiring manager was promoted and a new manager was hired to replace him. I have worked with the new manager (not as a direct report) in the past and really do not get along with him, and I don’t foresee us having a good relationship if I do apply again and manage to get the job (not a guarantee because I don’t think he likes me any more than I like him!).

My current manager is very supportive and has definitely pushed for me as a good candidate for the new role. I don’t know how to diplomatically let him know that I don’t want to work for this new manager, and I’m worried that anything I say to explain it will blow back on me in some way. Can you suggest any way to handle this tactfully?

Do you trust your manager to keep what you say to her in confidence or at least to represent your position diplomatically? If so, you could say, “Between you and me, I don’t have the same rapport with (new manager) that I had with (old manager) and I don’t think we’d work together as well.” Or: “The fit doesn’t seem as strong to me as it did when (old manager) was managing that role, so for now I’m going to hold off.”

If you don’t feel comfortable saying that to her, then you could just say, “For now I’d like to stay where I am, but I’m interested in watching what (new manager) does with the team, and maybe I’ll apply again down the road. Right now, though, I’m happy here.”

4. Coworker cc’s herself on every email she sends

One of my coworkers always cc’s herself on every email she sends me. My guess is that she wants to have everything in her inbox so she remembers to follow up, but often these emails are part of ongoing email chains, so she should have the most recent email in her inbox already. And, um, that is what the “sent” folder is for!

I will admit that every once in a while I will bcc (not cc!) myself on an email that I send, if it’s the type when the person I’m sending it to has a track record of dropping the ball, or if it’s extremely important. But she does it on every single email to me and to other coworkers. I don’t know if she does it to clients … I hope not!

It really irks me, probably for no good reason other than I can’t stand inefficiency in any form and it also seems a little bit demeaning, like she doesn’t trust me to take care of things and respond (which I always do). I’m assuming I can’t do anything about it, so I’ll get over it and try to ignore it. But I’m just wondering, is this common, and why do people do this?!?

You are overreacting. That’s fine, I’m all for having pet peeves! But this isn’t really a big deal. Some people do this because they have a mail rule set up where anything they’ve cc’d themselves on goes to a specific mail folder (like one where they track things they need to follow up on). I’d assume it’s connected to an organizational system that works for her, not that’s it any sort of commentary on whether she trusts you to do your job.

5. Listing a job when it was first through a temp agency, and then directly with the company

At the job I am currently at, I started out as a temp through a temp agency. After a little over a year of working there, I was hired by the company I was doing work for. Now I am job searching, and I was wondering if I needed to list my time as a temp and as an employee separately or if I could combine them.

You can combine them! Just make sure that you note somewhere that the first year was via an agency. That’s because if an employer calls to verify the job, your company may confirm your employment as having started once you became a non-temp — which could make it look like you had misrepresented the dates by a year. (That probably won’t happen if they talk to your actual manager, but it could happen if they talk to HR.)

You could list it this way:

Cocoa Analyst, Beverage Oceanarium, July 2017 – present
(July 2017 – August 2018 as a temp through Libations Staffing)

{ 684 comments… read them below }

  1. Ask a Manager* Post author

    A note about the dog name in #1 — the letter writer wrote to me using the real dog/baby name and asked me to change it to something else. I chose Pluto without thinking about it being a cartoon dog name, which has caused some confusion below. So I’ve changed it to Achilles in the post … and am flagging it here since there’s already lots of discussion of “Pluto” below.

  2. brighidg*

    #2 – If your boss is abusive then your new hire’s work anxiety is 100% founded and just the reasonable reaction to having an abusive unreasonable boss while also working during a pandemic and global recession.

    1. WS*

      Yes, this! Also, does LW know for sure that the new hire is working extra hours from home rather than just different hours? Or is constantly interrupted at home meaning that her 8 hours of work takes 11 hours to get done?

      1. nnn*

        That’s what I was thinking. I know that for myself during the pandemic there are some days when I just can’t buckle down and get started, so I finish up my work after hours. If I’m coming across as intended, my colleagues would perceive me as “at work” even when I haven’t buckled down and gotten started yet (I’m answering emails promptly, I’m signed into instant messenger) but the actual work doesn’t get done until later in the day.

        It don’t know it would change OP’s actual actions (you’ve already offered her help and she declined) but from a training/coaching point of view, “Working 12+ hours a day and still not getting everything done” is not the same situation as “Informally flexing work hours because pandemic”

        1. Roeslein*

          This. Also, I’ve had a number of jobs and working, say, 3 hours in the evening was never a big deal, so perhaps she just comes from a different office culture. Perhaps she has kids and is picking up work late at night after they are in bed, as I and most parents I know do. Or perhaps she’s still figuring out the system. She’s obviously doing her best to cope. But anyway, sometimes I take longer than others to complete some tasks (and sometimes I’m much faster – it really depends on the task). As long as I do it well and I don’t complain about it, I don’t see why that would be an issue. I’m a high performer but with a manager and colleagues like that I would develop work anxiety too… If the coworker was writing in I would advise her to use “delay delivery” so emails are sent the next morning and don’t draw unnecessary attention.

          1. RB*

            Yep, I’ve transitioned to a modified swing shift while working from home, and some days it starts later than other days. On the late days I might be working till 10 or 11pm, but that doesn’t mean I’ve worked 15 hours that day.

      2. Mels*

        The LW states that she knows the new hire is working too much “by her own admission.” I think this is the sort of thing where we should take the LW by her word.

        1. KAG*

          I think I’ve been in the new hire’s position before. I was working tons of extra hours mainly because I was trying to learn the underlying systems / earlier code / etc. (Although I would never have admitted that!) While it sounds as you’ve been much more hands-on / providing training, still, as a new employee during COVID, she might be unclear as to what to prioritize.

          If her position is more structured/task-focused, this might not apply. Just speaking from my own experience, I would have found it helpful for expectations to be laid out (and then I would continue to work ridiculous hours learning the systems, but at least I would have delivered what needed to be done)

          1. Gazebo Slayer*

            I’ve also been in the new hire’s position, including at my current job. Some of us aren’t superstars (like much of the AAM commentariat seems to think they are) and need to do what we need to do to get by.

            1. Mr. Peanut Butter*

              LW here! It is pretty intense to be working extra hours at this type of job. I did so once or twice (or half a dozen times) when I first started as well, but for only an hour or two. I get the feeling this has been going on for quite some time (as one of the times she told me she had stayed at the office until 9pm was pre-COVID) and it’s totally unusual for our work culture!

              1. JSPA*

                Is the hire expressing distress? It could be that they’re fearful of making a bad impression (which, as you note, they’ve already done, by not knowing basics) and (wrongly or rightly) believe that working long hours is a way to make a good impression.

                I’ve known people who would pause at a party to fire off an email quite late at night because they “want to let the boss know how hard they’re working.” We’ve had threads here in the past where people who don’t concentrate well around others futz around a lot at work until the other people leave, then settle in for actual productivity.

                So, while your kind concern is admirable, there’s more than one scenario here.

                If you were the boss, you’d make a speech about how working past regular hours is borderline problematic, and that’s why you’re repeatedly checking in. As trainer, your ability to do this is somewhat more limited. But if you have not laid it out very clearly as, “working late = problem, not gold star,” do that.

                1. Mr. Peanut Butter*

                  That’s an interesting thought!

                  I would say it’s not the case here, ie. that she is definitely worried, stressed, concerned about catching up, and not trying to make a good impression. Although our supervisor certainly does give a lot of mixed messages about that aspect of work culture! It’s something that I’ve realized recently because I think I’m alright at seeing through her rhetoric, but with this new hire, I am realizing just how crazy it is to hear such different messages one after the other (“Take a sick day! You need to rest! Don’t worry about work! … Followed by: “Umm why didn’t you respond to my email yesterday?”)

            2. Be Kind*

              I think you might want to look into why you felt the need to make a jab in this statement. It was entirely unnecessary and kind of rude.

    2. Gazebo Slayer*


      Don’t make your coworker’s life worse by reporting her to this manager. She is obviously working as hard as she can, and panicking about it. If you can answer her questions or give her helpful guidance yourself, please do. If you can’t, MYOB.

      1. Madame X*

        if she’s working all night to catch up with work, she will eventually fall behind. It sounds like the coworker needs more support from her manager to re-assess her workload or the type of work that she is being tasked with. She clearly needs help and it sounds like the support that the LW can provide her is not enough for the co-worker. This is not the same as tattling on the coworker to get her in trouble, but alerting the manager so that they can manager her better.

        1. Gazebo Slayer*

          But from what OP said, this manager is abusive and unreasonable. Telling a manager like that isn’t helping your coworker, and it’s disingenuous to pretend it is.

        2. Mr. Peanut Butter*

          LW here! I wish I could have that kind of discussion with our manager. I fear it would fall more on the ‘getting in trouble’ side. I certainly don’t want to make my co-worker’s situation worse! I did recommend that if this is a workload issue, she should speak with her manager. But given her understandable anxiety, I doubt that will happen.

          1. bluephone*

            Oof yeah, this is a tough situation. I hope everything works out! I thin kit’s kind of you to want to help her but it sounds like a tough situation all around (especially with COVID).

    3. AcademiaNut*

      Given the OP’s description, it’s also quite possible that the new hire is simply not able to do the work in a reasonable time without the OP sitting next to her and guiding her through it. If that’s the case, it could totally be causing her anxiety, but anxiety would be the result of her poor performance, rather than the cause of it, and not likely to go away if the OP leaves her to it.

      I do think that if the OP’s supervisor asks about the new hire’s performance, the OP has to answer honestly, including the extra hours part. And it’s a tricky situation if the overtime is illegal, and the OP knows about it but doesn’t say anything – it could get the OP in trouble when it’s found out.

      1. Mr. Peanut Butter*

        That was one of my concerns! Am I holding on to important information that I’ll get in crap for not sharing? Everyone’s insights have been very helpful.

    4. Brett*

      Exactly this. I have seen a similar situation with the same style of boss, where people were secretly working 12+ hour days to try to get everything exactly perfect to avoid a blow up.

      This sort of situation leads to people being afraid to delegate for fear that something will go wrong outside their control. So since they cannot delegate, they try to do double down and down even more work. This was even worse because all of the people involved were high performers who could crank out a typical week’s worth of work in 30 hours or less.

      In the case I ran into, I was able to intervene (despite not being their manager) using a technicality… the people involved were only being paid for 40 hours a week and were expressly not authorized to work beyond 40 hours. They still had a lot of anxiety, but understanding the type of jeopardy they were causing by working 20-30 hours off the books helped them view the situation differently and back off.

  3. NYWeasel*

    Re #4: I have a coworker who does this bc she only wants to deal with her in box. Still seems like extra work to me, but it works for her.

    1. Mark Roth*

      I CC myself on anything I think is really important. Because I think looking through the sent mail folder or setting a calendar reminder is the extra work that I don’t want do.

      1. valentine*

        Even if it were deliberately inefficient, being needlessly irritated is also inefficient.

        1. pleaset AKA cheap rolls*


          I have colleagues who clearly have problem with email – can’t find things, including things they’ve sent, miss clear and important material, etc. In that sort of case, it might be worth thinking about it and saying something to them.

          Otherwise, no. Ignore it. OP – learn to not let little stuff like this bother you.

          1. valentine*

            It’s like the pro-Shift OP, except they disabled their coworker’s Caps Lock.

      2. allathian*

        In that case, why not BCC yourself? That’s invisible to others. If you use Outlook, in some setups the BCC line is hidden by default, but that can be changed in the settings.

        1. Mark Roth*

          Because no one has ever given an indication that it doesn’t matter. And I’ve seen other people do it. I really never considered BCC

        2. valentine*

          why not BCC yourself?
          Nobody need care. This isn’t a rookie mistake or faux pas, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were at least one person on Team Bcc’ing Yourself Is Suspicious.

          1. MassMatt*

            Maybe, but they’re never going to know, Bcc is BLIND to them.

            Not sure if it’s a rookie mistake, but it sure seems like a wasted effort given your “sent” file does this already (is the coworker aware?), and cc to yourself clutters you’re inbox with stuff you sent but if it works for her, who cares?

            If I were in a joking mood with her, I’d ask to be cc’d on things she sends me so I have a record.

            1. valentine*

              it sure seems like a wasted effort given your “sent” file does this already (is the coworker aware?), and cc to yourself clutters you’re inbox
              It’s genius if she set a rule for self-cc’s to go to a different folder. Keeps the Inbox clean and saves her the work of trawling Sent.

        3. Cdn Acct*

          On many email systems, if you want to BCC you have to go into extra menus and such, while CC is always there. That’s what it’s like in my Outlook. If I had this system, I definitely wouldn’t bother BCC’ing, it’s several extra steps.

        4. JSPA*

          “Reply all” from a BCC looks different than “reply all” as a forward of your own sent message (or from a CC) in some / many programs. Not that anyone should care, as you’re supposed to be in the chain.

        5. Lils*

          Yeah but *who cares*? I don’t get all of this worry about whether someone else’s organizational method is inefficient. I guarantee you there are more important things to put your mental effort towards.

      3. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        FWIW in such cases I simply move the email from my Sent folder to Inbox (this is partly to do with how Outlook organises conversations).

        I agree with Alison that this is far more likely a personal organisational quirk than a comment on anyone else’s work.

      4. Angelinha*

        I don’t get this. If you cc yourself it’s going to show up in your inbox 1 second after you send it. How is that helpful? Or are you leaving it there unread until the person responds?

        1. TechWorker*

          It can sometimes help when searching for things or trying to work out what the last message on a thread was.

          I’ve never done this deliberately but probably half the emails I send are where there’s an alias I’m on cc-ed so I guess that’s the same effect.

        2. JSPA*

          Not if you filter. Some people are filter gurus, some don’t filter at all. It’s like getting bent out of shape about a horizontal pen trough vs. a vertical pen holder vs a repurposed coffee cup vs loose on the desk. Or font preferences. They all work, but people get weirdly clannish or judgmental over them.

      5. RussianInTexas*

        I do the same! I send a myriad of e-mails daily, and don’t want to dig through the sent folder, so I CC myself on anything particularly important. No one ever had a problem with that.

    2. Cambridge Comma*

      I have definitely read a time management book that recommended it, so perhaps others have read the same one.

      1. MassMatt*

        Sounds like a terrible time management book! Not surprising, there are lots of them, but I don’t see how this is a time saving device. Beyond the second it takes to add your own name on the cc line, your inbox is now say 50% larger, containing everything in your “sent” folder.

        If emails contain attachments or become long threads this will become a storage issue also.

      2. A*

        This seems like…outdated advice. Not that it doesn’t make sense for some people based on their personal preference, but I can’t imagine this holding true now as the recommended ideal approach.

        Especially as you can just set up rules for your sent emails, and flag as to do if needing followup.

    3. TheOtherJennifer*

      My old boss BCC’d himself on every.single.email. internal or external. Mostly for backup so he could refer to things that were client related but also because he was a crazy micro manager. When he left the company after 12 years I can’t imagine how many emails were in his box. I think BCC is ok if you need a record or want to file a conversation but every single one, to me, is too much.

      1. Not in US*

        I do this. But I do it because I used to be in client management and I was bad a sorting through my sent mail and filing them which in my role at the time was critical in order to easily find that I sent X file on Y date to big important client who’s now complaining they never got it. If I bcc myself it shows up in my inbox and I file it when I file my regular email. It’s been invaluable over the years – I still do it now even though I changed professions because it’s saved my bacon one too many times not too.

        1. miss_chevious*

          Yep, I do it, too. It’s easier and faster to file than going through my Sent box, because I can do one filter by subject in the Inbox and the whole correspondence for the day is there ready to be filed, instead of having to file two separate folders, and our email system clears out Sent email after a certain period of time, so filing is important.

          Key to this being more efficient, though, is that the bcc field shows up automatically whenever I draft an email — if I had to do a bunch of extra steps for each email that would drive me crazy.

        2. Vince*

          I do this too! Years ago I worked in AR for a contracting company that did mostly state funded projects. The invoices were HUGE 30+ pages of spreadsheets and pictures and payroll records and job specific forms. I bcc’d myself on every email as proof that the email went through because there were many issues with them getting “stuck” who knows where. They’d say sent on my side and weren’t received by anyone. Once I got in the habit I realized how easy it was to set rules to auto file the emails in individual job folders without digging through my sent folder. Different job now but I still bcc every email and like Alison says it works for my organizational system.

          Recently overheard two coworkers talking and one was SO offended that the other had bcc’d herself on an email they were both on. She told her she was being shady and she didn’t appreciate the secrecy (!!) That was the first time in 15 years that I remembered not everyone bccs themselves because it’s become such a habit of mine. And then today I read this!

    4. Dame Judi Brunch*

      The messages in our Sent folder are deleted after 90 days, so we’ll BCC ourselves on some emails if we want to keep a copy. We can adjust the retention rules on any folder except Sent for some reason.

      1. TheMonkey*

        Same. (though we get six months) For recurring annual things, if you don’t CC yourself, you have no template for the email you send for the exact same thing next year. Saves time down the road, rather than wasting it as it might seem at first glance.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Our system is the same way, but my co-workers & I all set up local archive. Is that not allowed on some company seevers?
        I couldnt function efficiently without my history. My industry’s projects don’t go on a 3- to 6-month development cycle, and previous project history is often critical to current projects.

    5. kittymommy*

      One of our senior attorneys does this. I have no idea why, but it’s his email so it really doesn’t affect me. He’s extremely intelligent and I assume there’s some brilliant reason to it, I just wish I knew what it was!!

      1. Anononon*

        My email system is that everything that is still unread needs to be dealt with. Generally, I’m able get my unread emails below five a day, so this is feasible. Also, if it’s something I either need to just follow up on in a couple days or I won’t be getting to in the next several days, I delay delivery the email back to me. Sometimes, when I’m emailing from my phone, I’ll cc myself so I still have the email unread, and then once I’m on my computer, I can either deal with it fully or delay delivery it then.

    6. Misquoted*

      I cc myself on many emails because I use my inbox as a to-do list (among other things). Sometimes I move things into a project folder. Going to the send folder to move the email seems inefficient to me, and I don’t see the need to use bcc instead because who cares? Why would anyone else care what’s in my inbox? I don’t understand why the OP is concerned about this at all. Eyes on your own work.

      1. kitryan*

        I copy myself regularly too, since it works for me to have all the stuff I need in my inbox for easy immediate reference and later sorting to subfolders and not to have to go to sent mail for it.
        It also keeps sent mail as a tidy list of ‘what I sent out’ without any gaps where I filed things elsewhere. I mostly use bcc so it doesn’t show to others but not exclusively, since it doesn’t seem to matter to anyone.
        Most emails I send appear in my inbox anyway, since they (due to policy) include groups I’m in, so the team is all on the same page, so working that way is already happening for most things and the cc/bcc fills in the gaps.

    7. Donkey Hotey*

      To add in to the list: For about a year and a half. my work computer had a glitch where I could not access my sent file. Any attempt to access it, the entire program would crash. Every tech in our IT couldn’t figure out the problem, so I just started cc’ing myself and filing that so I could access it.

    8. Something Clever TBD*

      I bcc myself on external emails, and important internal emails. I keep a folder for each client, and I add the bcc to the folder. Yes, I would have in the sent folder, but I send hundreds of emails a day, and have 30 or so active clients at once, and they change every 6-24 months. (I’m a lawyer). I often need to reference sent emails, for various reasons, and if I had to find in my sent, I’d go crazy. If in client folder, then I can sort that client by sender or chronologically.

    9. KL*

      If you use gmail, you can automatically have gmail keep every sent thread in the inbox! It’s a filter –

      from: me
      Do this:
      never sent to Spam

      For whatever reason, if you create a filter with these settings a copy of every email you send will stay in your inbox, no need to CC or BCC yourself.

  4. Black Horse Dancing*

    #1, a name is just not something anyone can claim as theirs. If Jane wants to call her puppy Pluto, her choice. Just stay back and make sure Jane and Sally are being professional. And if you have to say anything , I wouldn’t even mention the puppy, just talk about being civil. If new human mother gets frustrated, she simply has to let it go.

    1. TROI*

      I have a beloved child name I will never use because everyone and their mom is naming their dogs that these days.

      1. Pennyworth*

        I have a friend who recycles her dog name, so when she gets a puppy it is going to be ‘Mirabelle’ no matter if Mirabelle is the most popuar baby name of the decade and every baby girl in the office is called Mirabelle too.

        1. Syfygeek*

          A friend of my parents always had a male chocolate Lab. And every dog was named Hershey.

          1. The Rural Juror*

            We accidentally had two Bulldozers in our family. My dad had a beloved bull terrier when I was a kid named Bulldozer, aka Dozer. Many many years later, he heard about a young man going into the military that needed to rehome his bull terrier, also named Bulldozer. It seemed like fate!

        2. DataGirl*

          My grandparents always had a dog named Happy and a cat named Callie (for Calico) for decades, when one passed the next one would get the same name.

        3. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          A friend called her cat Molly, then all the female kittens Molly had got called Molly too. Mother Molly upped and left as soon as the kittens could survive without her.

        1. Tiny Soprano*

          In my very small town there are at least five dogs called Lola. I’ve started referring to them by numbers one to five.

        2. WellRed*

          Omg, I had immediately thought Chloe as it was on a friends list of dog names. Alison’s advice is perfect.

        3. Indigo a la mode*

          My immediate assumption was Sadie.

          My dog technically has a human name, Hugo, but I do think some human names are human-er than others. See my friend’s Labs, Sean and Eliza. Their oh-so-human names tickle me every time I see them.

          1. sunny-dee*

            I had cats named Sam, Elsie, and Winston and dogs named Ben, Jayne, Mal, and Harvey. I tend to like people names for pets (though I also had cats called Baby and Punkin because that’s what I called them as endearments when I was trying to come up with a name, and it just stuck).

            FWIW, I named my son Sam. I like the name.

          2. A*

            Sadie was my first thought as well! One of my team members had her first child this past year and made a big show of not sharing the name, but hyping it up – it’s so unique, it’s so cool yadayada.

            Flash forward to announcement of baby girl Sadie (happy & healthy!), and I could tell my colleague was distressed to find out that across our larger dept there are no less than a dozen people with dogs/cats named Sadie (+ one guinea pig).

            I *almost* felt bad, but at the same time…. I don’t have kids, or dogs… and even I know that’s a popular AF name. And even if it wasnt, it’s not unusual enough for warrant her surprise.

            Reminds me of alllllllll the Madison’s a while back, and evry parent being SO SHOCKED that everyone else had the same idea (so much so it inspired one half of the Ash-Mad site name).

      2. MayLou*

        Every second dog I meet seems to be called Bear at the moment. I assume there’s some celebrity dog by that name somewhere? It’s odd how names go in and out of fashion.

          1. WellRed*

            It’s also Alicia Silverstones. I feel like every other person is using the Latin or Spanish or what have version of Bear to make it “different.”

            1. LunaLena*

              I’ve seen a dog or two named Kuma, which is bear in Japanese. (also the name of a character in the video game Tekken, who also happens to be a bear)

        1. Pennyworth*

          What is it with calling a dog the name of a different animal? My dogs alawys have official names but I often have animal nicknames for them like Miss Monkey or Rabbit.

          1. Super Admin*

            I routinely call my cats ‘Bunny’ as a nickname. I don’t know why, I just can’t help it.

        1. Quoth the Raven*

          My dog’s name is Luna! I named her that before it became this popular, but in the years since I’ve met a lot of good girls who are also Lunas (I’ve met at least two Lua before, which I think is Portuguese).

          1. Courageous cat*

            FWIW I have never met a dog named Luna and I just think of Chrissy Teigen’s daughter.

      3. Dust Bunny*

        My cousin named one of his kids the same name as one of his mom’s former dogs. I cannot imagine he actually named the child after the dog, though; I assume they just both liked the name. I don’t think dog and child overlapped, though.

        1. Umm, yeah, no*

          I had a friend who named her cats after her siblings. We had some very confusing conversations until I figured that out…

          1. Frank Doyle*

            I once knew a guy with the same name as his parrot. Because parrots live as long as people, and it was his mom’s bird originally, and she named her parrot the same name as her son. Around the house they referred to them as “Henry” and “Henrybird” respectively.

          2. Anonny*

            My dad adopted a dog with the same name as me. And kept the name. Every so often I wonder why I’m being accused of public butt-licking until my brain sorts things out.

        2. Birds of a Feather*

          Two of my aunts named their daughters “after” my mom’s dog and cat. They just really liked the names lol

      4. charo*

        I think the dog owner wants to be able to say, “Achilles peed on the rug again” as a dig against the coworker. I bet that’s the joke, privately. If they ever say anything more publicly, I’d see that as rude and insulting.

    2. Amanda Sampson*

      We talk a lot about our pets and ‘Pluto’ will be coming to work regularly – there is no possibility of not never mentioning the puppy.

      1. Black Horse Dancing*

        I meant iF OP had to talk about being civil. Don’t mention Achilles/Pluto at all. Just explain what is required.

      2. charo*

        Out of ALL the names in the universe, they choose THIS ONE? Not buying it. It’s obviously supposed to be demeaning. OR they’re too unoriginal to hold a job.

        As a coworker I’d adopt a nickname for the dog, to let owner know I’m not joining their reindeer games. “Achilles” can be “killie” or “fluffball.”
        I’d ask owner how fluffball is doing, too, and if they say, “Oh you mean Achilles?” I’d say, “Oh, I hate to call your baby by X’s baby’s name” or something. “It could be misinterpreted.” Leave it at that. I love to leave a comment vague enough so that the person may be triggered to respond and reveal more than they intended. Because a bully like this is dying to say more if they get the chance. They often fill in the blanks because they get worked up. I doubt they would say it never crossed their mind. They’d probably get defensive and say, “Hey, if someone wants to name their kid something pretentious, I can name my dog the same pretentious name!”

        1. JSPA*

          That’s….an awful lot of work and mental space. Things and people and other people and car brands and shoes and deities and cousins can have the same name.

          Renaming others is always more disrespectful than having the same name (per se).

          Now, if there’s additional disrespect or jokes around the shared name, that’s a problem. But it’s the same problem it’d be, if there were no shared name.

        2. Black Horse Dancing*

          How is it demeaning? Names we think are uncommon really aren’t. Look up at the comments about Sadie. If a co worker refused to called my dog/cat/pig whatever by the name I prefer, don’t be surprised if I don’t call their child by the correct name.

          1. Paulina*

            Nobody’s making a coworker use the name at all, though. “Hey coworker, how’s the puppy?” should be fine. Though yes, inventing your own nickname for someone else’s dog (or someone else’s anything) is presumptive and rude. I get lowkey irritated when friends regularly misspell my cat’s name.

            OP can reserve the name for the one who might be expected to answer to it eventually, and for longer. Let the puppy-owner make it weird but don’t make it weird yourself.

            1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

              If I were Achilles-baby’s mother, I’d be truly peeved. OK I don’t have exclusivity rights, but still.

              A friend had a baby and called her by the name I’d chosen for my daughter (who hadn’t yet been conceived, I fell in love with the name when I was about 14). I first had to repress a “but that’s MY daughter’s name” and then, when I got pregnant with a girl, I asked her whether she would mind me giving the same name.
              (And in fact we each chose different spellings that gave slightly different pronunciations, and given that my 3yo son couldn’t pronounce the name, our daughter ended up with an abbreviated version.)

    3. Batty Twerp*

      A thought that crossed my mind is that Pluto *is* a puppy name. (I know that’s not the real name, but if we go with ‘along similar lines’)
      If the puppy owner named her dog with a not uncommon puppy name, human mummy may have set her child up for 18 years of bullying/mispronunciation by substitute teachers. LW herself said it was an unusual name.
      But that’s just my tuppenorth; LW should stick to addressing specific interpersonal issues if they extend beyond the naming of dependents.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I picked Pluto. The OP asked me to choose a stand-in name for the real one. The real one is not a dog name at all. (I see I erred in choosing Pluto!)

      2. Database Developer Dude*

        Bullying by teachers can happen even if you have an ordinary name. I don’t think the concern is founded.

        1. Bella*

          haha yeah. As someone with an unusual first name (not what I use here) I think people overrate how traumatizing it is. Yes, every substitute teacher couldn’t pronounce my name, and probably 20% of my longterm teachers couldn’t either. I still am fond of it!
          (that said it’s just an unusual name, not something like “Apple” so I can’t speak to that…)

          1. Tenebrae*

            Yep! Fellow unusual name sufferer. I used to get a kick out of having substitutes in grade school because they’d inevitably mispronounce my name and the Entire Class would sigh and correct her in unison.

            1. SD*

              A girl in my class was named Caryn (Karen) and her last name had a silent consonant on the end. The whole class waited for it every time a new teacher saw that name on the list and mangled it. Ha, ha, ha, ho, ho! Great fun was had by all…the kids anyway. I don’t think Caryn minded as she was in on the “in” joke.

              1. EH*

                When I was in elementary school, one year the class had so many subs mangle my (really unusual) name that they’d wait for the sub to mess up and then all yell the correct pronunciation like a cheer squad! It was kind of cool.

                1. Disco Janet*

                  This was probably the worst thing about being a substitute teacher! Now that I have my own classroom I introduce myself to my students and get their name as they enter the room so they say it first – not me! Haha.

            2. Honor Harrington*

              I have an unusual first name. Microsoft spellcheck changes it to “killer”. It’s made for some interesting emails and presentations when colleagues just accepted all suggested changes.

              1. Harvey 6-3.5*

                Yeah, my real name is as ordinary as can be without being John Smithson. To this day, people transpose the first part of my last name (Smith Johnson). Depending on context, I either gently correct or don’t respond (just like I did to my 8th grade teacher, who got peeved and asked why I was ignoring her. I responded, I wasn’t ignoring you, you never called on me. She said she did, and I told her she called on Smith, not John. She did better after that).

            3. Jayn*

              First day of every class I ever took I would just wait for the pause in roll call as teachers tried to figure out how to say my name. They never got it right, even the ones who should have (Though those corrected themselves easier). It was old by the time I was 15.

          2. A*

            Yup. It’s a mild frustrating at most, but really only from an efficiency standpoint. I never found it nearly as traumatic as the adults around me seemed to fear it might be.

            That being said, I did come up with a ‘slogan’ early on that greatly alleviated things – and adds a bit of humor so people don’t worry as much about getting it right. “it sounds like ‘XYZ’ without the ‘X'”

        2. Quill*

          My name is scottish & rare, but the feminine form of a relatively common male name.

          Substitute teachers were all over it all the time (my name is ALSO similar in sound to several much more common names) and to be honest? This is a substitute teacher problem 99% of the time, not a parent problem.

          Read the dang roll and accept pronunciation / nickname corrections, there is no hidden truth behind some child’s name not being their ‘real name’ that you’re going to uncover by spending a random wednesday in a classroom and hassling a kid, nor would it actually matter if you did.

          1. kt*


            I simply responded to the silence that always came as the teacher tried to process my (reasonably short) name. Since I was near the end of the alphabet and had a really diverse school, by that point the subs were always tired and were not even making guesses any more, which did cut down on the mispronunciations.

        3. Dust Bunny*

          I wasn’t bullied for my oddball first name but I am heartily sick of having it misspelled, mispronounced, and misinterpreted. And it’s not *that* hard if people would just try.

          1. Quill*

            I swear some people saw my name and became instantly illiterate. It’s short, it’s spelled phonetically, it does not contain any of the letters you’re trying to force into it.

            Then my last name… like, read past the first syllable please. All your questions will be answered eventually.

          2. paxfelis*

            I’ve been tempted periodically to change my name to the name I sometimes get called instead. My name isn’t difficult to pronounce, and is only one letter different than the more common spelling.

            Somehow, my youngest child ended up with a similar problem, enough that they’ve asked to change their name because they were so tired of the mispronunciation.

            You can either laugh or rage-cry, and therapy’s expensive.

        4. KoiFeeder*

          Yeah, I was bullied by teachers and my name had pretty much nothing to do with it. Theoretically, the easiest way to avoid that problem is homeschooling.

    4. T2*

      A name is a name. One of my friends named their dog after me on purpose. I viewed at as a great honor.

      All in all, I am with Allison on this.

      1. Amanda Sampson*

        That’s interesting. How did you find out, was there a conversation with you around it? Did they give you an opportunity to tell them if you felt uncomfortable about it?

        1. Ellen*

          This is ridiculous. No one owns a name. A person’s feelings are their own to manage. Do you really expect your colleague to change their dog’s name because a coworker feels “uncomfortable” about it?

        2. T2*

          No. No conversation at all. Found out when I went over and saw the puppies. I am not provincial about my name.

        3. Observer*

          If you are naming a kid or pet after someone, you should probably talk to that person. But just using the same name? Nope.

          1. T2*

            I don’t think it matters. like at all. I have no copyright on my name in any way.

            May be the way I was raised. In my family, in just my first cousins (about 35 people after marriages) there are 4 Davids (Maternal Grandfather’s name) and 3 Roberts (through circumstance and marriage.) We just went the David, Dave, Davey and DJ route for the David(s) and the Robert, Robbie, Bob route.

            1. Quill*

              We ended up with two Andrews, (both born into the family) but they ended up Andy and Drew, and they have no right to complain after the fact that my grandfather’s name, or some variation on it, has spread throughout three generations, though I am (so far) the only girl affected.

              On my dad’s side, every boy, whether they be human, dog, cat, has the same middle name (my paternal grandfather’s first name) except for my uncle whose middle name is Cecil, and who despises it.

            2. Lara*

              We have two Alexandras in our family, but that’s because I had no idea that husband’s cousin Aly was an Alexandra before choosing it. But, I would have chosen it even if I *had* known, so I’m not sorry.

            3. The Rural Juror*

              It was very common for a long time to have multiples of a name in a family, lots of first cousins sharing names. My grandmother and her first cousin are both Vivians, but had different nicknames all their lives. Nothing wrong with that at all!

              I was reading a historical fiction novel about a family from many many centuries ago. The mother had been married with 2 sons when her husband died in battle. The eldest son was named after his father. She remarried a man that had the same name as her first husband, and their first son was also named after his father. So this woman ended up with 2 sons named Edward and it just confused the hell out of me any time the narrator talked about either one!

              1. schnauzerfan*

                My friend has a plague of Francis Marions in her family. First generation after the revolution there was one. He and each of his 6 brothers and 4 sisters had a Francis Marion and then it totally spiraled out of control. She’s got a couple dozen in her direct line, whenever she come across one with a strange last name she just takes for granted that he belongs to one of the daughters…

              2. A*

                This… is exactly why I struggle with reading period pieces! And especially British history…. I really am fascinated by it, and I try.. but it’s really hard when EVERYONE is Edward etc.

                Heck, even with the War of Roses, I had to draw out a chart while listening to the audiobook so as to keep my Edward / Richards straight!

                1. AuroraLight37*

                  I remember a mystery novel in which the heroine complained that everyone during the WotR all had the same names. “Edward, Elizabeth, Henry. Can’t you call them Ethelbert or Francisco or something?”

                2. Paulina*

                  IDK, when there’s a major civil war going on, picking a name that’s common on both sides seems wise.

            4. Rainey*

              In my family, the name Millicent Marie has been passed down for generations. It was my grandmother’s name, had been her grandmother’s name and several cousins across several generations currently carry it, including two branches of the family that do not get along.

              While I would never name a child Millicent (Millicent Marie has a lovely cadence to it, but Millicent as a standalone is a no-go), I think it’s a great name for a cat and would be happy to continue the family tradition & keep my grandmother’s name in that way (with all due respect to my various Millicent cousins).

            5. Avasarala*

              Well I think it’s perfectly fine to use the same name as anyone else, but “name someone after someone” indicates a level of relationship between the people involved that would be pretty weird if they didn’t discuss it.

              If they just used your name, how do you even know they named the puppy after you?

          2. merp*

            Yeah, I had this happen. I had loved the name Mabel and planned to name a cat Mabel for years and then soon before I adopted my cats, a family friend had a baby she named Mabel! But since there was no intention there and there’s not much reason to get confused, it hasn’t been a thing at all.

        4. A*

          Uncomfortable? Why? Why must everything be a potential ‘big deal’? It’s a NAME. Unless people are living their lives with an extremely small social/professional circle, this most likely comes up often. I can only think of 1-2 names that aren’t repeated in my social groups (including across humans/pets).

          I would…. not take kindly to a friend pushing back on my pet naming (even if it was their name). Far too high maintenance, too much drama. Not my circus, not my monkeys.

          1. Ping*

            Everything is judged in context of other data.

            The naming alone is nothing. The naming in context with other incidents may mean something.

            You can’t take something out of context for judgement.

      2. SarahKay*

        I have a co-worker who named his llama (yes, a real llama) after another co-worker that he was friends with. I understand he did check first, and friend was amused and happy to agree. We have seen pictures of the llama; he is adorable.

        1. Indigo a la mode*

          I want to own a llama named Dolores one day. Hopefully that name doesn’t come back around in popularity before then!

          1. Anonny*

            Is this because of the cheat in SimCity 4, DollyLlama? (It makes all your advisors have llama heads).

        2. Jules the 3rd*

          I wouldn’t care much one way or the other about having a dog / cat named after me, but I would love to have a llama namesake.

          Just… leave my name out of the turkey pool, please. (In my family, naming turkeys is an actual issue, but I hate the turkeys a lot)

      3. Syfygeek*

        My sisters best friend had a litter of puppies and named 2 of them after my dad. One had his initials, and the other a shortened version of his name. Mom and Dad were thrilled, they loved Friend and considered her another daughter. They gave my parents the dog named with my dad’s initials.

        I adopted a dog with a people name. A couple of years later, chatting to a new coworker, turns out her oldest son and dog have the same name. Her youngest son offered to trade his brother for the dog, since dog was more fun.

        1. Quill*

          One of my college aquaintances was thrilled to meet my dog with his name, but I’d certainly met the dog first!

        2. Indigo a la mode*

          My best friend’s work best friend (who used to work in my office) has the same name as my dog. Whenever one of us mentions Hugo, we have to take a sec and reset to which Hugo we’re speaking about. Otherwise, “Ugh, you’ll never guess what Hugo chewed up THIS time” comes across very strangely.

      4. A New CV*

        A friend’s daughter wanted to name their kitten after me, and the Mom was against it on my behalf until I said I loved the idea. I think it’s adorable. I get why it could be awkward if they did it without telling me or if we weren’t tight though.

        1. Another freelancer*

          I think that’s the sticking point. I don’t get along with a certain family member. If she named her dog after me, it would be difficult to see it as anything other than an insult. If a random cousin I haven’t seen in 10+ years named their dog after me, though, I don’t think I would even think about it twice.

          1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

            I chose my daughter’s name when I was still at school, then a colleague chose that name for her baby. When I had my daughter, I asked her if it would be OK to name my daughter like that. I explained the whole story of how I had fallen in love with the name of a character in a novel; and had wanted to change my own name to that. My father told me that I should keep it for the day I had a daughter and so I did.

      5. anonaccountant*

        I had a similar experience- a coworker named a chicken after me. (This was 10 years ago working at a restaurant when I was in college.) He told me after the chicken was named, and the way he described it made it seem like it was supposed to be a good thing. I found it mildly creepy, because I wasn’t close with this guy and I was his manager (I was 19, he was older and resented a younger female manager, we didn’t mesh well personality-wise, I got a crush-y vibe from him which exacerbated the awkwardness), but I also got a kick out of it because I love chickens, so I shrugged it off at the time. TBH, I had kinda forgotten about it until now. It was weird, though, because I wouldn’t have ever found out he had named a chicken with my name if he hadn’t told me specifically- we weren’t chatty where it may have come up organically. It feels a little… ickier, I guess, now that I type it out. It didn’t feel that icky when I was 19.

        1. T2*

          I was once working on a short term job that required 2 admins to keep up with me. It was really really fast paced. One of the admins named her hamster after me because his activities in the wheel reminded her of me.

          I found that hilarious.

      6. LunaLena*

        Nothing wrong with being named after a dog. After all, Indiana Jones was named after a dog too!

      7. ...*

        One of my friends just named a chicken after another friend and she loves it. I was a little sad I didn’t get a chicken named after me!

    5. Vina*

      Also, we have no idea the coworker named the dog after the kid. If and until she said “I named my dog after her kid” all we have is speculation. Other possibilities:

      (1) Both the kid and the dog are named after someone/something else. Very few rare names are as rare as we think.

      I had a cat named something very, very rare about a decade ago. Since then I’ve met two boys with that name. I looked it up, in the past 200 years in the USA, less than 50,000 have had this name. There was a huge spike in 2015 for some reason. So, the cat’s name was rare, but not unheard of.

      Unless you invent the name, you can’t really claim it as “yours.” Even then, once the name is out there, it’s fair game for others.

      (2) The kid could be named after the dog. How? It could be that the dog owner mentioned liking the name/brought the name up and the woman with the kid heard it. She may have not even recognized that as the source.

      I had this happen with friends. Sam mentioned she like the name “Aster” for a daughter. A few years later, Jane, who was a friend of a friend used it. We think Jane overheard Sam say it, but had forgotten.

      Finally, don’t assume this was done for ill intent unless you have absolute proof. We often assume maliciousness when there are alternative explanations.

      I agree with Allison, focus on the behavior of the two and whether it is civil and professional both ways. Both ways.

      We can’t police intent, particularly when it’s unclear.

      1. Vina*

        PS: As a general rule, I’m happier when I don’t assume maliciousness when incompetency and coincidence are valid explanations. I don’t assume maliciousness unless there’s some proof of it other than my own bias.

        I think LW could very easily stray into BEC territory here. That is, she can get into the B eating crackers mindset and filter all the actions of this coworker through that. Instead of focusing on that, she needs to step back and say “is this really harmful?” “Is it work-related/impacts work?” “What steps can I take?”

        Here, there’s no harm. It’s not a work matter. There’s nothing LW can do about the name.

        I do think, however, that it’s’ time for these two women to address their issues. Why? It’s effecting their coworkers. That’s enough. Focus on that, not the doggie drama.

        1. Environmental Compliance*

          “PS: As a general rule, I’m happier when I don’t assume maliciousness when incompetency and coincidence are valid explanations. I don’t assume maliciousness unless there’s some proof of it other than my own bias.”


          Never ascribe something to malice when it would just as easily be ineptitude or ignorance. Makes life a heck of a lot easier to get through.

      2. Laney Boggs*

        Both fake names Allison gave were mythological in origin – if that’s the puppy/baby convention it isn’t that out of the ordinary. A lot of people name their pets after mythological figures, and there’s been a small resurgence in giving those names to human kids.

        I always wanted a Great Dane named Thor; I’m not going to get a Dane and not name him that because a coworker named their baby the same. (Tho I may not announce it)

        1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

          I mean, I know a child named Thor. It is a *great* name, though initially startling where I live.

          1. KaciHall*

            My friends named their baby Theodore and usually call him Thor. He’s an adorable baby who has a lot of growing into his name, though!

            1. Environmental Compliance*

              Well, that’s adorable. That’s a new favorite name/nickname combo!

        2. Regan*

          This is my first time commenting here, but I had the same thought. I think there has also been an upswing over the past couple of decades in characters being named after mythological or classic figures with unusual names. Just look at Hermione Granger! Antigone, Juno, Hera, and Persephone all come to mind as names I’m suddenly hearing a lot in movies and fictional podcasts lately. I’d try to assume the about the coworker.

          If it’s necessary to intervene, I think it might be safe to start a friendly but private convo with the puppy owner and ask for pictures and updates, then casually ask how they picked the name. Most likely they got it from a book or movie or something. Maybe they heard about the baby’s name and thought it was cool but then forgot where they’d heard it. Most likely they’ll be embarrassed to realize they accidentally used the same name as the coworker. They might even be able to reach out to the new parent and clear the air, ideally while praising their great taste in names!

          1. Amanda Sampson*

            I think that’s what I found to be unusual behaviour – that the puppy owner went on the defence instead of being at all embarrassed or even acknowledge that it was just a bit weird.  (LW)

          1. Laney Boggs*

            My subsequent plan was to also get a cat and call him Loki :) however my current kitty naming conventions are naval officers (Captain and Admiral) so I couldnt break that now!

        3. Indigo a la mode*

          I always wanted a Great Dane named Jupiter! Truly a dog worthy of mythological names.

        4. fogharty*

          I adopted a senior dog named “Thor” but I had always wanted to name a dog “Murphy” after my parents’ first dog, so he became “Thor-Murphy” or “Murphy” for short.

          (I also renamed him because when people asked his name and I’d say “He’s Thor” they’d always say “What’s he tho thor about?” and laugh as if they were the first people in the world to come up with that “joke”.)

        5. Accidental Itenerate Teacher*

          This amuses me as I am currently curled up with my (one-eyed) dog named Odin and I do know a child named Tor.
          They have met. It was adorable.

      3. AnotherAlison*

        Our cat’s name is Tom Hanks. The real Tom Hanks has never taken offense to this. : )

        1. Wing Leader*

          I’m pretty sure he would think it’s funny anyway. ; Luckily, I name all of my pets after fictional characters. I’ve had Gwen Stacy, Audrey Hepburn, Dawn Summers, etc.

          Oops, I did have one named after a real person. I had a cat named Lucy Lawless. ;)

          1. Wing Leader*

            And I just realized Audrey Hepburn is a real person. Gah, quarantine brain. I guess I should say I name my pets after fictional characters or celebrities. :)

      4. Dust Bunny*

        My first thought was that both child and dog are named for someone else. I have a foster kitten right now. We named him Galen for the mineral galena (he’s dark gray), since our pets usually get mineral names. But apparently there is a Star Wars character or something that has Galen in his name? And I work for a medical school library, so it could also be that Galen. So if a coworker of mine named their kid Galen it wouldn’t really seem like that big a stretch without one having anything to do with the other.

      5. BluntBunny*

        I have to disagree with this. My name is unusual and in all countries and cultures. I am the first person anyone will encounter with this name and they never know how to spell it. Though the roots look slightly French think Pharrell or Beyoncé when looking up the origin nothing comes back. So if a coworker named their dog with the same name e.g. Beyoncé/Solange/ and we didn’t have a good relationship then I know she would be calling me a B****. I know that some people see their pets as children but I wouldn’t be flattered also because it is a dog which people also use on its own as an insult like cow, chicken, pig, snake.
        Picture if Donald Trump got a dog and named it Barack. It would seem as petty and offensive. It would be viewed differently than if Biden did that.

        1. lazy intellectual*

          Cultural context matters a lot. Dogs are doted on in the US but are seen as disgusting or less than in others. So the implicating of naming a dog after a person is different. AAM commenters are being myopic as usual.

          1. BluntBunny*

            I wouldn’t say dogs are looked down on in any culture. Calling someone a chicken wouldn’t mean that you didn’t respect chickens. Describing a man as a dog would imply they were sleeping around for example.

          2. biobotb*

            But if the coworker came from a culture that considers dogs disgusting, why would she have one as a pet?

        2. Butterfly Counter*

          I think I really disagree with this for one main reason: A new pet is usually going to be very loved within the family. I cannot imagine, for example, getting a new puppy and using a name I associate with someone I don’t like. This animal will likely be with a family for over a decade and having such a bad association for a name that whatever “dig” at the coworker would not balance out. Now, if this person is well known to hate dogs and named the puppy after the coworker’s child, that would be different.

          To play it out, if DT did get a dog and named it Barack and he ended up loving Barack, that would probably complicate his feelings toward BO. Basically, it would make more sense for DT to name one of the Thanksgiving Turkeys after BO than to name a pet that I assume will be beloved by at least part of his family.

          1. tangerineRose*

            “I cannot imagine, for example, getting a new puppy and using a name I associate with someone I don’t like. ” This!

          2. BluntBunny*

            It would be weird because possibly long after they left the company they would still have a pet named after a coworker. But people can be this petty. There is a zoo where you can name a cricket after your ex.
            I don’t think a dog would take well to DT unless it was the one from the omen.

            1. Butterfly Counter*


              But again, that’s the difference between a loved family member vs. a cricket at a zoo that will presumably die soon.

              I know some people can be that petty, but from what is said in the original post and what the OP has said in the comments, it doesn’t seem like that’s the case.

      6. JSPA*

        Years ago, I mentioned I had a favorite name, but no intention to procreate; the pregnant coworker I mentioned it to said it several times under her breath, then louder….A day or so later, asked to speak to me, and was bizarrely hesitant asking for permission to use it for her baby. She assured me I could still use it for “a dog or cat or horse or something, or a kid if you change your mind.”

        I’d never encountered the “dibs on a name” mindset, and put it down to the fact that she came from a much smaller place than I did, so I supposed she wasn’t used to there being multiple Jeffs, Jen(niffer)s, Jasons, Jackies, Julies, Jo(h)ns in every grade at school (and that’s just the J’s).

        I of course said it was a lovely name, and she should go ahead–which she did. But if she hadn’t asked “permission,” and if we’d both had kids the same year, and both given them the same name, the world still would not have tilted on its axis.

    6. pleaset AKA cheap rolls*

      Choosing a name literally because another person has it/uses it means you are engaging with them. This is not the same as hearing a name and liking it. If the situation is really the first thing – done *because* of the other party – that’s wrong. It’s had to know if that is the case though, but if if it is, it should be called out if possible.

      1. Batgirl*

        Yeah, there are lines. I’ve never understood people getting upset at someone wearing the same outfit – like names, you don’t own the design – but I would feel very differently about someone deliberately copying my exact outfit. There’s something off about that. However exact copying is also hilarious, so I’d focus on that.

      2. Roscoe*

        But its still their right to name their dog whatever they like. Even if its exactly the case, I don’t know that the boss has any standing to say anything about what she named her dog. Again, she could bring up the general issue between them, but the dog name is not a work issue

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Yes, exactly. The manager cannot dictate what someone names their dog, and they shouldn’t even get near *suggesting* or seeming concerned. If there’s a problem between the two, deal with that. The name is not your business.

      3. MCMonkeyBean*

        It seems unlikely to me that it was specifically intended a slight. I mean… this is their dog! Part of their family!
        Why would they want their dog to be an intentional reminder of someone they don’t get along with at work. I think the most likely scenario is that they just both liked the name and used it and there really isn’t anything wrong with that and it will only be a big deal if people make a big deal out of it.

        My now-husband had a dog with the same name as me when we first started dating. It mattered literally 0 amount.

        1. Star*

          Heh, did you get to be Human MonkeyBean while the dog was Dog MonkeyBean or OG Monkey Bean?

        2. LunaLena*

          I dunno, I have actually heard of people naming their dog after someone they don’t like – especially if that person is in a position of power over them – because they get a kick out of having power over the name and they can say mean things about it with impunity. Like “Gotta take Mr. Burns out before he craps in the house again! He’s such a bad dog, can’t do anything with him!”

      4. Keymaster of Gozer*

        The issue is, there’s literally no way of finding out if this was a deliberate’slight’ or an oversight, or even an unlikely coincidence. Without mind reading technology it’s not solve able.

        I’d personally not bring up the name thing at all again, but definitely look into shutting down the hostility between team members overall.

        1. Ms. Ann Thropy*

          No, but announcing it on an office Zoom was a deliberate choice, which dog owner likely knew would rankle the coworker.

          1. Colette*

            That’s projecting. It’s normal in a lot of offices to share parts of your life, and it wouldn’t be out of line to mention that you got a new dog and what the dog’s name was.

            It’s highly likely that she gave no thought to her coworker’s child’s name or, if she knew they would be the same, no thought to the fact that her coworker or others might think it strange.

            I have many friends named Jennifer, yet I don’t think about the fact that they have the same name until I confuse someone else.

            1. Scarlet2*

              I’m pretty amazed that so many commenters keep insisting the coworker had nefarious intentions when the LW made several comments that nobody in the office thought it was intentional…

              1. Not All*

                I have actually gone looking for the LW in the comments because I’m curious and can’t find them. Whatever name they’re using or wherever the comments are they are DEFINITELY not so obvious people are being oblivious for ignoring them. (Note, I think the whole thing is silly and one of my dogs is actually named after a guildmate’s randomly generated toon name in on online mmorpg just because I think it sounds cool)

                1. A*

                  “one of my dogs is actually named after a guildmate’s randomly generated toon name in on online mmorpg just because I think it sounds cool”

                  Yessss!!! My late Mr. PoppleWilly (cat) was named after an old guildmate from an MMO I played back in the day – the name always made me giggle, so… why not?!

          2. A*

            Interesting take, not at all where my mind was at. I didn’t see anything in the letter to indicate this was an unexpected announcement that dog-owner made unprompted. My guess is there was a conversation where new dog was brought up, and the next extremely natural and extremely common question was asked – what is it’s name?

            I can’t imagine getting irked by every little thing like this, it truly seems exhausting. As someone upthread wisely said, you’ll be happier if you don’t assume malicious intent where it is not proven.

      5. Chinook*

        I disagree. Sometimes your brain does things unconsciously. I ended up accidentally giving my new orange cat the exact same name as a good friend’s orange cat whom I saw weekly. I literally didn’t make the connection that it was the same name until a few weeks later when friend pointed it out. I just thought it fit my at and he responded to it. There was no conscious decision to “steal” the name.

    7. PhyllisB*

      My oldest daughter has an unusual first name. She was talking to a teller at the bank one day, and she said, “Oh, I love your name!! Do you mind if I name my next dog after you?” She was dumbfounded, but she gave permission.

    8. kittymommy*

      I have a very unusual name (and quasi-ethnic, though I am not of these particular ethnicities) and a co-worker named her dog it. She said she really liked the name and thought it was quite pretty, which is a very common response I get. I don’t think I even thought twice about it.

    9. M2*

      I disagree. Based on the LW statement it seems the two don’t have the best relationship and it looks like dog owner used the name to get push the other person’s buttons. I think the manager should take a hard look at dog owners work and how they act within the team because if they are doing this for the wrong reasons they probably have questionable judgement in other areas of their work.

      1. Observer*

        Actually, it doesn’t look like it at all. Yes, they don’t have a good relationship, but unless the OP left out a lot of context, there is nothing there to indicate that the employee named the dog to needle her coworker.

        1. Keymaster of Gozer*

          Even If it was, the manager couldn’t order someone to change their dog’s name anyway, and names of kids and pets are outside work matters. I’d certainly look into locking down whatever negative behaviour is going on at work though.

          1. Artemesia*

            Nothing can be done about the dog name which most probably was chosen to push the person’s buttons. BUT it should put the manager on alert to knock down any other signs of uncollegial behavior at work on the namer’s part.

            1. Mable*

              “most probably”

              This is an assumption though, and one that the comments made clear isn’t shared across the board. So no, it isn’t ‘most probably’. It’s a possibility, but that’s it. In fact, OP already updated saying they don’t think it’s intentional (although I’d still make this comment prior to the update because I in no way shape or form read the letter and translated it to ‘mist have been on purpose to jab the coworker’)

            2. Keymaster of Gozer*

              I don’t think we can assign nefarious motives to a stranger in this case.

            3. Black Horse Dancing*

              Who said dog namer is the “bad” one here? Parent of human infant could be an instigator/started the problems between them. (Not the puppy issue). It is, most likely, two people liking the same name. What’s the issue?

      2. Texan In Exile*

        But if I don’t like someone, why would I name my pet after her? The last thing I want with co-workers I don’t like is a reminder about them in my own home.

    10. Christmas Carol*

      My mother’s coworker approached her nervously one day. She apologized, her son had named their new hound dog “Sally” which was my mother’s name, and didn’t want my mom to be insulted. My mom just laughed, and said she was honored. To her, it meant that Rodney must have had very good feelings about her and her name and that it was actually a compliment.

      1. Pennyworth*

        I had an similar awkward conversation with a pregnant cowoker – she had wanted since childhood to have a daughter with ‘my’ name but spelled slighly differently, and she wanted to tell me she wasn’t even thinking about me when she chose it!

    11. lazy intellectual*

      This isn’t about the name, though. It seems like a form of bullying.

      1. Something Clever TBD*

        ^^ this.
        The office “mean girl” did this to me, actually. She just happened to name her dog the same thing as my newborn. Knowing her, there is zero doubt that she thought this was a super clever way to secretly make fun of me to her mean girl followers. I just rolled my eyes.
        It’s very possible the reason that people in OP‘s office think this woman did it intentionally is because they know her. Some people really are that juvenile.
        In my case, I am a good 15 years more experienced than “mean girl” and I couldn’t care less what she thinks. But, it is bullying (combined with her other behavior), and I think a manager should step in if it is affecting office culture.

        1. Budgie Buddy*

          I think it could veer into passive-aggressive territory because if the dog’s name is brought up in the office it creates an association between the baby name and the dog name. Most people would avoid naming their kids something that sounds like a pet name because that’s weird for a person, but now every time the baby is mentioned in the office, people will think of the dog too, and the mother will definitely be thinking of her son’s furry namesake if the relationship between the two coworkers is strained.

          It’s not on the level of “Haha that cool and unique baby name you picked for your kid? Sounds even better on a furry thing that wags its tail and licks its butt!” but I do see why the mother might be peeved.

    12. Artemesia*

      In 45 years in the work place I don’t recall every discussing the names of my cats or dogs with co-workers. I might talk about the ridiculous thing my kitty did in which I refer to her as ‘my cat’ not Madeleine. It is interesting that right after little Achilles is born that the co-worker is making sure everyone knows the new puppy is named Achilles. And then the LW wrote AAM — so she intuits this was done to needle the co-worker. If the person had named their new baby Achilles – well no one owns a name. The fact that she is talking about the puppy’s name suggests that the motive is to gig the new parent. I hope the parent has a sense of humor because this is the kind of move that deserves both contempt and being laughed off so as not to get the nasty needler the satisfaction she seeks. No way is it likely to be just an innocent choice of name.

      1. Colette*

        “What kind of dog?” “What’s her name?” These are really common questions to ask – I don’t see anything nefarious in the coworker mentioning the dog’s name.

      2. Wing Leader*

        I agree with Artemesia. I chat about my pets at work now and then, but I’ve never said their names and no one has ever asked. I just say “my kitty” or “my pup.” Most of my coworkers have pets, and they talk the same way, things like, “Yeah, our little dog always barks at the mailman too” or whatever. I couldn’t tell you what any of their pets names are. I don’t think this is solid proof that this woman is being intentionally cruel, but it does make it a little suspicious to me.

        1. schnauzerfan*

          I had a coworker who went on and on about Bob and Dave. I just assumed we were discussing husband or son. turns out they were hamsters. Didn’t realize that until the day she came in, very upset because the cat “Mr Whiskers” knocked b&d s cage off the shelf and tried to kill them.

          1. tangerineRose*

            Did you wonder why she was keeping her husband and dog in a cage? Or if Mr Whiskers was a supervillian type who knocked over a huge cage?

          2. biobotb*

            I once had a coworker monologue about training her dog to me–and by the end I still wasn’t sure which human name belonged to her husband and which to her dog.

        2. Sled Dog Mama*

          I have two dogs (at one time we had three) and I will use their names to differentiate between them sometimes because they are both male, but if I’m talking to a coworker about one of the dogs I usually refer to “my dog”. This led to a pretty hilarious situation when we had 3 with one co-worker who didn’t realize I was talking about 3 different dogs and the difficulty of getting them all to obedience classes each week.

        3. tangerineRose*

          When I’ve chatted with co-workers about pets, we frequently use the pets’ names.

        4. ...*

          Aw I could tell you the name and backstory of every person’s pet in my office, but we are super pet people. Although no one has ever named a pet after someone yet…..We also all get along…

      3. Star*

        I hope the parent has a sense of humor because this is the kind of move that deserves both contempt and being laughed off so as not to get the nasty needler the satisfaction she seeks.

        Yeah, this. If the puppy’s owner is trying to be insulting, the best response is as little response as possible. Besides, now the puppy’s owner is stuck with a reminder of someone they dislike every time they call the puppy — I think they’ve hurt themself worse than they could hurt the new mom coworker.

        1. LifeBeforeCorona*

          Exactly! I hate you so every day I’m going to be reminded of you when I call/talk to my dog. When people ask how the name was chosen, imagine having to say I named my dog after someone’s kid to spite them. The dog owner is looking very petty.

      4. A*

        This is clearly something that differs between work environments. I have never, across all employers and industries I’ve worked in, NOT shared my per names and vice/versa with my coworkers. Same with kids. Did you never discuss your weekends with your coworkers? Was it always super informal “me and my children went on vaca with our dog”?

        What seems like the complete and utter norm for you… would be extremely uncommon to me. This is not a situation where blanket statements apply (as they rarely do, despite being much beloved here)

        1. LavaLamp*

          Having worked with Dog People the second I mentioned I was adopting my dog, people asked for updates and photographs and what was I naming him and when would I be bringing him in for puppy snuggles.

    13. vlookup*


      My parents planned to give my sister an unusual name. While my mom was pregnant, my aunt adopted a dog and gave it the same name. That was definitely deliberate pettiness, but what can you do? My parents ended up choosing a different name.

      In a work context, I really really really don’t think the name itself is something you can police.

  5. Madame X*

    Every email I sent from my work email is CC’d to me. That’s because there’s a setting in Outlook that allows the user to organize emails into specific folders. I also mainly use it to follow up on urgent emails.
    it has nothing to do with whether or not I think the recipients are responsible enough to respond to my emails. It was actually my boss who showed me this trick. She showed me this after I was complaining that I had a hard time sometimes following up on certain emails because of the vast volume that I receive. This setting helps me to automatically sort emails into specific folders while still keeping track of urgent emails.

    1. 'Tis Me*

      Is it not possible to apply the rule or whatever it is otherwise? Is it reliant on the recipient responding using reply all?

      I’m struggling to understand how this works, but my inbox is generally best described as an unholy mess (if it’s unread it’s either new or I need to do something; I use flags and reminders; some posts get a “find again” category colour; Yammer items get put in their own folder; a few high volume lists I’m on that I don’t need to see often do too… But I don’t generally file away done items.)

      1. CynicallySweet7*

        I am also in the ‘tell me more please’ camp! I can think of 3 lists that I have to keep track of that this could eliminate… I’m so unbelievably excited!! While I can’t say my email is an unholy mess I do have a semi permant set of folder called “Triage”

        1. valentine*

          Is it not possible to apply the rule or whatever it is otherwise?
          It’s probably fastest and simplest.

      2. PollyQ*

        I’m pretty sure that most email programs allow you to apply rules to the Sent box just as you could your Inbox.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      The rule presumably contains:
      If (own email address) is in cc field, then move to X folder

      She doesn’t really need to find another way to do it though; this works for her and there’s nothing wrong with it.

      1. 'Tis Me*

        If it works for her it works for her! But I’m confused by the logic. If it’s literally every email (a) how is this an advantage over them being in the Sent box; (b) surely entering their address into the CC field every time adds up to a significant time drain (if it takes 3 seconds each time but you do it 100 times a day, that’s 5 minutes each day, or 25 mins a week or somewhere in the region of 4 days a year); and (c) if everybody did it, would result in a substantially increased storage and mail server load?

        I would have thought that taking slightly longer to set up more nuanced rules based on aspects naturally present in the emails (e.g. If it’s to/from Anne, move it to Project X folder unless it contains keywords Project Y, lemons or lemurs in which case move it to Consultant Projects folder) would allow for more meaningful autosorts and be considerably faster overall.

        I don’t get what I’m missing here and would like to :-)

        1. EnfysNest*

          I can see there being an advantage to keeping everything in the inbox instead of trying to switch back and forth between Inbox and Sent Items. It could make it easier to sort everything at once, easier to see a timeline of communication for specific topics, etc.

          Plus, at least on my computer, Outlook doesn’t transfer the sorting display between Inbox and Sent Items, so if I’ve just switched my Inbox to sort by category, but then jump over to Sent Items to see something I sent out, then it’s still organized by date there and I have to change it to sort by category and scroll down to the right one again.

          I can also see it being helpful if you might have multiple people from your team sending out information for a certain project, so you’re not necessarily going to be positive two months later if you’re the one who forwarded something to Client B, or if your coworker did, but if it’s all in the inbox, you just sort to that project, and you’ll see all the communication in and out in once place all together.

          1. Madame X*

            That’s how I use the rule. I like to keep all email discussions (both sent and received) in the same folder so i can easily look it up at a later date.

        2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          Oh no! 5 minutes a day! People spend 5 minutes a day doing far less productive and unwork related nonsense.

          It’s truly bizarre to think 5 minutes a day saved is worth pointing out.

          1. Windchime*

            And it wouldn’t even be 5 minutes a day anyway. I have a coworker named Todd and I’ve emailed him often enough that I just type “t” in the “to” line and it fills in his address. It’s literally less than 1 second.

      2. Database Developer Dude*

        Sorry, Alison, you missed the mark on this one. There is something wrong with doing this.

        People can save emails in folders that are stored in a file on their hard drive, or their own allocated network storage. Because of space limitations and quotas, inboxes can only grow so much, depending on the network and the policy in place. Courtesy-copying yourself puts emails in your inbox, and causes it to grow faster than it would otherwise.

        When it grows beyond a certain size, then you won’t be allowed to send or receive emails anymore. That’s a problem. A problem that will be blamed on IT.

        Don’t do this. Run your rules on a daily basis on your Sent folder if you need copies of everything you send, and put them in other folders.

        1. Jen*

          I would think that this would depend on your organization. My IT department told me that we have essentially unlimited storage.

          1. GD375*

            Yeah, I’ve had essentially unlimited storage for several years now. I assumed that was pretty standard.

            1. Cdn Acct*

              Same – at first it was hard to understand I never needed to manually archive my emails anymore, but now I find it very freeing. I still move them to folders by time period, but that’s it.

        2. TechWorker*

          Yeah I don’t think this is universal if you have decent auto archiving set up you don’t really care about how big your inbox gets.

        3. Pescadero*

          “People can save emails in folders that are stored in a file on their hard drive, or their own allocated network storage.”

          Saving it locally likely means no backup.
          “Allocated network storage” may not exist.
          Most modern server based email systems can have things in multiple folders without making multiple copies.
          Lot of places have data retention dumps for “Sent” folders.

    3. T2*

      That reliance on folders was a hard habit to break. But when I picked my company email system, I specifically went with Google, because searching was built right into the DNA.

      I now have tags for the year, but if I need an email, well, google. Is a search company, so I just search.

      It amazes me that people hate all things Microsoft, but somehow I will pry Outlook out of their cold dead hands.

      Oh well. To each his own.

      1. PX*

        Definitely to each their own because I can almost always find what I need in Outlook but searching for things in Gmail (personal mail) never ever seems to work for me. I use their filters, I use logical keywords, I try searching filtering based on who sent it – and 9/10 times I resort to just scrolling back manually to when I vaguely remember it being sent because it tells me there is no result when I know there must be (I rarely delete things).

        1. Thankful for AAM*

          PX, I’m a librarian and consider myself to be good at searching. I can rarely find things by searching in Outlook but I can in my personal gmail. Others at my office can search and find things in Outlook with no problem.

          It is like google just “gets me.” I wish I understood why I have such a hard time in Outlook.

          1. Goliath Corp.*

            Outlook’s search function is just shockingly bad. Strangely, searching your inbox on the web browser version is slightly less bad than the desktop app. No idea why.

        2. tiasp*

          Same. A significantly more than zero amount of time, if I’m searching for a specific email from example@gmail.com, I’ll search for that address (maybe even add some keywords) and get a list of emails that doesn’t include the one I want, so I pick the one closest to when I know the one I want was received (and sometimes I’ll have to search for a related email from someone else to get the right time frame) and then scroll through all my emails on/around that date to find it. Very frustrating, especially when it was quite a while back and I have to go back multiple screens worth of 50 emails at a time to get to the right time period.

        3. MCMonkeyBean*

          I was just complaining the other day that my gmail seems to be really bad at searching for partial words. I placed an order from crossstitchworld.com and I searched for “cross,” “cross stitch,” “crossstitch,” and nothing came up until I searched for “crossstitchworld” which seems so weird to me.

        4. Yorick*

          Yeah, gmail is much worse IMO – last I tried, you can’t turn off sorting by conversation, which doesn’t always work

            1. Yorick*

              Cool. I haven’t needed to do it in several years so I didn’t know. But I remember it being impossible at first and being hugely inconvenient (often, people email me about 2 things at the same time, so I end up with two unrelated threads that are technically part of one conversation).

        5. Fabulous*

          Same. I avoid using my gmail like the plague because I can never find anything. Outlook all the way.

      2. MassMatt*

        Interesting, I find Outlook’s search is better than Gmail’s, with the latter I always seem to get tons of hits that require that I search the search results. It happens with Outlook too but not as much.

        But regardless, many people will not let go of Outlook because their company uses and requires it and employees cannot select their own email addresses, servers, or systems.

    4. JxB1000*

      I get a high volume of email, which needs to filed by project. (My correspondence has many repetitive, similar keywords between projects making SEARCH inefficient in my case.) We also have the concern of inbox deletions after 30 days. My solution is a “to be filed” folder under ARCHIVE. All IN-BOX and SENT messages are moved there. Then I have a complete record. From there, rules are applied or messages are manually filed. If you are an Outlook user, be sure to check out the CLEAN UP FOLDER command. It’s extremely helpful.

  6. Ravenclawshorts*

    #5. This has happened to me as well. I was able to have HR back date my start date to when I started with the temp agency. Not sure if it would be worth doing it if you are leaving but it is worth it if there is a chance you will stay. This helped me loads because I was able to get the increase in PTO after the 5 year mark when I was there for 5 years. If I hadn’t done it I would have had to wait 2 extra years to get the bump.

    1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      A similar negotiation got me into a (defined benefit) pension scheme before it closed to new members.

      It can make the entry somewhat cluttered (in my case it was across two sites and several job titles) but the clarity is important.

      I think temp-to-perm can be a selling point if it looks like “I was so good in this temporary role that they made it permanent”.

    2. Junior Assistant Peon*

      As someone who’s been on the hiring side, no one cares which temp agency you were technically an employee of when you worked at Company A. I don’t understand why people clutter up their resumes with this.

      1. Mid*

        Because if HR has your start date as 2017, and you list your start date as 2015, it’s going to look dishonest without further explanation or investigation. People want to make sure there is no doubt in their resume about their honesty.

  7. Heidi*

    It seems a weird decision to name your dog after the kid of someone you don’t get along with. I wouldn’t even know how to broach the subject. (“Did you intentionally name your dog Pluto to antagonize Jane?”) I’d probably avoid all mention of the puppy in the future. Whatever the motivation, there’s no reason to give it any further attention.

    1. valentine*

      there’s no reason to give it any further attention.
      It’s going to come up, so OP should prepare. I suppose Echo may have forgotten the baby’s name or existence, but the announcement tells me she didn’t do this for nothing and won’t let it lie. I mean, they were all stunned. Not a single person thought it was no big deal. It’s a Thing.

    2. Ginger ale for all*

      If the employee did name the dog after the baby to annoy the other co-worker, then that employee just signalled to the rest of the office that she is a jerk and there might be additional fallout from those ripples across the office pond.

      1. LifeBeforeCorona*

        Yes, the other co-workers are seeing the dog owner as a petty malicious person and will treat them accordingly.

    3. Amanda Sampson*

      Pluto’s ‘Mom’ claims not to have realised the connection. I don’t think it was done out of any animosity at all, but instead she was bizarrely unaware of her co-workers (they sit next to each other, and follow each other on social media where most of the posts are about the baby) son’s name. For the team, I think it was the lack of reaction when she realised that she had picked the same name that astonished them.

      We regularly bring our pets into work, so it’s going to keep coming up.

      1. Casper Lives*

        Is the name a common pet name? I think you would’ve mentioned if that was the case.

        It would be an odd coincidence of both thinking of the same unusual name at the same time. I wonder if dog owner saw the name on new mother’s social media, liked it, and named her dog that later but couldn’t remember where she saw it originally.

        1. Heidi*

          That’s totally possible. I just saw an item about how J.K. Rowling didn’t realize where she got the name Severus from until she realized that it was on a sign that she passed frequently.

          I also just realized that she hasn’t gotten the puppy yet, so she may yet change her mind about naming it Pluto-Achilles.

          1. Wing Leader*

            She’s done that a few different times, actually. There’s a documentary with her on Youtube, and there’s a little part where she visits a chapel that she used to work in as a child and finds an old sign-in book. She flips through it to find her name, but then gets embarrassed when she sees an HP name that she had taken from that book and forgotten about, haha. (I don’t know which HP name, she wouldn’t say, but I’m guessing it was one of the villains since she was too embarrassed to say which name she got from a church book lol).

        2. Lissa*

          I think it’s actually possible, largely because of the number of times I have heard this exact thing, including from my own parents when it comes to my brother’s name. “Oh, we named our baby something we thought was really unique, or at least not that common – then it turned out that he/she was one of 6 in their class, it just happened to turn out to be really popular and I had no idea!”
          I think sometimes names just sort of enter the consciousness somehow, and everyone thinks it’s “their” idea first.

      2. Ask a Manager* Post author

        If you think it was lack of awareness and not an attempt to needle, then you really just need to leave it alone. She can name her dog whatever she wants, even it’s the same name as a colleague’s baby! Truly, there’s nothing that needs to be done here.

      3. Amaranth*

        That would be a bit disconcerting to me as a parent, hearing someone call my child’s name or ‘bad Pluto!’ during the work day.

        1. hbc*

          It sounds disconcerting because you don’t have to deal with it, but almost everyone puts these kinds of things into context and handles it without effort. I have a somewhat rare name that I share with a politician, so even though I grew up never hearing my name addressed to anyone but me, I can now hear it as someone else’s name without getting distracted.

          If she had named her baby Mike, she would have had to listen to a Mike get told he screwed up the presentation or the other Mike get invited for a smoke. She’ll be fine.

          1. MCMonkeyBean*

            Yeah, humans have been using names that have already been given to other humans or to pets for literally forever. This is not like a new or unusual thing to have to deal with. I have a coworker who has a kid with my name! When she talks about her there is a very brief moment of grabbing my attention because I hear my name, then I think “oh, Sarah’s just talking about her kid” and go on with my day.

            This is not a particularly unique circumstance and there is no reason to make a big deal out of it.

            1. schnauzerfan*

              My brother married a lovely woman who just happens to have my name. We cope. My Brother also has the same name as a cousin of ours. Other cousin married a woman with his same name, different spelling, but… Other two cousins, one is Brett and the other is Brent.. All 8 of us were at the same family gathering a few years back. We managed. My Dad has a brother with the same name as one of Mom’s brothers, He has a sister with the same name as one of Mom’s SIL (to be fair, big families, he had 10 siblings, Mom had 15) We cope. My niece however has gone to great lengths to pick out unique names for her kids and was indigent to find that there was another little whatsis in her boys kindergarten class.

              1. Lissa*

                This honestly used to be way less of a thing, because there used to be far fewer commonly used names, so the percentage of the population that was a top #10 name was much much higher in the past, from medieval times when everyone was Mary, Katherine, Elizabeth Anne, Jane or Eleanor. And even earlier in the 20th century too. Recently it’s become far more of a thing to not want your kid to want to be one of 5 in a class.
                You can also see this change when it comes to nicknames – if there were a whole bunch of Katherines then you’d have a Kate, Katie, Kathy etc. but it’s muuuuch more common now for people to hate nicknames and only want full names.

            2. Former Admin turned Project Manager*

              My name is a current meme to indicate entitlement and unreasonable interactions with others, and I manage to cope. My sister has pet rodents and named one with the same name my son has (not in order to name him after her nephew, but because the one she already had was named something that goes well with my son’s name).

              1. Lissa*

                I’m sorry your name is a meme! My friend has that name too and I really hope it dies out soon, it’s really worn out its welcome in my opinion . . .

          2. Chinook*

            I agree. I have an unusual first name that ended up being the same as DH’s aunt whom MIL talks to, and about, regularly. I sometimes find it jarring to hear myself talked about in the third person but quickly remember that she is talking about the other Chinook. You do get used to it because the world doesn’t revolve around only you.

        2. Butterfly Counter*

          This may be too OT, but it was a funny situation.

          I had a puppy named Owen who I took to the dog park with some regularity. One day, he was feeling amorous and I kept yelling, “Owen! Stop humping that dog!!! Owen, please stop humping!”

          After 15 minutes of this (and me intervening as needed), a woman my age came up to me and pointed to another man. She said, “So, my boyfriend’s name is also Owen, so this is getting weird…”

          1. Pennyworth*

            Most dogs would respond better to ‘NO, Owen’ rather than a word salad of human talk.

      4. T2*

        It is not bizarre to be unaware of the personal lives of coworkers. I have worked with people for years and have never made a single note of the names of spouses or kids or pets.

        Why? Well I am the kind of guy who focuses on work. And the names of people who are not relevant to my work are not really notable to me. In fact because I have a policy that I don’t discuss mine or anyone else’s personal life at work, not many people even know my wife’s name.

        If this was me who named the dog, I would find this whole conversation nonsensical and illogical.

        1. Part Cheesy*

          You may not be aware of this but that kind of attitude and behavior always comes through, and is likely affecting how others think of you and work with you. We are humans, not robots – people need to have at least a little window into their co-workers’ lives. Knowing a spouse’s name is probably the first level of this.

          1. kalli*

            You don’t actually need to know anything about someone’s personal life to work well with them, but you do need to respect their boundaries. So long as the work gets done well and on time and isn’t impacted on by home-related issues (which is an issue for a manager and not a co-worker, and doesn’t erase someone’s right to set their own boundaries and to their privacy), it’s really not my business what you do or who you do it with when not at work. People insisting otherwise can be quite disruptive and create a lot of tension!

            1. Part Cheesy*

              I’m not talking about anyone’s rights though. I’m talking about how you interact with the people you see every day and how this kind of attitude will affect you. Sure it’s your right to hold back all but work-relevant information, but try that and see how far it gets you.

              1. T2*

                I have run into people who were outright nosey before. Such people generally tire themselves out with no stimulus from me. Every once in a while we have team outings. They are nice, and I pay, but that is as far as I am willing to go. Basically, I am generally aware that my colleagues exist outside of work, but that is about it. I have other things to do when I am home, and I assume they do as well.

                I have been this way for decades. And I have not had a single instance where I have been negatively impacted by not being in the lives of my coworkers.

                And I am famously known for never eating in their presence. ( No reason, I just enjoy my own Lunch hours as me time.)

                1. Keymaster of Gozer*

                  I’d much, much rather work with you than, say, the boss who wanted to know every detail of my health issues and expected me to want to listen about his child’s upset stomach!

                  Also with you with the lunch alone thing. That’s my downtime. Being social takes too many spoons.

                2. Cat*

                  But it’s not an either/or? I know (most of) my coworker’s spouses and children’s names because they come up in conversation. I do not know or pester them about their health issues because I’m not a jerk. I don’t really get why you’d have to choose between the two.

                  Everyone is entitled to draw boundaries around their personal life. But no, most of us don’t feel that the name of our spouse or child is a highly guarded personal secret.

                3. Pennyworth*

                  I don’t remember the names of my coworkers family or pets unless I have actually met them. I know they have spouses, kids and have had new puppes and kittens from time to time, and have perfectly friendly office interactions, but that sort of information never sticks in my mind.

          2. Roscoe*

            It depends. I think I often have good relationships with my co-workers. And even then, I don’t necessarily know their kids names unless we are really close. I may know that Jan has 2 kids, but no clue what their names are. I’m bad with names anyway for people I know, so if I’ve never met these kids, I think it would be pretty crappy for people to judge me for not remembering their kids names. ITs just not something that is important to me to devote brain space to

          3. HannahS*

            I don’t agree, and I work happily with people who talk about their lives and people who don’t. I work in a super hierarchical setting where people tend to be very conscious of respecting boundaries. I don’t take it as a slight when someone doesn’t ask or care about my personal life, as long as they’re engaged in my professional life and success. It’s not my style; I’m chatty! But it doesn’t bother me, either. It just makes for a different sort of relationship.

            1. tangerineRose*

              Yeah, different people have different styles of what they want to share with co-workers, and as long as it isn’t TMI or irritating, it’s not a biggie.

          4. Keymaster of Gozer*

            I say that depends a lot on what personality you’re working with. Few people I’ve worked with have even known my husband’s name. I could probably tell you if a few coworkers had pets, but not their names.

            I’ve never worked with or for an overly sharing lot. It’s not a reflection on my performance nor theirs.

            1. Part Cheesy*

              It’s a matter of what you consider “overly”. I’ve worked with mostly people whose spouses, kids, and pets I’ve met on many occasions and hear about if not daily, then several times a week. Very hard to imagine a spouse’s name never coming up. It’s frightening.

              1. tangerineRose*

                Maybe it depends on how much you talk? I had several co-workers where I don’t think I knew their spouse’s name – they didn’t mention the spouse that much (we usually talked about work), and that was OK with me.

              2. Keymaster of Gozer*

                Why? Why is it frightening? People exist with very different social mores to each other. It doesn’t make them any better or worse at their jobs.

                I’ve worked in IT most of my career. At one firm I doubt most coworkers even knew I was married at all. We talked about Babylon 5 and SQL jokes more often than social stuff and I cannot remember even meeting relatives.

              3. Cat*

                I mean, if you’re talking about TV doesn’t it eventually come up that “oh, my husband loves that show?” Or “I liked it but my wife hated it?” It just seems weird to think that you can have regular conversations and never mention your life partner in any capacity unless you’re trying not to.

                1. Keymaster of Gozer*

                  Nahh, not really. My work life and personal life are kept very separate.

                1. Cat*

                  KoiFeeder, whether or not you mention your spouse over the course of having regular conversations with your coworkers is not really related to whether you’re allistic, and I know the names of my autistic coworkers’ spouses and kids at the same rate as I do my allistic coworker’s spouses and kids.

                2. KoiFeeder*

                  …I, ah, tend to just use allistic as a descriptor when I cannot understand someone’s behavior/social expectations. I think it started out as me being annoyed with people using “autistic” as an adjective that wasn’t describing an autistic human, but it’s become habit at this point.

                  I probably should make an effort to not do that.

          5. MCMonkeyBean*

            I’m friendly with people at work but pretty terrible with names in general and I definitely do not retain the names of most coworkers’ spouses or children. I also don’t generally expect them to retain that information about me so when I talk about my family I usually don’t even use names that much and more refer to “my husband” and “my cat.”


            1. Part Cheesy*

              Well there’s a difference between Person A hearing a name and not remembering it (which certainly happens) and Person B never speaking the name of their spouse. I honestly can’t understand the motivation for the latter.

              1. Bumblebee*

                I never use my husband’s name at work. There’s no reason to. None of my coworkers have met my husband and they likely never will, so it’s easier to just say “my husband” vs Fergus. I’d be rather disconcerted if my coworker either insisted on knowing what his name is or even remembering it if I ever happened to share it.

          6. T2*

            Part Cheesy.

            I both know and do not care what others think of me at work personally. They are my work colleagues. Not my friends. I have learned decades ago the difference.

            I am pleasant, but I do not care to ever mix my personal life and work life. When I am working, I am about the job entirely. And when I am home, I am never ever about the job, and I partially own the business now.

            I also take care to greatly respect the personal lives and time of others. If I wasted someone’s time with some discussion that was not work related, it is not respectful of their time. After all, for most of them, I am paying them to be here.

              1. Not So NewReader*

                Yeah. I have a hard time in places like that. I just can’t work that way.

          7. Wing Leader*

            I don’t agree. I think you can be perfectly warm and polite to your coworkers without needing to know the details of their personal lives. If they offer that information freely, that’s fine. But I definitely wouldn’t ask.

            1. T2*

              You also have to account for the fact that by doing this, you avoid a large percentage of the problems we read on this website.

              1. Part Cheesy*

                Not treating your co-workers like human beings is going to create many more problems.

                1. Keymaster of Gozer*

                  Not sure if you’ve read a lot of Alison’s archives here, but there’s quite a few letters from/about people who prefer to keep personal and work lives separate, or are more private than some others. It doesn’t mean they’re not treating coworkers like human beings.

                  Then again, I’d recommend reading the archives here to anyone!

                2. Bumblebee*

                  It is possible to treat coworkers like human beings without knowing every single detail of their lives.

              2. Not So NewReader*

                So if I know my coworker’s SO’s name then I am going to have problems with that coworker? That’s a pretty narrow boundary line to draw. I don’t think that is what you were driving at.

                Alison, I’d love for you to chime in here about your own personal experiences. Did you or do you now, have some familiarity with cohort’s family members names?

            2. Part Cheesy*

              Do you consider knowing the name of your co-worker’s spouse a detail that you don’t need to know, though? Even if you’ve worked with that co-worker for years, or decades? At some point it becomes a power play to hold back that most common information.

              1. UKDancer*

                I think it’s more that some people are private, sometimes it doesn’t come up and sometimes it does. I don’t think I’d ever ask someone what their spouse is called, and some people don’t mention it.

                In my current team I know that Mike is married to Joe (largely because Joe works in another part of the company and I met him before I met Mike). I know that Sue has a male partner but she’s never mentioned his name (or if she has I’ve forgotten) or whether they’re married or just together. I know that Debbie is married to Ahmed with 2 children because she’s mentioned him and them by name and has pictures up.

                None of it is relevant to my ability to work with them and retain pleasantly professional relationships. Some people talk about themselves more than others. Some people don’t like sharing personal information. As long as people are pleasant and do a good job, why would I care if I know the name of any spousal units?

                1. Keymaster of Gozer*

                  UKDancer makes a valuable point!

                  I’ve generally never shared details of my home life because I don’t want to be judged for it. It’s a personal choice for me, not right or wrong for others. I’ve spent so long in very male dominated fields that I’m wary of anything in my private life being used to put me down. Which, sadly, still occurs in some places I’ve worked.

                2. Cat*

                  So Keymaster of Gozer, that extra information is helpful but note that it’s not about normal human relationships- it’s because you’re in an unfair and disfunctional environment and are forced to keep stuff secret. That is kind of a different situation than saying “why would it ever come up that I am married?”

                3. Not So NewReader*

                  It could just be coincidence for me, but the people who kept all to themselves were the employees who had the hardest time. That’s what I have seen. Granted, people have a right not to share anything if they don’t want to, but the ones who did not share even benign tidbits of information were the ones who everyone just left alone.
                  Really not a choice. If a person is upset because someone took a passing interest, then the next thing that happens is people don’t take a passing interest. The person has indicated they don’t wish to share. The next thing I have seen happen is, “Oh no one here likes me, they don’t talk with me.” They are doing what they were asked to do.

                4. Keymaster of Gozer*

                  Cat, you misunderstood me a bit there but I’m not great with English writing (I’m better at SQL) so my fault.

                  Even if I hadn’t been through what I have, I’d still keep my personal life and work life very separate. To me, they are completely separate things, unrelated. That’s just how my mind works.

              2. Wing Leader*

                No…it doesn’t. At all. In what way does not telling your spouse’s name give you power over someone else?

              3. T2*

                I am going to answer your question. Not talking about my personal life at work is not a power play. It is simply that no one needs to know my business. To work with me you just have to do your job. You don’t need to know my politics, personal life or anything. Some people might be interested in such things, and I am interested in my friends and family.

                If I was not being paid, I would not be at work. Work is in no way social hour.

                I am not unpleasant in any way. I like my coworkers. I hired most of them. But I am under no pretensions that any of them would come hang out with me if I wasn’t paying them.

                I get you don’t understand. I do. We could work fine together. If you have something to say about your life, I would hear it. And I would never ever gossip about you. Lots of people actually do talk to me about their lives because they know I won’t retain it.

                But you won’t find out anything about me, and my social media is strictly controlled. As a matter of fact, this website is as open as I prefer to be. Then again, I would never be called into HR because of some personal problem, so that balances out.

                1. Not So NewReader*

                  If you hired them, then your role is different. It’s more understandable that you avoid the Chatty Cathie stuff.

      5. Cambridge Comma*

        If she’s not a baby person she might have unfollowed human Achille’s mom the day the baby pics started, some people do.
        There’s also the possibility that the name came to mind when she was naming the dog because she had heard it recently and it was there subconsciously but she mistook it for an original thought.
        In any case, if it was intended to irritate, the way to win this is to be completely unirritated.

        1. Cambridge Comma*

          And sorry, I only just saw that Casper Lives had the same idea.

            1. Part Cheesy*

              Seems incidental since they’re meeting on Zoom all the time. I would imagine someone mentioned the baby name on at least one team call.

        2. Environmental Compliance*

          True. I won’t lie, if I have a friend/coworker that floods their page with nothing but baby pictures, I give it about a week before I quietly unfollow – I don’t unfriend, but I do shift settings so I don’t get nothing but the same baby picture over and over and over. I appreciate a handful of baby pictures appropriately sprinkled in my feed, but I’d like to see stuff from my other friends too. *shrug*

          I could see the coworker not wanting to be flooded with baby pics, or maybe it’s a sensitive subject and they didn’t want to see any baby pics (also understandable), unfollowing, and missing the naming. Or they picked names they liked, and happened to coincide. Or many, many options other than Coworker is trying to offend Coworker with picking *gasp* the same name.

      6. Vanessa*

        I don’t think that’s bizarre at all – I am on very friendly terms with my coworkers but I couldn’t tell you most of their kids names, or even if they’re boys + girls sometimes. Seems to be a big assumption that this was intentional.

        1. Part Cheesy*

          But someone just had a baby – the baby’s name was certainly discussed in online meetings, and possibly in an email announcement. There’s zero chance the dog-namer didn’t hear the name of their team member’s new baby. That’s not the same as not knowing the names of the kids of most of your co-workers.

          It’s an unusual name AND she used it for her dog. So it’s only one of two situations:

          1) she heard the baby name and used it intentionally – maybe because she liked it, maybe to annoy her teammate

          2) she heard the name – forgot it – it subconsciously came to her when naming her dog

          But #2 is a huuuuuuge stretch.

          1. CatsOnAKeyboard*

            One of my coworkers (who I really like) just had a baby a couple of weeks ago. The baby was announced, pictures were sent, I coo’ed over them because I do think babies are adorable.

            I 100% could not tell you what his name was (and I’m only 90% sure it was a boy). It’s really not that strange to not memorize the names of your coworkers kids! (I KNOW the names of three kids of coworkers right now off the top of my head … and there are about 11 more I know exist and if my coworker said the name, I’d know they were talking about their son/daughter but I’d fail a quiz if someone point blank asked me about their name.)

            Also, I do follow a couple of those coworkers on social media but since I never log on to said social media, that doesn’t really help!

            1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

              I am also like this. I can successfully remember *which* two co-workers had babies in the past year or so, but would have to search my email for birth announcements to try and find out the names for those babies. (It’s even worse with new grandchildren – I’m not sure I even remember which co-workers had new grandchildren this year, and I’m certain I have no idea whatsoever about their names.)

              It’s not that I’m not interested in their lives, it’s just that I am not particularly good with names, particularly for people I’ve only been told about but not spent time with, and the babies, for obvious reasons, aren’t actually at work particularly often for me to get to know. (I am starting to sometimes remember one of the baby names just because that baby is on so many Zoom meetings with us now. Weird side-effect of everyone working from home.)

            2. Wing Leader*

              One of my bosses has two young sons, and his wife just had a baby girl a few months ago. I remember his daughter’s name because there is a very touching story behind her name, which he shared with us, so it’s memorable. But I STILL struggle to remember his sons names, even though he talks about them all the time. This is just the kind of thing that’s really easy to forget.

              1. tangerineRose*

                Some of us just have different views on what we know/remember about co-workers. You seem to think these views are wrong.

              2. Observer*

                Yes. Because a good chunk of the world does NOT operate the way you do. You keep on insisting that “everyone” who treats their coworkers well knows things like the names of the coworekrs’ spouses and children. But it’s just not true.

                1. Cat*

                  Some of it may depend on the size of the office. I know the names of most of my co-workers’ kids but there’s only 50 people in my whole company.

          2. T2*

            Number 2 is exactly the case for me. Just read a baby announcement an hour ago, and other than the fact that a child of some sort now exists, I have already deleted any recollection of it from my memory.

            I just asked my admin to send a gift. But, seriously this kid has no impact on me in any way.

            1. UKDancer*

              Absolutely. I know several of my colleagues have children but have only a vague idea of names and ages. I know more about one colleague’s son because he had a serious illness last year. I tend to ask how the son is doing because I know my colleague worries about his health.

              If I work closely with someone and develop a friendship I’m more likely to learn more about their lives and family but otherwise it’s not something I notice much.

              Thinking about it I know more about the pets my co-workers have at the moment because they tend to intrude on Zoom meetings. Xena the cat interrupted a recent call by standing in front of the camera giving us a view of her posterior and was vocally annoyed when removed. So now we all ask about her. Xena’s person has children as well but I couldn’t tell you their names whereas the cat is unforgettable.

              1. Liz*

                I just had a complete OMG moment here because I have a cat called Xena who managed to display her bottom on a zoom chat on Friday and had to be evicted. For a minute there I assumed you had to be one of my colleagues! (I am also in the UK). But I do not have children so it can’t be me.

                Xena Cats are indeed unforgettable…

                1. UKDancer*

                  Liz, no, definitely not you. The cat in question isn’t actually called Xena, I used it because the actual name of the cat is from another 1990s TV series. I don’t want anyone from my company identifying me so I usually change any identifying details.

                  Xena is a great name for a cat and I’m glad yours is equally unforgettable.

        2. Bookworm (also a librarian)*

          At my work, dog names and kid names and spouse names just go over my head. I pay no attention as I will never meet them. I also find it very odd to follow or be followed on social media by people you work with. I keep all coworkers on LinkedIn, not Facebook or Instagram. When they retire, they ‘might’ get added on the personal ones.

          1. T2*

            YES YES YES. FB and instagram are for friends. Not work colleagues. Linkedin is for work. Only two former work colleagues have ever been promoted to my insta or FB. And in one of the causes she married my cousin. Both cases only came after they were no longer work collegues.

        3. Colette*

          I tend not to remember baby names – it’s not until the child is 2 or so that it sinks in. And that’s for family, depending on the coworker I could easily have no idea.

      7. EPLawyer*

        Leaving aside the name thing, they follow each other on social media but don’t get along? I know we don’t really want to be policing our employees time outside of work, but honestly this sounds like a way to carry any any difficulties offline OR back into the office. Like they snipe at each other on Facebook then bring that into the office relationship.

        I think that is what you need to keep an eye out for, not so much dog mamma’s obliviousness.

      8. Observer*

        I don’t think it was done out of any animosity at all, but instead she was bizarrely unaware of her co-workers (they sit next to each other, and follow each other on social media where most of the posts are about the baby) son’s name

        Then you need to leave it alone. And Mom is going to have to deal with it.

      9. Artemesia*

        If she follows the other person on social media then there is zero chance it was done unawares.

    4. Mookie*

      No one brought it up. The employee shared her puppy-related news and the LW read the ‘room’ as stunned, such was the obvious implication of the choice and its public announcement.

      Time will tell whether the puppy is mentioned again. Doubtful it’ll be the LW or anyone else on the team who does it.

      1. A*

        I disagree with your assumption that this interpretation is ‘obvious’. Stunned silence could just as easily be due to people not knowing how to respond or handle it given the overlap. We simply do not know it was an unprompted announcement, and was done with intent. Nothing you can say will change the missing context.

        And while it still doesn’t confirm (nor will it ever be), OP already updated that they have no reason to believe it was done intentionally nor do others in the office think it was.

    5. Amanda Sampson*

      I don’t think she did name it after the colleague’s kid – I think she came up with it independently, though being conscious on some level that it was the same name. I thought it was odd that, when alerted to the fact, she didn’t realise it was a bit odd and have a chat with Achilles mom (human one).

      1. Observer*

        Why on earth would she have a chat with Achille’s mom? As Alison says, no one gets dibs on a name, and LOTS of people use human names for their pets. To me that’s very odd, but this a reality and is generally considered socially acceptable. Given this reality, Mom doesn’t get a say in who else gets that name, and CW doesn’t owe anyone any apologies.

        1. Lissa*

          Also chatting with Achilles’ mom, especially if the coworkers don’t get along, could make things worse. What if the mom was like “actually I’d prefer you change the dog’s name” – and dog owner was like “uhm, nah actually I’m not doing that” … it just seems like it could easily make things worse vs. just dropping the matter entirely.

        2. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          Why would she have a chat with human baby’s mother? because they have a strained relationship, so it’s best to clear the air of any bad feeling.
          I agree that there are no dibs on names, but even so, if a person I disliked at work named her dog after my precious human baby, I would feel needled. If that person then came to me and said “Maria just asked my why I named my dog after your baby, I just wanted to let you know it wasn’t intentional, I had completely forgotten your baby was called that. So I hope you weren’t offended”, then I would probably grudgingly say “OK”. (grudgingly because I do harbour grudges – nobody’s perfect – but I do then work on letting the grudge go once the other person has attempted to make things right).

    6. Introvert girl*

      Hmm, everyone assumes that because the baby was born first, the dog owner must have copied the name. But as a furbaby-mom myself, isn’t it possible that she already had a pet name chosen and the pregnant coworker likes it so much that she named her baby that way? Thomas is almost 10 years old now, he’s a dog, but it’s also a very nice name for a boy.

      1. Vina*

        Thank you. I’ve seen this happen. Just because the baby was named first does not mean the doggie mama stole the name. Could have been the other way around.

        We have no idea.

          1. Black Horse Dancing*

            Someone could have thought of that name years ago for their puppy. Long before we got our first Irish Wolfhound pup. we had the name.

            1. Vina*

              Exactly. The dog owner could have had that name and mentioned it to the baby’s mother years ago.

              Just because the dog came second doesn’t mean the name did.

              We have no idea the sequence of naming I choices by the parties or whether or not they are related.

              The only thing we know is the kid came first. That does not, in any way, prove the doggie’s namer stole the baby’s name.

              1. Goliath Corp.*

                Also, it seems entirely possible that both moms googled “unusual baby names 2020” and just ironically chose the same name. I’m sure people thought Maddox was unique back in the early 2000s.

      2. Anonish*

        I’m planning on getting a kitten in the future and naming it ‘Smores.’ It’s doubtful that anyone would name their baby Smores but if for some reason in five to ten years that name is popular (and these days who knows what could be) I would still name my cat that.

      3. Quill*

        Also, sometimes adopted animals come with names! (less common for non rescue puppies and kittens, but I have seen photos of a cat named Fork, and my friend once had a dog called Roy – both names came with the critter!)

      4. Kyrielle*

        Also, I’m assuming from the letter that she indicated she chose the name, but maybe not. Our friends group was disturbed by our younger cat’s name nearly a decade ago now, because it was the name of another member of the group. (A member who never, ever came to our house – the groups overlap, but he was never here, he was a former coworker – my husband knew him but I did not.)

        Yeah, that was the name the cat had when we adopted him from the shelter. I didn’t dislike it, and by the time they reacted, he’d already been to our vet under that name. So I told people it was his shelter name and we kept it, and people dealt. (Admittedly, the contact is a lot more tenuous in our case, also.)

        1. UKDancer*

          It could be worse, one of my friends picked up a cat from a shelter. The previous owner had called it Pillock and my friend was not able to persuade the cat to answer to anything else. So this rather demure English lady had to stand on her doorstep calling out “Pillock” whenever she wanted the cat, much to everyone’s amusement.

          1. KoiFeeder*

            I am now reminded of the post about the shelter worker who called a kitten “Bastard” so often that that was the only name it responded to.

    7. Yorick*

      I agree with your first point – I can’t imagine naming an actual pet something that would remind me of someone or something I disliked. Even if I’d joke about naming a dog after my terrible former boss so I could tell him he’s bad and rub his nose in poop, I wouldn’t actually want to name my dog that.

      The few seconds of malicious fun she’d get out of bothering the coworker with the name would not at all be worth having to call the dog by that name forever. It’s much more likely that she picked the dog’s name for whatever reason and it’s a coincidence that it’s someone’s kid’s name.

  8. Aphrodite*

    OP #1, while it certainly is possible that the co-worker chose that name for her dog to irritate the new mother, it would mean she’d be using that name for years to come, maybe years after she left your company. Would someone want to be irritated all that time? Maybe it just suited the dog, or maybe she liked the name before the baby was born?

    It may well be she chose it deliberately to irritate–there are more than enough people who would do just that–but it might also be something else. Something worth thinking about.

    1. 'Tis Me*

      Or she may have actually named it something else and be needling by claiming to have used colleague’s baby name? That’s more believable to me than actually naming what should be a family member in a way that would wind the namer up every time they used it…

      1. Yorick*

        This is more likely than naming it out of spite, but it’s also probably not the case, unless this person is always weirdly antagonistic toward the coworker.

    2. Beatrice*

      Maybe she adopted the dog from a shelter and it came with that name? My dog shares an unusual name with a friend’s kid for that reason.

    3. ThisPersonIsTyping*

      I’m seeing lots of thinking about the “intentions” of the coworker and if she really “meant” to nag her coworker. I want to suggest moving away from that.
      Neither we nor the LW can jump inside the coworkers head and divine her reasoning. All we know is that she *did* indeed cause some stunned silence with her decisions (both of the name and of the announcement to the whole team). It would have been kinder to let the new mama coworker know beforehand, for example.
      I see two options here: LW can ASK the coworker if she realized the connection, and let her know that she could have handled the announcement more thoughtfully. Or LW can keep an eye out on whether this is part of a pattern of conflict between her two team members, and intervene if that turns out to be the case, as Alison suggests.

      1. Black Horse Dancing*

        How did Dog Mom do anything wrong here? It’s a name! We have no idea if she named pup after the infant or if she she simply heard the name and used it without even thinking of the human child. It’s also very possible Human Mom named her child after a pet she once heard about, etc. As for the announcement, since I’guessing this team shares personal news, thi would be the way she would tell about her new fur family.

        1. Vina*

          Yeah, also, what if the baby momma stole the dog’s name, not the other way around.

          We are placing blame on the dog momma without knowing anything about motivations or sequence.

          This isn’t a problem unless we all assume, without any evidence, that dog momma did this on purpose and is in the wrong and baby momma is innocent.

          If there’s a history of mutual animosity, then it’s likely both women are drama llamas.

        2. Kate R*

          Yeah, I’m not understanding the reaction of the team on this one, unless the other animosity between Dog Mom and Baby Mom has been so prevalent that they ALL think this was done to needle Baby Mom, in which case OP should have been addressing this already. People love their dogs, so it’s not really an insult if they happen to have the same name as your baby. I can see how the name being unique seems to imply this was an intentional move on Dog Mom’s side, but I also have several friends who gave their kids the same “unique” name with different spellings, so it could also just be a coincidence.

        3. Yorick*

          I know we don’t know the real name, but it sounds like it fits a dog better than a baby anyway, to be honest.

        4. A Change is Gonna Come*

          It doesn’t matter what we do or don’t know. Based on the LWs post, the stunned silence meant that something was up and the people at the meeting knew it. It needs to be addressed.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            I am not sure why New Mom just couldn’t address it herself if she wanted to.

            I think OP needs to wait to see if there are further instances of copying or one-upmanship on the part of Puppy Mom.

            Rule of three: If you see something three times then you go in on it.

            I had a boss who would probably do this to someone. The difference is Boss would also copy several other things that same person is doing. There would be no doubt, no debate. This person was definitely being closely watched and MIRRORED by the boss.
            It wouldn’t be just the kid’s name. The boss would go get the same brand/make car or paint her house the same color or buy the same sweater. The list goes on. It was a form of one-upping.
            But if you are watching out for that game, you have to have several examples before you can begin to think there is a problem. In my case, there were at least 6-8 examples PER WEEK.

            Here’s a key point. It’s not fun for these people UNLESS they tell others what they have done. “Oh I got a car just like Sue’s.” Then the next day, “I am having my house painted purple just like Sue’s.”
            This was awesome to watch. NOT.

      2. Observer*

        I think that Dog Owner did nothing wrong. The fact that people were stunned doesn’t mean that she was wrong. It means that either the group has some inappropriate ideas or that they were just surprised by the unexpectedness of the situation.

        1. A Change is Gonna Come*

          They know the two don’t get along. The fact that people were stunned means that they felt it was an improper move, for whatever reason. They were in the room. LW says there was an issue so there is one.

          And what’s with being fakebook friends with coworkers, especially those you aren’t friendly with or even worse you have animus with? I do not have a fakebook account, deleted mine years ago (life is so much more peaceful without it), but if I did I would not friend anyone I work with.

          1. Observer*

            No, the OP says it was an issue. But the reasoning they present points to a total nothing burger. Yeah, people were shocked. So?

            The OP thinks that somehow the Dog Owner should have discussed this with Mom first and having failed to do so, DO should have apologized, and not having done that, now should have a “conversation” in which they are supposed to do what? There is no reason that any of these steps are necessary and the OP presents no reason why they should be necessary.

      3. MCMonkeyBean*

        There is nothing to have handled more thoughtfully. They got a dog. They named the dog. They told coworkers “hey, I got a new dog and this is it’s name!”

        Nothing in that needs to be somehow tiptoed around. This is only weird if people make it weird.

          1. biobotb*

            The reality that the dog-owning coworker apparently doesn’t know what her coworker’s baby is named?

          2. MCMonkeyBean*

            It’s really not. This should not be seen as a sensitive situation. People do not get exclusive rights to names. I have shared my name with peers, with their children, and with their dogs. It literally never has any impact on anything other than maybe occasionally someone looks up because they think you are talking about something relevant to them, then they realize you aren’t and move on.

            The OP can set the tone here. If they act like it is a big deal then it might become one. But it shouldn’t.

    4. juliebulie*

      I once knew a dog, a bull mastiff named Courtney. Courtney’s human gave her that name because it was the name of the woman who had run off with her husband. Courtney, the dog, was beloved for many years, long after her human had ceased caring about the runaway husband.

      So yeah, some people can and do name their dogs after someone they hate.

      If my coworker gave her baby an usual name and I decided to apply the same name to my own new pet, and I thought it might make things weird with the coworker, I would maybe take the coworker aside and say “I hope you’re not offended, I just liked the name so much.” I would do this privately; we don’t need an audience.

      (If she did mind, that would be too bad. I didn’t ask if she minded. I said I hoped she didn’t. Maybe I wouldn’t say the pet’s name a lot around the coworker, though.)

  9. Mer*

    #1 I’m dying to know what the other team members think. It’s petty as hell but the kind of petty I enjoy (the kind that is ultimately inconsequential). If it reflects poorly on anyone, though, it’s the dog owner and hopefully that doesn’t affect her relationship with the other people on the team. It also reminds me of one of my favorite Samantha moments on SATC where a former friend uses a name Charlotte made up for her future daughter and Samantha sticks up for Charlotte.

    1. Casper Lives*

      I think if it effects her relationship with the team, she’s only got herself to blame. I mean it definitely sounds unusually OTT! I so want to know if there’s other drama there. I don’t want to work there but I’d watch the tv show.

      As long as everyone is professional at work, they can think the coworker with pup is not a good friend choice.

    2. Amanda Sampson*

      Sadly, we don’t meet the dizzying heights of SATC at our work, it’s more like when it happened to George in Seinfeld! We actually don’t think there was any animosity, or even pettiness. Instead, we think she didn’t make the connection, even though it’s a very rare name, I mean RARE, and it’s indicative of her general lack of awareness of her close colleagues (they sit next to each other, follow each other on social media where most of the mom’s posts are of the baby) and, when it came to light, being unable to see it was a bit weird.

      Anyway, we can’t wait to meet him, regardless. We’re even hoping we get them both in for a pic together one day soon!

      1. 'Tis Me*

        Obliviousness isn’t malicious, even if it’s a bit baffling, but if the dog owner’s disconnect from her team members causes friction that affects her ability to perform effectively, that may need addressing?

      2. Scarlet2*

        I’m a bit confused. In your letter, you said those two employees had a tenuous relationship and you feared this might might tip it over the edge, which led several commenters (myself included) to feel those two might not really be getting along and you thought it might have been intentional. But now you’re saying you’re quite sure it wasn’t intentional, so… why do you think this is a problem?

        When you say “we think”, does it mean you’re discussing this specific employee and her perceived weirdness with the rest of your team?

        1. Amanda Sampson*

          I never thought or suggested it was intentional. I just think that if you’d inadvertently done something like that, when you realised, you’d react in some way to indicate maybe it was a bit odd and needed at least a conversation. Instead she reacted by saying ‘Oh well, we’ll call him by the shorter nickname’ which again, is exactly how the little boy gets referred to.

          1. Traffic_Spiral*

            It’s really not that big a deal, and not something you need to involve yourself in.

          2. GD375*

            If your only concern is that she didn’t react the way you thought she should, you need to let it go. It sounds like you wanted her to consider changing the name, which I don’t think is reasonable. People get attached to names for lots of reasons and it’s likely she’ll have the dog longer than she’ll have to coworker.

          3. Scarlet2*

            But why would it require “at least a conversation” though? I think at most, it would elicit a “oh oops, sorry, I didn’t think about that”. What exactly are they supposed to discuss?

            I feel like that employee is expected to have a level of involvement with her colleagues that looks a bit… too personal? I don’t know. I get along well with all my colleagues and I’m close friends with some of them, but the ones I only have friendly work relationships with… I generally don’t remember their kids’ names and they don’t know anything about my life either.

            1. Batgirl*

              I think what she means is that there wasn’t even an ‘oops sorry’ moment, she just went straight to bagsying the child’s nickname as well! I agree with you that there’s nothing to be done but chuckle, however this woman is definitely a tad oblivious.

          4. Observer*

            But WHY does it need a conversation?

            That’s what I am not getting. Yes, it’s a bit oblivious not to know the name of the child of a person you follow on social media. So? I think that there is WAY too much emphasis being put on this, and it’s not a healthy thing for your team.

            1. Windchime*

              Yeah it’s just striking me as weird. A few years ago, my son got a cat and named her something, we’ll say Polly. When my sister found out, she said (somewhat apologetically), “When my son and his wife have their baby, they were planning to name it Polly.” The implication was that my son should change the name of the cat so that her kids could use the name Polly for their baby that wasn’t even conceived yet. Uh, no. There can be two beings named Polly. Nobody is going to get confused if we are talking about Polly using the litterbox, or Polly saying something cute. We will all be able to tell them apart.

          5. Qwerty*

            Do you have an underlying issue with this coworker that is causing you to fixate on this? Or is the issue that you dislike how she doesn’t remember details of your personal lives? You are using strong words like “bizarre” and “astonished” to describe one person not knowing the names of another coworker’s children for the very common scenario of two people using the same name. Imagine how this would have gone if the name had been less unique and see if you’d still feel as strongly.

            CW 1: *names their child Michael*
            CW 2: My dog is named Michael!
            CW1: My son is already named Michael
            CW2: Then I’ll call the dog Mike in the office
            CW1: No, I’ve claimed that name too
            Team: *hisses at CW2*

            1. valentine*

              Imagine how this would have gone if the name had been less unique and see if you’d still feel as strongly.
              The uniqueness is paramount.

              1. Avasarala*

                It certainly makes it weirder, but it doesn’t really impact anything OP needs to do. Sounds like everyone shrugged and moved on already.

          6. Not So NewReader*

            So I am not clear. What is it that you are looking for here? Sincere question.

      3. Yorick*

        Sometimes people connect with coworkers on social media to be polite and then unfollow them so they don’t see their posts.

        Even if she did often see posts about the baby’s name, I don’t think there’s any reason for her to have said anything. People name their pets after famous people or characters. No need to apologize to someone with a kid named Ida just because you named your dog after Ida B. Wells. It’d be the same if you named your pet Achilles after the mythological figure.

      4. A Change is Gonna Come*

        Why do you think she didn’t make the connection? Is she cognitively impaired in some way? I think that is being excessively generous and somewhat disingenuous. No way she could follow mom on fakebook and not know that baby’s name. Then being meh about the whole thing. Ugh.

        1. MCMonkeyBean*

          I’m friends with a few people from my old job on Facebook and I could not tell you the names of any of their children except for one who attended the same college as me and named both her children after dorms there.

    3. reelist1*

      Yes I kind of love this level of petty. I have a dog named Hazel (came from rescue with the name) and I have offended people with daughters/grands named Hazel, which is so weird that I find it funny. I may name every dog after top ten baby names for the rest of my life. Because I’m that petty.

      1. Dog Mom*

        We just had a new exec start at my company who shares my dog’s name, and he’s been (jokingly) informed that he’s now “Fido #2.” I think it’s hilarious and I don’t understand this LW’s fixation on a non-problem.

        1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          This is fine because the dog was there first and it’s all in joking mode.
          For OP1, the mother and dog owner have a “tenuous” relationship, so it’s a whole lot more complicated.

          1. Black Horse Dancing*

            It’s simply a name. If a new employee starts with the same name as an already established employee, we shouldn’t state ‘You need to change your name!” Employee one had a baby and named it. Employee #2 got a pup and named it. They have the same name. It’s not an issue unless someone makes it an issue.

  10. Blaise*

    Just wanted to comment that unless there is additional information we don’t know about, there’s no way to know if the employee in letter #2 is actually working additional hours. I personally have been doing most of my work between 8 pm and midnight during the quarantine, just because that’s when I’m most productive! So I’ve definitely had my fair share of late time stamps, but I also sleep in until 9 or 10 every day and take the earthly power of the day fairly leisurely.

        1. Mark Roth*

          It is really the best way to work from home. Just do what you can when the earthly power strikes you until things are done or the power of the night calls you to dinner.

    1. Mark Roth*

      I thought the same. I do the bulk of my work first thing in the morning and then do other things as they come in over the course of the day when I see something that should be done.

      Being able to respond to emails in peace while not having a torrent come in as I do is quite a refreshing change of work.

    2. Gazebo Slayer*

      I also tend to sleep in and work weird hours. Sometimes I start fairly early, take a long break or two, then work till midnight.

    3. Myrin*

      OP learned of the longer hours through the new hire’s “own admission” and the way she says that new hire “twice stayed up until the middle of the night trying to get caught up on work” reads like this was new hire’s own wording, not just conjecture on OP’s part because of some email timestamps.

      1. Yorick*

        Yes, it does sound like the new hire is at least sometimes putting in some more time than usual. But OP shouldn’t assume it’s constant based on timestamps, which it does also sound like.

        1. Mr. Peanut Butter*

          OP here! While small deviations from our work hours are permitted while we work remotely, we are supposed to keep the same general levels. I’ve actually ignored a fair amount of evidence of these long hours, giving the coworker the benefit of the doubt that she was working on a shifted or preferred schedule. But the emails I received were time stamped 3:30am, and when we spoke she confirmed she had been up to 4:30am (and that this had happened more than once). The other instances have been working until 8 or 9pm, but again, I also know she is online and working for a usual start time!

    4. BonnieVoyage*

      That’s assuming that this is a job that allows you to totally set your own hours, though, and many (I would guess most, actually) jobs don’t. My company is being a little more flexible than normal during quarantine but is still expecting everyone to be signed on by 9ish and working until 5.30ish. They might accept 9.30-6 or something but they absolutely would not accept 8-midnight. And the OP says that their colleague admits to the extra hours themselves, anyway.

    5. I don’t post often*

      I was coming here to say this. In nomarl land I work 7-3. In pandemic land I am working between 7am and 11pm. I’m not working all those hours, but I may be stopping for two hours to homeschool, go for a walk, etc.

  11. A Silver Spork*

    LW 2, I can’t tell from your letter: is your coworker’s (non)productivity affecting *your* deliverables? Are you having to rush your own work because she’s sending you stuff late, for example? If yes, that would definitely tip the needle toward telling your boss. You don’t want to have the “I had to rush my last five projects because [coworker] didn’t get her part to me on time” conversation with a boss, especially not one you describe as hot-headed and abusive.

    Once things settle down, I’d recommend looking for a new job or at least switching departments, if that’s an option. And I do suggest that you file those complaints! At the very least, document everything carefully going forward, so that you can file them later if you decide to do so.

    1. valentine*

      And I do suggest that you file those complaints!
      Yes. If nothing’s done, you may as well know now that leaving’s best. Turning down a promotion instead of trying to transfer or otherwise escape her is drastic, if it’s a job you would otherwise want, and this isn’t going to get better on its own or by her hand.

      1. Mr. Peanut Butter*

        LW here! Thanks for your suggestions!

        Luckily my workload/deliverables are not badly affected by this. I am moreso worried about my coworker’s mental health, because I know what a load of anxiety she must be carrying to work these hours in the first place, and how that lack of rest and time away from work will compound it.

        I definitely do have plans to look for a new job! I have some important benchmarks I would like to achieve at this job first, but I anticipate starting on the job hunt in the next 6 months.

        I’ve been hoping for an anticipated change in leadership (derailed by COVID, what hasn’t been?) to file the complaints, since I know through the grapevine (but very reliably) that previous complaints (even from senior management!) have gone essentially unattended. I would like to not only improve my situation but protect my teammates and future employers!

        1. A Silver Spork*

          Ah, gotcha. I don’t know that there’s much you can do for your coworker’s anxiety, unfortunately. It seems like your coaching hasn’t been enough, and it might be that this job is just a really bad fit. (Granted, with a boss like that, it’s a bad fit for most people…)

          It’s good that you have a plan. I do want to add one last thing though: put your own oxygen mask on first. Once you hit those benchmarks (or maybe even a bit before, ideally), start looking, and don’t be tempted to stay to help/protect your coworkers. If the leadership changes over, please do complain, if not, I still recommend filing those complaints for the sake of a paper trail but also get out of there. Please don’t be tempted to stay and wait it out in the hopes that you can change something (which you might not be planning to, but I’ve seen it happen a few times).

  12. CynicallySweet7*

    I’m sorry OP 4, I don’t think you meant to create another one. But I just read about her ccing herself and had a light bulb moment… I can’t believe I never thought of it – that is incredible. I have at least 3 lists that I won’t have to keep track of anymore!!!! Thank you so much!

    1. Mark Roth*

      There is a certain simplicity is reading down the list of emails in the inbox, doing what needs to be done, replying to what needs a reply, etc. etc. And then just moving to other things

      1. CynicallySweet7*

        My problem is sometimes I have to wait weeks (or sometimes months) for responses (and often they don’t respond and I have to follow up).

        It’s a 2 pronged issue 1) I often forget that I’ve sent the question if I don’t write it down somewhere or it’s not a part of a larger deadline, and 2) trying to find one email I sent a specific person during a time frame I’m unsure of is a nightmare.

        Though if ppl r going to see it as potentially passive aggressive I think bccing is the way to go!

        1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

          I have recommended this before here, but it was helpful news to some …

          If you are using Outlook, you can drag an email into the Tasks folder, which creates a new Task with all the content of the email (subject, text, priority, etc) – the original email stays where it was. I do this very often with a date a week/month in the future, to remind myself to look out for the reply or nudge them for their input or whatever.

          1. Third or Nothing!*

            I do that too! I have one currently living in my tasks as a reminder to myself to check on the status every so often.

            1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

              Do you use Recurrence?

              You can set the Task to regenerate with a due date of (chosen duration) after completion, so for example every time you check the status, you mark the Task complete and it will create a new duplicate Task for a month afterwards. This is somehow easier than manually adjusting the deadline.

          2. MCMonkeyBean*

            Yes, if it’s a question of following up I would think the task list would be better. Especially once I realized you can “task” an email by clicking the little flag, and then rename the task to whatever you want so I often specifically rename it “Followup with X person” or something. And if you need the response in a certain timeframe you can set a reminder to ping you on a set date.

            1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

              One reason I don’t do this is because the flag information is coded on the email, and our emails are potentially subject to discovery, whereas Tasks wouldn’t be. But yes, a flag works for most people.

        2. cat socks*

          I have a “Waiting for Response” folder so I don’t have to search through my Sent items to follow up.

          I also have a “Waiting to Respond” folder. Sometimes I’ll get a question in an email that requires me to contact another team before responding. Once I get the answer, I’ll respond back to the original email.

  13. Observer*

    #1 – It’s really important to keep in mind that, as Allison says no one gets dibs on a name!

    *IF* and ONLY if she chose the dog’s name to needle her coworker do you have standing to address this. And what you address is the issue of needling the coworker, NOT the name itself.

    1. T2*

      I am curious to know what you think is an appropriate recourse is if the coworker did choose the name to be annoying.

      I don’t think there is Any other choice other than to tell all involved, “suck it up. This is not an issue and we have work to do.”

      1. Corinna*

        You address the poor relationship (which will be manifesting in ways other than how she chooses to name her dog). You make it clear that they are expected to be cordial and not antagonistic, set out the expectations and ask her to commit to them, and then hold her to it. Exactly as you would with any other behavior issue in the workplace.

        The puppy name is a red herring. Don’t get distracted by it, OP. Are they able to work together when required? Is the relationship impacting on work output, team morale etc? If so, address it as you normally would. If not, there’s nothing here to address.

        1. Traffic_Spiral*

          Agreed. You could sit her down and be like “so, what’s going on between you and X?” then hear her out and try and see if you could resolve any of it. But these are adults, so unless things get really over the top you just have to let them handle their own relationships.

        2. T2*

          If I am the manager, unless there is harassment involved or it affects work product, I am struggle to see why I would care if two people like each other.

          I mean, harassment yes. Harsh words and impoliteness in the work place yes.

          But in a situation this… I am going to say trivial, I mean another word, I confess I would be rather irritated at having to spend even 5 minutes talking about this. And I would be irritated at all three. Baby mama and dog momma for this tit for tat thing and op for trying to stir the pot.

          1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

            What has the human baby’s mother done? Nothing as far as I can see…

            As a manager, I wouldn’t do anything about it but I would mentally label the dog owner as a petty stirrer of trouble.
            I think the word you’re looking for here instead of trivial is indeed “petty”? The dog owner may be jealous of the attention the mother has been getting, but there’s never any reason to be petty.

            1. Black Horse Dancing*

              We have no idea if human mother started the issues with dog owner, if human mother is a pot stirrer/drama llama or if human mother had the name first, etc. Youre giving nasty emotions/sentiments to the puppy owner without having any idea if it’s true.

      2. BonnieVoyage*

        I think the point is that it’s only appropriate to address it if it is part of a pattern of these coworkers getting along badly and antagonising each other. If that’s the case, telling them to ‘suck it up’ isn’t very constructive and a good manager would address the overall issue – not by telling them to change the dog’s name or whatever, but by laying out the expectation that they will maintain a professional relationship and not deliberately try to annoy each other. If it’s a one-off occurrence that could just be a weird coincidence then yes, of course leave it alone.

        1. Observer*

          Correct. If two people have a bad habit of needling each other, they need to stop. If one person is trying to needle another, that person needs to stop.

          You don’t need to be friends with everyone at work. You don’t need to like everyone at work. You DO need to behave with basic respect and courtesy, though. Needling someone definitely does NOT qualify.

        2. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          Given that the relationship is already strained between the two, I guess it’s not a one-off occurrence. The manager may not be aware of previous attacks (on either side).

    2. Can't Think of a Name*

      People are allowed not to get along. While it may be the logical conclusion that the work is affected, the LW does not specifically say that is the case. She only says that their relationship is tenuous. As long as both parties are able to interact professionally at work, LW should leave it alone.

      Besides, what would the end result of the conversation be? Changing the name of the dog? Prohibiting mention of the dog at work? How would any of that be even remotely enforceable? LW can admonish both parties to behave at work all that she wants, but the knowledge of the dog’s name is always going to be there.

      1. Colette*

        People actually aren’t allowed to not get along at work. They don’t have to be friends, but they need to be civil and do their jobs – and avoid deliberately needling their coworkers.

        1. Jennifer*

          +1 You are allowed to quietly dislike someone, but you have to get along for the sake of workplace harmony.

      2. Observer*

        Actually, no. People are allowed to not like each other at work. But they are NOT allowed to needle each other on a regular basis.

        If someone chooses the name of a pet to needle someone else, that’s a pretty big deal because it’s a sign that the person is really going after the other person, and that needs to stop.

        Of course, that assumes that the dog’s name was chosen to needle the new Mom. From the OP’s later additions, it sounds like that wasn’t the case. Thus, there is ZERO that the OP should do here.

        1. T2*

          Unless OP is picking sides and trying to stunt the pot. In which case she is very much the issue.

  14. Intermittent Introvert*

    #3 – I had a coworker who cc’d herself accidentally on all emails. It filled up her inbox so much that she stopped getting emails. IT wouldn’t give her more space. She was overwhelmed and couldn’t figure out how to manage it and her other work suffered. Nobody realized she was cc’ing herself on everything until a problem solving new office mate who hated the whining just said, nope. And fixed it.

  15. LemonLyman*

    #1 – OP, do you work with junior high school students? It’s weird and petty to name a dog the same name as a coworker’s new baby. It’s also petty to have a reaction that’s any more than an eye roll when a coworker names their dog the same name as your new baby. Finally, it’s petty and cliquish if any of the other coworkers get involved in this fight.

    It sounds like you’re wondering if you should get ahead of any issues. Maybe in your next 1-on-1 with the dog mom, casually ask how the puppy is and where she came up with the name. Suss out if she was serious or not and go from there.

    (It’s not relevant, but I love dogs and I’d be super flattered if someone named their dog after my kid!)

    1. Scarlet2*

      Yeah, it looks like there’s a lot of immaturity and pettiness on all sides. The issue is not the name (I mean, some people also get into full-blown fights because they decided to give the same name to their respective *children*), it’s the fighting. If it wasn’t the dog’s name, it would be something else. The problem is the attitude and that’s what the manager should deal with.

    2. WS*

      I know two young mothers who physically fought each other in the street outside my workplace because one of them had “saved” a particular unusual name for her daughter, then had a son, and the other woman “stole” the name for her own daughter born a week or two later (small town, so everyone involved knew everyone else). It was a really ugly name, too!

      (The police came, but nobody was seriously hurt and the combatants mutually decided not to press charges.)

    3. Batgirl*

      Isnt that overstating it a bit? The only reaction the dog’s name garnered was a stunned silence. Nobody’s pulling out a burn book. I would have been stumped for something to say too! Probably because I would be internally laughing at the obliviousness. They’ll get used to it in a bit, but the first time you hear that they’ve used the newborns name without even realising, it’s going to be a reaction of “ummm…did you mean to?”

  16. Pennyworth*

    If the pupply was named to somehow upset the new mother, avoid using the puppy’s name yourself. ‘How’s the puppy?’ “Oh, I always think of baby Pluto when you say Pluto.’

    I’ve often had baby name conversations and discovered that someone has chosen to name their baby the same as my childhood cat, or I admire a baby name that also belongs to a beloved dog or horse. Our old dog had the same name as visitors from time to time, no-one seemd to bother about it.

    1. fposte*

      It’s the order of things that’s the problem here. Imagine Jane and her partner welcome their first baby, after long trying, in March. Everyone cheers and coos. “Her name is Serafina!” says Jane proudly. “Ooh,” says the team. They’ve since been hearing on and off about Serafina’s firsts and occasionally seeing her on Zoom. Then in June Claire gets her pit bull puppy. “Oh, nice,” people say. “What’s her name?” “Serafina,” says Claire innocently. “Uh—the hell?” says the team, looking surreptitiously at Jane.

      Basically, everybody’s thrown, and now there’s tension every time Claire mentions the dog.

      1. Maxine*

        I’d just ask her flat out if she named the puppy after the kid. “Serafina? Like Jane’s baby? Did you name the puppy after the baby? Or is this a total coincidence?” And see what she says then.

        In all probability she just heard the name via Jane’s kid, was trying to think of a name for the puppy, remembered Serafina as a name but not why she’s heard it recently, and went with it. I don’t remember the names of my coworkers kids! I simply don’t pay much attention when they talk about their children, as I’m not at all interested. I could tell you L has two kids, or maybe three? I think they’re all quite young, but at least one is in school. And K has a little one, not at school yet so between 0-5. Names? No clue! I’d be quite capable of doing this.

        And now I want a puppy.

          1. A Change is Gonna Come*

            Yep. Don’t knw why this is so hard to do. It’s what I would do but I’m direct like that.

      2. Batgirl*

        Yup, yup yup.
        “Uh—the hell?” says the team, looking surreptitiously at Jane.”
        Exactly so. It was a hell of a clanger.

      3. Observer*

        I can see “everyone is thrown”.

        But ongoing tension? That’s bats. And to be honest, it sounds like the OP is making this into a bigger issue than it needs to be.

      4. Jennifer*

        Yeah, it’s weird. Someone below used the example of how you would feel if a coworker started copying all your outfits. Of course, they have the right to shop at the same stores that you do and wear whatever they want, but it’s a bit creepy if they matched everything exactly from head to toe.

      5. KRM*

        But, and I cannot stress this enough…why? Why is there tension?? You should all just say “oh how funny like Jane’s baby” AND THEN YOU MOVE ON LIKE IT’S NOTHING. Done and done. It’s not weird if you refuse to make it weird.

      6. Courageous cat*

        I guess everyone’s a bigger person than I am because if this were my baby, and it was a rare name, and someone else just so happened to want the same name, I would not believe there was not a connection there – it seems highly unlikely they both independently thought of that name. And I’d be lowkey pissed.

        Like, it’d be different if the name was James, but I’m envisioning someone asking in an open office “how’s Serafina doing?” and the coworker going (envisioning this in a nasal voice for some reason) “DO YOU MEAN HER BABY OR MY DOG???” and me seething.

        I tend to disagree with the advice I see dispensed elsewhere in general, though, that people can’t get dibs on a name – I feel like if it’s an unusual name, then within one’s interpersonal/social circle, yeah, the (seemingly?) respectful thing to do would be to not also name ya damn dog after it. A rare name is rare!!!

        But I also realize I’m in the minority on that, and try to operate accordingly.

    2. JustaTech*

      At one time I had a coworker who had a dog with the same name as another coworker’s daughter. The only time it was confusing was when I did not yet know about the child and so was very confused that “Jenny” had drawn such a good picture, given the only “Jenny ” I knew in that context was a dog!

      But the big differences from OP1 are: both people started that job already having the child/dog, and they were good friends.

      For the future, to keep the child and puppy straight in conversation you could go with Ann’s Achilles or Beth’s Achilles, or, if the people involved develop a sense of humor about it, “two-legged Achilles” and “four-legged Achilles”.

      It’s weird in the moment, but it will only keep being weird if they’re weird about it.

  17. Ginger ale for all*

    I think it would also be wise to ask the new mom if she minds someone else using her child’s name. You never know, she might not mind it at all or she might think imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. It may or may not be an issue.

    1. TechWorker*

      But I mean what if she says yes? The managers not exactly going to storm in and tell the puppy owner to change the puppy’s name? I think just referring to ‘your puppy’ is a good suggestion and not that weird for people to use when asking about pets!

      1. Part Cheesy*

        And how can you prove the puppy’s name was really changed anyway? For all the office would know, the dog mom could say she did and just use a new, fake name around her co-workers.

    2. Mookie*

      To me, that puts both the attention and the burden onto the newly-parented team member, like she’s the problem. Of course she can’t demand the puppy be re-named and it’s sort of silly to ask her whether she minds when she lacks any meaningful agency to do something about it if she does. The question itself could feel so insulting and condescending.

      I’d pay close attention to all interactions between these two—the only possible authority the LW has here is how she manages her team on the clock—and lead by example with “your dog.” I’d discourage any more discussion about the choice of name. It’s done; dwelling any longer on the choice keeps the subject as much alive as constantly using the name and imbues it with more power to irritate. Doggygate lingers on, where now mere mention of Puppy Who Must Not Be Named triggers communal disgust over an old slight. It sounds like, from what the LW has said above and belowthread, that this team has great affection for its First Baby, so this choice pits the dog-owner against the majority.

    3. Deanna R*

      But even if she hates it, so what? You can’t stop someone else from using a name because you picked it for your kid. And asking how she feels about it implies that her opinion should make a difference in how this is handled, which I don’t agree with.

      If the relationship is such that this is interpreted as a deliberate needling, which from OP’s comments upthread doesn’t seem to actually be true anyway, then you address the relationship issue, not the name. If it’s impacting the work, you deal with that. If there isn’t any actual impact on the workplace, just leave it alone.

    4. Vanessa*

      Agree, it would be completely normal to just say “your puppy” or “your little one”. I find most people at work do that already when talking about kids/pets/spouses since I presume most of us can’t remember the names even if we wanted to.

    5. Asenath*

      Well, the person who should have done the asking is the owner of the puppy. I once named a pet for a friend, and before I did it, I asked the friend if she would mind, saying I know some people didn’t like animals having people names. I was pretty sure she wasn’t in that category, but me saying that gave her an easy out if she wanted it. She thought it was great, an honour, to have a pet named for her, and everything was fine.

      But that didn’t happen here, and the situation is different. I can’t see a better solution than Allison’s, and I wouldn’t have thought that was needed if there hadn’t been a history between the two people which made it seem as though the puppy’s name was chosen with malice.

      1. Karia*

        You should not have to ask permission! For goodness sake. Some names are incredibly common. My colleague has a child named Oscar. I know literally dozens of dogs named Oscar, most of them golden retrievers. In reality most people are not that original and names have been used before. In reality, the idea that this is in any way malicious is close to zero.

    6. pleaset AKA cheap rolls*

      Don’t do this unless you’re ready to not use the name in question.

      Key rule of life – don’t ask questions for which you cannot handle the answer.

      1. Observer*

        Yes, but the OP doesn’t really have any choice here. Which means that the OP REALLY, REALLY cannot ask the question.

    7. Coffee Cake*

      Nope, Sorry this is terrible advice. Don’t stir the pot here when you have no recourse. You don’t ask one adult person for permission for another adult to do something that the person has every right to do like use the same name. It’s not something a boss can or should be determining or intervening on. The coworker can buy a dozen puppies and name them all after everyone in the group or their kids and there is nothing anyone can do other than roll your eyes or not eat lunch with them.

    8. Batgirl*

      No you can’t do this because she doesn’t own the name. I think the dog owner was completely away with the fairies when she chose this name, and it doesn’t speak well of her ability to pay close attention to social niceties, but she’s allowed to have such a teeny idosyncrasy, and also she’s allowed to call her dog whatever she wants.

  18. Avasarala*

    OP4: What stood out to me was this: “It really irks me, probably for no good reason other than I can’t stand inefficiency in any form and it also seems a little bit demeaning, like she doesn’t trust me to take care of things and respond (which I always do).”

    You’re taking a work habit of your coworker’s very personally and ascribing a malicious intent to it. Reminds me of Branagh’s Poirot, how he can’t stand things out of order, and is a bit of an ass (or at least causes lots of trouble for others) over it.

    If your coworker does this to everyone, then it’s not about you, is it? Is there anything else this coworker does that is explicitly demeaning or condescending to you? How is your relationship with this person?

    And what does it matter if your coworker is inefficient?
    Seriously sit with this… if your coworker kept paper copies of her emails, or keep a paper and digital calendar, or set two alarms in the morning, or whatever inefficiency she found helped her do her job–what does it matter to you?

    In my experience, things like how you organize your email inbox and your desk only matter insofar as you meet the minimum efficiency standard to get your work done. If you can do it with a messy desk and you’re great at your job, fine. If having things color-coded helps, then great. But there’s no reward for a neat inbox, as long as you don’t lose emails or forget tasks.
    So if this coworker is meeting that standard (which it’s not really your place to judge, as you’re not her manager), then why does it matter if she doesn’t organize things the way you think she should?

    1. Sara without an H*

      This. OP#4, do you dislike this coworker for some other reason? Your post savors strongly of BEC.

    2. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      Not to mention, it may SEEM inefficient to OP, but may be 100% efficient based on the way co-worker works. I use my inbox as a to do list. I don’t CC myself on all emails, but I could see how that might be beneficial so I wouldn’t have to search through my sent items or forget that so and so hasn’t gotten back to me.

      Unless someone is causing you delays in getting YOUR work done, how your co-workers choose to do their work is really none of your business OP and not worth getting worked up about.

    3. Observer*

      if your coworker kept paper copies of her emails, or keep a paper and digital calendar, or set two alarms in the morning, or whatever inefficiency she found helped her do her job–what does it matter to you?

      I have a coworker who used to print out most of their emails. It make them feels safer, as a backup. I just rolled my eyes. It wasn’t my problem.

      OP, this is not your problem.

      1. Lils*

        I CC myself all the time. It’s because it’s a method that works for me and *causes no harm to anyone else*. If I found that my coworker didn’t like it, I’d say: MYOB. Honestly, doesn’t your workplace tolerate your quirky organizational strategies? I’ve known people who had to have use multiple colors of highlighters on every document or laboriously transfer their to-do lists to phone apps or carry around an enormous binder to keep track of their projects. Who cares?

        1. Observer*

          I didn’t care. That’s why I rolled my eyes and moved on. And, I only got to that point because it was essentially my job to make sure that they were not deleting the emails they were printing. (Our servers and data retention are my business.) Since the emails were being saved on the server, the rest didn’t matter.

  19. Koala dreams*

    #1 People often decide on their favourite name(s) long before having the baby or the pet, and it’s a common occurrence that names get repeated. It would petty to avoid a name because your coworker happened to use it first. Stick to addressing any bad behaviour, and let the names be.

    1. Mookie*

      It’s a generous explanation, but it cuts both ways a bit, no? If the dog-owning team member has always dug the name, seems weird she never picked up on the new parents’s own choice, given that it was well known by the rest of the team and the physical between the two colleagues was, pre-covid, pretty close. If you’re comfortable announcing to and eager to share your Big Pup News with the team over Zoom, you must be accustomed to hearing such announcements from others, baby name being no exception.

      1. Koala dreams*

        I don’t mean it as an explanation, just that you can’t ask the puppy owner to change the name just because in this case, the puppy owner is annoying. Just as you couldn’t ask the mother to change the baby name in the hypothetical opposite case. Similar situations happen all the time with friendly people who don’t needle their co-workers.

      2. Koala dreams*

        I’m not sure what your point is about the announcement. Do you mean that it would have been better to do the announcement a different way?

        1. Mookie*

          The LW has chalked this up to a lack of social “awareness” by the puppy owner, but she’s “aware” enough of the team’s traditions regarding personal announcements and pet-related news. So it’s unlikely she missed the parent sharing the new baby’s name. Perhaps her attention span is selective; most people’s are. The baby was reportedly the subject of a great deal of casual chatter and excitement. Seems odd to have special affection for a name, learn that a colleague is going to be using it, and never speak up and say “I love that name!” or words to that effect. However spaced out we get or removed from background chatter, that bubble tends to be breached when things we’re enthusiastic about are mentioned, especially more than once.

      3. Colette*

        Maybe she did have the name picked out in advance, find out her coworker was naming her child the same name and … just went about her day? This really is not a big deal; people (and dogs) have the same names all the time.

        1. Mookie*

          She’s claimed she’d never heard about the baby’s name or made the “connection.”

    2. Batgirl*

      It’s true that today’s unusual name, silently kept close to the chest, is already destined to be tomorrow’s fashion. When my nephew was named we’d never encountered it before. Now it’s everywhere.

    3. Mockingjay*

      Exactly. My sister-in-law had a baby and gave her new daughter a name almost identical to my daughter’s. Similar to Christian and Kristin. I wasn’t too happy at first, but realized 1) the kids are on opposite coasts, and 2) baby was a “miracle” – sis-in-law had recovered from cancer but due to treatment, doctors told her she’d never conceive again. My sister-in-law told me that the name was one she had picked out long ago, but thought she would never be able to use.

      Regarding dog names, both our dogs have had female (“hoooman”) names. They weren’t named after anyone; the names simply suit them.

    4. Quill*

      Yeah, it’s apparently far less common to name the family dog the way my family did – which was that my dad wanted to name our lab runt Zeus, nobody else agreed, and I ended up saying a human name that was rare enough at the time but which caught the dog’s attention.

      Years later I’ve met several people with my dog’s name.

      My neighbors just got a husky puppy named Classified, though. (What’s the puppy’s name? It’s Classified!)

      Catch someone naming their human child that.

  20. Amaranth*

    LW4, we’re all entitled to pet peeves, but I admit I don’t care who is cc’d unless someone suddenly brings in an outside department or manager, because then I have to wonder where they fit into the project. I know people who use undeleted messages as a kind of tasker, so they can make sure they got responses to all their action items before they leave for the day, so the first thing I pictured was coworker filtering all these messages into a ‘to do’ folder so they can happily delete as items are completed.

    1. Jemima Bond*

      I knew someone at work who used *unread* messages as a tasking system. I don’t think they were technically necessarily completely unread, just marked as such, as a way to denote outstanding action, but when I had to access that inbox for a short while it nearly brought me out in a rash. I described it not as an inbox but as a portal to hell.
      BUT as for the LW, this doesn’t (now) affect me so it’s no bother. Let her do her cc-ing; whatever floats her boat. As long as it’s not passive-aggressive cc-ing the boss etc, what difference does it make?

      1. Anononon*

        Hah, that’s my system. As someone who is not naturally organized, it’s the only thing I’ve found that works for me long term.

    2. Jemima Bond*

      PS amaranth – years ago our family car was a gorgeous metallic pinky-marooon sort of colour and the official name of the paint was “amaranth red”. Your name took me right back!

  21. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

    #1: One of the folks in my husband’s gaming group and I both have five year old blonde female dependents with the same name. Hers is a human child, mine is a whippet/boxer mix. (I named mine after a literary character; I never asked her about hers.) It causes some entertaining confusion at times, but it’s not a Thing and people trying to make it a Thing would be the ones making problems. The LW updates that they don’t think it was intentional, so make like Elsa.

    1. Ashley*

      Totally agree re Elsa.
      I feel like I am totally in the minority of people who… just don’t care about this. lol I’ve never understood getting so possessive over a name. If I had a baby and someone named their pet the same, I would likely feel indifferent to happy about it. I obviously love the name if I’ve picked it for a baby and having more of that name out there (especially if it was a cute furry friend) is fine by me. (I grew up in the 90s as an Ashley, I certainly know what it’s like to be one of many in my class lol)

      1. Sleepy*

        Yeah, I think some people are overly attached to the uniqueness of a name and think that having more of it out there devalues the name.

        It’s okay to have more of name out there, and I say that as someone with one of the most common names for my age group.

      2. Queer Earthling*

        I’m with you. I was just thinking about how my great-grandmother and her sister were both named Marie*. This sort of thing was not uncommon back then. They apparently managed to sort out who was who in the same HOUSE, so I don’t think anyone’ll have trouble telling dog from kid.

        *GGMa apparently went by Marie Theresa, but it was double-barrelled, so they were still effectively both Marie

    2. Yorick*

      My dog had the same name as my coworker’s father. She and her 4 year old daughter both found it hilarious. I didn’t know her when I named the dog, but I wouldn’t have rethought the name. It’s a great dog name even though it’s a somewhat common human name in another country/language.

  22. Part Cheesy*

    For those proposing that maybe the baby/dog name being the same was a coincidence, here’s the best evidence that it wasn’t: the co-worker who announced her dog’s name didn’t say it was a coincidence.

    Just picture the scene – it’s an admittedly unusual name. She announced it in a Zoom meeting (possibly when asked, possibly after saying she adopted a new dog). She didn’t apologize. She didn’t acknowledge the co-worker’s baby having the same name. She didn’t say it was unintentional and she didn’t offer to change it if the co-worker was uncomfortable.

    These are all very strong indicators that it was done intentionally to irritate the co-worker. Because if it was just happenstance, any reasonable person would have addressed that fact.

    1. Koala dreams*

      Personally I feel it would be weird to draw attention to the name being the same. If it had been coincidence (not that this case is coincidence, but hypothetically), then I think making a short announcement without mentioning the baby would be the best. There wouldn’t be anything to apologize about, and no need to change any names.

      1. Part Cheesy*

        Sorry, I disagree. It was weird not to draw attention to it.

        The announcement was made. Patti announced on Zoom “I named my dog Topaz.” It was likely met with silence or weak congratulations. Everyone’s thinking, “Stacy just named her baby Topaz… is she going to speak up?” But she didn’t.

        New babies are a huge deal in office environments – even virtually. Patti picked the name knowing Stacy had recently named her baby Topaz. There’s no getting around this. She announced it to her team and said nothing about Stacy’s baby. It was the elephant in the room.

        1. Black Horse Dancing*

          It’s a name. Most names are no where near as rare as we think. Shrug. So both puppy and infant are Topaz. Nothing different than if someone names their kid Chris and another person’s cat is Chris.

          1. Part Cheesy*

            Chris and Topaz are essentially equal in common-ness?

            Dog and baby named the same name in rapid succession, in a team of ten, and it’s coincidence?

            You guys are really stretching the bounds of believability here. Think of Occam’s Razor.

            1. A Change is Gonna Come*

              Yes, folks love to stretch reality on here, sometime veering into downright fan fiction. I believe in Occams Razor.

            2. Black Horse Dancing*

              Occam’s razor would simply be that two people liked the same name. Period. It doesn’t matter wh named who first. It’s simply a name.

        2. Random Commenter*

          New babies are a big deal in SOME office environments.
          In many, people read the email that someone had a baby, and don’t internalize the details.
          By the time the dog’s name was mentioned, they could have very easily forgotten the baby’s name.

        3. ieAnon*

          I don’t think new babies are all that big of a deal in some office environments. Certainly, I’ve had coworkers who have had babies that I’ve never met/do not know the names of. I really can only recall one colleague’s baby name and that’s because (a) we’re friendly outside of work and (b) her baby’s nickname is the same as my best friend’s.

          And honestly, with the separation from colleagues that covid19 has created, I would probably forget the baby’s name sometimes if it wasn’t for (b).

    2. Roscoe*

      I just don’t think any of these things are necessary.

      I mean, someone can name their child or pet whatever they like. If first mom named their kid Soda, then another person realized they liked the name, they have every right to ALSO name their kid soda. No apologies are necessary. Nor do I even think its necessary to acknowledge the other persons name. You don’t get dibs on a name. Period, end of story. It seems like a very long term strategy to irritate someone to me, but even so, she has the right to do that.

      I don’t get to get mad if someone names their son Roscoe because that is my name. Nor do I have the right to get mad if someone names their kid or pet the same things as my kid.

    3. Colette*

      I disagree. Assuming it was a coincidence, she has nothing to apologize for, and there is no reason for her to change the name. She’s allowed to call her dog whatever she likes (within reason – if she called the dog “I hate coworker”, there would be an issue). There are lots of “unusual” names that are just becoming popular.

        1. Colette*

          Are you the coworker with the job? Because if not, you don’t know that (nor is there a reasonable basis to assume that’s fact).

    4. Observer*

      She didn’t apologize. She didn’t acknowledge the co-worker’s baby having the same name. She didn’t say it was unintentional and she didn’t offer to change it if the co-worker was uncomfortable.

      So? Why would she apologize? Why one earth would she offer to change the name?! Why would think that this TOTALLY NORMAL behavior “proves” some ulterior motive.

      The OP notes that when someone pointed out that the name was the same as Human baby she was “Oh. We’ll just use the short form anyway.” In other words, she totally missed the memo.

      1. nonegiven*

        She doesn’t have to apologize, offer to change the name, acknowledge the coincidence. She only has to avoid needling her coworker with the dog’s name.

    5. MCMonkeyBean*

      This is extremely flawed logic. Not calling something out as a coincidence does not in any way make it not a coincidence. There is nothing to apologize for, she should not offer to change the name of her dog, and no one in the office should care at all or make a big deal out of this. This is not a big deal. It is so common and normal and this molehill should not be made into a mountain.

    6. CatsOnAKeyboard*

      All of your things – she didn’t apologize, she didn’t acknowledge the coworker’s baby having the same name, didn’t say it was unintentional and didn’t offer to change it don’t read to me like srong indicators it was done intentionally to irritate the co-worker. They read to me like it had nothing to do with the coworker.

      Actually, if she’d DONE any of those things, it would have felt like she knew it was an issue and wanted to draw attention to it passive aggressively. I mean imagine: “I named my dog Jenkins! That’s the same name as your baby, right, Lola?” or “Sorry that’s the same name as your son, but I love it so much” – so much worse.

      1. MCMonkeyBean*

        I agree, drawing attention to it in that way would have made it seem much weirder and more intentional then the “oh, huh” reaction they seem to have had.

    7. lazy intellectual*

      Yeah – it’s weird to me how so many people are bending over backwards to seem like this is normal. It’s not someone adopting a dog that happens to be the same name as a close family member. They named their dog after their coworker’s kid. That’s just creepy. It’s one of those things that’s not technically breaking any rules, but is definitely creepy. It’s like if a coworker started repeatedly copying your outfits.

      1. MCMonkeyBean*

        They named their dog a name that is also the name of the coworker’s kid. That is not the same thing as naming it *after* their coworker’s kid. Alison has that as the title of the question (not sure if it was the subject of the email) but OP has commented multiple times that she doesn’t actually think that was what happened. OP just seems to think that once this was pointed out they should have changed they name of their dog, which is not a reasonable thing to expect.

    8. Yorick*

      I agree that a lot of people would have commented on the coincidence when announcing their dog’s name. But I also think a lot of people in that situation (noticed the coincidence and wondered if it’d be awkward to have named their dog the same as the coworker’s baby) would have decided it’s better to just matter-of-factly announce the dog’s name.

    9. Avasarala*

      I agree it’s certainly a weird and awkward coincidence.
      But in most places this would be resolved by someone saying “Hey that’s Stella’s baby’s name too!” and then Stella laughs and says, “Haha, it’s a great name isn’t it!” and the dog owner says “Yup! I love it!” and there’s nothing worth writing in about.

      The real issue here is that two coworkers have such an untenable relationship that even little things like this lead to jumps to conspiracy and deliberate needling. That is what needs to be addressed.

  23. EvilQueenRegina*

    Reading #1 immediately made me think of this letter: https://www.askamanager.org/2018/01/employee-is-angry-im-using-the-baby-name-she-wanted-office-heat-is-broken-and-more.html and while reading that, I managed to find a link to someone writing about naming a dog after your manager: https://www.askamanager.org/2014/04/naming-your-dog-after-your-manager-tying-pay-to-off-duty-conduct-and-more.html

    But honestly it is hard to know what you’d be able to do about it even if she had done it deliberately to wind her coworker up – it’s not as though you can really make her change the dog’s name, although if the person who suggested that there was never any real intention to call the dog Achilles and she had just said it as a joke to wind the coworker up was right, then it’s a “coworkers getting along” issue that can be addressed.

  24. Nicole76*

    #4 – If you’re worried about clients seeing your coworker cc’ing herself, look at Outlook’s rules (if that’s your email program). You can tell it to drop a copy of each email that is sent into your inbox without your address appearing in the cc or bcc. I used this rule for every job I had because unfortunately I did have to follow up on many emails to get things done; setting up reminders or pulling emails out of the sent folder was more time consuming than using the rule. I could quickly delete the copy on emails that didn’t require follow up. I would then tag the copy with the category “follow up” and it would drop into a lower section of my inbox since I had it sorted and grouped by category. I would go through that specific section of my inbox daily to see whether I needed to take action. To some people that might sound cumbersome, but I was known for having the least amount of emails in my inbox because I only kept stuff in there that required action; I filed everything else.

    As an aside – I once knew someone with over 3000 emails in their inbox. That gave me major anxiety; I can’t fathom how one keeps track of that.

  25. Coffee Cake*

    #1 My husband named our first dog together after a co-workers baby. He loved the name and had no idea that if we named our dog that name that when we had a baby we were not naming our baby that same name. It was after the twilight craze and everyone was naming their kids and dogs Isabella/bella. In a fun twist when our daughter Olivia was 3 she thought the was Belly and refused to call her Bella, and soon after everyone started calling the dog Belly and now my husband doesn’t have a Bella.

  26. Lady Heather*

    OP1, your situation makes me think of a ‘situation’ in my family where my grandmother and her sister (my great-aunt) share the same legal first name. They’re both named after different people – but it just so happened that both their father’s mother and their mother’s oldest sister were named Elizabeth.

    No one owns a name – in my family, not even among a sibling group!

    There are several options here.
    – Person named dog the same as coworker’s baby to spite coworker and now rubs it in coworker’s face
    – Person named dog the same as coworker’s baby because they liked coworker’s baby’s name and didn’t at the time consider that it would be a big deal, or that anyone would even ask about the pup’s name
    – Person decided on the name Achilles without consciously realizing that they only thought of that name after coworker named her baby that
    – Person decided on the name Achilles well before coworker’s baby was announced and didn’t feel like changing it
    – The pup is so slow he couldn’t outrun a turtle that has a small head start and really, Achilles is the only fitting name

    If dog-person is rubbing into baby-person’s face that their respective charges share a name, have a quiet word with dog-person: “Hey, I don’t think baby-person likes that, I need you to stop emphasizing it.” If dog-person isn’t – then let it go.
    (Mentioning ‘Achilles chewed on my shoes!’ isn’t ‘rubbing it into baby-person’s face’, it’s mentioning something the dog did.)

    1. Clisby*

      Yeah, I have two first cousins (siblings) who named their daughters Margaret. One’s called Margaret, and the other is Maggie. As far as I know, none of the family finds this odd.

      1. Clisby*

        These 2 younger cousins are both named after their grandmother. My bet is that their parents always planned on naming a daughter after my aunt, and there wasn’t any dog-in-the-manger attitude about “Well I got their first so you can’t use it!”

    2. Sled Dog Mama*

      My family is very similar there are at least 6 of my grandparents descendants with the same first name (if you go out one more level from my 1st cousins to 2nd cousins I think it jumps to like 20). For a long time I didn’t even know that anyone would think this was strange. We just all go by a double name to family. Think Mary Francis, Mary Lou, Mary Jane, Mary Beth etc.

    3. Observer*

      If you are talking about just humans, you REALLY can’t “claim” a name! There are communities where every third kid in a given cohort (exaggerating, but only a little) has the same name, named after the same person. And other names are quite common. Then you have the “family names.” Like in my community if I hear a specific name, I am pretty sure that this person is related to Family X, because it’s otherwise an uncommon name in this community, but the matriarch of the clan had that name and “everyone” named a child after her.

      This has come up here in the past. Including one letter what a manager wanted to require a new hire to choose another name because the new hire’s name was the same as hers and “people would be confused”.

      The only possible oddity is naming a dog that name. But, since people do that all the time, it’s just not that big of a deal.

      1. Quill*

        There were years when my mom’s classroom roll read something like “Annie Jacob Emily Jacob Susan Jacob Beth Jake David…”

    4. lazy intellectual*

      Yeah intent is really important here. In a way, this reminds me of the letter where one coworker was casting magical curses at her other coworkers. Even though the magical “curses” weren’t inherently harmful, the fact that the coworker was obviously doing it to convey malicious intent was problematic. So OP needs to address it if this is the case.

      Even if you rule out malice, I do think what the dog owner did is creepy and breaking the social contract in some way, but that’s a separate issue that doesn’t necessarily require a response.

  27. NotAMuggle*

    #1 Well my younger daughter Hermione is named after a goat we once had before she was born. Not really, we just liked the name. One day she was having an argument with her older sister and the older one said “So what you were named after a goat!” Hermione came running to me in tears “Mama Mama Bellatrix says I was named after a goat! Is that true?” Um……..

    1. Queer Earthling*

      My aunt had a cat named after Andy Gibb as a teen, and many years later she named her son Andrew, called exclusively Andy. My mom thought it was hilarious when she realized.

  28. Jam Today*

    #3 Don’t work for a manager you don’t like, things will not go well and it can turn a job that would have been good into a nightmare. As long as your current situation its better to bide your time where you are, doing good work, and wait to see if something else appears on the horizon.

    (Trust me, I wish I’d done it all differently.)

    1. Overseas*

      Probably right, though I’ll give you a happy story of a time it worked out differently. I was #2 in a small department. When my boss retired after 17 years, I applied for her spot, though I knew it was a reach. The person who was eventually hired was someone who used to work in the organization but left it to get experience and, basically, to wait for Boss to move on. She was sort of the heir apparent.
      Unfortunately, we had collaborated on a bunch of projects, and I couldn’t stand her. I actually begged senior management to hire anyone but her.
      She was hired, and the first day she came in, we sat together and she 1. expressed empathy for how I was feeling about not getting the promotion; 2. apologized for her behavior in one of our worst interactions; and 3. asked me what I wanted to do to advance in my job.
      I learned quickly that she is a bulldozer, and while it’s really unpleasant to be working against her, it’s great to have her on your side.
      Not saying this will be the case for you, OP3, just saying there might be hope!

  29. Seeking Second Childhood*

    OP1 The other thing to rule out is that there’s no ethnicity difference between the two employees that the child’s name reveals. Because that would add a huge layer of inappropriate.

  30. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

    OP1 – I hope nobody is making Indiana Jones references around the office. That would crank the awkwardness level up quite a bit. Sorry that you’re stuck in the middle of something so ridiculous.

    1. Amy Sly*

      Great … now I’ve got John Rhys-Davis saying “You were named after the dog?” on repeat.

    2. Star*

      This discussion is going to kill me. Every time I stop giggling so I can breathe I run across another aspect. *giggles for days*

    3. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I’m enough of a geek that if it were my newborn and someone mentioned this, I’d be using the nickname of Indiana on any Facebook mentions I make. (It’s better than the privacy-preserving nickname I gave my own kid!)

  31. MicroManagered*

    OP4 I cc myself on emails when there is something I need to take action on. The recipient is not always aware of (or wouldn’t even understand) the task associated to that email, and it would be a waste of time to explain it to them. Who knows why your coworker is doing this? I wouldn’t think about it too hard.

  32. bananab*

    My email client auto-adds me to the To: field when I reply to an email and I have no idea why. Might be what’s going on with the Cc: thing.

  33. MissDisplaced*

    2. My coworker works all night

    I’m not convinced that this is as much of an issue as you think (though it certainly bears watching).
    You say that the employee has only started 5 months ago. And then roughly 3 months ago a pandemic hit, which I presume means you’ve gone to WFH?

    Starting ANY new role or position is often hard. I’ve changed jobs probably more than most people, and I can say with experience that the first six months I typically put in a LOT more hours and even weekends simply in order to learn the role ‘at that company.’ Because even simple things you thought you knew how to do (such as booking a meeting or getting an invoice paid) may take forever to get taken care of at the new company. Sometimes, you find you’re not setup in whatever system(s) they use, you have to request permissions, or whatever. If it’s anything like my large company, you tend to get a runaround before this happens. It took me over a week to get setup just so I could submit a $100 invoice to AP at my current company! Then there are the meetings when you’re new. Often your whole day is meetings and no time for doing actual work, so you work late to catch up.

    So OK, your new employee may be struggling with a lot of this. As with you, I’d begin to eyeball if this continued at 3-4 month mark if in the office. But if they were hired and then you all shifted due to COVID, then it might just be all that much more difficult. I think I’d err on the longer side if that’s been the case, but if you don’t see the situation easing up after 6 months or so, then yes, it very well could be the person simply isn’t a good fit and will never get it.

    1. Mr. Peanut Butter*

      OP here! Thanks for your comments.

      I think one reason I’m concerned is that I faced a lot of the issues you describe when I started in my role with this team. Oh my god, just getting access to the systems I need…flashbacks! However, I was able to handle the workload reasonably, with only a few instances of an extra hour here or there.

      I’m also very familiar with the workload of my coworker, as I have done, at various times as portfolios shifted, about 80% of her tasks! So I have a good idea of what she is dealing with, who she is working with and their styles, and the challenges she’s facing. I have even ignored her working into the evening many times, because I understand that sometimes you just need some time in the office alone (pre-COVID) to really focus and get enough done to feel comfortable. Not to mention to navigate the stress of working with our difficult supervisor!

      But working all night was definitely, beyond a doubt, worrisome to me. Because even if she was experiencing all the issues you’ve described (which are definitely relevant to this role! Flashbacks again!), it couldn’t have taken that long. I just know there is a lot of anxiety there, and I don’t want her work-worrying herself to an early grave!

      1. Yorick*

        But do you know that she’s working all those hours? Or is she just available for meetings and calls during the day, but doing a lot of her actual work at odd hours? You said above that she was working until 4am. Did she work a normal day and then have to keep going until 4am? Or did she take a long break and plan to finish a task between, say, midnight and 2am but it took a little longer than she expected?

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          I’ve had times lately when I’ve been unable to sleep due to pandemic-inspired nightmares…. turning on the WFH computer and doing some of my day job at 4am is what kept me from chewing my leg off to escape the trap.
          I’m definitely one to suggest giving her a little longer, asking her for what more training she thinks she needs, or even asking if everything’s OK at home when she works such unusual hours.

      2. MissDisplaced*

        Well, it is something to be concerned about, I’m just not sure how much?
        I admit I’ve been working some odd hours lately myself. Not to 4am stuff, but definitely weekends. Constant WFH and boredom/inability to go anywhere has led to bleedover I typically didn’t do pre-Covid.

        How is the quality of their work overall?
        Sometimes speed will come along with the comfort level in new jobs. But if the quality is also lacking, they may be headed for trouble. You say you know the job & workload well, so I guess you’ll have to weigh that before taking it to your manager.

  34. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

    #3 – I had a similar experience a few years ago. I was hired at my last company as a BA. I worked on a project for a while and was offered a different position in support. I wasn’t sure I wanted to take it, but before I knew it I wasn’t given a choice. About a year or so later, a new BA position was open so I applied. I set up my interview, and was then told that 2 other managers were also hiring for BAs and the plan was for all 3 managers to interview all candidates and then they would hire accordingly. I told the recruiter that I had no desire to work for either of the other 2 managers and they let me interview with only the first manager. I didn’t get the job, but I have zero regrets. I would have been miserable working for either of the other managers. It’s not just about the job you’re doing, it’s about having a manager that you can count on to have your back, help you advance in your career, and treat you fairly. Hopefully you can trust your current manager to be honest with them about why you’re not interested in working for the new manager, but if not, I’d say what Alison suggested.

  35. Jubilance*

    #4 – I CC myself (I have a rule set up) because my company has a “read it and sweep” program that automatically deletes everything in your Sent folder after 2wks. No, I can’t change it, it’s a company-wide setting. Our inboxes have a retention of 60 days and our personal folders have 13mos. I never remember to move thing from Sent to other folders, so it’s easier for me to just CC myself and then have a copy in my inbox in case I need to do something with it,

    1. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      Ah. That makes sense.

      Your company policy, on the other hand, does not. Storage is cheap, and there are plenty of legal/liability reasons for records retention.

      1. Nicole76*

        I agree. The idea of losing my emails that quickly is horrifying. I’m not exaggerating when I say I’ve had to go back several years to reference emails. I did try putting general information into OneNote but at my former company it would keep getting corrupted. Plus it was too difficult to keep notes on individual customers. Much easier to have a folder for each in Outlook.

  36. Database Developer Dude*

    RE: #4

    I’m an IT worker, and have administered email servers in the past. This would drive me absolutely batty, as her inbox would fill up quickly, and become a server issue. I would hesitate to say anything, however, because people who do things like this are completely unreasonable, and this would turn out to be a complete cluster.

    1. Vince*

      You’re assuming the coworker leaves all these emails in her inbox and also that she’s sends a significant amount of emails. I bcc myself on emails and file or delete them once the tasks are done. Plus I send send maybe 1 to every 15 emails I receive. If my inbox gets full it’s not because of my copies to myself.

  37. lazy intellectual*

    The name thing…

    Yes, people technically don’t get dibs on names, but as strange as it sounds, baby names have been one of many ways you can find out how shady someone is.

    I had a cousin who confided her ideal name for her first born to one of her friends, only for her friend to give the same exact unusual name to HER firstborn – spelling and everything. Just weird.

    I also saw an advice column letter a few months ago about a white family who gave their kids the same exact Indian names as one of their friends/coworkers, which is creepy as hell.

    1. Ann O'Nemity*

      Yeah, the name thing can cause all sorts of feelings. Despite knowing the etiquette and advice to not get possessive, it’s hard to deny those feelings in some situations. I stopped sharing baby name ideas altogether for this very reason.

      Would I be annoyed if someone named their dog the same unique name as my baby? You bet! The thing is, even if you’re feeling one kind of way, you need to be able to stuff those feelings down and be cordial to your coworker. I can’t tell from the OP’s letter how the baby’s mama reacted, besides being stunned. As a manager, I guess all you can do is address any obvious bad attitudes or treatment between the two coworkers.

    2. Sleepy*

      I work at an after school program and we had two students of the same age who were cousins and had the same full name—first and last (to our knowledge they did not have middle names). I think their families had nicknames they used at home but they didn’t use them outside. So confusing. So curious what the thought process was there.

      1. Observer*

        They named the kids after the same person?

        There are a LOT of communities where naming children after a parent / grandparent is a thing. Which means that cousins with the last name are likely to have the same first and last name.

        1. Clisby*

          Yep. Very common where I’m from. (Often kids will have the same first name and different middle name, but not necessarily.)

          1. rear mech*

            yeah, all 6 of my uncles have the same first name, and all but one go by their middle names.

      2. Yorick*

        My sister-in-law’s sons have the same first name (but go by middle names). Apparently she and the dad agreed on this for the first son, and then the dad did the paperwork for the second son and decided to name him after himself as well.

    3. WFH & Lovin' it*

      My grandmother and her sister did that too! They had been talking about what they would like to name their kids when they had them, and my great aunt liked the names my grandma had picked out so she used them with all her kids as she ended up having kids first. Of course my grandma was angry with her sister, but they made up eventually and now it’s a big family joke. All of the grandkids/cousins have learned from it though, and NO ONE reveals their names when having a baby in our family.

  38. Anon Anon*

    OP1: My dog and one of my closest friends oldest kid’s name are the same. I got a puppy in November and she had her daughter the following February. I picked the name first, but I didn’t know that the same name was on her list of names. It became a running joke every time she’d get pregnant, I’d offer up one of my dog’s (or past dogs) name.

    People name their pets the same names as human names. I’ve worked with many people who’s named their dogs the same name as mine. It’s not a big deal. And if the co-workers have difficult relationship anyway, then I think that needs to be address, not who named their kid or dog what.

    1. JustaTech*

      I think I’m starting to understand my parent’s philosophy that pets don’t get human names. So much more choice and less likely that you’ll end up with a neighbor by the same name.
      (Our family pet names were a food (dog), a food (dog), a food (beta fish), a food(beta fish), a food(beta fish), a food (guinea pig), historical famous person (guinea pig), Norse god (dog), a flower (guinea pig), an indigenous word for dog (dog), and an island/a food (cat).

      1. Yorick*

        If the fictional names of Pluto and Achilles are any indication, the dog owner might not have picked a very typical name for humans.

      2. Black Horse Dancing*

        Thing is, many of the things you suggested easily become and have been ‘human’ names. From Thor to Diana to Rose and Petunia and Cinnamon and Ginger to Apple to Abraham.

        1. Avasarala*

          Sure but the odds of Cheddar and Pancake and Butterscotch being human as opposed to corgis are pretty low.

      1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        The subject came up during a zoom meeting, presumably the dog was there. And OP states somewhere in the comments that the dog will be going into the office post-covid.

  39. x*

    1 – My name is also a common dog name. It’s possible that the coworker heard the baby’s name and loved it so much they wanted it in their life or that they’ve been saying to themselves for years, “When I get a puppy, I’m going to name it Achilles.”. I would assume positive intent unless proven otherwise. And everyone needs to get over the idea that it’s somehow bad to have the same name as a dog.

    1. Jennifer*

      If the dog’s owner does it to be insulting, which the OP suspects here, they shouldn’t need to get over it.

      1. CatsOnAKeyboard*

        Their choices are to ‘get over it’ or ‘carry resentment into the future with no recourse because they have no standing to ask someone to change their dog’s name’.

        They don’t have to get over it but it’ll certainly improve their quality of life.

        1. Jennifer*

          Another choice would be to talk to the person about it and see if there is any underlying tension in the relationship. Pretending to be over something that actually hurt you doesn’t improve your quality of life. Standing up for yourself does.

          1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

            OP stated that the relationship was tenuous. So more a case of talk to see what the underlying tension is about, than whether there is tension.

      2. Jennifer Strange*

        Actually the OP has stated in the comments that they don’t think the dog owner did it to be insulting, just that they lack awareness.

          1. Jennifer*

            Hit submit too quickly. If this person is doing things to needle her coworkers, whether her intention is to be “funny” or not, it needs to be addressed. It’s similar to people who make jokes that are tone deaf and hurt the feelings of others, even if they didn’t intend to be hurtful.

            1. Jennifer Strange*

              I don’t disagree with you that if she’s doing it to intentionally needle her coworker it needs to be addressed. I was responding to your statement that the OP suspects this was done to be insulting, which is counter to what the OP has actually said.

            2. biobotb*

              The OP never said she thought the dog owner was trying to be funny. The only way this impacts the baby-having coworker is if she decides to take umbrage, a decision which is not the responsibility of the dog-haver.

  40. Maggie*

    #1 My middle name “May” is after my Grandmother. I wanted to name my kitten “Maybelle” and my mom felt it was really offensive to my Grandma. People are weird about names!

    1. Asenath*

      My sister adopted a dog which happened to have the same name as one of our late aunts. Well, obviously, she couldn’t ask the aunt if she thought it was an insult, and was initially a bit nervous about revealing the dog’s name to the rest of the family. There might have been a family member or two who thought it was odd, but they weren’t direly offended, and the dog kept her name. I’m willing to bet the aunt with the same name wouldn’t have been offended either, but some people would be.

      1. londonedit*

        I have a friend whose family adopted a dog, and the dog came with the same name as my friend’s sister. Yes, it was slightly odd having Maggie-the-dog and Maggie-the-human in the same family, but the dog was of an age where she’d got used to her name, and the family thought the name suited the dog, so they all lived with it!

        1. Quill*

          A friend’s family has “human Jake” (long term boyfriend of the youngest daughter) because they’d already named the dog Jake.

        2. EvilQueenRegina*

          Anyone else out there who read The Babysitters Club books as a kid? i’m now thinking of Shannon the dog who was named after Shannon the human (Shannon the human’s dog had just had puppies and she had offered one to the Thomas-Brewer family after their collie died, one of the kids voted to name the new dog after Shannon.)

  41. Fabulous*

    #5 – I have a few jobs like this. I usually list the entire time I worked there (i.e. Feb 2009-June 2011) on the title line, and then in the first bullet I’ll write “Hired permanently in August 2009 from temporary contract through Staffing Now” – because it’s an accomplishment to get hired permanently :)

  42. Jon*

    Achilles, Hercules, Pluto,
    = all popular dog names. Probably far more often used as dog names in the USA than as baby names. I know this is a cover name but come on, is it possible that the coworker picked a fairly popular dog name for their baby?

    1. lazy intellectual*

      This isn’t the real name – just a placeholder to keep the letter anonymous

  43. JxB1000*

    I get a high volume of email, which needs to filed by project. (My correspondence has many repetitive, similar keywords between projects making SEARCH inefficient in my case.) We also have the concern of inbox deletions after 30 days. My solution is a “to be filed” folder under ARCHIVE. All IN-BOX and SENT messages are moved there. Then I have a complete record. From there, rules are applied or messages are manually filed. If you are an Outlook user, be sure to check out the CLEAN UP FOLDER command. It’s extremely helpful.

  44. OP#3*

    OP#3 here – thanks Alison! Part of my problem is that I don’t know my manager as well as I’d like to. I work entirely remotely and see him in person maybe 3-4 times per year. I think he’s pretty reasonable, so I will probably risk it.

    Also thank you to the commenters that addressed my situation – I think you are both confirming that I should follow my gut here. When I’ve worked with this manager in the past, it’s been an unnerving and confidence-destroying experience. He seems to be more reasonable now, but why risk it?

    Thanks again, everyone, I really appreciate the advice!

    1. OP#3*

      Actually, just to clarify in case it comes up later – my current job is 75% travel and work from home the rest of the time. The travel is the main reason I’m considering moving out of the job, I’ve been doing it 2 years and am definitely burned out.

      1. Ch'ress*

        Basically mine too, but I love the travel! Wouldn’t have it any other way and can’t wait for the pandemic to be over…

  45. T2*

    I enjoy reading AAM because I get a kick out of the stories. But I just found out that one of my employees reads as well. Because at a staff meeting, a little bit ago, I was asked how I would address an someone complaining about an employee naming their dog after another employee’s kid.

    1. Pennyworth*

      Did you blow your cover as an AAM reader or respond as though it was a random conversation?

  46. Hiring Mgr*

    I have nothing to add, other than I’m trying to figure out what kind of confusion was caused by Pluto that was so bad Alison had to edit the name :)

    1. Quill*

      Pluto is the name of Mickey Mouse’s dog.

      Goofy is the name of Mickey Mouse’s friend who is… probably a dog? The main difference being that Goofy wears clothes and is bipedal.

      1. Quill*

        (Basically the name Pluto is so established as a “dog name” that it was coloring people’s responses. The real name appears to be a people name that is rare but probably a mythology or literary reference, so probably about as common for a dog as a baby boy.)

    2. Yorick*

      The answer is pretty different if the coworker named her dog after a famous dog. With the revised name, it seems clear that this could be a dog’s name but isn’t famous for being a dog’s name.

  47. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    You know what’s really inefficient? Getting this worked up over someone’s email organization style.

    Your energy is best used to better yourself and temper your reactions to others just living their lives.

  48. Darrell*

    Hmm. I copy myself on e-mails routinely, especially when I’m sending important files. This way I instantly confirm the e-mail was delivered. If it comes to me, then it presumably comes to the recipient(s) roughly simultaneously.
    Also, if I need to double-check that the proper files were sent, I don’t have to navigate to my “sent” folder.
    Until now, it hasn’t crossed my mind that this might annoy someone, because why would it?

  49. RussianInTexas*

    CCing every single e-mail is weird, but I totally CC myself on some e-mails, like contract win notifications, and other “official-ish) e-mails, so I don’t have to dig through the Sent folder.

  50. Jennifer*

    When I was a kid the boy next door to us was a bully and named his puppy after me. He definitely meant it as an insult and at the time it was hurtful. I realize no one gets dibs on names but a lot of people wouldn’t consider it an honor to have a dog named after them. Referring to a woman or girl as a “dog” is still an insult for a reason. Doesn’t mean we don’t love dogs. I agree with Alison that the OP should check in with these two, not to demand that the dog’s name be changed but to see if there is really a conflict.

    1. Star*

      *nod* This is one of those situations where it’s totally not impossible this was meant as an insult but also totally not guaranteed it was.

    2. Yorick*

      But unless she’s acting snotty to the coworker about the name, there’s no reason to think it’s intentional or that she should have done anything different.

  51. I'm just here for the cats*

    In regards to letter 1, could the employee have adopted the dog from a rescue that has already named the dog? Rescues in my area come up with the strangest names for their animals.

    1. Jennifer*

      The letter says she is getting a puppy and naming it Achilles. So it appears the dog hasn’t even been adopted yet and she’s already chosen the name.

      1. Black Horse Dancing*

        Very common to have names selected before getting pets or having a baby. I know people who have pets’ names chosen decades in advance.

        1. Jennifer*

          I wasn’t saying that it wasn’t common just clarifying what was in the letter. In this situation, I think it’s a bit odd.

  52. Jenny D*

    Regarding #2, the coworker who’s working a lot of overtime. It’s possible that the overtime she works is part of the reason why she’s unproductive. There have been several studies showing that a person who works 60 hours is *less* productibe than one who works 40-50 hours. There’s a description of this phenomenon at https://cs.stanford.edu/people/eroberts/cs201/projects/crunchmode/econ-crunch-mode.html (a multi-parter). Combine the fatigue from this with a manager who’s “a barking hothead”, and you have debilitating anxiety which makes it even harder to perform well, which makes her feel she needs to work even longer hours, which makes her less productive… It’s a downward spiral – and neither she nor you can fix her boss. But *she* can fix her hours.

  53. Hamburke*

    People are so weird about names!

    Growing up, my dog’s name was Alex (Alexander the Great – my parents use historical names for all their pets). Years later, a kid moves in also named Alex and the parents wanted us to rename the dog – way to introduce yourself to neighbors, right? My parents said that they thought that it would sort itself out soon enough and it was – our dog only came when we called and none of us frilly girls wanted to play with the rough and tumble boy down the street so we weren’t calling him.

    How often are the dog and the baby really going to be together that there will be a mix-up?

    1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      My cousin and I have the same first name, and were born only months apart. It’s not a very unusual name but I’m usually the only (Name) in the building, or even the only (Name) a person knows. The fact that my cousin has the same name as me has never been a problem – although when we sat together we would sometimes get called by our middle names as well – Amy Jane and Amy Louise, say. If one of us were a puppy I imagine there would be even less confusion and upset.

      Twice I’ve named a baby and immediately had a friend change their own plans: say we called my eldest Aloysius Gordon, and colleague had secretly planned the same, but a month or so later had a son Franklin Aloysius; my youngest has a name with multiple diminutives, and my friend agonized about giving her son the same name a week later, but they’re now bosom buddies using very different nicknames (think both called Henry but known as Hank and Bear).

      I still think I’d be startled if someone used one of my children’s names for a pet and brought that up in a meeting but I think that would be just a single data point, and the other reasons that we hated each other’s guts (as seems to be the case in the letter) would form the bulk of my opinion. It would be a “you’ll never guess” or an “and another thing!”

      I mean, I try not to be that childish now that I’m old enough to have a job, but I’ll allow for people Just Not Getting On.

  54. Derivative Poster*

    Maybe I’m projecting here, but your description of the puppy owner in the comments reminds me of a coworker. He can seem oblivious of common courtesies to the point we sometimes wonder if he knows we’re there. Understandably he is not exactly popular among his colleagues, and occasionally that manifests in jokes that have an edge to them; I guess you might call it needling.

    Anyway, it sounds like the name borrowing is not so much a problem in itself but a symptom of a larger problem. I’d focus on other symptoms that are more directly related to work. Based on my experience, I bet you’ll have plenty of opportunities.

    1. Karia*

      I mean – yeah it does sound like you’re protecting. Has your coworker named a future puppy after an existing child of another coworker? Please don’t get me wrong. I can fully understand irritation taking over your life with stuff like this but it doesn’t actually sound relevant.

      1. Derivative Poster*

        I was responding in light of this comment from the OP (under username Amanda Sampson):
        Instead, we think she didn’t make the connection, even though it’s a very rare name, I mean RARE, and it’s indicative of her general lack of awareness of her close colleagues (they sit next to each other, follow each other on social media where most of the mom’s posts are of the baby) and, when it came to light, being unable to see it was a bit weird.

        1. Karia*

          I can understand your comment in light of OP’s comment! However I also think we’re all seeing this through our own lenses.

          I follow people on social media I have muted.

          I currently like the dude I sit next to so I make a point of knowing his girlfriend and pets’ names.

          But I’ve also been in jobs where I didn’t care about my deskmate’s partner or kids. I couldn’t care less about the person (who kept sabotaging my work)’s children. If I’d named my cat that name there would be no malice. It’s not that weird to not know things about people you dislike.

          1. Yorick*

            I just realized that I don’t know all my coworkers’ kids’ names. We don’t follow each other on social media, though.

            1. has 2 kids, I know both their names.
            2. has 3 kids with unusual names, I could remember 2 right away but had to wrack my brain for the 3rd name.
            3. is newer, so I think I haven’t heard the 2 kids’ names.
            4. has twins, has talked about them a lot, but I cannot think of either name. Maybe I could pick them from multiple choice, but I’m not confident.

  55. Beachlover*

    # 4 – I will cc myself on emails if I want to keep them and my response for reference purposes. Our company has a set retention policy. The std is 6 months, but you can change folders to 12 months ( that’s the longest) but the sent folder cannot be changed it only keeps emails for 6 months.. there have been several times, where I searched for an email that I sent 8 months ago and it’s not there.

      1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        We have to keep everything for seven years after the file is closed, and patent files can be twenty years old, so I have electronic copies of emails (between other people) from when I was at school!

  56. learnedthehardway*

    OP#2 – I would not assume that your coworker suffers from crippling anxiety at this point. Perhaps she works different hours than you do, esp. if she is working from home during COVID (eg. maybe she has to manage childcare during the day, so works at night). Or, perhaps she needs more time because she is learning so much right now (which arguably means she’s not qualified for the role, but she’s in it and as long as she is doing the work and getting it done right, I would be supportive more than anything). Or, perhaps she has ADD and it takes her an extra long time to get work done because she’s scattered.

    What I would look at is whether the work product meets the standards that your employer expects in terms of volume and quality. If she’s performing well, I would leave alone how she’s getting to that level of performance, at least until life gets back to normal wrt COVID and working from home.

  57. Karia*

    It is 1000 times more likely that the coworker picked the name at random and it’s a huge coincidence. My FIL named his puppy Bradley. Not to needle any coworkers. It’s the name of his favourite cyclist.

    There aren’t that many names and unless you have evidence of a long campaign against the coworker, it’s likely it was the name of their cousin, or favourite director, or flowering herb.

    Honestly this sounds more like you just have a problem with this coworker and are assigning her negative motives for no reason.

  58. OP #4*

    OP #4 here, thank you to Alison for responding and to everyone else who chimed in. It was interesting to read about other people who do this and why it makes sense for them, which gave me food for thought. In most cases it still seems inefficient to me, so I don’t think it’s going to stop being a pet peeve of mine, but I hope I’ll take it less personally going forward. You’re all right, if she’s doing it to everyone, it’s not a judgement on how fast she thinks I’ll respond.
    To those asking if I don’t like this co-worker in general, we have a very good working relationship and work well together, although I wouldn’t say we’re friends. I like her; I just don’t like this particular work practice of hers.
    And to the few that agreed with me that this would annoy you, it’s good to know I’m not the only one :)

  59. Hannah*

    I have not yet done #4… but I’ve been tempted because I’ve moved from a Google org to an Outlook org and I hate hate hate that Outlook does not automatically include my replies in threads. I can’t tell at a glance whether (or when) I’ve followed up on something, I have to do extra steps, like clicking on the thread to see if it says “You replied to this message,” or looking through my sent emails and cross-referencing. CC’ing myself is by far the easiest of all these options because I’d only have to do it once. (If this is an Outlook setting I can change, let me know! I’ve asked coworkers, googled solutions, and poked around in my settings myself but haven’t found a way to change it yet.)

  60. Elizabeth West*

    I would most definitely apply for a role as a Cocoa Analyst at a Beverage Oceanarium. #chocolate

  61. Budgie Buddy*

    The discussion of dog names and whether it’s really insulting to name a dog after a person reminds me of other discussions on this site about how reluctant people are to refer to coworkers by given names like “Princess,” or “Precious,” or “Duke,” or “King,” when those are both the legal and preferred names, because those can also sound like names for cats or dogs and are therefore “demeaning.” Animals and humans sharing names can be fraught territory.

    That’s why I’m leaning on the “This is definitely worth looking into” side. OP wrote in for a reason, and they should trust their instincts that all is not right between the two coworkers.

    1. Black Horse Dancing*

      Look into what? Why did either choose that name? It’s a name and neither has standing to fuss about it. If Human Mom is PO’d, she can look at all the people named Jennifer. Somehow people can work with three Jennifers in the same department, they can handle Puppy Achilles and Baby Achillies, especially since the dog may visit (per the OP) but the infant probably won’t. All OP needs to see is if her team runs smoothly.

  62. Anonymous Tech Writer*

    I had to come back and say that today I had to cc: myself on a number of emails …. because the emails are being generated out of the Agile database that my company is starting to use. If I don’t cc: myself, I don’t get a copy in my sent folder. It’s not your co-worker’s situation, because you’d see the sender as the automated database… but the timing was surreal.

  63. KoiFeeder*

    I admit, I can’t imagine naming any of my koi after a coworker’s kid… but the koi all have goofy names like “Sakarpra” and “Chubbycheeks” so I don’t think any coworker would name their kid after the koi either.

    (Well, maybe Zori. Is Zori a human name? I named him after the transformers character.)

    1. Black Horse Dancing*

      Anything can be a human name. I mean, Neveah was really popular. There are people called Apple, North, and Blanket.

  64. Bowserkitty*

    Re: OP5, I’m glad there was a post on this!! I was always curious because this was the situation with my previous job. Now I can edit my resume to reflect it!

  65. Argh!*

    I sometimes cc: me on an email to be sure it goes through, but I usually use bcc: for that.

    re: the dog’s name. My first thought when I saw the title of this post was that it was a culturally-specific name, which would be really creepy and possibly an EEO issue. That would be the only worrying thing for me.

  66. Pip*

    OP 2, if it weren’t for the fact that my manger fortunately is pretty level-headed and decent, I would have wondered if you were a teammate of mine. We had a very similar situation with a new starter on the team recently – she was struggling with everything from basic office skills to the core duties of her role. Yet she would always act as if nothing was wrong. That thing you wrote about getting the impression that she thinks her issues are “a silly little quirk” sounded really familiar. And important, because how can you help someone who does not acknowledge that they need help?

    I was not privy to all the work that my manager, HR, and other teammates put in to support our new starter, but I do know that it was a lot. But her attitude never changed, and her performance never improved, so she was let go.

    OP 2, can you try telling your manager “I’ve done this and this to train the new person, but I’ve noticed that and that. Would you like me to keep doing more of the same or approach things differently?” Other than that, I’m not sure there is much more you can do as a peer unfortunately.

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