my employee resigned but now isn’t leaving

A reader writes:

I recently took over as manager for a small team. One of the employees on the team, Jane, announced that she was leaving and had a new job lined up. Jane’s replacement was hired but before she could start, there were some problems with Jane’s new job. This is no fault of Jane’s, but as a result, she has remained on. While it has been helpful to have her here to train her replacement, we’re entering a situation where I am not sure how to proceed.

I have been told by my upper management that they will not be terminating Jane’s employment. I’m now in a place where I need Jane’s replacement to start taking fully taking on Jane’s duties to truly learn their new job. At the same time, I am struggling to find work to fill Jane’s days. Because the length of her stay is so uncertain, I am trying to give her a stream of short-term projects. Complicating this whole situation, I have realized that Jane had the potential to be a truly excellent employee, but her previous manager really failed her, causing her to look to leave. What do I do next? Should I advise her to look for a new job? Should I keep her in this short-term project limbo and just trust that new job will come through?

I answer this question — and four others — over at Inc. today, where I’m revisiting letters that have been buried in the archives here from years ago (and sometimes updating/expanding my answers to them). You can read it here.

Other questions I’m answering there today include:

  • Employer wants job candidate to “show loyalty” by not interviewing for other jobs
  • I don’t want a baby shower at work
  • Could a guy I’ve talked to on Twitter recommend me for a job?
  • When religion limits an employee’s availability

{ 193 comments… read them below }

  1. AdAgencyChick*

    I actually snorted out loud at #2. The nerve of that employer! Who wants to bet that “showing loyalty” to them would have been rewarded with a lowball offer?

    1. Sales Geek*

      If it is truly the employer (not the recruiter) then it’s a huge red flag. Employers that demand loyalty — and especially in this case where they’ve done nothing to earn it — rarely return the favor. BTDT.

      1. WorkIsADarkComedy*


        Without a compelling reason to take this job (need the job now, perfect in every other way), this should give the interviewee plenty of reason to keep looking elsewhere and reject the offer.

      2. tangerineRose*

        “Employers that demand loyalty — and especially in this case where they’ve done nothing to earn it — rarely return the favor.” This!

        1. Tabby*

          This! I once applied for a job where the guy seemed really upset I couldn’t promise – on the basis of just going in to the interview – the same loyalty I have with my dogwalking company, who I’ve been working with for 13 years.

          Sir, you haven’t even proved want to work there, how can I possibly be loyal to you? I mean, there are little things that annoy me with the dogwalking company, but she’s given me a LOT of reasons to be loyal.

          This guy just seemed very intense and annoying. Guess who didn’t care about blowing THAT interview.

    2. boo bot*

      Seriously. I feel like demanding loyalty (or even suggesting employees should have it) is just an enormous red flag no matter how long you’ve been working somewhere. Either you FEEL a sense of loyalty built up over time, in which case there’s no need to demand it, or you don’t, in which case it hasn’t been earned (which could be simply because you don’t feel a particular allegiance even though the company is great – you don’t have to feel a deep personal loyalty to do your job).

      It’s just so deeply unnecessary. Things like “don’t steal our trade secrets” are covered by laws, and don’t require a further promise of loyalty. In jobs where an actual oath is sworn, the commitment is to the *work* or to the entity being served. You don’t need to pledge loyalty to a particular employer, if you’ve already sworn an oath to serve the country or uphold your professional code of ethics.

      Rant over. I don’t know, maybe he should try promising honesty instead and see how that goes. /s

      1. TeapotNinja*

        Never be loyal to a company. Be loyal to people, if they’ve shown they deserve it.

        Your relationship with the company should a mutually beneficial business relationship. Both parties continue it as long as it’s beneficial and when not, the relationship should be terminated. Making it about loyalty only serves the company.

        1. Artemesia*

          Back in the dark past loyalty to a company was a thing. My father in the early 50s had a near fatal reaction to penicillin which hospitalized him for 6 weeks and kept him out of work for 3 mos. He was the sole breadwinner. The large corporation he worked for saw that he was paid this whole time. He worked for that company his entire career and felt great loyalty to the company that had been loyal to him in a tough time.

          Loyalty is earned and sometimes someone goes above and beyond for you and you do so in return. But a company that hasn’t even hired you yet that makes a request like this is showing more than their ‘hand’ — expect a low ball offer and out of touch martinets in management.

      2. MassMatt*

        I agree with your rant. I’ve never heard or read of a situation where this kind of up-front “show us loyalty” mindset wasn’t a one-way-street. It also almost always disguises a warped mindset where people moving on to other jobs are regarded as traitors. Accepting a job shouldn’t resemble getting inducted into an organized crime family.

        Good employers attract and keep talent by providing good opportunities and compensation, not coercing it via vows of obedience. See the doc on NXIVM on where this leads!

    3. Deep State*

      When I was new to the workforce, I was nearing completion of a fellowship with a government entity and had applied for permanent jobs in two divisions. One was not preferred in itself but would have been a good stepping stone (high vis but very high pressure) , the other was low visibility but something I think I would have loved. After I’d interviewed for the first, I was approached by the big director for that area and told it would really show his boss (govt equivalent of the CEO) my loyalty to the organization by taking myself out of the running for the other job in the lower visibility area and committing myself to the higher vis job. I did. Long story short, the first position didn’t actually have or get funding and just sort of evaporated, it was too late by the time I found out to interview for the other position, and good ol “loyalty” Director never said one word to me about what happened. And I got stuck in a terrible position that was a terrible fit for me until I could move to a different organization.

    4. BenAdminGeek*

      Right? The only time I would think something like this might make sense is in a CEO search for a big firm or something, where you’re expected to truly lead an organization into the future and they are working to finalize the process. But random job #198754? No thanks!

  2. Lemon curdle*

    #5 Re this: “ Most recently, she was unable to participate in an industry leadership program because it ran Thursday through Saturday, and attendance for the entire duration was mandatory.”

    Did anyone check with the organisers, or did they just assume this would be the case even if someone had a religious issue with the schedule?

    Obviously we can’t know now but I feel like they maybe missed an opportunity to ask for them to adjust their requirements to accommodation someone’s beliefs.

    1. I'm just here for the cats*

      From my understanding programs like these would have all the days as mandatory because otherwise the person is missing key information. Plus if it’s something where she gets credits or certificate or something then she would have to attend all of the days.

      Now that more things are moving online, I would check to see if there are online events or programs that she can attend or that are recorded that she can watch later. I hope the LW can find things that will work out and that they let the employee know that they are looking for ways.

      1. Lemon curdle*

        That doesn’t preclude being able to ask them if they can make adjustments, though. Assume and you’ll never know!

      2. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        Yes, with events going online, recording is a possibility, for students to catch up later.
        However, if there’s a certificate at the end, I’m not sure that passively watching the video of a day of training should count (as opposed to being there, asking questions, taking part in quizzes or role plays or whatever else participants might be required to do).

    2. Lance*

      Unfortunate as it is, changing the schedule of such an event for one person seems like a hard sell. There may be ways around it; say, getting the information from the last day to her afterward, or maybe if she has an agenda and there’s a question panel or anything of the sort, having her relay any questions of hers through someone else (not perfect, given that she won’t have ful context, but it’s something). But changing a multi-day schedule for one person, barring them being a high-profile name in the industry, isn’t something I’d consider highly likely.

      1. Lance*

        And as an addendum, since it came to mind shortly after: there’s always the possibility of conflicting needs, religious or otherwise. There may just not be a way to fully accommodate all of them, so there would likely need to be some sort of solution outside changing schedules.

        1. Arvolin*

          There are about twenty million Seventh Day Adventists and maybe 6-8 million Jews in the US, and most of the Jews I’ve known aren’t strict about Saturday. In a lot of the business events I’ve gone to, that would be one person, on the average. Large events pretty well have to be planned for the 99+%, not the 1%, and Thursday through Saturday is quite reasonable for most people.

          1. Salmon*

            In reading this comment I had a reaction “those relative numbers don’t match my experience in the work force.” so I googled: there are ~18 million seventh day Adventists world wide. There are an estimated 1.2 million in the US. But that’s total not necessarily working age adults. In contrast, there are approximately 4.2 working age adults who self identify as “practitioning.” Whether that means they observe the Sabbath is anyone’s guess.

            But, in the end, national numbers whether they are large or small aren’t really relevant. It’s all about whether you need to accommodate people in your company.

            1. Salmon*

              proof reading fail! Left out some words. :(

              should be: In contrast, there are approximately 4.2 million Jewish adults who self identify as “practitioning.”

      2. WellRed*

        I didn’t read it as rescheduling, I read it as, are there any other ways to accommodate her so that she gets full credit or participation or whatever.

      3. Artemesia*

        If it is oriented to skill development the last day is likely the day that teams or individuals demonstrate through presentations and projects their skills — a tough day to miss.

      4. Esmeralda*

        Why reschedule the whole event? Have her attend thru Friday. I understand about missing info, educational credits etc., but those aren’t sufficient reasons. She misses Saturday = someone gets the info to her, or she doesn’t get the credits, …

        After all, what would the conference organizers do if someone gets sick or has a family emergency and has to miss Saturday?

        1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          At university, if you don’t turn up on the last day, which is exam day, you might as well not have come at all. That’s the way the cookie crumbles.

          1. Indigo a la mode*

            And that university would absolutely be required to accommodate someone who can’t come to a Saturday exam for religious reasons.

    3. CupcakeCounter*

      The ones in both my industry and my husband’s are usually all or nothing – especially if there is some kind of accreditation or comp/reimbursement involved. In addition, there usually aren’t a lot of exemptions because A) they tend to be optional and B) they are organizing the events many months (and sometimes years) in advance and for very large groups of people. For my husband’s main annual convention, there is a schedule on the website through 2025 and the location is different every year.

      1. Green great dragon*

        Yeh, but do they *have* to be all or nothing? Is it something the organisers can choose not to require, or to allow exemptions for? Is there really no benefit to the first days if you miss the last one?

    4. AnotherAlison*

      There are so many variables here. In an old analyst role, I was frequently a sub-in for regular industry conferences when one of the VPs could not go due to a last-minute work conflict. If it’s continuing ed related, I could see her not getting the PDHs, but she could still go 2/3 of the days. . .it would be up to the employer to decide if that was worth the money. (I realize it may only be one day if flights don’t work out, though, and that’s probably not worth it.) I’ve attended on shorted schedules myself, when my bosses wanted me to go but I had a personal conflict.

    5. Rusty Shackelford*

      It might be appropriate to point out that people who would like to attend are unable to due to the schedule, and ask if they’d consider a different schedule in the future. Because there may be more would-be attendees out there – maybe enough to do a different schedule every few years.

      1. Mama Bear*

        If, for example, the conference is local and during regular daytime hours, a single parent may struggle with weekend childcare when school/centers are closed. The case here is religious, but there are a lot of reasons Saturday would be hard for folks. Also, while I realize that Saturday observers are in the minority, it doesn’t hurt to try to shift things now and then.

    6. JSPA*

      Yep. Much as I don’t do religion myself, I’d be quick to push back. Not only on behalf of my employee, but for everyone else who, because of religious or other non-movable duties, can’t do Saturday.

      If they’re legit, and non-discriminatory, the only rational answer would be, “oh, of course! We want people to clear their calendar to the best of their ability, be 100% mentally present, and not drop in and out on a whim, but we would never discriminate.”

      Leadership training should, wherever possible, take place during the same hours as most people’s regular workday. If not, it is only fair for it to inconvenience the religious majority (i.e. hit Sunday, in countries where Sunday is the primary religious day for the numerically and socially dominant group) as hard as it does Friday evening through Saturday. Or make the weekend hours optional.

      Otherwise, it’s a sieve, to screen out anyone who’s not OK with that.

      I’d also tell my report that, if she wants to participate, I have no problem with her ignoring the “all or none” aspect. Presumably, if someone is taken ill, or goes into labor, or has a family emergency, they also miss the last day. The things they learned in the previous days don’t get wiped from their consciousness; their name is not vilified forever more. The people they meet, the email addresses they share–that’ll all still be there, even if they don’t get the diploma.

      Any training that “fails” or scorns a participant who misses the last day, is suspicious from the get-go. Especially if the last day is the Firewalk, or the day that the founder brands his initials on you. If it’s bona fide training, not psy ops, experiencing three days out of four should get you about 3/4 of the learning, a lot of new contacts, and time to shine, and see how others shine.

    7. TooTiredToThink*

      I’m sitting here wondering – well what where they going to do if a person just doesn’t show up on one of the days (i.e. due to an emergency)? Yes, maybe she wouldn’t have gotten a certificate or what have you, but surely there there have been times when someone wasn’t able to be there for the entire workshop. Life happens.

      1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        Yes, but letting someone sign up for the course knowing they won’t attend all of it means that someone else who would have moved heaven and hell to attend the whole thing might not get a place. When you’re organising an event you know that not everybody will attend everything, but if you start out letting people only attend certain days for one reason, suddenly there’ll be tons of reasons, and nobody will bother to attend the whole thing, and you’ll spend day 2 getting those who failed to attend on day 1 up to speed, and then you’ll spend day 3 getting those who failed to attend on day 2 up to speed and so on. Participants have to at least intend to attend the entire thing.
        It would also be a nightmare if there’s a catered lunch – Jon only eats kosher but he won’t be there on Saturday… or will he?

    8. RA 1039*

      I grew up in a minority religion. We expected that we would miss out on opportunities because of our faith and that it was a sacrifice for future spiritual gain. (I have since left the religon…just FYI.) Even so, I know as a kid I really resented not being able to participate in a lot of the activities I really wanted to do, so it seems like an inclusive employer would take pains to try to make opportunities for anyone with weekend commitments (religious or otherwise) to be able participate in at least a few of the events.

    9. Seeking Second Childhood*

      In an increasingly international world–and an increasingly online one– I’d suggest asking if the conference organizers would consider a Sunday start for alternating years. That’s the first day of my co-workers’ week in Jordan.

  3. ElizabethJane*

    It sounds like #5 may also just be an industry miss-match. Anything that involves providing services to the public, especially services to families, will likely take place on weekends. There are many other industries where weekend work is a complete non-issue (I’ve worked in 4 of them and I believe I’ve only been asked to work on a Saturday 3 times in 11 years, all of which were optional).

    I’m assuming Kate knows her belief system is going to be a barrier to this particular industry and it may be kinder to her to level with her and offer to connect her to other similar industries where it won’t be quite the same problem.

    1. Lemon curdle*

      I’m assuming Kate knows her belief system is going to be a barrier to this particular industry and it may be kinder to her to level with her and offer to connect her to other similar industries where it won’t be quite the same problem.

      No, no, no. It’s not appropriate to tell someone they don’t fit in your industry because of their membership of a protected group. Sheesh.

      1. Littorally*

        Sometimes it really is just the case, though.

        I’m a religious non-drinker. This would make me a cultural mismatch to work as a bartender. C’est la vie.

        1. ElizabethJane*

          Yeah I don’t think under any circumstances that Kate needs to be pushed out. But the reality may be that without working on Saturdays she’s gone as far as she can in this particular industry. It’s not unkind to say “This is the nature of our business. If you want to be a Director/CEO/whatever position that has more prestige and makes more money this industry isn’t a good fit for you”.

          1. PeteAndRepeat*

            But it’s up to her to decide what to do about it, and the employer should make efforts to include her as much as possible for as long as she remains in the job. I’m Jewish and observe Shabbat. I don’t expect special accommodations, but it’s always nice when employers 1) remember that I have this non-negotiable restriction and 2) are sensitive about it. At a former job, I got some resentment from coworkers who had to work one Saturday a year and felt that I was shirking work by not participating. Management did not care and even sympathized with this attitude. It’s really demoralizing when this type of thing happens and it makes you feel your “outsider” status very acutely. But I have an advanced degree for the work I do and I’m not going to leave my industry because some people are insensitive to minority practices.

            1. ElizabethJane*

              I agree. And without knowing the industry or the specifics it’s hard to say. But if, for example, the industry is wedding planning Kate is going to hit a wall in her career progression if she is unable to work on Saturdays.

              She can be an excellent wedding planner for Friday and Sunday (and weekday) weddings but I’d imagine the largest “accounts” or most prestigious events will most likely happen on Saturdays. (pre-covid, obviously).

              I’m not at all advocating that Kate be pushed out, I just think that in some industries availability is going to be a very real barrier to success. If the Saturday work is the same as the weekday work and it just happens to fall on a Saturday so everyone needs to take a turn doing it once or twice a year then it shouldn’t be a problem for Kate to skip it (and management should be shutting down any sort of complaints, I’m sorry your management was crappy). But if Saturday work is at a different level and involves more exposure, more responsibility, and more prestige sometimes that just happens.

              Again, without knowing the industry it’s hard to say. But to pretend that availability can’t have a serious impact on your job is naive.

          2. So they all rolled over and one fell out*

            In the role of an employer I don’t think you can say that, at least not out loud. It’s completely up to Kate to decide if a fundamental conflict between observing her faith and progressing her career makes her a bad fit for her career.

          3. Practicing SDA*

            As a devout practicing SDA, I changed careers after nearly 10 years. I hit a ceiling. My work was outreach/family oriented. I worked Sunday-Thursday for years. It sucked not being able to do the “fun” special programs because they were always on Saturday (because “That’s how we’ve always done it.” For the record: families on vacation in July would totally do things on a Tuesday.) You get to the point where you help so much with the prep and not get any reward, I started to disengage. It’s natural human behavior. I miss my old career. I don’t miss being the odd person out.

        2. Teyra*

          I don’t see why? Bartenders don’t have to drink, after all. I’d imagine many who drink normally don’t when they’re working. Obviously if providing alcohol for people was something that felt inappropriate according to your religious beliefs you wouldn’t want to be a bartender anyway. But considering she’s already in the job, she’s clearly happy doing it.

          1. ElizabethJane*

            I think the question is “Is she happy doing the job as it stands or does she have bigger aspirations within the company?”

            If she’s happy doing the job as it is right now then it’s a non issue. Maybe have a chat with her just to verify that she is actually happy but otherwise, meh. No big deal and there’s no issue here. If she has goals of one day being Lead Event Coordinator then somebody needs to say “Well the Lead Event Coordinator needs to attend most of the events, your availability will prevent you from succeeding in that role”.

            1. Threeve*

              I agree. And she may understand that things can’t be changed now, but there’s a chance she’s overly optimistic about the future–whether it’s that she can change things if she’s more involved in the planning process, or things are different in the summer than they are during the school year, something like that. I think it needs to be made just a skosh clearer.

            2. Littorally*

              Yeah, this is exactly what I’m thinking. There’s no need to force her out, and the company should endeavor to include her as much as possible… but sometimes religion and work duties do conflict, and that’s pretty unavoidable. Having strong religious practices means certain fields just aren’t open to a lot of career progression.

            3. Seeking Second Childhood*

              But that’s not “the industry” as much as it is “this company.”
              Food service industry, they “always” stayed open all weekend, right? Then someone started ChickFilA, which stays closed on Sunday for religious reasons. Perhaps she will someday join up with Jewish and Muslim colleagues to start their own business with Sunday-to Friday hours.

          2. Littorally*

            Bartenders don’t have to drink, but to be able to serve drinks well, including preparing drinks customers aren’t familiar with, they generally should at least have a basic mastery of what tastes like what and what works together, which is difficult if you don’t drink. It wouldn’t be impossible but it would be a bad fit.

            1. Teyra*

              I feel like maybe the bars you’re (not) going to are better than the ones I’ve been in. I’ve had bartenders tell me they’re not allowed or not able to give recommendations back when I was still new to alcohol, and I don’t think knowing what to pour or mix requires knowledge of what it tastes like.

              On the other hand I do see your point. A girl I know who used to work at Costa did have to try all the different coffees and teas there, as well as all the new ones when they were brought in. If she’d been unable to drink coffee it would obviously have been a bad fit.

              So in a high-end bar, where they’re expected to have an intimate knowledge of alcohol sure, most bars aren’t like that. People are allowed to bartend in some states and countries when they’re under the drinking age, after all.

              1. Littorally*

                That’s actually the point I’m trying to make. It isn’t that bartending as a whole career is closed to me (though I wouldn’t choose to do that) — it’s that there’s a natural ceiling to progressing there where I would have to choose to either stay at a low level or stop obeying that religious restriction.

              2. Uranus Wars*

                I started bartending when I was 18 and I got increasingly better when I turned 21. I never drank behind the bar, but I got increasingly better with experience on the other side of the bar. Not just with the drinks but with my service as well. It’s hard to explain.

                I will say if someone requests a drink you aren’t familiar with it’s easier to figure out based on the ingredients if you’ve had some experience drinking them. Hard to articulate but it is!

                I also know several bartenders who are in recovery or are sober. Bartending keeps them that way is what they tell me.

          3. AnotherAlison*

            Your beliefs can extend beyond your own actions, too. You might not have to drink, but you may also be uncomfortable serving drinks to others.

        3. Elbereth*

          I know a number of bartenders who don’t drink – it’s the alcoholic bartenders who are a mismatch.

        4. tangerineRose*

          I used to work at a coffee house. I don’t drink coffee and never have (it tastes so bitter!). It wasn’t really a problem.

      2. ElizabethJane*

        I really think it depends on how the conversation is broached. I was a restaurant manager in a college town for years and had a Seventh Day Adventist employee. After 6 months or so she came up to me and said “I’m not making enough money here and I’m not sure what to do about that” and I had to say “Well, Saturdays are our busiest day of the week. You’re an excellent employee and you make great tips but we get 25% of our sales on Saturdays. I can up your shifts to 40 hours a week or there’s a golf course with a restaurant that does excellent weekday business. If you’re up for a morning shift I’m more than happy to recommend you to the manager there”.

        I’m not saying she needs to say “Kate, your religion doesn’t fit in here” but if Kate expresses frustration about all of the Saturday events and them holding her back it’s not at all unreasonable to say “That’s the nature of our business and you need to decide if that’s a fit for you”

        1. CupcakeCounter*

          I think the wording is important here as well as Kate making the first move. I don’t think OP wants to push her out or say that she isn’t in the right industry. I think OP is seeing Kate getting frustrated with her lack of involvement/opportunity and has a good idea of what the issue is and knows that due to the population they work with, chances are high that Saturday’s continue to be “the day” that events happen.

          1. ElizabethJane*

            Yes I was definitely clumsy in my original comment (drat the no editing). I don’t think the OP needs to sit down with Kate and say “Well Kate your religion means you should quit” but at a check-in or performance review when career progression comes up it’s not unreasonable to make sure everyone is on the same page.

        2. Threeve*

          Your employee was lucky to have you! That is a much more considerate and classy response than any of the restaurant managers I know would have made.

        3. Happy Pineapple*

          I think that’s the best way to handle this. Acknowledge that Kate is missing out on opportunities and give her options to be more involved when possible, but don’t imply that she isn’t a good fit for the industry simply because of this one hurdle.

          And my two cents as a devout person who’s religion isn’t the dominant one in my area (i.e. have to use PTO for any religious event, have many “no work allowed” days, etc): Kate can by all means advocate for herself and push to have accommodations made for multi-day conferences or Sunday events rather than Saturday. Her manager should as well! However, I think it is unprofessional to act disappointed and withdraw when something planned outside of the organization happens to land on a Saturday. It happens! I tell my friends/colleagues to have a great time, and I stay home with the satisfaction that I’m following my religion in a way that’s meaningful for me.

        4. Dust Bunny*

          This. I used to work for a place that was open seven days a week and everyone was required to work two weekends a month, no exceptions. The only way to accommodate this would have been to have Kate working basically every Sunday (split weekends, all the time). If she was fine with that, then no problem, but if she didn’t want to do that because it meant she missed every free weekend day with her kids, we weren’t going to ask somebody else to miss even more weekends on her behalf. Her choice.

          1. Ash*

            My workplace is open on Saturdays, but not Sundays. Our Seventh-Day Adventist staff member just didn’t work Saturdays, period. Other people worked the Saturdays instead (everyone except this one staff worked at least one Saturday a month, and got Monday or Friday off instead). The workplace has to accommodate unless the accommodation would cause an undue hardship. A lot of hospitals and other emergency services operate in the same way.

        5. MassMatt*

          It sounds as though you handled it well. I’m curious though, was your employee not aware that Saturday was the busiest/most lucrative night, as it would be for most restaurants?

          The way this religious restriction is being described makes it sound as though the adherents are unaware that Saturdays are 1) a day off for most people, and 2) used primarily for recreation, running errands, etc, not religious observance.

          If these folks have grown up in the USA (or really anywhere in the west) they should know how “the weekend” works for most people. It shouldn’t be a surprise to them that they may miss opportunities and recreational activities etc because of their faith, and figure out career paths that are compatible with it.

          I worked with someone that kept the Friday sundown-to Saturday Sundown sabbath so didn’t work those days. The problem was, no one else wanted those days either, everyone else was working them in rotation. To make it fair he worked basically all the other undesireable shifts–early morning after a holiday, Friday after Thanksgiving, etc.

          There are ways to reasonably accommodate this kind of restriction that don’t involve pretending people don’t know what Saturday is.

      3. Arvolin*

        It can be appropriate to tell someone that they’re not a fit because they’re in a protected group. Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations, not ones that would conflict with the job. There are people whose religion prohibits lending money at interest, and those people really shouldn’t get into banking. A paraplegic shouldn’t expect to get a job in construction. Someone whose religion says that drinking alcohol is sinful doesn’t belong as a bartender..

        Where I live, at one point there were a lot of Muslim cab drivers who would not pick up passengers who were carrying alcoholic beverages. They were informed that they could either serve those passengers or lose airport privileges.

    2. JSPA*

      If she can’t be the greeter at the mosque because it’s only on Saturday, and she can’t work Saturday, that’s something that can’t be accommodated. But “can’t participate on outreach outside of regular hours on one day of the weekend, because people here are making a religion-based choice to do non-religious activities only on Saturday (when she can’t be there) not Sunday (when she could)?” Suggesting she look at another industry on that basis would absolutely meet the test for discrimination–even if you were to “suggest it for her own good.” It’s like the OP recently whose boss suggested he’d respect her if she left work to stay home with her hypothetical brood of not-yet-existent children. The fact that he wants her to have a happy and fulfilling life and believes that, by sharing her religion, they also share a worldview, doesn’t magically make it OK to make suggestions about how she should run her life.

      1. ElizabethJane*

        Again, the point isn’t that she can’t participate in the industry but if this particular industry is a heavily focused on Saturdays there’s only so far she going to be able to progress. Her options are essentially “continue where she is and that’s fine” or “look for another industry if climbing the career ladder is important to her”.

      2. doreen*

        I wouldn’t suggest that she look for another industry – but depending on the clientele it may be unrealistic for her to be disappointed that events are held on Saturdays. I mean, it doesn’t seem that the conference schedule is up to her employer , the parades and festivals are arranged by other entities and it’s entirely possible that the organization’s own events are scheduled on Saturdays because for one reason or another they get a better turnout on Saturday than they would on Sunday*. As long as Kate isn’t expected to work on Saturday, I’m not sure why the events should scheduled around her availability rather than when the public is willing to attend.

        * I know that when my kids were young I greatly preferred Saturday events to Sunday because Sunday events often interfered with the “getting ready for Monday” routine.

      3. lazuli*

        It’s also worth considering how the focus on Saturdays may be preventing reaching out to other customers/groups/people who don’t consider Saturday a “free” day in that way, and may be preventing diverse employees from even applying. It’s not always required — in fact it’s sometimes morally wrong — to just say, “Well, this is the way it is around here, too bad.”

        1. Nic*

          This! Kate can’t be the only Seventh Day Adventist in the area, and the SDAs aren’t the only religion who consider Saturday to be a day of rest/reflection. All those other people are also missing out on LW’s company’s outreach programs and fun days, and the conferences/training days that demand Saturday attendance.

          In the interests of diversity, maybe it’s time for LW to suggest to management that they look out for opportunities to run some fun programs and training days at different times occasionally. And maybe if it isn’t training with some sort of certificate at the end, they could also ease up on demanding full attendance at conferences for people who have good reason to need the adjustment…

    3. Nat*

      I agree. This is a miss-match of sorts. Someone’s religion is theirs to follow. We shouldn’t look for ways to exclude people of certain religions, but it isn’t our job to meet the needs of each and every religion – that is basically impossible. All religions have rules to follow – ie. church on Wednesday evening means that you have to be in church at that time and miss out on whatever else is going on on Wednesday night. If festivals occur on Saturdays, then that is when they occur. Family festivals can’t really happen on a random Tuesday afternoon because kids are in school, etc. Sometimes folks sacrifice for their religions and it is their choice to make that sacrifice or not. Religions are protected classes in that you can’t discriminate against them because of their religion not that you have to change your business model to meet their religion’s requirements.

  4. pleaset AKA cheap rolls*

    “Is there a polite way for me to decline the offer of a baby shower at the office?”

    “Thanks, but I’d rather not have a shower. Thanks so much for thinking of me.”

    1. Cj*

      If they ask you, sure. But OP said it is usually a surprise shower. She doesn’t want one sprung on her out of the blue.

    2. mdv*

      Alison’s comment about inadvertently implying that you’d be open to a non-traditional shower… what if you take THAT idea and simply tell the appropriate people that you’d like them to ONLY buy children’s books to build up your kids book library, and that you don’t mind if they take up a collection of books, any duplicates will get donated at local women’s/family shelter, but you don’t want any formal party or recognition other than that collection event.

      I don’t think you should have a shower if you don’t want one, but if your coworkers are likely to do something you don’t want, then at least you can redirect them into a “gift” idea that you would be willing to accept.

      1. PollyQ*

        Eh, I think asking for gifts but no party is going to come off as rude. It’ll also maybe hit on OP’s sore spot of differing levels of enthusism for different employees. Better to just avoid the whole she-bang.

    3. Sleepy*

      One way to deflect a shower would be to say that your family is already buying everything you need to start out (if plausible) and ask that instead of a shower, folks donate on OP’s behalf to a charity that provides diapers to low-income parents. This won’t totally get rid of the possibility of a no-gift celebration but it makes it much more likely to be low key if it happens. Sometimes it’s more effective to redirect people’s energy than it is to ask them to do nothing.

    4. Important Moi*

      Does LW have to add the softening language of “Thanks so much for thinking of me.”?

      Why not “Thanks, but I’d rather not have a shower. I don’t like to be in the center of attention.”?

      There is history of bad treatment there, why thank them for anything?

    5. Artemesia*

      The question is how to pre-empt the shower; once everyone is in the break room shouting surprise, there is no way to not participate.

    6. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      When I got married I just told my closest co-workers that I didn’t want a shower. I don’t like to be the center of attention, and those I was closest to were invited to my wedding, and also my shower that my friends threw for me. If you aren’t particularly close to anyone, go to your manager. “I know that baby showers are usually thrown for expectant mothers, but I would not like one thrown for me. Please respect my wishes.”

    7. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I explained that in my family, showers were, well, for family. The manager wanted to do something and I gave in… just a meal ticket ato the company cafeteria, and a reserved table in the quiet room. Then they gave me a baby blanket knit by one, yarn bought by the others, and that was a surprisingly meaningful compromise.

  5. Hiya*

    For #4 I certainly wouldn’t ask for a recommendation but I might just mention I was applying to their company in a very casual way. Then if they do have good vibes they can take it on themselves if they want

    1. SomehowIManage*

      I think you could also ask for insights into the company or tips. Tweeter might then decide on their own to mention your name to hiring manager

    2. Annony*

      If this person were following the OP back then maybe. But they are not which means they are more likely being polite than thinking “this person has thoughtful and substantive things to say that I am interested in.” Social media can make largely one sided interactions feel much more significant than they are. Having someone from twitter tell them that they applied to work at the same company may feel stalkerish since it is unprompted. If this person had posted about the position on twitter it would not be weird for the OP to mention applying, but without that it could actually hurt their chances. Tone is hard to convey on twitter and you don’t want to risk being creepy.

  6. Postdoc*

    #4. Research twitter, and academic twitter specifically, is weird and atypical in all the ways academic research positions can be wonky. If your tweet exchanges with this person are technical (I’m talking about specific methodological critiques, not just “I agree that it’s important to preregister hypotheses!”), I’d say it would be appropriate to reach out to this person, mention that you’ve applied to the research group, and ask if they have any advice for someone looking to work as a [research assistant/lab manager/graduate student/postdoc] within this group. Some of these positions are only or primarily advertised on the #academicchatter twitterverse–weird weird weird.

    1. Artemesia*

      I like this. You are alerting them so they are aware if your name comes up and you might get some good advice without asking a really quite unreasonable favor.

  7. CupcakeCounter*

    I agree with Alison but something you probably could do is next time he tweets something you can converse about, reply as you normally would and if he engages in a bit of back and forth conversation, and towards the end as a wrap up drop a “As a side note-I just applied at XYZ Research Institute so if all goes well, we might be able to have a conversation in person one day”. Super casual, no hints about a recommendation, and no pressure on his end.
    Don’t respond to the first tweet of his you see – it will really need to be something similar to what you have responded to in the past and it should be at the end of your little back and forth when it seems like the conversationally is naturally wrapping up.

    1. Jennifer*

      I think a better approach might be to wait and see if the OP actually gets hired at the company, then if she does bump into him at work, mention she’s enjoyed chatting with him on social media.

  8. Elizabeth West*

    #3 could also say that they have family members who have been very generous and they pretty much already have everything. I know OP doesn’t owe anyone a reason to decline anything they don’t want, but sometimes you have to give people one to shut them down.

    #5: I had someone on Twitter ask me about my job search and say if she heard of anything she’d reach out to me. She hasn’t, but she also said there wasn’t much available where she is right now because of COVID. So it does happen, but I wouldn’t have messaged her first based on the superficial nature of our interactions.

    And may I just add: Dear COVID, F you; may a bacterium get the better of you and eat you for lunch.

    1. old curmudgeon*

      I wondered the same thing. Or if they’d rather not bring religion into it, just saying something about not wanting to tempt the fates before the baby arrives lest it cause bad luck.

    2. Legal Beagle*

      As a Jew, please don’t claim distant ties to Jewish beliefs and practices in order to avoid making a simple request…

      1. Threeve*

        Why not? A tradition is not a religious practice, and superstitions are hella contagious. Half of my superstitions come from my childhood friend’s weird Russian grandma. My not-at-all Jewish friend heard about the Ashkenazi tradition of not naming babies after living relatives because the angel of death might make a mistake and take the wrong one, and it stuck with her. (Advice: don’t mention upsetting baby-related superstitions to pregnant friends).

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          Because someone who is of the faith or culture you’re speaking flippantly about lying about being part of their religion asked you not to.

          If you want to be part of their traditions, you have to respect the roots of it. Say “Oh no, I’m superstitious and don’t believe in baby-showers.” and leave it alone. Don’t pretend to be tied to something you’re not. Don’t be one of those people who claims “But I’m an 1/8 Cherokee, I can wear this headdress, it’s so pretty!”

          Just don’t.

          1. PeteAndRepeat*

            This. It’s appropriation, pure and simple. Jews have historically been persecuted and massacred for our beliefs and practices. Our tradition is sacred to us, it’s not a tourist attraction.

        2. AvonLady Barksdale*

          Because I’d rather not be used as an excuse. “I like this tradition I heard about” is a very different thing from “I am ___ therefore I will not ____.”

          I mean, I knock on wood too, and I spit three times to ward off the devil, but neither of these things makes me Sicilian.

          1. Helena1*

            There’s also no need. Lots of people/cultures think it’s bad luck to buy before the birth of the child. That’s why christening presents are a thing. Both mum and baby are out of the woods by that point (usually 3 months or so after the birth). There are post-confinement parties in other cultures for similar reasons.

            Or you could just have had a previous loss. Many women have had miscarriages – certainly I would never have bought anything before the third trimester, and found the idea of a shower to be really tempting fate. A pre-baby get together with your friends before you become much less available? Great. Kitting our your nursery before the baby is viable? Definitely no.

        3. PeteAndRepeat*

          As I commented below, it’s appropriation and it’s offensive. Also, I’m not going to argue semantics with you, but traditions are – at the very least – deeply entwined with religious practices. What is a Jewish tradition if not an ingrained practice of many Jews? (We also have a concept in Judaism that long-standing community customs are akin to Jewish law.)

          But really, do you need a reason to acknowledge that it would not be ok to claim a fake connection to Judaism besides a Jewish person saying “this is not ok, please don’t”?

      2. Important Moi*

        Threeve, if a tradition is not a religious practice, why bring up religion to decline a tradition?

      3. JSPA*

        …and plenty of Jews do baby showers, anyway.

        This is like saying, “my great aunt is Baptist, so I can’t come to your concert on Sunday.”

        Plenty of cultures and plenty of individuals prefer to avoid pre-baby things. Point at yourself, not at someone else. At most, point at “my family tradition” / “we don’t do X.” It doesn’t need a larger cultural label to be valid.

    3. Pilcrow*

      That’s a weird hoop to jump through just to refuse a baby shower! And it doesn’t really help the OP any way, even if she was Jewish. She’d still have to find a person to talk to and say “no shower, please,” and then lie about the reason.

    4. Dust Bunny*

      Don’t do this. Just say your friends and family have been generous with the hand-me-downs and you don’t need the gifts. Whether it’s true or not is irrelevant.

      1. Artemesia*

        The problem is that this might cause them to do a non-gift shower or a non-traditional gift shower like give you a take out gift card — I don’t need baby clothes is a different statement than ‘I don’t want to be the focus of a baby shower party.’ So something along the line of ‘In our family we don’t do it because it feels like bad luck’ or ‘they are just not my thing, I really don’t want one at work.’ makes clear that you don’t want the party, not just you don’t want baby things.

    5. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      You don’t need to lie about it! Just say you don’t like them and even throw in that you think they’re bad luck if you want to. You don’t need to draw a line to Judaism.

      The reason behind their superstition is heart breaking, please don’t play on their tragedies just to not have an awkward conversation.

    6. PollyQ*

      Some Jews don’t do baby showers, but many, many American Jews do. And I’m not crazy about people “claiming ties” to use a cultural excuse that they don’t actually believe themselves. “Please don’t throw me a shower” is all that should be needed here.

    7. Jennifer*

      It’s never really a good idea to lie to get out of doing something unless it’s an extreme situation. It always comes back to bite you in the end. It’s okay to politely tell someone no. We’re talking about a baby shower here. The stakes are pretty low.

  9. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    #1 always lives me with this pit in my stomach, it reads to me that upper management wants the OP to just fire the replacement instead. I don’t know why they don’t just come out and say that they can only have one person in the position and it’s Jane [for whatever their awful reasoning is for that!] but it’s the gut feeling on my end.

    This is why I like Alison’s approach to go to them in a fashion that protects the new hire with “Then what do we do with Jane if we aren’t terminating her employment?” Make them squirm and say it out loud.

    1. a thought*

      I agree with what your saying. I like your direct method to question those above and have them figure out the solution.

    2. Person from the Resume*

      I did think that upper management is totally dropping the ball. They let Jane take back her resignation despite hiring her replacement, but they haven’t provided any guidance on what she’s supposed to do now that her replacement is ready to take over.

      OTOH since Jane was busy training her replacement up until now, it’s time for the LW to say something. It’s time to for Jane to make the clean break and for the LW to put the ball in the upper management’s court as to what Jane’s new duties will be.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        Yeah, I think at first the idea could have been “Oh good, we’ve got Jane for awhile while the new hire gets onboarded, that’s really helpful for us!”. Then she just kept showing up after training is long gone. Now its’ time to say “No seriously, what can she be doing, New Hire is fully up to speed!”

        I’ve been in a similar situation where I thought the former person was hanging out too long and was seriously worried I’d be let go because the person was actually still holding onto the position. I feel bad for that new hire wondering about when they’re going to be cut loose in their new role without their Jane shaped anchor on their ankle.

        1. tangerineRose*

          Also, the new person might be job searching at this point, and the OP could end up with neither Jane nor the new person.

      2. Career HR person*

        And this is exactly why I recommend that supervisors not allow employees to rescind resignations- especially if you have already filled the role! It is clear to me that in allowing her to rescind, no one did any thinking about how this would logically be handled .

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          I’m shocked it’s a thing! I have rescinded by resignation before but it’s been when the job was still open and seriously not a big deal. But I can’t imagine saying “J/K J/K”. No you have to be re-hired in that case!

          Even one of my old bosses said that I couldn’t have my job back but he’d find me a new job if I decided to come back and he’s a pisshead who isn’t afraid to just sack someone for the sake of sacking them! I had no intention to come back, lol.

        2. Wintergreen*

          Yeah, my former manager doesn’t allow employees to rescind resignations. In her mind, if you are ready to leave the company, you are ready to leave the company…the end. A coworker got into a little argument with another coworker and put in her resignation in a snit. It was totally one of those overblown, people are in a bad mood types of arguments that blew over and was almost forgotten about a few days later and her leaving was going to put some strain on others in her department because it was a busy time. Even then, coworker wasn’t able to walk back her resignation. It was a rude awakening for coworker but I get where manager was coming from.

    3. KayDeeAye*

      Long ago, I worked for a place – let’s call it Tweedledum Tweedledee Inc. – that would routinely hire two people for one job. Boss 1 would want to hire Candidate 1, and Boss 2 would want to hire Candidate 2, and rather than picking one or the other, they’d hire both. I don’t mean they did it with every position, but they did it fairly regularly. I only worked there for a year, and to my certain knowledge, this happened at least three times, and this in a company that had maybe 10-12 open positions each year.

      Yes, of course this is ridiculous.

      And yes, it did happen to me. The way it would work is that they’d just hire both, train both (sort of – the training wasn’t particularly thorough), and then step back and see what happened. In my case, Candidate 2 turned out to be very, very bad at the job, so she was fired, leaving me to continue on. In another case, Candidate 2 went head-to-head with Candidate 1 for a while, but Candidate 1 was just a lot more aggressive, so Candidate 2 then sort of carved out a new niche for himself and both candidates stayed on. And in the third case, Candidates 1 and 2 just jogged along awkwardly for a couple of months until one of them got sick of it and found another job.

      I wonder if the OP’s company has a hankering to become another Tweedledum Tweedledee Inc.? If so, I don’t recommend it!

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        Fascinating! That’s so…not cost effective at all, LOL. I mean it’s great they seemingly had the budget for multiple hires though and to let it all sort itself out in the end. But yeah, that seems like such a weird mess.

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

        how very Thunderdome of them — two candidates enter, one candidate leaves! They could really cut down on the awkward time by making them arm wrestle for it after 2 weeks or something.

      3. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

        Did they bother to let both candidates know that they were essentially fighting for 1 job? That’s beyond F’d up!

      4. KayDeeAye*

        It was *really* messed up. I think in most cases (including mine and the guy who managed to carve out a new niche for himself), they’d tell the “successful” candidates that they’d decided to add a position to the department and implying that there was room for both. In some cases, this may have been true or at least they hoped it would be true. But in other cases, it had to have been obvious that there was only one job, and candidates would find out that it was survival-of-the-fittest time.

        The niche-creating guy had it rougher than I did. I worked in editorial, so it’s possible Tweedledum Tweedledee Inc. would have found a place for both me and Candidate 2 if we’d worked out. But the niche-creating guy had to go head-to-head with another candidate in a *sales* territory meant for one person, and once that became clear to him, he sniffed around and found bits and pieces of other sales-type things that weren’t being done and thus managed to stitch together a job for himself.

        So yeah, messed up. I didn’t have a bad time in that job, but then again, I was only there one year. Maybe if they’d hired Candidate 2, she would have stayed longer. :-)

      5. LJay*

        This is insane to me.

        I can’t imagine how that works from a budgeting perspective, etc. If the personnel costs are 1.75x what they expected where does that money come from?

          1. KayDeeAye*

            LOL. My guess is that the accounting/budgeting there was sloppy enough that this wasn’t a problem. Which is a big problem in and of itself!

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

      I’m getting a vibe that upper management thinks that Jane is still leaving, it’s just taking longer than originally planned: “Jane’s new job will start eventually” or “she will continue to look for a new job and we’ll just let her stay until she has one…no big deal,” and they aren’t concerned with keeping her busy or paying her salary…just set her up in an out-of-the-way space with an internet connection and go on around her. It would suck for her, if she’s the kind of person that wants to be useful, but for the OP stop worrying about keeping her busy. She already wanted to leave.

      1. boop the first*

        Yes this! And that’s really what’s happening anyway, it’s not like Jane is just going to stop looking.

    5. PollyQ*

      I would guess that if anyone would be pushed out, it’d be Jane, only upper management will wait until New Hire is up to speed and has demonstrated that she can do the job. But yes, OP needs to get clarification from above.

    6. RebelwithMouseyHair*

      I get the impression that management may well know full well that Jane was treated badly, but also know that it’s too late to do anything about it at this point, given that she’s sent her CV out to various places. This new job fell through but she probably has irons in several other fires. So they’re just graciously letting her stay on until she has a new offer. OP is doing fine giving her short-term projects to work on.

      I would start by talking with Jane to see if there’s any way of keeping her on, if she has any idea of what job she might want (warning, OP, she may have wanted yours!). If she doesn’t seem to really care, that would indicate that she is still looking for another job. If she’s brimming with ideas, OP should see what might work and bring it up with management, pointing out of course that they’ve noticed just what a great employee they might lose.
      OP certainly should let management know that they’d be letting

  10. Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers*

    In response to OP5. I’m an observant Jew which means that I can’t attend anything on a Friday evening, or a Saturday, or a Jewish holiday. I’ve missed lots of office parties, conferences, and that sort of thing, and yeah it can be difficult. But it’s also not something I expect my company to work around, beyond not requiring me to work at those times. I think the OP is pretty sensitive to be looking for ways to include this employee, and Alison’s advice is thoughtful.

    I am a little surprised and uncomfortable with the employee being disengaged from the planning of these Saturday events though. That’s part of her job, regardless of whether or not she can attend (and I think she’s pretty lucky that attendance isn’t a condition of the job, because it sounds as though it’s expected of others to be there). As her manager I would address that, because we all have to do things at work that we don’t see the point of, aren’t personally going to benefit from, won’t participate in, etc. But we still have to put in the effort and have the right attitude.

    1. The New Normal*

      I agree that she should be allowed to participate in the organization and planning of events as best as possible. Because it is harming her ability to earn a promotion if everyone else gets to participate and get face time with higher-level management and she does not. Even if she isn’t physically at the event, she can get things prepped.

      I have family that are devout Seventh-Day Adventist and they also follow the sundown Friday to sundown Saturday guidelines. They did miss work events and socializing for work.

      1. Putting Out Fires, Esq.*

        It sounds like the employee is disengaging, not that the boss isn’t letting her help plan, which is also a problem.

      2. Rusty Shackelford*

        I agree that she should be allowed to participate in the organization and planning of events as best as possible.

        I don’t think she’s being removed from the planning process. It sounds like she’s disengaging herself; losing interest because she won’t be able to attend.

    2. PeteAndRepeat*

      Also a shomer shabbat Jew, and totally agree. I was in charge of planning an event that was happening on a Saturday, and as part of that work, I put together reference resources and held handover meetings with the coworker who was standing in for me at the event. What if someone was going to be on vacation during an event? You don’t get to just check out of doing the advance work.

    3. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

      Yes! I was also thinking this (before reading your reply):

      I totally understand religious restrictions on not being able to work Saturday (although, like others, I mostly associated this with Judaism – TIL!) but it doesn’t seem right that she “disengages” with what’s presumably part of her actual job responsibilities, (as opposed to being an optional member of planning events for the ‘fun committee’ for example).

      I can understand why, and agree that that needs to be addressed, although personally (not saying this as advice to the OP, but just a statement about myself) I think I’d feel quite uncomfortable addressing anything ‘adjacent’ to religious observance like this. Although is that treating someone differently because of their religion in the way that I would be more comfortable bringing up “refusal to engage with job duties” that was unrelated to religion? That’s where it gets difficult.

    4. RebelwithMouseyHair*

      Thank you for this comment. I wanted to say that, but was afraid that I’d be reprimanded for not understanding her position, since I have no religious restrictions on when I can work.

  11. a thought*

    LW1 – Maybe this isn’t as clear cut as I’m thinking. Why does Jane still have a job with this company? (typing it out that sounds very blunt and rude, sorry OP) She gave her resignation. The golden rule is more or less have everything set to go before you give your resignation. I understand the circumstances are not Jane’s doing, but I almost feel like she shouldn’t be able to use OP’s company as a safety net or change her mind. She gave her resignation, the company has to move from there. It seems that there isn’t enough work for two people and Jane’s replacement is all set. I don’t mean for this to sound cold hearted, it just bothers me that Jane seems to think she still has a job there. Again I’m sure it’s not as clear cut as I’m thinking; I’m not usually this stubborn; but I’m a bit perplexed and flabbergasted.

    PS Yes I feel for Jane, she is in a situation not of her doing. I just mean I feel like she said oh there’s a delay I’ll just stay, but didn’t bother to ask the company if this is ok. Like she expects loyalty and money even though one foot is out the door. I think it’s great that Jane, OP and the Company are working to give Jane work. I just mean major changes were made for Jane leaving and now things are topsy turby. OP you need to follow Alison’s advice and get some direction from those higher up.

    1. Person from the Resume*

      Nope, nope, nope. Jane is not the problem.
      I have been told by my upper management that they will not be terminating Jane’s employment.

      Jane must have asked upper management (or someone) if she could stay after the replacement was hired, and they said “yes.” It’s that person’s responsibility to explain what Jane is supposed to do now and it the LW’s department can carry an extra person.

      1. a thought*

        I can see what you are saying.

        I read it more as Jane didn’t so much as ask permission but kept showing up; upper management is throwing their hands up and ignoring the situation in hopes that it solves itself. Jane might of just informed people that hey there’s a delay, great news I can stay longer.

        I agree that upper management needs to make some decisions about Jane/ the position in question. This whole situation is on upper management.

        As I admitted, I don’t think the situation is as clear cut as I am interpreting it.

        1. Person from the Resume*

          So … L.H. Puttgrass explains it wasn’t so clear cut below.

          But I assumed if someone actually resigns then the payroll office needs to be informed of their last day so they can ensure handle everything that needs to be handled for a final paycheck. Continuing to show up after the resignation date won’t generate a pay check or at least will generate much confusion.

          1. a thought*

            I agree. Showing up after a resignation date won’t guarantee a paycheck. I guess in some mixed up way I was thinking there was a delay in paperwork etc. I’ve watched too many movies during the lockdown over the last few months. Yes I agree with what you are saying. I just feel like (prior to L.H. explanation below) that Jane was using the company as a safety net.

    2. L.H. Puttgrass*

      I tracked down the original post from 2016, and the OP explained how it happened:

      Rather than ‘announced’, I should have said, ‘gave us the professional courtesy of letting us know she was going to be leaving in the short term.’

      Hermione is very aware that the situation is awkward and has been nothing but apologetic and professional. I think that my next step, as Alison suggested, is talking with management and her about moving into an empty role in the interim.

      Unfortunately, that’s the only update I could find.

      1. Luke G*

        May I say, your username is absolutely fabulous. I grew up reading my dad’s old Bloom County collections and ol’ Luther was always my favorite character.

        1. L.H. Puttgrass*

          Thanks! I find Mr. Puttgrass to be a fitting avatar for an anonymous internet commentator.

          L.H. Puttgrass signing off and heading for the tub!

    3. Marzipan Dragon*

      We’ve had this happen but the union contract has clause that you can rescind your resignation for 60 or 90 days (don’t remember the details). Several times someone has discovered the grass isn’t greener and just showed back up for their job. Administration has to figure out what to do with the extra worker.

      In the most recent case the job required traveling between two locations so they simply split it. The other one was more ghoulish as the boss had a terminal disease so the returning employee was made the understudy and hung around to inherit the job. In one way it was a relief to the boss that someone was there to cover all his sick days and medical appointments but in another way ick for literally hanging around waiting for someone to die.

    4. Jennifer*

      I think they were trying to be nice and let her stay on until she found another job since the last one fell through. I think they should have given her a notice from the beginning that they would let her stay on another two months or so to train the new person and find something else. Then she’d be able to plan. But job searching can take a long time. I hate for her to be left in the lurch but they never intended to pay two employees. You have to be certain about your new job offer before you resign.

    5. Nope, not today*

      I was once Jane in a similar situation, and was super grateful my job didnt push me out right away – but I was also very sensitive to the fact that I was no longer needed. I’d told my boss I was planning to move to a new state, as soon as we could sell our house, and immediately found out I was pregnant which upped our time table….. in the spring of 2008. HORRIBLE time to try and sell a property! So, they hired a replacement after about two months of looking, she started, I trained her. Eventually she was doing all the work and I had nothing to do…. I left about two weeks after that, though I didnt want to – I didnt want to move out of a house that I still had to pay a mortgage on, while 7 months pregnant and having no job lined up! But while they were fantastic not kicking me out I felt I’d overstayed my welcome as much as I could live with. I was really grateful they let me though, because nothing that year worked out as I’d initially planned or hoped!

  12. Bookworm*

    #4: Depending on how well you know the person, you could always casually mention that you’re interested in this line of research for work but agree–wouldn’t push for a recommendation. Social media connections like that can be hit or miss: I know it has worked for some people but as someone who tried it (admittedly I didn’t know the person and totally messed this up), I wouldn’t recommend pushing too hard.

  13. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    If he doesn’t even follow you on Twitter, that’s even more of a “no”. I’m sorry, but I don’t remember most of the random accounts I mini-chat with on Twitter, let alone to the point I’d recommend them for a job! That’s not how social media networking works. You need to establish a much tighter bond to even think about that stretch.

    I’ve had some exchanges with some really cool people on Twitter, it’s a great tool but you have to reel in your expectations a bit. It takes a lot to bond virtually, especially enough to put your own reputation on the line for someone. On the flip side. If someone said “Hey, I’ve talked to that person on Twitter, we should give it a shot.” I’d also question why the person would put their neck out like that.

  14. KHB*

    #3: My office, too, has a culture of surprise baby showers. Our admin takes a lot of pride in organizing them. She puts out the call for gifts/donations and gives everyone the details of the event with a bit “Shhhhhhh!” in the email subject line. She tells the parent-to-be they’re scheduled for a “meeting.” They get to the “meeting,” we all yell “surprise!”

    I hate this kind of thing. I hate being part of any kind of deceit, and I’d hate it even more to be on the receiving end of it. I’m child-free, so I (mercifully) don’t have to worry about any baby showers on my behalf, but occasionally these things get thrown for other life events, or even major anniversaries of employment. (Not always, though, and I’m not sure how that gets decided.)

    For a while, I fantasized about going to the admin and saying, “Please do not ever throw me a surprise party of any kind for any reason – if you do, I will quit on the spot.” That’s overkill, of course, but it’s how strongly I feel.

    1. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      I hate being the center of attention. In fact when I got married, I was most nervous about walking down the aisle with everyone staring at me, but thankfully I was able to focus on my husband and tune everyone else out.

      When I got engaged, I told my closest friends that I did NOT want any type of shower/celebration at work. I had invited those closest to me to my shower and wedding and I didn’t want some awkward celebration at work. If someone threw me a surprise shower, I would have turned around and walked out.

    2. old curmudgeon*

      I am so there with you.

      I am still several years away from retirement, and I am already dreading the inevitable chorus of “but we HAAAAAAAVE to have a retirement party for you!” that I know will greet my announcement that I do not want and will not accept any kind of festivities for the occasion. I hate, hate, HATE being the center of attention, and I equally despise being in unstructured social situations with large groups of people.

      1. Ungrateful wench*

        Not quite the same as your thought, but I gave notice once, and on my last day was telling a few coworkers goodbye; my boss heard me and said no! You’re last day isn’t until tomorrow! I disagreed and explained 2 weeks from a Thursday notice, my last day was a Wednesday. She hadn’t read it that way (too bad) and was upset that they didn’t get to have a cake for me. She wanted me to come in the next day anyway so they could get cake and a card!!! I couldn’t stand her, so I wasn’t unhappy at all about missing a goodbye party.

    3. pleaset AKA cheap rolls*

      My organization put a shared surprise birthday party on me (it was a shared party for a two or three of us with nearby birth dates). I waved, said “Thanks,” turned around and walked out. I might have left for the day (it was very late afternoon anyway).

  15. doreen*

    It’s not just a Jewish tradition – as far as my Italian-American family is concerned, baby showers are an American thing and I’m sure that it’s not just an Italian and Jewish tradition. If the OP wants to, she could just say she doesn’t believe in baby showers, family tradition is to have nothing at home until the baby is born.

    1. londonedit*

      They’re becoming more common in the UK, but only in the last 10 years (?) or so. Traditionally they totally weren’t a thing here, and a lot of people of my parents’ generation would subscribe to the idea that it’s bad luck to buy things or give gifts before the baby arrives. Traditionally we give a gift once the baby is born.

  16. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

    OP1 (Jane resigned and then rescinded it) – I don’t quite understand how they can have Jane’s successor doing the Llama Groomer role having been successfully trained (presumably) and Jane is on special short-term projects… because her tenure is uncertain so OP doesn’t want to give her any long-term work.

    That’s understandable given that she’s already shown she has one foot out of the door, and presumably will continue her job search.

    The part I don’t understand is – doesn’t this org have budgets, approved headcount, etc to stick to? Where has the budget/approval for the “additional” role (whether that’s occupied by Jane or successor) such that they now have 2 employees on the books and on payroll and both of them are now not on notice? It’s got to be a big enough organisation that they have budgets and headcount approval since OP was told by “her upper management” which sounds like it isn’t OPs direct boss, so there must be at least 4 levels of hierarchy in this organisation…

    I wonder if the upper management is keeping on Jane’s replacement as a favour, for some reason. I wonder about the circumstances in which OP became manager of this team – e.g. did the other manager leave for a better opportunity or was there something more political?

  17. Personal Best In Consecutive Days Lived*

    LW3 if you have the standing to do this, I think you should use this opportunity to push back on the ‘office favourites’ culture. Point out that you’ve noticed the disparity over the years and don’t feel comfortable participating.

  18. Introvert girl*

    3) If your office really insists on doing something, why not suggest a donation of 5 dollars to buy diapers for a local helpcenter for young mothers or something like that. You can also bring Covid into it: lot’s of people lost their jobs, you are lucky and have everything you need, so let’s help others instead of spending the money on a party.

  19. Quickbeam*

    Re: the religious issue with Saturday….I’m a SDA and I don’t work Saturdays. Sometimes people just assume Saturday is a great day for everything but really does not work for SDAs or observant Jews. How about some events on a Sunday? People often don’t even consider it but it can be a work around.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      A lot of venues aren’t open on Sunday is what you run into there. Along with limited hours, since Sunday is built around the tradition of being off the table in general. It’s unfair and antiquated but it’s what we are still dealing with as a society.

      We also don’t do events on Sundays because it’s common to work on Mondays…and people don’t want to go to a parade or an all day festival the day before they have to go back to the office.

  20. Elbe*

    What a massive, massive red flag that “show loyalty” comment is. Why on earth would someone – who is not even an employee – have loyalty to a company? Are these people out of their minds?

    They clearly just don’t want the person to have other offers so that it will save them money during salary negotiations. Or, they know that they pay significantly under market and they’re hoping to limit their interviewee’s contact with other companies so that they won’t find out.

    There is literally no good, ethical reason why a company would pressure an potential hire to forgo other opportunities that they might have. If the LW’s partner can run away from this, they should.

    1. somebodysomewhere*

      Possibly the OP forgot to mention that the job’s in North Korea working for the dear leader?

  21. Policy Wonk*

    Events on Saturdays don’t just preclude those of certain religions. Parents of school-age children are likely to be challenged to be available on Saturdays – lack of child care, kids have sports or scouting events. Ditto people who are working second jobs or taking classes who may need that time to study or do school work. With the current interest in work-life balance, I’m surprised there isn’t more push-back on training programs that extend into the weekend. I’d recommend the OP push back on those scheduling events, ask if they have some that don’t involve weekend days. (More common in my world is events that take the entire week. Thus one needs to travel on the weekend, but the events themselves usually wrap up on Friday.)

    1. Kevin Sours*

      “kids have sports or scouting events”
      From the letter it sounds like the job involves hosting events of that nature.

      1. RussianInTexas*

        Yes, except for the training, everything else sounds like community events that are normally scheduled for Saturdays BECAUSE people can’t do them any other days.

    2. RebelwithMouseyHair*

      If someone’s working two jobs, or combining work and study they won’t ever have any free time for events surely? There will always be people who can’t do something at a particular time, but if you’re planning an event you only want there to be enough people to make it worth your while, you can’t ever make everyone happy.

  22. Kevin Sours*

    Something important to keep in mind — whichever side of the interview desk you are sitting — is that the interview process is the start of the working relationship. And it’s a time when everyone is focused on presenting themselves in the best light. Which is to say that the chances of the relationship established in the interview to change for the better after hire is vanishingly small.

    So that is the light in which you should consider a demand for creepy levels of loyalty from a prospective employer (and, of course, they aren’t showing any loyalty to the prospective employee by say offering a severance if the job offer fails to materialize or proves unsatisfactory).

  23. Wintergreen*

    I haven’t read all the comments but regarding letter #1. I would think the first step would be to speak with Jane and I’m surprised that wasn’t the response.

    Now that the other job fell through, does Jane want to continue her job search or does she want to stay with the company. I would think OP would want to know that before speaking with upper management about clarifying their comments about Jane’s job not up for termination.

    If Jane is still actively looking and doesn’t want to stay, short term projects may be just fine. But OP mentioned that Jane’s previous manager was not very good. Perhaps now that she is no longer Jane’s manager, she is willing to commit more time to the company and stay, thus a more long term solution/job duties will be required. All very relevant to whatever discussions OP would have with upper management.

  24. IrishEm*

    Re: Show us “loyalty” by not applying to any other jobs… I’m just about breaking my sides laughing. When one is on unemployment in Ireland one must provide adequate evidence that one is attending interviews and making applications in order to retain social welfare. If it’s like that in the States companies like that are going to get a name as places not to apply to, and they won’t have the workforce they need.

    And yes, I know, plenty of people interview while employed, but I would still laugh in the face of any company who told me not to interview anywhere else without an accepted off in my hands. You never know if Company B is going to offer better insurance or holidays or money than company loyAlty who are probably trying to lowball their applicants by asking them to not go to their competitors and see how competitive wages are elsewhere.

    1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

      Also, I’m not even sure that it could be possible, in any clean, upfront way, to make sure the potential employee honours such an agreement?

      1. Gazebo Slayer*

        Yeah. If a company asks that, it’s fine to lie and say of course you won’t apply for other jobs. A company that would make such a demand doesn’t deserve the truth.

  25. Phil*

    I’m Jewish and went to a high school military academy. And if you were wondering, yes, I was the only one. But I went to temple Saturday mornings so I didn’t have to go through inspection. I just had to keep my room clean.

  26. Safely Retired*

    Regarding #3 and the baby shower, you suggestion of saying “it’s really not something I want” does not convey what you have been told. Maybe that softening is necessary, but the actual sentiment is “it’s something I really do not want”. Not an absence of desire but a positive desire to not have it.

  27. mkaibear*

    #3 – since you run the risk of offending people by declining a baby shower (because, y’know, people get ridiculous when it comes to these things) then you do have the option of doing what Elizabeth West suggested and saying that you already have everything you need – but then asking instead if people would support a charity (like La Leche League, or National Childbirth Trust (in the UK) or Global Fund for Women, etc) with donations instead.

    That way you get to a) not have gifts given to you, b) get “baby-related” charity donations, allowing people to feel involved, meaning you can effectively register that you don’t want a baby shower while meeting people’s “needs” to help out.

    Just a thought.

    1. pleaset AKA cheap rolls*

      Nah, offend them.

      Really. We need to offend more people on little, intrusive stuff like this. That’s a good thing.

      More people should do it – be blunter.

  28. Elm*

    I DEFINITELY had places I interviewed get super mad that I had interviewed elsewhere while waiting to hear from them. I was actually surprised by how many places asked if I was, but it felt like most were trying to get an idea of a timeline. But some seemed pretty unhappy that my unemployed self wasn’t putting all my eggs in one basket.

    And then there was one that seemed to get openly offended that I had accepted a job elsewhere. Now if we had been in the negotiation process, I’d get it. But their interview process…well, my first interview was in something like March, then May, then August. I took my new job in OCTOBER, and they contacted me in November for another interview. And they seemed horrified that I hadn’t just sat around waiting for their *temp* position.

    Also, for a temp position, why on Earth would they think anyone would still be available several months later? Or start interviewing for a temp months before they needed them?

    (And this was a large, international, well-known company.)

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