anti-vaxx coworker is verifying vaccinations, paying for a cover letter, and more

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

1. Anti-vaxx coworker has job verifying vaccinations

I work at a college as an admin assistant. One of the other admin assistants will be assisting in measles vaccination verification soon. She is an anti-vaxxer. What makes this situation trickier is that she has had integrity issues.

A specific example of this involves timesheet reporting. We’re teleworking because of COVID. Most of our duties as admins involve scheduling/receptionist work. Because of the way our softphones work, only one of us can answer the phones at a time. So, we work the phones in blocks of time. One morning, during her block, the phone kept ringing without being answered. I texted her and she called back. She said for me to keep her on the schedule, but she wasn’t working that day. She didn’t want to use up her sick days.

I gave our boss a brief heads-up about the situation, but there’s a reason my coworker knew this would fly. He kept her on the schedule and I did all the work.

Anyway, that boss is gone now. Our college has undergone massive cuts and reorganization. Our new boss is someone we haven’t worked under before. The new boss is aware that my coworker has had ongoing issues with fudging her timesheet and is willing to give her a fresh start, I think seeing it as a problem of prior management.

The timesheet stuff isn’t the only integrity issue. The other stuff is a little more gut feeling, wishy washy, sin of omission stuff. Does this vector into her anti-vaxx stance and new job duties? Should I bring it up at all?

You should 100% inform your new boss that the person assigned to assist in vaccination verification is an anti-vaxxer. If she doesn’t think it’s a concern, she doesn’t need to act on it — but she should have that information so she can make that call.

I would say it this way: “With Jane slated to begin assisting with vaccination verification, I felt I should let you know that she’s been vocal about her opposition to vaccinations. I have no idea if it would affect the way she approaches the work, but I didn’t feel comfortable knowing that and not flagging it for you.”

Your boss already knows Jane has been fudging her timesheets (!) so hopefully will have the sense to realize that the two of these together could add up to serious concerns. (Frankly, the anti-vaxxer stuff on its own is a concern for someone involved in vaccination work but it’s made worse when the person already has known integrity issues.)

2. Paying for a cover letter

I’m a member of an online community of professional writers. Most of the members are freelancers, though I hold a director-level content position at a company where I have been a hiring manager in the past. Today, a member of the community posted a question about being approached by someone to write their cover letter for them. They mentioned turning down the opportunity, a move I agree with. But (I’m not exaggerating here) a dozen people responded to the post saying there’s nothing wrong with being paid to write someone else’s cover letter, and that they do so frequently. Alison, I felt like I was taking crazy pills! Is paying for a professional to write your cover letters for you that common? Should hiring managers expect this? How is it at all ethical?

Only one other person agreed with me; everyone else was like, “Go for it! Make your easy money writing someone else’s cover letter! It’s no different from paying a resume writer!” I couldn’t disagree more. To me, a cover letter is an example of someone’s communications skills, which are important in roles beyond just content/writing/editing roles. Am I the one who’s off-base here?

Whoa, no, you aren’t the one who’s off-base. A cover letter is supposed to be an example of the applicant’s communication skills. If I found out a candidate had paid someone else to write it for them, it would be a serious strike against their judgment. On top of that, it’s hard to imagine how a stranger could write a truly compelling cover letter for someone else; a strong cover letter talks about reasons the person would excel at the job that aren’t in their resume and gives insight into person beyond the data on their resume. Writing a truly good cover letter for a stranger (one worth paying for) would either take a massive investment of time in getting to know them or be so blah as to do them a disservice … or, I guess, could just be full of made-up info about them.

People like to point out that not everyone writes well, and that’s true! And if you’re applying for jobs that don’t require great writing, then your cover letter doesn’t need to show great writing either; it just needs to show that you communicate reasonably competently in writing. (And if you don’t, that’s relevant info for the hiring manager).

But whether anyone thinks it should be this way or not, the reality is that hiring managers assume cover letters are your own work. Even if you got help editing it, the convention is that they’re understood to be the work of the person who signed their name at the bottom.

It’s not surprising that there’s a market for it anyway, but it’s not ethical on either side. To illustrate that: There would be no problem with disclosing that a resume writer helped you with your resume if it came up for some reason — because resumes are inventories of your professional life; they’re not intended to illustrate your communication skills — but I doubt anyone would want to announce that someone wrote their cover letter for them (and that’s because they know it would go over like a lead balloon).

3. Should I tell my boss I don’t like my new job?

I started a new job around six months ago and my probationary period is ending with my upcoming review. I do not like the job at all. While it is in my field, I no longer get to do any of the things I enjoy doing and spend all day at a desk (I did not with my previous job) and don’t get to do much higher level work. The management style of my boss doesn’t really work for me, as she is very overly involved in her pet projects and then not at all involved in the other projects. I receive very little feedback (what I do receive has been positive). I know she will ask in the review what I think of the job and I don’t know what to say. My instinct is to keep my head down and say it’s fine and start looking for something else, but should I be honest and tell her it’s not really working out? If so how do I word it?

Don’t tell her it’s not working out unless you’re prepared to be pushed out before you’ve found a new job. Typically it only makes sense to tell your boss you’re unhappy with the job if there’s something actionable you’re asking to change — like if you were told you’d spend most of your time on X but you’re spending most of your time on Y, or something else your manager could feasibly address. If it’s just that you dislike the work or dislike your boss, announcing that you’re unhappy has a pretty high risk of your manager concluding it’s not working out and making moves toward replacing you, which might happen on a faster timeline than you’d want. That’s especially true when you’re still pretty new, since she may figure it doesn’t make sense to keep investing in training you.

That said, if you were led to believe you’d be doing higher level work, you can certainly talk to your boss about that. I just wouldn’t announce that you’re unhappy without a specific request attached to it.

4. How early is too early to tell my bosses I’m pregnant?

I’m newly pregnant (yay!) and I’ve dug through the archives, but I haven’t found a great answer to my question: is there a reason other than “you may miscarry” to not tell work you’re pregnant?

Normally I’d wait, but I’m in a scenario where my boss(es) knowing earlier will give us a unique window to plan things to account for my maternity leave (adjusting the caliber of additional support we’re hiring, setting timelines for projects where I’m a non-negotiable contributor, etc). We’re making these business decisions very soon, before I even plan on telling my family!

It would also help me 1) explain a handful of appointments I have in the next month and 2) let me work from home full-time until this god-awful morningALL DAY sickness abates. (We currently go into the office on a rotation, but I don’t really need to.)

My bosses are all across the country from me, so I could conceivably keep this to myself for months, but it feels like it would help me to tell them earlier. Also, I’m not brand new in my role, but I’m certainly don’t have a long tenure. Our company supports parents and parental leave. Is there something I’m not considering?

Mostly the reason people wait until they’re past their first trimester is in case they miscarry. Sometimes there are other reasons too — like if you’re being considered for a promotion and don’t want the knowledge of your pregnancy to (unconsciously or otherwise) influence that decision — but if you don’t have anything specific like that, you’re generally fine telling people whenever you’re comfortable with it.

And although the advice to wait for your second trimester is common, a lot of people do end up telling their boss earlier because it just makes it easier to deal with morning sickness, fatigue, appointments, etc.

{ 428 comments… read them below }

  1. New Mom*

    I had such horrible, all-day morning sickness that I ended up telling my boss earlier because I needed the accommodations and people were starting to get worried and/or think I was actively looking for another job.

    1. AcademiaNut*

      The other reason I’ve encountered is a safety one – if there’s a job task that can’t be done while pregnant, then you need to let your workplace know so they can arrange things properly.

      1. allathian*

        Yes, if you work with radiation or chemicals in any form, there are many jobs you can’t do while pregnant.

        I ended up telling my boss earlier than I had planned, because she found me asleep at my desk one afternoon. The standard here is to tell around week 26, when you get a certificate confirming the pregnancy from your ob/gyn. You need to give that to your employer to qualify for maternity leave benefits. The legal requirement is to give notice of maternity leave at least 2 months before your due date, but most pregnant people do it earlier.

        1. Jess*

          *looks at my INCREASINGLY OBVIOUS 24-week tummy*

          Either there must be a LOT of blaming things on ‘big lunches’, adopting a loose and/or bulky wardrobe, or the 26-weeks is just the ‘formal’ notification after something informal earlier! X-D

          (That said, I probably could have got away with waiting til 26 weeks with few eyebrows raised first time around; second pregnancy I definitely ‘popped’ a lot earlier.)

          1. UKDancer*

            26 weeks is the usual formal notification period in every UK company I’ve worked in (not sure if that’s legal or customary). Most people do tell their colleagues sooner but they’re not required to do so. Every time when a member of staff has told me they were pregnant I’ve asked whether they want people to know or not.

            It’s usually about week 26 when my staff give me the form confirming their pregnancy and we agree maternity leave plans, work out how to deal with cover and whether we need to hire a temp etc. It’s never exactly written in stone because babies come when they want to.

            1. BubbleTea*

              You have to notify your employer 15 weeks before your due date to be eligible for maternity pay in the UK.

              1. UKDancer*

                Aaah ok. My staff usually told me about 2-3 months and then filed the forms with me once they’d had the 20 week scan and I sent them to HR to be activated.

          2. allathian*

            Yeah, well, I would hope that even if it looks obvious, people don’t comment on it until the pregnant person makes an announcement or the manager does. A friend of mine is a cancer survivor. Following the cancer treatment, she constantly looks as if she’s just about to pop although she’s very slim otherwise. All the extra weight’s been accumulating in her belly, her limbs are slim. With a former coworker, you couldn’t tell she was pregnant from the back at all, not even when she was 8 months gone, because she carried all of the weight in front. She was also very slim, so it wasn’t a matter of any “padding” disguising it.

            I went down two dress sizes before I got pregnant, and my only started to show properly around 26 weeks, but I could still switch to my old, bigger pants. I only bought maternity pants around week 32.

            1. caradom*

              Exactly, I had norovirus a few years ago and people asked if I was pregnant. My response was (said in an insulting way) you do know about norovirus? That shut them up!

              1. Anonapots*

                I’ve had norovirus and that is No Fun. “No, but let me tell you in detail what has been going on with my body for the last 24 hours. Let me tell you, I’m lucky the sink is right next to the toilet!”

            2. Just @ me next time*

              My weight has fluctuated over the years and I tend to carry the most fat around my belly. I also have digestive issues that can lead to some intense bloating. I’ve had so many people ask me when my baby is due, from a random customer when I worked in customer service to the vet who gently warned me that my boyfriend should be scooping the litter while I was “growing.” The first time I met my ex’s mother, she pulled him aside to ask if I was pregnant. I’d only been dating her son for a couple months at that point. Probably the most awkward time was a couple years ago at a huge project meeting at work. We were going around the table giving updates on our work, and the project manager asked when I was due. I had to tell a room full of my colleagues that I wasn’t pregnant, just bloated and wearing a dress that bunched up around the waist when I sat.
              The reality is that people’s bodies change all the time as they respond to any number of life circumstances. It’s super invasive to monitor and comment on those changes.

              1. JustSomeGuy*

                I’m so, so sorry that you experience this.
                One of my friends had the same issue, and constantly being asked when she was due started to have a really negative effect on her self-esteem. It was really hard to see her face when I would tell her she was beautiful (she really was! I wasn’t saying it just to be nice), because I knew she didn’t believe me.

          3. MK*

            The thing about body changes is that they can loom huge in the mind of the person going through them, but most people don’t pay much attention to their coworkers’ bodies. It might seem obvious to you, but it’s very likely that others honestly don’t notice; especially if they aren’t familiar with pregnancy.

            1. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

              Me, in my head: “Why is the lady doing the announcements wearing that shirt? She’s usually really put together, but that shirt makes her look pregnant.”

              It wasn’t the shirt.

              1. Justme, The OG*

                I’ve definitely thought “either that shirt is super unflattering on so-and-so or they’re pregnant.”

              2. Jackalope*

                I remember when someone at a business I frequent regularly (in normal times, 2-3 times a week for lessons) was pregnant. I kept thinking, “Is she pregnant? Is she not?” What finally told me for sure was one day when she was working with someone else, watching them with an eye to helping them figure out what they did wrong, and she unconsciously put her hands on her belly with a protective gesture. I thought (correctly) that she would never have that protective gesture for random weight gain. (Not too long after that she made the official announcement….)

                1. SwitchingGenres*

                  I’m fat, not pregnant, and I do the protective hand/arm-on-belly thing! Not sure why, just a reflex I guess.

            2. caradom*

              Which adult is unaware of pregnancy? Just don’t say anything. Most of the country is overweight or obese so no point commenting in the first place.

              1. MK*

                For heaven’s shake, I said unfamiliar, not unaware! People who haven’t spent much time thinking about pregnancy and/or around pregnant people are just as likely to attribute changes in appearance as weight gain or wardrobe issues, assuming they notice at all.

            3. Emilia Bedelia*

              People who have been pregnant definitely tend to be more perceptive! A few years ago, one of my teammates (a mom) who worked from home part time asked me privately if Other Coworker had announced she was pregnant – my teammate thought it was very obvious that Other Coworker was pregnant and just thought she had missed the announcement.
              I, an oblivious 22 year old with no pregnancy experience, had not noticed anything or heard anything about a pregnancy, so we didn’t speculate further and didn’t bring it up beyond the 2 of us… but just as my teammate had thought, Other Coworker announced a few weeks later that she was expecting. When she announced, there was a clear division between “people who had been pregnant and were not surprised at all, but were too polite to say anything”, and “people who had never been pregnant and were completely surprised at the news”.

              1. tequila mockingbird*

                Emilia Bedelia- I’d suggest it’s not just people who have been pregnant: it’s also people who are trying, people who are thinking about trying, people who have experienced pregnancy loss, people with close friends who are trying and/or pregnant – and this could all include people of any gender.

          4. Aquawoman*

            On the flip side, I had a team member tell me less than two months before her due date and I hadn’t noticed at all — she was maybe at a has-Cynthia-put-on-a-little-weight kind of place. A couple weeks later, it got to the point where it looked like she was pregnant but still so slightly that people were asking me rather than her.

        2. Amy*

          Wow, I went on bedrest for the rest of my pregnancy at 26 weeks.

          For me that would have gone,
          Monday – “I’m pregnant.
          Friday – “see you in 5 months!”

        3. TardyTardis*

          I couldn’t have hidden mine for more than eight weeks at the most. I am short and round *already* and had to move into maternity clothes much earlier than most people (especially since Darling Child turned out to be nearly nine pounds).

      2. Cedrus Libani*

        I used to work in a lab setting, so that was in play. In one case, there was a room set aside for a known severe teratogen – and it was made clear to everyone that it wasn’t to leave that room, unless you wanted to be fired on the spot.

        Someone did get pregnant while I was there. If you were paying attention, you noticed that Wakeen was in the special room, painting Lucinda’s teapots with “Toxic Blue”…and Lucinda was out in the main lab, doing Wakeen’s lab chores. But we all politely pretended we didn’t notice until Lucinda was ready to announce it to the rest of us.

        1. Dust Bunny*

          Used to work for a veterinarian: Pregnant employees couldn’t assist with surgery because of the anesthesia (something our boss definitely needed to know since this was a rotating responsibility and staffing was limited), and they really didn’t want them lifting heavy dogs (because of the weight) or particularly angry cats (high risk of getting slashed and possibly an infection).

            1. Littorally*

              A lot of them are scared cats. Flailing and slashing doesn’t happen with all of them. Mine freezes and won’t move a muscle. Others can be just chill and curious.

              1. Jackalope*

                Mine aren’t super happy, but they’re very friendly so they’ll be scared for a minute or two and then go twine themselves around the vet staff’s ankles. Even with having their temperature taken (which they understandably don’t like), they mostly just huddle down and endure it, then jump off the exam table as soon as it’s done and the vet staff let’s go.

                1. Cat Tree*

                  I thought I was the only one with a weird cat like this. He doesn’t love the poking and prodding, but he loves to explore a new area. While the vet and I have a conversation, he’s so interested in smelling the trash can under the sink that he’ll try to crawl through the little opening in the cabinet door under the sink.

                  When I have to drop off for a dental cleaning, which he has to be fasting for, he’ll try to get the attention of any vet or tech that walks by his cage. They think he’s just really friendly, but I think he’s hoping they’ll give him food.

                2. PT*

                  My cat loves the vet too! She’ll smack them (no claws) if they are doing something rude like poking her too much, but then roll around rubbing on the vet demanding pets when they finish.

                3. Brisvegan*

                  My older cat is like that. I totally get “enduring” the temperature taking.

                  My younger cat is feisty and flexible. She has bitten vets, so we warn them upfront. They often have a nurse hold her while giving shots, etc.

              2. Dewey Decibal*

                One of mine is weirdly chill- she doesn’t even bat an eye when they vaccinate her. The other turns into Indiana Jones and must immediately attempt to open and explore every cupboard.

            2. Sleepless*

              Most of them are apprehensive, but fairly calm. We have a million tricks for putting cats at ease. Some of them turn into violent banshees no matter what we do, though.

              And yes, you have to speak up pretty soon when you work in an animal hospital. It’s tough to dodge taking X rays/doing heavy lifting/handling certain drugs and lab samples for long.

              1. Clorinda*

                My perception might be biased because of the cat I had as a teen. He was the sweetest and cuddliest cat of all time at home, but at the vet’s office, he showed a whole different personality. It took three assistants to hold him down for an exam, and he drew blood multiple times. And he wasn’t scared. He was infuriated. The vet used to give him special appointment times with no other animals in the office.

                1. JSPA*

                  My late-fixed ginger boy had a large, red “no scruff / not bluffing” warning and would occasionally got free sedation followed by a free complementary pedicure, fore and aft, for even minor procedures. He wasn’t large, but, oh man… Deeply loving on his own terms, but even at the best of times, there were about 8 square inches of him that even I could touch with my hand, without getting slashed.

            3. Jayn*

              Mine are Fight and Flight. One cowers and tries to hide in his carrier, the other tries to kill the vet and has a file note that he needs sedation.

              1. Dust Bunny*

                This is how mine are: One won’t hurt you but the door to the exam room MUST be locked. The other one makes vets regret their career choices. Sedate to examine on that one.

            4. Dust Bunny*

              There’s normal-angry and then there’s the cat who sent both its owner and one of the vets to the doc-in-a-box for (not stitches, but close) and antibiotics. It’s been over 15 years and my former coworkers still know which cat that was.

            5. ceiswyn*

              Nope. My Chloe used to purr all through examinations (which drove the vets nuts when they were trying to listen to her heart, and don’t even ask about the time she had a breathing obstruction, was in an oxygen cage on five minute overnight observations, stopped breathing when she purred, and STILL PURRED EVERY TIME SHE SAW A HUMAN).

              And my Sirocco was such a placid, loving, accepting beastie that he once fell asleep on the examining table. He also purred happily through having his rear end washed and trimmed (diarrhoea in a long-haired cat with arthritis is fun for precisely nobody). There were several treatments that normally require sedation that he had done without, which was very handy given his age and the state of his heart. And when he finally had to be put to sleep, he was just starting to purr on the table when the anaesthetic took effect.

              Unsurprisingly, all his vets ADORED him :) I got the most beautiful sympathy card after he crossed the bridge at 20 years old, signed by everyone at the practice!

        2. JustaTech*

          One lab I worked in we had a super awkward conversation with my boss that, since we were starting to work with Yellow Fever vaccine virus, we had to tell him ASAP if we got pregnant (even the vaccine virus is dangerous).
          Then my lab manager discovered that one of our scientists had secretly horded a supply of ethidium bromide (teratogen) when we moved to a safer chemical for making gels. Thankfully no one was pregnant at the time, but our lab manager ripped that guy up one side and down the other and then had several of us search the lab for other stuff he’d squirreled away.

      3. Bridget the Elephant*

        I had to tell my boss a lot earlier than I would have liked to because there weeks after I found out, I was due to go on a trip abroad. Catering was pre-booked, so I had to be sure there was something I could eat (yay, pregnancy related dietary restrictions in a country famed for cured meat!). I also wanted to be sure that if there was an accident and I ended up in hospital the right information would be passed on. I was glad I did because by the time the trip started I was *queasy*, all day every day. It would have been hard to deal with if I hadn’t told my boss and he was able to work in time I could use to rest. If you have a boss who will handle it well, it can be absolutely fine to tell early if you have to. You just need to know your own work situation.

        1. Ophelia*

          Yeah, I disclosed pretty early because my job required a lot of international travel pre-COVID, and I was still happy to travel in general, but wanted to avoid locations that required, for example, malaria meds, or that posed a Zika risk. That said, I just let a few specific people know for work allocation purposes, and went “public” (so to speak) around 14 weeks.

          1. Artemesia*

            My daughter was pregnant during the Ziki risk in Florida and so had to disclose early to avoid traveling there on business. With my first I didn’t disclose till 5 mos and it wasn’t necessary before then as I am tall and could carry it without really showing much. With the second, it was obvious much earlier.

    2. turquoisecow*

      I had morning sickness for the first four months and I was exhausted. Thank goodness I was working from home (part-time) because I don’t know how I would have managed to go into the office every day for eight hours.

      1. Wendy*

        Yep – don’t plan around morning sickness going away, LW #4, because it may take a LONG time. I had six months of Gatorade and gingersnaps with my second pregnancy, even with the Zofran (anti-nausea med) :-/

        1. 'Tis Me*

          Three pregnancies. Twenty four months of HG (definitely worse the first time around).

          I told my boss about a week after I found out the first time off the record after I had to run out of our one-to-one to vom, worrying him about me more than a little… I think both the second two I made it to the scan picture stage.

          I ended up the same weight 9 months pregnant as I had been before starting the first time. At one point I was considerably smaller… I had a bump but because the rest of me had shrunk I could still wear my pre-pregnancy trousers at the end. At one point they had been falling off me.

          Second and third time around I think I only gained baby and water weight. I felt massive but both time I had several face to face conversations with people who didn’t realise I was expecting – my bump was mainly noticeable in profile.

        2. AKchic*

          my last one was the only one that didn’t involve a full 9 months of morning sickness, and that’s because I was on anti-nausea meds to combat my detox from medications that I had to stop taking ASAP because I wasn’t trying to get pregnant (we’d changed some medications so I could have neck surgery, one negated my birth control and whoops… that was quite the way to cancel a neck surgery!).

          My other three kids were 24/7 pukefests and the doctors actively chose not to give me medications because I was young and “this is all part of pregnancy” (at this point, I am now sure that it was partial punishment for being a teen/young mother and partially because I was so financially strapped).

          1. Warm Weighty Wrists*

            I am irate on your behalf about the doctors choosing not to give you medication! I watched a friend go through HG and I wouldn’t wish that experience on anyone. How could they be so heartless when there’s a solution to the problem right there??

        3. goducks*

          I had HG with all my pregnancies, but on the final one they hooked me up to a Zofran pump that I wore 24/7. I didn’t share with co-workers that I was pregnant until 12 weeks. Turns out after I announced my pregnancy that people had thought I had cancer or something worse because I had lost weight, looked awful and was wearing this medical device. They were so relieved to find out what my actual problem was.

    3. Quinalla*

      I didn’t have morning sickness (yes I know I am quite lucky!) with either pregnancy, but I did have first trimester fatigue like woah! So I told my boss as soon as that started cause I was occasionally falling asleep at my desk which was not something I would normally do. I also knew there would be no consequences because my boss was all about family.

      I could have waited until ~22 weeks to tell since I didn’t start to show until then with my first pregnancy. For my second pregnancy (twins) I showed a lot sooner, but again I just told right away. It is actually funny for me that I felt the worst during the first trimester, and a lot of women do, but you get all the attention/sympathy when you start showing in the 2nd trimester when a lot of women including me feel amazing. Third trimester everyone starts getting a bit tired/etc. cause you are getting so much bigger, but then everyone just thinks you are about to give birth this second :rolleyes

    4. Blackcat*

      I was a PhD student.
      I told my advisor at 5 weeks, after only my husband knew…. because I puked into a trash can while meeting with him. Yuck.
      I had HG and he was incredibly supportive in finding me work I could do 100% remote. We also tweaked a research timeline to condense certain activities all into my second trimester, which was a really good choice!

      Having experienced recurrent losses since then, I do definitely lean to “Who would you want there to help if you miscarried?” For me, with that first pregnancy, my advisor would have been one of those people. He was both a great boss and a great mentor, so that made that decision easy.

      I haven’t told anyone about subsequent pregnancies, and I feel good about that, even if it has been harder to hide the puking.

    5. Mona Lisa*

      Same. Also, if you’re telling your manager but don’t yet want the whole office to know, you should preface the conversation by saying you would like to keep it confidential until you’re ready to share with your colleagues. My grandboss started telling my co-workers that I was pregnant at 7 weeks, and I’d only told him and my manager about the pregnancy because I needed some serious accommodations due to the morning sickness and fatigue I experienced. He had a tendency to gossip/overshare, but I hadn’t considered that when I requested assistance.

    6. Midwestern Weegie*

      I am on my third pregnancy, and have had to disclose at the 6 or 7 week mark each time because I was so ungodly ill. I could probably have gotten away with it for longer with my second, but I worked in a job where I couldn’t get up and go to the bathroom whenever I needed to (911 dispatch)- I told my supervisor early as the odds of me hurling in a trash can were pretty damn high and I wanted someone to know I wasn’t coming to work actively contagious.

      1. Maine*

        I miscarried at around a similar time and the only news I had to share was that I needed personal leave to go to the hospital. When they asked why personal leave I explained I was losing my baby and asked if they could keep it quiet. Such a horrible and sad experience. My thoughts are out there with those of us on this board reading happy and funny work pregnancy stories (puking, getting bigger, husband only knowing etc). Hopefully those of us who can only dream of this and cute little stories like this, keep strong ;)

        1. MansplainerHater*

          I miscarried and had to give the same sort of notice so I could go get surgery. When I got pregnant again, I was so freaked out about telling folks early that I didn’t say anything until I was 22 weeks! Sending you light and love.

    7. Hamish*

      Yup, same. My boss was the first person I told other than my partner, because I was getting terrible sickness and also absent-mindedness.

    8. Generic Name*

      Same. I ended up telling my boss when I was 11 weeks along because I had been coming in late (due to being so sick in the mornings) and I actually threw up at work once. Not fun. I wanted him to be aware it was a medical reason and I was t just getting flaky. It went fine a d my son is now 14 :)

    9. Penny*

      I also had to do this when I was pregnant with my son. My nausea was so bad that I was using a lot of sick time. Letting my boss know earlier meant I had more accommodations at work, and I felt less anxious about my manager thinking I was a slacker. Of course I didn’t tell my co-workers until later — but many of them, especially other people who’d been pregnant in the past — guessed early on. They were kind enough not to say anything until I’d formally announced however.

  2. phira*

    Alison’s advice for LW 5 is excellent. I ended up needing to skip a week-long training because of how sick I was at one point during my first trimester the first time I was pregnant, but I didn’t want my managers to think that I was contagious or that something was terribly wrong. They were very understanding and supportive, and kept the information confidential until I was comfortable with the news being public knowledge among the rest of my colleagues. One of them also happened to be a mom, which really helped!

    Morning sickness and fatigue during pregnancy are absolutely no joke, and I feel like I needed parental leave then AND after giving birth.

    1. Mellow Yellow*

      I had all-day morning sickness for my entire first trimester of both of my pregnancies. It got so bad that I couldn’t keep water down and had to be hospitalized for dehydration. Trying to work through what felt like a 3 month long stomach flu was so intense! I’d take birth over the first trimester again any day.

    2. Agency Escapee*

      If you have a good working relationship with your boss, it definitely has benefits to tell early! I told my boss at seven weeks because he was making big plans for the upcoming year and I thought he needed to factor in my leave. I went in to the conversation with a strong perspective on the work I wanted to do before my leave and where I wanted to pick up when I got back – I was scared of being “mommy tracked” so that helped me. And it also made it more understandable when at nine weeks I needed a day off after an exhausting stretch of travel.

  3. Crivens!*

    LW, please tell your boss. This person is dangerous to your university and your colleagues.

    And Hot Take: anti-vaxxers should not be able to be in charge of anything. Ever.

      1. caps22*

        No facts-denier or alternative facts believer should be in a role with any requirements for sensible judgement.

    1. Keymaster of Gozer*

      People against medications shouldn’t work in pharmacies. People against medications shouldn’t work in healthcare or any kind of healthcare adjacent roles.

      Antivaxxers shouldn’t work any of the above. Kinda like a racist being in charge of an equal opportunities board.

      1. Catire*

        Where I live, there is an idiom which says “Cómo zamuro cuidando carne” which translates to “Like a vulture tending to meat”.

        1. NotQuiteAnonForThis*

          I learned a new word!!!! (I understood the rest of it…but I’ve somehow never known the translation to vulture.)

    2. Dust Bunny*

      If I were a student or other staff at this place I would be FURIOUS to find out that they had put someone in charge of verifying this who a) had incentive to do it wrong and b) already had a history of lying.

    3. Elspeth McGillicuddy*


      Employers should not be in the business of judging the beliefs and opinions of employees unless they are directly relevant to the job. This includes the beliefs and opinions that you personally think are stupid or I personally think are stupid. If we have to draw the line between stupid beliefs and sensible ones, we are right back into judging them.

      A person’s opinion on vaccines are irrelevant to most jobs.

      1. Black Horse Dancing*

        This. I personally think putting uber religious people in charge of many thing isn’t wise because they hold power over people who are or do things against their beliefs but others don’t see it that way. Can Jane do the job without her beliefs coming into play? That’s what matters. OP can bring it to her boss’ attention and then let it go.

      2. mcfizzle*

        I would agree, but the LW made it clear this person doesn’t show much integrity. It’s one thing to think something is stupid but to go ahead and do it (and do it correctly). I think we’ve all had to quietly roll our eyes at a request and just get it done. Sounds like there is some very serious mistrust that this person would do the job as required. And that is why she shouldn’t have it.

          1. mcfizzle*

            Thanks Observer. To be clear, I agree with the general rule, but was trying to show why this one person shouldn’t. Thanks for helping me clarify.

      3. hbc*

        Yeah, I’ve been surprised by people who I’ve seen handle things rationally and reasonably in numerous ways have one random blindspot come out of nowhere. And me calling that a blind spot or wacky belief presupposes that I am the arbiter of reasonableness, which might not be the majority opinion.

        1. Esmeralda*

          The comment was that anti-vaxxers shouldn’t be in charge of anything ever.

          While anti-vaxxers fill me with the rage of a million boiling suns (my son has a compromised immune system and they’re endangering his life), that doesn’t mean an anti-vaxxer couldn’t be in charge of a warehouse for instance, and there are thousands of other jobs where being an anti-vaxxer has no bearing whatsoever.

          Personally, I find religious belief irrational (although I do understand why people have religious beliefs, from personal experience and from thinking rationally about it). That doesn’t mean a devout Catholic shouldn’t be in charge of a large and powerful democratic nation, for instance.

          Anti-vaxxers should not be in charge of (or really, have anything to do with) work related to vaccinations, medical care, and the like.

          1. AthenaC*

            “That doesn’t mean a devout Catholic shouldn’t be in charge of a large and powerful democratic nation, for instance.”

            I see what you did there!

          2. Brad Fitt*

            The only reason I’m personally okay with this specific devout Catholic being in charge of our nation is I haven’t seen any indication that he routinely weaponizes his devout beliefs against others or attempts to force others to share in those beliefs. Whereas the only time I’ve become aware that someone is anti-vaxx is when they’re trying to spread the word against accepted science. That’s the part that makes me think known anti-vaxxers have poor judgement (and I recently had a Covid test given by one).

        2. JO*

          False. She isn’t applying to become a member of the clergy where it makes sense to make sure she is a believer before they start the job. People can complete tasks as directed without necessarily believing in the reasoning behind them.

      4. Crivens!*

        A person who is anti-vaxx is objectively dangerous to be put in charge of anything related to vaccines.

        On top of that being anti-vaxx speaks to a lack of common sense, understanding of basic science, willingness to listen to facts, and disregard for the lives and safety of others that it is egregious. Egregiously offensive believes deserve social punishment.

        1. StarPhoenix*

          Speaking of, there was a headline about an anti-vaxx dude who ruined several vaccines for the pandemic because of his beliefs—costing lives but also destroying property and wasting money and resources.

          So yeah, if she has integrity issues and if assigned to handle something she is adamantly against… I would be telling the boss immediately.

          1. Insert Clever Name Here*

            I was thinking of that same article. Anti-vaxx? Step away from anything vaccine related.

          2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            This is my thought as well – this person has known trust issues and an objections to vaccines. Not the sort of person I would want making sure students are appropriately vaccinated or have the necessary wavers completely filled out and in place.

            (For the record, I have no objection to medical waivers for those who can’t be vaccinated, that’s why we talk about vaccine herd immunity, so that the people who can’t get the vaccine are protected still by the rest of the population being vaccinated.)

          3. JO*

            If she is having these kind of integrity issues then why is she even still there? I can’t imagine a scenario where she happens to have enough integrity left to handle students financial or academic information but not vaccine information.

        2. meyer lemon*

          When it comes to common sense and science, I would imagine that most of the general population does not have a sufficient scientific background to determine for ourselves the safety and efficacy of vaccines–we just trust in the experts and institutions that we have established to determine those extremely complex facts on our behalf. For anti-vaxxers, I think the disconnect is not so much on the science side per se as the trust in scientific institutions side.

          So while I agree that the anti-vaxx m0vement is extremely damaging and unethical, I personally place more blame on the public figures and institutions that are actively working to undermine their followers’ trust in scientific and medical fact. That’s the root cause of the problem.

        3. JO*

          RN here, while I believe the science behind vaccines; the public and anti vaccine people’s skepticism is still very much understandable. Just off the top of my head I can think of things like the tuskegee experiments, big pharma willingness to put dangerous products out just to turn a quick buck, etc… Oh and let’s see, I heard people from our own scientific establishment earlier state “stop buying masks. ! They don’t work” I don’t think social shaming and punishment is really what is called for. If anything, people like you make my job harder. So just stop with the shaming. Please.

          1. Brad Fitt*

            The bigger problem is people repeating clickbait headlines without doing any kind of fact-checking to see whether there’s truth behind it (including just reading the article the headline was slapped onto?).

            F’rex, if you remember medical experts saying masks don’t work, that’s some Mandela Effect nonsense and/or intentional ignorance of context and nuance. Fauci said don’t hoard masks during the PPE shortage, anyone who doesn’t have an immediate need to buy them should stop and let healthcare workers have priority. There was also confusion about whether masks protect the wearer or not (because our national motto really is Fuck you, I got mine). Then it was butchered, processed, and served back to us by blame-shifting con artists who said “Hey do you guys all remember when Fauci said masks don’t work?!” My god I’m so tired of these people.

      5. DataSci*

        “A person’s opinion on vaccines are irrelevant to most jobs”

        Most, perhaps. I’d argue that “verifying vaccine status” is one of the most obvious exceptions to that generality.

        1. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

          Depends on if she is honest. There are many people who roll their eyes at job tasks they consider stupid, but do them anyway. There are probably thousands of antivaxers who could do this job perfectly well.

          In this case, the person is both an antivaxer and has integrity issues, so there is a real concern. But this applies to her specifically, not to every single antivaxer out there.

          I still wouldn’t hire an antivaxer to just verify vaccination, but as one of several admin type tasks, it probably wouldn’t be an issue.

          1. Crypto Dragon*

            I think the problem is that most anti-vaxxers don’t just think vaccines are useless; they believe they are actively harmful. So I’m not so sure many of them would just roll their eyes and do the job anyway.

        2. Pippa K*

          Exactly. And if it’s known that she’s anti-vaccine, antivaxx students or parents might try to get her to fudge vaccination certification. I work at a university, and measles is one of the public health dangers that truly scares me. We had a case a couple of years ago related to an unvaccinated person and all waited in horror to see if there would be an outbreak. If a known antivaxxer were in charge of vaccination records, the parents of any student who was exposed would be threatening legal action (this wouldn’t be everyone’s go-to response, of course, but likely in our particular setting.)

        1. Amazed*

          It is, but the poster didn’t say an antivaxxer shouldn’t ever hold a vaccine-related job – they said an antivaxxer shouldn’t ever hold ANY job.

          I’m as furious with and vocal against antivaxxers as the next person is, but that’s a little much.

      6. Anonapots*

        Opinions can be wrong and if you’re supposed to be collecting information on a thing you actively believe is bad, you should not be working on that particular task. I wouldn’t want someone who thought immigration was bad to collect eligibility information, either.

        1. Bored Fed*

          Does that reasoning apply to the reverse situation? Should someone who, as a moral matter, defends undocumented persons against deportation be permitted to work for ICE? If so, what is the basis for the distinction?

        2. Vicky Austin*

          If they are wrong, then they aren’t opinions, they are falsehoods.

          For instance:
          “Dark chocolate is vegan” is a fact.
          “Milk chocolate is vegan” is a falsehood.
          “Milk chocolate is better than dark chocolate” is an opinion.

      7. TardyTardis*

        This person’s opinion on vaccines is *definitely* not irrelevant to *this* job. How many people will this person mark as being vaccinated even though they’re not just to ‘stick it to the man’?

        1. Amazed*

          That’s a valid concern, but the complaint by the commenter wasn’t that an antivaxxer held this job. It was that an antivaxxer held a job at all. That’s too far.

      1. Researcher*

        I think this is a really great way of framing the problem without getting into the messiness of “beliefs” and “facts”, etc.

        It’s a conflict of interest, and just like any other potential COI, it at least merits a closer look.

    4. Mx*

      They shouldn’t be in charge of things related to vaccination, but saying they shouldn’t be able to be in charge of anything is not fair.
      You can be anti-vaxx and still be in charge of the IT for instance.

    5. meyer lemon*

      Counterintuitively, someone can be against vaccinations or otherwise buy into misinformation campaigns and conspiracy theories without being generally unintelligent or irrational. In fact, an intelligent conspiracy theorist often holds to their beliefs more strongly, because they invest time in energy into rationalizing them. So I wouldn’t necessarily assume that an anti-vaxxer is going to be irrational in all areas of life, even though they hold such harmful beliefs.

      1. Anonapots*

        My feeling is, if you reveal yourself to be irrational in this one area, all other areas are now suspect.

        1. Black Horse Dancing*

          Then you must be thrilled with religious people, Anonapors, because every religion I know of has irrational beliefs. Everyone has irrational beliefs–from parents who believe their very average baby is incredibly gifted to people sure their many times cheating spouse will change to people believing doing X exercise cures cancer.

        2. Vicky Austin*

          Some people just are uneducated, and a little education from someone who is an expert in the field is all they need.

      2. LTL*

        This. The idea that a problematic belief makes someone less capable or rational in all other areas of life is a common misconception about human nature.

    6. Teacher or Keymaster?*

      Agree. We have one on our campus who teaches BIOLOGY. She says she’s “not antivaxx but pro-medical choice and it’s like being in favor of abortion.” The hair on my arms just bristles whenever she opens her mouth.

      1. Duckles*

        As in she doesn’t believe the science on them (a problem as a biology teacher) or doesn’t think they should be mandated (a political issue and not a problem for a science teacher)?

        1. Le Sigh*

          I mean, it’s much more than a political issue. It’s still a science and public health issue. You need herd immunity for vaccines to actually be effective, hence the policies we have. And that’s why personal choice doesn’t really work here — the impact of people not getting vaccinated extends far beyond your own physical body. Granted, she’s not administering public health, but it sounds like she was promoting bad science, which also has public health implications.

          1. Black Horse Dancing*

            There have been issues with vaccines and how they are administered. The vast majority are safe. I see nothing wrong with the biology’s teacher’s stance. We can’t outlaw everything that is dangerous in the name of public good.

            1. Le Sigh*

              The teacher was comparing vaccination to choosing to have an abortion, and the logic of that doesn’t hold up. Someone choosing to have an abortion does not come with the same public health concerns that not getting vaccinated does. You don’t need herd immunity for abortions. You can have issues with aspects of vaccine administration, but comparing it to abortion is apples to oranges.

              I was also quibbling with Duckles’ note splitting the science of vaccines from the policies as a political issue. The science behind *how* they work — i.e., needing herd immunity to be effective — is directly related to our public policies on them, and so I think calling it “just a political” isn’t accurate.

      2. Red Boxes and Arrows*

        Reminds me of the biology teacher I had at Valencia Community College in Orlando, FL in the late 1980’s.

        When we got around to human reproduction, cell division, zygotes, and the like, she referred to every stage of fetal development — from sperm merging with the egg all the way to delivery — as a “baby”. Then she told all of us white students (there were no POC in the class) to have as many children as we could so we could overtake those “others” who “breed like rabbits” and so we could create an army for Christ.

        Public school, subsidized by tax dollars. Still makes my blood boil.

        FTR, whenever she said “baby” I would interject, “You mean ‘zygote’, right?” “You mean ‘blastocyte”, right?” “You mean ’embryo’, right?” “You mean ‘fetus’, right?”

        54-year old me would have raised hell all the way to the state capitol, but 19-year old me didn’t know there were any options besides being a thorn in her side.

    7. Hats Are Great*

      It seems like SUCH a massive liability issue. What if the school had a measles outbreak because this person fudged the records? And that came out during the public health investigation? If I were in the university’s office of legal counsel, I’d definitely want to know this.

    8. WoolAnon*

      While I agree that it’s very strange that an anti-vaxxer is in this position (how did that happen?), just a note on anti-vaxxing in general: My nephew has a degenerative genetic condition, first noticed shortly after turning two. Of course, the doctor’s didn’t know what he had at first, so they went through the usual tests, one of those being whether he was having a bad reaction to vaccines given to him as a baby.

      These reactions are fortunately very rare, but on occasion, children who have been given vaccines as babies can develop issues around an average age of two ranging from paralysis to death. My sister and her husband discovered that there’s even a fund from the government that will cover medical costs in the event this happens.

      From a big-picture view, it’s true that society in general benefits greatly from these vaccines. And society in general doesn’t need absolutely everyone to have them – for pretty much all diseases, if three-quarters of the population is vaccined, everyone is safe from it.

      Say that 98% of the population who take the vaccines are fine. For the 2% who suffer, from that big-picture view, it’s better than large swatches of the population dying from something like polio. Of course, that doesn’t help the family members of those 2%.

      And I’m still really wondering about the person with this position. I mean, I wouldn’t take a job that required me to be involved in something I believed was wrong or shouldn’t happen.

      1. WS*

        That’s also the case in my extended family – mitochondrial disease is one issue where vaccines can cause unexpected and severe complications – but more common is febrile convulsions from vaccines. Generally not a problem, but in a very small number of children a major problem, so people who had vaccine-related febrile convulsions as infants are generally recommended to not take that vaccine again. But none of this makes someone an “anti-vaxxer”. It just means that appropriate medical precautions need to be taken around that person, for example, making sure everyone else has their vaccines. When I was having cancer treatment, I couldn’t take any vaccines (live vaccines could have infected me, inactive vaccines wouldn’t have induced an immune response) but again, that doesn’t make me an anti-vaxxer. That makes me a very proactive vaccine supporter!

        for pretty much all diseases, if three-quarters of the population is vaccined, everyone is safe from it.
        No, three-quarters is not enough. For most diseases it’s at least 85%. For especially virulent diseases like measles, it’s 93-95%.

      2. Boof*

        Honestly this is what bothers me even more about “anti-vaxxers” – yes vaccines have risks. EVERYTHING has risks. But “anti-vaxxers” try to dig and claim risks that don’t exist. Like that vaccines cause autism, or they have some huge risk, or that every death that ever happened after a vaccines was caused by the vaccine, regardless of probable causality or timing. Antivaxxers are not usually about a clear discussion about risks and benefits; they usually seem to think that vaccines are dangerous and that the diseases they prevent are harmless, or less harmful than the vaccines. Which is verifiably untrue.

        1. Researcher*

          This. Thank you.
          Operating a motor vehicle is more risky than getting a vaccine. And yet we allow teenagers to get drivers licenses.

  4. Kathlynn (Canada)*

    Yeah, it would be one thing to get someone to help you with the formatting or give it a once over. But it’s another thing to have another person write it completely for you. Paid or otherwise.

    1. Mockingjay*

      I’ve helped many people with resumes and cover letters, but absolutely it was their thoughts and experiences that made it onto the paper by their hand. I’ve had some people quit the process because I wouldn’t write these documents for them. (Which is fine; I do it for free, but only for contractors in my industry because that’s what I know.)

      I’m a facilitator – prompting them to list relevant duties and experiences in the resume, then finding an relatable example within those experiences to discuss in the cover letter. But it has to be their voice, not mine.

      1. caradom*

        I’m an academic and do the same. But I’m overwhelmed by people who want stuff (I came from a deprived background and everyone I know from the past is still from a deprived background). Education, jobs, disability applications.
        The worst offender is a friend texting me yet another request. I’ve decided to tell her no more (her specifically because she gets me to help her sister and other people but they make no effort so I’m done. When she texts back I’m going to say gravy train is over).

    2. ThatGirl*

      Yeah, I have definitely proofread cover letters and offered suggestions on content or phrasing (for free, even!) but I’d never write it completely.

      1. starsaphire*

        Same here. For friends (no charge) and on the level of “This should be a comma” and “Your verb tenses don’t agree.”

        I would never, ever write a cover letter for someone else. I have enough trouble writing them for myself! Besides, if I wrote the cover letter, who would they really be hiring? It’s the old Cyrano de Bergerac problem.

        Resumes are a different story, though – I have rewritten so many of those for friends!

    3. Ophelia*

      Exactly. I have definitely read friends’ cover letters and made suggestions like, “if you can give a more specific example here, it would be stronger,” or “this sentence seems to be trying to get too many points across; I’d suggest simplifying it” and I think that is FINE, but I would never write someone else’s cover letter.

  5. not that Leia*

    LW5– congrats! I shared my first pregnancy early with my immediate supervisor. That pregnancy ended in a miscarriage—way more common than I had ever realized—and it was actually really helpful that she knew the context, because the aftermath was pretty rough. I hope that doesn’t happen to you but adds another reason not to necessarily keep it fully secret. (Small soapbox—I think being more open about miscarriages and grief around pregnancy loss would go a long way in helping those of us who experience it not feel so alone. End soapbox.)

    1. allathian*

      I agree. I’ve had two miscarriages myself (secondary infertility due to my age), and they were pretty rough both physically and mentally. I was relieved that my then-manager knew why I wasn’t my usual cheerful self at work for a while. It’s sobering to think that if you lose your parents as a child you’re an orphan and if your spouse dies you’re a widow(er), but there’s no word for parents who have suffered pregnancy loss or miscarriage.

      1. Not Australian*

        “It’s sobering to think that if you lose your parents as a child you’re an orphan and if your spouse dies you’re a widow(er), but there’s no word for parents who have suffered pregnancy loss or miscarriage.”

        Wow, I hadn’t thought of that but it’s a great point to make – and, considering that it can happen to some people multiple times, it must feel pretty isolating. Thank you for the insight.

      2. Lady Heather*

        There isn’t a word for parents who lose a born-alive child either. I’ve been told that’s because, historically, it was more rare for a parent not to have lost a child – with the lack of contraceptives and high rates of infant and child mortality.

        Language changes every day, though, and maybe someday there’ll be a word.

        1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

          There are legal implications to being an orphan or a widow(er) which don’t apply to those who have lost a child. I suspect this is why those statuses have their own specific words.

          This week has seen a pregnancy loss anniversary for me, so it’s something I’ve been thinking about quite a lot.

          More generally, I would say that you can become sort of public property even pregnant – or certainly you feel so, because it’s so interesting/exciting to some people that they can’t talk about anything else and you become The Bump. With my first pregnancy I was so excited I told everyone the second I had a confirmatory ultrasound, but the experience of being The Bump made me a bit more reserved thereafter. My recommendation would be to tell people you need and/or trust to support you and treat you appropriately, but not necessarily to tell everybody before you need to.

          Very best of luck for an uneventful and comfortable pregnancy.

        2. allathian*

          Yes, this is a fair point to make, and it’s one that I hadn’t considered before.

          In societies where most parents lose children, it’s something that they accept is a possible outcome of every pregnancy. I’m not saying that parents in societies with primitive or no ante-natal care don’t or didn’t mourn their lost children. But in modern, developed societies with reasonable access to healthcare and where the vast majority of children survive birth and infancy, losing a child is probably more traumatic for the parents because it’s less expected. When miscarriage, pregnancy loss, or the death of an infant or older child was something every parent would be likely to experience at some point, there was no need for a word for parents who had lost a child. Now I’m thinking that there probably should be a word for such parents.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            Even as recently as the 60s, parents’ sense of loss for a baby were shoved under a rug. My parents lost a baby before me. I don’t think they ever stopped grieving that loss (understandable) but from what I saw society said, “Get over it, move on.” (NOT understandable).

            I do think that being unable to share that grief with others heightened and prolonged their heavy, raw grief. Isolation hurts. Lack of acknowledgement hurts.

          2. Cj*

            15 – 20% of pregnancies in the US end in miscarriage, and it usually has nothing to do with primitive or not anti-natal care. It is because of isn’t developing normally for other reasons.

            This is very simplistic on my part because obviously some women have more than one miscarriage, but if you use the 20% figure (for ease of calculation), there are 25 pregnancies for every 20 live births. Given an average of two kids per woman of the live births, that means that 5 of those 10 women had a miscarriage.

            It is extremely, extremely common for a woman to suffer at least one miscarriage.

        3. SheLooksFamiliar*

          When I was a kid in the 60s and 70s, I often heard my mother talk with her friends about women who were no longer in ‘the family way.’ She and her clique talked about their own losses; there was sadness but everyone was pretty matter of fact about it. Maybe I was too young to see their grief, or they hid it while I was around, but I don’t recall tears or pain of loss.

          However, I do remember a lady at our church who lost a child in the early 80s, she and her husband were both visibly distraught. Some of my mother’s clique were dismissive, with one lady saying, ‘Oh, it happens all the time.’ I guess for them, it did.

          Maybe there was a generational or cultural element to this. Or maybe people were coping with their own loss by repressing it or downplaying the significance.

          1. Bee*

            One of my mom’s siblings died of leukemia at age 7 (in the late 60s or early 70s), and it was Not Discussed but also definitely haunted my grandmother for the rest of her life. New England Irish Catholic family, you do not talk about your feelings – but she had a clear favorite grandchild who just happened to be the spitting image of her lost son.

    2. ACM*

      Yup. Tell people about the pregnancy whom you wouldn’t mind (or would want to, or need to) tell about the miscarriage. That may well include a boss – it did in my case. But I could trust her to keep it under her hat because I wouldn’t want to have had told all my coworkers about an early miscarriage (and because we all work at slightly different times/days, it would’ve had to be told over and over and over, just as my pregnancy was).

    3. Cat Tree*

      Everybody handles miscarriages differently. I had one, and I honestly just wasn’t that sad. Sadness was one of many emotions, but not even in the top three. It didn’t even come close to the sadness of earlier parts of the TTC process, like when I thought IVF might never be able to work. At least I knew I could get pregnant, which drastically increased my chances of doing it again. But, every single person who knew about it acted like it was the most tragic thing to ever happen, and I always ended up feeling like I needed to comfort them instead of the other way around. Even when I got pregnant again and made it to the point of sharing the happy news, the few times I mentioned my earlier miscarriage it changed the entire tone of what was supposed to be an exciting conversation. So, I stopped telling people about it. Some of my close friends don’t even know.

      Miscarriage is much harder for some people, and that’s understandable. But if you tell anyone about it, they will absolutely be sympathetic and not judgmental.

      1. Midwestern Weegie*

        I had a miscarriage a few years ago, and it was… fine. It was more of an “oh, well, that sucks” than sadness, really. I’ve always felt like a bit of a heartless monster for being so nonchalant about it, so this was very normalizing to read.

        I think I went into childbearing with the expectation that I would lose at least one pregnancy, because it’s so very common. My friend group is very open about pregnancy loss, and they all seem to find it absolutely devastating, so I just don’t talk about my experience.

        1. Cat Tree*

          I’m glad I’m not the only one. When I first tried IVF at age 34, I thought I was clever by getting in under the bar of “old” at 35. When my follicles just didn’t respond to the drugs, I was devastated. I thought I would never be able to conceive with my own eggs. But I had a great doctor who tried different drug protocols until it worked. When I got pregnant, I was thrilled that my body could support a pregnancy. At least that part of the process worked fine.

          When I had my miscarriage, I was in a relatively good place. I knew I could get pregnant, I had 3 more frozen embryos to try with, and I knew that IVF could work if I needed another cycle. My biggest feeling was impatience to try again.

      2. caradom*

        Yes, people need to stop insisting on another person grieving. I’m Asian and what happens when someone dies is everyone shows up and each time you’re stuck crying with them. Then after a few weeks when you start to feel better more people show up and these people insist on crying so the person grieving has to ‘perform’.

      3. Cj*

        This is so surprising for me to hear. I had assumed the people struggling with infertility would be the *most* devastated by a miscarriage (and I’m sure many are). But what you said makes sense.

    4. Ophelia*

      I agree. I think one of the silver linings of my miscarriages was that I worked with people–including my bosses at the time–who also had experienced it (either directly, or had their partner experience it), and that was VERY helpful in just being able to check out for medical care/aftermath and let them handle the “Ophelia’s out for a medical issue, she’ll be back soon,” etc. while also sending me their private condolences and support. Having a bit more conversation around miscarriage at work ALSO directly correlated to me getting to participate on a committee that was reviewing our leave benefits, and now bereavement leave for miscarriage is a covered benefit.

    5. Cheese Louise*

      I’m currently going through a miscarriage (toward the end, but I had no idea how drawn out this process can be), and I’m so glad I told someone at work. She’s not my direct boss but is in leadership. I’ve been feeling like I’m not doing a great job on work because I’m having trouble focusing, but I can say that to her and she gets it. Sometimes I wish my direct boss also knew and would go a little easy on my right now, but at the same time I really don’t want to tell him. The person I told also helped me hide that I wasn’t drinking at an outdoor, distanced staff event in December, which was helpful. So, I say definitely tell someone you trust and have a good relationship with early!

    6. BigGlasses*

      Similar here. I waited until just second tri to tell my boss about my last pregnancy (told her a few days after 13 weeks), and then a few days later found out it was a missed miscarriage. It was actually helpful to me that she already knew about the pregnancy, it meant that I was able to ask for the accommodations I needed without as much backstory. I wouldn’t have been able to work through parts of it, for sure. I am glad I hadn’t told the rest of my team though, so that I didn’t really have to deal with it on a social level at work.

  6. Elementary Fan*

    I’ve heard of resume writers creating a “networking” letter – basically an introduction that people could then edit into a cover letter or use to ask for informational interviews. But it’s more of a summary of their elevator pitch, and often it involves longer conversations to write so it’s more expensive/time-consuming (not an easy add).

    1. SheLooksFamiliar*

      You’re right, those letters are usually a summary and, thankfully, aren’t as big a deal as they used to be. In the 80s, career counselors advised their clients to create a networking letter, introduction letter, or ‘resume letter’, and send it instead of a resume. Resumes were for formal presentation during an interview. Of course, those counselors offered printing services, and networking letters came at a cost to the job seeker…just a thought.

      Having been in corporate recruiting for almost 40 years, I can’t say I ever found such a letter to be helpful. I want to see career history, and I read cover letters for specific context. A networking letter or, worse, a ‘pain letter’ ala Liz Ryan, won’t tell me or my hiring partner what we need to know.

  7. Still Here*

    About #2, cover letter ghost writing: how is this different than a politian having someone else write speeches for them? Or an admin writing up a letter that is signed by an executive? How is this different than writing the cover letter and then getting someone else to help proofread and polish it?

    1. Willis*

      Those are both examples of times when it’s assumed and common for someone to have assistance writing something. Politicians and executives openly employ speechwriters and admins to help with those things. But a cover letter is assumed to be written by the candidate and generally representative of their writing style and ability. A proofreader shouldn’t be making such substantial edits that that’s no longer true. But also, as an employer, I wouldn’t rely on a cover letter as sole evidence of someone’s ability to write (assuming that matters for the job). We’ve always had candidates do short writing assignments and/or looked at past work. So even if your purchased cover letter got you an interview, it wouldn’t help beyond that if writing was going to be a barrier.

      1. Sherm*

        +1. And politicians/speechwriters and executives/admins typically have ongoing relationships and are not strangers to each other, so those doing the writing do have insights into the thoughts and ideas of those they are writing for.

        1. Ginger Baker*

          ^So true, as an admin, can confirm. (And I frequently see emails drafted for my BigLaw partner to send to a distribution list and go “oh nooo, no he’s definitely going to edit this a lot” and his edit is basically *exactly* what I would have predicted…because I have worked with him much longer than the person who drafted the email and I am very VERY familiar with his writing tone choices!)

      2. Myrin*

        I’ve been thinking about this a little more deeply just now and I think what it comes down to to me, in addition to the simple expectation that a cover letter be written by the candidate, is that when I read a cover letter, I want to know what the person in question has to say about themselves, not what another person has to say about them while using first-person-speech.

        1. Lance*

          This is basically it. Speeches and the like are conveying some sort of plan, some sort of topic that doesn’t require intimate knowledge of the speech-giver. Cover letters, as Alison herself said, are nuanced very directly around the person they’re about; their words, not words provided by others.

          1. Myrin*

            Yeah, it occurs to me that for Person A to write a successful cover letter for Person B else, A would have to quiz B pretty thoroughly in a “Why are you interested in this job? What is your experience with Y? What did you accomplish with X?” kind of way, at which point B might as well write the thing themselves using their own words and A can then give advice later-on. (Or at the same time, really. I helped my sister with her last cover letter by brainstorming with her what she wants to write down and then she just put that into sentences. But those were sentences that she wrote herself with her own voice and style.)

    2. Tyche*

      How is this different than writing the cover letter and then getting someone else to help proofread and polish it?
      It’s different because, in this case, you wrote the cover letter with your voice and style and someone else helped with typhos and little things.
      how is this different than a politian having someone else write speeches for them? Professional ghostwriters are highly qualified writers who have an uncanny ability to sound like the person for who they are writing for. They know how this person writer, talk and move, and the speeches are written in collaboration with this person to reflect them.

      1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        Or rather, they know how to write speeches (it’s a definite skill, completely different from other types of writing – I found it particularly difficult to translate speeches for example, despite 25 years experience in translation) and are adept at taking what the politician thinks and couching in speechspeak (please forgive me for coining such a terrible term!).

      2. George*

        Whereas the professional cover letter writer is naturally an unprofessional goof, and would not consult with the person they’re writing for?

        1. AndersonDarling*

          I think this is what people are missing. Professionals that specialize in resumes and cover letters have an extensive interview that they conduct with each client. They know exactly what kinds of questions to ask to get relevant information. And they keep up with the hiring trends in each industry, for example, they would know if tech companies are focusing on security skills or confidentiality experience. You could have security experience and not know that it would be a key influencer in your cover letter.
          Sure, there are $25 scam writers, but if you pay $500 for a cover letter + resume package, this is what you are paying for…not just the writing skills, but also the insider knowledge.

          1. Susan Calvin*

            Ok, but, that doesn’t really address the issue that if that client then gets the job, even the $500 premium package won’t cover for that writer jumping in whenever the client needs to write a vaguely compelling email, proposal, or explanation.

            Several of the jobs on my team don’t include writing related duties in a significant enough capacity to make it part of the practical section of the interview, so if it turned out after hiring that one of our techs could not, say, produce a coherent summary of an issue they’ve analyzed, because they communicate exclusively in chat speak or unintelligible run-on sentences, I’d have questions…

            1. AndersonDarling*

              I wouldn’t put so much weight on a single letter to convey a candidate’s communication ability. Even if a candidate wrote the cover letter themselves, they could have spent hours writing it, proofreading it, re-writing it, and having others review it and incorporating those comments. That wouldn’t translate into writing quick and polite emails, or preparing summaries. I think it’s two different things. A cover letter is more like marketing material where a person devotes lots of time and care. That same time and care can’t be granted to every workplace email. I’d look more into the back and forth emails the candidate has with the recruiter to see how well they communicate on the fly.

          2. Paulina*

            Problem is, when I’m reading a cover letter I want to see the knowledge of the applicant, not the knowledge of someone they hired. I want to see how well they advocate for themselves and also what they see as important skills for the position being hired for (which can show how they view the position and what they would try to do while in it). I also want to know if the applicant themselves understands trends in the industry. Now, this may also be true for politicians and speechwriters, as we’d certainly like to know what the politician thinks themselves! But there’s a reasonable expectation that, if you elect the politician, their backing people or similar support people come with them, because these are usually ongoing relationships. This is not true for applicants to other jobs that might hire a cover letter writer. I don’t want to select a candidate on the basis of them demonstrating understanding that it turns out they can’t use once hired.

    3. Asenath*

      Theoretically, the executive reviews the letter written by the admin before signing it, although I’ve certainly known situations in which the admin signs the letter (in some kind of X for Y format) or stamps it with or appends some kind of electronic signature for the executive. But in these cases, the letter is either some entirely routine and predictable topic, such as “unfortunately we can’t do A because of policy B”, or the executive knows the admin has the skill and experience to take “Tell them this and sign it for me” and put it into a proper form. This is completely different from writing a cover letter, which is supposed to demonstrate something about the writer, not merely convey information in a professional manner.

    4. pancakes*

      In addition to what others have said, I’ll add that neither of the examples you give involve a candidate seeking a job – both the speechwriter and the admin already have jobs, and neither the speech or the exec letter are meant to demonstrate their own communication skills.

    5. Dust Bunny*

      A speech is not part of a job application. The intent is to address the public, not demonstrate the person’s fitness for a particular job.

    6. SheLooksFamiliar*

      A resume is a job search tool that the job seeker will refer to during an interview. It will be used in a dialogue in a small group setting. The job seeker is expected to speak about everything on it knowledgeably and with examples.

      A speech is a presentation to deliver a specific, one-way message. The message should be something the politician embraces, but the writer makes the message more ‘deliverable’ to a wide audience.

      Big difference.

    7. Threeve*

      I’ll admit: I think the cover letter matters if the job involves writing that needs to well-crafted and error-free. Otherwise, if writing isn’t someone’s strong suit, and if it doesn’t contain any falsehoods, I’m not really horrified with the idea of a candidate having someone else write it.

      Hiring a ghostwriter isn’t common, but copy-pastes from cover letters available on the internet, or having a friend/family member write all or most of it happens way more frequently than people think.

      1. AndersonDarling*

        I’m also not as horrified at the idea of someone writing a cover letter for someone else. It’s easy for me to write a cover letter because I’ve been reading AAM for years and I love to keep up on the styles and trends of resumes and cover letters. But someone on the outside could be absolutely clueless as to how to write a cover letter and could come up with something awful. Or they will need to spend hours researching and wading through gobs of articles trying to pick out what is good advice. It would be like someone with no idea about fashion walking into a thrift store trying to find an affordable ball gown. It sounds easy to a fashionista, but could go embarrassingly wrong for anyone else.
        Even a grant writer or technical writer may have a hard time hitting the right tone in a cover letter. That said, I would absolutely expect a Communications candidate to write their own cover letter. And I’d expect everyone else to customize their cover letter for each application, even if the base cover letter was written by a professional.

        1. pancakes*

          I don’t think that’s a serviceable comparison at all. Cover letters aren’t meant to show off the author’s awareness of trends, and a candidate who’s as unfamiliar with workplace expectations and hopelessly inept at researching them as you describe is not going to be the best candidate for a job where communication skills are important. Of course a candidate in that position is going to prefer concealing all this from would-be employers as long as possible, but it doesn’t follow that there’s no harm in doing so.

      2. pancakes*

        Finding oneself working with a lousy writer on a task that requires skillful and lucid writing isn’t uncommon, either. I’d rather see it happen less often than it does.

        1. Self Employed*

          I have rented from the same management company for a decade and any memos that are actually written by on-site staff (not by the corporate lawyers) are full of typos and odd grammar. The manager at my previous apartment was trying to hard to write business English that she just made things complicated and confusing–if I posted it here, it would be a great Poe of “is this a satire of bad business writing or did they actually think this was professional?”

          I’m pretty sure that the job description requires a BA (or higher), and maybe I just have language fluency privilege, but it seems odd someone who qualifies to be a property manager or a social worker (they need to be Licensed Clinical Social Workers” can’t get through a memo of 3 paragraphs or less without making glaring errors (including mistyping the name of the property, which for some reason isn’t in a template). It shouldn’t be that hard to write a memo reminding tenants that one of the chutes in the trash room is for clean recyclables, or they need to renew their parking permits.

    8. PersephoneUnderground*

      I think this is a decent point actually- if it’s a position where writing ability isn’t too important, I think candidates who aren’t good at it may put themselves at a disadvantage because they don’t know how to write anything more than a generic cover letter. Writing something that provides more insight- as in, knowing to include content that isn’t in the resume- is actually part of writing skill. So a cover letter written by a professional writer using an interview of the person to find out what should be included may actually give the hiring manager a more full, more useful view of a candidate than a generic cover letter they wrote themselves. Isn’t it more important to know, for instance, that a candidate became the go-to person for x at their last job (when x is highly relevant) than it is to know that the candidate isn’t the best at composing cover letters? But yes, this would need to be a really good letter done with an interview to be worth it, not just a more polished version of the generic resume-summarizing type of letter, because then it adds nothing but the misleading impression that the candidate is good at writing.

    9. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      The difference is that when I’m deciding who to vote for, or whether to support a policy, the point of the speech is to say “Candidate Doe thinks we should do X” or “President Whoever feels strongly about Y,” not whether they’re good speakers. Whether the candidate came up with the arguments isn’t the point: we’re choosing someone to run/help run the government, not an orator or ad agency.

    10. meyer lemon*

      A cover letter is a lot more personal than either of those examples. If you want to write a really compelling cover letter, and one that represents a fairly accurate impression of your fit for a job, it should show some insight into your personality, your interests and the way you work. If it only contains the level of information that a speechwriter could figure out based on your resume, what is it going to add that your resume doesn’t already cover?

    11. Hats Are Great*

      Lying (as a moral wrong) is being dishonest when others expect you to be honest. So it’s not immoral lying when you’re bluffing in poker, or acting in a play, or using a speechwriter as a politician. Everyone understands poker involves bluffing, acting involves pretending to be someone you’re not, and politicians use speechwriters.

      But a cover letter is assumed to be written by you, so using a ghostwriter is immoral lying.

  8. Observer*

    #1- ABSOLUTELY tell your new boss about your coworker being an anti-vaxxer. This is HIGHLY relevant information that could harm your organization is very significant ways. It would be a problem in any case. So would the integrity issues (that your boss already knows about). Together?! Personally, I think it’s radioactive.

  9. Anonymous for this*

    I had no choice bc my boss figured out that I was pregnant before I did, so he knew for over 7 months. We were using birth control and I was in a terrible car wreck, and I thought all the nausea and dizziness was from that and the resultant drugs. But it was exactly one year after my bosses wife had started with pregnancy symptoms and he said I had the same “look” she had had, so he bought me a test. He was wonderful throughout and his wife lent me some of her (designer!) maternity clothes. He hired an assistant for me in my second trimester who was an incredible help and was able to help the company grow. My little was born 3 days after his littles first birthday. It can work with the right boss!

      1. Not Australian*

        Yes, I boggled at this a bit too – it’s borderline intrusive IMHO, but then I’ve tended to work for controlling ***holes who would’ve found ways of abusing the situation, and this was clearly done with good intent.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        This point is over the line. I’m glad you 2 had a relationship where it was appreciated, but I will recommend readers NOT do this as managers.
        The conversation is hard enough: “I know you’ve been in an accident but have you talked with your doctor about this set of symptoms?”

        1. caradom*

          Exactly! What then? Tell the boss you had an abortion or fake a miscarriage? If I got pregnant I would have an abortion so someone doing this would be alarming. Even worse if it is your boss.

      3. Cat Tree*

        Yeah, if I was the manager and had a good relationship, I might suggest taking a test, *maybe* even buy one (although I work in an industry that pays well so the employee buying her own test wouldn’t generally be a financial hardship). But I wouldn’t expect her to take the test at work, or tell me the results. I wouldn’t even ask and would trust her to handle her own business and tell me if I needed to know anything at the right time. I could speculate all I want, but that would stay inside my own head.

        Also, pregnancy symptoms aren’t always predictable for everyone. I had no nausea but still a decreased appetite, extreme fatigue (which I have had in the past for non-pregnancy medical reasons), and oddly enough persistent bleeding. I was very actively trying so I knew I was pregnant. But if it had been unplanned, I would know something was different but with weight loss and bleeding, pregnancy wouldn’t even occur to me.

        Unless it’s your romantic partner or your closest friend, it’s generally best to never assume a woman is pregnant unless she volunteers that information.

        1. caradom*

          If you are a manager and you are that dense please undertake management training. I might have a good relationship with you at work but that doesn’t mean I want to tell you I am having an abortion.

    1. 123Rew*

      I think this is one of those instances that can either be very nice and caring or just disturbing depending on the person and the relationship.

      1. Contracts Killer*

        I hope there are other HIMYM fans out there – this reminded me of – is he a Dobler or a Dahmer?

        Also, for LW, my OB told me that the second trimester “safe zone” is outdated and it is pretty likely a viable pregnancy as soon as you can hear a heartbeat. I’m not a doctor, but it may be worth asking your OB, for work reasons and just for peace of mind. Good luck with everything!

        1. Disgruntled Pelican*

          Yeah, no, your OB is wrong, and it is irresponsible for them to say that to patients.

    2. caradom*

      ‘so he bought me a test.’

      WTF? If you hadn’t reacted so well this could be the next letter published! ‘

    3. Velawciraptor*

      Bought you a test? That’s…something.

      I mean, I knew an employee was pregnant well before she announced because our cycles were synced and it was clear that suddenly I was the only one menstruating. But I still left it for my employee to tell me when she was ready.

      I’m glad things worked out with that boss, but still…boundaries, man.

  10. Mellow Yellow*

    I ended up telling my boss I was pregnant at only 6 weeks along because my coworker found me out! We shared an office and she noticed I was frequently running to the bathroom (also had that all-day morning sickness) and was no longer eating much of anything but drinking a lot of ginger tea. Once my coworker asked me point-blank and I confirmed, I saw no reason to keep the information from my boss and the rest of my team.

    Congrats OP #4 and good luck!

      1. Jess*

        I agree! Unless I was close enough to a co-worker to know they were trying (….which I don’t think I’d ever be), I’d assume frequent bathroom breaks, low appetite and nausea-reducing tea were because someone had an upset tummy; I’d be more likely to discreetly offer some Immodium!

      2. Yennefer of Vengerberg*

        I’ve always worked at companies where it was not at all okay to ask or speculate about pregnancy and child bearing in any way. Until someone is ready to tell you they’re pregnant, you ignore it even if their belly is the size of 5 watermelons. (Note: I don’t live in the US.)

        1. Marny*

          This is known as the polite thing to do everywhere. You don’t ask someone if they’re pregnant (even if the woman is in active labor) until she tells you she’s pregnant. And I’m in the U.S.

          1. H2*

            I totally agree with not asking if someone is pregnant, for sure. But if I’m sharing an office with someone who is at work while clearly sick, I would hope to get at least an “I’m not contagious”

            1. RabbitRabbit*

              This. Different situation but I used to have an office across the hall from one of our women’s bathrooms. I had a solid door so I couldn’t see who it was but like clockwork at least once a day, someone would be vomiting very audibly in there for quite some time. My assumption after a while was either pregnancy or bulimia, but the first couple days I was wondering if it was some sort of GI illness.

            2. Cat Tree*

              Ok, but there are a million other things that can cause frequent bathroom trips but aren’t contagious. It could be an IBS flare-up, or she could have started a new medication that is a diuretic. (Both of these apply to me, but there are plenty of other reasons.) It’s rude to jump straight to assuming pregnancy. The office mate could have asked a more open-ended question or expressed concern in general in a less intrusive way.

            3. Insert Clever Name Here*

              Sure, but you still don’t ask “are you pregnant” just because a coworker is running to the restroom frequently. Kindly asking “hey, are you ok? It seems like you aren’t feeling well” allows the coworker to let you know she’s pregnant (if that’s the case) or a more generic minor-medical-issue-not-contagious answer.

            4. pancakes*

              The idea that suspecting this justifies asking intrusive questions seems a bit backwards. Someone who comes to work with a contagious illness isn’t necessarily going be honest about it, either, even when asked point-blank, for various reasons.

        2. Chilipepper*

          My aunt has twice (twice!) asked women who were NOT pregnant when they were due (they had large bellies). Not only is this info private, it hurt those 2 women deeply and they had to cry in the bathroom b4 returning to the party.

          1. Cat Tree*

            Ha, in college a kid I was babysitting asked me if I had a baby in my belly. I later found out that her mom was pregnant with a sibling so she was just trying to understand that in a broader context.

            But I wonder if your aunt was passive-aggressively insulting those women on purpose.

            1. pancakes*

              Unless the aunt also has short-term memory loss, doing it a second time is more aggressively rude than passive-aggressive. Passive-aggressiveness is about avoiding confrontation, not seeking it out.

          2. The Other Dawn*

            As someone who’s been on the receiving end of this most of my life from as early as age 13 because I was obese, it was incredibly hurtful to be asked if I was pregnant. And I’d say 99% of the time, the asker didn’t apologize. I don’t think the person was trying to insult me. They were just ignorant and curious, and figured “obese” = “pregnant.” But that’s still no excuse for someone asking that question and it’s still very hurtful and humiliating.

          3. Ophelia*

            Oh, man I had someone ask me if I was pregnant when I was ~6m postpartum (I was in a line for flu shots, there was a separate line for pregnant people, so at least the context wasn’t terrible), and TBH I’m still kind of mad about it. Just make a sign everyone can see, guys!

          4. JustaTech*

            My MIL went up to the wife of the son of a friend and patter her on the belly and said they’d better get working on a baby (with the implication that the wife was getting old).

            I tried to explain why that was super inappropriate and potentially very unkind, but my MIL insisted it was fine because the couple announced their pregnancy the next week.


          5. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

            This happened to me once, and it was very upsetting for me and mortifying (deservedly so, imo) for the person who asked. I was battling infertility and was at a stage where I was pretty distraught about it. When I am stressed, I tend to eat a lot and this situation was no exception. I had put on a little weight–maybe about 20 lbs, which was enough to be noticeable on my small frame. My husband and I ran into a guy we knew slightly, and he asked if I was pregnant. I said, “No,” and did not elaborate further. If the conversation had stopped there, it would only been mildly embarrassing. Unfortunately, it did not.

            He said, “Oh, sorry,” and then added something to the effect that his wife had recently found out she was pregnant, so he was just in that frame of mind. (Or something like that. It was a long time ago so the memory is hazy.)

            I lost it. I didn’t say a word, because I couldn’t think of a word TO say. My mind literally went blank. I just stared at him for a second or two, then turned and left as fast as my chubby little legs could carry me. As soon as I was well away from him, I burst into tears. When my husband caught up with me a couple of minutes later, he told me he had explained the situation to Big Mouth Guy, who was genuinely sorry when he realized just how badly he had messed up.

            I know my reaction probably sounds extreme, but my emotional state IN GENERAL was pretty extreme at the time. I was literally not capable of responding in a rational manner. And there you have it, another example of why asking a woman (especially one you barely know) if she’s pregnant is something that should never be done lightly and is very, very, very unlikely to end well!

  11. Double A*

    I told my work fairly early in my first pregnancy because I was in a job where it helped me to know that other people knew I might need extra support due to feeling ill. I also am of the mindset that if I miscarry, I am okay with other people knowing that. I definitely understand if other people don’t feel that way, but since the default is “Don’t tell because you might miscarry,” I just wanted to put out there the perspective that it’s okay to be okay with other people knowing.

    I told my job much later this time for various reasons and it was kind of a bummer I had to never mention how awful I felt for several months. Not that I’m one to go on about it, but just knowing other people have some context for why you’re so tired can be a relief.

    1. BubbleTea*

      I told my boss a few days after I found out because she was recruiting for an additional person in my role, and I felt it was important for her to know I’d be out for six months in the next year. She already knew I had been trying so it wasn’t a surprise. I’ve been gradually telling colleagues as I speak to them – we’re all remote now and I told the first handful around 12 weeks. Now I’m nearly 16 weeks and soon everyone will know, depending how quickly I speak to them. It didn’t feel like something to put into a mass email since we don’t really have a culture of all-staff emails for personal news.

      My other logic for telling my boss so early was that if I lost the baby, she would be one of the people I turned to for support. I’m single and my closest friend’s kids were acquired through fostering rather than pregnancy, so I’m taking all the support I can get!

  12. KayEss*

    I don’t think a paid cover letter is any more of a breach of ethics than a paid resume overhaul. I probably wouldn’t pay for one myself because I’m stubborn and have strong writing skills… but I gotta say that cover letters were the most nerve-wracking part of the entire job search process and I hated every second of writing them. Like Alison says, outsourcing that work isn’t going to result in a one-in-a-million, hire-this-person-now cover letter, but if someone is already consulting on your resume I don’t see why they couldn’t bang out a couple paragraphs highlighting connections to a job posting and your past accomplishments. That’s about the level of “decent” cover letter I’m able to accomplish on my own and it took an agonizing chunk of literal /hours/ out of my life every single time.

    I don’t think I’d raise an eyebrow at a candidate not writing their own cover letter unless the result was full of lies, any more than I’d be put off by them using a resume writer unless it resulted in their accomplishments or credentials having been falsified. I’m sure there are unscrupulous people who will provide exaggerated resumes and cover letters as services to job seekers (because “everyone” lies on their resume), but I definitely think it’s possible for cover letter writing to be in the same acceptable service realm as resume writing. It’s just not going to result in the kind of unicorn cover letter that gets featured here, which is IMO out of reach for a lot of people when applying to a lot of positions, anyway.

    1. Cedrus Libani*

      I am the sort of person who freezes right up when I know my writing is being used to evaluate me as a human being, so I get it, but I can’t imagine this being a good idea – unless I was prepared to hire a VERY skilled ghost writer who knows both me and my industry to an uncanny level. Someone else can re-state my resume, but I’m the one who knows why I think I’d be good at the job.

      But this assumes that a one-size-fits-all cover letter is at best neutral, such that you might as well not bother. To get into the positive range, you’d better make a very specific case for getting that job in particular. That’s not the world’s highest confidence belief, but it’s where I’m at.

    2. Zoe*

      I agree. I have no way of knowing who wrote the cover letter, if someone hired someone to write one I honestly wouldn’t care. If it’s a job that requires good writing skills that would be a component of the interview (I have a bunch set up first week of Feb actually). Now, the fact that it’s privilege as a lot of candidates couldn’t afford a resume writer/cover letter writer and it might put them at an advantage, THAT bothers me, but there’s absolutely no way to know this when you’re reviewing applications.

      1. Richard Hershberger*

        It seems to me that from a hiring manager perspective, it would make a difference whether the job required writing skills. If so, the cover letter also serves as a writing sample. But if the job doesn’t require writing skills, insisting that the candidate write their own cover letter is an irrelevant job requirement, potentially filtering out great candidates who are lousy writers.

        1. WellRed*

          I agree with this and I’m a writer. I absolutely write my own but for a lot if positions? I don’t think it’s a deal breaker, though I get Alison’s points why it’s not great.

        2. Washi*

          But if the job doesn’t require strong writing skills, then a decent hiring manager will be looking at the substance, not the style of the cover letter. Especially since in my experience (hiring for non-writer jobs) the vast majority of cover letters are not amazingly well-written, they just get the point across. And I can’t think of a lot of jobs where the application would require a cover letter, but the ability to communicate at a basic level in writing would not be a plus for things like emails, the occasional write-up of some work, etc.

          If someone knows they are a poor writer, I would recommend that they write their cover letters and have someone else review them for grammar, etc. I honestly can’t imagine the result being substantially different than getting a generic cover letter written for you.

          1. Perry White*

            While there are some jobs where writing is more important than in others, I can think of no job where the ability to write clearly irrelevant.

            1. Threeve*

              Cover letters aren’t just about writing clearly, though. They’re about writing well and persuasively. Advice about writing a cover letter will have details like “don’t repeat the word ‘experience’ multiple times, use synonyms” and “don’t start every paragraph with ‘I'”

              With many office jobs, even ones that are on email constantly, good advice is closer to “correct spelling and grammar, polite greeting and closing, know when something should be more formal so you don’t use smiley faces and exclamation points.”

              It’s “write like you’re being graded” vs “write like you’re being read.”

            2. pancakes*

              There are a number of readers here who work in IT, tech, or engineering and have said that cover letters generally aren’t important in their industries and in some instances aren’t used at all. Obviously there will be some positions in those fields where the ability to write is important, but my understand is there are many where it isn’t. The only way I communicate with IT people in my work, for example, is by submitting a ticket to their department. They don’t need to send sparkling prose to confirm receiving it or to fix my VPN connection or whatnot.

          2. Cj*

            I know in many (most?) cases, applicants are going to have somebody review their cover letter for grammar. But, really, if the job requires any kind of written communication with external customers, vendors, etc., I would be upset if I saw a significant amount of grammatical errors in those e-mails or whatever if they had not been in the cover letter, since that is the only things I would have had to judge their writing on.

        3. Metadata minion*

          For me, I guess it depends on what we mean by writing skills. Even if a job doesn’t involve Professional Writing(TM), the vast majority of office jobs require standard inter/intra-office email, reports, maybe writing documentation, and that sort of thing. As with a lot of things in job applications, this is something where a large range of “basically fine” won’t matter one way or the other, but being either impressively good or impressively bad at cover letter writing can really help or tank your application. If I get an amazingly well-phrased, well-organized cover letter and I think that will be a bonus to your candidacy, I’m going to be disappointed if we hire you and it turns out that you ramble or misuse words all the time.

          If we’re talking about blue-collar type jobs and things along those lines, I agree that requiring a cover letter or judging people on their word usage is an excuse to weed out all sorts of people who are probably excellent electricians or plumbers.

    3. lapgiraffe*

      I can’t believe I’m about to say this but I think I’m coming around to thinking that I agree with you and it’s not the big deal I once thought it was. I have been thinking about this for a few weeks after stumbling into a cover letter generating program. I was using an online resume program where I filled in every field myself with my own information and it populated that into different design templates. The info is all mine, I’m not looking at design jobs, thus it would seem the prevailing AAM take is that assistance of this kind is A-ok.

      There was a cover letter function that I, naively, thought would just be a simple template that allowed one to copy paste their cover letter in a design format that matches their newly designed resume. Ha. I was super annoyed because it wanted to guide me through all these prompts (I just went over to the website to actually see what they were). It starts with ‘do you have work experience” with the options of yes or no, that’s it. Other yes/no include did you go to college, did you graduate, then drop down fields to put the name of job and years of experience, drop down to put in skills from a searchable field, it goes on. In the moment this was really frustrating to me, I’m literally putting in one letter answers just to get to the end thinking I could download whatever it generated, then keep the design but change all the copy to what I had written myself. (I could not, btw)

      Even not bothering with filling in the particulars and rushing to the end, I was shocked, SHOCKED, at what a good cover letter it spit out. Do I think mine are better? Yes, or at least I used to, but honestly I’m getting no traction whatsoever with my individually tailored beauties and I swear to you that this generated letter did not read like a computer or like an idiot, and it put it together in less than 15 minutes. I can see where if you’re looking for a very high-level position, or perhaps even if you’re new to the working world, both extremes benefit more from that personal touch. But I’m just not convinced that for the vast middle it really matters anymore.

      1. hbc*

        I guess I can’t say for sure without having seen it, but I don’t know how it generated anything but a pretty mediocre cover letter. Whether I have work experience or a degree belongs in the resume. They might be mentioned in context in a cover letter, but not the focus.

        Unless they prompted you with questions like “What excites you about this field?”, it sounds like it just created a prose version of a resume. I’d rather see a basic template that goes:
        “Dear Hiring Manager,
        [One-two sentences describing something positive you felt when you saw the position]
        [Three sentences highlighting some things from your background that make you a good fit for the role]
        Thank you for your consideration, and I hope I get a chance to discuss the position further.
        [Your Name]”

        1. lapgiraffe*

          I think you’re correct that it was a prose version of a resume, but a shockingly good one. I think one could definitely tweak this letter to offer up that “personalized touch” that you’re looking for, it definitely was an excellent starting point of a letter, much better than I expected.

          But I’m more curious about your possible template, perhaps you are simplifying for sake of commenting ease but do you really think five sentences is all one needs for a cover letter??? Perhaps I’m turning people off by writing too much, sincerely asking. I don’t know how I would make myself stand out with just five sentences, maybe that’s just me.

        1. lapgiraffe*

          It’s resume genius, I am moderately happy with it, it’s tedious, though. It’s not like I can just import my old resume, it’s literally line by line by line input, and then editing is a pain. And it costs money, but I will say I like what I ended up with. Will it get me a job? That’s still TBD.

    4. Sack of Benevolent Trash Marsupials*

      I am on about 4-5 hiring committees per year for staff positions in academia (research and administrative), so YMMV, but here is my take.

      If the candidate can deliver on the promise of the written application in interviews, we may never know, and the person may be hired with a ghosted cover letter/resume. However, and this is just my experience – it is usually pretty obvious when someone has gotten substantial help with their resume and cover letter. A professionally done resume typically doesn’t bother me (unless there is obvious role inflation/too many superlatives), as others have said, that is more of a transcript. But it is really weird when you receive a well-written cover letter (although they usually don’t convey much personality), and then the candidate in interviews seems either unfamiliar with the cover letter, or it is really clear that they themselves could not have written the letter at all.

      I’d rather receive a kind of crappy letter from someone who clearly wrote it themselves than a good letter that isn’t representative of the candidate. Of course if good writing is part of what the job requires, just don’t apply if you can’t write! It shows inability to think past the hiring process – if you won’t be able to do the job, you’ll be miserable, we’ll be miserable, it makes no sense.

    5. Esmeralda*

      Disagree for jobs in my office. You have to have reasonably competent communication skills, including writing, for all of our jobs. And a cover letter also can demonstrate higher level critical thinking skills. Of course, if you don’t have those and you’ve given me a ghost-written cover letter that makes me think you do, I’m going to find out in the interview. (Come to think of it, that may explain some of the candidates who seemed so accomplished from their letters, and so mediocre in person)

  13. Paperdill*

    Regarding number 1: (deep breath….) Ok, so I am not an anti-vaxxer, but I am a vax questioner – I have concerns about some things and have declined some things for myself and my children following doing my own research and discussing things with my learned colleagues. I also work in community health and have done so for 15 years.
    During work hours I only ever “tow the company line”- I tell clients what the department wants me to tell them, nothing more or less. And I actually do a good job in educating my clients in accordance to the recommendations, policies and procedures of my department.
    I just want to point out that it is actually possible to not agree with certain vaccination policies but to still reliably execute ones’ job role that involves vaccination.
    Obviously, this co-worker has other integrity concerns. But the suggestion that is being made by both Alison and some commenters that being anti-vax automatically makes someone unreliable to have any work with vaccination is unfair.

    1. L6orac6*

      I believe this co-worker has told people her views. She doesn’t appear inclined to be follow companies’ directions anyway. Besides how did this woman get this additional job to do, does it align with her job duties or did she volunteer?

    2. Batty Twerp*

      I think the potential issue is that several anti-vaxxers I’ve known also “did their own research”, which consisted of reading either several Facebook pages or, if they actually went with a proper method, sticking to discredited scientific journals, not the ones that came subsequently and disagreed with their preexisting views. Their version of “a learned colleague” is someone who did GCSE biology. It’s unfortunate but “Doing your own research” as a phrase has been tarred by too many people who think a quick Google search counts as scientific study.
      I think it’s perfectly fair to refuse a vaccine if you know you are allergic to the ingredients (had an ex-boyfriend like this – he was allergic to just about every kind of modern medicine).
      I think it’s fair to refuse if, on truly reflective balance, the side effects will adversely affect your life.
      I do not think it’s fair to preach your beliefs and have them impact others. And that’s where the majority of anti-vaxxers I’ve encountered reside.
      If you can remain objective while doing your job, it shouldn’t be an issue. But if you’ve been vocal in your antivaxxer beliefs (not you Paperdill, the general worldwide “you”) expect to have your integrity questioned.

      1. Kate, short for Bob*


        And there’s a whole fresh crop of antivaxxers who got there from covid-denial. Who won’t wear a face mask because “it’ll give them lung fungus” but will lay in a stock of horse wormer because that “definitely works” if they get the sniffles’ aka covid. Who will refuse a covid vaccine they haven’t yet been offered because bodily integrity, while actively protesting against abortion availability.

        Vaccine sceptics are not sending their best people. Did they ever?

        1. Rusty Shackelford*

          Interestingly enough, there is some promising research regarding ivermectin (I assume this is the horse wormer you’re talking about). So these people in the throes of spurning recognized, vetted medical treatment may have accidentally stumbled into a (possibly in the future) recognized, vetted medical treatment.

          1. pancakes*

            It is extremely unlikely that the exact same people spurning science on social media are the ones doing this research on the horse wormer and submitting it to peer review.

            1. Rusty Shackelford*

              LOL ya think? I just think it’s funny that they’re so busy spurning “big pharma” or “the man” or whatever, and might simply accidentally end up ahead of the curve. (Also, if ivermectin does become a standard treatment for Covid, how much is my dogs’ heartworm preventative going to go up in price? Yikes. I should stock up now.)

              1. pancakes*

                I don’t think it is funny because it’s likely people are going to hurt themselves with this. Ignorant people doing DIY experiments on themselves really isn’t comparable to stumbling across a promising medication by chance. It’s mostly just self-destructive. In late March 2020 a man in Arizona died and his wife was in critical condition after drinking chloroquine phosphate, a fish tank cleaner, because they heard the President talk about chloroquine on TV.

                From the FDA: “Some of the side-effects that may be associated with ivermectin include skin rash, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, facial or limb swelling, neurologic adverse events (dizziness, seizures, confusion), sudden drop in blood pressure, severe skin rash potentially requiring hospitalization and liver injury (hepatitis).”

      2. Richard Hershberger*

        Yup. “Do your own research” in this context generally means “Read the same subreddits as I do.” Over the past year I have been lectured about epidemiology by people who had only a week earlier learned how to spell the word. Should we trust the people who have spent years learning their highly specialized profession, or someone who “did their own research”?

        1. Pippa K*

          Yep. Unless you’re an immunologist or epidemiologist, I’m not interested in “your research” on vaccines.

          Bit of a tangent, but it’s interesting to see changes in where people will (or won’t) defer to expertise and authority. Where I live, there’s been a shift from a traditional “respect scientists, challenge politicians” consensus to more recent “disparage scientists, back your party no matter what.” Most of us are a lot more qualified to argue with politicians about policy than with scientists about science, and yet here we are.

      3. Dust Bunny*

        Nobody who is pro-vaccine recommends taking vaccines to which one is allergic. Believing that “everyone” should get a vaccine automatically excludes people who would actually be harmed by it, because the whole point is to keep people healthier, not try to kill them. Refusing vaccines that would be allergy triggers doesn’t even fall under “vaccine questioning”–it’s just sense. My mom can’t have live vaccines but she’s not a vaccine questioner, she’s just exempt from taking that specific type of vaccine for very reasonable and legitimate medical reasons. But the fact that some people can’t take certain vaccines is part of the reason the rest of us who can, should for a lot of things (I’m way down the priority list for COVID but you bet I’ll be getting it when I’m eligible).

        I mean, I’m allergic to clindamycin but I don’t extrapolate that to think that antibiotics are bad, it’s just that I, personally, can’t take that one particular kind (and they should be taken responsibly in general).

        1. Rusty Shackelford*

          Hmmm. I could trust M.D.s and PhDs to do that research in labs, or I could do my own. On Google. Yeah, sounds fair.

    3. Roci*

      The anti-vaccine movement is mostly non-scientists and scientifically illiterate people who oppose vaccines in principle.
      That’s very different from a scientifically literate person who understands how policy and medical decisions get made, and sometimes disagrees with those priorities and decisions.

      For example, I am a translator, and I have the expertise to say “hm well this word has a nuance that is missed here, I would have made a different translation choice.” Compared to “Nothing should be translated!!1 No, I don’t speak any other languages!!1!”

      The former is fine. The latter is not, and they should not be working anywhere near vaccines or medicine.

    4. Language Lover*

      I think the issue is that so many in the anti-vax movement arrived there because of misinformation and conspiracy theories. They feel they “did the research” but what they really did was read summaries written by other anti-vax proponents. They likely don’t have the specific literacy skills often needed to read and critique research studies.

      And many take this position very personally to the point that it becomes part of their identity. I do know of people who are dispassionate about their opinion (and who do understand and read research even though I disagree with them on this topic) but the risk is too great to not at least interrogate/double check this person’s work.

      1. Ermintrude*

        Arguably, learning the requisite critical-thinking skills isn’t that hard; I rely on the skills I was taught in high school (and research skills built up since primary/elementary school) to discern which information and opinions are accurate and reliable.

        1. Researcher*

          Evaluating whether or not a source is credible is what you’re describing. This, indeed, is an important skill. But being qualified to interpret scientific and medical data is a very different skillset.

          1. Self Employed*

            The main takeaway I have from graduate biology seminars (where we students presented about a different paper each week on the theme of the class) was that SO MUCH of the peer-reviewed scientific literature has significant errors. Major problems in how the study was designed, how the data was collected (including lab techniques), and how the data was analyzed. Some of these errors are difficult to spot if you aren’t fluent in that niche although the stats problems are pretty easy to catch across specialties if you are good at stats (like my advisor was).

            I’m hoping that the papers from class were shakier than average due to some kind of selection factor we students shared.

    5. JustKnope*

      This does not change the advice to the Letter Writer. While it’s a good thing you’re capable of towing the company line, the boss in the LW’s situation should absolutely know the information and have the ability to not take the risk. The coworker could do real damage if they decide to bring their own perspectives into the role (even inadvertently).

      1. TRexx*

        Maybe the boss knows exactly what he’s doing and is using this assignment to test the employee’s integrity. Of course, the boss has a responsibility to oversee the work.

        But I tend to disagree that being opposed to vaccinations means that you’re unable to perform a job as assigned. The temptation may be greater for some, but I don’t think taking someone off an assignment because of their personal or philosophical beliefs is necessary- unless the employee has requested to remove themself from the situation due to a personal conflict.

        1. Observer*

          *A* belief may not make someone unfit for *A* particular task. But THIS particular vocally expressed belief DOES ABSOLUTELY raise questions about her fitness to do THIS particular task.

          Ignoring relevant information about someone is NOT how you keep people safe.

          1. TRexx*

            Yea not the same thing. Records are easy to verify and oversee. If the employee is being dishonest, then that’s a termination for not completing her duties etc.

            To just assume someone is not able to compartmentalise their personal beliefs and perform a separate job duty for others as assigned is a bit silly to me. It may be the case that the employee won’t perform the assignment well even if they weren’t opposed to vaccines.

            I think that bringing it up to management in a neutral inpassing way may be fine, as in- you know so-and-so has been vocal about their stance on vaccines, and is now responsible for the administration process for our vaccines. At that point, management can approach the admin to ask if she is comfortable with the assignment and reiterate the job expectations. But to pull someone off a job because of their beliefs is like calling someone a criminal without a trial or conviction.

            1. Insert Clever Name Here*

              Well, it’s a bit silly to me that so many commenters are fine with allowing a person who has falsified documents at work be in any way responsible for documentation that is meant FOR THE PROTECTION OF PEOPLE when that person has already shown a lack of integrity. Coworker *may* be fine doing this task, but also may *not* be fine doing this task so the most risk-adverse thing to do is get another damn person to do it. It’s super cool if the manager wants to give Coworker a chance to show integrity, but you know, don’t do it with records that can have a huge impact if they’re incorrect.

            2. pancakes*

              It’s not comparable to imprisoning someone without a trial at all, no. At-will employment, which is generally applicable in the US, means that people can be fired for any reason or no reason. Personally I would prefer to see an employee like this be reassigned to another role or task that doesn’t involve vaccination, so long as their performance is otherwise good, but unless they have a contract it would generally be well within the employer’s rights to fire them.

              1. Georgia*

                Sort of…, just because a person is at-will does not give the employer the right to terminate for ANY reason. An employer can not terminate because of your protected class, pregnancy, disability etc etc etc.

                You would prefer to see the employee reassigned. I say give the person a chance to do their job, iterate expectations and oversee the work. We can disagree on this.

                By the way, reassigning the work of essentially record keeping doesn’t mean the next person won’t also be an anti vaxxer or privately opposed to vaccines or whatever. It won’t necessarily solve anything. It’s her job to do this assignment. If she fails or worse, falsifies records then the consequences should be apparent.

                We also don’t know if there are other admin resources who can take on the project with their workloads… If the LW has a concern, then by all means speak up and tell management the concern.

                1. Self Employed*

                  I don’t think the student records office should have to waste time checking this person’s work to make sure she’s not falsifying records. If there’s a conflict, it shouldn’t be that hard to find someone who isn’t also an anti-vaxxer unless this is Marin County or something where that view is really common. They also tend to be very vocal on social media about their beliefs, so it would be quicker to do a quick check of potential candidates before letting on that they plan to switch assignments.

                  Time card falsification is typically a firing offense so I don’t see why we should bend over backwards to trust her or even keep her on the job.

                2. pancakes*

                  Yes, of course, but this person has already had the chance to do their job. What they’ve done is fudge their timesheets and communicate anti-vax views to coworkers.

            3. Dream Jobbed*

              I would have simply gotten rid of the employee when they falsified their time card. (If possible, depending on where you work.) But knowing that and their attitude towards vaccinations, they would not have been given this responsibility, even if given another chance to steal from the institution, err make “mistakes” on their timecard.

        2. hbc*

          I think it’s a major conflict of interest, and it’s silly not to identify it, especially when the person has had a flexible relationship with company policy when they *didn’t* believe it was actually harming people.

          The person who often says “people are too sensitive these days” is not your go-to for making sure everyone has attended sensitivity training. The person who thinks that religion is the opiate of the masses should not be in charge of outreach to local houses of worship. The person who thinks vaccines are bad should not be the person who catches and reports those who didn’t get the shot. And really, if you believe that vaccinations are actually killing people or injecting microchips or whatnot, it would be morally reprehensible to *not* help people fudge that to their employers.

        3. Insert Clever Name Here*

          You don’t give someone who doesn’t believe in vaccines a job duty that is related to ENSURING PEOPLE REPORT VACCINATIONS to test their integrity. That’s like “hmm, Suzy said Jane doesn’t believe in the humane treatment of animals so let’s but Jane in charge of animal welfare to see if she has integrity.” Any manager who did that would be bonkers to take the risk.

    6. Observer*

      I’m not going to get into the vaccine questioning. But anti-vax crosses a line. There is simply NO evidence whatsoever of ANY of the claims made by anti-vaxxers, and many of the claims are flat out lies. And a significant proportion of the vocal anti-vax crowd don’t just choose to not vaccinate themselves and their kids. So, that alone *absolutely* raises a question about fitness for duty in this context.

      1. Crivens!*

        And even if they just chose not to vaccinate themselves and their kids, that STILL puts the rest of us in danger.

      2. Keymaster of Gozer*

        That’s where I stand. No, there’s no link to autism. No you can’t catch a deadly disease FROM the vaccine. No there’s no microchips in it. Yes they have been thoroughly developed and tested…..

        I strongly believe that if someone truly thinks vaccines are bad they should avoid any and all jobs that involve even remotely dealing with them. That’s just sensible.

        (And if they could not spout their views at work that’ll be great too)

        1. caradom*

          The ignorant people who published about autism have had countless scientists examine their work and it was all completely discredited. Unfortunately research fraud happens. That is why we examine loads of research for 1 thing.

          Signed: a senior academic in psychology.

    7. 3DogNight*

      There is a huge difference between being an anti-vaxxer and being educated about what you put in your body. Anti-vaxxers flat reject, and actively discourage vaccinations whole cloth. That’s the problem.

    8. Tired of Covid-and People*

      Heaven forbid. You work in community health. Even being a vaccine questioner is unacceptable in this context. The rest of my comment got eaten, but suffice it to say that few elderly folks are anti-vax because they saw first hand the death, disability, and fear resulting from infectious diseases. Absolutely nothing in life is without risk, even aspirin is contraindicated for some people. Does that mean nobody should use it?

      Please consider another line of work. Towing the company line is not enough. Clients can tell you are mouthing words.

      1. Starbuck*

        Yeah, I’m not particularly impressed either. “Vax questioner” just sounds like a more polite and acceptable way to state the same beliefs without attracting the kind of censure you get if you loudly proclaim you’re anti-vax. And while many who hold these extreme beliefs will outright admit to it, plenty won’t. I’m sure many anti-vaxxers do just call themselves “questioners” who have some “concerns.” I would be just as skeptical of someone’s ability to do the tasks OP described above whether they called themselves an anti vaxxer or just a “questioner”.

        1. Yorick*

          Agreed. I would guess most of the people we would call anti-vax would call themselves “vax questioners.”

      2. Self Employed*

        Yes, my mother would’ve been horrified by anti-vaxxers: she was a polio survivor, her brother was sterile from mumps, and she remembered losing classmates to measles, diphtheria, etc. Immigrants from developing countries that still have endemic “childhood diseases” are usually baffled why people wouldn’t jump at the chance to avoid losing children to illness.

        We talk about not getting to go to the movies or beach during the pandemic, but it was DECADES that people had to socially isolate for polio outbreaks. My mother never believed that parks, beaches, or public pools were safe after so many years being taught they were unsafe. Even though she knew I was immunized against polio, she just had this gut feeling that SOMETHING would be transmitted these places.

    9. MamaSarah*

      Thanks for sharing your perspective. We personally take a more judicious approach to vaccinations…and I work for agency under PH (six years in the trenches!). When I am on my employers’ time, I acknowledge the role of vaccines in preventing communicable disease, link people to a PHN who can answer questions that are more medical in nature, etc. My personal beliefs by no means enter into the (occasional) conversations I have with the public about vaccination. We also have a wonderful Health Officers who uses the term “vaccine resistance”. I love it…it’s more precise and less of a judgement than the term “anti-vaxxer”…condensing to persons who fears or concerns only polarizes.
      But all this aside, I think what LW1 suggest is pattern of employee picking and choosing which policies they follow.

  14. Bob*

    If the anti vaxxer would do something bad what would it be, fill in vaccination received even when it wasn’t for the person’s “own good”?
    “Forget” to ask and just fill out everyone as received or try to educate everyone when they are asked for confirmation or tell them about loopholes such as religious exemptions?
    Something else?

    1. Myrin*

      The anti-vaxx admin is supposed to verify vaccinations – as in, make sure that people (and I would assume that means students, although maybe people working at the college as well? My first thought was that this was about newly admitted students, though.) have been vaccinated before they are allowed to do X (enter college? Take part in certain classes?).
      My guess is that OP fears – and I would share that fear in her shoes – that anti-vaxx admin is just going to mark everyone as “vaccinated” even if records show they aren’t, and as such endangering the other students/staff.

      1. rural academic*

        Yes, this. And as an employee of a college, I would be concerned about this possibility too. College and university students pass a lot of germs around among each other, which is why colleges and universities require students to be vaccinated. It is usually required before being admitted, or at least before taking up residence on campus.

        1. Self Employed*

          College is about when people need boosters for pertussis, and we had enough people with “philosophical exemptions” at my college that we would have small outbreaks after students brought it back from wherever it’s still endemic. There’s also some kind of meningitis or something that can tear through college dorms and cause death or serious neurological damage, and most colleges require proof of vaccination because it’s a real and present danger.

      2. Keymaster of Gozer*

        Long time ago we had a health and safety officer at one company who for some reason was passing out loads of homemade leaflets about how vaccines and certain medications (mostly antidepressants) were NOT safe and would seriously harm you. She was well up on every other health and safety regulation, just was weird about those.

        As far as I can remember from the haze of several decades she quit abruptly one morning.

    2. Daffy Duck*

      I suspect the OP is worried about falsifying unvaccinated people’s records as vaccinated. This can have severe consequences down the road.
      Not all disease issues will be well known throughout the community. For example, when I was at college my science class (about 300 students) needed to go to the health center for testing as one student had contracted TB. They were screening all students from the individual’s classes, dorm floor, and student job. It would be extremely important for correct vaccination records be available as risk and treatment may vary.

      1. Dust Bunny*

        Yeah, this. This is a person who is known to oppose vaccines and also has a history of dishonesty. Not great.

        I would like to know how the school would justify this to other staff and students/students’ families.

    3. hbc*

      Record other anti-vaxers as vaccinated.

      I worked at a construction company where someone was flipping through the new batch of work visas/green cards/etc. She showed me how to spot which ones were fake, and it was really obvious once she pointed it out. Then she put them all the employees in the system as having the necessary identification. That’s what one person as the Checker can do. (Pretty sure this was that company’s unofficial goal, but still.)

  15. Fitzroy*

    I announced my first pregnancy a bit too soon – in hindsight. I lost that baby, and honestly waad my team and manager knew about it, and why I was getting a bit teary seeing pregnant women and baby’s. The only thing – be prepared for pregnancy gossip to travel much faster than miscarriage news-months later I was still getting congratulations for a baby that had already died.
    With my second pregnancy I told my manager pretty early because I wanted him to take into account with personnel planning, but asked him to keep it to himself until I was ready to tell people. Worked great, but then, he’s a good guy.

  16. Zaphod Beeblebrox*

    Why would a anti-vaxxer take a job administrating vaccinations unless they had some kind of malice in mind?

    1. Willis*

      She’s not administering vaccinations, it sounds like she’s collecting records to verify that people have been vaccinated. And it’s a college admin job so presumably she has a bunch of other duties besides that and maybe didn’t even know that would be part of the job when applying. She does sound shady with the timesheet issues, but I think you’re misinterpreting the letter.

        1. Richard Hershberger*

          I don’t think that she “took a job” involving vaccinations. I think she took a job as an admin, and this particular duty was assigned to her by the luck of the draw.

    2. Me*

      They didn’t. Educational institutions typically have vaccine requirements. Part of her job duties are verifying students have the required vaccines.

  17. Lady Heather*

    LW4, congratulations on your pregnancy!

    One thing to note is that the common advice of “Don’t tell people you’re pregnant because you may still miscarry” kind of assumes that you wouldn’t want people to know if you miscarry. You’re allowed to tell people you’re pregnant and then you’re allowed to tell people that you’ve miscarried. Or you’re allowed to not tell people you’re pregnant and then announce you just miscarried. Or you can not tell people you’re pregnant, miscarry, and wait for the grief to lose some of its sharp edges before you tell other people you miscarried.

    There’s a lot of silence around miscarriage, even though miscarriage is common. And it’s fine when people who want to be silent keep silent – power to them! – but that silence should be a choice, not a default or an obligation.

    1. Mami21*

      Look, this is probably not a popular opinion but miscarriages are extremely common, and it’s generally considered painful to announce a pregnancy and then have to announce that a pregnancy has ended prematurely. Holding off on announcing is to protect the parents, not to shame them in any way.

      1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        Also, to protect the woman. The boss now knows that she wants a baby. Ok she lost that one but she’ll probably get pregnant again in a short while. It’s bound to come at a moment that will cause havoc to the work schedule, so why not get rid of her now before she gets pregnant again, that way there’s none of the hassle involved in firing a pregnant woman.

      2. Natalie*

        I don’t think anyone is disagreeing with or misunderstanding that? Just pointing out that individuals can chose to forgo that protection if they wish, they’re not breaking any kind of unwritten rule is they chose to announce early.

      3. caradom*

        1 in 4 women miscarry. 85% happens in the first trimester (3 months). Your comment is spot on: most people don’t announce until after 3 months for these reasons. Most people also know this (they might not know the numbers but most know it is common to miscarry in the first trimester).

    2. doreen*

      My first pregnancy ended in a loss – two losses really , since I was pregnant with twins and experienced the losses at different points. Telling my friends and family was one thing – but I had changed jobs during the pregnancy , and I wish I had avoided the pain from running into former coworkers months later who asked about the babies they thought I had. It’s not about wanting people to know you had a miscarriage – it’s a matter of not wanting to have to tell people about it for months or years, when they heard about the pregnancy but not the loss.

  18. General von Klinkerhoffen*

    Regular readers of AAM will know how important a *targeted* cover letter is.

    Unless your ghost writer is very familiar with your particular industry, your target role and the target employer, I’m not sure how good a ghosted cover letter could even be. And, frankly, anything worth having would be so expensive it would only be worthwhile for the kind of position where you really ought to be capable of writing your own.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      This is what hit me. Does the ghostwriter spend hours talking to the person so they can write an accurate cover letter? I don’t see how the customer expects to get something that reflects their work and who they are as a professional.
      I can see counseling a person to help draw out the types of things that would make a good cover letter. But then the person would have to go write it up themselves. In conversations with friends about job hunting, I have named specifics, “Be sure to tell this employer that you did ABC at Previous Job.” But the comment took 30 seconds to make and years of knowing the person. Worse yet, it was probably my only (and weak) contribution to their thought process. I am not sure how a stranger would fair better.

      1. Mimi*

        After my layoff last year, oldjob paid for a “job search coach” service (spoiler: they were terrible) that included resume- and cover letter-writing. I consider myself a good writer who doesn’t need ghostwriting, but went for it because it was free (to me) and why the heck not, and also I was really curious to see what they came up with.

        The resume was Bad — as in, everyone I showed it to went “yuck.” I did go through it line by line and take a few ideas, because they were less reticent about stating my accomplishments than I was, and outside perspective can be useful. Though honestly the most use I got out of it was discussing it with a family friend in my field, which led to figuring out stuff that was not articulated on either version of my resume.

        The cover letter… the cover letter was ATROCIOUS. It had more typos/errors/grammatical weirdnesses than I would produce in a rough draft, and I would rate the general writing quality as “comparable to what I produce on the second or third cover letter of a job search, while I’m still remembering how to write cover letters.” Furthermore, there was NOTHING compelling about it. It summarized my work history from my resume, and provided nothing not available on the resume, no spark, no personality, nothing.

        In retrospect, I wasn’t actually surprised, because all they had to write it with was my existing cover letter and resume and three bullet-point SMART stories that they asked for in a form. I did not speak to the resume writer directly until after I received their extremely lackluster first attempts, at which point I decided that the cover letter just wasn’t even worth discussing.

        1. Mimi*

          I will note that even if they had come up with something worthwhile, I would have felt extremely weird about using it for exactly the reasons Alison describes, but I initially thought that they might produce something I could integrate in a way that felt reasonable.

      2. AndersonDarling*

        The packages I’ve seen run between $200 and $500 for a resume and cover letter and they include multiple conversations with the writer. A long time ago, I paid for a resume writer and it would have been a simple transition to add in a cover letter because we talked so much about my experience. The conversation was really like an interview that got into my communication styles, what I like and didn’t like about jobs, along with all the technical job skills. There would have been plenty of information for the writer to use in a cover letter.

  19. Risk Manager*

    Lw1 – At the very least, taking all consideration of whether being anti-vax is bad or good, this could be a conflict of interest. She is required to collect data on X while having a vested interest (even if it’s personal belief) in having people think X is bad. Raise it.

    1. irene adler*

      I wonder if the vaccine records are at some point audited by an outside entity.
      Given she knows auditing of the records will happen, that could increase the likelihood that the co-worker would endeavor to be honest about these records.
      (sure, auditing is not foolproof.)

      1. Self Employed*

        An audit that looked at a sample of records could easily miss students who were marked as “vaccinated” when they weren’t if they’re a fairly low percentage of the total.

  20. Yennefer of Vengerberg*

    Re 2: I have written cover letters for others, and I’m wondering what you all think about it. I immigrated to Canada at a young age and speak perfect English. My parents, not so much. My dad is a professional in a very specialized and technical field. He gets hired for his ability to keep equipment from blowing-up, not for his ability to speak, write or communicate in English. That being said, he does have an “office job” and does need to have a reasonable ability to have presentations and communicate with his colleagues (which he does).

    I always wrote his cover letters for him. I felt that not doing so would lead employers to discriminate against him unfairly and to skip over his amazing technical accomplishments because of weird grammar and incomplete sentences. Now, I wonder if I did him a disservice. What do you think?

    1. linger*

      The main downside of a ghosted cover letter is that it is unlikely to accurately reflect the individual applicant and their fit to the specific position, without a lot of time-consuming and expensive collaboration to establish that background. If none of that holds in your specific case, then no major disservice was performed.

      1. Ermintrude*

        Yes. I’d say obviously your father can communicate about his qualifications and expeeience in a way that maps to your written statements of them.

    2. Daffy Duck*

      Correcting grammar and word choice is a far cry from writing a cover letter for a stranger. It is a good idea to have someone look over your cover letter to catch thing you have missed.

    3. Asenath*

      You obviously know you father and his work well, much better than any hired person could, so the concerns people have expressed about a cover letter writer not knowing the client or their field well wouldn’t apply to you. Also, although he uses English on the job, his main duties are technical and not English writing, so he certainly wouldn’t be using a well-written cover letter to apply for a job that required excellent writing skills. I’d say that what you did was much more like advising on grammar than it was writing an entire letter for someone you don’t know. Lots of people have someone do that for them, and it’s no problem because it’s on the mechanics of the writing. From the point of view of this internet stranger, you didn’t do him a disservice.

    4. jenny20*

      I have written cover letters for friends and family too. Not for jobs that would require specific writing skills though (think a retail job application for a young relative). I have never thought of it as mis-representing skills! Just as a way for my friend to put his or her best foot forward.

      At the same time, I also hire for jobs that DO require specific writing skills. We always test the applicants with an industry-relevant writing test. I have seen such major discrepancies between cover letters and actual writing ability, that I would never assume a cover letter is an accurate representation of a candidate’s true skills – especially if that writing needs to be completed fairly quickly when on the job.

      1. pancakes*

        A candidate submitting a cover letter written by someone else isn’t quite putting their best foot forward so much as putting the actual writer’s best foot forward, though. It’s not their own foot.

        1. Starbuck*

          Yeah, how does that help the applicant at all? Offer writing tips, heck you could even suggest edits after reviewing what they wrote, but writing it FOR them? It’s a disservice.

        2. LTL*

          Employers may very well be drawn to applicants that have better written cover letters, whether consciously or not. Even if the position doesn’t require writing skills. If jenny20 is a better writer than her friend and collaborates with them to provide an accurate representation of their work, I would say it is helping the friend put their best foot forward.

          1. pancakes*

            I don’t think anyone disagrees that employers prefer a better-written cover letter vs. one that isn’t well written. The disagreement is over whether it’s ethical and expected for a candidate to submit a letter written by someone else.

    5. hbc*

      If I’m looking for someone to keep equipment from blowing up, I don’t really care about the cover letter’s polish. I would and have hired people whose cover letters and resumes have made me cringe because of all the mistakes, but they had the background I needed.

      If I’m looking for a technical expert who is an excellent communicator, I might have hired your dad, and everyone would have been miserable. I have fired the person who (as it eventually became clear) had all of his materials ghostwritten by his wife, not because of the ghost-writing but because I needed someone who could write. He ended up with a one year stint he can’t get a good review from.

  21. Nonprofit Lifer*

    Honestly, we need to get rid of the stigma around pregnancy and work, because it really doesn’t serve pregnant people well. I recently had an early miscarriage that went onto have lots of complications and I ended up needing to tell everyone at work because I needed to take quite a bit of time off. I had something like a dozen doctor’s appointments and there were a couple of days I just needed some time to cope. Every one of my coworkers were universally wonderful and supportive.

    Miscarriage is incredibly common. We don’t ask workers to hide that they’re going through any other family tragedy; i.e. “Don’t tell anyone you have an elderly grandmother because she could die.” Some people would want privacy for any grief, but if you’re not one of them you shouldn’t have to hide that you’re going through something stressful because it involves your uterus. It’s yet another legacy of the old bias that being female at work is somehow shameful and ought to be minimized wherever possible.

    1. Cat Tree*

      It’s not about stigma though. If a woman has a miscarriage, it could be painful to be constantly reminded of it every time someone asks how the pregnancy is going and she has to share the news all over again. It’s fine to tell people early, but also fine to wait. And it’s not about hiding it, it’s about the woman protecting herself from further pain and intrusiveness.

      1. HannahS*

        Yeah, I agree with that. I’m pregnant, and while I certainly could tell all of my supervisors and colleagues, I’d then have to re-tell all of them if I miscarry, or else they could ask about it later. I don’t want to do that. If I miscarry, I might tell my current team and a few key administrators, but I certainly wouldn’t want to have to go through telling everyone I’ve worked with in the last few weeks. It has nothing to do with shame. It’s because it would cause me more suffering.

      2. Blackcat*

        “It’s not about stigma though.”
        I think it can be both, though. After my first loss (14-15 weeks, so late enough I had told more people in my personal life, though not work), I got tons of questions about what “caused” the miscarriage. It was profoundly intrusive and definitely felt shaming to me.
        My other losses have been earlier, but I’m adamant about waiting absolutely as long as possible if I ever get pregnant again.

    2. Rusty Shackelford*

      Some people would want privacy for any grief, but if you’re not one of them you shouldn’t have to hide that you’re going through something stressful because it involves your uterus.

      I don’t think I’ve actually seen anyone take that stance. Anywhere. Ever.

    3. Strega Nony*

      I had a complicated miscarriage a few years ago– I hadn’t told anyone at work that I was pregnant because it was early on and I didn’t feel the need (no horrible symptoms that were derailing my presence at work, etc.)– so when it happened and I needed to be out for several days over the course of a month, I explained what was going on to my colleagues who were of course worried about me with my multiple medical appointments.
      All that to say, in many contexts you may feel the need to disclose a miscarriage even if you hadn’t shared the news of your pregnancy.

    4. caradom*

      In my workplace we don’t know the reason someone is off sick. In fact, we don’t know at all if they are off sick (Apart from gossip). The only few people who know are the ones whose work will be impacted. They still don’t know the reason why someone is off.

    5. goducks*

      My first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. Besides the pain I felt whenever I was reminded of it, I also didn’t know at that point whether it was a one-off, or whether it was indicative of future trouble having a baby.

      It wasn’t until after my second child was born that I felt like I was ok talking about/thinking about that miscarriage.

      Many women are in a similar situation. It’s not just the grief of that specific loss, it’s the unknowingness that comes with it. When grandma dies, we (generally) know why she died. When you have a miscarriage, often all you’re left with is mysteries. It’s not the same thing.

      Yes, talking about miscarriage should be acceptable, but it’s not because it involves a uterus that so many women don’t want to talk about theirs, especially in the weeks and months after.

    6. fhqwhgads*

      Yeah it’s not about stigma. It’s about self-protection to prevent oneself from having to have the conversation that “no I’m not pregnant anymore” over and over. And avoiding people asking about a baby who already died.
      If someone doesn’t feel the need to prevent that happening, disclose whenever. There’s no shame in it, but it’s very painful for a lot of people to have that question, so preventing it from being askable is a useful solution.

    7. Pocket Mouse*

      It’s not all about miscarriage, either- as soon as pregnancy discrimination and the motherhood penalty no longer exist, I’ll be on board with this. Until then, I’d feel wary of letting people at work know that I plan to be a parent in the near future without having some level of statistical confidence that a given pregnancy will, in fact, add a child to my family. If anyone might be prone to treating me differently because of a pregnancy, and they do not actually need to know, I’d prefer to wait as long as possible before informing them.

  22. anonymous 5*

    LW2: there’s also a “market” for purchasing papers for assignments in college courses, but that doesn’t mean a student can’t be (fully justifiably) hauled in for disciplinary action for academic misconduct if they use one. In addition to the matter of a paper–or a cover letter–being intended to illustrate the candidate’s *own* capacity for written communication, there’s the ethical matter that paid papers/letters provide an undeserved privilege to people already privileged enough to be able to afford the service.

    1. OP2*

      I’m LW2 OP and I couldn’t agree more. I work part-time for a college consulting firm as an essay coach, and never would I (or would I be expected to) write an applicant’s essay for them. Do I help with outlines and copy edits? Yes. But writing the essay would be incredibly unethical. That’s how I view the cover letter issue as well.

    2. caradom*

      This is very common. Especially if in your third year if you do a dissertation. But it is original writing so we don’t know when they do it (over 500 students on the undergraduate degree course).

  23. Nikki*

    LW4: I ended up telling my boss about my pregnancy super early. My husband and I planned to tell everyone at the end of the first trimester. Then, when I was eight weeks along, it was announced that my company was being acquired by a larger company and it felt necessary for my boss to know about the pregnancy so he could take it into account when making plans related to the acquisition. He knew about the pregnancy before any of our friends and family, which felt weird, but he was very discrete and I’m glad I told him because it made a lot of things go more smoothly down the road.

  24. Not So NewReader*

    OP 1. I am not sure that just having one person on this task is the most transparent thing to do anyway. It almost seems like there should be two people, each verifying the other. A lot of financials are handled this way and human health is even more important.
    It definitely should be a person who is known for their integrity. Eh, even retailers don’t let untrustworthy people near the money safe. I hate to think about how we protect our money better than we protect our people.

  25. voyager1*

    LW1: I am not sure I agree with AAM. I think I would come at this from the theft of time issue. Of course the admin will have to falsify her time card again so you can report it and catch her in the act. You could give your manager a heads up though. But really need the admin to do it now that the new manager is there.

    On the anti-vaccine issue, I guess this would come down to how much she discusses it. Is it every moment or did she just make one comment saying she isn’t taking the COVID vaccine. And depending on what she said, you could be getting into protected speech (assuming this is in the USA).

    But the theft of time should definitely be on your manager’s radar. That kind of thing should get someone disciplined.

    1. EPLawyer*

      How would it be “protected speech” depending what she said? Unless she was inciting imminent harm to someone, it was free speech. Saying something stupid and uninformed is still free speech. HOWEVER, free speech only applies to the GOVERMENT passing laws. So whether she was using her 1st Amendment Right to be an idiot or not, doesn’t matter. this is a piece of information the manager needs to know so the manager can make an informed decision. No less than if the manager were putting her in charge of the raffle money and she had joked about needing to rob a bank to pay off her credit card debt.

      Manager is already aware of the timesheet thing but giving her another chance because the old manager let it slip. So I don’t hold out much hope the manager will take the admin off verifying vaccinations just because she’s an anti-vaxxer.

        1. Observer*

          Still doesn’t matter. Carrying a Confederate flag is protected political speech. A boss would STILL be expected – not just permitted to take this information into account in job assignments and when investigating allegations of misconduct. eg If someone complains that a person who has been seen carrying a Confederate flag is accused of using racial slurs, you simply cannot ignore the flag when assessing the credibility of the accusation.

          1. voyager1*

            I think your confederate flag example is kinda silly.

            Humble opinion here, but this sounds like you are trying to say because the admin is anti-vax, she has to have bad judgement and is committing time fraud (theft of time) because of that. That is not a known thing nor should that comparison be made.

            Both of these situations with the admin are mutually exclusive. One of these is easy to get someone disciplined over (time card issues). The anti-vac thing is just a dumb opinion. Maybe that dumb thing will cause her to be disciplined or maybe not. She could do all the vaccination record work perfectly.

            If I was the LW’s manager. I would want to know about the time card issues. That is so much easier to prove vs what basically comes down to a hunch by the LW that the admin is doing something wrong.

            1. Insert Clever Name Here*

              Observer is not saying that because Coworker is anti-vaxx, Coworker has integrity issues. And those two things aren’t mutually exclusive, they are just two facts that exist about Coworker. Lots of people in the world have integrity issues but are not anti-vaxx, and surely many of the anti-vaxx people in the world don’t have integrity issues.

              HOWEVER when you have someone who both 1) has integrity issues and 2) is anti-vaxx, it is natural to wonder if it would be prudent to put that person in a position where vaccine information is collected.

              No one is saying to punish Coworker for holding a stupid, ignorant viewpoint of vaccinations. They are saying it is information the manager should know when deciding which person is going to be responsible for ****confirming data about vaccinations**** considering that if that information was falsified it could put people at risk.

    2. Elizabeth*

      Political speech is protected from government intrusion, not employer intrusion. Workers in the US have no federally protected free speech rights in relation to their employers (unfortunately).

      1. Littorally*

        Well, they do have some, to be fair — it’s illegal for employers to discipline or fire employees for discussing their working conditions among themselves, for one thing. But that has nothing to do with the question at hand.

    3. Observer*

      Nope, no issue of protected speech here.

      The fundamental issue is that even when you cannot punish someone for their speed (eg government action), you can always use their speech as evidence what they are thinking. So if someone says “I hate n***” then you can take that as evidence that they actually do hate Black people. If someone refers to women in general as c***s, then you can take it as evidence that they have an issue with women, etc.

      If someone is vocally anti-vax, it is perfectly reasonable to take that as evidence THAT THEY ARE ANTI-VAX. And if you know that about someone, it absolutely is reasonable to act on that information, just as you would act on the information that an employee is a flaming bigot.

    4. JustaTech*

      On the anti-vax front, the issue is not that the person discusses it at work, but rather than someone who is against vaccination (it sounds like *all* vaccination) is being asked to verify the vaccination records of students.

      In the case that the students are residents of school and living in fairly close quarters it is *essential* for everyone’s safety to know who has, and who has not, been vaccinated in case of an outbreak. If there is a measles outbreak on campus (measles is one of the most contagious diseases) then the administration needs to know *everyone* who is at risk, regardless of the reason why they haven’t been immunized (against their religion, allergy, immune condition, etc) so that they can be protected.

      If the anti-vax admin just marks everyone as “immunized” and they’re not, the admin is putting people at risk.

      This doesn’t mean they need to fire the admin, just have them swap this duty with someone who isn’t anti-vax and hasn’t shown integrity issues.

    5. Yorick*

      I think you misunderstood the letter. OP is concerned that because coworker is anti-vax and coworker has shown a lack of integrity, coworker will not do their duties around verifying vaccines appropriately. This is definitely something to tell the manager about. This is not an issue of time theft – that’s just an example of prior bad behavior.

  26. Satisfactory Worker*

    I work for a local government entity (think city, county, regional, etc.). I know for a fact that some of the health care workers responsible for our vaccinations and outreach are themselves anti-vaxxers. These are not people from historically marginalized populations who might have justifiable reasons for not trusting government-level medical programs. Unfortunately I think the sentiment is widespread enough in society that many of the people responsible for the vaccination campaign don’t actually support it. Hopefully that will shift as more and more people receive the vaccine.

  27. Watermelon lip gloss*

    #4 Congratulations, My 2cents are don’t tell until you are ready for people to know and to discuss your pregnancy. Managers knowing leads to inevitably everyone at work finding out. Tell when your ready to handle talking about it and yourself.

    My first pregnancy I told my manager for coverage concerns and she let her boss know and his boss congratulated me in front of the entire Finance department at our annual meeting. Apparently keeping it quiet didn’t apply to him, upside he pushed all the VP’s on his level to contribute to a VP level gift and fancy baby crib that cost more than our car at the time arrived 6 weeks before the baby. By my third kid I denied I was pregnant until my 3rd trimester, I had been showing since 8 weeks.

  28. Peter*

    unclear on why it’s cool to have someone write a resume for you but not a cover letter . . .
    both seem . . . unethical.

    1. EPLawyer*

      A resume is really just a listing of your accomplishments. Thinking formatting rather presentation. Do I put my 8 degrees on there or not? Bullet points or narrative style. It’s bland, generic.

      A cover letter is your elevator pitch so to speak. Here’s where you really say THIS is why I should have the job. I did X at Previous Job and it applies to Y in this job in this way. HOW you convey that, how you sell yourself, YOUR voice is so important in a cover letter. It’s not bland or generic. If you hire someone else, it’s not your voice the hiring manager is considering, it’s whoever wrote the letter.

  29. LKR209*

    Pregnant OP, I also ended up telling my boss much sooner than I told the rest of my friends and family. I also was extremely fatigued and had morning sickness every day of my first trimester, at random times throughout the day, so it provided a lot of context on why sometimes I just needed to leave a bit early or why my coworkers could hear my puking in the toilet! I didn’t want them to think I had the flu or something else contagious.

  30. The Other Dawn*

    RE: #3

    I was in this situation in a previous job. I was absolutely miserable after the first couple months: my manager was a bit of a micromanager; she was very exacting; she was condescending to most people and absolutely showed on her face every single annoyance she was feeling, complete with eyerolls; everyone at the company, not just my department, seemed to be unhappy; and above all, I just didn’t like the work like I thought I would. (Although, if I had a different manager, I probably would have liked it more; it was the combo of all those things I mentioned that made me miserable.)

    After being miserable for about five months and basically crying every day in the shower, I decided to tell her I was unhappy, but I made it about the work and my fit with that–not her, the company, or general morale. Considering how miserable I was, I felt I was better off, for my own sanity, saying something and possibly losing my job, than to not say anything and have my mental health suffer more. I have to give her credit: she made an effort to find things for me she thought I’d enjoy. But ultimately it wasn’t enough and I left within a few months, which had a lot to do with her. Part of why I wasn’t all that hesitant to tell her I was unhappy was because her department consistently hemorrhaged people. There was 150% turnover in the 10 months I was there, most of it because of her personality as mentioned above. So, I was pretty confident she wouldn’t terminate me—she couldn’t keep anyone so she needed all the bodies she could get and hold on to.

    So I think, OP, that you can certainly say something, but you really need to consider the consequences of it and whether you’re OK with whatever might happen. If your boss found you more exciting/better work, would that fix the problem? Do you even want her to find you work that’s a better fit? If she decided to let you go before you found another job, would you be OK with that personally, financially and career-wise? Is it a case where she needs people so would likely keep you on rather than lose another body to do the work? Also, does she seem like a sane, reasonable person? (Like would she throw a temper tantrum, ice you out, etc.?)

    Good luck, OP! Hopefully you find something better, or you can get better work at your current company with a different boss.

    1. EAD*

      OP 3 here!
      Sorry to hear you were in the same situation, it’s not a fun place to be!
      I’m in a similar situation where they need every single person and are already short handed. They also don’t really fire people (state government) so it’s unlikely, but not impossible I would be let go right away. Part of the issue is how they described the position both in the posting and the interview as involving some higher level analysis and data management but what my day to day looks like is providing support to staff who have know idea how to use a particular software. Unfortunately even if I got some higher level work the support would still be there, and I’m not sure how many times I can answer the same question to the same people in regards to providing support.

      1. H*

        I read your letter and can relate. Started a new job at the end of Sept. My dept has been virtual since March of last year so when I joined it was also virtual… and it can likely stay that way even after it is safe to return. At the very least a hybrid model. I think some of my issues might be coming from that? I was in the process of typing an email to my boss today as she is very chumy with my colleague who they should have just promoted but they couldn’t because she doesn’t have the credentials needed for the position and won’t qualify for them for a bit. So I basically have more experience and more advanced credentials but I feel like this other colleague is seen as more of a superviaor than I am. Another person started in May/June of last year… earlier and she has made similar comments to be about feeling disconnected and somewhat micromanaged and undersppareciated. Again, I don’t know if it is because we started remotely or what?

        However, I decided to somewhat let it go at this point. We are working from home until at least the end of March (if not longer). When we get word we need to start coming back physically is when I am going to start looking around. I basically like that I can work from home and I have employment with benefits but I don’t feel challenged and was also told I would be in a supervisory capacity, etc.

      2. Anony-Mouse*

        Is this your first state government position? If so, now that you’re “in”, could you find an internal job posting and move into another position that suits you better? Or at least take on a temporary posting in another team? We are always posting temporary positions for internal employees to take first; they only get posted externally if no one internally wants them.

  31. Hiring Mgr*

    Outsourcing a cover letter to a complete stranger you’ve never met does seem a little odd, but then again if someone’s helping write a resume, it’s not too big a leap to assist with a cover letter also..

    1. Yorick*

      That’s a huge leap. A cover letter shouldn’t restate the resume. If that’s what they’re paying for, it’s a waste of money.

  32. Black Horse Dancing*

    This. I personally think putting uber religious people in charge of many thing isn’t wise because they hold power over people who are or do things against their beliefs but others don’t see it that way. Can Jane do the job without her beliefs coming into play? That’s what matters. OP can bring it to her boss’ attention and then let it go.

    1. HannahS*

      I mean…that’s bizarrely intolerant. Why on earth shouldn’t a woman in a hijab run HR, or a man in a turban run the finance department? No one, not even atheist white Anglo-Saxon protestants, leaves their identity at the door. The anti-vaxxer’s beliefs are in direct conflict with what she’s doing, and besides she’s shows herself to fudge her timesheets. But there’s no reason why a very religious Jewish woman shouldn’t do the same job.

      1. caradom*

        It’s a job. Whatever type of identity you have, keep it out of the workplace. Wearing a hijab / turban is a ridiculous example, how would it impact on something like antivaxxing? If someone was wearing religious clothing the only way it would matter is if it imposed on someone else. In this case a person’s nutty beliefs impact directly the role they are working in.

        1. HannahS*

          So..yes? That’s what I said? Also, everyone’s identity, even yours, impacts how you do your job. No one leaves themselves fully at the door–people who think they’re neutral are incorrect, and assume that others who don’t look like them need to somehow shed their identities to be…what, exactly?

        2. Jackalope*

          The example at the start of this thread was about someone who thinks that “uber religious people” should not be given positions of authority due to their faith, so the hijab/turban comment is germane to the thread. And saying that because you have a strong religious faith you shouldn’t be in charge of other people is a pretty prejudiced comment. There are definitely people whose faith affects their ability to do their jobs but there are even more people for whom it is neutral or even beneficial with regards to the workplace.

    2. Littorally*

      Wow, cool, glad to know you think my employer should be allowed to discriminate against me because of my faith. Thanks!

    3. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      A lot of beliefs and practices I don’t share seem irrelevant, though–if it’s about dietary restrictions, that probably doesn’t matter unless you’re hiring someone to cook or maybe work in a grocery store.

      There’s a major difference between “it would be wrong for me to do this” and “I have a moral duty to stop other people from doing it.”

      “Can Jane do the job properly and, if not, can she be trusted to ask that someone else be given that responsibility?” isin fact the question, but it has nothing to do with what’s generally classified as religion.

    4. Batgirl*

      The only way I can understand this comment is by assuming that “uber” means “to an intolerant degree” which is what you suggest when you say they would look down on “people who things against their beliefs”. Thing is, you don’t need to be religious to be intolerant.

  33. Narise*

    OP1 The only thing I would add is that if she isn’t going to work you should not cover for her. Contact her again if the phone is ringing and not being answered and then if it continues contact the boss or just let it ring. Until it becomes the new boss’ problem nothing will be done.

  34. HannahS*

    OP4, I’m also in early pregnancy, and started to tell some work people right away. I asked the chief resident for advice, because I was panicking over the possibility of being redeployed to a COVID ward before receiving a vaccine (others have been vaccinated, but my doctor advised me to wait until 12 weeks–and now we’re out of vaccines so it’s a moot point), I’ve reached out to the program director to ask to get off the call schedule for a bit–like you, I’m nauseated and exhausted, and cannot manage 26-hour call. I figure, if I miscarry, I’ll have to tell a lot of the same people anyway, because I’ll be asking to take a week or so of medical leave. But my work is highly structured and hierarchical, and while we aren’t allowed to have a union, we have a solid professional association that functions similarly, so I certainly don’t feel at risk professionally.
    However, I’ve also told some people simply that I’m immunosuppressed as a reason why I’m not seeing my COVID patients in person right now–I didn’t want to start telling my immediate colleagues and supervisors. Frankly, that in combination with my frequent texts of “I’ll be late for X; I’m at a medical appointment that’s running late” means that people get what they need to, i.e. I’m at increased health risk right now. That’s an alternative, if you want.

  35. Jennifer Strange*

    Pregnant OP, I found out I was pregnant back in August and I told my supervisor right away. This was more because, while my organization has been working from home, there was talk of potentially trying to do some outdoor events in the fall (I work at a theatre company) and I wanted to let her know that due to my pregnancy I may not be comfortable coming in to do work in person. Then I ended up being furloughed with an expected return date of March and decided she could let staff know since I would be coming back to work looking VERY different.

    And then I miscarried :( But, I’m actually still glad I told her (and gave her permission to let the rest of my coworkers know) because it was another means of support for me that I very much needed at the time. So I say do what feels best for you, and just keep in mind that if something does happen will it be more of a pain or a comfort to have your boss/co-workers know.

    Also, sending you lots of positive vibes for you and your baby!

  36. Bend & Snap*

    I had been really sick during early pregnancy and had to tell my boss. i then miscarried at 9 weeks and he wasn’t remotely supportive.

    I’d recommend not telling if at all possible.

  37. AndersonDarling*

    Would the cover letter question be different if the applicant was a clerk vs the VP of Operations at a massive organization?
    I think of resumes and cover letters as marketing materials, it’s the first impression a company has of you. Executives that make 7 figures will have an advertising or communications professional working on their “brand” and I would expect them to pay $1K+ to have an expert in executive hiring write their resume and cover letter.
    (Although, I doubt a 7 figure executive would blindly apply for that kind of job without an inside contact. So this is just for debating purposes.)
    If a clerk candidate had a friend that was an executive coach and knew all the ins and outs of cover letters, why can’t the clerk have the expert conduct an interview and write a cover letter?

    1. LW2*

      I think Alison’s point above is astute: Unless you’re totally comfortable saying in your job interview that someone else wrote your cover letter, then there’s clearly ethical ambiguity here. I’m LW2, and I have hired roles that are specifically NOT writing roles — think data analyst types — and while the cover letter has never been the reason I have hired someone or not hired them, it is something that’s taken into account. So I guess this is all to say that, to me, no, the question and answer don’t change based on what kind of role it is.

  38. PoppySeeds*

    I had a principal announce this for a coworker shortly after she had broken the news to her (the principal) and it was early in the pregnancy. I knew this women pretty well and shortly after I saw her in the hall and offered my congratulations. She let me know that she had lost the baby. I felt bad and told her I was sorry. She said, “you didn’t know.” I told her that I was sorry because each time someone mentioned a word of congratulations she was left to explain. note: In education you might end up telling your administration a bit earlier because of the impact on the upcoming school year.

  39. PoppySeeds*

    I had a principal announce a pregnancy over the PA for a coworker shortly after she had broken the news to her and it was early in the pregnancy. I knew this women pretty well and shortly after I saw her in the hall I offered my congratulations. She let me know that she had lost the baby. I felt bad and told her I was sorry. She said, “you didn’t know.” I told her that I was sorry because each time someone mentioned a word of congratulations she was left to explain. note: In education you might end up telling your administration a bit earlier because of the impact on the upcoming school year.

  40. Laura*

    LW3 – because I work in a lab and routinely handle chemicals that could be dangerous, I pretty much had to tell my supervisor as soon as I found out. All my pregnancies were high risk and honestly, knowing that I didn’t have to hid it and lie about all my doctor appointments was a big weight off me. Sadly I lost my first pregnancy mid-2nd trimester but I got a lot of support from my supervisor and immediate coworkers, and because of this they were super supportive through my two subsequent successful pregnancies.

  41. Sack of Benevolent Trash Marsupials*

    #2: As someone who does a lot of hiring, I have had a few interviews where afterwards, I highly suspected someone else wrote the candidate’s cover letter. I think this is pointless. IMO, it’s worse than writing a sub-standard cover letter – I have had interviews where the cover letter was not good, but the candidate was really great, they just got bad advice on how to write a cover letter. I’ll still interview you if your resume shows needed skills/experience and your cover letter is not awesome (because let’s face it, the number of awesome cover letters I have seen can be counted on one mutilated hand).

    I know people get nervous in interviews, and I don’t expect them to be at their most eloquent, but sometimes there is just a yawning chasm between the written application and the interview, and/or the candidate seems utterly unfamiliar with what’s in the cover letter (and sometimes the resume, yikes). So unless we sense that the person is just paralyzed with fear (and sometimes even then, depending on the job requirements), we not going to move forward with that candidate. So it might get you more interviews, but it isn’t going to get you a job.

  42. employment lawyah*

    4. How early is too early to tell my bosses I’m pregnant?
    a) Are you protected from discrimination? (This varies by employer size and state law.)
    b) How much do you view this as a team relationship, and how much do you view this as a “I want 100% of everything I am entitled to” relationship?

    If the answer to (a) is “yes,” then there is less OVERT risk. Make sure to document the fact that you told them.

    However, as for (b), you still may find that there is some planning which takes account of that and you may not like the result.

    Technically, everyone is supposed to ignore it. So you’re supposed to be assigned to great projects including big long term ones and everyone is supposed to act as if there’s no effect if you drop out midstream. “Of course you can work on the 8-month Pfizer deal and drop out after 6 months, we’ll just have to hire a temp and fill your slot etc.”

    For obvious reasons, practically that rarely happens. But still, in most cases the good employers will really appreciate the heads up and will work with you to make it work. If you really want to preserve that then you should delay telling them.

    If the answer to (a) is “no,” you’ll have to balance your risk assessment and trust of your employer.

    1. DiplomaJill*

      Yes — if I could have hid it past 6 months I would have. I was worried about it impacting my opportunities and being mommy tracked.

  43. LGC*

    LW1: all I’m going to say is that the integrity issues DON’T make it more complicated. If anything, in my opinion it makes things clearer.

    LW4: one of my employees told me she was pregnant after…a couple of weeks? A month? (It was early November 2019 and she delivered late last June.) In that case, she did have a complicated pregnancy (where she was out for a month in her first trimester), so her hand was forced.

    What you’re going through sounds like that situation (with the severe morning sickness). If you think they’ll react well, definitely be open! When my employee said she needed to be out, she was upset and I just said that it was fine and we’d take care of the things that we could for her. (We did. We’re pretty good about that.

  44. The New Normal*

    #4 – Tell when you are ready. If that is the day after your positive test, awesome! If it’s at 38 weeks, great! Society’s weird fixation on muzzling a woman before an “acceptable” date is outdated and should be ignored. Go with what you are comfortable with.

    1. It's about pragmatism and self-protection, not etiquette*

      As folks have said above, the rule-of-thumb re: first trimester largely functions to alert people inexperienced with pregnancy (many of whom assume that positive test = yay, all set, see you in 9 months) to real-life percentages and possibilities — to give them a chance to make some choices in advance, instead of reacting to surprises and wishing they’d handled their news differently.

      It’s less a “weird fixation” than a convention, and while some may misuse it to keep people from talking about uterus-y stuff, it’s not designed to muzzle anyone. It says, “There is a greater-than-zero change that things might not go as planned. Take some time to consider how you might end up feeling. Decide how you will feel if the pregnancy ends at any given time, whether 3 weeks or 30, consider whether you are more likely to want privacy or support, and from whom, and make your decision accordingly.”

  45. My favorite coworker is a cat*

    To me paying someone to write a cover letter is on par with a student cheating by paying someone to write their essays for them.

  46. Sleepy*

    Re LW4 — I had a miscarriage and I was surprised by how much informing people of the miscarriage became a burden in and of itself. It really re-triggered my grief early on every time I had to do it. With people I had never initially told about the pregnancy, I was able to wait and tell them about it when I was ready, which was much much later.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with telling people about a pregnancy early–in fact, I’m very much for it. Women should not have to hide what they’re going through! But for me, I will probably wait longer to tell people next time. It’s a personal decision and you should do what’s right for you.

  47. Daffy Duck*

    Anyone who is socializing on weekends doesn’t wear a mask with friends, etc. and is working in an office should definitely let their officemates know so they can protect themselves. You may not care if you catch Covid, but other people do. Masks are to protect others as much, if not more, that to protect yourself.

  48. agmat*

    I’ve decided to keep my pregnancy a secret for now because I’m in the middle of promotional interviews. I have a very supportive workplace, but it is male dominated and I just do not want it to cloud their judgement.

    Plus, I’ll find out if I receive the promotion before I even have my first ultrasound. I’m not even sure yet if this is a viable pregnancy. I don’t think miscarriages need to be kept quiet, but I don’t believe I personally would want to discuss it with anyone at work.

  49. JSPA*

    OP #1, this is a case where, even if it puts more on your plate, offering to take on the duty entirely would be

    a) a good deed

    b) enlightened self-interest (no city needs a measles outbreak during Covid!)

    c) a strong indication to your boss that you’re honestly fairly worried, not merely irked by your coworker, or ideologically incompatible. Too often, this sort of thing gets pigeonholed and ignored as “something personal.”

    I’m rarely going to say, “take on more duties because someone’s not fit.” But we’re talking about an epidemic-causing disease that spreads orders of magnitude more easily than Covid. Morally, this isn’t a situation where “wait for the natural consequences of coworkers actions to manifest” makes sense.

    Something like, “While my schedule is already heavy, I’m worried enough about the implications that I’d be open to taking on most or all of that duty, if need be.”

  50. JJJBB*

    I have to disagree with the cover letter writing. I have struggled to write the perfect cover letter. I don’t think it’s unethical to have someone write a cover letter that you could then use as a template for future applications. There are other ways to judge a person’s communication skills and one is to read and listen to all communication with the applicant. The cover letter is quite formal anyway. It doesn’t prove anything about the person’s daily ability to communicate and work properly.

  51. Salad Daisy*

    #4 I worked for 4 years for a small CPA firm. During most of that time, I was trying to get pregnant and let my boss know why I was taking a few hours off here and there for fertility doctor visits, etc. I finally got pregnant and let my boss know THE DAY AFTER I found out. He never tried to backfill me even though I told him numerous times I was not going be able to work full time after the baby was born. Full time meant 6 days a week during audit and tax season. When I finally left, I was accused of leaving precipitously. (Actually the word they were looking for was precipitantly. Precipitously means steeply, like falling down a hill). I don’t know how much sooner I could have told my boss, but obviously that was not soon enough. Let them know whenever you are comfortable with it.

  52. Rara Avis*

    I had an extremely early miscarriage — in fact, the only reason I even knew I was pregnant was that I was undergoing fertility treatment. For me the grief was the loss of the potential/imagined child. The sibling for my daughter. The family of four I had always imagined. I can only think that a later miscarriage is that much harder, because the parents have had more time to love the incipient child, plan for her, imagine her first words.

    1. Turanga Leela*

      I had a late miscarriage (16 weeks) and it was devastating. But I don’t think it’s helpful to compare—you had a loss as well, and it hurt. There are so many different losses, and they’re all sad in their own way. I’m sorry for yours.

  53. Turanga Leela*

    (Some sad and some happy pregnancy-related stuff below)

    OP #4: I waited to tell my office I was pregnant until around 14 weeks… and then miscarried at 16 weeks. It was awful, but I was glad I had told my coworkers. They were really kind, and it was helpful that they knew I was grieving; I didn’t feel so alone. I think that’s helpful context for the “you may miscarry” reason for not telling people—sometimes it’s nice to have other people know what’s going on.

    In my next pregnancy, I wound up telling my boss very early, around 8 weeks. I was with her and suddenly got dizzy and had to sit down, and she guessed what was up. That pregnancy ended in a healthy baby—I hope yours does as well!

  54. Jeff rolled a one*

    I also had told my manager right after I found out, because I broke down in tears twice in one day (things that didn’t normally bother me, but *shrug* hormones are a real thing). I didn’t want my manager to think that there was anything work related going on, and my manager was very supportive. It did help that I was working in the healthcare field so I know if I did experience a loss with that pregnancy that I would have been well supported in taking time off.
    My manager was incredibly understanding and asked before announcing it to the team as a whole. Once it was announced most people were quite relieved as I had looked like death warmed over for 2 months at that point (horrible all-day sickness and fatigue). Unfortunately no working from home for me but I was able to take off on really bad days and my manager continued to support me throughout the whole pregnancy.

  55. TootsNYC*

    I have coached people on cover letters, helping them figure out what things to write about, and why these items are good arguments for their skills.

    I’ve given feedback.

    I’ve asked for feedback and taken it.
    How do people feel about editing someone else’s writing in that situation?

    1. LW2*

      I’m LW2, and I do this all the time! In fact, I’m also a part-time college essay coach. I have absolutely no problem with people having friends (or paying others to) copy edit, make suggestions, etc, to an essay or cover letter. To me, though, I have issue with someone else doing the work from the ground up.

  56. MissDisplaced*

    2. Paying for a cover letter
    I’m in agreement that a cover letter should be your own work. However, given the things I’ve had to write for CEO’s and other executives that should also be personal and/or heartfelt (think of a employee holiday greeting or obituary) I’m willing to bet executives hire professional writers to write both their resumes and cover letters all the time. If you’re hiring for the C-Suite beware!

    1. anon2*

      People at that level aren’t applying with cover letters, those jobs are usually filled through head hunters.

  57. Red*

    Some folks are genuinely terrible at cover letters. Cover letters can be tricky to write and for many people they don’t come up often, or come up at a traumatic moment in life (covid layoffs, anyone?). If resume writers are an acceptable means to put your best foot forward, then I submit that an edited or crafted letter is merely ensuring said foot is wearing the right shoe. Otherwise it’s like a socks and sandals situation, am I right? Too far with the analogy, yes, moving on!

    At the end of the day, how do you even know that a cover letter was outsourced? Are hiring managers worriedly comparing them to batches of emails over the course of a new hire’s probationary period? “Hmmm, Varric’s cover letter did not lead me to believe that every presentation would need a break for meal(s).” “Sten’s cover letter was pretty detailed, but these emails are… concise. Suspicious!”

    It just seems like a silly thing to worry about. Let people spend their money on it. It’s one piece of a large hiring puzzle, not the deciding factor.

    1. Batgirl*

      Hm. I’d agree that paying for something like an edit is simply a “shoe”, but having someone else write it from scratch is just poor sense. The whole reason for a cover letter is to express the personality, goals and outlook of the applicant (unlike a resume or business emails). It’s the written version of you; a trailer of how you’d interview. So it’s probably not actually possible to buy a good version; it would only go down well with someone who doesn’t read them all that closely. You might as well save your money and copy a bland one off the internet as fall for a scam that actually charges for bland fits-all letters.

  58. Boof*

    LW1: I would say that 1) when a person’s personal/political beliefs are at complete odds with their job and 2) their COWORKER (not personal BFF) knows about these beliefs, it’s worth informing the boss of the disconnect there. I would also let the boss know how you know (I mean, was it accidental social media exposure, or something coworker talks about frequently in the office? Has coworker said things specifically about what they think about the measles vaccines, or what schools “should do” about vaccines? These are important details)

  59. Axel*

    LW #1: Absolutely co-signing everyone encouraging you to inform whoever you need to ensure this person’s beliefs don’t result in your school becoming the source of some kind of superspreader tragedy. The potential consequences are just too steep to ignore in this situation given the belief she holds is directly contradictory to the extremely important task she’s been given.

    Also as a note – it would be good if we could as a whole when discussing anti-vaxxers move away from the “well they’re not just making choices for themselves and their kids, they’re putting OTHER PEOPLE at risk” line, not because it isn’t true, but because putting their own children at risk isn’t any more acceptable than risking a stranger’s life. I’m the adult child of an anti-vaxxer who has lung damage from a serious and preventable disease I contracted after not being vaccinated for it. My mother’s decision to risk my life was not unassailable and was no more acceptable than the risk she posed to my classmates by not vaccinating me. Please when discussing this particular brand of conspiracy theorist and science denier, don’t forget that their children are the most endangered of all.

  60. anonforthis*

    OP #4 – as Alison said, when you share is based on so many circumstances. The biggest concern for me in sharing early is that it could affect how I’m viewed in the work place. However, you may need accommodations to manage morning sickness or prevent covid exposure, so those things make an early announcement necessary. With my first, I had to share at 7 weeks because I was due to be in a country with heavy zika transmission two weeks later and needed to not travel. In that case I told my Board chair that I was pregnant, but asked that we just share with the Board and staff that a medical issue prevented travel. In both my pregnancies I had to tell my four direct reports since I had HG and needed them to understand why I seemed so unwell. In general, I would frame any announcement in business terms – “I have exciting news – I’m expecting and am due on xx date and plan to take advantage of the parental leave policy (assuming you don’t have to negotiate it). as such, I wanted to notify you now so we can begin to make arrangements for my work while I’m out…” or something like that. However, I recognize that I’m conservative on this. I’ve had lots of friends that have told their bosses they are pregnant after they get a positive test, that they are going through IVF, etc or share early just to spread happiness at work (which is great) and I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing any of that. But recognize there are workplaces where this is common.

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