my company is way too positive, my boss won’t let go of a months-old disagreement, and more

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

1. My company is skin-crawlingly positive

I am lucky to work for a wonderful company in a full-time capacity since I stopped being a college adjunct over two years ago. I love my company and the people that I work with and would never consider leaving. So why am I writing you? The positivity. The department that I work is great, with nice people, but they are in no way perfect. However, our management slathers on in the daily meetings about how amazing everyone is and how we are the best in the world. Everyone is given daily emails of “you are amazing” and “You are important.”

I’m not saying that being told that I am wonderful 10 times a day wasn’t great in the beginning, but now it is starting to annoy me. Why is this bothering me so much that our team of 25 people are being told we are amazing? For the record, I am a good worker and have never had a write-up. I also won an award for being positive in the face of 2020, so it’s not like I am not overly positive myself.

It’s bothering you because over-the-top praise on a daily basis comes across as insincere and patronizing. You’re professional adults; you don’t need everything you do to be praised as if you’re a newly potty-trained puppy. At some point you’re going to wonder why they think you need that, and it will start to feel insulting.

It also devalues real praise. How can you ever get genuinely positive feedback on something when everything is considered amazing?

Praise is good! Recognition is good! But if it’s going to have any meaning, it needs to be real, not just daily blanket statements for everyone and everything.

2. My manager won’t stop talking about a disagreement I had with a coworker months ago

A couple months back, I had a disagreement with a coworker. Now my manager seems to want to talk about it during every check-in call — not to throw blame at anyone, just to talk it through. Again. And again. I’ve long since moved on, but we’re having the same conversation over and over and I’m not sure how to get past it.

The situation was, say, my coworker is a teapot designer and I’m a teapot builder. They gave me their design and it wasn’t complete. I’ve worked with this designer in the past and have always had that issue, but I’ve usually been able to ascertain what I need from the materials they’ve given me. I wasn’t able to this time and had to talk to the design consultants to fill in a few gaps. Well, the designer wasn’t happy that I talked to the consultants because “that’s their job” and I apparently made them look bad,

I agree that I could have gone back to the designer first, and I did ultimately go to them with the same questions, but it was like pulling teeth to get answers. Sometimes it’s easier to cut out the middle man, not to mention there was a looming deadline and they weren’t avaliable when I had questions and the consultants were.

Anyway, how can I put this to rest? My manager agrees that I did what was necessary in the situation and was pleased with the final product, but she won’t say outright whether the reason she keeps bringing it up is because my coworker is still angry about it and still bringing it up themselves. We just had a 1:1 review and she spent about 15 minutes (of a 30-minute conversion) on this topic.

I’ve made it clear that I’ve moved on and will start fresh on any new project. I even apologized (unnecessarily, according to my manager) to my coworker, and when I spoke with them last, they seemed okay about our working relationship. If this comes up again, how can I put the topic to rest once and for all?

The next time she brings it up, say this: “Is there something you need me to do differently in regard to this situation? I had thought we’d put it to rest — you’d agreed I did what was necessary, I apologized to Jane even though you said I didn’t need to, and my sense is she and I have both moved on. You’re still raising it with me a lot though, so I’m wondering if there’s a piece of this I haven’t handled in the way you want?” If she says no, then say, “So when we keep revisiting it, is there a piece I’m missing? Or an action you’re looking for me to take to put it to rest?”

3. Why is my company letting us get vaccinated on the clock?

Now that coronavirus vaccinations are rolling out across the country, my employer has announced that we can get our vaccination “on the clock.” They’re not providing vaccinations or anything like that, but we’ve been told that if we decide to get vaccinated, we can do it on work time, as long as we communicate that to our supervisor ahead of time.

Because we’re not a health-related field and we don’t interact with vulnerable populations, I find myself questioning why they would do this. It could simply be a goodwill gesture after a hard year to allow employees flexibility in their scheduling — after all, most vaccination appointments are during the regular work day. It could be to encourage and enable employees to get vaccinated, as that’s ultimately good for business (fewer sick days and a safer working environment if we’re ever in-office together again).

In the back of my mind, however, I’m wondering if this is their way of keeping tabs on our vaccination status, to determine (or pressure?) who should come back to an in-office schedule (our entire company has been remote since March and we don’t have any scheduled return date). Is that a possible reason for their offer? Is there a significant downside to getting my vaccine while I’m on company time?

I will be getting vaccinated as soon as I’m eligible and getting to do it on company time sounds like a bonus, but I don’t want my employer to have more information than necessary about my medical history.

The most likely reason is that they want to encourage people to get vaccinated because it’s better for them to have as many employees as possible protected from the virus, so you can’t spread it to colleagues or customers, so you’re not missing weeks of work, and so you’re not dying — and also more broadly, because, they benefit from an economy that isn’t affected by Covid for longer than it has to be.

But it’s also likely that knowing that, for example, 90% of the X team has been vaccinated will make them decide they can bring the X team back to the office. Collecting that data probably isn’t the primary reason for their offer, but they’re probably not going to ignore that info when it’s right in front of them either.

4. Telling my employee about a job somewhere else without seeming like I’m pushing them out

I just learned that my counterpart position will be opening soon at a similar organization. I have no interest in it, but I think the person who works for me might be. They’ve never mentioned that they want my job — how could they, that’s awkward — but I think they feel like they could be doing more, that they could be leading and in charge. If they got this job, I would be thrilled for them, AND I would be excited to hire their replacement.

Is there any professional way to tell them that I support them going for this position? I would write a letter of recommendation, if needed. I don’t want them to feel like I’m pushing them out. And I don’t want to point out that they’re at a dead end in their current position — that’s disheartening.

As an alternative, I could also tell a certain coworker about the position, and they would discreetly let my employee know, without letting on that it came from me. They might happen upon it by themselves, of course. What’s the right thing to do?

Do you have a generally trusting relationship with them and decent rapport? If you don’t, I wouldn’t speak to them directly about it; there’s too much chance they’ll wonder if you’re trying to push them out or wish they would leave. In that case, using the third party would be better.

But if you do have a good relationship, you could say, “I consider part of my job to be thinking about your career development and I want to let you know about an opportunity that I think you could be great for. I want to be clear that I don’t want to lose you, but I wouldn’t feel right knowing about this opening and not telling you. If you want to go for it, I would be happy to support you for it — and if you don’t, that’s of course fine too.” You could also say, “Ideally I’d want you to stay here and move up, but we’re not likely to have this opening until I leave, which I don’t have any current plans to do.”

5. Following up on a job application

I know that you get questions all the time about following up after submitting a job application, and you always say that it’s not necessary to follow up. I thought you’d find this interesting: I am applying for jobs and today Indeed sent me a message to follow up about a job I applied for and said that the job was more likely to get back to me if I follow up! As someone who has been involved with hiring as a mid-level manager, I know this is terrible advice and it worries me that this is advice coming from a site that so many people use!

Yeah, their motivation is to keep people engaging with their site, so they want you to visit it again to send follow-ups through them. It’s bad advice — but it’s the same bad advice that gets repeated over and over to job hunters, so it’s definitely not unique to Indeed.

Since it’s always worth taking an opportunity to correct the record on this: The vast majority of employers don’t want candidates to follow up after submitting an application. If they’re interested in interviewing you, they’ll contact you. You don’t need to reiterate your interest; they know you’re interested, because you applied.

There are some employers who are so disorganized that following up with them can get them to look at your application when they otherwise wouldn’t have. But they’re the exception to the rule — and you probably don’t want to work somewhere so disorganized that they make interviewing selections based on who nudges them and who doesn’t.

(Note: We’re talking here about following up after applying. Following up after an interview is a different thing.)

{ 442 comments… read them below }

  1. Ask a Manager* Post author

    I originally had a typo in the answer to #1 that said, “You don’t need everything you do to be praised as if you’re a newly pottery-trained puppy.” Which maybe was better, because a pottery-trained puppy would indeed deserve to be lavishly praised.

        1. LazyBoot*

          Store treats? I don’t know, that doesn’t sound like any puppy I know… They’d all just want to eat all the treats right away.

          1. Your Local Password Resetter*

            So clearly such incredible self-control deserves lavish praise and many pets!

          2. Adele*

            My puppy quickly figured out that treats were stored in the pottery jar on the chest in the living room. When he felt he had been a particularly good boy (and he was not wrong) and had not been rewarded accordingly, he would head over to the chest, stare up pointedly at the jar, and give his special I-deserve-a-treat-for-that bark. It was adorable and never failed to melt my heart in the 16 years I had him to love.

            1. Stay-at-Homesteader*

              You have melted my heart through the interwebs, as well. My good girl does the same thing, and indeed, she is never wrong that she deserves a treat. (Although we keep the treats in a plastic jar with a screw-on lid because she and the toddler have been known to collaborate to get said treat jar.)

              1. MissBaudelaire*

                I’m dying! We had to move the treats, because my toddler was making it rain Milk Bones while chanting “Boo’ boy! Boo’ boy!” (Good boy) to the puppy, who had no complaints, and had in fact, NOT been a good boy.

                1. Lizzo*

                  HAHAHAHA! This is adorable.
                  Our dog is obsessed with the toddler next door and is a bit too enthusiastic, so we’ve been working on good manners around her. I praised the dog when she was gentle with the toddler, and the toddler says, “goo grl” (good girl). I almost melted into a heart shaped puddle right then and there.

        2. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

          Omg, I cannot stop laughing!

          On behalf of myself and others like me who didn’t see the post until after the correction had been made, I thank you for pointing it out, so we could all be in on the joke! 8-D

        3. Cthulhu's Librarian*

          But what do his glazes look like? I think it would be hard to get a good one, because of fur and shedding…

        4. Phony Genius*

          I am picturing a cross between the spaghetti scene from “Lady and the Tramp” and the pottery scene from “Ghost.”

          You’re welcome.

          1. Queer Earthling*

            Okay, but now my brain is trying to mash up “Bella Notte” and “Unchained Melody” and uh…

      1. Lilith*

        Especially if the pup is British and makes it onto The Great Pottery Throw Down. You know Keith would cry buckets watching a pupper throwing pots.

        1. NewHerePleaseBeNice*

          I think you may have just pitched the best TV show ever. For the love of dogs Does The Great Pottery Throw Down.

          C’mon Channel 4! Make it happen!

    1. tamarack and fireweed*

      Once you’ve figured out how you potty-train a puppy DO let us know!

      (I live with a bunch of house-trained Sibes, but none of them are potty-trained.)

      1. TardyTardis*

        You can potty-train cats (there are YouTube videos for that) but it’s best to start them when young, and for the love of God, do NOT teach them how to flush.

    2. The Prettiest Curse*

      Someone totally ought to change their username to Pottery Trained Puppy. And then they can hang out with Colleague’s Dog’s Viking Funeral, which is my favourite username (and entitled colleague story) on this site.

      1. BubbleTea*

        That sounds like advanced canine pottery to me, it might be a more skill common in adult dogs who have had more time to bone up on their craft.

        1. Yes Anastasia*

          Agreed – if you’re looking for a puppy to make pottery, you’re really barking up the wrong tree.

    3. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

      ooohhhhh, I am not having much luck on potty training my puppy, but maybe I could pottery train him instead!!! (well, in addition to … I am not wanting to give up on potty training, obviously!)

  2. Eric*

    #3, not sure how big your company is, but is just clearing it with your supervisor likely to allow them to keep track of who has been vaccinated? They’d have to then get reports regularly from each supervisor. If they aren’t asking you to record it specially on your timesheet, or something else formally, that makes me think they aren’t doing this just for the data.

    1. Chriama*

      I think that at a certain point they’d just reach out to managers of the team and ask how many members of their team had been vaccinated. I agree they’re likely not tracking this on an individual employee basis.

      1. Old and Don’t Care*

        I think if management wants to bring employees back in, they’re just going to do it. They don’t need to reach any kind of threshold to do that. The OP is overthinking this.

        1. Observer*

          Very much this.

          And, to be honest, if they want that information for some reason, they can just ASK. And they can get pretty pushy about it. They don’t need to offer people time off to get that kind of information.

        2. On Fire*

          My org has been full-staff, full-time, for months now, but they still let us go for vaccinations on the clock during a recent clinic. So OP’s org *might* have ulterior motives, but I’m inclined to think it’s just about good business/employee practices.

          1. Observer*

            They may also have a different ulterior motive – good PR.

            There has been a lot of talk about access to the vaccine, and on issue that repeatedly comes up is people who can’t take time off from work to get their shot. The optics of letting your staff take time paid to get their shots are pretty good.

            1. EvilQueenRegina*

              At my employer they’ve specifically said that if you do think you’ll have trouble attending your appointment for your vaccine due to work commitments, have a conversation with your manager to try and work something out because they’re stressing the importance of attending your appointment.

            2. AnonEMoose*

              My DH’s workplace is letting people take time off that doesn’t count against their PTO to get their shots, too. They’ve been trying hard to keep people safe, and they see this as part of that. Since I’m working from home, my workplace hasn’t really said anything, but I have no doubt that I’ll have no trouble working things out once I’m able to get the vaccine.

            3. kt*

              Yeah, exactly both PR and equity. My company is allowing folks a couple hours off with pay to get the vaccination, and this is for sure something that affects hourly workers the most. Do you want hourly workers feeling like they can’t get their shots because they have to work and need the money while six-figure employees can just breeze off when they get a phone call that some extras are available? Well, that looks extra bad. At least guaranteeing every employee time off to get the shot is something the company can do to mitigate the inequities between salaried and hourly employees, while also looking good.

            4. Michelle*

              Also, getting an appointment can be somewhat chaotic and last-minute, depending on where you live and how health officials are handling it. For my daughter, her appointment was made on her behalf by a hospital (she received hers due to a medical concern), and we had plenty of advance warning. But for me, I basically had to sit on a website and refresh over and over until a block of appointments near me became available and then rush to grab one before they were gone. I had all of 30 minutes notice to get to my vaccine appointment. An employer that makes this process easier by letting you go during work hours is something to be grateful for.

              1. nonegiven*

                I was called after 5 pm and told if I could get over there (45 miles away) the next morning they had several appointments available.

          2. Sharikacat*

            And part of that good practice is to not force your employees to choose between getting vaccinated or taking a day off of work. Now, if only companies could have that same goal in mind when it comes to sick days. . .

            1. skunklet*

              My company is allowing us time off, even if we have to travel AND they’re doing a donation in our name to some charity AND if we want, we can send a copy of our vax card and get entered into a monthly drawing.

              Afaik, the whole thing is a fabulous approach to getting all of us vaccinated. And b/c of the structure of the company, the whole WFH thing is not their call for all of us, but the site we’re stationed at, but it’s got to be good for biz.

          3. Lurker*

            NY just passed legislation mandating that “public and private employees will be granted up to four hours of excused leave per shot that will not be charged against any other leave the employee has earned or accrued.” So that seems to imply one could go during work hours. I’m not sure whether the NY law requires that the excused leave be paid.

          4. Oxford Comma*

            This. For every really crappy employer who has not handled Covid well, there seem to be some employers who are trying to do the right thing and to promote public health.

            Also, in my state it’s been very hard to get appointments. We all know this. Consequently my employer has been very flexible in our needing to go on the clock.

          5. LifeBeforeCorona*

            Our health unit has a mass vaccination site for healthcare workers, my workplace vaccinated all the residents and if you worked that day you could also get a shot. Then the local pharmacies were used as a test run for administering vaccines. I was able to book a shot online at one for the very next day.

        3. Jackalope*

          Agree. And while I understand that under normal circumstances different parameters exist around employer access to health data, OP should know that employers are allowed to just ask about vaccination status. So there’s no real reason they’d need to be sneaky; if you ask people directly, I can’t imagine most of them will lie or refuse to answer. This is probably just a practical effort to give people the flexibility to get the vax when they can.

        4. MsClaw*

          “I think if management wants to bring employees back in, they’re just going to do it. They don’t need to reach any kind of threshold to do that.”

          Obviously, rules are different all over the place but my county has actual rules and furthermore the companies I work with have guidelines from their upper management about how many people they can currently have in a given amount of physical space. As people start getting vaccinated, they can start bringing people back into the shared spaces at a higher density.

          So there may be some businesses who are taking a stance of ‘vaccines exist so we’re bringing everyone back in 1 June regardless of status’. But there are other places that are instead saying things like ‘once we are 60% vaccinated, we’ll go from 40% capacity in the office to 80% capacity’.

      2. pleaset cheap rolls*

        Yes but running this through manager doesn’t seem efficient (in most places) – I’d imagine HR doing it with a central store of info would be easier. Not always, but usually.

    2. tamarack and fireweed*

      I’m wondering though whether it isn’t *harder* for the employer to track vaccination status when allowing employees just to skip off rather than taking a half-day of sick leave (which would be recorded… and might of course be for something else, but chances are that if you take all the half-days of sick leave during the vaccination period and subtract the background rate of average sick leave, you get the number of vaccinations… if you do it that way).

      Of course this depends on how much flexibility and unmonitored work time employees normally have. And I certainly don’t want to discourage being on your guard about ulterior motives.

      (I work in academia and no one tracks my hours formally – and of course I do a bunch of evening and weekend work. But I CAN just go to a doctor’s or vax appointment without notifying anyone. I even ran into co-workers there, and if I were to run into my supervisor, or our director, at the vaccination site it wouldn’t be in the slightest embarrassing.)

    3. Snow Globe*

      I think you should just consider what you know about your employer. My company is allowing people to take paid time to get vaccinations – just like they pay time for voting or jury duty. It would never occur to me that there were ulterior motives.

      1. MCMonkeybean*

        I agree and I think those are excellent comparisons in particular–at this point making sure people are able to get vaccinated is essentially a civic duty and it would be the responsible thing for any company to allow people to do so without having to be docked pay or benefits for it.

        Unless your company has a history of behavior that makes you feel generally suspicious of them, I would personally just take this at face value.

      2. Escapee from Corporate Management*

        The assumption of an ulterior motive jumped out to me, especially since most companies are receiving praise for actions like this that encourage vaccine acceptance. OP3, has your company done questionable things before? If no, then why assume an ulterior motive now?

        1. OP3*

          OP3 here! My employer hasn’t given me any particular reason to distrust their motives. But a lot of people and companies around me have hidden their motives or lied about their intentions (re: the pandemic) this past year. Unfortunately, I’ve developed a bit of distrust in my community because of all this. Just another bit of pandemic baggage, I guess!

          My company is also one of the only ones locally that I’d heard of doing this — which now I’m realizing might mean that they’re doing a lot better by employees than other places.

          1. Ace in the Hole*

            There may be an ulterior motive, but if so it’s probably that sick employees are expensive. That goes even more so for covid where it may be a prolonged illness, it can potentially disrupt ordinary business operations, and may spread among employees. Depending on your state and type of work it also has the potential to become a worker’s comp claim.

            My employer pays for time spent getting vaccinated…. and not just for covid! We let employees get their flu shot on the clock (and sometimes even arrange a clinic to come and provide them on-site for anyone interested), their hepatitis shots, tetanus, etc. We don’t track the info, it’s just an incentive to encourage people to get vaccinated.

      3. Miss V*

        This stuck out to me as well.

        My company is also allowing 4 hrs of PTO per shot plus an additional 16 hrs of PTO for side effects (with the note that if more is needed to speak to your manager who can go to HR to approve more.)

        It’s never occurred to me that my company had ulterior motives, other than trying to keep their employees safe and make getting vaccines as easy as possible. But I also work for a company that has, as a whole, handled Covid very well. They were already flexible and moved everyone who could WFH to doing so even before we had any state mandated stay at home orders. I have to come in to do my job but I know several people who are work from home have expressed that they want to come back to the office, at least some days, and the company hasn’t allowed them to out of safety concerns.

        1. pleaset cheap rolls*

          This.

          If a company is generally reasonable, I don’t think we should assume bad faith. On the other hand, if they usually don’t seem to care about their staff, then be more suspicious. In and of itself, letting staff get the shot while on the clock is a good thing.

          1. Momma Bear*

            Our company is actively encouraging people to go and telling managers to be liberal with leave approvals for it. Since it can take hours depending on when you get it done and you may have to take a mid-day slot to do it, it can encourage people to go if they know the company will approve the time. I would see being paid to get my shot(s) to be a good thing, unless the company had a history of smarmy things. Our company also knows when most of us get annual flu shots b/c they sponsor a nurse to come jab us.

        2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          My company and spouse’s company have also done the same with regards to paid time for getting the vaccine and side effects.

          Our managers have asked us to let them know about appointments to make sure they have things coded correctly for payroll. And also, given that my job has some coverage based requirements, to make sure that there is enough staff present to cover responsibilities without overloading any individual coworker.

      4. Hillary*

        I agree. I know my employer doesn’t want people to delay vaccination because of financial concerns or childcare challenges – it’s better for everyone (the company, our coworkers, and society) if our employees get vaccinated soon. We host free flu shot clinics for employees for the same reason.

      5. Black Horse Dancing*

        You get paid voting time? I’m envious. We only get that if we are scheduled to work through voting hours (7 AM-7PM here). And we’re government employees.

    4. vampire physicist*

      For #3 – it’s also, depending where you are, just a reasonable and practical thing to do, especially if you’re in a state that allows you to preregister for mass vaccine sites. Some of them will contact you with very little notice (I know people who got the email the night before because a spot had opened up) and knowing that one could just say yes instead of trying to get in touch with a manager at 10 pm, or worse, pass up a chance to get vaccinated promptly, would be a huge help.

      1. bluephone*

        The company could also be concerned about coverage if a bunch of people get the 2nd Moderna or Pfizer dose at once and then have noticeable side effects over the next 24-48 hours. Now you might have a whole team or half a department that’s out sick with the chills and whatnot. So if they at least have an idea of who’s out getting vaccinated, it could help with potential coverage issues. A local school district had all their teachers get vaccinated at once (or nearly at once) but forgot to account for potential side effects. Luckily, this was coinciding with the 3 days they’d be back to virtual (they’re operating on a hybrid schedule) so it wasn’t as bad as it could be.

        1. Anti anti-tattoo Carol*

          Yes, good point. My workplace made a separate sick bank for side effects (and similarly encourages vaccines on the clock- they actually run a site for employees now). FWIW, I don’t want them to have my medical history either, but my interpretation of their actions was that they’re being thoughtful. Their approach to the pandemic has been very flexible and science-based, so that might also feed into my trust. I recognize not all employers are like this and some may truly be using vaccines as leverage.

      2. Solo Traveler*

        Also, depending on the size of the company, they may be reimbursed via FFCRA funds for time off for COVID-related reasons, which was expanded to include vaccines, so they need to track that to get reimbursed by the government (in the US). That program has given smaller employers a TON of flexibility they couldn’t otherwise afford during the crisis.

      3. ThatGirl*

        Yeah, my husband got notice on a Wednesday that they could fit him in on a Friday during the day – we both have flexible enough bosses and schedules that it’s not a problem, but making it clear that it’s OK to do that during the work day is helpful.

    5. Mama Flamingo*

      #3, I work for a large employer with many essential employees. We are permitting up to 4 hours of paid time for each vaccine, plus additional as needed due to side effects. We’ve been asked to code our timesheets a certain way for vaccines so the company can quantify the dollar value of this time. I don’t think its necessarily meant to track those who got the vaccine, but I never thought about it that way until you brought it up. Our essential employees have been working through the whole pandemic so its not a matter of bringing them back to work. Office workers that have been at home were already told that remaining entirely remote or hybrid on an ongoing basis will be the new norm, so I don’t think its a matter of bringing employees back into the office.

    6. Drago Cucina*

      The only reason my work place is asking is they have contracted with a major pharmacy chain to offer the vaccine on site. Granted we’re very large with thousands of people in time sensitive positions. But, if they found that 50%+ were already vaccinated that would impact what they offer in terms of time, and vaccines available.

    7. LCH*

      ours are giving us separate PTO time to get the vaccine too. we get 4 hrs per shot and list it in a separate PTO category. i think it’s just goodwill and helps people get the vaccine whenever they are able to schedule. the ulterior motive is that our organization can get back to regular operations more quickly than if we all had to schedule our vaccines after work or try to use sick or vacation time we might not have.

    8. Malarkey01*

      I can also say as a member of a leadership team that was involved in these types of discussions that we all happened to be personally in favor of vaccines and want to encourage as many people as possible in our communities to be vaccinated because it protects us, our family, friends, etc. So incentivizing it and removing barriers that may delay someone was a no brainer. There really was nothing nefarious behind it.

  3. Iron Chef Boyardee*

    #1’s employer sounds like it has an “everybody gets a trophy” mindset.
    Cloying as it may be, it’s still better than the many companies I read about here at Ask A Manager that have a “you’re all children and we don’t trust you to do your work” outlook toward their employees.

    1. Airy*

      Blanket positivity is so meaningless that I actually find it more galling than if people say nothing. Like those positivity posts on social media that are like “ALL (group of people who sometimes get a rough run) are VALID and BEAUTIFUL and I LOVE YOU!” No you don’t, you dumb cluck. You don’t even know me. Now I feel miffed instead of validated.

      1. Hurrah*

        Oh, yes. Occasionally someone on an online forum will post an especially jarring type of this: “If you are thinking of harming yourself, remember I LOVE YOU!” And then if someone points out that that is not helpful, not relevant, and extremely invalidating, they frequently double down. “I am telling the truth! I practice radical love!”

        How about you practice empathy instead…

        1. Keymaster of Gozer*

          Agreed. I have a medication that helps prevent my more destructive thoughts – no annoymous ‘I love you’ comment has ever helped.

          (Additionally it’s a sad truth that even if the comment comes from someone close to you it STILL might not help. If I say I want to destroy myself I don’t need someone telling me that because they love me things will be okay. I need someone to actually acknowledge that I’m feeling this way, that I’m not insane, and that they’ll just listen with no judgement or pressure)

          1. Grits McGee*

            Or even better- the person trying to “comfort” you then gets mad because you have the nerve to still be depressed.

      2. DyneinWalking*

        I have the same reaction to blanket positivity. Though if I could see that in fact everybody is treated that way, it would probably be okay-ish. Far from great, but not actively pulling me down – I would “only” treat it as if they never gave any feedback, concluding “well I might be a rock star or I might be so bad they are on the verge of firing me, and it’s probably safest to assume that everything I do could use a lot of improvement”.
        So, well, the best outcome here is that I’d feel uncertain about my ability to stay employed, but not actively threatened in my employment.

        The worst outcome would be if I didn’t know that everybody gets that blanket positivity. Then, I might take it as a statement about my personal ability (i.e., I’m so bad that the smallest successes deserve praise), or – slightly better – as a statement about their perception of my personal ability (i.e., they think I’m so bad that they were honestly doubting I’d succeed at this task, and are amazed that I managed to do the mere minimum).
        In other words, I’d feel actively unsafe in my employment and expect to be fired any moment.

        This amount of positivity feels infantilizing not because children are praised for everything (if they are raised well they aren’t), but because they are doing many everyday things for the first time and truly deserve to be praised for them. It’s simply their inexperience that makes these “normal” successes truly praise-worthy, and they stops being praise-worthy as they gain experience.
        Well-adjusted adults (and most children, too) tend to be aware of this (if unconsciously) and will interpret praise as a sign for a success that couldn’t reliably be predicted from past experience or the average of people’s successes and abilities (with a special case for social situations where greasing social interactions can be more important than honesty). Overboard praise for normal things can therefore make people doubt other people’s trust in their abilities.

        This should NOT be the impression you want to give your employees.

      3. Elio*

        Same. I’ve seen that kind of thing for (minority group I belong to) and I think people usually have good intentions when they say that. Still, it’s putting us on a pedestal instead of treating us like people. I can confirm that some people in the same group I am in are not beautiful people, but are in fact monsters who should be avoided and face criminal charges.

        Also, constant over-the-top positivity really reminds me of love-bombing, so hard pass.

        1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

          Back in my online dating days, I was once talking to a guy and we were getting along really nicely and talking about meeting up in person. It all came to a halt for me after a phone call he wanted to have. First he called 30 minutes ahead of schedule and I answered the phone and said “hey, it’s my grocery shopping day and I still have one store to go, can I call you back when I’m done?” and this guys response was “OMG YOUR ENGLISH IS SO GOOD”. ?? I had barely even said anything?? Then I called him back and ten minutes into our call, he changed the subject to “I ADORE Eastern European women. They are so grateful for all the little things that American women take for granted.” (I live in the US and came here from Eastern Europe in the late 90s.) Creeped me out really badly. It was a combination of being treated like an object, and like one of the many interchangeable Eastern European women, instead of as an individual; and I really worried about that expectation that I’d be “grateful for all the little things”. I was supposed to go on vacation the next day after our phone call, and to contact him to arrange an in-person date after I returned. Well, I returned from vacation and “forgot” to send him a text, or to answer his. It was just too damn much.

          1. Leah K.*

            Ah, yes – nothing makes you feel so good like a mid-sentence interruption with “OMG YOUR ENGLISH IS SO GOOD!” or alternatively “OMG YOUR ACCENT IS SO CUTE!” My very own husband used to do that to me. He cut it out real quick once I started doing it to him whenever he attempted to say something in Russian. Apparently, it is actually effing annoying when someone does this to you – who would have thought.

          2. Elio*

            Yikes. I’d say you dodged a bullet there. You should know that there’s an overlap between dudes who complain about all American women being spoiled (or worse language I can’t repeat here) and dudes who hang out in misogynistic online hate groups. He didn’t even know you so how would he know what you’re like? These guys tend to try to date women from other countries who they believe are easier to push around. I do think he would’ve held it over your head if you weren’t “grateful” enough, whatever that means, if you had dated him.

      4. Mongrel*

        I too express my inner curmudgeon.
        Mostly I’ve just set up filters so that all the sunshine & unicorn e-mails get filtered to their own folder and marked as read. I’ll go in once a month or so and check there’s nothing important and check my calendar to clear out the happy-clappy, inspirational meetings that have been added
        I found if you don’t respond to the meeting request it’s easiest as you don’t get the cloying follow-ups checking in on you. You can then delete the ‘penciled’ in meetings from the Calendar and opt to not send a reply to the organiser

      5. Richard Hershberger*

        I find blanket positivity not so much galling as background noise. On social media it barely enters my consciousness. The problem in the work setting of LW1 is the time sink. I would really resent the time lost to meaningless blather.

      6. MassMatt*

        I find it’s closely related to how I feel about an organization that claims to have high standards, but doesn’t. In that case, it seems more like a deliberate strategy of inflated self-importance, but they both grate on me. Most organizations have some stellar performers, some weak ones, and lots in between. The ones that hire only outliers have processes and incentives (either good or bad, depending on which end of the outlier spectrum they fall on) to get there, they don’t do the same thing everyone else does. But no org wants to admit they are average.

      7. Bear Shark*

        Exactly. It always makes me feel like “Well who else is lying about caring about (group of people I belong to)?” If random strangers are lying about loving (group of people I belong to) then maybe people I’m much closer to are too. Then the brain weasels take over and insist that no one loves or cares about me because obviously people are just a bunch of lying liars who lie.

    2. allathian*

      Yeah, it’s completely meaningless. Toxic positivity is a thing, and it’s just about as bad as constant negativity or no feedback at all. Most professional adults with a reasonably healthy self-esteem would probably prefer thanks for a job well done and glowing praise when they’ve gone above and beyond, and actionable constructive feedback when necessary.

      1. TechWorker*

        I’m not saying this type of positivity is helpful, it’s not it’s grating and bad for all the reasons mentioned on this thread.. but *surely* a workplace where everyone is constantly told they’re stupid and a failure, their work sucks etc would be worse? (Like, in both cases, if everyone is treated the same it’s somewhat meaningless and you need to zone it out, but I’d much rather zone out a inwarranted positive comment than a brutally negative one :p)

        1. bluephone*

          Yeah, I’ve worked in 24/7 negative workplaces (and around 24/7 negative people) and honestly, I’d take the 24/7 positivity any day of the week. It’s one of those “I’m not into this but whatever makes you happy” things but it definitely doesn’t drag your soul down the way that having an always-bitching-about-something coworker or team does.

          1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

            I guess it depends on a person. It would be worse for me. At least someone who’s negative 24/7 would just complain 24/7 and would not expect you to join in. Whereas the 24/7 positive workplace would not stop monitoring my mood and telling me to be happy, dammit! you know how many people do not have jobs, but you do? where’s your thanks? and so on.

            1. Depends*

              It really depends upon the type of negativity. I had a boss who NEVER said anything positive or neutral — just constant negativity. No matter what you did, it was never good enough. Found a cure for cancer? “You should have made that discovery before you were born.”

        2. Stopgap*

          Tbh, I’d prefer to be insulted than over-praised. In the negative workplace I’d at least be able to say, “Well fuck you too.” Probably just in my head, but still. With the positive workplace I’d feel pressure to be “nice” because they’re being “nice”.

      2. Observer*

        What the OP describes doesn’t sound like classic toxic positivity. And while what they describe IS a problem, it is NOT as destructive as constant negativity.

        Having said that, I don’t think it matters. It’s like saying “Oh, you shouldn’t have a problem with this. It’s not like you have an ax murderer in your office.” Like, OK? I guess?

    3. KateM*

      Yep, I would be wondering myself how many people got those “being positive in the face of 2020” awards and whether anybody has ever had a write-up.

    4. Forrest*

      Yes! One “you did really well on that project, it wouldn’t have happened without you” or “I really admire how you deal with conflict” is worth a thousand, “you’re so wonderful in a non-specific way! raahhhh!!”

    5. Asenath*

      Actually, I find over-the-top praise meaningless. There used to be – or maybe still is – a type of feedback sometimes called a “praise sandwich” – praise someone, give your criticism or complaint, praise them again. When I was exposed to this a lot, every time someone praised me, I’d brace for criticism. And I never thought the praise was real, I thought that they had to come up with something nice to say, true or not, so they could fit the real bit of communication, the criticism, in the approved format. Sure, there are worse approaches than constant praise – being micromanaged or treated like a child who needs constant supervision is way up there for me. But I can see the the approach described would be irritating. I think I’d just try to learn to tune it out. Delete the emails, let the comments in meetings go in one ear and out the other.

      1. Chilipepper*

        I believe the phrase you are looking for is “shit sandwich” because it is shit sandwiched in 2 slices of praise.

    6. Tweidle*

      It sounds like, you’re writing about a lost of the posters here, how seem to feel required to post “oh that’s so awful, what a crap boss, that situation is sounds awful, etc.” in the comments section. It isn’t helpful, of course their boss is crap and the situation is awful, why else would they take the time to write in, and why would their letter be picked?!

      1. MassMatt*

        I disagree. Personally I find more substantive posts more interesting (and most commentators here do offer more advice than “your boss is terrible, I’m so sorry”) but I’ve seen many MANY posts by letter writers here (either in the comments or in follow-up letters) where they express gratitude for the supportive comments and expressions of sympathy.

        Many people writing in are in terrible situations, and yet because they are immersed in a dysfunctional environment, they wonder if their instincts are correct. “Am I crazy, or is my boss awful?” is a pretty common theme. Just reading anonymous commentators here affirm that yes, your boss is terrible, DOES seem to be helpful to a lot of letter writers.

        1. Tweidle*

          I do generally appreciate the substantive posts that affirm or point out other possible solutions to a problem. After all why write to an advice blog, if you aren’t seeking… advice. It probably comes down to personality and situation. Having a sympathetic ear with no action or advice, rarely makes me feel better, and defiantly doesn’t help solve the problem.

          I love it when Alison’s answers include “your boss is awful and will not change”, “you’ve got to accept that it will not change, but you can remove yourself from the situation”, or “it is time to move on”. I love how her responses are actionable or require self examination.

      2. meyer lemon*

        Expressing sympathy isn’t the same thing as constant negativity! I mean, it could be if you knew the person and told them every day, but I think it actually is helpful to get confirmation that you’re not just oversensitive, the situation really is that bad.

    7. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

      I totally snorted when I read Allison’s line about praising them like a “newly potty-trained puppy!” Probably because I have a puppy and we are still working on potty training. I just got an image of OP’s managers going, “Who’s a good girl! Do you want a cookie?”

    8. SD*

      An example of this from the other direction: My son’s elementary school handed out blue slips for every minor infraction. At 5 he skipped in the hallway and got a blue slip. At 6 he brought a Hot Wheels to school, got it out at recess to play with in the dirt and got a double blue slip: no car, no dirt. We laughed and said between our two boys we could paper their bedroom with the blue slips. Then one day when he was 7, our darling put a rock in his pocket and climbed to the top of the monkey bars. When the Annoying Little Girl came and bugged him, he dropped the rock on her and chipped her front teeth, her permanent teeth. He got a blue slip. Do you know how hard it is to make the point that dropping a rock on her was Really Awful vs his two dozen piddly infractions, all of which garnered him the same blue slip? Same with the team in #1. Run of the mill “good job” is in no way distinguished from “OMG, that was so out of the park!” It is so annoying because you have no way to distinguish a perfunctory smile performance from happy-dance-you-are-#1 performance. It gets old.

      1. Bostonian*

        Yup. It’s harder to tell what a truly good job is, and therefore difficult to determine how to be successful in your role, if everything gets praised equally.

    9. LifeBeforeCorona*

      I find the constant “you are a star!” notices to be very condescending. I had a co-worker who constantly said “Good for you!” whenever I finished very basic tasks Even a 5 yr old can recognize overpraise BS. If everyone is special, then no one is special.

  4. Lalaroo*

    I’m in law school, and I’ve been applying for my 2L summer job (which, unless something goes TERRIBLY wrong, will turn into my job post-graduation, so there’s a lot of pressure on this search). Apparently summer associate hiring is a completely different beast, because a lot of the standard advice is exactly the opposite of what you should do.

    For example, I was encouraged to follow up on all my applications by my career center. I figured I had nothing to lose and I did, and I ended up getting two interviews and ultimately a job offer.

    I’m posting this because I’m a long-time reader of Ask A Manager, and have worked in HR, so I was super skeptical hearing all the stuff my career center told us (put hobbies on your resume, apply more than once through all the different avenues, follow up, apply to firms that don’t have any jobs posted, etc). I wasn’t sure if law was just one of the exception fields or if my career center was one of the fabled awful advice sources, so I want to let other law students who might stumble on this know it’s the former!

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Yes! Law and academia have their own completely different hiring conventions. One day I will add a caveat to the site footer that will say, “may not apply in law, academia, or California.”

      1. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

        I love that you are adding in California! You are so often saying, “unless you live in California, where they …”!

      2. Jinni*

        As a former lawyer who lives in California, I appreciate this. You may also want to add entertainment as well. Squeaky wheels work in the industry as well.

    2. allathian*

      I can understand hobbies and extracurriculars when you’re a new graduate with limited work experience, especially if they’re the kind of things that demand commitment and resilience (sports or arts at a high level), or offer opportunities for leadership training, such as Scouts/Guides.

      That said, I find it an odd recommendation for a postgraduate degree, when you’ve already been employed for a while.

        1. TechWorker*

          The way it works in hiring at my company is that we generally look for ‘something’ on the CV that isn’t purely academics, whether that’s hobbies or a part time job (totally unrelated jobs fine, we’ve hired plenty of people without much related experience). We’re only hiring grads. I do understand that some folks are in personal circumstances that mean they will simply not have time to do anything other than their school/uni work (Eg looking after family members) but idk how easy it is to correct for that. Ideas welcome! (You have to filter CVs somehow, and if we filtered solely on academics we’d presumably also filter out a bunch of people who ‘would have done better’ if it wasn’t for personal circumstances?)

          1. Forrest*

            The study I was thinking of wasn’t about whether or not you were involved in extracurricular activities, but which activities:

            For example, to capture the economic component of class, our lower-class applicants received an award for student-athletes on financial aid. To incorporate its educational competent, they listed being a peer tutor for fellow first-generation college students. By contrast, our higher class candidate pursued traditionally upper-class hobbies and sports, such sailing, polo, and classical music, while the lower-class candidate participated in activities with lower financial barriers to entry (e.g., pick-up soccer, track and field team) and those distinctly rejected by higher-class individuals (e.g., country music). But crucially, all educational, academic, and work-related achievements were identical between our four fictitious candidates.

            Even though all educational and work-related histories were the same, employers overwhelmingly favored the higher-class man. He had a callback rate more than four times of other applicants and received more invitations to interview than all other applicants in our study combined.

            Lauren Rivera and András Tilcsik, Harvard Business Review, December 21, 2016

            1. voyager1*

              I am going to disagree with the results of that.. or at least what is posted. It seems their examples are pretty cherry-picking . Like who does polo? And track and field, is NOT a low income type of sport. Unless low income is code for black people. But I am as white as can be and did track and field in HS. Would have loved to do it in college, just wasn’t good enough.

              I do think folks should be careful what extra circular activities one puts on a resume. You could give a lot away about yourself and not realize it.

              1. Ray Gillette*

                How is track and field not accessible to low income people? All you need is a pair of shoes.

                1. OhNo*

                  Generally for high-level track and field sports, you need very specific and often expensive shoes in order to participate, or at least in order to be competitive. My family certainly couldn’t afford the $150 pair of running shoes my brother was encouraged to buy in order to participate in the track team in high school, and the costs tend to just go up from there.

                  And that’s not even getting into the time costs (e.g.: time you have to spend training that you can’t spend doing other things, like working a part-time job), or the costs of appropriate food, or having to pay for training clothes, gym memberships for the off season, or other necessary equipment, travel fees, etc.

              2. doreen*

                My kids participated in multiple sports when they were young. Everything from track to golf to roller hockey – although neither played polo. Every organized team had some sort of fee to cover officials, insurance, fees for use of the rink/field/track and uniforms ( typically either a tshirt or a jersey) . Those fees were fairly similar regardless of the sport. But buying the shoes a runner needs is far less expensive than outfitting a hockey player or golfer.

              3. Forrest*

                So how would you account for those with men’s names and upper-class connoted activities being overwhelmingly more likely to be invited to interview?

              4. Ace in the Hole*

                Wealthy people do polo.

                Track and field has a far lower financial barrier to entry than many sports. Also, much like basketball, a school in a low-income neighborhood is much more likely to have facilities for adequate training for at least some of the events.

                The point here isn’t that only poor people (or people of X race) do track and field. The point is that someone who lists going to college on a track scholarship is much more likely to be from a low-income family than someone who lists winning a polo award, and that the people doing hiring pick up on this and it influences their opinion of applicants.

      1. Doc in a Box*

        Most law students at least in the US have gone straight through from undergrad to law school, with limited work experience beyond summer jobs (vanishingly rare these days) or maybe a year off. Ditto med school. So hobbies/extracurriculars end up being a big talking point at interviews. Totally agree that they perpetuate inequities in hiring.

        1. 3L*

          As one of those law students who didn’t do that, who had a full career in another field before going to law school in my early 30s, prospective employers have no idea what to do with me. There’s no sense that any of my skills are transferable, even though I have far more experience in professionalism and client management than my peers do. Legal hiring is its own beast and has very little relation to hiring in any other field I’ve ever encountered.

          1. pancakes*

            Same here. I was in my early 20s but had an unusual opportunity to become a part owner of a company I’d been working at when the sole proprietor died intestate. I partnered with two other former employees, hired someone to help us with a business plan, obtained bank funding to buy the company, and then accepted a buy-out a few years later, because running the business was in many ways less fun than working there. It was a remarkable experience and I learned a lot, but it seems to mostly be counted against me by people in screening / hiring, who for the most part seem to have more conventional careers. One even told me that not going straight to law school out of undergrad reflected a “lack of focus.” I was 23 or 24 when I started, after the buy-out. It has really soured me on the profession.

            1. Observer*

              It sounds like what they REALLY meant is that you have actual real world experience of the sort that make you realize that the craziness so common in the legal profession is not reasonable or necessary. That’s a lot less likely to be true of someone who’s only ever held temporary jobs, jobs where turnover is so high and expected that no invests in anything remotely related to retention, and jobs know for toxicity and dysfunction.

                1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

                  I don’t know about elsewhere but I know that a former company owner would have more trouble finding a job here in France than elsewhere. They’ll be seen as someone who prefers giving orders to taking them. Also, if they’re a former owner, the fact that they’re no longer the owner surely means they failed somehow? When in fact, for you, it was simply a matter of it not being much fun. But then if you explain that, they’ll think you have unrealistic expectations of work, because fun?

            2. 3L*

              It’s soured me too. It just shows a narrow-mindedness that I expect I’ll continue to come across in the field.

          2. Pantalaimon*

            I was told that my pre-law school “career” (three separate low-income jobs, one of which came with grudging respect but no prestige and only lasted a year and two which I probably left off my resume) gave me the edge over other candidates for a couple of summer internships at non-profits.

            I never got an interview at any of the Big Law firms where I applied.

        2. Lalaroo*

          Yeah, I agree with all of this. I also had about seven years of work experience prior to going to law school, and while my “hobbies” were something that frequently got brought up, so did my prior work experience.

          One thing that bothers me is that there’s a huge tendency in biglaw hiring to hire for “fit,” which, as we’ve seen in the tech space and others, often acts as a proxy for straight white maleness, or middle or upper class, or non-immigrant, etc. Almost no firms use behavioral questions or anything similar. The idea seems to be that grades, law review, moot court, and school rank are perfect proxies for ability, and so the interview is explicitly about whether they like your personality.

          1. CircleBack*

            Well that sounds infuriating.
            From what I can tell it’s a little different for non-profit law, which my SO works in and has done hiring for. They do look at “extracurriculars” for volunteer work or other signs that the candidate cares about community service or has any connections to the community they serve. Which is one of the few cases I’ve heard where focusing on non-work experience has real implications for the candidate’s success in the role.

      2. Duckles*

        I just put hobbies back on my resume (also law, so maybe Alison’s caveat applies) because I’m looking to switch markets– eg., if I’m in Kansas and say in my cover letter I’m planning to move to Seattle, I might seem stickier if I say in my resume in my hobbies that I’m interested in hiking and birdwatching, for example. I also have career-adjacent volunteer work in that section, though, so it doesn’t seem totally frivolous.

        1. nonegiven*

          If you want to move to Seattle, shouldn’t you express interest in skiing and ice climbing?

    3. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

      Yep, I have been licensed since 2010, and law is definitely its own world in many ways. Glad you got an offer!

  5. Hey Nonny-Nonny*

    LW #3 that sounds like a lot of speculation IMO; is there any possibility that you’re having other problems with your job and this is a BEC moment?

    1. EventPlannerGal*

      Yeah, based on the info in the letter I am kind of struggling to see the problem here. Would OP be happier if the company had said they would have to take time off to do it or do it outside work hours, or didn’t have a policy at all? I feel like this is about something else, because it seems like a very reasonable policy.

      1. Threeve*

        I tend to be a little suspicious about all things workplace+medical, and it has to do with bad experiences at an old job, not my current one. To me the letter sounds like a combination of my type of caution and just plain curiosity, not outrage.

      2. Abogado Avocado*

        Agreed. I would hope that OP’s situation doesn’t prevent OP from getting vaccinated, whether on the company’s time or OP’s own time.

    2. Cat Tree*

      Yeah, my first thought was that this letter is the polar opposite of so many here where employers are handling Covid badly. It sounds like this place is trying to be flexible for the general good of society and to encourage people to get the vaccine.

      But my second thought was that LW knows their company so they must have some reason to be suspicious. It’s hard to say whether it’s general lack or job satisfaction, or something in the company’s history that shows a pattern of bad things.

    3. twocents*

      That’s what I was thinking. Even if OP has a flexible schedule to get vaccinated after work, not every employee does, and this small benefit could help a lot of people out. Complaining about it seems over the top.

      1. twocents*

        I should add that I have some relevant experience: my company would bring on people to offer the flu shot on site (pre 2020). You told your manager you were stepping away for 15 and could get it. There’s no underhanded nefarious tracking of medical history, just the general “where are my employees” inquiry.

        1. Lars the Real Girl*

          Fun fact: your employer probably got a rebate on the corporate health insurance premium by doing that. Insurance companies will incentivize corporate clients to do these “wellness” events, with the thinking being that getting vaccinated (or knowing your cholesterol, or any other things an on-site nurse/wellness event may entail) keeps people healthier and using their insurance less. (And cuts down on the cost-per-flu-shot for the insurance company.)

          Not a bad thing at all! More of a win-win-win.

      2. OP3*

        I definitely didn’t mean the letter as a complaint! If it helps people get vaccinated, I’m very glad. I was just trying to figure out if it made sense for me personally to disclose my vaccination to my employer. For what it’s worth, the timing of my vaccination in my state would have indicated to my employer that I have some pretty serious underlying health issues.

        I also didn’t realize that this was something many employers were doing! My company is the only one locally doing this, which made me more suspicious of it. But it’s looking like my company is actually doing something great that more places should consider.

    4. Antilles*

      Agreed.
      Allowing your employees to take time off to do something which promotes the employees’ own health AND the greater public good is something that should be standard in all American companies. If OP’s mind jumps immediately to thinking of malicious reasons, that likely says something pretty bad about the way the company is run.

    5. Daisy-dog*

      Agreed. We obviously do not have the whole picture or know how this company treated their employees over this last year. But for this particular policy, it does not sound like it was thought out enough to have ulterior motives.

      1. MMMMMmmmmMMM*

        When I worked in retail, it was common to allow people to get the flu shot on the clock (it helped there was a pharmacy in the store, and it was free for employees). I really think its about covering the company’s butt so that less workers are out sick, rather than trying to “track” who is vaccinated.

  6. Ahsoka Tano*

    LW #1, if it helps just think of Chris Traeger from Parks and Rec when your colleagues are being overly positive. Finding some humor in it might make it less irritating.

    1. Drag0nfly*

      Or her boss is Hank Scorpio, from a vintage Simpsons episode. A perfect example of affably evil if ever there was.

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        Oh, yes, what a perfect example. Evil and yet so very, very nice. And kind, if you’re not the victim of his evil.

    2. Zaphod Beeblebrox*

      Or Phoebe Buffay’s boyfriend Parker?

      “Isn’t this just the most amazing question ever?”

      1. SheLooksFamiliar*

        ‘Isn’t this the most incredible fight you ever had in your entire life?!’

        And this was one of the best things Phoebe ever hurled at someone: ‘No, I’m a positive person. YOU are like Santa Claus on Prozac at Disneyland getting laid!’

  7. Software Engineer*

    #4 if they’re at a dead end in their current position you SHOULD be talking about that with them. Helping your employees grow their careers is part of the job of being a manager and that means having uncomfortable conversations! You shouldn’t have an awesome employee that you think can get to the next level soon that you’ve never had a conversation with about ‘how can you get to the next level.’

    It can be disheartening to know there’s not space to move up in your current job but it’s worse to wait around hoping when it’s not going to happen. So you should talk with them and ask, what are their career goals? What do they want as the next steps? (Most of last year I was like ‘I’m in survival mode not worrying about promotion’ so they may not be in a hurry, it’s good to get a sense from them). What do they want out of their current role and how do they see growing here? And then be honest with them that they can grow in X ways in their current role but the next role probably won’t open up for a long time and you think they’re ready earlier than that so the best move for them might be to look outside, for example [this job you found]. Yes it might encourage them to leave earlier than they would if you said nothing but could be the right thing for them, and will give you and your organization a reputation bist that you’d do right by your people instead of trying to hold onto them when it’s not in their best interest

    1. Ponytail*

      Yeah, I have to admit, the response to LW4 was a bit…luke warm. As a manager, I AM responsible for the career development of my staff, it’s something I have to discuss with them as part of their yearly appraisal. Not all my managers have mentioned upcoming job opportunities, it’s true, but the good ones have – whether that’s “X is leaving, are you considering applying for their job” (and even the odd “X is leaving, you ARE applying for that job, right, it’s made for you”) to forwarding on job vacancy listings emails.
      In return, I’ve never received a letter of resignation that I wasn’t expecting, precisely because I knew my staff were looking to move on, and I’ve helped where that was possible – looking over their personal statement, practice interviews, listening to presentations etc. It just feels like something you should be doing as a manager. And on a totally negative note, if you have the reputation for being a supportive manager, looking out for their career, it makes it less obvious when you’re dangling job opportunities in front of someone that you WANT to get rid of!

      1. Helvetica*

        I’m pretty sure we’ve had LWs in the past who’ve written in to say that their boss recommended they apply for a job in another organisation, which has led them to wonder if they are being pushed out, without any additional caveats about them not having a good manager. People have different reactions, even if their managers are not the worst, so I think Alison’s advice had a good balance. It does come down to how your relationship with the person is.

        1. Smithy*

          I’d agree with this – it may also be somewhat more specific to the nonprofit/mission based sector – but I’ve known a lot of people take this news as very personally painful. Being connected to a mission is obviously such a key part of nonprofits, that to hear “there’s no internal medium term advancement available, you’re professionally ready to go further, why not look at job postings like this elsewhere” isn’t always heard with a personal professional development ear.

          I think these kinds of conversations – depending on the relationship and if handled gently – can also serve a good way of informing a direct report what kinds of jobs are other there that might be a good next step for them. It may not necessarily be obvious, and can be done really well.

      2. Guacamole Bob*

        > (and even the odd “X is leaving, you ARE applying for that job, right, it’s made for you”)

        I was an admin for a couple of years out of college, and my boss noticed I like data and spreadsheets and gave me more of that kind of thing than he might normally have given an admin. One day he said something like “Mark’s talked to you about the analyst job, right?” I had no idea what he was talking about, so he got up and we walked next door to Mark’s office and he said “I have your new analyst” and Mark just said “You’re interested? Great!” and I started transitioning to the new job promptly. It was a new position so I had no idea they were looking for anyone.

        If I’d been more mature in my career I might have found it kind of annoying – they made a bunch of assumptions and didn’t really talk to me about them – but the fact that my manager was looking out for how I could grow even though it meant inconvenience for him was great. He went through an admin every couple of years because he kept finding different spots in the company for them – the person after me hated spreadsheets but loved organizing big meetings and moved into event planning full time eventually.

      3. Nicotene*

        This must vary by field. I would be alarmed if my boss sent me other jobs or implied I should want to leave, or that my role was dead-end. But I work in a field where it’s common for folks to stay in the same role a very long time, and not necessarily look for advancement.

        1. M. Albertine*

          It could also vary by person, too! I work in a field where both are very common: a lot of my co-workers have been in the same position for 20 years, but also quite a few who are looking to gain experience and eventually move up (which very often requires a move to a different department). A good manager knows who is in which category and looks for the right opportunities for each.

          1. NotSoAnon*

            This! I use something our HR department calls a PPA (Performance and Potential Assessment) and it basically asks you to rate your employees on a scale of New in Role, Ineffective Contributor, Effective Contributor, and Top Contributor. It helps so I can track where people are, have more proactive conversations with people who are doing well and where they want to be in the near to long-term future. For people who are struggling it allows me a road map for getting them to Effective or onto a PIP if necessary.

            But this all requires managers to have conversations with their staff and know who is doing what. It’s my job to know my employees (both current performance and what they are looking for in the future) and make recommendations on good role fits internally. My department also hires more entry-level positions than most other departments in my org, so it’s a fairly easy jumping point for a lot of people early in their career who are interested in learning new things.

            1. Guacamole Bob*

              In some departments, that scale doesn’t tell you much about whether people are happy where they are or whether they want to move up.

              I came in to a small department a while back and it became clear that they had two long-term employees who didn’t really aspire to more: they liked the work, were competent at it, but liked being able to leave it behind at the end of the day and not stress about it. They were happy with the standard step increases (these were union jobs) and that was that. They would probably have gotten at least “Effective Contributor” on your matrix, but a manager suggesting they apply elsewhere would have gone poorly.

              On the other hand, I was constantly wanting to learn new things, take on more projects, understand the higher-level context of our work, etc. And after about two years I moved on to a different department in a higher-level role. A manager suggesting growth opportunities to me elsewhere would have felt pretty natural at a certain point because it became obvious I was doing work well above the level of my same-level colleagues.

              Both can be fine attitudes, depending on the needs of the team. And there’s a lot of merit in a mix – institutional memory and stability combined with new ideas and energy.

        2. The New Wanderer*

          I work at a company with lots of long-timers and averages 5-10 years between leveling up. With some of my bosses, receiving job opportunities or tips would absolutely cause me to assume it’s because they wanted me to move on.

          However, with my current boss, we’ve both openly talked about a) being potentially at career dead-ends, b) having applied to other jobs within the past two years, and c) her total support for me if I decide to move on. She’s still lobbying for me inside the company because she wants to keep me (and I do want to stay, with a promotion) but recognizes that if there’s no real change, I can and should move on to progress my career. I appreciate that she’s been upfront that it might not happen (not due to qualifications but to politics) and that she’ll be happy to be a great reference if the need arises.

    2. Anon Recruiter*

      Agree that it’s important for a manager to have these conversations with direct reports!

      Another option for LW4 if they’re worried that this person will feel like they’re being pushed out if this conversation comes from their boss would be to pass their employee’s name to the recruiter and/or hiring manager at the other organization. Asa recruiter, I get leads like this all the time and keep the source of the nomination confidential if they ask me to.

  8. I am partially vaccinated*

    #3 – I obviously don’t know your circumstances and what your company does, but if it’s a general policy it might not even have much to do with people who can WFH. My company is allowing hourly employees to take 4 hours on the clock to get vaccinated and I fully support this. I am not hourly so it doesn’t really impact me, but the hourly people at my company are the ones who have to do their job in person (factory) and are less likely to be able to afford time off of work for the vaccine. I have been working from home for forever and they are encouraging that for the time being. They are still being extra cautious about people who can work from home and we will probably be doing so for awhile, but if a person is hourly and likely doesn’t make a lot, and also is required to do their job in person, I think that it is actually responsible of the company to offer paid time off for the vaccine. I am 100% on board with helping the people who are less likely to be able to handle a half day off work and who also have to come into work to do their jobs being vaccinated on the clock. I don’t know your company dynamics obviously, but that’s my two cents.

    1. I am partially vaccinated*

      Also, I realize you said your whole company is working from home so it might be a different situation, but I guess personally I am sensitive being a white collar 6 figure earning manager who can WFH while there are people forced to go to work in person who are making $12 an hr or something and I fully think my company should be responsible for helping to keep people healthy and for making that less of a burden on them financially. I live in a city where my rent is $3k a month for a two bedroom townhouse, which means a lot of the hourly workers are in multigenerational housing and going to make their $12 an hour means they are risking bringing Covid home to grandparents. So these are all of the reason I personally support my company encouraging people to get vaccinated on the clock.

      1. red*

        wow are we the same person?? i was coming to write a very similar comment, down to the guilt about WFH while my hourly manufacturing team is on site.

        i am so baffled by LW 3’s problem even if she is working from home? don’t you want everyone to have the opportunity to get a vaccine? but i also work in NYC and 4 hours per dose of vaccine is now mandated PTO, which is an amazing public health policy!

        1. Escapee from Corporate Management*

          Yes, this. Is this really about OP3’s company behaving badly, or is it about something else (e.g., OP3’s view of the vaccine, fear of returning to the workplace, etc.)? Is this a company that has a track record of bad behavior? If yes, the concern about bad use of this information is logical. If no, then what is the rationale for concern?

          1. OP3*

            You’re right: it may be much more about my personal feelings here! I’m very pro-vaccine, but after being completely isolated for over a year (I live alone and haven’t been in a building other than my own home since March 2020), I’m very nervous about how a transition out of isolation will go. I didn’t realize when I wrote in how much my general fear about a return to “normalcy” has tainted my view of other’s actions.

            1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

              You might want to transition gently, starting by seeing a friend, have her come over to you first then go to visit her, visit a shop at a slack time of day, then when it’s busier… I was very cautious after the first lockdown here and I took things slowly. It helped that lockdown ended just as the weather warmed up and we could have our first guests in the garden.

    2. Retail Not Retail*

      I’m a little bummed my employer isn’t offering time to get our shots reading this question!

      My mom works for a school, I need to see what their policy is.

      I will say my county and region have extended hours for the vaccinations and at least at my employer, it’s rare for an hourly person to work only on weekdays. Everyone on my team has been vaccinated (but we get off at 3).

    3. SnappinTerrapin*

      My company apparently has no policy to encourage vaccination, although we don’t have paid leave and coverage is essential.

      Fortunately, the client I was working with when the vaccines first became available did encourage vaccination “on the clock. ”

      I got the first dose on the clock, and the second on my way to work after transferring to another assignment.

      In the absence of a policy, I encouraged but didn’t pressure my team to get vaccinated. I understand reluctance to try new technology, which these vaccines are, but I had covid and intend to take reasonable precautions to reduce the risk of getting it again.

    4. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      My husband’s warehouse is doing the same thing – each employee gets an extra three hours off per vaccine appointment, for two vaccine appointments, and while that’s primarily intended for the benefit of the rank-and-file hourly folks on the warehouse floor, the folks in the offices (my husband is in IT) are all about it as well.

    5. CheeryO*

      It’s also worth mentioning that NYS is requiring all employers to allow their employees up to four hours of PTO for each dose. Not sure if any other states are doing the same thing.

    6. Cascadia*

      I work at a school, and as soon as we became eligible they encouraged everyone to get vaccinated whenever they could get an appointment. We were assured that if we got an appointment while we had a class they would help to secure us a substitute teacher. They really want everyone to be vaccinated as quickly as possible. We also have a separate survey we have to fill out once we are vaccinated, and they are requiring all of us to get vaccinated unless we have a religious or medical exemption.

    7. Flabbernabbit*

      I came here to say something like this too. It’s not a nefarious act for a company to offer paid time off to get a vaccination. There has been a disincentive in many organizations to isolate after being exposed because staff can’t afford time off if they can’t work from home. This is the least a company can do. If you are weirdly suspicious about sharing why you want to take the benefit, then book your vaccination off the clock. Let’s put it this way, in my area by law companies must allow employees the time to have 4 hours available to vote. But they don’t track who does or doesn’t vote by tracing who leaves early/stays late. Even if they wanted to, the data wouldn’t be accurate because some don’t need to take the benefit.

    8. Archaeopteryx*

      And at least in our state still, getting an appointment for people not in healthcare is very much “you get what you get” – it might be a Saturday or midday on a weekday, it might be early AM an hour’s drive away… Giving up a potential appointment slot might mean waiting weeks or months – which might mean getting/spreading Covid in the meantime. So you definitely don’t want your employees to feel like they have to pass over vaccine slots that occur during work when it’s stressful enough tracking them down in the first place.

    9. Global Cat Herder*

      My company is offering 2 hours “on the clock” for each shot. If you have to track billable/project time (not everyone does) use Staff Meeting. If you are vaccine eligible and having trouble scheduling an appointment, the company nurse will be happy to help walk you through the state’s website.

      My sister’s company, coverage is really crucial, so they’re giving people a full day off for their appointment and the next day off in case of side effects. Unpredictable attendance for thousands of people is too big a risk, so just have two days we can plan for.

      Both companies have been really excellent in how they’ve treated COVID so far, so these are interpreted as “everybody should get vaccinated, let us help remove barriers”.

  9. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

    LW3

    Assuming this person is in the US where most states are moving rapidly to allow all adults to schedule vaccinations, then informing your employer you were vaccinated isn’t “telling your medical history.” Since I assume they know you are an adult? It’s not the same (most places) as when you had to declare yourself a member of a vulnerable group to get the shot.

    If you just never want to work in the office again, that’s something you can look into as far as other job opportunities. But your employer following up on when it’s safe to bring people back doesn’t strike me as an invasive overreach.

    1. yourself*

      Yeah, it seems to me that there are remote employees due to COVID who find it adversarial when their company wants them back in their office, in this case, even coming up with safety precautions before having them back.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Agreed — I’m seeing that too. I think a lot of people are feeling like they just demonstrated they can work from home effectively so they resent being expected to return … and sometimes that’s legitimate! But sometimes there really are advantages to having people come back. And either way, it is the company’s prerogative to require it, and people weren’t promised this would be permanent. But you’ve identified a theme I’m seeing too.

        1. MK*

          People are generally overestimating how well wfh worked, in my opinion, especially considering most reasonable people had adjusted their expectations in this situation. I remember a letter a while ago, asking whether companies would be more likely to continue the practice given how many problems it solved, ignoring the many problems it caused.

          1. I'd Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

            I’ve started to see a little bit of the reverse, oddly. The higher-ups advocating for more remote work, pointing out that we did it over the last year, and suggesting that we might not need as much space if everyone kept it up and only came in on a 1-day/wk rota.

            Meanwhile, pretty much everyone on the team agrees that 1-2 remote days a week would be OK, but nobody seems to want WFH full-time or even half-time because it makes certain elements of the collaborative and client-based work a lot more admin-heavy. (And since the work requires certain things, like really good internet and privacy, it shifts elements that normally the company would handle onto the employee.)

            1. AcademiaNut*

              I’ve seen a few studies that found about 25% of people loved the remote work, and wanted it to continue, while another 25% hated it and couldn’t wait to get back. Interestingly, there was a significant age variation, and it was the *younger* people who hated work from home. It makes a certain amount of sense – more junior people are more likely to be in shared/tiny apartments, working out of their bedroom.

              I suspect that people who love the work from home are overestimating how well it worked in general, because they were happier with it, while managers dealing with employees whose performance went down are underestimating how effective it could be.

              1. EvilQueenRegina*

                I wondered whether another factor might be people in roles where they had been able to do *some* WFH previously and had had time to get used to it, set up some office space etc. might have found it easier with the transition and it was harder for those who had never done it before and suddenly been dropped into it.

                1. Harper the Other One*

                  This is definitely a factor. My job has been WFH for years so last year was just the same, but with the kids home more (fortunately, our school system had extremely reasonable home activities for the end of last school year, and could safely open in person last fall.)

                  For my husband, it was awful. He has no desk or office space in our house, so he was working in our bedroom or on the dining room table. He often uses reference materials and all his books were at his office, so half the time he would have an idea but couldn’t follow up on it until he was able to go in to grab a particular volume. And he focuses best with quiet and the kids are… not that.

                  He and I had totally different levels of effectiveness and enjoyment in our WFH experience.

              2. Cat Tree*

                I’m glad you found a statistic. I hate working from home, and sometimes feel like I’m the only one. My job just isn’t suited for it. I’ve made it work because I don’t want to put my life at risk, but I’ll be glad to go back on site.

                I suspect people’s feelings towards WFH depend on the nature of the work. Even some primarily desk-based jobs are harder to do remotely. And I generally prefer in-person meetings more than Zoom, so WFH makes that worse.

                Also, we were the kind of department that would get cake for any minor event, and I kind of miss the weekly cakes. Sure, I can buy my own cakes but it’s not the same.

                1. Insert Clever Name Here*

                  I miss lunch meetings so much! Catered, boxed, pizza, just a lunch that I have to do *zero* thinking about other than remembering not to pack a lunch that morning because my 11-2 meeting is lunch provided. And I’m mostly enjoying WFH, but I can’t wait to sit in a conference room with people for meetings again.

                2. Charlotte Lucas*

                  I think the type of job you have is a major factor. I love WFH, but my job is suited for it. I occasionally miss seeing my co-workers F2F, but I also miss going to the theater, etc. I’d be really happy if we ended up with a hybrid model. Then I could be in on my meeting-heavy days & be home when I need to really concentrate.

                3. Escapee from Corporate Management*

                  I miss randomly bumping into people in the kitchen or at building events (we’re in an incubator-type facility). Everyone I have seen for the last year is a scheduled event.

                4. Colette*

                  I think it depends on not only the job, but the company. My job works well when everybody is at home. If half the company went back to the office, it wouldn’t work as well (unless people were in the office but still doing meetings on teams).

                  Even just seeing your coworkers only works if everybody is in the office on a predictable schedule.

                5. Elenna*

                  Yes, the nature of the work definitely matters! Everyone on my team (4 people, so not exactly a huge sample size) has been fine with WFH as far as I know, but we worked from home occasionally even before this and it was the kind of job/culture where we did a lot of remote collaboration anyways (as in it was way more normal to Webex or email someone with a question rather than going to their desk). We’re probably going to work from home 2-3 times a week going forward, which I’m pretty happy with.

                  I do miss the occasional random office treats, though. :D Then again, all the baking I’ve done since the pandemic started probably makes up for it…

                6. UKDancer*

                  I miss proper lattes and cake with my colleagues. I also miss travelling for work and going to conferences and seminars.

                  There are things I like about working from home (especially the savings on my commute) and a lot of my job can be done remotely but I miss the social aspects of work.

              3. UKDancer*

                Yes I think my company has a similar experience. We’ve got about 25% (mainly young people with less advantageous working arrangements) wanting to go back quickly and another 25% who want to stay home as long as possible. The rest are somewhere in between. This is purely my impression.

                I don’t think it’s worked badly working from home some of the time and I think we’ve done well but there are undeniably some things that are better done in person than virtually.

                I think we’re likely to end up with more people working from home some of the time but we will need to be in the office the rest of it. I think my personal ideal is working from home 50% of the time.

              4. Annie Moose*

                On my own team, this definitely seems to be the case (at least the 25% thing, not necessarily the age thing)! Out of 10 people, a couple have already said they would love to WFH permanently, a couple have said they want to do the office permanently, and the rest of us are advocating for a mix of the two.

                In our situation, the ones most strongly in favor of all-office are the ones with really young kids and not a ton of extra space–my one poor coworker has been stuffed in a corner of his basement for months because it’s the only unused part of the house that has a door to keep the kids at bay! With four kids, their house is just not overflowing with extra office space, and he can hardly expect the kids to tiptoe around their own house for months on end.

                1. Putting the "pro" in "procrastinate"*

                  It’s too much of a good thing for myself and most of my team. We are tired of this all-remote, all-the-time situation. Wfh has some perks and advantages; I think we’d all like a return to the office with a slightly more generous wfh policy than we had in the past. I do think our company is going to do that, though I am not sure what the new policy is going to look like. In the future I can see myself being delighted to take every other Friday (say) as wfh. But right now I’d love to get back.

              5. TWW*

                Right? My family lives in a 900 square foot in a neighborhood without access to fast internet.

                WFH was a really frustrating experience. I couldn’t wait to get back to the office with my comfy chair, large desk with multiple monitors, and blazing fast internet. If I ever have to work remotely again, I’ll need to budget probably $600/month to either upgrade my home, or rent a coworking space.

            2. EvilQueenRegina*

              Seriously, I could have written exactly that. Where I am they’re talking about voluntary changes to our contracts so people can be based full time or part time from home and talking about letting some office space go. Honestly, the thought of WFH full time or half time for me makes me want to run away screaming (with my particular role, full time permanently isn’t really feasible because there are certain things that do need to be done in the office. Part time is technically possible, but the work space I have isn’t great and is something I can manage with now but don’t want to make permanent.) We also had a conversation yesterday about how WFH has made training new people more difficult. They’re trying to push reducing our carbon footprint, but WFH won’t do that to any great extent for me since I walk to work anyway and if anything WFH causes me to use heating that I otherwise wouldn’t. And yes, internet and privacy are factors. I’ll be interested to see how much take up there actually is of these contracts.

              1. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

                I’m putting off looking for a new job because I don’t want to work from home and I DEFINITELY don’t want to be trained from home. Looking forward to when businesses start going back to the office. Hopefully hiring will be picking up around that time too.

                1. Person from the Resume*

                  I agree about starting a job WFH. I now WFH full time, but started by going into the office 5 days a week for the first year or two. It was kind of odd because my organization is very virtual so my teams have always been virtual on the other end of the VPN, but at least I had an office to go to and people to ask questions of. I don’t think I would have handled joining a new organization and starting WFH full time together well. I imagine hours sitting there wondering what to do with not knowing who to contact for guidance. Maybe now that I am a WFH pro, it would be fine, but I still think discovering organization culture will be hard unless there’s a robust onboarding which provides a lot of support for new employees.

            3. Person from the Resume*

              I agree. My organization has been 100% virtual for 10 years or longer now. Not everyone is work from home, but teams are not in the same office so everyone even those who go into the office need to use computer tools to do their work with their teammates.

              We do it for reasons, we have learned to do the best we can, but we’d still function and collaborate better if our team were collocated and we could meet in person. We have learned to use Skype/Teams (without video so we don’t stress the network) for meetings, but they’d be better in person.

              Having everyone return to the office is impossible because all teams are scattered all over the country at this point, but there is loss of collaboration and teamwork by doing it this way. OTOH when we collaborate with external contacts who would not be collocated with us, we all are already pros at using the tools.

              I am just bothered when people don’t acknowledge the cons of WFH. There are cons which may well be outweighed by the pros, but to pretend there are no is lying, maybe to themselves.

          2. hbc*

            I strongly agree, though what I see is often barely-disguised wishful thinking. As in, I will hear about how all the other departments are dropping the ball because of being remote and communication being harder and even complaining that a group on-site isn’t timely in covering an activity they had to take over only because the complainer is at home.

            But suggest that they start coming back in more to fix those problems, and “well, it’s not that bad.” I’ve had three people just outright say that it’s personal preferences alone–saving money on gas, ease of getting to kids’ activities, etc.. Basically, it’s “Here are all the professional reasons I should come back, and here are the personal reasons I don’t want to.”

          3. Bagpuss*

            Yes, this is definitely true where I am – we have supported as many people as possible to WFH, and will do so until it’s safe to bring everyone back, but it is very noticeable that it’s less effective. (both in comparison with ‘normal’ and in comparison with those who are working in person, in the office, so taking into account he general pandemic situation) . I’ve been in both situations and it’s definitely more effective to be in.

            One thing we’ve found is that those who are WFH seriously under-estimated how much additional work is needed from those still who are still in the office, to support them to make it work, so there are people who feel they are personally working just as effectively but from our perspective as a business that’s not the case.

            It’s also very noticeable dealing with third parties – there are definitely more errors, more delays and it is significantly harder to get hold of people.

            I am sure that there are exceptions and that there are some people who are genuinely working to a similar standard at home as they were in the office, but my experience is that it’s definitely not the case in most instances

            1. Natalie*

              Ooo, yes, I didn’t even think of this and I am one of those people going into the office some of the time. None of the tasks I’m doing are normally a part of my role, they’re time consuming admin and cash handling things. The only reason I’m giving up 10% of my workweek for these tasks is they have to get done, and I’m one of the few people on my team working full time, working with childcare, and a direct employee rather than a contractor. And the delays are extremely noticeable. Even a year into wfh we’re still having trouble getting mail forwarded from our other offices, which are essentially all donation checks and official documents.

              1. Bagpuss*

                I think in part it is that a lot of the stuff that needs doing is small stuff, but it all adds up. At the start of lockdown I was WFH , and would come in once or twice a week in the evenings when the building was empty to drop off/pick up stuff I needed, and catch up on the little things I couldn’t do from home. I’d always start thinking I only needed to pop in for half an hour and I don’t think I was ever there for less than 2 hours. And that was with others doing some bits for me during the working day.

                Even stuff like scanning the post every day to those WFH takes up way more time than you might think, and we still have a lot of stuff that needs to be done on paper, sadly.

                1. Natalie*

                  Ugh, yes, scanning mail is unbelievably time consuming. So much of it is irregularly shaped or perforated in just such a way as to tear apart in the copier and jam.

                  In an earlier lifetime I processed checks for a bank lockbox (like where you might mail a utility payment) and we had a special scanner that handled checks, backup, and envelopes together, with little batching sheets. But my office isn’t going to invest in that kind of equipment when it’s not our primary business function.

          4. I'd Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

            I also think it’s easy to underestimate how much work it takes an org to really move to full WFH without losing productivity over the long-term.

            Things like communication and workplace culture are a lot easier to manage when everyone is meeting in person regularly. Of course we can all scramble now and again, but if a company is going to be WFH full-time, they’ll need structures to support that. That means re-evaluating their hiring and onboarding processes, thinking really clearly about how they structure cross-team collaboration and workflows or about how they’re going to evaluate outputs, etc.

            Obviously, you should be evaluating all of those things for in-person work as well, but many companies already have these processes set-up, and doing a full cultural overhaul is plenty of work. (This year has often involved a lot of rushed or ad hoc decision-making in these areas, but that’s not sustainable over the long term.) I’m not against WFH necessarily, but it’s not as simple as just saying: “ok yes, everyone stay home and download zoom”.

          5. NerdyKris*

            Yeah it’s a massive pain for any sort of support staff. IT is a lot harder when I’m dealing with two sets of equipment, home internet issues, and only having the person on site two days during the week.

          6. pancakes*

            It doesn’t cause problems everywhere or for everyone, though. I was working from home before the pandemic because my employer noted how well it worked after the Superstorm Sandy flooding in 2012, which kept them out of their lower manhattan offices for months.

          7. General von Klinkerhoffen*

            I think some people are definitely conflating “I liked it” with “it worked”, yes.

            But there are some whole industries who thought they had to have a physical presence, were forced into remote working, and suddenly realised that they only need face time once a week or during certain phases (eg onboarding).

            My firm went fully remote about a decade ago, when the rest of the field was going paperless. They’re typically now looking to halve their physical presence, move out of expensive capital cities, etc. The remote capacity already existed: they just weren’t making the most of it.

            So I think the return to offices will look very different depending on the fields. In mine, “teamwork” looks like a bunch of people with different skills each handling discrete tasks; in my spouse’s, it looks like multiple people collaborating on a single task or document and coming together to discuss progress when they work separately. He’ll be back in a physical workspace months or years before I will.

            1. meyer lemon*

              I work in an industry that lends itself extremely well to working remotely, but is also very reluctant to change in any way, so for years it has essentially been a requirement to relocate to one particular expensive major city if you want to work in this field. It’s amazing how much that has shifted over the last year.

          8. Des*

            I agree with this. We’re all letting things slide because we understand people are stressed, but it’s not how you’d want to go forward long term.

            Also I want my office space back so that I can reclaim my desk at home from all these work screens, etc!

        2. Helvetica*

          Oh, good. I’ve been wondering if it’s just me not being in the US that’s made me be a bit weirded out by so many people thinking it’s horrendous that their companies want them back in the office once they get vaccinated or that vaccinations will force them to stop WFH. If your employer makes all the necessary arrangements for you to do so safely then they are well within their rights to ask you to come back and if you don’t want to, that’s not your employer being terrible, that’s just your preference which they may or may not accommodate.

        3. Slinky*

          I do, however, think that sometimes it is poorly conceived to bring workers back. The trend you cited yesterday where many US workers will likely be back in the office sometime around Labor Day is very troubling to me, and not because I want to work from home forever (I really don’t!).

          My office partially reopened last summer with safety precautions in place. Occupancy is maybe 30%. However, they have had several COVID outbreaks. Cases are on the rise here again and our state badly bungled the vaccine rollout, meaning most of us have no clue when we can be vaccinated. Even so, we’re starting to hear rumblings about being back in the fall, which scares me.

          I know this isn’t what you are referring to, but I think at least some of us expressing hesitancy are expressing it out of real fear.

          1. Natalie*

            Labor Day is 6 months from now, it’s rather a leap to assume nothing will have changed in vaccine availability in the next 6 months.

            1. Cat Tree*

              Yes, manufacturing start up is the longest part of the process. Once the new production lines get qualified and approved, production will be consistently higher. Also, some vaccine candidates are still in the pipeline and as more of them receive regulatory approval that will also increase the supply.

              1. pleaset cheap rolls*

                There has been so much positive movement in my country (the US) that it seems realistic for all working age adults to have access to the vaccine by Labor Day. There’s the issue of some not wanting it, but I think it will happen. I’m getting my first shot in a few days BTW.

            2. fhqwhgads*

              Thank you for saying this, because it made me realize all the times I’d read “Labor Day”, in my head I was thinking “Memorial Day” and thought that was wildly optimistic. Labor Day makes a ton of sense. I don’t know why I’d flipped that in my head.

              1. EvilQueenRegina*

                Coming from a country where we don’t celebrate Labor Day, I have to admit to making the same mistake initially while reading that!

          2. doreen*

            Absolutely some are expressing it out of real fear- but the people I know who don’t want to go back to the office who are flying all over the US ( and internationally) for vacation aren’t resisting returning to the office out of fear. They prefer to work at home for personal reasons but have to dress it up as a safety concern because “I need to work at home because (personal reason) isn’t going to fly.

          3. Bagpuss*

            Oh yes, I think there are absolutely companies trying to do too much too soon, and people with genuine concerns.

            Where I am, vaccination roll out has been good – approx. 50% of the population so far, and while we are not asking staff to share their status people do talk, so I am (unofficially) aware that quite a few staff members have already had theirs, which of course help protect both those individuals and those of us still waiting.

            We’ve been partially open all along, due to the nature of our work. We have gone to a lot of effort to make sure the office is as safe as a possible and it seems to have been pretty successful – there have been a small number of people who work here who have had Covid, but no outbreaks (i.e. the individuals who had it either definitely or probably caught it elsewhere, and there were all isolated cases for a work perspective in that no-one caught it from them )

            1. Natalie*

              My experience with this has obviously been different being in healthcare, but we have been operating dozens of clinics for the past year without a single case of in-office transmission. Of course they’re wearing fairly standard medical PPE, but they’re not gowning up hazmat-style and they can’t physically distance the same way many people could. If a company is having multiple outbreaks it the office, the first place I’d look is how well their employees are complying with masking and distancing rules.

              1. Archaeopteryx*

                I agree, at our clinics the only locations that have had Covid transmission are directly traceable to poorer masking adherence; most places (and especially our Covid clinics, due to more PPE obviously) have had almost none.

                (Of course, those staff who had imperfect masking adherence [fiddling with it to snack at their desk, etc] also tend to be the ones going to friends’ houses and restaurants, so it’s a case of higher chance of having Covid and then higher chance of spreading it. Which you wouldn’t think would be an issue in healthcare, but…)

                Point being, masking and distancing works surprisingly well from what I can tell.

          4. Person from the Resume*

            In my state, everyone 16 and older is eligible for the vaccine starting next Monday. They’ve been adding new eligibility categories very quickly over the last month because the supply of the vaccine has grown, and there are available appointments. We are not the first state to reach this point; that was Alaska. Bungled rollout or not, your state should have been getting a lot more doses since the beginning of March and will probably be vaccinating everyone within the next two month. I can’t imagine any place in the US that won’t be offering vaccines to everyone by June. If one state falls that far behind all the other states, they will even more doses and attention. Labor day is not unreasonable date to say things will be back to the (new) normal and people can be back in the office.

        4. Lucille B.*

          Seeing the thread off of this and Alison’s response makes me so relieved I could cry. I have felt like I am the one taking crazy pills the way some of our staff has reacted to my three-month warning that we will be reopening the office at the start of June. I am impressed we have held it together this long, but it has been a LOT of work and we just can’t afford to keep paying fees for missing things and losing time for development/training.

        5. HigherEdAdminista*

          It is definitely a theme. As one of the people who would like to keep working from home, but knows that I will be lucky to get even a tiny concession on this fact, I think it really shows how many people have only felt somewhat in control of their schedules for the first time, and how they realized how much of their lives were being given away.

          For me to live near my office, I would likely have to live in a more expensive, while at the same time less nice, place. It makes financial sense to have this commute; I get that I’m trading time for money, and due to my life circumstances that is pretty much a necessary decision. But I lost so much time in my life to that commute. Without it, I’ve been getting more rest and getting more exercise. If it continued as things normalized, my life would really improve. And heck, I think my work has benefited equally! I can focus better on projects. I don’t mind working a bit late because I don’t have to go into the office to do it. I took one sick day in the past year because I had a doctor’s appointment that was going to take up some time, but otherwise I have been able to work on days when I would have previously had to call out because I wasn’t feeling well enough to commute, but was okay to work.

          So the idea that this is going to arbitrarily go away, even though it’s worked well, hurts. I know I would never be able to do this 100% of the time due to my industry, but my god… the difference two or three days a week would even make would be incredible. I am unlikely to see it in my lifetime, but I think people’s sadness, anger, and panic at the idea of going back is the clearest sign that work culture in this country needs to change and take its proper place not as the center of everyone’s life.

        6. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

          It requires better processes and accountability to maintain a distributed workforce. In the office, I can trade my concentration to stand over a coworker whose work mine relies on and coerce them into doing their job and Management can pretend that’s functional; when we’re 500 mi away, that’s simply not an option. Management is harder because you have to measure and judge productivity instead of substituting proxies like how much time the employee’s butt remains in the workplace’s provided chair. The reclaimed overhead usually goes to the employee (how many employers changed their employee’s shifts from 8 hr/day to 10 hr/day because the hour-each-way commute was eliminated?).

          I think, when it all shakes out, that remote work will become a benefit/perk like any other, where competitive companies offer it and others don’t (like health insurance, 401(k), PTO, etc), and those who value it will self-select into roles and organizations where it’s offered.

        7. tectonic*

          FYI: In New York State, employers are now required to give employees up to four hours of paid time off to get vaccinated.

        8. Exhausted Employment Lawyer*

          I am so relieved at this comment. Between this letter and the one from yesterday about the voluntary survey as to vaccinations, I really felt that the advice was leaning too heavily into the (false) narrative that employees shouldn’t have to share “medical information,” when it is patently obvious that the letter-writers just don’t want to be deemed safe to come back to work.
          And while it is fair to be disappointed about having to stop a remote-work arrangement, it does not follow that you would have the right to thwart perfectly reasonable inquiries as to your vaccination status solely because you think it will allow you to continue to work from home. I know this site is very, very pro-employee, and despite most of my work being done on the employer side I really appreciate that perspective. But this was one issue where I really diverged from what seemed to be the consensus.
          Your employer isn’t getting “personal medical history/information” from you – it’s legitimately evaluating your level of threat to their workspace, while juggling all of the issues that arise from running a business with remote employees. They have the right to bring you back, even if you think that working remotely was the most productive/efficient thing ever. You probably don’t have all the facts, including that there may be other employees who were wildly terrible at working remotely, and there is inherent danger (read: legal discrimination) in treating employees differently when it comes to perks and benefits.
          Employers that are encouraging people to get the vaccine, and offering paid time off, and trying to keep tabs on who has been inoculated are doing things RIGHT because they are trying to be humane AND showing they care about the safety of their people in the workplace.

        9. TechWorker*

          What worries me most is that once a subset of the team are back in the office it’s going to be tricky to ensure there’s no divides. What I mean by that is it was *super* common in my company in the beforetimes for someone to ask a question of the person next to them, which turned into a slightly broader discussion with a couple of people. Or for someone to be like ‘I need a second eye to get my head around this difficult thing’ and to grab whoever happens to be at their desk and available. At the moment we’re 100% wfh so none of those things happen – questions or discussion points either go to the whole team over email/IM and meetings are formalised and over video chat. If we end up half and half, what do we do? As a manager is it my duty to make sure everyone’s included and thus advise against those off the cuff discussions and meetings? Is there a way to do that that doesn’t just make the workflow slower for everyone in office?

          1. Cj*

            Please, please, please do not discourage those discussions. That is much of the value of having an office environment in the first place. Yes, some people don’t get to engage as much, and that is one of the pitfalls of working from home when not everybody is. And that is also one of the tradeoffs that people make who work at home for the benefits they get from being able to do so (no commute, etc.)

      2. BRR*

        I feel like a lot of people also seemed surprised, in addition to adversarial, that they might have to return to the office at some point. You might prefer working from home and are as productive, if not more productive, working from home but it’s often not realistic for the work or not in character with your company leadership’s attitude.

        But I don’t think the company’s primary motive is nefarious. This seems like it would be a terrible way to track how many people have been vaccinated.

        1. Cj*

          I was the one called adversarial in the comments yesterday for stating what is in this thread. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who feels this way.

      3. WFHHalloweenCat*

        This is very helpful reframing for my own feelings about my company so thank you for that! They currently have a target date to bring everyone back which rubbed me the wrong way. But now I think my real problem is not with them asking us to come back, but that they’re asking us to come back no matter what our vaccination status is. They don’t seem to be considering whether it’s actually safe or not.

        1. Natalie*

          If their target date is, like, next month you might have some call to be concerned, but if it’s Labor Day like so many companies I wouldn’t assume anything about their re-opening plan that they haven’t explicitly said. (And even then, plans can change. Our original plan was to be remote until July 2020 *laughsob*.)

          As we all experienced a year ago, making drastic shifts to workflow quickly and with no planning ahead sucks on many levels. Companies that are going to go back to the office are doing *well* to set a target date and announce it, so people can do things like line up in person childcare. Or *move* if they’re someone who relocated for the duration. Absent a specific pattern of behavior, a target date alone is not evidence of some kind of bullheaded commitment to being back in person by September no matter what happens.

          1. pleaset cheap rolls*

            “Absent a specific pattern of behavior, a target date alone is not evidence of some kind of bullheaded commitment”

            This. In sixth months in my city every working age adult who wants to be vaccinated (and can, in terms of their own health) will be able to be vaccinated. That’s not true for a month or two from now, but in sixth months – yes. It’s highly likely all kids will be in school as well in September.

      4. Insert Clever Name Here*

        Yeah, my company has been upfront the entire time that 100% WFH following the pandemic will not be an option. They have also been upfront that *some* element of WFH will likely be allowed, depending on your department (I work for a utility — the power station operators can’t do their work from their guest room, but accounting can), but those details aren’t finalized yet. So even though I enjoy working from home most of the time, I’ve known for a year that I will eventually go back to the office…I can’t get mad when I finally get the email announcing the return to the office date. And they can’t announce a return to the office date until they can determine that 1) either overall cases in our area are so low that the pandemic is “over” or 2) a critical mass of employees have been vaccinated…which means they need to know if we’ve been vaccinated (and they do, at least for those who are getting vaccines through the company).

      5. Vaccination Consternation*

        I’ve noticed this theme too. But even companies who decide to keep everyone WFH indefinitely have a vested interest in their staff getting vaccinated once there’s enough supply. A fully vaccinated staff working from home will still have less absenteeism and lower health insurance costs if COVID is no longer a significant risk, since people can and do contract COVID outside of work.

        I don’t see this as your company trying to collect private health information so much as them trying to be decent employers. My company gives us two hours on the clock to go vote during elections, and our work has nothing to do with elections or lobbying, they just felt like it was the right thing to do. I see this as more akin to voting leave.

        1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

          A fully vaccinated staff working from home will still have less absenteeism and lower health insurance costs if COVID is no longer a significant risk, since people can and do contract COVID outside of work.

          And, as morbid as it is to acknowledge, it’s easier and cheaper to retain a live employee than it is to replace a deceased one–not to mention the human cost and loss.

    2. MK*

      Yes, I think people worrying about this would be better off either mentally preparing for coming back to the office or negotiating a wfh role. If an employer wants to bring their workforce to the office and doesn’t know how many are vaccinated, they are unlikely to throw their hands in the air and give up on it till covid has been completely eradicated. They are much more likely to use another metric, like the vaccinations percentage in the area or whether their main competitor opened up.

    3. Spicy Tuna*

      I am so glad to see this comment. Reading this letter had me genuinely wondering why LW cared so much about whether their employer knew their vaccination status. The only reason I could think to hide it is because they’re not planning to get the vaccine and wanted to avoid ridicule. But the letter says that’s not the case, so I’m at a loss.

    4. Willis*

      I don’t disagree with this, and as an employer, am looking forward to working in person with people again. And based on some of the comments we’ve seen here, it does seem like a sizeable subset of folks who would like to WFH (or partially WFH) permanently while employers are going to want them back. They and their companies will have to navigate that, of course.

      Buuuuuut, I also think there can be another dynamic at play here. The past year has been really traumatic, and how many times have there been “goals for being back in the office” or “goals for opening up” that have failed. A lot of people have had to keep advocating for their safety to employers/government leaders/etc etc while deaths mount and number of cases grow. Even if I logically understand how the vaccine will help and can see cases going down (and hopefully continue to go down through the summer), there’s still a part of me that’s hesitant to believe THIS will be the time we really can get back to normal, as much as I really really really want to. So, I get employees being reticent to jump on board with a company’s plan to bring people back. It’s been a horror movie of a year, and it’s hard to trust the monster is (/will be) really dead this time.

      1. Willis*

        And to be clear, I 100% think we should move forward (as allowed, based on science/data/public health recommendations) and I understand companies planning to open, encouraging people to get vaccinated, etc. I just don’t think every person who is hesitant to come back in an office is because they like the convenience of WFH.

  10. :/*

    We’re already back in our office and the company still wants to know who will get vaccinated and when.

    1. Bagpuss*

      It’s not necessarily unreasonable for them to want to know in order to assess risks on an ongoing basis.

    2. Heather*

      Isn’t that a good thing? If I had to work directly in contact with people I’d want to know when they would be vaccinated so I could worry less about the risk of catching COVID. It would be cause for a celebration!

  11. Not Australian*

    Ugh, LW#1, I had a boss like that. I don’t expect parades and cheering crowds for doing my job – a simple “nice work” or “have an extra biscuit” or something is enough for me in the way of recognition, so a drippy boss who called me ‘lovely girl’ (for the record, I was neither) quite literally set my teeth on edge. Why is it so difficult for people to calibrate praise/blame to suit the occasion?

    This boss of mine – who had seemed to nice at first – turned out to be a disaster in other ways, too, and I didn’t last long in that job, so this was all just part of a pattern, but it was definitely a major red flag in this case.

  12. SnappinTerrapin*

    #3, If you don’t want them to know, don’t tell them. Get vaccinated on your own time.

    People usually do act from mixed motives, so it is possible your employer has both good intentions and “bad.” It’s also possible they will realize later they have information that might affect other decisions.

    But they could also make those same decisions without the information.

    Decide for yourself whether your privacy is a higher priority than the benefit of a little paid time off, but don’t begrudge others who might value this token of support from your employer.

    1. Bluesboy*

      This. The employer is offering a gesture that will probably be helpful. I know where I am, when it’s our time for the vaccine, we are given a date, probably during the week, with no flexibility. I would prefer not to have to use a day of holiday, so if I had your employer I would take them up on their offer.

      If someone doesn’t want to – which I can understand, maybe you are having the vaccine earlier than others for medical reasons that you would prefer not to disclose, the company isn’t insisting on you letting them know. Just don’t take it during work time, or use a holiday day.

      Their motives? If their motives are good, great. If their motives are to track who is having the vaccine to get you back in the office, well that doesn’t change the fact that the offer could be useful and nobody is obliged to take them up on it.

    2. Natalie*

      The older I get, the less weight I give motives tbh. If the company decided not to offer this perk out of some kind of good motive (not wanting people to feel pressured to share private information or something), it would almost certainly result in a measurably worse *outcome*. And at the end of the day, their motives don’t really do much for public health.

    3. OP3*

      I definitely do not begrudge my employer for doing this or other employees for taking advantage of it! Anything that makes vaccinations easier is a good thing in my book! I was just trying to determine what made sense for my situation and felt like I didn’t clearly understand the reasoning behind the policy.

      For what it’s worth, I am now (half) vaccinated, and I did end up disclosing my appointment time to my employer so that I could get paid for the time.

  13. Forrest*

    LW2, you don’t sound QUITE like you’ve moved on. It doesn’t sound like the initial problem — Teapot Designer gives you incomplete designs then isn’t available to give you the rest of the information and doesn’t want you to speak to Teapot Consultants— has been resolved. It’s sounds like you still think Teapot Designer was in the wrong, but you’ve apologised to smooth things over, but you’re still quite annoyed with Designer’s unprofessionalism.

    If this was a one-off situation, then everyone apologising with bad grace and putting it behind them would be fine, but it doesn’t sound like the underlying work issue has been addressed. What are you supposed to do next time Designer gives you half-arsed work and then disappears before the deadline?

    It doesn’t sound like your boss is being helpful if they’re just barking back on about the disagreement without addressing the underlying issue, but next time they raise it, I’d go in head-on: “Yes, actually, reflecting back on it I think there is a bigger issue here to address. Next time the same situation arises— and it will!— my options are to go back to the consultants, which will annoy Jane, or miss the deadline. Can you confirm that if I can’t get in touch with Jane, it’s OK for me to go to the consultants and you’ll handle Jane?”

    I think your boss is harping on this because they know they’ve dropped the ball — they’re trying to placate you and Jane without actually managing the underlying issue and they probably sense that you’re still cross about it, and quite frankly you’re right to! Your boss has put you in a really difficult situation where they’ve agreed you did the right thing but refused to deal properly with Jane’s annoyance and made it clear what they want to happen next time. I’d go back to them and get clarity!

    1. Bluesboy*

      Yes, it looks like the issue itself hasn’t been resolved, just the disagreement. The boss is probably concerned that similar disagreements will come up in the future and explaining how you would deal with this next time might close the issue.

      I’d add that I would like to better understand the frequency of LW’s ‘check-in calls’. She just had a 1-1; if that is a kind of six month review, it makes sense that the boss would come back to the main personal issue that cropped up in the period.

      If besides that, the check-in calls are daily, and the boss keeps bringing it up, that’s absurd. If they are, for example, every two weeks and this was a couple of months ago, it could mean just three or four calls, one of which was a review then it’s much less egregious.

      1. Agree to disagree*

        OP2 here! We have bi-weekly check-ins, but the call in particular where the conversation was monopolized with this topic was our quarterly review. We have our next 1:1 this afternoon so I’m interested in seeing whether she brings it up again…

      2. Joan Rivers*

        Yes. I was going to suggest you say, “IF this should happen again, and based on past history, it could, are you asking me to come to you for a decision about how to proceed? I assume you’re NOT saying that you want me to somehow create a miracle w/o enough information? Because that would be hard to do.”

    2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      Honestly, I wouldn’t have moved on either. What LW2 described is pretty familar. Most of the time, teapot designers are okay with the builders talking to SMEs to fill the missing pieces in the design. But every so often you get someone on a power trip who’d tell you you can only go through them, even if it’d take longer and you’d be playing the telephone game with the designer going to the SMEs, getting their answer, then relaying it back to the builder. In LW2’s case, there was a deadline they wouldn’t have met otherwise; and then boss gave LW a confusing message of “you did everything right, now apologize for what you did and I will also bringing it up against you in every 1:1 and performance review.” So did LW do everything right or not? what is LW supposed to do next time it happens? do the same thing again and upset the designer again, or miss a deadline to protect Designer’s feelings? it is not at all clear from how Boss is handling this.

    3. Dust Bunny*

      I think the LW can say she has moved on from this particular incident even if the underlying problem hasn’t been resolved. And it sounds as though her manager is bringing up the specific event rather than attempting to address the incompleteness problem with the designer and/or her manager. Sort of a missing stair situation: The LW may be over this project even though she has to accept that the designer’s shortcomings aren’t being addressed.

    4. Agree to disagree*

      Ha, I’m OP #2. You’ve definitely hit the nail on the head here! And I have actually had that conversation with my manager – that, “when you initially saw that Jane’s work wasn’t as complete as it should be, why didn’t you say anything to her?” It was essentially a lot of hemming and hawing that she was still going in the right direction and they’d assumed she’d work it out. I’ve since given them some pointers on how to mitigate the issue a bit and help to retrain her, but I don’t know that my advice will be taken. All that’s happened so far is that my manager has come to me for a mini consultation on this new project Jane’s been assigned. I guess we’ll see how well she does on this one once it’s sent over…

      1. Observer*

        All of this is very important information.

        You could use Alison’s language to bring this up. and confirm what the appropriate options for YOU to take are, in the case that this happens again. Because it’s a good bet that this is why she keeps on bringing it. She’s not a great manager, but she clearly realizes that there IS a problem that has not been solved.

      2. Ama*

        I will say OP #2 that it sounds to me a bit like your manager is falling into the manager trap of “OP is easy to work with and handles problems well and Jane doesn’t handle criticism well so I’ll just expect OP to work around Jane’s issues.” I’ve been in that position myself and it’s really annoying — the only recourse I found was basically just running any interaction I was planning to have with my Jane (who was our budget manager) by our mutual boss “hey I’m going to need to tell Jane that we need more temp hours devoted to that project this week — do you want me to cc you on that, or do you want to tell her in person that I’ll be making that request?” (Most of the time my then boss would say “no it’s fine, if she makes a fuss I’ll step in and then almost without fail Jane would make a fuss at me and I’d send her to go talk to the boss about it.)

        Of course the ultimate recourse I found was leaving that job because while my Jane was the most regular offender, our boss had seemingly no ability to sort out what was a legitimate concern/complaint about our processes and what was just someone upset that I wouldn’t let them violate our employer’s policies until I laid it out for her and I got tired of managing my manager.

        1. Agree to disagree*

          This is definitely the case. My manager has actually said to me that they have to tiptoe around conversations with Jane, essentially praising how good her work is before offering anything constructive. I just don’t understand the benefit of “managing” like that.

      3. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

        If she brings it up again, tell her that you and Jane have moved on from the previous disagreement, but that it is true that Jane is not giving you all the design details you need in order to build the design, and as long as that continues, you may well need to repeat the same course of action if Jane is unavailable to provide the details you need. In addition, it slows things down for you to need to keep asking for additional details. So, although you naturally assume your manager is working with Jane on the training she needs to get the necessary information to you from the outset, in future, if you encounter a similar situation again, you would like to know how your manager wants you to handle it and whether those communications are ones your manager wants to be involved in or merely looped in on (note, make those the only two options – you should definitely start copying your manager in on those communications and trying to keep as much in writing as possible).

        Basically, since your manager does not want to really manage Jane, make it so she has no choice but to “manage” you by coming up with a plan, either now or when the situation happens again. Basically, you are letting her know that if there is a future problem, it will be her problem as much as yours.

    5. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

      I agree that the boss is probably staying fixated on the disagreement because she knows she has not resolved the underlying issue and it is causing her some anxiety (since ultimately, whether the boss is saying it or not, the disagreement is bound to occur again in another context unless she resolves the issue from the management side). Perhaps OP could redirect the conversation accordingly, “Well, although we have made up and have moved on from our disagreement, I do agree that Jane has a tendency to not get me all the design details I need upfront, which can make it difficult if Jane is unavailable for follow up questions. How do you think we can go about making sure Jane gets me the information on the front end?”

    6. meyer lemon*

      I have to say, Jane is being a real pain in the ass. First she doesn’t provide the information you need, then she is unavailable for follow-up, then when you try to get the information, she has the temerity to complain to your boss about it. You know, Jane, it is within your power to keep this from happening.

  14. JM in England*

    Re#1
    This is another crossover between dating and employment. If you say “I love you” to your spouse or romantic partner too often, it loses its impact after a while….

    1. Workerbee*

      I don’t see it that way at all. An “I love you” cadence is far more subjective in a personal relationship than in a workplace where you’re on the clock for a wage, as it were, and may depend on true positive reviews to advance.

      1. Tired of Covid-and People*

        I don’t see it like that at all. I can’t hear I Love You too much, if actions match the words. It’s only meaningless when the two don’t mesh.

    2. Jennifer @unchartedworlds*

      “I love you” isn’t praise, though. It’s an expression of feelings and/or commitment. Or at least, that’s how I think of it.

    3. I'd Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

      Feedback (positive or critical) in a workplace is generally goal-oriented.

      Romantic relationships are different. Most people don’t say ‘I love you’ with the goal of ‘having an impact’ on their loved ones. Frankly, that sounds dangerously close to manipulative.

      (Which is not to say that people have to be gushy with ‘I love you’ if that doesn’t come naturally to them. But your spouse is not your employee and you shouldn’t be saying it strategically to maximize impact. That’s weird.)

    4. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      JM, it is weird in the US. (I’m assuming that in England, it’d be more like what I’m used to – that you only say it when you actually mean it.) Took me years to get used to the way people throw out an I love you automatically at the end of every conversation and so on. It probably wouldn’t lose its impact on me if coming from the right person, but people really often say it when they don’t mean to. You know how people insert a half-dozen “like”s in, like, every sentence? that’s how I’ve seen people use “I love you”. (Of course there’s still no comparison between romantic relationships, that you have to assume people had, at least at some point, both wanted to be in, and an at-will employment situation, where you are a cog in a machine, but you’re being told you are an AWESOME cog.)

      One of my past romantic partners scared the crap out of himself when, as I was leaving after my first weekend stay at his place, he walked me to my car and almost said “love you, bye” because he was used to saying it when seeing someb0dy off! He stopped mid-sentence and finished with “love…d this weekend, bye!”

      Oh and I had another one who dumped me out of the blue after two years together – just showed up to our regular weekly date night with all my things from his apartment packed in a bag in his car. He said “I love you” *as he was dumping me*. how strange is that!

      I also used to sit next to a coworker whose wife was home with their three young children, and would call him at work often. So one day, I witnessed a conversation that, on his end, went like this: “What do you mean he barfed in my car??? I cannot believe you let him barf in MY CAR! do you know how much I paid for that car??? I don’t care if he’s three, you should know better! Okay, love you hon!” It was my third year in the country and I just sat there with my mouth hanging open like “wowwww Americans are sure weird about saying I love you”!

      1. Insert Clever Name Here*

        Well, I *do* mean that I love my husband when I say it at the end of a phone call in the middle of the day. It’s not like I only love him intermittently.

        1. Tired of Covid-and People*

          Yeah, I don’t get this incredulity at telling people you love that you love them.

      2. Tobias Funke*

        What does “only say it when you actually mean it” even mean? I still love my spouse even if I’m aggravated or our kid yaked in the car! You can have different preferences. That’s fine. And I can listen to a lot of shit talking of Americans and American culture, but this is one of the few things that actually does work for folks. You’re not better because you save “I love you” to dole out like crumbs to starving people.

        1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

          What does “only say it when you actually mean it” even mean?

          That means that, when you say I love you to a person, it’s someone you actually love. Vs saying “I love you” to your partner 15-20 times a day and being a complete ass to them the rest of the day. Show, not tell.

          I highly doubt that this coworker (this was just one incident of many in how he treated his spouse) loved his wife, or anyone but himself. But he said it *because that’s how it’s done*.

          You’re not better because you save “I love you” to dole out like crumbs to starving people.

          We will not be discussing me and my character on here. Thanks, love you!

          1. I'd Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

            This sounds as though your objection isn’t that your coworker said ‘love you’ often but that he said it dishonestly or insincerely.

            1. Annie Moose*

              Yeah… I don’t see how their coworker’s terrible behavior is a result of him saying “I love you” too much. (or that this is some sort of just expected behavior from Americans–it most assuredly is not)

            2. Insert Clever Name Here*

              It seems like every objection is to someone who is an ass saying “love you.” Which, fine. But highly unlikely to be because, as a culture, Americans don’t bury all their feelings deep down inside.

          2. Tobias Funke*

            Ope, I’ve clearly inadvertently hit a nerve. Didn’t realize showing and telling had to be mutually exclusive. All the best!

          3. Forrest*

            As a British person, I am sorry to tell you that people trying to compensate for treating their spouses unkindly by saying, “I love you!” is definitely a Horrible People thing and not specific to any particular culture or nationality!

        2. Tired of Covid-and People*

          I could not agree more. In general, I get tired of non-Americans on this site bashing us for various reasons, but for saying I love you too much, that’s a bridge too far.

          1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

            I am an American, same as you.

            All I was telling JM is that dropping ILY without thinking is a cultural thing, that takes some getting used to, but it is a local tradition and a benign one.

            1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

              Adding, to me this is really on the same level as people asking each other “How are you doing?” (when they have no desire to know how this other person is doing) – “Oh I’m great thanks!” (when they’re feeling anything but great). It’s a cultural thing that takes a while for a newcomer to get used to. But it’s like… not good, not bad, it just is. After 24 years here, you bet I do it too. Though I admit that most of the time, I am in fact mildly interested in how the person is doing. But I will say I’m doing “great!” even if I look and feel like death warmed over. It’s a habit now.

              (This is such an offtopic thread though, apologize for contributing to it and will be fine with it being eventually removed.)

      3. Forrest*

        Being angry at a three-year-old for being sick is MUCH weirder than saying “I love you” to your partner.

        1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

          Oh he was not angry at the 3yo. He was angry at the wife for not magically making the three-year-old not be sick, while also driving the car. But he loves her, because he said so.

      4. Maggie*

        Lol now Americans are too loving! Proud to be an American I guess if that means I love my family and husband a lot! Frankly I tell loved ones that I love them in case something happens. I want the people I love to always be reminded of it. Some of the American stereotypes are so funny.

    5. StripesAndPolkaDots*

      What? That’s 100% not how everyone thinks. When I was growing up my parents said “I loved you” multiple times a day. It was great and reassuring. And as an adult my spouse and I say it multiple times a day, because it’s nice to hear and we feel it!

    6. Dwight Schrute*

      Umm I’ve never once thought this in any of my relationships whether it be with a significant other or family member, I’d rather be told that they love me on a regular basis than not. You never know if something is going to happen to someone you care about deeply so why not tell them? I don’t think these are comparable at all

    7. Tobias Funke*

      Yikes. Glad I’m not your partner. This is not a great comparison. May I interest you in my ex, who said “I don’t have to tell you anything until it changes”?

      1. Tired of Covid-and People*

        I’m sorry you had to go through that. I don’t want a partner who thinks they have done a big deed when expelling a little breath to say I love you.

      2. Generic Name*

        Ha, reminds me of my ex. We would be all, “well, you should know I love you” as an excuse for not saying it. He didn’t act especially loving towards me, so of course I felt insecure and wanted/needed to hear it. My husband says I love you *and* acts in loving ways.

    8. Sylvan*

      Huh? Most couples I know say that all the time. Relatives do it, too. It’s the end of every phone conversation with my parents, for example. That’s why you might occasionally see an embarrassing story online about someone telling, say, a customer service representative “I love you” at the end of a call.

      The reasons I’ve heard for it range from “imagine it’s the last thing you’ll have a chance to say to someone” (what if you die omg?!?!) to “it’s important to tell people you care about them.”

    9. WellRed*

      While many people seem surprised by this notion, I agree with it. I thought it was so bizarre when a friend and her family were opening Christmas presents and said “I love you!” “I love you too!” after opening each gift. Like seriously, her brother gave her socks. “I love you” However, if it works for them? OK.

      1. Tired of Covid-and People*

        Why was it bizarre? They do love each other! It was Christmas, a day of heightened family emotions for many. Geez.

      2. SoloKid*

        I agree with you. My husband and I DO lavish each other with I Love Yous but that’s not the sort of family I was rasied in.

        Their tag of “… In England” reminds me of the stiff upper lip types that get mildly embarassed at any overt displays of emotion, good or bad. Different love languages and all that. I am happy my husband changed my mindset but that sort of overt affection would definitely seem disingenuous to my side of the family where duty speaks louder than repeated praise.

        1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

          Oddly enough, everyone in my immediate family says ILY dozens of times a day to our pets. But we were never used to saying it to each other. Younger son and I have tried, but it’s not working out too great. The one time my oldest called (he was living on the opposite end of the country and was going through some difficult times then) and said ILY for the first time in his life, I reacted by being scared. “Are you ok? do you need us to come out? I’ll have your brother call you tonight. Please call either of us anytime you need to talk.”

          One of my past boyfriends trained me to say ILY millions of times a day. I’ve got to say, it works. It does put you in a loving mindset when you keep saying it to a person. He, too, started the day with “good morning, my love” and ended with “good night, my love” with dozens of ILY in between. He’s the one I wrote about in a comment above, the one that dumped me out of the blue (and said ILY at that time too). I confess that this experience did not warm me up to saying ILY a lot, heh heh.

        2. nonegiven*

          Why do I keep thinking about Outlander where Claire said, “I closed my eyes and thought of England?”

  15. Haven’t picked a user name yet*

    Vaccinations: my very large organization is paying for any time off for vaccinations, and I don’t see any ulterior motives. It doesn’t really impact me as exempt, but there are probably 10,000 or more employees who are hourly and need to be at their desks during their shifts. This policy allows them to easily get their vaccinations when it is time. I think it is a wonderful show of support, not only for workers, but also to our broader communities. Emphasizing the safety of vaccinations, and the idea we should all get them if able. So I think the company has been thinking about how we all go back to work? Yes, but I don’t read it at all as being the driving force and manipulative.

    But, I work for an organization that has demonstrated its values from the top.

    1. violet04*

      Yes, vaccination appointments are hard to come by and are often during daytime hours. My husband just started a new job in facility management and is hourly so he has to be on site. I wish his company would provide some leeway for employees to leave during the day to get vaccinated. I work from home and have been able to check daily for appointments and I was lucky to find him one for Saturday.

      1. Tired of Covid-and People*

        I saw appointments well into the evening when I was scheduling mine, and ended up getting it on a Saturday. Maybe mass vaccination sites have limited hours to daytime only, but I didn’t use one, I used a pharmacy. That may be an option for folks who don’t want to involve their employer at all.

  16. Keymaster of Gozer*

    OP1: being relentlessly positive is every bit as damaging an environment as being relentlessly negative. (See Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America by Barbara Ehrenreich).

    I objected massively to a boss who told me that everything was an ‘opportunity for growth!’ and actually praised me for walking 8 feet across the room without my cane one day (I’d actually dropped it on the floor and couldn’t be arsed to get it just to go to the printer) because I was overcoming my ‘problems’.

    Took in the end to have a running massive sarcastic dry commentary going in one part of my head to keep me from getting really effed off again. Actually adapted a lot of the experience into a standup comedy routine I did a year later (this was a long time ago).

    1. I'd Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

      I really, really, really loathe the romantization of suffering in service of self-improvement.

      I’m not saying that we can’t find positive and grow from difficult experiences (of course we can, it’s one of the most remarkable things about us!). But there is nothing inherently positive about suffering. When growth comes from it, it is almost always because people have been offered meaningful support and structure in other ways.

      1. I'd Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

        Oh! A person anecdote: I have a friend who once volunteered his work within a specialised skill set (think medicine) in an impoverished area. While he was there, a terrible tragedy befell the country (eg the 2004 tsunami). He helped recover bodies and arrange transport for survivors.

        Years later at a cocktail party, an acquaintance learned this story and later said to me “I always knew there was something special and kind about Max. That experience must have really made him into the generous person he is today.”

        Like, what? He was ALREADY in this country working for free in difficult conditions when he could have been earning six figures in another environment. Don’t credit a disaster with the work of loving parents, and a stable economic system and good educational support and opportunities.

        We should value the growth from setting up humanistic educational and economic structures more than we value romantic ideas about individual ‘suffering’ leading to growth.

        1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

          That experience probably gave Max PTSD :( To your point, he already was the generous person then that he is today, otherwise he wouldn’t have taken that job.

          IME, that’s what most of our suffering does to us – it messes us up and makes it difficult to have healthy connections with people.

          1. Tired of Covid-and People*

            Yep, suffering is overrated. I understand wanting to put a positive spin on things, but I would just as soon not have gone through some of the things I was forced to endure.

      2. I'd Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

        I wrote this comment a little sloppily – I’m really responding to the “everything was an ‘opportunity for growth!’” mindset from your ex-boss and thinking about how that manifests more broadly as a catch-all for people to side-step their discomfort with others’ hardships.

      3. Keymaster of Gozer*

        Yeah. Know what my incredibly painful experience of being mugged taught me? How to lash out at people who approach me from behind. That’s….not really a strength.

    2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      OH MY GOD what a callous tool. You do not “overcome” a chronic condition. Glad that you objected!

      1. Keymaster of Gozer*

        I say ‘objected’ when in reality it was ‘can you just shut the *bleep* up about my health for 5 *bleeping* minutes?!’. Long time ago and back before I learnt losing my temper in the workplace is NOT a good thing.

        1. Dwight Schrute*

          Tbh if I encountered that type of “help” day in and day out I’d lose my temper too

    3. I've Escaped Cubicle Land*

      Keymaster of Gozer: I’m glad I’m not the only one with the running massive sarcastic dry commentary in my head. I imagine Alan Rickman’s Severus Snape saying snide comments during these type of interactions with coworkers.

  17. Greige*

    OP#1 Another effect of this positivity can be social pressure to be uncritically positive yourself. So if you feel like raising issues or even suggesting improvements makes you look like a Negative Nancy, that could be another reason this culture doesn’t sit well.

    1. The New Wanderer*

      Can confirm. We don’t have raging positivity pushed on us at my company (or at least in my division), but generally the leadership responds to everything with “that’s great! great idea! fantastic work! important project!” with zero critical assessment. So I can’t trust the responses when it’s my idea or project because there’s rarely a criticism to be had, and I know stuff’s not perfect but how do I know what to fix if no one speaks up?

      But then I find it extremely hard to be critical of someone else’s work even when I feel like there are blatant issues. I’ve been raising issues anyway, and I’m not alone in seeing these issues but I feel alone in speaking up to the leaders because I’m not hearing anyone else do so outside of discussions amongst ourselves. And then when I do speak up, the response is along the lines of “Great job raising this issue!” with absolutely nothing useful done about it. I don’t want praise from leadership, I want *them* to take action! And I’m guessing they don’t because the culture of “don’t raise a fuss” goes all the way up.

  18. Eek*

    My supervisor told me I could get vaccinated on the clock because a team lead had decided to tell her employees not to clock out when they went and now they need to be fair with everyone.

  19. Sarah*

    LW #3- it may just be that they are legally required to give you paid time for getting the vaccine. I know New York is requiring employers to offer 4 hours/shot starting March 12.

    1. old biddy*

      This. I appreciate it since in many places it’s more time consuming than just going to your local drug store and getting a shot. People may have to travel an hour or more each way to the vaccination site, wait in line for quite a while, and not have a lot of flexibility in when they schedule it. I’m in NY too (upstate) and it’s a 1.5 hour drive to the state/FEMA site in Syracuse.

  20. Sleepless*

    I wouldn’t complain about having flexible time off to get the vaccine! My industry has been unexpectedly and thoroughly swamped during the pandemic. My company is spectacularly short-staffed. And by the way, we are in person by necessity because of the nature of our jobs. I wasn’t eligible for the vaccine until our state opened it up for everybody. I got somebody on the phone at my provider’s office, and could feel myself getting emotional at the prospect of finally getting the vaccine…and the only day they had open was a day I’m scheduled for an 11 hour shift with absolutely no way to take that day off or swap. It felt positively Shakesperean. Sorry. Rant over. Carry on.

  21. Presbytoonian*

    We are Presbyterians. The only possible reply to “you are amazing” is “no, I am a depraved wretch.” I’m not sure how this would go over in the office, however.

      1. school of hard knowcs*

        smirk, laugh, smirk, laugh. I feel so much better now. … depraved wretch that I am

  22. agnes*

    #3 I find this letter interesting on a lot of levels. As someone who is advocating in my organization for giving people paid time off to get vaccinated, I see it as a way to support employee health and wellbeing and not force people to use their own precious paid time off to do something that is good for them and everyone they come in contact with. . It is disheartening (but understandable once I spent a little time thinking about it) to hear that someone would be suspicious of this offer or think that the reason for it is a covert effort to “force” employees back into the workplace where they were working for years before covid showed up. .

    Which leads me to the other thing that is interesting about this, which is the looming culture clash I see coming in my organization and others from WFH employees who are going to push back on returning to the workplace if the organization tries to return to “business as usual.” I have tried to get the C-suite to understand this without success, and they are unwilling to show their hand or even discuss this matter further. I think they are in for a rough time if they don’t get more transparent about their intentions and the reasons for it. I am not a “decider” just an “advisor” so it will be interesting to see what happens here.

  23. Roscoe*

    Maybe its just the stress of 2020, but my god some of you people just complain about EVERYTHING.

    #1. My company is too positive? Ok, go work somewhere that everyone is miserable everyday. See how well you like that. Having too much happiness and positivity is NOT a bad thing. Hell, I say this as someone who worked at Disney world and my meetings every morning were about “Keeping the Magic Alive”. And let me tell you, I was far happier in that job than anywhere I’ve worked since, because positivity is contagious, just like negativity is. At most, it seems like something where you just roll your eyes and move on if it veers into sappy territory.

    Similarly, #3. Your company is not making you take sick time or time off to get a vaccine to help end the pandemic, and you are upset and looking for the most nefarious idea possible? My company let us do it on the clock, and take a free half day off for each shot we get. Because they are nice people. Half of the company is WFH anyway, so it has nothing to do with coming into an office. Some people just are ready for things to end and want to help people get back to normal any way they can. But people want to find a bad reason for it. But, as Alison said, yes, they may at some point realize most of their staff is vaccinated and they can open up. THE HORROR! A company who is paying rent in a building wants to use it. How dare they

    1. Keymaster of Gozer*

      Okay, that response is a little harsh. There’s rather a lot of us who’ve commented about how relentless ‘postivity’ can do a real number on your own mental health.

      1. Roscoe*

        I mean, I think sometimes people just can’t find a way to enjoy things. Again, you don’t have to love everything, but just move on from it. It just seems like people being mad about being “too nice/happy” is really scraping the bottom of the barrel of things to be annoyed about.

        Again, I’ve run the gamut of super up beat places and miserable places, and I can say without a doubt the up beat places were just a much better experience. And trust me, no one is confusing me with Polyanna. But it just reminds me of people who date someone and think “they are too nice” or “there must be something wrong because this person is too perfect”, then spend time looking for things that are wrong instead of just enjoying what they have. It doesn’t sound like they are forcing OP to go around giving affirmations to her coworkers everyday, just sending along positive vibes.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          You’re reading it wrong. She didn’t say she’s outraged or ready to leave her job over it. She said it’s annoying her and asked why it’s annoying her. There’s nothing wrong with being annoyed by constant insincere praise.

      2. Julie*

        Even worse for your mental health? Relentless negativity.
        Worst of all is self-sabotage. There could conceivably be a reason that a suggestion to improve a problem might not always work, or it might be hard, so don’t even try. Rather a lot of the commentariat offer that viewpoint with great frequency.

    2. fhqwhgads*

      Companies that are too positive and spend all their time saying how awesome everyone is probably aren’t doing anything solve actual issues. There’s no way 100% of their employees are perfect all the time. Which probably means they completely ignore it when someone sucks at their job.

      1. Roscoe*

        You have no way of knowing any of this. OP said nothing about how they handle, or don’t handle issues. Its very possible that they just praise publicly and correct privately, which is probably a better way to do things. You are making wild assumptions based on very little

        1. fhqwhgads*

          I have no way of knowing this about the OP’s current employer. I have plenty of personal experience that this is common. It’s not a wild assumption when I’ve lived it.

      2. Analytical Tree Hugger*

        As someone who left a job over an organizational culture of “Everyone is great (just ignore the people who are demonstrably hostile to others and actively harm the work)”, I agree with you @fhqwhgads.

        When I turned in my notice, I had three colleagues (at an company of less than 30 staff) tell me they were out the door, too. Two of them said it was because they had largely been staying because they liked working with me, so the be-positive-and-ignore-the-problems attitude that drove me away is going to cost them a lot of good staff.

        So, @Roscoe, I disagree with you: Relentless and insincere positivity can justifiably be something to be concerned about, *depending on the context.*

      3. un-pleased*

        I work at one such positive company and I can tell you everyone is awesome precisely because they deal with issues and don’t keep problem employees around. It’s not about perfection; perfection may have absolutely nothing to do with it. It’s about the fact that positive reinforcement can actually make you feel appreciated and more able to ask for help because people don’t go to the worst interpretation of things as a first guess about what’s going on.

    3. Beany*

      “Having too much happiness and positivity is NOT a bad thing.”

      Hard disagree. Semantically — “too much” *anything* is by definition bad. Too much sun, too much food, too much talking, … that’s what “too much” means.

      More specifically in this case, it’s annoying as heck to some people. I would find the level of feedback LW1 is describing as infantilizing and insincere, like the part of a competitive reality show where everyone’s lavishing praise on the rival who just got booted. Some people have a higher tolerance for this kind of thing than others.

  24. The Other Dawn*

    RE: #4

    I think it not only depends on the type of relationship you have with your employee, but also the type of person your employee is. You can have a great relationship with them, but if they’re someone who has very low self esteem, is generally negative, or is suspicious of people’s motives, it doesn’t matter how well you phrase the discussion about an available opportunity. They’re going to think you’re pushing them out and should start job searching.

    At my previous company, I had a rock star on my team. She wanted to eventually move up. We had a discussion about her goals and what was possible within the department. I had to tell her that, while I loved having her there and didn’t want to lose her, the only way she’d be able to move up and get more of the experience she wanted would be to leave the company or move into a different department. That was the reality. The only way to move up in our department was if I left, my senior person left, or my boss left. My boss had been there for 30+ years, so he wasn’t leaving, which means I couldn’t move up. I had just arrived a few months prior and wasn’t leaving, so my senior person couldn’t move up. And my senior person had been there for 5+ years and wasn’t leaving, so she couldn’t move up. And the department wasn’t big enough to have various levels of the same role. I offered to let her shadow managers in other departments to see if there might be an interest, which she did. Eventually she left for another company and she’s doing great. I hated losing her, but I’m happy for her.

    At my current company, I had the same discussion with someone who was also a rock star. She wanted to move up; however, she had a completely different idea of what that specific role entailed. It truly was not suited to her talents, which were much more technical and the technical aspect is what she loved. I must have explained 10 different ways and no matter what I said, she still thought that role was basically just her current position plus one or two additional tasks. And she didn’t want the other type of role we have in the department. So we had the career progression talk. I explained that there wasn’t anywhere in the department to move up to given she didn’t want to do X, Y and Z, which is what was needed for the higher position, and didn’t want to do A, B and C, which is what the other positions required. Just like the person at my previous company, I offered to let her shadow other departments to see if she had any interest and also offered to let her learn a task in another department that was much more technical in nature and she probably would have loved. But she took that as a sign that I was pushing her out and would eventually eliminate her job. She couldn’t see that learning this task would be incredibly valuable, not only to our company, but to most any company she applied to in the future. My own manager, who is extremely supportive of education and allows people to train outside of their usual realm, and my senior person tried to help her and reassure her, but no amount of, “You’re so talented and we want to help you move up/grow/find something you’re passionate about” made any difference. She had no self esteem or confidence and was always suspicious of people, which I think was partially due to things going on in her life. Eventually she left for other reasons.

  25. Lizy*

    4-when I had discussions about my career/role in the past, my manager would tell me that she didn’t want me to leave, but that she knew we were in a pretty “flat” organization and she wanted us to be able to move up, and that she recognized that would likely mean moving on. I think the openness of how she wanted us to do well meant a lot. It didn’t necessarily matter if it was with her or not. I mean, she wanted us all to stay, but she made it clear she supported us regardless.

  26. CatPerson*

    LW3, I think that this is definitely a case of “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” While it’s possible that some companies have ulterior motives, it is a great public health action to make it easy for employees to get vaccinated. A great company would want to protect associates from a killer virus and not impose time-docking penalties to discourage vaccination.

  27. AdAgencyChick*

    #4, I just wanted to give you ups. The fact that you are thinking this way, and not “I need to make sure my employee doesn’t take this job because I need them here helping me” is an uncommon and wonderful attitude.

  28. bopper*

    2. My manager won’t stop talking about a disagreement I had with a coworker months ago

    I think humans have a default mode of “you are that X person”…and then they see you they think “oh you are the teapot argument person” or you could be “person with health issue” or “person who likes the Mets” or “person with new baby”.

    I agree that you need to bring this out explicitly..” Boss, I noticed that recently when we get together you keep brining up the teapot incident and correct me if I am wrong, but we have discussed how I handled that and came to the conclusion that I handled it in a reasonable manner. I am wondering why you seem to keep mentioning it at our check in meetings?

    1. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

      I think this is more a case of the manager knowing that Jane is not giving OP the details she needs, which the manager should be dealing with as a management issue. But the manager is for some reason unwilling to appropriately deal with it or with Jane’s attitude in general (OP said getting additional details from Jane was like pulling teeth). Since the manager is unable to get Jane to do her work appropriately without having to do something the manager finds uncomfortable (I wonder if the manager fears confrontation and thinks it is easier to talk to OP about it than to Jane, even though the conversation really needs to be with Jane), the manager is trying to pretend she is managing the situation with Jane by bringing it up over and over to OP. Basically, the manager seems to realize the conflict was a problem, that OP did everything right, and that Jane is the one who made the situation a mess and who made it worse by getting angry with OP. And the manager is clearly stressed because she knows the issue will come up again at some point because she has not effectively managed Jane. But, she is just using OP to avoid doing her job.

      1. Agree to disagree*

        Hi! OP2 here. I have a feeling that our manager is building a case to eventually let Jane go (she had me do a write-up after this incident about Jane’s “opportunities” and has hinted that they’re not confident in Jane’s abilities to do the job effectively) so I can’t say that *nothing* is being done, but rather nothing *immediate* is seemingly being done to remedy the problem. Then again, I don’t have visibility into their conversations and haven’t seen their next project yet, so perhaps it has been addressed and everything will be better next time around. Time will tell…

  29. DiscoCat*

    #3 A company allowing their employees to get an essential medical need taken care of while on the clock is a very nice problem to have!

  30. WellRed*

    My company doesn’t do blanket positivity, but in the year since we went home and everything started to happen on Slack, I notice we’ve gotten ridiculous about praise. When you start praising people for doing their…jobs, well, I just don’t know. “Thank you, Mary, for sending that Zoom link.” “Thank you, Eric, for sending the invoice.”
    One negative aspect of that now (to me) is that other people are starting to post every little thing they do, either looking for their gold star or b/c they are worried they aren’t seen as doing enough. (Because let’s face it, it’s also the same handful of people that get the hourly praise).

    1. Nicotene*

      I agree, my company has a Thing where they call out extremely minor compliments in the newsletter, which is fine, except at some point I started to get paranoid that I was never in there and began to worry that it made me look bad, so I started forwarding minor compliments to my boss etc and it got kind of weird.

    2. Cat Tree*

      I think some of this is just the weirdness of working remotely. In person, people say thanks out of polite habit and nobody notices or remembers. When everything is remote, it can feel weird to not say it, but putting it in writing makes it too formal.

      I also think the thanks in response to emails is sometimes just to confirm that they received it and saw it.

      1. Marillenbaum*

        That’s always the way I’ve used it over email. It’s an acknowledgement that I have both received and seen the thing that was sent over to me.

  31. Dust Bunny*

    #3 I guess I don’t understand why you think this is odd? I work for a library that supports several healthcare organizations, so we’re healthcare-adjacent but not human-contact intensive (we can do a whole lot of what we do remotely). We’re not eligible for COVID vaccines in our state yet but my employer hosts a flu vaccine clinic every year and, yes, it’s on company time. We might be a little more generous about this since it might be considered “setting an example”, but I think most of it is simply because it’s a good thing to do and it makes it a lot easier for everyone to get it done.

    1. Dust Bunny*

      Also: The flu vaccines are not mandatory–I’m in a remote office and parking, etc., are inconvenient enough that I usually have it done elsewhere, anyway–but I think most people do it because it’s so much easier.

  32. Anonymoose Today*

    #3
    I can see at a smaller company where it may feel like they are tracking who gets it, but I think other places are doing it to promote public health. North Carolina is allowing all state employees time off for their vaccinations, and honestly that made me happy and I didn’t think there was an ulterior motive. Especially as a lot of departments are revising their telework policies to better reflect the changing environment (hopefully) and switching out most desktops for laptops (least at my agency).

  33. Person from the Resume*

    LW#3 My employers is giving us a special category of paid time off for the vaccine and side effects of the vaccine (up to 2 days).

    I was disappointed that I was unable to schedule my vaccine appointments on scheduled work days and that I’m getting my second dose right before the a potentially weekend. I would have taken advantage of their generous offer, but I wanted the vaccine ASAP and the most convenient site wasn’t projecting any appointments past my days off.

    I’ve assumed they’re doing this in order to encourage all employees to get vaccinated as quickly as possible and not to avoid it for worry of side effects eating up a day or two of sick leave. My employer is gives fairly generous benefits but their still might be people saving up or running low on sick leave and might hold off on getting vaccinated to try to find open appointments after normal hours instead of grabbing the first one they can. Also a lot of employees are actual healthcare providers so a lot of people were vaccinated at work on duty. Not all and many of us WFH permanently or since COVID so this is encouraging us to get vaccinated and stay healthy, I think.

    I did not see anything nefarious in their offer at all.

    1. Keymaster of Gozer*

      I’m extremely grateful my employer agreed to me getting paid time off for the side effects of the vaccine, even knowing it is going to be severe in my case.

  34. HarvestKaleSlaw*

    My state (NY) just passed a law mandating paid sick leave for vaccinations during working hours. It is possible that OP3 is in New York or another state with a similar law.

    1. NYworkerbee*

      I’m in NY and we just got word about this as well. I know some employees may not want to disclose their vaccination status to me/the company and will just take PTO instead, but it is a nice option to have.

  35. JxB500*

    LW#3 – I’m sure things will get more efficient but right now the process is taking 2-3 hours or more in our area. Plus travel/parking that’s could be half a day. I think it’s great your employer is granting that time, especially for hourly employees. I wouldn’t suspect any ulterior motive other than being a good employer.

  36. SheLooksFamiliar*

    OP1 reminded me of when I worked for a company whose owner thought Napoleon Hill was his savior or something. Positive Mental Attitude maybe wasn’t new, but the way Hill packaged it was. I agree that your mindset is important to success, or just getting through life – tenacity, taking things in stride, picking your battles – but PMA is too simplistic and formulaic for everything we deal with.

    What finally drove me out was when I said I was having a bad day because I had to put my dog down, and I was chastised for not being POSITIVE! ‘You can find the positive in anything life gives you, SheLooksFamiliar, if you only try hard enough.’ The owner insisted I talk about what happened and he would guide me to the POSITIVE. My dog wasn’t suffering anymore, that’s POSITIVE. I wouldn’t have to miss work to take her to the vet, that’s POSITIVE. I would save money on vet bills, that’s POSITIVE. He only succeeded in making me ugly-cry. I found a new job and got out of there so fast, I left skid marks.

    1. Lyudie*

      Your boss was a horrible person and I am so sorry you had to deal with that on top of your loss <3

      1. SheLooksFamiliar*

        Thank you for that. She was a great dog and my furry angel. Over 25 years later, I still think of her a lot.

        Oddly, the owner really was a nice person and I know he cared about people. But he was such a true believer, he inserted PMA into every discussion.

        1. Sleepless*

          My extremely difficult late SMIL helpfully pointed out to me, when my dog was terminally ill, that at least I’d still have my other dog. Um…thanks.

  37. Sylvan*

    #3. I’d bet it’s just easier to let people get vaccinated on the clock than for every manager in the company to fiddle with PTO for a large number of brief appointments.

  38. Phony Genius*

    LW#1, by any chance does your office celebrate unbirthdays? Because that’s what this sounds like.

    1. Lizy*

      Just not if you’re born on February 29 – those still only get their day off once every 4 years.

        1. Lizy*

          But which day? Would the Leap Day Birthday get to celebrate unbirthdays every day of the year, or would they be granted a birthday in this situation? #thingsAAMreadersthinkabout

  39. MissMapp*

    I used to be the manager who praised everyone for everything. Hand in sloppy work three days past the deadline? Lavish thanks for doing it at all. I was a chronic people-pleaser and wanted everyone to be happy. Management books will also tell you to be positive and supportive, without emphasizing that you can go overboard, so you start to praise more and more, the worse employees’ performance is. Eventually, my staff began stealing, failing to show up for work when I was on the road, and being rude to clients.
    Know that this may be coming from a misguided place of believing that constant “positivity” is a good management strategy. Still working on only giving praise when it’s deserved.

    1. Quickbeam*

      My boss is like that. I have several sub-performing colleagues and all they ever hear is how great they are. Those of us who hit all the benchmarks hear the same but it really doesn’t mean much. Because, you know, Sally who gets all her work done late and never actually completes her mandatory requirements hears the same thing.

    2. PT*

      I worked somewhere where you’d get effusive praise for doing really basic things like, “Thanks for coming in today!” It drove me NUTS.

      Once I worked there awhile I realized it was because a lot of people weren’t doing that. Someone doing the bare minimum of their job was the exception, not the rule.

      However, we all got the same rating on our performance evaluations, company policy. Gr.

  40. Sara without an H*

    Hi, OP#1: Of course, the indiscriminate “positivity” is grating, for the reasons Alison and other commenters have said. You’re an adult professional, not a toddler at day care.

    It sounds as though this is a well-entrenched feature of your organization’s culture. If that’s true, you may have to respond with a wan smile and put up with it. They apparently do this to everyone, so it’s not aimed at you personally.

    The problem with a blanket “you’re amazing!” culture is the difficulty in getting real, actionable feedback. You’re going to have to find ways to let the Uber-Positives know that it’s safe to give you more substantial feedback. “Thanks! It’s great to work for such a supportive organization! Can you give me your thoughts on my design for the new teapot project? I’ve been basing my drawings on our standard spout angle, but what would you think about adjusting it downward by 2%? I’d really like your input before I do a prototype.”

    In other words, you’re going to have to find “positive” ways to tell them that it’s okay to give you constructive criticism of your work. I had to figure this out many years ago, while reporting to a Pollyanna supervisor.

    Good luck!

    1. i hear this*

      This. I worked for a highly-ranked university where the attitude among the staff and leadership was, “We are the BEST. Everyone here is the BEST.” (Hint: there were certainly some folks who were among the BEST at certain aspects of their job, as measured by, say, Nobel Prizes, but of course among the staff, there was the usual mix of ability levels and work ethic.) At some point, I did have to tell a superior that while I appreciated the praise she lavished on me, I would appreciate feedback on how to improve too.

      It came to a real problematic point when I was assisting with a project to investigate issues and help people improve on a certain aspect of their job. There was so much massaging of messages. Because everyone was the BEST, I was told you couldn’t talk about helping people “improve” because that would imply they weren’t currently the BEST. You had to say that they could do things “differently” or “get even better.” You couldn’t even talk about “issues” or “problems”- the most negative we could get was “dark areas,” as contrasted with “bright areas.” I don’t even treat my 5 year old in such a patronizing way, so I adapted, but it was hard.

      1. Sara without an H*

        “Dark areas” vs. “bright areas”??? I have never heard of anything like that. Sheesh!

  41. KR*

    #3…. I’m guessing vaccine clinics are open mostly during your normal business hours and they want people to know if you get an opportunity to vaccinate they don’t wan you to worry about how much PTO you have or whether you can request a day off or whether it’s last minute. For example I just got offered a first dose, for today, yesterday evening. Usually not enough time for people to ask for a planned sick day.

  42. Nethwen*

    OP 3: Obviously, I can’t say what your company is thinking, but for me, I let my staff get vaccinations on the clock for all the reasons Alison mentioned, except the returning to the office part. For context, there are less than 10 of us and while I haven’t mass-advertised that people can get vaccinated on the clock, when someone mentions that they have a work-hours appointment, I have told people they don’t need to use their leave/make up hours.

    The vaccination conversations have been a tricky road for me. I find myself constantly saying things like, “I have no need to know your medical decisions; whether or not you get the vaccine is your choice and I don’t need to know, but if you do want it, here’s the latest information and what I’ve done to try to get our staff in the 1b phase.” Yet, since we’re so few people, we all know, because people talk and share info, that we all are eagerly awaiting our opportunity to get vaccinated, so it feels weird to keep emphasizing that, as their employer, I don’t need to know their medical decisions, but I don’t want this one oddity to make people feel that the cultural norm is to share private medical info.

    1. In my shell*

      I applaud your providing leave time for the vaccine – especially with a small team! – but wouldn’t it be better to make it official? If I were your employee I’d never think to share that information (I’m super private and don’t share anything unless it’s necessary) and I wouldn’t receive the benefit and I’d never know about it – ? And then if those people who got the vaccine, but not the time credit found out later wouldn’t it look like favoritism or poor team communication or something?

      I’m sure you have the best intentions – just sharing a perspective from the quiet employee in the corner who will never tell you what I’m thinking about these things. :)

  43. pretzelgirl*

    #3- it might be all the reasons Allison mentioned. It also might be that they don’t want people to miss out on a chance to take the vaccine if interferes with work, or the possibility of have take time off for it. Someone may not have enough PTO to leave for a few hours to get it or maybe they are saving their PTO for vacation, parental leave, or a just in case scenario (or whatever).

  44. TootsNYC*

    I wouldn’t feel right knowing about this opening and not telling you.

    When I was on maternity leave, my boss called me and told me about an opening; someone had called her to ask for suggested applicants.
    My boss stressed that she was looking forward to having me back: “Not a day goes by that I don’t say, ‘When Toots gets back, this won’t be a problem; she’ll take care of this.’ I am counting the days. But…things are tougher here now that another company has purchased ours and is focusing on our department, and you have a baby. I wouldn’t be able to look you in the eye if I knew about this job and didn’t tell you.”

    I interviewed; I took the job; I gave 3 weeks notice, which gave me time to recruit my replacement.

    I absolutely believed her about wanting me back, and not wanting me to leave. It is possible to give that message.

    Now…one part of that message was “I actually believe you should move on, that you’re at a point, personally and professionally, where you should or could aim for something bigger.”
    That’s fine–I’m more than happy for the people who work for me to move on to better things. I can replace them easily enough (when I was a hiring manager, I was always interviewing). And that gives me a contact at another organization, another ally in my field, if I need a reference for someone, or a brain to pick.

    I think if I were a boss, I’d do much the same thing.

    1. In my shell*

      Kudos to former boss for being a decent human being!

      I had a boss who used to pass on an industry publication to me every month and one month she didn’t share it because it had a job posting she knew I’d be interested in. To her surprise (??) I saw it elsewhere, applied, and got the job. When I gave my notice she “joked” about not having shared the prior month’s publication to prevent my seeing the ad. She was a good boss otherwise and it really tainted my opinion of her as a leader.

  45. C in the Hood*

    OP1 reminds me of what the villain in The Incredibles said: “If everyone is super, then no one is!”

    1. Forty Years In the Hole*

      Somehow my mind went to the (oft-repeated) mantra in “The Help…”
      Link to follow.

  46. BuzzOff*

    LW 3 – You are way waaaaay over thinking things. Just take it as a goodwill gesture and get your vaccine

  47. tectonic*

    Re #3: In New York State, employers are now required to give employees up to four hours of paid time off to get vaccinated.

  48. Observer*

    #3- I have to say that it is EXTREMELY unlikely that offering time off is a back channel way of keeping track of who gets the vaccine, as they do not need a back channel. They can simply ASK. And if they are bad enough to deserve your suspicions, then I highly doubt that people’s decisions around the vaccine are going to influence their decision on coming back to the office.

    Which leads to the thing that others have mentioned. Why are you so suspicious? Does your company have a bad track record when it comes to appropriate boundaries and prying into information they have no right to?

  49. a clockwork lemon*

    LW 3–there might be a pretty simple answer to this which is that most of the places currently offering vaccines can’t guarantee after-hours vaccination appointments and because of that some people will have to take off work just like people have to take time off work for any other medical appointment.

    I got mine the other day and the absolute latest appointment available was 2pm. The slot I got was the slot I took, and I was grateful that I didn’t have to jump through a lot of hoops or dip into my sick leave bucket in order to take the four hours I needed to drive to the vaccination site, check in, wait in line to get vaccinated, get vaccinated, then drive back home from the vaccination site.

  50. emmaline*

    #3: In some states it is mandatory for employers to offer something like this. In NY, employers must offer four hours of paid leave for vaccination.

  51. HR Recruiter*

    LW 5- This is a new feature I’ve noticed this year on Indeed (I’m currently actively recruiting and actively looking myself). I also hate it. One thing to note is when an employer posts a job they have to check the box yes I’d like applicants to start the conversation. This will intern give applicants the message you received. It does default to yes, so either the employer you applied with wants you to start the convo or more likely they didn’t read through all of the million new features Indeed rolled out and opted for the defaults.

  52. Sleepy*

    I hire a lot and it indeed has never made a difference if someone has followed up with me.

    But my husband hires paid interns as a volunteer board member for a nonprofit (there is no paid staff, it’s complicated) and it has actually made a difference when candidates followed up with him. It made him take another look at candidates he initially wasn’t interested in. This is a little unusual because for an intern sometimes passion is as important as anything since they haven’t developed skills yet, but it’s worth saying that it’s occasionally appropriate if the person doing the hiring doesn’t do it a lot or isn’t a professional at it.

  53. Orange You Glad*

    #3 My company has also instructed all managers to allow employees to get vaccinated during the workday without penalty. There is no tracking of who is/isn’t vaccinated, just instructions to managers to let our teams know they don’t need to stress out about logging PTO if their appointment is during the day. If one of my staff says they need time off to get vaccinated then all I’ll say is ok thanks for letting me know you won’t be available at that time.

    In my area the vaccine appointments are limited and often we don’t have an option – you take whatever day/time you are given. My company has a history of treating its employees well and I view this as another example of how they are doing the right thing during a pandemic.

    Our parent company also has retail locations across 10 states so they’ve had in-person employees all along and have to follow local guidelines. A broad policy to give everyone time off to vaccinate allows for equal treatment across the organization, compliance with local rules, and overall benefits the company and employees in the long run.

  54. Kate*

    I want to gently push back on the idea of your vaccination status being “medical history” in the same way we are accustomed to using that term in a professional setting. Particularly now as more and more people are becoming eligible for vaccination, being vaccinated isn’t a subtle declaration of having a pre-existing condition. Ideally 100% of the population will be vaccinated, which means it shouldn’t be a secret whatsoever: it should be the standard.

    Unlike the vast majority of medical conditions, vaccination status or lack thereof can hurt others. For example, if someone with pre-existing conditions needs to work in person, not knowing if everyone else is vaccinated could bring harm to them. Masks and safety measures are great, but they are not a replacement for full population vaccination.

    Also: let’s celebrate employers letting their employees get vaccinated while on the clock! All of my roommates work front-line hourly wage jobs, which means they will actively have to lose income in order to stay safe at their place of employment. On-clock vaccination should be the norm for employers, not the exception.

  55. BlueAnon*

    I think what people miss in the positivity letter is that, in my experience, workplaces that are over the top with verbal praise – it’s because that is the only recognition you’ll get. No bonuses, no raises, no promotions, but we’ll give you lots of gold stars! Same vibes as “you’ll be overworked and underpaid, but we have a ping pong table in the the breakroom and a weekly pizza party because we’re a *fun workplace.*”

  56. ATX*

    #3 – it sounds nothing like the company is trying to “keep tabs,” but rather to provide an option to go get vaccinated without having to take time off. Much like companies do for voting.

    1. In my shell*

      I agree. It feels like a small perk for doing something they hope you’ll do that is mutually beneficial. The tracking thing doesn’t make sense because the information will never be inclusive, so how would incomplete data (and almost certainly a sample would be far too small to be statistically sound) be helpful to the employer?

      I also don’t understand the idea that sharing your COVID vaccine status being considered personal medical information. I’m *exceptionally* private about all personal things including medical information and I agree that most non-medical employers shouldn’t require vaccines/vaccine status, but I don’t understand at all sensitivity some employees feel about the topic – ? Other than the recent OP who felt it was being asked as a sneaky (but painfully obvious) measure for readiness to return to the office, what does it matter? How does my employer knowing my vaccine status compromise my personal medical status?

      1. ATX*

        Totally agree! Plus, my company offers a flu vaccine clinic, COVID testing, and is looking for the vaccine to offer as well (med device/pharma company). None of this is in violation of personal medical information.

  57. In my shell*

    #2 It seems like boss hasn’t heard something they need to hear from OP – an apology? an acknowledgement of something? Something is definitely unresolved for boss – not feeling heard (about a particular point)? feels like OP isn’t understanding something?

  58. In my shell*

    I’m on Team OP5!
    PLEASE, PLEASE do *not* follow up on your application. egads! Naughty Indeed for routinely suggesting it! :)

  59. wittyrepartee*

    As someone in public health, I’m EXTREMELY happy your company is giving you time off to get vaccinated. Small nudges like that from companies can really help get people vaccinated, or look into it. You do not have to take the leave they’re offering, even if you go during the day. You can use PTO. However, there’s some number of people who will struggle to get vaccinated if they’re only able to be vaccinated after working hours, and your company just proactively empowered them to take any appointment they can get their hands on without worrying about blowback.

    It’s also an indicator that your company supports people who want to get vaccinated, and that leadership thinks it’s important. They’re not mandating it, but they’re giving people a bit of a thumbs up about it. As a person who’s been helping to run vaccination hubs, we’re incredibly grateful.

  60. not bad*

    #4, I had a friend who wanted to help her second-in-command in the same way. She would occasionally send an email to a small group (usually me, another friend in a vaguely relevant industry, and the employee), saying, “Oh, I saw this good opportunity, I’m forwarding it to all of you in case you know anyone who might be interested.”

    If you’ve covered the necessary career-planning bases Alison has mentioned, this seems like a nice way to pass along useful information without making a sensitive person feel pushed out.

  61. Exhausted Trope*

    OP1, I am experiencing a similar issue in my overly positive workplace. Maybe it’s just my department but I receive almost daily praise for doing the same tasks that are just a part of my job. So does the team. It feels very inauthentic because I’ve not had a decent raise in years, not even a COLA. My work load has nearly doubled in that time and I’m at the breaking point but trying to hold on until I can get another job.
    I feel for you. It grates on my last nerve.

    1. Agree to disagree*

      OP2 here! :) Here’s my update:

      I had another 1:1 with my boss yesterday afternoon, and yes, she did bring it up again! Or rather, it actually entered the conversation organically. We ended up discussing Jane’s next project and she was curious whether I’d spoken with her since the disagreement (I haven’t, though our last interaction was fine). I ended up asking her whether or not Jane still seemed angry and why we kept revisiting the situation, to which she replied that Jane tends to hold grudges and take things a lot more personally than most, and in order to be able to record the incident for their quarterly review, she needed to talk about it, and had spoken with me to keep things “even” between us, since Jane apparently threw a fit that I wasn’t being “talked to” enough about it.

      Boss also gave me a bit more insight into their conversations about it, reiterating that *I* did nothing wrong, that Jane’s reaction was way out of line, and Jane is the one who needs to recalibrate on it. Though based on her wording, it seems like she may not be communicating the same (clear) message to Jane…

  62. Esmeralda*

    #5. I have a template email for people who follow up after submitting their application: it explains how to check the university job site for the status of applications and thanks them for their interest in X position.

    I used to also state that we’d be in touch if we needed further information, but that just encouraged people to follow up again, with unsolicited further info, so I stopped that.

  63. Kaiannepepper*

    Lw3: my company is also paying us to get vaccinated. I’m in the food service industry and our work is shift based so the idea was to encourage people to get vaccinated since we have to work with the public and so if the only time we can get vaccinated is when we normally work we aren’t having to chose between money and our health. I wonder if that’s the idea of your company as well since they might be worried that people won’t be able to get an appointment outside of normal work hours.

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