we’re asked to share our bra and underwear sizes with the team, crawling at work, and more

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

1. We’re asked to share our bra and underwear sizes with the whole team

I work in a clothing-related company where the entire team often receives clothing from our clients that’s sometimes optional and sometimes required. It’s all kinds of clothing — sometimes a t-shirt, but can get as intimate as bras and underwear. We are a small team, entirely women. Whenever we get one of these orders, the team who is in charge of coordinating them (she is lateral to me, we are both entry-level, but we have different managers) always sends a big message to the Slack channel asking for everyone’s size. Everyone will then put their size in the Slack channel.

I am fat with quite a large bra size and I wear XL or larger in almost everything. Everyone else on my team is quite skinny and wears S or XS everything. I always feel very uncomfortable sending my clothing size (especially for bras and underwear) to this large group chat of my coworkers. I have approached the coworker explaining my discomfort and asking if sizes could instead be submitted through a private Google form. Her response was that I was welcome to message her my size privately if I was uncomfortable sharing it publicly. However, since we are a small team, it will be very obvious if I’m the only one who’s messaging my size privately, and that makes me feel quite uncomfortable as well.

Is it reasonable to think this sort of thing should not be done in a public Slack channel, or am I overreacting? Does it rise to the level of something I should approach a manager about, and what would be the best way to do that if so?

You’re not overreacting; it’s really invasive to expect people to share their bra and underwear sizes publicly, regardless of body size. Your coworker should have realized that as soon as you asked the first time. If you want, you could try again with her one more time, really spelling it out this time: “For privacy reasons, I don’t think it’s appropriate to ask people to share their bra and underwear sizes publicly with the whole team. Can we please switch to a system where everyone emails you privately?”

If she still refuses, it’s perfectly reasonable to escalate it to a manager, using similar language and explaining that you asked the coordinator directly and she declined to change anything.

2. Crawling on the floor at work

What are your thoughts about crawling in the office? I get migraines that occasionally cause muscle weakness and/or dizziness bad enough that I can’t walk. I am able to sit at my desk and continue working during such a spell. This is generally the first or one of the first symptoms, so I cannot predict it. I walk with a typical gait when I am not having a spell and do not use any mobility aids. I work almost exclusively at my desk, but do need to go to meetings sometimes, as well as to get up from my desk for typical non-work reasons, like using the restroom. My entire team is working from home due to the pandemic but will return to the office in the fall.

If a migraine were to catch me at a location away from my desk and I was unable to walk, how would it affect me to be seen crawling back to my desk on my hands and knees? Would it be a somewhat eccentric thing, or the kind of unprofessional behavior that a manager or HR would need to address? Is this something I should address ahead of time, and if so how?

I work in a very large (thousands of people) office building of a U.S. corporation. The dress code is business casual. There is no in-person customer contact for my team, or even in the building at all that I am aware of. The company has a strong diversity and inclusion focus, including diverse abilities.

Don’t crawl around your office if it’s at all avoidable. Do what you need to do in the moment, of course, but it sounds like you’re talking about making a plan in advance, and ideally an advance plan wouldn’t rely on crawling.

If people see you crawling, it’s going to be alarming! Anyone who sees it will be concerned and ask if you’re okay or if you need help, and if you explain why it’s happening, people are likely to conclude that if the migraine is making you sick enough that you need to crawl, you should be taking care of yourself at home (or at least sitting still in a quiet room at the office). Rightly or wrongly, if you’re crawling back to your desk to work, it’s likely to come across as martyr-ish (in a “I’m so ill that I’m crawling but I’m going to keep working” kind of way).

Instead, can you talk to your manager about what alternate accommodations could work? For example, would having someone help you get into a quiet room (even if that meant rolling you there in a chair) be an option? Or is there another plan the two of you can come up with ahead of time?

Read an update to this letter

3. People keep asking me to set up their meetings

I am a senior project manager at a Fortune 500 company. I run cross-functional programs — many have upwards of 15 working teams coming together to achieve a common goal. I lead multiple large, cross-functional meetings each week. I also lead several of the afore-mentioned working team meetings. I schedule all of those meetings and send follow-up notes after every one.

Here’s my challenge. Oftentimes, team members will email me, asking me to set up off-shoot meetings on their behalf. These are in-the-weeds meetings that I don’t need to attend or be involved in (the information should bubble up to my larger forums). It’s not always clear to me who should set up the meeting, but I know it’s not me!

Do you have any suggestions on how I can reply to these requests when it’s not clear to me who the coordinator should be? I usually just set them up (while glaring at the screen) because I want to be a good team member, but then I’m stuck in a meeting that is way too detailed for the level that I need to manage the project.

Definitely don’t keep setting up these meetings. By doing that, you’re training people that it’s reasonable to ask you and they’ll keep doing it (and you’re letting them put you in an assistant role!). Instead, when you get one of these requests, just explain matter-of-factly, “I only set meetings when I’m leading them. If you’re organizing this one, please go ahead and set it up yourself.”

4. Correcting another team’s typo

I work as an executive assistant at a small company owned by a far larger company. I also have some responsibilities in another operational area, which means I often deal with colleagues from the larger company in a capacity where I am not their admin. Colleagues in a particular area share an email signature template, but the name of their team is misspelled in it and has been for a few months now. It says “Heatlth and Environment.” Should I let them know, or should I just leave it?

Let them know! They’re sending that out all over the place, which is mildly embarrassing.

It doesn’t need a big deal — just a matter-of-fact email reply saying, “I noticed y’all have ‘health’ misspelled in your email signature template!” Say it to the most action-oriented person you’re in contact with there, done.

5. I have no way to use my vacation time and my boss is no help

I contacted you back in March about not being able to use up my vacation time and my boss’s hesitancy to approve it to roll over to the next school year (I work in administration at a school). I approached my boss about it again today. I told her that between the inability to take time off during instructional periods, being required to keep my department open during all school breaks except winter vacation, and the various pressing work matters that inevitably come up during breaks, it is impossible to use up the vacation time in my contract. Her reply was that I should have planned better. I asked whether I should have taken vacation time during my first month of work in order to use up the time (I started July 1 and the most reliable time to take vacation is late July/early August) and she said, “If you had come to me and said that it was the only way you could use up your vacation time, then I wouldn’t have been able to say no.” And apparently I should have counseled my direct report to do the same when she started last year. That’s ridiculous, right? What sane new employee would think to take an impromptu vacation during their first month of work?

I’m at a loss. At the end of the conversation, she said she would talk to HR about what possible options were, but only because of the uniqueness of the pandemic and not because her normal parameters around our vacation time are completely unreasonable. So even if she approves the time to roll over, my employee and I will just find ourselves in the same situation next year. Do we have any other recourse?

This is indeed ridiculous. I’m guessing your coworkers are in a similar boat, so this could be prime pushing-back-as-a-group territory. The other options are to talk with HR yourself (rather than letting your manager be the go-between, since who knows how she’ll represent your concerns) or have a lawyer take a look at your contract to see if your employer is in violation of it or if they can recommend any other recourse. [Also, I’m assuming you’re not in a state that bans “use it or lose it” policies, but it’s worth checking that to be sure. You can find out by googling the name of your state and “employee vacation laws” (no quotes).]

{ 508 comments… read them below }

  1. Crivens!*

    If I walked into an office and saw someone crawling I’d think I just stepped into The Yellow Wallpaper.

    But so sorry for the pain and discomfort you’re in, LW2.

    1. Long Furby*

      Very sorry it’s distressing for you, LW2. I work on a small team in a large building open to the public and one of my coworkers has a medical issue that has caused them to be unable to walk back to their desk from a few floors up. They always carry their phone with them and have shot a message to a small group of trusted work friends, and whoever of us was free came to help them back. From my perspective as the friend, it’s really no big deal, a quick 5 minutes away from my desk, and I’m happy to help a coworker – and those of us in the “trusted group” don’t make a big deal of it which helps I’m sure. Maybe you could assemble a similar team for yourself?

    2. Shenandoah*

      This was the first thing I thought of too – really hope LW2 is able to find some options that help her avoid this.

    3. Kiki’s delivery*

      I agree about the crawling but this makes me wonder what people think about lying down. I have a near-fainting issue where I sometimes need to lie flat and it can strike suddenly. I need only 15 minutes or so but “help me to stand” is the opposite of what I need (basically blood needs to flow back up to my head). I’ve honestly just done it when I needed to because the alternative was actually fainting. No one has ever “caught” me, but idk what else I could do.

      1. Cormorannt*

        I think sitting/lying down is much less alarming than crawling. Crawling implies that not only are you incapacitated in some way not typical for you, but that you absolutely have to get somewhere. If I saw someone lying down, I would ask them if they are alright or if they need assistance, but I wouldn’t necessarily think it was a crisis. If I saw someone crawling I would be concerned they were having a medical issue so severe that they weren’t fully alert or coherent, or that there was some immediate need to flee, like a fire or active shooter.

        1. CmdrShepard4ever*

          I also think it depends where it happens, someone lying/sitting down in their office/cubicle with the door closed, or even open wouldn’t be super alarming. But if someone is lying down in the middle of the hallway, kitchen or other common area it would seem more alarming.

          For people like Kiki and OP where the issue can strike suddenly and immediate action is needed such that it is usually not possible for them to make it back to their office I do not know what the solution would be but them laying down suddenly in the middle of the office does not seem like a good solution.

          1. Kiki’s delivery*

            For me, it is not so sudden that I can’t hobble somewhere first. I don’t have my own office but in the past have gone to lounges, break rooms, or bathrooms (gross I know) to do it. Once I found a lounge with couch, things got easier.

      2. NaN*

        It think both LW2’s situation and yours are a good fit for the typical AAM advice of: just be cheerful and matter-of-fact about it. People will take their cue from you – tell them what you need (even if it’s to be left alone for a minute) and reasonable people will not make a big deal of it.

        This comes from my experience seeing a coworker come out of a meeting room on her knees, because she would faint if she stood up. I looked concerned, but she waved it off and told me it was just something that happened sometimes. I’m sure it was awkward for her, and she had to make her disclaimers with every new coworker she encountered, but it really wasn’t a big deal.

        If you know that you’re not able to communicate when you have a medical episode, that would be when you should talk to your management and make a plan.

      3. Clorinda*

        A reasonable accommodation for you might be an office chair that reclines all the way flat when you need it–so you aren’t trying to get out of a chair safely while you’re having a dizzy spell.
        Reasonable accommodation for OP might be having a wheelchair in her office just in case, maybe?
        Seeing someone crawling around in the office is horror movie material.

      4. Spero*

        I think the key thing is the context. You are lying down *to recover* from the episode. If I saw someone faint and then suddenly leave, or even crawl out of a meeting *to go recover* from a sudden onset of symptoms I would be alarmed but solicitous. If I saw someone crawl TO the meeting *to continue working despite the episode* I would be VERY alarmed not just for their symptoms but also about their response to them. That’s like taking a work call while you’re having a c-section. It shows that you are prioritizing your work duties over your health even though your health situation is causing extreme enough symptoms that any reasonable person would understand your need for accommodations. As a manager that would cause me concerns about judgement and work life balance

      5. Birch*

        I think lying/sitting down strikes different, because like Alison pointed out, crawling means not only are you incapacitated, you’re also actively trying to do something you can’t actually do, for really no good reason, and that’s what comes across as alarming/martyry. Sitting/lying down isn’t distracting or alarming to other people (as long as you’re not sprawled in the middle of the lobby creating a tripping hazard) because you’re clearly just focusing on the medical issue, which is not that different to taking a break to get some water or go to the bathroom or meditate or whatever. Crawling back to LW’s desk reminds me of that letter from a while ago where LW’s coworker kept vomiting in their shared office but refused to go home or go to the bathroom. It just seems like the responsible thing to do in the case of sudden or intermittent medical issues is to first deal with the acute medical issue, and then return to work–it causes the least distractions for others and also is the most effective for the person with the medical issue.

        1. LW2*

          The thing is, these are “silent migraines” where yhe dizziness and muscle weakness actually are the main symptoms – I also get a visual aura later in the attack, but usually not much pain with this kind. (I also get the painful kind, but those thpically do not involve weakness to tjis degree. For those, I stop working) So I actually can work. The main issue is getting back to my desk, and it can take up to an hour before I’m in a place to do that on my feet. I am taking a look at the collapsible cane option offered elsewhere, ir at havkng somebody help me back to my desk.

          1. Tertia*

            I really hope the folding cane option works. In case you’re wondering how to respond if asked, “It’s an inner ear thing” is honest and will reassure passers-by without inviting further conversation about their migraines, their cousin’s migraines, or something they saw about migraines on Facebook.

      6. Ace in the Hole*

        It would be alarming to me, but if you need to do it you need to do it!

        Anything that makes it look more planned would make it less alarming to coworkers. That way it doesn’t look like you’re on the floor because of a medical emergency where people will feel like they need to help. So for example, maybe you could keep a yoga mat and pillow tucked under your desk, so you have something to lie on when necessary? Obviously that won’t work if you’re caught away from your desk, but even something like a handkerchief laid under your head could provide a visual signal of “I’m here on purpose, don’t freak out.”

        I’d also suggest giving your manager a heads up if you haven’t already. That way you can have this as a formal accommodation, which should protect you from any potential pushback or retaliation if someone does get weird about it.

      7. TootsNYC*

        you need a sign that said “I aint’t dead,” and a way to push your chair out of the way so you can lie down unobtrusively under your desk or something.

      8. clogerati*

        Almost every job I’ve had has had people lay down in their offices at some point. Heck, on Friday one of my coworkers took a nap in our shared office, I only noticed when I walked over and asked him a question and realized he was dead asleep.

  2. Tertia*

    Poster #2: consider getting a pair of folding or collapsible canes or trekking poles. They can be stored in a drawer or under your desk until needed.

    1. Tertia*

      There are folding walkers too, but they’re not going fit in a drawer. I’m sorry you have to deal with this!

      1. StrikingFalcon*

        Or a folding wheelchair (maybe it could be stored in a closet somewhere and someone could bring it out if needed?). OP, I know you said you don’t use any mobility aids, but if you would be able to get around more easily during one of these episodes with one, as a part-time wheelchair user myself, I highly recommend you consider it.

        Because wheelchairs and other mobility aids are such a symbol of disability, I know people often have a lot of feelings around not being “disabled enough” to really need one, or seeing them as a sign of giving in to your health condition, or not wanting to deal with other people’s reactions to it, or various other complicated emotions. But they are tools, like umbrellas, that can just be there for when you need them.

        Honestly, in hindsight, I wish I’d gotten mine much earlier, back when I still just had occasional episodes of difficulty which lasted a couple hours to days (my condition is progressive, so a little different than migraines, but). Even if you only need it occasionally, it’s such a freeing feeling to be able to get around easily and independently even during a really bad flare up.

        1. SleepyKitten*

          I came here to say this! Ideally the employer would pay for a wheelchair to be kept on site – it can even be a folding one so it fits nicely in a cupboard. If you can’t swing that though, please buy your own mobility aid and keep it by your desk. You can get a wheelchair for under £100 ($130?), and canes or frames for less than that.

          When the alternative is crawling, it’s long past time for a mobility aid! Most people put off getting their first aid, and then realise what a difference it makes. In a perfect world, everyone would be able to use whatever makes life easier for them, whether that’s glasses, or a cane, or a visual timetable.

          People can be judgey about part time wheelchair use, but “I’m have recurring dizzy spells, and if I stand up right now I’ll fall over” should be enough to stop comments.

    2. Magenta Sky*

      If it’s stored under their desk, it won’t be of any use if a migraine comes on while away from the desk. And if they’re at the desk, it won’t be needed.

      I’m not sure exactly what the advice is on this. “People will think you should be taking care of yourself at home” isn’t advice at all, especially since the migraine can come on suddenly, without warning, *at* *work*. The only way, at that point, to “take care of yourself at home” would be to . . . crawl out of the car and go home. Which sounds *dangerous*, as opposed to disconcerting just crawling to the desk. So I don’t see any actual advice there at all.

      It will, indeed, seriously disconcert people to find a coworker crawling around on the floor – if they have no idea what’s going on. (Well, it undoubtedly will regardless, but much more so if they have no idea.) If you’re able to communicate effectively at that point, you can explain. If not, and they haven’t been clued in in advance, they’ll probably call 911 (and rightly so).

      For me, I’d give my manager a heads up about the possibility, with specific instructions on how to respond (or not) if it happened. And to make certain nobody else tried to “help” out of ignorance, as well, since it seems like the sort of situation where help can make things worse. (And if I got the wrong signals from said manager at all, I’d document the whole thing with a request for an ADA accommodation.)

      I used to have a coworker with epilepsy, who had a seizure at the office once. We all knew it was possible – she didn’t have much of a filter about such things – and her supervisor knew how to respond. (Afterwards, she lamented that she didn’t remember the especially hot paramedics who showed up.)

      (And for the record, having been prone to migraines – real migraines, not just nasty headaches, the kind where I can’t stand up without browning out, and lights have haloes around them, extreme noise sensitivity, etc). you have my deepest sympathies. Don’t let anyone trivialize it, or how you have to deal with it (here or at work). Hopefully, yours aren’t so serious, but migraines can be fatal.

      1. Amy Farrah Fowler*

        Agree – if it’s something that could come on suddenly, I would let my manager know as well as if you have any coworkers in your area. Not that you should need to disclose any details beyond “Hey, I’ve had it come up before that I get sudden muscle weakness. If it happens, I don’t want you to be alarmed, and X is what would be best/most helpful to me in that situation.” If I was a coworker of someone who had something like that, I would appreciate knowing how I could help. Perhaps that could mean, getting you a chair (maybe a rolling one so you could roll back to your desk which while odd in a normal setting, would be much more professional than crawling in an office)

      2. Leela*

        The question the OP asked is whether crawling would be an OK option to use or whether it would seem too eccentric so I imagine that’s why the answer focused on that.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Yes, exactly. But I’ve expanded the answer a bit to suggest talking with her manager about accommodations as well. (I don’t know exactly what will work for her because it’s going to be specific to her, but it makes sense to have a conversation and figure out a plan they can use.)

          1. Ellie Rose*

            Thank you for expanding the answer to LW2! I was going to suggest something similar.

            A coworker sitting down wherever they are, even if it’s awkward and calmly explaining that they do, in fact, need assistance is less alarming than a coworker literally crawling to their desk. They presumably have their phone on them; can they get some people as contacts to help when they need it?

            I rarely have migraines that affect me this badly, and usually I have more warning, but when I have similar issues (unable to walk well, unsafe to drive) suddenly at work, I have done two things:
            1. Later at night (we have flexible hours), I’ve gone into a small meeting room, taken my painkillers, turned off the lights, and lay down on the floor under the desk for about 30 minutes. If someone had discovered me, awkward, but I would have explained the situation.
            2. When possible, take a nap in my car after taking pain killers
            3. Gotten a ride home from 1 of 3 people who know why I suddenly might need a ride home for whom it’s reasonable to take me home.

            1. Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers*

              I was also going to recommend, OP, that you sit down on the closest available chair / bench / ledge / desk / pot plant. Perhaps scout out routes in your workplace that offer somewhere to support yourself if you do get a sudden migraine attack.

              After that you could call or message one of your colleagues to assist you. You should try to make sure you have your phone with you when you leave your desk.

              I would also recommend that you go home if this happens. A migraine attack that prevents you from walking to a meeting room or the bathroom is a good reason not to be in the office. Unexpected immobility could also cause safety issues for you and others, if for example you needed to leave the building quickly.

              I would not recommend crawling in any workplace, if you can possibly avoid it.

              1. Lily Rowan*

                I don’t know this LW’s specific situation, but sometimes you can’t get home immediately with a migraine, whether that’s because of the walk or the driving in your commute. So then the best bet is to sit quietly at your desk for a while.

                But I agree that assuming the intense dizziness or weakness is relatively short-lived, they should just sit where they are until it passes rather than crawling back to their desk.

              2. Princess Trachea-Aurelia Belaroth*

                And that assistance could be as simple as “Can you please wheel my desk chair into the kitchen, then help me wheel back to my desk?”

                I would discuss it with them beforehand, though. Have a couple assistants prepped (maybe manager, desk neighbor, and any office friends). I’m assuming OP is willing to have people know about the medical problem, if they were willing to crawl through the office.

                And obviously OP knows their own business, but I concur that a migraine justifies going home if it’s going to be of any length, particularly in case of fire drills, etc. If your office is flexible, maybe your manager could clear someone to drive you home.

              3. Kes*

                This is what I was thinking as well – get to a place where you can safely sit as quickly as possible (bathroom/break room/empty meeting room/stairway/desk), and either sit there a bit or message someone to ask for help in getting back to your desk. Sitting down or getting help to walk back to your desk is going to be much less alarming than seeing someone crawling back to their desk.
                I would imagine that after such an attack you might not immediately be able to safely go home so I wouldn’t put a rush on it, but it would likely be reasonable to do so once you safely can.
                Longer term it might be worth considering looking for remote positions since it seems much more easily and safely handled at home, where you could just sit where you are as long as needed, and crawl if you must, without worrying about dealing with others who don’t know what’s going on.

              4. MsClaw*

                “I get migraines that occasionally cause muscle weakness and/or dizziness bad enough that I can’t walk. I am able to sit at my desk and continue working during such a spell.”

                I also suffer migraines. Luckily for me, I am one of those people who gets an ‘aura’ preview when one is coming on so I have a window where I might be able to get the drugs into my system in time to stave it off. Or if I miss that window, to get out of the office before I start having vision problems.

                However, while I could sit at my desk with a migraine I could not effectively continue working. And my hunch is that if OP is so dizzy they can’t walk, they’re probably aren’t really in shape to be working. That statement along with seriously asking if it would be okay to crawl back to their desk hints at someone who is maybe a bit too devoted to their job.

                If a dizzy spell comes over you, *sit down* or stay seated. Explain to others if you need to that you are feeling dizzy. Let your team/boss know that this occasionally happens. But there is nothing so urgent that you need to crawl across the office floor to deal with it unless the building is on fire. Crawling in the office is going to look beyond peculiar. It would be a deeply weird thing to do and is likely to alienate a lot of people.

                1. quill*

                  Adding on: if the reason LW needs to get back to the desk is because that’s where the supplies (migraine meds?) are, it’s probably worth getting an accommodation plan together for these episodes so LW can either have supplies on hand or be transported back to where the supplies are. If it’s because the desk is a safe space where they can decompress, it’s probably best to find other, closer safe spaces as well.

        2. NaN*

          I had a coworker with a similar medical condition for a few years. She would occasionally come out of a meeting room moving on her knees and bracing herself against the wall, to get back to her desk. Was it alarming the first time I saw it? Sure. But she was cheerful and matter-of-fact about it, so it wasn’t a big deal. By the time I left the department, she was a manager there, and no one thought much of it.

      3. DesertRose*

        I concur. If you have a decent manager and decent coworkers (which is sometimes a BIG if), I would just let them know what it’s likely to look like if you get a migraine and what they should do in response.

        Fellow migraine sufferer here. If what you need is to be helped to your desk chair and maybe quiet from your coworkers and/or to dim the lights, or if you have medication you take when a migraine strikes, tell them. (Even if you don’t want to tell them where you keep your acute migraine meds, I know when my migraines hit, my brain doesn’t work so well and someone reminding me, “Hey, I have meds in my purse (or whatever)” is helpful.

        Hoping this is advice you never need, because wow do migraines suck.

        1. Green great dragon*

          Agreed! LW, you don’t need to do this by yourself. Sitting on the floor while the nearest co-worker fetches a mobility aid or lets you use their desk for a bit seems much less noticeable than crawling. You might even get work to buy whatever you need.

          1. Sarah H.*

            And far more hygienic than crawling, too! Regardless of how it is viewed by others, no one should have to resort to crawling in public places as a way to get around.

            1. EPLawyer*

              YES. All I could think about is crawling on what could be a nasty floor. We are just coming out of a pandemic, you don’t want to expose yourself to whatever while also dealing with a migraine.

        2. SheLooksFamiliar*

          When I started to get serious, debilitating migraines – thanks, menopause! – my coworkers and I both had a learning curve when I couldn’t function as usual. Once I figured out how to deal with warnings and actual migraines, I just told my manager and team what to look for.

          If I wore sunglasses, I was just light-sensitive but could talk as usual. If I was walking in super-slow motion and touching a wall to stay upright, or they found me sitting on the floor, I asked that they keep an eye on me but to let me ‘work through it.’

          No one made a big deal out of it, and I didn’t alarm anyone except new folks.

          1. DizzyDame*

            This! I’m a lifeling migraineur who knew my triggers and prodromes and was generally able to manage without alarming others. With menopause I now get vestibular migraine which is a whole other level of dreadful and has very little warning. So far, I’ve been “lucky” enough to be at home when an attack came on. The vertigo and nausea will be so bad that my only option will be curling in a ball and sending someone for my purse with the rescue meds if it happens at work (I can’t see clearly and a phone is a trigger). OP, I would suggest following the Vestibular Disorder Association on Facebook. They have great coping tips and often offer discounts on things like walking poles, if that might help.

            1. SheLooksFamiliar*

              I’m grateful menopause is over for me, and I don’t get migraines very often (knock on wood). Those hormonal migraines were horrible.

              I feel for you, DizzyDame. In the early days, the nausea was so bad that my doctor prescribed Compazine. It helped me get through the day, but I’d work from home the next day if I could. The dizziness wasn’t as bad as vertigo, thank goodness, but it lasted a few days after the attack. Pure misery.

          2. Properlike*

            Another migraine sufferer here. Sometimes they hit with blinding auras that last for exactly 30 minutes. Those are great, because I have warning. Otherwise, the pain will creep up on me, or come out of nowhere, and then medication doesn’t work as well.

            For those suggesting that LW#2 go home because, if she’s crawling, she’s not able to work… might I suggest two things (not knowing LW#2 or her specific situation):

            1 – The dizziness/weakness may be the “aura” phase, and not long-lasting. For instance, during my 30 minutes, I can’t read anything, but I’m able to have conversations and listen to things that don’t require vision. I know it’s a limited thing.

            2 – Once this phase passes, the headache portion may not be intense enough for a whole day off work. While we’d all love to be able to “take time off” for things like this, reality is that a lot of migraine sufferers have had to learn to work through the pain to some degree. One of those “hidden disability” things that, conversely, makes it harder to get good treatment because you’re not *completely* incapacitated.

            Again, I don’t know the level of LW#2’s migraine situation, but we’re already seeing from the responses that people’s migraines vary a lot.

      4. Tory*

        This is one of those rare occasions when I think Allison has a bad take.

        I worked with someone who had a blood pressure issue that would occasionally result in her crumpling to the floor. She kept salt packers in her desk to revive herself in these episodes. She held a senior position in the school (yes, a teacher) and was highly respected. She simply emailed new starters to explain the situation and what to do if they witnessed an episode. I witnessed two while I worked with her. It was totally fine.

        I also have a friend with autism and severe depression who occasionally has a sensory or mood issue and needs to lie down on the floor at work. They just do it. Everyone at the office knows that S, the gifted programmer who does fantastic work, can sometimes be found flat on the floor. It’s cool, that’s just S.

        This is about information and disability diversity.

        1. ecnaseener*

          Alison didn’t say not to sit on the floor though? She said not to crawl. As others have said, sitting calmly and explaining that you need help is much less alarming than crawling.

        2. CheeryO*

          It’s nice that people are so understanding of your friend. The fact remains that most people will be concerned and potentially judgmental if they see someone acting unusual at work. If it’s a possibility that a migraine will bring her to her literal knees, then LW needs to raise it with her manager and nearby coworkers so they are prepared.

          Also, for every nice story about accommodations, I’m sure there’s a not so nice one, and Alison tries to give realistic advice. I have a coworker who wore sunglasses indoors for months after a bad concussion, and people thought it was weird. No one was mean to her, and they understood once it was explained, but it was A Thing, and I’m sure some people still think of her as the lady in the sunglasses even though it was years ago.

        3. EventPlannerGal*

          But the letter isn’t talking about a school or a small/medium office where everybody knows people, it’s a huge corporate office with thousands of people working there. OP should certainly be able to inform her own team and management, but what if a migraine comes on in a high-traffic shared area like the lobby or the hallways or an open-plan office space? Realistically, even if the OP is happy to have this information shared among thousands of people, a lot of them will forget and be really alarmed. I think it makes sense on a practical level to come up with a plan other than crawling for those kinds of scenarios.

        4. NaN*

          The part that I think is a bit of a bad take is the idea that “it’s likely to come across as martyr-ish.” As long as you’re matter-of-fact about it, reasonable people should not make a big deal out of it.

          Unless your work culture encourages unhealthy behavior around taking sick time, or unless you’ve already given your coworkers reason to believe that you’re someone who would play up an illness, I would be side-eying the people who think it’s martyr-ish, not the LW themselves.

          I realize there’s no guarantee that LW is working with reasonable people, but usually AAM’s advice is more balanced for “how reasonable people will respond” vs “what to do if you’re not working with reasonable people.”

          1. NaN*

            Obviously I think reasonable people will be alarmed and concerned when they see a coworker on the floor, but if you’re able to offer an explanation in the moment I really don’t think it would be a big deal beyond that in a typical office setting.

      5. Daisy*

        ‘real migraines, not just nasty headaches’
        It annoyed me that Alison wrote ‘if the headache is making you sick enough’… A migraine is not a headache. A headache is one possible symptom of a migraine. If someone writes in about a medical problem, she should do them the courtesy of not randomly changing it in her answer.

        1. Insomniac*

          Love Alison’s usual answers but agree that a migraine isn’t a headache and it unfortunately causes problems and lack of understanding when people talk about them like they are one. Also, people who get bad headaches sometimes incorrectly refer to them as migraines, further muddying other’s understanding! I like to share my symptoms whenever appropriate, just to help educate anyone who observes this phenomenon or who doesn’t quite understand it past the headache part.

          I started getting them in my early 30s. I get 45 minutes of an aura. The aura appears as thin waves of light across what I thought is my field of vision. However, I have woken up in the middle of the night with auras too and, even in the dark and with my eyes closed, they are still persistently “seen”. It’s very unsettling and it was really scary the first time it happened to me. I thought I was having a stroke! Auras also meant I had to switch my birth control around because they make you a high stroke risk while on estrogen. Once the auras start, I have 45 minutes to get to wherever I need to be. That was a problem when I worked at a university because getting back to my office, walking to the bus, waiting for the bus, taking the bus to my car, and then driving home took more than 45 min. And so every following symptom would hit me while I was driving. I also have to take my rescue meds ASAP. They don’t help a ton but, when I ACTUALLY feel like dying later, the small relief is usually worth it regardless of the medication side effects. I don’t get light or sound sensitivity like many people, but my brain feels like it’s imploding. And I get projectile vomiting for hours, Exorcist style. Even when I have nothing left in my stomach, my body is still trying to do it. That is almost as painful as the head pain. It also means that I end up passed out on the bathroom floor so I don’t have to crawl to and from the toilet to the couch/bed. Walking upright makes me soooo sick. When I finally feel better manyyyyy hours later, I feel like I am the most useless person in the world for a few days. I call it my “migraine hangover” because it’s how it feels. I get really depressed, lethargic, bad at communicating clearly/finding the right words, and so very bad at problem solving.

          Anyway! I wanted to share that experience for anyone who mistakenly categorizes a migraines as a severe headache. No hate intended. I think it’s hard to conceptualize a migraine unless people explain it to you or you experience it yourself.

          1. alas rainy again*

            Thank you for sharing! I wish you to find a work/food/exercise/sleep balance that minimises your episodes. Hugs

            1. Insomniac*

              Thank you! After I started remote work in the beginning of the pandemic, I got two migraines… and then haven’t had any since!

            1. T.*

              I’ve just recently learned about postdrome and it explained my symptoms so well. Sometimes those symptoms are worse than my actual migraine. Thanks for sharing this. We all need to educate non migraine people how different and difficult our experiences are!

            2. Suzanne*

              Postdrome is the worst. I would honestly rather have the migraine. I’ve had postdrome that has lasted almost 5 days and it was rough.

            3. Mockingdragon*

              Piling on, great word to know. I routinely catch a coming migraine before it’s too bad and excedrin will kill the headache part, but I’m still left with the woozy shaky postdrome effects and they SUCK.

              Migraines are so different from person to person. I don’t get auras or anything, and light sensitivity and nausea only happen in the most extreme cases. But it’s still a migraine when advil won’t kill it and it’s pulsing in my temple instead of distributed across my forehead.

            4. Good change*

              Ick, the postdrome is horrible. Thankfully, after menopause my migraines have reduced to visual ones that just mean I can’t read for about 20 minutes, but the postdrome is the same. It’s a good change, but I hate feeling like my brains are mush for days

          2. Greg*

            An aura! I’ve had intermittent issues with migraines (get one debilitating one every year or so) and it is always preceded by an aura for about a half hour…which I’ve never had a word for until now. So thanks!

          3. Pippa K*

            I thought I was having a stroke, too! After an ER visit, a battery of follow up tests, and a couple more episodes, I happened to see a new GP who immediately said “I know what this is – you’re not having strokes, it’s complex migraines.” (Relief!) Mine don’t involve severe headache at all, rather a period of loss of part of my field of vision, aphasia and slurred words, and loss of balance. As others have said, the following day or so of postdrome is maybe more burdensome.

            Anyway, even doctors don’t always spot migraines when they’re not the severe-headache light-sensitive kind in popular culture. It’s much less scary once you know what it is, and I second telling a couple of people at work so someone knows not to call emergency services.

            1. Insomniac*

              Thank you so much! I am lucky mine only occur every few months (and since WFH from the pandemic, only twice!). I have a couple friends who are out for days on end!

        2. Rusty Shackelford*

          A migraine is not a headache. A headache is one possible symptom of a migraine.

          Oddly enough, this is the first time I’ve ever seen it explained this way. It sounds like you think it should be common knowledge, but unfortunately, it’s really not. Even when my husband was diagnosed with ocular migraines, his doctor didn’t say “you have migraine, but without the headache symptom.” It was more like “this is a like migraine, but different, because it’s not a headache.” I will be sure to use your wording from now on.

          1. PT*

            Yes, this. I allowed my migraines to gallop wildly out of control because the headache portion of my migraines were not that bad. All of the people in my family had the “classic” migraine (lie down in the dark, cool, silence, hope for death) and I had more of a “drag through life at half capacity like I had a nasty cold but still had to show up” sort of level of symptoms. My head sort of hurt but not badly and sometimes I was dizzy or tired and my stomach hurt but not terribly. So I’d just pop OTC meds and press on.

            By the time I got to neurology I got a scolding. I was nearly chronic. I got a pile of prescriptions and suddenly I had all my energy and ability to focus back! I had no idea it’d gotten that bad until I had five days in a row where I felt fine.

            1. Suzanne*

              Well to be fair it’s only in the last few years that this kind of approach/thinking happened. For decades it was: it’s just a headache, what are your triggers, why did you do that to trigger it, it’s all in your head, it’s not that bad.
              It’s just recently that the shift has happened.

              1. Properlike*

                And even now, neurology is not completely on board with it being a neurological condition.

                Ask my about the “mindfulness training” and “biofeedback” they keep sending me to, because god forbid you should need legitimate, low-level painkillers. (Can’t take triptans.) I’ve had migraines for over 30 years now, and it feels like we’ve entered another new phase of “It’s all in your head, change your thinking and you’ll be cured!”

                Wouldn’t say that to someone with a stroke or multiple sclerosis, I hope.

                1. Suzanne*

                  Yeah getting painkillers is tough. I’ve been done that route too. Even getting triptans can be tough because doctors are all over a medication overuse headache and think everyone is taking them to that point. So you need to take the medication ASAP to stave off the migraine but you can’t take it because it will give you MOH.

                2. Cure for everything*

                  I agree, I also get the feeling that we’re entering a new phase of “it’s all in your head” and it’s starting to bother me. The number of things for which people recommend meditation and mindfulness as a magical cure… like, sure, meditation might help with my anxiety, but not as much as medication does.

                3. Suzanne*

                  If meditation worked for migraines we would all be doing it all the time.

                  I also think triggers is another form of victim blaming. Obviously it can work for some people but it can be so hard to determine them it’s almost impossible. What triggers one one day might not the next time. Or it might be an accumulation of them.

                4. Kal*

                  Unfortunately, people and doctors absolutely do say that sort of thing to people with MS and to people with strokes that present in a way that isn’t the “classical” symptoms. Coincidentally, both groups tend to more often be women, weird.

                  Our medical system really does need a lot of improvement still. Mindfulness and biofeedback training can be really quite useful for a wide variety of conditions, but it often fails when its the only tool a medical professional will use instead of using a wider variety of the tools in their toolkit.

          2. Suzanne*

            Migraines are a complex neurological genetic chronic illness. They manifest because of how your brain reacts to stimuli and do not always include a headache portion (but often do) and almost always include many other symptoms. There is a whole cycle you can go through. One person can have many different symptoms at different times. If you google it there a ton of websites explaining it.

          3. Carol the happy elf*

            The ocular migraine can be terrifying until it’s explained by a doctor. They can also be surprisingly similar; check this:


            Mine were totally painless through school, and only started coming with pain in my 30’s.
            Now, I can usually tell early on if it’s going to be a full-blown migraine or just a bit of a light show.

      6. TechWorker*

        +1 – I’ve only had a migraine bad enough to really debilitate me a few times but ‘just go home’ is not an option when you’re so light sensitive that leaving the building leaves you effectively blind. (Like, I’ve had to sit on a wall with my eyes shut and phone my partner to come and get me because I couldn’t walk and there was no way I could deal with a taxi). Even if drugs work for you they take a bit of time to kick in. I can see that crawling is not great but I also cannot imagine that trying to find walking poles or find a coworker at the right time to wheel you is exactly trivial. Nor honestly, would how I look be my highest priority when you’re in that sort of pain…

        1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          you might not care right at that moment but you’d be mortified if someone told you later, however discreetly, that everyone could see your underwear.

        2. Cj*

          If the OP can sit at her desk and work with her migraines, “that sort of pain” isn’t her problem. In fact, they specifically state it is muscle weakness.

      7. Tertia*

        And if they’re at the desk, it won’t be needed.

        Yes, you’re right. I can’t believe that my eye skipped that line. A foldable cane can fit in a briefcase or largish 8uhandbag if the OP carries one, but many people don’t.

        To be clear I’m not trying to imply that the poster should deal with migraines by just bucking up and getting a cane—I’m simply trying to respond to the specific question about alternatives to moving on all fours.

      8. I'm just here for the cats*

        Yes but if she is away from the desk and gets a migraine, a coworker could go get the cane and help her back to her desk or a quiet room where she can recover until she is better.

      9. Bobcat*

        I briefly had a colleague who had catalepsy and we were all told in advance that if we saw them collapsed anywhere, to just walk on by as not only could no one help, the embarrassment would make the attack last longer.
        There were only about 50 people who could ever come into contact with them which made giving that information relatively straight forward.

      10. pancakes*

        Why should someone who has epilepsy “have much of a filter” about it? It seems pretty important for people they work with to be prepared to help if they have a seizure.

        My boyfriend once ended up helping a restaurant worker who was having a seizure when he went to pick up our dinner because everyone else was just standing around dumbfounded. It’s important to gently roll the person onto their side if possible so that they don’t choke on their tongue. Not everyone knows this, of course, but people who have a coworker with epilepsy should know it.

        1. Dahlia*

          Hey this is actually severe misinformation that has caused a lot of people with epilepsy issues – you can’t choke on your tongue. Recovery position – and that’s AFTER the seizure is done – is so you don’t choke on vomit.

        2. Ace in the Hole*

          Small correction… my most recent first aid training was to not attempt to move or restrain someone during a seizure unless they’re in a dangerous location (like in the middle of the street, or near machinery). They recommend putting padding underneath the head if possible to protect it from banging against the ground. However, a seizing person will not choke on their tongue – it’s physically impossible! – and trying to move/reposition them could cause injuries to you or them.

          AFTER the seizure stops, you put the patient in the recovery position (on their side). This is to keep them from choking on vomit.

          1. pancakes*

            Thank you. That was part of the issue in my example – the guy’s head was resting on a hard tile floor.

      11. fposte*

        FWIW, there are all kinds of “real migraines.” There are even mild migraines. They’re real too.

        1. Kal*

          Agreed. As someone with what my neurologist considers severe chronic migraines, often my migraines are just a sort of mildly nasty headache that stops me from being able to think clearly. I have those ones 24/7, and have the more nasty vertigo/nausea-light/sound/smell sensitivity-‘can’t do anything but sit in a chair in a darkened room staring forward since moving my head might make me vomit’ sort of migraines in between. My low-grade daily migraines are still “real” and have significant effect on my life, even if they aren’t the same severity as my breakthrough migraines.

          And I have to say that its rather weird to gatekeep migraines.

      12. Llama Llama*

        Agree agree agree. No matter what else you have to let your manager know about this condition before you return to work. Maybe there is an accommodation, maybe there is a specific way they want you to handle it. But you need to tell someone so you don’t end up needlessly worrying people if you do end up on the floor.

        When I was in grad school within the first week of classes a women in my class had a seizure in the middle of a statistics class. The teacher flipped out and ran out of the room. The students barely knew each other but some had first aid training and we called 911. It was one of the scariest things I have ever seen.

        The woman had a seizure disorder and seizures were not uncommon for her. But she hadn’t told ANYONE and we were all completely freaked. She was really upset when she came to and the ambulance was there and the administration made her go to the hospital because she had seizures often and didn’t think she needed to go (I don’t know if she really didn’t or not that’s just what she said).

        Point being, a lot of people got really freaked out and reacted as if it was a huge emergency. If she had just told us (or at least the staff) that this was something that could happen and what we should do if it did, then we could have been more prepared.

        1. Self Employed*

          I had an art classmate who let us know she had absence seizures*–so when she DID one day, we were concerned but nobody panicked, and the instructor did what he was supposed to. *I don’t remember if that was the right name, but not grand mal for sure. She basically got up and walked towards a window as though it wasn’t there; apparently she thought she was somewhere else. The instructor talked gently and guided her to a chair in the corner where she wouldn’t walk out any windows.

          1. Lucien Nova*

            I used to have absence seizures and that sounds exactly right – there’s a pretty wide range of symptoms that term can cover. I personally had the type that just looked like I fell asleep with my eyes open and was utterly unresponsive to anything till I came out of it but I’ve known people who walk around in utter confusion during them.

    3. TvH*

      even a folding wheelchair! Oh my, OP. This sounds dreadful. Please don’t crawl. Look into mobility devices. If I found someone crawling, I’d be calling 911.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        OP2, contact your company’s first aid team. Such a large company & building will have something, possibly through security dept, or facilities management. If they’re anything like our very responsive life safety team, they’d want to know in advance so they can plan.
        They probably have a wheelchair for emergencies, and someone could bring it to you.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Alison, I’m flagging this because the more I think of it the more strongly I feel it. The hazards of working in a life-safety industry, I suppose.
          Also if this happens while OP is in transit, airlines/etc have them as well.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            A moderator request: please do not use links to flag my attention for this purpose (i.e., to say “I think this is an important point” as opposed to using a link to flag something that needs moderator attention). It’s not the purpose of moderation and if multiple people do this, it would really mess up the moderation queue. Thank you.

        2. Colette*

          They may not – I’m on my building’s first aid team, and we have a defibrillator, but I don’t know of any mobility devices available. I also don’t think they should have them, necessarily – if someone needs a mobility device and knows in advance, they will have made arrangements. If something happens at work for someone who has not needed a mobility device in the past, we’re calling 911, not putting them in a wheel chair and hoping for the best.

          1. PT*

            Correct, I’ve been a first aid instructor at my work and everywhere I worked, if someone was ill or injured the directions would be to not move them or assist them in moving. They would have to stay put until the paramedics could help them up, because the risk of injuring them further while helping them up was too great.

            Someone who could get up under their own power and just needed something to lean on would be allowed assistance to get up, but that’s it.

        3. GothicBee*

          Also, I feel like whoever is in charge of safety might take issue with the LW crawling around from a safety/liability standpoint. I mean, at least in my office, it would be easy for someone to walk around a blind corner and trip over the LW on the floor or open a door into the LW because they can’t see them through the window.

          1. PostalMixup*

            Sometimes. I essentially lose the ability to speak (and sometimes to understand speech) during a migraine. It’s called transient aphasia. It can look for all the world like a stroke, but it’s “just” a migraine!
            If the OP hasn’t seen a neurologist/headache specialist, I’d highly recommend it. There are a number of migraine rescue methods, some that don’t even involve pharmaceuticals (they’re basically TENS machines). They don’t work for everyone, and they don’t work perfectly, but they may help get you back to your desk without crawling. I’m a puddle for 3 days after a migraine without my meds.

        1. TvH*

          well of course. I mean to say, my first reaction would be to want to call 911.

          but… if someone needs to crawl… even though they can speak… sure, what if they are perfectly fine? What if not?

    4. Jay*

      It would all depend on exactly how debilitated the letter writer gets and their size and weight and what they can afford to spend.
      I have seen some that fold up poles and canes that are very compact indeed and can be carried on a belt holster. Even some that somehow unfold themselves with the press of a trigger, at least according to the advertisements (I’ve gotten hurt badly enough to need support a few times in my life, so have spent some time looking). The downside to these is that they are usually restricted to both shorter and lighter people.
      I actually ended up carrying a large umbrella with me for a couple of months after a car wreck in collage. I’m short and squat, so of course, The Penguin jokes abounded.
      My most recent one (a REALLY nasty fall) I bought a very nice folk art wooden walking stick. It works well as a conversation piece and seems to elicit much more interest in the stick itself than in any injury I may be suffering. More “Hey, where can I get one of those?” and less pity and unneeded concern.

      1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        going slightly off-topic but I think that’s really great. I’ve always thought wheelchair manufacturers should hire some of the cool designers working for Nike or Apple and produce equipment that the able-bodied would be envious of. Helping a friend in her wheelchair last summer, I saw it was exactly the same as the one my grandmother had back in the 80s (whereas pushchairs for toddlers have evolved all sorts of different designs). No progress in 40 years? cmon folks, make it more fun, life’s hard enough in a wheelchair, so put a cup-holder and integrated ipod/ipad and a chocolate-dispenser on it, and make it intuitive so anyone can open and close and push and brake, and colour it whatever part of the rainbow makes people feel happy!!

          1. Anononon*

            Yeah, there’s a youtube channel I watch regularly, Squirmy and Grubs, about an interabled couple where the husband has SMA and uses a powered wheelchair. They’ve recently posted videos about his progress of getting a new chair after a decade (or so?), and they went through a lot of the color combinations and available features. But, the reason why it’s been so long is in part because of just how dang expensive they are and the struggles of getting insurance to approve it.

            (100% recommend this channel, fyi.)

          2. StrikingFalcon*

            Yes this. The market for “granny pusher” type wheelchairs (also called transport, hospital, or airport chairs) hasn’t changed much over the decades, because they are focused on making cheap folding chairs that are really only good for inside buildings. Which, actually, is the type of chair that would be useful to the OP. Either a wheelchair kept in their office or a closet somewhere to use occasionally as needed, if they can get around with a wheelchair during one of these episodes, or an understanding that someone will come bring them an office chair and push them back to their desk if they get stuck somewhere, would both be reasonable accommodations.

            Also, as a side note, as a wheelchair user myself, I would vastly prefer a wheelchair designed by someone who uses one themselves (which actually is true of my newly acquired custom wheelchair) than by a designer. Appearance is very much secondary to function in medical devices.

        1. Temperance*

          It’s because the patent requirements/approvals for medical devices are really expensive and time-consuming. That’s why you’ll see TV ads for things that are clearly designed with elderly and/or disabled people in mind, like grabbers, but they aren’t targeted towards people with disabilities.

        2. Black Horse Dancing*

          I think it may also be because many people in wheelchairs are on Medicaid/medicare and Medicaid won’t pay for anything but the basic. There was a news show decades ago about a woman who designed and made her lightweight wheelchair (think racing bike lines) because that’s what she needed in her house. The main reason there weren’t more like hers was because Medicaid paid for a basic model–ford focus instead of upscale toyota corolla.

          1. Self Employed*

            Medicaid/Medicare are definitely looking for the cheapest wheelchairs they can possibly claim fit the user. If that’s the Ford Focus level, the fancy wheelchairs are more like a Toyota Supra or a Tesla, not just a Toyota Corolla. The “standing wheelchairs” and exoskeletons are the Ferrari Testarossas of wheelchairs–which is why it’s so frustrating that designers want to design those, not the best versions of a wheelchair you can make at the Ford Focus level.

            Yeah, it’s more fun to make the wheelchair equivalent of a supercar. But then they get reported in the press as “No more ramps needed, look at that standing wheelchair that climbs stairs!” even though the market for them is a fraction of a percent of wheelchair users.

    5. c-*

      Adding my piece of advice for LW2:
      Maybe you thought of this already, but if needing to crawl is a possibility, I’d stick to wearing pants that allow it as comfortably as possible. You don’t need to be worrying about your skirt riding up or tight pants constraining your movement in the middle of an episode.
      I agree about letting your boss and coworkers know in advance so they don’t get alarmed and know how to help. Maybe it would be a good idea to keep a wheelchair in the building for emergencies? So if you need help getting somewhere during an episode or a coworker twists their ankle, or someone goes into labor unexpectedly, the patient can just sit down on the floor and wait while the wheelchair is brought by.

      1. calonkat*

        Agree with a wheelchair onsite. There are affordable, foldable wheelchairs that wouldn’t take a ton of room to store and would make it easy for someone to bring it to LW2 and get LW2 back to their desk.

        Unless the meeting room chairs and office chairs are very different than I’m used to, it would be hard for someone to stay in the chair while it was being wheeled if they were having severe muscle weakness. The arm rests just aren’t made for that :)

        This is the sort of thing that most offices have many people who would be happy to help when needed! Just talk to your manager/co-workers/HR and get a plan set up.

    6. FD*

      That’s what I was wondering–if there were lightweight canes or other mobility aids that could be there for a backup. It would likely be a safer solution too if this can happen in public sometimes (e.g. in places with heavy traffic where crawling might not be a safe option).

  3. Soylent Green*

    LW #1, not only would using something like Typeform or Microsoft Forms give everyone more privacy, but it would be far more convenient for the organiser than a Slack channel because it collates all the information into a spreadsheet or whatever. Typeform even has a free account which should give you the basics and the form can be created in seconds.

    1. Artemesia*

      It is sort of astonishing that anyone would ever think this appropriate and then when someone brings it up, still does it. I am sort of average in size but I would never want to share my underwear sizes publicly. Definitely take that up the ladder if she doesn’t change and it is a good idea to have the forms suggestions listed above to make it easier for her to think about the change. Wow.

      1. Boadicea*

        I’m generally sizes that are considered socially desirable, and for Personal Reasons I don’t want to share any of my measurements beyond where necessary unless it’s fully within my control, either…

      2. LunaLena*

        This sounds like a classic case of “but we’ve always done it this way, no one has complained before, and I don’t want to change because change is haaaard” to me. When I was young and naive and hadn’t learned to form boundaries yet, I easily could have thought that this was an uncomfortable thing to do but ultimately not a big deal, and I probably would have just gone along with it.

        Personally I’d be careful about taking it up the ladder. I suspect the co-workers won’t take kindly to this and OP could easily get labeled as “oversensitive” or a “troublemaker,” even though she is absolutely 100% right on this.

    2. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

      Why in the world isn’t somebody keeping everybody’s size on file anyway? I know size changes, but it sounds like this is frequent enough for that not to matter much. Much easier to ask if everybody wants the size on file than to collect the info every time. At least for t-shirts and jackets and other loose garments with a lot of ease.

      1. HBJ*

        This was my thought. To me, “often” means they’re getting this stuff at least once a month or so. Are these people’s sizes really fluctuating a size or more every month so that this needs to be requested every time? How is it not easier to keep it on file and say, “hey, let us know when/if your size changes”?

        1. AnnieAnnie*

          I don’t know why this particular company in the US is not keeping employee underwear sizes in a Google document or Microsoft form, however I think where I’m based in EU it could go against data protection laws which have become a lot more strict recently.
          for example, companies are not allowed to keep data for longer than a certain period of time, and they have to only use it for a specific time and purpose which is made clear to the employee, and of course anyone can withdraw their consent for it to be used at any time.
          But I also think it’s good practice to ask regardless, because it demonstrates consent, and a person can choose to share it or not at their own discretion.

          1. Green great dragon*

            GDPR can be a pain, but shouldn’t be an issue here as there’s ongoing use. They should delete the info of colleagues when they leave, that’s all.

            1. I'm just here for the cats*

              Bit does GDPR apply if it’s your employer? I was under the impression it was more for consumers. I mean if your an employee for 20 years they are going to need to have your info for the time that your employed. So having your dress size should be the same as your address and other info.
              *I am in the US but when GDPR was mandated I worked for a company that did business around the world and had the mandated customer service training,even though my department only serves the states.

              1. Green great dragon*

                I think it still applies to employees. But the comparison to address info is spot on – there’s a business need for it, so hold it as long as you need it, then delete it.

              2. Hekko*

                Yes, GDPR applies to employers/employees as well.

                But in this case, there is an ongoing need for the data, and if it’s clear about who has access to the file with the sizes and how to get your info removed from it, it should be okay. In fact, asking for everyone’s sizes in a semi-public Slack channel sounds closer to the GDPR violation than having a file, because by the nature of the channel, all employees can see the data, eventhough only one person (or a small group) have need for it.

        2. There’s probably a cat meme to describe it*

          Agreed, it seems like such a waste of time. And if it’s that the clothing is so wildly variable in terms of fit or brand-to-brand sizing, just send a heads up “we’re getting X and it’s a different cut, let me know if you want a size other than your usual.”

      2. Person from the Resume*

        That was one of my thoughts on the letter.

        If this keeps coming up the woman doing it should just keep a list.

        Along with total agreement with LW2 that this should not be done publicly.

      3. OfficePro*

        Right? My last two employers asked for my T-shirt size as part of my onboarding info so that when they order shirts for events or other reasons they have it on file. Was I required to provide this information? No. It was simply a line on a form that I could leave blank if I so chose. Have I reaped the benefits of having my t-shirt size on file? Yes! As all of my college t-shirts begin to disintegrate from a decade of use it’s nice to have some new shirts to throw in.

    3. Book Badger, Attorney-at-Claw*

      I thought the same thing! Why not keep all that information to hand so that it doesn’t clutter up the Slack channel every time? Send around a link to a Google Form or something every time you need the sizes: a new employee can add their info to the list the next time it comes around, and a coworker whose size has changed can input their new information, and everyone else can just ignore it!

    4. ginger ale for all*

      Why not create a form with one of the systems that Soylent Green mentioned and send it to the person who is collecting the measurements? If you can save them the trouble of collating the different sizes into a spreadsheet, you might get the change you want while saving them some work. This way, you can make it look like you are all about efficiency and helping other people out.

  4. staceyizme*

    LW1- it sounds like you might have some leverage in almost any other context. But you work in clothing. You’re asking not just for privacy for yourself but for a change to the whole process. (To be fair, it’s a reasonable change!) The thing is, though, she’s met you halfway. I don’t think that “I don’t want to share my size in a group forum”/ “Okay, message me privately”/ “No, I want everyone to message you privately” is going to sort itself out well for you. Not everyone is comfortable sharing their size whether they’re extra small, extra large or anywhere in-between. I have to ask, though- WHY do you have to share/ re-share/ re-share for each instance? Doesn’t she have the info from the first go-round? Maybe you can suggest that having the information stored with people able to update if their size changes would save some time and wear/ tear? Honestly, that might go further than “I’m uncomfortable with your accommodation because it singles me out so I want everyone to conform to what I’m comfortable with.”

    1. Wendy*

      Another aspect: some of your co-workers may feel that sharing their bra sizes is a part of demonstrating body positivity – it’s the “I don’t see color” of fat-shaming. THEY are comfortable doing it so you must be comfortable too, right? If you imply this should be a private thing, they may feel they’re “helping” you not be ashamed of your body.

      If it were me (who is neither S nor XXL) I would probably email my size to the one person who needs to know and then just not say anything when the request comes around again. Then again, only you know what you’re comfortable with!

      1. Annie*

        I agree with the above two comments, I think that the manager has offered a suitable accommodation, email them privately, but if everybody else is happy with the way the system works currently I really don’t think that it’s right for a single employee to want to change the whole system.
        I imagine it is akin to a vegetarian who doesn’t want people to eat meat around them, when invited to a company lunch the boss could obviously provide vegetarian options but they can’t make the whole meal fully vegetarian just to accommodate one person.

        1. There’s probably a cat meme to describe it*

          No, it’s not at all like forcing everyone to eat vegetarian. Bra and underwear sizes are private and nobody should have ever been asked to share that information publicly in the first place. It is right for a single employee to want to change the whole system because that system is unnecessary and invasive.

          1. Boadicea*

            Also, there’s no particular disadvantage: “hey everyone, we’re going to put our sizes into this Smartsheet this month to keep the WhatsApp feed clean! Here’s the link, I’ll remind you for any potential updates next time we have clothing” – done.

            1. Reba*

              Right, people may be ok with the status quo, but that doesn’t mean that it *harms* anyone to improve the system.

          2. Reba*

            Hm, not to get into the Veg Wars as I know it’s not the point ;)

            Maybe it is like hosting a vegetarian meal in one way: perhaps only one person requires the veg food, just like only one person seems to mind posting their sizes. But no one else* is hurt by eating a meat-free meal, just as no one is hurt by using a different form instead of Slack!

            *outside of very specific dietary situations

        2. EPLawyer*

          It’s not a whole system. It’s one person who decided to do it this way. Which is more work for the person because they have to sort through all the responses and create the order in a form ANYWAY. Much easier to have the form already done and just pop the numbers in. Heck do a spreadsheet that you can do a table to see how many of each size you need. Instead of having to figure it out each time.

          LW is actually doing the person a favor by asking for another way. less work in the long run — AND everyone keeps their intimate details private.

          1. TechWorker*

            I don’t think it’s definitely more work to get the responses on chat rather than via a web form – really depends on how the order is done and how small the team is. Fwiw I totally agree that people shouldn’t have to provide size information publicly but ‘email me separately’ is.. really not that unreasonable.

          2. Roscoe*

            As someoen who has organized lots of things, I don’t know that its your place to say what is and isn’t easier for them. It is about what works. My way of doing things coudl be very different from someone else’s, but whose to say which is better or ea. ier.

            1. Anoni*

              No matter what, the best way has to not be weirdly personal and potentially body shaming, and open them up to potential harassment. Sooooo, it really doesn’t matter what’s easiest for anyone at this point; it’s better to do it differently than the way it’s being done.

    2. Ding ding*

      I think it is important to push for this change because of the reason the writer gave (it will be obvious if only she does not respond, making it not private), and because I bet many other individuals in this group would be very happy this change was made.

      1. Just delurking to say...*

        Not to mention any future hires who probably won’t expect to be sharing their underwear and bra sizes with all their new coworkers.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        I honestly find it creepy and find myself wondering what happens when someone turns up all too interested in the sizes. Office Creeper trope is all too real.

      3. Snow Globe*

        While I think it’s a ridiculous system, I find it hard to believe other people will notice that OP is the only one who doesn’t respond and will then realize she is emailing her information privately. People generally don’t pay that much attention to other people.

        1. twocents*

          Agreed. Only the person tracking the order is likely to be keeping track of responses.

        2. MusicWithRocksIn*

          I thought that too. When you are self conscious about something it’s easy to feel like everyone is going to notice you – but I really doubt anyone is keeping track of how many coworkers are answering the slack questions. I would push to make it private just so everyone isn’t filling the slack channel with things that are not relevant for everyone else on the slack channel.

        3. Rusty Shackelford*

          Yes, I agree that no one will notice unless they are, for whatever reason, unreasonably focused on the LW. (And it’s still a ridiculous system anyway!)

        4. Princess Trachea-Aurelia Belaroth*

          I don’t think OP is convinced that everyone is obsessing over their sizes. They’re just saying it is apparent. Just because no one cares about your personal details is not a good reason to require you to either share them, or make it clear that you are concealing them. Obviously clothing sizes are not legally equivalent to personal medical information, but we acknowledge on this website that you don’t need to have a reason to not want other people to know your medical information, and it’s not okay to create an environment where it is expected to share such details and marked to not share them. Why can we not acknowledge this dynamic with other private information that is not normally expected to be shared?

          OP doesn’t want to share their sizes with everyone, and doesn’t want to be singled out for not wanting to. And it’s not a big deal to change an inefficient process to accommodate not only OP’s privacy, but everyone on the team’s. (Asking for information in an IM feed is second only to asking verbally and not taking notes in a list of most inefficient ways to gather information from a group.)

        5. boop the first*

          And even if it was posted publicly, a generic number isn’t going to pique anyone’s interest, and if everyone’s met each other, it won’t be a surprise either.

          I for one would be interested to see what happens if I delegate bra searching struggles to someone else. Good luck finding that 32″, guys! LOL! It has quite the alphabet!

          1. Arabella Flynn*

            I wear 30E. I would happily let management print that on a banner to hang down the side the building if it meant free bras.

      4. Person from the Resume*

        While I agree that this would be a positive process change, I don’t agree that everyone will notice if LW1 doesn’t respond.

        LW1 is self-conscious about this. But for anyone to notice that LW1 didn’t respond in the slack channel means that they have to pay attention to who answered the question and who didn’t. If that is an answer I don’t need, I’m not going to pay that much attention to the answer much less track which of my coworkers did or didn’t answer a question I don’t need the answer to in a slack channel with ongoing discussion.

        1. meyer lemon*

          With the amount of fatphobia in the world, I don’t think it’s unreasonable for the LW to guess that her coworkers may have a tendency to monitor her size to an uncomfortable degree. That kind of thing happens all the time. Particularly at a company that’s full of skinny people in a somewhat image-focused industry.

          1. JB (not in Houston)*

            Yes, I’m kind of surprised at how many people are assuming that the LW is overestimating how much other people will pay attention to it. There are few things people in our culture like to do more than pay attention to and remark on the size of fat women.

            1. Simply the best*

              Paying attention to and remarking on fat people is not the same thing as randomly deciding to take the time to count up the number of responses in a slack channel when you’re not in charge of collecting those responses.

              1. JB (not in Houston)*

                If you don’t think that there are people who enjoy the chance to obtain that information so they can feel superior and would therefore be specifically looking for it in the responses in this kind of situation, you are really overestimating the general public in our society

          2. GothicBee*

            I agree. And on top of that, people like to say, “Oh but everyone can see you and already knows you’re fat” but in my experience, calling attention to your fatness in some way (for example, by sharing your clothing size or weight) can make some people treat you differently even though you are still the same size as before. It’s a legitimate concern.

      5. Pickled Limes*

        I do think this is a bad system, but I think it would be a good idea for OP to share her information privately because if her coworkers do notice, maybe some of them will feel empowered to request privacy as well. It’s possible that some coworkers also feel uncomfortable with this system but don’t feel like they’re allowed to ask for it to be different. The OP going private may case other people to also start going private and force the system to change entirely.

  5. TiredMama*

    LW #1, for it is worth, if they refuse to change and you don’t feel comfortable escalating it, then maybe take comfort in the fact that your size probably isn’t a surprise to anyone. Do our always love my body and my bigger size? No. But it isn’t going to change overnight and it’s not a secret so I try to embrace where I am right now in the body I am in right now.

    1. traffic_spiral*

      This is probably true. Assuming everyone in the office is sighted, they already know what you look like.

      Also “However, since we are a small team, it will be very obvious if I’m the only one who’s messaging my size privately,” is probably untrue. Chances are pretty minuscule that anyone other than the person asking for the sizing is interested in whether you’ve responded. The only possible reason anyone else would have for caring would be if they were the same size and wanting the same free item of clothing as you.

      That being said, I’d be deeply annoyed if someone kept asking me this. They should get the full measurements on record once and have done with it – why are they bothering you with this every time? Maybe you’d have more luck persuading this person if you framed it as efficiency.

    2. EmKay*

      Pretty sure it has already occurred to her that other human beings can see how fat she is.

      1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        Yeah, and everyone’d be like “crikey she’s even fatter than I thought”, it’s not like this makes it any easier for OP.

    3. Justme, The OG*

      That’s the toxic positivity version of the body positive movement and that take really sucks.

      1. Princess Trachea-Aurelia Belaroth*

        Yeah I see a lot of people making the logical leap from “It’s fine to be proud of your body” to “You shouldn’t feel the way you feel about sharing your private information against your will, also no one will notice so get over it.”

          1. pancakes*

            Not exactly, no – the two comments I’ve seen saying this have made a point of saying “if you don’t succeed in getting them to change this system . . .”

            1. TiredMama*

              Yes, this was my point. IF LW does not want to push it, which is equally their choice, then maybe thinking about this way will help them bear it until they feel they have the capital to push to end it, the person leaves, someone new takes it over, etc. I am not here to police their feelings about it, just suggest an alternative way of thinking that they can pick up or not as they want.

    4. generic_username*

      As a fat person who has had people look visibly shocked when I mention that my size isn’t available in standard clothing stores or has had people offer to lend me their jackets when I’m cold because they assume we’re close in size so their over-sized jacket will fit, this isn’t true. Plenty of things play into people’s perception of your weight/size, such as your height or how flattering your clothing is. I personally am of the mind that you can be fat AND beautiful, and that your value in this world isn’t based on your appearance anyway, but it’s still not fun to have to share those numbers (which you’ve been told to be ashamed of most of your life) publicly with a group of people.

      1. Kelly L.*

        I’ve occasionally met people who…like…don’t realize there is plus size clothing, and think that a straight size L or XL is The Biggest Size There Is. So they’ll see someone, register them as a large person, and think “Oh, she must wear a size large!” when a straight size large is really not very big.

        1. starsaphire*

          Exactly. I had one of those as a boss once.

          Living in a fairly small town in CA, working retail part-time for minimum wage, and I got a lecture from a fledgling corporate manager on how I should be dressed “more appropriately” because slacks, blouses, and flats were “too casual” and “if she could find a suit at (bigname outlet store in NYC) for $20, why couldn’t I?”

          She was completely unaware that there were exactly two stores at the mall (which was an hour away) that I could shop at. And that the current “trend” was more casual, so at the moment those stores weren’t selling suits – they were selling capris and crop tops.

          And she just refused to believe me, because it was simpler to write me up for insubordination than it was to change her worldview and acknowledge that not everyone was playing at Easy level.

        2. So long and thanks for all the fish*

          Yeah, iirc the standard American woman is a size 16 or 18, which is usually XL-3XL IME, depending on brand. And that’s average! It’s ridiculous that “standard” clothing sizes max out below average.

      2. GothicBee*

        Yes! Quantifying your size can really make a difference to how some people see you. It’s not weird for someone to want to avoid sharing their size publicly, and it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re ashamed of it, just that they don’t want to have to deal with other people’s reactions to it.

        1. Hazel*

          I agree. Our online HR personal information form has an optional section for clothing size for when company swag is available – at least I assume that’s why they ask for our sizes! :-P I actually prefer this because it made me uncomfortable at my last job to have to email my sizes or add them to a company-wide spreadsheet that anyone could access.

      3. Self Employed*

        I made the mistake of going on a “thrift shop crawl” with a group of younger, skinnier women in a Meetup group. Turned out that their idea of “thrifting” was the kind of designer consignment that doesn’t carry anything over size 12 (and prices are 75% of exorbitant for an unemployed biology graduate, which is still out of my budget when I already have job interview outfits covered).

    5. nonbinary writer*

      I’m gunna guess you’ve seen some of those tiktok videos that are like “they already know you’re fat, just wear the bikini!” but I don’t actually think that’s applicable advice here. LW isn’t looking for encouragement to wear something they already want to wear but are self-conscious about, LW is trying to figure out how to advocate for their boundaries around their own body at work.

  6. Kau*

    When OP#1 says that sometimes the clothing is optional and sometimes it is required, does she really mean that bras and underwear are included in the ‘required’? I had two retail jobs when I was younger. One was in a clothing store and we were expected to wear clothes from the brand while we were at work, but that only included things like shirts, pants, sweaters etc. The store sold also underwear but no one was ever checked to see if we were wearing it. Even in my second job at an underwear store no one asked if we were wearing company underclothes. If the clients send underwear and the employees want to take some it should be allowed but it should definitely not be mandatory and no one should be asked their size.

    1. Catherine*

      Depends on the store. My first retail job was Victoria’s Secret and one of our managers sometimes pulled a strap check to see if we were wearing store merch. (They gave us freebies when new styles came out so that we’d understand what we were selling. Unfortunately, as a size Impossibly Flat, i nearly never got to enjoy that perk.)

      1. There’s probably a cat meme to describe it*

        Retail hell, far out. You were employed to sell underwear not model it –what you wear and when is nobody’s goddam business. I shudder to think of the license that manager’s attitude gave creepy customers.

        1. Catherine*

          The manager kept strap checks to the break room, but at holidays they asked for volunteers to model the sexy Santa outfit (bra, gloves, and miniskirt with Santa hat). A lot of us were fresh out of high school, me included, which meant we were unfortunately pretty easy to manipulate with praise for totally messed up stuff. At the time I saw nothing wrong with it and we all acted like it was daring and cute; fifteen years later I’m retroactively horrified.

      2. Despachito*

        What’s a strap check?

        I am quite afraid of the answer… (I imagine forcing people to undress to show they are really wearing the company underwear, and I’d be relieved if I am wrong).

        The whole underwear thing seems to me inappropriate beyond the pale. I can perfectly imagine requiring to wear company t-shirts/uniforms, but I think undies should be and remain the private business of everyone.

        1. Jessica*

          I think she means like pulling your shirt off the shoulder enough to reveal your bra strap so the corporate overlords can see whether you’re wearing a VS bra.

          1. Despachito*


            I would consider this wildly inappropriate even doing this to my own kids, and to imagine requiring anyone to do it AT WORK is just outside the range of my imagination. I have no words.

          2. Catherine*

            Yes, this! No stripping down required, just moving the neckline or sometimes a sleeve.

        2. Ro*

          Luckily, you’re (somewhat) wrong. For those of us who wear bras, one can usually slide the top of one’s clothing aside to reveal the part of the bra strap which goes over the shoulder – and if you’re in the underwear retail industry, I expect you’d be able to recognise your own store’s product just from that bit of strap.

          Be that as it may, it is still absolutely positively beyond the pale.

      3. LW2*

        Catherine, I have never worked retail, but in that situztion, I think you would be fully justified in asking the manager, “What for? Don’t you share my faith in that VS products are so superior that you can tell from the outside that I’m wearing one, just by the improvement in my figure?” Cue impossibly cute smile at this point.

        1. Catherine*

          I was eighteen. I hadn’t learned how to set boundaries with authority figures yet.

      4. kittymommy*

        She would have been very disappointed in my strap since, as I was so politely told by a VS staffer the last time I was in one “…umm, we don’t carry that size…” in a deeply snotty tone.

        1. EchoGirl*

          That was actually my immediate thought re:OP’s letter. If the bras are in the “required” category, what happens if the “required” bra doesn’t come in their size?

      5. NotAnotherManager!*

        Vicki’s doesn’t care anything in Impossibly Large, either, so I’d fail the strap test and the free merch, too, as would all but maybe one or two women in my family. I don’t get the requirement, it’s not like you’re walking around the store in the merchandize modeling it.

    2. Audrey Puffins*

      I’m given to understand that establishments as Hooters have *such* a specific look for their waitstaff that they absolutely can insist on a specific style of bra, though I’d hope there’s leeway for the staff to at least pick their own preferred brand, and that they still have freedom to privately choose their own underpants.

      1. Wants Green Things*

        Hooters classifies its waitresses as “models” which allows them to dictate how they look. And also how they get away with only female waitstaff.

    3. Richard Hershberger*

      This is one of the many things I don’t understand about what is going on here. Another is that my understanding of how bras work is that there is more to it than a simple size designation, that women go on extended quests for the Holy Grail of a bra that fits properly, and that once they find one they are fanatically loyal to that specific bra. In other words, the employer seems to be mandating wearing bras that don’t fit.

      1. Cthulhu’s Librarian*

        I can’t say as a I’d be surprised to find out an employer who felt they should be mandating underwear would do so without taking into account the physical comfort of their employees.

        The whole thing just makes me want to run screaming for the hills in horror.

      2. ecnaseener*

        Bras are actually sized in inches, unlike almost all other women’s clothing. Comfort is going to vary, but the overall size is way more consistent than, say, pants.

        1. Camellia*

          Oh, you think so? Google the Ted Talk by Laura Tempesta on bras. It will be a real eye-opener for you.

          1. Anonny*

            Trans guy, having shopped in both sections, and yeah, men’s clothes mostly just give the necessary inches for like, leg and waist or whatever. Nice and simple. Women’s clothing sizes are technically sized by some kind of arcane equation (like, take the waist measurement and then do maths to it) but I think the equation varies between brands and possibly between years. And bras, despite the fact that the equation is made public, seem to be even more arcane. Like, first you do the equation, then you have to adjust for both style and brand and possibly phase of the moon.

            1. WFHHalloweenCat*

              As a person whose bra size does indeed change depending which week of the month we’re in, phase of the moon is entirely factual

            2. 10Isee*

              Also, one of my breasts is over a full cup size different than the other (one grew while I was pregnant and the other shrank while I was breastfeeding) and I still can’t decide which one I should fit. If I fit the larger one there is slipping, if I fit the smaller there is bulging… it’s a blast.

              1. Anoni*

                My girlfriend had this problem (she had corrective surgery to fix), but prior to that she sized for the larger breast and used inserts to even out the other side.

        2. Le Sigh*

          The sizing by inches is consistent, but after that how well it actually fits it’s a serious crapshoot. I can try on two bras the same size, same brand, but the cup shape, strap width, padding/no padding, etc. all make a huge difference in how it fits. So even if I told this employer my cup size, it doesn’t mean the bra would actually fit me correctly.

          1. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

            I have found one style of bra that fits me comfortably. Not “one brand,” but one style within that brand. So my size isn’t “38 D,” it’s “Bali model number 3820, size 38 D,” and I’m still relying on them continuing to make that specific style of bra.

            I suspect LW’s employer wouldn’t be happy with that answer, or even with “and if it must be some other brand, I need one without an underwire.”

            1. Le Sigh*

              Yea for real. It took me years to find 2-3 brands I really like (spoiler: not Victoria’s Secret!), and even within one brand, one bra can fit like magic. Another in the same size has a huge gap where the cup/strap meet. Another squashes them together into an uncomfortable uniboob. Another pushes them up to my neck and gives me the quadra-boob.

              So, unless you’re buying a make and model you already know, you gotta try every.single.one.on.

              1. Hazel*

                Yes! Must try them on! I found a style at Target that fit like a dream, and you bet I was back in there the next day buying several in different colors. Especially because Target didn’t seem to carry the same stuff for very long.

            2. Gumby*

              Yup. I’m not quite limited to one style (though I do see the Bravissimo Alana as the standard), but I have maybe 4 brands I can wear and it is only very specific styles within those brands. It is hit or miss and there is a lot of miss even in what is, supposedly, my size. Plus? Certain cup styles will not work for me. I will never wear a plunge bra and that is ok with me.

          2. MGW*

            Different brands also do their arcane math differently ive found.
            Victoria’s Secret of course famously has their own rogue math and then they just shove you into whatever size they carry that is close enough even if it’s 2 cup sizes too small and 1 band size too big or whatever.
            But even Bali v Aerie v Sonoma v ThirdLove all do vary a little.
            So I’ve found a couple wireless bras from Aerie that fit me nicely and some underwire bras from ThirdLove that I really like and they are both different sizes.

            1. Le Sigh*

              Ugh. Victoria’s Secret is the worst. “Oh hi we’re only going to bother to make roughly six standard sizes and then when you don’t fit into any of them we’re going to convince you that this 36DD is absolutely the same quality and fit as a 34DDD (nope, it is not). Wasted so much money as a misguided teen.

              Second the wireless Aerie bras. They’ve gotten me through the pandemic.

        3. Harper the Other One*

          True, but especially now that I’m in larger cup sizes I definitely find there’s a huge difference in fit depending on the cut! I am VERY hesitant to buy any bra based solely on “it’s a 40F and that’s my size” for that reason.

        4. Justme, The OG*

          Yeah, no. I can pull five bras in my size off the rack and there’s no guarantee that the band will even be the same size on all of them. Don’t even get me started on cup sizes and styles.

        5. Galadriel's Garden*

          If only that were true! Cut and style also tend to change how cups fit, so while the band may fit, the actual cup may vary wildly…and that’s just within the same brand. Brand A may fit totally differently than Brand B, so much like clothing, I can be a completely different bra size depending on where I bought it from.

        6. biobotb*

          Er no, the fact that they’re sized in inches does not guarantee that bras with the same “size” among different brands, or even different styles in the same brand, are actually the same size. Bands with the same number can be much tighter or looser among different styles or brands.

          1. ecnaseener*

            I didn’t say guaranteed the same size? I said more consistent than pants. Which I stand by.

    4. Daisy-dog*

      I would guess this is a perk of the job and LW1 might not want to miss out on certain items (even if optional).

  7. staceyizme*

    LW2- could you plead dizziness without going into details about your migraines and just roll yourself from point to point in your desk chair? It might be a bit odd, but it’s less odd than trying to crawl. (Maybe you could also be assigned a desk or office near the restroom? That seems like a reasonable accommodation to request.)
    Alternatively- can you work from home once you’re in the throes of an episode? If you can get safely home (or get assistance getting there safely), you might be more able to adapt within your own comfort zone and not have to worry about the perceptions of others.
    These are obviously “unvetted” thoughts. While I have friends who manage severe migraines, I’ve not seen what you are describing. I hope that the discomfort lessens in both frequency and duration!

    1. SwiftSunrise*

      Agreed, rolling around in your chair would be MUCH less alarming to your co-workers
      than crawling on the floor, and you could probably pass it off as a mild dizzy spell or something similar.

      1. Pennyworth*

        She wouldn’t need to actually roll around in the chair, she could just wheel it with her so it is right there if she suddenly needs to sit. If she explains it as necessary for dizzy spells it would probably just come to be regarded as an office prop she needs to have with her.

        1. lailaaaaah*

          It might also be worth suggesting the office sets up an extra chair or two in every room, just in case she’s caught out. It could also turn out to be really useful for other employees with mobility or fatigue issues. That, or it’s worth looking into remote work.

          1. pancakes*

            I don’t know about every room – individual offices already have guest chairs, in my experience – but having them in high-traffic areas like the hall that leads to the kitchen and the hall that leads to the bathrooms could be helpful.

      2. TechWorker*

        Tbh I am slightly confused why LW would need to ‘pass it off’ as anything? They need to share enough information about their symptoms so as to not cause alarm but beyond that I have no idea why saying ‘it’s a dizzy spell’ is any better or worse than saying ‘it’s a symptom of migraine for me’

        1. ecnaseener*

          Yes, I was wondering that too. The LW didn’t say anything about wanting to keep the migraines a secret. I guess AAM gets so many questions about keeping medical details private, the commentariat naturally takes it into account.

          The most helpful brief option would probably be “I get migraines that make me dizzy” — because not everyone knows that migraines can do that, and because you don’t want people to worry that you have some unexplained mystery dizziness disease.

    2. AcademiaNut*

      My question for the OP is what she does if an episode hits when she’s somewhere where crawling is not an option – shopping, or on her way to work for example. Crawling around the office is likely to be really alarming for your coworkers, and there’s a good chance someone will insist on phoning for an ambulance. Or if it’s a matter of sitting quietly for a few minutes until she’s able to move again.

      Having a walker or something similar, or scooting around the office on your desk chair, will be noticeably, but much less likely to cause alarm. Alternatively, this could be a really good reason to ask for permanent remote work as an accommodation.

      1. Koalafied*

        Yes, it’s not even about being on the floor, exactly, to me. Someone sitting or even laying on the floor I would assume they were sick or injured and make sure they don’t need any assistance. But crawling makes me think – what is going on here that you both 1) need to get somewhere that quickly/badly and 2) nobody is willing to assist you in getting there? Nobody was willing to fetch you a spare wheelie chair and push you there, or retrieve a mobility aid from your office, or even offered to make the room you’re currently in more comfortable for you to convalesce in? If it’s important enough to you to get to your desk that you’re willing to crawl, then it horrifies me that nobody is helping you and would make me seriously question the decency of everyone else present.

        1. TechWorker*

          I just… really disagree with this. For me the worst migraine symptom is light sensitivity/aura rather than muscle weakness, although that can also be pretty debilitating. In that situation my key criteria is to get somewhere private/dark with minimal fuss (you’re usually also not thinking super straight either). If OP is 10m away from their office I can 100% see why they’d crawl there rather than have to cause a fuss, find someone else, and explain to them what’s going on.

          1. Koalafied*

            If there were nobody else around and it was that short a distance, I suppose I’d probably regard it a little different. In my office building the bathrooms and conference rooms are a HIKE from the private office area, probably about 25m *minimum* to get to a conference room and more like 50m to get to a bathroom, so that’s the mental image I was working with. I was also imagining that LW would have to crawl past the desks/offices of numerous coworkers on the way to their office and these people would just…ignore a coworker on the ground in pain?

            I’m the first one to protest that I don’t need any help if I can at all manage on my own, but at the same time I expect a decent person who sees another person in pain to at least offer help. In that scenario then, the choice isn’t crawl vs try to find help, it’s crawl vs accept help…and I know from experience how fast things get very weird when you refuse offered help, and it gets weirder faster the more you appear to actually need the help. I’ve never successfully convinced someone who was trying to help me pick up things that I accidentally dropped to stop and just let me get it, and that’s not even help that anyone needs (in fact, it’s arguable whether having someone else hand me items is “help” compared to me grabbing the items off the floor, once I’m already crouching down, which is part of why it’s a mild annoyance to me that people really seem to be constitutionally incapable of just letting someone pick up dropped things without getting down on the floor with them).

            But if it’s more like what you’re describing, nobody is around and LW is only 2 office doors down from their own office, then I come down more on your side. If I came across someone just a few meters from their own office with nobody around, I might raise an eyebrow but if they just said something like, “I suddenly took ill and couldn’t quite make it back on my feet,” I’d understand.

          2. Long Furby*

            I would argue that someone seeing a coworker crawling is likely to cause a much bigger fuss than anything else. Shouting out, calling attention to it – insisting first aid or even 911 come – heck I’ve worked in deceptively casual workplaces where this could result in strict incident reports, etc. I think that’s what’s so odd to me about this more than anything – crawling around just seems like an invitation to make it a much bigger deal than it would need to be otherwise.

            1. pancakes*

              Yes, same – I would think most people would assume they were having a stroke or heart problems or something else that requires an ambulance right away. I’m very lucky to not experience migraine and I don’t suppose commotion, loud noise, flashing lights, and lots of people crowding around would be at all helpful.

      2. LW2*

        Hello. So far I’ve only had it happen a couple of times out in public, both times on the way back from the bus stop in my neighborhood. (Pretty much half way between city and suburban in terms of density). I actually did go ahead and crawl. It seemed like the obvious solution, but the reaction from passersby is what had me wondering how this will go at work.

        1. Anonny*

          I’m diabetic and when my blood glucose goes too low, I can’t walk properly for any distances either. Under those circumstances I tend to try to get to somewhere I can sit (I can walk a few feet, so even if it’s on a kerb on a quiet road) and call for help. Mostly by calling someone with a car to pick me up, but on a couple of occasions I’ve had to flag down passers-by for assistance.

    3. TiffIf*

      I have seen someone with severe nausea being rolled through the office in a chair–colleague who was undergoing cancer treatment was being rolled to the elevator in his chair while grasping a garbage can in case he needed to throw up. I would have been far FAR more alarmed if he had been crawling.

  8. Anonymous Esq*

    Oh no OP2, I’m sorry you’re in pain and dizzy but don’t crawl! All I could think of reading your letter is what a disaster it would be if someone tripped over you and you both got hurt.

    1. Magenta Sky*

      From the sounds of it, the only alternative to crawling is not crawling, which is to say, just lay there on the floor. Which would increase the amount of time that someone might trip over them.

      1. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

        Or have a coworker help you back to your desk. Which they will undoubtedly offer to do anyway, when they find you crawling on the floor. If it’s too embarrassing to be helped, it’s too embarrassing to crawl.

        I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone over a year old crawling as a means of locomotion. I would be very alarmed.

        1. misspiggy*

          It’s fine to offer, but OP may well need to refuse. If you’ve gone really weak or floppy, being moved by someone who isn’t trained is a recipe for injury at worst and worsened migraine at best.

        2. Not Australian*

          To be fair, I’ve had crippling migraines in the past and I’ve crawled up the stairs in my own home – so to a certain extent I can relate. OTOH if you’re even contemplating crawling, that means the migraines are effectively preventing you from working – and *that’s* something I’d want to be taking up with my doctor rather than trying to find a band-aid for the symptoms.

          FWIW I’m effectively migraine-free these days, but I’ve been able to access the right medication *and* remove most of the likely triggers from my life. (There were a *lot* of those.) Before I did, there were frequent hospitalisations (two or three a year in general) and I couldn’t hold down a regular job for decades; in the end I started my own business, but I know that’s not an option for everyone – and I didn’t come to it myself until relatively late in my working life. I do totally understand how h*llish migraines can be, and the feeling of wanting to try and power through and not let people down is almost the worst part … combined with the fear that it won’t be taken seriously and you may be accused of pretending.

          OP, I 100% sympathise – but in this case I’m not sure crawling is actually the answer. You need to look further to identify the causes of your particular brand of migraine and ways of dealing with it, although I appreciate that is much more easily said than done.

      2. MK*

        Eh, it would also drastically reduce the likelihood of someone tripping over them. If someone were to sit in a corner close to the wall, people are far less likely to not notice and trip on them than if they are crawling around.

      3. Anonymous Esq*

        The only alternative to crawling is laying on the floor? I genuinely don’t know if that was an attempt at humor or what…

  9. Jaybeetee*

    LW2: Yeah crawling in an office would be… alarming. I’d be assuming a medical crisis if I saw something like that. As a commenter said above, you might want to look into canes or walkers you can store discreetly at work if you ever have a spell where you’re struggling with walking. Honestly, that sounds like it might be more comfortable for you than having to crawl around anyway.

    1. Dancing Otter*

      Yes, if you do get caught away from your desk, you could ask the first passerby to bring you your cane/walker/etc. with much less embarrassment than crawling.
      Aside from all else, office floors are FILTHY.

      1. Andy*

        > Aside from all else, office floors are FILTHY.

        Ours are cleaned every day and we change shoes upon arriving next to door, so they are clean. (I have seen people doing stretching on floors or mild exercises).

    2. Nanani*

      If you’re in a situation where crawling seems reasonable, I think it IS a medical crisis.
      “I’m so tired/in pain/dizzy but I’m fine really I’ll just crawl” is not fine, even though it might seem that way in the moment. I speak from experience. A coworker called an ambulence when they saw me and it was the right call.

  10. Jennifer*

    LW5 – If the contract you mentioned is a union contract, call your union office and ask for assistance from a contract enforcement or grievance counselor.

      1. Siege*

        Be the change! Contact your local county or state’s central labor council (they are easy to find) and ask for help organizing a union. They’ll pass the request on to AFT and NEA. The unions may choose to take a pass on organizing depending on their local capacity (the state federation I work for is quite small because we don’t represent PreK—12 in our state so we don’t really work with charter schools or non-higher-ed) but I’ve found that in cases where AFT is overextended, NEA often is not, and vice versa.

        Alternatively, if your classified or pro staff are organized, their union may be able to run a campaign for your unit (you sound like faculty or a librarian, just guessing). We’ve got cases where we represent faculty and pro staff at one system, faculty and classified at a couple others, and joint unions with the other national union, plus the usual “on this campus, faculty are us, pro staff are OPEIU, classified are SEIU” that’s very common.

        Anyway, your CLC can help!

  11. singlemaltgirl*

    lw#2 – you mentioned that your org is open to diverse abilities and i understood this to mean that they’ve been open to accommodations. in that environment, i would speak to your manager, explain the situation and see if there are accommodations that can be made. ideally, if a migraine hit, you could work from home but if not, perhaps they can have office accommodations that don’t result in your needing to crawl.

    we have a small office but we make accommodations all the time without most people being the wiser (when it doesn’t have to be) and we never make it a big deal if we need to make it more public so others are aware (we hot desk so sometimes it’s unavoidable for people to know why we’d move a certain chair here or there or whatever).

  12. Alex*

    I’m in stem and at least 3 times a year we get asked for our sizes to get company swag/xmas gifts in an email. Most everyone inputs their size in a huge Google sheet except the 50 people who reply all with their size and that’s been the case in 3 different companies I worked at so OP is definitely not alone

    1. WorkingGirl*

      I would guess that part of the reason the coworker asks in Slack is because for forgetful/ hard-to-get-ahold of folks, it’s easier to respond to an IM than an email that gets lost in the sauce

  13. singlemaltgirl*

    lw#5 – i never understand why bosses don’t support vacation time appropriately and that time off is necessary when people need a break. at the beginning of employment is not usually when people need a break. yes, there are projects and busy times – i’ve done moratoriums on vacation for 6 week periods during our heaviest spring times (and even then, for special circumstances, i approved vacation then but i trusted my staff to only ask when really needed).

    otherwise, i’m a big proponent of people at least booking half their vacation so it’s in the books and i can plan to work around it. trying, if i can to close operations or run with a skeleton crew during major holidays so that people don’t have to fight over who works them and who gets them off. it’s totally a manager’s job to ensure their employees have the ability to take their vacation and that we’re doing what we can to support their mental and physical well being and health.

    vacations are not a grudging thing we have to do – it’s something that supports employees and should be seen as another tool to support productivity, morale, and overall compensation. sorry your boss sucks.

    1. Greg*

      I just don’t understand managers who don’t encourage their direct reports to take all their vacation. It makes thing slightly inconvenient but you know what’s more inconvenient and costly? Burnout and turnover. My wife works for a company where “the company culture doesn’t encourage using all your vacation” and it drives me insane, while I have people with 5 weeks of vacation who I don’t allow to roll over so they HAVE to use it (obviously allow for flexibility like, say, if there was a pandemic). Plus the whole “caring about someone’s well being” thing…

      1. CupcakeCounter*

        Yup. I started a new job last year with 3 weeks vacation time. Guess how much I have actually been able to use?

        3 days.

        My last day is July 9 and they have to pay it out

        1. Siege*

          I know, right? I have something like 35 days of vacation (PTO, floating, personal), plus like two weeks sick, plus I’m carrying a balance of 30+ hours of comp time, and I can’t use any of it because I’m the only person in my department and I’m involved in more projects and teams than my actual boss, the president of my org, is. We’re union so we get four weeks of vacation a year and it rolls over on July 1, so I’m about to add another month.

          But hey, my boss is adamant I’m not in charge of the August conference I’m planning, so I guess she won’t mind if I take next week off!

      2. LDN Layabout*

        We’re technically use it or lose it, aside from 5 days a year (allowance ranges from 25-32 days) and in the past year managers have been very active about saying people need to take time off and facilitating that.

        1. Greg*

          I’m small enough (65-80 employees, depending on seasonality) that most decisions run through me and I have the flexibility to not be one size fits all. For instance, we allowed roll-over from last year but had a supervisor who had about 50 days to take. Having him take those days would have put us in a tough spot in some busy periods so I paid out 14 days of that.

          1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

            <salute> for being able to break away from one-size fits all.

  14. John Smith*

    Re LW2. I’m just wondering whether you would be covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (is that the right name? Non-American here.)?

    I was going to mention getting a wheelchair for such occasions, but it wouldn’t be of help if you got an attack when you’re away from it. Can you approach HR or your manager to explain and find some kind of solution?

    I get what Alison is saying, but what are you supposed to do if an attack comes on? Just sit and wait until it passes? Ask someone nearby to help you get to your desk/nearby chair? Obviously you can’t/don’t want to go home each time an attack occurs (assuming you could get home during an attack – how long does an attack last? Would seem a bit of a waste to go home if it lasts for 5 minutes).

    I wish I had something more than best wishes to offer.

    1. Shad*

      Honestly, if the weakness/dizziness only lasts a few minutes, I’d suggest leaning against a wall for those few minutes as a possible solution. Still looks mildly concerning if someone comes by, but definitely a more convincing look for “I’ve got it handled” than crawling.

      1. JKateM*

        I get migraines and have definitely had to sit down and even lie down in odd places on occasions. Mine aren’t as severe or as random as what is described by the OP so I can’t say what would work or not. Crawling isn’t ideal but I also am of the belief that ones does what they have to do. Just make sure boss/coworkers understand you’re not dying or need to go home and make sure they know to try to help find somewhere for you to sit if possible asap so you aren’t on the floor longer than necessary.

      2. lailaaaaah*

        Or find a seat if possible- it would be worth either asking the company to set up some extra chairs around the office. Someone crawling a short distance to sit down would be much easier to pass off as a temporary spell of something, rather than crawling all the way to their desk.

        1. Colette*

          Even sitting on the floor up against the wall. Yes, it’ll be visible, but it’s less alarming than crawling, which is very much out of the norm.

      3. Greg*

        Mine last hours and I need to crawl into bed with a blanket over my head curled up in a ball. It can be much, much more than dizziness for a few minutes.

        1. Self Employed*

          OP says she can work if she gets to her desk, though, so I think her symptoms are different.

  15. Teapot supervisor*

    LW#3 – I occasionally get this (mostly because I have the same, not all that common name as one of the admins on one of our teams so sometimes email autofills to me and not her – although I think there are some people who have a habit of looking at me and going ‘she’s a woman – she can do my admin task’). My reaction to it has been to reply with a polite version of ‘I don’t think this email was meant for me’. I’ve never had a negative reaction to this. I’ve never set up a meeting which I’ve not been involved in.

    1. SentientAmoeba*

      I was willing to bet the farm that LW3 was female because I can’t imagine anyone sending a message like this to a male employee.

  16. Nursey*

    LW2 – depending on the severity of the migraine (you say you can continue working) and how long each episode lasts, rather than crawl back to your desk, could you perhaps sit with your back against the wall, on the floor? Is this an option?

    If coworkers then comment on you sitting there, you could then just say that you’re having a dizzy spell and will be fine xx minutes time.

    1. Snack drawer raider*

      Definitely, better to stay wherever they may be than crawl around on the floor. I would hope a passing coworker would notice and assist by bringing a desk chair or whatever is needed for comfort. Migraines are not that uncommon, people should understand.

      1. Self Employed*

        I had a lawyer who was supposed to get me disability accommodations who was completely unfamiliar with migraines. She refused to believe I needed darkness during a migraine to recover–which I couldn’t get with the vertical blinds in my apartment, so I wanted permission to install room-darkening shades. My doctor hadn’t heard of that either, so guess who never got their shades?

  17. Nursey*

    LW1 – I feel that you should suggest to whomever is in charge of dispersing the garment, that it would be more efficient if they were to have a spreadsheet of each persons sizes and put the onus on coworkers to ensure that their individual sizes are updated. If your company are getting regular deliveries of clothes, this makes the most sense.

    1. carlie*

      Not just more efficient, you can really lean into the annoyance of having to give the same reply every time. You don’t even have to mention your discomfort with it being public.

      And to go nuclear, next time make the list yourself and give it to the coordinator. And if they ask again, make sure you reply-all first with “I gave you a full list last time and can resend if necessary.”

    2. Mental Lentil*

      Oh good lord, I can then imagine the person in charge of this sending that spreadsheet to everyone and saying “Hey all, please check the attached spreadsheet and make sure your size is correct!”

      Seriously, the issue is that the person asking for sizes has no clue how inappropriate it is to ask for this in a public way—they think it’s okay to share that personal information with everyone.

  18. Nursey*

    LW5 – I would suggest that you make sure you are booking your vacation times in the school vacations. If your boss then decides she doesn’t like, ask her for the solution.
    I’m assuming you’re in America? Where I live, most school staff, whether teachers or support are part of a union as we have EBA’s over here to ensure equitable pay (everyone gets paid the same and pay goes in what level you are, so all level 1 teachers get paid the same, level 2 get the same etc.,) and the unions negotiate there EBA’s. If you have a union, go to your local rep about this and also check what your contract says (again, in my country, everything is spelled out in the EBA but I’m assuming your contract will cover vacations)

    1. Alex*

      The letter says they have to keep the office open during school breaks, so LW finds them as busy as regular days. That’s the issue.

      1. Cthulhu’s Librarian*

        I got the impression Nursey was suggesting the school break periods as a sort of return impossible to sender situation – schedule the vacation and take it during the times this boss would be likely to find it least enjoyable or most difficult to arrange coverage, so that they realize how absurd they are being with their expectations, and are forced to find a solution.

        1. Nursey*

          Correct Librarian. This way, the boss will see how ridiculous this vacation policy is!

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

      LW5 already talked to her boss, who said that LW5 should go back in time and take a vacation in her first month.

  19. 10Isee*

    LW2, for what it’s worth, I had several months where I experienced severe vertigo, which would hit suddenly without warning, and once I’d warned my coworkers they were pretty cool about me sometimes dropping to the floor and quickly crawling to a corner or a chair. I hear all the commenters saying they would find it alarming or strange but… sometimes that’s the option available. Once I’d warned everyone, they adjusted quickly.

    1. WS*

      +1, I was coming here to say that. I have chronic vertigo and while it’s much more under control these days, when it wasn’t, I’d sometimes lie on the floor rather than fall. Once everyone knew about it, they’d come over and ask if I was okay, and usually I just needed a bit of time. It also meant the one time I did faint at work, they asked me if I was okay, got no answer, and escalated appropriately.

      1. Anima*

        Yes, I had a summer where I would topple over often. Glad I had a super lovely coworker who was I informed and would bring me my drops and if needed a coka cola (we both found the sugar and caffeine helpful and kept small cokes on hand) when I lied down suddenly, that I would not fall and hit my head. Maybe that’s actually a solution here – I mean telling your coworkers that t could happen and what actions they can take if it happens.

    2. Kes*

      But were you crawling all the way back to your desk or just to the nearest place you can sit? The latter is pretty reasonable to me but from the letter I’m imagining OP trying to crawl all the way back from the bathroom/meeting room/kitchen/wherever which could be a ways and involve crawling past a number of people, who are likely to be alarmed, where I think the better option would be to sit and/or get help from trusted colleagues to get where you need to go.

      1. 10Isee*

        For me, it was happening fairly frequently. Depending on whether certain colleagues were available and what I had to accomplish that day, sometimes I’d be crawling from one room to another. I recognize that it sounds weird, looks weird, etc. but the work needed to be done and I needed to get paid.

  20. Person*

    I have an issues that’s related to #3. It happens quite often that my manager wants to meet with me to discuss something. So he would send me and email about the thing, and he would say “Please set up a meeting for Friday.” I always think “dude, you’re the one who wants to talk to me. Set up your own meeting.”

    It’s not the end of the world, so I just do it, but he’s the one who wants to have a meeting, not me.

    And it’s not just him. I’ve worked for 5 managers in this company, and they all do it. Is there some kind of logic behind this?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      The logic is that work should flow downward to the lowest level person who can do it well, so that higher level staff’s time is freed up for work only they can do, at least if they’re busy. It takes two seconds for your boss to send that email. It takes longer to look at calendars, pick a time that works, and send an invitation. Not terribly long, of course, but if he’s shooting off that email in the one minute he has in between meetings, it’s not unreasonable to just ask you to set it up.

      1. NotAnotherManager!*

        This, exactly. I’m not asking subordinates to schedule meetings as a powerplay, I’m asking because they can typically do it much more quickly than I could and I’ve got 12 things that only I can do (plus meetings, meetings, and more meetings).

        My boss is a C-level executive, and I’d look very out of touch were I to suggest that she do that sort of scheduling. I’ve seen her calendar, it’s insane – some days, I’m lucky to get a yes/no answer on a question as she’s between meetings/high priority work. I keep my calendar up to date so that the folks on my team can schedule me for any time that’s not booked. Things that involve multiple higher-ups with packed schedules are delegated to admins because trying to find a mutually convenient time (in a timely manner) can be a bit like a logic puzzle.

      2. tamarack and fireweed*

        Agreed! I actually find it a very efficient and respectful way if my manager proceeds like this: a) they already know they have free slots the day they want to have the meeting, and I can take care looking over my calendar, b) if I get to send the meeting invite the loop is closed. And I don’t mind a higher-up shoving a small, appropriate (not insulting or whatever) job off to their report.

        I did something similar just this week with the intern who who works with me. In this case of course I see my role also as modeling workplace norms. I gave him more freedom last week to go down a path of his choosing to solve a technical problem, with the understanding that we would reconnect Monday. Monday morning he writes me an update, describes the path he chose, some technical pitfalls with it, and says he would have something to show me within another half day or so. I write back, say I’m free that Monday any time after X pm or the following Tuesday after noon, and ask him to book a meeting on Zoom (my calendar being open inside the org). He didn’t actually do that, but I knew I would see him in a group meeting Tuesday morning, so I could remind him then if necessary. And voilà the invite comes right when we start the group meeting. All good.

    2. Empress Ki*

      I think it’s a different situation when it’s your manager who requires it, especially if you will be part of the meeting.
      My manager often asks me to set up our 1-to-1 meetings and I never thought it was an issue.

    3. Bagpuss*

      In addition to what Alison says, it also lets you have some say in what time the meeting happens so you get to set it at a time that suits you

    4. random*

      The difference between your scenario and LW is that you should attend the meeting you’re asked to schedule while LW shouldn’t be attending the meeting they’re asked to schedule.

    5. The Other Dawn*

      This is pretty normal in my opinion and has always been the case with managers I’ve worked for. I’m a manager and I do the same thing. I’d rather have my direct report (another manager) schedule a meeting at a time that’s more convenient for him since he’s busy with his own things. Even though his calendar might be relatively free, he knows his busiest times better than I do.

    6. Green great dragon*

      Very normal. And it’s not just the initial setting up – if my report needs to move the meeting, they can do it themselves (and if I need to move it, my report may well be aware anyway, and if not I can just propose a new time).

    7. Wisteria*

      My professional goal is to become so important that I can have someone else set up my meetings.

  21. Just A Lawyer*

    OP2 re migraines, the condition is ADA covered. Go to HR and request a reasonable accommodation. Given that most meetings you attend are from your desk, maybe you could request an accommodation that you are always able to participate in meetings from your desk via teleconference or Zoom. That way, no need to worry about walking from one meeting room to the next. You need to make the accommodation request to start the ball rolling. So don’t crawl, but do contact HR and assert your ADA rights ASAP. I have migraines and they are terrible and steal chunks of time; plus, most people don’t understand them so I sympathize. Good luck!

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      You can go the ADA route, but this is also the kind of thing where you can probably just work out a plan with your manager without formal ADA documentation. (There are some companies/managers where it’s smarter to do that anyway, but in a good workplace with a good manager, you should be able to just figure it out between the two of you. It’s the same way that with a good manager, you don’t always need to go the formal ADA route to get, say, a chair that works better for your back condition; often you can just ask for what you need and get it.)

      1. Just A Lawyer*

        Management can change and I’ve seen them try to interfere with informal arrangements. I see what you’re saying but I think the best protection against potentially arbitrary managers is to do it in a documented way via HR. Especially if the OP may indeed request a permanent remote work arrangement. That needs to be in writing and well-documented and supported so it is protected.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          If it’s something like remote work, definitely! But if it’s more like “can we arrange for someone to help me back to my desk,” less so.

    2. TechWorker*

      Tbh I don’t think this would be a great solution, for a few reasons:
      1) realistically they’re still going to have to leave their desk, to use the restroom, get lunch etc
      2) LW doesn’t say how often this happens but if it’s say, once every few months then that’s an awful lot of face to face meeting time to miss out on. If LWs office has gone fully ‘hybrid work’ it might not be too bad but in lots of offices you could be the only one not in the room and that generally doesn’t allow for best participation.

      1. LW2*

        The migraines that include weakness tend to run in groups, so I’ll go two or three months without any and then have two weeks with three or four. Our team has one meeting a week for sure and I have somekind of additional meeting probably half the weeks. You’re right, it definietly feels like staying with working from home would be a lot of facetime to miss. I’m looking through my other options.

        1. Kes*

          I mean if having one means you’re likely to have more, I think working from home for the next week or two after you have one might be reasonable. That way you can minimize the risk of being caught inconveniently at work to the first one, and deal with the rest safely at home.

        2. Just A Lawyer*

          Yes I added a comment regarding her asking about remote work as an accommodation to address the additional factors. Of course this depends on whether or not OP2 wants to stay remote permanently. Either way, a discussion needs to be had with HR about an appropriate reasonable accommodation for a condition that strikes suddenly, randomly, and renders OP2 unable to walk back to their office for a period of time.

        3. Knope Knope Knope*

          I know there are some managers who put a lot of emphasis on face time but try talking to your manager about it. One of my best employees ever had a chronic illness and we worked out a regular work-from-home schedule before it was common. It allowed them to manage their specific symptoms and while there were definitely some members of my team who saw the work-from-home as lazy or whatever, it was so obvious to me as manager that this particular employee was contributing so much more value with work product than their colleagues that not only was it a non-issue, it was a huge lesson for me. They excelled while the others did not. If you find yourself crawling to your desk because there is literally no other option that’s one (not ideal) thing, but don’t default to that because of face-time.

          On another note, if I had an employee who did this in the name of spending more face-time in the office I would both question what I did wrong as a manager to create this kind of environment and what it says about my employee’s judgement that they thought this was a good plan to have in advance. Why are they putting so much value on face time over results and actual work? You’re a human being not a robot! You deserve to take care of yourself. If you are so ill you need to crawl it is totally and 100% reasonable to use a sick day or whatever accommodations are available to you and you deserve that.

  22. Just A Lawyer*

    Additionally to OP2 re migraines, given that you are concerned about other times when the migraines and need to sit still and/or inability to stand might strike, consider expanding the accommodation request to continue working from home. Once you make the request they should engage you in interactive conversation to determine if in fact yours can remain a remote position. Again, good luck!

  23. Richard*

    #5 Ugh, it’s just such bad management. I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that you’re not doing life-or-death work that can’t possibly go understaffed for a moment lest blood runs in the streets, so there’s no reason that they can’t do without you for a few days with plenty of lead time. I’ve worked in higher ed, and I get the impulse to buckle down on longer term projects while the students are away, but it only takes a little managerial confidence to let people take the time they’ve been promised.

    1. Jay*

      There is a little nuance here since we’re talking about K-12 education. I’m a K-12 administrator and I have been on a July-June contract for the second half of my careers (as opposed to a September-August contract which is typical for teachers, even though all of the work is done by June in schools with traditional calendars).

      Taking time off over the summer, soon after you begin a new position, is very common for 12-month school administrators specifically because of the reasons the LW #5 stated. The LW is correct that it is tough to take most of your leave during the school year (when you need to be at school) and then you only have a brief amount of time in June to use it up (which is not always practical). I have entered three new positions on July 1 and have always taken time off before the school year begins.

      This is generally understood within K-12 education, so I’m guessing that the LW is new this year to admin or possibly new to education. That said, it was challening to feel like you could take time off last summer with covid turning everything upside down. I am supervising someone who IS new to education this year and went out of my way to tell her to take some time off over the summer even though it would seem strange to do so early in her new position. But I this is such a universally understood norm that I would not fault the supervisor in this situation too much for not reaching out proactively.

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

        As a parent, if I heard that the staff could ONLY take time off during the summer, I would be angry on their behalf. The school needs to find a way to get coverage for the school (either two administrators, or a floating temp who knows the district policies, or whatever).

        1. gorplady*

          This is very common that school employees don’t get time off during the school year. In fact, in a school board meeting, I once heard a school board member say “we would rather pay out unused vacation because the worker’s job is to be there with the kids.”

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

            I might be missing something but my understanding is:
            * LW5 is administrative staff and doesn’t work directly with students.
            * LW5 does not get all the normal school breaks.
            * If LW5 doesn’t use her vacation, it neither rolls over nor gets paid out.

            1. LW5*

              I’m a mid-level administrator. I do work directly with students, but our team is big enough that if one of us took a couple days off here and there during the school year, things would be fine. The crux of the issue is that my boss is imposing a faculty rule (no time off during the school year) on us when we’re not faculty, while also requiring our department to stay open during breaks. And yes, unused vacation does not get rolled over and does not get paid out.

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

                Your boss is trying to have her cake (make you take vacations only during scheduled breaks) and eat it too (not let you take vacations during scheduled breaks). I know you know this, but she has to choose one or the other.

          2. anon e mouse*

            Yes. I was raised by two unionized K-12 teachers who only retired in the past decade, so I have a decent idea of what I speak. Their contract had three personal days in it per year, and that’s actually on the high side for a teacher based on my own research when I think about switching careers every so often. Sick time was much more generous but even that was understood to be a “use as little as you can” thing. As is pointed out above, administrators have a bit of a different situation.

        2. NotAnotherManager!*

          Same. I understand the preference for teachers not to schedule time off during the school year (though with a good lesson plan, kids survive just fine for a few days with a qualified sub), but to insist admins only take time off during the summer months seems really unreasonable and a possible deterrent to people choosing that particular field.

          I may be wrong, though – I worked in BigLaw for years, and that has its own unreasonable set of expectations, though the payscale is markedly higher to compensate for the demands.

          1. anon e mouse*

            There are lots of things that deter people from becoming a K-12 administrator, but I think this is pretty far down the list since most admins were teachers first (at least up until recently? I have heard this is changing in some places) and teachers are subject to similar restrictions. Basically it seems like if you are reasonably good at your job as a teacher, someone will suggest you apply for an administrative position eventually, and in most places the admin jobs pay a lot better, so the calculation ends up being whether you are interested in taking a mostly thankless year-round job in exchange for a good-sized pay bump, or not.

            1. Richard*

              OP doesn’t sounds like a teacher transitioning to admin given the way they’re feeling blindsided by this. It also sounds like you’re talking about K-12 administration in the vein of a principal, not an office manager or administrative assistant, which sounds a little closer to what OP is doing.

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

              But teachers don’t have to work covering the office during breaks.

        3. Jay*

          There is a difference between what is acceptable for an administrator like a principal vs. someone who works in adminstration (like the the front office). In most schools I’ve worked in (as a teacher and as a leader), there is an expectation that you will generally take your time off during the breaks. There are indeed some jobs where you are needed during the breaks specifically (such as a technology person who needs to upgrade the network while no students are there) but those are exactly the jobs where taking time off during school days matters the least). The LW is acting as if the supervisor is not allowing vacation, which I do not think is the case. So I think the LW should ask for advice about when to take off and find out which times of the year are best for discrentionary leave.

      2. Richard*

        It’s more than “not reaching out proactively,” it’s saying “you should have planned better.” Like I said, it’s bad management to not let your employees take their time off and treat them like they’re insane for wanting to.

      3. LW5*

        Thank you for sharing your perspective! You are right — this is my first K-12 role (I moved from higher ed). I had no idea it was considered normal to take time off right after having started a new position. You are a good supervisor for properly counseling your employee. I told my boss that I felt like I hadn’t received enough guidance from her on this issue and she just shrugged it off.

  24. Kate, short for Bob*

    LW2 just another thing or two to add.

    I’m assuming you’re talking about silent or semi silent migraine, given you can continue working. But most people won’t get that, and will think you’re either making it up or exaggerating it, or that you’re some kind of superhero to work through something popular culture tells them is the worst headache ever. And obviously, either is bad, because you don’t want to be the one with the dubious medical condition, and you don’t want to be putting an unattainable standard in the minds of people for when your poor colleague phones in with her head in the bowl and whispering with a classic migraine.

    I’m guessing the weakness etc lasts an hour-ish? How often are we talking about? Because if it’s likely to be more than weekly you might want to pursue a working from home accommodation. But either way, do have a plan that doesn’t look like martyrdom. You’ll need to stabilise your blood sugar, it’s good to rest quietly and away from strong light, so can you build a plan that gets you this? Side benefit of letting your colleagues feel like they’re doing something helpful, rather than stand by in puzzlement while you seemingly make disproportionately heroic efforts for the sake of the WEENUS.

    It’s never fun to have to be the poster child for a medical condition. You have all my sympathies.

    1. singlemaltgirl*

      i was wondering about that but i take people at face value and my experience may not be their experience. or i’m just a wuss :) i can’t be near light or even focus on anything when i’ve had migraines. i don’t any longer – they seem to have come at a time when i was extremely stressed and dealing with a particularly toxic work environment and i’d get them about 3-4 times a year and they’d last a day or two. i couldn’t work, drive, or anything. light was agony. but i have an admin who gets migraines and she can seem to manage with a couple of accommodations. so i think there’s a spectrum. or maybe i just have a low pain tolerance? though i did give birth without drugs so i’m not a complete wuss. lol

      1. Amira*

        There is a really wide spectrum when it comes to migraines!
        I get a little of the “classic” migraine (debilitating pain with light sensitivity, dizziness, nausea, etc) but I also get “silent” migraines (which is… really everything but the pain). I can work through the latter, and sometimes even the former, but there is a very distinct drop in the quality of said work… Interestingly, my work suffers the same whether there is pain with the migraine or not.

      2. Metadata minion*

        Yeah, there’s definitely a wide spectrum. I get migraines with absolutely classic auras and light- and sound-sensitivity, but the pain is at the level of a bad tension headache. And sometimes I’ll get *just* the aura without any of the rest of it, which always feels kind of absurd since I’m not in any pain, I just need to go sit in a dark room for an hour and do nothing until the sparklies go away.

        1. Overeducated*

          Hey me too! But I’ve always heard people say “migraines are NOT just bad headaches, if it’s not waaaaay beyond the worst headache you’ve ever had and completely incapacitating it’s not a migraine,” so I’ve always just described them as “headaches preceded by blind spots and weird vision stuff that only go away if I close my eyes in the dark for a while and take an ibuprofen.” Interesting.

        2. blerpblorp*

          I was just describing to a coworker that with my migraines, the actual headache is seldom even one of the top 3 worst parts! When I was younger, the headache itself would be a lot more severe but nowadays it’s the visual sparklies that make me have to go lay down in the dark, then the numbness of random body parts then the extreme body soreness and fatigue, then the headache, which isn’t as severe but lasts for 24 hours. It’s a whole thing! And I’ve definitely been able to work after the vision clears up if the headache isn’t too bad but it’s all a crapshoot. I also know I hate being a bother and always prefer to not get any help even though I can’t see properly which is also probably why the LW is like why should I have to get help when I can just crawl? But for whatever reason, crawling just looks too odd to people for that to be a great plan.

      3. Damn it, Hardison!*

        This has been very enlightening to me! I have classic migraines (pain, light sensitivity, nausea, dizziness) but didn’t realize that there were so many other symptoms, including no pain. Thank you all for educating me.

      4. Quoth the Raven*

        And in my case, I generally can deal with light just fine — I mean, the sensitivity is there and I don’t want to be in a room with roof to floor windows or right under the bright light bulb, but if I use a blue light screen or computer glasses, I can look at my screens without much problem — but I’ve been known to literally cry out in pain from just moving my head around, I get extremely dizzy and nauseous, and I need quiet because noise makes it all worse. I rarely, if ever, have an aura, the one thing I’ve noticed “reliably” triggers them are hormonal changes, and I’ve had them last for few hours or up to two or three days.

        So I don’t really need to go sit in a dark room, and if I absolutely have to I will power through them and work, but they’re definitely migraines.

        1. LDN Layabout*

          The migraine pain nausea and head movement are the worst of my symptoms as well, which surprised my friend who had the light/sound sensitivity much stronger than I did.

          Migraines are weird (and the worst)

          1. kittymommy*

            I get the light sensitivity and movement/nausea, for me the latter is the worse. I can put on a eye mask and sleep in the tub. There’s only so much breathing I can avoid. Weirdly sound has never affected me.

            Migraines are a weird and un-wonderful thing.

    2. LW2*

      With respect to frequency, I basically get a run of two weeks where I have three or four every two or three months. You’re absolutely right about the different types of migraines. I actually get both types and typically don’t get muscle weakness with the painful ones. That’s part of why I would like to continue to work during the silent ones – so I can save absences for the painful ones. I’m no superhero – if life throws kryptonite at me, I duck.

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        Does that mean that if you have one, you know you’ll have more in the next couple of weeks? If so, I wonder if you could get an accommodation that allows for sporadic remote work, i.e., for two weeks after the initial attack.

      2. Kate, short for Bob*

        Yes, I get temporary blindness migraine without pain, but barely any aura with the classic vomit and pass out from the pain ones. Could be worse, could be the temporary paralysis my neighbour has. Do much weirdness, bodies are stupid.

        Like Rusty says, maybe you can request to work from home when you see you’re at the start of a run?

        But I had another thought after my first reply, which was “please goddess don’t have someone put in a disability accommodation request which is literally ‘please let me crawl to my desk to work when I can’t walk'” because can you imagine the optics?!

  25. There’s probably a cat meme to describe it*

    LW1: If you don’t succeed in convincing them to change the system, don’t let the thought of whether it’s obvious to your team that you’re not posting your size make you feel uncomfortable. I mean this kindly though it sounds awful: no one will care.

    It’s incredibly rare for others to pop up out of their own universe long enough to: a) notice something different about someone else; b) stop to really think about it; and c) care enough to think, say or do anything further. It’s just how we humans are, self-centred and focussed on our own stuff.

    Even if it does register to anyone else, their first thought will more likely be a brief ‘she mustn’t want one/Jane must already have it/she hasn’t had time to respond yet’ than anything untoward.

    1. SAS*

      I totally agree, your manager is being kind of an asshole by saying it will be super obvious if you’re the only one who doesn’t reply- really?!

      Do you actually sit there and watch as your colleagues send their responses through? Are they all at once or over a day or more depending on shifts? Once I had sent my response I would be actively disengaging from slack so as not to get distracted by the next however many non-essential messages about people’s bloody clothing sizes. Ugh, sorry OP1.

    2. I'm just here for the cats*

      I think the most would be someone would remind the OP, because they would think the message was missed or she forgot.

    3. AvonLady Barksdale*

      So true! Most of the time, even if people briefly notice, they won’t care. This applies to many things, LW #2 notwithstanding.

    4. meyer lemon*

      I’m seeing a few comments along these lines here, and they feel quite dismissive to me. Fatphobia is a system of oppression, not just one person feeling self-conscious. If this were the case of, say, an office where everyone is pressured to share details about their dating life and a queer employee felt uncomfortable, I think that would be comparable situation. It’s about the office culture clearly not considering the social forces that make this kind of question much more fraught for certain groups of people.

  26. KR*

    Re Clothing sizes, I was an admin where I had to order clothing often. When we got new employees, I got their sizes so I could order uniforms and asked if they had preferences about things fitting more tight or loose, tall or short sizes, so on. I put all this info on a spreadsheet and periodically pinged the group to let me know if their sizes had changed, or if they needed a new uniform item I would take the opportunity to privately confirm their sizes with them. This coordinator shouldn’t need to ask every time but should be storing the info as she receives it in a private spreadsheet. And she definitely shouldn’t be asking in a slack channel. Either a form, or an email to the group where people can reply with their size.

    1. CoveredInBees*

      This sounds like a much better, and far more efficient, solution. Yes, people’s bodies may change over time but usually not so constantly.

  27. KR*

    Migraine OP, do you carry a work bag around? I wonder if you could carry a small stool or cushion to sit on with you? My husband has a 3 legged camp stool that folds up very small and he brings it everywhere he might feel the need to sit. It’s very small and might serve as a good emergency resting spot if you’re without a chair. (Something like this: https://www.basspro.com/shop/en/bass-pro-shops-eclipse-basic-tripod-stool?hvarAID=shopping_googleproductextensions&ds_e=GOOGLE&ds_c=Shop%7CBPS%7CTopPerformers%7CCamping&gclid=Cj0KCQjwlMaGBhD3ARIsAPvWd6gFTAY_9_X_iRrbOgBC_6BQ445JbjNJ7B2qpQOqVs9dBdx4mgtqEUUaArF9EALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds ) I agree that seeing a coworker crawling on the floor would be alarming for most people. While my migraines don’t happen quite like yours, I tend to pop a squat or sit against a wall and get my bearings, drink some water and then make my way to a comfortable place to sit when I get suddenly sick.

    1. AwesomePossum*

      If OP is unable to stand, a backless stool might be dangerous because it’s easy to fall off something like that if you’re off-balance. A cushion or sitting directly on the ground is safer.

  28. Migraines are Awful*

    OP2 I had to speak with HR (in the UK) about my migraines to get an adjustment made to remove a migraine trigger. I’d had a couple of very severe migraines and had had to wait to go home until I could see enough to move away from my desk (or see anything). HR pointed out that if I can’t get out of the building when the fire alarm goes off, they need to know so someone knows to assist me out and to stay with me. You should make sure someone is aware just for safety.

  29. Booklover13*

    LW3: I’m curious if there is some reason your meetings are better then ones they could setup themselves. I know for a time I set up meeting for others in my office of about ~40 because I was one of 3 people who could create meetings with a dial-in. I would set up the meeting for them, and then mark my time as free and just not attend.

    The other (unfortunate) option I can think of is that there are people who attend the meeting if you are the organizer, but won’t get on if your not listed. They’re asking you to organize as a form of conflict avoidance.

    1. ten four*

      Another thought for LW3: at my company our project managers set up offshoot meetings – as in, find the time on calendars and send the invites – but they don’t ATTEND the meetings if they don’t need to. Can you split the difference and set up the meetings but identify an owner for the agenda/to run the meeting/report out?

      1. Kes*

        Yeah, this is what I would expect. In many cases it can be hard to find the time on people’s calendars, especially higher ups, and the project managers are booking a lot of meetings anyway so they are better positioned to figure out what time will work best. They may not attend if they can’t make it or have other work they have to do and if they do they are often more listening in for any impacts to the project that they would care about, potentially while multitasking. Either way whoever asked for the meeting is most likely the one leading it.

    2. tamarack and fireweed*

      I was thinking along similar lines. My project management experience will probably fit into LW3’s little finger, but I have *some* certification training. And one concept that stood out to me was that of sponsorship, in the sense that the authority to start a task comes from somewhere and flows to someone who gets everything into place.

      I’ve often seen it that if you have a task / work packet that needs some cross-functional (team A, B, C) and sibling teams (eg. teams B1, B2, B3 the tech support teams serving different global regions) to meet an agree on something or other, that they get blocked because there is no one who feels they have the authority to call the damn meeting effectively. For example, team A and B1 are in the same office and already have great communication, and teams B2 and B3 are newer/smaller/located in regions that serve less valuable clients, and teams A and C are seen as a service provider to B, and the team whose work package REQUIRES the meeting is team C, then the people from B1 might not really see the urgency of the meeting, but if A, B2, B3 or C call the meeting, no one else comes.

      So while LW3 should not set up the meeting, and even though the request to do so may very well have a sexist connotation (as someone suggested upthread), maybe it is necessary that LW3 lends their authority to *someone* (in my example from team C) to set up this meeting, even as an action item (or whatever you use) that is formally referenced by Sally X from team C when she send out the invite.

  30. Sunny*

    Similar to the migraine problem, although it hasn’t come up in my work environment yet – I have a neurological disorder that means if I stand still for very long (more than five to ten minutes), my heart basically forgets it’s supposed to be pumping blood back up and I get really lightheaded. If I don’t sit down or start moving around a lot more, I pass out, which is not acceptable because it can result in serious injury. What is the recommended way to deal with this, other than just sitting down on the nearest acceptable surface (in the past, this has included random patches of ground, as long as they’re out of the main walkway) and waiting for it to pass?

    1. alas rainy again*

      We are getting side-tracked here but your description appear close to symptoms of low blood pressure interacting with nerve X reflexive control (I am sure there is a colloquial term for that medical issue). Stress, hunger, stuffy rooms and hot weather aggravates the problem, up to good old fainting. Any sugary caffeinated drink (coffee, tea, cola) is rapidly restorative. Preventative measures might include regular snacks to avoid hypoglycemia (aggravating factor), moving your toes while waiting in line, and sit whenever possible.

    2. alas rainy again*

      I found the colloquial term: vasovagal syncope, or vagal control (nerve X is the vagal nerve)

    3. alas rainy again*

      I would respectfully suggest to discuss this with your medical practitioner.

      1. CoveredInBees*

        I think the question was more about handling it in a professional sense with colleagues, etc. not medical management.

      2. Metadata minion*

        I would assume, unless they specifically say that this is a new and unknown condition, that if someone has a medical problem they have already discussed it with a doctor.

    4. Colette*

      Sitting down is generally fine – maybe a little unusual, but I’ve definitely sat down in radom places because I was tired, and I wouldn’t think anything of it. I think if the OP’s plan was to sit by the wall until she felt better (assuming it would be a short period of time), that would be fine.

    5. Book Badger, Attorney-at-Claw*

      I knew someone in law school who had postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, which sounds kind of like what you’re describing (in her case, standing up made her pass out due to a sudden drop in blood pressure, so she was on a high-sodium diet to keep her blood pressure up, occasionally needed to use a wheelchair, and had a couple of head injuries from when she passed out so quickly she didn’t have time to catch herself). She let everyone in her class and friend group know so they wouldn’t call an ambulance (it wasn’t a seizure, just fainting, but unless you knew that ahead of time, it looked a lot like a seizure), would sometimes use her wheelchair if it was a bad day, and, yes, sometimes sat down in the middle of walking because the alternative was to fall over.

      I think most people have experienced lightheadedness to some degree, just not as often or as severe as you, and I think if you were to have to sit down, you could tell coworkers that this happens to you sometimes, that it’s not a medical emergency, that you’re treating it (if that’s true), and that you’ll be fine in X minutes.

    6. Kes*

      I would say a) obviously try to plan ahead and avoid putting yourself in these situations, but b) if it occurs, sitting down wherever you safely can and wait for it to pass if possible. If they are likely to see this occur I would also advise your coworkers you work with most so they’re aware in case it happens and in case you need help.

    7. nonbinary writer*

      I have this, and I usually just say “Oh yeesh, feeling a bit lightheaded! I’m going to just plop on the ground for a second while my vision comes back.” Usually people are understanding and offer to help — I always accept a glass of water when offered since it helps with the lightheadedness :)

      I once passed out in middle of a dining hall in college and it took a full 30 minutes before I could stand up again without blacking out. After that, all the shame was burned right out of me.

  31. LondonLady*

    #LW2 – I also get migraines, and so literally feel your pain. I would not crawl in the office. I would sit down where I am, and say to nearest person “Sorry, I’m having a bad migraine, can you get a first aider?” then ask the first aider to help you to nearest rest area. Do you get an aura / distorted vision before the pain hits? If so, that could be your alert to get to a place of safety. It’s many months since I was in the office but my nearest colleagues knew to help me to the meeting room or quiet corner and then phone a cab if I got a migraine attack.

  32. Andy*

    LW#2 I think that this one strongly depends on company culture. In optional situation, the one where you work with well adjusted mature people, OP should be able to explain the situation and get back to desk however is the most practical for her in the moment. It may involve asking for help to bring device, but if it is crawling few meters from toilette to desk I would see it as my duty to get used to it.

    Not every workplace is like that, I am aware. But still, many responses put additional burden on OP. Having to call first aid team, so that they bring chair, so that they take you few meters to the office is in fact additional burden. Someone calling 911 on you while you are conscious and forcing large expenses on you is burden too. Having to ask for help you dont actually need is an additional burden.

    So yes, as discussion shows, many people wont tolerate or are uncomfortable seeing other people disability. And that will affect your career. But that is exactly what it is – privileging healthy people comfort over needs of the disabled person.

    1. LDN Layabout*

      Fundamentally, crawling, in a large office that houses thousands (especially if it’s open plan) is never going to be the practical solution.

      Like it or not, crawling is seen as a sign of distress. I can’t see how the burden of keeping a walking aid nearby or asking someone who’s aware of what’s going on for help outweighs having to explain to a new person (or people) each time that ‘no, I’m fine, just can’t walk right now!’ as you’re pulling yourself across a dirty bathroom or office floor.

      1. Andy*

        I never worked in office of thousands. It was always closer setup.

        Our offices were also clean. Meaning Vaacuum cleaned every day, if there is mess more. Bathrooms cleaned as needed. People were expected to change shoes as they entered to not bring mud in. People who needed/wanted would do stretching on the floor occasionally.

        I thought clean office is standard, with only crazy startups or manufacturing not being able to pay for cleaning or having mess as part of work.

        1. LDN Layabout*

          I work in a very large (thousands of people) office building of a U.S. corporation.

          Is the OP’s situation.

          As for cleaning and vacuuming, sure, once a day, more often for bathrooms. But they don’t clean and vacuum between every usage and I’m not willing to investigate what exactly those drops of liquid on the bathroom floor are, let alone crawl through them. And if you have hundreds of people walking through the office in their outdoor shoes, it might look clean, but it isn’t.

          I’ve never worked in an office where changing shoes was an expectation (although some people would commute in more comfortable shoes). Nor an office where doing stretches on the floor in a public area would be seen as normal.

        2. TechWorker*

          I think there are many parts of the world where it’s not required to change shoes on the way in. In those cases even if your office is hoovered daily people are walking on the carpet in the same shoes they wore outside on the pavement or on the train – places where I don’t think anyone would argue the floor is massively clean :p

          (I’m still all for LW crawling if that’s what works best for them, I think if it were rare and people had warning it just wouldn’t be a big deal)

        3. Tired of Covid-and People*

          Don’t know where you work, but being required to change footwear is not a requirement in most US offices. I would not crawl on any office floors, having witnessed people throwing up on them. The appearance of cleanliness does not mean really clean. Yuk.

        4. Amtelope*

          No, most offices don’t require you to change shoes when you get to work??? Certainly not something I’d expect to do or be pleased to be asked to do.

    2. RebelwithMouseyHair*

      It’s not just comfort levels here! People might think she’s drunk, and that’s the kind of gossip that spreads like wildfire in a big anonymous office.
      (My mother had Parkinsons, which made her feet curl over weirdly sometimes. She could only drop to her knees. People would think she was drunk, despite an ultra-respectable appearance. It was incredibly humiliating for her, so she stopped going out unless my father could push her in the wheelchair. )

    3. Colette*

      If I saw someone crawling through the office, my first thought would not be “that person has a disability”, it would be “something is horribly wrong” because people do not generally make plans that involve crawling. It’s a sign that something unexpected has gone wrong – and my first thought would be that they have something contagious that has come on quickly. That’s not going to be less disruptive to the OP than sitting down and asking someone to bring her what she needs (chair, mobility aid, etc.)

      And many offices are big. My floor at the office has something like 400 people on it (or did; today it is probably 0). That’s a lot of people, but also a lot of space. It’s not crawling 6 feet; it’s crawling 100 feet.

  33. ender*

    Re: #5 What states ban use-it-or-lose-it vacation policies? I work at a national organization with PTO and it’s use-it-or-lose-it, no exceptions that I can think of.

      1. Tired of Covid-and People*

        The US Government definitely has a use it or lose it policy for annual leave.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          But only once you have accrued a certain number of hours does the time become use or loose. In my agency you don’t hit use or loose until you have accrued the equivalent of 21 to 30 days off depending on position. And even then the only hit you loose is any excess over the 21 (30) days.

        2. Overeducated*

          The US government isn’t subject to DC employment regulations (e.g. short term disability and paid parental leave laws passed in DC that didn’t apply to feds).

      1. Daisy-dog*

        I recommend reading the exact legal guidelines if your company operates in those states. They may have found a way to make it work.

  34. pleaset cheap rolls*

    I read this in #4 ” it and has been for a few months now” and wanted to scream: “Just tell them!!”

    If you’re really busy, or you have some bad relation with that team, or a reputation as a busybody you’d trying to end, then maybe not. Otherwise, just tell them. They are in your organization f’cing up and it’s an easy fix. Tell them. Don’t hesitate.

  35. Sarah H.*

    LW1: I would start that request with, “In an effort to make this an inclusive work environment for women of all sizes…” You may not be the only one uncomfortable sharing your size, you may just be the only one willing to speak up about it. But this should be the kind of thing companies address before anyone has to speak up, because it’s objectively inappropriate regardless.

    1. Dancing Otter*

      Yes, body dysmorphia (sp?) is a thing, whether the person appears fat or thin or average.

      And cup size for bras? Is anyone ever happy?

  36. Invisible Fish*

    LW3: Is it possible team members don’t realize they can set these meetings up themselves? Sometimes, when folks have a manager in your position, they may be under the impression you must have a hand in everything, especially if they’ve encountered poor managers or micro managers in past positions. (I speak as someone who escaped cruddy work situations and then had to train myself to take level-appropriate initiative after a time spent having to ask “Is this okay with you?” a dozen times a day!)

    1. Damn it, Hardison*

      I was going to post something similar. I work. with several project managers at the same time, and they really vary as to what they want to do vs what they wanted team members to do themselves. I had one project manager who wanted to do everything/be in every meeting/on every email exchange no matter how small – I had no idea how they got anything done at all. It could be that your team members are used to a different style of project manager and don’t understand what they should be doing themselves.

    2. learnedthehardway*

      I’ve occasionally had to have someone else set up a meeting – usually because I haven’t known how to use the meeting software their company uses. It would make sense to have a resource that LW3 could direct people to use – either a link to instructions or to a helpdesk.

  37. Mannheim Steamroller*

    I fail to understand the BUSINESS PURPOSE of requiring employees to share their clothing sizes with everybody.

    What am I missing?

    1. traffic_spiral*

      Well, the sizing is “I work in a clothing-related company where the entire team often receives clothing from our clients that’s sometimes optional and sometimes required.”

      The “Public” bit is that the coordinator is kinda crap at her job and finds it easier to send out a Slack message every time, instead of just keeping the sizes on record.

      1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        Er, she doesn’t want to keep sizes on record, because updates would be even more embarrassing. People don’t all stay the same weight, they start exercising they get pregnant they breastfeed they take up marathon running they get sick they get the menopause, they get depressed…

        1. Rusty Shackelford*

          There’s nothing embarrassing about updates that would be more embarrassing about making the same request every time. A simple “new shirts are coming, please let me know by Friday if you need a different size from last time” would suffice.

  38. Tara*

    OP2, can you not just work from home or take off sick those days? My assumption would be, that if someone isn’t well enough to move across the office in an expected manner, they’re probably not well enough to be there.

    1. TechWorker*

      The problem with migraines is that they can come on very suddenly – I’ve literally had 10 minutes between ‘being totally fine’ and ‘can barely see’. It’s not a case of knowing it’s coming hours earlier and thus being able to plan your day around it.

      1. Damn it, Hardison*

        Yep, me too. Compound that with taking the subway to work and there were a few times that I got stuck at work with a migraine because getting home would be worse.

      2. Tara*

        Ah, gotcha. I can feel mine building for around an hour, which gives me enough time to say “right, I’m getting out of here”!

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          Oh how I wish I got that much warning. Like above, I get about ten mins notice – on a good day.

  39. Roscoe*

    #1. I don’t think asking you to put your size in the slack channel is great, that said, I’m not sure I follow your logic on the issue of sending it via a private slack message. I think you might think that people care a lot more than they do if you think they will notice you aren’t putting your size in the main message. And even if you don’t put it there, I’m still not sure why that is an issue. Not trying to be mean, but if they have eyes, they can probably figure out you are a bit bigger. And I doubt people are walking around conerning themselves with your bra size. Also, I know from years of organizing things, that people are going to respond in the fastest and easiest way posssible. I can’t count how many times I’ve sent a mass email among friends and said “please respond to me privately, not reply all” and they reply all anyway. If she sends the message via slack, and asks for people to private message her back, I’d bet she’d still get a lot of responses in the main channel.

    You are right to be upset about putting your private size in the main channel, but I really think you are overthinking the issue with sending it privately.

  40. Doc in a Box*

    Neurologist here, and fellow migraneur. (My aura is more-or-less Alice in Wonderland syndrome, where objects appear too small/farther away than they actually are; I have knocked things over in the past from misjudging distance.)

    I agree that seeing someone crawling on the floor would be incredibly alarming. I would think that person was having a stroke, and as Alison said, you run the risk of being perceived as a martyr or attention-seeker. Sitting on the floor/asking someone to bring you a rolling chair is still a bit concerning, but is miles better than crawling back to your desk.

    Lastly, please speak with your neurologist about the impact your migraines and auras have on your ability to do your job! If you do end up needing permanent WFH accommodations, having a doctor’s note will help.

    1. Shirley Keeldar*

      Yes, I think the crawling signifies two things to onlookers: 1) I am in absolute agony, and 2) My work is so so important that it must be done regardless. While as to OP, it just signifies 1) This is the most logical thing to do to take care of myself. The trouble is the clash between the meanings.

      I hope sitting in one spot works for the moment, OP, and maybe preparing in your head a few short things you can tell anxious coworkers that WILL help, stuff like, “Please get Joe or Ana, they know what to do,” or “Please just stay here and tell everybody else to go away and not fuss, I’ve got a migraine and I know how to cope with it,” or “Please get me a chair and then leave me in peace.”

  41. T.*

    #3, you may need to offer to train your team on how to host meetings in the platform you use. If they’ve only had you host, maybe they need a quick tutorial. “I’m glad you’re having a meeting to work through this but I cannot spend the time hosting a meeting I don’t need to attend. Would you like me to walk you through the steps so you can host it yourself?”
    Good luck!

  42. AvonLady Barksdale*

    LW #2, speak to your manager, but also try to get a buddy. Preferably more than one. Tell these people what happens to you and how to help you. That way it will be less alarming, they can give you the help you need, and they can keep everyone else out of your way. Unless this is something that happens every day or several times a day, I know very few people who wouldn’t help you out.

    The thing with certain conditions is that privacy is important but so is getting the assistance you need. I had a list of my manager’s contacts in case she went into labor at work. I know of colleagues with Type 1 diabetes who keep a co-worker extra informed in case any issues arise. If I saw you collapse, I would likely want to call an ambulance– but if you told me beforehand, then I might bring you a chair and a cold compress, help you up, and tell everyone else it’s ok and I’m on it.

  43. BekaAnne*

    #OP3 – I share your pain. But there’s also the complication if you’re using things like Outlook or other similar products. If you don’t need to be in the meeting, if you book it – it’s still in your calendar, and you can’t simply decline it or otherwise because you’re the organiser. That’s going to create confusion if someone is looking to book you in for a legitimate meeting. And if you’re out of office, unless you have your calendar set up so that people can change the bookings (which, to be honest, who sets it up that way?) they’ll then have to go to hassle to get it moved or updated or forwarded on to invitees. Definitely push back for those reasons. If it’s their meeting – they organise it and are responsible for dealing with all those crap requests to move/change/update the meeting. <3

  44. Forrest*

    I’m really interested in #2 from a disability rights perspective. I agree with Alison and the other commentators that it would be incredibly alarming to see someone crawling at work because they are unable to work. But if that’s the most practical solution for you, LW, then that should really take precedence over everyone else’s discomfort! If you’d rather find an adjustment that doesn’t draw attention to you and doesn’t require you to educate everyone around you, that’s absolutely valid, but “you can’t do this because it would be too weird and make everyone else uncomfortable” isn’t a great basis for denying an accommodation.

    1. TechWorker*

      +1 I came here to say this too, so many comments seems to be focussing on the fact that it would be distressing to see someone crawling, or suggest OP make adjustments that might seriously impact their career progression (work from home permanently or take all meetings from your desk). Even carrying around a mobility aid that you need once in a blue moon sounds like a faff…

      I think if LW can work through these migraines without pain it would be good to have a plan for that (mobility aid, whatever) kept at your desk so you can get around when need be. But if you get caught out somewhere else and crawling is the most practical way of getting to your office then *shrugs* I think people would get over it with warning.

      1. Michelle Smith*

        I think it’s highly likely that crawling around on the floor is going to hinder her career progression way more than working from home. It is going to look highly unusual and unprofessional. Not to mention unsanitary and gross. It may be illegal to discriminate against her for this, but to pretend that at a minimum her colleagues and supervisors won’t be biased against her is naive IMO.

        1. Forrest*

          Right, that’s all pragmatic stuff that anyone who has a disability needs to think about. But I’m talking about what an aspirational solution from a disability rights point of view would look like. “This looks highly unusual and unprofessional” isn’t an adequate reason to rule out an accommodation– the whole point of disability rights work is to expand the definitions of “usual and professional”. All sorts of aids, working patterns, tics, etc are “unusual and unprofessional” to someone, and “that’s not professional” is a highly discriminatory position to start from.

          LW absolutely gets to care about how she looks like to her colleagues and might not want to fight this battle. But if someone did want to manage their disability this way, what’s an actual business-related reason to prevent it, which isn’t just, “We refuse to expand our definitions of what professional looks like”?

        2. TechWorker*

          Honestly I think that depends on the company and how often it happens. I don’t think someone working from home permanently is a good solution to something that may only be a problem every few months *shrugs*

      2. EventPlannerGal*

        I don’t think that people are saying that it would be distressing as in people would be upset or sad, but that it would be alarming, as in people would think that OP was having a serious medical crisis like a stroke or heart attack. They did ask specifically about how it would be perceived, and I think people are being realistic in that response.

        1. Forrest*

          Right, and I haven’t criticised anyone and I’m not saying anyone is bad for answering hte question LW asked! What I’m saying is that from a disability rights point of view, almost none of these are good reasons to deny crawling as an accommodation *if that were LW’s preferred solution*.

          LW has said that her employer has a “strong diversity and inclusion focus, including diverse abilities.” Part of recognising and including diverse abilities is people getting educated about and used to stuff they might initially find alarming or mistake for a medical crisis, IMO: there are loads of disabilities which mimic or look like a medical crisis to people who aren’t familiar with them. Creating an inclusive culture is emphatically not about disabled people finding solutions that leave everyone else’s assumptions and reactions intact.

          1. Colette*

            I disagree with that; the employer could to say “crawling across the floor is disruptive to everyone else” and help the OP find another accommodation. The OP doesn’t get to unilaterally choose her preferred solution; it’s a discussion – and it should be, because there may be options the OP doesn’t know about or has dismissed as too expensive that would be better.

          2. Green great dragon*

            I don’t think anyone has suggested denying crawling if that were LW’s preferred solution?

    2. RebelwithMouseyHair*

      It’s not just that people would feel uncomfortable. My mother had Parkinsons and one symptom of her feet curling over outwards weirdly would cause her to fall to her knees. Everyone thought she was drunk! That’s far worse than making people uncomfortable.

      1. TechWorker*

        I’m not sure which way you’re trying to make the argument – but isn’t the key here to make people aware that she isn’t infact drunk, vs forcing her to never be in public? Wfh is a great accommodation if people want it but it shouldn’t be the default response to a disability or medical condition.

        1. Colette*

          If the OP works with 6 people in an area where those are all the people who would see her crawling, she can probably explain and all will be well. But if she works with 6 people on a floor with 500 other people, a lot of people are going to make assumptions, and she won’t be in control of the message. She may also have to deal with a lot of people talking to her as she’s crawling, and it will be a bigger spectacle than necessary.

          1. Forrest*

            This is true for every opportunity to redefine and expand the definitions of professional, though. A company can choose to nurture a culture where people make assumptions and that harms individuals who don’t conform to what’s expected, or one where people are encouraged to suspend judgments and recognise that “professional” might be much more diverse.

            1. LDN Layabout*

              If someone collapses or is crawling along the floor at work, I would hope people would make the assumption that something is wrong because let’s be honest 9/10 it would be and in some of those cases a delay might cost someone their life.

              1. Anononon*

                There’s also a difference between people who may regularly need to move in a different fashion versus someone who ambulates “typically” (for lack of a better word) almost all of the time.

                1. Myrin*

                  Yeah, I think that would be a key point in an “expand the definition of professionalism” debate. I do think there’s a difference between the situation in the OP and someone who, say, doesn’t have legs and gets around on a skateboard-lookalike using their hands (an actual guy I see regularly at the store I work at; I tried finding out if that kind of board has a specific name but a cursory google search just now didn’t yield any results); in the latter case, I would absolutely argue that the person in question shouldn’t have to mimic having legs just because their zipping around at 80 cm high looks unusual to their coworkers and that they aren’t “professional” for doing so.

                2. Anononon*

                  @Myrin – Yup. I’m thinking of a youtuber, Spencer West, whose legs were amputated as a toddler, who alternates between using a wheelchair and walking on his hands. Both should be equally acceptable, and someone like him shouldn’t be forced to solely use a wheelchair because it’s more “normal” (ugh gross word).

            2. pancakes*

              That’s a nice idea and I hope we do collectively get closer to it, but we’re a long, long way away from “if you see someone crawling at work, don’t assume they need an ambulance,” and I’m not sure that particular message would be helpful to spread. Someone crawling or appearing to try to crawl might well be in need of urgent medical attention rather than having a migraine, and it would be terrible for that to be ignored.

            3. Colette*

              I’d argue that the definition does not need to be expanded to include people crawling at work. In fact, it would be negligent to see someone crawling in an office and assume everything was fine.

              1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

                yes! in what world should it be normal for people too sick to walk to be crawling instead???

            4. RebelwithMouseyHair*

              A good way of redefining what is professional would be to say that workers who are not capable of walking, should not be working.
              I’m in Europe. I collapsed one day at work because of sudden migraine onset and the boss called an ambulance. I was taken to hospital where I had a consultation with a migraine specialist, and was sent home for a week to recover from the ordeal. No crawling required.

              1. Anononon*

                This comment makes me a bit uncomfortable. Even if I read your comment as meaning “workers who are not capable of walking” who regularly are, I still don’t like the blanket nature of it. There are sooo many scenarios where people have episodes or attacks or symptoms that go away relatively quickly. We shouldn’t be telling people that they shouldn’t be working when they just need a brief period of time to recover/what have you.

              2. Forrest*

                >>A good way of redefining what is professional would be to say that workers who are not capable of walking, should not be working

                Would you like to add some qualifiers to this?

                1. Myrin*

                  That reads like a bit of a “gotcha” – it seems pretty clear to me that Rebel isn’t referring to people who are wheelchair-bound or similarly incapable of walking.

                2. Forrest*

                  Thats not clear to me at all, actually! The idea that being able to walk is binary — you either can or you can’t — is pretty ableist, and doesn’t recognise how life works for lots of disabled people. It’s pretty normal for people with lots of different conditions to have days when waking is fine and days when they can’t walk.

                  Again, I’m not criticising people here, just saying that a lot of the way this is being discussed is playing into a lot of ableist tropes and assumptions. It’s not a gotcha, it’s literally just an observation.

                3. Myrin*

                  @Forrest, that’s definitely true.
                  I still think that’s not the kind of situation Rebel had in mind when she made her comment – I’m quite sure she meant “someone who is usually able to walk without problems suddenly finds themselves on the floor, disoriented and helpless, maybe they shouldn’t feel like they have to keep working no matter what” – but I hadn’t considered the sentence’s implications regarding the binary you’re talking about, so thanks for pointing that out!

          2. RebelwithMouseyHair*

            Yes, exactly my point.
            I didn’t mention WFH and in other comments OP appears not to want this, I don’t know why TechWorker assumed that’s what I was saying would be necessary.

    3. Def anon for this*

      What I generally appreciate about Alison’s advice is that she discusses the “how it actually is” along with the “how it should be”. Unfortunately, I think many people coming across their coworker crawling along the floor would find it significantly distressing and alarming. It’s just an extremely uncanny, unexpected thing. Now, if a coworker was comfortable enough to tell me that this could happen, it would greatly resolve much of my initial shock and concern. But, from OP’s description of the size of her company, it’s unclear if that’s possible or if (understandably) OP didn’t feel comfortable telling that many people, including essential strangers.

      Ultimately, no one in the comments or Alison are denying OP the right to do this, but they are discussing potential consequences (fair or not) of doing so.

    4. Kes*

      I don’t know. If seeing her crawling is consistently going to cause a lot of alarm and distraction, I don’t think it’s necessarily unreasonable to consider it best for all parties to avoid that. If she worked in a small office, I think it would be more feasible that her coworkers would get to know what’s going on, but in a large office crawling past everyone all the way back to your desk is likely to attract a lot of attention as people will be alarmed and concerned about what’s happening, which to me makes it not a very practical solution.

  45. T.*

    Migraine sufferer, I get migraines too. Best wishes to you! I have always alerted my coworkers because my minor episodes usually have me keep sunglasses on indoors and generally just malaise. I got reprimanded once for it by my manager’s boss and he wasn’t friendly about it when I explained and I was written up by another boss for calling out sick too many times when I couldn’t get them under control. Unfortunately we all face migraines differently and people who don’t get them just don’t get it so we need to educate them. Maybe have a friend in the office who you can text to walk you back to your desk. People who don’t get migraines will definitely think crawling is attention getting for no reason. Good luck!

  46. RebelwithMouseyHair*

    OP I agree that you shouldn’t crawl at the office.
    My mother had Parkinson’s, which manifests in loads of different ways, not just the shakes. My mother often found herself unable to walk as her feet would curl over outwards in a very strange way (impossible to reproduce). When it happened, all she could do was drop to her knees. It happened a couple of times in public and people would assume she was drunk even though it usually happened in the morning. You don’t want colleagues thinking that!
    I think you need an ally, who’ll come and pick you up with a good chair on caster wheels if it happens. But WFH would be a very good option if ever you get the feeling a migraine might be coming?

  47. Michelle Smith*

    If a mobility aid would help you ambulate during a migraine, get one and keep it by your desk. When you need to get up to pee, it will be there, and if you’re away from your desk, you can ask someone to bring it to you.

  48. I'm just here for the cats*

    #2 could your employer provide you with a wheel chair that someone could grab fo you and either help you back or you could wheel yourself back? I know someone who the company did this for because the office was far away from the front door. Person could get to the front door then wheel herself to their office.
    Crawling would cause a lot of problems. Here are my immediate thoughts:
    * Someone could trip if the didn’t see you. I’m thinking of delivery drivers (FedEx, mail) that would have packages and not see you.
    *Someone who is new would be very alarmed and would try and help which could make things worse.
    *Depending on your company it could be an OSHA issue.
    If someone else at works has a service dog the dog could become alert because of you on the floor and miss signs from the handlers. I know this from experience. Had a man who had a service dog..coworker would lay on the floor (no reason she was just weird) and the dog would see her and go over to her and nudge her because this was what he was trained to do. This distracted the dog from helping his actual handler.
    * I think the ground would be extremely gross at work to crawl around on

    1. Person from the Resume*

      I agree about the floor/carpet at work being gross and dirty. I am not a neat freak, germaphobe or even grossed out by seeing bodily fluid, but I definitely though “Ewww” about crawling on the floor in a busy office. So much dirt and debris on the floor of a busy office.

    2. fposte*

      The safety really concerned me. I’ve done crawling at home because of back stuff but there’s too high a risk at the office.

  49. I'mOnlyHRFrom8-5*

    #2 Not sure how large your whole office is, but can your department invest in more chairs to place around the office so, at least, if your legs were to give out, there is a chair nearby you could get to? I know this won’t solve the problem when you’re outside of your office, but it is a start.

  50. Person from the Resume*

    For LW#2. Please don’t. It would alarm me greatly to see someone crawling around the office. (Do you need help? Do you need an ambulance? levels of alarm!!!) If this situation occurs away from your desk ask for help to get you back to your desk.

    You don’t describe further, but if this is the first symptom can you power through the whole migraine? Or can you only power through the early symptoms and do end up unable to work as it gets worse? But my take is that when this first comes on, it sounds like it would be time for you to take immediate sick leave except you can’t get home safely. So my suggestion is to stay at your desk and sit out any meetings or movement around the office when this occurring. Just let people know: “A migraine came on me suddenly, and I’m unable to leave my desk at this time.” and if you need to go to the bathroom or something ask someone to lend their shoulder or shoulders for you to lean on in order to get there.

    1. Person from the Resume*

      Also I just recognized that LW2 may be an extremely independent person who has had to learn to keep moving through the symptoms so they can keep going. I hate to ask for help. It can feel like a failure. The fact you can do it on your own is great when you’re home alone. You can keep living your life and taking care of things without calling for help.

      But crawling instead of walking is not a solution in the office. Again, it creates alarm in others that you need immediate medical assistance. In this case you need to ask for help to get back to your desk and stay put.

    1. Self Employed*

      I am not a lawyer, but I’m disabled and am pretty familiar with the ADA. If LW #2 is unable to walk during the dizzy/weak part of her migraines, that is clearly “interfering with one or more major life activities” even if she can also perform the functions of her job.

      I think LW #2 might need a second opinion about her migraine treatment if she’s having that many of them 3-4 times a year. I know not everyone can be treated successfully, but I keep hearing about new treatments and preventive measures.

  51. Bon*


    Wouldn’t sizes only need to shared once? I’m confused why they’re asking multiple times. Bra sizes don’t change that often unless people are getting surgeries.

    1. Justme, The OG*

      Bra sizes can change depending on what part of one’s menstrual cycle they’re on.

      1. Person from the Resume*

        But you wouldn’t change the bra size you say you wear based on what part of one’s menstrual cycle you’re on when they are asking the question so this isn’t relevant to the question.

        1. Justme, The OG*

          It’s completely relevant to the poster’s assertion that bra sizes don’t change except for surgery.

    2. Amber Rose*

      Mine have been changing so frequently that I’m going bankrupt trying to keep up and I have never had surgery in my life. Not every person is the same for clothing size updates.

  52. lilsheba*

    OP 1 — Asking for clothing sizes, whether it’s underwear or not, is completely inappropriate and it’s a form of body shaming. I would talk to anyone I could talk to to have that done in a private manner, if the team is that small maybe everyone could email it to her.

    OP 2 — I am so sorry you deal with this kind of migraine, I had no idea there were ones that attacked that way so suddenly. Short of carrying a fold up cane with you in case you need it I don’t know what else you can do. Maybe this is an argument for continuing to work from home.

  53. Rebecca1*

    LW5, if you have any use-it-or-lose-it days, sometimes the easiest thing is to take a bunch of half-days off, and/ or an occasional long weekend. That wouldn’t be my choice long-term, but it’s certainly better than losing the days altogether.

  54. rabbit10*

    I disagree with the advice to LW4 about the typo.

    People shoot the messenger. It’s not worth expending capital on something that doesn’t impact your job or life at work. No one likes the person who points out mistakes that don’t concern them. It’s just not worth it.

    1. Mental Lentil*

      Hard disagree. If I had a typo in my signature I would be MORTIFIED, since this is a reflection on me, and very grateful to the person who discretely pointed it out. I’d probably send a piece of chocolate or two their way.

      This is not something people would shoot the messenger over unless you announce it in a jerky way. A discreet email to someone letting them know of it (as Alison suggested) would be welcome, unless the person with the error is not normal.

    2. pancakes*

      I don’t think that’s correct as to most professional workplaces. I don’t doubt there are people who would be weirdly aggressive or vindictive about having a typo like this pointed out, but it’s not the norm in places I’ve worked. For people who produce written work, taking corrections like this gracefully / not having a bad attitude about it is part of the job.

    3. it's me*

      This is not really an example of something that expends a lot of capital, though. Someone reacting harshly to a friendly note that a shared email signature has a typo is overreacting to the situation.

    4. ThatGirl*

      Pointing out a typo is hardly “shoot the messenger” worthy, nor is it expending a lot of capital. If you’ve worked somewhere where folks would be very upset about pointing out a typo, I’m very sorry.

      1. Myrin*

        Yes, unless you encounter an unusually grumpy person, the worst that can happen is that they ignore you, at which point you’ve done all you could do and it’s out of your hands (and no, I’m definitely not thinking of the time in 2015 when I told my vet’s admin that they have “medical” misspelt on their bank statements and she just looked at me with hollow eyes and as of my last vet visit four weeks ago, they still haven’t changed it, definitely not).

    5. Sparrow*

      In my job, I often review written work, which means I frequently point out typos of this nature. No one has ever gotten cranky when it’s pointed out. However, it’s true some people do have an ego about these things and/or get defensive if it’s implied that they messed up, and this is more common in my field than most due to the nature of the work. So while I let them know, I don’t phrase it the way Alison recommends. I don’t say, “You have this wrong,” or anything else that explicitly suggests they, specifically, are wrong or made a mistake. Instead, I say something more observational and passive, like, “It looks like “health” in the second paragraph was mistyped as “heatlth.” The vast majority of people don’t care either way and are just happy that you caught it, but I think it helps the petty ones save a bit of face.

      1. rabbit10*

        I think the difference is if it is your job or not. Of course it is right to point out a typo if that is your job.

        Where some people may get rubbed the wrong way is when someone who is not their boss and not even in their department points out their mistakes. I’m not siding with the prickly people here. They shouldn’t take it badly and it is helpful to point out typos. I’m just saying some people wouldn’t like hearing from another department about it.

  55. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

    I would consider getting a rolling walker and using it in the office. If people ask, you can say “I sometimes have balance issues and want to avoid falling.” When you don’t need it for balance, you can use the seat to transport your laptop, files, lunch, etc.!

    I have mobility issues and have been using walkers for several years. I recommend checking out the unfortunately named Comodita brand as being the sturdiest I have tried:

    1. lilsheba*

      That’s interesting, I just started using a walker today myself, around home. I plan to use it when I go out too. If I worked in an office I would probably use it there. And it is handy to transport things, I’ve discovered that already!

      1. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

        it’s one of those things where if you need it, you NEED it, and getting it can be life-changing.

  56. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

    LW#1: I can see making employees wear specific lines of clothing associated with the brand, but no one is going to see your undergarments, right? So maybe just don’t provide the info unless it’s for something you would actually be required to wear.

    1. Amber Rose*

      Yeah my first thought was maybe just opt out. My closet is half full of work brand shirts and jackets and I have completely stopped accepting them.

      1. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

        Branded stuff today is usually terrible quality, too. I remember the glory days of the late 90s; I have a half-dozen branded denim shirts that I still wear, even though the companies have long gone out of business. And plenty of t-shirts that are still good for the gym. Heavy weight of cotton, good stitching.

        1. Self Employed*

          I have stopped buying my friends’ art/slogan T-shirts on Teespring because the shirts are such terrible quality. The fabric is thin, the soft texture soon pills from the short fuzzy fibers, and they’re not even cut straight on the fabric or printed straight on the garment! I’m not going to pay $25 + shipping for a shirt that looks like a factory second and develops an unwearable texture in a dozen washings.

  57. Mophie*

    For LW1, I’m not sure why the accommodation offered isn’t adequate. She says her problem is people knowing her size. This completely solves that problem.
    I would do it a different way, but a policy of, “if you feel comfortable sending over slack, do that, if not, send to me privately” does not seem incredibly intrusive. And not like something that needs to be escalated.
    I think a lot of this stems from being self conscious, and believe me, I understand that. But nobody is saying “LW 1 isn’t putting in her size” and if they do notice I’m sure they attribute it to privacy.

    1. Reba*

      It isn’t only about that though. Reading between the lines a bit, I can see it being distressing to have one’s coworkers sizes repeatedly paraded before you on Slack — especially if OP is in a fashion-adjacent field where thin privilege and fatphobia are really consequential, body positivity movement or no.

      And, even setting aside the question of OP’s comfort wrt to her own sizes, these are coworkers! I don’t want to know my coworkers bra sizes!!! It sounds like the company culture here is to be really open about that stuff, so maybe that will ultimately not be a fit for OP, but it’s completely reasonable IMO to wish to have a boundary around discussing one’s body sizes in office-wide communication .

    2. Me*

      Because a good company doesn’t create policy that makes individual employees feel ostracized.
      Because there may be others who feel extremely uncomfortable but afraid to speak out against the norm.
      Because it’s establishing a policy based on well I don’t have a problem with it so the people who do are the outliers.
      Because future employees may also be uncomfortable with this and will feel like they don’t have the capital to address the issue.

      The accommodation isn’t adequate because it’s an utterly terrible policy to begin with.

  58. The Starsong Princess*

    LW3: You have my exact job! Here’s what you should say “Unfortunately, we don’t have a project coordinator on this project so you’ll need to coordinate your own side meetings.” If you do have a project coordinator, that is part of their role and the request should be directed to them.

  59. Kristina*

    The sharing of clothing sizes in this context is bizarre anyway. Why wouldn’t the person with the item just share what the size is and let people claim it if they want it?

    “Hey, I have a 38B plain black bra and a pair of XS shorts if anyone is interested” seems like a much easier and less embarrassing approach. That could also let you claim things for people other than yourself.

    1. fposte*

      I think the clothing is ordered for the employees rather than just turning up, so they’re using this information to get the orders right.

    2. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      I agree 100%.

      If there is a Keira Knightly on the team, all that’s really needed to be known from her is that she’s comfortable in an S or M. Likewise if there is a Christina Hendricks on the team; all that’s needed to be known is which sizes she’s comfortable in. And this absolutely screams out for an email, private message, or other discreet method of communication.

      Would the men on the team be asked to measure themselves to make sure the company slacks aren’t too tight?

      Asking the women for their 3 measurements is overkill, creepy, and (at least IMHO) unprofessional.

  60. Pikachu*

    #1 – Alison’s words were too nice. I’d go with one of her other useful phrases… It’s weird.

    “It’s weird that having our bra sizes public is so important to you.”

  61. Dr. K*

    As a frequent migraineur, I would suggest that the letter writer take meds at the very first glimmer of a migraine- this is surprisingly hard to do, because many of us don’t want to acknowledge that we’re having another f-ing migraine. OP might also work with a neurologist to look at better medications – would a triptan self-injection work better than a pill? Have they tried Ubrevly? Any luck with preventative meds, Botox? Basically, poster should consider working from home or medical leave until they figure it out. Crawling is 100% not acceptable…. if it’s reached that point, call 911. And Good Luck – migraine is a horrible disease!

    1. TechWorker*

      ‘If it’s reached that point call 911’ – orrrrr how about we trust LW when they say they can work even with muscle weakness? Why would calling 911 help?

      (Also some migraine meds, I have tried a few, are in the annoying category of ‘take them as soon as possible if you notice any symptoms’ and ‘make sure you don’t overuse them’. It’s a bit of a catch-22 and difficult to get right).

  62. quill*

    #1 I know that Allison said privacy reasons, but honestly the fact that it’s UNDERWEAR and no matter what your office is like, people are going to find it inappropriate for work might get you a better response?

    #5 Your boss is a disaster zone. You’re probably not covered by a teacher’s union, if such a thing exists in your state, but it couldn’t hurt to google if they have any advice / cross coverage for admins and other non-teaching faculty. And ask the teachers / other faculty if they’re having similar problems.

  63. Anonymeh*

    LW5: Academia is traditionally very challenging in scheduling PTO.

    I asked to take 40 hours (5 business days) to take my dad to a military reunion after he was confirmed in remission from cancer. I did understand that it was during the first week of the semester, but I had worked with all my faculty to get their contracts signed and processed before I left (a record for the institution, I believe!), and outlined a plan for coverage for anything else that came up.

    My boss (the dean) accused me of deliberately “setting her up” by submitting the request after the window of approval as outlined in the staff contract based on the date on the request slip (wth? I had worked there for 5.5 years in another department, and had never heard of an approval window – we started filling out the slip, had to wait to confirm travel arrangements or whatever, and just turned it in when we did; my previous boss never mentioned a single thing about it ever!), then denied the PTO request, plus I was formally written up for committing departmental resources to my workflow coverage without collaborating with the dean.

    So, per the policy as stated in the staff contract ;), I escalated it to my union for appeal. Because ….. why not? I was pretty sure if I had not had the outline, I would have been written up for failure to take the initiative to come up with a plan for covering my workload. And I am pretty sure I was the first person to ever formally appeal a PTO decision because I literally had to point out the subsection in the policy to the union president when I did it.

    Unfortunately, the appeal was also denied.

    You want to know how many contracts I processed during that week?

    (for a grand total of 10 minutes of time)

    1. LW5*

      Yeah, I really don’t understand why we need to be open during school breaks when we get an average of fewer than one student per day coming in to see us…

      Did you feel better for having pushed back, though? Or did it feel like it was all for nothing? I’m planning to talk to HR, but if that turns out to be a dead end, I’m trying to think through what my next step should be.

  64. Aly*

    To the bra and underwear sizes- it’s so sad that you feel shame over your size. Honestly every body is beautiful. Please stop thinking of your size as something to be ashamed of. It’s not. You are beautiful and you are worthy exactly how you are. There is nothing bad about L, XL, XXL … or XS, S. nothing. Don’t give it those negative connotations. Stop acting like you can’t be proud of your body. I would honestly have commented my size and not given it any emotional attachment (I’m bigger too) because we don’t normalize anything by hiding it. Making a big deal out of it will only cause others to make a big deal out of it. I promise you that the only people who have an opinion that matters are you and your doctor. Everyone else has no place to judge.

    Act confident even when you are not. That confidence is what people will notice more so than what size you put down.

    1. Pikachu*

      You don’t have to feel ashamed to want privacy at work. I’m not ashamed of being on psych meds but I’m not posting my dosage in a work slack channel for free samples.

      Confidence doesn’t fix the real problem anyway- that her boss is 100% out of line.

    2. pieces_of_flair*

      Fat people just can’t win. If we’re not being shamed for our fatness, we’re being shamed for our perceived lack of self-confidence. Telling fat people to focus on loving ourselves instead of on the systemic discrimination we deal with in very real ways every day is tantamount to telling fat people to shut up about our silly fake problems.

      OP never said she was ashamed of her size, so your little pep talk is also presumptuous and patronizing. She is uncomfortable with her coworkers knowing her clothing sizes, which is extremely reasonable given the discrimination she is likely to face. The reality is that other people’s opinions of us DO actually matter, whether or not we agree that those people have a “place to judge.” Our perceived professionalism/competence at work, our salary, and our likelihood of being hired in the first place are all influenced by size discrimination (among many other types of discrimination, of course).

  65. Cooper*

    LW2- I know you said you don’t need mobility aids normally, but many, MANY people who use them only need them occasionally! Having a cane or walking poles that you can just take with you to the bathroom sounds significantly less out of the norm for an office.

    (Like others here, I would be extremely concerned if I saw a coworker crawling somewhere; it very much seems like a situation where there’s an emergency. Like, call 911 level of emergency.)

  66. Not Size Small*

    When I was in high school, a girl on my swim team was organizing t-shirts for all of us on the team. She said after practice when we are all gathered “I’m going to order the t-shirts tomorrow. We all need Smalls right?”

    I did not and do not wear a small size. I felt awful having to say “No. I need a different size” which was obviously not extra small. Whether she intended the question maliciously or not (we were frenemies at best), it was a terrible feeling.

    I’d push for getting the size questions into a Google form or JotForm. That way people can always go back and update as they need to as well. They won’t have to ask everyone every time and people can maintain their privacy for whatever reason they need to.

  67. SJJ*


    Are these meetings the result of action items driven by your meetings? If so, I’ve always taken the route of explicitly asking/assigning follow up meetings to a person as part of the meeting (and make sure that person isn’t you). If no one steps up – directly ask someone with the most skin in the game for getting the meeting setup.

    Ex: “Sounds like Groups A and B need to decide on teapot handle dimensions so Group C can move forward with tooling. , can you drive those discussions and give an update in our next meeting?”

    If it’s not something driven by your meetings, be upfront and say they need to set it up. You are “allowing them the opportunity to fit it into their schedules the best.”

  68. First time listener, long time caller*

    It seems like the OP5 situation only affects first year employees. First year employees often miss out on the ability to use certain benefits because of timing reasons. This seems like Not A Big Deal and certainly not something anybody else would reasonably use their office capital on.

    1. LW5*

      It affects first year employees the most, but the problem persists beyond that. I lost 12 vacation days my first year, and I’ll lose 7 left this year. I also talked to a colleague in another department the other day who’s been here for 5 years and they’ve never been able to use all their vacation time either.

  69. Pink Geek*

    LW#2 Any chance you can use a rolly chair to get around in these cases? If the meeting rooms don’t have them maybe a work friend can bring you yours from your desk.

  70. Melissa*

    For the person with the migraines, first I’m sorry you have to deal with them. I also suffer with migraines. Please don’t crawl anywhere unless you need to call 9-1-1 or really have no choice. Sit on the floor if you need to and let someone assist you back to your desk. Speak to your management team and HR so they are aware of your condition and if you’re comfortable, let them know some warning signs to look out for. For me that can be getting quiet, forgetting words, difficulty focusing, etc. Often, my co-workers knew I was not ok.

  71. LW2*

    Hello everyone. First of all, thank you all so much for helping me wirk through this. I knew crawling would look weird, but didn’t really realize how weird until I had the occasion to crawl back home from the bus stop a few days ago. The reaction to that is what made me wonder what it would be like at work.

    I don’t get the dizziness/muscle weakness often enough to make working from home necessary.
    I am looking into getting a folding cane and will definitely discuss the general situation with my manager. The one thing you’ve all made clear is that “being allowed to crawl” is not a reasonable accomadation because it requires the most mental effort by the most people (essentially everyone who would see me), even if it originally felt like the one requiring the least action by the company.

    I go back to the office in the fall and will definitely give Allison an update after I’ve been back a few months and had the opportunity to deal with a few attacks.

  72. The Shadow Broker*

    LW2! I also get debilitating migraines very often, often enough that most people in my office know I get them. I also get dizzy and experience vertigo when I have a bad migraine; to top it off, I have arthritis in my knees, which can make it difficult for me to stay upright. Then I found out about folding canes! They sell these; they fold up small enough to be carried in a work bag or purse, and you can just pop them out when you need them. That would be much better than crawling. People will still have questions for sure.

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