my client altered my email to make himself look better, what’s a good job, and more

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

1. My client edited my email before forwarding it, to make himself look better

I am managing a project for an executive client, Bob. After a protracted issue, Bob is taking a lot of heat from his superiors about getting this issue resolved. After a three-week period of no response from Bob, I finally heard from him and was able to proceed. My email said something like, “It’s been about three weeks since we took our last action on 6/3. I hadn’t heard an update until this morning, but now that I have, we can proceed with our next step.” Bob then forwarded my email on to his president and CFO and edited my words to say, “It’s been about three weeks since we took our last action on 6/3, so now we can proceed with our next step.” I only noticed the edit because he looped me back into the chain many emails later.

His edit is minor, but the manipulation of my words feels unethical to me. He could’ve summarized my point in his own email, rather than change the written record of my response. Not to mention, he’s using my words to misrepresent the situation to his superiors and lay the burden of responsibility on me. On the other hand, he’s a client and I’m trying to give him a little grace to do what he needs to do within his own organization.

Is this kind of edit acceptable? And, given my situation, how would you handle it?

No, that’s really shady! He edited your email so it wouldn’t be clear that he had caused a delay — and in doing so, made you look like you had an odd lack of urgency about the work. (“It’s been three weeks since we last acted so now we can act again”?) It’s not acceptable at all.

Realistically, sometimes people do try to finesse this kind of thing when they’re taking to their boss (“giving him a little grace to do what he needs to do within his own organization” is a good way to put that), but changing your written words crosses a line.

As for what to do … it’s tricky because he’s a client, not a coworker. If he’s your main point of contact and/or he holds a lot of sway, I’d probably just let it go if it’s only happened once. Sometimes you’ve got to let things slide with clients, at least as long as it’s not a pattern. On the other hand, I can imagine situations where I’d say something — like if you work more closely with his boss, or if she’s expressed concern about his work before, or if you and Bob have worked together for years and have excellent rapport.

You should probably note to yourself that Bob is willing to throw you under the bus to cover up his own mistakes and think about whether there’s anything you can or should do to ward that off proactively going forward (like including his boss on updates if that wouldn’t be odd to do, etc.).

2. Should I be a manager?

A new opening is coming up in my office or a low level managerial position in a new department. This new department is the same one that I was moved to when it was created. My grandboss, my partner, my coworkers, my dog, anyone I tell about it, they all tell me I should apply and I am pretty sure the position was created with me in mind. But…

• I don’t like telling people what to do, doing budgets, being responsible for others (including taking credit for other’s work), or anything that I envision to come with managing.
• I also worry it will interfere with my family life and outside advocacy work since it seems clear that working 40 hours per week wouldn’t be an option.
• I also will no longer be a part of the union and feel like I am not a good citizen if I leave a union.
• I also quite enjoy doing the technical work that I am currently doing and am pretty good at it (I have even been getting accepted to present at conferences lately on my work).

I can’t tell if this is growing pains or really going to make things miserable. Also there are also folks younger than me who seem much more interested in doing things such as budgets than I would be in a million years.

Point number one is the likely deal-breaker: you don’t like some really core tasks of the job! Point two would concern me a lot too, if it’s more hours than you want to work.

I’m less concerned about point three because there are lots of ways to be a good citizen other than being in a union! As a manager, you’d be in a position of more power where you could advocate for others and could contribute toward good in your workplace in a way that you can’t now. (Make sure that would really be true in this particular job, of course. If you’d be relatively powerless and instead would just be charged with enforcing edicts from above with no real opportunity for influence, you could end up worse off.)

But that’s beside the point if you don’t like the work of the job, and it sounds like you don’t. Plus, you like the job you have now! Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to move into management at some point; instead you could talk to your boss about what other ways they can offer you to advance at work instead of taking a job you don’t really want to do.

All that said, make sure you’re right about not wanting to do it! In particular, I wonder if you have a clear enough picture of what managing is. For example, you mentioned not wanting to take credit for others work, but good managers don’t do that (they share in the credit when things go well, but you’d also be charged with ensuring people are recognized for good work, not taking credit away from them). Any chance that you havre a skewed idea of what good management looks like and what the job really is? And is there a way to try out something like an interim management role to test your thinking and make sure you really do dislike it?

Related: does anyone actually like being a manager?

3. Working at a marijuana dispensary if you want to be a teacher later

My question is for my college-aged son (I’ll call him Sam). His future goal is to be a public school teacher (he’s entering his junior year in college). A friend’s dad (I’ll call him George) owns a pot dispensary, and pot is legal in our state, both for medical and recreational purposes. George has offered Sam a job at his dispensary, with decent pay and flexibility to work around his school schedule. While Sam currently has a part-time job, he doesn’t like it a whole lot, and he’s seriously considering taking this job with George. I’m concerned that if he took the job, it would possibly take him completely out of the running for any teacher jobs, even if he doesn’t put it on his resume, because it might show up on a background check. While pot is legal here, there’s still a stigma, and my impression is that teachers are sometimes held to a higher “moral” standard — and sometimes rightly so. I don’t want Sam to torpedo his career before it even starts.

What do you think? Is taking the job working for George as risky as I think it is? Or am I being silly? (I swear that I’m not one of those horrible moms who step in for their kids all of the time. I’m just not sure about this.)

Yeah, I hate to say it, but if he wants to be a teacher, this is something I’d worry about. Teachers can be held to ridiculous standards about their past, and are often penalized for any evidence that they have ever drunk to excess, used or condoned illegal drugs (and marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, even in states that have changed their own laws), had sex outside of marriage, etc. If he later becomes a teacher and students uncover this past job, it could turn into a problem. It’s not okay that that happens, but it does.

But all you can do is point that out to him, maybe show him some articles about teachers who have been fired for less, and let him decide where he stands.

4. What’s a good job?

What is a “good job?”

That’s up to you! Different people define it differently. It might be about interesting or challenging work, or easy work, or opportunities to build your skills or grow professionally, or excellent benefits, or high pay, or coworkers you like, or a fair and supportive boss, or a schedule that makes it easy to pursue other interests outside or work, or a culture where everyone has a beer together on Fridays, or a culture where you’re pretty much left alone to do your work independently, and on and on.

It’s easier to name things that can ruin an otherwise good job. Those are things like bad or no benefits, unclear expectations, lack of tools and support to get your job done, a culture that you’re never quite comfortable in, and a whole category of bad boss possibilities (from micromanager to tyrant to jerk to wimpy to absentee and, again, on and on).

{ 370 comments… read them below }

  1. Pond*

    1. What about the option of calling Bob directly on it? Even as a small mention next time you have a conversation ‘by the way, I noticed that you changed my email.’ You could say more about that not being okay, please don’t do it again, etc. depending on your relationship, but at the very least put him on notice that you did notice.

      1. Julia*

        I don’t think there’s any mystery about why he did it. He wanted his boss not to know he’d sat on an email for weeks.

    1. Kate*

      Asker here! As Alison alluded to, Bob has a history of misrepresenting things.

      I ended up doing exactly this– after he doubled down in a later email, I called him directly. I said something like, “Well, I noticed you changed my email. I just want to be sure you know I’m doing everything I can to get this resolved quickly. Is there more you believe I should be doing?”

      Bob was (predictably) slippery about it, and while he did admit that he’d edited the email, he explained it away as “just trying to make sure the responsibility didn’t lay on [Bob’s department].” So… yeah. Now I know exactly what I’m dealing with here!

      1. TechWorker*

        ‘Just trying to make sure the responsibility didn’t lay exactly where it should do’
        What a snake…

          1. tangerineRose*

            I’d be tempted to reply to his e-mail and “accidentally” include all, asking how my e-mail changed and including the real e-mail as proof. But this might not be the best way to deal with the issue.

            1. Selena*

              If that’s an option at all i would definitely try to get him to incriminate himself in writing and do an ‘accidental reply-all’.

              But otherwise i’d always cc someone else on every email with Bob (Bob’s boss, a coworker of him, whatever makes sense).

              It won’t shut down a hardened liar, but it puts the evidence out there and lets you make your case without coming across as someone who ‘complains about a typo’ in a month-old email.

        1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

          This is where my sarcastic side would break loose. “You’re right, Bob; honesty probably isn’t the best policy. Are there any other truths I should be aware you’re denying?”

            1. Carol the happy elf*

              Yep. I’m an old gal in a field where Bob’s lack of integrity would mean that the client (his company, not Bob himself) would have to be alerted to this.
              We would then go back through the email records (I adore email, for this very paper-trail purpose!) and check for other discrepancies, print them out side by side, highlight anything that meant Bob was doing this, and request a different point if contact.
              We would have a Zoom meeting if an in-person was impossible, and if Bob had done this with frequency, (more than twice) to damage the reputation of more than one person, esp if they were junior or senior, or over a period of time,
              Bob would have his sack-box checked by security on the way out.
              By the way-
              “Your mind works the right way, Potter. You want to think about being an Auror.”

              Great, great catch. Bob has probably been doing this for years, not a Big Lie that’s obvious, but little attacks, undermining people in ways that are hard to see.

              1. Lana Kane*

                Completely agree. I’m certain this isn’t the first time he has done this and he thinks he is getting away with it (well, he KNOWS he is getting away with it). Building the evidence trail might be tedious, but worth it.

                No one messes with my reputation (squints eyes menacingly)

        2. Loosey Goosey*

          Seriously! That’s not even explaining it away; it’s just straight-out saying, “I screwed up and threw you under the bus to cover my own a$$…and I’m not sorry.”

        3. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          Beware of buses while around Bob. Sounds like he’s very into shifting blame away from him, and I wouldn’t do anything verbally with him anymore (because while he will alter emails, you still have the originals to send/show when he tries to throw you under the bus again.

        4. KoiFeeder*

          That’s an insult to snakes and serpents, who are valuable members of society. I have never met a snake that was not willing to take full responsibility for biting me!

          1. New Jack Karyn*

            “La la la, oh–you want to be super careful of that garter snake over there, they’re super vicious!” (cue Shaggy, “It Wasn’t Me”)

      2. Nitpicker*

        Do Bob’s actions have a chance to jeopardise your (future) work with the company (if they’re led to think you’re too slow for instance), or is it just something that you’ll have to keep in mind about Bob (he’ll throw you under the bus at the first opportunity), but that has no real impact on your relationship with his company?
        If it’s the former, I’d be inclined to find a way to point this out to Bob’s supervisors, though I’m not quite sure how. There’s no reason you should pay for his mistakes.

        1. Kate*

          They do have a chance to jeopardize future relations between our two companies. This was a particularly tough spot for me, since they are our client. Luckily, when I did eventually speak to my boss about it, he 1) understood and acknowledged the trickiness of my position and 2) validated my concerns and shared my point of view (namely that this was Not Okay). So, all in all, it was a success for me. (Although I can admit I still hate to have had any issue at all with a client, since we are in a service industry!)

          1. EPLawyer*

            You are in a service industry — there WILL be issues with clients. Just do your job well, explain things to clients as you go (don’t expect them to remember all the steps you told them from the initial conversation) and document everything.

          2. Let's Just Say*

            I’m also in client services. It doesn’t feel good, but Bob is entirely responsible for creating the issue, and you can’t save people from themselves! I hope your boss is going to be more looped in on your work with Bob going forward, to give you support, and Bob knows not to pull this type of thing again.

          3. Nitpicker*

            I’m glad it was a success for you then! And glad you managed ot have this (difficult) conversation with Bob as well. Hopefully, as Let’s Just Say says, your boss will be more involved in your work with Bob, so that if things need to escalate, they can have your back too.

          1. Carol the happy elf*

            And you’re really sharp to have noticed this. It was extremely subtle of him to do this, and most people wouldn’t have caught it, or would have thought it was “editing for concise” rather than “editing for subtle sabotage”.

      3. Lacey*

        Wow. Not really a surprising response from Bob, but it still floors me when people openly explain their deception as the perfectly reasonable option.

      4. Empress Matilda*

        Oh wow. So at least he was honest about his…dishonesty? He sounds charming.

      5. quill*

        Back away very slowly and quietly. Bobs of the world, like the T-rex of jurassic park, do not have excellent vision.

      6. Observer*

        , and while he did admit that he’d edited the email, he explained it away as “just trying to make sure the responsibility didn’t lay on [Bob’s department].”

        JUST? JUST!?!?!?

        This guy is terribly bad news – he actually admitted to lying to deflect blame from himself. And he thinks that this is an ACCEPTABLE explanation!

        Watch your back with this one. And start BCC’ing yourself and your boss. Tell what you are doing and why – She doesn’t need to do anything with these emails, but you want an independent trail of emails that you send to this guy.

        Oh, and double check EVERYTHING he says. Also, get EVERYTHING he tells you in writing. If it’s an email, save copies where you can find them. Because you KNOW that if something goes wrong he’s going to blame you and doctor whatever documentation he can.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          Yeah – I said up above it’s time to start doing everything with Bob in writing. Also, be aware of where every bus is when he’s around – I bet throwing people under buses to make himself look better is second nature to him.

      7. Elenna*

        “just trying to make sure the responsibility didn’t lay on [Bob’s department].”
        So… he’s literally saying that he doesn’t want to be blamed for the delay that is entirely on his shoulders. I’m sure his boss would accept that with absolutely no qualms. Not!

      8. Momma Bear*

        I would CC another party when you really need to CYA with Bob. Is there another team member that you could reasonably loop in, on either side?

        1. AnonInCanada*

          Ya, Bob’s boss, if you can get a hold of his email address! Make sure it’s prominent in the CC field as well, so Bob will think twice before he embarks on any more shenanigans like this!

        2. Let's Just Say*

          I would be cc’ing my own boss on every communication with Bob. He can engage in whatever shady stuff he wants, but I’m going to CYA myself and protect *my* job and reputation.

      9. Eye roll*

        “If any consequences of the delay end up on us, I will be sending the original email and all associated records needed to verify it to your manager. Please keep that in mind next time you edit work records.”

  2. Unfettered scientist*

    #3, I agree and I think it’s a total shame. I might want to be a teacher if not for the invasion into every aspect of your personal life, low pay, and having to deal with some parents. It’s no wonder it’s hard to find and keep good teachers at most public schools and why all my teachers in hs told me to NEVER consider teaching.

    1. Gen*

      A friend of mine did some diverse beauty pageants before her teaching career, nothing lewd but it was still enough to cause trouble with students (and parents). She had to change her name to something more generic to avoid being rediscovered at every teaching job

      1. I'm just here for the cats*

        Can you tell me what a diverse beauty pageant is and how it’s different than others?

        I don’t understand how it could be a problem?

        1. Clorinda*

          Mu mind went straight to burlesque, as being the sort of thing some parents would fuss about.

        2. Jack Straw*

          Agreed — my mind went to burlesque, possibly pinup, and body building. When I was teaching, I had a coworker who did body building pageants, and she went 3-5 states away to compete.

        3. Carol the happy elf*

          My friend’s son is LGBTQ, and a diverse beauty pageant for his group means anything from drag to trans, or dressing in some pretty wild, over-the-top outfits. His are sometimes themed, like “Roaring 20’s”, or Broadway Hits.

          Sometimes, they can be for girls who are on the spectrum, or disabled, so they can have a chance to feel pretty, but in a safe environment.

    2. Grump*

      I agree, too. And the job *will* come up in a background check – he’ll be asked to disclose all employment, which means being honest or (never, ever do this) trying to hide it and having it come out anyway, which would almost certainly torpedo him. It stinks but I’m glad his mom is thinking along those lines.

    3. Jyn’Leeviyah the Red*

      I’m a public school teacher and I have to sadly agree. Even if pot is legal, it will likely be a black mark against getting hired at this point.

      1. Veteran teacher*

        Another agree from me. LW, if your son doesn’t believe you, ask him to look at/ start the application for any teaching job (he doesn’t need to submit it/finish it) to get a sense of how involved the application is. It usually takes me roughly 4 hours to apply for a teaching job bc they just. want. every. freaking. detail. of your entire life.

      2. Eva*

        It’s an episode in the sitcom Last Man Standing, Season 8, Episode 11, titled Baked Sale, where Vanessa Baxter (the mom) is running for public office and her foreign exchange student, Jen, is selling muffins to raise money for the geology club. The show is set in Colorado and Jen sets up shop outside a dispensary, which she is promptly shut down by Principal Larabee (even thought she’s raking it in!) because it’s not a good image for the school and because of the risk of Vanessa losing the support of the Teachers Union.

        Just sayin. They wrote a sitcom episode about this very thing – so I think its a thing.

      3. Observer*

        Even if pot is legal, it will likely be a black mark against getting hired at this point.

        No doubt about it. If a teacher can lose a job over being seen on vacation with a drink, what do you think is going to happen when people find out that he actually SOLD DRUGS! Help, I need my fainting couch! (and that’s sarcasm, folks!)

        1. RB*

          Yeah, I don’t get this either. People work at bars who never drink. People work at smoke and vape shops who never smoke (tobacco or otherwise). It’s like assuming that just cause someone works somewhere they are partaking of the merchandise, which isn’t really a thing that happens all that much.

      4. Thunderingly*

        I think this might be location specific. Where I’ve taught, even before it was legal, when they asked about any misdemeanors, you specifically didn’t have to declare any related to pot (or driving). And I don’t remember ever having to fill out a full background check (just submitting my fingerprints for that check). I’m guessing where this letter writer is, there’s more of a stigma, but if the young man was planning to move to the West Coast to teach, he’d probably be ok.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          You unfortunately need to be careful about this if you want to go into government work as well (location, level, and type you are aiming for). Some places it may not be as big of a deal, other places it’s going to be an automatic no.

      5. Yorick*

        Something to remember is that pot is NOT actually legal. It’s still against federal law, no matter what state you’re in. Working at a dispensary probably isn’t, but the fact that the substance isn’t fully legal is probably still relevant for this type of job.

    4. Mountain Home Kid*

      As a current teacher and someone who is often on interview committees, I would recommend Sam not take this job. It’s probably not fair, but sitting in an interview I would question his decision making abilities if he knew he wanted to be a teacher and took this job.

      Parents search up teachers all the time- especially elementary teachers. Is it possible that the dispensary has a FB site and might post a picture and caption of him working there (I notice companies doing this all the time)? So even if he left it off his resume…

      Alison’s suggestion is a great one- to share stories and let him make his own decision. I’ll add my own story. I was a high school teacher in a _small_ town. A college friend came to visit for the weekend. I was thoroughly grilled by students and community members whose car was parked outside my house. Teachers can be put under a microscope!

      1. Simply the best*

        I have to admit your comment is somewhat infuriating. You’re just perpetuating the cycle.

        Teachers shouldn’t be under that microscope. It shouldn’t be seen as poor decision making to take a good, legal job.

      2. Ace in the Hole*

        “It’s probably not fair, but sitting in an interview I would question his decision making abilities if he knew he wanted to be a teacher and took this job.”

        No, it’s not at all fair. What you’re doing is the exact reason this problem still exists.

    5. Here we go again*

      There have been teachers reprimanded for being in a wedding party photo with a champagne doing a toast being posted by their friends on social media. But in my experience as a substitute teacher I’ve had students spot me purchasing a 12 pack of beer after school hours at the grocery store and nothing happened.

    6. Canadian Valkyrie*

      Teachers in other countries like Canada are actually paid pretty well. Teachers where I live are paid probably $65,000 to $100,000 a year and maybe higher if you’re a principle, so you’re not getting rich but it’s sure as hell a comfortable income. It might be why public education seems to rank higher in Canada than the US because teachers across the board are actually able to invest in ongoing regular professional development and stuff

      1. Gumby*

        Teachers in at least 2 states (and I assume most of them, just only have experience in 2) not only *can* invest in regular professional development, but *must* in order to maintain their credentials.

        1. Librarian of SHIELD*

          This. I’m in a family of teachers and in our state, in order to renew your certification every few years you have to take a certain number of hours of professional development, and very, very few school districts pay for the entire amount. We’re also a state with one of the lowest median salaries for teachers, so the cost of that professional development is coming from an income that’s already difficult to live on.

    7. 2 Cents*

      Teachers in my blue state, purple living area are questioned about everything. Woe be to you if you live in town too. “Well, you were out sick, so how come you’re in the grocery store?” Never mind that you needed to make a run for OJ for said illness. We moved out of the town we taught in just to escape the scrutiny because it was so bad — yes, I know who your kid is, but no, I don’t recall what they got on the exam while I’m in the freezer aisle, sorry. OK, complain to the board of education that I’m not responsive 24/7 because I dared to not answer your email at 11:30 p.m. when school starts at 7 a.m. the next day.

    8. Letter Writer 3*

      Thank you, Alison, for publishing my question!
      I have read all of the comments, and I appreciate everyone’s thoughtful input. It seems like the consensus is that it’s just not worth the risk, and I will share Alison’s answer and this comment thread with my son. Sam is a pretty level-headed and thoughtful kid, and he is planning on reaching out to one or two of his former high school teachers to get their opinions, too.

      1. Momma Bear*

        I like that he’s going to reach back to his network as well. If he somehow doesn’t end up teaching (I didn’t), he may find it comes up on background checks in general and it could be a problem. It shouldn’t be…but shouldn’t isn’t always reality. I hope he finds a better job, regardless.

      2. Free Meerkats*

        LW, this statement stood out to me, I wonder if you could expand on it a little. “teachers are sometimes held to a higher “moral” standard — and sometimes rightly so.”

        1. Free Meerkats*

          Sorry, inadvertent send.

          I’m specifically interested in the “rightly so” part.

          1. Letter Writer 3*

            I honestly wasn’t sure why I put that “rightly so” in there, and I had to sit with it for a bit. I think I really only meant that because teachers can be an influential figure in their students’ lives, it does make sense that there be a little bit more scrutiny on their behavior than, say, a cashier at a store. I do think some (most?) of the increased scrutiny is completely ridiculous, though. Thanks for the reality check, I didn’t really mean that the way it came across.

          2. meyer lemon*

            I’m obviously not the letter writer, but there are certainly some areas where you would want to make sure teachers are safe people to be in charge of large groups of children–it makes sense that you wouldn’t want them to be violent, abusive, bigoted, etc. But when it comes to working at a dispensary or being seen in public within 20 feet of a glass of wine, that’s just weird pearl clutching.

            1. Simply the best*

              I don’t feel like not wanting teachers to be violent or bigoted or abusive is holding them to a higher moral standard. I don’t want anybody to be violent or bigoted or abusive.

              1. Insert Clever Name Here*

                It’s true that I don’t want the cashier I spend 2 minutes interacting with to be violent, bigoted, or abusive in their personal life (though that is unlikely to impact me in the 2 minutes I stand there while they ring up my groceries). But I *really* don’t want the person spending 8+ hours a day teaching my child to be violent, bigoted, or abusive in their personal life because there’s more potential for pieces of that to seep into a classroom just because of the amount of exposure. I think that’s the difference, at least for me.

              2. meyer lemon*

                Well, yes! But since the potential consequences are so much more severe when working with children than, say, doing data entry, it makes sense to subject employees to more scrutiny in that situation.

      3. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        Sounds like he kind of knows, but it’s also very good that he’s doing research first. This may change in several years – but for right now we still are very invested in teachers being very spotless (which I somewhat understand if being pushed), but we also need to leave room for teachers to be humans (and have time off work).

        1. Librarian of SHIELD*

          I second your comment about being able to have time off work. Several of the school districts in my area don’t have enough money in their substitute teacher budget to cover the complete number of PTO days their teachers earn every year. Even if a teacher is able to lesson plan far enough in advance and get everything prepared to take a few days off, they still might not be able to because the school can’t pay for someone to cover their classes.

      4. MRV*

        There are a number of things to think about here:
        Thinking as a teacher who has worked in two west coast states

        First, if he were to take this job, it is one that he would not want to disclose on an application. From an application standpoint, this is generally not a problem. But is he willing to ignore that part of his experience?
        Two, becoming a teacher is a two part process, the state licensing and district hiring. They are separate. The job might be an issue for one of the parts, both parts, or none. It varies a great deal.
        Three, applications vary a great deal. Some ask the minimum, some go into great detail. Convictions and arrests are of great interest but not all are disqualifying. Lots of legal issues are typically asked about (drugs, end of employment situations, investigations, etc.)

        Ultimately, probably not a good job to have if you plan to be subject to any type of background check or federal employment. It shouldn’t be that way but that is a structural issue that he can’t fix.

      5. SimonTheGreyWarden*

        Yeah, if he were wanting to teach at the college or even community college level, I don’t think this would be quite the black mark it is for K-12 ed. Note that can be state specific though.

    9. J. D.*

      Every teacher and lawyer I meet says “Do not go into this field”. I’m glad I listened!

      1. Veteran teacher*

        Swinging back by to respond to the comments who said something along the lines of ‘it might be okay out west.’ Still a big nope. I love in Portland, Oregon where you can throw a rock from one dispensary to the next, and it’s still frowned upon here, too. Competition is fierce in metro areas, and anything that can be used to slim down the stack will be used.

    10. LC*

      I suppose, but there are a lot of school districts who don’t look for that sort of thing in your background.

    11. Aggretsuko*

      A friend of mine who teaches college is constantly paranoid about having to use fake names for her on-the-side acting career, and also because she gets stalkers and works in a male-dominated field. She’s now bailing on projects because she’s afraid of anything not being perfect and being associated with her (fake) name.

      I know a fair number of ex-teachers and they are all “loved teaching, hated the bureaucracy” and were all driven out for the latter.

    12. Not my regular username for this*

      I’m in a large, liberal city where it’s legal for recreation, and this job would still be a problem where I’ve worked. The students would eventually find out about it somehow, and then you’d be “The Pot Dealer Teacher.” Then parents would rage at the administration.
      If you become a teacher, the students WILL find any information about you that is available online — at a level you’d expect from a top-secret security clearance background check. I’ve seen 3rd graders hunt down obscure information about their teacher. Some of mine showed up at my house & started calling my personal cell phone last year — and I’d never given them any of that information or even remotely indicated it would be okay.
      They are fascinated by their teachers. The only way to deal with it is to use pseudonyms on all social media and to block people from taking any “scandalous” photos of you in the first place — meaning anything with a swimsuit or a beverage… It’s ridiculous, but it’s like you live in a tiny town in 1950 if you’re in this profession.

  3. Undine*

    For #1, the person I’d want to mention to is your own boss, so that if the company comes back complaining about you, you are already ahead of the curve. Also, this gives people in charge of the relationship (,if there’s anyone besides you) a heads up. Bob is not only making you look bad, he’s making the whole company look bad.

      1. Insert Clever Name Here*

        And in this case, since we’re talking about someone who edited an email before forwarding it, include both emails (the original sent to Bob and the one he doctored) as an attachment.

    1. Forrest*

      Yeah, that was my first thought too! Make sure you’ve covered your back within your OWN company at least.

      1. IANYL*

        and it doesn’t even have to come off as covering your own back (ie you don’t have to start off on the defensive).

        Instead, this is a business issue for the company- your point of contact is making false statements to his company (the client) which reflect poorly on your company.

        Might be a one off that has zero impact, could lead to the client firing your company. 100% something the boss needs to know from a business perspective.

    2. Bagpuss*

      Yes, this was my first thought -makes sure that they are aware of the issue and have the facts if Bob’s boss/employer raises any concerns over delay, or if there is feedback which might affect your job.

      You could also speak to your boss about whether they would be OK with you flagging it up with Bob or cc-ing his boss on any response you make to clarify the situation.

    3. Anonym*

      Hearty agree! Your boss should know that your client is unethical. They may not feel the need to take action, which is fine, but they’ll have the background if any future nonsense occurs. And it’s an opportunity to get their view on what you should/shouldn’t do. This keeps you both on the same page, which is important.

    4. ecnaseener*

      Absolutely. This only works if your boss is reasonable, but mine is and I tell them whenever I think a client might be thinking of complaining about me (justified or not).

    5. NotAnotherManager!*

      Yes! I would absolutely want to know about this, both from a client relations standpoint and to avoid any negative feedback from the client impacting OP’s reviews/raise. It’s been so long since I heard about someone doing this – if it’s any consolation to OP, those who tried to tweak the email history almost never come out looking better for it in the end – then, they are both dropping the ball and lying.

    6. IANYL*

      Came here to say this- to the extent that I think you have a business obligation to bring it up to your boss. Because you don’t want them blindsided if Bob’s company starts complaining about either this incident specifically, or if Bob has done this before/after, delays by your company generally.

  4. nnn*

    #3: If I were advising Sam, I’d advise him to reach out to someone with knowledge of the teacher hiring process to ask what it would actually look like in real life.

    There’s probably someone out there who has knowledge of the teacher hiring process who’d be willing to talk to an aspiring teacher, either for a general informational interview or for a quick one-off question about career planning. (A school board he’d like to work for? The principal of a school he’d like to work for? The teacher who supervised his student teaching? An alumni of his program who went on to be a teacher? One of his old high school teachers?)

    If he talks to an actual teacher in an informal, off-the-record telephone or in-person conversation, they might even be willing to talk about the different between the rules on paper and the actual standards they are held to (whether that difference is “There’s no on-paper rule against working at a perfectly legal cannabis store but if they find out they won’t renew your contract” or “There’s a code of conduct prohibiting cannabis use but I’ve never seen it enforced”)

    1. rural academic*

      Assuming he is an education major, he should also be able to talk to a professor or advisor in that department. If he is about to be a junior, he may be doing a practicum in the coming year and will likely be doing student teaching in his senior year, so there actually will not be a very long gap between the dispensary job and him being in a classroom.

      1. Cody's dad*

        As long as he doesn’t post references to his work it online he should be fine getting a student teaching assignment even if it’s with older kids who are more tech savvy and may discover it later which would at minimum be the talk of the school at best.

        I hate to admit it but as a school administrator in a state where it’s legal if Sam listed this job on his resume right out of school I’d be worried I would be interviewing some pot head and slightly worried does he smoke to excess and how he’d show up to school. Not that all people who.smoke do that by any means but it would cross my mind especially being younger tonthe professiion. It might not prevent me from interviewing him but it would be a bias and a strike against him. Also, in teaching all your credentials are submitted to HR where either HR or the Superintendent approves your candidate of choice and seeing he sells/sold marijuana may be problematic especially if he’s trying to get a high school job. Definitely leave it off the resume and good luck!

        1. The Prettiest Curse*

          I agree that he shouldn’t take the job because of the ridiculous standards to which teachers are held, but assuming that someone is an unreliable pothead because they worked in a dispensary is like assuming that someone is a raging alcoholic because they worked in a bar. It’s certainly possible, but it’s a stereotype based on the weird standards society has around drugs that have been legal for a long time (Prohibition era excepted) and those that are only just becoming legal now.

          1. Kal*

            Its also a bit like assuming someone has diabetes cause they worked in a bakery. I don’t personally know of anyone that would actually make that assumption, but it is based on the same logic – that if someone works somewhere, that means they excessively partake of the workplace’s product.

            There are people who work in a bakery who don’t eat any of the baked goods. There are people working in bars who don’t drink any alcohol. And there are people working in dispensaries that don’t smoke. When it comes to low-level services jobs, people work there because its a place to work. Working in a dispensary isn’t going to be much different from working at McDonalds or Walmart, except that the dispensary might treat you better as an employee.

            (This is also ignoring the fact that diabetes is a lot more complicated than just eating too much sugary foods, but a lot of people do believe that part.)

            1. Emilia Bedelia*

              At this point in time, however, working in a dispensary IS different from working in a more conventional retail establishment. I’d see it as more of a niche store than somewhere like Walmart or Starbucks or whatever. Niche stores tend to attract employees who have more of an interest in whatever they are selling, because their goal is to cater to a specific group of people (whether it’s a running store, a homebrewing store, whatever). It’s not exactly a “low level” retail job, because being able to help customers with the specifics of the product is part of the job. If I saw a bike shop on someone’s resume, for example, I would fully expect them to have some level of experience/interest in biking.

              It’s likely that the actual job requirements of the job OP is describing would be closer to a “low level” cashier/stock worker/general retail employee, and not actually include any pot-smoking related duties, but I don’t think it’s an entirely baseless assumption to see job experience at a pot store and think that someone has at least some interest in it…. and if they’re putting it on their resume intending for that to be a positive thing for a teaching job, I would definitely question their judgment in this regard.

              1. Observer*

                but I don’t think it’s an entirely baseless assumption to see job experience at a pot store and think that someone has at least some interest in it

                Yes, but what @Codys Dad is worrying about is NOT that someone might have “some interest” but that he’s a pothead who might actually show up to teach stoned! That’s nonsensical. Working in a bar means that you probably need to know more than a thing or two about alcohol. But it does NOT mean that you’re an alcoholic – and in fact most bar tenders are NOT alcoholics.

                Pot dispensaries are BUSINESSES. And showing up to work stoned in not going to be ok at a business, even if that’s what the business sells.

          2. Forrest Rhodes*

            Completely agree with you, Prettiest Curse. That’s the comparison that immediately occurred to me, too.

          3. SnappinTerrapin*

            Ironically, this reminds me of my grandmother’s cousin, who was a bootlegger.

            Cousin Luman refused to hire anyone who drank to sell his alcohol. He said it was too big of a business risk. After all, he could hardly complain to the sheriff if his employees stole his merchandise!

            1. Junior Assistant Peon*

              This is exactly why my friend’s wife got passed over for a job at her favorite wine tasting room – they knew she’d be sneaking too many sips!

          4. So sleepy*

            I think the difference here is that cannabis was extremely stigmatized until recently (and still is, to a lesser degree), meaning there was a higher likelihood that employees would also be regular users of cannabis to be willing to take on that stigma.

            If alcohol were illegal, it would probably be assumed that anyone who worked in a bar was a drinker. I’m not necessarily saying these interpretations are accurate, so much as that I think many employees would assume that the person who worked on a dispensary is more likely to be a regular or heavy weed-user compared with other candidates, which could be used against them (consciously or unconsciously… it might just be employers deciding to pass on the resume without really giving thought to why).

            I also think the commenter that mentioned Codes of Conduct was on to something – if many employers specifically prohibit cannabis use, they may look at LW’s resume and draw conclusions before even bringing the person in for an interview (again, rightly or wrongly – but, in most places, they can easily make an arbitrary decision about something like that and no one would ever notice).

          5. Yorick*

            I mean, I agree with you – but the couple of times I’ve gone to a dispensary the employees DID seem sorta like potheads.

        2. Observer*

          I hate to admit it but as a school administrator in a state where it’s legal if Sam listed this job on his resume right out of school I’d be worried I would be interviewing some pot head and slightly worried does he smoke to excess and how he’d show up to school.

          That’s a really foolish take. Bartenders are generally not alcoholics. And drug runners are generally not drug users. Much the same is true of marijuana sales. So why would you worry that someone working in a pot dispensary is a pothead who would actually be stupid enough to show up to school stoned?

          It’s not just unfair. It’s also actively going to hold you back. It’s hard enough to find and retain good teachers. Excluding people over things that are essentially a figment of the public imagination just makes it worse.

      2. Felis alwayshungryis*

        I’d imagine he’d be better off talking to someone who’s actually currently in the industry. Professors and advisers can have great information, but as we repeatedly see on this site, they can also be woefully out of touch with the industry they’re supposed yo be preparing graduates for.

        1. Jyn’Leeviyah the Red*

          100% accurate statement! Check with local teachers or administrators (who ultimately do the hiring). They’ll have a better sense of what to do. Various districts interpret things differently, too, based on the community at large and many other mitigating factors. Some administrators simply won’t be willing to even have a whiff of even *perceived* impropriety, and some wouldn’t be bothered at all.

          For what it’s worth, in my experience, the default line on teacher hiring tends to be, “If there are two very similar applicants, is there anything that sets one apart (for better or for worse)?” So my advice to Sam would be, Imagine that you and someone else, who on paper is your equal, are up for the same position. I personally wouldn’t want the risk of a part-time job being what puts me into the “no, thank you” pile.

        2. tamarack and fireweed*

          I wouldn’t even necessarily call it “woefully”: It’s their role (part of their role/ one of their roles) to be outside the circle of practitioners and push the whole field incrementally into one direction or another along the pedagogy axis. They would naturally think at least partially in terms of what should be the case and where the standards should go rather than where they currently are.

          The advice to speak with current practitioners is a good one.

    2. Abogado Avocado*

      OP #3: Go to your state’s Department of Education website. It will clearly state what teachers have to do to become licensed in your state. The website will describe the type of background check required when an applicant is applying to be licensed. (Usually the background check encompasses criminal history, may encompass credit history, and will turn up any and all licenses and registrations — including driver’s and handgun licenses — the applicant has.) If working around marijuana is a deal-breaker, the website likely will make that clear.

      You and your son also should determine — again, by going to your state’s website — how the state regulates dispensaries. Dispensaries, like casinos, are highly regulated because lots of money flows through these businesses and the state wants to ensure: (1) it gets its tax money, and (2) the dispensary is not a front for organized crime. For these reasons, many states also regulate who can be a dispensary employee and require the employee to be registered with the state. If that’s the case in your state, your son will want to know that because any dispensary registration kept by the state will show up on a background check.

      1. SwiftSunrise*

        Unfortunately, there’s a BIG difference between what might keep you from being legally licensed, and what will keep you from getting hired.

        1. NotRealAnonForThis*

          Given this, it may be prudent to do both things (investigate the licensure requirements AND talk to someone in the field currently to get the lay of the land). I’d also argue that if either the license requirements OR the discussion points to “this is a career killer here”, the answer would be to pass.

          Note: this sucks, as it sounds like its an opening that pays reasonably and is willing to work around his school schedule, and finding an employer like that can be very difficult!

        2. Lacey*

          100%. I always hear about how we don’t have enough teachers, but in my area teaching jobs are almost impossible to get, especially right out of school. So something even mildly risky immediately takes you out of the running. They just have so many candidates to choose from.

        3. Jack Straw*

          Yes, ALLLLL OF THIS. The actual rules and the unwritten rules are two very different but equally important things.

        4. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          Very sadly this. You may be able to get the license, but principals scared of the PTO mom poster (which is another stereotype that also needs to go the way of the Dodo Bird) may be unwilling to take the risk of hiring you.

      2. Despachito*

        I was wondering exactly this – whether there is some official registration / track record that might be later used against Sam, in short – how likely it is to be revealed afterwards that he worked there if he himself does not mention it on his resumes and on his social media.
        (I had a lot side gigs as a student, and I cannot imagine anyone keeping track of that)

        1. Free Meerkats*

          This depends on the state. Some states require all employees to be licensed, others only require the store to have one.

      3. Observer*

        If working around marijuana is a deal-breaker, the website likely will make that clear.

        Nope. Have you seen a website that says that pool side pictures are a problem? Or that any drinking at any time is forbidden? No, because legally, neither of these things are true. But we ALSO know that teachers HAVE faced dismissal over these things. So, the web site is just the start.

        If the web sire says that this is a deal breaker, take that seriously. But if it doesn’t say so, you need to go to the next step and talk to people on the ground.

        I mean, look at this thread alone, where one person says that they would strongly question the judgement of anyone who put work in a dispensary on their resume, and a school administrator would consider not even interviewing someone who had worked in a dispensary and would worry that the person is an unprofessional pothead who might show up to work stoned.

    3. Venus*

      I think this is smart because I live in an area where teachers have quite diverse backgrounds. I don’t know if working at a cannabis dispensary would be problematic, but it would be worth asking.

    4. Junior Assistant Peon*

      Ideally, he should talk to a teacher in his own area. From what I’ve heard from friends in Colorado, pot has become about as socially acceptable as alcohol, and talking about it at work is no different than admitting you had a beer with last night’s dinner or you’re planning to go wine-tasting this weekend. That said, I’ve heard enough about teachers getting crap for being spotted in a bar or something equally trivial.

      1. Blackcat*

        Right. I think this is highly regional. I taught right out of college at a school with a pretty liberal parent/student body in a “purple” area. For a number of reasons, it was public knowledge that I lived (unmarried) with my male partner. It was not an issue at all. Sometimes my then boyfriend helped with events for a club I ran, so people knew him. At one end of year event, the mom of a graduating student came up to him and thanked him for providing a positive model of a man who supports the career of his female partner since she felt her daughter didn’t see that elsewhere in her life (the girl’s parents were divorced and the dad had a string of girlfriends in the 18-21 yo range, so he wasn’t exactly providing the type of role model the mom wanted for her kid).

        There are certainly schools where “living in sin” would cause problems, but they’re outliers in much (most?) of the country. I suspect working at a dispensary is similar. In certain communities, it’ll be totally fine. I’m sure it’s fewer communities for weed than living in sin, but I don’t doubt they’re out there.

        1. PT*

          There are a lot of communities where parents expect their kids will live with a partner before engagement/marriage, to make sure they are making a responsible, informed choice before they become legally tied to someone. This was the case where I grew up and with many of my classmates from college. Not living together first was considered stupid and irresponsible.

        2. Shad*

          I had a wonderful middle school teacher who we learned wasn’t married to her long term partner when she invited all the students’ families to the wedding. I can’t confirm whether they already lived together, but it was certainly my assumption.

    5. Letter Writer 3*

      Letter Writer 3, here. Sam has already said that he will reach out to a couple of his former high school teachers, both of whom he has a good relationship with (he’s met with them both to talk about teaching in general since starting college, and he trusts that they will be honest and discreet).
      Thanks for your advice!

    6. Disco Janet*

      Teacher here, and when marijuana became legal in our state we received an email from our superintendent reminding us that it was still illegal at the federal level, and any teachers could and would still lose their job for marijuana usage. This applies to the hiring process as well in that they would not hire someone with this background. And I’m in a suburb of Detroit that generally leans pretty liberal with this sort of thing, so I suspect many schools would respond similarly.

      1. Letter Writer 3*

        LW 3, here. Funnily enough, we are in a Detroit suburb, too, so this is a particularly on point answer. Thank you! I just read your comment to my son, and he’s unhappily agreeing that it’s just not worth the risk.

        1. meyer lemon*

          I’m sorry that your son has to turn this job down for basically nonsense perception reasons. It sounded like a pretty good job otherwise! But if nothing else, this gives him an indication of some of the restrictions he’ll have to live with as a teacher. Better to have a clear picture of that going in.

        2. Disco Janet*

          Ha, small world! (Okay, Detroit isn’t that small, but still.) Sorry he has to turn down a job he was interested in, but I hope he has a great start to his career! I’m only four years in, so I was in his shoes not too long ago. If I can offer some unsolicited advice, I would tell him to pay close attention to how different school districts in your area handled Covid, as it will tell him a lot about how they treat, and whether they respect, their teachers. Looking at board meeting minutes from around the start of last school year are particularly telling. In some districts you’ll hear the school board talking about following the science and taking whatever measures are necessary to keep their students and staff members safe. In others you’ll hear board members telling teachers they’re selfish for being concerned about their own health when it should be all about the kids. Mine falls into that second category, unfortunately (though friends in other districts also have the same rules, sometimes official and other times unwritten, regarding marijuana. This is more of a general advice thing.)

          1. Letter Writer 3*

            Aw, thanks!
            Your school board sounds kind of awful. The district my son went to school in has a pretty great school board and administration, and they have a very good working relationship with the teacher’s union. And they generally treat teachers and staff pretty well. I like your advice to look into how districts handled all of the covid stuff–I’m sure it will be pretty eye-opening. I think his ultimate hope is that he’ll be able to teach at the high school he graduated from, honestly. They’ve got a good principal and seem to like to hire alumni. But who knows if that’ll actually pan out for him, he knows this, so he’s keeping options open.
            He’s okay with not taking the dispensary job, I think. There are other part time jobs out there, so he has other options.

      2. No name this time….*

        When it was made legal by prescription only in my state our HR Department emailed us all reminding us as federal employees, even though it was “legal with prescription” at the state level, it was still NOT LEGAL at the federal level, and we could face dismissal for drug usage even if used by prescription at a Dr’s orders.

  5. Eliza*

    #4: I have enough money to support myself. I can eat when I’m hungry and rest when I’m tired. I’m treated with respect and valued for what I do. I feel like my work is meaningful, I’m good at it, and it’s something I enjoy doing. To me, those are the basics of a good job, and it’s a little depressing how many jobs don’t check all or even most of those boxes.

    1. Xavier Desmond*

      That’s my attitude too. If someone is happy and fulfilled in their job, isn’t overworked and has enough money and time outside work to have a good life it boggles my mind why you would want to change that for the same sake of moving ‘up’.

  6. TexasTeacher*

    For Sam, I would be worried that even if one person said it was okay, a school board member might one day make a big stink. I just wouldn’t risk it. It’s wrong, but teachers have been let go for the dumbest things.
    And in my degree program ages ago, my professors and advisors had not been in the public school classroom as a teacher in a loooong time, and were quite out of touch in some ways. I don’t know if that’s changed, though.

    1. Jack Straw*

      Yep, and the comments about it only mattering if he’s teaching high school or older students who can look things up are off base. A school board member or parent of a younger child will be just as adept at internet searching as the teenagers are. And often, they can be more damaging to a career.

    2. caps22*

      As someone not at all in the field, are there really so many qualified people to teach that the school board can fire good people for dumb reasons and still have a functional school system? Or is it more that the school board are making reactionary decisions without caring if they can get qualified teachers to replace them? I think I answered my own question now that I’ve typed it out.

      1. Observer*

        I think it’s a little bit of both, and a large dose of denial. They have these ridiculous policies and then don’t understand why people don’t want to teach.

        1. Le Sigh*

          For real. I have relatives who were teachers or assistants for years. They worked long hours and paid out of pocket for supplies, while putting up with poor-to-modest pay, school board/principal politics, and some truly awful parents. But they loved teaching and their students, and working for a state system came with good benefits. They deserved more but were content to work with what they had.

          Then a new legislature started slashing benefits and pay (apparently $27,000 a year is too much for a long-qualified teaching assistant), while publicly denigrating their work. And when the most experienced/qualified teachers retired early or took jobs in other states/companies, they suddenly went all shocked Pikachu face.

        2. No name this time….*

          What Observer said. I actually left teaching (and was early childhood too) over stupid policies and low pay. I’m a federal employee now, and much happier – amazing what the addition of sick leave and a livable wage (not to mention the ability to leave work at work!!) will do for a person.

      2. Daisy-dog*

        Depending on where the school is, there is not an unlimited source of qualified candidates. However, the role involves children!!!!, so they would rather have an unqualified long-term sub hand out busy-work and play videos than someone who could taint their precious babies’ minds. Not the case in all school districts, but I could see it happening in many places.

      3. Disco Janet*

        Depends on the grade and subject area. Math teachers can get away with a lot in my area, but I know an English teacher forced out by their school board because she expressed concern with overly lax district Covid policies.

    3. Disco Janet*

      And school board members get to vote on whether or not employees are hired, so that could become an issue sooner rather than later. You can be interviewed, offered the job, go through the whole background check/fingerprinting/screening process, and still not actually get the job is the school board votes against you.

  7. SwiftSunrise*

    For #3, as a former teacher, Sam should absolutely NOT risk it. I get that it sounds tempting, but as a teacher, your every move is subject to really intense scrutiny from literally EVERYONE: parents, the school board, students, people in the general community. Everyone.

  8. Pikachu*

    #3 – It’s silly that working at a dispensary should impact your future career, but even if it’s perfectly legal and the school board and whatever adults don’t have an issue with it, this is the kind of thing that students (especially high school) would LOVE to find out. Teenagers are very creative and once the rumor mill starts churning, there is really nothing you can do about it. I don’t think it’s much different from working at an adult store. Totally legal, nothing wrong with it, but a bunch of kids finding out their teacher sold sex toys… well, you can imagine.

    1. Felis alwayshungryis*

      At my high school there was a teacher who’d moonlighted as an underwear model and, while it clearly wasn’t an issue for the Board because he’d been there for ages, you can imagine the students..!

      1. AnotherTexasTeacher*

        And this is the awkward part about the standards teachers are held to: barring specific legal issues, much of it is very school/district/that one obnoxious parent finding out dependent. Much like the underwear model example, some places (at least at the hiring level) wouldn’t care about a legal part time job from years before. There are probably places that wouldn’t care if he did it while teaching (if he kept it well-separated from teaching, and those places would be rare), but if he gets hired and some parent on an anti-pot crusade finds out and raises a fuss, some districts would ask him to resign just to avoid the headache. I am a teacher (in Texas), and we have been subject to professional development sessions on the horror stories of people losing jobs over pictures on Facebook of them legally drinking.

        Short version: it’s trickier than saying if he works at a dispensary he’ll never get a teaching job, but it is definitely a risk to his staying employed if he ever works in a school where parents might find out and be bothered.

    2. Ama*

      Years ago I helped edit an online fiction journal and we were once contacted by a woman that had one of their stories run in a previous issue — they were about to take a college teaching job and since the story dealt with a woman experimenting with casual sex she didn’t want their students to find it and start speculating about how much of the story was drawn from her actual life experience. (The woman had a very distinct name and she was going to be teaching writing courses so it was very likely the students would search to see what kind of things she’d published.)

      We did take it down and I acknowledge she was right about the reality of being a youngish woman teaching college and how students might react to a story like that but I remember thinking how much of a bummer it was.

    3. Observer*

      Teenagers are very creative and once the rumor mill starts churning, there is really nothing you can do about it.

      That assumes that he teaches teen agers. But also, so what? That’s the excuse for most of the pearl clutching over things teachers do. What will the kids do if they see a picture of Ms C at the POOL!? And, OMG, the kids are going to melt if they find out that Mr. W actually drank some Tequilla!

      The sad part is that while I’m trying to sound silly, the only thing that isn’t pretty much ripped out of the kinds of comments that show up ALL THE TIME, is the comment about kids melting. This kind of insane moral-sounding panic over perfectly normal behavior because “the kids will not understand” and “The kids will lose respect” is hugely damaging and rightly drives excellent teachers out of the profession.

      Not because the kids lose respect – THEY DON’T. But because parents and school boards lose their minds.

    4. LTL*

      It’s a shame that other adults go along with it though instead of setting an example for the kids on respecting others’ privacy and understanding that adults have lives outside of teaching.

    5. Fed*

      The thing is, marijuana is NOT perfectly legal. It is illegal on the Federal Level and has been decriminalized in many states.
      Working at a dispensary can also have later implications for government jobs, background investigations, security clearances and possibly taxes (because you are probably paid in cash due to Federal banking laws that don’t allow dispensaries to use banks)

    6. tamarack and fireweed*

      We had a physics teacher who once, to motivate a lagging class, brought in a postcard that Ernest Rutherford (initiator of nuclear physics) sent to my teacher’s great-…uncle. The class was somewhat impressed but logically wondered why Ernest Rutherford would send postcards to our teacher’s great-…-uncle. So they quickly figured out that said great-…-uncle had been a famous physicist himself, of the same last name as our teacher (!) and after winning working alongside ppl like Rutherford in the 1910s and 1920s had become one of the main leader’s in Hitler’s racist and anti-semitic “German Physics” project. Big uproar. Class went nuclear. Headmaster had to step in. At least the parents were reasonable about it. But SRSLY, how could he not have realized how this one would go. (While on the other hand he could have *openly taught* that bit of personal history, Third Reich history included…)

      1. tamarack and fireweed*

        (I should say that I wasn’t in the class – I was in the advanced class in the same year, and this was the regular-level set. Lots of my school friends were in it though and we had the same teacher. He was socially rather clumsy in other ways too, all the while not being actually super great at physics.)

  9. Cody's dad*

    As long as he doesn’t post references to his work it online he should be fine getting a student teaching assignment even if it’s with older kids who are more tech savvy and may discover it later which would at minimum be the talk of the school at best.

    I hate to admit it but as a school administrator in a state where it’s legal if Sam listed this job on his resume right out of school I’d be worried I would be interviewing some pot head and slightly worried does he smoke to excess and how he’d show up to school. Not that all people who.smoke do that by any means but it would cross my mind especially being younger tonthe professiion. It might not prevent me from interviewing him but it would be a bias and a strike against him. Also, in teaching all your credentials are submitted to HR where either HR or the Superintendent approves your candidate of choice and seeing he sells/sold marijuana may be problematic especially if he’s trying to get a high school job. Definitely leave it off the resume and good luck!

  10. GraceRN*

    LW1: Well Sneaky Bob is showing his true colors that he’s willing to throw you under the bus to cover his own butt. As Alison mentioned, an option is to do nothing. However that options comes with a significant risk that I’ve seen many times: If you do nothing, Bob is exactly the kind of person who would think you’re a doormat and/or an idiot. He’s testing you now to see if he can get away with it. If he can, he will throw you under the bus again in the future, or screw you in other ways. Maybe nothing major will happen if you ignore it this time, but next time, who knows what the stakes would be. So to me, its definitely a better strategy to say something now to nip it in the bud. :
    Do you have a boss? If you do, I would suggesting telling them right away so they know what Bob is doing, and they can cover your back.
    If I were you, I would reply all to the email and say “As I indicated in my previous email to Bob, I received his update this morning and now I’m looking forward to proceeding.” and cc my boss. Bob’s boss would notice the discrepancy and they can investigate. I think this point the fact without you having to call out Bob as a liar directly.

    1. GraceRN*

      Oops sorry I missed that LW got looped back into it many emails later. My overarching strategy still would be the same: no grace for dodgy people (despite my user name). I don’t know what was in the rest of the email chain, but I would find a way to point out the truth so the liars can’t walk all over people unchallenged.

      Maybe email Bob’s bosses: “I just noticed that when Bob forwarded my previous email, there was some important information that got cut out. I’m not sure if it’s a glitch or not but it altered our mutual understanding of the project timeline. I understand glitches might happen from time to time, but I want to make sure we’re always staying on the same page about the timeline and progress. If there’s been any misunderstanding, I hope my email clears it up.”

      1. GraceRN*

        Ugh sorry again, missed including this in Bob Bosses email: “….my previous email, there was some important information that got cut out. I originally wrote to Bob on July 9 that I didn’t hear an update until that morning but I’m afraid that part got cut out. I’m not sure if it’s a glitch…”

        1. Amaranth*

          If I were LW I’d tell my own boss so boss could decide whether to talk to their peer at the client’s company, and also to make sure LW doesn’t get thrown under the bus. This is one of those instances where it might go more smoothly if one boss talks to the other, and LW doesn’t have to navigate any impact this might make on the professional relationship. If LW sends a corrective email then no matter how ‘right’ they are, Bob’s boss could respond defensively for it being called out in public.

    2. CurrentlyBill*

      One way might be to put together an after action or root cause look at how the project delayed. Just list all the key steps:
      2020-11-15: Plan agreed to
      2020-11-16: Our team submits SOW to Bob.
      2020-12-01: Bob returns sighed SOW
      2020-12-04: Kick off Meeting
      2020-12-11: Bob provides initial data
      2020-12-18: We provide basic draft of a thing to Bob
      2020-12-20: thru 2021-01-04: Holidays – No action
      2021-01-05: Status meeting to review draft.
      2021-01-07: Sent key questions and request for data to Bob
      2021-01-14: Sent follow up request to Bob
      2021-01-21: Sent reminder to Bob
      2021-01-27: Sent reminder to Bob
      2021-01-28: Bob sends the key items to move to the next phase
      2021-01-29:Phase 2 of the thing begins
      2021-02-03: Another thing
      2021-02-05: Another thing

      Ask for a meeting to follow up a figure out how to make the rest of the project go more smoothly by identifying bottlenecks.

    3. Female Engineer*

      LW1 mentioned she is a female in a male-dominated field. From direct experience, he already thinks she is a doormat.

      Also calling Bob out wouldn’t work or look good. It will just make you look irrational, unfortunately. It is best to just alert your boss and if his boss complains show him screenshots of the email. Chances are this isn’t the first little lady Bob has tried to steamroll and he probably steamrolled a few men too.

      1. Portia*

        This is the correct response. OP, I’d alert your boss about it, but I definitely wouldn’t call out Bob in public for this reason.

        I’m vendor side too, and it sucks but sometimes the reason companies engage vendors is to have someone to blame.

    1. Cthulhu’s Librarian*

      But quite real – the New Jersey Supreme Court just recently agreed to hear a 7+ year long suit about whether a school could fire a teacher over that and the consequent pregnancy.

      1. Delta Delta*

        The issue is that it’s a Catholic school. Not that it makes it better, but the fact of being a private Catholic school makes it different than a public school. If I remember correctly, part of the argument is that women getting fired for getting pregnant while not married is disparate treatment since there’s no evidence that men get fired for having sex outside of marriage. I rather like that argument.

        1. raktajino*

          40 years ago–and probably more recently–Catholic schools were firing MARRIED women for getting pregnant, so at least at one point it was more about “women showing evidence that they’ve had sex” rather than that scary non-marital sex thing.

          1. Nanani*

            40 years ago -everyone- was firing women for being pregnant (and a lot of places still do it now even though it’s illegal)
            That doesn’t make it ok but it’s hardly unique to catholic schools

    2. Person from the Resume*

      It’s more like a female teacher got pregnant outside of marriage and didn’t hide it by getting an abortion.

      It’s not simply the sex and they would object to the abortion if they knew, but some people just want to maintain the myth that if they don’t see it, it’s not happening.

      1. Zephy*

        I mean, a hundred and fifty years ago a teacher could be fired for getting married, so…

          1. NotAnotherManager!*

            Maybe even less – my MIL still marvels that I was not forced to resign when I got pregnant with my first child like she was. She’s a front-edge Boomer, so that would have been less than 50 years ago.

    3. Person from the Resume*

      It’s more like a female teacher got pregnant outside of marriage and didn’t hide it by getting an abortion or a quickie marriage.

      It’s not simply the sex and they would object to the abortion if they knew, but some people just want to maintain the myth that if they don’t see it, it’s not happening.

      1. doreen*

        Some of it is that- but also some of it is they can’t fire you for it if they don’t know about it. Someone I know from childhood is a Catholic high school principal – and he is very careful not to let anyone know that he is divorced and remarried (some people in his personal life know, because we knew him prior to his first marriage but that’s it). Because they can’t fire him for being remarried without an annulment if they don’t know he did it.

      2. Kathlynn (Canadian)*

        There was a story in the news years ago about a woman being fired for being 1 month pregnant when she got married. because the conception time showed she’d had sex out side of marriage. (and yes thus was a religious private school in the USA)

    4. Jack Straw*

      I was told by a mentor teacher to refer to my live-in boyfriend as “my husband” and had students (15-19YO) who legitimately didn’t think I was allowed to drink alcohol at a restaurant. I remember running into two of them and one saying, while inclining her head toward my glass, “Are you… *allowed* to do that? Like where people can see you?” It was sweet because they didn’t want me to get in trouble, but also eye opening.

    5. Boundaries*

      Someone I knew got pushed out of a strong science school when it became known amongst parents that she was gay and her baby was had by IVY with an anonymous donor.

      1. Empress Ki*

        Is that not illegal ? I thought gay people rights were protected.
        This is infuriating that something like that can still happen ?

        1. Mental Lentil*

          What is or is not illegal and which laws do or don’t get enforced in the United States is a very weird Venn Diagram.

        2. quill*

          legal protections were entirely dependent on state decisions until… obgerfell, if I recall correctly? Which was in 2015? And I’m not sure everything is covered, STILL, in terms of legal employment protection against being fired for being gay (or whatever ‘reason’ that boils down to the same thing) so I’m sadly not surprised.

        3. Boundaries*

          She wasn’t fired.

          She was ‘asked’ to never bring up or answer any question asked about her relationship status or baby (not that she’d been sharing more than, say, a heterosexual woman)

          And she knew a red flag when she saw one. Found a new school and made sure to probe a little harder at the interview stage.

    6. Paris Geller*

      I mean, I agree it’s ludicrous in the sense that it’s a despicable thing to judge someone on and has absolutely no impact on teaching ability, but it’s sadly not uncommon in my experience. I’m fairly young, graduated high school in 2009, and there was a big “scandal” when one of the young high school teachers moved in with her boyfriend. This was a public school, albeit in a small town. She was only there for one year and then moved away, and I cannot blame her for doing so. I would have too, and it was a shame because she was a great teacher who was definitely a breath of fresh life.

    7. cohabitation anon*

      One teacher I worked with in the aughts, said that when she started teaching in the late 70s (not sure if it was here in NS or in Boston, where she’s from), one of the parts of the contract was that single female teachers couldn’t live with an unrelated man outside of marriage (I’m assuming the same held true for male teachers–not living with an unrelated woman outside marriage). The 1970s.

      1. PT*

        My dad was a civil service investigator for a large US city in the 70s and maybe 80s (I’m not sure when he changed to a different job,) and his job was doing the background and reference checks for city employees. And part of his job was going to their houses and verifying who they were living with. If they were living with a romantic partner outside of marriage, that meant they were unemployable. He mostly did checks for police and fire, so most of the people who were getting their job applications tanked for this at the time were men.

    8. Not my regular username for this*

      Plus there are stories like the teacher in South Carolina who was fired after a student took the teacher’s unlocked cell phone and spread around “inappropriate” photos from it. They were her own personal, legal photos, and she didn’t willingly share them — they were stolen. Her job ended anyway, and they said she should have known better than to leave her phone unlocked and unattended!
      And there are countless other stories about ridiculous monitoring of teacher “morality.” It sadly comes with the territory.

  11. Chocolate Teapot*

    4. A good job should be well paid, secure and enable enough free time to spend on activities outside of work (family, hobbies etc.)

  12. Laure*

    There is the possibility that he might not even remember altering the email though. If he was very stressed when he did it, in a fit of panic, his tense actions might not have registered… It happens to me often, if I do stuff in a hurry I don’t remember if I acted or not afterwards – you know, the famous “did I turn off the stove” thing.

    Sure, it’s not the same here, but when I was younger, I could see myself doing something like he did in a frenzied panic and forgetting it after – maybe because it was in my interest to forget.

    That doesn’t make him less guilty, but it can make the conversation more awkward, if he says “what are you talking about?” and means it… Although he will remember his shameful action later, after he was reminded of it, of course.

    1. Sleeping Late Every Day*

      That happens if you fail to do something. What Bob did was a conscious decision to alter the email. It’s like the old guilt-trippy religious thing of sins of omission vs. sins of commission.

      1. pleaset cheap rolls*


        OP1 – I’d certainly alert my own manager to the edit in case this blows up later. Having an internal record of this is important.

        1. NotRealAnonForThis*

          I’d absolutely make sure I did this. Because, been there, done that, and thankfully had the record when it DID blow up later.

        2. Kate*

          I’m OP1. This wasn’t my first impulse but I did eventually alert my own manager and I think it was the right thing to do. I am a young(ish) woman in a male-dominated field, and I had an internal struggle thinking, “Am I overreacting? Is my reaction emotional?” Alison’s reply and other commenters are validating that hey, no, this is not OK! Thank you :)

          1. it's me*

            You did not overreact nor were you being emotional. You know this at this point, but he was totally being shady.

          2. Lyudie*

            If it helps to hear it from an internet stranger, Bob sucks. IMO going to your boss was a good call and it sounds like he’s got your back.

          3. Temperance*

            This was the perfect way to handle, because he was trying to throw you under the bus, very obviously.

          4. AVP*

            You were definitely right to loop in your boss! I work with similar clients and I’m a lot older and would have done that. It’s just important in case they use the three-week delay as an excuse to alter or cancel your working arrangement later.

          5. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            No – that was absolutely not okay for him to do. And you did the right thing by looping in your manager. Whether he did it on purpose or not, Bob was not okay in editing that part out of your email.

          6. JelloStapler*

            +1 make sure your side knows.

            For future CYA: Perhaps also copying more than Bob when discussing timelines.

            1. Pants*

              The CYA-obsessive in me might also screenshot my sent messages to Bob, just to have an extra layer of proof. Bob can’t screw with a screenshot if he doesn’t get a copy of it.

          7. Pants*

            I’m glad you told your manager. Trust your gut on stuff like this. My mother told me as a youngin’ to get comfortable with confrontation. Not to seek out confrontation of course, and to definitely choose your battles. Confrontation is never really comfortable, but being willing to push back and stand up for yourself is worth whatever discomfort you may feel in the moment. It will also send a message to those who might want to steamroll you or toss you under a bus like good ol’ Bob here.

          8. MCMonkeybean*

            I think that was probably the right way to handle it. It’s definitely not okay to change the written record like that, but this particular occurrence sounds fairly low-stakes so I think I would probably not bring it up with the client but would keep it in mind that this is now something you know about him. But it’s good to loop in your manager in case it becomes a pattern or there is an even more egregious alteration in the future.

            1. MCMonkeybean*

              Edit: nevermind, I just saw your comment further down that he doubled-down on what are now pretty much just outright lies so this instance is already quite egregious obviously! Super not OK, Bob!!!

        3. Foxy Hedgehog*

          Very much this.

          Bob doing this is between Bob and his employers…unless this blows back and makes LW look bad. If I were LW, I would immediately show this to my direct manager as well as to the project manager on this project.

          There’s always the chance that this comes up again in the form of Bob’s superiors asking why it took so long for LW to act, and so LW needs to get out in front of it in case it does.

    2. Myrin*

      That doesn’t make him less guilty, but it can make the conversation more awkward, if he says “what are you talking about?” and means it…

      So what? Ten seconds of (potential! I don’t even think this is all that likely) awkwardness really don’t mean OP shouldn’t go this route if she feels like it.

    3. Workerbee*

      Bob knows what he did since he had to do it consciously. Restructuring and rewording someone else’s written words isn’t something you accidentally or mindlessly do. Even if he was panicking at the time, enough of him remained coldly calculating to choose his action—which was also choosing to cast OP in a negative light.

      I doubt this was the very first time ever, either.

    4. Actual Vampire*

      Well, good thing OP has proof.

      And if Bob really does have a habit of falsifying documents in a blackout panic and then forgetting about it, it will probably be a good thing to let him know that he’s doing it and that people notice.

    5. Kate*

      I’m asker #1! He definitely remembers :) After I inquired with Allison, Bob used my altered words to make claims about both me and my company. Essentially, he doubled down on his misrepresentation. So eventually I called and spoke with him directly, and was as non-confrontational as possible. He fessed up to the edit but did try to explain/excuse away his actions.

      1. It's Growing!*

        Bingo! That’s where I thought he was going, shifting the blame to “the little girl” and having repercussions land on your head, not his. Jerk.

      2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        Sad that he sunk to change and blame to deflect from his mistakes…..but predictable, unfortunately.

      3. Pants*

        I put this in a comment above but I’m going to reiterate because you’ve now established that Bob is slippery. Toss out the “non-confrontational” approach with him. Go facts-only, stern, and take no krispitykrap from him in the way of explanations, etc. This guy will take advantage of any inch you give him. Don’t offer any up. “Bob, you changed the words of my email. I do not appreciate that, nor will I tolerate it in the future.” Full stop.

      4. Cthulhu's Librarian*

        If Bob works in an industry with strong ethics/review board components, it may be worth flagging this dishonesty for them – but doing so would almost certainly cost you any contracts with his company.

    6. Dust Bunny*

      Oh, no–he remembers.

      He’ll probably deny it when you call him on it, but he knows he did it.

    7. Observer*

      There is the possibility that he might not even remember altering the email though.,/i>

      Highly unlikely. As others have noted, this is not something you do in a couple of seconds just hitting a switch. It’s something that had to be done very intentionally.

      The things you don’t remember doing tend to be simple and routine. Like turning off the stove which can be done while doing 3 other things. Changing an email that came to you CANNOT be done that way, which means that it would have to be REALLY routine for it to be done on that level of autopilot. That’s possible, but that indicates that you have someone with a history of poor performance and dishonest handling of situations.

  13. Nelly*

    It’s totally up to you, but I¨ll share my experience. Just food fot thought.

    From the very beginning of my school years, I knew that I wasn’t a “groub” person. I liked to work solo and did my best work that way. So that’s what I knew about myself as well as I knew I have red hair.
    When I started working and study my bachelor’s degree, I knew I wanted to be an expert in my field, but absolutely not be a manager. I wanted to be someone, whose word was highly considered, but didn’t want the responsibility and leadership that would come with management.

    And then… five years ago I entered a new job. For the first time, I’m part of a team, where we work together very closely. And I’ve realized that the collaboration that we do makes us so much stronger than our competition. I get a lot of praise from the way I work as part of the team, brining in my own expertise and also building in on others’. Turns out, now that I have full-ass professionals in my team, I love “group” work. On top of that, six months ago, I started training for management role and as much as I had doupt, I’m loving it! I’m actually good at it and I’ve realized that making decisions for/with the team is actually very natural to me and I’m using a lot of the experience I have from collaborative work. I think the hesitation I had towards making decision and taking responsibility is actually helping me in some ways to be more open to suggestions and discussion. And the times that I’ve had to make hard decisions and take more responsibility as a manager are not that different from the times I was the only expert in my field and practically making decisions alone.

    So, as I said, it’s up to you. But consider that the truths you know about yourself, how you work, what you like, what you’re good at, etc. may not be true. Especially when it comes to doing something you haven’t done before.

    Good luck, where ever you end up!

    1. Daffy Duck*

      There is a HUGE difference between group work in a classroom setting (especially pre-college) and working with responsible, adult, professionals who do their job and always pull their weight (or let you know if something comes up). Spreading out the responsible students to drag their classmates thru projects is a type of mental torture IMO. My very bright, introverted daughter’s favorite class? “It has no jerks in it.”

      1. nelly*

        Haha, you’re right, but I gotta say: My problem was the opposite; I was the one missing all the classes and turning everything in the last possible minute. :P Even though I did excellent work, it was very difficult to adjust to everyone elses’ time frames. I didn’t like being the Lazy one the team. I’d rather be the lazy individual, who still got good grades.

  14. ZoomaZoomZoom*

    #2: Yes, try to find out what specifically you would be doing, and whether you will still be able to do technical work. I had a technical/managerial role for a while that was unexpectedly pleasant!

    I shared some of your concerns, but found that
    1) I hardly ever had to tell people what to do. These folks were already the experts in their own jobs, so my role as supervisor was more of an information conduit: making sure they had the information needed to get on with things, and making sure that people above us knew about the excellent work they were doing.
    2) It turns out that I really dig telling people they’re doing a great job. I mean, I didn’t have to lie about it, as they truly were good at what they did. Before I started the role, I was worried about doing reviews – who am I to judge other people’s work? – but in the end they were actually enjoyable. I had read a lot of Ask A Manager before I started and tried to make sure that nobody would be surprised by anything.
    3) There were occasional difficult situations, e.g. people not getting along, actions being misinterpreted by offsite management, etc etc etc… but I just tried to consider myself an advocate for the team and not take anything personally. Like, this is not my fault, but how can I contribute to the solution? That kind of thinking.

    You know best whether any of that will apply to you, of course!

    I didn’t stay in management, as a straight technical role with more variety and better pay became available and I jumped at it. But I’m just trying to point out that there may be positives that you don’t know about yet.

    1. Numeral Two*

      Thanks for the feedback. I definitely will be reading Alison’s archives if I do take the plunge. And this gives me some thoughts of questions I should ask about how much time I can expect to have to continue doing some technical tasks.

  15. Hydrangea McDuff*

    I have 20 years in public education; I also asked the human sitting next to me, who often hires novice teachers, the dispensary question. He said that a dispensary job, in our particular community (very blue, pot is legal) would not count against a candidate AS LONG AS the rest of their qualifications were very strong from their internship, practical, letters of recommendation and transcripts.

    We also agreed that any person with aspirations to teach, especially older students, should think about being very careful on social media (your students/their parents WILL search you up) about such a job, or should even consider not listing it on a resume or not using George as a reference. And Sam should be well aware that he will be fingerprinted and undergo a background check for any work with children.

    In the absence of other strong credentials, or in a small town or more conservative area, this may unfortunately color people’s assessment of them as a teacher.

    1. Letter Writer 3*

      LW 3, here. Thank you for this perspective. If he did take the job, he definitely would not list it on his resume (but I worry that the lie of omission could bite him in the ass later if it ever came to light), and he would definitely not use his boss there as a reference. He has already been fingerprinted for a college class that included classroom observation and some contact with students, so he does know about that aspect.
      We are in a pretty blue/liberal area, but our state has plenty of more rural, conservative smaller towns and it seems that Sam should keep in mind the possibility that he may be looking at jobs in those kinds of communities. I’m sure that his thinking on this is in part colored by his relative lack of exposure to those more conservative types of areas/thinking. (His high school was pretty progressive, and his college is in an urban setting and it’s pretty diverse.)

      1. JessicaTate*

        Yeah, I think Alison’s idea of digging up news stories about what has happened to teachers in less progressive areas for incredibly inconsequential things is great for your son. It’s lovely that he’s lived a life not being exposed to it, but now’s the time to understand the realities if he would want to live beyond his current setting. Those could make it really real. He sounds like a smart kid with a vision for his future, just give him the info to broaden his view of the world.

        Good luck to you both! And thanks to Sam for wanting to be a public school teacher. It’s incredibly important work and I value him for wanting to do it!

        1. Letter Writer 3*

          Thank you! Sam is pretty smart, and I am proud of him for choosing to teach. He’s known that it’s what he wants to do for several years, and he’s stuck with it despite lots of negativity from some family members. I’m sure we’ll have several conversations around the weirdly restrictive expectations for public school teachers.

  16. John Smith*

    #4 I had a job I hated (call centre) but with the best manager and co-workers I have ever come across. Pay was terrible. Daft o clock start and finish times. Mind numbing repetitive work.

    Now I’m in a job I love (public sector) with mostly good co-workers, decent pay (though lower than private sector equivalent) and benefits, flexible hours and managers that are – and I cannot stress this enough – absolutely shockingly terrible.

    I’d you’re looking for a perfect package, I doubt there is one. But for me, it’d be a role that interests me and I’m competent at, being treated respectfully and fairly by people with integrity, flexibility in work and pay/benefits that allow you to do more than exist.

    1. OtterB*

      I agree with your points about a good job, but I wanted to shout out “Daft o clock.” I have heard and used “0 dark 30” but daft o’clock was new to me and gave me a smile this morning.

      1. JanetM*

        I am not a morning person. I tend to refer to early mornings as “stupid o’clock.”

      2. KnittyGritty*

        The butt-crack of dawn is my go to. The funny thing is that I am absolutely a morning person!

        1. Solana*

          I refer to my getting up time as ‘oh, hell no o’clock’. I only see the sunrise for a bit before walking into my building in the summer and am not a morning person. But I’d rather do that than sit in traffic for an hour and a half and make a cup of tea once I arrive to help wake up.

      3. New Jack Karyn*

        I’m partial to ‘some gawdawful cow-milking hour’ but it’s a little wordy.

  17. A.N. O'Nyme*

    I hope #2 gets read by the LW who was concerned their report would be better at being a manager than them, because this is precisely what the other side of that looks like.

  18. Zaphod Beeblebrox*

    LW2 – why can’t you stay in the union if you are a manager. Maybe a US thing, but most UK unions welcome managers in their ranks.

    1. Smithee*

      Union membership is tied to the specific job.

      To belong to a union, the specific position at the specific employer needs to be union-eligible*. If you change jobs to a non-union position, you’re no longer a union member.

      (*There are also ways to organize unions for positions that aren’t currently affiliated with a union. It’s a lengthy somewhat complicated process & a majority of current employees in a position need to vote for it.

      Probably not applicable to the LW’s situation of moving from a existing union position to a management position. Management positions typically aren’t unionized.)

    2. doreen*

      It’s not so much that the unions don’t welcome management – it’s more that managers have no legal right to unionize under the National Labor Relations Act and employers are not going to voluntarily recognize a union of managers. I think either “manager” must mean something different in the UK than it does to me , or else the whole system must be different . I looked up a UK union ( the IWGB Game workers) and in addition to saying that managers with direct hiring and firing authority are not eligible to join, it also says that a benefit to joining is that a rep could accompany an employee to any meetings with “management”. It seems to me if that “management” was also union members, that would be a conflict of interest for someone – either the “management” or the union representative.

      1. MsSolo (UK)*

        IWGB isn’t a member union of the TUC (Trade Unions Congress) so I wouldn’t say they’re necessarily representative of the majority of UK Unions. It does depend on the industry, but a lot of the big unions, like Unite and Unison, have a lot of middle managers in their ranks. Being management doesn’t mean you’re immune from discrimination, harassment, illegal working practices and generally needing union support when dealing with the managers above you!

        1. doreen*

          Absolutely managers aren’t immune from those things- I didn’t mean to suggest that they (we) are. But in my US experience in unionized environments both as a union member and a manager, I don’t see how managers can serve the employer while also being a union member without conflicts of interest. It doesn’t have to be adversarial , but there are lots of things the employer wants that union members are not thrilled about and vice-versa. Having managers be union members would seem to negate the whole concept of labor negotiating with management. ( unless by “manager” something more like “supervisor” or “foreperson” is meant)

      2. UKDancer*

        I think it must be different. Unions vary as to who they can admit though. My mother managed a team in local Government and she was also a union official in Unison. If any of her staff needed to be disciplined she’d ask one of the other Unison officials to represent them in the case.

        I’m in my union (union of junior and mid ranking llama herders) and I’m management (so a mid ranging llama herder). When one of my staff complained about me and a colleague to the senior llama herder and there was an investigation all three of us were represented by the same union but we had different union representatives. So she was represented by Rod, I was represented by Jane and the third person was represented by Freddy. That way we avoid a conflict of interest.

        There are also specific unions for management in some sectors because they have slightly different priorities. So in the civil service there’s a specific union for senior civil servants apart from the one representing the rank and file. I don’t know how common that is in other sectors.

      3. Governmint Condition*

        In the U.S., managers are rarely unionized, except in government. In those cases, there is usually a union specifically for managers. And it’s not uncommon for the managers’ union and non-managers’ union not to like each other.

      4. Bagpuss*

        I don’t think manager means anything different, but Unions are very different.

        In particular, you can be a member of a union whether or not your workplace as a whole is unionised (although of course the union has much more influence where a large proportion of workers are members. Being a member of a union is specifically protected here (so firing someone because they were in a union would be automatically unlawful, just like firing them because of their gender or race disability would be. )

        ‘Management’ in this context would be ’employer’, so if you were a manager who was also a union member, then you could still act as a manager (for instance, representing the employer in dealing with a disciplinary matter or dismissal of one of your employees) but in your capacity as an employee, if you yourself were subject to disciplinary proceedings, you would be (in your capacity as an employee) entitled to have your union rep involved if you wanted.

        Each union has it’s own rule about who can join, although there are some such as Unite & the GMB both of which have very broad membership criteria. Others such as the NUJ or Equity are trade-specific

      5. So sleepy*

        This. The union can’t negotiate with management if managers are part of the union. At my employer, all management-level and union-exempt jobs are classified as such (including individual contributors that provide consultative support to management and such), and every other role is categorized by union affiliation. You can’t just decide to join the union in a new position (and in fact, the collective agreement is usually very specific in who it applies to).

        In some cases, you can maintain membership in a union while on a temporary assignment if you continue to pay dues (but again, that would mainly be to avoid losing your seniority and to be able to apply for union jobs easily later – you wouldn’t be eligible for most other entitlements until you returned to a position within that union).

        1. So sleepy*

          To elaborate a bit further, the union is obliged to represent the interests of its members in negotiations with management. If managers are part of the union, the fundamental interests of the union members change, and managers can also vote against things that are not in their interests (for instance, if union members wanted to negotiate for a month’s notice and that’s inconvenient for most managers, it will skew the voting and decisions made by union leadership).

    3. Numeral Two*

      I am not going to pretend I understand US labor law, but definitely can say whatever is going on the UK is not applicable. I think what Smithee wrote is correct though.

    4. DivineMissL*

      US worker here – we have unionized employees here at my workplace, but my position (EA to the CEO) is a NON-union position because I’m considered a “confidential employee” – that is, in my job, I have access to confidential information and documents that would be related to union negotiations between my boss (management) and the union. I can’t see how a manager could be in the union at the same time; they are two sides of a coin.

  19. Empress Ki*

    3 How could having sex outside of marriage be held against a teacher in this day and age !? It must be in very religious schools, not in State schools. I know a few teachers.who live with their partner, even have children outside of wedlock, and nobody cares !

    1. RabbitRabbit*

      In 2013, a Martin County, Florida high school teacher was fired because she was doing bikini and lingerie modeling on the side, under another name. They thought it was inappropriate for her to be teaching high school students.

      In 2015, a Utah middle school teacher was threatened with loss of her job because she had (under a pseudonym) been posting photos of her body-building progress – while in bikinis – to social media. School officials showed her multiple photos and asked why she hadn’t made them private and so on, and told her to make them private or take them down, or she’d be fired. They reversed their decision after she went to the media.

      In 2009, a Georgia high school teacher was pressured into resigning over her Facebook vacation photos showing her in Europe, smiling and holding a couple of drinks – a parent had anonymously complained that this was a bad image for teachers to portray. She sued for her job back and lost in court.

      1. allathian*

        Just goes to show that a prudent teacher shouldn’t be on social media at all. I think it’s horrible that things should be like this, but it’s the world some of us live in. I don’t think that things are quite as bad as this in most places in Europe.

        1. Bagpuss*

          I think also it’s one of those areas where the stronger employment protections would make it more difficult, certainly in the UK I think you’d need to show something much more than it possibly being a bad example.

          There was a chap here who was fired and struck off, but he had taken a group of pupils to a strip club and got very drunk while supervising them (or possibly got very drunk while supervising them and then took them to a strip club) , but I don’t think anyone would seriously argue that that was unreasonable on the part of his employers!

    2. hs teacher*

      This is an extreme example that is usually in a certain place. Yes, usually in religious schools, and if in public schools then usually in very conservative areas. Teachers are held to strong standards, however, it all depends on the place. I have always taught in large, urban areas and teacher’s personal lives really don’t come up that much.

    3. Person from the Resume*

      I’m pretty sure that’s only in private religious schools. To be fair, I think it’s okay that these schools want their teachers to live their religions values.

      The unfair part is that women are the ones that get physically pregnant and can’t hide an out of wedlock baby as easily as man. Plus women already get the pressure to be chaste and virginial and not tempting to men. That part is almost always sexistly enforced.

      1. SnappinTerrapin*

        Even as a young man, several decades ago, I ranted about the double standard. The double standard is not consistent with any religious faith I’ve been exposed to, but no religion is totally free of hypocrites.

        One of my rants was about a group of young men, whom I loved as brothers, who were proud of one brother’s heterosexual promiscuity, but outraged when he began experimenting with consenting men.

        Either be consistent in moralizing, or remain silent.

        And in case my position is unclear, I’m grounded in the standards I choose to live by, but keep my nose out of other people’s intimacies.

    4. Paige*

      Definitely can be a thing in public/state schools. The current Georgia code of ethics for educators (effective as of April 2021) includes this little gem: “Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to…. behavior or conduct that is detrimental to the health, welfare, discipline, or morals of students”

      And that gets very broadly interpreted depending on who’s complaining.

    5. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

      Former Catholic school kid, and can confirm… teachers and employees had to be either single, married or widowed. No divorced people were allowed. But they didn’t accept kids from divorced or single parents and were sex segregated until the mid 90’s, so…

  20. Green great dragon*

    1 – I agree completely about Bob’s actions, but – that was quite a grumpy email! It read to me as hammering home the point rather and I can see why Bob didn’t want to forward (though clearly he should have deleted the whole thing, not put words in your mouth).

    1. Workerbee*

      Bob’s delays and then Bob’s conscious choice to cover up his delays by shifting the accountability and responsibility over to OP would warrant an actually grumpy response—and worse—than the very matter-of-fact letter I just read.

      1. Green great dragon*

        If it had been sent after Bob’s cover-up that would have been a different matter. But it was sent before.

        1. it's me*

          I don’t think it was grumpy — OP had to account for the delays without directly pointing the finger at the client, and I think that was handled gracefully.

          1. So sleepy*

            It was just unnecessary – if the client had asked why something was delayed, it would be fine to note the delay on their end. But absent that, it does come across a bit like nitpicking (and is definitely not an e-mail I’d forward – although in those cases it’s all about sending a new message instead of forwarding anything! The fact that he directly told her he was blaming her, though (“I didn’t want them to blame US”), is pretty low, though, and I’d have no qualms about correcting the error, I just mean to say I wouldn’t really describe LW’s response as graceful, so much as clearly irritated.

            1. it's me*

              I don’t believe we know enough of the context, just from the small excerpt, to know what amount of detail was necessary. I don’t see anything explicitly grumpy or irritated in the excerpt.

    2. Insert Clever Name Here*

      It’s always interesting to me the different ways people interpret things. My interpretation of the email wasn’t that it was grumpy, but just stating for the record (and in professional terms) that Bob took 3 weeks to get the LW the information necessary to move forward.

    3. SnappinTerrapin*

      I’m having trouble seeing this from your perspective.

      What did you see wrong with the initial email?

      1. Observer*

        Apparently, making sure that it’s clear that she wasn’t the one to hold things up is not nice.

    4. LadyByTheLake*

      I am not seeing anything wrong with the OP’s email at all — it is pretty standard. As an outside vendor who (often) gets blamed for internal delays it is standard and important to have a matter-of-fact trail like this. Nothing grumpy about it.

      1. Green great dragon*

        OK, I’m clearly in the minority here! So my take: none of the lines quoted by the OP actually needed to be said to move the process forward. They’re there to point out it was Bob’s fault, which is totally reasonable, but that could have been ‘I got your update this morning Bob – the next step is…’. Setting it out in unnecessary detail in that way would suggest to me (correctly I think!) that OP was pretty fed up with Bob on top of it being his fault – as I said, hammering home the point – so I can see why he didn’t want others to see it. I agree it in no way justifies Bob’s action.

    5. D3*

      It wasn’t grumpy.
      Unless you’re the one who caused the delay and didn’t like it being pointed out. Then I could see where it might come off that way.
      The difference is guilt. It only comes off grumpy if you’re guilty of causing a delay.

    6. Observer*

      that was quite a grumpy email!

      Of course it was grumpy! Bob had held up the process and everyone was taking heat. It’s not surprising that the OP wanted to document what had been holding her up. The fact that Bib then edited the email proves that she was right to do so.

  21. happybat*

    I wonder if there is any value in sending Bob an email noting “I noticed you edited my email of *date*” and just leaving it at that. I’ve used the tactic of just ‘noting’ an unwanted behaviour occasionally where I had no real power to make them stop. I’ve found letting the person know that you know can sometimes make them hesitate to repeat the behaviour.

    1. pleaset cheap rolls*

      Or even softer “Please don’t edit text of what I have written”

      That shows you noticed.

      1. NotRealAnonForThis*

        Given the asker’s updates, I’d probably not soften that with “please” but leave it at “Don’t edit text of what I’ve written”.

        Caveat: I’m also in a male dominated field where I’ve learned that I don’t ask in situations like this. Its a directive, not a request, or its seen as something they can opt to ignore because I’m just an emotional woman.

  22. Cambridge Comma*

    OP1 only found out about this altered email by accident. There could be others where the chain was never accidentally copied. In OP1’s position I would talk to my own manager about having them contact Bob’s manager about the issue.

  23. Sleeping Late Every Day*

    LW2, I worked at a not-for-profit that frequently hired from within for management roles (department heads and division directors). The department heads usually worked out because although there was some budgeting and people management, most of them were still very hands-on in their specialty. The promoted division directors were mostly disasters. Much of that was the fault of the executive director, who wanted BIG RESULTS but never conveyed what those results should be, so some divisions were a revolving door with a new director every year or so. Other DDs were incompetent because loosely managing a few people as department head was a whole ‘nother game than doing full time people and paperwork wrangling. And some, alas, became various versions of Bad Boss – taking credit for their staff’s work, blaming others for their own shortcomings, getting huge egos… it wasn’t pretty. And what was sad was that these people had been excellent in their previous positions, some for many years, but then got fired after a year or two of upper management. Of course there were some good to great ones, but they tended to be in smaller divisions or had been hired from outside. And I can understand the union issue – it can create a them vs. us situation in the minds of some people. I had a management job decades ago, and what I learned was that it’s something I really dislike and would never do again. But if you’re a highly organized person and able to be wear multiple hats (mostly not selected by you), then maybe you’d be one of the good managers.

    1. Numeral Two*

      You give me some hope with the idea of the distinction between division heads version department heads. Thanks for the comment!

  24. Knope Knope Knope*

    LW#2 when I first became a manager I had an excellent manager myself, and a very misguided boyfriend. The boyfriend warned me not to let it look like my employees could do my job better than I could, and to essentially think of them as competition. Dumb. My brilliant manager however caught on quickly and taught me to do the exact opposite. To really highlight the individual successes of my team. To give them opportunities to speak in meetings where I normally would and present their own work and ideas. To forward emails to my own bosses showcasing when one of my employees did really great work and keep that employee copied. It let my employees shine and trust me as a manager. It made me not only look like a good manager, but actually become one. Though my employees were praised directly for their good work and contributions, I was praised for my good management which incentivized me to spend more time and energy investing in trainings and career growth opportunities for them. It also created enough trust between us that I was able to spend more time doing higher level work, seeing the impact of how my technical work could be multiplied when I lead a team of 5 doing it with my leadership and coordination, and even though I also despise budgets and contracts I was able to spend time advocating for the tools and resources I’d wished I’d had when I was doing the job. Not gonna lie, parts of management are always tough, but I’d give it a shot.

    1. The Other Dawn*

      I remember a former manager once telling me my job as a good manager should be to want to develop my team (or certain individuals on the team) to the point where they can do my job as well or better than me. Not that they want to be the manager, necessarily, but that they come up with good ideas, know how to get things done, are maybe thinking of things I haven’t thought of yet, etc. I’ve always believed this and worked to develop people on my team with this in mind. It makes my job so much easier to know there are people I depend on and I don’t have to think of every little thing or hold their hands all the time.

      1. Numeral Two*

        I do like these thoughts and they are definitely things I try to do already it extracurricular activities and appreciate the comments.

      2. Numeral Two*

        You give me some hope with the idea of the distinction between division heads version department heads. Thanks for the comment!

  25. The Other Dawn*

    RE: #2

    There’s a lot to consider when trying to decide if management is right for you.

    Some of it is very company- and team-dependent. If you work for a good company and/or have a self-sufficient team, then managing them can be pretty easy–they do what they need to do, and do it well, without being constantly told. When you get stuck with a team that needs a lot of hand-holding, likes to complain a lot, have to be kept on track because they’re too distracted by other coworkers, or have any other issues you need to actively manage, managing can be really hard and suck the life out of you until you can either get them to improve or you can manage them out. Been there, done that, and it sucks.

    As far as not being able to do what you really enjoy now, I would say that also depends on the company/department size and structure. In a really large company, it’s less likely you’ll still get to do the technical things you enjoy–you’ll be managing others who do those things, not doing them yourself (usually). In a small company, you might be a “working manager,” in that you manage the team, but you also do some of the technical work, though maybe not as much as an individual contributor. This is something to really think about and weigh heavily if the stuff you do now makes you happy. I once had someone who was convinced they wanted to be my assistant manager. I had to explain many times that if she were to do that, she wouldn’t be doing any of the things she loved to do–she would be managing others who will be doing that work for her. Eventually she understood and decided she didn’t want to manage.

  26. a*

    L1: Is it too weird to write your message in a text program, screenshoot the message, and then send that? So that no edits are possible.

    1. BRR*

      I think it is. While doing this makes sense in theory, I think sometimes people can implement solutions that make them seem really out of touch. If I got an email that was an image of text and heard “fergus does this because bob changed the text on an email once,” I’d probably stick both fergus and bob in the same box mentally and then distance myself from that box because it sounds exhausting.

      1. Kate*

        I’m the asker of question 1. Your response made me laugh! While screenshots would solve this particular problem, the nature of my job means I send sometimes hundreds of emails per day. Screenshotting my emails would seem wildly out of touch to most, I’m afraid.

        1. Clorinda*

          Also not necessary, since your own email preserves the original with date stamp should you ever need to say “well, actually” about it.

        2. Wisteria*

          When I think I might need to look back on an email chain for documentation, I save a copy of the message to my hard drive both in .msg form and in .pdf form. My company uses Outlook, and it has an auto-archive function. Keeping copies on my hard drive makes it easier to find just in general, but also once they have been auto-archived. PDFs can be altered, but it’s harder, so they make a good record.

        3. Observer*

          Also, as others have said, not necessary and it would get in your way.

          But I do think that bccing yourself and your boss when this guy is on the email is good idea, because it makes it easier to track this stuff.

          Have an automatic rule that anything you bcc yourself goes into a specific folder “Fergus Emails” or something like that, so that you have everything where you need it whenever you need it.

    2. Insert Clever Name Here*

      Yeah, that would be weird. Images sometimes don’t show up if someone is doing email on their phone, it makes it impossible to search later on, and is just wildly outside the norm.

    3. BethDH*

      I think that would reflect badly on OP. It might make it look like they didn’t know how to use email properly (like getting a photo of a document instead of a pdf).
      More importantly, it could easily lead to people missing the content entirely. They may have their email client set not to load images automatically, for example, and think OP just didn’t include any text.
      I would also be annoyed at OP for doing this because I want my email searchable.

    4. Nanani*

      I don’t see why that would be necessary. LW’s “sent mail” folder will have copies of the originals.

      1. Nanani*

        ETA: The idea being she can reply to the next email with her original in the place of the edited one via a simple copy and paste.

        Don’t send a non-text photo ever.

  27. TeacherIndiana*

    I’m a school teacher who has taught in multiple states. The background checks are literally checking for crimes and nothing else. He should know the laws for his state regarding dispensaries and also if the feds are targeting dispensaries in his area. But I have lived internationally but always have had a US address and because stating living overseas makes it near impossible for me to finish the background process I lied and my employer believes I have only lived in the US and the background checks didn’t catch it. It is definitely a risk to think about but definitely not a don’t do it. I have known teachers who have worked in dispensaries and still got jobs. Also with the current teacher shortage they districts have become really lax as long as you have clean background check. We have teachers with full sleeve tats, hair can be any color of the rainbow, and fresh out of school teachers with no work experience stated are all welcome. So definitely just keep it off the resume but if the pay is good definitely worth considering.

    1. hs teacher*

      I am a high school teacher and I agree. Personally, I probably wouldn’t take the job because I think there is a risk it could hurt him in the future, however, I have been a teacher for 10 years, two different states, and honestly my personal life has not really come up in the job. Sometimes I think people exaggerate how much teachers are held to a moral standard. A lot of it depends on where you teach. I’ve always taught in large, urban, metro areas and I honestly don’t think the students or parents really care what the teachers do in their free time (within reason).

      1. Blackcat*

        I also think in some areas, a male teacher–particularly of older kids/teens–can get away with more than a female teacher. I know tons of stories of teachers getting fired for holding a drink or whatever, and they’re all women.

        1. joe*

          Especially a woman in a conservative leaning region, like Florida, Georgia and Utah as the examples listed in another thread.

      2. Alexis Rosay*

        Yeah, I work in education in a major city and getting fired for dispensary work seems far fetched to me too. But I think it depends a lot on the area.

    2. MCMonkeybean*

      The basic pre-job background checks I have been through definitely list all the jobs I’ve had. I know this because after my most recent one they called me to discuss the fact that the name of the company listed on my resume for my previous job was different then what came up in my background check. (I had the public name of the company listed on my resume but a payroll subsidiary was what came up for them in the background check as my actual employer)

  28. agnes*

    #2 Alison is right, if you don’t like the core tasks, don’t apply for the job. I was in management all my career–until this last job. I keep getting asked to apply for management positions because I am good at my job (and good at management) but I am worn out with managing people. So I keep smiling and saying no. I love my job now–yes I could make more money if I took on management roles, but I’d just spend it on therapy.

    1. Iced Mocha Latte*

      I’m feeling the same way–burned out on managing people. Especially having to manage moving from 100% in office before the pandemic, to 100% WFH and now getting everyone back in for 50% in office. It’s incredibly frustrating and disheartening at the moment. Although my manager now knows I want to move out of this subject area into another area of the company, she doesn’t yet know I want nothing to do with managing people anymore. I’ll save that one for another day.

  29. Boundaries*

    #4 Just to add an example to what good jobs can be to different people:

    I knew a woman who never stepped out of her low-level position (despite being highly competent and more than able to take more responsibilities) because it paid well enough to fund the hobbies and travelling she was passionate about. She didn’t care one bit about the work beyond the desire to do it well and she did.

    It absolutely caused some friction with management because they couldn’t comprehend her lack of desire for advancement so they couldn’t leave it be. Even though they had a highly competent, content employee who could train all the new starters in her sleep and would have stayed there forever.*

    *We all got made redundant in the end.
    Except the guy with a car.

    1. NotRealAnonForThis*

      In this vein, I’m always flabbergasted when management decides (for an employee) that “this is the path for your career” without actually consulting with the employee, and then wind up butt-hurt because the employee doesn’t agree with some aspect of the path.

      1. ecnaseener*

        In conjunction with the letter yesterday (I think?) from the person who can’t get considered for managing positions bc they’re not a stellar individual contributor — higher-ups need to wrap their heads around this! Managing is its own skill set, not something you should blindly funnel your top employees into.

        1. it's me*

          I think it’s common to assume that “advancement” always means being a people manager.

      2. Ama*

        A good friend of mine is an engineer in a part of engineering that still doesn’t have a lot of women in general. She works for a huge international company that prides itself on promoting women into management — but the management jobs have very little to do with on the ground engineering work, which is what she loves. So ironically the company has a lot of gender diversity in their management but still very few women in high level engineering positions, because they keep pushing them into management tracks only 3-5 years into their careers.

        Thankfully with the support of a manager early on in her career she successfully resisted the initial attempts to set her on the management track and also established a nice niche for herself as a safety expert (something she actually likes doing, and which is a role her company normally has difficulty keeping talented people in), and that has resulted in the company leaving her alone about management positions.

      3. Esmeralda*

        Yes indeed.
        I was asked by quite a few people (including the hiring officer = my grand boss), my great grand boss, and a number of co-workers, to apply for a new management position in our office. I said no: I don’t like managing people although I enjoy collaborating, I surely did not want to manage my coworkers (there are some weird dynamics that I just did not want to have to manage, a true pain in the butt), and I did not want to spend more time at work.

        About a year later — the times we are now living in. My supervisor (the person hired to the job I did not want) is working his ass off. I can’t imagine doing his job while I had the personally terrible year + that I’m just getting out of. No thanks.

        My grand-boss told me I made a mistake (I did not), and I’m sorry to say became less helpful with professional development. Oh well.

    2. Gnizmo*

      This reflects most of my thoughts on the subject as well. You have to be able to look for what you want out of a job as a person rather than what you are expected to want. The constant desire for management to want me to move up turned me into a nightmare employee in more than one job. I do not have the temperament for management. Just let me do my job well and be done.

  30. Ali G*

    I think this will vary depending on where you are on your career trajectory. Assuming baseline of adequate salary and benefits:
    When I was just starting out, money was most important, followed by my ability to do the job.
    Then I wanted to fill my ambitions and rise in the ranks. With this came more money, but also more work and stress. But I was young and single so I didn’t care. I stayed in this frame of mind for a long while (~10 years or so).
    Then I met my husband and for the first time in my life had a horrible experience with my then-boss. That changed my thinking (much like many folks in the pandemic discussion yesterday) immensely.
    I no longer cared about being high up in a prestigious company. All that was doing was allowing rich white dudes to get richer on my hard work. They didn’t give a crap about me. I wasn’t the shiny new object anymore and was dispensable. Screw that.
    Now I care about: liking my work, being valued for what I do, great co-workers, and being paid adequately. I have free time, great benefits and the ability to spend my free time as I wish (no more “emergencies” that were really execs believing that because I was highly paid I was at their disposal 24-7).

  31. hs teacher*

    I am a high school teacher, and I actually have not found my personal life to really come up a lot in my career. This might be due to the schools I’ve worked at, living in large/metro areas, etc. So I usually will push back on some people’s fears that their personal lives will be heavily monitored in teaching. It depends on the job, the place, the time, etc.

    However (you knew this was coming) I have to agree that working at a marijuana dispensary could torpedo his chances down the line. It isn’t guaranteed, but there is certainly a risk there, so it just might not be worth taking the risk. Also, high school students google their teachers immediately and WILL find info about their past. They move on from their findings quick, but they do love to google lol. Just something to keep in mind.

  32. Anastasia Beaverhousen*

    #1 in your next communication use the correct email and add on a new message. Include his supervisor in the loop (especially if there are more delays due to lack of contact). Include something like “It’s been another three week’s since we have heard from you, how would you like to proceed”.

  33. LF*

    LW #3

    It’s so upsetting how our society punishes marijuana use. I have a friend who has a conviction for possessing marijuana. The police found it in her car when they pulled her over. She was driving at night in a conservative town that was unfamiliar to her.

    At the time, she was a graduate student and studying art therapy at the time. Years later, she still can’t get employment as a teacher because of this on her record. It’s frustrating. She’s a kind and mature person. She wants to teach art therapy. She has valuable experience. Prior to grad school, she was working with adults who had mental disabilities. But our uptight US society says she’s no longer good. All of this for possession, She wasn’t using or selling or corrupting minors.

  34. Mimi Me*

    #3 – Most schools take federal funds so their grounds are considered federal property. I live in a state where marijuana is legal and there have been teachers and students who were arrested because they had marijuana on school grounds. Yes, most charges were dropped or a fine was imposed, but at least two teachers lost their jobs. I know that the LW’s son is only planning on working at the dispensary but given he wants to be a school teacher and most schools accept federal funds, it puts a different spin on how they view it.

    1. LITJess*

      Whoa, whoa, whoa, no they aren’t. School grounds are public property – meaning they are open to the public, but you must follow the rules of municipality when accessing and using that property. Nearly all parts of local government receives federal funding distributed via state agencies, that doesn’t make your local library a federal agency.

  35. ecnaseener*

    #4: From what I can tell, people fall into two broad categories: people who need to like their job (at least somewhat) in order to be happy, and people who don’t.

    For the latter type, a good job is one that pays enough to live comfortably and doesn’t take up too much time or (physical/mental/social) energy, so that energy can go towards hobbies/family/etc.

    For the type who needs to be reasonably happy during those 40 hours/week in order to be happy the rest of the time, this depends further on the person.
    Some people need enough stimulation to not be bored. Different people need different amounts of physical/mental/social stimulation. Different levels of complexity too.

    Some people are very social / relationship-focused, and the nature of the work is less important than having good relationships and feeling valued.

    Some people hate feeling like all their work is just going to line the CEO’s pockets. There are jobs where that’s not the case. And of course there are jobs where the work feels really valuable because you’re saving whales or whatever.

    Etc etc etc, as Alison said.

  36. Allie*

    I temporarily managed in a similar situation (unionized, lost protection when you became management). It did make a huge difference. Union positions couldn’t be transferred around without a process, managers could be forcibly placed wherever. There was one office of all new hires that was a huge amount of work and they basically forced someone into it.

    Honestly, I didn’t enjoy it. The hours were crazy and the raise not significant to make up with it. Middle management you end up being the receptacle for everyone’s complaints and stress.

    I finished my 6 month commitment to the temp job, declined to apply to the full job and happily went back to the base job.

    1. Numeral Two*

      This idea of trying to do something temporary to permanent is intriguing, but it is also good to see that my concerns about leaving the union are not unfounded. Thanks for the feedback.

  37. Person from the Resume*

    LW2, I think you have a somewhat misguided understanding of what managers do. It’s worth considering that. OTOH if budgeting is a good bit of the job and you don’t want to do that and prefer to remain doing technical work it makes sense to decline.

    As Alison said a good manager (no one, really) should take credit for others work. As a manager, you could in a position to make things easier on the people you manage.

    I manage through more of a team model. We work together to get the job done. That may work best with highly skilled technical teams. For example I can’t actually write software, but I manage developers. I tell them the goal, requirement, deadline. They are responsible for coming up with the way to get it done. I take a we are all in this together attitude and when something was accomplished it was a team effort and not me alone.

    There are other types of teams and managers that are different and harsher and more hands-on management and maybe the environment and people are required to be.

    1. Numeral Two*

      I suppose this is another good line of questions to ask before making the decision. It may be that I just happened to start to get a “preview” right at budget season, and perhaps it is only a month or so that is terrible.

      Though I was also tasked with collecting all of the expense requests for the new department as part of this “preview” and absolutely no one provided them even a week late.

  38. Cat Lady of Oxford*

    Unfortunately on #3 Allison is right. There’s a famous case out there…Ashley Payne was a public school teacher who went on vacation and posted a photo of herself holding a glass of beer in one hand and a glass of wine in another. It was posted to her personal social media and her drink consumption done on personal time. However, she was still fired after parents complained. Now, beer and wine are both legal in Georgia, where Ms. Payne was employed, and Ms. Payne was a legal adult drinking legal alcohol.

    But she was still fired–or “forced to resign”–because of “optics.”

  39. Jennifer Juniper*

    OP3: Sam may be given more leniency on personal matters because he’s a man. Women are held to stricter moral standards than men.

    1. Mental Lentil*

      While this is true in general, this is not necessarily true in education, where men tend to be the minority, especially at earlier grades.

      And the education bureaucracy takes a pretty hard look at drugs, because it only takes one pissed-off deranged parent to make a fuss that administrators just don’t want to deal with.

    2. quill*

      This would probably be true of parents finding out about him having, say, a child out of wedlock, but NOT any connection with drugs and the resulting moralizing from board and parents. Male teachers also get higher scrutiny of their background than the average male, especially as you get into the lower grades and they’re statistically more rare.

  40. Delta Delta*

    #3 – OP3 should show this comment thread to Sam to give him some perspectives that maybe he hadn’t considered, both about his considering taking the dispensary job and about his future life as a teacher. Sam might decide the dispensary job isn’t worth it, given his future goal. Sam might also decide that becoming a teacher isn’t worth all the personal life scrutiny and pursue a different path. Or Sam might try to do both and see where the chips fall.

    And just adding to the chorus of insanity, a teacher friend of mine was in some hot water for being in a group photo where there was also a beer bottle in the photo. Nobody was drinking in the photos – the bottle was just on a table in the photo (and possibly not even the table the group was sitting at), and some pearl-clutcher parent lost their minds that the woman who taught her precious offspring might be adjacent to a beer bottle out in the big bad world somewhere. Does Sam want to sign up for a lifetime of this nonsense?

    1. Mental Lentil*

      Yep. This kind of out-of-control, deranged parent is the reason I left the field. Always somebody complaining about something, and it’s often something of little or no significance. They just want to get on their soapbox and get their fifteen minutes of fame. Sadly, in the social media era, teachers don’t get rewarded for actually being good teachers. They get rewarded for dealing effectively with parents. It’s a crock.

      I miss being in the classroom. I do not miss being in the school building. There is a huge difference.

  41. blink14*

    OP #4 – For me, a good job is a good work environment, reasonable commute, engages me enough to not be bored, fair pay, and excellent benefits. My true passions in life have limited employment options, and so I work because I have to, and with multiple health conditions, I have to take jobs with at least passable health insurance.

    I’ve worked two long term permanent jobs – one with a terrible boss who disrespected everyone, livable but low pay, a very short commute, and average benefits. I HATED it by the end, and in large part due to my former boss. My current job, which I’ve been at for 5+ years, has a varying work environment (we move around a lot and sit with other departments which can be a positive or a negative), a decent commute, I have a great boss, the work is way more interesting than my last job, better pay but still not where I’d like to be, and fantastic benefits. Benefits are incredibly important to me, so staying within this organization really long term is a definitely possibility.

  42. Molly*

    Your reference to tyrant bosses and the link to the letter about the boss who who taped mouths shut started me wondering. Have you heard a further update? Did that person ever realize they don’t need to accommodate a sadistic tyrant in any way and start aggressively pursuing a new job? I hope so, but would love to know for sure.

      1. Polly Hedron*

        That update was unsatisfying: the OP
        – said nothing about the taping
        – believed they had to get the boss’s permission to be allowed to look for a new job
        I want an update that answers Molly’s questions.

  43. hbc*

    Seriously. “Bob, you said the quiet part out loud!”

    At least he’s a pretty ineffective snake. I can think of at least three ways I could handle this better if I was trying to get away with this:

    1) Restate the information (rather than quoting and modifying) in a way that leads my boss to the wrong impression but is technically true. “OP just emailed me yesterday and says we’re ready to proceed after a three week gap in activity.”
    2) Trim out the email chain when looping the scapegoat back into the conversation so she doesn’t see my scheming.
    3) Don’t admit to being a snake if caught! “My boss is very action-oriented and hates anything that looks like finger-pointing” or “Oh, sorry, I was trying to write a summary in my own words and must have typed in the wrong place.”

    1. hbc*

      Nesting fail. This is in response to OP1’s update that Bob owned up to the change when confronted and actually admitted is was an attempt to dodge blame.

  44. Khatul Madame*

    It was the right call and you were right to loop in your manager. It’s not just you Bob tried to throw under the bus, but also your employer.
    Documenting your side of things would be sufficient for next time, but if Bob points the finger at you, make it your manager’s job to resolve the situation.

  45. Eva*

    LW#4, My very best job ever was because of the very best boss ever. He was an awesome leader who made me feel valued. He provide multiple opportunities for learning and training. He rewarded accomplishments. He gave constructive feedback and praise for a job well done. He promoted from within. He never took credit for your work and always put the spotlight on his employees. He encouraged employee input and and if he disagreed with your suggestions, he used it as a learning opportunity so even if you didn’t get your way you came out of his office smarter than when you went in. He was socially responsible and encouraged employees to live their truth. For example; if you wanted a day off to participate in a cause/protest you believed in, he would bring it up in a group meeting and let everyone know he was okay with it but asked that we tell him in advance so he could plan for a sick-out. (he never said don’t do it or threatened anyone if they did) He went to bat for me when I pointed out that he promoted me to a job that a man was previously doing but I was still being paid “girl money”. (I got that raise!) I couldn’t wait to get out of bed in the morning and I looked forward to Mondays. It was 12 of the best years of my life. I would have stayed at that job forever.

    Then the tech bubble burst, my job was outsourced to China and I’ve been chasing that dragon ever since. They don’t make ’em like that anymore.

  46. quill*

    LW 4, if he still wants to take the job, some ground rules:

    – Do not list the job on social media, give any indication of where you worked, have any photos taken there of you, etc.
    – He will probably have to leave this job off his resume for the duration of his teaching career.
    – Actually as a future teacher I would strongly suggest that he stop using social media under his legal name / whatever name he will be employed under NOW rather than later, actually, and to stop listing other identifiable info like current residence or place of employment. Most teachers I know have scrubbed their most identifiable names off facebook.
    – So for example a Mrs. Smith who teaches grade 4 would be listed under her maiden name, Jane Jones, or her first and middle name, Jane Anne – the idea is to remove the ability of parents to google “Jane Smith, Springfield Simpsonville, teacher Springfield school district” and have her profile come up. So facebook can’t know that 1) she has moved to Springfield 2) she’s a teacher, especially not at the Springfield school district 3) her full legal name, especially if it’s more identifiable than Jane Smith.

  47. Firecat*

    #1 A big issue with that Alison didn’t address is this sort of behavior can lead to the company choosing another vendor.

    Depending on your contract, how competitive the market is, and the decision makers at Bobs company I would do some damage control if it’s at all possible that Bob throwing you under the bus could lead to them dropping you as a vendor.

    If I did reach out I would forward my original email and highlight the sentence he deleted. In my forward I would say something like: This is awkward but you should know I was waiting on Bob since 6/3 to take next steps and he deleted that part of my email before sending it onto you (see below). I’d never sit on action items for several weeks and be so cavilier about finishing up my tasks.

    1. Polly Hedron*

      That is an excellent point, but the situation is so tricky that I’d recommend running the email by your boss before sending it.

  48. Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Coffee*

    LW1 – Forwarded emails are so easy to manipulate. It sucks. If I send Jane an quote and Elliot in their office asks me where it is because Jane never did anything with it or said I didn’t send anything, I’ll reply to that email with the original email/quote attached – I don’t forward it. Just an idea if Bob’s bosses come asking about it. They can see exactly what you wrote originally.

  49. Pocket Mouse*

    #2- I think you have to figure out if you would enjoy managing *people* as opposed to managing what you yourself can produce, even in close collaboration with others. I’m pointing out the distinction because your points 1 and 4 resonated strongly with my experience. I have a lot of knowledge and some leadership skills, but I’m an introvert who does not want and does not enjoy managing people. When I managed a small team, I still did a fair amount of technical work, but the managing part really diminished my enjoyment of the job overall.

    Also, if you are interested in moving into a manager role, make it known if and when you need support! Employers or your own manager can be thoughtful—or not—about supporting and coaching new managers, and not getting the support you (and by extensions, your direct reports) need can make the transition so much harder. If you anticipate needing any kind of support as a new manager, assess what will be available before making the jump.

    1. Numeral Two*

      If there is one thing that is consistent on my personality tests is that I am an introvert too. I already took your advise to heart and asked a few folks about training and support. Sounds like it is either intense training for a select few or next to nothing. But perhaps there is an outside option in the middle.

  50. Daisy-dog*

    #4 – This is something that I am working on for myself!! I feel like I am never happy in my work. I believe this is in part to the fact that I have only been in low/mid-level roles that tend to have high levels of responsibility with low levels of decision-making capabilities (for one reason or another). I also can be a bit resentful if I disagree with certain decisions on leadership. Does this make these jobs bad? Not exactly. But it is a spectrum for me and can vary day-by-day.

  51. Sara without an H*

    Hi, OP#2 – A lot depends on what you know about your employer. How well do they support new managers? Do they provide training and/or mentorship for new managers to help them develop skills they didn’t get to acquire as individual contributors? What do they expect the manager in this position to accomplish during the first year? I was once hired for a position where they wanted someone to fix all the problems but not really change anything. It was…interesting.

    If you decide you don’t want this position, what are the implications for your future with the company? Are there ways for you to advance while remaining in an individual contributor’s role? Some places have an up-or-out culture and if your’s is one of them, you need to figure out what this will mean for your role.

    Talk to whoever manages the position and try to get some clarity on these issues. If you decide to give it a shot, try to negotiate a one-year trial period, with the option to return to your original role if it doesn’t work out. And get that agreement in writing. Your executives may be lovely, highly ethical people, but it’s easy to forget or misremember significant details in oral agreements. That’s why contracts were invented.

    1. Numeral Two*

      Thanks for responding! I am definitely at the top of where I can go without being management, but up and out is not a worry and honestly I am kind of fine with being where I am all things considered. I do like this is idea of getting things in writing about a one year trial period, since some type of trial is where I am leaning after reading Alison and all of the commenters if I do try.

  52. Proletariat*

    LW2: If you don’t want to be a manager, don’t do it. A couple of friends did, but went back to their old positions in a year or so. When I started my current job, my manager was, um, not the best-tempered. After a few years we got a new grand-boss and eventually my manager’s position was eliminated. I doubt that our grand-boss actually considered me as manager for more than a tenth of a second–she knows where her towel is–but I had I made it absolutely clear that I had no interest being a manager–my skills are more techie than people-oriented. Instead she promoted a person younger and with less seniority than I had who is superb at dealing with people, budgets, etc. Forward eight (?) years: our department is a great team, we like each other, get along well, joke with each other, and the rest of our organization thinks highly of us. And when I remarked that I had a girl boss (a term I picked up here) she said brightly “yes, and you have *two* of them.”

    1. Numeral Two*

      I am very intrigued by the phrase “she knows where her towel is” and appreciate the feedback comrade.

      1. Proletariat*

        A reference to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Somebody who has it all together. “See that hoopy* Ford Prefect?** There’s a guy who really knows where his towel is!” It used to be that one could not become a proper Systems Manager without a comprehensive knowledge of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Monty Python. This was many years ago, and the standards may have changed. For the worse.

        *I don’t know the exact meaning, but assume it’s complimentary.
        **One of the main characters, from another planet, who helps Arthur Dent escape the destruction of Earth by the Vogons because they needed the room for a new hyperspace bypass. He landed on Earth and needed a name that would help him fit in. This was in Britain in the 1970s, and he named himself after what he mistakenly considered the dominant life form.

        1. Numeral Two*

          I vaguely recall everyone carrying towels from those books now. It has been quite sometime since I read them though.

  53. JohnQ*

    LW2 I had the same dilemma 20 some years ago. I was a high seniority union tech offered a job as a salaried supervisor. I was very happy as a tech, but ultimately decided to make the move to management so I could have more say in the direction of the department. The fact that I really didn’t want to report to the main other candidate for the job also played into it. With my lost union overtime I actually ended up making $5k less the first year, and I found the work more stressful and less enjoyable in general. Pretty much all of my friends were my fellow techs and I had to let that go. But I actually did have the opportunity to help steer my department and I think over time had a much more positive influence on the union crew from a management position than I would have by remaining a tech. And over the years more promotions and opportunities came along so in the long run I’m now in a much better position than I would be if I hadn’t made the jump. Now that I’m on the other side of the issue, I have promoted a few people into management who really weren’t cut out for it and eventually asked to be returned to their old poistions. Fortunately in those situations I was able to accommodate the change and certainly didn’t think any less of them for deciding management wasn’t for them. In many ways, I now get more satisfaction out of the accomplishments of my team then I do from my own individual wins.

  54. Cautionary Tale*

    #2 – I was in a similar position, I actually had two options: become a department director with one employee at my current company or move to a more advanced technical role, with a lot of room for growth, at a new company. Despite always saying I knew I wanted to become an extremely skilled technical person and never manage … I stayed and became a manager. It’s been fine and I’m doing well, as is my employee, but I know I would not do well with more people and am always wishing I could be spending more time on the work. Of course I don’t know what would have happened had I taken the other job, and this was in October 2020, so I’m grateful for the stability, but I regret not going for the technical job most days, and hope to get back into one at some point.

  55. MCMonkeybean*

    I’m curious about the context of the “good job” question.

    If you mean what is a good job for you to have, then the answer will vary wildly by person of course because we all have different things that are important to us. Things like commute, ability to work from home, whether you can leave work at work and not think about it until the next day, and a million other little things can affect how happy you are in your daily life and whether a job is a good fit for you.

    But I thought possibly they were asking more in the type of context of *other people* talking about your job. Like a girl talking to her friends about a guy she met online and how he has a “good job.” In that type of context, it might still vary a little from one person to another but I think generally the main things people are thinking about are stability and whether you make enough money to support a reasonably comfortable life, and maybe also good benefits.

  56. Workfromhome*

    #1 Id be very tempted to reply all to Bobs email to his boss including your original email and say something like ” Hi Bob and Boss. I noticed that some lines may have been “accidently” deleted from my original email when Bob forwarded it. I wanted to make sure no information was missing that might result in any delays so I’ve included the full original email. You can delete the copy Bob forwarded so there isn’t any confusion in the records. ”

    Then play extremely dumb if needed. “I noticed a couple lines missing was afraid something else might have gone missing like product codes, delivery dates etc that are critical so the best way to ensure everything was there was to resend the email. ” Unless Bob is your ONLY client the perception of you delaying things to your boss and possible other clients and the industry outweighs Bob’s saving face.

  57. AS87*

    LW2, good for you for not blindly jumping into a management role. Things can always change but I am someone who would much rather be a solid individual contributor instead of a manager for the following reasons:

    1. Like you, I don’t like telling people what to do. And I just don’t like managing people in general as I don’t have the temperament to deal with petty issues that hold up good company objectives.

    2. Like you, I like the more hands-on and technical jobs over admin and coordinating type jobs.

    3. I am a quiet and introverted person who can hesitate with confrontation.

  58. Silicon Valley Girl*

    What is a “good job?” has changed for me over time. When I was starting out, I thought I should love my job & have a vocation. I couldn’t find jobs that fit that feeling but also paid anything to support myself. So I kept working “day jobs” that kinda sorta had something vaguely to do with my personal passions because that’s how I could keep a roof over my (& my family’s) head. Well, 20+ years later, I realized that loving your job is highly overrated, & what makes for a good job is a place & people that respect me as capable human being & gives me enough autonomy to get my tasks done without micromanagement, all while paying me enough to live on (& save for retirement). That can be hard enough to find without adding a mythical vocation into it, so I’m pretty satisfied with what I’ve got right now.

  59. phred*

    Good job: when you look forward to going to work, do some interesting things (not everything, but enough), the people in the organization like, respect, and listen to you, and you have a collegial relationship with your co-workers.

    Bad job: when you realize the job was wildly oversold by the manager, the things they described that were what influenced you to take the job were mere vapor, when your manager keeps belittling you (of the “most important project you’re working on:” “As a manager, I shouldn’t be expected to look at things like that.”) makes inappropriate comments ((after I yawned) “You’re fired. Ha ha, just joking.”) And eventually you go into working if this is going to be a good day or a [manager] tantrum day. Is this the day I quit, or will make it through the day? All true, alas. Eventually I realized I was turning into someone I didn’t like, and after one of their more spectacular tantrums I quit.

  60. Andrea*

    If you have an issue of someone working at a dispensary who not a bar!? alcohol although normalized is also a drug- and some might argue a more dangerous drug.

    1. MCMonkeybean*

      It’s not about how “normal” it is (although actually that is probably relevant too) but more about how *legal* it is. Some states may have decriminalized, but it is still illegal at the federal level.

    2. Elm*

      A lot of admin DO take issue with teachers who worked in bars or who do so part time to make ends meet. It’s all a mess.

  61. Elm*

    The teacher thing is, sadly, true. I knew teachers who got an official warning at work for buying a bottle of wine at a local store or being seen on an appropriate date. “Drinking/dating are not appropriate teacher behaviors.”

    The fact is, the *kids* do NOT care what you did. Most parents don’t care, either. But, admin do because they don’t want to deal with the possibility of a negative interaction with a parent or higher up. (Obviously I’m generalizing, but I was a teacher for years and over half my admin fell into this category. I saw one fire a teacher for telling kids to not be racist in response to kids being racist because that was too risky a conversation, and I was threatened with termination because my divorce was embarrassing to the school–it was not known to the kids or parents unless they had run into my ex.)

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