can I nap at work, asking why someone was pushed out of a job, and more

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

1. Can I nap at work on my lunch break?

I would appreciate an outside opinion on whether something is socially acceptable. Short version: can I take a 10-minute nap at my desk, in my office, on my lunch break? I’m autistic and these things aren’t always discernable to me.

I work for a small business in a very small office — just me, my boss, and one coworker with the same job as me. I have a semi-private office space, in that there are partition walls from floor to ceiling but no actual doors. You’d have to fully step into my room to see me; my workstation isn’t visible through the doorway. I am mostly left alone throughout the day.

I usually take a 30-minute lunch at my desk. Is it weird to lean onto my desk and shut my eyes for 10 minutes, with a quiet alarm set? I’m a very light sleeper and often don’t actually fall soundly asleep, so I’m pretty sure no one has walked in on me, and no one has ever said anything. Since it’s a fairly private space, I’ve always assumed it’s a little unusual, since I’ve never seen anyone else do it, but having stumbled across mentions of sleeping colleagues in your archives, I’m now thinking that I’m breaking some unspoken rule.

If you had a door, in many offices it would be fine to close it and take a 10-minute nap on your lunch break. I might suggest putting a sign on your door indicating you’re unavailable just to be sure no one walked in on you.

But in a workspace with no door, I wouldn’t do it. Someone could walk in and see you sleeping, not realize you’re on your lunch break, and go away thinking that you’re sleeping on the job. It has the potential to be a pretty big perception problem (and you wouldn’t necessarily know that it’s happening, since people might not say anything). In some ways that’s especially true because you’re mostly left alone during the day; if one of the few times someone enters your office, you’re sleeping, they’re likely to wonder how often it might be happening.

That said, since there are only two other people there, in theory you could just ask your boss if she minds if you nap occasionally at lunch. But unless there’s a reason that it’s a very high priority to you to be able to, I would just skip the napping.

2. I created amazing documentation for the job I’m leaving — but should I withhold it?

I’ve resigned from my job and have two weeks until I leave (the standard notice where I am is one month).

I am the only person in the whole firm who does what I do. I have 20-odd years experience and a professional masters in my field. In my three years here, I have not had any management. All of my appraisals have been with different figures in management and have started with me explaining what I actually do. I’ve taken on way more than I was hired for, but I am conflict averse and haven’t advocated for myself.

In June I was told I was being paid market rate. I’m not, I’m demonstrably below that. So I message one person and had one interview and found myself a new similar job that brings a 60% pay raise.

Despite many partners phoning me to exclaim about how dire my departure will be and how I’m the best person who has ever done this job (seriously, awesome ego boost, it’s really lovely and unexpected), management have not decided how I will be replaced. They’re not looking to hire any time soon. Given my two weeks left, I have created the biggest, most comprehensive handover notes so that in an emergency a complete alien could see step by step how to complete something in my role.

But now I’m second-guessing myself. While I was furloughed for a couple of months last year, things did not go smoothly. The people who tried to step up were not successful. And there are things that I do that fee earners depend upon to actually do their jobs. My departure will cost the firm money. If I want what I have built to not collapse, and for the fee earners to be able to work, I should share all of my notes. But part of me suddenly feels like, these people (by which I mean management), even after all this time, still think that my work could be shared out between a couple of entry-level admin assistants in other support departments (HR and Training).

So what should I do? Give them the normal contacts lists and notes on projects I’m in the middle of, or the deluxe “this is everything about everything” notes? At this point, I am so over it I don’t know which way is up. And I can’t decide what would feel more satisfying from a distance.

Give them the notes. It’s something you created on work time, and ethically you should leave it. Go out with the moral high ground.

But if it makes you feel better, it’s highly unlikely that any documentation you leave behind will be enough for someone entry-level to step in and do the job you were doing with 20+ years of experience and expertise. If it is, great; congratulations on creating excellent notes! But realistically, it’s unlikely — and companies tend to be extraordinarily bad at fully using the documentation people leave behind anyway.

I think you’re wondering why should you go above and beyond for these people who underpaid and under-appreciated you. And if you’d wanted to skip creating those notes at all and just leave the basics, I would have supported that before you’d invested the time in it. But you’ve already created your tome; withholding it now won’t change anything. It also wouldn’t teach them a lesson since they’d have no idea what they were missing! Besides, you don’t need to teach them a lesson; the lesson is going to be taught on its own by the circumstances they’ve created. Just wash your hands of the place, don’t compromise your ethics, and go enjoy your enormous new raise.

Read an update to this letter here

3. Can I ask why the person who used to have the job I’m applying for was pushed out?

My unit’s long-time director unexpectedly announced her departure this summer. Our organization’s CEO asked for a volunteer from our unit’s leadership team to serve as interim director while the organization conducts a search. There were people in leadership senior to me who let me know they would not throw their hat into the ring, but would support me. Frankly, since I’m a couple steps below the director position, I didn’t consider it until I was prompted by several people. It’s a big job, I have two school-age kids, pandemic, etc. But I applied, as did one other person. We interviewed and I was selected.

As things have moved along, lips have loosened, and now I know that the former director was pushed out by the executive director, who is fairly new to the organization. There’s a lot of ill will all around. I was happy in my nose-to-the-grindstone role before and oblivious to the politics and machinations. I’m also happy with a lot of this role. I’m learning a great deal, it’s high profile, public facing, big decisions, a lot more money. It’s also a lot more hours — like 10-12 hours/day, six days/week — which is manageable working remotely but would not be with travel, which is required in normal times.

My boss is happy with what I’m doing, has told me so, and asked me to apply for the permanent position, which has not been posted yet. But the former director was pretty darn good too, and something went south there. What if I go for the permanent position and then get pushed out myself? I want to ask my boss to tell me what led up to the director leaving, in the context of evaluating whether the permanent position is for me. Is that a reasonable ask?

Yes, absolutely. In fact, it would be unwise to take the position without finding out what went wrong previously. This isn’t asking for gossip; you’re asking for info to evaluate whether the job is right for you. You can say something like, “Can you tell me what led up to Jane leaving, so I have a better sense of the history of the role as I’m thinking about whether it’s right for me?” If you don’t get enough info from that, you can also say, “My understanding is that you’re looking for a different approach that what Jane brought to the role. Can you speak to that a bit, so that I know what you’re looking for that’s different from what was done before and about any pitfalls that would be important for me to avoid?”

But also, what about that travel? If that’s going to be prohibitive for you if remote work ends at some point, make sure you get that out on the table now. Maybe you can negotiate the travel down, or make your acceptance conditioned on continuing remotely, or maybe it’s not flexible and you need to know that so you can decide if you’re up for it or not. Make sure it gets discussed and you’re clear on the expectations — and they’re clear on what you will and won’t do — before you sign on to do the job long-term.

4. Pronouncing salaries

I have a possibly silly question. I’m at the point in my career where I’m trying to move to a higher salary range. During an interview, how do you pronounce a salary number? If I’m asked my salary expectations, do I say, “ninety thousand to a hundred thousand” or “Ninety K to a hundred K” (as in, saying the letter “K”)? Is there a wrong way to say it?

I feel like there are shorthand ways to say those numbers but that seems inappropriate to say at an interview. What would you advise?

Most people just say “ninety to one hundred” or “ninety to one hundred thousand.” (Employers aren’t going to think you’re saying ninety dollars; they’ll know what you mean.) But both of your ways are fine too.

5. How to monitor a company’s job postings

I was a final candidate for a state position I really wanted earlier this year. I unfortunately didn’t get it, but it seems like I made a good impression. After my thank-you notes, several of the interviewers mentioned that I should look out for new positions that will come with a big project they’re undertaking.

The thing is, the new project is starting in phases over the next five years with a variety of funding sources, so it’s hard to know where or when to look for these upcoming job postings.

Everybody is busy and these folks may already have forgotten about me. I would be very sad if I missed the opportunity to apply for these jobs because I didn’t know they were posted. I don’t want to put anybody off by hassling them about things they likely don’t have ironed out yet. The best thing I can think of is to check the likely sites for postings once a week for the next five years (oof). Do you have any diplomatic or better suggestions?

Can you check to see if their job postings are reliably posted on external sites that will allow you to set up up alerts? That way you can get the info pushed to you, rather than having to seek it out. Even if they don’t advertise on external sites, you might be able to achieve the same thing with the right combination of words in a Google alert.

{ 361 comments… read them below }

  1. Magenta Sky*

    LW #2: It’s not about what sort of people they are or what sort of company they run. It’s about what sort of person you are. Are you someone who is petty when you feel you’ve been wronged? Or are you someone who maintains a professional standard of behavior at work, even when you’re leaving?

    1. L*

      Not only that, it might help LW#2 to think about the fact that their notes will probably help the hapless admins/support people who do get saddled with filling in their job. In that sense, you’re doing what you can to make things easier for people who are just as affected by the company’s bad choices as you are, rather than thinking you’re helping out the jerks at the top.

      1. allathian*

        Yeah, please consider the admins who’re going to be stuck with your job.

        That said, I would be firm about not being available at all for consulting down the road. Just keep saying “read the documentation I created” until they stop asking.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Consider copying the admin staff when you send it to management, in case they’re the kind to ignore or delete what they themselves don’t use.
          And file it somewhere not linked to your userid– in some systems, your OneDrive disappears when your account is deactivated.

          1. Still breathing*

            I lost 5 managers to promotions in 4 years. I say it’s because my documentation of info and processes trained us all well. I left it all behind for manager #6 who didn’t get promoted and didn’t read my documentation. He kept calling for help that I legally could not provide. He finally stopped when I said “you are in trouble for not doing X for 6 months; I haven’t done it for 7 months, so why do you think I still know how to do it?”

        2. Boof*

          Or only quote a high price to consult (2x the new salary as an hourly rate, or higher if needed to get to a price lw wouldn’t mind doing it for).

          1. Camellia*

            Don’t do this unless you get a signed contract for it. I tried to do this at one job I left and they were like, ‘sure that works’. I took numerous calls over a few weeks, then when I reached out for payment it was ‘what are you talking about?’. I just gave up and quit answering calls.

        3. Richard Hershberger*

          This. Otherwise in six months we will get the letter about the replacement constantly contacting the LW with questions. Having “RTFM” as a valid response vastly simplifies those conversations.

          1. Nicotene*

            Exactly. You are actually doing this for yourself too; it gets you off the hook for having to feel like you should be available in future. You left everything you know in this manual, so you’re OUT.

            1. Wonderer*

              Weirdly, I saw “OUT” as an acronym. In my mind, it immediately translated to “Out Uv There”…

        4. Dasein9*

          Is there any way to give the materials directly to the admins and maybe hint that they can use these notes to negotiate a better deal for themselves?

          1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

            At a job where I was 99% certain the management was going to lose the transition materials I sent them, I sent out a group “Good-Bye” email to everyone, with management copied, that included, “If you need to look up anything on the status of my projects or wonder how to do something, I saved my back-up manual, code, and project timelines her: [Link to place on shared drive everyone – or almost everyone could access]”

        5. Quickbeam*

          Yes. I had a job which was eliminated in government and the work I did as a licensed professional was going to be handled by clerical staff. I created an A to Z flow chart of work and a decision tree that they still use today. I did keep a copy as an example of my work product and it helped me get a job later on as an example of my problem solving. (There were no confidential aspects to the chart/tree).

          It is a kindness to help the next person who comes along unravel the job.

          1. PeanutButter*

            I was going to mention saving a copy for yourself! (With proprietary info scrubbed.) Who knows, you might be able to rejigger it into a textbook for your field at some point.

            1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

              I think this is the only way to keep a copy safely – all info propriety to the company needs to be scrubbed out.

      2. Jane*

        They might also eventually decide to replace you with a professional.

        I once met my replacement at a conference, who commented on how good my handover notes were, and how she’d never received anything like the in any other job. Although this never happened, what if she’d subsequently interviewed me for a job – those handover notes would already have given me an advantage. When you leave a job it’s not just about not burning bridges, it’s also about building them.

        1. Amaranth*

          I think the most important decision for OP is how to handle it when they start calling for help.

      3. Who Plays Backgammon?*

        I could take this ball and run in multiple directions with it.

        Okay, OP created the notes on co. time/with co. resources, so sure, leave it for them. I’d simply leave it at the desk and consider my duty to them completed, unless they ask, in which case I’d put it in their hand. And do keep a paper copy *for yourself* if you ever need reminder of the details of your previous job.

        As for the hapless admins (and I’ve been one in more than one situation like this), they shouldn’t be stuck working above their pay grade anyway, unless they’re actually going to get the pay for “stepping up,” along with a real opportunity to actually move up. That won’t stop the employer from giving them the load, but OP is not responsible for the admins. They won’t blame OP, they’ll blame their employer anyway if that happens.

        As for the sort of person OP is, they gave a day’s work for a day’s (low) pay. Anyone likes to feel they made a difference and were valuable to the team, but OP’s responsibility to this employer is ending and it’s time to let it go and go forward. This isn’t some moral testing ground, it’s a job change.

        1. TechWorker*

          Keeping a paper copy for yourself is possibly slightly dodgy if there’s anything company confidential in there? (Depends on the content, but not obviously the right thing to do!)

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

          OP is not responsible for the admins. They won’t blame OP, they’ll blame their employer anyway if that happens.

          The motivation though is in leaving the admins in a slightly better place than they would be otherwise, rather than not being blamed. Regardless of who the admins see as ‘at fault’ for the situation, it doesn’t really change the fact that they’re shortly to be thrown in the deep end covering for tasks they aren’t really equipped for.

        3. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

          And do keep a paper copy *for yourself* if you ever need reminder of the details of your previous job.

          I think the redundant copies are a good idea, but I’d entrust them to other coworkers I was close with instead of taking one with me. If there is no one I felt that close to, I would leave two copies in separate drawers of the desk or filing cabinet, etc.

          1. A Non E. Mouse*

            This. Paper the building over with it, copy everyone on and email that has a link or attachment to the electronic version, then print a copy of the sent email for your own records.

            Send this email TODAY, with a note that they should ask you any questions before your final day of XX/XX/XXXX.

            But keep records of the actual document, as well as the emails sent about the document, so that if someone calls asking about it you can point them in the right direction – a la “I gave copies to X, Y, and Z and it’s called ABC.doc”

            1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

              I did this wrong when I was in my youth, and (re)discovered years later that documents I should have left solely with my employer were still in my possession digitally.

              I solved the issue with an impromptu game of “pin the magnet on the hard drive” before using fsck or makefs.ext4 to overwrite the entire drive with zeroes.

      1. Beth*

        I left a position due to a toxic manager, but still created a lot of work in my last two weeks to ensure that the work that I valued was continued. When they finally hired my replacement, the binder, with all of the justification and explanation, had disappeared. The toxic manager claimed that I didn’t give her anything. Because it was a non-profit, and I had friends in the office, I ended up meeting with my replacement, at my home, to go over everything I could remember that would help her. I also warned her to never let the toxic manager know that I had helped her. I really wished I had made a copy, I don’t think the manager destroyed it, but instead lost it as she was a mess and would blame others regularly. It’s about what you want, to put a nice bow on it for the next person because you value the work you have done, or move on and close the door. Either are valid.

        1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

          That’s why you make copies.

          In case the boss “accidentally on purpose” loses your work.

    2. Smithy*

      Absolutely all of this. This is one of those moves that is often as much if not more about how you treat yourself than how you treat others. The fantasy of proverbially burning the whole place down is very rewarding, but far more often in reality it just hurts yourself more than anyone else.

      But second…..the more detailed and comprehensive your handover notes are, I bet the less likely anyone will truly understand their true value just reading them on their own. They will not replace your experience, your institutional knowledge, or even just what it would have meant had someone sat with you for a week and had you walk through your documents slowly.

      1. Decima Dewey*

        I worked for an accounting firm decades again (there was still a set of major firms called the Big 8 then). They let me go–and called me back three times to retrain my replacements. Yes, more than one. Part of the problem is that they wanted another me, except one that wouldn’t bristle at having a massive amount of files to process for a meeting first thing in the morning dumped on me at 5 pm, etc. When I trained the new person, ex-boss would ask me “did you tell them to pick up the Wall Street Journals in the lobby each morning?” The only reason I picked up the WSJs was that I’m compulsively early and got in before anyone else. Each time I trained the new person, I got $25. For much of the time I was on unemployment, so I had to come back and train the new person. By the time they asked me to train a fourth person, I had a new job and told them enough was enough.

  2. bookartist*

    LW2, my sister would call your documentation your PBS Notes: Pearls Before Swine. She was an awesome legal secretary who had many … thoughts about Big Law.

    1. Cathie from Canada*

      My suggestion to LW2 is to make sure she takes a copy of her documentation with her – it may turn out to be useful background in your new position, or the one after that, or if you are presenting at a conference or some such — it would be a shame to have to recreate it from scratch.

        1. Kara*

          Agreed. Forwarding these to an external email address would technically be a firing offence in many places.

      1. linger*

        I think OP should retain a copy, not to share with others, but for their own reference in the likely event that their replacement reaches out for help; that way LW2 can refer them to specific section numbers/headings/pages rather than a blanket “read the notes” response which, if the notes are extensive, may simply be overwhelming.

        1. Klio*

          LW should not turn themselves into a handy index and directory service. They should go with “I don’t remember, read the docs”.

          1. quill*

            Yeah, otherwise you’ll get phone calls like I did after I got fired from my first non-contract job, “hey, where did you put the dot matrix printer?” “You mean the one that dissolved in battery acid three months ago? The electronic waste.”

        2. The Other Dawn*

          But it’s not on the OP to answer questions after she leaves. It’s on the replacement and the manager to go through the documentation and see if it answers their questions. If not, then they need to use their resources to figure out where to find the information.

          1. linger*

            But (i) management seems utterly indifferent, and (ii) the replacement will not be hired until after LW2 leaves, and (iii) the skillset evaluated for hiring may not have any relevance to the tasks at hand. Under those conditions, there is no guarantee that what LW2 believes to be idiot-proof / user-friendly / comprehensive documentation will actually be received as such. Part of LW2’s reasoning for not wanting to leave the documents behind is that the time and effort spent in preparing the documentation will likely simply be wasted without some level of continuing support.
            (I am currently struggling with an even more extreme case of this myself, retiring and leaving a decades-long and ongoing project essential to my organisation, with no obvious successor to hand it over to, and with archives complicated enough to need documentation of how to use and update the documentation. It’s an interdepartmental project requiring specialised skills not used in any other regular tasks … so no single department actually hires for those skills, with the result that nobody now left in any department is even capable of being trained within the time remaining.)

            1. Clorinda*

              None of that is LW’s problem. LW has a new job. Same with you. Leave the notes and wash your hands. Your employer’s failure to plan for your departure does not create post-employment responsibilities for you.

            2. The Other Dawn*

              But it’s still not the LW’s problem and it’s not yours either–it’s your former employer’s problem to sort it out. If they failed to plan, that’s on them. Not you. Not the LW.

            3. Anonforthis*

              My brother is in a similar boat. He “retired” in April 2020 and yet he is still working 20-30 hours a week (paid consultant). I keep telling him they won’t find someone to do all the work he does until he tells them he won’t do it anymore. But now he’s a member of the board of directors…

            4. WellRed*

              It’s still not op problem. Further, they may never call op for help. OP seems to be having a hard time letting go but should feel free to make a clean break.

        3. LPUK*

          i agree with keeping a copy. When I left one job, in a similar position to LW2 in that mine was a unique role, I spent a couple of weeks ( IN EU, notice period is at least 1 month) posting all my info and projects on shared drives and emailing it to market contacts, only to find later that the IT leaving protocol removed anything in my name – so no archived shared folder, no emails to other people ( i presume they were still there but as my name had been scrubbed not accessible). and they wiped my laptop without saving a copy. There was some great work I had just completed but not published and I’ve regretted it ever since – it went into a black hole and my eventual successor never got a chance to use it.

          1. doreen*

            Do you mean that if you sent me an email that your name would be scrubbed from the email that I received, so that I wouldn’t be able to find it? If so that’s insane. But whether the rest of it’s insane probably depends on how the shared drive and laptop are supposed to be used – if my laptop gets wiped, it shouldn’t matter because I am not supposed to save files on the laptop. And if my personal folder on my office’s shared drive gets deleted, it shouldn’t make a difference because documents that are supposed to be shared among everyone in the office shouldn’t be stored in that folder – it’s meant for documents that are prepared and used by one person but typed by another. For example, if I handwrite a report or letter or memo and my secretary types it, it will be stored in my folder in the shared drive. ( There are still people like this at my job- not me, but others) If write a document explaining some process that multiple people might need to access, it will be stored in some other folder on the shared drive no matter who actually types it and wouldn’t disappear if my folder does.

          2. MCMonkeyBean*

            They deleted emails you sent to other people within the company while you worked there? That sounds like a wildly bad idea…

        4. Kara*

          That’s why you add a table of contents to these things. You don’t need to become a human table of contents.

    2. Eether, Either*

      I’ve worked at Big Law Firm as an admin. The legal world is a VERY Small Place. Do not burn your bridges. I moved to California years ago and was working a national firm. One day an attorney approached me to ask if I ever worked at Local Boston Law Firm. I said yes–did you used to work there? Yup, and she knew exactly who I was–recognized my name from God knows what (in a good way, thankfully). I worked in an area of law completely separate from where she had worked. Her name didn’t even ring a bell and she was an attorney. And there was a 5-year gap during which I worked at a different firm before I moved to California…

  3. Observer*

    #3 – If this is a government agency, they probably have all of their job postings on their web site. So at minimum, you could follow that. But also a lot of government agencies let you set up alerts as well for stuff like this. That information would be on their web site, too.

    1. allathian*

      Yeah, I wonder. But this is a tiny office, there’s just the boss and another coworker on the LW’s level. Surely this is something they could agree on? I mean, the employer’s so small that it isn’t bound by the ADA, but it sounds to me that a nap might make work both easier and more pleasant for the LW, surely asking wouldn’t be out of line?

      1. Daisy*

        Yes, I thought the answer was a bit complicated for a three-person company – you don’t really need to guess what anonymous ‘someones’ might think when you can just ask them if it’s fine?

        1. AcademiaNut*

          If the boss is a reasonable person a “hey, is it okay if I take a ten minute cat nap during my lunch break?” is likely fine – it lets them know that this is a deliberate thing and they’re not randomly falling asleep at their desk. It doesn’t sound like there are customers or anything like that, so the LW doesn’t need to worry about being interrupted by people other than their boss or coworker.

          1. ecnaseener*

            Mmm, I like using cat nap for this — it connotes quick/controlled/at your desk, so people are less likely to misinterpret it as an hour of deep sleep lying on the floor or something.

      2. I'm just here for the cats*

        Why are you bringing ADA into this? Is it because the OP said they were autistic? There are plenty of people not on the spectrum that would love to nap at lunch. There’s a whole following of people who claim naps in the afternoon are good for productivity, health, etc.

        Having autism doesn’t mean you need to have a nap.

        1. A Feast of Fools*

          My take on it was that if the nap could somehow be related to a medical condition and, in a larger employer, the OP could ask for a super tiny accommodation so that the nap was fully sanctioned and protected from any drama-prone coworkers who might want to cause trouble.

      3. Malarkey01*

        Yeah this one can be simplified a lot. I also wouldn’t call it a nap, it’s 10 minutes. I have someone on my team with chronic medical issues and she usually “rests her eyes” for 15 minutes around lunch which means that yeah she’s there with her eyes closed and sometimes puts her head down but we all know what’s happening so we don’t think she’s always napping or has some sudden medical emergency and is unconscious.

        Just tell the two people you work with that at lunch you’re taking a few minutes to de-stress and close your eyes. If they aren’t reasonable enough to have that conversation with than they won’t be okay to find you napping either.

          1. Tilly*

            I was going to say “meditation” bc that’s basically what it is. Just a moment of quiet to rest one’s mind.

        1. MarfisaTheLibrarian*

          A few years ago, my dad’s coworker had a stress-related minor heart attack. Not long after that, someone knocked on Coworkers office door, and he wasn’t answering, though no one had seen him leave. There was some frantic conferring–what if he had had a sudden heart attack and was unconscious?–and finally they opened the door…to see his feet sticking out from the side of his desk, with him lying prone on the floor.
          Wearing noise-cancelling headphones to meditate on his lunch break. He was fine.
          Now he puts a sign on his door.

    2. Janet Rosen*

      I think either a sign or, since it’s only a couple of people, just saying, hi, I’m on lunch break now and going to have a bit of a power nap!

    3. I'd Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

      That would help, although I think a possible issue is that sleeping at work is so rare that a lot of people might think something was wrong if someone was so tired as to need to sleep at lunch (although I’m not necessarily defending that assumption).

      It might work in such a small office, but at a larger office I think it would likely raise questions about OP’s home life or ability to handle stress.

      1. KateM*

        Not necessarily tired – I always get very sleepy after a substantional lunch. And yes, a ten-minute nap would help a lot!

        1. MusicWithRocksIn*

          I’ve known a handful of people who go out to their car and get a catnap at lunchtime – as long as the weather isn’t super prohibitive and you car isn’t in a super awkward spot. One guy at my old work parked his car parallel to the executive conference room so that the driver’s side window of his car was less than a foot from the window. He would nap in his car at lunch, and eventually someone had to find him and tell him he needed to park somewhere else, because napping right in front of an executive meeting was a bad look. But other than that one super oblivious guy, napping in your car is usually ok.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            Coworker at OldExjob did this every day. He parked his car across the street in the other lot (we had two facilities) and he’d pop out there at lunch and take a nap. Every single day. He always came back on time, so I assumed he set a phone alarm or something.

          2. Massive Dynamic*

            Came her to rep the car nap! As long as you park a little further out, of course. Then you get the benefit of brisk walk + nap + brisk walk again. It’s actually very refreshing.

          3. A Feast of Fools*

            I’m a car-napper, too.

            In offices where the parking lot was a looooong walk away (like, to get there and back would take up more than half my lunch hour), I’ve been known to book a small conference or pop into an empty office.

            One place I worked at had two nap rooms that you could book in 15-minute increments.

            There are just some days where it takes a Herculean effort to keep my eyes open and my mind focused and a 15-minute nap is all I need to feel completely refreshed and able to tackle the 2nd half of the day; whereas a walk around the block or getting up and stretching only peps me up for maaaaybe half an hour afterward.

            BTW, I haven’t needed to take a single daytime catnap since we started working from home. :-)

          4. R*

            I used to car nap when I worked at Trader Joe’s and I would get all of these idiot regulars knocking on my window and waking me up to say hi, which is one of the things which made me realize customers are trash. Pro tip: Your Trader Joe’s cashier — this goes for every cashier you encounter, but it’s a delusion that Trader Joe’s customers have en masse — is not your friend and probably doesn’t even like you. They certainly don’t want you waking them up on their unpaid break for a chatty conversation

      2. non*

        I work in the leadership team at a site that repairs delicate electronic equipment and if this equipment fails in use it could risk hundreds of lives. We do industry-mandated training every two years on the importance of human factors in the repair process

        1. non*

          Sorry, submitted too soon:
          I work in the leadership team at a site that repairs delicate electronic equipment and if this equipment fails in use it could risk hundreds of lives. We do industry-mandated training every two years on the importance of human factors in the repair process, and even though I’m finance and don’t do the repairs, I still have to attend the training.
          One of the suggestions in the training was to take a ten minute cat-nap if you feel you need it and at that point I spoke up and told everyone else on the training that day that I do indeed take a ten minute nap sometimes – in my case I use the canteen which is only occupied at tea-breaks and lunch hour. I figured as leadership team it’d be a huge help to normalise the fact that sometimes you just feel sluggish and a quick power-nap can really make a difference.

          LW#1, since it’s such a small team, if you get on well with them I strongly recommend just letting them know that you occasionally do this on your lunch break.

          1. Caliente*

            This is great and I was a little surprised by the answer as well. As noted many times on this site we are actual humans and as such get “tired” at random times for random reasons. Frankly trying to fight off the I need to shut my eyes feeling is super ineffectual for me whereas if I can close my eyes for 5-10 min it truly helps.
            As for me I have had times where I’ve announced I need to close my eyes for 10 min with always varying results- ppl quieting down in the cubicle farm, directed by a higher up to use their office because they’re heading out, directed to go to the CR. So basically it’s literally never been a problem.

            1. Nicotene*

              I think in most offices I’ve worked, announcing in an open cube farm that you were going to nap, with the implication that other people should keep it down, would come across oddly. *Maybe* if there’s truly a set lunch time for the whole office, but it seems like there’s always someone on a conference call / setting up for a meeting / whatever, and it would be weird to prioritize my sleep.

              1. Caliente*

                Ha! Maybe I should’ve said mentioned or told, so that folks know what’s happening, instead of announced as that’s what I meant.

      3. PeanutButter*

        Sleeping is rare, but even at large workplaces I’ve worked in I’ve run across enough regular “lunch nappers” that if it was anywhere near lunchtime I’d assume that’s what the LW was doing. Especially if they did it every day at about the same time.

    4. Bagpuss*

      I wondered about this – a note on the outside of the cubical divider to take the place or a closed door or engaged sign.

      However, i do agree that as the office is so small then speaking to the boss to mention that you find you work most effectively if you take a brief nap mid day, so plan to nap for 10 minutes or so in your cubical during your lunch break, but wanted to let her know in case she noticed you napping and was concerned.

      Another option, depending on where you work and how you get there, might be to go out and nap in your car – even if your coworkers might see you, because you *aren’t* at your desk, they are less likely to think you may also be sleeping when you should be working.

      1. Solitary squirrel*

        I was glad this question was posted as I am struggling with the urge to nap for ten minutes myself. I can’t use the oft-recommended “nap in your car” solution as I don’t have a car. But I do have an office with a door – and few people coming to knock on it anyway. It’s totally standard procedure to mark unavailable periods on one’s calendar or close a door during a call or meeting. We are also urged to take breaks. But I’d feel funny actually *asking* as like the OP I’m neuro-atypical and don’t always grok social norms, so tend to be cautious in that area.

      2. Uranus Wars*

        This was my initial thought. When I worked in a cube I drove and parked in a safe enough area that I felt comfortable taking 20 minutes to nap in my car. Even if I didn’t fall asleep I was able to relax comfortably with the seat kicked back and my eyes closed.

        1. kiwidg*

          I frequently did this at one job, unless it was too hot or too cold. In fact, there were several people who were on the same nap schedule as I was. We’d see each other heading out to our cars, or exiting them a few minutes apart. And there was nothing more lovely than a car nap on a beautiful spring day, some music playing softly on the radio, the windows rolled down and the breezes blowing in.

          I often wonder if the nap hate is about people who can nap versus people who can’t?

          1. londonedit*

            I wasn’t brought up in a culture with naps. I’m not sure if it’s the same throughout Britain, or if it’s my age or what, but naps are/were seen as being something only very young children do – certainly by the time a child goes to school at the age of 4/5 they’re expected to get through the day without needing a nap. My friends with toddlers all talk about needing to get them out of the habit of napping during the day. If I had a nap in the middle of the day growing up, my parents would assume I was ill – in fact, if I was visiting them now, and I said I was going for a nap, they’d probably worry that I wasn’t feeling well! So it’s definitely not something I’d consider doing at work – it’s not that I hate naps, it’s just that they’re not something that’s ever been part of a normal day for me.

            1. kiwidg*

              You bring up a good point – what is ingrained as culture! Sometimes that just creates an anxiety that prevents the joy of napping. :)

          2. Bagpuss*

            I can’t nap. I find the only time I can, or do, sleep n the ay is if I am significantly unwell – and if I am sick enough that I can nap, I’m very definitely too sick to be in work.

            I don’t hate naps or nappers, I am envious of people who can do it !
            My dad is able to do it and I’ve always felt it to be a cruel trick of the gods of genetics that I inherited that crappy stuff such as the weird feet, and the sub-standard lungs and teeth, and not the good bits like the unerring sense of direction , the napping skills and curly hair!

          3. Caboose*

            I wouldn’t judge someone for napping during the day, but I certainly do envy nappers! If I take a nap, it generally means I’m so ill that I cannot do anything else.
            If I do doze off, I wake up a random amount of time later, sweating like crazy and feeling horribly disoriented. (cue What-Year-Is-It.gif) I wish I could take a quick little nap and then feel better, especially since I’ve got *something* wrong with my body that manifests as fatigue a lot of the time.

            1. Annie*

              The worst for me is when I doze off while wearing a cOVID-19 mask, I always wake up unable to breathe, flailing and wondering where I am and what I’m doing.

    5. TheSüperflüoüsUmlaüt*

      I wonder if there’s room to put a towel or a yoga mat down on the floor and literally lie down to rest (if that’s comfortable for you, OP1, and assuming there’s sufficient room). Give your boss/coworker a heads-up (discussed, or via a sign) that you’re taking part of your lunch break to meditate or visualise or do some yogic breathing or whatever you want to call it, if you think that might come across a little better than “taking a nap”, and you should be left well alone. I used to do back exercises lying on the floor like this, behind the door in my boss’ tiny office while she was out, and nobody batted an eyelid. It might be a better look than “oops, I’ve fallen asleep at my desk”, less open to misinterpretation.

      1. Harper the Other One*

        That sounds like a really good plan – it makes it clear that it’s a purposeful action rather than drifting off while sitting in your chair.

      2. Florp*

        Yep, I was going to suggest telling your coworker and boss that you’re going to take ten minutes every lunch to meditate. If you frame it as a few minutes to collect your thoughts and refresh your brain so you can have a productive afternoon, I can’t imagine anyone would object.

    6. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      I wonder if an “on lunch, available at ***” sign would allow LW#1 to safely nap.

      That wouldn’t even slow down the office busybodies I’ve worked with in the past.

      1. EmKay*

        Not only that, I’ve had certain coworkers in the past who would have taken a sign like that as an open invitation to snoop.

      2. Mallory Janis Ian*

        Ha. I once put a sign on my closed office door saying that I was working on a deadline, and one of my coworkers — the super-nosey one — came and KNOCKED ON THE DOOR and when I answered, she said, “Oh, I just wanted to know what you were doing in there!” Like, WTF!

    7. Another Pam*

      Let’s destigmatize catnaps at work during lunch, can we? I disagree with Alison a bit on this one – especially in the current climate of making sure people are taken care of. The stress of today’s world, long commutes, meeting after meeting, and in some jobs the sheer brainpower it takes to keep up can be exhausting. It’s not rocket science to think that some people need to shut down their brains for a few minutes to recharge. Instead of perceiving that as unprofessional, why can’t we all give some grace and space (just like we have during pandemic work conditions) to recognizing that we are human and as long as there isn’t obnoxious snoring, to let it go?

      There is a time and a place for taking a quick shut eye, but in a semi-private cube, during a break or lunch, we should all be able to say “that’s a heck of an idea – I’m going to do that tomorrow.”

      1. Student*

        The reason it is stigmatized is that some of us have bad experiences with others sleeping on the job.

        I agree that napping within the normal bounds of a break is fine. I’ve never witnessed such a thing at work, myself.

        I have witnessed a wide variety of not-okay sleeping on the job:
        -Co-worker sleeping through a full shift of work
        -Boss sleeping for a few hours when I need to talk to him
        -Co-workers coming to work who are so tired they can’t keep their eyes open
        -Co-workers and boss using their office or cube as a bedroom (if they’re discreet, whatever – if they come to the morning meeting in pajamas or scold you for waking them with normal office activities, not cool!)

        I’d rather that sleeping at work remain stigmatized because I am pretty sure I would see a lot of irresponsible sleeping, not “10 minute cat naps”, from my colleagues. I’d rather that people feel empowered to take a sick day, or leave early, or work less total hours so they can sleep more, if they aren’t feeling well and need a mid-day nap to recover.

        1. ezmama*

          I think that’s part of the issue…a 10 minute cat nap to recharge after lunch meets different needs than a sick day when someone is so tired they can’t keep their eyes open. The situations you reference are more management issues than perception issues.

        2. Threeve*

          I’ll add:
          -Coworker napping in the only break room, rendering it basically unusable to everyone else (this was a huge and frequent frustration at an old job)

        3. Aquawoman*

          Isn’t it likely though that the reason you’ve never witnessed it is either because it’s not intrusive or obvious so doesn’t come to your attention OR because it is stigmatized, so people who would do it with appropriate boundaries, don’t do it?

        4. anonks*

          I don’t particularly agree here. I would argue that the stigmatization is more tied to (American) work culture. Naps seem to be associated with a perception of laziness in a way that they aren’t in other cultures.

          Also, I would say that your experience with sleeping colleagues is rather unusual. I would guess that most people have experienced a responsibly napping coworker at some point (like a car nap over lunch), but most have not experienced those situations. I can’t fathom someone falling asleep at their desk or using a conference room as a bedroom- that’s rather egregious.

          And while those situations aren’t work appropriate, they also seem to be a management issue at that particular workplace. It’d be like not allowing Jane to have a 10 minute flexibility for traffic because John blows off hours of work every day. John’s behavior is problematic and should be addressed, but it doesn’t mean that everyone will abuse flexibility or that Jane doesn’t deserve it.

          1. anonks*

            And while yes, ultimately it would be good if the work culture changed to be less punishing overall, so people could take more sick time, flex hours, work fewer hours, etc., I doubt that would be something that will develop in a culture where a 10 minute private nap is frowned upon.

          2. Caliente*

            This is interesting, your comment reminded me that early on in my relationship with my husband, bf at the time, he would be surprised at random times that I’d be taking a nap or mention a nap or whatever. For me it’s like whew 20 min nap, now I’m doing this other thing. He just seemed quite baffled by it. (It’s happened with friends too, like so much surprise- you’re taking A NAP *gasp). Meanwhile he’d always show up after work running in to gobble down food and he’d say oh I didn’t take a lunch today, too busy. This happens a lot even to this day, 15 years on! So basically, I think some people are just super marty-rish. Which is sad, take care of yourself people!

            1. Allison*

              Oh yeah, I haven’t seen this with my partner, but I’ve definitely had coworkers who’d make a point of saying they’ve been SOOOO busy they didn’t have time for lunch! And if they saw you eating lunch, they’d be all “oh, must be nice to have time for lunch, I wish I could sit down and eat something.”

            2. anonks*

              I agree! I like your description of it being martyr-ish. IMO, we should be normalizing behaviors (within reason) that promote our mental health. Abuses of those things can be addressed, but people should be allowed to make time for lunches, meditate, take a quick nap, go for a walk, etc. I bet that they’ll be more focused and productive overall! We tend to glamorize over-working in the US far too much.

            3. Bee*

              Ah, see, that’s baffling to me because I physically cannot take a 20-minute nap and it always astounds me when people can! Either I don’t fall asleep at all, or I’m out for 90 minutes and spend the following 30+ feeling groggy. It’s not martyr tendencies, it’s just….naps aren’t pleasant for me.

          3. Miss Betty*

            I used to fall asleep at my desk frequently but didn’t realize it. I never out my head diwn and would remain upright, I just…drifted off for a few minutes. Turns out it was a medical problem, not a laziness or management problem (though my OM let me know it was happening which led me to mention it to my doctor). One sleep study, a bipap machine, and it hasn’t been an issue for 12 years.

        5. KK*

          I’m with Student and Alison on this one.

          I have a coworker who takes 10-30 minute cat naps on her lunch break. A year ago I wouldn’t have thought anything of it. But now it just pisses me off because 90% of the time it’s because she was out at a bar or drinking in the hot tub with her neighbors and is still hungover.

          On her latest outing, she thought her drink was drugged, so her solution was to home, sleep a little, DRIVE HERSELF TO WORK STILL BUZZED/POSSIBLY STILL DRUGGED, and work a difficult stressful task that requires a lot of physical effort and concentration. By the time myself and another coworker arrived she was unable to form a sentence and my other coworker had to call someone to take her to the hospital, as she was unable to use a phone.

          Yeah I know she’s just one bad apple, but they often ruin the bunch.

          And before I get the “but how do you knows”: she tells us. Frequently. In our open set up desk area for all to hear.

          1. Observer*

            Yeah I know she’s just one bad apple, but they often ruin the bunch.

            If there is one thing anyone who understands management should understand is that you don’t make a rule for everyone because some idiot mis-uses or abuses the thing you are making a rule about.

            Your coworker sounds like an irresponsible idiot who should be facing firing. Not because she naps but because she has such TERRIBLE judgement. But what does that have to do with someone else who needs a nap? Why assume that she is the norm, rather than the outlier? Given her lack of overall judgement, I think it’s far more likely that she’s an outlier.

            1. quill*

              Turning up to work impaired is more than enough reason for disciplinary action, the naps don’t have to come into it.

              1. KK*

                With our union rules, you get multiple show up impaired Incidents and several trips to rehab before firing can be considered.

                1. Observer*

                  That still has nothing to do with naps. Stigmatizing naps at work is not going to make idiots stop showing up at work impaired, What’s going to make them stop is firing them for it. Requiring multiple instances will slow down the process, but it’s the only thing that will work.

                  Penalizing everyone else because you have irresponsible idiots on staff and union rules that make it hard to deal with that is not going to make anything better.

          2. Irish girl*

            i get that she had issues other than a nap on her lunch break, but why should we police how people use their unpaid lunch time?

            1. KK*

              Personally, I think it encourages her continuing the behavior. And obviously this isn’t going to be the case for everyone, but it’s probably what I’m going to jump to from now on, and OP was specifically concerned about how it looks.

              (And I’m sure it’s probably obvious but the naps are just the tip of the iceberg with this chick, which I’m sure clouds my judgement more than it would otherwise).

              1. Analytical Tree Hugger*


                The fact that the naps were the tip of the iceburg is a reason *not* to have a blanket suspicion of napping employees. This employee had SO MANY red flags, so the naps are noise, not signal.

                In other words, the napping habit told you nothing (you didn’t already know).

        6. Observer*

          I’d rather that people feel empowered to take a sick day, or leave early, or work less total hours so they can sleep more, if they aren’t feeling well and need a mid-day nap to recover.

          The problem here is that needing a nap is not necessarily about being sick and needing to recover.

          I hear what you are saying about people who abuse whatever privilege. But you DO realize that this applies to EVERYTHING, not just napping. The empowerment you speak of, for that matter can be (and IS) abused. And the places that refuse to empower people use the exact same language that you do about the matter.

        7. Frank Doyle*

          Why do you think keeping napping generally “stigmatized” will help things, since it clearly hasn’t helped in any of those situations that you’ve witnessed? Being allowed to take a nap during a break won’t legitimize sleeping through an entire shift, those are two totally different situations.

      2. WendyRoo*

        In Japan, sleeping in the office is common and is socially accepted. In fact, it is often seen as a sign of diligence, as in—”the person is so dedicated to their job that they worked themselves to exhaustion.”

    8. Also Not Bob/Robert*

      Oh dear God, you just hit on two of my biggest managerial pet peeves. I encourage folks to take their breaks during the day, but if you’re at your desk, you’re working. Go take your lunch in the break room or at the park, take your nap in the car, or get coffee with a friend or meditate if you need a break.

      I don’t know who came up with the idea of a sign, but I find it to be *incredibly* rude. The sign is, you’re taking your personal time not at your desk. If you’re at your desk, it’s a signal that you’re working and can be interrupted, and you should be professional.

      Ugh! I have really strong feelings on this!

      1. anonks*

        While I don’t love signs, I also don’t understand the issue with taking a break or lunch at your desk. Where are you proposing someone meditates? In a noisy breakroom surrounded by coworkers? Obviously you have a right to whatever feelings you have about it, but it seems unrealistic and onerous for your employees. Many, many people take theirs breaks at their desk for a myriad of reasons.

        1. Also Not Bob/Robert*

          We actually have a lactation/migraine/meditation room on site, and plenty of not-desk, not-breakroom options for lunch, but that’s neither here nor there.

          I totally don’t have a problem with people taking lunch at their desks, if that’s what they want to do. Full disclosure, I eat lunch at my desk every day. I also don’t have an issue with people taking mini Twitter breaks or checking their personal email at their desk whenever they need a minute.

          I DO have a problem when someone is “on break” at their desk and get upset that people are interrupting them or somehow not respecting their break. If you’re at your desk, you’re at a place to be interrupted with work matters; if you don’t want to be interrupted, be somewhere else.

          1. Not A Manager*

            You have a combined lactation/migraine/meditation room? I don’t think that’s as enlightened and user-friendly as you think it is.

            1. Observer*


              Does anyone remember the last days of Travis Kalanik at Uber? And how he was trying SO HARD to “be better”. And one of his new ways of “enlightenment” was using one of the lactation rooms to meditate? He was pilloried for that – and with good reason.

            2. JLP*

              We have a ‘wellness’ room that is for lactation, napping, meditation, or whatever. People who need to pump have first priority and then it’s based on who schedules the room. As someone who needs quiet/dark on occasion, it’s nice to have the option when the room isn’t being used by someone pumping. I’m genuinely curious to hear why it’s not user-friendly (assuming for people who are pumping). I clearly have a blind spot and I’m interested to see what I’m missing.

              1. Observer*

                *IF* lactating mothers genuinely and consistently have all the access they need, no problem. But more often than not, that’s not how it works out. And you, as someone who isn’t using the room to pump would not necessarily see it.

                In the Kalanik example, he was definitely making it hard / impossible for some woman to pump.

              2. Kal*

                At a certain point people end up fighting over the room, making it not terribly useful. Are people with migraines supposed to schedule their migraines so they only happen when no one else needs to pump? What if you’re in there with a migraine then someone else comes needing the space to pump? People who pump will then feel uncomfortable knowing they are causing their coworker pain by making noise and ejecting them from the room. People with migraines may feel like they can’t actually use the room in case someone who pumps needs it. People who meditate might not feel like their needs would ever trump those of coworkers with migraines or who pump. Or maybe someone feels their needs are more significant than those of their coworkers, causing conflict over who has the most need. And where does “want to take a nap” fall on that scale of needs? And what of the numerous other reasons someone might need a quiet, private space for a little bit?

                Basically, it might work if the entire team is small enough that that overlap would never be a problem and people are comfortable negotiating use of the space, but it doesn’t take much for it to become a point of tension and risk becoming a giant mess.

          2. anonks*

            I don’t think people should be upset about being interrupted (because your coworkers may not know it’s your break), but I also don’t see an issue with an employee saying “Ok, thanks, I’ll look at this after my lunch break,” or “Sorry, it’s actually my lunch. Can we talk in a half hour?” If you’ve communicated that it’s your break, then I don’t see why it shouldn’t be respected just because you’re still in your office.

            1. Also Not Bob/Robert*

              Yep! Agree! Totally fine with this if this is how they handle it!

              But I have had folks come to me in the past with things like “I’m eating at my desk and people interrupt me and CAN’T THEY SEE I’M EATING THIS IS MY TIME.” And I respond with some version of: It is your time, and I completely respect your need not to be interrupted with work things during your break. Take control of it and be somewhere else so they can’t interrupt you.

              1. Allison*

                I don’t know, as much as I agree that the best way to not be interrupted is to not be at your desk, I also think a considerate person would see someone eating and think “hm, maybe this isn’t the best time” and ASK “I see you’re eating, can I bug you about something real quick? Or would you like me to come back in half an hour?”

                The problem with eating in the lunchroom is that while it might not be a work area, it is considered a social area, and some people may not want their lunchtime to be a social hour, and if you’re eating in a communal dining area, someone might try to pull up a chair and make small talk. I’d much rather explain to coworkers that I’m eating and ask if they can circle back in 30 minutes, than awkwardly tell someone I barely know that I was hoping to eat lunch alone.

                1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

                  The problem with eating in the lunchroom is that while it might not be a work area, it is considered a social area, and some people may not want their lunchtime to be a social hour, and if you’re eating in a communal dining area, someone might try to pull up a chair and make small talk. I’d much rather explain to coworkers that I’m eating and ask if they can circle back in 30 minutes, than awkwardly tell someone I barely know that I was hoping to eat lunch alone.

                  I agree with this 100%.

                  The other advantage to eating at my desk is that when something catches fire, I can be part of the effort to fight it instead of sifting through the ashes later because my lunch is too sacred to interrupt.

          3. Observer*

            We actually have a lactation/migraine/meditation room on site, and plenty of not-desk, not-breakroom options for lunch, but that’s neither here nor there.

            That is where you are flat out wrong. The only time you can mandate that “at your desk DOES MEAN at work” is if people actually have reasonable options for taking their breaks away from their desks.

            Just making a statement that being at your desk MUST mean that you are available to be interrupted doesn’t make it so. But at least in a workplace where people have some actual options, you can enforce it no matter how idiosyncratic your idea is. But if people do NOT have good options (which is the case in most workplaces) your personal peeves should not be allowed to set policy.

      2. anonks*

        Also, from a practical standpoint, during COVID it’s probably best to eat at your desk/office rather than in a shared lunchroom. It can be challenging to eat in your car depending on what you bring, and eating outside is heavily dictated by weather. I’m not going to sit in a breakroom where I’d have to share a table with others when I can eat in my office and not have to worry about unmasked germ-sharing.

        1. Also Not Bob/Robert*

          Totally. I’m speaking more generally with a heavy emphasis on the beforetimes. Since my people haven’t been in the office in 16+ months, this hasn’t come up during covid. ;)

      3. Queen Anon*

        I’m assuming you’ve never worked at a job that doesn’t have a break room or lunch room or one where people have to park blocks away. They’re not that uncommon.

        1. Also Not Bob/Robert*

          I have, but to your point I’m not asking people to create something out of whole cloth. This is not the situation where I currently work – there are lots of places to be that are not your desk if you need to not be interrupted.

      4. Observer*

        I don’t know who came up with the idea of a sign, but I find it to be *incredibly* rude. The sign is, you’re taking your personal time not at your desk. If you’re at your desk, it’s a signal that you’re working and can be interrupted, and you should be professional.

        Why? Why is it a problem to take your personal time at your desk? Especially since, in many, maybe most, work places leaving your desk to take your break places some very significant limits on how you can use your break, even aside from the issue of napping. This is not a “not everyone can eat sandwiches” issue, by any means. It’s an extremely significant proportion of the population.

        1. Also Not Bob/Robert*

          No; see clarifications above. Take all the personal time at your desk that you need, including lunch if it suits you . But you cannot expect that you’re not going to be interrupted with work things while you’re at your desk.

          1. Observer*

            But you cannot expect that you’re not going to be interrupted with work things while you’re at your desk

            WHY? I mean, sure if you REALLY have good options, then you can enforce that. But you have yet to bring up a single good reason why it has to be that way even when there are options. And for the vast majority of people who actually don’t have terribly good options, it’s just wrong. Yes, as an employer you have the legal right to mandate this, but that doesn’t make it right or smart.

      5. Analytical Tree Hugger*

        you just hit on two of my biggest managerial pet peeves.

        Hi @Also Not Bob/Robert,

        I think the key phrase in your comment is “pet peeve.” This is, as you say, a pet peeve. As in, something that bothers you way more than is reasonable or typical.

        Are you allowed to feel that way? Totally.

        Is allowing your pet peeve to dictate your management rules a good idea? No.

        The bar is, “How does this impact the work?” I have read your responses and none of them describe *any* impact on the work, so consider doing some reflection on why this bothers you, but please stop letting it be something that influences your management.

    9. Nicotene*

      If OP has a car, could they nap out in the car? Being off site and away from the eyes of coworkers and supervisors somehow makes this more acceptable, although I agree it’s kind of a silly thing.

        1. kiwidg*

          Actually, it does, but you have to run your air conditioner. And then your tail lights are usually on, which annoys all the people in cars looking for a parkin space and thinking you’re going to back out any second now. (Learned from personal experience.)

          1. A Feast of Fools*

            Hmm. I sleep in my car with my A/C on, but my tail lights only come on if my foot is on the brake pedal.

    10. Miss Betty*

      That was going to be my suggestion. I used a sign like that at one job that was open office and where we all ate at our desks. It both let people know to come back later and that it was OK that I was on the Internet or reading a book. (Everyone had a similar sign.) I wouldn’t have napped at my desk there but in the physical set-up LW describes, I think it would be ok with an “at lunch” sign posted.

    11. Artemesia*

      It is a tiny office. This is one where she might be able to say ‘I plan to take a 10 minute cat nap during my lunch break — just wanted to give you a heads up — and of course once the break if over I am back to work — just didn’t want anyone to think I was sleeping on the job.’ Of course you have to know your situation — if your boss is the sort who will just remember ‘sleeping on the job.’ maybe not. Adding the ‘lunch break’ sign on the cube might be a reminder.

      1. Trisha*

        Or even drop the cat nap phrase. “During lunch I’m going to take some quiet time at my desk. I’ll have my eyes closed and a quiet alarm to let me know when it’s time to go back to work and of course I’ll be available then.”

  4. They Don’t Make Sunday*

    OP 4, I kind of love you. I didn’t have this question, but I absolutely understand having questions like this. The ones where you wonder, is this no big deal or am I the weird one?

    1. Grayduck*

      I do, too! How many other people had this question and are now relieved to have an answer? I hope having that detail pinned down helps them negotiate with confidence.

      Their question reminds me of when a freshman student years ago asked in my seminar if starting an email with ‘dear’ indicated a romantic connection. I chuckled ‘no, of course not’, but noticed that students across the hall looked relieved. I have included a ‘how to format a professional email to your professor (or anyone else)’ section in my syllabi ever since. The number of Hey Dr.Grayduck/Hi.Dr.Grayduck/Yo Grayduck emails have plummeted because of that one brave young person.

        1. Colette*

          Yeah, IMO it’s weird to start an email with “dear” – not wrong, but out of the norm.

            1. Simply the best*

              Those aren’t the only options though. I would never start an email with dear, that’s way too formal and my current profession. All my emails start with either hi, hello, or good afternoon/morning. All of those can be used in conjunction with team.

              1. Archaeopteryx*

                “Dear” sounds kiddish to me, because it sounds like you think you’re writing a letter rather than an email, which to me comes across as though you’re trying to be formal but haven’t learned how to do it while still sounding natural, as is true of most high schoolers and college students. Maybe addressing a group, like “Dear Llama Committee”, but even then, “Hello Llama Committee” is just as formal while seeming much more normal and natural.

                Thinking about “Dear”, I can’t help but read it in my head in a comedy voice as though you’re writing to your penpal, but instead it’s a coworker who you interact with all the time.

                Like I definitely believe people who are saying it’s the norm in their office… but that seems niche to me.

          1. Elenna*

            Skimming through my work email, it seems to be mostly Hi/Hello, no greeting at all (usually on chains of emails), or the occasional “good morning/afternoon”. I don’t think I’d be particularly weirded out (or even necessarily notice) if an email started with “dear”, but it’s definitely something that’s used rarely or never at my company.
            Large insurance company in Canada, if that matters.

        2. PJS*

          No. Using “hi” is very common in my experience (I used to work for a CPA firm and now I work for a local government, so not exactly super casual industries). However, using “dear” would feel very awkward and strange.

            1. MCMonkeyBean*

              Yeah, to me it’s not that it feels too intimate but that it feels too formal. I might use it for something like a cover letter or a resignation letter, but I would not use “dear” in a quick email to coworkers or my professor. I feel like it would feel similar to when people sign off on their texts, like they are treating that format as more formal than it is.

        3. Grayduck*

          Not after the first email, certainly! But in my field, a formal first impression is generally a positive one, so I try to help my folks prepare for what they’ll encounter in interviews. Rarely is advice one size fits all.

      1. You should stop*

        I don’t think “Hi Dr. Grayduck” is unprofessional. I am a lawyer working in a highly formal environment, and that’s how most people address others in emails.

        1. Grayduck*

          Different strokes. My field is formal and stuffily academic. I don’t personally mind a hi or hey, but formality in written correspondence is something that helps young folks in said field stand out in a positive way.

            1. anonymath*

              We’ll have to agree to disagree here. As a former college prof, young people are still learning cultural norms (I had greetings from “hey” to “hi Miss Kathy” to “Dear Professor Tadpole”). It is not at all a service to them to not let them know about habits that will make them look out of place in adult interactions, because they are coming from a high school context. How else are they going to learn? “hi cat lvr can u tell me whn HW is due thx” is not going to get them the job they want. Moreover, lots of student attend college in pursuit of social & economic mobility. They’re learning to code switch, in essence (and full disclosure I’m saying this as a white person who went to college etc in search of economic mobility and has 3xed my mom’s income by now). Part of the point of college, ideally, is to lay bare some of these unwritten rules so that people can decide for themselves how they want to act in that new context.

              1. Simply the best*

                But it’s equally not a service to instill in them rigid and stuffy habits that will also make them look out of place in adult interactions.

              2. Metadata minion*

                I agree, but it needs to include a discussion of how these norms can vary widely. Depending on your industry, area, organization size, local office culture, etc., an email to the head of your company could be anything from “Dear Dr. Fizzgig” to “hey Bob do you know what’s up with the llamas today??”. It’s useful to have a maximum formal option to default to for things like cover letters, but if you expect to use that in everyday communication, you’re going to come off as very standoffish or at least old-fashioned in many situations. It’s a more important, and harder, skill to learn to pick up the cues of the person you’re communicating with and adapt your style accordingly.

      2. Cat Lover*

        “Hey Dr.Grayduck/Hi.Dr.Grayduck/Yo Grayduck”

        Besides the “yo”, “hey Dr X” or “hi Dr. X” are perfectly fine?

        1. H2*

          “Hey” is pretty casual, imo. I have no problem with “Hi” but I don’t know many professors (I am one) who would be happy to get “hey”. Hey is for colleagues, not more formal situations (bet you thought I was going to say horses!).

          1. Cat Lover*

            Hmmm, maybe it’s an industry thing. I went through undergrad and grad not that long ago and most professors were fine with whatever (especially since their emails consisted of “thanks (sent from my iPhone”)). By the end of undergrad, most professors were on first name basis with most students.

            Again, 18 yr old students in a giant lecture hall class asking for a 3rd extension? Maybe “hey” isn’t a good choice. But I don’t believe in treating college students like children.

      3. AFac*

        “The number of Hey Dr.Grayduck/Hi.Dr.Grayduck/Yo Grayduck emails have plummeted because of that one brave young person.”

        I got one once that started “Yo, Prof!” Not “Yo, Dr. Afac”, literally “Yo, Prof!” My field is not that formal, and I can’t remember if I explicitly said anything correcting that student, but I did have a laugh. I’m more insistent that they put the class number in the subject line so that it doesn’t get lost in all the other random junk in my inbox.

        1. quill*

          It really does seem to rely on how much work you’ve done with the professor before, but whoever starts the email chain should indicate as much context as they have about the situation. One of those things being that they know your name, and the other being what class the email is relevant to.

      4. Archaeopteryx*

        “Hi Dr X” is a very normal professional email opener. Maybe for someone you haven’t met/spoken to “Hello Dr X” is better, but there’s nothing unprofessional about Hi.

    2. AndersonDarling*

      I have been wondering about this question too! Part of it is because I’m just not secure in saying that I deserve a salary/number that big, so I want to make the numbers sound shorter by saying 90K instead of ninety thousand.
      I was underpaid for a really long time and now that I’m earning 3x what I was back then, I’m still not comfortable stating my salary. I feel like the recruiter is going to laugh at me.

    3. Nethwen*

      I love the questions that get the answer, “Whatever feels natural should be fine.” It helps reinforce the idea that “professional” doesn’t mean you have to follow a specific script and any deviation will doom you forever.

      Job hunting is so stressful; it’s a relief to know that many little things don’t matter. I used to stress over what color eyeshadow I wore, but now that I’ve interviewed enough people to lose count, I realize that while I might (or might not) notice if someone is wearing eyeshadow, I have never noticed the specific color and the person’s makeup choices have never factored into my evaluation of them as a potential employee.

    4. Nanani*

      Honestly, if an interviewer or something got really hung up on whether you said “k” vs “thousand,” or pulled “Hah, you said 90 and not 90 thousand! That means I can pay you peanuts!” like some kind of super-literal malevolent jog genie, that would be a giant red flag in and of itself

  5. learnedthehardway*

    OP#1 – I would let your manager know that you are going to nap at lunches, and use a sign as was suggested above.

    (There was a time I never napped. Now, I know the value of a cat nap in the middle of the day.)

    OP#2 – leave the documentation for all the reasons mentioned above, and also because you’ll be able to look any future employer in the eye and tell them that you created all the documentation for your role (nice when a company is anxious about people who might hoard information), and that you did your very best to set them up for success when you left. You leaving all the information required for them to onboard a qualified person (which they’ll probably have to do after realizing that a under-qualified person can’t do the work) will stand you in good stead when you need them as a reference in future. At that point, your past manager will likely say “OP#2 did a great job but we didn’t realize how amazing they were until they left”, rather than “OP#2 left us without any documentation and it took us months to figure out what they’d done.”

  6. Chaordic One*

    In my workplace, it is common for people to leave their stalls (I mean cubicles) and take naps in their cars in the office parking lot during lunch time. (They also go to their cars to have a good cry during their lunch breaks on particularly bad days.)

    1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

      I’ve taken a few 5-10 minute naps in the bogs in the past. However, do not recommend if you have back issues because OW.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        That is… not a great idea. Taking up a toilet for 5-10 extra minutes so you can nap means someone can’t use that toilet for its intended purpose. A chair or a desk is a much better option.

    2. Solitary squirrel*

      I’m glad someone posted the nap question as I’d been wondering myself. I don’t have a car so can’t use that solution. But I do have a door that can be closed, few people who come to see me in person (and when they do they schedule it) and a company that generally encourages taking breaks. I feel I’ve been overthinking, but I’m also neuro-atypical and tend towards caution in interpreting social norms.

      1. Cat Tree*

        Yeah, that doesn’t seem good. I mean, I have occasionally cried at work in my 10 years of experience (although usually due to non-work things). But it’s not a regular occurrence that many people go through. I have a high stress job but routine crying breaks would be out of place here.

    3. kittymommy*

      In my last job I used to go to my car (windows dawn and under a tree) and eat lunch. One day I accidentally fell asleep and my boss and one co-worker left me there. They said I seemed like I needed the nap and it was cool. I woke up after an hour utterly horrified.

      1. Dasein9*

        Happened to me in History class in high school. The whole class left me alone and they turned off the lights when they left.

    4. Abogado Avocado*

      That’s great advice, Chaordic One. (Although I’m sorry anyone would have to use their cars to have a good cry.)

      In my husband’s office, there actually are nap rooms with a chaise lounges. Apparently, you book a nap room and take a snooze. I, meanwhile, work in a government office and, sadly, having a nap room would confirm what taxpayers already suspect about we public servants. So, no nap rooms for us.

    5. Karo*

      I’ve taken so many car naps I have a dedicated car pillow and car blanket. (Highly recommend, it brings the car nap to an unprecedented level.) It is, though, SUPER uncomfortable in the south in the summer.

  7. Get that Money!*

    OP #4 – the only thing I have to add to what Alison said is to specify ‘per hour’ or ‘per year’ if it could be misunderstood. If you say ‘I’d be looking for forty’ and you mean $40/hr and the recruiter hears $40,000/yr – that’s a BIG difference. Be clear and calm and all will be well.

    1. Wonderer*

      I actually did have something similar happen to me. It turned out they thought I’d asked for an astronomical salary and so they bumped up what they were offering me!

      1. Eleanor Shellstrop*

        That exact same thing happened to me! I was interviewing for a lower level admin job and I asked for “50-55” meaning “thousand, per year” but the woman interviewing me thought I meant “per hour”!!! For reference, the posted range was 18-22 per hour. I was so glad we caught that mistake before she brought my range to the hiring committee! I ended up being able to negotiate for 50 “per year” :)

    2. A Feast of Fools*

      My 2nd office job, I was told in the interview process that my pay would be “fifteen-fifty.” Which was good because I was making $13/hour and that would be a healthy bump up for the increased responsibilities of the new job over current job.

      On my first day at New Job, I went to lunch with the other person at my level and said something about what a great company it was and how the pay was great, too. He nearly dropped his sandwich. He asked how much they were paying me. I said, “Fifteen-fifty an hour.” And he said, “We need to cut lunch short and you need to go talk to the owners. I’m pretty sure it’s fifteen-fifty a YEAR. This is a salaried position, not hourly.”

      And, he was right.

      And, I quit on the spot.

      1. HelenofWhat*

        Please tell me this was decades ago?? Though I can’t think of a recent decade where $15.50 a year would be acceptable for any job.

        But anyway, I’m with those above and think specifying per year or per hour is a good idea. (And I always include the K to be extra specific!)

        1. Filosofickle*

          I assume this implies more like $15,500 / year. (Or $15,050? The fifty is a bit odd, vs “half” or “five”.) Still super low, even decades ago.

  8. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    #2 – I was in the same position. After 23 years, I had PowerPoints, with and without voice-overs, training materials, and there were perhaps 50 “how tos” that I used.

    When I left, I had misgivings about turning them over – others had plagiarized my work, and I never got credit – these PPTs and documents were basically instructional, how to do something with our products.

    SO – I distributed them to my working partners. The justification I would have had for NOT giving them = I never got credit for them, nor did they want me using them in my work. But I was getting paid to do these, over the years, so after an agonizing sleepless night, turning them over was more “right” than tossing them out.

    I overlooked the contempt that some had for me and allowed my working partner to have them.

    1. LifeBeforeCorona*

      LW2 Leave the notes for your successor. Would the form that the notes are left in make a difference? Hard copies of documentation can easily be lost or destroyed by remaining co-workers who toss the binder assuming it’s trash. Unless it’s clearly labeled a computer file can also be deleted or just not found. Maybe ensure that the boss receives a copy as well as several other people in the office to forestall being called out for not leaving any documentation.

  9. Sunny Cally*

    #2-my company had a similar situation when we had a superstar leave. She kept and left amazing documentation but the people who should have wanted them – her supervisor and her replacement-did not possess the intelligence to understand the systems anyway so the notes were useless to them.

    1. Heidi*

      Yes to this. If the partners don’t really understand the OP’s role after all this time, it’s hard to imagine that they’ll comprehend or appreciate the value of detailed notes describing that role. Even leaving the notes will not make this an easy transition for them if they’re used to not having to think about OP’s function at all.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        This being the likely case see if you can determine who will be filling in for you and give all your notes directly to them. You will be helping them immensely (and making them think more warmly of you as well – because at least it’s a pool noodle when being thrown in the deep end).

        1. Artemesia*

          It also makes it easier to refuse to be on call for questions; you refer them to the documentation and then stop taking their calls.

    2. Nicotene*

      Also, to be fair, shortly after someone left at my last office there were a few changes to the tech system they used, which made the notes immediately less helpful for new people because they didn’t have the judgement yet to know which parts would be different now. SOPs are only as good as the maintenance and in some cases have a very short shelf life.

    3. GK*

      Yes. I think there’s a subtext in this question where the hope is that leaving super detailed notes about what they actually did will finally impress upon the company how undervalued to OP was, but the overwhelming likelihood is that they’ll just ignore the notes.

  10. nnn*

    #1: Are you able to nap sitting up with your eyes closed? If so, you could put in earbuds and run a guided meditation app on your phone. (If the guided meditation disrupts your actual nap, you could turn the volume all the way down.)

    You could lay groundwork by mentioning in casual conversation that you’ve been trying out guided meditation and find it surprisingly re-energizing.

  11. august*

    LW1 I’d go for asking your boss first, with the emphasis that you’re only going to do so during your lunch break. I personally find power naps can really be a great way to reenergize for the afternoon hours. It’s either that or a coffee, but I’m limiting caffeine right now and so naps it is.

    1. Amaranth*

      I think LW1 could put a simple sign up on their cubicle ‘out to lunch 12-12:30’ then it would be clear to a random visitor or Grandboss they are on a break, and that they likely haven’t had the sign up since they arrived at 8am. Though it might also be worth asking about adding a door to their office area — sometimes there are modular pieces unused or in storage when those partitions get moved around.

    2. Global Cat Herder*

      I’ve had several co-workers get approval from their boss to nap at their desk during lunch. It’s a big company and they were napping in open cubicles, so there was inevitably gossip from … well, the same people who are personally offended that you work 7 to 4 instead of 8 to 5 … and it was shut down in the same way: “Yes, that was agreed to. How is that impacting your work?”

      LW1 is in an office with only a couple other people, so just have that conversation with the boss, and then the other office occupant.

  12. Allonge*

    LW2 – this may be personal, but for me to have a clean break from an annoying place like yours, I would want to hand over everything in one go and not keep anything. Every time I looked at or thought about the deluxe handover package, I would be back at the old place, unappreciated. Do they need it now? How about now?

    Give it all and go forth with a light heart. Don’t carry this place with you – you get to be your awesome self somewhere else and they get to use or not whatever you created.

    1. Mongrel*

      I’d also take heart that, in my experience, people and documentation rarely go together well

      1. Allonge*

        Yes – even in ideal conditions the value of the documentation would most likely not be appreciated. But this is just how life works, nothing to so with the specifics of the situation or LW.

      2. Smithy*

        Man….I think there’s a reason why there’s so much invested in change management. And it’s because giving the majority of folks a manual and saying “figure this out” is a great way to have no one figure out anything.

    2. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

      Excellent way of looking at it.

      When I left toxic firm number 2 I handed over my documentation then took my notebooks and post-it scribbles home and burnt them. Very cathartic.

    3. Bagpuss*

      Also, if you leave it all then if you get calls from them after you’ve left because they don’t know where things are / how to do them, you can just say “All the information is in the handover notes I left,”
      (I mean, you don’t have to answer or reply at all but tit sounds as though the chances of getting calls for help are quite high, so it may help to have a good way to shut them down)

  13. GNG*

    #3 – Yes definitely ask. Maybe I’m reading too much into this letter, but something sounds off. LW3 is likely missing some important info that they should know. To me, it’s interesting that OP was several steps below director level but was prompted to apply, and others more senior weren’t interested. But if the job is so interesting and pay is so great- why weren’t others jumping at the opportunity, at least for the interim role?

    My cynical jaded self is thinking back to what I’ve seen before: Maybe Boss is looking for someone who is inexperienced in a senior leadership role, who don’t know when or how to push back, and will be easier to control. Right now Boss is happy with OP because they’re new to the role, and they don’t know what they don’t know yet. Boss is on their best behavior with OP now because they want OP to feel good and apply for perm role. But if OP gets locked in to a perm role, Boss true colors will show. If this is the case, it’s likely that Boss wouldn’t just come out with this info when asked.

    Another possibility that comes to mind is: even though Previous Director seemed great, they might be hiding some misconduct (financial, regulatory, legal, etc). When new CEO came in, they took a close look at the books and found out. I’ve seen many cases where the misconduct wasn’t publicized, and to other employees who don’t know, the firing seemed unjust. So if OP wasn’t in the loop, they wouldn’t know the real reason for Previous Directors departure.

    Of course it could be a hundred other reasons. It could be just that previous director didn’t get along with the new ED. It could just be simply Previous Director didn’t want to travel anymore. In any case, Alison’s advice is great – OP right now doesn’t have all the info they should take into consideration, and should definitely look for ways to find out more.

    1. Daisy*

      Well, 6 long days a week with a lot of travel doesn’t sound ideal, right off the bat – it’s not that surprising others aren’t jumping at it.

      1. KateM*

        That’s what I was thinking – does salary still feel great when calculated to include those 60-72 hours a week? (That is, when it’s divided by 1.5 to get the feel what “one full-time” salary for this position would be.)

      2. Reba*

        Yeah, it’s not that appealing on its face! I think it’s wonderful that LW3 is gaining this experience and learning for herself what parts of this kind of role she enjoys.

        But leaving aside all the opaque internal politics, I question if this is the right place/position where you want to grow into this type of work. I would not seek to work 60-70 hour, 6-day weeks — and this is all the time, not just in extraordinary times?

      3. GNG*

        I agree that OP should take the hours and travel into consideration, but if long hours and travel is the norm for OPs industry/geographic area/organization, then these things in and of itself wouldn’t make it unappealing to others.

        60 hours and travel is not out of the ordinary in my industry but it’s not appealing to everyone.

    2. Artemesia*

      hard to imagine a bigger red flag than that the people above you are not interested in applying for the job and so they have reached down to you. I would want to know lots before moving ahead on that. The idea that they are looking for someone to steamroll on things that are not ethical or legal comes to mind.

      I was once an outside appointment on a committee that oversaw a grant program at a church that administered the aid grants. My organization had been included in the original bequest and always had a rep on the board; it became clear to me early on that a certain amount of self dealing and favoritism in making the grants was going on and everyone was complicit. It was not a situation where whistle blowing would have been effective, so I simply raised the issues in a naive way a decision at a time and no one was willing to explicitly go on record violating that charter of the bequest. I did not blaming just argued for this award to be consistent with the charter and that award, and this one too. I am sure when I left they went back to using it to bolster their pet people and projects.

      As someone elevated from below you may not be in a strong position to resist this sort of thing.

    3. petitchien*


      My immediate thought, based on my own hard-earned cynicism, is that OP3 should tread carefully.

      Plenty of people who get “pushed out of” jobs are actually well-suited for the role in question, but become victims of bad office politics or other stupid power games. I am hoping for OP3 that their predecessor was completely incompetent (or stepped away from the role voluntarily for a reason completely unrelated to the job itself, and/or the management), rather than this being someone who was actually a good fit for the role being thrown under the bus.

      If OP3’s predecessor was thrown under the bus for reasons that have nothing to do with job performance, unless whoever it was who did the throwing is now gone, it could also happen to OP3.

  14. Rosie*

    Another vote for leaving the notes for LW2 – those who take over from you will likely have an even higher impression of you when they see them. I took over a role from someone who left no handover whatsoever, and it did affect my impression of them. Your good reputation may well reap rewards down the line!

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      And also – you reputation at work isn’t just what your superiors think, it’s also what the people at the same level and below you think of you. Those notes will help others – especially the folks who will cover for you.

  15. Hello, I’d like to report my boss*

    LW2, I’ve had similar thoughts on leaving a job. I left extensive plans that documented 80% of my role and I know that management and my replacement struggled for months before bothering to look at the notes properly!

    Leave them behind in the certain knowledge that they will struggle regardless and you can have a clean break without second guessing yourself.

  16. Emma*

    LW#5 – have a look at a website called, too. If they post jobs on their own website, you can use this tool to send you alerts whenever the page is updated.

    1. Hello, I’d like to report my boss*

      This is a great service, I’ve used it for monitoring job postings too.

  17. ceiswyn*

    LW2: Leave the notes. Keep your pride.

    If it makes you feel any better about it, a) if you created them during working hours they actually belong to the company, just like the rest of your work and b) nobody will read them anyway.

    The more comprehensive your notes, the more likely anyone trying to do your job will just see them as a wall of text to ignore. I don’t understand it, but most people will do literally anything rather than read. You would not believe the number of times I have come in as a new employee and solved a ‘problem’ the company had just by actually reading my predecessor’s handover document.

    1. Kara*

      To be fair, sometimes it’s because the notes make sense to someone who already knows the information in them – but don’t make sense or are hard to follow otherwise.

      My predecessor arranged her notes by topic, and buried important things way down. When I updated the documentation for cross-training and just-in-case purposes, I had to totally reorder it so ‘urgent thing you absolutely must do’ was not buried.

      1. ceiswyn*

        It is certainly true that these sorts of instructions/notes are often badly structured; there is a reason why ‘technical writer’ is a specialist role.

        However, most people don’t even seem to consider looking at them.

      2. MissDisplaced*

        It’s true, but I literally made a PASSWORD BOOK with critical company logins. And yet nobody at exJob thought to look there. At another exJob I got a call two years later and they admitted they lost the book I’d made. They also somehow lost all the stock photos I’d purchased for them (and backed up on both a hard drive and DVDs) and were asking how to login and re-download them.
        Like, just, Really people!
        I predict OP is gonna get some calls.

        1. Sleeping Late Every Day*

          Aren’t stock photos limited to one-time use for a specific purpose/project? I did licensing for photo use and we’d charge fairly exorbitant unauthorized re-use fees in those situations.

            1. Allonge*

              Sorry, just to specify: there are some vendors that sell for non-commercial use that have licences that allow reuse, this is of course not universal, just one example.

        2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          I got the password call too from a prior job. It was fairly satisfying to be able to tell them honestly “I don’t remember any of that after 18 months.”

    2. BubbleTea*

      I’ve frequently solved a computer problem for people by reading the text on the pop ups that appeared and proceedingly accordingly. “Do you want to save the file?” Well, do you? Yes? Great, all fixed!

      1. ceiswyn*

        I once watched an ENTIRE CLASS OF STUDENTS do this to the lecturer when the lecturer was supposedly teaching them how to use the software…

    3. Jessica*

      It’s infuriating to think about the percentages of my interactions at work that basically are the equivalent of me reading out loud an email I already sent the person. See how the ink on this page makes little squiggles? It’s a secret message! You have a PhD, maybe you can decode it!!

      1. Myrin*

        So much of advising customers in stores who want to know how to use [product] is simply reading what’s written on the back of [product] to them. People are lazy. (And, to be fair, they also think I know all of this by heart but really, how likely is that? I can advise you broadly on what type of product to use for [thing] but I don’t know the ins-and-outs of every little thing we have in stock!)

        1. Archaeopteryx*

          Back when I worked at Large Office Supplies Store, customers (who of course mostly treated staff like dirt anyway) would be hilariously upset to discover that we didn’t have any “office supplies” training. Sure, the computer guys had computer expertise, but the staff at the register did not go to some kind of intensive training camp where we learned all about hole punches and binders… we learned how to work the register.

          One woman asked me what the right size of insert was for her planner cover (to change last year’s planner into this year’s). I looked at the display right in front of her, held up her old one till I found a match, held the matching one up to her cover to confirm it fit, and gave it to her. She looked at me, infuriated, and said “Oh, so you don’t actually KNOW. You’re just looking at it just now?? Well *I* could’ve done THAT!” I politely said “Okay!” and continued to help someone else. Like, yeah, ma’am, you definitely could’ve done that.

  18. Kara*

    #1 A few things worth mentioning:

    There isn’t one rule about this – whereas some things are always ok or never ok, this thing varies.

    Napping is more likely to be a problem if:
    – there’s a high chance external visitors could see you, for example if you have clients who visit
    – you do not take your lunch at the same consistent time, and are unable to keep to a consistent time
    – you are behind on your work as, if someone sees you, they could assume you’re also napping during work time
    – you have any issues with timekeeping, like being late to meetings, as if someone sees you they could assume you’re late because you’re napping
    – you fall fully asleep and snore, especially if it’s loud (unlikely on a short break)
    – your alarm is loud or annoying
    – it messes up your appearance and you don’t realise or fix it

    If any of these things are true, it would be unwise to nap in your office.

    Some things you could do that would help:
    – Take your lunch at the same time as much as possible (you may do this already for your own reasons). If people reliably know you’re unavailable at that time, they’re less likely to walk in on you or think you’re sleeping on the job.
    – If you take any time to fully emerge from your nap (for example if you need a few minutes before you’re fully alert) don’t nap in the last 10 minutes of your lunch break. Make it a bit earlier so you have time to re-emerge.
    – Wear headphones if you can. I can’t explain why, but having your eyes shut and headphones on is less likely to look startling or unprofessional than just being asleep with your head on the table.
    – Use a silent vibrating alarm if this is enough to wake you up. Otherwise, pick a tone that sounds like a message alert and not one that sounds like a morning alarm clock.
    – Have a mirror to hand (get a pocket mirror if you don’t have one) so you can check you look ok afterwards without walking past colleagues: hair not rumpled and so on.

  19. Speaks to Dragonflies*

    For OP 1, if there’s only two other people in the office, just tell them. You’re on your lunch break and have an alarm. It shouldnt be that big of a deal.

  20. Becca*

    LW3: This might be me worrying needlessly but be sure your health can handle 10-12 hours/days SIX days/week the next couple of years (or however long you wish to stay at your compagny). That is not a lot of time to recharge.

        1. Becca*

          Yeah, you are right. I think my problem is whenever I read or hear something is “manageable”, my brain supplements “(barely)”. LW, just ignore me.

    1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

      Did (including the commute from hell) 14 hour days when I worked in London for 3 years. Had my first grand mal seizure at work. (Not saying I didn’t have epilepsy before – I probably did – but turned out severe exhaustion is a well known trigger)

      1. onco fonco*

        Yeah, I did 12 hour days not including commute for 2 years and thought I was coping until I started throwing up regularly for no reason. Long term stress and burnout really does mess you up all over.

    2. HR & Cats*

      I recently left a job where I was working similar hours (10-14 hours a day, 5-7 days a week, 2 weeks PTO per year, 2 paid holidays) and I’m so much happier. I was only at the other company for 2 years but felt like I worked 20, I couldn’t take it anymore. I was also working night shift so often working until 2, 3, 4, 5am. Awful.

  21. Ailsa McNonagon*

    LW1, lots of people don’t understand that autistic people can find ‘normal’ stuff extremely draining and they think that if you look *normal* and you’re working then you don’t need any additional support.

    If you need a nap during your lunch break, explain to your manager what you’re doing (10 minute nap in your own time) and why you’re doing it (sensory break, downtime, recharge). Get them to put something in writing that it is okay for you to nap on your own time in your room. Have a sign you can put up outside your room saying that you’re unavailable between certain times, and have your nap!

    I’m not sure about American law, but this would certainly be covered under UK disability law as a reasonable accommodation.

    1. signupordown*

      Yes, this! Was coming here to say it’s not just a convenience, it may be actually needed to deal with sensory overload and should be an accommodation that would potentially benefit the employer by making it possible for the LW to keep productivity up during the afternoon.

  22. UKReader*

    LW1: is there anywhere else you could go for a nap? In your car, a designated quiet room, a first aid room? I feel like any of those options would be preferable to putting your head down at your desk.

  23. UKReader*

    LW4: I feel like I hear “K” (pronounced as in the letter k, like “ninety to a hundred kay”) more often than I hear “thousand”. People will also say “in the nineties” or “the first digit needs to be a nine” or all sorts of other wordings. There’s really no wrong way to say it.

    People already noted that it could be important to distinguish between hourly vs yearly ($40/hour vs $40k/year) and I will also point out that it can be useful to distinguish between “base salary” and “full package including all benefits”. If there’s a bonus / profit share / pension contributions / medical insurance / etc then that can add up to quite a large amount, so being clear about “90k base salary to take the package up to the 100s” or whatever can also be valuable.

    1. UKReader*

      (and yes I know that “the first digit needs to be a nine” is not actually terribly specific, since I’m sure someone who says that is not thinking “$9k/year would be great”.)

      1. Cat Tree*

        I think an employer would have to be acting in bad faith and intentionally misinterpret it as $9k, so I don’t think there’s much risk to saying it that way.

    2. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

      Might be different here in the UK but I’ve said e.g. ‘between 38 and 40K’ in talks, guessing that any company that thinks I mean that per HOUR is far too inexperienced to work for!

      1. UKReader*

        I think if you say the “k” you don’t need to clarify “per year”. Just if you say “I’m hoping for between 38 and 40” then that could lead to misunderstanding.

    3. londonedit*

      Interestingly I don’t think I’d say ‘K’. Not sure why, it just doesn’t feel like something I’d say. Possibly because I’m not going to be discussing large amounts and ‘K’ feels like something you’d throw around when you’re talking about big numbers! I’d say ‘I’m hoping for something in the region of thirty thousand’, I think.

        1. banoffee pie*

          k seems slightly jargony to me and in the part of the UK I’m from, might make you sound like a bit of a tosser/del boy type. But if it’s common in the US I’m sure it’s fine there.

      1. ecnaseener*

        Yeah something about “k” feels almost silly in the wrong contexts? Like I only expect to hear “k” from people who talk about thousands enough that they don’t have time to say “thousand.”

        1. kittymommy*

          I feel like the only time I have ever hear an adult say “K” in reference to money is in the movies.

      2. Boof*

        If i’m going for verbal shorthand I usually say “grand” instead of “K” – not that that’s objectively correct or anything

        1. Boof*

          (And i probably wouldn’t use it at a salary negotiation because it’s too informal/slang; best to be very clear and use the full words)

        2. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

          I likewise use “grand” as a synonym for thousand, but have never found it considered informal or overly slangy. “K” just isn’t part of my modus operandi, so I’d never use it, and I’ve never heard a salary described in conversation as “50M” or “100M.” I haven’t heard “50k” or “100k” in conversation either, just in writing.

          1. londonedit*

            I’d use ‘grand’ in an informal discussion – ‘Can you believe they think they can hire someone decent on £25 grand a year??’ – but in a salary negotiation I’d definitely say ‘thousand’.

            1. Wonderer*

              Yeah, it feels very slangy to me also: “I’m thinking it’s going to cost you 60 Large to get me on board”.
              It’s as if instead of saying “I’d like to discuss potential salary” you said “How many Benjamins are we talkin’ here?”

      3. Archaeopteryx*

        I’d say it’s common to say “K” when you’re talking about the price of a house, or about an increase in salary – as in, “I’m making 15k more than this time last year!” But for describing your salary in general, “sixty to seventy” or “sixty thousand” seems more normal.

        1. Archaeopteryx*

          (And of course, if you’re running a 5k or a 10k, you say the k. Very situation-dependent!)

    4. Eldritch Office Worker*

      I also feel like I hear “K” quite a bit, or just omit it and say the number. “Thousand” is probably second most c0mm0n but even then I don’t think I hear things like “thousand” or “grand” super often. I suppose in a salary negotiation/formal setting thing I’d probably say “thousand”

  24. NYWeasel*

    OP2: There’s a middle ground I’m not seeing being mentioned here. By all means, leave the documentation, but I personally would make only one offer of “If you want to go over the notes before I leave, let’s meet on (next to last day) to discuss.” With that you’ve given them every opportunity to succeed with what you’ve left, and it’s not up to you to worry if they don’t prioritize the meeting or don’t bother to figure out what is going to be the biggest hit in losing you. In other words, you can take the high road by sharing the documents and being available while still employed to go through what you’ve prepared, but I wouldn’t spend any extra energy trying to get them to recognize the value of what you’ve prepared.

    1. The Other Dawn*

      I agree. If OP gives them the documentation and then a chance to clarify anything, it’s on the company to deal with it from there; she did her part.

  25. archangels girl*

    My partner napped in his classroom every day at lunch for 20 minutes for his entire 25 year career. Like you, he wasn’t asleep, precisely. Napping may not even be the name for it. It’s closing your eyes and giving your brain processing time, really. Everybody got used to it. He never said anything explicitly. People walking in, his eyes were closed, he was propped back in his chair, they left and came back later.

    I like the guided meditation idea from an earlier poster, because what you’re talking about is almost like unguided meditation for lack of a better word. I don’t even think you need the charade of the earphones.

    One thing that I think will help your employer with this is to take your lunch at the same time every day. People will get used to the idea that they don’t disturb you between 1:00 and 1:30 or whatever it is – which they shouldn’t anyway. There’s not much difference between a mouthful of egg salad, a meditation, or re-applying lipstick. A good company respects that lunch is your personal time when they can.

    1. ThatGirl*

      I call it resting vs napping; you’re having a rest for your brain, your eyes, etc even if you’re not asleep. I definitely did that on Monday after our dog’s upset stomach interrupted our sleep. (I was working from home, though, so I just set a timer and laid down on the couch for 15 minutes.)

  26. Volcanogoddess*

    Hello! At my workplace, many of us work 10 hour days and naps are common. We have a sign that says LUNCH we put up on our computer during lunch. I do see people nap during lunch. I take naps myself.
    I do think it’s a good idea to wear headphones and set your alarm. I have one coworker who took a Benadryl and accidentally slept over her lunch period. Set that alarm!

  27. After 33 years ...*

    I agree with this. LW2 would have to balance whether any additional effort at organization would be useful in their circumstances. The notes may not be comprehensible without knowledge of the procedures, but if you don’t think they’ll be used or if you’re unhappy with your manager(s), it may not be worth your effort.
    I’m nearing retirement, so not quite the same situation as LW2, although some of the causes for discontent are. So, I’ve begun the process of passing similar notes and files (“institutional knowledge”) on. That potentially could avoid the problem of having all the knowledge depart with one person, such as “Jean” in an earlier discussion this week. It’s been cathartic for me to write stuff out, and it might help whoever comes next. Any benefits to the higher academic administration would be coincidental.

  28. LPUK*

    LW1. many years ago when I worked in a glass-fronted office, I would get so tired I needed to nap for 10 mins ( think it was migraine -related), so what I did was tuck my phone between my neck and shoulder, pull out my bottom filing drawer and rest my hand in it, so if anyone came in, it would look as if I’d been reaching for a file whilst on the phone!

    later on while I was a line manager in an open office with not even any cubicles, I had an established problem with migraines and so no one blinked an eye if I sometimes rested my head on my arms on the desk for 20 mins or so, even though it was completely obvious because I used to put my jacket over my head to keep out the light… So what I took from that is , if you are good at your job, hard-working and honest about your issues, there’s a lot more latitude around ‘human’ behaviour than you think there is. Or maybe I’ve just been lucky in the companies Ive worked for – didnt stop me getting pay rises, promotions or high-profile projects.

  29. MissDisplaced*

    2. I created amazing documentation for the job I’m leaving — but should I withhold it?

    Yes, leave your tome. Ethically, if you made it on work time it belongs to them.
    You can rest easy knowing that, given the firm is as you described, it’s highly likely no one there will ever read it or even pass it on to a future hire.

    I also predict this company will be calling you in a panic after you’ve gone. I’ve had that happen at my last two workplaces! Every time I replied with “Consult the book, it’s all documented.” Yet somehow they’ve still managed to let three of their websites go down.

  30. Policy Wonk*

    #2 Another vote for leaving the documentation. I have always been grateful when I followed a person who left good documentation. However, as many other posters have already noted, the documentation is often ignored by successors who think they know better! When people would ask me how I knew so much shortly after I started a new job, I said “it was in [predecessor’s] notes.” The response invariably was along the lines of “oh, I never bother with those.”

  31. MissGirl*

    OP 4, if tv has taught us nothing, the proper way is always to quietly slip a piece of paper with your salary requirements written on it across the desk.

    Also, I really long to get a job offer so high, I slap my boss and announce to my underlings to suck it, I’m going corporate. Liz Lemon is always my inspiration.

  32. Sarah D*

    LW1 – your question bought back memories for me of a work colleague I had years ago (UK based), who would cheerfully and openly nap (he’d eat his lunch at his desk, chat and then loudly announce he was going to take a nap!) in his chair at his desk in the middle of an open plan office at lunch time with all sorts of noise and movement round him! I never knew how he managed to sleep! He was rather a character, but the nap was never a problem.

      1. drive by commenter*

        it’s funny, because i actually have pretty bad insomnia, but if i’m really tired i can doze off just about anywhere. last weekend i fell asleep while at a baseball game; my biggest achievement to date has been falling asleep while standing up. while in the front row. of a metal concert.

        1. Jackalope*

          The first time I ever dealt with serious jet lag (flying from one continent to another), my impressive “accomplishment” was going to a museum the first day and falling asleep on the escalator going from one floor to the next. Which was…. a normal distance between floors. (As a side note, I am firmly against the common wisdom of not napping at all the day you arrive if you’re dealing with multiple hours of jet lag. You don’t want to sleep all day, but taking a short nap of up to an hour in my experience makes that first day so much more doable and isn’t enough to throw your system any more out of whack than it already is.)

          1. Liz H*

            I once dozed off for a moment while riding my bike to work. (To be fair, I was later diagnosed with a sleep disorder.)

    1. NerdyLibraryClerk*

      I have a coworker who uses part of her lunch break to nap. In a corner of the breakroom, often with a little sleep mask. She seems unbothered by other people’s lunching. And, so far as I know, no one is bothered by her having a little after lunch (but still on lunch break) nap.

      Is napping really that odd? Have I just known an unusually high number of adults who nap? I mean, I envy them a bit, since I generally am not someone napping works out for, but it always seemed like just a personal preference/biology thing. Some people get re-energized by closing their eyes for 10-15 minutes, some people don’t.

  33. Zephy*

    I’ll add my voice to the chorus of “just leave the notes, no one will read them” for LW2.

    Before I left OldJob I, too, built a detailed step-by-step manual, taking someone all the way through the primary process that the role was responsible for, soup-to-nuts, with appendices, even. Checklists. Templates, the whole nine. I showed it to my boss, I had a coworker “playtest” it and see that it made sense and was easy to follow for someone unfamiliar with my particular role. I *still* got a call a few months down the line asking about something and had to tell my old boss that Former Team Lead and I built a whole-ass manual, have you tried looking at that?

  34. Message in a Bottle*

    If you have ever gone into a new job with notes left behind, what are some reasons you didn’t read them (assuming they were still relevant and you had access to them)?

    As for me, leaving with pride, higher ground, etc. didn’t do much for me post toxic job. Yeah, I know all the reasons it should but it didn’t. I wish I’d been petty. I’m not that way, but I sure wish I was!

    1. Soup of the Day*

      This happened to me at an old job, and the answer is simply that the notes didn’t make sense to me when I first started the job, and by the time they would have been useful I had forgotten about them! Looking back on them later it was easy to be like “oh, THAT’S what she meant,” but it was just overwhelming to me when I was still in training. These notes were more institutional knowledge than steps for how to do things, though.

  35. Paisley*

    LW#1 – You could tell your boss that you’re meditating at lunchtime, it might sound better than napping. I agree with Alison regarding the door. I’m lucky enough to have a door if I need a reprieve during my lunch break, though I usually spend my lunchbreak reading Ask A Manager while I eat :) However, several years ago I went through a period where I would have to go out to my car to take a nap on my lunchbreak just to get through the day. I later found out I had Graves Disease (a thyroid issue) which was the reason I was so tired – it was treated and has been in remission for over 12 years, yay! So I know longer need a nap during the day unless I didn’t sleep well the night before. But a 10-minute meditation recharges me as well. If you don’t have a door and you can’t go out to your car, I would tell your co-workers that you’re taking up meditation during your lunchbreaks and put up a ‘do not disturb’ sign.

    1. Skylight*

      Agree with reframing it as meditation. And definitely put up a sign stating that you’re doing a short meditation on your lunch break so that if anyone walks into your space, there’s no misinterpretation.

      When I was a grad student, I used to take really obvious 10-20 minute naps in tbe library (head down on the table in the main reading room) while studying but the optics weren’t a problem in that setting. I think that the optics in an office are way different and caution is best. You don’t want to risk a busybody using your rest time to cause trouble for you.

    2. If They Could See Me Now!*

      Once upon a time, I had a job for a family-owned company. The family in question were evangelical Christians who brought their religion into the workplace a lot. When my spouse was badly injured, Big Daddy Boss called me into his office to talk and I left with three Bibles: one for home, one for my desk, and one for the car.

      So, when I needed a nap at that job, I’d open my desk Bible, bow my head, close my eyes, and just rest.
      Nobody bugged me.

  36. Beth*

    LW #1: if you have a good relationship with your boss and your co-worker, in your position, I would ask. But my experience is very much an outlier: at my current firm, the boss arranged for a sofa to be placed in the back file room, specifically for napping. He uses it more than anyone else, but it’s explicitly available to all (just not at the same time).

    My own office is next to that room, and I can sometimes hear him snoring.

  37. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

    I got a new PC and discovered Skyrim last night. Stayed up way too late and started work early this morning. I think all this talk of naps is making me want one!

  38. PeaShoots*

    LW1 – I had a colleague who was visiting our university for a few months. She would nap every lunch time for >1 hour, head on desk, in the middle of an open plan office of about 25 people. She said it was totally normal at home for people to sleep at their desks, and she thought we were crazy for working a full day without a nap. This was in academia, so I know that normal workplace rules don’t apply, but I don’t think anyone cared beyond mild amusement.

  39. Beth*

    LW #2: Leave the notes, and regard it as rubbing their noses in how badly they undervalued you.

    You might even be able to count it as a specific accomplishment to be mentioned in future interviews: the ability to create comprehensive and usable documentation is a work skill that far too few people have.

  40. Jennifer Strange*

    #1 – This is definitely a “know your org.” thing, but I interned for an arts non-profit where there was a single open-space office with partitions (no one had a private office) and there was definitely an employee who would take a nap every day at his lunch break. Again, an arts non-profit may be different from your organization (we did not see donors/clients in our office for one thing) but I think it couldn’t hurt to ask your boss for their input.

  41. Roy G. Biv*

    LW 2 – Congratulations on the new job! Leave your comprehensive notes, and maybe make a pdf so when Old Job inevitably calls you and says they don’t know how to do X, you can email them the pdf and be otherwise unavailable.

  42. LW2*

    Hello Handover Notes LW here, Thanks for all your input Alison and readers. You’re all very lovely, kind, helpful, non-petty people aren’t you? Okay, you’ve swayed me, the feeling of having done all I can and not being responsible for anything that happens after I go is probably worth sharing the knowledge.

    Its so tricky pitching them, not knowing if the recipient will eventually be some future professional who might find them super patronizing, or some poor admin who doesn’t know what I mean by half the terminology. I intend to email them to a few of the managers who might remember them when a replacement is decided upon. There really isn’t anyone else. I don’t want to terrify the admins by sending them this huge batch of pages if they end up escaping the responsibility.

    And yes, I absolutely have a section call something like ‘Do these things right now before you even think about doing anything else.’ :)

    1. cubone*

      Not sure if it helps, but a few times I’ve seen departing colleagues just point everyone to their final files. Eg. send an email with final info (“Susan will need to respond to Jane when she gets back from vacation Monday, please remember to check the general inbox daily and water the plants” etc) and then just a link to a shared drive with “here is all the handover and documentation for my role”. It might not make sense at your workplace, but it’s surprising how often the person who needs that info is a random colleague.

      I wouldn’t worry too much about patronizing or poor admins. I left a job recently where I was similarly underpaid/undervalued and it was hard not to feel really weird about… everything. But honestly, these notes and documentation are pretty neutral. “I did this job, here is the notes from said job, here is where those notes live – good luck everyone!” is really all you’re saying.

    2. Allonge*

      Whoa, don’t adjust them at this stage though! Whatever you wrote is what they get. It’s really not your business to figure out what they deign to do with the job.

      And, like, if you want to print out a copy (at work) and burn it (at home, with, like, safety measures), that too is ok.

    3. NotMyRealName*

      I’d probably pick one of the more experienced admins and send them the notes attached to an email that says something like: “Since it’s not clear who will be doing these things now I am sending these handover notes to you in the hopes that you will forward them to the appropriate person.”

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        I have done that in the past (one place it was actually the default – the senior admin was the keeper of all process documents for all positions).

        It also will let the admins have access if they end up being a fairly long term fill in.

    4. Coder von Frankenstein*

      I would definitely err on the side of “make it comprehensible for the admin.” If your successor turns up their nose at your documentation–that’s their problem.

    5. Bagpuss*

      Do you have a shared drive? If so, I would save a copy there and e-mail everyone (mangers and admins) to say where it is.
      If the admins aren’t asked to take over, if they know its there they will be able to point your successor at it even if the managers don’t !

  43. Salad Daisy*

    #2 I was getting laid off due to company restructuring and the fact that they were outsourcing my department. That’s right, outsourcing to another company. I was tasked with training my replacement at the other company. I did not feel any obligation to give them any documentation that was not specifically requested. BTW I never even met this person as they were in another country where the cost of labor is much less.

  44. lost academic*

    I have to disagree with a lot of the advice on #1 – while people are right that this can be addressed with communication in the rest of the office, and it’s a definite “know your culture” issue – the chances are simply very high that it’s going to result in an impression of you that you can’t shake and don’t want. There are plenty of jobs and in particular professions overall (hospital staff) where this is not just allowed but encouraged for obvious reasons, but I’d encourage you to find a more secure place to take the nap. I really empathize – especially when pregnant with baby #2 I often needed at least partial prone time in the middle of the day, and could easily pop out to my car for it. If that’s an option for you, it’s a pretty easy one and I’d take it. Undoing the impression of ‘sleeping on the job’ is a lot harder.

  45. Nethwen*

    #1: If your boss is reasonable and you typically have an easy time communicating with them, then it might be worth it to ask. I have employees who nap like you describe, out of sight of clients, and, because they are otherwise good employees, I conclude that they are one their break. Our office is also small: me and 3 – 5 employees.

  46. HailRobonia*

    I work at a university and one time someone called my department HQ complaining about a homeless person sleeping in the lounge. I checked it out and it turned out to be one of our professors.

    1. cubone*

      it’s funny because my comment for that letter was going to be work on a campus where napping anywhere and anywhere is welcomed!

  47. Agnes A*

    I had an elderly boss who took naps every day and even when he worked from home, he announced his naps to us. However, when I asked him not to call me at 7 am because I don’t start working until 9, he looked really stunned. He thought it’s normal to call his employees as soon as he wakes up, so I’m not sure he would have appreciated if we started taking naps too.

  48. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

    #1 – I’m going to disagree with Alison. You’ve only got 2 coworkers – I’d just let them know about the 10-minute power nap. But this assumes you don’t have customers or other visitors in the office at that time, and that you don’t snore!

  49. Elenna*

    Re: LW#1, I agree with other commentators that it’s probably fine but you should inform the other people in your office so they know it’s just a quick catnap during your break and you’re not slacking/are okay.

    TBH I sometimes take 10-20 minute naps even when not on lunch break. My thought process is that it’s okay in my situation since:
    – I’m currently WFH during the pandemic, so nobody can pop in and tell the difference between “Elenna is napping” versus “Elenna stepped out for a few minutes to throw in a load of laundry”
    – My time is flexible enough that my boss wouldn’t care if I stepped out for 20 min occasionally to do stuff, as long as the work gets done.
    – I’m a pretty light sleeper when napping at my desk and usually wake up every 3-5 minutes anyways, at least long enough to open my eyes and check if anyone has messaged me.

  50. pretzelgirl*

    I also sort of disagree with Allison on this. Personally I would just tell your co-workers about it. If still makes you uncomfortable maybe try a private area in your building, a large closet or storage area (if its clean and has a comfy place to sit), your car etc. You could even try outside (weather permitting).

  51. 867-5309*

    OP2, I left a job in 2006 and they did not yet have my replacement named. I pulled together a detailed, tabbed notebook for whomever took the job. When they finally named someone to the role, she told anyone who would listen that she was so impressed by what I had left. My former boss and those who worked within my the manufacturing plant I supported still talk about it to this day. Definitely leave your notes. Someone, someday might appreciate them and remember.

  52. Sam*

    LW2: I left a toxic job last year. I gave 4 weeks notice (ample time to train my replacement in our context) and they decided not to replace me but instead split my work between existing team members. I spent my 4 weeks carefully documenting every single task I did and personally training the existing team members before leaving them with the detailed documentation. I took the high road!

    It still collapsed. They’ve crumbled to bits. Half the team left and the other half are actively job searching. They’ve tried restructuring and moving offices in a desperate attempt to get a “fresh start” that simply won’t happen without the right people in the right roles.

    No documentation, no matter how good, can replace competency and skills. Take the high road and enjoy the schadenfreude that will absolutely still come your way.

  53. Rage*

    LW #3 – absolutely ask. I had to, before I moved into my current role. When this role was originally proposed, I had been at the org for about 6 months. I was intrigued, but ultimately decided I had it good where I was. I heard some things that concerned me (from the internal candidate who took the role), one of which I escalated up to the division director. But then, one day, suddenly, a higher level person had absorbed those duties and the original person went back to her old role.

    So, 1.5 years later, when the person who absorbed the duties resigned, I was asked to take over that specific role. Naturally, I had concerns. Fortunately, it had just been a poor fit for the role (though that person excels at her original admin tasks, and is still employed with us), which was what had happened. And, as it turned out, this role absolutely fitted in with all of my skills. So I’m super glad that I took the role. So absolutely ask.

    1. nameneeded*

      Fortunately, it had just been a poor fit for the role (though that person excels at her original admin tasks, and is still employed with us), which was what had happened.

      This very happy ending has restored my faith in humanity to a significant degree. Thank you. And I’m so glad it worked out so well for you!

  54. nameneeded*

    LW3, I’d be very, very careful. And not only because of the ridiculous requirements regarding hour hours and travel.

    What do you know about the long-time director who you’d be replacing who was pushed out by the new executive director? Did the previous director actually deserve to be pushed out? Does the new executive director actually know what they’re doing?

    Did anyone else in the leadership team, such as the CEO, have issues with the ex-director? (As in, did someone like the CEO use the new executive director to do their dirty work and get rid of the former director?) If anyone did have issues with the former director, were they actually deserved, or was it down to something irrelevant, like envy or ego-driven office politics? (The fact that the other, more senior people above you aren’t jostling for a promotion also worries me.)

    Unless you can be sure that whatever the problem was really was due to poor job performance on behalf of the former director (and not because of something dumb like the former director purposefully being left without the time or resources to do their job properly, which was then used to push them out the door), I’d be very careful you don’t end up in the same position yourself.

  55. cmcinnyc*

    Dear LW2, I have been that entry-level admin handed someone’s excellent documentation and quickly discovered it was way, way over my head. Not that I couldn’t figure out what should be done–the notes were good–but there was no way I could do it in a timely manner. Especially as I still had to do my regular assigned work. You’ve gotten great, ego-boosting praise, so lock that in by leaving the documentation and there’s solid references forevermore. But you should cackle with glee as it all falls down. They underpaid you for years and they are fools. Let it go. Enjoy that boost in earning.

  56. staceyizme*

    All of our days come with challenges, but decompression and resetting is actually a sound wellness practice. It shouldn’t be skipped because of the potential perception that something is amiss. This is about communication as much as anything and for LW1, it’s simpler. Small office, fewer people, a quirk should be no problem. Maybe it’s worth having a conversation. Maybe shift the wording slightly to “meditation”. As long as it’s just the time frame on the lunch break, in a small office context, it should be fine. *LW1 could even get an “out to lunch” and “shh… meditating” or “power-nap… back in TEN!” or whatever. In a big office with client exposure or random people wandering, it would be more problematic. In a small office? It might be more negotiable.

  57. A Simple Narwhal*

    #1 Does your office have a wellness room at all? My office has these small private rooms on every floor, they’re mainly intended for pumping breast milk or for prayer, but other people are allowed to use the rooms for a moment of privacy, it wouldn’t be unheard of for someone to take a quick nap in there (assuming no one with a more pressing need came along or had booked the space). Since offices are required to provide a private non-bathroom space for pumping, maybe scout out if one of those is available?

    I’m guessing probably not since there’s a good chance you would already know if that was an option, but I’ve worked in places before where those spaces were definitely “need to know” only, so it’s worth a shot!

  58. Alexis Rosay*

    LW2, I sympathize—I’m leaving a fairly senior position doing specialized work and management decided to replace me with an entry-level person. It stings, but I’m trying to stay classy. Agree with others that you should leave the notes. Your coworkers will remember you well for it.

  59. T. J. Juckson*

    Many years ago, I was an intern at a museum in Europe. One curator had a well-known, well-established habit, and everyone knew not to bother him after lunch. He had a huge wood desk– it must have been 7 or 8′ long–which he would clear off after lunch, and take a 45 minute nap. I’m trying to remember if he had a blanket? Did he take off his shoes?

  60. TootsNYC*

    LW #3:
    Depending on your relationship with her you might also ask Jane.
    If so, be discreet.

    You can ask other people why they didn’t want to take on that role, or what they see as the big challenge ahead.
    With everyone you ask, remember that they will shade their story, so be alert to that.

  61. RedinSC*

    LW 1, this has probably already been said, so sorry if repeat. But, if you drive to work, go to your car and take your nap there. I know a lot of people who do that, it’s not weird, it’s just a private space for you to nap without the perception that you’re sleeping on your job.

  62. Sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

    I was told in an interview that I was interviewing for a position where the person was about to be fired. No reason for the firing given. I was 24, had never heard of this before and was too surprised to ask clarifying questions.

    I just had to wait. The team I joined wasted no time in telling me why she was fired.

    1. hardlessons*

      Unless there was criminal activity involved in the firing, that’s actually really revolting.

  63. jenni o*

    LW #1:
    As a mother of twins, when I first went back to fulltime work, I was exhausted all. the. time. On the weekends I HAD to nap while the babies were napping, otherwise I wouldn’t make it through the day. At work, I did have a private office, but it had a floor to ceiling window. When I couldn’t take it, I went out to my car (in the parking garage) at lunchtime to close my eyes for 10-20 minutes. I also know of one other coworker who did it as well occasionally! I’m a light sleeper as well, but just the chance to relax a bit did wonders. Would that be a possibility?

  64. Silicon Valley Girl*

    #4 LW your question isn’t silly at all! I’ve been in the workforce for 20+ years but I have a problem pronouncing large numbers. When I’m job hunting, I google how to say “X thousand dollars” & practice it, even writing it down, before I talk to a recruiter or whoever about my salary range.

  65. Silverose*

    LW 1 – I totally napped on lunch breaks at two previous jobs. I had an hour lunch break; ate lunch during the first half, napped on the floor of my cubicle the second half with a flannel or cardigan as a pillow at one job, and on the couch in a quiet room at the second job. I got permission from the office director at the first job (my boss’ boss, and highest person in the office; never did it when higher ups were due in), and at the second job I didn’t need permission; had people check on me once or twice to make sure I was okay but just told them I was resting on my lunch and that was it. Of course, I’m in social services which is a field with higher burn out so self care is more acceptable. Other people’s situations are different.

    1. scmill*

      Retired now, but I used to nap occasionally during lunch, too. Most of the time, I signed up a small conference room, locked the door, ate my lunch and then snoozed for about 20 minutes. When I had a cube to myself at the dead end of an aisle, I just napped there. It made all the difference in my work, and no one ever said anything about it except to be grumpy because I snagged a spot first.

      In one company, all the ladies’ rooms (no idea about the mens’ rooms) had a small room off to the side with a lounge seat in it for a quick nap, someone not feeling well etc. It was a godsend when we were called in at night to fix a database and spent most of the time just waiting for a job to run successfully so that we could leave. That was long before having access remotely so that we didn’t have to go into the office.

      In a pinch, I’ve gone out to my car and napped there.

  66. whistle*

    The more I think about the specific situation for LW1 (only 2 other people in office), the more I think Alison is more cautious than necessary on this one.

    My suggestion is to just tell the other 2 people matter-of-factly: “I find I’m a lot more productive with a 10 minute powernap at lunch. I just wanted you to know in case you see me with my head down during lunch break.” Don’t ask. Don’t belabor it. But do loop them in since it’s only 2 other people and they might see you at some point.

    1. Mangofan*

      I don’t have a great read on where to strike the balance between ask and tell here, but wanted to add that one way to split the difference would be to say what you (whistle) said above, but add at the end: “If you have any concerns with that, of course let me know.” That way you’re not coming to them saying, “…is this okay?” but you’re also not saying, “this is what I’m doing.”

      (FWIW, I love being able to nap when I am tired, and find that even a 5 minute nap can have a significant effect on my productivity. It’s been one of the best things about working from home during the pandemic for me.)

  67. Meep*

    LW#2 I documented everything. Every process how small. In the event something happened to me. I did it voluntarily. My former manager took credit for it for the sake of taking credit but I did it without her assigning it to me. I did it after a major player at our company left over two years ago. In that span of time, I have reminded this lady about these documents about 5-6 times a month. She still refuses to look at them and says we need these things “documented”. When I leave in two weeks, they are going to find themselves drowning. Not because the documents don’t exist or that they weren’t told multiple times (in email) where to find them. But because they refuse to learn.

    Hand over the binder and if you want to be spiteful, take joy in the fact they are still going to fail without you as they are lazy and incompetent.

  68. cheeky*

    If you feel like you need a nap at work, I would suggest reviewing your sleep habits (are you getting enough sleep?) and maybe take a brisk walk instead, if you need to perk up. Barring medical conditions that affect your energy or sleep and you have accommodations for it, you really should be awake all day at work.

    1. Jennifer Strange*

      I don’t think a 10 minute nap is indicative of any sleep or health issues. Sometimes people just need to close their eyes for a little bit.

  69. HRMgr*

    #1When I was pregnant with my son I worked in a cubicle. I didn’t know I was pregnant yet, I just knew I was TIRED. I would nap in my car unless it was too hot (it was August). I had a printed “on lunch” sheet of paper that I hung from a string across my cube. Because I was hourly, I used it whenever I lunched at my desk if I was eating, reading, or napping. Never had an issue.

    #3 leave the desk notes. It’s the right thing to do.

    #5 Connect on LinkedIn with the recruiter or other first level person you worked with on this job. Let him/her know that you’re interested in opportunities. Most that I’ve known are happy to have candidates that performed well in their pipeline. Makes their job easier!

  70. hardlessons*

    LW#2, you are an honourable person, and I am so happy for you that you have scored an awesome new job with a 60% pay bump. You deserve it!

    I’ve been burned (and burned out) by about half my previous employers, often in restructures and “downsizing” wherein health-ruining toxicity was introduced. I’ve been in a very similar position to you in all those jobs: no one else could do or understood my job, and I was severely overqualified, underpaid and underappreciated. It was difficult for me to get what I was owed after I left because they were being belligerent, but then they came screaming to me when my replacement had no idea what the hell they were doing, despite me leaving excellent handover notes that stepped everything through.

    You were furloughed. You have not been given guidance or mentoring via adequate (or any) management. Your performance reviews are comedic farces where you have to explain to a different person every time what your job actually is. They’ve lied and said you were being well-paid, and are now bleating because they’ve started to realise how essential you are. But they’re not going to repay that with a massive bonus or salary boost or anything that is actually owed to you.

    I wouldn’t blame you at all if you didn’t provide them with any handover notes at all, or only the very basics. Espeically if you have not actually been provided with the time or resources during your normal work day to compile these handover notes. It would be the bed they made themselves.

    My most toxic job ever – where half the team (not including me) were fired illegally in a matter that ended up in front of the courts (and did not go in the favour of the employer at all; all the ex-employees got large compensation payouts) – I did not leave any handover notes (and genuinely did not have the time or resources to do anything beyond the basics), and actually took all hard copies of everything with me. Some of those documents had soft copy versions that were accessible, but not all of them. I am usually too soft on people who hurt me, but I took great pleasure in seeing the whole thing burn down after we all left. The toxic bosses who created the mess lasted six months and twelve months longer respectively before suddenly “resigning”.

  71. GK*

    #2 — absolutely don’t hand over the notes. These people have been exploiting you for years. Delete the notes and walk away.

  72. RB*

    Napping at lunch: couldn’t you just put up a sign that says “At Lunch” when you want to take a nap? That would stop people from interrupting but it would also let them know that you are napping on your own time, not company time.

Comments are closed.