about that letter from the manager angry her employee wanted to be paid…

I talked to the New York Times about that letter from the manager angry that her employee dared to ask to be paid — and whether something is changing out there.

I talked to the Washington Post about how people don’t want to wear bras to work anymore.

I talked to the Washington Post about employers using technology to surveil their remote workers.

{ 345 comments… read them below }

  1. The Smiling Pug*

    That letter about the manager and Jane simply wanting to be paid made me see flames on the side of my face!!

        1. Kes*

          Wow. I really want an update on that one now. Like… how can you not realize that the ‘financial irresponsibility’ is on the company here, not the employee.

          1. Nea*

            What gets me the most about that one is that both HR and payroll of the company are very aware that there was a gigantic problem and that Jane was in the right. Only the LW had a problem with Jane’s tone, without taking a hint from their own coworkers.

        2. Heffalump*

          I think the manager acknowledged that a mistake was made and was OK with the employee getting paid, even retroactively, but she had a problem with the employee “lecturing” her and the payroll clerk with “I need you to understand that this can’t happen again.” Being direct and straightforward, as the employee was, is not at all the same as being rude, disrespectful, or insubordinate.

          1. EPLawyer*

            The manager was also irked that they gave her funds from the company emergency fund and a grocery card. Because “it wasn’t the company’s fault she was financially irresponsible.”

            1. Bluesboy*

              The thing that got me about the employee being ‘financially irresponsible’ is that the employee is, according to the manager, a new employee in an entry level job.

              I mean, when exactly is she supposed to have saved up the emergency savings that let her get past problems like this? How can you call someone financially irresponsible for not having savings in their first month at their first job?

              I had something vaguely similar once – I got paid on the 10th, paid my rent on the 15th. Got paid late several times which caused problems with my landlord. Mentioned it to the boss and she said “Oh. Why don’t you just one month pay your rent, and then put aside enough to cover the next month’s rent too, just in case your salary doesn’t arrive in time!” Err…because I get paid €1000 per month net and my rent is €800…?

          2. Observer*

            acknowledged that a mistake was made and was OK with the employee getting paid, even retroactively

            Do you realize how insane it is that this is even a question. How could a manager NOT be OK with their employee being paid “even retroactively”?! The fact that it needs to be pointed out speaks to just how messed up this supervisor is.

            1. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

              Indeed. Not only should a manager be “OK with the employee getting paid, even retroactively;” they should be extremely NOT okay with the employee not being paid the first time it happened and ready to go to bat to make damned sure it didn’t happen again. When it DID happen again, a good manager would have been beating down the door at HR on their employee’s behalf, instead of shrugging their shoulders while the employee handled the whole thing herself and throwing a snit fit when the employee dared to assert that the situation was unacceptable.

              That manager’s attitude was and is inexplicable to me.

      1. LunaLena*

        It’s a fairly recent one, it was posted on October 19. Just search for “my employee wasn’t respectful enough after the company messed up her paycheck”

    1. TheyThemTheirs*

      I knoww. The HORROR of someone wanting to be paid on time. The AUDACITY.

      (That’s sarcasm, by the way.)

      1. a tester, not a developer*

        I wish I could attach Tayce’s “the nerve, the gall, the audacity, and the gumption” from Drag Race UK.

    2. I take tea*

      Oh my, missed that one. Fascinating read. Especially the part where the boss thinks that Jane must be bad with handling her money for needing her paycheck.

    3. Msgnomers*

      Yay, a Clue reference! Love it. And I agree, that letter was maddening and I got really worked up as well.

  2. LastAdminStanding*

    I saw someone do a TikTok video praising your response to this letter! It was kind of funny that you popped up on a platform where I wasn’t expecting to see you, but it was great! And if it drives more people to AAM, even better!

    1. Pants*

      I wonder if Allison ever reaches out to specific LWs to get an update? Because this one neeeeeeeds it!

      1. Allie*

        I’m not sure if there are others, but I’ll link you to the one I had found! (I “liked” the video, so it’s saved in my account.) I know links go through a moderation process, so I’ll add it as a separate comment below; meanwhile you can always find the specific account: her username is @ agoodkaren & it’s currently the 5th recent video.

      2. Allie*

        It seems using the “at” symbol puts my comment in moderation as well? (Either that or the internet ate it.) I was trying to leave you the name of the account I saw that had posted it while my link was in moderation, but that comment is not showing now. xD

    2. LGC*

      …so we all have the same FYP huh

      (Apparently, she’s also One Of Us, and posted recently about the spicy lunch letter. Praying that Gen Z gets introduced to the classics.)

  3. EPLawyer*

    That letter from the manager about someone daring to want to be paid on time is going to become as famous as the dress code interns. Sometimes people miss soooo badly on business norms they become LEGENDS.

    1. Detective Amy Santiago*

      It definitely made the rounds. I shared it with my girlfriend the day it was published and two days later she told me it popped up on her FB feed.

        1. Detective Amy Santiago*

          I just replied to someone above who asked for it – give Alison time to release it and search by my name :)

      1. EPLawyer*

        I think the cluelessness would be liking crossing the streams in Ghostbusters. Lovely to watch from a (really long) distance I am sure.

    2. Anonymeece*

      It reminds me of the manager who refused to let his employee off for her graduation and the one that didn’t grant a day off for his/her employee with a Leap Day birthday. So off-base and asking for validation that Alison did not give at all.

    3. Sharpieees*

      ….entry level job/low pay…………….two missed paychecks………that poor woman’s bank account took a major hit and if overdraft fees are involved, that can take months and months to get out of. I’m just stunned at the LW’s attitude.

      1. I Always Listen to The Boss*

        My nominee for the ATM OP Seeking Validation for His Creepy Actions Hall of Shame was the boyfriend whose girlfriend was out drinking with her boss after 10 p.m. on a business trip. Creepy possessive OP thought his girlfriend’s time outside of work was his to control. He also thought he would be justified in telling her boss not to encroach on OP’s time which girlfriend. He actually thought Allison would approve of this. She did not. And 99.99 percent of the comments told her he was wrong wrong wrong and his girlfriend needed to leave him. I still hope she broke up with the OP.

        1. I Always Listen to The Boss*

          Sorry, pronoun error. The male OP was told her was wrong. As well as controlling and abusive. And OP’s poor girlfriend needed to leave him.

        2. Heffalump*

          There was the guy who wanted to contact IT at his wife’s ex’s employer to get her emails to and from her ex. He said he didn’t want to approach his wife’s employer, as he knew the people there. That says right there that he knew the request would be weird. I shared that one with the head of IT at my job.

            1. Berkeleyfarm*

              Oh my. I had not seen that.

              I am an email administrator, so my reaction would be the same to Jamie’s in the comments. (Basically LOL NOPE without a lawyer telling me I needed to.) Mind you, so many people I have worked with do a lot of very personal things with their email that have made me wonder if I *would* get sucked into a personal lawsuit.

              (At the last company one person used it for his dating profile, and another guy liked arguing custody arrangements with his ex over his work email. )

        3. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

          That one, to this day, is one I cannot read. It’s too accurate to how my ex saw me.

      2. Rose*

        Yuppp and/or she put things on a credit card when she shouldn’t have needed to and then would be faced w high interest. The company was so right to give her that $500 apology money. I thought it was good move by HR, despite the other issues from them.

    4. me*

      That’s hardly comparable. Dress code interns are annoying. Not getting paid is an entirely different class of terrible than a teenager wanting to wear sneakers to work. A kid not knowing that a petition to wear what they want to work is inappropriate is not even close to being the same thing as a fully grown adult who has power over someone causing them financial hardship.

      Also not paying someone is illegal.

      1. Librarian of SHIELD*

        I don’t think EPLawyer was comparing the circumstances of the two letters, they were comparing how far and how fast each letter was shared on other parts of the internet.

    5. Rose*

      Yes, but at least with the interns they had a REASON to be that clueless. As much as part of me wonders how they could think that would go well, I then remember the huge clueless thing I did when I was 22 and cringe with my whole body.

    6. Berkeleyfarm*

      It made the rounds – I saw it all over the twitters – but probably not as far and wide as the Dress Code Interns (which I had to look up). Probably because the latter feeds into a Kids These Days narrative that media outlets find attractive/appealing to their audiences. The “people don’t want to work for crappy bosses” narrative, while true, is not an attractive story to people who would rather blame “too big for their britches” “kids” instead of their own screwups.

      The dress code kids at least had the benefit of ‘not old enough to know better’.

    7. Another one L Alison*

      Alison, can you make a tag for completely misguided LWs? Those are my favorite and I think we need to have them in a nice little pile we can draw on whenever we are questioning our own sound judgment.

  4. Boadicea*

    Re: bras, the office (and a sports bra when running) is about the only place I do wear them now. Braless at home, braless to the supermarket, braless when meeting friends outside and I have an outer layer… I’m not going back.

    1. AnonEMoose*

      I’ve mostly gone to bralettes around home or for minor errands. Still wear an actual bra to the office or if I’m going to be moving around more.

    2. Cafe au Lait*

      A part of the big booby department, I cant go without a bra. I’ve found that nursing bras are my best friend.

      1. Allie*

        Oh that’s interesting! I never thought of trying those. What do you find the pros are compared to normal bra? (Signed, your coworker in the big booby department)

        1. straws*

          Not the OP, but nursing and maternity bras are made for fluctuations – so they’re more forgiving and comfortable! I started wearing Molke bras when I was pregnant/nursing and I basically live in them now. They’re for everyone, not just nursing bras, but they did start for that purpose and serve a huge size range (although they’re not cheap). I also wear some super stretchy nursing bras from Amazon, but I’m technically outside of the size range so I get a weird shape and sometimes fall out. I won’t wear those out of the house, but they’d be amazing if I fit into them properly!

            1. animorph*

              I’m another Molke fan! :)

              I love their bras, and the fact they’re a responsible company that pays their workers a living wage, is always a big plus. Also, their designs are fantastic and not boring! They do worldwide postage.

          1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

            They’re also almost always made of breathable cotton rather than unhealthy synthetic stuff, and they’re well made and sturdy without ever having whale bones. The worst that can happen is one might pop open accidentally. However, given how nursing mothers moan about how hard they are to open for baby, especially with one hand (the other is holding a hungry baby, manufacturers!!!) I doubt that is very likely.
            They’re not always very strong regarding sex appeal, apart from pop-open play possibilities, no lace, no pretty colours. But of course there are plenty of women who don’t care about wearing a sexy bra.

          2. rmd*

            Decent Exposures (decentexposures.com) is a woman-owned company that makes staggeringly comfortable bras and they are totally down with weird sizing and has great customer service. Bras so comfortable I willingly wear them while at home, mostly so I can tuck my cellphone into the bra.

        2. Berkeleyfarm*

          Try Sugar Candy – they also make a maternity line, so they understand the principles. They’re very comfy and supportive.

        3. PeanutButter*

          Also in the Big Chesticles Club, I have cheap Jockey/Hanes-esque brand sports bras that I purposefully bought just a bit too big/loose for my “house” bras. They’re supportive, with wide comfortable straps, but not supportive enough for an out-n-about day. Another thing I’ve done in the past is buy cheap sports bras and run them through the dryer a few times to loosen things up.

      2. Pants*

        I’m also in that department. I luckily wfh so I can wear what I call “house bras.” I buy just basic lounge bras in a size too big. So comfy. Wicks the flop sweat and curbs the skin stickage. That’s all I need. The ones I’ve had for AGES and have stretched out even more are then called “sloppy bras” and are worn to bed when I’m a guest at someone’s house. House bras and Sloppy bras. Just get a basic lounger and size up. You’ll love it.

      3. DataGirl*

        Big booby girls unite! I’m extremely uncomfortable without a bra- but I found bralettes that are big enough for me and comfortable enough to sleep in, they are great.

        1. Gumby*

          Did you find any that were under $50? Somehow paying $75 for a “real” bra now reads to me as a normal cost but paying the same amount for a bralette seems unreasonable. (Possibly compounded by the fact that my jobs have all been super casual – as in jeans and t-shirt level – so my bras are probably the most expensive clothing items I own aside from a couple of dresses and maybe a coat.)

          1. Rose*

            Hear me out… aerie. I thought of them as a juniors company (and I think they target that) but they make the BEST, supportive, comfortable, cute, affordable wireless bras and bralettes. The size range only goes to XXL but the larges on their website are shown on plus size women with big boobies so YMMV.

            1. kitryan*

              Yes! they have some really good options that work for *some* bigger sizes and/or persons. They don’t have a full big boobed and/or fat person size range but the top end is higher/bigger than one might otherwise assume and the styles are generally pretty comfortable. And the pricing is really good. Only downside is a lot of the styles ‘churn’ fairly frequently so if you like something you get, don’t wait to pick it up in a couple other colors because it’ll probably be gone in a month.
              Right now I’m wearing my favorite and I’m super sad I only have one. If I could, I’d have 10 of it and wear it 90% of the time.

          2. EchoGirl*

            Not the person you’re replying to, but I’ve had really good luck with Davy Piper bras, which are about $40 each and there are almost always additional discounts to be had if you buy more than one at a time. (They’re also really great if you’re a non-standard size — I’m a small band and large cup size, and pretty much all other bras of this type scale up in a way that basically doesn’t acknowledge that this exists, but DP actually has options that cover those “unusual” ranges.)

            1. TardyTardis*

              The 18 Hour Playtex bras run around $25 on Amazon and are made in ample sizes. You do feel kind of like a bridge under construction, but the straps are wide and padded which helps (and no underwires, yay).

              1. EchoGirl*

                Not sure if this is meant as a reply to me or is a nesting fail, but if it is at me, their size range, while broader than some, still excludes my size. (Playtex brand bras aren’t good for me anyway, for some reason that particular style of lace is actually extremely painful to me — far more than any underwire — but that’s more an individual thing, whereas their size limitations are something that affects anyone who wears my size.)

          3. Gumby*

            Thanks for the suggestions everyone! I definitely hadn’t checked out most of those. None actually carry my size (38J in UK sizing, 38M in US sizing) but Davy Piper might have something closeish? I ordered one to see if it might work.

      1. CoveredinBees*

        Me neither. I even wear a soft, wireless bra to bed because if I sit up in bed, have to get up to go to the bathroom, etc I will be too uncomfortable.

      2. allathian*

        Same here, although I prefer underwire bras, so I don’t wear them to bed. That said, I only wear socks to bed because I have poor circulation in my feet, and panties during my period.

      3. Mannequin*

        Weirdly enough, when I was thin and had small breasts, I hated the feeling of going braless, then after I gained a bunch of weight & my boobs got huge, it was way more comfortable for me.

    3. glowormjukebox*

      I have not worn a bra since March 2020. I went back to teaching in higher ed this semester, and was thinking I might transition to wearing a bra again. Nope. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I’m never wearing a bra again.

    4. nozenfordaddy*

      I went from high tech underwire to bralette a few years ago when i broke my arm and couldn’t do the hooks on a bra… tried to go back and thought why would you do that to yourself? The pandemic downshifted me into nothing except for a. working out because ouch and b. work. And if I thought I could get away with not wearing one to work I wouldn’t.

      1. tamarack and fireweed*

        I’ve kinda been doing both. I am going braless at home regularly (at least a few times a week, and just something soft and minimally restrictive for going to the shops etc) AND I for the first time got fitted for and acquired some high-tech underwire bras. What I stopped doing is half-assed non-fitting bras that as a big-boobed person I thought were my lot. I wouldn’t want to wear the high-tech contraptions every day – too much strain, too much chafing for the pretty one – but it’s fine for half a day here and there and I do like the look and feel.

    5. Kimmy Schmidt*

      I so badly want to stop wearing a bra to work, but I haven’t quite worked up the nerve (or the appropriate outer wardrobe) yet.

    6. HereKittyKitty*

      Big boobs here and even I go braless almost every day. Only wear bras if the situation absolutely demands it- like yeah working out or work event. I WFH and my camera sits collarbone up soooooo even then no bra lol. Even the bras I do wear are more like to shape and smooth rather than lift or support. Like bralettes.

    7. wfh is the best*

      I injured my arm recently and can’t clasp a bra behind my back, so I’ve almost completely stopped wearing them. And I’m never going back. My latest job is fully remote, so if I feel self-conscious in a video meeting I can just hunch a little bit an no one will be able to tell. Down with (unnecessary) bras!

      1. allathian*

        I’ve never been able to clasp a bra behind my back, so I tend to buy a size too large, do it up in front and twist. I know that horrifies all the bra connoisseurs, but it works for me.

        1. Mannequin*

          I don’t think I know *anyone* who hooks a bra behind their back, we all clasp in front & twist. That’s how my mom *taught* me to do it, and she was old school, lol!

          You don’t need to buy your bra a size too big, just wrap it around you at whatever the smallest point of your torso is, then pull it up to the level you wear it at once you’ve twisted it round.

  5. WantonSeedStitch*

    I’m kind of amused that I’m sitting here working remotely, wearing a business casual dress and a nice underwire bra. Do I need to? No. But I’m delighted to have the support of my underwires again after being done with nursing bras, and the dress is stretchy and super comfy. I AM, however, wearing sneakers with this outfit!

    1. High Score!*

      It must depend on the person. I’m also more comfortable wearing a bra. Tho I would still prefer that everyone were free to make that choice without judgement.

      1. A.N. O'Nyme*

        Same, also a lot more comfortable wearing a bra and I agree that should be a personal choice that doesn’t get judged. Unfortunately, there are just as many “omg you still wear a bra? lol do you like discomfort???” people as there are “HOW DARE YOU NOT WEAR A BRA AT ALL TIMES” people.

        Clothing is a choice. If you find something uncomfortable then don’t wear it, but don’t assume your experience is universal and don’t judge people for having differing ideas of what they find comfortable. I won’t be caught dead in stiletto heels, but if you want to wear them I won’t stop you and probably compliment you if you’re wearing a nice pair.

        I’ll get off my soapbox now.

        1. CTT*

          I got a full on LECTURE from an internet friend when I mentioned something about still wearing jeans a few months into the pandemic. I’m not judging anyone for wearing sweatpants, so please do not judge me for finding them way too warm for everyday wear!!

          1. The Original K.*

            Ha – I’m in jeans and I’m more comfortable in bras than not (the only times I don’t wear one are when I’m nude or sleeping). Your internet friend would have a field day with me!

            1. Allie*

              I’m with you on both the bras and no sweatpants thing! I own 2 pairs of sweatpants I bought on sale once and I only keep them for those random “hell froze over” nights we get down south, but that’s it. When I worked from home last year, I wore a t-shirt and basketball shorts with a light cardigan handy for Zoom meetings that required my camera. I can’t even do leggings unless it’s abnormally chilly.

              My hot and humid climate is also why I prefer bras, besides just that I’m fairly bigger and things start to hurt if I have 0 support… I detest that sweaty, hot skin touching hot skin thing going on under my chest and will avoid it at any cost.

              1. Filosofickle*

                I don’t need much support but the sweat and skin touching is the reason I almost always wear something. However, that’s not much these days — no wire, no structure, just a little bit of fabric with hooks because I like that better than over the head. Keep it all corralled.

                Super lightweight (non-cotton) joggers are my alternative to “sweats” when it’s not shorts season.

            2. Charlotte Lucas*


              If I wear clothes that feel too pajama-like during the day, it makes me feel like I’m staying home sick.

              1. ThatGirl*

                Same, putting on “real” clothes makes me feel more like my day has actually started.

                I did only recently start “soft pants Monday” so I’m WFH today wearing leggings, but they’re totally separate from my pajama/lounge/sweatpants. And I’m still wearing a bra and a little makeup.

                1. Charlotte Lucas*

                  Yep. My WFH pants are for daywear – they’re usually for yoga or working out. And I wear them because it’s easier to sit crosslegged at my coffee table while working. Sometimes I wear loose dresses, which is even more comfortable.

          2. Pikachu*


            I spent the first few months of the pandemic wearing EVERYTHING. I wore every piece of clothing that I owned–tshirts, undergarments, jeans, pants, tops, dresses, scarves, shoes. I’m talking literally everything. I spent several days in my home office in a cocktail dress and heels.

            My logic was… if I can’t stand sitting around my house in this outfit, there is a 0% chance I will ever actually want to wear it again. I unloaded like 70% of my closet. It was liberating. 10/10 would Marie Kondo Quarantine again.

            1. Radical Edward*

              This sounds fantastic (and like a lot of fun tbh). What a great way to KonMari one’s wardrobe!

              At first I was picturing someone wearing every item of clothing simultaneously, a la that infamous Friends episode. Obviously, your method is far more reasonable.

            2. Sc@rlettNZ*

              What a brilliant idea. Here in New Zealand, Hilary Barry (broadcaster and national treasure) does Formal Fridays when we are in lockdown. She dresses up in a tiara and fancy frock and usually bakes something for folk to follow along with on Facebook.

          3. Esmeralda*

            Today I am wearing a fancy underwire bra, office appropriate blouse, and…yoga pants and sneakers. Fortunately the yoga pants look professional from 6 feet away.

            I’ve been wearing skirts and dresses. Finally got cold here, went to get some trousers, couldn’t find any, frantically running around saying “where are all the cold weather clothes I wore last year?” And then remembered, we were WFH from home March – December and I was wearing yoga pants and sweatpants. Heh.

            1. Anon for this*

              Don’t you have clothes from previous winters? Or did you not work a job that required office clothes before that?

          4. Falling Diphthong*

            I did not predict that a theme of 2020 would be how hideously uncomfortable jeans are. When in 2019 they were an obvious comfy choice.

            1. Cercis*

              We used to have the option to pay (to charity) to wear jeans on Fridays. I would sometimes pay but not wear jeans because my slacks were honestly way more comfortable

            2. MarsJenkar*

              It’s true. I switched to chinos as my pants of choice years ago because they were surprisingly comfortable. Your mileage may vary, of course. Right now I’ve got exactly one pair of jeans in the closet, and those were bought for a specific purpose.

          5. Anon for this*

            I hate sweatpants with the passion of a 1000 fiery suns. They look like ugly clown pants and because I have sensory processing disorder, I find them far less comfortable than snug fitting leggings or yoga pants (I really dislike loose fitting pants in general). I haven’t owned a pair since they were required for PE in high school (and even THEN I managed to find a pair that are slim cut like today’s ‘joggers’ so I didn’t literally get nauseated looking at them.)

            But other people seem to love them and that’s cool! People aren’t wearing their nauseating clown pants AT me, their wearing them for their own comfort, and that’s fine.

        2. Loulou*

          People here seem more stridently anti-bra than the average person! Any conversation where someone mentions that if your bra is literally PAINFUL, you are likely wearing the wrong size, tends to devolve quickly over here.

          1. PT*

            I fully agree with you. But it is super hard to find places that sell properly sized bras unless you want to do the order-and-return-everything dance on the internet.

            1. Arts Akimbo*

              Exactly, and even herroom dot com gets a little short with me after the third return trying to find the bra size/style that works for me.

            2. Maid Dombegh*

              You might want to try Jockey bras. You start by purchasing their fitting kit, which has plastic cups that you hold over your boobs till you find the one that’s the right size for you, plus an ordinary tape measure for band size. For me, at least, it works better than basically trying to get a 2D measurement of a 3D object and expecting that to work, and you can be more confident that the bra will actually fit when it arrives. Then when you purchase your first bra from them, they discount it by the amount of the fitting kit. Downside: they are kinda pricey.

          2. Cercis*

            Depends upon where it hurts. Mine makes my neck and shoulders HURT. I did attempt a strapless bra but haven’t yet found one that fits and stays up (tight enough to stay up = either “4 boobs” where the excess flesh is cut in half, or a funny emptiness in cups, apparently I’m in between cup sizes). I would wear a corset except I don’t like the extra inch or so it adds all around.

            But generally when I say “it makes my shoulders hurt” I’m still told “oh, you just don’t have the right sized bra” and that’s just annoying. It’s not that I don’t have the right size, it’s that I have some sort of injury that means ANY weight on my shoulders hurt (even my coat come winter).

        3. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          I don’t leave my bedroom without a bra AND I don’t wear skirts shorter than ankle-length without pantyhose :P soapbox ahoy.

            1. Anon for this*

              But getting a tailor to remove a pocket from a dress is a MUCH easier/cheaper fix than getting one put in, so I think you might lose that one, lol!

          1. Anon for this*

            You do you! My friends mom is in her 70s and still wears pantyhose every single day and doesn’t wear dresses/skirts at all- she wear them under slacks, leggings, and jeans!

        4. AnonEMoose*

          I mostly go with bralettes at home – gives me the support I really need, but more comfortably than a full-on bra. And whether I wear shorts, leggings, or sweat pants depends on the temperature.

        5. Rosie*

          Nah we’ll just clambor on the soapbox with you! My boobs are just small enough to not give me much discomfort if I’m braless just hanging out at a desk but big enough so I know the pains whilst active and yeah I’m always on team let people do what feels right for them without judgement!

        6. wordswords*

          Same! I support (heh) everyone being comfortable, but personally I cannot imagine going braless for anything but sleeping, unless I’m wearing a top that’s super structured so as to make a bra redundant. I would be so, so delighted to never get ‘included’ in another round of “like everyone everywhere, I hate wearing bras! They’re basically just torture instruments of the patriarchy!” rhetoric.

          But I’m all in favor of more options and more comfort for everyone!

        7. Berkeleyfarm*

          Anyone who tried the former on me might very well get my mini-Ted talk on bra fitting and sizing weirdness. (I follow the “abrathatfits” group on reddit, which I recommend to readers here for its calculator and generally good advice … you can not only get a size, but figure out your shape and find bras that are good for those shapes because they have a list of recommendations.)

          I am currently a US H/UK FF cup and I shop at a store that has a great selection for different sizes and shapes. My bras are cute and comfortable. The owner has said that a lot of people come in and they are 1-2 band sizes down and 2 or more cup sizes up from what they might think they are. E.g. a person who has “always worn” a 34B might look and feel stunning in a 30E.

      2. MsClaw*

        Agreed. I’ve reached a point where I need the support. Not wearing would not in any way be more comfortable for me. This is very much a YMMV situation. Wear or don’t whatever is comfortable, and maybe don’t worry too much (or at all) about what others are doing with their boobs at work.

        Just noticed the comments below about jeans too — yeah, I don’t like feeling like I’m in pajamas all day. My officemate and his family love to spend one day every month never getting out of their jammies and that sounds awful to me. I mean, yall do yall and wear jams and athleisure 24/7 if you like but for me that’s just not pleasant.

        1. Jaybeetee*

          As an F-cup, going braless all day is actually more uncomfortable than just wearing one (and for people who find them extremely uncomfortable, I wonder if some have the wrong fit? It’s pretty rare for a bra to actually hurt me).

          That said, it doesn’t take much. During the pandemic I’ve largely switched to bra tops and occasionally bralettes. I just don’t need them… flying free, so to speak.

          1. tamarack and fireweed*

            This is really a very personal thing. I nowhere as small as an F-cup, and I go braless for a day at a time. Love the feeling of lack of tension in my shoulders and back! I do prefer in this case to wear a stretchy undershirt for keeping things roughly contained, but no more than that. Then the next day I’m refreshed for a high-tech underwire thing. What is comfortable for me is not one solution, but an alternation.

          2. Rose*

            My theory is it’s more about if bras fit you as a person. I have been to all the fancy bra stores and bought all the high end bras and while they’re not painful they’re still very uncomfortable and weird feeling. I recently realized my boobs are very far apart, and the space between the cups on a regular bra is ~half the length I need it to be. No matter how correct the cups/band are, the putter edge is digging into my side boob and there’s weird gapping in the front. I’m sure there are others with similar issues, and I’m sure there’s some magical bra somewhere that would fit my boobs, but I think this is why some people are so much more enthused about changing bra sizes as a solution

            1. tamarack and fireweed*

              Oh, yeah, bra fit in general, and even more so for large boobs, is absolutely horrid. No wonder some people order through complicated channels from what would be obscure manufacturers in Eastern Europe and rather deal with currency conversions and import duties than with their useless local store. You’d understand it if it was for a niche hobby, but given that half the population is potentially a bra wearer, and that having big breasts or a range of configurations (spacing, height…) isn’t rare at all, this is quite astonishing.

              (This said, there’s a fair number of people who can just slap on a wireless sports bra and things are comfortable enough.)

            2. londonedit*

              Absolutely. I wore a 34B for most of my life from the age of about 16 to 26, because that’s what the good old Marks & Spencer measuring ladies had told me using their tape measure and the ‘back measurement plus boob measurement equals cup size’ equation. Which is of course absolute rubbish, because it isn’t just how far your boobs stick out that makes a difference, it’s their shape and volume and all sorts. Eventually went to Rigby & Peller (posh UK bra shop) who fit by eye, and discovered I’m a 32D. Most women wear a back size that’s too big and a cup size that’s too small. I’m pretty evangelical about all of this, but last year I switched to bralettes and I really haven’t looked back. My proper bras were/are comfortable, but they’re obviously not as comfortable as a bralette, and I found some lovely lace ones from Lindex that give me all the support I need while being so comfy I can’t even feel I’m wearing them. The only other kind of bra I wear now is a sports bra for when I’m running/going on a long walk.

      3. Mockingdragon*

        Yeah, absolutely individual. I switched to soft, seamless sport bras a while back because while I always hated underwire and molding, I do like a layer of fabric keeping things from chafing together. My mother was just so wedded to the Proper Look of a molded wired bra that I didn’t think of it as a possibility until college!

        1. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

          I have lived in soft, stretchy sport bras for years now, ever since I gave up on anyone ever making a bra that actually FITS me.

          My problem is that I need a smaller cup size than anyone with my band size is ever supposed to need, according to every bra manufacturer, ever. Since I do need some support, I started buying the sport bras with the stretchy cups that don’t have a cup size.

          They work for me, for the most part, but sometimes I feel like it would be nice to have a wider range of options.

      4. Jennifer Strange*

        Same! I’m way too busty to go without a bra, but I fully support someone else’s choice to do so!

      5. Forrest Gumption*

        I work at home full-time, so I’m proudly part of the braless brigade, but as a DD cup, if I did ever work in an office again, I would definitely wear one. NOT wearing one in public actually draws too much attention to my chest, which is exactly the opposite of what I want to happen in an office environment. Can’t have those things bouncing, flopping and jiggling around.

        1. Rose*

          For me it’s the nips, they’re so visible even through a thick sweater and regular bra I usually wear a padded bra just for them. I feel like I’m harassing/pointing at coworkers.

    2. Generic Name*

      I experimented with wearing sports bras and bralettes during the pandemic stay-at-home order, and I experienced markedly worse cycle-related breast pain. I had assumed that the advice to wear a supportive bra to prevent breast pain was just a tool of the patriarchy, but I discovered that I am much more comfortable wearing a supportive bra. Oh well.

      1. Mannequin*

        When I was young & thin & pretty small breasted, friends who knew how staunchly feminist i am/was were confused that I wore bras, especially because I wore supportive ones, because I was thin with small enough breasts it seemed like it should have been fine. Except it wasn’t! Due to my particular breast shape, structure, and tissue density, I actually found it very UNcomfortable to go braless or wear something like a bralette.

        Enter middle age, peri menopause, illness, and significant weight gain. I end up with huge boobs, and because they hang & sit completely differently, it no longer causes me discomfort to go braless and I never wear one unless I’m leaving the house- and I love bralettes!

    3. anonymous73*

      My bra is the first thing I remove when coming home, but I don’t go out of the house without at least a sports bra on (unless I’m just running to the store quickly, and it’s cold weather season – meaning I have layers on). I’m just more comfortable with a bra on when I’m in public or around others outside my immediate family and close friends. If I don’t have any video meetings, I’m usually in super casual wear when I’m working. But if I do, I’m in the mullet equivalent of business casual (we really do need a word for it) – business up top, casual on the bottom. But I think it depends on the person. I don’t think I opened my closet for a year starting last March because I never went out of the house.

      1. NYWeasel*

        Is this me posting under a different name, lol? Not only do I share the same approach to bra wearing, but also I’ve been calling my style a “business mullet” for months now!

          1. Person from the Resume*

            This is the truth. You end up with wet baby powder paste fast in the humid south.

            1. Sleeping Late Every Day*

              Anti-fungal powder. It stays dry MUCH longer. Sold in the athlete’s foot remedy section at any drugstore or even Dollar General.

      1. Pants*

        Flop sweat. I hear you. I hate the skin sticking too. House bras. (basic, cheap pull over bra, one or two sizes too big.)

      2. learnedthehardway*

        Oh have I got the solution for you – antiperspirant under boobs.
        Completely eliminates that problem.
        I was seriously distraught after having my first child and discovering that my previously non-chest-contacting boobs were now very much resting on my chest. In desperation (because bras were also now VERY uncomfortable), I tried a dry roll-on under there. Worked spectacularly well.

        I refuse to wear a bra unless I’m going out of the house.

    4. RussianInTeaxs*

      Same. I am much more comfortable wearing a bra, due to back pain if I don’t. Underwire even.

      1. Anonymeece*

        Same. I would kill to go braless and not pay for it the next day by my back protesting loudly.

        To all those who enjoy going braless: I salute you! Go forth and live your best life.

      2. Just an autistic redhead*

        Yeah, exactly. I will usually even wear a bra to sleep (just no wires on those). Sometimes I won’t have pain if I don’t, but… that’s less common for me than the alternative.

    5. Jay*

      Two weeks into the pandemic I went back to my work clothes. I like them! And since I work full-time, I have more work clothes than casual clothes. I’m now in the field two days a week and otherwise work from home; the only difference in what I wear is that when I’m in the field on rainy days, I choose my shoes or boots accordingly.

      I’m retiring in December and just this morning it occurred to me that I may need more jeans!

    6. CMMJ*

      I’m far more comfortable with a bit of support as well. I am very glad the tides are shifting so that everyone can feel confident in whatever undergarments are most comfortable, but in my particular situation good old gravity is plays a big part! I will say that the developing attitudes have slightly changed what I’m okay with wearing out, in the Before Times I didn’t feel comfortable wearing unlined or less-structured but now It’s all I wear, so even though I still choose bra life, I feel way more confident exploring styles that work best for me and I’m glad these discussions are happening!

    7. Laney Boggs*

      I’ve never had a baby but I wear bras every single day too. Comfort + the way my body is made just makes it preferable!

    8. LizM*

      I will sometimes wear a bra with no underwire, but I’m also more comfortable in a bra and wear one every day I work, whether I leave the house or not. I have a hard time getting into “work mode” when I’m not wearing one at all. I just don’t feel dressed. Putting on a bra and my “work sweats” (as opposed to my “sleep sweats” or my “lay around all day and watch TV sweats”) helps me actually focus and tells me it’s time to work.

    9. Siege*

      I’m wearing a bra! Also tights, a sequined party tunic dress, and a blazer, mostly because it all entertains me, but my cats are not impressed.

    10. Berkeleyfarm*

      I was able to get to my Fabulous Local Bra Store in late May during my “vaxxed and relaxed” phase to shop. Not surprisingly, pandemic-related weight changes (mine was down) meant I had a slightly different size (different band, similar cup). I love my new wired bras and they are comfortable enough for long days – both survived the weekend I spent forty hours actually in the office wrangling network equipment over F-Sat-Sun quite well. They fit like gloves and they look great.

      I still wear my wireless ones a lot – I have some that are intended to cover multiple sizes (saved my bacon when I was losing weight and not able to go shopping because I was able to just keep hooking it tighter). Some are office-suitable, some are not.

      (My main WFH thing is wearing my sweats or wool leggings when it’s cold. I was already getting away with soft pants and all-black sneakers.)

  6. Pool Lounger*

    I’m have larger-than-average breasts and I stopped wearing bras at all years ago. I wear undershirts to work. No one has ever said anything or even hinted they noticed. I feel fortunate to have always worked in industries where no one cares about your fashion choices.

      1. Pool Lounger*

        I tried all sort of bras, got professionally fitted, spent so much money on fancy bras I’d rather have spent on something else, and I just always found them constraining. I’m also someone who prefers loose, flowy clothing—I almost never wear anything with a non-stretchy waist or sleeves.

      2. A.N. O'Nyme*

        As a busty person I find bras amazing ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. A lot really boils down to preference (and good fitting if you do choose to wear a bra).

        1. Busyness of Ferrets*

          Yeah I’m with you.
          My 34H titties swinging in the office would probably be more uncomfortable for me than other people. Lol.

        1. Rose*

          This is my big question. I’m a C cup and wear bras in the summer because of this. I feel like a gremlin without one.

    1. BayCay*

      Same; I’m a D cup but I almost always prefer to go braless unless I’m exercising. Layering and finding fabrics that hide the nips has helped, but I also have recently started trying reusable pasties and those have been great too.

      I honestly wish I could snap my fingers and make it so that nobody cared or raised an eyebrow at the reality of women’s nipples existing.

      1. The Rural Juror*

        The reusable pasties are my breast friends (pun intended)! But for me, it’s a sensory thing. I don’t particularly like wearing bras, my I’m sensitive to temperature. Washable/reusable pasties = problem solved!

    2. Penguin*

      Ugh I’m jealous. Every time I go without a bra people (mainly men) stare. As much as I wish I could go braless, the staring is too much for me.

    3. Anon Supervisor*

      I switched to “old lady bras” without underwire a few years ago for work and will never go back. I wear yoga bras at home. I’m not terribly busty, but I don’t like that swing-y feeling when walking around. I decided underwire was the devil when I gained some weight and my bras started to pinch and chafe under the band, which is made a 1000x worse when underwire is involved.

    1. Clorinda*

      OP would have been fine with paying her if only she hadn’t been so RUDE and DEMANDING about it.

      1. Amaranth*

        I felt like the employee did all the right things, too, so it is frustrating to see that rewarded with resentment and griping.

      2. Lynn*

        Found the OP!

        Just kidding. But I think it’s interesting that OP labelled the behavior as rude; LW quotes Jane, and it seems that Jane was very clear and straightforward about the fact she could not continue to work without pay. I understand tone can make a difference, but OP didn’t even say that Jane said it rudely, just that she said it.

        Also, being paid money you are legally owed is a thing you are allowed to be demanding about regardless.

        1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          Did we not all get vibes that Jane was probably black, so being that “forward” was definitely acting “above her station”

      3. Observer*

        Was that serious ro sarcastic. Because if that was serious, I suggest you re-read Alison’s response and the comments.

    2. kittymommy*

      Correct me if I’m wrong, the LW didn’t respond di they? After +1,000 I didn’t check back in.

  7. And Peggy*

    Is it just me or has there been an uptick in letters from bad bosses over the last few months? It’s like they’ve never needed advice before because they had enough leverage to make the system work in their favor.

    1. Jean*

      “It’s like they’ve never needed advice before because they had enough leverage to make the system work in their favor.”


    2. Xenia*

      I don’t think so. We’ve gotten bad bosses in the past—there was a very early one who couldn’t understand why he should let his star employee have time off for her graduation. We’ve had a steady stream of managers who aren’t exactly bad but need correction (like the most recent update from the OP who was frustrated about people not wanting to be in the office). I think it just sometimes comes in batches.

  8. Dasein9*

    This surveillance software changes the scope of many jobs in ways I suspect employers are not going to like. If I am being evaluated on my keystrokes per workday instead of the quality of the work I do, then I will naturally turn my attention to keystrokes per workday. That certainly will not result in smoother, clearer writing and a more coherent final product.

    1. Richard Hershberger*

      I am wondering if there are yet devices on the market that will poke at your keys and jiggle your mouse for you while you take a nap.

      1. The Original K.*

        I keep thinking of Homer Simpson setting up that wooden bird that bends so it can “drink” from a cup, and he rigged it to hit keys on his keyboard.

      2. knitcrazybooknut*

        Yes. Yes, there are. I’m lucky enough to not have to use them. But there’s a tutorial online somewhere about hooking your mouse up to an oscillating fan to keep it moving. That’s just one that springs to mind immediately.

      3. jiggle mouse*

        They’re called ‘cats’, but I’m pretty sure they would rudely demand to be paid, so maybe not a good choice if you’re a bad boss :)

        1. Esmeralda*

          LOL. Came back to my laptop last week to discover a report on a shared drive was now three pages of “mk,” thank goodness it was only one paw and no one else was on the doc at the time.

          1. MechanicalPencil*

            My office assistants often like to try to share their ideas on my work — sometimes quite insistently. The worst is when they sent an email on my behalf to my boss with gibberish in it. They have taught me a few handy shortcuts, most of them I don’t actually *know*, more of a “oh there’s a shortcut for that somehow, that’s nice”.

      4. Tisiphone*

        There are free mouse clicker apps. I use them when I have a large project requiring tedious manual work that involves clicking through every page for thousands of pages (we’ve since upgraded that particular tool) or when I’m watching paint dry in the form of a long process and don’t want the computer to go to sleep on me (which the current policy forces after five or so minutes of inactivity).

      5. Falling Diphthong*

        I’ve heard of them for remote updates, too–IT asks you to put this on your computer and run it so it will be “awake” when they do the update.

      6. Lady Meyneth*

        So. Years ago I made a little routine for moving my mouse 1 pixel to the side every 3 seconds. It was made because I needed to keep my screen from blocking due to a crappy software and I figured I’d never use it again. Boy, was I wrong, let’s say it certainly got used a LOT since last year…

      7. Gumby*

        So… I might have created a program using our automated testing software that would go to a website (randomly selected from a list of possible websites) and then scroll or do nothing for between 3 and 60 seconds, then click on a link on that page and repeat the process. This was back in the days when there were various pay-to-surf schemes going on. I ran it overnight once (and never collected any cash from that company!!!) just to see if it would work. It did.

        1. Richard Hershberger*

          Gotta ask: Was the failure to collect because you didn’t try, you tried but they were on to your scheme, or because it was a scam all along?

          1. Gumby*

            I didn’t try because it would have been cheating. The hours of browsing did show up in my account.

            But the pay-to-surf companies were real before the dot com bust. Pretty sure the one I was using was All Advantage, but it has been ~20 years (how?!?!?! how has it been that long????!!!!) so I could be wrong.

      8. Anon Supervisor*

        I feel like I read a comment thread about people rigging something to jiggle the mouse…

      9. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        If there’s software monitoring constant mouse use and you don’t want to install another program to fake it out here’s an actual serious suggestion from your local IT person to combat it:

        Vibrator taped to the mouse.

        I’m serious. Will never show up on a software scan…

        1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          LOL. Now you need to tell us about the websites where you can buy one that don’t show up in your browsing history!

    2. Alex*

      There’s a great story from the team that worked on the original Mac in the early 80’s where some of the managers wanted to make their software development more “professional”. They made the engineers fill out a sort of timecard that documented how many lines of code they wrote each week. Of course that’s a horrible metric. At some point, one of the engineers had a sort of breakthrough that helped him greatly simplify a big section of code, so he proudly put down “-2000 lines of code” on his timecard for the week. That metric went away pretty quickly after that.

      1. Ruby*

        My company used to advertise (!) that one of their products had more lines of code than a fighter jet. They stopped that line, so I hope someone pointed out to marketing that that tidbit wasn’t the brag they thought it was.

    3. L. Ron Jeremy*

      Keystroke surveillance is going away, in favor of AI camera surveillance that tracks your line of sight and triggers you to log back in when you look away for too long.

      Should really improve employee moral.

      1. Certaintroublemaker*

        I was shocked that many of the people covered in the WaPo articles were attorneys. Attorneys already have work product that needs to be delivered by certain deadlines. It would be obvious if they weren’t doing their work, so what is the point of putting camera face trackers on them?

        1. Siege*

          Some industries seem to take pride in being as coldly inhuman as possible. Like, that is the goal.

        2. La Triviata*

          I didn’t read the articles, but I have heard of situations in which people whose employers required them to have their webcams on were penalized for their eye movements – either too much or not enough. And I know that some of the proctoring apps for online exams hit people over their eye movements, which hits neurodivergent people hardest.

        3. Richard Hershberger*

          Because the legal professional mostly doesn’t work on deliverables, but on billable hours. This is all about justifying the hours billed to the client.

  9. Meep*

    This was at least in my case, but my abusive boss to the point over the pandemic where I could no longer write her off as simply being “thoughtless/careless” and ignorant to how poorly she came off. She was no longer just a “motor-mouth” who said the occasional inappropriate and hurtful thing because she wasn’t thinking. She was someone who actively tried to hurt others. She ramped up the emotional and verbal abuse tenfold and tried to further isolate me from everyone (at one point she told me I shouldn’t even be talking to my own mother and only backed off once I stood up for myself) so she was the only voice I was hearing.

    Part of it, I am sure, was due to her stress over the pandemic, but I think it was mostly her being unable to maintain the mask she had that made her appear like her heart was at least in the right place, even if she was doing questionable, borderline unethical things. The pandemic made her feel safe not to hide her wickedness because there weren’t eyes on her to see how she treated people.

    And I imagine a good few people realized like I did that people who do this (purposefully try to terror down someone else’s mental health) are actively trying to kill you and should be treated as such.

    1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

      The pandemic has definitely shown me a few people that I thought were just a bit clueless are in fact outright evil. Had a few ‘why should I have to wear a mask/distance/get vaccinated when it’s only the old or disabled who’ll die?’ comments and…well…safe to say I don’t regard those people as anything other than ‘no contact’ now.

      1. Meep*

        Luckily, I didn’t know too many of those and they were 3-degrees removed. But this woman is definitely evil. She was concerned about the pandemic but only to the degree of her getting COVID. The first time she ranted about how she was so afraid of it was surreal. It went from me trying to sympathize with her to her telling me it wasn’t a big deal for ME because at least I was young. Like, ma’am, I have grandparents in their 80’s and I don’t want to unintentionally kill someone. And to boot, we had already known there were long-lasting effects from getting COVID at this time. It was the first inkling I got that this woman was a sociopath who saw no one else as a person.

        1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

          The idea that young, healthy people could (and have) die of it probably never occurred to her either?

      2. Poppy*

        The pandemic has shown up a huge number of downright evil people. I’ve always wished people would wear labels on their foreheads to show if they’re psychopaths – it would be so useful! – and now we have the equivalent. Anyone not wearing a mask *without due cause*, anyone ditto with their noses hanging out of the mask, anyone wearing their mask juuuust on the point of their chin… Yeah, that’s a warning label.

    2. Sara without an H*

      I think the pandemic has brought out extremes of behavior that otherwise might have been tolerable or at worst borderline. This can be either good or bad — I know a few people who have demonstrated extraordinary kindness and patience and some more who…haven’t.

      Sorry you went through that and I hope you have found, or are about to find, something much better.

      1. Meep*

        Thanks. She is no longer my boss and I have a much better boss. She keeps trying to reinsert herself back into my personal life, but I am having none of it. The residual c-PTSD from working under her for 3+ years was thankfully the last parting gift she left me (and why I insist this woman was actively trying to get me killed).

    3. learnedthehardway*

      I worked for someone once whose prior career definitely would have made them fully aware of what they were doing, in terms of being abusive. In fact, I truly believe they were exited out of their prior career because they caused people to commit suicide. I have no proof of this, but I would bet money on it. These kinds of people exist.

      Trust your instincts – they seem to have served you well.

  10. Danikm151*

    The pay manager was so out of touch it hurt.
    I didn’t get the payrise my work place applied and backdated last month. I wasn’t being deprived of my full pay but my manager advocated for it to be applied as soon as possible for me. It’s about what is fair.
    Granted I did joke that I was going on strike but that’s the relationship we have. I know she will go to bat for what is right and I can make jokes and she doesn’t fly off the handle.

    That person does not deserve the title of manager.

  11. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

    Oh for the day somebody invents something that’ll hold these sizeable system attributes of mine while NOT putting pressure on an upper spinal injury. There’s no way I can do without a bra at work (unless I go Solid Snake and wear a box) but my word I’ve loved doing without one at home.

    1. Kaitydid*

      I’ve considered a lightweight corset for myself. They don’t have to be so tight that they confine your waist, and they distribute the load and pressure over the whole torso. I can’t stand the line of pressure from a regular underwire bra, but I like the pressure from a wide elastic waistband, so I wonder if an overbust corset would float my boat.

      1. A.N. O'Nyme*

        Actually most don’t confine your waist! The trick to that hourglass shape is usually padding out, not tucking in. There’s a couple very extreme corsets, but they’re more like strappy high-heeled sandals – you wear those for a few hours for the sake of fashion but most people don’t live in them. And while we do have historical accounts of tightlacing, it is also very clear those are outliers and were most definitely not the norm.

      2. YetAnotherAnalyst*

        Same – I need any bust support to 1) not put *any* pressure on my shoulder or clavicle to avoid joints slipping out of place, and 2) not press into the divot around my ribcage that came from wearing too-tight bra bands as a preteen. Corsets are $$$, but I’ve been seriously considering them. Pretty much they’re my last option before I decide I Do Not Care about the perceived professionalism of my boobs for the remainder of my work life.

      3. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        I’ve been wearing a corset recently and can recommend. Pandemic hibernation means I’ve been history bounding so it was a logical step.

        All summer I wore sports bras or equivalent. As soon as it was mild enough, I started wearing a standard underwired bra or corset *over* a thin tank. A lot of bra problems are actually to do with having inappropriate materials touching the skin, and that’s solved with $5 of cotton tank.

        1. NFO (natural fibers only!)*

          I’m having a terrible time finding out where I can replace my shredding 100% cotton ribbed tanks and camisoles that I have worn for years in place of bras. Textiles now are almost all blends; even most organic cotton is all cut with spandex or lycra (both of which I react to, at least on my upper body).

      4. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        Being overweight, I’ve yet to find a supportive corset that won’t also dig into my abdomen/thighs when I sit down. Although more than happy to take suggestions!

        (I have a large number of steampunk style steel bone corsets that I love, but couldn’t possibly drive a car in)

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Lmao unfortunately I think it’s the opposite. There are so many letters that should get this letter of outrage but we’re so used to it and stay so contained that this only happens when something goes viral beyond us.

        1. Bob-White of the Glen*

          Someone finally got it! I always identified with TB – tomboy who loved horses and sometimes didn’t treat her friends the way she should. Some much better than the ever perfect Nancy Drew!

    1. RabbitRabbit*

      Some of our commenters called that out as well at the time, in a discussion of the “britches” phrase.

      1. RabbitRabbit*

        Edit – hit Submit too fast, this Twitter thread is an excellent breakdown of the numerous hints in the letter.

    2. not a doctor*

      Oh, nice! I was already highly suspicious of that on the original post, but there are a couple of things mentioned in this thread that I missed.

    3. Junebug*

      I read it as a white man and a Black woman. The “uppity” accusation was laced throughout the post. I didn’t expect that attitude from a white woman for some reason, guess it’s one of my blind spots.

    4. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

      Great thread. Thanks!

      I was suspicious about that myself at the time, but didn’t read far enough in the comments to see the ones where people called that out.

      Reading this Twitter thread has very much confirmed my suspcions.

    5. Stitching Away*

      The comment from the person who said they were a southerner and thus knew 100% for sure that “uppity” had nothing to do with race made me want to scream. It had everything to do with race. And being a southerner does not give you any authority to pronouce something as not racist, especially if you are not a person of color yourself. And you know they weren’t.

    6. Batgirl*

      That’s a super helpful explanation of why that letter sounds so nonsensical and aggressive to my ears. As a working class woman, I easily picked up on the class divide between boss and employee and the whole “oh you people without savings accounts are so lazy and you get so angry about nothing” vibe. But there was a whole other level of WTF …a patronizing and sneering tone, of a strength that I’ve never seen and couldn’t understand, likely because I’m white.

      1. Leonine*

        There really is. And he’s just SO SURE he’s right–he never even questions his own reaction. Meanwhile, I would bet two months if my own pay that if Jane had been a white man, OP would be looking to promote him for taking charge and showing leadership. Makes me want to throw things and cry.

  12. Llellayena*

    Is there a way to access the NYT article without signing up/in? I have no interest in signing up and I don’t have any of the ways you can “sign in.” A private window doesn’t work like it does with the Cut articles (I tried).

    1. Ferret*

      How utterly entitled of you given the volume of free content Alison produces to try and force a way around one of the few that pays her directly – you can read the original letter and her word perfect response (as well as thousands of others over more than a decade) completely for free right here

      1. Tiffany Aching's imaginary friend*

        This one is actually an article someone else wrote and they quoted Alison in it. (Like with the other two.) I still agree that people shouldn’t try to get around paywalls but it’s better to be accurate when you’re scolding someone.

    2. Julia*

      You might want to check if your local public library does free access to digital New York Times. Mine does if you’re in the library.

  13. Naomi*

    Better Off Ted did an episode twelve years ago about facial recognition systems failing to identify black people. It’s rarely a good sign when an episode of a workplace sitcom comes to life.

    1. RussianInTeaxs*

      RIP Better Off Ted, one of the best workplace sitcoms ever. Criminally underappreciated.
      That episode is the best of the whole show.

    2. Anonymeece*

      That was one of my favorite shows. Depressingly because it was so accurate.

      Best line (paraphrased):

      “The company can’t force you to participate in dangerous human experiments… They lost that court case.”

      1. La Triviata*

        Facial recognition software is only reliable (not 100%, but mostly) for white men. Women and anyone who’s not white … it’s a toss-up. I suspect that it’s because it was written by people who only tried it out on people like them.

        1. someone*

          The reason is that the images used to create the software are mostly of white men. There’s a movie from last year that explained the photos used to train most facial recognition AIs were taken from large portrait libraries that were free online – celebrities, congress headshots, company/board headshots, etc. Mainly photos of white men.

        2. Observer*

          I suspect that it’s because it was written by people who only tried it out on people like them.

          Bingo. We know that that is a good chunk of the problem. It also doesn’t help that most of the databases used for training are heavily skewed.

          Interestingly enough, Google says that one of the first things they did to create their “Real Tone” upgrade to their photo app was to add a bunch of pictures of POC, with an emphasis on Black people.

        3. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

          A lot, and by that I mean most, software suffers from the ‘written by white guys’ scenario. Ideas in medical diagnostic software that’s fallen apart because they can’t spot symptoms in women, people of colour…

      2. TiffIf*

        lol that sounds like something Cave Johnson would say in Portal 2–except they did force their employees to participate in dangerous human experiments

    3. TimesChange*

      I often wonder if I’m in the episode where they swapped out lab coats because there was a study that changes make people more productive. Not good change — just any change.

  14. yala*

    Good LORD, that panopticon nonsense in the monitoring one sounds like an absolute NIGHTMARE.

    The idea of being visually monitored to make sure you don’t…look away from your monitor?…like, wasn’t that a thing from Black Mirror?

    I hate this timeline.

    1. jiggle mouse*

      I’ve read about HVAC manufacturers working with Japanese businesses to create a sensor that catches employees nodding off or not being focused and blasts them with cold air from the ventilation system. It was in a trade newsletter when my partner worked for an HVAC company, so no link to share.

        1. jiggle mouse*

          I once tried to explain the vibe of AAM commentariat to my partner with: Someone writes in, aghast and angry, because their company mandates all jr staff wear dog collars. The commentariat responds: Oh I know the *best* place to get discount dog collars, and did you see the Fashion Mag cover story on how to wear dog collars to highlight your quirky independence??

        2. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

          Menopausal me says ‘ick, soaked in sweat AND now cold sweat’

          Bodies are weird.

    2. Anon for this, colleagues read here*

      Monitoring software like that was used last year for students taking some exams online at my university (which they had to do since there were no in person classes). I had students who were distraught that they were being dinged for “cheating” because they looked away while thinking or looked down to jot ideas on a paper. (They were un-dinged upon investigation, but WTH, should not have been monitored at all, should not have had the stress of being falsely accused, wasted time on getting it resolved.)

      1. LizM*

        There are a handful of lawsuits from an ADA perspective about monitoring software used on Bar Exams during COVID. These systems are really hard for people with certain disabilities.

      2. Observer*

        In addition to the ADA issues, a bunch of schools also got dinged because the facial recognition doesn’t work properly on POC. And because in many cases, it created major privacy issues for non-students.

      3. Xenia*

        One of our professors wanted to use monitoring software on our (masters) exams. I’m pleased to say that the class pushed back and once we’d identified his real worry (that his exams would get stolen and shared online) we worked out something that would satisfy his concerns without involving invasive monitoring software

        1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          I just sent the exam to all my students ahead of time so they could prepare it, just as would happen in a real-life working situation. I was then much more severe marking it of course because they needed to prove they’d done the research. And the student who helped set the lessons up on Discord (because the uni software was crashing from sudden overuse) got an extra point for being helpful.
          But basically I decided not to fail anyone, because they’d be coming onto the job market at the worst time in modern history. The couple of students that may have deserved a fail wouldn’t be getting any plum job by dint of gumption because they’d simply not do as well as the better applicants. And I doubt that a couple of students getting a diploma they don’t deserve during a pandemic won’t actually compromise the school’s stellar reputation (top school in Europe).

          1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

            *not do as well as other applicants in the test they’d have to do prior to being interviewed, as is standard in my industry

      4. londonedit*

        A friend of mine did an exam for a professional qualification last year and she had the same thing – camera on at all times, not allowed to look away from the screen, not allowed to move your hands in front of your face, etc. Sounded terrifying and the thing was a full-on six-hour exam with only a short break in the middle!

      5. Susie*

        I had to do one of these exams in April and it nearly broke me. I am not exaggerating. I’ve got ADHD and ASD and that was the absolute worst exam of my life.

        I’m literally spending thousands of dollars on assessments with a neuropsychologist in a month so that I can get an accomodation from the school to NEVER have to go through that again.

        I don’t care that they aren’t doing in person exams right now. They are going to find a way to do one for me.

    3. irene adler*

      I had a job interview early this year where one interviewer asked me about my KPIs.
      I didn’t have a really good answer for that. I’m in a small company and I take care of all things QC. No one tracks these things. Too busy.

      She then commented that “Here at COMPANY, there are KPI’s for everything. This company has metrics for everything we do.”
      That comment just stuck with me.
      After reading the story above, I’m wondering just how intensely monitored I would be at COMPANY. Glad they did not hire me.

  15. RussianInTeaxs*

    Bras – I am working from home right now, in a molded underwire bra (and clothes lol). I have tried various bralettes, and it’s a no go for the 42H. None of the wire-free bras support me enough that clothes look good. And they make my back hurt after sitting all day. Bralettes have no support and make not only my back hurt, but also the top of my chest hurt, I feel like the skin and muscles “stretch”, I don’t know how else to explain it. I need some serious engineering!.
    But I hate sports bras for life, only wear them for exercising. They are too restrictive.
    I also never found underwire to be particularly uncomfortable, if the size is correct? Well made bras don’t get wires poked through either.
    I checked out one of the companies linked on the article that makes “no bra” clothes – they are ugly. The rushing in the chest is terrible looking. And they don’t make plus sizes.
    Anyway. Would love to not to spend a lot of money on the bra. Not my destiny, alas.

    1. Jean*

      Check out Auden brand wire free bralettes from Target. They’re cheap, way comfier than underwire, they come in plus sizes, and as a fellow 42G-H, they do the job with a minimum of fuss while still looking pretty cute. (And the molded cup inserts are easily removable, which is key.)

      1. RussianInTeaxs*

        I actually LIKE molded cups, as I mentioned above, I am wearing one right now. I want my breasts NOT MOVE. Pretty much 90% of my bras are molded.
        They do not in fact have my size in anything but one wirefree bra that looks like a nursing bra, and 9 underwire ones.
        But I am pretty happy with my underwire, which for me is legit comfier than not have it. The non supportive garments make my back and my chest hurt. Bralettes that go by the clothing sizing are not supportive enough for me.

        1. jiggle mouse*

          Same. I’m not overly endowed, but I like the feel of being armored for battle, and knowing no one will get a cold-weather show. Going commando (lol) just makes me feel like I’m hanging in the breeze.

          1. RussianInTeaxs*

            Going commando while taking a high school math exam is one of my reoccurring nightmares.
            No thank you.

            1. Zona the Great*

              You’re my people. These babies are strapped in tight even in sleep. I hold them up while I shower. Never shall skin from breasts touch skin from abdomen.

    2. RussianInTeaxs*

      I should have added I am not at all looking at the brands suggestions! I am happy with my underwire bras. I will NEVER wear clothes without one (a bra in general) in the presence of others, intimate partners included. This applies to a plumber, CEO, store cashier, a coworker, etc.
      The only time I’ve ever worn wirefree bras in the presence of others were beach/lake trips during summer. That’s it.
      I am just posting this to point out that the braless revolution is not supported (so to speak) by everyone.

    3. Generic Name*

      Same, sis. My underwire bras feel just fine, and if I don’t wear them (either sports bras or bralettes) my cycle-related breast pain is actually excruciating.

  16. VanLH*

    I cannot get the NY Times article to open, even trying to start of subscription. Can anyone give a brief summary?

    1. Tiffany Aching's imaginary friend*

      Headline: Quitting Your Job Never Looked So Fun
      Sub-head: Workers across social media are enjoying the vicarious thrill of chewing out a terrible boss. Some are even doing it.
      …with some examples, and a nice long quote from Alison about that Jane letter, and about how the zeit is geisting in general.

  17. Oodles of Noodles*

    I’m surprised the NYT would even report on r/antiwork. A whole lot of those text screenshots are fake, to the point where the mods are cleaning them off of the forum.

    Allison’s contribution was solid, though.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      I think an increased amount of things from r/antiwork have been going viral so they’re trying to follow the outrage

    2. Late Night Lentil*

      Bad manager has entered the chat, lol.

      True, but the best ones are where OP follows up through the comments and even follows up later. There is some true gold in there.

  18. BayCay*

    I just came here to let my fellow ladies know that you can find reusable silicone pasties on Amazon for like, $4. I am NEVER going back to wire bras!! *insert freedom yodel*

  19. Leishycat*

    I can count the number of times I’ve worn a bra since April 2020 on my fingers. After working from home for a year before coming back to an office with a skeleton crew, I really don’t see much point any more.

  20. Lissa*

    My company’s dress code says “proper undergarments must be worn.” It doesn’t specifically SAY brays, but you know that’s what it means.

      1. PT*

        When someone complains they can see that they aren’t wearing underwear because their outer garments are so short, tight, or see-through that they give away the secret.

        1. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

          *Completely irrelevant rant warning*

          I just had a flashback to junior high (not middle school, that’s how old I am), when a girl tried to snap the back of my bra. It came open (because it had a really loose clasp), and she ran around telling everybody I wasn’t wearing a bra. Oh, the humiliation. (Like I wasn’t already self-conscious enough about my nearly non-existent boobage.)

          Sorry for this massive digression. If there’s a point, it’s that checking to see if people are wearing bras is an EXTREMELY juvenile thing to do, and no one should be concerning themselves with what undergarments are worn in a business office. That dress code is absolute b.s.

  21. MishenNikara*

    Re: Monitoring
    So I don’t WFH, but I am in retail in a position with multiple metrics we have to stay ahead of as a part of the job. Here are some things I gotta deal with (Online grocery picking):

    – Scanning speed (seconds per item)
    – Pick Accuracy
    – Customer wait time

    Seems sensible right? Gotta keep things moving, get what customers ask for, and all that. But the issue with things like this is that it becomes a be all end all. A lot of monitoring software (like the one with keystroke requirements) has or will lean towards all this. So lets back and see what the results tend to be for my depts metrics:

    – Picking less than ideal product (produce, dented cans, questionable dates) and removal of all customer service that takes more than 5 seconds
    – Scanning shelf tags to make the system think the right items picked (not that I do this one but it happens) or swapping in organic/non-organic, causing shrink
    – “Too busy” to do anything time consuming (going back in for items, etc.), Potential of items being left behind in a rush, getting charged for unwanted substitutions or coupons left unresolved in a hurry to close the order and end the timer

    It’s one thing to look at metrics and get a feel for how things are going, but companies instead end up making you live and die by the numbers. Stop this crap. It just makes your employees focus on beating the numbers, not quality of work.

    1. PT*

      I’ll add: As a person who grocery shops in person, I’m 100% aware that the shoppers I see in the store are under these crazy constraints and so I tend to avoid aisles/sections of aisles where the shoppers are working because I do not want to get in their way while they are busy. Which over time, is likely to affect the store’s sales as well.

      1. MishenNikara*

        I got no problem being asked a quick question (Wheres item, can you grab this off this high shelf). But yeah, have patience with us and realize we might need to get around with a hard to steer trolley and keep moving in general. No need to avoid the aisle just please let us by lol

    2. OyHiOh*

      When I worked in a call center (inbound catalog sales), we knew that a specific percentage of each rep’s calls would be monitored, and then discussed in monthly 1:1’s with our supervisors. I don’t see why companies doing on line grocery picking couldn’t do the same: QA a percentage of a picker’s jobs and/or look at a picker’s numbers over a week/2 week/monthly average since order-by-order metrics will certainly fluctuate, but there should be a good trend line over time.

      1. MishenNikara*

        Sadly it’s not just that dept. Pretty much everything I’ve ever done or seen in retail.

        Cashiering: Items per minute scanned, card sign ups
        Stocking (usually night stockers): Cases per hour
        Salesfloor: Response speed

        It’s just so freakin ingrained into retail at this point

        1. WellRed*

          Omg. One Christmas working register at Borders, we were doing card sign ups, promoting gift cards and encourage if book donations for kids or soldiers (maybe both?). I’m sure the customers wanted to just ring the heck out!

    3. learnedthehardway*

      Thank you!! As a customer, I care less about getting the order in the next hour, than I care about it being right.

      See also why I now have hotdog buns but no hotdogs, having not ordered either. I also got all the ingredients for spaghetti EXCEPT the hamburger.

    4. MB*

      I also work in on line grocery picking, possibly for the same employer. Fortunately, in my store the metrics are used to identify and correct problems such as shelves not being stocked or stocked improperly. Management is very aware that these metrics can be affected by circumstances outside the picker’s control. As a department, we are compared to the online grocery departments in the other stores in our district. Customer satisfaction surveys weigh heavily, so it is well worth the time to pick high quality produce and undented cans. My team takes pride in being able to outscore the larger stores and usually ranks pretty high. I personally find that maintaining a high first time pick rate makes this rather boring job kind of fun.
      But of course, that’s because my managers are reasonable. Some managers could use the metrics to make this job a nightmare.

  22. Enginerd*

    Ugh I can’t read these when they’re behind a paywall, or require a registered account to read! Why not just print the letter/article/whatever HERE instead of sending us to another site to read them? It’s very frustrating and the NYT is the worst. :(

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Because the NY Times and the Washington Post own the copyrights on their articles and it would be illegal for me to reprint them here.

      With my own pieces in outside publications, my agreements with those publications give them exclusive rights to the piece for X days (often 90) so, again, I can’t reprint them here before then.

      1. Enginerd*

        Actually, quite a bit. But, this entire site is free, so I’m not sure I understand why you’re so pissy about my comment. I, oddly enough, wasn’t aware of AAM’s agreements with those publications. Your comment was unhelpful and snide.

    2. Pikachu*

      Check with your local library. You can get free digital access to lots of periodicals with a library card.

      Plus libraries ROCK.

      1. Enginerd*

        Y’know I haven’t gone to a library in years… but now with digital downloads for Kindle etc.. available, maybe it IS time to go back!

    3. gross*

      they only require a registered account if you’ve read more than a certain number of articles already. Sure seems like you’re hitting that number if you’re complaining about hitting the wall, so what objection do you have to just giving up your email address for more?

      1. Enginerd*

        The first article I clicked on immediately asked me to sign in or register, and no I haven’t read any that I know of unless I clicked on one or two here.

  23. Rosie*

    Hah my industry is so casual it never really occurred to me that going braless in the office would be a problem because I’ve been doing it for years!

  24. A Feast of Fools*

    Monitoring: I once worked as an inside sales person for a software company. Over the two years I was there, the job gradually morphed into a call center nightmare.

    The first change was being metric’d on the number of calls we made. Then they added length of call to the mix. It wasn’t good enough if someone blew away their quota and brought in deals that were 10x the average size (that someone was me). If the other metrics weren’t also met, you got put on a PIP (still me!).

    We started having to record every call placed or received at around the 1-year mark.

    By the time I left, we had one manager for every two employees, just so the managers had enough time to review our call recordings.

    All of them. Each and every call.

    Upper management wanted every single call reviewed in detail. As in, the number of times someone said “um” were counted. Me pointing out that sales people should be metric’d on, well, *sales* fell on deaf ears.

    So I started placing calls to a number I’d accidentally found that would “answer” and then… nothing. The call was live but there wasn’t anyone or anything on the other end (at least, not that I knew of). While I had that call live, I would simultaneously play loud, annoying music on my laptop piped through the same audio device (headset) that was being recorded. The manager assigned to me got jumpy about listening to my calls. I left before I could be disciplined for the loud music.

  25. Blarg*

    As a tangent to bras, I’ve had a fascinating discovery: the cause of my heartburn is … pants.

    I’ve dealt with on and off heartburn for years. Tums at the desk. Occasional use of Prilosec. Is what it is kind of thing.

    Didn’t even realize I hadn’t had any heart burn since WFH started until I went to a couple in person events (mask/vax required, in a highly vas’d area). Both times I wore slacks or jeans and a nice top, as I was sitting at the show … that old familiar pain started.

    It’s not just sitting stationary, cause I’ve done that many a time over the last 18 months. The one unique factor is “real” pants with a button and zipper. They aren’t super tight. But apparently, tight enough and at just the right spot.

    Pants are bad for my health.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      A while ago I found a piece on how we wear pants that are too tight at the waist and all the organ damage that comes from that. We don’t even breathe correctly, there are so many problems.

  26. WantonSeedStitch*

    While I don’t have heartburn issues, I tend to find stretchy dresses super awesome for this exact reason: no tightness at the waistline! And even if I eat a lot, they’re still comfy. And they look nice and polished!

    1. londonedit*

      There’s been a whole trend here (even pre-Covid) for the ‘buffet dress’ – a smart but flowing tiered midi/maxi dress so named because you can go to a buffet wearing one and eat as much as you like. Half of London was wearing one in 2019, with trainers for a smart/casual look. I happen to be wearing one of mine today!

  27. bopper*

    My daughter works at a Dr office and they are trying to get another medical assistant and none of the 3 that were hired this year have lasted more than 2 weeks.

  28. Cochrane*

    With regards to monitoring, I had seen an IT request from one of the department heads that is currently using Zoom, asking if there is a way to see if a participant is viewing the speaker/presenter rather than clicking around to check out the other participants. I think it was closed out without comment, but I wouldn’t be shocked if software starts keeping track of this.

    1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

      Official closure note from IT: no

      Internal IT chat: someone’s been reading Orwell again…

  29. Old Med Tech*

    The employee who was not paid ended up being discussed in an article in the NY Times. I wonder if the manager that wrote to Alison is in trouble at work.

    1. Rav*

      Unless the manager in question made a stink about it, I doubt it. They they threw some bait, but the coworkers didn’t bit. If anything, they felt like the only sane person in that insanity and looked into AAM for validation.

  30. Anonymoose*

    Alison, PLEASE contact the OP and ask for a response from them! I SO want to know if they’ve changed their mind!

  31. Pam Poovey*

    They really should have talked to someone larger than a DD about bras. DD isn’t all that big. But! I agree with the sentiments — bras shouldn’t be seen as necessary, they should be worn only if the wearer wants to.

Comments are closed.