open thread – December 24-25, 2021

It’s the Friday open thread! The comment section on this post is open for discussion with other readers on anything work-related that you want to talk about (that includes school). If you want an answer from me, emailing me is still your best bet*, but this is a chance to talk to other readers.

* If you submitted a question to me recently, please do not repost it here, as it may be in my queue to answer.

{ 387 comments… read them below }

  1. Emac*

    I don’t know if this has been addressed before – I couldn’t find anything through searching. Should I put my vaccinated status on my resume and/or cover letter if I’m applying to a position that states employees must be vaccinated? Thanks!

    1. Friday*

      I think I remember Allison saying not to because you normally don’t include medical info on your resume, and that if your vax status is important to the company they’ll bring it up.

    2. Freelance Anything*

      There was a question about putting vaccination status on your CV/Resume, I’m pretty sure. And I think the answer was don’t.

      I’d also find it unnecessary to add to your cover letter, even in this case. Presumably at some point they’ll look for evidence of your vaccine status, but I’d let them come to you on that.

    3. Fulana del Tal*

      It depends on the industry and location . My sister does phone screens for an assisted living facility and that’s the first question she asks. If the job advertisement states it only want vaccinated people I don’t see the harm in putting it in the resume/cover letter.

    4. Sandi*

      I know that Alison said not to, and in many cases I wouldn’t, but I did apply to a government job years ago that had a list of things that were needed and I had a little spot at the end of my CV where I added them all. It felt a bit awkward and I wouldn’t have done it for only my vaccinations, but next to basics like expertise with Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, I also added that I’m a citizen (born in the country), an ability to work overtime, and willingness to travel. They now have those as automatic parts of the application, so the screening questions are asked before you can submit your cover letter and resume, but I don’t think many workplaces are that organized.

    5. Loulou*

      Does the portal have screening questions, and is that one of them? Agree with others that this doesn’t belong on a resume or cover letter.

    6. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      As others have said, don’t. Treat this as other personal information that an employer will want AFTER you are hired…social security number, other vaccinations like Hep A or TB, drivers license/insurance/driving record for jobs that require driving, etc. They’ll ask for proof when it’s necessary.

    7. MissDisplaced*

      I think no. Save it for the call screen if they ask.
      It’s possible there could be some exceptions, such as if they ask it on the application, or perhaps for medical professionals… but generally no.

  2. Thanksinadvance*

    Do the social workers in your hospital wear scrubs? Follow up question if the answer is no: could they get away with wearing scrub pants if they wear a different top?

    1. HannahS*

      Nope, they wear their own clothes. “Get away with” is, I think, subjective. I wouldn’t think anything of it, particularly during a pandemic. It might stand out among other social workers, but on the wards it’s generally a combination of own-clothes and scrubs.

      1. Thanksinadvance*

        “Get away with,” for me, is more about the fact that wearing an elastic waistband to work instead of slacks would improve my quality of life to at least some degree. Thanks for answering!

        1. Nerfmobile*

          I have some elastic waist pants from Old Navy that are great, comfy, and look wonderful with a loose blouse or sweater over them. Look around for a broader range of options than just scrubs!

        2. Filosofickle*

          If comfort is the reason, there are lots of work appropriate soft pants, stretchy pants, even dress pants with elastic waists out there! I wear almost nothing with a firm waistband. I don’t tuck tops in, so it doesn’t show.

    2. Gipsy Danger*

      Some do. We have two social workers that wear scrubs all the time, and one that wears scrub pants with her own tops. Other social workers wear their own clothes. I work in a cancer clinic.

    3. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      My hospital’s dress code specifically forbids non-clinicians from wearing scrubs at all.

    4. Lucy Skywalker*

      I’ve never seen a social worker wear scrubs, but now I have “No Scrubs” in my head thanks to this post!

  3. Should I apply?*

    Suggestions on how to approach a co-worker to tell him you don’t think him signing his email “hugs” is appropriate?

    Context- I am a woman in engineering and this is an older man who I have only met in person once. He seems like a very friendly and out going person and I don’t think he is hitting on me. Also he doesn’t work for my company but a company we are closely partnered with. Other than this there haven’t been any other obvious signs of sexism.

    I am probably overthinking this but sending an email to say “please don’t sign your email to me hugs it’s inappropriate” doesn’t seem like the best way to maintain a decent working relationship.

    1. awesome3*

      I’d ask one of your (made) coworkers how he signs their emails. It’s not a solution but would hopefully give you a fuller picture of what’s going on.

      1. league**

        I realize this is just a typo, but I love the fictional aggression of asking a mobbed-up colleague about this.

    2. Asenath*

      I don’t take signatures on letters and emails personally – they’re largely formalities, even when they express warm feelings towards me. But since this one bothers you, you could ask him, perhaps in person so it’s easier to gauge tone in both the request and the response, that you’d prefer he didn’t sign emails to you “hugs”, framing it as a personal preference. If you go that next step by saying it is inappropriate, you might be seen as implying he is at the very least unprofessional if not worse. And that seems a bit too much, particularly as you have no signs that he’s hitting on you or behaving inappropriately in any way other than using a too-informal sign off on an email.

      1. Should i apply?*

        This isn’t part of his formal signature, just the end of the email where you might write ‘regards’. I am pretty sure that he doesn’t sign his email to my male colleagues “hugs” and I haven’t seen it on group emails, just emails addressed to me. I will definitely confirm that before I say anything. However, if he is only signing his emails to female co-workers hugs, it isn’t appropriate.

        1. Dark Macadamia*

          I think if you tell him it’s inappropriate it might come across like lecturing/reprimanding, especially if you do so over email – so don’t do that unless you have authority over him. If he only says it to you/women I would definitely mention “I’d prefer to keep hugs out of the workplace, even virtual ones” or something like that. If he says it to everyone including men, is it worth the capital to ask him to change his signature just for you?

        2. Mental Lentil*

          Ugh. That’s just gross and sexist.

          Somebody needs to tell him. If you don’t, I’ll be happy to.

    3. John Smith*

      Well, you could get what I get from a colleague: “love you lots like jelly tots”, or another “Cheers M’dears”. I’d be tempted to believe this person signing “hugs” is just being friendly and probably signs most of his emails that way. If you really need to address the issue with him, I’d say that you wish to maintain a highly professional appearance and could emails not be signed off as “hugs”. But I feel this may not go down well.

      1. Malarkey01*

        A) those are awesome sign offs and
        B) I like the idea of framing it as you want to look professional. You could say that you think it might come across oddly if you need to forward the email to others or if you’re having to put them in a file to document a project or something.

    4. StrikingFalcon*

      If you are hoping to smooth the relationship, I would ask him in person rather than by email. “I know you’re just trying to be friendly, but would you mind not signing emails to me with “hugs”? It makes me a bit uncomfortable coming from a coworker!” Keep your tone light and remember that if he makes it weird, it’s not because you asked him the wrong way. It’s an eminently reasonable request, and he should just say sorry and stop.

      Although emailing him and telling him it’s inappropriate is also an acceptable response. It’s just more likely to cause friction.

    5. Not A Manager*

      Depending on what he’s like, could you be clear but in a joshing way? What if you emailed him back something like “Oh no…….! No interoffice hugs! Only my mom sends me hugs by email.” Maybe use a million crying laughing emojis and lols and whatnot.

      Make it “obvious” that you think this is hilarious and completely inoffensive and non-gendered, but also roaringly inappropriate.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        “Mom! Is that YOU?”

        I think Not A Manager has a great idea here. OP, why not just say, “Gee, my mom is the only person in my life who signs emails with hugs. Every time I see that I think I am talking to my mom. Can we skip the hugs part?”

        It might be too soft of an approach but it will definitely open the door for further mention.

        1. Lucy Skywalker*

          It’s not too soft. I have nonverbal learning disability, which is just a fancy way of saying that I don’t always understand language that is “too soft” and not direct enough, and I would understand perfectly what someone meant by the words you chose. “Can we skip the hugs part?” is pretty direct.

    6. Double A*

      I would act confused. Say something along the lines, “I’ve never had a colleague sign their emails that way. How does that go over with [male colleague or boss]?”

      Because then he’s in the position of explaining why he doesn’t sign off that way with those guys…

    7. Llama face!*

      Could you clarify if this has happened more than once?

      If just the one time, I’d be inclined to treat it the same way you’d treat a situation where someone made an awkward gaffe (like ending a phone call with your boss by saying “Love you! Bye!” because your brain somehow reverted to family greetings mode). And, who knows, maaaaybe that could have been the case.

      However, if he’s done it multiple times I’d bring it up as a “Hey it’s odd that you keep signing your emails ‘hugs’ when we are colleagues” and follow that with one of the excellent replies other people have already posted on here.

  4. awesome3*

    I searched the archives yesterday and couldn’t find it even though I know the answer is here somewhere, but when the name of your employer changes while you’re working there, how do you address it on your resume? What about if it changes after you leave? In my case these are schools that have been pillars of the community longer than I’ve been alive and people not in education probably still call them by their old names

    1. Freelance Anything*

      I’d put the current name in the usual place, with a smaller font addendum of ‘previously XYZ’ before jumping into your list of accomplishments etc.

      1. Bayta Darrell*

        If a smaller font doesn’t have a good look, you can also try the same size but in parentheses:
        Current School Name (formerly Old School Name).

      2. Elizabeth West*

        My department changed at Exjob. So on the job title, I just put it like this, all in the same font:

        Consulting Assistant, XYZ Monster Fortification Services (formerly Witcherz)

        If the company name had changed, I would have just put

        Cintra Enterprises, Inc. (formerly XYZ Company)

      1. awesome*

        Interestingly I have one of each. The name changes happened at the same time, but I was at the second place when it happened. I imagine it would be easier to read if both have the same format

    2. Cleo*

      I use the Current Name (formerly Old Name) on my resume and it works well.

      I started doing it because I worked at a pillar of the community type company that rebranded itself using initials before I worked there – but I found that most people outside of their niche industry didn’t recognize the initials but they did recognize the old name. The fact that a version of the old name is now exclusively used for the non-profit spin off and the initials are used for the for-profit part that I worked for added a layer of confusion that I decided to ignore.

  5. Methuselah*

    I’m getting super depressed with the work situation. I am trying desperately to find a work from home job that doesn’t exploit the employees, pays a living wage, and doesn’t involve working on phones, I have crippling anxiety. But I can’t find anything that doesn’t require tons of experience or degrees. I’m terrified to go back to working outside the home, my county and state are acting like the panini is totally over and I’m immune compromised and so is my fiance.

    The company I am with now is horrible. They have so many poor reviews and they have already done many awful things to me and the team I’m on in just 4 months of working for them. I have many horror stories already and in 4 months I’ve seen 70% turnover consistently with this company. My background is all food service and restaurant management, and 4 months processing Covid relief applications. I am starting to lose hope.

    I spend hours every week looking and applying and it’s all inbound/outbound call centers, or “must have 3 years experience in CRM” “Must have a Bachelor’s Degree in computer science” “must have a driver’s license” (to work from home?)

    Any advice?

    1. rr*

      No, sorry, but I commiserate. I’m in a very similar situation except already working on-site, unfortunately.

      1. Methuselah*

        The company I’m with is work from home, but the job I was hired for was application processing. I rarely had to make a call to clarify something or request a document. Well, the company lost the campaign and moved us all to an inbound call campaign. We were told move to the inbound calls or we would be considered to be quitting. And none of us would qualify for unemployment. I’m still in training, and the new company we contracted with changed everyone’s schedules, but still won’t give us our schedules, is demanding people with vision issues use tiny laptop screens, refused to honor all the Christmas request offs that had already been approved by the prior company, we have to work weekends here when before it was Monday through Friday, and they even told people who were upset because they had plane tickets for Christmas weekend since they had been approved for the time off “well, choose your plane tickets, or choose your job”. Our new week starts Sunday, and they are sending our schedules tonight after 1 am. So less then 48 hours notice for all the people with Sunday shifts. They made us do a schedule bid, and none of the schedules are even close to the one I was working and none of them work for my family. It’s a hot mess and I have no choice but to quit today because I literally can’t work any of the available schedules. :(

        1. WellRed*

          Please file for UI anyhow. The change in hours and job duties might be enough to qualify you depending on your state.

    2. Decidedly Me*

      If customer support is something you’re open to, try looking for live chat jobs. Many will likely also include phone time, but could be open to chat only reps.

      Experience with a specific CRM is overrated in most roles- don’t let that stop you from applying.

      We Work Remotely is a job board I’ve used in the past for a WAH job.

      1. Bayta Darrell*

        Agreed on the CRM experience. If you’ve had to learn any sort of new software for work, point out that you were able to learn to use it quickly (unless you didn’t learn it quickly). Or, if you have less than 3 years with the CRM, point out what you can do with it, like your ability to create reports and dashboards.

    3. Belle*

      The no phones part is tricky but what about some data entry jobs? I have seen some posted on FlexJobs for data entry with minimal phone requirements (team calls but not customer facing).

      1. Methuselah*

        I keep applying for data entry jobs but I haven’t gotten a single interview yet :( I’m guessing because I have no experience

    4. Freelance Anything*

      What kind of job/industry do you want to transition into?

      Are there any courses you could be taking? Are you focusing on transferable skills/experience or balking at what you don’t have?

      1. Methuselah*

        I am not sure to be honest, I am 40 and have worked in restaurants all my life. I have an Associates Of Arts degree in Business and wanted to honestly run my own company making and selling natural soaps, bath bombs, candles and wax melts, but the past 2 years have been so rough and like a lot of people we are in debt, have no savings, are barely keeping food on the table, and so any training courses would have to be free. I’ve been applying for any job that my education and skills could be even close to a fit for. I’m not getting many interviews other than for call centers. I have computer experience and am pretty proficient in Microsoft programs, and I can type 60 WPM. I’m not sure what to focus on.

        1. SatchelofSparkles*

          60 WPM is really rather fast.
          Data entry might make sense; if numbers don’t scare you, working in accounts receivable/ accounts payable data entry might be a way into work that pays better than min wage.
          Or maybe transcription? Auto-transcription is great until it isn’t, and I’d be surprised if there isn’t a niche in proofreading auto-transcription and correcting minor errors (especially in something like Udemy courses, where context clues are obvious to listeners but not to a computer) (potentially YouTube videos too – in any case, you’d ideally want to be able to listen at 1.5x speed to someone who’s explaining something.)

          YMMV – hope you find something appropriate

          1. Methuselah*

            Thank you. I’m hoping to get at least an interview for data entry. I’ve been applying to a lot of data entry jobs. I use indeed and it’s not the best app, I’m going to have to try some other ones.

    5. Humdrum*

      A short term solution might be freelance transcribing. My friend did it for a while. Basically they send you audio files and you type it up. It is usually pretty boring, but you are in control and there’s no talking involved!

      – copy editing
      – chat customer service for food delivery app (maybe your previous work experience will be relevant?)
      – do you have any experience at all tangentially relatad to social media? I’ve been seeing a lot of entry level jobs in that area.

      1. Redaktorin*

        As a copy editor, I enjoy strong pay and excellent benefits while working from home with infinite PTO and flex. Buutttt the job is definitely something you need to be trained for, breaking into my industry can take years, and my company throws out all resumes from those without experience. So probably not the direction this poster wants to go in.

        1. Methuselah*

          Yeah that’s an issue I’m running into with most work from home jobs that aren’t call centers. You need X amount of experience and it’s a full stop if you don’t have it.

    6. Not A Manager*

      I wish I had good advice for you. I know this is a serious post, but I want to say that I love your autocorrect and I’m going to start calling This Whole Situation “the panini” from now on.

      1. Freelance Anything*

        It’s not necessarily auto-correct.

        It’s a running internet joke (from when the P-word was heavily censored to stop misinformation) that you can use pretty much any P-word and people still know what you’re talking about:
        Panini, Pastrami etc.

    7. Xenia*

      I would look into professional scribe positions. Medical is one area I know for sure uses scribes but I think there’s also legal pathways. It’s not completely schooling free but I think it’s a certification, not a whole college path, and if you’ve got a good typing WPM it might be a good fit.

  6. rr*

    Recommendations for a thank-you for a bonus when you don’t (for a variety of reasons) feel at all appreciative? Everything that I’ve seen online so far is gushing. And I just can’t. For just a little bit of context, this bonus had nothing to do with me or my work.

    1. Freelance Anything*

      What kind of job/industry do you want to transition into?

      Are there any courses you could be taking? Are you focusing on transferable skills/experience or balking at what you don’t have?

      1. PollyQ*

        Yes, this is really all that’s needed. It’s not a gift, it’s compensation for the work you did and encouragement for you to stick around. No one’s done you a favor here, even if it were a larger bonus.

    2. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Do you have to formally thank anyone? That’s usually not necessary. If it’s a small business and, say, the owner gives you a bonus, a “Oh, thank you very much!” is all you need to say, just a few words to get through.

    3. LadyByTheLake*

      When bonuses aren’t above and beyond, there’s no need for a thank you. I certainly never expected a thank you for bonuses when I was a manager, and in fact would have thought a thank you for the standard bonus a bit brown-nosing. But that’s me.

    4. allathian*

      You don’t have to thank anyone for a bonus, any more than you would thank your employer for paying your salary.

  7. Bootstrap Paradox*

    I feel like I’ve reached a stage in my career where I may benefit from a professional coach – not an exec. level coach, as I am more mid-level. I stress ‘may’, as I am unfamiliar with the full range of professional coaching services. Have any of you used a professional coach, and if so, would you be willing to share some of your experiences? Are there different varieties of professional coach? Does working in the Government space merit the need for someone with experience in that general arena? What sorts of areas do professional coaches focus on? My tech and communication skills are quite strong, but I think leadership at the higher levels is an area for growth.

    I am usually pretty ruthless about self reflection and examination, as well as having piled up all manner of appropriate certifications (next up – PMP), and have pretty much worked my way through my list. I do have a couple brief leadership courses lined up for this coming year. But I think some outside…examination? input? may be beneficial when it comes to stepping up to the next level.

    1. Storm in a teacup*

      Does your workplace give you access to one? We have a couple we can access via work and I’ve had a couple of sessions with one and she’s brilliant. She isn’t based in our industry but that’s ok as a lot of the coaching is around stuff like managing upwards, dealing with tricky colleagues or situations or developing skills further around leadership etc.

      It would also be worth asking your network if anyone can recommend a coach too

      1. Bootstrap Paradox*

        I’ve emailed a couple of my mentors, who are highly placed, . I will reach out to some folks in my network at my level as well – thanks for the suggestion. Unfortunately my organization does not provide coaching below the senior leadership level.

        Glad to hear you are having a good experience with your coach. It looks like you are focusing on some of the things I’ve been thinking on – it’s heartening to know I’m on the right track.

    2. Victoria, Please*

      I worked with a coach for some years and I think she saved me from crashing, burning, and taking my department down with me. Strongly in favor of coaching.

      It’s good if someone has experience in your general area or *with* people in your area (eg when my military sibling got coaching, they made sure to get someone who was experienced with military). If they’re good, the coach will ask YOU what you want to focus on. They will pull out *your* ideas and help you identify strategies that work for you. They will often have suggestions, but should not insist. They might have templates that could be useful, but again, you will do you.

      A good coach will stay in touch between times – small emails saying “This might be useful for what we were talking about.” They will draw the thread between last time and this time. And they’ll fit with you. A coach is not a therapist, but personal fit is still important. So hopefully someone would give one free session to make sure you’re good together.

      Good coaching is $$$$…$$. I finally had to very regretfully give up when my coach’s rates reached well over $10K per year. I was delighted for her that she could command that price in the market, but I couldn’t pay it.

      Good luck!

      1. Bootstrap Paradox*

        Nice to hear you had a good experience.

        Seems like one thing I can start working on is a new version of ‘what I want to be when I grow up’ ;) ;) Once I work through the PMP (which will take more than a hot second) & some more Agile / Scrum training, I will be at the end of my 5 year list.

        What sort of cadence did you meet with your coach on? I confess the $$ is going to be a thing, as it will come from my own pocket. It might have to be a quarterly thing.

  8. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

    Kinda weird one: not in my department but another one in this office – their manager has approached me and the other managers on this floor to ask that we make sure none of our staff carry strong (I.e. opioid) painkillers to work as one of their staff has recently requested they be removed as they are getting treatment for an addiction to them.

    On the one hand, I absolutely 100% understand opioid dependency. It took me years to get off morphine. It’s a very hard process and I completely get the desire to not have ‘temptation’ around the place because dear goddess the withdrawal is horrific.

    On the other hand, I am still on other opioids that I do carry into work for bad flare ups and I’m pretty sure people here know that.

    Crap. Do I hide my meds and tell them I don’t bring them in anymore?

    1. Kiwi*

      This seems like a little bit of an overstep for them to ask. Could you maybe stash your meds in a different bottle (Midol or something) or keep them in your vehicle?

      1. fueled by coffee*

        Or would the company be okay with storing opioids in locked drawers/etc. during the workday that the staff member in question doesn’t have access to? I absolutely agree with keeping them out of sight/access to the staff member, but this feels like an overstep because some people (like you!) might need to take prescription opiods/etc. for their stated purpose during the workday.

      2. Miranda*

        Changing bottles would be highly risky, IMO. If OP is caught having them in a different bottle, it could become a legal issue involving LE and/or OP would need to do a lot of explaining (“well, see, I didn’t want to tell anyone I brought them to work, so I put them in a different non-prescription bottle to hide them and get around the new policy” – eeeek). If someone were to overstep a boundary and borrow some “Midol” without OP knowing, then even more trouble. I would not at all advise changing bottles to hide a controlled medication; sorry. :-) I agree it’s an overstep on the org’s part and also digs into employee’s private medical issues/information. I would possibly go to HR?

        1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

          Probably different here in the UK but my tablets don’t come in a bottle – they’re always packaged on sheets in a box that has the pharmacy details/prescription on them. Popping them all out to put in an unmarked bottle would be a major hassle and..yeah, bad things could happen to someone who took them accidentally thinking they were paracetamol. I want to keep people safe basically.

          1. SatchelofSparkles*

            It’s so interesting that you say that – I’m also UK, and do exactly that. For me, it’s an in-front-of-the-telly job popping the pills out into the stacker organiser, and another on to move pills from the organiser to the week-long pill organiser.

            I’d suggest some solution along those lines might work if, for example, the person in question:
            -Cut individual pills off a blister pack (but still in there)
            -Put the single-serving blister pack in unused compartment of their wallet
            -and made sure to take the pill in the privacy of a bathroom stall.

            If female, a personal handbag has more scope for private spots.

      3. Loulou*

        I’m not even aware of what medicine my coworkers bring to work! If people are leaving medication out where it’s visible, sure, maybe reasonable to ask people to keep it in their bags (like they should do anyway) but it seems like a pretty obvious workers rights violation to tell people they can’t have medicine they need at work.

    2. Attractive Nuisance*

      So, preventing other employees from bringing opioids to work is a disability accommodation for this employee? Sounds like this should be clarified with HR.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        Our HR, while awesome, can be a bit heavy handed so I’m hoping I can resolve this just by hiding my meds basically.

        1. Attractive Nuisance*

          You said the other manager asked you and other managers to tell your staff not to bring opioids to work. So this isn’t just about you and your meds. What are you telling your staff to do?

          1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

            I’m not saying anything to my yet. I don’t think any of them take any meds during the day aside from the occasional paracetamol when they’ve had a particularly irate IT call. That, and I don’t want to sound paranoid.

            1. Attractive Nuisance*

              I don’t know why you would “sound paranoid” (?). But, respectfully, I think this is why this accommodation needs to be brought up to HR. You don’t know what meds your staff are on. They deserve to have their meds and know their meds are safe. The other employee deserves a safe environment, which may not be able to exist in the office. I’m glad to hear you are working to accommodate this employee and I hope you are also standing up for your staff.

              1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

                I’ve got schizophrenia so, if this makes sense, I’m often paranoid about sounding paranoid. Brains be weird.

          2. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

            Also, there’s been an excellent suggestion down thread of asking this manager to get whoever it is time off/work from home 100% which seeing as how I run IT here I can even Ofer to get all the equipment they’ll need for it.

            1. Observer*

              That’s an excellent suggestion. I hope that the other manager is not one of those that can’t stand WFH.

              1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

                He shouldn’t be, he’s always struck me as a decent guy and his department can totally do their jobs from home most of the time.

      2. Cj*

        People taking opioids generally also have a disability that needs to be accommodated by them being able to take their medication. In my opinion, this is insane.

    3. John Smith*

      Bring them in hidden, and if asked for some by the person, a simple “sorry but I don’t have any that I could give you” would do. That’s not saying you don’t have any on you.

      I personally think this request is out of order. If you need to have them with you, you can’t be asked not to have them. If you’re referring to hiding them from management, it’s none of their business whether you have any or not.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        Oh I never ever give my medications to anyone else, even on request. I’m used to these pills but the strength they are (controlled substance) they’d knock a regular person out cold. Basically my staff know not to ever touch any of the meds in my bag (I’m on a LOT of different stuff).

        Thinking to keep the peace round here I’ll just get a lockable box for my bag.

    4. Emw*

      A reasonable request would be to keep medication out of sight of other employees. I would recommend keeping track of how many you bring to work. Stealing opiods from someone at work is a firable offense!

    5. CreepyPaper*

      Other people’s addictions are not your problem, in my view, and you NEED your meds. You shouldn’t have to risk your own health to accommodate someone else’s health issue.

      Is this person going through people’s stuff to get at the painkillers, is what I am wondering. If it was just the sight of them then I’d say get a box from something like Lemsip and stash them in there but to ask to have them removed… are they rummaging for them? That would concern me. It’s the wording. I would find out more, personally. Are your meds going to be at risk from this person?

      1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        I’m guessing, but based on my own experience with coming off those there can reach points where you feel like stealing a couple from someone else just to get you through the day is acceptable. And if you know someone else is on prescription strength meds and has them on them…

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Yep. A family member lost stuff out of her medicine chest this way and it was because of another family member. oh boy.
          I like the locked box idea.

          1. Artemesia*

            When we have big parties I always make sure any prescription drugs with potential for theft are hidden well and not in medicine chests or bathroom drawers. I know people who have had their Ambien, xanax and narcotics like oxycodone taken during parties — it just take one person.

    6. the cat's ass*

      Yikes, that seems both supportive and intrusive. I’d go to stashing them in a locked drawer or if you carry a bag of any sort, keep them in there, or in a pillbox in a skirt/trouser pocket. And just say you don’t have any at the office.

    7. LMK*

      I think this is a ridiculous request. Shouldn’t you also be asked not to bring money to work as well? If this person is going to be tempted to steal your pills, wouldn’t they also be tempted to steal money to buy pills somewhere else? If someone has an allergy to something, that’s one thing. If they can’t control their own impulses, that’s their problem to solve, not everyone else’s.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        I do have a great deal of sympathy for this person because I’ve been there and yeah, with drawl can be nasty enough to make you desperate to find anything that’ll relieve it – even stealing a couple from someone else (I never stole at work. I may have nicked a few off a relative – something I’ve very much made amends for). Most people coming off painkillers won’t go as far as stealing money to buy illegally.

        But, yeah, I’m not prepared to do without medications I really NEED during the day. So, gonna browse the internet’s for a locked box I can put in my bag.

    8. Storm in a teacup*

      I’m assuming you’re using them for breakthrough pain control? It may be worth having a conversation with HR as their medical needs do not outweigh your medical needs. If you have a locked drawer that only you have access to (ideally metal) with a note of how many you have and to periodically check the quantity. The employee in question does not need to know you are on these – are they concerned they’ll go looking for pills regardless of who they think has some or not?
      Would another option be for you to store them on a different floor – again in a locked cupboard?

      1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        Technically my desk drawer locks but frankly anyone with a paperclip and a basic knowledge of lock picking can get into them (ask me how I know…). I’m disabled so they do need to be within reach, otherwise yeah I’d lock them in the boot of my car as an easy solution.

        I think, based on responses here – by the way thank you all for being helpful! – that a locked container in my bag is the solution. I’ll make sure the bag comes with me wherever I go.

        1. Storm in a teacup*

          I would recommend locking the container in your drawer but keeping it with you when not at your desk.
          Our UK law for healthcare settings to store controlled drugs is in a locked cupboard, inside a cupboard (attached to a wall) in a locked room. Basically the more levels you add the better but the truth is if someone really wants access they’ll get to them.

    9. CatCat*

      I’d tell them, “That won’t be possible. It’s inappropriate to ask folks here to not carry medicines they have been prescribed for their own medical conditions.”

      And leave it at that.

      It’s unreasonable to burden other employees with this. That manager can work with their own employee to see what solutions may make recovery easier in the work context like working from home, more frequent breaks, differing hours, whatever other ideas the employee may have that are NOT “others cannot have their medical prescriptions at work.”

      1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        Ooh, that’s genuinely an angle I hadn’t thought of! This manager is a great guy who I have a lot of time for (he never logs daft IT tickets) so I’ll have a chat with him about letting whoever this is work from home. Heck, I’ve got some spare laptops I can donate and I’m REALLY sympathetic to these kind of struggles so setting it up and getting the VPN sorted and all…yeah, I can make sure IT help out.

        1. Artemesia*

          Working from home is likely to be far more dangerous for a person recovering from addictions than being at work with other people. But not the OP’s problem. Reasonable is not openly displaying such drugs; any ban on needed medications is unreasonable.

      2. Miranda*

        Recognizing that OP knows her work culture and management the best, it kinda sounds to me like this other employee’s manager or the HR team is trying to do their bending-over-backwards best in supporting the employee in recovery and hasn’t thought any of this through. And/or have no grasp on how many employees may quietly be taking this type of medication. I have worked with many, many teams like this, who really needed a push to realize that (for the most part) if you can’t do it for everyone, then you can’t do it for one person, no matter how much you like a person or want to support a person. Basically, what you wrote is exactly what someone needs to say to this HR/management team….ideally, it would be Director of HR saying it but it also sounds like HR may be the issue here?

        1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

          No worries :) basically we tend to only bring in HR when we need their clout – which they have a lot of – it’s more the culture here to try and work things out between teams/managers first.

      3. PollyQ*

        1000000% agree. As a manager, you should be pushing back on this for all employees. It is not remotely reasonable to ask people to go without prescription medications that they need. Someone needs to go back to the addicted employee and tell them, “No. You are responsible for your own behavior. No one else should be making a sacrifice because of your addiction.”

    10. Artemesia*

      This is entirely inappropriate. If you need such painkillers then the most the workplace should be able to dictate is that they not be kept visible, be taken in the presence of others or kept in the desk. No way do you get to suffer because of someone else’s addiction. Schools pull this crap where kids can’t even have a couple of midol during their period because of liability nonsense BUT as an adult with a medical need, your office should back off here. They might have rules about how to manage opiates in the workplace, but it is not their business assuming you don’t run machinery if you do or don’t have your medical products available.

    11. Observer*

      Do I hide my meds and tell them I don’t bring them in anymore?

      Hide your meds and refuse to discuss it.

      I say hide your meds because if this person is at a point where he’s worried about the temptation they present, I’d have to worry about them stealing, or trying to steal, your meds. That’s a bad outcome for everyone.

      their manager has approached me and the other managers on this floor to ask that we make sure none of our staff carry strong (I.e. opioid) painkillers to work as one of their staff has recently requested they be removed as they are getting treatment for an addiction to them

      In general, I have somewhat mixed feelings about this. On the one hand no one should be carrying these kinds of medications into the office without real necessity anyway, so this doesn’t seem like an unreasonable request. On the other hand, if someone actually does need to have this stuff they shouldn’t need to justify it, especially not to someone who has not authority over them / their work. And on the third hand, I am glad that the supervisor is trying to be supportive of their employee.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        Yeah, my feelings have been alll over the place on this one. Just fired off an email to the manager basically offering a full laptop setup with required software installed so whoever this is can work from home while getting treatment. I won’t even charge it to his cost centre (I got a few spares)

    12. RagingADHD*

      This is incredibly inappropriate to ask.

      Anyone who needs prescription medication with them during the day also has a legitimate medical need, and the struggling employee’s needs do not supersede them.

      Of course, knowing that someone is tempted to steal their coworker’s meds is an excellent reason to keep them locked away, and management should make sure that all employees have a secure, private place to lock up their personal valuables or medication during the day. The other employees should also avoid storing meds at work of at all possible.

      The employees as a whole should also be warned that if they need any kind of precription, they should keep track of their pill count, not bring more than they will need during the day, or perhaps keep their doses on their person.

      I have sympathy for the employee, but the best and most appropriate way to help them is to make sure their coworkers are empowered to take good care of themselves.

    13. Your Local Password Resetter*

      I think hiding your meds and pretending you don’t bring them is way too likely to backfire when people eventually find out. Working with the other manager to get everyone what they need seems like a much more workable solution.

    14. recovering opiate addict*

      As someone in recovery from heroin addiction (almost 2 years!), I would never ask a coworker to not bring the medications they need to work. I empathize with this person’s situation, but from the perspective of someone in recovery, part of navigating recovery is learning what you can control and what you can’t. Not that that last sentence is relevant to my actual advice on how to deal with this situation, but I wanted to share my POV as someone who has been through it. If I was in the coworker struggling with addiction’s shoes, I think a more reasonable boundary would be a suggestion to refrain from taking these medications in front of other coworkers. There’s absolutely no shame in taking a prescription painkiller, but I could see how someone who is in early recovery could struggle with watching that, and generally stepping away to take a medication somewhere more private isn’t a huge inconvenience (though there could of course be exceptions).

      Anyways, in terms of what you should do in response to this manager’s request, it depends a bit on your relationship with the manager. If I were in your shoes, I would just find a larger non-descript container like a pencil box and put the packets of your medication in there. If I’m understanding correctly, the meds come on small sheets and you push the individual pill out, so you could carry around the sheet in a container and then put that container in your bag or desk. I am on a maintenance medication that I have occasionally had to bring to work and usually I do something to conceal the bottle like put it in a pouch. There hasn’t been an issue. If anything, the prescribing doctor is the person who has stressed the importance of securing my medication to me because if anything were to go missing, it’s not always possible to replace it as a controlled substance. Anyways, if you act naturally I doubt anyone would get on your case. I do think it’s probably in your best interest to lock them in your desk or somewhere secure when they aren’t on your person, but that’s up to you. If there is still an issue and you get reprimanded for bringing your medication to work, at that point you should go to HR and explain why this policy is not possible for you. Like others are saying, you are well within your right to go straight to HR but it sounds like you want to try other options before you resort to that step.

      1. RagingADHD*

        OP is the manager, and the request came from their peer. The peer is the manager of the employee in recovery.

        So OP has a role in setting policy for their direct reports, as well as dealing with their own needs around having meds available for themselves.

        1. recovering opiate addict*

          I see. I understood the manager was a peer, not OP’s manager. My advice for how OP should handle their medication still stands. Since the other manager is a peer who OP seems to have a collegial relationship with, I think they should just tell the manager that they don’t think it’s a good idea to instruct employees that they can’t bring their prescription medications to work, as this is a matter of their health needs and privacy. They can say that the only thing in their power to do is request (request being the key word, not demand) that employees be mindful of taking medications in front of coworkers and suggest putting them in a secure location. And OP can stress that these things can only be requests and suggestions, as they are uncomfortable with a policy that would interfere with staff members’ ability to manage their own health and a policy like that could lead to privacy and legal issues.

          I’m guessing this manager doesn’t know a whole lot about addiction but wants to support their direct report and doesn’t feel comfortable saying no to a request like that. Ideally he would go back to the employee in question and say that he cannot implement any policies that would interfere with other employees’ health, but that he would he happy to discuss ways to support their recovery like flexibility in their schedule or access to other resources like EAP (though I’m not sure that’s a thing in the UK). Regardless, Keymaster doesn’t need to worry about how that conversation is handled. Their role in this is to advocate for themself and their employees.

          1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

            Bit late, but honestly thank you for your input. I came off morphine several years back and that was bad enough (I’m on other opiates for pain now).

            You’re right in that the manager of whoever this is doesn’t know much about addiction recovery but the good news is he’s gone for my idea of giving a WFH setup free of charge to the person recovering.

            When I was coming off morphine I had horrible cramps, sweats and probably wouldn’t have been able to function at work. It was one of the few good points of being unemployed.

    15. Koala dreams*

      I don’t think the employer has any business deciding which medications employees should bring to work, and as a manager on the same level as the other manager, you have a duty to push back, and/or involve HR.

      Meanwhile, some ideas until the issue get resolved. Is the idea that employees who need their medications should apply for an exemption, or that they should work from home? Hopefully you can work from home! Pharmacies often sell unmarked medicine boxes for travel, if you need to go to the office you can put the pills in one of these. There are also pill dispensers with days of the week on them, but they are usually see through.

      Good luck! I hope it gets resolved quickly.

    16. JSPA*

      Lying is likely to be a firing offense. They are not allowed to pit essential accommodations against each other, however. I’d bet it makes sense for you to document yours as an essential accommodation, and come to an agreement RE how they need to be stored and secured.

  9. avacadotaco*

    I think I need to leave my job. But is anyone happy right now? Are there any employers that aren’t super dysfunctional at the moment? I can’t tell if I’m in a “grass is greener” situation.

    1. What Is Sleep Even*

      I quit for a new job about two months ago, and am pretty happy with both the work and the employer. I just ran into a former coworker this week and got caught up, and nothing I heard made me interested in going back. No harm in looking around!

    2. Redaktorin*

      I like my job fine. The dysfunction is all fairly mild stuff related to high workloads and strict deadlines, but I trust that even the people who annoy me are doing their best.

      If you’re feeling down enough that you think all workplaces are “super dysfunctional,” that’s actually a strong sign that you either need out or have some mental health stuff to address. (I know a couple people who felt a lot better about work as a concept once their depression was acknowledged and treated. No judgment there.)

    3. Not So NewReader*

      Define “happy”.

      If happy looks like, “no one screamed at me today”, then you just need a new job period.

      But if happy looks like “not bored out of my mind”, then you have the luxury of looking around to see what is out there and see if you can actually get something better for yourself.

      For me, if I can say the sentence, “I think I need to leave my job” that stands alone as enough. I tolerate too much for too long and should have started searching a while ago.

    4. Chili pepper Attitude*

      I started a new job a few months ago and love it! I left a very poorly managed place so I know dysfunction. There is no dysfunction at the new job, only normal human interaction. I hope you look and find something better!

    5. Your Local Password Resetter*

      I’m basically fine here.
      The company isn’t doing well and the plague isn’t helping, but management is mostly sensible, the work is decent, and my coworkers are likable.

      If you think you need to leave, it’s worth looking around to see what else you can get.

    6. Green Goose*

      I think a lot of people are going through this. It could be helpful to really understand what you would be losing out on if you left or stayed. For example, is there something really unique to your workplace that you like that you can’t replicate? (The people, the type of work, the work-life balance) And are there things that are holding you back by staying that won’t change?

    7. Waiting on the bus*

      So I take it you are unhappy and working for a super dysfunctional employer right now? If you can leave, you should. You shouldn’t be unhappy for 40+ hours a week.

      At OldJob I was truly miserable for a few months after my (awesome) manager left. What got me out of it was the realisation that I COULD leave. Staying or looking for something else was my choice. Just knowing that helped me feel less miserable and powerless.

      I’m now 2 years at CurrentJob, which is fantastic. Interesting work, an awesome manager who supports me, advancement and training opportunities, generous raises offered proactively with changing responsibilities, great benefits, work life balance. I enjoy work now!

      If nothing is tying you to your current job and you’re miserable it always pays to look for something else. If you have the luxury of staying at your current job even if it sucks, you can also be picky and look for a good employer. They DO exist, promise.

    8. Aggretsuko*

      Probably depends on your industry/field on that answer. I’m pretty sick of what I do on a daily basis, but my employer overall is good regarding benefits and safety and other places are not so much, so I put up with it.

    9. Chauncy Gardener*

      I started a new job in the spring and it’s been great! No politics, fully remote, excellent team. If I’ve learned one thing from reading AAM, it’s that there is no harm in looking for a new job. Follow all the great resume and interview advice here and I bet you’ll land a job in a much better environment for you. Life is too short to be miserable at work.
      Good luck!

    10. Paquita*

      My company is great. My supervisor not so much. I am transferring to a different group in my department and I think my stress levels will go way down.

  10. Great Beyond*

    “Tim” is in charge of managing the volunteers. He was out on medical leave and another manager “Liz” was briefed on what to do when Tim’s gone. I work with Tim, yet I wasn’t in the briefing. Tim had a volunteer coming in, “Pam”.
    Pam came into the office to talk to me- Liz was there and another coworker. I had to leave on time, so I let my boss know that I was going.

    When my boss left for the night, she set the alarm to the building, however, Pam was still in the back working and my boss didn’t know. When Pam left, she accidentally set the alarm off. Someone was still there from another department and turned it off.

    Apparently it’s my fault because I didn’t tell my boss that Pam was there in the back still working. My boss created the work schedule for the volunteers- shouldn’t she already know who is/isn’t there? Liz also saw Pam- she could have spoken up as well.

    I just feel like I’m being blamed for her oversight. I should have told her, but I had some family stuff going on. My boss hides in her office and doesn’t always know what’s going on.

    Tim knew what happened because Pam contacted him and a girl that works with Pam said that my name was brought up as well. Tim didn’t tell me anything- he just said that my boss should have checked the back before she left, but I feel like he’s bashing me behind my back.

    I feel like the scapegoat.

    Any thoughts?

    1. Filosofickle*

      My question is, what does it mean to you to be scapegoated? Do you have anything beyond a feeling that you’re being “bashed”? It sounds like one person thinks it was your fault, but there that there weren’t any consequences or reprimands and the person got out just fine. A mistake was made, no harm done. I would set it aside.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      If this is an isolated incident of blaming you, then I’d let it go.

      Where I see a problem here is that everyone else seems to know the story and know that it’s “your” fault.

      Is this a boss that runs around and tells everyone but the “offender” what the “offending” person did wrong?
      If yes, I know it’s tough to be more emotionally mature than your boss.

      So what I would do in this instance is check in with the boss each night when I left. “There’s x number of people left in the building.

      I had a boss who would inform you what your job was by complaining to everyone else that you weren’t doing it.
      One night I left a door unlocked. We were supposed to leave it unlocked for another employee who needed access. The next day the grapevine was running with how I did not lock this door. By then I had seen this happen so many times, I just decided that I would wait for her to come tell me to lock the door. She never did.
      I continued to leave the door unlocked for my cohort. smh.
      Some of this stuff amounts to nothing. In my situation I had a boss who loved drama and upset so much that even something as simple as an unlocked door was sufficient material for her to get her required daily allotment of drama and upset.

    3. RagingADHD*

      The alarm went off briefly, and someone else turned it off. Why is this such a big deal that anyone would be scapegoated in the first place?

      Were the police automatically called, or does the alarm company charge a penalty for resetting false alarms, or something? I can’t figure out why there’s a blame game at all if there was no harm done.

    4. Sleeping Late Every Day*

      My immediate thought is that you need sign-in and out sheets for staff and volunteers, accessible to security staff OR in a place where anyone can (and should) check it if they are the one locking up.
      Maybe suggest this as a pro-active thing to show it was an organizational issue, not a personal one.

  11. The Fat Lady*

    Home for the holidays and my family is stressing. me. out.

    I am up for a big promotion in 2022. My reviews are excellent and in many ways I’m already doing the core duties of the job. But my family keeps insisting I won’t get the promotion unless I lose weight. (It is to a more client facing role in a white collar job.)

    Content Note: numbers

    I’m about a size 24/26 (American). I’ve been told I carry it well and don’t look my weight, but I am definitely and visibly a fat lady. I trashed my metabolism (to say nothing of my mental health…) dieting extensively throughout my teens/20s, so “just cutting out sweets” isn’t going to do much.

    I don’t know if it’s the stress, holidays, or whatever, but I’m concerned that my family is right and I won’t be promoted unless I get skinny.

    Has anyone else gotten promoted while being visibly fat?

    1. Freelance Anything*

      Yes. People get promoted when Visibly Fat.

      I really don’t like your family in this.

      You’re excellent at your job and, presumably, consistently well presented.

      Sure, there are people in the world as judgemental and fat-phobic as your family appear to be. But if you haven’t encountered it at your work so far, there’s no reason to presume it’s a factor now.

      Someone else may be able to articulate this point better than me; I am a little distracted by my own rage at your family for saying this to you.

    2. John Smith*

      I’ve not myself as I’m quite skinny, but there are plenty of larger people who get promoted all the time (my mother is one). Unless you’re job requires some specific aesthetic, such as an airline steward, model etc (even then it’s crappy imho – personality counts more), then I wouldn’t worry. If they do refuse to promote you because of your size, that says a lot about your employer. Don’t worry, enjoy your holiday and think of a few humourous putdowns to shut your family up! :)

    3. fueled by coffee*

      Your family are being horribly mean and rude to you. You do not have to lose weight for a promotion, that’s absurd.

      I don’t want to discount that fatphobia is a systemic bias that exists in our society, but how have you felt you’ve been treated by your company in general? Do you they appreciate your contributions (sounds like it, since they’ve effectively had you take on the job duties for the new role and you’ve been getting great reviews!)? Do you feel stigma from *them* related to your size? Regardless of whether or not you get the promotion, I’d evaluate whether or not you feel valued by your company in deciding your next career move.

      Whether you decide to try to lose weight or not is a personal decision that has nothing to do with your job, unless you’re, like, a professional wrestler.

      1. The Fat Lady*

        My company is… Eh… Hit and miss, I guess?

        I work for a large (very large) MNC. My direct supervisors have always really enjoyed having me on their teams and have been supportive of me.

        The folks above them have been a mix. I’ve gotten compliments on my work from people high up (VERY high up) in my company. But I’ve also gotten coded/not so coded feedback from people in more senior positions (i.e., stuff like my personal presentation “needs improvement”, I could be more energetic and show more effort (which we all know is corporate speak for lazy), comments on how we can’t “look sloppy”, etc…).

        What’s concerning to me is that these coded comments all but stopped during covid, when we were wfh. Once the top management couldn’t see what I looked like, suddenly the concerns about sloppiness and lack of energy stopped.

        1. Lucy Skywalker*

          As I said in reply to another comment on this thread, fat people are one of the few groups that people still think it’s acceptable to discriminate against. But fortunately, that seems to be changing.

    4. Dark Macadamia*

      It’s possible that fatphobia could affect how you’re perceived at work, but it sounds like you’re doing great and your boss knows it, so there’s no reason to believe you MUST lose weight to get your promotion. Keep doing well at work, take care of your body in whatever way works best for you, and if possible shut down the body talk from your family – you don’t have to engage with them about YOUR body at all, but you’re justified in telling them it bothers you that they’re discrediting your professional skills/effort like this if you want.

    5. Potatoes gonna potate*

      I too always had this fear and reading articles that cited studies weren’t very helpful.

      My BMI is around 39-40 which is considered morbidly obese. I mean I don’t feel I look it? but w/e. I’m 5’3″ and have always been 200 lbs +.

      That was never ever an issue at my last job. I got promoted several times.

      1. Potatoes gonna potate*

        *was in a rush and wanted to add:

        your family is full of idiots. Do any of them have a career?

        BTDT – pretty much made to feel like I wouldn’t amount to anything b/c I wasn’t slim.

        Also, echoing others sentiments: you could replace “fat” with anything else…being female, being a certain ethnicity, skin color, etc and th advice won’t change. Any struggles I had at work, legit or otherwise, none of them had to do with my weight and looks.

        1. The Fat Lady*

          I’m about the same height… And the last time I was less than 200 lbs I was literally in middle school. Lol.

          My family all have big and “prestigious” careers. My dad and stepmom were in my field before they retired, so it’s especially hard when they tell me that I look unprofessional and they would never have put me in front of a client.

          1. Sleeping Late Every Day*

            Your Dad and stepmom are shits. Sorry, but they have a much bigger issue with their personalities than you do with your size. I think they’re just hitting below the belt to get you to lose weight, by attacking something that’s important to you. My mother did similar things – and tried to say it was because she cared about me. Nope, she was just ashamed to have a fat daughter. It took me decades to tune out those comments and separate them from her good points.

        2. Lucy Skywalker*

          The problem with this comparison is that biological sex, ethnicity, skin color, etc. are things that one can’t change. Weight, however, can be changed, and so many thin/fat people think that fat people are fat because they choose to be. They assume that they are lazy and lack willpower, which are not qualities that one wants in an employee.
          What these thin/fit people don’t realize is that it’s not easy to lose weight, especially if you work at job where you have to sit on your butt for 8 hours a day. (I know all about it- I was underweight or borderline underweight for the first 25 years of my life, and then once I got a job that required me to sit at a desk all day, I began to gain weight, and I am now overweight.) The only healthy and effective way to lose weight is to meet with a registered dietician and make major changes to your diet and exercise routines. However, this is not a realistic option for many people, as it requires lots of time, effort, and money that a lot of people simply don’t have.
          So yeah, fat people are the one group that it’s still acceptable to discriminate against (though thankfully, that is changing).

    6. Not A Manager*

      I’d like to suggest that you ask a different question than “has anyone gotten promoted while being fat?” (Spoiler: yes, they have.) The real question is what you or your family think will be gained by speculating on this now. You’re up for promotion. Presumably any decision will be made long before you could lose any significant amount of weight anyway. Even if your family were correct (they are not), there’s no action item here. So what’s their real agenda in telling you that you won’t get promoted?

      It sounds to me like you don’t want to burn your bridges and exit in flames of glory. That’s fine. Maybe you could say to them, “Look, I don’t agree that my weight will keep me from getting this promotion. But let’s say you’re right, and I’m too fat to be promoted. I’m not going to lose enough weight to change my entire office image in a few months, so why exactly do you keep beating this drum?” My guess is they will shift to health concern trolling or something else. Listen to them once, and then say, “We’ve established that I will either get this promotion or I will not get this promotion. I’d like to enjoy the holiday, so I’m declaring a moratorium on all weight talk this week. Thanks!”

      To be honest, I’m not sanguine that this will help much. I suspect there’s a reason that you did all that binge dieting as a kid, and it’s spelled f a m i l y. I send you warm wishes for the holidays, best wishes on the promotion, and hope that you will find a systemic way to address the difficult aspects of your family relationships.

      1. Observer*

        The real question is what you or your family think will be gained by speculating on this now.

        I don’t think that’s useful question at all. What they are saying is not actionable nor reasonable in any case.

        Maybe the family has an agenda, which is something the OP should ignore. Maybe they are just running off their mouths without thinking. Or they are folks who have incredibly unrealistic and unreasonable expectations around weight loss. (If they are the ones saying “just cut out sweets”, that’s highly likely.)

        In all of these cases, the best thing that the OP can do is to shut the conversation down and / or walk away. Because she’s not going to change their minds, so the best thing she can do is to protect herself from the negativity.

    7. Stoppin' by to chat*

      Honestly, I would leave. This is happening now? Then I say leave. I read this question less about work and a promo, and more about boundaries. Who tells a family member they are too fat to get a promo?! That tells me there are serious boundary issues, and you do not have to deal with that. In case you needed to hear that, you are a person unto yourself, and you are deserving of respect regardless of your clothing size! Seriously, who speaks to someone that way?! Please push back or leave, or whatever you need to do. Your employer has shown you by the good reviews and discussions of promos that your size is not an issue, and no one should speak to a family member that way. I mean, of course people do (my own parents are very boundary-blind), but I hope you know you do not have to stay and be spoken to that way.

      And good luck with the promo!

    8. Redaktorin*

      My size is pretty average these days, but yes, I noticed people were at work nicer to me and saw me as more competent when an eating disorder kept me skinny. I’m sure the difference would be more extreme if I were fat now.

      That said, people talking to me like this is what triggered my eating disorder. Your family needs to lay the F off immediately.

    9. Double A*

      I feel like you could ask, “Has anyone gotten promoted while female?” There are absolutely biases against women that hold us back. But…you can’t think you can change something fundamental about yourself to address other people’s bigotry.

    10. Artemesia*

      One of my friends is fat — clearly well overweight — and also doesn’t do a great job making herself attractive e.g. her hair could use some work, her clothes are pretty dumpy. She has had a wonderful career, earns a ton and was promoted last year. She is assertive, competent, confident and it works for her. She is routinely sent abroad to trouble shoot. There is nothing about her style that projects ‘I am inferior so exploit me’ —

      I think there is prejudice in the workplace around weight and it MIGHT well affect your promotion, but I’d put my focus on being a well regarded presence in the workplace and making sure your successes and competence are highly visible. Is there anything you are doing that tells your managers that you will accept doing the work and not getting the promotion? Have you had the conversation about ‘I’m doing the work, when can I expect to see the promotion.’ Project confidence around the promotion and your expectation for it. AND now is the time to be job searching — the market is hot, you are good and there is a certain aura that comes with deciding you are going to move on when the time is right if you are not treated well where you are. No rush. But get materials in order and start seeing what else is out there. Don’t hint at it at work, just be quietly effective in beginning your search. And maybe there is something better for you out there. I know someone who just left a job she loves for a 35% raise and a tens of thousands signing bonus because she didn’t get the promotion she deserved. She had no trouble finding the better job with great benefits and path for further promotion. Her boss was shocked and upset because ‘we really need you.’ Yeah, shoulda thought of that.

      And I hope your family shuts up about it. They made their point, you shouldn’t have to hear about it again. Deciding to lose weight and whether what it takes is manageable for you and worth it to you is your call and you should make clear to your family that you don’t want to hear any more about it — they have had their say. Sorry it is being laid on your for the holidays.

      1. Artemesia*

        To re-emphasize that DO NOT ACCEPT your family talking about this further this holiday. They cool it or you leave. ‘I do not want to hear another word about my weight, what I eat, what foods are fattening, on this visit. NOT ANOTHER WORD.’

    11. Observer*

      My reviews are excellent and in many ways I’m already doing the core duties of the job. But my family keeps insisting I won’t get the promotion unless I lose weight.

      Unless there is something about your company culture that is missing from the context, your family is out of their minds.

      Has anyone else gotten promoted while being visibly fat?

      The main thing you need to think about when you’re in a more client facing role is how you are dressed. Stuff needs to fit right (not tight, not looking like an oversized potato sack either), needs to be appropriate for the role and needs to look pulled together. That’s obviously true at any size, so I doubt I’m saying anything you don’t already take into account.

      Personally, as someone in your size range, I find that more structured clothes work much better than stuff like sweat suits. And I avoid very drape-y fabrics.

    12. the cat's ass*

      I am also a Large Woman, and i have never had a problem with getting promoted. I think I’ve gotten some coded fat phobic comments in my career but I have tried to look innocent and respond, “what do you mean by that (eg, don’t look sloppy)?” Batting that back at people is always educational. And i believe another AAM LW had a similar issue after having a great relationship with a boss while WFH which cooled considerably when LW RTO. There needs to absolutely no place forth is in workspaces, or for that matter, around the holiday table. I’m also annoyed with your fam for their blatant fat phobia and lack of support. I’m wishing you the best!

    13. Becca D.*

      Yes. Multiple times. I am fat, have been a (UK) size 24 since I was 17 and am now 45. It has not affected my ability to do my job or to get promoted because I do it well. Fatphobia is certainly a thing but it is not automatically the case that a fat person can’t get promoted/get the job/get whatever they are aiming for.

      You are doing a great job. You are up for this promotion because you deserve it. Don’t let them get in your head with this crap!

    14. Chaordic One*

      Of course people get promoted while being visibly fat. Several people, including Artemesia, have noted that sometimes a fat person might have some depression or possibly self-esteem issues that prevent them from presenting themselves in their best light. You haven’t really said anything to make me believe that you that you have any of these issues, but just in case you do, here’s a reminder of what you need to do. This is just common sense really.

      You don’t need to lose weight, but do be clean and wear clothes that fit (not too tight or squeezed-in), wear clothes that are clean and ironed, wear a bit of makeup (not a lot) and maybe some attractive jewelry (if you’re facing the public and that’s your style). Then relax and focus on your customers and doing your job.

    15. Scooch*

      Of course it’s possible it might affect your chances but so could anything about you if the deciding manager takes a dislike to it. Be it long hair, your accent, whatever. As someone of a similar size to you I would say fatphobia in the workplace is definitely a thing, and maybe it will affect a career in certain ways, but plenty of fat people make it and are a roaring success. If you’re bothered about your weight that’s a separate issue, and if you’re happy in your skin that’s great too. Family often think the holidays are ‘the season of tough love home truths’ when really they should just enjoy your presence!

    16. Invisible Fish*

      Tell the fam to take a long walk off a short pier- maybe a dunk in some waves will help them to snap out of this foolishness. If they don’t have supportive, positive things to say, then they don’t have anything to say. You deserve better than this. Pick up and go if they focus on your body/appearance, and then focus on doing right by yourself so you can kick butt and get that promotion.

    17. Not So NewReader*

      Size 24? Uh, plenty of people are more than that. Not trying to minimize your concerns but to point out that you are very much not alone here. Tell your fam, “How do all these other people get jobs and get promoted in spite of extra pounds.”

      I guess your fam had to hunt around to find something negative to say and this is what they landed on. Ask them, why they had to find something negative to say, why couldn’t they just wish you well and let the rest go?
      You may want to stop sharing this type of info with them.

    18. RagingADHD*

      I’ve never really worked on a promotion track, but I’ve had/worked with plenty of managers, VPs, and senior partners who were visibly fat women.

    19. marvin the paranoid android*

      What I would say is that your family is just being cruel. Maybe you are likely to face fatphobia at work. So what? How is that your problem to solve? This is as inappropriate as suggesting that an openly gay or trans person stay closeted for the sake of their career (sadly something that also happens). You know that fatphobia exists. You know that extensive dieting has taken a toll on your health already. Making you feel stressed about it isn’t going to help anything. If they really care about you, maybe they should be campaigning to end fatphobia instead of trying to bully you into changing yourself. I’m sorry they’re treating you this way.

    20. Chauncy Gardener*

      Oh dear. I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this.
      Your family sucks and THIS, dear OP, is why you had an eating disorder when you were younger (in my very humble opinion). They clearly haven’t improved nor have any inkling that they are the reason for the disorder and the subsequent extra pounds. They sound absolutely beastly.
      They need to stfu and if they won’t, I strongly urge you to depart posthaste to surround yourself with people who truly love you.
      Good luck and I’m sure you’ll get that much deserved promotion!!

    21. Lucy Skywalker*

      Yes, fat people can be promoted, as long as they are competent at their jobs, just like thin and fit people. Look at Chris Christie, for instance. His obesity didn’t prevent the citizens of New Jersey from electing him governor. He was elected because voters perceived him as being competent. So my advice to you is to work as efficiently and be as productive as possible so that you will impress your employers to the point that they won’t care about your weight.
      I realize that Christie was often the target of hurtful and offensive fat jokes during his time as governor, and that you also may encounter jerks in your job who fat-shame you as well. But just try not to worry about what the jerks think of you, because they’re jerks (unless it gets to a point where it becomes harassment, in which case you should talk to HR because that’s discrimination). Instead, just focus on doing your job effectively.

  12. No Longer Gig-less Data Analyst*

    I posted here a few weeks ago about being unhappy with my current job because I really don’t enjoy the work, we are understaffed/undertrained, and my new manager is in so far over his head I don’t know if he’ll ever completely rally. I was feeling guilty because everyone was so wonderful about my medical leave for cancer surgery earlier this year, but got some comments about needing to put myself first that really resonated.

    An old co-worker wo is now Director level at a former employer lost someone on their team and asked if I would be interested in applying. We had a 30 minute interview scheduled and would up talking for 3 hours. By the next business day I had a formal job offer with a Project Manager title, a 40% pay increase over what I make now, and in incredible 60% pay increase over what I was making when I left the company back in August 2019. I’ll be working in data driven process improvement and change management, which is totally in my wheelhouse and in an industry that I am very well-versed in.

    Things have been very rough in a number of ways since 2019, but this is the first time where I really feel like next year is going to be a personal and professional success story. Thanks to everyone who encouraged me to look elsewhere – it worked out so much better than I could have possibly imagined!

    1. Not So NewReader*

      I’d wish ya “happy new year” but you already got this one. ;) Congratulations! Thanks for sharing your very good news.

  13. John Smith*

    What, does your boss think you’re building security and staff monitor? This sounds like the same backwards logic my boss uses. It was down to your boss to ensure she was the last one in the building before locking up. Blaming you is just typical bad boss behaviour. You could have mentioned there are other people about, but that requires preempting what your boss is or is not thinking, and that way leads to insanity.

  14. Anon for today*

    I took this week off because I had too many vacation days that I would lose at the end of the year. I realized yesterday that I was working from the dentist’s chair because my colleagues didn’t plan ahead and my boss doesn’t know what I do. My grandboss has made comments recently about people letting vacation take priority over work. It’s the corporate culture. I can’t quit without something lined up that has good health insurance but I’m burnt out. Should I say something to my boss that something needs to change or just power through until I find something new?

      1. Anon for today*

        It’s a good question…a colleague reached out despite my message saying I was out of the office because someone had dropped the ball. If I didn’t deal with it, my boss would try to help and make a bigger mess. But shows we need to have a better plan for back ups.

        1. Kicking-k*

          I had this very conversation with my boss yesterday. I’m the only person in the org who does what I do. I managed to get sick for a week in mid-December, and ended up cancelling two days of planned leave just because the Christmas break would have been very stressful without a chance to make up some of the lost ground. It’s not great! I do need to work on making it possible to hand off to someone else temporarily, because what if I got sick for longer? I’ve never been the only one in my role in previous jobs, so it didn’t come up.

          1. TPS reporter*

            There should be written plans for truly crucify functions that can’t wait until particular people come back. Vacation is one thing but what if you get hit by a bus or quit? Always have to have a “disaster response” plan. If your boss isn’t spearheading the writing of these they don’t deserve to be a boss. Let them fail.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Power through it. You can’t fix stupid.
      If you aren’t supposed to take vacations then why are you given vacation time. my mind boggles.

    2. Artemesia*

      Say something and ask how your time off can be protected? Don’t hint you might leave. Start the job search because you know it won’t really change.

  15. Janne*

    Are there people who combined driving lessons and a full-time job?

    I’m quite late doing driving lessons because they are expensive in my country (Netherlands) and I just didn’t really have the money before. Now I’m graduating, starting a job on February 1, and in the middle of driving lessons. I’ll probably be doing 2 1-hour lessons a week until April (I’m not the quickest learner in this).

    The earliest lesson that the driving school offers 8am-9am. Then I would be at work at 9:30 which is quite late. Maybe I should do them in the evening, but I don’t think I’ll be able to focus on driving as well, after working all day. I might be able to do one lesson on Saturday but I’d still need to fit in the other one on a weekday.

    It’s a desk job but it’s connected to a hospital lab so it sounded like they have rush days and quiet days depending on when a lot of samples come in. I still have some time to solve this puzzle and it’ll probably help to get to know the job a bit so that I can find out if they expect me to be in early every morning, or to stay late on some evenings, etc.

    I’d like to hear your experiences and I’d also love advice on how to communicate about this with my manager when I start the job.

    1. Storm in a teacup*

      I took driving lessons straight after uni and it was fine. I was lucky it was summer so after work it was still light but most of my lessons were on the weekend.
      If you are ok taking lessons only on weekends or waiting till the spring it’s worth considering that.
      I does help having a few lessons in the evening though so you get confident driving at night

      1. Janne*

        I might ask for just a double lesson on Saturday until the days get longer. Or maybe do them in the evenings and get used to driving in the dark already. Thanks for your advice!

    2. Freelance Anything*

      Can you arrange your driving lessons to be the thing that gets you to work?

      It was common at my college for people to schedule driving lessons that took them from class to home at the end of the day or home to class at the start.

      1. Janne*

        At the moment all lessons need to start at the driving school because of corona measures. Normally at the end of your lesson you drive to the next person’s house, they get in the car and drive you to your home/school/wherever you want to be, but now we’re only allowed to be in the car with the instructor. Hopefully things get better in January and then ending my lesson at work would be a good idea, thanks!

    3. Potatoes gonna potate*

      I got my license “later” in life than typical (age 30). IIRC I did my lessons on the weekends and was able to pass on the first try.

      1. allathian*

        I got my license when I was 32. Luckily the driving school was right next to a commuter train station, so I could easily schedule my driving lessons to fit with working hours. Theory classes were in the evening, after work/school.

    4. fueled by coffee*

      I’m US based, so I’m not familiar with the Netherlands system for driving lessons, but I actually don’t think doing driving lessons in the evenings (especially once you’re no longer brand new to driving) is necessarily a problem — presumably once you have a license you’ll want to be able to drive home from work or to run errands after work or whatever. In (my state in) the US, we also needed to complete a certain amount of driving time at night anyway (when it’s dark) to get a license, and so having an instructor in the vehicle while you get used to driving at night might not be a bad thing.

      In any case, I’d try to schedule as many Saturday lessons as you can, and then perhaps ask your supervisor about this. It sounds like you might have a somewhat flexible schedule(?), so maybe asking for some clarifications about what your expected hours are (even framed as “I’m trying to schedule a regular weekly appointment until April, so it would really help to know the exact details of the schedule”) and see what they say.

      1. Janne*

        You all really convinced me to try evening lessons… it’s a bit of a scary idea for me, but probably a very good learning experience. I agree that I really need to also know how to drive in the dark. And probably I’ll be far enough in my lessons for it at the end of January, at least I hope so. I think I would do my first evening lessons not in evening rush hour but later than that. The driving school is open until 9pm so maybe I’ll just try 8-9pm first. :)

        My schedule will probably have some flexibility but not on busy days, so I’ll mainly need to find out if there’s a pattern to the busy days (e.g. every Tuesday is a busy day) so that I maybe can plan a driving lesson on a quiet day. I’ll ask my supervisor, thanks for writing that sentence because it sounds like a good way to ask this!

    5. LDN Layabout*

      Everyone I know who learnt post uni (and being London based there’s a lot of them) did so with lessons after work, days off or flexing their hours.

      I wouldn’t take it as given that your work would be ok with a late start once or twice a week, but there’s no harm in asking.

      1. Janne*

        Thanks! Nice to hear that I’m not the only one. Most of my classmates did their driving lessons at 18 or even at 17 already so I sometimes feel like the odd one out. Also nice to know that you think asking for a late start is not a bad thing to try.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      I helped a friend practice driving. She was in her late twenties. (I just helped as a friend, I am not a professional instructor.) When we started going out to drive, she was very close to believing she could never learn how to drive. It took her about five months before she went for her license, but we lost a month because of Life! stuff. So your allotment of four months sounds right on target to me.

      I’d like to encourage you to do a mix of times. If you can get out on the road on Saturday mornings, there will probably be less people out and you will feel like you are concentrating better. Going before work is a good idea because as you say, you will be tired after work. HOWEVER. Once you have some lessons under your belt, definitely go after work. You will need to practice how to drive after a full day of work. It would be a good idea to have someone there to help you through that.

      My friend and I practiced going through drive throughs, parking in large parking lots (park so you remember where you left it), driving in and out of small parking lots (different set of challenges), we drove to her doc’s, her day care, her work, her parents, etc. In the end she said there were two more things that she needed. She was glad she drove with her husband as a passenger so she could get used to how men saw things. (I am a woman.) And she said that she wished we drove in the rain more.
      I will say, I told my friend that she was driving home from work and I picked her up at work. (It wasn’t far and I would def take over if she started getting upset. Upset people can’t learn as they are too busy being upset- so no upsets allowed.) This is because it is a challenge in its own way to get behind the wheel when not feeling quite at your best. It’s good to know you can indeed do it.

      1. Janne*

        You’re right, I need to practice in as many situations as I can so that I’m prepared to do it when I’m on my own. In my country only certified driving instructors are allowed to teach and I have a good instructor, so he is already helping me to practice any traffic situation that we have in my city. Practising after work and in the dark will be good for me too. I’ve had 9 hours of driving lessons now, and I just drove on the highway and did a really big roundabout for the first time. It’s starting to get quite fun to do all this so maybe that’s the sign that I am prepared to practice this at night too. Maybe not the first couple weeks of work though, because they will be extra hectic with them training me, especially because it’s a new function and they don’t really know what I’ll exactly be doing yet.

        You sound like a good friend, encouraging and teaching and helping your friend like that. :)

    7. Blomma*

      I did! I got my license around age 25. I paid for lessons through a driving school. They came to my work and picked me up twice a week for about a month. I arranged with my manager to take my lunch early (maybe 10am?) those days. I’d had some experience before this, so it was mostly intended to get some driving practice on actual streets and not in a parking lot.

      1. Janne*

        We only get a 30 min lunch break, but I might be able to ask for a longer break and do a driving lesson then. Thanks for sharing that idea!

    8. Kicking-k*

      Good luck with this and I hope you can make it work. I never passed my test when I was young, and never got to it and in my 40s really regret it, because I have enough childcare and other responsibilities that fitting it around work seems too difficult! (But maybe it isn’t.)

    9. I.*

      The good thing is that people at work will know how time consuming and hard the process can be. I’m also Dutch. I took like 60 lessons, if I remember correctly (maybe more? It was a lot and I’ve blocked out how much it cost me, lol), and it does get a lot easier after a while (when it’s about cementing habits more than active learning). Talk to your instructor too—maybe on Saturdays you practice the complicated stuff, after work they take you to less busy areas and you practice other things that require a lot of time but not that much concentration. Or maybe you do a 2 hr lesson on Saturday and 1 hr during the week. I found 2 straight hours to be very beneficial for my learning.

      I got mine when I was 26 and was working. The upside is that you’ll feel like you have a plethora of free time once it’s done! Good luck!

      1. Janne*

        I tried a 2 hour lesson, but I was very very tired and overwhelmed at the end. But as you say, I could try it later on when it’s more practising and less learning. I hadn’t thought about informing my instructor about the lessons, good idea to do the harder things on Saturday.

        I’ve bought 42 lessons, which is the biggest package that the school offers, and I hope it’ll be enough. I get why you blocked out the cost :D

        I’m very glad you answered my question, really nice to hear from someone who is Dutch too and knows what our driving lessons are like!

  16. Essentially Essential*

    Greetings from the grocery store on Christmas Eve. (help.) Luckily, I usually work the back office, and it appears they have enough people to work on the floor.

    But, this is about Monday. I mostly am in by 5:30a. At 5:45a, the store phone rings. It’s our opening customer service employee, and she’s sick. (Not Covid) Not good timing at all the Monday before Christmas. I hustle to get my daily duties finished, and run downstairs to help run the customer service counter. I was there between 10a and 1:30p. Then, back upstairs to clean up my mess of an office. I was tired, but weirdly not exhausted or in “get me outta here” mode. Just as I was wrapping up things, one of the department heads said to me “You did really well running customer service today.” That compliment meant a LOT. I’m a big believer in the empty/full bucket. It feels like I’ve been emptying out my bucket every single day for the past month and a half, but no one’s filled it. I’ve heard “thank you” a lot, but it gets to feeling empty. That very specific compliment helped get the “bucket” at least 3/4 full, and has helped get me through the rest of this week.

    Just wanted to share how a single, specific compliment can help someone out trememdously.

    1. the cat's ass*

      Thank you for being terrific! As a customer, i had a great interaction with someone like you yesterday, and I told him he was awesome, tipped him $, and then when being checked out by his supervisor, told him how great his employee was.

      Hoping it’s not too terrible today (and that’s why as a previous retail worker, i went yesterday).

    2. Double A*

      I’m glad to hear this! I appreciate the heck out of my grocery store staff.

      I went to the grocery store yesterday and it was packed. I asked for a comment card and wrote a note about how much I appreciate the whole store and how friendly and professional and safe everyone is, and I specifically mentioned a checker who I always enjoy interacting with. I hope it got shared and maybe raised some spirits.

    3. Jean (just Jean)*

      >Just wanted to share how a single, specific compliment can help someone out trememdously.

      So true! Well-deserved praise can lift one’s spirits for a long time.

      1. Jean (just Jean)*

        Egad–I was NOT implying that your department head was giving false praise. You are a rock star because you worked 12 hours straight in customer service, and then tackled your understandably less-than-perfectly organized desk! I was trying to say that it’s so satisfying to have one’s hard work get positive notice. Enjoy it. I hope you carry the compliment around with you and let yourself smile at it every so often.

    4. WellRed*

      A friend recently posted on fb that she called the pizza place she had ordered from to tell them how great the pizza was.

    5. marvin the paranoid android*

      Thank you for sharing this! I’ve been trying to work on providing positive feedback more, because it does make a huge difference when you’re on the receiving end. I think a lot of people will walk away from an interaction thinking “Hey, that person was really great and helpful!” but won’t necessarily make the leap to letting them know. So every time you get a nice compliment, just imagine that it represents another dozen compliments that people were too shy or distracted to share with you :)

  17. Miranda*

    How does one go about being nominated for or winning community-based awards? I read bios of people who have been named something like Top 50 Under 50 in the community or have been nominated for Best Whatever in Industry but I’ve never actually encountered these awards in 15 years of work, besides probably elementary teaching. Are they legit? Do they mean anything? Are these people self-nominating? Are they even verifiable? Just super curious.

    1. Lizy*

      Oh yeah they’re legit. For the ones I’ve known of, other people nominate. Joe Schmo may ask someone to nominate- I honestly don’t know- but no, they’re not self-nominating. For the good ones, they’re pretty good about reviewing and picking qualified winners. Some that I’ve been involved with (tangentially) also require letters of recommendation. It definitely means something, too, as the industries are very reliant on networking and being known. The firm/company will promote it, any networking org will promote it, and words gets around for sure! The ones I know that got best-of or these types of recognition all got promotions, the opportunity to serve on a corporate or non-profit Board, or other career advancement opportunities.

  18. Juneybug*

    I am not sure why anyone would leave their meds out on their desk anyway. It would be simple enough to put them in their desk drawer, lunch bag, purse, coat pocket, etc. But it sounds management is afraid this person will steal meds if they are out in the open. That seems like an overreach of their authority. But I understand why they would want to help their employee.

    An employer’s requirement that employees disclose if they are taking prescribed opioids could violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. It depends on type of job, what are the safety requirements, etc., before a company may be in violation. You could ask them if they have reached out to their attorney to see if they have authority to ask, might be in violation of ADA, etc.

    Congs on your recovery! I hope your co-worker has the same success!

    1. Juneybug*

      Nesting fail – should have been an answer to Keymaster of Gozer about opioids in workplace question above.

  19. Potatoes gonna potate*

    Thanks everyone for helping me on my last post! I felt I was overthinking it, glad to have validation haha.

    So…2 questions:

    Should I adjust my titles and dates from my last job on my resume? In 5 years I went from seasonal to full time staff, senior, supervisor and finally manager. After a layoff at the start of COVID, I took on a senior level role at another company. My senior/supervisor/managerial position did not translate to competent senior level work at another firm. Since then, I’ve been gearing my search towards my *actual* skill level.

    After some reflection and actually talking to a few ex coworkers, it turns out I’m not the only one who struggled with life after our firm. At least one said that their former title (senior manager) meant nothing at most firms and had to take a few steps back in pay and position. There are other examples as well, and these were all hard working, smart, good coworkers.

    2: is it a “red flag” (either for the company or the candidate) that a company doesn’t typically do remote but will do it for the right candidate? This is an industry that can 10000% be done from home. I’m considering self selecting out of the process for that company because I feel like there would be lots of issues there

    1. Not So NewReader*

      For #2. How many people currently work remotely? The answer to that will telegraph your odds of working remotely.

    2. RagingADHD*

      For #2, no. Lots of companies don’t typically do remote. The fact that they have the option means they’re willing to be flexible. That’s a green flag.

      I’m not sure what you plan to change about dates? You worked there as long as you worked there, and you were promoted when you were promoted. No reason to change.

      However, if you find the titles misleading or not reflective of the way titles are used in the market, it makes sense to standardize them. If you’re giving a reference from that company it might help to indicate the internal title as well, to avoid confusion when the reference checker calls them.

      1. Potatoes gonna potate*

        so right now my resume shows that I worked at one company since 2014 and lists each job title and date of when I got promoted, so something like this:

        Staff January 2014-July 2016
        Senior Staff July 2016-July 2017
        Supervisor July 2017-May 2019

        Manager 2019-March 2020, so on and so forth

        The titles are standard but I feel like they’d be misleading. At my former co, you got promoted after a year b/c you knew more about the processes that were getting more and more complicated, and knew the proprietary software. It was more about knowing the company history and soft skills than any hard or techincal skills.

        1. WellRed*

          The titles are what they are. Use the cover letter or interview to highlight why you are a good fit for the new job.

    3. A Wall*

      My unpopular opinion is that anywhere that isn’t letting any and all folks who could be remote just be remote right now if they want to, in the middle of a goddamn pandemic where the literal only public policy we have is “make your own choices to protect yourself,” should be avoided.

  20. Jacey*

    Question for fellow library employees who read/comment here: do y’all ever have patrons who come AROUND the ref or circ desk? I just started a new job in a public library and our patrons come around the back of the desk while I’m working to avoid the giant obvious plexiglass screen that’s there to protect us both from COVID!

    This happens most frequently in the children’s section but it’s adults and kids doing it.

    1. Miranda*

      Not a librarian but I’ve caught myself doing this as a customer and as a coworker, though not to the extent of walking behind someone’s desk (…WTF?). I subconsciously view the plexiglass as a barrier and find myself standing to the side of it so I can talk to the person without it between us. And, like, I KNOW why it’s there, and I respect why it’s there, but my brain still registers it as a wall.

      1. Jacey*

        Interesting… thank you for the perspective! I don’t have that same mental reaction but I do understand it now. Makes more sense than any explanation I could imagine!

      2. RagingADHD*

        Oh gosh, yes, I caught myself doing this at the store the other day and had to readjust.

        It doesn’t help that in a lot of stores around here the card reader is at an angle that’s impossible to use without snaking around the side of the plexiglass.

    2. Aisling*

      Patrons do that all the time. A few solutions- if you’re working on something to find for them, turn the monitor to show them the results so they won’t come around to stand at your shoulder. If you see them start to move before you’re done searching, let them know you’ll turn the monitor to show them when you have the results. You can also remind them about social distancing and, one of my favorites, letting them know that you can’t have them behind the counter due to patron privacy issues since you have library card info in the computer. Say it all nicely and I’ve never had anyone upset with it- though I haven’t worked a public desk since before Covid. Good luck!

      1. Loulou*

        Ironically, the Plexi means I can no longer turn the computer around and show patrons the screen like I used to. It drives me nuts! But obviously every desk is different so I bet your suggestion could work for a lot of people.

      2. Jacey*

        We do have a way to mirror the monitor onto another screen that they can see, but they usually come around the desk before they even start asking a question so I can’t really use this suggestion preventatively. So far I’ve had good luck with just asking them to go back around the desk, but some coworkers have had bad reactions to asking nicely.

    3. Loulou*

      Yes, and we do it ourselves pretty often too because it’s just impossible to hear the patron between the glass, the masks, and our naturally echoey space. I definitely prefer to be the one to come around than the reverse but it’s not great either way.

    4. Daffodilly*

      Time to put some visible sign that it’s off limits. A velvet rope, those seatbelt like things they use to organize lines at the airport, a traffic cone, etc.
      If someone comes around, direct them back to the public side.

      1. Jacey*

        Sadly no room for a rope type barrier in our space but we do have signs! They’re proving useless, as always, lol.

    5. Sandi*

      The plexiglass screens have been found to be useless for Covid, so don’t let that part of it stress you out. Maintaining distance between you is much more important! Maybe try to emphasize that point?

      1. Loulou*

        They are useless in a setting like a classroom or restaurant, but in settings where people are talking with a bank teller, cashier, librarian, etc. face-to-face and at close range they do in fact serve a purpose. Both in terms of blocking droplets/spit and also preventing people from leaning right over the desk and into your face.

        1. Jacey*

          Yeah, that’s my understanding! I don’t know how effective it is when people are already masked but it helps rein in my anxiety, so I’ll call that a win anyway ;)

    6. Jacey*

      Thanks to all for the various suggestions! It honestly helps a lot to know it’s not just my patrons being unusually weird/disrespectful.

    7. Chili pepper Attitude*

      We had the same issue. It is really a safety issue even before COVID. Most patrons are great but we get our share of stalkers and potentially violent patrons and we are taught to keep the desk between us.

      At our public library we did a couple of things to help with this:
      – We got a second monitor behind hours and facing patrons. So they could see what we are doing. It helped a lot.
      – we added a rope on two poles, like the kinds they use to manage lines in banks, and used that at the opening to the desk (only works if the desk is positioned to have an opening)
      – we put up signs that say staff only, most people don’t read the signs but we can redirect them by pointing to the signs
      – we also had to make it a policy we all agreed to, if one staff person routinely invited patrons around the desk, then the patrons will just complain when others don’t let them

      I hope that helps. It’s so much better to keep staff areas just for staff. Safer even when it is not a pandemic. And there is always the problem of 1st amendment auditors – the staff only signs make it clear where then can and cannot go. Google them if you don’t know.

  21. LDN Layabout*

    How did you know it was time to leave?

    This is the first time I’m thinking of leaving a job that… doesn’t suck? It has its issues, but it’s just strange to be in this position where I’m not utterly suck of the job before leaving.

    I have an HR call with new org in the new year to settle a few questions but otherwise, I think I’m gone. On the other hand I also think I’m not excited because I am so comfortable where I am?

    1. Miranda*

      When I was unenthusiastic and/or deeply annoyed by everything on good days. Also, when I forgot about the prestige/benefits of keeping the job when I was making the decision to leave and had to really think hard to remind myself of the reasons to stay vs. leave. (Caveat: I miss the job but don’t regret leaving.)

      1. LDN Layabout*

        Yeah, I’m not at that point yet and I have an offer in hand where I’d be more excited if it were at my current job.

        But there’s no guarantee of promotion and I want more money/responsibility.

        1. Miranda*

          It may be worth having that discussion with your current manager, if you haven’t already. With the job mentioned in my caveat, I didn’t trust my new grandboss because of some historical comments she had made about people with my type of credentials compared to hers, and so I decided to leave without talking through barriers, which mostly included my sort-of-boss (who technically managed my role but was equal to me in the org hierarchy chart and threatened to quit anytime someone told him I didn’t work for him). I don’t regret leaving, but I do wonder what would have happened if I’d talked with my grandboss before giving notice. My actual boss was the type to say “I don’t want you to leave but I’m not going to try to change your mind or stop you.” The only reasons I don’t regret leaving are (1) money, (2) better hours (more or less), and (3) my current job is a means to a professional end that I couldn’t have achieved at my old job…and I already know I’m probably leaving in a few years.

          1. LDN Layabout*

            I’ll definitely have a chat with them, thank you. I assume their hands will be tied because it’s public sector (so they can’t just promote someone) but it doesn’t hurt to try.

    2. the cat's ass*

      For me is was the Sunday blues-where you just can’t stand the thought of going in the next day. When you’re just coasting and doing the bare minimum, or even getting a little sloppy. When you’re using up all of your sick days because you’re sick of your job. When you come in a little late and leave a little early, consistently. When even a good day doesn’t spark you. When you finally bail, that deep validating feeling of relief. Good luck!

      1. LDN Layabout*

        I’ve definitely been coasting more lately :/ part of that is down to the job itself right now (restructure so no big new projects, which traditionally I’d be working on) but part is probably a little bit of burnout.

    3. Elizabeth West*

      When I was bored at work every day. The job wasn’t awful and there were parts of it I really enjoyed, but I didn’t feel like I was being challenged enough and there were long stretches where I didn’t have anything else to do.

      A job doesn’t have to be an AAM nightmare to no longer be the best place for you. If you really want opportunities to grow and learn and there aren’t any, then it’s reasonable to move on.

    4. Mimmy*

      I’m having this quandary myself about my current job. I’m overqualified for my position and have been there much longer than I’d intended. It’s not nearly as bad as some of the jobs I read about on here, but I’m definitely at the point where everything annoys me, and I actually have to remind myself of the good parts. It can be challenging but not always in the ways I want to be challenged. The frequent COVID-induced program changes don’t help either.

      I will be looking for a new job after the New Year, especially given that I’m graduating this spring with a masters related to the field I’ve been trying for years to break into.

    5. Frankie Bergstein*

      This is me too — my job is actually quite good, but I am at the point where pretty much everyone annoys me (and they’re not doing anything that bad! Definitely not unreasonable or socially unacceptable). I’m putting out applications, trying to do a rotation elsewhere, and challenge myself to do my work really fast. I’m also just being easy with myself, just accepting this, because otherwise I’ll obsess over it and talk about it constantly… And there’s enough hard stuff happening in this world right now!

    6. Green Goose*

      I think I actually hit my limit in the past month. I really love aspects of my work but there are too many things that are annoying me, and I have seen former coworkers leave when they HATE our company and I don’t want to be like that. I want to have a warm feeling about my time here, not feel bitter and resentful.

      Here were a few specifics, I got two good raises two years in a row and felt nothing. I know I would have been annoyed if I had not gotten the raises, but it was weird to not get any serotonin when objectively good news came through. I’ve also had my umpteenth go-round of being promised more support but having it fall through. So even though promotions and more money are good, I’m still only one person and I don’t want to continue to have an increased workload as we accumulate more clients but don’t expand the workforce. It’ll be hard to leave and I’m not in a huge rush, but it’s time.

  22. Nacho*

    My company is split into two teams. Half of us support teapots, and half of us support teacups. We do the same overall job, but none of us are cross trained on the other team’s products, so we can’t help each other out. This time of year, the teapot team is extra busy, while the teacup team doesn’t have much to do. The company has seen that Teapots are super busy though, and they’ve decided to require mandatory overtime for everyone, teapot and teacup. I don’t know what the Teapot team is doing, but for us on the teacup team, that means coming in an hour early each day, and sitting around as we still have about 20% less to do than normal.

    Is there any way I can convince my boss to drop the OT for the teacup team?

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Ask questions to cause the manager to really think about this. “Boss, I have an extra hour each day, what would you like me to work on?”

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Heck, ask if there’s any basic tasks you can be trained on to help the teapot team.

    2. Artemesia*

      No idea on that. But what is he thinking in not cross training? I once consulted with a small department that had two peak periods for high work load every year. And they were different for the two halves of the team — AND people were not cross trained. That obvious change transformed the productivity of the office. And it also meant if someone was out or left, people were not blocked from getting things done. We transitioned from chaos to very smooth operation during both peak periods.

  23. MsChanandlerBong*

    I got railroaded out of my job this week. I won’t get into all the details, but suffice it to say that I really got the shaft. After almost six years of never having a performance review, not having any formal employment policies, etc. one of the bosses decided to review everyone. The issue is that this boss has been working for a subsidiary for three years and literally hasn’t worked with any of us the whole time, so he had no idea what changes had been made in his absence. He tried to say my performance was poor based on completely wrong data (e.g. he didn’t know we changed tracking systems, so he just went into the old system to look up my activity reports–those reports only covered half the year, and my output was actually six times higher than what he said it was). When I told him he had the wrong information and sent links to the correct info, he didn’t want to hear it. Just had his mind made up. I got a promotion 3.5 months ago for excellent performance, mind you, and suddenly I am no good. I think the real problem is that I told the bosses that it’s illegal for people to be working off the clock (we had someone constantly working early and staying late but only ever putting down his eight hours, and he’s not exempt), brought up that our pay is often late, and wasn’t comfortable blowing off contractors whose payments were late.

    Anyway, they offered me two weeks of severance, but I had already worked 24 hours this pay period. I’m assuming they have to pay me for those 24 hours since I worked them and put them on my time sheet? I’m guessing they will give me two weeks of pay and say that it includes those 24 hours even though I should get paid for the hours worked and then two weeks of severance on top of that.

    1. Decidedly Me*

      Yes, they need to pay you for those hours. Severance should be on top of that – did they have you sign anything about it?

      1. MsChanandlerBong*

        No, nothing about the severance is in writing. They were only going to give me two weeks of pay, but I told them I want my unused PTO, too. I am not sure if state law would require them to pay it, but it’s in the employment agreement I signed that I am entitled to any benefits I’ve accumulated upon separation. I told the guy that they would expect me to abide by the terms of that agreement since I signed it, and I expected them to do the same thing. So they are supposed to send me a final payment with the severance and the unused PTO.

          1. the cat's ass*

            totally-this sounds like wrongful termination, tho if you work in an at-will state its an uphill battle (don’t ask me how i know). I’m so sorry, MsChanandlerBong, they really suck.

            1. MsChanandlerBong*

              Honestly, I don’t think I’d get anywhere, so I am not even going to bother with a lawyer. I’ll get my severance and PTO and move on with my life.

    2. Alex*

      That really sucks. I hope this turns out to be a blessing in disguise for you, since they sound pretty crappy to work for.

    3. Lifelong student*

      FYI- if you were told that you were not to come back- i.e. terminated at the end of the day- in my state the two weeks severance does not prevent you from filing for unemployment the next day. Since there is a “waiting week” which is not compensated by unemployment that is used up during the first week after termination. You may not get UC for the second week if the compensation counts against your claim- but you essentially do not end up with the “waiting week.”

      1. MsChanandlerBong*

        I freelance on the side and actually make more freelancing than I netted at my FT job. So I am not going to apply for UI because they will just deduct whatever I earn from what I would have earned at my job, and then there will be nothing left for me to get paid. I was planning to leave next month anyway, so I’ve been saving up for the past few months. We have a decent cushion, and I also have my freelance work to do while I think about whats next. All in all, I’m very lucky. I’m just mad because I gave almost six years there and got drummed out for no good reason.

    4. PollyQ*

      Paying employees & contractors late on a regular basis is a bad, bad sign. It suggests that they’re having serious cash flow problems and that they may not be in business that much longer, so this job might have been gone soon even if they hadn’t pushed you out. If there’s anything at all in writing about a 2-week severance, even just an email, then I’m pretty sure that they can’t include the pay for the 24 hours you already worked in it. If they do try to lump it together, I’d think about making a wage claim via DOL. The two amounts shouldn’t overlap. (NAL though, so take that for what it’s worth.)

      1. MsChanandlerBong*

        Yeah, I am not sure what is going on behind the scenes. Revenue is up significantly, but I don’t know how they are doing on expenses/cash flow. I was REALLY upset for one day, and then after one sleepless night, I was like “TO HECK WITH THEM.” I am lucky to have ongoing freelance work and savings in the bank. I tracked my freelance work very closely yesterday and today (time spent vs. amount earned), and I’m making about four times what I was paid hourly at that job, so as long as I can build my freelance business a bit, the only way this will affect me is by giving me less stress. Now I don’t have to be up at 6 a.m., waste time on dumb conference calls, or deal with angry people who want to know why their pay is late.

  24. Andjazzy*

    So, can I get an opinion on this benefit? The job offer i just accepted offers 13 vacation days, 11 holidays. Then, they offer unlimited sick time. They said that this was their response to both the pandemic and the issues that they had with offering unlimited vacation time.

    What do you think of that?

    1. Loulou*

      I’m not sure where you’re located, but in my area that sounds pretty standard *except* for unlimited sick time, which is more generous than I’ve seen elsewhere. Thirteen vacation days is a weird number though! I’m used to seeing increments of 5.

    2. LDN Layabout*

      I’d be asking what the exact rules around sick leave are. E.g. I can take up to 5 days in a row without needing something from the doctor, but if you need a not every time you take sick leave? That’s not a good benefit.

      1. Andjazzy*

        They said you just tell your manager you won’t be in. For up to 5 days at a time, after that they want you to file for short term disability.

        From the person I just talked to it really is unlimited, the union negotiated for this benefit during the pandemic

    3. CatCat*

      I would love unlimited sick time (I hoard both vacation and sick time because I’m afraid of ever needing extended leave over illness or injury, running out of leave, and then losing my job). But like… is it REALLY unlimited?

    4. Alex*

      Sort of average? I have 20 days and unlimited sick time plus 11 holidays plus closure between Christmas and New Year, but I consider that VERY generous.

      The sick time really is unlimited, but if you are going to be out for extended periods of time I do think you need to clear it/tell HR in some way (never had to do it, thank goodness.) If your manager thinks you are taking sick time when you are not actually sick that would be a performance problem.

    5. marvin the paranoid android*

      I also have mostly unlimited sick time and set vacation time. You have to provide a doctor’s note for really long absences (like, months-long) but essentially our union agreement shockingly assumes that we are adults and can handle our own illnesses and other needs accordingly. If your read on the employer is that they trust and respect their employees generally, I would consider it a good sign.

    6. Purple cat*

      13 vacation days is a little light, but if you have full flexibility on the sick time – aka doctor’s appointments scheduled months in advance can use sick time, then it’s not too bad.

    7. Anonymous Luddite*

      In late to add:
      My current job (western US) starts at 10 vacation days, two “floating holidays”, and a personal day plus eight company holidays (memorial day, 4th & 5th of July, labor day, thanksgiving and black friday, christmas eve and christmas day.) Our sick time accrues at one hour of sick time for every 40 hours worked.
      So… you hiring?

  25. Annie j*

    I recently saw the footage of the William Sonoma employee firings on zoom, not unexpected perhaps but definitely depressing, and a sobering reminder that despite what has been said before about workers and employees having more power ultimately the greater power lies with the big corporations because large corporations always have the option of liquidating stock, divesting and reducing staff and I imagine the managers and supervisors there will still get the same bonuses and the CEOs will still make their money somehow.

    1. WellRed*

      I hadn’t heard this though I’m amused that the Better ceo is currently “taking some time off.”

    2. MsChanandlerBong*

      My (now former, as of earlier this week) employer recently scheduled discussions with every employee. They asked us to think about what we like about the job/the way the company is run, what we would change, etc. One of my coworkers said the main drawback is that the pay is below market and he has had one raise in six years even though he was promised (in writing) an annual raise when he started. We all thought some positive change would occur based on our feedback. Instead, they fired my coworker four days before Christmas with no notice because he’s not happy with the pay and they “can’t offer him any better.” Didn’t even let him finish his shift and get paid for the full day.

      1. Observer*

        Good grief!

        I already realized that these are terrible people. I hadn’t realized how STUPID they are. In my opinion that’s a particularly toxic mix. Because at least if you have some brains you realize that SOME bad behavior is actually not in your interest. And while it’s always best if people do the right thing for the right reason, I’d rather they do the right thing purely for self interest than to do the wrong thing.

      2. Paddy O'Furniture*

        and I imagine that when they hire a replacement they’ll suddenly offer him or her better and pay that person more than the person they let go.

    3. Artemesia*

      Yeah while they fired people before the holidays they are giving huge bonuses to the C suite (hard work ruining people’s lives and all ) or so I have read.

  26. Is It Time Yet?*

    I decided in November to retire on March 31st. I’m planning to give my notice when I’m back in the office (literally) in January. Now I’m second-guessing myself. I know they’re going to ask me to stay. I need a buddy to talk me off the ledge whenever I waver.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Retirement is a moment. It’s a moment where you stop doing one thing and start doing another thing.

      Do you know what you are going toward? It’s easier to handle this stuff if you have a clear plan of what is next.
      Armed with a clear plan very few people can talk us into something else.

      1. retired3*

        I like Not So NewReader’s answer. I told my boss that no one ever said on their deathbed they wished they’d spent more time at work. Planning to live a long time, I was aware that there were many years after my retirement. I wanted to hike while I still had the capacity (never regretted this). I wanted work/volunteer work that “gave back.” I was fortunately enough to find part time work I’ve done for 20 years that I feel is socially important. In my volunteer work I’ve made a major environment impact in a place that’s important to me. I’ve had time for relationships. I’ve realized recently by reading comments here that I’ve been able to default to my nocturnal cycle which works better for me. I saw half of my life as working in the 8 to 5 for money and half of my life as doing things I thought were important contributions. I liked my work, even in bad organizations, so it’s not like I was leaving something more than I was moving towards something I’d anticipated.

        Having my part time work in hand made it easier for me to retire (too early for medicare).

      2. Is It Time Yet?*

        Oh, I’ve got a plan for retirement, and good personal reasons for retiring now. The wavering is because I like my company and my co-workers, and it will be even more difficult for them when I leave. I know of other one and maybe two people in the department of 10 who I think will be retiring this year. I wasn’t in the department succession planning, so this will be a shock, and a scramble. I feel bad about that.

        1. retired3*

          You have loyalty on your side of the equation. I doubt that there is loyalty on the other side of the equation. The company will do what is in its best interests; others will do what is in their best interests. You are the only one looking out for your best interest. Going with what No So NewReader said, this is a time to do something and to stop doing something. Friendships/relationships wax and wane, come and go. One of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn is that you have to let something die for something new to be born.

          It’s not your job to save them; it’s your job to save you.

    2. Lizy*

      My husband “retired” about a year and a half ago. (Medically necessary; we’re not even close to retirement age) He had the same “oh crap they need me I need to work” but… now he just gives me crap because he’s “retired” and I’m not.

      It’s a big thing! It’s ok to second-guess. But remember WHY you want to retire, and go forth in retirement joy.

    3. Purple cat*

      A coworker announced her retirement day YEARS in advance and stuck to it. She did stay “one” extra day to keep benefits through the end of the month
      They can ask for whatever they want from you, but you are on control of your own destiny.

  27. the cat's ass*

    So DH got ghosted-TWICE-by a company he was contracted with for 6 months. This was a WFH setup, and they were happy with his work.The first time he finished a chuck of work and then heard nothing for two weeks. He called both his company contact and the recruiter and they got back to him with the next chunk of the project. He finished that and again, silence. Called both the contact (nothing) and the recruiter, who responded that the company wasn’t returning his calls, either. DH considered that grounds to collect unemployment, filed, and using AAM resources, just got a new job starting 1/3/22. He sent a cordial note the recruiters and the company thanking them for the educational work experience/happy holidays,and that he had accepted employment elsewhere, and the recruiters wrote back tho nothing from the original company. Just one of the oddest work experiences ever. Has something like this ever happened to anyone out there?

      1. the cat's ass*

        it was a billable hours thing and if he didn’t have anything to work on/work any hours that week, he didn’t get paid. So he didn’t get paid for a month!

  28. Marsh*

    I think I’m going to get blamed for something that was most likely due to my coworker’s mistake.

    One of my tasks at work is processing payments, which basically involves: 1) Entering a record for the payment. 2) Scanning the check and paperwork to save a digital copy as backup. 3) Depositing the check and adding information about the deposit to the payment record. All this is done in batches since we get big piles of payments in the mail.

    My boss noticed a payment from a few weeks ago didn’t have the deposit info on the record and asked me to add it. In trying to figure out which deposit batch it was in, I realized the check and the scanned backup is missing. So it seems like something happened to the check/backup between me creating the payment record and depositing that batch of payments.

    My new coworker started the week that payment was processed, and as far as I can remember, they were doing all the scanning at the time (since that’s the easiest task to start with). So I think it’s likely that *they* accidentally threw out the check/backup, but can’t know for sure because it was weeks ago.

    I’m not sure what to do. My boss e-mailed the bank to see if the check was deposited, but all things point to it not being deposited and the check being lost. I don’t want to take the blame for something that I have reason to think isn’t my fault, but I can’t prove that it wasn’t my fault so it feels like I can’t say anything.

    1. Turn on KUSC*

      If you know there is a problem hiding it only makes things worse. First, fix the problem. Figure out what part of your process failed to create the problem. Implement the corrective action.

      If you are pretty sure the check is lost contact the source and request a replacement.

      I have found there is an immense amount of power in stepping forward and saying “I made a mistake” when that is the case. Creating a reputation for owning your errors protects you when co-workers blame you for *their* mistakes in the future.

    2. PollyQ*

      Don’t take the blame for it, and don’t say something like, “It must have been colleague!” but do tell your boss what you know.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Agreed. I’d say something like, “Since this is so uncharacteristic of me, I had to back track to see what went wrong and how to prevent it from happening again. I realized that was the week Sue started and she was scanning while I entered the check. I am thinking something went wrong right there and we did not catch it.”
        Maybe there is a way you can count the number of scans and make sure it matches the number of checks.

        1. PollyQ*

          “Maybe there is a way you can count the number of scans and make sure it matches the number of checks.”

          I like this idea! Make counting & double-checking the count after each step part of the process.

    3. Observer*

      I don’t want to take the blame for something that I have reason to think isn’t my fault, but I can’t prove that it wasn’t my fault so it feels like I can’t say anything

      The idea that you can only say something when you have enough proof to bring to a court of law is silly.

      Tell your boss what you think happened. Not in a “throwing someone under the bus” way, but as a way of tracking down what happened. This way you can figure out next steps and also look at the situation and see if there is any way to prevent this kind of thing, or at least catch it sooner. There may not be anything you could do in that respect, or maybe you’ve already done what can be done anyway. But you can’t know unless you actually talk about what you think happened.

  29. Lost in the Library*

    I’m curious, is there anyone out there who’s gone into management while struggling with anxiety? I’ve been a new manager for half a year and my org. has tons of issues. I find that because of my anxiety, I’m slowly becoming a micromanager. I really just feel like… everything falls square on my shoulders. I report to a volunteer board (which has its issues). The staff are okay, but they were terrible towards me for the first 3-months. One has since quit, and her replacement is great. The other staff member seems to be okay, but I just can’t trust her based on how shitty she was towards me during the first 3 months. It’s like she was determined to hate anyone who was her new manager. The previous manager was… not great. The board thinks I’m doing an AMAZING job, but they’re never on site. I dunno, I find myself feeling a lot of responsibility all the time. Like, EVERYTHING is my fault. I took over a week off of work for the holidays and it’s terrible. I’m just constantly thinking about what a shitty manager I am. All the time.

    I know, I should probably just quit. But, realistically, financially I can’t. I don’t know what to do. Any advice? I have a therapist appointment next week. I just feel like I completely suck at this job.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Your situation sucks. The board sounds at best fragmented, at worst dysfunctional. And you have a group of employees who are not cohesive.

      Your board likes you. You are happy with the new hire. So it sounds like this one person is the main problem.
      That and it sounds like you have no back up, no help for you as a manager.

      You can read here to get some general ideas about managing.

      But I am not sure what is going on that makes you feel like a micromanager. I will say that management is commitment to constant learning. We never stop learning how to be a better manager.

      Just generally speaking micromanagement is a lot of things including failure to delegate. Do you delegate tasks? Do the tasks get done correctly? Are the employees self-starters or you do have to tell them what to do every moment of the day? If they are not self-starters it’s time to point out what tasks are under their watch and how you want them to go ahead and do those tasks without your prompts.

      But I think we need a little more to go on here to get relevant advice rolling for you.

      1. Lost in the Library*

        I think when it comes to the micro-management, it is a lot about delegation. I also don’t know how to communicate to the staff effectively because, ugh, I just feel “bossy” when I try to be clear. The new employee is very much a self starter. However, the employee who’s been there for longer always complains that she doesn’t have “projects” to work on and that she needs stuff to do because the “days are long.” She’s worked there for 10+ years, what did she do when she was “bored” before I arrived? Do that. When I do give her ideas for projects (I should probably just assign them “officially”) she really doesn’t do them. I know she’s felt that sometimes I’ve stepped on her toes, but I just don’t know HOW to communicate effectively. Ugh. I think I applied for this position when I really, really, wasn’t ready to be a manager.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Stepped on HER toes- what-the-what?!
          No. You are the boss. By failing to accept your leadership she is stepping on YOUR toes.

          You can address it in the moment that she refuses to any of the suggested tasks.
          Or you can create a list of daily and weekly tasks. The next time she says she is bored tell her to go down the task list until everything is done.

          I’d have all I could do not to explain that my job was not to entertain her in her moments of boredom. I think in my out loud voice I would say, “Gee, you complain of boredom often. You know what tasks need to be done, you can get started on them.” When she says she does not want to, you can kind of laugh it off, “Oh my! If we all waited for when we wanted to do something, then no one would ever do anything. Now which task will you start right now?”

          Yes, start officially assigning projects. Practice at home in front of the mirror so you can get used to the sound of your own voice saying, “Sue, please check-in those books that were returned yesterday.” Or “Sue the magazines are strewn all over, please straighten that out so people can enjoy them.”

          Then probably she will say, “I don’t want to.” That’s when you say, “Sue, I am asking you to check-in those books, Now. Will you do that?”

          Find out what your library’s procedure is for firing people. Are there any written policies or standards? Knowledge is power. If you belong to a consortium of libraries perhaps someone in the group who can offer advice. You may be able to buddy up with an experienced library director from a nearby library.

          I am a stranger on the net. But it sounds like your place would improve greatly if this person were relieved of their job. Work your way toward saying something about complaints about boredom are not acceptable. She may ask for something to do, but she is not to complain about boredom. If the complaints persist and she refuses to accept your authority, I’d be tempted to cut her hours. I have seen what this is and I know it can drag on for months if I don’t draw that hard line.

          Ideally a board member would step in and say to her, “This is your boss. You will be following her instructions.” That probably won’t happen, so it’s up to her to change or not. Don’t be afraid to say, “A person who has been here for 10 years should, by now, have a fair idea of how to fill up their day.”

  30. Smilingswan*

    Does anyone have any experience accepting a counter-offer from their employer when giving notice? I have just done so, but haven’t had the opportunity to inform the other company yet (because the HR department has not returned either of my two calls, one of which was to see if they could sweeten the deal, and the other was to let them know I was retracting my acceptance of their offer). I feel like my current company made me a fair offer, but I’m wondering about any potential pitfalls. Thanks for any advice!

    1. Chili pepper Attitude*

      Search in AAM archives. This comes up a lot. Overall, many people seem to find that a counteroffer from their current employer often does not actually happen or it does but is not enough to overcome the other problems that had them looking for a new job.

      And there is the problem of burning a bridge with the possible new employer if you accepted the job and then back out.

      But only you know your employer and the potential new job. Some people find it works out great.

    2. RagingADHD*

      Yes, and it turned out fine because literally the only reason I was leaving was money. I was fairly new to the firm & returning to the workforce after a long break for family care, and accepted a fair salary under those circumstances.

      A competitor headhunted me via coldcall, and after interviewing, offered me a large raise that would have put me into a more senior pay tier. My firm matched it, and since I was otherwise happy there, I stayed.

      If I had been actively looking for a new job because I was dissatisfied, I would wonder why the current firm couldn’t/wouldn’t solve those issues without a competing offer on the table.

    3. Miranda*

      I’m pretty sure there are many articles/answers on this site that go into this in depth. IIRC, it’s not recommended, as you’ve signaled to your current employer that you’re a flight risk. You know your organization and situation, though. My only experience is one too specific to get into; all I’ll say is that it never felt right again.

      I do kinda question that it sounds like you had accepted the other company’s offer but then went back and asked for a better deal? That’s not how it really works, and back when I did hiring, it would be a minor red flag and/or highly irritating for a candidate to accept the offer and then try to re-negotiate the accepted package. That blows up the search and can create a headache for the entire hiring team, which may be why the call was not immediately returned. Negotiate for that sweeter deal before you accept. :)

  31. Not so happy holiday*

    My supervisor recently confessed that he liked me in a romantic sense, and while I think he’s a great person, I’ve always wanted to keep professional life just that — professional.

    Now I feel like I’m in an awkward position and can’t work with him anymore. I love my position and job, and it feels unfair that now I have to transfer or find something else.

    It’s also completely against our company policies to have supervisor-subordinate relationships, and my supervisor has always been about doing things by the book, so I’m not sure why why chose to cross the boundaries.

    What should I do? Should I just start looking for another job?

    1. Aphrodite*

      I’d suggest going to HR. You were not the one who crossed professional boundaries. (And by telling you your supervisor did cross a serious boundary; even without any action on his part the telling is extremely unprofessional.) I couldn’t work with him either after that–but he is the one who needs to be transferred, demoted or fired. You stay firm and in control, keep your head high, and let HR do the work of handling this awful situation. Do now wimp out and leave your job or company. You are in the right here.

    2. Zona the Great*

      Hell no!!! This is a crossed line that cannot be undone. HR now!!

      Immediately alert them so you haven’t a single second of discomfort. Expressing romantic interest at work is okay as long as there’s no power imbalance perceived or real and as long as there is no expectation or coercion. This is impossible between supervisor and staff. No.

    3. PollyQ*

      Agree that you should take this to HR, and hopefully there’ll be a good resolution for you. But companies don’t always handle this kind of thing as well as they should, so I’d at least start brushing up your resume. I’m sorry your boss chose to be an unprofessional glassbowl like this.

    4. Observer*

      Go to HR and start looking for a new job.

      If you have bad HR, then just start looking for a new job.

      And stay away from your supervisor, even when you get away from him. Because the fact that he told you about this while you are in a vulnerable situation does not bode well for a healthy relationship.

    5. Miranda*

      Ah, this sucks. I echo everyone who said go to HR and look for a new job. Looking for a new job gives you some sense of control over the situation and can serve as a safety net, if HR fails you. If HR fails you, it at least will get a complaint on the record and he won’t 100% “get away with it.” I’d also start to think about references from this company; who else could you ask to be a reference besides this skeevy supervisor guy?

      My word of caution is that you don’t owe anyone an explanation about why you’re not interested in him romantically, i.e., “and while I think he’s a great person, I’ve always wanted to keep professional life…” You don’t owe him an explanation, and an explanation opens the door for argument/convincing. “No” is a complete sentence. :) My other words of caution are (1) to believe people when they show you who they are and (2) people tend to become more of who they’ve always been; they don’t change and they don’t suddenly change out of the blue. I’ve gotten into the most strife at work when I rationalized the behavior of others, made excuses for them, compared the offensive behavior to all the non-offensive behavior, yadda, yadda. Clearly, I don’t know you or your supervisor, but, from what you’ve written, this guy probably isn’t a great person.

        1. Rainy*

          Even with a belated sarcasm tag, it’s pretty uncool to say something this dismissive about a situation that’s clearly causing the OP distress.

          NSHH, I’m so sorry your supervisor did this to you. It was super uncool of him. I hope that HR isn’t also a tool, and I hope this works out okay for you. :/

          1. Potatoes gonna potate*

            You’re right, that was thoughtless of me – definitely wasn’t trying to be dismissive to OP.

            OP, I am truly sorry it happened, that’s a really icky thing for him to say/do. I hope things work out in your favor.

    6. RagingADHD*

      He chose to cross this boundary because he is a sexual harasser, and if it’s the first or only time he does it, I will eat my left shoe. Nobody just so happens to cross this line by accident. Of course it’s unfair for him to do this to you. In fact, it’s so unfair that it’s against company policy, and may be grounds for legal action if there’sa pattern with this guy (which there probably is.)

      Your supervisor made sexual/romantic overtures to you, and you are now concerned that you need to find a new job because of how he will react to your turning him down.

      That is one of the literal definitions of sexual harassment. The fact that you don’t feel insulted or directly threatened/intimidated doesn’t change the fact that he’s put you in a terrible position by abusing his authority.

      HR. Stat.

    7. mreasy*

      Your supervisor is the one who should have to move on. I’m so sorry this happened to you. It’s completely unacceptable!

    8. JSPA*

      It’s difficult to go to HR when you think you’ll be getting someone who’s otherwise been “great” into trouble. But… he has been great while knowing he had feelings for you. Most people are nice towards their crush. You have to re- evaluate in that light. If he were great, he could have job-searched, or asked to move departments, before broaching the subject. Or stayed silent. Or asked someone else to assess you for promotion, and waited until he was no longer supervisory. It’s really not only fine but a good thing, to bring this to HR. You can present it as, “I overall love my job, he made a mistake saying something, he isn’t being evil, but I’m uncomfortable with the knowledge and the situation.” But they do need to know it happened, and you need the protection of them knowing.

    9. Purple cat*

      Ugh, ugh, ugh.
      I’m so sorry this happened. And I feel like this has been covered recently, so check the AAM archives. You should absolutely report him because he’s the one messing up the boss-employee relationship, but the reality is you probably ARE the one that’s going to have to look for a new job.

  32. NYPD Detective Robert Goren*

    Robert Goren reporting for duty for the 3rd week running!

    For those following my new job saga, my Would-Be Lead (henceforth WBL) expressed an interest in meeting my current supervisor. I wrote to them and let them know my current company has a policy where managers/supervisors aren’t allowed to give references (whether positive or negative). Luckily, WBL let me know that it wouldn’t be a problem and that the 3 references I already gave (current coworkers and a past manager) were fine. Now, I’m just waiting on the background check to clear.

    Other updates/questions:

    1) I left out of my previous posts that when receiving the verbal job offer, and over the course of a 30-minute phone call, WBL repeatedly expressed that they thought I would be a perfect fit, but that they really wanted me to be sure I wanted the job (and re-explained/re-emphasized some of the role’s basic responsibilities to me). When I asked why he was concerned, I got the feeling that it was a response to the questions I asked the Department Head when I got the chance to meet them (e.g., “what’s your management style?,” “how do you handle problems?,” “what are your expectations with how X, Y, and Z are prepared?”) and the fact that they were initially going to hire the other final round candidate. WBL denied that there was any concrete reason and that they just wanted me to be sure about accepting, but it was still a little weird. Has anyone ever had that response when getting a verbal offer?

    2) In using this site, I was able to negotiate a bit of a bump to reach a 50% increase over my current salary. The benefits are also more generous than where I work now.

    3) Does anyone have recommendations on what to say when turning in your two-weeks notice? When I get back into the office (early January), I’m planning to have a Teams chat with my supervisor and then send an email confirming my last day to my supervisor/manager. Any tips on how to navigate the initial conversation/what to say if I get questions about where I’m going?

    Thanks everyone, and happy holidays! Your help is invaluable.

    1. Artemesia*

      Say as little as possible. Let them know your last day. Tell them you will work with them to make the transition as smooth as possible and will document status of all your work projects. Say something bland and appreciative. e.g. you have enjoyed working with them. Don’t explain why you are leaving besides ‘a great opportunity was available.’

    2. JSPA*

      Background checks can take way longer than you think, even without holidays and without covid closures. (Unless they’re doing the shallow, automated online version, which they’d normally have done before the offer, if that’s all they need?)

      So don’t get too wedded, in your mind, to a specific quit date, unless you have months of savings and are glad to take a long vacation.

  33. Jo April*

    How long is reasonable for a hiring-process homework assignment to take? I’m in tech, so this is pretty normal (and healthier than live whiteboard coding, which is the most useless); they’ve told me four hours, but setting up my toolchain to work with the problem presented took an hour, and I’m not thrilled about either counting that as part of the assignment time (because now I have 3 hours to solve the problem) or writing it off as job-search admin time (which is probably a cranky emotional reaction derived from burnout).

    1. fhqwhgads*

      In my experience the time limit they give is usually about 4x the amount of time the whole thing should take. And an exercise/skills test- to me- isn’t reasonable if it’s expected to take more than an hour.
      So either they want you to spend way more time on this than is reasonable OR they think this task should be doable much faster than the time they allotted.

  34. Zona the Great*

    For those who were or are teachers, what would it take to be a viable career? My partner asked how much money it would take to go back to public teaching and I don’t think there is any amount. So we discussed what could make the job better.

    I think teachers should not be assigned any duty (I’ve never worked anywhere like this but maybe some places have aids for duty) where they watch the kids during recess or lunch or bus or hall. They should not be making endless copies or doing other admin work.

    Somehow make it so meetings, conferences, and other endless time sucks occur during paid contract hours.

    What say you?

    1. Flower necklace*

      I’m confused about what you mean by “viable.” I’m a teacher because I like working with kids. It’s what I want to do and it pays a livable wage (for me, a single person who lives alone), so for me it is a viable career.

      I think a major issue is class sizes. At my school, at least, we need more teachers, more aides, and more substitutes for when teachers are out. And fixing that would require raising pay because most people are (understandably) concerned about working in a crowded school building during a pandemic.

    2. AnonymousforThis*

      Funding. Lots and lots of funding for more positions and, of course, pay. My district floated a split schedule for meetings and after-hour contact with parents but nothing ever happened; it’s pretty sucky when your parents work 9-5 and your teachers work 8-4 and there’s no availability to connect outside the teacher’s contract hours. We ended up building in 30 minutes in the morning once a week for blitz-quick trainings and grade-level meetings, while case conferences were almost always scheduled during the day *if* coverage could be found for the teacher’s class.

      To avoid teachers doing lunch/recess/bus duty, that means most school counselors are getting pulled to do those things instead of providing academic/personal/career counseling to kids, and there goes 1/3 of their work day; what a great use of a 60-credit hour professional Master’s degree in a field that already has triple the evidence-based recommended caseload. Or it means your paraprofessionals are getting pulled to do those duties instead of working with kids and/or giving the resource/special ed teachers more time to work with kids on reading, writing, math, and/or behaviors. And those paras are constantly in a state of turnover due to bare bones pay and getting saddled with all the tasks that no one else wants to do. Funding would help alleviate using 4 dedicated roles to do 8 generalist low-impact jobs that end up gutting time for student support services and special education.

      Here is where I get salty, though. The principals, school counselors, school social workers, and school psychologists aren’t getting the 30-minute sit-down relaxing lounge lunch that most teachers in my old district get. As a school psychologist, if I actually had time to eat, I ate ice cold food (winter) or half-melted food (summer) in my car while driving between six schools and working 7AM-4:30PM plus report writing on weekends – well outside of my contract hours – while my boss told me “welcome to the club; you’re not getting extra pay or an extracurricular contract” and all the superintendent’s appreciative emails for all the hard work across the district were for “teachers” and all the surprise grant-funded pay bumps for certified staff were called “teacher appreciation.” My district bent over backwards to appreciate gen ed teachers, make their schedules easier, make sure they had time in the day to not have kids, to ensure all those meetings and conferences and time spent grading were packaged into their paid contract days by the end of the year….and the rest of us got worked into the ground, with no paras or help with our admin tasks and meetings, while we were effectively ignored as invisible school staff (heh, like when my school psych colleague got turned away from a vaccine site because his school ID didn’t say “teacher”).

      tl;dr Public education kinda sorta sucks for everyone. Funding.

      1. Green Kangaroo*

        This, 100%. Everyone is stretched so thin. My husband is a high school administrator and every year, someone from the business office tells him he needs a new fob because his must be broken… it says he is at school every day, even Christmas. It’s not broken, he is there every day.

    3. CatMintCat*

      I’m a teacher in Australia, so our issues may be slightly different. Our union is currently campaigning on two fronts:
      1. Money. I have never felt underpaid for the job I do. In the current climate, where many of our community have lost jobs, businesses and livelihood while we haven’t missed a minute’s pay, asking for more money seems … crass. (For the record, I early a little over $AU100K ).
      2. Workload issues. This is the killer for me. I’m a teacher because I love working with kids. I am not a teacher because I love working with data or other paperwork. And more and more of our time is going on things that should be done by somebody with different skills to me. The union is asking for more time off class to do these things. I can see the Education Department immediately turning around and saying “You have extra time. Have some more paperwork to do”. Paperwork isn’t my thing. Teaching 7 year olds to read is my thing. I would love is somebody were employed to do the paperwork so I could teach.

      The job has changed A LOT in my time (I’m over 60) and if I was younger i would probably be looking for something else I could do. As it is, retirement isn’t far off, and then the paperwork will disappear, I cansub and just deal with the kids.

      1. AnonymousforThis*

        Australia sounds pretty cool and like they may actually value their educators. Most jobs have paperwork, unfortunately.

        In the US, Master’s degree school counselors start out around $35K USD/$48K AU – the same as Bachelor’s-level first year teachers straight out of undergrad – and post-graduate Specialist-level school psychologists start out at $40K USD/$55K AU (all depending on the state; I’m in a state that doesn’t value education). It’s not crass to not want to work for pennies from 8-4 and then work for free after hours and on the weekends, because you were pulled to cover lunch and recess so a teacher wouldn’t have to be around kids all day; which, for every school counselor I worked with, meant they couldn’t get their job done, which, in the US, meant their annual effectiveness evaluation was poor and then they didn’t get as much of a raise. Their income was directly lowered because they were babysitting teachers’ students for 1/3 of their work day each day; for every “a teacher doesn’t want to do Tasks X, Y, and Z and will quit if they keep having to do it” issue, it means someone else with a very different job and often way more professional training is being pulled from their job to do those tasks.

        My old district, by the way, didn’t have enough funding to buy printer paper for three months each year. That’s the education system in the US, which is slowly imploding and unable to keep people. I got out the minute my psychologist license converted to being permanently renewable. I think they have a temp person doing evals online with kids now, which….yeah. Merry Christmas.

        1. CatMintCat*

          I agree if I were that lowly paid, I wouldn’t think it was crass either. That’s why I said what I earn – I don’t feel it’s low.
          And, yes, every job has paperwork. But the massive amount of redundant, useless, repetitive (I enter the same useless to anyone not in my classroom information in three different places every five weeks) paperwork is taking over teaching. Also, the expectation that we analyse the data at a high level – my degree is in primary education, not statistical analysis. We should have experts to do this. We need admin staff to do the paperwork effectively (I am reasonably skilled in admin stuff; most teachers my age are drowning – I’m just floundering).
          In our system, teachers are the ones who supervise recess and lunch. There is nobody else, and to use somebody who is not a qualified teacher would actually be illegal. We are on a roster, which is more or less fair, depending on your school (my principal is very fair), but we all have to do it. And we work the hours after school that your teachers do.
          While I don’t fully understand the issues in education in the USA, I am aware of them. I SAID at the beginning that our issues were slightly different, and I stand by that.

      2. Middle School Teacher*

        I’m in Canada and I agree with you. I’ve been teaching for almost 20 years. I’ve been working through the pandemic, unlike a lot of people, and I’m grateful for that. But the workload has skyrocketed, and the job is definitely not the same as it used to be.

  35. Liane*

    My 2021 Secret Santa Experiences as giver and giftee.
    Note that at this job, Managers and Crew had separate Secret Santas. (Not sure what managers’ rules were, but Crew was $10-15 & nice gift, given out at our party which was a couple weeks ago.)
    Giver: Of course, I drew the person I don’t really care for. She’s never been very pleasant to me (although she is good pals with many of our co-workers. Plus I am 99% sure she (minor Ewww warning) stole my Halloween themed reusable face mask after I dropped it leaving work one day. But I was a good AAM devotee and got her a pair of slippers and knit touch-screen gloves. She loved them, even hugged me. (Not odd behavior at this job.) Maybe it will improve our relationship in 2022?
    Giftee: My favorite co-worker is a college student, who is not just fun and friendly to work with – he’s great at his job. A few days before the party, he has a question for me, with a slightly mischievous look. “Who did you get for Secret Santa? I got this girl – woman – who usually works up front, at counter.” Obvious description of me LOL. “What do you think she’d like?” Me: “Well geeky women are often very into Captain America. Either one, they are both cute.” A day or so later, he does confirm his is my SS and we agree that my knowing will be the “secret” part. SS isn’t able to find Cap stuff – but his gift is still spot on for me! A cute Christmas theme necklace and earrings featuring Grogu (AKA Baby Yoda) in a stocking! SS noticed I wore my Grogu facemask at least once a week, plus admired Grogu or Mando tees worn by customers.

  36. Mark W.*

    Hi everyone! I’ve been a lurker for a while but this is my first time commenting; I’m browsing job sites to get an idea of my options once I graduate in May, and I came across this disclaimer: “this job post is not necessarily an exhaustive list of all essential responsibilities, skills, tasks, or requirements associated with this position. While this is intended to be an accurate reflection of the position posted, the Company reserves the right to modify or change the essential functions of the job based on business necessity.” I’m just wondering if this seems like a red flag to anyone? Thanks so much!!

    1. Kiwiapple*

      No it’s not a red flag. It is totally normal to say that or to say something “other duties as assigned”. You have to allow some flexibility for business needs.

    2. Ins mom*

      Not a red flag. There will be other duties come up in most workplaces. I’ve worked in mostly small offices but don’t get pissy if you need to pick up the mail or load paper in the printer! Some employees do,ya know

    3. RagingADHD*

      Could you make an exhaustive list of every single task you need to perform, and every single skill, large or small, that you need in order to get through a normal day?

      Even if you could, it would be too much to read.

      This is just a more elaborate phrasing of the boilerplate “other duties as assigned.” Completely normal.

  37. Venti vanilla latte breve*

    Im currently job hunting and have a resume question. Ive been in my current role and company for a year. (Side note: my current role has been a major bait and switch; ive only stayed so i didnt have to pay back a signing bonus). At my prior company, i held a variety of roles during the decade I worked there. I only held my last role for about four months (left for current opportunity, which offered me a substantial pay increase).

    My question – is it okay to leave the 4 month job off of my resume? I know a resume is more of a marketing document than a comprehensive list of jobs. If it matters, this role had very little to do with my field – I only took the role due to my prior role being eliminated and I wanted to stay with my old company.

    1. Miranda*

      I’m having a hard time tracking. Are you asking about a four month job at Company B (with Company A being the 10-year stint, Company B being a four month stint somewhere else, and Company C being the current bait and switch job) or a four month position at Company A?

      If it’s a four month job at Company B, I doubt anyone is going to ask why there is a four month gap on your resume, and I don’t see a reason to keep it on, from what you’ve said. As you already said, a resume isn’t a complete listing of every job and position you’ve ever had; it’s a marketing document. If it’s a four month role at Company A, the same reasoning applies, but (1) I don’t see a downside to showing continual progression at a single company, even if the role was in a weird direction (unless it was a demotion or a downslide into an area of work that tends to typecast people, like a pink collar trap) and (2) leaving it off could possibly affect employment verification with a four month discrepancy (not sure if that would matter if you’re underselling your time there).

      Either way, I had a 1.5-year role at a company I was at for 6 years – it was a typecast-y role that doesn’t make any sense in context of where I ended up at the company, and I don’t want that job title to define my resume or footnote my career, so I just say “April 2014-October 2015 – Staff” in my list of positions at the company and move on to the good stuff; I don’t put job responsibilities with it.

  38. What?!*

    Guys, please help: my new boss is completely unreasonable and has shoved me onto an informal PIP-type thing because of one mistake I made, and three that have happened since that I had nothing to do with.

    I’m about four months into a new job, and I made one mistake about a month ago. It wasn’t tiny, but it wasn’t huge, either. I’ve owned the mistake and tried to learn from it.

    But now my boss is blaming me for everything that goes wrong. He’s put me on an informal kind of PIP thing, which doesn’t actually make sense, and has blamed me for three mistakes that have happened since, one of which I had nothing to do with, one of which happened on a project I had worked on before (but not at the time of the error), and now I’m being blamed for a software issue I couldn’t have created even if I wanted to.

    What do I do? I’m still on probation, and I actually do really like my job and want and need to keep it. But do I need to go to HR?

    1. retired2*

      I’d be looking for another job. It sounds like your boss wants to get rid of you. It may have nothing to do with you. My guess is that HR will look at documentation and your boss will have it. Do you? Dates, times, what was said, etc?

  39. Festive Season*

    I was invited to be on a panel at a conference. It’s with an organization I had been involved with as a student (I’m a recent grad). While the panel is on something relevant to my experience, the conference focuses on an industry that isn’t a regular focus of my job. I’m not job searching. I just support this organization and want to be there.

    Since my name, headshot, and place of work will be on their website, I feel it would be shady if I didn’t tell my manager about it. How’s the best way to do this?

    1. Not So NewReader*

      “Boss, I need to disclose something in fairness to all. I was invited to be on a panel at a conference (and keep going just as you have explained here).” You can land on, “I just wanted to let you know so you are aware of how my photo/name/employer will be used on their site.”

      1. Camelid coordinator*

        You could also ask for any tips and tricks your manager might recommend. Since you aren’t looking for a job, this is a low-stakes presentation for you, which is great at this stage of your career.

  40. Teacher’s wife*

    I know this is late, but hoping for some thoughts. My husband (a retired theatre teacher) would like to break into writing, whether it is script-based or book-based. Those of you who write professionally, how did you get started? Contests? Self-publishing? If you have self-published, who did you use? He’s looked into a few services, but I understand some people consider them questionable. Thank you!

    1. MacGillicuddy*

      Check out “How I Write” by Janet Evanovich ( she wrote the Stephanie Plum series)
      She has lots of tips, and also tells what not to do.
      Incidentally I’ve heard from many sources that the only thing self-publishing gets you is several cartons of unsold books in your garage.

    2. Megan*

      Story by Robert McGee is the gold standard book for script writing.

      In the writing world, unlike in the music world, it is looked down upon to self-publish as you note. Standard pathway is to write the book/script, get an agent, they will ship it to publishers/studios etc.

      Start by reading Story and go from there.

    3. Lucy Skywalker* has a self-publishing service. I used it when I published a book I wrote. Please don’t ask me anything else about the book, because I prefer to remain anonymous.

  41. Lucy Skywalker*

    It’s pretty late on Christmas night, but I’m hoping someone will read this and give me the help I need. I applied for a job at a college, and I received an email back asking me for “a statement addressing past and/or potential contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion through teaching, professional activity, and/or service.” I’ve never had to write something like this before and I could use some advice on the kind of statement they are looking for.

    1. Camelid coordinator*

      I think it is a good sign they asked you for a statement like this. I’d suggest thinking of it as an extension of your cover letter. Try to think of an example of addressing diversity, equity and inclusion for each category—teaching, your job duties or broader field, and service. You won’t use them all, this is just to get started. This is kind of like the written version of “tell me about a time when …”

      I work in higher ed, and if I were hiring and asked for such a statement I’d rather see a few examples with a lot of detail than a bunch of vague ideas. The more your examples are tied to what you’d actually be doing in the job the better. Hope this helps!

  42. Pamplemousse*

    I want to decline a job offer I received. Considering it’s the day after Christmas and the team is on vacation, how best to decline? I know phone call is the best route, but the team is off until the new year. But…shouldn’t they be notified ASAP? I was thinking of email the hiring manager to set up a phone call to apologize and share the news. Any tips?

    1. Purple cat*

      I don’t think it has to be a phone call at all. You definitely don’t want to force someone into a meeting while they’re on vacation.
      I would decline via email and let them know you’re available if they want to discuss further. You *could* put a note on about not calling since it’s vacation, but I don’t think that’s necessary.

  43. Worker bee*

    I realize this is really late, but I was so taken aback by something that happened at work that I still aren’t sure how to handle if it comes up again. I had taken a Monday off work for personal reasons and, when I came in on Tuesday, a coworker told me I had to call “someone”. The direct (and mildly hostile) statement was, “Your phone wouldn’t stop ringing, so I answered it, told them you weren’t here and to call X.” The person never called X and she had no idea who had called. My phone volume is around 25-50% volume, so it’s not as if it’s blaring.

    I am astounded that she had the nerve to 1) answer my phone and 2) not take a message. I went through my call history to try and figure out what I could and I had received 3 calls that day; one left a message, one didn’t, and the one she answered. I never did find out who exactly called or what they might have needed, which is frustrating. It would never occur to me to answer her phone if it was ringing.

    Her phone is at top volume and, when she went on a week vacation recently, after the first time it rang, I just put it on do not disturb, so it would just kick over to voicemail. Apparently she was furious when she got back, as she didn’t know how to take it off DND (she purposefully refuses to learn our phone system), found out I was the one who did it, and I guess now we’re having some sort of weird phone war. I’m just baffled at the entire situation, since I rarely get calls. I’m talking less than 10 a month, as most people either text, stop by my desk, or email me.

    I don’t plan to address this particular incident, because I think she will flip out in anger, but if it happens again, I’ll have to say something, but what? Tell her not to answer my phone? Put it on DND? Actually take a message?

    1. Bagpuss*

      Why not put it on DND/straight to voicemail any time you are off ?
      I think it’s pretty normal to answer if it’s ringing out, and if she gave the caller the name of someone else who could help it doesn’t seem completely off not to have also taken a message

      1. Worker bee*

        Normally I do, but this was an unexpected day off for me (water in the basement).
        It would never occur to me to answer a coworker’s phone, because it’s not my office space or phone.
        Also, the person she directed the caller to would have no earthly idea how to fix the issue. I’m a Llama groomer and she directed them to our corporate accountant. Frankly, she’d be more likely to have been able to handle the issue, but she was angry that my phone was ringing.

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