throwing a coworker a grandmother-to-be shower, missing donations, and more

I’m on vacation. Here are some past letters that I’m making new again, rather than leaving them to wilt in the archives.

1. Should I throw my coworker a grandmother-to-be shower?

We work in a small-ish office 15- 20 people. My longtime coworker “Jane” is about to become a first-time grandmother. I was one of the first people she shared the news with, and we almost both cried since she has been waiting years for this. She comes from a more traditional background where the children spend years on education and career then get married and start a family. So she’s finally getting the grandchild she’s been waiting for. She and her daughter plan for her to be very involved in the child’s life.

Would it be odd to throw her an informal office grandparent shower? Is that even a thing? Most of the office is made up of parents (even management) so we have had our share of baby showers. I would love the opportunity to celebrate this meaningful milestone in her life by maybe presenting her with a gift card or something so she can get anything to make her home or any part of grandparent duty easier.

Don’t do it. Grandparent showers aren’t really a thing — or if they’re becoming a thing, they’re at least far from mainstream so far and likely to raise eyebrows from people who will wonder why they’re being asked to buy baby supplies for a grandparent, and it may seem a bit gift-grabby. Moreover, a lot of people feel stretched thin by the amount of gifts they’re already asked to buy in offices. You’ll also be creating a precedent where if you don’t do it for other grandparents-to-be in the future, some people will feel hurt at the difference in treatment.

It’s great that you want to support a coworker who you’re close to, though, and there are lots of other ways you can do that. Take her out for a celebratory lunch, give her a card, get a gift for the baby — whatever feels right to you. Just don’t do an office grandparent shower.


2. My coworker kept some of the donations she collected for a gift for our boss

One of my coworkers collected donations for Boss’s Day gifts for our project manager and assistant project manager. But over a month after the holiday, a gift had not been given. The person’s excuse was that she kept forgetting. A lot of people kept asking her about it; I know I asked two times. Still, though, no gifts. We finally told the assistant project manager, and he went up to her and asked about the donations and where the gift was for our project manager was. She made an excuse and said that she decided to save that money for a Christmas gift for them instead. Well, she never informed us of her change in plans. So a week later, she gives our manager a handmade item she bought. This is not what we agreed on.

We don’t know how much she collected for two gifts, but what I gave was way more than the one gift, so basically she kept a lot of money. I know I know we will never trust this person with money again. What should we do or can we do?

You should tell her clearly and firmly — preferably with the rest of the people who donated — that you want an accounting of how the money was spent, including a receipt, and that you want the remainder returned. If it helps to have specific language, I’d start by saying this: “It looks like there must be money left over from the gift purchase — can you show us the receipt for the final cost so we can figure out how to divide up and return the money that was left over?”

And unless she makes this right immediately after that, you should give your boss a heads-up about what happened, because stealing from coworkers is a serious thing.


3. When your parents leave cutesy comments on your LinkedIn profile

A friend of mine recently updated his LinkedIn profile with his new title. Then his mother commented on it: “Congrats my boy! Moving up fast in this world! Very proud of you! Your mum.”

I exchanged emails with a couple of friends about it and the reactions varied greatly, ranging from “big NO NO!” to “why not, it’s cute.”

I would definitely not be pleased if my mother decided to post this type of comment on such a public forum where possible network contacts, colleagues, and bosses may see it but would love to hear your take on this.

Yeah, that’s too cutesy for LinkedIn — which is a professional network, not a social one. It would be like your mom stopping into a staff meeting at your office to hug you and give you a big “congratulations!” balloon after your promotion.

(It would be perfectly appropriate on Facebook though, since that’s a social network rather than a professional one — just like it would be appropriate for her to throw you a celebratory dinner with family and bring the balloons to that.)

That said, it’s not a disaster. I don’t think anyone is going to see the comment on LinkedIn and be horrified. We all have parents, after all, and know that their actions don’t reflect on us, particularly with something like this.


4. Asking my future boss to stop emailing me until I start my new job

I don’t start my new job for several months. My new boss is already sending me emails detailing meetings I will have to attend after I start — sort of setting up a calendar for me with names, locations, things I am unfamiliar with. At the moment I am dealing with relocating and finding a place to live, which he is aware of. Can I ask him to stop? I am not even on the payroll yet, it seems not nice to bombard me with this stuff when I am already spending all my time setting up my life to just get my life situated to start the job. I don’t know if I can diplomatically say something now — and set some boundaries — or just let it go.

Send your boss an email saying something like, “Thanks for all this! Because I’m in the middle of a move, I probably won’t have a chance to read these thoroughly until I start, but I’m setting them aside for now. I’m really looking forward to the 20th!” Then put them all aside into an email folder and don’t look at them until you start.

In other words, you’re not telling him that he can’t email you — but you’re alerting him that you’re not going to be looking at any of it until you begin work.


5. New hire said I’m too relaxed to be a manager

I recently had four new staff members join my team, as did the other three managers in our company. As with all new starters, we conduct a “temperature check” a couple of months in to ascertain their thoughts on the training modules, their team, their manager, etc. Feedback is anonymous, of course, but at least one of my new hires stated that I am “too relaxed to be a manager.”

While I am aware that I am more laid back than some of our other managers, I have never felt that this has made me incompetent at my job. In fact, I take (some) pride in the fact that staff are comfortable around me and that my approach has enabled me to develop good relationships and good work habits from some difficult staff members. However, this feedback has made me acutely aware that a casual approach doesn’t work for everyone, and that I need to demonstrate a more authoritarian manner. How should I change my behaviors to be “less relaxed” without micromanaging?

Well, wait. The fact that one person — one new person who doesn’t know you well — said this doesn’t mean it’s definitely true and something you need to change. It’s worth reflecting on the feedback and thinking about whether there’s merit to it, but it doesn’t sound like you’ve done that — it sounds like you’re just taking one new person’s feedback as gospel, and that would be a mistake.

Instead, ask yourself how your current style is working. Do people have clear expectations? Do they get regular feedback, both good and bad? When you have a concern about someone’s work, do you address it clearly, quickly, and straightforwardly? Are problems resolved pretty quickly or do they fester? Do you have frustrations with people’s work that they don’t know about? Does work get done well and on time? What kind of work is your team producing overall and what kind of results are they getting? Are they hitting/exceeding their goals, or coming up short?

The answers to those questions are what will tell if you need to change something.

(And frankly, if someone needs a very authoritarian management style from you, they might not be the right person for your team, if things are otherwise going well.)


{ 333 comments… read them below }

  1. Heidi*

    If my mother commented on my LinkedIn when I was just starting out in my career, I might have been horrified. But now I’d probably find it hilarious.

      1. CupcakeCounter*

        Same because my mother WOULD do exactly this. Luckily we have nothing in common career wise so there is no need to be connected.

      2. Alex the Alchemist*

        When I got my LinkedIn account in college, my dad added me on there and I accepted. He then just went on my profile and endorsed me for ALL THE SKILLS. I’m glad he has that much faith in me, I guess.

        1. CoveredinBees*

          My father in law endorsed me for psychotherapy, which is entirely unrelated to my education or work. I assume it was something LinkedIn generated but it was strange.

        2. Four Calling Birds*

          I have a ton of endorsements on mine from 10 years ago, when my college classmates and I would go on each other’s profiles and hit “endorse” on all the things. My most “endorsed” skill is saxophone… (I did not go on to have a career in music, unfortunately.)

    1. bluephone*

      LinkedIn has changed a lot since that letter first ran (2013). It’s basically Facebook But With More Cringe now. So parents leaving “you go girl!” messages on your LinkedIn profile is honestly not surprising.

      1. GrooveBat*

        I agree. I despise LinkedIn these days. It brings together the worst of social media (think: hokey “inspirational” stories about elderly people trudging through the snow to get to work or “look at this cute thing my kid said about work that I totally made up”) with poorly targeted product pitches from people I have never met.

        1. pancakes*

          It seems pretty easy to avoid this stuff even if you’re job searching, though. I wouldn’t hesitate to disconnect from or block someone who posts detritus, but I only ever log in to work on my own profile or browse or respond to the targeted search results I set up.

        2. Rayray*

          Honestly though!

          I made my linked in account in a college class in 2010 or so. Back then it was more just connecting with people you knew and job seeking. Not it’s full of MBA Bro “hustler” dudes who think they’re motivational speakers. It’s so awful.

        3. Mars Maybe Me*

          I had a toxic coworker/friend find my very much inactive LinkedIn account just to message me there (while I was winding down from engaging in conversations over FB messenger or MS Teams) to tell me that I needed to change my profile picture. While, yes, probably the university graduation headshot from 2016 isn’t the most up to date… I was more annoyed and baffled by the audacity in such a random criticism.

      2. Cringing 24/7*

        This is absolutely accurate. I joined LinkedIn way back when, then never logged in again, but when I started looking through it this past year, I was mortified at how bafflingly cringe it is.

        It’s a mixture between people competing to seem the most in love with big corporations and people whose whole personalities are girl-bossing too close to the sun.

      3. RJ*

        Agreed…the LinkedIn feed is garbage now with “influencers” all posting the same crap for engagement. If it weren’t for the connections I’d lose, I’d delete my account.

      4. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        I still had employers approach me about really interesting companies/positions on it this year. And that was with the “looking for work” flag turned off. The one time I turned it on, I received a lot of messages, many of them constructive. And I never check my feed. It still works for me.

        1. COHikerGirl*

          This is how I use LinkedIn. My connections are generally not posting cringey stuff but screenshots of the worst end up on Reddit to remind me that even a business social media network can go wrong.

      5. Minerva*

        Honestly, it’s Facebook with coworkers and less toddler pics. Mostly people sharing their companies’ press releases and recruiters who want to be my friend and get me a defense contract job in Texas (I live in Canada)

    2. Environmental Compliance*

      My dad went through a period of time when he was recommending me for *every single skill* LinkedIn offered as an option. It was pretty hilarious, tbh.

      1. Rayray*

        I accepted a request from a guy I didn’t actually know, I thought he may have been someone at the employment center I was working with. Anyway, whoever this man is endorsed me for many many skills. Thank you kind sir stranger!

  2. Artemesia*

    ‘relaxed’ sounds like a euphemism for not providing feedback, guidance and clarity to new hires. I’d be looking closely at whether I was on top of projects and meeting regularly with people to see how things are going. Too hands off is as bad as micromanaging. (or maybe it is just this guy and you are fine — but I’d be doing some reflection)

    1. PollyQ*

      “Too relaxed” is terribly vague, so step 1 ought to be following up with that one guy and digging into what he actually meant. It might be those things you listed, but who knows? Maybe he thinks LW should be wearing ties & 3-piece suits. Once there’s greater clarity, then it might be time for some reflection.

        1. OhNo*

          True, but the OP could have done some one-on-one meetings with each of the new hires under them to conduct a more individual temperature check. It’d a tough needle to thread to try and and suss out who needs or wants more from them without defeating the purpose of anonymous feedback, but it’s worth a try.

    2. Pennyworth*

      I had a boss I would have described as very relaxed, because he made his job seem effortless. He was a good manager but absolutely nothing that happened ever seemed to bother him, he just dealt with it. So I guess relaxed can mean different things in different circumstances.

      1. Alternative Person*

        Yeah, my favourite bosses are the lower key, relaxed ones (at least on the outside) because they always approached situations constructively and never unnecessarily showed worry.

        Meanwhile, whenever I have a conversation with my current boss I always end up feeling stressed because his high-key, this tiny issue must be tackled seriously approach sets me on edge.

        1. allathian*

          Mmm, I agree somewhat. The extremely relaxed ones can be a bit problematic if they’re so laid back that it makes me wonder if they’re taking my issue seriously, but the very highly strung ones are worse, because their stress and tension is catching.

          1. Alternative Person*

            I don’t tend to categorize those ones as relaxed, those ones are just plain uncaring or lazy in my book.

      2. ecnaseener*

        See, that’s probably the sweet spot of relaxedness: doesn’t let it bother him or stress him out, but DOES care enough to actually deal with it. When I think of a boss who’s TOO relaxed, I imagine someone who just doesn’t deal with the problems because they’re so unbothered by them. The “it’ll work itself out” “it’ll all get done in the end” mentality.

      3. Crooked Bird*

        Honestly, dollars to doughnuts that one new hire just has weird ideas about how managgers should be. Maybe the “new hire” phrase is influencing me too much–I’m picturing an inexperienced worker here, and IF that’s the case, authority is one topic inexperienced workers do have trouble with. I remember an intern whom I left in charge of our small department when I had to be off for a week–that’s how I said it unfortunately, “in charge,” and she apparently had never heard of any kind of “in charge” other than bossing people around. The irony was, we almost always worked alone! But in a week she failed to complete the tasks I’d left (well, I didn’t really expect her to and she knew that, we were overloaded, but she’d drawn up a highly confident schedule demonstrating how she would complete every single one), but succeeded in antagonizing 100% of the other interns, throwing her weight around the minute they stepped on our turf, denying them the use of equipment they had every right to, and generally being “strict,” as she put it, which was her philosophy of authority garnered from the example of how to teach a preschool class. (She told me so afterwards.) Geez, I felt dumb for not just saying “You are responsible for the work of this department while I’m gone.”

        I mean, I don’t know how relevant my anecdote is, in the end, but I can absolutely picture her telling someone they were “too relaxed to be a manager.”

      4. Artemesia*

        My best boss was a dream to work with and very laid back but then I would not list that as a criticism on a review. So since this was a criticism the question is what it is euphemistic for — and I am guessing it means not hands on providing guidance and feedback.

      5. The OG Sleepless*

        I have acquired a reputation for being extremely chill and never acting like anything is the end of the world, even though my job can be extremely stressful. The truth is that my job can get so nervewracking, it was that or go to pieces on a regular basis. The only problem is that I’ve swung so hard the other way that I think I make it look too easy, and nobody realizes how hard I’m working!

    3. Your local password resetter*

      Honestly, it’s so vague that it’s practically useless. My main takeaway would be that some of my new team members need to be trained in giving feedback.
      And since its anonymous you can’t really follow up, so I’d just file this away in case it comes up and then move on.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Yep. There’s a big difference between so relaxed people are allowed to straggle into work at 2 pm vs allocating decision making power within a given area.

        I’d look at a number of things: how long has this person been working; how long have they been with our company; and how does that answer change after 1 year. I’d file it under “wait and see”.

        I inherited a group of people. Depending on their interaction with me and the subject matter discussed I would expect comments to range from “too hard nosed” to “too lax”. It would vary because of what their experience with me involved. There was one person who could not stand me. Our interactions included talking about being on time for work and discussing lap dances with cohorts. I was the Wicked Witch to this person. Yet someone else might say too lax because I encouraged them that they could reconfigure their work area to suit themselves. “And I *had to* figure out my own work space!!!”

        Time levels a lot of things. Mr. Lap Dance left. Ms. Reconfigure came up with brilliant ideas that saved on labor. But it took time for this to play out. Initial impressions are just that, they are initial.

    4. anonymous73*

      Not necessarily. Just because a manager is hands of doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing, as long as they’re readily available when you need them to step in. If OP’s management style is working for everyone else, maybe it’s the employee that’s the problem. Regardless, what Alison said is true. OP needs to do some reflecting and have a conversation with the employee to figure out what they meant because “too relaxed to be a manager” is very vague. Do they prefer someone who screams and yells and is on edge all the time? It’s a pointless criticism without providing more context.

    5. Koalafied*

      Alternatively, it could be that the person who gave the feedback thinks one or more of his peers are getting away with underperforming and/or ignoring rules and policies, and he wants to see the manager hold them to the same standard he feels are appropriate.

        1. Koalafied*

          I doubt anyone who could answer that question is commenting here, ha! It’s a 6-word snippet from a longer interview that we’re hearing about third-hand. Maybe the original employee was vague because he was nervous or inexperienced or takes perverse pleasure in confusing the hell out of people, maybe the senior manager who passed the feedback to LW stripped more meaningful feedback of so much context it lost meaning, maybe LW got a few more than 6 words from the senior manager but just summed it up that way for the sake of brevity. For whatever reason, these words came to be on Ask A Manager, so here we are trying to make sense of them.

          1. pancakes*

            I have seen many examples of poor communication in the comments here over the years, and have doubtlessly left one or two myself!

      1. The OTHER other*

        So, the new hire has great insight to the workings of their coworkers, their performance, and adherence to standards, and yet lacks the ability to say anything like this in the anonymous survey, instead saying the manager is “too relaxed”, a comment too vague to be meaningful or useful?

    6. Cringing 24/7*

      I find it interesting that the anonymous employee complains not that the manager is too relaxed regarding any one aspect of the job that requires urgency, but that they’re “too relaxed *to be a manager*,” which – to me – reads that the employee simply feels like they, themselves, are better suited to the job than the manager, or feel as if they know better how to run a team than their manager does.

      1. LittleMarshmallow*

        I sort of read “too relaxed to be a manager” as too informal with subordinates. Like along the lines of what types of non-work conversations are they participating in with their reports that might be making a new person uncomfortable. Could be something else but I read that as a possibility.

  3. allathian*

    Oof, the missing donations thing is really a biggie, and that’s not even considering how inappropriate it is to ask people to gift upwards in the first place.

    1. Cheap Ass Rolex*

      Yeah it sounds like the potential thief is banking on everyone feeling too awkward to confront them about it. They need to return awkwardness to sender and really openly (but in a sanguine and polite way) Press them for the details.

      1. Sleeping Late Every Day*

        I’m not always nice. I’d ask in a department/division meeting with everyone, including the managers, there. “Any other business?” “Why, yes, I’d like to ask Griselda what happened to all the money we donated for Boss’s Day gifts. Griselda, would you please address that?”

        1. LifeBeforeCorona*

          Calling her out publicly like that may be the only way to get an answer, they may not like the response (casino, cough) but at least you will know where the money went.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      She took money from people and did not use it all then did not account for the balance. Management needs to step in and let her know that this will not be tolerated in the workplace.

      Unfortunately, it is a present for the boss and they must report it to the boss. That can feel awkward. Really awkward. Perhaps a couple of people can be bold enough to say to her, “If we don’t work this out among ourselves we will have to go to the boss and report that there has been a theft in the workplace.” I am not a fan of idyll threats, so this would mean I would not say this unless I was totally prepared to actually report.

      1. anonymous73*

        She already addressed it when asked.

        “She made an excuse and said that she decided to save that money for a Christmas gift for them instead. Well, she never informed us of her change in plans. So a week later, she gives our manager a handmade item she bought. This is not what we agreed on.”

        She took money under false pretenses and it needs to be escalated regardless of how awkward.

        1. SMH*

          If it had been me I would have gone to her the day she gave this handmade gift and stated that this was not what I agreed to pay for and I want all of my money returned. I’d give her three days to repay the money or boss and HR will be involved to address her theft.

        2. Elizabeth West*

          If the gift was handmade, how do they even know she bought it? What if she made it and kept all the money for something else?

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

          She’d actually already doubled down. OP says she (OP) personally asked two times, that “a lot” of other people had also asked, and then they mentioned it to the assistant project manager who also asked her and that’s when she made the excuse about saving the money for Christmas. So she had already handwaved it at least 4-5 times.

          Personally I’d skip the step of approaching her again at this point and bring it up to management/HR.

    3. EPLawyer*

      I would love an update on this one. What REALLY happened to the money.

      As someone formerly heavily involved in Girl Scouts, I have heard ALL kinds of horror stories about missing cookie money. My two personal favorites – 1) leader used the money for a boob job; 2) leader pulled up to the courthouse where the hearing was being held after the council finally sued her for missing money in the NEW TRUCK SHE BOUGHT WITH THE MONEY.

      1. BubbleTea*

        1) “Oh, when you said the money was to be used to support the girls, I misunderstood which girls you meant…”

      2. the cat's ass*

        as a long-term GS and a GS leader, YIKES. Absolute transparency is the only way to go when you’re dealing with everyone’s $ .

        I fear OP#2 works with a thief.

      3. DataGirl*

        Former Girl Scout leader here too, we had a mom steal something like $900 from the troop. Her daughter was the top seller that year, mom kept coming to get more cookies and we thought great, we’ll be able to afford a really cool trip this year. Then she never turned in the money. After that we changed the policy that cookies had to be paid at least in part before being given to parents to distribute.

        As far as I know the mom never showed any remorse. In order for the troop not to be held accountable we had to turn her in for collections to the Council- I doubt they ever got the money either.

    4. The OTHER other*

      I’m wondering whether the thief was the one who suggested taking up a collection for the boss gift in the first place. That would seem to show intent.

      That the eventual gift given was handmade seems to undercut the fact that it was from multiple people. How does the accounting department knit a scarf?

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

        Yeah the handmade part seems weird, especially since OP seems to know that she had bought it (rather than the more obvious interpretation that she’d made it). I assumed it was from one of those websites like Etsy where you can order a handmade/customised thing directly from the seller (doesn’t explain how OP knows it cost much less than the donations though, unless she was able to find a listing for it!) Strange all round.

  4. Tali*

    OP1, You can celebrate all you want with grandma without making everyone in the office buy her gifts too!

    As an aside, I’m not sure if it’s that traditional or unusual for adults to spend years on education and career and then get married and have a family…

    1. Nona*

      Yeah, the ‘traditional’ bit was confusing. I had to read it a few times to make sure I was reading it right. Normally the traditional way is kids first, education and career second (if at all, if you’re a woman), so I’m not quite sure where they’re coming from with that bit.

      1. Me*

        The only thing I can think of is the old “Mrs. Degree”, where the only reason a woman goes to college is to find a husband. I wouldn’t call it traditional so much as gross and outdated.

      2. finny*

        I interpreted that as traditional in that woman’s culture or area vs the traditional meaning of traditional (lol). But yes, I had to read it twice.

      3. OhNo*

        This is jumping to several conclusions on my part, but my first thought was that the grandma might be from an Indian (like the subcontinent) or maybe Chinese background. I’ve had friends from both cultures who described that progression as “traditional”, often with the implication that it was old fashioned, because the assumption was that it relied on matchmaking or similar arrangements rather than falling in love when it was time to get married and start a family. Could be that’s the implication that the OP meant when they said “traditional”.

        For reference: the “nontraditional” option for my friends was often seen as dating in general, but especially dating while getting an education/working. Their families very much presented it as a Thing That Should Not Be Done.

        1. anon for this*

          When I read it I 100% assumed Nigerian or another African background where intelligence and education tend to be prized.

        2. Lucy Skywalker*

          Hmm, my family is as white as they come, and it was always expected that my sister and I would go to college and get a bachelor’s degree, at the absolute minimum; and also that we would not get married or have children until after college. The expectation was the same for most of the people we knew. In fact, it was pretty much unheard of for someone to get married or pregnant before college graduation.
          Then again, I grew up in a part of the U.S. that has always placed a high value on education and intellect; perhaps more so than any other part of the country.

    2. Personal Best In Consecutive Days Lived*

      My first thought as well. OP, why not host a party for your friend? It would be a blast! It sounds like you’re close enough that it wouldn’t be weird for you to socialize outside of work like thus (even if you don’t normally).

      As for the aside, we don’t know what culture the OP was describing and it seems reasonable that there is a culture somewhere on Earth where people spend time on their education and/or work, then have children later in life. This has been my own family’s tradition for the last three generations.

      1. MK*

        Eh, hosting a party for a grandmother-to-be is overkill in my opinion. Also, who would OP invite to it? If it’s coworkers, it would just be a work shower by another name. If it’s friends and family, frankly I would find it off-putting to focus on a future grandmother during a pregnancy. I think the OP’s affection for her coworker is clouding her judgment.

        1. SheLooksFamiliar*

          Totally this. Also (caps are mine):

          ‘So she’s finally getting the grandchild SHE’S BEEN WAITING FOR. She and her daughter plan for her to be VERY INVOLVED in the child’s life.’ Did anyone else find this a bit alarming and overreaching?

          1. ThatGirl*

            No – it’s definitely very enthusiastic, but alarming? This commentariat loves to jump to conclusions. You can’t possibly base that on one sentence. My aunt was thrilled to become a grandmother; she had certainly been eagerly awaiting it since my cousin got married, and she’s pretty involved in her granddaughter’s life — but she’s not pushy or overreaching.

          2. idwtpaun*

            No, because we have next to no information about the situation, so there’s no way to know if this is alarming or endearing. People who’ve had bad experiences with parents overreaching into their children’s lives will see this as a red flag, whereas people who have a lovely relationship with their parents and find them to be helpful grandparents will think it’s as it should be. We have no way of knowing which situation this is.

            1. SheLooksFamiliar*

              I just saw Stitch’s post right below mine. Looks like I was not the only one who found this part ‘a bit alarming and overreaching’

              Notice how I said ‘a bit’, not ‘holy cow, this grandmother is clearly violating boundaries and is totally frightening.’ I guess the commentariat does enjoy jumping to conclusions…

              1. Puppet*

                The commentariat loves jumping to conclusions? Do you hear yourself? You claim a happy grandmother is an alarming sign and you say others are jumping to conclusions? I’m facepalming so hard I might get a concussion.

                1. SheLooksFamiliar*

                  Re-read the parts I capitalized in my initial post, and take a look at Stitch’s thread below.

                  As I said, it’s a BIT alarming. I’ve seen too many overinvolved grandparents who began with enthusiasm, and went full-blown overinvolved.

                  Again: A BIT.

                2. pancakes*

                  I haven’t seen anyone criticize or express alarm about the grandmother being happy. Without exception, people have been critical of the idea of soliciting gifts from coworkers for her.

              2. RagingADHD*

                All-caps is shouting. When you shout out quotes from the original letter, and say it’s alarming, you do indeed seem to be more than a “bit” alarmed.

                1. SheLooksFamiliar*

                  I used caps because I don’t know how to use italics. Next time I’ll add a disclaimer.

                  Does that explain things to your satisfaction? Or do we need to analyze further?

          3. KittyCardigans*

            No? I am currently pregnant and my mom and I are happily planning ways for her to be really involved with my child’s life despite some logistical challenges. If we had information about how the daughter and mother had a strained relationship or something, it would be different, but I see no reason not to take this at face value.

            Many older people eagerly await grandchildren. It doesn’t mean they’re ENTITLED to grandchildren, but I get being excited (especially if they know that they are part of their child’s life plan).

          4. RagingADHD*

            No. Because the LW says that the daughter (the baby’s mom) is looking forward to having Grandma be very involved.

            Or, to put it in equivalent terms to your comment: “She AND HER DAUGHTER plan for her to be very involved in the child’s life.”

            Where you place the emphasis in your head really makes a huge difference.

        2. Lucy Skywalker*

          As I’ve always understood it, the purpose of a baby shower is to give the mom-to-be items for the baby (toys, clothes, diapers, bottles, etc.). Judging by the context of the letter, the grandmother isn’t going to be the primary caregiver, so it doesn’t really make sense to have a shower for her.

    3. Stitch*

      Am I the only one for whom that rubbed the wrong way? “So she’s finally getting the grandchild she’s been waiting for.”

      It sounds a bit LW is judging coworkers daughter for not having a baby sooner which argh… can we just not with those comments? Women my age get it constantly like people don’t get that babies are expensive.

      1. Sleeping Late Every Day*

        It was beyond cringeworthy. The whole expectation that anyone owes a parent a grandchild is disgusting and needs to stop. Parents of adults have no more business in their offspring’s reproductive organs than politicians do. And expecting coworkers to enable that crap? Oh, hell no.

        1. Calliope*

          You have no idea what the co-worker is expecting. This is her friend who’s excited for her and wants to do something nice (albeit, I agree misguided in this instance0, not the co-worker saying “I am entitled to grandchildren and a party for it.” It’s ok to be excited for grandchildren.

      2. Frally*

        I don’t think LW is judging co-worker’s daughter for not having a baby sooner. I think you’re reading too much into it. I think she’s just happy for someone who is excited about becoming a grandmother after a long wait (again, with no implication that the daughter shouldn’t have made her wait so long, or anything like that).

        1. WellRed*

          Yes, I read it as trying to explain the excitement etc. but of course, it’s cringeworthy otherwise.

        2. anonymous73*

          The fact that she points out that 1. she’s FINALLY getting a grandchild because 2. her child got educated and waited longer to get married (in what way is that “traditional”) is gross. The fact that she’s even considering a “grandparent shower” being okay makes me judge her TBH.

          1. Loulou*

            These are both ridiculous things to judge people for! Isn’t there a rule against nitpicking LW’s word choice? It seems like it would apply here.

            1. Stitch*

              It’s important to understand how your words are perceived in the office. I’m imagining someone saying “we’re throwing a grandma shower because her daughter finally gave her grandkids” around someone like my sister, who has chosen not to have kids, in part because of health issues.

              I’m already a mom myself and I saw the subtext here pretty clearly. So did a lot of commenters on the original letter.

              Women get fed these messages all the time and especially at work it is important to understand how you come across and how this creates an environment where women are viewed as incomplete or less than for not having kids. It should not be happening at work.

              1. Calliope*

                The issue is we’re not hearing from the grandparent-to-be – we’re hearing from a coworker who’s excited for her. It’s weird to assume the co-worker’s framing is precisely the same as the grandparent-to-be’s without other evidence. It doesn’t sound like she asked for a shower and there’s nothing saying she’s complained about her daughter or anything else.

        3. Lucy Skywalker*

          I didn’t get that impression that she was judging anyone at all from the letter, but then again, I have a tough time picking up on implications and subtle cues due to my learning disability.

      3. IndustriousLabRat*

        Yes, especially when combined with the commentary on what is a “traditional” timing/process for starting a family. This isn’t the Grandparents’ accomplishment to celebrate to the level that might inspire a work party! As the grumpy recipient of a decade of pressure to give my parents GRAAAANDBABIEEEEESSSS… I wish this sort of attitude would fade into oblivion.

        1. Cringing 24/7*

          “This isn’t the Grandparents’ accomplishment to celebrate to the level that might inspire a work party!”
          ^ This! Thank you for saying it! I already feel the budgetary and social pressure to give for so many different baby showers at work (seriously, *something* is in the water), that if I had to start giving money to people who weren’t even the ones having the baby, I think I’d lose it!

        2. Elizabeth West*

          Uggggghhh yes. Everyone needs to keep their noses out of other people’s reproductive business. Especially coworkers!

        3. Anonymous*

          “This isn’t the Grandparents’ accomplishment to celebrate to the level that might inspire a work party!”

          I’m envisioning a bunch of balloons and a big streamer proclaiming, “Congratulations on finally wearing your daughter down on the whole grandchild thing!”

      4. Cringing 24/7*

        This definitely immediately jumped out at me simply because my MIL would 100% describe herself this way despite the fact that my spouse and I have – in no uncertain terms – told her that we’re not going to be having children. Now, obviously, this is likely not the case with the daughter of the coworker, but I always get a bit suspicious of people who are overly-invested in the reproductive habits of people who they aren’t in a relationship with.

      5. Insert Clever Name Here*

        It may just be that my experience has been with parents who are supportive and not pushy, but that turn of phrase doesn’t set my teeth on edge. My best friend got married at 30, her PhD at 32, then struggled with fertility, and had a child at 36 — the literal phrase she texted me along with a picture of her with her newborn was “FINALLY!”

        My youngest child is FINALLY potty trained. My oldest is FINALLY to the point where she can reach the faucet to fill up her water cup herself. We FINALLY got the last boxes unpacked from a move. Finally can just means a long-awaited and anticipated event has happened, not that all the things leading up to that event were worthless or a waste of time*.

        *Stressing again that this is likely colored by the supportive and non-pushy family and friends among my circle. Everyone has different experiences and I can definitely see how that phrase can irritate some people, but just trying to point out that if it doesn’t irritate you it doesn’t follow that you are an insensitive, boundary-less monster.

      6. CoveredinBees*

        Mmm, it really requires more info for me. There are definitely parents who feel they’re owed grandchildren yesterday and will happily share that fact. There are also parents who look forward to becoming grandparents but also understand that education, finances, etc mean it won’t happen right then and they don’t make a peep to their kids about it.

        I’ve had both:
        My father started bugging me about it in my early 20’s, when I was single and frankly making questionable dating choices. He always phrased it as making him a grandfather, which way creepy and made it clear that it was all about him.

        I also knew my mother and mother-in-law were itching to be grandparents but supported their kids’ choices and even shut down rude busybodies who had thoughts on it. In the end, I went through 3 pregnancy losses (one of which almost killed me) and a few rounds of infertility treatments. They were supportive throughout it all. I would definitely descript them as having waited without it being creepy or overreaching.
        Without more info, who knows where along the spectrum the coworker is.

    4. Asenath*

      “Traditional” changes with time. I’d say in some social circles, that progression (education-career-marriage-children) is now being carried out the second generation, if not the third, which makes it traditional and usual. Of course other life patterns involving delayed marriage and reproduction go back centuries in some parts of the world, such as when women working in domestic service spent years putting together money and supplies for their marriage, and the men they were going to marry did the same, since marriage was discouraged before the new couple could be self-supporting (in a very modest way).

      1. allathian*

        Yes, this. And this is also the era when senior women servants, such as cooks, were addressed as Mrs. even when they were unmarried (married to the job?). This happens frequently in Agatha Christie’s books and it’s also the case in Downtown Abbey.

        1. Asenath*

          I think it’s a hangover from the days in which both married and unmarried women were addressed as Mistress. When the abbreviation split between Miss and Mrs, senior women started getting the “senior” title, rather than the one that was also associated with girls and young women. British Heritage has a charming series of YouTube videos featuring Mrs. Crocombe, a cook at Audley End House in the 1880s, played by Kathy Hipperson. Mrs. Crocombe was single – she retired to marry when she was about 45. And I read “One Pair of Hands” by Monica Dickens about her experiences as a domestic worker between WW I and WW II. She was actually from a quite wealthy background, and seems to have taken up domestic work out of a combination of boredom and a desire to earn her own money. She liked cooking, so why not get paid for it? She worked in a wide variety of jobs, including one in a country house where she was indeed “Mrs. Dickens”.

      2. UKDancer*

        Yes. There’s a preconception that people got married very young in the Victorian age but actually while a few upper class people did, a lot of working class people got married surprisingly late because of the need to save money to afford it. So the average age for working class people was in their mid twenties or older. My great-grandmother who was lower middle class was 27 by the time she got married, largely because she needed to save up money.

    5. le teacher*

      Agreed. I don’t get that line. I do not think that delaying marriage and kids for education and work is the traditional way, to me that seems the more modern/progressive way.

      1. Broadway Duchess*

        This person strikes me as, I don’t know, young? If you grew up at a time when women had their children post-education and your own experience is “everyone in our family did it this way,” you might think that’s traditional. Because your mom, and maybe even grandmother were older (and even that’s subjective) , so it seems to be the norm to OP
        Then, here’s her work grandma experiencing this “delayed” grandparenthood, so it confirms this idea of what’s traditional to her.

        FWiW, I think she also might be parroting what grandma-to-be says about FINALLY getting a grandchild because, as this thread has explained, that path she describes isn’t really traditional, and b) some people are just hyperbolic. My grandmother said the same things when I was born even though my parents were 21 and 25!

      2. Jaybee*

        In some families, it’s presented as ‘the plan’ that all women should pursue an education first and family second, but what actually happens repeatedly over generations is that the women get pregnant at a young age and either pursue education later or not at all. I can absolutely see someone from one of these families considering getting an education first to be ‘traditional’, because that’s the way it’s been presented to them.

        1. Lucy Skywalker*

          As I said above, I’m from one of those families, however, it’s not gender specific. If my parents had sons, I’m sure that they would also expect them to finish college before becoming a husband or father.

  5. Artemesia*

    The ‘grandma shower’ thing really grinds my gears (and I am a grandma). The escalation of gimmee gimmee events has been noticeable over the last 15 years or so — even Christmas which is already grossly commercial has developed aggressive ‘advent calendar’ marketing so that people get increasingly elaborate gifts for 25 days and the whole Elf on the Shelf is training kids to expect to be showered with stuff constantly. To try to move this ‘non thing’ of a grandma shower to the workplace is going to seem really abusive to many people who might be expected to participate. Next we will be having showers for new dogs and cats because hey not everyone has babies. People who are very close to others will give them gifts on occasions (maybe even the occasion of a new cat); to create an event to pressure people who are not as close into buying stuff is awful and doubly so in the workplace.

    1. Hold my beer*

      Grandma Showers are a terrible idea. Plus there’s a limit to the actual effort a parent puts into being a grandparent, and as such does it really need to be commemorated? “Congratulations on your offspring having fruitful coitus with another!” The poor sperm donor (as in this case) is going to feel very left out.

      1. Pennyworth*

        There is also the possibility of upsetting coworkers with fertility issues who are struggling to become parents let alone grandparents. Just take your friend out to lunch and give her a gift privately.

      2. bowl of petunias*

        Yeah, I appreciate that grandparents can be very involved with their grandchildren, but they don’t really need to be given a bunch of stuff to do that. It’s a happy event for this grandparent, clearly, but life brings lots of those and if we celebrate all of them with showers, we’ll be knee deep in gifts.

        1. Librarian of SHIELD*

          She might need a car seat and/or a pack and play for days when she’s looking after the baby, but that doesn’t mean it’s the office’s responsibility to get those things for her. Get her a nice card and maybe a gift card to the local baby store and other than that, just be excited with her.

      3. BubbleTea*

        My mum is putting a lot of effort into being a grandparent, in that she comes to stay for a week every three months (a journey that takes minimum 6 hours) to help me out and give me some time to catch up on sleep, since I’m on my own. I’ve commemorated it by giving her a month by month photo frame with pictures of baby, identical to the one I do for myself. Her workplace recognise it by being willing to let her take her time off in quarterly chunks. Nothing more than that is needed really.

    2. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

      Advent calendars have been around for a long time (very much a part of my family/home culture, so I remember growing up decades ago opening a door a day on a printed Advent calendar, usually with a Bible verse or picture related to the Nativity behind it, and mom saving the old calendars from year-to-year as well as buying a new one each year so when I was in my Peak Advent Calendar early elementary school years I could open SO MANY doors each morning…), but the burst of secular ones with prizes inside onto the American market has become astonishing over the past few years. I know it was somewhat of a thing in Europe at least as far back as the late 90s/early 2000s because a college friend had a Lego one back then, but I didn’t see anything other than printed or chocolate available commercially in the US until after I was out of college and the Lego City ones started getting released in the American market. (Some years it was pretty hard to find even the printed non-chocolate ones growing up, at least at non-specialty stores. They were probably easier to find at specifically Christian book/gift stores, but only sometimes would get stocked at grocery stores. The chocolate ones seemed to show up at grocery stores every year, but my family didn’t buy those.)

      My mom sewed me a homemade Advent calendar with little pockets to put prizes in, but none of my friends from different backgrounds had them back then. The Avon catalog sold one with a mouse to move from pocket-to-pocket at least one year in the 80s (or very early 90s) though, and those pockets were big enough to put prizes in, so a few friends tried to get their families on board…I don’t think most of them made much headway, because buying 24 tiny prizes is a lot of extra work.

        1. Pennyworth*

          Our advent calendars were pretty plain until you peeled open the door and there was a Christmassy image behind it. No prizes, but we still fought over whose turn it was to reveal the picture each day.

      1. londonedit*

        You’re right – in my culture (UK) advent calendars have been around forever, first as plain ones where you’d open doors to reveal parts of the nativity story, and then in more recent decades chocolate ones. I still get a chocolate advent calendar from my parents every year and I’m 40. However what I have seen in maybe the last five years is people around my age, who have young kids, doing a literal 24 days of advent presents for them in the run-up to Christmas. They’ll post a photo on Instagram on December 1st of a huge basket with individually wrapped small gifts, and the children choose one each every day until Christmas Day. And *that* I think is getting ridiculous. Add that to the recent trend for extra Christmas Eve presents (in Britain the main – and until recently only – Christmas celebrations are on Christmas Day, but someone somewhere decided a few years ago that all children must now receive a box on Christmas Eve with pyjamas and whatnot and now it’s another Thing on social media) and it’s just all presents all the time. For me it makes it all less special – if you’re opening a present every day for 24 days, then you’re opening a Christmas Eve box, and then you’ve got presents on Christmas Day (and don’t start me on the ‘whoops, might have gone a little overboard this year…!’ humblebragging photos of kids standing next to mountains of gifts) then I just think it’s sending the wrong message to children.

        1. bamcheeks*

          (The jam, lipstick, gin, etc calendars marketed to adults also baffle me. Surely nobody likes jam that much!)

          1. londonedit*

            Some of those are SO EXPENSIVE! £100-odd on a novelty advent calendar?! And that’s without the really ridiculous ones like Liberty’s.

            1. EventPlannerGal*

              Right? It honestly feels like every other story I see on Insta right now is someone opening some luxury makeup advent calendar! Maybe I just don’t get it because the products are usually minis, which I always forget about and never use. The Liberty one is very pretty, though.

              (Have you seen the mini-controversy about the Chanel advent calendar? Something like $800-$900 and it mostly contained things like stickers, a bracelet made of plastic and string, an empty dust bag, and one single bottle of No5…)

              1. UKDancer*

                The Chanel thing was hilarious.

                I would agree a lot of them contain small sizes but I find it quite fun having new and different things to try and often take them away when I go places as they fit in my make up bag.

                1. EventPlannerGal*

                  Oh yeah, I definitely get the novelty/fun factor – I think I’m just so forgetful that I lose the wee sizes! I usually stick with chocolate ones that I can eat immediately, haha.

              2. Elizabeth West*

                I wouldn’t mind one with little makeup minis, but I’m not paying that much for it. One with say, Ulta makeup, is fine.

            2. Two Dog Night*

              Eh, the whisky advent calendars tend to be expensive, but my husband likes them because he can try a wide variety without buying whole bottles. This year he got Johnnie Walker Blue Label one evening, which made him very happy. :-)

            3. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

              My family used to rotate the 3 sets of gifts in advent calendars through each kid since the entries were standardized (not sure if it was just my fam or actual Orthodox tradition). No reason to by 3 new icons of SS. Spyridon every year. The only thing that was new would be the candy and candles because we’d use them

          2. UKDancer*

            I do get one of the make up / skincare calendars for myself because it’s fun opening a different door each day. Some of them are too expensive in my opinion but given how dreary December in lockdown is, it’s been a pleasant thing to enjoy each day.

            1. Jackalope*

              Yeah, last year I got an Advent calendar for myself and a couple of good friends that was related to Hobby, since we’d gone back into full lockdown mode and it was so miserable. That was everyone’s Christmas present for the year and it made things a little more bearable in the midst of such an awful year.

          3. CreepyPaper*

            I have a tea one! It’s marvellous. I enjoy opening each little door to see what I’m getting to drink that day.

            1. OftenOblivious*

              I’m doing a tea one as well! And a hobby related one. In year’s past, I thought they were overpriced and silly. This year, I really wanted on and it’s been rather cheery for another pandemic year. It’s taken my hobby by storm though, I think we’re reaching the peak/saturation point of supply sellers offering advent/countdown kits.

              Growing up, my mom sewed a calendar that had little pockets that fit mini-candy canes.

          4. bee*

            I have the jam one! I haven’t done a strict one per day (mostly due to forgetfulness) but I’m enjoying it—the flavors are interesting, and the teeny jars are cute. Plus it’s just fun! Stuff is allowed to be frivolous!

            1. londonedit*

              Of course stuff is allowed to be frivolous, and I have absolutely no problem with people spending their money on these things if it makes them happy. For me it’s just another example of how everything’s become more, more, more – you can’t just have an advent calendar, you’ve got to have a gin advent calendar, no wait now it’s a beauty one, no wait now it’s the Liberty one that’s £200, no wait there’s a Chanel one…and so on. People don’t just give their kids a chocolate calendar anymore, it’s a present every day. Etc. Of course a lot of people don’t go in for all the competitive parenting and social media bragging and they just enjoy a jam advent calendar for being a jam advent calendar, but at the same time I do think everything to do with Christmas (and most other things) has become all about showing off on social media (and I’m not even religious – Christmas for me is a cultural celebration of family and food and exchanging meaningful gifts).

          5. Berkeleyfarm*

            This is my second year with the Bonne Maman jam calendar. It’s a tiny jar (big enough for both sides of an English muffin) and it’s just a small good thing to look forward to. Since I got in on the original release the price was quite modest as well.

            I did get the Master of Malt whiskey calendar one year when I knew December was going to be awful. It gave me something to look forward to. But I had been very, very good that year.

            (24 days of small presents for the kids really seems like insane overkill to me. But “a present on Christmas Eve” wasn’t unheard of even back in the stone ages when I was a child.)

          6. CoveredinBees*

            I like jam that much. I got the Bonne Maman advent calendar last year simply because they do a bunch of special, inventive jams that are only in the calendars. That said, I don’t even celebrate Christmas so I just opened all the cute little doors and went through the tiny jams at a normal pace. It’s not like they’d go stale.

        2. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

          We have the Star Wars Lego advent calendar each year (we’re adults, we can have lego!) but aside from that we stick mostly to my Wiccan celebration.

        3. Caraway*

          In fairness, this is not necessarily only a recent trend. I’m 42 and my sister is 38, and my mom did something similar for us with advent calendars. We also always got Christmas PJs on Christmas Eve. The advent calendar gifts tended to be a mix of practical things (little packs of Kleenex), fun things (maybe a bottle of nail polish), and treats (candy or similar). We enjoyed it as kids, but in retrospect it was pretty over the top!

          Interestingly, I wouldn’t consider us to be particularly materialistic as a family, although that’s of course a matter of perspective, and I don’t think it’s carried over to our adult lives. I don’t have kids but my sister does, and a few years ago she asked me to ease back on the number of gifts we got them so they wouldn’t learn to always expect gifts.

      2. Anon-mama*

        I mean, I can get behind a wine or whisky calendar. Sadly, the Aldi stores in my state are forbidden from selling them. We do Advent when it begins religiously, so typically the last Sunday in November. But I don’t buy my kids calendars with little prizes, and the dates don’t match up. Instead, I throw Christmas books borrowed from the library into a Santa sack, and the one they pull is their bedtime story. Easy and cheap (some people wrap the books, but I don’t have that kinda time).

        But no grandma shower. So something privately outside of work.

      3. JP in the heartland*

        We had the Avon mouse one too. I still have it. My girls loved it when they were little, although we never put anything but the nose in the pockets. Now I put it up for my grandsons.

      4. LutherstadtWittenberg*

        German Lutherans started Advent calendars by counting down the days with chalk on a windowsill or doorframe in the early 19th century, then moved to wooden calendars by the 1850s. Many German calendars of the 1920s had small meringues or little treats. Scandinavians have had the large cloth calendars with the pockets for many years. They didn’t have any Charlotte Tilbury in them, though.

        Toys and chocolates aren’t new to advent calendars, but the scope has changed. I received little prizes every day in December, wrapped in lovely packaging and tied together with ribbon. As a child my mother opened all of her gifts on Christmas Eve, a Danish custom. Our holdover was to open one gift on the eve and everything else on Christmas Day. It’s a melange of traditions. Danish and German Lutheran traditions, so not that interesting or different but a melange nonetheless!

      5. S*

        We had that advent calendar with the mouse! We would fight over who got to move the mouse each morning. (no prizes)

      6. noahwynn*

        My parents still have and use the Avon mouse calendar. My mom sold Avon back in the day. We always had Andes mints in there, one for each of us and we had to rotate through the kids on who got to move the mouse each day. Memories!

      7. Artemesia*

        It used to be a Bible picture or maybe a tiny chocolate. Now there are calendars with cans of beer or bottles of wine, with substantial toys e.g. you collect a whole farm of horses, cows, riders, hay etc or jewelry. It is about getting stuff not awaiting the birth of the Savior.

        When my kids were little we usually had a little snack after the soccer game. now mothers organize snacks for midway through the game and kids are fed at least twice in a regular game and increasingly elaborately. The trend to making everything a gift occasion runs unabated.

        1. NotAnotherManager!*

          Sure, but some people celebrate Christmas as a secular holiday and are not awaiting any religious event. Even the bible/nativity ones my mom got me as a kid decades ago had chocolate in them. We love advent calendars, and the little Lego things make great ornaments for the tree – we keep gold and silver thread so they can be hung up immediately. (This year, Lego calendars were stupid expensive due to supply chain, so we went with a 15-day calendar of novelty socks, which have been a huge success and one of my kids is opening theirs and wearing the socks to school. If that hadn’t worked out, we’d have gone chocolate.) We just treat it as a gift and buy less to go under the tree. When the kids have their own places, they will have at least some ornaments to their name.

          December is such a depressing month between the cold and getting dark at 5:00 that it’s nice to have a small something to look forward to.

    3. Jackalope*

      I don’t see this as a gimme gimme event since it wasn’t requested by the grandma-to-be; it was an idea that a coworker had to try and be kind to her work friend. I agree w/ Alison that it was better to do something else, but it was still a kind idea. Hopefully the OP came up with a way to celebrate her friend’s exciting news that made the new grandma feel cared for and didn’t make the other coworkers feel put out.

      1. MK*

        Kindness coupled with thoughtlessness is not a good thing. And it shouldn’t come at the expense of anyone other than yourself. The OP’s impulse to do something to celebrate her work friend’s becoming a grandparent is kind and generous. The idea to drag the whole office into it is thoughtless at best.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          She didn’t drag the whole office into it–she asked Alison if this would go over in the happy “So excited for Gladys!!!!” way it played in her head. Alison told her no, and to just celebrate with her friend.

          One of the good roles of the blog is that people with ideas run them by Alison for a reality check, rather than start by presenting them to people who will not react the way it plays in an OP’s head.

        2. ecnaseener*

          If she actually DID it, that would be thoughtless. But having the IDEA isn’t thoughtless when clearly she is thinking about it deeply enough to ask an advice columnist whether or not to go ahead with it!

      2. Not So NewReader*

        Unfortunately, calling it a shower implies a shower of gifts. why-why-why.

        However, I could see some celebratory cupcakes going around. Or maybe a brief get-together *for those who want to join* to have beverage/snack and congratulate new grandma. Of the two I lean toward OP springing for some cupcakes to share in celebration and let it go at that.

        1. Unicorn Parade*

          Why does it have to be a work thing though? So bizarre to drag the whole office into a celebration of something that literally has nothing to do with the woman they are celebrating (unless grandma donated eggs or paid for the sperm?) My mom’s birthday just passed, should my office have thrown ME a party to celebrate HER birthday, during business hours?

          It’s one thing if you, specifically, are very pregnant or getting married or buying a house, and the party is for you, specifically, but celebrating someone’s CHILD doing those things, at work, when the child doesn’t even work there, is just incredibly inappropriate.

          I personally think showers are incredibly outdated in general. Most of the people I know getting married, buying a house, or having children are adults in their late 20s/early 30s, and they are already living together as a two-income household. Not sure why my one-income self is expected to buy them a fancy stand mixer or a month’s supply of diapers or a gravy boat. I wish showers could just be a fun celebration instead of a cash grab, and most showers I’ve been to feel like a cash grab.

          1. GrooveBat*

            I’m with you. I’ve never liked showers to begin with; I mean, basically they’re all just “gift grabs with snacks and the occasional dumb game.” Making them all cash just highlights what they’re really all about.

          2. Jackalope*

            Then just… don’t bring gifts? Starting up a new household or having a baby can be super expensive; the idea that your community comes around you to help you afford All The Things that otherwise would be tough to manage is a godsend for many people. Especially if you’re having a baby, the amount of things you need for them is a huge chunk of change, at a time when if you live in the US, for example, you may be about to spend time out on leave without pay for a few months and so money will be tight. My husband and I got married in our 40s and if we hadn’t gotten a single gift we would have been okay, but there were a lot of things that people got that have been genuinely helpful and made starting our life together easier.

            Seriously, though, just don’t get a gift if you can’t afford it, or get something cheap. For a friend’s wedding back when I didn’t have much money I got an apple corer that cost $5. When we got married a friend who doesn’t have a lot of money right now gave us about 20 tea bags of assorted teas and some homemade bookmarks. I’m sure we had guests who didn’t give us anything and we didn’t even notice.

          3. Elizabeth West*

            Most people don’t have baby stuff unless they already have a baby. A lot of it can be donated, but to just go out and buy it is expensive.

            I agree with you about wedding showers, though. The majority of working adults living on their own, especially those who get married in their thirties and are combining households, probably have too much stuff.

            1. Lucy Skywalker*

              Right, which is why people typically only have baby showers when the mom is pregnant with the firstborn.

      1. Chicanery*

        My friend has an Elf on the Shelf for each of her kids plus one of those Santa Cam ornaments in every room of her house, bathrooms included. It kinda creeps me out.

        1. pancakes*

          I’d never heard of Santa Cam. I really, really, really do not like the idea of introducing kids to the idea of festive surveillance! Yikes.

        2. Dwight Schrute*

          Oh this is SO creepy! Why why why? Did you point out that it’s ridiculous to have cameras in the bathroom?? ( I mean it’s silly everywhere for these purposes but especially absurd for the bathroom)

        3. Lucy Skywalker*

          Of course Santa Claus has hidden cameras! How else would he see you when you’re sleeping and know when you’re awake?

      2. FashionablyEvil*

        I have a couple of objections to the Elf on the Shelf including the additional labor for parents (let’s be honest, usually mothers), but also that it normalizes a surveillance state and that the reason to do the right thing is that someone is watching you. Just no.

        1. UKDancer*

          Yes, I’d not heard of Elf on the Shelf until one of my friends told me about it. It sounds very creepy to me.

          1. BubbleTea*

            I despise Elf on the Shelf. It combines ridiculous expectations for parents (mothers) with constant surveillance of behaviour, whilst simultaneously implying that naughtiness (from the elf) is cute and funny. What kind of mixed messaging is that?!

        2. Curious*

          He sees you when you’re sleeping!
          He knows when you’re awake!
          He knows whether you’ve been bad or good —
          So get used to the surveillance State!

          1. Lucy Skywalker*

            Someone else who thinks like me! See my comment above. (Of course Santa Claus has hidden cameras! How else would he see you when you’re sleeping and know when you’re awake?)

        3. pancakes*

          I don’t know anyone who does that or follow anyone on social media who posts about it, so I didn’t know the elf was supposed to be watching – I thought it was just about finding it posed in different places. Agree that it’s creepy.

          1. Falling Diphthong*

            A past example of office Christmas shenanigans was someone tried to introduce the elf surveillance state to the office, and people kept moving the elf into unfortunate positions.

          2. Calliope*

            That’s what most people do. I’m very anti-elf because I am NOT going to come up with new poses late at night for a whole month, but most people I know who do it just like setting up staged situations. They don’t make it a surveillance thing.

        4. Dobby is a Free Elf!*

          We could not afford Elf on the Shelf (TM) the year it became a big thing, so I crocheted a Dobby (from Harry Potter). My kids watched me make him; there is absolutely no doubt in their minds that I’m the one moving him (in fact, as they get older, they ask to “help” move him), and as we don’t do Santa, he’s not reporting to anyone…but he brings a great deal of holiday fun. One year, he put streamers all over the kids’ doors to “prevent” them from going back to school (on the first day of winter break). He presides over fun breakfasts that I would have made anyway. He’s gotten into a few epic battles with “bad guy” toys to protect the Christmas tree (usually involving TP or streamer snowballs and whatever toys aren’t tucked away in the kids’ rooms that night). It’s more good-natured fun than anything, and I have a blast with it–but if I forget to move him, since the kids know it’s me, they just laugh at me and move on.

        5. NotAnotherManager!*

          I would never have one of those creepy things in my house — too much work, the kids should be good even when no one’s watching/it doesn’t equate to presents, and I would be WAY too tempted to do Robot Chicken-esque scenarios with the elf.

          I also don’t get the whole, “Oh, look what the naught elf got up to last night!” thing when it’s supposed to be surveilling your kids for good behavior. Way to set an example, Elfie.

      3. Falling Diphthong*

        Right? I thought the whole point was to put real dead painted eyes behind the idea that you better watch out, you better not cry, OR ELSE NO PRESENTS.

    4. MissBaudelaire*

      When I had my first, I think one of my Mom’s coworkers might have given her a Grandma bracelet or something, kind of as a joke kind of as a ‘isn’t that so cute?’ type thing. I can’t imagine a whole shower about it. What gifts does a Grandma need? I’m not trying to downplay anyone’s excitement to be a grandparent, I’m just so confused about it.

      My kids are disappointed I don’t do the Elf of the Shelf. We don’t invite the fay into the house, children!

      1. BubbleTea*

        Yes! DON’T LET THE FAIRY FOLK INSIDE. Don’t sell the fae your children’s bones, for that matter.

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        a) Gifts to be passed on to the baby, e.g. receiving blankets and tiny hats.
        b) Gifts to be used when the child visits Grandma, e.g. everyone goes in together on a high chair or bassinet.

        Grandparent showers are a bad idea in an office. They are generically not great for friend groups, but if the friend group is really into this idea–or medieval banquets, or parkour–then you do you, friends! Be happy!

        1. Artemesia*

          Anything a family or friend group wants to do is fine — showers for the 5th baby? grandma showers? As long as it is a custom of that group and everyone is honored, what’s it to us. But in the workplace — no way.

    5. Someone On-Line*

      I agree with you about too many events with expectations of presents, but I also got my dog an advent calendar this year so I’m just going to go stand in the corner.

      1. UKDancer*

        I think that’s fantastic to do one for the dog. Why not after all? We’re allowed to do things that are fun and make us happy, even if they’re frivolous.

        I mean I don’t technically need the sample of facial serum I got in my advent calendar but it’s fun having it to try.

      2. Midwestern Scientist*

        My family has always celebrated advent (as a religious season preparing for Christmas) with many traditions. I generally dislike the commercialization of this time of year but my very spoiled dog has 2 advent calendars – one I bought and one my mom boughtj

      3. Threeve*

        Someone gave me one for my cat! (She chewed most of the little windows open when I left it unsupervised.)

        1. PT*

          I got my cat one last year. This year when my husband and I open ours, she turns up and stands there like, excuse me? where is mine? So now I have to give her a treat too.

      4. the cat's ass*

        Thank you, this comment made me snort my tea (I bought an advent calendar for my cats, so I’ll just stand there with you)

      5. Lucy Skywalker*

        I never had an advent calendar for my pets, but I do joke every year that my guinea pig is going to get gifts from Cavy Claus, a guinea pig with fur as white and fluffy as snow. Every year on Christmas Eve, he drives a sleigh pulled by eight tiny hamsters and comes down the clothes dryer pipe and leaves presents for all the guinea pigs who celebrate Christmas!

        (Hey, when you don’t have kids, you gotta come up with something, right?)

    6. B*

      100%. I really disagree with obligatory gifts, especially in a business setting. My closest family members get presents for Christmas and their birthdays. I’m not spending money on a made-up event for someone I don’t know and probably don’t even like, as a business obligation. (See Also: Gender Reveal Parties)

      1. sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

        Oh, don’t me started on gender reveal parties! Noooooooooooooooooooooo.

        I once had convo with a coworker who was going to be a first-time grandma and she was slightly confused – is the gender reveal separate from the shower? I had to admit I didn’t know but shared my opinion about how unnecessary the gender reveal party is. And then I added, “Have you heard of push presents?”

        1. Artemesia*

          I had my kids before ‘push presents’ entered the vocabulary. But of course my husband gave me a lovely gift with the birth of each child. What makes it icky is the name and the demand and expectation. A loving husband is likely to do something nice for his wife who has newly delivered his child. Turning it into a particular type of commercial obligation is sad. And greatly lessons the charm of whatever it is he chooses to do.

          1. sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

            100% agree with you.

            I didn’t get a gift for either child other than his dedicated time with us during those first crazy weeks. That was a gift enough.

    7. Mockingjay*

      I’m not a fan of this trend, in which coworkers substitute for family and friends to celebrate life events and holidays. We’ve seen so many letters here about boundary crossings and unwanted obligations for gifts and mandatory caring. “But we’re FAAAMMMILY at ACME Corp.!” Yes, and like many families, I don’t like all of you.

      Most companies manage to find a balance – the occasional voluntary potluck or holiday party is fine. But if you celebrate every coworker’s personal milestones, you’d never get any work done. Not to mention going broke from luncheons and gift purchases.

    8. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

      My family is Orthodox and we did the 40 days of Advent (our Xmas falls on/near Jan 7th depending on the calendar) with a calendar. We had 16 mini icons (SS. Andrew, Anastasia, Barbara, Herman, Ignatius, Katherine, Matthew, Nicholas, Romanos, Savas, Spyridon, Stylianos, Archangel Gabriel, Nativity of our Lord, Presentation of the Theotokos, Prophet Daniel), all the pieces to a min-Nativity scene, and ones with an anchor, bell, candle, candy, church, cross, dove, fish, gift box, green wreath, heart, moon, poinsettia, something representing our saint, star, money, and the word, “Kyrie”. I’m fairly certain the tradition is old

    9. ceiswyn*

      A cat shower would have been really helpful, actually, I spent over £1000 on stuff for my new (used) cat. And it’s not like I’m ever going to have a human baby :)
      (But no, it would be a bit odd.)

    10. KittyCardigans*

      While I loathe Elf on the Shelf for many reasons, I don’t get how it fits in here? The elf gets in trouble every day, and there’s the implication that he’s spying on the kids and reporting back to Santa, but he doesn’t drop off presents for the kids every day.

    11. PT*

      If she’s that enthusiastic of a grandma, she will surely want everyone to look at pictures and videos of the baby sleeping and hear stories of how clever and smart the baby already is even though it is not capable of doing anything beyond eating and pooping. Set aside some work time to humor her instead of a shower.

    12. Denver Gutierrez*

      I grew up in the 80s and 90s and things have definitely changed. Back then, you got gifts for your birthday and Christmas. Now I hear about kids getting gifts at Valentines, Easter, other people’s birthdays, etc. People throw gift-expecting events for every life moment,, it seems. It just never ends!

  6. Electric Sheep*

    Not a fan of celebrating someone becoming a grandma – I get pressure for not ‘giving’ my mother grandchildren even though there are a bunch of very good reasons I’m not having kids. Some people seem to feel you owe your parents all the work expense and health impacts of having a kid so they have a grandkid. No.

    She can enjoy the grandkid (is that not enough?) and you can be happy for her without pushing her coworkers to do something. It’s way too late now but I’d suggest the LW arrange a personal card since they are friends, and not try and make it a big thing.

    1. Dark Macadamia*

      Yeah, that was my thought too. You do a shower for new parents to offer support/community, not just to congratulate them! It’s exciting to become a grandparent but it’s not really a milestone in the same way, more just something that passively happens to you if your kid chooses to have kids. The idea that she’s “finally getting” something she has no control over and isn’t entitled to is kind of weird.

      1. allathian*

        Yeah, I agree it’s weird. It also feels very entitled.

        Sure, I can sympathize with older people who never get the chance to become grandparents because their children embrace the single and/or childfree lifestyle, would like to find a partner but haven’t done so yet, or are infertile, or any combination of the above.

        I don’t think the office is the right place to celebrate becoming a grandparent anyway. It’s neither a personal milestone nor a personal accomplishment. I’d argue that Sweden might be an exception to this, because there people can take paid leave to care for a sick grandchild, for example if one parent is on a business trip and the other is also sick and unable to care for the child (the sick parent would be taking paid sick leave), or the sick parent has full custody with no co-parent in the picture.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Yes, “entitled”. That is the exact word.

          It’s really hard to tell from the letter if grams-to-be was “hoping and praying for a grandchild” OR setting expectations for the daughter and demanding a grandchild. There’s a big difference. I have had friends who would never in a thousand years mention a child to their own kids, but they would quietly hope for one. If it did not happen, they just accepted that also.

      1. allathian*

        Yeah, well, AFAIK baby showers for dads are also pretty much non-existent.

        I’m in Finland, and we invented the Baby Box, currently also in use at least in Scotland, the Netherlands, and New Jersey is the first US state that has it. Impoverished mothers were given the first boxes in 1937, and every mother became eligible for one in 1949. So the idea of the community supporting a new mom with material things, or friends celebrating the baby and mom never really caught on here until the turn of the millennium, or thereabouts.

        1. MissBaudelaire*

          Baby Showers for dads are done in my area as diaper and wipe parties. You have beer and BBQ, and the ‘cost’ of entrance is a pack of wipes or diapers. Although more and more people are doing co-ed baby showers.

          1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

            I know of several fathers-to-be who just got a framed Death Certificate with the date entered as “TBD.”

          2. KittyCardigans*

            Every shower I’ve been to that’s not thrown by a member of an older generation had been co-ed. I think this is something that will continue to shift.

          3. NotAnotherManager!*

            We had a co-ed baby shower well over a decade ago, as did most of my friends. They tended to be a barbecue with no/minimal games. I got one of my friend’s husbands, who is very literal and by-the-book, “The Baby Owner’s Manual: Operating Instructions, Trouble-Shooting Tips, and Advice on First-Year Maintenance,” and he loved it.

        2. sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

          My husband had one for our first but it was after the baby was born. He brought home all the leftovers (lots of food at his shower) and it was great! His coworkers also kept showing up with gifts for weeks after the fact. So many bibs…not enough frozen casseroles.

          And I know they threw one for Dude in Accounting for his first as well at my current job. And I think also for Dude in Fleet.

          It really depends on your team dynamic. I’m pretty certain that if the sole Dude on my little team announced he was going to be a grandpa, someone would collect for a nice gift for the baby. But no shower. Because we really like Dude on our team.

        3. RagingADHD*

          My husband had an office shower when our first kid was born 15 years ago, because they did them for all new parents.

          Coed or dad showers are very common in the US, though I don’t see many dad friend groups organizing them. In the office it’s the party planner (a duty that tends to wind up borne by women). In social circles, it’s usually the mom’s friends or family who organize them, no matter who’s on the guest list.

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      The grandparent shower is a bad idea.

      That said, it is not at all unusual to congratulate people–in the “I share in your happiness at this joyous life event” when their children marry, or produce grandchildren. The family of a person in our circle has expanded and conventionally we view this as a happy thing that brings them joy. We offer condolences when it contracts.

    3. Lucy Skywalker*

      I’m so sorry that your parents are pushing so hard for you to have kids. That’s got to be awful.

  7. Jacey*

    I’m glad #5 was reprinted—it’s something I needed to read today! Due to my particular cocktail of neurodivergences, I default to the assumption that I’m “doing it wrong,” no matter what “it” is, and thus any and all criticism of me is correct. It’s very helpful to see Alison push back on that exact tendency in a kind, logical way. I’ll try to keep the phrase “taking… feedback as gospel” in mind the next time I’m worrying over a negative comment.

    1. Putting the "pro" in "procrastinate"*

      I would add to the answer to #5 that you might consider adjusting your style for different members of your team — they don’t necessarily all need the same thing from you. That doesn’t mean you need to have a complete personality transplant from one report to another. But pay attention to what they tell you about the kind of management under which they work best, and try to adapt within the parameters of your own management style. For instance, on my team, some team members thrive with more accountability and assistance with short-term and long-term planning. Others do better when they are allowed to plan and organize their own work, and I trust them to do that because I know they are reliable. You don’t have to manage all reports the exact same way.

    2. El l*

      Yeah, and I’d also add that people have varying and totally personal expectations from their managers, which aren’t necessarily fair and certainly aren’t predictable or one-size-fits-all. One person’s “too relaxed” can be another person’s “too intense.”

      First, it’s totally a question of what that person is used to from previous managers.

      Second, more controversially, there are even many people who apply expectations formed from their relationship with their parents – that’s a theme Esther Perel brings out in her discussions and even things I’ve seen in myself.

      If it’s 3-4 people saying it, it’s more worth considering. If it’s just 1, it’s probably just personal taste.

  8. Joanna*

    Re #1, a big part of why babyshowers exist is that new parents need an overwhelming amount of stuff for caring for a baby so its really nice to have a semi-formal event for friends and family to gift them some of the things they’ll need. Unless there is some unusual circumstances (like grandparents needing to take on the bulk of the caregiving for the child), the grandparents don’t have high material needs.

    That said, perhaps a small bunch of flowers from you personally (not the office as a whole) could be a thoughtful gesture.

    1. Alice*

      Keyword is friends and family though… I don’t think coworkers should be pressured to give money for baby showers, especially as you don’t know if any of them have personal circumstances where money is tight.

      1. Joanna*

        Yes, if I was organising a babyshower I wouldn’t do it at work or invite coworkers who aren’t good friends outside of work

    2. Stitch*

      Baby showers are often “here’s my magic product” events too. I usually give a specific tube of diaper cream with calendula in it because it’s the thing that kicked my son’s stubborn pediatrician visit bad diaper rash.

    3. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

      At the places I work I swear baby showers were just an excuse to eat cake/snacks on work time. None of them ever had gifts, just too much food and a lot of talk

    4. NotAnotherManager!*

      The thing we found is that babies really don’t need that much stuff – a place to sleep, a carseat (if you drive) and/or stroller, diapers/wipes, clothes, and, if formula-feeding, bottles and food. A lot of the other stuff is just stuff (the number of bibs, hand-crocheted blankets, and stuffed animals we received was staggering, especially in a one-bedroom apartment). It’s going to vary by kid what you “need” – first one, zero interest in pacifiers; second one, was still finding pacifiers hidden around the house last time we moved (years after they’d given them up).

  9. Roeslein*

    OP#1, by all means celebrate (if the co-workers would like that)! Lunch sounds like a great idea. Baby showers are not really a thing in any country I’ve lived in though (and that’s quite a few) and sort of sound tacky to me even when it’s of for the actual parents, never mind grandparents, but that is surely a cultural thing…

  10. Rosacolleti*

    #1 I have definitely worked in places where life events get celebrated eg tomorrow one of our team graduates university so we’re getting her flowers and taking her to lunch. If it’s a close team, and there’s no pressure to pay anything, I think it sounds lovely.

    1. MK*

      No one is saying it’s odd to celebrate coworkers’ life events. But becoming a grandparent isn’t one of those that usually get celebrated, while graduating is.

    2. Colette*

      I think the difference is that graduating is something your coworker did, whereas becoming a grandparent is not something the coworker did herself – she’s a grandparent because her child had a child, and that’s not something under her control. If her child graduated from university, you presumably wouldn’t get her flowers and take her for lunch, even if her child graduating had been her lifelong dream.

  11. Grandma what?*

    I gave birth to the first grandchild on either side of the family, and my eyebrows about popped off my head when I found out my MIL (who lives several hours away!) had been given a “grandma shower” by friends. Like… This isn’t even your baby? Aside from an initial reaction, I didn’t get bothered by it and I never asked questions about the why or the how or the what she got, but to this day when I hear a “grandparent shower” referenced I think of it and I’m just confused and it rubs me the wrong way… The idea of doing something nice for a new grandparent doesn’t bother me but it feels like assuming a new baby is…. Theirs, more than it should be. (My own mom’s friends did not throw her a shower. She threw my husband and I a co-ed shower and they came to that and everyone had fun together…. She, by the way, lived even farther away.)

    1. londonedit*

      I don’t have children and my judgement is maybe clouded by the fact that I don’t come from a culture where ‘showers’ for anything are a thing (baby showers have made it across the pond but they’re still seen as a bit of an oddity and I’m not sure we know how to do them properly in this country – plus a lot of people here still have a cultural hesitancy about buying presents for a baby before it’s born). You give presents at/for a wedding, not before, and you give presents to the new parents when a baby is born, not before. So that’s all weird enough in my book, and then a grandma shower…?! No. As you say, it’s not the grandma’s baby and it just feels odd to me. Plus as other people have commented I don’t like the ‘she’s waited so long for her daughter to finally have a baby’ language – it smacks of the ‘so glad you’ve finally settled down and fulfilled your true purpose in life’ rubbish that women have to put up with.

      1. UKDancer*

        Yes I know what you mean about the cultural hesitancy. I really struggle with giving presents before a baby is born because it feels so much like tempting fate. I’m not deeply superstitious but it just feels like you’re presuming too much. One of my friends had a baby shower and it surprised me how much I felt that.

        I did give one of my friends a gift when her daughter had a baby but that was because she’s my friend and I wanted her to have something nice.

        1. FashionablyEvil*

          I feel that way about people who announce the name in advance (and, worse still, tag all of their Instagram/FB photos of things like decorating the nursery with the baby’s name). Just really seems like tempting fate if something goes badly wrong.

          1. londonedit*

            Oh gosh yes! When did that become a thing?! I find that deeply odd. ‘Looking forward to meeting baby Fergus in a couple of weeks’ time!’

              1. londonedit*

                Of course it would, but in my culture it’s very rare for parents to reveal the name of the baby before it’s born. Most people decide on a name in advance, but they don’t reveal it until the baby actually arrives.

        2. Hiring Mgr*

          Many Jewish people (I’m one) don’t have baby showers for that reason.. I think it’s fine to celebrate one on one with the grandma colleague since it sounds like you’re friends, but yeah not the thing for the office.

          Really, any combination of grandmothers and showers at work is probably a bad idea

      2. bowl of petunias*

        Yeah, I’m in the UK and never had a shower for any of my kids – some close friends and a couple of colleagues gave us baby clothes or teddies and my boss gave me a voucher that we ended up putting towards a cot. It was very kind and lovely but there wasn’t a formal event where people went round a circle giving me things, I’d find that quite embarrassing! If people had tried to do that for my mum because *I* was having a baby, I’d find it extremely odd.

      3. allathian*

        Yeah, I agree. I think the cultural hesitancy to celebrate an unborn baby is quite widespread in Europe, it’s certainly prevalent in Finland, where infant mortality rates are among the lowest in the world.

        1. Observer*

          The really big issue isn’t even infant mortality, but the rates of miscarriage. I always cringe a little when someone announces a pregnancy at 6 weeks or something like that. The odds of that pregnancy not going to term are pretty astronomical. The odds get MUCH better once you hit the end of the first trimester. But it’s still a real issue.

          1. Bébé Chat*

            Why do you cringe? People probably know that the rate of miscarriage is high, and they still want to share their news. I would not want to go trough a miscarriage alone, it’s so much better if my friends and family know. There is no shame in a miscarriage, adn no reason to hide that it happended.

            1. Alice*

              “People probably know that the rate of miscarriage is high”

              This has not been my experience at all. If people were sharing because they want to let me know whatever happens — that’s fine. But I think a lot of people really don’t know how common of an occurrence it is, especially early on. Ask me how I know… (or rather don’t, it’s a bit of personal family history)

            2. Observer*

              People probably know that the rate of miscarriage is high

              Nope. In my experience people have no idea of how common it is.

              There is no shame in a miscarriage, adn no reason to hide that it happended

              Nothing to do with shame or hiding anything. It’s just that most people who share this are actually not really interested in dealing with the aftermath of a bunch of people they are not close to asking about the baby, explaining what happened etc. Close friends a supportive family? Sure, tell them. But those are generally not the people you “announce” a pregnancy to. (Yes, I’m speaking in generalities.) But the rest of the world? Most people mean well, but I really didn’t want to deal with it when it happened to me. And from what I hear, this tends to be true of most women.

      4. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        I remember the shock of seeing someone I knew here in th UK throwing a baby shower and a gender reveal party. It’s just….no. Please don’t let those become things here.

        Actually asked mum today if she was upset that she wasn’t ever getting grandkids outta me. Her response was “no. I raised you to be an independent adult and I never expected you to do anything like have kids”

        (Mum, back in the 60s, was a real fire breathing feminist)

      5. Critical Roll*

        Babies are usually able to survive a premature birth well before the due date, so it’s not really tempting fate too much if it’s late in the pregnancy. Depending on what people give you, having the shower far enough in advance to A) set things up, and B) pick up anything you still need off your registry (and set THAT up) makes a lot of logistical sense. Like, of your parents want to give you a big item like a swing or a car seat, you really need that *before* you’re home with baby.

    2. doreen*

      I think a grandparent shower at work is inappropriate- but I think it can be a slightly different story when it’s grandma’s friends. My mother’s friends even 35 years ago would throw what you might call a “grandma shower” – all their friends would get together, go out to dinner and give grandma gifts for the baby. Which were ultimately given to the parents – the gifts weren’t really for grandma , they were for the parents who this group of friends have known since the parents were young children.

      1. OftenOblivious*

        Yeah, I could definitely see this as nice reason to get friends together and have a lunch. If Grandparents were planning to do a fair amount of child care in their home, it might be nice to have some items at home (although, who knows if you’re going to get the right/useful thing and the most useful thing is probably extra car seats!). All your coworkers, not so much. A special lunch with your coworker, sure, that sounds nice.

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        Yeah. Like sky-diving, I can read of these things and think “Huh. This wouldn’t be my thing, but great that you all went and had fun.”

      3. MissBaudelaire*

        Yeah, if it was Grandma’s friends getting together and just having a celebration with the ‘here’s a little whatnot for Baby’, that’s different than coworkers having to chip in for a gift.

      4. Stitch*

        I think the problem is that it’s a bit possessive with a baby that isn’t yours. The majority of Grandmas don’t need fully kitted out nurseries.

        1. doreen*

          Not sure of the nesting , but if you’re replying to me, the grandma didn’t keep the gifts – she was merely the conduit for her friends to give gifts to the parents.

      5. Jen*

        My mom and MIL’s friends came to my baby shower, so there was no need for them to have separate grandma showers. I suppose if they didn’t live nearby, then it might have made sense for them to have separate celebrations similar to what you describe.

      6. RagingADHD*

        Everyone is going to respond to the idea of grandmas getting gifts for the baby based on their own relationship to their mother or MIL. A lot of people assume the grandma is greedy and entitled, or asserting “ownership” of the baby, because that is what they’ve seen modeled.

        And other folks will assume that of course the grandma isn’t hoarding baby clothes or claiming the baby is hers, because their families aren’t like that, and they’ve never seen anyone acting like that in real life.

        Questions like this really reveal how powerful the lens of people’s experiences can be.

    3. turquoisecow*

      Yeah I have a one year old (and I didn’t even have a shower because she was born during the pandemic, none of my family even saw me while I was pregnant) and my mom and my mother-in-law are both wonderful and supportive grandmas but…if I found out either of them got a shower it would rub me the wrong way.

      A small celebratory dinner with friends to celebrate the upcoming baby? Fine. A card or small gift from a close friend? No problem. But a big gathering in which people give the grandparents gifts for the baby? Why?

      Usually baby showers are smaller gifts like clothes and diapers and baby blankets and toys, all of which new parents need. While grandparents might do lots of babysitting, they don’t need additional clothes or toys. A pack and play or a car seat for grandma might be helpful, but those are large gifts and not something I’d expect friends to purchase unless a bunch of them when in on it together. There are so many kinds of car seats that I wouldn’t want to buy one for someone in case I got the wrong kind or the person didn’t like it or it didn’t fit properly in the person’s car. Same with a pack and play. And expecting coworkers to do that? No, that’s too much.

      And this is all aside from the fact that it’s not grandma’s kid. She’s not the parent or the primary caregiver, it sounds like her daughter expects to raise her own child. It bugs me when my mother-in-law tries to claim ownership of my kid in subtle ways (or my sister-in-law’s kid) so it would bug me to see it in other people as well. I recognize that’s my own personal hangup but I’m sure I’m not the only person with that reaction.

    4. The OG Sleepless*

      There was a story on Etiquette Hell by someone whose MIL’s friends threw MIL a grandma shower when the OP was pregnant. The OP was invited…and ignored. Everyone congratulated the MIL, but nobody talked to the mom-to-be. Photos were taken of her pregnant belly that didn’t show the rest of her. They gave the MIL enough stuff to outfit an entire nursery plus a car seat and stroller.

  12. Agnes*

    I also think that people often classify “a party to celebrate a baby coming” as a “shower” in informal speech, rather than meaning they expect lots of presents. I know if someone said, “We’re taking so-and-so out for lunch to celebrate that a baby’s coming”, I might think of it as a baby shower, even if no gifts were involved. I’m not sure there’s a single word to express that concept.

    1. MK*

      If someone told me we were talking a coworker out to celebrate a baby coming, I would bring a gift for the baby.

      1. Roeslein*

        Would you? At all my jobs it’s been fairly common to have a small party or lunch to celebrate new babies (after the birth though! I agree before feels like tempting fate), typically the new parent would bring cake and there was maybe a symbolic gift from the whole team to which people could contribute a small amount if they wanted. Personally I just got a card after I sent the birth announcement to work as I was remote at the time and I didn’t mind. Certainly no one ever expected each individual employee to bring a present! If you’re friends with the person outside of work you might give them a personal gift at another time.

        1. MK*

          Not anything fancy, probably a toy costing 10-15 euros. But yes, in my culture/country people would bring something.

      2. Threeve*

        It wouldn’t be hard for the host to head that off at the pass, though. “Here’s the card to sign and I’m bringing flowers, we aren’t doing any other gifts.”

    2. Anonymous*

      Yes, pre-covid we had a baby shower at work for every expectant parent, and it was just a big delicious cake for everyone in a conference room with no gifts. I realize the origin of the term is to shower the parent with gifts but it doesn’t always mean that anymore. It just feels weird to call it a baby party so people default to calling it a baby shower.

    3. Koala dreams*

      I was taught the traditional rule that gifts should be given according to the relationship between the giver and the recipient, and not be tied to parties (except hostess gifts). Many people do bring something anyway, especially baby related somethings, since there are so many cute baby things.

      1. MissBaudelaire*

        I have a standard baby gift that all the babies I know of get. It costs less than 20 dollars and is cute. All the babies get it, no exceptions. I give more if I’m closer to the parents.

    4. Me*

      Disagree. Shower is explicitly tied to gift giving. Think bridal shower vs bachelorette party.

      Very very few people are going to think baby “shower” doesn’t mean gifts.

      1. MissBaudelaire*

        Agreed. Shower=gifts. That’s why people started calling some events ‘baby sprinkles’ meaning that there would be a few smaller gifts. For awhile, people in my area had gender reveals after their first child, and it was a general celebration of Baby, and while most people brought some little token, it wasn’t a baby shower.

      2. Cat Tree*

        Maybe it’s regional, but “baby shower” is used by many people to just mean an event for an expecting parent without an assumption of gifts. The etymology of the term matters less than how people actually used it. What would you call a baby event without gifts, if not a shower?

        1. Nancy*

          Party, lunch, dinner, get-together, celebration (this is what friends have used), etc. No one I know uses ‘shower’ for a non-gift giving event.

          Of course, it is best for people to follow what is common for their region or culture.

        2. Me*

          Out of curiosity where do you live that it’s common to refer to any baby celebrating event as a shower? I did some internet searching but was unable to find anything.

          As Nancy said you’d call it what it is.

  13. I'm just here for the cats!*

    #1. “she has been waiting years for this.” So many people are fixating on this one phrase saying that the grandmother feels like she is owed a grandchild or something. This could also could mean that maybe the couple was having fertility issues. So give the op a break. Also this is the ops words not the grandmother to bed words.
    #2. “So a week later, she gives our manager a handmade item she bought. This is not what we agreed on.

    We don’t know how much she collected for two gifts, but what I gave was way more than the one gift, so basically she kept a lot of money. ”

    I understand that the OP is upset because it seems like the coworker has stolen money but I find this a little snobish. She gave the manager a hand made item that she bought! Hand crafted items are not cheap!!!
    Also does the op know how much everyone else gave. She seems to be bragging “what i

    1. I'm just here for the cats!*

      Darn it! Phone submitted before I was done! I was trying to say that she seems to be bragging for paying for more than the item is worth. What was the item because I will bet that the cost was higher than you think. I’m sick of people turning their noses up at hand crafted items and thinking that they don’t take time, money and energy.

      Maybe I’m snarky and it’s because these 2 letters just hit home (crafter with fertility issues and my mom would love to have a grandchild).

      1. ecnaseener*

        I really don’t see bragging in the letter — OP is just saying this is how they know the coworker kept some of the money. They didn’t imply that other people gave less. (And really, without an actual amount what’s there to brag about?)

        The point really isn’t whether homemade items are cheap. The coworker didn’t buy the item that the group agreed on. And she seemingly didn’t offer any explanation like “they were out of the [item we agreed on] so I picked out this awesome handmade [item] at a similar price” – signs all point to her picking something less expensive than what was agreed on.

    2. londonedit*

      I think the point is less about whether the gift was handmade or not, and more about the fact that the coworker collected money, ‘kept forgetting’ to buy a gift, then collected more money to roll into the first lot for a Christmas present, then eventually gave the boss a gift that was clearly not worth the amount of money that had been put into two collections. I know that people often undervalue handmade/crafty things, but it sounds like the coworker ended up with a lot of money, and then they were flaky about buying a gift in the first place and then ended up giving the boss something that wasn’t what had been originally agreed. If we forget it was a handmade item, it sounds like something along the lines of ‘they collected £100 for a gift, took forever to get round to buying something, and then eventually the boss ended up with a mug and a box of chocolates’.

      1. OftenOblivious*

        Yeah, if OP were going to make a handmade item, I’d hope it would be understood (requested?) at the outset so. Like, “Coworker, you make those amazing Llama Candles and boss would love one. What would you charge to make one for boss?”

        1. EPLawyer*

          This happened in the original thread. The coworker did NOT make the item herself. She bought it.

          Also from the original thread, yes, handmade items CAN be expensive. Or they can be cheap. The problem is, the coworker collected money (and as far as I can tell, only once), never bought the items for TWO people, and then when confronted, bought ONE thing for ONE person with still no accounting. That is a HUGE problem. At the very least no one is going to trust this coworker again, which can lead to other issues in the office.

          1. londonedit*

            Ah, where it said ‘for two gifts’ I thought that meant Boss’s Day (what even is that anyway) and Christmas, not two different people. At any rate they collected money for two gifts, faffed around, and eventually gave a gift to one person that wasn’t what had been discussed and was obviously below the anticipated value given the amount of money that had been collected.

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        I took handmade as “something one would pick up at a craft fair.” Where one would have an idea what a potholder would cost, and that’s less than OP alone put in much less the entire office.

        1. Threeve*

          A handmade mug might justifiably cost much more than a regular factory-made mug, but it’s still pretty safe to say it isn’t going to be more than $40.

    3. anonymous73*

      #1 “she’s been waiting years for this” coupled with her statement about getting educated and working first before starting a family is the issue here. It’s gross. And there are PLENTY of parents who pressure their children to have grandbabies as if they’re owed to them. Ask me how I know.

      #2 if my co-worker approached my group and collected money for a gift for boss, then bought something other than what was discussed after not getting the gift for the occasion it was intended for, there would be problems.

  14. Kat*

    My mom has written me two recommendations on LinkedIn! She was a nurse (retired) and I’m in the corporate world so it’s all cutesy mom stuff. Thankfully LinkedIn let’s you choose what recs get shown so I can read them for all the sweet mom sap but they are never going to see the light of day!!!

  15. Maddie*

    Regarding #5, I have to say that new employee was rude to make that comment and out of touch. They should be thankful they have a manager who is calm. In all the years of working, including my current job at 18 years, the one thing I have noticed about all the managers, CEO’s, directors etc. is calmness. And fairness, being respectful of lower level employees. My boss of many years is all these things and she is awesome. I think calmness is an extremely important trait in a manager. I have worked for psycho managers. Not fun. Laid back managers, always a big yes.

    1. ecnaseener*

      Well, when you ask for anonymous feedback you’re inviting comments that might feel too rude to give non-anonymously.

      If the wording was actually “too relaxed to be a manager,” that is pretty harsh and maybe even rude. But I think you are assuming the LW is the good kind of calm (which they could be! This feedback was so vague, which is a much bigger problem than it being rude) and ignoring the possibility that they really might be overly laid-back in a way that causes problems for their reports. (eg by not addressing problems that need to be addressed)

      Idk, I just don’t love the “you should be thankful your manager isn’t ‘psycho'” response.

    2. Metadata minion*

      I think the comment in the letter is so vague as to be unhelpful, especially as an anonymous comment, but I disagree that laid-back is always good. If your manager is so relaxed and laid-back that you never know what you’re supposed to be doing or when things are due, or they don’t deal with problems promptly, that’s just a different kind of horrible from one who’s overly strict.

  16. EPLawyer*

    The Linked In one — just NO. Parents need to understand that not every place is the proper place to express how proud you are of your child. It’s a PROFESSIONAL networking site. If you can’t be professional, don’t comment.

  17. Kittymommy*

    I give a stuffed Eeyore and a copy of the Poky Little Puppy, 2 of my absolute favorite things, to every baby shower. I may get something else, but those are mandatory.

  18. Janet Pinkerton*

    LW 1, I love the instinct to celebrate. It’s going to be a major change in your coworker’s life that warrants celebrating! When my coworker finally became a grandmother it was after helping her daughter fund IVF and adoption and that baby was sorely, sorely wanted. (I’ll note though that you may know how particularly exciting this is for your coworker but the rest of your coworkers may not “get it” if they’re not as close to her. Just keep that bit in mind.)

    I think it’s hard with babies because we don’t have a model for “celebrate this soon-to-be baby with me” that doesn’t involve “by showering me with presents”. I think if we had that, you could have a nice little lunch or something designed to celebrate her grandmotherhood. But we don’t, so I don’t think there’s anything you can do group-wise.

    BTW I’m saying all this as a pregnant person whose upcoming family baby shower is at least 30% to celebrate my mother becoming a grandmother. So I’m already very on board with the celebrate grandmotherhood mindset.

    1. anonymous73*

      Celebrating her friend becoming a grandmother is nice, but it doesn’t belong in the work place.

    2. Delta Delta*

      This is sort of how I feel about this, as well. It’s clear that OP’s coworker is excited about the grandchild (which, lots of grandparents-to-be are! and that’s great!), and that OP is trying to do something nice for their work-friend. The question comes across as sort of gross and ham-fisted in the description, but what it boils down to is someone trying to do something nice for someone they like. Seems like the better way to do it is to take her to lunch, or give her a little gift on her own without dragging the office into it.

    3. I should really pick a name*

      I feel like the real problem here is the use of the word shower. Shower implies gifts, and that just isn’t warranted in the work place.

      A card? Lovely
      Cake? Nice idea
      Go out to lunch? Sure
      Anything involving collecting money from coworkers? Please don’t

  19. Similarly Situated*

    Oh, we had a virtual “grandma shower” in my office for the boss at one person’s insistence. She decided to organize a group gift, even though we work in government and there are strict rules about gifts to supervisors. When presented with the gift, all the boss said was “Thank you, but never do this again.”

  20. Full anon for this one!*

    Lol, this reminds me of the best “new” grandma story ever. Decades ago (before I was born), my aunt and uncle had a baby, and my parents went to visit them in the hospital and congratulate them. My grandmother was there as well, but, note – this was not her first grandchild. Later that night, my parents get a phone call from my grandfather, who says how disappointed and upset my grandmother was because my parents congratulated my aunt and uncle, but they never congratulated her (my grandmother) for becoming a grandmother again. !!! A couple years later, a new grandbaby is born, my parents go to the hospital, and (because they’re super petty lol) completely ignoring my aunt, the first thing they do is go up to my grandmother and go, “oh, congrats so much to your new grand baby” blah blah blah, and then they go congratulate the mom. And of course my grandmother is just, “what do you mean? This isn’t necessary. I’m so confused.” (Because tone is hard to tell, she 100% knew what was going on and LOVED the drama of it.)

    Ugh, awful, awful people.

    1. Stitch*

      My mom is mostly okay but when I was pregnant with my kid (but before I knew the sex) she told me she really wanted it to be a girl because my brother’s kids are all boys. Like I had any control over that. And yep, I had a boy. Four grandsons is not that unusual.

      1. Full anon for this one!*

        One of the schadenfreude things with this woman is that all of her kids only had sons, and it ate her up that other cousins/not her direct children were the only ones with daughters.

  21. Slow Gin Lizz*

    I wonder about LW4’s to-be boss all these years later – was he a micromanager or an oversharer or some other kind of overbearing boss? Sending someone meeting requests before they’ve even started seems a bit much; every new job I’ve ever had set them up for me in my work Outlook before I started and on Day 1 I saw them in my calendar. There is literally no need to send them to a new employee before they’ve started unless they involve travel. I’d love an update on that one, and also to see if LW ever wrote the email Alison suggested and how that was received by the boss.

    1. sofar*

      I’m also so curious about this. I had a friend recently start a new job (she had to give 4 weeks notice at the old one), and new job was constantly emailing her “readings” and copying her in on day-to-day emails asking her to weigh in on projects and emphasizing that this was all was to make sure she could “hit the ground running” when she started. They even encouraged her to start checking her WORK email before she started.

      She did push back and tell them she’d get up to speed STARTING on her first day. They pushed back and cited her “longer-than-customary” four-weeks notice at her current job. She ignored that. On her first day, her new boss was surprised that she hadn’t been reading these daily emails and hadn’t been inside her work inbox yet.

      And I’m like, “Who do these people think they ARE?”

    2. Polly Gone*

      I had a similar situation but flipped; our workplace got a new head and she started making requests of me several weeks before she was actually on board — asking for reports, info about other staff, etc. Multiple requests. It felt really strange. I should have taken it as a harbinger of what a micromanager she would prove to be.

  22. Jennifer Strange*

    Honestly, I’m pregnant and I would feel awkward if my co-workers gave me baby shower gifts (granted my supervisor did, as did one of our board members, but the hierarchy there makes it less awkward). This will be the first grandchild for my in-laws too and the only thing a friend has done (as far as I know) was knit a little something for the baby (but there wasn’t a specific shower or party). I think it’s great to support your friend, and if you want to do something yourself for her that’s fine, but I agree that trying to organize a shower would just come across as odd and possibly a little uncomfortable for everyone else.

  23. StressedButOkay*

    For OP3, I read the comment from mom in the voice of the TikTok “That’s my boy! No, my boy!” “Father, help!” sound. Which means I’ve just been cackling to myself this entire morning.

  24. Susie*

    The grandma shower suggestion is, in my opinion, ridiculous. Like many things, showers have become over the top, extravagant affairs. Some parents think they are supposed to have a baby shower for each child! For the last few years, the gender reveal things have also become ridiculous.

    The event industry has gotten crazy. If I got an invitation to a grandma shower, I would decline. I think the OP for that story could just have taken her work friend out for lunch or discreetly given her a gift if she wanted to, and not expect the office to do anything.

  25. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

    To me, #1 and #3 are two sides of the same coin. The message these people’s coworkers will get is, for #1: “Hey, listen up, everyone! Did you know that your coworker June is OLD!?!?!” and to #3: “Hey, listen up, everyone! Did you know that your coworker Fergus is A KID?!?!” Both can lead to some of the coworkers not taking June or Fergus seriously.

  26. meagain*

    Ugh on a grandmother shower. Not only is it hard enough to be a childless not by choice woman in the workplace and deal with all the pregnancies, baby bumps, and showers, life then starts the lovely next chapter where you start realizing you’ll never be a grandmother either. I get it, it’s life, but there are enough daily reminders that there is absolutely zero need to make this a workplace celebration too.

    1. Anonymous Not By Choice*

      Agreed, meagain, as another childless not by choice woman in the workplace. In fact, a coworker was very kind to me just an hour ago and emailed me that she’s planning to announce her pregnancy in our virtual holiday staff party today. She is one of the two coworkers who knows about my failed TTC journey because a branch of the IVF clinic I used is in the same building as the office that we’ve had meetings at twice so far this year (mostly we WFH) and I was walking out with them one day and mentioned how it’s a bit triggering for me to walk by the clinic whenever we have these in-person meetings. (I didn’t work for this org when I was TTC or else I’m sure I would have taken advantage of that location.) I am so very very touched that she remembered and thought to give me a heads-up so I wouldn’t have to react to her announcement in the moment, it’s so very sweet of her.

      By contrast, at my last job (where I was not out about TTC because you’re not supposed to be, right?) there was one employee who already rubbed me the wrong way anyway (she was my BEC) who was pregnant and complained about it All The Time. How queasy she felt, how “the baby” didn’t like coffee, how when the baby was late she kept telling the baby how it’d be a great time to be born. I wanted to throttle her. I can’t blame her entirely since she didn’t know I was having fertility issues, but she was so damn cutesy about it it drove me nuts.

      1. anon for this*

        I mean…even if she had known, I really don’t see how she was in the wrong at all, to be honest. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a pregnant woman talking about her pregnancy symptoms (like nausea), or about her excitement at the child she’s going to have. Pregnancy is a huge thing, it’s normal and okay to talk about. And it’s okay to be excited or “cutesy” about it. Frankly, your discomfort with it is a you problem, not a her problem. It’s your job to learn to deal with people talking about their lives, not their job to shut up about it.

        I get what you were going through, obviously. My three children are all deceased, and all died young, at two, four, and six years old. I’ve also lost pregnancies. Sometimes it saddens me to see parents interact with their children, or for people to be excited about their forthcoming offspring, but that’s not anyone else’s problem. It’s kind when people are thoughtful, like your coworker was, but people aren’t obligated to not talk about their own bodies to make other people comfortable. Your old coworker did nothing wrong by talking often about her pregnancy.

        1. Observer*

          You make a good point. But I think there is a limit. Talking about your symptoms occasionally? Sure. Constant complaining – totally grating, and not just to people who are dealing with infertility, although I do think it’s reasonable to be sensitive to that.

          Excitement, cutesy-ness, etc? Sure, as long as there are some limits on it. I have kids, I’m genuinely happy for women who are thrilled to be pregnant and are having healthy pregnancies. But, it can be too much. Just in general, but also really getting into TMI territory. And again, a bit of sensitivity to the fact that for a lot of people pregnancy is not a positive situation is also not unreasonable to ask.

        2. meagain*

          I’m sorry about your children. I think if a person is aware that someone is dealing with infertility, it’s compassionate to keep venting to a minimum (to them) or to share excitement with others in their life who don’t find it painful to hear about. I don’t think that means never talking about pregnancy or natural things that come up in conversation. Just one of those “know your audience” things and be sensitive. Infertility can actually be a form of trauma and there’s only so much learning to deal with it a person can take, especially when they are at work trying to compartmentalize and keeping that professional game face on. The problem is, it’s usually not just ONE pregnant person in your life, it’s two, it’s three, it’s five… and the new grandmothers too. It’s a lot. Even when you have ways to deal. Most people are well meaning and just have have no idea. Being sensitive, if you are aware, and finding a more receptive audience can go a long way.

  27. Former Retail Lifer*

    OP#3, my mom endorsed my skills on LinkedIn.

    No, we have never worked together.

    This is why I don’t take skills endorsements on that site seriously.

    1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      Haha, yes, based on what skills I’ve seen my *former coworkers* (not even my mom! people who actually worked with me) endorse me for, I ignore that section completely.

    2. RagingADHD*

      I’ve gotten all kinds of endorsements from people I’m only tangentially connected with, based on their general impressions of what they think I’m probably good at. Those endorsements are totally worthless.

  28. Sunflower*

    #1 I think lunch and a baby gift from you is nice. But I agree with no work shower.

    I was thinking maybe binging in cupcakes for a small celebration with no expectations of gifts from the rest of the staff. But changed my mind because you’d have to do that for other grandparents-to-be. Otherwise, it’s not a good look.

  29. Wisteria*

    In 2013, when this letter was written, I’d say the answer was on the mark. However, for better or for worse, LinkedIn is much less formal and contains more non-work and personal content in 2021. I don’t think that comment from one’s parents would be out of place in today’s LinkedIn.
    If LW’s parents are still making comments of a personal nature now that they have been in the workforce for a while, that might be weird. I hope they have reined in their impulses :).

  30. Anonymous Hippo*

    on #5 – the opposite of relaxed isn’t necessarily authoritarian. I’ve said I think my own boss is too relaxed, and I don’t mean I want him to be more authoritarian, I mean I want him to be more organized and actively plan rather than simply reacting to what happens. Just my 2 cents.

  31. RagingADHD*

    Re #1, I’ve heard of family and friends having grandparent showers, and my understanding of them is that they are generally small parties with a handful of very close friends that the new/prospective grandmother’s peers throw for her. Basically other grandmas welcoming the new grandma into “the club” with cute little sentimental gifts, like purse-sized photo albums, or a charm bracelet starter, a mug that says “#1 Grandma,” that kind of tchotchke.

    Also sharing advice (hopefully good advice) about how to be a good grandparent, the difficulty of transitioning your role and relationship from parent to mentor, and so forth. The sort of thing you’d discuss with very close friends.

    I think they can be sweet, but they’re very personal and pretty specific. Not the kind of thing for an office party, unless you have a high proportion of grandmas in the office.

    But of course if your friend is happy, be happy with her! Lunch and flowers or balloons from you would be fine. Maybe if she’s especially close with a few other people, you might ask around quietly to see if anyone wants to come to lunch with you or chip in on the bouquet. But not a quasi-official whole-office thing, no.

  32. Cat*

    Re: LinkedIn – I so rarely update it that perhaps I’m missing something, but is there not a feature like Facebook where you can delete comments that others have posted on your profile/updates? I’d just quietly delete the comment. The odds that your parent goes back looking for what they said are… slim.

  33. Florida Fan 15*

    I agree with others that “too relaxed” is too vague on its own to be meaningful. However, OP’s plan to immediately change their behavior based solely on one new person’s vague statement, without getting more info or (apparently) any self-reflection, is problematic and suggestive of what could have been meant by “too relaxed”. A manager who’s invested in pleasing people at all costs, who sees “too relaxed” as “you’re incompetent”, and who knee-jerk reacts to every single thing other people say is not a good thing.

Comments are closed.