updates: the problematic volunteer, the kid comments, and more

It’s “where are you now?” season at Ask a Manager, and I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past. Here are four updates from past letter-writers.

1. My boss wants me to ask a rejected problematic job candidate to volunteer

Thank you for your advice! It was very helpful. As many commenters pointed out, asking a rejected candidate to volunteer felt totally weird. I completely agree with that, but my boss & her boss were quite set on asking John to volunteer. My preference was to avoid asking him at all. I think my boss may have justified it with the context that he has volunteered for multiple projects here before.

I ended up taking your advice to slow-pedal his involvement, which has been working quite well. I get the sense that he recognizes (to some degree) that he is not someone I want to work with. The first few emails he sent went to my spam, and then when he came to a public event about a month later, he said he was “ecstatic” to learn that his volunteering was “only delayed by a tech glitch.”

Recently though, John has been inquiring more and more about when he’ll be able to volunteer. Just last week, he sent me an email with instructions on how to add him as an authorized user to a software he has not been trained on, so that he can “get a head start.” I emailed back that I’m very aware of how to add a user, but we’re keeping that software staff-only. I haven’t heard from him since then.

In some good news, though, my other volunteers are AMAZING. I have never seen a volunteer program with as much retention and engagement as we have here, and they’re really a massive help to me. I currently manage about 8 regular volunteers, and another 10 who help out as needed. They’re all fabulous.

Bigger-picture wise, the John situation is one of many management issues that’s prompting me to look elsewhere for jobs! Fingers crossed.

2. Should I correct my chair about the low amount I’m paid? (#2 at the link)

I stopped by my chair’s office about something else today, then added, “Hey, by the way, I don’t know what anyone else makes, but I make nowhere near $70 an hour.” He said something like “Oh, I know, I was just pointing out that that is how it’s calculated by the administration,” and then gave some more details specific to why he wants us to do this extra thing (the details don’t matter). That is very much not how the anecdote happened initially in the meeting–I swear!–but he then continued, “I mean, I’m guessing in reality you make something like $25 an hour? And that’s assuming a 40-hour week, and I’m sure you work more.”

He acknowledged none of us are paid enough, and he knows that my actual pay per hour is way lower. I’m still annoyed because he absolutely used that $70 figure in the meeting to convey “It’s no biggie, just do the easy work” and then completely did not acknowledge that today. But oh well. At least I said something. Thanks for the advice to say it–I’m glad I called him out on it, and got to reiterate that I am paid way too little.

And yeah, today I ran into the coworker who is likely to be chair next year, and it was a delight to see him. I hope that does indeed happen, as this guy is both super competent and on top of things, and also not a jerk.

3. What’s the best way to use PTO for burnout? (#5 at the link)

I think I was secretly hoping you would say that I could just keep working, or take an occasional day off and it would all work out OK. But I wanted to thank you and the commenters for pushing me to take a large block of time off, because it really helped some of my burnout issues.

I ended up taking 2 weeks off, followed by an additional week of part-time, which was a suggestion from one of the commenters. I did come back to a bit of extra work, but the most critical aspects of the programs ran OK. I was worried about being off for 2 weeks, so in the run-up I probably did too much work in preparation.

I still feel a bit overwhelmed with work, but my energy levels and patience have improved. I will likely continue to take a couple weeks off once a year. Maybe I might eventually get bold enough to take 3 weeks in a row!

4. My child-free coworkers constantly complain about people with children (first update, second update)

M’s position was finally filled this summer, and as of this fall our office is on a hybrid schedule, so I share my office one day a week with M’s replacement. She is absolutely delightful and I enjoy working with her very much. I sometimes wonder if our boss is taken aback to hear us chatting and laughing during lull times, since I’d made such a name for myself as a strictly-business non-chatter while M was around. Most excitingly, though, I am pregnant, and expecting my first kid by the end of 2021! Everyone at work has been really nice about it, including V (though I see her rarely these days due to the hybrid schedule.) Navigating pregnancy, setting up maternity leave, finding childcare, etc. are all challenging, especially during an ongoing pandemic, but I feel supported by the people immediately around me and that’s a great blessing.

{ 67 comments… read them below }

  1. Eldritch Office Worker*

    Congratulations #4! It’s been quite the saga, I’m glad you’re in such a good place now.

  2. awesome3*

    “I think I was secretly hoping you would say that I could just keep working, or take an occasional day off and it would all work out OK”

    Big hug OP3. I feel that. Keep looking after yourself!

  3. Dramatic Intent to Flounce*

    2. So, the chair KNOWS you’re getting underpaid… but argues you should be able to do things because admin thinks you’re getting paid more than you are. I have to assume the massive cognitive dissonance these two facts bring up is because he doesn’t even see these two conversations as connected or something? I just get the vibe of someone trying to win an argument (that’s not an argument, but) by any means necessary and not realizing he undercut the thing this was really about.

    What a tool.

    1. Ama*

      I spent years in academic administration, and the fact that the chair almost immediately agreed with OP (and also seemed to be a little more aware of what her rate actually is) suggests to me that someone may have already dropped a strong hint to him that the $70 an hour remark did not go over well, and the “that’s what the adminstration calculates” was him saving face.

      Fingers crossed that the OP gets their desired new chair next year.

    2. The Rules are Made Up*

      And I have questions on the “That’s how administration calculates it” thing because what does that mean??? I’m not in academia so I’m confused. Does that mean that according to the budget it looks like they’re all making $70 an hour when they’re actually making less than half of that? If so, why???? Maybe it’s just the way it was worded but it sounded a little…… embezzle-y.

      1. tamarack and fireweed*

        Contingent or temporary faculty pay is often calculated by the semester-hour, by the credit-hour or sometimes by weekly contact hours. That isn’t in itself a problem … or wouldn’t be if the pay and benefits were appropriate!

        There is frequently a factor of 3 or 4 or even more between the on-paper number that the administration has and the actual work hours for teaching + prep + grading + syllabus development + admin tasks + dealing with academic integrity + office hours / student mentoring.

        For example, a 2h lecture + 4h lab class could take up half a FTE if taught by a salaried permanent faculty member. If remunerated at $70 for a nominal hour, that’s $840 for a 2 week pay period, or, $21 hourly remuneration if calculated as a 0.5 FTE. Given that two classes at nominally the same number of semester-hours may be radically different in actual workload, academic workload management is really quite complicated.

        1. AFac*

          You’ve just given me a bad flashback to the FTE effort paperwork we have to do. Each time, the rules are a little different, so there’s always a contentious discussion about the proper way to fill it out, what ‘counts’ as effort and what doesn’t, and how to not get shorted on documenting your effort. Each time, the number for effort FTE is NOWHERE NEAR the actual number of hours worked.

          It’s demoralizing.

          1. Ariaflame*

            Ahh. The workload model. Which in no way accurately models the actual amount of time spent on all the things they want you to predict at the start of the year that you’re going to spend your time doing.

        2. The Rules are Made Up*

          Oh wow I appreciate you attempting to explain but I’m not sure I understand. What’s an FTE? I was following but got very lost in the 3rd paragraph.

          “If remunerated at $70 for a nominal hour, that’s $840 for a 2 week pay period, or, $21 hourly remuneration if calculated as a 0.5 FTE.” this sentence lost me completely though I admit math was never my strong suit and I thank whoever that I didn’t have dreams of accounting. What I’m grasping is that the way pay is calculated doesn’t accurately correlate to the actual amount of work being done?

          1. Filosofickle*

            FTE = Full Time Employee, the equivalent of one full time person. A 0.5 FT would be half of one person’s estimated full time hours. Which may be a whole let less than the actual hours once you factor in all the extra hours that instructors put in. You’ve got that part right.

            Often time is modeled this way — a department head might estimate they need the equivalent of 4 FTEs to run 8 classes, believing each class will take half of one person’s time. That could be four full-time workers, 8 half-time workers, or any combination of full and part time that adds up to 4. It’s just fractions of people. Unfortunately I can’t explain the rest of the explanation!

          2. tamarack and fireweed*

            Oh, sorry!

            If you teach 2h lecture + 4h lab per week, that’s 6h. 12h in two weeks. If each hour is remunerated (pre-tax…) at $70, that’s $840. Presuming your actual work effort for all the prep/advising/grading/admin + teaching is about a part-time job of 20h/week (= 40h for two weeks) that means you are actually remunerated at something like $21 / h.

            But all this is just very sketchy, over the thumb. And the actual calculation of effort related to a class often hinges on all sorts of elements: is it an undergrad class? is it a large or a small class? how many credits? (a lecture + lab class is likely a 3 or 4 credit class). All of this can be done and negotiated in a way that works out ok for the instructor… but *not* if there’s huge pressure towards low wages, and the benefits are bad. Such bad benefits are frequently hidden behind statements like “$70 per hour” – because that sounds pretty good. This is exactly what the OP felt so insulted by.

        3. MCL*

          Yep. Also, we’d calculate things like fringes (eg contribution to the state retirement system), and it’s possible the “$70 per hour” is also pre-tax.

          1. AnotherLibrarian*

            Yeah, it wasn’t until I started actually having to read budget documents that I learned how much more people cost than their salaries. Having said that, it’s pretty tone deaf to tell someone they are being paid 70$ an hour when they are taking home like 25$. Of course, given how out of touch people in academics can be I don’t find the comment surprising.

          2. tamarack & fireweed*

            When I was in the private industry and got my first promotion to a team lead position, my employer sent me to a management training course (6 afternoons over a few months). I’m still so grateful for all the little things I learned there.

            One concept I was that of utilization – the idea that your worktime is never anywhere close to 100% tasks that are attributable to one of your projects / classes / task areas. All the time you spend on: going to required trainings, sorting out a problem with HR, meets-and-greets with new employees/bosses/high-ranking visitors, replacing stationery, getting your desk chair fixed, updating your software, calling a janitor/facilities about a problem, registering for some event, dealing with network outages, figuring out a regulation, giving input into HR investigations of a co-worker, serving on the party committee, and, and, and … adds up to a whole lot! Sure, there are jobs that are extremely structured to minimize all that churn, typically highly constrained blue collar jobs. But in reasonably autonomous jobs your actual on-task time of sustained, focussed work is nowhere near 100%. 70% is much more realistic.

            And I think in academic work load calculations it is one of the source of frustration that there is no realistic accounting for this. Factor in that many faculty members spend much more on service and student advising than however it is of their paid time allocated for it…

      2. Tuesday*

        I think he was just saying that the administration is going to be only thinking about the full-time faculty and ignoring the part-time lecturers and adjuncts (which would be as common as it is unfair). I doubt a new chair would be able to help with salary issues, sadly.

        1. After 33 years ...*

          Yes, it’s rare for a department Head to have any control on salaries.
          At our place, per-course instructors (PCI) are all paid the union-negotiated rate of $3500 (US equivalent) per course. That assumes 3 hours of lecture / class instruction per week over a 13-week semester. The rate is per course, not per hour spent on the course – preparing class notes, delivering the course, answering student questions, marking, grading… For a lab course, instructors get an extra $750 (US eq.).
          Heads have some control over working conditions. You can select which courses PCI are asked to teach, control enrollment (so, the Head takes the Spring session course with 300+ students, and assigns the PCI something else; the Head tells the PCI that they don’t have to allow more and more students to enroll, as the PCI is paid per course and not per student), assign teaching assistants to help with marking, provide course notes or prepared video lectures (if the PCI wants to use them), and remind PCI that they are not obliged to do anything more than is required for the course. However, anything involving money is out of your jurisdiction.
          Most of our PCI are either PhD students, looking to get teaching experience for their CV / job applications; or people with other jobs who are teaching as a sideline.
          The practice is not ideal, as everyone involved recognizes (including higher admin). We all struggle to balance what would be right with what we can do under the constraint of limited resources.

      3. LQ*

        This isn’t embezzle-y. This is actually how pay should be calculated. The company would include all the things that are required for you, health care, leave time, training, computers, physical space, taxes, not just payroll but unemployment and workers comp, …toilet paper, and all the rest. They do this so that if they are adding more staff they are correctly calculating the amount needed to bring someone on.

        If you DON’T do this you’re more “embezzle-y” because you’re lying about costs of staff. You don’t cost your employer what you take home.

        Getting eyebrow raise-y when someone correctly calculates the amount that a staff person costs is not making things better.

        Should someone say that to the person getting paid a third or less what that amount is? No. But should they know what that amount is 100% of the time when talking about should we have staff do this vs contract out, vs not do it at all? Yes. People need to understand this. It’s how every job should be calculating staff costs. Then when they decide to “switch” people to “1099” they would know how much they should actually pay for those costs and the people who are told that is happening to them wouldn’t take a bit more an hour and be happy. This is not embezzlement, it’s wildly far from it and this hypothesis is absurd.

      4. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        It’s maybe what it costs overall (including admin and benefits and goodness knows what else)

    3. Meep*

      As someone who has had to budget out workers, I am 100% certain OP2 is misunderstanding the situation and the chair sympathizing with them as he was purposefully lying.

      They are being paid $25/hour, yes, but it is more like $50/hour in expenses to actually employ a $25/hour employee. There are benefits like health insurance and 401k contributions. There are taxes employers have to pay. There are overhead expenses of keeping the lights on and a computer charged at OP’s desk. They need to recuperate the costs and make money. Therefore, while OP is being underpaid, $70/hour cost for OP’s salary is more reasonable a figure than $25/hour to give in this situation.

      1. Antilles*

        “Therefore, while OP is being underpaid, $70/hour cost for OP’s salary is more reasonable a figure than $25/hour to give in this situation.”
        This really depends on the framing used.
        If we’re in a pure budgetary discussion about, say, whether the department can afford to hire an additional staffer, then yes, it makes perfect sense to include all the costs and use the true cost to the company. Those are real costs and the full accounting is relevant and important.
        But in a meeting where you’re saying that since I make so much money, I should be be willing to do a lot of extra work? The only answer to “how much am I getting paid” is the money that shows up in my pocket every two weeks.

        1. OP 2*

          Thank you. I disagree with the person above; I’m not misunderstanding anything. This wasn’t about what we cost the university at all. I think my chair said something kinda dumb or thoughtless to try to have us not complain about extra work, and then restated it when called out so that he didn’t have to acknowledge he was wrong. That’s it. It doesn’t make sense because it’s not going to make sense.

          1. tamarack & fireweed*

            I agree with OP-2. The OP clearly understands all this. It’s an assholey thing to do by the department chair to brandish around the $70-per-contact-hour number as if it was a rate for hourly work (= a pretty good one!) when in reality the job is a very badly paid one.

  4. John Smith*

    With regards #3, Can I ask about PTO from a Brit? Is PTO basically a budget of days that you can use to not come into work (whether sick or not) but still get paid in addition to annual leave? Sorry if it seems a daft question but genuinely interested.

    In the UK, we can self certify as sick for 7 days without need for a doctor’s note (a GP stating you are indeed sick). After that, a doctor’s note is needed in order to continue to be paid, else you get statutory minimum pay (upto 6 months at about 140 dollars a week) unless your employment contract states otherwise.

    For public sector workers, it’s generally held that 6 months off sick is the period before any reduction in pay comes into effect (a benefit rarely available to the private sector who are generally in better annual salaries for equivalent roles).

    A diversion from the main subject so my apologies. But answers may help us Brits understand what happens with our US friends.

    1. Lobsterman*

      PTO is annual leave, and is often a bank of days of annual leave + sick leave. American leave policies are incomprehensible to people in First World countries.

    2. Claire*

      PTO, short for paid time off, is often combined sick and annual leave (aka vacation). Some employers, like the federal government, use separate buckets of sick and annual/vacation leave. Some states require companies to provide paid sick leave (or unpaid sick leave), but I’m not aware of any that require companies to provide paid vacation leave. There’s no federal mandate for either paid sick or vacation leave, but depending on the details of your employer, you may be entitled to take off 12 weeks of job protected unpaid leave for family or medical reasons. Everything else is up to the employer.

      1. Catalin*

        All leave (sick, vacation, bereavement, disability/maternity) is HIGHLY employer-specific. Many companies offer 2-3 DAYS of bereavement leave for the death of an employee’s close family member, no paid maternity leave (they just agree to hold your job for you for 12-16 weeks), etc., and sick leave is often lumped with vacation time. Companies that provide large amounts of (usually theoretical) PTO often have caps on how much you can roll over to the next year.
        Some companies adjusted this due to the pandemic, but capitalism is a cruel mistress.

    3. IsbenTakesTea*

      As others have said, PTO is translatable to annual leave, though it is occasionally combined with sick leave. Other places keep them separate.

    4. mlem*

      There are various buckets of time off, and we all tend to use terms either interchangeably or in individual-workplace-specific ways. For example:
      – Federal holidays. Some workplaces track these as their own category of time off, some track “the big ones” as their own category of time off but lump the rest into PTO, some lump them all in with Paid Time Off (PTO), and some don’t recognize them at all (like movie theaters, though hourly pay might be different on holidays).
      – Sick time. Some places include this in PTO, some break it out.
      – Personal/vacation time that is not sick time. (My company briefly had both two-to-four weeks of “vacation” and two days “PTO”. It was very silly and is ending.)

      A lot of companies lump personal and sick time together in one PTO bucket, but some states/jurisdictions (including mine) would require all of it to be paid out as wages on separation. Companies that don’t want to have to pay out the sick time (including mine) therefore keep “sick time” and “time off work that doesn’t qualify as sick time” separate.

    5. PollyQ*

      Note also that there is NO legally mandated annual leave/vacation in the US, and that it’s very common for part-time jobs to offer no paid time off at all.

      1. LQ*

        States and municipalities may vary and have some leave or some types of leave. This varies wildly from place to place, but there is no federal mandate.

        Also FMLA which you may hear about frequently here is unpaid. It’s just a hold on a job to return, it does NOT require payment.

    6. jiggle mouse*

      Is annual leave the same as vacation leave, or is it some kind of leave you can only use once a year?

      1. Eco-Logical*

        Annual leave is your paid holiday from work. The legal minimum for full time staff in the U.K. is 28 days if you work 5 days a week. Employers can include bank holidays in those days (which are public holidays – Christmas etc). But if you work full time in the U.K. you get 28 days.

        This worked out amazingly for my husband when he was seconded to work in the USA on U.K. terms and conditions. We went on so many cool holidays, and his American colleagues thought it was some kind of wizardry that he had so much time off.

          1. Eco-Logical*

            Yes, yes it is. And often you get the 8 bank holiday days on top, so 6+ weeks off isn’t unusual. Also our sick leave is *on top* of that. So you don’t use up holiday if you’re ill. And if you’ve booked time off and you’re ill, you can swap it to sick leave so you don’t use up your holiday. You may get paid less for time off ill though because employers only have to pay the statutory minimum sick pay. Employers don’t *have* to pay the first three days you’re off sick, but the reality is most places do, and most pay out your normal salary for a set period of time – usually 6+ weeks. I pay my staff their normal salary for a set period if they’re off sick, including the first 3 days. That’s pretty normal here, at least in white collar jobs.

            1. SarahKay*

              One more difference: sick leave in the UK is (usually) only to be used if you are sick yourself. If you need to take time off to care for a sick dependant then you would need to use your vacation allowance. That’s usually much less of a hardship, though, because as Eco-Logical says the minimum vacation allowance for a full-time head is 28 days / year.
              For all EU countries the minimum is 20 days, pro-rated for part-time heads. That 20 days is allowed to be made up from bank/public holidays and vacation but most countries have individual legislation that is more generous. Hence the UK decided (back when it was still in the EU) it would mandate 20 days plus the 8 public holidays for a minimum of 28 days/year.

              1. Clisby*

                I’m retired now, but I never had a job in the US where paid sick leave could be used to care for other people (children, other family members). Rather, you “could” use it that way, but you’d have to lie about it.

                1. Elizabeth Proctor*

                  In Massachusetts it’s the law that sick leave can be used to care for a family member (child, spouse, parent, or spouse’s parent). All employees earn sick leave, if you employ over 11 people it has to be paid.

                2. Me*

                  I’m in the US and my job allows it. Essentially for care of dependents and parents.

                  But I also work for government which historically has better benefits than for profit companies.

                3. fhqwhgads*

                  Several states which have sick leave minimums also explicitly state it can be used for all of: if you’re sick or if your dependent is sick or for medical appointments.

        1. John Smith*

          And if you’re in the civil service, a day off on the Queen’s birthday too.
          I thought my annual leave – 35 days plus bank holidays and extra statutory days (where a statutory holiday falls on a weekend) – wasn’t too shabby. Given some answers here, I realise how extremely lucky I am! Thanks everyone for your answers.

          1. SarahKay*

            35 days plus bank holidays is pretty healthy even for the UK! My current company and my previous one are 25 days plus bank holidays, which feels like plenty to me. My sister works in the NHS and I recently discovered (and was impressed by the fact) that she gets 30 days plus bank hols.

    7. Imaginary Friend*

      You’ve already gotten good answers. Here’s more: there are a few federal laws and some cities also have laws, but most of the legal stuff is at the state level. (You may have heard of FMLA: the Family Medical Leave Act. It’s a federal law which allows people time off to be sick, or take care of sick family members, and not lose their jobs, but it’s unpaid.)

      Even states with good worker protection don’t offer much. I’m in California, which is generally a good place to work, and even here the law only requires 24 hours of sick time per year, and doesn’t address vacation time at all. Most white-collar jobs offer more than 3 days and also vacation pay, but an awful lot of people work counter jobs or food-service jobs and only get that legal minimum. (And more than half the states don’t have any sick pay requirements at all.)

    8. tamarack and fireweed*

      I used to work in the UK and now am in the US. It’s not everywhere the horror scenario that PTO combines holiday leave and sick leave. In desirable workplaces, these are accounted for separately, and, for example, you may cash out not-taken PTO, but will lose not-taken sick leave (hey, you weren’t sick!). At my employer, it’s not very different in practice from how holiday (annual) leave worked compared with back in the UK, except that there are fewer laws about it and therefore there is a larger inequality in how workers are treated. So I get a lot fewer annual leave (PTO, or in my case faculty time-off) than I would in the UK – on the other hand, I *can* use my sick leave for things I would have to take annual leave in the UK, such as a doctor’s appointment, or to care for a sick family member. In the US, this can be taken from my sick leave budget. Or, given I’m an academic, not officially taken but made up in the evening or weekend (which again is not that different from the UK necessarily, depending on the management).

      (If the legal minima don’t exist or are horrible, then “good” employers, or those who need to have good working conditions to attract workers, will far exceed the legal minima. Whereas where the legal minima are reasonable, employers will rarely exceed them, so things are more averaged out.)

      1. MCL*

        Interesting! I am also in higher ed (state university), and my sick time accrues indefinitely, without limit. I rarely get sick and since I have generous vacation and personal days, I just use those instead (which is allowed – unused vacation rolls over one extra year). I don’t think I’ve touched my sick time.

    9. AnotherLibrarian*

      As a lot of people have already said, this is super dependent on the USA on the employer. Here’s a few examples from my life-

      My partner works for the city and he gets to have comp time (1.5 hours per overtime hours worked), so he can take time off rather than get paid overtime. This is a special thing that generally only government jobs can do, as I understand it. He also gets PTO (Personal time off) which does not split his sick leave from his vacation time. The PTO time does get paid out if he leaves up to 125 hours, per his Union contract.

      I have a PTO pool and a Sick leave pool of hours which accrue per pay period. They roll over each year and if I get fired or leave my job, my PTO hours will be paid to be as though they were salary, but my sick leave won’t. My PTO hours cap at 285. After that, I have to either be paid out (up to 80) or use them. The longer I work at my employer, the more hours I get per pay period at 5 year increments.

      My old job, I got sick leave and vacation days. I got 25 vacation days that didn’t get paid out if I left and didn’t roll over each year. My sick leave did roll over each year, but didn’t get paid out if I left.

      So, there’s a ton of variance in how this works on this side of the world. As other’s have said, there’s very little federal law on this, so each state gets to sort of decide how they want to manage it. I work with several UK institutions and they all find this entire system utterly mystifying.

    10. Emi*

      PTO just means “paid time off” so it can be an umbrella term that covers sick and annual leave (and/or other types of leave, although generally not leave that’s designated for a specific purpose, like parental leave) or at some employers, it’s the name they use for a certain type of leave they offer.

  5. Sunflower*

    #4 I’m not surprised you’re more outgoing now. I had a coworker who everyone thought was just quiet and introverted. Kept to himself and worked with his head down.
    Once “our” annoying coworker (very obnoxious, lazy, and greedy) left, he started talking and laughing more and even bring in homemade treats.

  6. ecnaseener*

    It sounds like what the chair meant to say in letter #2 was that the instructors are costing the department $70/hour (for just classes I’m guessing?) I believe the LW that that’s not what he actually said though!

    1. fhqwhgads*

      In context though it doesn’t make any sense for the chair to have originally been saying “this is what you cost the department”. That is the number he used, but it’s idiotic to intentionally say “you cost us this high rate per hour therefore don’t complain about being asked to do more work”. He was backtracking to save face.

  7. Jessica*

    Looking back at the original letter from LW2, it’s so weird. LW2 writes, “It’s not a big deal, but he was illustrating his point about how we shouldn’t complain about it by saying that even the lowest paid of us make $70 an hour when you crunch the numbers, and this particular new task is an easy way to make 70 bucks.”

    That “easy way to make 70 bucks” sounds like “you shouldn’t mind doing this extra hour of work because you make $70/hour, and the amount of trouble this would be to do is well worth $70.” But REGARDLESS of whether $70 is the correct figure, the LW is still not getting paid extra to do the thing! LW is not an hourly employee! So the marginal additional pay rate for that extra hour of work on the new task would be.. let me see… zero, carry the zero… ZERO! I think chair was not only wrong, but off by about $70.

  8. super duper anon*

    LW1 – Stall as long as you can, until you are waving goodbye if possible. As someone who had to fire a toxic volunteer (the details would out me but the flouncing was EPIC) you do not want to go through that! Afterwards I found out they were known literally throughout the state for being a nightmare volunteer.

  9. Cardboard*

    For #1, I can’t see why your manager and their boss were so interested in having him on even as a volunteer. If he rubs everyone the wrong way with the rambling and overconfidence etc, I can’t imagine he would be a good ambassador. I would guess that everyone he talks to is going to pick up on those things too.

  10. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    #1 – you rejected him for employment but want him to come back and work for you for FREE? I call that audacity…

    1. Green great dragon*

      But he’s already a volunteer, right? There’s no reason to kick him off the volunteer rota just because he didn’t get the permanent job he applied for. I agree that if he weren’t a previous volunteer it would be highly inappropriate. (There are clearly other reasons to not have him as a volunteer, but I don’t see this as one.)

    2. Critical Roll*

      To me it reads more like they expected him to try to continue to insert himself into the organization, which is a bit different.

  11. Green great dragon*

    #3 – Personally, I find that if I’m off a few days, the work piles up. If I’m off for longer, people find ways to deal with things, so I don’t find any bigger a pile after 2 weeks than I do after 3 days. And usually it takes me the better part of a week to stop thinking about work, and I start to think about it again a couple of days before I go back, so I definitely need 2 weeks to really switch off.

    On the other hand, the time I had loads of leave to use up and took every Wednesday afternoon off for a while was *wonderful*. I spent it doing chores which meant the rest of my free time was properly free.

  12. Sleeping Late Every Day*

    Great news, LW4! I was hoping M would offer a dramatic intent to flounce when leaving your department, but we can’t have everything.

  13. Very Social*

    LW #4, I was hoping this update would include a pregnancy announcement! Congratulations on both that and being rid of M!

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