updates: I used to drink on the job with my new boss, the pushy mother-in-law, and more

Here are four updates from past letter-writers.

1. My new boss is someone I used to drink on the job with

Monica started yesterday and one of the bosses gave her a tour and did brief introductions. When she got to me, she said “Nice to meet you.” I just said “Thank you, you too” because what else could I say in the moment? She said she would be having brief meetings with each of us individually that afternoon in her office just as more of a get to know you thing. I felt I had to say something, because when/if she realized who I was I didn’t want to look underhanded by not correcting her.

So as soon as I went in I said “I just want you to know we actually used to work together! Years ago…at Central Perk…” She said “Oh that’s right! I thought you looked familiar.” She was all smiles, asked how I’ve been, then we turned to work matters.

At this point I’m not entirely sure if she actually does remember me and this signifies it’s all water under the bridge and she’s fine and I’m fine? Or if she just doesnt actually realize yet?

I know my anxiety is over-fuelling this. But I will just continue on as if all’s great unless she brings it up.

2. My pushy mother-in-law got a job at my company

I brought my concerns to my boss, like you suggested, and he was helpful in setting up measures to protect privacy for both of us. It’s certainly not perfect given the nature of our jobs (she has to be able to see my wage, no real way around that), but he set up the HRIS so she couldn’t see my performance reviews and I was given a different contact person in HR for benefits/payroll/maternity leave. We both seem to be good performers which really brings the awkwardness potential down a few notches, as does my working remotely.

However, my boss left just before I left for maternity leave, we had a reorganization, and now we’re on the same team and reporting to the same boss. New Boss and Grandboss have other managerial issues like not giving timely instructions/feedback, micromanaging, and unrealistic expectations about availability, and are also not so great with understanding familial boundaries. But I think starting off on a good foot with the help of Old Boss set us up for success. I’m glad to say that my work stress largely consists of ordinary things like having a not-great chain of command and pandemic childcare instability, and working with my mother in law barely registers.

3. Babysitting job is aggravating my chronic pain

Thank you so much for your helpful words and the readers’ advice! While I did end up babysitting for the family throughout the summer part time, the other nanny really stepped up to the plate and took over more hours. I did ultimately end up applying for jobs in my tangentially related field as soon as the school year began. Thanks to other helpful tips from your site, I rocked the interviews and got a job offer the next day, making twice my current salary and with full benefits! While I loved teaching, this job will be much easier on me physically and mentally, and is in the field I am going for a Masters in. I had let the nannying family know I was looking, and was able to give them the same month-long notice I have given for my current job (due to a set start date at the new job,) so I am hopeful they will be able to hire someone new soon. They have already made postings online and scheduled some interviews, so it seems like there are concrete steps in place to fill the gap I leave.

I was nervous about using a mobility aid in my interview, so I took my cane instead of my usual wheelchair, but to their credit the new job was lovely about making accommodations and seems to have no issue with me using my chair or sitting down most of the day! (It is an office setting, so much less physical than chasing after preschoolers.) Thank you so much for all your advice and words of wisdom — I finally feel like things are making a turn for the better!

4. Meetings that keep running over our scheduled time (#5 at the link)

This is pretty low stakes, but I was the letter writer who supported a group whose meetings routinely ran over by 30 minutes to an hour (or more). I had asked for some strategies on ending or exiting a meeting that I wasn’t facilitating.

Well, not long after you published my letter I was in a meeting that finally drove me over the edge. Someone scheduled a 30 minute meeting at the very end of the day. A key person didn’t join, but we proceeded anyway. With 5 minutes left in the scheduled time, this person finally logged in and the host started the meeting over!!!!

At that point I decided that I was just going to tell people that I have a hard stop in nearly all cases, and they can follow up with me later if they discuss something that needs my input or attention. It ended up being a fairly moot point because a few months after that I transitioned to supporting a different group in my organization, and they start and end meetings on time. Thank goodness.

{ 80 comments… read them below }

  1. I edit everything*

    #1, it sounds like you handled it perfectly, and it’s safe to assume your previous behavior with Monica is a non-issue.

    1. learnedthehardway*

      I also wouldn’t worry about not being remembered – some people have very little memory for faces / names, and, on the plus side, you don’t stand out as someone whose behaviour was outrageous from your days of drinking after work.

      1. Lirael*

        Drinking during the work day, for what it’s worth. But I still agree that OP can stop worrying!

        1. Caz*

          Personally, I think it’s highly unlikely that she doesn’t remember who you are, I think she knows exactly who you are … you definitely remember people you hung with for a long time even in earlier years. She’s just being polite and professional in protecting both your careers and from her response, yes, I’d definitely play along with her vagueness and establishing of these new professional boundaries and carry on as she is leading how she wants to play it as a vague memory, no big deal… but ….she definitely remembers the good times!

    2. tamarack & fireweed*

      I want to say to LW1 – it sounds like it’ll be *absolutely*fine*. Chances are the memory has already dimmed in her mind, and even if not, with her professional behavior she gave you permission to pretend it never happened (or your memory of it is sinking into the sediments of time). I hope you’re getting a handle on your anxiety, because it’s not fulfilling any useful purpose.

      (What you should absolutely not do is to make things more explicit with her, especially if *she* wants to pretend it never happened. And if you’re visibly nervous and she’s a good boss who wants to figure out and fix what the problem is, that would be more likely to happen.)

  2. The Smiling Pug*

    OP4, meetings that keep running over drive me bonkers! Good to hear this current division respects everyone’s time by beginning and ending on time.

    1. Catalin*

      OMG, #4, if someone did that to me, I would almost certainly walk out. Discreetly, but…NO! I am NOT sitting through the same meeting twice, especially not at the very end of the day.

      1. Mrs. Hawiggins*

        Exactly. I would not be shy in saying, “I’m terribly sorry I have to go.” Except I would be lying about the sorry part.

        1. Marthooh*

          “I’m terribly sorry” can mean “I’m really very bad at feeling sorry about this”.

        2. tamarack & fireweed*

          Yup! “Unfortunately I am having a hard stop at [end of normal day – or whatever the scheduled end of the meeting is/should be!]. Bye, and see you tomorrow!”

      2. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

        I worked overseas with a ministry that was very, very hieratical. Our meetings were already pretty long based on US standards because there was the cultural, traditional, and obligatory 15-20 minutes of getting tea, smoking, and personal chit chat and there was translation so 30 minutes was automatically 1 hour since everything was said 2x. Generally NBD and you just rolled with it. However, if any of the high ranking host country staff couldn’t make the meeting or was late, there would be a complete recap from the beginning or, if they missed it all, the next meeting would be a recap of the earlier meeting, and if someone missed the 2nd meeting and anything new came up, we recapped everything again at the 3rd meeting, etc.. I swear we had 8 meetings covering the same topic until all 20ish people were present and an agreement for next steps could be reached. Loved the job, loved the people, but man did I dread when we needed a group decision

      3. LW4*

        Yeah same. This was especially egregious because it was 4:55 and I had somewhere to be. I got in my car anyway and told them all that it wasn’t going to be safe for me to participate any longer and hung up. (I’m lucky that my company has a strict “no meeting while driving” rule.) Looking back, this really was just a symptom of a pretty toxic environment overall – isn’t that always the case lol

        1. The Smiling Pug*

          Your last sentence about this being a symptom of a toxic environment, yeah, unfortunately, that’s usually the case. Because we can’t have lives outside of our work. :eyeroll:

          1. LW4*

            Exactly. This division really valued the “everyone does everything/super hero wins the da” and absolutely rewarded the people who would travel at a moment’s notice or work 24/7 to solve issues that should never have become crises. It tracks…

    2. AnonInNyc*

      I once worked at a place where meetings were regularly 2+ hours that just devolves into a delightful combo of the ED haranguing us for our incompetence and telling us about his new social media discoveries. Once I finally had enough and had to actually return to work to submit a time sensitive court motion and he disinvited me from meetings going forward. It was amazing.

    3. Meep*

      I had a professor that just drove me bonkers, despite everyone else loving him. He would stand in front of the whiteboard as he talked – which was different than what he was writing down – and erase it before anyone could see anything. But the thing that drove me absolutely up a wall about this man is that he would CONSISTENTLY start class 5-10 minutes late and then whine about how we were not respectful of ~his~ time if we got up 5 minutes after the class was supposed to end to go to our other classes. I had a class clear across campus after his class. I was consistently late because this jerk was consistently late AND still insisted on running longer than the allotted 50 minutes.

      They can all burn for all I care.

      1. The Smiling Pug*

        Ugh, academia and professors not respecting the time of their students. Even when I was 19, I recognized this tactic as just a cheap power grab.

        1. Meep*

          It is funny that you say that. I work for a (different) professor at his Startup. This man will frequently be hours late despite setting meetings with you. Once he told me he would be in at 9 AM. Didn’t show up the entire day. (Now I know if it rains, he won’t be in.) For him, it is more enduring and manageable. I self-manage anyway. Being yelled at for “interrupting” a class I am paying for to go to another class I am paying for? Not so much.

      2. coffee is my friend*

        I hated that as a student too – so I am very careful to start and end my classes on time.

    4. HS Teacher*

      I walk out at the time meetings are supposed to end. We have too many meetings as it is, and most of the time it’s stuff that could’ve been in an email anyway. I can’t stand when people don’t respect my planning time.

      1. The Smiling Pug*

        Thankfully most of our meetings either end on time or end early. I plan to use the “hard stop” tactic if I need to when I switch to a WFH job next week.

    5. Just the facts*

      I have long preached and clearly stated that any meeting over an hour means that the host did not do enough prep for the meeting. One hour and done because people really do have work to do. And, yes, there are exceptions like a strategic planning meeting or workshop. But, for the run of the mill meetings, get her done in an hour or less. Lots of folks I’ve mentioned this to hold themselves to the same standard.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        The only time I’ve been in a meeting more than an hour long that was productive was an in-depth trouble shooting meeting, and it was literally only four of us completely taking a spectacular failure of a project apart to then put it back together later. I think we were there for about four hours – and yes, food was provided to us and we got breaks.

    6. t*

      If a meeting goes 5 minutes over it’s NBD. If you have to leave, leave – say you have a hard stop and just leave. If you can stick around, stick around. Reality isn’t neat.

      But restarting a meeting completely due to someone being late – that’s not respectful of people’s time and someone senior should have said something to that effect. No one calling that out is a sign of major dysfunction. I can’t expect junior people to call it out, but a senior person should.

      And a well-meaning senior person who was unavoidably late should say “OK, sorry I was so late, but I really need a recap – can a couple of you stick around to help me out – the rest of you can go. If I want changes, we’ll let everyone know later.” Or ask for the notes/minutes.

  3. Dom*

    #1 – If anything this situation is probably more awkward for her than you. I suspect she may have simply adopted a “pretend it never happened” approach which is frankly best for both of you – as you put it, water under the bridge.

    1. Catalin*

      Yes, 100% she remembers day drinking with you. She has ZERO incentive to acknowledge it, so I’d carry on with the ‘nothing ever happened’ approach.

      1. NYC Taxi*

        #1 Why 100% she remembered that it was with OP? She may remember doing that with some long-forgotten random coworkers, but not specifically who. I wouldn’t recognize any of my coworkers except for my boss from 10 year ago, especially if I’m seeing them in a totally new context.

        #4: I hate meetings that run over and solved that problem by saying at the top of the meeting I have a hard stop at xx time and then logging out of the meeting/leaving the room when the time comes.

        1. UKDancer*

          Me neither. I have no memory for faces at all especially of people I worked with 10 years ago in a different company. I think it’s just as likely that she doesn’t remember OP.

          In any event the best solution is for OP to be calm, competent and professional and act like nothing happened and then the manager will probably model the same behaviours. Treat her like a new colleague you don’t know and be your best self and that should set the tone for the future relationship.

        2. LW4*

          Yes, that’s exactly what I started doing. The meeting chat feature is also a godsend. Just a quick note “I’m sorry I have to drop off for another call now” and then *LW4 has left the meeting*

  4. anonymous73*

    #1 Whether she remembers you or not is irrelevant. Both of you handled the situations perfectly and professionally. You really need to let it go and move on.

    1. MCMonkeyBean*

      I agree, either she truly doesn’t remember much about a job from 10 years ago which is fair–or else she’s pretending she doesn’t remember because she’s embarrassed about her own behavior. As long as you do good work for her now and behave professionally, I truly don’t think you have anything to worry about at all. I know that’s easier said then done, but I hope a bunch of strangers on the internet saying it helps you believe it :)

      1. Sloanicote*

        Right! Whatever is true, the point is she doesn’t want to dwell on it and is offering a fresh start, which is exactly what OP also wants, so well done everybody and on to the next problem.

  5. Falling Diphthong*

    OP1, it’s probably one of two things.
    1) She remembers and is signaling that that stuff is all waaaaaaaay in the past for both of you.
    2) That time in her life is a vague blur, and she doesn’t recall many details about you at all.

    In both cases, you can just take this as a fresh start and roll onward.

    1. allathian*

      Yeah. Or else she was simply being polite when the LW saw her in the 1:1 and didn’t actually remember her at all.

      Granted, I’ve been in my current job for 14 years, and if things go as well as they have until now, I can easily imagine staying here until I retire 15-20 years from now. I really don’t remember any of my former coworkers from my previous field and I wouldn’t recognize them if I ran into them in the street. At professional conferences, I sometimes run into people I’ve worked with at my current organization but who now work elsewhere, and those people I do remember and enjoy catching up with.

  6. Clorinda*

    If former drinking partner ever does bring it up (unlikely at this point), all you have to do is smile and say, yes that happened, it was a long time ago, and move the conversation onward. But it really looks like she’s just as happy as you are to pretend it never happened.

  7. Meep*

    #4 – Oh I feel you 100%. My boss loves or rather loved, to host meetings (typically development/learning meetings or check-ins) on Friday after 5 pm. I was sitting there livid and hungry at 7:30 PM after arriving at 6:30 AM with a 35-minute drive home ahead of me one Friday when I decided enough is enough. For development/active learning meetings, we have compromised and I will order food to have it done during lunch. To the envy of my other coworkers, check-in meetings are performed at 3:30 PM (no later than 4:30 PM) before he speaks to everyone else. Suckers.

    1. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      That’s someone who doesn’t like being home for the weekend.

      I’m so glad you stood your ground.

      1. Meep*

        He is just simply a workaholic. We had a couple of those – including a guy who was his student for 15 years (undergrad and grad). I would get emails from him at 10 PM and then followup emails at 5 AM.

        He really does love his wife. His brain is just always “on”.

    2. DistantAudacity*

      In my location, it is Not Done to have meetings on Friday afternoons, and certainly not regular ones (unless very critical situations). They happen, of course, but you may need to double-check that it’s fine, and definitely that it’s necessary.

      Generally also in my location employees are very empowered to manage their own time and work (outside of shift/core hours), and have a lot of autonomy. This is a very particular, and strong norm, in my country (esp. the Friday afternoon thing). This applies to office types of work.

      For more international companies, they may sometimes rotate in an ex-pat person to manage a local team, as part of their career trajectory. It is not an uncommon story that they will (try to) set up a regular end-of-week status meeting on Friday at say 4pm. Convenient! Everyone’s free! After a couple of meetings cancellations will start to come in, participation will drop etc. Ex-pat will of course at this point get angry/upset, and then someone with equivalent or suffucient standing will hopefully explain quietly, and the meeting get rescheduled…

      1. LW4*

        Oh dear. Yeah, after we all started working from home we had a noticeable uptick in meeting at ridiculous hours like 6 and 6:30am and 4:30pm on Fridays. In this new role I had sufficient clout to shut that ish down so I did. Zoom calls at 6am? No thanks.

        1. tamarack & fireweed*

          In my field there is a very large annual meeting (think thousands of attendees) which takes part in December. In 2020, they made it virtual… and scheduled some of the sessions totally around the clock, apparently thinking that they were now liberated from the constraints of the diurnal cycle. I presented a poster at 8 pm my time, which would be closer to midnight in the eastern US. Some of our students had poster sessions scheduled at 2 or 3 am. It was a mess, and I got very little from my virtual attendance.

          This time (Dec 2021) they made it hybrid, and had very tightly controlled chunks of the day dedicated to each type of presentation. All poster sessions were in the late afternoon local time, and if for some reason you had to present from Australia, then you had to contend with that, but at least times were not all over the place. Even if you had to shift your participation to an unusually early or late time of the day, sessions took place in consistent, repeated time slots. I think it was much much more successful this way.

          1. LW4*

            That sounds much better. I do work on multi-national teams and sometimes it can’t be helped to have a very early or late meeting. But discretionary meetings set up just because… no thanks.

            I’m glad your organization figured out a way to have a productive meeting.

    3. ShysterB*

      Ah, the end of the Friday work-day meeting. I have a colleague who, when we have an upcoming trial coming up, wants to have regular weekly meetings … always at the end of the day on Friday US Eastern time because, he swears, “that’s the best time for everyone, when the week is over.” Except it’s not the best for (a) the observant Jewish team member who observes Shabbat (especially in the winter), (b) the West Cost team members or (c) anyone in the Eastern time zone, such as myself, who regularly has Friday evening family obligations.

      Why does he want this day/time? Because it was (pre-pandemic at least) the time when he was driving his car from Philadelphia down to his shorehouse in Avalon, and it was easy for him to take the call while driving. (Me, I had to be stationary as I was the one leading the meeting and presenting materials, etc., so I got to stay late at the office to do that.) In the end, what annoyed me more than anything was his insistence that surely this was the best time for everyone, rather than simply acknowledging it was the best time FOR HIM. I mean, you’re the lead trial attorney, dude, you’re the one who brought the business in, we all understand needing to accommodate your schedule. Just stop trying to avoid acknowledging the problem it creates for the rest of us and stop asking us to lie and say it isn’t an issue.

      Anyway … what made it even worse was the West Coast team member who, as I’m trying to wrap up the call after 2 hours, would chime in, Columbo-like, with “Wait, I have one more question…”

    4. LW4*

      That’s awful and you have my sympathies. It really sounds like your boss would fit in so we’ll at this place! The department head once had a meeting that was supposed to last for an hour after lunch on a Friday. It ended up going well past 5:30. This was in the Bedford Times, so I was trapped.

    5. WoodswomanWrites*

      The managers of my team encouraged us a while back to have meeting-free Fridays and take that time instead to focus on projects, do professional development, engage in planning, etc. Such a great way to work.

      1. Former Admin Turned Project Manager*

        We tried meeting-free Fridays, but then the CEO’s EA would schedule “just one quick thing” on Fridays because it was the only time that everyone he wanted to talk to didn’t have any other meetings. So Fridays were back to being full of meetings as soon as the other executives felt like it was OK to schedule Friday meetings because they’d lost their meeting-free status.

  8. EPLawyer*

    #4, I would lost it if someone restarted a meeting because someone was late. I’m on one committee with my philanthropic organization that the meetings routinely run an hour and a half. It’s a mix of retirees and those still working. They are scheduled in the evenings. The last thing I want is an overly long meeting. If the meetings were productive I could live with it. But the chair is a micromanager who THINKS he is getting buy in from everyone by going over EVERYTHING in excrutiating detail. I mean someone will draft a powerpoint and we have to go over EVERY SINGLE SLIDE and make comments. There is allegedly an agenda but its never followed because we never move on. Its just talking around and around the same things.

    Me, I just ran the board meeting for my local club last night. Half an hour start to finish. Every agenda item covered, plenty of time for discussion on anything that anyone wanted to discuss. But no wasted time on things that didn’t need discussion.

    1. TimeTravlR*

      OMG! I used to be part of a grassroots political group and also a school board member. So many times I wanted to just bang my head on the table. I love a nice clean quick meeting!

    2. Momma Bear*

      I had an old manager who was always late and we stopped starting meetings without him because we’d have to backtrack. IMO an end of the day runover meeting is especially bad because of childcare, commutes, and other evening commitments. Not everyone wants to live at the office.

      1. Sabine the Very Mean*

        And just based on the average adult’s ability to be productive, very few have the mental bandwidth to actually pay attention.

    3. Daughter of Ada and Grace*

      I love meeting agendas. I love them even more when they are followed and the meeting covers exactly what it’s supposed to in a timely manner.

      1. Roy G. Biv*

        Yes, meeting agendas! And someone who is tasked with timekeeping the agenda, as in, “Frank, you have 4 more minutes and then we have to move on.” And Frank suddenly becomes very succinct and gets to the point.

      2. LW4*

        At one regular meeting with my boss and my immediate coworkers the facilitator would regularly set a timer with an annoying alarm that went off when people reached their time limits. We were all pretty close so it was well-taken and we laughed and moved on.

    4. KateM*

      You remind me of the times my sons were in elementary school and theirt parents’ meetings. One teacher – invite the headmaster to speak about generic things (half an hour at least), then talk about class things for a hour. Other teacher – hand everyone a printed summary of what she wanted to tell us, go over it, ask whether there were questions, and send everyone home. If you were 15 minutes late to a meeting with the first teacher, you were basically too early because the headmaster was still speaking about nothing. If you were 15 minutes late to a meeting with the second teacher, you caught her talking to a couple of parents who had stayed behind after meeting to ask specific questions.

    5. LW4*

      EPLawyer, that sounds excruciating! And yes, I did lose it (privately) and that’s when I just starting not caring whether people were mad I left or hung up. What made it even worse was that I had somewhere to be and needed to be in my car. Thankfully my company had a strict no driving while meeting policy so I told them that I was driving and it wasn’t safe for me to continue and hung up.

    6. tamarack & fireweed*

      Also, a good boss would pick up on it and put an end to a meeting segment in which everyone else is already up to speed and has their time wasted. It’s both respectful to the employees and mindful of company resources (time spend in meeting for busy key professionals).

    7. MAC*

      This reminds me of early in my career (25+ years ago), when, as a mid-market TV reporter in my hometown community, I was asked to join the board of a local economic development board focused on supporting minority-owned businesses.*

      My first meeting (on a lovely summer evening when I had baseball tickets) went FOUR HOURS. Half a work day! They were used to (a) discussing every bit of minutiae in excruciating detail and (b) every decision being arrived at by consensus, not majority. I was by far the youngest person in attendance by a minimum of 15-20 years and I think they expected me to sit there quietly and soak up all their wisdom and then go on air and tell the public how amazing they were. Instead, I started pushing discussions to get to the point, challenging the status quo, and cutting through the BS to actually accomplish something beyond talk. I’m in my 50s now (and LONG out of television) but I still get annoyed by rambling meetings run by someone who loves the sound of their own voice.

      *I’m pretty sure the reason I was asked was that they were hoping for free media exposure – as a young white woman who didn’t own a business, I didn’t have ANY actual experience in the work they were trying to do. Their mission *was* admirable, especially for its time. That group is no longer in existence and sadly, my community has become the kind of place where it would be the target of people who might say things like “ALL Businesses Matter.”

  9. Where’s the Orchestra?*

    With the run-over meetings – I think there is a world of difference between accidentally running over a few minutes once and a while because you get into the weeds on discussing some part of the agenda versus what the letter writer was describing where “who knows when the meeting will end” is the operating mantra.
    Most of us would probably be okay with the first type of over-run, but the second type of over-run drives employees out of companies.

    1. LW4*

      Exactly! Sometimes a meeting runs over by 5 minutes – oh well. Sometimes they can run over by more, but the polite thing to acknowledge it and make sure people know that they can drop off/leave if they need to. Just meandering on and on to hear oneself talk or catch up with every topic under the sun or to accommodate someone’s ego is NOT OK! As I said above, there were other red flags with this group (especially the “we’re one team and everyone does everything to ‘step up and pitch in’”) that the meeting MO made perfect sense for them.

  10. ArtK*

    Running meetings efficiently is a skill, just like being able to use Excel. Sadly, many people don’t understand this and just plow through it. One big problem is being afraid to say “That’s an interesting point, but we need to stick to the agenda. Let’s discuss that at another time.” I’ve also had the misfortune to be in calls where the chair/moderator is the one who introduces diversions. Had one manager who turned 30 minute meetings into 1.5 hours on a regular basis.

    1. EPLawyer*

      Yeah I’ve gotten really good at saying “okay, we see to be getting off track here, let’s table this item for next meeting and move on.” And we really do cover it the next meeting. Usually much more succinctly.

      Although to be honest since I’ve been President of my club, there’s been a lot less arguing at meetings. Which hmmm, I have to remember when I am no longer president. Because I think I know the problem here.

    2. LW4*

      When my letter was first published a lot of suggestions were made about use of an agenda. When I’m the facilitator I stick with the agenda pretty relentlessly. (But I’m also someone who carefully curates my attendance list too.) So I think it drives me especially batty to have people who talk and talk and talk and no one tells them to take things offline or wrap it up. I will also be the one to say “ok, looks like I didn’t schedule enough time to discuss Teapot Defect Trends, and we aren’t going to get to the last couple of things on the agenda. I’ll take that offline/schedule another short call/put it at the top of the agenda for next time. Have a great day everyone!” I think this is why this whole topic bothers me so much.

  11. RagingADHD*

    LW#1, I see a lot of comments saying that Monica probably is happy to pretend it never happened. Let me offer a different perspective:

    It’s entirely possible that Monica was being completely straightforward. She probably remembers the situation perfectly well, and upon being prompted, remembers you.

    She just doesn’t care. Because it was ten years ago, nobody was harmed, none of you apparently experienced any bad fallout at that job from it, and it has had absolutely no negative long-term consequences on either of your careers.

    My bet would be that Monica has processed this episode more effectively than you’ve managed to so far, and put it into its proper perspective. If that’s true, I advise you to take her lead, because in the grand scheme of things it’s a much more helpful attitude.

    1. RAM*

      I work in a niche field/industry so the same people come and go into various jobs and my internal reaction when I start working with someone I’ve worked with before is always: “Oh you again! I remember you! And now we work together again, isn’t life funny?” And not think a thing about how professional/non-professional I was during that one time 10 years ago. (And definitely not think about how YOU were unless you did something that offended me, or if you truly were incompetent at your job and made my life difficult).

      So I agree – assuming you guys didn’t hate each other – she’s probably reacting very genuinely, and it’s great to have that leg up on building a new relationship with her!

  12. L. Ron Jeremy*

    When a meeting began to run past the scheduled end time, I’d stand up and walk out, sometimes saying I had another meeting to attend or needed to leave to attend to xyz at home.
    Usually this caused others to stand up and join me at the exit.

    1. LW4*

      I’ve always been very assertive about this, but at the time I was trying to fit in to the norms of that team. It did not work lol! In my current assignment it’s much more accepted to log off the Teams or Zoom call with a matter-of-fact “must drop off now, I have another meeting”. Even the few in-person meetings I’ve had since the beginning of 2021 never questioned having to leave, which is eother the cause or effect of the meeting culture being much more structured.

  13. LW4*

    Thanks everyone for the responses and for the commiseration and validation! I didn’t get to see these until later in the afternoon for me, but I appreciated every one and tried to respond where applicable. As I told Alison in my update, AAM and the comments section are one of my favorite parts of the day! You’re the best!

  14. Blonde Spiders*

    Re, #2: This still sounds like my absolute personal hell.

    Caveat: I love my current MiL, but my previous one also had serious boundary issues. If she applied to my firm and actually got an HR job where she could see my salary? I’d absolutely bolt.

    Someone with boundary issues *looks* at people’s pay rates. Imagine the next time your family/husband mentions something about money being tight, or needing a big ticket item but are worried about how to pay for it. I can easily imagine a nosy MiL saying, “I know what she makes, you just need to budget better,” or something equally awful.

    Unless Mommy Dearest can learn boundaries in a hurry, this will likely end badly.

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