company singled out a wheelchair user to get us back to the office, work friend shared a private conversation with our boss, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. Our company singled out our coworker in a wheelchair to argue we should return to the office

We recently went through a merger and now the new management are trying to get us to come back into the office after working from home successfully over the last two years.

In front of the entire company over Zoom, management made a point of singling out a colleague who uses a wheelchair, stating that if they are able to come into the office then the rest of us should be able to manage. It was mentioned what an inspiration they are. The management also gave reasons such as mental health and cultural improvements for coming into the office, but I feel that singling out our colleague for their “inspiring wheelchair use” was tasteless and in bad form.

We have a bad relationship overall with the new management, with various issues such as not announcing when someone was leaving so we could at least say goodbye, taking on far too much work for the resources we have and expecting everyone to just handle it, and not being open to ideas from the company that was merged into (which I am from). Should I bother saying anything regarding how I feel regarding the comments made? We do not have a HR department.

Your management has missed the point on a number of levels. Most people who are reluctant to return to the office feel that way because of ongoing concerns about safety, child care, productivity, and focus (or simple preference, which is perfectly legitimate if other jobs in your field offer more appealing alternatives). Pointing to a wheelchair user as “if they can do it, so can you” is dismissive of all those concerns. It’s also insulting and othering to the wheelchair user and other people living their normal lives with disabilities.

Whether or not to say anything … it sounds like this is one of many issues with your new management, so it really depends on how much capital you want to invest in this relative to other things. If you’re unsure, one option is to check with the person who was singled out and ask if they want you and others to push back on how they were used.

2. My friend interviewed for same job — can we be each other’s reference?

A former coworker (now friend) and I are both looking for new jobs right now. We have similar interests and experience, and so we sometimes end up applying for the same jobs. This time, we’ve both interviewed for the same job and I’m wondering if it would be weird for both of us to list the other as a reference. For various reasons, we’re both the best reference for the other for the job where we were coworkers — there’s not really anyone else who would know either of our work as well.

Either of us would be great at the job and would both be thrilled for the other if they got it. I would certainly talk her up without reservation and I know she would do the same for me.

Basically, I’m not worried about it from a practical or friendship standpoint, but do you think the prospective employer would find it incredibly weird or not trust the reference since there appears to be a conflict of interest? Even if the reference was entirely positive? Help!

I’d skip it if possible. It’s not necessarily that the employer would find it incredibly weird (probably just a little weird), but more that they might not feel comfortable calling one of you for a reference on the other (especially if you’re both finalists), might question the credibility of the reference if they did (for example, do you have a pact to talk each other up regardless of reality?), and in general are more likely to prefer to talk to someone else.

3. My work friend shared our private conversations with my boss

I have been working at an organization for going on 10 years. I have a colleague who I would consider a close friend who works in the same office as me. We are both in lead roles. The only difference is he works directly for the company and I am a contract employee. We often confide in each other about things that are happening in the office and we sometimes vent to each other about various work-related issues. It is very much a two-way street.

Today, however, he told me that he had mentioned to my supervisor that I was stressed and that he thought I wasn’t happy with my workload. The job can be stressful at times but it is nothing I feel I cannot handle. I am a little perturbed that he felt comfortable enough to have a conversation like that with my boss. The talks that we have had are private and he has communicated the same kinds of thought so me as well, but I would never tell his boss about any of it because I respect him and know he is just venting. I was shocked to hear him tell me this. Am I overreacting or do I have a right to be upset with him?

You have the right to be upset. Your understanding was that you were talking in confidence, and he relayed something without permission that could change the way your manager views you. (That’s not to say it will, but it could.) Plus, as a contractor you’re in a less secure position than he is.

I assume he thought he was helping you (and that your boss could help with your workload) but it might be interesting to ask why he shared it and what he hoped the outcome would be, and whether he also shared his own stresses … and then clarify that you consider your conversations about work confidential and don’t want your discussions shared. From there you’ll need to decide if you’ll feel comfortable continuing to confide in him in the same way.

4. My coworker sends emails rescheduling Monday morning meetings … over the weekend

My week usually begins with an 8:30 team meeting on Monday. Problem is, it’s run by my colleague Peggy, who regularly reschedules meetings over the weekend. So I’ll show up (virtually) on Monday at 8:30 and find out that she sent an email Sunday afternoon rescheduling the meeting for 8:00 or 8:15. This happens maybe once or twice a month.

I don’t normally check email on the weekends, and that’s never been an issue before. There’s no culture of staying connected at all times in our company, which is one of the things I like about it. That said, I appear to be the only one who keeps showing up late to these meetings. Half the team is in a different time zone, so this isn’t their first meeting of the day. And I guess the others either start earlier or check their email over the weekend. No one has called me out on this so far, but I’m sure it annoys people.

Normally if I was regularly showing up late to a meeting, I’d be mortified and would do what I could to fix it. But I’m kinda irritated in this case. If Peggy wants to work over the weekend, that’s cool, but I don’t think she should expect me to do the same. I could also start logging in half an hour earlier on Monday, which prospect fills my heart with sorrow. But I’m relatively new to this team (though in a senior role), so I might just be out of step with its norms. Should I suck it up or talk to Peggy about cutting it out?

Talk to Peggy! I get why you’re annoyed, but you also haven’t yet told her it’s a problem and asked her to stop. The next step is: “I don’t check my email over the weekend so if you send an email on Saturday or Sunday moving the Monday morning meeting earlier, I won’t see it until I log on Monday morning, at which point I’m too late. Is it possible to email by Friday at the latest if you need to reschedule?” If Peggy implies you should check your email on the weekend, it sounds like your position and the company culture would allow you to say, “I try to be disciplined about logging off over the weekend, so that’s not something I’d like to do.”

If she won’t budge, in theory you could do a quick check on Sunday evenings … but once you log in, you’re going to see other work emails too and then your brain will get sucked into work mode, which you shouldn’t have to do.

5. Job was salaried and exempt and all of a sudden it isn’t

On Friday I received a verbal offer for a job I’m really excited about – great work, great salary, great benefits, the whole nine yards. I got the offer letter on Monday, signed it, and sent it back. According to the offer letter, my position is salaried and exempt. Today (Tuesday), I received another email from HR with a revised offer letter. This time, the position is hourly and non-exempt. Apparently, the position was always non-exempt, and the first offer letter was wrong. Is this a huge red flag? Should I be running for the hills? I was really excited for this job, and now I feel like someone is trying to scam me.

Unless you’ve seen other signs that they’re shady, it’s more likely that they genuinely made a mistake than that they’re trying to scam you. Still, though, the change isn’t an insignificant one. I’m less concerned about you being non-exempt than you being hourly. Salaried non-exempt can be a good thing; knowing your pay won’t be docked if you work 39 hours one week instead of 40 but also earning overtime pay when you work more than 40 hours is a pretty good deal. But since they’re making you hourly, you should ask if that means your pay will be docked if you work less than 40 hours in a particular week and don’t make it up with PTO. (If you get a generous amount of PTO, that might be a non-issue, but you want to know exactly what to expect.) And if you want, you could say that you signed on for a salaried role with a guaranteed weekly salary and ask if they’d consider making the job salaried non-exempt instead of hourly.

You should also make sure you understand why the job is now non-exempt. Does it make sense to you based on the government’s rules for exempt and non-exempt work?

Either way, you should evaluate the offer as if the earlier one hadn’t existed. If this had always been the offer, would you want it? Don’t get pushed into accepting it just because you’d already signed the first one (or, for that matter, into rejecting it just because it’s different).

Related: is being salaried a scam?

{ 383 comments… read them below }

  1. raida7*

    4. My coworker sends emails rescheduling Monday morning meetings … over the weekend

    How about telling Peggy “I start work at 8:30, is there a particular reason you’ve moved meetings to earlier? 8:30am on Monday is the first time I’d be using my work accounts after signing off on a Friday, so that’s the first opportunity I have to see the updated start time was up to a half hour prior.”

    And just let her realise that she’s essentially planning to meet outside of your work hours, so instead of tying yourself in knots trying to decide to log in on weekends or start earlier or what – maybe she’ll just not change meetings that include you to “before she’s at work”

    1. Sleepy cat*

      I’d just say “I start work at 8.30, so please let me know on Friday if you’re rescheduling.” And then stop!

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        I suggest giving a time on Friday past which rescheduling shouldn’t happen. Otherwise, Peggy might do it at 11:59 pm.

        There’s a special place in Hell for people who schedule/reschedule meetings without a business days’ notice. Especially when it’s already so early in the morning.

        1. DataGirl*

          Personally I think there’s a special place in hell for people who schedule meetings before 9am, period, especially on a Monday. 8am on a Monday is just straight up WRONG. But, I’m a night owl, and unfortunately most of my colleagues are morning people, so I have to suck it up. I’m still going to complain about it though.

          1. Rolly*

            I’m in a global organization. We have to have some meetings at odd hours for me to be fair to staff in other time zones. Sharing the pain so to speak. And we try to speak up about what is and is not doable on our own schedules.

          2. Patrick Nielsen*

            Please save a seat in Hades for those who insist on scheduling meetings during lunch – and then proclaiming, it was the only time you had available!

          3. Aggretsuko*

            Hahahaah, I have 8:30 a.m. meetings 2-3 times a week. It was 8 a.m. pre-pandemic. I am also a night owl surrounded by early birds.

            1. Reluctant Mezzo*

              I hear you. My early bird boss never understood why I wasn’t very sharp at 7:30 am, or why I quietly gloated when she faded by 3:30 pm.

        2. Texan In Exile*

          Former VP cancelled at 10 p.m. an in-person meeting for 7:00 a.m. the next day.

          None of us saw the email: our computers were at work so how were we supposed to? (Some people had their work email on their phone, but I refused to do that.)

          One co-worker had had to completely re-juggle childcare for her infant as her husband was out of town.

          We showed up early and – no meeting.

          VP rescheduled and never did explain or apologize.

          (Last week, this VP was fired in disgrace, so there is a happy ending!)

          1. Jennifer*

            I had a boss schedule what I call a “trap meeting” specifically to see if people were showing up on time. She sent out an email over a long weekend scheduling a meeting for 8 am on Monday – the exact time work starts. There weren’t enough desks on the main floor, so several of us were 10 floors down, plus she picked a meeting room several floors up from the main floor. I checked my email at 7:58 and by the time I got to the meeting, it was mostly over and I got a lecture about being on time and wouldn’t listen when I tried to explain. My coworker showed up in the middle of my lecture; she was late because she checked her voicemail before her email. Still so mad about this years later and very happy I got a better job not too long after.

      2. MusicWithRocksIn*

        I would say “I start work at 8:30, so if you need to re-schedule the meeting, it needs to be to later in the day, not earlier.”

      3. TheRain'sSmallHands*

        Just book yourself with a standing meeting Monday mornings between 8 and 8:30. Call it “week start time” or something. Its a time when you sit down at your desk, figure out where you were Friday afternoon when you turned it all off, go over any emails that came in over the weekend.

        For people whose calendars tend to fill, pre-emptive booking of work time is essential if you are going to do anything for a living besides attending meetings. And its perfectly reasonable that when you sit down at your desk at 8am on Monday it takes you half an hour to get to the point where you can really get started.

        1. Observer*

          Why? What you are suggesting is that the OP start logging in to work a half an hour earlier to accommodate inappropriate meeting requests. That’s not a reasonable accommodation.

          1. Rocket*

            No it doesn’t. Something on your calendar doesn’t have to mean anything other than I’m not available for you to schedule a meeting at this time. She doesn’t have to actually start work at 8:00.

          1. sofar*

            It depends on the company, but my coworkers (and I) block off time on our calendars when we will NOT be online and set it to auto-reject meetings. People do this for daycare pickups, doctors appointments, their driving commute, vacation time and sick time.

            If I’m scheduling a meeting, last thing I want is to schedule it at a time when one of the stakeholders is going to be at the doctor and then have to reschedule the whole dang meeting. So I never read blocked time on their calendar as, “Oh she has time blocked off, so she’ll be online … let me just schedule a meeting.” I read it as, “This person is unavailable during this time, whether it’s for a meeting or another appointment. So I will not schedule a meeting at this time.”

            1. Rolly*

              This is what I was objecting to: “Its a time when you sit down at your desk”

              I also have space blocked on my calendar for a commute. Frankly I would prefer to block it via the workday feature, but I am available on both sides of it. I don’t ever call it a meeting – even in my mind – though Outlook considers it a meeting.

              1. TheRain'sSmallHands*

                You are reading more into it than I intended. I meant just block the time. You should arrive at your desk sometime during that block because no one sits down ready to work, but that doesn’t mean you are available for slack or phone calls. It specifically means you are not while you get you morning together, grab coffee, check your email, etc.

              2. sofar*

                Ah, I see what you mean. For us, the default is to make the name of the meeting “invisible” so nobody knows what the block is for. Calling it ‘week start time’ or ‘block’ or ‘getting things done’ would be more for the LW’s benefit.

            2. Hazel*

              I block the time on my calendar so I don’t get meeting requests for any time before 9:30 am, but it never occurred to me to auto reject requests for that time – probably because most people at my job respect the “busy” times in people’s calendars. But I’m going to look into it anyway!

          2. GlitsyGus*

            Not necessarily. At all the companies I’ve worked at blocked off time just means unavailable for any reason. It could be a meeting, or an in-person seminar, or a Dr. appt. It does not mean you are necessarily online. Even if you are, it doesn’t matter because you are unavailable.

        2. sofar*

          I totally do this. I have a daily standing 7:45am to 8:30am booking called “commute.” I started it because, during the pandemic, people got really entitled about rescheduling meetings in the middle of the night and on weekends like Peggy and putting them at 8 a.m. And when I started going back to the office (I’m the only one on the team who has gone back), I’d arrive at work at 8:30 (thinking my first meeting was at 9) and see my phone had been blowing up with Slacks asking, “Are you joining this meeting???” (which had now been moved to 8 a.m., when I was on the road).

          My coworkers luckily respect blocked time, so blocking off my commute every day fixed the problem.

          1. Alienor*

            That’s what I did when I still needed to do a school drop-off and pick-up. Every once in a while someone would try to schedule over one of those blocks and I’d just decline and explain that I had a meeting I couldn’t move. My kid was in the afterschool care program, so people still had a whole workday between 8:30 and 5 to book an alternate time.

            1. Rolly*

              I do the same but don’t call it a meeting. I say “I’m not available” or “I’m doing school drop off and can’t join then.” I don’t call it a meeting which has a meaning at work.

    2. Bagpuss*

      Also – can you use the tools on your calendar or e-mail?
      For instance, if you use outlook, if you put a different appointment in in the 7.30-8.30 slot on your calendar (possibly just a blank one set to private) then it will show as a conflict / unavailable when she tries to reschedule ( at least if you are using Outlook) and you could also set an out of office for internal mails on weekends where you have a meeting with her on the Monday that says ‘My working hours are 8.30-5, Monday to Friday, and mails sent outside those hours won’t be seen until 8.30 a.m.’
      I also think that in the first instance you should speak to her to explicitly remind her that you start work at 8.30 so are not available for meetings starting before that time and won’t see requests to reschedule if they are sent after 5.30 on Fruday and before 8.30 on Monday, then if she continues to do it, raise it when you join the meeting – not as an apology but more;
      “Can you just go over anything that’s been covered so far, unfortunately, as the request to start the meeting was sent outside working hours I didn’t receive it until 8.30, moving forward can you please remember to schedule meetings during working hours, and remember that requests to change the timing won’t necessarily be seen if they are sent outside normal working hours?” or just “Can you please only change the timing of meetings if all participants accept the requested change, and make sure that meetings are within everyone’s actual working hours?”

      That way, you’ve made an effort to deal with it privately but if she ignored that, then the other participant can see that you are not just being flaky, (and if it is the same group then its possible that they may even remember and remind her next time she sends a request to change.

      1. Mongrel*

        “”For instance, if you use outlook, if you put a different appointment in in the 7.30-8.30 slot on your calendar (possibly just a blank one set to private) then it will show as a conflict / unavailable when she tries to reschedule ”

        Another couple of tools are options in the Calendar settings to set your work day and viewing permissions which may help.

      2. lizesq*

        Ugh I’d be so annoyed sitting in a meeting that needs to be recapped because someone was late (again) when it was totally foreseeable that the time would change. Also OP says they’re in a senior role, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re senior to Peggy. I don’t think that public call out in a meeting would help OP as much as you think it will, especially cause she’s new and everyone else seems fine with how Peggy operates.

        1. Antilles*

          Changing the meeting time on Sunday afternoon for a meeting first thing Monday morning isn’t “totally foreseeable” though. I mean, we’re talking about like 18 hours notice here – honestly that’d be a bit of short notice if both days were work days rather than one of them being a weekend. It’s also changing the time for a meeting first thing in the morning at a company where it appears like there’s a little bit of flexibility in start times.
          I don’t agree with the public call-out strategy either, but I don’t think it’s “totally foreseeable” for a meeting to change on less than a day’s notice when it’s not a work day.

          1. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

            If it’s happened multiple times already then it probably is forseeable though, IMHO.

            1. ceiswyn*

              Which is why a) the meeting organiser should not be doing the thing that is foreseeably causing problems and b) the OP is looking for a way to prevent this happening.

              ‘Log in over the weekend because your colleague is foreseeably doing an unreasonable thing’ isn’t an acceptable solution.

              1. londonedit*

                Yeah, and neither is ‘start work at 7:45am every Monday just in case Peggy has rearranged a meeting for 8’.

                1. Observer*

                  Exactly – neither it an acceptable solution. I agree that the callout strategy is not likely to work, though. If it’s possible to go over her head, though, that might work.

            2. lizesq*

              Yep – it happens once or twice a month. That’s 25-50% of the time. It’s definitely foreseeable, even if it’s unreasonable.

              1. Observer*

                It’s foreseeable, yes. But so unreasonable that it’s not reasonable or realistic to expect anyone to really change for this.

              2. Mr. Shark*

                It shouldn’t be foreseeable. It should not be done. It’s completely unreasonable and I don’t see why the LW should have to adjust her review of e-mail to account for someone changing a meeting time over the weekend.

              3. RebelwithMouseyHair*

                But it’s not systematic. Here in France children used to have school on Saturday mornings and it was hellish to have to get up even though I wasn’t going to work.
                But even worse was the fact that from time to time, there wouldn’t be school on a Saturday and if you weren’t organised, like I wasn’t, and you didn’t check, you dragged the kids off to school only to find that the gate was locked.
                I wouldn’t want to come in extra early every Monday just in case the boss moved the meeting forward. It would get the week off to the worst possible start. I mean, why can’t Monday mornings be banned?

            3. SixTigers*

              I would never expect my coworkers to log in during the weekend in order to check to make sure I haven’t jacked around with a meeting when they weren’t at work. The expectation is that we work Monday to Friday, and we have the weekends off unless something has been specifically assigned or arranged.

              If someone wants to work over the weekend, that’s between the individual and his/her supervisor. But logging in over the weekend to change the schedule of meetings that a number of people attend? That’s not reasonable behavior at all.

              1. justabot*

                But why is Peggy changing the meeting time? Does she want to be working? Or are people emailing Peggy over the weekend with scheduling conflicts and Peggy sends out a new time trying to accommodate someone else who also needs to be on the call. How much of this is actually part of Peggy’s job duties that may require being available on the weekend or just Peggy making a change for her own purposes? It might not be bothering anyone else because they might be the ones who actually asked for the time change!

        2. Hey*

          Just because OP hasn’t heard any complaints doesn’t mean there aren’t any. Most people are sheep.

          1. KRM*

            I picture a lot of people doing a quick email check on Sun PM and rolling their eyes seeing the meeting change, and possibly having to plan to leave for the office a little earlier/give other spouse kid duty in the AM/other annoying changes. It doesn’t even change to a predictable time!

            1. Jora Malli*

              OP says a lot of the other attendees are in a different time zone, so they’ve already had time to log in and see the meeting change in time not to be late. They may be rolling their eyes at another last minute time change, but it’s not inconveniencing them in the same way.

              1. Mr. Shark*

                But usually you don’t see meetings scheduled for earlier than previously committed, not without at least a days notice.
                Even for those in different time zones, they are likely logging in Monday and seeing that the meeting has moved to an earlier time, which is inconvenient, or even impossible to attend since they may have other commitments at that time.

        3. Dinwar*

          If the meeting has to be re-scheduled often enough for rescheduling to be foreseeable, it means that the meeting time isn’t working. I mean, what other process allows for a 25% failure rate without re-evaluation?

          Maybe the solution really is that the OP needs to suck it up and deal. But that should be the conclusion of an open investigation, with more support than “Peggy wants it and it’s not inconvenient enough for anyone else to object”.

          1. Mr. Shark*

            But the time change isn’t convenient for the LW. How does Peggy’s ineptitude at scheduling a meeting become LW’s problem?
            If Peggy is changing it 25-50% of the time, then you’re right, she should just change the time permanently. Maybe LW will dislike that it’s 8:00 instead of 8:30, but at least LW and all the other attendees get a consistent time for the meeting.
            No one should be changing the meeting time that often, and to an earlier time than originally planned.

            1. Dinwar*

              “How does Peggy’s ineptitude at scheduling a meeting become LW’s problem?”

              I’m not sure Peggy’s ineptitude is the cause of this problem. There may be reasons that the LW is currently unaware of. And being new to the team, the LW needs to make allowances for that. Not doing so will cost her political capital, which a new person in a senior position is going to find problematic.

              1. justabot*

                Right. It could be other senior people asking Peggy over the weekend for a time change. I’d be very careful about assuming Peggy is inept, obnoxious, or doesn’t respect other employees before finding out if changes are coming from above her, which is a different conversation. LW might go to Peggy all, “Cut this out” only to be told senior level VP in another time zone had to move a meeting with an important partner or client. The reality is that some people in other roles may have jobs that do require being somewhat available on weekends. That may not be the case at all. But as a new member of the team, I would definitely get more intel on the dynamics before assuming Peggy’s just bored on the weekend and moving meeting times around for sport.

                1. CastleDeep13*

                  Word to all of this. How did this letter become “let’s all (bleep)on Peggy who is clearly incompetent and/or a jerk” instead of the actual issue of, “LW won’t use their words”???

        4. Observer*

          Ugh I’d be so annoyed sitting in a meeting that needs to be recapped because someone was late (again) when it was totally foreseeable that the time would change.

          You really would expect someone to start monitoring their email on weekends? I get the annoyance. But the person who you should be annoyed at is the person who is so disrespectful of other’s time that she can’t be bothered to send timely meeting updates.

          1. lizesq*

            I monitor my emails on weekends. It’s an expectation of my job. Very often my supervisor will email me after I’ve logged out asking to meet at 9am the next day, because that’s when his schedule allows, even though generally people don’t get into my office until 9:30. Telling him I didn’t see his request would reflect very poorly on me.

            My point is simply that OP is new to this job, OP doesn’t know whether this is an established norm in this workplace, we don’t know if she’s senior to Peggy, and this “call her out in front of an entire meeting OP already interrupted by being late for” is bad advice.

            1. Dinwar*

              I’m in charge of multiple field teams doing fairly high-risk work, and I’m expected to NOT check email on the weekends. We went to great lengths to make sure no one had to check email on their days off (schedules are weird, so “weekends” may be Wed/Thurs for some people). If something changes, the team calls me. If it’s not worth a phone call, the change isn’t important enough to actually do.

              Being new is also an opportunity. The LW is coming in with new eyes and seeing things from a new perspective. It’s easy for toxic, or even just suboptimal, behaviors to be invisible to long-term staff but glaringly obvious to newcomers. If the LW was in a low-level position maybe give it a few weeks, but they’re in a fairly senior role; they have the capital to say “This isn’t great, let’s fix it.” Maybe not be openly confrontational, but definitely to push back some. It’s normal for people in more senior roles to come in and change things; that’s often why they’re brought in in the first place.

              “We’ve always done it this way” is a red flag phrase–it’s an indication of complacency. At the very least it’s an indication that folks haven’t sufficiently thought through what’s going on. A 25% to 50% failure rate in a process (and needing to re-schedule a standing meeting that often is a failure) is another red flag that the process isn’t working.

              1. lizesq*

                Ok, so our jobs have different expectations, that’s fine; that doesn’t mean we know what the expectations are for OP’s job.
                And is it a failure if literally everyone else can successfully be on time except the OP? We don’t even know who is in these meetings. What if it’s a meeting of all people at OP’s level and she’s the only one late? Being a more senior employee does not mean she’s THE senior employee in this meeting. Just because she’s senior in terms of job responsibilities does not mean she has standing to change established norms in this workplace.

                1. Dinwar*

                  One point I was trying to make, and I’ll admit I did it badly, is that just because something is an expectation, that doesn’t make it a good expectation. It’s entirely possible for everyone to just accept a bad situation until someone new comes in and says “Holy cats, this is insane!” This isn’t “holy cats” level, but it’s a difference in degree, not in kind.

                  I also believe that the LW has the standing to push back against this even if the meeting is mostly people on her level or above her. You don’t bring people into senior positions and expect them to play dead. If you didn’t think they’d get things done you wouldn’t have hired them. She doesn’t have a lot of capital, sure, but it’s not none. Further, the time to establish healthy boundaries is at the beginning. It’s far easier to say “This is the third time this has happened, I need it to change” than it is to say “This has been going on for ten years, I need it to change.”

                  Besides, again, if you need to move the meeting time 25-50% of the time, it’s obviously a bad time for a meeting. Obviously people are struggling to make it. Someone should have the fortitude to stand up and say “Let’s fix this”. Since “someone” always translates to “not me”, the LW may as well do it; new hires traditionally get the crappy tasks. Remember, re-scheduling a meeting is not a no-cost thing. If you have ten people each of them needs to shift their schedule around. You’re demanding people check in during off hours. You’re demanding at least one person shift hours to attend. These things take time. “Senior position” time. That isn’t cheap. It’d be far better in the long run to take five minutes at the end of the meeting and say “Since we need to reschedule so often, can we permanently shift this meeting and if so to when?”

                  I agree that calling someone out is a bad move. It’s not any one person doing something wrong. It’s a cultural issue.

                2. tessa*

                  “Ok, so our jobs have different expectations, that’s fine; that doesn’t mean we know what the expectations are for OP’s job.”


                  Since OP did not explicitly say s/he is expected to check work email over the weekend, it’s best to go with that expectation not existing. (“I don’t normally check email on the weekends, and that’s never been an issue before. There’s no culture of staying connected at all times in our company, which is one of the things I like about it”).
                  “And is it a failure if literally everyone else can successfully be on time except the OP?” Did you read the letter? OP wrote, “Half the team is in a different time zone, so this isn’t their first meeting of the day.”

                  So, not sure why you’re working so hard to defend the meeting re-scheduler when the expectation to check work emails over the weekend would negate the need for the OP’s letter in the first place. (“Just because she’s [LW] senior in terms of job responsibilities does not mean she has standing to change established norms in this workplace.” What established norms? Not checking email over the weekend? That IS the norm).

                3. lizesq*

                  @tessa, I don’t know why you and other commenters here have the default of being rude when someone disagrees with your take on a letter, but it’s really unpleasant. The comments are so people can share their own work experiences, asking me if I read a letter I make reference to is unnecessary and literally serves no purpose other than to try to diminish my point of view.
                  I’m not defending anything, I’m just not viewing Peggy as doing something completely awful when everyone else has pitchforks out over a minor schedule change.
                  Sure, the time difference might mean that this is only OP’s first meeting of the day, but that doesn’t mean OP’s absence renders the entire meeting a failure.
                  Also, OP’s comments make it clear that team meetings all have to be between 8-10am her time because of the time differences for her colleagues. Peggy doesn’t get some kind of sick joy out of adjusting meeting times, there’s literally no other time for these people to meet with each other if they miss their 8-10 window.

                4. Observer*

                  And is it a failure if literally everyone else can successfully be on time except the OP?

                  Quite possibly. As anyone who has followed this blog (or almost any decent workplace advice site) knows, it’s surprisingly common for people to get acclimated to poor management decisions. There is no reason to think that this department has needs that require people to be connected over the weekend. Thus behaving in a way that suddenly requires people to start doing that for the minor convenience of one person IS a failure.

                  If there is something else going on that the OP is not aware of, that would be different. Which is another reason why a conversation with Pam is a good idea.

                  Ok, so our jobs have different expectations, that’s fine

                  True. But you seem to be assuming that because this is the job for you, that’s the standard that the OP should just assume. It’s not the standard, it should not be the standard on any team where it is not necessary. And if it not necessary, being annoyed at the person who isn’t taking on that extra burden really comes across as “crabs in a bucket” type behavior.

                5. tessa*

                  @lizesq:” I don’t know why you and other commenters here have the default of being rude when someone disagrees with your take on a letter, but it’s really unpleasant.”

                  Interesting – and false – take on the matter. In fact, I’d say it’s the other way around.

                  “I’m just not viewing Peggy as doing something completely awful when everyone else has pitchforks out over a minor schedule change.”

                  Once more, it’s not that she changes the meeting. It’s that she does so at a time when it’s likely people aren’t checking their emails, i.e. on a Sunday for Monday a.m., so to have to make last-minute changes (the commute, child care, etc.) is unfair, and likely doesn’t affect meeting attendees in other time zones. Not sure how that keeps escaping you.

            2. Observer*

              My point is simply that OP is new to this job, OP doesn’t know whether this is an established norm in this workplace

              The OP is new TO THE TEAM, not to the company. And in the rest of the company, according to the OP, this is actually NOT an established norm.

              Your job may require that you check your email over the weekend, but the OP’s job doesn’t. There is no reason at this point for the OP to take on a new requirement unless Peggy tells them “I don’t care about the company requirement. *I* expect you to be connected over the weekend.” And at that point, it’s reasonable for the OP to have a chat with their grandboss of HR.

        5. LW4*

          Also OP says they’re in a senior role, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re senior to Peggy.

          Yes, this is correct. Think project manager and senior technical specialist who started around the same time. We’re more or less peers but she has some task-specific authority to herd me and my fellow cats.

      3. Rusty Shackelford*

        Since it’s a standing meeting, Peggy probably isn’t checking to see if everyone is available.

        1. TheRain'sSmallHands*

          It isn’t a standing meeting if it moves around. Standing meetings stand in one place and you can predict them.

          Most software alerts if you are scheduling over a conflict. So if the OP puts her own meeting in for 8-8:30, Peggy should get a notice that one of the attendees is busy at that time.

      4. Observer*

        you could also set an out of office for internal mails on weekends where you have a meeting with her on the Monday that says ‘My working hours are 8.30-5, Monday to Friday, and mails sent outside those hours won’t be seen until 8.30 a.m.’

        I like this idea.

      1. Everything Bagel*

        Not trying to be mean to OP, but I also don’t understand how this conversation did not occur naturally maybe the second time that this happened.

        1. Your Local Password Resetter*

          People generally don’t like confronting others, especially when everyone else seems to be fine with it. This sort of thing is actually suprisingly common in my experience.

          1. Everything Bagel*

            There’s no need to be confrontational. Just let her know what’s happening. She probably doesn’t realize the issue it causes for the letter writer and she won’t unless he says something.

          2. Glomarization, Esq.*

            It’s not confronting. It’s very, very ordinary problem-solving in an office context.

            1. Middle School Teacher*

              Honestly so many problems people write in about could be solved with “Did you ask? Then go use your words please.”

        2. Mockingjay*

          OP4 mentioned that she is fairly new with the team, so is likely still establishing relationships and work comradery. Sometimes in a new situation you want an outside check because you don’t have a frame of reference to evaluate things. I myself have come to AAM for matter-of- fact phrases for situations because I’m irritated and can’t come up with neutral discussion points. Team dynamics are crucial to work success; as newbies we tend to tread lightly at first.

          1. LW4*

            Yep, this is what’s going on with me. For context, my previous role had me working almost totally asynchronously with a team +10 hours from me, so I just kinda worked whatever hours I felt like. Now I’m having to re-learn a lot of norms around work hours and availability during the day. This was a case where I was genuinely unsure whether bringing it up would make me sound like a dick.

            1. Wisteria*

              A couple things to think about that I haven’t seen come up yet:

              1) What are other people’s start times? Does the rest of the team in your time zone start at 8?

              2) How do other people find out about the changed times?

              If everybody else gets there at 8 and that’s when they find out that the meeting has changed, then I am sorry, you have to start getting in at 8 on Monday. I get how much this hurts, believe me.

              If most people get there in time for the meeting, whether it’s at 8 or 8:30 and find out about the change by checking their email on Sunday, then you can still *attempt* to hold firm about keeping the meeting at 8:30, but you have to recognize that changing a long standing pattern as a new person is both very difficult and risks sounding like a dick (I’m picturing, “Seriously? It’s too much trouble to check email once on Sunday night? What a snowflake.”).

              In the end, norms around work hours and availability can vary from company to company. The person you should be asking this question is Peggy or your manager or a colleague–in other words, someone who actually works at your company. Alison can speak to general trends and her own preferences, but she can’t speak to how things work at *your* company. So, ask there.

              1. Rolly*

                Which is more dickish: to be late for meetings a couple times a month due to keeping quiet or asking (just asking) that meetings not be changed over the weekend.

                This is not a big deal. And if people literally think the OP is snowflake for asking that (it’s so so normal UNLESS people are clearly working normally on weekend), then I think the OP should bear that with pride.

                “The person you should be asking this question is Peggy or your manager or a colleague–in other words, someone who actually works at your company”

                Good point.

              2. Willis*

                Yeah, it sounds like there’s legitimate reasons for the meetings moving, probably for them moving last minute, and for being at 8am. So this seems like it’s on the OP to solve, either by checking on Sunday or a little earlier Monday morning. I’d imagine it also is starting to look a little silly if it’s happened several times and there’s been no attempt to fix it.

        3. Rolly*

          ” I also don’t understand how this conversation did not occur naturally maybe the second time that this happened.”


          We have a pre-9am meetings where one had to be cancelled at the last moment – for an emergency. Stuff happens. The organizer sent out an email around 7am AND apologized profusely. I only learned of that after rushing rushing rushing to make it on time. It was not a normal thing – the organizer had something exceptional come up. That’s fine. Stuff happens.

          But blithely moving a meeting like that repeatedly when people are offline – especially moving it earlier – nah. If someone does that, explain why it’s a problem.

          1. Alienor*

            It’s the earlier part that gets me. I’ve had early meetings that got cancelled while I was on my way to the office, and that’s annoying, but the silver lining is an extra 30-60 minutes to prepare for the day. Moving it earlier is not only thoughtless, it increases the chances that OP’s not going to be able to attend, which makes things harder on everyone.

        4. Velocipastor*

          Agreed. And that it’s happening 1-2 times a month means 25 to 50% of these meetings are rescheduled. If they’re the only person who is always late it isn’t going to seem like a “Peggy” problem to anyone else. Is it possible that OP’s 8:30 start time is out of sync with their office and an 8am start is more common? (A first thing in the morning meeting is still bananas regardless)

          1. Jora Malli*

            The letter says a lot of the attendees are in a different time zone. OP’s 8:30 might be everyone else’s 10:30, which is a more usual and common time to hold a meeting. I wonder if just saying “I’m on Pacific time, so these meetings are usually the first thing I do in my work day” would get through to Peggy.

            1. TheRain'sSmallHands*

              I worked in a firm where I was on CST and many of my team mates were in California. Plus, I would have daycare pick up and we wanted the kids in daycare as little as possible. Which meant my office hours were 7-4. One of my coworkers would usually arrive sometime after 9am PST. At which point I’d be going to lunch. We made sure to schedule our standing meetings after my lunch and before his – because I’d usually be heading home right after he returned from lunch.

            2. Evelyn Carnahan*

              I think that this reminder could really help. Even if it’s just one time zone, reminding people that you’re an hour earlier might help. Even if it doesn’t make Peggy change how she’s rescheduling meetings it will remind everyone that OP isn’t late to meetings because they’re a problem, they’re just beginning their day at a very normal start time.

        5. LW4*

          Generally, in a work context, I try to avoid asking people to fix problems that are not actually anyone’s problem but my own, although I have certainly encountered those who take a different approach.

          1. Rocket*

            Respectfully, this is something you need to rethink. Talking to people or asking people to do things differently when you have a problem is a completely normal thing to do. Once you saw this as a pattern if you had talked to Peggy you could have maybe worked it out instead of continued to be frustrated or continued to be late to meetings.

          2. Glomarization, Esq.*

            But if you’re missing or arriving late to meetings where your presence is required, then the problem is not solely your own.

            It really seems to me that a phone call to Peggy to have a conversation about this would go a long way towards addressing this problem.

            1. LW4*

              Sorry about the unclear wording – by “my own” problem I meant a case where I’m the one causing the problem.

              1. WindmillArms*

                You’re not really causing a problem though (except arguably by showing up late instead of telling Peggy you don’t start until 8:30 your time). I’m in a different time zone than a lot of my colleagues, and sometimes they try to schedule me for 8am or 7pm or whatever, and I just–tell them.

                Tell Peggy you don’t start until X:30am her time (9:30 or 10:30, whatever it is), and that if the meeting is moved earlier you will miss the beginning.

      2. WellRed*

        Honestly this was similar to my reaction. The second time this happened (thinking first was a one off) would have been the time to speak up. Frankly 8:30 Monday morning meetings are a bad idea but it sounds like there’s some time zones at play.

    3. MCMonkeyBean*

      Yeah, I feel like the email over the weekend is only half the problem. Why is she regularly moving this meeting earlier at all? Is that really necessary? Moving a regular 8:30 meeting that is the first thing in the workday for some people to an earlier time making them come in earlier is a pretty big deal to my eyes and if it truly can’t be avoided then they should at least be like really apologetic and accommodating.

    4. Web of Pies*

      If she’s really truly just moving the meetings up by 15-30 minutes, Peggy is being super obnoxious. That’s not enough time to prove a real meeting conflict to me, and moving people’s expected meetings around should be done as little as possible.

      My partner has a manager who will just randomly switch their shifts with another coworker (their shifts start 2 hours apart). Sometimes it’s every other day. WHY. Schedulers: stop doing this, you are the worst.

      1. tessa*

        “Schedulers: stop doing this, you are the worst.”

        Whoa. Your partner’s scheduler sucks, so every scheduler out there sucks? I don’t follow.

      2. justabot*

        My guess is that various colleagues who attend the weekly team meeting are sending Peggy scheduling conflicts during the weekend, and Peggy’s trying to find a time that works and sends out a new time. I highly doubt she’s trying to be super obnoxious, rather trying to create a window for someone who may have a legitimate reason for needing a team meeting to start earlier. An internal team meeting may also be seen as more flexible to move the start time as opposed to a team member who has an important client meeting that can’t be moved.

    5. Office Lobster DJ*

      When I read the headline, I thought Peggy would be canceling or finding a totally new time slot for the meeting. The fact that it’s a 15 minute shift would be even more maddening to me in some ways. To quote Maggie Smith in “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” as she is summoned to a meeting at 4:15 sharp: “Hm. She thinks to intimidate me by the use of quarter hours.”

      OP4, do you know why Peggy does this? You may have the most luck if you approach it as you assume she’s understands it’s a nuisance and she’s not trying to inconvenience anyone, she must be responding to a problem on her end, and given that you don’t check your e-mail over the weekend, what can WE do about it?

      1. ex-Prof Services cause the WLB sucked!*

        Since OP is new, I suggest OP checks to see what flexibility is expected of senior managers at the company before confronting Peggy. I think we should assume good intentions — Peggy probably isn’t working weekends and sending out meeting requests updates because she wants to…..there is likely a business purpose driving the issue. I only have worked in professional services, so my perspective is skewed by their awful WLB cultures; in my experience, it would have been considered unprofessional to not check for scheduling changes Sunday night to know if one had a call at 8am and to let the team know that one couldn’t make it due to non-negotiable obligations (e.g. child drop off).

        Professional service companies have different expectations then other types of companies so its office dependent. I recommend OP check to make sure he/she knows the expectations before pushing back on Peggy on something Peggy may not control.

        1. tessa*

          “…it would have been considered unprofessional to not check for scheduling changes Sunday night to know if one had a call at 8am…”

          Then let it be so. Because I think it’s beyond unprofessional to expect employees to check their work emails on Sunday nights no matter the reason. Worse are the employees who shrug indifferently at the arrangement.

          1. WindmillArms*

            Totally agreed. Unless work is paying me to log in Sunday night, I’m not doing it. I’ll be late if Peggy messes around with the time, even if she’s doing in for a good reason.

          2. TheAG*

            This is completely dependent on where you work and your role. It is an expectation for certain roles where I work. And we know that going in, and we get paid exceptionally well for it (and have other flexibilities that go along with it).
            I assure you it’s all quite professional.

      2. LW4*

        OP4, do you know why Peggy does this?

        To an extent, yeah. Because of our wide range of time zones, the 8-10am block is often the only time that works for everyone who needs to be at a given meeting. So it fills up quickly and gets double-booked on the regular. The meeting that moves is a regular, low-priority check-in. So I think what’s usually happening is that something hard-to-schedule comes up at late notice and Peggy has to move our meeting to accommodate it.

        And you bring up a good point – I don’t know where this pattern starts. It could be that someone senior to Peggy keeps requesting urgent meetings over the weekend, for example.

    6. LW4*

      My typical start time is 8:30, but 8am meetings aren’t unusual at all. I just want to know about them in advance! Our team has people in a lot of different time zones, and having a hard boundary at 8:30 would be real U.S.-centric of me.

      (thanks for the comments, everyone!)

      1. Nancy*

        Check your work calendar Sunday night or Monday morning when you get up. It only takes a few seconds and is the easiest solution. This is what I always do because I don’t always remember whether I have meetings or not.

    7. Ian*

      I feel this so hard. I used to work at a place where mandatory 7 AM meetings would only be scheduled at 3 AM the morning of. I usually came in at 9AM so I’d get in to find out I’m in huge trouble for ‘missing’ a meeting I hadn’t known was happening. I lasted 5 months at this company before quitting in a fit of rage. I don’t know how I even lasted that long.

    8. justabot*

      One of my questions would be is why is the meeting being rescheduled? Is it just Peggy working on the weekend and deciding to move a meeting time? Or is Peggy just the scheduler and other senior people requested an earlier meeting time to accommodate something else business-related that came up in their schedule? Does Peggy really want be working on the weekends or are other team members sending her emails on the weekend with a scheduling conflict? I’d be careful about approaching Peggy with an attitude of “cutting it out” before you know if requests for a meeting time change may be coming from high levels. (And someone in another time zone may not think twice about shooting Peggy an email on the weekend, asking if the Monday team meeting can start 15 minutes earlier this week.)

      I think there’s a way to address it, asking if the weekly Monday team meeting time can be finalized by 5pm every Friday or whatever, unless a last minute change is critical. But if last minute changes are coming from a senior person above Peggy, you may just have to set a calendar alert on the Monday team meeting reminder to be notified of any changes.

      1. LW4*

        And someone in another time zone may not think twice about shooting Peggy an email on the weekend, asking if the Monday team meeting can start 15 minutes earlier this week.

        This is a really good point that hadn’t occurred to me. Our Sunday night is some people’s Monday morning, which could very well explain the timing.

  2. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    5) I would set the record straight and probably request that the position remain exempt. Otherwise, be prepared for a lot of what are called “surprises” in terms of other benefits. Oh, yeah, and promotional opportunities.

    1. Rae*

      But if the job does not qualify to be exempt, then it’s not exempt. I’m assuming they changed it because someone looked at the job duties and was like, “oh crap, this doesn’t actually qualify as exempt.”

      1. Person from the Resume*

        I’m betting that the wrong offer template was used not that someone reviewed the description position and changed it at the last minute.

        1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

          I agree. This is too wild to just be “a (little) honest mistake.”

      2. MCMonkeyBean*

        Yeah, I doubt it is their preference to pay overtime. I wonder if there was a recently change in their state that they realized they needed to update for, or else if it was a new position and they just hadn’t classified it correctly. It’s definitely worth asking about why the change and I’m sure they can explain, but I don’t think it’s inherently an issue unless you saw other signs that they are very disorganized or something. And the hourly non-exempt offer is not necessarily inherently worse–a lot of people make more money that way than they would in a salaried non-exempt role!

        Is this similar to roles you have been in before, and how were you classified in those? And how you would feel about being hourly non-exempt if you’d never seen the first offer? I’d definitely have some follow-up questions though about what kinds of hours would usually be expected, does the company actually allow you to work overtime (some don’t want to pay it and sometimes that’s nice if it means you genuinely don’t have to work more than 40 hours but sometimes it means they basically expect you to work extra but not report it which is obviously not ok), and ask about PTO and sick leave and how hourly employees usually handle things like doctor’s appointments or whatever.

    2. PollyQ*

      It’s not generally a choice that the employer gets to make, though. It’s defined by labor law, and if the type of work doesn’t qualify for exempt, then it doesn’t matter what employer or employee would prefer.

    3. Double A*

      I can see why your might want to be salaried, but why would you request to be exempt if you had the option? Salaried exempt in practice just means you’re going to be expected to work for free sometimes. We’ve all been brainwashed to think it means we’re important, but mostly it’s a scam. Alison really nailed it in that post she linked.

      Salaried non-exempt seems like the best of both worlds. Seems like this position is non-exempt; the best you can so is see if they’ll make it salaried.

      1. BenAdminGeek*

        I’ve had pretty good luck with being flexible on hours as salaried exempt. So I work 35 one week and 45 the next, etc. My industry has a busy season, and OT is expected there. But then outside of that, I love being able to wrap at 3 on Fridays. But my only experience with being shifted from salaried exempt to hourly non-exempt was a disaster- I was a project manager with no ability to be flexible.

    4. I should really pick a name*

      What does being exempt have to do with promotional opportunities?
      Why would you want to be exempt? Isn’t being eligible for overtime better?

      1. Camellia*

        I think the point is that if they were saying “Salaried! Exempt! Great promotional opportunities! Great benefits!” and so on, and suddenly it’s now “Not exempt!” “Hourly!”, then what else might have *suddenly* changed.

        1. I should really pick a name*

          But to my knowledge, there is nothing desirable about being exempt.
          It benefits the employer, not the employee.

          1. Recruiter*

            I would venture to say that the majority of white-collar roles once you get past a certain point, let’s say, roles requiring 5 years of experience are exempt and there’s no “switching back” after, especially if you have management duties.

            1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

              A lot of that is a historical artefact of white-collar workers not having unions. Salaried non-exempt is literally the best for folks that are SMEs and skilled professionals who aren’t interested in management. Guaranteed salary, flexible hours under 40 per week, and overtime for anything over 40 is amazing

              1. Texan In Exile*

                Yes! I would have loved OT pay for the hours I spent working at trade shows on the weekends! Even regular hourly rates would have been wonderful.

            2. This is a name, I guess*

              I switched back, and it was weird, but not unwelcome. My nonprofit is audited by the Dept of Labor, so they follow the non/exempt rules more conservatively than any other workplace. My job title at 99% of other orgs is salaried. My current job is hourly. My sweet spot is 35/wk most weeks, so having to work 40hrs was a slog at first. However, it’s realllllllly nice to make OT. REALLLLLLLY nice.

              It really helps mitigate burn out because I’m paid extra when I go above and beyond. It also forces my boss to make hard choices about my workload. If I were salaried, they’d more likely ask me to do all the things, but because they have to pay me $50/hr to work extra. They have to really decide what’s worth the extra money. Relatedly, my boss has to look at my timecards, so they have to think more critically about my workload and risk of burnout.

              And, I don’t have to use PTO most of the time if I work fewer than 40 hrs (because OT in subsequent weeks makes up for the lost wages), but I usually do because I have a ton of PTO.

              Additionally, hourly schedules often allow you to be super flexible if you don’t have butt-in-seat time. I will occasionally work 4 10s to get Fridays off. My work is very driven by external deadlines, so if I hit 40 on Thursday, I just take off the rest of the week (if I don’t want OT). You can use your vacation more strategically in many cases, which is nice if you don’t get generous vacation or if you have to accrue it.

          2. MCMonkeyBean*

            I think a lot of people would make more money if their job was non-exempt and they had to be paid overtime and OP should try to consider the new offer without thinking it is inherently worse than the prior one.

            But I will say that I personally prefer being exempt and I’m sure I’m not the only one–but only if the employer lets the flexibility work both ways. During busy season it is expected that I work a lot of overtime and I don’t get paid extra for that it’s true. But then the rest of the time we get a lot of flexibility and often leave early on Fridays or take random long lunches and don’t have to take PTO for doctor’s appointments or errands like popping over to the bank or the post office.

            But mostly I really really hate trying to track my time. I have ADHD and while I get all my stuff done my productivity comes in bursts and I am often unproductive for hours and then suddenly super productive and get a ton done in a short time. But my timesheet would look very terrible and I would personally not want to take a job that was hourly exempt if it meant I had to track my time every day. That’s just my personal preference though and not at all an actual problem with being hourly or a reason OP should not take this job–unless they feel as strongly about time tracking as I do, which I will assume they don’t as it wasn’t mentioned as part of their concern. (I know there are lots of places where you don’t track anything you just clock in and out, but if this is a job that could accidentally be misclassified as salaried exempt then I was picturing a not clock-in type job.)

            1. I should really pick a name*

              But as Alison says, that’s about being salaried vs hourly, not exempt vs non-exempt

              1. grapefruit*

                Well, no, because if you’re non-exempt you need to be tracking your hours in some way so that your employer knows when it needs to pay you overtime. I’m also in the hate-tracking-time boat and have been fortunate to work for employers where the flexibility of being salaried/exempt truly does go both ways. As long as I’m getting my work done, show up to meetings, and am generally responsive, no one particularly cares how many hours I work or whether I’m sitting in front of my computer at any given moment. (I’m also remote.)

                I’ve also, earlier in my career, had to put up with truly ridiculous time-tracking, which may be at least part of why I have such a distaste for it now. Of course, the irony of that situation was that although the company treated us as salaried/exempt in terms of pay, many of us legally should have been hourly/nonexempt. But by requiring us to track our time essentially to the minute even though it didn’t affect our pay, they created all the documentation for exactly how much unpaid overtime each employee was owed when the state DOL investigated.

              2. MCMonkeyBean*

                They can’t pay you for overtime hours if they don’t know how many hours you worked. I can’t imagine how anyone could be non-exempt and not have to keep a timesheet…

            2. BenAdminGeek*

              I’ve had that same experience. If I was hourly, I might make more per year. But if I need to step away for 2 hours for something while working at home, I don’t feel guilty.

      2. L.H. Puttgrass*

        I had a job a few…decades…ago (lordy, I’m old) where exempt employees got perks non-exempt employees didn’t. The example that sticks with me after all this time is that the bonus plan gave exempt employees higher bonuses than non-exempt employees would get for the same performance rating. IIRC, there were other areas where exempt and non-exempt employees had different rules, to the exempt employees’ favor. The overall impression I got was that the company saw exempt employees as the important professionals, while non-exempt employees were easily-replaceable clerical workers.

        So when it came time for my own job to be classified (I was a database admin in HR and this was before the FLSA exemption for “computer professionals”, I argued for it to be exempt so I could get the bigger bonus and better perks.

        I imagine (and hope) that most companies aren’t quite so blatant about treating non-exempt employees as less important than exempt employees, though.

        1. Mockingjay*

          I remember those days (NOT with nostalgia). Exempt employees got a premium medical plan and dental plan. Nonexempt got a mediocre medical plan and no dental. I truly did not understand why that would be the case. In hindsight, it was probably because the company was run by an old white guy and staffed 90% with exempt white men. All hourly nonexempt roles were filled by women. I was one of two exempt women, but with an extremely low salary. (Not sure what the law was 35 years ago, but likely my salary didn’t meet the exempt mark.)

        2. Sharp-dressed Boston Terrier*

          I have nothing substantive to add to this particular conversation but I just wanted to acknowledge the old-school Bloom County reference! You rule.

    5. anonymous73*

      Demanding that they modify a job before you even start is not a good look. I would just ask a ton of questions and be prepared to withdraw acceptance of the offer if they don’t meet OP’s needs.

      1. SixTigers*

        The *company* modified the job — after they’d sent the job offer, OP had signed it, and it was sent back. The *company* is the one that is trying to change things, not OP.

        And if I were OP, I’d be thinking hard about whether or not I wanted to work for a company that looks like it was trying a bait-and-switch. I mean, OP signed a legal document detailing that the position offered is salaried and exempt. But suddenly there’s an oopsie? I wouldn’t be happy about that at all.

        1. Evelyn Carnahan*

          Even if the original offer was just a mistake, the company has to recognize that this looks like a bait and switch. It’s in the company’s best interest to keep OP on board, because otherwise they’ll have to restart the hiring process. I hope they give OP something more than just an apology.

        2. anonymous73*

          A signed job offer is not a contract. And assuming it was a bait and switch is not helpful. Yes I’d be skeptical and consider withdrawing, but not everything that happens in this world is malicious.

      2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        I don’t know if this really qualifies as asking a company to change the job when they verbally and in writing told you one thing (and presumably this was also discussed in the interview process as well), and now the company is asking for an oops, actually after we accepted your signed offer the offer is really Y not X you already signed.

        I don’t know if it’s worth walking away from the job over (only OP can know that), but at the very least this is a neon yellow warning flag to be on the watch for what other things they are going to be “unorganized” about.

        1. anonymous73*

          I never said this shouldn’t be considered an issue, I was simply pointing out that demanding anything before you even start is not a good idea. Yes they screwed up, but we are not robots and it is completely possible that someone made a mistake. It’s also possible that they did have malicious intentions. Which is why I said I would ask a ton of questions and so I could make an informed decision.

    6. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

      I used to work in Washington State and they have a new law that just went into effect setting out a minimum pay level to be considered salary. It starts fairly low but within the next 8 years the minimum salary in the state will be like $80k. A lot of organizations are scrambling to get into compliance with the law, and I know several of my former coworkers were suddenly moved from salaried/exempt to hourly/non-exempt (with an accompanying loss of half their vacation benefits as well as their ability to control their own time). It actually will probably work out better for them because they’ll actually start getting overtime when they earn it, but it’s a big shock and mental shift.

  3. Callmenunya*

    4) Assuming your calendar is synced to your phone, you can check your calendar the night before without checking your email. I generally do this, not for the same reason though.

    1. Phil*

      Yeah this. I usually take a peek first thing in the morning, remind myself what I have in store… see if I can get away with a couple extra sets at the gym before starting…

    2. Redmer*

      This is what I do as well; my business calendar synced to the native app along with private and family calendars, but my business e-mail not synced to the native app where my private emails live. Instead, the separate Outlook app contains the business mails and has settings not to show notifications on weekends, evenings etc.

    3. Wendy2*

      If this fails and you feel she can be trusted with your personal email, a backup option might be to ask her to add your personal email to the list of addresses she sends the meeting updates to. That would allow you to see that message and *only* that message. Of course, if she would take it as free reign to email you at home about other stuff, ignore me :-)

      1. Sleepy cat*

        Oh goodness no, do not do this. You will get everyone emailing your personal email then.

      2. Green great dragon*

        If either Peggy or someone else at the meeting can be trusted with a personal email/phone ask them to contact you if it changes. If it’s Peggy this has a bonus in that you’ve made it slightly harder for her to schedule last minute changes outside your normal working hours (I bet you’re not the only person inconvenienced). I’m a part-timer and a night owl, so my team whatsapps me if anyone schedules an early Monday meeting after I leave for the week.

      3. XF1013*

        You could also set up an email filter that automatically forwards Peggy’s weekend meeting updates to your personal email account, since it sounds like it’s a recurring weekly meeting with the same description each time.

        1. kitryan*

          This was what I thought of too, if a conversation doesn’t help with the issue. Just setting up a rule for forwarding email from this person (and if they send other weekend emails add a keyword relating to the specific meeting) to a personal account and you don’t have to risk getting embroiled in whatever else is going on in work emails but you aren’t blindsided by these schedule changes.

        2. Danniella Bee*

          Using a personal email for business reasons is never advisable because of boundary issues and security reasons. This was specifically forbidden by all of my past employers.

        3. ecnaseener*

          Yes, I have something similar set up for an 8:30 meeting that sometimes gets canceled after I’ve logged off for the day. (Thankfully it doesn’t ever get moved up!) If it’s a recurring meeting, then any updates to the invite will come in with the same subject line every time (with “update” or “cancelation” appended). I have it set up so anything with that specific phrase in the subject line gets auto-forwarded to my personal email.

          LW4 shouldn’t *have* to do this, Peggy is being obnoxious, but it’s an option.

      4. Asenath*

        Never give your personal email to anyone at work because inevitably, in spite of promises to use in only once, or only if there’s something big that comes up during a specific period, they will pass it on to someone else, just once, and next thing you know you’re getting all kinds of trivial work emails on your personal account. I’d also be very firm in shutting down any expectation that OP work outside her normal work hours, even if it’s just reading one email or showing up early periodically. Sure, some workplaces expect this, but it doesn’t sound like this is one of them, and unexpected change to working hours would be a real red flag for me. I’d start by reminding Peggy of my hours, and whenever it happened, I’d explain that I didn’t start work until 8:30 when I logged in, and don’t work on weekends. People do keep forgetting, though. I used to work in a place where someone in another department frequently called meetings that ended after or even sometimes started after the end of my workday, since my hours were different from those in that department. Some of them never learned.

        1. High Score!*

          Depends. My team members and I all exchanged emails and phone numbers during the pandemic due to our company not being ready tech wise. We’ve all respected each other’s work hours and have only used personal contacts when absolutely necessary and never on vacations or off time.
          This can ok but you must be able to trust each other. Also our company culture respects people’s time.

        2. Colette*

          I’d be more concerned that someone having your personal email means they will inadvertently send stuff to your personal address, and you’ll miss it while you’re working.

      5. Katie*

        People should never use their personal email for work related activities. Things can be easily hacked this way, even if it is ‘just a meeting invite’.

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          Yep. Also, I work in government, & we’re told specifically not to use our personal devices for work stuff. Because if there’s ever a subpoena, etc., your device might be taken away in the investigation.

        2. DataGirl*

          Healthcare here- we specifically have to sign a contract stating we will not use personal email for business. On the other hand- we are REQUIRED to use our personal cell phones for work. Some people in administration can get around with not using it, but doctors, nurses, etc. have to install specific aps related to patient care on their phones. It’s kind of a weird setup.

      6. Cthulhu’s Librarian*

        No no no! Keep your work life in your work email. Just get her to stop rescheduling meetings. “This meeting time has been agreed on. Changes are no longer possible except if some dies.”

        1. SnappinTerrapin*

          “If you find it necessary to reschedule a meeting, you need to schedule it while I’m working. I won’t be checking my emails or my calendar before I arrive Monday at 0830.”

      7. Observer*

        If this fails and you feel she can be trusted with your personal email

        Why would you think it’s possible to trust someone like this with your personal email address? She’s already shown that she has some issues with the boundaries between personal and work time. If she refuses to change what she is doing after the OP talks to her, that’s all the proof you need that she just doesn’t respect those boundaries. Not someone you should ever think of asking to use your personal email for anything work related.

    4. Evvie*

      My former job put tracking stuff on my phone when I did this. They did not tell us. I only found out during a deep cleanout of my apps, and it was a hidden one. *I couldn’t delete it for 2 years after leaving, even after switching phones.* Turns out they never turned off my email address and the fact that I had removed it from my device was irrelevant.

      I read through all my contracts and not once did they mention they would start tracking my phone. And what they did let them see EVERYTHING I did on my private device.

      I swore I’d never again sync a personal device to a work one, but I’m at a BYOD company that has explicit paperwork saying they can’t and won’t be adding any tracking software, plugins, etc. because they respect our devices.

      1. Caroline Bowman*

        WTF??? That’s outrageous. Did you flat-out demand that they remove your email address immediately and forthwith?


      2. A Feast of Fools*

        My last company was BYOD place. I knew that they would install software on my phone that could read everything and could perform a “factory reset” at will, wiping my phone clean. So I bought a cheap phone with just enough memory and processing power to put Outlook and Slack on it. I still use it in my current job, even though Current Job offers work phones.

        I would never, ever in a million years use any of my personal devices for work stuff. (I will, however, use work devices for SFW personal stuff, like reading and commenting on AAM).

    5. Yellow Bilby*

      You certainly can connect your personal device to your work account, and you certainly can work on weekends to check schedule changes etc. But unless that is a genuine expectation of the job, it is reasonable to say I start work at 8.30am on Mondays, while I can occasionally start early I need advance notice.

      1. Ed123*

        This. I could check my email. But I don’t want to. If you schedule a meeting on the weekend for monday morning before 9am the odds of me being there are quite slim. Not even gonna feel bad about it.

      2. Rolly*

        I wrote this about the AAM community yesterday but it seems relevant here too:

        “It’s unfortunate that people here who are clearly uncomfortable speaking frankly to coworkers give advice on how to avoid speaking frankly to a coworker when the solution to the problem is speaking frankly to a coworker.”

        1. Antilles*

          Yeah, Option #1 should remain the direct conversation with Peggy, because there’s a decent chance that she might simply apologize and stop changing the meeting time over the weekend.
          If Peggy refuses to do that, then maybe the power dynamics or group norms demand that you adjust on your own side such as by checking the calendar on your phone…but that’s a secondary option to be used only if the frank conversation doesn’t go anywhere.

          1. SixTigers*

            If I’m working on the weekend, that’s double-time, and I WILL submit it through payroll. If there’s a problem — and it’s not really “if,” it’s “when” — I’ll explain that Peggy is causing issues by jacking around with the Monday morning meeting time, and that I’m forced to work during the weekends in order to check for changes in scheduling.

            Payroll would be so happy with that . . .

        2. Danniella Bee*

          Preach. We are adults in the workplace, and hard and uncomfortable conversations are sometimes necessary for safe and efficient operations.

          1. LW4*

            Folks, I absolutely promise you, this question was not an attempt to avoid the bone-chilling prospect of messaging a coworker about a minor issue. I simply believe that there are things in this world too petty to bother someone about. If that makes me a coward in your eyes, then so be it; may your patience never falter in your interactions with the brave.

            1. Owler*

              A coward wouldn’t be able to read the comments from this crew and chime in as you have. Not a coward in my eyes!

    6. mreasy*

      Came here to suggest this. I have my work calendar, but not work email, set up on my phone so I can check in the morning / prior night to see if I have an early meeting.

    7. Emmy Noether*

      Careful though: my employer forbids syncing anything (emails, calendar, videoconferencing) to apps on private devices. Stated reason being that it may download sensitive data to devices outside their control. And yes, even meeting titles or attached agendas or whatever can be sensitive information.

      Seems restrictive at first, but is actually quite liberating to be *unable* to check work related stuff.

      1. Evelyn Carnahan*

        This. I had a job where I was part-time and hourly, and I was explicitly not allowed to check my work email outside of work hours. It was a terrible job where I was treated horribly, but I really miss that one aspect of it.

    8. Onetime Poster*

      I sort of think this misses a portion of the point: that one should be able to keep work away from them on weekends if that’s in their ability to do so. Syncing work email to personal email (or the app) is still working. I respect anyone (usually Americans) for setting appropriate work-life boundaries.

      The issue here, IMO, is more that the other person is assuming that meeting attendees are working / checking work content over the weekend for things that will affect the start of a ‘normal’ work-week. I do think having a discussion with her about it is far better in the long-run than finding a workaround that still means “connecting” to work while *not* at work.

      1. AnonInCanada*

        This. OP needs to make it very clear to Peggy that if she wants to reschedule meetings, she has to do it during working hours. If it’s 8:30am – 5pm M-F, that’s when she better get that email in. And 8:30am is the earliest she can schedule them. OP should not have to monitor work emails on off-hours nor have to start earlier to accommodate these rescheduled meetings, which seems to me they’re more for Peggy’s convenience as they’re occurring about 50% of the time.

    9. Dinwar*

      I’m going to side firmly against this. People are allowed to have healthy, normal boundaries with work. I’d say it’s necessary, in fact–it is a psychological need.

      Sure, checking a calendar doesn’t sound like much. These wedges never do. But such things grow, often without people realizing it. Especially in our culture, where we’re expected to constantly be online and available, it’s extremely easy for the situation to grow from “I’ll check my calendar before bed on Sunday” to “Wait, where’d my weekend go?” It’s an extremely common, and effective, strategy for wearing down boundaries. When you push back people using such tactics throw a fit, accusing you of making mountains out of molehills–never mind the fact that they are clearly violating your boundaries and thus are the ones causing the problem.

      Maybe Peggy is a sweet, kind-hearted woman who simply doesn’t realize how much of an inconvenience this is. But it’s still a violation of healthy, normal boundaries and still deserves pushback. How she responds will tell you whether it’s an innocent error or an unhealthy situation.

      To pre-empt a common objection: I also firmly believe you don’t need an excuse or reason for establishing such boundaries. You don’t need to explain such boundaries. The idea that one needs a reason presumes as a necessary assumption to the argument that work is the default and trumps other activities. Further, it presumes that whoever you’re explaining the reason for your boundaries to gets to decide whether the reason is sufficient. Both are wrong. If it’s outside work hours the proper perspective is that the company needs to provide sufficiently strong justification for bugging you, and YOU get to set the standards. “Peggy wants to” does not meet those criteria.

      To be clear, I’m not anti-work or anything like it. I also acknowledge that employment does not mean ownership. I’m a consultant; I’ll do nearly anything if you pay me. But when you’re not paying me, you’re just a random acquaintance with no more say in how I spend my time than the barista making my coffee in the morning.

    10. anonymous73*

      But OP shouldn’t have to do this. Once I step away from my laptop for the day, I don’t check my email, and I wouldn’t start just because someone else decides to change meetings during non-business hours. This is about work/life balance and someone shouldn’t have to give up their non-work hours because someone else chooses to work all the time. If my boss needs me for something urgent, she texts me and I login. Unless your job requires you to be on call, others need to respect your time outside of work.

      1. Slovenly Braid Cultist*

        +1! I do not get paid enough not to have weekends and the expectation that everyone should be on call 24/7 is toxic and ridiculous.

        If there’s a genuine emergency that’s one thing and I’m happy to go out of my way if I get a phone call, but I’m not going to work 7 days a week because other people have poor work life boundaries.

        1. SnappinTerrapin*

          I’ve had jobs where I needed to be available 24/7, and it was understood up front. The terms of employment addressed that in terms of compensation and other flexibilities.

          When I don’t have that availability as an agreed condition, I push back against people who encroach on my boundaries.

          LW4 is free to decide what her boundaries are, and they deserve respect both in the workplace and in this forum. It’s not very supportive to suggest she allow a different encroachment if her goal is to prevent encroachment. These suggestions imply that her boundaries are unreasonable, and they are not.

        2. SnappinTerrapin*

          And you’re right: A phone call is appropriate when their is a genuine emergent need for communication outside of work hours.

    11. Quinalla*

      If OP wants to avoid the confrontation, yeah this is a good middle of the road option, but if OP doesn’t want to even look at a calendar on the weekend, just talk to Peggy and ask her not to move meetings up over the weekend as that is the start of your day so you aren’t going to get the notification. With the time zone differences, maybe she isn’t realizing that is the start of your day (if it is moving from 10:30 to 10 am for her, that can be a reasonable thing to do, though frankly I’d expect some people to not be able to make it).

      I would also as others suggested block out your typical non-working hours in your work calendar so folks will at least get notified of a conflict when they try to schedule meetings then. They may ignore it, but at least some folks will see it.

      1. Observer*

        If OP wants to avoid the confrontation, yeah this is a good middle of the road option

        Not necessarily. If you pay attention when you link your phone to your work account (with either Google or Microsoft) you WILL be warned that this gives your employer a lot of control over what you can do on your phone, may allow tracking, and will certainly allow a remote wipe. There are good reasons for SOME of these things, but it does mean that a lot of people will – with VERY good reason – refuse to put it on their personal phones.

    12. WillowSunstar*

      Depends on the company. Mine prohibits us from using personal items to check our work e-mail after hours, but we are hourly employees.

    13. DataGirl*

      Good point! I usually check my calendar before I go to bed to see what’s on my schedule for the next day, otherwise I might forget a meeting or appointment.

      1. tessa*

        The larger point is you shouldn’t have to. If someone re-schedules a meeting during your off time, they risk your not being at the meeting, since (presumably) you aren’t obligated by your employer to check your email outside work hours.

        Honestly, the nonchalance in this thread about firm boundaries between work and life (“Yeah, just check your calendar the night before…sync this and that…great compromise!…”) is a total head-scratcher. How did we get there?

    14. Observer*

      Assuming your calendar is synced to your phone, you can check your calendar the night before without checking your email. I generally do this, not for the same reason though.

      That’s not a terribly good assumption to start with. I know a lot of people who don’t put their work email on a personal smart phone.

    15. londonedit*

      I don’t check my work emails outside of working hours, so no, my work calendar definitely isn’t synced to my phone. I did have Teams on there at the start of the pandemic when everyone was in panic mode about everything, but it only took me responding to a message at 5:25pm for my boss to tell me to delete the app and stop replying to messages when I wasn’t meant to be working. The issue is that a) the meeting needs to have a standard start time unless there’s an unforeseen emergency and b) any change in start time needs to be communicated before the end of the working day on Friday. It isn’t fair to expect people to log in to their work email/calendar on a Sunday – if I was the OP, this whole situation would ruin my Sunday because I’d spend the day wondering whether I was going to get a message from Peggy, and whether I was going to have to get up and start work in time for an 8am meeting or not.

    16. Blarg*

      I have my work calendar synced to my phone but not my email. It’s worked well for me. I don’t really use it for surprise early meetings (I get surprise late ones cause of time zones), more for “can I meet a friend for lunch next Tuesday?” without having to open my work laptop. It works really well for me. I love having boundaries. Some of my colleagues don’t, and that’s fine. I do. And my bosses encourage it.

    17. SnappinTerrapin*

      This proposal simply accommodates the rudeness of setting a meeting outside of LW1’s normal work hours. Sure, you can do it if you want to, but this advice doesn’t help LW1 toward her reasonable goal of maintaining reasonable boundaries between work and the rest of her life. It’s downright rude for her peer to usurp the authority of setting her work hours.

  4. Blomma*

    #1- My particular set of disabilities makes it very painful for me to drive* regularly so being told “if so and so can get here every day, you can too”…well I’d probably have some choice things to say about differing levels of ability and how insulting their entire viewpoint around disability is. Grrrr…

    *besides the whole, immune compromised, terrified of making my chronic illnesses worse with long COVID thing.

    1. Cricket*

      Seriously WTF. The LW’s company is so tone deaf. I don’t have a disability, but if my commute was longer than 15 minutes or so, I would much prefer to work from home as driving makes me anxious and uncomfortable. Conversely and anecdotally, I know someone who uses a wheelchair who has no objections to driving and does not find it particularly difficult. Different people are different!

      1. LifeBeforeCorona*

        Year ago we had a colleague who used a wheelchair. They made it to work every day in our Canadian winters because the family had a hybrid humvee/tank. Making it to their medical appointments was the main reason for it. Being able to get to work every day without a problem was just a side bonus.

    2. hbc*

      Yeah, this reeks of ignorant oversimplification. “Her disability is more visible than anyone else’s, therefore she has a harder time at *everything* than anyone else.” Blech. My friend and I can get into work just fine, but good legs don’t fix that she has a genetic condition that means Very Bad Things if she gets anything respiratory or that I’ve had to get my kids directly to school off and on since September due to bus driver staffing shortages. A 20 minute break in the morning to drive home-school-home is a lot less impactful than the work-home-school-work thing I’d have to do, and that’s if my kids were old enough to be left home alone.

    3. WellRed*

      I suspect this is just the tip of the iceberg and OP should be strategizing about their future.

      1. EPLawyer*

        Thirded. They already are not listening to anything the people from the merged company say. They suck and they are not going to change. Pushing back on their disgraceful use of a person with a disability to justify their own desire to have people back in the office is not going to cause management to have an epiphany that they suck and need to change.

        Polish up your resume and GTFO.

      2. Putting the Dys in Dysfunction*

        This says two awful things about management.

        0 They try to shame employees into doing what they want, rather than treating them like adults
        0 They use someone with a disability as a mere prop

        It may not be a red flashing lights and screaming klaxon alarm, but it is a big sign saying rough road ahead.

        Plan accordingly.

        1. Presea*

          Management also seems to have some weird ideas about disability, health, and how those things interplay with Covid and returning to the office. Someone in a wheelchair isn’t necessarily immune compromised, doesn’t necessarily have a harder time on their commute, etc. This seems to be a red flag of how they might regard health issues as well.

          1. NotAnotherManager!*

            Agreed. My mental health is most definitely not improved by coming into the office, but that’s an invisible health issue and also one that I would not feel comfortable sharing with an obviously clueless leadership team. In addition, I lose two hours of my day commuting (assuming metro is not on fire), so that’s less productivity and less time with my family. I have a great team, and we connect often over IM and zoom.

            Singling out a wheelchair user as an “inspirational example” is also pretty gross under any circumstances.

      3. Sylvan*


        This is the tip of the iceberg of weird and bad judgment. It can’t be limited to the subjects of disability or WFH.

        By the way, I’m disabled and I returned to the office as soon as I could for mental health reasons. I’ve spent the last year speaking up for coworkers to be allowed to work from home. OP’s coworker who uses a wheelchair might or might not share management’s views on WFH, and I wonder if they were asked.

    4. quill*

      Yep. It’s dismissive and callous and the company is only doing it because they want butts in seats. (Also there’s more than one disability, everyone’s life is set up differently etc.)

    5. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

      I’m a wheelchair user and #1’s company sucks. The choice of whether to work at home or in the office should be made based on the needs of the job and the employee, and should have nothing to do with anyone’s disability situation. I am capable of going to an office to work, but it’s not what’s best for me, so I specifically seek out remote roles. This employee obviously has made a different choice, but that doesn’t make it the right choice for everyone, no matter what management wants.

      If this organization experiences a Great Resignation, it will not surprise me in the least.

    6. anonforthis*

      Yeah – “disabled people” are not a monolith. There are different types of disabilities with different effects. That manager is a moron.

  5. Thornus*

    Re 1, I think the Model Minority stereotype can be a basis for EEO complaints and violations. I am now left wondering if focusing on a disabled employee in the manner of “see, so-and-so is disabled, and THEY can do it” can come into play for ADA and disability EEO allegations.

    1. OrigCassandra*

      A student I once had who used a wheelchair was quite uncompromising about “inspo porn” and how incredibly wrong and anger-inducing it is.

      OP1, I’m going to strengthen Alison’s advice: if you want to make a meal of this, YOU ACTUALLY MUST talk to your colleague first. Not to do so is the same sort of error that the colleague in letter 3 made, only worse because of the societal context.

      Nothing about your wheelchair-using colleague without them, okay?

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        Inspo porn was my thought. I do not know many people with disabilities (though I just started for an org that works with people with a specific condition that causes disabilities so I’m about to meet a lot of them) but I know from reading blogs and articles that inspiration porn is a thing and afaik most of them are not happy about it.

        And seconding TALK TO YOUR COLLEAGUE FIRST before you do anything else. I’m betting colleague is sadly used to this and might just be tired of dealing with it and may want to just let it go.

        1. Erin*

          Or conversely, may be sadly used to this, tired of dealing with it, and would really prefer it if their more privileged peers used that privilege in fighting the power.

          Same way as if a colleague makes a “joke” about brothels in the break room, I really want one of my male peers to do the “ugh” bit; I don’t want to always have to be Ms No-Funsicle.

      2. Dramatic Intent to Flounce*

        Inspo porn was the exact place my brain went, too. And it is INFURIATING. (Not a wheechair user, but physically disabled in a way that’s not immediately obvious and autistic, which presents its own set of ableist indignities.)

        Definitely check with your colleague about whether they want you to make this A Thing before doing anything. That said, your company has already made this A Thing and involved them… and they are almost assuredly not the only disabled person at your company, even if they’re the most visible. Even if your colleague would prefer not to be caught up in this, there’s some serious ableism in play here and you may see other colleagues pointing out being a wheelchair user doesn’t automatically make them The Most Disabled and anything they can do is immediately fine for all other disabled people. Mainly because disability doesn’t work that way. So long as they’re careful not to invoke your colleague too heavily, feel free to back that play – you never know who’s immunocompromised, or who has a housemate who’s higher-risk. You can point out that the comparison is apples and oranges without using your colleague as a prop.

        You may also want to think about how this boss sucks and is unlikely to change because HOLY SMOKES that is bad.

  6. Evvie*

    As someone who has “pushed through” what ultimately turned out to be disabilities for work, this says “we expect more from this disabled person than from anyone else. They need to prove they’re worth it, and we need the rest of you to show up so we can compare.” (I have literally almost died at work *twice,* and I’m not exactly a knife thrower’s target or anything.)

    Every time my jobs have been in real peril, it was because I wasn’t living up to my to “push through” potential and was instead doing as well as the “normals.”

    Work twice as hard to be given half as much credit and all that. I sure hope that someone is recording these meetings.

    1. Saberise*

      My take on it is they expect less from the disabled person so if they can do it so can the others.

      1. whingedrinking*

        Exactly – as if there were only one form of disability, you’re either “more” or “less” disabled, and that’s the only thing that matters. The idea that, for example, a person who cannot move their legs might be entirely capable of a job that someone with severe social anxiety might not be able to do is utterly foreign to some people.

    2. MigraineMonth*

      Speaking of almost dying at work, I was chatting with a senior coworker who offhand mentioned that they can’t have an individual office because my company–which *serves people with disabilities*–is refusing to install an accommodation they need in order to open office doors. Apparently the company only installed the accommodation for the main door to our workspace after that coworker was trapped inside during a fire drill.

  7. Fancy Owl*

    For #5, if anything, rather than trying to scam you this could be a sign that the company is disorganized. It’s unusual to get to the offer letter stage without finalizing the pay structure, and if someone sent out the wrong info at first that’s a pretty major oversight. But honestly, getting switched to hourly is most likely a good thing. Hourly non-exempt with generous PTO is a really good deal. With enough PTO you never have to take unpaid time off, so you’re functionally salaried but also get overtime. That’s how it is at my current job and I love it.

    1. Fancy Owl*

      *this is assuming plenty of PTO is part of the “great benefits”. If the PTO is stingy then hourly obviously isn’t as good.

    2. AcademiaNut*

      The one wrinkle is that PTO does not count towards overtime. If the job rarely requires overtime, this isn’t an issue, but in a job that regularly requires it, it would mean that if you normally work 50 hours a week (40 regular pay, 10 time and a half) and you take a day’s PTO, you’d lose the time and a half and get paid for 40 hours regular salary that week. (unless like California overtime is paid on a per day, not per week basis).

      1. doreen*

        That depends on the job – it’s wasn’t legally required by the Feds or the state but every job I’ve had with both overtime and PTO, we got OT for hours paid over 40, not hours worked over 40. Sometimes because of a union contract , others due to employer policy.

        1. Skytext*

          Every job I ever had that paid overtime, only actual worked hours counted towards overtime pay. PTO didn’t count.

          1. SnappinTerrapin*

            Yeah. I had an officer who took a vacation day, but worked 40 hours that week. He couldn’t understand why he didn’t get time and a half for 8 hours.

            He got paid for the 40 hours he worked, and the 8 hours stayed on the books so he could use it for a real vacation.

            Interestingly, he was a card-carrying member of Mensa.

            1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

              Here in France the paid leave would totally be included and he’d get his time off too. Just as, when you’re on unemployment benefit, you are entitled to the minimum amount of paid leave a year during which time the employment agency cannot expect you to attend any meetings with their consultants, or training courses, or job interviews.
              Similarly, the time you’re on paid leave counts as work when totting up the time you’ve worked for calculating retirement pensions etc. The state still takes welfare insurance payments (for your retirement fund, unemployment benefit, healthcare costs etc) out of the money that’s paid to you when on leave, so it counts for retirement and whatever else might be dependent on the amount of time you’ve worked.
              So, I don’t see Mr Mensa as being stupid. He has a European mindset.

        2. Anon for specifics*

          I experienced the absolute goofiest version of this: for 9 years I got OT pay for all hours over 40. From the start of working there. I don’t know how long this was the case before I started at the company but that’s just how it was. I thought that was great. Only downside is you had to do an approval form for any hours past 40 even if the week included pto. Ok, fine, that’s a small trade off. Then one week I’d logged 45 hrs, which included 8hrs pto and thus, per the established rules, submitted an approval sheet for 5hrs, only to receive an email saying that I did not need to submit the sheet since due to pto taken, there were no OT hrs in that week. No mention of this being a policy change or anything, but like I was the silly one for thinking I needed to submit those hours.
          Turns out, they had been calculating OT ‘wrong’ this whole time and paying it for hours paid over 40 instead of hours worked over 40. Now I knew this whole time that it wasn’t legally required to pay OT that way, I just thought it was a nice thing they did, but turns out it was just an extremely long running mistake? Extending over the tenure of several different people.
          Now, ok, they’re not legally required to pay that and I don’t think there’s anything preventing them from changing to the less generous version any time they liked, but pretending like it had always been that way and not acknowledging that this was, in fact, a *change* is what really grinds my gears.
          Also, the difference in policy makes me less likely to spend *extra* time before taking pto, to clear up loose ends, or after to catch up more quickly, since before the change it would always be OT and now it often won’t be if it’s in the same week.

      2. Shiba Dad*

        In my experience it depends on what is meant by PTO. When vacation time and and PTO (sick/personal time) were separate categories, I got paid OT when I used vacation time but not when I used PTO. I’ve seen it go both ways when PTO includes vacation time as well as sick/personal time.

        1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

          Same. I think it often depends on what the union negotiated. Most salaried non-exempt jobs I have seen are in places where at least some of the employees are unionized. In one place I worked you got OT on all hours, worked, vacation, and sick. At another, you just got work+sick. Mr. Gumption’s is really weird and it is just assumed his job classification always works OT so they automatically get 15 hrs per week OT (30 per pay period) and the 40 regular pay (including vacation/sick taken) no matter how long they work. Maybe once in 20 yrs he’s done more than 30 hrs OT in a pay-period, so for the rest of the time he just got somewhere between 1-30 hrs OT without working extra hours. In both of our cases, benefits have been the same across the board because the unions weren’t going to let them reward management more than staff (managers were only exempt folks).

          Overall, though, I really like SME and professional roles that are not management classed as salaried, non-exempt because I feel like it better recognizes the hours worked and makes places WAY more efficient/better at planning because they have to pay for time outside 40 hrs.

      3. This is a name, I guess*

        In most states, though, if you work 4 10s and then take Friday off, you don’t have to even take PTO, so being hourly can allows you to accrue more PTO, which is a nice benefit in the US when PTO accrual is frequently stingy. I ended up in a white collar hourly job, and I’m able to take so many more vacation than when I was salaried because of this.

    3. Spearmint*

      This is great deal *if you are guaranteed 40 hours a week*. However, many hourly workers don’t get that. One of the benefits of being salaried is you know what you’re getting paid every week.

    4. Jack Straw from Wichita*

      Same. My current job is also salaried nonexempt and it’s the best situation I’ve ever been in. I make almost $6,000 annually over and above my salary with overtime pay. I get to make up time for doctors appointments or can decide to take PTO. Seriously, OP 5, it’s amazing.

  8. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

    OP1: ‘look if the disabled person can do it so can you!’

    I’d be flipping the table right now if it were physically possible. We disabled folks are not things to be put on pedestals and held up as ‘brave examples’ or images for motivational posters by others. It’s one of the few things that absolutely will send me raging down the corridor IRL.

    1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

      With regard advice, ahem…

      See if you can find others, but particularly someone a bit higher up that finds this all distasteful and go back as a group. I’d be happy to offer my services as the IT Manager who is beyond sick of this and is close enough to 50 to really not care who she annoys in the interest of equality. There is probably someone like me at your place.

      Hopefully without the absolute barrage of swearing I just levelled at the cat when reading this letter.

        1. LifeBeforeCorona*

          I remembered that post! My take on this particular circus is the company is stating that if a wheelchair user can return to work then everyone else can. If you have childcare issues, no access to reliable transport, or have high risk family members or a high risk individual yourself then it’s a lack of gumption on your part. They see the wheelchair and not the person in it.

    2. Sean*

      This is so true. If the disabled person has rough days, it puts them under unspoken pressure to still travel to the office when they would be better off having a day at home. After all, management has just put them on a pedestal in front of everyone, for the rest of the staff to admire.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        That’s an angle I hadn’t considered and thank you for pointing it out! It is very true – even in a workplace as generally good as my one there is still some pressure for me to be physically present even when I’d really rather not simply because I am the token ‘uses mobility aids’ person and there’s a big expectation of ‘we gave her all these expensive accommodations and she still doesn’t show up? Ungrateful swine’ in just about every place I’ve worked.

    3. BethDH*

      To me there’s also a hint of “everything is worse if you use a wheelchair” that is gross too. Using a wheelchair does not automatically mean you are immunocompromised or that your travel to the office is any more difficult than in non-Covid times. Sure it’s good to keep in mind that wheelchair use might cause unexpected difficulties around things like that, but I’m just getting vibes of the kind of people who would be surprised if a wheelchair user is quick witted or strong.

        1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

          Definitely got all my ‘aw heck no’ flags flying. I’d put it right up there with a former boss who used to send out motivational memes with things like disabled athletes and ‘if he can do it so can you’. Just…no, mate, uncool.

  9. Orange palm tree*

    LW1 do you know the person that was referenced? I would talk to them before making a complaint on their behalf (if you decide to do so). While there are definitely good reasons to make a complaint on behalf of another person, this should not be done lightly.

    Is your objection that it was wrong to reference the fact that Moira is in a wheelchair? Or is it that Moira’s circumstances don’t actually have any bearing on whether or not you can / want to return to the office? If it is the latter then any comment you make should be based on you, not bringing Moira into it.

    1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

      I’d like to add a perspective that even if the person referenced did consent to it – it’s still really offensive to a lot of us other disabled people! I really have zero issue with able bodied people calling out this kind of behaviour.

      1. Scotlibrarian*

        Yep, the awful ‘inspiring disabled person’ trope is damaging to every disabled person. I’d be happy if someone non disabled said something.

        1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

          Saves me using up any of my spoons! Which today I got to save as I’ve got to go deal with an end user who while friendly absolutely exhausts me.

        2. Eldritch Office Worker*

          Same. I’d like to be in an environment where this is addressed as gross behavior separate from my opinion or a report on personal impact. I am not the sovereign voice of all disabled people and I don’t want to have to be the ethics judge for my office.

          I realize it’s different if they use you as an example but I’m still happy with “hey that’s offensive on a meta level” vs “hey that’s not really fair to EOW specifically”.

        3. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

          I feel like someone non-disabled, if they found this comment demeaning and trivializing of disabled people, is obligated to say something if they have the political capital and power. This goes beyond the wheelchair user who was used in the speech and touches on all employees with disabilities or situations that make going into the office a risk. There is nothing remarkable about a wheelchair user being able to go to an office if it suits them and there is nothing wrong with someone who has a different situation being unable to go to the office

    2. Asenath*

      I would not make a complaint on the behalf of a disabled person without their permission any more than I’d do it for anyone who wasn’t disabled. I don’t think the statement by management was at all appropriate, but I also don’t want to claim to represent someone who hasn’t asked me to do so.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        One doesn’t need the permission of the disabled person to go back and say ‘hey, this is pretty offensive to the disabled in general!’

        (I know people mean well when they e.g. come ask me if I want them to complain about a bit of ableism they’ve seen but it’s actually more emotional labour for me)

      2. Cat Tree*

        I understand that you don’t want to swoop in and be a White Knight, but at the same time the burden of calling out bias can’t be completely on the targets. In this case it’s offensive to many people even if the person in a wheelchair was fine with it. Others should call out the behavior in a way that isn’t framed as being a savior to the person in a wheelchair.

      3. Eldritch Office Worker*

        Please call out inappropriate behavior when you see it. Please. I know you don’t want to overstep but it’s so exhausting to have to sign off on everyone else’s feelings.

        1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

          exhausting to have to sign off on everyone else’s feelings

          Thank you for putting it so excellently! That’s exactly it.

      4. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

        The complaint wouldn’t have to be on behalf of the disabled person. It could be on your own feelings about treatment of disabled people. Like if you hear a racist/sexist/homophobic/transphobic comment. You can complain because you object to such comments

    3. Ray Gillette*

      If the LW already knows Moira it’s worth checking in to see how she feels about the situation, but anyone could say it’s in poor taste to treat her like a mascot because she’s disabled. She’s there to do work like everyone else.

  10. Sleepy cat*

    #3 Hmm. I don’t entirely agree with Alison here.

    In an ideal world, this colleague would have talked to you directly and said: “I’m worried about you, you seem really stressed, I’d really encourage you to talk to our boss or do X or Y.”

    I obviously don’t know why he went straight to your boss instead. But a few thoughts. Being friends at work isn’t exactly like being friends in life. You work together. People who work together do have some responsibility to take care of each other’s wellbeing. He is an employee and you are a contractor – ultimately he works for your employer and it’s not totally ridiculous for him to express concerns to them if he thinks you’re struggling.

    Sometimes we can think we’re just venting about work, but what we say makes other people concerned. And while I hear you that it really feels like a two-way street, you have no way of knowing if it feels exactly the same to him (I’m absolutely taking you at your word about how it feels to you, but you cannot know how he feels).

    I think Alison should have encouraged you to reconsider who you confide in, and how, rather than focusing on the idea of confidentiality – which is only ever so appropriate to focus on in the workplace. As a contractor venting about work stress, it’s probably not realistic to expect absolute confidentiality. And honestly, even a two-way venting relationship doesn’t sound productive or helpful to either of you.

    I would look for more constructive ways to resolve work issues, stop venting to employees, and stop expecting confidentiality from them. Sorry!

    1. bamcheeks*

      Yes, I don’t think there’s a universal expectation that same-level conversations about stress and workload are something you keep confidential from your manager. It’s different if you’ve actually said, “Please don’t discuss this with Giles, but–” But if you’ve said, “Aargh, really not sure I’m going to get these finishedby Friday”, and Willow is thinking, “But if you don’t get these finished by Friday, I won’t be able to fribble the wotsits in time for…” it’s not unreasonable for Willow to raise that as a concern with Giles.

      And the fact that he gave you a heads-up that that’s what he’d done suggests it wasn’t intended to be underhanded or undermining. I think the main thing is that you know that your friend doesn’t consider these to be confidential discussions, and you can tailor what you discuss or the level of confidentiality you explicitly ask for when speaking to them.

      (In my role we have quite a few workload issues at the moment (which we’re working on!), and I have at least three or four people who, “I just wanted to let you know, I’m a bit worried about Buffy at the moment, she’s really stressed”. And then Buffy will come to me the following week saying, “I just thought you should know that Xander is having a really tough week, in case you want to check on him.” I give both of these are, “Mmm, thanks very much.” and not much more– in both cases, I KNOW that Xander and Buffy are stressed and have already factored it in to my thinking, but I don’t think either of them has a right to know what my conversations with the other are unless they choose to share it! )

      1. bamcheeks*

        (I think there’s probably a bigger question here about your relationship with your boss specifically and possibly authority in general. Whether people feel that, “X is stressed and concerned about their relationship” is a neutral or threatening piece of information varies wildly. I am 100% confident that when my staff tell me that they are worried about a colleague this is done in complete concern and because they trust me to do something about it usefully, and it is certainly not a way of undermining them or trying to damage their reputation. I tend not to act on it or encourage it because it’s not necessarily the case that the spoken-about colleague would feel the same way! How people feel about this is very deeply personal, relationship-specific and contextually dependent— so to me it’s quite normal for you to feel like it’s undermining or underhanded and for neither of those things to have remotely occurred to your colleague.)

        1. Just J.*

          This. If I see my staff is stressed, or if someone comes to me and says someone is stressed out, I am going to try to do something about it. In my industry, work overload is a definite thing. Burn-out is a definite thing. Having your staff jump ship over burnout is also a thing. If I have the ability to shift work around to alleviate this, I will do so.

          I look at this as your colleague was trying to be compassionate. If you perceived it differently, then I definitely think the advice above applies and try to tailor what you are telling this person or how you are telling it.

    2. Apples*

      Agreed, I don’t see this as an etiquette breach either. Or maybe slightly, but only in that I would expect a concerned colleague to bring it up to my manager silently and for my manager to find a way to tactfully check in and get my view. I wouldn’t expect either of them to openly say “hey we’ve been discussing you behind your back” – not because I think that in itself is wrong, but because of this issue of feeling like your coworker snitched or betrayed you. I guess the coworker was trying to head off this feeling by being upfront (better that you hear it from the colleague than from a well-meaning but tactless supervisor) and it backfired. Obviously it would cross a line if the colleague repeated to your supervisor little workplace blowing-off-steam things like “OP really hates the way Janet in accounting clicks her pen all the time!”, but “OP seems overloaded and stressed often, you might need to keep an eye on this” is a pretty reasonable thing to raise to someone’s manager in my view. If you have an otherwise good relationship with this colleague and your supervisor then it might make sense to view this as a well-intentioned attempt to resolve the things you’re venting about, rather than shady backstabbing.

    3. Yvette*

      Exactly, where do yhou think someone’s loyalties will lie, with fellow company employees or with a contractor? Iam reminded of a situation I had years ago in IT (30 yrs ago,mainframe, this is important). The project manager was female, as were the two project leads, myself included, all well under 30. We hired a consultant who was considerably older than the three of us (his daughter was a freshman or sophmore in college). From the beginning we could tell that he did not like the fact that he had to take direction from “girls” practically young enough to be his daughter (there was also a huge level of patronizing not just with us but how he spoke about his wife and daughter). When we sat him down at his workstation and it was a desktop PC for mainfrmae connectivity, rather than a “dumb” terminal, he turned about three shades of pale (see, you don’t know everything Bob) We put up with hisconstant questioning an second guessing our design and direction because he was a body and we needed bodies.
      However, one day our project manager called me and the other lead into her office. Apparently the night before before Bob had spent quite some time venting to Ron, another PM , about how he felt that we, and our PM in particulare, were “too young” to be leading such an important project and why had it not been given to Ron. He would love to work for Ron. Not only did Ron point out he was about the same age as the three of us, he told our PM the e next morning.

      Guess who was gone very shortly thereafter?

    4. Smithy*

      This is more where I fall on this one. Because when I notice a colleague is stressed to the point I flag to my manager, it’s not coming from a place of cattiness but rather concern around their workload. Largely looking at their bandwidth, their capacity to do what’s already on their plate – let alone more, etc. And yes, that concern does also reflect on my own ability to do my job.

      Now…….I do understand that this can very easily turn into concern trolling. But it can also be someone happily working themselves to high stress for a limited period of time with specific professional ambitions. Basically knowing that the normal workload for a llama groomer in a day is 4 llamas, but due to an opportunity to work on the Billionaire Llama Inc account it will mean grooming 7 llamas a day for period of time. Yes, it’s a high stress situation and you’re being stretched too thin – but it’s also for work you really want to do based on your professional goals.

      With work friends on your team, I think it’s particularly careful to be mindful with how you talk about stress in those moments. Essentially, that you are taking on a ton of work because it’s exciting and/or meets your goals but it is also leaving you stretched thin/stressed. Because a coworker’s interpretation on that can vary significantly based on how you work together, how they read the situation, and how they read their own job. The classic case of this being that Worker A is focusing so much time on Billionaire Llama Inc, so maybe it would just be helpful if Worker B started helping on Millionaire Llama Inc – or you know, took it off their plate to free up their time. Depending on 101 things that conversation can be interpreted 101 ways, but it doesn’t always mean it’s coming from a nasty place.

    5. Smithy*

      I’m kind of with this.

      In my line of work, there’s also very often a case of someone becoming stressed/stretched thin at work on purpose with assignments they want. If you normally work on Millionaire Llama Inc grooming assignments, but then have the chance to do some Billionaire Llama Inc grooming assignments….you happily take it in hopes that it ultimately improves and grows your career. However, until you are certain that you will now have a full workload of only Billionaire Llama Inc grooming assignments….you’re likely to want to keep those Millionaire Llama Inc grooming assignments as well.

      This is a really normal dynamic of people happily taking on this kind of work in hopes that they do become crazy stressed for a period until they know for sure that the professional growth opportunities have solidified before handing over other work. In more balanced/sane workplaces, checks and balances are in place to prevent any crazy work hoarding – but it’s a field that can definitely cultivate some of that.

      It can also certainly result in concern trolling/back stabbing, but in its entirety I think of it like a less lethal version of the frog and the scorpion fable. If you don’t speak up at work and say that you notice Worker A is really busy on Billionaire Llamas Inc and you’re happy to help on Millionaires Llamas Inc if they ever need it – then your boss may not notice you’re interested or have bandwidth to take it on. So you try to assess when to speak up and hope to you don’t seem too cutthroat, but basically admitting you are a bit of the scorpion and will eventually sting the frog.

      If someone you work with/rely on their work product is very stressed and has been for a while… long do you go without flagging it in some way to your boss? Obviously this OP may never tell this coworker stuff like this again, but in general I do think that with coworkers there’s always that good measure of articulating every time you share something in confidence. And not assuming blanket privacy. Or if you are in the office flagging something as information you want to share outside the office while getting a coffee or lunch, to create even more of a barrier between work and the news.

    6. STG*

      As a manager, I wouldn’t have told the OP though.

      I would have checked in with them, evaluated their work load or looked for other ways to help. Fact is that sometimes venting is just that…venting. Now if it’s getting to the point that it’s effecting another employee and they are coming to me because they have an issue with the venting itself, that’s different.

    7. WillowSunstar*

      Number 3 is why I never ever tell coworkers anything I don’t want to get back to the boss. Have learned the hard way not to trust people in general. If you must talk about work with someone, find a friend outside of work to talk to.

      1. English Rose*

        Exactly! When will people understand that coworkers and friends are two completely different species? At work be friendly, not friends.

    8. VanLH*

      I agree. Even if the other worker realizes that they were wrong in talking to the boss without the permission of LW3, LW3 can’t take the risk of talking with this person anymore.

    9. Koala dreams*

      Yes, it’s not reasonable to expect work related conversation to be “private” or “confidential” in this sense. Ideally the co-worker should have told you before telling the boss, but that’s as much as you can reasonably expect. Telling you afterwards was a bit awkward, perhaps, but not wrong.

      You always have a right to your feelings, of course, but that doesn’t mean your feelings always line up with what’s right in the workplace.

    10. Willis*

      Agreed. We have employees and contractors and regularly talk amongst our employee team about contractors’ workloads for a bunch of practical reasons, so I don’t really think its odd to mention if someone seemed overloaded. Also agreed that its probably good to pull back on venting to employees…sounds like this guys sees the relationship differently than you anyway.

    11. MCMonkeyBean*

      I agree, I was prepared to be more outraged by that letter imagining something more personal in nature–but it was work-related. It definitely could still be worth being irritated about, but I don’t feel I have enough info to really judge without a lot more detail. My first thought was whether the boss might have outright asked for any reason, though I don’t know why the boss would be asking the friend instead of OP.

      My next question would be while they both vent to each other, is there any chance OPs venting is a lot more extreme? It the friend is like “ugh, man today feels so long is it Friday yet” and OP is more like “oh god, I am drowning in work they are assigning me way too much and it is causing me physical and mental distress”–not in those exact words obviously, but just saying if their complaints seem a lot more serious than their friend’s, I can see how the friend might walk away from the convo thinking “wow, this is actually a problem that needs to be addressed!”

      It is annoying that he would talk to your boss without speaking to you first. Maybe he thought that you were afraid to address things as a contractor–but he definitely could have asked you that outright! And offered his support or assistance. But it sounds like ultimately this was a conversation about work at work, so I wouldn’t really consider it a private/personal conversation with implicit expectations of confidence.

    12. RebelwithMouseyHair*

      Yes. My take was that OP was stressed but, given her less secure status, didn’t dare mention it to the boss. Meanwhile, the colleague has had ample opportunity to see that the boss thinks very highly of OP and doesn’t want to lose her, and thought that the boss might be able to reassign some work so that OP can concentrate on the important stuff.
      A better strategy would have been to encourage OP to tell the boss she was getting stretched too thin rather than mentioning it behind her back. But it may simply have come up in a conversation, like “Oh well if you don’t have time I’ll ask OP” and then the colleague said “oh no, OP is stretched even thinner than me at the moment”.

  11. Maggie*

    To LW 1–yeah my sister is disabled and has been since childhood and she has childcare currently, and I do not. Guess who is working more? The oversimplification is gross to everyone involved.

    Gross. Extra gross.

    1. UKDancer*

      Definitely. I have at least one disabled colleague who returned to the office as quickly as possible because they had their reasonable adjustments in place and it was a lot easier to work there than it was to work remotely from their house. This doesn’t mean every other person with disabilities would be in the same position as I’ve another colleague who is still working remotely as they are at high risk of Covid. Different people have different needs and concerns and disabled people are not objects that you can use for admiration or as an example.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        There’s me, who at work has her special chair, a parking spot right next to the building and doesn’t have to go up or down to get a cup of tea. At home it’s a trip downstairs to get a drink, one trips over the cat frequently…

        Then there’s a member of my staff who absolutely cannot be vaccinated and can’t wear a mask (I do know why – they’ve told me – but I’m not ok sharing that info) but look’s able bodied. They’ve also got home life reasons why a total return to the office isn’t on the cards just yet. Best I can do is ensure that absolutely everyone else is vaccinated + wears a mask when they come in.

  12. AJHall*

    #3: It seems to me that one of the most distressing things about the situation with a colleague sharing private conversations with your boss is that you don’t at the moment know whether he’s simply a blundering problem-solver (think a golden retriever that’s so certain it’s helping you in the gardne that it trips you up at every turn and gets its big muddy paws everywhere you don’t want them but it’s hard to be mad because it Just.Wants.ToHelp) or whether he’s a backstabber, taking advantage of a confidence to undermine you to your bosses. However, since the end result is the same, irrespective of his motivations, namely that he’s proved to you that he’s untrustworthy, I’d follow Alison’s advice up to the point of trying to clarify with him what he thought he was doing, but ensure you don’t trust him with any information in future.

    1. Bazza7*

      Yes, to all this, when I read the letter, I thought his friend was trying to undermine him, make himself look better to people senior to them.

    2. Shiba Dad*

      Great points. I’d add that OP doesn’t know what else this friend has shared with management. Maybe nothing, maybe something else or maybe everything OP as let off steam about. In any event, there is no way OP can trust this friend anymore.

    3. anonymous73*

      100% You have to be even more careful as a contractor because it’s usually much easier for them to get rid of you than it is an FTE. I have pretty good instincts about people, and even then am cautious about what I say and who I say it to at work.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      This. Exactly.

      OP, my rule that I live by at work is if I cannot say it to everyone then I cannot say it, period.

      As a corollary, I have to assume everything I say will be repeated by someone at some point. (Tricky part- it may take them months to finally repeat it but they will.)

      What I like about these rules is that I need something in place when I am super tired and the brain has shut down for the day but I keep working anyway. I also like these rules because in time most things blow over. It might take 12-18 months but they do blow over. I never have to ask anyone to keep something confidential. It’s a burden to do this to other people anyway.

      These rules also force me to think in a proactive manner. What is it I actually want? How do I go about getting what I actually want? Now, how do I frame it so that it makes sense to the people it needs to make sense to?

      In your setting here I think most of what happened can be attributed to pure human nature. You said something that you did not mean to have repeated. Perhaps you thought your friend understood not to repeat it. Your friend acting for [whatever reason] passed it along to the boss maybe in hopes of getting something changed that would benefit the both of you. Every inch of the way this is all human nature. Just my opinion but I think it happens more often than not. I think it’s wise to realize this is just how stuff goes. This is the stuff that makes the world turn. Notice my lack of judgment here- this is not good or bad– it just IS.

      If you decide that while you are at work you will talk like the whole world is listening, you might see results that you start to appreciate and realize it benefits you.

  13. AJHall*

    #3: It seems to me that one of the most distressing things about the situation with a colleague sharing private conversations with your boss is that you don’t at the moment know whether he’s simply a blundering problem-solver (think a golden retriever that’s so certain it’s helping you in the gardne that it trips you up at every turn and gets its big muddy paws everywhere you don’t want them but it’s hard to be mad because it Just.Wants.ToHelp) or whether he’s a backstabber, taking advantage of a confidence to undermine you to your bosses. However, since the end result is the same, irrespective of his motivations, namely that he’s proved to you that he’s untrustworthy, I’d follow Alison’s advice up to the point of trying to clarify with him what he thought he was doing, but ensure you don’t trust him with any information in future.

  14. Sharp-dressed Boston Terrier*

    Relatively new reader, first-time commenter. And that, just to say that “which prospect fills my heart with sorrow” is going to find a permanent home in my vocabulary for when I don’t want to do something.

  15. Ellena*

    Nr4 – if Peggy won’t budge, the next stop shouldn’t be that LW does and starts checking emails on Sunday. It should be a talk with the manager. I’d check with him/her and relay that company culture and work life balance mean not having to check emails but also not having a colleague decide for me on a Sunday that I have to start my next day 30 mins earlier without me having a say so. If Peggy deems such a decision is needed she should have the info on Friday to make it. Nothing happening on a Saturday/Sunday should lead to it.

    1. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      Absolutely. What the heck happened over the weekend that was so earthshattering that a meeting had to be adjusted by 30 minutes?

      “Peggy, this meeting was scheduled for 8:30 when I put it on the calendar. Changing times is disruptive to all participants of this meeting, especially when it is frequent and non-consequential. I will attend at 8:30 going forward, unless I have notification of a change at least 2 hours before COB the business day before.”

      1. Rocket*

        This *really* depends on company culture. Meetings have to be changed sometimes, even (and sometimes especially) standing meetings. I cannot even begin to fathom what the response would be if I said what you’re suggesting to someone changing a meeting time in my office, but it would certainly not be good.

        1. MCMonkeyBean*

          Meeting have to be changed sometimes, but IMO they should not be changed to a time outside of someone’s regular working hours (especially if that means coming in early on a Monday with little notice!) unless it is somehow an emergency which does not sound like the case here.

      2. CalT*

        Yes, that will absolutely work for a newbie in the company, in regards to a low-priority meeting. Perfect way to label oneself as a weirdo.

      3. CastleDeep13*

        Well this sure is a great way for the LW to get fired or at the very least torpedo any chance of a decent working relationship with Peggy and possibly other colleagues.

        LW, you’ve basically answered your own question about why Peggy is moving the meeting times. Either log on earlier on Mondays, check your calendar by Sunday night, or (politely) ask Peggy what’s going on but accept that the meeting likely won’t be changed solely for your benefit anyway.

        None of us are Peggy, so you’re going to have to talk to her directly instead of getting some really bad advice from people with no stake in the outcome

  16. Asker*

    OP1, your management team are vile and horrid. I would have a chat to your wheelchair-using colleague to see how they feel about it, if you feel comfortable doing so. You could also make an anonymous complaint to a human rights or anti-discirmination commission or body.

    OP2, this story offers yet another example to my enormous list of reasons as to why reference checks are a useless waste of time, completely counter-productive, or outright harmful. Argh!

    1. I should really pick a name*

      Regarding #2, How is this causing a problem?

      Whoever’s checking references will know the names of both applicants and will be aware of what’s going on. If they have a problem with the arrangement, they can ask the applicants to provide different references. It’s not like they’re secretly conspiring.

    2. Beth*

      If possible, the anonymous complaint should conceal not only the complainant’s identity, but also that of the employee who uses a wheel chair.

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        Not sure how an anonymous complaint could conceal the identity of the person who uses a wheelchair, unless you mean the complaint should make it obvious that it isn’t that person who’s complaining.

  17. Jack Be Nimble*

    LW 4: Can you check your email at 8:25 am before you sign on to the meeting? Or check it very briefly when you first wake up, and then proceed with your morning accordingly?

    1. Jack Be Nimble*

      Whoops, I misread the letter, sorry! I thought the meetings were being rescheduled for later in the day, not earlier! Ignore me.

  18. Irish Teacher.*

    Number 1 would bother me on so many levels. It is offensive to disabled people and also, you cannot know what anybody is dealing with. Somebody who appears perfectly healthy may have unknown health problems, such as a history of certain cancers that would put them at high risk if they contracted covid or they may be living with an elderly or vulnerable person.

    An Irish soap shut down filming for a time at the beginning of the pandemic, due to restrictions and when they returned, they said they were not going to put any criteria on who should return, for example, like not asking actors over 70 to return, because somebody who appeared young and healthy might have a health problem they did not know about or be living with somebody vulnerable or somebody who was over 70 or had a known health problem might have spoken to their doctor and have made the decision that they were not at an unacceptable risk.

    I actually had a health problem just before the pandemic that sounds serious but that actually gave me very little trouble and my doctor was clear that there was no reason I should not return to work in person. My boss did ask, knowing of my situation. I may well have colleagues who have no known heath issues or whose health issues sound more minor but who are more severely affected or which are more likely to put somebody at risk from covid.

    That said, from the letter, I wonder if management are likely to pay attention to complaints.

  19. Helvetica*

    LW#4 – I think an important aspect not addressed by LW or Alison is why Peggy is re-scheduling. Is it because someone else has let her know they won’t make the meeting at the assigned time, and asking it to be changed, and doing so on the Sunday? Or is it just Peggy doing this because she wants to? I’d hazard a guess that Peggy isn’t doing this just for fun but rather because she is being asked to do so and these kinds of things do happen. And if that’s the case then there is no other course of action for her to take than to re-schedule. Perhaps a text message would be appropriate to let you and others know?
    If it is happening very regularly, and caused by conflicts with other people’s calendars, maybe you should permanently move the meeting time.

    1. Biscotti*

      Yes, I was thinking this. Also if the entire team is already at work at 8 am that may be the best time for everyone to meet. If it is the OP needs to see if it would it be a hardship to change their schedule.

      1. Beth*

        If it’s happening consistently, Peggy should originally schedule it at 8. That will give the letter writer a chance to decline/suggest a new time/explain it’s outside her hours and Peggy a chance to investigate alternatives.

      2. Person from the Resume*

        Not necesarrily. In a company with people in different time zones and duty hours, the solution should not be to get someone to change their schedule for a meeting that is actually scheduled during their duty hours but is frquently changed. Wonder why the meeting is at 8:30? Maybe because when it was set it, attendees were asked what times were available.

        Step #1 – Tell Peggy that LW’s start time is 8:30 in her time zone and ask Peggy stop rescheduling the meeting for outside of her work hours. Make sure Peggy understands the time zone. (I can’t tell if they are in the same office or not.) Tell Peggy that if the meeting needs to be rescheduled it cannot be moved earlier because then LW is unable to attaend.

        Step#2 – Keep reminding Peggy every time it happens. Bring in the managers if Peggy can’t get.

        All this assumes LW is a required attendee. If not still inform Peggy, but don’t be as firm about her needing to work with your schedule.

        And if this keeps happening, keep showing up at 8:30, but at the conclusion of the meeting when it’s time for questions or comments (when other attendees can hear) say: “Peggy, I missed the beginning of the meeting because my work day starts at 8:30 TZ. I’ve asked you not to reschedule the meeting start time for before the start of my work day. If you want/need me to attend, you need to not reschedule the meeting before 8:30.”

        1. lizesq*

          This advice only works if OP is senior to Peggy. She’s senior in the org but there’s no indication she has authority to chastise Peggy about what might be the office culture.

        2. Smithy*

          If this is happening on Outlook…..Outlook has decided that our standard workday is from 8am-5pm. So if Peggy is just looking at the standard core hours of someone on Outlook, the 8-9am hour is generically left available unless you choose to change that as being unavailable.

          This can be harder if multiple time zones are in play and certain time zones are known for being more accommodating with early/later calls.

          Now….within that scope, it’s generically seen as good to be mindful of fewer super early Mondays and super late Fridays…..but again, this might be a case where the OP might be able to make some changes in Outlook first to help the situation.

    2. anonymous73*

      But the question is still, why is it all being done over the weekend? If a few people are so busy that they need to work during typical non-business hours, they shouldn’t reschedule meetings when the majority of people aren’t working, and/or expect people to check emails 24/7. It sounds like the employees are in different time zones so that makes it more difficult, but there needs to be a better solution than expecting everyone to be plugged in all the time.

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        Yes, I think this is the issue. If 8:30 on Monday isn’t a workable time, that should have been apparent before 5:00 on Friday.

        1. quill*

          It is possible that Peggy may be getting her information about the meeting feasibility from colleagues whose weekend is friday-saturday.

          In which case she needs to get this meeting scheduled way before friday, try her wednesday (assuming she’s in the americas or western europe) so that the people who have friday off have a chance to respond.

          1. quill*

            (Note that the location thing is because AFAIK, the middle east is the place where weekends are most likely to fall on friday-saturday, culturally. Also it’s just incumbent on the furthest west time zone to make sure that they give enough advance notice before the weekend so that the more easterly time zones have a chance to see it.)

          2. anonymous73*

            Regardless of the location of the team that needs to attend these meetings, Peggy needs to figure out a time to setup and modify them when everyone is available during their own business hours. I realize this is a big ask and not easy, but you need to respect people’s time and unless specified as a requirement of your job, part of that respect is adhering to regular business hours when something is important and needs to be seen (like changing the time of a regular meeting).

    3. justabot*

      I think people working in different time zones is likely the biggest issue. If LW is out on the west coast, the difference between an 8am vs 8:30am Monday morning meeting is a bigger deal. If the other colleagues are on the East Coast, the difference between an 11am vs an 11:30am meeting is likely minimal. Is Peggy on the East Coast? She may not even realize this is happening.

      I think it’s reasonable to request that the Monday morning team meeting time please be finalized by close of business on Friday.

      If that’s not realistic, then maybe just move forward expecting the meeting to be at 8am. I worked at a job where the corporate office/compliance/all deadlines were all on their time. It wasn’t ideal for the offices on the opposite coast but it just was something that came with the job.

      1. Smithy*

        If this is an East Coast/West Coast thing – another thing to flag is that Outlook will generically show most people’s calendar’s as beginning to be available at 8am. When you’re working in later time zones than those ahead of you, 8am calls are certainly preferable to 7am or 6am ones – but it may also be contributing to part of why this is happening. Peggy is picking a time at the start of the OP’s Outlook availability without actually doing the time zone calculator + real human math to realize that this is a meeting now starting at 8 or 8:15 giving the OP minimal work hour notice.

        It may also then be helpful to just block 8-8:45am on Mondays as unavailable or tentatively available based on your office’s larger calendar/meeting culture.

    4. Dinwar*

      I do that a lot–the grandboss, or worse, the client asks me to shift a meeting time. But there are ways to do it courteously:

      1) NEVER put the meeting outside normal business hours without a good reason and everyone’s buy-in prior to setting the meeting.
      2) Include a reason when you make the change (Outlook allows you to do this fairly easily).
      3) Do everything you can to avoid making last-minute changes. Ideally make the changes several work days in advance–the more people, the more advanced warning.
      4) If you’re going to change a standing meeting have a VERY good reason for it. Like “We are installing critical components and need everyone onsite” or “The site is shut down for a tornado”. Canceling the meeting is, at least in my case, far less of an issue than rescheduling.

      Re-scheduling a standing meeting on the weekends, requiring someone come in earlier than their scheduled time, with no more notification than a shift in the calendar, is inconsiderate at best.

    5. Colette*

      I don’t think it matters. If someone else is asking her to reschedule, she can explain that it’s too late, or find a time later in the week.

    6. Observer*

      . Is it because someone else has let her know they won’t make the meeting at the assigned time, and asking it to be changed, and doing so on the Sunday?

      And? Again, if Peggy and this theoretical other person want to work on Sunday, that’s fine. But it is NOT fine to allow that to force everyone else to mess with their weekends. What would this theoretical person do if Peggy weren’t working on Sunday? And why should this person who is being so last minute over-ride everyone else’s schedule? It’s not like this is a one-off emergency. This has become an ongoing problem.

      If it is happening very regularly, and caused by conflicts with other people’s calendars, maybe you should permanently move the meeting time.

      I think that that’s an idea worth bringing up.

    7. InsertNameHere*

      I had similar thoughts as well. If Peggy is getting instruction from someone else to change the meeting time, that may explain why it is so last minute. Plus the time zones may mean that Peggy/the attendees don’t realize LW4 isn’t available at 8.

      Either way, LW4 should talk to Peggy and find a solution.

  20. Allonge*

    LW1 – beyond the general… clueness offensiveness of the whole thing, what I don’t get is: they are company management. They get to dictate where people who work for this company will be working (and of course to take the consequences of that decision, but still). There is no sense in trying to convince people to come back to the office! They get to say you have to, or you have to be there two days per week or whatever – or you would be let go. It’s not like anyone who would want to keep working from home will change their mind based on anything like this exercise.

    I guess I am grateful that we were told what will have to happen and are expected to do it, and did not have to go through an exercise where we were being convinced we will love it. Treated as an adult is always a great basis for relationships. And sure, some people may leave, but such is life.

    1. mlem*

      They want people to feel too guilty to complain and too guilty to leave. “Perform gratitude, you peons!”

    2. Smithy*

      I’m with you that while this is offensive and problematic – it’s also wildly unhelpful and indicates a worrisome view to how return to work will be managed.

      In my job, I am all about some return to the office. And the emphasis on some is indicative that a lot of our work has been made more productive, led to better work life balance, and enables hiring a more inclusive and diverse team in a variety of ways. However. There are parts of our job that we as a collective do very poorly remotely and parts of our job that are enhanced/improved with the office. Having a return to office policy that doesn’t specifically target the pieces that need return to office as well as cultivating the environment for the “enhancement” pieces helps no one.

      And making the return to the office all about individuals and what they have/haven’t overcome has nothing to do with the work and creating policies that focus on that. If you do want to convince me vs tell me, focus on the areas of return to office that will improve work and how the plan addresses that.

  21. Onetime Poster*

    #3) I mostly agree with Allison, with one addition that I am surprised wasn’t suggested: do the LW and the work-friend have the same understanding of their conversations? I ask, because one may have a different social perception of what it means to have a work friendship that the other does not share in. So, while the LW may think based on her own views that in general, anything she says about her work life is confidential… the other party may not think some things are or vice versa.

    Now, I’m not condoning sharing obviously private information. But, I can say that in my own experience, there have been times where I’m close to a colleague and so we have general friendly chats that include work topics. There are times where some of that info is pertinent in broader conversations about work, especially if there’s a concern about someone’s well-being.

    Again, not that it’s okay, but at the same time, I think there’s some context here that would be useful in assessing, as shared understandings are not always that. Just like “common sense” isn’t all that “common”. Still, having a discussion to clear things up may be all that really is necessary.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      “then clarify that you consider your conversations about work confidential and don’t want your discussions shared”

      She addresses that, though not this explicitly. The parameters around the relationship need to be clarified.

  22. Just my 4 cents*

    LW #3 – My guess is that your coworker thought they’d like to help you out (people are natural problem solvers) so they went to boss to share your frustrations. I’d suggest having a conversation with him and letting him know that you appreciate what he was trying to do, but please consider your conversations as vent sessions and confidential unless you specifically ask him to intervene on your behalf. If you’ve been there 10 years, I highly doubt this will torpedo your contract with them.

  23. Anne of Green Gables*

    #2: I’ve had an applicant (Clark Kent) list another applicant (Bruce Wayne) as a reference. Clark Kent was in the top tier of applicants. When this happened, once I knew I was likely to check Clark’s references, I let him know that could not use Bruce as a reference and needed another reference. (I did not tell him why but he guessed.) I am required to complete and submit 3 references to my HR.

    I never considered calling Bruce for a reference for Clark, and confirmed with my manager that they agreed with that assessment. That isn’t to say that your future employers will feel the same way, but since I’ve been in that situation, thought I’d share my take.

    1. Anne of Green Gables*

      For a follow up to this situation: Clark got the job. At some point later, Bruce applied for a different opening on my team. By this point, Clark had been there a bit, long enough to have proven to be an excellent employee whose judgment I trust. Since I knew Clark & Bruce had worked together previously, I asked Clark about Bruce. Clark told me some things that led to me not considering Bruce for the opening. (Among other things, Bruce was found **more than once** sleeping in the programming room when he was supposed to be on the service desk–this was at a public library.)

    2. Venus*

      My thought would be to provide an extra reference, and explain the reason. “Former Coworker is the best one to evaluate my work at Company A, yet she also applied to this position so I am also including Other Reference.” This is probably not needed if the job is an older one and the other references are more recent, but it’s an option that addresses the issue without making extra work (having to ask for another reference) for the hiring committee.

    3. Willis*

      Yeah, I think the OP and her friend would just end up getting requests for an alternate reference. It’s what I would ask if I were doing the reference check.

    4. Mauvaise Pomme*

      Piggy-backing off this comment with my own two cents on LW2: I regularly hire people, and if I came across this situation (Candidate 1 listing Candidate 2 as a professional reference, and also serving as Candidate 2’s reference), then I would assume it was an extremely awkward Comedy of Errors where they may not necessarily be aware they’re applying for the same job. To be honest, I would refrain from contacting either reference for that reason. And if you (LW2), as the candidate, wanted to preempt that by explaining the situation in advance, I think that would make it wayyy too much of A Thing at that point.

      Listing literally anyone else who will give you a positive reference will be a better choice here.

  24. Just my 4 cents*

    LW #4 – Definitely talk to Peggy about this, and if it’s something she cannot predict (e.g. the CEO contacts her over the weekend to change the schedule) see if she would be willing to send you a quick text when she changes the meeting time.

    LW #5 – Although this is frustrating, stuff like this is bound to happen occasionally right now when HR/Recruiting teams are handling so many interviews and job offers. This in and of itself isn’t a red flag, frustrating, but not a red flag. Alison’s advice to proceed as if the first offer never happened is spot on. The company has to follow the Federal (and possibly state) regulations on which jobs can and cannot be exempt, so it’s not a commentary on your or the value of the position.

  25. voyager1*

    LW1: Please don’t take this the wrong way, but if someone is showing up and others are not, it might be that simple… they actually show up. That the person is in a wheelchair is kinda irrelevant. If this person was able bodied would you be still this upset? Was the person in the wheelchair upset by any of this?

    Additionally if your company is the one that got acquired, you really have little to no capital. That has been my experience in mergers, granted I worked in banking.

    1. pancakes*

      I think you’re giving management too much credit in terms of not singling out the employee who uses a wheelchair. The letter says they were pretty unsubtle about it: “management made a point of singling out a colleague who uses a wheelchair, stating that if they are able to come into the office then the rest of us should be able to manage. It was mentioned what an inspiration they are.”

    2. Critical Rolls*

      Management are the folks who made a big issue of the wheelchair user’s status. LW agrees that it’s irrelevant, hence the offense.

    3. Dr. Rebecca*

      As a disabled person, we’re expected to work with accommodations (in this letter a wheelchair) but often we’re subtly discriminated against if our work is done differently than an abled person’s would be. We often end up working harder to accomplish the same amount/type/quality, and just…sucking it up, because the alternative is long drawn out discussions regarding *why* we can’t “just do it x way.”

      So, no, it’s not as simple as “they actually show up.”

      But even if the person was abled, and even if *I* was, it would bother me–“x does it why can’t you” doesn’t take into account everything from child care, to invisible illnesses/hidden disabilities, to people who need less/more distraction during their work day to be efficient, to commutes… It’s just not a great metric for making people go back to the office, when they can, and want to, work at home.

    4. pancakes*

      I want to add, even if the employee who uses a wheelchair doesn’t object to being singled out, the way management described their attendance puts pressure on them and everyone else to continue showing up, without regard for perfectly legit reasons people might want to work from home. (Pain, illness, concern for an immunosuppressed roommate, etc.). It’s fair and understandable for other employees to object to that model of work whether the wheelchair user does or does not personally feel comfortable with it.

    5. Nameless in Customer Service*

      I currently have the longest commute of anyone in my department, and I don’t use a wheelchair. If my superiors said “Nameless can make it in so ANYONE can make it in” I would be very annoyed at being used as an example like that, and would also feel like I could never take a day off.

      Now when we consider that the person they used as an example uses a wheelchair, this becomes an example of “inspiration porn” where disabled people are dehumanized into Inspirational Stories. It’s an awful practice in general and worth pushing back against.

  26. MCMonkeyBean*

    LW 2 – Even though it’s probably not a good idea your letter made me smile! It’s so nice and supportive compared to the situations we usually see about two people competing for the same job. Best of luck to you both!

  27. CouldntPickAUsername*

    #1. What garbage. They should just be honest “we spent all this money on an office and we need to justify that expense, further we can’t effectively micromanage you out of office”

  28. Rusty Shackelford*

    #1 – Oh, you guys were working remotely because of mobility issues? I thought we were just trying not to spread Covid! I feel stupid now.

  29. Dasein9*

    4. This seems to be a thing these days and it worries me if it’s going to be a trend. I’ve had co-workers overseas be angry that I didn’t work the whole weekend as they did when an emergency came up after I’d left on Friday and they had only communicated by email. All this connection and communication still fails.

  30. CCC*

    I’m hourly, non-exempt in a role that at most orgs is salary, exempt. Honestly I love it. I get paid for every hour I work. I’m public sector, so if I have too much work or off-hours stuff to attend, I either shift my hours, get comp time, or tell my boss it’s not all getting done and ask what she’d like me to do. It’s awesome, and I’d have to see a significant pay increase to be salaried ever again. I don’t punch a clock; I note my hours on our department calendar and then log them in a biweekly time sheet. Yesterday I was caught up at an event and worked about an hour later than usual, so this morning I ran a couple errands before coming in. It’s so nice.

    It’s completely convinced me that nearly all of the salary/hourly thing is a mix of classism and poor time management/boundaries– I have more responsibilities and more autonomy in this role than my last role (which was salaried). But since I’m hourly, I don’t overbook myself with too many meetings. I don’t waste time on idle chit chat. I say “no” when I have too many things going on to take on something new. All bad habits I was forced to break. I very rarely do unplanned work after 5 pm, and when I do, it’s because it’s truly important and I can justify why I need comp time or a schedule adjustment.

    Being hourly has been freeing in the same way a budget can be freeing; it sets clear boundaries for me to work within, makes it easier to set/achieve goals, and protects me from being overworked. I’d open your mind to the change, LW 5.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      I really feel the opposite. I’m both salaried and one of the few people in my office without billable hours and I find it very freeing. I find informal communications (not ‘idle chit chat’ persay but conversations that happen without a time being allocated for them) very enriching to my work. I don’t have anyone looking closely at my time and I have the flexibility to manage my workflow in a way that works well for my ADHD. I think a lot of how this plays out depends on your organization and your role.

      (Make sure your comp time is being recorded legally! True comp time is typically for salaried workers and that can be a tricky thing in hourly situations)

      1. CCC*

        I’m in higher education, so we don’t track billable hours. If I had bosses that were really paying attention to my workflow or what I was doing when, it would be aggravating at times I’m sure. But the bosses I’ve had haven’t been bean counters. I have the freedom to make the adjustments I need to, but I’m not able to be like “oh well I don’t really need to do it *now*, I can do it later tonight” for no apparent reason. I also have ADHD, and I appreciate the extra structure. Informal conversations are absolutely enriching and valuable… but not all of them, and not all the time. I have hyperactive type; if I get engaged in a conversation, particularly if I’m standing, I can absolutely chit chat for a couple hours without my brain ever registering how long it’s been. A slight external pressure on my time is very helpful.

        My state has clear laws regarding comp time for public employees; everything is just fine!

      2. This is a name, I guess*

        I’m regular hourly. My partner is billable hourly (engineering). It’s really an entirely different system. When you’re regular hourly, you still get paid for basic chit chat because it’s not like you need to bill that time to something.

        Also, CCC is in a really uncommon situation with comp time. It’s really only allowed in public sector jobs and in higher ed (and a few other places). It’s a different iteration of hourly that’s a little less desirable in my experience.

        I would HATE being billable hourly. Yikes! As a highly efficient person, I feel like it would make my life miserable!

        1. CCC*

          FWIW, I earn 1.5 hours of comp time for every 1 hour of overtime I work. There are certainly times where I’d prefer the extra cash to extra PTO, but PTO is generally something I value a lot so I’m pretty happy with the comp time. Like most people working in public education, salary isn’t a top of mind motivator for me, or I’d be doing something else.

          1. This is a name, I guess*

            Do they pay it out when you leave? My job is one of those jobs where I could work 60 hours a week every week if I wanted (I don’t) and I get plenty of vacation time that doesn’t pay out when I leave, so the money is really preference for me. I work in nonprofits, so obviously I don’t care a lot about money, but I also like nice thingsssss.

    2. Hen in a Windstorm*

      What a weird take. Hourly folks HAVE TO work their 40 hours. You can’t work less time than that and get paid the same amount, so unless you mean you don’t actually need the money of a 40-hour week, you are not better off financially. Salaried folks can work 35 and then go home if they’re done with their work. Your mindset and clear boundary-setting actually sound like why you like this job better. It has nothing to do objectively with how you are paid.

      Company culture makes more of a difference – if the culture is “work until your work is done, then go” that’s great for everyone. But a butts-in-seats mentality, the idea that “salaried” actually means “works 60 hours for the same money as 40”, and unpaid overtime can exist for either group.

      1. Zee*

        Hourly folks HAVE TO work their 40 hours. You can’t work less time than that and get paid the same amount, so unless you mean you don’t actually need the money of a 40-hour week, you are not better off financially. Salaried folks can work 35 and then go home if they’re done with their work.

        As Alison has pointed out before, your employer can deduct from your PTO if you work less than 40 hours in a week, even when you’re exempt – so you’re no better off in that respect than if you were hourly.

      2. CCC*

        I honestly have never met a salaried person who ends up working less than 40 hours a week on average. And in plenty of organizations (I’d bet that a large majority of them), a salaried person who wants an afternoon off or what have you has to take PTO for it. I understand that the concept is that you can go home when your work is done, but I don’t know how often that happens. Personally, my work is never done. There is always something else to do. I work at a community college, so it’s not like during a slower period I get to Friday afternoon and go “all the education is done now!”

        1. Gracely*

          I was that person until my work changed me from salaried exempt to salaried non-exempt back when those new salary requirements were supposed to change (and then didn’t go into effect after all).

          I hate it. I used to be able to leave when I hit a good stopping point, or take a long lunch whenever I felt like it, and now I can’t because I have to get my 40 hours in, and sometimes that means I’m having to hunt down busy work for myself. And at the same time, I’m not allowed to work overtime, so when I do have plenty of work, I have to watch my time super carefully, where I didn’t before.

          1. CCC*

            Yeah, it would be frustrating if I didn’t always have 40 hours of work to do in a week, I hate busy work. I don’t mind having to be very mindful of my time when it’s busy– it forces me to set priorities, and I’ve always had enough flexibility that if it’s actually important and urgent work that I can go over 40 hours and bank that extra time.

      3. This is a name, I guess*

        I think it’s really dependent on OT. If the OP can work OT and it’s expected they will work some OT, then lower pay some weeks is offset by higher pay other weeks. Not all workplaces will allow you to work 35hr weeks, but many will, especially if you’re hourly and they don’t have to pay you for those hours!

        Scenario: You make $50/hr. 40 work week. OT for everything over 40. Pretend there’s not PTO or paid holidays.

        Annualized, $50/hr is $104,000.

        Say the workload is:
        13 weeks @ 35 hrs ($22,750)
        26 weeks @ 40 hrs ($52,000)
        13 weeks @ 45 hours ($26,000 + $4875 OT)

        Salaried, you get paid $104,000.

        Hourly, you get paid $105,625. And, you could take PTO (vacation or sick) to top off those 35hr weeks and make them 40hrs.

        Obviously, it depends on the position, but I just wanted to illustrate why the employer-driven logic around salaried being better isn’t always mathematically advantageous for the employee.

    3. This is a name, I guess*

      I’ll just reply here, since it’s all the same discussion. I’m hourly, but an individual contributor and in a “knowledge job”. I had previously been salaried at all previous jobs.

      For reference, I’m not in government/higher ed, so I’m paid over-time for all time worked over 40 (not counting PTO) because comp time is not allowed in non-public jobs. My hours are not billable, which is also a different beast (my partner is an engineer, and needing to bill to a project is a very different kind of hourly). I’m a FT employee. This is not a job where I have a “schedule” like in retail. I just work a white collar job that’s classified as hourly.

      There are a lot, lot, lot of benefits you might be missing because of the weird classist ideas about hourly/salaried jobs (perpetuated by society, not individuals), as mentioned in another post in the this thread.

      Do not conflate PT hourly service jobs with FT hourly knowledge jobs. They are not the same. Your experience with a FT hourly job depends on: 1) level of autonomy you have to make your schedule (8-5 M-F expected? TWTh core hours 10-3? most of your work hours between 8-6pm M-F?); 2) whether you are allowed to/expected to work OT; 3) PTO policies; and 4) your manager.

      1) Overtime pay! Do you know how freeing it is to know you can potentially increase your earnings without having to ask for a raise/promotion/bonus? Obviously, this is based on whether OT is budgeted and expected (some places will have a hard stop at 40), but it’s really nice to have the opportunity to make a little more money.

      2) Earning OT really helps mitigate burn out because I’m paid extra when I go above and beyond. It’s not just expected, it’s compensated. And, you will see the results of that extra work in your paycheck in 1-2 weeks. It’s surprisingly effective as a motivator.

      3) OT forces my boss to think more critically about my workload and incentivizes her to make hard decisions. If I were salaried, they’d likely ask me to do all the extra things without thinking, but because they have to pay me $50/hr to work extra, they have to decide what’s worth the extra money. It’s good leverage with my boss to manage my workload.

      4) Submitting a timecard forces your boss to actually confront how much work you’re doing. She’s actually tracking how much time I’m working on a biweekly basis, and she actually has quantifiable evidence for my burnout. My boss comments on my OT hours regularly in a constructive way, because she worries about burnout.

      4a) Submitting a timecard can sometimes ameliorate anxiety about butt-in-seat time, especially for WFH since it’s on your timecard. (This doesn’t affect me, but I can see it.)

      5) I end up with more days off and take vacations. On weeks I take 1-2 days off, I often don’t have to use the full 8-16 hours, because I often work 9-10 hour days on the 3-4 days I work. So, I can work 30hours M-W, then use only 10hrs PTO to take off Th and F.

      6) More flexible scheduling. I don’t have butt-in-seat time or daily core hours, so I’m able to work with my energy levels and still attend appointments, etc. I will occasionally work 4 10s to get Fridays off. My work is very driven by external deadlines, so if I hit 40 on Thursday, I just take off the rest of the week and I don’t have meetings (if I don’t want to work OT). I can use my vacation more strategically, which was really nice when I first started an hadn’t accrued a lot of vacation time.

      7) Because I make more some weeks due to OT, I will just take less pay other weeks to work fewer hours. Weeks I work 35 hours I will usually just take 5 hrs PTO because I accrue so much, but if I want to save my PTO, I just take 5hrs less pay. I’ve been hourly for many years, so I know I will make up those 5 hours with 3ish hours of OT the next week or the previous week.

      8) Knowing that my company is doing the ethical thing for workers. Most jobs should not be salaried. Even in the white collar sector. Salaried is seen as more elite or whatever, but that’s due to societal baggage. In most cases, being salaried really only benefits the company because it allows employers to disrespect the work-life balance of employees and extract free labor out of them by dangling the idea of “freedom”. However, I work the same job as many salaried employees at other peer organizations, and the only real difference I see in my work is that it’s harder for me to work 35-38hr weeks without taking PTO. However, I also use wayyyy less PTO so it’s not as onerous to my time-off balance.

      1) Clocking in is ANNOYING.

      2) I am a Great Recession Graduate (2009!), and I’m still very affected by the psychology of financial and job instability, so I often feel compelled to work OT because I can. I definitely feel an urge to hoard money because I’m always afraid I’ll lose my job. I just got a promotion, and it’s borderline whether I’m salaried or hourly. I will make enough money at this level that the loss of potential OT is likely worth the ability to work more regular 35hr weeks, but just barely.

      3) Sometimes I have to use PTO if I want to take a long lunch or have a bunch of appointments, but you can often make up the hours on the weekend, in the evening, or just use PTO. However, as I mentioned above, I accrue way more PTO being hourly, so it’s all a wash to me.

      1. Zee*

        5) I end up with more days off and take vacations. On weeks I take 1-2 days off, I often don’t have to use the full 8-16 hours, because I often work 9-10 hour days on the 3-4 days I work. So, I can work 30hours M-W, then use only 10hrs PTO to take off Th and F.

        Yes! I miss this so much about being hourly. If I’m out sick or on vacation, I have to use a full 8 hours of PTO, even if I already worked more than 32 hours across the other 4 days that week.

  31. Koala dreams*

    #4 Peggy sounds infuriating! You should tell her to stop. She needs to re-schedule meetings earlier, not last minute, and they need to be during the regular workday. If they need to be earlier or later because of the time difference, it’s extra important to schedule the meetings well in advance.

    It might also be good to check with the other people. Perhaps they also dislike the changes, or they have additional background why the meetings are changed so often.

    1. I should really pick a name*

      I wouldn’t call her infuriating if she hasn’t been told that there’s a problem yet.

      1. Koala dreams*

        Inconsiderate and rude behaviour doesn’t become okay just because no one has complained yet. Probably she isn’t deliberately rude, just clueless and inconsiderate, so it’s definitely worth speaking up.

        1. Dinwar*


          It’s extremely common for people to be frustrated, angry, or uncomfortable with a situation but not want to rock the boat. As soon as someone steps up and says “This is not right, we need to fix it” folks rush to support that view, but they won’t step forward on their own.

          And stepping up doesn’t have to be confrontational. Most meetings have a “Any questions?” portion, and it’s perfectly justifiable to say “I’ve noticed we’ve had to reschedule this meeting fairly frequently; would this other time work better for everyone?” If the LW doesn’t feel comfortable doing that they can ask members of the meeting individually. Don’t make it about Peggy, make it about the meeting changes and the disruption that causes.

        2. I should really pick a name*

          From the letter, it isn’t even clear to me that Peggy knows what time the LW starts work.
          If everyone else is showing up on time, the current approach probably seems reasonable to Peggy.

          I feel like the letter is missing the details about what happens when the LW shows up late. Do they explain why they were late?

    2. I'm Just Here For The Cats!*

      I would find this infuriating. If you are scheduled to start work at 8:30 then thats when Im starting unless I’ve agreed to it before hand. What really boethers me is that its only 15 to 30 minutes before the original time.. Cmon Peggy, do you really need to start the meeting 15-30 minutes early? for what purpose?

      1. Chatty Cat-ty*

        Ya, and if these are regularly held meetings say every other week than why not just put them as a recurring meeting at 8:15?? And even in that scenario – better to have the recurring meeting set to the earliest possible meeting time and if for some reason this month it gets bumped to 8:30 then you’re at work early and know that it got bumped.

        Now, if the meeting was regularly getting bumped to a later time that would be its own version of annoying (either the meeting time needs to be evaluated just like it is now for the consistent bumping to earlier time) or the whole team is okay with knowing that even though the meetings are scheduled for 8 there’s a possibility it could start as late as 8:30 with whatever notification/communication that is agreed upon (definitely not sitting in an empty Zoom room for 30 min!).

  32. Cathleen*

    I know I’m in the (very tiny) minority on this, but for #4, I would just….check your email, briefly, on Sunday, to see if the meeting time has changed. It just doesn’t seem like a huge imposition to me, especially if a) it’s happening frequently enough to be expected at this point, b) you’re still new-ish and c) everybody else is showing up on time, even with the change. I know it’s annoying! But I’m also a person who does do a quick check of work email over the weekend, so I’m probably a weirdo.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Realistically, I would probably do the same. In the capacity of advising another person who wants to disconnect over the weekend, I’m more apt to lean towards protecting their right to do so. I also work in a culture where a lot of people do work some weekend hours and a quick email about a time change on a Sunday probably isn’t the end of the world so I don’t expect our willingness to connect briefly is the norm everywhere.

        1. Dinwar*

          I’ve done that for individual projects–you can go home, but are expected to jump on email/phone calls as needed. It makes life miserable. It’s fine for a little while, but it gets old fast.

          I mean, everyone’s different, so no one answer is correct. But I think most people have a real need to unplug on a regular basis.

        2. Eldritch Office Worker*

          Vacation I’m not answering anything. Weekends I’ll answer a teams message or glance at an email – in general there’s an ebb and flow to weekend work. I’d say most weekends someone is working but very few people work every weekend, if that makes sense.

        3. Calliope*

          This is a little bit dramatic. Everyone gets to set their own boundaries within the requirements of their job but I don’t find glancing at scheduling stuff on the weekend makes me feel like it wasn’t time off. In general, it makes me feel more like I have my ducks in a row for the week to come.

          In general, I’m a little puzzled by the outrage in these comments. The LW says they have workers in a bunch of different time zones. It also sounds like Peggy is probably juggling a bunch of requests from various senior people. The concept of going in guns blazing would just make you look terrible at most workplaces I know with this setup. And the idea that you can’t possibly be expected to start your day 30 minutes earlier when it’s entirely possible people on the other end of the line are doing this at 8pm their time? Noooooooo.

          OP, I think your attitude makes a lot more sense based on what you’ve described of your workplace than most of the commenters. Were I you, I’d ask Peggy why the meetings keep getting moved and if it’s not avoidable (which sounds like probably not from what you’ve said) I’d ask her to shoot me a text so that I can have that piece of info and only that piece of info on Sunday night.

          1. SnappinTerrapin*

            I’d be less annoyed by a permanent change to accommodate someone on the other side of the world than I would be by Peggy repeatedly changing the schedule without reasonable notice. Whatever else is going on, Peggy is disrespecting LW4’s work schedule. Peggy needs to be advised of the issue, and then she needs to make a reasonable effort to manage the meeting with due respect for all the participants.

            This is remarkably similar to the situation where someone was asked to attend a meeting during her vacation, because it was the only time everyone was available. Hard no. The person who is off work is not available.

            At the very least, afford them the courtesy of a conversation, so they can decide whether to juggle their priorities to accommodate another person’s needs. Expecting them to set aside time every weekend to check to see whether Peggy has seen another need to ask LW4 to start her workweek early is not a reasonable course of action for a person who wants to let their time off be their own free time.

            If there is a real need, it’s Peggy’s responsibility to articulate what it is, so LW4 can decide how flexible it would be reasonable for her to be.

            1. Calliope*

              This makes a lot of assumptions that don’t reflect what I see in the LWs comments though. Like that LW is intrinsically off work at 8. At a lot of work places, especially those with many time zones involved, salaried workers are expected to manage their time to make the meetings they need to make which might very well involve starting at 8 one day. And reasonable notice is all well and good until the exec in Shanghai tells you at 8am his time that he’s getting on a flight at exactly 8:30am in California later that day. Etc. That kind of thing happens all the time when a lot of people are involved in meetings and at a lot of offices, as long as folks’ calendars show availability, it’s not a faux pas to move it. (I mean, at mine we only work in one time zone and people still move things around all day based on other stuff that comes up. It’s just life.)

              By all means the LW should ask what’s going on and then figure out the best way to handle based on that, which might be a heads up situation or any number of other things, but the idea that this is objectively outrageous is just silly based on the other comments they’ve left in this thread. Likely it is at worst someone not putting time zone math together and then not realizing it creates an issue.

    2. Domino*

      Alternatively, there might be a way to set up an Outlook rule along the lines of “if [mail item type] comes in from [boss], forward to [my personal email address]” — although I don’t think you could set it to only happen on weekends unfortunately.

      1. LW4*

        Oh, that’s an interesting idea! Could be a good backup plan in case this turns out to be something Peggy can’t prevent on her own.

  33. Abigail*

    #5 – I had this exact same thing happen to me and it was very frustrating. The HR person said “Don’t worry, everything in Offer #2 (non-exempt) is exactly the same, just paid out hourly!” but then when I compared the two, the benefits, PTO, etc were slightly different, so make sure you pay attention to that.

    In my case, I took the second offer, but my boss told me to still just fill out the timecard as if I were exempt because my job (work from home, project-based office work) really does not make sense as an hourly position. So, I just reported 40 hours/week regardless of if I worked 38 or 41. I’m guessing that probably wasn’t exactly the right way to do it, but I didn’t want to be nickeled and dimed on my hours, so I just went with it.

  34. I'm Just Here For The Cats!*

    Even without asking for permission from the coworker who uses a wheelchair, I think the OP or anyone else could still push back. they wouldn’t be making a complaint on behalf of the coworker but rather they would complain for themselves. Stating to the boss that it felt extremely awkward to point out one person’s disability, just because it is visible and that it diminishes others concerns.

    1. quill*

      Yeah, something along the lines of “I worry that singling someone out for a very visible disability as the person who would have the most trouble returning to the office is sending a message to people whose health problems are less obvious (see: being immunocompromised, whatever else fits) that their concerns surrounding returning to the office are invalid.”

  35. lb*

    LW4: getting Peggy to adjust meeting times during working hours is the much, much better solution – but if it takes a while for that to happen or you just don’t think it’s going to: do you have a calendar attached to your email (like in Google or Microsoft) that would show meeting invites? You might check there Sunday nights, rather than your email, as there might be less to suck you in.

  36. Workerbee*

    #4 If Peggy won’t budge, then she is responsible for you occasionally missing her meetings. There will be no checking email over the weekend. Full stop.

  37. Delta Delta*

    #4 – I know I’ve shared this before, but I worked at a place where certain people often worked on weekends to catch up. then the boss started doing it. And he started sending emails and expecting replies, reasoning that if he was working other people could work, too. It got to the point I would feel like I was going to vomit if I saw the red bubble pop up on my email icon on my phone on Sundays because I never ever got to relax.

    tl;dr – avoid feeling like vomiting, and draw a boundary.

    1. SnappinTerrapin*

      I don’t have notifications for my personal email on my phone, and I won’t install work email on my personal phone. If I need to respond to emails around the clock, the company can afford to pay for the phone. And they can arrange for someone else to step in if I ever get a vacation.

      I had a boss who was available 24/7 for over two years without taking even a weekend off, until a month before he left. They did not pay off his accrued vacation when he left. I did not apply for promotion to a salaried position with that company, although they had a lot of turnover in the position between mine and his.

  38. HR Homebody*

    For #5 I’m not sure if that’s the correct definition of non exempt vs exempt, and hourly work. But this may just pertain to my organization with bargaining agreements in CA.

    In our organization these are the differences:

    non-exempt: if you don’t work a full day you have to cover those hours out of PTO (sick,vacation,etc.) but you do get overtime (1.5 times if full time, 1.0 times if less than full time – up till you hit 40 hours in the week then 1.5 times)

    exempt: if you work less than a full day you don’t have to cover that time out of your PTO but you don’t get overtime if you work over 40 hours in a week.

    hourly: you are paid by the hour. usually employees turn in time cards for the month to be paid at hours times pay rate.

    monthly (i assume this is what is meant by salaried?): you have a set monthly amount for your paycheck each month. you would only receive less if you didn’t have PTO to cover your absences.

    In summary, I would confirm what this means for your monthly pay – if you are now hourly does that mean you will be turning in a timecard for hours worked? is it considered full time (which means you will definitely be working 40 hours in a week but might not always have a standard schedule) or is there another expectation for how many hours it could be each week? if it is now non-exempt that assumes you will want to keep track of hours you work each week so that you can receive the overtime you are due and you’re not obligated to work outside of your standard hours but it also means you don’t have flexibility with your hours depending on your boss’ attitude, for example if your lunch goes long than that means you’ll either need to stay late or cover it with PTO. and how does the PTO earning work since you will need it to cover any absences (especially for non exempt)- which might mean no vacation until you earn enough time unless they let you adjust/reduce your check for that time not worked.

    I don’t think it’s a scam or that they are are being shady but they should have made sure to spell out all these things to you and been apologetic for the oversight. In my opinion Exempt to non-exempt isn’t too bad of an error unless that changes what you want/expect out of the job given that both have pros and cons. Hourly vs salaried is what would give me pause for all the above and how it may affect how much I’m getting paid.

  39. Candi*

    4: Unless it’s an emergency, I personally find it tacky to re-schedule meetings on off-time or with less than two days’ notice. Please push pack on Peggy’s behavior -in my book, it’s rude.

    (Meanwhile, the pessimistic side of me is wondering if she’s doing it on purpose, knowing you won’t see it until it’s too late. Maybe I’ve been reading too many bad coworker stories.)

    #1: Using a “if Sue can, anyone can” for any reason is icky, since not everyone will necessarily be able to do what Sue can for varying reasons, and it ignores all they reasons they can’t. In a work context, maybe Sue’s work means she has to be physically present, but other people can do their work remotely.

    To use a disabled person as “why you can” feels especially icky and exploitative. I wonder if a group pushback, especially including your coworker in the chair, would work better than a single person speaking up.

    (I’m thinking of The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli at the moment for some reason.)

  40. David S*

    Hey, Allison, I really love reading your column, but the current advertising layout makes it really frustrating. I understand that advertising is an important aspect of online publishing, and I’m not complaining about the fact that there is advertising. The issue is that every minute or so all the advertising reloads and the page is laid out again so that the paragraph I was reading is now positioned at a different location on the screen and I have to find where I was again. When this happens several times in a single column, I start to question whether I want to put up with the annoyance or just skip your otherwise excellent column.

  41. ResuMAYDAY*

    Monday Morning Meeting – can you permanently change these meetings to later morning on Monday or afternoon, or Tuesday morning? I think Peggy is trying to ‘train’ you into checking your emails over the weekend and you shouldn’t budge on that.

  42. SM*

    4- I have a similar situation in that I work for a European company while I’m in the US, so sometimes early morning meetings get cancelled and I don’t find out until I’m already awake. What I’ve started doing is checking the outlook app on my phone but going directly to calendar and not waiting for the mail to load. That way, you can see if the meeting has been moved/is still on, and not worry about anything else. Hopefully you have a similar option with your work email/calendar!

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