employee is too focused on typos, can I put my cat’s TikTok account on my resume, and more

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

1. My employee is too focused on typos

I am a new manager with a new employee who is a couple months in, and she has a habit of calling out my errors. Some are super silly spelling errors as I am training and typing at same time. I read everything before I send it so I can fix it, but she doesn’t give me a chance. Honestly, her fixation on minor grammar shows she is not focusing on the instruction.

When it happens while I’m training her, I say, “Let me get this out and I will go back to review it before I send my email response.” I explained to her I wanted to give her full visibility into my work, but trying to multitask doesn’t always work and I have said, “I know there are mistakes. Please just give me time to fix it as a typo is not the issue here.” She will apologize and say that she was trying not to say anything, but it overcomes her and she has to point out the typo. Meanwhile, I’ve spent 20 minutes training her on something she hasn’t retained since she saw me create the typo.

Recently she pointed out a mistake I made in a large email chain. My mistake was not even relevant to the issue being addressed in the email, and she actually confused everyone and derailed the request.

You have to tell her clearly to stop — not just in the moment or case by case, but addressing the pattern. For example: “I need you to stop pointing out typos. I understand they jump out to you and distract you, but it is preventing you from focusing on training and it’s taking me off-track. When you pointed out a typo in that email chain about the new porridge launch, it caused confusion and derailed the discussion. So from now on, I need you to not point out typos unless you’ve specifically been asked to proofread.” You might also need to say, “I agree that polished communications are important in many contexts, but they’re not always the highest priority when I’m typing quickly and will go back to proofread later or in informal communications.”

If she says that she can’t help herself because it “overcomes her” (!), you should say, “Regardless, I need you to find a way to shut down that impulse and stay focused on what we’re doing.”

This is a reasonable request and it’s highly likely that she can rein it in once you tell her it needs to stop — but you’ll need to say it clearly and without softening the message.

2. How do I deal with all these informational interview requests?

I’m in a management position at a well-respected company in my field. We are in the fortunate position of being a company that a lot of people want to work for. A lot. I frequently get requests for “informational interviews” that are really people seeking a job. They usually find me on LinkedIn, via obscure connections. Sometimes they know someone who knows someone who knows me, and the request comes in the form of an email from someone I do know.

I used to happily grant informational interviews, as a way to pay it forward. A lot of people helped me in my career, and I’d like to help younger people now that I am in a position to do so. But I get so many requests now and just can’t do it.

When I started getting more numerous requests, I would connect them with a colleague. But now, just coordinating that is taking time and ends up just shoving off the time commitment onto someone else.

While I empathize with someone just trying to get a job, I just don’t have time to do it anymore but I’m struggling with a polite way of declining the requests. Some of these people may be great future employees (or clients or partners), so I don’t want to alienate anyone or seem rude or uncaring. I don’t want to give the responsibility to someone else, because I need them to focus on work and they surely get their own requests to deal with.

Do I just ignore the LinkedIn messages (but that seems rude)? What about times when someone I do know sends me an email, requesting an informational interview on behalf of someone else?

You get to set boundaries on your time! You don’t have to respond to every LinkedIn request from a stranger; lots of people aren’t particularly attentive to their social media inboxes. But it’s also perfectly okay to respond, “I wish I could say yes but the volume of requests I receive for informational interviews is very high and my schedule is in triage mode right now. I’m unable to meet, but I wish you all the best.”

When the request comes from a connection who you know, you could say, “Thanks for thinking of me. I’ve tried to say yes to as many of these requests as I could in the past, but my schedule is so packed that I’m having to be really disciplined about not adding to it. That said, Jane sounds great and I wish her the best of luck.” If you’re wiling to offer this you could add, “But if she has one or two specific questions I can answer over email, I’d be glad to take a look at those.” (This will often weed out the people who are just angling for your time so they can pitch you on hiring them.)

3. Can I put my cat’s TikTok account on my resume?

I can’t believe I’m about to ask this question. I am an older millennial (mid-30’s) who wasn’t really into TikTok as that seems like it’s for a younger generation than me. However, I have a pet who has a weird talent so I put a few videos on TikTok and it became quite popular — nearly 30,000 followers in about 3-4 months — and I guess what would be considered a micro-influencer. Licensing requests, some small sponsorship things, etc.

I work in the marketing/communications field and am polishing up my resume. Is it insane to list this on my resume for jobs that might have a social media element? Or is it too quirky/weird, especially since it’s an account for a cat (which I fully realize is crazy, but it’s very funny to me how much people enjoy him)?

For jobs that involve social media or marketing and don’t seem completely stuffy, you can put it on your resume. The key part, though, is that you have to include context that makes the relevant part of the accomplishment clear (like garnered X followers in X months, work with brands to do XYZ, etc.). That context is what makes it relevant experience.

Of course, that’s only if you are in fact running the accounts, not your cat.

4. Corporate sabbaticals

I have only ever heard of the term sabbaticals as it related to professors back while I was still in school and working in the college of business. However, the company that I work for has recently acquired another company. There was a lot of back and forth about what benefits would carry over, etc. Through the grapevine, I heard that the acquired company had grandfathered in for their employees a five-week sabbatical for every five years that they are with the company. This is in addition to the paid annual leave they already receive.

I could see this as a huge benefit to everyone, especially someone who wants to do extensive traveling, etc. I am upset that not everyone gets this perk, but my question is, is this a common thing in finance or companies in general? I have only worked for one company since I left teaching, so I don’t have a wide set of information to go on.

Not common, very awesome.

5. What are the best professional development courses you’ve done?

I work for an education related nonprofit in learning and development. I’m wondering if you or your readers could recommend the best professional development opportunities they’ve ever participated in. My job offers ~$1000/year for professional development, but I’m having trouble finding opportunities and knowing whether they are high quality (aka worth my time). Bonus points if it falls within that budget and/or is around topics such as leadership development, women and leadership, DEI, communication, coaching and training and development.

Readers, please share in the comments.

{ 581 comments… read them below }

    1. Marnix*

      #5 — if you’re a K-12 teacher, the best professional development I ever went to and still use is Love and Logic conferences. It isn’t just for parents, lots of their books and materials are for teachers.
      Bonus: the ideas and strategies work very well with/on adults too.

      1. Hydrangea McDuff*

        Another great educational PD resource is armchaired.com Professional reading you’d want to do anyway, then you take a test and write a short essay. You can earn college credits or clock hours (for Washington state).

    2. Moira Rose*

      LW5: Admittedly I did this as more of a self-paced/self-learning thing, but I really loved the Crucial Conversations book, and they have a class (if you do an internet search for Crucial Conversations for Mastering Dialogue you will find it; I’ve been caught up in Alison’s spam filters too many times to risk a link).

      1. Hungry Magpie*

        Another vote for Crucial Conversations! There’s also a subsequent course called Crucial Accountability that I’d love to take in the future. I work as a scientist for a regulatory agency and interact with a lot of stressed/angry/uncooperative proponents. CC really helped me keep meetings on track and gave me a lot more tools in my communication toolkit.

    3. raymondholt*

      The request for DEI related professional development brings a few resources to mind:
      Team Dynamics is an intercultural capacity building organization. I got to know them through a former employer who partnered with them on yearlong DEI work, but they have an online course that individuals can take: https://www.teamdynamicsmn.com/online-series

      Pathways to Equity is a virtual cohort course focused on methods for equity in practice, historical and systemic racism within the built environment, self-reflective and community building practices, and strategies for community engagement. Though the frameworks are focused on the built environment, the tools are useful in many contexts if you are interested in DEI work. Cost is on a sliding scale. And, my favorite part, the course is offered in smaller cohorts so you build community with others invested in this work: https://www.pathwaystoequity.org/virtual-fellowship

      Mia Scharphie is a career coach focused on working with mid-career women in creative disciplines. In addition to coaching, she offers courses — some may be a fit: https://buildyourselfworkshop.com/courses-coaching/

      1. earmouse56*

        yes! just came here to say the Why Race and Gender Matters course through Team Dynamics is excellent.

    4. Seal*

      As a librarian, I highly recommend the Creative Commons Certificate program. Per their website, “the Certificate program offers in-depth courses about CC licenses, open practices and the ethos of the Commons.” You also learn quite a bit about copyright too. There are separate certificates for librarians and educators. More information at certificates.creativecommons.org.

    5. Anone*

      $1,000 would buy about 30 full-price hardback books. There’s a lot of learning that can be done that way.

      It would also cover two courses at my local community college. I would be highly tempted to take some courses in GIS, photography, podcasting, IT, agriculture, or accounting – whatever would be both interesting and useful in my position.

    6. CherryBlossom*

      #5 I had a great experience a few years back with an online class by The Together Group (formerly the Together Teacher). They focus on skills specifically for educators and people working for educational nonprofits, a lot on organization and project management, and the cost is typically pretty reasonable for individuals with a smaller budget. Definitely check them out: http://www.thetogethergroup.com

      1. Lida*

        I work in leadership development at a school district and can confirm that the Together Group is fantastic! They have trainings for teachers, for leaders, and for individual contributors and in my career I’ve taken all 3 and gotten something great out of it each time. Even if you’re already super organized, it will probably yield at least a few nuggets well worth the (low) price of attending one of their trainings!

        If you’re in a leadership position, the woman who wrote Fierce Conversations has a training company and in addition to reading the book, I would recommend their main training course (I haven’t done any of the more specific ones). I think it might be over $1000 though.

        1. Long Time Reader*

          Yes to Fierce Conversations! I did a shorter online version during the pandemic that would easily fall under your budget

    7. The Prettiest Curse*

      This company is based in the UK, but a lot of their content is relevant to other countries too. They also have free live and recorded webinars on many DEI topics – I’ve watched several recordings and found them useful.

    8. Anita*

      If you don’t otherwise have access paid-for professional coaching I’d totally recommend finding out whether you can use that PD allowance for coaching.

      1. BeckyinDuluth*

        Agreed. One of the better leadership development things I’ve gotten to attend was for women in higher ed, put on by Academic Impressions. I don’t think the conference is in your budget, but one of the things we did was a group coaching, and seeing the difference in how people presented themselves with literally 2 sentences of coaching sold me on how helpful it can be. (In this case people shared a struggle they were having communicating at work, the coach would ask them how they said it, and then would ask them to step outside the circle, frame how they were going to say it in their mind a certain way, and come back and say it. It was amazing to me that that tiny difference could make a big impact in how it sounds whe. you are talking). I know there are lots of coaches out there, so figuring out what kind you’d want and then researching who comes recommended would be key.

    9. Certaintroublemaker*

      For communications, I highly recommend Ann Wylie’s workshops. They are packed with advice and practical application if you write or edit feature stories, press releases, blogs, emails, etc.

    10. That-ptsd-chick*

      FutureLearn – online training in a bunch of DEI topics from accredited universities. About $350 AUD – soooooo worth it. Provides certificates. Currently studying anti-racist approaches in technology but have previously done intercultural communications, coding, innovation management, even a screenwriting course. Amazing resource.

    11. tamarack & fireweed*

      The best professional development training opportunities from my last few years have been:

      – Science communications training from the Alan Alda Center
      – Dr Ocean Mercier on indigenous perspectives on knowledge from the physical and environmental science
      – A session on strategically planning one’s career for people in academia and scientific research led by Leslie Kern

      1. cubone*

        Side note: I have been reading Alan Alda’s books and rewatching his Scientific Frontiers show and honestly, what a guy. Such an incredible passion for science and communication and listening to smart people talk about their work. I’m definitely going to look into the center!

      2. Belle*

        I did the Alda Center’s women in STEM leadership program, which is a separate program from their general scicomm training that they’re known for. This may not help OP if they’re not in STEM, but if you are, it was VERY worth it!

      3. EagleRay*

        Super interested in the Dr Ocean Mercier opportunity – was it in person or virtual? Do you have a link? Thanks!

      1. BeckyinDuluth*

        I took a General Assembly course last year and second that suggestion if they offer what you need. They are organized, supportive, and the company really modeled inclusiveness, from my perspective.

    12. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      Definitely a NonViolent Communication workshop. Single most impactful book of my life.

      It’s a slightly misleading term as it is not about verbal abuse, but rather about identifying your feelings and needs and communicating them to others in a way that’s most likely for them to hear you – AND, paying attention to their feelings and needs and asking about them in a way that’s most likely to build connection and get to the real issue at hand.

      I work in a very non-touchy-feeling industry and this has served me incredibly well.

      Here is their website https://www.cnvc.org/node/6856

      And if you google Nonviolent communication workshop for employers you’ll also find a lot of offerings.

      1. cubone*

        I did Crisis Prevention Institute’s nonviolent crisis intervention training and have used it time and time again – for another option rec!

        1. Elise*

          I have also done this training and found it very helpful! I think it would depend on the OP’s role though – I worked in an environment with lots of emotional moments and escalations.

    13. SG*

      IDEOU has some great seminars and trainings in leadership, systems management, etc. They have a lot of free stuff (podcasts, webinars, etc.) if you get on their mailing list, so you can see what they’re all about before actually paying for their courses. I’ve only done their free webinars, but I’ve been very impressed thus far, and would definitely considering paying for their full courses sometime soon.

      1. cubone*

        LOVED the free IDEO intro to human centered design! A fantastic methodology to explore for anyone in education or non profit.

    14. Butter Makes Things Better*

      altMBA (https://altmba.com/) is stellar, especially for generous leadership, and your classmates will be from every corner of the world. It’s a rigorous 31-day course, but the effort you put into it comes back multifold. The tuition is much higher than your allotted budget, but they have limited scholarships that factor in nonprofit applicants and can reduce the fee to $500.

    15. Princess Deviant*

      I’m in the UK and currently doing a 14- month apprenticeship in leadership and management. It’s run by the CMI (Chartered Management Institute). It’s excellent.
      All of their courses are highly regarded and of course you don’t need to do the apprenticeship, there are other much shorter courses. There are formal qualification courses, and just for interest courses available.

    16. Bizhiki*

      The AORTA Collective has some really good facilitation trainings. In their words, “unlike traditional “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” work that supports performative shifts while maintaining the status quo, AORTA focuses on creating new structures and cultivating practices that support collective governance, power sharing, and deep democratization.”

    17. Anonymous Poster*

      A PMP bootcamp and certification can be very helpful if you do anything with the government. I find that the PMP itself is of… whatever value, because most folks do project management without the PMP just fine. But it’s not a waste of time, and it really gives a leg up with government work.

        1. Delia*

          Seconding – I’ve just had shorter Lean/Six Sigma workshops, not formal certification, and I’ve found it to be a super helpful way to frame decisions.

          1. HooktAwnFonicks*

            I earned a Lean Six Sigma green belt through my former employer and it has been fantastic. It is a great way of thinking through a variety of big problems and projects, and as a manager, it’s been wonderful for a variety of contexts.

      1. theletter*

        seconding PMP courses – I took the basic PMP beginner course/CAPM prep course, and that was the most fun I had in a classroom.

    18. Panda (she/her)*

      Crucial Conversations has to be the most personally and professionally useful training I have done. The in person training is a couple thousand, but they have a self-paced online course that’s really good and just a few hundred dollars. I use this training daily.

      1. PeanutButter*

        Same. It was part of my grad school program’s orientation. I was skeptical going in especially because I’d worked ancillary to behavioral health for 10 years so I’d had a lot of practice having difficult conversations with people who weren’t in any state to respond constructively. But there were so many things in it that made SO MUCH SENSE once I heard them, and I use them every day, even in non-crucial conversations. It just really helps everyone feel included on the same team vs The Problem, instead of feeling Us vs Them.

    19. Slinky*

      If offered in your area, the Racial Equity Institute. I attended in 2015. It’s an intensive training, two full days talking about the history of race and racism in America, but life changing.

    20. Wet flannel*

      I give professional development stuff from time to time. It’s nothing formal, I’m just damn good at my job, and sometimes I coach people one-on-one, and they pay me for my time out of their prof dev funds. Maybe worth approaching people you respect and asking them for a spot of their expertise.

    21. Flufflyicculus*

      I teach PreK and have found the annual NAEYC conference to be very informative on a huge range of topics, and would be a good place to find speakers that you’d be interested in hearing again. Any PD on the Zones of Regulation or Conscious Discipline would be beneficial for SEL training. We use both in my classroom and they have been enormously helpful in teaching mindfulness and understanding and regulating how we feel and respond to our own and others emotions.

    22. Hei Hei, the Chicken from Moana*

      ASAE – American Society of Association Executives. They have great courses online and even better if you can attend in person for their certificate programs or one day sessions if you are local to the DC area. There are listservs for different interests and areas too that are fairly active.

      1. Addy*

        Came here to say this too!

        Join an association – you’ll build the connections you need not just for right now, but long term. The more you put into , the more you’ll get out of it.

        1. works with realtors*

          Thirding! I work at an association and we get ASAE membership as a benefit – if you’re planning to stay in non-profits or associations life, the CAE looks super appealing as well (it’s on my to-do list eventually!)

    23. Smithy*

      Depending on where you are located – I would also recommend asking locally if there are good local conferences that have more a networking angle. Where regardless of the learning, it’s an event/conference that is attended by a high number of your peers.

      $1000 doesn’t provide much in terms of covering travel, but if there are local conferences/learning events that have a heavy draw in your sector – that could be worth checking out.

    24. Snow Globe*

      The best development program I’ve participated in is called “Women Unlimited”, which provides leadership programs for women. There are different programs for first-time managers, mid-level leaders and senior leaders, and it really was great to connect with other women at a similar level and provide peer-support. It was a year-long program, but they also provide alumni forums and seminars.

    25. LJ*

      The facilitative leadership class from the Interactions Institute for Social Change is amazing, by far the best professional development I have ever done. It doesn’t fit in LW’s budget but is worth every penny (I am self-employed so I paid for it myself). Also seconding the AORTA recommendation elsewhere in the thread, they are fantastic.

    26. Elsa*

      As a teacher, the best professional development I ever received was a two-day workshop on the history and culture of the population we were serving. The presenter was brilliant and insightful, and even entertaining, and I left with a much better understanding of my students.

    27. Rainbow Carebear*

      I attended a truly amazing and transformative presentation on effective communication by Peter and Susan Glaser. It was focused on everything from dealing with difficult conversations (and people) to deepening trust with your supervisees. I’d highly recommend them if you have a chance to book them. https://www.theglasers.com/

    28. spartanfan*

      What would help a little bit is what industry you are in. That being said my industry organization does a number of conferences focused on professional development with various focuses. They have women’s leadership, emerging talent, and company type/department/job specific conferences that help target the focus of the discussions to fit your interest. That is the first place I would look.

    29. Abby*

      The best training I ever took was one by The Center for Creative Leadership. Our school District selected a group of us to do a week long training that was specifically geared towards educators, but they also offer a wide variety of trainings for many different fields. Although they are based on North Carolina, I believe they offer trainings all around the world. I learned so many practical skills that have helped me throughout my career.

      1. just a thought*

        seconding this! we did one for how to delegate with a volunteer board and it was incredibly helpful. They even gave us a weekly check-in template they recommend for managers

      2. Phlox*

        Their managing for racial equity, inclusion and results training was incredible. And now they have BIPOC-only cohorts, though they fill up very quickly.

    30. BlueBelle*

      #5 Any of the courses or certifications through the Association of Talent Development (ATD) are your best bet. They are respected, well-vetted, and relevant to the work you are doing. You can search/filter by price and topic as well.

      1. BlueBelle*

        You may also ask if you can use the some of the funds to join as a ATD member, which then gives you access to some free webinars and discounts to courses and conferences.

    31. Another Academic Librarian*

      The best professional development course I ever took was called “How to Avoid Death By PowerPoint.” It changed my whole attitude toward public speaking. I can’t remember who presented it (it took place in Richmond, VA), but I have used the skills it taught me constantly throughout the past 30 years.

    32. TeaGirl*

      More generally applicable courses that I would recommend regardless of industry:

      The Management Center (https://www.managementcenter.org/trainings/): Their general management trainings use a book co-written by our very own Alison. I found it actually more helpful because I HAD done other basic management trainings, so I could focus on the good stuff in this one. The focus is on non-profit, but I think a lot of it is broadly useful. Their website is also full of cool resources.

      Evergreen Data (https://stephanieevergreen.com/): Even if you are not a “data person” per say, but someone who has to present data at any point, her classes have been fun and informative. I hate doing data visualization, but I definitely feel more confident about what I’m doing with her techniques in my tool box. Again, another website with lots of resources to fall back on.

      If you do a lot of written communication, I would also suggest looking into resource about Plain Language. There are lots of materials and trainings out there, often free/cheap because it’s a US Federal Government policy. We have a technical writer at my work and the information he has shared around Plain Language has been game-changing in our communication, especially with clients.

    33. A in Houston*

      For DEI, check out Equity in the Center. They have trainings for all, including allies.

      Does a local college of a professional resource center or continuing education? I.e. at Rice University in Houston, there’s the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies. If you’re in nonprofit, they have great courses for nonprofit leadership.

      1. postscript*

        +1 for Equity in the Center, I’ve taken multiple trainings with them on racial justice and DEI issues, really excellent trainers and they attract thoughtful participants as well so there is good peer learning.

    34. Queen of the Introverts*

      Does anyone have recommendations for management courses for first-time managers in the US? I looked as some of the other organizations mentioned (Women United looks awesome!) but those seem to focus more on leadership, not management. Thx in advance.

      1. whippet*

        Forgot to say that although The Inclusive Manager’s Toolkit course typically costs more than $1000, there is usually reduced pricing (under $1000) offered a few months in advance of the next cohort. You purchase access once and can drop in to participate with another cohort at any point you want to in the future to get a refresher and learn from new participants.

    35. JE Locke*

      If you are in a business field, I believe the best professional development program would be one that leads to a professional certification–the PMP (Project Management Professional) is a good one. You will probably have to pass a certification examination and be able to list a certain amount and type of experience, but these certifications can really make the difference between you and other candidates.

    36. Heather*

      This one is a little bigger than your price tag, but one I’m doing for my own professional development this fall. I also work at a nonprofit in learning development and learning design.


      It’s a learning design course that you can do part-time over several weeks, and the big thing for me: it offers regular refreshers and updates. So you can come back and take a refresher course in 6 months to a year to see what new tech and software is being recommended, how its used, and more to help you keep on top of a really regularly changing landscape.

    37. RK*

      Global Learning Partner’s “Foundations of Dialogue Education” training really transformed how my team communicates with the people we work with and how we conduct trainings. We are a government agency that audits local programs and provides a lot of technical assistance and training to those programs to make sure they’re following regulations. We used to be a “read the power point” sort of organization. After we participated in this training and implemented what we learned, we started getting amazing responses about how much our classes had improved – and noticed that people had really absorbed what we were trying to teach. It’s centered around how to create training for adults, but also about general communication skills. I’ve noticed that our success rate in communicating during our audits has really improved as a result of the training as well, and the whole mentality of the team in how we conduct our work has really changed to really center on the needs of the people and programs we’re reviewing. The training itself was fun and engaging in addition to being so transformative.

    38. JB*

      1) Get involved in professional organizations in your field. Yes, many will have a membership fee and there may be associated costs – perhaps a monthly dinner meeting. But it’s one of the best professional development resources. (And see if your employer will cover membership.) These groups tend to have professional development as part of their monthly meetings, often an annual conference, are a great source of referrals, and sometimes provide discounted opportunities.
      2) If on a budget check out training programs offered by local community colleges, public universities, and any government agencies affiliated with workforce development. You still want personal referrals for an actual class, but generally speaking these tend to cost less than private companies.
      3) If you can find a class that would benefit your entire team, see if your company can bring in a private class. The per person cost is usually much cheaper, and your employer can can pull from the overall budget.
      – – I’ve been to dozens of programs over the years and hosted hundreds of tech programs and conferences. LOL! The most personally impactful class I ever attended was a team building/personality class based on colors that a state agency trainer taught our workgroup for about $69 a person! You can find gems in unexpected places.

      1. JB*

        BTW – in referring to community colleges and public universities, I’m referring to their continuing education and other adult learning programs – not the standard semester-long classes designed for student credit. (Those may be valuable also, depending what you need to learn.) Most higher ed institutions have various programs and centers beyond the student degree tracks.

    39. Red*

      Oh for leadership and management check out your local Small Business Association or Economic Development Institute! They usually have great classes on how to manage, lead others and other professional development courses. Or check out you local community college? They might have courses in business management, leadership, or if you’re in a field where it makes sense more hard skills like excel or coding.
      You could also, if it makes sense for your industry, seek out further certification like QuickBooks advisor, or Microsoft Office Specialist Certification, or Six Sigma, etc. Just google {your industry} + certification to get some ideas of what makes sense.

    40. Employee of the Bearimy*

      LW #5 – At my last job I was trained in the Appreciative Inquiry model, which is an approach to organizational change and leadership management, and it was so incredibly useful to me as I’ve advanced in my career. The basic idea behind it is a very positive, solution-drive approach to managing people or outcomes (it’s easily Googleable if you want to know more), and it gave me a framework to think about everything from strategic planning to managing personnel issues. I really recommend it.

    41. mrs whosit*

      Thinking DEI, Crossroads Antiracism Organizing & Training (they’re based in Chicago, I think) has done excellent training workshops I’ve been a part of. Related, Teaching Tolerance offers DEI-focused training, too. (The second one may be more classroom-focused than you’d want.)

    42. Erica*

      Public speaking with Beth Trimarco — she’s so great and makes it fun! I also found Clifton Strengthfinder assessment very helpful.

    43. AnotherSarah*

      HIGHLY recommend the OpEd Project–their goal is to get more voices into the media. Anyone with expertise in a particular area who wants to be able to translate that expertise to a non-specialist audience will benefit from their workshop. They also offer follow-up mentoring. They have an explicit goal of helping women and minorities, but anyone can take their workshops.

    44. Just Me*

      I highly recommend taking continuing education or college courses in your field if you can. Obviously not all courses are less than $1,000, but some are. If there are any universities or community colleges near you, they may offer night classes related to those things. My work for example pays for us all to take higher-ed courses, and the university where I’m taking my night class also has a social justice leadership certificate.

    45. G*

      I’ve not signed up for it yet but top of my list is to register for lpiLearn from Learning Performane Institute. Loads of great content, all available digitally. I would think 1 years access would be in budget.

    46. addicted to reading*

      For those in government communications–especially if there is a emergency response part of your role–look up the FEMA courses for Public Information Officers. Advanced PIO made me cry, but I’ve also retaken it a few times and consider it the single most valuable training course I’ve ever taken.

      In California, these courses are offered through CalOES/California Specialized Training Institute.

    47. Kit C.*

      LW5 – 21/64 ran an amazing course on “The Art of Facilitation” that I loved. Their content is typically geared towards philanthropy/financial professionals working across different generations so this might not be the best combo for you, but I really feel that the course gave me lots of tools to be come a better meeting facilitator (using my voice, my body language, scanning the room, etc.) instead of focusing on logistics like how to write an effective agenda.
      The virtual course ($1,400) was 4 days of 3 hour sessions running a few times a year and they have an in-person version about once a year as well. Their website is https://2164.net

    48. Former One-trick Pony*

      I recommend The Conferences for Women: https://www.conferencesforwomen.org/
      There are several across the country, and they usually have awesome keynote speakers and breakout sessions. I was fortunate enough to have my work send me to the Texas Conference for Women one year, and I got a lot out of it. That was before the pandemic, so I’m not sure what the hybrid and virtual conferences are like. (It’s open to all genders. The men who go often say they get even more out of it than the women do because of the new perspectives.)

      If your company encourages self-paced learning through books, I’d recommend:
      – How Women Rise by Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith
      – The Right and Wrong Stuff: How Brilliant Careers are Made and Unmade by Carter Cast
      – The Memo by Minda Harts
      – Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office by Lois P. Frankel (some of the advice is dated, but some is spot on)
      – Myth of the Nice Girl by Fran Hauser (in response to Frankel’s book)

    49. Skeeder Jones*

      If you are looking for courses on learning and development, I’d recommend you check out the Association for Talent Development (td.org). They are very well respected.

    50. Ms_Meercat*

      Originally these were focused more on business, business strategy, etc, but I believe they both have now expanded also their portfolio to include leadership-focused things, so at least worth checking out – On Deck and Section4. Both have a cohort-based learning model, blending off- and online learning sessions.

    51. Instructional Guide*

      If you can find a professional development through Courageous Conversations about Race I highly recommend it! I did a CRT focused school building leadership graduate program and I also run a bunch of PD at my school and I think Courageous Conversations is one of the most thoughtful programs out there in terms of building meaningful practices in your life to combat racism.

    52. JackInTheBox*

      California and Pennsylvania Conferences for Women have been virtual the past couple years and have great women speakers and often touch on leadership, DEI, and personal development as well as professional. I belive tickets are $125-175 each.

        1. kathy*

          it’s funny. We have a cat who is also internet famous (something like 50 million views on youtube), but I would never put that on my resume. It sometimes comes out in conversation as a ‘quirky’ fact. But the differences are that we just have one viral video, we’re not actively creating new content and managing the ‘brand’. And I’m not in a marketing or adjacent field.
          I would definitely love to see this on a resume though. Especially in a field related to marketing, social media, etc.

          1. Grand Admiral Thrawn Is Blue Forevermore*

            Slightly off topic… I was a big fan of Grumpy Cat until I realized the owner was making a lot of money off of her genetic condition. It began to feel very demeaning and cruel to GC.

            1. Peachtree*

              I mean this as a genuine question … why does it feel different to a cat with an unusual face or silly walk because the cat has a genetic disorder? I kind of feel bad … but also I can see it being okay … interested in others views for sure!

              1. Sam Yao*

                It depends on the owner, imo. Lil BUB’s unique appearance was also due to genetic disorders, but what always came through in her content was how much her owner loved her and how dedicated he was to making her comfortable and happy. He was sharing her, not exploiting her. Sometimes with Grumpy it was hard to tell.

                1. Grand Admiral Thrawn Is Blue Forevermore*

                  Exactly this. Lil Bub was always shown with love and respect. GC… eventually it just started getting a mean vibe. Like they were just using her for the money her pics would bring in.

                2. Tedious Cat*

                  I cried when Lil BUB died. Her owner loved her so much and, instead of just making money off her, used her to promote doing genuine good in the world.

              2. Heather*

                The owners named Grumpy Cat a slur for people with intellectual disabilities and claimed that it was a nickname for her original name: “Tardar Sauce.” Not super believable. Realizing that the owners had disdain for the cat because of her disorder really tarnished their whole shtick for me, personally.

                1. Eff Walsingham*

                  I… never properly metabolized that information before now. I thought maybe it was just a misspelling or a mistranslation or something. Now I’m shocked, and sad. What is WRONG with society??

              3. Software Dev (she/her)*

                In the case of grumpy cat, I saw the owner take the cat to a lot of events, hauling it all around the country. Some cats might do OK with this, but I don’t feel like most of them would. So it started to feel exploitive, like the cat’s wellbeing wasn’t being considered.

        2. Just Your Everyday Crone*

          I’ve seen my orange tabby walk (a couple of steps like a toddler), but in true cat fashion, he refuses to perform for a camera. He’s like that frog in that old cartoon.

          1. Blarg*

            My (RIP) orange tabby was just a stereotypical fraidy cat whose greatest talent was “hiding.” If he couldn’t see you, you def could not see him. Under the yoga mat. In the sink at the vet, etc. But also actual hiding spots, like inside the box spring or on the top shelf of the closet on some old sheets.

            He once escaped from his pet carrier under the seat in front of me on a flight, not realizing he was already in the very safest/best hiding spot, and was at the cockpit door, wide eyed and trembling, when I was awakened by a neighbor. I was chastised by the flight attendants and explained I hadn’t let him out, and didn’t know how he’d gotten out (I later observed him pawing at the zippers til they opened, at which point I safety-pinned them shut). And, somewhere on social media I imagine there’s documentation, as a whole class of middle school kids was also on the flight, recording my walk of shame back to my seat.

            I miss him.

      1. My dear Wormwood*

        For some reason I deeply love these kind of accounts. I’m currently following 2 different pet birds with their own quirks (WAT DOING???) that never fail to put a smile on my face.
        LW1, if you’re making money or resume fodder out of this, I salute you.

        1. LolaBugg*

          I love the WHAT DOING bird! My husband and I have started squawking WHAT DOING at each other when we want to get the other’s attention haha

          1. ffs*

            After 20+ years of living with different parrots, my household also uses bird words to communicate, even though our last bird flew over the rainbow bridge a few years ago. ‘Talk be nice’ ‘you go night’ ‘want big mac’ etc. Our best talker lived with 2 teenage boys for a while and had a lovely 4-letter word vocabulary.

      2. Casper Lives*

        He’s wonderful, I love him! I’ve got a fluffier orange boy who stands like that. But only on his box looking at squirrels, birds, and bees out the window. I’d bust a guy laughing if he did it all the time.

      3. Wendy Darling*

        But I was having such a good time assuming his hidden talent was in fact running social media accounts!

        I guess it is entirely plausible that he’s so good at standing because he needs his front paws free to type.

      4. SelinaKyle*

        I got very excited when I realised this was a cat I already followed. I love golden balls of sunshine.
        Congratulations on your account and good look with your job search.

      5. CSW*

        @LW3 I have an ex-colleague who grew her Instagram and TikTok to 30k-40K each. How she lists it on her CV/LinkedIn is as a different job called ‘social media content creator’, then stated her successes eg. ‘Grew the social media account by xxx% over the course of xx months’. I think she lists both under that title.

        Granted, she is basically a micro-influencer since she does branded partnerships and everything (also one of the successes she lists), but with a social media account that of that size, I firmly believe it’s basically side hustle. Also, she parlayed that successfully into a digital-marketing focused job in 2020. :)

      6. Carlie*

        I was really hoping it was Jorts and the special talent was advocating for social change. :)

        1. MsM*

          Jorts’ follower count is in the six-figure range at this point. Goals for OP and colleague to aspire to, if they wish.

      7. Safety First*

        “Of course, that’s only if you are in fact running the accounts, not your cat.”

        Alison, this made my day. Thank you for that.

      8. JTP*

        I’m so glad you posted the links! I followed on Instagram. I lived most of my life in Philly, though now live in the ‘burbs!

      9. Cj*

        After this post, she’ll probably be able to say she added a few thousand followers on one day.

        This cat is adorable, and the music really adds to it.

      10. Yvette*

        Very cute! His one ear tip is cut, was he rescued from a SNR (Spay Neuter Release) program? If he was thank you for getting him off the streests and into a good home!

        1. OP Orange Cat Standing*

          Yes! He was a former stray that the rescuer decided was too friendly to put back on the streets (our city has a robust TNR program)

          1. Ace in the Hole*

            That’s excellent! There are a lot of friendly cats hiding in feral/semi-feral colonies. My current two kitties were intended to be TNR but we never got around to the R part because they were such love bugs.

          2. Yvette*

            Right! TNR not SPN! At least I had the concept correct. Anyway, good for you and him. It is easy to see you make each other happy.

      11. Nikki*

        Yesssss! So glad Alison shared this info. I’ve followed this cool cat on Instagram!

        FWIW, when I apply to social media or content creation jobs, I put my cat’s Instagram on the resume. He has 49,000 followers and I run his account like a business—creating all his content, doing brand partnerships, selling merch, and using our platform to do good, like donating to shelters and cats in need of help, as well as black cat advocacy. (He’s http://www.instagram.com/mannyhalloweencat.)

        In addition, I run a side business helping other people start cat Instagram accounts, as well as help established cat accounts learn how to work with brands. That goes on the resume too!

        All of the stuff I do on Instagram makes me a better writer and marketer at my day job as well as outside of it, and at this point I’ll only apply to places that I sense would value that experience.

      12. Princesss Sparklepony*

        Thank you. I came to the comments for the cat pictures.
        That is a very cute chonky cat.

    1. GammaGirl1908*

      I came to the comments with my fingers crossed that we’d find out the pet’s talent! SO glad not to be disappointed!

      1. Anon Supervisor*

        Word. I barely read the advice because I was already hoping the account was going to be listed for us to enjoy.

    2. Elder Millennial*

      I deeply appreciate you asking and the LW’s permission to share, because I, too, wanted to know so badly.

    3. Popinki*

      I used to have a chubby orange boy named Marmie who looked almost exactly like that (he had white cheeks and chest). He used to stand up like that when he wanted to be petted <3

    4. Grand Admiral Thrawn Is Blue Forevermore*

      Of course the cat is responsible for the human’s success!! Always is.

  1. CC34*

    My (non-finance) company does sabbaticals! Four weeks every ten years. I’m already planning mine and it’s eight years away lol (if I stay there that long)

    1. It's a me*

      This is pretty common in biotech too. My company has the same 5 years = 5 weeks, and something larger at 10 years.

      1. Be kind, rewind*

        Yep I’m aware of at least 1 Cambridge/Boston based biotech that does this. Definitely caught my attention when I was looking for jobs on their site!

      2. Mr. Bob Dobalina*

        Yes, I work in biotech/pharmaceutical industry in Massachusetts and I have heard of several companies in this industry offering sabbaticals. I used to work for a pharma company that had a 3-week sabbatical on each 5-year work anniversary. People change jobs so often in this industry that I can’t imagine many folks got to take advantage of it!

    2. AnitA*

      I’m confused by what is meant by sabbaticals here. :)

      In my experience in academia a sabbatical is used for something work related – teaching at another university, finishing a book, time at another institution focusing in a research topic. I struggle to see how that translates to a private sector context, 5 weeks to work at a competitor? To do what?

      It sounds more to me like what we call long service leave. As well as your regular annual allowance of annual leave you get an extra big lump after a set period to have an extra big holiday.

      1. Sleepy cat*

        It’s what everyone outside academia calls long service leave, yes. It’s a common term used by lots of people! Just means something different.

      2. anone*

        “A sabbatical is a rest or break from work. The concept of the sabbatical is based on the Biblical practice of shmita, which is related to agriculture. According to Leviticus 25, Jews in the Land of Israel must take a year-long break from working the fields every seven years.” From Wikipedia.

        So sabbatical originally meant actually taking a break (and sounds like a good practice of regenerative agriculture and not over-farming the land). I’m guessing that academics being academics (I am an escapee from academia), it just turned into “taking a break from one kind of work to do another kind of work because there’s no such thing as not working amirite?” Ahh, academia.

        1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

          The linguistic origin relationship between Sabbath and Sabbatical just hit me.

        2. Mallory Janis Ian*

          “I’m guessing that academics being academics (I am an escapee from academia), it just turned into “taking a break from one kind of work to do another kind of work ”

          I always took it as taking a break from the work you *have* to do (teaching, advising, committee work, etc.) to focus on work you ostensibly *want* to do (research) or also have to do (publication) but that is easier to do without the other work being in the way of it.

      3. MK*

        In my field (government, judiciary system) what you call a sabbatical would an educational leave, or a temporary assignment (common for people who do a stint at EU institutions).

      4. Fikly*

        I used to work for a start up that had this as a benefit, you got 4 or 5 weeks after five years. You could use it for anything, no questions asked, and it was pretty clearly meant to try and lure people to stay for 5 years. Which makes sense, given the now norm of (for good reasons) of not staying at one company for more than a few years. Companies are going to have to do new things to retain talented employees, and 4-5 fully paid weeks of extra leave after x number of years is a powerful incentive to stay.

        Granted, the company I worked for had only just hit 6 years, so the number of employees eligible was very small, but I did know one person who combined her sabbatical with her 12 weeks of parental leave and then took 16 weeks total when she had a baby.

      5. Laure001*

        In France a sabbatical in this context would mean you take a long break from work, to do anything you want, and generally what people do is travel. :)
        You could also use the word to mean “a big break from work where you’re going to reassess things” even if no-one is offering it to you. I’m a freelancer, nobody is ever going to pay me to go on sabbatical. But I could do it myself, in theory. Except obviously I would be broke… :)

      6. Richard Hershberger*

        Pastoral sabbaticals are a thing in my church (Lutheran-ELCA version). The pastor presents the church council with a plan for the sabbatical. It isn’t simply an extra long vacation. There is some sort of project or professional or spiritual development involved.

        1. Rosemary*

          Also common in UK churches, at least the mainstream denominations. My husband is a clergyman and has just come back from his; he gets three months every ten years. He used most of it on research, but we also got a week of family holiday paid for by the denomination. I don’t think he had to present his plan for approval though.

      7. Lenora Rose*

        Even in academia it started as an “If we don’t do this, our professors burn out”. (Even Bill Watterson had to take one for that reason.) Instead it turned into a busman’s holiday mostly because the concept of rest has been so much denigrated, especially from thinking or creative work.

      8. Phony Genius*

        When I was in public school, I had a teacher who was going on sabbatical. She explained that it’s not time off. They are very strict about using it for educational purposes, with requirements for course content and number of credits. She felt it was actually more work for her than teaching, but she wanted to take the courses.

      9. Mr. Bob Dobalina*

        In the US, for-profit corporations that offer a paid leave that consists of a certain number of weeks that must be taken together/consecutively, will often called it a sabbatical, as distinguished from paid vacation days or PTO (paid time-off ) that may be taken in daily or even hourly increments.

    3. SatsumaWolf*

      My non-finance company offers sabbaticals too. They only kick in after 10 years of service and they are unpaid unlike, it seems, the lon service leave referenced by some in the comments). It’s a way to take extended time off (length agreed prior to taking it) but know your job will still be there for you when you return.

      1. TechWorker*

        Same, the ones my company used to offer were unpaid, but also much longer – think after 10 years taking 6 months off to travel.

    4. londonedit*

      Several years ago I worked for a small publishing company that offered sabbaticals – I think it was four or six weeks every 10 years. You had to take it as one chunk of leave (so it wasn’t just extra holiday allowance) and the company was bought out by a bigger publisher just after I left so I doubt it’s still in place, but it was cool. I didn’t get anywhere near 10 years but someone else did while I was working there and they thoroughly enjoyed their long holiday! I think it’s a great idea, I’d love a sabbatical.

    5. Nym*

      My (EU) organisation provides a lot of paid leave to all employees (slightly over 550 hours a year). It allows for regular 4-week vacations, and they’re the best, you really decompress. I hope you get to have yours!

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I’ve only had the one but it really refreshed me. In the middle of it, I was walking around a small Welsh village and suddenly realized I’d forgotten I even had a job. When I came back, I felt super rejuvenated. Longer vacations and more PTO in general should definitely be more of a thing.

        1. Mr. Shark*

          Wow, that sounds amazing…just forgetting you had a job! I have my annual 2 week vacation that gets close to that point, but my job is still in the background of my mind and in discussions. To totally forget about it for even a little while would be bliss.

    6. shedubba*

      My sister (in the US) used to work at a company that offered a sabbatical every five years of working at the company. The first one was I think 4 weeks off, paid, in one chunk, and if you used your sabbatical to travel to a country you’d never been to before, the company would pay airfare for you and another person, and a per diem I think. For each successive sabbatical, the perks got bigger (more weeks off, more people the company would pay for you to take with).

      Unfortunately, there were a lot of culture problems at that company, and it was pretty uncommon for people to stay long enough to take a sabbatical. Hardly anyone made it long enough to take two.

      1. Delia*

        I’m pretty sure I know which company that is ;) I live where it’s based (so know a lot of current and former employees) and know exactly one person who has taken the sabbatical. They used it on their honeymoon and went to Italy. They do get a per diem, but that didn’t cover their expenses in Italy – it would have in a less expensive country though. Ten years is a free trip for four, but I’m not sure if they’re going to make it that long.

        1. JM*

          And this is what I want to know more about. I have a relative’s husband who took a job at a place like this in the US. There are benefits, etc. but the pay for me didn’t seem great, and the ones that take this trip at the five-year mark seem to be the higher level professionals, not the admin staff, but it seems to be available to all? It seems almost too good to be true, like golden handcuffs, they have to pay the taxes on it when they get back, etc. Am I missing something? It seems like a scam to me, but I am not in the corporate field, so have never been offered something like this.

      2. Nusuth*

        I came here to see if anyone mentioned this company! I have exactly the same experience – several friends who worked there, exactly one who made it the full five years to get a sabbatical. There was apparently very little help in coordinating work that emerges during the gap, too, so everyone they knew who took it worked like crazy before and came back to an enormous pile of work that everyone was already annoyed was late.

        1. PenelopeFeatherington*

          I worked at this company for 8 years and got to take my 5 year one. Definitely a nice benefit, although their yearly vacation and sick time is pretty low, so when you take that into account its not as much extra time as it seems at first. Also they tend to work you to the point of burnout in many roles. From my experience there, I don’t think benefits like this are necessary indicative of super employee friendly culture.

    7. Colette*

      Yeah, I worked somewhere that had sabbaticals (paid chunks of extra vacation that had to be taken all at once) every 5 years. I think it started at 3 years, then 4, then 5, but I’m not sure of the details since I wasn’t there long enough to take one.

    8. Person of Interest*

      I was on a nonprofit board where we granted a sabbatical to the ED, but she was using it for research and big picture planning that we put some structure to before she left, it wasn’t just leave time. Probably more like academia. She did though also travel.

    9. Sloanicota*

      I wish this was common and expected as a culture!! It’s not a thing in my field or for anyone I know. Even just a once-a-career sabbatical would make a huge difference to people. I guess most folks would just end up using at parental leave or sick leave but for me personally it would influence my decision to stay at one company for five or ten years. Please make it a thing employers!!

    10. sequitur*

      I work for a tech company in the UK that offers sabbaticals, six weeks of paid leave for every five years of service. I’m about to take my second in May and early June and very much looking forward to it!

    11. Anonym*

      My finance company introduced it recently for people who’ve been here at least five years. 90 days, unpaid, must plan ahead and get manager approval. I really want to do it, but will be (hopefully) taking maternity leave in the next year, and I’m not sure that taking another 3 months close to that would be well received. :/

      But this program and other great benefits are a big part of why I’ve stayed for so long, and will probably continue to, so it’s working! Companies, add more benefits like sabbatical programs – they work!!

    12. Beth*

      The first finance company I worked for did sabbaticals — but only for the top execs/owners. Who did not need them, unlike their overworked, undersupported, and underpaid staff. They gave themselves each an extra five weeks off on alternate years.

      It did have some benefit; it meant five weeks each year during which only one top exec was wreaking havoc instead of two.

    13. de_Pizan*

      I temped at a law firm for a woman (who was a library technician) who went on a 3 month sabbatical. The firm would give one of that length to every single worker, regardless of position after every 10 years. I thought that was cool (although also thought maybe every 3-5 years would have been even better….).

    14. Ama*

      My father’s former employer (CPA firm) did them for anyone above a certain level (a full month every five years). He only got three sabbaticals because they didn’t introduce this policy until he’d been there a while, but they also let him go ahead and take his final sabbatical last year even though he’d already told them he was retiring six months later (he said everyone in the office looked on it as a “trial run” for his retirement, so they could identify any areas they needed additional briefings on before he officially left).

      I really wish this was a thing in my sector (nonprofit grant funder) as burnout and lack of cross-training is a real issue here and I think it would result in not just happier employees, but organizations that were better equipped to handle standard employee turnover.

    15. Silicon Valley Girl*

      Fin-tech, so partly finance, & I’m about to start my sabbatical next week! It’s a paid month of vacation after working 5 years. It’s interesting how, in tech, a lot of employees seem to jump around a lot, but at this company, plenty do stay long enough to earn a sabbatical. Some have even had two.

    16. JustaTech*

      My husband’s tech company offers 4 weeks every 5 years. He used his to train for a half ironman (which was great because I actually got to see him during the training season).

      My company (biotech) has never offered it, and if asked, well, I can only imagine the laughing.

    17. KTB1*

      My (very much non-finance) company does an official sabbatical. You’re eligible at 10 years, and can take up to a year unpaid. One of my colleagues/friends took hers a few years ago and did a bunch of traveling and volunteering.

      My husband’s (also non-finance) company does a similar thing at 10 years and a certain level of seniority.

    18. Koalafied*

      3-6 months after 5 years at my company, but it’s unpaid (they keep all your benefits going though), which is the main reason I haven’t used it yet even though I’ve qualified twice over. Savings account isn’t yet in a place where I’d be cool with draining 3 months of living expenses from it. I do plan to use it eventually…maybe another 2 years I’ll have enough saved.

  2. Oysters and Gender Freedoms*

    We know what’s going to happen with number 3. They’ll take the job and the work will really be done by the cat.

    1. miro*

      Oh yeah for sure!

      Alison, how would you handle an employee who you realize is outsourcing their work to their pet? Is that an immediate PIP situation or does it depend on how fluffy the animal is? :)

      1. The Prettiest Curse*

        I would recommend having regular on-camera cat appearances on staff Zoom meetings as a required goal in a PIP.

        1. Waving not Drowning*

          my cat has been banned from work Zoom calls after she repeatedly waved her butt at my boss on camera

          1. Mre. Pommeroy*

            Did your boss ban her or did you? Are you her manager? Or is she actually a co-worker and you overstepped in banning her from work Zoom calls? Also, is your boss glad (no more cat butt flashing) or sad (no more fluffy cuddle to look at) about it? So many questions ;D

            1. Elder Millennial*

              I think you missed the most obvious possibility here: is the cat secretly the manager and was she her “banning” actually a way to just do less work?

            2. Waving not Drowning*

              Boss is more a dog person than a cat person – he did a double take when his screen filled up with fluffy cat butt, and there was a “what the hell is that” comment……

              Princess Fluffy Buns (one of her many many MANY names) is not a co worker – she’s just one of those busy body workmates who has to interject into every conversation, adding her (unwanted) opinion – in fact, she further hinders work by falling asleep on my keyboard meaning I can’t work (which of course, I can’t move her, because, you don’t move a sleeping pet! Its against the law!!)

              1. Lady_Lessa*

                My roommate, sometimes known as “Caticus Braticus” is known for walking on my keyboard and blocking the screen. Since I am unable to work from home, it’s only after I get home. She gets her nickname for darting out of the apartment to go walk on the steps after I get home. (She can’t get outside because there is a second door and she wants back in at the least sound.

    2. The Prettiest Curse*

      This comment nearly made me spit orange juice all over my brand new phone, and I usually don’t get the giggles early in the morning (UK time.)

    3. Covered in Bees*

      I’m picturing that attorney who couldn’t figure out zoom filters: “In promise you, I’m not a cat!”

    4. Nom*

      My cat is an official member of my team. My team is 3 humans and 1 cat, so we always say 4 team members :). And every time I take vacation I say”[cat] and i will be out”

    5. Jennifer Strange*

      My husband played a video game where there are multiple endings depending on the choices you make in the game, and in one of them you discover that the entire thing was being orchestrated behind the scenes by a dog. They literally show a dog sitting behind a control panel pushing buttons and wearing a headset. That’s how I’m picturing the cat in this instance.

      1. Mademoiselle Sugarlump*

        Thanks for sharing your cat’s handle! They’re doing a great job and I recommend hiring them.

  3. Eric*

    #2, if most of these people are targeting the same or similar positions, you may find it helpful to spend the time (just once) to write up a paragraph or two that gives some useful information. That way you can respond, feel/be helpful, but not take up much time. What I put together was very similar to the opening explanation that I would give when doing phone interviews with job candidates.

      1. Freelance Anything*

        I second the Q+A.

        A really good company near me (with generally great hiring practices, in terms of accessibility) always holds zoom Q+As around the midway point of all recruitment drives. So they tend to group similar jobs if there’re multiple openings at once.

        It’s not a full Q+A, they have members of staff give short talks on the role and the work, and generally make sure to cover a lot of basic things before they open to questions.

        They also use the Webinar format for the Q+A so all questions are submiited in writing during the session, and someone can moderate, pass on the questions to the speakers etc. Prevents any real grandstanding/ ‘comment-not-a-question’/ time hogs etc.

      2. LoopDeDoop*

        I was going to suggest a group Q/A or seminar occasionally (twice a year? Once a quarter?). Charge something small like $5-10 to weed out the “spammers” and provide snacks/beverages/nothing but your time.

        Combined with a few paragraph template outlining the biggest tips or FAQ, that should get the time commitment down to a reasonable level.

    1. Anonym*

      Yeah, Alison has given similar advice before. I was expecting to see that in the answer.

      I’m also imagining OP kindly sharing the FAQ/info with people, and having some of them respond, disappointed, with “…but I was trying to trick you into giving me a job!”

    2. Morgan*

      #3 I had a candidate who included his 2010s-era YouTube sketch comedy channel on his resume. He didn’t get the job b/c we had a bit of a unicorn candidate in the pool with him but (and maybe it’s because I work in tech) I am glad he included it. It did not hurt his candidacy in any way and in fact made me kinda sad I couldn’t hire him. He would’ve been working with our marketing team so it was tangentially relevant to the role.

  4. KatieA978*

    For #4, Australia has Long Service Leave provisions built in – 10 weeks paid leave after 10 years (plus quite a few companies have it activate at 5 years, so you can either start taking some, or build it up to 10 years to get all 10 weeks at once). Is that the same thing?

    1. Phil*

      Was going to chime in with this? Is it 10 weeks? Mine unlocked two years ago and I only had 8. :/

      1. Snuck*

        It can depend on industry/award and any EBAs/employer arrangements.

        In most general awards in WA it’s 10 weeks after 10 years (I think!) and then every five years after you can access pro rata the same (so you could not take it for 7yrs and get 7yrs worth, but can access from 5 yrs onwards). I’m not certain, I’m not a payroll officer, but it’s something like that.

    2. Not playing your game anymore*

      At our university, a Sabbatical isn’t just a vacation you get after 7 years… It implies some sort of career-related work. You are writing that textbook you’ve been planning, finishing up the 14 articles you’ve been meaning to revise for publication. You’re teaching for a semester at Purdue, or alternatively running STEM classes for underprivileged children. You’re working in industry to get hand’s experience for the new program you’re starting…

      1. MK*

        This is how academia defines sabbatical, but I think it’s actually inaccurate: if you are still working, and especially if your work is connected to your job, like writing a textbook you will use for your classes in the future, you are not really on leave, it’s just a temporary reassignment with different job duties.

        1. AcademiaNut*

          An academic sabbatical definitely isn’t vacation or leave, it’s a release from your usual teaching/admin responsibilities so you can pursue research projects full time for a year, sometimes combined with an extended visit to another institution for collaboration. For many academics, the research is the fun stuff and the teaching and admin are duties that have to be performed.

          I like the term long service leave for the other type, where you get a chunk of vacation time every X years.

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        I think academic and pastoral sabbaticals are intended to be a break from your regular work so you can really focus on a different aspect of your work. Other sabbaticals are in the “rest and recharge” vein, and the difference from vacation is that the leave must be taken as a chunk–you can’t take your five weeks of sabbatical as 25 Fridays off.

        In most US jobs it’s otherwise very hard to come by 5 consecutive weeks of vacation being approved, so for many people the option to do that every five years would make going to and staying at the company very appealing. (Though as noted elsewhere, not worth putting in the 5 if the company if full of bees.)

    3. rubble*

      where my mum works (a local council department) it’s 7 years – probably the laws are different for government workers

  5. Kiwiapple*

    I work in professional services in Higher Ed in the UK, and a few years ago, our reception/admin had a 6 month sabbatical to temporarily live in another European country and their job was covered by the rest of us until they returned.

    1. Ed123*

      Here we don’t call it sabbatical but in some professions it’s very common. I’ve subbed for someone who took a year long sabbatical to take care of their grandchild. Friend of mine took a year to work on an interesting project for a different employer. Teachers and doctors quite often take a few years to work at a different school/hospital. A former colleague (in different job) took 6 months after a burnout to travel. There are some rules in place like you have to have worked for x years and the leave has to be approved and the duration is based on x etc.
      Everyone can apply but my department never accepts them so we don’t have it but I’d love to take a sabbatical.

      1. MK*

        I think sabbatical has become a blanket term for “being away from your job for a period of time with the expectation that you will return at the end of it”.

        1. Ed123*

          In my language the term we use instead of sabatical is pretty much “being away from your job for a period of time with the expectation that you will return at the end of it” and it’s basically an umbrella to sabatical and several other types of leaves.

        2. fhqwhgads*

          That’s the original meaning of the term. The academia-you-must-be-doing-some-other-project definition is the more recent, but several centuries.

          1. Koalafied*

            Yes, “sabbatical” comes from the Greek word sabbatikos, from sabbaton (rest) + -kos (suffix for “of or relating to”). Sabbaton in turn is derived from the original Hebrew shabbath/shabbat, the day of rest. Leave it to academics to turn it into “the day of other work!”

  6. Amy*

    I’m Australian – Here we don’t call it a sabbatical, it’s called long service leave and legally you get 3 months after 1O years.

  7. MSB*

    #1- Alison’s advice is great and I understand the frustration with a fixation on small and inconsequential issues. However- there were multiple words missing in your question to Alison. Is it possible that you have a higher-than-average tendency to make mistakes in your writing even after proofreading, and this might be something worth reflecting on while also implementing what Alison suggested?

      1. Things that make you go hmmm*

        Ditto! I hire writers and editors (I’m not one myself) and think LW1’s question is clearly communicated, with nothing missing.

      2. Ask a Manager* Post author

        There were two and I fixed them. I don’t think the OP needs to second-guess her writing; this is a casual email to a blog, and either way what the employee is doing is unreasonable. If the OP is telling her she’s going to proofread later and not in the middle of training, the employee needs to stop.

    1. Things that make you go hmmm*

      I wonder if we read the same letter as I didn’t notice a single word missing. I went back and reread it after seeing your comment, and I still can’t figure out where you think “there were multiple words missing”. Can you enlighten me and other readers who may wonder what’s missing?

    2. Ayla*

      It sounds as though OP is able to successfully communicate with colleagues over email, as well as being perfectly understandable here. Since that’s the entire goal of internal emails (and emails to advice blogs) the corrections are unnecessary–both from her direct report and from the comment section.

    3. No Dumb Blonde*

      I think you’re missing the larger point. The employee is way overstepping. It is a disruptive impulse that is harming her prospects for remaining employed, even if she does notice errors. There’s a time and place for everything, and that is not it.

      1. Not playing your game anymore*

        One of my co-workers and I frequently co-write things. When one of us starts noticing typos and nitpicking them the other one will hand Picky the keyboard and let her have at it. It helps. A lot. Then of course when our opus is done we both proofread.

      2. allathian*

        Yeah, I agree. I do have some sympathy for the LW, though, because I can’t help noticing typos if I see them, and a large number of typos in even informal writing is going to make me think that the writer is just sloppy or lazy. But then, my job is comms adjacent, and if you can’t write without peppering your writing with typos, then maybe written communications isn’t really the right field for you, you know?

        Mind you, I wouldn’t say anything, but a large number of typos in a situation like that would be very distracting for me, and I’d really have to work hard on focusing on the message rather than its delivery. I’m not saying I type without any typos all the time, but when they happen, it’s invariably because I’m either feeling far too rushed (happens, but it shouldn’t be the norm and I wouldn’t want to work in a high-stress environment where it IS the norm), or I’m simply not focused enough on what I’m doing for whatever reason.

  8. EPLawyer*

    I want to know for sure if the cat is running the account or not.

    (P.S. one of the reasons I love this site is little gems like this. Also I thought of the I Am Not a Cat Lawyer)

    1. Casper Lives*

      I’m happy Alison linked them account above. Sometimes I ask myself: am I a cat or a potato?

      Sadly my company uses WebEx. No fun filters.

    2. Marion Ravenwood*

      I wonder if this is the point where Alison reveals that the cats have actually been running AAM behind the scenes all along.

      (I mean, anyone who’s ever lived with a cat knows they absolutely run the show anyway, but still…)

      1. The Prettiest Curse*

        I like this theory, but the cats would never entertain the general concept of dog-friendly offices – at least, not without feline equity.

          1. Petty Betty*

            My cats would never vote the dog out. Who else would they blame for getting into the trash, or for the empty food bowls? They need that scapegoat (scape dog?)

          2. nobadcats*

            I had to do a double-take, “Delia” is my Tiny Tyrant’s name! But she was fast asleep in her cat bed on my desk at the time you posted.

      2. A.N. O'Nyme*

        Not gonna lie, answering questions from the perspective of her cats would be a great idea that I am fully on board with.

        1. LolaBugg*

          Dear Ask a Meownager,
          I am frustrated with my small, cramped cubicle. Advice?

          Dear Letter Writer,
          Have you tried pushing everything off your desk and drinking from your coworkers’ water glasses?

        2. LunaLena*

          Dear Meownager,
          I run an office with a single employee. This employee insists on working on other projects that they call their “job” for several hours each day instead of following the clearly outlined instructions I give re pets, tummy rubs, and treat times. It’s almost like they think they are in charge, not me! I’ve tried talking to them, but they just smile vaguely and make strange noises at me, then go back to a time-sucking device called a “computer,” the purchase of which I definitely did not authorize and in fact often takes up my personal space, i.e. laps. How should I handle this? I have tried redirecting my employee by pointedly sitting on the computer or even unplugging it, but to no avail.
          A frustrated moggy manager

    3. caps22*

      All I can think of is that attorney who declared “I am not a cat” when he couldn’t turn off his daughter’s cat filter for a video call with a judge. Suuuuure, buddy, you’re not a cat. Oh look, a laser pointer!

        1. Llama Zoomer*

          This! I had to go rewatch that cat-lawyer video clip after reading this. It’s still the funniest thing that happened in the last two years, even after the 18th viewing…

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        When he says, “I’m not a cat” and the judge replies, “I can see that”. OMG I died.

    4. Hailrobonia*

      Same here! Now I am picturing a situation in which the LW is not hired, instead they hire the cat!

  9. Tea Time Sabbatical*

    #4. Very common in Australia with long service leave. Usually 13 weeks after 10 years of service. People usually plan large overseas trips, although I opted to have mine paid out last time. Now currently 5 years into a new job, and looking forward to taking a proper break in a few years. Awesome every way you look at it.

    1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

      OP4 (sabbatical) – the trouble here will be if people in the acquired company work alongside people in the “acquiring” company who don’t get that option. I think the communication around taking that sabbatical would have to be managed quite carefully – an additional 5 weeks “off” is a lot in its own right, but presumably since it’s intended to allow other opportunities like personal research in a relevant area.. also gives the acquired people an advantage over the others that way. Perhaps the company would be open to extending it (maybe on a less generous basis) more widely?

  10. Damn it, Hardison!*

    At my previous company, we received a paid, one month sabbatical after 6 years (so you took it in your seventh year). I unfortunately had mine during the pandemic, so my dream of traveling was not to be. It was still great, though! I received and accepted a new job offer during my sabbatical so I came came back and resigned, which was awkward to say the least.

    1. Raboot*

      My last company also had it after 6 years and it wasn’t uncommon for resignations to happen in the few months after it. It’s what I did actually. I didn’t feel bad because hey, it got me to stay for maybe 6 months longer than I would have otherwise, seems like a good deal for everyone involved.

    2. Failing Up*

      Sounds awesome, but, cruddy timing.

      But I mostly came to say I love Leverage, and I love your name.

  11. Things that make you go hmmm*

    LW #1, Alison has given excellent advice. Your pedantic employee disrupted work for multiple people with her unnecessary correction. It was also inappropriate as it risks making you look bad, plus her own work is being impacted negatively. It’s a lose-lose-lose for you, her, and everyone else impacted by her behavior. I would seriously consider whether she is the right person for this role if she continues this behavior.

    1. Marzipan Shepherdess*

      I agree that Alison’s advice as to how to approach this with the overly-detail-oriented employee was excellent; clear, unmistakable and to the point.

      However, LW1, those “super silly spelling errors” can add up very quickly and can give an overall impression of sloppiness and ignorance, even if YOU don’t think that those errors are germane to the document. Remember, what you write is being read by people who don’t necessarily know you and won’t necessarily think “Oh, of course, she meant to write ————, not ———.” Some of your readers will think “Doesn’t she even know how to spell? And why did she use the wrong word here – doesn’t she know the right one?” LW1, you stated that you do go back and proofread what you write, but you also mentioned an error appearing in “a large email chain” and overall you seemed defensive when you described your errors in writing.

      No, your employee should NOT be fixated on your typos and yes, you should redirect her attention and tell her to stop obsessing about your every error. But you, in turn, should realize that your writing represents YOU, and that misspellings and typos (including those that you DON’T catch and that make it into “a large email chain”) do reflect on you and don’t show you at your best.

      1. Two Chairs, One to Go*

        Hard disagree. LW said she’s writing drafts of documents as part of training, or an informal email chain. Neither of those reflect poorly on her. Please take her at her word.

        1. evens*

          “Taking someone at their word” is different than just blindly accepting everything they say. If we did that, every OP would be right and many important pieces of advice would be lost. It is certainly true that misspellings and poor grammar affect how someone is seen. That’s not the most important point of the letter, but it is certainly worth stating.

          1. Yeah, nah*

            Except that the misspellings are being pointed out while LW is actively writing. Most people write, then proof — someone pointing out errors before the proofing process has started doesn’t mean there were going to be errors in the finished product.

          2. Darsynia*

            It may be different, but it’s requested by the site owner for people responding to letters.

      2. miro*

        My reading was that with the exception of one typo in the email chain, these were not typos in the final email that is sent out, but just the typos that come in… well, as you’re typing (I just had to revise a bunch of them in my sentence right there!) I’m guessing you’re someone who is really good at typing and is able to write error-free from the get-go (which is awesome btw–I know people like that and I’m always impressed) BUT I think it might be worth keeping in mind that not everyone is like that, and it seems really harsh to judge someone for it so say they are/should be represented by their typing.

        (and yes, obviously there are exceptions, like if your job is live transcription, but I think for the majority of people/jobs there is no need to have things come out typo-free initially so long as you correct it before you send it)

        1. Allonge*

          This, too. I never learnt to touch-type, but I type ok with 7 or so fingers involved. I finish my sentences and then go back and fix the inevitable typos. This used to drive our (now retired) proofreader crazy when we were working on a text together – she would point the typos out as they came and could not believe me that they will get fixed, but let me put my thought on paper first please…

          1. SheLooksFamiliar*

            I actually did learn to touch-type, and I make mistakes all the time – especially if I have an idea I’m trying to outline and build. My fingers don’t always work in sync with my brain! But once I get everything down and formatted, I proofread for content, format, grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Then I ask an equally picky friend to review the same, and also for my tone. I sometimes get snarky without meaning to.

            If someone tried to correct my errors while I’m still creating a document, I’d get irritated, too. OP’s employee probably means well but her approach is off-putting.

        2. Myrin*

          A bit of an aside but this comment really gave me an “Oho?!” moment and I wanted to mention that.

          I did NOT know that there are people (the majority, even, looking at the comments so far?) who are like OP and just write down the basic idea/sentence/structure so that it’s out there and who then, afterwards go over what they’ve just written once again and correct any typos. I’m apparently “really good at typing”, like you say, both because I very rarely mistype in the first place but also because if I do, I correct it immediately. I think it might have to do with the fact that I don’t need to look at my keyboard while writing so I can catch typos as soon as they occur (I’ve noticed that I’m more prone to typos while typing on my phone where I have my eyes on the keyboard instead of the screen) but it’s almost certainly also an “approach” thing and explains so much about my former doctoral advisor who wrote incredibly polished papers but whose drafts and emails always were a hot mess.

          Thanks for bringing this to my attention, I’m beyond fascinated! It’s like those situations where you realise you’ve thought all your life that everyone ties their shoelaces the same way – and, of course, the same way as you – and then you actually look and realise everyone’s way is completely different.

          1. Yorick*

            Yes, I too usually fix typos that I make immediately, even though I sometimes realize that it might be more effective if I would just wait and correct them all at the end.

            If you type it all up and then go back and fix any errors, you can often correct them with just a few clicks because of spell check. That’s sometimes way easier than deleting the word and typing it again, which is what I’ll do if I see the error immediately.

          2. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

            This also may be a generational thing as well as a style-thing. I grew up in a time when sometimes I got to type using the family computer, but if someone else was using the computer I had to use the typewriter. Using a typewriter, it’s much more important to slow down a bit and make fewer errors, because correcting them is more difficult and might involve a lot of re-typing. One of my favorite things about using a word processor is that I could type closer to how fast I was thinking, then go back and clean up mistakes at the end of each paragraph instead. (I think some of my fingers are faster than others, because I’ll get letters out of order within a word more and more frequently the faster I type. I type using all my fingers and mostly without looking at the keys, but not always using the “correct” fingers as I was taught back in typing class.)

          3. Le Sigh*

            I touch type and can see the errors on the screen. My typing is fine, not exceptional, so there are usually several. Sometimes I will fix them as I go, but I have ADHD and most of the time I need to get my thoughts out first. My brain jumps around and I don’t usually write in a straight line. I write for a living and I have found I’m most productive if I first get my thoughts out, then make my revisions. If someone sat there and picked apart my sentence *as I typed* I would ask them to leave.

            This isn’t directed at Myrin, but more of a point to this overall conversation — I know how much clean copy matters, but it’s important to be clear on the bigger picture. A big one for me is how I use my time and energy. It’s really easy for me to get pulled into the rabbit hole of details and tasks because of how my brain is wired, but by spending so much time on one email, I’m probably losing valuable time working on bigger picture strategies or management issues. The LW’s employee is so fixated on typos that she’s completely missing the fact that she’s not actually learning how to do her job.

            I have coworkers who are really amazing at their job, but they sometimes have typos in their emails — well, do I understand what they’re saying and are they good at the job they were hired to do? Were they hired to write and copy edit (no)? Is it possible that some of them have learning disabilities or are ESL? How much does this really matter? In my years past, I was absolutely a grammar snob and I really dislike that about younger myself. Clear, clean writing has value and purpose, but there’s more to it than that. And there’s more than one way to get there.

            1. All Het Up About It*

              This is such a well reasoned comment, Le Sigh! (Great name, by the way.) Thank you for contributing it to the conversation.

            2. Koalafied*

              There was a great WaitButWhy many years ago about various situations that can arise over email, and one of my favorites was about how power differentials can lead one (junior/lower-ranking) person to put a lot of effort into carefully writing and proofreading 3-4 complete, polite sentences and adding their name at the bottom, only for the other (senior/powerful) person to write back: “k sounds godo” (sic)

              It hints at the nugget of truth you’re suggesting, which is that the more valuable you are because you do your core, biggest-impact tasks well, the less people care if you’re mediocre at some non-core but unavoidable aspect of work. If you’re great at what matters, then as long as you’re not such a poor communicator that people are struggling to understand (and not just “I don’t understand why would someone let this error see the light of day?” but literally “I have read this twice and still have no idea what you’re trying to say”), it’s going to be no big deal most of the time.

          4. What She Said*

            I have to fix my typos as I type. There are times where I have learned to just get the thought out and fix later but man it feels like I am going against the grain.

      3. Casper Lives*

        Well, I think that’s going a bit far. Internal emails are more casual writing. As long as it’s understandable, coworkers have to tolerate typos in email. A boss’s time is usually better spent than on proofreading for minor errors.

        If it’s a legal document, training manual, or external communication to clients, yes, have someone else doublecheck your work. But quick emails and informal communication? Let it go

      4. Ask a Manager* Post author

        The LW said clearly that she proofreads afterwards but not in the moment while she’s in the middle of training the employee. Let’s not derail on this.

      5. Allonge*

        So: OP should never make a typo is your expectation? Not very realistic. There are typos in books that went through several rounds of editing and proofreading!

        I know that there are people who can’t not see a typo (actually I notice them myself in others’ writing) but part of being an adult is also to let go of this. Texts for external distribution or policy documents should be proofread; anyone who obsesses over random typos in an email or in a training(!) just has their priorities wrong.

        1. MEH Squared*

          I second this. I edit for a living and, yes, I notice typos in other people’s writing, but I don’t comment unless I need clarification. In internal/casual communication, as long as the meaning is clear, typos are not the be-all end-all.

          In addition, the LW is training her employee, which means that most of the focus is on the training, not on her typing.

          Plus, the bottom line is that the trainee is not absorbing the training and needs to focus on that, not on the typos. She can notice them as much as she wants, but she IS capable of keeping the observation to herself. I should know–I do it regularly.

          1. allathian*

            Yup. Although it took a while for me to learn that lesson early on in my career. So I have high hopes that the employee the LW is training will be able to make the same adjustment I did.

          2. The Prettiest Curse*

            As a recovering typo pedant myself, it took me a long time and a lot of annoyed colleagues to work out that not every typo was important enough to point out and fix instantly. OP1, if you can help your employee learn to mentally triage this stuff, it will help her immensely.

            1. Le Sigh*

              Same! And your colleagues might be annoyed, but they also might be embarrassed. Not everyone is great with writing and editing, while others might be ESL or have a learning disability. So now you’ve potentially embarrassed them for…what? If it’s a public-facing doc using pubic over public (something I caught last minute), but an internal email?

              I mentioned this above, but understanding how to prioritize and pick your battles is really important. You can spend a lot of energy pointing out inconsequential typos or obsessing over an email, but that might be to the detriment of your overall job.

          3. A.N. O'Nyme*

            Yeah, the not retaining information is the bigger problem here. If she’s so focused on the typos that she’s becoming untrainable…LW, you might need to reconsider if this person is actually right for the job. If you can’t even train her…what else will she be unable to do because she’s so caught up in typos? If you ever do succeed in training her fully, what will she be like if she’s working on her own – will she spend so much time nitpicking internal communications that she underperforms?

            I realise that sounds like a Fool scenario but if she really “can’t help herself”…this job may not be for her.

            Unless all she’ll be doing is proofreading while not interacting with anyone else.

              1. ShinyPenny*

                Thank you! I’m usually pretty good at the ‘Reverse-Engineer Auto-Correct’ game, but this one had me stumped :)

            1. #1 OP*

              Thanks everyone for the feedback! So to give some background my team is very technical and majority of the time our wording needs to be simplified. In the midst of multitasking I can have trouble focusing on what I need to type while also explaining a process that I am trying to train. But I am trying to give her full visibility of the end to end process. I have told her “look I might have typos here but please ignore I will go back and fix them” so she at least will not point them out. But she can’t control herself to focus and learn. I have created videos of the process so she can use those to learn but she doesn’t want to use them and asks for me to show her live. I am incredibly busy working 12 hour days and on weekends. I honestly just need help and for her to learn so willing to do whatever is needed. But she over doing things, whether pointing out errors or just having an odd demeanor. I think some of it she thought she could jump right into this new position but it is difficult and takes time. At one point we were in similar positions but I have been promoted several times. She is older than me and has been in the industry longer. But her troubleshooting skills are not as good as mine and she is not as process oriented.
              Also for the people so concerned about my typos, I am responsible globally for creating all system guide documentation for our global company. There has never been issues and typically get requests to rewrite other employees process guides as I can simplify it so everyone can understand. In no way I am an expert and I will proof my work while bringing in others to do so too. But I am irritated by people who consume themselves with a spelling error when it means nothing. In previous conversation (prior to managing her) I told her how difficult it was to work with a colleague who had diagnosed OCD as such silly things would derail our entire team from much bigger conversations.
              Just need her to focus and also not undermine me or the team to other colleagues. Our job is to resolve things if you are pointing out errors (that are not actual error) then people will not find us credible.
              Also had an odd situation where she told me not to be mean to a vendor, it was like way random so I was like I don’t understand I am never mean. I honestly just think this is all so different she is trying to adjust, and really just letting herself get distracted. It is just all so odd to me as I have never ever done such a thing to my boss.

              1. thisgirlhere*

                It sounds like she needs a lot more coaching and it’s not just about the typos. Have you had a bigger picture conversation with her? Or asked questions about how she feels she’s picking up the role? Also, just want to push back, she absolutely can control herself. You might need to be really direct and say “do not continue to point out typos” without any softening.

              2. I Don’t Know It All*

                I suspect (as you seem to as well) that her focus on your typos is to hide how much she is struggling. To me, perhaps the conversation with her needs to be less about her calling our typos, and more about where she is struggling. Because from your description she clearly is struggling, and I suspect she needs more feedback about what sorts of learning gains you expect of her and in what time frame.

                The pointing out of typos is a symptom not the problem.

              3. Sova*

                I think bringing up the other co-worker and their diagnosis and making the comparison was a mistake. I don’t know what happened with the other co-worker, but if you were not her manager or HR, her diagnosis is none of your business and even if you were, talking about it with other people is not your place. Bringing that situation up and including the fact that the other employee had OCD and making the comparison to what your current employee is doing now could possibly leave an impression that you are not willing to work with people to meet them halfway or make accommodations for medical conditions. I would be pretty taken aback if my supervisor or another member of management mentioned anyone by name period when telling me there was a problem that I needed to address, much less included any information about a medical condition they had.

                If the problem is the behavior, leave it at that and address it with that employee. If you must refer to past experiences with that kind of behavior where it leads to problems, you can do it without mentioning a specific person.

                1. #1 OP*

                  I specifically said that the conversation happened before I was her manager (years ago). We all worked together on a larger team. We had a coworker who was very open about her OCD, she was incredibly organized but sometimes would fixate on a specific naming convention or flow (that was specific to her only). We had workshop where we all had to acknowledge pain points that we need to work on and mine was being able to manage situations that are derailed. As I am a very high blue and need to learn to be patient with all yellows of the world (which I work so hard to improve this known weakness). My employee (who was just a coworker at the time) had acknowledged to me on the side how she felt bad when she realized she was unknowingly triggered this other coworker who actually took years to admit to her that something really bothered her. The conversation was all based on this team building exercise so we all know how to work better together.
                  In prior conversations we have openly discussed mental health as I have anxiety and our other coworker openly discussed her OCD. My anxiety wants me to respond and resolve an issue as soon as it comes in, but I never put my anxiety on to others. Funny as I worked directly with coworker who had OCD and everyone called us the dream team. As she kept us organized and perfect but I kept helped us to keep us at high frequencies. Looking back it not sure if it was healthy. I promise I would never ever compare my employee to this other coworker they are so different each having their own strengths and weaknesses (sorry if that is how it was perceived). My comment was specific to this issue of derailing a situation. A lot her issues seem to be confidence and comfort in her ability in a new role as she was in her previous role for over 10 years. I in no way see this as a mental health issue at all, promise I am very sensitive to it.

              4. Snuck*

                It sounds like there is more going on with this person. A few thoughts/questions: Did you recruit this person/do you have control over this person working with you/being on your team? And how has this person performed in other roles before? Finally… Why is this person in this role with you now?

                If you have control over them where are the lines on that? It sounds like she’s worked in your org for a long time, and suddenly performance managing her could be tricky, but if she’s been side lined into your area after years of sub par performance elsewhere it might also be time to Manager Up and deal with it?

                Was she always a pedant? Or is this a new thing? Only with you, or with a select few others, or everyone? What is at the root of her pedantic control behaviour? Because I feel this is controlling – she’s a mature woman who “can’t control her impulses” but has many years working in technical roles? Either there’s a diversity/maturity/something issue, or if this a sudden new behaviour/only with select people it’s a form of ‘people management’ by her to send a message. You don’t pick apart other people’s work (and certainly not in public forums such as email chains) unless you are trying to prove something. On a weigh scale of skills is the good outweighing the bad and this is just an area to work on?

                If it’s not about her trying to have/recoup some kind of perceived power… is it about a lack of social skills/understanding?

                Either way the solution is the same – follow what Alison has said, and if they do it again point at the warning you made and say “this is that thing we talked about, stop now” and the second time “If I have to keep reminding you over this you risk being performance managed” and the third time put it in her monthly one on one goal, and then the fourth it becomes a PIP if you have the power to do that. No one wants to work long term with a ‘no self control’ pedant.

                (I would also suggest though that if this falls into a rather well worn trope of “technical person, odd behaviours, pedantic, less than average ability to retain social connections” you consider EAP referral and possible ‘accommodations’ if a diversity is discovered, there’s a lot of flags there, but we are not diagnosticians… The kindest thing you could do if you suspect is refer to EAP or whatever services you can for support. And a diversity label is not an excuse to do whatever you want, it’s to help you understand your challenges and opportunities and unique-ness and work forward from those – it helps because it defines which ‘book shelf’ to read, but for an adult who has functioned ‘well enough to work for many years in one organisation’ it shouldn’t suddenly mean they can throw their hands in the air and refuse to change a number of highly irritating behaviours.)

                1. #1 OP*

                  Thank you!! Honestly feel like this all very different to what she did for so many years and just odd behaviors on her part. She was great at her previous job and really had out grown it (budget/growth). I brought her onto my team as I felt she would be awesome and bring value where in certain areas I didn’t have as much technical knowledge in certain backgrounds. I think some of it is just confidence in this new role as last role came so easy and she just is not seeing how her actions come across.

          4. Emmy Noether*

            I’m also a compulsive proofreader (as someone below called it) and I get it – it’s distracting for me too. However, it’s irrelevant to my job, I still understand what was meant, corrections are distracting to everyone else, so I suck it up and keep silent. Even the colleague who has a way-above-average quota of mistakes of the type that make my toenails curl and never proofreads… not my circus, not my typo-monkeys.

            1. Robin*

              I am a compulsive fixer of typos as well. I’ve learned to let it go in some cases but a few years ago the person who was the leader of my department and writing the training manual was a TERRIBLE writer and there was multiple errors in the book and both grammar and spelling were terrible… it drove me crazy. I had to tell her- but I also offered to fix it. She declined. She claimed it didnt matter. It mattered for respect, for clarity, and for general professionalism.

              I had another manager later who DELIGHTED in my proofreading- she’d send me stuff before it went out officially and I caught most of the issues, and it was GREAT for our manager/managee relationship. So that being said, this trait can be used positively.

              1. Jay*

                I am a compulsive editor as well. I don’t correct typos or other errors in someone’s writing unless it’s public-facing or going out over my signature. I do correct it in my head.

                A few years ago I was invited to the company off-site with my team. Each team had Tshirts made up to represent our area in some way. When I saw the order form, there was an error on the shift – a plural with an apostrophe. I tussled with myself for a minute or two and then responded “I wouldn’t usually say anything but since we’re all going to be wearing these, can we fix that?” The correction was gratefully received, which was a relief, and I didn’t have to wear a shirt with that error. I would have cringed the entire time I had it on.

                1. Allonge*

                  This is exactly the situation where people should (offer to) fix typos! Nobody sane wants to leave typos on a t-shirt or a flyer, it’s just that in an average email or comment does not merit the same attention.

                2. Le Sigh*

                  Agree with Allonge! This is the perfect example of picking your battles. You aren’t the jerk who nitpicks everything, you’re the person who kept everyone from having an error on a public-facing shirt. People are usually annoyed by the former, appreciative of the latter.

        2. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          Yes. I proofread for a living but would never point out a typo unless it was actually misleading. Grammar nazis belong to last century, along with the real nazis.

        3. kicking_k*

          I’m actually quite sorry for Typo Woman because I would fixate on the typos. I wouldn’t mention them, but they would distract me from the content in exactly the same manner, and I have spent more than twenty years in the workplace without being able to shake this.

          Yes, I type fast and correct my own typing as I go. It seems quite likely that those of us who are thrown by typos are more apt to do that as a matter of course. (I still proofread, but that’s mostly for style, not spelling and punctuation.)

          So perhaps it’s possible to see this as a difference in working styles and ask Typo Woman if she is _able_ to focus on the content rather than the typos, and if not, then accept that she may sometimes be inadvertently distracted? I don’t think it’s reasonable to ask the OP to make fewer typos, much though I would love it if nobody ever made any. And yes, I think she needs to stop mentioning it.

      6. Fikly*

        You are making an awful lot of assumptions that nothing in the letter supports. There was no confusion in the mass email until the other employee derailed things. You are also projecting your judgement of other people for the occasional typo as something that most people do. The vast majority of people frequently make typos and have the ability to understand that typos and other mild writing errors have nothing to do with intelligence, ignorance, education, sloppiness, or anything else like that.

        I know I would far rather be known as a person who makes the occasional spelling or grammatical error than a person who reacts to someone asking for help by telling them how much they suck. And I’m an actual copy editor.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          I think you have hit on a key distinction that often eludes spelling and grammar enthusiasts plying their trade in the wild–they think the profound dissonance they experience with typos is universal.

          1. Le Sigh*

            I might cross-stitch that on a pillow.

            Also Fikly, as a writer who has experienced the wrath of the copy desk, this is a really good perspective!

          2. distractedcoworker*

            Hi! ADHD and OCD here. I feel for your employee. It may actually be really, really hard for her to get past those mistakes. Can you slow down a bit and correct them as you go if it will help her focus? You have to correct them anyway, right? Or perhaps have her do the typing? Many people learn better by doing than watching.

            1. kicking_k*

              I wasn’t going to mention it, but I also have ADHD and I’m sure it’s a factor in the compulsive proofreading (which I keep to myself, but is still a distraction).

      7. MK*

        Unless you are a writer, your writing does not represent you, it’s just a tool to communicate. The most common document I read are court judgements, and they are never typo-free (especially older ones, which were written by the judge in longhand and then typed by a secretary in an actual typing machine. I am focusing on the content when I read, not the occasional typo, and I am certainly not thinking “gee, this person who is untangling this complicated legal matter in a novel way, while trying to reach a just solution for all parties, is making typos!”

        1. pancakes*

          These are two very different ideas, though. I mean, yes, the purpose of court judgments is generally to communicate legal decisions and analysis, not to give the public stylish prose or elegant educational materials. People’s non-legal writing — all sorts of people, whether they’re professional writers or not — nonetheless reveals things about themselves, whether they see it as a simple tool or not.

          That said, I agree with the commenters who didn’t have the impression these typos are going out the door in ostensibly finalized documents.

      8. EventPlannerGal*

        I think if the OP sounds defensive (which I don’t think she really does, ftr) it’s probably due to putting up with someone constantly nitpicking her minor spelling errors for months. I often hear people making your point about the bad impression left by poor SPAG, but conversely, when SPAG enthusiasts act like the employee here it also leaves a really bad impression of pedantic point-missing – for example, the OP made it clear that she understands the importance of good writing and proofreads after writing, so is it necessary to scold her further about her mid-flow typos?

      9. Falling Diphthong*

        I think there is a “two type of people” thing tripping up you and the problem employee: For many people, their brains fill in for the typo. They don’t even notice the missing apostrophe or article, because their brain provided the correction. (There’s an example upthread.) For many more, they do notice the typos (or notice half of the typos) and it’s a brief hiccup in the reading, but the meaning is clear from context and they move right along. People often share the experience of reading back over their own hastily typed email or blog comment and thinking “of course I meant AND THE rest, not rest, but I know that adding more replies in which I explain that I meant to have an article in that sentence will be derailing, so I am moving on.”

        And then people like the employee imagine “Oh no! It’s going to be terribly confusing if no one sticks in the missing article! I MUST SAY SOMETHING.” But their audience is just not reacting the way it plays in their head–their audience supplied the missing article without needing to make an announcement to that effect.

        1. Smithy*

          As someone quite prone to assorted grammar boo-boos – I’ve always had a fascinating experience on AAM commenting where occasionally I’ll reread a comment of mine and notice some syntax is very poor. Sometimes I can shrug my shoulders and move on, but occasionally I’ll reply to myself to fix/address the error.

          One time I did this, it involved some clear self-directed snark at myself for hastily posting. A few comments called out that post for being rude and that while there were errors the intent of the meaning was clear enough. For the majority of us, AAM is not our jobs and is truly meant for fun. And while I had posted hastily without that final proofread, a few people were commenting hastily not realizing it was a comment to self as opposed to someone else noting the syntax error.

          All things being equal, it was a good reminder on how the fussiness with perfect grammar in moments that don’t demand it can create far more derailing conversation. I wasn’t looking to catch others out, or even to have people tell me that my mistake wasn’t so bad. And instead of engaging on the actual topic at hand, it turned into a reading comprehension/manners thing.

          1. Emmy Noether*

            I remember seeing an exchange like that here, when it seemed obvious self-snark to me (don’t know if it was yours, probably happens more than once). When I see a correction post, I usually scroll up to see if it’s a self-correction or rude, which is easier if it’s the first reply after the orig. post. I’m also someone who tends to be self-snarky more than most, some people are really not used to it and misunderstand more easily.

          2. pancakes*

            Yes. I think I remember that time you refer to. People who reacted badly seemed to have skimmed over your user name, and simply missed the important context that you were replying to yourself and not two different commenters, one of which was sharply correcting the other.

            I totally agree, it’s not fair or particularly interesting to hold blog comments to the standards of professional communication.

            I don’t think the letter is really about fussiness, though. The letter writer needs to re-set this pattern of behavior with their employee because it’s derailing to be interrupted, and because their work methodology is to make corrections during a review for that purpose, not during the process of getting a first draft together. That’s both a common and reasonable way to work, and not something that needs to be subjected to a popular vote in the office every time something needs to be written.

      10. anonymous73*

        You’re missing the point of the letter and focusing on the wrong thing (much like OP’s new employee). We are human and we make mistakes. And if you’re judging someone for making an insignificant mistake in an informal email, that says a lot more about you than it does about the email sender.

        1. #1 OP*

          Thank you!! My department’s remit is to fix other people’s mistakes (we deal with technical digital issues ). If people are learning from their mistakes then there is no need to call it out to a larger group. Everyone will make mistakes it is how you learn. I am very sensitive to this as I want people to trust me so I can fix it before it becomes a revenue causing issue. Some of the best employees were the ones that made a ton of mistakes during on-boarding. I believe people need to holistically understand what they are doing to perform at peak. If you are going through the motions without understanding then you will never be able to give yourself fully.

          I have actually discussed this at length with my employee. I have showed her when we actually need escalate a reoccurring offender. So it was quite shocking when she said what I did was the cause of a problem (it wasn’t she was just trying to point something as the cause but actually didn’t understand the problem). To note I was on vacation when she did this.

      11. Myrin*

        I don’t understand why you seem to be putting so much emphasis on the “large email chain” – I read that as internal communication but even if it wasn’t, this being a longer back-and-forth between several people doesn’t make a typo fundamentally more grave than if the back-and-forth was just between you and one other person; if anything, I’d actually say this makes it less important because with many different people chiming in, stuff like that is even more likely to be overlooked.

      12. just another bureaucrat*

        Every time someone makes an error in something I’m excellent at I don’t think of it as an opportunity to point out that the other person is lazy or sloppy. It’s strange that this attitude, which has a lot of problematic origins, is held in such high regard. It assumes that intellect only matters if it follows the exact path you want.

        There are so many spellings and typos that you can read through if you’re willing to show a modicum of compassion and not expect everyone to have the same interests as you.

        1. Le Sigh*

          Yup. I start so many conversations with people in other departments saying, “okay tell me if this is off base” and I’m sure sometimes they’re wondering where on earth I came up with this idea. But they just respond by saying, “So that probably isn’t workable, but let’s try this…” or whatever. They just help me get to the right answer.

      13. Dust Bunny*

        “I read everything before I send it so I can fix it, but she doesn’t give me a chance. “

        The employee is fixating on things in emails that haven’t been proofread yet. Of course there are typos, but the LW is going to fix them.

          1. Everything Bagel*

            So it’s best to have someone looking over her shoulder pointing at the screen every time she makes a typo? I think not. Sometimes while I’m drafting something I type and ignore the typos until I’m done getting my thought out. I understood the letter writer to be doing something similar. It’s more important that they get their thought down then go back and correct what’s needed.

            1. Everything Bagel*

              Besides, the letter writer clearly views the employee’s job as learning what she’s being taught, not to point out typos. If the letter writer were just doing her own work that didn’t involve the employee, there would be no one there helping her correct. She’d be doing it on her own.

            2. Beany*

              Late reply: of course it’s not better to have someone disrupting the workflow to correct them on the spot. I’m just saying that “LW is going to fix them” later is overly optimistic, if LW doesn’t get outside help at that later time.

      14. Lenora Rose*

        So get the employee to proofread when the document is done (and after the trainer has proofread it themselves. Being distracted by fixing typos on the fly is often a good way to lose an extended thread of thought, as is being interrupted. Someone else cutting in to fuss about typos is both at once.

        I am a terrible typist (Case in point: I paused after my first paragraph and fixed 3 mistakes. There were 5 more by the first number 5, when I intentionally stopped and amended again). My final drafts are quite clean, and I have had others ask me to proof their work. I have said before that being a terrible typist is part of why I am a good proofreader.

        (Waiting for Muphry’s* Law to kick in: In any extended discussion of typos, the people most pedantic about mistakes will inevitably leave one themselves…)

        *Yes, Muphry, not Murphy.

      15. lilsheba*

        I agree with you, bad writing looks sloppy and like the person didn’t even go to school. I can’t stand to have typos and other types of errors in anything I type, that anyone else can see. I constantly correct as I go.

        1. A Feast of Fools*

          My previous manager has a Master’s in accounting, taught himself how to code using various languages, and is one of the smartest [and kindest] people I know.

          His spelling and grammar are atrocious.

          The world would get far less benefit from him if he stopped and spent time fixing every typo in casual emails / chats.

          He knows this is his weak spot so he always asks someone else to proofread and edit anything formal, like a report that will be presented to the Board of Directors.

          Typos make my eye twitch and they stand out to me as if highlighted in neon, but I know so many wonderful, smart, creative people who have spelling problems that I purposefully focus on the content of what they’re saying and never go near the classist “If you can’t craft a perfect sentence, you’re uneducated,” line of thought.

          1. Desdemona*

            This is such a great perspective. I too judge (in my head) and am trying really hard to not do so. It’s classist and assumptive.

      16. Beany*

        Echoing what most replies have stated so far, but I’d like to make one observation: OP shouldn’t be proofreading their own work — or at least, they shouldn’t be the only one to do it. We’re much more likely to gloss over our own mistakes (since they’re produced by the same brain) than others are.

        So while the employee here is out of line in her actions, OP might consider explicitly including her in the proofing process afterwards, both to divert her energies appropriately, and to catch typos that OP wouldn’t even when they were taking their time.

        1. #1 OP*

          This draft email is just internal. Sometimes her suggestions are not even what I want to say. Any actual documentation is proof read by a few people that actually understand the process.

      17. Panhandlerann*

        It seems needlessly harsh to spend a couple of paragraphs lecturing the OP on the importance of spelling things correctly in emails.

      18. fhqwhgads*

        From the letter I’m imagining something like an email that says “Surgeon, you left an instrument inside the patent and this absolutely cannot happen again” and the surgeon replies “it’s patient, not patent”. I mean, probably not that literally life or death, but OP says it’s derailing and shows the person isn’t focusing on what they’re meant to be focusing on. My example is that sort of thing. If the typos genuinely make the message unclear, they’re worth pointing out. If there was one “t” where there ought to have been two, employee needs to get her head in the game.

      19. Heather Champs*

        Thank you-yes! I will not support businesses or vote for people who have typographical errors in their messaging or advertisements. We’ve gotten very sloppy and overly casual on standards for writing, especially in the US. While we are all capable of making the occasional spelling or grammatical error, and notwithstanding the excellent advice (telling this new hire to remain focused), it appears that this could be an opportunity to reflect and grow on the OP’s part as well.

      20. Finland*

        This is very ableist. Not all typists have the ability to produce perfect first-draft documents each and every time, and in many cases it’s not even warranted as long as the typos, etc., are minimal and the document is easily understood. I needed physical therapy as a child in order to learn to type. Please reconsider judging someone’s professionalism based solely on an email.

        1. Mannequin*

          I have a disability that means I will never be able to touch type, or type accurately, and I’ve been typing for decades. It’s really shocking to me to hear people make such harsh & condescending judgements over typos.

    2. Les Cargot*

      Compulsive proofreader here, and a supporter of the Oxford comma. Over time, I have learned that unless someone asks me to proofread something, it is best to keep my corrections to myself. I limit my suggestions to things that affect the meaning of the text, like the difference between “not” and “now”, or “Eats, shoots, and leaves” vs. “Eats shoots and leaves.”

    3. Melewen*

      For context, I am the only native English speaker on my team. Most of our internal communication is in German, but we work with a lot of English-speaking customers. My colleagues are excellent at their jobs, but if we got hung up on typos or non-standard word choices, we’d never get our work done. My English might be better than theirs, but their German is better than mine.

      This employee risks alienating herself from non-native speakers even more so than native ones. And that’s not even considering the differences between dialects (US, UK, Indian, Australian, etc) when “errors” for one are standard for another.

      Typos are only worth calling out if they impede understanding.

      1. An ID in AZ*

        Indeed! I recently came across a grading rubric in an English as a Second Language course I was working on (I’m the Instructional Designer, not the content creator).
        In this assignment, students needed to correct certain errors, but we left it open-ended so they would gain practice writing them (rather than give them multiple-choice questions). The rubric guidelines award points if, “There are no errors that impede comprehension.” So if they wrote the target error correctly, but misspelled the noun, they still get full credit. The instructor has the option to give feedback.

      2. WillowSunstar*

        It depends on the job. If one’s job is data entry, case packs, or pricing, a typo in an item size could affect how much someone at the store pays for the item, especially if the error is not caught in the checkout lane.

    4. P*

      I agree the employee needs to stop, but also I’m a little concerned about the wording given in the advice.
      “I need you to stop pointing out typos. I understand they jump out to you and distract you, but it is preventing you from focusing on training and it’s taking me off-track.”
      If LW says this to her employee, it’ll be immediately obvious that she doesn’t understand the issue from the employee’s perspective and that leaves ambiguity about the right next steps (my manager doesn’t understand the issue so I need to explain it better vs my manager does understand, has made a decision, and that is final). Raising the typos doesn’t prevent the employee from focussing on training – the typos themselves do.
      “I need you to stop pointing out typos. I understand they jump out to you and prevent you from focusing on training, but it’s taking me off-track and that is a bigger issue.” would be accurate and honest (although probably not how you’d want to frame it).

      1. Colette*

        But the key problem is that the employee is focusing on typos instead of training. If she’s unable to pay attention to training because there’s a typo in the room, that’s pretty close to saying she can’t do that job (or possibly any office job).

      2. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        The whole point is that she needs to learn not to focus on the typo and focus on the training subject.

      3. Critical Rolls*

        The suggested wording is really not ambiguous. “You need to stop X. X is distracting both of us,” does not imply a lack of understanding or invite further explanation unless an employee is resistant to correction to a concerning degree. I’d already have concerns about this person’s judgement since they seem unable to figure out what’s important, and arguing over a clear instruction would reinforce those concerns.

        1. P*

          Saying “X is distracting both of us” when that is untrue is confusing and implies either a lack of understanding or cavalier attitude with the truth. X is distracting LW and absolutely needs to stop. “You need to stop X.” is fine without adding fictional statements to the end.
          E is distracted by the neon green flashing light of a typo somewhere of the screen. E originally asked “could you turn off the flashing light as it makes it hard to focus?” and was told “give me some time to do so”. Later, E ignored it for 20 minutes and eventually burst “that flashing light is really distracting”. LW prefers to work with the lights coming up on her screen until she’s ready to address them and E needs to stop mentioning them.
          I do however realise I’d missed the line about it derailing a whole email thread with other participants – in situations like that there’s more than just LW and the employee impacted.

          1. Yorick*

            Ok but a typo isn’t actually a flashing light. The employee needs to learn to not be so distracted by typos. It is possible to do so.

          2. Rocket*

            Honestly, splitting hairs over which precise part of the situation is more distracting to the employee versus the LW and changing one word in Alison’s script is coming off just as pedantic and derailing as the employee pointing out typos.

            Focusing on typos is distracting and needs to stop. The end.

          3. Critical Rolls*

            Are you E? You seem pretty invested in framing her derailing nitpicking as reasonable.

            E’s laser focus on typos is absolutely distracting both her and LW, so how you could twist that into “fiction” is beyond me.

      4. Working Hypothesis*

        Why do you think the most important issue to drive home to the employee is “Your behavior is taking me off track?” That isn’t what I got from the letter. It looked to me as if the most important issue was, “Your behavior is taking YOU off track, in that you’re focusing so much on my typos that you are not learning how to do your job. I need you to focus on what I’m teaching you, instead of the way I’m typing.”

    5. EPLawyer*

      This is kinda the LW’s point. By making it about typos, the trainee is missing the larger picture — which is to learn the job. Unless her job is proofreading, trainee needs to concentrate on learning her job, not correcting LW’s work.

    6. WillowSunstar*

      I have to wonder if the employee has previously worked for highly perfectionistic bosses who may have been very enthusiastic about correcting mistakes. Some bosses can be verbally abusive about such things. I’ve had a few of those, to the point where I had one boss who tried to get me to promise that I would never again make a typo. Of course, no one can realistically make that promise. (I’ve been told my error rate is less than 5% and I do data entry for a living, so we do need to be accurate in everything.) However, people need to be allowed to double-check their own work, and not have everything pointed out to them if it’s a minor thing.

      1. Working Hypothesis*

        The employee has so far, according to OP’s comments, at least once actively sought to blame OP in public for a significant mistake they hadn’t made. This isn’t someone who’s simply worked for perfectionist bosses before and been traumatized by it. This is a menace who’s deliberately fighting against having to do her own job. When she’s alone with the boss in training, she undermines her training by refusing to focus on what she’s required to learn; when she’s in a public email, she undermines her boss by complaining to the entire population of the group email that her boss made a mistake — that her boss never actually made (and the employee knew the boss hadn’t made).

  12. Prefer my pets*


    This may be a helpful way to frame it for your employee (it helped a lot of people on my team when we were regularly preparing big, multi-author documents).

    Phase 1: very high level scan…are all the main pieces/thoughts there? Are they under the right heading/chapter/etc?

    Phase 2: medium level read…are the concepts and supporting info written in a way that generally make sense? Everything referenced (tables, other sections, etc) actually included?

    Phase 3: final fine scan. Fix formatting, spelling, final grammar sweep, etc

    Any time spent on typos, fonts, etc in the first two phases is generally wasted time when entire sections will eventually be deleted or completely rewritten anyway. None of us have time to waste on busywork in our jobs! (If we have spare time, we’d rather use it to do fun things like field visits than fix typos that don’t matter!)

    1. Allonge*

      Oh this is a great one, thank you! I asked for comments/input on documents many a time and got nothing but spelling corrections back…

      1. Splendid Colors*

        There was a professor in my department who was notorious among his grad students for only proofreading their theses instead of addressing content, and then watching them get ripped apart by the rest of their committee.

        1. Cat Tree*

          I work in a highly regulated industry where nearly all documents have from 1 to 4 approvers who sign after me. Technically each approver has a different responsibility with the document. But sometimes there’s an approver who doesn’t quite understand what’s going on so they will nitpick typos just to feel like they’re contributing.

      2. just another bureaucrat*

        Oh this is so frustrating. Ignore the entire content of the document and only give me grammar fixes, either you’re not smart enough to understand the content, I did perfectly (wildly unlikely), or you don’t think anything except grammar and spelling matter. I’m fine with asking for polish, and I’m fine with people polishing to a shine a draft that does not need it because they can’t get past that, but it’s a draft and if the content needs work then you are literally wasting time polishing something that will get tossed.

    2. allathian*

      Oh yes. And if at all possible, proofreading at each level should be assigned to different people. I’m not particularly good at text analysis, but I’m very good at phase 3.

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        Yes! And usually the people who have been involved in Phases 1 and 2 are so cross-eyed from reading it a bunch of times that it is absolutely necessary to have someone doing Phase 3 who has never seen the document before (I am also very good at this and in my last job I was the go-to Phase 3er).

    3. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      This is good! And LW can tell her employee that they are in Phase Zero – the pre-proofreading phase.

      She may find it helpful to have assurance that the typos WILL be fixed, just in Phase 3, and may help her believe that trying to incorporate Phase 3 actions into Phase Zero is slowing down the process.

      1. ecnaseener*

        This part is key. It’s nice to explain that you have a proofreading process, but more important to make clear that she’s not supposed to be proofreading at all.

    4. Batgirl*

      This is great; it’s what a lot of good editors take years to internalise, broken down into three easy steps. If the employee still struggles with ignoring fine details at the outset she could even write the corrections down on her notepad under “phase three” and not mention them until the correct time. It’s not totally certain that this would help in the email situation, but it could only help to reinforce the idea that professional communications are a fast moving work in progress, rather than something specifically polished for her. Some pedants are beyond help, but this approach could work.

    5. Hannahnannah*

      This is great! I’m going to borrow for my writing team at work. This would be a great way to approach doc reviews, too: “Do you want me to review it from the perspective of A, B, or C?”

    6. Random Bystander*

      That’s an excellent way to identify which edits are needed when, and when it is appropriate/inappropriate to address a particular element.

      As far as typos are concerned, I had a major injury to my right hand, so sometimes when I’m having a bad day (mobility is better/worse, often weather related or if I’ve overdone things), there will be transpositions where the letters that are left-hand typed come ahead of a right-hand letter (teir when I mean tier, for example).

    7. Just Another Zebra*

      When I was in college (for Literature and Writing, so, you know), I had a professor describe writing with a sandcastle metaphor. The first stage is a sand box, where all your thoughts are together in one place, but they don’t look like much. Then the “big bucket” phase, where the words are starting to look like something, maybe. The “small bucket” phase, which add some finesse to the writing. Followed by the “detail” phase, and then “flags” – flags is where grammar and spelling happen, because the document is done and just needs some touch-ups.

      I feel like OP needs to correct her employee (“stop doing X”), but also explain why, and at what point these things are fixed. And also where they just don’t matter.

    8. marvin the paranoid android*

      Ironically, I find the people who are most pedantic about minor typos are people who have spent the least amount of time being responsible for proofreading. If you are a proofreader, you know in what context it is actually helpful, and the thrill of catching someone else being wrong has lost its shine.

    9. Anonymouse*

      Yes! I am constantly having to remind people that they should give me a document to proofread as close to the end of the drafting process as possible. It’s a waste of everyone’s time to have me correcting typos and fixing formatting errors on text that’s still being worked on. Not to mention, the more times I’m asked to proof the same document in a short period of time, the less effective I am as a set of “fresh eyes”–it’s diminishing returns and bad strategy.

      Part of the problem is that there are two senior people in our department who tend to zero in on minor errors when what they’re SUPPOSED to be doing during *their* review is making sure the overall message is good/the language is conveying our meaning clearly. Consequently, document drafters will sometimes pull me in early to clean a draft up in an effort to keep them focused on the big picture. I’ll do it, but I keep telling ’em that they need to train these folks out of compulsively correcting typos and remind them “Anonymouse is final eyes on all our products, and will fix all those before they go out”. (It’s not a lack of trust in me – I am very good at proofing and widely acknowledged as such – they just can’t help it. They’re too senior to be wasting their time on this, but also too senior for anyone to tell them to cut it out.)

    10. JustaTech*

      Yes to this. I had a coworker who could be *intense* about copy editing (she was also a very good auditor). So when I had a document for her to review I would say “hey, can you give me a content check on this?” and she’d do her best to ignore typos and grammar disagreements (she hated commas). Or I could say “hey, can you just copy-edit this? The content was set by Boss.” and she’d only check for typos and make sure all my numbers matched.

      And then rarely I would say “Hey, can you go hog wild on this?” and I’d get back a report that was 50% comments/corrections.

      The important thing was that she knew the difference and was willing to not point out the typos if that wasn’t what I needed.

  13. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

    OP1 (typos) – I think this is symptomatic, as opposed to typos being the only thing she gets “overcome” (!) by. You will likely find she gets hung up over all sorts of small details and misses the big picture or the actual point. Unfortunately people like this often aren’t really able to change (or don’t want to as they feel that OP and people like her are “careless” whereas they are “detail oriented and precise”, yes, even after its pointed out to them as OP has), even with a very direct conversation. I don’t know what my suggestion is though… other than be on the lookout for this trait appearing elsewhere other than about typos.

    1. Sleepy cat*

      Indeed. She lacks impulse control and judgement. Even if she ‘has’ to point out typos, why is she pointing them out to everyone and not just quietly telling you and only you, for example?

      I actually think Alison’s language is too soft here. I wouldn’t say “I need you to stop”. That frames it too much as a personal preference and not something she objectively needs to stop. I’d go with “You need to stop” and “do not continue”.

    2. John Smith*

      There is evidence that people who obsess over typos may have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I’d be looking at that root and having a word with HR or a referral to occupational health. In the UK at least, OCD is considered a disability and is covered under the Equalities Act (equivalent to Americans with Disabilities Act I think).

      1. Elder Millennial*

        Let’s not arm chair diagnose here. I could think of a bunch of other diagnoses that could cause this behavior and also just… someone needing to point out every little mistake they see without it being caused by any diagnosis at all, because they think it makes them look good or because it’s just who they are as a person (I have such a family member).

        Most importantly: it does not matter for how LW should proceed. This behavior is not something they have to accommodate, even if it is caused by a disability. It is disruptive and it hinders the training they are giving. The employee is going to have to learn to cut it out. That might mean they will have to start therapy or meds or not, but that is not LW’s business.

        1. Kesnit*

          I also thought of OCD.

          Why would the employee even think of therapy or meds if no one ever tells them it may be more than “just” being picky? To people with mental disorders, what we see as extreme and weird, they see as normal. After all, they’ve likely never felt any other way. Unless someone says “you know, this is not normal,” they may not realize it. It could cause a lot of needless stress to the employee if it is more than “just” being picky and there is a real, physical issue. You cannot just “will away” mental illness.

          1. Myrin*

            It is really, really not on the OP as the manager and trainer to suggest this to her employee.

            1. kicking_k*

              I agree, and I’m one of the people who is disproportionately distracted by typos. I don’t mention them, but I cannot help being distracted. (I don’t have OCD, but my husband does, and folk diagnoses of OCD are quite damaging to the overall perception of the condition.)

          2. Colette*

            No. The OP should tell the employee that it’s a problem. It’s on the employee to solve it, either by a simple behaviour change or by seeking medical attention if necessary. But the manager should not suggest a possible diagnosis or even medical attention – that’s not something a manager should be invovled in.

          3. pancakes*

            I agree with what others have said — a firm no to this!

            Regarding “Why would the employee even think of therapy or meds if no one ever tells them it may be more than ‘just’ being picky?”: For a start, people have so many other times and places to learn about themselves and the human condition besides work. Whether they might benefit from therapy or medication is way beyond the scope of their employer’s or their coworkers’ business. My goodness.

          4. Tabasco Fiasco*

            Ouch! I’m going to try and make this also relevant to the OP so as not to fully derail, but as a person with OCD, we’re 100% aware. What you’re describing – not aware that the behavior is abnormal – is not OCD. We know what we’re doing or thinking isn’t typical behavior. That’s what is so distressing to us. HOWEVER. Relevant to the OP is that the *approach is the same regardless of diagnoses.* My OCD doesn’t override obnoxious behavior. I’ve also been unmedicated/untreated for most of my life, and only recently was able to obtain treatment, and I can assure you I was still able to not be a Nitpicking Nancy and managed to not derail things. Again, as others suggested, this comes down to very, very clear communication as well as potential ramifications for not listening. In addition, it sounds like they’re causing problems in other ways, such as creating more work for the OP and not being flexible. It sounds like clear rails on their work, and a 1:1 on expectations OUTSIDE of those training meetings could help. If I knew what I was doing was wreaking havoc on my boss, I’d be mortified.

            1. HardNo*

              +1000. I respectfully request that people without an OCD diagnosis never, ever speculate or comment on it again. You do not know what you’re talking about. Of course people with OCD (any many mental illnesses) know that their experiences are not the norm—that’s why we exert so much energy masking. The way I live with OCD, John Smith and Kesnit, is, I guarantee you, absolutely nothing like what you are imagining, and has nothing to do with monitoring the neatness or scrupulosity of other people.

      2. Rainbow Brite*

        This is a big overstep. If she has a larger issue and needs accommodations, she can ask for them. It’s not LW’s job — or ours — to armchair diagnose, especially based on one (fairly common) character quirk.

        1. John Smith*

          Just for the record, I’m not trying to diagnose. I’m merely suggesting that there are other avenues that could be explored. I should have said I’m providing an example in my post. If the OPs colleague was stammering, would the advice be to tell her to stop it because it’s annoying and distracting?

          1. ecnaseener*

            Armchair diagnosing refers to exactly what you’re doing here, it doesn’t matter that you’re not “trying” to diagnose (which I guess means you’re not trying to *officially* diagnose?). Check out the commenting rules for an explanation of why it’s not helpful.

            I don’t get why you bring up stammering – you’re saying you would go to HR about a report’s stammering??

          2. A.N. O'Nyme*

            Presumably stammering wouldn’t get in the way of actually doing someone’s job, which this is considering the person is so focused on typos that they’re not retaining the training information.

          3. Elder Millennial*

            Interesting you bring up stammering. Stammering would actually be more like the typo’s. Both are hiccups in the way a message is delivered. (I have stuttered quite intensely in the past, so I feel qualified to make this judgement.)

            If someone would have a report who would constantly make remarks about a colleague stuttering, then yes, they would be well within their right to tell that employee to cut it out, no matter *why* that report makes those remarks. Especially if that person is so focused on talking about the stuttering that they are not listening to what the person is saying.

          4. Higgs bison*

            Accommodations are supposed to be reasonable, so sometimes a condition does mean that someone’s a bad fit. To use your stammering example, that would be fine in many roles, but high levels of it would probably not work for a news anchor unless they could find a way to limit it in front of the teleprompter.

            1. Maybe not*

              As someone who had an actual stutter, I would like to say this whole thread is offensive and awful. Please rethink this example. No, nobody should go to management to complain about my speech impediment. But you also shouldn’t trot it out as an example of unclear communication. I am intelligent, articulate, literate and frequently praised for my excellent communication. Please stop with this thread immediately. It’s beyond offensive.

              1. Elder Millennial*

                You are right. I wrote something deeply offensive. This wasn’t my intention, but I realize I should do better next time. My deepest apologies.

      3. Mockingjay*

        I’m a technical writer. I notice typos everywhere. It’s not OCD. But the only time I point them out is during proofreading.

        What’s actually more important: accuracy of the information being conveyed and the audience. Quick internal email – even mine have occasional typos but doesn’t matter as long as I respond with the data Fred needs. Formal report – we have a QC process for proofing.

        For OP1, they have an employee who is focusing on minutia instead of learning the job. Echo others here that OP1 be very direct in telling her what to do and that the job depends on mastering the processes and systems. Add a time frame: “you should be able to do X by yourself in a month; Jacinta will do a QC check for the next few months. If there’s a problem, consult the wiki and your notes first; only then can you ask.”

      4. I should really pick a name*

        This would be something that is on the employee, not the employer to initiate.
        The employer lays out their expectations. If the employee needs some kind of accommodation to meet these expectations, they inform the employer.

      5. Sleepy cat*

        Even if it was appropriate to armchair diagnose, which it’s not, this is misinformation. OCD does NOT automatically meet the definition of a disability as set out in the Equality Act. The only conditions automatically classed as disabilities and automatically legally protected under UK disability discrimination law are cancer, HIV, MS and visual impairment.

        OCD may SOMETIMES be a disability and be covered but it’s not automatic.

      6. Littorally*

        That’s an absurd overstep. It isn’t the OP’s job to refer the employee to any kind of healthcare.

    3. MicroManagered*

      I think this is why Alison suggested a very direct message of “you need to gain control of this behavior and stop” rather than trying to reason with her about how proofreading will come later, etc.

      I work with someone like this, and agree with your assessment that she’d view herself as very precise and justified in noticing typos because what she’s saying is “correct.”

      1. SnappinTerrapin*

        It strikes me that the core problem is that the employee allows the typos to distract her from the training. She needs to learn when to focus on training, and when to focus on communication techniques and so forth.

  14. Colorado*

    Okay – I love the cat! I’ve been a very very longtime follower and this is just amazing!

  15. Caroline Bowman*

    OP1, I too notice the most ridiculous of errors and have been known to leave restaurants if their menu is badly misspelled. It is something of a compulsion, so I have sympathy for your new employee’s feeling of needing to blurt it out (I’m not that bad, I promise). A way to manage their compulsion is for them to keep a very tiny notebook and to note in writing, very quickly, whatever the ”heinous” mistake is, correct it, again, in a split second and in this way, to have expressed the niggle, and thus be able to continue focusing properly, not derailing or nit-picking, which will be useful to all concerned.

    It’s a kind of ”parking” technique. Sometimes people use it when they’re overwhelmed and unable to sleep, simply sitting up, switching on the light, writing down all of the many nutso things they’re fretting over in a scribbled list, thus parking them till morning, when ”WHAT ABOUT REPLACING THE WASHING LINE!!!” often feels less urgent and world-ending, as does ”BUT IF THE CAT DOESN’T LIKE THE NEW FOOD AND IT MAKES HER SICK, WHAT WILL WE DO? WHAT?”.

    1. Lily*

      I started doing this “parking” thing at night, when I’d wake suddenly, anxious about something (Oh my god we’re out of wet cat food! Did I pay the power bill?! Do I have life insurance?!) It has helped SO MUCH. And I’ve noticed that I have been waking up anxious at 1 AM less and less over time. I believe it’s related to the ‘siphoning off’ of that anxious energy.

      1. The Prettiest Curse*

        I also find this technique very helpful when lying awake at night. The most useful thought process for me is “Can I do anything about this thing right now? If not, why am I worrying about this right now??”

    2. ecnaseener*

      If the employee had written in, this would be great advice – I think it would be an overstep for LW to suggest it though. Even without as much detail, idk how they could suggest it without undermining their key message of “stop paying attention to typos when you’re supposed to be learning.”

    3. Today's Name is Not Interesting*

      I have an actual poster of a parking lot in my office (a relic of when I did in-person presentations), and when someone comes to me with an urgent+unimportant issue, we sometimes write it on a post-it note, date it, and “park” it. Every now and then, we look at the stickies to see if there are themes or if parked issues are coming up again in different contexts. Sometimes they do, but usually not. We “tow out the lot” when an issue becomes irrelevant (change in technology, staffing, duties) or the ink fades so much we can’t read the note. It helps some people internalize the idea that there may be Urgent Issues that are probably Not Things At All.

      1. J*

        This is the greatest thing I’ve read for how to deal with those ideas that don’t always have a place to go. I kind of want one for my house too when planning what to outsource. Thank you for sharing!

      2. #1 OP*

        This a great idea! We have Google doc for our weekly meeting that she adds notes to, majority of time they are addressed before the next meeting so they are already striked through. But I think our project doc could use a “parked” tab

    4. Helen_of_the_Midwest*

      I can also be quite fixated on punctuation and grammar mistakes. I have OCD and I’m autistic, and it’s hard for me to see past the errors sometimes, which I think is part of the way my brain is set up! And I have learned how not to say anything about the errors in the moment (which I wasn’t always able to do–my third grade teacher called my parents because I kept correcting him in class). To be professional, it’s necessary to let certain things slide, or at least look like you’re letting them slide.

      One thing that I find helpful is to have a friend from outside of work who’s similarly pedantic, and to text or message her about the errors that get on my nerves most. (“[Coworker] just used an apostrophe to create a plural!”) I work from home, so my coworkers will definitely never see these messages, not even over my shoulder; they’re just a way for me to let off steam. I guess this is similar to the notebook suggestion. It’s not the kindest solution, probably, but it can turn my desire to scream in frustration into a desire to laugh, which is helpful, and I have an easier time feeling like I can move on once I’ve told someone.

      The second thing I do is that I tell my boss, “I’m a very good copy editor. The work you’ll see from me will be very clean, and if we have written materials from other people on the team that you would like to have proofread, I’d be happy to do that.” Generally it takes a little while for a new boss to figure out whether I’m as good at proofreading as I think I am, but at both of the full-time jobs I’ve had so far in my career, I’ve wound up proofreading everything that my department sends to the public, and the bosses I’ve had have liked and relied on this skill. (I work in marketing and communications, so large email sends and the like are a sizeable part of my work.)

      My point is that there are ways to put an eagle eye to good use. Obviously it’s important that the employee stop mentioning the errors she’s noticing in the moment. If she can manage that, though, there may be times when her detail orientation comes in handy.

    5. Coconutty*

      You must be missing out on a lot of great food at restaurants run by people who speak English as a second language

      1. Raboot*

        They’re sharing personal experience with a compulsion, not telling people that typos are immoral, let’s not hint that they’re racist

        1. Yikez*

          I don’t think they were hinting that anyone is racist. I had the same “wow, you’ve missed a lot of great food” thought. Because if you leave over spelling errors, well, yeah, you’re missing out on good food.

    6. pancakes*

      An employee keeping a little notebook where they write down their feelings about their work as they go and make note of all the things they’d correct if they were in charge seems wildly time-consuming and likely to be a distraction. Most people are at work to do work, not to keep an on-going log of their own observations. I do not at all agree that what you’re describing will be “useful to all concerned.”

  16. StudentA*

    LW #2. I was always keen on networking. Still do it and still cold call on LinkedIn. However, one of the best lessons in life after graduation was rejection and basically understanding that others don’t owe me anything and to be gracious no matter what.

    Alisons advice and scripts are great. It’s hard not to feel guilty when you’re a helpful person. But another way to think about it is that executives/directors have limited time. Young professionals will learn this, and will appreciate it even more when they do get extra help.

  17. Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii*

    Of course, that’s only if you are in fact running the accounts, not your cat.

    That is a good point and i’m glad Alison points it out, one may think it has to be a human but when there are cats out there with PhDs you have to be sure.
    Dr. Zoe D. Katze PhD

  18. Sharp-dressed Boston Terrier*

    In the Scandinavian country where I am employed, my job gives me 30 days of paid vacation every April. 5 of those days can be rolled over for a maximum of five years, at which point they become “use or lose”. I believe this is enshrined in law here, but I haven’t done the research to make a definitive statement about that.

    Upshot: every five years you end up with 55 days (11 whole weeks!) of paid vacation, at which point you are able — and generally encouraged — to take the whole summer off and go find something fun to do. I have two opportunities to do so in the time I have left before I need to consider retirement and you can bet I’ll make the most of both of them.

    As an immigrant here, I say unto my brethren and sisters back home in the States: This is not to rub your faces in it! It’s just… a target to think about reaching for.

    1. Mr. Bob Dobalina*

      Oh, give it about 500 years or so in the US, then maybe we will have 1 week of paid time off required by law.

  19. 36Cupcakes*

    Two of the largest companies in the area give leave every 5 or 10 years. They both call them Personal Growth Leave. They are either 4 or 6 weeks depending on the length you’ve been at your job.

    One is bio-tech and one is finance related.

  20. Garfish*

    #2 I remember a suggestion to another letter writer that they create a document of the most commonly asked questions and answers and make that publically available through their linkedin, then point everyone to that.

  21. Me (I think)*

    #1. My high level boss sends out an email to the entire team working on an important project. I do a reply-all in which I point out their typos, thus derailing the actual discussion.

    Really, I would expect to be fired.

    1. Magrids*

      Seriously. It feels extremely disrespectful when I think of actually doing this to my boss! (Rude no matter who, though).

    2. TangerineRose*

      Years ago, I had a boss who would sent e-mails to a forum that clients were on. The e-mails had multiple typos, and just weren’t written well. I wished he’d get someone to proofread them, but it very much wasn’t my place to point them out.

      1. #1 OP*

        The typos are part of draft internal emails. She is actually blaming an issue on a mistake she said I made. There wasn’t any mistake she just didn’t understand the problem and was looking to point blame to an issue. I encounter these simple problems daily and a simple reply with resolved would handle it. There was no reason for her to single me out as the cause of the problem. I have told her a few times not single out anyone’s mistakes on a group email.

        1. Working Hypothesis*

          You’ve told her a few times not to do something that’s very much against your company policy, it sounds like… and she’s still doing it? That’s not just “being overcome” by the impulse to let somebody know about their typos. That’s outright insubordination and undermining, and it’s grounds for firing her.

  22. Panda (she/her)*

    LW2 – if you do want to continue doing informational interviews but don’t have the time to do them individually, you could also consider doing a weekly or monthly “office hours” type of group interview. It has the added benefit of slightly discouraging people who are just looking for a leg up on a job, as the group nature means they can’t just talk about themselves. Anytime you get a request you could respond with a zoom link and the time for your next office hours.

    1. Yet Another Consultant*

      I was thinking the same thing, for either a group or short individual appointments. You could even set up a calendly link that only shows your “office hours” availability so it’s on each person to schedule themselves without you needing to coordinate invites and phone/video links.

  23. mreasy*

    Op2, I assuage my guilt from ignoring almost all informational interview requests by participating in mentoring opportunities in my field. I focus on helping women & BIPOC folks who are junior in their career and hoping to get into leadership – historically in my industry, very white and male – but there are many options. I will sometimes have an email or LI-message exchange if the person doesn’t seem too entitled, but generally I will use that time to suggest resources and mentorship programs.

  24. Madame X*

    LW#2 I think people are missing a point of what information interviews are for

    What they are: casual conversations that you have with career professionals who are in the career field that you have an interest in.
    What they are not: a “short” 30 min conversation with the hiring manager of the job that you are trying to apply to.

    When I was job searching right around the time that I finishing grad school I actually did several information interviews. I found them very helpful to help me figure out what career path to pursue. I specifically saw out people who’s career or whose jobs were in line with what I was pursuing. I did my own research to understand the basics of the career and the requirements for those type of jobs, so I made sure that my questions were focused on topics that I couldn’t really search online or deduce from my own research.

    The key thing, is that most of my interviews were with friends or acquaintances that I had known through school. I was also able to connect with some career professionals by participating in some of the events hosted by the alumni center of my grad school.
    also, most of my interviews are actually done via email. However, if it made sense (and our schedules aligned ) we sometimes also met in person or talked on the phone.

      1. Madame X*

        A lot of the people i interviewed with I did not know. Some were former classmates and others were people I had never met before. I was able to connect with them through my alumni network and through a professional organization that i am member of. I was very pro-active in seeking people out.

  25. Becca*

    Situation 1 – she’s intentionally undermining you! Did she apply for the position you now hold? Were you equals and you now manage her? Perhaps she’s just masking her own ineptitude since you say she’s not learning. There is some motivation for this behavior and it’s not because she is so distracted by the mistake that she is compelled to correct you, her superior.

    1. anonymous73*

      There is nothing in the letter that would lead someone to assume those things. There are lots of reasons they could be this way, and your assumption would not have even entered my mind based on the information we’ve been given.

      1. StudentA*

        While I see where you and Batgirl below are coming from, it must have been humiliating to have your assistant (or whatever) respond to an email chain to point out your typo. It makes it look like either typos are a huge deal, or your assistant is unhinged and you haven’t reined her in. I think both can be humiliating for many of the types of managers I’ve dealt with.

      2. June*

        I agree new employee is too focused on the typos, but the quickest way to look unfocused and unprofessional is sending out copy full of grammatical errors.

        1. Myrin*

          I agree but fortunately, that is not what OP is doing – she’s writing stuff down first and then later coming back to review and correct it before sending it out. If you’re talking specifically about the typo in the email chain, well, it’s one typo in a large back-and-forth – surely that can happen to everyone and is not something to be harped on.

    2. Batgirl*

      I don’t think OP is yet at the “okay now you’re being a deliberate jerk” stage. Usually it’s best to approach these things with the outer assumption of ignorance before malice, even when the latter is the case. They haven’t told her flat out that this is a no no, but someone in this person’s past has said you never, ever break spelling and grammar rules. This kind of “don’t we instantly need to fix it” attitude is common if you’re a bit untutored on the larger picture and don’t know more efficient ways of editing. OP can revisit this as an insubordination issue if the employee can’t obey the frank instruction to just stop and let it go.

      1. #1 OP*

        Hi all! So the email had no typo she said I had made a mistake that caused a problem. But this was actually incorrect she was just trying to point blame to something so she can show she resolved the problem. It was completely unnecessary. These situations happen all the time but she didn’t know how to resolve it. I typically just respond and let them know it was resolved as there is no reason to point fingers. Actually upper management is very against singling anyone out (which I agree it brings down morale and makes for toxic work place). While in training she constantly points out my typos when I am trying to multitask, even after I ask her to be patient and I promise to proofread.

        1. idwtpaun*

          Wait, this is worse than I imagined from the letter. I thought she pointed out a typo in an email using reply-all, which is bad judgment on multiple levels. But her apparent attempt to undermine you is much more concerning. Somewhere above you responded to a comment that intuited your employee is struggling with the job, is she trying to cover this up by trying to find fault with you?

          1. #1 OP*

            I feel like she is trying to assert herself. Might be my fault for hiring someone I had worked with before. I just didn’t realize this would be an issue as I think she is awesome. She has ton of potential but really she just needs to give it time as what she is doing now is so different from what she did previously. I don’t think she is aware of how she comes across, as some times she will even question herself in email like oh I made a mistake. I will then side email her being like no way at all did you mistake. Sometimes she just says or emails something that is little off the wall (like me being mean to vendors). I think it just might be a weird sense of humor and not thinking it through. I think the training might be overwhelming which is why she losses track with typos as she can’t focus. Which is why I pushed for her to watch the videos.

  26. It's me*

    If you’re in a fundraising department at a higher ed institution or other nonprofit in the US or Canada, I recommend https://amplify-women.org/. I was in the inaugural year of the program and loved it. Key aspects of that program are peer-facilitated conversations within your own organization that help build a support network internally. It has been huge for building my skills in advocacy for myself and others in an industry that continues to have a significant gender imbalance in compensation and leadership, and it includes a strong racial equity component.

  27. Falling Diphthong*

    I work in a field where customer-facing materials need to be typo free, and anyone who was “overwhelmed” with the need to point out typos in internal email chains–despite being told that no one cares!–would be someone you shuffled off your team asap.

    OP, I would be very direct that this instinct is extremely annoying to others. Explain that it delivers a strong impression that your employee is not focused on the important parts of the discussion, only looking for some typos.

    Further explain that most people noticed the typo but figured it out from context. And moved right along and did not derail, which is the expectation they have of others. Typos should only be pointed out when they completely change the meaning, e.g. “To clarify, the decision is ‘do NOT change the spouts’, not ‘do change the spouts” or “To clarify, you want Belinda to take lead on spouts and Fergus on handles” when the email conflated the two names.

    1. anonymous73*

      I wouldn’t mention the annoyance because while true, it’s far from the issue. The problem is that the employee is focused on the wrong things, which is keeping them from retaining any training information and also derailing discussions by confusing others.

    2. #1 OP*

      Thank you!! Yes, it is interesting as she also has a problem with acronyms. She has to stopped an entire training material to understand their meaning. Sometimes they are super silly just names for departments that are not relevant or they are legal terms. Typically I just pick up the meaning from the context of what is presented. Every time I encounter one I stop to explain or explain I am not sure and have to check it for her before preceding. It is quite difficult as sometimes I say it just the name of this team that does XYZ but I don’t know what their acronym stands for. She still needs to know. Not sure really if it is a specific learning style but it really slows down or derails the training.

  28. Beth*

    Re: professional development, there’s a great annual leadership seminar in August called Global Leadership Summit (https://globalleadership.org/global-leadership-summit/). It’s a bit like watching a bunch of TedTalks curated around the general topic of leadership. They’ve had people like Patrick Lencioni, Malcolm Gladwell, Melinda Gates, Sheryl Sandberg, etc. (Fair warning, it is run by an organization affiliated with a mega church so there are always some religious leaders among the speakers. They don’t try to convert anyone during their events, but you would hear some amount of religious talk. If that will rub you the wrong way, this isn’t the event for you.) They cover leadership from a wide variety of perspectives – work, home, community, etc. The event costs < $300. You can attend online, in person in Illinois or at a variety of satellite locations around the US. Attending the August event also swings you free invites to smaller events with 2-3 speakers each quarter.

  29. Nea*

    LW 3 –

    My resume at one point had “Other relevant experience. Ran performance art contest x years. Responsible for:
    – interfacing with committee for larger event
    – interfacing with tech crew
    – soliciting volunteer judges
    – soliciting and training volunteer staff
    – working with trophy designers/purchasing trophies
    – maintaining emergency repair kit
    – organizing event flow and line up
    Event ran on time and under budget all years

    I’m pointing out the work-related stuff I did: met with a bunch of different groups, got volunteers, did a little design work, managed a budget, wrangled lots of people.

    …and it never says “convention masquerade” anywhere.

    1. Not A Mail Carrier*

      Being someone with over 30 years of Star Trek, anime, gaming, and general geek cons under my belt, as both general attendee and assisting my staffer friends, I’m chortling at this and wonder why I never thought of that. :D (Probably because I’ve never been officially staff, just assisting them in times of need. One of the more amusing tales involves me showing up to my hotel the night before Big McHuge U.S. Anime Con started, intending to just relax and get some sleep before Friday….And instead I ended up walking into the hotel lobby and immediately being pounced upon by my staff friend who ran guest relations. Because a Guest of Honor had gone AWOL and I was the only person available to help track them down.)

  30. Nikki*

    LW1 reminds me a lot of a member of my team. He’s hyper focused on making sure everyone is following process even for very minor things. He’ll spend hours each week updating other people’s tasks on our task board when he thinks something is wrong even though he’s been asked to stop because he’s updated them incorrectly in the past. Meanwhile, he’s on a PIP because he’s not handling core parts of his job. I have to show him how to do things multiple times because he seemingly forgets as soon as I’m done training him on something. My experience makes me wonder if the LW will be in a similar situation with their employee eventually. Hyper focus on something that doesn’t matter to the point that she’s not retaining important information is a bad sign for her future success in this role even if she’s able to overcome the typo problem.

    1. Iced Mocha Latte*

      I have someone on my team who is hyper focused on all the typos, errors, etc. another department makes (she laisses with that department for certain things), yet the stuff she hands in requires multiple corrections for exactly the same thing. We’re a bit stumped by this conundrum.

      1. Batgirl*

        It’s easier to see other people’s mistakes because when you see them for the first time it’s past “draft time” and the finished look makes the odd mistake pop. It’s even easier if you are skipping the post draft edit stage of your own work. You have more time to criticize!

      2. EvilQueenRegina*

        My ex boss was like that, always telling people off for typos. As a former coworker once said, “How can Umbridge tell people off for typos, when I don’t think I ever had an email from her without one?”

        We usually just pretended not to notice, I don’t think she tended to make typos that changed the meaning of anything so we usually knew what she was trying to say, and more importantly, we liked having our heads attached to our shoulders rather than bitten off by her.

    2. Generic Name*

      Aw. If your employee is managed out, please suggest he go into quality. They are high paying roles that capitalize on skills like this. Or see if you can transition him into another role in your company he would be more suited to.

  31. Richard Hershberger*

    LW3: The part I don’t get is how this cat account success would transfer to a corporate social media job. Having a cute cat that garners lots of views it pretty much entirely unlike marketing widgets on social media. I’m not saying leave it off the resume necessarily, but were I on the hiring side I would really wonder if this were in fact relevant.

    1. Suey*

      I was wondering that, too. It’s not like the LW will be able to recreate the number of followers for a business page. I guess managing the page itself might be relevant experience?

    2. ecnaseener*

      I was thinking the same thing, especially the way LW describes it as just posting some cute videos and being pleasantly surprised at how popular they were. But the sponsorships and brand deals might be relevant skills.

    3. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

      I could see it in an “Other experience/skills” section where you would list things like volunteer work, languages/skills that aren’t necessarily relevant to the job but can be useful on occasion.

    4. Magrids*

      As a marketer who does work on social media, it’s absolutely relevant. Just having experience on those platforms, knowing what gets “trending” and how the platforms operate (the use of hashtags, elements to drive engagement) gives LW a leg up. If she really does absolutely nothing except upload the occasional video, then whatever, but if she’s active on the platform, it’s good experience to note.

      1. Jay*

        This. My daughter was a rising college junior during the summer of 2020 and she wants to work in social media marketing. Since she was stuck at home with us and didn’t have an internship or other job, she took some classes and spent hours – I mean HOURS – making TikTok videos. By the end of the summer she’d had two videos go viral and got paid a little bit. I’m pretty sure that experience is part of what got her the two excellent internships she’s had since. Fingers crossed that the current one turns into a real job after her graduation next month!

      2. J*

        Exactly. I have done social media marketing and what a lot of people don’t understand about TikTok specifically is that you have to respond not just to changing trends but also changing algorithms rapidly. You have to produce content quickly and keep an editorial calendar (however casual) as engagement is based off frequent posting. You often aren’t just recording a single video but editing it. You are interacting with other creators with the stitch feature. You don’t get to that level of followers without hard work unless you have a single one off. But that wouldn’t leverage into sponsorship agreements and other tells that this is a successful, well-managed account.

        There’s a lot of transferrable skills to other platforms but also the recognition that LW3 can assess and respond to new entries in the marketplace. They also likely an understanding of the timeline to produce content so wherever they may be on a marketing team they might be great at helping to plan content, create content, or even engage with content. If it’s a more traditional marketing role, those all still apply. I’ve done PR for government, I’ve done small business and startup promotion, I’ve done law firm business development, I’ve done nonprofit event planning, and everyone of those would benefit from those skills. Frankly I wish more of my coworkers were as agile as I bet LW3 has to be.

    5. EPLawyer*

      It’s a social media job. So it is really relevant to show she gets how it works, what needs to be done to grow an account, how to handle sponsorships, etc.

    6. clouded sunshine*

      Oh my gosh, I came here specifically to tell LW3 to DEFINITELY put it on the resume. As someone in marketing/communications, I can tell you I’ve now worked for two organizations where the execs (who have never looked at TikTok) decided “We must be on TikTok asap! It’s where The Youth are!” and the, shall we say, more seasoned team has had no idea where to even start. It is 100 percent a skill knowing how to put the videos together, even if the success can’t be recreated 100 percent. It should be listed as such on the resume – experience with creating TikTok videos and successful management of an account with more than 30K followers. It IS a skill.

    7. pancakes*

      People who post popular cat videos on social media and people who market widgets there are often going to be using some of the same tracking metrics, the same skills in leveraging their own popularity and growing their account by optimizing their posting, etc., no? The idea that these are totally different business models because the pictures are of different subject matter is a pretty big oversimplification. Advertising agencies, personal agents, PR people and other communications professionals, etc., also tend to use some of the same skills and practices to market, say, a new antacid that they would to market a celebrity cat.

      1. Higher Ed Kitten Party*

        Yes, absolutely. It would be one thing if OP was applying to do social media for like … the RNC, or a grief counseling agency or something, but in general, having a popular account takes work. Sure, some people just fall into it, but to sustain it takes the same tools you utilize in professional roles – comparing metrics, awareness of trends, communication with sponsors, etc.

        Most people understand that social media accounts have a “tone of voice”, and the tone of voice for our friend Real Life Garfield won’t be what’s used other places. It doesn’t mean the same person can’t do it.

        As an aside, some of the VERY BEST social media accounts do not have a professional tone of voice. The Utah Department of Transportation account is wildly popular, and I am sure is making the Marketing and Communications team at the US DOT very confused and also maybe a little angry.

        1. cookie monster*

          Your last paragraph is exactly what I was coming to say – some of the organizations you think of as being stodgy actually have hilarious, weirdly popular TikTok or Instagram accounts.

    8. RebelwithMouseyHair*

      Taking the photos at the cutest angle, finding snappy clickbait titles, making sure there’s nothing else to distract people’s attention in the photo, making sure the comments don’t get out of hand, etc. is all work. It may not look like it, just like singing in a band doesn’t look like hard work, but it is.

    9. Silicon Valley Girl*

      Just a few of the skills used: Filming video. Editing video & audio. Writing captions. Creating & finding relevant hashtags. Tracking metrics. Monitoring comments & engaging with audience. Managing sponsorship requests.

      All of this is relevant in a marketing job today.

  32. anonymous73*

    #1 Yes you need to tell her to stop immediately. And I would focus on the fact that because she’s spending so much time focused on the typos that she isn’t retaining the training that you’re providing. It’s not just a minor annoyance, it’s affecting her ability to do her job. Be clear. Be direct. And be prepared to provide real consequences if she continues.

      1. CatBookMom*

        I don’t know exactly what would be the best place to insert this, but this is a short tree.

        I am so old that I learned typing on non-correctible-tape typewriters, before IBM Selectrics. Yeah; eraser ‘pencils.’ I took shorthand/typing up through 2yrs of college as part of my Secretarial Science major (until I bailed and became an accountant – different need for accuracy, numbers, not words). Our Evil Witch professor, the head of the department, had an ‘easy’ way to be sure you caught ALL of the errors: Read each line from right to left (backwards); that way, you would be less likely to elide subject/verb, singular/plural, etc types of errors. If you REALLY have a concern about a particular document, that’s a good final-check way to go.
        I did notice, in reading through your posts, that you make some errors; they in NO WAY detracted from the points you were making. The important bit is that your employee is NOT learning, because she’s focused on the tiny misspellings, the omitted words, and NOT paying attention to what you’re trying to teach her, over and over again, exhausting your patience and your training time for this one employee.
        Best of luck!

        1. #1 OP*

          Thanks! Did acknowledge this above, in no way an expert. I am on vacation so most of this has been written while in car. So apologies for all my typos. I honestly recognized she was very distracted and first told her to disregard but she couldn’t. Then I started to push the recordings on her, as she was the one that wanted a live training. It was never how I wanted her trained.

          If the one thing that I wish everyone on this chain would understand that this a technical role. Like an IT role that is very specific, I work with engineers and have to resolve issues for entry level people who would never be able to communicate with our engineers. Our goal to resolve issues and help people learn from them. Typically our emails include one sentence with two bullets noting if they need an action or not. I personally stayed far away from English related roles as it is my second language.

  33. CatPerson*

    “Of course, that’s only if you are in fact running the accounts, not your cat.”


  34. Coach*

    We have sabbatical every 5 years at PayPal along with unlimited PTO (that we’re actually encouraged to take). It’s a great benefit.

  35. Trek*

    OP1 Agree with Ask a Manager have a direct conversation telling her to stop. You need to also address her lack of understanding/learning the tasks she’s being trained on. If she cannot learn new tasks because typos are distracting that’s a big problem. What else will distract her later? I would set clear deadlines to learn tasks and let her know that if she doesn’t you will need to part company.

  36. Blanket Monster*

    My company gives an initial 4 week sabbatical after 5 years of service, then subsequent 4 week sabbaticals every 3 years after that (so year 8, 11, 14, etc).

    1. NeedRain47*

      I’m curious as to whether your company and the LW’s mean sabbatical the same way that higher education institutions mean it- that is, you are doing something that contributes to your work that is different than your day to day work. (research and writing are common in higher ed).

      The way the LW says “on top of their existing annual leave” makes it sound like they are getting an extended vacation, which sounds great but isn’t what I think of when I hear sabbatical.

      1. Blanket Monster*

        No, for my company the sabbatical is very different from an academic sabbatical. It’s 4 weeks off from work, just like 4 additional weeks of vacation.

      2. Mr. Bob Dobalina*

        No, it doesn’t mean the same thing. Corporations refer to this (a certain number of weeks of paid time off that must be taken consecutively, together) as a “sabbatical”. The employee can do whatever they want during the sabbatical.

  37. Mannheim Steamroller*

    OP #1:

    Maybe the employee is pretending to be distracted by typos as an excuse to avoid doing actual work. (“How can I possibly learn teapot design when you typed ‘adn’ and ‘teh’ in the budget briefing?”)

    1. #1 OP*

      Yes, I think this is the exact problem. She is trying to assert herself where she can. I have explained this all very difficult and takes time to understand so she should go easy on herself.

  38. Popinki (she/her)*

    I just noticed that #3’s kitty has a tipped ear, meaning that he was part of a trap/spay/neuter program for strays. They nip the tip of the left ear to show that they’ve been neutered (it’s done safely by a veterinarian, under anesthesia, with pain meds and antibiotics after.) Therefore this talented fluffball is a rescued stray, which just makes him even more awesome. Rescued is my favorite breed!

    Signed, Popinki, humble servant to four fuzzy overlords

    1. Random Bystander*

      Yes, I have started a small TNR project (next door neighbor puts out food, I’ve also been feeding)–I got the females spayed, still gathering funds to start tackling the males, but at least my mini-colony is not growing. (I also adopted two of the kittens from before the project–they were two boys from separate litters born around the same time, and the only two survivors of the nine kittens born that year–thus my impetus to start the TNR project because all those dead kittens on my driveway got me really down. The boys were young enough to transition to indoor life, although one still is super skittish around everyone except me, which is not unusual with feral start cats).

      For those unfamiliar with TNR–the ear tip is used to identify the ones who are already done, so that if they do happen into the trap again, you just release them and try again for one that you haven’t caught yet.

    2. OP Orange Cat Standing*

      Yes, correct- I live in a city and they have a robust TNR program, and the person who found him decided he was too friendly to go back on to the streets!

      1. EchoGirl*

        Similar thing happened to my cat. She was brought in for TNR but had a (minor, totally treatable) infection and so the vet had to keep her in-house until they’d treated the infection, and by the time she was well enough to be released, she’d pretty much completely acclimated to indoor living, so they decided to put her into their adoption program as an indoor cat instead of releasing her.

  39. Gary Patterson's Cat*

    1. My employee is too focused on typos
    It’s kind of funny because I think we’ve all seen on here managers who are so focused on this kind of thing as mistakes.
    Hey! It’s a good skill! But by all means tell her it needs to stop unless she is being asked to review something.

    3. Can I put my cat’s TikTok account on my resume?
    I LOVE THIS! No, really. Normally, I would say that hobbies shouldn’t go on a resume. However being a Social Influencer across many industries is a THING now (I know-and I’m actually looking to hire one in a different non-cat area). Given you work in marketing and communications, you could actually use this focusing on the growth of the channel. If you’re applying for social media roles, feature it more prominently. If you’re going for general marketing roles, I’d suggest keeping it as more of an example you talk about, rather than a feature [it won’t be impressive to everybody at every company]. But I do think you can use this as an example of video skills, copy writing (if you write posts to feature what you’re sponsoring), and social media audience growth.

    This goes for a lot of things. I’d say the same about volunteering or other hobbies you turn into a business, as long as you can focus on the business or “skills” aspects of it.

    5. What are the best professional development courses you’ve done?
    I have completed one of those post-graduate non-credit certificate courses in a related area of my chosen field.
    The certificate was a specific area where I did not feel my masters degree had much coverage (think analytics or say project management), but I felt I needed on the job. It was $3,000 for the 12 week course.
    It was pretty good but not as in-depth as normal classes would. You can also relate classwork to your actual job.
    Pick a reputable university as quality can vary widely.
    If you live in a state with community colleges, I’d suggest maybe taking a for-credit class or something that leads to a certification related to your field.

  40. Paperback Writah*

    #1 – You know, some people are born proofreaders and that employee sounds like one. I was offered a proofreading job out of the blue last week, which I turned down, but that gives me the impression there’s plenty of work out there for her kind.

    1. Working Hypothesis*

      Well, yes, if that’s what she wants to do for a living. But right now, she’s in a different job that doesn’t involve proofreading (or at least not as the primary focus of her work) and she’s not learning how to do the job she has because she’s too busy proofreading everything that comes past her nose. Including things that would’ve been proofread by somebody else anyway, they just hadn’t gotten to it yet. That’s a problem.

      Maybe the answer, if she truly can’t help herself, is for her to leave that job by mutual agreement, look for work as a proofreader, and negotiate a really good reference from this boss *for that specific role* since it’s shown to be what she’s good at (unlike the job she’s got now). But that’s a pretty extreme solution to an employee who is not retaining her training in how to do *this* job, and it’s also one we can’t really suggest effectively because it requires action by the employee, not just by the boss, and the boss is the one who wrote in to us. We don’t even know if the employee would ever want to be a proofreader for a living. We only know that typos really get her attention and that she claims to be compelled to speak about them. But a lot of people automatically pay attention to things that aren’t what they really want to spend forty hours a week working on.

      We can’t advise the employee because as far as we know, she isn’t reading this. So I think we need to stick to advising the boss about the problem *she* has — which is that this employee is obsessing so much over typos that she’s confusing other colleagues in email and not learning what she needs to learn to do the job she has right now.

      1. What a way to make a living*

        Proof readers would still be out of line if they publicly corrected bosses typos!

        There are people who are super good at proof reading but when they initially type their thoughts they make typos. These two things aren’t really to do with each other.

        This isn’t about being good at proofing, it is about poor judgment with colleagues, and a distorted sense of priorities and proportion.

    2. pancakes*

      People who make their living as proofreaders also need to self-regulate their behavior at work, not get derailed, and not derail others.

  41. dedicated1776*

    #4: It’s possible to do this even if your company doesn’t technically offer sabbaticals. I am about to leave for 5 weeks to travel in Europe with my husband. I am transitioning out of one role before I go and into another one when I return. The stars have to align but it is possible if you work for good people, even if there’s no formal structure in place for it. (Of course, I won’t be paid. But it’s a small price to pay for a break after 17+ years of grinding away at my career.)

  42. Rusty Shackelford*

    Alison saying “yes, your funny cat videos can go on your resume” was not on my Bingo card for 2022.

  43. RagingADHD*

    Lw1, the way you make a clear demarcation between “I can’t help it, tee-hee, aren’t I just so very extra?”

    and “I have an actual problem with distraction and impulse control that I can’t manage on my own,”

    Is to give very clear instruction (as provided by Alison) and then if it persists, explain the consequences:

    “When you fixate on irrelevant typos instead of paying attention to the training, it is obvious that you are not retaining the material. You must get this habit in check and demonstrate that you are learning what I teach, in order to stay in this job.”

    When something is on the line, you find out the difference between “can’t” and “I never bothered trying.”

    If you see that she’s making an effort but still having some problems with retention, then you sort out how and whether to offer accommodation. If she can’t master the basics of the job because she isn’t absorbing the training, there may or may not be a reasonable accommodation.

    1. Eff Walsingham*

      +1 to “When something is on the line, you find out the difference between ‘can’t’ and ‘I never bothered trying.'”

      I am a terrible pedant for certain sorts of spelling and grammar errors, and I’m sure I annoyed a lot of people by pointing out that they were not ‘alot’ of people, for example, when I was younger. But the point is that I worked on becoming more aware of when my superpower is getting in the way of the bigger picture. I will probably always be more of a ‘detail noticer,’ and probably always enjoy most those parts of jobs where I can apply it. But I’ve worked on balancing my approach as past supervisors advised me to keep an eye on the horizon even as I comb out the nitty-gritty details.

      When you’ve worked with someone for a long time and have a good rapport, I find that you can bring it out a little as you would any quirk. (“This? Oh, it’s the box I keep to put all of Scott’s extra apostrophes in.”) Scott is our social media guy. If I pointed out every typo he makes while preparing posts, he would have killed me by now, and not a jury in the land would convict him!

      But I do like to think that, after over a decade of working together, my mere presence makes him think about apostrophes more than he did previously. Or, it doesn’t. I don’t edit or proofread things unless I’m asked by the person responsible for it, and yes, sometimes stuff goes out and it’s not perfect. And — big picture — I don’t think we’re known in the community as “That Not-For-Profit That Doesn’t Know How To Use Apostrophes.” Do I want to take over responsibility for our social media accounts? No, I do not. My actual responsibilities take up all the volunteering bandwidth I have.

  44. Applesauced*

    I’m an architect and one time I filed drawings with a room labeled “Butlers PANTY” instead of “PANTRY”
    That was fun. If there are common mistakes like that in your field, I found that an auto-correct for them works great.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      Unless it’s the auto-correct on a phone, in which case it’s going all in on the butler panty no matter what you type.

    2. Just my 4 cents*

      Not as fun, but working at a hospital Word kept insisting that our CNA should be CAN. Definitely had to remove that one from the auto-correct.

      1. clouded sunshine*

        This exact autocorrect is the bane of my existence! I didn’t know you could remove words from autocorrect, but know that I know I CAN, I will!

    3. Fuzzyfuzz*

      An intern of ours added a budget line for a position called “Director of Family Planning” (the real title was “Director of Family Programming”

    4. Not a mouse*

      In law school, they suggested that we edit Word’s dictionary (or however you accomplish that) to remove the word “statue.” Because lawyers use the word “statute” very often, “statue” not so much. So you want the spell check to flag it. And although they didn’t say it, many lawyers — and non-lawyers — could do the same with “pubic” and “public.”

  45. Just my 4 cents*

    #1 – I’d suggest trying to see if there is a way for her to satisfy her obsession without derailing your training or other conversations. When my kiddo was in middle school, the teacher gave him a white board where he could write down things that popped into his head – e.g. you had the wrong factoid when talking about the moon’s orbit – and discuss it later or decide that it didn’t need to be discussed. This was very helpful for him. This type of technique might help your employee because then she won’t have to address it right away for fear of forgetting it and you can stay on task.

    I could be wrong, but I don’t think she’s trying to be obnoxious. Imagine that in her head a typo or other misstatement might look like it is in big bold flashing red letters and if she doesn’t at least acknowledge it she can’t take her eyes off it.

    The other thing I would address is correcting something in a chain. Remind her that the kind thing in business is to correct privately and praise publicly. So if she sees a perceived mistake in your email, she should reply just to you and allow you to decide whether or not to send out a correction.

    1. RagingADHD*

      Except that LW is not a teacher, and the employee is not a child. The employee needs to figure out how to manage their own personal habits. An employer just gives them the reason to do so.

      When a boss infantilizes their employees, it creates a toxic and intrusive environment for everyone.

      1. JohnAnon*

        The boss is having an employee watch them live type emails for long enough that the employee’s issues with this method has become an internet letter. I would agree that this boss is infantilizing this employee and creating an issue.

        1. #1 OP*

          I noted above that it was her that requested live training. It is brief sessions. There is guides and recorded videos she has said several times that she wants to see it live.
          In some situations I have pushed her to the video training by saying I am going to be out please reference training videos, just to get her comfortable but she still rather a live demo. I personally don’t have the bandwidth to do live demos but I also need her to take on more work so I can some relief.

  46. Salad Daisy*

    #2 I get all sorts of messages on LinkedIn and I don’t feel any obligation to respond to them if I am not interested and don’t know the writer. I also don’t answer my phone for telemarketers nor do I reply to junk ads. Reply if you want to but don’t feel bad about not. Nobody has the right to take up your time if you don’t want them to.

  47. Beautiful, talented, brilliant, powerful musk-ox*

    #1 — wanted to give a slightly more nuanced perspective on this. First off, I’m not excusing the behavior; it’s something that does need to be controlled. However, Alison’s shock at the term “overcome” gave me pause because…okay, I have a type of OCD that I only found out I had in my 30s and in learning about my type, I’ve learned just how many variations it has. And I can tell you when I feel that a specific thing “isn’t right”, it is almost physically uncomfortable for me to not fix whatever it is. It doesn’t have to even be logical — and I can sit there and think, “I know this is not a big deal” all day long, but unless it’s something I work on, the discomfort is there and it is LOUD. It’s almost like a fight-or-flight response has been triggered or something.

    However, it is my problem to deal with, and if it’s something that disrupts my life or the lives of others, it’s my job to talk to my therapist about it so we can work through exposure to the situations that I find uncomfortable. So, not making excuses; just offering up a more charitable view for motivation than I’m seeing in comments.

    I’m not saying this employee has OCD. She may just be nitpicky or something else entirely may be going on. (Heck, when I was younger, I was under the impression that flashing my knowledge of something was the best way to show how capable and smart I was. I have learned, but it still sometimes something I have to actively resist doing. Though I admittedly would have been mortified if someone had to tell me to cut it out and would have stopped.) But I did just want to offer the perspective of someone who does feel “overcome” by the need to do certain things. It’s honestly a pretty accurate description of how that feels, especially if you’re unaware of what’s going on in your own head.

    1. Snarky McSnarkerson*

      Thank you for that perspective Beautiful, talented, brilliant, powerful musk-ox!

    2. Eff Walsingham*

      Personally, I kind of got to an opposite by looking through a related lens. I have worked in mental health (in a non-clinical capacity) and have both professional and social experience dealing with people who experience diagnosed compulsions.

      It is not appropriate for an employee to tell their trainer/ manager that they are “overcome” by an urge to do anything, but particularly something that they’ve been told not to do. The appropriate reaction is to take on the feedback, and figure out what it’s going to take to make that happen. “Overcome” is something you discuss with your therapist, not your boss.

      Others upthread have talked about the difference between “I just couldn’t help myself, tee hee!” and an actual sensation of losing control. I think the role of a manager or supervisor is to emphasize what the stakes are for the employee. For example, “You need to have mastered this skill set in X weeks, because no one will be available to assist you after that.” And then potentially have a conversation about what needs to change for this mastery to happen, and what the consequences will be if it doesn’t.

      Maybe this form of training isn’t working? Maybe it’s possible to let the employee flounder around on a dumb terminal, and see what blocks them? I’m just spitballing since I don’t know what the employee’s actual job entails. But the stakes need to be clear, so the employee has a chance to seek help or ask for an accommodation if that would be indicated.

      I have known people for whom the stakes are, If you don’t control your impulses, the police will come to your door. And/or you might lose the right to live independently. And/or you might lose access to your kids. I have seen the titanic struggles some people have to go through in order to live “normally” enough to just be safely left to themselves. It’s made me less sympathetic to people who “just can’t help themselves” because (a) they don’t want to change; or (b) they know that changing will be very hard to do, but still don’t want to have to deal with the consequences of not changing.

      I don’t want to be excessively harsh here. But neither the world nor the company will change itself just because an individual finds it impossible to function within it. Even if they truly do find it impossible. The onus is on the individual to try, to compromise, to ask for help.

      1. Beautiful, talented, brilliant, powerful musk-ox*

        I tried to be as clear as possible that the responsibility is on the individual, so I certainly hope it didn’t come across that I consider this an excuse or appropriate for the employee to do. I was just trying to bring insight into why that specific phrase is actually accurate for some people. It seemed like a lot of commenters were assigning somewhat nefarious intent to this person and I wanted to offer a different point of view.

        I work pretty darn hard on my crap and deal with it in therapy (and I’m not dumping all over my coworkers or boss), but it would be absurd for me to pretend like certain urges don’t sometimes feel overwhelming. I’m responsible for my actions 100%, but some stuff does cause actual discomfort, which is all I was trying to say. And also, to be frank, because I didn’t know what the cause of my issues were for many years, I did chalk some of the more benign compulsions I experienced up to “I guess this is just a quirk of mine.” I do think it’s easier for an individual to recognize issues with more dire consequences as a capital-P Problem than stuff that has few, if any, long-term consequences.

        So, to be clear: I’m not saying this person isn’t responsible for her actions. I’m not saying I’m not responsible for my actions. I’m not saying it’s appropriate for her to make excuses for herself or use a boss as a therapist or basically anything else you seem to have read into my intent when posting this. I was just offering a different perspective since the perspective of “She knows what she’s doing and she’s probably a horrible person in the following ways” had already been posted several times in the comments.

        Apologies if I misread intent in your response. I thought I had been clear that I don’t consider this to be an excuse or something that should allowed or brushed off and it seems like you thought my intent was something else entirely.

        1. Eff Walsingham*

          I’m sorry. I’ve been worried that maybe my tone was off, and I can see now that it was. I think that we are largely agreeing on what people are supposed to do when they feel this type of strong discomfort.

          My original purpose in replying was to relate my view of Alison’s reaction to the word “overcomes,” which is that it would be a flag for me as well, in a work situation. The OP wrote that when she provides feedback on the typo correcting and lack of focus, the trainee’s response includes that “it overcomes her” and I wanted to convey that I think this is the wrong tack to take. To me, it sounds kind of like doubling down on the original behaviour, which is never going to go over well.

          To put it in an innocuous frame, it seems like if a boss says, “I’ve noticed that you do X, when I need you to do Y” and the employee reacts by saying, “Yes, I know, but the reason I do X is….” At this point, the boss may be thinking, if not saying, “I don’t CARE why you’re doing X, I need you to do Y! As I just told you!” To be honest, this is a situation I’ve encountered while training people, and personally I found it frustrating. Maybe that’s colouring my reaction here.

          My personal opinion is that training is a skill in itself that not everyone has, even if they are very good at whatever they’re supposed to be teaching. What happened to me is that I was just told, “Teach these people to do Y” but I have no background in teaching, and I struggled with what to do when trainees were resistant to feedback.

          It sounds from their comments like the OP is a skilled and experienced trainer. But they still are stymied by the employee coming back with *why* they are correcting the typos rather than… just taking the feedback and trying to adapt to what the trainer wants them to accomplish. So, saying “overcome” is the issue, not being overcome, which I agree is a personal feeling that the person might not be able to help.

        2. mlem*

          Yeah, a lot of the comments have assumed that the employee is *choosing* to focus on typos to the exclusion of the training. That may actually be the case for this particular employee, given the other givens, but … just because someone is distracted by something doesn’t mean they’re definitively choosing to be distracted.

      2. 504*

        If it is a disability, whether OCD, OCPD, ASD, ADHD, or any other possibilities, this reads to me as equivalent to “you use a wheelchair but still need to be able to walk up these stairs because that’s just how we do things here,” rather that, say, the trainer looking up UDL and multimodal teaching strategies to better support their employees.

        Overall, this is my first and definitely my last visit to AAM. Wow-za.

    3. Cedrus Libani*

      I also have diagnosed OCD, and I agree. The discomfort is there, it’s real, but it’s my responsibility to learn how to sit with it. There’s no real way around that. Even if you could provide a sanitized environment where all written communication is rigorously pre-screened, the OCD would find something else to fuss about. That’s what it does.

      I have a variety of sometimes-hilarious workarounds that keep me out of Format Mode when I really need to be in Content Mode. Even so, I chose industry over academia in part because grant-writing is my own personal hell. It was also my responsibility to find a role where I could be effective, brain weasels and all…so I did.

  48. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

    #2 – Informational Interview requests —
    Despite the fact that I love talking about my job, and my job is to help other people find jobs, if someone wants to do an informational interview, I ask them to provide their resume and an agenda of sorts — if not the specific questions they want answers for, at least a statement about what they want to learn.

    Pre-appointment homework is a good filter for how interested they are in actually meeting with me. And the resume lets me know where they’re at, and will hint at how much they know.

    If they claim they want to know about the field, but just keep asking me about how to get a job in the desk next to mine, I can refer to the agenda, and feel no remorse about ending the conversation when I’ve addressed the stated talking points.

  49. Nynaeve*


    I have read through the advice from everyone about how to address the situation, and it is quite good, but a different problem jumps out of your e-mail at me. As a person working in a training-adjacent position, how are you conducting this training for your new employee? Are you actually having her watch you work? Because that’s what it sounds like. How else can she be watching you type in real-time and be able to catch typos on e-mails before they are sent out? And if that is what’s happening, I can most definitely understand why her brain is focusing on minor typos and not retaining information. It sounds like, in addition to the convo about not sweating the small stuff, you need to rethink your training methods and find activities that are more engaging than just watching you go through your daily tasks. Maybe have those e-mails your going to work on with her prepared in advance so she doesn’t have to watch you type in real time.

    1. BlueBelle*

      I was just preparing to write a long post about how this isn’t how you train someone, so thank you! This is exactly right, having someone sit and watch you is the absolute worst way to train someone. People don’t learn like that.

    2. ACanadian*

      That’s a leap you’re taking without any evidence. There is no indication that the LW is an inadequate or boring trainer. There is no need for the trainer to change their training style or content to keep the employee entertained or distracting from their obsession with typos.

      1. Myrin*

        Nynaeve’s comment is actually well supported by the letter (“spelling errors as I am training and typing at same time”, “trying to multitask”, “something she hasn’t retained since she saw me create a typo”) – OP is definitely having her employee sit next to her and watch her write stuff down.

        However, that doesn’t mean that’s the only time employee points out mistakes (see the whole “large email chain” issue, as well as the fact that OP says “[w]hen it happens while I’m training her”, meaning there are other times this comes up when she’s not training her) OR that it’s the only training employee gets OR that it isn’t for some reason necessary for employee to sit there and watch OP create emails.

        I don’t at all think that it’s a bad idea for OP to look at her training methods – a lot of people could stand to do that periodically – but, well, it’s a suggestion; if there’s a reason employee needs to watch OP writing emails in real time, she can simply disregard this piece of advice. But no matter what, employee’s obsessing over typos in the annoying and unproductive way she’s doing it has to stop and can’t be excused by her being bored by training, especially since it’s also happening at other occasions.

      2. Nynaeve*

        “I explained to her I wanted to give her full visibility into my work, but trying to multitask doesn’t always work”

        That reads to me as the LW is at least not 100% focused on conducting the training, which is it’s own problem. But also, I’m not sure what she means by full visibility coupled with the fact that the has a chance to catch typos as the LW is making them if it’s not the trainee watching the LW type, either virtually or by looking over her literal shoulder. Both are not the best use of training time, IMO.

        1. Madame X*

          I don’t think you have enough info to determine the exact format of the LW’s Training style. The LW did not say that she is just letting the new employee watch her work as a form of training.

          There are a number of ways that the LW could be training the employee:
          For example, perhaps there are parts of the training that require the LW to actually demonstrate how a process works.
          The LW might be presenting previously completed work or actual training materials.

          More importantly, the LW’s style of training is not the issue here. The problem is that the new employee is hyper-focused on minor typos and not paying enough attention to the actual training. In fact, the new employee acknowledges that she tends to fixate on typos. So she knows it’s in issue for her, but she may not be aware of how much it is negatively impacting her progress in her new role.

        2. Rocket*

          OP says above she wanted to give the employee training videos but the employee wouldn’t watch them. She wanted to watch OP in real time.

          1. #1 OP*

            Yes, thank you! I provide training globally for different teams. I have step by step guides, recorded videos, and higher level recorded presentations. This is her ask of me, I actually disagree with it and never did for anyone else. But I need help, my hours are too long so I need her to take on some of my work.
            Any time I push her to watch a video she is like oh no I don’t do good with those. For five years the step by step guides have worked.

            1. Sova*

              Maybe some of the priority confusion could be coming from blurring the lines between training her and her helping with your workload? Does she have a discrete workload of her own or are you both working on the same projects or tasks with the same deadlines and goals? If your company is not set up to have supervisors who only supervise or trainers that only train, then her workload may have to be a subset of tasks you would do that you delegate to her, but it still needs to be clear what part is her responsibility and when she is expected to be able to handle it on her own without watching you do it step by step in real time. It might be helpful to evaluate how much direction she gets on a weekly or daily basis on what her tasks to be completed are and what her responsibility is. If she has a list of her responsibilities and proofreading is not on it, you can just remind her of that list anytime she starts to derail a conversation or if something like he email chain derailment happens again.

              It’s fair to let her know that you don’t think this way is working and that you need her to use the videos, guides and any other resources available first and then limit the amount of time that is you watching her or her watching you to very discrete tasks when she has never done something before or has been trying and is really stuck.

              We use job shadowing in my job at times to help with performance issues or early in training, but it’s very limited in time and scope because the person being shadowed is always slowed down by it and it’s mostly helpful for exposure to general processes for brand new employees, for picking up small refinements and short cuts from someone with a lot of experience or a different skill set, or learning more about a different area of the company as part of career development goals.

  50. glitter writer*

    The sabbatical is starting to pop up more often in media companies (not frequently, but more often) with union contracts — similarly, something like six weeks after five years of service — as is the option for something like book leave. It’s great for writers.

  51. marvin the paranoid android*

    Not to be all LW1’s employee about this, but I wanted to point out that “grandfathered in” is a much less innocuous term than it sounds like, and has its origin in racist voter registration laws. Just wanted to mention because I don’t think it’s a commonly known fact.

    1. SloanGhost*

      Definitely not common knowledge! I’ve used the term many times to describe restaurants in older buildings that have inherited the previous businesses’ liquor licenses, and i had NO CLUE! So thank you, TIL.

  52. EggyParm*

    The the Elder Millennial with the Cat TikTok – absolutely put it on your resume! I work in advertising and we get resumes with people’s social media accounts on them all of the time. It can be helpful in highlighting how you grow and build a brand, approach new content development (trends on TikTok live and die fast), attract and handle partnerships, and monitor engagement. I just hired someone who had quite a large following for an online comic she created. Particularly if you’re looking at creative roles (campaign management, creative producer, graphic design) these types of accounts and growth can be a nice bonus on you resume.

  53. Blarg*

    Want to highlight a really great program in Alaska. The Rasmuson Foundation provides funds for non-profit leaders in the state to be able to take sabbaticals, which really helps with retention in a place where you out of necessity/reality wear a lot of hats, the environment can be quite harsh, and people often don’t just leave their organizations, they leave the state when it is time to move on, so the loss of institutional knowledge compounds. I never worked at nor was I supported by them (when I was in AK, I worked for the state), but I always thought it was a really great program and an innovative strategy to supporting local capacity and non-profits. Link in a reply to this comment cause of moderation.

  54. Jennifer Strange*

    No, I don’t think it’s on the OP to change what works for them simply because their employee doesn’t like it. The employee needs to learn that there’s a time and place for noting typos/mistakes.

    1. Jennifer Strange*

      Not sure why this posted as its own reply, but it was supposed to be a response to someone else!

  55. Maybesocks*

    LW1 says they have made videos for the training, but the employee doesn’t want to watch them. Watching the videos should be part of the job and not optional. The LW is already working 12 hrs/day without the training.

  56. JelloStapler*

    LW5- I work in academia and staff has often wished we could get sabbaticals too. This is amazing.

  57. Higher Ed Kitten Party*

    LW #4: This is an awesome perk, and it is frustrating that only the newly acquired business will have it. I feel like that would cause some resentment across teams, and would probably encourage people from your business to transfer to the other business. I hope your company eventually expands this so that all employees can benefit from it.

  58. Orora*

    I have a similar problem to LW #1 but the grammar police is my grandboss who is the highest leader in the organization. I’ll be presenting a new policy to him for his feedback and I get a lot of “I think you mean to say ‘the person WHO’ and not ‘the person THAT’.” OK, fella, but this is a first draft. What about the overall message of the policy? I’m going to go back and proofread/edit, but right now I’m concerned with the forest, not the individual leaves on the trees.

    1. Temperance*

      The issue is, he’s not going to be able to see what you want him to see because he finds the errors first. I think you need to present him with a more polished draft in order to get him to focus on the content.

      1. Eff Walsingham*

        But, if he decides then that he hates the policy, that’s a lot of polishing time to have wasted.

  59. Susanna*

    Of course, that’s only if you are in fact running the accounts, not your cat.

    Oh, just one of the many reason we love Alison!

  60. Connie*

    Project Ready is free, but a time consuming DEI training. While it is created for librarians, I feel it is applicable to any field!

  61. SwampRose*

    Really sorry about that LW1, I had a coworker turned manager who was a STICKLER about typos, grammar (which is subjective but had to be done her way and her way alone), and anything written including formatting in AP style. The constant picking and pointing out mistakes was more distracting than the actual typo or error. I’m firmly anti-grammar goblin. Ironic though that when we did had mistakes or typos she was a nightmare but when she did it, it was an “oopsie.”

    1. #1 OP*

      Yes, I find it so difficult as it is really so busy as are team is half the size it was pre-covid.

  62. Rob aka Mediancat*

    “Of course, that’s only if you are in fact running the accounts, not your cat.”

    — line of the year.

  63. Picket line or bread line*

    For the typo situation, as someone who can get distracted by minor things (neurodiverse), I highly recommend working with them on a solution. Some suggestions from me would be writing it down during conversation, then noting at the end. This way they get to notice it, and then stop thinking about it in the moment. Or maybe using a training strategy when they take notes rather than you.
    Focusing on “unimportant” details can be something that comes out of lack of confidence, anxiety around the role or being a perfectionist. It might be more helpful to dig a little deeper to make sure you are addressing to root of the behaviour. Especially if there are other performance issues.

  64. Mademoiselle Sugarlump*

    It used to be common for tech companies to give employees sabbaticals, in the 80s and 90s. I know Electronic Arts did. Usually you got it after 5 years or so. I was hired at Tandem Computer in Cupertino in 1997 and they did them, but a couple of years later they were bought by Compaq who changed a lot of things. No more sabbaticals or beer busts, no going to sites like Amazon on company computers. They even tried to implement a dress code but that didn’t fly. They did pay everyone a bonus instead, some amount I forget for every year. I appreciated that.

  65. Delta*

    In Australia, we have something called long service leave. After 10 years with an employer, you’re entitled to 2 months paid leave. It’s a great incentive

  66. SloanGhost*

    #3, just make sure you do put “I am not a cat” in your resume when describing your tiktok experience.

  67. Cube Farmer*

    My organization offers a one-time sabbatical after seven years: three months paid leave for an employee to pursue something related to our organization. Very few colleagues have taken this over the years, but I am about to become one of them! I’m cobbling together a sabbatical, all my vacation time, and some unpaid leave to take nine months’ leave to do a graduate program. I’ve honestly never heard of this outside of academia, but I’m very happy my organization offers it, and I’m also very happy that the “Great Resignation” has caused employers to look for creative ways to keeping good employees happy.

  68. Sonia*

    #4 in Australia and NZ we have long service leave which sounds similar but is not work but leave. It kicks in at 10 years and is 9-12 weeks extra leave. You have to work at the same company for it to kick in and you get another lot at 15/17/20 years.

  69. The Ginger Ginger*

    #4 – My company just instituted a sabbatical policy last year as part of their retention program. I just came back from mine, and it was a HUGE factor in managing how burnt out I was and I definitely came back refreshed. If you have any capital at all, it would definitely be worth making a suggestion that it be rolled out beyond the smaller company. Look up how much it cots to replace someone leaving (at the 5 year mark they’re probably at least a little senior) and how sabbaticals help retention rates if they need some numbers.

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