I hate being called “lady,” is it rude to ask to be moved to BCC, and more

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

1. My employee wants a week off right when I start as a new manager

I was just promoted as a manager in my company. I will start officially in my new role next Monday. My staff already sent an email today asking for a whole week vacation next week. She said she has an opportunity for a free vacation to Mexico. I plan on telling her that unfortunately because of the circumstance, I will not be able to grant her request. As I will be performing my current role as well as duties of a manager, the team can’t cover her absence.

Is this an okay answer? What would be an appropriate response?

Do you know for sure that the team can’t cover her absence next week? If so, it’s reasonable to explain that; there are plenty of roles where you really would need more notice for a week off. But if you haven’t started the new position yet, are you absolutely sure that’s the case with hers? (For example, if the previous manager had already approved her time off, would you find a way to make things work?)

If it doesn’t work, then so be it — but it sounds like she has a rare opportunity and you should at least see if you can accommodate it; don’t default to no before you really look at it. If you already checked and it truly would leave you without necessary coverage, that’s a different thing.

2. Is it rude to ask to be moved to BCC?

I have a well-meaning colleague from another department who, because of the narrower scope of his role, does not get nearly as many emails as I do. I believe he thinks he is doing me a favor or being conscientious by looping me into nearly everything he is working on, but he’s not. He is spamming me and unnecessarily adding to my inbox and workload, causing me to miss important emails. Is it rude to respond with, “Please move me to BCC or loop me off the email chain”?

Nope, it’s not rude. But rather than handling it message by message, it might be more effective to address the pattern itself. The next time he cc’s you unnecessarily, you could reply privately with, “No need to cc me on this kind of thing. You really only need to loop me in if it’s X or Y.” If it continues after that, have a conversation (not necessarily over email) where you say, “I’ve noticed you’ve been cc’ing me on things like XYZ. Since I’m juggling a lot of other priorities, I prefer not to get copied on those things.” (If there are things you definitely do want him to keep including you on, make sure you mention what those are, so that you don’t get cut out of the loop where you shouldn’t!)

If it still continues after that, then yes, it’s reasonable to reply with, “No need to include me in this chain” or “Please move me to bcc to save my inbox — thank you.”

3. I hate being called “lady” at work

This is a small but ongoing annoyance, and I’m not sure how to address it. At work, when I’m in a chat or email with other women, I find that certain people have a tendency to refer to the rest of the group as “ladies.” Someone will open the message with “hello ladies” or address a request with “ladies, I need from you …” or close with a “thanks, ladies!” Sometimes this comes from coworkers, sometimes from clients or vendors.

I HATE this. So much. I find it twee and condescending, and I don’t think there’s any reason to unnecessarily inject gender into work discussions. (For similar reasons, I’m glad we’ve moved away from the “dear sir or madam” greeting.) I am a femme cis woman myself, but I’m sure it would be even more alienating for people who don’t fall into that category.

It would be a little easier to nip this in the bud if the people calling others “ladies” were male, but this is primarily coming from other women.

Is there a way to make this stop, or do I just need to tolerate it? I don’t quite know how to bring it up, especially because it doesn’t seem ill-intentioned or explicitly sexist. I don’t want to seem oversensitive or controlling, but it just … doesn’t feel good to be addressed that way.

You could try leading by example and opening the next group email with: “Hi, y’all! (I’m trying to get away from gendered greetings like ‘ladies.’)” Some people pick might pick up on it and follow your lead. But it’s so, so common that to really address it effectively, you’d probably need to have more of an open discussion of it, and that gets into how receptive you think your audience will be and whether it’ll take capital you’d rather save for something else. Some workplaces would be super receptive to your point! Others wouldn’t be. So you have to know your culture and decide how much you want to push it.

4. Job aggregator websites

I was helping someone job search recently and in using a job aggregator site (Indeed), I realized that at least some of the jobs they post (scrape from other sites) may be old or filled, but the sites are not cleaning them up well. I was wondering if that might be contributing to the number of people who are reporting they have sent out a large number of resumes/applications but haven’t heard back from any of them.

For my part, I recommended the job seeker find possible employers on the site and then go find that employer’s site and careers section. But I’d love your insight on these websites.

Yeah, aggregator sites that scrape postings from other sites don’t typically go back and remove jobs once the source site takes them down. Your advice to find postings there and then check to see if they’re posted with the employer directly is good.

But I’m skeptical that this plays a significant role in how many people don’t hear back from employers after applying. That’s more about the large number of employers that just don’t bother to send rejections because they don’t think they need to.

{ 961 comments… read them below }

  1. Matt*

    I don’t see a general problem in vacation when a new manager arrives. A few years ago my department was restructured. In March I booked my July vacation, some weeks later the date for the formal change was announced and so per July 1st I’d be on my newly founded team with my new supervisor. I’d have been more than mad if my new boss had rescinded my vacation which was approved by my old boss long ago for no other apparent reason that she was new as a manager and wanted to have all her staff available in the beginning.

    1. Betsy*

      I agree, a little work life balance here. You’ll probably alienate her for good so her presence had better be absolutely essential.

      1. allathian*

        I’d agree if the vacation had been approved by the former manager, but judging by the letter, I’m not sure if that’s the case.

        Even in places like Europe where employees have more vacation than in the US, getting a week off with less than a week’s notice would be unusual. I take 4 or 5 weeks of vacation in the summer (June to September), and our vacations have to be submitted and approved before May 1.

        1. Green great dragon*

          From context, sounds like someone else couldn’t make a booked holiday and she’s been told she can have their place for free – so yes, very short notice but unavoidably so.

          It does depend on context, but particularly if she doesn’t often get a trip like this I would be doing everything I could to make it so she can go, and being really clear why it’s not possible if it isn’t. If I had to turn down a free holiday for (what I saw as) no good reason I would not be at all happy.

          Will you ever have to ask her to work late at short notice? Would you expect her to move personal appointments to do so?

          1. EPLawyer*

            THIS so much this. OP, do you want to be the manager who expects loyalty to be a one way street? Everything sacrificed for the company, but the company doesn’t have to accomodate anyone? Think about the kind of manager you want to be.

            Now, this is short notice. It would be one thing if everyone had been planning on Matthewtine being out the 3rd week for June because she put in her request back in March. It’s another to have Matthew (they are twins and work together but don’t take turns showing up for work), announce he got an amazing opportunity for NEXT WEEK. But honestly, if you can make it work, try. But if you can’t, explain why. With something more than “well my old job isn’t backfilled yet, so you have to help me manage the load.” Trust me, your team will remember how you handled this looooong after the week off is over.

          2. Meep*

            It may also depend on who her manager was before.

            My former manager is a bit of a… loon. The first time I took a vacation I graciously gave her the courtesy of knowing six months in advance. She pretended to be excited for me up to the day before when she told me grumpily that she was also going on vacation and “we” needed to plan better, but don’t worry. She was going to let me go ~this time~. Called me every two hours while I was on that vacation to complain about how lucky I was I could go. -insert eye roll-

            Every time after she would announce loudly to my coworkers not to bother me the day before harassing me to come in the day of. I even have a screenshot of a text exchange where Sunday at 6 PM she told me to have fun on vacation and then that Monday at 6:45 AM asked me when I planned to be in the office. I hadn’t replied to the first text so they were literally stacked right on top of each other…

            So I stopped telling her when I was going on vacation and told her boss instead. It was weird and I do not recommend it everywhere else. It only worked because my former manager is useless and absent until she sees an opportunity to torture someone, I mean ruin their day. But I could totally see someone else having a problem of needing to provide short notice so their manager doesn’t come up with some nonsensical excuse for why they cannot go.

            Kind of like OP is doing now.

          3. The Rafters*

            OP 1, Eons ago, my mom worked for a bank that had very strict rules about taking vacations, timelines for even making a request, etc. Mom once had an opportunity to go to Ireland not free, but very, very inexpensively. She went to her supervisor and made the request, explaining why. Super was very excited for her and enthusiastically approved the time. Mom remained at that bank for years, until a much better opportunity came along. Your employee has an opportunity for a *free* vacation, and you tell them no? Be prepared, employee probably already has their resume out there, and others will see how you treat this employee and will do the same – if they haven’t already.

            1. Daffy Duck*

              This! I suggest you move mountains to let your staff take this free trip. For many folks, this would be a “once in a lifetime” experience. Personally, I would quit, take the trip, and find another job afterward with a company that appreciates employees more.
              Your choice here is to make it happen for the employee and earn respect and good relations or to have resentful employees that will be out the door as soon as another possibility opens up.

              1. Cringing 24/7*

                I definitely 100% agree with this with the single caveat that declining this vacation doesn’t necessarily show a lack of appreciation of employees so much as it shows that sometimes last-minute requests can’t always be reasonably accommodated. Now, definitely, the only way that this request should be declined (given its nature) is if there is absolutely no way at all that they could do without this specific employee, but even then, you might just have to do without the employee forever, because I could also see (in this job market) quitting with nothing lined up to take a once-in-a-lifetime trip and finding something else afterward. All that to say, it may be that this company doesn’t appreciate its employees, but this singular event isn’t enough information to determine that.

                1. Sacred Ground*

                  In that case, the employer has the option of losing the employee for a week or losing the employee forever.

          4. Free Meerkats*

            Will you ever have to ask her to work late at short notice? Would you expect her to move personal appointments to do so?

            I can guarantee if I were in her shoes, any future requests to do extra work on short notice would get a “Nope” from me. You would get zero slack, I would always have other plans that couldn’t be moved. rigidity on your part would get rigidity on mine.

        2. Oakwood*

          There’s no way of knowing from the letter whether former manager approved the request or even if there was a former manager. It’s possible they quit and the company had to go through the formal hiring process (job ads, interviews, etc) to find a replacement.

          A temporary manager may not have wanted to make a decision or told her to ask her incoming manager.

          It’s also possible she didn’t know till the last minute. “Hey, I’ve just broken up with my boyfriend. We were going to Mexico next week. Would you like to come with me?” And, her current (temporary) manager said: ask your new manager.

          “Even in places like Europe where employees have more vacation than in the US, getting a week off with less than a week’s notice would be unusual.”

          If they told you they needed a week off to attend a funeral across the country would you tell them they needed a week’s notice, or would you make it happen?

          Sometimes things happen at the last minute. There’s no indication that asking for time off at the last minute is an ongoing problem with this employee.

          1. londonedit*

            It would be unusual where I am (UK) but I’m 99% sure that if I said to my boss that an opportunity for a free week’s holiday had landed in my lap – the catch being it was next week – then they’d approve it, as long as I got as much done as possible before I went. I mean, obviously if it’s Monday morning and you ask for the following week off, that’s a different scenario from asking at 3pm on Friday afternoon, but still, if it’s something out of the ordinary like suddenly being offered a free holiday, I’m sure many bosses in non-life-or-death office job environments would try to accommodate something like that. It isn’t really any different from someone calling in sick on a Monday morning and not being at work for the week – and we’re all very used to that happening with Covid!

            If my first interaction with a new manager was them turning down my holiday request, it would definitely leave a bad taste in my mouth and I’d wonder whether they were going to be difficult about leave generally, or a ‘bums in seats’ sort of boss who watches you like a hawk.

        3. Clandestine Timoraetta*

          Extenuating circumstances – if it was possible at all for an employee of mine to take advantage of this, I totally would let them.

      2. Takki*

        OP1, you also have to consider that it’s an employee’s market right now. I know if I were in her shoes and were blocked from a free vacation by a brand new manager, there’s a very real chance I’d say screw it, quit, and go anyway. Covid’s been awful for everyone, it’s been a terrible few years, and burnout is REAL. Try to help her take her trip, it will buy you loyalty from her and anyone else that sees up close how you tried to accommodate her. If you say no, be aware it will be remembered for the remainder of her (and possibly your) tenure, this is not the impression you want to make on your team. If there’s just no way that it’s possible and the warp core will literally breach without her, let her know how TRULY needed she is, and do what you can to make it up to her.

          1. Heather*

            Yep. Is this really how you want to start this relationship with this employee? I have started many jobs where my manager wasn’t around the first few days or weeks due to vacations. Imagine if I said…”oh but I am starting so you need to be there”.

        1. LinuxSystemsGuy*

          I was going to say this. With the current “employee’s job market” there’s definitely a non-zero chance of her quiting on the spot. Free vacations to Mexico don’t happen every day. At best you’re going to seriously piss off/alienate this person and they’ll likely start looking. At worst they’ll start their job search when they get back for the vacation they’re taking anyway.

        2. Cringing 24/7*

          Absolutely this. Employers actually *gasp* have to make an effort to keep employees now, and I could see this being worth quitting over. Now, if the vacation-goer were the one who’d written in, I’d absolutely say that they should at least feign an emotion of “oh, I’m so sorry this is last minute,” but I almost feel like the given understanding in this current market is – this is inconvenient to the employer, but it doesn’t really matter because how often do employers not care if they inconvenience their workers?

        3. Pinto*

          Exactly. Think about if you can’t make do without her for a week, how are you going to manage doing without anyone working in that position for the weeks it’ll take you to recruit someone to replace her.

    2. katkat*

      I agree. And I think in that case, it would only serve the New Manager. _They are excited and eager to start, so _they want everybody else be equally eager and ready. And of course it would be convenient for the NM to have all the possible resources available _if they happen to need it. But without deep insight into the new role they can’t know for sure what resources they will need during the firsr days.

      But I have seen the other end of the spectrum: about a month ago a new manager and admin started in my team. The roles were new to both of them. But the admin was transferring from a different department and had some vacaition to spend. They decided to have the vacation after 4 days into the new role. And the new boss approved. THAT cost us some great distress…

      1. katkat*

        My point being that as a new manager you really have to consider these kinds of cased before you make a decision.

    3. TG*

      Agreed – honestly I read this letter and said really? Is this a power trip? You’re going to have enough to do as a new manager and if this was approved or you can cover this outage, not a big deal.
      I’d try not to make someone really unhappy with you off the block by saying no unless it really is 100% this employee is needed for WORK and not for this nee manager to feel good having a butt in the chair.

      1. JSPA*

        Furthermore, it’s darn useful to see how a department works minus a particular person (ideally for every person in the department, over time). It’s like Moneyball, minus running the stats.

        Sometimes, someone who you thought was pretty average is on vacation, and the whole department goes haywire. Othertimes, someone who’s thought of as essential steps out for a few days, and suddenly everyone’s cheery, the crises stop happening, and productivity goes way up.

        OP, unless you’re going to somehow be judged solely on that first week’s productivity, I’d treat this as a gift, not as a chance to flex your newfound powers.

        1. Rob*

          That was my feeling. And as a new to being a manager manager they need to be careful about alienating their team.

          The OPs manager is going to be looking to see if they can be a successful manager.

      2. Emmy Noether*

        Yeah, me too. And if OP says no, there’d better actually be workload out the wazoo for the whole team, because if the person who asked for a vacation is idle even one minute, they’re going to be resentful as hell. And not manufactured workload, actual urgent work.

    4. Lady_Lessa*

      As far as I am concerned, LW1 is asking to start off on the wrong foot. I’m new, so No.

      1. Artemesia*

        This. Way to alienate an employee off the bat. I’ll bet nothing that important happens in a week and it will be obvious that costing this person his trip will have made no difference to the business. There are probably circumstances where one would have to say know — the employee is in charge of a big grant proposal due at the end of that week or a project for a valued customer — but the LW didn’t say that. This is a case of using one’s authority to make someone else’s life miserable for no reason but to assert authority. It will not be a good start. Everyone else will see this as a power trip and the LW will have undercut their own authority in one fell swoop.

      2. Cringing 24/7*

        Right? I felt like there was no reason given in this letter aside from, “No, because that’s when I’m starting and I’ll be busy.” But… this is a new job for you, so can you actually know that they can’t function for a week without this person?

    5. Falling Diphthong*

      I think the subject line is misleading–OP focuses on this being her first week in a managerial role, when the problem is that they haven’t backfilled OP’s role on the team yet. If something like one not-hired-yet role plus one out-for-surgery role is going to leave them too short-staffed, then “I really wish I could, but we don’t have the coverage” is a fair response.

      But if it’s more that OP wants everyone in place for her first several weeks on the job, that’s not a good reason to deny what sounds like a rare one-off opportunity for this employee.

      1. anonymous73*

        Yes, I read it the same but I still think it’s BS. Not having enough coverage is a management problem and OP is making it an employee problem. If others are out and they really truly can’t handle the workload with those left in the office, then I could maybe see saying no. I remember a story of someone at a former company who won a trip to Hawaii and it was for an extremely busy time of year. Her boss told her to go and they would figure it out.

        1. Loulou*

          Not commenting on this specific issue (since OP’s reasons for turning down the request seem pretty weak) but I’m not getting your premise. Not having enough coverage is a management problem, yes…that they create and solve by approving or denying vacation requests! If we were frequently short staffed because my manager kept approving multiple people’s vacation requests for the same time, especially at the last minute, I’d be annoyed (with him, hopefully not the people who made the requests)

          1. Avril Ludgateau*

            Not having enough coverage is a management problem, yes…that they create and solve by approving or denying vacation requests!

            No, it’s a problem they usually create by following lean staffing principles (i.e. understaffing with no redundancies or cross training) and then perpetuate by damaging morale with vacation denials which, over time, results in turnover and the loss of difficult-to-replace high performers/talent.

            1. anon855*

              So what’s your solution? Approve all vacation requests regardless of the coverage? Close the office is everyone wants off the same day?

              1. WellRed*

                Don’t be so over the top reactionary. Approving a special request (free trip!) is not the same as approving all and sundry for all time.

          2. Nephron*

            My team has 4 people. One is still being trained, and one has a week vacation planned. I am finishing out my notice. I did not expect the speed at which my new job hired, still gave as much notice as I could but I am leaving 1 day into the week vacation leaving half the team present with the person in training being one of them.

            My office has always been understaffed, and that leaves the office vulnerable to this. I would not have gotten vacation approved during the week my coworker has off, but I am leaving.

            1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

              The team I’m a part of is similar. There’s ten of us, with generally seven people’s worth of work every day. My manager will never approve more than two people out on vacation (exceptions for emergencies) to keep from overloading the rest of us while still having a reserve for someone getting sick. And the manager is really clear about, this is the staffing we have, this is the workload, other people requested first, I’m sorry but I just can’t let you have leave for that week.

              We had one person fake sick for four days when he was denied vacation because others were already out – and never brought in a Dr note (required in our company if you are out sick for three or more consecutive days). Oh – and they also were forwarding us pictures of themselves in Cancun. Cancun dude is now the least popular person in the office (for leaving us high and dry, and not following policy). I don’t know if he was punished (but betting he was and it wasn’t made public, because my manager is actually really professional about that) – but Cancun guy hates that none of us will help him at all anymore (which honestly you reap what you sow mr cancun).

              After the long story – OP, I know it’s last minute, but see if there’s a way to let this person have their week off (without killing the staff left behind). If there really is just no way for it to work, please be as compassionate and forthcoming with information as to why you can’t give her the week off last minute.

              1. Jill Jane*

                If your company didn’t implode while he was gone and no one was actually killed, then I think you and your coworkers need to let it go. *Especially* since you trust that your manager handled it and disciplined him appropriately.

                1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

                  Oh, that was mr Cancun’s fourth such stunt….in the span of seven months…. We don’t leave him out of events on the team, but his bank of good will is in the negative.
                  And there have been similar stunts after that one as well…. He hasn’t changed.

          3. JSPA*

            In an economy where so many people are eager to up and quit, this is a way to signal to your entire team that the beatings will continue until morale improves. A one week solution will turn into weeks of hell, as resignations and the resulting short staffing trigger additional rounds of resignations.

            (Though…last minute free trip in any non-covid circumstance would strike me as a likely scam. Or an excuse for going to rounds of interviews, which may mean people will be jumping ship regardless.)

            But it’s worth trying to keep people.

            OP, if you don’t want everyone else deciding you’re a soft touch, here’s your language:

            “We will miss you! However, given that I’ll only be able to devote 70% of my attention to managing during this one week while I’m still backfilling my old position, we’ll be muddling along for a few days, with or without you. Before you go, please circulate a short list that documents who’s best able to step in for each of your essential functions.”

            If you like: “Do what you can to come back healthy, rested, and ready to dig in. ”

            In short, the employee has struck it double lucky. And other employees may be envious, but they’ll know that strokes of luck may someday come their way, as well. That’s a good footing to be on, with your team.

            1. Rose*

              Not necessarily a scam. My friend recently went on a last minute vacation with a friend of hers who broke up with her boyfriend right before their previously planned vacation. Hotel etc was already paid for, and my friend was able to get a reasonable last minute ticket so she went.

            2. J*

              Not necessarily a scam. I recently got to stay in a beautiful resort in Puerto Rico for free because my friend owns property there and invited me. I had to cover my own flight but that wasn’t a lot and points fully covered it. Employees value flexibility and being treated as humans. This new manager should do their best to accommodate

          4. anonymous73*

            If you’re understaffed, it’s a management problem and shouldn’t be transferred to your employees. If this example is a matter of others having approved time off already and one more person would make it impossible to cover all the work that needs to get done, that’s one thing (OP doesn’t mention any of this). But OP says her current job has not been back filled and she’s been promoted so will be doing the job of 2. If they weren’t already understaffed, OP’s current job could be split among the remaining team members until a replacement was found, allowing OP to only be a manager. This is the result of a fundamental management problem, where they would rather work their employees to death instead of having adequate staffing, so that team members could take time off without causing issues among the remaining staff.

        2. Guin*

          Yes. And what if Vacation Employee wasn’t going on vacation, but called in Monday morning to say they tested positive for Covid? Or had a bike accident and was in traction? New Manager is throwing their weight around in a way that is NOT pretty. I hope Employee sees this question and sends in a follow-up – preferably from Mexico.

      2. Observer*

        OP focuses on this being her first week in a managerial role, when the problem is that they haven’t backfilled OP’s role on the team yet. If something like one not-hired-yet role plus one out-for-surgery role is going to leave them too short-staffed, then “I really wish I could, but we don’t have the coverage” is a fair response.

        True. BUT. And this is a biggie, in my opinion: Are there concrete plans to back fill the position in short order? Because “We don’t have coverage” is totally reasonable for short term issues. But if it’s a long term hole, that’s just not tenable.

      3. Rosie*

        I think OP is vastly overestimating how much they won’t be able to cover their old position in their first week as a manager or perhaps their intent is just to drop all their old duties completely which certainly isn’t uncommon with promotions. Sounds like they are in for a rough go as manager if these are their instincts.

        1. Susie Q*

          Agreed, I find as a manager I have more time for tasks especially during the endless meetings I’m forced to attend.

      4. turquoisecow*

        Sure but how long until OP’s old role is backfilled? Is the rest of their department just not supposed to take days off until that happens?

        I could see if like there’s someone hired who starts next week, but even then they’ll probably need OP to train the new person so OP will be pretty busy juggling the new and old roles for a bit. How long is the rest of her team supposed to sacrifice because of that? What if they have trouble hiring and it’s six months? It’s not even these employees’ actual team, it’s another team that’s short staffed, so no one on OP’s new team can take vacation?

        OP doesn’t mention how many people are on New Team or if others are off. Obviously if there’s 4 people and two are off already then no, but that’s more because too many people are off than because OP is new. If everyone else is going to be there then yeah. This is just a power move. Sorry you’re busy OP but people will be out.

        1. Mr. Shark*

          Seems like even though OP is going to be moving to be a new manager without her position backfilled, she probably would be expected to still support her position even if the person asking to go to Mexico would be in-office. So I’m not sure that it’s that much more difficult to cover for that person, except that maybe the OP may need to step up and make sure she is not only prepping as manager but filling her old position during the person’s vacation.

          Sure, it would be ideal to be able to focus on *just* being the manager and letting that team member help fill in her old position, but it’s not a good place to start a manager relationship by not letting the team member go on the vacation.

          1. LittleMarshmallow*

            This still feels like a management problem being made an employee problem. People leave positions all the time without a backfill ready to go at the 2 week notice end. Often it’s months before positions are backfilled. It’s nice if it’s an internal transfer and the person can still help a little but backfill or not, the other dept should’ve done a proper transition to cover their own depts work so that LW can do their new job. If LW had gone to a different company you can be certain that the company would not have gone under because that one person left without being backfilled. It just seems like a sort of power trippy excuse.

      5. Lenora Rose*

        Only reasons I can think of for denying it:
        – Employee has drastically overdrawn their vacation days for the year already (And not due to using vacation for medical care)
        – Several other employees have had that week booked off.
        – The business will literally collapse or a major client be lost somehow ONLY because of this decision.

        Anything less? Give some slack. Do everything in your power to let it happen.

        1. Distracted Librarian*

          Exactly this. As the new boss, you have an opportunity to show you prioritize employee well-being and are willing to back that up by putting in some extra time to make this work. Or you can start off by being the boss who cost an employee a free trip. It’s always better to build capital right away than spend capital you don’t have.

    6. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

      Personally, I wouldn’t want to start my tenure as the new manager who rejected an employee’s leave and cost her a once in a lifetime opportunity if there was any way to avoid it

      1. High Score!*

        I’ve quit jobs and taken my vacation opportunities before in situations like this even when it costs me later. No regrets! In this job market, it’s likely that the employee isn’t asking you, they are telling you. To keep a good employee, find a way to make it work and encourage them to enjoy a work life balance.

      2. pbnj*

        Agree, she’s going to get off on the wrong foot with the entire group when they see what happened.

      3. Antilles*

        Especially when the explanation effectively is a weak “I can’t allow that because I’m covering two jobs”.
        Wait, what? Shouldn’t there be some kind of transition plan? Why not hire someone to take over your old role? Will you continue to deny vacation until someone else gets hired?

        1. Malarkey01*

          And there are some jobs where you really do need coverage, but a lot of jobs can get by a week with a short staffed office- sure not every report was turned in on time, sure you had to tell another department you’d need to extend a deadline, or ask a customer to reschedule a meeting, or reprioritize a few tasks.
          In the last two years I’ve had multiple instances of 75% of the team is sick/needs to deal with a quarantine child for a week guess we’re shuffling things or everyone put off “elective” medical stuff and I suddenly had 3 people all have minor surgery in the same 3 week period once offices started rescheduling.
          Unless it’s a job where a person in a seat is critical for operations, I’d avoid being the person who cost someone a free trip (because that is how you’ll be known to the entire office), and I’d guess you’re going to be further short staffed as soon as your group finds other jobs.

          1. Heather*

            This. I worked partially in a hospital ER during covid so I always laugh when I see letters regarding “essential the employee is here this week” without context as to if they are a health care worker, teacher, bus driver….most office work can wait a week.

        2. Lenora Rose*

          We actually just had a manger switch jobs and have to do over a month of coverage of her old job*. I didn’t see her denying anyone on either team anything because she was new or struggling with the load.

          *Someone else came in to help carry a few tasks and she herself trained an “acting” replacement while holding down both posts. The job isn’t permanently taken yet.

        3. bananaramafofana*

          Especially because the new manager covering two jobs is….the new manager’s problem, not mine. I recently had a manager give me crap for unexpectedly being out the week a new hire started because I had COVID. Something I literally couldn’t prevent more than I already tried (four vaccines and constant masking except the gym which has vax requirements, symptom checkers, and hourly cleaning). Purely from irritation, I put my resume up on an industry-related job board and had seven interview requests in three days.

          Funnily enough, the team survived just fine. A little more struggle than usual but our patients got taken care of and everyone lived to tell the tale.

          So yea. Unless things will literally collapse in flames, let the person take the vacation time. They’ll remember it and remember your being reasonable. People quit managers far more than they quit jobs, so be a manager that doesn’t make people want to quit.

      4. sofar*

        Yep. LW, remember, even if the employee doesn’t quit over this, you’re going to have to work with them. A week isn’t much in the grand scheme of things. You’re new. Things will be chaotic anyway. And if things totally melt down, that’s useful intel and shows that the team needs more coverage. What if this employee were sick for a week?

        Making someone’s vacation request possible goes a LONG way toward building a good working relationship and it’s WAY less difficult to grant a vacation request than, say, a promotion request. Take these chances to earn “good manager” points where you can. And, if this employee “takes advantage” and constantly requests weeks off last-minute then you address the need to give more notice. You don’t just assume the worst about them at the outset!

        1. The Rafters*

          We’re sort of facing that right now. We’re all at least part time WFH. One employee out on vaca (approved and paid for eons ago), one having surgery and one who very recently had to go fully WFH b/c of family illness. We’re having a bit of a rough start with our new supervisor for other reasons that I believe will iron themselves out in time. Even so, she is smarter than to try to force any of us to change our plans.

    7. RussianInTexas*

      Yes, even though it’s the new manager’s prerogative, especially with a last minute vacation, a lot of good will would be burned here.

    8. Erin*

      Seriously! And why does it matter that this last minute vacation request coincides with the first week of this new manager’s job?

      I feel like this manager has an opportunity to foster an awesome team culture before they officially start in the role by approving this request. Why not have your team think you are awesome for bending the rules slightly when it won’t affect work? What a great way to let the team know that you really are a supportive leader.

    9. TheRain'sSmallHands*

      There is the very real possibility in this market that not granted the time she will just quit without notice and go – which will leave you without someone to fill that role until you get it approved, interviewed and hired – which will be months – if your company even approves the hire. You could handle it if she got in a car accident and was out for a week. Or if her parent died and she was out for a week – you can handle a week of unexpected vacation. Don’t make life as a new manager six times harder than it needs to be by coming out of the gate.

    10. Office Lobster DJ*

      Yeah, like others, I’d start by trying to make this work. There may be other considerations that could influence my answer. Is the nature of the work such that short staffing could be life or death? If this was an internal promotion — does OP know the team well enough to know (KNOW, not just guess) that it would be a bad idea? I’m not talking about be OP’s guesses or assumptions, but behavior patterns OP has actually seen and experienced with these particular people.

      OP, if you really can’t accommodate the request, I wouldn’t get into the explanation that it’s because YOU are doing your new job as well as your old. That makes it more personal than necessary and sets you up for conflict. Leave it at what the team can and cannot handle. Also consider — are you going to reject all time off requests until your old job is filled and the replacement up to speed? Because that’s not going to go over well, and you should figure that piece out, even if this request can’t happen.

    11. Burn After Writing*

      Two quick stories for LW1:

      1. New boss came in right as employee was about to go on maternity leave. Employee had set up with Old Boss that she’d telework for 6 weeks after 6 weeks maternity leave. New Boss decided he needed to set a firm tone to start and canceled the telework. Lots of people had this as their first impression of him.

      2. Boss had a new employee who moved positions in org and burned their time off between roles. Employee’s wife miscarried. Boss found a way for employee to be home with wife for much of the next two weeks. For the rest of the time they worked together, employee would have squeezed blood from a turnip if boss asked and the rest the office respected boss for not just throwing their hands up and saying “sorry, nothing I can do.”

      Both these situations are quite different from a trip to Mexico, but no matter what you do, ALL your employees will see how you handle this. So, how do you want to start your time as new boss?

      1. Te*

        It’s good to point out that the other employees in the office are watching what you do. A new manager (even if they know you already) is nerve-wracking because you don’t know how they’ll react to situations like this. If I saw a coworker’s vacation opportunity denied without very good reasons (even if it was short notice), I would take note and weigh it with other aspects of the job that might not be so favorable. This isn’t just going to affect the relationship between you and the one employee, it might affect your reputation in the entire office/department.

      2. The Rafters*

        Comments like this make me wish Alison had a “like” button b/c I have nothing better to add.

    12. CommanderBanana*

      Yeah, I’m imagining my response to a new manager nixing my vacation plans….it would not be good.

    13. Sparkles McFadden*

      If I were moving to a new management job, I’d actually be pretty happy to get a request such as this because it’s a great opportunity to set the tone for how you intend to manage the staff. I would also try really hard to make it happen for this member of your new staff. Saying yes to this request is a chance to demonstrate that you intend to be a reasonable manager who will try to accommodate the staff when possible. They, in turn, will work with you on such issues that come up in the future.

      If you’ve looked into this and it really cannot happen, then please explain those reasons in detail to your new direct report and leave your own transition issues out of it. Saying “You can’t go because of what I have going on” sends a message you don’t want to send.

    14. Flash Packet*

      Yeah, my entire department could disappear for a week and the world wouldn’t come to an end. We’d be swamped when we all came back, but we’d get it done.

      Unless OP’s employee is the only person in the company who can, say, file a critical SEC report that can only be filed during that one week then for Pete’s sake, just let her take the once-in-a-lifetime vacation.

      It’s only five days. I am 100% sure that OP and the rest of the team will manage.

    15. MCMonkeyBean*

      I agree–it is certainly understandable that sometimes last-minute requests can’t be accommodated, but I admit I bristled a little at the way this seemed to be written from the perspective as though it was an obviously unreasonable request. Just the phrase a “whole” week off, like that is an excessive amount of time for a vacation?

      OP, if you truly can’t accommodate that it is fine and I’m sure they understood that was a possibility but like Alison I really encourage you to think hard about whether it *really* isn’t possible, or if you just feel like you *should* say no for vague reasons. In my view, being able to move things around to make this sudden free vacation work for her would be seriously starting off on the right foot as her manager…

  2. Chilipepper Attitude*

    #1, let her go if you can make it work, even if that makes it very hard for you on your first week. You will gather far more good will letting her go. Unless it’s like medical coverage or this employee constantly asks for leave. Life is short and we have to work together.

    #3, no real advice but “ladies” is also my pet peeve. You might have inspired me to speak up about it!

    1. Erin*

      As a woman who distinctly does *not* identify as a “lady”, I’d literally say that – “oh, I’m not a lady” (my workplace cares about these issues so for me it’s likeliest when a man holds a door for me and says “ladies first”).

      They might follow up with “I’m sure you are”, I dunno, maybe say that I’m not any rank of nobility? But I’m ND and relatively comfortable going hyper-literal if it works for me in the moment.

          1. Jackie*

            As a child of a survivor from a communist regime’s purge, I wouldn’t find this at all funny. It’s much worse than “ladies” in my opinion. Would you go around sending messages saying Heil so-and-so?

            1. Distracted Librarian*

              Agree. There are some entities in library land that call themselves, “collectives,” and it bugs me even though I don’t have a personal connection to the horrors of communist regimes. I also had a colleague years ago who had a framed Mao quote on her office wall. Just awful.

                1. pancakes*

                  Yes. I’m surprised to see people encouraging one another to basically ignore context when they encounter a word they don’t like. If you can’t or won’t discern between, say, a communist earnestly referring to others as “comrade” and a democratic socialist doing it semi-ironically, that seems not great to me. Likewise if you think everyone who refers to a “collective” is talking about Cold War era communism. Context matters. Refusing to take any notice of it isn’t a virtue.

          2. RB*

            I think comrade is fine because you’re using it in the sense that it means chum, friend, companion, associate, etc. It’s a pretty common way to use the word.

        1. LilPinkSock*

          I did that once, and my horrible ex-boss gave me a very loud and very public lecture on exactly why I should never address my betters as colleagues (Heaven forfend the admin act like she’s a human!). So now I use “all” or “everyone”.

          1. Shhh*

            That’s obnoxious. I also use “all” or “everyone,” though (or occasionally y’all) – “ladies” is a pet peeve of mine as well.

        2. Jane*

          Yes. My place of employment as well. I’m not sure y’all is an upgrade lol. Sometimes we also say team.

        3. LittleMarshmallow*

          I prefer lady to girl… because I’m a full grown woman not a girl… but really I don’t like either. I used to address groups like our admins as “hey ladies” but ya know… I don’t know if they’re all ladies, so I just stopped one day and am careful not to use gendered greetings in my work communications. Some of my preferred greetings: Hey Peeps (realistically this one is my favorite – don’t worry, I’m not client facing), Hi All, Hi, Hey, ‘Sup, [first name] (usually I only actually do this if I’m sure what their preferred name is – I’ll address them as they signed their email like if their email is Michael.Green@company.com but they sign their emails as Mikey, then I’ll probably say Hi Mikey as my email greeting not Hey Michael). Anyway. It’s not hard to not refer to groups in a gendered way… I honestly don’t even use “guys” much anymore even thought it’s generally accepted as gender neutral in my regions vernacular, not because it bothers me to be in a group referred to as guys (it doesn’t) but because I know it bugs others so I try to avoid it.

        4. Nina*

          My workplace went with ‘guys’ until I got hired (first woman in a 70-person department, yay) and now 90% of them still go with ‘guys’, some of them say ‘guys… oh and Nina’, and a couple have switched to using ‘folks’ and ‘team’.

      1. ScruffyInternHerder*

        We’ve done enough work on the family tree that I might have to look up the correct noble title for “horse thief” when told I must be a lady. Because my roots do not exactly wind their way towards nobility. ::snickers::

      2. Anonb*

        I am nonbinary and don’t have a pronoun preference, but I hate being called a girl/woman/lady. Pretty much anything else goes! Unfortunately I am always assumed to be female unless I explicitly state otherwise (especially at work), and I am begging the world to stop using “ladies” and “girls” when addressing a group. I don’t want to have to come out to every single person I encounter every single day. It seems like a small thing, but having someone say “Hey ladies” to a group I’m in hurts every single time. It’s completely unnecessary to bring gender into a greeting like this and you don’t know who you might be misgendering.

        1. Not a lady (Letter writer)*

          I’m the letter writer, and it’s exactly this kind of situation that I’m conscious of—if it’s annoying for me, a femme cis woman, it’s gotta be SO much worse for people who don’t fit into that category! I should be more vocal about this in the future, I think, awkward as it may be.

          I put this in the same kind of category as a colleague who put a “powwow” on my calendar—I REALLY did not want to have the awkward conversation, but I did, and I’m glad I did. And maybe that colleague now thinks of me as oversensitive, but hey, what can you do.

          1. Anonb*

            AFAB queers everywhere would thank you for helping chip away at this terribly pervasive habit!

            And ugh, “powwows”! We recently had a big “let’s meet the new summer interns!” meeting at my office which involved each intern sharing what their “spirit animal” is and I wanted to scream.

          2. CoveredinBees*

            You might find that you’re not the only one. I’m a cis woman with a pretty femme appearance at work and I LOATHE being called “ladies” or “girls”. I don’t like it in general, but it feels extra gross at work.

          3. marvin the paranoid android*

            Thank you for speaking up about this! Being called “ladies” or “girls” is my least favourite flavour of being misgendered, possibly because it feels so unnecessary and patronizing on top of being incorrect.

          4. Emmy Noether*

            I’m like you – femme cis, and guess I would identify as a lady (I prefer woman though, more descriptive, less bagagge). I do NOT like to be adressed that way as work, because I don’t need my gender being called out. As a woman in a male-dominated field, my gender is already more of a “thing” than I want it to be.

            “Girls” is absolutely worse though. In addition to the gender stuff, it is also infantilizing. In the context of women already being treated like we are less skilled, more junior than we really are, I will have a really vicious reaction being called a girl at work (luckily very rarely happens).

        2. Anonymouse*

          The admins at my company are almost universally female – at the moment (and that I know of). There was one openly trans person on the admin team for a while, before they moved into a different role, and I gather at some point before I was hired, someone had to tell the senior admin to stop addressing the team as “ladies”.

          Now that the trans individual is on another team, everyone’s reverted back to “hey ladies!” and it makes me cringe. I’m not overfond of it in the first place (I’m cis female), but it’s particularly irritating knowing that there was some history there that means these people *ought* to know better.

    2. TimeTravlR*

      #3 – Mine too. I hate it when women do it, as noted in the letter, or when a former male co-worker would refer to me as “m’lady.” Ugh.

      1. ADD Mouse*

        Erin, I feel the same. Never been comfy with “ladies”. I’m slightly less than femme-y in presentation most days (am still working out where I sit on the gender non-conforming stratum – I think I’m female all right) but I actually feel less up for picking this battle because of that. Like, if I don’t object to being called a lady, I can avoid comment for wearing crewneck sweaters and flat shoes and no makeup? (Yes, I know the two should not be connected. And nobody has commented.)

        I’d love it if someone else were to do it. I’m not sure anyone will.

        1. Artemesia*

          I don’t prefer ‘ladies’ and use colleagues or y’all myself BUT it is one of those things that I would not expend an ounce of capital on.

        2. Not a lady (Letter writer)*

          This is making me feel inspired to just take one for the team and have a conversation the next time this happens, because there are so many people who are more affected by it than I am, and less free to speak up without repercussions. I felt like maybe I was the lone weirdo who hates being called “ladies,” but it sure looks like I’m in good company.

        1. AnonToday*

          I am so tired of people thinking it’s flattering to middle-aged women to call them “young lady” or “Miss” instead of “Ma’am” or “Ms. Lastname” or even “Firstname.”

          NO. It is not. It’s possibly more annoying and disrespectful than assuming I use a common nickname for my first name.

          “Young lady” is what I was called when I was too young to apply for credit cards or register to vote. So I see it as infantilizing as well as a ham-handed attempt at flattery. (Or maybe a comment on my mental age not matching my physical age? Which is really ableist.) Youth is not exactly an achievement I am working on, and suggesting I could be mistaken for someone who hasn’t reached adulthood is just ridiculous. If they think I’ll be insulted by “Ma’am” as implying I’m a mature woman, I’m not sure how they would conclude that when I’m not hiding my gray streaks. I don’t need flattery from customer service staff, medical staff, or retail managers; I need them to treat me with respect and handle the transaction professionally.

    3. NoviceManagerGuy*

      I also don’t like “gentlemen”. Considering the gender of everybody in the conversation and seeing if it matches isn’t something we should be doing at work! And it’s so incredibly easy not to do. It’s literally less thought not to do it.

      Hi all,
      Hey everybody,
      Morning y’all,

      1. Nobby Nobbs*

        I was just thinking that the best thing that can be said for “ladies” is that is beats the heck out of “gentlemen!” (Or “girls,” ugh.)

        1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

          I particularly enjoy* when in a social group I’m in, people refer to me and a friend as “the girls”.

          I’m old enough to have a teenage son. My friend is a transman. He’s stopped coming along as often.

          *do not enjoy at all not one bit nope not even slightly, object in the moment and offer respectful and accurate alternatives

          1. Ali + Nino*

            UGH “the girls” used for ADULT WOMEN! Really grinds my gears. Someone posted to LinkedIn a picture of how his company celebrated some achievement/birthday/can’t remember what for “the girls” who do X (and were praised for doing a great job – but it still seems so undermining).

            “Hey, ladies,” on the other hand, automatically makes Beastie Boys play in my mind [cue cowbell]. Still not great, but I <3 Beastie Boys.

        2. turquoisecow*

          I’ve taken to pushing back on a few individuals who use “girl” to describe someone who is not an underage female child by saying “oh really, they had a kid doing that?”

          “what, no, she was probably like 20-30 or something.”

          “Oh, so she wasn’t a “girl.””

        3. JustaTech*

          Just now I was in a meeting that happened to be all women and the meeting host stopped herself in the middle of addressing us as “guys” and instead used “gals” and “ladies”. (I think we’re both of an age that “guys” was the group noun regardless of gender when we were young.)

          It was mostly amusing (none of us would have been offended by “guys”) but also slightly irksome in that this was an all-women meeting of the social committee (because the one man on the team couldn’t make the meeting).

          1. mairona*

            Corrections like that just seem to make it worse because attention has been drawn to the gendering – and regendering! – and now it’s awkward lol.

      2. Clorinda*

        Our local hospital system has switched to “friend” instead of sir or ma’am.
        I call my students “friends” or “young people” or “students” or “third (or whatever) block” when addressing them as a group of more than four. Four or fewer: names, unless a particular group has organically developed a moniker (back window all-stars, for example).

        1. Chapeau*

          And being called friend by my hospital would make me switch hospitals. I’m not their friend, I’m a customer.

          1. Critical Rolls*

            I’ll take impersonal over excessively familiar any day of the week, especially in a teaching setting. Teachers and students can be friendly, but they really shouldn’t be *friends* due to the power dynamics, and so that feels really, really off to me. Also not very necessary? Students work perfectly well to refer to groups, and I’m struggling to envision “friend” used. Like… “Who can answer the question? How about the friend in the blue sweatshirt?” It’s a no from me, dawg.

            1. Imtheone*

              My children went to a Quaker high school, so a Friends School. (Official name of the religion is Society of Friends.) Teachers addressed the students as “Friends.”

              1. Observer*

                Yeah, that’s different. But it’s worth noting that (despite the intentions of the founders of the group), the word simply doesn’t have the same meaning when used in this context, because ultimately, the teachers and students are NOT “friends” in the way that most people actually use the word. Much the same as “comrade”.

              2. Critical Rolls*

                I’m sure you recognize that as a very specific context, one that doesn’t generalize.

              3. Not a lady (Letter writer)*

                Yes, I love the Quaker tradition of not using honorifics and addressing everyone as “Friend.”

          2. metadata minion*

            Is there an alternative you’d prefer? I agree that “friend” is weird, but there are frustratingly few non-gendered terms of address in English, if you don’t know the person’s name.

          3. OlympiasEpiriot*

            I go to Quaker Meeting on 1st Day and if someone I didn’t know called me friend, I’d assume they meant Friend and the were of The Society of Friends…and if they obviously weren’t, it would make me think someone was about to be scamming me.

        2. Purple Cat*

          Specific names for 4 people? Are you kidding me?
          “Hi Susy, Bob, Glinda, and Ross” What a waste of space, time, everything.
          I use names when I’m directly sending to one person, or if I only need 1 or 2 people out of a big “to” list to really focus on the message. Otherwise it’s “All” and used to be “ladies” but I’ll be dropping that now.

          1. Slow Gin Lizz*

            “All” is, like, literally the easiest solution and it’s what I use. Or y’all, when I’m feeling up for apostrophes.

            1. TheRain'sSmallHands*

              In my part of the country it tends to be “folks” “Could one of you folks help me lift this?” Or even more commonly the completely gender neutral in Minnesota “guys.”

                1. Sova*

                  I think that might be changing or trying to change…or could be a weird quirk of early exposure to 1980s media in the U.S that dies with my cohort. I am a geriatric millenial and have often just automatically used both ‘guys’ and ‘dude’ in a gender-neutral contexts.

                2. Heather*

                  In some parts of the country it kinda is though. I’m a cis female and I’ll definitely address a group of my cis female friends “guys”. “Hi guys!” “you guys aren’t going to believe this” – it’s completely equivalent with “everyone” in our regional dialect.

                3. mandatory anon*

                  I’m from Cascadia and dude/guys are both heavily used in ‘gender neutral’ ways & have been my entire 5+ decades.

                4. Sparkles McFadden*

                  I have always been the only woman in a department full of men and I HATED being addressed with “Hey guys.” I would always (privately) explain why I disliked that expression to whatever boss used that greeting, and the boss would switch to using “everybody” or “all.” The one case where a boss told me I was being “overly sensitive” was a woman boss. She also once told me that “men are better at computer things” when that was most of the job so her refusal shouldn’t have surprised me.

                  In the past few years I have been told that “guys” is now gender neutral. Yeah…it’s not. I hear it used all of the time as gender neutral (and that’s been going on a long time) but…it’s not and it sets my teeth on edge.

                5. Flash Packet*

                  Even if some people currently think of it as gender neutral, it’s probably a good idea to stop using “guys” and “dude” to refer to people who aren’t boys/men. There’s something icky about “male” being the default. It signals that women are the exception.

                  FTR, I used to use “guys” and “dude” as gender neutral references and then it was pointed out to me how no one would ever use “gals” as gender neutral, and I decided to quit going along with default-male anything.

                6. JustSomeone*

                  It isn’t. It really, really isn’t. I grew up using it as gender neutral, but it’s not. It’s “male as default,” which is different than gender neutral.

                  Want a demonstration of how non-gender-neutral it actually is? Imagine asking the most toxic masculinity jock type you can picture “have you [had intercourse with] any guys lately?”

              1. Not a lady (Letter writer)*

                While I hate being referred to as a “lady,” I actually don’t mind being referred to in a group as “hey guys.” Where I grew up (northeast US), this is how everyone addressed each other, regardless of gender, and it comes naturally to me.

                That said, I know that it doesn’t have the same gender-neutral meaning for everyone, and it can be especially problematic for trans women and NB folks (since it can come across as misgendering), so I’m trying to be more conscious of it, and use “hey folks/everyone/friends/all/comrades/jerks, etc.”

              2. Distracted Librarian*

                I tend to use, “folks.” And I won’t win friends for this, but I dislike, “folx.” It seems performative and pretentious since “folks” is already gender-neutral.

              3. Mr. Shark*

                I think guys can generally be gender-neutral, although some people seem to object to it. For the most part, we seem to get hung up on these ideas and sometimes give words more power than they need to have.

                If someone refers to my group of friends as “boys” it doesn’t really bother me at all. I can see, though, for mismatched groups that gender-neutral terms should be used. I generally use “Team” when I’m addressing a group at work, even if it includes higher ups, since we’re all working together. I might use guys more unofficially when speaking, though, just because it’s a natural term for me, and I’m not judging or assuming gender, it’s a neutral term.

              1. dcm*

                Yes, and in group emails I often use: “Hi Team” — but that also feels corporate-y and weird.

              2. Nina*

                I have been known to start (work! internal!) emails with ‘good morning campers’ and that’s totally fine, but I work in a very strange company in a very strange industry.

        3. EPLawyer*

          Your students are not your friends. Just ugh. Let’s not force a relationship that is not there just to avoid another problematic phrase. Students is fine. All is fine. So many choices that are neutral.

          1. Artemesia*

            I think friends is used in schools to encourage kids to be friendly to each other. It is particularly common in pre-school and early elementary.

            1. EPLawyer*

              Yes but the students are each OTHER friends. Not the teacher’s friend. It just not really good.

            2. Observer*

              Really? I have number of pre-school teacher friends and family. None of them call the children “friend”, nor is it done in any of their schools.

              Most common is “children”.

          2. TheRain'sSmallHands*

            In the Society of Friends they are. Its a religious thing, like Brother, Sister, Father….. If you don’t agree you wouldn’t send your kids to a Quaker school and you probably wouldn’t teach at one either, since the philosophy is fairly all encompassing.

            1. AnonToday*

              That’s a very specific context, with “Friend” used more as a title than just a generic way to refer to people.

        4. Sylvan*

          Oh, my boss does this. It’s weird because we’re not friends.

          I don’t want to sound standoffish when I say that. A lot of my coworkers *are* my friends. But when we’re here from 9-5 Monday-Friday, we’re coworkers and employees. We’re not hanging out here together just because we think bad coffee and cubicles are cool.

          1. Clisby*

            I never had a boss do this, but I remember at least one co-worker sending out emails addressed to “Friends.” I guess I don’t see the problem. We were not personal friends, but we were friendly. To me, it seems about the same as “Folks.”

          2. AnonToday*

            I really like “colleagues” but that’s probably my academic background showing through. I’m self employed, but I know a lot of people in the same field. We are friendly and the field tends to be cooperative, but for me, “friend” implies “personal friend” and “colleague” (AFAIK) implies “people you know professionally.”

            I’m in a situation where I need to differentiate between personal and business relationships because I need to make it clear to certain people why it would be inappropriate to call 95% of my contacts for personal support. Just because I shared a booth with Jane at the Teapot Show doesn’t mean Jane belongs on my speed-dial list for people who should get an automated text if I don’t return from a hike on time.

        5. RussianInTexas*

          What the what. I would rather be called ma’am – where I live it’s just politeness and does not indicate any age.
          I am not your friend.

        6. Observer*

          Our local hospital system has switched to “friend” instead of sir or ma’am.

          Seriously? Do they now not discipline staff who are not performing? Do they overlook rudeness and inappropriate behavior because “it’s all among friends”? Neither your patients nor your staff are friends. Please don’t call them such. Because in the best case it leads to dysfunction. In the worst case it’s exploitative.

          I call my students “friends” or “young people” or “students” or “third (or whatever) block” when addressing them as a group of more than four.

          Please don’t call your students “friends”. They are not, and cannot, be your friends. At least not if you want to actually be an effective teacher who has earned the respect and trust of all of their (reasonable) students.

      3. Mockingjay*

        I use ‘Team’ or ‘All.’
        Team for internal use; all when I address the team and people outside my department or agency.

      4. mairona*

        This one especially irks me as a woman in IT! (Context: we’re a very small IT team and I’m the only woman) It seems to happen mostly on help desk tickets from newer employees who don’t actually know who’s on our team (“Morning, gents! I’m having trouble with yadda yadda…”) and it always risks giving me a detached cornea from the eyerolling. The last time it happened, I photoshopped my work photo with a fancy moustache and top hat and sent it to my teammates who got a good laugh out of it. Fortunately it’s rare to get repeat offenders after the first ticket I close for them, signed with my (feminine) name.

        As for “Ladies”, at a previous job, I had to copy in a member of the telecom team on an email with a user since the issue appeared to overlap with the VOIP system. The tech has a name that could go either way gender-wise but unfortunately for him, the most famous people who share his name are women which led the end user to address his reply to “Ladies” and even worse, signed off with “Thanks again, ladies!” We’d commiserated about gender assumptions like this before so at least we got to chuckle about it. For awhile, I’d call him lady and he’d call me sir lol

        1. Heather*

          Seconded. The only thing more eye-roll-inducing than “Morning gentlemen!” is “Morning gentlemen, and Heather!”

        2. Tau*

          Oh yeah. I associate “Hello gentlemen” with a male colleague who addressed his e-mails that way and had the strangest tendency to leave me, and only me, off e-mails I should’ve been on. I was also the only non-male member of our team. What a coincidence, hmm.

      5. Mr. Cajun2core*

        I have no problems with “Gentlemen”. Basically where I am from it is just a friendly greeting, just like “sir”. “Gentlemen” is the plural of “sir”. Now, I don’t generally use either because I know some people take offense to it but sometimes it still slips out.

        1. mairona*

          The problem isn’t whether “gentlemen” is grammatically correct (though it’s actually the plural of “gentleman” – “sirs” is the plural of “sir”). The problem is the gendering when addressing colleagues, particularly if you don’t actually know the genders of all involved. I’ve had countless emails sent to my team as a whole addressing us as “gentlemen”, “sirs”, “fellas”, “guys”, etc. even though not all of our team are men. For example, me. I am not a man. Therefore, it’s weird to be addressed as a gentleman and it’s just one more exhausting reminder that for many, IT is still a “boys club”, even though my team doesn’t operate that way.

          We’ve also had “gentlemen and lady” before, which is even worse because now I’m singled out as the anomaly and when it’s spoken. Yes, this has also happened verbally, in person, and more than once. Worst yet, there’s usually a slight pause before “and lady” as if they just noticed there’s a woman in the room so I’m not *just* an anomaly, I’m an anomalous afterthought. How about just not gendering greetings and we can avoid alienating our coworkers?

          1. Mr. Cajun2core*

            I fully agree and I would never use it if I am sending an email, especially if I did not know if all of them were men.

            The times, I use it are in cases of like, “Well, if you gentlemen would excuse me.” Trust me, it was all men.

                1. Nina*

                  yeah, it’s even harder to guess gender just by looking at people, so it’s even dumber to assume you know everyone’s gender!

          2. Mr. Cajun2core*

            Yes, “sirs” is the plural of “sir”. That statement was a bad example. English is not my strength. I am more of a math/science/numbers person.

    4. Aqua409*

      I use “Hello Team” as a default. Even if we are not on an actual “team”; we are a team that’s working on an issue.

    5. Sloanicota*

      I do cringe now remembering that I routinely used “ladies” in email to two women senior to me when I was a newer employee. I know they noticed because one gently teased me about it some time later. It didn’t occur to me at the time – I was merely trying to avoid writing out both their names in full – but I think was coming across as weirdly old fashioned etc (I am female myself). Whoops.

    6. RussianInTexas*

      I hate “ladies” and especially “girls”. But I can’t do much about clients.
      I have two male clients (that have never met me in person” who call me “mija”. There is zero chance my company will allow me to correct client’s language. So I grit my teeth and bear it.

      1. OP*

        In a professional context, I have trouble with the line between too familiar and too formal. When I’m writing to peers I can be more casual with the greeting. Referring to a group of executives as “Hi peeps!” seems way too cheeky, so I will often go with “Good morning ladies and gentlemen”. “Good morning all” sounds…stilted and not respectful of their positions above me. “Good morning folks”? “Good morning everyone”? “Top o’ the mornin’ to you”?

        1. mairona*

          I typically use “Good morning everyone” or just “Good morning”. If it’s to people in my department or people I’m working with on a project, I might use “Hey team”.

        2. Not a lady (Letter writer)*

          “Good morning” full stop is a perfectly good greeting! I’ve heard a lot of people hand-wring about how to say “hello sir/ma’am” or “excuse me sir/ma’am” if they’re not “allowed” to use sir/ma’am (I think mostly southerners who had it drilled into them as kids that sir/ma’am is an essential part of politeness) … but “hello” and “excuse me” are complete on their own! No need to add anything to the end!

          1. Raine*

            Agreed!
            Also, from a speed-of-readability perspective, dropping sir/ma’am and similiar makes much more sense.

    7. WantonSeedStitch*

      Same on #3. I’m a cis woman who’s very femme, but “ladies” as a greeting always gives me feelings of “ladies’ auxiliary” or “welcome to the Eastern Star meeting” that I can’t stand. “Folks” is my general go-to for casual greetings (though I’ve been known to use “y’all,” “gang,” or even “ahoy mateys” when I’m feeling piratical). For slightly more professional, I go for “everyone” or “team,” and for more formal, “[department] colleagues.”

      1. nona*

        “Lady” is also a leftover descriptor of a class of women who didn’t work. It represents both a gender AND a class. So that’s also part of why it feels weird in a professional context.

        Gentlemen were also generally men who did not need to work, but that class transistion is much further in the past, I think, then the comparable lady/women who work transition.

        The only time I’m okay with being referred to as a “lady” is when my friends 4 year old complains about not being able to come hang out with the “ladies”, as she calls her mom’s group of female friends that has been getting together since before she was born.

      2. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

        Because of my age, when I hear “ladies” I get a Beastie Boys earworm.

        I use the exact same language as you in the exact same settings but spell out “you all” for some reason instead of “y’all”. I seriously don’t know why. I wonder if a teacher got on my case in elementary school?

      3. Not a lady (Letter writer)*

        Yes! It makes me feel like I should be wearing pastel ruffles and crossing my legs at the ankles. More importantly, it makes me feel like people are viewing me first and foremost as my gender, and not as a colleague in a professional context.

      1. Cohort 1*

        +1. My darling (really) SIL uses that one and it always causes an unpleasant internal shudder. She’s usually referring to the women at her work or the tennis club. It’s just so – 50s?

      2. Cookie*

        Gal makes me shudder, every time. Especially when a man uses it to performatively show that he doesn’t call women “girl.”

    8. Spero*

      I think this ‘ladies’ trend was revived from the MLM pitches that all start with ‘hey mama’ or ‘hey mamas’ – which drives me crazy as well! That is neither my identity nor my name, unless I birthed you from my loins please staaaaaaaap calling me ‘mama.’

      1. mandatory anon*

        Just makes me think the user can’t see women as anything but docile broodmares.

      2. WantonSeedStitch*

        Oh holy Flying Spaghetti Monster, yes. I hated being addressed as “mama” when I was pregnant and shortly after giving birth. Now that my son’s no longer an infant, it’s happening less often, and it’s a relief. Most of the parenting groups I’m in online are VERY SPECIFIC about being inclusive, and have rules against addressing the membership as “mamas” or “ladies” or similar. Very refreshing!

      3. mairona*

        Ugh. I’ve gotten “hey mama” from other women before and I’ve never birthed *anyone* from my loins, nor do I plan to.

    9. Good Wilhelmina Hunting*

      I have no particular issue with a letter or email addressed to “Dear Ladies”, or being referred to in the third person, e.g. “see that lady over there?” But I strongly object to “Lady” being used as a form of address or to get my attention, e.g. by a stranger saying, “Hey, lady.” “Excuse me” would be fine if you want to get my attention. “Ma’am” would be fine if you’re a stranger who doesn’t know my name. “Lady” in this context just sounds demeaning and rude.

    10. Anon Supervisor*

      I despise being called “hun” or “sweety” in the office as well. IMO, it’s demeaning or at least, too familiar. It’s never by dudes, always women, which is so strange.

    11. bananaramafofana*

      Plus, #1, it’s just a week. In terms of a hopefully long tenure on this team, that’s a blip. It’s five days of work *potentially* sucking because it’s super busy. Which you don’t know for sure it will be. Just let her go. You’ll survive. Promise.

  3. Inbox Manager*

    OP #2: BCC means you get every message from Fergus but none of the replies from others. That reduces the message traffic but it sounds like you want him to drop you off the chain entirely. Instead of fighting that battle you should be able to set up an email rule that any CC’d message from Fergus gets moved to a new folder that you review at your leisure.

    My company sends out a lot of process status emails that I filter to a specific folder, plus ALL CC mail is moved to “Info Only”. My inbox is for action items and most of my coworkers know that.

    1. Koalafied*

      I think what LW is wanting is to be BCC’d on the initial communication that presumably contains a useful status update (“The new website is up on dev – use your Drupal credentials to view.”) so that they can still be aware of whatever the update was, but if anyone replies all with follow-up discussion (“Can you check the alignment of the buttons on mobile? They’re displaying oddly off center for me.”) they don’t get the replies. The expectation being that Fergus only adds them back to BCC when there’s another status update to share (“Thanks for everyone’s help reviewing the website. It’s now live and publicly accessible!”), not every time he replies to confirm he’s fixed a single typo or ask a reviewer who’s seeing an error what browser they’re using.

      This is pretty commonly done at my work – often even someone who receives an announcement and wants to reply but realizes it’s about to get down in the weeds will move some people to BCC and include in their reply, “Moving Kali and Lilith to BCC for some nitpicky questions to spare their inboxes the back and forth -,” so everyone on the thread knows the list of recipients is being intentionally changed, Kali and Lilith are aware more conversation is happening if they want to follow up with their staff about it in a check-in, and nobody tries to add them back in.

    2. Ally McBeal*

      Agreed that setting up rules is probably the easiest way to go here, as long as OP2 remembers to check that folder regularly.

    3. High Score!*

      I had a coworker like this. I created a mail folder called FERGUS and automatically routed all his email there. Then I’d check it once or twice a day.

    4. Mockingjay*

      Totally concur on setting up a folder and an email rule. It will save your sanity.

      I did exactly this with a former colleague. He was NOTORIOUS for his email spam, copying nearly everyone on the project as well as multiple higher-ups (who didn’t care and never responded). He would send two or three follow-up emails while I responded to his first. I found it was more effective to divert his emails to a holding pen, wait until the end of the day, then read through the entire mess until I found the one thing that actually needed attention, because his later emails often contradicted or pulled back an earlier request.

    5. Miss Muffet*

      I used rules for things like this but just on the off chance that I was cc’d but had a direct question asked of me in the email, I’d have the rule detailed enough to move it to my inbox if my name was in the body of the email (this was for a type of email where my name wasn’t in the address blocks you typically see in replies/fwds) – so there may be a way to get creative so that you do see (sooner) anything that does need you to respond sooner than your once or twice a day you might check your special Fergus folder.

  4. Language Lover*

    #1
    How would you handle things if your employee got COVID and was out for the next week? Could you cover?

    I’d definitely try not to have the first decision you make as a manager be denying an employee an opportunity like this. Is it really about department need? Or is it about having your first week not look the way you initially thought it’d look?

    But I’d also talk with her to see if she has ideas about how to make it work. Ultimately, if you have to deny it, I’d recommend sharing things you considered to make it work even, if in the end, you realized they weren’t feasible.

    1. MK*

      The bar cannot be “if you could accommodate an absence because of something unavoidable, you should give leave when asked”. If the employee got sick, the OP would have no choice but to make it work, that doesn’t mean she can or should be equally accommodating for a vacation.

      1. Language Lover*

        I’m not saying it’s the bar. I’m saying it’s worth considering whether or not the steps to mitigate the absence in a medical scenario could be done here as well.

        They very well might not be.

      2. Avril Ludgateau*

        Disagree, that’s exactly where the bar should be. Staffing should take into account the possibility that people can be hit by a bus at any moment and should never be so vulnerable to one absence that it would result in complete chaos.

        1. Nynaeve*

          That’s what I was going to say. If I was the employee, I might even go so far as to put a reminder in my phone to call in every morning of the vacation at 6:30 or whatever and say that I was using whatever PTO to cover that day.

        2. MK*

          An unexpected absence should not cause complete chaos, no. But in many jobs (at least at certain times) an absence at was short notice will cause significant inconvenience. When it’s unavoidable it can’t be helped, but a vacation is not unavoidable.

          1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            My current manager actually takes “we are human and humans get sick” into his staffing planning. So if we need at least 70% of the staff present then he will approve at most 20% leave for any given day.

            He’s also willing to negotiate, but you need a really good and convincing reason – a last minute vacation falling in your lap may or may not count depending on what projects are in the pipeline for that week. But he’s always been really upfront and empathetic when he can’t approve something (happened to me once – burned hand when it comes to planning in advance and all of that jazz) because of scheduling.

        3. Saberise*

          That is unrealistic for a lot of places. If you have a 3 person team you are going to feel 1 person being gone more than if you have 50 employees. So people may have to work overtime or skip lunch to make up for that person being out. But you aren’t going to put a 4th person on the team just for those times there is an emergency. We don’t know how many people she has on her team. If it’s small team them being down 2 people while she’s trying to learn/do her new job may make it extremely difficult. That being said I would probably still try to make it work if possible, especially if that person is usually pretty reliable and this won’t start a trend. Not sure saying no to this is the best way to start her new position.

        4. Myrin*

          That’s the same argument as people saying “We could work from home during the lockdowns when Covid first hit so we should be allowed to work from home indefinitely!” which really isn’t how it works. It’s one thing to be able to wing something in some capacity when you have literally no other choice, it’s quite another to do it permanently (or, in this case, on short notice and when you aren’t dealing with an emergency or an unavoidable circumstance).

        5. Cringing 24/7*

          This. I’ve had the displeasure of managing an office where corporate specifically refused my request to add two FTEs to my staff (we were demonstrably understaffed), and my entire job became trying to make it not my employees’ problem. My employees being absent, on vacation, sick, or what-have-you were NOT the ones responsible for my team being understaffed – the company did that.

    2. Allonge*

      For me it’s more like ‘As I will be performing my current role as well as duties of a manager, the team can’t cover her absence.’ – ok, but will she never be able to take leave? Or will you be replaced in your current duties eventually and then she can go?

        1. Bast*

          I have to agree that how long until someone can take leave matters. My husband just went through this where someone in his department quit in January (she gave a month notice, so they had plenty of time to prepare). Hiring wasn’t a priority, and yet no one was allowed to go on vacation until they hired. It was pushed off and pushed off and they ended up not hiring someone for a little over 5 months. I can tell you being told you cant take any time off for no real reason other than it not being a priority generated A LOT of anger and resentment in the department.

          Coming back to the post, I’d do everything I could to make it work for this employee or risk alienating someone first thing.

          1. KRM*

            And the OP is new, but the employee isn’t new, and knows what she’s doing. So I’d talk to her and make sure that things are all set, because I’m sure the employees in this dept are versed in making sure everyone’s vacations are covered as needed. I would be loathe to say to a new department “well I’m doing X and Y so obviously you guys can’t cover Z” because you don’t know. You’ve got to ask! Or trust them to know!

          2. NotRealAnonForThis*

            Yeah, having to reschedule my (granted, not an emergency) surgery to accommodate another coworker’s straight up vacation did not exactly endear our shared employer. There were special circumstances involving nepotism as to why it did not endear said vacationing coworker either.

        2. Gothic Bee*

          Yeah, this is really important to consider. It’s one thing to deny leave because another staff member is on vacation that week. But if you’re denying vacation due to needing to hire a new person, there’s no guarantee on how long that will take. I’d be really annoyed if it was a situation where you deny vacation due to needing to hire someone and then two months later the position still isn’t filled and you either approve vacation (suggesting that you probably could have made it work earlier) or continue to deny vacation (likely to lead to the staff member job hunting). Neither option is a good look.

          If OP does deny vacation I’d make absolutely certain they have talked this through with the employee and explained the reasoning and given them a time frame for when they can expect to be able to take vacation regardless of whether the position is filled or not.

          1. Cringing 24/7*

            Exactly this – and the thing is (if I’m reading this correcty), OP would be declining a vacation request due to a staff shortage *in a different department* from the would-be vacation goer. That will be felt and spoken about throughout the department that OP is coming in to manage and it will not be kindly thought of. OP will immediately be seen as a manager who unnecessarily makes their problems into their employees’ problem.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        This does sound like one step down the path “We couldn’t let anyone have a day off until they backfill Cecil’s role, and now that Belinda and Fred left in annoyance at that policy we REALLY can’t let anyone have a day off.”

        1. TheRain'sSmallHands*

          Yep. I mean a lot depends on the job itself. A job like nursing requires coverage. A job like IT development requires a project manager willing to say “due to department turnover and making sure people get time for sick leave and vacations, we will need to push the timeline a little.” But a lot also depends on the job and the person – someone working for $14 an hour who lives with their parents who is told no vacation is fairly likely to say “screw that, I want to be on a beach drinking margaritas, I’ll get another sucky job when I return.” Someone who is the sole breadwinner in a professional job which will take months to find a new place will likely suck it up – for now – and then start looking for a more flexible employer.

          But never underestimate the possibility that by saying no, you encourage someone to leave….and then by being short staffed, you encourage someone else to leave. And then your oldest employees discover they are getting paid less than the new hires you have (cause that’s happening right now) and they leave.

    3. Sloanicota*

      Keep in mind OP, your company is choosing to have you start new duties now without coverage for your old role. That is their decision, not your innocent employee’s responsibility to solve.

      1. Saberise*

        I would think that is quite common if you promote from within. If it takes a bit of time to interview others and decide to make an offer the prior manager is probably out the door already. But they aren’t going to start the process to fill the old role until they know they are going to being moving her into the position. Than they have the time to fill that job as well.

  5. Not Miss Ellie*

    #3 “Hi y’all.” Oh dear… there must be a better alternative than “y’all”. Not everyone lives on a ranch in Texas.

      1. Artemesia*

        Did my career in the south and y’all is the great contribution of the south to America — it is a wonderful non-gendered greeting — less uncouth than ‘guys’ which all women don’t consider non-gendered and less irritating that ladies or gentlemen.

        1. Anon for this*

          Please don’t speak for all women. I am a woman and in many contexts I consider guys to be non-gendered (e.g. lots of my femal friends will greet a group of women “hey guys!”).

          1. Ceiswyn*

            Is the singular ‘guy’ also non-gendered, though? Or is this just an example of a term for men being broadened to cover women in group contexts?

            1. Esmeralda*

              “guys” and “guy” are gendered male.

              I don’t care what anyone’s intent is on this one, and I don’t care that people say “but it means everybody!”

              No, it does not. It is gendered. Cut it out.

              1. really now?*

                wow – what a strangely strong reaction to a colloquialism. Trust me, when I say “guys” as in “you guys” I do in fact mean everyone. But thanks for insisting I don’t mean what I actually mean.

                1. Flash Packet*

                  And the people who refer to being cheated out of something as being “gypped”? Or jokingly calling a friend a “retard” when they made a mistake? Just because they aren’t meaning it as a slur in that moment doesn’t mean it’s hunky-dory.

              2. Kit*

                I have begun trying to drop ‘guy’ and ‘dude’ from my lexicon because my brain parses them as non-gendered – but I have friends who feel misgendered by those terms. How my brain parses them is not as important as making sure my friends are comfortable! I don’t want to misgender my friends, or anyone really, and just as with ‘ladies,’ I’m sure there are other people out there gritting their teeth every time someone refers to them with ‘guys.’

                I would rather have to do a little bit of work than be inconsiderate/unkind/rude. Maybe framing it that way will help others in this comment section consider alternatives, too?

          2. BethDH*

            It looks to me like Artemesia was saying not all women consider it non-gendered — which means some do and some don’t. I personally don’t mind a collective “guys” but I recognize that I would never call an individual woman “that guy,” so it’s at least a bit gendered still and I try to be sensitive to that and avoid it at work.

              1. ThatGirl*

                Artemesia said “all women don’t consider…” which has the same meaning if a bit more awkwardly worded.

          3. WantonSeedStitch*

            I understood Artemesia to mean “not all women consider it non-gendered,” rather than “all women consider it to be gendered.”

          4. INeedANap*

            I have started pushing back hard on people trying to address a group of women (or a mixed-gender group) as “guys”. People only think it’s gender-neutral because society still considers male to be the default gender.
            You know most men would never stand to be called “ladies” or “chicks” even in mixed-gender setting.

          5. MsClaw*

            I feel like this entire chain is good at highlighting that this is something where whatever you pick, someone is going to be pissed off. In my case, unless it’s something really loaded like ‘chickadees’ or something, I don’t really care. I tend to use ‘guys’ and ‘folks’ a lot (and y’all), but I’m sure there’s someone who is seething at my colloquial wording. Ah well.

        2. Aww, coffee, no*

          Thank you – as a woman I hate being included in ‘guys’.
          I absolutely don’t feel that it’s non-gendered, not least because most straight men who use it, claiming it’s non-gendered, then balk when I ask them “So, does that mean you also say you sleep with guys?”

          1. Panhandlerann*

            It’s like the generic “he,” which in the olden days was considered nongendered, but now is most definitely not considered to be that!

      2. Elle by the sea*

        I like “youse”, but people look at me askance when I use it outside Ireland.

        1. Yvette*

          Outside Ireland?! I thought you were going to say outside New York!! Were Irish immigrants responsible for that bit of slang?

          1. lmaowut*

            As a New Yorker, I can safely that’s a dialectic quirk associated fully with movie goombahs and not real people XD

            1. OlympiasEpiriot*

              As a Noo Yawker in the construction industry, I can safely say it is mostly a dialect quirk of a particular generation and a couple ethnic groups (one of which *is* Irish).

              I love “youse”. Interestingly, it also crops up in “Da U.P.”…the upper peninsula of Michigan, a place I spent some time when a kid.

              “Yinz” is good, too, but almost exclusively said out loud in Pittsburgh.

              1. Jack Bruce*

                I have friends from Pittsburgh and I dearly want to say yinz, but I’m from the south and already have y’all. But when I’m up there I’m definitely going to say it!

              1. Hazel*

                When I was a kid, my friend’s mom used to call us “you’uns” & the meaning i picked up was “you kids” or maybe more likely “you young ones.”

        2. CatMintCat*

          Youse is very common in my part of Australia. I actually prefer y’all, but it’s charm could lie in its rarity.

        3. Please youse correct grammar*

          It’s common in Australia, and I have a dear friend who uses it…

          … But I will otherwise fiercely judge anyone else who does use it. *Especially* in written work communication.

        4. Lyudie*

          Try it in Pittsburgh, you’ll fit right in :) There might be a harsher sound at the end though, “youz”.

          1. Sloanicota*

            I thought it was “yinz” in Pittsburgh! I would like to see wider adoption of yinz!

        5. Pittsburgh*

          I was surprised to see that’s in Irish term! I thought it was just a Pittsburgh thing.

          1. Aww, coffee, no*

            Just what I was thinking. In fact, I had thought it was a Scottish language quirk and didn’t realise it extended elsewhere.

        6. Terrysg*

          ‘Youse ‘only applies in Dublin, the rest of the country uses ‘ye’. (except for the parts that don’t).

          1. Eleanor Shellstrop*

            My husbands family who are from County Monaghan used youse liberally when we visited them this year! I adore it and wish I could use it.

        7. Marion Ravenwood*

          To me “youse” feels very Liverpool (mainly as the only person I’ve heard use it is my Scouser dad, although my family are originally from Ireland so suspect that’s how it got into Liverpudlian slang). And maybe it’s just the tone I’ve heard it in, but to me it feels a bit too forward to use in a work email. So personally I just tend to fall back on ‘all’, ‘everyone’ or (where appropriate) ‘team’.

          1. Graeme*

            The scouse usage also tends to come with “all” attached as well. So “why did youse all do that?” would be more normal than just saying “hi youse”. And as you say, the tone isn’t quite right for this discussion – if you’re referring to a group as youse all, then youse have all probably done something wrong!

      3. Asenath*

        It depends on where you are. It sounds weird and foreign to my ear, because although I live in a English-speaking area, I live very far from anywhere that would be in common usage. Maybe people would be thinking I’d been watching too many shows set in the southern US! I’m not crazy about “ladies”, but I can accept it; “guys” seems to be becoming the default for nongendered, although it still sounds a bit too informal for many people in the workplace, and of course some people see that as a gendered term too.

      4. Falling Diphthong*

        So long as the people you are addressing are a plural. I hate it when books visiting the south try to add “flavor” and have the locals use y’all as a singular.

        1. TechWriter*

          Ah but there’s the difference between “y’all” and “all y’all”. It’s fun.

          1. Mr. Cajun2core*

            Yes, “y’all” is plural but “All y’all” is “All of you” as opposed to just “some of you”.
            Example: Are all y’all* coming? Usually said with an air of disbelief, while at the same time thinking , “Holy carp! I ain’t ready for that many people to come to my house!”

            *or “all of y’all”

          2. Florida Fan 15*

            In my world, “y’all” is plural and “all y’all” is plural plus you’re in trouble.

            “Y’all come in the house” means the whole group is welcome.

            “All y’all come in the house” means don’t make me come after you.

        1. PH 2022*

          Me too! I’m in a border state to the South and it sounds false to my ear. I prefer Hi All.

          1. TheRain'sSmallHands*

            I grew up in the South and now live in Minnesota. You don’t get away with ya’ll here. But guys is non-gendered here (and I understand it isn’t everywhere). Every once in a while you’ll get someone (usually a transplant) who will gender guys by using the world gals – most of them find its awkward quickly.

            1. Panhandlerann*

              Hmm–I live in WI, right by Duluth, MN, and I would not at all say you can’t get away with y’all around here. I use it with great abandon and know others who do as well.

              1. Mpls*

                I think it’s easier to get away with when spoken, then when written, around here, ya’know.

                1. TheRain'sSmallHands*

                  I can’t get away with it spoken – I get funny looks. But certain words bring out the South in my voice – and ya’ll is one of them. I may be more sensitive to it than most, because I moved North at an impressionable age and got ridiculed constantly for my accent. But I still get funny looks with certain words and sometimes a judgmental “where are you from?”

      5. Cammie*

        Really? I find “y’all” kind of cheesy and vastly overused in social justice circles. It never comes off as natural or organic to me, kind of patronizing and a little infantilizing in fact. Same with folks / folx. Maybe just stick to “hi everyone” or other non cutesy language for adults.

    1. Unfettered scientist*

      I like “hi everyone” or if appropriate “hi team.” I also strongly dislike ya’ll but there are other alternatives.

        1. NoviceManagerGuy*

          I do too, in writing – but since I did grow up in Texas, “y’all” is going to come up in person or on a call.

    2. No Longer Gig-less Data Analyst*

      I just take the y’ off. As below:

      “Good morning, all – are we on schedule with Project X for today’s client meeting?”

      1. English Rose*

        Exactly, that’s what I do. Or “everyone”.
        ‘Ladies’ drives me crazy too, and gets used in our teams all the time as I’m in a sector which is quite female-dominated.

    3. Loulou*

      There are indeed plenty of alternatives, like “everyone” or “all.” And also plenty of people use “y’all” and are not on a ranch in Texas. I’m sure you realize this!

      1. bleh*

        I use y’all in an academic setting. If my colleagues are judging me for it, they keep it to themselves.

    4. Not a rancher*

      Y’all is widely used in the south. It might sound goofy to you, but it doesn’t sound the least folksy to about a third of the U.S.

    5. Dark Macadamia*

      Y’all is an inclusive, friendly term that maintains the warmth people are going for with “ladies” while removing the gendered weirdness. I personally tend to use “all” but I find it very odd when people are really anti-y’all. It’s a great word!

      1. Koalafied*

        I became a heavy y’all user when I worked as a waitress in college for this reason. It worked as a greeting for any size table, of any gender and age combination, so I never had to expend brain energy consciously choosing a greeting*, and carries the same air of politeness and “business formal” manners that a sir/madam/gentlemen/ladies would.

        “Folks” is another good one although it’s slightly less versatile (to my mind, it refers mainly to adults and works if there’s at least a few older teens in the group but would feel strange to address say, a table of only 12 year olds (like a soccer team coming in after a game and not having enough adults to put one at every single table) as “folks.”

        *This is also why I started saying, “Have a good one!” as a parting during my time in the service industry. When you’re rushing around and you work different shifts on different days it’s all too easy to “have a good day!” someone at 10 pm.

      2. Calliope*

        I don’t have any problems with it in general but I think it sounds false/put on coming from me with the register I speak in so I don’t use it.

    6. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Obviously you should feel free to substitute “hi all” or whatever fits your personal style. (Personally, I love “y’all” because it’s non-gendered and informal and I live in Virginia, but you can use whatever works for you.)

      1. S. Dedalus*

        Believe it or not, there was one place I worked where someone objected to Dear All. She would write to the offender, “I am not all, and I would appreciate not being addressed in this way.“ We “all” then had to switch to Dear Colleagues or name each person (especially to be safe when writing to her).

        1. Less Bread More Taxes*

          I’m so confused… was this person writing “Dear All” in an email to just her? If so, that is odd. If not then… she actually is part of the “all”.

          1. Caliente*

            I believe the gist was she’s not an “all” I’m an individual. I would never ….go there but I actually understand it. Honestly I had to get used to Dear All because it did feel mildly rude to me to address people that way.
            I do love y’all though, but generally use it among friends and closer coworkers. Wouldn’t address our full staff that way and we’re pretty casual.

        2. Asenath*

          I can can understand her irritation! I’ve never been addressed as “Dear All”, and would find it odd at the very least. I suppose it’s in the same category as “Dear Householder”, only even more remote and generic. Then again, I rarely say “Dear” at the beginning of an email, since I figure that the email address is enough of a greeting. I might add “Hi!” if that’s the norm in that workplace.

          1. Allonge*

            Dear all can be an acceptable compromise where some addressees would object to ‘colleague’ (yeah, I know but it happens…) but there are too many of them to name. It’s meant to be remote and generic, that is a feature, not a bug.

            1. Ope!*

              Hi All and Hi Team are my go-tos. Y’all is my natural spoken form, being a southern US native, but I now work in the north and it doesn’t seem to fit the vibe in writing, where my accent isn’t a give away. So I drop the y’ and it feels natural and casual to me.

              I default to “hi all,” for groups of secondary colleagues or collaborators I’ve been CC’d into, and “Hi team,” for the people I work most closely with day to day.

          2. Insert Clever Name Here*

            It wasn’t being used in an email that was solely to her, though, it was being used to address a group. If I’m talking to Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty, and Lydia in one email and say “Dear All” it would be strange for Mary to object to not having her name specifically mentioned.

                1. londonedit*

                  As a Married Woman, Lydia would definitely not have time for trivial things such as emails, and would rely on her sisters – who, being unmarried, would have nothing better to do – to pass on any important information (such as whether the new hats in the shop in Meriton really are as hideous as she has heard).

            1. Jack Russell Terrier*

              Kitty being didactic might suggest that really, everyone should be named as that’s what is proper.

        3. After 33 years ...*

          I had a similar reaction, and also don’t particularly like being labelled as “all”, so I always use either “Dear colleagues” or “Dear {Professional identifier}”.

          1. Lance*

            Is there some particular reason you don’t like ‘all’? If it’s going out to the group, it’s always seemed like a good, neutral option (and is very, very common in workplaces like mine).

          2. BethDH*

            Do you also object to “team”? You’re not a “team” any more than you’re “all.” I’m having a hard time understanding what the annoyance is and I use “all” a lot so I’d like to figure it out. Of course by yourself you’re not “all,” that’s the point of a collective noun.
            I’m often using this to address mixed groups that include colleagues and other people (like students or external consultants) so your other suggestions don’t work.

            1. Koalafied*

              This isn’t a greeting I use much but it is one I see used all the time and I’m equally surprised to hear that it’s objectionable to anyone. It seems like such a neutral term!

            2. Gothic Bee*

              This is just making me think of that saying “All means all and that’s all all means”.

              I agree though, the logic here is weird. If it’s just that someone doesn’t like the word “all” that would make more sense than trying to justify it as if you’re not an “all”. Or maybe some of the objection is when mass emails where everyone is BCC’d are addressed this way? So from the recipient’s side it looks like “Dear all” is sent to them individually rather than that they’re included in an entire group. Still a bit weird because usually it’s still pretty obvious this was sent to a big group.

            3. After 33 years ...*

              If I’m writing to a group including students, faculty members, and staff from our “Department X”, I’ll write “Dear Xers”. It’s just my personal preference…

          3. Purple Cat*

            This is so fascinating to me. “All” is to a group of individuals, all of whom need to be informed of the contents of the letter. I would never send “Hi All” if it’s only going to “Susy” but a group?

    7. Lizzianna*

      I like y’all, but I have a southern mom and grandparents, so even though I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, it still slips into my vocabulary from time to time.

      I’ll also use, “all,” “team,” or “colleagues,” depending on the context. (Colleagues can be a little clunky, but I’ve had situations where there just wasn’t a better gender neutral term for the group).

      1. dino*

        Related to your suggestion of “colleagues,” I tend to use “folks” to refer to the group in email! For example: “I know folks are busy this week, but I’m hoping to arrange a meeting to chat about X and Y before Friday.”

        I like it, because it’s not quite formal and not quite informal, and it applies to all situations no matter my relationship with the others on the email thread (e.g. colleagues, interns, students, friends, etc).

      2. BethDH*

        Ha, are you me? I can add that I lived in the south for a bit as an adult and that cemented my use of “y’all” in casual contexts, but otherwise exact same trajectory and maternal line southern connection.

    8. Sillysaurus*

      A lot of people across the country have taken up using y’all. I’m in Portland and hear it frequently, definitely not just a Southern thing anymore. It was a little awkward for me to use it the first couple of times but I love it now.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        I tend to use “Dear All”, or refer to the team I am contacting e.g. “Dear Sales Department” etc.

      1. Super Admin*

        Also not American, and regularly use y’all with my non-American team. Also use ‘all’, ‘everyone’, and ‘folks’.

        I will say I feel for OP. I’ve worked in an admin team which was 7 women and 1 guy and so many of the women kept starting meetings/emails/messages with “Hi ladies!” All conversations were so incredibly gendered, and if this rubbed me up the wrong way I can’t imagine how ignored and dismissed our male colleague felt all the time.

    9. Cold and Tired*

      I say hi all, hi team, or I let my Midwestern background slip through and use “hi folks” in some more casual emails. And if I have a better group name I can call people like “hi teapot team” I’ll do that. They’re easy alternatives that no one blinks at that and that keep everyone feeling respected, so it’s easy enough to use.

    10. short'n'stout (she/her)*

      I don’t object to “y’all” when others use it, but I don’t live/work in the US, and it always sounds a little out of place when I hear people using it here.

      When I’m writing, I’ll use a name relevant to the group (like “team” or “colleagues”), or fall back on “folks” or “all”. “Folks” might be a little, um, folksy, but it’s friendly, non-gendered, and generally applicable.

      I really hate “guys” in reference to a mixed-gender group. I’m not a guy! People say they don’t intend it to be gendered, but intent is not everything.

      1. Drifter*

        I much prefer y’all to girls, ladies or guys and gals. I don’t mind guys as a catch all, although I’m often reminded of it’s original usage coz I’m weird like that.

        I’m not in America and y’all has become a common catch all polite greeting here.

      2. ND and awkward*

        I’m not fond of how “y’all” sounds in my accent, but I use “howdy” or “howdy folks” as a greeting much more than is reasonable. Something about a casual/low-energy English-accented “howdy” just makes me happy inside.

      3. UKDancer*

        Same “Hi y’all” would sound a bit strange being said in my accent and as you say a bit out of place but I don’t object to it from others. I use “hi everyone” or “hi all” or simply “hello”.

        I don’t like “hi ladies” or “hi guys” because they feel too gendered.

    11. SuperCaffeinated*

      Though I am in secondary education (and not business), I write more than my fair share of emails. To avoid issues with gender and culture (sometimes I do not know if the parent name is for the mother/father and I teach at an international school in Europe), then I use a variety of greetings (depending on the situation of course). Many of us keep it positive for the casual team conversations:

      Hi Good Peoples, Hello Math Nerds, Hello Friends,

      More formal to the community:
      Good Morning, Afternoon, Evening, (does there HAVE to be a recipient every time in business? I’m asking…)
      Hi Student & Family, Hello Colleagues, Hello Everyone on the X Project, Good Morning Team X Lead

      Agreed that having a conversation with colleagues is helpful but there is a lot to be said about leading by example.

      1. Notfunny.*

        There doesn’t need to be a recipient! When I’m particularly stumped about how to address someone, Good Morning/Good Afternoon/Good Evening are my go-tos.

    12. Fiorinda*

      ‘Hi everyone’ works for me – or, if I’m addressing a particularly restless class, ‘Oi, you lot!’ :)

    13. Pennyworth*

      Go offshore and borrow ”Mornin’ All” from the UK, or just call them by whatever they are at work – like ‘Hi Team’, without gendering. There is only one term I dislike more than Ladies : Girls.

    14. Bluephone*

      Few things are more cringey to the ear than a non-southerner trying to pull off “y’all” especially outside the South (speaking as a non-southerner living in the south)

      1. Morning reader*

        It’s less obtrusive without the contraction, e.g. good morning to you all. The contraction almost requires a bit of a southern accent. I wouldn’t use either in written communication.

        1. YetAnotherAnalyst*

          It doesn’t really need a southern accent! I grew up in upstate New York, and have the classic local accent – including dropping the ending off most words and sometimes swallowing the middles of others. I can’t say “you all” and not have it be “y’all” or maybe “you’ll” without elaborate over-enunciation. I may write “good morning to you all”, but what I say is “g’mornin’ t’y’all!”

      2. TexasTeacher*

        Oh, I love hearing people from outside the American South use “y’all”! To see a beloved bit of my culture used all over the world is lovely. (I’d be less enthused about bad bits of my culture spreading.)

        1. Pippa K*

          Ooh, I have a language-geek take on “all y’all” – Southern (US) English allows such precision in the second person, with “you” (singular), “y’all” (2 or more), and “all y’all” (emphasizing the inclusion of every member of the addressed group.”

          “Y’all in the back need to take your seats, and all y’all need to settle down and watch this video,” for example.

        2. Happy*

          “All y’all” generally means “every single one of you” – it more is more clear and deliberate in meaning than “y’all”, where the subject can be ambiguous at times.

      3. Insert Clever Name Here*

        Our ears are subjective things — I don’t hear a difference between “y’all” and “folks/all/peeps/team.”

      4. Omskivar*

        Y’all isn’t endemic to the Southern US, though. It appears in other dialects, most notably AAVE which is used all over the country. I’m from Michigan and I always associated it with living in the country.

      5. Sylvan*

        I like it when it’s appropriate in context! (Very casual, friendly.) “Y’all” is useful, like “youse” — I think it’s cool that people in different places have come up with different solutions for this word that English is missing.

      6. CTT*

        As long as they spell it properly, I don’t mind (“ya’ll” drives me crazy – what words do you think are being combined!!)

        1. Clisby*

          And as long as they use it as a plural. I don’t know where some people got the idea “y’all” was singular, but I see it from time to time and it makes no sense.

      7. RB*

        I use y’all but only very casually. It wouldn’t even be in my vocabulary had it not been for the 18 months our family lived in Iowa, when I was growing up. It stuck with me, even though it wasn’t in common usage other places we lived. It’s just so useful.

    15. FashionablyEvil*

      Grew up in the northeast (and was admittedly a snob about language) then lived in Atlanta for eight years. It took me five years to say “y’all” without cringing, but now I LOVE it. It’s friendly, inclusive and for larger groups you also have the option for “all y’all.” Truly, it’s great. Lean into it!

      1. Mockingjay*

        Thank you for pointing out the distinction between y’all and all y’all!

        I don’t use either in emails; ours are usually retained for records so I stick to Hi Team or All, here is the report. But everyday speech is a different matter.

    16. Cat Tree*

      A trend has started at my company to use “folks”. It felt a little weird at first but I’ve even found myself using it now.

        1. Plain Jane*

          Why is that? I’m admittedly a Midwestern 40-something mom, but “folks” is my go-to for a lot of workplace scenarios. If it’s offensive in some way I’d like to know. This seems to be one of the preferred ways of referring to coworkers at my employer.

          1. MCL*

            Midwest person who is trying to excise “guys” as a form of address – folks is a fine choice.

          2. just passing through*

            It’s not offensive in any way I’m aware of, but I think some people feel it sounds forced.

            (There’s also some people who spell it “folx” in contexts where they’re trying to emphasize inclusivity, as if that makes it somehow more non-gendered—when it was already non-gendered—which I find mildly annoying as well, and which may contribute to annoyance with “folks” as a whole. But you’re not doing anything wrong! I like it as an alternative to “guys,” although as a native y’all-user I usually use that.)

          3. After 33 years ...*

            Just my personal reaction to the word … any explanation could be long-winded and probably only of interest to my autobiographer.

            1. Lana Kane*

              “probably only of interest to my autobiographer.”

              I’m stealing that!

              Folks has grown on me. It did sound forced to me when I started hearing it a lot some years ago – I remember really noticing with Barack Obama because he said it a lot. To my ear it sounded like trying too hard to sound down to earth. But as a replacement for guys, I had to admit it works. I’m at the stage where I dont use it often, but it doesn’t grate when I hear it.

        2. mlem*

          I use it with my team (unless I have reason to have to be more formal), and everyone seems fine with it.

    17. Elder Millennial*

      I am a non-native speaker and I have taken up y’all in my English vocabulary because it fills a void for me.

      In my native language there is a singular second person pronoun and a plural second person pronoun. I really miss being able to make that distinction in English a lot of the time, so I have adopted y’all.

      I have decided that it might be weird coming from a European, but the clear communication is worth more to me.

      1. Imtheone*

        English used to make this distinction (thou/thee for second person singular-informal, you for second person singular-formal or second person plural).

        We see lots of attempts to grab back a plural “you”: y’all, youse, yinz, etc.

      2. Forgot My Name Again*

        In many parts of England you still hear thee/tha/thoo and other variations on thou, the singular/informal you. Maybe it’s time for it to come back :)

    18. Chilipepper Attitude*

      I’m from New England and y’all works!
      I’ve never heard youse outside of an old movie and it sounds strange and uncomfortable to my ears.

      In emails to the whole department, I often say hi all, as my greeting. It’s like saying, do all of you have this info? The group is “all.”

      Dear colleague is way too precious for me. I cannot use colleague in any context! I’ll use coworker, as in, one of my coworkers said …

      One of my professors began every class with “Hello Friends.” It was delightfully quirky and awkward. But over time the awkwardness dropped away and we did indeed feel like a group of friends. I would not recommend it for work but for a team in other contexts it was really nice!

      Ladies, gentlemen, sir and ma’am are not for me.

    19. Coffee Anonymous*

      I default to “Hello all,” “Hi everyone,” or “Good morning, team.” Sometimes I mix it up with a team-specific name (“Hello, Team Dunder Mifflin”), especially if the project or client name lends itself to a cute greeting. For example, I manage a 6-person team for Sigma, Inc. and will send emails addressed to “Hi, Sigma Six.”

      1. LK*

        I’m fond of “Comrades” but I have to acknowledge it has cultural baggage.

        I work for a union where we have been trying to find an alternative for “Brothers and Sisters”, which is part of our historical culture, but which has obvious problems of gendering and level of intimacy. “Comrade” has been tried, but some members are uncomfortable with it, especially those who lived under certain communist regimes, so we do try to be sensitive to that as well.

      2. Distracted Librarian*

        Please see the thread above about, “Comrades.” It has serious “baggage” – if “baggage” is the right word to describe an association with murderous Communist regimes.

    20. Lacey*

      Yeah, I’d personally find that more annoying than “ladies”

      But then, I don’t mind other women referring to a group of women as ladies and I have a deep aversion to faux Southern speech. It’s my own weird holdover from my childhood culture, so I’d never give anyone grief over it. But it would secretly annoy me.

      Which is why I mostly think people shouldn’t be policing other people’s speech, unless it truly is offensive speech (slurs, misgendering, other derogatory language, etc). We all have our little quirks.

      1. Ana*

        I really don’t see th eproblem with women you know and work with referring to a group of women THEY work with as ladies. Twee or not, get over yourselves! It’s like, such a non-issue!

        1. FridayFriyay*

          I’m allowed to not want anyone else, regardless of their gender, calling me out with extremely gendered terms while I’m at work. The fact that coworkers who have acquaintance level knowledge about someone feel entitled to gender them this way relies on a lot of uncomfortable and sometimes wrong assumptions about identity. I suppose if it’s a group of people who have all specifically said they identify as women and that ladies is fine with them, that’s your prerogative, but I’ve seen it land as weaponizing as nonbinary colleagues too many times to count so tread carefully and know that when you do inadvertently use it in a way that misgenders a member of your group you should be prepared to shift your greeting to something else instead of doubling down.

          1. Heather*

            I think this is one of those “we have to deal with office norms as they are, rather than as we would ideally like them to be” things Allison discussed a couple of weeks ago. Objecting to a group of apparently cis-gendered people being greeted as “ladies” or “ladies and gentlemen” seems a little over the top in most societal settings.

            1. Jennifer Strange*

              Not really? Why does gender need to be brought into it when there are so many gender-neutral terms that could be used instead? We never address folks by race or sexual orientation, why the insistence to do it for gender? Also, “apparently cis-gendered” still leaves room to alienate folks. I think this is the exact kind of thing it makes sense to object to.

              1. Eyes Kiwami*

                But we do use terms of address for other members of our in-group, such as race, sexual orientation, ethnic background, or nationality. The criticism of “ladies” as gendered and exclusionary to nonbinary people is absolutely valid, but when a lady addresses a group of ladies as such, it’s not so different from other in-group forms of address. It can carry a stronger feeling of camaraderie and friendliness that way.

                Personally I would not recommend it for work or formal settings, but I can see why the term is used.

            2. Dahlia*

              Cisgender is a noun, not a verb. It’s something you are, not something you do, like how you are not a “talled person”. If you aren’t aware of that, this is perhaps a conversation where you don’t understand all the nuance and should stick to listening.

            3. FridayFriyay*

              “Apparently cisgendered [sic]” is exactly why this is an issue of diversity, equity, and inclusion. If your office norms tolerate this sort of exclusionary language, even informally, that is a huge issue. Creating more equitable workplace environments is not over the top, and that’s not at all what Alison is referring to with that statement. This is more than what we would “ideally like it to be” and honestly it says more about you and others pushing back on it that the right to aggressively gender people based on assumptions made just by looking at them is a hill people are apparently willing to die on.

            4. New Jack Karyn*

              To me, objecting to ‘Ladies’ is less about gender (when referring to a group of women) than it is about class. I’m a woman, but I am not a lady. I don’t wear dresses, tat lace, or pine for a single man possessed of a good fortune.

            5. Emmy Noether*

              We have to *deal* with norms as they are, but we don’t have to perpetuate them ourselves if we have other options.

    21. Purple Cat*

      I’m in the Northeast and I have the same opinion on “y’all” being very regionally specific – and not here.
      I do “Hi All” in a mixed group, but have absolutely done “Hi Ladies” to a gendered group (I am a woman). It certainly wasn’t “twee or condescending” but because in my industry it’s still generally rare to have a group of just women and it’s something to low-key celebrate. The commentary on this has been really interesting and enlightening.

    22. CatLady*

      I say “Hello Hello” because I’m trying to get away from referencing the time of day like “Good Morning”. We are global and our meetings are global and I feel like such a dweeb saying “Good Morning” when almost everyone else is now either afternoon or evening and adding on a greeting for the other times of day is tiring. Its starting to catch on.

      In this instance “Hello Everyone” would be wonderfully gender non-specific and work for the time zone issue as well.

    23. Ally McBeal*

      I have lived all over the southeast, northeast, and midwest. Over the last 25 years or so, “y’all” has become ubiquitous in all those areas – even among my midwestern cousins who used to tease me when we were kids and I picked up “y’all” in the southern state I was living in. All of them use “y’all” occasionally.

      1. Sam I Am*

        Agree. Born & raised in NE US, living here again, and Y’all is perfect, in my experience.

    24. CatPerson*

      Thanks–I hate it it too, unless it comes from a southerner, like my friend who grew up in Alabama!

    25. Critical Rolls*

      Lots of people who don’t live on a ranch in Texas have this as part of their natural vocabulary, and its use continues to spread since it fills a need for a warm, informal, gender-neutral term.

      The only time it’s cringe-worthy is when someone is actively performing it as “other,” which is the fault of linguistic snobbery, not the word itself.

    26. Mantis Tobaggan, MD*

      Drop the y and you have “Hi all,” which is the most commonly used greeting among my colleagues.

    27. Dwight Schrute*

      Y’all is used by plenty of people and it’s not even just a southern thing anymore. People used it where I grew up in Pa and I use it all the time living in Ga. But obviously you can feel free to say all, everyone, team, whatever works in the context if you’re against y’all. I personally hate the word folks- I don’t like the way it looks and I hate the way it sounds- so I just don’t use it- you can do the same with y’all

    28. Crotchet*

      I just say “greetings, all” or “greetings.” I never use any other kind of grouping language.

    29. Lora*

      I googled.
      -Greetings, People of Earth
      -What it do, buckaroo
      -Hail Hydra
      -Hey glitterkittens!
      -Theydies and Gentlethems
      -Ahoy mateys
      -Listen up fkers
      -What’s up buttercup?
      -What’s up demons? It’s me, ya boy

      I keep trying to think of a cute nickname for “people who work for this company” as several other startups have given their employees (and consequent softball teams) names but our company has kind of an odd name so haven’t thought of one yet. When I do, it’ll be something like “Good Morning Pharmanerds”.

      1. Purple Cat*

        Can we please make “What it do, buckaroo” a thing? Although is buckaroo truly gender neutral? Feels masculine :)

        Definitely glitterkittens!

      2. Critical Rolls*

        Hail Hydra is a sign-off, not a greeting. You want to open with Secret Salutations, Co-Conspirators.

    30. Sparkles McFadden*

      Life long NYC resident here and I use y’all all the time. I also use “all y’all” for emphasis (As in “All y’all better get your vacation requests in soon.”) I also use: All, everybody, everyone, people and, on a the rare whimsical occasion “youse.”

    31. amoeba*

      I (and pretty much everybody in my company, it seems like) use “Hi/Dear all” in almost all emails. In spoken language, I think I normally prefer “hi everyone/everybody”. “Dear colleagues” feels very formal and stilted to me, don’t think I’ve ever used it.
      But my favourite is the German “Hallo zusammen”, which unfortunately doesn’t really translate (literally: “hello together”)…

    32. Observer*

      Hi y’all.” Oh dear… there must be a better alternative than “y’all”. Not everyone lives on a ranch in Texas.

      Come on. You don’t have to like this particular greeting to avoid that kind of implied stereotyping.

      Lots of people other than Texas ranchers use the term. Some of them are even actually pretty well educated.

    33. Not a lady (Letter writer)*

      “Y’all” is just fine. Also fine: all, everyone, folks, team, colleagues, comrades, friends, etc., etc., etc.

      And if none of those feels right to you, then hi, hello, good morning, good afternoon, and greetings are all perfectly good openings on their own, without anything else attached.

  6. Santiago*

    1- To be honest with you, I would consider quitting or finding a new job is my job blocked me from taking a free vacation without a very good reason. I’m not saying this to be edgy or confrontational, it’s just such a rare opportunity that in my eyes its not much different from covering for someone who was out sick or whatnot.

    1. lyonite*

      I don’t know, asking for a week off with less than a week’s notice is pretty non-standard. It would be great if the manager could make it work, but I can see there being a lot of legitimate reasons that it wouldn’t.

      1. allathian*

        Yeah, I agree. It would be different if the former manager had approved the vacation, because then it would be rather petty of the new manager to rescind it, and I could absolutely imagine someone quitting with no notice because of that. But it doesn’t sound like that’s the case here.

        1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

          It doesn’t sound like the ex manager approved it… what’s most likely imo is she did ask ex manager though, who said “ask new manager about that”.

      2. MEH Squared*

        This is where I land on the issue as well. Yes, if the manager can make it work, great! But I can see legit reasons why they would have to say no with only a week’s notice.

      3. Bored Lawyer*

        With the job market as it is, is it worth causing one of your employees to start searching? Having to replace her will cause more disruption than a week of vacation- if you even can in this market.

        I’d quit my job to spend a free week in Mexico. And I’d also be sure I could find someone to hire me when I got back.

      4. Rosie*

        I think it’s more about the manager choosing which is worse, having to fill for a week or having to fill for however long it’ll take to hire someone new if the person quits to go (which not gonna lie, I would too. Jobs are not that hard to come by in a lot of fields and opportunities like this are precious). Or dealing with the hostility if they don’t quit.

      5. Miss Muffet*

        The employee is acknowledging that it’s non-standard, though. It didn’t seem, at least, like the employee feels entitled to it or does this often. What if she got covid over the weekend and had to take the whole week off? You’d manage to make it work.

      6. Flash Packet*

        Having a free vacation fall in your lap is also pretty non-standard.

        If they can make it work when someone is, say, in a car accident and suddenly out for a week, then wouldn’t the world be a much better place if management could also make it work when the unexpected thing is a happy event?

    2. MK*

      That’s your right of course, but, no offense, I wouldn’t be that sorry to lose someone who feels entitled to a week’s leave on such short notice. And a free vacation is a lot different than someone being sick!

      That’s not to say a manager shouldn’t try to accommodate the request, of course she should. But it’s hardly an outrage to refuse.

      1. Green great dragon*

        It’s really contextual. I would share Santiago’s reaction, because I know that if I did it, my team would be a bit inconvenienced, and I’d have a few late nights this week getting things set up, but it would be OK. Any new boss who thought they knew better than me whether my work could be covered is telling me something I don’t like about their style. But a coverage-based role would be very different.

        I know it’s not the same level, but I keep thinking about the person who couldn’t get time off for their graduation.

        1. MK*

          I think that’s what’s rubbing me wrong with many comments though: people are conflating any unscheduled absence for a good reason with this request. The graduation isn’t just “not the same level” it’s a completely different thing. The only way it would be even remotely comparable is if this was a low-income person who had never had a foreign vacation and was unlikely to get another chance to go.

          1. Green great dragon*

            Oh, that’s interesting. I am seeing this as a much bigger deal than you are, maybe reflecting our own holiday tendencies. Or whether Mexico is 100 miles or 1000 miles away.

            And I didn’t bother going to my graduation.

          2. Scarlet2*

            “The only way it would be even remotely comparable is if this was a low-income person who had never had a foreign vacation and was unlikely to get another chance to go.”

            This might very well be the case and it’s not particularly far-fetched.
            Regardless, I think a manager should have an objective reason to deny time off and explain it. And being a brand new manager, there’s a risk OP would be setting off on the wrong foot, not just with that person, but with the rest of the team as well.

            1. P. Opus*

              For me, your last sentence is the important point. There’s a real risk here that OP will go from my new manager to my f***ing manager before they’ve even started in the role. That’s going top make her job really hard in the long term.

            2. MK*

              The issue is that the objective reason comes with a lot of subjectivity. If one of my team asked to take next week off now, that would mean 12 hour workdays for the rest of us. If it was an illness or an emergency, of course we would have no choice but to put in the work. I would also do this for an important occasion that was unexpectedly pushed up, like a siblings wedding or a graduation, or, yes, for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel. I would also do this if the inconvenience was smaller, like staying late a couple of days. I would not do this so that someone who went on a foreign vacation last year and could save and go on another next year can enjoy a free trip. While I don’t think it’s a manager’s job to judge how employees spend their PTO, if it’s a non-standard request, like very short notice, it’s not about an objective reason, it’s weighing the inconvenience against the importance of th reason for time off.

              1. Scarlet2*

                If it means 12 hour workdays for everyone else, it sure sounds a lot more objective than a vague feeling that it might be inconvenient for you.
                The letter doesn’t make it clear how much of a problem it’s going to be for OP.

              2. Avril Ludgateau*

                If one of my team asked to take next week off now, that would mean 12 hour workdays for the rest of us.

                Then you are understaffed and need to take this up with upper management.

                1. Avril Ludgateau*

                  To expand: how much more screwed would you be if this person quit on the spot? Or if any person left, and it took more than their notice period to replace them?

                2. CatCat*

                  Co-signed. I had a colleague who put in a short notice request for vacation time and confided in me that she was planning to quit on the spot if it was denied. The team did stressful work and was understaffed; she was burned out. Her being gone for one week would make no real difference in the grand scheme… like, yep, that’s more work for others during that week. But it’s not like her being there would really matter. The workload would be crushing regardless of her presence. Just slightly less crushing if she was there.

                3. MK*

                  We are not understaffed, but next week’s schedule is set with the expectation that X people will npbe in. Avril, if someone quit on the spot, there would be no choice but to pitch in for a few days, while we rearranged the workload to accommodate the empty role. I wouldn’t have to tell me team that we will all need to work late every day for a week so that one person can go on vacation.

              3. Flash Packet*

                Unless your team is just three people, then the math is off.

                Vacation Co-Worker = 40 hours

                12-hour days for a week = 20 extra hours

                To get to the 40-hour additional coverage, only two people would “have to” work 12-hour days.

                And that’s assuming that literally nothing can be tweaked or pushed back during the week that Vacation Co-Worker is out.

          3. Observer*

            The only way it would be even remotely comparable is if this was a low-income person who had never had a foreign vacation and was unlikely to get another chance to go.

            I guess it depends on what you call “low income”. But the reality is that for a LOT of people who make decent salaries, a free week in Mexico or any other foreign destination *IS* a big deal. Because a lot of people can’t afford to spend that kind of money or they could, put would have to do that at the expense of something else important.

            A lot of of the commenters see this as a big deal because it IS a big deal!

            1. AnonymousReader*

              Same! In theory, I could afford a trip to Mexico in my salary range but due to my student loans, car loan, mortgage and high cost of living expenses, there is no way I could save enough to go on that trip. A free trip would be a blessing even though I’m not “low-income”.

        2. Ed123*

          Yeah, it really depends on the job. My reaction is similar to Santiagos, but my job does not really require coverage. Our manager thinks it does, but it doesn’t. For the first time we were having small issues with PTO because of the insistance of coverage and backup coverage. Which is not necessary, just a “just in case” scenario. So yeah, if my manager required me to be at work just in case then I would not be impressed. However, if there is a requirement for coverage that can’t be accomodated during that week then the employee is likely to know and understand it.

          1. Sloanicota*

            I admit, if my manager denied a vacation request because we needed coverage, and then I spent most of that week hanging around doing our typical non-urgent workflow, I’d start job searching because my new boss seems unlikely to work out for me. If I had a job that was truly urgent and we were truly slammed I’d feel differently (but I’d also anticipate in those circumstances that a last minute PTO request won’t fly).

          2. Smithy*

            I think the point of coverage is a really critical one.

            If this is a job where coverage has direct linkages to safety, care, or minimum standards – then that’s shared/understood in a very different way. And so also a rejection of a request can be explained along those lines.

            Where I think this can result in major tension between staff and management is when management as a whole or a specific supervisor’s view of coverage doesn’t resonate with staff. Thinking of a manager who was hesitant to approve a request for 10 days of PTO off at a time because it “wasn’t normally done”. I had 25 days of use or lose PTO a year, but apparently the way it was supposed to be used were very prescribed to what was viewed as normal to them. Over time this erodes trust and for unique or special opportunities (i.e. a free vacation during a time when travel prices are so high), could really start this OP off in a bad place with this employee.

        3. Santiago*

          Yep, that’s how I feel, it’s somewhat contextual. To me, the context is that it’s a two way street. I absorb a good level of inconvenience for my job, so I would expect some reciprocity if a once-and-a-lifetime type opportunity presented itself.

    3. Perfectly Particular*

      Me too, for sure. I work in a company that has a culture of telling our managers when we will be taking vacation, rather than asking, so I have never had a vacation request denied. There’s no real expectation of coverage when we are out, just an out of office reply stating when the sender can expect a reply.

    4. Lacey*

      I’ve mostly worked in places where my boss would be happy to make it work, unless there was a very compelling reason. So in those circumstances, short a compelling reason, it would feel out of place and petty and probably start off the relationship badly.

      I’ve had other managers who started out enforcing their own petty and short sighted agendas and it was always a disaster. So if the OP realizes that this is just about wanting everyone in the office when they start, they really need to reconsider.

      But, without knowing the situation, it may be that the OP really does have a compelling reason, in which case, that’s just how things go sometimes.

    5. Oakwood*

      This ^^^^^^.

      Imagine if you won a raffle and it required you to take a few days off to pick up your prize, but your boss said: sorry, you’re going to have to forego your free new car because I’m new here and need you in the office.

      Under normal circumstances companies would bend over backwards to give the employee the week off. Especially if it’s a long term employee they value.

      How many people do you know that say they have never won anything in their life. Winning a week’s vacation is a big deal. You squashing that because you are a bureaucrat that’s gotta stick to the rules will create a rift between you and the employee that will never be fixed.

      You’ll eventually lose this employee.

      1. Crotchet*

        I’m trying to figure out what sweepstakes, raffle, or other sort of prize is winning an international trip with less than 7 days to use it. Either the employee pushed the trip off until the very last minute or was invited to tag along on someone else’s trip at the last minute, or someone here is getting scammed.

        1. Green great dragon*

          I’d guess one of the original party broke a leg/broke up with a different party member/broke into a bank and got arrested and the employee got offered their space.

  7. Consul, the Almost Human*

    Salutations: I don’t think “Y’all” belongs in professional correspondence. Why not just “Hello”?
    Vacations: I was told that denying or rescinding vacation is a strong hint to the affected employee to start job hunting.

    1. Unkempt Flatware*

      If it were me, I’d be telling my new boss rather than asking. They are my benefits and I’ll use them and getting a new manager isn’t a good enough of a reason to pass up such a chance.

      1. Anya Last Nerve*

        You are not allowed to take your vacation days with any or no notice at whichever times you choose. That’s not how it works. You need to get your manager’s approval for a reason – if 2 other team members happened to already be scheduled out for this week, there’s a very good reason why a last minute request for a week off would be denied.

        1. ALM2019*

          Some jobs, teams, managers, etc may have a system for vacation but this is absolutely not the end all be all rule. No one I work with needs approval. Days off are more of a FYI I’m going to be out my calendar is blocked. We’re in the middle of a huge project right now and any of us could take next week off without anyone batting an eye. I had a previous manager at this same company who tried to stop me from taking a vacation that I had planned for months. My response was simple – if I take this vacation are you going to fire me? Because if it’s such a hardship for you to be without me for a week how will you manage without me permanently? I went on that vacation. Use your time off how it works for you!

          1. Moonlight*

            It sounds like you have a pretty unusual (but amazing!) work situation. I wish more workplaces would allow employees to do stuff like this. That being said, while it’s normal for your work, it’s not normal for many, many work places. Like I for one have clients, so while I’m a contractor and can vacation when I want, I also cannot ethically just leave my clients without, say, a colleague who’d be willing to step in for crises. Many people work in places with such rigid vacation coverage that their company tells them when they can take vacation. Is that nice? No, but that is very common in manufacturing/ factory/ warehouse typed work.

            Obviously what you’re describing is how it should be, but it might not be useful for people who are in the (probably more common) scenario of having to clear it with a manager.

            1. ALM2019*

              I agree – it doesn’t work that way for everyone which is why I started my comment the way I did.

              The comment I was replying to included a very rigid statement:
              “You are not allowed to take your vacation days with any or no notice at whichever times you choose. That’s not how it works.”

              Every workplace and industry is different and when someone makes a statement like the above it’s beneficial to everyone on here to read about different experiences.

        2. Crotchet*

          This whole letter and conversation here reminds me of the AAM letter last year about the school librarian who got caught on social media in a self-described lie about a family trip that included taking something like 1-2 weeks off during the first week of school; their boss found out it was the librarian going out of the country to meet an online boyfriend. People then and people now appear to be very divided on what they owe or don’t owe their workplace in terms of using vacation time, when to do that, and how to do that.

        3. Dixie*

          Actually, I’ve never had to ask for approval for vacation from anyone. Advanced notice, sure, but not approval. And advanced notice has been about a week, in certain circumstances.

          I’ve had the great fortune of working for places that treat me like the responsible adult I strive to be. I realize not everyone has that luck, but I wish more workplaces would consider it.

          I think the OP is not thinking very long-term here about her new team and the morale of her employees. It woudl certainly be getting off on the wrong foot, which could lead to many problems down the road of actually getting work of the team done.

          1. Crotchet*

            It is highly typical of service jobs to require at least 3-weeks notice for vacation requests, and the vacation can still be refused if it conflicts with high-volume times. It is also typical in education. As nice as it would be to jet set off whenever, for several industries, it would mean disruption of basic services that allow for food, fuel, and even schooling.

            The LW’s industry would be helpful here to better understand the wildly varying norms of PTO requests.

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        This is not how taking leave works. Even a boss who is happy to give you next week off is going to consider “So boss, I WILL be taking next week off–you cope” as a reason to start meditating on whether they really need you. It can be a firing offense from a place that would have been happy to accommodate a request rather than demand.

        1. Avril Ludgateau*

          It can be a firing offense from a place that would have been happy to accommodate a request rather than demand.

          Sounds like the kind of place that deserves their turnover rate tbh.

        2. David R.*

          It really depends on the industry. “Do they really need me?” I mean, they hired me because I’m worth multiples of what they’re paying me, so I’m pretty sure they don’t want to give that up.

          Plus, based on current trends they’d probably take 6-9 months to find a replacement, plus another 6 month ramp-up time.

          PTO is a benefit, if they started withholding pay because it’d be ‘better for the business’, would you stick around to see how long that lasted?

        3. Flash Packet*

          Wow, that’s not even remotely true for my job.

          If I know that me taking off next week isn’t going to ruin a project, I just tell my boss that I’m taking next week off. Like, even thought it’s after 4:00 on a Friday, I’m about to tell my boss that I’m taking Monday off.

          My company trusts that we adults know how to manage our work and that we all want what’s best for the team and the company. If I say I’m taking off, it’s because I already know there will be minimal impact.

      3. Loulou*

        That might work at your office, but there are many, many places where leave requests need to be submitted in advance for approval! It’s completely normal.

      4. Cringing 24/7*

        That is simply not in line with the majority of jobs or offices I’ve ever heard of (and maybe that is only a reflection on me, not on this advice). That’s awesome that it would work for you, but this advice just doesn’t feel reasonably actionable.

    2. The Prettiest Curse*

      I think “y’all” is totally fine verbally at work, but just a bit too informal to be used in business writing. And if you don’t have an American(ish) accent, it sounds weird. I’m British and don’t try to say it for that reason – and I’d probably have a giggling fit if another British colleague tried to say it!

      1. NoviceManagerGuy*

        I agree, I don’t write it. Though I grew up saying it, I can only imagine it would seem weird or like I’m doing a bit to write it in an email to my multinational coworkers. I do say it though, can’t change that.

    3. itsame*

      There are plenty of offices where a less formal tone is appropriate, and in those cases y’all works perfectly well. No, you probably shouldn’t use it in official correspondence if you’re in a formal legal/banking/etc. environment, but I work with clients who expect and appreciate a more conversational tone and y’all would not be out of place.

    4. whistle*

      “Y’all” is not professional? What? It’s a perfectly polite and inclusive pronoun. The pearl clutching over y’all on this thread is bizarre.

      1. Anya Last Nerve*

        Polite and inclusive does not make it professional. It’s colloquial, informal and extremely regional.

        1. Elsajeni*

          Everyone’s workplace is different, of course, but very few of my work emails need to be so formal that a colloquial greeting or pleasantry would be out of place. And the OP is also talking about work chats, which are usually even a degree or two less formal than emails. Anyway, she’s also talking about chats and emails that are currently being signed off “thanks, ladies!” — that does not suggest to me that we’re talking about an extremely formal context here!

          More generally… look, no one has to say “y’all” if they don’t care to, but there is definitely a strain of criticism of it where, if you dig down a little, the real objection is “I think this sounds low-class or uneducated.” Especially when someone isn’t saying “eh, this doesn’t feel natural for me to say” but rather a universal statement like “no one should say this” or “this is never professional,” it’s worth taking a minute to double-check and think about whether that concern is actually rooted in prejudice about the South or about AAVE.

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        I think it’s a cultures-are-different glimpse. In some places (e.g. Alison in Virginia) it reads as a typical greeting that no one would even register beyond “emails should have a greeting line and not jump straight to llama grooming.”

      3. lizesq*

        Y’all would not be appropriate in many more formal offices in many places in the country. That’s not pearl clutching, it’s just the reality of some industries and locations.
        I grew up saying y’all even in the north east cause my mom is a southern belle, but I cannot address an email “hey y’all” at my NYC law firm, it would be so out of place and inappropriate.

        1. Smithy*

          I think that as an overall term, “y’all” doesn’t work in professional context – but I also can’t imagine a professional context where “Hello ladies” works and “y’all” wouldn’t. Both greetings are looking to establish familiarity and friendliness more so than professional communication.

          I think the OP’s initial struggle comes from this kind of language being used in more informal communication and conversation with internal colleagues or professional working groups. So it’s a case of a group chat or internal meeting where making that correction isn’t a one on one where you’d asking someone to call you Elizabeth instead of Liz.

      4. Crotchet*

        “Y’all” is not a neutrally professional greeting, and it’s usage would depend on office culture, just like wearing khakis and a polo would be considered unprofessional in some settings but too professional in other settings. I regularly email five C-suiters and would never dream of opening my emails, with “Y’all – I’m finishing up Teapot Project X and need final approvals by the end of the week. Please see attached.” In no world.

      5. Distracted Librarian*

        I feel the same way. I use it occasionally in a professional context, but my workplace is not very formal. Formal ≠ professional.

    5. Marny*

      I think that whether “Y’all” is appropriate depends on the level of familiarity one has with the people they’re addressing. Not every professional or work-related correspondence is formal. If I started an email to my coworkers with “Hello colleagues”, they’d assume my email had been hacked by an alien who was unfamiliar with our workplace.

      1. mlem*

        Agreed. I might use “y’all” informally with my team, but I’d never use it with customers — even if those same customers use it with us. Because some of our customers are in the US Deep South and it’s more “natural” from them, while we’re in New England, so it could come across from us as a sort of almost mockery.

    6. introverted af*

      If y’all feels too informal for your emails, a couple other options might be:
      “Hello everyone”
      Good morning/afternoon/evening
      Hi folks

    7. Not a lady (Letter writer)*

      I think “y’all” is perfectly good in most professional settings, except maybe the most formal ones. If everyone’s in suits and ties, “y’all” might come across a little oddly outside of the southern US. But otherwise, it’s a very friendly and inclusive greeting—just a little bit of an unusual vernacular outside of the south.

  8. Amber*

    #4 – SO MANY company websites require you to create a profile before you can apply. It’s incredibly time consuming. Especially considering there’s a good chance any given role will be filled from within. I’ll always go with the aggregator site that will let me apply with one click over going to the source, even if it means I might be applying for a role that’s already filled.

    1. TimeTravlR*

      I hear that! Applying for jobs is so time consuming as it is, and filling out long profiles, and then re-entering info already on the resume you uploaded is a nightmare.

      1. KRM*

        Indeed also tends to reformat your resume in weird and unsettling ways that you are not privy to. When my old company had layoffs, I used Indeed for some jobs, which is how I got a (fairly young and kind of clueless) recruiter ask me what I’d been doing since 2012 because my resume only said “Research Associate 2008-2012” and somehow Indeed moved the “Senior Research Associate 2012-2017, Principal Research Associate 2017-present” right out of there and put it somewhere else. But talking to friends who hire, Indeed is notorious for this and apparently those titles would still have been *somewhere* on the resume. Just not where they belonged. So the recruiter should have known better.
        Indeed also sent me an email with a “Job you may love” that was in Illinois (I’m in MA) for a dentist. Not an assistant or a hygienist, but a full on dentist. What in my resume made them match me to that was beyond me.

        1. crankasaurus*

          Yeah, I briefly worked in recruiting and the aggregator sites totally mess up your resume and experience. LinkedIn is slightly better as long as you have a completed profile.

          The direct apply approach takes way longer in the short term, but every time I’ve been job hunting I’ve only applied directly and didn’t need to apply to very many things before I found a position I liked. I also tended to hear back from almost all of the positions. Obviously I’m an N of 1 and a ton of variables go in to getting a callback, but this approach has served me well.

  9. AcademiaNut*

    For #1, I don’t see asking for vacation during a manager’s first week as a faux pas, and the opportunity for a free international vacation is certainly an excellent reason for a last minute request. Also, if someone on your team had booked a vacation in advance, you’d have to work around it (because cancelling someone’s vacation time as your first managerial act would be a terrible thing to do).

    It’s not clear if not being able to handle someone being away is specific to your first week and this particular employee, or a more general thing. If it’s a more general thing, you really need to tell your reports that they can’t schedule any vacation for the next X period of time, so they can plan around the new restriction.

    Honestly though, even if it makes your first week more stressful, you’ll more than make it back in having an employee regarding you as a considerate and accommodating boss. Having your first interaction with a new manager be them turning down a once in a lifetime vacation request is not the kind of thing that builds good relationships.

    1. Raboot*

      Yeah, I was wondering about the timeframe too. Is it really that critical she’s there that one week (unlikely) or do you generally expect no vacations until a backfill is hired? I would find both options pretty frustrating.

    2. Anya Last Nerve*

      Why can’t we take the OP at the word that it won’t work out for this person to take the week off? I get encouraging her to think about if she can make it work, but I’m baffled at the comments jumping on her about it. We are supposed to take writers at their word – if she thinks this won’t work, we should believe her.

      Also, I have a coworker who went to The Caribbean for a vacation…and she’s still stuck there because she caught Covid. This 1 week trip out of the country could easily turn into 2-3 weeks and OP needs to factor that in as well.

      1. anonymous73*

        Because based on the way the letter is written, she isn’t even considering trying to find a solution that will allow the vacation. This is a special circumstance – employee didn’t book a last minute vacation, she won it. The tone of the letter makes it seem like she’s unwilling to say yes no matter what, and is looking to Alison to justify her thinking.

        1. Anya Last Nerve*

          She did not win the vacation, you are making that up. It says she has the opportunity to take a free vacation – maybe it’s a new boyfriend or someone backed out of a trip, etc. And you also don’t know what thought process OP put in to considering this. It’s disrespectful to say she’s not considering any solutions.

          1. Avril Ludgateau*

            She did not win the vacation, you are making that up.

            (Proceeds to make up a bunch of scenarios with equally little background info to support them.)

            If you insist on extending grace to the very vague OP, why not extend it to this employee, as well?

            1. BigHairNoHeart*

              Not sure if you’re saying this rhetorically, but in case you’re genuinely asking: it’s because letter writers submit content here and read the comments, while the other people they write about very rarely get the chance to do them. Extending goodwill and grace to the OPs is a good way to make sure they feel welcome here (and not just the OPs of any given letter, but also random person reading who has their own question they’d like to potentially ask). If the commentariat develops a reputation for being too hostile to OPs, then people won’t want to submit questions and the site won’t function as well without content. Obviously that doesn’t mean you can’t ever doubt what an OP says, or disagree with them, but that’s the general reason why we’re asked to extend grace to them.

            2. Stardust*

              ?
              “i’m proposing an in-the-end-completely-unimportant hypthetical reason for a thing, clearly indicated as speculation through using the word ‘maybe'” =/= “the letter says [thing the letter doesn’t say]”

      2. Avril Ludgateau*

        What exactly is the point of your anecdote about your coworker who caught COVID on vacation? That could happen to anybody at any time. It could even mean that (no imminent time off) becomes 2-3 weeks… OR, as was the case with one of my coworkers in the pre-vaccine era of the pandemic, it becomes a month in the hospital and then forever, because they died.

        “But this COULD become an untenable situation for us, because our staffing levels are too low!” is NOT the employee’s responsibility to navigate.

      3. Raboot*

        Because she gives a reason that doesn’t fully makes sense and doesn’t say when it WOULD work out. Like, everyone always has a job to do, that’s why we’re paid. If vacation is off the table until they hire someone, well, OP needs to try harder to make it work.

  10. Waving not Drowning*

    OP1 – if you do deny the leave, can you please make sure the reason why is clearly communicated – not just “we need coverage so no”

    I had a manager tell me a leave day was denied because it “might” cause operational difficulties. I’d given 4 weeks notice, my husband had a work trip, and they were paying for meals/accommodation for partners too. Initially she’d said yes, and then when I lodged the request, denied it. In my case it meant my office would be physically unattended for 1 1/2 hours late in the afternoon, on our quietest day – literally NOONE came into the office on that day of the week (Friday) – it was a designated catchup/meeting day, and everything was all over by 2pm, and the vast majority of the staff then went to work from home or used it as flex time. Emails/phones would have been answered from our satellite office, so no loss of service that way. She could not/would not communicate what the operational difficulty might actually be, I gave examples of solutions of potential issues (eg someone needing a room key – I wasn’t the only one with access), but, it was to no avail.

    I ramped up my job search, and within a few months was able to take a transfer (and promotion) to another department. And yes, it caused major operational difficulties for a hell of a lot more than 1 1/2 hours on a random Friday afternoon.

    Oh, and on the Friday I wanted off but was denied? We had one person come in the office at 10am, and that was it – so manager left early…. it did not go unnoticed by the rest of the Team.

    1. BubbleTea*

      Hypocrisy from managers is infuriating. I remember asking to slightly flex my hours (it was something like, I had a training that was 1.5 hours away by bus, or 40 minutes in the car – but I could only use the car if I could drop my partner off at a hospital appointment after the training, meaning I’d finish work a bit early) one day during my Terrible Horrible Very Bad No Good Job.

      My request was refused, meaning I spent 3 hours of my paid time on the bus doing no work at all instead of moving 2 hours of work to a different day and finishing a bit early. It made no sense at all but apparently she couldn’t allow exceptions and it was expected that I’d work my standard hours even if I spent half the day on public transport.

      And then the manager who had refused my request “worked from home” the following week because she was moving house. I am absolutely certain she did not do a full day’s work while moving.

      1. Ed123*

        My bf wanted to work 8-4 instead of 9-5 so he could make it to the flight to attend a funeral. This was not ok cause 9-5 was the norm. Just a regular office job in finance where he doesn’t have clients, only spreadsheets.

        1. ScruffyInternHerder*

          The more I learn the happier I am that my first boss/place of employment set the standard at “we offer flex time to a degree for our hourly employees, you must put in the 8 hours in some way shape or form on the given day, and must be in the office between 9-2 as core hours. You must take a minimum 1/2 hour lunch. If you need to flex temporarily, email your supervisor 48 hours (not working hours, hours) ahead of time if at all possible. If you need a long-term schedule adjustment, please let your supervisor have one business week to review with you.”

          My supervisor never needed to know “why?”. “Hey, I’d like to switch my schedule to 7-3:30 with a half hour lunch on Wednesdays and Fridays until further notice assuming this doesn’t impact anyone.” “Okay, lets look at it tomorrow to make sure we can do that.”

    2. TimeTravlR*

      Similar situation. I put in to take off over Labor Day weekend. So really just an extra day or two coupled with a long weekend when we were closed anyway. My boss denied it because “we have so much going on.” The kicker… she took off those days.

      1. Flash Packet*

        Ohhh, yeahhh… your comment just floated up a bad memory from My Second Worst Manager Ever. She denied my PTO request for the day before Xmas Eve (the office was closed on Xmas Eve and Xmas day) because of “all the work that needed to be done” and because we were an inside sales department and, my gosh, what if all of our IT customers called to buy things on Xmas Eve Eve and you weren’t here to answer their calls, Flash?

        She also denied everyone else’s time off requests for that week, too.

        And then she took that week off herself. When we expressed our… displeasure… she said, “I’m a manager, I don’t talk to customers!”

        Well, witch, we didn’t talk to *any* customers that week, either!! Literally zero inbound calls and all of our outbound calls went to voicemails. We all sat in the office and watched Eddie Izzard videos and a bunch of movies for those three days.

    3. Beauty*

      Same here. I worked for a toxic micromanager who unfortunately owned the business. One of my colleagues had been ill, but had returned to work full time. I had a continuing education conference scheduled in another state that was extremely excited about that didn’t cost my employer a penny and that I had literally waited years for my turn to go to. Boss decided at the last minute that my coworker “might” need help that weekend (rotating on call work) and in addition to missing the conference, I had to be her backup and sit around at home without pay JUST IN CASE she needed me. Coworker was absolutely mortified because we had already given up a lot of time covering her other shifts, but Boss wouldn’t hear otherwise.

      She didn’t need me that weekend and when the conference came around the next year Boss tried to send someone who had already gone! I was LIVID and made it pretty clear in the meeting that day I WOULD be going. He sheepishly said he “forgot” and let me go.

      Two of us quit a few months later which was literally half the professional staff. He was gobsmacked and angry. Completely clueless that his actions had consequences.

    4. Dixie*

      Reminds me of the time I started a new job in December, and when Christmas rolled around I had almost no vacation time. I know it wasn’t an ideal time to start a job but didn’t really have a choice in the matter. Since I wasn’t even up to full speeed, didn’t have even close to a full workload yet, I asked if I could take a few days of unpaid leave to visit family, but was denied.

      I sat in an empty office on December 26 – 28, with literally nothing to do. NO ONE else was there!

    5. Not a lady (Letter writer)*

      At a former job, I emailed the manager-owners to let them know (almost four months in advance!) that I was planning on taking a couple of extra days off over Christmas (when the office was basically shut down, and our work was not terribly time-sensitive anyway), and asked them to let me know if that was okay. I got called into a meeting and reprimanded for my phrasing because “you have to ask permission so that we have the opportunity to say no.” Should have left the job right then and there, it was a massive red flag.

      In my previous job, the rule was “Request vacation time at least six weeks in advance and it will be automatically granted, barring extremely unusual circumstances. You may also request vacation time with less notice, and while it’s not guaranteed, your supervisor will coordinate with you to try to make it work.” It was a reasonable policy that worked really well. Seems like too many companies are deliberately understaffing to save money these days, which seems really short-sighted, and a good way to lose talented people.

  11. Alicia*

    If your company’s website says something like “we’re always accepting resumes for x position”, Indeed will take that as a sign that you are actively hiring, and have a current opening we were actively trying to fill, rather than the reality of having the flexibility to make space for an exceptional candidate, and literally create an entire fake job posting. I had to fight Indeed on this and make them block our website. So some listings aren’t just old, they don’t actually exist.

    1. TimeTravlR*

      OP here! That is so interesting. I think Indeed serves a purpose. I just think we all need to be judicious in how we use it and set our expectations accordingly.

      1. OlympiasEpiriot*

        I hadn’t thought about any of these issues before and find all this interesting.

    2. Emm*

      Oh that’s so interesting! I’ve never heard that before, but given my experience with Indeed, I believe it haha.

  12. Gojira*

    The ladies thing is pretty wretched. The rest of my coworkers are all women at least 10 years older than me, and I’m nb but closeted, so they think I am too. Our team emails have “ladies” in them CONSTANTLY. The funny thing is, I think even if I was a woman, I’d still hate this. It usually feels to me like the speaker is claiming some kind of connection with me by virtue of gender, but with such a specific connotation about a particular view of womanhood that even if I was a woman, I’d still feel both excluded and pressured to conform. Almost like how some people think not wearing makeup is unprofessional, or how some women expect all other women to constantly be trying to lose weight.

    1. TrixM*

      Yep, I’m a cis woman – but I’m butch enough that I get called “sir” all the time – and I utterly DETEST it. I’m not the slightest bit ladylike, nor do I wish to be. I feel just as misgendered as when I’m called “gentlemen”. As I was once, memorably, on an email sent to multiple recipients of which I was the only female … but I was the person who would be carrying out the task under discussion. No, my name is not in the slightest bit gender ambiguous. The sender did not respond graciously either when I emailed him privately and politely to point out his mistake.

      I am fortunate I don’t encounter it in the office very often – and if it’s only a one-off with people I don’t correspond with frequently, it doesn’t bother me too much.

      I am not sure what I’d do if it continued. If it were colleagues I was friendly with, I might point it out in a reply – like “Hi all: I’m not too ladylike over here! Can we give this one a rest?”

      If it weren’t all friendly colleagues, I might try triangulating it with one or two at a time, like “it bugs me with the ‘ladies’ thing in the emails, would you mind dropping it in future?”

      If it was some kind of formal communication in a largish organisation, I would (and have done) email the organiser to request they drop the gendered address. Even if it was in relation to something specific like “women in IT”, I think it’s just as unnecessary as addressing everyone with “Hey WOMEN!

    2. Sparkly Librarian*

      Agreed! I am a cis woman, femme by default and comfortable with that, but definitely not a lady. It always feels like I’ve been copied on an email addressed to someone else — “Hey, Batman fans” or, “Good morning, teapot designers”.

      1. KateM*

        Reminds me of when I was the only (tomboy) girl in a team of boys and some would open a door and say “ladies first”, and then we’d just all stand and wait – them for me to go first and me for a lady to appear.

        1. BubbleTea*

          I actually DO know people who are titled Lady, but none of them work in my office.

    3. MEH Squared*

      Agreed. I am genderqueer (where I am on my journey right now), but am AFAB. I am very curvy and have hair down to mid-thighs, but after a lifetime of being told I’m not a real woman, I have been seriously thinking about gender identity. Even if I were to settle on woman, though, I would never think of myself as a lady.

      1. Gnome*

        WTf? Being told you aren’t a “real woman!?” Where are these people? I don’t know you, but I want to punch them on your behalf. Seriously. I am not feminine at all (my husband has more shoes than me) but that doesn’t make me not a real woman. Who are these people who feel they get to define everything for everyone?

      2. Critical Rolls*

        I’ve seen a tweet that really helps me laugh off that particular thing: “When a man tells me he’s looking for a ‘real woman’ I scurry away because I’m actually three owls in a raincoat AND HE MUSTN’T FIND OUT.” This is not a substitute for people not being awful, or a comment on anyone’s gender journey, but I think of it every time because it encapsulates the ridiculousness so perfectly.

        1. Raine*

          This, so much.
          I saw that quote years ago and it really helped me to cement the notion that I can’t live my life to please other people. Other people have notions about me that aren’t necessarily things I want to disclose.

    4. Gnome*

      I find this fascinating. I am a woman who has never been girly at all, but I don’t mind ladies most of the time (condescendingly said by men drives me nuts). Thank you for sharing your perspective.

    5. Eleanor*

      I have a co-worker that uses “ladies” all the time and also refers to her “girlfriends” when talking about her friends. The wild part to me is that she’s in her late 20s, since I’ve literally only heard people my grandparents’ age say “girlfriends”. Both drive me absolutely bonkers.

      1. TechWriter*

        My mom talks about her ‘girlfriends’ a lot. I kinda just laugh internally imagining that she’s a) queer and b) poly, when she’s anything but.

    6. Helen*

      You’ve expressed this really well. I’m a cis, straight woman, in a team of all women, and a couple of them routinely refer to the whole team as “ladies”. One will even use “girls”. And I HATE it for reasons I’ve struggled to pin down – I personally would prefer to be included in a group of “lads” or “guys” (not that lads would really be work appropriate!)

    7. FridayFriyay*

      This is such a great way of explaining it. I’m only nominally cis and at not-work people close to me know I’m questioning my gender identity but being repeatedly called “lady” at work in that cloying voice some people use to say it makes me want to come out by screaming “I’m not even a woman!” at the top of my lungs. I don’t, because trying to get them to use different pronouns for me regularly feels like even more of a losing battle than getting them to stop using lady/ladies, which I have attempted to do many times.

    8. Candle Knight*

      This is the perfect way to explain something I have felt for YEARS, even before I knew I wasn’t cis. I’m genderqueer/afab and folks usually lump me in with women. “Ladies” is often used around me by those people to invoke a camaraderie I feel very uncomfortable being included in, because I’m not. Thank you for putting these words out there!

    9. Critical Rolls*

      Oh, thank you! You articulated something I couldn’t quite put my finger on when women do this — implying connection/in-group, establishing sisterhood. Doing that on the basis of assumed gender isn’t great generally, but really ought not be done at work.

    10. Onyx*

      Yes! Thank you. I’m not a “lady,” but am perceived as a woman. I don’t care what pronouns people use for me nor object to using the restroom for my perceived gender, so I have no reason to out myself at work (especially in a conservative area, with an employer whose handling of discrimination, etc., I don’t trust). I shouldn’t *need* to out myself at work because I am there as a [professional role], not A Woman.

      But, there are (thankfully fairly few that I have to deal with) people who unnecessarily gender me, and they are often the ones I am least inclined to trust* with admission of a non-cis gender identity. The people to whom I’m confident I could say “Hey, please don’t call me a lady or emphasize me being a woman, because that’s not how I identify. Don’t worry about changing pronouns or anything–I’m fine with what you currently use” and have it be respected and not a big deal (even if they don’t “get it”)… are not generally people I need to do that with, because they already don’t treat me in an overly gendered manner.

      *Note: not necessarily don’t trust because I think they’re bigots. E.g., the latest one to make a big deal about me being “a lady” seems thoroughly well-intentioned, but he’s a talkative overapologizer who is clearly used to approaching things in a gendered manner. The excessive apologies would just extend the uncomfortable gender focus, and I’d have consider the risk of him overcompensating so far to *avoid* gendering me that it could out me in front of others (as well as just being an uncomfortably making a big deal of my gender).

      1. drinking Mello Yello*

        Non-malicious clowning is still clowning and very exhausting to deal with. I get it. I’m too tired to deal with it myself.

    11. drinking Mello Yello*

      Uggghhhh same hat. I’m AFAB agender and the vast majority of my coworkers are women. I’m not out at work since the overwhelming vibe at the company is Extremely Cishet and I don’t know that I trust people not to clown. Getting lumped in with a “*~Hey ladies!~*” or worse, “Oh, you’re one of [Grandboss]’s girls!” makes my skin crawl. D:

      1. Gojira*

        I think my soul turned inside out when I read “one of [Grandboss]’s girls.” Can’t express how much I hate that!!!

    12. Anon for this*

      Yes, same here…I’m trans, and I actually left a job because of this. My coworkers were lovely people but incapable of using other forms of group address since we were all perceived to be cis women. Was relieved to join a department with some cis dudes so I could leave “hey ladies!” in the past.

    13. Banana*

      I am a feminine cis woman and I loathe “lady” differently than other gendered terms. Ladies have a place and a role and limits and behavior expectations that I want no part of.

      1. Banana*

        I’m also comfortable saying “I’m not a lady – I hate that term!” to people, and I recommend that to others above who worry that objecting to the term requires outing themselves. It doesn’t necessarily! I mostly object when people suggest I should be ladylike or am being unladylike, but would feel perfectly comfortable pushing back on “hey lady” or “ladies!”

      2. Distracted Librarian*

        This. I heard, “That’s not ladylike,” way too many times as a kid, usually when I was doing something a) fun or b) comfortable.

      3. Ginger Dynamo*

        So much this. I’m a cis woman and fairly feminine, although I don’t dress femininely at all at work. I hate having my gender called out among a group at work because it makes me aware how quickly people see my gender and factor it into their judgments of me. The fact that we’re all perceived as women in this group is irrelevant to the business conversation we’re about to have, so I don’t get why it needs to be called out and why anyone needs to preface it with this term that has a highly associated set of gender-specific behavioral expectations. It makes me think of the math test psych experiments where girls who were reminded of their gender performed worse, perhaps because it reminded them of the associated stereotypes of girls being bad at math and stressed them out. I work in a male-dominated field, and I hate to think how that phenomenon factors into our workplace through greetings like “hello ladies”

    14. Not a lady (Letter writer)*

      Yes! It makes me feel like I’m being included in some kind of girls’ club with wine slushies and manicures that I did NOT ask to be part of. I think most people read me as generally femme, but I’m more of a birkenstocks and flannels type person, definitely not a heels and pedicures and rhinestones kind of person, and it’s quite off-putting!

      1. Gojira*

        It really isn’t. It’s very sad to see people disregarding what makes others uncomfortable. Even ignoring all the baggage of “ladies” specifically (a big ask), it’s just common decency not to call others things that they do not like to be called. I would say that extends to using divisive language with people whose preferences you don’t know. When I invite someone to dinner and I don’t know anything about what they like to eat, I don’t serve them brussels sprouts!

      2. Ginger Dynamo*

        It really isn’t—the speculative description of how Gojira said they might feel about the term even if they identified as a woman is exactly how I do feel as a woman getting called “ladies” in working groups, especially in a male-dominated field. Gojira is exactly right how it can be an othering term even for cisgendered women because “ladies” is particularly charged with a history chock-full of judgmental expectations of how women should act, and it’s all the more frustrating and othering for nb or trans people who now have to either sit there getting called a gender that doesn’t fit them, or out themselves to someone who has just assigned them a gender role they didn’t ask for and voiced how that gender perception must therefore factor into how that person sees this group

    15. Spooky All Year*

      Another voice in the crowd here! I’m vaguely genderfluid but at work I essentially present butch. Most people in the office just use “Hi everyone” or “Hi all”, which I appreciate. A couple vendors insist on “Hello ladies” for my team, which sets my teeth on edge.

      I have never liked being referred to as a lady. I was on a travel soccer team as a kid, and when we got a new coach he asked us in the first practice if we wanted him to call us “ladies” or “girls”. Unanimously the team of ~9 year-olds all agreed “girls”, we were not going to be playing like ladies. He thought that was very funny and did so for the next five years we all played together.

  13. Maggie*

    I am a woman who starts (some) emails with ‘Ladies.’ It’s never an insult. Upon some reflection, I think I use it most in incredibly difficult situations. The email usually is one I don’t want to write and where I’m needing teamwork and help–along the lines of, ‘Ladies, I’ve tried X, Y, and Z with no success so now I’ll need to pursue blahblah. I would appreciate any assistance you can provide me in reaching_mutual_goal.’ I use it when I’m wanting to acknowledge the professionalism and dignity of the other women stuck in the crappy situation with me. If I got push back on this… I would roll my eyes hard at the OP. Spending social capital on this seems supremely dumb to me. Are you not a lady? What’s so offensive? Often y’all is too informal or colleagues is too cold… There are only so many professional salutations out there. I’d move past if you can.

    1. Dahlia*

      I mean, personally no, I’m not a lady? Like not remotely.

      How do you even know everyone you’re addressing is a woman?

    2. TrixM*

      Well, I’m a woman and I’m not a lady. And if you saw me, I’d challenge you to think of me that way. Think Hannah Gadsby, but even more butch. (You can Google her if you’re not familiar.)

      So, I get wanting to be friendly and so on, but it’s really not any harder to say “look, everyone” or “OK team” or “folks”.

      I also really struggle with pushback like yours when someone courteously mentions X thing bothers them – and to be very honest, it bothers me a LOT – and it is absolutely zero bother for you to very slightly adjust your language in one respect. We’re not asking you to all everyone “fellow Borg” or something weird.

      If they’re all your personal friends and you know they all love it, say “hey ho-bags” or whatever as much as you like. In a professional context where you don’t know everyone well, then it’s actually not any harder nor any less polite to keep it neutral.

      1. Green great dragon*

        Cosigning the third para. I can live with ‘ladies’, but someone responding to a point of view with ‘I don’t care and won’t make the smallest adjustment’ is not a good sign. How would you acknowledge the professionalism and dignity of a mixed group?

        I’m female and really don’t care how I’m addressed, but it lands oddly to me that someone’s thought process has gone ‘what is the gender of these recipents? Are they all female? Ha! I shall acknowledge that in my greeting because it is an important fact.”

      2. Pocket Mouse*

        Also cosigning the third paragraph. It sounds like you’re using ‘ladies’ to try to build rapport, show respect, and get people on board – why on earth would you dismiss direct feedback that it’s not working the way you intend? If you want to build rapport and show respect, one way to do it is to take what people are saying into account. Rolling your eyes at feedback (even if they can’t see it) isn’t respectful and won’t make people want to collaborate with you. You’re not using ‘ladies’ as an insult—no one is saying you are!—just that it doesn’t apply, and it *is* insulting to be made invisible by being repeatedly addressed as something that doesn’t apply.

    3. Dark Macadamia*

      What’s the equivalent word you use to address men in these situations? What about a mixed gender group or one where you don’t know everyone’s gender?

      1. High Score!*

        I work in a male dominated field. It used to be “hey guys” but I’ve noticed in recent years emails start with something like “hi team”, “hey everyone”, or even “dear all”. Gender really isn’t necessary.

      2. Esmeralda*

        I use these:

        very informal: folks
        otherwise: all, everyone

        Hey folks, blah blah blah

        Hello/Hi all (hello is slightly more formal)

        Hello/Hi everyone

        There ya go. Problem solved. Covers every single category of human being and completely inoffensive.

      3. Dark Macadamia*

        Oh I know, I’m just wondering how Maggie scolds non-women with “professionalism and dignity” since she seems to feel it’s important for exasperation at work to be gendered.

      4. Maggie*

        I’m not the OG commenter although we seem to have the same username?! But for me personally I would use “gentlemen” for a group of men. “Good morning gentleman!” Or “I need to go speak with the gentleman at the ticket counter” etc. I would use “everybody” for other groups. “Good morning everybody!” Or “everybody needs to turn in their report”. I’m just answering in earnest to ask what I would actually do/have done.

        1. Jennifer Strange*

          Sincere question: Why do you feel you need to specify the gender of the folks you’re contacting? You wouldn’t specify race or age or sexual orientation, so what value is added by saying “gentlemen” or “ladies” rather than just “everybody”? And what if one of those people is trans or non-binary, but not out? Isn’t it just easier to use a gender neutral term?

          1. Distracted Librarian*

            “You wouldn’t specify race or age or sexual orientation” — this. Gender is given such outsized importance… why? My gender may matter to me, but it’s irrelevant in a work context and doesn’t need to be emphasized.

    4. Darcy*

      I’m with you, Maggie. This peeve is not a hill to die on. Save that social capital for something more substantial.

      1. High Score!*

        I disagree. Being called a lady in every email would be like nails on a chalk board. And I’m cis het altho I don’t fit in with the stereotypical feminine type lady. While I haven’t spent the last 3 decades of my career going to protests, I’ve spent a lot of time correcting crap like this.

      2. drinking Mello Yello*

        I mean, this “peeve” of unnecessarily and oftentimes incorrectly gendering people as the viewer sees fit is part of the greater societal push to legislate and eradicate trans, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming people out of existence (even if many straight, cisgender, gender conforming people don’t want to see it that way), so as a nonbinary person, I think it’s a fine use of my social capital to push back against.

        1. FridayFriyay*

          Right. The assumption that it isn’t substantial is very illuminating about some peoples’ privilege in this conversation.

      3. Esmeralda*

        Injecting gender where it is not required is such a hill. One doesn’t have to be grumpy about it, it’s possible to make the point politely and in an even/unannoyed tone.

        This is exactly the sort of thing that social capital should be used for.

      4. Banana*

        In a good work environment where people have good intentions and respect one another’s identities, it won’t be much (or any) capital. If it is a lot of capital, then the work environment needs to change and it IS a hill to die on. And I’d rather spend that capital myself as a cishet person without a lot of barriers, than have a marginalized person deal with that along with everything else.

    5. TechWorker*

      I never get this at work because it’s more common for me to be the only woman on the chain/in the room… but ‘ladies’ is *not* a professional way of addressing people (it’s arbitrarily gendered, I’m sure you’d come up with something if you were talking to a group of men and women).

      Also as a comparison point, the only time I have been called ‘ladies’ was when I went to an all girls school and teachers would use it as an admonishment. (‘Ladies! Settle down!’). The last thing it reminds me of is ‘professionalism and dignity’.

      1. Chilipepper Attitude*

        Before I saw this I commented below that it sounds like a school marm chastising students much more than it does a professional greeting! You described what I meant perfectly!

      2. Dark Macadamia*

        Yep thinking more about it, the time I was most frequently “ladied” was when I joined a sorority. A 20-year-old chapter president scolding her peers for leaving plates in the TV room or whatever is the opposite of professional and dignified lol

    6. Scot Librarian*

      In that situation, I’ve been known to use ‘Hi lovely people’ or ‘Hi helpful people’. I am a cis woman, I dress pretty femme, same as my colleagues … I should not be making assumptions about their genders in a greeting.

      1. Asenath*

        Well, I’m not lovely, and only sometimes helpful! I’d rather assumptions about my gender (even if wrong) than assumptions about my appearance or personality! I have been addressed as one of “Ladies” occasionally; it seems to be an increasingly rare usage, but not yet entirely extinct and not intended as an statement on actual gender – assumption about apparent gender, sure. But – the following is a more general response, not specifically to Scot Librarian – I am always a little intrigued by the idea that “lady” is a negative term in ways other than those having to do with gender. That is, there’s sometimes an implication that a lady is snobby, high class, pretty useless for doing anything practice and so on and so forth. Except for the high social class thing (which only kicks in when I’m reading about people in a society in which there is an aristocracy involving “Lady” as a form of address), this is not my usage. For me, a lady is any female (so, yes, it is undeniably a gendered term) who is an adult and displays generally admirable characteristics, like being invariably kind and respectful to others, hardworking , etc., but it doesn’t bother me a lot that the usage is decreasing.

        1. OlympiasEpiriot*

          To me, “ladylike” is a more passive space than “womanly” or — much better — professional whatever.

          I’m in the construction industry. I’m a cis woman who despite presenting pretty femme, occasionally gets “sir” in semi-jest due to my demeanor and I LIKE that…as I answer “that’s right, and don’t you forget it” with a smile.

          I have standard responses to being called “lady” that might help you think about its negatives:
          1) I’m no lady. Besides, lady is a four letter word.
          2) Ladies get put on pedestals. Anyone who puts me on one is just trying to look up my skirt.

          1. Asenath*

            Oh, I understand that some people have very negative connotations for “lady”, and I know a lot of them. I’m just pointing out not everyone uses or understands “lady” that way.

            1. Asenath*

              Also, I had made a joking comment about also trying to encourage the usage of “womanly”, but deleted it so as not to get too far off topic (always a weakness of mine). But to me,”womanly” tends to go two ways – either extremely and stereotypically feminine, or as excessively passive and submissive, as in “Woman! Bring me my tea!”. I think it’s a word that could be more widely used.

        2. Critical Rolls*

          I don’t read “lovely” as a comment on appearance here, rather as nice. The greeting reads pretty obviously to me as “I hope you will be lovely/helpful in response to this.” But since being civil and helpful to colleagues is part of working, there’s no harm in assuming that far enough to include in a greeting. Do you actually object to being preemptively considered helpful?

        3. metadata minion*

          In a workplace situation, I usually expect my coworkers to be able to at least convincingly fake being helpful.

        4. Distracted Librarian*

          I can’t speak for others, but “lady” is more negative to me than other gendered terms like, “woman,” because it used to be held up as a role that all women should aspire to/be confined to. As I mentioned above, I mostly heard, “that’s not ladylike,” when doing something that was either fun or comfortable–typically something that boys/men did routinely. So to me, “lady” is a box people used to try to put women in to keep us from being independent or competing with men.

      2. Yellow*

        If I’m honest – that would really annoy me. I’d probably grumble to family/friends about it.

        But likewise, I don’t think it merits a complaint or requirement that you change a perfectly reasonable idiosyncrasy.

        This is the problem I’m seeing. There is no way to address a group of people that won’t annoy someone. Because every address is problematic in some way, in some context.

        If you’re having to imagine that someone (who may not exist) might be offended – you should have better things to do with your time. I’ve seen a number of cases where language is changed to avoid potentially offending someone who isn’t there – only to actually offend the people they are talking to.

        LW if you personally are offended (not peeved or annoyed) then say something. But don’t waste capital on being offended on behalf of a potential person.

        1. AMH*

          I guess I just struggle to see how asking someone to not use Ladies is so extreme a request that it would use capital to make. It feels so minor to me, and changing my greeting would cost me nothing.

          1. not a doctor*

            I agree, as someone who DOES use “ladies,” and is now going to stop. It’s occurred to me before that it might be an issue, but I only use it with a team that (appears to be) all women, and whose director also uses “ladies” — I picked up the habit from her, in fact. I hadn’t really considered the idea that not everyone there might in fact consider themselves a lady, so now I’m going to switch to the same things I use for other teams (“all,” “team,” etc.).

          2. Yellow*

            I had the feeling it wasn’t one person but multiple. And sure, it’s not a huge ask on the surface, but there’s a reasonable chance that if you are pushing back against enough people, that you risk being seen by someone as the person people have to walk on egg shells around to avoid offending you. And that can easily cost a lot of capital.

            It can also risk sounding like you’re bothered by a professional grouping being noticed as all female (if you are in a majority male environment that can feel different to in a majority female environment).

        2. Jennifer Strange*

          This is the problem I’m seeing. There is no way to address a group of people that won’t annoy someone. Because every address is problematic in some way, in some context.

          Except in one case it’s problematic and annoys people because it assumes gender (and needlessly so) while in the other case it might annoy people just because they think it’s too informal. Those aren’t on the same level.

    7. TechWorker*

      I never get this at work because it’s more common for me to be the only woman on the chain/in the room… but ‘ladies’ is *not* a professional way of addressing people (it’s arbitrarily gendered, I’m sure you’d come up with something if you were talking to a group of men and women).

      Also as a comparison point, the only time I have been called ‘ladies’ was when I went to an all girls school and teachers would use it as an admonishment. (‘Ladies! Settle down!’). The last thing it reminds me of is ‘professionalism and dignity’.

    8. Scot Librarian*

      In that situation, I’ve been known to use ‘Hi lovely people’ or ‘Hi helpful people’. I am a cis woman, I dress pretty femme, same as my colleagues … I should not be making assumptions about their genders in a greeting.

    9. Scot Librarian*

      In that situation, I’ve been known to use ‘Hi lovely people’ or ‘Hi helpful people’. I am a cis woman, I dress pretty femme, same as my colleagues … I should not be making assumptions about their genders in a greeting.

    10. L'étrangere*

      I remember fondly the Ladies Against Women group who delighted San Francisco through the 80s with things like pantyhose recycling craft ideas and.. But I digress. Another woman here who is most certainly never a lady. Not only is it bristling with gender assumptions, it’s slimy with class pretensions. Eeck

    11. itsame*

      I hate getting “Ladied”, not because I think it’s an insult but because it’s unnecessarily gendered and honestly kind of twee. It’s not the end of the world, I’ll survive getting a “hey ladies” email (though other people who may be non-binary but are assumed women/not open about their gender may struggle more than I do with it) but it’s probably a good thing to know there are many people out there whom it rubs the wrong way.

    12. MEH Squared*

      No, I’m not a lady? I’m AFAB, but I’m genderqueer at the moment (still figuring it out). I LOOK female-shaped and people assume I am a woman, but even if that were my gender, I am emphatically not a lady.

      What would you say to a group of people with mixed genders? You can still use that with all women, too. Folks is my preference because I’m Midwestern. And it’s not any less professional than ‘ladies’.

    13. bamcheeks*

      Oh wow, I was on the fence about whether I would push back on this if I was OP, but I was assuming it was a colloquial and friendly thing from people at the same level. If I got a “Ladies” from a more senior manager in a difficult situation as a “mark of professionalism”, I think I’d go straight to HR! It’s the exact opposite of professionalism to me, marking my gender rather than my competence!

    14. Pennyworth*

      I’m a woman and I hate the term ‘ladies’ – it is a loaded word, because there have definitely been women who are not regarded as ‘ladies’. and terms like ‘ladylike’ make it clear that a certain sort of behavior can be required of women.
      If you need teamwork and are emailing your team, call them that. Say you had one man in your team – would you put ‘Ladies and Gentleman’?

      1. Pippa K*

        Traditionally the correct usage for mixed groups was “Ladies and sir” or “Madam and gentlemen.” If people are going to insist on old-fashioned greetings, then I am perfectly prepared to be pedantic at them about this.

    15. Liz*

      Oh my goodness, no! I say this as someone who was raised in an environment where “lady/ladies” were commonly used terms, and who still lets this slip when speaking (although not writing, because conscious brain overrules unconscious habit) – this manner of address has been on the way out for decades. It reminds me of the kind of childish deference shown to adults when I was tiny (“go and ask the nice lady at the checkout, there’s a good girl…”) or the tongue-in-cheek scolding by teachers (“sit down right now, young lady, or you’ll be in trouble!”) and I cringe when I hear it escape my lips. I couldn’t imagine using it deliberately in an office email. My team, at present, are all female, but I don’t think of them as “ladies” – they are my colleagues, first and foremost – and the gender makeup of the team changes from one year to the next, so I see no reason not to default to gender neutral terms of address simply as a course of good professional habit (“colleagues/team/folks/all”). Hearing “ladies” in the way you have described in a stressful work setting would make me think the sender was getting exasperated with us and trying to put us in our place by appealing to our gentle, non-confrontational femininity (“oh come along now ladies, let’s not make a fuss…”).

      1. KateM*

        Seems that Maggie does use it mostly exactly as in your “young ladies, you’ll be in trouble” example.

    16. londonedit*

      Oof, if I got an email that started ‘Ladies,’ I think I’d find it quite condescending. If I’m emailing two people, I’ll most likely use their names or ‘Hi both’, or if it’s a group of people then I’ll use ‘Hi all’ or ‘Hi everyone’. It would never occur to me to start an email with ‘Ladies’ or ‘Gentlemen’ – it’s not the sort of language we use where I work, and it would feel extremely patronising and condescending to me.

      1. UKDancer*

        Same. I’d think an email starting “Ladies” would be a bit condescending. Nobody I work with at the moment does that thankfully. I use the same as you “hi both” for two people or “hi all” for a group.

        When I worked with a large number of people called David in a previous job (we had 5 in my team at one point I think) I did occasionally start an email with “Hi Davids” if I was emailing them all for something less formal.

    17. OlympiasEpiriot*

      “Lady” is a four letter word.

      At least, that’s my usual response.

      If you want to acknowledge professionalism and dignity, why not use “colleague”?

      1. Fieldpoppy*

        So deeply agree with all the replies here. I’m female-bodied but all of the connotations of “lady” is why I don’t really identify as a woman. It implies a pressure to conform with a certain set of gender norms that I find offensive — politeness, being “well-groomed” in a particular way, being the one to make sure others are well fed. It’s from the generation of women that pressures their daughters about lipstick and weight. I hate being “ladied” with a passion and your insistence on using it would make me believe we would have a hard time seeing eye to eye on other things.

      2. Insert Clever Name Here*

        I’ve seen this “‘lady is a four letter word'” thing several times and I get that some folks have an aversion to that which is completely fine, but…there are lots of four letter words. Some of them are widely recognized as swears (fuck, shit, damn) and some of them are just…words with four letters (word, read, team…lady).

        1. OlympiasEpiriot*

          Of course there’s plenty of words with 4 letters, but, they aren’t all Four Letter Words. By calling “lady” a Four Letter Word, I am making a particular association and grabbing attention to it.

    18. Cat Tree*

      Effect matters more than intent. Of course you didn’t mean it as an insult. But now you’ve found out that it bothers some people, possibly including some recipients of your own emails. You can choose to react defensively and insist it’s fine for you to do it, but you are unlikely to convince someone to stop being bothered by it. Or, you can choose to be considerate and view someone’s feeling as being legitimate even though it’s different than your own feeling. Since you have already shown that you care about not insulting others, I’d think you would be willing to at least think a little bit longer about continuing your practice of using “ladies”.

    19. Another Lawyer*

      Totally agree with this. I occasionally use “ladies” as a salutation when sending emails to groups of 2-3 female coworkers I know well (and am also eye rolling at the thought this is somehow an unforgivable email offense). It actually kind of bothers me, as a woman who is successful in a profession that has historically been very male dominated, that recognizing other women is somehow deemed a slur. Funny how no one seems to get worked up about “hi guys.” That said, seeing how many people are all worked up about this, I’ll probably drop it going forward. Generic “hi all” it is. Sigh.

      1. Pocket Mouse*

        People are pointing out that you don’t know for sure these other people identify as women, and ‘woman’ =/= ‘lady’.

        And there have been discussions here about “hi guys”. I think you’ll agree, though, that colloquial use of ‘guys’ is not as gendered as ‘ladies’, and I think for that reason changes are a bit slower.

        AAM link on ‘guys’:
        https://www.askamanager.org/2015/03/am-i-selfish-for-not-wanting-to-do-all-the-work-turning-down-an-offer-that-a-friend-helped-me-get-and-more.html
        https://www.askamanager.org/2021/03/is-dear-sirs-outdated-or-sexist.html

      2. Jennifer Strange*

        No one said that recognizing other women is deemed a slur? But not everyone you’re speaking to is a “lady” so why even bring an unnecessarily gendered term into it?

        Funny how no one seems to get worked up about “hi guys.”

        What? Loads of people have pushed back against using “guys” as a catchall.

      3. 4eyedlibrarian*

        Plenty of people dislike the greeting “hey guys”. I’m from the midwest, the home region of “you guys” being *intended* (key word here) as gender neutral. It is not. Every time I see “hey guys”, I always start with “not a guy but”. Guys is not gender neutral. If I said “that guy over there”, 9.5/10 people will look for a man. If you ask a straight man how many guys he’s slept with, he won’t take that to mean women too. Guys is gendered. Ladies is gendered. All it takes is highlighting that word and replacing it with a gender neutral term to be inclusive and respectful of people of all genders, whether assigned at birth or not (sorry, trying not to use the word “gender identity” because I know not everyone likes that phrase). Or no effort to just not write it in the first place

      4. Cringing 24/7*

        “Funny how no one seems to get worked up about “hi guys.””
        ?!?!?!!
        Just in this one single page of comments, if you Ctrl+F for “guys” you’ll see so many people “worked up” (your words) about the fact that they don’t view it as gender neutral or that gendering people doesn’t belong in the workplace. That said, I appreciate your (albeit seemingly reluctant) willingness to remove this unnecessarily gendered term form your professional communications because it’s truly the kinder thing to do.

    20. Chilipepper Attitude*

      I understand you want to be professional but ladies does not sound that way to me. I’m not thinking, oh, I don’t have a title, I’m thinking:
      1. ladies is focusing on gender in a situation where it is not relevant, that’s weird.
      2. ladies is a formal term more appropriate for non-work contexts like a tea party, again, weird.
      3. ladies sounds old fashioned and makes me think the person using it is likely to be outdated in their ideas too
      4. In the particular context you gave of I’m frustrated with this situation, I see it in the same context as “bless your heart,” not a kind thing at all. It’s more like the school marm chastising the class for their inattention or something.
      5. It’s also vaguely insulting to me but I don’t know why. Like it suggests a tea party level of decorum that I must follow, a certain box of behavior I must follow.

      If it matters, I’m AFAB and am much more femme than butch. That is to say, I’m not objecting bc I don’t identify as female.

      1. Distracted Librarian*

        All of this. Being addressed as “lady” feels as antiquated as being addressed as, “Mrs.” in a professional context–and for many of the same reasons.

    21. mreasy*

      “Ladies” in the workplace always feels condescending to me, regardless of whether the person addressing me seems to be a man or a woman. “Hey team,” “Hello all,” or my inexplicable personal favorite, “Hi!” are all non-gendered greetings for a group that won’t cause any agita. Why not switch to them out of respect for those people who don’t fall on the gender binary, and those women who do but who don’t prefer to be addressed by their gender?

    22. Purple Cat*

      If I got push back on this… I would roll my eyes hard at the OP
      Wow. I freely admit that I consistently used “Ladies” because I never considered the impact on the recipients and that MANY people (as this post has shown) would take offense at it. Since it would be incredibly inappropriate and time-consuming for me to poll everyone I work with to get their personal opinions on the use of “ladies” I will just.stop.using it instead. Literally no skin off my back. Know better do better, and be open to other people’s lived experiences.

    23. philmar*

      I start emails with “Ladies” if it is to the women about something pertaining to us as women. i.e. the shared female bathroom or a women-only focus group. I also don’t parse the difference between lady and woman (having to do with femininity or passivity?) nearly as strongly as some of the commenters do. I also work in an environment with significantly more men than women.

      That said, I ALWAYS want to start emails or meetings with “what up nerds” a la Liz Lemon, but I’ve never been bold enough to. :/

      1. High Score!*

        The term ladies is insulting to me, but if I got an email from you that started “what’s up nerds?” That would make my day! Please drop the ladies and use nerds, or hi team, or happy Friday everyone, something anything noon gendered that makes your team feel good instead of hi ladies which makes people feel like they’re being disciplined by the old school marm.

    24. SpoonieAnon*

      It’s offensive because it offends a lot of people.
      And no I’m not a Lady. I’m a person/woman.

      I grew up in a religious context that emphasised equality (under God obviously) and community and the idea of using elitist terms like lady or gentleman rather than the simple woman, man or (in the vast majority of circumstances where gender isn’t and shouldn’t be an issue) person/people was considered offensive.
      Now as an adult I’m a gender-non-conforming Dyke-presenting Queer woman and know that a lot of people’s use of the word “lady” doesn’t apply to me so the word makes me uncomfortable for those reasons too.

      You probably should also reflect on how using the word “dumb” to mean stupid or pointless is pretty ableist too.

      Finally the idea of you using what you apparently believe to be a complimentary term (even though plenty of people here are telling you it’s not a compliment for us) ONLY when you are “needing teamwork” comes across as rather manipulative and the opposite of actually creating a meaningful team environment with multilateral respect. It’s seems more like childishly adding “pretty please with sugar on” to a difficult request

    25. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

      There is a 1832 book by an Englishwoman about her travels in the US and observations of the Americans. In it she complains that lower class people like the washerwoman and the candle maker are referred to as “lady”. She also objects to being introduced to these people. Gives me the warm fuzzies every time I read it. We hear so much about the very serious social flaws of that time, so it’s nice to see something done right.

      So yeah, I am a lady.

      1. Emmy Noether*

        I like this! English is a second language for me, and as such, the discussions about the associations with the word “lady” are fascinating to me. I was under the impression that it had lost most of it’s class/nobility connotations (at least in the US), but maybe that’s not universal?

        I also have no problem being a lady and not always being “ladylike” (as in, quiet, graceful, etc). I’ve decided long ago not to care about expectations deriving from my gender, this is just another layer of that.

    26. FridayFriyay*

      Ladies is way less professional than y’all, so if that’s your goal I think you’re falling short. What stands out to me here is that you’re making some VERY strong assumptions about coworkers’ gender identities by insisting on labeling them in gendered ways based on your perception of them. “Are you not a lady?” No, I’m not, and that actually isn’t any of your business and certainly not something you get to decide just by looking at me. If you want to give people dignity and respect you could start by not pigeonholing them into gendered boxes when doing such is not a job requirement or necessary to their work in any way.

      1. Valancy Snaith*

        That’s a broad statement. In many, many parts of North America, “y’all” would be deeply unprofessional to the point of mockery. If I received an email addressed “hey y’all” I would question that person’s sense of professional conduct.

        1. Jennifer Strange*

          But the same could be said of using “ladies”? I live in the north and have seen far more folks use “Y’all” than “ladies” at my work when sending mass e-mails.

          1. Valancy Snaith*

            Yeah, no. In no universe would I begin an email in my workplace with “Hey y’all,” but I regularly receive emails addressed “Ladies and gentlemen,” “Gentlemen,” or other variations thus. Professional norms vary.

            1. Jennifer Strange*

              I agree professional norms vary, but in one case you’re needlessly bringing gender into the equation (when you may not know the gender of everyone being responded to) and in the other it’s just that some folks look down on the term as being too folksy. Not saying “y’all” should just be the default, but it’s far less problematic.

        2. FridayFriyay*

          There are certainly workplaces where it would be considered less professional. The comment I’m responding to specifically said they’re using “ladies” to be MORE professional so it seems fair to point out that isn’t a universal truth any more than I suppose my statement was. It is not a good bet to use for professional correspondence for a variety of reasons.

    27. Critical Rolls*

      Why dig your heels in on this, when there are lots of comments demonstrating that “ladies” sets lots of people’s teeth on edge? Why not say, “Oh, that hadn’t occurred to me, easy fix!” Why not stop trying to leverage a weird gender kinship in difficult situations, when the attempt is clearly off-putting for some people?

      Using “ladies” is unnecessary, and lots of people don’t care for it. I’d move past it if you can.

    28. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      It you were addressing that same message to a mixed-gender group, would you start “Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve tried X…” in order to acknowledge everyone’s professionalism?

      Also, “this isn’t worth using capital on” might be true from both sides. If you addressed a group as “Ladies,” I might just think “Maggie is like that” or even “I didn’t know both of the remote people on this team are women.” If Jane said “Please use a non-gendered salutation” or Chris said “we’re not all ladies,” and you pushed back, I would be the one wondering why you were using capital on this. What would be so offensive about “we’re not all ‘ladies,’ how about ‘hello team’ or “colleagues”?

    29. Not a lady (Letter writer)*

      I think if someone addressed me as “ladies” on an email regarding a particularly difficult situation, I’d be even MORE put off by it. My gender has nothing to do with my job, and it strikes me as especially unprofessional to use it in a less casual work situation. I am, very technically speaking, a “lady,” but gendering email greetings is just as weird and potentially offensive as using other aspects of people’s identities not relevant to work—”Hey heteros!” “Greetings short people!” “Good morning fellow whites!” I suppose nobody can stop you from using it, but please be aware that it’s deeply alienating for a lot of people.

    30. NerdyLibraryClerk*

      If I got push back on this… I would roll my eyes hard at the OP. Spending social capital on this seems supremely dumb to me. Are you not a lady?

      They might not be. They might be a woman who has negative feelings about the word “lady,” as many people in the comments are and have explained. Or they might be a non-binary person who isn’t out at work and isn’t, despite how you view them, female at all, much less a lady. Do you really want to make your workplace one that is only friendly to a very narrowly defined subset of women? Why do you want to spend social capital defending that? What would you do if your workplace hired a man on to your team? Would you continue to call your team “ladies” or would you find another way to refer to them?

    31. Cringing 24/7*

      I know I’m just an internet person with no stake or say in your life, but I absolutely implore you to please reconsider this take. My spouse is trans-nonbinary and AFAB and gets included into “ladies” without end at work and it’s upsetting both emotionally and psychologically to be lumped into a group that – despite their best efforts – they can’t convince people that they’re not a part of. It *IS* an insult. It’s thoughtless. The gendering of a group is as entirely unnecessary as would be the aging of a group. No one thinks its appropriate to start off an email with, “Hey Boomers,” or “Hey Gen-Xers”. But the splitting of people by perceived gender has been so ingrained into society that people see it as an okay thing to do, professionally, and I truly believe that it shouldn’t be seen this way.

      Some people would say that OP’s situation is different from my spouse’s because in OP’s situation, everyone actually IS a lady, but that just can’t be known. My spouse is called a lady almost just as often now that they’re out to their office as they were before they came out. It’s frustrating. It’s hurtful. It’s absolutely an insult even if it’s not intended as one. My spouse has had people roll their eyes at them when they mention – “Oh, everyone’s not a lady here.” and that eye-roll is a 100% an insulting (and let’s face it: shitty) response.

    32. tangerineRose*

      I’m female, but being addressed as one of the “ladies” at work makes me roll my eyes. It just seems condescending somehow. But sometimes the letter writer didn’t mean it that way, so I let it go.

    33. Ginger Dynamo*

      Like you said, there are so many professional salutations out there! So that means you can also use something else other than one that directly calls out the gender of people in the working group you’re talking to when gender is not relevant to the work conversation. Especially if you could be wrong in your assumptions of someone’s gender identity! It’s not “supremely dumb” to find “ladies” either othering if you’re not a woman, or condescending if you dislike all of the assumptions, expectations, and stereotypes that word has carried for centuries.

    34. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

      I swear, curse, don’t like being around children, can out burp 99% of the men I work with…

      ..I am NOT a lady.

      I address multiple people as ‘good morning all’ or ‘good morning’ if singular. Basically I’ve struggled a lot to hold my role in a very heavily male dominant environment (IT in heavy engineering) and I get really annoyed at people calling me ‘lady’ or ‘ms’ or whatever.

      And yes, my staff have learnt that I take a dim view of being called that.

      (I’m currently dealing with someone claiming I’m trying to be a man because I’m into geek stuff, don’t like kids and recently had my uterus and ovaries removed. To say I’m furious isn’t enough)

    1. Gnome*

      But… Isn’t Gentlemen a professional salutation? Why wouldn’t the female equivalent be?

      1. bamcheeks*

        No, it really isn’t! Because we don’t go to work assuming all our colleagues are men of a particular class.

        1. Gnome*

          Interesting. Are you in the US? I am (and always have been) and… I don’t really think about “class” outside of something like “Mrs. Smith’s Third Grade Class” or “Class of 2022.” I know there’s socio-economic ranges, but we don’t really have distinct classes the same way they do in some other places… I have never once thought of “gentlemen” in that way. I find this fascinating, FWIW.

      2. sb51*

        Both have class implications to some people, aside from the gender stuff. So no, IMHO it’s not. There’s perhaps slightly fewer problems with Gentlemen just because class implications for men (at least in the US, I know the UK is different) have more to do with perceived success/income level and less to do with adhering to an older set of gender-specific norms around comportment, grooming, etc.

      3. Falling Diphthong*

        I think this is a fair point and would be curious for responses.

        I think there’s a lot of past baggage where “gentlemen” sounds like you are addressing the board and “ladies” like you are addressing a much less powerful group and “ladies and gentlemen” like you are addressing the audience at your magic act.

        Is there anything as formal as “gentlemen” that includes all genders? I think “guys” and “y’all” and “yo my peeps” and “folks” are all far more informal. My group emails tend toward “all” or “everyone” which I think could fill in for “ladies”–but it feels much less formal than “gentlemen” as a heading. (This may be a built-in language issue where due to history of use, nothing that includes non-dudes is going to sound as formal as “gentlemen.”)

        1. Midwestern Scientist*

          It’s become more of a norm in my experience to either use “all” or something similar or just begin emails with “Hello,” or whatever- no group address necessary

        2. Charlotte Lucas*

          I use “everyone.”

          “Gentlemen” sounds so, so old-fashioned. And “Ladies” is worse (like you’re talking to the auxiliary instead of the “real” authority).

          “Ladies and Gentlemen” is appropriate in formal social situations, like the announcement before the symphony. I’m fine with it there. Because it’s part of the tradition. (It would be nice to have a commonly understood, formal, fancy word for NB people, but English hasn’t gotten there yet.)

          1. Caz*

            I’ve seen “distinguished guests” suggested as a gender-inclusive term for e.g. the announcement before the symphony, can’t really see myself using it on a work email though!

            1. Not a lady (Letter writer)*

              “Distinguished colleagues” is nice and gender-neutral while also having a much more formal feel!

      4. Acronyms Are Life (AAL)*

        Honestly I’ve never seen anyone use ‘gentlemen’ except in the context others have discussed above such as ‘gentlemen, settle down’ or ‘gentlemen, please pay attention.’ Also, the OP noted that the person said ‘thanks, ladies’ which I’ve definitely heard, but I’ve never heard someone say ‘thanks, gentlemen’ and I wor