teacher shared bad medical advice, former employer wants “my side of the story,” and more

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

1. Giving feedback when a teacher is sharing (bad) medical opinions

I am a teacher mentor for a residential summer camp/school for kids. The curriculum of the camp is not health-related. It is my job to observe teachers and offer them feedback on their teaching, usually in the form of a conversation afterward, with possibly a written observation report that would be shared with our managers (the academic dean and the executive director).

Today I observed a teacher give what was an exemplary class when viewed from the point of view of teaching the official curriculum. However, in banter before the class officially started, the teacher also shared medical beliefs that I think are (a) incorrect and (b) harmful to students in our setting, where we are “in loco parentis” to minors. The context was this: several kids have been passing around a cold, which has been tested and is not Covid. The teacher’s first comment was that she didn’t know why anyone would bother to get vaccinated for Covid, when you can get Covid despite vaccination. Then she said that whenever she starts to get the sniffles, she wards off illness by not eating sugar. She seemed to imply that if the students hadn’t eaten sugar, they wouldn’t be sick. I want to offer her feedback along the lines of “keep your medical opinions to yourself and stick to the curriculum,” but I realized that if she had been pro-vaccination and promoting some other medically valid way of preventing illness, like washing your hands, I wouldn’t have minded her comments. What do you think the appropriate feedback for her is?

She absolutely should not be discouraging kids from following public health advice on vaccination! That’s a really big deal. “I ward off illness by avoiding sugar” is a problem too, but if she’d just said that it wouldn’t have been nearly as alarming as her anti-vax comment. It’s a big enough deal that you should escalate it to your managers rather than just addressing it with her yourself one-on-one.

I know you’re questioning yourself because you wouldn’t have objected if she’d said something more reasonable — but you’re not required to treat all opinions equally. Some are actively harmful.

2. My former employer wants “my side of the story” about a process I didn’t document when I left

I left a job in January, due to an extensive workload for relatively low compensation (two people were hired to replace me). I spent the last month there compiling a 50-page handover document, providing as much detail as I could about everything I did. Since then, my former boss has also handed in her notice. I found out last week, when my former boss called me on her last day, that there was confusion over one part of one process that I’d previously been doing. A miscommunication over this step in the process had escalated dramatically over the last couple of months, resulting in one (fairly senior) employee making a complaint to the ethics board.

This morning I received an email from that employee asking for my side of the story. I contacted my former boss to see whether I should even reply, who told me to contact HER former boss. I did so, and her reply makes it clear that I didn’t document this step in my handover notes, and asks for further information about the process. I’ve gone back through my emails, which I still have access to, and provided a detailed reply, but as of right now still haven’t had guidance about whether to respond to the employee who’s emailed me.

Part of the issue is that I left because I was so overworked that it was affecting my mental health. Since the emails I’ve had today, I am once again having physical symptoms of anxiety.

What obligation do I have to help my former boss’s boss out with more detail on this process? Should I feel responsible because I didn’t include this step in my handover notes, even though this appears to be the only step in any process that I missed from my documentation? If I don’t get any guidance, should I reply to the staff member who is asking for my side of the story, or just ignore her email?

You aren’t obligated to engage in this process at all! You can choose to if you want to; for example, if you have good will toward the organization or the people involved, you might choose to provide what you can remember, within reason — i.e., spending 20 minutes on it, not hours. But it’s also perfectly acceptable to say, “I’m sorry, it’s been six months and I don’t remember many of the details at this point, although I did try to cover everything I could think of in the transition document I left behind.”

And no, you should not feel terribly responsible for not including this in your handover notes. In most jobs, it’s impossible to leave a behind a document that will cover absolutely everything you were responsible for. A smart boss will review what you write up before you go in case they spot holes, but even smart bosses won’t necessarily spot something you missed (especially since you might be much more familiar with the nitty-gritty details of your job than they are) and it’s just part of the deal when you have turnover that stuff like this can happen. That’s not on you. You left behind a 50-page document, for goodness sakes! That’s a lot more than most people do.

As for the email from the staff member, I don’t love that she’s asking for “your side of the story.” It’s one thing to say “do you remember the password for X” or “how do we get into this file?” … but “your side of the story” isn’t really a thing you should need to engage about now that you no longer work there. If you want to respond to her, you could simply say, “Since it’s been six months since I’ve been involved in this (I left in January), I forwarded this to (boss’s boss) and she’ll take it from here.”

Read an update to this letter

3. Should I tell my boss I’m thinking of leaving?

During my 10+ years in this career, I’ve always been in a client-facing position. My current position is a sales job. My past supervisors encouraged me to take it, saying that it would be good for my resume and I could always transition out after a few years. I have been in this job for almost two years and I hated it after a few months of being here. I looked at the job with rose-colored glasses and I blame myself for not asking enough questions during the interviews. The clients I am working with are different than what I had expected. I am working six days a week, even though it’s supposed to be the not-so-busy time of year. I was a multiple-time award winner in my last position, but at this job I am struggling to meet expectations.

Basically, I want out. I know that I don’t want to sales job anymore and I want a job that is more of a supporting role. I want my two-day weekend back.

I’ve been job hunting for about five months. I’ve had a lot of interviews but I haven’t had an offer yet. Meanwhile, I’m starting to think if I should be honest with my supervisor and let her know that I want to transition out of my current role. I don’t want to stay with my current organization anymore, but I don’t want to burn the bridge, either. I’m also thinking about quitting without a job lined up but it might not be a good idea with a recession coming. Could you give me some food for thought?

Don’t tell your boss you want to move out of your current role until you’re ready to give formal notice that you’re leaving, with an ending date. I understand that you want to be honest, but there’s nothing she can do with that information until you are actually about to leave — and there’s a lot of risk of her asking you to set a departure date before you’re ready (potentially one very soon, especially if you’re struggling in the role). It’s not dishonest not to share your plans — to the contrary, it’s very normal not to tell your boss you’re considering leaving before you’re ready to go! It’s completely normal and standard practice to wait to tip off your boss until you are formally resigning.

So before you do anything in that realm, decide what you want to do. If you want to quit without something else lined up, there’s advice here about how to decide whether that’s a reasonable risk or not. Or just keep interviewing and biding your time. But hold off on saying anything until you have a plan and a reasonably-soon date you want to leave.

Read an update to this letter

4. What professional clothing options can I layer in a very cold office?

I work in an office that is freezing. When I say freezing, I mean when I’m wearing a normal, short-sleeved, summer-weight shirt and pants when it’s 98 degrees outside, but the thermostat inside is set to 62. This means I can’t dress for the office because I’d be wearing long, winter-weight pants and a heavy, long-sleeved top in the sweltering summer heat once I leave. And I leave the building often — taking outdoor walks at lunch, going to off-site meetings, walking a few blocks from the parking garage to the building, etc.

What can I keep at the office to throw on that still looks professional? For reference, our dress code is casual. Many people wear jeans and t-shirts (or hoodies in the winter). My role (and me personally, I guess) requires dressing up the jeans *a bit* with a nice blouse, sweater, etc., or wearing casual linen pants in lieu of jeans.

There are folks who use lap blankets at their desk or throw on a hoodie when they get to work, but I’m looking for clothing (a wrap, a sweater, a jacket, etc.) that can be an all-purpose, stay-at-the-office layer yet professional. Specific brands or item recommendations are welcome.

Also, I can’t adjust the thermostat; it isn’t an option for a variety of reasons that would need a second letter to explain. Believe me when I say that if that was an option, it would already be 68-72 in the building.

This is a good one to throw out to readers. Share your advice in the comment section.

{ 592 comments… read them below }

    1. Anon all day*

      For 5, I bought a long sleeve, thigh length, open cardigan a couple months into my job, and it has lived in my office ever since. There are endless options. I found something at a store similar to Ross/TJ Maxx.

        1. It’s always cold here*

          Work socks! I live in ny- close to Canada- and my office is in a part of the hundred year old bldg where the heat doesn’t really work. We’re a small nfp and get super cheap rent , so no relief.

          It’s always about the layers in a cold climate, so get a couple options.

          I have a pretty poncho-y thing that a friend gave me for Christmas that I keep at the office. Get yourself a couple cardis and hang them behind your door.

      1. Loulou*

        I have something similar. My workplace is pretty casual, like OP’s, and this is fine.

      2. Bayta Darrell*

        Yeah, searching online for “duster cardigan” should turn up plenty of longer options like this.

        1. Anonym*

          Also consider sweater blazers! They’re a bit structured and can look a bit more formal, and like the long cardigans being mentioned come in different weights. Plus they often button.

          1. Underrated Pear*

            I was going to suggest these. They are super popular among the academic crowd I know because they’re comfy while adding more polish than a regular cardigan. They’re easy to find in many stores that sell professional-ish clothing – I’ve seen them recently from JCrew (and JCrew Factory, which is great for basics), Nordstrom, even Target, I think. Also, regular blazers are “in” right now – not like they’re ever really “out,” but they’re particularly versatile at the moment since it’s trendy to wear them with really casual outfits as well as dressier ones.

            Fingerless gloves for your hands. I used to buy dollar store knit gloves and just cut the tips off.

            For legs, I can only think of non-clothing options. Some offices allow space heaters, although I hate the waste of electricity when the office is blasting AC and every desk is also blasting a heater!! If you don’t want to use a blanket… if you have a kettle, you can sit with a hot water bottle – one with a cute cable-knit cover is cozy and looks nice enough – or get one of those “magic bags” filled with rice. Bonus, if you have a sore neck one day, you’ll have the treatment right there at your desk! ;)

            1. Underrated Pear*

              Sorry, I didn’t realize I was replying to an already-nested comment, so to be clear – I recommend sweater blazers / knit blazers.

      3. Observer*

        Yes, a nice long cardigan would work. Or any type of sweater that is not a hoodie. It’s not exactly formal, so it works in an informal office, but it’s just a touch “dressed up” / more professional.

      4. A Becky*

        This is what I use. It’s a deep jewel red, slightly textured knit. It dresses up jeans, dresses down a suit.

      5. LPUK*

        Came here to recommend the same! thick wool coatigan as I believe they’re called. Mine is a bargain cashmere I spotted in a muted professional shade (beige in my case)and it lives on the back of my chair. When I’m wearing it over my other clothes its looks professional, but its also easy to slip off when I leave the office

        1. Just Another Cog*

          I second the coatigan idea. Also, maybe you could get one of those flat radiant heaters to put under your desk, too. Seems wasteful to cool and heat the same space, but at least you’d have warm feet while wearing the shoes of your choice. I’ve also blocked the air conditioner vent in my office before – maybe it’s ok to do that, too? You said the AC needs to be at 62F, so maybe not an option.

        2. kilo*

          I have what sounds like the same thing. It’s thick dark green wool kinda-cape thing with a hood (no way to do it up at the front). I don’t remember the brand, but I got it at Nordstrom’s Rack, and it’s a fancy brand. I keep it in my filing cabinet, and where it every day in summer.

            1. Hyperfocus Queen*

              I bought an electric heating pad to keep on my lap when I was at my desk and it made a huge difference.

      6. JSPA*

        1. Add to the cardigan a silk foulard (square or rectangular large scarf). Lightweight for transport, compact for transport, warmer than you’d think, and can read as dressy or semi- casual.

        2. Typing gloves.

        3. Quilted down slippers or even over-shoe snowboots, whenever you’re sitting for longer periods.

        4. Skier-type fleece or wool knit headband in a cheery pattern and color.

        1. Marna Nightingale*

          Second the warm shoes comment! You can get slip-on wool clogs that definitely read on the slightly-funky end of business casual and will help keep your feet cosy!

          Also, if you’re sitting still a lot in the cold office, rather than adding a lot of layers, you can add a heating pad to your desk chair. Heat your torso/back and your whole body will be cosy.

          1. Beth*

            Second, third, and fourth on using a heating pad! Get a second one you can occasionally hold in your hands or place on your feet.

          2. Lyudie*

            Oh heating pad is a good idea. A microwaveable rice and/or flax etc. filled one would work if you can’t have personal things plugged in at your desk.

            1. Not So NewReader*

              I found a rice-filled pad at a garage sale that covers my entire chair. Even if I don’t heat it my chair is more comfy as the pressure points can be shifted around. Heating it is heaven.

          3. Robyn*

            Fourthing/fifthing this.

            There are plug-in soft electric pads you can get, theoretically for back pain, that are supposed to fasten around your waist but that can fasten around your chair instead. That’s how I get through winter. Since it’s plugged in you don’t have to worry about getting up and reheating the thing every hour.

          4. SongbirdT*

            +1 for a heating pad!

            I used to put one in my lap in a chilly office and it worked remarkably well, I think because there are major veins and arteries in our upper legs and the circulation warmed everything.

          5. LawLady*

            A heated blanket also works nicely, and is much warmer than just a heating pad. I bought one in black so that it wasn’t super jarring against the black office chair.

            Source: at one law firm, I was next to a partner who liked to keep the thermostat absolutely frigid, and I commuted via public transit, so had to dress for summer weather.

            1. BookishMiss*

              Yes! I had a throw- sized heated blanket when I worked in a tundra. Wrapping it around my legs and turning it on was wonderful.

              I also had a really thick cardigan that lived at my desk for days when the blanket just wasn’t enough, and writing gloves, and a scarf.

              Currently, I have a semi- structured black fleece jacket that lives with my work stuff, plus writing gloves.

            2. Emdash*

              I used to have long-sleeve crewneck cardigans in various neutral colors from Old Navy (pre-inflation) and carry those to work. I kept an oversize blanket scarf at my desk for my legs.

              I second suggestions for a blazer (cropped or boyfriend style). Maxi dresses helped me a lot in the summer in those cold environments.

              If it is beyond frigid, maybe keep a pair of neutral colored flats or moccasins that are fuzzy/lined on the inside.

              Keeping a hot cup of tea or coffee and taking a lap around the office (long way to the bathroom, for example) on a break helped me too.

          6. Chilipepper Attitude*

            I found a “heating pad shawl” on Amazon.
            It looks like an old lady shawl but I loved it!

            I also was allowed to have a small heater I kept by my feet.

        2. BethDH*

          Insulated ankle boots are my favorite for working in cold archives. They make lots that look like normal office-ready ankle boots (leather or suede look upper, streamlined profile) but they have a warm lining. I often wear sandals to the site and switch to warm hiking socks and the ankle boots once I’m there.

          1. Anonym*

            Recommendation: look to Canadian footwear companies. For perhaps obvious reasons they tend to have much bigger selections of nice looking, well insulated boots in all styles.

          1. OhNoYouDidn't*

            I had the same thing, under my desk. When I’d close my office door and turn it on, my office heated up on no time. Nobody noticed it under the desk. It absolutely saved me.

      7. MicroChic*

        Another vote for cardigan. I have one that lives in the office. Mine was from Target. There are so many colors and styles that it will be super easy to find one that works with your outfits.

      8. nobadcats*

        Same here, mine even had a hood for when my ears got cold. The ac vent was behind me, so my neck was always cold.

        I also bought “Sense & Sensibility” fingerless gloves from StoriArts (they make clothing and accessories with passages from books) and a “Persuasion” infinity scarf. These were all easily removable when I stepped out for lunch or a walk.

        In the winter because our office had full southern-facing windows, even with sun-blocking curtains, it would usually get up to 85 degrees or more on a sunny day. I would have be happy to just turn the heat off and the fan going, but noooooooo. Needless to say, I was often nodding off by mid-afternoon.

        1. merida*

          Just came here to say that your mention of StoriArts makes me so happy! I have a Jane Eyre infinity scarf. Though right now I work in an overly warm office so I doubt I could wear it without overheating… but it was a perfect (and cute) accessory back when I worked in a very cold office. :)

          1. nobadcats*

            My stepmother got me started on them! She asked me just before Giftmas one year what my two favorite books/stories/authors are. Off the top of my head, I said, “Poe’s the Raven and Persuasion by Austen.” Poe is always a sentimental favorite, I memorized “The Raven” for fun, and well, “Persuasion” the Letter! And she sent me those infinity scarves for the holiday (and yes, the Persuasion scarf is the Letter). I end up buying a couple things from them every year for myself and friends as gifts. I also have the “Sense & Sensibility” infinity scarf.

            This year for my birthday, she asked me to choose a couple of colors and my t-shirt size. I’m excited to see what comes in the mail the next few days. She has fabulous taste and gifts are always something unique and thoughtful.

      9. Quinalla*

        Yes, long sleeve, thigh length sweater type cardigan is what I did in my freezing cold (but not that bad) office. Honestly, for that cold, I’d probably wear a winter hat and have a lap blanket too or just get a damn space heater. 62 is like OR surgery temps, that is way out of normal. Usually “cold” offices are ~70 which is still really cold when it is 90+ outside, but 62 is extremely uncomfortable when you are sitting in 90+ degree weather outfits.

        But yeah, I get mine from Torrid as I’m in-between size (16-18) and they have a lot of great options some like I said very heavy weight sweater-like. They even have some with hoods but I’m still not sold on sweater hoodies lol.

      10. Omskivar*

        I have a couple of different cardigans that I rotate throughout the year, but there’s always one that stays at the office (unless I forget to take it off and walk out wearing it). They’re easy to remove if you get too hot, they come in a lot of different weights and styles, and they go with most business casual outfits IMO.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Yep. I have an off-white cardigan and a black cardigan. Either one is okay with most things I wear. I can rotate between the two, so I can launder one and still have one at work.

      11. Daisy-dog*

        I was in a cold office – under a vent – for 2 years. I also live in a hot climate and would take public transportation year-round. I also had a very long open cardigan – it was very heavy weight. I also kept a lap blanket for days that I wore dresses. I had extra socks in case I needed an extra layer or if my feet got wet on my commute.

        1. Daisy-dog*

          Oh, I also wore professional-looking fleece jackets too, but the cardigan was more cozy.

        2. Middle Aged Lady*

          Lightweight wool trouser socks, and real silk vest and shorts for underwear. They are OK in the heat and are an invisible layer of warmth in the cold. I usually wore more conservative office clothes so those worked for me.

      12. Lucy P*

        Same here. I have a cardigan, non-buttoning.

        In summer I don’t have normally have an issue with my lower body being cold, but in winter I do keep a blanket on the seat of my chair which helps tremendously.

      13. MollyMcIntire*

        I have a shawl and a cardigan that live in my office. Shawl is nice because I can use it as a lap blanket if I am so inclined.

      14. Alex*

        Yes, this is exactly what I used to do way back when I worked in an office! (Which was always way too freezing for my taste). You can even buy 2-3 so you aren’t wearing the same thing all the time.

        Another tip is I used to keep a heating pad at work and hug it when I was cold lol.

      15. Former Office/Facilities Manager*

        OP 4 – not a clothing rec as there are many great ones already, but a strong encouragement to speak to someone in the office with authority over the temp (office manager maybe?) to have them increase it. If the temp in your office is truly set to 62, that’s a violation of OSHA. OSHA recommends office thermostates be set between 68 and 76. While it’s true you can’t make everyone happy with regards to office temperature, 68 is a heckuva lot better than 62!! It’s also worth noting that the lower end of that range is based on what is comfortable for men who’s office fashion choices more traditionally tend to be long pants, button down shirts, and maybe a jacket, so something closer to the middle of the range is generally more appropriate in an office setting.

        1. GGDub*

          Totally! I’m petty and was hovering between recommending wearing something over-the-top obvious like a hat with ear flaps or a jacket with global warming facts on the back.

        2. Anonymoose*

          Recommends, not requires. OSHA doesn’t set any rules around workplace temperature in regards to personal discomfort. If the temperature is really high and creates a health hazard they would have something to say, but that’s not in play here.

        3. StitchIsMySpiritAnimal*

          OP did mention that there’s a lengthy explanation for the low temp. It’s possible that there are delicate items requiring cool dry air on site and they don’t have separate thermostats. Or someone else in the office has anhidrosis. Or touching the thermostat will allow dinosaurs to hatch and devour everyone on the block.
          My point is that we should take OP at her word.

          1. Janne*

            Yes. My office is also way too cold, but it’s connected to a lab where the machines absolutely should not overheat. When I asked my colleagues if the thermostat could be set a little warmer now that it’s summer, they all told me horror stories about what happens when the machines overheat (which is when they get above 21 degrees Celcius or so… very easy to get there). It blows my mind that it isn’t possible to just cool those machines instead of half a building, but ok.
            So maybe OP also has to deal with some kind of sensitive equipment in a lab next to the office. Or something totally different. There can be loads of reasons that I can’t even imagine, probably.

            1. Jasper*

              On the basis of the fact that excessive airconditioning use is a major contributor to global warming, the building operator should really find a way to make it work better — not just for the comfort of their employees, not that that is nothing. Not to mention that even in today’s world where energy usage doesn’t correlate fully with actual damages, the monetary price for such things is not insignificant. There are plenty of ways to do HVAC differently in one section of a building than another, and as long as employees don’t leave the doors open between section, they really work.

      16. Scarlet Magnolias*

        For years I became convinced that the adjustable thermostat in my library building was a placebo. Turns out I was right. Only the Building Maintenance manager had access to the temperature. He thought we were all a bunch of menopausal women. He also got really bent out of shape if anyone took a roll of paper towels without asking (and kneeling and genuflecting). Fortunately he is no longer here and the newer Building Manager is a total upgrade.

        1. Lola*

          Yep, I have to call down to the “Boiler Room” to get the temperature adjusted in my office. (I work in a hospital with some very old buildings) The thermostats on the walls are just there for decoration I guess. The ridiculous thing is that I have to call down every day! Seems it gets changed back to freezing at night. And just when I figure out how to dress for the cold office, there will be a day where it’s boiling hot in there. Layers it is, at all times.

          1. Jasper*

            In my building, the thermostats do do something — they’re *an* input to the building HVAC control system. They register a preference, and afaict they’re supposed to basically average out the thermostats in a given zone to make minor adjustments to the temperature setpoint. However, they’re very much not provided with a scale — they’ve got a center-mark, and a + and a -. I *believe* they’re supposed to be full scale from -3 degrees C to +3 degrees C but that is not indicated on the devices themselves. The definitely don’t do *much*.

            On a fairly regular basis the building management company will provide people who complain about temperature or humidity with a logging temperature/humidity sensor, so there’s some sort of objective record to talk about.

      17. Sweat in the City*

        I am in the same boat as you — hot and humid climate, freezing cold office!

        I’ve found that J.Crew offers a good selection, with comfortable and stylish cardigan blazers. They also offer more “matching sets” like color/style coordinate blazers, tops/shells and pants. It could be worth checking those out. Madewell (owned by the same company as J.Crew) does similar things and offers more casual dresses and sweaters, but that are still easy to make professional. However, I know both stores can run a bit pricey, so I also highly recommend J.Crew Factory, which offers pretty decent stuff at a good price! They have a classic cotton cardigan that is easy to match with any work outfit. When I was starting out in my professional career, I had this cardigan in like five different colors and rotated them with a suiting dress I had!

        I’d also suggest looking at LOFT and Athleta. LOFT is both comfortable and professional and always has great sales. Athleta is known mostly as GAP’s activewear line but they have more casual/lifestyle options now and I know their Brooklyn City Pant is a huge seller.

        Also, Athleta is incredibly size inclusive (something both Madewell and J.Crew are working on expanding as well). For size inclusive professional and lifestyle outfits and clothing recs, @ArielleSays (on Instagram) is a great resource. Her style is so city chic and cute! And @JeanWang (on Instagram) is the founder of Edited Pieces and http://www.extrapetite.com. So, if you’re on the shorter side, her page is a great resource! (Honestly, recommend both pages for cute outfit ideas and recs — especially for things like this).

      18. Momma Bear*

        Similarly, I keep a nicer fleece (all black, well fitted, no logos) or a black sweater in the office as they go with just about anything and I can pick the one that works for the day. A coworker keeps a simple black jacket (not quite a suit jacket, more like a tailored jean jacket) on hand. Some people keep a scarf or shawl. I also have a space heater and asked maintenance to redirect the air vent for me.

        As an aside I find this comment slightly amusing. I’m in jeans (though a nicer pair), with a blouse and that black sweater because it’s bitterly cold in here. They can pry my space heater from my cold…er, wait.

      19. Dacia W Markum*

        I had two of these in different weights, one for a bit chilly, one for very cold. I also kept fingerless gloves at my desk because my hands would get very cold.

      20. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        I co-sign the coatigan/long cardigan. For coatigans, check out Ann Taylor and Ann Taylor Loft. For other long cardigans and sweater blazers, try J.Crew or Banana Republic (BR often sells long sweater blazers).

        I have a fleece-lined cardigan that lives in my office and can sub for a blazer. I also have a lap blanket at my desk that is hard to see unless someone comes around to my side of the desk (super rare). I’m sorry your office is so cold :(

    2. Fran Fine*

      OP #4

      Get a wool cardigan in a neutral color to keep at your desk. That material is perfect for maintaining your body’s temperature in the cold.

      1. Mrs. Dean Winchester*

        Yes, I second this! I have two wool cardigans that I got from Old Navy and I wear them to work constantly.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        For people who can’t do wool, a sweater with a loose knit can work to keep the body an even temp, so if you move around you don’t over heat but you are fine if you just have to sit all day, also.

        I find one trick is not to wait until I get cold to put the sweater on. It’s too hard to warm up me and the cold sweater. I see the boss put the AC on the icebox setting, I pop that sweater right on.

      3. Lady Ann*

        Agree, wool or a wool blend is VERY warm, I have a long wool blend cardigan from Gap and even though it is very thin, it’s extremely warm.

    3. Loulou*

      In a casual office, anything OP #4 mentions should be fine — you are likely overthinking this! If you don’t want to wear a sweatshirt or a big, chunky cardigan, then something like a merino wool cardigan in a neutral color is your next best option. And be smart about what lightweight summer clothing you wear. Lightweight long pants might be better than bare legs, etc.

      1. tamarack and fireweed*

        I have a (handknit) very large, beautiful (I often get compliments for it) wrap made out of Shetland wool for this situation, to the extent it arises.

        62 F is terrible – for the environment and the health of the employees.

          1. Lyra Belacqua*

            Just dropping a note to say thanks for this! I’ve been looking for a good pattern along these lines.

        1. kicking_k*

          It may relate to what the building’s used for. An archive repository for example might be kept as low as 55 degrees for the preservation of the archive materials, and 62 isn’t at all unusual. No, it’s not cosy, and it’s got to be the main reason archivists are stereotyped as wearing cardigans…

          I’m sure there are other workplaces that have to have a steady cool temperature too, but I’ve got direct experience of those.

          If you have cold extremities, I recommend fingerless mitts or pulse warmers, and scarves – keeping the back of the neck warm helps and even a light drapey scarf will do something.

          1. Lab rat*

            Know how to spot the protein biochemist in the parking lot during August? They are carrying a down jacket – due to hours in the cold room hunched over purification columns. I agree will all the posters – nice sweaters. Consider keeping wool socks in a desk drawer that you can pull on while at your desk. When your feet are cold the rest of you is miserable!

          2. Momma Bear*

            I was thinking the same. If you’re on a floor with a computer lab or server rack, you’re likely going to be chilly.

            Never heard of a pulse warmer. Must look into that.

          3. tamarak & fireweed*

            Oh, that’s true, sure. We even have freezers for storage of sea ice cores that have entire workshops with saws and other tools for taking ice samples. But these are places you don’t stay all day. Maybe for an hour at a time.

            I think expecting your employees to work for an entire day at 55 or 62 F should trigger some conversations about what is done to ensure comfortable, healthy working conditions.

          4. yala*

            The weirdest thing to me is that our department (which is not archives) is SO MUCH COLDER than any of the archive areas. I mean, we do have archival books around sometimes, but it’s not where they live.

        2. WantonSeedStitch*

          I’m a big fan of hand-knit shawls. I do find that they don’t always do as good a job of covering up bare arms in short sleeves as a cardigan does, but they are gorgeous and snuggly. If you decide on a knit shawl, I recommend investing in a shawl pin or two, to hold it on securely.

          1. nobadcats*

            U-shaped “French” shawls are your friends! I have five or six of them. Easy to knit too, if that’s your jam.

      2. RT*

        Seconding the merino recommendation specifically. I have a black Italian merino wool cardigan–not super cheap, but both thin and incredibly warm.

        1. bamcheeks*

          I have a ton of searches set up on eBay for “merino jumper” “cashmere jumper” “geelong jumper” “alpaca jumper”, and the same for cardigans. All very warm fibres, so they make very light, warm garments.

          1. Anonym*

            Seconding the eBay saved search, especially if you find something specific you like and want more versions/colors of it! I think most of my work clothes have come this route at this point. Particularly good if your find is no longer being sold in its original store / you found it at Marshall’s or other resale type places.

      3. Glitsy Gus*

        Yeah, I think OP is a bit overwhelmed and overthinking the situation!
        You have lots of great options here already, I have a pretty, wool Burberry blanket shawl I keep at my desk. It’s warm and classy looking. Plus, since its more of a shawl that a jacket, I can use it as a kind of lap blanket if just my legs need some coverage. It looks a lot like this one:
        This one is pretty expensive, but if it’s in your budget the quality is great. I found mine at a consignment shop for a lot less. I’m also sure you could find a less expensive version from another brand.

    4. fiver enthusiast*

      For #5: wool. Wool wool wool! Any kind of wool shawl, ruana (great option for stylish coverage as they are often drapey and you can belt it if you like), cardigan is the ideal option IMO. I’m Canadian so can only offer brands here but I’ve found the Bay often has this stuff. Uniqlo has great wool sweaters but I’m not sure they do cardigans. Non-brand, if your mall has a shawl / wrap shop (especially if they cater to hijabi fashion) there are often a dizzying array of options.

      1. Artemesia*

        There are a lot of attractive polar tek cardigans and I found those really toasty. I live in a very cold building in winter and always have one on. Sport wool works too — I have one I got at REI that looks sharp and business casual — and is also warm.

        1. Aother.Anonity*

          I loooooove the LL Bean zip fleeces. The C*stco ones did not hold up in the wash. And also a White Warren travel wrap (on sale), but they can look like blankets so YMMV.

      2. Charlotte Lucas*

        Alpaca is soft, lightweight, and extremely warm.

        If you want something blanket-like that isn’t a blanket, I recommend a ruana.

        1. Dana Whittaker*

          Novica dot com has some beautiful alpaca wraps – I live in Chicago and have worn one during our winters for the last several years. Unless it is below zero, I am rarely cold for more than that initial jolt when you walk outside.

      3. eeeek*

        The building I work in was built in 1855, and despite the excellent ventilation from the many windows (that actually open, glory be!) and the natural cooling effect of 2-foot thick sandstone, A/C was installed and I’m on one of the floors where the average temp is 65 degrees. I get scolded frequently by the HVAC guys for opening my windows just to warm up, because it “messes with the balance.” Grrr.
        So, I second the idea of a wool ruana – I have one that is grey on one side, black on the other, so it’s a tiny bit more versatile, colorwise. There are different ways to wear it, but when I’m in my office working, I’m huddled in it blanket style, wearing my wool slippers and socks, typing with fingerless mitts made from the sleeves of an otherwise unwearable sweater a friend’s mom (<3) repurposed for me.

        1. Rolly*

          “messes with the balance.”

          “What balance? It’s way too cold here. Do you mean the balance of some spaces being OK and some not OK? I didn’t realize that was a goal.”

          1. ScruffyInternHerder*

            Air balance. That’s probably what they’re squawking about. It can be balanced and still too cold (water can be too hot but still have the correct water pressure in the shower, as a similar example).

            I work in HVAC. Therefore, my office is a hot-mess, HVAC-wise, same theory as “the mechanic’s wife’s car has squeaky brakes”. I keep a somewhat professional long cardigan in my office, but unless there’s some reason to look professional? F-it, I’m wearing a 1970’s crocheted afghan. Anybody complains, I point them to the thermometer reading 58*F in my office most winter mornings and remind them that “TPTB said fixing the HVAC wasn’t in the budget.”.

      4. Middle of HR*

        I have a Uniqlo cashmere cardigan that I keep at the office.
        I also used to wear fingerless mitts in the winter as the building had the heat on minimal. You can always yank them off for client calls.

      5. nobadcats*

        A lot of people are sensitive to wool though. I had to sew wide cotton swatches into the collars and wrists of cardies and sweaters for a friend of mine.

    5. Eric*

      #4, if you Google “Women’s Liverpool Classic Jean Jacket” a number of items come up that might fit your need.

    6. Bayta Darrell*

      LW4, my office is freezing in winter. I have a heated vest that keeps me nice and toasty. Basically it’s like if you ran the heating element from an electric blanket through a puffy vest and ran it using a rechargeable battery pack in the pocket.
      I also have a blanket shawl that I got a few years ago, I can’t remember where. But it’s plaid on one side and black on the other, so I have a choice of pattern. It’s essentially a wearable blanket, but it looks more professional.
      You could also try a duster cardigan. The extra length may help keep you a bit warmer.
      Sorry that your office is a frozen tundra!

      1. Numerator*

        I’m now jealous of your heated vest and will need to find one myself!

        Second the blanket shawl and Ruana. Wearable stylish blanket substitutes are good. I also have just brought in a blanket.

        1. Jasmine Tea*

          Me too! I’ve never heard of a heated vest but I will be googling it! I love my electric heating pad! I can put it on on my feet or lap. If you wrap a scarf around it it will not stick out or be “borrowed” by a freezing co-worker. I sometimes attend 2 hour meetings where I bring a hot water bottle wrapped in a scarf because there is no convenient plug. Could you bring warm footwear to leave on the office?

          1. Susan*

            I second this. I have a heating pad that I keep on my lap during the day. When my hands get cold, I can put them in my lap. It has been quite nice in keeping me warm but still being considerate of people who don’t want to be as warm as I do.

            I have also found that a simple black blazer is great to stay warm and to keep a polished professional look when needed. It looks great over a t-shirt and jeans too.

            1. DivineMissL*

              I have a small electric heater under my desk that I use year round – it’s on now, keeping my feet and legs warm. Technically it’s not allowed (considered a fire hazard) but I’m careful to turn it off when I leave for the day. I really like the heating pad, idea, though! I think I’ll try that out.

              The only problem with the heater is it does not follow me around when I have to go to other parts of the building. I wear summer dresses and sandals this time of year, but constantly have to wear a cardigan just to keep from freezing.

          2. Monday Monday*

            Same!! When I was working in the office and had my own desk, I kept a heating pad on my chair. I do have an old injury that acts up which my co-workers knew about and sometimes the heating pad was for that, but honestly, it was too cold in the office and it worked great!!

            I am also a fan of oversized scarfs or shawls that can be wrapped around the shoulders or used as a lap blanket.

        2. Noseinabook*

          Don’t underestimate keeping your hands warm as well- there are many wrist/hand warmers available that can help with ridiculously freezing offices. They are a breeze to knit up or easily found in neutral colors online. Not professional (concur with the recs for a wool wrap/long cardigan) but I legitimately had to use a plug in electric blanket on my lower half for 75% of the year in my previous office.

          1. LPUK*

            Id say the same think about keeping your nexk warms – I have a wide variety of lightweight wooden scarves i wrap round my neck and iyts amazing the difference it makes to overall warmth. Over the pandemic I also grew my hair long and never realised before how hot hair makes you round your neck – so I mostly wear it up now, knowing that I can get an instant warmth boost by letting it cover my neck

            1. Slow Gin Lizz*

              Yes! I’m always amazed at how warm a shawl or scarf keeps me. I think we lose a lot of body heat through our necks. I recommend pashminas, because you can wear them as scarves or shawls depending on how much coverage you want, and they come in a lot of colors and patterns too. Although as a knitter I also have a few shawls that I’ve made and now that I WFH 95% of the time I wear them as much as possible when I have in-person meetings. Shawls can often also be worn as scarves.

              And if you have cold hands like I do 75% of the year, some fancy wrist warmers will help too. Although they might not be as dressed up as you need to be in an office but if you got some plain black ones or some really pretty ones they could work as well.

              I’m so sorry about the office temperature, though. That would (and has!) make me suuuuper cranky since I am a summer person who HAAAATES being cold. You have my sympathies, OP.

              1. Fernie*

                Another vote for pashminas! Warm and versatile but not bulky. They are also my go-to when flying on planes.

            2. JESUS IS THE MAN!*

              Hair really does make a difference! I found this out the hard way, by shaving my head in March in northern Minnesota. Brr.

          2. Oolie*

            I have rheumatoid arthritis so having cold hands makes me practically non-functional. I have a pair of fingerless gloves that make a huge difference but don’t impede using a keyboard or other fine work (I’m a seamstress). Etsy has quite a few beautiful and professional-looking options, and Amazon has some that come in various flesh tones, including driving gloves with non-slip dots.

            Also, a small microwaveable heating pad on the back of your neck, in your lap, on your feet, or tucked against the small of your back works wonders in keeping your warm all over.

          3. KRM*

            I have a rechargeable handwarmer at my desk, as well as a hoodie (department swag) and a fleece. For something more like the OP wants, for sure anything merino works–OP, if you can find a blanket shawl, I’ve found those useful for wrapping around my legs as needed as well, if it came to that (I started to wear maxi dresses only because my legs got too cold).
            OP this probably doesn’t help with your meetings off-site, but I’ll wear shorts/flip flops to work and just change when I get here (I bring pants and keep a pair of Keds in the drawer). Even just switching your footwear for taking a walk might help!

        3. Baby Yoda*

          My husband loves his heated vest, uses it on the golf course or shoveling snow. You can buy a whole variety of heated items including gloves, hats, scarves, etc.

      2. Mangled metaphor*

        Massive upvote for the heated vest!
        Hubby got me one a few years ago – most of his presents to me are gadgets to regulate my temperature (I have a neck hot water bottle that looks like a travel pillow, lap blankets, a neck fan (because sometimes the temp goes the other way!), and a few waterfall cardigans.

        OP4, you might be overthinking this a little – even just a cardigan can be perfectly professional, even in a slightly more formal office than business casual. An office that accepts jeans will certainly be fine with a woollen sweater.

        (I sort of want to see the second letter on why it’s so cold. 62F is just over 16C, which is the bare minimum in the UK for working – we’d have the legal right to either raise the temp or go home if it dropped just a fraction lower (note – obviously, this is for offices, where you are sedentary most of the day, it doesn’t include walk in freezers or manual jobs))

        1. Jules the First*

          My best guess is that it’s telecoms or tech and that the tech has to be kept cool. When I worked for the phone company many many many years ago, the headquarters office tower had double-height floors with office space below and the switch equipment enabling telephone and internet access for the city’s downtown core in the false ceilings. This equipment had to be kept cool at all times or the city would lose phone service so the humans had to wrap up. You do get used to it, but people would arrive in tank tops and shorts and add sweats and hoodies in the lifts.

          1. WS*

            Same, one half of the building was cold due to equipment and the other half was hot due to cooling said equipment. There was a lot of re-arranging but pretty much everyone ended up on the side they preferred. Some years later, the building was gutted and redesigned and won an award for passive energy use!

          2. BethDH*

            Could also just be an uneven system. Especially older buildings with retrofitted HVAC you get areas — even entire floors or wings — that feel like they’re in a totally different client. I worked in one where my office was in the super hot part but I had a standing meeting in an atrium-type space that was always minimum 10 degrees, often more, colder than my office.

            1. Zephy*

              That’s probably what’s going on with the building I work in. The whole lower floor is always, consistently, about 10 degrees warmer than the upper floor, and specifically the ladies’ restroom on the upper floor is a damn icebox. I’ll go further out of my way to use any bathroom but that one because I don’t want to expose any more skin than strictly necessary in there. It’s just not pleasant.

              1. Gel Pen Destroyer*

                Ah, we have the Men’s bathroom counterpart here. Temperature vacillates between “Raging Inferno” and “Satan’s Backside.” As a woman, I’ve never been in there, but I’ve stood outside the entry while waiting for a colleague, and that is enough to cause second-hand heat exposure.

                1. GythaOgden*

                  Agreed! Our post room, which I use every day, is always roasting. It was made worse when the physiotherapy office that moved in to the building over the winter asked us to keep the heating on during the summer as they need it for their patients. (Don’t ask me why — I don’t know, but I trust them to know why they need it on) So in these dog days of July, it’s like being in a sauna…:(.

      3. Tupac Coachella*

        Yes to blanket shawl! I gifted one to a coworker who’s always cold. They can use it as a lap blanket, but it also has a slit to wrap it neatly over their shoulders for meetings. I found it in the scarf section at TJ Maxx (outlet-type store where you can get second run high end clothes and other items, similar to Ross, Burlington Coat Factory, Marshall’s, etc). Because it was late spring, I got a very nice big merino wool one for a good price. As someone who is more impacted by temperature than most (and very uncomfortable when I’m cold), temperature fluctuations mean I spend all day putting on and taking off traditional sweaters. I learned a long time ago that scarves and cardigans were my BFFs, and blanket shawls are the best of both worlds.

      4. Meganly*

        I also have a blanket shawl that lives at my work desk–it’s cashmere so it’s super soft and warm, and has a nice neutral pattern. I keep it draped over my shoulders and spread on my lap while I’m at my desk in the office. I take it off while moving around, but that’s because my issue is that I get freezing when sitting still in general. A wool blanket scarf would probably be warmer.

    7. SomehowIManage*

      Wear jeans, a t-shirt, and a blazer—possibly accessorized with a decorative scarf. If all pieces are reasonable quality, it looks professional. The jacket and scarf can be jettisoned when you go outside. I work in consulting and this is my uniform for more casual clients .

      1. OneTwoThree*

        I was coming to recommend a decorative scarf as well. Although they are relatively small (easy for travel to and from work), they make a big difference in keeping me warm. I also feel like they look like an accessory (intentional/ professional) rather than me putting something on to keep warm (after the fact/ not put together).

      1. Mina, the Company Prom Queen*

        Definitely a blazer. Blazers make the most casual outfits look polished and do a great job keeping you warm in the cold a/c.

      2. Delphine*

        My recommendation too. Super professional, easy to take off as soon as you leave the office/leave in the office at the end of the day, you can even add a thin cardigan underneath for extra warmth. And they’re versatile–jeans, slacks, skirt, dress, you can pop a blazer over anything.

    8. Avid Reader*

      I got a wrap/shawl that has armholes from J Crew Factory. Eddie Bauer has a travel wrap. I like these because they sit on the shoulders and the armholes allow you to work. It’s less like a sweater

    9. Courtney*

      For clothing, I like the academic look and have taken to wearing a long sleeved button down shirt with a sweater over it. If I’m going outside in the summer I just take the sweater off and roll up the shirt sleeves.

    10. Gatomon*

      #4 – I used to work in an office that, due to the original building design, meant my desk was getting full blast from the a/c all summer long while people in central areas sweltered. It would be 62 at floor level and 72 at desk height, I brought in a thermometer one day to check actually. It wasn’t uncommon for clients to come in from the outdoors in tank tops and shorts and have to go take breaks outside to warm up. Unfortunately the original building was designed in the late 60s when few cared about the cost to heat or cool and it would probably be easier to just build a new building than fix the original design.

      We were given space heaters to use under our desks, specifically a panel type that was less likely to start fires/trip the power, this kind of made a warm oasis under the desk as the heat got trapped. Long, thick winter-weight cardigans were popular, as well as any shirts you could layer, like a cami under a dress top. Oh and scarves and even fingerless gloves for the truly chilled (removed when working with clients). Tights were popular, especially those thick sweater tights, and leggings, even under pants. It was awful though and one thing I do not miss at all about that job!

      My area has a dry heat so even in the mornings it’s cool, but if it’s a humid area and thus sweltering all the time outside, I’d probably just keep a thick cardigan at the office along with leggings to wear under my pants or skirts on the worst days and arrive a little early to get situated.

    11. Sarah*

      First time commenter here, and I relate SO MUCH to the writer in #4. I have always had an “office sweater” of some sort that lived on the back of my chair when I wasn’t in. Even now that I work from home where I can control my environment, I keep a light jacket at my desk bc desk work just is colder than everything else I do.

      My experience is on the nicer side of business casual, very similar to what your clothing style sounds like. I have used a company branded fleece zip-up sweater, and I like the Columbia brand fleeces too. A funky blazer, especially a wool one, looks great with jeans – and wool is naturally warm but breathable. You can probably even find cheap but quality blazers at thrift shops or consignment stores.

      I also amassed a collection of scarves, and in my experience silk scarves are perfect – beautiful, lightweight and naturally warmer than synthetic materials. (In the winter I definitely needed both the jacket and the scarf!) A big plus is that you can also cover your head with the scarf in a pinch, if it gets even colder than normal.

      I always liked the idea of a longer item, like those tunic shawl things that are all the rage, but I found that anything longer than a regular jacket would drag and get caught in the chair wheels.

      1. Bill and Heather's Excellent Adventure*

        Seconding the blazer and silk scarves recommendations. I would also recommend pashminas and a long cardigan, depending on how informal the work place.

    12. LMG*

      #4 Been there, done that. Multiple tips…

      -Keep extra camis with you; found layering these often helped and didn’t make my shirts look weird. Even more than one.

      -Barefoot Dreams cardigans! Expensive even at Nordstrom Rack or similar but they are amazingly warm.

      -I don’t like the blanket thing at the office. For myself or others. There. Some might think me weird but it feels unprofessional unless you’re working from home. (And yes, I do it at home.) I once had to work as a receptionist in front of a front door that always sent a cold wind directly at me. A foot heater worked waaaay better than a blanket, if you can sneak one in.

      -Scarves. I would copy those French ways of wearing differently. Especially the giant ones that extend to your back. Great for slipping off if you have to go to a meeting as well.

      -Honestly at one point I had 3-4 outfits at work in a cabinet I found in an unused space and I used it as my “work” closet. Would replace outfits in there every 2-4 weeks so I had options on hand.

      -For anything you have to buy, I’d recommend those secondhand clothing apps and websites. I’ve had so much luck buying higher end brands I could normally never afford by using those (and get tons of compliments).

      Good luck!

    13. IT But I Can't Fix Your Printer*

      I love my “sweater” (basically a blanket/coat that covers me from chin to thighs) from Aran Sweater Market for cold office days. I also have a hooded sweater from Title Nine that’s a more casual look, if a women’s clothing company is an option.

      1. penny dreadful analyzer*

        +1 to Aran Sweater Market! My Aran sweater is the warmest thing I own, and there are some super stylish ones available.

    14. ekhn*

      A long, warm pashma wrap. It’s easy to wear it like a blanket while at your desk, but then drape it like a scarf if you’re trying to look more professional/ like you’re wearing it as part of an outfit. Plus, it’s easy to take on and off as you’re moving between different temperatures. I’m someone who loves warm weather and finds even 68-72 degrees cold, so I’ve made it standard to always keep one in my office.

    15. nnn*

      If you need to be especially warm (not just “extra layer” warm) cashmere is your friend. While cashmere does tend to be expensive, if you keep an eye on clearance sales, you almost always find a plain black or neutral cashmere cardigan at a good price somewhere or another. (Shop online now – there might still be clearance items left over from last winter!)

      Others have also mentioned keeping a jacket/blazer in the office, and in fact you could do both if you’re particularly cold – both layers are tidy and professional, and they elevate any casual outfit.

      1. Fran Fine*

        ThredUP is where I get all my cashmere and wool sweaters and cardigans for less than $50 (I wait for their sales).

    16. Making up names is hard*

      I recommend a sweater blazer or sweatshirt blazerm basically a blazer made of knit sweater or fleece sweatshirt material!

      Personally I find long open cardigans, like many have suggested here, actually not functional enough if the office is really cold.

      A lightweight wool or heavy cashmere cardigan would also be great, and you could layer it with the blazer above. For legs, I think sticking with mid-weight trousers or even denim trousers is the way to go — might be a little warm when you’re out for lunch, but more suitable for both environments than summer or winter weight would be.

      And finally, keep a lightweight pashmina, silk, or even cotton scarf in your desk drawer that you can look around your neck. I often find that I want to cover up if I’m wearing a scoop neck in a cold office

    17. Lil Grasshopper*

      Our office can get very cold too. My go to is a nice looking heat tech turtleneck sweater from Uniqlo with a neutral coloured wool cardigan layered on top. I love the 70-80% wool cardigans from Olive Clothing (UK brand). Understated elegance

    18. breadrolls*

      I started keeping a pair of fingerless gloves at my desk this year, and they’ve been an absolute life-saver.

      They’re not exactly a typical part of a business casual wardrobe, but since they cover such a small portion of the body, the hit to an outfit’s professionalism is surprisingly minimal.

      1. ceiswyn*

        You can actually get some very professional looking fingerless mitts. I’ve got some cashmere ones from Turtledove that are absolutely office appropriate.

          1. workswitholdstuff*

            I have several pairs of Turtledove ones (finally got a purple pair!) and they’re ace. Recommended to me by colleagues in fact.

            Museums….are not warm places generally, especially in Victorian (or older) buildings.

            I’ve learnt to layer, have spare layers at work, and one spectactularly cold year (-10 for what felt like months, which is cold to us Brits!), I think I actually was in the office (single glazed, victorian building, with *storage heaters*), with jeans, tights on under, long sleeved top, wooly jumper over top, hat, scarf and hot water bottle on my lap…

      2. Indisch blau*

        I have a whole collection of fingerless gloves and wrist warmers that I wear from October until April. (We don’t air condition in the summer.) I wear them not just for warmth on my hands but also because when I don’t keep my hands – or at least my wrists – covered, I tend to roll up my sleeves, making the temperature problem worse rather than better.
        Keeping my feet warm helps too. If I wear cold in the summer I’d wear shoes and socks.

      3. Gingerblue*

        I was coming here to say this! You can also get fingerless “sleeves” that are just tubes that go over your lower arms; with the right shirt they can be invisible, or you can pull them down to glove length. I also recommend leg warmers if your pants are wide-legged enough; they can do a surprising amount to keep your body temperature up. (Also, if you’re at all crafty, they’re dead simple to sew out of fleece.)

        In one especially cold office I brought in a rechargeable electric handwarmer. I’ll put a link to a similar one in a followup comment.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          I have one shirt with “thumb holes” and wow, what a difference to have the wrists covered. I never would have thought that it would help much.

      4. Lizcase*

        I’ve got a few pairs of wool fingerless gloves and arm sleeves and it makes so much difference. My favourite is like an arm sleeve with thumb holes, made with a lightweight wool cashmere blend.

        If my hands and feet are warm, I can tolerate colder temperatures better.

            1. workswitholdstuff*

              If you’re in the UK turtledove do a gorgeous range of fingerless gloves (and other accessories) from recycled cashmere. SO lovely to keep you warm.

    19. RedinSC*

      I keep a heavy Eileen Fisher wool sweater in my office. It’s fitted, double breasted and a neutral color. So when it’s very cold, I just slip that on and can meet with donors or board members while wearing it without worrying about it. I leave it there all the time.

      I also have leg warmer to slide on, if I’m wearing a dress and it’s too cold and fingerless knitted gloves, that I can slide on and off quickly.

      1. RedinSC*

        Oh, the other thing I have is a heated throw. It’s smaller than a blanket and I just put it on my chair and sit on it, keeps me nice and warm. I got this one at Costco.

    20. Shivering in DC summer*

      I’d recommend a neutral colored wool cardigan plus a few different wool pashminas that you can wrap around your shoulders/neck in a stylish way. For pants, is there an option of wearing a skirt or lighter weight pants outdoors and changing to heavier, lined pants you keep in your office? Or throw on some fleece-lined tights under a skirt and take them off before you leave? This would be easier if you have your own office that you can change in (or something like an onsite gym locker room), as opposed to a cubicle and having to change in the bathroom.

      Another option for a sweater would be to see if the organization would be interested in providing zip-up sweatshirts with their logo on them. That way even if it’s more casual, everyone has one and is wearing it, and it feels more professional with the company’s logo on it somehow.

      I feel your pain. Miraculously, my office is not freezing this summer, but in past summers I’ve been bundled up like I’m watching an outdoor hockey game in January, even though it’s 90 and humid outside.

    21. Eye roll*

      If you spend a lot of time at your desk, you can also warm up your immediate environment. While most places seem to ban or frown upon space heaters, there are other options: heated desk mats, heated foot mats, heated mousepads, heated seat warmers, and more are all pretty reasonably priced, without shorting out the power or posing a safety/fire hazard. Even when space heaters are banned, I’ve had no trouble with other heated items. And you can always heat yourself. Even a few reuseable hand warmers in your pockets can make a huge difference.

      1. nobadcats*

        Or if you have a typical office water cooler, it usually spits out hot water for tea as well. Get a mason jar or two, fill it with hot water, keep it between your thighs, rotate as needed. Works a treat not just for warming your hands but for cramps too.

    22. Fish*

      For a mid weight option, I love the Pranayama wraps from Athleta. They’re really soft and warm, but not too warm. If you need a heavier option, I’d go with a cashmere cardigan/sweater/big scarf/whatever. Cashmere isn’t cheap, but it’s pretty easy to find used pieces at reasonable prices on Poshmark or eBay. Thrift stores too- I got 80% of my cashmere pieces while I was working at one.

      1. KRM*

        Second the pranayama wrap. They’re super soft and comfortable, and not too heavy. Plus the sleeves can pull down over your hands (it’s got thumbholes) so your hands get some warming benefit too.

      2. Charlotte*

        Came here to recommend the Athleta Pranayama Wrap too. Comes in tons of colors and in sizes XXS to 3X. And since it’s open, you can size up if you want it to wrap around you more like a blanket.

    23. TechWorker*

      My office gets cold (admittedly nowhere near as cold as yours!) and I’ve taken to having an extra middle layer.

      I wear a lightweight smart-casual jacket to work (I have a few, blazer work would work, some of mine are denim jacket style but in a smarter fabric), then keep a mid layer (usually a turtleneck jumper, the uniqlo heat tech ones someone else mentioned are good) in my bag or on my desk. Turtleneck + jacket in my eyes looks much smarter than a big jumper. For a quick hop between buildings, you carry the jacket and when you’re going out at lunch or to a meeting elsewhere, you leave the turtleneck at your desk, and still have the jacket if you need to look smart.

    24. Nursey Nurse*

      1) I’d get a cardigan in a neutral color that could be buttoned or zipped for maximum warming potential. Wool or cashmere are probably your best bet for warmth without bulk. They have a reputation for being expensive, but I’ve gotten wool and cashmere cardigans from Lands End and LL Bean for less than $50.
      2) A wool or fleece scarf can make a surprising difference to your level of warmth, can be stored in a desk drawer, and is easy to take off when you want to go outside.
      3) If you think it would be okay at your office, a down skirt can be worn over pants and really helps keep you warm. They’re available in a variety of colors, lengths, and prices. Here’s an example: https://www.amazon.com/Skhoop-SKHOOP-Short-Down-Skirt/dp/B00VI3GP7A

      Stores usually mark down their winter items to make room for their spring clothes in February. You can often get good discounts through July or August!

      1. CarCarJabar*

        Lands End has a fleece blazer that nicely skirts the line between casual and professional. And- they’re on sale now!

    25. Green great dragon*

      A silk scarf can be surprisingly helpful, especially against draughts, and easy to carry in a purse.

    26. Well...*

      Just here to commiserate that this is awful. It can be very hard to regulate your temperature when you are sitting for a long time… If your body isn’t generating heat by moving around, it’s hard for clothing to keep you warm! Some people naturally radiate enough heat sitting down but I am not one of them.

      Also this is so bad for the environment! Whyyy

    27. Metal Librarian*

      My workplace has a similar issue to this (the library itself is significantly colder than the office) so a lot of my colleagues wear light cardigans. I’m not personally much of a cardigan person, but I do quite like waterfall cardigans as they’re a flattering shape and make me look taller :)

    28. Isabella*

      One of the amusing things about working for a women’s organisation is that we have branded pashmina shawls to wrap around ourselves when we get chilly!

    29. RogueVirago*

      The Astoria throw from Wool& (or something similar!) might be a good bet? Merino wool is fantastic for keeping you warm while still being very light. And it doesn’t need washing much at all, which is helpful for something that you might just want to keep in the office.

      Good luck! It’s horrid to feel cold all the time.

    30. UKgreen*

      62F is… 16C? So not ‘freezing’ – but in that sort of temperature I’d probably be wearing a cashmere cardigan over a long-sleeved top. A scarf might help too?

      1. UKDancer*

        Thanks for the conversion, I was envisaging sub-zero temperatures. So I’d agree that a warm cashmere cardigan would be the way to go. Natural fibres are usually best. I’d always say silk thermal underwear is wonderful for very cold days and could be brought with you and added in the ladies room when you get in. I get mine from Marks and Spencer or Uniqlo if you have either.

        If you’re cold inside but it’s warm out I would bring a pair of thick wool tights and wear them under my trousers. You could bring them with you / keep them at work and change when you got there. It provides warm legs but is easily removable as a rule.

        1. Jessastory*

          Yes, or some thick leggings and warm socks. Even better if you layer under a long skirt of medium/heavyweight fabric

      2. Inkhorn*

        Lol, I’m in the subtropics and 16C would absolutely be regarded as freezing (and probably trigger outright mutiny). Even 20C was enough for my boss to authorise the purchase of heaters to keep everyone comfortable until the aircon was fixed.

        1. UKDancer*

          Whereas I’m in London and it’s 24 degrees here which is in my opinion too warm so I have my small desk fan on (working from home).

          1. workswitholdstuff*

            I’ve been running around a (thanfully) cool old building today. 24 is defo warm in my book – but thankfully a nice breeze with it today in the ‘Grim North’ aka Yorkshire.

          2. anotheranonner*

            I feel like you absolutely need a desk fan in London. Y’all don’t have AC, so on the three days out of the year where it’s hot, it’s absolutely stifling and I wanted to die.

            I’ll never forget the nasty shock of running across the city to get to the bank on my lunch hour in August thinking “it’ll be ok. The bank will be cool inside” because all US banks are essentially meat lockers. And…no.

        2. Rolly*

          Freezing is around 0C.

          16C is cold for an office and, I imagine, most anything where you are.

        3. Clisby*

          I’m having a hard time imagining working in 16C (62F) temperature also. I’m sitting in my Charleston, SC, house with the AC set to 75F and I’m feeling a little too cool. Not cold, by any means, but I might put on a long-sleeved shirt soon. Outside is 86F, 74% humidity (feels like 98F, according to weather.com) so 75F with very low humidity is a big difference.

        4. Buni*

          It is now 28 (82) in London and I could weep. I would love to spend 8 hrs a day at 16; I keep my flat at 17.5 (63.5).

          Maybe places should start listing the office ambient temp along with the salary….

      3. Rolly*

        I spend a lot of time on snow in winter, and the phrase “freezing temperature” has a real meaning. In midwinter where I spend some of this time, we might even say “It was pretty warm – up around freezing” LOL.

        One thing for the OP (beyond language pedantry) is keeping the neck and wrists warm. A scarf will have a huge impact on how many people feel. Ditto sleeves long enough to easily cover the wrists. Big blood vessels are close the surface in these areas, so keeping them warm is important.

    31. LondonLady*

      Office cardigans are the way to go! A waterfall style one with tailored shoulders is my choice: smart enough for the office and can be wrapped for extra warmth. Store it in the office if you can so you don’t need to worry about carrying it in the heat. I have four: winter and summer weight, one black and one beige in each.

      Also a hot water bottle is your friend. Keep it empty in a desk drawer and use as required. Incredibly comforting in the cold.

    32. Lainey in the Lake*

      Jumping on the wool train here – especially merino or cashmere which can be ultra fine and lightweight (which generally looks smarter) and still incredibly warm. It sounds like a pashmina might work well with your work wardrobe style and has the advantage of being very flexible to use at you desk over your knees, round your shoulders etc as needed.

    33. Lilo*

      Op didn’t mention it, but I have particular trouble with my hands getting stiff in cold offices. I wear a running type jacket that I can thread my thumb through so my hands are partially covered. I also drink herbal tea or just cups of hot water so they warm up my hands.

    34. Paperdill*

      The coatigan.
      That not quite a coat/not quite a cardigan – thick but not padded or lined. They can be indoor wear and outdoor wear. I nice long one looks elegant, I find.

    35. Saraquill*

      I interned at a super chilly office. I always brought a cardigan, even in the summer. It wasn’t enough, so I’d layer a shawl over it.

    36. Theothermadeline*

      I just finished up grad school at a university that is a couple hundred years old, and my program was one that was in all the buildings that didn’t have HVAC systems and varied wildly in terms of temperatures. My signature accessory became my space heater, even in winter. I brought it everywhere, set it under every desk, and many days people would argue to sit next to me. I did the same thing when I lived in San Diego and it was always summer outside but the Law Of Offices made it very cold where I was working. In your position I would dress for the outside weather however I like and am most comfortable and have an under desk space heater, a pair of thick woolen socks and/or some Ugg-like slip on shoes, and a smaller heater up top or a fleece jacket and some gloves with the fingers poked out. Whenever my extremities were cozy I felt one million times better.

      1. Well...*

        It’s truly wild how much more productive and less exhausted I am at the end of they when I use my space heater. Our university turns the heat off sometimes when students aren’t around to save money and all the research staff just turn the space heaters on. I feel guilty but like also… I need to get work done?

    37. mreasy*

      OP4, I’m so sorry. 62 is unreasonably low – I would be shivering regardless of layers. (Would it help your employers to know that OSHA recommends a minimum temp of 68? I’m assuming not as it isn’t a regulation…but worth a shot?) A long duster sweater and/or jacket is the move for sure – maybe even a fleece-lined version that looks more chic but provides more warmth. And a pair of cozy sock-slippers to put on when you’re going to be seated/at your desk area for awhile could help.

    38. Other Alice*

      I’m very sensitive to the cold so I have a thick wool wrap. It’s open at the front, to avoid the”blanket” look, and in a simple navy colour that goes with all my office outfits. I also have woolen half-mitts. If that is an option, a pair of warmer shoes and second pair of socks will really help (maybe you have a locker you could keep those in). Keeping your extremities warm is 90% of the battle!

    39. Jenny D*

      I don’t have any brands to recommend; I’m in Europe so I don’t know what would be reasonable in the US. But I generally feel cold in temperatures where my coworkers go in shirtsleeves, so I’ve got some coping mechanisms.

      First, material: I’d go with silk and wool as a first choice, and avoid synthetics. Linen and cotton also works, but silk is the best for keeping cool in the heat and warm in the cold.

      Second, items: A chunky knit wool dress can be worn over jeans and t-shirt. I’ve got several that can be worn with anything from just a regular pantyhose and shell, to jeans and a turtleneck sweater. Combine with a scarf for a bit of colour and change. I’m thinking of something in the style of https://www.whowhatwear.co.uk/cable-knit-sweater-dresses/slide6 . Also stash some wool/silk leggings at the office and pull them on under your jeans.

    40. Katie*

      I think a pashmina is nice looking. The head of my department always had one for the colder times and it always looked nice.

    41. Kate*

      My boss gives me a new Woolrich blanket wrap every Christmas and I love them! Warm, neutral colors, and easy to put on or take off. I also second the suggestion for fingerless gloves.

    42. The Crowening*

      I have found that longish, solid color cardigans from Loft and Old Navy make really decent office sweaters. For years I had a mid-weight black cardigan that lived at the office (other than when I brought it home to wash it). Then I graduated to wearing or bringing a cardigan that actually matched the rest of my outfit each day.

      The pants/skirts issue is tougher. Maybe lap blankets are the way to go if warmer wear up top isn’t enough.

    43. Medusa*

      Same. I have long, open, thick cardigan that used to live at my office (it’s been at my home since we started WFH)

    44. Ana Gram*

      I have a couple Barefoot Dreams cardigans that I keep at work. They warm and cozy but still professional enough for the office.

    45. Danni*

      I often wear a north face or Patagonia fleece zipup inside year round – they can come in neutral colors and the Patgonia is sweater-like. Plus they wash easily.

      1. treehugger*

        Seconding the patagonia jacket. I think they’re getting more commonly used in office environments so they look professional to me. They’re also incredibly warm – perfect for wearing over summer clothes. I wear it in the dead of winter and in the summer.
        For feet, go with Smartwool socks. They’re the best.
        For hands, buy a heated mouse. Massive game changer for me.
        Lastly, I used to put a blanket over my lap but my coworker folded hers up and sat on it because she wanted to look more professional. I was always skeptical it worked but I’ve tried sitting on my own blanket recently and while it wasn’t perfect, I was definitely warmed by it. I sit on a small fleece throw that I fold up to fit on my chair seat. Every degree of warmth counts, right?

    46. Dan*

      If I was in an office being kept unreasonably cold, I would have no problem with dressing appropriately for the climate, up to and including a winter hat and coat, to effectively communicate how unreasonable that temperature is. You are not obligated to adhere to any dress code if the office is not within a normal range for room temperature. If questioned, explain why.

    47. Kiwi*

      OP, if you’re permitted something like this, a heated footrest can be wonderful for a chilly office. Many places have rules about space heaters but not about these.

    48. Ann Onymous*

      One thing that might help in addition to clothing is a heated foot rest. It’s been a lifesaver in my cold office. It’ll actually heat up the air under my desk. You can also fold up the legs and put it behind your back in your chair. Here’s an Amazon link to the one I have: https://www.amazon.com/Cozy-Products-TT-Toasty-Ergonomic/dp/B0013V6PDG/ref=asc_df_B0013V6PDG/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=167116234959&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=15790863120626939224&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=m&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=1015695&hvtargid=pla-161827297995&psc=1

    49. You Can't Pronounce It*

      I have a small blanket I keep at my desk and wrap around my legs. I also have fingerless gloves for the really cold days, but usually only need them in the winter. No one has ever said anything and plenty of people have seen it. I don’t take any of it with me to meetings, I keep it at my desk. I also am a big fan of cardigans or blazers because I can take them off when I’m outside.

    50. Professional Lazy Person*

      I’d recommend a thick, slightly oversized, hip length or longer cardigan you can leave at your desk. Something like the image linked below. I’m not a huge fan of “desk blankets” and think they look pretty unprofessional; this sort of sweater feels like a snuggie and is probably as close as you can get without looking sloppy. I have a similar black one from Vince (that I got on huge discount on ebay!) and it’s a lifesaver.


    51. Falling Diphthong*

      REI: Several years ago my daughter gave me a lightweight long black cardigan from REI. It looks dressy enough with a nice outfit, but not out of place with something more casual–it’s now my go-to travel sweater. (Also, it has pockets.) Looking at the REI website Prana and Athleta seem like they would be similar.

      LLBean: Long cashmere cardigan–light but dressy.

      Eileen Fisher: I have a lovely long pale blue sweater that I got from here last year to wear with a wedding outfit when it cooled off in the evening. Pricier but a good source for simple, unfussy styles.

    52. RC Rascal*

      I worked in a super cold office for 6 years. It was miserable. In summer it could be 100 degrees F out and 60 inside.

      I had a large wool camel colored wrap I kept on my chair. You could also use a poncho that slips overhead. Those look good with pants. A third option is a company logoed soft shell jacket.

      1. Junior Assistant Peon*

        I used to travel on business to Houston, where every public building is heavily air-conditioned. Everyone is dressed for the 100-degree outdoor weather, and we’re all freezing indoors at 60. In an old, poorly climate-controlled building in the Northeast, your body gets used to heat in summer and cold in winter.

    53. chellie*

      I feel your pain.
      Echo the comments about cashmere sweaters…warm and attractive. A cashmere scarf is also warm, and covering your neck keeps the heat close. Fingerless gloves.
      It sounds like you dress more professionally than I do, but maybe look for a felted or down vest? They come in versions other than giant poof. My vest goes on and off throughout the day and really helps keep me from getting too cold when I sit or awhile.
      Also, in my very cold office that didn’t allow space heaters, I got a heated floor mat.

    54. Chilly Teacher Lady*

      I’m a teacher and I work in a building that was built in the early 1920s, so our heating system isn’t so hot and (more relevant in these times), there is no mechanical ventilation, so we have to keep windows open year-round because of Covid. I’m sure many readers can imagine how fun that is in January in New England.

      I keep two pashminas (similar to these: https://www.amazon.com/Cindy-Wendy-Large-Cashmere-Pashmina/dp/B077GMTS1X/ref=sr_1_11?keywords=Pashmina%2BShawls&qid=1657280698&sr=8-11&th=1) in my office, and they are nice for days when the morning is a little chilly before the heat of the day sets in, or as an extra layer if one of the classrooms I go into is cooler than others. This year my officemate and I both bought fleece lined zip up jackets from L.L. Bean (https://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/120713?page=womens-beans-sweater-fleece-full-zip-jacket-misses-regular&bc=516567-610-504732&feat=504732-GN3&csp=f&pos=1) and wore them throughout the day.

    55. Anonymousse*

      I just…62 is cold! And expensive to air condition. What the heck?

      Sweaters and keep complaining. Ask for a heater at your desk. This all sounds ridiculous!

    56. Madame Arcati*

      My advice originates from wfh in winter and high energy costs/concern for polar bears meaning I don’t want to have the heating on all day but I think it should help. Long-line cardigans that come to mid thigh are good, especially the drapey ones with waterfall fronts you can sort of wrap round yourself while sitting. Also I have a really nice very finely knitted poncho – elegant and a little expensive (but worth it) so fine for a chilly office; you won’t look like you’ve been backpacking round the Andes! Good as a shape as it covers your front in a way cardis don’t. I’ll try to find a link to similar. Lastly a nice pashmina can be arranged in an elegant warming way (not scrunched up and looped through like a spinal support collar!)

    57. COB*

      A long black flyaway cardigan can also work great for unexpected client video calls as it gives a blazer like vibe while being warmer and cozier than a blazer. I lived in a city with a big temp ranges and I always joked that in the office we bundled up before going outside in winter and bundled up upon coming inside in the summer.

    58. anonymous73*

      A few jobs ago my office was freezing all year round. In the summer the AC was turned way down and in the winter because I sat near a door, every time someone would come through it a cold winter breeze would come with it.

      I always kept a sweater on the back of my chair, a blanket to wrap around my legs and slippers under my desk. As long as you can easily remove the blanket and change back into regular shoes when you get up, I found it to be the easiest solution. It doesn’t make sense to layer your clothing because you’ll have to constantly take it off and put it back on when you go from inside to outside.

    59. Taylor*

      I recommend a shacket! I have one in mustard yellow that I adore. My office is also freezing and I live in Florida so…I totally understand where you’re coming from. I’d buy a shacket that matches most of your clothes and just keep it in your office.

    60. St. Mary’s Institute of Historical Research*

      On those days when it is skin-melting hot outside and you can’t stand the thought of wearing pants, but know that your legs will be freezing at your desk, I am a big fan of maxi skirts. You can find them in heavier weights and wrap them around your legs like a blanket (maybe with a pair of leggings underneath) while you’re sitting, but when you’re outside there will be much better air flow around your legs and you’ll be so much more comfortable.

      1. Lacey*

        Yes! Maxi dresses are comfy, just the right amount of warm, and you can make them even warmer with a cardi.

    61. Lacey*

      When I worked in an office I always owned several cardigans, because it was always too cold.

      You can get cheap ones at Target or Old Navy – they generally fall apart within the year, but if you pay just a bit more you can usually get pretty nice ones from Maurice’s or Loft and those have always lasted me a while.

      ModCloth’s Charter School Cardigan and Dream of the Crop Cardigan are nice for paring with blouses and dresses respectively. They also generally have a good selection of unique cardigans if you want to make more of a statement.

      1. Bucky Barnes*

        Duluth Trading Co also has a nice cardigan that is sturdy but also looks professional.

    62. Panda*

      I get very cold when I’m sitting at a desk. I sew so I made about 5 cardigans that coordinate with most of my work tops which are colorful prints (which I also made). I always wear black pants. So my typical work “uniform” is black work pants, a colorful top, and a cardigan.

    63. Cold Hands Warm Heart*

      Like others, I also used to work in an office where the AC unit (right behind my desk!) blasted all summer. I second the recommendations for wool/silk garments (ruanas, scarves, fingerless gloves etc.), but I’d like to add — get a nice, warm hat! A stylish, drapey knit hat (like a wool or silk tam or beret) is a life-saver — I can be cozy with all the other garments, but if my ears are cold I’m useless. I knit, so I have several soft, lacy hats that cover my ears and don’t give me hat-head (loose and light!), so I can easily put them on and off. Also, if you wear loose trousers or skirts, get a pair of legwarmers — if you’re wearing flat shoes, these are easy to pull on and off, and cover more surface area than just socks.

    64. Bucky Barnes*

      I have a black fleece jacket (not outerwear, just one you’d wear over a shirt) that I keep at my desk and pull on if I need to. Not fancy but it looks nice and is warm.

    65. megaboo*

      As a librarian, I have curated a large cardigan selection. I also have pashminas and fingerless gloves. It does get that cold in our library.

    66. Seriously?*

      Can you put a small space heater under your desk? Electric and adjustable. Will go a long way to warming up your area. Just remember to turn it off.

    67. kittycontractor*

      I have a couple of thick knit, large knit cardigans that I keep in the office. Not sure of the brand for one but the other is a Tommy Hilfiger. I’ve attached a link to a similar style only mine is all one color (tan) with tortoise shell toggle buttons and a more relaxed, shawl like neckline. No pattern, no pockets. The other one is red with pockets but similar style. I buy a size up so I can wear them over almost every outfit and it’s not bunchy on me.


    68. Midwestern Communicator*

      Nordstrom is having their anniversary sale right now, and this is what I personally used when I was in a freezing cold office (I’m a late 20s female, who worked at agencies where the dress code was casual, but I often had to look more formal for client video calls).

    69. Just Your Everyday Crone*

      In addition to other things, I recommend socks, because the temperature of your feet can really affect your overall feeling of warmth or coldness.

      1. Just Your Everyday Crone*

        I also like knit jackets that are a little dressier than sweaters (though I wear those also) but not stiff or as formal as suit-type jackets.

    70. Not Today Josephine*

      #4 My office is so cold that literally everyone has a space heater in their cube, provided by the company. According to the company, there is a problem with the HVAC but in the 8 years I have been working there it has never been fixed. There are some people who wrap themselves up in blankets. I never wear short sleeves to work, unless it is under a sweater. There are lots of summer weight sweaters in the stores.

      1. Generic Name*

        This is crazy. I knew the a/c was broken one day in one of the buildings at work because the conference room was a habitable temperature.

    71. Pauli*

      I have a “poncho scarf” that I think is from Uniqlo. It’s basically a big square with a cut from the middle of one side to the center so it drapes over your shoulders. The pattern is a neutral kind of large plaid and it works like the office blanket my coworkers wear but looks more like a piece of clothing when I leave my desk to walk around. When I’m not in the office I leave it neatly folded on the back of my chair

    72. StateWorker*

      I have the same problem, I keep a cashmere (for warmth) cardigan on the back of my chair. Just pick a color (like oatmeal) that goes with everything. I also have some sweater blazers which I can layer over if I’m still cold. I also have a heating pad I keep in my desk (not technically allowed) on really cold days.

    73. Orange+You+Glad*

      #4 My office was always freezing so I’m conditioned to be always in layers. A few years ago I was gifted a wool poncho that was perfect for leaving in the office. It was warm like wearing a blanket, but still fashionable and office appropriate.

    74. Nightengale*

      Honestly I dress for the cold inside, on the theory that I am inside for 10 hours a day and only outside for 15 minutes or so at a time coming and going. I have just accepted that in most health care settings, it may be July outside but it will be January inside.

      My current office isn’t as bad as my two previous ones. But I often do end up in a wool skirt, knee socks, turtleneck and cardigan year round. When I am not in the room with a patient, I have a fleecy. I am also not above wearing a hat and coat and scarf and gloves inside. . . also a space heater.

    75. Just Here for the Free Lunch*

      Athleta has lovely and comfortable thigh-length cardigans with no buttons that are machine washable and hold their shape. I have 3 of them – black, navy, and grey – and they have other colors too.

    76. elizabeth*

      The perfect thing for this would be a sweater blazer. J. Crew and J. Crew Factory make a nice one (i have them from each place and the Factory one is basically identical to the regular J. Crew one, IMHO). If you have a hook on the back of your office door you can hang it from a velvet hanger on the hook, so the shoulders don’t get stretched out. A sweater blazer is warmer than a thin cardigan and has more structure, so it won’t get lumpy if you’re wearing something bulky or layers underneath.

    77. WillowSunstar*

      For clothing brands, not sure what size you are. I am plus size so I buy Roamans and Woman Within a lot. They are affordable and have a pretty big size range, and also include smaller sizes. They have cardigans, open front sweaters, long sleeve polo shirts, henley shirts, button down shirts, etc. Woman Within used to be Lane Bryant catalog and renamed themselves. You can find on Amazon and also One Stop Plus.

    78. Jennifer Strange*

      OP, I’ve definitely kept heavy open-front sweaters at the office during the winters (I get hot easily, so this way I can take them off and cool down a bit) and I’ve seen folks keep suit jackets hanging on a coat rack (maybe a blazer of some sort since that won’t look so odd with jeans?)

      I will say, I’m someone who advocates for erring on the side of cooler and even I think 62 is pretty cold!

    79. Lizzie*

      I used to work in a freezing office, a cardigan to throw on and a blanket for my legs, as well as going outside to warm up helped.

    80. LRR*

      Also, tights! You can slip them on in the bathroom when you arrive and slip off as needed.

    81. Antilles*

      I’m personally a huge fan of quarter-zip pullovers. They look more formal than a hoodie, while being a lot more practical than a full sweater since the ability to unzip makes it easier to put on/remove quickly. They also don’t give the same “take off your coat, stay a while” perception that you’d get from wearing something with a full zipper indoors.
      There are tons of different brands and looks, but a lot of them are reasonably formal enough to match what you’re looking for.

    82. dedicated1776*

      No suggestions, I just had to chime in and say how absurd it is that this is still a problem in 2022. Companies need to fix their HVAC.

      1. L'étrangere*

        The problem is much more often the one freak manager than the actual HVAC system

    83. That One Person*

      If its really bad then I would just find a neutral blanket that can be passed off as a shawl or something, or otherwise a shawl that can double as a blanket. They’ll unfortunately be easier to find in the winter time but I know Target usually gets them towards the end of summer, maybe around autumn though they should at least be available online. When they are in stores I recall them being in the accessories and jewelry section. You can also then always double it up with a nice cardigan or sweater. In my casual office I’ve seen people even with team-themed blankets and patterns, but I think if you go for something more solid and can treat it like a shawl then it’s fine. At worse just make sure it’s not visible during video calls.

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

      I have this same problem. I also often walk to work so I don’t really want to wear heavy clothing when it’s 90 degrees F with 80 percent humidity.

      My suggestion if you don’t want a lap blanket is to get a blazer and leave it in your office or on the back of your chair. Or a nice cardigan sweater in a neutral color. It helps so much. I also find that light weight dress pants are helpful. (I will link below). They are breezy enough to not be stifling and yet they cover my legs so I’m not freezing.

      PANTS: (https://www.chicos.com/store/product/Travelers-Classic-Hutton-Pants/570165147?color=001&size=7258&CMP=csc_goog_pla&utm_content=autoag0000x15552161922&gclid=CjwKCAjwq5-WBhB7EiwAl-HEklDBeF04GS8SqUeS6kSFrwjNgQs0hMu6POpQWk4O_5JinXM9zHHIoxoC6xYQAvD_BwE)

      I also recommend a maxi dress or something similar. I personally can never find a maxi dress that fits appropriately as I’m too short. but my co-worker wears them. they are usually longer and so it covers your legs but you can find them with tank top styles so that when you leave the office you can just take off your blazer.

    85. Wooly_Wonder*

      I got all of my office sweaters 2nd hand. There’s a pretty good 2nd hand store in my city that frequently has unloved sweaters. If you can handle wool that would be my first option.

      I also got a few light weight sweaters from Uniqulo for when my ugly grandpa sweaters weren’t quite appropriate.

      I also kept a pair of fingerless gloves and wool socks in my desk. A coworker had an electric heating pad that she would run some times
      When I started to get cold I also kept up the habit of getting up for a walk around the floor or to get some tea (or just hot water ) to drink.

    86. Metadata Janktress*

      I wear a massive knee length cardigan/duster. Mine is from Foxblood, which they only sell seasonally, but I’ve seen these type of things at places like Target. I also keep a knitted shawl at my desk, but if you don’t knit/crochet, getting one of those pashmina scarves works really well.

    87. CatPerson*

      You can get nice looking sweaters from Lands’ End and LLBean that you can wear over a variety of short-sleeved tops, such as a nice pima cotton t-shirt from the same companies. Wear summer-weight pants but use a lap blanket at your desk.

    88. Rosie*

      Anthropologie tends to have warm chic capes that are great for this! They’re out of season right now but if you look up anthro cape on poshmark or depop or something lots of options should come up.

    89. Hates Air Conditioning*

      In addition to all the sweater, cardigan, jacket solutions proposed for your top half, I put a pair of closed toe shoes and a pair of pants in my desk drawer. I’ll change into these when I come to the office if I’m not wearing warm things on a given day. A little less simple than pulling on a sweater, but worth it for the extra warmth.

      1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        I wonder whether LW could consider Ugg boots or similar – would depend on how “casual” the office genuinely is. But a person could certainly wear the same outfit with flip flops/thongs outdoors, and then add Uggs and a coatigan indoors. I find that keeping feet and wrists warm is the key to working well in a cool environment.

    90. librarian*

      I use a space heater at my desk year round! But I also like this knit blazer – it’s cozy like a sweatshirt but in a darker color looks professional. I have a dark gray one, which doesn’t seem to be available now but they do have black or navy.


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

        Please do not have a space heater on in the summer!

        A friend used to sit next to someone who constantly had a small space heater and the office wasn’t even cold! For some reason that end of the office doesnt get a lot of AC so it was typically in the upper 70s to mid 80s. Many times it was even higher. friends coworker was always freezing. Friend and her coworker shared a cubical wall so it was always so hot. Everyone else was hot too but no one could do anything because this person was a manager.

        1. librarian*

          i have my own office so it doesn’t affect other people. :) my library is ALWAYS freezing so many of my colleagues use space heaters in their personal offices year round. but i get that in a shared environment they can be tricky.

    91. Cardigan Lover*

      I personally love a good cardigan! They come in a ton of styles, so one could definitely find a match for any sort of dress code (barring I suppose like, black tie or such, but LW#4 sounds like they have a much more relaxed dress code than that) I generally prefer open-style things (either just… open, or with buttons) because that makes it easier to put on/take off without messing up hair or other clothes (like a pullover might) and also means it can feel more like “part” of the outfit, instead of just something over it, if that makes sense?

      If others are using lap blankets, that could also be useful to have one of, just in case for extra-chilly days, or at least to keep your legs warm (since you’d need a pretty long cardigan to help there!)

      (Ngl, I am a little jealous of LW’s workplace climate haha – my current workplace is the opposite, far too warm, and I can’t remember the last time I got to wear any of my favorite work cardis. I would happily trade my desk fan for those!)

      1. Cardigan Lover*

        Dang, remembered this just as I hit post on the other one: if you’re able to wear jeans, depending on how they fit you might be able to wear cuddle duds or something similar underneath! I had a similar workplace situation at an internship many moons ago – hot summer, freezing office (it was an old building with some… quirks) and my “new intern gift” was a pair of cuddle duds to wear at the office lol.

        These might make going outside less convenient though, depending on how hot it is/what your heat tolerance might be, so they might be best if it’s a day you’re not leaving the office much, and/or have the option to change out of them before going outside.

    92. DrSalty*

      I have a thick knit wrap shawl I bought at Kohls some years ago that I keep in a drawer and throw on when I get cold. It was trendy at the time, so idk if you can still get them there. But it’s perfect for this because it looks like a nice sweater and because it doesn’t have real armholes, it can fit over anything I might be wearing.

      1. DrSalty*

        This basically, but the one I have is thicker: https://m.kohls.com/product/prd-5534132/womens-sonoma-goods-for-life-brushed-boarder-plaid-ruana.jsp?skuid=73677116&CID=shopping15&utm_campaign=FASHION%20ACCESSORIES&utm_medium=CSE&utm_source=google&utm_product=73677116&utm_campaignid=9733267375&gbraid=0AAAAADytpHYOQQfuQNrrzOvqJ-eYo816r&gbraid=0AAAAADytpHYOQQfuQNrrzOvqJ-eYo816r&gclid=CjwKCAjwq5-WBhB7EiwAl-HEkppWZOubDXmhoppD92pmiuXYWBLGSQ09iXEByuhQxqvYOUj4fnT4nRoC0UwQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

    93. Shoebox*

      I got a scarf/shawl thing from Uniqlo, and it’s worked really well! It’s like a big rectangle with a notch in the middle, so you can easily drape it over your neck, if that makes sense. It can be worn as a shawl if you just need a bit of a cover, over a cardigan as an extra layer, or it can be worn as a comfy scarf if you want the neck warmth.
      I’m not sure if they sell them anymore, but they’re on secondhand sites, or I’m sure other companies make similar items. Mine is in a nice and neutral navy plaid pattern that matches most things I wear to the office. I used to work right under an a/c vent, so that was super helpful. I would also just keep a grey scarf in my office.
      I also use fingerless gloves, have a nice comfy dark grey cardigan I got from Amazon, and will likely bring in some sort of slipper/cozy boot if I’m ever in the office enough to warrant that.

    94. Spero*

      I would go for a lined wool jacket in a professional cut – like something intended for an outdoor jacket but cut close to the body so it could double as a blazer kind of look if you forget to take it off. I personally have had great experiences with Pendleton (although they are $$). Look for one that notes it is lined/thermalined for the extra comfort!

    95. PinkCandyfloss*

      LW #4 when I was traveling in Brazil I found a really nice neutral toned lightweight alpaca knit poncho. It’s basically two sewn together rectangles with a hole in the middle for your head, and your arms come out the slits between the rectangles. Super comfortable, beautifully warm, and folds neatly into the bottom drawer of my desk. Like this, but without the hood https://www.alpaca4less.com/superfine-alpaca-wool-hooded-alpaca-poncho-for-women-cloak-cape-coat-ruana-ultra-soft/?sku=51AC-068-400 Good luck!

    96. DC*

      My hacks for a cold office: thick, long cardigan type sweater, blanket for my legs (I have no shame), heater under the desk, fingerless gloves, LL Bean slippers under my desk.

    97. Delta Delta*

      A couple ideas:

      I have a really lovely, really heavy shawl that keeps me toasty. It’s a hand-woven piece from an art fair, so it’s not necessarily identically replicated, but something along these lines could be handy. And you could put it on/take it off. Or if something like that isn’t available, maybe keep a/several pashmina-type scarves. They’re warm and long, and can kind of serve as a scarf but also a blanket.

      You might also consider other indoor shoes – perhaps shearling-lined shoes. Mr. Delta wears a pair of shearling lined Birkenstocks around his office all the time and loves them. Or a pair of Uggs for the office could be handy.

      I also saw a down skirt somewhere – maybe prAna?

      1. L'étrangere*

        I agree, warm hands and feet make a big difference. Crocs also makes furry-lined clogs that are more affordable than the birks. But the beauty of the fur lining is that you don’t need to wear socks, so changing to your flipflops to go outside is pretty much instantaneous

    98. bratschegirl*

      For your hands, I highly recommend a product called Wristies. They’re made of polar fleece. They cover your palm but stop short of your fingers; the short length goes just past wrist, the longer one halfway up the forearm (this is what I use to play in cold churches etc.). They were invented by a young guitarist who had to play in a lot of cold places. For musicians in particular, the finger “stubs” of fingerless gloves can sometimes get in the way, depending on your instrument, but if your wrist – and thus the blood supply to your hand – is warm, your fingers will stay warm in cold indoor temps. These are faster to get on and off than regular fingerless gloves, also.

      1. L'étrangere*

        I consider regular fingerless gloves to be open and long enough to reach the middle of your first knuckles, so the major joints are protected. It’s never worth futzing with something that has actual finger stubs. Anyways that length makes it entirely possible to type or do any regular office activity, covers enough that frostbite will not be an issue. Occasionally you can find jackets that include that amount of coverage, that could be a nice feature here

    99. PeanutButter*

      I work from home, I also often go for walks in the sweltering humidity of the Great Plains in the middle of the day, but need to be “camera-ready” when I’m working. I have a long, dark colored, machine-washable cardigan over the back of my chair (so if I need to throw it on over the collared sun-shirt from Duluth Trading company if I come in and need to hop on a call ASAP. I also have a bunch of light-colored, linen trousers for going on walks, which I actually find much more cooling and comfortable than shorts or skirts in a much wider range of temperatures. When I worked on campus, I usually had a long ribbed tank on as an undershirt and would just strip down to that for my midday walks. Also never underestimate the cooling ability of a wide-brimmed sunhat!

    100. A Pound of Obscure*

      This describes my life at work, too. I’ve always mused, “We can put man on the moon, but we can’t f***ing heat and cool a building.” I have a small space heater, which I make sure to plug directly into the wall and not into an extension cord, and which I unplug when leaving. But for clothing, I have many light activewear jackets made from stretchy fabric that holds its shape and doesn’t pill or look sloppy. The ones I have at work are Champion or some of the less expensive activewear/yoga brands you find at stores like TJ Maxx, in solid colors and no visible logos. I have an off-white one and a dark grey one. Another thing I wear a LOT at work is a lightweight open cardigan. I have probably a dozen of these, some long-sleeve, some short-sleeve. In summer I usually wear ones that are made from kind of a microfiber or Tencel-type fabric. Right now I have on a cute sleeveless shell with a short-sleeve open cardigan in a summery color. When I go outside I can take off the cardigan.

    101. Hamster Manager*

      Hello from a cold climate native! What you want is several layers. They can be thin! Get some thermal fleece leggings you can wear under your pants, or instead of tights with a dress (or even under tights). Try thermal or silk underlayers. Wear only boots that cover your ankles with thick socks (keeping ankles and wrists warm is a big one). Turtlenecks. SWEATER DRESSES!

      It sounds like everyone in your office is miserable too, so you won’t look out of place getting a huge, chunky wool office sweater to keep around. When I worked in a freezing office, I put a space heater on my desk pointed at my chest and face, it works much better than pointing at the feet.

      1. L'étrangere*

        Good cold weather advice Hamster, but doesn’t work so well when it’s hot outside. The OP’s problem is not so much cold temperatures but the contrast with the outdoors she regularly goes out to

    102. shawlitall*

      To leave at the office: light woven wool shawl (pashmina, but check the tag for what it’s made of, you want the nice warm wool ones). I have two, one is in a solid color and another is a large floral abstract graphic. I can see through them, but it’s soft and becomes very very warm. I can wrap it around my neck a few times.

      I also like lightweight wool sweaters as they are easier to layer under a blazer or cardigan (double sweater for the win).

      If you’re comfortable changing at work, a heatgear undershirt to help keep your core warm might work, but if you leave the office often, it would get too hot in summer to wear out.

    103. Lady Nincompoop*

      I am always cold and have never found any layer of clothing that works both professionally with all outfits as well actually keeping warm. My best solutions have been to get permission for a heated mouse, a heated floor pad for under the desk (back when I had a desk that hid my feet) and to drink hot beverages (coffee tea hot water) all day long. That combined with a cardigan has been the most effective solution, because unless you’re wearing gloves your fingers are going to be popsicles!

    104. Pippin*

      I have the saaaaaaame situation in my job (circulation for a university library so public-facing). I have taken to wearing pants and short-sleeve or sleeve blouses or button-ups over nice jeans or khakis and then throwing on a cardigan that I leave over the back of my desk chair. (also i just invested in some smart-looking plain sneakers that seem better for me than flats/sandals). I also have a blank scarf that I’ll use on days when that doesn’t seem like the vibe (it was from the target bullseye section years ago but this seems similar: https://www.target.com/p/aventura-clothing-women-s-checked-scrawl/-/A-81963569?preselect=81963568#lnk=sametab ). Luckily for me, my coworkers have the same issue so no one thinks I’m weird for wearing warm things in the summer. They are all wearing sundresses with cardigans on and space heaters going.

    105. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

      Shawls and wraps are my go to. I worked in PHX and the Emirates where inside is an icebox and outside is a oven and this was my go to. For sitting at my desk I always kept a blanket for my legs

    106. Sam Yao*

      I have knitted and crocheted fingerless gloves for myself, the other admin here, and our boss, because we work in an igloo. I also keep a large knitted shawl/small throw AND a light blanket in my office, the latter to go over my lap. I am also still wearing my wide selection of tights. Truly it’s ridiculous in here.

    107. Plynn*

      I have no suggestions for cold-office clothing, but I just need to express my despair over the number of offices that use massive amounts of energy for air conditioning, which people then combat by using massive amounts of energy for space heaters. I’m sure all these offices also have recycling bins…you know, for the environment.

    108. SherSher*

      I worked in govt offices, which are notorious for being fuh-reezing! all summer. Everyone I knew had a heavy cardigan they kept on the back of their chair. I also had a small blanket and a colleague kept fuzzy slippers at her desk. I would go with the cardigan and a small lap blanket.

      1. Clisby*

        Here, government offices often have the opposite problem in winter – the temperature inside is roasting. It’s like it never occurs to them that people dress for the outside climate, so during the summer you don’t need to set the AC for the 60s (F) and in the winter you don’t need to have it up near 80F.

    109. Sweat and the City*

      I live and work in a similar climate you’re describing, so I feel your pain!

      If it is in your budget, J.Crew makes comfortable sweater-blazers that are stylish and comfortable. If it’s not, J.Crew Factory also always has sales and deals, and they make a classic cotton cardigan in several colors. It is both professional and keeps you warm in a cold office. Similarly, Madewell, which is owned by the same company as J.Crew, also has great cardigans and sweaters as well!

      I would also recommend checking out The Loft, which has professional clothes and is always having some sort of sale. I have cardigans from them I absolutely love and offer a professional vibe. I’ve also heard incredibly good things about Athleta’s casual wear that can easily be professional (like their Brooklyn Ankle Pant).

      While J.Crew and The Loft are working on size inclusivity, I’ve heard good things about Athleta’s sizing already being inclusive. If you are on Instagram, @ArielleSays documents a lot of professional outfits/casual outfits in a size inclusive way. Her style is city chic and she never misses! And if you’re petite, @JeanWang, the founder of Edited Pieces and blogger behind http://www.extrapetite.com, is a good go-to as well!

      And finally, several professional stores have now “matching sets” so you will see in the same collection matching pants, shells/tops and cardigans/blazers. Maybe worth seeing if your favorite work stores already have that (J.Crew specifically does this, but again, it can be out of people’s price range so I’m trying to *not* rely heavily on them! They are just my go-to place for work clothes!)

    110. Astrid*

      Have you considered a cashmere poncho or asymmetric wrap? They’re easy to put on/take off as needed. I’ve had the cashmere wrap from Garnet Hill in my cart for way too long. I’m also a knitter and I recreated a cabled poncho from Banana Republic for a friend who would wear it around our chilly office.

      I agree with the portable heater suggestions. I am currently being warmed by a Lasko heater with a thermostat – unlike some other heaters, this one hasn’t blown any circuits.

    111. Student*

      I just wear jackets indoors when I need to. I’d look for a jacket that fits your industry and the look you’re going for, and then just leave it at your office as a dedicated item for work. Take it home to clean occasionally on weekends.

      I have a leather bomber jacket that I like for this use in my job, as well as a lighter-weight windbreaker that has a bit of style to it and a neutral color scheme. I think a lot of plain black or brown or off-white jackets would likely work.

    112. Sweat and the City*

      I am in the same boat as you — hot and humid climate, freezing cold office!

      I’ve found that J.Crew offers a good selection, with comfortable and stylish cardigan blazers. They also offer more “matching sets” like color/style coordinate blazers, tops/shells and pants. It could be worth checking those out. Madewell (owned by the same company as J.Crew) does similar things and offers more casual dresses and sweaters, but that are still easy to make professional. However, I know both stores can run a bit pricey, so I also highly recommend J.Crew Factory, which offers pretty decent stuff at a good price! They have a classic cotton cardigan that is easy to match with any work outfit. When I was starting out in my professional career, I had this cardigan in like five different colors and rotated them with a suiting dress I had!

      I’d also suggest looking at LOFT and Athleta. LOFT is both comfortable and professional and always has great sales. Athleta is known mostly as GAP’s activewear line but they have more casual/lifestyle options now and I know their Brooklyn City Pant is a huge seller.

      Also, Athleta is incredibly size inclusive (something both Madewell and J.Crew are working on expanding as well). For size inclusive professional and lifestyle outfits and clothing recs, @ArielleSays (on Instagram) is a great resource. Her style is so city chic and cute! And @JeanWang (on Instagram) is the founder of Edited Pieces and http://www.extrapetite.com. So, if you’re on the shorter side, her page is a great resource! (Honestly, recommend both pages for cute outfit ideas and recs — especially for things like this).

    113. L'étrangere*

      I also deploy a basic set of long cardigan and fingerless mittens with a rotation of scarves for extra warmth and visual variety. But just another angle.. Check your local building codes for the basic legality of this. Many locations have standards of temperature that must be met for human occupation, and I’ve never seen any go below 65 oF. It doesn’t sound like much of a difference, but those few degrees could help a lot with your ability to get comfortable. If that’s the case, a quick call to the police would be all that’s needed and you can often do that anonymously

    114. hodie-hi*

      If your fingers get cold and stiff even in fingerless gloves, stick a small handwarmer on the back of your hand inside the gloves. Lots of big blood vessels there will carry that heat to your fingers.

    115. TootsNYC*

      I remember being surprised at how much of a difference a scarf made–that extra layer on the upper back and the chest, and the neck. I think that’s one reason why hoodies are so popular as an extra layer for warmth.

      it might not be enough on its own, but going with a scarf in additoin to a cardigan might make a big difference.

      I used to fantasize about having my sister knit or crochet me a funnel-neck button-front poncho that ended just above my elbows.

      Women have easier options than men, for this.

    116. Jessica Fletcher*

      I’m wondering where you live that you consider 62 degrees worthy of full-on winter layers!

      Most women in my office keep a cardigan at their desks to throw on as needed. I’d try that or a blazer. It’s simple enough to take off when you’re heading outside.

      Stop wearing linen if you’re so cold!

      1. Broadway Duchess*

        This is not helpful. People experience discomfort from cold at different temperatures. Sixty-two is obviously cold for OP, so the location doesn’t really matter.

        1. EchoGirl*

          Also, there’s a difference between a 62-degree day and an office that’s air-conditioned to 62, even if the temperature is technically the same. Admittedly I don’t really understand why, but this is a phenomenon that’s come up on threads like this before so I know it’s not just me.

          1. JustEm*

            This! In the winter I’m happy to have my house warmed to 62-64. In the summer I like the AC in the 70s… AC to 62 would feel freezing!

            1. yala*

              I think it’s kinda funny because we tend to keep our apartment 69-70. I recently put up a thermometer at work as a semi-joke and it seems like our office is usually 70-72…but it always FEELS freezing. I don’t know why!

    117. Workerbee*

      If the reason why the thermostat can’t be adjusted to a decent temperature is because of office politics, then I’d go full-on grandma-knit blanket to make a Very Visible Point that the temperature is untenable. Seriously.

      Add a knit cap and scarf, too. And a space heater. And one of those fake flame candles that can still give off heat.

      (I have seen this subtle aggression done in an office of my past; beautiful.)

      1. anotheranonner*

        I hung a thermostat outside of my cubicle, but it’s less about being passive aggressive and more about just making a joke because everyone knows our office is. So. Cold.

        (Also for Christmas, we decorated our cubicles and I set mine up as a fireplace with a little crepe paper and LED fire, and maybe sometimes I would pretend to warm my hands on it)

    118. NobodyHasTimeForThis*

      Our office used to be like this, we all have personal space heaters at our feet.
      I have a cardigan I keep at the office.
      In summer I will often layer a couple cardigans.
      I also have a couple very nice scarves that look like accessory scarves but are lightweight knit and surprisingly effective at keeping the chill off my neck. I keep 2 colorful ones that go with 75% of my wardrobe and then a charcoal one for other times.
      We all have blankets and many have warm slippers under the desks. It is below the view of anyone seeing and they are nice blankets, nothing garish.
      Also consider something like a rice bag if you don’t want to use a space heater. I can pop mine in the microwave and it stays warm for hours – I can snuggle my feet on it below my desk or sit it on my lap.

    119. Janeric*

      I have always wanted a desk coat like Lily Tomlin wears in Nine to Five, and I feel like you have the opportunity to get something similar.

    120. Busted internal heater*

      Can’t give store or brand recs, but whatever you get, go for natural fibres if you can as they breathe better, with wool or silk being the best.

      Absolutely consider wool or fur lined boots. You could go with ugg boots, but there are places even here in Australia that sell work appropriate boots that are sheepskin lined for warmth (haven’t looked for steel cap varieties yet for me though). You can also look into socks that promote circulation, which may help you stay warmer if you sit for long periods of time.

      Also, make sure that with all the layers you will be wearing that it is still comfortable to sit, move your arms, etc.

      I would not be able to function at your office behind a desk at that temperature for more than 30mins, and that is WITH multiple layers including thermals! I’d have to have a snow suit hidden at my desk to wear I recon!

    121. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

      Is there any possibility of WFH in your role? The ability to control the temperature is one of the things I cherish about my home office. (I prefer it more arctic than most, but I am a lady of a certain age and size, and generate my own heat.)

    122. Maggie*

      I’ve found sitting on a heating pad is the best tool against a cold office. It’s discrete and heats me from my bum or lower back which seems more effective than just my extremities. If it’s really really cold, I’ll even sit on my hands for a little bit and warm those up as well.

    123. Work fashion blogs rec*

      Not a specific clothing rec, but I wanted to mention that the work fashion blogs Corporette and Capitol Hill Style have great suggestions on this question in their archives!

    124. sara*

      I used to keep a large wrap/shawl that I got at Indigo (canadian bookstore chain). It’s super neutral, sort of a grey plaid, and works as a shoulder wrap or a lap blanket. Also, consider socks/shoes. Like maybe you arrive in summer-y shoes, but you keep some warm socks and heavier shoes at work? If your pants are full-length, you could even get tall socks that keep your legs warm also?

    125. RB*

      Cardigans are your friend, my friend. Especially a nice 100% merino wool cardigan. It doesn’t have to be a really thick and heavy one, if it’s wool or wool blend. Also blazers, but I think cardigans are even warmer because they hug your skin, and blazers are harder to find in wool.
      I think leggings are warmer than slacks, but if you’re not a leggings person, that might not work for you.
      But 62 degrees is crazy — I’d like to hear that story.

      1. RB*

        And I forgot to mention scarves. Like the cardigans, there are lightweight scarves that will look like summer accessories but are wool and will keep you warm. Or cashmere. Grey, black, tan, cream, any of the neutral colors.
        And if you wear socks, real 100% wool ones for that as well.

    126. Barbara D*

      This is great for work. It is warm and comfortable but still professional looking. I have it is several colors.

    127. Elizabeth I*

      My friend who’s always cold swears by “NorSari” – a brand of wearable wrap-style blanket. She throws it on over her clothes when walking her dog or working from home on a chilly day.


    128. JJLib*

      I have a fleecy reversible poncho (one side solid color, other side large color blocks) that I keep on the back of my chair. I got it at Aldi a couple winters ago. Then last winter I got a couple more. I expect it’ll make a return to the store one week this coming winter in a new color scheme.

    129. Jayr*

      Our offices are always freezing. I keep a zip up hooded sweatshirt in my office and usually layer similar or a cardigan depending on what else I am wearing. I also have a space heater at my desk and a blanket. It makes no sense to me why they keep our office so cold and would rather we all runs space heaters 365 days a year (heat and AC set about 64)

    130. Petunia*

      I have a wool shawl from Fairbault Woolen Mill that I keep in the office and wear (sometimes on top of a cardigan!) when I’m especially cold. It’s basically the same size as a throw blanket, but obviously more professional; I really love that it can keep my legs covered up, which my cardigans can’t do. These shawls are not cheap — I think I paid something like $150 — but it was money well spent.

    131. Diana like the Princess*

      Zip-up cashmere cardigan from L.L. Bean. Beautiful, lightweight, and warm! I have WAY too many of them. Keeping your feet warm with wool socks you keep at your desk has helped me in the past, too!

    132. MyLifeInSocks*

      Depending on your style, Stitch Fix is actually good for dressy casual. They have some awesome cardigans and casual blazers. They are not the place to go for trendy stuff, imo, but they are really good for what I do, which is academia.

    133. JC*

      Yet another person here to add to the cardigan chorus, assuming that OP dresses female. I wear short sleeved tops/pants/cardigan year round, and in the summer I add in a dress + cardigan. I have pretty much lived in cardigans at work for my entire professional career.

      I have some cardigans that are lighter than I prefer in the summer, and some that are heavier and maybe closer to the “coatigans” described by others in this thread. I find the really heavy cardigans to be too much in the summer, even in my cold office.

      Now that I am back in the office I have started keeping an extra black cardigan in my office (black because it will go with most things). I forgot a cardigan at home once recently on a day where I was wearing a dress and I was miserable all day.

    134. e271828*

      #4, long duster-like cardigans are the best solution for this situation, most likely in a light cashmere or cashmere-cotton blend. For your feet, wear closed shoes, not sandals.

    135. Not a mouse*

      When I worked in a really cold office, I had matching sets of long sleeved sweater and long sleeved cardigan that were relatively light cotton, from Lands’ End. Not sure if they still have the same thing. I wore a traditional suit jacket over that (would have worn a suit regardless in this job). In winter I wore a turtleneck under all that, in summer something lighter.

    136. Lilian Field*

      Don’t forget to cover your neck and chest, especially if you are wearing a coatigan that has a wrap front or shawl collar or another kind of open front. Consider getting something that can button or zip or otherwise close almost all the way up your chest, and then get a foulard or other scarf that you can tuck into your collar. Having your whole chest and some of your neck covered can make an enormous difference.

    137. Erin*

      Wear a coat and a hat and gloves if needed. That is ridiculous and your appearance might alert someone who can fix that.

    138. Wandering*

      Have you seen the “self heating” pads designed for pets? They reflect the body heat back. Works for humans, too. Strap one to the back and seat of your chair.


      When I worked in an company that had temperatures backwards, I kept long sleeve tops, cashmere cardigans, wool hat, & wool socks in my office & warming pads on my chair all summer. (And sleeveless tops & sandals during the winter. Never understood why they needed the office temps at 80 in the winter but 65 in the summer.)

      NB: all my cashmere comes from thrift stores. I pay $5-6 apiece.

    139. nowaytobegin*

      ORORO makes heated apparel. I have a heated fleece and heated hoodie. LOVE them. My office is 66F, and I’m in charge of the HVAC. Unfortunately, the system is old, and one side of the building gets far colder than the other. The heated fleece is nicer, and pretty thick even if the heat isn’t turned on. The hoodie is not professional at all, but honestly there are times that I do not care.

    140. hayling*

      I have hand warmers that really help when it’s cold. They’re like gloves but without any fingers at all. Basically just a tube of fabric with a thumbhole. I found ones that are made of recycled cashmere so they’re thin and light but quite warm and don’t interfere with typing.

      What about warm shoes? Something that’s lined? Maybe booties or sneakers? I wear ECCO Soft 7 Tred High when it’s cold, or wet – probably overkill for what you need indoors but they’re quite warm.

    141. Elizabeth Bennet*

      I recommend an acrylic sweater, or a wool cardigan. Acrylic tends to be slimmer in thickness than wool, but will keep you super warm. Wool breathes better and may help regulate your temperature better.

    142. Pdweasel*

      My office situation is similar, so I’ll either wear summer-professional dress clothes to work and then layer on a cardigan/sweater/fleece jacket once I get to the office, or I’ll roll in in shorts & a T-shirt and change completely once at the office (I often commute by bike, so this works well regardless of the weather).

    143. Dawn*

      I’m sure someone’s already said it but PLEASE write that second letter.

      I’m already developing a whole story in my head.

    144. PickleFish*

      I wfh and get cold sitting. I know you asked for clothing. I have a Lands End sherpa lined cape shawl. It’s a hybrid of blanket and clothing that would be good for days you’re really cold.

    145. GythaOgden*

      Another vote for wool-mix jumpers. I know people are allergic, but in the spirit of the ‘sandwiches’ rule, that’s something they can ignore if it doesn’t suit them. My corporate uniform is meant to fit both maintenance and front of house, so I have been given nice, easy-care wool mix jumpers and cardigans in charcoal. They’re smart and practical and can just go in the ordinary wash with other dark clothes, but as I found out this morning, can stand up to air conditioning on full blast.

      I would gladly swap places with OP, though. I run hot (something something dyspraxia feels temperatures differently can be in short sleeves when others are in parkas something something) and my colleague hates aircon and fans. We’re in the UK so things are not kept at an icy temperature in the summer, but in the winter, if I’m alone at the front desk, I have to remind myself not to turn the communal air heater off because I’m too hot — other people with normal nervous systems are working upstairs. I do save a fortune on gas in the winter, though! Extra blankets and my grandmother’s old cardigan are plenty for a British winter. (Even if I lived in Minnesota, I think I’d melt the snow just by being there. Every time I sign up for a winter break somewhere there’s likely to be snow, which I love, it’s always the mildest winter since the Big Bang, despite recent photos showing the deep and crisp and even King Wenceslas style carpet.)

      Mother Nature has blessed us with a nice breeze this summer, though, so it hasn’t been too bad. I have stuffed both work and home fridges with coke zero and can ride it out.

    146. librariandragon*

      for #4, I work in a heavily climate-controlled environment and definitely share this experience. My recommendation is to keep a shawl/wrap type thing of a heavier weight (heavier than a pashmina scarf, lighter than a full blanket – ruana is a good search term for this) in the office that you can use on your lap or shoulders, and (depending on your office space situation) potentially a dressier sweater/blazer type thing. Knit blazers or cardigan blazers are also good search terms and can be found anywhere from Nordstroms to Target. Don’t be afraid to layer – cardigans are a stereotypical librarian style choice but we wear them for this exact reason.

    147. BSide*

      I’m always freezing and use: a “swacket” type sweater jacket that I leave in the office, a very warm poncho with a professional plaid pattern, and my most prized possession- a space heater.

    148. yala*

      A cardigan is always a good idea. I don’t know how professional this would be for where you are, but I’ve also got a leather jacket I keep at work. It does a good job of cutting through the chill, but doesn’t overheat me the way other things can.

      Less clothing-related, but I also have a mediocre hot pad that I keep at my desk that I usually have on my lap. Even if I get up for a bit, so long as I’m just going to be away for a minute or two, I leave it on my chair so it’s nice and toasty when I get back. Our office is so cold that when anyone walks in from elsewhere in the building, it’s the first thing they say. And of course, it’s 90 degrees outside.

      I would also suggest THICK WOOL SOCKS. Smartwool and Bombas are both really good brands. Just make sure you have something that keeps your feet warm. Cold feet just make for a cold you, whatever else you’re wearing. (Possibly keep them at your desk, like some folks keep work shoes?)

    149. nozenfordaddy*

      I have an office cardigan, thick and heavy, wool with a hood. I also have a lap blanket but the life saver for me has been something not clothing based. I bought a heating pad (space heaters not being allowed). After some trial and error with the cord I’m warm and toasty.

    150. coldfeets*

      Thermal leggings + long sleeve top (I wear a merino blend that I pick up from Aldi in winter).
      Button up tops in natural fibres (cotton, wool blends etc).
      Experiment with outer layers – cardigans, jackets, actual coats.
      I have a merino scarf/pashmina that i.pit over my lap when I get cold. My first winter in this office, I also had a little microwave wheat bag to put on my lap and tuck my free hand under.

      So you can rock up in your outside clothes, throw a long-sleeved layer like a shirt or thermal top on, + additional layers over that. If you’re sweaty when you arrive, try to wipe it away because it’ll keep you cool as it evaporates.

      Also, idk if this is on your radar, but don’t stress about wearing the same jacket throughout the week, or the same cardigan several times. People generally won’t notice unless it’s a statement piece, and particularly with jackets and coats it’s normal for a person to just have one or two that they wear into work.

    151. EmmaPoet*

      I am pro long cardigan that lives at the office. I never know if it’s going to be toasty or freezing, so I keep a long neutral cotton cardigan (with pockets) on my desk chair and that works for me. It’s a Land’s End model that is finally reaching its last days after 20 years of service, but they currently have huge sales on so I’m going to replace it this week. I also have a fleece lap blanket that I use from time to time when I’m shivery. Lastly, hot drinks are always good for keeping the shivers down. I have a bunch of herb teas that I use at various times and that makes my day bounce along a little better on late nights or shivery days.
      I normally take the cardigan home on long weekends and wash it then so it stays fresh, and nobody has ever commented other than to say that they like it. I did change out the boring buttons that came with it to decorative ones, and that dresses it up a bit.

    152. Killer Queen*

      I feel like you could have one of those grandma sweaters. I have one that is ACTUALLY from my grandma haha. But they are pretty heavy so they are warm and I think that they can look nice and professional especially dressed up with linen pants or nice jeans.

      (If you have no idea what I am talking about they are heavy cardigans that are slightly oversized. Like literally what older women wear. You can find them in thrift shops too so it wouldn’t be expensive.)

  1. Road warrior*

    OP2, the next time you are contacted by your old employer respond with “My consulting fees are $300 per hr billed in 4 hour blocks with the first block prepaid in cash”. You owe them nothing and they should stop bothering you. Any errors that crept in after you left are absolutely not your concern or responsibility to fix.

    Block their numbers and mark their emails as spam.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      It’s needlessly adversarial when there are perfectly easy ways to handle this that preserve the relationship (while still not doing further work for them)!

      1. tamarack and fireweed*

        I agree with Alison especially in the situation where the person contacting the LW is someone who has filed an ethics complained, that is, in my reading is already in an adversarial relationship with, if not the company, then at least the LW’s former team.

        Thus I think the right thing is to politely get the point across that the people responsible for knowledge hand-over and transfer of processes at the LW’s departure are the LW’s former boss and boss’s boss. Brief and final.

      2. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

        I agree with you, but I do have to say this whole thing sounds a lot like they are looking for a scapegoat. So I would definitely stick with the, “Sorry, it has been six months. I tried to document my procedures and left a document for successors, but beyond that, all questions should go to the current management team who will be more familiar with the situation in question.”

        1. Michelle*

          I was very concerned about how that one single missed step ended up as an ethics complaint. That’s not a forgotten password or wrong setting on the widget maker. OP should ditch the self imposed responsibility and pick up a 10 foot pole instead.

      3. calonkat*

        I’m not usually one for “needlessly adversarial”, but I must admit, there’s a meme that sprang immediately to my mind when I read the words “your side of the story. It goes “The Lion, the Witch and the audacity of this ****”.

        It’s on the company to make sure they know how their business operates! You left a small book on your processes and how DARE they put this on you! They apparently can’t manage their business in a competent manner and they are trying to blame you for that? They have chosen profits over being properly staffed, meaning that too few people are doing too much, and no one is cross-trained. That is not your fault, it was their choice! These people would be using a medium to try to guilt your ghost if you’d passed away instead of leaving!

        Don’t let the email get to you! You owe them nothing, if you choose to help them in any way, you are being very gracious in the face of abject rudeness. People here have given you some great wording, use it and be very clear that this is the one and only email you are responding to.

        My goodness, I don’t usually react this strongly, but you can hopefully see just HOW BAD it was there and congratulate yourself on getting out! Deep breaths, you are in a better place, you did your best for them, and you really are free from any demands they choose to make.

        1. JJLib*

          Did anyone else notice how the LW still has access to their emails from that job? Why hasn’t the company cancelled their ex-employee’s access to their systems? And if the LW was using a personal email account for their job, that’s another sign of a messed-up company.

          1. calonkat*

            She actually responded below (search for LW2* to find her comments) and explained a bit more. I really had a reaction to them emailing her to “give her side”, but it doesn’t sound like it was as bad as presented. I’ll stand by my comments that it’s good LW2 is out of there!

    2. Raboot*

      Would you personally really, actually do this in real life? It’s a little tiring to see all these fantasies passed off as advice to actual people with actual problems.

      1. Amy Farrah Fowler*

        Yeah, this isn’t a situation where a consulting agreement would really make sense. Sometimes it would, and there is a polite way to say “hey, this is beyond what I can do for free now that I’m working elsewhere, but I’d be willing to help out if we can find a mutually acceptable rate”. But it sounds like the issue here is not really one that would warrant that kind of arrangement.

      2. Nameless in Customer Service*

        Some years ago I did see someone I’m close to do this, though the fee they asked for was different and they only resorted to this tactic after the fourth time their previous job contacted them, not the first. Still, it was very satisfying to witness.

      3. Kiwiapple*

        Yeah absolutely this. It’s damaging for people who are new or early on in their careers to see such terribly aggressive comments from people on AAM. It does not help the blog or AAM’s reputation.

        1. NLR*

          Eh sites aren’t usually judged by what people say in the comment section. Most people know comment sections are notoriously terrible as a general rule. Example: the comments on the Guardian are awful and it’s a highly respected paper.

          1. Dasein9*

            When I recommend the site, I make a point of mentioning how valuable the moderated comment sections are because this is a generally supportive environment. That’s rare on the internet, yes, but there is no reason to drag this commentariat down to the internet average.

          2. Lenora Rose*

            I actually DO measure sites with active, involved moderation by the quality of the commentators. I come back to sites with good moderation, I avoid the comment sections of the sort you get with no moderation even if the articles themselves are good.

            And one of the signs of good active moderation is if the commentariat feels like they know the tone the site wants to present well enough to discuss whether a given comment is possibly pushing it. (even when the first person to do so was not, as it was in this case, the *moderator*.)

            (This site is in no great danger, IMO, even with a few intemperate fancies).

      4. Mongrel*

        And they always forget that people may want to just stay away, especially if the workplace was toxic.
        It’s all very well getting a justice\revenge boner with “Just charge exorbitant consultancy fees. LOL” but you have to account for the times they say Yes.

        1. Darsynia*

          I think it’s escalated over the years from ‘request consulting fees as a signal to them that they no longer direct your labor anymore, and you do not work for free’ to ‘demand they pay you something so ridiculous they’ll write you off’ and finally to being taken as actual advice.

          To be fair, I think the consulting fees are meant as a ‘stay away’ because most workplaces would never budget for that. By now, they’ve been amped up by hyperbole to seem more commonly recommended and thus given accidental credibility, by repetition.

      5. Amanda P.*

        It’s kinda weird to see this dismissed as “fantasy”. I have said something very similar to this to a former employer, and I would do so again. It’s not adversarial, just factual. If they want my help, they can pay for it. If they don’t want to pay, they can figure it out. It worked out fine for me!

        I recommend being clear, direct and knowing your worth when communicating with people who want you to do work.

        1. Lance*

          It can be factual while also being adversarial. The way Road Warrior put it very much leans into ‘adversarial’ territory; there are far more polite ways of putting it that will benefit everyone involved, including OP’s reputation.

        2. Putting the Dys in Dysfunction*

          We don’t have crucial details, such as how a miscommunication regarding a step in a process could become an ETHICS COMPLAINT, for crying out loud, or who is the subject of that complaint. Could it be OP? And who is the person/body to whom the complaint is directed, and what power do they have to penalize someone?

          If this is the worst case, where an ethics complaint has been made about OP to a body that could do something adverse to OP’s interests, a flip remark about consulting fees might be absolutely the wrong thing to do. Compare that to leaving an abusive employer who is demanding unreasonable post-job work, and where you don’t care what they think or do, and the consulting comment might be a great way to shut things down.

          As commenters we make all kinds of assumptions. But we need to be careful about counseling someone to go nuclear when the result would be mutually assured destruction.

          1. Eldritch Office Worker*

            This is my concern as well. Is this ethics complaint something the OP is implicated in? Is OP still in a job or industry where that could come back around to bite them?

            It may or may not be appropriate to be completely silent, if it works I’d advocate for that. I definitely wouldn’t antagonize.

          2. LinuxSystemsGuy*

            That was my first thought on reading this. How serious is the “ethics complaint” bit. Is this a complaint to a significant professional organization that OP is a member of? Could this come back a some sort of censure on OP? If OP is in one of the “Professions” (doctor, lawyer, engineer, architect, etc) an ethics complaint to the professional governing body could result in a loss of license and/or ability to practice! They should definitely follow up and cooperate completely to resolve the matter and protect themselves.

            On the other hand, if this is some kind of internal company complaint, or OP is not the subject of the complaint, merely someone who can provide background. Well that’s very different. In that case OP has no obligation to help at all, and can chose to participate or not as they see fit. Provide as much or as little time and effort as they want.

            1. PR hirer*

              No, LW2 should not ‘cooperate completely and resolve the matter’ if it’s a complaint to their professional regulator.

              If it’s a regulatory complaint, LW2 should–

              Seek legal advice
              Not provide any feedback without that advice.

        3. Falling Diphthong*

          Sometimes the message you want to convey is “I will not take on this task” rather than “HA!” You don’t have to frame everything around work as available for the right price.

        4. Antilles*

          It’s fantasy in this case because of rest of the details in the letter.
          -There’s an ethics complaint involved, which is serious business. Even if OP is not directly the target of the ethics complaint, responding with “pay me to do this” is going to look really bad.
          -The “your side of story” is an extremely strange framing, almost like the employee is trying to pin blame on OP. If that’s what’s going on here (whether formally via the ethics board or internally), asking for money is going to further that narrative and paint OP in even worse light.
          -The job was stressful enough that it’s affecting OP’s mental health, to the point that these emails are already giving OP anxiety flashbacks. Firing back with an aggressive “this is my consulting fee, pre-paid in advance” is going to draw OP further in and just invite more back-and-forth – plus if they do accept, now OP has to deal with all this again.

          Sometimes it makes sense to offer consulting services to an ex-employer if you parted on good terms. But in this case, with all the other details? It’s pure fantasy and straight up bad advice because of all the other things in play.

        5. Glomarization, Esq.*

          You think demanding a $1,200 up-front consultation fee, in cash, isn’t adversarial? Man, I work almost exclusively on a retainer basis, but I don’t demand my pre-paid fees in cash, or using language as suggested.

        6. Observer*

          It’s kinda weird to see this dismissed as “fantasy”.

          What is weird is that you don’t seem to understand why it is actually a fantasy. Yes, there are times and situations where this makes sense. And I believe that Alison has actually mentioned this option a time or two. But this situation is totally not the time or place for it.

        7. Twix*

          The fantasy here isn’t that this is a reasonable response in some situations, it’s that it’s a reasonable *general strategy* for communicating with former employers.

          Tone and specifics aside, there are basically three messages this type of response can send: An actual offer (“I’d be happy to help, but what you’re asking for is a significant amount of work so you’re going to need to compensate me for my time”), flexing the change in power dynamic (“I don’t work for you any more. Here’s what it now costs if you want to keep treating me like I do”), or that they’ve burned this bridge (“I’d be happy to dance on your grave, but here’s how big a pile of money I’ll set that aside for”).

          The problem is that based on the information we have, none of these are a useful message in this situation. If OP’s former employer wants a substantial amount of their time sorting out the documentation issue, the first one may become reasonable, but it’s not clear that that’s the case. It doesn’t sound like bridges have been burned there and those relationships may still have value for OP, so burning them by refusing to offer basic professional courtesy and answer a question or two if that’s all that’s needed probably isn’t in their best interest.

          Setting professional boundaries actually is an issue here with regard to the “OP’s side of the story” request. But while it’s impossible to give specific advice without knowing more about nature of the ethics complaint, OP’s best course of action here is almost certainly either to stay out of it entirely or to show a clear pattern of acting in good faith. “I will help you if and only if you pay me” is not a useful boundary to set here because this isn’t a situation where OP wants to cede the decision about their involvement to their former employer.

      6. Just Your Everyday Crone*

        I’ll add that as a ND person, I’m always a bit confused as to whether people really mean that kind of thing or are just engaging in hyperbole. I generally assume it’s the latter but am never quite positive without the sarcasm font.

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          I think people are often saying it as something they wish they could do or are genuinely advising someone else to do, but push come to shove few people would actually do it themselves.

          It will vary, but it’s one of those gray areas that if you’re not sure I would just let it be background noise.

      7. Glomarization, Esq.*

        I’ve done it exactly once, but my language was much, much more neutral, and I accepted the risk that they might have called my bluff and agreed to a proposed arrangement.

        To my first point, there’s no good reason to put bridge-burning adversarial language in the communication. You can get your message across with something along the lines of, “To date, I’ve answered all the questions I can on an informal basis, but to continue working on this I will have to formalize our arrangement and charge a fee. Kindly let me know if you would like to proceed, and we can discuss the scope of the work and your expected cost.”

        To be clear, though, I don’t think this approach would be appropriate for the LW in the circumstances described. I think Alison is on the money saying that the LW needs to quit doing anything for them and decline further communication.

        1. learnedthehardway*

          Also, this is only reasonable IF the OP is actually willing to do the work on a consulting basis. Which, it sounds like would be a bad idea, both for the OP’s peace of mind and stress levels, as well as for their ability to avoid getting drawn into something that is the subject of an ethics complaint.

          I think their best approach is to refer the person who emailed them to their former grand-boss, with a note that when they left, they had provided a 50 page document with the various business processes outlined, that OP left with their boss and grand-boss. Grand-boss should have a copy of it. Don’t volunteer to send it – that would just draw the OP further in. Besides which, it belongs to the company, and the OP probably technically shouldn’t have kept a copy.

      8. Pescadero*

        Yes, I HAVE done it.

        My last job didn’t pay out accrued vacation time when I left (with 3 weeks notice).

        A month later they emailed me asking for help with a number of technical questions. I informed them I’d be glad to help them out, as soon as they cut a check for my accrued vacation time.

        They refused. I refused to help. End of story.

        1. Raboot*

          Just because advice is appropriate for some situations, doesn’t mean it’s appropriate for others.

          1. friday anon*

            So no one should share advice here, when asked, because it may not be appropriate for all situations? That seems counterintuitive to the purpose of a commentariat.

            1. Lenora Rose*

              Are you the kind who answers “I don’t want to discuss this with you” with “So I guess I’m never allowed to talk anymore?” or are you the sensible kind who knows this is a ridiculous response? Because if the latter, you might want to compare your text here to that response, as there are troubling similarities.

    3. Person from the Resume*

      Doesn’t make sense in this situation because #1 they are not asking her to work #2 she reached out to the former boss’s boss.

      LW was contacted by an employee (not a former boss/supervisor) – not to perform a work task, but for “her side of the story.” It is interesting that the LW chose not to answer this question but reached out to ask some higher up if she should answer the question. Sounds like there’s some adversarial feelings.

      LW chose to contact her former boss (now and ex-employee??) to ask what to do. LW then contacted former boss’s boss (still at the company) who asked for some info. LW could have not responded at all to request for “her side of the story” instead she contacted several people about what to do.

      If some organization is actually conducting an ethics complaiant then the LW may want to participate. She probably can’t be compelled if it’s not the police/DA asking her, but if it’s a professional organization that she remains a part of or an industry the LW wants to remain in, it’s probably best that she cooperate. Although “I no longer have access to my work files / work computer” and “I don’t remember” are valid answers. People honestly forget a lot as soon as they leave a job. It is not the LW’s responsibility to conduct research for her old employer.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Yeah, the “your side of the story” thing kind of threw me. If the writer is talking about how to do a procedure then there is none of this two sides of a story. Generally procedures need to be done a certain way and there’s no “story” to present.

        I am one of these people who forgets quickly when I leave a job- it’s kind of deliberate actually. But even when I still work at the job, I often say, “Let me get that in front of me so I can see what you are talking about.” I could tap that and tell the employee, “Without having it in front of me, I can’t give you a clear answer.”

        OP, it’s fine to say you don’t remember, if you are going through emails to piece together an answer then you actually don’t remember, you are using memory triggers. It’s also fine to say, “I have been away from it for a bit, so I don’t feel comfortable answering without the information [or whatever] in front of me.”

        Here’s a part that you may not be thinking about, the writer wondered if asking you was okay. They decided to take a chance. They almost expect you to say, “I am too far removed now to be of meaningful help to you. I am sorry.”

      2. LinuxSystemsGuy*

        The whole thing is weird to me. The OP provided a fifty page hand-off document. Fifty pages! In a 25 year professional career I’ve never even heard of that level of detail being provided in a handoff, and I’ve worked with some pretty detail driven people! If you want OPs “side of the story”, read the massive document they provided. One assumes this document was approved by their management, so even on the event that this fifty page(!) document was somehow insufficient, that’s on mangement for not catching.

        Barring a situation where the ethics complaint can somehow hurt OP in a professional way, I’d argue they should simply reply with: “I provided extensive handoff instructions that were approved by my manager. Whatever happened after I left my employment with the company is not something I can comment on”

  2. tamarack and fireweed*

    #2 Goodness, no need to engage more than minimally. Getting all the needed documentation and passing on the institutional knowledge is your employer’s job – in part by putting structures in place that ensure that no business-critical process hangs on one person, and also by not overworking people to the point that the follow-through suffers (or that they leave in the first place under less-than ideal circumstances, which admittedly can’t be avoided totally).

    For the illustrative story, when I was laid off from my first tech industry employer in part the background was that the central leadership, under budget pressure, wanted to centralize techies in the US rather than in the European offices, and also that my job description by that time had mostly been written by myself (for our MD), and it was a typical “if I do my job well I am making myself redundant situation” which dealt with filling gaps in technical follow-through that slipped by the official org chart. I was laid off just after my MD and my direct manager (who had changed just bef0re), so the people in the office weren’t happy about it. Unsurprisingly a lot of the things I’d been doing were never fully documented, and my leaving accelerated the loss of technical expertise in Europe – with a lot of pain for our clients and I’m sure loss of market share. There’s a follow-up that gave me satisfaction, but I don’t think has much causal relation to my lay-off.

    The LW has no requirement to say more than “Please see with [grandboss] about the steps that [company] took at the time of my departure.”

    1. Medusa*

      I’m not going to ask LW 2 for details, but I have to admit that I am *so curious* about how whatever this step is could’ve led to a complaint being filed with an ethics board. I highly doubt that that was warranted, whatever it was.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        I am wondering if the workplace has become a gargantuan stew of drama and flailing, with the cascading failures all being blamed on anyone who quit in the last year. I could see a recent hire eventually thinking “I should ask that departed employee what went down” which is why it came across as “I want to get your side of the story” rather than “Hi Bob, I wonder if you remember how to get at the 1972 regulatory changes file?” like a normal workplace question.

        1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

          the phrase “your side of the story” leads me to believe drama and flailing are indeed involved. Someone(s) screwed up. OP got blamed-months after leaving and for work someone else did. Yeah, there are problems in that office.
          “Ex-employee wrote down to do X, Y, Z so thats what I did.”
          “Ex-employee’s notes didn’t say to do A, B, C so I didn’t and now we are out of compliance.”

          1. Hannah Lee*

            In a prior job, one of the last things I worked on before I left was pre-integration work, implementation design for a large ERP conversion.

            As part of the project, I lead a team designing one element of the system customization- a critical part of being that the valid values for data element XYZ should absolutely, in no circumstances, whatsoever be hard coded into the ERP system, but instead draw from a user maintainable ‘table’ that could be updated over time as the business evolved. (Think if the business was grooming llamas and alpacas, that those two animals should be written into the software as the only animals ever, but there should be a data table ANIMALS, with entries 1, llama; 2, alpaca so that if next year the company started grooming camels, the system manager could add 3, camel… instead of having to hire software engineers to rewrite portions of the ERP system software.)

            One of the team members kept advocating that it SHOULD be hard coded, essentially because that was the faster and cheaper way to get the ERP system rolled out (even though I and other SMEs told them it would make the customization obsolete and unworkable within a few years)

            I left before the implementation was done, Mr Hardcoded was tapped take over my role on the project and went ahead and hard coded it.

            Predictably, not long after the new ERP system rolled out the company expanded it range of offerings… making the hard coded list of offerings obsolete.

            Guess who got blamed after the fact for designing it as hard coded …. ME!
            (Even though I wasn’t there when the decision was made, was assured before I left that of course the ERP company wouldn’t just hard code it because that would be short-sighted and dumb, and had told everyone I could that a key requirement of the customization was that that info NOT be hard coded.)

            Happens all the time – blame the person who is no longer there.

            1. Beka Cooper*

              I took over for someone who left, and there is a department we work with who has at least one person who does the whole “weaponized incompetence” thing, although it’s increasingly seeming like he’s infecting everyone on his team. There was a process that my predecessor documented as “Do this, and DO NOT do this, this, or this.”

              Of course, when everyone came to me asking me why I hadn’t done the “this, this, and this,” part and I pointed them to the other department who was supposed to do it, and nobody there knew what to do either, the weaponized incompetence department blamed it on two staff members being gone. Even though my predecessor has been gone over a year and we’ve been through the process at least twice in the meantime. The thing is, the weaponized incompetence department is in the position of coordinating these programs, yet somehow seem to think that none of it is their responsibility. People leaving is just a convenient excuse for them to circle around and keep trying to push their work on everybody else by pretending they couldn’t possibly do it.

              So yeah, I’m on team “there must be drama” at OP2’s former workplace, and to avoid getting involved.

            2. Lana Kane*

              Ages ago, I had a coworker who mocked up a “wheel of blame”. Each wedge was a name of an employee in the team, but one wedge took up most of the wheel and had the name of the person had most recently left the company. Whenever there was an issue, “Let me spin the wheel of blame” and of course it landed on the person who left :) When I left I told him to make sure to keep a tally of how many problems I’d caused before I was replaced on the wheel.

          2. Not So NewReader*

            I can see this happening just as Not Tom describes.

            OP there is a difference between willful misconduct vs mistakes from not being familiar with the process.

            With most compliance issues I have seen, it becomes apparent that it was a legit mistake OR a pattern of behavior. The patterns of behavior are the most worrisome of course. But patterns stand out very well. Legitimate mistakes [for any reason] bubble to surface, too.

            Please take comfort in the idea that it is not up to you to save them from all this. They need to work it through themselves.

          3. Missy*

            Yep, my guess is that the employee that caused the problem is blaming LW in some way since they aren’t there, and the employee asking (I believe the one who made the complaint) is phrasing it that way because they don’t realize that LW doesn’t know that, within the company, they are being thrown under the bus.

            But also, if something is that important to the job that it needs to be documented, then it should be something in official company policy/training and not just the handover process notes from the previous person doing the job. If the company adopted the notes as the official last work on policy/training then it is on them for not noticing that it didn’t include this, apparently, major issue. I’ve been on committees updating procedure directives and it is a long process, not just “one your way out write down everything you do”.

          4. Elenna*

            This – “your side of the story” is such a weird way to phrase “how do I do this thing” and definitely makes me think the former workplace has descended into Teh Dramaz.

          5. My Useless 2 Cents*

            OP, does this ethics compliant in any way (or could it in any way) effect your career going forward? If yes, I would spend some time to try and help sort this out. If no, I would pass this along to boss’s boss who is still at Ex-company and not spend any more time on it. You left a 50 page handover report when you left! that is above and beyond in my book. After all that work, you have no knowledge if they even used it! What was in that report was a courtesy and it was not your responsibility to train or monitor the new hires who took over for you.

            Remember you left for a reason and if this interaction is causing a backslide in your health, it is not in your best interest to continue. I have had luck with taking a deep breath and repeating “Not my circus, not my monkeys.” until I feel some tension leave my shoulders. (I love that phrase and it has helped me immensely, thanks AAM commenters for introducing it to me.)

        2. londonedit*

          Yeah, I can imagine a scenario where it’s ‘Listen, it’s come to light that Perpetua has been throwing the llama grooming certificates away when she’s finished grooming, instead of updating the database. I know it’s nothing to do with you but she’s been reported to the ethics committee and we had to check – she says your notes said that the papers could be thrown away and there was no other information for her to follow. I can’t believe that’s true, but do you happen to have a copy of your original notes, or was it emailed to someone or saved anywhere? We need to match it up with what Perpetua’s saying she read’. But that’s not ‘What’s your side of the story?’ – that sounds like they believe the OP is in the wrong.

      2. fhqwhgads*

        I hope I’m not trying to fill in too many details, but it seems to me like if the current sitch is:
        This isn’t in the handover doc
        This got misunderstood to the point of ethics complaint
        Someone is asking OP for “her side”

        That sort of implies OP must’ve at some point said something about this process, either in-person or in email or some other text that wasn’t the handover doc, and that’s what got misconstrued and why they’re asking OP. Like, absent something in the doc, they searched for anything they could find that mentioned the thing, misunderstood whatever it was and ran with it and now stuff blew up.

        This doesn’t make coming to OP now in this manner reasonable. It’s still the company’s responsibility to onboard the 2 people who replaced OP. But it makes absolutely no sense to be asking OP if the problem stemmed from them saying absolutely nothing, ever. Not that former-employers always make sense, but if the entirety of their beef with OP is “wasn’t in the doc”, this is much much more bizarre.

        1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

          Ha. I posted the sane thing before reading your comment. Therefore, you get upvote 9000!
          Bizarre indeed.

      3. EPLawyer*

        Me too. If the Ethics Complaint is against anyone currently at the company, that is not on OP. Ethics duties are personal. It doesn’t matter what ANYONE else does or does not do, it is still a person’s OWN responsibility to make sure they know what they are doing to ensure they comply with the ethics rules. “Well OP didn’t document properly” is not an excuse. It would be like me saying “well no one TOLD me I had to file an appeal in 30 days so I didn’t do it. Not my fault, its the fault of all the people who didn’t tell me.” The Grievance Committee would glare and then suspend me for an appropriate amount of time. Due diligence consists of relying on more than documentation of your predecessor.

      4. LW2*

        LW2 here! Much as I’d love to share the details, I feel that this story is pretty identifying already, to any of the parties involved. Suffice to say, now that I’ve spoken to the employee involved and dealt with the situation (more of which momentarily!), it absolutely didn’t need to be escalated, but my ex-boss’s poor handling of the situation left the employee to feel that she had no other recourse.

        1. Observer*

          I left my comment before seeing this. But it confirms my thought that you should not be talking to you ex-boss about this.

      5. Delta Delta*

        That’s my thought, as well. I’m having a little bit of a hard time wrapping my head around what detail could have been left out of a process manual that would trigger an ethics complaint, because presumably whoever was doing that task would also have to answer to their ethics board and would know they have to do (or not) whatever that step was.

    2. Bagpuss*

      YEs, I think the only exception would be if the involvment of the ethics board is external to the company and their involvment is somethng which might have a negative impact on OP further down the line, but I presume that if that were the case, the ethics board would have contacted her directly, and that any explanations she gave would be to the board, not her former employer.

      Otherwise a short response saying something llike “I prepared extrmeely detailed notes prior to my departure and [boss] had the opportunity to riase any quesries while I was still an employeee. I ahaven’t been an employee for over six months and no longer have any involvment and am uanble to assist further”

    3. Just Your Everyday Crone*

      I was wondering if they simply meant “How did you do it, LW2?” But “your side of the story” sounds like looking for someone to blame.

      LW2 is quite obviously very conscientious (see: doing the job of 2 people til her health suffered, 50 page instructions, and taking this request seriously), and it’s 100% the company’s fault for not doing the right thing to keep the person with that work ethic.

      1. LW2*

        LW2 here with a couple of updates and comments.

        It’s funny – looking back on my letter two days later, now that the communications have been handled, it seems like such a minor thing – definitely doesn’t seem worthy of writing to Ask A Manager! But I was thrown back into such a hyperdrive of anxiety and “oh my god, did I drop the ball on something major” when I got these emails, that it seemed monumental. If nothing else, it was a really helpful example of why I was right to leave that job!

        In the end, I said to the employee that she could call me for a few minutes. She did, and we ended up having a really nice conversation. It seems that yes, there was a miscommunication because I’d missed out one important piece of information over my handover notes, so my ex-boss did something incorrectly. Because my ex-boss then handled the situation poorly, the employee felt she had no other recourse than to escalate the situation. It’s been going on for 6 to 7 weeks, apparently. So, I cleared up my understanding of the situation, apologized for the gap in my notes (which the employee was very nice about and said that it wasn’t my fault at all), and forwarded a couple of emails that hopefully provide enough of a paper trail that the situation can be resolved.

        I definitely appreciate everyone’s comments, though. It’s so helpful to hear everyone’s perspectives on this.

        1. Lilo*

          LW2: this is in no way your fault. The idea that you should lay out every aspect of your job is just unrealistic. Your boss making a mistake is not on you.

        2. Spero*

          Wait, so it wasn’t even your replacement that made an error based on your notes – it was your boss? Who was there with you and presumably should have been familiar enough with your process to realize a step was missing? LW2, this 100% absolves you in my mind (you were 99% absolved before, this just puts over the top). The issue here clearly is a failure in crosstraining and management. Your boss (and ideally at least one other person) should have been familiar enough with what you did to 1) spot the missing step, and 2) even if they missed it in the written documentation, in DOING it should have realized something was missing. It’s not your fault they failed to crosstrain or manage appropriately and left all of the responsibility for this on you.

        3. Hlao-roo*

          I’m glad to hear the situation is resolved, and that the employee is a reasonable person! It is amazing how big things can seem in the moment, when you don’t know what the outcome will be, and then how small they seem after they’ve been solved and you know everything turns out OK.

        4. Observer*

          But I was thrown back into such a hyperdrive of anxiety and “oh my god, did I drop the ball on something major” when I got these emails, that it seemed monumental. If nothing else, it was a really helpful example of why I was right to leave that job!

          Yes, indeed!

          Please contact whoever is in charge of your former unit and / or IT. And tell them that you do NOT want to have any access whatsoever to any of the company’s resources – not your old emails, documents or ANYTHING.

          It sounds like your ex-boss was a real part of the problem on her own, but the company is incredibly sloppy as well. You should not have access to all of this information at this point.

        5. Lydia*

          I’m so glad to hear things have worked out! I do want to point out that if there is something involved in your job that could lead to an ethics violation if it’s mishandled, a boss should 100% know what that process looks like. Especially if they’re going to have to train someone. It feels like, based on your letter and your response here, that your notes were going to take the place of actual training and that should never be the case. You didn’t do anything wrong and are not responsible for what happened.

        6. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

          Awwww, great resolution and you did nothing wrong. And definitely proof that you are well out of there

    4. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

      When I left my job with my worst boss, I created handover documents for each project that were about 10-15 pages long (150ish pages total), including hyperlinks to the code and hints on common errors, trained all of the remaining staff on what I did and walked them through everything, explained it to WorstBoss and her boss, and still, 5 YEARS LATER, they are still contacting me because WorstBoss is asking them to. Luckily we are friends, so I can reply, “Dude, [OldCoworker], I can’t remember where I left my keys yesterday, much less where I saved the WIC analysis code in 2017” and she’ll laugh and repeat to WorstBoss that I don’t remember because it has been 5 years

    5. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

      Honestly, it sounds a lot like grandboss is looking at OP as a possible scapegoat, and the best thing OP can do is bow out of the conversation politely but resolutely.

    6. ToS*

      Plenty is well-stated here, however – There Is A Complaint To The Ethics Board, so really, let this go and (important) do NOT get into your ex-employer’s back-and-forth on this. Just say, “my understanding is there may be an investigation about this, and I’ve been gone for -whatever time – I did the best I could under the circumstances, working with plenty of people above me. I cannot change the past, and have moved on. If someone is investigating this (the liability is about your former employer, NOT you, this is why they carry insurance, as it sounds inadvertent), give them my contact information. For the remainder, it’s on your former employer to review, update or otherwise change procedures with existing or new staff with their resources. Even if former colleagues are friends and references, you can say it may be in both of your interests (You + Inquiring Mind) if you say as little as possible, and change the subject to something more forward-facing. It’s a professional boundary.

  3. Two Chairs, One to Go*

    For #3, I know the advice is not to tell your boss… but I would actually like to be laid off if there are staffing changes. My boss already knows I want a different career path. Is this still a bad idea? I relate to OP3.

    For #4, I love blazers. They look professional and are easy to take off for a walk outside!

    1. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

      The risk is that they outright fire you or lay you off sooner than you wanted though. If they already know you want another path then I’d leave it there.

      1. ecnaseener*

        Right, unless you know layoffs are coming you can’t really say “I’d like to be laid off, but if no layoffs are planned then forget I said anything.”

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      That’s well and good if you are absolutely certain the layoffs come with a generous severance–but a lot of companies will offer you 2 weeks. Especially if they’re trying to stave off bankruptcy.

    3. Trek*

      We went through layoffs due to COVID and leadership selected the people to lay off. Several others came forward afterwards stating they would have preferred or been OK with being laid off. No one thought to ask for volunteers. However with that being said unless the company asks for volunteers I don’t think I would start the conversation regarding wanting to be laid off.

    4. Sparkles McFadden*

      Financially, it’s almost always better to be pushed than to jump. There may also be additional incentives (such as a re-training allowance) for people who are involuntarily laid off. Know what’s being offered before deciding anything.

      I know people who have volunteered and been told “Nope” because they were deemed as being capable enough to handle the increased workload. I also know of another person who volunteered, saying she was looking for another job and management’s take on that was “We won’t lay her off because she’s looking to leave anyway and if she just quits later, that saves us money.”

      Your level of transparency depends on your company culture, but it’s rarely a good idea to put your own head on the chopping block. It can backfire in all sorts of ways.

  4. Tiger Snake*

    #2 – I think you have gone more than above and beyond what was required of you.

    If there was a potential ethical concern that could crop up in the first place, then I think the boss (and her boss once she’d left) had a responsiblity to ensure adequete reviews of both the process and its outputs were in place whenever it was run.

    1. Charlotte Lucas*

      I absolutely agree! The OP needs to concentrate on her own stuff now, not try to fix things at a place she no longer works.

      1. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

        Yeah, this whole thing reeks of wanting her to be a scapegoat and her best approach is to politely decline any further involvement and refer everyone to the management team instead.

    2. Nanani*


      You don’t work there anymore! That’s not your boss, not your job, not your responsibility!

      BE FREE. Decline to talk.

  5. tamarack and fireweed*

    For #1, what I would probably lean towards is to kick this upwards, but in a very careful manner. You are supposed to report on this teacher’s work, so I would suggest the remark should not make a single bit of difference to the praise for the exemplary lesson of the curriculum. And then as an addendum you write what you observed re: vaccination. I would point out that the remark does not align with public health recommendations OR available scientific information on why vaccines are helpful despite limits in effectiveness (eg. for a lot of vaccines the effectiveness isn’t 100% in preventing illness, yet [yadda yadda]). In a formal complaint I’d probably let the sugar remark slide (as people say stupid stuff occasionally) if it were alone, but arguably you could add that in the context of COVID prevention, teachers should be careful about not spreading unreliable ideas.

    I’d make sure not to make the caveat point more forceful than the actual evaluation of the lesson itself – it’s up to the employer to decide how to weigh them. I could see this go all sorts of ways – and if finding an outstanding instructor (pedagogy-wise as far as the curriculum is concerned) means finding a rare pearl it is understandable if they were to be more lenient with the anti-vax stuff than if there is an abundance of suitable candidates.

    1. Fikly*

      There’s a difference between an opinion, and recommendations made by recognized medical organizations based on established facts and medical studies.

      The problem arises when people with opinions claim they are equal to recommendations and thus should be treated the same way.

      That children, for example, should get a COVID vaccination is not just an opinion. It’s recommended by multiple medical orgs, the CDC, and so on.

      Frankly, I would argue this is relevant to the teaching, because the teacher is demonstrating a lack of critical thinking skills and that they cannot evaluate different sources of information, and if you ask me, that’s the number 1 thing kids actually need to learn in school.

      1. Lily*

        “critical thinking skills… and if you ask me, that’s the number 1 thing kids actually need to learn in school.”

        Omigod yes. My husband has been a teacher at the community college level for 20+ years. He used to become incredibly frustrated that so many high school graduates had no ability to think critically or assess sources of information.
        So he has worked critical thinking skills and source assessment into each of his classes, no matter the level. It’s always an eye-opener for many students. Husband gets a psychological high when he sees the lights come on in their eyes.

        1. Delta Delta*

          I teach in a law school and I’m shocked at the lack of critical thinking skills. And these are people who have at least 17 years of education before they get there.

          1. Kal*

            A lot of education seems to actively discourage critical thinking skills even in students that previously had them.

            The most egregious example for me was a professor in a history class where one of the stated goals was learning how to evaluate primary and secondary sources and formulate the information in them into conclusions, but the actual content of the class involved him just lecturing at us for hours, including him reciting how an essay should be written for each of his essay questions including the essay-based exams. The trick to getting a decent grade was to write down as much of what he said as you could so you could paraphrase it back at him in the essay/exam. He didn’t like people who regurgitated something too close to how he said it in class, but he marked people who went off script and formed their own arguments much lower.

            I imagine it wouldn’t take many of that sort of educator to kill any student’s willingness to even try to think critically in any setting where their performance may be evaluated.

      2. happybat*

        Also, don’t teachers have a professional duty to relay correct information? There are some issues where there is no valid ‘two sides’ debate – some things are well established and widely accepted within academic circles.

        Of course, I do believe that teaching is an academic role, not a ‘caring’ role.

        1. thestik*

          I feel like there’s a trend more toward caring among teachers, at least in the K-12 sphere. Or maybe it’s just tge teachers I happen to know.

        2. tamarak & fireweed*

          This looks like a side debate to me. My mental image was that the teacher is, dunno, providing a music experience (something not at all to do with health and science) and that this was completely unrelated pre-course banter.

          I’m a scientist and very concerned about correct information. I do see that “if you still can get ill, why are we vaccinating?” is a *legitimate question* with a *good, in-depth answer* – but I wouldn’t expect just every old [<– word does not relate to numerical age] teacher to be aware of it. For a music teacher, saying something like that could be the equivalent of "I don't know why people go on climbing holidays if they're going to come home with broken bones". I'd judge much harsher teacher who is in the scientific field or engaged in teaching critical reasoning than when the misinformation resides outside the teacher's subject matter expertise.

          Yes, the teacher shouldn't have said this and needs to be made aware of the expectation. In real-life situations it's pretty common at the same time that people are inconsistent – wonderful on the one hand and problematic on another. The employers should be getting a full picture of the employee's strengths and weaknesses to be able to make a meaningful determination about what the next step should be with this particular employee based on the entirety of positive and negative influences they are having.

          (In other words I've seen such a thing be the little thread that turned out to unravel into a holy mess of conspiracy pushing, but also the (inappropriate but minor) expression of a temporary frustration in someone whose overall work is doing a lot of good. These things make a difference on what should happen to them.)

      3. Sally*

        It’s also relevant to the teaching because the teacher is an authority figure and therefore needs to always take care with what she says to students, even when it’s not during the actual class. Now that I’ve written this out, I think that’s about the same as “demonstrating a lack of critical thinking skills,” so I’m just going to agree with you.

      4. Curmudgeon in California*


        There is a difference between opinion and established, public, official fact. If she’d advised vaccination and handwashing, it would be fine, because it’s an official health recommendation based on scientific, peer reviewed facts. The opinion that “… she didn’t know why anyone would bother to get vaccinated for Covid, when you can get Covid despite vaccination.” is pure opinion. The bit about sugar is not just opinion, but incorrect and unscientific to boot. (Yes, the observation that “you can get Covid despite vaccination.” is correct, but neglects to mention that vaccination ameliorates the severity of illness, and usually keeps you out of the hospital.)

        The point is, opinions should not be on the same footing as facts, and a different opinion based on nonsense doesn’t need to be respected like facts.

      5. El Muneco*

        This. I work in software development, and expect my reports to exercise critical thinking and evaluate external information accurately. Not just in terms of best practices, but copying defective or malicious code could introduce defects or security issues into our product.

        Anti-vaxx opinions would put a significant dent in the trust I would have in any of my reports being able to perform this aspect of their job. So I would consider it almost a negative indication to retain. Fortunately, it has not come up.

      6. Kay*


        Another way to think about it – would it be okay to let it slide if she told kids they didn’t need to wash their hands after going to the bathroom? What if she had said the earth was actually flat, that the holocaust never happened or that racial slurs are okay to use?

        If someone was feeding your kid conspiracy theories and dangerous medical advice would you be upset? If you found out others knew and had the power to do something but instead decided to do nothing, would you be even more upset? I hope we can all agree the answers should be YES!! Act accordingly OP – this is a big deal.

    2. Paperdill*

      I wouldn’t even bother saying “it doesn’t line up with available scientific information” and just stick to the “public health policy”. This teacher is unlikely to be all that interested in science, but if it is framed as “this organisation Asher’s to the recommendations of [whatever governing health body], so while you are teaching here and an employee here, you need to be upholding those aswell and if you don’t personally agree with them my suggestion is to not discuss the topic”.

    3. anonymous73*

      I don’t care how great a teacher is, if they’re spouting nonsense that goes against scientifically proven facts that are potentially harmful to the children, it needs to be addressed.

      1. Butterfly Counter*

        This exactly. Depending on the age of the students, some children will trust what teachers say over and above anything else they hear. Therefore, it is so important that teachers are relaying accurate and responsible information. I’d prefer a teacher who is inexpertly teaching students real, factual information than one who is polished, perfect, and exemplary who is spouting misinformation.

        There is further danger that when students know their teacher if full of BS on one subject, that they don’t trust anything else that teacher relays, even if it is factual. I once had a teacher mark me wrong on a spelling test for “coffee.” She claimed it was spelled “coffey.” I side-eyed anything else that came out of that teacher’s mouth for the rest of the year.

    4. GlazedDonut*

      LW #1, the way this situation is described sounds very similar to camps I used to work–typically they required certain admissions criteria for students, and when they were residential/residential options available, the camp took on even more in loco parentis role.
      I would look into what health expectations the organization has put out publicly. I don’t think it would be a stretch to say something to the effect of “all res ed employees this year were required to X” in regard to covid (likely true in many camps–either vaccination or regular testing). Check with the organization’s larger message around the covid situation and see if there are discrepancies between that and what this person said.

    5. Dahlia*

      Personally I would not let that sugar remark slide, not when the setting is teaching children. Stuff like that embeds in their head and can lead to life-long disordered eating habits.

  6. Brian*

    #2: Asking for “your side of the story” feels so aggressive that I’d find it strange that anyone would engage with that. It’s about a level or two down from asking you to give a statement to their lawyer. Anyone with an ounce of self-preservation should have their hackles going into overdrive from the framing that there’s an adversarial thing going on, and you’re being invited to defend yourself.

    If they’re looking for someone to blame, the person who isn’t there any more and can’t defend themselves is a great target; why on earth give them more ammunition?

    (I’d nix the suggestion from a commenter to offer to do it for a consulting fee. At the point an ethics board is involved, why give them a chance to portray you as trying to extort them over information they can imply you might have deliberately withheld?)

    Your obligation to your employer ended when your employment did, and it doesn’t sound like there’s any upside to engaging. Block their number, filter their emails into your spam folder, and move on with your life.

    1. Twix*

      Yeah, that jumped out at me too. It implies a level of direct involvement in the situation that OP doesn’t have and shouldn’t entertain. It may well be worth OP’s time, within reason, to assist their former boss and grandboss to clarify the process for the sake of preserving a good professional relationship, but the extent of their “side of the story” with regard to anything that happened after they left should be “I haven’t worked there in 6 months and I’m not sure why anyone thinks this is my problem.”

    2. Lilo*

      Yes it’s simply unrealistic that a departing employee can produce a document that covers all aspects of their job. An employer who throws any kind of document at new.employees and provides no other training or oversight of a new employee is a bad one.

      Even in professional that require ethical transfers of clients, it’s not expected that the employee will cover absolutely all steps kn doing a job.

      1. Antilles*

        Frankly, I’m just amazed that OP even wrote up a 50-page document – which is like 49.5 pages longer than any “hand over document” I’ve ever seen. In my experience when someone leaves, you either get nothing whatsoever (most common) or at most a short bulleted email.
        OP already went way way way above and beyond the norm here by even trying to prepare this ridiculously detailed of a document before leaving; the idea that OP needs to defend “your side of the story” by explaining it is laughable.

        1. LW2*

          LW2 here. This is so interesting – when I gave my notice (I gave about five weeks’ notice), I felt there was no other option than to try to document everything, because I was solely responsible for so much. I also knew there was no way they were going to hire anyone in time for me to do an in-person handover. It never occurred to me that this wouldn’t be the norm.

          1. Mockingjay*

            LW2, your story vindicates all of my actions on my project. For years I’ve pushed, cajoled, and had heated meetings to get ALL of Chaotic Project’s documentation and processes into a team SharePoint with a tracking tool. (I’m the lead tech writer slash project coordinator.) Project Lead is charismatic with the customer but not a very good manager, resulting in team turnover rivalling call centers and fast food. But we’ve never lost any data and the new person stepping in has always had a full set of data and processes. Our data is one of the few successes on this project.

            Documentation/processes are time-consuming, require more resources, and are expensive to produce and validate (whether doc, html, workflow, interactive media, etc.), which is why many companies don’t really lean into capturing these things. In hindsight, which costs more: capturing an employee’s know-how while they are present, or reinventing the wheel after a capable employee leaves?

            Glad to know that the situation wasn’t quite as bad as it sounded. And thank you for the 50 pages. That’s an amazing gift to leave behind and company should have been grateful. (But that’s why you left.)

          2. Rolly*

            I’m not sure I’ve seen 50 page handover documents, but half a page or a short bulleted email is way way way too little in some jobs. I’m not going to say what is “average” but just as half a page happens in some jobs, a dozen or dozens of pages also happens, and is not rare.

          3. Daisy-dog*

            I have absolutely written a 30-page guide on a job handover before (probably size 12 font, double space, occasional page-breaks). I knew I was going to leave that job and just documented things as I did them for a few months. I had a lot of downtime in that role.

            In my current role, I do have several written guides already for some special one-off activities. I also plan on documenting a lot in my final weeks. It won’t be in one document, so I’m not sure how many pages it will be, but it will be many.

          4. Flash Packet*

            In one of our not-small business units, one of the accounting people recently left. I’m in internal audit and I’m requesting copies of some of their key calculations for SOX testing (accruals, manual journal entries, etc.) and the answer I’m getting back from Gone Employee’s manager and that manager’s manager is, “We haven’t done it yet because Gone Employee was the only one who knew how to do it. We’re in the process of teaching ourselves now.”

            So, yeah, no long handover document, no regular documentation of processes and key calculations. And while it’s unfortunate that no one was required to write this stuff down before, Gone Employee would have never been expected to stop and create an exhuastive process manual on her way out the door.

            I’ve never seen anyone do that. I *have* seen detailed documentation, but it has always been created during the performance of the job, not at quitting time.

    3. londonedit*

      Yeah, asking for ‘your side of the story’ sounds like something that would happen if an ex-colleague had alleged that the OP had been harassing them, or if the bosses had discovered that the OP had thrown a year’s worth of invoices away instead of filing them properly. But that’s not what happened – the OP left notes, they’re no longer employed there, and it isn’t their fault if someone misinterpreted the notes and did something wrong. No one ever expects departing employees to do everything perfectly and leave people with no work to do – even the best loved employees will leave a couple of ‘Oh man, Jane must have forgotten to process this invoice before she left, now we’ve got a late fee’ or ‘Damn, it looks like Wakeen didn’t update the client database before he left and now we’ve got a complaint from someone who didn’t receive their catalogue’ issues. It’s just what happens when someone leaves a job – there’s always tidying up to do and there’s always an awkward period where someone’s getting used to a new job or someone’s trying to work out what has and hasn’t been done. I think it’s extremely odd that a) the OP still has access to their old work email and b) the company is coming after them for something they no longer have anything to do with.

    4. si*

      Yeah, ‘your side of the story’ feels unpleasantly accusatory to me. I would not get into ANY discussion/defense of my actions with this employee.

    5. ecnaseener*

      Yes, that’s super weird. What story? “I wrote documentation for everything I could think of but it’s possible I didn’t think of everything. The end.”

    6. Falling Diphthong*

      Yes, I think the consulting offer at this point could effectively mean “Is the ship on fire? Are you looking for someone to blame? For $300 I’ll run right back on deck, and pose amidst the flames as the review board comes into sight!!!!”

      You can disengage just because it was 6 months back. You can disengage because the question isn’t a quick 15 minute “Hmm–I think those were filed by year of update rather than species of wool.” You absolutely should not re-engage, in depth, with this many warning flags popping up–no, not even for $300.

    7. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

      To me, that question and grandboss’s insistence that the steps weren’t documented by OP suggest that grandboss is trying to pin the blame on OP for not having it in her handover documents. But it is not OP’s responsibility to ensure the people after her are doing their jobs correctly (it is boss’s and grandboss’s responsibility though), and she is certainly not responsible for things that happened there after the end of her employment. She really needs to shut down any engagement and just refer him to the management team.

      1. Clorinda*

        And get off Old Company’s email, or at least ignore it and never look at it again.
        Old Company is not your employer. Repeat to yourself, Not my cake, not my candles, or whatever variant pleases you.
        Or, if it gives you comfort since they’ve been so aggressive, maybe invest in an hour of consultation with an employment lawyer just to protect yourself.

  7. Lingret*

    OP 1 — You must escalate this problem to the school leaders. This teacher doesn’t quite understand her role here in talking about about such a charged issue, especially one that’s a personal/family decision.
    Not only is she doling out medical information without any qualifications to do, but the info is patently wrong. The science has saved lives. Is it perfect? No, of course not, but that’s true for for other treatments and medications.
    Doling out incomplete and incorrect advice is a serious problem. A possible firing situation. Yeah, I think it’s that important. At least a strong warning, suspension, and even doing some research could be useful – on Covid, vaccines, and her role as a teacher.

    1. Rainbow Brite*

      Agreed. I once had a teacher remark that women don’t need to get pap smears until they’re 40(!) and can’t get pregnant in the middle of their cycles(!!). Even at 14, I knew this was wrong and probably dangerous, so I told my mum, who filed an official complaint with the school — and she’s not a “filing an official complaint” type of mum. As far as I know, I was the only student who went home to their parents with concerns, which means there were potentially 30+ other kids who took that information to heart.

      1. anne of mean gables*

        the middle of your cycle? as in, when one is the most fertile, on average? Yikes. That is among the most dangerously wrong medical information I can think to disseminate to teens.

    2. Bridget the Elephant*

      One thing I was taught in the UK when I was doing my teaching qualifications was that you keep personal opinions to yourself while teaching unless it’s relevant to the subject and even then flag it up as a personal opinion (and usually after the pupils have given their own opinion and only if you can back it up with evidence). For example “Personally I don’t think there Spartans were such great fighters as our sources gave them credit for – they fought in comparatively few battles compared to what their reputation would have us believe and they often used proxies and claimed the credit. But there are other people who think differently to me – here are some resources arguing for either side.” vs any form of political/medical/philosophical/religious opinion. (I teach Classics.)

      I’d say this definitely needs to be reported to higher ups *before* you feed it back to the teacher so you have back up in case she argues with you or makes it a freedom of speech issue. Even though feedback is generally best given as soon as possible after the event, this is a case where you need to know you’ll be supported when you do give feedback.

      1. happybat*

        That’s fascinating to me – because of Scottish professional standards, we need teachers to be able to share their personal opinions and ethical commitments (such as anti-racism) without being doctrinaire or overbearing. You can’t model citizenship and engagement without sharing your actual views – but you need to be skilful enough to share without indoctrinating.

        Are you in England? I know their standards are quite different!

        1. Bridget the Elephant*

          Yes, in England. We can’t give political opinions outside of the obligation to “uphold British values”, and even then they have to be within that framework. So most of the time things like anti-racist ideas will fall within the teacher’s existing opinions but if a teacher were (hypothetically) racist they’d also be expected to uphold anti-racist ideas (going against their own opinion). There are cases in citizenship classes where you might share an opinion, but you’d need to do it very carefully to avoid giving the impression of trying to indoctrinate.

          1. Mavis Mae*

            That’s interesting – are there actually defined British values? From time to time in Australia a Government tries to define or legislate Australian values and it usually tears itself apart in frenzied debate. A former Prime Minister tried to enshrine “mateship” and the populace generally died of cringe. (That said, I’ve just discovered our Department of Home Affairs requires visitors and immigrants to sign an Australian Values Statement.)
            As to the teacher – personal opinions need to be distinguished from fact, and health advice followed. A teacher of children should not be offering personal opinions that contradict health advice and policy, this is not an informed debate amongst adults.

      2. JESUS IS THE MAN!*

        Just popping in to say that I love your example and I think the Spartans are massively overrated. (I used to teach Classics.)

    3. Hiring Mgr*

      Firing or suspension for one comment?? That seems way over the top to me.

      Maybe I’m cynical because my thought is what kid is listening to their teacher for medical advice anyway.

      1. Rebecca*

        I agree that firing or suspension is a big escalation, but you’d be surprised how much kids listen to their teachers. There’s a reason I can teach them about how to vote and how voting works but never ever tell them who I would vote for – a lot of them aren’t even conscious of the fact that they are internalizing what an an authority has to say, and especially at a time when they might be looking for ways to rebel against or distance themselves from their parents and assert more independence, they’ll latch onto a lot of things.

      2. Fluffy Fish*

        Teachers can absolutely have a big impact on students opinions. They wouldn’t even be thinking “medical advice”, just that their teacher is sharing information.

        And there are lots of parents out there who for various reasons don’t discuss these things with their kids, so the adult that does becomes the de facto expert.

      3. Laney Boggs*

        Uh, lots, actually. Teachers, of young kids especially, are expected to enforce handwashing, covering mouths when coughing/sneezing, and teach about germs. I still remember the book my first grade teacher read us about germs and handwashing.

        I also don’t think it’s really relevant if they took her words to hear. She used a position of power to talk about bunk science and anti-vax rhetoric to children.

      4. Hiring Mgr*

        Ok it sounds like i’m wrong about kids listening to teachers, fair point. Suggesting firing still seems like an overreaction though

        1. Hlao-roo*

          I agree with you that firing or suspension is way over the top for one comment. The teacher should be told that the comment on vaccines was not OK, and then management should keep an eye out to make sure the teacher understands and has changed her behavior for the better.

          1. Bridget the Elephant*

            I think it depends on the teacher’s reaction to the feedback. If they take it well and agree not to do it again, it would be very much over the top. But if they insist they aren’t in the wrong and get defensive then they’re better off not in front of a class of children.

      5. Artemesia*

        Every girl and boy in that teacher’s classroom who said ‘you can’t get pregnant in the middle of your cycle’ will remember that and a few boys will use it to push sex ‘now’ and a few girls will think it is a safe period and pregnancy will result. (and any teacher suggesting to teens that the rhythm method is safe for teens to use is wildly irresponsible)

    4. Tricksie*

      My daughter’s health teacher in HS told them all sorts of incorrect nutrition information which was dangerous to an age group at high risk of an eating disorder, told them they should all engage in intermittent fasting, advocated juice cleanses, told them good nutrition meant they didn’t need any vaccines (this was before covid), advocated against Western medicine and said only functional medicine was worthwhile, etc. I wrote up a list of all these issues and went to the principal to discuss the teacher’s advocacy of non evidence-based practices and potentially harmful information. The principal was appalled. The teacher stopped saying such things.

      There are opinions and there is evidence-based practice. There are some situations where opinions can be shared (and labelled opinions). What you describe is not one of them!!

      1. Julia*

        I had a high school health teacher who gave out inaccurate information about STI transmission including HIV. Sometimes she would say something accurate and then give an aside that contradicted the factual information she just gave. It was WILD. High school me corrected her a few times but she got belligerent about it & there started being a weird vibe of I only knew this information because I was slutty so I stopped.

  8. Fahrenheit to Celsius translator*

    98 F = 36.6667 C
    62 F = 16.6667 C
    68 F = 20 C
    72 F = 22.2222 C

    1. Phryne*

      If the thermostat at my work was set to 16C I’d be sitting behind my desk in a full coat and scarf.
      (I’m kinda difficult about temperature though. The 21C they have set it at work is often too warm in the morning and too cold in the afternoon for me. I have learned to always wear layers.)

    2. Macaroni Penguin*

      Egads. I’d be wearing a light winter jacket at that temperature.

      Maybe the OP can wear a winter weight cardigan?

    3. Katie*

      So I work with people all around the world so I have done it so much I have memorized the formula 1.8 * C +32 = F or (F-32)/1.8=C

    4. londonedit*

      The only one I reliably know is 16C=61F, because the numbers are the opposite way round from each other! Here in the UK we use Celsius but the TV weather forecast after the news will give the temperature in Fahrenheit as well because there are enough people who would have learned Fahrenheit at school (like my parents; the UK officially switched over to C in 1962 but obviously it would have taken a while to filter through the general population). Our use of weights and measurements is a bit odd anyway – doctors will do your weight in kg but the general population does it in stones and pounds, officially we’re taught centimetres and metres at school but everyone still gives their height in feet and inches, and of course we use miles on the roads.

      1. Artemesia*

        I can learn Celsius, but I can’t ‘feel it’ — it also has larger gaps than Fahrenheit which makes it less precise — but mostly we have an intuitive sense for the system we grew up with and it is hard to make the adjustment in old age.

        1. Beany*

          Larger step sizes makes Celsius less precise … IF you avoid using decimals. Which really shouldn’t be an issue given how we almost always quote body temperature to at least one decimal place.

      2. LinuxSystemsGuy*

        Heh. The miles thing confused us so badly when we rented a car in Scotland. My partner and I are Americans, but we travel abroad enough to expect that outside the US speeds and distances are in kilometers. So here we are leaving Edinburg at 65 km/h getting the dirtiest looks. It only took us about a mile to figure it out, but it felt kind of ironic.

        Here we are coming from a place that uses miles, totally confused that everything is in miles.

        1. londonedit*

          Yup. I have no idea why we still use miles on the roads, but we do! An analogue speedometer in a British car will have mph as the main numbers with kph in smaller numbers underneath. I only know mile/km conversions that are to do with standard running distances – 5k is 3.1 miles, 10k is 6.2 miles, 10 miles is about 16km, a half-marathon is about 21km and a marathon is about 42km. Anything else, I’m lost!

          1. Ariaflame*

            I believe they are working on a transition (or at least were before Brexit and the whole thing about reverting to old standards got posited) but not sure over how long a timeframe this was happening.

  9. Ms Frizzle*

    OP1: Now I’m wondering what I would do if I heard something like that in a coaching observation. What a tricky situation!

    I may be reading too much into the use of the word “mentor,” but I’m wondering if this is a new teacher. If so, could this be an opportunity to have a bigger conversation about what’s appropriate to discuss with students? That can be a tough professionalism line for some first-year teachers, and getting that feedback now could be very useful for them. It might also be a way to avoid getting bogged down in debates about vaccination and how immune systems work (to be clear: what they said is wrong! so wrong!) but also ensure they aren’t sharing incorrect information. There might also be a way to emphasize that it’s “safer” for the teacher not to go to sharing medical opinions/advice, especially if your district/program has any policies about that.

    In this case it sounds like there aren’t strict expectations around confidentiality for your work with teachers, so I agree that it’s time to go to school leaders–especially if this is a more experienced teacher who should be expected to know better by now! To echo Alison and others, this isn’t some kind of debate where it’s important to share both sides. You’d have to address a teacher sharing other kids of pseudoscience with students, and what they’re saying is just factually wrong.

  10. LisTF*

    OP #2
    I wonder if the “your side of the story” was related more to the ethical complaint and whether they were wondering if the process had always been done incorrectly, even while you were in the role? If so, then i think a one time response along the lines that you completed the task to standard while you were there but can’t speak to the training or execution of your replacements, sorry should be sufficient to communicate “not my clowns, not my circus, leave me out of this”

      1. ecnaseener*

        Why not? What’s so damning about confirming you did the task correctly during your tenure and can’t speak to what happened after you left?

        1. EPLawyer*

          Because they might not have. They might not have all the facts. Never, ever ever give a statement without having your OWN lawyer.

          “Oh this will clear this right up, if I say this one thing” is not good advice. Because it rarely does clear it up. It might even land the OP in their own trouble.

          If an Ethics Complaint is involved, you need to tread very carefully and NOT get involved in it unlnes contacted by the Ethics board.

    1. WS*

      If it was related to the ethical complaint, it’s even more important that the OP stays out of it unless contacted by an authority with the standing to investigate – e.g. professional licensing board for their profession, if there is one.

      1. PR hirer*

        Absolutely. Employees at your old employer have no standing to ask for ‘your side of the story.’ Nor do your former managers.

  11. bamcheeks*

    I’m dying to know more about LW2 because I can’t think of a situation where you can be subject to an ethics board but also the organisational knowledge of a practice hangs on one departed employee’s handover notes! If what you do is sensitive enough that you have an ethics board, there should be a formal organisation process for managing that— someone in the organisation should be the named person responsible for ensuring that the org adhere to best practice and that everyone has the required training or knowledge etc. Of course that doesn’t mean that bad practice doesn’t happen, but it should be clear where the responsibility for institutional knowledge and compliance sat, and if you were that person it should have transferred the day you left to someone else.

    If simply missing out a step in a handover process exposed them to charges of not being compliant with good practice, woooowwww, they’ve got bigger problems. I wonder what would their plan have been if you’d had to leave at short notice for an accident or illness without time to handover?

    1. Just Your Everyday Crone*

      This is so true. I’m heading into the deep-summer months which is when we do a bunch of mandatory trainings on privacy and security and ethics and all of that. Anything that would be an ethical violation should be documented and part of the culture, not left to one person.

    2. LW2*

      LW2 here! The situation definitely didn’t warrant being escalated to the ethics board, except that my ex-boss handled the employee’s original complaint very poorly, and the employee felt they had no other option than to escalate it to try to get it resolved. Reading all these comments is proving fascinating, though – at the time when I was in the job, it felt very much like, “oh well, this is the way it is, guess everyone is responsible for things that no-one else knows about.” As soon as I handed in my (5 weeks) notice, I felt that I had to document everything, because so many things would fall apart if I didn’t. With some perspective – and reading these comments! – I can see that this really wasn’t normal, or at least a viable way to run a department.

      If this context is at all helpful, I worked for a really big organization. The department in which I worked was a sub-department of a sub-department. So while there might be people at the organizational level responsible for ethics and best practices, there definitely isn’t someone at each departmental level.

      1. EPLawyer*

        Uh there should be. Ethics are everybody’s job. See my comment above about personal responsibility.

        But its not your problem anymore.

      2. ToS*

        Sounds like your ex-boss might’ve needed your clue-in, and you are in the clear for letting all of this go – and gracefully not talking about it further, which can be a big sigh followed by “I learned so much from that experience, and have found that it’s better left in the past for me. Tell me about today’s procedures, as I really hope that continual improvement under your guidance helps both of us.”

      3. Banana*

        I wondered if “telling your side of the story” with the ethics board involved might have been her way of trying to get someone else to speak on the record about mismanagement, since it sounds like she was using an ethical complaint to tackle a management issue. Hard telling though, and absolutely no obligation for you to engage.

        My last job change was a transfer, and someone who had a history of disapproving of my decisions took over my old role. I got some snotty “can you explain how this decision was made?” and “can you explain why this wasn’t fixed sooner?” emails from her. I answered them as blandly and matter-of-factly as I could. All the stuff that wasn’t fixed was minor stuff that the pandemic got in the way of (that she hasn’t bothered to fix herself six months later.) Sometimes people are just mean spirited.

  12. JustSomeone*

    #2: your language makes me think your move to sales was an internal one. Could you just be frank that you’d prefer to go back to your old role? That’s a very different circumstance than telling your boss you want to quit.

    1. Hlao-roo*

      OP3 says “I don’t want to stay with my current organization anymore,” but it might be worth thinking about if an internal transfer will make working the current organization more tolerable while continuing the job search.

      The only drawback I can think of for this plan is: will the current organization consider the bridge burnt if OP3 transfers to a different role internally and then leaves the organization shortly after the transfer?

    2. Purple Cat*

      This is what I was thinking. Of course, if OP is committed to leaving the company, don’t bring it up. but if OP would consider a different role WITHING the company, then it absolutely makes sense to bring up career development with their manager.

  13. Green great dragon*

    #3 is there anything your boss can do to help here? If there are changes to the job that would help and are plausible, like shifting the mix of duties, you can share as much as you need to to ask the question. But if there’s nothing you want your boss to change, there’s not much they can do with the info anyway (except things that are to your disadvantage).

    1. KateM*

      I read OP’s question as “should I ask my boss’ help to transition out of my current role into another role in the same workplace”.

      1. Hlao-roo*

        It’s a bit buried in the end of the question, but OP3 states “I don’t want to stay with my current organization anymore,” so Green great dragon has the right of it that sharing the info is only to the OP’s disadvantage.

  14. Alanis*

    I don’t know why management tries to trick or force people into sales jobs. This used to happen to me constantly because I am personable and outgoing. They were always trying to ‘promote’ me into sales and I was not interested. Tried it once, hated it. Every year or so it was, ‘you’ll make more money’, ‘it’s a more flexible schedule’, ‘it will get you out from behind the computer for 8 hours a day’. Nope, I like my computer, my 9 to 5 and my predictable pay cheque. I can definitely see how someone who was less vociferous could get weaseled into a job they knew they were gonna hate. I don’t understand how it benefits the company to have sales people who hate the job though. Has anyone ever unwillingly transitioned into sales and actually liked it?

    1. Asenath*

      I think it’s just other people not thinking much about the fact that not everyone likes the same thing, possibly combined with the need to fill a position. I have never done sales (I think I would be very bad at it), but I used to be a teacher, and YEARS after I moved on to something else – a couple of other things, all office work – if someone new found out I was a trained and (until it expired) licensed teacher, a surprising number of such people couldn’t seem to understand why I wasn’t still teaching. More pay, summers off, and, often, a fantasy about what it was like to teach. I just said quite openly “I wasn’t good at it and didn’t like doing it. I much prefer what I’m doing now”.

    2. Bagpuss*

      It happens with management, too. My dad used to work for a company where above a certain point promotion meant become a manager.
      My dad was exceptionally good at his actual job (which was complex and extremely technical) but he is not a people person and had no wish whatsoever to become a manager (and apparently it would have required him to start doing a totally differnet job, it wasn’t just a title/status thing.)
      In the end the saw sence and created a new role of internal consulatant, which meant they could put him on aan apporipriate pay grade and make clear that he was not answerable to the junior people on the management track, but it took him threatening to resign to do it (He would have followed through. They needed him a lot more than he needed them, and had he quit was planning to set up as a consultant and they would almost inevitably have had to immediately hire him back as such, which they knew)

      but it was very short sighted of them as there are lots of people who are great in their own roles but not management material, and/or who are much more valuable in their own niche.

    3. Esmeralda*

      Yes, this happened to me in my second post-college job. I was an editor/writer/paper-and-processes wrangler. My manager really needed someone (several someones) to do phone sales. Asked several times — finally I said, I don’t like doing sales but I will do it one day to help you out.

      I haaaaaated it, no surprise.

      At the end of the day I told my manager, I hate doing sales, I can’t do it one more day, I need to do my wrangling job. He pushed; I said, I will quit if you insist (1983, not a good time to quit without a job). He gave up.

      I have never done sales ever again.

    4. Mockingjay*

      I haven’t done sales. What I have seen is that sometimes salespersons hired outside the org had excellent people/communication skills but didn’t always have a good understanding of the product or service. So companies tap internal employees who communicate well and have indepth knowledge of product and send them out into the world.

      It can be solved by training – when hired, give sales a product orientation (hands-on); as product is upgraded, train ’em again. (But that’s probably too logical.)

  15. onebitcpu*

    OP2: Why do you still have access to work email? I would change the email password and promptly forget it.
    From the company standpoint, having a former employee still able to access email is a BAD idea, and your access should have been cut off immediately.

    1. Snarky McSnarkerson*

      ^This is where I went even before addressing the “your side of the story.”

    2. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      If it’s a government or military organization, they may still have the same email address or be searchable in global. Otherwise it could be their personal email.

    3. LW2*

      I left six months ago, but stayed on for four months in an adjunct role to finish teaching a program (and was paid for that work). So I kept my email until the program ended a couple of months ago. I can’t remember what the “grace” period for having email deactivated after finishing that kind of role is – I think it might be 4 months? So I have email access for a couple more months, though my access to the shared drives etc was revoked as soon as I left.

      1. Observer*

        That makes more sense. But still bad practice. The day you stopped working for them, your access should have been cut off. There should NOT be a “grace period” for the departing employee. For the company, that’s a different story. But there is almost never any good reason for leaving the email of a departed employee active and accessible to anyone outside of the organization, including the *former* employee.

      2. Mr. Bob Dobalina*

        OP#2: In this kind of situation, you should not access the email following your final day of employment – even if you can, don’t do it. And also, I agree with all the prior advice: after your employment ends, what happens at that workplace–whether they follow correct procedures, or miss a step, or whatever goes down with an employee complaint and handling it correctly or not–none of that is your responsibility any longer. And for your own protection, don’t get involved or entertain any notion from them that you owe them anything. From your prior comments, it sounds like it is all resolved now.

    4. Generic Name*

      Yeah, if the OP is still able to log into their work email and send emails from a job they left six months ago, that’s a HUGE problem. And it’s not the OP’s problem. Every bit of this letter screams dysfunction, and it’s entirely reasonable to not want to be drawn back in. It’s been six months, I think you can reply once that you can’t help them with their processes anymore and then ignore/block/delete emails from them.

    5. TrixM*

      I agree. It definitely yells “dysfunctional workplace!” File to the round filing cabinet.

      Also, Alison’s throwaway comment on “do you know the password for X?” is something else to be wary of in terms of good will. Maybe if it’s your former boss within a week or two of your leaving. But from some random person months later? No, you have “forgotten” that password, so sorry.

      It can be a social engineering ploy to get confidential information. Even if it is your former boss months later, how do you know they are still employed at your former organisation? Or are in the same role? It’s also a common “pen testing” ploy, where security professionals auditing IT security at an org will test their info-security practices. Yes, to the extent of calling former employees. It happened to me – I had an uncle-boss at a former workplace call me about misplacing a password to a digital password safe plus one to another important system. I advised him that my own former boss would have the details, or the physical copy was in X location. And that was all. I did not reveal either password (honestly, they should have been changed after I departed the org anyway).

      I actually can’t think of a situation where you would divulge a password after leaving an org. You can pretty much always get a password reset. If literally no-one could get into the system, the org’s record-keeping was incredibly poor, the password safe had gone up in flames, and all the other staff that knew it had since passed away, MAYBE. If it was critical to the org’s operations, I was sitting with the head of IT security, and I had a signed and witnessed letter from the CEO authorising it.

  16. PR hirer*

    I so strongly agree with this.

    Having access to your former work emails also makes you vulnerable if any information from your former employer goes astray.

  17. Haven’t picked a user name yet*

    #2- disconnect your access to your old companies emails! This is a disaster waiting to happen-and I can’t understand a company that would want you to have access to them, let alone retention requirements etc. it security etc.

    If for some reason you were using your personal email- again- why!!!) I would delete them. Having them opens you up to risk, especially if there is an ethics complaint that leads to subpoenas- do you want all your email being allowed in?

    Overall I would simple reply that you don’t have any additional information and no longer work there – and if you have access to their emails shut it down asap.

  18. Phryne*

    OP1: it is not just about sharing wrong information with the kids, although that is bad bad bad in itself.
    That teacher is the representative of your organization to the outside world. Think about what happens if kids go home and repeat this stuff to their parents, is that the impression you want them to get of the quality of education you deliver? And if they complain, is your answer going to be ‘yes we know she said that stuff but we thought her right to voice her opinion was as important as the official health guidelines so we didn’t do anything with it’…

    She can have whatever beliefs she wants to have in private, but in interaction with the children she is at work and you can simply expect her to toe the company line and keep the rest to herself.

  19. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

    OP1: it’s often very nerve wracking to tell someone that 1) their views are wrong and 2) they have to stop saying them in this situation/location and a lot of that is down to how we’re fed a large dose of ‘you must be tolerant to every opinion and give it a fair airtime’.

    It’s a hard conditioning to overcome and I only learnt that from this website.

    I only have experience as a teacher of adults so this may not work but I’d be personally inclined toward having a quiet word with the teacher that stuff that’s been proven false (sugar doesn’t do Jack against viruses, vaccines do!) isn’t the kind of thing you should be telling students – that kind of opinion is better served toward your peers/people where there isn’t a power differential unlike adults/children and even then they have a right to say ‘I don’t wanna hear it’.

    I’d escalate it at the first hint of ‘but free speech’.

    1. Curmudgeon in California*

      Yeah, free speech doesn’t give you a right to spew garbage, anti-fact “opinions” in an official capacity. When you are on the clock your speech to customers has the weight of your organization. Same reason that you can’t cuss out customers – you are a representative of the organization, not a private person, at that moment. There is no “free speech” when you are representing an employer. If you spew a personal opinion, even if you preface it with “In my personal opinion”, in an official capacity to a customer/client, you can get called on the carpet about it, and it’s fair.

  20. That_guy*

    for LW2
    Asking for your side of the story leads me to think that your former bosses are laying the blame for problems at their company on you and this person sees through their BS. It has been my experience that employers who willing to underpay and overwork their employees do not like it when that employee takes their undervalued efforts elsewhere.
    It might be worthwhile to contact that person to see if your former company is damaging your reputation.

    1. EPLawyer*


      OP2 needs to stay out of it. Contacting the current employee who wants to hear her side of the story is not a good idea. And it would be weird to hear back “well I’m not going to tell you, but what are they saying about me?” that just sucks OP back into the drama. If they are badmouthing her, she will find out anyway.

  21. Irish Teacher*

    As another teacher, I would say there is a HUGE difference between being pro-vaccination and saying that sugar prevents illness. This is not a matter of opinion; it’s a matter of something with scientific evidence behind it versus something that doesn’t. As teachers, we are supposed to share correct information. We are not supposed to share incorrect information. Also, students will see us as representatives of the academic community and will assume that if a teacher tells them something, that is what the scientific consensus is. Unless she prefaced what she said with “this is not what most doctors and scientists would suggest and I am only giving my personal opinion, which has no evidence behind it,” she is essentially giving the impression that there is some scientific basis for what she is saying.

    You SHOULD react differently to a teacher giving students accurate information and giving inaccurate and dangerous information. I think it is very concerning that people treat stuff like this as if it’s political rather than evidence-based versus not evidence-based. Not saying the LW is doing this, just that it does happen. The issue here is not that the teacher is giving an opinion. It’s not even that she is pushing an agenda. It’s that she is getting inaccurate information that could cause somebody to get very ill or die if they followed her advice.

    I think maybe it might help to compare it to a less controversial issue. A teacher telling students to wear their seatbelts when in a car wouldn’t warrant correction; it could even be part of their job. A teacher telling students “I don’t understand why anybody wears seatbelts when people have died in car accidents even when wearing them. When I’m in a car, I put a cushion on my lap so if there’s a crash, I’ll just bump into that and won’t be injured” WOULD be problematic.

    1. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      I like your take on this. Sugar intake may have an effect on your individual response to viral exposure (but maybe not … I don’t actually know) but viral exposure happens in scientifically proven ways.

      And not for nothing, a camp should have a basic policy/procedure for responding to individuals with symptoms of any sort of contagious illness. THAT is what the teacher is responsible for imparting — e.g., “If you have sniffles, but no fever and test negative for Covid, you can remain at camp, but must use a tissue, dispose of it properly and wash your hands (and probably wear a mask and be careful of exposure risks, especially in enclosed areas).

    2. GlazedDonut*

      Yes yes yes– I’d add that in any conversation LW has (with the teacher or with admin), it’s worthwhile to mention that given the scale of covid, likely some of these students have experienced tremendous loss in some form, and this could be very upsetting to them. We know kids talk to other kids, so it’s reasonable to believe that other kids are hearing what this teacher said, regardless of who was in the room at the time.
      Just as with the seatbelt analogy, you could reasonably expect someone to have an anecdote about someone they know whose live was saved/ended due to seatbelt issues, I think the same holds true for covid and how personal it can be.

    3. Properlike*

      Another teacher here, taught kindergarten through college, and I agree with all of this. Excellent examples.

      If the teacher was up there telling kids 2+2 = 5, you’d have something to say, right?
      If they were saying, “The earth is flat”, you’d put a stop to it.

      You say, “I realized that if she had been pro-vaccination and promoting some other medically valid way of preventing illness, like washing your hands, I wouldn’t have minded her comments.”

      Yes. Because vaccinations and hand-washing are science-based, evidence-supported health measures. What she’s talking about are not. Please don’t fall into the “both-sidesism” that is a big reason for the mess we’re in today. Not *everyone’s* opinion carries equal weight.

      1. Irish Teacher*

        Yeah, the “teach both sides” is valid where there is actual academic debate. For a kinda timely example, the Irish Civil War happened 100 years ago…like this month. Now THAT is something where you can argue things for both sides (heck, even some of the leadership at the time were saying “our opponents are doing what they think right”). A teacher saying the Treaty was a sell-out is morally and academically equivalent to a teacher saying those who opposed the Treaty were acting illegally and endangering democracy.

        But whether vaccinations or avoiding sugar are more effective for preventing illness is not a scientific or academic debate. One has evidence behind it. The other is…pseudoscience at best, one person’s random idea at worst. They aren’t equivalent.

  22. MicroManagered*

    OP3 the only time I think it’s advisable to tell your boss you are looking for another job is if you think there is a position within the same company that you’d be interested in, where they might be able to help prepare you to go for that job when it opens up.

  23. Moi*

    As a nurse and as a parent of a child with anorexia, the “I avoid sugar” advice is also harmful. We are seeing more people opt out of effective treatments for special sugar free diets resulting in needless and preventable deaths. Our cultural obsession with thin ness and clean eating is contributing to the mass increase in rates of eating disorders

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

      This was my thought too. How many of those kids had something sugary for breakfast and now think that they are going to be sick if they eat frosted flakes. Of what if one kid brings a snack to share at school and its fruit snacks and now all the kids are going to bully him because he’s “Trying to make us sick”.

    2. thestik*

      Yeah, I’m actually kind of worried about a YouTuber I follow who has publicky stated he has given up all added sugar. I’ve said very little but suspect this course of action will end up backfiring.

      1. Heather*

        Is that so bad? Maybe the phrase is used differently where I am, but by “added sugar” I would assume they meant cutting out soda, commercial breads/baked goods, commercial salad dressings, things like that. You can eat normal, healthy food like fruit, veggies, meat, pulses, dairy… But perhaps it means something else elsewhere?

        1. thestik*

          He has cut out all of those things plus a few others (like pasta sauce). The way he has described it is pretty broad. My concern is that he will either not be able to sustain this or he’ll keep this up for a full year and be motivated to cut another widespread ingredient (which is increasingly a sign of orthorexia). My money is on the latter happening.

        2. Moi*

          There’s not “good” food and “bad” food. Instead there’s “often food” and “sometimes food”. Commercially baked cookies and soda can be part of a healthy diet when consumed in moderation. It is problematic to assign morality to foods. In fact, there are people where high fat/high sugar foods are exactly what their body needs.

          1. shedubba*

            Even this can backfire with kids. When my oldest was in kindergarten (KINDERGARTEN!!!), she started restricting her food intake, refusing all sweets, getting upset if we had pizza for dinner, etc., lots of disordered eating behavior. I finally managed to get out of her that the PE coach had given a lesson on “Go Foods, Slow Foods, Whoa Foods, and No Foods”, and my daughter had come away from it with the idea that she needed to ONLY eat “go foods”, which basically meant fruits and vegetables (proteins and starches were both classified as “slow foods”). We’ve had to do a lot of re-education (and involve her doctor in the discussion).

            The problem is that, even with better framing, people still project morality and value judgments onto different kinds of food.

        3. metadata minion*

          Homemade bread and baked goods frequently have sugar, too. It’s pretty necessary if you’re making something sweet. If you’re focusing in home-cooked food, you should say that, rather than “no added sugar”.

      2. Properlike*

        You’d be amazed at how even extremely well-educated people in the healthcare field have fallen prey to the “I eat clean, and it will save my life/prevent me from getting diseases.” It’s another form of disordered eating under the society-endorsed virtue umbrella.

  24. Random IT person*

    With #1 : report her. I am biased, I know – but anti vaxxers are dangerous – their ideology is dangerous and they seem to enjoy inflicting suffering on people – especially if it`s not needed. Plus, the leaders of that movement use their fake information, twisted ideas, to sell stuff. Colloidal silver, supplements, ‘cures’ etc. And last but not least – they think people like myself are worse than death – because we`re autistic. And that bleeping fable needs to finally go away.

    With #2 : Be friendly, and use the “i do not remember”.
    I do think the question “your side of the story” is weirdly worded – as if you are part of a conflict ??

  25. anonymous73*

    #2 you’ve already done much more than you should have. First, why do you still have access to your company email? If the company doesn’t have to sense to turn off your access, then you need to disconnect from it immediately. Second, it’s been 6 months. You should have ignored the email. You owe them nothing. Period. Once you disconnect from your old work email, if anyone contacts you again, tell them you’ve done what you can and are unable to help them. Then block any numbers or emails so they can’t contact you again, and LET IT GO. You should never have more loyalty to a company than they have for you when they treat you so poorly that it affects your mental health, ESPECIALLY after you’ve left.
    #3 No. Never.

    1. LW2*

      Oh – I think I could have clarified something in my original letter. While I still have access to my old email (which I wrote about in a comment above), the employee didn’t email me at my old email – she found my new email (publicly available) and emailed me there. So it’s not like I was checking my old email and saw this. Anyway, that aside – yeah, the loyalty piece is tough. Looking back, I was probably overly loyal for much longer than I needed to be! See also, giving five weeks’ notice, and writing 50 pages of handover notes…

      1. Generic Name*

        You sound like a very conscientious person. Think of it this way, if your former employer, who let you do the work of 2 people, we’re to let you go, would they give you 5 weeks notice? Would they continue use to cover your health insurance for 6 months?

      2. anonymous73*

        Thank you for the clarification about your old email. I still think you need to disconnect from it thought. And the employee who tracked you down at your new email overstepped big time. I get that it’s difficult. As someone who takes pride in their work and never wants to let anyone down, I know it can be difficult to walk away. But no matter how great the company is you have to put yourself first. They wouldn’t hesitate to get rid of you if it made financial sense for their bottom line – I’ve been laid off 3 times in my career due to company restructure.

      3. Nomic*

        LW, tracking you down to your new non-work email is .. egregious. Don’t engage at all. Asking for “your side of the story” is, again, trying to draw you into something that IS NOT YOURS.

        Get away and stay away, and remember that to an employer, you aren’t family. Employers are an ‘it’, not a ‘them’. There is no good for you to continuously engage with it.

  26. Ellis Bell*

    OP1, I would not feel comfortable having an anti vaxx teacher in my school after a recent experience with one. She was excellent at being subtle about it; never mentioned an out loud word to the kids! None of our bosses knew, because she’s not stupid, and she’s never mentioned it to me either, or any other peer. I suppose she thought my TA was a safe confidante so she told her she thought the rise in diagnosed SENs was all down to vaccines. She told my speechless colleague that it might explain why the SEN students she was specifically hired to improve are “unteachable”. We wondered whether to report this alarming attitude upstairs, but they were already planning on getting rid of her after the past year just refused to gel … Her own TA is exasperated “why have the students made no progress?!”, Her students coming to me confidentially to ask whether they are stupid, wanting to know why she was hired and not able to express what they dislike beyond “I hate her”. She’s also an excellent practitioner of pedagogy – I’m sure her lesson plans are the highest of art forms, but she was never really able to hide her disdain for the students long term, so there you are.

    1. Rebecca*

      Exaaaactly. The things that make me an excellent teacher have very little, if anything, to do with my excellent lesson plans.

      I mean, so little that I’ve stopped bothering writing excellent lessons plans.

    2. Rebecca*

      Also how awful for your students! I’m glad they have someone who realizes they deserve better.

      1. InsufficientlySubordinate*

        Special Educational Needs/ Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

      2. Ellis Bell*

        As others have said, the special needs that educators need to keep in mind when designing learning provision. The most common types of SEN which need accommodations are autism, ADHD, dyslexia, or social and emotional health but it can be literally anything that affects how you learn.

    3. Meep*

      I am of the opinion at this junction all anti-vaxxers can pile off a cliff like the lemmings they are. Anyone who still believes that nonsense shouldn’t be teaching.

      1. Kay*

        Although lemmings don’t actually pile off cliffs except when forced (disturbing deep dive into the story behind that) but I’m with you on the rest!

  27. Purple Cat*

    you’re not required to treat all opinions equally. Some are actively harmful.

    This all day. And in so many circumstances.

  28. Ginger*

    LW 3 – learn from my mistake. I also wanted to move out of sales (and did and couldn’t be happier!) BUT I told my manager about my career goals and frankly, it hurt me. Sales leaders hear “I want to exit sales” and they tend to check out on working with you. It’s like a lead that flops, they focus on their “sure bets”. And most don’t understand career paths outside of sales.

    I also notice the truly great leaders who want to help their direct reports develop their careers, whatever that may be, are few and far between.

    Highly recommend not sharing your job searching and definitely not the desire to leave your company. Good luck!

  29. Luna*

    LW1 – While she’s right that you can catch Covid despite being vaccinated (I caught it after two vaccinations and a booster, and only got it a few months later because I got a job where I was in public a lot more than before), that’s not a reason to advise against getting vaccinated. Also, on a personal note, my week or two with Covid was mostly an irritation of having a scratchy throat. The vaccines helped in making it not ‘as bad’.
    Herd immunity is intended for those that genuinely *can’t* get vaccinated, due to allergic reactions or other big medical reasons. Everyone else that can get vaccinated really should.

    LW4 – If you have some sort of cardigan that you can throw over your top, those are generally good. They can be found in unicolor or patterened, and they are easy to put on or take off if you get too warm while doing work. Like, something made out of… I can’t find my own right now, so I don’t recall the exact term, perhaps ‘acryllic’? (Or isn’t that the color painting?)

  30. nonprofit writer*

    “you’re not required to treat all opinions equally”: THIS.

    My middle school kid had a teacher who made vaguely political comments that made it pretty clear his politics were opposite of ours. Inappropriate to talk politics, but my kid’s complaints were vague enough that we let it go. Plus I felt similarly to the LW and didn’t want my own views to prejudice me against the guy.

    But when my son came home and said the teacher had had a side conversation in earshot of the whole class with a select group of kids (whom my son perceives as having similar views to the teacher, though I can’t verify that) about the stupidity of vaccination and the fact that he wasn’t vaccinated, you better believe I emailed the principal ASAP.

    Apparently the guy was a repeat offender and we were not the only ones who complained because he is no longer at the school (and we are in a state with pretty robust protections for public school teachers so I imagine his behavior overall was pretty egregious).

  31. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

    “ The teacher’s first comment was that she didn’t know why anyone would bother to get vaccinated for Covid, when you can get Covid despite vaccination.”

    – that’s because the vaccines were not originally designed to prevent COVID, but to mitigate hospitalizations and deaths, which they do extremely well.

    She needs to update her understanding of the public health policy, so please do include this in your notes. If it was me I’d want to tell her personally as well, because I wouldn’t know how confident to feel in the administration’s chances of addressing it.

    Also, you don’t have to (and I hope you don’t) put the same weight on her comment as well as the existing policy. You don’t have to find a happy medium between an inaccurate statement and medical data. You can just refute the inaccurate statement, and treat it as ‘oh you may not know this but here is what the data actually is’.

    1. vac*

      Ummm, vaccines were designed to prevent COVID, however because the virus mutates so often, it does not provide the level of immunity we were hoping for and is not effective at reducing COVID but is highly effective at reducing serious illness and hospitalizations.

      1. Properlike*

        You’re correct with this additional information, vac, but the ummmm isn’t quite warranted when we’re encouraging accurate health information.

      2. Ariaflame*

        Vaccines are not magic shields that bounce virus particles away from the body. They make it easier for the body to recognise the virus when it’s entered the body and started replicating and to be faster in mustering a response, but it doesn’t and can’t make it impossible for the virus to enter the body. Depending on the immune system of the patient and how well it’s ‘learned’ from the vaccines will determine how fast it responds to and clears out the infection and how long it reduces any infections period.

        It also learns somewhat from previous infections, but unfortunately the damage caused from previous infections doesn’t go away and appears just to get exacerbated by each future infection, especially if it’s mutated enough that the immune system takes longer to recognise it.

  32. Rosie*

    OP3 if you have a good enough relationship with your supervisor for an off the record convo, I’ve had good luck with my bosses helping me find new positions or helping me prep for conversations about transitioning out. It’s obviously a risk, very situational and you shouldn’t feel obligated to out of any sense of duty but I mean, my current boss recommended me to my current company while he was my former boss and then came and joined this company after I did and now a year later I’ve changed roles and he’s my boss again.

  33. Purple Cat*

    LW3 – the advice to not tell your boss you’re planning on leaving is sound. And almost everybody should follow that.
    However, your boss should be open to discussions about career development and next steps *at your current company*. It sounds like you did this career shift internally, so they should be open to discussing possible future shifts as well.

  34. Observer*

    #2 – Employer wants “your side of the story”.

    I haven’t read most of the comments, so I don’t know if this has been addressed. But I want to say that you should stop messaging your old boss about this. Also, do NOT “give you side of the story” to anyone, least of all to the employee who made the ethics complaint. Hand over whatever documentation you can EASILY find, direct her to whoever is in charge of the unit, and then stay out of it!

    This is not your mess to clean up. And if the complaint turns into a formal investigation by and industry ethics board, you handle it like you would any other investigation by a regulatory body. That is, with great caution and discretion and possibly getting some advice (not from your former boss who might be implicated here!)

    If it turns into an internal investigation by the company’s ethics board, I think you should consider staying out of it. Not in an adversarial way. Just, as Alison recommends, you documented your processes as completely as you could in the time you had, and it’s now months later and you’ve moved on. They should have access to all of your work documents and work email. If they don’t it’s really not your issue to fix.

    1. Delta Delta*

      This is like a surgeon leaving a hospital, and the MBA CEO stepping in to remove someone’s appendix, but then blaming the surgeon because they didn’t include “sew up the patient” in their handover documents. This is just absolutely not OP’s problem.

    2. PR hirer*

      Just to build on this. You have no obligation to engage with an internal ethics investigation. None.

  35. Delta Delta*

    #1 – This is tricky. I agree the teacher should not have made comments about covid vaccines to kids. The sugar comment seems a little more benign, when taken on its own. While it might imply that not eating sugar prevents illness, it may also imply that she feels better when she doesn’t eat sugar. If a kid walks away from that interaction and it sticks with them, and they avoid sugar when they get the sniffles, there seems like there’d probably be little harm in it. It also doesn’t seem like “medical advice” so much as it seems like just talking.

    that having been said, it seems like the coaching should cover a) that you don’t talk about highly-charged or politicized topics with kids at camp and b) that kids are sponges and you never know what they’ll grab onto and keep with them. You could use the sugar comment as a jumping-off point for that and how to use that kind of comment either effectively or not at all.

    This person’s judgment also seems questionable, but perhaps that’s beyond your pay grade.

    1. Properlike*

      I would argue that the coaching should include c) you don’t give inaccurate scientific information.

      We can’t not teach science because it’s “politicized.” That’s what the anti-science crowd wants you to do.

    2. Dahlia*

      No, it is not benign. That’s the kind of comment that sticks in a kid’s head and can lead to life-long disabled eating habits.

  36. Becky*

    Other’s have adequately addressed what your responsibilities are and aren’t with regard to your former employer. I just wanted to address something that stood out to me:

    I’ve gone back through my emails, which I still have access to, and provided a detailed reply, but as of right now still haven’t had guidance about whether to respond to the employee who’s emailed me.

    Is it a correct reading of this that you still have access to your email for a company you no longer work at? Or were these business email exchanges that went to your personal email address? Both are problematic and makes me wonder about how together this company really is. But if the former is accurate–that you still have access to company email six months after leaving the company, that is a really bad look for the company. Can you flag their IT department that your access to company email should have been removed following your leaving the company?

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

      OP explained in a thread above. She left that specific roll 6 months ago but stayed for 4 months in an adjunct role to finish a teaching program so she was still working for the company. She says its typical for the company to have a grace period for email access but as soon as she left the first position she had all of her shared drives were removed.

      From my experience this is common. especially if she was in some sort of education roll.

      1. Observer*

        It may be common, but it’s terrible practice.

        OP should NOT access her work emails any more, and should let her former job know that she DOES NOT WANT ACCESS.

  37. Kelly Kapoor*

    OP4: I keep a “blanket scarf” in my office for this reason. Google it and you’ll find many options. I think I got mine at the Loft outlet for like $20. I can keep it on my lap as a blanket, but it’s fancy enough to drape over my upper body like I intended to look put together.

  38. Paris Geller*

    you’re not required to treat all opinions equally.

    I want this sentence cross-stitched and hanging on my wall.

    1. Katie*

      Yes! And someone please notify the media and democratic politicians because this has gotten lost.

  39. TootsNYC*

    A miscommunication over this step in the process had escalated dramatically over the last couple of months, resulting in one (fairly senior) employee making a complaint to the ethics board.

    If there’s any ethics issue, the people who still work there should be grownup enough, and ethical enough to deal with or avoid these ethics problems on their own, without you!
    Don’t let that aspect of this stress you out.

  40. Jessica Fletcher*

    #2, why do you still have access to your old work email? I think that would be a bigger concern for them. They should be removing former employees’ access.

  41. felix draco*

    you’re not required to treat all opinions equally. Some are actively harmful.

    This is true in all situations. Free speech does not mean “free from consequences”. People should be taken to task for saying things that may or will cause harm.

  42. CommanderBanana*

    Your former boss asking you to defend yourself months after you left that job is bold. Feel free to tell them (politely) to go pound sand.

  43. Midwest-y*

    I noticed at my doctor’s office that the front desk professionals were wearing cotton/fleece cardigans with the clinic’s logo on the front. I work in marketing and mentioned to my friend who orders all the T-shirts and goodies for events that I would love a similar cardigan with our company’s logo. It took a few months of asking, but eventually they opened an online company store — where we can buy logoed cardigans, polos, vests, fleeces, etc.. I had to pay for the cardigan myself (boo!), but it does look sharp and office appropriate.

  44. helpful helper*

    OP4: I would suggest a warm soft shell jacket or a quarter zip. Those items are popular in businesses where you have to look a little nicer than just casual. Something with a weight of 7-8 ounces would probably be good for that temperature. I personally throw on something like the North Face Women’s Canyonlands ¼-Zip

Comments are closed.