is “have a blessed day” inappropriate at work, promised promotion never happens, and more

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

1. Is “have a blessed day” inappropriate at work?

Is it appropriate to end your professional voice mail greeting with the phrase “Have a blessed day”? I find it jarring to encounter in the context of work as a non-Christian.

I find it mildly jarring too (also as a non-Christian), although it’s a really, really common thing to say/hear in the south … so common that a lot of people would be surprised to hear that anyone takes issue with it (which is a problem and reflects the privilege of the dominant faith to not even be aware that some of its words and trappings aren’t secular).

Outside of work, it’s easier to simply take the phrase as a general expression of well wishes. At work though, the bar is higher; people should keep religious statements — even mild ones — out of work communications (including their outgoing voicemail messages). You’re going to have an uphill battle arguing that among most of its adherents though.

2. I’ve been promised a promotion for years and it never happens

I have been at my institution for eight years. In that time my role has expanded significantly but my title and compensation have remained largely unchanged, save for the annual flat 2% raise that all employees get and a 2021 “adjustment” to make my salary level with comparable jobs at competitor institutions.

During this time, I have had five vice presidents, two direct supervisors (and two years with no supervisor), and three mid-supervisors all with varying degrees of interest and control over my job. The transitions and gaps in leadership have meant that promises from past supervisors have gone unfulfilled. Even our HR department has gone through two complete changeovers from when I began, and my evaluations have been incomplete or completely absent for years.

My director (who says she adores me) has told me that she’s been pushing for a promotion for me for three years. A year ago when I brought up my frustration with my stagnant position, she told me that the vice president told her that she must wait for a new mid-supervisor role to be filled and that person would be able to promote me.

Fast forward to when that person was hired and my supervisor and I told her that I was looking to be promoted: that person immediately told me that she had to wait until the vice president was brought into these discussions. When I brought that up to my supervisor, she suggested I wait another three to six months and bring it back up.

I feel like this level of buck-passing is a clear answer that my work is either not valued … or it is taken for granted. And after eight years, I suppose I really can only blame myself for waiting so long. Am I jumping the gun if I jump ship now?


No, no, no.

You are never jumping the gun for deciding to look at other options after eight years, even without all of this stringing you along. But throw in eight years of empty promises and delays and constantly moving timelines, and your manager would be remarkably obtuse if she didn’t realize that of course you’re likely to be looking and of course they may lose you over this. (That doesn’t mean she won’t be surprised or disappointed; she might be. But she shouldn’t be.)

They’ve had plenty of time to try to keep you. They haven’t, and they’ve given you no reason to think that will change anytime soon. Make your decisions accordingly.

3. My company intranet shares every employee’s home address

I just started a new job at a nonprofit with kind of … patchwork operations protocols. I’ve just realized that in the intranet staff directory, you can see everyone’s home address. This is not good, right? That’s info HR should be keeping private?

Yeah, that’s not good! There’s no reason that every employee of your company needs to know where every other employee lives. That’s personal data that should be restricted to people with an actual need to know (like payroll people).

4. Should I tell my interviewer I’ve already accepted another job (which I’d be giving up if I got this one)?

I recently accepted a job offer. It’s far from perfect: it’s an entry-level job, part-time, and only for a couple of months, not-so-great salary and it’s starting in two months. But it’s a job, which I desperately need at this point after being part-time or completely unemployed for a while.

This morning I was called for an interview for a much higher level job for a longer period, full-time, and matches my degree much better. If I manage to get it, I will definitely take it and I believe the other job will understand. My question is: I should keep quiet at the interview about the other job, right? Or could it somehow make me seem a better candidate? After all, it’s showing that I’m not completely useless (like I feel after months of desperately trying to make ends meet and sending endless job applications) and I’m not planning on staying home and waiting for opportunities. These jobs have nothing in common, if that matters.

Don’t mention it. Your reasons for taking the first job but also interviewing for the second make complete sense, but there’s too much risk of making your interviewer uneasy about whether you’ll continue interviewing once you’re employed with them as well. (To be clear, that wouldn’t be particularly reasonable since that the first job is lower level, part-time, and temporary, but it’s a risk nonetheless.) And knowing that someone else wanted to hire you doesn’t carry enough weight to cancel that out.

5. Should I let my manager know that I’m expecting an excellent review?

My Fortune 500 company uses a nine-block matrix during annual performance reviews, with the two axes being Behavior and Performance. Example: An average employee is in the middle box (as-expected behavior, as-expected performance), while an outstanding employee would be in the top corner (great behavior, great performance). These boxes affect our raises and bonuses. I have been told by my previous manager that getting the highest box is quite hard and reserved for an especially impressive year, and that some luck is involved in having a year with enough opportunities to prove yourself. Therefore, most high-performing employees like myself are regularly placed in the top middle box (great behavior, as-expected performance). I have only been in the top corner box once in six years.

I have had an especially successful year this year, including successful completion of difficult projects, booking additional customer contracts based on that work, and taking on many new responsibilities outside of my standard role. I have numbers to support these claims. Can/should I let me manager know of my intention to be considered for a top box review?

My previous manager would not have needed the reminder, as she was a fierce advocate for our team and our results. However, she left the company earlier this year, and my new manager is a little different. For starters, she is located at a different site and we have only met in person a few times. With the departure of my previous manager, my new manager is now overseeing our group in addition to the group she has managed for years, and my group has noticed a slight bias towards her original group. She is also very conservative in her approach, always wanting to have all the ducks in a row before making a claim. I am concerned that even though she has been complimentary of my work, she may overlook that I have had the type of year that should be considered for the top box. A lot of things had to fall into place to be able to achieve my results this year, and I don’t want the opportunity to be missed!

I would like to send a short email briefly listing my accomplishments (more detail would be included in our official review form) and stating that I would like to be considered for a top box based on these results. What are your thoughts? Is this inappropriate/too pushy? Although this wouldn’t really be true, should I include a phrase indicating I understand if she disagrees?

It’s not too pushy if you can back up your case with specific achievements, and you can. It’s a good idea. If nothing else, it tells your manager that she should be prepared to explain why she disagrees if in fact she does.

I would not include a mention that you will understand if she disagrees; that will water down the strength of your argument a bit. (And it’s not like not including that implies that you’ll throw a fit if she reaches a different conclusion than you did, since presumably she knows you to be reasonable and professional.)

{ 687 comments… read them below }

  1. Not A Manager*

    “Have a blessed day” sets my teeth on edge. I’m hearing it more and more; it’s said completely in good will and it would be weird for me to push back. And I hate it. I can’t even articulate why I hate it – who wouldn’t want their day to be magic in some way?

    I don’t mind if people “pray for me,” I don’t mind if they wish me a Merry Christmas, there are a lot of dominant religion-type things that don’t bother me, but this one does.

    1. Katalyst*

      I know it’s rude, but sometimes have wanted to reply with a “bless your heart” … usually when a former carried a touch of the latter but hey–if we’re all just supposed to take the blessings as offered…

      1. Emily*

        I think the issue is that it most often comes off as insincere (or at least it does to me). It feels rather schmultzy and almost bordering on toxic positivity. I have previously worked in social work and can only imagine how it would have come across to clients, whose daily lives were more often than not a huge struggle, to hear a voicemail message telling them to have a “blessed day”.

        1. The Prettiest Curse*

          People who would say that type of thing in the workplace would probably argue that those were the type of people who need their dubious blessings the most.

          I’ve never heard this phrase in the UK (we’re probably too sarcastic and secular to carry it off successfully), but while I was working in the US, I came across someone whose email sign-off was “Blessings”. I thought it was a great example of a sign-off that wouldn’t work with every email.

          1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

            I’ve only heard it in the UK very ironically and as a direct reference to Handmaid’s Tale.

            Today I have learned that people use it unironically and that Margaret Atwood didn’t make it up for the Gilead universe.

            1. Person from the Resume*

              OMG! I haven’t watched the Handmaid’s Tale and I didn’t know she repurposed it. Ha!

            2. sb51*

              Actually, I wonder if that’s part of what’s causing this uptick in it — people who are of a background where using it unironically is not unheard of either seeing it in Handmaid’s Tale or seeing it used ironically in reference to it, and subconsciously putting it back in the sign-off rotation.

              1. NeedRain47*

                I don’t think the people who use that phrase unironically are the same kind of people who watch Handmaid’s Tale. At all.

                I live in Kansas and to me, it’s always been a thing people say.

            3. ObscureRelic*

              Yep, that’s my association – Gilead. I wouldn’t make a thing about it if someone said it to me, but honestly I’m afraid I might inadvertently reply with “Under His Eye” or “May The Lord Open”and that would be awkward.

            4. Vio*

              We do have the almost automatic “bless you” after someone sneezes though. I’ve never considered it offensive but I get the occasional odd look for not saying or responding to it.

              1. no blessings please*

                Yes! I hate the “bless you” after the sneeze for this exact reason. It feels fake. I don’t need your blessing and I have no desire to bless you.

                However, I just don’t say “bless you” when people sneeze now. Anyone who sneezes near me is met with silence. My husband thinks that people care more about the acknowledgement of their sneeze, which is even weirder to me. So now, just as a running joke in our home, when he sneezes I will say “I am acknowledging I heard you sneeze.” I always wonder what people would think if they overheard!

          2. Punk*

            The UK…isn’t secular. England has an official religion, after all. Scotland has a nationally recognized church. This is a good example of people of the dominant religion assuming that their faith is secular culture just because they haven’t seen a lot of resistance or differing ideology in practice. But I can tell you that, as a non-Christian, I would be very uncomfortable living in a country with an official religion.

            1. Ariaflame*

              I suppose the difference is the UK has an official religion, which most people ignore, and the USA has officially no religion, but you are almost unelectable if you aren’t the right religion.

              I know which I prefer.

              Mind you I’m Australia where we just turfed out the holy roller who was our PM.

            2. The Prettiest Curse*

              Sorry for the imprecise wording – I was just using it to mean that people are, in general, much less religious here than in the US.

          3. Up and Away*

            I’m a Christian, and I hate it! Can’t put my finger on why, but I think it definitely has to do with the insincerity of it. There was a cashier at a local discount store that I go to that whenever you asked her how she was, she’d proclaim with glee, “I’m blessed! And how are you?” I never knew how to respond…”I’m also blessed, thank you!” or “good, I guess?” I stopped asking her how she was.

            1. Cool Tina, Train Conductress*

              I’m not a Christian, but it also sounds so… prideful? Like you’re bragging that God likes you and tapped little ol’ you with his blessing stick?

              1. lilsheba*

                “Like you’re bragging that God likes you and tapped little ol’ you with his blessing stick?” I LOVE this….very funny.

                1. alienor*

                  I’d love to say “Wow, Jane, I hope God really wallops you with the blessing stick” to someone who annoyed me. LOL

              2. VI Guy*

                In my limited experience volunteering to help build homes in the southern US there was often an underlying view that the christian god will help those who are good, so someone with bad luck deserves it. I found it awful.

                “Thank you god, for fixing the cataracts of Sam’s mom.
                I assumed there was no God at all but now I see that’s cynical
                It’s simply that his interests aren’t particularly broad
                He’s largely undiverted by the starving masses,
                Or the inequality between the various classes
                He gives out strictly limited passes,
                Redeemable for surgery or two-for-one glasses.”

            2. a tester, not a developer*

              I have used “Blessed and highly favoured” (and never in public), but I got it from Heidi N’Closet on RuPaul’s Drag Race

              1. Mallory Janis Ian*

                I know people who use even “blessed and highly favored” completely unironically, and it’s usually people that when they say it, it has the hint of desperation to me. Like, looking at their lives, and hearing them proclaiming themselves ‘blessed and highly favored’, I picture them like that motivational poster where the scraggledy, soaked little kitten is clinging to a branch by two claws, in the rain, and it says “Never give up” — replace “never give up” with “blessed and highly favored” and that’s how I see them.

                1. Loredena*

                  I have a very toxic prosperity gospel relative that uses that unironically about herself. It’s just the pointer to the issues. We are no longer on speaking terms

                2. Yeah, nah*

                  Given that my my primary reference to “blessed and highly favored” is folks in Black church communities, this snarky shit… isn’t cute.

                3. Carit*

                  Replying to @Yeah, nah (because threading)

                  Thank you. I was struggling to put my finger on what was rubbing me wrong with “blessed and highly favored” being conflated with “have a blessed day” and this is it.

                  I’m white but have lived in integrated or majority Black communities much of my adult life. I just hadn’t made the connection, probably because I’m areligous. I’ve heard “blessed and highly favored” quite a bit, and it’s always felt sincere and authentic.

                  “Have a blessed day” is really different from that.

                  Anyway, thank you for pointing this out.

              2. Lydia*

                I love when Heidi N’Closet says it, because I get the distinct feeling there’s an unspoken part and it’s tongue in cheek.

            3. Burger Bob*

              That just feels like the weird toxic positivity that pervades so many evangelical spaces. If you’re not constantly performing joy over your blessings, then you aren’t Christianing hard enough. I found it exhausting whenever I was in that kind of space.

        2. Fact check*

          I volunteer at a food pantry. Many of the patrons have told me to have a blessed day. (I’ve never told anyone to have a blessed day.)

            1. Education Mike*

              Yea I hate hate hate it at work but I also volunteer at a food pantry and I find it kind of awkward but sweet in that context. I think partially because it’s a less inappropriate place for religious sentiment, and partially because it comes off as actually sincere in that context.

            2. RebelwithMouseyHair*

              So would I, but I’d feel bad nevertheless. I remember a friend, a social worker, telling me how she’d gone out to bat for a particular family who needed some service that was stretched too thin. When she managed to secure the service, she excitedly rang the mother who immediately responded with “praise be to Allah”. My friend was like “er no, Allah had nothing to do with it, that was little me bullying the guy in charge and risking my career for you”.

          1. MigraineMonth*

            I once responded to someone telling me, “Thank you so much, you’re going to heaven!” with “Not according to any of the world’s major religions.”

            Which is true, but probably not the most gracious response I could have made.

        3. Person from the Resume*

          Ugh, my mom types/says it. I fully believe it’s sincere from her, I still don’t like it.

          We live in an extremely Catholic part of the south and we are/were (for me) Catholic. I really feel like the Catholics didn’t start it but they picked it up from the evangelicals. And I hate it, but let it go because I assume sincerity on the part of the person saying it whenever that’s plausible. If an awful “Christian” coworker was saying it that could push me to the limit.

          1. Charlotte Lucas*

            I think of it as very Southern or rural conservative Christian. I come from a liberal Catholic background, & no one in my family uses it.

          2. Texan In Exile*

            I was also raised Catholic and have always associated the phrase with super evangelicals, which Catholics are not (or did not used to be).

            I also associate the phrase with being saved, which is also something Catholics are not. (I guess we are all going to hell.)

          3. Dust Bunny*

            Suburban Texas and I hear it a lot, although I’ve also gotten it in written form from other parts of the US (usually when I buy sewing supplies, which might be a factor). I find it annoying, too. I guess it’s the toxic positivity aspect, as well the “give God credit for all your own hard work” aspect. I’m an atheist from a religious background that doesn’t do the evangelical-type God.

        4. Parakeet*

          Having done similar sorts of work, the only place I’ve heard it as an adult living in a state that is very different culturally from where I grew up, was from clients (whose daily lives were indeed often a huge struggle), specifically clients from ethnic/cultural communities that are disproportionately observant-Christian. It made me (not a Christian, grew up in Christian conservative areas) wince slightly, but because of the power dynamic (as in, my having a certain kind of power vis a vis clients), I didn’t feel comfortable saying anything, and just tried to take it as it was meant (a general expression of well-wishes).

          It would be different with a coworker though.

        5. whingedrinking*

          It can also come off incredibly patronizing. Some people say it in a way that suggests God Themself deputized the speaker to dispense blessings on Their behalf, and also that obviously you’re in serious need of it, you poor thing. Sets my skin on edge and makes my teeth crawl.

          1. DJ Abbott*

            Yes, that smug “I’m saved and you’re not, I’m better than you, God has blessed me and I’m sharing that with you, poor person who really needs it” attitude would be horrible in a coworker. I cringe thinking of it.

      2. That One Person*

        Can’t help but feel like this is part of it for me where I’m squinting and trying to figure out if it’s another way to say “Bless your heart” and its connotations while sounding polite. I don’t think it is, but there’s always that spec of doubt…

      3. Hannah Lee*

        Part of me would be tempted to respond with “blessed be” even though that phrase isn’t something I’d normally use.

        1. No Longer Looking*

          I’ve always conflated the two, it never occurred to me that “have a blessed day” hadn’t also sprung out of the Wiccan cultural movement.

          1. Ev*

            Same – this thread is the first time I’ve realized that many of the people using phrases like this might be Christian. I’d always unconsciously assumed they were fluffy bunny pagan/New Age folks, because that’s my particular bubble. Huh.

            1. Rain's Small Hands*

              I just answered that I’m the same, I’ve always associated it with Wiccans, and if I wanted to be passive aggressive about the religious nature of it, I would respond with “oh, I didn’t realize you were Pagan!” (I’m not Pagan myself, but I have been very close to that bubble with friends and acquaintences).

    2. ENFP in Texas*

      Yes, it’s annoying. I get that they think they’re doing something nice, but it just huits me as a passive-aggressive way of proselytizing.

      I’d be so tempted to respond with something like “Hail Eris” or “Hail Discordia”.

      (Hey – they don’t specify who’s doing the blessing, why not invite a bit of chaos into the mix?)

      1. Koalafied*

        Funny you should mention it – “blessings” and variations on it is a super common salutation and valediction among pagans.

        1. GammaGirl1908*

          This is, frankly, the only reason I am not annoyed by it. Religions other than Christian confer blessings upon one another, and being “blessed” is not automatically religious (like, if pimples skipped me entirely as a teen, I can say non-religiously that I was blessed with good skin).

          Although I know that most people who use this salutation intend it at least vaguely religiously, I remind myself that that it can be taken in a non-religious manner, and I can let it go.

          (That said, I was raised Christian and am not super religious, bordering on agnostic, so what strikes me as juuuuust barely religious might not be the same as everyone else’s calibration.)

          1. Ellis Bell*

            I’m pagan and use this word in my religion, and would never ever say it because of that. I also know that when it is used sincerely its probably by a cultural-Christian who possibly doesn’t see it as religious. But mostly I would assume someone is making a Handmaid’s joke.

          2. Academic Librarian too*

            When people (random like cab drivers) ask me about my non-existent children, instead of over-sharing about fertility issues, I say, I have never been blessed.
            That’s pretty much all the use I have for that word.

          3. AJoftheInternet*

            Similar. I would be defined by others as religious, but “blessing” for me is just any good thing conferred by any being. (The Bible is full of blessings that are from humans to other humans.) It’s when you specify a deity that a blessing takes on a religious undertone in my book.

        2. wordswords*

          Yeah, as a cultural Christian who’s not from the South or an evangelical background, the first few times I saw “have a blessed day” in print, ironically I was like, “…is this a Wiccan thing…?” (Obviously context clues made the truth clear in fairly short order.)

          1. Lydia*

            I always associated it with pagan folk, but, honestly, I don’t want to hear it from anyone unless I’m in that specific setting. And I wouldn’t really ever be.

        3. Curmudgeon in California*

          Yep. “Blessed be” is a common pagan greeting, stealthing its way through Christian hegemony. I will sometimes reply with it to an excess of “Have a blessed day”

        4. SuperBB*

          I think the difference is that as a Pagan, I would only add blessed be as a salutation to someone I KNOW is also Pagan. I would never use it with a stranger because then I’m making assumptions about their religion.

      2. Irish Teacher.*

        I just mentioned below that if I heard somebody say, “have a blessed day,” I’d probably assume they were pagan.

        1. Richard Hershberger*

          In the American context, “Have a blessed day” is not merely Christianese, but specifically Evangelicalese. I wouldn’t expect to hear it from a Catholic or one of my fellow Lutherans. It is one of the more overt examples of Evangelicalese. There are others, but you have to know the code to spot many of them.

          Were I to hear “Have a blessed day” from one of my pagan friends I would suspect them of ironic commentary.

          1. Irish Teacher*

            That may go partway to explaining why my interpretation was so different as Christian in Ireland is usually Catholic (and honestly, in today’s world, often liberal Catholic), so even for the more right-wing, conservative Christians here, the code is different.

          2. AsPerElaine*

            I’ve also heard it from urban Black folks… I’m not sure precisely what flavor of Christian they were, although some were probably Baptists.

            1. Richard Hershberger*

              It is American Evangelical, but unlike a lot of Evangelical culture, it is not specifically White American Evangelical.

              1. DJ Abbott*

                No, I don’t think so. I’ve lived in a big city with a large black population for a long time and they often say have a blessed day. In my experience black urban people who say it tend to be more of a Southern Baptist religion.
                As far as I can tell there are a few if any black evangelicals in the sense we’re using the term here. In my experience fundamentalist evangelicals tend to be white.
                There are, of course, aspects of race relations we won’t get into here. Also not all evangelicals are fundamentalists, but fundamentalists have pretty much hijacked that term and most people don’t realize this.

                1. Richard Hershberger*

                  We need to define our terms. “Evangelical” in present-day American English is often used as shorthand for White American Evangelical Protestant. This is fair enough, in that the WAEPs are by far the most visible version, but they are not the only version of Evangelicalism. For starters, there are Evangelicals of various stripes in many countries. But within the US context, we still need to be careful with our terms. Start with “Southern Baptist.” This is a specific organization that dates to before the Civil War, which came out of a split with Baptists generally, the division being over slavery. When people say the Southern Baptists were founded in defense of slavery, this is a literal statement of history, The Southern Baptists are still predominantly White. This is less true today than formerly, but only marginally. The Southern Baptists fall comfortably under the WAEP umbrella.

                  Black Baptist churches are Baptist, but not Southern Baptist. The National Baptist Convention is the largest body. The other notable Black church body is the African Methodist Episcopal church (usually reduced to “AME” on the sign out front).

                  Are these two Black church bodies Evangelical? Certainly, under the sense of the word used from the 18th through the mid-20th centuries. The AME church was the Black version of the Methodists, who were the ur-Evangelicals, and Baptists in general drifted into Evangelical theology throughout the 19th century. Then in the mid-20th century an interesting reshuffling occurred, with White Methodists and White northern Baptists reclassified as “mainline Protestant.” How and why this happened is an interesting topic, but far too big for a blog comment. The question here is whether their Black counterparts also got reclassified. Mostly, no. You can make an argument for a theological split in the White churches. The Black versions most fall on the Evangelical side of that split. This produces some counter-intuitive results. For example, some years ago, gay marriage was on the Maryland ballot. The largely Black parts of the state voted strongly against it, despite voting reliably Democratic is pretty much everything else.

                  We could also dive into the matter of Pentecostalism, but that is a rabbit hole. Suffice it to say that the modern Pentecostalism was remarkably racially integrated in the beginning, but they mostly got over that pretty quickly. Many modern Black churches are firmly Pentecostal. A century ago, Pentecostals were not classified as Evangelical, but Billy Graham brought them under that umbrella.

          3. Texan In Exile*

            Wisconsin Lutherans go with “you betcha” and that’s about as outwardly enthusiastic as they get. :)

            1. DJ Abbott*

              It can be, depending on the attitude of the person who says it. There’s so much being said nonverbally.

          4. ThursdaysGeek*

            As an evangelical myself, but in the Pacific NW, the only person I have heard that phrase from is from my pagan friend.

        2. YetAnotherAnalyst*

          As a non-evangelical Christian from the northeastern part of the US, and one who had a significant crystals-and-reiki phase in the 90s, I also associate “have a blessed day!” with paganism – and I’m now sort of wondering how many people I’ve deeply confused by trying to respond in kind with a “blessed be” or wishing them a happy Lughnasadh.

          1. Dilly*

            I associate “blessed be” with paganism and “have a blessed day” with Christianity almost entirely from the contexts in which I encounter them (supernatural romance novel vs overtly religious co-worker)

          2. Same*

            Funnily enough last bit would not be associated with paganism for me as Lughnasadh is just an alternate spelling of the Irish language word for August. (And Samhain, another one Pagans like to use, is November, or just another name for Halloween. Quite irreligious.)

            1. Irish Teacher.*

              Yeah, to me “happy Lunasa” could either be pagan or just…Irish culture/ history. As a history teacher, it’s not unusual for those interested in history to reference the ancient festivals. And they are all bank Holidays now, that we’ve added the February one, so said in late July, happy Lunasa wouldn’t particularly register beyond “change of season”.

        3. Bagpuss*

          Yes, I am in th UK and would definitly associate it with Pagans, not christians. Definitely a ‘Normal for Glastonbury’ type thing.

      3. Education Mike*

        YES! This is why it bothers me. I could never put my finger on it exactly. It’s the passive aggressive proselytizing aspect. I feel like there’s an undercurrent of “be Christian today! If you’re not, you’re doing It wrong.”

    3. Miss Annie*

      Oh, I totally get why people think “have a blessed day” is less than professional.

      Because if *I* were the one saying it, well, I would *totally* be telling you what you could do with yourself, and it would not be very Christian of me.

    4. Free Meerkats*

      If you tell me to have a blessed day, I’m going to reply (and have replied), “Praise Bacon!” or “May the Lard Be a with You! ” If you want to push your beliefs on me, I’ll return the favor.
      After all, Bacon is demonstrably real.

      1. High Score!*

        “Praise bacon!” LOL! Best response ever! I just translate “blessed day” to “good day” in my head.

        1. Reluctant Mezzo*

          That reminds me of the Pastafarian who was actually elected to some place’s city council…and wore the colander to the first meeting.

    5. Tinkerbell*

      It annoys me too, and I *am* Christian… but I live in Alabama, so I hear it a lot. I also recently went to a new doctor’s office (not in any way affiliated with a religious group or a religious hospital) only to hear aggressively Christian pop music for an hour in the waiting room and see framed scripture on the walls in the exam rooms. I will not be going back, for those reasons and the “have a blessed day” from the receptionist (who managed to misgender my child something like six times in a five-minute conversation).

      I guess to me, it indicates the speaker is a bit self-centered, in the sense that they clearly haven’t considered that the person they’re speaking to might not share their beliefs. It’s not a huge irritant, but I do notice.

      1. Felis alwayshungryis*

        Woooah, that’s a lot! I wouldn’t go back there either. I’d be too worried that they’d want to pray away the demons before writing me a script.

        1. Inkhorn*

          Last visit I made to a doc was for birth control, so I would have heard the music and cancelled on the spot in the expectation of being refused treatment.

      2. Lady_Lessa*

        That kind of aggressive Christianity would bother me too, I am from the South and used to be that flavor of Christian.

        I am also careful about praying for specific things, since what is good for one may be bad for another. Think rain for a farmer who needs it, yet means that the construction workers cannot work that day.

        1. Curmudgeon in California*

          It’s an extension of “Be careful what you wish for”. Very few things are always blessings for everyone.

      3. Ms. Hagrid Frizzle*

        Ugh, yes, the aggressively evangelical medical offices are so frustrating and yet largely unavoidable (rural SC here). Although last year my gyno office (which usually has the loudest Christian pop music) somehow managed to play the entirety of Rihanna’s “S & M” before realizing someone had bumped the radio.

        I work in a public school and have coworkers who use “have a blessed day” and “blessings” as both greetings and email sign-offs. But as a public school we are *really* not supposed to do anything even vaguely prosletizing . . . and yet it would be an uphill battle since the worst perpetrators are also our most senior administrators. I’ve managed to mostly work it down to a low-level constant annoyance though.

      4. Anonify Me*

        Yeah, this is my experience, living in Alabama for the first 25 years of my life and still spending too much time there for family each year. It’s practically endemic to hear “blessed” this and “blessed” that, and scripture where it absolutely does not belong. And it’s so embedded in the culture in Alabama that if you don’t fall in line and smile, you can expect to be ostracized for your “unChristian” ways. People tend to not realize just how cultlike the region in general is, to be honest, and it’s a big reason why I moved away. Got tired of being told I was “of the Devil” for not getting married and making babies straight out of high school, for being feminist, for not supporting segregation(!!), for liking fantasy fiction, and not being in church (Protestant, more specifically) every time the doors are open.

        I guess to me, it indicates the speaker is a bit self-centered, in the sense that they clearly haven’t considered that the person they’re speaking to might not share their beliefs. It’s not a huge irritant, but I do notice.

        This exactly. Pushing religion-charged phrases and propaganda on the walls of non-private places is an abuse of privilege. But because evangelical religion is so baked into Alabama (and Deep South in general) culture, good luck getting anyone to either see or admit there’s anything problematic with it.

        1. Irish Teacher.*

          Yikes, I’m a practicing Christian and I have practically every one of those traits that they considered “of the devil.” Though I’m guessing they wouldn’t consider Catholicism “Christian” anyway.

          1. Anonify Me*

            You’ve got it. D: My maternal grandparents were Roman Catholic (Mom became Protestant when she grew up). To this day, there are people in Alabama who won’t associate with my family, or express their sympathies if they do, because my grandparents “are burning in hell.” Grandma is actually still alive, but you go on, I guess.

            Me, I do fine with personal spirituality rather than organized religion, and what I grew up with in Alabama is WHY I left religion over two decades ago and never looked back. I’m fine with other people’s faith, so long as they’re not weaponizing it, forcing it on me, or otherwise using it to hurt others.

          2. Burger Bob*

            Shoot, the more conservative members of my former denomination don’t even consider other evangelical/fundamentalists to be “real Christians.” It’s one of the reasons I jumped ship for a more ecumenically-minded denomination.

          3. SimonTheGreyWarden*

            I once had a preacher at the First Assembly church that the boy I had a crush on at the time went to (we were in high school) tell me that he was sure there were “some Catholics in heaven” in response to something I said about my deceased Catholic grandfather.

            I don’t think he believed that, though. Not even some.

          1. Anonify Me*

            That’s exactly why I had to get out! I was either gonna die of stress and loneliness, or because some church mob ran my family out of town with threats and violence, which is something that still happens in that part of the world (though usually to racial rather than religious minorities).

        2. academic fibro warrior*

          OMG. We are obviously from the same Alabama town. (To be honest, most are not that different from each other). In high school, the princial/headmaster/head football coach required a weekly chapel where he told us weekly the end times were coming because of season changes caused by the existence of feminists. We had hell houses because Halloween is satanic (they did not appreciate me pointing out they shouldn’t celebrate Christmas because of saturnalia but somehow that affirmed they would stop giving gifts). And everything was about blessings and have a blessed day. They were sincere and sincerely flummoxed when I asked them not to, got offended when I didn’t do it back, suggested I move if I didn’t like it. Also I was a lesbian (I’m not) because I ate vegetables and unsaved because I was sprinkled at birth and not dunked as a teenager.

          I moved. It was stifling. I’m glad they’re happy but I can’t.

          Since leaving I have met several evangelicals who I actually like a lot and are careful about their enthusiasm out of a genuine desire to be respectful to those who are not.

          Yeah have a blessed day….grates. I’ve been hearing it for 30 years. It brings up bad memories of a bad time in my life. I used to say things like, thanks but I’d rather just have a good day, and continue talking only to those who were pleasant about it.

          1. Summer*

            And all of this stuff is why, as much as I don’t like the cold, I’m forever grateful that I live in New England. I’m a liberal atheist; anything overtly religious just absolutely grates and gets my back up. As much as I would love to live in a warmer climate, unless I move to southern CA, I refuse to move to the south. I wouldn’t fit in and would just be miserable.

      5. Tricksie*

        OMG, I live in southern Indiana and the first random dentist I went to after moving here OFFERED TO PRAY WITH ME after checking my teeth. She grabbed my hand, looked into my eyes, and said, “Is there anything you’d like to pray about together before you go?” I said, “Uh, no, I’m good.” Never went back.

        The second random dentist? Had Bible verses taped on the ceiling for you to read in the chair.

        Third dentist was the charm, but I really wondered where the hell I had moved. Yes, it’s mostly like that here.

        1. Veryanon*

          I live in suburban Philadelphia, which is generally a pretty progressive area. But every so often, I have an experience like this. I saw a new eye doctor for the first time a few years back because he took my insurance. When I got there, there were Bibles all over the place in the waiting room, as well as literature that made it clear he was involved in one of those Christian Mens’ groups that thinks men are the heads of the family and women should defer to them in all things. I didn’t even stay for the appointment. No thank you.
          *To be clear, he has the right to believe whatever he wants. I also have the right not to be preached at when I’m just trying to get routine medical care.

        2. Manders*

          HAHAHAHA! I’m across the river from you in KY. I moved here from California. Talk about culture shock with all the religious stuff here!

        3. TeamPottyMouth*

          Also in So. iN, and the first dentist I visited after I moved here played worship music on the PA. Never went back. I guess this behavior is helpful for those of us who wish to quietly opt out.

      6. Mallory Janis Ian*

        “it indicates the speaker is a bit self-centered, in the sense that they clearly haven’t considered that the person they’re speaking to might not share their beliefs.”

        This is my problem with all the overtly evangelical Christianity greetings, habits, etc.: A) It is assumed that of course you share their beliefs. B) If you, shockingly, do not share their beliefs, then they are smug in the knowledge that there is something wrong with you.

        1. Slightly Less Evil Bunny*

          This. I think both you and Tinkerbell (from text you quoted) have it spot-on.

          If I truly had the balls I wish I had, I’d respond with ‘Hail Satan!’ every time. But then I’d probably be shot or something.

    6. Double A*

      What’s annoying about it is if you’re not also Christian, you can’t just reply “you too” like you can when someone tells you to have a nice day. It leaves you kind of fumbling in what should be an automatic social exchange. There’s no response that doesn’t leave you feeling like a bit of a dick.

      I’d probably respond, “You have a good one as well!” but that still feels like you’re kind of emphasizing how you’re not returning the sentiment.

      1. Yes Anastasia*

        Yep, whenever I respond to this phrase I feel like I’m ending the conversation with “Unrepentant heathen signing off.”

        1. Ms. Hagrid Frizzle*

          I once had a born again (and born again) Christian friend tell me I was an “unchurched heathen” and I have cheerfully claimed it as a nickname among friends and family. And I’ve been known to refer to myself as such when told it’s rude not to “return” blessings by busybodies in public settings (grocery stores, etc.).

          Ironically, I was raised in a Christian denomination that emphasized an individual’s unique relationship with God over any sort of collective “this is the right kind of relationship”. My grandparents were all missionaries and pastors and I grew up having theological discussions at the dinner table about whether saying grace was a real prayer or a soul-less habit. . .

      2. Dinwar*

        “What’s annoying about it is if you’re not also Christian, you can’t just reply “you too” like you can when someone tells you to have a nice day.”

        Why not? They’ll almost certainly assume you were making an automatic pleasantry, same as them, and forget the exchange entirely in five minutes. And if you are religious but not Christian/Catholic you can (potentially) say it with even more conviction. No specific deity is mentioned, after all.

        Not gonna lie, I’m often tempted to respond “Blessed be” just to see the reaction. But at the end of the day, it’s over-thinking the exchange. 99% of the time the person’s doing it automatically, with no thought put into the statement other than a desire for a generic pleasant statement (by their standards, because they don’t know mine). Seems rather silly to make it a bigger deal than that.

        1. Dust Bunny*

          I’d just say, “You, too”. Is it superficial and fake? Yes. That’s the risk of tossing religion at strangers.

          1. Dinwar*

            The overwhelming majority of polite interactions are superficial and fake. I guess my way of thinking is, adding religion doesn’t make the statement any more or less significant than the time of day (“Good morning” vs “Good afternoon”) or holiday seasons (“Happy holidays”) or the weather (“Cold outside today, innit?”) or any of the hundreds of other generic platitude categories available to folks.

          2. Cringing 24/7*

            I agree with this advice and – as a rule – follow it, myself. But on a deeply personal note, it’s so disheartening and uncomfortable to say “you too” to something that (here in Texas) is so coded and dripping with conservative, Christian evangelism. I grew up in this culture and spent my entire childhood playing along with these call and responses while dying inside as an in-the-closet queer person who – according to all the people around me – would be going to Hell if they knew who I was. Continuing to play along with this script as an adult simply for the sake of not being rude to someone who’s being (at least a little) rude to me is really, really, REALLY hard and sometimes re-traumatizing in unexpected ways.

            1. Have a Good Day*

              Reminds me of the time I put on my “Friendly Neighborhood Atheist” t-shirt to run errands and my mom (who lives with me) told me not to wear it because it was offensive to “some” people.

              I asked her to explain to me how “WWJD” bracelets, “I Am Second” t-shirts, and cross pendants were offensive. And she was like, “But… what? Those aren’t offensive! Those are just people expressing their beliefs!”

              I thanked her for making my argument for me.*

              Which is to say, it is sadly deeply ingrained in our culture that merely not being Christian is an insult and offensive. Particularly to those who practice that dominant religion here in the U.S. south.

              So, yeah, I agree that playing along with the script lest the poor wee Christians rush to the fainting couch clutching their pearls is painful. I gave myself permission about 5-6 years ago to respond outside of the script. It’s definitely amusing when I encounter That Kind of Christian.

              * (Her follow-up was to tell me not to wear the shirt because the WWJD people might get violent. Which, wow, is both wild and 100% true).

        2. Molly McButter*

          Agree with this completely. I’m in NE Atlanta and hear this all the time. Sure, it’s a bullshit Christian platitude that grates on my atheist nerves, but rather than get offended when someone casually tells me to “have a blessed day”, I just consider the source and reply with, “You as well”. I don’t have the mental energy to care about something I can’t change, especially when it’s so prevalent here in the southern US. That being said, it WOULD drive me insane hearing or seeing it in my workplace. It does seem really inappropriate and unnecessary to deal with it at work .

      3. High Score!*

        In my head, I translate blessed to good and feel fine responding you too and forgetting them. It’s not worth expending my mental bandwidth to deal with it.

        1. Loulou*

          same. I live in a very diverse place where I encounter people with different cultural norms all the time…from my perspective, this is one of them. I can see how if you’re less used to interacting with a diverse population, hearing something like this could be jarring.

          1. marvin*

            I don’t think people object to this kind of saying because they’re not familiar with it. The reason it bothers people is because it relies on the presumption that Christianity is dominant enough that the listener is either Christian or uncomfortable speaking up against it.

      4. whingedrinking*

        Reminds me of John Mulaney’s bit critiquing the traditional call-and-response* at Catholic Mass of “Peace be with you / And also with you.” “It’s like if someone said, ‘Have a nice day’ and you said, ‘And also you having one.'”

        * Yes, I know they changed it, that’s what the bit is about.

      1. Anonify Me*

        I am always so sorely tempted to say this. XD But I have met a disturbing number of people in the Deep South who are legitimately angry that the US *isn’t* Gilead and think we should use The Handmaid’s Tale as a guidebook to make it happen, and I don’t want them thinking I agree!

    7. Allonge*

      who wouldn’t want their day to be magic in some way

      Thanks for adding this – for me, it explains why I find the blessings sign-off weird.

      I don’t think all days can be blessed / magic, it’s… I don’t know, like getting wished happy birthday twice a month? It’s too much. My brain does not like.

      On the other hand if it’s someone’s standard sign-off, it would fade into background noise pretty fast, so there is that.

      1. Lydia*

        I think someone else mentioned it upthread, but it is a little bit like toxic positivity. It feels like even if you’re having a terrible day or week or month, it could be worse and if you acknowledge that, you can pretend it IS a blessed day! Isn’t that great! Sure, my car ran out of gas and I can’t afford to fill the tank, but I didn’t get hit by a bus, so I am blessed, thank you for making me realize that! It has multiple levels of insincerity.

    8. Not Australian*

      “Have a blessed day” always sounds – to a non-USian like myself – like something out of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, and I would have trouble not responding with “Under his eye” or “May the Lord open.”

      1. Dinwar*

        Reminds me of an exchange in the office…
        Coworker: Any day above ground is a good day.
        Me: Unless you’re a spelunker!

      2. Burger Bob*

        I would laugh so hard if I heard someone respond that. The person who said the “blessed day” would probably be too stunned to respond properly before the “damned day” person walked off. I would laugh and laugh.

    9. Cj*

      I mostly encounter this at the McDonald’s drive-thru. I’m a Christian, although not Evangelical, and the blessings themselves don’t really annoy me, but every time I hear it I question someone saying it while they are working.

      I usually automatically say you too, just like I would if they said have a good day. I get a surprised “why thank you”, often enough that I wonder if they do catch crap from some people for saying it.

      1. southern interloper*

        In South Carolina here and you hear the phrase almost every time at Chick Fil-A drive thrus. And it’s mostly white teenagers saying, although the black teenagers often say it too. It was quite jarring when we moved here from New Jersey (as was the “ma’am”ing, but that’s a whole other conversation!)

    10. Shirley You're Joking*

      As a non-Christian and not religious person, I find it maddening that people wish me a blessed day or send emails to me at work that say, “God bless you” when I’m just doing my job. I’m not Christian. I don’t believe in any god. Why would someone — who doesn’t know me — think saying these things is appropriate?

      When you’re part of the dominant religion, it shouldn’t give you a pass on understanding that there are other ways of thinking out there.

      If I don’t know the person well enough to tell them how annoying they are being, they don’t know me well enough to assume I want to hear a Christian greeting at work.

      1. Summer*

        That is the thing – those people who would LOVE to be living in Gilead and are actively working to make that happen— I HATE those people with every fiber of my being. Like that absolute creep Mastriano who is running for Governor of Pennsylvania – he is a Christian nationalist, full stop. And he is the type of person who would talk this way and I just can’t take it.

        The people who say this stuff and believe it truly believe that the rest of us – other faiths or no faith at all – are just interlopers and we are the ones who don’t belong. They think this is a Christian country, founded by and for Christians; no one else even matters.

    11. H3llifIknow*

      I’m with you. Our server said it as we were leaving a restaurant the other day and I wanted to say, “Have the day you deserve” back but bit my tongue. I find it that condescending sort of tone that religious folks get like they have some sort of blessing superpower they’re bestowing on you. Ugh.

    12. Victoria, Please*

      It’s twee and precious outside of its specific religious setting, and rather so inside it, is why I hate it.

      1. Hex Code*

        This is spot-on; either it’s a sincere religious statement, in which case it’s implying they think *of course* everyone should share it, – or – it’s a “look at me, I’m so cute finding a CrEaTiVe and HoMeSpUn way to greet people!”

      2. Mallory Janis Ian*

        Yes, that’s part of it for me, too. Besides assuming that everyone either shares their beliefs or is a recalcitrant being who *should* share them, it’s also just twee and precious and makes me want to simulate gagging myself with my finger.

    13. Salmon Dean*

      I’m always tempted to reply with “Blessed be”, but since I’m not Wiccan, I don’t think I should. They probably wouldn’t get it anyway.

      1. Petty Betty*

        There are other things you can say. “Blessed are the cats”, “praise the bacon”, “we are all equal under his Noodly Appendage”…

    14. Generic+Name*

      I have a colleague (who is in upper management no less!) who likes to say this. To my knowledge, he is not religious and we are not in the South (and he is from the area). He is an overgrown class clown type, so if I had to guess, he’s saying it an attempt to be funny in an edgelord kind of way. It drives me bonkers. I haven’t heard him say it recently, but I’ve resolved to say something to him about it next time he does. I actually don’t mind it so much when it’s a sincere expression of one’s faith, but the way this guy says it is just nope.

    15. Veryanon*

      It sets my teeth on edge too. I particularly dislike it when people use it in their email signature boxes. I thought I was overreacting, as the intent behind it is benign, but as Alison mentions, it strikes me as completely not recognizing the privilege of being a member of the culturally dominant religion.

    16. Petty Betty*

      I have spent the entirety of my career in and out of state and federal contracts (even when working private sector work). The prevalence of religious sign-offs and signatures has risen in the last decade, but *exploded* since 2015.
      Now, I can give a pass for religiously-based businesses, but MILITARY and gov’t workers? Especially higher-level workers? No. That makes me want to bite the sender. Bible quotes/references in signature lines, religious blessings and sign-offs, religious iconography (whoever showed them the Jesus clip-art for their signatures should be flogged and made to wear a hair shirt, especially if it’s glittery and/or moves).

      Bringing it up as a non-Christian rarely goes well.

    17. somanyquestions*

      I mind if they tell me they’re praying for me. It’s judgmental and inappropriate. Pray all you want but if you’re a christian, even the bible says you’re supposed to do it privately.

      And I always think people who say “have a blessed day” don’t know how others are judging them for dragging their religion into their business life. I judge the crap out of it, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

      1. hot buttered anon*

        It’s an assault. Might as well be telling me you’re sticking pins in a voodoo doll of me or throwing darts at a picture of me.

    18. Sparkles McFadden*

      I hate it too, but I also hate it when I see that someone has put “Life is Short. Eat dessert first.” under their signature. Just send me facts in an email. Don’t foist your treacly nonsense on me.

    19. Zennish*

      Likewise. I think it’s because it comes across as performative and proselytizing to me, or at the least oblivious and entitled; blithely assuming that everyone appreciates your particular religious views. I mean, there are situations where I greet people with bowing and the Anjali Mudra, and ones where I don’t…. Those being all of them that don’t involve other Buddhists in a Buddhist setting.

    20. hot buttered anon*

      Given that I have spent my entire life under assault by christians, ‘have a blessed day’ deserves a backhand to the face. Non-consensual religion should be treated like any other hate crime.

    21. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

      Honestly, I live in the south, though not deep south, and a lot of people use it in a mocking way. It’s often (though certainly not always), a sort of sugary sweet way of telling someone to eff off!

      I actually respect it more when used that way, lol! But really, I find the expression to be really condescending too, for some reason!

    22. Kali*

      As salaam alaikum is the standard greeting in Arabic and is clearly religious, but you can’t just not say hello because you don’t believe in Islam.
      I think once it’s entered common speech even words originally religious have taken in a different meeting and should be treated as such. There are many other words like this, like ‘holiday’. It’s part of the culture around the English language. ( by the way I am neither Christian nor a native English speaker).

    23. Mynona*

      Just adding that there could be a race component. I live in an inner city neighborhood in a majority black southern US city, and I don’t hear this in my professional office, but I do hear it in the grocery store and other customer service settings. It’s almost always an older black lady. What’s polite in your culture might not be polite in someone else’s, and it’s good to take that into consideration. Unless we just want everyone to conform to our own standards?

      1. Lydia*

        Cultural relativism can only take you so far, though. And it’s usually as far as the point where it starts to do harm. If you’re not Christian and you are constantly surrounded by Christianity, people assuming you’re a Christian, and speaking to you as if you were, eventually you might start to feel harmed by that. It’s an emotional guard that a lot of people have to put up constantly and that is exhausting.

    24. Allura Vysoren*

      Same. I think it’s the implication of it. “Have a good day” is vague and pleasant, but “Have a blessed day” feels like “I hope God blesses your day” or “I hope you have a day filled with things Christianity would find appropriate.”

    25. agnostic pot-stirrer*

      When someone says “have a blessed day” – I reply, “and Wiccan wishes to you” as a way to get my point across.

    26. Rain's Small Hands*

      I associate it with Blessed Be of Wiccanism (really, I do, its where I first heard it – a mainstream Blessed Be), and if I wanted to be passive aggressive about it I would respond with “Oh, I didn’t realize you were Pagan.” And when I got the look I’m sure I’d get….”that sort of sentiment is common among Wiccans and Pagans.”

      I suspect that would stop a lot of Christians doing it in their tracks.

    27. Teapot Wrangler*

      Same, actually. I’m agnostic but broadly interested in religion but I think there’s a real difference in being wished Merry Christmas or Shana Tovah (which I’m fine about) or being prayed for by friends (thanks – will take all the well-wishings I can get) compared with religion inserting itself into the workplace in a specific way which feels inappropriate and almost judgemental. I am, obviously, aware of acquaintances who are religious but I’d expect to only hear about it in terms of plans (church weddings, weekend plans, schooling) rather than hearing too much religious content in terms of actual belief.

      I don’t know if it is due to being from a more secular feeling country (obviously the UK has an official religion but the vibe seems to be much less Christian to me than the US) but I find it sounds almost like a cult but I can’t put my finger on why

    28. MsA*

      It’s interesting – I prefer “have a blessed day” to people praying for me. (Jewish person here.) I lived in North Carolina for a bit as a teacher and the custodian would always tell me to have a blessed day. While it wasn’t my favorite, I’d just smile and say ‘thanks, you too, Mr. B.’

      Then, just before winter break, he was singing a song about Jesus being better than gold or silver while mopping, and as I passed him to leave, I said, ‘Bye, Mr. B, have a great Christmas!’ He stopped me and said, ‘Ms. A, don’t you think that Jesus is better than gold?” And I kind of stuttered a second and said, ‘Well Mr. B, I’m Jewish.’ And he never wished me a blessed day ever again!

    29. Burger Bob*

      I don’t love it either. I am a Christian, in the South/Bible Belt no less, and I still have never liked it. It’s generally kindly meant, but it just feels vaguely pushy. Like it never feels like it’s truly *just* well-wishing. It always feels like it’s subtle evangelizing. Not a fan.

  2. Mike*

    Re #2: never feel bad about keeping an eye on the job market and never feel bad about leaving for a similar (or, if you’re qualified, a rung or two higher) position. You owe no loyalty to your employer as they’ll show little to you when the hard times inevitably come.

    It also seems like this may be your first job, or your first time not being valued as you should be. Trust me, it is extremely empowering to seek out someone who wants you, and wants to compensate you for what you’re worth. Quitting isn’t easy but after a month at your new job you will kick yourself for not leaving sooner. Relevant xkcd:

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        I appreciate that this one doesn’t present a 100/0 split. There will always be people in the smaller group, to provide anecdotes about how this one time, that’s how it worked out.

        1. 2 Cents*

          Well, I appreciate it’s not 100% because, say, when I changed jobs, I missed the routine and my friends. It (naturally) took awhile to get to know people and to get to know what the job was, especially since I’d been at my last place 6 years.

    1. JayNay*

      this may be unpopular but it also sounds like the LW has not been advocating well for themselves so far: “my role has expanded significantly but my title and compensation have remained largely unchanged”… no. nononono.
      plus lots of leadership changes and “two years with no supervisor” So LW was supervising themselves without any change in compensation?
      I think this is a case where LW’s current boss might be genuinely supportive, but the facts here are that this employer is not valuing LW’s work appropriately, not providing opportunities for growth (unless it’s uncompensated chaos-management) and not nurturing LW’s career. Don’t believe any more “next year” talk after 8 years.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        It can be hard to advocate for yourself in this kind of twisted bureaucracy, especially when the people at the top are the ones who keep dismissing you. Also not having a supervisor and supervising yourself is ehhh not quite a 1:1. I wouldn’t expect additional compensation for not having a supervisor.

        I agree OP needs to move on, but I don’t know that they really could have done much differently here if the buck keeps getting passed.

        1. EPLawyer*

          You can only advocate for yourself so much. If an employer is determined to string you along, then they will do so, no matter how much you advocate for yourself.

          What worries me more is they think EIGHT YEARS is too soon to jump ship. 8 years these days is a long time to stay at ANY company. You will NOT be seen as a job hopper if you bail after 8 years. They are not suddenly going to wake up after 8 years and go “whoa, we owe OP a raise, we should do that right away.”

          1. Eldritch Office Worker*

            It makes me curious how old OP is. I could see it as both “this is my first professional job and it’s taken me this long to see all these red flags” or “I am over 40-45 and have slightly outdated feelings about loyalty to a job”. OR it could just be that they like their job a lot and other good jobs are hard to find in their area, I’m merely speculating out of curiosity.

            But it definitely feels a little out of touch with current norms around staying in stagnant positions.

            1. Proposal Maven*

              This was 100 percent me in my early-to-mid 20s. I stayed at my first job for almost 8 years. I started at the intern’s salary, never got a real raise for becoming a full-time employee, and only ever got 2 percent raises (and once a .5 percent raise and a box of new pencils during a bad financial year for the company). They kept saying that my career was really exciting to watch and threw a lot of career self-help books and back-pats at me, but no career development or raises. I was also working lots of overtime for salary and covering three different job areas.

              The issue was that I was really clueless, since I was a first-generation college student and no one I knew had ever worked in a white-collar job before. I was also getting career advice from my out-of-touch boomer parents who worked union factory jobs. The fact that this person is reading AAM is a huge step in getting the education they need to make better decisions. Once I woke up, it was REALLY hard to forgive myself for putting myself through all that and being such an obvious fool. Please just leave OP, my mental and emotional health was so much better when I did.

              1. Eldritch Office Worker*

                “Once I woke up, it was REALLY hard to forgive myself for putting myself through all that and being such an obvious fool.”

                You weren’t. This is so common, it’s what capitalism is built on. It’s a whole ingrained culture. The reason that the pushback is making headlines and we’re discussing a huge workplace culture shift is because for a long time, this was what was expected.

                Even if your parents had been white-collar office workers they might not have advised you differently. Reading AAM and other resources, staying on top of the cultural shifts, pushing back on the personal exploitation – these are things we learn over time and we are constantly pressured to ignore them, even when we know better. You left, you did great.

          2. Smithy*

            Exactly to say the point about how much you can advocate yourself when it seems clear that those above the OP have decided they don’t have the will to use their capital to advocate for the OP. It may be that the OP’s supervisor and the new manager don’t want to use their capital or have accurately determined that they *don’t* have the capital necessary. But at some point all of that is moot.

            I will say, that it’s always worth being aware that the OP may put in their notice and that is when the company comes back with a counter offer that is good by the OP’s assessment. And where it is really important to feel more secure in that information and your choices in advance.

            I do think that there are jobs like working in a zoo that don’t have loads of other local options that don’t require moving to a new city. And so eight years can happen partially because you really would rather not physically relocate. But then you may be looking at a system where you may need a counter offer to get a genuine raise, and be prepared to actually leave if the counter offer isn’t good enough.

          3. MCMonkeyBean*

            I think maybe their use of too soon was not referring to their eight years in the job, but rather referring just to the most recent claim of “we’re working on a raise!” Like wondering if it’s maybe really about to happen and would it be a mistake to leave now if it turned out the raise was finally going to come through?

            Maybe not though, I don’t see a lot of other people reading it like I did so maybe I am off base lol.

            1. My+Useless+2+Cents*

              I read it the same as you, so there are at least two of us out there!

              I relate to the feeling of “just hold on a little longer” for things to break free or break open or that any time the PTB will recognize all your hard work. As well as the feeling that as soon as you let go, that thing you were waiting for will occur and you’ll miss it. I wish I could offer advise to LW, but that way of thinking has me making a lot less than I should be at a company I’ve been with way too long.

        2. The OTHER Other*

          Connecting the dots, LW #2 has experienced huge turnover in management because the managers have themselves realized that this organization does not value their talent, and in order to advance their careers they had to leave. LW a needs to take this leaf from their playbook, and stop being treated like number two.

          Some organizations (too many) operate like this; in order to get promoted or even a substantial raise you need to bring them the broomstick of the Wicked Witch of the West, only to find there is no promotion behind the curtain. I think part of it is shortsighted focus on containing costs, part is the conservatism the LW alludes to, where no one wants to make a decision and the buck gets passed around endlessly.

      2. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        Yes, I think OP should have been promoted to supervisor given the absence of one and that she carried on working just fine.

    2. ursula*

      The best time to leave would have been the first time they passed the buck on your promotion, years ago. The second best time is now.

      1. Kes*

        Yeah I kind of agree with this. The fact that OP has been waiting 3 years for a promotion which hasn’t materialized and is still unsure if they’d be jumping the gun to leave… like the gun is several years in the past at this point. OP would have been justified (not that you need justification to leave a job, but still) to leave as soon as the promotion didn’t materialize initially. They’ve been stringing OP along and I get that it always feels just around the bend but at this point I wouldn’t have much confidence there won’t be yet another excuse in another few months. If you really would like to stay I would start pushing back on your supervisor telling you to wait and point out that you already have waited and the conflicting things you’re being told, but really regardless I would start looking for a new job.

      2. Not teenage but still ninja turtle*

        The job has spent 8 years telling OP exactly how much value they place on them. They are worth $X. OP does more–they are still worth $X. They work harder and longer–they are still worth $X. OP asks to be valued at $Y–they say no, OP is still worth $X. And here’s the more cynical take–every time OP has been denied a promotion, they stay at the job and work harder (in order to get a promotion next time). This is great for the company. They get more work for that same price of $X. They have no incentive to change.

        I know these things can be hard to see from the inside, but from the outside, this is pretty black and white. OP, if you want anything other than $X, it will not happen at this company.

    3. Slow Gin Lizz*

      Haha, that XKCD sums up about half of the advice Alison gives here. Be sure to mouse over the image for the bonus hovertext (don’t click, just hover), because it’s brilliant.

  3. CatCat*

    #1, I consider it a mild annoyance from generally well-meaning people. I’ve seen it in email sign offs rather than hearing it in voice mails. I think it’s really only appropriate in a work context if it’s a religious organization, in which case I think that kind of statement is to be expected.

    (This letter unlocked a memory for me from over 20 years ago. I was working for a secular company, but a customer organization was a church. I had to leave a voice mail for the pastor. He had a full and resonant voice, imagine something like Morgan Freeman’s voice. At the end of his message, he said in an upbeat and sincere way, “May the Lord bless you, and may he bless you REEEEAL GOOD.” I’m not a religious person and don’t believe in a lord, but it me smile at the time nonetheless and now again when remembering it.)

    1. Erie*

      I mentioned this below, but I’m just not totally on board with secularizing the workplace to this extent – and I say that as an atheist. I wouldn’t say displaying evidence of your religion in your office constitutes pushing it on anybody, and I can’t really see why a short voicemail greeting is different in some kind of principled way.

      I think it should be okay to show others the ways that you’re different at work as long as you’re not forcing them to participate or talking about something like sex that doesn’t belong in the workplace. And I don’t think having to hear “have a blessed day” is being forced to participate.

      1. MCMonkeyBean*

        Someone telling you to have a blessed day is very literally them pushing their religion on you though.

        1. Worldwalker*

          I disagree. They’re not asking you to participate in any way. They’re just offering good wishes, and the hope that their deity of choice enhances those. That’s all about their beliefs, not mine.

          Last spring, I fell while setting up my booth at an SF convention and injured my knee. (in physical therapy for that now, in fact) That was only one of several assorted problems that came up — think forgotten equipment, flaky software, etc. A customer drew some sort of protection symbol for *his* beliefs — something neo-Pagan, I’m not sure of the details — and gave it to me. He didn’t demand that I share his religion; he didn’t even tell me what it actually was. He just gave me, essentially, a blessing. I thanked him for his kindness and carefully packed the paper in one of my equipment boxes.

          There’s a big difference between “I will do” and “You must do”. The former is saying “have a blessed day” — the latter is enacting your religious beliefs (say, closing all businesses on Sunday) into law.

          1. Worldwalker*

            P.S. The problems came to an end. Most likely, everything that was likely to go wrong already had, but you can never be too sure. I still have that paper, packed with the convention stuff. Just in case.

          2. Lydia*

            I don’t think in a country with a predominant religion that informs almost every aspect of daily life in some way, it’s as innocuous as you portray it to be.

        2. My+Useless+2+Cents*

          I was working as cashier at a retail establishment several years ago. I had just checked out the person at the register, handed them their bag, and said “Have a nice day”. I then got a lecture that that was very rude and I shouldn’t be telling people to do anything. Because I was working, I bit my tongue and refrained from lecturing her back and explaining I really couldn’t care less about the rest of her day.

          “Have a nice day”, “Have a blessed day”, “Goodbye (which is derived from God Bless Ye)” are just social niceties. Anyone taking offense, is really looking to take offense at something. As an atheist leaning agnostic I say Goodbye and even Merry Christmas (during the season) because of the society in which I grew up and live, not because I’m pushing any kind of religion on people.

      2. Me ... Just Me*

        I have to agree. Tolerance and allowing others’ to express themselves surrounding things that are important to them or their lives is simply being “inclusive” in the most broad sense. If we’re okay with political, sexual/orientation, social expressions, then we should also be okay with fairly benign “good wishes” expressed by religious folks.

      3. Critical Rolls*

        There’s a difference between being asked to hide something and being asked not to inject it into the workday unnecessarily. If it would be considered too much for someone to say “May Allah smile on you” then invoking the blessing of a Christian god on someone else is also too much. And, again, totally unnecessary when there are a hundred secular variations on “have a nice day.”

        1. Erie*

          Well, I guess my point is that both “have a blessed day” and “may Allah smile on you” (is that a thing people say?) should ideally be fine at work.

          And, in fact, there is a *very fine* line between being asked to hide something and being asked not to inject it into the workday unnecessarily, and it’s a balance that we as a culture get wrong all the time.

          1. Critical Rolls*

            It ain’t that fine unless there’s bad faith involved. The Christian “Have a blessed day” is kin to insisting everyone have a merry Christmas and appreciate being prayed for, and in the same family tree as posthumous baptisms. See Have a Good Day’s comment below.

      4. CatCat*

        As long as “Have a wonderful day unshackled from belief in the supernatural” can go over just as well. Which, of course, it would not.

      5. Have a Good Day*

        I take issue with being told to “Have a blessed day,” at work (or anywhere, really) both because of the religious aspect but also because it wasn’t A Thing until after the rise of the Christian Dominionists (aka Evangelicals) as a political force.

        Employees at local businesses had said, “Have a great day!”, “Have a good day!”, etc., for *DECADES* and then — bam — quick on the heels of the ginned-up “War on Christmas” suddenly the tellers and cashiers were saying, “Have a BLESSED day!”

        It feels very much like being religious *at* people, daring them to say anything about it. Like calling someone a name and then, when they push back, declaring that the pushback is rude and uncalled for.

        It smacks of the crocodile tears of “reverse racism” and the dominant group wailing how they are the true victims.

        “Have a good day!” literally takes the exact same amount of energy to say and carries none of the baggage.

      6. Very Social*

        That’s an interesting perspective! I like this bit: “I think it should be okay to show others the ways that you’re different at work.” However… I’m not sure performing Christianity is “showing others the way that you’re different.” It’s showing that you are in conformance with the dominant culture.

        If I were to say “may the Goddess smile on you today,” I wouldn’t expect that to go over smoothly at work. It would be nice if that were equal to a Christian’s “have a blessed day”–but it’s not.

    2. Rat Racer*

      I will confess that I signed a work email “Happy 5783!” on Sunday night — it was to remind my office that I was going to be out for Rosh Hashana the next day.

      1. Robin*

        I thought about adding “Shana Tovah” to my out of office message as an indicator of why I was out but decided against it on the premise that I do not need to justify. But the reminder might be helpful so maybe I will do it next year.

        Shanah tovah, by the way!

  4. Emily*

    LW # 1: As a Christian, I would also find that jarring to hear in a voicemail message, unless perhaps I was calling a Christian institution. I think Alison makes a good point about this being common in the South. It’s not common where I live. I also think of it as sometimes being passive agressive, sort of like saying “Bless your heart”, though I doubt the person leaving it as part of their outgoing voicemail message meant it that way.

    1. PotsPansTeapots*

      Yeah, I’m Christian and I think, “Have a blessed day,” as well as being completely inappropriate for business, is kind of tacky and performative. It seems like what you say when you don’t give a poop how their day goes, but you sure as heck want them to remember that you love Jesus.

      1. Richard Hershberger*

        I think for many users, it is simply an ingrained verbal tic. These are people who are so in the bubble that they don’t realize there it has an outside. With these people I regard it as a non-issue, apart from being an in-group marker. For people or organizations that don’t have that excuse, it often is indeed performative. This is akin to business that put an ichthys in their advertising. I avoid those businesses. At best, the owner believes that Jesus died to promote his business. The possibilities go downhill from there.

      2. Emily*

        PotsPansTeapots:” It seems like what you say when you don’t give a poop how their day goes, but you sure as heck want them to remember that you love Jesus.” I think this is it exactly! It can come off as wanting to make the speaker (sayer?) look good, without really caring about the receiver, which I guess is an argument that could be made about any pleasantry, such as “Have a nice day”, but there is something preachy/righteous about “Have a blessed day” that grates on me.

        I also see that I inadvertently started a debate about “Bless your heart”, which was not my intention. I just think of both phrases (“Have a blessed day” and “Bless your heart”) as phrases that are sometimes used passive aggressively while outwardly conveying a blessing, which is why I made the comparison.

    2. Tinkerbell*

      It definitely can be passive-aggressive (think “customer service person saying goodbye to a troublesome customer”), but usually it’s just the speaker not even considering that the person they’re talking to might not share their beliefs.

    3. sagewhiz*

      Ah, but you’re missing the Southern nuance of “Bless your/her/his heart.” It’s not meant as a blessing, it’s a slight dig at someone’s cluelessness. ;-)

      1. Clisby*

        I don’t think southerners who say “have a blessed day” typically mean it in a passive-aggressive way; it’s just another way to say “have a nice day.” Whereas, “bless your heart” can be passive-aggressive, or it can mean “Well aren’t you sweet!” (South Carolinian here.)

        1. Thread*

          Thank you! Louisianan here: so many non-Southerners seem to think “bless your heart” is always passive aggressive or condescending, and it’s not. If it sounds sincere, it’s usually sincere.

          If it’s used negatively, it’s usually about a third person: “bless his heart” means “I’m too polite to say something mean about that person, but I clearly want to.” And even then, it often means “he’s done something stupid but he means well,” and not “what a dick.”

          1. Just Your Everyday Crone*

            I think of it as used to soften a negative statement. “Well, he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer, bless his heart.”

          2. Gracely*

            This! Honestly, people always using “bless your heart” to someone’s face as passive aggression/condescension is the biggest clue they have no idea how to use it. You only employ that usage for something really, terribly egregious/someone acting beyond the pale. I’ve witnessed it being used that way IRL maybe twice in my whole life. F2F usage is essentially the nuclear option, and you’re only going to use it on your worst enemy–and not all enemies, just the one that you can’t fight with openly or you lose.

            The third person usage is much more common and much nicer, just like you described above. It’s much more like “oh, he’s trying his best.”

            And it really bothers me that others don’t get that nuance and instead just holler/tell others “oh, but ‘bless your heart’ is ALWAYS passive aggressive when you say it!” No. Just no.

          3. Koalafied*

            About 10 years ago, when the “Shit {insert group name}s say” viral videos were popular, someone made a version for southerners which featured multiple instances of southern women saying “Bless your heart” in the condescending/catty way. It was after that video’s popularity that I started seeing the entire Internet collective act as if that’s the only way it’s ever used.

      2. FG*

        Bless Your Heart is NOT universally a dig. I’ve lived in the South all my life & this interpretation only became popular in the last dozen years or so. Until then I had only heard it used in genuine sympathy or, at worst, pity.

        “I lost out on that promotion I worked so hard for.”
        “Bless your heart ”

        “Grandma fell & broke her hip.”
        “Bless her heart.”

        “He’s a sweet boy but he doesn’t have the sense to come in out of the rain.”
        “Bless his heart.”

        1. Irish Teacher.*

          Sounds a bit like “God love him,” in Ireland, which can be either sympathetic – grandma broke her hip, god love her – or sort of condescending – ah, sure god love him, he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

          1. Clisby*

            Yes. In the US South, it’s very common for people to say “bless your heart” or “bless his/her heart” when someone has done something extra nice. Like, a little kid picks flowers for a grandparent, who happily takes them and says, “Well, bless your heart.”

        2. JB (not in Houston)*

          Thank you for saying this! It drives me crazy that it gets interpreted now by non-Southerners as always negative or passive aggressive, when it definitely isn’t.

          As for people saying “have a blessed day” in the part of Texas where I live, that doesn’t come across as passive aggressive to me, either. It’s usually either used by someone who means well and is clueless that it might make others uncomfortable or someone who can’t pass up an opportunity to announce their religious affiliation to the world. Neither is ok, but both are common.

    4. Lacey*

      I don’t think of it as being passive aggressive, but I very much associate it with decorating chevron print and word signs more than with the church specifically.

      But possibly that’s because I’ve lived and worked in the midwest, an area that is very churched, but where only a specific subset of people would say “blessings” un-ironically.

    5. Mockingjay*

      Yep, it’s a way of life in the South. Business offices, drive-thru restaurant windows, sales clerks (in every type of store), local politicians (yeah it’s wrong, but their base looooves it)…

      OP1, my advice on saying something is really contextual on your office setting. If it’s only a single voicemail setup, consider letting it go as a mild annoyance. If ‘blessings’ are pervasive in office interactions (meetings, phonecons, advertising), how high does the ‘joy’ go? Coworkers – you can probably say something. Managers, HR – are they receptive to inclusion?

      I loathe giving conditional advice, but how to approach and resolve this situation relies on your judgement of company culture and what you can/should put up with.

  5. MPerera*

    I work in the blood bank of a hospital, where we routinely give out products to porters to be delivered to various floors. Last week, though, a porter said to me, “God bless you. Here’s a gift for your service” and handed me something wrapped in tissue paper.

    I was so surprised I took the item without thinking. Later, when I opened it, I found a fridge magnet with the words “Simply Blessed”. I reported this to my manager the next day, both because it’s extremely unusual (and unnecessary) for us to be given gifts for doing routine parts of our job, and because of the religious connotations. I’ve had more than enough bad experiences with people trying to push their religion on me in various ways, so I really don’t want to encounter that sort of thing in the workplace too.

      1. MPerera*

        I gave her the magnet as well because I didn’t want it, and she said she would get in touch with the porters’ manager, but not to expect an answer until this week.

      1. MPerera*

        It has one, but not all floors have a station of their own, and some products can’t be sent through the tube (e.g. they’re in boxes that won’t fit, or they’re expensive enough that we don’t want to take any chances with them).

  6. NeutralJanet*

    It’s funny, I’m an atheist (who was a bit militant as a teenager, though I have relaxed since), I have always been an atheist, and I have a lot of problems with organized religion, and yet I have started wishing people a blessed day in the past six months, I have genuinely no idea why! One day a stranger did me a favor, and I just burst out with, “Thank you so much! Have a blessed day!” which, he probably thought that was a fine and normal thing, but it was bizarre for me, and I’ve just kept doing it.

    That said, it is a religious statement, and thus one that doesn’t really belong in the workplace, but it is probably mild enough that unless you’re a supervisor or working in HR or DEI, you might want to save your capital for something else (you don’t have to, of course, if it really bothers you, it is a statement of a religion to which you might not belong and so it’s not unreasonable for it to bother you, but as a fellow non-Christian, I would, even before I started blessing people’s days).

    1. NeutralJanet*

      Aaaaand now I’ve remembered why I told this story to begin with, which is: is this a phrase that’s become more popular recently? If I have recently adopted it (presumably because I’ve been hearing it more) and OP has recently started hearing it, that suggests a possible pattern, but it’s a small sample size, so I don’t really want to extrapolate.

      1. Dark Macadamia*

        I feel like someone says it on Schitt’s Creek along with their various other “warmest regards” and “best wishes” type comments, which might be why I think it sounds sarcastic and insincere?

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          Yeah I’ve definitely been hearing it more, but in that kind of context where it’s meant to be a little tongue in cheek. It’s also possible some people miss that undertone though.

      2. Anonify Me*

        is this a phrase that’s become more popular recently? If I have recently adopted it (presumably because I’ve been hearing it more) and OP has recently started hearing it, that suggests a possible pattern

        I hate to put a damper on things, but yes, it’s more common. Particularly if you’re in the United States, but anywhere with a Christian community. This and similar phrases are seeing a lot more use in the public eye, and that’s absolutely the intention. It’s weaponized Christianity. It’s literally a global organized movement. But back to the US in specific, too many so-called “Christ followers” are convinced that the only way to “save” America is to make it a Christian country legally, not just in practice.

        And one of the ways they do this is by promoting “God’s word/light” as aggressively as possible. Not just to score converts, but to make nonChristians afraid to be open about their own faiths, to the point that no one will stand up to the Christians who want to take over everything. There are legitimately playbooks that these people use as part of their long-term goal to make the US a “godly” place. I’ve seen the goddamned things (I use that swear specifically), and been raised with their messages, which is pretty much taught to people from birth in much of Christian America. These people are trying to make Christianity such an endemic part of life that even those who don’t consider themselves part of the faith will still spread its messages, like Christian blessings. By using a phrase that is considered loaded with Christianity in the US , you’re helping their cause, even if you don’t agree with it. I am not saying this to blame you, but so you’re aware of what you’re taking part in.

        (I don’t share the religion, but I kinda feel bad for the actual good Christians who are getting lumped in with these jerks. They just want to be open with their faith and not weaponize it or force it on others, but that’s not really possible in the current social and political climates.)


        Someone born and raised in the Deep South, in a very mainstream cult-type region, and is highly familiar with all the ways Christians are trying their best to “make America Christian again.”

        1. Anonify Me*

          Also, to those saying, “I only encounter this Christian thing used ironically:” trust me, the people trying to make the world a Christian place (not just in the US) are very well aware of how to make irony work for them. If they can get you to say “blessed day!” even in irony, it’s a victory for them, because you’re still exposing whoever hears it to a message “based in Christ.”

        2. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

          Aww, dammit. This totally tracks.

          Kinda a nice bonus for having ended up with the habit of saying “bud’ zdorova” when someone sneezes. The direct translation from Russian is “be healthy.” I can’t say for sure whether there are religious connotations to that, though.

          I’ve also heard gesundheit (German) in Canada and the US, which also refers to health. And I think it’s been taken as an alternative to the more religiously-focused responses.

          1. Yoyoyo*

            I had a coworker who would say “god bless you” in its entirety whenever someone sneezed. It made me uncomfortable; usually in my experience people simply say “bless you,” which while also religious, is less intensely so. I say gesundheit and my brother says salud.

          2. Koalafied*

            I’m remembering now when I took French and learned that their response to a sneeze is (according to my textbook at least, who knows if it reflects real life anymore?) “A tes souhaits”/”A vous souhaits” which literally means “to your wishes.” I remember loving the concept when I found out because bless you and to your health are both based on the idea that a sneeze is a potential sign of trouble and the blessing is to ward it off. Whereas the French version struck me as being more in the same vein as touching the roof of the car going through a yellow light, or blowing out the candles on a cake while making a wish – like, “ah, something unusual is happening/has just happened, and we shall use it as an opportunity to accrue luck and good fortune!”

        3. Have a Good Day*

          I said something similar in another reply upthread.

          “Have a blessed day” is conservatives pushing back on inclusivity, acceptance, and progress.

          And they’re doing it in a way that gives them plausible deniability by exclaiming that it doesn’t mean what you think it means, it’s just a harmless greeting! (As evidenced by all the comments here telling people they have no right to find the phrasing offensive / problematic).

          1. saf*

            Perhaps I am missing something – I live in DC. I have heard “Have a blessed day” for all 35+ years I have been here. And it has always been from older Black church ladies. Never heard a White person use it. It doesn’t seem new to me.

            And I work for a church. (Mixed race congregation)

            1. Anonify Me*

              What we’re saying is that while this type of phrasing has existed for a very long time, it’s now seeing more usage on a wider scale. And that increased usage is absolutely connected to the “Make Murrica Christian Again” movement. Black church ladies using the phrase to be nice doesn’t erase that other, more sinister groups are using the phrase as a weapon against anyone who doesn’t worship like their own political religious group does.

              1. Anonify Me*

                And I also meant to add, co-opting common innocuous phrases to turn them into weapons because everyone already views them as (mostly) harmless is a VERY common tactic the bigots use to sneak their own nasty agendas into society.

    2. AcademiaNut*

      I’ve never lived someone where this is a common saying, but it sounds like you’re saying it in much the way people say “Bless you” when someone sneezes – it’s been around so long that the original meaning has worn off. The problem is that “Have a blessed day” is regional and only partway to that state, so some people don’t notice, while others are irked or offended.

      I’d probably push if it were going in official work communication, not so much if it’s in passing communication.

      1. User 1234*

        I was just thinking the same here, AcademiNut. I’m an atheist to the core and have never not responded to hearing a sneeze with a quick ‘Bless you’. It’s just…what you do? Like covering your mouth when you yawn.

        That’s why I can’t get too worked up about ‘Have a blessed day’ even though I’m not religious.
        Now, I’m increasingly seeing the phrase ‘Do Better’ around the place and including this website yesterday and that makes me get rage in a way that blessed doesn’t, even though I’m pretty left of centre on every subject.

        1. YetAnotherAnalyst*

          Can I ask why the rage for “do better’, 1234? It seems pretty innocuous on its face, so I must be missing something.

          1. Stay-at-Homesteader*

            Ooh good question, because it tends to bother me, too (despite also usually agreeing with the sentiment). Thinking hard, I’d say that it seems like a particularly blunt statement that leaves no room for nuance? It also feels almost…verbally combative? Which have a blessed day also feels like to me. That said, I think that mostly applies in writing for both phrases. Spoken with a more-encouraging, less-confrontational tone of voice, I don’t have a problem with either phrase. Which is not to say it’s in any way wrong to write or say confrontationally, that’s just how it feels to me and probably why I find it jarring.

            Also there’s a real glassbowl in my neighborhood who walks around with a MAGA hat and I’m pretty sure he’s the one putting Chick Tracts in all the little free libraries and when he says “have a blessed day,” it’s like he WANTS you to fight him about it. I check the LFLs regularly and make sure to put any tracts into the kitchen trash, right with the chicken packets and coffee grounds.

          2. Falling Diphthong*

            As someone who doesn’t like that phrase: Is its utterance going to cause the person to reflect on your excellent argument and reform their thoughts and actions going forward? I think it’s usually delivered with the tone “Zing! Owned!” and yet heard with the tone “I am the boss of you kindergarteners and will be laying out the rules for acceptable behavior.”

            As Richard says upthread, it’s so common within some groups that people don’t register it as unusual, and then when you mix with the wider world it’s a group marker that can be cringe-y.

            1. ChubbyBunny*

              Agree on “Do better.” I hate it! It’s like a two-word, self-righteous lecture. They may have a good point but will not be convincing anyone other than the already converted.

              1. My+Useless+2+Cents*

                “It’s *a two-word, self righteous lecture.”
                ^^^^Yes, This, no “like” about it. I hate this phrase. I will do everything in my vengeful, passive aggressive, stubborn ability to prove the speaker wrong and if I can’t do that I’ll just ignore them just for spite.

            2. YetAnotherAnalyst*

              Fair points from both of you. I’ve generally associated it with the Maya Angelou quote and used it to mean something like “I don’t doubt your good intentions, but you don’t have a broad enough perspective here.” But I can see how it may come off more combative than I intend, so I’ll “do better” myself going forward.

              1. Falling Diphthong*

                Said by a wise mentor you trust, I think it can be a really effective line. (Even if you know this wise mentor only by their writing.) If someone I admire tells me I can do better, I take that to heart. There’s a context where it works–but that doesn’t map to all other contexts.

                As ChubbyBunny and others have intimated, often I agree with the point being made–which I think reflects the demographics of who tends to use this line–but it’s being made in a way that will convince no one. “You’re right, but you’re being an ******** about it and that is not helping to grow our side.”

            3. Irish Teacher.*

              Yeah, I tend to read it as “you naughty child. You need to behave better in future.” Reading down further, I can see how the alternative interpretation makes sense too. I think it’s partly because it’s so short that it sounds telling offy to me.

            4. Curmudgeon in California*

              If someone told me “Do better” I would be insulted. It’s judgy and hostile. My gut reaction would be “Well f*** you too!”

              1. Merci Dee*

                Slight derailment . . . .

                I absolutely love the scene in “A Knight’s Tale” at the end where they turn that phrase around on Adhemar and say it right back to him while they’re all standing over him as he’s lying in the dirt. It’s absolutely fabulous.

          3. Person from the Resume*

            What if you’re already doing your very best and it’s not enough?

            Do better implies that you’re not already doing your best.

            And possibly more subtlety implies we can all people are entirely in control and minimizing the impact of circumstances, privileges, and systematic racism. This really depends on context, thoug.

          4. Sylvan*

            I usually see it used by people who think it’s a smart clapback and sound like if Twitter were a person.

            1. penny dreadful analyzer*

              Is “do better” actually intended to be anything other than hostile and clapbacky? I thought its purpose was to be mean. I think I’ve only once seen a person use it and appear not to understand that she was being antagonistic, and this person ended up getting herself kicked out of the organization in question because she was legendarily un-self-aware (at the time she was, in fact, throwing an entire temper tantrum, and had no idea).

              1. YetAnotherAnalyst*

                From my perspective, I’ve understood to be a reference to the Maya Angelou quote – “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” I’ve seen it mostly in the context of acknowledging that folks have been hurt by actions that may not be intended to be hurtful, but that once that harm is understood you can’t keep doing things as you have been. I see a ton of it in DEIBA initiatives, for instance, and I don’t think it’s intended to be mean there. But clearly it’s not universally understood that way, and is itself causing harm.

                1. penny dreadful analyzer*

                  If it comes out of a piece of social justice theory that most people haven’t actually read and makes sense there, then I’m 0% surprised that it’s been snipped out of context and is now frequently just waved around like a club. I’m usually pretty good about tracking down the origins of terms that have been semantically bleached into buzzwords (last year I vowed I would never use the phrase “emotional labor” again until I’d read The Managed Heart so I could be sure I knew what it meant, and then I read The Managed Heart) but I must admit that snapping “Do Better!” at people is so openly irritable that it didn’t even occur to me that people were referencing anything.

                2. Koalafied*

                  There’s a huge difference, though, between, “I do better” as a declaration of your own philosophy/intentions, and “Do better” as a command issued to others.

          5. User 1234*

            YetAnotherAnalyst. I think the others here have put into words the feeling ‘DO BETTER’ engenders in me.
            It feels like verbal slap akin to chastising a toddler who unknowingly made a mess with a tap on the back of the hand. Yes, the mess might have been made and yes chastisement might be required but it feels authoritarian and not the start of a dialogue.
            I am in the deaf community so have about 13 times a day I could easily say ‘do better’ to individuals and society but instead I like to work with people and give them the benefit of the doubt and encourage them to discuss where I might be on an issue. You can get spirited debates; the most recent ‘please could all movie theatre films have subtitles at all time please and thank you’ debate I had with a group hopefully showed them how things could be more inclusive but could also be super distracting for others who loathe subtitles. The idea of snapping someone’s head off with ‘I’m deaf. I need subtitles. Argument won. Do BETTER Human’ is kind of grim.
            I think it’s the recent idea of rather than calling people out for thought/speech misdeeds, it’s better to call them in.
            Spiel over! (Sorry about that).

          6. Me ... Just Me*

            “Do better” is icky and weirdly judgmental; combative. I don’t understand the purpose of demanding that someone “do better”? Like, am I not doing enough already?

          7. Parakeet*

            It annoys me too, though I try to suppress that since I know the intentions are usually good. And it’s because I associate it with a kind of treacly overly-online left-liberalism (for context, I’m a socialist organizer who has made some efforts to be less overly-online – I am to the left of most people who say “do better”). The kind of thing you hear from people who noticed that systemic racism was a problem in 2020 (or after the 2016 election) and are just soooooo proud of themselves for that (or people who want to appeal to those people’s feelings of guilt and pride).

            It’s also just, well, scoldy without any substance to it, and thus doesn’t improve anything, provide moral support for people affected by the relevant bad behavior, or provide useful info for third parties reading an argument. The commenter who said that it sounds like if Twitter were a person pretty much nailed it.

          8. Starbuck*

            This whole discussion around it is surprising to me, as when I see it it’s pretty much always been in the context of calling out a person or institution for blatant racism / racist practices.

        2. Sylvan*

          Yeah, same on both “have a blessed day” and “do better.”

          Of course I wouldn’t use “have a blessed day,” but it’s nothing compared to the kind of stuff you hear from a street preacher, a random stranger, or your friend who forgot you’re not Christian.

        3. Dust Bunny*

          I think the difference for me–also an atheist–is that there aren’t a lot of alternative responses to a sneeze. You could ignore it, or say “bless you”, or “gesundtheit”, or . . . ?

          But “have a blessed day” is wholly unnecessary since, “Have a nice day,” is in extremely common use and is applicable to everyone, regardless of beliefs.

        4. somanyquestions*

          Isn’t “Do Better” a riff on “get gud”? Like it’s saying “well you suck and your suckiness is the reason for your problems, and therefore I laugh at your complaints?”

        5. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

          I say “gesundheit” – which is not just “bless you” in another language, it’s entirely different. Essentially, it means “good health to you”.

      2. BethDH*

        Thanks for saying this, I was trying to find words for how I’ve seen it used and this maps — sincere but breezy? And I never said it back and it didn’t raise eyebrows any more than it does when I say “gesundheit” instead of “bless you.” I’d say something like “thanks, see you soon!” and my tone of voice would match enough to reflect the vibe but not the words.
        That said, if I had a direct report who used it in email or voicemail, I’d probably ask them to think about something else that might convey the feeling without risk of being misconstrued in intent.

        1. Eff Walsingham*

          I have put SO much effort into restraining myself from saying “Bless you!” when people sneeze, but it’s such a reflex! My husband has allergies. At certain times of the year he’s very sneezy. I try to sub in “Godzilla!” (I got it from a meme, but it goes over better in my friend circle.)

          As a non-proselytizing Christian, I try to be very mindful of the feelings of those around me. I figure, since one person told me that “Bless you!” makes them feel uncomfortable, there may well be others who feel the same but just didn’t mention it. I have never encountered “Have a blessed day!” here in the wilds of Canada yet, but it’s probably only a matter of time the way these social trends travel.

          I do encounter the “hashtag Blessed” thing from people I know personally who enjoy bragging about their lives on social media. It’s nauseating, but I consider it as the rattle of a certain type of snake. The sort who claim to have moved because they don’t like to have to see “people who don’t take care of themselves” in the street. (That is a direct quote. About my neighbourhood. It may or may not have been intended as a personal slight, but you can’t pick your inlaws. Well, we can’t all look like an ad for yoga, and I’m fine with that.)

          1. Weaponized Pumpkin*

            I wish we didn’t feel compelled to say anything to a sneeze! Sneezing is one of my useless superpowers and I can go on and on — and I’m also an atheist. I hate hearing Bless You once, much less a dozen times. Can we just skip it?! But I also know other people expect it for their sneezes and I don’t want to appear rude. I go with French of German if necessary, but just wish we could ignore it entirely. We don’t say anything to a cough or a hiccup.

            1. My+Useless+2+Cents*

              It’s a running joke at my office, sneeze once or twice and you’ll get a quick “bless you” after three sneezes “well now you’re just looking for attention” ;)

              I feel compelled to say something if someone sneezes in my vicinity but other than “bless you” and the German phrase I have no idea how to spell (which I’ve been told means god bless you) I don’t know what to say. What do the French say?

              1. NeutralJanet*

                I don’t do this at work, obviously, but with family and friends, one or two sneezes gets a “bless you” and three+ gets a “never mind, damn you”.

      3. MsClaw*

        I only notice it if someone seems to be making a *point* of telling me to have a blessed day. Most people are just doing it out of habit, the same way most people ask ‘how are you’ in the breakroom. They mostly don’t care how you are or if you are blessed. They are just following a social groove they’ve worn out of habit.

      1. NeutralJanet*

        Genuinely don’t know! It just started popping out reflexively, and frankly, I don’t care enough to try to stop.

    3. Worldwalker*

      It does not, after all, specify who or what is to bless one. It might be Jehovah. It might be the Goddess. It might be Ganesha. It might be an invocation to the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I’m an agnostic; I’ll take a blessing from anyone, because hey, if they’re wrong, it doesn’t hurt, and if they’re right, it might help, and either way, it makes them happy and requires nothing from me except a nod and maybe “you too.”

  7. Passionfruit Tea*

    The other major issue I have with ‘have a blessed day’ is that it’s peek passive-aggressive. You might as well sign off with FU.

    1. AnotherLibrarian*

      It can be used this way, but I worked at a Christian college in the deep South and it 100% wasn’t used this way. Most people there meant it sincerely and kindly. To know if it’s being used passive-aggressively, you have to hear vocal intonation, something that you can’t hear in an email signature.

      1. Lacey*

        Yeah, I feel like this might be a mix up. And even Bless your heart doesn’t HAVE to be passive aggressive. I’m not from the South so I generally hear it used completely sincerely from older ladies.

        1. PsychNurse*

          Agreed. A lot of non Southerners have the wrong idea about “bless your heart.” I’m from Alabama. It is often genuine.

    2. PsychNurse*

      It absolutely is not usually passive aggressive. It CAN be. Just like you can throw a “Have a GREAT day” over your shoulder as you storm out. But neither of those sentences is general meant to be passive aggressive.

    3. AG*

      I think it all depends on how it’s said. Keep in mind I’m from the Midwest, but there’s a difference between someone telling you to “Have a blessed day (one syllable)” which is usually meant as a kind, positive farewell and “Have a bless-ed day (two syllables)” which is meant to be a so-called Christian version of “f-off”. I still don’t like hearing it at work though.

  8. LW4*

    LW4 here: I think I knew the answer while writing to you, but I was so nervous about the new interview and only had one day to prepare (not enough at all) that I was trying to make sure I was thinking about all the options! Thank you for reassuring me.

    I didn’t mention the first job in the interview and I also didn’t get the job.
    But… a week later I was asked to interview to another job: longer, better paying and perfectly matching my background both professionally and personally. And extremely respected! Their process had taken much longer than they thought and so I thought I just didn’t make it. But I did and I got it!

    I let the first job know immediately and they took it really well, wished me luck and said that they would love to work with me some day, if the situation changes. So win-win!

    1. octopodes*

      I love when we can get an update on the spot, even more so when it’s a good one! Congrats to you, LW4!

    2. NotAnotherManager!*

      This is the best kind of update – immediate and very positive. Congratulations on your new job!!

  9. Teapot Unionist*

    I dont think “have a blessed day” is usually meant like “bless your heart” or with a passive aggressive FU to it. It tells me a lot about a person when I hear it in a voice-mail or as an email sign off.

    but, I have stopped hiding all traces of religion from my work place, and my email out of office says “I am off for Rosh Hashanah. I will be back at work on Tuesday. May we all have a sweet new year.”

    we are all about sharing our values as part of the reinvention of unionism at work, and if colleagues talk about their faith in that context, I will too.

    1. Passionfruit Tea*

      That still doesn’t provide a solution for those of us who do not follow a religion and yet get bombarded with it/them from all sides. People would, rightfully, call anyone wishing others a happy spaghetti monster day obnoxious.

      1. MPerera*

        “That still doesn’t provide a solution for those of us who do not follow a religion and yet get bombarded with it/them from all sides.”

        When some people hear that I’m an atheist, they seem to think, “Open season!” It’s like my lack of a religion is a vacuum which they must immediately try to fill. One of my coworkers asked me if I went to church, and when I replied that I didn’t, because I was an atheist, she said, “You’re an atheist? I’m going to convert you!”

        She was smiling and laughing as she said this, but I took it seriously and answered that firstly, I wasn’t interested in being converted, and secondly, if anyone proselytized to me in the workplace, I would go to the manager. She assured me she was joking, but I said that because several other people had tried to convert me in the past, this just wasn’t a funny, casual topic for me.

        I did wonder later, though… we also have a Jewish coworker. Would it be just as much of a joke to say, “You’re Jewish? I’m going to convert you!”

        1. Tinkerbell*

          This sounds very much to me like Schroedinger’s joke: it’s only a “joke” if you’re offended, otherwise it’s a serious offer/threat that this person will follow up on unless explicitly told not to.

        2. PollyQ*

          “Ha ha ha, or maybe I’ll deconvert you, ha ha, wouldn’t that be fun!”

          My BIL did have a job in the Bible Belt some decades back wherein when he told his boss he was Jewish, the boss responded, “But you’re wrong, you know!”

        3. Jay*

          Someone said that to me once. It was not a joke. This was years ago and I didn’t do anything about it. If it happened now, you can bet I would take action with my manager, her manager, and HR.

          When I was working, I didn’t mention the Jewish holidays in my OOO message, but I did tell my team why I was out. I was often available by phone for real emergencies when I was off and I wanted them to know I was absolutely not going to pick up. And I did ask that Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu holidays be included in the monthly “upcoming things to celebrate” slide that was shown at our weekly meetings, and suggested they survey the staff about other observances we wouldn’t have thought of.

          And l’shanah tovah!

        4. Miette*

          I worked for a Christian boss that took my atheism as a challenge as well. He’d question me every time there was a holiday–“So I guess you’ll be working on Christmas then eh?”

          When I finally had had enough, I asked if he felt similarly compelled to speak this way to a Jewish colleague. He finally got the point. Dick.

        5. Parakeet*

          Speaking as a Jewish atheist: There’s a history of many centuries of intense, eliminationist violence in Christian desire to convert Jews of whatever flavor, that simply does not apply to culturally-Christian atheists. I would be way more upset by “You’re Jewish? I’m going to convert you!” than “You’re an atheist? I’m going to convert you!” (as someone who has heard both and experienced both antisemitic and anti-atheist bigotry, sometimes intertwined). However, I would still be upset by the version directed at my atheism rather than at my Jewishness, and I think you’re right to treat it seriously and be upset by it. But I did want to point out that your analogy doesn’t quite work.

      2. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

        I’d be tempted to go with “may your day also be full of things” and try to pull off a tone of “this is the rote response in my culture, which is obviously what goes next in a script like this that we are both participating in as a vague form of social connection” rather than “I am totally snarking at you right now” but I’m not quite sure I could pull it off without practicing it a lot at home first to get the tone right.

        (I have, however, gotten to the point where I can pull off telling door-to-door missionaries “I’m happy with my current philosophical paradigm, and not interested in switching at this time” in a bored tone similar to the one I used to use to explain that I’m happy with my current long-distance carrier, but the stakes are lower there than at work since “so offended that they never darken my doorstep again” is an acceptable, albeit non-preferred, outcome for door-to-door missionaries. (Incidentally, I’m told that if so offended/shocked that they never return is your preferred outcome, answering the door wearing only a towel and holding a broadsword is very effective, but there are some drawbacks to this method and That Guy always answered the door like that if he wasn’t expecting company so it may not come across with the same vibe if you only do it when it’s missionaries.))

        1. Just Your Everyday Crone*

          Maybe all the atheists can start saying “stay gold” to indicate their nonreligiously-tinged good wishes.

      3. Asenath*

        I’d see accepting that particular phrase as not something that needs a solution, but as accepting that not all people follow the same beliefs, and sometimes it’s obvious that they don’t. A greeting could be well-meaning; could, in some regions, be as automatic as “have a good day”, is a much milder sign of that than is a “bombardment” of religious people by atheist claims, or atheist people by religious claims.

    2. Raven*

      Bless your heart is very passive aggressive/patronising in some contexts. So it really depends on where you are.

      It’s also different from neutrally and casually informing people of an important event. In your example, your message is about you, sharing an important event and it’s significance to you. Phrases like ‘bless your heart’ or ‘have a blessed day’ aren’t doing that; they’re focused on the listener and are about enforcing a religious belief onto them unsolicited.

      (Or course, I agree completely with the fact that if you’re workplace is talking about religion, people should be able to talk about all religions. I’m just saying there’s a key difference in your example.)

    3. Dark Macadamia*

      I feel like your example is really different! Specifically noting a holiday observance vs having a default religious signoff all the time.

    4. Eff Walsingham*

      To me, the difference is between a statement of fact – you are off for Rosh Hashanah – and one telling another person what they should do / believe. I don’t think people should have to hide their faith at work, but I do believe that all forms of proselytizing, however subtle, are to be avoided in the workplace.

      It makes me sad that on multiple occasions, when someone from work has probed to find out if I was a Christian “like them”, they meant it as a precursor to persecuting other colleagues who they didn’t like. I have yet to find a workplace-appropriate way to say, “Yes, I’m a Christian, but no, not like you!” One such co-worker was promoted to supervisor, and wrote me up for saying things to her that I never actually said. After correcting her account of my insubordination on the record, I could never allow myself to be alone in a room with her again due to her propensity for making crap up to harm people. Way to advocate for your faith there! Depressing.

      1. Cj*

        I’m with you on the “yes I’m a Christian but not like you” sentiment. It seems like more and more Christian gets lumped into conservative, which gets lumped into a Trump supporter. Anybody that truly follows what Jesus had to say would not agree with Trump on just about anything.

    5. King Friday XIII*

      This is the first year I’ve ever taken both Samhain and the day after the Longest Night off as religious holidays at work and I’ve been surprised how visible it makes me feel. I’ve been pagan since college, it shouldn’t feel that weird, but here we are.

      Also I love “sweet new year” as a phrase – is that specifically Jewish or something I can borrow as a non-Jew?

      1. Phoenix*

        “Sweet new year” is a part of several traditional well-wishes for Rosh Hashanah, and it’s also a common custom to eat apples and honey as a symbolic wish for a sweet new year, so it’s kind of specifically Jewish but in a cultural way rather than a sacred way? I don’t think it would read as culturally appropriative for a non-Jew to adopt that phrasing, but it would possibly make Jews do a double-check about if you yourself are Jewish just because it’s not common.

      2. Curmudgeon in California*

        Yeah, I’ve been pagan since college, but I seldom take the solar holidays or cross quarter days off. I celebrate them quietly on my own time, because I’m that way. If I get a lot of religious crap at work I’ll take Samhain and Yule off.

      3. Always a Corncob*

        “L’shana tovah u’metukah” – “to a happy and sweet new year” – is one of the traditional greetings for Rosh Hashana. So yes, it’s specifically Jewish! There are various practices of infusing “sweetness” into Rosh Hashana celebrations; probably the most well-known is eating apples dipped in honey at the start of the holiday meals. Many people also put honey on the challah (instead of the usual salt) during the High Holiday season.

  10. Raven*

    OP#1: It is inappropriate. It’s the sort of thing you can ignore occasionally, but hearing it everyday would be especially grating.
    But as Alison said if it’s the culture, it’ll be quite difficult to push back on without people kicking up an undue fuss- so it will really depend on your position and how much you want to take it on.

    That said, if this is on external communication (or if the people doing it are sending emails externally), it definitely should be brought up. It’s also much easier to say you’re concerned about the company’s image or of putting off potential clients without the same level of pushback.

    OP#2: They are at the very best disorganised, at worst they’re knowingly taking advantage of you, either way the solution is to find somewhere better suited. You should 100% be job-searching.
    (This will also give you valuable insight on what your experience is worth in the current market, which is evidence you can use to push more strongly for a promotion and a raise in the meantime.)
    If promoting you was a priority, they would have done it no matter what ‘issues’ appear to block it. They haven’t and that tells you all you need to know.

    OP#3: That information is private, flag it now.

    OP#4: Don’t tell your interviewer, it’ll weaken rather than strengthen your candidacy. You don’t want them thinking you’ll do the same thing to this job (which they may however fair that is).

    OP#5: Yes, tell your manager. Unless she’s particularly prickly it won’t harm you and if she is, framing it as a quick overview of your year would likely avoid that.
    Advocate for yourself where you can and good luck.

    1. Jaydee*

      Seconding this for OP5 – I’ve heard it’s always a good idea to be prepared with a list of your accomplishments to provide your manager before your review, just to help refresh their memory (since they likely have lots of direct reports and won’t remember what you did as easily as you did). But in this case, where the manager is relatively new, I think it’s doubly important. This gives you the chance to point out accomplishments from early in the year that maybe were before she started. It also gives you the chance to make comparisons to past years, which she wouldn’t know about because she wasn’t your manager. If she’s a decent manager she’ll likely skim back over at least last year’s review so having an email that highlights a couple spots where this year’s performance really outdid last year’s will hopefully give her the feeling that she can’t justify any score less than the highest.

    2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      I almost wonder if the lack of a promotion has to do with just OP2’s longevity in their current position keeping things semi stable amid all the turbulence and management changes above them. The OP is now “too valuable” to promote away from this position because then management would have to manage instead of just depending on the OP to keep things moving in the correct direction.

      Even if this isn’t the case, OP – eight years is long enough. Hoping you find something new where you and your experience get the remuneration you deserve.

  11. Frustration Nation*

    I’m Jewish, grew up in the South, and once responded, as cheerily as possible, “No, thanks!” with a big smile on my face, to someone wishing me a blessed day. They were so taken aback they just kept going with their day and didn’t stop to pester me. I don’t necessarily recommend that, but it was very satisfying in the moment.

    1. I'm the Phoebe in Any Group*

      Oh I love this.
      I get sick of people wishing me a merry Christmas, assuming that I’m Christian. I’ve sometimes responded to cashiers doing that to me by saying happy Hanukkah. It does throw them off.

        1. Nikki*

          Oh not this b/s again. Please read the entirety of the thread Alison linked in her response to #1, and try again.

        2. allathian*

          True. I’m a lapsed Lutheran, although I lapsed very early, because I asked my devout grandmother what the difference was between believing in Santa and believing in Jesus when I was 6. I didn’t get a satisfactory answer then and I still haven’t heard one. My family doesn’t incorporate any religious elements in our celebrations, we don’t even light Advent candles.

          But nonetheless Christmas isn’t a secular holiday by any stretch of the imagination, as anyone who was raised in a non-Christian religion will tell you.

        3. Chag sameach*

          sure, but lots us actively do NOT celebrate Christmas and don’t want to spend a whole month every year feeling otherwise.

        4. I'm the Phoebe in Any Group*

          A holiday that celebrates the birth of Christ is a Christian holiday. Why do people think it’s appropriate to argue with Jews and other non-Christians that this is not our holiday? It’s the same concept as mansplanning. You know us better than we know ourselves?

      1. Less Bread More Taxes*

        Oh no, I’ve definitely gotten a “Happy Hannukkah” in response to me saying “Merry Christmas” before, and I had no idea it was a passive aggressive thing! I just figured people wished a happy whatever-holiday-they-themselves-celebrate and didn’t think anything of it.

        1. Bast*

          yeah, I would have no idea someone was being passive aggressive by wishing me Happy Insert Any Holiday Here unless the tone was really sarcastic. I am a non Christian who celebrates Christmas, but I’m not offended by anyone who wishes me a Happy Insert Any Other Holiday.

        2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          I also wouldn’t think the other person was being passive aggressive, just that I’d gotten which end of year winter holiday they celebrate incorrect. My response in the past has been “my apologies, I hope you have a Happy Hanukkah.”

      2. Worldwalker*

        Christmas happens, whether or not you celebrate it. I don’t observe Rosh Hashanah, but it is still an event on a specific time. Nor do I celebrate Diwali, nor fast for Ramadan, nor celebrate(?) Festivus. The world is full of holidays I don’t celebrate, but they still exist. So if someone wishes me happiness on one of them, the date/time exists, and their wish for me to have happiness then also exists, and this is a good thing. Christmas is December 25 (Catholic/Protestant), and “the Christmas season” is some time between that and late summer, and if someone wants to wish me happiness, great! We need more happiness in the world.

        Happy September 27 — it only comes once a year!

        1. I'm the Phoebe in Any Group*

          You are deliberately missing the point. Do you consistently wish strangers Happy (or appropriate greeting) Rosh Hashanah, Diwali Eid-al-Fitr? Wishing people merry Christmas doesn’t doesn’t mean “I acknowledge December 25th is sometime within the next few weeks:” it means, “I assume you are a Christian or Catholic and celebrate Christmas.”

      3. Critical Rolls*

        I worked retail over the holiday season many years ago, and routinely wished people Happy Holidays. Due to the area, I didn’t get much pushback about it, until That One Dude came through the line and and insisted on Merry Christmas. I stared at him, startled, and said, “You don’t celebrate the New Year?” He had nothing to say to that.

    2. Ruby*

      This year, I stopped politely smiling and nodding at passerby who shouted happy Easter at me and started shrieking back “Chag Sameach!”

      1. Just Your Everyday Crone*

        I think “have a blessed day” has a religious meaning that “bless you” really doesn’t.

        1. Worldwalker*

          “Bless you” began because of the belief that your soul flew out of your nose when you sneezed, and if a bystander did not offer a blessing, the devil could snatch your soul and fly off with it. Most people just say it now as a conventional response, but that’s how it started. Every explicitly religious.

          1. Hiring Mgr*

            I’m not religious, but it was my understanding that the only way the devil can take your soul is if he beats you in a head to head fiddle challenge.

            1. NotAnotherManager!*

              This is hilarious, and I just scared my cat out of the room because I laughed too loudly for his delicate sensibilities.

      2. Cringing 24/7*

        If it’s someone I know, I usually say, “No thanks.” With people I don’t know, I internally roll my eyes and just say the “thanks” without the “no.”

      3. korangeen*

        I don’t think I usually say anything. “Bless you” is already the response to the sneeze; I don’t think it needs another response. But personally I don’t like the religious aspect to “bless you” so I always say “gezundheit” instead.

    3. Lexie*

      I would love to have seen that. I lived in the Deep South for a while and people often offer to pray for others and there were times I really wanted to say “I don’t want your prayers” but that would have been a conversation with the boss for being rude to clients.

    4. Nikki*

      I did this once to a woman on campus. She gave me a pamphlet and said, “Jesus loves you!” and I reflexively said, “No thank you!”

      Both of us kind of stared at each other for a second and then went on with our day, lol!

      I’m Christian but more importantly I’m opposed to getting handed a pamphlet, haha

    5. Cringing 24/7*

      Oh my goodness, I love this so much, and I now want to practice my feigned sweetness to the point where I could pull it off in the most disarmingly charming way!!!

  12. Dodubln*

    I am an atheist. In the 27 years I have been at my job, I can’t even begin to count how many times I have had some sort of “religious” platitude directed my way. “God bless you!” (no, there wasn’t a sneeze involved), “Have a blessed day!”, “Merry Christmas!”, “May Christ be with you!”, etc, etc. To each and every one of these, I have simply said: “Thank you!”. It may just be me, but this is NOT my hill to die on. I recognize that my patient population is what it is, and it is not what I am. Truth be told, I appreciate what they say to me, because I know it comes from their heart. And even if it doesn’t…I am fine with that too!

    1. Mangled Metaphor*

      Possibly the healthiest approach all round really.

      I’m atheist if I give it any thought at all, but I have gone down the “bless you” route when someone sneezes – it’s pretty much the only ingrained rote learning that stuck, and even then, being a Brit, there’s an element of sarcasm that can sneak in – and I’ll return someone’s “Merry Christmas” with one of my own for pretty much the same reason (I did bottle it on a response to “Happy Hanukkah” with a “Thanks, and you!” because I’d never heard it pronounced (only ever seen it written down before) and didn’t want to say it wrong and upset them)

      1. Appletini*

        In the current UK do you have multiple national elected officials saying that the Bible is/should be the law of the land? I think the current cultural momentum of far-right Christianity in the US changes the calculus somewhat.

        1. SarahKay*

          In the UK we actually do have an official religion, which is Christianity; the king is head of the church. However, outside of that I think there’s way less of a Christian narrative and far more people, including those running for election, who are atheists and happy to say so. (Atheism mentioned particularly because I read somewhere that in the US this is almost the worst thing someone running for election can say they are.)

          1. GraceC*

            Elected officials who reveal that they have strongly held religious beliefs are at much more of a disadvantage than openly atheist ones here, I’d say! The reaction of the press and his party when Tim Farron got a bit vague on how his religion impacts his belief on the morality of same-sex marriage, the whole situation with Blair being warned against referencing his faith in interviews, etc.

            Lots of contradictions in how religion works in the UK, really. Religious leaders sit in the House of Lords, the head of state is the head of the English state church, there’s a definite undercurrent of cultural CoE-ness throughout society as a whole (I’ve never been to a church other than for funerals, why on earth do I know the Lord’s Prayer?!) – but if it becomes more obvious than an undercurrent, people start feeling weird about it, especially in authority figures. Religion is just one of those things that you keep to yourself and don’t really spread around in your everyday life.

            1. Crackerjack*

              It was a deliberate strategy to make the Church of England maximally inoffensive when it really got going under Elizabeth I and to try to keep it established as the state religion it’s become more and more amorphous/bland. The trappings of religion that make people feel familiar and comfortable are there, but the basic tenor of most statements is Humanist more than Christian. I’m not a fan, myself, but it’s fascinating to look at the history of how the Church retained its power in the country by becoming as unreligious as it could.

              Church law (Canon law) IS the law of the land, passed by Parliament. Religious instruction (majority Christian) and collective worship is mandatory in all public education. In practice, schools water this down as much as they can get away with. Which is a lot. Because as you say, it’s not British to be all religiousy about your religion.

              1. Ariaflame*

                My strongest recollection of Religious Education in the UK was the class in high school where we learned about Hinduism, and Judaism and Islam, etc. and I’m afraid I wasn’t very good at it.

            2. londonedit*

              Yeah, all of this. We don’t have any sort of separation between church and state in the UK (the national anthem is literally ‘God Save the King’, after all) but in reality the vast majority of people in the UK are deeply, deeply uncomfortable with any sort of overt display of religion, especially evangelical religion. The general rule is that politics, religion and money are Not Discussed in polite society – no one asks what your religion is or who you vote for, and people who do loudly express their views on those things are regarded as outliers. Hardly anyone in the UK goes to church and (and I know this is very difficult for people in the US to wrap their heads around) while a lot of people will have had some sort of C of E upbringing (at primary school or whatever) many people do regard that as being pretty much secular. Christmas honestly is very secular here (I know, I know, but unless you’ve experienced the way things are here you really can’t fully understand how it actually is) and is celebrated by people who have other religions as their main faith (a lot of my neighbours put up festive lights for Diwali and leave them up until after Christmas, for example). So a lot of people here would be disquieted by ‘Have a blessed day’ because it just isn’t the sort of thing you’d normally hear (outside of, as others have said, The Handmaid’s Tale). We can’t even manage ‘Have a nice day’ without the risk of sounding sarcastic.

              1. UKDancer*

                I’d say also that another difference is the Church of England is currently very concerned about feeding the poor through food banks, having a go at the last PM about his policy of sending illegal migrants to Rwanda and trying to help those in need and doing good. So, it tends to type gently left of centre and fairly socially liberal.

                My active Methodist family members (including a lay preacher) are even more outspokenly socialist and tend to be the “demonstrating against war and writing to their MPs about climate change” types. They’re also not really concerned about converting people or sharing the gospel with people who don’t want to know, because that would be considered weird.

                I’m not sure this is replicated in the US religious establishments although my impression may be wrong.

                1. Appletini*

                  Your impression is not wrong. A very large proportion of Christian involvement in sociopolitics in the US is in organizing pushback against the rights of various demographic groups. There are churches that run food centers but the food usually comes garnished with “witnessing”.

    2. High Score!*

      ACK! I always say bless you when people sneeze. It’s reflexive. Like thank you – your welcome/no problem.
      ACHOO! Bless you! ACHOO! Bless you! ACHOO! Sorry you’ve reached your blessing limit haha.
      Didn’t realize people found that offensive. Wow. AMA is educational.

    3. Sylvan*

      Same here. (Though the assumption that everyone celebrates Christmas is offensive. It’s a religiously diverse city! People celebrate all kinds of religious holidays and some of us have none!) But there are bigger things going on and I can’t get worked up over “have a blessed day.”

      1. Manders*

        Then you get the people who, after being told “Happy Holidays” will respond with “but Jesus is the reason for the season!”. SMH.

        1. feeling a little anon for this*

          I have never been in that conversation, happily. I don’t know if I’d have it in me to say right out loud to someone’s face, “Actually, axial tilt is the reason for the season, and by the way you do remember that Jesus was born in spring, right?” I kind of hope it never comes up, because I don’t want to fail myself.

    4. An English m*

      As an occasionally militant atheist, this is my approach too. I just say thanks and go on with my day. At most I’ll internally roll my eyes and then go on with my day.

  13. Phil*

    I don’t get what the big deal with “blessed” is in this context. It’s not being attributed to God. It’s just, “may good things happen to you.” People say “bless you” when someone sneezes, which also has roots in Christianity (“God bless you”), but no one thinks anything of that one. In fact, I had a former coworker who was definitely not a Christian who got weirdly obsessive with the fact that I didn’t “bless” people when they sneezed.

    1. Raven*

      ‘Bless you’ has entered into colloquial usage, ‘have a blessed day’ etc. have not.
      And most people don’t read inherently religious phrases as neutral (‘bless you’ is considered a polite formality until such a time as we can agree a replacement and many people are aware of it’s religious association).

      1. Jackalope*

        This particular argument is odd to me as someone whose family always always said Gesundheit! when people sneezed. I’ve never said Bless you! after a sneeze because that’s not what I was raised with, and I’m not sure why there aren’t more people going with the nonreligious option my family used. (And my family is definitely Christian, it’s just that this is what we said for sneezing.)

        1. Kuddel Daddeldu*

          Me too – “Gesundheit” is the standard response to someone sneezing in German (literally “health”, as in “I wish your health improves”), about as secular as it gets.
          So being raised in Germany and the Netherlands, “Gesundheit”/”Gezondheid” is what I grew up with.
          Now we are told by some column writers thst you should not say anything as it is more polite to not put any emphasis on bodily functions… but just keeping silent feels wrong to me.

    2. Keyboard Cowboy*

      FWIW, as an atheist, I feel a slight twinge of guilt/phoniness every time I say “bless you”, and if I’m feeling extra confident that I can pull it off without stumbling, I try to say something else instead. It definitely still feels religious.

      1. Double A*

        “Goodbye” is a contraction of “God be with you;” I think “bless you” is more in this vein of having been removed from religious meaning.

        I’m also an atheist, and I definitely squirm when people tell me to have a blessed day or that they will pray for me because I can’t just say, “You too!”

        Although I guess come to think of it they’re more likely to have a blessed day than I will, so maybe I can just say “You too!”

          1. allathian*

            In Spanish goodbye is adios (a Dios = to God), so this tradition is common in many European languages.

        1. Student*

          I disagree about the degree of separation from religion for these words – the linguistic use of “goodbye” has departed much more from its religious origins than “bless” or “blessed” has.

          The history of “goodbye” being religious is a bit of historical trivia at this point. If you asked 50 people on the street what the definition of “goodbye” is, you will not get any religious references in the definition. If you look it up in the dictionary, the religious connection won’t be in any main definition, but might be in some footnotes.

          If you asked 50 people on the street what the definition of “bless” is, most of the definitions you get will refer to God or religion. If you look it up in a couple of different dictionaries, it’ll list about a half-dozen variants, but the first half of them will have direct call-outs to religion and God. Since dictionaries usually list definitions from most to least common, this indicates that most of the time, this is meant to be religious, and occasionally it departs from having a direct religious meaning.

        1. PollyQ*

          +1. It is a little weird that we have specific phrases just for sneezing, whereas, say, for a coughing fit, there’s nothing in particular we’d say in response.

          1. Need all the blessings in the era of the great Panini*

            I have taken to saying “bless you” after coughs, to my close family. It’s one of my “things”.

            (for context, I was raised Atheist, and never believed in any deity)

          2. Educator*

            Back in the day, the pope thought sneezing was a sign of the plague, and encouraged Catholics to bless each other when they sneezed. There ere also concerns that the soul might leave the body via a sneeze. It caught on.

            But these days, with the current plague, a cough is more of a concern than a sneeze—so we may need to update our practices if we want to keep our souls where they belong. /s

            1. Katie*

              From time to time when my husband and I sneeze and we get a delayed bless you from each other we giggle that our soul had gone quite a distance and hope it can get back.

          3. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

            My grammy would say “ka-chuggers!” after a big cough or sneeze. I have no idea if this is a Rural Idaho Thing, an Elementary School Teacher Thing, or just a My Grammy Thing. I say it to my dog when he sneezes, and one of these days I’ll probably do that in front of people and get a bunch of funny looks.

          4. Everything Bagel*

            Agreed! This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently and have decided to stop saying it! To me, it seems more appropriate for the person who sneezes to say excuse me than it does for someone around them to tell them thank God you didn’t die just now.

          5. Forgot my name again*

            I say “choke up, chicken!” since that was the thing said in an office where I used to work and it just stuck.

    3. Chocolate Teapot*

      The blessing people is supposed to have its origins in the days of the plague when sneezing was an early indicator you had the plague and were going to die. So you are being blessed for your imminent demise.

    4. Passionfruit Tea*

      Blessing something is inherently religious but you know that since you then go on to give solely religious examples.

    5. Bubbletea*

      They could say “may good things happen to you” instead. The fact they don’t makes it about the connotations of who is doing the blessing. That’s what annoys me about it – it’s neither an actionable statement (like “drive safely!” or “take care” are) nor an acknowledgement of the nature of chance (“I hope you have a good day” or “good luck in your exam”). It’s an instruction to somehow earn blessings.

    6. Dark Macadamia*

      “Have a good/nice day” is just such a common phrase that putting in any different word conveys a strong sense that they’re saying it for a reason. Like if someone routinely says “have a scrumdiddlyumptious day” or “have a fantabulous day” you’d notice that too… but the thing you notice when someone goes out of their way to say “blessed” is hm, that sounds religious-y.

    7. Person from the Resume*

      It’s new. Saying “bless you” when someone sneezes is 100s of years old. It’s taught as common courtesy.

      “Have a blessed day” is fairly new. The phrase has only picking up steam in the last 10 or 20 years. It is evangelicals pushing their religion on you. Not I sincerely most of the time, but of the belief that their religion should be (and is, they think) the law of the land.

    8. Ruby*

      My dad taught us to say “gesundheit!” When someone sneezed. It’s Yiddish (and German) for “health!”

    9. MicroManagered*

      SAME – if someone is blessing my day, cool thanks! Blessing my sneeze? Thanks! Who cares?

      Now, if you’re going to corner me in the break room and ask me if Jesus Christ is my personal lord and savior or if I’ve read Dianetics, that’s a different issue.

  14. I'm the Phoebe in Any Group*

    I find have a blessed day really inappropriate. I don’t like it in my personal life because there’s an assumption that I’m religious and I’m Christian, but it’s way worse in business. I remember looking for a therapist and calling a bunch of them mostly to leave messages so they could call me back and we could see if it was a good fitter or not. When their outgoing voicemail said something like have a blessed day I just hung up. My reaction was that they can not or do not want to separate their religion from their professional life, and I did not want to work with them. It crosses a line for therapists even more than people in other professions. Therapists are supposed to leave their personal lives out of the therapeutic relationship.

  15. Tin Cormorant*

    LW2 might as well have been me in my last job, right down to the number of years spent there waiting for something that would never come while getting bare minimum raises.

    In my case, I eventually got a new boss between me and my existing manager who was much more honest about how that promised position I’d been strung along with for years wasn’t actually in the works at all.

    I was extra lucky, because that all coincided with my husband getting a big promotion of his own that allowed me to hand in my notice pretty much right away and leave that job without anything else lined up. They were paying me far less than I was worth and it was so nice being able to focus entirely on the job search without any of that stress. But even if I wasn’t able to leave, I would have been job searching every night to get out of there.

  16. Irish Teacher.*

    I would actually be thinking paganism if I heard “have a blessed day.” Not that that’s any more or less inappropriate.

    I think part of the reason people may be more uncomfortable with it than stuff like “bless you” is that it sounds more…regional? I never heard it said. And I think if one is less familiar with a phrase, one is more likely to hear it’s literal meaning, whereas if somebody says “bless you” or “I’m PRAYING it won’t rain the day of the wedding” or “sending thoughts and prayers to all those affected by the disaster,” I usually have to stop and think that they are religious (which can be problematic in it’s own way, in that it makes certain things the default). At least where I am, “have a blessed day” has not become something people say without even realising it’s religious, so I would assume somebody saying it meant to reference a belief system, whereas when somebody says “I was just praying it would snow somebody get a day off,” I assume they just mean “I was really hoping” and haven’t even thought about word choice.

    1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

      Pagans definitely have greeting-forms with various forms of “bless” in them, but around here I would expect more of a “blessed be” or a “Lady’s [or whoever that particular person tends to invoke] blessing upon you” kind of construction from that crowd rather than “have a blessed day”. This might be a regional thing or a which pagan subculture is speaking thing, though.

      (I once very nearly improv-ed a pagan prayer calling for the blessings of various celestial objects upon our rehearsal when told it was my turn to lead one of the prayers that week when I accidentally ended up joining the “all the churches in town get together and put on a show” Easter Cantata in a small town once when I thought I was joining a classical music group, but my desire to not alienate my fellow performers and the rest of the town outweighed my desire to see what their faces would do if I pulled it off with a straight face (I’m a pagan-flavored agnostic – I don’t generally pray, let alone out loud, but if you expect me to come up with a group prayer or other invocation vague new age paganism is going to be the source material I have to pull from). A rehearsal for an explicitly religious event taking place in a church is an appropriate place to ask for Christian prayers, though, I was just so out of the loop on Church Stuff that I had no idea that they used the word “Cantata” for a completely different kind of performance than I’d previously been aware of so I signed up when I saw them out fundraising one day since I wanted to meet some new people. They put up with me pretty well even though it eventually became pretty obvious that I was a non-church-person choral musician who did not attend any of their churches and had no interest in changing that even though I did not bring that up, but I was not sad that I moved out of town before the next performance season came around so I could gracefully never do that again.)

      1. Richard Hershberger*

        The thing is, if I heard that a classical music group was going to perform a cantata, I would expect it more likely than not to be a religious cantata. Yes, it might be Bach extolling the virtues of coffee, but if I were playing the odds I would go with its being religious. If I heard “Easter Cantata” I would be hoping for BWV 249 and fearing some banal pop music.

        1. UKDancer*

          Yes. I would also assume a cantata was religious but then I’ve sung in a fair few choral societies who put them on and they were always Christian and usually Bach. I know there are secular ones especially more recently, but I’ve never sung them. I mean I’m atheist, but I like Bach cantatas as pieces of music so it never bothered me to sing them any more than it bothers me to sing the Messiah or Carmina Burana or the Chichester Psalms.

    2. Dinwar*

      “I would actually be thinking paganism if I heard “have a blessed day.” Not that that’s any more or less inappropriate.”

      No Pagan or Wiccan I know uses that structure. A Seven Hobbits said, the more typical phrasing for those groups is “Blessed be”, and even there there’s some controversy about whether it should be used casually (we all walk different paths, differences of opinion are ubiquitous). Every time I’ve heard it it’s been from a Christian/Catholic. I’ll grant that this is inductive reasoning and that I’ve not exhaustively studied the matter, but that’s my experience at least. And it may just be that as a minority group (particularly in the South where I live) Pagans, Wiccans, and the like aren’t as open about their religion; in places where they can practice more openly it may be more common.

  17. Jonquil*

    As an Australian I have never heard that phrase (like the UK commenter said about their country, we are too secular and sarcastic for such things), but I have a deeply practical question. When it is said out loud, do people usually say “blessed” with one syllable (“too blessed to be stressed”) or two (“bless-ed are the meek…”)?

    1. Catherine*

      When I lived in America I usually heard people say it in two syllables, which made it feel Extra Religious to me somehow.

      1. Richard Hershberger*

        I have no actual data, but my impression is that it used to be pronounced with two syllables but had slid into one syllable with over-use.

      2. Lexie*

        I’ve lived in the US my whole life and have only heard it said with one syllable in that context.
        The only time I’ve heard two syllables is in the pagan saying of “blessed be”.

        1. 1-800-BrownCow*

          US born and bred here too, but have only heard it as two syllables. One syllable sounds odd to me, unless used in the past tense (ex He has been blessed in his life (1 syllable), vs. I hope you have a blessed day (2 syllables).

          Maybe the use of 1 vs 2 syllables is regional?

      3. seeeeeps*

        Two syllables also registers as Extra Religious to me. Like, you can be bless’d and it’s just like #blessed !!!! But, if you’re bless-ed, God has smiled upon you with favor.

    2. Meh*

      I’ve heard it both ways. I think the single syllable is more common but as Catherine says the added -Ed makes it extra..

    3. YetAnotherAnalyst*

      Always two syllables, for me (in the northeastern US).

      I was honestly entirely thrown the firat time I saw “Too blessed to be stressed”. I figured it was meant to be pronounced “stress-ed” to match, which seemed incredibly forced. In the same vein as “Skillet Fillet”, where the not-rhyming (at least in the US) is almost painful.

    4. doreen*

      Depends – in “have a blessed day’ , I’ve always heard two syllables but there are lots of other uses where it’s one syllable , like when someone says ” I’ve been blessed with good luck “

      1. YetAnotherAnalyst*

        Oh, that’s a good point. I’ll amend my earlier statement and say “been blessed” or “blessed with” constructions are definitely one syllable for me. Past participles, I guess? But “blessed” as an adjective like in “blessed day” or “blessed be” or “blessed are” are all two syllables. I may need more coffee to diagram sentences effectively, though.

        1. The Rural Juror*

          Agreeing with you both. To me, saying “bless-ed” gives it the more religious connotation. Such as, “Have a blessed day” or, “blessed are the meek.” Saying, “I’ve been blessed…” hits a little different because it could be followed by “…with a winning lottery ticket.” It could easily mean luck instead of divine intervention.

    5. Clisby*

      I live in the US South, and have only heard it pronounced with one syllable. Like the example someone else gave of “I was blessed with good skin.”

    6. Not A Manager*

      I uniformly hear “have a blest day,” from whoever says that, and “bless-ed be” from pagans.

    7. Esmae*

      Southern US, I almost always hear one syllable unless it’s referring to a specific religious figure, i.e. the bless-ed Virgin Mary.

  18. bamcheeks*

    My director (who says she adores me) has told me that she’s been pushing for a promotion for me for three years

    LW, you were all, lots of change this and lots of change that, but THREE YEARS is enough time for you to have had two promotions! Your director is either very insincere or very ineffective: she might love your work but if she doesn’t know how to make a promotion happen within three years, she is never going to figure it out. Start looking!

    1. münchner kindl*

      This struck me most – Supervisor, manager, HR dept. and directors all changed, yet OP wasn’t promoted at all. It’s sad (but not unusual) that despite many changes the overall culture at this company has stayed the same; a culture which apparently likes exploiting OP by underpaying and not-promoting them.

      So OP should look for better places elsewhere.

    2. Still*

      Yeah, at this point it really doesn’t matter if they can’t or don’t want to promote you, one way or another it’s not happening. A lot of this has been blamed on personnel changes but you’ve had the same director for three years now and it still hasn’t happened. It’s time to leave.

    3. J.B.*

      Hah my current boss’s excuse for not clarifying recent job changes is “we’ll do it when we’re full staffed” and guess what? Someone’s leaving now. It’s an excuse and look out for you.

    4. 2 Cents*

      LW, I was told there wasn’t any upward mobility — until they created a position out of thin air and then made me report to it (and it was an odious mansplainer). It just affirmed for me how “valued” I was. The best feeling was leaving, and finding out all of the extra responsibilities I’d taken on trying to prove myself (I thought) were now split between 3 people.

    5. ThatGirl*

      Several years back I had a job with big plans for the newly-created role I was in, and then my manager left abruptly, and I ended up being defacto team lead for a little while as well and just getting the day to day stuff done instead of the bigger-picture role I was supposed to have. When I got a new manager she was very sympathetic, and I was honest with her and her manager that I didn’t want to keep doing the grunt work, that wasn’t why I was hired, and they kept telling me they understood but nothing ever changed. So I applied for an open position in another department that was more in line with my long-term goals anyway, and got it, because it was obvious staying where I was was a dead end.

    6. NotAnotherManager!*

      And, if it’s not the director, it’s that the organization doesn’t have a plan in place to promote from within or adequately recognize the contributions of high performers. I was stuck in that place once, and I lost several good people because I could not deliver what they deserved and needed based on organizational constraints. I was always honest about this and helped people apply out, if I couldn’t give them advancement opportunities, and I left myself for the same reasons.

      Eight years with tiny raises and no promotions is past long enough. OP should not feel the least bit guilty about moving on.

    7. fhqwhgads*

      Normally I’d jump straight to “three years? fuck it, never gonna happen” but if the three years were pretty much the whole pandemic, I might pause for half a second. So I get why the OP questioned this. But once you tie it in to alllllllllllll the rest, that half-second pause ends in a “nah, they’ve sent their message pretty clearly”.

  19. TheEndIsNigh*

    #OP1 Are people being so thin skinned that they cannot take a “have a blessed day” ?? Do people have their priorities right ?? Or just looking to make a mountain out of a molehill ??

    1. PollyQ*

      Sure, we can take it. We’d just rather not have to, especially at work, which in the US, is supposed to be a religiously neutral place unless you’ve deliberately chosen to work for a religious organization.

      I might ask, are people so thin-skinned that they can’t take any criticism for saying “Have a blessed day”? Or being asked to consider that not everyone they speak to will share their religious beliefs and may not be pleased to hear that phrase?

      And who, on this site, is making a mountain out of anything? As of the time I’m writing this comment, no one’s suggested filing a lawsuit, or even going to HR over the issue. All LW asked was whether it was a professional message to leave on a work phone, and Alison ruled that it wasn’t.

    2. münchner kindl*

      Are people so thin-skinned they can’t stop their performative demonstration of religious “I’m holier than you” attitude, by saying “Have a nice day” instead?

      Because this phrase does have a strong connotation with the worst parts of US White Christianity.

      People who say the phrase as part of performance in the culture war are offended if told to stop it.

      People who actually care about others – which is why they would sincerely say “Bless” as meaning “may good things happen to you” – have no problem respecting and following other people’s preferences and switching to a less culture-war phrase.

      1. Fastest Thumb in the West*

        In my southern city, “have a blessed day” is very common in the Black community, so while it is cultural and religious, it is not racially exclusive.

        1. Loulou*

          yes, I find the association many people are drawing between this phrase and whiteness very strange and certainly not universal!

        2. Parakeet*

          In my northern city, it is in fact almost exclusively poor Black folks that I’ve heard it from! I grew up in a very different sort of area so I am all too familiar with white evangelical proselytizing, but many commenters’ mental image of who says this phrase is not universally accurate.

          Obviously poor Black folks can also reinforce societal power structures in their speech, either accidentally or deliberately, but the identity of the speaker does affect the dynamic in my experience (I’m a white atheist Jew).

        3. RagingADHD*

          Yup. I’m in the South and I hear it far more from Black folks than white folks, so the rage against it, and blanket pronouncements about who uses it, power dynamics, etc, sit very uncomfortably with me.

          I get the impression that a lot of the people who are upset at the idea of it, don’t actually encounter it much in real life. Because the real-world dynamics of that interaction are quite different than what a lot of people here seem to assume.

    3. Luna*

      I do wonder if you’d question the same thing, if the term in question were, say, “Salaamalaikum” or a different-but-same-meaning-phrase from another, non-Christian religion? In my case, I just prefer to not put any religion into phrases used to a ton of people, especially strangers or coworkers throughout the day.

      Nothing wrong with “Have a nice day”. My overall response to stuff when people tell me things like “Merry Christmas”, “Happy Holidays”, “Have a nice weekend”, etc, is a simple ‘Same to you’.
      But if that’s a quick, one-time interaction with, say, a cashier at the grocery store, I don’t mind it so much. But used daily, multiple times, at places like work? I’d be getting a bit annoyed at that. (Yes, including the non-Christian phrases)

    4. MPerera*

      One person’s normal can very well be another person’s microaggression. This doesn’t mean the second person is wrong or thin-skinned or can’t prioritize, or that people in a marginalized group should put up with whatever is being said to them.

    5. Cat Tree*

      I’m completely certain that you would be equally bothered by someone else doing the same to you but with a different religion that you don’t follow.

    6. Falling Diphthong*

      I mean, you started a whole new thread. Apparently you are delighted to take this molehill and ride it into a mountain.

    7. Wants Green Things*

      Are people being so thin skinned that they cannot take a simple question asked om a forum they voluntarily read?? Do people have their priorities right neing so het up out of shape over this question?? or just looking to make a mountain out of a molehill because they don’t want to admit they’re part of the religious right causing this problem in the first place??


      1. Thread*

        Eh, people aren’t just discussing whether or not the phrase is annoying or inappropriate in a professional context (yes and yes, in my opinion). Many commenters are fantasizing about rude or snarky responses–“have a damned day” etc.

        Which, if they did respond like that in real life, would indeed come across as a fairly thin-skinned overreaction.

        1. Wants Green Things*

          Yet TheEndIsNigh made no mention of the snarky comments, so I can only reasonably presume their offense to the thin-skinnedness of people is to the original phrase.

          To which I repeat my own question – are they themselves so thin-skinned that someone asking about this is enough to get them all bent out of shape?

        2. Have a Good Day*

          Why is a religious response to a religious greeting thin-skinned, but the religious greeting isn’t?

          I very sincerely, cheerily reply, “Hail Satan!” when someone tells me to “Have a blessed day.” Because the people who say, “Don’t be so thin-skinned! It’s just wishing blessings on someone! It could be any deity doing the blessing!” suddenly are affronted when I suggest that my blessings are bestowed by the supernatural deity of the temple I belong to.

          It highlights that this is a purely Christian greeting in sheep’s clothing that is trying to disguise itself as something else, something secular, something innocuous. See my comment elsewhere about plausible deniability.

    8. NotAnotherManager!*

      How about those of us who are not religious are would like to exist in a workplace where we don’t have to deal with religion when there are a tremendous number of secular phrases that will suffice? Have a nice day, have a good one, enjoy your afternoon, hope you have a good evening, stay safe out there, etc. It will not kill the “blessed day” crowd to refrain from blessing people for 8 hours a day, and they can get right back to it after work, at their church, inflicting it on unsuspecting service workers.

      And the same “blessed day” people would absolutely lose their shit if they were frequently shalom-ed or as-salamu alaykum-ed, so spare me the “thin skinned”, messed up priorities handwaving.

      1. Dinwar*

        “How about those of us who are not religious are would like to exist in a workplace where we don’t have to deal with religion when there are a tremendous number of secular phrases that will suffice?”

        That’s the thing, though–it’s a preference. It’s at the level of office culture, not discrimination or anything of that nature. The group I work with is extremely secular, it just doesn’t come up. In other groups religious iconography is common on people’s desks (not just Christian, but predominantly). I’ve worked for groups that ended the daily tailgate meeting with a morning prayer.

        It’s entirely reasonable to have preferences. But it cuts both ways. The issue isn’t who’s right, but the far more complicated issue of how to manage conflicting preferences.

        1. New Jack Karyn*

          There’s a difference. It isn’t just a preference for people of the non-dominant religion. If it was simply a preference, then folks could just say, “Have a great day!” with no fuss.

    9. RebelwithMouseyHair*

      whoa there! I don’t want a blessed day thank you very much. It reeks of religion. Are people so deeply involved in their religion that they can’t take a moment to reflect that it’s not appropriate to talk about it at work.
      If it’s that much of a molehill, it can easily be replaced with “have a good day” without any problem. Done and dusted, over and out, can move on.

  20. Hashtag Blissed*

    Re: #1, the comments about its inappropriateness in the workplace definitely resonate with me. Also, as a BIPOC non-Christian in the US, I’ve been feeling more and more reminded of the colonizing, “little brown brother” paternalism that runs on the idea that I and people that look like me can’t possibly choose our own belief systems correctly with every extraneous, unwanted injection of religion into my day.

      1. Isben Takes Tea*

        I don’t see what Hashtag Blissed’s feelings on Black and Native churches have anything to do with their comment or the discussion. They said the discomfort resonated with them from their specific experience; why challenge that statement?

        None of the non-BIPOC identifying non-Christians on this thread have been challenged to provide their thoughts on white churches.

        1. River Home*

          None of the non-BIPOC identifying non-Christians framed the saying as a paternalistic expression from white people directed at brown people.

          I’ve been feeling more and more reminded of the colonizing, “little brown brother” paternalism that runs on the idea that I and people that look like me can’t possibly choose our own belief systems correctly with every extraneous, unwanted injection of religion into my day.

          1. Isben Takes Tea*

            As you quoted, they framed “every extraneous, unwanted injection of religion into my day” as a “reminder of colonizing paternalism” — and that’s valid, based on an entire global history of Western Christian colonialism.

            To put it bluntly, they did not argue the phrase was racist. They said the unwanted interjection of religion into their day reminds them of past (and ongoing) systemic racism. That’s a valid position, even if such phrases don’t impact you in the same way.

  21. Luna*

    I dislike ‘have a blessed day’. It almost put it on the same pedestal as someone telling me “I’ll pray for you” or similar. It’s just not my thing, and it feels like it’s more being said for their own peace of mind.
    But I also don’t like getting any response (Bless you or even Gesundheit) when I sneeze… though that’s more due to the fact that I have a compromised immune system, so I tend to sneeze a lot all over the year, so being told something like “Bless you” or “Gesundheit” two or three times in close proximity because I’m having a sneeze-a-thon is a bit irritating.

    I’m willing to let it slide, as long as nobody starts insisting I say the same phrase back.

    1. allathian*

      The French have a multiple-sneeze response:
      *sneeze* – “à tes/vos souhaits” (bless you, literally (may) your wishes (come true))
      *sneeze 2* – “à tes/vos amours (to your loves)
      *sneeze 3* – “pour qu’ils durent toujours (may they last forever)

      1. Naomi*

        My dad used to live in Peru, and I learned from him that Spanish has a similar multi-sneeze response: “salud, dinero, amor” (health, money, love). Maybe people who feel uncomfortable with “bless you” can adopt one of these!

        1. River Home*

          But should we really be wishing someone love at work, though? Even wishing health is borderline, since some people have chronic health problems.

    2. Eldritch Office Worker*

      “But I also don’t like getting any response (Bless you or even Gesundheit) when I sneeze”

      I also prefer no acknowledgement, and typically give no acknowledgement, but I think a lot of people say it as a reflex so I agree with you I tend to let it slide.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        Though sometimes I will say something like “I’m having allergies today I promise I won’t be offended if you don’t say that every time”

        1. Weaponized Pumpkin*

          I actually tell them it’s best if they don’t, versus saying they don’t have to. (Like so much of the advice here.) Because I will sneeze forever and we will be trapped in this loop all day! Not only does it annoy me to hear it, but they will invariably feel awkward around sneeze 4 or 5 and not know how to gracefully stop.

    3. Neosmom*

      Tangent —> Hahahahah! My average sneeze spell is six and my record is 16!
      And now back to our business-appropriate commentary.

  22. Ryan*

    It’s funny how controversial that the first letter is turning out to be.

    I’m an atheist, and other than noting that I’d never heard it before (although now I can say I’ve heard *of* it), I probably wouldn’t even give it a second thought. I’d interpret it as a general expression of well wishes, as Alison notes, even when within a professional setting, just as I’d interpret a “bless you” as a generic polite response after a sneeze as opposed to a religious statement.

    1. The Other Dawn*

      This letter really should have been a standalone post. The comments on it make up the majority of the comment section, and the other LWs aren’t getting much attention at all.

      1. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

        Oh, yeah, if the topic is Dudes doing Sexist Things, Christians Doing Christian-y Things, or Names and Nicknames, the comment section is going to be boringly repetitive. Food will also monopolize people attention, but at least there will be amusing anecdotes.

        I can’t blame Alison for not making the blessings letter a standalone post though. It really isn’t interesting or long enough to be on it’s own.

    2. NotAnotherManager!*

      I think it’s easier to ignore when you don’t hear it often. When we visit my in-laws, EVERYONE says it, and it’s kind of jarring because we don’t live in a sort of place where it’s appropriate or universal. I can ignore the one person in my office who tells people to have a blessed day, if all 300 hundred of them were doing so, it’d be much more tiresome.

      There is also a gentleman in my office who, when you ask how he is today, will tell you that he’s blessed. That doesn’t bother me because he’s describing himself and not projecting it onto other people – his response is typically, “I’m blessed, thank you for asking. Hope you have a wonderful day!”.

  23. Harper the Other One*

    Re. letter #1 – my husband is a minister for a Christian church in Canada, and he STILL only uses “blessings” as a sign-off on his emails when he knows the other person would appreciate the gesture. Otherwise, he goes with “sincerely” or “all the best.”

    “Have a blessed day” seems highly performative to me, and while I wouldn’t do much more than roll my eyes, it would be jarring.

  24. Meh*

    Re #1 in my daily life if someone says that to me (US, Southern Mid-Atlantic) I ignore it. Meaning I choose not to participate in the conversation exchange. It feels rude not to say anything back but I just cannot bring myself to acknowledge it or respond.

  25. The Original K.*

    LW 2, if you’ve been there 8 years with only 2% raises, your salary hasn’t kept up with inflation (even when inflation isn’t as crazy as it is now) so you’re losing spending power year over year. That’s reason enough to leave. (Wanting to leave is reason enough to leave.)

    1. Curmudgeon in California*

      My last academic job had a maximum for annual raises of 3%, but commonly 2%. They were “merit” raises, and the university never did cost of living raises. I was there for almost 5 years, and the only reason I stayed after the first year was because of the other benefits – primarily PTO and 401k match.

  26. Hiring Mgr*

    I live in the northeast and don’t think i’ve ever heard anyone say “have a blessed day”, but is it really any different than if someone says god bless you after a sneeze?

    Personally it just seems like an innocuous phrase. I’m not religious and agree religion doesn’t belong in the workplace, but I don’t think this is it

    1. The Other Dawn*

      I, too, live in the Northeast. I’ve heard it a few times over the years and each time it was from someone I knew to be very religious. It’s not my thing, but I just said “thank you” and moved on with my day. No big deal. I knew it was coming from a well-meaning place.

      1. doreen*

        I am also in the Northeast , and as far as people I actually know, I only hear “Have a blessed day” from people of a certain religious background. Never from Muslims or Jews, although as far as I know , both of those faiths have a concept of “blessing”. Also never from Catholics, Lutherans, Episcopalians. Only people from a particular religious background who in my experience , also want to open every office potluck with a prayer.

        1. Curmudgeon in California*

          … also want to open every office potluck with a prayer.

          Oh, yikes. I would nope out of that so fast there would be a breeze from my leaving.

          I don’t mind if someone wants to pray over their meal. I do mind if they want to prey over mine.

    2. metadata minion*

      In isolation, it would be sort of charming, but the association with particular flavors of heavily-proselytizing Evangelical Christianity ruin the phrase for me.

      1. Hiring Mgr*

        I think I get what you mean….since I’m in an area with very very few evangelical Christians, (I don’t know any) the overall context isn’t there for me so it doesn’t seem intrusive..

        But I do see that if you’ve been hearing that for years, AND. you know the type of person who would say it, it would come off differently

    3. JTP*

      I, too, live in the Northeast, and I have heard it, usually only in passing from a fast-food worker or retail cashier.

      “is it really any different than if someone says god bless you after a sneeze?”

      No, it’s not, and the phrase isn’t any better, either. Another example of the dominant religion using a phrase so often, they think it’s become secular when it is not.

  27. Katie*

    For 3, I recently noticed that Teams was showing my cell phone number as choice to calla and displayed such number to the world. I have it in my to do list to figure out how to block it. (To note, my work system has to have my cell number because of MFA).

    1. Minimal Pear*

      I found the same thing with my gmail account! Luckily I’m our gmail admin so I was able to change it, but I have no idea how long that was visible for.

    2. This is It, Really*

      Master of Fine Arts? That’s MFA to me. Seriously,not everyone knows every acronym, please spell it out, thanks.

  28. Katie*

    For 5, I recommend being rather direct about it. Set up a time to discuss year end performance to discuss all your major successes for the year. Give her all the points of what puts you in that too tier. Having a new manager is a major disadvantage and you have to give the story. Even for non new managers you have to give your own story.

    1. SarahKay*

      Seconding this. My company also does the 9-block thing, and my manager’s assessment of my rating has to be approved by my grand-boss. I figure that the more data I give my manager about how good the year was, the better chance they have of getting a high rating approved.

    2. ferrina*

      Ideally there should be a self-reflection component that your manager can review. This is useful for reflecting, of course, but is also a really useful recap of your year for your manager. As a manager, there’s always something from the year that I’ve forgotten.

      I’m a little leery of telling the manager how to rate you. I’ve had that backfire in a big way and put a target on my back. Certain managers decided that I didn’t “know my place” or I was being arrogant because I surpassed my goals (?). Now I’m much more cautious about that sort of thing, phrasing it as an fyi or a question rather than an assertion.

    3. Sloanicota*

      I am worried for number five! I hope it turns out well for them. My concern is that, just because this “golden year” was the previous manager’s philosophy when it came to reviews, it doesn’t actually obligate the new manager to also live by this (seemingly a bit odd) perspective. Many companies have crappy ‘stacked ranking’ type systems where you can’t have two excellent employees, or whatever. These systems are stupid. My old boss used to alternate who they would give the big bonus to because that was the fairest way they could deal with the system, but that wasn’t actually the concrete rule of reviews. Your manager may have come up with this method a way to let you down easy and it explain it in a way that makes more sense but … ultimately you may be in a bad system where supervisors can’t reward people the way they’d like to.

      1. LW5*

        LW5 here: Thank you for your worry! haha. I am worried too! I have been having trouble adjusting to the new management style and philosophy. I just know my new manager is stingier with awards, recognition, and praise than some other managers. I am comfortable writing a list of my accomplishments, but what I guess I’m most concerned about is straight up saying “I think this deserves the highest ranking”. So I’m trying to workshop a phrase that more indirectly states “I feel my results this year are especially high performing, even compared to my standard years”. Don’t worry, that’s not my final version – just what I’m trying to say.

        1. Sloanicota*

          That sounds good! I would maybe throw in some “extraordinary” or “best year out of the last five” or whatever and maybe give her a sense of scale. But really there may only be so much you can do, and it stinks when you’ve been patiently playing under the old rules. Give us an update when you find out how it went!!

        2. ferrina*

          I think your concern is warranted. I like the approach of showing what your accomplishments were. Part of that would be giving some background on the challenges- one year I oversaw the biggest contract our company had ever done (for a particular type of product- easily double any other contract). I got no extra resources or recognition. Turns out that no one was tracking average product orders, so no one had any idea that this was abnormal (which was a whole separate problem).

          Point being- I like the approach of informing about accomplishments rather than telling her what the rating is. I might consider saying something like “I’m also interested to hear where I can grow from here- is this the kind of performance that gets the highest rating? If not, what can I do to work towards that rating?”

          Also mentally prepare for getting an unfairly low rating. I had a manager that never gave the highest rating to anyone because “we all have something to work on.” That manager sucked, but I kept my cool and left with a great recommendation 6 months later.

  29. Nathan*

    “Have a blessed day” is even something I’ve used before and I am not religious. I don’t really see it as religious even. I mean maybe it *was* religious but… so was Christmas. I’ve recently moved to the South. It’s just something people say. Women who don’t know you me here call me “sweetie” and “honey” and stuff like that and to me that’s way more inappropriate than “have a blessed” day but again that’s just a thing they do here so I brush it off.

    1. metadata minion*

      Christmas is still religious. Yes, non-religious people also celebrate it, but I promise you, it is not a religiously-neutral holiday.

      1. Curmudgeon in California*


        I was raised Baptist. Church leadership would regularly bemoan the secularization and commercialization of Christmas, and exhort us to “take back” or emphasize the religious nature of the holiday. It’s only “secular” when the dominant religion wants to force it onto everyone in their society, and they really want it not to be secular at all.

  30. BRR*

    #2 you deserve better. I would also be prepared that when you announce you’re leaving they’re going to either somehow be able to get your promotion approved or will be making a lot of promises that they will subsequently break. But I encourage you to remember how they had plenty of opportunities to retain you and didn’t.

    1. Red Sky*

      I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that promised promotion and raise suddenly appeared if OP hands in her notice, then disappears again if she accepts it.

      OP, please, please do not stay if they make a counteroffer, they’ve shown you repeatedly they can’t be trusted. Believe their actions, not their words

      1. The OTHER Other*

        I agree, they might make a counteroffer (in which case NO) but I think it’s also likely they will act flabbergasted that LW is leaving “so suddenly” when a promotion was “about to happen”. Don’t fall for it.

    2. The New Wanderer*

      When I was in LW2’s position, I talked about counteroffer options with my manager. What I realized was, after having to jump through hoops my equally and less qualified colleagues didn’t have to, to get the same recognition, even a belated promotion/raise wouldn’t have been enough.

      Hopefully LW2 is at the point where a change of scenery is far more appealing than anything their current company could come up with. It’s a nice feeling to find a new place that values what I have to offer instead of taking it for granted.

  31. HIPAA-Potamus*

    1: I consider myself pretty woke (hate that word, though) and I have to say, that phrasing doesn’t bother me for some reason. What does irk me is when people shove “thoughts and prayers” down our throats following a tragedy or when someone says they’ll pray for me. I didn’t ask for your prayers.

    1. Workerbee*

      And to me, while positive thinking does make a difference, “thoughts and prayers” seems too pat a phrase with little to no effort involved.

      1. Curmudgeon in California*

        Yeah, it’s easy to offer “thoughts and prayers” so you don’t have to do any work to actually change things. To me it has a subtext of “F you. This is the status quo, and you better learn to live with it, because it ain’t changing.” But I’m cynical like that.

      2. Irish Teacher*

        It also often seems a little like virtue signalling to me. It’s such a cliched phrase that means so little that it often comes across like “I don’t have any particular interest in this crisis but I want to say SOMETHING so I’ll look like a good, caring person.” That is context based of course, but I often see it on social media about high profile disasters and the same people who post it tend to be silent about equally horrible disasters that aren’t so well-publicised or which their friends haven’t also been posting about.

        I know that sometimes people just want to say SOMETHING and it isn’t necessarily about attention, but sometimes it does come across as a bit…like ticking a box.

        1. SweetFancyPancakes*

          Yeah, this is why even though I absolutely believe in the efficacy of prayer, I don’t tell people I’m praying for them unless I know they also believe in it. I just do it in private and leave it at that.

    2. Sloanicota*

      Yeah for me personally, “blessed” can mean, “blessed by the agnostic universe with good luck” – it can be allowed to pass in a way that “God bless you today” would not. Is it my favorite no, but it doesn’t bother me personally. However, I also recognize that this is my individual perspective and that other people, particularly religious minorities, may well feel very differently, and therefore I would never say it.

  32. Dinwar*

    #1: The question is, how much political capital are you willing to spend on this? Getting someone who uses this phrase to change is going to take a LOT of political capital. They’re going to be upset and feel persecuted (whether they’re right or wrong to feel that way is irrelevant for the purposes of this discussion) and will react as if you had made a personal attack against them. Other people will also be upset–remember, you’re pushing against the majority here. At minimum they’ll be confused as to why you care; more likely, they’ll feel attacked as well.

    For my part (for reference, I’m a Pagan), I either consider it a reaction or a sign of good will. I grew up Roman Catholic, and there’s a lot of people who engage in rituals mechanically. And I try to take statements from people based on what they intend to say. I may not personally like that deity, but a Christian or a Catholic obviously would, and in their terms they’re doing something kind. There’s little enough kindness in the world right now that I’m very hesitant to fight against any example of it, no matter how minor, merely on the grounds that we believe different things.

    #2: Think of it this way. If you were dating someone and they kept saying “We’ll get engaged as soon as X happens” and X keeps moving, would you stick around with that person for 8 years? Unless you’re bucking for CEO, 8 years is more than enough time for them to either promote you or tell you straight out that they can’t. They’re stringing you along, pure and simple. They think that as long as they don’t give you the promotion you’ll stick around, doing the job they want you to do.

    And if they aren’t–if the excuses are true–it’s worse, because they’ve shown themselves to be totally disorganized. Do you really want to work with someone who can’t fix what should be a routine process for nearly a decade?

  33. Nancy*

    LW1: Some people use that as their generic ‘conversation is done now’ end greeting. Personally, I could not care less about some voice on a voicemail machine wishing me a blessed day.

    LW2: Start looking elsewhere
    LW3: Talk to HR
    LW4: no, you don’t need to tell them

    LW5: At my organization, we review and score ourselves first using the same form as our manager, then our manager reads it and gives their review. So I think sending an email that covers many of the questions in the review is fine as a reminder of the year. Don’t add the part about disagreeing though.

  34. Trek*

    OP 2 Start looking for another job today. Call off work once a week to job search and interview if you need to. I wish you could stop doing the extra work they have given you but not sure you can after doing it for so long. I think you forgot that you have control and say over your work life and it’s time to exercise that control and move on to something new.

    You’ve been at this job 8 years, even if you had been promoted it would be normal to look at another company. Give the bare minimum notice, take a few weeks off for yourself if you can, and do not discuss any counter offers. If they say ‘Expect a counter offer’ respond with ‘I expected you to live up to your promise of a promotion and appropriate pay but that didn’t happen.’ Also string them along if they give you a counter. ‘I’m thinking’ or ‘I’ll let you know when I decide’ right up until your last day and you walk out the door. Do not let them pile on work during your notice period either.

    Put on Glass door that promises of promotions/raises are lies and they do it to keep people from quitting but no one gets promoted or more than 2% raises. Others should be warned.

  35. VP of Monitoring Employees’ LinkedIn and Indeed Profiles*

    OP #2…

    [A year ago when I brought up my frustration with my stagnant position, she told me that the vice president told her that she must wait for a new mid-supervisor role to be filled and that person would be able to promote me.]

    If they had truly intended to promote you, they would have offered you the new mid-supervisor role.

    1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

      Yeah, that bit was weird. Why should it be up to a new person to promote OP? Especially if it’s someone who doesn’t know OP’s work.

      And good point – it sounds like OP could very reasonably have been considered for the mid-supervisor role.

    2. MCMonkeyBean*

      I don’t know if we can say that for sure as there are promotion paths that don’t involve supervising or even whether OP would have any interest in a supervisory role–but I agree that that is the dealbreaker moment. It makes no sense to say a new person they will hire in the future who has never worked with OP before should be the one to promote them! There is no reason the VP couldn’t have pushed it through themselves if they really wanted it to happen.

  36. Erie*

    I’m not sure I agree with Alison’s stance on religion in the workplace. Pushing your religion on other people in the workplace is wrong, but a voicemail greeting that just tells people that you yourself are religious isn’t pushing anything on anybody. If we say religion should be kept entirely out of the workplace, that’s telling people it isn’t okay to show others the ways that they’re different, and that’s deadening and samey. It should be okay to display your own religion at work if it’s a big part of your life, just like it’s okay to mention other aspects of your life.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Alison is not saying you can’t have a picture in your office or small tokens in your workspace. Those are the places that difference and individuality are appropriately shown. You can also mention in casual conversation you’re going to church or meeting with your minister or whatever else.

      However Alison calls out workplace communication, which is not personal and needs to be professional. Communication by definition engages multiple people in a work dynamic. That includes your voicemail, your email signature, or anything else where you don’t know who is on the other end of the line and you are representing your company. You are not a quirky individual with rights to shine in that context, you are an employee and you need to meet professional standards in those interactions. That means no religion or politics, at a minimum.

      1. Erie*

        Yeah, I guess I just don’t agree with the distinction that’s being established there. The stuff in your office is visible whenever people drop by to *communicate* with you in person, which could include people outside the company depending on your role, so it doesn’t really make sense to draw a bright line between your voicemail and your office space. And some people work remotely and their email signature may be some of the only individuality they can express.

        It’s also a question of degree – making people who call your voicemail sit through a whole prayer would be foolish, but I just don’t think a short religious greeting of a few words is worth getting up in arms about.

        In general this aggressive secularization just isn’t what the spirit of freedom of religion is about and I’m not for it.

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          Freedom of religion is about the government imposing on your right to practice it has nothing to do with private businesses.

          1. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

            Separation of Church and State is about the government, but Freedom of Religion is about the government and society both. That’s why there are laws forbidding private business from discriminating based on religion.

            You don’t have much freedom to do something if you can’t pay your bills because nobody will hire you.

            1. Wintermute*

              Thank you for saying this. I hate that people love to trot out “but the first amendment only applies to the government” in response to the *greater ideals* of things like freedom of religion and speech.

              It’s akin to saying that because the 4th amendment only applies to the government, it’s not a violation of privacy if I read your diary.

              The first amendment is how the government enshrines (no pun intended) official limits on their own behavior but the general philosophy that as a society we should be respectful of other’s beliefs and that they may not be like ours transcends any legalistic implementation.

              1. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

                Oh yes, I firmly believe that freedom of religion and free speech are human rights that apply to all humans, at all times and all places. An American today the same as someone in France, or North Korea, 15th century Spain or ancient Roman, pre-Columbian Cahokia or our great-great-umpteen-great grandchildren on Mars. Every single one of those people have as great a right to free speech and freedom of religion as I do.

                They are also rights that are codified into the United States constitution, for which I am very grateful, but the constitution doesn’t GRANT us the rights. It just protects them.

        2. H3llifIknow*

          Except…. the type of people who say things like “have a blessed day” aren’t about religious freedom, because they believe “Christianity” is the ONLY legitimate religion. So, they’d lose their minds if someone said, “And praise Gaia to you, ma’am,” or something in Hebrew, or “and Lucifer sends his warmest regards.” Whatever, pick a religion/language/whatever –I guarantee it will offend their delicate “Christian” sensibilities. Trust me, they’re not having it!

          1. Erie*

            The problem is that the more we secularize the workplace, the more the only people who have the chutzpah to do this stuff will be the people who are already obnoxious. I’m sure there are lots of ordinary religious people who would express their religion if we didn’t make it weird for them to do so, but since we do, we only get the weirdos.

            1. Dinwar*

              Yeah, the ideal should be that people can express themselves in innocuous ways–we SHOULD accept that some people will wear Star of David necklaces, some crucifixes, some pentacles. I feel like we’re going too far towards suppression of religion.

              I was feeling really uncomfortable with a lot of the hostility in this thread, and it took me a while to realize why: They sound very similar to the objections to homosexual marriage back before it became legal. The attitude was very much “I don’t care if they do it, but don’t rub our faces in it”, by which they clearly meant “Don’t let me know, in any way, that you’re not straight.” And we all know that they weren’t going to be satisfied with homosexuals merely hiding.

              There’s a LOT of overt hostility towards theists in general and Christians in particular in this thread. If I saw someone do half of the fantasy/roll-playing in this thread my thought wouldn’t be “Yeah, right on!” My thought would be “Am I next?”

              1. Appletini*

                When queer people commonly, routinely, and invasively proselytize to others then this comparison will hold water. And providing information and not being closeted are not the same things as actual proselytization no matter what the increasing (and Christian) movement to smear queer people as “groomers” may say.

                1. Erie*

                  “Have a blessed day” isn’t proselytizing, though, which is defined as “attempting to convert someone from one belief to another”.

        3. Anon user*

          I think there are a couple problems with it. First, this type greeting is generally only presumed acceptable if its from Christians and assumes that the person listening to the message is also Christian and wants to be ‘blessed’. If someone was ending their workplace voicemail with ‘go with Satan’ or ‘May Allah Bless you’, I can pretty much guarentee it wouldn’t be viewed as acceptable to the same Christian people saying ‘have a blessed day.’

          Also, to your freedom of reglion argument – this also includes freedom from religion.

          1. Dinwar*

            “Also, to your freedom of reglion argument – this also includes freedom from religion.”

            In the same way that freedom of press means you’re able to be free from the press. You still have to expect some people to watch TV and discuss it. A reasonable person should expect to encounter people expressing religious views in a society that includes a multiplicity of religions and cultures. The question is when it becomes objectionable enough to become actionable. A statement of goodwill like this does not meet that criteria, at least in my mind.

            I’ll grant that they would object if I responded in kind (ie, responded based on my religion). I’m okay with being a better person than them.

          2. Delphine*

            I don’t think those examples are comparable at all. The voicemail message isn’t, “May god bless your day.” It doesn’t mention any religious entity.

          3. Erie*

            “If someone was ending their workplace voicemail with ‘go with Satan’ or ‘May Allah Bless you’, I can pretty much guarentee it wouldn’t be viewed as acceptable to the same Christian people saying ‘have a blessed day.’”

            When asking whether it’s okay for people to express religion at work, I don’t think we should conjure an imaginary intolerant person and ask whether they deserve tolerance when THEY wouldn’t be tolerant to someone else. The question isn’t whether this hypothetical Christian is tolerant; it’s whether to be tolerant of them. The answer should be yes.

          4. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

            What if someone signed off with Shalom? I think that would go over pretty well. It’s pretty much an exact equivalent. Vaguely religious well wishes with no overt religion.

        4. JTP*

          But they’re not coming into your cubicle to communicate ABOUT your religious displays in your cubicle. It’s background noise.

      2. Dinwar*

        “You are not a quirky individual with rights to shine in that context, you are an employee and you need to meet professional standards in those interactions. That means no religion or politics, at a minimum.”

        “Freedom of religion is about the government imposing on your right to practice it has nothing to do with private businesses.”

        These two statements contradict each other.

        As a private business the owner has the right to establish rules of conduct, within certain limits. Those rules may not be what you prefer, but unless you’re on the BOD, C-suite, or some other position of authority, your preferences don’t really matter. Nor, for that matter, do mine. If a business owner tolerates or engages in such sign-offs, that’s the rules for that company.

        Saying “Have a blessed day” does not, as far as I can tell, violate any laws, and it has certainly been allowed by custom in portions of the USA. A business owner has the right to disallow such terms, but it has not been established that they have any obligation to do so. They may lose customers or clients over it, which is fine–voting with one’s wallet is a keystone practice of liberal democracy! But they are under no obligation to disallow such sign-offs.

        (As an aside, I’ve seen companies try to ban political discussion. The workers simply ignored the ban. Same with religion.)

        For my part, I agree with Erie. It’s a question of degree. An automatic statement that they are likely not consciously aware of can be annoying, but it’s hardly worth worrying about. It’s like having a crucifix on your desk or Jesus fish on your car; a personal quirk that’s of no significance. It only becomes an issue if they take it beyond that.

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          The statements don’t actually contradict each other, a company could ban religious iconography as long as they ban it for everyone.

          But agree to disagree on the other points.

          1. Dinwar*

            The contradiction is in your statement that companies ban religion and politics in the office at minimum. They don’t need to. They CAN, of course, but there’s no obligation.

            At the very least, folks have failed to demonstrate where such an obligation comes from. Not making people uncomfortable isn’t an answer. That means the company that promotes religious iconography is going to lose some customers, but they’ll gain loyalty from others and no one has 100% market saturation anyway. A statement such as “Have a blessed day” hardly rises to the level of discrimination, at least in isolation–no more so than seeing multiple crucifixes on my supervisor’s desk or any of the dozens if not hundreds of Biblical references that have entered into English vernacular (seriously, it’s nearly impossible to use English without using Biblical–or Shakespeare–references). Where, exactly, does this obligation arise from?

            1. Erie*

              To attempt to clarify Eldritch Office Worker’s point, I think when they said “That means no religion or politics, at a minimum”, they were saying “it’s not a good idea to involve religion or politics in your voicemail message”. I don’t think they were saying “companies should (or do) ban religion and politics”.

    2. NeutralJanet*

      There’s definitely a question of “how much individual expression of religion is too much”, both in the workplace and in general with people who might not share your religion. That limit tends to vary based both on individual preference/experience and on culture–I had one friend who was very surprised and kind of uncomfortable to see workers at the grocery store wearing things like crucifixes or Star of David necklaces, and I’ve also had friends who were confused that anyone would be uncomfortable with opening a work potluck with a prayer. My thought is that the limit should be somewhere in between those, but where exactly the line should be drawn is controversial, as you can see from these comments!

      1. Curmudgeon in California*

        So, here’s where the line is: A person wearing or displaying a religious symbol applies only to them, so it’s within their own religious freedom, no one else is dragged in. Praying over an entire potluck by its very nature drags everyone at the potluck into their religious practice non-consensually and therefore crosses the line.

        IOTW, if it’s about you doing your religion, fine. If it’s about you making me a participant in your religion, it’s not fine.

        1. NeutralJanet*

          That was my original thought, but then I thought about how uncomfortable I’d feel if four of my coworkers joined hands and prayed over their own plates at a potluck, which is fairly!

    3. OyHiOh*

      It would feel wildly strange and uncomfortable to me to greet someone who is not Jewish with “la shana tova” or similar greetings that are used among co religionists at this time of year.

      Now, think about think about your co-workers using greetings or salutations that come from other faiths. Might make you feel odd or uncomfortable. “Have a blessed day” drops firmly into the same category. Leave it for when you know, for sure, the person you’re speak with subscribes to the same faith, like to members of your church. Otherwise, you’re assuming the other person is (because, why would they not, “Merica is a ‘Christian’ nation after all!!!!!” /s), and that’s the assumption of the dominant faith becoming so deeply woven into society that the faith which supports the phrase becomes invisible.

      We can do better

      1. Erie*

        “Now, think about think about your co-workers using greetings or salutations that come from other faiths. Might make you feel odd or uncomfortable.”

        You’re the third person in this comment section to say some variation of “but if they said Allah it’d make you uncomfortable, right?” and my answer is, once again, no. It should be okay to say “inshallah” in casual conversation just as it should be okay to say “have a blessed day.”

        I am not Christian; I was brought up Hindu, and my objection to Alison’s position doesn’t come from seeing Christianity as the default. I think if we require people to express their religion only when interacting with people of the same faith, we lose a lot of the vibrancy that makes our culture diverse and interesting.

    4. EmilyClimbs*

      But saying “Have a blessed day” to someone in person or on a voicemail message *isn’t* just about a person’s personal expression of their own religion, is the thing. It is something you do to/at another person, that ropes that other person into your religious expression. You are telling the other person about your wish that (your) God will bless them, specifically– it’s just a little short of an outright “I’m praying for you.”

      This is *way* different than someone’s individual expression of their own religion like wearing religious jewelry/clothing or displaying religious items in the workspace, IMO. It’s intrusive interpersonal behavior that some people are perfectly validly uncomfortable about, and should be avoided because it’s not right to involve other people in your religious practices without their consent.

  37. irene adler*

    OP 2: Look at it this way: they’ve kept you around many years, through several personnel changes and all they had to do was promise things/make excuses. So far, it’s been pretty easy -for them-to keep you around. NOTE: this behavior tells you all you need to know about their character.

    Time to up the ante. Job hunt.

    Don’t trust any counter-offers they might extend. Or fold in the light of any desperate pleas to stay – else the company/department not be able to function without you. They are good story-tellers. Which adds exactly zero additional salary into your pocket. In these eight years, they could have been developing you to promote you into the job next up on the ladder. Or provided other enrichment opportunities. None of this they did.

    Remember, only you have your best interests at heart. And only you can take the steps necessary to pursue your best interests.

  38. English Rose*

    #3 – I would make a major complaint about private details such as home address being available to all employees. And check whether any other private details are also… not private.
    Apart from being wildly unprofessional, this is actively dangerous. You don’t know which fellow employees might be not entirely trustworthy. You don’t want to find yourself doxed if you fall out with someone, or become victim to identity theft.
    I assume you’re in the US? Here in the UK this would be a huge breach of data protection laws and would get the organisation into big trouble. Please do take action on this.

    1. Sloanicota*

      Sadly I’d say in my experience it’s quite common in small nonprofits (US here). I’m certain there’s not a law against it. My org also has everyone’s cell phone numbers listed, which is probably convenient sometimes but also allowed a creepy coworker to start texting me creepy stuff.

  39. H3llifIknow*

    8 years is how long I stuck it out at one of the largest govt. contractors. 8 years of managing an increasing number of people. Doing my supervisor’s job “temporarily” while he was on “special assignment”. Being told I was an excellent employee but there wasn’t a “business case” this year, but we’d try hard next year, blah blah. I finally quit and it was (after a month of crying daily) the best decision ever. I’m making almost 40% more now, doing LESS of the bureaucratic nonsense and loving my position. By all means, start looking. When there is no reason to stay, that’s a good reason to go.

    1. El+l*

      There are places that can meet normal expectations about career progression.

      And there are places – like this one, like your one, like my former employer – that just can’t. However they talk, whatever circumstances they cite, that’s just how they are.

      Eight years is more than enough time to determine who is who.

  40. BlueWolf*

    My company does an employee directory every year, but you have the opportunity to review your data beforehand and include as much or as little of your contact information as you like. I don’t include my home address and cell number because there is no reason for someone to know that information (other than HR, which obviously has access to any necessary information for their purposes).

  41. MCMonkeyBean*

    For LW5, that sounds super normal to me to make a case for your review! We are actively expected to do that at our job; we have to complete a self-evaluation before our managers complete their review. And my managers often reach out asking me to remind them of some of my accomplishments before they do mid-year reviews.

    Honestly what sounds odd to me is that your review is based significantly on “behavior?” That matrix sounds like it belongs in a kindergarten classroom; is that a standard measure in professional reviews?

    1. metadata minion*

      I think “behavior” is frequently a large component of professional reviews, but I agree that phrasing it that way sounds weird and kindergarten-ish, especially when contrasted with “performance”. Surely interpersonal communication or customer service skills are part of performance.

    2. AnonToday*

      What they mean is “do you follow the norms of American office culture like a good little drone? Do you refrain from questioning authority?” I’ve never had a review that used the word “behavior” but they’re 100% definitely judging it and it’s probably worth more points than your actual work.

      1. River Home*

        What they mean is, “How do you interact with others?”
        Typical rubrics are how respectful your words and tone are or how collaborative you are.

    3. Somehow_I_Manage*

      Careful though. Many HR review systems will ask both the manager and the employee to complete their evaluations independently- which is to mean, your manager may not literally be able to see your “case” until after they complete theirs.

      I think it would be best to schedule lunch with your supervisor in advance of review season and have a frank discussion about your expectations for your position and future. You never know how the timing on recommendations actually works out, and wouldn’t want to miss your chance to express how you feel.

    4. Office Lobster DJ*

      Was hoping to find this comment. A totally separate “behavior” component makes me uncomfortable as well. I understand that behavior and attitude are expectations like any other, and I suppose I can see it in the sense of needing to evaluate, like, Gregory House, but for the vast majority of people, what purpose does it serve to give it that much weight?

      1. River Home*

        Since it is an expectation and a performance driver just like any other, it makes just as much sense to evaluate behavior as it does to evaluate, say, Excel skills. Just as with Excel, most people will “Meet Expectations,” some people with “Exceed Expectations,” and a small minority of people will get the “Does not Meet Expectations” rating. Would you say that it only makes sense to only evaluate the people who can’t even copy-paste in Excel and it doesn’t serve a purpose to give Excel skills that much weight in other people? Recognizing interpersonal skills (a term I prefer to “behavior”) as skills means giving them equal weight to technical skills on performance reviews.

        1. Curmudgeon in California*

          Yeah, “interpersonal skills” is highly preferable to “behavior”. “Behavior” implies “behavior modification” and some kind of ugly head games that are a big red flag in a workplace setting. IME, YMMV

          1. Office Lobster DJ*

            Exactly. “Interpersonal skills” means “is this person collegial and effective at working with others.” That is good and necessary.

            “Behavior” is so general that it that it makes me uneasy unless there are very clear boundaries. Otherwise, it’s too easy to abuse. Potential biases come into play as well (e.g. discussions of women being penalized as aggressive or unhelpful when the same behavior wouldn’t have raised an eyebrow coming from a man). That’s an awfully big risk for 50% of a review.

      2. Wintermute*

        Really? I love the fact they evaluate it separately, because it calls it out as a thing unto itself. This can be good or bad, a helpful can-do attitude, going above and beyond to find definitive solutions and put problems to rest, being flexible and willing to branch out, there are lots of ways behavior could be called out as positive.

        I like having it listed separately (and weighted heavily) because it sends the signal that it’s taken seriously, that even if your widget making skills are exemplary if you’re a jobsworth or unpleasant to coworkers or obstructionist then you’re actually failing to do your job well.

        1. River Home*

          “I like having it listed separately (and weighted heavily) because it sends the signal that it’s taken seriously, that even if your widget making skills are exemplary if you’re a jobsworth or unpleasant to coworkers or obstructionist then you’re actually failing to do your job well.”

          Which is a point this blog continually makes every time a LW says something like, “Lucinda is really good at her job, but she is snippy when I ask her for the TPS reports.”

          1. Wintermute*

            Precisely! And that’s why I love it being a section of its own and heavily weighted both. First it sends a message– we care as much about how you do your job as what you do, we DO look at these things and it’s not a fuzzy “nice to have” it’s a core component of what makes you either a good or bad employee.

            Second, it offers a formal framework to discuss these things, a time and place during evaluations. Too often there is no conversation or feedback, or if there is it’s in an HR/disciplinary context not a job expectations context after a blowup or a line is crossed, and someone is just quietly filed away mentally as “cannot promote” or even “layoff shortlist” without anyone actually discussing these expectations openly on the grounds that people should “just know”.

            The business book I’m writing has the working title “the six things every business gets (whether they want it or not) the second item on the list is “you get what you reward” and the third item on the list is “you get more of what you measure”: If you put something as a formal review criteria people will focus on improving it.

      3. NotAnotherManager!*

        I don’t care for the “behavior” phrasing, but, yes, we do evaluate people on their ability to work positively and productively with others due to the fact that solo projects at my office are extremely rare. It is very helpful for me to be able to say, “Lucinda produces great work product and knows her stuff, but she is not able to work productively with other team members despite being counseled repeatedly to be more mindful of her tone and word choice and to deliver feedback in a constructive and private manner.”

        Our reviews are broken down into 4-6 categories, depending on your role/level, and 1-2 of those categories in all reviews is essentially can you work professionally with others or is your manager constantly receiving calls about your calling someone stupid or showing up at a team meeting just to berate people. Because, even if you produce exceptional work, if I can’t get my work done because I’m spending quality time with you and HR, you’re not a stellar employee – and I need that performance dimension to explain why you are not a stellar employee.

        1. Office Lobster DJ*

          Well, sure. Maybe I wasn’t clear originally, but my concern is that it is weighted so heavily. Your example, 1 or 2 components in a 4-6 component rubric, sounds about right to me.

          1. Office Lobster DJ*

            Edit to add: I assume we’re talking about the category as something akin to Interpersonal Skills/ Ability to Work with Others, because my other concern was the way something so nebulous as “Behavior” could be abused.

  42. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

    LW #5, I think you could frame your e-mail as just wanting to make sure your new manager has all the information she needs to evaluate your performance for the yearly review. Especially since part of your year was under the old manager and the new one wouldn’t necessarily know the details. You are doing something helpful for her for when she does the evaluations, since she won’t have to go searching for information on what you’ve achieved.

    It also wouldn’t be wrong to say you think you’ve had an exceptional year in that message.

    1. blood orange*

      Yes, I was leaning towards framing it this way as well. It feels more natural to share your achievements from the last year as preparation for your evaluation. I feel two ways about actually advocating for that top box… it does feel a bit pushy, or presumptuous, and I’d worry that OP’s manager could take that poorly. I’d imagine some would see it as assertive in a positive way, while others would see it as pushy and that might affect their objectivity.

      OP, you know your manager and your culture better than we do. If you have a company culture that rewards assertiveness, then you might be fine!

    2. NotAnotherManager!*

      I also like this framing, and I would personally appreciate receiving this information as a new manager.

      I’ve picked up teams mid-year and have solicited this sort of information and also met with people to understand what they’re working on, what priorities the prior manager set out, etc. specifically so that I’m not changing review criteria mid-year. We may shift and reset, but they should be evaluated on what they were asked to do, not have me move the goal posts the month before their eval.

  43. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

    LW #2: I hope you don’t beat yourself up about sticking around this long. It makes sense to act as though people are generally behaving honourably. And I imagine that with all the staff turnover, there is more than enough chaos for it to seem reasonable to wait until things settle. But it sounds like things will never really settle because there are bigger problems that are causing all the chaos.

  44. Apt Nickname*

    Where I live, being overtly religious isn’t the norm and although Christianity is the dominant religion, it’s a little more diverse. So if someone said “Have a blessed day!” I’d honestly be more inclined to think Wiccan than Christian. But that probably speaks to my not being surrounded by Christianity the way it can be in some areas of the US.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      In my area I would too. I know wiccans more often say blessed be, but the word “blessed” is so odd around here that I would associate it with something I encounter less.

  45. AnonToday*

    I hate “have a blessed day” b/c I instantly want to know whether the entire company sees itself as a Christian operation or whether it’s just something that individual says. I can tolerate the latter but the former makes me not want to do business with them.

    1. El+l*

      Even as a practicing Christian, I find “have a blessed day” way too in-your-face.

      Perhaps it seems over-familiar. Perhaps it carries the guilt by association of a particular type of Christianity. Perhaps it doesn’t acknowledge the role of luck and so on in human affairs.

      Whatever the case, no, not cool. Doesn’t mean you can rudely say “No, don’t,” in response but…ugh.

  46. Erin*

    LW5: do you have any 1:1 sessions and/or a running document that you and your manager use as a template for your 1:1, as well as documentation of topics discussed? If you do, I would bring it up in that meeting. Copy & paste all of your data points into it, and talk it out.

    IDK when your comp reviews happen, but I would most likely do a gentle review with any new data points that support my top tier rating once a month (or whatever cadence feels appropriate for your company) during my 1:1 meeting to keep the topic fresh.

  47. Miller admin*

    Ref. . Should I let my manager know that I’m expecting an excellent review, since it’s a new manager, they will not know your accomplishments, when i was in the military-1980’s. They asked u to submit a brag sheet, list all accomplishments and projects, duties that are extra.

  48. justpeachy86*

    LW5 – I hope in your office people use “Top Box” as an encouraging phrase: “Hey Tim, that was a real top box move in the meeting this morning” – “Tammy is trying to go top box this year” – “Bob, do you think going after those kinds of accounts are going to get you to top box?”

  49. CDclgirl*

    Just started hearing “I am blessed” etc and it is disquieting. I was wondering if the phrase “Bless you” when someone sneezes elicits an uncomfortable response in others. I was raised Catholic and I say it automatically when someone sneezes. If people find it inappropriate I will really work on not saying it. Never really thought about it before

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      “I was wondering if the phrase “Bless you” when someone sneezes elicits an uncomfortable response in others.”

      Dodubln* and Luna* both comment on this above. Yes, it does! Most people know it’s reflexive and I don’t think anyone is going to rage at you about it, but working on it would be nice if you’re willing to,

  50. Petty Betty*

    LW2: if they wanted to promote you, you’d have been promoted already. All of this hand-wringing and can-kicking is a stalling tactic so the people you are talking to don’t have to say “no” to you themselves. They want someone else to be the bad person. Preferably someone who isn’t going to last long, who they can then blame for the positional instability. Guess what? That instability is a feature, not a bug, of that employer. You’re in your position specifically because it’s a grounding position that won’t harm anything when the next manager leaves. They want you to stay where you’re at. They just aren’t going to tell you that.

    The only way you’re going to get more money and a promotion is by going elsewhere. Do not let this company try to sweet talk you into staying once you give notice (because they will try by offering a paltry raise and another promise of “give us a couple of months and we might have a promotion for you”). There have been open positions and they didn’t even tell you to put in an application for an internal interview.

  51. MistOrMister*

    I would laugh myself silly if I heard “have a blessed day” on someone’s voicemail. I had a coworker who used that phrase when you pissed her off. She would end the conversation with a very cold “have a blessed day” and for some reason I found it hilarious.

  52. Boof*

    Religion is touchy – I get it that some religions are associated with repressions of various other protected groups, but religion itself is also a protected group. I tend to think if someone should be able to have a pride flag at their work, someone else should be able to have a cross at their work – there’s obviously limits (ie, the paraphernalia should not get to the point of hostile work environment – ie anything hostile towards another protected class be it sexist or hostile towards different sexualies, gender orientation, etc – heck no). At what point does the personal expression of religion at work become hostile to, say, other members of less common religions, or other classes that may associate that religion with repression – IDK. I think a lot of it depends on the pervasiveness and exact type of expression.
    So, have a blessed day depends a lot on the tone and pervasiveness I guess, but I don’t think all personal religious expression should be automatically blocked at work, especially since it is a protected class, but it’s a fine balance to prevent it from becoming hostile /in certain settings/ (not all).

    1. CharlieBrown*

      You are confused about the meaning of “protected class” apparently.

      It is a protected class, meaning you can’t discriminate against someone for their particular practice of it, or lack thereof. But it also doesn’t give people a right to proselytize at work, and if this is coming from the dominant religion in an area, this is what it often feels like to someone who isn’t part of that religion.

      So, yes it’s appropriate to place limits on expressions of religion at work. The fact that it’s a protected class doesn’t give someone the right to shove it in other people’s faces.

      I don’t think all personal religious expression should be automatically blocked at work

      Nobody’s talking about doing this. This is not the issue here.

      1. Boof*

        I don’t believe I am confused, and I was very clear that there are limits on religious expression at work. The question is not should there be limits, but where the limit is, and whether any expression at all is appropriate. I’m also not really talking about strict legalities, which can be somewhat of a separate issue, but what is “work appropriate”. You can say I’m drawing a false equivalence between religion and other types of protected classes, and I’ll readily agree it’s different from other types of protected classes. But I’d say overall religion is still something that’s on the list of things that can count as cultural/identity and worthy of some amount of tolerance, depending on what exactly is happening.
        Regarding proselytizing, that is exactly my point. Proselytizing would be a definite no, but simple self expression of one’s culture, I think is ok? Problem is the line between the two can be blurry. Is saying “have a blessed day” proselytizing? I think it would depend a lot on tone and pervasiveness etc.

    2. metadata minion*

      I think to me part of the issue is that a voicemail message as described in the original question is in this uncomfortable middle ground between personal space and work space. Yes, it’s your individual voicemail, but it’s the voicemail for your job, not your personal life — I’m expecting to hear a message from Bob The Llama Groomer, not Bob The Christian.

      It’s completely fine if Bob wants to wear a cross pendant when we meet to talk about my llama-grooming needs, or if he has an inspirational Bible quote up on his office bulletin board, but I expect his communications with me (and that includes passive communications like voicemail and email signatures) to be about llamas, not Jesus.

      1. Boof*

        Yes, I’m still struggling to put my finger on it but agree having clear religious references in voicemail and email is a bit much (unless it’s a religious service or institution I guess). I was also thinking back to the other LW who didn’t want a coworker to play christian rock – although there were CLEARLY OTHER ISSUES there it felt like a little much to say what a coworker should listen to unless it was just a general “hard to focus if anyone plays music with lyrics!” type of thing.

  53. deconstructed*

    I cringe so hard at the things that I used to think were normal human rituals and experiences in our society that are actually based on the dominant culture. I am so sorry and please know some of us are learning and trying to do better and trying to open other’s eyes to this too.

    1. RagingADHD*

      That’s an interesting distinction you’re making, actually. Doesn’t everything become normalized by being part of the dominant culture?

      Like, speaking English in the US is the dominant culture. Pick any aspect of “normal” social behavior, any “normal human ritual and experience in our society” from handshakes to forks, to men wearing pants – it’s normal because it comes from the dominant culture in that place.

      Does that make it inherently oppressive or bad? Why cringe?

      Every place you go has a dominant culture. That’s how history shapes the world and makes it interesting.

      1. Appletini*

        English is the dominant language in the US for several reasons, among them that many people were compelled with various levels of force to speak it, such as the First Nations children who managed to survive “residential schools” with 50% and more mortality rates. Dominant cultures reach that dominance through various methods, some pretty unsavory, and we can’t just say that the dominant culture won because it was the best and the other cultures deserve to be extirpated and everything is awesome now.

        1. RagingADHD*

          That’s not what I’m saying at all. I’m saying it’s worse than they think.

          I’m saying, since *everything* you consider “normal” got that way by being part of the dominant culture, and every part of *every* dominant culture was, at some point, enforced by conquest or economic obliteration, what’s the alternative?

          For the poster above to say they’re going to try to “do better” just shows they really haven’t thought through the implications of what it means to live in a human society. It’s like living in old buildings – every house has a ghost. Living in a house with no ghosts isn’t an option.

          So you can’t live your life cringing. You have to acknowledge the ghosts and make peace with them.

          1. Appletini*

            Oh, that’s a much more interesting use of the concept “interesting” than I had originally thought. I do think realizing that might doesn’t make right, with the inherent cringe involved in that realization, is part of making peace with the ghosts of history and working against contributing to further erasure.

  54. NeutralJanet*

    OP5: I wouldn’t include that you understand if she disagrees, because weirdly, that makes it sound more combative to me–maybe because it introduces the possibility that you MIGHT argue with her if she disagrees, even while you say that you won’t? She is your boss, so of course she gets to disagree with your self-evaluation if she doesn’t feel it’s accurate, which makes it feel odd to explicitly state that she can.

  55. Loulou*

    yes, I find the association many people are drawing between this phrase and whiteness very strange and certainly not universal!

    1. NeutralJanet*

      For sure, this discussion is prompting me to think harder about when and where I’ve heard this phrase, and I’m pretty sure that it’s mostly been from elderly black women (and occasionally elderly black men). I guess it’s a regional thing?

      1. Loulou*

        same, that’s exactly the demographic I was picturing too. I’m sure it’s not what people had in mind when they were writing fantasies about responding “have a damned day!” etc. but it’s good to remember that other people have different cultural contexts…

  56. cactus lady*

    I’m not Christian, but “have a blessed day” will ALWAYS make me think of David Rose, no matter who is saying it.

  57. Pillow Forts FTW*

    LW 3: Flag this. Flag this NOW with HR.

    Reasons –
    #1 This is a security/safety issue (especially for women and marginalized communities). What happens if there’s a layoff or firing?

    I’ve personally had a male coworker walk into my office and proudly state he knew where I lived. Not a fun feeling.

    2) I’d also assume that this is against PII (Personally Identifiable Information) regulations in your area and could result in your company facing fines. These fines can be HUGE. And, given the makeup of your staff/customer set, you may fall under regulations outside of your region (e.g. GDPR).

    Flag this with HR now. Now. Now. Now. Now.

  58. VP of Monitoring Employees’ LinkedIn and Indeed Profiles*

    “Have a blessed day.”

    “I’m trying to, but I still end up back here.”

    1. Laura H.*

      That would be “Oh bless your heart.”

      Imo, the phrase in question reads super dismissive, like “Done buhbye.”

  59. IndyDem*

    “Why thank you, Thor has indeed blessed me today” Bonus points if you leave the voicemail on a Thursday.

  60. Unchurched Heathen*

    Hey I’m super glad for all the people who aren’t annoyed by “have a blessed day”. Can you accept that it does bother many of us and act on that information from now on? Thx.

    1. Laura H.*

      Genuinely asking, are there similar well-wishes that land better?

      I’m not in the habit of using that phrase but I do like using”Have a lovely/wonderful/pleasant day.” as my defaults.

      1. NotAnotherManager!*

        “Have a lovely/wonderful/pleasant day” is perfect. So are have a good one, hope the rest of your day goes well, thank goodness it’s Friday, only two more hours to quitting time, and take care, see you soon. There are so many options, the only reason to default to the religious one is to advertise that religion or signal in-group membership.

    2. Dinwar*

      Sure. As soon as you find a way to differentiate between those two groups of people immediately upon seeing them, or–in the case of voicemail–before interacting with them. I know what the knee-jerk response is going to be, but remember, in some places/groups this is a cultural tick and about as offensive as a handshake. If you want people to act in your preferred manner, and that’s against the cultural norm, you’ve got to be willing to work with them.

      Secondly, this assumes that the people not bothered by it are the people that do it. That’s not necessarily the case. I’ve never said this phrase–when I was a Roman Catholic I thought it was presumptuous (in the technical sense), and as a Pagan I consider it a weird cultural tick. I can’t imagine a situation outside prayer where I would use it. Doesn’t stop me from understanding that the person saying it is almost certainly a good person wishing me well.

      For me, my preference is “Have a good one.” Or just “Thanks.” Something to indicate the end of a conversation.

      1. Me ... Just Me*

        I agree. It’s like people getting upset about someone wishing them Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays. Let’s jus assume the best of people and move on?! It’s a voicemail greeting, so you can just ignore it and say your message. Same with email. Ignore the sign-off and get down to business. I find it odd that people would leave a voicemail or respond to what is an obviously “canned” message with a personal reply: “This is Princess Leia, I’m unavailable right now, so please leave a message and have a blessed day” — are people really leaving messages that respond to this content or do they simply say, “Princess Leia, this is Darth Vader, I really need to know the location of the rebel camp. Can you please give me a call ASAP on that? My number is ….”

        Does “have a blessed day” as a canned sign off require a response? — In my mind, it’s a definite no.

      2. Unchurched Heathen*

        I’m sure they are a nice person meaning well, like millions of other people committing microaggressions that we try in 2022 not to ask people to just smile and accept

  61. Laura H.*

    On #1, it may be just habit. (I’m like this with “Bless you” after a sneeze. While I sincerely mean it, it’s also process at this point as an “a polite acknowledging that you sneezed”)

    On a voicemail, barring working at a place where the phrase would fit, the phrase in question really does land extremely odd.

    I’m Catholic but the phrase does weird me out too. “You too” or “Thank you” are my go to responses.

  62. Mrs. Hawiggins*

    Have a blessed day really doesn’t belong in the workplace. If someone says it to me at the grocery or on the outside, or anywhere else, I’m ok with it. Me personally I’m not going to come unglued if someone said it, but someone else might. Now, “have a day blessed with coffee,” I’m on that.

    I have a family member (in-law) who gets mad, yes, gets mad, when people say, “Have a nice day.” She will literally retort, yes, retort with, “Don’t tell me what to do.” She wonders why people stiffen when she walks into her local small grocery store. I asked them “what would you rather they say?” And it turns into “I wish a nice day for you.” I told her that was a mouthful, how incredibly rude she was being and left, but not before telling her to have the day she deserves. Seriously I can’t with this one.

    1. metadata minion*


      I feel a deep need to go all linguistics-geek on your in-law and explain how there’s an elided “may you…” in phrases like that.

  63. An Australian In London (currently in Australia)*

    Re. LW4 and other in similar situations

    One exception to Alison’s advice is Tech, especially Big Tech. Mentioning that one is being interviewed by other Big Tech absolutely increases one’s worth in the eyes of the interviewing company. So much so that progressing to multiple offers and playing them off against each other can result in almost unbelievable increases to those offers (e.g. at senior levels turning $500k into $800k).

  64. irianamistifi*

    My partner and I are largely atheist, but he even objects to being told “God Bless You” when he sneezes. I usually just say “Bless You”. When we had our first conversation about his concern, I told him that *I* Personally was blessing him, with all my glory and beauty and god had nothing to do with it.

    But it does bring up another situation where “bless you” shows up at work. I’m uncomfortable with “have a blessed day” and though I’m not pagan, I’m ok with “Blessed Be”, but I’m perfectly comfortable with “Bless You” as the result of a sneeze.

    My guess is that my icky feelings about “have a blessed day” is because it starts from the assumption of Christian hegemony and the assumption that being blessed is inherently something people would want. “Blessed be” isn’t so common and its recognizably pagan to me but it also doesn’t squick me out at all.

    Isn’t culture weird?

  65. Mark*

    I completely disagree with “There’s no reason that every employee of your company needs to know where every other employee lives.” I work for a very small (13) company. While we are not in the center of tornado alley, we are in the general range of the country that gets a lot of tornadoes. If our building is destroyed by a tornado, we need all hands on deck. When a tornado goes through an area, cell phone (and land line) service is usually spotty or non-existent. If we cannot call the staff to come in to help salvage what we can at work, we need to be able to go to their house. I know of many other small businesses that are in the same shoes. Our disaster plan, distributed to the full staff and board, has addresses for everyone.

    1. Anonny NonErson*

      I would quit if a company insisted on listing my address.

      I have (literally) threatened to quit if forced to take a picture at my current employer. I had to go up to the executive level with the threat for the manager in question to back off, but I did – and consequently, everyone got additional training on the possible security issues that can revolve around personal information or likenesses being posted.

      Because that’s what it is for me – a safety issue.

      Is this something that is spoken to in the interview, before an offer is accepted, as a requirement of employment at your company?

  66. Curmudgeon in California*

    #3 is just yikes.

    I administered a large directory database for a major private university that included home addresses and phone numbers. We took great pains to make sure that the general public, faculty, staff and students could NOT access that information. All that was available in the web interface was what people wanted to reveal, and the default was pretty limited.

    If a place I worked had my home address in the directory I would be nervous and upset. I’ve had stalkers unable to harass me because they couldn’t find my home address.

    I would raise it as a security concern, on both a physical and cyber level.

  67. Elm*

    I worked in public education, and it made me so uncomfortable to see *teachers* sending emails to parents ending with “have a blessed day” or, worse, Bible quotes at the bottom. I’d be worried that they’d be unsafe for my (imaginary) children, as I was severely bullied by a teacher for being the “wrong” religion.

    If I had also been out of the closet or a “really bad” religion, I can’t even imagine what she would have done to me!

    Unless it’s a religious organization, it’s just not appropriate to bring religion into communication unless you’re saying something like “as we enter the holiday season,” because that affects everyone whether or not they celebrate anything.

    Of course, there’s a difference between thoughtful conversation and things people just say. Like, responding “oh my god” to something surprising? Fine. But saying “I’ll pray for you?” Nah, you thought about that.

  68. I'm just here for the cats*

    1. I’m interested in the phrase as I’ve only encountered it with non Christian (pagen or wicca).

  69. RagingADHD*

    I live in the South, and the people I hear saying “have a blessed day” most often are:

    1) Service workers who have figured out they can get better tips with it, and

    2) Older Black people saying it sincerely.

    I don’t personally have a problem with it, but even if I did, I would not denigrate the cultural norms and choices of people in the service industry or marginalized groups.

    Because I don’t want to be “that” person.

  70. Never Going Back*

    as a Christian, i find “have a blessed day” weird. It never sounds genuine. I lived in the south for a long time and it sounds as fake as “well bless your heart”. UGH

  71. SnappinTerrapin*

    I’m trying not to be sarcastic about this, although I’ll confess sarcasm is one of my many weaknesses. Please try to read it in the spirit intended.

    Is there any faith system, or any philosophy, where it is a bad thing to wish good things will happen to or for another person? If there is a synonym for “blessing” or “blessed” that sounds better to one’s ears, perhaps the easiest solution to Question 1 is to substitute the preferred synonym whenever one hears the word that rubs one wrong. Simply assuming that the well-wisher is sincere in their hope that good things will come to the person they are greeting is much easier than looking for reasons to be angry with them.

    I understand the argument that many common expressions originated in one faith tradition or another, and that the expressions in any given culture arise from the predominant faith of that culture.

    But it’s all too easy to carry that to extremes. Should one be offended if someone from another culture wishes that “peace be upon you”? Even if the wish is expressed in another language, isn’t it better to accept it as a benevolent gesture, rather than as an insult? Shouldn’t this be so, no matter which society represent the “host” or the “guest” in the interchange?

    I suppose we could argue that “Good bye” is not appropriate in a business context, since it derived from a religious blessing, earlier in the development of the English language, but that seems to be a bit extreme.

    I hope not to offend, and sincerely hope that each person reading this will encounter that which is good in life, as they see it.

  72. Betsy Not Elizabeth*

    The further the US moves towards evangelicalism as the national delusion, the more I hate the normalizing of these arguably innocuous “blessings.” DEFINITELY unwelcome (to me) in a work context.

  73. Retired (but not really)*

    I’m not sure why so many are considering the phrase “have a blessed day” as exclusively a Christian sentiment. Many of the people I know who use it are either Wiccan or Pagan and are also prone to say “goddess bless”. I also do hear “have a blessed day” from presumed Christians.

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