open thread – September 16-17, 2022

It’s the Friday open thread!

The comment section on this post is open for discussion with other readers on any work-related questions that you want to talk about (that includes school). If you want an answer from me, emailing me is still your best bet*, but this is a chance to take your questions to other readers.

* If you submitted a question to me recently, please do not repost it here, as it may be in my queue to answer.

{ 969 comments… read them below }

  1. Ashley Armbruster*

    I’m in the process of interviewing (5 total interviews) at a startup for a marketing role. I had an interview with the hiring manager the other day, and I wanted to get others’ perspectives.

    – It’s at the series-C funding level, it has $700 million in funds, about 400 employees (grown 500% since last year). The product is out and seems legit (think software), which the market and product is expected to grow this decade
    – HR said they are currently in the process of putting together descriptions and goals for each role, like “this is what a manager needs to do”, which I like because a lot of places don’t really have this in place
    – When I asked the hiring manager if the current marketing plans were hitting goals, she said she couldn’t give an answer and that they hadn’t gone through and really audited all the marketing channels. Which is setting off my red flag alarm…

    I’m going to continue the interview process and I liked the vibe of the hiring manager but the fact they don’t know if the marketing plans are hitting goals, especially with so much employee growth, makes me say hmmmmm. I think they want this role to come in and some auditing, which is fair, but shouldn’t they have some idea on if the plans are meeting goals? I don’t want to get stuck in a position where the higher ups don’t understand how to evaluate marketing and where I’d encounter constant pushback. I’m also not familiar with startups.

    1. Ann Ominous*

      I think that’s a valuable question to ask them. Plus, HR may not know the answer to the question you asked; is there someone that would know who you could ask?

    2. seps*

      I actually expect to go into most roles where the higher ups don’t understand how to evaluate marketing. That doesn’t mean you’ll encounter pushback – that will depend on them! Some higher ups will just be thankful you’re there and you’re the expert and will be happy to listen to you. Maybe instead of asking them if they are hitting goals, you can ask how they would evaluate the success of the marketing plans and what your role in evaluation/communicating those results would be.

      What level of role is this? Are there other marketing professionals? Would you (or your supervisor) be on the leadership team?

      1. Ashley Armbruster*

        “you can ask how they would evaluate the success of the marketing plans and what your role in evaluation/communicating those results would be.”

        That’s a good point!

      2. The Real Fran Fine*

        That doesn’t mean you’ll encounter pushback – that will depend on them! Some higher ups will just be thankful you’re there and you’re the expert and will be happy to listen to you.

        This. I’m not in marketing, but in a related role (comms), and I can confirm higher ups generally don’t know how to gauge the success of communication plans/campaigns and rely on us to tell them whether or not these things were a success.

    3. irene adler*

      Suggestion: procure their SEC 10-K filing. The more recent the better.

      This is a public document that is made available to anyone who invests in them. Usually companies have these on their websites (look under “investors” or something similar to that). It is an annually filed document with the SEC.

      Inside you’ll find all kinds of info pertaining to the company. This includes: the company’s financial activity and a full rundown of risks, legalities, liabilities, corporate agreements, operations, and market performance.

      1. Jamie*

        This isn’t a publicly traded company if they’re at the series C funding level, so they definitely won’t have filed a 10-K and likely don’t have any publicly available financial information.

      2. Anon-E-Mouse*

        If this company is at the Series C stage, it won’t have gone public yet and won’t be filing 10-Ks (which are a kind of annual report that contains detailed information for investors that the SEC requires publicly traded companies to make publicly available).

        Earlier stage companies that haven’t gone public yet aren’t subject to the same requirements.

    4. PX*

      I recently joined a scale up (at the level your talking, thats generally defined more as a scaling company than a real start up) and can say that this isnt unusual. They have probably been hiring in engineering roles and other functions are catching up. How big is the current marketing team? If its anything like where I am, its probably been a team of 1-2 so far and they have been firefighting the entire time. Things like goal setting and tracking havent been a priority, so no one does it. It may seem odd for a function like marketing which, when well established, can so easily track metrics like those – but unsurprising if their focus has been on other things.

      I’d be more interested in things like, what are their actual plans and goals for the position and team. Are you expected to bring in processes and procedures? If so, what level of support from senior leadership is there for this. What tools are available for you? Basically, look forward at what they want, what its like and what is available (and if you like those answers) rather than back at what they have been doing.

      1. darlingpants*

        Yeah sounds like a startup. Lots of things that people are like “oooh, yeah we really should be doing/measuring that. Thanks for bringing it up, do you wanna do it?”

        If you like building things with a lot of control over the design then this is a good job for you. If you want someone to already know how to audit stuff and have a good record of past audits then… probably not the job for you.

        1. The Real Fran Fine*

          That’s a good sign. That means you shouldn’t need to do everything yourself and you could delegate and even get some help implementing processes and procedures for the audits and campaign executions.

        2. Hiring Mgr*

          Given that growth in such a short time span, I don’t think it’s really a red flag in and of itself that they don’t know whether the campaigns hit their specific goals due to the chaos of going from one to twenty.. Though they should still have a general idea overall of what’s been working well/poorly

          It MAY be a red flag for you individually if you’re looking for a more structured environment.

      2. Miette*

        THIS. I’ve worked for many startups over the years and honestly, if you can start to help them make sense of basic metrics they’ll love you.

        Another angle to consider: My work has been in B2B (software too, if your note is true and not for illustration), and as important as tracking marketing metrics will be, ensuring the sales processes are synched up well with the lead flow is just as vital. If the sales funnel is a black hole then whatever you do to demonstrate growth in KPIs may not even matter.

      3. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

        I was going to say this. My husband works for a scale up at this level and they are just now getting these sort of operational systems in place. It’s normal! And it’s important to know that it’s normal, because you’ll encounter a lot of that kind of stuff if you go work there and that can either be invigorating (the company is nimble; depending on your role, you can help create these structures, etc.) or exhausting (why does nobody else seem to care that we’re not measuring the effectiveness of our campaigns?).

    5. Susan Calvin*

      Ok, so at 400 people they you should not be the first marketer they hire – however, with the speed they’ve been going, it might well be that their existing marketing team has only been there for a few months, max, so not having their processes really in order might be more or less to be expected. If you want to figure out if it’s a red flag, try to get a bit more history on how that part of the business developed (when and who was the first dedicated marketer, what was the growth and turnover, etc). Then, even if it’s just regular growth pains on steroids, decide if you can live with that level of chaos – because that isn’t for everyone, even when it’s going as well as it’s ever going to be.

    6. Oscar Martinez*

      I work at a very similar sounding startup. Not having a handle on the metrics you asked about is a red flag! My company posts weekly updates to all employees on certain key financial metrics/goals for the year. New business and customer retention.

      1. Squishy*

        I’d also be wary of this data point in context of the current climate – lots of companies who spent the last couple of years spending to scale up and chase growth are now laying off staff to double down on revenue. Lack of good measurement around marketing spend is worrying. The answer the way you described it sounded kind of evasive to me, like either they’re covering for the fact that they’re not hitting targets or they haven’t been setting targets…

    7. Gary Patterson’s Cat*

      Startups are a mixed bag. You are right to ask those questions, but to be fair it probably something HR would not know.
      They might be looking for someone to help set those goals and metrics, so it’ll be good to probe these marketing specific questions with the CMO or President or whomever has oversight of Marketing.

      I was just thinking that as I interview, I want to know about the marketing budget, who has ownership, and what level of spend I’m in charge of.

    8. Fork*

      I’m not nearly at the level in my career that you are, and know nothing about marketing. However it seems to me that it could be that someone at the company has a general idea, just not this hiring manager. Or, the hiring manager does have a general idea, but they didn’t want to give non-specifics that turned out to be incorrect.

      I personally wouldn’t give much weight to liking the vibe of the hiring manager, as most people can put off a likeable vibe during the interview process. On the other hand, it could be reflective of the company culture and that you wouldn’t necessarily receive the pushback you describe being worried about here. Is this a role where you’d be taking the lead on marketing? If so, and if the higher-ups are reasonable, then it seems likely that you wouldn’t receive a lot of pushback on marketing if you’re meeting goals and staying within budget. But, take my input with a grain of salt as someone who doesn’t have any experience with what you’re talking about here, just someone who enjoys reading and learning a lot from Alison’s blog.

  2. Too many post it notes*

    When I took my current job (Teapot Maker) about 3 years ago, it was a 45% salary bump. Anyway, now 3 years later, my company is a hot mess after some horrid leadership changes and “a sinking sink” is putting it lightly. My current salary is about $7K higher than what I started at. As I’m looking at other jobs on LinkedIn and Indeed, I’m seeing most of the Teapot Maker and even Senior Teapot Maker positions (est. salary) are 15% – 20% less than what I’m currently making.

    Has anyone experienced this? I’ve been gunning for my next salary to be 10% higher than my current salary. Should I reset my expectations and try to go for my current salary for my next role? I live in a HCOL area, so while I’m paid well, I’m not swimming around in oodles of cash. What should I say my salary requirements are?

    1. ferrina*

      First figure out if the market supports your expectations. Do some research on what salaries tend to be for the types of roles that you are looking at (preferably focusing on the salaries in your area). If your salary was higher than the market average, think about what might need to happen for you to get that higher salary. Do you have more experience? Certain skills? What makes you valuable?

    2. muffin*

      Same problem here, so will watch this eagerly. Highest paid university in the area, ten years of experience, six on my current team. Looking to move on, but salaries elsewhere make it hard to leave.

    3. BellyButton*

      My last company paid very well, a good 15% above what was expected for most roles. It was mostly to attract top talent and then trap us into the dysfunction! Ha! When I finally decided to leave I knew I would have to take a pay cut, and thankfully I am in a good enough position that I could do that. I did ask for the top of the range for my level and position. I am sure I missed out on some interviews because of it. The organization I ended up hiring into, was a significant pay cut. However, I am so happy at this new org and don’t care that I have to tighten my budget up a bit. I took about 3 months to pick the right place for me. It was way more about leadership and culture than the money for me. I was so tired of what I had been dealing with.

      So I guess my point is, that you just have to weigh the pros and cons.

      1. Too many post it notes*

        “It was mostly to attract top talent and then trap us into the dysfunction!”

        Right? lol

        1. Quick Chat*

          Yes, and mine are really chafing! I hate that I’m choosing money over happiness but Ive got kids to care for and the only way to live on less is to move away from this area where they have built relationships… the youngest will graduate in five years and then I am fleeing!

    4. Bagpuss*

      Do you thinkyou are comparing like with like? i.e is the job title consistent with the work and responsibilities you currently have, or are you effectively doing a differnet / higher level job but haven’t had a title chabge to reflect that?

      I wonder whether this is a situation whereit might be helpful to speak to a recruiter to get a bit mre insight into realistic salary ranges. If you are getting paid above market rates you may find you need to reset your expectations or be prepared for a long search. that said, there’s no harm in asking what flexibility there is on the alary range – depending on how difficut roles like yours are to fill, it may be that there is more room for negotiation than the listing may suggest.

    5. Green Goose*

      I work at an education nonprofit and I am paid well for what I do. I’m getting pretty burned out and I’ve looked around and I was definitely dismayed to see that I would likely need to take a salary cut if I were to go somewhere else. So this is making me start to look into EdTech, but my concern there is that the work-life balance might be worse.
      I’m really involved in member organizations so I pay close attention to other types of jobs that exist or when people talk about a good organization and then I pay attention to those company’s career pages.

    6. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

      It probably depends a bit on your exact career field, but I would ignore the LinkedIn “estimated salary range” and only look at actual posted salary ranges. In my field (fundraising) there is a HUGE range for very similar skills depending on the size of the organization. In my job search I’ve interviewed for roles paying anywhere from $60k-125k (and the low and high ends of that range had the exact same job title!).

      I was recently in this exact boat – I started a new job at roughly 10% above what I had been making, but then needed to make an abrupt exit and was really worried I’d need to take a 10-15% paycut to get back to work. Instead, I just accepted an offer making 30% more! I hope you have the same luck!

    7. ItsNotJustAboutSalary*

      Sometimes that happens. Also, it can be helpful to consider the full compensation package -if you get more time off, a more flexible schedule, more/better insurance, etc it can go a long way toward making up for a salary drop. That said, salary drops will stay with you for a long time – I make less money now than I did 10 years ago – and companies can change benefits on you so you can get screwed over when that happens (which isn’t often but isn’t never).

      In my experience the going salary for a position is whatever the company will pay for it and that varies wildly, especially if you are technical or have certain skills/experience employers find appealing. Where are you getting your data? and other such sites are not even in the right ballpark in most cases. If I relied on them I’d be making what I made 25 years ago and starving to death. The only reliable data comes from talking to companies or (sometimes) good recruiters.

  3. Cautiously Hopeful*

    A week or so ago I was contacted by someone seeking a new employee in a role very much like my current one. I did not put a lot of stock in it, but after an initial conversation, it looks like it may be an excellent fit.

    The company is much larger than the one I currently work for, but the work would be almost the same, plus the opportunity to hone some new skills. The pay range is much higher than it is at my current company and the job is fully remote.

    I got a message saying they’d like to set me up for interviews and so I guess it’s moving forward. Thing is. . . it sounds almost too good to be true.

    Help me out here: besides the usual questions about duties, organizational structure, and culture, what should I watch for or try to negotiate? (My current job is my first after leaving academia, so there’s probably stuff most people know that I don’t.)

    1. Sunshine*

      I witnessed a potential new hire do a site visit with multiple sit downs with people at all levels. She was interviewing the position. She ended up taking a different job.
      I very much don’t like to inconvenience people and would never have thought to ask for such an opportunity. But in the future (particularly in a job seekers market) I would absolutely ask for more opportunity to feel out the position.

    2. BellyButton*

      I really like to meet the team I will be in, not just the hiring manager. I have asked in the past if that is possible after meeting with the hiring manager and if they don’t propose it. Some have agreed and some have looked at me like I gad 3 heads.

      I also ask – what skills/knowledge would round out the team? This will usually lead the manager to open up about the experience levels of the team.

    3. Rowan*

      There can be a culture shift to adjust to when switching from a small org to a large one, in terms of increased bureaucracy – sometimes frustrating levels of bureaucracy. One question I ask is, “If you need a new piece of hardware or software for your job, how difficult is it to get it? How long does it take?” It seems like a very specific question, but it can give a good indication of how much red tape there is between you and doing your job.

      1. Foley*

        I love this. Such an insightful question and something I wish I’d known going into any job! One job had semi-custom software so reliant on MS Access… (ironically we built software, but couldn’t manage to have anything good for ourselves).

        1. The Real Fran Fine*

          (ironically we built software, but couldn’t manage to have anything good for ourselves).

          This is the company I work for in a nutshell, lol.

      2. Small fishes*

        I work in a very small org, and we were interviewing someone at a large org, and I was so confused by the question– like, I don’t know how long it would take to download software, usually not THAT long but my wifi isn’t the best when I work from home… She apparently told my boss it was the best possible answer to make it clear how little red tape we had!

    4. Green Goose*

      What things are most important to you? I would make sure to ask about those things. For example, for me, work-life balance is really important as well as flexibility to work remote since I will have two young children. I would make sure to ask about how often people WFH or how that is perceived in the company.

      1. Betty*

        Also things like sick time, and how rigidly it’s enforced (if you need to leave a little early for an appointment, is that OK flexing, or do you have to account for every minute from sick leave? Can you use sick time to take a kid to a medical appointment?)

    5. Cautiously Hopeful*

      Thanks, all. I will be making a list of these ideas and using them.

      You’re the best. Have a great weekend!

  4. just wondering what's out there*

    I posted a little over a month ago asking to hear what jobs former library branch managers transitioned into. I’ve been doing some thinking since then about what parts of my job I enjoy and what parts I don’t. My conclusion is that I think I would be happier in a role where operations management is a much larger part of the job – possibly with a side of strategic planning and/or communications. My current role, I would say, is probably about 40% people management, 40% customer service, 20% operations/administrative/strategy (a little squishy depending on whether you consider schedules to be operations or people management). It’s that last 20 percent I enjoy the most, so hopefully the math bears out why I would like to change roles.

    So today’s question is: if you’re in operations, can you tell me all the things? Should I expect I’ll need to start at a lower role, like operations coordinator? Is this one of those jobs where you can’t really break into it at this level if you haven’t been in that specific industry before (I suspect maybe)? TIA for any advance, recommendations, questions to consider, etc.

    1. PX*

      Operations can mean different things by industry, so be careful when you start job hunting! For example where I am, operations is things like processes, procedures and *how* people work (the bit I do). It is also, “day to day operations of running the business eg answering customer questions, system maintenance and configuration etc”. So figure out which one it is you like!

      Then, I’d say mine your current job experience for all the examples that support it. You *can* break into different industries if you can show transferable skills, but its always hard and you will need to craft a great story about how/why it makes sense. If you can find a first step where your current library experience is at least understood that would be the easiest – but I know its not always possible.

      1. just wondering what's out there*

        Thanks! Yes, I have definitely noticed that each job posting for “operations” seems to be for wildly different jobs, ranging from cashier to office manager to COO.

    2. Anon-E-Mouse*

      This isn’t an answer to your specific question but if you’re planning to transition out of library branch management, you might want to see what options might be available in the growing field of knowledge management and innovation at law firms and regulated businesses like large financial institutions etc. There is a need (with actual demand catching up) for people with library science training combined with strategy, management and operations experience.

    3. Midwest is Best*

      So, I work in operations for a performing arts org, and my main duties are 1. being the “hub” of the “hub and spoke” metaphor. Much of the organizational communication filters through me from one department to another (or many others), 2. I maintain the organization’s main calendar, which, for a performing arts org, is our lifeblood, and 3. budget creation and management. Basically, making sure everyone knows what’s going on, when it’s happening, and how much it’s going to cost. :)

      1. just wondering what's out there*

        This sounds like a cool job! I was an office manager at a theatre, briefly, a long time ago, and I mostly really liked it. (I didn’t enjoy selling sponsorships, though I did okay at it.)
        What was your path to this role, if you’re open to sharing?

  5. Partner's job*

    Does anyone have experience with a job that puts requirements/limitations on your spouse/partner?

    I’ve heard that finance limits what your household can invest in, and I’ve heard that jobs with clearances can have restrictions as well. My husband is in the process of accepting a job with juvenile offenders, and he was told that both he and I would be expected to hibernate or deactivate any social media accounts.

    I’m not a user of Facebook/Insta/etc., but I asked my husband to get clarification on whether this directive includes LinkedIn. I can’t be shut out from the ability to look for a job myself, that’s completely unreasonable.

    1. Quinalla*

      Yes, spouse in finance and we are both limited on investing because it is assumed any insider info he would likely share with me (even accidently). I don’t like it especially since he doesn’t have any insider info as he works in IT, but I accept it and it does make sense as in theory it is possible he could. Basically for us we do investing with a firm that knows how to pre-clear everything with his company, so it basically just means trades are a little slower which we are doing mutual funds, so that really doesn’t matter much. And slower is like a day or two, not weeks or months, so it’s reasonable.

      Not had to deal with social media stuff, but I guess that does make sense for some jobs for sure.

      1. Clisby*

        Similar here. Most of our investments are in stock funds, though, and the restriction applies only if we were buying individual stocks.

    2. jackthedog*

      My spouse has a top secret clearance and neither of us have had to restrict social media usage. However, we do have travel restrictions for some international destinations and it requires a little more leg work on our end when we go out of the country.

      1. Database Developer Dude*

        I have the same, same conditions. No restrictions on social media usage (other than not divulging information I come across in the line of duty, of course) and some restriction on international travel.

    3. NotBatman*

      I have a good friend who works for the U.S. government (that’s all he’s allowed to tell us — that he works for the government) and his partner is not permitted any public social media accounts, nor is she permitted to post about him. I believe she had to agree to “friend” a monitoring account on some sites, but that she was allowed to keep her accounts as long as the monitor didn’t auto-flag her partner’s name or face on any posts. That said, Uncle Sam obviously has a very big budget for that kind of monitoring.

      For LinkedIn, could you explore half-solutions by slightly altering your name? So if your full name is Jane Eyre, could you become Jane E. or Jane Rochester or Jay Eyre or J.E. Rochester or J. Eyre Rochester, etc.? That, along with having a profile picture that doesn’t obviously signal your identity (a large group of people that includes you, a very small photo of you far away, a non-face image) could prevent any privacy leaks for your husband’s clients while still allowing you a public face for job-hunting. That said, you’d have to run any such half-solution by his employer before committing.

      1. Database Developer Dude*

        Most government places aren’t supersecret. This is out of the ordinary. Not saying it isn’t true, and in fact it probably is very true…but such instances are rare.

    4. Intermittent Introvert*

      When my son began teaching high school, he changed his name on Facebook to his middle name. It made him less findable for students. But family and those close to him recognize the name.

    5. M*

      I work and live at a boarding school. My spouse is required to pass annual background checks. He is self-employed but cannot conduct his business from our home because the school is a 501 so can’t have a for-profit using the same address. Our entire campus is a safe-school zone so infractions that in an off-campus home that would be relatively minor (say, small possession of marijuana) by my spouse or my children will result in both criminal charges for them and immediate termination of my position (which would leave us homeless).

    6. WellRed*

      I’m guessing this may be safety precaution? Or being extra cautious since he’s working with kids? But I’d have him clarify this really includes your LinkedIn, d we such I seriously doubt and us totally unreasonable.

    7. beep beep*

      I work in IT for a financial service, and I have to declare “outside business activities” like holding leadership or financial responsibilities in government, at least partially owning a business, etc., as well as any such positions a partner holds. I’ve never actually had to declare anything, but if I did I’m pretty sure there’d be some talks about Not doing that :P

    8. Kay*

      A family member works as a teacher, but he was just told to lock down his privacy settings. But I used to work for a summer camp, and there was a big hairy situation one year because a kid tracked down her counselor’s Snapchat, friended her without the counselor noticing, then saw some pictures of the counselor smoking. The kid’s mom tried (unsuccessfully) to sue, iirc.

    9. Ann Furthermore*

      This is probably at least partially a safety precaution. My best friend’s late husband was a corrections officer at a federal prison. The cars of all the officers and their spouses have license plates with scrambled numbers to prevent an inmate from using them to find out someone’s address.

      Going by your middle name or some other name on FB and Twitter would probably be OK, and I wouldn’t think that LinkedIn would matter since people don’t tend to post personal information on that anyway.

    10. Rocket Woman*

      I have a security clearance working in the private sector as a government contractor. I have to report any foreign contacts I am connected with on social media, there are certain countries I am not allowed to visit, and I have to report any foreign travel before and after my trip. I am also not allowed to have Tik Tok or certain apps on my work phone for security reasons nor can I take any company property out of the country. None of these restrictions extend to my partner.

    11. Anonymous for this*

      I work for a major stock exchange — my husband and I both cannnot manage any of our own investments, since I have access to all of the real-time information on trading activity, prices, regulatory insider information disclosures, and similar.

      Neither of us are particularly interested in managing our own investments and the rule doesn’t apply to him getting shares in his own employer via their company share plan provided he follows their rules if he wants to sell them again, so other than a bit more paperwork each year we were both fine with it.

      I assume the rule re: social media is more of a safety issue in your case. They might be able to make an exception for LinkedIn provided you don’t share any information on it that would make it obvious where you live/vacation/hang out? Would there be a way to Name your current employer without specifying which site you are employed at?

    12. RagingADHD*

      When I worked at an investment bank we both had limitations on our investments, and I was just an EA. Practically speaking, it wasn’t an issue because at the time we only had company 401Ks with age-tracked portfolios – no self-directed investment accounts. So all we had to do was disclose that.

    13. Maggie*

      It’s for your own safety due to the fact that he’ll be working with people who’ve committed potentially violent crimes. It’s not so that you don’t post anything offensive. They don’t want your regular hangouts or home to be something people can figure out.

    14. Silverose*

      I’ve worked in jobs that had strict social media policies for ME, but not my spouse, and they didn’t require me to close my accounts – just couldn’t friend clients or their families, couldn’t post about things that happened at work or post anything that compromised confidential information or looked like it was an official opinion of the agency or company. And I worked with juveniles on probation and families involved with CPS.

    15. Elle Woods*

      Friends of mine both work in the criminal justice system (probation officer, prison guard). They are not allowed to have social media accounts. I don’t know if that includes LinkedIn but it might. They explained that it’s for their own protection as well as that of their family and friends.

    1. Jean Pargetter Hardcastle*

      It sounds like the employer is just…taking the spouse’s word for all this? Alarmed that the drunken rantings of a spouse at a holiday party are informing promotional decisions.

      1. Librarian of SHIELD*

        And the fact that the criminal record was sealed should mean it shouldn’t need to be disclosed on a job application, so the boss’s accusation of lying doesn’t hold water either. I’m hard side-eyeing both the husband and the boss on this one.

        1. Mid*

          Same. Sealed is sealed. Unless it’s for high level government clearance, at which point they would have the ability to see the record, sealed or not. If they didn’t know about the offense already, they didn’t need it disclosed to them. And then the manager spreading it to other people in the company, even if they’re his bosses, is not okay, because it was not information he was entitled to know in the first place.

        2. goddessoftransitory*

          Yeah, this is crap on piece of crap bread. I agree with the poster at reddit saying she should consult with an employment attorney. And then I think she should get a divorce attorney.

    2. Purple Cat*

      Wow. That husband was so in the wrong, it’s unbelievable. And the audacity to think she should still buy him an expensive gift when she is no longer getting the bump in pay? (And why was HE getting a gift after HER promotion anyway?)
      The company seems pretty lousy too. IANAL, but if her record was sealed, wasn’t it like it didn’t happen? Especially if she was a juvenile?

      1. Clisby*

        Assuming this is in the US, I don’t see why it would make a difference. I’m not aware that “people with sealed criminal records” is any kind of protected class.

    3. Purple Jello*

      Lots of breaches in test here.

      Can’t he return the item or cancel the order if it hasn’t shipped already?

    4. Aphrodite*

      I figure the idiot husband didn’t just mess with her career but his own as well. (Which is, of course, delightful in its own way.) Would anyone as CEO trust a subordinate who would (1) get that drunk to talk to his boss and (2) disclose private and damaging information? That’s husband’s career at that company as well as his marraige is toast.

      1. Peeklay*

        It doesn’t sound like the husband works there too, it sounds like partners we’re invited to this event

  6. hamsterpants*

    What’s the least awkward way to navigate pregnancy in a male-dominated workplace? I haven’t told anyone besides my boss but we’re in office and I am in the third trimester and will take 8 weeks off for the birth so people will figure it out eventually. I’m friendly with plenty of people here but there are a few who might be weird, and it’s fundamentally a VERY personal thing that I don’t particularly wish to discuss at work… on the other hand it feels like the elephant in the room.

    1. PinkCandyfloss*

      Your boss knows, I assume HR knows for arranging your leave, that sounds to me like it’s been navigated just fine. What are you really asking for specifically? I’m not sure what it is that you are worried about. Do you need ways to shut down intrusive questions? What are you asking?

    2. Alan*

      I don’t know your workplace but I also (a male) work in a male-dominated office and I’ve seen women just set firm boundaries: “I really don’t want to discuss this.” Yes it’s a little blunt but fundamentally it’s no one else’s business if you don’t want it to be. Set the boundaries where you want and anyone who’s not ridiculously immature will respect them.

    3. DisneyChannelThis*

      Be matter of fact, tell people what you want/need from them. “Hey team, I will be out on maternity leave date through date. Suzanne will be taking the lead on the ABC project while I am out.”

      You can politely but firmly redirect people back to work tasks, “Hey Bob, thanks for the concern but I really need us to focus on this XYZ task right now do you have the numbers for last weeks sales?” If it’s invasive or just something you don’t want to discuss you can push back more then redirect, “Oh I’m not going to discuss that at work! Now what did you think of last meetings idea EFG”.

      I would also make sure to let a few of those work friends know you don’t want a baby shower etc if your work has a tradition of doing them.

    4. Ann Ominous*

      People will generally follow your lead. I work in a very male-dominated industry and pregnancies are just treated matter of factly, and any weirdness is shut down by good leadership and peers.

    5. Bagpuss*

      I’d think maybe treat it like any other absence, e.g. when planning things and scheduling meetings mention that you are expecting to be out, and who will be dealing with matters / urgent issues in your absence.

      Depending how far out things are usually scheduled maybe start doing that now, or noting in your calendar when you are likely to be out.

      If you haven’t already, talk to your boss about the practical arrangements – so that when things come up which are likely to need action when you are away you are able to say something along the lines of “I’m likely to be out for the beta testing phases, so you’ll need to direct any queries about that to [name] ” or “That’s likely to come up when I’m out on maternity leave,, so you’ll need to direct any queries about that to [name]. I’m expecting to return on around [date]” which does say why you are out but focuses on the work issue of what needs doing and who can do it.

      And then if someone mentions it you can cknowledge it nd mve on (I think many people will give a quick ‘congrats’ and is your response is a quick thank you and moving on to the next thing that you’d need to talk to them about then you send the ignla that you aren’t looking to discuss your pregnancy.

    6. Velociraptor Attack*

      Respectfully, you may have only told your boss but if you’re in your third trimester and in the office…. they’ve already figured it out.

        1. seps*

          I got weird with my third pregnancy and didn’t want to tell anyone so I just…didn’t. I like DisneyChannelThis’ suggestion where you just start talking about maternity leave like it’s any other leave. Just pretend as though everyone already knows and you announced it months ago. It’ll be fine!

          1. hamsterpants*

            I really love the strategy of acting like I announced it already. either people figured it out or they didn’t, but when I start talking about maternity leave then that focuses attention where it needs to be (work stuff) and away from where it doesn’t belong (the finer details of mammalian production).

            1. Indubitably Delicious*

              maybe say “parental leave” or “personal leave” to distance it even further? People will still likely put two and two together, but it makes it clear you’re being low-key about it and would appreciate the same in return.

      1. Don't Call Me Shirley*

        From experience, both thinking it obvious and surprising coworkers, and my husband telling me about learning of a coworker’s pregnancy at her send off lunch… Maybe not

    7. This Old House*

      Honestly, I’ve never had a male coworker be weird about my pregnancies. It’s always the women who want to know if you’re dilating!

      1. Here we go again*

        When I was pregnant I heard this new coworkers bloody and graphic labor horror stories, I did not need to know about what happens to her vagina during labor. A women I barley knew at the time. Men were fine, except towards the end I was wearing a tight fitting shirt and one of my younger male colleges saw my stomach move when my little wiggle worm moved. He was freaked out and said that’s something out of Alien. Still I’d rather hear that that graphic labor horror stories.

        1. No Longer Gig-less Data Analyst*

          My little one moved a lot – like she was doing somersaults in there! I was once having a conversation with a female co-worker and it looked like she was staring at my feet.

          When I asked if something was wrong, she said that the hem of my maternity dress was bobbing up and down and it was distracting her from the conversation, LOL!

      2. ScruffyInternHerder*

        I have amusing stories from my pregnancy in a male-dominated industry. They knew. Several politely inquired if a “rumor” was accurate. The coworkers closest to me in age who had young children typically made certain I was included in any lunch orders if wished (they’d come ask me, as opposed to “if she wants it to she can just add her name to the list”) and a few of them chipped in a GC “for diapers and things you don’t know you need yet” that appeared on my desk my last day before leave with a nice card.

        But they weren’t at all awkward or weird about it.

    8. Ellis Bell*

      I think the male dominated aspect could actually really work for you. In my experience it’s places with an existing baby shower-pregnancy talk culture where it would be difficult to avoid discussion at work. I’d probably go with something super businesslike, like an email letting people know your maternity leave arrangements. If you feel the “elephant in the room” is still there then I’d just go ahead and mention it like you’d mention a house move: “I’ll be super glad when I’m ready for the baby. I’m crib shopping this weekend and all I want to do is flop in front of the TV”. If however you want to avoid discussion and discussion starts bubbling just say “Oh I’m so tired of baby talk. This place is my refuge from that! Tell me about X instead”.

      1. Mr. Shark*

        Right. I work in a male dominated industry and most people I know are thrilled for those women who are pregnant, but know that it’s not their business, and keep focused on work unless its mentioned. Once it’s mentioned, it’s simply wishing them the best and make sure and take all the time you need, etc. I really haven’t seen it otherwise (not that I would have a personal viewpoint on this, just what I’ve seen in work settings with groups).

    9. Quinalla*

      I think it would be less awkward to just send out an email to the team officially announcing you are pregnant and that you have already sat down and planned out taking 8 weeks of leave with your boss. Then just act like it is any other time you are out and talk about, “You’ll need to handle this while I’m on leave, I’ll pick it back up when I’m back.” I think that will be fine. If you don’t want to discuss details of pregnancy, you might even say something like “I prefer to focus on work at work, so please no pregnancy talk, I’m burned out on it!” in your email or just when people comment, ask questions, some kind of polite, “I’m pretty burned out on pregnancy talk, how about that project X?”

      All that said, you don’t have to inform anyone else if you don’t want to. I’ve seen that happen and it is a bit awkward, but everyone survives. I think it is actually kind of an interesting strategy, but for me is was less awkward to just say hey I’m pregnant, take some congrats and move on with work myself :)

      Not sure if you are planning to breastfeed or if you work in an office or WFH, but I know I had to navigate pumping a bit with my male-dominated workplace. Again, I just matter of fact explained that I was going to be closing and locking my door (I know, I had a private office, unheard of now) to pump several times a day and to email me or return when my door was open to chat (we always kept doors open except occasionally when on conference calls). I also said I’d be storing breastmilk in containers in a small cooler in the office fridge. We never had issues with food theft, but I still figured I would tell people. Don’t know if anyone was weirded out by it, but frankly didn’t care :)

      My boss had several children and his wife used a breast pump, so he knew the drill, so that helped, but if your place doesn’t already have a room to pump set up (they should by law, but doesn’t mean then actually do), now is the time to inform then they need to sort that out by the end of your leave. And if they are clueless, let them know no pumping in the bathroom does not suffice.

      Good luck with everything!

    10. Purple Cat*

      Personally, I would find attempting to “hide” or “ignore” a pregnancy to be pretty awkward. Do you hide when you’re going on vacation?
      Just let people know you expect to be out around X date, for 8 weeks. “Person” will be covering while you’re out.

    11. Mockingjay*

      You don’t have to discuss why you will be out, even if it’s obvious. All you need is a coverage plan. Present it matter-of-factly.

      “Hi Boss, here’s my coverage plan for when I’ll be out in November and December. [Details.]” Give Boss current status of each task, then discuss who can/will handle what. Does anyone need training? Are there written SOPs or instructions people can check? Identify tasks that can slide (be sure that you won’t be overwhelmed by pending stuff when you return).

      1. AnonyMouse*

        I think this would be super weird. Why hide a maternity leave?

        “Hi team, I am starting to organize coverage for when I’ll be out on maternity leave from date to date. Here are the details.”

        If people say congratulations, just politely thank them (just “Thanks!”) and circle back to a work topic. I do agree with PP that women and especially mothers often tend to want to discuss the details more than men. The most my male coworkers ever asked was how I was feeling, to which I’d say “Fine thanks!” + topic change to work related matters and they rarely steered it back. I think they just wanted to be polite.

    12. RagingADHD*

      Third trimester? If they were going to be weird about it, they would have started already. Obviously they are letting you take the lead, so do what you want and say as much or as little as you like.
      Sounds rather refreshing, actually.

    13. Marvel*

      Possibly unhelpful answer: however makes you the most comfortable. There are so many weird cultural things about disclosing pregnancy, most of which contradict each other (you “should” tell people, yet women “shouldn’t” talk about their bodies, especially around men… etc.). Do what is easiest for you.

      1. Analyst Editor*

        With all due respect, I haven’t ever seen or heard of anyone interpreting “disclosing a pregnancy” as “talking about your body” unless you get graphic and lurid about your sore nipples or no bleeding or your doctor’s visits. Body talk seems a pretty bright line in the office for everyone?

    14. Pocket Mouse*

      One big thing: call it “parental leave” or “family leave” instead of maternity leave, which is a pretty gendered term. Your going out on leave is due (ha!) to becoming a parent to a new child, not because you’re a woman — this normalizes parental leave for your male colleagues, as well as remaining inclusive of birthing parents who are not women.

      I had a colleague who talked about going on leave in a team setting for the first time when she was (I’d guess) around 30 weeks. It was obvious by that point, and it was also totally fine that she didn’t talk about it more than was necessary before then.

      1. WhichLeaveIsIt*

        except most leave policies are gendered, by which I mean maternity leave is distinctly different from paternity leave in terms of the mechanics of the leave. maybe in the future that won’t be the case, but at most workplaces it is today. Thus, knowing it’s maternity leave is pertinent for the expectations coworkers will have regarding timing, etc

        1. Pocket Mouse*

          “8 weeks off for the birth” sounds like it’ll be covered by FMLA (if in the US and applicable to the employer and OP). So even if there’s a ‘maternity’ leave policy, this particular leave is most likely covered under a family leave policy as well. Parents of any gender are able to take FMLA for a new child, even if they aren’t the one giving birth.

          And yeah, parental leave policies 1000% should not be gendered.

    15. marvin*

      I’ve had pretty good success from just setting a tone of not wanting to get into personal details at work. This wasn’t related to pregnancy but transition, and there are differences but it’s similarly really personal but also kind of inevitably public. Whenever I had to address it, I just stuck to the work related facts and used a pretty brisk tone and fortunately everyone took their cue from that and didn’t pry. I was prepared to tell people that I didn’t want to get into medical/personal details at work, but I never had to do it.

  7. Jessica Ganschen*

    I can now happily report that my contract has officially been extended for another six months, and that it’s come with a raise! Not a very big one, but hey, every dollar helps.

  8. Anonymous Bread*

    How do you deal with imposter syndrome? My boss says I’m doing great, but my anxiety is saying otherwise.

    1. Alan*

      CBT? If you can find a practitioner. For me, I find the anxiety very motivating. I’m at a point now where I can make it work for me. But if it’s debilitating, CBT (which I’ve also done).

    2. danmei kid*

      Counseling, by a professional who specializes in anxiety of this type. CBT, DBT, biofeedback, there are many ways to address this type of negative self-talk, intrusive thoughts, and more. For this: let a pro help you navigate. Tell the counselor up front exactly what you want to work on and let them take you from there.

    3. Anon for this one*

      This is aimed for women, but either way, I would highly recommend listening to the podcast with Rushida Tulshyan and Brene Brown (on Brene Brown’s podcast) – I think from October 2021 on Imposter Syndrome. The article on Harvard Business Review “Stop Telling Women they have Imposter Syndrome” is excellent and the authors are on the podcast. There are some helpful reframing exercises and mindset shifts.

      Speaking from experience, it is not easy to shift your mindset. For me, it has taken repeated mantras and mental reminders whenever I sense myself moving into that headspace.

      1. Quinalla*

        Yes, this podcast really put into words what I feel about imposter syndrome and “lack of confidence” in women. Yes, it exists for all genders in fact, but what some women mistake for imposter syndrome is actually just you’ve have had your statements/opinions questioned/discounted/ignored for your entire life, OF COURSE you are going to have less confidence, how could you not? Same for POC and even worse for women POC. Also women are socialized to not be too confident, too showy, too aggressive (all the eye rolls for this beauty) etc. so again, that plays in to our perceived lack of confidence as well.

    4. Hamster Manager*

      Look up Alison’s advice on how to advocate for a raise (i.e. write a list of all the ways you’re excelling in the role) and do the exercise just for yourself. Actually write it out. I bet you do a LOT more than you give yourself credit for! Try to reframe your thinking to acknowledge your wins on a frequent basis, like “what was a win for me yesterday?”

      Impostor syndrome discounts wins/strengths and focuses on real or perceived deficits. You have to make yourself look at things differently.

      1. Alan*

        I used to do this. Every year I kept a running list of what I had worked on and what I had achieved that I could bring to my salary review. Wow! I rarely remembered at the end of the year all the stuff I had done until I looked at the list. It was always an enormous encouragement. I also (like Peppermint Tea below) save old e-mails and such complimenting my performance. Those are also tremendously encouraging.

        1. ferrina*

          This is a great exercise for any year end reviews.

          For combatting feelings of worthlessness, I sometimes do a modified version of this where I list everything I did in a day. I realized that when I’m focused on what I didn’t do (or didn’t do well enough), I’m ignoring all the stuff I did do. I got a journal where I’ll literally list all the things I did do in a day- everything from work accomplishments to doing dishes. It helps me focus on what I have done and taking the time to acknowledge my own accomplishments, and helps me reset what I expect of myself (I’ve also found that sometimes my worst days are when I get the most done. On those days the more I do the more I feel like I should have done)

        2. Zap R.*

          This is great advice. I keep a spreadsheet of everything I accomplish in a workday. Everything from typing a report to unloading the dishwasher goes on the sheet. In addition to being a tangible reminder of all the stuff you’re good at, it’s hugely helpful in performance reviews and when updating your resume.

    5. PeppermintTea*

      I keep a file of praise I’ve received, from both my boss and others, and look at it every now and then as some “hard evidence” that I’m not a total failure. It’s especially helpful to have things in there from other people. I also try to look at how my boss treats me and other people generally. Is he truthful? Is he reasonable? If he’s shown himself to be trustworthy with other things, I can trust that he’s telling me the truth about my performance.

    6. WantonSeedStitch*

      Does your boss give you specific feedback? Or just say that you’re doing great? I find specific feedback (“that presentation was really clear and informative,” or “you handled that conversation with compassion but also made sure to hold the employee accountable for their behavior–well done!”) to be more helpful to me in making me feel like I’m REALLY doing a good job. If your boss doesn’t give you that kind of feedback, maybe asking for examples of things you’re doing well would be helpful. Frame it as “I want to make sure I keep doing this stuff if it’s going well!”

    7. Foley*

      I was listening to a podcast while walking to a museum this summer and it had the best line, ‘imposters don’t worry about imposter syndrome.’

      For some reason that reframed my thinking completely. It made me realize (what I already knew internally) that I have the chops for what I’m doing. But ALSO think about all the people posturing and blustering. They’re doing that because they know they *don’t* have what it takes. I’ve never had to pretend because I already know. Think about it that way.

  9. Partner's job*

    Does anyone have experience with a job that puts requirements or limitations on your spouse or partner?

    I’ve heard that finance limits what your household can invest in, and I’ve heard that jobs with clearances can have restrictions as well. My husband is in the process of accepting a job with juvenile offenders, and he was told that both he and I would be expected to hibernate or deactivate any social media accounts.

    I’m not a user of FB, Insta, etc., but I asked my husband to get clarification on whether this directive includes LinkedIn. I can’t be shut out from the ability to look for a job myself, that’s completely unreasonable.

    1. An Australian In London*

      The closest I’ve personally been to this have been employers or clients who took an interest in what was publicly viewable in my social media.

      The obvious answer was to switch all personal social media to friends-only, which is arguably good practice for anyone.

      I have not switched LinkedIn to connections-only… but that is 100% SFW anyway.

      Your husband’s employer has standing to ask that *his* social media get locked down… but to deactivate it? That seems an overreach. They certainly don’t have standing to require anything of *you*.

      I guess that’s little comfort if you’re in an at-will jurisdiction and they fire him for it. I’m keen to see what other’s say to this.

  10. Dil*

    Anyone got any scripts or tips to redirect comments about Martha’s Vineyard to make someone above me stop freaking laughing about it?

    Also any tips for coping with horrible hateful people being around me all the time. :,) Faith in humanity is dwindling.

    1. Up and Away*

      This is awful. I too am surrounded by red-leaning folks, but luckily no one has said anything about it. Honestly, if they did, I might give them a pointed cold look, and pointed silence, but other than that I have found that I don’t get anywhere when I try to engage intelligently with them about this stuff. Either you get it or you don’t; and they’re not interested in seeing it from the other perspective.

    2. Dr. Laboratoria*

      I would look them dead in the eye and ask why they were laughing at people who are risking their very lives to reach the American dream. Why do they think it’s funny that people were essentially trafficked to another state.

      Then I would make a disgusted sound and leave.

      And I would do it with lots of people around.

    3. DisneyChannelThis*

      Want to throw the Christian bible at them?

      “The foreigner who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the foreigner as yourself, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.
      Leviticus 19:34 ”

      “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.
      Matthew 25:35 ”

      “Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.
      Hebrews 13:1-3”

    4. cardigarden*

      I wish I had advice. The “what a strange response” reaction would probably just invite further interaction. Honestly, that person is probably looking to provoke a reaction, so ignoring it is likely your best bet… which is tough since you don’t want others to think your silence = approval, and it’s tough on your own sanity.

      1. Dil*

        I think this is what I’m going to go for. I just said nothing and pretended I didn’t hear her. I wish we didn’t have a big TV blasting Fox in the waiting room. Sigh.

        Thanks for the help.

      1. cardigarden*

        Does this still work? The last couple of people I had to use that on know what it’s about and have given me very condescending “oh, well if you don’t already get it you’re not going to.”

      2. SoloKid*

        Agreed this never works out with me. I just state my own side and say “I’m glad they were sent to a community that cares about their well being.”

    5. RagingADHD*

      I think you may need to accept that you can’t stop people from laughing at whatever they want to laugh at – particularly people above you.

      You can demonstrate that you aren’t a likeminded audience by saying sincere things like, “I thought it was really nice how the MV community turned out and how well they took care of the folks on the flight. I wish every community were so compassionate.”

      1. GingerNP*

        I got to a point during the height of the pandemic that I would see “laugh” reactions to FB posts about Covid or Covid vaccines and would immediately tense up like I was going to get hit. I have lost so much faith in so much of humanity and have had to make it a point to both look for good and be good to others. I agree, a sincere response may not stop them from laughing more, but at least your own conscience and reputation are intact, and they won’t mistake you for someone who agrees with them.

        1. RagingADHD*

          I reacted like that until I saw some older folks I know who were pro-vaccines using them-not to mock, but because they thought it meant “happy.”

  11. Hypothetical Stephen*

    My favorite candidate for a role politely but firmly removed themselves from consideration after I sent them two emails and left them two voicemails during a single workday. Should I blacklist them from further positions within the company?

    1. Just a Fed*

      What was the circumstance that made you leave that many messages during a single day? It sounds like overkill, and might make me hesitant to continue with a company. Did the candidate actually indicate the contact attempts were what made them reconsider moving forward?

      Regardless, I say no, don’t blacklist them. Why is that your impulse if they were talented?

    2. LaDiDa*

      That is a lot of contact in one day, it doesn’t seem like you gave them enough time to respond. They might have withdrawn because of that. I never blacklist anyone unless they have done something awful.

      1. JelloStapler*

        I may have removed myself from that if I felt like this is a sign of impatience and excessive communication if I were to take the job.

        Blacklisting sounds even worse.

    3. PinkCandyfloss*

      Four communications in one day?? Why on earth……? I would have removed myself as well. This is an indication to me that you and/or the company don’t have good communication practices or boundaries. Or that everything is urgent all the time. Or that you’re desperate. Honestly there are two dozen ways to speculate about why you would leave them FOUR messages in one day and NONE of them are flattering for you or your organization. This would not be a good fit for me either. Don’t blacklist them – they are a person who knows what their own boundaries are! Rare in an employee! (Unless your business depends on employees accepting this type of behavior from managers……? in which case … definitely a bad fit for me & most other workers too)

      Maybe some self-reflection on why this degree of contact was deemed appropriate to begin with and how you might approach it differently going forward.

      1. Picard*

        This. FOUR reach outs in ONE day? I mean seriously though, WTH? And now you’re asking about BLACKLISTING them?? You need to take a serious step back and re-evaluate YOUR actions and thought process here. wow.

        (Frankly I would say candidate dodged a bullet)

        1. londonedit*

          Yeah, I don’t see what the candidate has done wrong here. For whatever reason – maybe to do with or maybe exacerbated by the two emails and two voicemails – the candidate withdrew politely and firmly from the process. That’s it. They weren’t abusive, they weren’t unreasonable, they just took themselves out of the running. They might have been your favourite candidate but that doesn’t mean they had any obligation to continue speaking to you.

          I have to say that if a potential employer had left me two emails and two voicemails in one day, I’d be perturbed and would worry that if they’re doing that during the interview process, what are they going to be like to work for? Badgering people for a response when it’s clear they’re busy? I’d definitely look at the way you’re communicating with candidates because this sort of thing could well put people off.

    4. NotBatman*

      Did they indicate in their response that they withdrew *because* they were contacted so many times? That’s still not concerning enough to blacklist, but maybe it’s feedback for you about how to recruit future candidates.

    5. nonprofiteer*

      No, but also don’t beat yourself up about this. An enthusiastic candidate wouldn’t mind that level of contact, and maybe would have taken your first (or second) call. They just weren’t that into the position.

      1. Velociraptor Attack*

        I don’t think that’s universally true.

        I’ve been an enthusiastic candidate for plenty of positions and unless there’s something missing from this story (like the candidate called back at one point so there was some phone tag going on), 2 voicemails and 2 emails over the course of an 8-hour workday would be a huge red flag for me.

      2. Not a Real Giraffe*

        ?? Hard disagree on this. I have had plenty of jobs that I was over-the-moon enthusiastic about, but would have been really annoyed by four touchpoints in a single day. I have other obligations on my time (a current job, a personal life, a family, whatever) and a 24-hour response time is perfectly reasonable, even for something I’m really excited about.

        1. The Real Fran Fine*

          All of this. OP could have called once, left a voicemail (this still exists, folks!), and then waited 24 hours for a response before following up. People have jobs, they have things they have to do during the day. Not jumping at an employer’s every beck and call right off the bat does not say anything about the level of interest in the role – it just says you’re busy and will get back to them when you can.

      3. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

        Yes, disagree. What is to be gained? Unless you’re in a serious time crunch – like the employee has to be in place before the start of the fiscal year on Oct 1 – this is unnecessary. And if it is an issue of Oct 1, then that should have been explained to the prospective hire at the beginning.

      4. just a thought*

        If they are currently employed, they probably *couldn’t* take the calls right away.

        I would disagree. Taking a new job is a big decision and if the recruiter were pressuring me and contacting me 4 times in one day (!!!), I wouldn’t be thrilled even if the position were great and one I was interested in.

        1. londonedit*

          I agree. They might not be in a position to respond straight away, and I’d be worried about a potential employer who tried to contact me four times in the same working day. I prefer these things to be done by email anyway because then I can get to them in my own time and – if I’m in the office – I don’t have to worry about scurrying around trying to find somewhere to take a private phone call. But in any case one voicemail, with one follow-up email, is absolutely all that’s needed. Much more than that and I’d start to feel pressured and hounded, and I’d worry that I’d be constantly hounded if I took the job, too.

      5. JelloStapler*

        Maybe they were at a CURRENT job or for some other reason could not take the call. Then kept getting calls and emails. That would turn me off.

      6. Future Former Librarian*

        I am currently very enthusiastic about a potential job I’ve applied for. I’m also currently working in a customer service job where I don’t have access to my personal phone or email while I’m on the customer floor. I’m not allowed to have my phone with me, and my work computer blocks all email providers apart from our work email system. If a hiring manager were to call or email me while I’m on shift, I have no way of even knowing they’ve called, let alone answering or calling back. It’s not a lack of enthusiasm, it’s literally one of the reasons I’m trying to leave my current job.

    6. WantonSeedStitch*

      Ooof, definitely not. If I were them I would feel pestered, and it doesn’t sound like they did anything unprofessional. Not being available over the course of a single day isn’t unprofessional.

    7. Irish+Teacher.*

      It sounds like they did everything right – they must have been good if they were your preferred candidate, they were clear about pulling out and they were polite – so I don’t see why you’d blacklist them? From what you’ve described, recommending them would seem more appropriate. Unless you mean they made it clear they don’t want to work with your company at all and you want to give people the heads-up not to bother headhunting them?

      But overall, they sound exactly like the kind of person your company would want – firm, polite, apparently a good fit. They sound like the last person you’d want to blacklist.

    8. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Because they turned you down? This is like badmouthing a girl all over town because she didn’t want to go on a second date.

      Why so much contact? Was the removal explicitly because of the excessive contact? Regardless, “politely” means that no, you should absolutely not blacklist this person, just know that they don’t want this position.

      1. Hypothetical Stephen*

        She did explicitly say that the contact attempts was her reason for withdrawing. I operate out of a slightly different timezone and only contacted her during the time my business hours overlapped with hers. When the second call went right to voicemail, I sent the second email.

        1. AvonLady Barksdale*

          You way overstepped. She is likely busy during her business hours, so… leave ONE message and wait for her to return it. If you need to have a conversation, say so in your voice mail. ONE follow up email the next day, to confirm she got your message, is ok.

          If she had two assessments to complete, you need to give her time unless there’s a hard deadline. Even with a deadline, ONE message. After all, she gets to decide whether to complete those assessments or not, she doesn’t work for you. She is an adult and likely aware that not doing these assessments constitutes a withdrawal from the process.

          In your comment below, you point out that call was intentionally rejected. She was busy! That’s what voice mails are for. ONE voice mail.

    9. Ginger Pet Lady*

      Are you serious? You blasted them all day, and they were polite and firm in response to that and you want to blacklist them?
      Candidates have lives. Often other jobs.
      YOU screwed up here. If anyone deserves to be blacklisted, it’s you.

    10. CatCat*

      You shouldn’t because that’s absurd and petty, but if you do, it’s probably going to be for their benefit anyway considering your approach and thought process here. Yikes.

    11. Generic Name*

      What? I mean, go ahead and blacklist whoever you want (assuming you’re in the US and it’s not for an illegal reason). My main reaction is why did you reach out to a candidate do many times in one day? Were you expecting an instant response and repeatedly followed up when you didn’t get what you wanted? Do you expect instant responses from people at your company? It’s probably irrelevant whether or not you black list them, frankly.

    12. random person*

      It does sound like an excessive number of contacts, but I’m also wondering about the tone of those contacts. Especially the ones that came later.

      I work in an industry where I can’t have my cell phone with me during work. And I may or may not be able to access my personal email, depending on (1) whether the network is up, and (2) the vagaries of the office that decides which internet sites we’re allowed to access. So if I got out of work only to find emails and voicemails that seemed a bit… miffed… that I hadn’t been responsive, yeah I’d probably give that company a pass.

    13. Hypothetical Stephen*

      Here’s a rough timeline:

      Thursday: Phone interview. Evening in her timezone, close to the end of workday in my timezone. I sent her two assessments to complete.
      Monday morning: Assessments not completed. I send her an email asking reminding her of them. I follow up with a phone call that goes to voicemail.
      Monday afternoon/early evening her time: I call again and go to voicemail after only one ring, which means the call was intentionally rejected. I leave a voicemail and immediately send an email reiterating the contents of the voicemail.
      Tuesday morning: She withdraws, explicitly citing Monday’s attempts at contacting her as the reason why.

      1. Hlao-roo*

        Did you give her a deadline when you sent her the assignments on Thursday? If so, what was the deadline?

        In any case, two emails and two phone calls in a single day is too much contact. And a polite withdrawal is not a good enough reason to blacklist a candidate.

      2. Spicy Tuna*

        Was there a deadline on the assessments, and did she know what they were by the end of the Thursday phone interview? A single weekend doesn’t seem like enough time to complete two assessments. People have families and other obligations to take care of during that time. Unless she confirmed that that was feasible for her, your expectations were unreasonable and it makes sense that she withdrew.

      3. SoloKid*

        I would have taken the uncompleted assessments as the first clue this candidate was not that enthusiastic about the role. (Was a weekend assignment known before the phone interview?)

        One follow up email on Monday evening would have been fine but you went way overboard with contact. Blacklist if you want but I think this candidate already blacklisted your company herself.

      4. Librarian of SHIELD*

        Wait. *Two* assignments? How many hours do you estimate it would take to complete those assignments? If a company I didn’t even work for gave me two unpaid assignments to complete over the course of a single weekend (thereby depriving me of the rest and personal errand time that weekends are supposed to be for), and then pestered me throughout the next business day about why the assignments hadn’t been submitted yet, I’d have withdrawn from the process too.

        1. danmei kid*

          I’d have withdrawn the minute I was asked to give a company my unpaid labor doing some random ‘assignments’ as a condition of getting a job.

          1. jane*

            As a hiring manager, there’s a lot of value in a brief assignment to assess critical on-the-job skills that you simply can’t get from interviewing and reference checks. Again – a single, brief assignment. Mine don’t benefit our company at all, they are based on a fake scenario. As a job candidate, I’ve also completed a short assignment.

            It depends on your field, the job you’re applying for, how the company approaches it (how much of your time will it take? is it clearly just an exercise scenario? how much time do they give you? do they call you 4 times in a row and then blacklist you?).

            And I still respect if you’re not willing to take time out of your free time to do an assignment! But it’s not an inappropriate request in general.

            1. The Real Fran Fine*

              This. Assessments are very common in my field, but like you said – they’re usually short and really shouldn’t take hours or days to complete.

          2. Wheels on Fire*

            Skills assessments as part of the application process are common in some fields. As long as they don’t take more than a couple hours, it’s not unreasonable.

      5. Pink Candyfloss*

        First you ask a candidate to complete assessments (really, when will this practice die out? It’s so unnecessary in *most* roles) which is asking them for unpaid labor. Then, you give her one business day (we’re not counting weekends because you don’t know what plans people have already made long in advance that means they can’t spend that time doing unpaid labor for you) and after that you send FOUR follow-ups in the same day which is excessive, shows impatience, and poor judgment on your part.

        It already was not a mystery to anyone answering your comment, why she withdrew. But your details have now made it extra crystal clear why.

      6. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

        What was the waiting time between when she applied for the job, and the phone interview? If she applied Tuesday and you talked to her on Thursday, that’s one thing. If she applied weeks or months ago, and heard nothing beyond an automated “we got your application, we’ll get in touch if we want to proceed” until someone set up that phone interview, she might not be prepared to hurry up and complete assessments that might sit on your desk until Thanksgiving.

        You may know that if you’d received the assessments Monday morning, you would have evaluated them by Tuesday afternoon, but did she know that? So far, she has invested the time to send a resume and cover letter, and probably prepare for the phone interview. The phone interview is time you both spent. How much more time would those assessments have taken, and did she have enough information, yet, to know that it would be worth spending that time?

      7. Reba*

        Yeah, you overdid it.

        I highly doubt the candidate needing “reminding” and even if this were the case, the first communication would have served as the reminder! Since you kept reaching out it seems like there was something else you were looking for, and hounding her for it.

        1. Reba*

          Plus your impulse to somehow punish the candidate, and your sensitivity to your call being screened/sent to voicemail, also point to that “something else” being an unreasonable expectation of like, deference to you or willingness to drop everything for your company.

      8. urguncle*

        Thursday to Monday is not a lot of time to complete assignments for an interview. I’ve never had less than 5 business days to complete an assignment.
        If you wanted it turned in by Monday morning, that’s a ridiculous turnaround and disrespectful of her weekend. In no circumstances do I think that the candidate is in the wrong here.

      9. London Calling*

        You sent an assignment on Thursday evening to be completed by Monday morning? so you expected candidate to cancel any plans for the weekend and work for free. Did you make this timeline clear to the candidate during the interview? because it sounds like she decided being asked to give up her weekend and THEN being contacted four times, with one email immediately following a voicemail without even waiting for her to reply, was not something she was at all happy about. And I can’t say I blame her. Good on her for having firm boundaries.

        Red flags galore.

      10. Ginger Pet Lady*

        Are you for real? You asked for TWO unpaid assignments, and then nagged her FOUR TIMES in one business day, and you don’t see what went wrong here?
        You really have no clue what you’re doing in this hiring process, do you? You just lost your best candidate because you acted like you are her boss, when you are NOT.
        Don’t blacklist her. Remove yourself from the hiring process, or go get some remedial training on how to treat job candidates like the human beings they are. With respect for their time and the skills they would bring to the job if you didn’t push them away.
        You’re lucky they were polite as they firmly refused to work with you.

      11. The Real Fran Fine*

        She withdraws, explicitly citing Monday’s attempts at contacting her as the reason why.

        Yeah because she got your first email reminding her about the assessments on Monday. There was no need to send another email and call twice about it. If she was going to return the assessments, she would have (or asked you for more time). At this point, it felt like badgering and for all you know, she was going to respond, but didn’t get the chance to before you began blowing her up.

        Alison always tells job seekers here that after we submit an application or have an interview we need to then put it out of our heads and continue on with our search – the company knows we’re interested and if the interest is mutual, they will respond when they can. I would say something similar to you as well. The candidate knew you were interested. If it was mutual, she would have gotten back to you or asked for an extension. Blowing somebody up is not going to make them move any faster and, in fact, it may even turn them all the way off, as you have just now experienced.

      12. learnedthehardway*

        The candidate did NOT do anything wrong here, and there is no reason to blacklist them.

        You blacklist someone who lied about their work experience / has terrible references / faked their education or employment / is a known abusive person in your industry.

        You DON’T blacklist someone who VERY REASONABLY AND POLITELY decided not to pursue your role because you had unreasonable expectations and were basically harassing them.

        Under the circumstances ONE voicemail or email would have been appropriate. You might have gotten away with a voicemail AND an email – if the information you were conveying was urgent (eg. they missed a deadline or an interview time had changed).

    14. AdAbs*

      This is a lot of calls and emails for one singular workday. I can see an email and a follow-up phone call, but they are still trying to, presumably, work.

    15. RagingADHD*

      I read your follow up comments. Your expectations and behavior are entirely unreasonable.

      If your goal is to downgrade your hiring pool and give your company a bad reputation among highly-qualified candidates, then yes. You should certainly blacklist this candidate, and continue doing what you’re doing. You will quickly achieve the goal of only hiring people who don’t have any better options.

      If instead you want to hire top candidates like this person, you should take the feedback, change your attitude and your process, and *hope* they apply again for something else.

    16. SereneScientist*

      Leaving aside what other responders have said about your choices during the interview process, I think you should step back and think about the connection between “my favorite candidate said no” and “Should I blacklist them.” Something here feels like way too much personal investment for something that is work-only.

      1. AcademiaNut*

        If the OP blacklists, they should only do so if they inform the candidate of what they are doing and why. Then the candidate can post an entirely factual account on LinkedIn to warn off other candidates.

        A deadline of three days later for multiple assessment assignments is unrealistic. The person has a life, and isn’t going to put it on hold to dance on command for a potential employer. Assessments are useful, but should be compact enough to fit in the interview itself. Four contacts in a single business day at this stage is too much, in either direction. Blacklisting someone over the described situation is punitive and petty, and an indication that being blacklisted is actually a blessing.

    17. MurpMaureep*

      Were the communications escalations or on four different topics? Meaning did you keep contacting them because you hadn’t heard back or because you were sharing different pieces of info (or asking different questions)?

      The first would definitely be problematic, the second less so, but might have still appeared disorganized to the candidate.

      Either way don’t blacklist them! Learn from this and examine your communications and the underlying message they send.

    18. *daha**

      To answer the question you actually asked: No, do not blacklist them within the company. This is simply a bad fit between your personal style and theirs. It could be that there are some managers within your company who can tolerate a highly qualified candidate who does not capitulate fully and immediately to dominance.

  12. Workplace Email Smackdown Winner*

    I responded to a problematic person in my division who thinks she’s the smartest person in the room in a supremely satisfying way earlier this week, because she wrote me a nastygram about being moved out of a meeting space (online collaboration with a waiting room format, where we’d pre-warned everyone that they’d only be allowed in for the parts of the meeting they’re directly involved in). I essentially ignored her tone entirely and wrote back sticking to our policy, which was backed up by my grandboss when she later called them looking for backup.

    What did you succeed at this week that made you go “f*$k yeah”?

    1. seepy witt*

      Congratulations on this well deserved win!!!

      My f*$k yeah moment was sitting my new boss down and telling them what I need in order to succeed (and thus, the project to succeed). Not only did it not go horribly wrong (which I expected, thanks to trauma from my last boss)…they’re actually doing the things and it’s been fruitful already.

      1. Workplace Email Smackdown Winner*

        That’s good news – love when someone actually gets traction asking for changes that they need to do their job well!

    2. Susan Calvin*

      Setup: we, IT vendor, currently working on a pilot project with a highly prestigious customer. Last step required is integration with vendor B’s product they’re already using.

      Without going into too much detail, our go-live was indefinitely delayed, and yet through the power of transparency and proactive communication, Customer isn’t pissed at us, but vendor B, who comes across as uncooperative and whom they now suspect of being in a snit over not winning this deal too.

    3. WellRed*

      Not exactly a success but: a new manager wanted the whole team all go over a spreadsheet of duties that needed to be temporarily covered. I politely said on slack “not sure I’ll be much help” ( and that would apply to several others). This is because it’s waaay out of my job description. She said “I think it’s perfect since we’ll all be together.” The mtg came, she displayed the spreadsheet and cue several minutes of silence and at least one person saying, “I wish I could help” before mgr wrapped it up and mentioned people could talk individually about the tasks offline. Which was how it should have been handled in the first place.

      1. Joielle*

        I think not agreeing to do stuff out of a sense of awkwardness/guilt is a success (and something I have a hard time with). Congrats!

      2. Workplace Email Smackdown Winner*

        Sometimes it is SO necessary to not fill the silence and let the awkwardness of a situation speak for itself. Nice going!

      3. ForeignLawyer*

        We had a similar meeting recently that was just an hour of “Even if I had spare capacity, I literally don’t know how to do X because I was hired for completely different thing A” (think teapot production specialist vs. quality assurance vs. software design). It was so awkward.

    4. Mid*

      I finally got my boss to agree that she needs to use her capital to push very hard for a good cybersecurity audit because our company really, really needs a good cybersecurity audit. Still not sure it will be approve by The Powers That Be, but at least there’s a stronger chance.

      1. Workplace Email Smackdown Winner*

        Woo! Advocating for things that are needed at work and having others agree can be satisfying (and is always necessary!)

    5. Joielle*

      Congrats! LOVE a satisfying resolution to a nastygram situation.

      This week I officially got an office with a door! I’m in sort of a weird situation with a promotion that’s technically temporary but fairly certain to become permanent, and I was still in my cubicle but it was becoming a real pain to book conference rooms for all the meetings I’m now having. Cube space is at a premium with some new staff starting soon, so I asked if I could move into an empty office and I got the ok! There are some office politics at play and I’m trying not to rock the boat while in this temporary situation, but I am SO EXCITED to be able to just work from one place all day and be able to shut the door for calls and not have to shuffle stuff around. F yeah!

    6. Neosmom*

      I applied for an EA position last night via LinkedIn and got a message response today. They want me to submit a 2-5 minute video answering 12 interview questions! Just not possible.

      I responded to the text with an email message letting them know that 2 – 5 minutes was not possible for that question list. Then I ran through the questions and my replies one by one (leaving two blank that I thought would be better as part of a conversation) and let them know if they were interested in chatting further I would be happy to speak with them.

      Yeah! Ridiculous video request.

    7. Ama*

      This is my annual hell week — where I am responsible for the initial processing of every grant application my funding org employer receives. I am literally the only person at my employer who knows how to do this (although this year I have finally begun training my direct report but we’re still at the demonstration phase not the “try it yourself” phase) and I need to get things out the door for the next phase of the review by the end of the week.

      This year’s hell week came with added extra anxiety because last year my routine processing checks brought an absolute s**tstorm down on my head when a VIP misunderstood a routine email I sent and basically spent two weeks sending me and our leadership angry emails until we could finally calm him down (he’s one of those people who can’t EVER admit he’s wrong, so multiple attempts to politely say “I think you are misreading the intent here” did not work at all). I actually was having panic attacks last weekend and I am absolutely sure this guy’s BS was the reason why.

      This week, not only did I get the first phase of processing done yesterday (a whole day early), but the jerk who caused all the fuss officially withdrew from participating in this year’s review process which means I don’t have to deal with him at all.

    8. AsPerElaine*

      I managed to butt into a rapid back-and-forth between senior people to say, “Actually, can we go back to editing the list of takeaways, because I had one to add,” and then, in a bit of a pause later, follow up with, “As a process note, it is much easier for me to contribute takeaways if we actually ask, ‘Were there any other takeaways?’ and leave time for people to answer.” (Rather than listing the takeaways the loud senior people knew about, and then moving on to the next topic.)

    9. The Real Fran Fine*

      I delivered potentially awkward feedback to a direct report who has struggled with a perception problem internally (people, including my boss, think she doesn’t have the temperament to lead and shuts down when she doesn’t get her way). Not only did she not take offense to my observation, but she thanked me for it and asked me to help coach her on this issue because she said she admires how I handle some of our more…problematic coworkers and wants to learn how to do the same, but in a way that feels comfortable to her.

      We now have time blocked on the calendar moving forward to role play different scenarios so she can practice how to assert herself without completely shutting down others.

    10. the cat's ass*

      I successfully transferred a very pushy (6 emails in one day) sales person to the proper person in my org. My dude, it’s a great product, but STOP emailing so much! And here’s the right person for you to contact-don’t email them so much, either.

      1. They begged*

        Six months ago my boss and grand boss didn’t consider me for My bosses job when he announced his retirement(my dream job-I’d been there 14 years), and instead hired a guy with no experience. I quit and it’s been bad. This week they called, admitted their mistake, apologized profusely and made me an incredible offer to take over. I’m going back and I’m thrilled.

  13. Need suggestions!*

    I’m looking for ideas for team-building activities our management team can do with our outside sales people that don’t involve golf. Golf outings have been their go-to, but we have some salespeople (they both happen to be women) that do not golf, and we need to come up with some more inclusive activities.

    1. DisneyChannelThis*

      Escape Room
      Cooking Class
      Volunteer together
      Food truck festivals
      Happy Hour
      Attend a sports game
      5k Relay

    2. danmei kid*

      Nothing athletic or physically challenging, please. No bowling, no running, not even group yoga …. You may butt up against someone’s private chronic health issue and not be aware of it. Stick to things that are fun but low impact and don’t require physicality. Always be sensitive that people who need accommodations for things like old injuries, arthritis, balance issues, and more – may not feel brave enough to ask for them or bring it up when this type of “team building” is proposed.

      We did a cooking class that was fun but we did make sure to clear any allergies with the participants first.

      If the point is really “team building” and not just “let’s do something fun” then keep that in mind. Attending an event can be fun but the team really isn’t interacting, so how is this team building? Problem solving things like escape rooms can be fun but make sure no one is claustrophobic first! We had a team member nearly have a panic attack when we did that once. As soon as he learned that there’s an exit door that’s not locked and he really could leave any time, it was better.

      1. ThatGirl*

        Depending on the atmosphere, you could have a hangout at a bowling alley where you’re not required to bowl – for instance there’s a chain called Pinstripes around here that has bowling and bocce but also bar/restaurant/event space, so you can hang out while other people are bowling and just nosh on food or chat.

        1. Joielle*

          We did an indoor mini golf thing once, and one person had a broken ankle and was on crutches, and I am awful at golf. It was still fun because the two of us didn’t have to golf but could just sit on the side and have a drink and watch/heckle the golfers (there was a sort of elevated bar rail overlooking the golf area for just this purpose). Ended up being a great team building event!

    3. Pyanfar*

      Some that I’ve been on that were a blast…a graffiti art class including individual pieces and a group piece that then was displayed in the office…ropes course…bowling (regular and duck pin)…a charity that came and had the team assemble bikes and wagons that were then donated to the Boys & Girls club…Let’sRoam (phone app) scavenger hunts…escape rooms…mini golf

    4. NotBatman*

      Could it be a minor task (one forgiving of errors) that’s company work not normally done by that team? We did team-building that involved having HR do spot inspections of the company’s product (the ones headed for the employee store, not the distributors) and in the process learned a lot more about the business itself. Another team-building activity involved volunteering to sell the product in a booth at fun events, with the understanding that 10 – 15 employees would rotate between working the booth and enjoying the fair itself.

    5. Fluffy Initiative*

      Pub trivia (there are people that will do this as a private event)
      Wine/beer/cheese/other local specialty food tastings
      Group cooking class
      Group art/craft class or project
      Museum group tour
      Local sporting event (hockey, baseball, football…)
      Axe-throwing, if you’ve got a place near you that does that
      River/lake cruise, if you’ve got a body of water near you

    6. BalanceofThemis*

      Speaking as someone who is very claustrophobic, please think twice about the escape room. They aren’t fun for everyone.

    7. lost academic*

      Come up with a good list and send it out like a survey – letting people rank what they like the most and also indicate a veto for options that they couldn’t do. Make sure the responses are anonymous and tell them it will be. Then you’ll know what to pick.

      1. Mid*

        Not the same, but I take a similar approach to a book club. Everyone can nominate books they are interested in, I vet the books for length and content (and if they’re stand alone or part of a series), and then everyone gets to vote on the next book we read as a group. Everyone has the option to veto any book, and they don’t need to share a reason. The veto is absolute. People rank their votes, 3 points for their first choice, 2 for their second, and 1 point for third, and the book with the most points is the next book we read.

        Something like a list where everyone has to rank their top 3 activities, and then can anonymously veto any activities could work similarly.

        Also, minor league sports games are, in my opinion, often more fun for people who aren’t sports fans, as the games tend to have more entertainment that isn’t just about the sport. Last minor league baseball game I went to, for example, had a mini carnival attached to it and also a lot of local food trucks and a mini artist’s market. So even if you have zero interest in baseball, there was something that likely appealed to you.

    8. What She Said*

      As someone with a physical chronic illness and I get everyone is different but I truly enjoyed Bocce Ball. It’s physical but you can sit in between turns and it’s very low skill, low physical strength needed. It’s also fun to just watch the games as well if you wanna skip your turn. Most places serve food and drinks so there’s a little bit for everyone. I’d totally do that one again.

    9. Need suggestions!*

      Thanks so much, these are all great suggestions. And I appreciate the ones who pointed out things to keep in mind re: allergies, physicality, and claustrophobia.

    10. Generic Name*

      I just went to a networking event last night that consisted of tailgating prior to a concert and then attending the outdoor concert (for those of you in the Denver area, it was Red Rocks!). I would say it’s pretty inclusive (wide range of food/drink options offered, ADA accessible).

      1. Mid*

        I might actually enjoy a networking event if it was at Red Rocks! And yes, that venue is very ADA accessible, which surprises people considering it’s a giant, semi-natural amphitheater known for having a lot of stairs.

        But yes! Events with multiple activities can be the best option, because then there’s likely at least one part that someone will enjoy. Even if you don’t like the music, there’s also the fresh air, food, the option to do more nature-y things, and socializing. Also, last time I was at Red Rocks specifically, there were vendors selling N/A beer along with other N/A drinks and alcoholic drinks, which was a nice thing to see.

    11. PollyQ*

      Whatever you pick, mix it up. There will never be anything that’s agreeable to everyone, but if you rotate through different kinds of activities throughout a year, then hopefully everybody will get a chance to participate.

    12. Blarg*

      Since we’re getting into local specifics, in DC, the Spy Museum is .. EPIC and wonderful for individuals, families, and groups. And there are museums with similar levels of interactivity and such elsewhere. Although probably not as cool as the Spy Museum. Which is seriously very impressive, and no, I don’t work there. :)

    13. Anon on this*

      A primarily-male group may or may not be grimly competitive, but if they are, competitive events may not work well. Women shouldn’t have to join any competition that will end up being “who’s the alpha male?” That’s just too fraught. For that reason I’d drop just bowling from Disney Channel This’s excellent list. (Bad bowling experience: I was randomly teamed with the vice president in our department’s “fun game.” I don’t bowl but I was willing to give it a go for fun. As other teams with better bowlers overtook our score, he stopped joking, then stopped talking, and pretty soon he was just glaring at me with steam rolling out his ears. He had to invent an extra prize on the spur of the moment and award me “worst bowler” in front of everyone just to prove it wasn’t his fault we didn’t win. Really, people, competitions with overly competitive men are Not Fun and can be less team building than team damaging.)

      1. JustaTech*

        Yeah, the “how competitive are folks” is an important thing to consider when picking activities.
        We did a bowling thing years ago where everyone was very light hearted about the whole thing and not really paying attention to the score until one of the monitors dinged and we realized that one guy had a near-perfect score. He was all super modest about it, “oh, my wife is much better than me”. Turns out his wife was a nationally ranked bowling champion for years.
        But he was absolutely not competitive about it at all, so it stayed fun (and since no one else could reach his score, the people who might have been inclined to be competitive didn’t bother).

    14. Keener*

      I did an escape room with work colleagues and had a great time. Everyone found different but meaningful ways to contribute.

  14. Form Filler*

    Looking for idea on how to get senior leaders to turn in their hourly billing information. We are a medium size firm that does client work – we need everyone to fill out their timesheets every 2 weeks so we can bill clients. The junior staff through middle management do a great job – I think they still retain fear of being “in trouble” while senior staff – partners! – are weeks late in turning in their timesheets, delaying billing.

    We are not in a field with a lot of administrative support expected and even if we had the people to do it, the only people who know how many hours a partner worked on what are the partners themselves. We are discussing making this an item that is considered at bonus time. I suggested a public list of offenders. We profit share with all employees so they are costing everyone money.

    Any suggestions for how your professional service firm gets senior staff to turn in their billable hour details? Make it more frequent so its easier to remember? They can log daily or hourly if they want – they are only required to turn it in every 2 weeks.

    1. Bagpuss*

      I would suggest asking for it to be turned in more frequently – also,while time consuming to prodice, maybe evidence of what the issues are – e.g. delays in billing = delays in aymsesnt – what actual costs does thet create? Do you have more non-payers /slowlow payers when they are not billed promptly? Are you paying more / losing interest if bills are delayed?
      If it actually costs money maybe showing how much it is costing and (if feasible) breaking it down by person and giving the figures to the worst offenders may help.

      Also maybe consider havng a meeting with the worst offenders and aking them how they log their time and what stops them providing the information in a timely way. It may be that they don’t see it as importnat and o it is constnatly pushed down their list of things to do.

      (it may be that looking at software which lets them record as they go along would help, or an automated daily reminder, or suggesting blocking out time on a regualr basis specifically to complete them, for instance. I’ve always worked places where I have to time record and where it’s been daily, with the timesheets submitted evey day, but we will be working on multiple matters evey day for short periods – if you might spend all day on a single matter nthen doing it less freqently may make sense.

      For us, it is tied to bonuses in that bonuses are based on costs paid, so bonueses are calcualte in May and paid in 2 parts – May and Setpember, so if you have a lot of unpaid bills then you won’t get that element of the bonues until september, and if they are not paid by sepember you don’t get that element at all, so if you delay billing it delays the bonus, and if the slow billing menas more bad debts it affects the emplyee BUT we would only rarely havemore than one person working on a file, ithis approach wouldn’t work if you have multiple people working on the same bill as it would penalise the ones who turned in their hour promptly.

      I suppose you could have a system where non-compliance with policies including the policy around timing of submitting sheets was considered, so that someone who was regualrly late would have that taken into account.

    2. ferrina*

      I love the idea of tying bonuses to this. I’ve found that that can be a strong motivator with upper management.

      I’ve also used gentle humor. Humorous emails (no snark), poems, calling people directly…sometimes honey catches more senior leaders than vinegar. (my favorite is the sheepish grin when they see me walking down the hall, followed by promptly taking care of whatever the thing was)

      I’d also approach it as a process problem. Is there a way that they can delegate it to other staff? Sometimes sr leaders are so overloaded that “admin” is the thing that they’ll neglect, or they are using their own system that they’ve used for a decade and don’t really want to change. Is there a way that someone can fill out their time card for them (maybe by using their notes, or if sr. leaders can put blocks on their calendar that can be translated to accounts)? Then they just need to approve the time card rather than write it. Or somehow make it easier for them?

    3. lost academic*

      As someone who’s almost exclusively been on billable time I can’t fathom people being so casual about this! Our performance metrics were tied to billable hours and the senior staff were in charge of managing the budgets and billables and had similar metrics around them, it would be suicide to NOT submit a weekly timesheet with accurate billing information.

      I will give a couple examples for two firms, either of which can potentially work for you. The first, larger firm had rigid structure around timesheets being done on X day by Y time. Reminders went out constantly. You would be Chased Down by all levels of people if this wasn’t done. I did not love this approach because I thought it was a little wasteful of time but people did obsessively get their time in, and did have the opportunity to adjust anything that changed after they submitted it on the following timesheet.

      Second company I’ll mention does not take this approach and is engaged in identical work with identical types of staff. There are automatic reminders that go out daily starting on Friday and ending Monday morning. There is a semi automated one and then one or two personal follow ups Monday for the previous week. If your timesheet isn’t completed and submitted, you are simply not included in that week’s payroll. No threats or warnings, they just don’t have your data so it’s assumed you just took unpaid time off. Let me tell you, people get their act together when they find THAT out.

      It is the second I might suggest to you. You’re not submitting your timesheet? You must not have worked. (In both cases, timesheet software required time to be allocated at a minimum of 40 hours, inclusive of holidays, PTO and nonbillable codes too.)

    4. Princess Xena*

      Our admin staff has started sending out all-office emails with the names of everyone who hasn’t turned in timesheets for over a week. Very effective.

    5. Generic Name*

      Doing billable hours every two weeks sounds like a nightmare. I assume your company does zero federal contracting. If you do, I would look up the requirements surrounding that. My company does some federal work, and we require employees to fill out time sheets daily. I think the only way to make anyone do anything at work is to hold them accountable. Who does senior leadership report to? Does the CEO/COO/President/whoever reliably fill out time sheets? If not, then you’ve got a huge problem. Whoever is in charge needs to hold upper managers accountable.

    6. BlueWolf*

      My understanding at our firm is that partners’ year-end bonus gets reduced if they don’t keep up with submitting their time by the assigned deadlines.

    7. Foley*

      At a large law firm the ONLY thing that was remotely successful was suspending base pay. Because of the income scale, though, it takes months for the worst offenders to be affected.

      The other move was/is always a huge CSR (client service rep) push to get hours billed and money collected by December 31 because it’s calendar accounting and affects bonuses directly. All money is paid out and if it doesn’t come in, it doesn’t get paid out.

      I’m not sure of your structure, but the very partners who are the worst offenders are those who vote/decide the penalties, so after about 20 years I’ve seen nothing really work across the board. Not to discourage, but wanted to be truthful.

  15. Anon for this one*

    I’m in the final stages of consideration for a senior position at a small firm. For the second interview, we’ll be meeting up at a happy hour (there will be 4-5 of their senior execs). I’m not super excited about the format, mostly because social situations like that give me anxiety (which I can push through – I tend to be an ambivert) and also it is generally hard for me to hear well in loud spaces. I also am freaking out about what to wear, but I’ll figure it out.

    Not really sure there is a question in here – mostly looking for some solidarity around social interviews and how they should probably go the way of the dinosaur, and any tips for folks that have done social interviews and have recommendations.

    1. hi hello*

      I won’t lie, I like the social interview… It’s the only time as an interviewee I’ve been able to get a real feel for whether I will fit with the organization. I know there are serious equity issues around them (people tend to “click” best with others like them), but I would try to think about it as the only time you’re going to see your team as they normally are if you decide to take the job. So, you should treat it like your chance to look behind the curtain.

      My recommendation is to treat it like your chance to evaluate them. Let them do a lot of the talking and think about how they’re interacting, whether they’re positive or negative people, etc. Thinking of it as YOUR time to be critical can really help make it feel less stacked against you!

      1. Anon for this one*

        Thank you! I will probably actually enjoy it once I’m there – and these are good points of how to navigate it without feeling overly awkward.

    2. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Wear something work-y, since you’ll all be coming from work. BUT make sure your shoes are comfortable! I recently did a client lunch in wedges and changed to flats for the happy hour.

      One drink maximum. Nothing too fizzy if you’re prone to gas. :-) If someone asks why you’re not drinking anymore, you can say you’re “one and done” or, if you’re vibing well, joke that it’s your first meeting and you want to make sure you’re bringing your A game.

      1. Anon for this one*

        Totally hear you on the flats advice; I’ve also been really thinking about what won’t make me sweaty (I will be panicky and more prone to flushing and sweat plus summer time…)

        Yes on the drinks too! I think I might just stick to cranberry and soda; altho one martini is easy enough to sip on as well. I tend to get tired with alcohol and I’m always gassy no matter what – but I really appreciate the one and done phrase!

  16. NotBatman*

    Has anyone else successfully solved an issue with young interns/undergrads showing up to 1:1 meetings way too early? I work in academia, and — with 2 interns, 14 advisees, ~50 students — eager young people will consistently show up over 15 minutes before our scheduled time. This creates all kinds of problems:

    – I haven’t yet looked over my advising notes for my 12:45 when she walks in at 12:20 and starts talking.
    – I’m in a Zoom meeting at 1:40 when my 2:00 knocks on the door, then (when I don’t answer, but she can see me) yells “Dr. X? Can you let me in? I’m here for our 2:00!”
    – I once came back from the bathroom at 10:45 to find my 11:00 trying to get my office door open; she said she’d planned to wait for me inside.
    – I’m talking to my 10:00 (with the door open, as required) when my 11:00 walks in to say “just letting you know I’m here!”
    – If I know I’m meeting with Belinda and Brunhilda this morning, and Brunhilda walks in at 10:10, then I’ll assume she’s my 10:15 — only to realize mid-meeting that she’s my 10:45, and that Belinda is my 10:15. Now I have either ask Brunhilda to leave so I can meet Belinda, or stick my head into the hallway and ask Belinda to come back later.

    I don’t think this is lack of respect, just total unfamiliarity with professional norms and having over-internalized that “early is on time” saying. Also nervousness — if Brunhilda’s 40 minutes early, it’s often because Brunhilda’s terrified she’ll have to drop out of college. But this also means I start tensing up at around 2:10 not knowing when my 3:00 is going to spring on me. Our offices have windows we can’t block (again, safety) so pretending to be away isn’t an option.

    So is there anything I can do (Sign on my office door? Chairs in the hall outside? Email note? Calendar app message? Case-by-case conversations?) to try and forestall the problem? Thanks!

    1. londonedit*

      I’d probably go with a combination of approaches. Definitely a sign on your door saying that people should arrive/knock on your door no earlier than 5 minutes before their scheduled appointment time, but also having something on the calendar notification that says ‘Please do not arrive earlier than 5 minutes before your scheduled appointment time’. And it might also be worth doing a general emailed FYI that people need to stick to their scheduled appointments and not arrive early.

    2. Anon for this one*

      I think all the items you mentioned as potential options are great. Have a couple of chairs outside, a sign that says – “In a meeting – please wait until I come to gather you” along with calendar messaging.

      Also, if these are folks that are students – maybe adding a short module to your lecture on professional norms at the beginning of the semester/learning period to talk about office hours and your expectations.

    3. Not a Real Giraffe*

      When you confirm the appointment, I would explicitly spell out the behavior you want to see. “Please do not arrive early for this appointment, as I have meetings with other students scheduled before you. If you do arrive early, please wait outside and do not interrupt.” If you send a reminder, include these instructions again.

      Put a sign up on your door or just outside the door. Make sure it is very visible. (Chairs outside are a great idea!) If you are interrupted anyway, redirect in the moment and then spend the first few minutes of your appointment with the offender talking about what happened and what needs to happen next time.

      Good luck; I used to work with college students and no matter how many ways I tried to prevent these things from happening, I realized they simply will not read the instructions!

    4. Annony*

      Chairs in the hall would be a good idea to give them somewhere to wait. A note on the door when you are in a meeting letting them know that you are in a meeting and they should wait in the chair is a good idea too. If you aren’t in a meeting and they try to start early, just interrupt and let them know that you aren’t ready yet and ask them to wait in the chairs in the hall until the appointment time. Depending on how the meetings are set up, you can let them know ahead of time to wait in the hall until the meeting time.

    5. Hlao-roo*

      I don’t think this is lack of respect, just total unfamiliarity with professional norms and having over-internalized that “early is on time” saying.

      It is almost certainly this. I had to learn early in my career that “15 min early is on time and on time is late” might be a good saying when applied to showing up to a sports game or a flight but is totally inappropriate in most work contexts.

      Set expectations around “on time is on time for 1-on-1 meetings” whenever you first interact with your interns/advisees/students. Students and interns are easiest, because you can tell the students in class and the interns during their new hire orientation. For advisees, tell them whenever/however the advisor/advisee meetings get scheduled.

      Some of them will not hear the announcement, some will hear it but forget, and some will hear it and remember but their anxiety will override it and so you will still have people showing up early. Your case-by-case script should start with confirming what time their appointment is, and if they are early, politely but firmly telling them to wait (in the hall, in the campus coffee shop, etc.) until it is time for their appointment.

    6. Lady_Lessa*

      I’d consider both chairs in the hall and a note on your door letting the students know that you will only be ready for them at the scheduled meeting time.

      1. Bagpuss*


        I’d also include somethingin your initial information when tou first meet with them – e.g. to lwt them know as part of that tht if they arrive early, they should wait outside until the time of their meeting / appointment, not to just open the door or walk in (In my job, I have 3 options – door open = come in, door closed = knock and wait, door closed + engaged sign = don’t knock or interrupt unless the building is on fire. But I am only dealing with a relatively small number of people with a low turnover – obviously your milegage may vary)

        And then deal on a case bu case basis – e.g. if someonejust walks in or puts their head round thedor, direct them tbacck outside to wait (and get in the habit of checking – e.g. if you have several booked ask them what time their appointment is and then as ecessary you can either be ‘OK, you’re a bit early, I have a couple of things to finish up so take a seat and I’ll call you in as soon as I am ready’ or ‘OK, I actually have another appointment ahead of yours, if you want to wait you can take a seat, but your appointment isn’t until 10.30 so you may prefer to come back then,rather than waiting’

    7. former academic*

      Signs and chairs are the simplest solution. A place to wait comfortably and a sign on the closed door that says, meeting in session, please wait until called in. A welcome packet or memo or just a note given to everyone at the beginning of term outlining (briefly! and clearly!) the expectation that if you arrive early, please wait in the hall without interrupting. That really should be enough.

    8. DisneyChannelThis*

      Can you make a visible hard copy of your daily schedule outside your door? I’m not sure if I’d stick the students names on there or not (privacy) but it’d give them a clue if you are busy and they should wait.

      At the start of your meetings start confirming the name and time with who you meet in person. “Bruhilda – 10:15 to 10:45 meeting right?” Or “Just want to let you know I have another meeting immediately after this at 10:45” if you’re sure you’ve got the right student already. That gives a clear time expectation and a chance to go no wait I’m belinda our meetings at 10:45.

      My WFH coworker has a spinning wheel for her toddlers that has “red – no interruptions” , “yellow – interrupt if urgent” and “green – come on in!” that works well for communicating with both the kids and the nanny. Could you implement something similar? A “In a zoom meeting – do not disturb” sign would solve the knocking issue. Likewise holding up a whiteboard “on zoom till 2 come back then!” sign might work thru the window.

      Meanwhile address each one in the moment.
      “Letting you know I’m here” – Thanks Belinda but please don’t interupt until our meeting at 11. (Also maybe a computer way to let them ‘sign in’ without interupting? Like a google spreadsheet they could edit from a phone, def had profs who just extended the prev appointment until they were interrupted, so if you were polite and out of sight you never got your office hours slot).

      “I was going to wait inside” – I need you to wait in the hallway or in a student area, I can’t have students alone with the exams and student info in my office

      1220 walks in at 1245 – Sorry Belinda I had you down for 1245 would you mind coming back in 20 minutes? I need to finish this real quick. There’s a vending machine down the hall.

      If these are all students from the same class – it might be worth setting expectations with the class as a whole. Just to let you know, I need to keep my meeting times strict, if you are early please wait in the hall.

    9. Educator*

      One other possibility–do your colleagues schedule specific time slots with students, or do they provide drop-in office hour windows? I know drop-in office hours are more common where I have worked, and your students might be used to that and acting accordingly. It would not explain the barging in behavior–that’s just rude and needs to be corrected–but it would explain why they are showing up early if they are used to first-come, first-serve. Could be worth asking around to see how your colleagues handle this and thinking about what system would be most convenient for you.

      1. NotBatman*

        I do also have drop-in office hours, they’re posted on my door… and if they’re clearly marked as starting at 9:00, I still get people coming by at 8:45 sometimes. But I like the idea of asking around to see if more senior colleagues have solutions, since they’ve undoubtedly experienced similar problems.

    10. By Golly*

      Chairs outside would go a long way to help this. Most college students, when on campus, are going from one thing to the next and have no real “home” base close to where academic life happens. If you have a meeting at 10:45 but your previous class ends at 10:15, it’s likely you’ll just head to the next place and assume you can wait there, or perhaps have your meeting a little early, making the next block of open time a little bigger to allow for getting to the library or a favorite study spot. If there is no place close to your office for a student to settle in and wait, I can see how they might choose the option of interrupting to show they are early rather than walking somewhere else where you might never know they arrived.

      1. Tired*

        A couple of chairs outside did wonders for me. It’s just in my eye line so students arrive, wave and sit down, knowing I know they’re there

    11. Busy academic here*

      Look at them in paniced horror while clutching paperwork. Exhale loudly. Say with massive stress in your voice “Is it 2:00 already? I was planning on you being here at 2. Um, can you come back at 2? I’m not ready yet?” If they are just early they leave and come back. If they start crying, talk to them now. Note: the panicked response is not generally fake. I just don’t hide my response to them disrupting my tight schedule

  17. XF1013*

    When does misnaming someone rise to the level of employment discrimination?

    A few days ago, a transgender letter writer asked for help getting coworkers to remember a new masculine name after going by a gender-neutral nickname for some time. (9/12/22, “will I be implicated in my coworker leaving early, stopping a nickname, and more”)

    This reminded me of an older question from a manager having trouble getting their team to stop calling its one foreign member by an American name that the person disliked because it was easier for them. (8/22/16, “my employees refuse to call their coworker by her real name”)

    In both cases, malice was not intended by the offenders, but it still caused harm to the person being misnamed. They were the only person being misnamed in their respective teams, and the misnaming in each case was based on a protected class, either sex or national origin.

    Would either of these be grounds for a discrimination lawsuit? If not, what else would it take for misnaming to qualify as discrimination or harassment?

    1. PollyQ*

      IANAL, so I won’t attempt to answer the legal question, but I disagree that the second example wasn’t malicious. That team was much too attached to their “right” to call their co-worker by a nickname they made up for it to be called “accidental.”

    2. Princess Xena*

      Not a lawyer, but I think you’d have to have official misnaming on things like formal paperwork or additional harassment on similar grounds for it to qualify for a discrimination lawsuit. You’d have grounds to complain to management long before – “Fergus and Jane are continuing to deliberately use my old name in written and spoken communication even after I’ve asked them several times to stop”. Any sensible management should then step in to prevent it from going to management.

      In either case, I would not expect a lawsuit to get particularly far unless someone wanted to spend a lot of money on making a point. It’s more likely that if management didn’t step in the harassed employee would quit and receive additional severance/unemployment.

    3. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      I would think if it creates a real, by legal definition, hostile work environment, it would rise to that level. If a LGBTQ+ person being misnamed was based upon their gender or perceived gender — e.g. calling a gay man Nancy — or the wrong name was based on a bias/stereotype of their race, nationality or religion — eg. calling someone of Middle Eastern origin Muhammed because of their religion or nationality, and not because it was even close to their name — etc. and it was severe or pervasive. But if one or two people are occasionally getting someone’s name wrong, or shortening it to a common nickname, it doesn’t seem to rise to that level. If my name is Jennifer and people keep calling me Jen or Jenny, but it’s not meant as a slur on my race, religion, nationality, etc., it’s rude and offensive, but not discrimination.

    4. fhqwhgads*

      My understanding is both do. One is discriminating based on national origin, the other by gender. That said, someone doing either once, being corrected and stopping doesn’t. But the extent to which it was happening in both letters you mentioned, could hit the threshold.

    5. marvin*

      I can’t hope to comment on the legal question, but on an ethical level, I think malice is actually a very high bar. A lot of harm can be done by people who think they’re doing the right thing or who aren’t really thinking through their actions at all. I think we tend to vastly overestimate how many people who act badly consciously intend to hurt the other person. Which is kind of a scary thought because we have to reckon with all of the unconscious harm we have probably caused. But it also means that there is a similar path of improvement that’s open to all of us.

  18. On-site daycare questions*

    Can I get some advice on when in the interview process to ask for details about the company’s on-site daycare? I know you’re supposed to limit family talk during interviews (I’m a late 20s woman fwiw) but I’m pretty happy in my current role and on-site daycare is my biggest draw for applying to the new place.

    Also, any thoughts on on-site daycares overall? I have an infant and live in a very HCOL city with no current childcare availability for miles, so this would be a huge perk even if the subsidy is small.

    1. Anon for this one*

      You might just lead with – what are some policies and programs you have in place that support new parents and families?

    2. a tester, not a developer*

      I’d confirm what the process is for getting a spot – the wait list at my old office was 2+ years (we had a year of mat leave), so if you needed coverage you needed to apply the moment you knew you were pregnant, and have a plan for coverage until a spot came open.

      I heard our daycare was great – never did get a spot in it. LOL

      1. lost academic*

        Yup this. You can ask outside of the interview process for parents’ experience with it (Facebook groups for instance) but ask specifically about the waitlist for your children’s ages. You can also potentially get that information by calling the director on your own. Everyone I know who used the on-site daycare for Large Corp HQ in our little suburb of a NE city loved it, but at the same time, it opened to the public before COVID too as the company didn’t I guess have enough kids of the right ages to keep it solvent. I worked in a building near it and considered it, but I am actually STILL on the waitlist for preschool/toddler ages so there’s that.

      2. Green Goose*

        This! At our local flagship college there is a heavily subsidized daycare for PhD students and staff and it’s advertised but… the wait list is years and they have no intention of expanding the amount of children they serve.

    3. KayDeeAye*

      Don’t some companies mention this on their website? It’s a huge selling point for potential employees, after all.

      1. On-site daycare questions*

        I know it exists, which is confirmed by the website/glassdoor, but the details regarding cost, open slots, waitlist, COVID policies, etc aren’t on the website.

    4. Weekender*

      Is the on-site daycare a chain like Bright Horizons?
      If so, you could call them directly to get pricing (if that is what you are looking for).

      I worked at a place that had Bright Horizons as the day care provider. They are a chain that has a big focus on education. It was very good for our family. The fact that it was on-site didn’t matter. Where I worked was so large, it was no time savings for me to have it on-site. I still had to drive to get my child after I left work. I couldn’t walk over to get them because of the distance and a major road in between the daycare and my office.

      My employer claimed the tuition was subsidized but I could have gone to another chain daycare in the area for almost the same price. And they had some weird rules that outside daycares didn’t have (at that time anyway). For example, my company had a week shutdown for the holidays and the daycare closed completely. I still was required to pay for that week even though my office was closed and the daycare was closed. You also had to pay if the daycare was closed (certain holidays) or if you were going to be out for a planned vacation. The rules became out of hand at times and there was no accommodation for one-off situations. They were run by their corporate headquarters and not my company.

      1. On-site daycare questions*

        It actually is a Bright Horizons! Unfortunately the coordinator wanted proof that I worked there before giving any details. Good to know about the tuition and closures though.

        1. OtterB*

          We had our kids in a Bright Horizons center. They are in their late 20s now so it’s been quite some time. I don’t remember details on wait list. It was affiliated with my husband’s office so our game plan was that he would take them to and from … seemed like a good idea, but then he ended up on a project involving extensive travel, so I had to take them to day care, back track to my own job, then swing over to pick them up when the day was over. The logistics were a challenge, but we loved the center and it was worth it. It was good for my older daughter, who is a typical kid, but it was wonderful for my younger daughter who has special needs. Really, they were great with her. Financially, I think the company subsidized the center’s rent and utilities. The charges were not much lower than surrounding centers, but my understanding is that they offered their staff better pay and benefits so they had more staff stability.

      2. Esmeralda*

        Lots of daycare centers will do this: their staff needed a holiday too. If we were out for any other reason (kid sick, vacation, whatever), of course we had to pay— it’s not like they could fill the slot for that time with some other kid.

        If you buy an annual parking permit, you don’t get reimbursed for days you don’t use your car. If you have a gym membership, you don’t get reimbursed if you sloth off for a couple of weeks. Daycare center is the same — you’re paying for the opportunity to use it, as well as for the actual services.

    5. Angelinha*

      I’d wait until you have an offer in hand, then get all the information you need about the daycare and wait list length before you accept.

  19. Process Documentation Help?*

    I work in a small academic library and we’re looking for a wiki-style solution for organizing our documentation. We have tons of very detailed documentation on every process we do, from checking out materials, to communicating hour changes with IT, to what needs to be sent to HR when a new employee is hired; it’s tons of information but really helpful both as a new hire and as a reminder for those tasks you do just once a year. The problem is that we haven’t found a good way to store this info.

    A while ago, the documentation was all kept in a GIANT Word document. The benefit of that was that it was easy to search, but the problem was that it got to be so large that it became glitchy/unwieldy. Then, they used some sort of blog solution that I guess didn’t work super well. But for the whole time that I’ve worked here, all of our documentation has been kept in One Note. The ability to create different pages within the shared notebook is nice, but the formatting isn’t consistent and the search function doesn’t work. So, my question for all of you is whether your organization has a knowledge base/documentation wiki that’s actually useful. Do you have any recommendations for an alternative to One Note we could investigate? Ideally, whatever solution we pursue would be free, but we’re desperate enough to hear about paid options.

    TLDR: do you have any ideas for an organizable and searchable centralized location for all documentation for job processes? Preferably free/cheap and easy to use for people with next to no programming know how? Thank you!

    1. Roland*

      All the tech companies I’ve worked at have used Confluence. Idk if the price is out of range for an academic library though.

    2. Svennerson*

      Gonna join the chorus of voices recommending Confluence. Great branching to organize your processes well, while still maintaining search functionality and not being any more complicated than Word.

      1. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

        You can just do everything in a Wiki – no actual files in the project. Or you can include the files like PDF forms in the project tree, with all the commentary in the Wiki.

        It tracks changes nicely.

    3. Baeolophus bicolor*

      I’ll throw a different solution out there – if there are people willing to learn a little bit of XML, DITA might be a good solution. You make a separate file for each separate concept or task and can link them all together in a map that can be produced as either a PDF or webhelp, basically a website. Definitely more start up effort, but if you get a program like Oxygen (which has a really easy to use Author view, like typing in a word doc with a few extra steps) and can get everyone on board it’ll be versatile and easy to maintain.

    4. Isben Takes Tea*

      We just switched to Notion, which I vastly prefer to Confluence for readability and visual data organization.

    5. Parenthesis Dude*

      Confluence. Costs change based on company size, but you’re generally talking $5.50 per month per user. So, if you have 100 people, you’re talking $550 a month. Github isn’t a bad solution either.

    6. Unfettered scientist*

      TiddlyWiki. It’s free, you can easily link between notes and protocols, endlessly customizable and self contained in an html notebook. You do need to be ok writing wiki text but it’s very very similar to markdown and there are buttons for auto inserting things like headings, bullets, numbered lists, etc.

      1. Generalist*

        Might be too late for you to see this, but I strongly recommend Manula. For $100/year you can have a very robust system.

    7. The Real Fran Fine*

      Check out ClickHelp. They have free trials you can use to first see if it’ll meet your needs, and I think it’s cheaper than some of the other options on the market (don’t quote me on that though).

    8. krysb*

      I’m so late to this, but can someone tell me how searchable it is? I’m trying to pitch stuff to my work because…. well, let’s not pretend that process documentation and information is easy to review in Word docs loaded to SharePoint.

  20. SFal*

    I work in academia and I’m pretty sure I’m about to get offered the job to be the head admin of the department (currently I’m the post award admin)

    I had debated long and hard about even applying, but was encouraged to by my boss and the former admin. It’s 2x my current salary. After meeting with the chair I started to have a lot of doubts, and after helping the interim head I’m having even more. I don’t know if I really care or am interested in the department budgets-I like research as it has set rules and can be a fun puzzle. I got my certified research admin certification last year, and have really put it to good use. Then there’s the question of if I’d still be able to work remote-they want 5 days in office-I can’t do more than 3 (or I’d have to leave early to get my kids from school and I’d be the on call parent those days)

    It’s alot more stress, and budgets in less interested in, but I’d really get to shape the department I think. But I’d have to work with the new assistant chair and she’s the worst. Plus I’d have to manage all my former coworkers and that feels weird. Also I know the second choice as it’s internal, and yea….concerns there to.

    My partner just sees the $$ and thinks I should try it for a year and if I hate it bail. My family thinks I just don’t want to work a harder job-and that I want to use my coasting job where I have more free time but less $ and less control.

    I have the weekend to decide. What factors to weigh? If I do end up saying no-how to do that without burning a entire bridge and feeling like I wasted everyone’s time.

    1. hi hello*

      Not knowing the whole situation, I’m with your partner… try it for a year, and if it really isn’t a good fit, then you can help find a replacement who is a better fit.

      If you choose not to accept, I would frame it in “fit” terms as well — just highlight the (concrete, specific) things you love about your current job that you wouldn’t be able to do with that other job, and say that those are more important to you than anything else. So, it’s not that you don’t want the job, but it isn’t as good of a fit for your interests, passions, etc.

    2. Sunshine*

      I just want to say that there is absolutely nothing wrong with not aspiring to a harder job. Free time and less stress are both amazing benefits that can be more valuable than money, honestly.

      Twice your salary is a significant bump – if you have certain financial goals you’re trying to meet, like paying off debt or buying a house, it might be worth trying this for a while and seeing where you end up. But I would talk to them first about the remote flexibility and see where that conversation gets you. And if the job isn’t for you, you haven’t wasted anyone’s time! Interviews are how we learn more about the position and the people we’d be working with. There is absolutely nothing wrong with saying “thank you so much for your consideration, but after learning more about the role I feel like my current position is a better fit for me right now.”

      1. Witch*

        Absolutely right there with you that there’s nothing wrong with getting a “harder” job just because. Ignore that entire emotional aspect, focus on the concrete.

        – It’s more money but will be mean more time in the office. How is your partner suggesting you both deal with this?
        – You’d be dealing with budgets, not something you’re interested in.
        – You don’t like the new assistant chair (how new? Could you find a balance?)
        – You’d be managing former coworkers (this is just an emotional thing you’ll need to figure out. Imo it /can/ be weird but that don’t mean it /has/ to be weird.

        I think you should only take it if you are accepting of the work they’re asking you to do; budgetary stuff.

    3. Velociraptor Attack*

      I’m stuck on one thing, you say your partner thinks you should try it for a year but also mention that you couldn’t be in office 5 days a week because of school pickup.

      Is your partner also the other parent and if so does their support mean they’re willing to take over pickup 5 days a week?

      1. SFal*

        He manages pickup the other 3 days when he’s working remotely. But the two days he’s in his office which is over a hour away. Him being the ‘on call’ parent that day doesn’t work.

        The only way I’d be able to come in 5 days a week is if on those 2 days I could leave at 230-which probably means I’d have to be in by 630ish?

    4. cardigarden*

      So, re your partner’s thoughts of trying it for a year and then bailing if you don’t like it: where would you bail TO? You probably won’t be able to go back to your previous position, which most likely means leaving the department entirely. How easy is it to get a lateral or other position in a different department? If you have to leave your institution, what’s the job market like in your area? The 1 year salary bump won’t go far if there aren’t other research positions to jump to.

      I don’t think it would burn bridges to frame it (to the people who recommended you apply) as “it’s really encouraging that you think I’m capable of this level of work, but the more I learned about this position, the more I realized that research is really what I want to be doing.”

      Good luck!

    5. seepy witt*

      I’m in the same line of work. How big is the department? The actual work is really not *that* different than post award and I suspect you’d get used to it. I will say that I went from a department that was totally funded by sponsored projects to managing a department that also had general university funds and the two systems of management were just different enough that it drove me nuts some days. But that’s mainly because my university has terrible training and it seems like even some of the other admins don’t know how the system works.

      That said, if I were you, my biggest hangups would be flexible scheduling and working for someone you don’t get along with. Will the extra money allow you to outsource some of the other things (after school pickup, house cleaning) so it’s not so big of a loss of your free time?

      1. SFal*

        We’re a big science department. 35 Full time faculty, 15 teaching faculty, 3 bldgs. About 120 research grants between everyone-not to mention all the students paid from a wide variety of places and general funds. It’s a beast.

        I think the chair talking about the grand semester plan to save costs on copiers and how to save on start up packages just did not sound appealing.

    6. Frog&Toad*

      How does your partner plan to support you? Can they adjust their schedule to handle more childcare? If yes, are they WILLING to adjust?

    7. ntt*

      Hi SFal! Just wanted to say I’m also in higher ed admin and struggling with a similar decision – no advice, just solidarity! I’m choosing between a higher-paying but less organized, more stressful, all-in-person job with people I feel so-so about BUT a place where I could have a huge impact and that could really further my career because of the uniqueness of the project; or a lower-paying job that I frankly am worried I’ll be bored at, but I got a good impression of the manager, plus would have a hybrid schedule and be able to stay well within 40 hrs/wk.

      Writing it out now, it seems like job B is the obvious choice, but job A is the type of thing I’ve been wanting/waiting to do for my entire career… I just wish it paid more and had better people on the team.

      My best friend is also encouraging me to take a risk with job A and then bail if I don’t like it after a year. I’m also trying to negotiate the salary up (my offer is not quite as big of a $ jump as yours) to make up for some of the downsides that I’m anticipating. Trying to tell myself that no matter what I choose, I’ll find ways to make it a good opportunity for me. Good luck with your decision this weekend!

    8. Blarg*

      Do the math on remote vs in-office. Cost of gas/wear and tear on the car or transit passes. Dry cleaning. Lunches and dinners (cause inevitably you end up going out more when you’re already out) and vending machine snacks and the coffee shop. Child care in the afternoons, school holidays, summer. And your time — does an 8 hour day become an 11 hour day with the commute? What’s the hourly rate difference then?

      I’d be hard pressed to give up remote work at this point — it would have to be like … I can’t even think of an example.

    9. Pocket Mouse*

      I’m not sure if this applies to you, but from the experience of a family member in academia: check what the higher salary means for retirement. If you expect to receive a pension that’s pegged to your highest salary within the system, it may be worth incorporating that consideration into your calculations.

    10. Mac (I Wish All The Floors Were Lava)*

      If you’re contemplating working with someone who is “the worst”, is there any way you can shadow her for half a day or something? At my last job (a smallish nonprofit) I accepted a position as an assistant to the fundraising head in addition to my other job, just trying to be helpful in a hiring pinch. I knew by the first day it was a mistake, because she was AWFUL. I went home with a headache from grinding my teeth. It’s possible that a few hours of trial run will either convince you no amount of money could be worth it, (or, more optimistically, that actually she’s not that bad?)

  21. NeonDreams*

    I am so glad for the open thread this week. I’m struggling with something and have been off and on for months.

    I left my call center job last November. I was absolutely miserable there. It was the textbook definition of burnout. Yet I don’t like the current job I hold, either. The process bores me to death. That can’t be changed. Everyone here is super nice and has bent over backwards to get me accommodated. So it hurts that I don’t like it. I feel like it’s not a good enough reason it look for something else. My family’s like, you should just concentrate harder. Which leads me to my next point.

    I’ve discovered this year at 34 I have symptoms of ADHD. This wasn’t on my radar until my friend mentioned it. The symptoms match me to a T. I got evaluated but the doctor thought my symptoms are just part my already existing anxiety and depression. It’s brought up a lot of grief and questions in what I should look for in a position. The call center stretched me to the brink, but my other position doesn’t challenge me enough. Ideally, I’d like to find somewhere in the middle but I don’t know what to look for. I signed up for a career coach, who helped me get the confidence to apply for this current position.

    Part of me feels like I’m in an existential crisis and the other is beating myself up for feeling that way because I’m fortunate to even have a job at all.

    Thank you for listening. I’m just lost and confused.

    1. Hlao-roo*

      One thing I’ve seen on this site that may help with the existential crisis (at least related to the ADHD diagnoses) is:

      A diagnoses doesn’t change who you are. You are still the same person you were last year. A diagnoses just gives you access to a toolbox to better understand who you are and how you interact with the world.

      I think you are smart to think about what jobs could/will be a better match for you. Not liking your job is a great reason to start looking for another one. Good luck with whichever path you choose in the future!

      1. NeonDreams*

        Logically, I know it doesn’t change anything, but my heart has a hard time accepting it. I spent years hating myself for these things an now I have an explanation. It’s validating, yes. but it also makes me grieve that it wasn’t discovered earlier.

        1. Hlao-roo*

          Ah, I interpreted the line about grief the wrong way! I think it is reasonable to grieve for “what could have been” if you had gotten the diagnoses earlier.

    2. Justin*

      I got my ADHD dx at 35 last year. I chose to go into therapy to process it once it happened (not telling you what to do, just sharing), and it really helped me figure out how to approach future works. I also decided to live very publicly with it, which is a risk, but I found that masking (this version – wearing masks is good!) was more of a risk/damage to me than the stigma, and any future job was likely to find out if I was hiding it and dropped the ball anyway.

      So. Whether with a professional or a support group or friends, think about how you can manage your brain and what would make things the least hassle for you.

      1. NeonDreams*

        I’m in therapy and have been for 10 years or more. I’ve told my boss because she says offhandedly she has symptoms as well. But when she asked me why I’m not meeting my metrics, I said it was ADHD. She’s like, I can’t take that into consideration because you don’t have accommodations. I don’t know what kind of accommodations I could even ask for.

        I have lot of good support around me with my therapist, parents and friends. But it’s still bothering me a lot.

        1. Justin*

          I can’t tell you what you yourself need. Myself I mostly just need patience. I’m very very fast when put in a position to succeed. So maybe consider the new info you have, and think about what makes you move your best, and maybe you can work towards that. Mostly I just needed very clear instructions, and people not to disturb my blocked off focus time.

        2. Indubitably Delicious*

          Some accommodations I’ve had, formal and informal: flexible start time, ability to flex time within certain limits and/or wfh for certain projects, ability to channel most of my workflow through email so it’s in writing, ability to have a distraction blocker extension on my browser at work, weekly meetings with my supervisor to go over my project list and help prioritize tasks/move past mental blocks.

          Maybe none of this would work for you, or your needs are different, but if it’s a road you want to go down, that’s a start.

    3. Zap R.*

      Have you had these symptoms your whole life or did they pop up in the last few years? Were you an unusually chatty or spacey kid? Did homework take forever? If you went away to university, did school suddenly get A LOT harder?

      Answering those questions can help you determine whether the executive dysfunction is ADHD or anxiety/depression. Either way, I’m sorry this is happening to you. Solidarity, friend.

      1. Zap R.*

        (Also, not meaning to imply that you don’t know your situation or that you *haven’t* asked these questions. I just know that it can be tricky to untangle all of these issues from one another.)

        1. NeonDreams*

          I think I’ve had it my whole life, I just haven’t had words to describe it until recently. I was the kid that lost her homework or personal items, had a hard time paying attention in class, has a hard time keeping deadlines. I have a bachelor’s degree but it was difficult for both academic and personal reasons. I’ve always had trouble regulating my emotions and procrastinate on EVERYTHING (like I’m doing now, haha.)

          I’m in therapy and have been for 10 plus years. I feel like I have to put so much more mental effort to look like a ‘successful’ person than others do. For years I thought something was wrong with me, but it’s not. My genetics just happen to be wired this way.

    4. SJ (they/them)*

      If you can, please get a second opinion on the ADHD diagnosis! It’s heavily under-diagnosed in most populations (with the exception of school-age boys, where it is likely over-diagnosed).

      Wishing you luck. Please take care of yourself. You deserve gentleness and care as you navigate toward a new plan.

    5. EMP*

      If you’re interested in ADHD medication I would get a second opinion from a different doctor. Maybe your therapist can recommend someone?

      The good news is there’s a lot of free advice on the internet around ADHD and work – coping with whats not ideal, what to look for, etc. It’s tough to dig through and you may not find what you need but it’s somewhere to start. Wishing you good luck and a good fit somewhere soon.

    6. Isben Takes Tea*

      If it helps, you’re not alone! I have both experienced this and witnessed it many, many, many times for friends and acquaintances with adult diagnoses of all kinds of neurodivergence: the cycles of existential crisis, anxiety, guilt, grief, and frustration. If it’s available and seems possible, therapy (or at the very least, even a journal) can really help — some place to feel heard as you just talk out all the complicated feelings. ALL those feelings are valid and make sense.

      You can also be both grateful you have a job and want something better. A situation not being toxic or abusive doesn’t mean you “don’t have permission” to not like it. You can be grateful for this place or moment or relationship and still acknowledge it’s not where you belong or want to stay–we’re all journeying through life and aren’t meant to be static. Learning and experimenting and growing into yourself comes in lots of different ways, including what kind of work you thrive at: you’re worth a job you really enjoy!

      If you want a less touchy-feely answer, you can always think back to Alison’s magic question: “What’s the difference between someone who is good at this role and someone who is great?” The reverse is also a magic question: what roles or jobs or tasks are okay for you, and which ones do you really, really enjoy? It’s worth exploring what makes you excel, whether it’s types of projects or management style or schedules or emotional feedback or role on a team or anything.

      If you’ve just had the diagnosis, it can take a while to process! I wish you the best of luck. <3

    7. OyHiOh*

      It’s very very common for ADHD in women to be treated as anxiety and depression. Shockingly common in fact. I would go to someone else for a second (or third!) opinion because it’s remarkable how much anxiety and depression dissipates when you are treating the underlying executive functioning issues.

      Conversely, what I was absolutely convinced was ADHD (and even trialed medication for) was really the reverse – decades of unacknowledged trauma, anxiety, and depression. When I started working on those things, the symptoms that appeared to be ADHD went away.

    8. smeep248*

      I would get a second opinion on the ADHD. I was diagnosed at 40 and struggled for a long time thinking it was *just* my anxiety/ depression. Can we say for sure that a lifetime of being neurodivergent in a neurotypical world hasn’t contributed to your anxiety and depression? It could all be comorbid – is typical anxiety/ depression treatment working? I am just saying there are a lot of ways to approach this.

    9. North Wind*

      You might be fortunate to have a job, but that has nothing in the world at all to do with you trying to find something that really engages you! There’s no reason at all to feel guilty or have any kind of negative feelings about being bored in your job and wanting more.

      Please take every opportunity to explore what might suit you better. I remember years and years ago, there was a lull in the work in my department and I taught myself SQL. I felt like my brain was already singing that tune and the education just taught me the words. I quickly started contributing at a much higher level, got a higher salary and more job opportunities, and could not BELIEVE I was getting paid to sit and solve logic puzzles all day.

      15 years down the line, I was so miserable sitting in front of a computer moving data around all day, I’d sometimes go out to my car and just cry during lunchtime. Nothing was tangibly wrong – I wasn’t overworked or micro-managed, I didn’t have a mean boss, I made my own hours, I had a very decent salary and tons of benefits – but I was absolutely miserable and it wouldn’t go away.

      It took me a few years, but I found my way into freelancing. I do lots of shorter-term projects, which means I start something, finish it, and move on (rather than maintaining some dusty old bureaucratic process for years on end) and constantly meet new people in all different types of businesses/orgs/charities all over the world. Turns out that at this time of my life, I thrive on variety. Wasn’t true for the younger part of my life, and maybe won’t be what I want later in my life, but there’s nothing wrong with either way of being.

      Let yourself be yourself and don’t guilt and stress over it!

      1. NeonDreams*

        You nailed how I feel exactly on the head. Which is why I feel guilty about being bored. Reading your post is super validating! I’m glad to know I’m not alone.

    10. Jean (just Jean)*

      A word of comfort: Thirty-five may seem too old/too late to make any changes, but honestly unless you’re hit by a catastrophe you have approximately the same number of years left to work before retirement. That’s a lot of time in which to learn better practices and apply them. Some of us don’t find out about our ADHD/ADD until we’re well into our fifties. (Long story short: I decided to be grateful for everything that *has* gone well in my life, even though I’m not exactly blazing a trail up the ladder of success.)
      Welcome to the ADHD/ADD community, and good luck to you!

    11. RagingADHD*

      Anxiety and depression are often comorbid with ADHD, and they can cause similar symptoms. So it’s no wonder that your doctor may have trouble parsing out which is which. Sometimes the answer really is “all of the above.”

      If you are already being treated with meds for anxiety, ask your doctor about a med that treats both. There is at least one SNRI that is technically an anxiety med but is also helpful for ADHD. Of course, switching anxiety meds takes longer than trying out a short-acting stimulant, but it’s an avenue that may be available without formal diagnosis.

      I highly, highly recommend the book “Smart but Scattered,” because it has very practical advice for identifying which executive functions are strengths and weaknesses for you, and ways to use your strengths to compensate for your weaknesses.

      There’s a pattern I see very frequently with adults who suspect or get an ADHD dx, where they have an identity crisis and then over-invest in the dx as a new identity.

      I did it myself-hence, username. But in the long run, the identity model isn’t very useful for understanding or coping with the disordered parts of the traits.

      There are things you are good at, and things you are bad at. Some of them are skills you can learn, and some of them are always going to be things you need to solve. None of them have to define what you can accomplish in your life.

    12. Parakeet*

      I got diagnosed last year (combined-type ADHD + autism). I also have depression, social anxiety disorder, and PTSD (the PTSD and depression were diagnosed before last year). I got evaluated by a neuropsychologist and it included a history, a clinical interview, and a full battery of tests. The report that I got at the end was detailed and fascinating. If your previous evaluation wasn’t by a neuropsychologist, and you can get one by a neuropsychologist, it might be worthwhile (insurance covered the vast majority of mine but it can be tricky).

      I’ve had a somewhat rocky professional life but am finally in a job that fits me REALLY well – and while not all of my prior jobs were good fits for me, most built skills that went into the unusual combination of skills that got me the current job. So I don’t feel like it’s been wasted or anything.

      One thing that I gather is true of a lot of ADHDers – and it’s certainly true of me – is that it really matters that I like what I do. I realize that sounds incredibly basic, and probably also incredibly extra, since after all, most people would rather do something they like than something they don’t. But a lot of people do seem to be able to develop enjoyment and satisfaction in types of work that don’t hold much inherent interest for them, and able to perform well. And really, that seems so useful, that flexibility! I just can’t seem to sustain energy and performance over the long term in that kind of circumstance. But give me something I’m really interested in for its own sake and I’ll do very, very well. Perhaps this is true for you as well!

      Of course then the question becomes, how to translate that into work that someone will pay you a reasonable amount of money to do? That was tricky, and is part of why my earlier professional life was rather uneven. But perhaps it’s something the career coach can help with! Different kinds of volunteering over the years were also really useful in helping me find an employable niche that I like enough to do very well in (I’ve been getting so many compliments from people at work this week and it’s been a real confidence-booster).

  22. Warrant Officer Georgiana Breakspear-Goldfinch*

    :( I tested positive for covid earlier this week. I feel pretty crummy and my boss is saying all the right things about “take time off and rest!” but …I started this job less than a month ago and currently have a grand total of 7 hours of sick time. In an ideal world, I would take the next two weeks off and spend the day napping and reading romance novels, but I don’t see how that’s possible. I work remotely and independently so I can probably get away with a lot, but does anyone have ideas for how I can prioritize my health & recovery without getting fired?

    1. Bubbletea*

      If your boss is telling you to take time off and rest, I’d go back to them and explain that you’d love to but you can’t afford to take time unpaid. See what they suggest.

    2. Justin*

      If he’s saying the right things (and that is indeed the right thing to say), he might not know how the hours accrue if he’s just joined, so I’d tell him “well, I might need the next (week, whatever, you don’t really know, it was 4 bad days for me, could be 2 days, 2 weeks…), is there anything you all can work out on my sick hours since I don’t have very many yet?”

    3. PX*

      Yup, as others have said. Speak to your boss. She might say you can take the time you need now and then “earn” it back later (I forget the word for this).

      1. SJ (they/them)*

        Going negative on banked hours, maybe?

        (not that OP should have to because nobody chooses to be sick!)

    4. Yes And*

      1. Some states have laws requiring employers to grant paid sick leave as long as an employee is testing positive for COVID. You may have to share your test results with the company to qualify.
      2. Your employer may agree to advance you sick time, even though you haven’t accrued it yet.
      3. Every person and every case is different, but it’s my anecdotal observation that a lot of people feel better long before they test negative. So since your position is remote, you may be able to safely return to work sooner than you think.

      Get well soon!

    5. What She Said*

      Some places still have covid leave available that doesn’t tap into your sick leave. Ours currently is still in place until the end of this month for example. I’d inquire if it’s still an option in your area.

    6. Irish Teacher*

      I am looking from what is presumably a different culture from yours, but I would hope that a boss “making the right noises” would not fire somebody for getting ill during a pandemic, even if it is early in their time at the company. If you are sick, you are sick. A reasonable person (and your boss sounds like one) should realise that is byond your control and not penalise you for it.

      Are there minimum requirements in your country/state for how much time you must isolate after testing positive for covid?

    7. Cj*

      I truly don’t think you will get fired for it. You may have to take it unpaid, but first ask if you can go in the hole on your sick leave, or if there are special Covid rules in place for these situations.

  23. Melanie Cavill*

    I’ve received a verbal job offer! For a position on the other side of the country!

    ack. Wish me luck in the hurriedly moving, comrades.

    1. DisneyChannelThis*

      Congrats! Professional movers instead of a uhaul are well worth it! My movers I packed my own boxes, but they loaded my boxes into a bigger box basically that went on a semi that had a little room left, then different movers met me in the new state with the bigger box thing and moved it into the unit. They were great. Helped me build bed frames even. Well worth the cost.

      Ask your new job about moving expenses stipends or reimbursement!

    2. Blarg*

      Don’t bring things with you that cost more to move than replace. Sell stuff (quickly) or give it away. You can order things to be at your new place when you arrive. At least for me, things like dishes always get sold and replaced when I make a big move. Why worry about careful packing, inevitable breakage of some pieces that of course can’t be exactly replaced, etc. when someone else will love the set (perhaps to replace their own broke-in-the-move pieces) and you can get fresh stuff locally.

      Also, and again this depends on your amount of stuff and time and budget, etc. But USPS media mail is the bargain of the century for any printed or recorded materials. The rules are very specific, but it’s by far the cheapest way to ship books, your old CD collection, etc. Take to post office in boxes. See it again at your new address. All for pennies in comparison to other shipping options.

      1. Melanie Cavill*

        I’m not American so anything USPS-related isn’t applicable to me, but the rest of the advice is fantastic! Thank you.

    3. VLookupsAreMyLife*

      We did a Coast-to-Coast 4,000km relocation (USA) in 6 weeks with 2 kids & a dog while school was still in session. It was rough, but not impossible. I cosign what Blarg says… I did a complete cost analysis of what it would cost to move our things vs buy there and we took very little with us (mostly just heirlooms, personally significant items, etc.). Be sure to take your new employer up on ANY support they offer for relocation assistance – it never hurts to ask. And, CONGRATULATIONS!!!

  24. nolongerintern*

    How do you support a manager who seems overwhelmed? I’m 2 hierarchies below him (think like, junior executive? I have a few years of experience in the same role, so above a fresh graduate) and I made it clear that I’m working towards a coordinator role in the next year. What are the boundaries and when do I step in to assist him? Do I ask? I don’t think I want to take over some of his tasks without his comfort… any advice or insight would help.

    1. londonedit*

      Firstly, only offer to help if you have the time/resources available – don’t do anything that would make your own workload unmanageable. But I don’t think there would be any problem in you saying that you know the department is under pressure at the moment and asking whether there are any tasks that you could help with to reduce his workload. Definitely ask, though, don’t just take things over without checking first.

    2. Temperance*

      If he’s your superior in the org chart, I wouldn’t help and would let him fail. You’re just going to make him look good instead of supporting your own goals.

      1. WantonSeedStitch*

        “Overwhelmed” could just mean “has a lot on his plate right now” rather than “in a position he can’t handle.” My own manager is currently wearing two hats and dealing with short staffing in one part of the team. That manager is EXTREMELY competent, but very very busy. It could be the same kind of thing for nolongerintern’s manager.

        1. Princess Trachea-Aurelia Belaroth*

          My supervisor is like this right now. Her boss is dumping so much stuff on her with stupid deadlines, and she isn’t able to delegate any of them to me. I do what I can to cover the regular work that I CAN do, so she has time to work on this “extra” (but now absolutely required and time-consuming) work.

          1. nolongerintern*

            Yeah, I try to make myself as easy to manage as possible. I felt bad about being done with work and sending it off to him and looking for other things to do that’s within my current task. He’s very competent and good at his job but he’s being run down. Thanks for the advice.

    3. Alternative Person*

      It’s difficult because it’s very context dependent, but I’ve been supporting a higher level manager in a similar situation and here’s some things I did:

      1. Take care of as much of your workload as possible in good time. I was able to step into a situation recently because I got my all my work done ahead of a deadline (I do this anyways for personal organizational reasons, but it really made a difference when things got off track that day).

      2. Be observant of what’s going on, where things are and where you can help- this is very company specific, but would say, tidying up the widget corner or the files save trouble down the road? Would knowing where the extra staples are save your manager going and getting them? Being able to step in for stuff like that can really help out.

      3. (If you don’t already) Make a proper effort with your colleagues and other staff. I found after regularly taking the extra five minutes to chat to them that some people would come to me first for minor things (like fixing the printer, finding a widget) and I could sort it without it ever needing the higher manager. Goes well with number 2 on this list.

      4. Think to the future (again very company specific). What’s likely to come up in 3-5 months or whatever the timelines in your company are and (after making sure you definitely have the time and knowledge needed) ask your manager if you could work on it, or at least some preliminary stuff. My higher manager let me handle a lot of prep work on a big project as well as take on expanded role in the delivery because I offered to take care of some of the planning well ahead of time.

      Doing these kinds of things worked out for me, I’m getting temporarily seconded to the role I’m aiming for and its been indicated to me that I’ll be a top contender once there’s a full time opening in that role, but that could be a ways off given my company.

      I do want to caution you though that doing these kinds of things might not get you the promotion you want. When I took this on for my higher manager, I made sure to remind myself (and concerned others) that I was doing it as much for experience for my CV as I was for the promotion I want and to help out. And still, if I don’t get a promotion, I’ll be looking to leave in the next year-eighteen months.

  25. My+Useless+2+Cents*

    tldr: Should I resume working on project at work after I was already taken off it before?
    For reading ease: Project would be the equivalent of reorganizing all the closets for the company when I am only the cook. I’ve already reorganized the pantry and it is the only place in the company where you can find what you are looking without serious effort.

    So right before the pandemic, management majorly upset me to the point that I was seriously looking for a new job (pandemic put a pin in that and I’ve just casually looked since). The last straw was being taken off this project I really enjoyed so that owners pet manager could take over. That particular manager found out it was more difficult than they expected, did nothing with the project, and left the company a few months later and the project has languished ever since. Now management is making noise about me picking up project again.

    Ever since they took me off the project, I guess you could say, I’ve been quietly quitting and I really have no desire to go above and beyond for this company again. Again, this wasn’t the first time the company upset me, it was the final straw. On the other hand, I really enjoy working on this project and find the different tasks it entails mentally stimulating which my current job does not do. Should I agree to take on this project again?

    1. Super Duper Anon*

      I would take it on simply because you enjoy it. You obviously don’t love this company, so it would be nice to have something you enjoy doing at work while you look for other jobs.

      1. The Real Fran Fine*

        Not only that, but if OP picks it back up, enjoys it and nails it because of that interest, then OP can add the project as a line item to her resume. Who knows – that project could end up being the thing that gets OP a new position someplace else.

    2. Temperance*

      I honestly wouldn’t pick it up unless they specifically ask instead of just heavily hint and give you a reason why they kicked you off to replace you with Pet.

      My reasoning: the pet probably messed it up significantly, and you frankly don’t need to take the blame for their, and the manager’s, failure. You don’t need the narrative to be “Pet tried really hard, but My+Useless made such a mess that Pet couldn’t hack it” or something similar.

    3. LadyByTheLake*

      Work on it because you enjoy it and because it might be a good resume builder for YOU. In other words, don’t hold back on something that is good for you just to spite THEM.

      1. The New Wanderer*

        Especially if it will look good on your resume since you are job hunting, even if casually.

        Bonus points if you can negotiate some kind of bonus or temporary pay raise (FWIW I have had managers in the past who’ve done cash bonuses when I went above/beyond, but I recognize it’s probably not common.)

    4. Sparqness*

      Some questions: Is it in your job description? Is it in another role’s job description? If it is in another role’s job description, is that role paid more? You said you are working to rule (the actual name for quiet quitting, which is new phrasing some employers are using to victim-blame people who are standing up for themselves at work), so the answers to these questions are important. If it is not in your job description but is in another role’s and that role is paid more, then I would only take it on if you get paid that rate for the hours you work on the project, or if you get seconded into that role for the time period of the project with the pay and benefits of that role.

      If the role is actually paid less than you are right now, I wouldn’t touch it at all.

    5. linger*

      Much depends on how much we can accurately infer from your analogy.
      If your role as “cook” implies you have a specialized skillset which would be the main basis for your job-hunting, and the “reorganizing closets” task is less skilled, or less remunerated (at least partly because it isn’t out in the open, and doesn’t have a fixed deadline, so is not as clearly seen to be immediately necessary) … then taking on the task isn’t in your best interests for job-hunting purposes, unless you can negotiate some temporary reduction in your other (less-preferred) duties (N.B. ensuring you keep enough free time for job-hunting). But if the “reorganizing” task is something that would add marketable skills to your resume relevant to the jobs that you want to apply for, there’s a stronger argument for taking it on.

  26. Voodoo Priestess*

    I posted last week about a potential opportunity to move into leadership/management from a technical contributor role. Well, I contacted a mentor to talk through the offer and she then offered me a similar role at her large, international company. It would be a Deputy Department manager of a large department vs Director of a small group. I was still unsure about both options and contacted a peer who recently went back to grad school. He said his former bosses had talked about wanting to hire me (we sit on a committee together) so I reached out and we’re now in talks as well. When it rains, it pours!

    I’m seriously excited and think I know what direction I want to go it. This site has been so helpful in framing conversations and having open and honest feedback and setting expectations. Or even just asking questions to really see what options are out there. I can’t wait to see what happens!

  27. They Have It Coming*

    How do you prepare for a strike?

    It is looking more and more likely that my union is going on strike in October. I’ve never been through a strike and am looking for advice on what to do in advance. I’m in higher education IT and trying to thread the needle between minimizing disruptions for the students and maximizing pain for the administration so any strike ends quickly.

    1. DisneyChannelThis*

      Save money if you can in advance. Make sure you stock up on nonperishable food too if you’re living close to paycheck to paycheck.

      Talk to your union leaders about what should be done with students in terms of support or no work at all during the strike. Also ask leadership if its okay to mention potential strike to students (like warning them to get your help ASAP before teh strike).

    2. cardigarden*

      Save some money; ask your union leaders about a strike fund. Also, you might find that the students will be on the picket line with you. Students at American University staged a walkout last month to support a staff strike, and that really helped the union’s negotiating position.

    3. danmei kid*

      Child of a CWA worker here who weathered our share of strikes:
      -Cut out discretionary spending as far in advance as you can & put away what you can, if you don’t already have a savings account that can cover the stoppage
      -Check in with your community food bank – you may qualify for assistance due to the stoppage or within a certain time of stoppage
      -Check in with your Union reps what they advise as far as other community services you might qualify for besides the food bank. Sometimes there are programs for utilities assistance, for example.
      -Talk to any creditors with payments you CANNOT MISS i.e. mortgage, car, cable, phone, etc. Explain the situation and ask if there are any deferments policies for situations like this, like you can reduce your payments for a couple of months or switch to a different type of payment plan and make up the difference later (unless, like my parents, you always have paid up a couple of months ahead, which they always did for just this reason)

  28. Wendy*

    I am responding to comments made to the Friday open thread post I made last week regarding hours being cut at the *major grocery store chain* fuel center I work at as a fuel center associate

    Turns out according to company policy no employee is allowed to work a 3 hour shift even though I was scheduled to work 3 hours on Monday of this week

    I was told my 2 supervisors, and one was the fuel center lead, to work an 8 hour shift

    Turns out the fuel center did not go over the scheduled number of hours it is given on a weekly basis

    This information was e-mailed to all the fuel center employees at the location I work at

    According to the e-mail the fuel center used less total hours than what was allocated

    The e-mail also included the departments that went over their total allocated hours

    According to an e-mail sent by the HR Assistant Manager who works at the grocery store, every department must follow the total number of allocated hours given to them

    Many department responsibilities are not being done according to the hand held device I use to replenish products that are sold at the fuel center when I am the opener

    But there is not much these departments can do

    I worked the mid shift yesterday

    The closer called work to let them know he would not be at work due to a work related accident at his other job

    I was told to work my 8 hour shift and clock out at 7 p.m.

    The fuel center closes at 10 p.m. 7 days a week, but there was no closer since I was not allowed to stay past my 8 hour shift

    I closed the window, locked up everything outside and kept the fuel pumps on

    1. ThatGirl*

      Have you considered looking for another job? I’m guessing you wouldn’t have much trouble finding one, unless this is the only grocery store or gas station in town.

        1. ThatGirl*

          If you’re the person I think you are, it sounds like this job has caused you a lot of problems and headaches. The thing about service jobs like that is there are a lot of them — I would definitely encourage you to find a new one.

  29. just another queer reader*

    Are there companies out there that are really, truly, seriously putting DEI as a priority? If so, where can I find them? What industries?

    I recently read a Lily Zheng post about “how to find a company that is *actually* doing DEI in a meaningful way” and I was like “this sounds amazing but are any orgs actually doing this???”

    (Rant for background: I work at a large manufacturing company that says they care about DEI but isn’t putting resources or action into making any real changes, beyond hiring a few more people of color. This is particularly frustrating because I’m involved in ERG leadership and they’re not setting me and my team up for success. I’d love to do this work in a place where my efforts will actually get somewhere.)

    1. Justin*

      Wrote a whole dissertation about this. Peoples’ mileage may vary on this but I am deeply skeptical of places that did nothing on it and then suddenly cared in 2020. Places like that are going to lose energy on these things real fast if they haven’t already.

      I would look at what orgs have written about their efforts, WHEN those efforts started, and if they have any concrete proof of the impact. And most importantly, look at who’s in charge. If the same demographics (you know the ones) are making all the decisions, then power has not been shifted, and ultimately it’s about that more than just being nice to people.

      My org walks the walk, but the leadership is all POC and the work is directly related to shifting power in society.

      1. Justin*

        (I’m well aware there’s more to DEI than race, but I’ve dealt with racism at places with male or female leadership, so.)

    2. Educator*

      I’ve had the best luck at mission-driven organizations where DEI is literally written into the mission itself. When I am interviewing, I try to follow the funding. If my salary will be paid by donors or grants with a DEI focus, there is much more genuine accountability. Who is on the board also matters–if a board has diverse voices, I’ve found that they can be much more influential than a hastily hired DEI director. When I have interviewed with organizations like this, THEY are the ones to bring inclusivity up in interviews, or even in application screening questions, and I know I have found a fit.

      1. Justin*

        Yes, the board (or top execs, etc) needs to be committed and actively pursuing this. If I have to push them to talk about it, it won’t end up the way I want.

    3. JCI employee*

      I’m at Johnson Controls and they seem to be doing it at a high level. From what I heard, it can really depend on the team. I’m on a good team that makes it a priority. We also have Business Resource Groups that are supported by the company and working on them counts towards your job-performance. My coworker and I just started a chapter of the Women’s BRG and we’ve had great support and success!
      There’s a DEI office with an AMAZING leader that does not hold back. From what I’ve seen, I’ve been happy with their efforts so far.
      But again, my specific team is really people-focused and may be one of the better ones.

    4. LimeRoos*

      I’m in non-profit health insurance, and our company is focusing hugely on DEI. We’ve pivoted to whatever roles can wfh have that option, which has expanded our hiring pool in a lot of low income areas we weren’t in before (since before covid everyone was in office at least 2 days a week). That also allows us to hire from every state we have a footprint in, which is pretty awesome, and directly supports our members and their communities. We have multiple ERG’s that are pretty active (Latin/Hispanic, Asian, Black, Military, Women, LGBTQIA+, classes/panels/presentations on diversity, inclusion, privilege, etc throughout the year, our executive leadership focuses on it as well and isn’t afraid to address the hard discussions and questions. We have speakers from other local non-profits come in as well. We opened another office in a low income area and try and hire within 1-2 miles of the office to keep the jobs in the neighborhood (this was specifically in response to George Floyd, because the predominately white male leadership team realized they need to do more and can do more because of the privileges they have). At that point we also created a DEI leadership position (SVP or C-Suite, I don’t remember), and have a few different DEI leaders in different areas (HR etc). The ERG’s also put on events that are shared with the company – anything from booths at community fests and fairs, to cooking classes, panels/discussions, and a gorgeous African and black culture fashion show (multiple African countries were represented as well as American streetwear, it was really cool). What’s also awesome is a lot of upper level VP’s are involved in and co-sponsor the ERG’s, so they already have solid backing from the top with executives that understand the issues because they’ve faced them as well. And a lot of people put their pronouns in their e-mail signatures. Some of the execs include a link to ‘why this matters’ which explains why it’s important. It’s also totally optional – I’d say maybe half the company does include them. This is just from what I’ve remembered over the last two years, but I’m sure there is a lot more that I’m forgetting. Honestly I love working here, and see a ton of people who feel the same.

      Oh! One more thing I remembered/looked up – I remember when I started that there were mostly white dudes in the C-Suite, but now while it’s still basically white it’s half women. And that’s just in 3 years. So not perfect, but it does flow downwards that now there are a large number of women and minorities in SVP & VP roles 2 and 3 levels down from CEO. So while we have things to work on, we’ve come a long way in a short time.

      1. Educator*

        That’s all great, but it does not negate the fact that health insurance companies actively create significant systemic inequality in this country by lobbying against more equitable methods of allowing people to access and pay for health care and ensuring that prices stay high. No internal diversity effort could ever balance out that harm.

          1. Educator*

            That is absolutely true, but some industries actively perpetuate systemic harm more than others. It’s like if we were talking about environmentalism and someone from a coal company wrote in to talk about the great new recycling bins they just got for their office–great, but really out of touch with what we actually need from their company to deal with the issue at hand.

            DEI work–real DEI work–is about making hard, systemic changes to how our society operates. It is woefully inadequate to do some hiring from low income areas when your industry is systematically pushing millions of people into debt, and that problem disproportionally impacts low-income families. It is woefully inadequate to have pronouns in your signature when covered gender-affirming care is often so limited. It is woefully inadequate to have some women in the c-suite when the painfully high maternal mortality rate in this country has been partially tied to how insurance companies rush women out of the hospital after they give birth. It is woefully inadequate to have some talks about privilege when people in this country are literally dying because they cannot afford their high deductibles.

            It just feels wrong not to note the much, much bigger harms in this case.

            1. Educator*

              Also should note–LimeRoos, I know that none of this is your personal fault and don’t want it to come off that way. It is great to share some of these efforts. You are not responsible personally for generations of systemic inequality–we all are.

          2. LimeRoos*

            Thanks Hiring Mgr! Because of course you’re right, and I know how the insurance/medical industry is broken in America. (Also I love your satire!)

            I had a large response written out for you Educator, but I don’t even have the energy. None of your comparisons are valid, you have no idea what we’re doing to combat any of that, and frankly, that was super rude on a thread about companies actually following through on their DEI promises – which we are and expanding them. You honestly believe that opening a whole new office compares to getting recycling bins? Providing job desert areas with more jobs doesn’t help combat poverty? Considering most of these initiatives are what people here have said they’d appreciate and want at their companies, I’m really surprised at the vitriol of your response to Hiring Mgr. We can’t change the whole system, but we’re doing what we can and I posted a small picture of it – but I guess that’s woefully inadequate for a small regional non-profit. It’s great you acknowledged it’s not technically my fault, but you’re still talking to someone who is only a cog in the machine and you know that. So thanks for making me cry after work Friday, great way to kick off the weekend. I’m bowing out, because it’s time for pupper cuddles and dinner.

            Oh, we also cover gender affirming care.

    5. Sloanicota*

      My org is the opposite. They talk about DEIJ all the time but they just interviewed 7 white candidates for an open role, zero people of color (mostly women because we’re a small nonprofit that doesn’t pay great). I’m pretty low level so I haven’t really figured out how to push back besides perhaps asking where we’re posting our jobs and seeing if I can suggest any places with a more diverse reach.

      1. Anonforthis*

        Oh, I see we have similar experiences… with the “do as I say, not as I do” approach to DEI. We talk a LOT at my org about DEI… and do absolutely nothing about our C-level team. To the best of my knowledge (meaning how they present/self-identify), every single one is a 40-60 year old straight, white, cis-dude from a prestigious university and/or a specific industry partner. We’ve had 3 new hires on that team in the past 2 years, so definitley some opportunities to make some changes if they really wanted to.

  30. Anon for This*

    My boss keeps checking in that I’m happy because I think that she’s afraid that I want to quit, but truthfully, I am very unhappy and am actively job searching. I’m at the point where I’m going to quit with nothing lined up as of 12/31 if I don’t find something before then.

    She knows I’m upset about the fact that our org took on a new initiative and didn’t involve me, but what she doesn’t know is exactly -how- angry and upset I am about it. The person who they did hire is very, very junior to me, but is doing higher profile work and getting more attention. They’re a 2022 college grad and are already featured in press releases and org-wide communications. I’ve only been featured in these when I do something big like win awards, and I haven’t received credit for small projects like this person has.

    So, what do I do? Am I obligated to be honest, or should i keep my head down, do my job, and keep actively planning my exit?

    1. NotBatman*

      Your boss is reminding me of the friend who — after doing something crappy — goes “you’re not mad at me, right? Just tell me you’re not mad at me. Promise you’re not mad.” Because they’re not really sorry, just terrified of facing consequences for their actions. And from everything you describe, you owe this person nothing. They can’t handle the truth.

      1. Ama*

        Yes she totally knows how that went down probably pissed you off and she’s looking for reassurance. You do not have to be responsible for her feelings.

        I do think Ann Ominous below is correct that you don’t have to tell her you are looking but you can say that it feels like people working on this initiative are getting a lot more public recognition than people doing other work at the org and that was part of your concern when you weren’t put on the initiative in the first place, that your contributions elsewhere would be ignored.

      2. Dust Bunny*

        All of this.

        Your boss knows this job/place sucks and is hoping to avoid losing you but without doing anything to make it better (maybe she can’t, but she should be more honest about that).

        You don’t owe them anything. It’s a job. Find a new one and get out.

        1. The Real Fran Fine*

          You don’t owe them anything. It’s a job. Find a new one and get out.

          This bears repeating.

    2. Ann Ominous*

      I would try a middle approach. I wouldn’t say I’m leaving because of the things that employers do when they have this much of a heads up.

      However, I would talk to her directly about your concerns if you haven’t already. First I would try to get a handle on your intense anger as that’s not going to result in anything that you actually want. Do some r/internalfamilysystems parts dialogue or some other tools to truly hear and address your own anger before you engage with her, because it will color your whole discussion if you don’t.

      Have you asked her about the disparity between tenure and recognition, and what you can do to achieve what you want?

      1. Anon for This*

        I have raised the issue that I was feeling very unappreciated and frankly angry about the fact that we took on this whole new initiative and I was fully left out of it. And to her credit, she’s trying to include me in the initiative because I have good ideas for it and would have done an excellent job running this project. New Hire is too junior to run initiatives and requires a ton of hand holding, which I’m not doing.

        The stuff with the recognition is new. It honestly happened twice this week and I haven’t had a chance to bring it up because my boss is traveling for work.

        1. Gary Patterson’s Cat*

          I know it’s hard but try to restrain your anger.
          Personally, I would NOT bring up the recognition stuff for new hire and how it makes you feel because it may look a little petty. Your previous acknowledgment of feeling unappreciated is enough.

          Keep job hunting.
          And yes, they’re worried you’re gonna leave. Get the better revenge by keeping quiet and getting a better job.

    3. Stoppin' by to chat*

      You are under no obligation to do anything. However, if you are planning to quit in a few months regardless, you may as well let them know that you were concerned/frustrated/etc to not be on that project, and are open to similar opportunities. Also, is it possible the company is highlighting this new graduate’s achievements for un-related reasons. Not that it’s okay, but to maybe realize that this wasn’t a reflection on you. But also, if you’re unhappy, then it’s also okay to keep your head down and leave whenever you want to!

  31. bluestainedglass*

    I started a new role at my company less than three months ago…and I hate it. I’m looking to leave the company now but struggling to figure out how best to put it on my resume/talk about it in my cover letter.

    The new role is, in some ways, a promotion – no interview, just a conversation with my now-boss, and they only posted the job internally so I was the only applicant. But it’s a different department than I was in before. This is my third role, and third department, with the company over 10 years.

    Do I list just my job titles (not the departments) on my resume so it looks more cohesive? Do I mention in my cover letter why I’m looking to leave so soon (phrased in a benign way)?

    1. Ama*

      I think since this was an internal transfer you don’t really have to phrase it in the cover letter as leaving a position after three months, it can be more looking for a change after 10 years at the same company. If you get an interview you can be more detailed about having moved into a role you weren’t a good fit for and realized you needed a fresh start elsewhere or something along those lines.

  32. Moi*

    Got a job I was really excited about. Manager gives effusive praise but seems to always add constructive criticism into mine (think, yes thank you for pointing out that it’s partially cloudy today, but also remember that the sky is blue). I offer to take part in projects but she always has a reason why I can’t (I’m cognizant off the fact that you’re part time, so I don’t think this is the right one for you) and then offers it to coworkers who are also part time. I’m not sure if I can last in this role but I love the organization! How long do I have to be here before applying for a transfer?

    1. Moi*

      FWIW, I don’t think it’s my work product, as I’m doing less challenging work than in my previous role where I did well AND she hasn’t given me much to either prove or disprove myself. My colleagues complain about being overworked while I am bored(and yes I’ve asked for more work). I came with great references from senior leaders. Turnover in my department is high

    2. PrincessFlyingHedgehog*

      Have you asked your boss what is going on with the work assignments? Does your boss realize that you have the bandwidth you actually do? I would suggest sitting down with your boss to talk about your workload and the capacity you have to take more on. If your boss still continues to assign work the same way after that, I think that’s a sign that something weird is going on, and you may want to think about looking to leave sooner rather than later.

      1. Moi*

        Oh I’ve very much had that conversation. She thanked me for telling her that I have capacity and she’d send more work my way. This hasn’t happened. She also mentions how she is aware that we are a dedicated team because people are still working late in the evening and coming in on weekends. I think I need to leave. But since I want to stay in this organization, I’d like to know how quickly I can leave without it reflecting badly on me.

    3. AvonLady Barksdale*

      How long have you been there? My answer would be different for 3 months, 6 months, and a year. Some companies won’t let you transfer until you’ve been there a year– do you know your company’s policy.

      FWIW, I know exactly that “sky is blue” thing and I hate it. It’s infantilizing, to be honest. Yes, of course I am aware that the sky is blue, but I wouldn’t have called the clouds to your attention if I didn’t think they warranted your attention.

      1. Moi*

        I’ve been at the organization for decades. This spot, months. It’s honestly really sad because the way this role was described in the ad was EXACTLY what I am looking for but the reality of the day to day work is quite different. (Think posting for senior teapot designer who then spends their time ordering tea leaves). I was told the work would be some tea leave ordering and I’d be involved in cool innovative teapot designs. I do lots of tea leaf ordering and my boss keeps putting off design work. Due to of course, capacity. (One time she said I had a great idea but it needed someone with the drive and capacity to do it. I pointed out that I do. Then she said no”.

        1. AvonLady Barksdale*

          If you’ve been an employee in good standing for decades, a short stint at one role shouldn’t be a problem. Go ahead and ask for a transfer, with the caveat that if you’ve done short stints at multiple roles, it won’t look that great.

        2. Loredena*

          If you’ve been with the organization that long you likely can start looking now. That duration helps offset the time in department

  33. Qwertyuiop*

    I sit with across from a manager who is not my manager, but manager in my department. I’ve noticed that if I leave my desk and then come back after 5-10 minutes, this manager will clear her throat. Another time, I was gone longer for lunch but my boss knew and was fine with it. When I came back, the manager was clearing her throat.

    She seems irritated or annoyed, but she doesn’t manage me so I don’t know why it’s her concern or business. She also micromanages a lot. It’s ironic because she’ll be gone at lunch for 2 hours yet no one knows where she goes. When she does the throat clearing thing, I’m tempted to ask if she wants a throat lozenge….

    It’s irritating, but how do I deal with this in a professional way? Any advice is appreciated.

    1. DisneyChannelThis*

      Offer the lozenge! Kill with Kindness. ” Hi I’m Qwertyuiop – part of (your manager’s name)’s group. I noticed your throat seems to be painful I’ve got these great lozenges would you like some??” . Make her have to stop being passive aggressive.

      Or just silently ignore her.

    2. Educator*

      Leaving your desk for ten minutes and taking a longer lunch periodically are such normal things that I would try to reframe her behavior in your mind as solidly not about you. Maybe she is clearing her throat so she is ready to respond if you say hi! Maybe she has a naturally unpleasant facial expression or is frustrated with her project or realized she forgot to take the trash cans to the curb before she left the house that morning, or…

      I have wasted so much time assuming people were mad at me when they were not. These days, I try to assume that if someone has a problem with me, they will tell me with words, so I don’t need to waste time analyzing their behavior.

      Now, if her micromanaging is ever directed at you, I would immediately talk to your boss about it. But looks and body sounds can definitely be ignored.

      1. Ringo’s mom*

        “I try to assume…they will tell me with their words.”

        Oh my goodness. I so needed to read this today. I am always wrapped up in knots assuming a certain person is angry/disappointed in me. Your comment was a refreshing reset for me. Thank you!

    3. I'm just here for the cats*

      I’d say try to ignore it, and maybe offer a lozenged.

      If it does bother you or gets worse maybe talk to your boss. Say Julie seems irritated when I’m away from my desk for more than a few minutes or when I take a longer lunch that has been approved. Is there something going on that I’m not aware of?
      Are there people that she manages that you could talk to get insight?

    4. RagingADHD*

      The professional way to deal with it is to remember that her postnasal drip is not your problem. I guarantee you are thinking a whole lot more about this than she is.

  34. Oh no, oh no*

    So, I wasn’t really looking to leave my current place, but a former coworker recommended me for an open position at her current place. It’s basically what I do now but with a little more freedom and some nice bonus. I interviewed twice and was offered the job and I had to turn it down. There was a handful of reasons, distance from my home was a big one, some of the ideas the management had about my position didn’t resonate with me, and the coworker who recommended it did confine in me that the big boss I’d be under was not a really good one and she didn’t really care for her.

    After I declined, they came back and offered me… I hate saying it, but $10,000 more than what I make now. I panicked, of course, but after talking to my husband some more… I had to turn it down. I’m going to try and use it for leverage at my current job but I don’t think they’d be able to match the dollar amount at all.

    But man… I had to think so hard about this but my general happiness in my job is… more important than money, right? And the distance was a killer, my commute would be almost an hour and a half both ways, and that’s if traffic is okay. I don’t think I could deal with that kind of commute every single day. I’ve just never turned down a job offer before and I felt terrible doing it too, after wasting all of their time and such.

    1. Temperance*

      Honestly, it depends. For some people, $10k/year would make their lives much, much better. For some people, it’s a drop in the bucket. You decide what your needs and priorities are.

      You didn’t waste their time any more than they wasted the time of any candidate who didn’t get an offer. Think about that!

    2. Hlao-roo*

      Seconding what Temperance said about time wasting. Interviewing is a two-way street. The company decides if the candidate is a good fit for the open job and the candidate decides if the open job at the company is a good fit for them. Better for you to decline their offer now, then to accept and quit in six months when you are burned out over a terrible commute and then they will have to start the hiring process all over again.

      It sounds to me like you made the right decision. Accepting a job should never be just about the money (or just about the boss, the project, the commute, etc.). You need to evaluate the whole package. Is this much more money worth this much more commuting time? Is working for a boss I like less than my current boss worth working on projects I like more than my current projects? It all matters, and a candidate should evaluate all parts of a job offer.

    3. AdequateArchaeologist*

      It is totally ok to say that $10k isn’t worth the commute and other factors that you would trade off. (Also, with gas prices still high in many parts of the country, how much of that $$ would you actually pocket and not just use on the trip to/from work?). I’m in a similar situation now with my job. I’m making about $10k more than my last position, but I’m not sure deal with my supervisor is and other factors is worth the extra money some days. It’s easy to feel like you should always want/take more money no matter what, but your general happiness matters too!

    4. SJ (they/them)*

      Commutes are BRUTAL. It sounds like you trusted your gut! I believe you made the right call.

      Don’t feel bad about wasting their time – the whole purpose of an interview process is to figure out if it’s a good fit on both sides. You did nothing wrong!

      1. Weaponized Pumpkin*

        I do not know how much money it would take to compensate for 3+ hours a day, but it’s a whole bunch more than 10K. I hate commuting.

        1. Jean Pargetter Hardcastle*

          I found a commuting calculator the other day, one that factors in both the mileage and gave a formula for time (I think it was hourly rate * hours commuting). I calculated my commute is $170/day. This commute sounds worse than mine. $10k doesn’t come close.

        2. linger*

          Back-of-envelope calculation, assuming 5 weekdays/week @ 3h round trip: the commute time would effectively be paid at $12.82/h. Yeah, nah.
          Admittedly, the math will work out better if you look just at the excess over your existing commute time.

          1. No smart name ideas*

            And—if you are in the US and have taxes taken out—your 10k is 6600…over 12 mos that’s 550, but over a 20 day work month is only 27.50 dollars a day or 3.92 an hour.

            1. No smart name ideas*

              Hit submit too soon! Meant to add that like JPH suggested you should come up with a number that would make such a looong commute worthwhile. Then add 30% to it for taxes.

    5. EMP*

      you weren’t wasting their time, you were spending *YOUR* time considering their offer! Sounds like turning the job down was the right thing for your overall quality of life and that matters a lot.

      1. NotRealAnonforThis*

        I just ran math specific to my location/assumptions based on commute locally/my own vehicle and after taxes, I would not have enough after the commute to make up for losing 3 hours a DAY commuting. I’m already crabby enough about my currently construction obstructed commute which is now about a 1/2 hour in the morning and an hour in the evening (in a city with laughable public transit, in that I’m laughing because there is none to speak of). I’d be purchasing double the fuel with that commute, and that would massively cut into the after-tax in pocket per week.

    6. The New Wanderer*

      You didn’t waste their time or yours. It sounded like it could be a good role, but then you learned more about it and decided it wasn’t right for you. Even when they offered you more money, you still ultimately didn’t think the tradeoff was worth it. It sounds like you made the right call!

    7. MacGillicuddy*

      Three and a half hours of commuting would be a deal breaker for me, regardless of the money. And if you’re working conventional business hours, there’s always traffic issues.

      At 3 1/2 hour a day means 7 hours every 2 days. That means in two weeks it is an extra 35 hours. Over a year (even taking generous vacation and holidays into account, so say 46 weeks of work – which is 23 two-week stints, 35 extra hours per stint = 805 hours commuting time.

      805 hours is 20 “work weeks” worth of commuting. Does the extra $10,000 make it worth it.

      1. Mac (I Wish All The Floors Were Lava)*

        Yeah, I’m just gonna say that for me the final calculation of $10,000 ÷ 800 hrs works out to being paid just over $12/hr for that commuting time. If you need the extra 10k that bad, you could pick up a barista shift at your local coffee shop down the block for probably the same hourly wage, plus all the free leftover croissants at the end of the day that you could possibly eat.

  35. Dino*

    What do you do when you realize your company’s performance metrics will be almost impossible to reach due to your disabilities? I have multiple disabilities but only have FMLA for two of them. I can get within 1.5% of the minimum standard without making myself sicker, but anything more than that has a cascading effect on my health situation. Which means I have to call out, which means getting in trouble. I can’t drop my hours to below full-time because I need the health insurance.

    I don’t have a manager right now. The company is a national one so the next level of management is taking care of routine PTO and whatnot, but there’s no one I can really talk to about this. I’m really damn good at my job, but my work is not visible to anyone in the organization due to confidentiality regulations. All my company cares about is the numbers.

    What would you do?

    1. Stuckinacrazyjob*

      Ugh. I don’t actually know what to do, but I’d like to tell you it’s ok to do the best thing for your health

    2. I'm just here for the cats*

      Could you talk to HR? They would have the information about your FMLA. And maybe they can make exceptions and/or get more accommodations for the other disabilities?

      It sounds like a crappy place. I hate those type of metrics.

    3. danmei kid*

      You said you have FMLA, but have you talked to HR about any necessary disability accommodations? Maybe projecting targets within that 1.5% is something they can flex on for you as an accommodation. You never know until you ask.

    4. learnedthehardway*

      If you can quantify it that much, tell management / HR that it relates to the disabilities for which you DO have FMLA. I mean, they’re not doctors, so they really can’t say that it doesn’t. And who knows, maybe if you didn’t have those documented issues, you might be able to achieve the expected performance metrics simply because you’d have less weighing you down, kwim?

  36. PassThePeasPlease*

    Some good news! After waiting about 5 months after my performance review and my company hemming and hawing about merit raises, I was able to use a counter offer to get not only a raise but also a promotion! Both were already in the works but me having an outside offer considerably moved up the timing. I read AMM past columns extensively about taking a counter offer from your current company (and the advice that it’s generally a bad idea to do it) and I think in my circumstance it worked out well for 2 reasons:

    1) Genuinely the only reason I looked elsewhere (very passively) was that I was unhappy a how slow my current company was being to adjust compensation. I like the work and my colleagues immensely.

    2) I work in a relatively stable sector/company structure and knew that if I took the counter and down the line there was some type of layoff, I’d be able to either transfer internally or, if I was laid off, be able to find something else pretty quickly as a result of my specialty being one of the newer ones with not a lot of talent at the moment. I know that needing a counter could put you on top of the layoff list and seen as disloyal but overall, I was able to communicate that it wasn’t job or company related and truly just about the money.

    All that to say I’m very happy and will be continuing the next 2 weeks till the promotion takes effect kind of amazed that I was able to pull this off! It took a lot of behind the scenes advocacy and follow ups from my boss, their boss and the director of my department and the fact that they were all willing to go to bat for me feels great and makes me feel very appreciated!

    1. Almost Academic*

      Congratulations! I would love to hear more about how you approached this conversation. I’m likely to be in the same position soon (head-hunted by a rival company, likely to get an offer making much more money, but love my current job and would like to stay in the position just with a salary closer to my market value) and I’m nervous about how to approach the conversation with my manager. Congrats on your successful navigation and outcome!

      1. PassThePeasPlease*

        Of course! My workplace is pretty casual (and still mostly remote) so I just reached out to my manager for a conversation over Zoom to let her know that I had another offer on the table but reiterated that I really enjoyed my job and the team and that the main draw of the new job was the increased compensation. This was met with understanding from my boss who has also been frustrated with how much red tape/how slow moving the company has been to give anyone on the team raises.

        It was also a conversation (about compensation) that had been happening for a few months so I would definitely try to give a heads up that you are looking for a salary adjustment beforehand if you can.

        Best of luck and hope it all works out!

  37. hopeful ex librarian*

    what do y’all bring for work snacks?

    i have an office job now, and i don’t know what to bring for snacks. i’d like something that’s filling and that i can keep in a desk drawer (along the lines of granola bars).

      1. Blarg*

        I’ve had two of you as office mates in the past.

        I’m so glad to be remote now.

        Smell of peanut butter is worse than tuna fish out of the microwave, in my book.

        1. M&M Mom*

          So you’re saying that you would be ok with the packets of tuna that I snack on at the office? I don’t microwave it tho. :)

    1. hi hello*

      Trader Joe’s trail mix! I like the Simply the Best Trek Mix (it has that super sweet dried pineapple!). I also like to get one of those boxes of mini bags of goldfish/popcorn/chips from Costco and have a stash of bags in a drawer. Right now, I have the Pirate’s Booty popcorn and it’s been good for curing mid-afternoon snackiness.

      1. Elle*

        I second trail mix. It’s filling, healthy and has that salty sweet thing going for it. I’ll sometimes pair it with a cheese stick or fruit if I’m feeling fancy.

    2. seepy witt*

      My snack drawer currently has:

      -tuna packs
      -microwaveable rice bowls
      -granola bars
      -popcorn (should note at this point that I have my own office so the stinkiness is no one’s concern but my own)
      -shelf stable protein shakes

    3. Susan Calvin*

      I am an absolute fiend for dried mango – and tuc crackers for migraine days (are those a thing internationally? think Ritz crackers, but saltier)

    4. Jaydee*

      It’s kind of pricey, but Catalina Crunch makes a good “keto friendly” cereal. I’m not doing keto or anything but have been told to watch my carb intake, so I tried this. It’s tasty, crunchy, and quite filling (lower carbs + more fiber and protein than regular cereals). I mix it with some peanuts and raisins for a DIY trail mix, and a bag lasts a week or more.

    5. Rick Tq*

      I focus on protein and fat content for my snacks, minimal carbs or sugars, so:
      Beef and Pork Jerky
      Protein bars of assorted flavors
      Keto-style snacks

      Mostly from Costco..

  38. LaDiDa*

    I started a new remote job this week. I will be attending a large conference soon and meeting all of my colleagues/clients/public in person. Yesterday, we were talking about the conference. I let them know I am an introvert and I haven’t attended anything with more than 10 people since before the pandemic began. I told them I might need to sneak off for a few minutes at an appropriate time to re-energize. They told me there are a lot of them like this and to alert everyone they send a kola emoji text so everyone knows everything is fine and they just need a bit of downtime.

    I thought this was wonderful that they have this code and are so aware of what others may need at such a large event where you are “on” for 10+ hours a day.

    1. Reba*

      this is great! Love it when people are self-aware and supportive. I hope you get a lot out of the conference.

  39. Mimmy*

    Just had something odd happen with a job for I’d recently interviewed and wanted to get your take. It’s probably fairly common. Here’s the timeline of events:

    – Interviewed at a mid-sized university for a specialist position around the second week of August. Interview was with Director (hiring manager). The plan was to do Zoom interviews for the first round, and then have finalists come in person to meet with other staff.
    – Sent thank-you email to hiring manager the next day. No response (which I’d expected)
    – After hearing nothing, I emailed the hiring manager for a status update two weeks after the interview. Still nothing. As I’ve learned here, I mentally moved on.
    -Yesterday, I saw the position reposted on HigherEdJobs. Cue sad face.

    I understand the hiring process can take much longer than expected, and I acknowledged this in my email to the hiring manager. She did warn me in the interview. So perhaps I came across as impatient. Still, I am disappointed to be ghosted.

    Another thing was that, during the interview, the Hiring Manager was interviewing for one specialist (for a total of two specialists), but then said that they eventually wanted to hire a second specialist (for a total of 3 specialists). My hope is that they finally got approval to fill the third slot and had to repost to get a bigger pool. This is a small disability services office.

    What’s your take on this? Also, should I email HR to get a sense of what’s going on?

    1. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

      Honestly, 3 weeks is nothing in university time. I think you should mentally move on for your own well being, but there’s absolutely nothing here to indicate you are no longer being considered. They just take forever to move through their process!

  40. I’m a Pro…crastinator*

    I’ve struggled with procrastination and focus my whole life, but it has gotten really bad lately and it’s really making me unhappy and hurting my work performance. Can someone point me to resources that might help with this?

    A bit more detail: in school I was always the “smart but disorganized/lazy” kid. I’m the student who could easily have gotten A’s but often settled for B’s because I’d procrastinate and struggle to summon the motivation to give it my all. This has continued at work. Luckily I work much faster than most people, so I’ve been able to work around these tendencies so far.

    But over the past few months it’s gotten really bad. I’m not missing hard deadlines, but I am getting things done much later than I intended and may even have to start doing some evening or weekend work to get caught up. I find I’m losing so much of my day to mindless scrolling on the internet and zoning out, and I’m doing it even when I really don’t want to be.

    Why has this gotten worse now? Partly I think I’m just really bored with my job and ready to move on. And partly it’s because I recently got out of a long term relationship and subsequently have had a lot of Feelings and existential questions that feel more salient to me than work.

    I’ve tried adderall in the past, and it did help somewhat, but it seemed to work less well over time and I didn’t like the side effects. Caffeine helps a little but isn’t a game changer. I’ve also tried the pomodoro method and, again, it helps a little but hasn’t made a huge difference.

    1. hi hello*

      :-( I’ve been feeling the same way. I find that it helps to calendar everything–so if there’s a project I have to work on, I’ll put it in my calendar, even if it’s just from 10-11. I tend to get more done when my calendar looks full, versus those days where it’s just empty.

      Other than that, all I can do is offer solidarity. I don’t know about you, but for me it’s a burnout thing, and I just have to keep telling myself that I’ll get some PTO. Eventually.

      1. I’m a Pro…crastinator*

        I think I’m burnt out, but more from boredom and not being super interested in the role and field. To oversimplify a bit, Im basically a project manager for one big project that is done essentially the same way year after year, and there’s no real room for growth. I have to keep track of a lot, but I really only have to work late when I procrastinate a ton, the amount of work is reasonable.

        Luckily I have good work life balance and lots of PTO, but I haven’t found time off (even weeklong vacation) to be helpful at all.

        1. hi hello*

          Hm, well something that helps when I’m bored is beefing up what I do outside of work. What hobbies do you have? Are you part of a book club? (If not, join one!) Is there a sport you enjoy doing that you could join a league for? I find that boredom during the day isn’t so bad when I know that in the evenings I’ll be doing things that make me really happy. Personally, boredom only becomes intolerable when I spend all day bored and then go home and just watch tv.

    2. kiki*

      I’ve fallen in similar procrastination holes from time-to-time, especially when bad stuff is happening in my personal life or the world.

      A few things that help me:
      – Schedule time throughout the week to process the end of your relationship. Journal, think about the relationship while taking a walk, or cry if you need. Even if you’re not completely done with work, take time for processing. As a fellow procrastinator, I do this thing where I’m too rigid about prioritization and say “I must do X before I do Y & Z.” But then I’m not in a place where I can realistically bring myself to do X and also don’t do Y and Z, which only makes things worse. But having Y and Z off your plate will likely help you in the long term and may even inspire more motivation to do X.
      – Take a vacation. If you have enough PTO, take a full week. Use that time to do your favorite things and reset. Don’t plan on doing any work or “catching up” over that time. Genuinely take time away.
      – Make sure you’re still taking time during the week to do things that are important to you. If you like to exercise, make sure you’re still doing that; if you are really social, make sure you’re seeing your friends.
      – Treat every day like a new chance to do well. Stop thinking about how little you did yesterday. Forgive yourself.
      – Take time in the morning to list out what you plan to do today. Be realistic. None of that “I will finish this whole project today.” Say you’ll get done something small and specific on the project.
      – Don’t try to get back to 100% productivity right away. Be fine with 60% for a week, then 70%, then 80%, and so on. Going back and forth between 0 and 100 is what burns procrastinators out.

    3. YouwantmetodoWHAT?! *

      This was me my entire life. Then in 2018 I had full allergy testing and found out that I have significant food allergies. Wheat is one, not gluten but a full on wheat allergy.

      Do you know what wheat allergies cause?

      Depression, brain fog etc.

      My soy allergy is why I was fatigued and in pain everyday.

      I had no idea, I thought that I was defective.

      My entire life has changed. Things that took me weeks to get done now take less than an hour. I could go on and on.

      I also learned that wheat allergy is super common and most people do not know that they have it. So please consider getting allergy testing.
      Good luck!

    4. ferrina*

      I’m ADHD, so lack of motivation is REAL. You say you’ve tried adderall- if you are or think you are ADHD, I recommend learning more about how ADHD affects the brain (I’ll link a couple videos in a reply). Lack of interest in your job (combined with any malaise from the break-up) can trigger ADHD symptoms to come up en masse

      For me, I end up switching motivational techniques every couple weeks, or sometimes every couple days during a bad week. Here’s some of my go-to techniques:
      -Exercise. Going on a quick walk can increase focus for a couple hours after this (I usually still have to do a pomodoro to get started)
      – Use Pomodoros but with movement. I’ll do 20 minutes of work, then 10 minutes of moving housework like decluttering (which inevitably turns into 5 minutes of housework then “ugh I’d rather do my work work for an extra 5 minutes!”)
      – Gum or water bottles with straws. anything that keeps my mouth working and provides a bit of multitasking/stimulation.
      – Sticker chart or checklists.
      -Work outside the internet. I have days where I need to put my phone across the room or I will lose 2 hours of working time. Sometimes I’ll just abandon my computer and sit on the floor and work on papers. This works great for things that need outlines or slide designs. Or for when I need to reference data on my computer, I take physical notes. It helps me engage more.
      -Loud rock music. I really like CDs because they have a set length and no ads (so I don’t have an excuse to go check on them). Because I know what song is which, I’m not distracted by the lyrics or details like that.
      -Switching locations. Even just moving from a chair to the floor can make a difference.

      And if you’re bored with your job, start applying! It can be motivating to know that you don’t need to do this job indefinitely- you just need to do a great job for now, then you’ll be great at a different job!

      Might also be worth it to talk to a health professional. I struggled with depression after the dissolution of an LTR, and my only symptom was extreme fatigue and inability to focus. Medication made such a difference. If you are ADHD, there are other medication options that you can explore. ADHD medication has come a long, long way recently, and there’s several classes to choose from. There’s also other medications that can impact ADHD- my anti-depressant has a dopamine reuptake inhibitor, which helps motivation. It has been eye-opening and validating to experience motivation (aka, dopamine) the same way as neurotypical people (dopamine makes motivation sooooo much easier).

    5. Person+from+the+Resume*

      Since the procrastination is a symptom of other things, you need to fix the other things. Ultimately you need to get a new, not boring job and process your feelings about the end of the relationship.

      Put the phone away in another room, in your car if that’s where you’re scrolling. Block the distracting websites on your computer if possible. Try mindfulness, being conscious of when you’re about to start mindless scrolling and redirect yourself.

    6. RagingADHD*

      Have you tried gamifying your goals, with little rewards? Worked well for me in a very boring job.

      So for each time interval that you stay focused, you get a star, and after X amount of stars, you get a prize. Mine were stuff like making a cup of fancy tea, or putting on my favorite playlist.

  41. Hotdog not dog*

    I have a question about questions…as a high level individual contributor and SME I answer a lot of questions, which is fine! I’m happy to help. However, there is one individual who will ask what appears to be a straightforward question, then takes my answer and inserts it as “ammunition” in various arguments they are having with other colleagues, attempting to drag me into their drama. I can’t just refuse to answer questions, but I’m not willing to participate in any silly feuds. I tried asking for additional context before providing an answer but that became its own separate drama when they went to my boss about me “dragging my feet” and “giving them the 3rd degree”. Any suggestions on how to handle this person? They’re known as a drama llama, but their work is good enough that they get away with it. I’ve been too old for this kind of crap since I was nine! I’m considering requiring all questions from this person to filter through their manager- maybe if she’s forced to deal with the missing stair she’ll finally address the unnecessary drama?

    1. LondonLady*

      “I’m considering requiring all questions from this person to filter through their manager” sounds like a plan. Their manager might welcome some dampening of the drama.

      Alternatively, with that person, go back and ask them for context for the question each time.

      Do you have an intranet or Slack or similar? Depending on the volume and value of the questions, you could perhaps have FAQs or moderated topic channels to help manage this stuff.

    2. Mockingjay*

      You actually can not answer questions. Just redirect.

      “I can’t think of the answer off the top of my head. Sorry, I’m swamped today.”
      “Sorry, I can’t look that up. Boss needs the Teapot sales report ASAP. I gotta focus.”
      “Not sure, did you look on the company wiki page?”
      “I don’t know; doesn’t Greta handle that stuff?”
      “Can you send me an email with the background on that? It will help determine the best/correct answer.”

      Don’t feel any compunction to answer someone whose goal is only to elicit fuel for an argument.

      I am curious; what was your manager’s response to their complaint?

      1. Hotdog not dog*

        Actually, answering questions is a part of my job, so I’m very limited in being able to deflect them. Management just wants to keep working around the missing stair. Like many companies, we’re short staffed and this person is otherwise good at their job. I’ve discussed it with this person’s manager a few times, and they (Drama Llama) have been written up for it. My own manager sees it as a shortfall on my part for not being able to shut it down quickly enough when it happens.
        The next time it comes up I will try to delay answering. Hopefully the question will come via email or Teams rather than an ambush phone call (where DL frequently has additional parties on conference without telling me-that’s a whole ‘nother issue!)

        1. Mockingjay*

          In this case, I’ll rephrase my suggestions. Try versions of “Not sure Llama; let me look into that and I will get back to you.”

          If Llama demands immediate satisfaction, “let me confirm the data; not sure if the latest figures have been added.” Matter-of-fact, routine verification. Hope that helps!

  42. Mimmy*

    Ack… that’s two weeks in a row that I post but it doesn’t show up. Are all comments going into moderation now? Is anyone else experiencing this?

    1. Hlao-roo*

      There are certain words that automatically trigger moderation and all links automatically trigger moderation, so if you’ve posted on the same topic/with links a few times in a row those comments will all go to moderation before they’re released. Have the comments appeared after a few hours or do they disappear entirely?

      1. Mimmy*

        When it happened last week, it appeared a few hours later. I’m not sure if it was coincidental or if Alison released it after I’d written to her via the “report an issue” link.

        I had no links either time. I can’t figure out what words I’m using to trigger the moderation.

        1. ferrina*

          It sounds like it triggered moderation. I’ve had this happen a couple times- once when I knew it was a moderation trigger (commenting on a sensitive topic) but once when I wasn’t sure what triggered the mod filter.

          Try posting an unquestionably innocuous comment, like “+1”. That should show up right away.

        2. Person+from+the+Resume*

          Just wait and it will show up. Your post very likely went to moderation and Alison will release it soon.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Comments go to moderation if they contain a link or if they trigger the moderation filter for some reason. Reasons a comment might trigger the filter vary, and sometimes there’s no reason for it at all; the filter just gets overly aggressive for some reason. I release them once I see them.

  43. PB Bunny Watson*

    So I know it’s illegal to tell employees that they cannot discuss salaries or working conditions. What is the legality of “requesting” that they do not discuss these things?
    (Seems kinda sus… but is it legal?)

    1. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      Well, that’s just semantics — telling and asking are definitely the same thing when an entity with authority and power is doing it. So they are pretty much both illegal — but usually the law doesn’t come into play until there is harm done, like retaliation.

    2. ferrina*

      Not a lawyer, but feels technically legal. That said, if you politely decline to acquiesce to their request, any retaliation would be illegal.

      If you want to gently push back, you can always “misunderstand” the ask. “Oh, actually I think that federal law requires that non-management employees be allowed to discuss compensation and working conditions if they want to. Or am I missing something?”…..(pause while they bluster)….”Oh, okay. So this is something that you’d prefer, but if an employee wants to discuss this they’re legally protected when having this discussion. Cool, thanks for clarifying!”
      Bonus points if you can have this discussion around other people, and if you keep a cheerful and helpful demeanor the whole time.

    3. Ginger Baker*

      I had to have an entire call with HR when my manager said a similar thing on a group call with the department. It is illegal, full stop. Presuming your HR is at all competent, I would flag it for them. My call included a lot of “I’m sure it was unintentional, but obviously we don’t want to open the company to legal liability due to this” and “I am worried that since some people this was said to are new to the workforce, they will not realize this is illegal for the company to ask, so I think there should be some follow-up where this is clarified to the group” and “I noticed the slides used included this and also were used in a presentation to a different group at the company, so you will want to make sure it is revised and addressed there too”. (It worked, HR was pretty concerned, and said manager issued a retraction at the next meeting. It was a bit less smooth than might be desired, but included what needed to be said so it worked for me.)

      1. PB Bunny Watson*

        They originally said they told staff not to discuss their wages. When I pointed out in the meeting that this was illegal, the response was that they “request” staff don’t discuss their wages. Unfortunately… the person responding is in charge of HR. womp womp

        1. Ginger Baker*

          Do you have a General Counsel? I would escalate there next if so, if you want. You can drop it – you don’t need to be the only one working to fix problems the company seems unconcerned about – but if you do want to escalate, that would be the next logical place to go.

  44. Never Been So Excited to Quit Something*

    Any advice on turning in two weeks notice? I got a job offer this week that I accepted (yay!) but I’m really nervous about turning in two weeks at this job. Ideally I wouldn’t have to work out the complete time since we’re overstaffed but I’m going to offer two weeks and mention that I’m fine leaving sooner if that works best for them in terms of coverage and labor hours.

    1. ferrina*

      Your plan sounds great!
      Expect some questions about why you are leaving/what the new job is, so you may want to have answers to those.
      Also think about the transition- is there anything that you’ve been covering that your boss might not think of (like something that comes up only a couple times a year) or something that only you do that you’d need to train others in?

      Congrats on your new job!

    2. Blarg*

      Also pay attention to things like health insurance coverage and when it would end at old job and start at new job (assuming you’re in the US).

    3. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      I would recommend that you think more about your needs for those 2 weeks rather than their needs. Do you need the wages — even just as a nice cushion? Are you really ready if they say your last day is the same day you give notice? Do you want to be able to get in a few appointments before you lose a benefit — doctor visit, eye glasses, dental visit, prescriptions? Benefits tend not to kick in right away at a new job.

      If you would really rather have the time off between jobs, or start the new job early, you could state it more directly, “I’m prepared to give a full two weeks notice, and don’t want to cause a hardship in the office, but I’d like to have my last day as [three days] from now.”

      Congratulations on the new job!

  45. For the love of decency*

    Trying to figure out how upset to be about this boundary breach. I work in the medical field which means we are slammed seeing patients non stop. We are a small team of 8-10 people. We have a large refrigerator that staff use to store lunches and has a lot of free space. Occasionally staff will run out to the grocery store during a lunch break and bring a gallon of milk or whatever to keep in the fridge until the end of the day when they can take it home. I did that on Thursday and also picked up a prescription injection (think diabetes shot) that needed to be refrigerated. The medication is in a paper bag that is clearly from a pharmacy but doesn’t have identifying information. By the end of the day the bag was open in the frig. I could tell because the pharmacy uses a ton of staples to close up the bag. When I asked what happened a coworker said she opened it because she was curious “what you are was taking”. Which tells me she did know it was a medication and not say a bakery bag and still opened it! I told her it wasn’t her business what medication I was on and she shouldn’t have opened it if it wasn’t hers. She shrugged and said I shouldn’t have put something so sensitive or personal in the community frig. We are all medical professionals we deal with Hippa on a daily basis why doesn’t she see this as an overstep? Trying to see if my expectations are off?

    1. BellyButton*

      What!?!? No, you are not wrong to be upset about this. People shouldn’t touch anything that isn’t theirs in the refrigerator and that shouldn’t need to be said. touching someone’s medication is way too far.

      I would use this as a jumping off point to ask for a small refrigerator you can keep at your desk.

    2. Irish Teacher.*

      That is shocking. I assumed somebody thought it was full of treats for the office. Snooping at somebody’s medication is unacceptable. In any field, but being medical professionals makes it even worse.

      1. Hlao-roo*

        I’m not in healthcare, but I can almost see how being in that field makes snooping on other people’s medications seem like less of a big deal. If your job deals with medications all day, then meds no longer seem like a private thing.

        I’m not condoning her behavior (she should not be looking at her coworkers medications to satisfy her own curiosity), just saying I’m slightly less surprised about this happening in healthcare vs a more typical office environment.

        1. MaryLoo*

          Hard disagree. If you’re in health care you should absolutely know that other people’s medications are NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS (and yes, I know I just yelled on the internet).

          This is akin to saying that if you are a psychiatrist you have the right to ask everybody about their mental health issues. Or an MD going around asking people details about their health.

    3. kiki*

      No, that’s super bizarre and a huge breach of boundaries. If it were an accident of some sort (she thought the bag was hers), that would be different, but she confirmed it wasn’t an accident and she wanted to know what medications you’re on! That’s not any of her business. Also, the bag was stapled shut– accidents happen, so a communal fridge isn’t the best place to keep something private, but you had every right to expect nobody would rifle through a bag that’s STAPLED SHUT.

    4. hi hello*

      Super weird and inappropriate of her to do that. Your expectations are not off–my colleagues have their lunch boxes in the community fridge, but I never go through the contents to see what they’re eating. Let alone what medication they’re taking! She sucks and you’re right to be annoyed.

    5. Sorry*

      Yes, she should have not looked any more then she shouldn’t open your lunch bag. But HIPPA does not apply here. You left medication in an area open to others.

    6. Dust Bunny*

      What, no! It was “locked”–it was solidly stapled shut!

      This is not a HIPAA violation (your healthcare provider did not give her the information) but this person is a nut.

      I would never even open obvious food containers, never mind a firmly-closed paper bag.

      1. Reba*

        I read it as OP is just bringing that up to say that medical privacy is something they deal with day to day, so the concept should be familiar!

        I would be so shocked.

    7. AG*

      “She shrugged and said I shouldn’t have put something so sensitive or personal in the community frig.”

      Did she expect you to keep your medication not refridgerated? There is no room for the benefit of the doubt here. I’d be furious if that was done to me. Even acknowledges that it is sensitive!

    8. LadyByTheLake*

      She opened your closed container for the specific stated purpose of snooping on something that everyone understands is private. Holy crap in a bucket! Does she think it’s okay to dig through your purse or your phone if they aren’t locked up? Huge violation of all personal and professional boundaries, and especially concerning that someone who deals with other people’s secrets would shamelessly do such a deranged thing. I would flag this to management.

    9. JelloStapler*

      Oh hell no, just because something is there doe snot mean she can open and pick through. She should know better. I’d report her.

    10. SJ (they/them)*

      exCUSE ME????? She “wanted to know what you were taking” ??? and she said this OUT LOUD to you??? like, without shame?

      absolutely the f********CK not. communal fridge means “we can all store our stuff in there”, not “everything is everyone else’s property” !!


    11. Parenthesis Dude*

      That’s wild. I’d report her to whoever the boss is. If I were the boss, I’d fire her on the spot. It’s not that this offense is that big. But anyone who does something like that can’t be trusted with confidential information and that means you can’t trust them to work at a doctor’s office.

      1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

        Agreed, given the context*, this rises to something the coworker’s manager will want to know about. If you don’t share a manager, maaaaybe give your manager a heads up first.

        The coworker behaved terribly.

        *Medical professionals at work, stapled bag, pharmacy bag, and you already tried talking to coworker 1:1

    12. NewJobNewGal*

      As someone who worked Quality at a heathcare system and had to handle medication “loss” and mishandling I’d report this incident in your deviation system. No one should be handling or tampering with meds without reason. I don’t care if it’s your meds, or a patient’s meds, or some random meds placed on a counter. Opening the sealed bag is outrageous!
      At a minimum, it needs to be documented.
      My blood is going to be boiling for the rest of the day.

    13. Dr. Anonymous*

      I am quite sure the manager at our office would have a very serious conversation, indeed, with anyone who did that.

      1. London Calling*

        I can’t get over the ‘yeah I snooped but it’s your fault for leaving it there and tempting me.’

    14. Chauncy Gardener*

      What the actual f–?? Just sputtering over here, no constructive advice. Just full on disbelief at your coworker and total commiseration

    15. Nightengale*

      Your expectations are on. This is a huge overstep. The only reason to look in someone else’s thing in a shared refrigerator is if you have something in a very similar container and aren’t sure if the thing is yours or not. Like two identical opaque tupperwares or bags.

      “Curious what you were taking” says she knows it is a medication and is just snooping. Which medical people should know not to do (even though this isn’t a HIPPA violation.) And then she blamed you rather than apologizing!

      I would consider reporting this if feasible.

      Signed – a diabetic doctor who keeps emergency insulin in the break room refrigerator and sometimes picks up her whole prescription from the work pharmacy and stores it in the refrigerator until time to go home. . .

  46. kiki*

    share your routines and tips for maintaining them

    I’m starting a new role in a few weeks. I’ve historically had trouble maintaining solid routines and work-life balance. I’ve been getting better, but it’s easy for me to toss helpful routines (like taking a morning walk, setting an intention for the day, etc) during times of stress or when I’m busy.

    So I’d love if folks shared their routines that help maintain work-life balance and any tips for keeping with them, even when busy. Thanks!

    1. Hlao-roo*

      Keeping routines in times of stress/business:

      When you feel like “I have so much going on! No time for a morning walk today!” Remind yourself that skipping today’s walk may feel like the right move in the short term, but realistically an extra 20 minutes to do [whatever is driving the stress/business] will not solve the problem and in the long-term maintaining the morning walk routine will do more to lower your stress levels. Takes a lot of self-discipline at first, but over time the routines will become non-negotiable parts of your day and you won’t even think about skipping them.

    2. Jean Pargetter Hardcastle*

      I’ve learned that I’m a person who needs different routines at different times. Changing seasons, hormonal changes, outside-of-work things: all of these affect how I show up to work really deeply. It used to be that I would beat myself up for letting my routines slip. Now I’ve learned to identify when I’m shifting into a new mode and need a new routine. Some things that have been helpful for me with this:
      -Talk therapy (to stop holding myself to what I think I’m supposed to be doing)
      -Learning more about how other cultures and communities (now and historically) have responding to changing seasons
      -(May or may not be relevant or comfortable for you) Learning more about how my hormones change over the course of a month and how that affects me – this is through research as well as journaling/tracking – because everyone’s body is different, irrespective of what research articles tell you is always true
      -When I find a routine that is working well for me, giving myself permission to stick with it *even if* it flies in the face of conventional wisdom
      -Giving myself the grace to know this routine will diminish in usefulness over time, and that is okay

    3. EMP*

      Be kind to yourself if you drop the routine. It’s easy to say “ugh I missed my walk all week, why even bother today” but it’s fine to miss some days and get back into it later.

      Secondly, you have to make time for it when you’re busy. More easily said than done, right? But telling myself this over and over does help, sometimes, as does explicitly prioritizing my to-do list and explicitly letting some fall off the bottom (the beginning of the month was very busy to me and I skipped cleaning the bathroom in order to keep some pre-bed relaxation time. Not everyone’s priority but it was mine!)

    4. Mac (I Wish All The Floors Were Lava)*

      Honestly, self-care has always been a big problem for me, but I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of just reframing how I talk to myself about stuff, like, instead of saying “oh man, I should do X” and then feeling guilty and (usually) not doing it, I instead try and tell myself “I like doing X, and I deserve to do things that make me feel good”. It’s not a perfect fix, but it definitely helps.

  47. Irish Teacher.*

    Just something I wanted to share. One of my colleagues had her last day today (we’re sad to lose her, but she got a deputy principal job, which is awesome for her). She made a goodbye speech, saying how she always felt free to be herself in our workplace. Which…put words on what I love about my job. I am literally encouraged to borrow fidget toys from the ASD unit to fidget with. People make a point of accommodating my picky eating if we are ordering in food and of checking on me when places get crowded or busy. My obsessiveness is almost seen as an advantage, as it means I plan classes meticulously.

    And it’s not just me. It seems like quirks are not just accommodated, but celebrated and where possible, made use of and treated as a benefit to the school.

    Just a “why I love my workplace.”

    1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

      Hooray, I needed a positive “my workplace is cool” refuel story, so thank you for sharing!

  48. Cruciatus*

    Can anyone speak to what to expect in a assistant curator/archivist role? One is available at a local insurance place in my city (a little weird!) and I’m interested, but they are looking for people with degrees in museum management and that kind of thing. I’ve worked in both public and academic libraries on the staff side (non-librarian) for nearly 10 years now. In my current role I sometimes help the archivist with scanning photos, and projects like that. But my role is mostly related to books, but I feel like maybe library experience could apply to curation/archives? But I don’t know so if anyone can provide some insight that’d be great!

    1. Dust Bunny*

      I’m a non-MLIS archives assistant in a medical school library. We’re mostly paper and rare books with a few artifacts, but I do scanning, answering research requests that come in by phone or email, helping researchers determine which collections they need to see, and I do a lot of inventories of collections.

      An insurance place probably means records management? “Archivist” seems like an odd way to describe it even though there will be overlap and it’s not uncommon for librarians and archivists to do records management work. But I’m not sure what, specifically, that looks like in a business setting.

    2. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      Museum management is such an odd thing to expect…now I’m picturing those Farmers Insurance commercials with J.K. Simmons walking a person through a museum…is that REAL? (just kidding) I’m sorry I have nothing useful to add.

    3. Blarg*

      This might be more of a regulatory thing in an insurance context. What documents need to be preserved/archived, for how long, in what conditions, how are they released and to whom, and when can they be destroyed, and how do we do that, etc.

      Or perhaps there’s an insurance industry museum coming to your town. :)

    4. MagnusArchivist*

      I’d guess they’re looking for someone to help manage their old records (that aren’t actively being used any more) so that the company can use them for promotions, displays, and planning future stuff based on past stuff. If this role reports to someone with an archives or records management degree, you’ll probably be fine! But I’d be wary that they actually want someone with serious and specific RM or archives skills, like knowledge of legal requirements for record retention, but they don’t *know* that’s what they want. An awful lot of corporate managers hiring someone to “take care of the archives” think it’s an easy job where you just, like, do some filing and scan some photographs, and don’t understand that there are actual skills and complicated practices.

      1. Cruciatus*

        This company is a huge employer in my city (and neighboring states, even) and they have a long history in this city, own historic buildings, etc. So I do think it’s actually dealing with “real” archive stuff. I do know it’s not just scanning, though that DOES come up in the job description. But I didn’t want to ask the archivist I do work for sometimes because she would be upset at the thought of me leaving (which is nice, but not useful in this moment!) They are all looking for a director, so I definitely would not be in charge, but I’m really trainable in stuff, and feel like this wouldn’t be toooooo far out of my wheelhouse. But I also don’t know what I don’t know.

    5. tessa*

      If the degree is a required qualification, and you have one, apply and find out if you have what they’re looking for. I think it’s really just that straightforward.

  49. alright*

    My boss’s boss has been doing something that makes my skin crawl but I’m not sure if it’s a me problem or a her problem. She’s a kind and generous person, and she often invites us to talk to her about any problems we have, specifically she invites us to come to her if we have questions or concerns or if we want to “vent”, and she does this both in the context of work things AND in the context of non-work things. For example, she might invite us to vent to her about one of our important software tools being broken…or about a recent mass shooting. This feels bananas to me.

    1. ferrina*

      That would make me really uncomfortable. I don’t go to my grandboss to blow off steam- I go to them when I need something to be solved. And how does this person have enough free time that they think this is a good use of their work time?

      I’d be wary of this person. Best case, she has a poor read on power dynamics and expectations on her role. There’s a really high likelihood of her confusing venting with a problem she needs to solve (or vice versa). Worst case, she’s gathering pain points that she can leverage as needed (like deciding that since Janet has complained about her husband, she shouldn’t get that promotion because she’s “having trouble at home and wouldn’t give the job her full attention”)

    2. PrincessFlyingHedgehog*

      Sounds like your boss’s boss wants to be everyone’s friend/therapist, rather than a work leader. It’s inappropriate! It’s one thing to invite participation, feedback, and even criticism (where appropriate), but it’s another to ask people to “vent” to her. What happens when someone “vents” to her about a topic/issue when she has the opposite political view? What if someone wants to “vent” about a policy or procedure she enacted? This is so problematic!

    3. Eldritch Office Worker*

      I’d assume it’s well intentioned, but yeah uncomfy. Given the power differential I’d probably just politely decline the invitation.

    4. Oh, Snap!*

      @alright – I think I might be doing this to my team… would you be comfortable sharing a bit more about what these interactions look like and how you’d prefer your skip-boss would behave instead? I assume it wouldn’t matter if this was your direct manager vs 1 level up?

      1. alright*

        The part about it that I find uncomfortable and, yes, inappropriate for a work setting is pretty much what the other commenters have touched on: work isn’t a place to be emotionally vulnerable, and especially not directly to my boss. I have a very lovely workplace full of extremely lovely people who I 100% believe would treat me fairly and with compassion if they were to see me very upset, but there’s still no situation where I should “vent” to any of them, and especially not to my boss.

        I’m a very private person, like much more so than most of my co-workers, and I don’t have a lot of experience in an office setting like my current job which is why I wanted opinions from people here, but…well, when someone in the workplace is trying to communicate that they’ve got a good open door policy, they shouldn’t be directly inviting the sharing of anything private or emotional, right? I might some day need to bring something private or emotional to my manager or my grand boss (say, if I’m sexually harassed at work or diagnosed with a terminal illness or something) but in those cases I’ll be bringing it to them because it’s relevant to work in some way, not because my coworkers are part of my support system.

        I think my skipboss should therefore leave her invitations for talking about things to stuff that’s strictly related to work. Inviting me to come to her with questions or concerns [about work stuff]: good. Inviting me to talk to her about work problems that I think I’ve found a fix for: good. Inviting me to let her know if I need the day off because [upsetting current event]: totally fine. Inviting me to “vent” about work problems OR about personal things OR about upsetting current events: no! I have friends and a therapist for that. Or twitter, if I absolutely must.

  50. my cat is prettier than me*

    I commented last week about not having my health insurance information. I was sure I’d be okay for a little while, but I ended up in the ER on Tuesday night (I was having severe abdominal pain. I’m sort of okay now, but we’re still not sure what happened). We chose to go to a hospital that would be most likely covered under most insurance. I found out today that it is in-network!
    The HR person came to me an apologized for not getting me the info sooner. She was super great about me taking time off (I took two days) and everyone is glad to see me back. I’m so glad I have pretty good insurance and understanding coworkers.

  51. Nathalie*

    My nearest work neighbors are both whisperers which drives me nuts at the best of times for all the usual whispering-is-more-distracting-than-loud-talking reasons. We work in a pretty quiet office so I know they’re just trying to be respectful so I have accepted that as a fact of life, but one of those coworkers is on leave at the moment and, deprived of her best work friend, the other has started coming to me to chat a lot more often. I like her a lot and enjoy chatting, but I’ve suffered some hearing loss in the last year and I often genuinely cannot understand what she’s saying. In the past I’ve always just kind of pretended I heard her and smiled/nodded to avoid saying “Huh? What?” 20 times per conversation but now that we’re talking so much more it’s getting awkward. The idea of asking her to speak up fills me with anxious dread so even though I know it’s the best thing to do in this scenario I also know that I 100% will not do it. Any other tips for navigating this?

    1. DisneyChannelThis*

      “The idea of asking her to speak up fills me with anxious dread so even though I know it’s the best thing to do in this scenario I also know that I 100% will not do it. Any other tips for navigating this?”

      Any tips for navigating this besides telling her you are having trouble hearing her? No. That’s like impossible. You can’t close caption in real life. She probably doesn’t know ASL. Just tell her you’re having some trouble hearing her. You can blame it more on yourself than on her – focus on your hearing issues instead of saying she talks softly. If you don’t want to disclose hearing issues you can make it sound like a temporary problem (I used the lawnmower without ear protection this weekend my hearings a bit off today could you speak up?). Or you could redirect to a text chat program if you office has one, (I’m having some trouble with tinnitus lately would you mind if we chatted in slack instead)

      1. Nathalie*

        As I said, I know this is the correct answer but I know myself well enough to know I will never do it, hence the request for other suggestions.

        1. Hlao-roo*

          I think you have three options here:

          1) Continue your smile-nod-pretend routine. Pro: you don’t have to ask her to speak up. Con: she will think you are strange if you smile at a sad moment/don’t answer a direct question.

          2) Ask her to speak up, as DisneyChannelThis suggests. Pro: you will be able to hear her when she talks to you. Con: you won’t do this.

          3) Tell her you are busy with work and cannot talk to her. Pro: you don’t have to ask her to speak up. Con: she may think you don’t like her, or that she’s done something to offend her, or that you have become a cold and distant person.

          1. Nathalie*

            I think I’ll have to go with a version of #1 where I just ask her to repeat herself more often. I avoid it now so as not to be annoying, but maybe the annoyance will train her to just talk louder to me.

            1. Jaydee*

              Is there a reason you don’t feel comfortable just asking her to speak a little louder? I see below that you’ve told people at work about your hearing loss, so I’m guessing the anxiety isn’t about disclosing your hearing loss. If you’re worried she’ll feel put out by it, I think she would actually be less bothered by being asked outright to please help you out by speaking up (most people want to be helpful!) versus being asked to repeat herself all the time.

              If you need a script, I’d suggest something like “Hey Jane, when we talk could you speak a little bit louder? I really appreciate that you don’t want to be disruptive to everyone else, but with my hearing loss I have a hard time following what you’re saying sometimes. I don’t want to miss something important you say or have to ask you to repeat yourself a bunch of times.” This way you’re giving her a way to help you, and you’re simultaneously acknowledging she’s a caring person and validating that you *want* to hear what she has to say. If she reacts poorly to that, she’s not nearly as kind and pleasant a person as I’m assuming her to be!

        2. ThatGirl*

          I understand that anxiety can be overwhelming or even debilitating, but I would like to offer this thought up: it will cause you a LOT more anxiety NOT to say it than to just spit it out. Like I can almost guarantee you’d feel relieved once you said it. If it’s easier, you could say it in a chat or an email when you’re not face to face. But… it’s your life!

        3. Mac (I Wish All The Floors Were Lava)*

          Is there some dumb, slightly folksy catchphrase you can come up with to help diffuse the awkwardness? Like, I dunno, “these ears are stuck at 50% so I’m gonna need you to turn up your volume” or “hon, if you’re not telling me state secrets right now, I’m gonna need you to speak a lot louder”. I think there’s definitely gotta be a way to do it that comes off as friendly and helps build a closer bond between you guys, instead of just sounding critical or demanding.

      2. Grumpy*

        I am getting hearing aids next week , after years of slowly decreasing hearing, and can’t wait! Try to accept that hearing loss is nothing to be ashamed of. Just tell her you have hearing loss and ask her to speak up.

        1. Nathalie*

          The thing is I’ve definitely talked about my hearing loss at work because I’m young for it and the thing that caused it was fairly dramatic (in a funny way) and I like telling the story (not sharing here for anonymity reasons because I can’t imagine it has happened to very many people). I think it’s just a dot she’s not connecting because she’s so used to talking at this volume and nobody else having problems.

    2. Diatryma*

      Put up a sign so it’s not you telling her specifically, but you letting everyone know that you may need a bit more volume.

  52. Elle*

    I’m catching up on Abbot Elementary and I love it so much. As a life long non profit person I really appreciate the budget struggles and developing lessons that kids will love.

    1. Dark Macadamia*

      I need to check it out! Most shows that happen in schools aren’t really about schools and I love the idea of a teacher workplace comedy

  53. Dr. Smartypants*

    Hi everyone,
    I have a little bit of a question involving how to deal with my manager. She is someone a bit inexperienced in the managing position but very secure in her ideas/opinions. Many times she has done questionable things, such as not wanting me to take one week off following a car accident (she argued that she wanted me to take one day at a time, and “it’s best to move to warm up muscles”), or saying that if my colleagues were being slow/not responsive I should pick up their work, or saying that despite having suffered silent treatment by another coworker that was ok given that in her opinion I was also partly responsible for the deterioration of the relationship.
    However now, the new issue is that she put me on a PIP for “not communicating well”, using only one or two examples (which are arguable). I wonder if she takes it on me because she either thinks very poorly of me or if she sees any criticism towards me personally (if her subordinate is less than perfect, reflects on her).
    I was wondering what kind of wording I could use to gently push back on this without sounding aggressive or pushy. I tend to be very direct and in general that approach hasn’t worked (I’m in a toxic workplace with huge egos).
    Thanks :)

    1. DisneyChannelThis*

      I’d be very very careful. PIP is the one of the last steps toward firing. Pushing back on it, instead of showing you are working to fix the issue may backfire badly on you. Take a mental step back, pretend the PIP isn’t for you – what steps would you suggest a peer or a friend take to show they can fix the issues outlined there. For communication that’s often things like making sure you’re not talking over people, following up on tasks verbally assigned via email, keeping your managers in the loop on your progress, making sure to foster an environment where everyone feels valued.

      Do you have HR? Was HR involved with the PIP, generally the manager has to have actionable stuff and jumped through some hoops with HR before putting an employee on one. It’s extremely unlikely your manager just randomly decided to “punish” you by creating one. They’re a documentation step toward firing when other means of addressing behavior/performance issues haven’t worked.

      Finally, I’d be job hunting just in case anyway – advancement in the company is hard if you do not get along with your manager.

      1. Dr Smartypants*

        Thanks for the reply — it is indeed helpful. I did not mention, but there are other issues (I have a grievance against a colleague) and I suspect that this is a subtle way to let me know that I am not wanted here. In addition, I have a fully documented disability that impairs communication (ND) so that is why I can be quite abrupt at times.

        I’m in HE in a permanent position — communication is stunted by definition. For example, one of the things that I was called on this PIP was not updating others, but no one asked me for an update either. Often I ask people for updates and I get zero response, or have to send tons of emails to get any reply, so clearly it is not a PIP-able thing, unless they want to kick you out.

        But anyway, I’ll start dusting off my resume — I just don’t know what to do of my life if I need to leave academia, hence why I haven’t left yet.

        1. seepy witt*

          I’m really curious if this is a legit PIP that was filed with HR. I am also in higher ed, and I hired a person who supposedly had…not a PIP, but the step below, which is basically a PIP without it being called that. This came up during the reference check with the manager. It was explained to me what was on the PIP and I thought it sounded fishy. Very similar to yours – subjective things like “being a good team player” and “better communication.” Now, I had to write one of these for an employee and it was super hard getting as specific and measurable as I needed to be in order for HR to accept it. Fast forward a month, she asked me to look into seeing if HR could remove it from her record, and…they don’t have any evidence of it. It never got filed with them.

          I’m wondering if you can go to HR and see how they suggest you proceed with such subjective performance management goals, especially in light of your documented disabilities. I don’t think it will make things better with your manager, but it may protect you until you can find another job.

          1. Dr Smartypants*

            HR is involved in this, and was notetaking during the meeting. However, the minutes of the meeting that they sent had things that were not fully discussed or agreed — when I said that the minutes should reflect the meeting, I got called pedantic by my manager. Also, I have met all the (very measurable) goals of the PIP but it keeps getting “extended”…