employee came to work with a hair salon cape and dye cap on, recruiter wants me to pay if they find me a job, and more

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

1. My employee came back to work with a hair salon cape and dye cap on

I work for a small organization. Most of our work takes place virtually, and the majority of the staff chooses to do hybrid work. Someone is always in the office, but rarely is everyone in. A hair salon shares the building with us, and some of the staff choose to schedule appointments there over lunch or after work. The other day, an employee I supervise had a hair appointment scheduled over lunch. I didn’t realize that she was planning to have her hair dyed and that it would take longer then a regular break. Instead of taking extra time off, she came back to work in the middle of the appointment with a cape and dye cap. I’m pretty flexible with taking personal time and working flexible schedules, but this seemed pretty unprofessional to me. I didn’t address it in the moment, but did speak with the employee the next day about how that type of thing could interrupt focus. The employee said they didn’t think it was a problem to pop back into the office for 15 minutes while the dye set. Did I overreact, and should I document this in case of future issues?

In most offices, it would be pretty reasonable to expect that employees not to come to work with hair salon capes and dye caps on. I get her thinking — she just had to sit around and wait and her office was right next door so why not go back and get some work done? — but it’s not unreasonable to want to keep your office feeling like an office, not a spa. Plus, hair dye smells.

It doesn’t rise to the level of something you should need to document —you’ve spoken to her, she knows now not to do it, and formal documentation would be overkill — but it was reasonable to explain she shouldn’t do it again.

Read an update to this letter

2. My boss wants us to spend a Saturday playing games in a park

My boss wants to do a team on-site. It’s taking place over a few days, including a social event on Saturday. A few others already said they won’t be able to make it for the weekend event. She then said the Saturday event can be optional but she strongly recommends that people attend. It’s 11-6 pm. It will be at some local park with games and probably some food that people are supposed to volunteer to bring. It’s not planned out yet. A location hasn’t been decided, just the date. She wants us to all help plan it as a team. Am I overreacting that I think this is ridiculous? Some of us have families. Is there a way to share feedback or should I just drop it?

No, you’re not overreacting. If your manager thinks it’s valuable for your team spend a day playing games in a park, she should use a work day for it. (But she’s not, because at some level she knows it’s not not worth using work time on.)

Ideally a bunch of your coworkers would push back on this — saying you have other commitments on the weekends/can’t attend and suggesting it be during work hours if it’s important. If enough of you say it, she may drop it. But if she won’t budge, you can either say you won’t be there or (if your sense is that you’ll be penalized in some way for not showing up at all) you could drop by for an hour and say that’s all the time you have open that weekend.

3. Recruiter wants me to pay them to find me a job

I am a product manager who recently received a LinkedIn connection request from a recruiter that said the following: “I’m a manager at _______, a career accelerator. If you’re looking for a job in product management, we can help you. We work on an Income Share Agreement where you’ll pay us 9% of the first year’s salary ONLY if you land a job. Let me know if you’re interested.”

This seems bonkers to me. Is this a common new recruitment model? I’ve googled around but only seemed to find blogs from companies that DO this model touting it. I am curious if you have heard of it and what your thoughts are.

It’s a sleazy and predatory model. Reputable recruiters are paid by employers, not candidates. If you want to hire someone to coach you through a job search, that’s a different thing — but that should be for a flat fee, not a percentage of your future earnings. (Also, I’d be awfully concerned about whether they’re going to claim part of your salary even if you find a job completely on your own, arguing it was their coaching that allowed you to.)

4. What to do if a coworker saves your life

This is an actually hypothetical question, thank goodness, but: what do you consider the appropriate response if a coworker saves your life? (In any number of ways, I suppose, but I’m thinking specifically of “performing CPR til the paramedics arrive” or a similar action.)

Is there a level of gift or favor that seems appropriate? Or does one just express heartfelt gratitude and do their best to look out for that person’s interest in the workplace and outside it, regardless of any previous difficulty in the relationship? Essentially, is there a way to express that one is genuinely thankful for an act with such huge personal impact, without being trapped in a transactional nightmare?

I recognize that this would be a better question if I presented a more specific set of circumstances, but honestly it’s just something that occurred to me while stopped by an ambulance on my morning commute. But I’m still curious to know what you think.

I don’t think there’s one right answer to this! Partly because it’s such a rare situation, and partly because what will feel right will differ from person to person and from situation to situation. My bias is always that a heartfelt expression of gratitude is more meaningful than a physical token of said gratitude (in a variety of situations, not just this one), but when we’re talking about a real-life situation with real-life specifics, often other things can feel right too — a really nice meal out, a bottle of the person’s favorite wine, or whatever feels right based on your knowledge of the person and your relationship with them. Something like that isn’t required, but if something comes to mind that you know the person will appreciate, there’s no reason not to give it.

I wouldn’t worry that it will trap you in a transactional nightmare — like they save your life, you respond with a bottle of wine, they respond by pointing out a suspicious mole you should get checked out, you give them a card… It’s likely to just be the first two and then general ongoing good will from there.

{ 511 comments… read them below }

    1. AnonRN*

      Look, I have great confidence in my coworkers, but I don’t relish the thought of them stripping me nekkid!

      My very first day at work (in mid-July, the month all the new MD residents start) they called a code on my unit for a resident who passed out at the bedside. (They were fine, just dehydrated/nervous/locked their knees. I don’t think we cut their clothes off.)

      1. Renata*

        I work in chemistry, so if there’s a serious spill on a person we are trained to remove all local clothing and stand/lie in the safety shower. I have had nightmares about that!

        1. Mongrel*

          Is there at least something to wear afterwards? Disposable overalls, bath robe or even just a blanket?

          1. hamsterpants*

            When I was dealing with lab chemicals there was no specific employee-provided post-emergency-shower outfit, but 1) there were usually lab coats available; 2) if it was a personal concern you could always keep a spare outfit in your desk.

          2. KRM*

            In our labs now the safety stations include a ‘modesty poncho’. IDK why they call it that because you’ve had to rinse off naked for 15′ (of course this is preferable to terrible chemical burns!), but the chance for modesty is gone by then.

              1. Sandi*

                In my lab you wouldn’t sit down. By the end of the shower you would be taken away by ambulance for calcium injections to counteract the chemical (the only commonly used problem one for us was HF, hydrofluoric acid). I never had a spare set of clothing but we had lab coveralls that I could have put on to go to the hospital.

                1. Software Engineer*

                  Oooh…doesn’t HF leach calcium from your bones or something? I remember hearing horror stories about it back when I took college chemistry.

                2. I'm just here for the cats!*

                  I’m now going to have to do some research on Hydroflouric acid because i’ve got all sorts of ideas to include this in my next writing project for NANOWRIMO!

                3. Lydia*

                  @Software Engineer My friend is a chemist and hydrofluoric acid is the only chemical she is legitimately afraid of. It is bad news.

                4. hamsterpants*

                  HF is terrifying stuff. It isn’t a strong acid so you don’t necessarily feel pain immediately upon exposure, but it goes through your skin and into your bloodstream. The F- ion binds to calcium,
                  which dissolves your bones but, even worse, the muscles of your heart use calcium (rather than sodium like most of your other muscles) so it can stop your heart.

                5. Nesprin*

                  Honestly, if you have a significant HF burn, you won’t care what you’re wearing, and if you do care, you sure won’t care for long.

                  And yep, HF goes straight through your skin and starts dissolving your bones. A burn that covers >20% of your skin is basically fatal, and small splashes are usually a trip to the hospital for an amputation.

          3. amoeba*

            I mean, I’m sure something could be found but it’s also very definitely a worst case scenario that I’ve never seen happen in the 15 years I’ve spent in various chemistry labs. (And I do imagine you’d have other concerns at that point, indeed!)

            In general, that’s why you wear the labcoat – to prevent contamination of the clothes beneath. And if it’s something non-serious (small amount of not deadly chemical), we’d probably just go and have a regular shower in the basement. (The emergency showers are also really cold and basically flood the lab so definitely only for emergencies! Hope I’ll never see one in action…)

            1. pugsnbourbon*

              Oh yeah, a kid pulled one in my high school once and it was a BIG DEAL. I think he was honestly surprised how much water came out.

            2. NicoleT*

              Can confirm the safety shower/eyewash stations are very cold (it was my job to test/flush these regularly as designated lab safety person in grad school). I pretty much always got splashed. :(

          4. Lunar Caustic*

            If your lab is equipped with a fire blanket, you can give that to the person to wrap up in. My employer has disposable Tyvek coveralls in stock for people who forget their lab coats as well.

            1. Bread Crimes*

              So that’s what all those fire blankets from that one company were for! Emergency modesty, in case of accidents occurring at work.

          5. SleepySheep*

            We kept a few pairs of cheap scrubs around for when somebodys clothing got chemically exposed.

          6. Nina*

            I’m at a rocket test compound dealing with GNARLY chemicals, and here a) most people do keep a spare set of clothes in their locker and b) the official position is kick out absolutely everyone who doesn’t have to be there, and yes, immediately get them one of the tyvek suits from the box in the PPE room.

        2. Wendy*

          One time in chem lab I splashed some strong acid on my jeans and the fabric started to deteriorate before my eyes. I had to get back to my dorm before they fell off my legs completely. Neutralized with some sodium bicarb on my skin before I left, but there was a real danger of losing my pants!

          1. August*

            This is why one pair of my jeans became my official Orgo Lab Pants a few weeks into the first semester!

            1. SplendidColors*

              Back in the early 1980s when silk was still expensive, we had a pair of twins in my O-chem lab who would wear silk dresses to lab and be performatively nonchalant about ruining them (to demonstrate that they were rich enough it was no big deal to ruin a dress that cost a few hundred dollars).

        3. The Rural Juror*

          My mother works in a public-facing local government office that once received an envelope with white powder. She was out on an errand when it happened, but the whole office had to be locked down while a hazmat crew travelled there (which took a couple of hours). Mom went to Walmart and bought everyone sweatpants and tshirts so they’d have something to wear after they had to quarantine their clothes and go through the shower. It was a whole ordeal! Luckily, it was powdered sugar…but that was scary and whoever sent it is awful!

      2. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

        I was doing some fieldwork and was a raw beginner with pesticide application. There I was trying to demonstrate how to do it safely and I SPRAYED MYSELF. Then I had to strip nekkid in front of my trainees and demonstrate the chemical exposure and spill protocol. I ended up wearing a couple of onion sacks until the EMTs got there

        1. Empress Matilda*

          Wow, that is a real commitment to training – not many people would go that far for their colleagues! (Kidding, of course, and I’m very glad you’re okay!)

          1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

            It was an exceptionally thorough demonstration. And the only thing injured was my dignity : )

      3. Selina Luna*

        My cousin is an obstetric nurse who delivered 2 of her children in the same hospital where she works. It was apparently VERY weird for her to have to be unclothed in front of colleagues, but she said that everyone was professional and clinical while she was in a state.

      4. Anon today*

        As a medical professional, I have had to be cared for at my own hospital on a couple occasions. The first time was in training when I passed out from abdominal pain (a problem before I figured out my food intolerances) in the middle of an ER shift.

        The second includes the nightmare scenario. After a bike accident, I was brought into the hospital by ambulance as a trauma activation. As is customary, they cut off all my clothes for ease of identifying and caring for injuries. Two factors make this not as bad as it might have been. The first is that I have no coherent memory of the day from prior to the accident until later that evening, so I don’t actually remember the undressing part. Second is that it was immediately prior to my last week at that location. (I did see part of the OR team from that day when I went to the OR in a professional capacity later in the week, thanked them, and they said they were glad to see me up and around.)

      5. Fikly*

        It happened to me. I worked in an ER, 10 minutes from where I lived.

        I was brought in by ambulance, crashing, in acute heart failure, hypovolumic shock, BP 40/14, etc. And covered in a lot of terrible bodily fluids that lead to all that fluid loss in under 90 minutes and maybe a sheet.

        Everyone was very professional about it. Honestly, the part I felt worst about was a non-clinical staffer I worked with who saw me being wheeled in looking on the verge of death (as I was) and was clearly very upset about it when I talked with her later.

        After everything was over, really, I was just grateful that I was close enough to the ER and ambulance that my life was saved. It was that close.

    2. anon24*

      My full time job used to be as an EMT. Once a year every platoon in my company had to get together for a several hour long session of training, lectures, and just generally reviewing the past year and going over any changes that would be implemented in the upcoming year. It was the best way for them to get info to us but it was long, boring, and was held on a day we’d normally have off so everyone hated it. One year I went in and didn’t bother eating breakfast or lunch, which is pretty normal for me, but I also didn’t drink a lot of water before I went either. I also ended up sitting close to the front of the room. So there I’m sitting, surrounded by about 30 EMTs and paramedics and suddenly I got insanely dizzy and light headed and felt about to pass out. I started panicking because the last thing I wanted to do was drop to the floor in front of all my co-workers because they’d all be way too happy to jump into action and I’d never live it down, and I also couldn’t discreetly get up and leave because I was seated in the front and I was also pretty sure that if I stood up I was going down. I ended up putting my head down as low as I could go without being obvious and thankfully the moment passed, but I was really worried for a little bit there that I was going to wake up on the floor surrounded by a bunch of overeager and overhelpful medical people. That was the closest I got to my worst nightmare, although one time my blood sugar dropped so I had to quick eat something and the paramedic with me told me if I passed out he’d start an IV and get my sugar up that way. I told him if I woke up to him sticking an IV in my arm I’d punch him.

      1. Thegreatprevaricator*

        Ahaha this is something I could see happening to me. I have form for passing out if not adequately fed and watered. I nearly did it after giving blood and was trying to discreetly lower my head when they pounced on me and got me with my legs elevated. Fortunately being in a room full of medical professionals for work purposes is unlikely, and I generally try to avoid the whole circumstances leading to passing out thing as a rule.

        1. Roberta*

          years ago we were at my in-laws for dinner, and my sister-in-law had her friend over. One of them is allergic to pistachios, something that was forgotten until she ate the pesto with pistachios in it.
          Fortunately for everyone she had her epipen and the hospital is literally 10 minutes away. Unfortunately all the friends are trauma surgeons, and had to be talked down from doing a friggin’ tracheotomy in my mother-in-law’s bathroom. She made a full recovery.

          1. Amorphous Eldritch Horror*

            Oh no, that’s too hilarious, thinking of someone keeping the trauma surgeons armed with steak knives at bay. (It’s only funny because the friend made a full recovery, of course.)

        2. whingedrinking*

          Blood donation nurses are…enthusiastic. I tend to run cold, especially when donating blood, so when I started to feel slightly warm during the donation one time, I basically made eye contact and said, “Excuse m-”
          Next thing I knew I was flat on my back with a damp washcloth on my forehead and the needle out of my arm. I suppose that’s the kind of reaction you want if there’s a true emergency and better safe than sorry, but I do wonder how many times that’s happened where someone says, “Actually, I was just wondering if you could change the channel on the TV.”

          1. NicoleT*

            I’m a regular blood and platelet donor. I usually do ok donating whole blood, but the platelet donation gig is tricky. I’ve been going regularly for over a year now, and every time i have a bad reaction, the nurses mark it in my file for the next time. They know me by name (I usually go to the same place on the same day of the week), and I them. I still get mortified when I have to be rescued from a reaction (anything from the chills to horrible leg cramps due to the citrate in the “return” solution leaching calcium), but they are FAST when I need help.

      2. Bagpuss*

        I shared a house with a medical student when I was at university.
        He was in a lecture where the lecturer collapsed, and was almost trampled in the rush of students wanting to try their skills! (Lecturer was fine, he was coming down with flu and fainted, but apparently did add a ‘what to do if someone becomes ill during a lecture’ element to his introductry lectures the next term, whichI think included ‘stay in your seat unless you are in the front row OR specially asked to help’ and ‘call an ambulance / first aider’!)

        1. Frank Doyle*

          I was in a training session for engineers when the overhead projector stopped working, same vibe!

            1. MigraineMonth*

              I was at a Computer Science lecture when the presenter’s computer force-restarted to install updates. There wasn’t much any of us could do. After confirming there wasn’t an accessible copy of the presentation, we mostly sat around and complained about the Windows operating system until he updates completed.

            2. MigraineMonth*

              My ExJob hosted a big medical conference, and one of the cardiologists who was attending diagnosed his own heart attack and went to the ER with several of his cardiologist colleagues.

              1. bones*

                I mean, I’m assuming he was okay because he caught it when it started, so the image of cardiologists going on a field trip is mildly amusing.

        2. Dragon*

          I took a first aid course with an instructor who was very good at demonstrating choking, etc. We were all convinced that one day something would actually happen to him during class, and none of us would act because we’d think he was only demo-ing! :)

        3. pugsnbourbon*

          The EMTs on staff at the children’s museum where I worked really wanted to deliver a baby – there had been some close calls but it had never happened on site. All of my pregnant coworkers started their leave at least a week ahead of their due date.

          1. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

            I work at the Department of Labor and would REALLY love the excitement of a sudden birth.

            1. Former Mailroom Clerk*

              I feel like that’s a different type of labor than what your department normally handles.

      3. Myrin*

        “because they’d all be way too happy to jump into action”
        I’m sorry you had such an uncomfortable experience but this part has me in hysterics.

      4. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

        Fortuitously the same thing happened to a family friend. He was a firefighter/paramedic and while they were doing PT training he had a massive heart attack. The instant response and handily available ambulance probably saved his life because he coded 2x

      5. Butterfly Counter*

        Oh my goodness.

        A similar story if you squint: In the sixth grade, my class took a full course in first aid. Everything from minor cuts, swallowed toxins, to CPR. Three friends of mine from class and I were walking after lunch and witnessed some bullies push a boy into a door frame. The boy cut his head open and let me tell you, we were ON IT. One of us went for a teacher, another went to get gauze from our first aid kits in class, another went and got paper towels from the nearby bathroom to press into the cut and the last of us kept the boy lying flat, discouraging him from moving and injuring himself further.

        He did need stitches, but I know he left the school with so much gauze on his head, he looked like a mummy.

        1. Kuddel Daddeldu*

          Warning: May be gross.
          I seem to need my first aid training about once per year, mostly for traffic accidents. From just securing the site and calling 911 to jump-starting response to a major accident (all patients survived, but it surely was not pretty) one hour after arriving in a foreign country because everyone was just too shell-shocked to act. My last refresher had been just a few weeks before, so I acted pretty much on automatic. Securing the site by putting my tental car across the road, assessing the situation, ordering bystanders what to do, pulling an unresponsive patient out of their car to check them up (patient must be on a hard surface for CPR if needed), stemming the blood… the whole nine yards. When there are multiple people at an accident site, too often nobody acts while they would not hesitate when alone.
          Interesting that half a dozen cops turned up before the first EMT.

      6. learnedthehardway*

        I had that happen in a church service once. I was new in town and test-driving churches. I was a bit dehydrated, not used to the heat, and had a headache when I went into a church on Sunday, and immediately knew I had made a mistake, because they had a full band playing, with a very enthusiastic drummer. It was also very clearly a denomination of the very demonstrative sort.

        The headache rapidly spiraled into a migraine, and I started feeling very light-headed and dizzy. I was afraid that I would pass out and that the congregation would think I was having a deep spiritual experience. Managed to get myself out to the lobby and sit on the steps with my head between my knees before dragging myself home. During this time, someone did indeed ask if I was having a spiritual experience. I told them it was just a migraine.

        1. whingedrinking*

          When I was tutoring, sometimes I’d get a wicked headache and have to sit with my hands pressed into my eyes to block out the light. (If they were migraines they weren’t totally debilitating ones.) Unfortunately it was a posture that could also be read as “teacher frustrated by student’s lack of comprehension” and had to assure my students that it was not anything they were doing.

      7. Poppyseeds*

        My sister is a physician and she said one of her fellow students in med school got married. A man at the ceremony passed out and there were so many physicians in attendance they were able to subspecialize. When they asked for a doctor in the house many hands went up.

        1. MigraineMonth*

          I mentioned this upthread, but my ExJob hosted a large medical conference. One of the cardiologists, who was travelling with a group of cardiologists, had a heart attack and self-diagnosed it.

      8. MarfisaTheLibrarian*

        My fiancee is a paramedic, and I am only too willing to brag about their skills. They were waiting in the car while my mom and I were at the bridal store for her alterations when a young women fainted while getting her dress pinned. I sprinted outside and dragged my fiancee in from the car where they were napping in sweatpants for them to help

    3. Person from the Resume*

      I totally expected this hypothetical came from a tv show situation. Clearly a sitcom would go one direction relationship drama a totally different one. Both unlikely to be an Alison approved response.

      1. Mitzii*

        Just this week I watched an episode of “Vice Principals” on HBOMax where one of the main characters was shot in the parking lot, and a cafeteria worker found/saved him. As a thank-you, the victim gave him an acrylic statuette with their faces engraved on it and said something like, “Now we’re even?”. Definitely a comedy, and a dark one at that.

    4. Pippa K*

      A med school professor I used to know once needed urgent care in his university’s own hospital. One of his recent students was among the people round the gurney treating him and he said his last conscious thought was “thank God he got an A in my class!” :-)

      1. MigraineMonth*

        One of my friends had to be treated in the ER where her mom worked and had the opposite experience. When her mom found out who the on-call surgeon was, she asked if there was anyone else available.

        Unfortunately, there was not. Fortunately, my friend survived the resulting surgical complications.

    5. AY*

      My best friend’s dad was a nursing instructor, and he had a heart attack in the nursing faculty lounge. His coworkers were able to use the paddles on him and bring him back. I hold them close to my heart. He was so lucky to be where he was!

    6. Me ... Just Me*

      …or worse, having to be in the hospital and cared for by former coworkers. When I was in the ICU after major surgery, the night nurse went to school with my husband (they had a good catch-up) and the other night nurse was a personal friend, the morning nurse was a former employee of mine. The physical therapist was also a former employee. Everyone took excellent care of me; but they all got to see me at my literal worst. Yep — pretty much everyone got to see me in some semblance of undress.

      1. bookworm*

        My dad was a pediatrician, and apparently there were like 5 of his colleagues in the room when my mom was in labor with me. Similar story, excellent care, but also my mom remains slightly chagrined to this day that she had so little privacy in the delivery room.

    7. Morningtied*

      I’ve given CPR to a coworker. Their heartfelt and very alive “thank you” (I even got one from their dad) was perfect. I would want nothing else. No thank you, please. Just thrilled they are okay and would never want any kind of “beholden” feeling. I did what I did, and would do it again – please feel free to tell me when I screw up on my work, kthx.

    8. CountingDown*

      Heh. Had a full cardiac arrest at home. (100% blockage on the LAD, for the medical professionals). My 20 yo son, just home from college, performed CPR. EMTs jumpstarted me with a defibrillator three times between home and hospital, and cardiologist placed five stents that night.

      I have no idea what transpired through all of that (except what docs, spouse, son and the billing department have told me). However, when I woke up five days later from a hypothermic coma, I was still wearing my underwire bra.

      Cape and hair color in a Zoom meeting; bless that employee for trying to be productive, but as a manager, I’d be fine with her saying she’ll be slightly delayed. Stuff happens.

  1. Viette*

    OP4 – I work in front-line healthcare so this may be skewed, but I think that you just express your gratitude and acknowledge that it was a shocking and traumatizing event for both of you. It’s not a gift that they gave you, really. It’s something unique and awful that you both went through.

    I mean — anyone who doesn’t do CPR on people all the time is going to be rocked by actually doing it (and saving you!). Anyone who does CPR on people all the time (aka the paramedics when they arrive), well, it’s going to be their job, and it’s going to be pretty normal for them.

    Either way the best thing to do is say thank you and recognize their experience, and yours.

    1. Phryne*

      ‘anyone who doesn’t do CPR on people all the time is going to be rocked by actually doing it (and saving you!).’
      A couple of years ago a coworker collapsed in front of her class. Her students (college age) got the nearest person with emergency training, a management assistant from the directors office, who performed CPR until EMTs arrived. The co-worker survived (it turned out to be a hereditary congenital heart issue, she and her daughter had to get a defibrillator implant).
      I remember seeing the management assistant, a soft spoken lady in her mid sixties, sitting there after the EMTs had left for the hospital, and I’ll never forget that. Apparently she never wanted to talk about it with anyone and within a year she had taken early retirement. The word was she pretty much had PTSD like symptoms.
      And this was a good outcome… Savings someone’s life can be as traumatic as not.

        1. alienor*

          I have performed CPR on someone who died (they were almost certainly already dead when I started, but I had to try). It was a decade and a half ago, and I still get shaky when I think about it. I don’t ever want to be in that situation again, although I would do it if I had to.

          1. AnonRN*

            alienor, I don’t know if this helps but by the time CPR is needed, the person is definitely dead. You were trying to reverse something that is usually irreversible, and CPR is rarely successful if many minutes have gone by. It’s worth trying, and you literally tried as hard as you could to do the impossible…no one can ask for more.

      1. Monique*

        Wow, never thought that saving a life would affect a hero in that way but it makes sense. Hope everyone is healing okay.

      2. spartanfan*

        The first time my wife cracked an older persons ribs doing cpr messed her up for a bit of time afterwards. It can be traumatic on the healthcare workers as well

        1. Morningtied*

          I love that it’s “the first time”. It’s such a common thing to happen, haha. My cousin looked like she had been hit by a truck after receiving CPR. Three of her ribs cracked.

      3. LB*

        And real CPR is pretty violent, as opposed to how it’s shown on TV. I can imagine it would leave one shook.

        1. anon24*

          I’ve partially collapsed someone’s lung giving them CPR. I’ve also done worse, but there’s only so descriptive I’ll get on this site. I’ll just say that I’ve done CPR many times and it’s never bothered me or stayed with me because I knew I was always trying my hardest to save someone, but the one time it bothered me it was because the person was very old and incredibly frail and CPR is brutal. That one still stays with me.

    2. CowWhisperer*

      So a few years ago I got a few day subbing job in a district where I taught before having my son.

      A HS teacher felt sick during his last class before his prep period. He went to sit down, passed out, and stopped breathing.

      His students called 911 and ran to other classrooms for help. The school Emergency Medical Response Team – all other teachers and staff responded with CPR and an AED. Other staff cleared the room. He required multiple rounds of CPR/AED before the paramedics transported him.

      He had a brain aneurysm start to bleed. Not only did he survive, but he had no long-term deficits thanks to rapid CPR and an AED to normalize heart rhythms.

      The next day the staff and teens were very stressed. We train for emergencies – but doing CPR on a well-loved coworker is terrifying. The added stressor – he survived because he decompensated when students were in the room. His planning period started in 15 minutes later – and no one would have found him until it was too late.

      Believe me – having him live was gift enough.

      1. Rebecca*

        Yeah, he’s very lucky that it happened in class! At my mother’s high school, her students had a different experience. They couldn’t have done anything but they were traumatized anyway.

        One of their teachers didn’t come into school to start their first period class, and they didn’t tell anyone – they were kind of excited to not have class, right? They shut the door and kept their mouths shut. But when first period ended and he still hadn’t come in for second period, and they hadn’t had a sub come in to take over, they got worried and someone went to the office – who didn’t know the teacher was absent. It turned out that his wife left for work earlier than him, and he was walking the dog before coming to school. He had a heart attack while walking the dog and died on the sidewalk. Those kids couldn’t get it out of their heads that if they had gone to the office at the beginning of class instead of enjoying the break, someone might have found him in time. They wouldn’t have, he had died long before class started, but they couldn’t forget it and they carried a lot of guilt. And that’s without actually having to interact with the emergency or the body itself!

        1. whingedrinking*

          I once went to class on the first day and the prof hadn’t shown up fifteen minutes in. Having taken one of his classes before, I knew this was unlike him, and his office was in the same building, so I went to see if he was there. I did have a brief moment of concern that I was going to find him slumped over or something, but luckily he’d just gotten the time of the class wrong.

    3. Sparkles McFadden*

      Yes, please just say thanks and let it go.

      I helped out three people (it was a big company and we had a floor by floor trained responders list). Two of those people gave me heartfelt thanks when they came back from the hospital. The third person gave me a gift every year on the “anniversary” of his “almost dying” and it was always embarrassing and bizarre.

      1. MigraineMonth*

        I am cringing over here! I feel like an almost-dying-versary should be a private celebration.

    4. zuzu*

      I had a situation happen (not a life-saving thing, but a major medical thing) back in my law practice days, in the period immediately after 9/11). I worked for a city agency, and we’d been displaced by the fall of the towers. My division was in rented space, in a big open room with another division that had very different practices than ours — we did a lot of brief-writing and stayed late, they mostly spent their days in court and at depositions and left at 5.

      One night, it was around 6 or 7, and most of my division was still typing away, with only one attorney and one paralegal from the other division on their side of the room. Suddenly, the attorney stands up and falls to the ground. He’s having a seizure. The paralegal — who was something of a loudmouth know-it-all — announced that we had to stick a pencil in his mouth so he wouldn’t swallow his tongue. I shouted, “No!” and tried to remember everything a law school classmate, who had epilepsy, had told me to do in the event she had a grand mal seizure. Rule #1 was, “Don’t stick anything in my mouth. I cannot swallow my own tongue.”

      We cleared out his chair, put something under his head and called an ambulance, and our division chief called his division chief, because we realized that we didn’t know him or who in his phone should be contacted.

      Turns out he had no memory of the seizure, but he did break his arm when he hit the desk on the way to the floor. We made sure he was okay, but it was all sort of awkward and we kind of mutually memory-holed it.

    5. Kammy6707*

      Agreed. My dad had a heart attack at work and by a strange stroke of luck, some of his coworkers had just completed a CPR course that very weekend. They ended up bringing him back before the ambulance arrived (his heart had stopped). However, he ended up passing away at the hospital.

      We spoke to those coworkers at the viewing and thanked them, but you could tell the experience had really shaken them.

    6. snarkfox*

      I got into a pretty nasty car accident once (I was somehow totally unscathed) and I ended up sending flowers to the police officer who helped me. He didn’t even save my life, but I just wanted to show some gratitude. Hopefully he appreciated it, lol.

      1. MigraineMonth*

        I caused a car accident with my baby niece in the car, and even though no one was injured I was badly shaken. A woman who was driving by stopped to check on me, and she invited me and the baby into her car to warm up. She also provided tissues and talked me through who I had to call. She basically took care of me until the police arrived. I can’t remember that woman’s name, but I’ll always be grateful to her for making an awful experience a lot less awful.

        1. snarkfox*

          I also had people waiting on the side of the road with me for the police to come…. It was honestly so nice. Like, in retrospect, I feel like the guy that waited with me had no idea what to do lol but just him standing there with me was so wonderful.

          It reminds me that even if you feel super awkward and have no idea what to do when someone is going through something awful… just try! It means so much!

          1. Me (I think)*

            Decades ago we stopped at a very fresh single car wreck on I-95 in rural Virginia. (It used to be very rural and lonely between DC and Fredericksburg.) It was very late at night, and cold, and a car had run off the road and rolled over a few times. We had no idea what to do, so we waited with the people who had gotten out of the car, while the people who were seriously injured were still inside. It took forever for a fire truck and ambulance to show up. We had blankets in the car to wrap up the folks in the cold, and just hugged them and waited. I still wonder on occasion what happened to all of them.

  2. Katrina*

    re LW 4: It’s not exactly what you are asking, however there’s a story gaining a fair bit of traction here in Melbourne Australia. A woman collapsed with cardiac arrest in a supermarket, the young shop assistants went to her aid immediately, someone grabbed the AED, someone knew how to use it, someone called emergency services and she survived. The news items are about her returning to thank these young people along with the emergency services staff who attended. It’s an amazing story and the supermarket head office has put out media about how proud they are of their staff and their training. I think surviving is the best thank you :)

    1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      I agree with your last line.

      I once “saved someone’s life” whom I came across passed out and not breathing. Fortunately for us both, all I had to do was clear his airway (hence the scare quotes – I was just the right person in the right place at the right time, with no heroic measures required). I have rarely felt such a rush of delight in my entire life as I did when he finally gasped.

      Anyway, all of which is to say that there’s a huge range of “life saving” and I would definitely agree that surviving, living well, is the best thank-you.

    2. Lola*

      When I was a little kid and my mom was pregnant with my sister, she was eating at a food court, and began to choke. You can’t do the normal heimlich technique on a pregnant person. Fortunatleey, the teenager working behind the hot dog stand knew what to do. They jumped over the counter and did the modified version on my mom. Saved the life of both my mom and my future sister! I think about that person time to time. What if they hadn’t been working that day?

      1. Pennyworth*

        The Heimlich technique is not used at all in some countries, the recommended choking response is to hit the choker in the center of the back. The history of the Heimlichs and how they go the technique widely adopted is quite interesting

  3. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

    Look, if I have to regularly bribe coworkers with wine to save my life, I a) should probably stop doing whatever is so risky and b) am stilling getting a real bargain.

    1. Jessica*

      Yeah, my coworkers are pretty cool and all, but if they saved my actual life, I’d definitely escalate to the fancy wine with the cork instead of the screw-off top.

    2. KateM*

      I’m thinking that if my coworkers had to regularly save my life, I’d not give them alcohol at all – I’d want them to be sober when my life depends on their decisions.

        1. BlueSwimmer*

          My mom was a secretary to a cardiologist so she had regular CPR training and saved our neighbor (while wearing her nightgown) when he had heart failure in the middle of the night. He was a pilot who flew to Maine and back and regularly brought her fresh lobsters, her favorite food, as a thank you.

          1. MigraineMonth*

            As Alison said, a thank-you is very relationship-dependent. An occasional gift of a favorite food to a neighbor is sweet.

            On the other hand, giving a random stranger who saved your life still-living seafood would be really weird.

  4. nnn*

    #4: In some places, they have medals or awards for citizens who save someone’s life or do something heroic. You could find out if there’s anything like that in your community and nominate your rescuer. (Maybe do a news search – these things usually get an article in the local newspaper.)

    1. 1-800-BrownCow*

      However, if I were the rescuer, I would absolutely hate all that. If I ever save someone’s life, I want no fanfare, no medal or award, no nomination for something, and definitely no news story. If the person wanted to thank me in private, I’d humbly accept, but please don’t call me a “hero” and create a bunch of fanfare. Honestly, just knowing they were all right and that apparently, I was in the right place at the right time, is all I need.

    2. OtterB*

      Some years ago, my FIL had a heart attack and collapsed while on a walk in the neighborhood. Someone raking leaves nearby began CPR, and someone driving by stopped to help. Presumably somebody called 911 (this was pre-cell phone). Anyway, FIL survived, had bypass surgery, and had some good years afterward. The driver who stopped to help was active-duty military enlisted, and my in-laws wrote a letter to his commanding officer as a thanks.

      1. Pennyworth*

        In the UK they have an App which alerts the nearest CPR trained person (you have to register your availability), so you neighbor might come running to start CPR before the ambulance arrives.

  5. Lilith*

    Donate blood in their name or in a challenge event. Hospitals and the RedCross are always needing more blood. Maybe your thanks by giving blood will get others to donate also.

    1. allathian*

      Yes, if you can. I still can’t give blood because I lived in the UK for a year in the 1980s. You’d think that if I had prions in my blood I’d have CJD by now, but… And I still think that it’s unfortunate that gay men can’t give blood, because they test the blood for any infectious diseases before proceeding anyway.

      1. Stay-at-Homesteader*

        it’s extremely stupid that men who have sex with men can only give blood in the US if they’re basically abstinent, but as someone who worked for the Red Cross (and ftr, didn’t like it and won’t donate to them anymore for many reasons), I just want to point out here that that’s an FDA restriction and every major blood bank in the country has been lobbying hard for a change for quite some time now.

        1. Hanani*

          Is there an alternate place to donate blood? I’ve been uncomfortable with the Red Cross for a couple reasons too, but they’re the only blood donation option in my state, to the best of my knowledge.

          1. Hlao-roo*

            In New York state there’s an organization called ConnectLife (formerly Unyts) and I have donated blood through them before. Try looking up “blood donation [state]” to see if there are any other options by you.

      2. Liminally Maple*

        They’ve just changed the rules in Canada. Every donor is asked questions about number of partners, risky behaviours, etc, but a man in a long term relationship with another man is not judged as any more risky as a woman in the same situation.

        1. MigraineMonth*

          WHAAAAT! I’m so excited, I’m eligible for the first time in my life!

          *immediately calls to schedule an appointment*

  6. Quail*

    1: unless it’s a client-facing job or the smell was very strong (and they are near lots of others), then i don’t think it matters. It’s odd, sure, but completely harmless outside of a potential chemical smell. Think of it as a rare style and move on.

      1. Quail*

        They did it during a break, not to mention there’s zero reason to police an employee if their work is actually getting done and not preventing others from doing likewise.

        1. MK*

          No. They started doing it during the break, came back to work while the grooming was still going on, and then left to continue. Doing it during a break would be if it was finished before they came back. And it is reasonable to expect a minimum of convention in employees’ appearance, beyond work getting done. By your standard people should be allowed to come to work in pajamas or wear tin foil hats. Sorry to have to tell you, but we don’t live in that world.

        2. BRR*

          As others have mentioned, the smell could easily prevent others from doing their work. And while I’m usual in favor of policing employees less, this is a pretty big distraction. It’s still a place of work.

        3. lilsheba*

          “They did it during a break, not to mention there’s zero reason to police an employee if their work is actually getting done and not preventing others from doing likewise.” THIS! I totally agree with this. I mean how does it harm anyone? It doesn’t.

          1. Morningtied*

            I am usually team “leave it alone, it doesn’t bother anyone!” but hair color *smells* – smells really, really strongly. The LW mentioned that a lot of people work hybrid. I think the person in question should have just stayed at the salon and worked remotely while the color set. I wouldn’t object to them running back to the office if they wanted to grab some work while they waited, but to actually sit at work, that is when your distraction (the smell) can interfere with others.

            1. JustaTech*

              I guess the thing I’m not quite understanding is why the employee came back to work, when they’re going to have to go back to the salon for the wash out and cut/drying?

              Like I could see popping back over to say “hey, this is taking longer than I expected, I’ll be back at 2 and flex my time this evening, sorry!” Or even grabbing a laptop (but I’d be worried about the dye still).

              1. snarkfox*

                It doesn’t sound like that was an option. The letter says she chose to come back to work instead of “taking time off.”

                I get that it is unprofessional and distracting… but I also hate not getting paid or taking vacation time to do errands because so many places are only open M-F, 9 to 5… my exact working hours.

                Now, if she easily could’ve just made up the work at home that night without docked pay, then it’s common sense not to show up at work like this.

                1. Goldie*

                  Getting your hair colored takes more than an hour and most salons are open on the weekends. This isn’t an errand.

          2. All I Got Was This Lousy Tee Shirt*

            I would worry that they are accidentally dripping dye throughout the work place, no matter how careful they’re being.

            But I am also like, why wouldn’t she just let her boss know what’s going on and that she will make up the time at the end of the work day?

          3. ADidgeridooForYou*

            This makes me think of the letter from a couple of days ago about a woman whose shampoo was bothering a coworker! Idk if you’ve ever gotten your hair dyed but the smells can be VERY strong. I can imagine it triggering some nausea or headaches even in people who don’t normally have strong reactions to scent.

      2. CaffeinatedInsomniac*

        I actually see this as the employee not refraining from working during their break. Maybe they need to be told it’s OK to fully step away and relax sometimes? I say this as someone who, even with plenty of PTO and the flexibility to schedule whatever appointments I want during the day, spent my last highlight appointment checking emails and editing documents on my phone because I have trouble unplugging from work. Had my office been right next door, I would’ve been tempted to duck in and use my computer (but wouldn’t have done it considering how ridiculous I look with foils).

        1. Jack Straw from Wichita*

          This was my thought as well. My bigger question as a leader is why my employee thought they needed to forgo 15-30 minutes (how long it takes to sit with color on) of downtime? Are they bad at time management? Do they have too much on their plate? Am I conveying the message that work must be done at all costs? IMO it’s less about the hair dye and more about them thinking they need to work in the middle of a break.

          1. Antilles*

            It’s possible that’s the case.
            It’s also possible that it’s simply the employee deciding “screw it, might as well get something useful out of this time” rather than watching whatever random stuff was on the salon TV or reading a magazine about celebrities or whatever. Basically akin to if there’s a long line for lunch so you pull out your smartphone to answer emails.
            If I do 30 minutes of work now, that’s 30 less minutes I have to do later – especially if there’s flexible schedules so finishing up stuff early means that maybe you can duck out a little early in the afternoon / end of the week.

          2. Lily Rowan*

            My read of the question is that the full hair appointment took more than an hour, and the employee didn’t want to take the extra time off. They were trying to be responsible and not just slack off for a long lunch.

            1. one L lana*

              I highlight my hair occasionally, but not consistently. So every time I have a color appointment I have forgotten how long it takes and am surprised anew — and my hair is relatively short and my service is fairly basic (partial highlight lifting from a natural dark blonde).

              Hair color is just not easy to do in a standard “take an hour for an appointment” PTO framework — I don’t think I’ve ever gotten done in less than 90 minutes (longer with a blow dry). I can absolutely see the employee thinking she could get done in an hour, panicking, and popping next door to try to get some work done midway through.

              Agree with Allison that it was the wrong call! But I can see how it happens and it’s not necessarily a sign of terrible boundaries.

            2. Momma Bear*

              I think this is a case where discretion should have been used – stay with the appointment and just say it ran long and make up the time later. More professional than being back with a head full of chemicals that you have to break again for anyway. There have been times in my early career where I should have just stayed home/gone home because coming in/staying was actually worse in the long run. I am pretty sure I lost a FT position because of one of those missteps. If this were me, I’d tell the employee to take care of their grooming fully and make up the time later, assuming it was not a frequent occurance.

            3. snarkfox*

              The way the letter mentioned she didn’t choose to “take time off” sounds like the LW was expecting the employee to either take vacation time or go unpaid for that amount of time.

          3. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

            I’d do something like this because I’d be bored and restless waiting for the dye to set during my break. Thinking, “Hey! I can do X, Y, and Z while I wait!” and popping into the office still in a dye cap is such a me move that I had to remind myself I don’t dye my hair and don’t have an office when I read this letter.

          4. snarkfox*

            Wait, what kind of color are you guys getting that only takes 15 to 30 minutes?? Or is my hair just cursed?

            1. Le Sigh*

              On my hair the dye sits on my hair for about 30 min, but the whole process can take 1-2.5 hours, depending on what I’m getting done. No idea if that’s the norm, I just pay a professional and follow her guidance!

      3. CheesePlease*

        yeah it’s not ok for me to do a face mask at work or straighten my hair at my desk while I’m on a call or clip my fingernails while I listen to a training!! these are all personal activities that belong on personal time, even if they don’t harm anyone. They are distracting!

        1. Maggie*

          Many many hair salons are open on mornings or evenings or weekends. Can I have my waxer come give me a Brazilian wax in the break room? After all she’s only available while I’m at work. I don’t know anyone who would consider coming to work with a full head of dye appropriate. These comments are a trip!

        2. Eyes Kiwami*

          I have never heard of a hair salon that was only open weekdays 9-5. Most salons are open on the weekends!

    1. PollyQ*

      I’m not sure it’s 100% harmless. There’s the possibility of an accidental transfer of dye that might stain something, e.g., a colleague’s clothes.

    2. Stitch*

      I mean if you’re moving around a lot there’s a chance you might drip. It’s just off putting too.

      It’s also a bad idea from hair perspective. what if you get stuck on a call and the dye ends up sitting on too long, for instance.

      I find this a bad idea all around. You just shouldn’t double task something like that.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        The timing is my concern as well. You either forget to keep track of time and over-process, or there’s the so focused on the timer that you get nothing done effectively.

        Honestly, this is probably not a multitasking situation – unless it’s deep diving into a book (similar small portable entertainment item) while you process.

        1. KateM*

          Deep diving into a book would be even more dangerous than working for me, unless I could leave the track-keeping to hairdresser (I’m not sure how it works). That does mean not leaving the place, though.

          1. alienor*

            At the salon I go to, the hairdresser sets a timer and puts it where you can see it, both to remind them when you’re done and so you know how long you have left to sit.

          2. doreen*

            When I’ve had timed processes done in a salon ( perm, color) the stylist always kept track and therefore I could read a book or watch TV- I couldn’t do either of those if I was coloring my hair at home and had to keep track of the time.

    3. Casper Lives*

      I suspect the smell is strong. I’ve had highlights, been in salons while others are getting hair dyed, and dyed hair at home. The smell is strong and distinct.

      I’m agreeing with you. I guess im surprised the LW didn’t mention the smell as a top reason over unprofessional!

      1. Aphrodite*

        Hair dye does smell. It is distinctive and it is strong. I wouldn’t be allergic to it but I hate it. (And I dyed my hair for twenty years.) She should not return to the office while it is on her hair; no co-worker should be subjected to that chemical smell. Ever.

      2. Smithy*

        Here to agree that the smell is strong. There are certainly people more or less bothered by hair dye, but to me this is far more akin to opening a bottle of nail polish in a workplace. Putting aside the dynamics of grooming, I’m really not familiar with a product that truly has no chemical smell.

    4. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      I have two problems with the return to work while processing:

      1) that chemical smell isn’t pleasant, and is not something your coworkers are expecting to have to deal with (and can also be triggering for some with scent sensitivities).

      2) Do you really have the employee’s full attention? Processing can be as little as 15 minutes (from what I’ve heard)), how much honestly is the employee going to accomplish in that short a time frame, and how much of their attention will be on the timer to make sure they get back to the salon in time?

    5. Coconutty*

      Nope. It is completely reasonable for an employer to expect someone not to sit around the office while actively dying their hair.

    6. English Rose*

      #1 I just think this is the weirdest thing! I know what I look and smell like with a cape and dye cap on and there’s no way I’d want my colleagues or anyone outside the salon to witness it!
      I do think it’s unprofessional, but definitely weird over and above that!

    7. Admiral Thrawn Is Always Blue*

      This leads to another work related question. It’s the stylist’s license on the line – if something goes wrong, it burns their skin or an allergic reaction, I doubt the regulatory body is going to be pleased here. Sarah Harlow from Orlando does FB skits about her stylist’s work, and this situation came up a couple of times. She’s a big hard NO on this one.

      1. Environmental Compliance*

        +1000 Came down to see if anyone mentioned this. Professionalism aside, I would be pretty concerned on who is checking on the person’s hair/scalp – those are some pretty hefty chemicals, and timing is pretty important. I don’t think I’ve ever been at a salon that allowed you to just…leave…midprocess.

        (Or that was not open at least some evenings & most weekends…)

    8. thelettermegan*

      Going back to work in my dye cap sounds like something I would do and then immediately regret.

      1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

        Same. It would seem like such a brilliant way to multi-task at the time but then reality would set in

    9. RagingADHD*

      Great, now I can fill in another square of my Bingo card of “ridiculous things an actual grownup thinks are appropriate to do in the office.”

      No wonder people don’t want to come back to work. Apparently a noticeable contingent of their peers have gone completely feral.

      Let’s see, my squares for “small home appliance repair” and “egg retrieval” are still open. Any takers?

      1. Amusing Antelope*

        I brought my iPhone into work to replace the battery at the grounded work station. Does that fill in your “small home appliance repair” square?

      2. Hannah Lee*

        ” Let’s see, my squares for “small home appliance repair” … still open. Any takers?”

        I once brought a ThermoPen meat thermometer to work to have one of the technicians help me open the battery compartment so I could replace the battery. Does that count?

        (Bonus … he couldn’t open it either. He roped in several other people to see if any of them could open it. So what I thought would be a 5 second task turned into a bit of a thing that afternoon, ending with his boss handing it back to me with a suggestion that I just buy a new one. (there’s a ‘joke’ in there somewhere … Q: How many technicians and mechanical engineers does it take to open a battery compartment? A: who knows? at least more than we have) )

      3. The Other Dawn*

        It never ceases to amaze me what this corner of the internet thinks is acceptable behavior at work. Come to the office wearing a salon cape and a head full of hair dye: acceptable and employer shouldn’t care. Being the recipient of a “good morning” greeting: unacceptable enough to burn it all down and never come back.

      4. Clawdeen Wolf*

        I haven’t stopped laughing at “completely feral” since last night. It’s also true.

    10. MCMonkeyBean*

      Yeah, Alison brought up the smell but the OP didn’t mention that and I would think if it was an issue they would have but maybe not. IMO if it didn’t smell and it was for 15 minutes and it’s not a super regular occurrence and most people aren’t even in the office–I don’t see why anyone should care.

      1. Butterfly Counter*

        I have bleached my hair, dyed it darker, and dyed it with crazy colors. Absolutely none of these treatments had no smell. If you’re chemically altering the color of your hair, it’s going to smell of chemicals. And strongly.

        And even if it didn’t smell, it feels very similar to coming to work in a bathrobe and curlers. You look unprofessional and unprepared to be at work.

        1. Starbuck*

          Crazy color dye often doesn’t smell. Like the Manic Panic kind, where you’ve already processed your hair with bleach. When you sniff the jar it just kind of smells like unscented conditioner. Weird how people are doing letter fanfic for smells AGAIN when it’s not even in the letter this time!

          1. SimonTheGreyWarden*

            Manic Panic isn’t really a dye, though – it colors hair but it is non-permanent. Permanent dyes smell.

    11. Office Lobster DJ*

      I agree with Alison’s take. The employee didn’t know, now they do. Unless there are other concerns, it doesn’t have to be the start of a slippery slope that requires documentation.

      Plenty of room for the employee to calculate wrong here without meaning the she is unprofessional: Oh no! This appointment is running over / Everyone runs over to Truvy’s, so it must be an accepted thing / My office is a more private and comfortable space to wait / Hey I can even get some work done

    12. Retail Boss*

      At least they didn’t do what my employee did: Closed the retail store for 3 hours during mid day (spur of the moment) while he went down the street to get his dyed blonde hair touched up.

    13. Maggie*

      No it’s really not appropriate for a workplace. Can I wax my legs too? It’s not smelly and there’s no clients. Or give myself a facial at my desk? Small basic things like quickly brushing your hair or applying hand lotion or lipstick are fine. Full on dying your hair in the middle of the office isn’t

    14. no one reads this far*

      I regularly dye my hair and it is a messy, sometimes smelly process. I’d be more concerned about hair dye getting on office furniture, etc because that is next to impossible to remove.

      It’s unprofessional, period.

    15. snarkfox*

      I agree that it’s unprofessional, but I also wonder if the employee has the option to make up the work later. From the way the letter worded that the employee didn’t choose to “take time off,” it makes me thing she was going to have to take vacation time or go unpaid.

      If the employee is hourly and has to take vacation time or go unpaid for every doctor’s appointment, dentist appointment, trip to the mechanic, and DMV/government office visit, it adds up fast and I understand why she thought she might be able to come to work and earn her paycheck while getting her hair done.

  7. learnedthehardway*

    OP#3 – Depending on how this is being presented, it is either a huge conflict of interest, OR the recruitment firm is being upfront that they run payroll for their clients and take their fee as a percentage of salary.

    In the latter case, usually what happens is that the agency fee is worked into an hourly rate, and the placed candidate never sees the total rate the company pays for their services. This is very common in technology roles, but also common for other roles as well. It is very odd that the company would feel the need to spell out this arrangement, however, as the fees are generally paid by the employer to the agency, who then disburse the paycheck to the contractor.

    Sometimes, though, contract employees get peeved that the agency running payroll is taking a cut of “their” hourly rate, but the reality is that the agency is going to make money on the service of recruiting contract staff and running the payroll for the client company. ie. it’s not really the contract employee’s hourly rate: rather, it’s that rate + the agency’s fee to the client.

    For example, one of my clients runs their payroll through an agency, and although I was brought into the work I do through my relationship with the person I work for at the company, the company’s policy is to have me paid out by their agency partner. This means that there’s no question of whether or not I am an actual employee of theirs, because they are not paying me directly. They’re undoubtedly paying the agency a fee over and above what they pay me, but it’s worth it to them to not run afoul of rules on how long someone is a contractor before they are legally deemed an employee (in Canada, this is a thing).

    So, that first type of situation is legitimate, but a bit odd that they would spell it out.

    The other situation is NOT legitimate – ie. if you as a candidate are paying a recruiter to be represented to a company. A recruiter CANNOT represent both the hiring company and the candidate’s interests without there being a conflict of interest somewhere along the way. Practically speaking, the hiring company is the client, and is paying the recruiter to find them highly qualified candidates. If the recruiter is accepting fees from candidates, they’re cheating the employer by essentially taking a bribe from candidates to be preferentially treated vs candidates who may be highly qualified but who don’t pay a fee. The recruiter is also cheating the candidate by accepting a fee for placement when they really have very limited control over who gets hired. You should never be charged fees by a recruitment firm to be introduced to the client – that’s unethical.

    1. PollyQ*

      I’m not sure it’s a recruiter at all. Sounds more like a career coach situation rather than a person/business who would actually connect you with any employers.

            1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

              And probably way less useful that reading your column and books. I hate people that exploit vulnerable folks like this. Makes me see fire

              1. OP3*

                It made me really angry, yeah. I am fortunate to not be looking for jobs and am already established, but I get a lot of messages from folks looking to break into the PM industry. It feels really predatory for people eager to get into a tougher to get into field.

            1. Irish Teacher*

              Woah, in Ireland, the lower rate is 20% and the higher is 40% (obviously, for most people, the 40% would only be on a very small portion of their income).

            2. Student*

              Yes, but how high is sales tax? For us lowly mortals, it’s important to look at sales and income tax to get a full picture. Rich people can focus more on income tax, because they spend a much smaller percentage of their income than the rest of us.

        1. Gerry L*

          Retired now, but when I was young and just starting out, these kinds of “recruiters” were pretty common. They posted regularly in the want ads in the newspaper (back when listings were separated between men and women). Job listing looked wonderful, then you’d see a clue that it was through an agency that would take a cut. My dad warned me away and told me actual recruiters were paid by the hiring company.

    2. Honor Harrington*

      OP3 – if you need a job right now, you can find a lot of openings without going through this model. Product Owner is a hot hot hot field, and the demand has risen sharply over the past few years. Scam or not, if you have the skills, there’s no need to give your salary to someone else.

      1. OP3*

        Fortunately I am not job-searching, but I talk to a lot of transitioning teachers in particular looking to get into PM/PO roles and it makes me fume to think of them encountering stuff like this.

    3. Rain's Small Hands*

      I’m old, but this used to be the model. A recruiter would place you and be paid by you, not the employer. And I’m talking back in the 1970s before I started my career. My Dad was placed a few times through guys like this. And you could work with several of them, the one who placed you got the salary, they were also working with the corporate side, so they knew. If you got a job on your own, no recruiter got a cut.

        1. Cait*

          I was a talent manager in NYC for 6 years. I can’t tell you how many people I had to warn about scams like this. You never ever EVER pay to audition for someone. If they say you need to pay them to send you on auditions, it’s a scam. A reputable agent or manager takes 10-15% once you book a job, but absolutely nothing upfront. Services where you are guaranteed to get something (headshots, acting classes, etc.) are okay to pay for because you know you’ll be getting something out of it. But to pay for the CHANCE to do something, whether it’s auditioning or going on interviews, is 100% a scam.

  8. Omelette*

    This happened to me many years ago in my early twenties — we didn’t actually work for the same company but we worked in the same building and were the only two people there that day. He was feeling kinda bad and had chest pain — turns out he was having a heart attack. Didn’t want me to call an ambulance (thanks, US health care system) but agreed to let me call a clinic. The clinic said “call 911”. We compromised and I drove him to the emergency room. By the time we got there he couldn’t breathe. He had to have surgery but survived. His statement to me was just “I realize you saved my life. Thank you.” A gift would have felt really weird.

    I tried to work out later with my boss how much of that was paid time. She said, basically, “don’t be stupid, it was all paid time.” Good boss, I miss her.

    1. Anon for this one*

      The difference between a good and bad workplace!
      At a previous company my coworker drove my other coworker to the ‘minor injuries’ (so not as serious as yours but they deal with broken bones etc) following a fall she had at work. The first coworker was then asked to make up the time lost since “you weren’t sick yourself and she isnt a dependent”!

      1. JustaTech*

        I had a coworker who was once fired from her Denny’s waitressing job for calling 911 when a guy stumbled in at 3am with his ear nearly cut off. (He’d gotten mugged.)

        Her boss freaked out that somehow by having her call 911 the Denny’s would be liable.

        (She was hired back by the next night by the other manager who lived on planet Earth.)

    2. Blooming Callowlily*

      Never do that again. Don’t worry about the person’s wishes – they could have died and you’d hold yourself responsible. Call the ambulance without hesitation.

    3. Cat Lover*

      As an EMT, if someone is having chest pain (especially if there is cardiac hx) PLEASE call 911. I understand cost is a factor, but time is a bigger factor. EMS can have a 12 lead on and an EKG transmitted to the hospital before arrival, with a cath lab set up.

      Also, billing is highly dependent on county. My county soft bills for the ambulance ride (based on milage). Some have private companies and county EMS (mine doesn’t have private). It’s worth looking into for those curious.

      1. irene adler*

        Yes- thank you for posting this.
        If there’s any doubt- make the call to 911. Don’t dither.
        Let me not derail this thread, but I lost a family member because they would not call 911 because they didn’t want to trouble anyone.

        1. Cat Lover*

          I’ve picked up patients from urgent care clinics before on the ambulance and taken them to ERs!

        2. ThatGirl*

          Sometimes they can confirm that what you really need is an ER. Like, it’s one thing for the person next to you to say it; it’s another when it’s a medical authority.

        3. when to call 911*

          A few years ago I was in a bad way and my spouse (not realizing how bad it really was) took me to an Urgent Care clinic. After they did whatever they could, they called an ambulance to get me to an ER. That must be a not too uncommon occurrence.

          1. Cat Lover*

            I’ve picked up a bunch of kids from pediatric urgent cares (we have a chain in my area). Parents don’t necessarily realize when something is an emergency, especially when kids are too young to properly articulate what they are feeling. I’ve picked up adults too.

    4. to varying degrees*

      Call 911. They can always refuse transport (assuming their conscious and of right mind).

  9. Waving not Drowning*

    OP4 – I can answer this one!!

    I saved a choking co-worker a few years back – luckily all those years of watching the heimlich manouver on TV came in handy (and yes, I know that isn’t the preferred method, I’d tried other methods, and it was the only one left).

    I got a lovely box of fancy chocolates and a heartfelt card thanking me from my co-worker. The chocolates were of course eaten (safely, no choking hazard there) – the card was pinned on my cubicle until I left, and now its in a drawer in my new office. Co-worker is now my former co-worker, and whenever her or her husband see me they give me hugs and continue to thank me. She always remarks on how calm I remained – I was slightly panicking on the inside though!

    The rest of my team were impressed, and I still get bragging points about it several years later. I also use it as my good example of remaining calm in a stressful situation.

    Managements response… was zip, zilch, nadda – they were aware it had happened, but, it wasn’t noteworthy to them because I wasn’t one of the chosen few (which is why that is now my former workplace).

    It prompted me to sign up for first aid classes, and become the official first aid person – luckily it hasn’t been needed again.

    It was exceedingly fortunate that I was there at all. I’d actually left to go home, school had called regarding a sick child, but, my partner called while I was driving to school (don’t worry, on hands free) and he was closer to school so he detoured, and I waivered as to whether I wanted to go home and have an early minute, but made the split second decision to go back to the office. Thirty minutes later – I was the only one there when my co-worker staggered out of her office, nearly collapsing in my workspace.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        To answer the first question, there’s there’s a chance of broken ribs especially in frail or petite recipients.
        But I don’t know the alternatives. Yet.

        1. Kate, short for Bob*

          5 solid back blows first – it’s my favourite thing to offer when my husband seems to be having trouble eating but he hasn’t let me yet

          1. Lime green Pacer*

            Which used to be the advice prior to the “abdominal thrust”, and is how I saved my mom from choking when I was 12, in the early 70s.

      2. Lots of first aid training*

        Five (or more) heavy back blows on the center of someone’s back while they lean forward is taught more commonly now as the go-to. The Heimlich can still be very effective (as this story shows!) but it doesn’t work very well if the person is much bigger than you, or if they’re quite big generally. Also, if people are truly choking they often will pass out during this process, and then the heimlich stance can be scary for the rescuer especially if they’re a smaller person. Plus the whole thing about possibility of ribs breaking – although, worth it, to get someone breathing again!! Anyway it’s still a good rescue maneuver, but if you ever have to heimlich a choking person, you could try the five heavy back blows (with the base of your hand) first especially if they’re much bigger than you are.

        1. Cat Lover*

          I was going to say, if they end up arresting, then they are getting ribs broken with CPR anyways.

      3. Zeus*

        People have mentioned the back blows, but I’d like to add that there’s also a modified Heimlich that I was taught in a first aid course earlier this year (so it should be up to date) which is a similar motion, but instead of coming up under the ribs, you compress the chest from the centre ( roughly the same spot you’d do CPR).

        I would also recommend people look up the techniques to help yourself if you’re choking, since there won’t always be someone there, and even if there is they may not know what to do! You can do a back blow on yourself using a wall – we were taught to grip each hand onto the opposite shoulder, to make sure the energy is focused in the right spot, then step backwards *hard* into the wall. It can be hard to make yourself do it hard enough, since your body knows that it will hurt and tries to stop you – closing your eyes might help with that reflex.

        I’m a qualified first aider, but not an instructor, and there are lots of people who could explain this better than I can. I would definitely recommend everyone looks this stuff up at a minimum, and take a first aid course if you can. You could save yourself or someone else one day.

    1. GermanCoffeeGirl*

      This is similar to my story – three years ago, I was (fortunately) working a bit later than usual and noticed that my coworker was choking and struggling to breathe. I did the Heimlich maneuver on her and managed to dislodge the piece of food blocking her airway. Honestly, I was just happy I was able to help my coworker and didn’t expect anything in return, but a few days later she gave me a gift bag with a nice bottle of wine and some chocolates to say thanks, which I really appreciated!

      Luckily, in Germany companies that exceed a certain number of employees need to have designated trained first aid respondents and fire wardens. I have been a first aid respondent for many years and attend trainings every two years, but this was the first time something that dramatic happened at my workplace.

      1. Cherry Sours*

        My life was saved by a coworker, also via the Heimlich maneuver. I wrote notes to our bosses, presented her with my undying gratitude, a handmade, hand written thank you card, and a gift bag with lotions. My boss had a gift for her too, similar to mine. The coworker was embarassed by the fuss; we are in the health care field, and she said for her it was simply another day at work.

    2. Blooming Callowlily*

      What did you expect from your employer? Some kind of recognition? They weren’t involved in the event aside from it being on their location, which I’m sure they would have rather been the case if they’d been given the choice.

      1. Atalanta0jess*

        I’d think that “wow, we are so grateful you were here and had the skills to intervene – how are you doing?” would be appropriate. Like…a human acknowledgement of another human…

      2. Ellis Bell*

        You’re sure they would have rather been the case? Are there some words missing there? Anyway my employer would have made a big deal out of this; most people would. Having your staff be skilled in first aid is a big plus to any organisation, as is having your staff and colleagues not die.

    3. Mizzle*

      Chiming in to third the chocolates: in our case it was a neighbor, who got close to falling down the stairs head-first… my husband held him in place until he could be lowered safely.

      I think anything more lavish would have felt weird, but the chocolates were a nice gesture!

    4. Malarkey01*

      My husband saved a choking coworker with the heimlich right as she was passing out. She was so incredibly embarrassed, said thank you, but was something that she never wanted to speak about again. My husband was like ehhh so that happened.
      I also have a very good friend and coworker suffer from severe grand mal seizures out of nowhere and she wanted no one in the office to mention it after being carted off by EMTs.
      I think people underestimate how traumatizing this can be sometimes and often just want to move on.

      1. Esprit de l'escalier*

        I can well imagine being terribly embarrassed at having that kind of thing happen at work. You want your co-workers to think of you as “this very effective worker / great team member / highly skilled contributor,” not as “the person who almost choked to death in the office.”

  10. RLC*

    Re: LW 2. Decades ago my employer had a Friday afternoon “fun and games” on work time for all staff at a local park. All went well until:
    1) one employee consumed too much alcohol (which he’d smuggled into the alcohol-free event) and backed his car into another employee’s vintage car, causing damage;
    2) another employee suffered a broken leg during one of the games. Official time=workers comp claim.
    That was the one and only event of this type conducted on official time. Management learned their lesson.

    1. Casper Lives*

      Wow! That’s quite an event. I mean, a literal broken leg!

      At my job, we have two alcohol free events per year. They’re on work time on a Friday, we get to go home early, and no one has gotten injured. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that stays true. I enjoy the time to have a meal or non-strenuous leisure activity with my coworkers.

      1. The Prettiest Curse*

        This doesn’t top the riding lawnmower/foot loss incident, although you really wouldn’t want to work somewhere that did!

        1. Butterfly Counter*

          Omg. That episode. I laughed so, so hard. It was horrifying, but an outcome we all saw happening.

          “He’ll never golf again.”

    2. Seeking Second Childhood*

      re: #2 If the event is official/required, I would argue for giving someone worker’s comp anyway. what are the actual regulations?

      1. RLC*

        The workers comp was not an issue; most likely management’s embarrassment about injury occurring at a “fun” event was. Employer had a robust job site safety program (on site Safety Engineer and Industrial Hygienist level of safety program) and then an employee gets hurt at a picnic. To top it off, injured employee’s normal duties included heavy equipment use and hazardous materials handling.
        Never had another “fun” event on official time again.

    3. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      My two cents on Saturday team building. If the boss wants to have a company picnic, that’s great. Pick a date, time, location, CATERER and activities. Bring your family or friends. Get a head count. Have fun.
      If your boss wants to do whatever this is, I feel for you.

      1. SpaceySteph*

        My grandpa worked at a car dealership when I was a kid and they did a huge family picnic every year and all 3 of us grandkids loved to go. There was food, activities, probably a bounce house, one particularly memorable year they did it at a local Sea World knockoff… so yeah, this can be done in a fun way if its on the company dollar and families are invited.
        But to make it the whole day Saturday (that’s SEVEN hours), make people bring potluck food and leave their families. Nope.

        1. JustaTech*

          Yeah, if it’s a Saturday then folks should have the option of bringing family. I was on the committee that planned our “summer picnic” that we finally got to hold last weekend (long dumb story) and when the invite finally came out and said “employees only” I noped right out of that.

          You want me to sacrifice most of a Saturday for an indoor activity with my coworkers? No thank you. (A good thing, since someone tested positive for COVID the next day.)

          1. I Talk About Motorcycles Too Much*

            Even when families are allowed, I have to say, as a unmarried woman without any family, the last thing I want to do on my weekends is spend a bunch of time with my coworkers and their children. I like these people as colleagues but I don’t want or need that much personal contact with them.

      2. goddessoftransitory*

        Yeah; I screeched to a halt at “employees are supposed to bring the food.” One, that’s taking this beyond just “having to do this on a weekend for free” into “spending my time and money on feeding coworkers” territory, and two? Everybody knows this is a recipe for “three bottles of warm soda, a bag of off brand chips and one bag of hot dog buns.”

    4. JustaTech*

      The biotech across the street from me used to have a huge party for the local college football Cup every year, complete with people playing flag football in the big conference room. (Copious alcohol may have been involved.)

      Until the year someone took a fall badly and needed knee surgery. No more flag football after that. (It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt.)

    5. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

      I had both happen at the same company event. A couple of employees at my department drank too much and crashed, and one coworker sprained an ankle. Totally unrelated events. The crash marked the end of alcohol at company events, and the injured employee was denied worker’s comp because insurance didn’t considered it “work work”. They were given plenty of PTO to recover, though.

  11. philmar*

    If someone saves your life, you now owe them a life debt. So you should engineer life-threatening circumstances so you can save their life in turn, otherwise you have that debt hanging over your head… the rest of your life.

      1. Blomma*

        I recently saw an episode of the Andy Griffith Shoe where Andy saved Gomer’s life, leading to that situation :)

    1. HBJ*

      With Sheldon’s stance on gifts, I’m surprised this wasn’t a plot point on The Big Bang Theory.

    2. Slow Gin Lizz*

      OP4’s question reminded me of the very recent (like 2 weeks ago) episode of Star Trek Lower Decks where the Cerritos went to Deep Space 9 and the Bajoran security chief on the Cerritos and Major Kira (sorry, Constable Kira, she’s my fave on DS9) kept arguing about who owed who their life because they were in the war together and they’d saved each others lives countless times over the years. It was hilarious. And it was wonderful to see Kira again so many years after DS9, even as just a cartoon (and yes, they had Nana Visitor voicing her, love her).

      1. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

        I’m behind! I’ve seen ep 1 (and maaaybe ep 2) of season 3 and clearly need to catch up.

    3. NeutralJanet*

      I thought the etiquette was that you have to murder a coworker of their choice, so as to restore the balance! Maybe it’s a regional difference?

  12. Martin blackwood*

    #1 – I think if the employee has a laptop, working from the hair salon would be less weird than coming to your part of the building and working all dressed up. I think she could maaaaybe leave the laptop in the office and grab it/put it back between times when the stylist is actively working on their hair.
    I have never gotten my hair dyed so this is based entirely on vibes.

    1. Everdene*

      I do this. My hair can take what feels like forever so I take my laptop to the salon and do what needs done while the dye does what needs done. In a weird way I get some fantastic ideas while being in such a different place to my office and just having time to sit and think.

      1. snarkfox*

        I get so incredibly bored waiting for my hair to process, unless they put me under the dryer. Something about the brown noise of the dryer just makes me zen out and totally relax for like literally the only time in my life, ever.

    2. it’sjess*

      I’ve gotten my hair dyed a lot and that was my thought; it sounds like LW is open to flexibility, and they already have a precedent for hybrid remote work, so the employee could have worked “remotely” from the salon while processing. Others have mentioned the smell and potential for dye transfer, but I’ll add the noise—those capes and caps can be…crinkly? in a way that could be distracting, like working next to someone wearing a poncho or an old-school windbreaker tracksuit

    3. hbc*

      Yeah, this isn’t much different than working from the auto shop while your car is being serviced, and tons of people do that.

      I’m hard-pressed to think of work that you could/should do in the office with your hair in a dye bag that you couldn’t do in a salon chair.

    4. kiki*

      Yeah, I used to work as a receptionist in a hair salon and a lot of clients brought their laptops for weekday appointments. The process of getting your hair dyed can involve a lot of down time where you’re just sitting in a chair waiting. It’s actually a perfect time to respond to emails or do the sort of work that requires <50% brainpower.

    5. Ellis Bell*

      Yeah, unless their only work option is a PC, this was a puzzling decision when it’s easier to bring work to the salon than vice versa. I have work emails on my phone and there’s a lot I can do on a tablet, if the laptop is too unwieldy. However maneuvering even the chunkiest laptop is preferable to wafting around becloaked and daubed with dye.
      Even a pen and paper to do list is a good use of a half hour.

  13. Siege*

    When my coworkers saved my life (I had a cardiac arrest in a staff meeting) my parents bought them a very nice catered lunch. Team dynamics made it feel like that was a bit of overkill to me, but my mom really felt strongly that their quick thinking and skill meant she wasn’t grieving and a shared meal seemed the most straightforward life affirmation. I wouldn’t do individual gifts, personally; it feels more transactional. For coworkers, a group meal seems good because it’s a bonding experience as (at least in my case) saving my life was.

  14. Anomie*

    When will Bosses finally realize that NO ONE wants to do team building on their precious day off from work? Just stop!

    1. EPLawyer*

      YES. 11-6 is basically all day Saturday. One of only 2 days off. People do not want to spend their days off with their coworkers. They have lives outside the office.

      This is worth using up some capital to push back on. There are better ways to team build than have everyone bond over being resentful they had to spend a day playing games with their coworkers when they could be living their lives.

    2. Marketing Ninja Unicorn*

      We have an upcoming work event that’s on a Saturday. (Education-adjacent field; think fun event for kiddos on a weekend.)

      I have already told my direct report to not work either the following Monday (so she gets a two-day weekend but it’s Sunday-Monday) OR the following Friday (so she gets a three-day weekend.)

      Part of our job is weekend work but I’ll always go to bat for her to get a proper weekend.

      Our previous supervisor wanted people to flex the hours at the end of the day all week; you’d still work five days only they’d be shorter days. Nope. People deserve FULL weekends.

      When I told my new boss that, she was furious at my old boss because he had told her people were choosing to work daily for shorter days.

      One of many reasons I don’t miss him, frankly.

      1. CharlieBrown*

        Agreed. You really do need TWO FULL DAYS.

        I used to work retail management where I would get two days off a week, but they were never consecutive, and I never felt like I was getting time off at all.

      2. The Original K.*

        Yes. My sibling has a job where working the occasional Saturday is required, but the staff gets comp time for it – usually the Monday after. And it’s not a full day’s work on Saturday, it’s usually about 4-5 hours.

        1. irene adler*

          Yes! I was just going to post: I’ll attend on the Saturday with the understanding that I am off the following Monday. All. Day. Monday.

          Cuz I need two -consecutive- days off to recharge for the upcoming week.

          (Although I greatly prefer that off-work activities like these be held during work hours.)

          1. The Original K.*

            Yes – my sibling’s Saturday work obligation is legit work, not team-building. I know people who regularly work Saturdays (the staff in my apartment building, hairstylists, etc.) and their days off are Sunday and Monday.

    3. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      OPbiried the detail…it is potluck. Omg! Come to my picnic and bring me food. WTAF?

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        Right? Talk about burying the lede! “Oh, and you have to cook a dish for fifty people after a full workweek. Let’s have fun, everybody!”

    4. allathian*

      Yeah, this. Or at least make it truly voluntary, with no consequences, either implicit or explicit, for not attending. My organization has two networking events every year (we have more than 30 regional offices across the country), Friday-Saturday. The Friday is a workday, and the Saturday isn’t.

      1. Antilles*

        Agreed. The companies I’ve worked at have all held their holiday parties or summer picnics on Saturdays and people generally enjoyed it.
        But it was always completely optional – the only person who cared about attendance was the office admin and only insofar as “please RSVP so I can make sure there’s enough food / beer / tickets / whatever”.

      2. hbc*

        Yeah, we had one picnic/barbeque/yard games thing on a Saturday at my previous job, and it worked. It was 100% optional, come and go as you please, all food provided, families welcome and encouraged, no forced participation in games, and zero-cost draw for decent prizes.

        Basically, any manager who thinks people should want to attend… should make it appealing enough that people actually want to attend.

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          Yep. My workplace has a big barbecue every July 4, and it’s totally optional. And they provide ALL the food, including veggie/vegan options and gluten free rolls and such. And they cook!

    5. Pool Noodle Barnacle Pen0s*

      THANK YOU. At LEAST spring for the food and make it a really nice activity, if you’re going to insist on doing this on a non work day. My company does an annual “family day” at a local lake/waterpark, with a catered meal, free parking, and passes to the waterpark for any employee who signs up, plus their family members. And there’s never any pressure to attend. This is the way.

    6. Bunny Girl*

      But we’re faaaaaamily.

      Then you can be like my real family who I see once every 2 years. :)

    7. Risha*

      Right? I said something similar below. I don’t know why bosses have to force their subordinates to be their friend. I’m not here for their social needs. I’m so tired of bosses using their authority to bully their staff or force them to attend “voluntary” team building events.

      My 4 year old son is autistic so he’s my excuse to get out of every nonsense activity at work. No one can argue with me and tell me to cancel his Saturday or Sunday therapy so I can attend some ridiculous work event. And if someone did tell me to cancel his appointments, I would be livid and may even lose my job that day for telling the boss off.

    8. Jessica Ganschen*

      For me, Saturday specifically is an issue because it’s Shabbat and I simply do not ever work on Shabbat, and yes, an unpaid team-building day counts as work, but let’s be real, I wouldn’t want to do it on a Sunday, either.

    9. lilsheba*

      agreed. I hate team building anything, and I especially hate being “encouraged” to play games ….because they usually end up being exercises in humiliation, and I don’t like being treated like a child.

    10. Quinalla*

      Yeah, having a 100% optional fun event on a non-work day is one thing, my company does 3-4 of these a year but they are truly optional and I do some of them as they actually are fun, but I don’t have time to do them all. But not all of this stuff should be on non-work days, if team building is important, offer it during work days too especially if it is mandatory/pseudo-mandatory. We have a lot of that during work days as well, some is mandatory some is also 100% optional. And there are more casual happy hour type things on Friday night or casual let’s all go get lunch type stuff too, but again, all optional.

      The number 1 way to get people to go to these kinds of things is no pressure to go and make them things people WANT to go to. Also, if you have folks who are remote from the location, pay their travel expenses (gas, rentals, airfare, hotel, meals, etc.) if you want them to join in. My company also does that as well.

    11. CommanderBanana*

      I have a second job, so forced fun on a weekend means I’m losing money and inconveniencing everyone at my second job by trying to find coverage.

    12. Ellis Bell*

      People need to stop promoting people who are good at non-management tasks, but bad at managing, because the following happens:
      1) New manager realises it’s not their job to do what they’re best at any more.
      2) New manager realises they have no idea what managing entails.
      3) Manager decides to just hover over people and suck the life out of them on week days.
      4) This doesn’t work, so they assume they need to press gang more people into another day of this treatment on weekends.
      5) Manager hopes people will show up, and also that someone will let slip during team bonding what managing should involve, as they have no idea.

  15. Sabrina*

    LW#4 – I was doing field work once with someone who started to suffer from heat illness and asked me to leave him on the hillside. I kept him going through a general refusal to leave him, giving him the extra water I carried, and verbal encouragement to get back to the truck. We were in an area with no cell service and even off roading it would have been nearly impossible to reach the spot he tried to collapse at. I got him to the truck and drove him back to the support building with more water where I made him sit in the air conditioning until he felt better.

    All he said was “I guess we should start earlier tomorrow before it gets hot.”

    A thank you would have been nice.

    I also had a coworker drive me to the ER after being stung by a wasp on the neck. I said thank you many times, offered to buy her lunch, and wrote an email to our managers about how well she handled everything.

    1. Alice*

      … he asked you to leave him to die? Or he didn’t realise he was in danger? It was a good thing you were steadfast!

      1. WoodswomanWrites*

        Heat illness can scramble the brain. Years ago I was backpacking with my then-partner on a very hot day with no shade. He hadn’t had enough water and was moving into heat exhaustion, which if not reversed can lead to life-threatening heat stroke. We got to a creek in the shade and I said we’d stay here to cool down until he felt better. I told him he needed to drink water and he mumbled in agreement. Once I helped fill his water bottle he just stared at it. I had to specifically tell him to drink it. Fortunately he recovered quickly.

        1. OrigCassandra*

          Yup, this. I got badly overheated on a bike ride once and couldn’t tell my arse from my elbow, plus the world was whirling around me.

          I sure did thank my fellow rider once we got safely back, though!

      2. Bagpuss*

        I think one of the symptoms of heat stroke can be confusion / disorientation so someone in that situation might well not be acting rationally – they may feel tired and unwell so ‘leave me alone’ might sem like a reasoable response.

        Very lucky for them that Sabrina didn’t accept that answer!

      3. Tau*

        In addition to the heat-specific issues around confusion, I don’t know if this is just me but I find that when I’m feeling poorly my first reflex is basically to curl up somewhere alone… including when I’m feeling poorly enough that that’s a bad idea. I once got told off by my GP for not going to hospital in a situation where in retrospect I should have (collapsed in the street, had to be helped back home by helpful strangers), and a large part of it was that I was feeling so miserable that I couldn’t face the idea of dealing with a bunch of strangers and A&E and just wanted to flop on my couch. I can easily imagine someone who doesn’t realise how dire the situation is going “ugh, I feel miserable, I don’t want to be around coworkers when feeling like this, what if I just rest here alone to recover”.

        1. bones*

          I am 100% convinced this is how I’m going to die. “Leave me alone, I’ll be okay, this will pass.”

    2. Phryne*

      Likely he never realised how serious the issue was and just felt he might have embarrassed himself by being soft or something. He was very very lucky you did realise.

  16. Not Australian*

    IMHO someone saving your life at work is a ‘don’t return the favour, pass it on’ scenario. Thank them, of course, and be clear that you will continue to be grateful every day. Send them flowers or chocolates if you like. But organise a blood drive or a first-aid course or some other charitable endeavour as well; it doesn’t have to be regular or repeated, just one good solid project that will be of direct benefit to people not as fortunately situated as yourself. Turn your misfortune/last minute rescue to someone else’s benefit as well as your own.

  17. just me*

    The American Red Cross CPR class teaches the Good Samaritan Law:

    “Good Samaritan laws offer legal protection to people who give reasonable assistance to those who are, or whom they believe to be injured, ill, in peril, or otherwise incapacitated. The protection is intended to reduce bystanders’ hesitation to assist, for fear of being sued or prosecuted for unintentional injury or wrongful death.” (I am quoting from Wikipedia.)

    If a civilian rescuer accepts a significant gift as thanks (“significant” does not seem to be well defined), this can be seen as remuneration (or pay) for what they did. If they accept such a gift, then they are no longer protected by the Good Samaritan Law. Therefore, they can be sued.

    We are taught not to accept gifts for rescuing people for this reason.

    Granted, if someone is giving a gift to say “thanks for rescuing me,” they are probably not thinking about suing a rescuer at that time. But, the rescued person could change their mind later.

    1. Warrior Princess xena*

      This is a really good point, and I think (but am not certain) that ‘on behalf of’ gifts also count for this – ie, I rescue someone, their SO gives me cash or whatever, they could then sue me. Box of chocolates? Probably no biggie. A work bonus? Potentially problematic.

      Not a lawyer though. Do recommend the first aid class. Great class, solid explanations. I didn’t know before taking one that there are face shield PPE for CPR, or that you can then get in key chain sizes, making CPR less dangerous for everyone involved.

      1. MigraineMonth*

        Additionally, I believe that CPR is now taught compressions-only (no rescue breaths) for almost all situations. Unless the recipient is a child or was drowning, there is sufficient oxygen in the blood for quite a while if you can just keep it moving.

    2. CharlieBrown*

      God, I hate living in this country sometimes.

      “Please accept this gift as thanks for saving my life so that I can now sue you” should simply not be a thing.

      1. I Would Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

        I think that’s a pretty depressing way of looking at it!

        The right to litigation is important, becuase it helps people to legally advocate for themselves even in situations where the state can’t bring a suit. So whenever we restrict that right (like with anti-SLAPP laws or Good Samaritan laws) there are going to still be limitations to make sure no one can take too much advantage of the inability to be sued.

        My understanding is that in the case of a Good Samaritan law, this is meant to be a protection for the person being “saved.” For example, if I pulled you out of a burning car and peformed CPR (go me!) you couldn’t sue me for, say, the scratches from being pulled out of the car.

        But if in that high-stakes-emotional-moment I convinced you to give me your bank card and pin so I could take all your money, then you could later puruse legal action. Or if I came up to you in the car and said “hey, I’ll pull you out of there for $50,000”, then you could pursue legal action.

        We definitely want people to have the right to pursue legal action in cases like that!

        1. CharlieBrown*

          I think you have completely misread my meaning. But I, also, could go for some dumplings right about now.

    3. Come On Eileen*

      Ahh that’s so interesting! Someone else quoted this law a few weeks ago on Reddit in response to a person who posted “I performed CPR and saved someone’s life. Now they are suing me because I broke their rib.” I was flabbergasted that someone could be so petty.

      1. Alex*

        “They’re suing me because I did CPR correctly” (because CPR done correctly is probably going to break ribs) doesn’t seem like a case that’s going to go far in general….

        1. Anon for this*

          Yeah, I needed CPR – granted, I was already in an ambulance and it was the EMTs doing it – and ended up with cracked ribs. I won’t say cracked ribs are fun, but I was very very grateful for them, because I was alive to have to deal with them!

          1. MigraineMonth*

            That reminds me of a campaign to get motorcycle helmet laws repealed in my state. They pointed out that whiplash is more likely for motorcyclists who get into an accident when they’re wearing a helmet.

            Which is true, because only people who survive the accident get whiplash.

      2. Starbuck*

        I think it’s less pettiness and more that our health insurance system often requires these lawsuits so that they can get paid. Like that woman who had to sue a minor relative (nephew I think?) for breaking her arm (accidentally).

    4. doreen*

      IANAL – but it’s not uncommon for various organizations to teach things that aren’t strictly true but don’t cause any harm by being taught. For example, those Good Samaritan laws that provide protection against liability as long as the rescuer isn’t paid have that restriction there so that the Good Samaritan Law doesn’t not apply to on-duty doctors, EMTs etc. In fact some (maybe most?) Good Samaritan laws specifically word it as ” any person who voluntarily and without expectation of monetary compensation renders first aid or emergency treatment” so accepting an after-the-fact gift will not eliminate the protection.

    5. lost academic*

      Not all states have such laws and it’s important to recognize when you are and aren’t in such a jurisdiction. I used to do a lot of advising on risk management on college campuses and this was a Big Deal to emphasize there.

      1. lost academic*

        Whoa hit submit way too soon and did not mean in first comment that the advice on getting first responders was any different between places with protections and those without!!! Far from it. The point was that we always always emphasize that the very first call is to 911, no matter what. If a law applied to also protect people who might otherwise have later issues based on what was happening at the time or aid they attempted to also render, great, but you always call. The reason for that is that Good Samaritan laws are also intended to motivate people to make those calls in situations where something has happened as a result of illegal or otherwise illicit activity, and many injuries can be compounded (or result in death) because of delays resulting from a fear of punishment. Always call.

        1. doreen*

          As a person who is not a lawyer , I say absolutely always call – but the laws protecting those rendering aid from liability and the ones protecting those who call 911 for an overdose from drug-related arrests may be entirely different laws. ( In NY , the first is part of Public Health Law and the ” 911 Good Samaritan Law” is part of the Penal Law). And some states do not have a law protecting people who call 911 from drug-related arrests.

  18. Stitch*

    11-6 is also an absurdly long time for a weekend event. That’s getting into “plan multiple meals” territory. Even weddings generally aren’t that long. What exactly are you guys going to be doing in a park for seven whole hours?

    And the food is going to be volunteer brought? How are you going to keep food safe to eat outside for seven hours? Because anything perishable will be long past safe. I used to work event staff in college (including helping catering) and there are so many red flags here. This whole thing sounds incredibly poorly planned (and like there’s no budget, if food has to be brought by volunteers).

    I’ve been to a weekend company carnival type thing for a job, but that was definitely voluntary, and extremely well planned (the company clearly spent a significant amount of money, professionally hired food, bounce houses, live music kind of thing). That can be fun.

    7 hours at a park with volunteer-brought food? This is bad.

    1. amoeba*

      Yeah, I mean, if I like my colleagues and it’s a really cool, really voluntary event with free food and drinks, sure, I’ll come on the weekend, no problem! My former group has a summer barbecue every year on a saturday – everybody’s invited to sign up and most people do (because free food and drinks and nice people), but never everybody and it’s absolutely no problem to not attend if you don’t feel like it/cannot make it.

      1. So they all cheap ass rolled over and one fell out*

        Yes, I also like my coworkers, and I like going to local parks. If it was during work hours (often in those cases, you either have to go to the event or take PTO to skip it) and/or the food was provided, I would often take my family and go eat some free food and hang out. I have gone to these kinds of things with lots of employers and done things like: making sand castles with my kids, chasing my kids around the playground, play frisbee and badminton with my coworkers, etc.

    2. bamcheeks*

      Most importantly, where are you going to go to the loo.

      (this was a major concern that eventually stopped my team running an outdoor team meeting in summer 2020!)

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        Lots of parks do have loos, but some of them only have porta-potties, which aren’t awesome to begin with – I know lots of people who won’t use them – and will be definitely disgusting after a seven-hour event with a lot of folks using them. It would be just like this manager to choose a park that didn’t have flush toilets, that sounds remarkably on point for someone like this to not even think about.

        1. SimonTheGreyWarden*

          Also to consider, around here in general some parks lock up their facilities during the “off season” (winter) so even if there are bathrooms, they may already be locked for the season.

    3. Irish Teacher*

      This is a bit off topic, but 7 hours is less than the length of a wedding? Here weddings usually start in the early afternoon and go on until the early hours of the morning. My friend’s wedding started some time between midday and 2pm (I don’t remember exactly) and didn’t finish until 5am or 6pm. And there was an after-party the next evening, so it was nearly a two day event. This is…fairly normal here. Admittedly, that is including the Mass and the photographs as well as the reception. The reception was more like 12 hours. I would love if weddings only lasted 7 hours!

      That said, it is still a ridiculous length for a work event, especially if there is pressure on people to be there. It’s giving up their full day off really.

      1. bamcheeks*

        Major difference between British and Irish weddings is that at British weddings it’s perfectly respectable to go to bed around 2-3am. I remember once getting absolutely scandalised looks I got from the parents of the bride (in her sixties!) when I suggested at 2am that things were starting to wind down.

        1. Bagpuss*

          The only wedding I went to where the bar staff went home and left us the key to the bar was an Irish wedding (taking place in England, but one of the couple was Irish) .
          I went to bed not long after that but when I came down to breakfast the next morningthere were some guests who had clearly ot been to bed at all!

          It was a fun party, but I don’t have that kind of stamina!

        2. amoeba*

          I’ve been to a few English weddings and was really surprised that they all wound down at midnight – in Germany I’d say 2 a.m. would still be considered early (of course loads of people leave before that, but the venue would normally be booked all night and the last stragglers would probably leave at dawn!)

      2. The Original K.*

        My friend’s Iranian wedding was 8 hours long, and most of that was the reception – it was a PARTY, I am telling you.

      3. Stitch*

        I mean the structred part. You’re not going to br drinking like that with colleagues. In the US the venue usually kicks people out between 12-2 and people can go out after.

        Of course, I was a bridesmaid in a partially Indian wedding and that went on for days.

      4. londonedit*

        I’d bank on about 12 hours for a British wedding – usually the ceremony is around lunchtime, then there’s the whole going to the reception venue and/or photos while people have drinks and canapes, then the meal goes on for a couple of hours at least, then there’s general milling about/drinking while the tables are cleared away, then it carries on into the ‘evening do’ where more people will probably turn up and there’s dancing and a buffet and the whole thing finishes at about midnight or so.

    4. The Original K.*

      Yeah, I got stuck on 11-6. I don’t want to spend my weekends doing work things, period, but I could suck it up and do two hours (although I’d still push back – I work too much during the week as it is), but 11-6 is the entire day. That means you have to cram in all your errands and fun personal stuff into one day, and that just sucks. And bring your own food for the privilege! Ugh.

    5. Librarian of SHIELD*

      I’m a melanoma survivor with serious grass, tree and dirt allergies. Seven hours in a park is my personal nightmare.

      I’d have to show up dressed like that employee from the letter where the boss was mad at her skin cancer precautions and I’d probably have a headache and breathing problems for days.

  19. Waving not Drowning*

    OP2 – we’ve got a work get together in the Park in a few weeks, and while its voluntary, we’re strongly encouraged to go. As an added bonus, its a family day, so we can all meet each others significant others, kids, dogs, etc etc.

    Slightly problematic, one of my offspring is pretty severe on the spectrum, plus has an intellectual disability. This is fine, this isn’t the issue, he’s mostly happy to go out to events with lots of preparation – the issue is my Grand Boss uses the line “isn’t everyone a little bit on the Spectrum…..” whenever I happen to mention it (usually along the lines of needing to leave early for appointments related to his therapy). So, I see a day where I’ll be spreading Autism Awareness, and hopefully she will never ever say that phrase around me again….

    And our event is only 4 hours, not the massive event yours is scheduled.

    1. FashionablyEvil*

      Oof, your boss is a jerk. When someone tells her about a cancer diagnosis does she say stuff like, “Oh, my cells are growing too and I stubbed my toe once!” The lack of empathy is really something.

    2. Biology Dropout*

      Oof, I feel for you. Both of my kids are Autistic and people in my family pull that “isn’t everyone a little on the spectrum” crap and I just… can’t even. I really hope the event goes well and your kiddo has a grand time and your boss never says that again.

    3. Insert Clever Name Here*

      Uggggghhh. From one parent of a child on the spectrum to another, just ugggggggggh.

  20. Caroline+Bowman*

    OP4/ My husband has been the life saver in this – thankfully – very rare (though not THAT rare) situation. Where I’m from, young men used to be conscripted into the army straight out of school, and one of the areas was obviously the medical corps. At 19, he was the ”chief medic” (the thought!) for around a thousand people, in the middle of the bush, with intermittent responsibility for refugees too, so he generally gets coopted onto all first aid ”volunteers” at any work place!

    2 years ago a colleague came back from lunch and appeared, frankly, drunk, and was complaining of feeling ill, then they vomited and were generally making quite the scene, loudly denying any wrongdoing. HR was furious, manager was furious, ready to put him in a cab and starting the paperwork for serious disciplinary measures. Husband wrangled him into the sick bay and decided that he was in fact suffering from a heart attack and insisted on an ambulance and did various other things to try and keep him going till it could get there, all over the shouting and slurring and protestations by management ”HE’S DRUNK”.

    The man was in hospital for a good long while, and had heart surgery. He was very close to dying and when he finally got back to work he just went and found my husband and gave him a very, very long hug and cried. No other thanks necessary. If something is genuinely lifesaving, the only thanks that is needed is a heartfelt thank you. It’s priceless.

    1. WoodswomanWrites*

      Your husband is incredible. I can’t imagine having to navigate that scenario. The ending made me teary-eyed.

    2. NotRealAnonforThis*

      I can only hope that management and HR were appropriately apologetic for jumping to the conclusion that the gentleman was drunk. Thank goodness for your husband!

    3. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

      I wish the HR person who claimed that was fired. Hypoglycemia or a stroke may look like you’re drunk (erratic, slurring works) to the untrained eye.

  21. Fannykins*

    LW4- this happened to me! My boss was eating a sandwich at his desk and he started choking. Not as in coughing, as in ‘silent panic because my airway is completely blocked’. Fortunately I’m first aid trained and I very forcefully slapped him on the back until, thankfully, he started coughing. My other colleague got him a glass of water.

    It was traumatic for him, and pretty traumatic for me too, because I’d hoped to never need the first aid skills I’d learned! So I’m answer to your question; we dealt with it the British way, and just never spoke of it again.

    1. cleo*

      This exact scenario happened to me too, only I was the one choking on food at my desk. Fortunately one of my coworkers was trained in first aid (and had just been re-certified).

      I thanked her profusely but we were both really shaken up. And then we just went back to being coworkers. We’re in the American Midwest and its culturally appropriate to “not make a big deal” out of things like this.

    2. AvonLady Barksdale*

      My manager gave the Heimlich to a co-worker who choked on a peach pit. Many thanks and relief all around. The following week, the victim’s co-workers gave my manager a dollar, which she pinned to her bulletin board.

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          Maybe only half, or the seed inside? I’ve eaten many a stone fruit where the pit was cracked.

      1. I Talk About Motorcycles Too Much*

        The dollar, which I read as a single one dollar bill, seems so odd to me. I’d pay at least $10 for any one of my coworkers. ;)

  22. Anon for this*

    A co-worker may have saved my life – or maybe not, but she did save my weekend. I was working overtime on the Saturday of a holiday weekend to get a project finished and in production. I stepped out of the office to buy two pounds of tofu at the local Asian grocery store before it closed. Came back to the office and entered through a side door from the parking lot. Got on the elevator, which seemed to moving very slowly and to be shaking more than usual.
    Unnerved, I got off as soon as the doors opened. They had already closed by the time I realized the elevator had malfunctioned and opened at the second-floor firm. My company is on the third floor. The second-floor firm had not wanted to participate in the costs of the elevator so it was programmed not to stop there and didn’t respond when I pushed the button.
    I was trapped in an area with two locked doors to hallways and one locked door to a porch overlooking the parking lot at 4 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon with Monday off. I had my keys and two pounds of tofu. No phone. My husband was in the hospital and was expecting to be released on Sunday. He wouldn’t miss me for another 24 hours.
    I had seen the vehicle of one of the employees (Henry) from the second-floor firm in the parking lot and thought maybe he was at work or would show up. Likewise, when I left my office, one co-workers computer was still on. Possibly he’d return.
    Still, I wondered whether the liquid in two pounds of tofu would be enough for 60 hours. I could see the street and was surprised at the amount of foot traffic for a side street. There were people on the porches of the building across the way. I could try to get their attention, but how would I communicate? Should I try to bust out? There was a large log in the hallway, but did I have the strength to break doors with it? The window looking out over the parking lot was small-paned. I couldn’t just break a pane and crawl out. I’d have to destroy the framework.
    As I pondered what to do and how long to wait, my co-worker Christine appeared in the parking lot. She had been away overnight and left her car at our lot (we’re close to the train station).
    I got her attention and we communicated by yelling through the elevator shaft. She tried sending the elevator up and down a few times, hoping it would open again, but no luck. So she made a few calls and the maintenance people for the building came by with the master key, but the second-floor firm had changed the locks. Ultimately, the elevator service came and rescued me. Christine had to leave for a half hour but assured me that she’d be back.
    I gave her a gift certificate for a restaurant with a value of what my husband and I would spend for a meal together – i.e. sufficient, but not extravagant. She insisted it wasn’t necessary, I insisted that she’d given me my weekend back.

    As it turned out, other people had noticed the malfunctioning of the elevator that morning. One co-worker came by and apologized profusely for not having said something. Another who had noticed it was my boss, who never said anything. (And probably the elevator would have made the extra stop on the second-floor if we had tried twenty times instead of three.)
    Christine wasn’t the person I would have chosen to rescue me. We’re better work friends now, but back then I was very cautious with her.

    I spent all Saturday trying to get the files for my project to the company producing it so they could begin on Tuesday. The files were huge and if I recall correctly I left the computer on overnight because they took so long to upload. When I arrived at work on Tuesday I found out that they either still hadn’t uploaded or were damaged. I ended up burning a DVD and sending it express. So most of the weekend shift was completely unnecessary and the product was produced on time anyway.

    And the other irony: My husband spent a few more days in the hospital. On Sunday, taking the elevator up to his floor, deep in thought, I got off as soon as the doors opened and – was on the wrong floor! Of course, this time I wasn’t trapped, but I realized I needed to be more mindful when riding elevators.

    1. infopubs*

      Where on earth do you work that there is no way to leave a building without using the elevator? What if there had been a fire? Wasn’t there a fire exit? I’m glad it all worked out in the end!

      1. Llama Llama*

        Right? I am not sure how the 2nd floor company could even opt out at having an elevator because of ADA requirements. It’s one thing to just not having an elevator because of it being an old building but opting out?

      2. Modesty Poncho*

        It sounds like there were stairwells but they were locked and she only had the key for her own floor?

        1. amoeba*

          But… wouldn’t locking a fire exit be illegal as well? What if there’s a fire and you left your keys in your burning desk? (Clearly I have no idea about building regulations…)

      3. doreen*

        I think this may have been an elevator lobby like the ones I’ve seen at various workplaces – you get off the elevator into this lobby but you can’t get into the main area of the building without a key. There was one place where this elevator lobby was in a separate area from any of the staircases (including the fire exits) and if I worked on the third floor and accidentally got off on the second floor , my only way to leave that tiny area would have been the elevator. But the only way for me to end up there would have been from the elevator (which did stop on every floor) , so it wasn’t quite like this story where the elevator wasn’t supposed to stop on the second floor and the commenter got trapped because it malfunctioned.

      4. Quinalla*

        This setup is definitely not legal in any way, good grief! You have to have an elevator for ADA, doesn’t matter if you want it. You’d have to have access to a fire exit, you can lock people out of coming onto your floor from a stairwell/elevator, but you can’t lock them out of access to the exit. And I’m sure the landlord was thrilled at the tenant changing the locks!

        Glad the service company was able to rescue you!

        1. Don P.*

          I’m late to the thread, but this sounds like (once you get access to a phone) the correct move is “call 911, and if they have to destroy someone’s property to get you out, that’s on whoever locked all those doors”.

    2. Anon for this*

      For anyone who comes back to this post: We are not in the US and thus not subject to ADA regulations. It’s true that getting out in case of fire is a problem.

  23. Other Alice*

    #2, just say you have a prior commitment on that date. Even if that commitment is sleeping in till noon and playing videogames in your pj’s (my favourite Saturday activity). If it’s important she can use a work day for it, but it’s not important so she won’t. Honestly I would not show up even for an hour and if I got penalised for not attending I would start looking elsewhere. This is bonkers.

  24. Maz*

    #2: Is the employer willing to pay people for their time on a weekend? And what if you have any observant Jews in your employ who *can’t* attend an event like that on a Saturday?

    1. ecnaseener*

      To be clear, you can socialize and play games on Shabbat. The presence of coworkers doesn’t make it work. If this local park is within walking distance, observant Jews could attend.

      1. ecnaseener*

        Sorry, forgot to clarify they also couldn’t bring food if they observe the prohibition against transporting objects in public during Shabbat.

  25. Dark Humour Boy*

    #4 – I’m just amazed that no-one has started a gift company for this, it’s definitely a niche market.
    Hallmark could have a “Thank you for saving me day”
    You could base the range on how serious the injury could have been:
    Could have been Broken Leg – Trampoline (Appreciate your legs)
    Could have suffered hearing damage – Justin Bieber CD (to appreciate what you may have missed)
    Could have died – Copy of “The Art of the Deal” (To show you how long each hour of life can be while reading it)
    I’ll stop before I get too dark….

  26. Al who is that Al*

    #2 My company just paid for, in July, in work time, a river cruise on the Thames with a free bar and hot cooked food, then an evening do in a roof top bar with a free bar again and free food. It happened on a Wednesday, people from the satellite office were paid mileage to drive there and a paid for hotel stay. All the people who stayed behind at the satellite office (4 of them) were genuine volunteers and received a day off in lieu.
    THAT is a Team Building exercise, we all met people we’d only spoken to by phone, had a chat, enjoyed ourselves, no work pressure at all. MD getting merry and personally greeting and chatting to everyone.
    Now looking forward to our Christmas Party!

    1. Empress Matilda*

      The best team building event I’ve ever been to was similar. It was in a park on a Friday, and attendance was expected but not strictly mandatory. We arrived around 10:30, and the morning was entirely unstructured – you could play cards, or volleyball or soccer, go for a walk, or just hang out and chat. Then lunch, followed by a short speech from the director about what a great job we had all done the past year etc. And finally a baseball game, which you could either play or watch, and the whole thing was done by 2:30.

      No event is going to be perfect of course, but I think this hit the right tone of celebration without “mandatory fun,” and everyone was allowed to participate to whatever degree they felt comfortable.

      1. Kuddel Daddeldu*

        Just a month after a joined a previous company, we had a long weekend trip to NYC (from Europe, so quite a distance – we left Thursday and returned Sunday).
        Company paid everything except the bar hopping after dinner.
        Officially, it was a planning retreat; the presentations by each team were handed out on the flight to have more time for fun.
        Management had hired a conference room at the hotel for speeches etc. – there was only one, and I quote it in its entirety: “Last year was good. Next year will be even better. Let’s have fun!”
        To my younger self (20-odd years ago), it was okay; today I’d be not so sure. It was not mandatory and two colleagues did not join with no ill effects or bad feelings. Still, we did not get paid for the weekend (we were all exempt and fairly well compensated, though).

  27. londonedit*

    Number 2 – people without children (which is what I presume you mean by ‘some of us have families’) also have plenty of reasons not to want to spend their entire Saturday playing games with their work colleagues. I’m not one of those ‘I never want to socialise with people from work ever’ types – I enjoy going for drinks after work or lunch with colleagues, and I even sometimes meet up with ex-colleagues for dinner – but a whole Saturday is too much. Everyone has commitments – pets, friends, sports, doing the food shop, whatever – and I can’t think of many people who would willingly give up half their weekend for a work event. I also think seven hours of games would be exhausting! If a company wants to do something like this, it should be on a work day, maybe something like a few games, a picnic lunch, a few more games and then everyone goes home early or goes on somewhere for a drink if they want to. Not a whole Saturday.

    1. lost academic*

      I think the biggest reason that “family/children” is a go-to for weekend commitments being an issue is not that they’re (kids) a commitment (they sure are!) but because it is a significant effort to arrange childcare, assuming you can find it, to be at work at a time you were not expecting. Plus, it is not cheap – for many it could easily be a net loss of money.

      1. snarkfox*

        It can also be a significant effort to arrange pet care…. I’d have to take my dog to daycare because she can’t be left alone that long… which I don’t mind doing for work because I’m, you know, earning money.

        But a mandatory event in which I don’t get paid and have to pay to attend in the form of sending my dog to daycare? No thanks.

    2. snarkfox*

      Thank you… I know I’m probably just too sensitive about it… but I’m eternally tired of my time as being seen as less valuable because I don’t have children.

  28. Lily Potter*

    “Some of us have families.” Really? Meaning if everyone on the team was single (presumably having nothing truly important to do on a weekend) it would be okay to schedule them for an unpaid day of Saturday “fun in the park”? LW2 needs to watch the parental entitlement attitude.

    1. I would prefer not to*

      I don’t think that’s what they meant at all. It was just one example of why someone couldn’t do it. Not the only valid reason.

    2. Phryne*

      I noticed that too. OP, the issue is being made to participate in work activities on a day off, having children or not is irrelevant.

      1. Stitch*

        I mean it is relevant in that you potentially don’t have childcare, so you’re also asking someone to pay out of pocket for a baby sitter as well. My kid goes to preschool during the week, but if my husband was out of town (he travels for work), this would be a big burden. Babysitters are typically $15-20/hr in my area so for 7+ hours that is a significant expense.

    3. CharlieBrown*

      Here we go again….

      Saying “I have family” does not mean “I have children.” It could be parents, pets, or whatever.

      The idea that “family = children” is something you are inferring.

      1. Rain's Small Hands*

        Or even a “created” family. My (adult) kids have cousins that they seldom see. And they have “cousins” they see all the time – the kids of our friends. To them, their parents friends are aunts and uncles and those kids are cousins.

        Although it is frustrating that the traditional definition of family does get priority for these things in our society. “My kids have a thing” outranks “I have plans with my parents” which outranks “I’m seeing my sister” which outranks “all my friends are getting together that day to play volleyball” or “I promised Poopers a trip to the dog park.”

      2. Jane*

        It does when you say “some of us have families.” Even if you don’t infer it that way, “some of us have families” also means that their time is valuable or that they shouldn’t be expected to participate only because they have a family.

    4. Falling Diphthong*

      Really? Meaning…

      I don’t think it means that at all.

      What part of this admonishment matches the commenting guidelines? It’s not even clear if OP, or anyone, has young children–it’s normal for couples to want to spend Saturday doing their normal couple bike ride, for example.

    5. ecnaseener*

      I’m not sure why you jumped from “have families” to “are parents.” OP didn’t say anything about kids.

    6. Irish Teacher*

      People who are single and childless can still have family commitments – elderly parents who need care, caring for nieces and nephews, siblings’ birthdays, weddings, etc… I don’t think saying “people have families” mean “only people with children need time off”. It just points out that people have responsibilities outside work.

      I would say weekend work could be particularly difficult for parents as their children wouldn’t be at school and some childcare facilities also only work Monday to Friday, but it could also be difficult for people who have responsibilities for other family members – elderly people, people with disabilities, people who provide care for children of relatives…

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        Since I am a single person who does not have kids (yet) I can see Lily’s point. If OP had meant family to be the all-inclusive “any person related to the employee” then OP would not have brought it up because if that were the case then nearly everyone would have families. So yeah, it’s not necessary for OP to have brought that into the equation because even those of us without kids need weekends and presumably have many better things to do on the weekends than an all-day outdoor work event that the manager is requiring people to bring their own food to. Whether or not people have kids, the manager is bonkers for trying to plan such an activity. But also, Lily, not sure you really needed to get so defensive about the “some people have families” detail…it’s irrelevant and yes it’s annoying to those of us who are child-free not by choice (or by choice, I suppose), but it’s not hard to see past it to the relevant details of OP’s letter.

        Also I want an update on this asap, OP! Please let us know if y’all pushed back and manager stopped planning the thing, or if it happened and no one went except the brownnosers, or what.

  29. Oska*

    The 1954 movie White Christmas warns of the consequences of having someone save your life, especially if they’re injured in the process. You might end up as a Broadway performer/producer and find true love.

    More on topic, I’m glad I’m not the only one who has had this hypothetical running through their head. Introvert-style, I’ve mostly worried that it’ll be treated as a big deal forever after. Genuine thanks, optional gift, and then move on sounds perfect to me, from both sides of the situation.

    1. AnonyNurse*

      As reassurance, there’s a good chance the “rescuer” is an introvert and doesn’t want the attention either!

      1. I should really pick a name*

        Whether or not they want the attention is independent of whether or not they’re an introvert.

    2. JTP*

      “Miss Haynes, if you’re ever under a falling building and someone offers to pick you up and carry you to safety, don’t think, don’t pause, don’t hesitate for a moment, just spit in his eye.”

      I watch that movie every Christmas season :)

      1. Generic+Name*

        My (ex)father in law introduced me to this movie. No one else in my family likes it, but I still watch it every year. So cheesy.

    3. Quinalla*

      Hahaha, this comment made my day. We watched this every Christmas growing up, the more I watch it as an adult I still enjoy the music/dancing/acting, but good grief is the story messed up.

  30. Richard Hershberger*

    A Mandatory Fun letter! Those are among my favorites! I miss them, since the shutdown. Mandatory Fun events, not so much.

  31. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

    I have totally worked with hair dye on, but
    My dye stays in for like three hours or more.
    It smells like bubble gum and is wrapped up in plastic.
    And I work from home and dye my own hair. :-P

    So as long as I do it on a day I don’t have camera-required meetings, I can totally put it on during a lunch and work through the afternoon with no one the wiser and rinse it out at the end of the day.

    1. Madame X*

      Dying your hair while while working from home is the best option if you can’t take the day off to have it done at a professional salon. The letter writer mentioned that the they provide flexible time off, so the employee could’ve just taken the time off. Alternatively, she could’ve also done it herself while working from home.

    2. Modesty Poncho*

      I was 100% expecting employee 1 to be working at home and say nbd! It…would be distracting in an office but for only 15 min i would hesitate to apply formal measures too harshly

  32. cncx*

    RE Op2 and Mandatory Fun: I used to work for a company that intentionally planned all parties and get togethers for thursdays or thursday nights because they correctly understood the assignment, that mandatory fun needs to be on the clock or not impinging on the weekend. It worked quite well. Especially since the Friday afterwards was guaranteed to be a light day and most people came in on Thursdays anyway so there wasn’t childcare or schedule drama.

    I do the stuff on the weekends i don’t get to do during the week because i am at work. doing work stuff on the weekends takes away that much more of my personal free time.

    1. Bagpuss*

      Yes, the first company I worked for, the christmas party was always lunch – the office closed and the party was a long lunch usually with something fterwards (one year was a murder mystery game, for instance)
      They usually tried to arrang it for somehwere where there was a bar / kareoke / disco so people could stay on in to the evening if they wanted but the actual office party was entirly within work hours .
      Another job we did have ocassional events on weekends but they were 100% optional and were purey social – for instance a summer BBQ at the home of one of the owners – eveyone was encouraged to bring partners / children – if I recall correctly it was onthe basis that the company provided the basics 0 hot hots, burgers, a couple of salads, and beer and soft drinks, on the basis tht people were encouraged but not required to bring additional sides / snacks to share – all of which was clearly set out in advance alsongwith the fact that no one had to come and that it was fine to come for part of the afternoon only.

    2. Richard Hershberger*

      Thursday night is still potentially a problem. I have, much to the astonishment of Younger Me, turned into a morning person. I am usually up at 5:00, and in bed at 9:00. Figure an hour to drive home and an hour to wind down and get ready for bed, and anything after 7:00 in the evening impinges on my sleep cycle. I am a big boy and can stay up later if I have to, but it comes at a cost. Make me do it for BS team building company culture stuff and I will be very unhappy.

  33. hamsterpants*

    #1 I see this as a safety issue. The hair cape is basically PPE (personal protective equipment) in that it is to keep a chemical substance off your body. Wearing used PPE into a space where not everyone else is wearing it is a big no-no. Like how would you react if a custodian put on gloves to Drano a clogged sink and then walked around the shared office touching stuff with the Drano-y gloves? Your reaction probably would go beyond “hmm a bit irregular.”

    1. CharlieBrown*

      That is an interesting take on this.

      Yes, these items are definitely PPE, although not the kind of PPE that is regulated by OSHA or similar organizations. But they are meant to serve a particular purpose in a particular place, and then to be removed before leaving said place.

      I definitely would have sent employee back to the hair salon.

    2. metadata minion*

      I think the cape is mostly to keep the dye off your clothes, rather than your skin, though as a generally klutzy person I would worry about getting hair dye on random bits of the office.

    3. WellRed*

      This is a strange take. The cape us to keep dye off if clothes. And wearing PPE ( which, no it’s not), isn’t a no no just because others aren’t. By that logic, no one would be able to wear a mask.

      1. hamsterpants*

        Hair dye is a skin irritant for many people. I agree about the masks and I spoke too generally: the no no to bring specifically dirty PPE into a non-PPE space.

        I would not appreciate getting chemical burns because someone’s hair dye transferred into a chair and from there onto my skin. Google paraphenylenediamine.

  34. Hiring Mgr*

    I’ve seen Income Share Agreements in education, mainly things like coding/technical programs or Computer science training/education where the student will get free tuition or similar in exchange for a percentage of post-graduate income (for a time).

    But just from a recruiter suggesting that for a job? No

  35. I should really pick a name*

    The employee said they didn’t think it was a problem to pop back into the office for 15 minutes while the dye set

    And then what happened?
    It seems quite common in letters to mention how a employee/coworker defended their actions, but not describe what the response was and I GET SO CURIOUS

    1. ecnaseener*

      I mean, I’m guessing the rest of this conversation went something like “Okay, well please don’t do it again.” “Okay, I won’t.” “Cool, bye.”

  36. AnonyNurse*

    On #4 — wasn’t a “save” but scary for the individual … I’m a nurse but most of the people I work with aren’t clinical. A couple of us were traveling home from an event. I hear the call over the PA for a medical assist. I go to the back of the plane and find a woman passed out, one of my coworkers. She was more embarrassed than anything — we’d been in meetings, gone to the airport, and almost missed our connecting flight (literal running had been involved), and she hasn’t eaten all day. No one else we were traveling with realized it happened. I made sure her husband picked her up at the airport rather than her driving home. And we never discussed it again.

    And it feels like that’s how it should be. I’d have felt uncomfortable working with her if it had been all gratitude-y. She didn’t owe me anything. A person needed help. I helped. The end.

  37. cleo*

    For LW 4 – this happened to me. A coworker saved my life at work. It was maybe my first month at a new job. I was getting ready to leave for the day – packing up my things while quickly eating an energy bar when suddenly I couldn’t breathe. One of the few people still in the office figured out what was happening before I did and slapped my back and suddenly I could breathe again.

    I thanked her profusely at the time and expressed a lot of heartfelt gratitude the next couple of days. And then we just went back to being coworkers. She was a couple levels above me in the org chart and I didn’t report to her. I did reach out to her later when I heard she was having a tough time in her personal life, just to let her know I supported her and she said she glad to hear from me.

  38. EPLawyer*

    OP1, if by document you mean keep a note for yourself that you talked to the person about not doing it again, I would do that. That way if she does it again, you can refer back and say I talked to you about this on such and such date. Or if you start to spot a pattern of not great judgment, you have the notes to add it everything else so you can see if its a problem or not. I would not formally document it as in make it part of the person’s annual review or put it in their official personal file. But keeping track of issues yourself — in a safe place no one else can stumble over it — is fine. We can’t remember everything that ever happened. Note taking is fine.

  39. Dinwar*

    #4: I think it depends on the job and the person. Some jobs are inherently dangerous, and it’s expected that you will, if need be, step in to save someone. This isn’t limited to military and merchant marine, either–I know a surprising number of construction workers with stories about pulling someone out of harm’s way seconds before they were killed, and I came within a hair’s breadth of needing to be saved from choking on a jobsite (I now always ask in CPR classes how to do the Heimlich on yourself!). Field geologists routinely go into places where Less Stroud would hesitate, and you watch each other’s back. In those jobs there’s certainly appreciation when someone saves your life, but there’s no sense that extreme gratitude is required, at least as far as I’ve found. It’s part of the job. Most handle the shock by diving into their work, and ignoring that it happened until there’s sufficient distance to make it a good story.

    As far as the person goes, some people tolerate risk better. To be blunt, you never know how you’re going to act until it happens. I’ve seen people who thought they could handle anything break down in tears, and I’ve seen folks that everyone thought were cowards run into automatic rifle fire to save someone they didn’t even like.

    Without knowing a lot more about specifics there’s really no useful advice. For my part I’ve found that when someone saves your life buying them a beer is a kind gesture. It’s absolutely only a token, but nothing can match the value of a saved life so literally anything would be and in the industry I work in buying someone a beer (or beverage of their choice if they don’t drink) is the socially accepted way of saying “Thanks”. And for the most part the folks I’ve done this for have been shocked that I’d even do that much–they considered it something anyone would step up and do. I’ve saved a few people (catching them right before they fell off cliffs, pulling them out of the way of things coming at them, that sort of thing) and I don’t recall anyone making a big deal about it. Never felt bothered by it personally–again, it’s the job, it’s just what’s expected, and for my part gratitude is superfluous.

    1. ecnaseener*

      I feel like the “running into rifle fire” example must be a different ball game though! Someone putting their own life at risk for you hits different emotionally.

      1. Dinwar*

        It didn’t seem to. I figured it was my obligation to do it–I grew up around first responders, and “keep everyone alive” was drilled into my head from an early age. The person I pulled off the barbed wire was so rattled that they didn’t really know what to think of anything; I honestly doubt they remember any specifics about it, which is a perfectly reasonable and normal reaction to someone with no combat training at all suddenly being in such a situation.

        We all just moved on with our lives, and didn’t make too much of it once the adrenaline wore off. Since we all survived we figured it wasn’t really a significant event in our lives.

  40. Ginger Baker*

    Re work events, I worked at a nonprofit that had an annual colleagues + family-welcome picnic and it was lovely – but, a big part of that was because it was during a regular work day, the whole office closed, and no one was tracking attendance.

  41. Nikkif*

    My husband actually had #4 happen to him. He almost slid off a roof. It was one of those metal roofs that had just a skiff of snow on it so he started sliding off. The fall would have either killed him or left him disabled for life. His coworker managed to hold out a broom for him to grab so he could scramble to safety. Very scary! The coworker was super nonchalant about it. My husband wound up getting him a bottle of expensive whiskey and we had our daughters make cute little thank you cards. Now my husband won’t go up on a roof without a safety harness. Thats the kind of chance you don’t want to take more than once!

    1. CharlieBrown*

      The entire time I was reading this, I was thinking “What about his safety harness?” then I got to the end.

      I’m glad everything turned out okay and that your DH always remembers his harness now!

  42. Jack Straw from Wichita*

    #1 – The hair dye smell/chemicals is definitely an issue in an office environment/in a place people don’t anticipate dealing with those things, but my bigger question as a leader is why my employee thought they needed to forgo 15-30 minutes of downtime?

    Are they bad at time management? Are they procrastinating and scrambling near a due date? Do they have too much on their plate? Am I conveying the message that work must be done at all costs? Is the message that their breaks are their breaks and they can be extended for appointments (if that’s genuinely the case) being communicated? IMO it’s less about the hair dye and more about them thinking they need to work in the middle of a break.

    1. Jack Straw from Wichita*

      It’s less “how that type of thing could interrupt focus” or about the smell/chemicals (which, yes, are a concern) and more “you can take your full break and tack on 30-60 minutes to cover an appointment.”

    2. ecnaseener*

      It could be an issue of feeling like she needed to work for those 15 minutes, but it could’ve also just been that sitting in a salon chair for 15 minutes is boring and she didn’t have anything to read.
      So I guess yes, make sure it’s not the first issue, but unless it was an unpaid break for an hourly employee I don’t see an issue with someone figuring “might as well get 15 mins of work done.”

    3. I'm just here for the cats!*

      I think the thought was since the salon is right next door, why shouldn’t I just work for those few minutes. I think the better thing would have been to see if they could have worked from the salon.

    4. Ellis Bell*

      I didn’t read it as the employee was working mid-break, but that their break was over before their hair was done. So, not only have they returned to work in an unsuitable state, but they needed to nip out again when the dye time was up for a second break. Or, the two trips to the salon added up to the right amount of break time, but it wouldn’t have if they’d stayed in the salon.

  43. sam*

    A work associate of my dad’s actually did save his life! They were at a lunch with a client (I think) and my dad started choking. It was true choking, so it was silent – couldn’t speak, couldn’t cough, couldn’t breathe. The other person with them didn’t notice, but the associate said to him, “Are you OK?” My dad shook his head no; the associate performed the Heimlich maneuver.

    Decades later, my dad ended up working for this man! Amazing. I’d heard the story from time to time over the years but what really got me was that my dad told the story at his retirement party from this man’s company. So many people never knew how he sprang into action and saved my dad; he was completely humble about it. I ended up nearly in tears because what I didn’t know until that night was that this happened when I was a child. I could have grown up without a dad — this man saved us all. :)

    1. Texan In Exile*

      Wow – what a great story! And a perfect example of why everyone should know the Heimlich maneuver!

  44. JTP*

    RE #4, a coworker actually did save my life. I was a temp in a university administrative office, when I collapsed from an undiagnosed pulmonary embolism at work, and apparently started turning blue. The head of security (who shared our office) did CPR; someone later told me he was a retired marine. I was in the hospital for a week and a half.

    I went back afterwards to retrieve personal things that had been left there when I was taken by ambulance to the hospital, and while there, I sat down with him in his office and gave him my heartfelt thanks. Any type of gift would have seemed trite to me.

  45. Jam Today*

    I know #1 is technically “unprofessional” but its also really funny and I am extremely entertained by the visual.

  46. Caraway*

    Wow, I’m surprised by how many comments there are for number 4 already! My story doesn’t come anywhere near saving anyone’s life, but once, on the way to work, I noticed a car pulled over to the side of the road. As I passed, I recognized a colleague inside, so I stopped to help, assuming she was having car trouble or something. As it turned out, she was feeling sick and faint and had pulled over to avoid passing out while driving. She had already called her husband to come get her, and I just sat with her while she waited for him. She told me many times how thankful she was that I stopped, and that she was so grateful not to be alone. Her husband showed up, they went to the doctor, and I don’t know the exact outcome, but she is still my colleague, so her health seems to be generally fine. She ended up getting me flowers and a card (which I thanked her for verbally) and then a few days later, showed up with some fancy cookies for me, at which point I sent her an email and basically said, “Thank you again, but we are more than square now! I’m so glad you’re doing better and I’m happy I stopped to sit with you, too.” I really appreciated her kindness to me in return, but of course none of it was necessary. Thanking me would have been plenty.

  47. Purely Allegorical*

    Just popping in on #2 to remind OP that people without families also have non-work lives and would find an all-day park expectation ridiculous. Having a family doesn’t make it any more or less outrageous of an ask.

  48. Dust Bunny*

    I’ve never saved anyone’s life but I did once pick up a coworker and wait with her for a wrecker when her car broke down in a sketchy area on a wet, awful day, and she kept thanking me forever. The first couple of times was fine and then it was awkward. I have to live with my own decisions, too, and leaving her there would have been pretty terrible of me.

  49. Stay-at-Homesteader*

    My hairstylist saved a guy’s life by pointing out a weird mole that he (the stylist) realized was new, and after two appointments where he pointed it out gently, he finally told the guy that he really needed to get it checked out. Next appointment, guy came back with a nice bottle of whisky and said “thanks for saving my life.” And now my stylist points out anything weird he notices on my scalp but I definitely don’t mind! (especially as a young woman who did, in fact, find an early-stage melanoma in a hard-to-see spot recently. and if said stylist finds the next one, I will absolutely be showing up with an excellent bottle of booze)

  50. Modesty Poncho*

    Oh, food will PROBABLY be provided. By us. Well. That’s a deal then.

    Maybe call me when you have a real plan? This is such a non event at this stage lol there’s no actual plan is there

    1. Generic+Name*

      Yeah, the boss wants the staff to do the actual planning, so if nobody plans anything there will be no event.

      1. Librarian of SHIELD*

        It’s actually even more insulting this way. Staff have to give up their whole Saturday, and also plan the event and bring the food. What exactly is the boss contributing to this event? Vibes?

    2. Ellis Bell*

      “I heard tell that there was a park… something something, bring your own… everything. Saturday is a good day for nobody, so let’s do it then? Oh and also, we are just like a family.”

    3. goddessoftransitory*

      Yeah. This reads more as “hopefully somebody will take on all the logistics of actually planning this.”

      Aside from everything else, plenty of parks have rules and regulations about how long a group can take up a certain area (like picnic tables or ball fields,) posted hours for public use, and fire regulations (especially nowadays.) You can’t just decide that forty people can use an entire park for seven hours.

  51. LunaTheOtherOne*

    In my CPR training at work, we were taught that Good Samaritan laws protect us from being sued if we break someone’s ribs or something while doing CPR, but only if we are NOT asking or accepting payment for it. So we were told we should not accept any gifts, because that could count as “payment” and then we’d be vulnerable to malpractice lawsuits.

  52. Fernie*

    #4, this happened to me! On the last stop of a grueling cross-country training tour, a recurrence after 30 years of a chronic illness put me in very critical condition. The person who saved me and accompanied me to the hospital (busy Emergency room in the center of a large city, for hours) was my direct report, who had only reported to me for a few months, and was a shy and reserved person anyway, so it was maximum awkward. Another colleague went and carefully packed my hotel room (like, wrapped things in tissue paper – butler-level care) and brought my things to me. I ended up sending each of them a small gift and a note of thanks afterward, and then tried as much as I could never to bring it up again. In the end, my condition calmed down, and relationships with both colleagues went back to normal, so it was a good outcome for everyone!

  53. Sick of Workplace Bullshit (she/her)*

    OP #2: this is less towards you specifically, and more to highlight the problem with this thinking: “Some of us have families.”

    Having a family is by no means the only legitimate reason someone can’t or doesn’t want to attend weekend or out-of-work-hours functions. *Everyone* has a life outside of work, and no matter what that is, they shouldn’t have to give up their free time to put on a command performance at work.

    1. CharlieBrown*

      It’s not the only reason, but it is a legitimate reason, which is why LW was within their rights to mention it.

      And please don’t assume that “families” = “kids”. It doesn’t. This issue has already been addressed upthread.

  54. Abigail*

    Number 4 is such a weird question to ask. It’s purely hypothetical and most people don’t know how they would act in a situation this extreme until it actually happens.

    Weird to submit and weird for Alison to publish it.

    1. CharlieBrown*

      As we can find out by reading the comments, this is a thing that occurs in the workplace and thus is not hypothetical. So no, it’s not weird to ask.

      A lot of awkwardness can ensue from this situation, apparently.

      1. Hlao-roo*

        Yeah, the chance that the OP specifically will ever need to use this advice? Very, very small.

        The chance that any individual reader will ever need to use this advice? Also very, very small.

        That chance that someone reading this post will need to use this advice? Small, but high enough that it’s worth publishing.

        The chance that someone who is in this situation in the future turns to the internet to answer “what do I owe to a coworker who saved my life?” Small, but again high enough that it’s worth publishing.

        1. CharlieBrown*

          Yep. I first came to AAM because I needed an answer to a question my boss had posed to me (“We’re going to get rid of Darren; what should I say to clients?”) and found it here in the archives without needing to send it in.

          Archives exist for a reason!

    2. Elenna*

      Alison’s published hypothetical questions before. Have you read the other comments in response to #4? I thought there were some very interesting stories there and I was glad it got asked.

      1. Bibliothecarial*

        I loved the scenarios from fiction/tv shows a few years back – they may not have been immediately useful to me but they helped me think about management from different mindsets. Plus, I ain’t gonna complain about all this content Alison provides for free!

    3. Slow Gin Lizz*

      What? Why is it a weird question? I think it’s a great question, and I’m heartened by all the lovely stories here of people saving other people’s lives. And it’s definitely not hypothetical, as evidenced again by said stories.

    4. anonnie*

      I assume Alison answers what interests her since she is the one doing the work of writing answers. But judging by the comments it interests a lot of other people too.

      It is so strange to me that people think they have a right to complain about what Alison should and shouldn’t spend her time answering on this site that they don’t pay to read.

      1. I would prefer not to*

        And content which other people obviously like!

        500 people: wow, this is interesting, let’s discuss it
        1 person: why was this printed?

        I mean, what? This site is not your personal concierge of content tailored to what you personally want to read.

        1. CharlieBrown*

          If people choose to get upset about everything on the internet that doesn’t interest them or pertain to them, then they’ve got a lot to be upset about.

        2. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

          Yes, this.

          Sometimes “why are you, Fergus, telling me, Gollux, this?” is a reasonable question. That probably goes as far as “Why are you. Boss, telling your employees this?”

          That doesn’t mean everything is about me, or addressed to me, especially online where nobody’s even going to notice if you decided to read fanfic or polish the cat instead of reading it.

  55. Risha*

    LW1: There’s no need to document what your employee did. You spoke to her, it was most likely a lapse of judgement on her end, we all have those every now and then. If it happens again, then document it, but please don’t hold something like this against her for all of eternity. I’ve had managers do that to me and other staff and it just isn’t right. We spoke about it, I stopped whatever it was, why am I being penalized 2 years later for something small? Just let it go.

  56. Risha*

    LW2: I truly feel your frustration. I wish employers would stop using their employees to fulfill their social needs. We’re not friends, we’re not faaaamily. We simply work together and I have a family and life outside of work. Managers: your employees are not your friends and shouldn’t be forced or guilted to hang out with you. Just stop with the team building events outside of work hours. Your subordinates are not married to the job nor are they your personal posse.

    Try to push back as a group, like Alison said. You don’t have to spend your personal time at work, and you don’t have to use your personal money/resources to make food for some “voluntary” event. But even if all your coworkers want to attend, you don’t have to. Just say you cannot attend because you have family obligations and leave the manager no room for argument. Just be careful because managers can and will use this against you during raise/bonus time.

  57. MCMonkeyBean*

    11-6 PM!!! 7 hours!!! On a Saturday!!! I don’t think an outing to the park with my closest friends would last that long.

    Also: I think if someone saves your life, heartfelt gratitude is sufficient and you don’t want to create this barrier where either of you feels like you *owe* them anything. But I also imagine a person might feel like they really need or want to do something. Though there is obviously nothing you can really do or give them that would “even the playing field” so to speak.

    This is not at all the same thing, but it made me think of one time in the sixth grade in gym class I pushed myself too hard running the mile and basically collapsed on the track. A girl I wasn’t really even friends with (not like we didn’t like each other, we just had never really hung out) stopped and sat with me while everyone else (including people I did consider my friends) ran past. Now to be clear–I was certainly not dying or even injured and I did not begrudge anybody who *didn’t* stop… but I thought it was very kind that she did. I brought her a chocolate bar the next day to say thank you.

    Obviously saving your life is quite a bit different than just sitting with you in gym class while you recover your breath, but I feel like something small like candy or flowers the next day just to say like “I appreciate what you did and I acknowledge it” could be appropriate. Or if you have the time and abilities some sort of hand-baked treat would be a bit more personal. But then you need to try to move on and not let it be like The Thing that defines your relationship.

    1. Furgig*

      7 hours not including the time it might take someone to get to the park. My company does a summer party every year, and it would take me about 4 hours round trip to get to the location. So I don’t go. Fortunately, it truly is optional. (And a great time, from what I hear, but I’m not spending my whole day to do it).

  58. Risha*

    LW4: The best way to thank someone who saved your life is not to sue them. Story time: about 15 years ago, my friend’s husband JJ saved a stranger’s life with CPR. For those who don’t know, real life CPR isn’t like how it is in the movies, in real life you may break ribs during chest compressions. Well, the person he saved decided to try to sue JJ because it hurt when he breathes. How utterly ungrateful to someone who saved your life–JJ could have just pretended he didn’t even notice that the guy needed help. Luckily, the good samaritan law prevented JJ from being sued, but just the sheer audacity of the person repaying JJ like that.

    Also, a heartfelt thank you would go a long way, as well as encouraging everyone you know to become CPR certified because it saves lives. Or if the person who was saved wants to do something tangible, treat the rescuer (and their family if they have one) to the nicest dinner you can afford.

    1. OyHiOh*

      Similarly, years ago, my spouse (then working law enforcement) saved a person’s life after a car crash. His department’s protocol for these kinds of scenes was that LEO’s observe and secure the scene, and don’t touch the people until EMTs get on scene. My spouse realized that the car had started burning and that flames were headed towards the gas tank, and made the decision to pull the driver out of the car just in case the gas tank exploded. The tank did explode, the car did turn into a fireball, and the driver was out safe and survived. However, he ended up paralyzed (not sure to what degree) and sued. Because of the established observe and secure protocol, my spouse was found at fault and paid a percentage of his check for 5 years.

      It was a vehicle vs tree crash, driver was the only human involved, and was drunk at the time of the crash. Doctors couldn’t definitively say whether it was the crash or my spouse’s actions that left the driver paralyzed. It left a bad taste in his mouth and he left that department fairly soon after the case, (but did finish paying out the court assigned damages) for a department that gave officers more discretion and protection to provide aid in emergency situations.

    2. goddessoftransitory*

      What’s worse is when the person who is saved is forced to sue because his insurance won’t pay for the rib damaged sustained (since it wasn’t caused by the original incident.)

      Literally adding insult to injury.

    1. Curious One*

      Holy cats. I’m just stunned by this story. What kind of self-focused gall does it take to fire somebody under these circumstances?!?
      Am really curious to hear the end of this story. Was the firing upheld? I’m hoping somebody smacked the kidney-receiving boss upside the head with a wet sock—figuratively OR literally.

    2. UKDancer*

      I think that’s a good argument for anonymous donation. My father had an organ transplant which saved his life but we don’t know who it was from and we probably never will. The donor is dead (because it wasn’t the type of organ you can donate and live without) but their identity is kept from the recipient and quite honestly I think that’s a good thing because I don’t know what we’d say to them. My father is alive because the donor isn’t.

      My father has left a letter with the hospital thanking them and explaining how much the organ will be valued, which the donor’s family can read or not. We will never know whether they’ve read it but there is nothing that can be said to express our gratitude.

  59. StitchIsMySpiritAnimal*

    If someone saves your life, you owe them a life debt and must be their steadfast companion in all legendary adventures. Usually involves a Corellian light freighter.

  60. MissAnon*

    #4 – My mom saved a coworker’s life. The coworker was choking and my mom performed the heimlich maneuver on her, which dislodged what the coworker was choking on. Her coworker didn’t give her anything (except for an ENTHUSIASTIC THANK YOU), but their shared boss did. Their shared boss gave my mom a plant, which she still has today (the gift of life for saving a life seems like an appropriate gift to me if you know the recipient likes plants/won’t see it as an obligation/more work than it is a blessing).

  61. morethantired*

    A co-worker didn’t save my life but was a life-saver when I broke my wrist at a work conference. Even though I just met her, she gave me her number so I could call her as soon as I was released from the ER, she came and picked me up in her rental car, brought me back to the hotel, helped me pack, had to cut me out of the jumpsuit I wore the night before because it wouldn’t get over the cast (I was able to put a robe on so I wasn’t undressed or anything) carried my suitcase and got me a cab to the airport! I had met this woman less than 24 hours beforehand and she really stepped up like I was a dear friend.
    I sent her an expensive box of chocolates and a thank you note. She was very humble and said no thanks was necessary, but I continue to be amazed how far out of her way she went for a near stranger.

    1. Sad Desk Salad*

      How interesting; something similar happened to my now-wife, breaking her wrist and having to be cut out of her jumpsuit, although we were skydiving and decidedly NOT at work. Our two friends, then a couple, did the same thing your colleague did, and we all bonded fiercely over the incident. The couple were later attendants at our wedding, and we’re all still very close friends.

  62. Feminist Killjoy*

    Re: #4, this actually happened to me! I was on a shuttle to part of our campus, when I was struck by a horrible headache. A coworker saw that something was wrong, took me to the on-site medical clinic and later that day I was admitted to the ICU for a brain hemorrhage. I didn’t buy her a gift, but months later when I returned to work I found her and thanked her profusely. She was grateful, but it didn’t seem like the kind of situation where I should have gotten her chocolate or something. Idk. I thought the expression of gratitude felt like enough.

  63. CeeKee*

    I had a co-worker help me once when I collapsed and vomited at the office–not life-threatening, but gross and embarrassing!–and I got her a small gift when I got back to the office, and then I got her chocolates on the one-year anniversary of The Incident (I had the date from my ER bill) just as a way of saying “I definitely haven’t forgotten the time you helped me out and am still very grateful to you for being so gracious about it.” That poor woman…

  64. Justice*

    I once performed the Heimlich on a colleague who was choking on a tortilla chip during our Taco Tuesday. She panicked and ran out of the lunch room and had already collapsed. I had to pick her up as I was Heimliching her, but it worked.
    She croaked out a “thank you” once the chip came out, but then we never spoke of it again, mostly because she wasn’t a very nice person.
    It’s nice to say I saved someone’s life, although I wish it was a warmer, fuzzier story.
    But she survived, and that’s all that matters.

  65. Safely Retired*

    #4 happened to my brother in law. He had a heart attack at work, and a coworker who knew CPR kept him going until the ambulance arrived. In his case he barely has two nickels to rub together, so I can’t see how he could have done much more than a sincere thank you.

    (That happened on a Saturday. The next Thursday they operated successfully and he is doing well now. But over those five days he “died” and was brought back more times than anyone could count, including four times while being transported to the OR.)

  66. LaFramboise*

    in re: lw4–my dad and is co-worker, who both worked for Bell Telephone, were in their bucket trucks heading out to the day’s work when they heard on the radio that the historic hotel in our town was on fire. they were close, so drove to the hotel and rescued people who were going to jump out of 3rd floor windows because of the inferno. between them they rescued over 20 people, including infants. they got medals from the city and work, big writeup in the paper.

    but they witnessed people they couldn’t get to, who jumped to their deaths. he doesn’t talk about it, and leaves the room when it comes up. it’s been 40 years; sometimes the trauma never leaves one.

  67. Hannah L*

    For # 2

    I feel like the key to team bonding or team building or whatever you want to call it is:

    A) It should be during the workday
    B) It shouldn’t be mandatory

    The place I work does quarterly outings that are optional, where we close the office at noon (for people who want to partake) and then go do an activity like bowling or something, with food provided of course.

    No one is punished or judged for not going, it’s just more of a “Hey we’re planning on this date to do __, try to come if you can.”

    As an aside, 7 hours is way too long lol it should be a max of a couple.

  68. ABCYaBye*

    OP4 – We recently had a situation at work where a coworker had a major medical issue in the office. We scrambled to help them, called 911, made sure family was notified and all, and until now, I don’t think it would have crossed my mind to think of them (or their family) doing something out of appreciation. Family members were extremely appreciative of the efforts everyone made. They gave hugs, said thank you, we shared tears and consoled one another, and that was all that was needed. My situation veers slightly from your scenario, in that the coworker ultimately passed away (there were a number of underlying things that doctors couldn’t control for). Had things gone differently, I think everyone at work would have gladly passed on any offer of “thanks” other than saying thanks and getting a big hug from our coworker. God I wish I could have that hug. That would be more than enough.

    It may depend on the relationship between coworkers but the knowledge that you helped them and their sincere appreciation for your help would definitely be enough.

  69. ccnumber4*

    RE #2: “some of us have families,” NO ONE wants to do an all-day Saturday team-building event, family or not. This is not a better or more appealing situation to someone who does not have kids.

    1. Stitch*

      I pointed this out above but having a kid might mean having to shell out a significant sum of money for a sitter (my spouse travels for work and sometimes is gone on weekends).

      It’s bad for everyone, for sure.

        1. Stitch*

          I have pets too, but with oet sitting versus childcare most daycares and schools are closed weekends where pet sitting you often can get your normal thing.

          It’s really not bad to admit things are hard for parents. Having schools closed in summers is financially very difficult for a lot of people.

    2. Ellis Bell*

      Obviously family is more than just little people (and I totally left an be entire industry to spend more time with my dad while he was still with us), but I wish that the go-to phrase was “some of us have lives”, or “some of us have loved ones” but it might be a little bit brave to use the first one.

      1. snarkfox*

        Yeah, it’s clear in this case that LW was talking about people with kids, not just people who are related to other people.

  70. AMW*

    I had to perform CPR on a coworker. It was already too late by that time. It was an intensely traumatic experience, and I imagine it can be pretty traumatic even when the person lives. I can’t conceive of what kind of gratitude I would want to receive because it’s just such a wild situation. It might be enough for me to see them still up and walking around after. I was terrified of the idea that when I went to the funeral I would be introduced to family who would know I was the one trying to save him. I really didn’t want that, and luckily that’s not what happened. I guess my advice is to get your CPR training and then hope you never have to use it.

  71. Betty (the other betty)*

    #4 I think I’d write a card saying something like, “I’m so grateful that you were there when my heart stopped. Without you, I might not be here today. Thank you.”

    If appropriate, I’d arrange for CPR training or a blood drive at work for those who want to participate. It would make me feel like I was doing something.

    1. Sad Desk Salad*

      I really like that idea! Helping others help others. Great way to pay it forward, so to speak.

  72. HigherEdEscapee*

    OP #4
    I was involved in saving a life at a former job. It wasn’t a colleague but an attendee at our annual conference. As this organization operated in an extremely niche field, conference attendees were basically on a first name basis with everyone in the organization and this attendee was absolutely not an exception. Most people there knew this person on a first name basis.
    During a breakout session when one other staffer and I were the only ones staffing the main desk, someone came rushing out of the room they were in and said, “Someone’s having a heart attack!” The other staffer with me had just stepped into a session herself, so I was it. I’m trained in CPR, first aid, and AED so I followed him to the classroom to find one woman on the phone with 911 and everyone else standing or sitting, including one of my colleagues who was in the class, while a person was having a heart attack.
    I started issuing directives to get people out of the room, move chairs and tables, and basically clear the way for the EMS folks. The person leading the breakout was a massively snobby board member who never listened to anyone but the chair of the board but he listened to me because he was terrified. I took the pulse of the person having the heart attack, sent my colleague off to get the police officer assigned to the conference, and within 3 mins EMS was there. CPR wasn’t needed, thank goodness, but the EMS folks got the patient out and on the way to the CCU extra quickly because of what I did and heart damage, it turns out, was avoided.
    My organization sent them flowers. I was never thanked, which is fine. However internally at my then-job, the incident was viewed in an extremely critical light, and somehow it became my fault. There’s a reason I don’t work there anymore.

    1. Esprit de l'escalier*

      Wow, you most likely saved this person’s life, and your org was annoyed with you? That is bonkers. I’m glad you’re out of there.

      1. HigherEdEscapee*

        Yeah, me too. Basically by doing the right thing I had somehow made a male staffer and the aforementioned board member “look bad” which is why a bunch of men got mad. I was literally the only person on staff or the board who knew CPR and had crisis management experience. I’d do it again without question, but it still amazes me what bad management can do in a situation like that.

  73. Sad Desk Salad*

    Wow…I’ve taken my laptop into the salon and gotten some work done while sitting in the chair, but I have never thought to take my foiled, caped self into the office to stink up the place just for some face time!

    Re #4, it looks like opinions are all over the place here. If I were doing the rescuing, I’d just be relieved and grateful that I did it right, the person is going to be OK, and I didn’t make it worse. I wouldn’t expect anything at all from them. Yet if I were being rescued, I would absolutely send a gift just extravagant enough to not embarrass my rescuer. So…no right answer, I guess?

  74. Mrs. Hawiggins*

    I was at a company party where a coworker had to give the Heimlich to another coworker. After all the tears and adrenaline, and making absolutely sure he was fine, he bought us all at the table a round of drinks. I had only gotten 9-1 when the piece of bread came rocketing out.

    I think a card or a small gift or something is ok, it would be hard to know how to ‘repay’ that. In our case free drinks worked, as did my immediate rule setting of light to no conversation and certainly no hysterical joke telling while we finished dinner. We were all laughing and chortling when it happened. I never was more relieved to hear a wheeze of air in my life.

  75. Critical Rolls*

    I’m going to go against the tide here and say it’s not always inherently wrong to have a work social event on a weekend. If you want people to be able to bring their families/friends/masters, it makes sense to do something outside normal business hours — my spouse worked someplace where they routinely held their social events on Thursday afternoon, and I could never go. But it’s incumbent upon the employer to make it genuinely optional, inclusive, free, time-comped, and something people could conceivably actually want to attend.

  76. No Egrets*

    LW2 – If it’s for work, it should be paid time; if it’s not paid, people should not be expected to attend, point blank. Even if it is paid, it sounds like it’s also a position where Saturday isn’t part of the standard working hours. If it’s paid, there’s notice given, and there’s language in people’s roles like “occasional weekend or evening hours may be required,” that seems reasonable. But if it’s a very standard M-F work week, then it seems like it should be truly optional (as opposed to “optional” but somewhat expected).

    I also think it’s important to point out that this should go for ALL employees, whether or not they “have families” (I assume OP probably meant caregiving responsibilities by this). This point is not directed at people who have caregiving responsibilities, but rather our work culture; it seems that there’s often expectations from employers that employees without kids should be willing and able to work extra hours, go to events like the one OP described, offer more flexibility, etc etc.

  77. Dawn*

    This isn’t Star Wars and you’re not a Wookie, you aren’t expected or required to swear a Life Debt to someone who gives you CPR. Really, in any decently-run society, the onus is on everyone else to be able and willing to perform life-saving first aid without expecting compensation when the need arises.

  78. Spicy Tuna*

    #4 – During a stressful time with tight deadlines, my boss and I had to approach the head of another department and one of his direct reports with a major change to a project that needed to happen immediately. My boss said, “D is going to have a heart attack when we tell him this news”

    The two of them came to a meeting in my boss’s office. As soon as my boss started outlining the scope of work, D said, ” I don’t feel well”, stood up and immediately passed out, hitting his head on the wall of the office.

    Our company had several people trained in CPR and first aid and it was D’s lucky day that I was designated first aid person on our floor. He was breathing and had a pulse, thankfully, so all I needed to do was ensure 911 had been called and to make sure he was talking, comfortable, etc, until the EMTs arrived.

    D’s ailment was thankfully nothing major, we did not get an extension of time on the project, and when it was finished, D took me out for a drink after work.

  79. JustAnotherKate*

    OP4 — I’ve never saved anyone’s life, but a coworker had a seizure in front of me and another colleague and we did turn her, make sure she wasn’t choking on her tongue and put something soft under her head. Of course, we also called 911, and the paramedics showed up within like 5 minutes and brought her to the hospital.

    Her response was…to tell us we shouldn’t have called 911 because she’d had epilepsy for years and always felt fine within a few minutes, so we should pay the portion of her healthcare bill that wasn’t covered by our employer’s plan. I wasn’t expecting overwhelming gratitude, but I didn’t expect her first words when back at work to be “you owe me $1,500.” (Management told her that calling 911 was the appropriate response and that she couldn’t tell me or our other colleague to pay for it. And, I think, covered the cost.)

    1. Not Always Right*

      This happened in my office, too. It was the owner’s daughter! I never figured out what she would have preferred us to do. Just leave her on the floor, I guess. Her dad did thank us for being there and taking care of her, so there is that

  80. MyCoworkerSavedMe*

    #4, a co-worker saved my life ~10 years ago (insisted I go to the ER after he realized I was much sicker than I thought I was, organized transportation to a hospital closer to where I live as I’d had a horrible experience at the hospital near that office, arranged my and my driver’s leaving early with the boss, a few other things). I went with profuse thanks once I was well enough to understand what happened.

  81. Not Always Right*

    Re: Number 3. Back in the day, that is exactly how employment agencies worked. That’s how I found my first job. I signed up with an agency for an office job. I had to take typing, spelling and some other tests that I don’t remember. (This was back in 1976). I did finally get a job, but I had to pay a certain percentage per paycheck for a certain amount of time. I believe it was 3 months? I really don’t remember. Also there were some temp agencies where you were required to dress for a job, go to the agency and sit and wait in hopes that a job would appear that met your skill set. If you did go from temp to perm you also had to pay a percentage for a set amount of time. So glad those days are gone!

  82. Sunny days are better*

    #4 – I’m late for this, and not quite the same, but:

    I was at work and due to circumstances, the only people in my work area that day were myself and a colleague that I was reasonably close to. I was pregnant with my first child and I started bleeding. She bundled me into her car and took me to the ER. She stayed with me until I was seen by the doctor and then got hold of my husband (pre-mobile phone days and he had no office phone).

    She didn’t save my life per se, but I was very grateful for her help. I took her out for lunch to thank her. After a week on bed rest, my pregnancy progressed without incident. It was a weird thing that was never explained.

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