should I let someone who no-called no-showed come back to work?

A reader writes:

The last two weeks have really made me question myself as a manager. Without getting into details, I had three of my staff of six quit within 10 days without notice. They’re for unrelated reasons, but we were already down one staff member so our schedule was devastated. One of the employees had no-call no-showed for a shift last week, and all attempts to contact her failed. I assumed she got more hours at her other job and didn’t have the heart to tell me. It was decidedly uncharacteristic of her. We decided to proceed as if she were not coming back unless we heard otherwise. Five days passed without a word.

I got an email from her this morning and I’m not sure what to do. She says her phone got stolen on the bus, and her car got repossessed (information that was confirmed by one of my other employees) so she had no way to contact me or get to work.

The old me would have fired her without hesitation. I have always had a strong work ethic and a sense of personal responsibility, but I have fallen on my fair share of hard times and am now more empathetic. I want to give her a chance, but I also don’t want to set myself up for more large unexpected holes in the schedule, especially when there are people out there who want a job with us who can be reliable. Am I wrong to want to give her another chance?

I answer this question — and two others — over at Inc. today, where I’m revisiting letters that have been buried in the archives here from years ago (and sometimes updating/expanding my answers to them). You can read it here.

Other questions I’m answering there today include:

  • Should we keep people less than 100% busy?
  • My intern wants to leave her internship early

{ 255 comments… read them below }

  1. I am just here for the free pizza*

    So she did not know anyone with a phone that would let her use it? She could not take that bus to work? What about an Uber? What about sending a letter vial snail mail? A carrier pigeon? Smoke signals? I am reminded of the scene in Blues Brothers where John Belushi is explaining to Carrie Fisher why he stood her up at the altar.

    1. jm*

      a coworker of mine did this exact thing, returned from a weeklong disappearance saying she lost her phone, and i was equally baffled.

      1. Cool Tina, Train Conductress*

        Once someone didn’t show to interview me at a coffee shop and didn’t respond to my emails or calls. After 20 minutes I left her a voicemail saying I was leaving the coffee shop but was still in the area in case she wanted to reschedule. At midnight that night she emailed saying she’d been late and hadn’t had her phone.

        But she’d been coming from her job? Where she had email? And she knew she was late? She had no way of logging onto email ANYWHERE all day? Weird.

        1. Julia*

          If she didn’t have her phone where was she going to get online? A public library is the only free option. Still very frustrating and I don’t like it for you.

          1. Morgan Proctor*

            WHAT? I need more information here. What do you use your computers for? Obviously computers have many uses, but email is one of the main ones! Do you not have internet at work? Does your workplace live in 1990? Is this some bizarre security thing??

            1. Dwight*

              A lot of security sensitive companies have personal e-mail blocked, and you wouldn’t want to tip your current employer off by e-mailing from your work account. (still not ok though)

              1. WheresMyPen*

                Sounds like the no-show was the interviewer though, so no issue with using work email to contact the OP from the office before she left

            2. yetelmen*

              I presume they’re using a browser-based email system, and they have to do multi-factor authentication with their phone.

              I have colleagues at another university who have to use MFA to log on to their computers, but they don’t get reception in their basement offices, so they have to trigger the text code, run upstairs to get it, and then run back downstairs before it expires. Not terribly convenient…

              1. Hannah Lee*

                This is just another of the issues with using mobile phones for MFA confirmations. Particularly when it is MFA sent to someone’s personal devices to log on to a work app. Why does a site, app my employer chose to use for business purposes get to have my *personal* info? (Or in the situation you described why does a company require MFA codes that can’t be received, by the delivery method THEY’VE designated, in the workspace they’ve assigned?)

            3. Here we go again*

              At my last mall job the internet connection was an intranet connection. It’s common to keep employees off the internet. I could only send emails from the store email to another company email. I couldn’t access any website except the company website and our inventory system.

            4. Kuddel Daddeldu*

              The registers at fast food or retail outlets, for example. Or the controllers for CNC machines. Not everyone works in an office.
              High security workplaces or call centers often have internal-only email systems and functional (HR, accounting,…) rather than personal email boxes.

        2. Yvette*

          Depending on the type of job she might not have been able to email you. I cannot email outside my company (big financial company, I am in systems), and I cannot access my personal email from there either.

        3. Becca*

          I (essentially) stood my husband up for a date early in our relationship. We lived a couple of hours apart and I was running late leaving. I realised when I got on the train I didn’t have my phone with me and had to choose between carrying on, hopefully being only a little late and finding him waiting for me or going back for my phone and definitely arriving very late. I gambled on option 1, it didn’t pay off and by the time I arrived he’d left and I had no phone.

          At the time in the early 2000s there were these “internet phone booths” that had both a payphone and a very basic computer with internet access that you could access with a credit card. I logged into my email to get his phone number (he’d emailed it to me originally) and called him. Understandably he was pretty annoyed at being (from his point of view) stood up but he agreed to come back and meet me. Fortunately for me once he understood what had happened, I think the sincere effort I made to fix my fuck up mostly made up for the initial fuck up.

          Such is the life of the ADHDer, especially pre-diagnosis – never knowing whether to be proud of the creative problem solving that has got you out of a mess that is entirely the result of failing to carry out a basic task (in this case both remembering my phone and not turning up late to a date).

        4. Lalaroo*

          Just replying up near the top here to say that you do NOT need a phone to get an Uber – you can do it on any web browser, I just did it last week to order an Uber for my parents from the airport.

          Not saying this information will change anyone’s opinion on whether it was reasonable for the employee to not contact the employer for five days, but it might be useful for someone to know what’s possible.

      2. BatManDan*

        Depending on their level of digital dependency / addiction, maybe she really WAS paralyzed by the loss of her phone! lol

      3. WillowSunstar*

        My purse got stolen once with my phone in it. I still borrowed a friend’s phone to text someone I couldn’t be there later that day.

        1. Cait*

          Yeah, I don’t believe her for a second. There are a myriad of ways to contact someone within a 5-day period even if you don’t have your phone. Borrow someone else’s phone. Send an email. Get a ride from friends/family. Even if you’re dealing with a personal emergency, it’s pretty presumptuous to think that you’ll still have a job after going 5-days without a single heads-up to your employer. My guess is she DID just ghost them to continue working more hours at another job but then either got fired or got her hours reduced and realized she needed her old job after all. Even if you’re really desperate, I wouldn’t hire her back. She’s proven that she’s untrustworthy and what’s to stop her from ghosting again immediately?

      4. Nina*

        Yeah, if I lost my phone and couldn’t physically get to work, I would have exactly zero ways to contact my boss. My mom’s number, I have memorized. My boss’s number? not a chance in hell. That shit lives in my contacts list. A lot of people don’t have ‘real’ personal computers any more and also use their phone for their Teams, their Uber account, 2FA on their email… losing a smartphone can render you incommunicado in one fell swoop pretty easily.

        1. Hannah Lee*

          I recently switched carriers, porting over the cell number I’ve used for 15-20 years. The new carrier somehow managed to activate the new service and then “accidentally” deactivate it a couple of hours later. And when they did that, it “released” that number to the pool of available numbers, completely severing it from me, my service or Xfinity Mobile’s control. Why? How? Why couldn’t they just hit a giant Error-UnDo! button? I have no idea! People who call or text that number get a “not in service”

          So not only did I not have any mobile service for over a week, I had no access to any of the calls, texts, MFA codes being sent off in the ether to that number. Carrier kept insisting they wouldn’t be able to recover the number, (maybe an FCC violation, since they are required to allow consumers to use their existing #s.) I kept insisting that NO I wouldn’t just accept a new number. Finally today they found a fix and we’re able to reconnect it. But in the meantime I’ve been completely disconnected for apps, from communicating with people unless I’m will someone else with a phone or with access to my computer (for things that don’t require a verification code sent to my cell #). I’ve been counting my lucky stars that I never got all my banking, financial life linked to me cell phone – things could have gotten really balled up with no access.

        2. Cringing 24/7*

          But even if you (very reasonably) don’t have your boss’s number memorized, it would be very easy and reasonable to take 5 minutes to google your employer’s main business line and call in like any customer or vendor would, then ask to be transferred to Boss’s Name. Or use any of the Contact Us information on the business website. Or private message the business Facebook page or Twitter handle. Or so many things other than do what OP’s employee (former employee?) did and just say, “Welp, I don’t have my own phone, so I guess I’m basically off the grid.”

    2. ArchivistPony*

      I do know people with phones but that would be the only way I could contact my boss if something like that happened to me (and I didn’t have a laptop and/or tablet to email). I couldn’t take the bus (nearest stop to my apartment is three quarters of a mile and nearest stop to my work is over a mile in a crappy location. plus midwestern winters? it was 19 degrees this morning when I came into work). uber = money so I doubt they’d use that if their car got reposed.

        1. biobotb*

          You don’t know where they were going on the bus, or where they picked it up. They still might not have a bus stop close to home that could connect them to a bus/buses that could get them to work.

          1. tessa*

            But adults work that out. “What do I do if I am unable to get to work? What should my workplace do if I am unreachable; who can my boss contact to get a hold of me?”

            1. Everything Bagel*

              Yeah, I’m wondering if the boss contacted the employee’s emergency contact and still got no response. If he is going to hire back the employee, he should probably tell her that she may want to change her emergency contact info.

        1. starsaphire*

          Nope, and Uber can be insanely expensive if you’re on a bus budget. Heck, it’s pretty expensive for me, and I haven’t ridden a bus in years, thank Deity.

          And yes, my boss’s personal cell number is programmed into my phone, but I don’t have it memorized or written down anywhere. If I needed to reach her in an emergency and didn’t have my phone, I’m not sure what I’d do.

          Probably be a good idea to ask my husband to program her info into HIS phone… but I hadn’t thought of doing that until this thread came up.

          1. Nikki*

            Does your office not have a main number you can call? I don’t know my boss’s number at all since we always call each other on Teams. If there was an emergency and I needed to contact her some other way, I would Google the phone number for the front desk at my office and ask them to transfer me to her.

            1. Kevin Sours*

              That assumes you have access to the internet to Google. For a lot of people — particularly people who get cars repossessed — their phones is the only access they have.

              1. Nikki*

                Well, the person I was replying to mentioned adding their boss’s number to their husband’s phone so presumably they would have access to that if they didn’t have their own phone.

              2. amoeba*

                But… you could ask a friend or an acquaintance to use their computer/internet, go to your local library, a café that has computers… unless you live so super rurally that it’s basically impossible to get to civilization without your car and in that case I feel like they should have mentioned it as that would’ve been a crucial part of the story?

                1. Allonge*

                  I agree – there are certainly major logistical issues for, let’s say, a day or two. After that, there are still big issues, but for calling in to your job, it should be possible to think of some alternatives.

                  That said, it sounds like OP needs this person to work for them, and ‘total panic in a pretty difficult situation’ is not necessarily disqualifying, so…

            2. ceiswyn*

              My office doesn’t have a main phone number. And even if it did, my boss doesn’t work at the office most of the time.

        2. Becca*

          You can get one online (I think? I have before but it might have been Lyft), but as far as I can tell they still send the security code to your phone. I could theoretically do it since my computer is synced with my messages (phone doesn’t have to be nearby but it might need to be on), but if she couldn’t contact them any other way she probably doesn’t have a computer with internet access.
          Besides that, even if she could the expense is enough reason not to if her car was repossessed, and that’s if it’s even available in her area (likely if they have buses, but possibly not).

        3. MM*

          Nope. I have had to order a taxi from my laptop before because of a dead or lost phone. Or maybe I even used Skype to call dispatch? It was years ago.

      1. YetAnotherAnalyst*

        Yeah, it doesn’t take a wild leap of imagination for me to see circumstances where her situation is entirely plausible. I can access my email without my phone, but only because I have a computer and separate internet access. There’s a lot of folks whose only internet-capable device is their phone, and/or who don’t have internet other than through their cell service. I live rurally enough that a car is required, as do a lot of folks in the US. If I lost my phone, I’ve got people I live with whose phones I could borrow if I need to call someone… But I don’t know my neighbors well enough to borrow a phone, and to be honest I wouldn’t know the phone number of the place I work if I didn’t have my phone or the ability to Google the front desk number!

        1. amoeba*

          I mean, if I was literally stuck inside my home for a whole week without any means of transport or going online, I’d definitely ask my neighbours, even if I’d never talked to them before. What’s the alternative? I mean, how do you get a new phone/car/your car back/food, for that matter? You can’t just stay there and starve to death?

        2. Moo*

          I can kind of see it being a little from Column A and a little from Column B – losing your phone and car makes it difficult to make contact (oh I could ask a friend for a use of their phone, but how do I call them etc etc) and that maybe the job isn’t that great and the prioritisation it would take to call them ASAP is diminished by that. Like I’m sure replacing your phone and getting your car back take effort as well as all the life things disrupted by these factors. And LW talks about a workplace where a lot of people recently left suddenly – even if that’s pure coincidence, I know I’d dread going into a role where a lot of staff were missing.

          But the thing I’d really focus on is that LW said this was decidedly uncharacteristic.. and so I’d give her another chance on that.

          I know Alison flagged it, but I think the LW should reflect on how them or their organisation take “bad” news from employees. With three no notice resignations and a person who avoided making the call for several days about emergency circumstances that prompted their absence, it would make me think that they may be experiencing a negative reaction when they give that info. As a manager I want to know so I can plan, even if its bad news, so I make it easy for people to tell me things (I always congratulate people on leaving for a new job, I’m sympathetic to people when they’re sick or have an emergency – if there’s follow up to be done, it can happen after – but I make it easy for people to tell me)

      2. cats and dogs*

        Yeah yeah, not everyone can eat sandwiches, yada yada.

        And sometimes people are just lazy and can’t be bothered.

    3. Meep*

      I agree, but I also know many people who are literally stupified by making any sort of decision when it comes to something, not in their typical modus of Operandi. Like they will literally sit there not sure what to do when they don’t have a fork to eat their mac n cheese rather than grab a dang spoon. Corporate has really taken away people’s abilities to think creatively.

      1. seriously?*

        I think there’s also something to be said for being in the middle of a crisis, which sounds like the case. Sometimes parts of your brain just shuts down

        1. tessa*

          Adults contact their employers at some point in a 5-day period, especially when the situation isn’t tragic, like a death. I mean, yeah, car trouble sucks, but you contact your employer ASAP.

          1. Eldritch Office Worker*

            “Adults” experience difficulties and lapses of judgement just like anyone else. Stop using “adult” as some stand in for your version of personal responsibility, it’s gross.

            1. Not in your timezone*

              Why? It’s perfectly reasonable shorthand and not offensive. The policing in this sub is really out of of hand.

              1. Kaiko*

                Because the implication is if you’re not perfectly following all social norms all the time, you’re failing at being an adult – you’re a child. Adults are, by their nature, imperfect. Lord knows there are enough examples of that on this blog.

                1. Erie*

                  It seems quite reasonable to expect someone to find a way to contact their employer if loss of a phone and transit makes it impossible to get to work for five days. If you were in the hospital or something that’d be different, but on the facts here the employee should’ve done it. “Perfectly following all social norms” this is not. There may be a situation in which your comment is relevant, but here it seems out of place.

                2. Eldritch Office Worker*

                  No, Naiko is correct in this situation as well. And without getting into all this -ists that the “adults act like this” framing falls into, it’s infantilizing and condescending if nothing else.

          2. Meep*

            My entire point is a lot of full-grown people were never taught life skills to act like adults. They were taught to duck their head or flee. People are weird when it comes to conflict.

        2. Meep*

          Oh 100%. My point is sometimes people get weird about what they view as a crisis. Bless his heart, but I have a cousin who dropped out of 6th grade (his parents are the problem in more ways than one) because he just stopped turning in his homework and going to class. He was petrified of getting anything less than 100%, so he just didn’t do the work. Somehow a 0% was better than a 99%. He is 21 now and has maybe an 8th grade level despite being incredibly smart.

          1. Erie*

            This is tragic. I had a huge problem with shutting down all work if it wasn’t going to be perfect, and could easily have ended up like this kid except that my parents pushed me every day to succeed. There were other problems with their level of involvement, but… this situation sounds negligent to the point of mistreatment. I’m so sorry for your cousin!

    4. Weary cigarette drag*

      And she had absolutely no way of getting to her email (the email she used to contact the OP), or setting up another burner email? Sure.

      Anyone can have a run of bad luck and it’s good that the OP is compassionate, but this particular employee ghosted her and is making excuses for it that don’t pass the smell test. Which means that if whatever was really going on continues to be a problem or happens again, the OP is going to be left holding the bag at work.

      1. Kevin Sours*

        For a lot of people working two jobs and still getting their car repossessed their phone *is* their access the internet. Finding alternate access isn’t necessarily trivial. Sure she probably could have managed to make the effort, but she had a lot of stuff going on and people in crisis don’t always make the best decisions. If it were a pattern of behavior that would be one thing, but it isn’t.

        1. tessa*

          But it could turn into that, which is the focus of the OP’s letter. Five days without contacting one of her employers? Come on.

            1. Kevin Sours*

              Because when you have an otherwise reliable employee who messed up once in a crisis, perhaps you can address that short of firing them. Especially when you are already short handed. People make mistakes.

              1. SofiaDeo*

                Five days of no-show, no-call for a non medical or other life/death crisis is not a “messed up once”. It’s 5 consecutive days of mess ups. It’s 5 days in a row with a major error every day! That’s a bit different than oversleeping or getting 1 day of your work schedule wrong.

                And how did the information that the employees’ car actually was repossessed, *as verified by another employee*, get to the second employee without the first employee able to contact *someone else* at the workplace? Who could have then passed a message to the manager?

                1. Zaeobi*

                  What makes you so sure they found this out directly from the original employee?

                  It could have been been overheard as gossip from someone else (i.e. a mutual friend).

          1. MM*

            OP specifically said this was very out of character. So the previous pattern of behavior is opposed to this incident.

            Since OP is extremely shorthanded anyway and presumably will be hiring several people, I really don’t see a downside in keeping this person on while that happens. If this person turns out to have become unreliable, then OP will hire one more.

      2. Nina*

        My job is in a rural area or industrial area where buses don’t go. I can’t get to work without a car. I can’t afford to run my car for everything, so I take a bus when I’m in town. I work two jobs and still don’t make enough to stop my car being repossessed, so I probably don’t own more than one internet-capable device, which has my entire contacts list, email, everything. Using Uber to get to a job I need a private car to get to is most likely financially out of the question. I’m in a city a long way from my family/childhood friends, and because I’m working a lot of hours to stay afloat, I don’t have enough of a social life to have many friends whose phones I could borrow, assuming I could get to where the friends are, because as mentioned my one communication device and my main mode of transport are now gone.

        Honestly that all sounds pretty plausible to me, and if an employee came to me with that story, I’d completely understand how they would be stressed out enough by all that shit happening that ‘call the boss’ wasn’t top of their priority list.

        1. SofiaDeo*

          Yet, another employee there verified the car was repossessed, so the first person had *some way* to contact others. And this person actually worked with them, too.

          1. Zaeobi*

            What makes you so sure they found this out directly from the original employee?

            It could have been been overheard as gossip from someone else (i.e. a mutual friend).

      3. Bee*

        Two factor authetication – lose your phone, you can’t log into email until you get a new SIM card with the same number and a phone to put it in. And it can take hours or days for that SIM card to be initialised.

        And I would have no idea how to call my boss outside of googling the reception number for the office and asking to be forwarded, no-one memorises numbers now.

    5. The OG Sleepless*

      We just let somebody go under similar circumstances. Customer facing, coverage job. She had already been a bit unreliable, but one day she just no call no showed, didn’t answer repeated calls, nothing. She finally called late in the afternoon and said she didn’t have a ride to work and her phone was broken. Um…you seriously didn’t have access to a working phone, belonging to anyone, the entire day? Boss let her go. It made me sad; she was a nice, fun person who was pretty good at her job when she wasn’t flaking out, but in the words of my boss, that’s not how you adult.

      1. Chirpy*

        Someone who lives alone and who, like many people (younger or low income especially) really may not have access to a phone during the day if they lose theirs. You can’t borrow a friend’s phone if everyone’s at work, and many businesses won’t allow you to use theirs either.

        1. tessa*

          Then that sets the standard, i.e. everyone else gets the chance to ghost. Do it for one, gotta do it for all.

          Sounds utterly chaotic to me.

          1. MissElizaTudor*

            Everyone gets at least one second chance after a no call no show, regardless of their exact situation? Sounds good.

            1. Weary cigarette drag*

              “At least one second chance”? How do you get more than one second chance? Aren’t those, like, third and fourth chances?

        2. Tumbleweed*

          Also: how am I contacting this person I’m borrowing a phone off to arrange doing it if I don’t have mine and it’s my only device with internet and calling capacity?

          If they are reliably somewhere at a set time that might work but I need to be able to get there (in the scenario in the op I don’t have a car so it depends whether it’s walking distance or on some kind of public transport route)

        3. SofiaDeo*

          I agree that Day 1 things would be very chaotic and forgetting to or being unable to reach work could easily occur, but 5 days? Nuh uh.

      2. Kevin Sours*

        The difference here is “already been a bit unreliable” vs “decidedly uncharacteristic of her”.

      3. Here we go again*

        The no call no show situation reminds me of a time when I was 10 in the mid-90s. I had accidentally locked (I was the poster child for latch key kids both parents were at work, my responsibility to get on the bus and to let myself in) myself out of the house waiting for the bus then they canceled school for the day while I waiting. I waited an hour in the winter not great weather, neighbors were at work and not so great of people. So I decided to walk to the corner store and use my lunch money for the pay phone to call my mom at work, wait to be transferred to her then go back home and wait in the detached garage for someone to let me in. If that happened to a kid now without pay phones or a cell who knows how long the kid would be stranded.

    6. Avril Ludgateaux*

      I work with a population where their smart phones are their only access to the internet (if they have a smart phone at all). It’s entirely possible she doesn’t have other people to count on, and dare I say, if she’s in a “car repossession” situation, she may well not have any discretionary funds to pay for an Uber, whether to get to work or to get to somewhere with internet.

      I do think 5 days no-call-no-show is a stretching the limits of understanding (assuming they are 5 consecutive work shifts and not like 1 day, then scheduled days off, then two more days), but I also think these were very clearly exceptional circumstances.

      1. Avril Ludgateaux*

        Also want to note that she may not have her manager’s phone number memorized to call from another phone. I certainly don’t!

        1. Budgie Buddy*

          Often there’s a central line for an office that can be found online, but that does require a access to *someone* with a laptop or at least access to a free laptop at the library.

        2. Autumnheart*

          I was going to say that too. I have my boss’s number saved in my phone, but I certainly don’t have it memorized. I suppose I could find a way to email my boss somehow, if I borrowed a phone or found an Internet cafe or a library somewhere, but this isn’t 1995, where you just run down to the nearest pay phone and look them up in the white pages.

      2. tessa*

        Then she should make arrangements ahead of time. “This is my situation; should anything happen, especially anything unforeseen, here is what I do.”

        It’s not complicated.

        1. Gravity Lies*

          It’s not complicated. For you.

          I’m glad you have all the privilege needed to say that, I really am. But I also really wish you had the empathy, the compassion, and the basic human decency to realise the privilege it takes, and to recognise that many other people lack the privilege you take for granted.

          Maybe one day.

          1. not nice, don't care*

            I always wish for people to experience whatever it takes to gain enlightenment on the matter. Even/especially if the lesson is painful.

        2. Meep*

          I am so very happy for you that you have a contingency plan for every emergency you may ever encounter. The rest of us live in reality, though.

        3. Nina*

          Normal humans are not Batman. Normal humans do not have premade plans for every unforeseen eventuality. That’s literally what ‘unforeseen’ means.

      3. MissElizaTudor*

        This is my question. From the description, it sounds like it was one missed shift, and then four other days. That makes a big difference in how bad it is, since it means they were only unexpectedly missing someone for one day.

        1. Bee*

          Right, and if it was only one missed shift, I can also see how her priorities would be more “get a new phone” and “deal with the car repossession” in the following days rather than contacting someone who didn’t immediately need anything from her. Like, welp, that’s already as bad as it’s gonna get, can’t make it any better now, I’ll deal with the stuff I need to solve ASAP and apologize/explain the next time I go in. If she were previously unreliable I’d be less likely to forgive this, but the LW is missing half their people AND describes this as uncharacteristic. She can have one pass!

      4. She of Many Hats*

        And if this person was living on the edge like it sounds, I’m guessing her bus pass, banking access, etc was through her phone and not a home internet connection. If she had no way to safely access another phone & internet connection, I can see it taking this long to reach out to her boss especially if her company has rigorous IT security protocols in place.

    7. Flash Packet*

      Not work related, but someone in my friends group was gobsmacked that we didn’t support “his side” when he told his how his wife had “yet again” gotten upset with him way out of proportion to what he’d done: Which was go away for a Guy’s Weekend, leaving his wife at home with their young toddler, and not contact her at all for 3 days… with the excuse that his phone’s battery had died and he’d left his charging cable at home.

      We were like, “Why don’t you just go ahead and admit that you’re cheating on your wife?”

      1. Observer*

        That’s a bit different. Even on a “guys weekend” what are the odds that no one else had a charging cable.

        So, yeah. No one in their right mind should believe him.

        1. Evan Þ*

          On the other hand, I could believe a Guys’ Weekend happening at a remote campsite out of cell coverage… if that had been his explanation.

          And if the Guys’ Weekend had been there, he should’ve explained it to his wife in advance and worked through together with her any objections she had.

    8. Observer*

      She could not take that bus to work?

      You obviously live in an urban area with good public transportation. There are many places where taking the bus is either impractical or not even an option altogether. The fact that she lost her phone on a bus does not mean that she has the option to take a bus to work.

      What about an Uber?

      That needs a working smart phone and active CC. Given that her car got repossessed, there is a good chance that she doesn’t have access to ANOTHER phone *and* a working CC.

      What about sending a letter vial snail mail?

      This is the thing that makes me doubt your good faith. Snail mail for anything time sensitive? You’ve got to be kidding.

      1. nm*

        In my town there’s a particular bus that only goes one way. Many a new resident has gotten stranded when they took that bus across town, presuming they could ride it back the other way, only to discover their mistake later!

      2. Iris Eyes*

        Plus snail mail requires having a stamp and envelope on hand, which isn’t a given in this decade.

        1. MM*

          I am STILL working my way through the box of envelopes my mom sent me to college with when I was 18. It is not a big box. I am 34 years old. If I hadn’t been hauling this thing with me from apartment to apartment for the past 16 years, I would have been caught out needing an envelope many times.

          1. Gracely*

            LOL, I’m doing the same thing, only I bought the box of envelopes myself. It’s nice to have one when I need one, but it’s getting to be a bit ridiculous that I’m approaching 40 and still haven’t used it up!

            1. Zaeobi*

              I know it might be annoying but I honestly find it endearing that your mother had the foresight to set you up with such an ‘old fashioned’ but ultimately useful present.

              I find the best gifts to be the ones that someone wouldn’t usually buy for themselves but it makes their life a little better/ easier in some way.

          2. Zaeobi*

            I know it might be annoying but I honestly find it endearing that your mother had the foresight to set you up with such an ‘old fashioned’ but ultimately useful present.

            I find the best gifts to be the ones that someone wouldn’t usually buy for themselves but it makes their life a little better/ easier in some way.

    9. nm*

      If I didn’t have my contact list on hand I wouldn’t even remember my husband’s phone number, let alone my boss’s! 5 days is definitely weird but with all the chaos of having your car repossessed and such, eh.

    10. AcademiaNut*

      A lot of the contact your manager by any means possible suggestions become a lot harder when you’ve simultaneously lost your transportation and your sole method of communication / getting information from the outside world.

      Take an Uber? Without a cell phone, that’s called standing on the street and hoping a free taxi drives by. Borrow a friend’s phone? Sure, you can hitchhike to a friend’s place and hang out outside their home until they get home so you can ask. Snail mail? Hitchhike to the nearest post office. Fine a pay phone, call 411 to get your company’s public phone number, and call them? If you can find a pay phone these days, I’d be really impressed.

    11. Tiger Snake*

      Respectfully, but I think there’s something a little out of touch with the expectation. Mobile phones have created incredriable convience – and dependency. Who actually remembers phone numbers these days? For many, many people, the phone is the phone book.

      1. Layla*

        Yes , I wrote down important phone numbers for this scenario after my husband’s phone got stolen overseas — but I can’t remember where I left the numbers now

      2. Zaeobi*

        I like the word ‘incredriable’ – I’m imagining incredible & incredulous combined, which works well in this situation!

    12. londonedit*

      This discussion has prompted me to write down my boss’s phone number and the main phone number for my employer. I live in a big city and I have plenty of friends with phones, but if I had a disaster of a day where my mobile was stolen and for some reason I couldn’t get to work, there’s no way I’d remember my boss’s number. I also need my phone to authenticate myself on my work laptop, so that wouldn’t work without my mobile. It’s a pretty far-fetched scenario in my situation, but I’d definitely struggle if, say, my whole bag was stolen with my phone and purse inside – public transport here is largely cashless and without my debit card I wouldn’t be able to get cash out anyway, for a taxi or whatever. I do still have a landline at home but I’d probably have to use that to call my parents and ask them to look up whichever numbers I needed to call. Of course, I wouldn’t leave it five days – I’d sort something out as soon as I could and get a message to my boss as quickly as possible to let them know what’s going on – but with everyone’s reliance on technology these days it’s entirely plausible that someone would have a real problem getting on with their everyday life if they found themselves without their phone.

    13. Sometimes stuff happens*

      I would look at the entirety of prior experience with this person and factor that in.

      Freak things do happen that can cut you off more effectively than you’d imagine. A few years ago, I was moving to another state. The movers had just finished loading the contents of my apartment and were out in the truck, I had my cat in the cat carrier and was heading out to my car. I stepped off the elevator, and dropped my phone. It fell in the slit between the elevator carriage and the floor and went through to the bottom of the elevator shaft. I was shocked it even fit.

      I ran out to the truck to stop the movers from leaving, and borrowed their phone to call the property management company. No one answered, I could only leave a message. I couldn’t wait for several hours (and even if I did, no guarantee the phone could be retrieved). I left my phone behind and we moved me to my new apartment.

      My new apartment didn’t have internet hooked up yet, but I did have an appointment set for the day after I moved. They didn’t show for the appointment. I found out later that they text when they are nearby to confirm the person is home, and since I didn’t reply, they didn’t even stop in.

      I’m in a new state with no phone (no GPS to figure out how to get places), no friends/family, and no internet connection to get on my computer to look anything up. Happily, there was a Dunkin Donuts down the street, and I took my laptop there to use the Wi-Fi. I managed to get a replacement phone delivered the next day, but it somehow came with the wrong sim card; I couldn’t activate it. Since I was at home, I also couldn’t get tech support online or call for help. Back to Dunkin Donuts to try to get online support, but I end up in a circular hell of getting so far and then being asked to call in for help (which I CAN’T. DO.). Finally, I look up directions to go to a (Verizon) store to get the phone fixed; it’s closed. But I go back the next day and it gets taken care of.

      The next appointment available to get my internet hooked up is now several days later, but at least I have a phone.

      If I had been without a car during that time, I’m really not sure what I would have done. There’s no Uber or Lyft without a phone. I suppose I would have walked to the Dunkin Donuts, but not everyone lives with a WiFi-enabled restaurant/cafe in walking distance.

      I guess if I had had to call into work (I didn’t; I’m self-employed and work from home and planned time away from work around the move), I could have looked up the number from my laptop at Dunkin (no way I’d have it memorized – it would just be a contact in my phone), and begged another customer or maybe a neighbor(?) to borrow their phone to call in.

    14. Ellie*

      Its possible the real situation is worse than she’s describing. I had a no-show like this once, it was out of character, and I later found out that her relationship had broken down and she was homeless for a period. Maybe she could have borrowed someone’s phone, but she also might have had higher priorities to deal with.

      OP – I can’t see any harm in taking her back this one time. If she’s unreliable, you’ll soon find out. But it may never happen again.

  2. Neon*

    Running 100% loaded is not efficient.

    Even dealing with production machinery, running 100% loaded is a bad thing because it means you have no capacity for any small thing to go wrong. When something inevitably does, the knock-on effects can be tremendous and will quickly eat up any benefit you were getting from running at 100% capacity.

    A well-run plant targets more like 85% capacity utilization.

    This applies even more to human beings who have lives and get sick etc.

    Do not try to run your people 100% loaded all the time. They’ll drop balls, and eventually quit.

    1. Nea*

      Musk needs to read this. He seems to think that he can get 100% of all the work out of 10% of the people and everyone else is unnecessary.

    2. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

      If employees have some down time, they can use it to help colleagues who are overloaded, learn new skills, and make existing systems more efficient. It’s a positive all around. When I have a less-than-full schedule, I’ll hop on LinkedIn Learning and do some quick courses.

      1. not nice, don't care*

        I used my ‘down time’ to brainstorm and kick off a brand new service for my employer that saves a ton of money and massively expands accessibility for our users. Had I still been balls to the wall as expected in pre-pandemic times, I’d probably not be working there anymore.

    3. Anon pharmacist*

      Used to work in retail pharmacy and this is one of many reasons why I left. Due to a variety of factors we were consistently running at 95-100% utilization, and while our staffing formulas theoretically allowed more slack than that, in practice it never worked out and our supervisors didn’t care. When we were having the same sorts of tribulations everywhere, their solution was basically just to tell everyone to work harder. *eyeroll*

    4. Lora*

      This. I plan for 80% capacity. Critical management stuff for ops:

      1) know your capacity, of both equipment and people. Know your bottlenecks. If you don’t know them, find them out. “Everyone start filling out time sheets down to the minute” is NOT the way to find out, either – you find out by either trying to do things yourself and see how long it takes you, by sitting in on training sessions, by walking around observing, by tracking people’s turnaround of deliverables and compiling the info yourself. The very fact of asking for detailed time sheets when you’re not in a billable-hour type of industry will make the people working for you question your qualifications. Some people will be faster at doing a task than others – that means you’ll get a range of “how long does task X take”, and you should probably err on the side of the longest time, not the shortest.
      2) plan for 80%-ish capacity. Because stuff happens. Vacations, sick days, people (heaven forfend) dying happens. Always have cross training and backups so people can backfill. Never rely on just one person to do any one task that can’t be delegated or transferred, because when they leave (it’s when not if) you will be hosed.
      3) overtime demands should not ever last more than about 3 months at a clip without giving people a break, and then they should either get comp time or vacation time or some kind of slow time to rest up. Three months is really the limit, before you will likely start seeing burnout and turnover. Also accept that when you’re demanding overtime, you’re going to get B to B+ work. People simply cannot do A+ work, consistently, all the time, when they are putting in 60 hour workweeks. They’re going to do OK.
      4) optimization of processes to reduce time per task is best done by engineering solutions – better equipment, better software, better workplace design, more automation, more efficient logistics. It generally does not get better via training or hiring faster workers or yelling at people to quit slacking.

      1. starsaphire*

        Please, please, please write a book on management. This advice is priceless, and I’ve never seen it distilled down this way before.

        1. Grey Coder*

          Also Slack by Tom Demarco. The full title is Slack: Getting Past Burnout, Busywork, and the Myth of Total Efficiency.

    5. Dinwar*

      I was going to say that.

      If you run machines in the red long enough they break. If you run people in the red long enough, they break–and since everyone’s going as hard as possible to begin with, you have zero reserves and no capacity to take the hit.

      The other thing to consider: There’s no room for improvement. The people best positioned to identify ways to improve efficiencies in processes are the people doing the process. If you keep them 100% busy they won’t have time to identify these. Their work will be entirely composed of fire drills, just moving from one disaster to the next, because they have no time to prevent disasters.

      That said, understand your industry. I try to provide about 120% of what I think my field teams can handle in a day–not to rush them, but to provide options. If something comes up and they can’t do X, they’ve already got everything they need to do Y so they don’t have to spend time wondering what to do. On the other hand, in the average month they’re about 90% booked. Accounting is similar–during tax season you’re going to be 100%+ booked, but during the summer you won’t be.

        1. not nice, don't care*

          As are all the staff supporting those teachers. We’re still reeling from two years of insane demands from faculty/instructors.

    6. As Per Elaine*

      There are actually studies that show that ant colonies where a certain amount of the ants are “lazy” (that is, not working as efficiently as the others — who knows what is going on in the minds of ants) are more resilient than ant colonies where all of the ants are on-task all of the time. If something comes up, the “lazy” ants can step up, but the ant colonies at max capacity don’t have any flex there.

      1. Dinwar*

        Militaries are the same. If 100% of your military capacity is engaged you’re screwed. In order to win–in order to survive–you need reserves. If you don’t you can’t respond to unexpected events, can’t exploit new opportunities, can’t even bring units up to capacity when casualties occur. Plus, since your people are burning out you increase your chance of casualties (the analogy in business is “OSHA recordables” and “near misses”).

        1. Bee*

          Also true in sports! You keep people on the bench so you have reserves in case someone gets injured on the field – but also so you can rotate people in so that everyone playing is fresh.

    7. Jessica*

      When you’re in a bad accident, do you want the ambulance to take you to the emergency room where the doctors are at 100% capacity or the emergency room where the doctors are at 80% capacity? I know which one I want to go to.

      1. MM*

        You have misinterpreted what they mean by 80% and 100% capacity. They aren’t talking about people’s abilities. They mean that there should be more than enough people to do 100% of the expected/predicted workload (specifically, 20% more people), not that the people should be 80% capable. To rephrase: The normal workload should engage 80% of your business’s capacity.

        With your ER analogy: you’d want do have more than enough doctors, nurses, cleaners, etc. on staff to handle a day’s worth of car accidents, shootings, anal mishaps, accidental poisonings, heart attacks, etc., so that when the epidemic or natural disaster hits there is extra capacity to deal with an increased patient load. (Sigh, if only.) So do you want to go to an ER where 100% of the doctors are handling every emergency they can possibly keep straight, or one where they have about 20% of slack available to pay attention to you?

        1. MsSolo UK*

          I assume that was what Jessica meant, that she wanted to go to the ER at 80% capacity, because then you’ll get seen much sooner, rather than somewhere that’s at 100% and you’ll have to wait until it drops below 100% to see anyone.

    8. Person from the Resume*

      I was very surprised at this question. Just the thought that 100% busy is unsustainable.

      For us the HR system assumes something like 80% efficiency, I think. Over the course of a year a person take’s 20% of their hours in leave, sick leave, training time, etc. Computer/network issues. You can’t operate well if any little problem or delay puts your schedule out of whack. That’s very stressful.

      That said, it’s really impossible to say **exactly** how long any task should take anyone. To know that it would have to some kind of repetitive process without any deviation. So all tasks should be projected to take a bit longer than if it was easy and everything went perfectly.

    9. 653-CXK*

      I am on vacation this week to recover from the many weeks of being slammed with problems (not so much work, but work has suffered because I’ve become a captive audience to various amounts of drama), and my boss has been telling me not to take on so much, especially when that work supposed to be done by someone else. And yes, the plates I’ve been spinning have perilously come close to crashing down because I’m trying to spin multiple plates at once.

      The manipulation (“oh, this will only take a few minutes” – meanwhile, all other work is falling through the cracks after day six of “only a few minutes”) and guilt trips (“If you don’t do this, we’ll lose this client” or “would you please contact/pay this client?”- the client being ultra-high maintenance and prone to tantrums) is the reason why I nearly had a nervous breakdown a few months ago, because I was already overloaded. Hopefully, there won’t be even more drama waiting for me when I come back, but I think it’s beyond time to push back and say, “What you’re asking me for will take days, not minutes, and will affect my work” and/or “I’m doing all I can for this client, but they’re demanding far more than we can give them, and I want to give them the correct information/payment amount before we send it out.”

  3. Not Tom, Just Petty*

    Eh, LW 1. She burned you once. That is useful knowledge. She’s still a known quantity over your vision of people who “want a job with you can be reliable.”
    She was hired and presumed to be reliable. She WAS reliable, until she had a personal emergency. And unless you can see into the future and hire a person who will never have a crisis, an illness or leave for greener pastures (all your people have second jobs?) then you will be hiring again.
    And added bonus, fewer people are left who know that she didn’t show up, so there won’t be a lot of “but Sally just blew job off for a week.”

    1. Daisy*

      Yeah, it sounds like this job is either part-time, or pays so low other part-time jobs are paying more (she got more hours at her other job). You want reliable employees? Start by hiring for full-time positions at a living wage.

  4. Anothergloriusmorning*

    Personally would let this slide and allow her back. It sounds like a series of really unfortunate events. If her car is getting repoed she likely needs the money.

    I am not sure when this letter is from. Or where this LW is from. It’s likely she may in an area without public transport or a time before Uber was a thing. So I think Allison’s advice of
    Taking her back is right.

    Another thing to take into consideration is that what if an employee gets in accident or is very ill and hospitalized. They may not be able to contact anyone.

      1. BasketcaseNZ*

        Husband and I were literally discussing this the other day – a colleague of his went out one evening, with only his phone.
        Phone died.
        No way to book an uber. No way to access his cards loaded onto his phone to pay for a taxi.

        1. londonedit*

          I have my debit card in my Apple wallet and use my watch to pay for everything now – you can use it on the bus/tube and at pretty much every cafe/supermarket/shop in London. Many independent businesses here have gone completely cashless since 2020. The other day, I got off the tube (watch worked fine to exit the station) and popped to a coffee shop on the way to the office. My card wouldn’t work and I had no way of paying for my coffee. Luckily, it turned out to be a problem with their machine (I immediately went to a different cafe where my watch worked fine to pay) but I realised that if the problem had been with my card, I’d have had no way to buy any food all day, and I’d also have had no way to get home as I wouldn’t have been able to pay for the tube. It really did make me stop and think about how reliant I’ve become on digital payment! Now I make sure I have my purse with me.

    1. Esprit de l'escalier*

      “It’s likely she may in an area without public transport or a time before Uber was a thing.” The areas without public transport are also often without Uber. If your car dies/is totaled/is repo’d, unless you have friends or family who will drive you to work, you are stuck. And if your phone is gone as well, if you live alone you may have no way to contact those friends or family, not to mention no way to contact your supervisor.

    2. Moonloght*

      Also if this person is in a position where their phone was stolen and their car was repossessed they might not be thinking straight and people don’t always think of, say, asking to use a neighbours laptop or going to the neighbourhood library or whatever to access a laptop or whatever. It’s hard to think of those things when in crisis.

      1. Kuddel Daddeldu*

        And I would be hatd pressed to call most people without access to my phone or laptop as all phone numbers are stored in there. I do know my boss’ landline, my own landline and mobile, and my mother’s landline – so four phone numbers in total. On the other hand, I know my passport number and expiration date by heart as I have to enter it into forms a lot.

  5. hamsterpants*

    LW1 as you review the reasons people with abruptly, look beyond their stated reason at how they were being treated before they put in notice. When I quit an unhealthy workplace, the reason I gave my manager was just the sanitized tip of the iceberg of reasons. I knew he wouldn’t take my real reasons to heart, anyway, so I just gave him a bland “family reasons” answer instead.

      1. Claire*

        There’s no way to “win” an exit interview from a bad workplace. If you give HR an earful, you’re a disgruntled (former) employee. If you give them polite nothings, you’re giving the company cover to pretend the environment is fine. And either way, the manager doesn’t even get a talking-to.

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          This is definitely a ‘know your company’ situation. Sometimes exit interviews are taken very seriously and the manager does get feedback. Sometimes it’s a box checked that goes in a file no one ever sees. Sometimes it backfires on you. It’s important to pay attention to what happens when people leave your company and adjust your expectations accordingly.

        2. HotSauce*

          You are 100% correct on this. I worked for a few years in a department that had high turnover. We had a meeting and upper management asked us for ideas to keep people. Several people mentioned how the middle management were downright abusive to the employees and it was completely ignored. From what I’ve heard they still have problems with turnover more than ten years later.

      1. FalconDiving*

        Plus your staff is working second jobs and someone got their car repoed? You aren’t paying your staff enough to make ends meet. People will keep quitting on you!

      2. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

        Yes, OP seems (or seemed, since it’s a re-run) oblivious to the possibility of things happening that are different in nature but ultimately linked by a root cause.

        Same with the awol employee, having your car repossessed isn’t something that just randomly happens (in the way that being in am accident can be) but there’s a series of events leading up to it, also that there’s probably a lot going on in her life to get to that point. Phone stolen on the bus – if she knows it was stolen on the bus (as opposed to getting home and realising it is missing) that potentially means a mugging where she had an encounter with the thief – another traumatic event.

        If she is otherwise a decent employee I would give her another chance. Also start thinking about events linked by more than a superficial level.

    1. Sylvan*


      Look for anything the employees who left might have had in common and try to think of any issues they brought up with you recently. It’s strange to lose that many employees at once, so it seems likely that something happened.

  6. PreggoAmoeba*

    Another employee was able to confirm the repossession so she apparently had some kind of contact with that other employee. No way to at least pass on a message? And in 5 days she presumably missed more than one shift. It’s rough but I wouldn’t.

    1. Dahlia*

      I don’t think we should presume that. She could work part-time and not have had shifts for 4 days, in which case she missed one.

    2. MM*

      OP didn’t say when the other employee got the information to confirm. Maybe the employee dealt with her crisis, got her phone situation sorted, and contacted a coworker before informing the boss in order to feel out the situation. Doesn’t mean that happened days in advance.

  7. Bernice Clifton*

    Since LW 1 mentions getting more hours at another job and the way she mentions the schedule, I am guessing this shift work with mostly part-timers. Some employees are going to quit these types of positions without notice no matter how great a manager you are.

    1. Mallory Janis Ian*

      Yes, and it sounds like the person who no-called / no-showed only actually missed one shift, even though it took five days for her to get back in contact. I don’t know what the standard is now, but way back when I used to work retail, it took 3 shifts in a row of no-call / no-show to be considered a voluntary quit. But if the hours are so spread out that she had only one shift in that five-day period, and that’s a typical schedule, I could see a lot of people leaving for more hours.

  8. Heidi*

    I’m a bit confused about the intern. It sounds like the OP was going to write a recommendation for her and is not going to now because she’s leaving early. But if there were “a lot of issues beforehand” that prevented the OP from hiring the intern, it doesn’t sound like there would have been a strong letter of recommendation coming from the OP anyway.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Maybe the other issues were still under the threshold of “give people with no experience a little grace”, and this was just the final straw.

      1. Snagglepuss*

        That’s what I think, too. I had a similar situation for an intern I helped manage this winter/spring.

        He was very smart, friendly, and eager to learn, and performed assigned tasks well. However, he was often late or a no-show for our in office days (2x /week) with little or no communication on the reason why (or odd excuses and assuming he could just work from home instead of asking – which my office is pretty flexible for accommodating for reasonable things like appointments or illness). He was also constantly missing his weekly time card submission deadlines. Oh and it was only a 4 month internship.

        I feel like I would be on the fence to write a recommendation for him, because I know how it was for me as a young professional, and I believe we can all learn and grow from our mistakes. But if he asked to leave a few weeks early without a good reason? I would forget giving that recommendation!

  9. Anomie*

    Let her back. Life happens. If she does it again, then you can let her go. Also something is going on when half your staff quits.

  10. Erika*

    LW1- maybe the employee is irresponsible; and that’s why they no call no showed and got their car repossessed. Or maybe they have two jobs including the one with you, and still aren’t paid enough to avoid repossession…you said yourself you thought they just got offered more hours at their second job. My guess is a little bit of both, and I think you should consider the likelihood of the second possibility before you make a decision. I don’t know what field this is, but from the sound of it I would guess retail/food service. Until the culture of these types of businesses change, management is going to have to deal with high turnover and lack of employee engagement and loyalty.

  11. Kim*

    I never made it into management because I was considered either too nice or assumed to be ” just a techie” with no other skills . One summer I supervised an engineering intern who did outstanding work. One morning her car broke down . She called her father who was an auto mechanic – he fixed it but she was an hour late for work. (This was before cell phones but I think she found a place to call me. ) .At the end of the summer my boss asked me to do her performance appraisal . I had forgotten all about the tardy incident . He excoriated me and said I should have written her up.
    Years later I thought about her and looked her up on Linkedin. She was in a very high level position . I wonder if she remembered me.

    1. Lady_Lessa*

      Probably, because I know that I remember both the very good and very bad bosses. You sound like one of the good ones.

  12. doreen*

    I don’t think LW1 is wrong to want to give the employee another chance but I don’t think it would be wrong for LW1 to fire her, either. It’s not like she contacted the LW the very next day – it took five days to send the email. If she was ill or hospitalized and couldn’t make contact, that would be different.

  13. Joyce to the World*

    Co-worker was a no show/no call for a week. Turns out he was in jail for a DUI (not his first). Company let him come back and even granted him a leave to serve his subsequent jail sentence. Stunned….. if it had happened to anyone else, they would have been fired.

    1. lilsheba*

      Ok now that’s a situation where the person needs to be fired, and their license taken away for life for the DUI. There should be NO forgiveness for driving drunk ever. There are other options out there.

      1. Double jeopardy*

        So your idea is that no-one who drives under the influence should have as job?

        Even after they’ve served their court mandated penalty?

    2. MissElizaTudor*

      Assuming the work was unrelated to driving, good for your workplace, except for the fact that no one else would have been given the time to serve out their jail sentence. That part sucks.

      Dangerous driving is terrifying but firing him wouldn’t prevent another DUI. It would just be an additional hardship for the person.

  14. Tuesday*

    LW#5 – I do think it would be kind to let the intern know why you won’t be recommending her. Otherwise she won’t learn any lessons from this experience.

  15. Llama Llama*

    You are down people already, so what could it really hurt to give her a chance? It’s not like you have coverage as it is.
    I have given someone the benefit of the doubt before after no calling for two weeks. She was going through some things and I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt. it didn’t work out. It didn’t hurt that I tried though. I still would not had someone to do her work to give her that opportunity.

  16. CTA*

    For LW #1, I also find it strange that the employee didn’t find another way to contact you–whether by phone or email. If she hasn’t done something like this before, then I think you should give her another shot and give her other options to contact you in case it happens again. If it happens a second time, then you might need to be less flexible.

    I have experienced people make really odd choices when it came to being absent or just communicating. I once had an intern email my boss at 8:30pm at night saying she couldn’t come to the office the next day because there was going to be snow and she was concerned about driving safely. The email wasn’t even a new email with an explicit title. She replied to an earlier email about her daily assignment. I think my boss had just emailed her something non-critical, so maybe the intern thought my boss was still online. IDK why she thought anyone would see it that late at night. She did have access to my boss’s cell number, so even a text message would have been better. My boss didn’t think intern was responsible because the snow had actually been on the radar for a few days, but I guess no one looks at weather forecasts anymore. On another occasion, I was meeting the same intern at the office on a day when the building was normally closed. She emailed me to tell me she’s at the building and needs to be let in. Again, IDK why she thought I was monitoring my email. It was not a use your laptop day. She had my cell phone number. She was very perplexing.

    1. Zaeobi*

      I sometimes wonder whether this is a generational thing – people say we’re all glued to our phones all the time these days, & that calling someone without a written heads-up first can be seen as ‘rude’. Pile boundaries on top of that (some generations prefer to keep a clear line between work & home, especially for ‘bad’ news & not wanting to disturb you out-of-hours, i.e. NOT calling with your personal phone) & you’ve got a perfect storm of differing communication standards.

  17. Parenthesis Dude*

    Give her another chance if she’s been reliable before. Sounds like everything went wrong for her at once, and she needed time to get things together.

    1. Sleeve+McQueen*

      Yeah, I feel like if this is uncharacteristic of her and there are no other issues, then you can have a clear conversation sung in the key of This is Serious And Cannot Happen Again and workshop how to approach a similar situation with whatever her constraints are.

  18. Sharon*

    Some people are asking why the employee couldn’t call the boss from another phone. Does anyone here have their boss’s phone number and coworkers’ phone numbers memorized? If I lost my phone, the ONLY people I’d be able to call would be immediate family members and my fiance. All other people in my life, I’d have no idea what their numbers are. If I had my laptop then I could look it up, but if this person got their car repossessed then they might not have access to a computer either.

        1. Becca*

          Harder, yes, but most people have friends and family who have smartphones and computers. Libraries and internet cafes also exist if you live in a sufficiently urban area… I’m not saying it would always be possible but it would be quite a rare combination of circumstances for someone to have absolutely no means of accessing google whatsoever.

          1. Nina*

            If you’re in an area that is insufficiently urban for you to get to work without a car, good luck getting to a library or internet cafe.

          2. Yellow+Flotsam*

            Without internet I couldn’t get the info to sign up to my local library to be able to use their computers (if staff followed the rules)

            I don’t know when I saw the last Internet cafe.

            Without phone/internet I don’t have any way of contacting friends or family. I reckon it’d take about a week of non contact before someone decided to call police to make sure I was alive.

            I can’t use cash to buy public transport tickets where I live.

            Honestly I easily see how someone who had just had their car repossessed could fail to make contact without it being an indication of being a bad employee.

            Compassion is usually a good thing. If you pay so little your staff live in poverty, you should be even more compassionate because you are part of why they need compassion. If staff were well off, they’d simply buy a replacement phone, use an alternate device to make contact, and likely wouldn’t be having their essential transport repossessed.

            Without some actual evidence that they were deliberately stuffing you around, be compassionate – especially since it sounds like you need them.

      1. SofiaDeo*

        This. I wouldn’t fire her under the circumstances, but reasonable people can manage to contact others once the initial crisis passes. LW didn’t say if this employee is very young and possible needs a gentle reminder to let folk know. I would be worried if I had someone who had up until then be reliable, do a no show/no call.

    1. Essess*

      I would expect an employee to know how to call their office/store/restaurant… wherever they work. So even if they didn’t have the boss’s personal number, they should be able to look up the business and call there to have a message given to the boss. They could ask someone else to look it up for them if they don’t have a personal computer or access to a library computer.

      1. Roland*

        Yes, this exactly. Businesses have phone numbers, coworkers have social media. You don’t need to call your manager directly or bust, but try to contact someone that can pass a message or put you in touch.

    2. doreen*

      I didn’t have my bosses or coworkers cell numbers memorized. I didn’t even always have their direct numbers memorized – but I always had the main number memorized.

    3. kitryan*

      This is a valid point, but amusingly, I have most of my coworkers/supervisors’ phones memorized as I have to enter them daily as part of my job, so I started to read, in general agreement – and then I realized I’d have an easier time calling work in an emergency (because of all those memorized phone numbers) than I would my family!
      Not necessarily the norm though.

    4. Eyes Kiwami*

      I feel like all the people saying “of COURSE the employee couldn’t call into work if she lost her phone, no one memorizes phone numbers anymore” should take this letter as a warning to write down important phone numbers in a safe place at home for emergencies! I have a note in my wallet with handwritten phone numbers and emails as well.

      What if you are too ill to call in, or get ill on your commute, and your spouse needs to contact your workplace?
      What if there is a natural disaster or major weather event and you can no longer get to work, and you can’t reach your boss? Who else at work can you call?
      What if you lose your phone, how will you contact your workplace? Your friends and family?

      1. Layla*

        I did the “safe place at home” part sometime ago but I can’t find it now. Will do the “in my wallet” bit as well ! Thanks !

  19. A Pound of Obscure*

    It took them five days to figure out how to contact you? Can you trust an employee who can’t, oh I don’t know, borrow a telephone in order to see about keeping their job? Something sure seems fishy.

    1. Melanie Cavill*

      An employee has no immediate support system and suffers two terrible inconveniences in a short time period? I don’t see that as suspicious; I just see that as an unfortunate stretch of road and maybe deserving of some grace.

      1. Risha*

        A lot of people never went thru terrible situations nor have they struggled ever so it’s hard for people to be compassionate and understand. It’s actually pretty sad, just because general you haven’t went thru a bad situation doesn’t mean you cannot show compassion. It’s possible that employee was trying to get over. But the LW said the behavior isn’t like her so sometimes people need forgiveness or benefit of the doubt. Most people deserve a second chance

        A similar situation happened to me about 10 years ago. My phone broke and that was my only source of internet. It was 2 days after I kicked out my abusive ex husband and he took every last cent out of our joint account, leaving me overdrawn with no money to take uber/cab/bus. He also took the car that was registered to him. I had no one nearby where I could use their phone to call my boss and I had to do a no call/no show for 3 days. Every thing that could go wrong that week did go wrong. Luckily the boss was understanding when I told her of my situation and didn’t fire me. Thank goodness she showed me some compassion when I was in a bad situation.

        Point of my story is sometimes a bunch of bad things happen all at once to someone. Take their overall attitude and behavior into account instead of just assuming they’re being insubordinate.

        1. Morgan Proctor*

          Thank you for that first sentence! There’s this terrible trend in these comment sections where commenters play the game of “Let me prove I’m better and smarter than whoever it is we’re discussing and I would never do this and this would never happen to me and I would totally and completely know what to do in this situation and because this person didn’t their ideas are bad and they are bad.” It’s tiresome.

          1. SofiaDeo*

            Please don’t assume this is the intent. I have had terrible times, but I was more worried about losing my job. I managed to get ahold of people. There wasn’t this culture of ghosting, of no show/no call. So when folk start doing it *at work* let alone in social situations, it’s alarming IMO. People seem to be losing the concept of personal responsibility. IMO people commenting “but…but…” are more aghast and can’t understand the mindset, not that we think we are better or smarter.

  20. Melanie Cavill*

    Here is what I’m wondering, re: LW#1. The employee is no-call, no-show for one shift and doesn’t reach out until five days later. Did they miss other shifts during that time? It sounds like they have two part time jobs; it’s possible that scheduling meant they only missed one shift for Job A, which was out of sight, out of mind while they dealt with Job B/their transportation troubles/their lost phone.

    It’s also possible they have no computer at home and their phone was the only mode of communication they had. I know if I lost my phone, there is only a small handful of people I’d be able to contact through having previously memorised their number or email. My boss definitely would not be one of them.

    I’d give this employee the benefit of the doubt, especially if this is uncharacteristic.

  21. L&D_Lady*

    1000% to question #2. I don’t know how many times I’ve said to people at work that if everyone is always at max capacity there’s no room for innovation and process improvement.

    1. hbc*

      Heck, even just keeping things the same, you’re not going to hit your targets if you haven’t accounted for the fact that people get sick and don’t always work 50 weeks a year. That’s not a plan, it’s the world’s most boring work of fantasy.

  22. Angstrom*

    #2: I had a great boss who understood that if he wanted 110% commitment when needed(customer calls with a crisis), there had to be some slack time in between. We didn’t goof off — it was all useful work, but it was nice to do some of those small tasks that were interesting but not urgent.

  23. Dinwar*

    I see a lot of people harping on the employee that missed a day in LW1 (it sounds like they were only scheduled periodically, which isn’t uncommon in part-time work). I think a bigger issue is indicated by the employee that confirmed Ghost Employee wasn’t lying. Obviously the employees are communicating–and equally obviously, they’re NOT communicating with the manager. If they were, then the manager wouldn’t say Ghost Employee no-call-no-showed; they’d be asking, if anything, “Is it appropriate for an employee to let me know through another employee when something happens?” (Answer: Yes, absolutely!) The way the letter is written it seems like employees are afraid to go to the manager with this sort of news which, coupled with the statement about strong work ethic, suggests that employees bringing up issues expect to be slapped down in some way.

    Please note, I’m NOT blaming the manager, at least not entirely. It could easily be a cultural issue, even one at other companies. The staff have multiple jobs, and norms from one bleed over into others no matter how hard you try to avoid it. And a lot of part-time jobs have crappy managers.

    At minimum, it’s worth reviewing your communications protocols and your own practices, to identify why your employees don’t feel comfortable coming to you with this sort of information. As shown in this example, this provides a backup system for identifying problems in a timely manner.

    1. Melanie Cavill*

      Obviously the employees are communicating–and equally obviously, they’re NOT communicating with the manager.

      This right here! Let’s explore this, because here’s how I see things falling out.

      Day -2: Missing Employee confides in Confirming Employee that her car got repossessed and that’s why she’s taking the bus for the foreseeable future.
      Day 0: Missing Employee’s phone is stolen.
      Day 1: See above. Maybe her phone is directly connected to her transit pass. Where I live, such a thing is definitely possible. Or maybe she also ran out of money to pay the bus fare. Either way, couldn’t get to work and couldn’t communicate it.
      Days 2 – 4: [FOOTAGE NOT FOUND]
      Day 5: Missing Employee is finally able to get a new phone or go to the library or something, and sends an email to LW.

      I agree that Missing Employee idly letting Confirming Employee know that her car got repossessed and not telling LW means there’s an explicit communication deficit… but part time shift work is so institutionally awful for and biased against non-management, I have a hard time imagining that changing. I was always more open with coworkers I see regularly than my manager, especially back in my shift retail days (when management was honestly a nightmare—not saying that LW is! but also not saying that they’re not, if that makes sense?). My manager was never my friend. I would not report things to them until it became relevant to my ability to do the job, and even then, I’d explore every other avenue first.

    1. Cobol*

      Also, one no call no show is usually forgiven anyway. This is an old letter, so hopefully the employee found a better job.

      1. Kindred Spirit*

        I would probably forgive a single “no show,” but surely she could have called or emailed her manager at some point during the 5 days.

        1. Nesprin*

          Meh, I can see a situation where without her phone she wouldn’t have her boss’ phone number or possibly her email if she has 2 factor authentication set up especially if you mix in a bunch of other personal chaos like a car repossession.

          But more to the point, if this team of 6 is already down to 3, I really struggle to imagine how OP can make it work with 2, or hire quickly enough to cover the shortfall.

          1. Ugh*

            In 5 days she couldn’t have figured out SOME way of communicating with her employer? What employer does not have a publicly listed phone number? Or in 5 days, she couldn’t find anyone to give her a ride in to connect with her manager on what is happening?

            1. Chirpy*

              A publicly listed number that’s likely going to require internet access to look up. When was the last time you saw a public phone book? And many people only have internet access via their phones these days.

              And it’s very likely she couldn’t get a ride in if many of her friends/ family are in similar work situations.

            2. SoloKid*

              I agree – seems fishy she was able to have a coworker “confirm her car was repossessed” but couldn’t get in touch with OP for five days.

              1. Melanie Cavill*

                I don’t see why that’s fishy. If the car was repossessed a few days before all this went down, as opposed to concurrently, it isn’t inherently suspicious that the employee would offhandedly mention it to a coworker she was friendly with.

          2. Loulou*

            Agreed. It sounds like the employee is in a tough situation, and so is OP, staffing-wise. I can see why Old OP would have considered this a fire able offense because 5 days of no contact is a lot to overlook…but in this situation, it makes sense to.

            1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

              Honestly I think letting the employee come back but with notice that she’s now used up her free passes around absences with no notice or call is okay (I’m assuming that OP would have been okay with sick days still -provided that she still called to say she’s sick and needs to be off).

        2. lyngend (canada)*

          Until my last job, I’ve never had an employer’s email. And the only reason I’ve been able to find the phone number is because they are easily find via googling or looking at receipts (only perk of retail). And lots of people these days don’t have landlines, or friendly neighbors…or even irl friends, whose phone they could borrow.
          So I completely get it.

    2. Happy meal with extra happy*

      Is there really no allowance for change and growth. We’ve seen letters where it’s clear that managers are currently taking that position, but that’s not the case here. Don’t we want to encourage people to move beyond that position?

    3. Dust Bunny*

      FIVE DAYS without contact is a pretty big thing, though. Like, this person couldn’t borrow a phone/send an email/get a ride/anything for a whole work week? I don’t think you have to be judgmental to be hesitant to give a job back to someone who couldn’t figure out how to contact you for an entire week.

      1. Kevin Sours*

        It is. But sometimes people in crises don’t handle things well. Given that LW describes it as “decidedly uncharacteristic of her” is seems like providing a second chance would be the merciful thing to do here.

      2. ferrina*

        Yeah, under normal circumstances I would understand a manager terminating someone who did this. No judgement on a manager who would do this. But I also that these specific circumstances give reason to give this person another try- this is uncharacteristic for her, she has some strong reasons for why it happens (and it sounds like the manager trusts her), and the manager really needs people right now. I’d give this person another try.

    4. tessa*

      >You sound kind of cold and judgemental

      Super unkind comment. I mean, it’s one thing to say that a comment is cold and judgmental, but to levy that directly at a commenter? Doesn’t that violate forum rules?

    5. CLC*

      Came here to say this. I feel like the employee probably could realized that it’s important to call your boss when you can’t get to work and could have found *some* way to get in touch like asking a neighbor to borrow their phone to make an urgent work call, but that doesn’t even seem to be what the LW considers to be the problem. They sound extremely judgemental and seem to lack empathy and compassion, two things that are critical to good management. I also wonder if they are paying this employee a living wage if her car was repossessed.

      1. tessa*

        “The old me would have fired her without hesitation. I have always had a strong work ethic and a sense of personal responsibility, but I have fallen on my fair share of hard times and am now more empathetic.”

        Seems the judgment is in this forum. Wow.

    6. Avril Ludgateaux*

      I also find “personal responsibility” to be a dog whistle…

      People are saying that “OP changed,” but I’m nonetheless cocking an eyebrow based on the way OP themself characterized their change of heart. If you didn’t have empathy for people until you suffer firsthand, it says something. I default to empathy. e.g. I’ve been fortunate enough to never be without a home – and yet I feel unconditional compassion for unhoused people. It’s not something I had to “learn” to feel by going through it myself, and it’s not qualified with “well did you do something to deserve it?”

      If this employee has never given you reason to distrust her before, why would you think “I should punish her when she’s already at rock bottom”? Again, I think it says a lot about a person.

        1. Avril Ludgateaux*

          Usually when people talk about “personal accountability” or “personal responsibility,” it’s from a perspective of “rugged individualism.” The kind of people who “never had a handout, so I don’t see why you should get one,” and “your circumstances are a result of your choices.” It’s also been observed that (in so far as “personal responsibility” is indeed a euphemism for certain ideological stances), certain ideological stances are indeed associated with lower capacity for empathy.

          (Links in follow-up comment, in case it gets spam filtered.)

      1. Loulou*

        I mean, it can be a dog whistle in plenty of contexts, but in this case it seems pretty literal? It’s sort of insulting to act like most working people would not be capable of borrowing a phone or computer (or going to a library…visiting the workplace in person…etc) over the course of nearly a week.

      2. Remote Worker Bee*

        Well, congratuations, Avril Ludgateaux, for having had the perfect level of empathy in any situation since the second you were born. *slow clap*

        I believe in personal growth through live-experience, self-reflection and the ability to take advice onboard. LW seems to do just that.
        Since they are asking Alison and the commentariat for advice, they clearly possess the will to learn from others and take other’s ideas into account when making important decisions.

        1. Avril Ludgateaux*

          Well, congratuations, Avril Ludgateaux, for having had the perfect level of empathy in any situation since the second you were born. *slow clap*

          It’s super weird to react with such hostility to somebody pointedly admitting they have the bare minimum level of empathy. The point of my comment was in fact to draw attention to how low the bar is, not to ask for credit. The fact that you’re framing that bar as too high… Some less gracious people would categorize that as “telling on yourself.”

          And please. Plenty of letter writers come here for validation more that advice.

    7. Prospect gone bad*

      Am I missing the part that’s supposed to enrage me? The quote you pulled was completely normal until maybe during the labor shortage in certain jobs over the past two years. I’m not seeing it as something to get angry about

  24. CommanderBanana*

    ….if 50% of your staff quit without notice at the same time, I definitely want the details!

  25. Cedar Fever*

    LW3: people leave jobs for non-emergency reasons pretty frequently. In fact, most people who leave jobs do so for non-emergency reasons, and they aren’t always equally candid with every person they give a reason to. I guess it also common for managers to refuse to give a recommendation (or give a bad recommendation) to people who leave a job under circumstances that are not acceptable to the manager, but it’s fairly spiteful. If she did good work while she was there, give a good recommendation. If she did poor work while she was there, give a poor recommendation. But base it on the work, not the conditions of her leaving.

  26. Emily*

    LW#5: If it wasn’t working out with the intern anyway, it seems like it’s good for both parties for the internship to end early. Maybe the real reason for leaving is she wasn’t going to get an offer, she was feeling like she was messing up at work, and she didn’t want to be there. If that kind of thing comes up again, give them an out to end it early! I can’t imagine a struggling intern was really contributing much day-to-day to the organization — I assume most of the point of the internship is figuring out whether you want to hire them (and for them to figure out if they want to work for you), not providing value.

  27. Mr. Bob Dobalina*

    #2: It’s a fascinating topic, but in several decades worth of office jobs, I have never had a single job that kept me less than 100% busy. In fact, every single job overloaded me and demanded extra hours every week (legal and finance jobs). Never felt free to use my vacation time, never had any coverage for vacations, always putting out fires and dealing with the critical work, never time to implement improvements.

    I once had a dept head announce that his goal was to have everyone’s workload at 80% with 20% of time free for professional development opportunities, education/training, special projects, process improvements, etc. What a great notion. It never happened. That guy didn’t last long – about a year. He quickly found out that his big plans of hiring more staff to balance the workload were pure fantasy. I averaged about 55 hours per week just to get the essential core work done at that job, and always running with a backlog. But it was nice to hear his pipe dream… I’ll never forget that moment, listening to him, feeling such hope…

  28. Wren_Song*

    Well… I think the lesson I take away from LW #1 and the subsequent comment thread is to take a sticky note, write my partner’s number, my manager’s number, my kid’s school’s number, my doctor/pharmacy’s number, and anything else super important, and put it in my wallet in case my phone is every lost, broken or dead and I have an emergency. Also for the next staff meeting, I’d ask my workers to come up with a lost phone contingency because this is a totally realistic need for everyone.

  29. Westsidestory*

    I have dealt with this with junior staff. The last time, the second chance was given but the managing team agreed the person was a flake. The department was short handed so we needed a body. But that person had all their projects taken away from them, and was henceforth only assigned work to assist someone else. That may not work in this case, however.
    In our case there was always at least one other person on the task if Flake called out without notice, and Flake was hourly and did not get paid if they did not work. I should mention Flake seemed unbothered having nothing but scut work. And I stopped having to reschedule teams at last minute once Flake simply became the extra hand who could be sent where it made sense.

    1. Westsidestory*

      Still, I’d vote along with Alison to give a second chance if the lapse was “uncharacteristic” of the employee. People who flake tend to do it more than once or twice, and the excuses get more creative over time.

  30. Tiger Snake*

    #1 – I think if you fire her for something this outside of her control, you’re missing the big picture.

    You’re concerned about reliability, but from what you say this employee is reliable, and always has been except for this one, extremely unsusual personal crisis. You don’t say this is part of a bigger pattern where you’ve found her flaky or there have been issues with her behaviour – you said her silence was uncharacteristic. Maybe she’s not a superstar, but she’s been a good, reliable employee.

    Now think about how everyone else would see if it she was fired. What they’re going to see is you have a policy of “One strike and you’re out, no matter the circumstances“. Now think about what that would mean, not just for this employee but for all your staff.

    It tells them that their efforts aren’t appreciated. That it doesn’t matter how hard they work and whether they do their best or not. If they aren’t your golden child, there is zero goodwill or consideration for them. If they make one mistake, you will fire them and you don’t care whether there’s a good reason not.

    Who’d want to work for an employer like that?

  31. SofiaDeo*

    Oh c’mon, it’s not that “circumstances were out of employees control”, it’s more about how this employee chose to handle the situation. We don’t know how young this person is, or if this is the beginning of a flakiness pattern, or a one-off, or what. Alison’s advice is fine.

    I am seeing a huge divide in the comments here, similar to the recent post regarding the person who backed the car into a post and chose to lie about it. Quite a number of people could not seem to get the point that *lying* was the problem. There were all sorts of excuses as to why the lie could be explained, or rationalized with “everyone lies about something at some point.”

    You have to admit there are indeed some circumstances that would be egregious enough that there should *not* be a second chance. No one is saying here there is or should be a policy of “one strike and you’re out, regardless of the circumstances.”

  32. Jessica Fletcher*

    “Half my staff quit, and coverage is now devastated. Should I rehire this previously reliable employee who has a verified true and terrible life situation that’s the only reason she didn’t come to work? Btw when she uncharacteristically no-showed for several days, we didn’t call her emergency contact to check on her welfare, which would have told us what happened.”


    1. JelloStapler*

      Oh good point- did they have emergency contact? We had someone no show and first thing we did was call to see if they were okay.

  33. So Tired*

    I am absolutely shocked at the lack of empathy toward the employee in the first letter. I’m glad that so many of you have never been in a position like the employee was, and that you all apparently have contingencies for every possible freak accident/string of bad luck. Not everyone has that fortune, and deciding that the employee is lying/lazy/any other number of mean things I’ve seen in comments about her because she didn’t handle this situation the way some of the commentariat would have is mind boggling to me.

    As a young person who lives alone, on the other side of the country from my family and a majority of my friends, it is entirely conceivable that if I lost my phone and had my car repossessed I’d be unable to contact my work, let alone any friends who might let me borrow their phones. The only phone numbers I have memorized belong to my parents and my sister, and none of them can contact my work or local acquaintances for me. The closest library to me is about a 20 minute drive, or at least three buses. I’m lucky in that I do have a computer I can use as a backup, but there’s no guarantee that anyone would be in my office on any given day to answer the phone if I were to google and find a phone to call from. And I’m well aware that I am lucky to have more than one device for internet connection. LW1 says that this lack of communication was completely out of character for the employee, and it also sounds like she didn’t miss five consecutive days in a row, but rather one shift and several days off. But even if she had missed five consecutive shifts, her explanation to her boss is perfectly reasonable–when you have multiple crises/instances of bad luck of *course* it’s reasonable that you might make mistakes in how you handle things. It’s natural for humans to struggle and make mistakes, that’s part of being human.

    To everyone being cruel to this employee, I hope that if–deity forbid–you’re ever in a situation where things keep going wrong for you and you need some grace with how you handle it, the people around you offer you more grace than you’re extending to this young woman. It’s really not hard to be kind to people who are struggling.

    1. This*

      100% agreed.

      I remain astounded that people like LW1 are permitted to become people managers in the first place, let alone are allowed to remain in the job.

      I can see why half of LW1’s staff quit! The lack of empathy or self-awareness is breathtaking.

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