updates: the imploding resignation, the excessive ice-breakers, and more

It’s “where are you now?” month at Ask a Manager, and all December I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past. Here are four updates from past letter-writers.

There will be more posts than usual this week, so keep checking back throughout the day.

1. My resignation imploded (#3 at the link)

I was the resigning employee whose boss told me “it wasn’t very Christian of you” to quit when they were short handed and busy.

First I wanted to respond to some of the commenters who may not have read my replies. For starters it was construction and most of the employees are Christians including myself but my boss is very conservative and I’m more progressive than him or anyone else in the company.

Now the update! So I was hired by a competitor to learn service work after doing installs for 4 years. I have been struggling with Crohn’s disease that got really bad after having Covid in August. Well, a week before I was due to start, the owner called me to tell me that their install project manager was leaving and they wanted to offer me the job!

I eagerly said yes! And I just have to say it has been wonderful! I’m having some culture shock of being in an office after 15 years of blue collar work. It’s been exactly what I needed! My Crohn’s disease has been more manageable partially due to changing working environments. The culture here is way better and very pro-worker. No guilt tripping workers who call out sick. It’s been a little awkward for me to move into management, but at the same time it’s partially come naturally. I credit reading your blog for years but I also know what my installers are facing daily and they know I have done the work and I have their backs.

I have another week and a half left with the leaving project manager but it has really been a wonderful first three weeks. My advice to everyone out there: Whatever you’re doing even if it’s working in a warehouse or digging ditches, have a good attitude and be friendly. Making connections really does pay off. Four years ago I was delivering to this company and now I’m their project manager.

I keep pinching myself to make sure I’m not dreaming!

2. Can I mute my coworker’s texts? (#2 at the link)

I asked if it made sense for me to mute texts from one of my coworkers. She had been sending daily barrages of extremely long texts asking how to do simple tasks to my personal cell phone. She and I had been at that workplace for approximately the same amount of time, were hired with the same job title, and neither of our jobs included training or supervising anyone. I did end up muting her texts, after I warned her as you suggested, and it did not affect my standing at that job at all. I suspect it would have been difficult for her to explain to our boss that she was not using the printed procedures materials and did not know how to do most of her tasks.

After 6 relatively peaceful months, I decided to change fields. I completed some continuing education and certifications and started working with a temp agency. All of my previous work experience and education were in my old, cramped field, and I wanted to get a hands-on feel of what was available to me in my city. I continued reading Ask a Manager, kept my resumé up-to-date, and actively worked to reorient my expectations around healthy workplace culture.

As of now, I have been with my current company for 2.5 years, and I have received 2 title bumps and 3 significant raises in that time. Ironically, my current job is entirely centered around training and I love it! I was originally so happy to help my old coworker when I thought she needed it, but by the time I wrote in, I felt that she was more interested in pushing any and all tasks onto my plate, rather than learning to do them herself.

I truly appreciate the work that you do, Alison. Your work has helped me through countless tough conversations at work so I don’t have to resort to muting, and has given me the confidence to remove myself from unhealthy work dynamics when necessary.

3. New manager loves ice-breakers (#2 at the link)

So I spoke to my manager about being on the spectrum and how hard it is for me doing icebreakers and being called on like that is extremely stressful. She promised to stop and just didn’t. The very next day she called on me again for a “fun fact about you” so I decided to really make myself heard. My fun fact ended up being that I’m autistic and video chats and ice breakers are extremely stressful for me. The meeting ended very quickly and she then insisted on video chatting with me to apologize, still not recognizing my stated desires to communicate via email. She has slowed with the ice breakers and rarely calls on people now but still seems to think that she can change me. Ableism just seems to be her bread and butter, if she just ignores disability it won’t exist.

4. Sleepwear for work trips when you’re sharing a hotel room (#4 at the link)

The sleepwear ultimately did not turn out to be an issue at all. I discovered on arriving that the plan was to have me share a two-twin-bed hotel room with the two other guys attending. I was not happy with this (I had literally never met one of them before), and managed to talk my parents into helping me pay for a room of my own. I did not end up sharing a room with anyone, so clothing wasn’t an issue. I will do my level best to persuade our faculty advisor to at least give everyone their own bed for next year’s trip, and if that’s not an option, I will make the situation clear to everyone before they commit. (His take is that I should have known we were going to fit as many people in as the fire code allowed. I can understand the budget issues, but we can at least warn people.)

{ 171 comments… read them below }

  1. lazuli*

    My fun fact ended up being that I’m autistic and video chats and ice breakers are extremely stressful for me.

    I am so sorry you are dealing with such a clueless manager, but this was really bad-ass. Good for you.

    1. Clefairy*

      Seriously, amazing way to deal with this head on when reasonable conversation didn’t get through to her

      1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

        you mean amazeballs, or more precisely, amaze-hannukah-balls.
        there are not enough candles in the world for some people to see in front of their own faces.

    2. a raging ball of distinction*

      A million percent. You WON. Your boss still sucks, but I’m certain you opened a lot of peoples’ eyes who were on the call. Good for you for putting yourself out there.

      1. bah*

        Then my next response would be to hang up the call and copy the manager and HR in and tell them I’m being prevented from doing my *actual* work, please stop these.

    3. S*

      I too have used the “okay, we can do this in public if you’re blowing off our private discussion” autism superpower at work. I’m not a naturally confrontational person (I think?) but sometimes you just have to force the issue, and public pressure can move the needle when one-on-one discussion has failed.

    4. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Agreed, OP you rock. You manager is willingly clueless, but I bet you made a difference to your coworkers (and for some of those coworkers).

      1. Lauren*

        Honestly, this is why I offer up the ice breaker of “name some of your childhood halloween costumes’. It’s innocuous and not usually a thing you have to come up with an acceptable work answer. You can lie and it will be fine firefighter, princess, abe lincoln, whatever. You can even have people email the manager the kid costume and then have people guess in the meeting. Again, the autistic employee participates but not in the moment where it is stressful. For people who are autistic why not a game – online. Ever try a multiplayer puzzle? People hide pieces in the corner off screen, they fight over pieces too. It’s a great way to participate but not on the spot.

        1. BookCocoon*

          Not to be That Person, but… asking for things like childhood costumes can put trans people in a position where they have to out themselves or lie. Doubly so if you ask for childhood photos. It sounds like you are trying to be sensitive and accommodating, so wanted to point out that angle of it.

        2. Consider the Coconut*

          Unless you don’t celebrate Halloween, for religious reason, which you now have to disclose or lie about your faith – what a great choice to be out on the spot to make! Or…. *insert here any of the many other reasons someone might not have an easy or appropriate answer to that question*

          I have no idea what this game you are suggesting might consist of, but it sounds incredibly annoying.

          Please just stop. We don’t need these “icebreakers”. Just let us do the job.

        3. Another THAT Person*

          Sorry to be another That Person… my childhood was full of neglect and trauma, and this question would make me feel alienated at best and trigger my CPTSD at worst.

          1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

            I’m from a country that never used to celebrate Halloween, so I don’t have any memories of costumes.
            And no, I don’t feel like lying just to fit in thank you very much. I am who I am, take me or leave me.

        4. Inkhorn*

          And a third That Person … surely even the US (which appears Halloween-mad from the outside) there would be families that don’t do Halloween.

          There would definitely be people unable to answer that question for whichever reason who wouldn’t think to lie, or would be too brain-frozen to come up with one.

        5. Higher+Ed+Cube+Farmer*

          Or we could just focus on work-relevant stuff at work, and neither waste time on games nor put anyone on the spot with demands about their personal history, life, or feelings.

          Anything that prompts the comment “You can lie and it will be fine” is (a) supposed to build friendliness and trust how exactly? (b) probably not the best thing for those of us on the naturally direct and over-thinky side of the communication spectrum. If there’s anything worse than being put on the spot with a demand to answer something unexpected, it’s being put on the spot with a demand to answer something unexpected *where I don’t know if the first/true things I think of are acceptable to answer* or whether I need to NOT say the first/true thing that comes to mind, figure out what *would* be appropriate or innocuous, and invent a suitable lie. That’s several extra layers of uncomfortable demands for something that has no bearing on my actual job.

          Many workplaces operate without non-work-related “icebreakers” and employees develop friendly and collegial relationships either focused on work, or by sharing personal stuff at their discretion, in a time and manner where they feel comfortable and unforced.

          1. Forgot my name again*

            You’ve beautifully articulated what I completely fail to put into words beyond Nope.

            I wish people would ditch the icebreaker. We had a series of meetings at work with a consultant which started every time with a different icebreaker. I took forever to come up with an answer, and the blank expression on the chair’s face told me it was the wrong answer and that killed any hope of productive discussion from me for the next two hours.

          2. That Person the nth*

            Very much this. While you may think a white lie is fine, Lauren, you don’t get to make that decision for anyone else. You don’t get to decide whether it’s stressful for others either. Check your privilege.

        6. Violet Fox*

          How about no, just no to non-work related ice breakers.

          Also please don’t assume all autistic people enjoy puzzles, that is based on a stereotype that can be deeply damaging for people.

          Let people share as much or as little as they want about themselves in the own time to who they feel comfortable with. People’s lives are complex.

          1. TIRED but happy*

            I strongly suspect I am autistic (I am absolutely adhd) and I cannot do puzzles to save myself, probably has something to do with my mild dyscalculia.

            I mask really well, but it’s so hard some days.

        7. Michelle Smith*

          This would be hard for me. Childhood was not a happy time and not something I’d like to revisit in a work meeting. I also would be nervous to lie in case somehow it came back up later.

        8. MeepMeep123*

          Um, I’d have to look extremely awkward and explain that I’m from somewhere where they don’t do Halloween. As would anyone else who is from outside the US.

            1. metadata minion*

              If the question is presented as “of COURSE everyone will have an answer to this!” — which icebreakers often are — it can feel really uncomfortable for many people to have to go “erm…I actually don’t do that at all and so have no answer here”.

          1. Coconutty*

            That wouldn’t be awkward. Most people (yes, even in the US) are aware it’s not a universal holiday. “I didn’t celebrate it” can be an answer. “My dream costume would be…” can be an answer. Ice breakers aren’t meant to be deep tell-alls, they’re quick whiparounds to kick something off, and it blows my mind how deeply curmudgeonly this comments section is about something that is usually incredibly innocuous.

            1. yukon cornelius*

              right? it’s wild to me that disability rights are being invoked over low-stakes conversation starters. it seems like a big leap to me. i would hate to have to work in an environment where we had to only be work-focused and never knew even the most surface-level facts about people!

              1. Cool Tina, Train Conductress*

                Why can’t you just have actual organic chitchat with people and learn the surface-level facts they *want* you to know? Why does it need to be mandatory and uniform? (And, usually, not actually information that tells you anything about the person.)

        9. Jigglypuff*

          I wasn’t allowed to celebrate Halloween as a child for religious reasons, so if I was having a particularly spicy day and this was offered as the question, I would probably say, “I was in a cult when I was a child and not allowed to celebrate Halloween, so I never dressed up as anything except Future Cult Wife.”

    5. I'm Not Phyllis*

      Yes – glad you are advocating for yourself but I’m sorry you’re dealing with such an ablist manager. I have a younger sister who is autistic and I can’t imagine the sheer panic this would cause in her. (Her response to questions that make her uncomfortable is “I don’t know” and no amount of creative icebreaker questions would get her to change it.)

      1. Willow Pillow*

        Oof, this brings back the memory of a “fun” quiz I had to take and discuss with my department on how good we were at listening. I got pulled into a private meeting with my boss and grandboss for her to discuss how my reaction was inappropriate – nothing says fun like being put on the spot about things my disability prevents me from doing! When I expressed that, she told me to take a LinkedIn Learning course about it…

        I told her that wouldn’t help, and she said something like “I guess you don’t want to solve this problem then.” I actually have learned active listening skills, and I did that reiterating and asking for clarification bit – “I said that the suggestion you provided wouldn’t address this issue, and you responded that I didn’t seem to want to address it. Is that correct?” She literally said she was confused after that. Ugh, people.

    6. Observer*

      I am so sorry you are dealing with such a clueless manager, but this was really bad-ass. Good for you.

      Yes. To all of this.

    7. allathian*

      Really cool response! I’m glad you feel safe enough to be out as autistic in your job, OP. I just wish everyone was so lucky.

      I wonder how long it’d take for the boss to catch on to the snark if you just repeated the same response every time you’re called out in one of those icebreakers?

    8. Anonymous Manatee*

      Agree! Good for you, LW. I’m sorry your boss is like this. The immediate “let’s follow-up with a video call” when you’ve already said “please do email” really does not bode well. I hope you can eventually carve out the boundaries you need. Solidarity from a fellow autistic person.

    1. TomatoSoup*

      The math isn’t mathing there. I’ve shared twin beds with intimate partners and it was, well, intimate. I would absolutely not do that with strangers.

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

        I wouldn’t share a bed with a coworker and I *definitely* wouldn’t share a twin size bed with anyone but my wife or small child. I assume one of the three would have ended up on a couch or floor. Or what actually happened – one of the three used their personal funds to pay for something that should have been paid for by the employer.

      2. ZK*

        Sharing a twin with a stranger is a NO from me. Many moons ago, I shared a twin with my now husband. It was very close, and not something I would ever want to do with anyone else!

    2. Three Flowers*

      That is a WTF even for grad school. (And I played musical hotel rooms in grad school to ensure we were collectively only paying for as many spots in a bed as we needed each night more times than I care to count.)

      1. Diana*

        Is it? In US grad school I stayed in a “twin” hotel room and there were at least 7 of us. Men and women; two straight couples and a bunch of single people. The lot.
        Not that I’m defending that! Gross.

        1. STLBlues*

          but did you do that with friends to save money? Or did you do that because your workplace told you to do so?

        2. Wendy Darling*

          In grad school I had a PI just fully neglect to budget to house her field researchers so we ended up living wherever could house us for free, including at an abandoned vermin-infested former sleepaway camp.

          It ended up being one of the main reasons I didn’t finish my PhD because it was absurd. But three grad students in one hotel room doesn’t honestly shock me because I have seen some shit.

    3. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Nope to the power of nope.
      I’m not sharing a twin bed with anyone coma and I’m not sleeping on a cot at a hotel for a business trip.

    4. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      I’m assuming this is the kind of hotel that will provide an additional folding bed on request. But twin rooms aren’t famous for having acres of floor space so that typically means creating an enormous mega-super-duper-king with three sets of bedding. Fun(!)

      1. Rose*

        I assumed that at first but it seems like OP told their manager to warn people if they would have to share beds and manager acted like this would have been expected, which is weird and gross and just incorrect.

    5. A Simple Narwhal*

      Woof right?? I had to share a twin bed with my husband once and the most positive way to describe it was cozy. The more realistic description was cramped. Regardless there was no way to not be on top of each other, which is not a sleeping position you take with a stranger!

      1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

        Same. Oh, it’s fine. It will be romantic. Amazon-ed a full mattress and dug the frame out of storage the first week. and I LIKE HIM.

      2. Wendy Darling*

        My partner and I had to cram into a twin bed together for 2 weeks at one point and it was… yeah. It was very snug and I did not like it. I think I was 25 at the time? I couldn’t do it again now. We’re both no-touching-while-sleeping people.

        I think the last time I shared a bed with someone who wasn’t my partner I was 7 and we just slept at opposite ends.

    6. I'm Not Phyllis*

      I’m sorry … they wanted you. to share. a. TWIN. bed.

      Nope. No no no no nope. To be fair, I wouldn’t be ok with sharing any size of bed with a coworker (let alone one I’d never met before) but this is just not ok, no matter what your budget issues are. Some boundaries should just never be crossed in the name of work.

      1. Observer*


        Sharing a room is one thing. Sharing a bed of ANY size crosses some lines, and I don’t care what your budget problems are. If you can pay your phone bills, you can budget for sufficient beds.

        But going past that to TWIN beds? Sorry, this is not about actual budget issues. This is about someone who has no respect for the people who need to deal with the fallout.

        1. All Het Up About It*

          Right? If you are going to book a twin room for three people, that needs to be abundantly clear so, a cot can be ordered, or hell so people can bring a damn blow up mattress. Or refuse to go.

          I mean, in my youth, we certainly squeezed many, many people in a room to save money. But these were 1) not work trips, 2) people that I generally knew (or at least most of them) AND cared for and 3) we knew about the beds ahead of time for basic planning of reasonable comfort. And let’s circle back to 1) NOT for WORK!

    7. The Bengal 3*

      1) Anyone who says they have no money for proper rooms is clearly not a company to work for.
      2) How many lawsuits are they willingly to deal with for “inappropriate behaviour” etc? I’m a night-time revolver, if twin beds really are just singles, anyone near me will be bumped, knocked, elbowed, snored at, bed clothes stolen etc
      I’m also reminded of the Planes, Trains and Automobiles “Those aren’t pillows!” situation

      1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

        I’m a duvet-hogger, so I pity anyone who has to sleep with me. My partner is OK because he is a natural radiator and is much happier with hardly anything covering him.

    8. Anonymosity*

      I have shared a train compartment with a stranger of the same gender. It was fine and was a common practice for this particular conveyance. But a bed is a no-no. We’re not living in medieval times; there’s no need to cram everyone onto a communal mattress at the only village inn.

      When considering sleepwear for overnights in a hotel, I like to err on the side of something I can evacuate in if there’s a fire or other emergency. If I were forced to share a room, this practice ensures that I don’t have to worry about inappropriate garb. I also keep my shoes close to the bed.

      1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

        OMG I shared a train compartment with a stranger, and the poor guy didn’t get a wink of sleep because I was rushing out to throw up in the toilet at least once an hour.

    9. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

      Hard agree. My spousal unit and I briefly shared a twin bed as newlyweds, and it was okay for a while, ONLY because we were young, crazy in love, and broke af. Boy, was I thrilled when we were finally able to afford a bigger bed!

      Expecting 3 adult coworkers to share a room with 2 twin (twin!) beds is down right abusive imnsho. That boss sounds like a loon. A cheapskate loon!

  2. PsychNurse*

    You were supposed to share a two-twin-bed room among three people? How was that going to work? I’m so glad you had a backup plan and parents who could come through to rescue you .

    1. fueled by coffee*

      I am also in academia (grad student), and the expectation that we share beds to cut down on costs for conference travel is absolutely going to be my villain origin story.

      This situation usually arises because students/research assistants/etc. are at the mercy of a faculty member’s grant funding or have to apply for their own travel funds. At my university, between university and department funds, we can usually scrounge up around ~$800 per conference, which is considered generous by grad student standards and which goes quickly once it’s divided across flights, conference registration fees, and a hotel room for 3-4 nights, never mind things like meals or ground transit from the airport to the hotel. Splitting hotel rooms is often the most cost-effective way to decrease travel costs, but also often involves piling 3-4 students into a single hotel room.

        1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

          I remember An Incident in college where 4 people in my dorm managed to share a twin bed and get at least some sleep, but it was more in the nature of “personal challenge” rather than “plan made by a grown-up for others to follow”, so not at all the same thing.

      1. Gresham*

        Yes, I’m getting a chuckle from this note in the original:

        It is indeed common in a handful of industries, particularly academia, to share hotel rooms. (Not beds though.)

        Students are indeed sometimes expected to share beds at conferences.

        1. Curmudgeon in California*

          I did this a lot as a teen going to SF&F conventions. Usually in a sleeping bag on the floor. But I knew the people, and it wasn’t work. I was under 20.

          1. Grandma*

            As a teen age Girl Scout sleeping on the dirt under the stars in 3 separate sleeping bags as close together as we could smoosh them, we vied for the center position because it was the warmest. Four years later on a work trip with not my nearest and dearest, ain’t no way. Geez louise.

            1. RabbitRabbit*

              Yup. My husband was on an unseasonably cold overnight field trip in college and he and his classmate ended up with the “guess we’ll layer on all our clothes and zip together our sleeping bags so we don’t die” solution, but that’s really the only reason you should be expected to do something like that with someone you’re not regularly sexually intimate with.

          2. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

            Yeah, I remember a dorm trip in college where about 15 of us piled into a beach condo for the weekend, most of us sleeping on the living room floor. But that was an optional beach trip, not something where we needed to have Professional Accomplishments during the day, plus we knew we’d be sleeping on the floor when we planned the trip and packed accordingly. (I think both actual beds in bedrooms were occupied by couples? I no longer remember as it didn’t apply to me.) I remember being expected to share a bed when I went to a Residence Life conference in another city in college, and I noped right out to sleeping on the fllor instead and would have appreciated a heads-up in time to have packed a sleeping bag for that, though. (I was lucky enough to have a professor who was not aware of American undergraduate room-stuffing norms booking travel for the one academic trip I took – he booked a suite for the 4 guys to share so everyone could have their own bed, plus a separate 2-bed room for the two women. By undergrad standards this was unimaginable wealth, and we were pretty surprised when we got there.

            I’ve always been able to afford my own bed, if not always my own room, at SF cons, but I certainly know of people who pack in more closely at those, too. Usually fans rather than pros, however, and it’s still different when it’s everyone paying their own way rather than work paying for employees. My standards for sharing space are based on a combination of who I’m sharing it with and how much I’m supposed to get accomplished during the day, and as I’ve taken on more load-bearing roles at conventions I’ve also found it more necessary to have my own room so that I have a place to use as a combination of private office and “off-exhibit space” where I can have a quiet half hour without anyone finding me unless it’s important enough to use the radio.

          3. not really a jedi*

            Yep, me too!! I think the most we ever had was 10 people sharing a room. Two spent all night in the gaming room and slept during the day, but that still left 8.

            “Crazy, crazy,
            Twelve in a room for two . . . “

          4. No Longer Looking*

            Oh for sure, I once slept with my GF on a blanket behind the room door at a con, and knew someone who preferred sleeping in the bathtub in those scenarios for some reason. It’s a HUGE difference sharing with friends vs sharing for work though – in that case I’d 100% book a new room and submit for reimbursement.

    2. The Eye of Argon*

      Either two people would have to squeeze in together, or rock-paper-scissors to see who sleeps on the floor. Unless the hotel would provide a cot (for a fee, and still sucky for the person who doesn’t get to sleep in an actual bed.)

    3. nm*

      I have a friend who regularly gets sent to a conference where all the grad students are expected to cram into the floor of some organizer’s personal airbnb.

      Friend hass wiggled out of it in the past by registering for the conference super late, which somehow? means that the organizer “has” to scramble to get them a real hotel room.

      1. Anecdata*

        I’ve had to share a double bed at a conference (ohh nonprofits…) in a mixed gender room (although at least I was able to share the bed with another woman), but never a twin!

        1. Hannah Lee*

          Friend has kind of developed their own branch of the “malicious compliance” branch of group participation.
          “yes, I will follow your rules, support your event by registering for your conference.

          But I will do it in a way that increases benefit to me (up to the bare minimum) and makes you spend money … but only because you set up a ridiculous situation in the first place”

  3. Dark Macadamia*

    #4 was there at least a cot or something??? Fitting in as many people as possible should at least involve a 1:1 ratio between mattresses and bodies!

  4. NotARealManager*

    LW4: Three adult humans, one of them a complete stranger, were supposed to share two twin beds?! Am I interpreting that right?

    1. NeedRain47*

      I don’t think that can be right, there had to be a couch or a pull-out bed or something else available. LW may not have stuck around to find out tho.

    2. fueled by coffee*

      At least in the US, hotels use “twin beds” to mean a double bed. Still, no adult should be asked to share a bed with a stranger outside of a badly-written romance novel!

      1. Just Another Fed*

        I have never encountered this in the US; every hotel I’ve stayed in that advertised twin beds meant twin, not double.

          1. I need a new name...*

            Unless it’s two twins that can be pushed together into a double, which is the worst kind of double and common practice in budget hotels in the UK.

            We also tend not to use ‘twin bed’ as a term in the UK and typically use single, double, king, queen.

            1. Lexi Vipond*

              Yes, you can have a twin room with two single beds in it, but not really one twin bed.

              Although you can have one twin person, so why not – but I suppose I don’t think of beds as so intrinsically paired!

          1. Hannah Lee*

            Can confirm twin = twin.
            Never seen any room with any double bed called a twin.

            Also, come to think of it, I’ve rarely seen any hotel with twin beds that wasn’t really a hostel, dorm room being rented off season, B & B or private vacation rental, at least in the US/Canada. Maybe that’s a thing elsewhere?

            1. No Longer Looking*

              Agreed, every dual-bed hotel I’ve been in has been either dual-queen or dual-double. It’s always disappointing when I think I’m getting dual-queens and discover I’d misremembered and got stuck with doubles.

        1. Lady Atlantica*

          Interesting, every “twin room” I’ve had in the us has been two 4’6 or 5′ beds. So twin room = two doubles in my mind. In the UK twin = two singles usually, but usa I’ve always had two double beds in the room.

      2. curmudgeon*

        Hell I hate sharing a bed with people I know. I’m a very restless sleeper and I snore, so I’d hate for a coworker to have to put up with me.

        1. Curmudgeon in California*

          I can’t share a bad, even with my spouse, FFS. I toss and turn too much. With a stranger? I would either take the floor or I would get no sleep. Eww.

        2. zuzu*

          I had to share a hotel bed with my nephew once when the hotel overbooked and didn’t have our two-queen room available. So we made the best of it.

          Only problem was that I started petting his head sometime during the night, thinking it was my dog.

        3. Lizzie*

          Same! My BF barely manages when I stay over as I snore like a warthog on steroids. He does too but since he also insists on having the tv on all night, I wear earplugs. I also move aroud a lot, AND slobber.

        1. Bowserkitty*

          I haven’t looked up specs but I am pretty sure a single is a few inches wider than a twin. (I live in a country that uses Single, Semi-double, and Double as their primary bed sizes).

      3. Roland*

        That’s not my experience. Frankly US hotels rarely have twin beds in the first place, but when I’ve come across them in hostels and airbnb, twin is definitely still synonymous with single.

        1. Clisby*

          I have been in US hotels where “single room” means it has only one bed. I can’t remember ever seeing twin beds in an actual hotel. AirBnBs, yes.

  5. GelieFish*

    As someone who is a Christian, I hate “Christian” companies. Besides using a faith as a promotion gimmick, it almost almost means we treat our people horribly, are greedy and selfish.

    #1 Glad you found a better place to work.

    1. Lady_Lessa*

      When I see “Christian” as part of advertising (or the fish symbol) I, too, use that as a avoid sign.

      1. Curmudgeon in California*

        Same here. I am not a Christian, and I take that sign/symbol to mean I am likely to be preached at and ripped off if I shop there.

        In general, people who feel the need to advertise their religion, unless they want co-religionists only to shop there, are not very honest or professional people.

        I’m pagan, and the only time I would reference it in a business is if I owned a shop that catered specifically to that demographic (ie pagan bookshop type of business.)

    2. TomatoSoup*

      As someone of a non-Christian religious group, that advertising absolutely sends me packing. Am I going to get proselytized at? Treated rudely? It’s ok to cheat me because I’m not Christian and should be penalized for it? Not sticking around to find out.

    3. The Eye of Argon*

      I feel that if you need to plaster “look how Christian I am!!!” all over the place, you’re not really a good Christian. Paraphrasing a whole lot here: “when you pray, don’t make a big public fuss out of it, because God will think you’re a hypocrite. When you pray, do it quietly in private because God will see what you’re doing and will know you’re sincere.”

      Be pleasant to deal with, treat your employees well, do the job right and in a timely manner, and charge a fair price; I don’t give a hoot what your religion is, or if you’re religious at all.

      1. Richard Hershberger*

        And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. (Matthew 6:5-6)

    4. Richard Hershberger*

      As someone who is Christian, I am the wrong sort of Christian–not really a Christian at all–from the perspective of any business that would describe itself that way. As for patronizing such a business, the absolute best interpretation is that they believe that God sent his son to die on a cross in order to give them a marketing opportunity. feh.

      1. slowingaging*

        seriously I hate this. Don’t need a symbol, need to walk the talk and or shut up. And I am a Christian. Resisting quoting Jesus on the subject of hypocrites.

    5. E. Chauvelin*

      Yeah, I am a Christian, and I remember exactly one coffee shop that talked about being Christian that seemed to do it in any kind of positive way, using their role as a gathering space to bring attention and offer fundraising opportunities for various good causes. Just talk about the business being Christian or Christian-owned and *not* tell or demonstrate anything else about what that means and I’m going to have to assume that all you’re getting at is “give your money to us instead of those non-Christians.”

    6. Ellis Bell*

      It’s in the same category as companies who describe their culture as ” like a family”. In other words, they have no boundaries, and no idea of what’s workplace-appropriate, but they’ve found a way to guilt and manipulate the people in their private life, and by golly they’re going to bring the same tactic into the workplace to milk people of their energy there too.

  6. ThatGirl*

    I’ve never seen a hotel with a twin (single) bed. Unless it was specifically a “family” room with a pull-down or pull-out for a child. They may exist, but I’ve never seen it. That said, I usually see full (instead of double), queen and king.

      1. Just Another Fed*

        This probably means you’re staying at more expensive hotels than I am! Hotels with twin beds tend to be cheap, cramped, not chains. and found in major urban areas.

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      I have seen twin size beds in rooms advertised as family rooms as well (so two twin beds and a queen bed for mom and dad). But they aren’t common and typically have been more expensive than the normal rooms.

      1. I'm Not Phyllis*

        Absolutely. And there isn’t enough money in the world to get me to share one with a coworker or coworker-stranger. Oof.

        (FWIW I work for a non-profit and have had to fork out my own $ to have my own room on occasion, which I also think is a bad practice.) My thinking is, if they can’t afford to get me my own room, they can’t afford to send me. Which is too bad but still my preference given the alternative.

    1. GammaGirl1908*

      Agreed. LW could have made her retort even tighter, with the bonus that other icebreaker-haters would feel very seen, regardless of the reason why they hate icebreakers.

      (I don’t mind icebreakers, but I can see how they would get old.)

      1. Gresham*

        Her reply was perfect. She wasn’t just calling out a dislike of the activity; she was making her disability visible and calling out how icebreakers impact her as a disabled person. If she wants to center her disability, then we should not be calling on her to decenter it for the benefit of non-disabled people. Other people who dislike ice breakers for non-disability reasons have the option of making that known.

        1. Observer*

          I agree. It’s one thing to require people to discuss their disability. But there is no reason to expect a person to hide that.

      2. Observer*

        I see no reason why the OP should have made her point “tighter.”

        Their boss was being a jerk, and it is a good thing it got called out.

    2. The Bengal 3*

      There was a fantastic one in r/maliciouscompliance. (reddit)

      The Lady in question was a student with a serious medical issue, she had volunteered to be a mentor (I think) cue entitled sociopath manager who insisted she must be at every zoom meeting or be sacked\bad credit whatever. Lady says she can’t attend cos she’s in hospital. Sociopath insists she does. So the Nurses are dismayed but get into the spirit of things by turning up the beep machine etc. Then Lady connects to the Zoom meeting with 30+ people in it and there she is, on camera, in hospital bed, things going beep, IV in, everything nurses can think of piled round her. Sociopath’s boss asks why, lady repeats everything Sociopath said, boss says Lady can leave meeting as he needs to speak to Sociopath privately. Sociopath sacked.

      1. The Bengal 3*

        Found the proper version and posted it – the one above isn’t very accurate – issue with being so old :-)

  7. Where’s the Orchestra?*

    So, update two – why am I not shocked that the coworker was incompetent and trying to cover it up?

    Really glad the boss didn’t hold her shortcomings against you, and also that you were able to move on to bigger things.

  8. Ihmmy*

    LW 3 – I recently started a job where they have a list on a shared drive of ‘favorite things’, mostly for birthdays and for if you want to give thanks to someone on your team for doing a great job. It keeps track of those things based purely on what you’ve entered yourself, so you can think about the responses plus it’s in writing instead of verbal! Might be a nice bridge if it’s information the manager actually uses when giving kudos.

    1. Dawbs*

      My work place is reviving “the like list”

      Basically there’s a set of index cards (living documents) and you put on it your preferred coffee order, your fave candies, any restrictions, etc.
      So when the managers decide “today your team rocked, let’s do a coffee run in on us as a surprise” they can get the right things.

      It’s useful for secret Santa too!

  9. Observer*

    but still seems to think that she can change me.

    That’s just awful!

    And incredibly stupid. Which makes me wonder what other stupid and problematic things she does.

    I hope you get a better manager, someone clues her in, or you find a job with a better manager in the very near future.

      1. frustratedTrainee*

        Extremely common and very terrible! There are literally industries and facilities that are based around changing Autistic people despite the extreme pushback from the community about how inhumane they are, and people are actively trying to remove our genes from the gene pool to change us

  10. librarymouse*

    #4 reminds of a conference I went to during undergrad. There were three of us, two students and a professor. We had actually booked two rooms, but when we checked in at 10pm after a long flight, the hotel wouldn’t give us both rooms because the other student and I were under 21. Apparently many hotels have a policy that guests under 21 can’t be in a room alone—color us all surprised pikachu.
    It was late and we were tired so we just took it and our professor gracefully took the fold out couch but it was still awkward. She was obviously uncomfortable sharing a room with her students and and we were likewise. The next morning, my mom had called the hotel and the other student’s mom had called too. Finally, after making our professor promise to take responsibility for anything that happened, the hotel gave us our second room for the rest of the conference.

    1. NotARealManager*

      That’s so odd. I traveled as an athlete ages 13-22 and teammates always shared rooms with each other without an adult chaperone. We were pretty exhausted from our events though, so maybe they trusted we weren’t going to get up to shenanigans.

      1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

        I never had trouble when I was under 21 and traveling in college, either. However, that was a while ago so perhaps things have gotten stricter, or maybe that particular hotel has had issues and no longer wanted to deal with college students. I know general HS travel guidelines are that adults SHOULDN’T share sleeping rooms with students (except parent volunteers sharing a room with their own children and no other kids), at least around here.

        More recently, I know one of the conventions I’ve volunteered with has even rented a room (on the master bill for the con) for someone under 18 when they were needed on-site for the weekend and couldn’t afford the room on their own (their parents agreed to this plan, but were not onsite) within the past 5 years. Of course, since we were renting all of their function space for the weekend and plenty of other hotel sleeping rooms, plus we run multiple events at that hotel every year, they may also have known we’d be easy to come after for damages if needed. (Given the kid in question, there were no incidents. In general, if you’re 17 and already a department head supervising multiple adult volunteers, you’re not the kind of person who will make stupid choices unsupervised.)

    2. I'm the Phoebe in Any Group*

      The hotel spoke to the mothers of young adults? What did they say, My Spawn won’t get wasted and trash the hotel room?

      1. librarymouse*

        Haha it was some years ago now. I don’t know exactly what they said but I think that was the gist. I’d like to describe my as a reformed Karen, who now only uses her powers for good. :)

    3. Ellis Bell*

      That is just terrible judgement on the part of the hotel. Its baffling to be concerned about undergrad ages anyway (in my country you’d be a fully fledged adult) but if you’d been younger and with your teacher that would be even worse! If I were traveling with my (mid teens) students, it would be against my job contract (and safeguarding training, and common sense) for me to sleep in the same room. Knock and check on them? Yes. Sleepover? No.

    4. Spooky All Year*

      We’ve sort of run into that in the co-ed college club team I was part of and now coach. The officers sometimes have to book each room under a different 21+ person’s name when we travel. Once each of the designated room people check in though, none of the hotels ever really enforced that they had to stay in that room. Good thing, since more than one room is always under a coach’s name, and both the college rules and the national conference rules state we’re not allowed to share rooms with students. The coaches take one room, and help the students sort themselves out into rooms of three or four with reminders of travel rules, room sharing courtesy, and being ready to compete the next day. It works out for us

  11. Samwise*

    OP #4.

    Even in academia, sharing BEDS is NOT DONE. For one thing, that is just a lawsuit waiting to happen. OMG. What is WRONG with your advisor?

    And worse — sharing a TWIN bed? WTAF, dude???

    If your school has an ombuds, check with them because they will know policies, procedures…and can help you respond to your advisor if this should happen again.

    If there isn’t an ombuds, you can check with HR. Or even the title IX officer — that’s someone who can answer questions for you, without you needing to make any sort of complaint. If you feel uncomfortable doing that (students sometimes do), find a faculty member who is approachable and sane and ask if they could contact HR and/ or the title IX officer for you, leaving your name and identifying info out of the inquiry. I have certainly done that for students over the years.

    1. GradStudent*

      I’m hoping they were planning on getting a roll away bed for the third person. I shudder to think of the logistics of sharing a TWIN BED with a work acquaintance. Or anyone really. I went to an academic conference in the woods where we stayed in bunk houses, but we at least had our own *beds*!

      1. GradStudent*

        Cramming the room full of extra beds is still not great, but at least the mattress to person ratio is 1:1

  12. Purple Cat*

    Sharing a BED?!? Wow, my eyebrows shot up into my hair. Sharing a room is one thing, but an actual bed – nope, nope, nope!

    1. Higher Ed*

      I’m pretty sure they were going to have the hotel bring in a rolling fold-up bed, but still not ideal.

  13. t4ci3*

    #3. I’m sorry you had to deal with that, some people think they’re doing good by intentionally going against what you’ve asked because it’s ‘wrong’. I know that icebreakers have a purpose and some people like them, and for all I know there’s been a study proving they’re beneficial somehow, but the only ‘good’ icebreaker I can think of would be telling the meeting attendees to do something impossible or incomprehensible, resulting in them talking quietly among themselves trying to figure out what it is they’re supposed to do.
    “Everyone, open by colorizing your favourite financial planning strategy as expressed in layout,”

    1. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      That sounds like the decades-past college roommate-matching questionnaire I heard about, which had three questions:

      1) do you smoke?
      2) do you sleep with the window open or closed?
      3) do you prefer your carrots raw or cooked?

      The person who told me about this suspects that it was a weird ice-breaker, in the form of “can you imagine, Residential Life is so stupid that they thought that was a useful question.”

  14. NoIWontFixYourComputer*

    LW3, may I suggest three words to you? “Hostile. Work. Environment”.

    Complain to HR.

    1. Ellis Bell*

      Yeah, I think the manager knows exactly zip about autism and is only ever going to respond to this employee’s requests incorrectly. A lot of untrained people try to deal with autistic needs by treating it the same as a neurotypical employee feeling distressed, and they lean on the very “people skills” to address it that the autistic person finds upsetting. So, speaking in person to find out what to do, rather than understanding (the stated direction!) that OP does NOT want to do that. I think the OP needs to get their accommodations in writing and seriously urge HR to either get the manager up to speed or out of their way. It sounds from OPs response that this is not just an occasional mistake, but a fundamental inability.

  15. Lifeandlimb*

    Death to laborious icebreakers! I’m not autistic and I still think they’re just stressful and nerve wracking.

    1. Ellis Bell*

      I work in SEN (special educational needs), and a common refrain in my field is “What’s good for x, tends to be good for everyone”. So, when we learn to use clearer fonts and avoid glaring background white in texts for dyslexia? That ends up being good for everyone on the room, even if you do have to print an extra page to avoid the squinty font size. When we learn to use direct, literal statements, and avoid sarcasm and confusing idiom for EAL and autistic students? Yep, that ends up being a happier and clearer environment for everyone. We’ve all seen buffets, where after eye rolling about catering food for vegetarians, it ends up being the most popular dish at the event; so much so that there’s none left for the actual vegetarians. I remember an old workplace in a listed building where there was much tutting about putting in a ramp for wheelchair access when it finally became law. Lo, and behold that ramp was used by every person, every day, for everything from trolleys to commuter bikes, to just avoiding the stairs.

      1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

        Yeah! A friend worked as a teacher for children with autism for a while, then transferred to an ordinary school. She insisted on having the same materials as for her previous pupils, and when the headmaster pointed out that her pupils were all neurotypical, she replied that all children did better when she used the techniques she’d learned for children with autism, you shouldn’t have to be neurodivergent to benefit from them.

        And her pupils absolutely love her to bits.

  16. Here for the Insurance*

    The only sense I can make of #4 is because they’re a university, the people in charge got their wires crossed and confused a work conference with Spring Break. Because that’s the only time it’s not super weird to share a twin bed with someone you’re not having sex with or related to.

  17. gawaine*

    Agree with all the comments above to ditch icebreakers, and the stresses that go along with “tell something creative, but not something too creative, etc.”. Focusing on childhood is a terrible thing to do. The number of people on my team, including me, who have significant childhood trauma is huge. If you really have to do something, giving people guidance on creating their elevator speech before the meeting – what’s the three sentences you use to describe yourself, no zaniness or history or uncomfortable truths required – is something useful for people to have anyway. They’ll need it for the phone interview when they look for their next job, that doesn’t require icebreakers.

    On the “they communicated on the phone despite my clear preference for email” – if the LW has a disability and is unable to communicate on the phone, then that’s one thing. If they have a preference, then that’s not the same thing. For communication between people, there are usually different kinds of communications for different things – this it the kind of conversation that would normally happen by video or voice call, and while the LW may not be comfortable with it, it’s not a reasonable expectation for their preference to trump normal ways people do things. Also, if their preference is diametrically opposed to their boss’ communication style, the boss tends to win. So the word “preference” is a problem here.

  18. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

    My spousal unit and I did that or a while as newlyweds, and it was okay for a while, ONLY because we were young, crazy in love, and broke af. Boy, was I thrilled when we were finally able to afford a bigger bed!

    Expecting 3 adults to share a room with 2 twin (twin!) beds is down right abusive imnsho. That boss sounds like a loon. A cheapskate loon!

  19. rebelwithmouseyhair*

    oh yeah totally. I hope she felt excruciatingly bad, but then, since she doesn’t seem to have improved, it obviously wasn’t excruciating enough!
    Empathy ma’am, look it up!

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