new CEO keeps talking about diet and exercise, coworker asks me to cover for him when he’s not really off, and more

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

1. Our new CEO keeps talking about diet and exercise

Our company recently got a new CEO who is very big on health and fitness and has made it his mission to make our employee population healthy in order to reduce the company’s healthcare costs. However, making people healthy translates to making people thin without providing real resources to do so (like subsidized healthy food, extra breaks for walking, access to weight loss medications, etc.). The delivery of his messaging often comes across as fat-shaming. For example, in our holiday employee communication, he wished everyone a happy holiday and then encouraged us to get some exercise. He patrols the lunch room and comments on peoples’ meals. He went on a leadership call and told everyone that they should eat three tangerines a day. He hired an ultramarathoner with no experience in employee health to lead the employee health initiative. This isn’t just some mom and pop company. This is a Fortune 500 healthcare company where people should know better. It is bringing down the morale of my team and making people very uncomfortable.

When I’ve addressed this with my boss, the response is that he’s the CEO and can really do what he wants. Is there a way to encourage change or at least make my team feel better?

Realistically, there’s probably not a lot you can do. You and your coworkers can certainly pass your feedback up through the chain; feedback from one person won’t make a lot of difference but if a bunch of you are all saying the same thing, it might have more on an impact. You can raise it when you’re given opportunities to provide input on the company culture (like if you have regular employee surveys). If you have an equity and inclusion team, you could try raising it with them. But otherwise, it sounds like most of this is just this guy making inane remarks (three tangerines a day?) and yeah, there’s not a lot you can do about that when it’s coming from the CEO, unless at some point he starts crossing legal lines re: discrimination.

2. We still had to work after our coworker died

This situation happened a few years ago, but it is still bothering me. One awful day, while I was at work, we received a phone call that one of my coworkers had unexpectedly died. To say we were devastated was an understatement, as several of us were very close to this coworker. (I, for example, worked right next to her, and also associated with her outside of work.)

My job is NOT the type of industry that is essential and has to remain open — for example, we close in bad weather. However, during this event, they made us stay to work the rest of our shift. It was awful — we had to serve customers while sobbing.

Would I have been justified in refusing to work for the rest of my shift? I chose not to, as I didn’t want more work falling on my other coworkers’ plates but … I wish I had.

Yeah, if the nature of the work didn’t require that you stay open, they should have either closed for the rest of the day or let the people who were most affected leave and run with reduced staffing. And really, even if they didn’t care as empathetic humans, they shouldn’t have wanted customers being served by people who were crying — that’s not good for anyone. And even if they didn’t initially understand how people were affected, they should have changed course once they did.

In a situation like that, it would have been reasonable for you to say, “Jane and I were very close, and this is devastating. I’m not in any shape to work right now and I’m going to need to go home for the rest of the day.” Don’t kick yourself for not doing that though — it can be hard to know what you can and can’t do when you’re dealing with something terrible.

I’m sorry about your friend.

Read an update to this letter. 

3. My coworker is asking me to cover for him on days he’s not really off

I’m hoping you can advise me on how to resolve a situation where I am essentially subsidizing extra PTO for a coworker.

I and another coworker, “Sam,” both report to the same manager. We work in the same function and support the same product family. Sam supports older generations of the product and I support newer ones. We work heavily with our respective project teams for the day-to-day activities and really only work with our manager for performance reviews and occasional updates. Our manager is very hands-off and does not help us get coverage when we take time off.

Whenever Sam takes PTO, he will send me an invite in Outlook letting me know so that I can be back-up while he is out. Typically, if Sam takes a week off, I end up spending about five hours working on his projects. Sam does not back me up when I am out of office because he does not know and does not want to learn the additional functionality for our newer generation products. I have begun to suspect that Sam is reporting less PTO than he actually takes, which is leaving me feeling upset because I have essentially been working extra so that he can have more time off.

When we request PTO, our request system shows the calendar of everyone under our direct manager. When I requested my time off for the Christmas holidays, I noticed that Sam’s requested time on the team calendar was shorter than what he had included on the Outlook invite to me, but I dismissed it as a one time mistake. I recently got an Outlook invite from Sam for his upcoming PTO. That reminded me that we’re getting close to the expiration date for our annual PTO and that I should request my own time off. I opened up our request system and saw that although Sam is planning to be out for five days, he only requested two days.

I have now started to wonder how often this has happened in the past and honestly, I feel used. What should I do here? Should I just let this go or try talking to Sam or our manager?

Start by talking to Sam because that might solve it and also because, if you do need to take it to your manager, it’ll be useful to be able to say you asked Sam directly about it first. Say this: “Do I have the dates of your vacation wrong? I’d thought you needed me to cover you March 6-10, but I saw on the time off calendar that you’ll be gone March 6-7. Do you just need me covering you March 6-7 then?”

If that doesn’t solve it, then you should indeed talk to your manager because it’s directly affecting your workload.

4. If I give months of notice, I can’t take any time off from that point forward

I am a medical professional working at a community health center. I have been there for almost 10 years. Because of personal/family issues which have nothing to do with work, I have decided to relocate to another city in six months. I know that this will happen, it’s not just a “maybe” thing. I am a well-liked provider at the clinic and take on several roles in admin aside from seeing patients.

To give my clinic, coworkers, and patients the maximum amount of time to manage my leaving, I want to tell them as soon as possible. The problem? Organizational policy says that you cannot take any leave “from the time of resignation” and any previous leave that was approved is canceled. I didn’t have any major trips planned or anything, but I don’t want to commit to taking no leave (personal, vacation, medical education, or scheduled sick) for the next six months! The policy states that you must submit resignation at least two months prior to leaving.

I can’t help but feel the incentives are all messed up here. I don’t want to be seeing patients and not be able to tell them my plans. My clinic has a high transition rate, and many of patient patients have had providers “leave on them” before.

The paths forward I see are (1) say nothing and resign two months prior to leaving as per policy, (2) try to have an “off the record” discussion with my manager to navigate the situation (we get along pretty well, but I know she will not be happy I am leaving), or (3) just suck it up and resign and know that the good karma is my reward. Any advice?

Yep, this is a terrible policy because it disincentivizes people from doing the thing that would actually be the most helpful to the organization, other employees, and patients. You should not just suck it up and give up any possibility of taking leave for six months. (Two months is bad enough.)

Whether to do #1 or #2 on your list depends on what you know about your boss and exactly what you mean when you say she won’t be happy you’re leaving. Disappointed or angry/punitive? With some managers, you could have an off-the-record conversation about the situation and know it wouldn’t be held against you in any way. With others, you couldn’t. Unless you know for sure that your manager is in the first group, stick with following the policy that they’ve laid out — give your two months notice and nothing more. After all, that’s what the policy they’ve chosen is telling you they want.

Also, even if your manager is someone who would handle it well, it’s worth asking yourself what she could really do with the info if she has to keep it off the record. If she can’t act on it in any way, there may not be meaningful benefits to having the conversation anyway.

5. I have a great work history but nothing else to put on my resume

By all accounts, I’m a high performer with a wildly successful 20+ year career with a Fortune 50 company. For most of my career, I’ve been fortunate to work on high impact projects, being selected for roles based on my reputation and without really having to interview or even have an up-to-date resume. (I know, I only have first-world problems.)

I’ve been in my current role for about 5 years, and am starting to think about moving on. For the first time, I really need to have a proper resume. However, there’s a problem: I have some gaps that I don’t know how to address. For example, the Education section – I don’t have a college degree, although I have several prestigious industry designations and professional certifications. I also don’t have much in the way of extracurricular activities like mentoring, volunteering, church, or clubs to highlight. I’m just the kind of person who keeps to myself outside of work. I have a few interesting hobbies like travel and crafting, but that doesn’t feel right to include in my professional profile.

So my resume seems overly heavy on job history and results, but it feels light or non-existent on everything else. I want to come across as well rounded, but I’m not sure how to do that based on my situation. Am I thinking about this the wrong way?

Job history and results are the most important thing! In most fields, they’re vastly more important than the other sections. You can skip the outside-of-work stuff entirely, and for education just list the stuff you do have. This isn’t like college applications, where you want to seem well-rounded; you’ll be fine keeping the focus on your work history.

Read an update to this letter.

{ 285 comments… read them below }

  1. Aggretsuko*

    #2: We had a coworker who’d been out of work for a year being ill, but we didn’t know HOW ill. One day circa around the start of open to the public hours, the coworker’s husband called to say she’d died, and didn’t HR tell us (no) and wasn’t anyone going to her funeral…in another hour or two from when he called. So a bunch of full time staff people immediately just ran out of the office to the funeral, really upset and ticked off that HR hadn’t mentioned it.

    We have a bunch of part time employees around so they had people on public service, and I agreed to stay behind because I’d never worked too closely with said coworker and thus we weren’t very close. But all things considered, it was extremely nice of management to let a bunch of the full time staff immediately book out of the office for the rest of the day. They usually would have given us a bunch of crap about how some of us have to stay in the office during service hours in case the part timers have questions/need babysitting had they had notice, I’m sure.

    I’m guessing OP works retail, where it seems like people in charge generally tend to be more heartless, but making a bunch of crying employees work the front counters is so not a good look for that company. JEEEEEEZ.

    1. Jay (no, the other one)*

      I’m a doc. In my last job before I retired, I worked with my best friend’s husband. When my bestie’s dad died she asked me to come to the funeral for moral support. I figured there was no way that could work because of course her husband was also going to be off. I asked my boss anyway because I wanted to tell her I’d tried – and he said “of course.” They managed. It was an ER where coverage is more essential – they moved our appointments and the remaining staff only did urgent visits – but it’s still a coverage-based medical practice and if they can do, almost anyone can.

      1. Daisy*

        Yes, there is always a way to make it work if the management is motivated. Not inconveniencing the management for a few hours off isn’t a good reason.
        It isn’t that long ago that all businesses in western towns would be closed on Sundays.

    2. Observer*

      But all things considered, it was extremely nice of management to let a bunch of the full time staff immediately book out of the office for the rest of the day.

      Nice, but also self interested. I suspect that someone in upper management understood just how bad the PR would be. Especially since this was not a total surprise, in terms of planning. And because HR *knew* and sat on the information, making it impossible for anyone to work out what coverage should look like.

    3. SaffyTaffy*

      This happened to me in high school! Our wonderful language teacher would be out for weeks at a time, come back for a few days, be out again. Nobody would tell us why. The last time I saw him he was deep yellow. And then he died, and it turned out he had been asked not to talk about it to us. His wife, God bless her, was furious about that and basically told anyone who would listen. We didn’t have any kind of memorial for him, either. It was absolutely heartless and stupid, and it really stuck with me, that people need these communal events when something happens, we need to grieve together just like we celebrate together.

      1. Sam*

        Geez. I had a math teacher that was diagnosed with cancer and eventually passed away from it. Our school had a nice memorial for her and made sure to make known that counseling was available for any students who wanted it.

        1. Observer*

          That’s the basic minimum that a school should do.

          I have no words (at least that I could use here) for @SaffyTaffy s old school.

    4. Bluesheart*

      My best friend used to work at my firm, that is how we became friends, everyone knew that we were friends, she died unexpectedly, and I went to work the next day after I told my boss the news, she told me that I could home which I did and I really needed that.

    5. Baby Yoda*

      Years ago a manager’s spouse passed away and the entire branch went to the funeral. One of the employee’s spouse came in and answered phones for the day. Also Corporate sent representatives.

    6. Anon this time*

      I work in higher ed, and at a former employer they put the university flag at half mast when an employee dies. It’s a really simple and beautiful gesture to honor a beloved coworker.

    7. goddessoftransitory*

      If somebody helping me was openly crying I would be incredibly concerned! And horrified if I heard what had happened.

    8. Beautiful Tropical Fish*

      In 2020, a longtime coworker of mine died after a long illness. We work in an environment where things can’t easily be stopped or shut down for the day without other branches having to take on a significant burden (think health-adjacent, like a pathology clinic).
      Because of the pandemic, the funeral was live-streamed since only a handful of people could attend in person. At short notice, our branch manager organised the roster in such a way that anyone who wanted to attend was able to do so, cut back on appointments so that the staff who weren’t attending the funeral weren’t inundated with customers (many of the staff at the time had started there after the coworker had gone on medical leave and so never met her), and set up our meeting room with chairs and flowers and a photo of our coworker. We were able to sit there and watch the funeral and have a little wake, then head back to work, or head home, depending on who was rostered for what.
      It was really nice. Many of our customers knew the staff member so there was lots of love and support from them when we went back to work.

      In another situation when I was in my early 20s I worked front of house in a theatre and we had a colleague die suddenly (everyone in our team apart from our manager was under 30 so it was very shocking). We were notified by our manager when we arrived for work, and of course we could not cancel the show (it was a big Broadway show with 1500 patrons in that night), so we had to soldier on. We were all given a little packet of tissues and a hug and told to do our best. At the beginning of the show, there was an announcement that the show that night was dedicated to our co-worker. At intermission, almost every patron came up to at least one of us and told us how good a job we were doing and how sorry they were.

      I can’t imagine being made to work through something like that if it wasn’t absolutely necessary to do so.

  2. SilkRoadDog*

    #3 happens more than people know. I used to work for my ex-BiL in a side business he had in addition to his safety job at a major utility. No one in his division understood his job completely nor did he have direct supervision, so when he wanted time off for some reason, like his side biz, he’d tell his office that he was teaching a safety class in the field. Since he taught across divisions that generally don’t talk to each other on a field level, there was no real way to check and see if he really was. When he eventually left, it looked like he had never taken more than a few sick or vacation days in something like 10 years and was able to cash it all out!

    1. Pennyworth*

      The bosses at my first job did something similar – they would fill out their paper leave forms and get them signed by their boss, say they would deliver them to HR then ”forget” and leave them in their desk drawer when they went on leave. Leave had been approved but was never recorded. It was an open secret and they were so confident of getting away with it they never locked their offices or drawers. I often felt like grabbing the stack of forms and sending them to HR, but the rot went through the whole organization, so I expect one of their friends would have made sure they got the forms back.

      1. ED123*

        My former boss lived walking distance from work and would leave early and come back “to pick up papers from office” later in the evening and to clock out and collect hours so she could use overtime hours for days off.

    2. Shiba Dad*

      This reminds me of a Facility Director at a public school district that we dealt with years ago at an old job. He had a side business and would leave in the middle of the day to do work for that business.

      That stopped when the district got a new Superintendent. She didn’t allow this like her predecessor did and the Facility Director quit so he could continue working his side business.

    3. Charlotte Lucas*

      I had a manager with 2 desks in 2 different buildings. It did not take long to figure out that some days she told people in each building that she was working at the other location that day & just didn’t bother to come in. (This was back when what you could do at home was pretty limited. And she wasn’t doing much anyway.)

      Tbh, she was terrible & we were perfectly happy when she didn’t show up.

      She eventually got moved around the company until someone finally got fed up enough to fire her.

      1. Generic Name*

        I had a boss do something similar. He told the folks in the office he was helping the field crew with something after an on site meeting and he told the field crew he was really busy and had to head back to the office after the on site meeting. When the field crew got back to the office, one of the office guys made a snarky comment about us needing bosses help. It was very interesting when everyone realized that boss had lied and just skipped out for the day.

      2. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

        That reminded me that when I was in High School the Latin Teacher figured out that me taking Latin I with 7th graders when I had just done 3 years of Spanish was less than challenging, so she and the French Teacher next door put me in the tiny Linguistics class with the seniors too. So, I’d just go to the class that I did the homework for.

      3. Venus*

        I had a prof who did this, except that he had a third desk in a small room without windows where he went to escape students and get real work done. He was very approachable, helpful, and had an open-door policy most of the time so this wasn’t a jerk move, rather sometimes he really needed to concentrate and because he was so helpful he often had visitors if he was visibly at his desk.

    4. Apples and oranges*

      I had a co-worker ask me how to enter her leave form – two years after she transferred into our department.

      Meaning that for all the times she took four,five, ten days off at a stretch she never filled in a leave form.

  3. Artemesia*

    For the coverage issue — what shouts out here is that YOU don’t have coverage and there is no one but you to cover for him. I would be talking with your boss about the important of cross training for him (and maybe someone else for both you and him). And find out the deal on his excess coverage requests to include in that discussion e.g. I don’t have anyone who covers, I am covering Fred repeatedly and he is asking me to cover when he is not actually taking PTO. This isn’t sustainable. How can we make sure he is cross trained on my job to provide me with back up

    1. HonorBox*

      Absolutely! This was the biggest thing to me, too. That’s the place to start with your boss… your coworker actively choosing not to learn so he doesn’t have to provide the same sort of coverage you do? Not only are you doing more work (the coverage for his PTO … or whatever time off bucket he is dipping into), when you take PTO, you’re still doing all your work when you return because no one is there to cover you. What if you found a new position and left? They’d be stuck with no coverage until you were replaced. That’s not a good system.

      I’d schedule a meeting with the boss and indicate that you’re concerned that no one is trained to cover you when you’re out. I’m sure boss will respond that your coworker should be providing coverage. Let boss know that they’re refusing to do so and refusing to learn how. And then if you have a chance, slide in that you’re providing coverage for PTO days that your coworker is requesting…like the five days coming up that he’ll be gone (when you know it is two). If you just say the number that your coworker asked you to cover, when different from what the boss may know about / have approved, you’re not tattling. You’re simply stating a fact. You were asked to cover five days when you know he only requested two.

    2. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

      Agreed! It’s a problem that LW3 has nobody to back them up because the coworker refuses to learn stuff! What if the LW wins the lottery tomorrow and quits? Does the manager know that the coworker isn’t providing coverage for the LW?

      I’m also curious why they have one person for older versions and one person for newer versions, rather than having two people who can do both? Maybe there’s an excellent reason I don’t know, but it seems odd to me. Is the coworker generally a Missing Stair and the powers that be have decided it’s not worth fighting with him on this?

    3. kiki*

      Yes, I also think this is a solid way to bring up the issue if LW is worried about calling out Fred’s potential scheme directly. Bring up the need for cross-training. When manager says, “Oh, Fred isn’t out that much!” list some of the dates in question Fred’s had off so manager notices that they’re different than what manager had recorded.

      1. EvilQueenRegina*

        And if manager does argue that he isn’t out that much, it’s kinda not the point anyway – what if he quits, or suddenly needs long term sick leave, and there are any days in there when OP can’t cover? Manager is going to have to sort that somehow, so I’d say a definite yes to Artemesia’s suggestion of cross training a third party to cover both roles.

        (The time when failure to cross train on one team set off a chain of events leading to two resignations on another team is a long story and possibly an extreme example, but it happened at my job.)

      2. Carol the happy elf*

        I dealt with this guy’s twin; we called him Goobert. There were 4 of us, but 2 were out of the office much of the time, visiting other facilities (really.) I complained about it, but “nothing was done”. (Note the passive way of putting that….)
        When I complained to a military friend, she gave me a trick that works when nothing is done.
        (Make sure to up-chain the problem, as well, but this one is a personal solution.)
        As soon as the scheduling comes out with his official PTO, (and I’m just guessing that he takes it midweek, too?) sandwich his official days with days of your own. To really channel Machiavelli, if he states Tuesday/Wednesday, then he’s planning Monday, too- so you have a podiatry appointment on Monday. Schedule it immediately, so he can’t pull his disappearing act. Make it in the afternoon.
        If his official PTO is Wednesday/ Thursday, then he’s planning for the whole weekend- so you preempt Friday afternoon to have a dental cleaning.
        If you can sandwich his days with yours, so much the better. The goal here is to get him looking sneaky snd inept. Because he is sneaky and inept.
        This way is official, because you can do it any time before he sends his under-the-radar message, and when he tries to trample your dental cleaning or ingrown toenail minor surgery, you can expose his message scheme up the chain.
        This is a general template, but it has worked for me a few satisfying times.

  4. ButtonUp*

    For #4 I wonder if it would be tenable to start informally letting people know that you’re probably leaving within the next year but haven’t given your formal notice yet with a firm date nailed down. Then your patients and coworkers can start mentally adjusting while knowing that they will get 2 months notice before it really happens. From how it’s described, I don’t think it sounds like that would be against the letter or even the spirit of the policy.

    1. Kloe*

      That sounds like a good way to be without job on the employer’s timetable instead of the employee’s.

      1. Kloe*

        In addition, it also sounds like a good way to get no PTO at all, since they’ll be “leaving soon”.

    2. JSPA*

      Even if you’re not religious: “I am hoping I don’t have to leave to provide supportive care for my parents, but I’m afraid it’s in G-d’s hands” is a really effective way to a) inform patients and coworkers of the possibility while b) giving them really no grounds to fire you, retaliate, feel abandoned, etc.

      Even if you’re checking out housing out of state, and taking extended vacation time, people will tend to be extra sympathetic (within the bounds of what’s possible for them).

      1. Scrimp*

        I don’t know what that would mean. If my Dr (or a coworker) said something like that to me, I’d mostly be confused.

        1. JSPA*

          It means, they could get sicker or less coping in ways that are unpredictable and unpreventable. Have you not ever had coworkers with older, sicker parents, who were not independently wealthy, nor in a country where elder care is somehow arranged by the state? This seems to me a situation that most people would recognize, at least by proxy, unless they work in a startup where everyone is under 30, or a country where there’s someone to assess, provide housing and care, help with transitions… and even then, downsizing and moving into assisted care and selling the house and getting documents in order can take months of at least one child (or grandchild’s) time.

        2. Irish Teacher*

          It just means “I don’t have control over this.” In this case, “I don’t have control over the timing.”

        3. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          And I’d be seriously put off – I don’t have religious relationships with my doctor (or my coworkers), so “I dunno, it’s in god’s hands” would probably have me looking for a new doctor anyway. Which would address the problem, sort of, but not the way the LW meant. :-P

        4. Nesprin*

          If my doctor made comments about literally anything being in god’s hands, that would be the last time they were anywhere near my care.

      2. Silvia*

        I would find anyone non-religious claiming “it’s in God’s hands” to be bizarre in the extreme! That’s not “really effective”, it is confusing, misleading, dishonest and deeply inappropriate.

        If a healthcare professional said this to me, I would think they were being very inappropriate, bringing their family and God into a professional situation in this way.

        What a deeply odd comment.

      3. fine tipped pen aficionado*

        This approach would be really successful in some regions and the opposite in others. It’s probably best to just follow the policy and accept that there are some harms and inconveniences it’s actually not in your power to prevent, even if it feels like it should be.

        1. NeedRain47*

          Not everyone in the “bible belt” actually thinks like this, try some compassion for the rest of us. If I said this I hope someone would have me committed, it’s so unlike me. And if a medical professional said it to me I’d get up and walk out.

          1. fine tipped pen aficionado*

            Also a bible belt resident and I have had plenty of medical professionals say stuff like this to me; people of all professions say stuff like this because it’s really just a rote turn of phrase in this area. The culture is deeply homogenous and even if you aren’t part of the dominant group, you get very used to the way they are. The “some regions” I identified were ones I have experienced. You can safely assume you were in the “other regions” if it is not your experience.

            I am not at all advocating for leaning into the dominance of this culture in the bible belt, as I explicitly agreed with Alison’s advice. I am sorry you are having a rough time where you live, though.

      4. DataSci*

        If my doctor started talking about God with me I would be somewhere between creeped out and offended. I want them to believe in the power of modern medicine. (Which is not to say that people can’t be religious and believe in science and medicine! Just that “Oh well, it’s up to God” is not what I want my doctor to say in a medical context.) “…but we’re not sure yet” or “…but we’ll have to wait and see” would be FAR better at not alienating patients.

      5. Malarkey01*

        I would be incredibly shocked and uncomfortable if my medical doctor said something along the lines of idk it’s in gods hands about a medical situation, and not because I’m uncomfortable with people generally expressing religious comments…. But a doctor talking about medical issues in the vague religious language is not good.

        Similarly to Homeland Security Secretary Ridge saying there hasn’t been an attack knock on wood.

      6. I'm Just Here For the Cats!*

        This sounds like it is crossing a line with the health provider and patient relationship. As a health provider (whether op is a nurse practitioner, counselor, doctor, etc) they should not be talking about personal information like this with clients. It’s one thing to have small talk but saying Its in God’s hands if OP has to leave to care for family is wrong. Plus you might get those clients that will cross boundaries and start asking all sort of questions.

        I understand wanting to give patients the most time to prepare but really at any time a provider could leave for any number of reasons.

    3. Varthema*

      I was thinking this. It’s not normally advisable at all, but if the OP is actually considering giving 6 months’ formal notice, “I’m resigning in a few months” would be preferable to that. It sounds like it wouldn’t technically run afoul of the PTO rule since they won’t have resigned yet, and that way they can start mentioning it to patients whom they may not see again in the interim, which sounds like the main (understandable) reason why the OP would like to give so much notice.

    4. Snow Globe*

      I wouldn’t do this unless there were clearly actionable things that the manager could do with the information. The manager can’t start a hiring process if they don’t know the timeline, and patients likely won’t want to switch doctors while their current doctor is still here, so I’m not sure of the benefit? But there could definitely be negative repercussions.

      1. Varthema*

        This could be reading too much into it, but from the info OP gave us I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch – this is a community health center, so it could well be patients who don’t go to find another doctor; this center is their main or only access to healthcare, so they’ll get passed on to whomever is available. So based on the OP’s comment about patients feeling abandoned and karma, my sense was that the benefit for the patient is psychological – the dignity of being told in person, have their concerns listened to, perhaps even of witnessing their own handoff (Cersei, this is Dr. B who will be seeing you next time; Dr. B, Cersei has recently been experiencing x which we’re keeping an eye on …). This in turn would have a positive effect on the patient’s trust in their medical care, which can be a real issue in certain communities.
        I don’t disagree that in any other situation it’d be too damaging without any real benefit to give extra notice, but doctors often hold themselves to different standards in their workplace than other workers, which is good and admirable. It’s absurd that doing the best thing in this case brings with it a totally arbitrary punishment for doing something that would be helpful to literally everybody, so I think sticking to a 2-month notice would be totally understandable. My comment was only for if the LW just really can’t see their way to doing that (and also can’t negotiate a waiver of that policy in return for their extra notice).

        1. Jay (no, the other one)*

          It is different for us (I’m also a doc) and that’s one of the reasons we usually have long required notice periods. Every job I’ve had has had a 90-day notice period. I resigned from a job in 2016 and told them I was still taking my planned week of vacation – since my boss had already stopped talking to me, I figured that bridge was burned anyway.

          When I left primary care in 2009 to work in hospice, I had patients I’d been seeing for 15 years. I gave my 90 days notice and the administration did not let me start telling patients until a month before I left, so I had visits with people where it was the last visit and I couldn’t tell them that. It was AWFUL. I have no idea why they did that and it did have negative implications – a number of my patients left when they got the letter announcing my departure. I feel for OP. I’d like to suggest a negotation before a formal resignation – “I intend to resign and I’d like to start the transition process. I can give you more notice if I can take xyz leave” – but I have a feeling they’ll say “no” and take that conversation as the resignation date. It totally sucks.

          When I retired in 2021, I told my boss six months ahead of time. I took PTO before I formally resigned 90 days before my end date and did not take any PTO after that, with the result that I cashed out two weeks of vacation when I left. My last day was December 29 and we spent that money on a January trip to Florida, so I have no complaints.

          1. Mockingjay*

            I’ve never understood why some companies and/or managers will not allow a departing employee to notify anyone. It makes no sense. People come and go at jobs – it’s a very NORMAL thing and not directed at the boss or company. Open notice gives time for project or case handover, allows coworkers to ask questions and get up to speed if they are taking over some/all of your duties until someone else is hired, gives you time to document any final procedures, notify long-time clients…

            No advice here; I’ve encountered this same situation and couldn’t solve it then.

            1. doreen*

              In some circumstances it makes no sense – but there are others where it does. For example, where customers/clients/patients will follow the employee to their new job which means the original employer will lose that business.

            2. MassMatt*

              It’s beyond forbidding notifying anyone, they are demanding months of notice (which might be normal in their field/region, I don’t know) but being punitive with PTO.

              I can see not wanting a situation where someone says “I’m giving two weeks notice. Oh, and my two week vacation starts tomorrow” but in this case it seems as though they expect everyone to just screw themselves out of PTO while giving every benefit to the company. It isn’t fair, and they deserve to have it blow up in their face.

      2. Smithy*

        Ultimately, I think this is one of those reasons why networking is important. Because I’m sure there are ways to do this at this specific employer that work better and those that work worse. Same for the OP’s supervisor.

        While assuming “everyone will be reasonable” isn’t a bad stance to have, what’s reasonable to some in terms of bending the rules will make someone else feel at risk of being out of compliance with their supervisor. And going from the same perspective of “everyone will be reasonable, I just want to be above board with my supervisor.”

        I have a friend who’s a federal employee, and while she may be a bit more extra in terms of being compliant with rules (my father was also one, and I know he wasn’t like this), I get that it comes from a place of doing what makes her feel like she has double checks in place. For example, despite her phone not being assigned by work, she doesn’t allow it to automatically connect to WiFi, even in her home. At home it’s the same WiFi she uses for work with a VPN, and is just cautious if that “means anything”.

        Now I’m not an IT expert, neither is she, and ultimately this is just something that impacts her personal life. But I think it’s a helpful reminder in the comfort level different people have when it comes to rules and how they change different individuals’ behavior “just to make sure.” So while we can play linguistic lawyers on the internet – I think the OP would really be best off networking about how people work this at this specific place and with that supervisor.

    5. SheLooksFamiliar*

      If I were OP4, I wouldn’t give my employer one extra minute of notice than necessary. The employer’s policy – real or implied – means OP loses time she’s entitled to use. A lot can happen in 6 months, and this isn’t an employer I’d trust to be reasonable or understanding about an unexpected illness, a long weekend, a half day off to wait for the plumber, etc.

      While I feel for OP’s patients, I’m sure the coworkers will cope; OP can share her reasons as she sees fit. As for management, let them deal with the fallout from the lousy policy they support. If they can’t ‘adjust’ that’s their problem, not OP’s.

      1. Hannah Lee*

        I’m with you on that. While OP might want to do something helpful for the people the practices services, the practices own policies discourage it … and in kind of a punitive way. It sounds a bit like there was that ONE time that someone was unprofessional about giving notice and then taking time off and the organization overreacted with a ridiculous and inflexible policy.

        The organization itself has decided to structure its time off and notice, employee leaving policies in such a way as to prioritize punishing departing employees and working them as hard as possible during their leave over letting the operation run smoothly in a way that benefits patients. LW can’t change that.

        I’d also note that there are likely some management issues around how they manage work schedules and time off allotments for ALL employees, even those who haven’t given their notice. Because if someone had accumulated enough leave to be problematic once they gave their notice, their manager was likely not paying attention to their accruals or was disincentivizing employees from using it on an ongoing basis (a great way to burn out your employees so they wind up giving their notice)

  5. Limdood*

    OP #4, why not take all your PTO now-ish? Get it in, get it taken, then give them all the notice they can handle. If you need additional days off between the end of your PTO and your leaving…. You take them. Unpaid of course, but you take them and let go of any guilt about taking them. They already don’t want to lose you, it seems unlikely they’d… Push you out faster because you took time off you needed?

    Hopefully that will keep you from losing PTO you earned as part of your compensation package, AND it should give extra time to coworkers (who, even if you trust, they don’t have the same stake in keeping their mouth shut that you do. If they accidentally spill that you’re leaving early, they could cost you, well hundreds of dollars+ worth of PTO).

    Or just give the minimum possible notice as Allison said. If their policies discourage you from making things easier on the company, well… They made those policies, they can deal with the fallout

  6. coffee*

    LW1 – that sounds incredibly uncomfortable to have to listen to. I think you can support your team by indicating that they don’t have to listen to the boss at all, especially since it sounds like it’s just him spouting off nonsense rather than any actual action required from them? And reiterate your support for any actual useful things you can do, like making it straightforward for them to access their sick leave allowances.

    Also, three mandarins a day?? So specific it’s ridiculous.

    1. LegoGirl*

      The first thing I thought of when I read that was this past weekend, my ultrarunning spouse suddenly announced they have decided if they eat more than 1 tangerine in a day they think it upsets their stomach into multiple bathroom trips. Probably not what the CEO had in mind for getting more exercise!

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        I immediately thought of Rodney McKay’s citrus allergy. And how he’d respond to said CEO.

        1. Whotels?*

          Man, it’s been forever since I’ve seen a reference to Stargate Atlantis. And I always had a soft spot for Rodney, mostly because he grew and changed over the course of the show. Thank you for that delightful nerdery this morning!

        2. ClaireW*

          Haha I have a citrus allergy and I was amazed to see an actual TV character with it too, even if Rodney wasn’t exactly the coolest character on the show :P

        3. SarahKay*

          Ha, that was what sprang to my mind too – great to see another Stargate Atlantis fan here.
          I’m guessing response would be a rant telling CEO precisely how wrong, wrong, wrong (and also stupid) CEO is. And I’d like to think that Rodney’s popularity would improve significantly after word of the rant got round.
          Alas, I don’t see it working for OP, though.

          1. USS George Hammond*

            Trouble is, Rodney McKay was an Einstein- or Oppenheimer- or Crick-level genius, someone who is irreplacable and can get away with unhinged rants that mere mortals cannot. Cf. Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, etc.

      2. SaffyTaffy*

        @LegoGirl I completely cut out citrus when I was training for my ultra- horrible. But that’s just it. People who do ultras don’t eat like normal people, and I’d hope anyone who is into them understands that. And employee health is such a broad topic, it’s stuff like lightings, access to ergonomic workspaces, noise pollution, access to healthcare, PTO…

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          ASTHMA. I have asthma and honestly, when I hear this kind of “one size fits all” cluelessness about everybody jogging on their lunch hour I want to go and wheeze by their desk for an hour.

          1. I have RBF*

            I’m disabled – mobility impaired, in fact. Plus I’m long term fat. This guy’s garbage would seriously irritate me. I have heard just about every bit of quack “science” on the subject of weight loss, exercise and wellness, and it’s just f’ing bunk.

      3. Dust Bunny*

        Yeah, I’m sensitive to/mildly allergic/something like that, to oranges and if I ate three mandarins a day I’d just have to move into the restroom.

      4. goddessoftransitory*

        I can cheerfully eat an entire bag of mandarins because I adore them, but I don’t go around measuring everybody’s rate of mandarin devouring!

    2. CEO Sucks*

      I’m sure my friend who can’t have any citrus at all (due to medication conflicts) would LOVE to hear from the head honcho about how she needs to eat something that could kill her three times a day!

    3. fine tipped pen aficionado*

      Love to get medical advice from a dude with no expertise or knowledge of my body and health. I don’t have anything useful to add I’m just really frustrated with this nonsense.

    4. TomatoSoup*

      I agree that OP telling their team that they don’t agree with the CEO can help a lot. If nothing else, they don’t have to worry that OP will start tracking their daily tangerine intake or otherwise support the CEO’s whackadoodle ideas. Maybe OP can manufacture some urgent issue to get them out of attending meeting where this will come up?

    5. EmmaPoet*

      If I ate three tangerines a day I’d end up living in Urgent Care half the month because citrus is a huge migraine trigger for me.

    6. WillowSunstar*

      That’s bizarre and doesn’t take into account the fact people may have medical reasons not to eat specific things (food allergies, for example).

      I’m hypothyroid so have put up with fat phobic comments for literally decades, but am so glad we are now WFH permanently, so at least the food police are gone. At least, until we get another CEO that changes their mind and makes us come back in years from now.

      If it were me, I would just leave for lunch whenever possible.

    7. higheredadmin*

      LW1, I just feel for you. As I sit at my desk and eat the world’s largest almond croissant, because I want to and it is my business as to what I eat.

    8. goddessoftransitory*

      If anybody comments on my lunch it better be “looks delicious! Can I get the recipe?”

      Otherwise I don’t care if I’m eating an entire sheet cake; button it.

  7. John Smith*

    Re #4, I just don’t understand how that works or even why. In every organisation I’ve worked for, outstanding leave entitlement is factored in pro rata, meaning the last working day is a few days before the official last day of employment. Is your employer giving cash in lieu of leave not taken? Sounds like a crappy policy really.

    1. londonedit*

      That’s interesting – so you’re saying you’ve always had to take any outstanding leave as the last few days of your notice period? That’s been possible everywhere I’ve worked, with agreement from the boss of course, but far more usually any outstanding leave (pro rata) is paid out in your last salary payment.

      1. Rainbow*

        Yes, I worked in a place that did this to save money. You had to take all your remaining holiday during your notice period. (And they kind of made me do work on those days anyway.) The place was penny-pinching in all sorts of ways.

      2. Lirael*

        I think you’re UK too? I’ve never had a payout of annual leave, it’s always been work out what your entitlement is and stick any days off at the end. So you get last working day (final day in the office) and last day of service (final day they pay you). (Or if you’ve taken too much leave have it taken off your final pay.) FWIW though I’ve always worked in public sector orgs so they’re not throwing cash around at leavers!

        1. londonedit*

          Interesting! I’ve always been private sector (publishing) and my experience has been that companies would rather pay out your remaining leave. It probably is a public/private sector thing! As I said, you can definitely negotiate to use holiday as part of your notice period but I don’t think it’s as common as just getting the money in your final pay packet.

          1. bamcheeks*

            Yes, the public sector is generally very reluctant to “pay out leave”, although in practice it’s exactly the same thing and the only difference is how it’s accounted. So whenever I’ve given notice (NHS and education), I’ve said, “I’m leaving, my last working day will be Friday 13th Sept, can you tell me how much leave I’ll be entitled to?” And HR have said, “you have two weeks’ leave left, so if you finish on the 13th your actual last day will be the 27th.” And it’s been fine to either start the new job on Monday 16th Sept, or any day thereafter.

            1. Lily Rowan*

              People at my private-sector US job do that, too, and the upside for the employee is that your heath insurance coverage lasts longer, which may be important, depending on what you are doing next.

            1. londonedit*

              That does sound like maybe it’s a difference in terminology. I’ve never been able to tack on annual leave after my notice period – it’s always been ‘I’m giving my month’s notice, I’d like my last day to be Monday 20th March’ and then it’ll be ‘OK so I have two days’ annual leave left to use, how about we say my last day in the office is Thursday 16th and I take the 18th and 20th as holiday’. Or, if I don’t do that, then the two days’ leave will be included in my final salary payment.

              1. I am Emily's failing memory*

                It sounds like the difference could come into play if someone had a large amount of leave banked – more than a full pay period. So if you have 4 weeks banked and a 2 week pay cycle, a payout could have you getting 6 weeks pay on your final check, while tacking the leave onto the end would have you continue to receive your final 2 checks at 2 weeks and 4 weeks after your last day.

                1. londonedit*

                  True, but here in the UK most people are paid monthly and it’s unlikely you’d have more than a month’s holiday accrued when you leave a job.

                2. doreen*

                  That’s where it makes a very big difference. My last two jobs allowed me to accrue a very high vacation balance. The one I retired from last year paid a lump sum for 30 days worth of vacation leave and didn’t pay out any other sort of leave , so I had to take off about 15 days between when I decided to retire and my actual last day. The one I left in 1994 did not pay out leave – they put you on “terminal leave” until you exhausted all leave of any type and I was on the payroll and kept my health insurance for about six weeks after my last day at work. During which I earned another vacation day or two and the time was extended by two or three paid holidays.

          2. Editor Emeritus*

            I was UK civil service and my remaining leave was paid out. It was only a few days, so I don’t know if that matters. We weren’t allowed to carry over more than 5-10 days anyway, so payouts would not have been huge with normal turnover.

            1. londonedit*

              Yeah we’re only allowed to carry over 5 days and they have to be used in the first three months of the following year (our holiday year follows the calendar year), so unless you’ve taken hardly any holiday and you leave in the latter part of the year, there won’t be a lot of holiday to pay out.

              1. bamcheeks*

                Facebook has just reminded me that the leave policy at my old job was “leave year ends 31st March, but you can carry over an unspecified amount of days as long as you use them up by the end of the week in which Easter Monday falls”. Literally nobody understood it.

                1. Emmy Noether*

                  Sounds like someone wanted to be able to use last year’s leave for easter holidays!

                  My old workplace used to have leave year end Dec. 31st, and then sometime in December announce we could carry over to, for example, Jan. 4th… except the 1st is a holiday, and that year the 2nd and 3rd were on a weekend… so one could take exactly only the 4th as carryover. The extension never amounted to more than 1 or 2 days every year. Better than nothing, but they always made it sound so unbelievably generous in the announcement, and then it was… one day.

                2. BethDH*

                  Did/do schools there take spring break at Easter? That used to be the norm in the US (call it spring break to be “inclusive” but it’s always at Easter).
                  If our new year started then and we had to accumulate leave before using it, I’d be pretty annoyed to have to take a bunch of leave randomly in late winter only to have none at the time I really needed it to cover school closures.

                3. londonedit*

                  In England schools close for half term for a week in February, and then for two weeks at Easter (depending on where Easter falls it’ll either be the two weeks leading up to Easter, with Easter in the middle, or two weeks after Easter). This year, for example, our company policy of using last year’s taken-over days by the end of March is actually really annoying because Easter is the first week of April, so you can’t save your 2022 days and use them for the Easter break. So maybe that is what the policy bamcheeks mentioned was trying to get at – you have to use any taken-over leave by Easter, basically, just in case Easter falls after 31 March.

                4. EvilQueenRegina*

                  Just because I’m curious, how did they handle that if Easter Monday fell before 31st March – just picturing the looks on their faces if someone tried to argue that they could use them up by Easter Monday the following year, because the way that’s worded wouldn’t leave that company much leg to stand on to refuse!

    2. I should really pick a name*

      Perhaps that’s specific to your industry?

      Automatically taking leave at the end definitely isn’t standard.
      Some companies encourage you to use up your leave. Some pay it out. Some basically say use it or lose it (depending on where you live, the employer isn’t even obligated to pay out any unused leave).

      Agree that it’s a crappy policy.

      1. Nina*

        I’m not in the US – where I live it’s the law (overriding any company policies) that you get four weeks of leave a year, you have to be allowed to use all of it (so ‘use it or lose it’ policies aren’t enforceable, all a company can do is say ‘hey you have to use x much leave before the end of the year please mkay’) and any leave you have left over as of your last day, and any public holidays that would fall in the period of that leave if you had taken it in one continuous run starting on your last day, get paid out in your final paycheck.

        I left my last job with seven weeks of leave (it was a crazy environment, I took like three weeks off in the three years I was there, including Christmases), and yes, I made sure I got paid out every cent.

    3. ecnaseener*

      Keep in mind that depending on where OP is located, there may not be any legal requirement to pay out remaining vacation time at all.

    4. I'm Just Here For the Cats!*

      Not all states have rules that they have to pay out PTO at the end of the term. I don’t even know if its illegal to refuse PTO and not pay it out.

    5. Really?*

      In the US, paying out PTO upon resignation is at the option of the employer. No law mandates that it is paid. Generally it is paid in the case of a layoff, but in other cases it is based upon that company’s policy. Many companies do not roll over unused PTO either. My company, for example, is a “use it or lose it” company; unused PTO does not roll over to the following year. As a result, frequently all of the staff are taking unused PTO the last week of December!

      1. Becky*

        Some states may have PTO payout laws. California law for example does mandate that unused, earned PTO MUST be paid out. Which may play into some companies opting for “unlimited PTO” which then is not “earned” into a bank of hours so therefore no pay-out.

  8. Bob Howard*

    4: Do you have an actual contract with your employer? Is there any way they can enforce the 2 month requirement? What is the actual worst case possibility if you just give 2 week’s notice? It may be worth balancing the effects on your colleagues and patients against the effects of this policy on yourself.

    1. Sopranohannah*

      I’m wondering if there are different expectations since the LW is a provider. I know a lot of states make doctors give reasonable notice to their patients, so that they can find other providers. Some states have pretty strict requirements on how that notice has to be given.

    2. Empress Ki*

      Even if she was not legally required to give 2 months notice, they could still “punish” her by not giving her a good reference. I wouldn’t risk it, especially if they have employed her for 10 years.

    3. Larval_Doctor*

      In medicine, 2 months notice is actually pretty short and contracts are very common. (My own notice period is 90 days). The worst case possibility for 2 weeks notice is jail time for patient abandonment if there’s not enough time to hire at least a locum tenens replacement.

        1. New Jack Karyn*

          This surprised me, too! Then I remembered that Sweden (for example) holds libel to be a criminal offense, with jail time of up to two years. I don’t know if you’re in the US, but I am–and sometimes I’m struck by the differences in legal systems throughout the world.

    4. Swiss Miss*

      This is common. I work at a very similar type of clinic albeit probably as a different type of provider, because my contract dictates 45 days notice. Depending on your role at my clinic it’s anywhere between 45-90 days. And yes it’s contractual.

      1. Can Can Cannot*

        What is a typical penalty for breaking the contracted notice period? Financial penalty? Or something else?

    5. Observer*

      In medicine, as a *provider*?

      It’s not just a matter of hiring a temp (which is essentially what a locum tenens is, in layman’s terms.) When a practitioner leaves a practice, patients need to be informed. And, especially in more typical cases where the practitioner leaves to start their own practice or to join a different practice, the current practice is best off letting people know and giving them a chance to have their records transferred to the new practice. I don’t know if it’s legally required, but I’ve seen it every time a long standing practitioner in good standing left a practice.

      1. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

        I’m still angry when I’m reminded that the neurologist I’d been seeing was fired from the hospital where he’d been practicing, and they would not tell me how to reach him, or even that he was still in New York, only offered me a choice of two or three other doctors to start seeing instead.

        Googling enabled me to find him, at an office about a mile from the old one, where he was sharing space with some cardiologists, so I started seeing him there. Fortunately, there aren’t a lot of people named “Brian Apatoff.”

  9. Rainbow*

    LW4: once I gave more notice than I needed to. I will never do that again. They tried to illegally fire me early(!) and I had to firmly tell them I knew my rights. Then they put me on gardening leave without being able to say bye to most people (this is not normal in my country). I was not particularly close with my manager, but had no indication beforehand the company was going to be like that.

    1. Bast*

      I have unfortunately worked in too many jobs where you give 2 weeks and they tell you to just leave and not come back. Some managers seem to take quitting VERY personally and I’ve gotten read the riot act for quitting. (“Weren’t we good to you here? I can’t believe you’d turn your back on us like that after all we’ve done for you. You’ll just never be satisfied anywhere.”) After that experience I will give 2 weeks and nothing else. At that particular time I had given a month’s notice to try to help them find a replacement, but all they could focus on was me “turning my back” on them. We do not have contracts or anything where I live, but I wouldn’t be surprised if people in that company started giving no notice… and they won’t be able to guess why.

    2. Colorado*

      I have to ask what “gardening leave” means because if my job said you get to go garden instead of work, I’m in! ;-)

      1. New Jack Karyn*

        Basically, yes! You get paid for the time but don’t have to come in. Kinda like severance. I don’t know if one is allowed to begin a new job in that time and still get paid from one’s old job–that might depend on the circumstance.

        1. Media Monkey*

          you’re not in my experience. the whole point of it is to leave a break between the 2 jobs so that you can’t share potentially confidential info with a new job straight away. as i work in advertising it happens quite a bit if you are leaving to work on a competitive account.

  10. bamcheeks*

    LW1, I suggest you and your team channel your frustration into writing a film script about a CEO involved in a massive tangerine futures scam. The weight loss stuff is just a cover.

      1. SaffyTaffy*

        in 6th grade my best friend and I rewrote the lyrics to Smashing Pumpkins’ Bullet w/ Butterfly Wings, “the world is an orange/ made for juuuuuice” and it continues all about being obsessed with oranges.
        So what I’m saying is, I already wrote the theme song and I’ll sell it to you cheap.

  11. I'm the Phoebe in Any Group*

    #1 what a horrible CEO. As we’ve discussed on this site before: 1) This is none of the CEO’s business, and 2) Thin does not equal healthy and the whole range of not-thin to fluffy does not equal unhealthy.
    I would be so tempted to get a bag of tangerines, peel them at lunch, and slather them with canned cake frosting three inches high.

    1. BBB*

      I’d buy a bunch of those chocolate oranges you can get around the holidays and start gifting them around the office

      1. Emotional support capybara (he/him)*

        I would be far too tempted to whack it on the CEO’s head.

        (Please don’t whack chocolate oranges on your head or anyone else’s. Source: … dude just trust me)

    2. Daisy-dog*

      I have worked in benefits administration. My boss once asked our insurance broker about wellness activities that could help lower our benefit costs. Our broker basically laughed – wellness doesn’t reduce costs. Something that lowers costs is ensuring that our employees with chronic illnesses are able to afford their medications and ongoing treatments. (And not shaming them for having chronic illnesses can help too.)

      So yes, just find ways to make this CEO’s statements a joke.

    3. Anon for this one*

      Point 2 here yes, very much. The thinnest I’ve ever been was the sickest I’ve ever been (because of a condition now under control, not an ED), and I recently talked with a nutritionist about how to gain weight back at a healthy pace. I would totally bring in a note from her saying that I am medically advised to gain weight, and then go eat peanut butter or something (she highly recommended nuts).

      And I’d ask if I could expense the now-required tangerines.

      1. EmmaPoet*

        Yeah, I lost 25 pounds last spring because of medical issues. I was not healthy, I was frequently too tired to walk to my bus stop a quarter mile from my house, and my clothing hung on me. It was frankly miserable, and anyone applauding my weight loss would have been ripped up one side and down the other. I have since put it back on and am in much better health.

  12. Other Alice*

    #4, don’t feel guilty about giving less notice than you want to. Your company’s policy is actively encouraging people not to give a long notice! Once you do give notice, you can tell your patients that you wanted them to know earlier but unfortunately your company’s policy prevented you from doing that. If the company hears from the customers that this policy is having a negative effect, they might be more receptive to changing it. This is speculation but my guess is people are “leaving on” patients because they can’t provide longer notice periods! So it might be useful for everyone if you spell it out.

    1. NotAnotherManager!*

      This. OP’s employer has kind of set themselves up for this scenario.

      We got HR to change our policy several years ago that leave can’t be taken in the final two weeks (and there is an exception process for that as well), but, if someone gives me three months’ notice and is still doing their job, they are welcome to stay, use their leave, etc. for that time. It’s a benefit to us to have a longer amount of time to hire to replace them, so punishing people for giving longer notice seems stupid.

      The only time I’ve let someone go when they gave notice was a situation where we were teed up to fire them for abysmal performance (after a well-documented PIP process and hours of one-on-one training/coaching) anyway.

    2. Office Lobster DJ*

      Came down to say similar. OP, this wouldn’t be you-the-person “leaving on” your patients, it would be you-the-employee following company policy.

      It sounds like transitioning patient care is your biggest concern. Aside from being able to say goodbye in person to patients who come in during your notice period (which seems like a game of chance anyway), is there anything else you’d want to do with the extra three months? Is there another way to accomplish this? I’m sure you’ll be prepping the new doctor(s) about the patients, at least to some degree. As a patient, it has helped immensely with my own sense of trust and continuity to have a new doctor able to say “Oh yes, Dr.FormerDoctor said this thing about you.” Or, even better, “Dr.FormerDoctor thought we’d work well together because of X thing.”

  13. Caroline*

    OP4 / don’t tell your manager until you literally have to, and be sure to use all PTO between now and then. When you have resigned and have a leave date etc. THEN write to anyone and everyone involved in policy decisions such as this one, and tell them that you’ve known of your move since X date, and absolutely wanted to tell them immediately, but due to their punitive policies (2 months with no allowed leave at all seems… fairly harsh. I get they wouldn’t want you going off for a 10 day vacation, but not even a long weekend or a day off for your birthday or similar?) you told them at the last possible moment.

    Since you are clearly a long-serving and evidently valued team member, they might just *maybe* think about the policy in a sensible, joined-up way for the future.

    1. ecnaseener*

      I think this depends on how much LW needs good references from these people.

      Yes, any reasonable person would understand that their hands were tied by this bad policy and they’re trying to do the clinic a favor by pointing it out. Not everyone is probably reasonable.

    2. Manglement Survivor*

      I totally agree! They should use up all their leave in the next four months, then give notice. After that, they should contact the entire administration of their clinic and let them know you would have given more notice, but their ridiculous policy kept you from doing it.

  14. Irish Teacher*

    LW1, I think the most concerning thing here is that he may be giving harmful information and while I would like to believe nobody would take health advice from a CEO who presumably has no qualifications in the area, I think there is ample evidence that people get information from all kinds of uninformed people, especially if it fits with their own biases.

    And yeah, “eat three tangerines a day” is probably harmless, but if he is doing stuff like encouraging people to eat less or to diet, without knowing their medical information and whether it is safe for them to do so, that…is problematic. I know some people who are very anxious to lose weight and will jump on any advice: oh, x says that y will help me lose weight. I must do that. It’s the logic that some MLMs benefit from.

    LW2, I definitely think you would have been justified in taking the day off in that case.

    1. Plain Jane*

      I’ll just point out that “eat three tangerines a day” would actually be incredibly harmful for folks who have Crohn’s, as fruits like that or something as simple as a giant leafy salad can easily cause a blockage. It’s one of those things I never thought about until a close family member was diagnosed. All the normal “healthy” foods like fruit, leafy vegetables, and hearty grainy breads are basically off limits. This is just one more reason that random guy who runs marathons shouldn’t be giving health advice to a wide range of people.

      1. Totally Minnie*

        I have oral allergy syndrome which causes me to have allergic reactions to most fruits and some vegetables and nuts. I don’t have a plant based diet because I literally can’t. The way I am rolling my eyes at three tangerines a day…

        1. doreen*

          Just in case you don’t know – many people with OAS only react to raw fruits or vegetables but can eat canned/cooked/frozen. Took forever to figure out why my son couldn’t eat fresh fruits but could eat the same ones if they were canned, cooked or frozen.

          1. MsSolo (UK)*

            I had a friend who was forever explaining to people that she couldn’t eat raw tomatoes or peppers, but was fine with a good saucy pizza!

      2. Anon For This*

        I got diagnosed last year with Crohns,m and I cried when I realized that my normal diet was gone. No broccoli (I ate it weekly), no whole wheat bread, no kale or other roughage which I loved.

        1. Plain Jane*

          I’m so sorry, it’s such an awful disease. I hope you’ve found some meds that make things tolerable for you.

        2. Anon Supervisor*

          I have IBS caused by abdominal surgery, and anything that is difficult to digest (raw veggies, seeds, nuts, dairy) will cause an attack. It’s fairly manageable now, but there were days where it was difficult to leave the house. I’d love to eat more fiber, but that’s not the reality for me any more.

        1. Observer*

          But it’s so HEALTHY! And you don’t LOOK like you have anything! /sarc

          The problem is that *I* am being sarcastic. But people say this all the time in all seriousness.

    2. Observer*

      And yeah, “eat three tangerines a day” is probably harmless

      If he just says that and then goes on to the next stupidity, then yes it’s probably harmless. But if he starts including it in his hassling of people about their lunches? VERY potentially harmful. Best case he winds up hassling someone who simply doesn’t like tangerines. That’s bad – people shouldn’t have to risk getting on the bad side of the CEO because of their taste in food. Worst case, he hassles someone for whom tangerines are a bad idea – and it doesn’t matter why. I mean sure, statistically speaking, any given person not eating tangerines is not likely to have an actual problem with tangerines, but especially in a largish organization, the possibility is definitely above zero. Given the reality that getting people to eat tangerines (or any other specific food, for that matter) has absolutely NOTHING to do with the organizations mission or goals, just the diversion of attention is ridiculous and the potential harm is inexcusable.

      1. I have RBF*

        I have a roomie who is allergic to citrus. The CEO’s “advice” would put him in the hospital.

        That CEO needs to learn how to mind his own business, and tend to the health of the company, not try to micromanage the “health” of the employees.

    3. goddessoftransitory*

      The walking around and COMMENTING ON PEOPLE’S MEALS is where I would really flip out–not only is that insanely rude and none of his business, who knows what he could set of in the name of his specious health evangelism. He may say something to someone with an ED who gets triggered, just as one example.

    4. WillowSunstar*

      I’m middle-aged. Have literally tried all the x things to lose weight and none of them worked more than short-term, and certainly not drastically. When you have certain medical issues like a slow thyroid, simple diet and exercise advice does not help and may in fact make things worse. (For example, cannot eat under 1200 calories/day without risking harming my thyroid, though many fad diets for women advise eating under that amount.)

      People in general need to keep their mouth closed about things relating to other people’s bodies, unless they are a medical professional and the person has come to them seeking care.

  15. Bagpuss*

    I think it varies – I’m not sure that it is public/private thing, perhaps more to do with considerations of how easy it is to cover the time and perhaps also how good a quality of work the employer expects to get from the employee during their notice!

    My experience (private sector) is that it’s pretty normal for people to take their leave at the end of the notice period as it means they can have a bit of a break between leaving one role and starting the next, but still get paid. (So if you were giving notice which ran out on 30th of the month but you had 3 days leave , your last day in the office would be 27th , (because you would be using up your leave for 28th,29th and 30th) but your last day of employment and the date you’d be paid to would be 30th.

    If you didn’t take the leave you would work up to 30th but get an extra 3 days pay in your final pay packet, but your employment would still be ending on 3oth.

    The LWs employers seem strange though, their policies seem designed to make people give as short notice as possible. (And if I understand correctly, the ‘policy’ requiring 2 months leave wouldn’t be enforceable in the US as there’s no formal employment contract, so anyone who wanted / needed to be able to use their leave during that last 2 months could presumably give shorter notice .

    I’m curious about what happens with accrued leave – whether it’s paid out of the employee basically just loses that part of their remuneration .

    1. Jay (no, the other one)*

      I’m a doc. I always had an actual contract. And we feel a sense of obligation to our patients – I would never leave with only two weeks’ notice. I want to tell my patient myself and make sure I write a summary and transition note for the next provider. I think the policy is ridiculous and it absolutely creates a perverse incentive.

      1. Swiss Miss*

        Yes, as a provider I agree wholeheartedly.

        And your leave is paid out with your last check. You don’t lose it. At least at my clinic that’s the case.

    2. AcademiaNut*

      It’s certainly possible to have an employment contract in the US, it’s just not required in most situations.

    3. NotAnotherManager!*

      In the US, two weeks’ notice is customary, and having people take their final days of employment as leave could complicate transition plans for some positions. Two weeks is already not enough to replace people, but you can at least use that time to document work and create a transition plan. We have the person who will assume responsibility for clients shadow the departing person so that they meet the client/team before their predecessor departs. We also pay out a certain amount of accrued leave. I forget the exact number – it’s at least two weeks of pay.

      We do not have employment contracts in my industry, but a number of people on my team give longer than two weeks out of a sense of obligation to clients and because we do not punish them for giving us a longer runway.

      1. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

        Paying out leave is the law in some states and not in others, so it’s not a universal practice.

  16. spruce*

    LW1 – this is the most trivial part of your problem, but… what are people supposed to do when tangerines are out of season?

    1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      What are they supposed to do when a massive increase in demand raises the price to $10 per tangerine?

    2. Daisy-dog*

      This just reminded me that I have Cara Cara oranges in my fridge that I need to eat. But they don’t count towards my tangerine requirement.

  17. TimeTravelR*

    #5 – in those years, it sounds like you have plenty of work-related accomplishments! Focus on those and remember to not just tell them what your job was but the impact (quantify!).

  18. Melissa*

    Your CEO sounds obnoxious. But your very first example of fat shaming— that he said “get some exercise” in a whole-company holiday email— isn’t fat shaming. Many fat people exercise.

      1. Stuckinacrazyjob*

        Maybe it’s diet culture but still it’s weird because like if people were able to exercise they would. Either they don’t have the ability or are putting priority on things like family and friends.

        1. Silver Robin*

          Yeah, the only person I want reminding me to exercise is my workout buddy and my physical trainer or gym (if I had one). I do not need the CEO commenting on my exercise regimen unless it is to offer free memberships or access to exercise equipment

        2. lilsheba*

          Exactly1 Yes I’m fat but I’m not able to exercise due to being disabled and having arthritic hips. I’m thankful I don’t have to deal with this at my job now, although my dr is a fat shaming shrew that I desperately want to get rid of.

          1. doreen*

            Me to – the doctor was very surprised when he asked me why I don’t get much exercise and I basically said “because I’m lazy” . I’m sure there are loads of people who get no exercise other than that incidental to daily life, so while the CEO shouldn’t say “get some exercise in a company-wide email, it’s not true that if people were able to exercise they would. I am living proof of that as I sit my retired self at home with an unused treadmill staring at me. ( I’m always optimistic about exercise – and then I stop)

            1. goddessoftransitory*

              Hee, reminds me of Nichole Hollander, creator of the Sylvia comic strip: “They say that when you exercise you miss it when you stop. I am living proof of the wrongness of that statement.”

        3. RagingADHD*

          Er…no. It’s still none of the CEO’s business, but this is just a bizarre comment that doesn’t reflect the reality of human nature at all. People’s daily decisions / habits of whether or not they get the amount of exercise their doctor recommends has nothing to do with whether they are *able* to do so. Or their commitment to their family and friends.

          There are plenty of people (and I’m one) who have ample ability to exercise and often just don’t. And they don’t spend that time on family, friends, or other life priorities either. An awful lot of people (perhaps most people) are not making intentional choices about the way they spend their time and energy every minute of the day. They tell themselves they “don’t have time” for things when they really do. They are just in denial or avoiding the issue.

          I often tell myself that I don’t have time for things like exercise, folding the laundry, calling back that person I kind of don’t want to talk to…. It is 100% false. And I think I’m pretty typical in that respect.

          1. RussianInTexas*

            *raises hand*
            I have time and ability, and I just…don’t. I hate exercising, and I am lazy.

            1. RagingADHD*

              I do. Just not as much as I should. But when I don’t, it’s rarely for a specific reason other than “didn’t make it happen today.”

            2. I have RBF*

              I have time, the ability would cost me a lot of money, and I absolutely am not interested in self abuse in the name of “fitness”. Yes, exercise is torment for me, because it hurts, or reminds me of just how much I lost when I because disabled, or would cost more than I could afford, or… you get the idea. Call me lazy if you want, but I only have so many hours in a day, and only so many days in my life, and wasting them on pointless exercise and self abuse is ridiculous.

              Just FYI, my grandmother was diabetic (adult onset) and she lived until 90, but went blind in the last five years of her life (ARMD, not related to the diabetes). My mother is over 80, diabetic, and is starting to go blind from ARMD. Both the diabetes and ARMD are genetic. I have lasted longer than both my mother and grandmother without a diabetes Dx, so I think I take pretty good care of myself.

              Part of how I take care of myself is by ignoring health busybodies, because lower stress does me more good than all of the diet tips in the world.

          2. allathian*

            Sounds very familiar. Like scary familiar. I could exercise a lot more than I do, but I just… don’t want to. A big reason for that is that I don’t get the endorphin kick out of exercise that most people apparently do, and I have a very low pain threshold, so I can’t push myself very far, either. I just stop when it starts to hurt, and the older and less fit I get, the sooner it starts to hurt…

      2. Caramel & Cheddar*

        Right? The information we have about this guy is that he’s probably not someone who believes/cares that fat people exercise, so the suggestion in an all staff holiday email (?!) that everyone get some exercise isn’t coming from some pure-hearted place where he just wants people to stretch their legs or whatever.

    1. Keymaster of Gozer*

      Ask any fat person how often they hear people ordering them to ‘get some exercise’. It’s as ubiquitous as ‘eat less!’. That’s what sounds the fat shaming bells.

    2. Observer*

      But your very first example of fat shaming— that he said “get some exercise” in a whole-company holiday email— isn’t fat shaming. Many fat people exercise.

      Which has WHAT to do with the situation? Do you really think that this CEO is actually looking at facts? Let’s face it medical professionals who should absolutely know better often make the assumption that fat people are, among other things, too lazy to get off their rear ends and get some exercise. (They usually put it a bit more politely, but that’s what it absolutely means.)

      When you are talking about someone who clearly has absolutely no knowledge of the subject? And who has made it clear that he sees health = low weight = lots of exercise + the ONE RIGHT WAY to eat? Who is all but saying “the way to get healthy is to lose weight by eating the foods *I* approve of and getting lots of exercise – and that ALL That count’s”? (Which is why a marathoner with no other background in health is the “leader” of the employee health initiative)

      With that kind of person, it’s hard to read his comment as anything but “All you fat people – I know you’re going to stuff yourselves. At least get some exercise to burn it off.” Is this something that he SHOULD be saying? Of course not! But why on earth are you trying to pretend that this is not what he’s saying? Why would you expect people to act as though someone who clearly has no grasp on facts is sending a message based on facts?

      Or is this just a matter of “You fat people are all just too sensitive!” signed by Officially Not A Fat Shamer.

      1. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

        FWIW, I actually read it as supportive of fat people, and dismissing the stereotype that fat folks don’t exercise. It could go either way, though.

      2. elle *sparkle emoji**

        And regardless of whether it technically qualifies as fat shaming or not, it was a weird and unnecessary statement coming from the CEO of a company that’s not focused on exercise.

        (I personally agree it comes off as fat shaming, especially when it was sent out in the context of a holiday message, but there’s clearly some disagreement)

    3. Julia*

      People of all sizes exercise. Sure. If someone who consistently talks about weight loss says you should exercise it’s no longer “all sizes exercise” but “the good part about exercise is that you lose weight.”

    4. Modesty Poncho*

      The fat-shaming part is looking at someone, without knowing what kind of exercise they do or don’t do, and telling them to exercise because you assume they don’t. I work out more than I ever used to (three days on, one day off, so 5-6 times a week) and I’m fatter than ever.

    5. Seashell*

      “Get some exercise” in a mass e-mail was the one part I thought wasn’t totally obnoxious. You can get some exercise by walking to the kitchen or picking up the TV remote.

      Otherwise, he’s awful.

  19. But Not the Hippopotamus*

    OP5 – I once saw a resume for a position that required computer programming that was over 50% about football! It was weird. The only time those other things are important is if they move you forward in some way. So if the job were football aligned (it wasn’t) that might be good to know the candidate really is into football. Similarly, if it highlights a skill that doesn’t otherwise come across in your resume (e.g. you were treasurer of your local garden club and you don’t otherwise have financial experience and you suspect they want some financial experience). Degrees might possibly be important for some positions (typically in certain fields or government contracting), but they are ok to not have too! I have lots of volunteer experience I keep off my resume simply because it’s irrelevant.

    I did, however, recently put a favorite accomplishment on my resume. I can’t share because it is incredibly specific (think something like a client comment that they want to name their kid after your jingle because it’s so catchy)… and I include it because it’s weird, true, and makes my resume a bit more memorable. I have gotten a question on it in every single interview I’ve had since I included it, so it seems to be working.

  20. Llama Llama*

    LW1 – is it easy enough to just ignore your CEO? It might just be the areas I have been in but I have found the CEO emails to be just fluff emails. I don’t remember the last time I read our CEO’s communication (though are sent regularly). Also to note, I have never met a CEO in the 20 years I have been working, so how often could someone have to run into the guy and have to endure his stupid comments?

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      He patrols the lunch room and comments on peoples’ meals. He went on a leadership call and told everyone that they should eat three tangerines a day. He hired an ultramarathoner with no experience in employee health to lead the employee health initiative.

      Yeah, no. This guy is not easy to ignore.

      1. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

        Given that OP says it’s a Fortune 500 company, he can’t patrol every lunchroom. So he’s being especially obnoxious to the people who are physically closest to him.

    2. chips and scraps*

      Depends hugely on the size of the company among other things. Our CEO frolics through the office daily leaving chaos in his wake.

    3. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      That was my first thought. I have a feeling this CEO isn’t going to be around very long. The rate he’s going, he’s bound to do or say the wrong thing to/in front of the wrong people. He’s leading a healthcare company? yeah, no. In the meantime, can his dedication to making sure people diet and exercise be used to get some of those accommodations you mention – walking breaks, cafeteria with subsidized healthy food (tangerines all year round, yay!), better sick leave policies etc? OldJob (also in the healthcare space) once gave everyone step counters and announced a company-wide initiative to… uh… do something with those steps. I forgot. Anyway, taking frequent breaks for walking was suddenly encouraged and it was amazing! A friend I had outside the company came in for a job interview with us one day while I was on one of my walking breaks. She saw me in the parking lot and was horrified to see me out walking during work hours. At her job, everyone was expected to be glued to their desks from 8 to 5. Can this CEO maybe do something like that?

    4. Here for the Insurance*

      This is where I’m at.

      Is he being obnoxious and wildly overstepping? Absolutely. Is this the kind of thing to burn capital over? I wouldn’t. Lots of people have crappy opinions. That doesn’t mean you have to give them a response, defend yourself, try to change their opinion. Assuming he says something that needs a response, “Okay” is vastly underrated. It’s not like he can stand over you with a whip and make you eat/stop eating.

  21. Spanish Prof*

    #5 – Could you replace the traditional “Education” header with “Credentials,” instead?

  22. Smarty pants*

    LW4: A former employer of mine had this policy. The result was people putting in their two weeks on day one of their vacation and not returning. Going on vacation became a euphemism for quitting.

    1. ecnaseener*

      That actually seems like the opposite of the situation in the letter – LW’s org has the policy that “any previous leave that was approved is canceled” — so if you’re on vacation when you give notice, they’d un-approve the vacation and presumably fire you if you don’t come back to work.

      1. I should really pick a name*

        so if you’re on vacation when you give notice, they’d un-approve the vacation and presumably fire you if you don’t come back to work.

        That’s not stated anywhere in the letter.
        I doubt they’d fire someone when they require 2 months of notice. Far easier to just say their resignation is 2 months from when they return (or just not worry about a week or two of vacation since they know the employee will still be around for several weeks afterward).

        1. Colette*

          The OP says: “Organizational policy says that you cannot take any leave “from the time of resignation” and any previous leave that was approved is canceled.”

            1. Colette*

              No one said it was, but it’s a reasonable inference, as that’s what can happen when you break corporate policy.

            2. ecnaseener*

              I did say “presumably” because it was a presumption, rather than a stated fact. The presumption is based on what it usually means to not approve vacation and what policies are usually in place on no-showing for 2 weeks without approved vacation.

              1. doreen*

                I would presume someone might be fired if they gave their two-week notice on Friday , were told that approval for their 2 week scheduled vacation starting Monday was canceled and never came back, but that’s not the same as giving two weeks notice on Monday and never coming back without the employer having an opportunity to rescind the approval before the vacation started. I wouldn’t make any presumptions about that because I had an employer that made exceptions to other polices in that situation ( which were probably intended for people who resigned while they were on a longer term medical or child care leave)

      2. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

        They’d more likely un-approve the vacay and convert them into leave without pay, so the LW would be going without pay for 2 weeks.

  23. Kitry*

    LW #1:
    Depending on how understaffed your organization is, and your risk tolerance, you may actually have a fourth option: give notice now, and simply inform them that you won’t be following the policy and will continue to take time off as needed. Sure, there’s a risk this will get you fired. But so many healthcare organizations are so catastrophically, chronically understaffed that they really aren’t in a position to be able to fire anyone who isn’t actively endangering patients or breaking the law. I know in my workplace, multiple people are openly and calmly getting by with policy infractions that would have gotten them fired five years ago, simply because we are too desperately understaffed to fire anyone and everyone knows it.

  24. NotAnotherManager!*

    LW#5, if you have 20+ years of experience, it should no longer matter to reasonable employers that you do not have a college degree. Your industry certifications and recognitions likely matter a lot more at this phase of your career. It also should not matter at all to not have non-work-related resume filler.

    Candidly, when I see a bunch of detail about outside activities on a resume, I wonder if it’s covering for a lack of work experience/accomplishments or if someone is trying to signal to me that they are part of a specific group they think I might preference. Maybe three bullets are fine, if you are looking for filler at the end of a resume, but I don’t really care if you’re a deacon of your church or a scout leader. I’ve literally never offered someone a job because of their non-job-related extracurriculars.

    1. Resident Catholicville, U.S.A.*

      I’ve been working for 20+ years now and have never listed anything outside of work related material except for Education, which probably aren’t terribly relevant at this point, but have gotten me some talking points of, “Oh, you went to this school!” from some interviewers. Even then, it’s just where I went to high school (that’s big around here) and college, plus my degree. I took a few supplementary classes back in the early 2000’s, which are so rudimentary at this point I might as well leave them off my next iteration of my resume.

      Just demonstrating your work skills and accomplishments are enough, especially if those are strong.

      1. allathian*

        I can’t imagine listing the high school I graduated from at this point in my career (30+ years since I graduated). Some job application forms require it, though.

        1. NotAnotherManager!*

          I can only speak for DC, but, even with the recent college grads I hire, I tend to only see HS info on resumes of people who went to one of the fancy, private ones that cost more than some colleges so you know they are the “right” kind of people. Maybe it’s more common to leave that on elsewhere – I just assume once you have a college degree, you either successfully completed HS or got a GED.

    2. allathian*

      Yes, this. I certainly wouldn’t list any extracurriculars at this point, not that I had many in the first place. When I was in high school and college, working retail *was* my extracurricular. When I was in college, I volunteered as an exchange student tutor, and I listed that for years as well. I can’t drop my college degree from my resume because the jobs I’m interested in require it.

      I’d certainly also list the certification I’ve taken at my current job.

    3. Don't Call Me Shirley*

      Depends on the field. For some fields and positions, a degree is an absolute requirement. For others, say 6 years relevant experience makes up for the degree. If there’s no degree listed, if it matters, they will ask.

      For example, programming has roles where it is undergrad required, graduate degree and asset, and roles where they really don’t care or will just slightly discount your years with no relevant education. Know the difference and target the roles that want you.

  25. Rosemary*

    #5 “I also don’t have much in the way of extracurricular activities like mentoring, volunteering, church, or clubs to highlight” WHO CARES. Seriously, do not worry about this AT ALL. When I am reviewing resumes, the last thing that crosses my mind is “huh. I wonder what Jane does in her free time.” I would never in a million years notice if someone did not include anything beyond the stuff actually related to work.

    As for people who do include it – at best I may find it mildly interesting; at worst, I think “this is someone I might not have a lot in common with” particularly if they are heavy on the church stuff (I know, I know…I would not NOT consider them if they are otherwise a good fit for the job, but I do think it plays in unconscious bias, and if presented with two candidates who are otherwise 100% identical I am likely to be inclined to go with the non-Church person)

    1. Bookmark*

      I wonder if a big factor here is that OP hasn’t written a resume in a long time, and is mostly finding advice on resumes geared towards recent grads. The skills/hobbies/etc sections are helpful when you don’t have much work experience, but are definitely the first things to get shortened/removed the further along you are and more actual work experience/accomplishments you have to show.

    2. Here for the Insurance*

      Totally agree. That’s kind of stuff can come up if you’re hired and we’re getting to know each other as people. Unless you can tie it to a skill that I need you to have, it’s not factoring in on my decision whether to hire you in the 1st place.

  26. Sara without an H*

    Hi, LW#5 — I would recommend dropping the education section to the bottom of the resume. Compared to 20+ years of experience and accomplishment, academic degrees are just less interesting and important. (Unless you work in higher education, where they always want to know where you collected your Ph.D.) Take Spanish Prof’s suggestion (upstream) and call it “Credentials.”

    The other stuff you mention — hobbies, outside interests — are only worth including IF they are relevant in some way to the job you’re applying for. Membership in a professional association would be worth including, if that’s a thing in your field. Membership in your local roller-skating club, or something similar, would be less relevant.

    You’re not a high school senior applying to a university, where being “well rounded” is considered a plus. You’re a professional with a strong record of accomplishment. Emphasize your accomplishments as they apply to the position you’re applying for.

    Then go back into the AAM archives and read everything about resumes and cover letters. Alison has a lot of good stuff there.

    Good luck!

  27. Jayne not Jane*

    #5 – I hardly do any extra curriculars. I have a family and pets to care for so it doesn’t really leave much time. I would focus on your progression at your current company and really highlight your increased responsibility over your 20 year career there.

  28. El l*

    This is why corporate policies matter. Sometimes they end up making the decision for you. They sometimes matter more than any other consideration, be that the people you serve or the managerial relationships you have.

    You have to give 2 months notice and leave. There’s no plausible alternative.

  29. Ormond Sackler*

    #1 – I am pretty into diet and exercise, and think people should generally do more of it (and yeah, if I was a CEO I might be a little annoying about it), but walking through lunch rooms commenting on meals is insane behavior. And hiring the ultramarathoner sounds like corporate welfare to a guy the CEO personally thinks is cool (especially since ultramarathoners have extremely different diet requirements than your average person).

    As Alison said, the options are limited given this is the CEO, but it really sounds like he’s crossing the line from “well-meaning but a little annoying and out of touch” to “inappropriate.”

    1. Rainy*

      I really have to second Ali + Nino. Why? Why would you be annoying about diet and exercise if you were a CEO?

      Because what you seem to be saying is that you’d like to be annoying about it now, but don’t feel like you have the power, so if you were a CEO with power over people’s livelihood, you’d just do it no matter how wrong, rude, inappropriate, and hurtful you were. If that’s true, maybe you should do some reflecting on that.

  30. Tesuji*


    The co-worker potentially defrauding the company kind of feels like the least important issue here.

    The more basic one is: It sounds like the LW has put themselves in a position where a co-worker can just assign the LW to do the co-worker’s job whenever the co-worker would like, without any indication that the co-worker actually has that authority and/or that the LW’s actual boss is telling the LW to do this.

    The real issue isn’t the co-worker, it’s that the LW is screwing themselves over by being too nice.

    I disagree with the comments about how she should gently push back on the co-worker, so that she’s “only” voluntarily doing his job on top of hers when the company gives him PTO.

    That isn’t corporate policy. The manager is hands-off and doesn’t care, so why is she caring more about the company having coverage than the manager does?

    Personally, I’d move straight to nuclear. My response to Sam would be cc’ed to my manager, and say, “Thanks for the heads-up that you’re going to be out of the office from X to Y. Unfortunately, I’m no longer going to be able to provide any further backup going forward due to the need to focus my attention on my own projects, and I wanted to give you enough advanced warning that you could make whatever other arrangements you need to make for when you’re out.”

    I don’t think she should touch the “Sam’s out of the office without claiming PTO” issue at all because, honestly, that’s not her lane. Let the company deal with it. Her lane should be that she’s not going to do Sam’s job for him, when the company isn’t requiring her to do it and they’re not actually friends.

    1. EMP*

      I like the cc-ing but in a lot of jobs you are expected to backup coworkers like this, and if that email if the first the manager has heard of the issue it could sound like LW is suddenly deciding not to do their job.
      The issue seems to be that (a) the amount of time it’s happening is unreasonable and (b) LW has no reciprocal backup. I would give LW’s manager a heads up first about the impact of the extra work, being very clear about the dates involved, and hopefully with the manager on board, then start cc-ing.

    2. Isabel Archer*

      There it is. Why has LW done this jerk’s work for so long, treating it like it’s actually her responsibility? Because he sends her an Outlook notification on the down low? WTAF?

    3. Here for the Insurance*

      I agree. I think LW is conflating two things, one of which is her concern and one isn’t.

      Covering for Sam is absolutely her concern. Worrying about the accuracy of Sam’s timesheet isn’t. I can understand why they’re getting mixed. It feels like Sam is getting something he’s not entitled to and is taking advantage of LW to do it. But suppose LW was certain that Sam was reporting all of his PTO. Under this system, she’d still be covering for him. Would she be equally bothered in that scenario? I’m guessing yes because he’d still be taking advantage, having her cover for him without him covering for her. That’s where her focus should be.

      LW, if your manager doesn’t do anything to arrange coverage when you take time off, tell Sam you’re not going to cover for him when he’s out anymore and then stop. He’s not covering for you, meaning your work is waiting for you when you get back, correct? Let his wait for him. The business is apparently fine with that happening when you’re out, they can be fine with it applying to him.

  31. BellyButton*

    The CEO: It is so cringey and wrong on so many levels. I wonder if this will show up in fat-discrimination. Is he going to play favorites or start promoting people who are “thin” and “healthy” and not give the same opportunities to those he deems not?

  32. Zarniwoop*

    “Organizational policy says that you cannot take any leave “from the time of resignation” and any previous leave that was approved is canceled.”

    (1) Is there a pattern of people taking long vacations then announcing their resignation on their first day back?

    (2) Can you tell your patients you’re “thinking about” moving on but nothing’s definite yet?

    (3) Exit interview, ask them why they want to discourage people from giving extra notice. (A policy of “no leave in your last two months” I would lose them nothing and avoid punishing extra notice.)

  33. Fattie*

    Fat shaming is more than just obnoxious or inane, especially if you are living in a bigger body – it is stigmatizing and creates an oppressive environment to work in. It sucks that legal protections for weight stigma are currently so sparse. In fact you can be fired for being fat in most states (I think all bar 1). My favorite thing about working remotely is not having to deal with these microaggressions every day. I don’t have any suggestions, but am sending solidarity. There is a lot of research on anti fat bias in the workplace if you are curious to learn more or want to share this with management.

  34. LB33*

    Not sure I fully understand how it works in #3’s office. Colleague officially is out two days, but tells LW he’s out all five.. I realize LW is covering but doesn’t the boss or any other coworkers attempt to contact the colleague ever during these days? How often is this happening that the guy can just take all this time off and nobody notices?

    1. Myrin*

      I was wondering about that myself at first but I’d guess it’s mostly about the boss’s not knowing. Since OP says boss is mostly hands-off and doesn’t have a lot to do with either of them from day to day, I can see how it’s possible that he wouldn’t realise that Sam is out of office for longer than he said he’d be.
      OP says they both “work heavily with [their] respective project teams” but I doubt these teams – which are possibly multiple teams for both of them and also not always the same? – count the actual number of days Sam is out, nevermind that they can’t see whether these are days he officially requested off or not. Heck, OP herself only realised something was fishy when she saw the calender!

    2. Ann O'Nemity*

      The only explanation I can think of is comp time or another special type of leave that is approved by the manager/HR but isn’t visible to the OP.

    3. I'm Just Here For the Cats!*

      It sounds like the boss is very hands off so doesn’t contact them at all. I think this actually might be a bad manager situation, becuase regardless a manger should know that an employee is not working.

      I wonder what would happen if the OP just did not cover for him that day.

    4. doreen*

      It really depends on the job – I’ve had jobs where I might be at any one of a number of places on any given day and coverage only involved emergencies that couldn’t wait until my return. If I asked a coworker to cover for me from Monday to Friday and was only actually approved to be off Monday and Tuesday, it’s quite possible no one would ever know – the coworker would not see my leave request , my manager would not see my request for coverage (which might not have been in writing) and my manger would only find out I was missing if he or she for some reason needed to reach me badly enough to call all of the three to eight locations where I regularly worked. I never did that – but I’m certain that a couple of people I supervised remotely did (although I could never prove it) . Which is why the reporting structure for that position eventually changed so that they reported to someone at their most frequent worksite rather than a remote supervisor who knew their job but rarely actually knew if they were at work.

  35. Distractinator*

    LW#4, I’d consider a hypothetical conversation with your manager about how backwards the policy is, pointing out how that disincentivizes employees from making proper transition plans, and asking what leeway managers have to override the lack of leave policies, and base your decision to give early notice on their response

  36. kiki*

    On LW1 and the health-obsessed CEO: this is such an example of why powerful people need to keep people around them who are honest and not worried about pleasing them. This guy’s health advice is silly– a kindergartener would give advice about tangerines.

    I also, in general, am very over workplace health initiatives. Adults don’t need to be reminded to eat vegetables by their employers. To be healthy they need to be paid enough to afford nutritious food, they need to have reasonable workloads that do not cause them undue stress, they need reasonable and stable hours, etc. Workplaces CAN provide all that, actually!!! But they don’t because it would be expensive to change their whole system that relies on the exploitation of workers.

    1. I have RBF*

      The best thing I do for my health is manage my stress. Yeah, I’m fat, but IMO stress is far more deadly.

  37. Observer*

    #1 – I think that you and some of your colleagues should talk to someone as high up in HR as possible, and possibly also someone high up in legal. Because obviously no lower level person is going to have the standing to even figure out what, if anything can be done.

    But there are a couple things that any smart HR is going to realize could be a problem and might be worth trying to rein in the CEO. The obvious issue is the morale hit. But there is also the reputational hit the company could wind up taking if people start gossiping, and the potential productivity hit if people start working their schedules around when they can take lunch without encountering the CEO rather than when it makes sense for work, and similar nonsense.

    There is also some stuff that Legal (and good HR) might be worried about. What kind of liability could the company be facing if the incompetent marathoner designs a “wellness” activity that causes harm to staff? What kinds of liability could the company be facing if the CEO’s biases lead to potential ADA issues, or other types of discrimination? Or if someone claims discrimination and claims that they didn’t use the company’s anti-discrimination process because the CEO’s behavior gave them good reason to believe that the company would not do anything about it? (eg a Black person alleges discrimination and says “Of course they weren’t going to do anything! You should have seen how CEO hassled the guys over their ~~insert black ethnic food~~!” or a woman complains and says “Well, when the CEO is a raving misogynist, you don’t expect the company to do much. Yeah, he kept on telling Suzy that she needed to lose some weight around her belly because being hourglass shaped is better than being pear shaped!” Both of these are very real stereotypes that folks like this CEO often subscribe to.)

    I’m not saying that what the CEO is doing is illegal – it probably is legal. But if there is some capacity and *willingness* for someone like HR / Legal / the Board to reign the CEO in, this are some practical issues that those with the power might really take on board.

    1. Zarniwoop*

      (1) “it probably is legal”
      Legal might not want to take risks on “probably.”

      (2) In addition to Legal & HR, contact the board? I believe managing CEOs is part of their job.

  38. Milfred*


    In my experience in IT, once you get about 5 years of experience nobody cares about a college degree…except HR. I suspect it’s that way in many industries.

    If you can network your way to the hiring managers, you should be fine. But you will have problems if you are applying directly to a company through their system.

    I’ve been told by multiple HR personnel that we couldn’t hire a candidate (one that all the skills we desired) because they didn’t have a degree. The major didn’t matter–it didn’t even have to be related in any way to the job. They just needed a degree because: we don’t hire people without degrees for this position. Period; end of story.

    I went around HR and got them hired.

    1. Middle of HR*

      And really it’s rare for even HR to actually care if the candidate is highly experienced. It does suck if there’s a knock out question on the application (I side eye those even though I have a degree).
      It is a bad policy and thankfully many employers are aware that experience > education in the end!

    2. kiki*

      This is my experience as well. Sometimes it’s not even that HR even *really cares*, it’s just that they have their ATS system set up to screen for it by default, not realizing it’s screening out really good senior candidates who are just missing something that doesn’t really matter at their skill-level.

  39. Stevesie*

    #3 I have to disagree with the advice here. I don’t understand what good would come from broaching this with the coworker. Even if they had a good explanation I would still bring it to the manager to confirm. The convo with their manager needs to be 1. I can no longer take on the workload of my coworker when they’re out if they don’t extend the same courtesy to me and 2. This coworker is not being held to the same PTO expectations as I am if they’re able to finagle extra days without you realizing it.
    I don’t think it’s a managers job to be all knowing, how can they know there’s an issue if you don’t bring it to them? It sounds like these two employees are managed in a pretty hands off style, in which case you really have to be your own advocate.

    1. I'm Just Here For the Cats!*

      I know. My first thougt was that maybe the PTO calendar just shows time off paid but not anything like FMLA type leave. Or maybe the other person worked longer hours one day so is flexing time or something.

      either way the OP needs to have a conversation, especially being that they are working extra o cover the other person without someone to cover them.

  40. Milfred*


    Do they require 6 months notice? Are they requiring anyone else to put in more than 2 weeks notice (as a policy).

    I understand wanting to be nice, but replacing an employee is a their problem, not yours.

    If you were hit by the proverbial bus today, what would they do?

    If they had a round of layoffs, would they give you six months notice?

    Give them two weeks notice, at most a month.

    And make sure they pay you for any unused PTO when you leave. PTO is part of your pay package. They can no more deny it to you than they can cut your pay in half during your notice period.

    1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      And make sure they pay you for any unused PTO when you leave. PTO is part of your pay package. They can no more deny it to you than they can cut your pay in half during your notice period.

      Company and State specific circumstances; YMMV. (In both the state where I live and the state where I work, the law says that a Company “must follow its handbook.” My employer’s handbook says “unused PTO will be paid out discretionarily according to the circumstances of an employee’s departure”).

      When in doubt, use the PTO lest you forfeit it if forfeiting it is the greater evil.

    2. Barbarella*

      They can no more deny it to you than they can cut your pay in half during your notice period.

      They can cut your pay in half during your notice period. They can cut your pay by any amount any time they want, as long as they don’t violate federal or local minimum wage laws.

  41. Sarah-bo-bera*

    LW2: My brother-in-law was a 911 operator and dispatcher. When he was found dead, his coworkers had to take the 911 call and dispatch services. Immediately upon hearing the call, the supervisors called in all available backup dispatchers (thank you fire department cross training!) and gave all coworkers as much time off as they needed. If 911 can manage it, your employers could have.

    1. Alan*

      Not every job has backup employees, though. Our entire staff is 14 people; there is nobody to call in. We are a bank so we can’t close without prior notice to the customers; we have their money! Snow days (referenced by someone else) are different. When there are a couple feet of snow coming down, the customers themselves aren’t even on the roads to come to us.

  42. Agile Phalanges*

    For #1, three tangerines a day would be actively BAD for my health. I’m a diabetic, so the sugar content isn’t great (~36g), but I also use a continuous glucose monitor, and every time I scan a new sensor, it warns me not to ingest high doses of vitamin C. One-size-fits-all advice NEVER fits all, so maybe stay in your lane, CEO.

    1. Observer*

      One-size-fits-all advice NEVER fits all, so maybe stay in your lane, CEO.


      It’s worth noting that any ONE issue may not be common. But by the time you get to a workplace with over 100 people, you are DEFINITELY going to have people for whom any given “standard” piece of good advice is just not going to work. And you CANNOT see most of those issues. You cannot see who has IBS / Crohns / IBD / Diabetes / severe allergy / celiac / reflux / whatever other chronic condition. And each one of these has some implications that make at least SOME typical good diet ideas actually a very BAD idea.

  43. It's Marie - Not Maria*

    RE: LW #1: Weight is a protected class in several states. LW should check and see if it is their state. If it is, they should definitely bring it to the attention of their HR Team and the CEO, as this could trigger an expensive harassment or discrimination claim.

  44. Cristinutria*

    15 years ago, two coworkers were murdered in the early hours, at home. It was horrific; a suicide -murder involving innocent children, just horrifying. Our agency opened a large conference room and allowed all of us who knew them or worked with them to have a private place to cry and process what had happened. They also called in all the Bereavement and SW staff to come in and help us. I don’t recall if we were dismissed from work, but my group opted to remain at work to grieve together. After an hour or so, some of us returned to work. It was the kindest and most compassionate thing the agency has ever done in my nearly 20 years here.

  45. Karate Sa*

    I love clicking through the links at the bottom of any post about health/wellness initiatives, because they are all BUCK wild.

  46. AnonToday*

    #5: The trend I’m seeing as a hiring manager is a renewed focus on inclusive interviewing and reducing unconscious bias as much as possible. At my current and previous organizations, we were instructed not to discuss anything that wasn’t directly job related and to change the subject if the candidate did. I don’t think having information about hobbies, etc., would help you because many interviewers won’t be able to discuss it with you anyway.

  47. Free Meerkats*

    Some active advice for #1, you and all your annoyed coworkers each buy a share of stock. Then go to the annual shareholders’ meeting and each speak to the board about the atmosphere the CEO has created. Get enough of you together and you can hijack the entire meeting to talk about fat shaming and the CEO hiring an unqualified person to manage the wrong-headed wellness initiative.

    #3, He won’t cover for you, stop covering for him and tell your manager why. “I have to spend so much time catching up on my stuff because he can’t/won’t learn the new system that I can’t do his work too.”

    1. New Jack Karyn*

      These seem like good ways to get fired, or at least put on a PIP. Sounds awesome to think about–not awesome to actually put into practice.

  48. Manglement Survivor*

    I caught people under reporting their leave decades ago when we still used paper leave forms. I was responsible for entering those forms into the online leave system. I would notice somebody wasn’t at work several days during a pay period, and not be given a form to enter. So I would go ask their boss if someone had forgotten to give me the leave forms. That usually resulted in the boss talking to their employee and finding out they “forgot“ to fill one out.

    1. Rainy*

      I started my post-grad school professional career doing HR and there were a NUMBER of people in my unit who had been underreporting leave (I caught them, no worries) and one person who had been engaging in flagrant timecard fraud, whom I also caught. I wasn’t allowed to do anything about the timecard fraud, but just putting them on notice that I’d caught it seemed to solve the issue. They tried, one time, to argue with me about the particular leave policy they were not complying with, and when I wouldn’t be intimidated, and then put into operation a new leave reporting software that didn’t allow for the fraud they were doing, they couldn’t really do anything about it.

      In these cases, it was all because our unit was still using paper leave forms (the timecard fraudster was positioned to block implementation of an electronic leave system, and successfully did so until I was hired). Once I got us switched to electronic leave, all of that ended.

  49. Rainy*

    I have gotten every job I’ve ever had without any volunteer work or anything else like that on my resume. In fact, I don’t do volunteer work.

    My degrees are all in something that isn’t related to what I do professionally, and while I’m happy to talk about my hobbies, I do not put anything about them ever on my resume. My resume has work experience, some professional service, and my degrees on it, and a few things that are specific to my field. I’ve never had an issue.

  50. Boof*

    OP4 – you know the lay of the land best, but it sounds like you have a lot of leverage and the company would be stupid to try to enforce the policy. IF they do, you can probably just take off anyway when you want; what are they going to do? Fire you? (no they probably won’t they probably need you way more than you need them).
    Most likely they won’t bring up the policy at all, unless this is the kind of place that likes to cut off their nose to spite their face.

  51. fgcommenter*


    He patrols the lunch room and comments on peoples’ meals.

    He’s either too lazy to do any real work, or he considers patrolling to be a valid form of exercise. It would be fun to assume he’s setting an example of what he wants you to do to stay healthy, and spontaneously decide that going on a random patrol is following his example of being healthy. “Oh, CEO kept pushing us to work on our fitness, and showed us how random walks contribute to fitness. Since this is something he pushed during work, I figured it comes under ‘other duties as assigned’ and should therefore be done as a work task, during work time.”

  52. Quickbeam*

    Re: #3…..I had a very similar circumstance with a peer constantly needing me to cover her desk. It added up to a huge amount of time and began to interfere with my ability to do my work. I brought it up to my manager as a work flow issue and….she had no idea this person was taking off so much time. I’d guesstimate about 3 times our PTO allotment.

    I ended up as the bad guy since the colleague was forced to account for her time much more strictly going forward. The coworker said she thought salaried meant she could come and go as she pleased.

  53. Mr. Bob Dobalina*

    OP#5: In my opinion, the only reason to put extra-curricular activities on *your* resume is if those activities are related or relevant to the open position to which you are applying, and would support your qualifications for the job. In other words, I think you can completely leave off that section if you want. I rarely see that type of stuff on resumes from experienced industry professionals. In my experience, it is something more common on recent college graduate resumes, because they have such limited or no work history. Good luck with your job hunt!

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