I got drunk at a work event, can I be friends with managers who aren’t MY manager, and more

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

1. I got drunk at a work event — but it was because of my medication

I have been at my company for six years and attend two or three in-person events a year that always include alcohol. The last event, my pharmacy gave me a higher dose antidepressant without my knowledge and the first night I had a couple drinks that ended up making me very drunk. Normally, the two to three drinks I had would not had affected me as they did that night. I didn’t do anything wrong, was just (not just … but didn’t cause a scene or fall on my face, etc.) intoxicated in front of our board of directors.

Naturally, my CEO wrote me up. I said I understood and apologized. I wasn’t defensive because I understand I was in the wrong but I did mention the medication issue.

I received the formal write-up and it leaves space for me to comment. Do I comment saying anything about the medication mix-up or just sign off and move on?

I certainly would; this is a record of the incident that will stay in your employee file, and I’d want it to contain the full story — because this wasn’t a situation where you just decided to pound shots at a work event with reckless abandon; this was you reacting to a medication in a way you had no reason to anticipate. In fact, I’m not convinced you shouldn’t push back on the write-up itself, given the circumstances — but that’ll depend on your sense of your boss, how much it will matter, your own capital, etc.

All that said, I’d argue “two to three” drinks at a work event is on the high side, regardless of your medication situation. Two might be fine, but three can be a lot in a work context.

2. Can I be friends with managers who aren’t my manager?

I know I’m not supposed to be friends with my manager, but what about other managers in different parts of the organization? What if they used to be my manager, but now they aren’t? Can we move from friendly to actual friends?

The potential friends I’m thinking of are in positions higher up the org chart than I am, but they are over other teams, so I don’t report to them, nor does anyone else on my team. So, no direct hiring/firing authority over me. But in a lot of ways they are also more the peers of my manager than me because of their roles. Any particular issues where this could cause problems at work (or outside of work)?

Also, one of the could-be friends used to be my boss. I reported to them in my previous role (in the same organization), then a few years ago I switched to a different role and started reporting to someone else. We get along well, we have some mutual friends, and it seems like this person wants to hang out more outside of work. Could this be weird given the past boss/employee relationship? Is this an issue if I ever needed to list this person as a reference?

I’m in a role where I often interact with other teams around the organization, and I often interact with people at different “levels” of the organization. I also have a hand in some decision making that might not be expected based on the “level” of my role alone. All of this makes it difficult to define who my peers are in my workplace, which just adds to the challenge in making friends at work!

If you’re not currently in each other’s chain of command, there’s no reason to avoid these friendships. It is worth thinking about whether you might ever be in each other’s chain of command in the future and whether that could cause issues — for example, if you become good friends with Jane, be aware that it might be complicated if you want to transfer on to Jane’s team in the future.

Reference-wise: as a hiring manager, I’d rather not talk to a reference who’s a very close friend of yours (because of bias) but realistically, reference-checkers are pretty unlikely to know it’s a close friendship unless one of you volunteers it.

3. My boss decided I can’t work remotely, but I turned down another job offer to do it

I informed my boss I was moving out of state. He asked if I would consider working remotely. After a bit of thought, he clarified that I would work remotely for five months with a review of how it was working “for both of us” in two. (Timeline is tied to an academic calendar.) I had a job offer elsewhere, which I mentioned — but I decided to stay. At the review, he said I’d be done in May because he “needs his team in person.” I was gracious but now want to revisit this. I wrongly assumed the review would be about how to adjust, not that I was done. Although I say so myself, I am great at my job. Is it worth asking him to reconsider or for a longer exit time? My field is dismal in terms of openings.

Oh no. Yeah, his statement that you could do it for five months meant that nothing beyond that was guaranteed (and the point of assessing two months in was presumably so that you’d have those three months of notice if he didn’t want to continue).

You could certainly ask him if there are adjustments that would make the situation more workable, or for a longer exit time. Who knows, he might be open to that — but I would be prepared for him to feel like he laid out the terms pretty clearly at the beginning (that he was only committing to trying it for five months).

4. How can I make fewer typos in my emails?

I have so many typos at work. Mostly small occurrences, rarely does it change the intent of the email, but nevertheless I feel so unprofessional when I look back at things I’ve sent. I’ve tried drafting emails and stepping away for a moment so I can proofread with fresh eyes, but I still manage to make minor mistakes. I’ve caught two this morning already! I typed “of” instead of “or” and I left off the “ed” in a sentence in a different email (“I insert Person’s Name to claim this”).

It’s never been mentioned in a performance review or pointed out by my coworkers, but I can’t help but think people have noticed. I know I notice other people’s typos (usually because it makes me feel better about my own!). I re-read all my emails before sending, English is my first language, I’m well spoken verbally – why am I so bad at emails? Any thoughts on how to improve my written communication and catch these before I hit send? Just looking through the last week of emails I think it’s happening like, A LOT.

If you do good work and you don’t have typos when they would really matter (like in public communications, not in casual internal emails), it’s very unlikely that this is an issue. People make the sort of typos you described in casual internal emails — you’re typing fast, you’re being efficient, and it’s not always efficient to let an email sit for hours so you can re-read it with truly fresh eyes. In casual contexts, it’s not likely to be a big deal.

That said, since you’re looking for ways to combat it, you could try reading some of the emails out loud to yourself — for a lot of people that’s an effective way to spot typos that your eyes will gloss right over. (Although obviously if you don’t have your own office, it’s not practical — and it’s potentially weird and annoying to your neighbors — to read all your emails out loud to yourself.) There are other proofreading tricks like reading a sentence backwards, but realistically those are likely to slow you down enough that they’re not worth the trade-off except in situations where it’s particularly important that the message be flawless.

5. I couldn’t submit my application without contact info for managers from over a decade ago

I am job searching, as my current position is being eliminated after budget cuts. I’ve worked for my current organization for just over a decade, and can offer five different glowing references for my various positions with them, including my current manager. I recently filled in a job application that asked if they could contact my managers from all of my previous jobs. If I clicked “yes”, it also asked for those references’ names, phone numbers, and emails as required fields. I clicked “no” because I do not have that information readily accessible for managers from over a decade ago. Should I have waited to apply until I had tracked all of them down just so I could choose “yes” for that question? It seems like a lot to ask in an initial application before I’ve even had a phone screen interview. Do organizations really care that much about references from jobs going that far back into my employment history?

That’s bad application design, but as a general rule you should avoid checking “no” as the answer to “can we contact the manager from X job” unless you absolutely have to. You meant “no” as in “I can’t facilitate that process/don’t have their contact info” but employers tend to read “no” as “I do not give you permission talk to that employer, even if you can figure out how to contact them.”

Ideally you would have selected “yes” and either looked up the general contact info for the employer (company contact info would be fine; it wouldn’t have to be the manager’s personal contact info if you don’t have it) or put in a placeholder for the time being.

The hiring manager might not care about talking to references from 10 years ago, but at this point you were just trying to get your application accepted by an electronic system that isn’t set up to deal with that kind of nuance.

stop saying “no” when job applications ask “can we contact this manager?”

{ 473 comments… read them below }

  1. GingerCookie*

    Voice to speech. I am a horrible typist and grammatician, it is not what puts money on the table. But when I’m working, not commenting on blogs lol, I definitely click the button to make outlook read back to me and I fix the spellings that she recommends. Cheers.

    1. nnn*

      Yes, that’s what I came to suggest – Read Aloud or any other screenreader function. It only takes a few seconds, and you can even speed it up.

      We overlook typos because our brains are helpfully trying to make sense of what we’re reading. But the kinds of mistakes we make in typos sound super weird out loud, so a screenreader makes them conspicuous.

    2. NforKnowledge*

      This is the way. Your brain can overlook typos for a million re-readings, but hearing the words out loud is completely different.

    3. Lavender*

      You can also copy and paste the text into Google Translate and click the megaphone icon, if you’re not on a platform that has text-to-speech built in.

      1. Willow Pillow*

        I would not suggest this for anyone working with sensitive or confidential information – it would be an information security violation at my workplace.

          1. yet another librarian*

            I bet the security violation would be giving the info to Google, which will likely store it on their servers and use it for tracking and advertising purposes.

            1. Willow Pillow*

              Yes, the issue is that the information is being provided to a platform that has the ability to retain your data. There are organizations working with sensitive/confidential data that use Google, but in that case it’s paid organizational access to the apps, not free public access.

            2. rebelwithmouseyhair*

              Yes, we translators have to sign contracts with our clients in which we promise not to use Google Translate, because otherwise their info will be out there.

        1. Nina*

          Microsoft Word has a read-aloud function as well and is allowed in (most? many) industries dealing with highly sensitive information.

          1. Reluctant Mezzo*

            I have found their Dictate function to work better than my elderly version of Dragon, too–it actually keeps up with the speed of my speech, which is nice, and has fewer errors. Of course, it probably helps I have a *good* microphone now as well.

    4. Mockingjay*

      Also, if you send a large volume of emails, prioritize them. Proof in order of importance. Emails to clients and higher ups: definitely proof. Quick email to coworker: probably can let it slide.

      Another trick: type the text in MS Word (or whatever word processing software), use its grammar and spell checker to proof, then paste into the email. Just open a blank doc and type in it all day, then close it without saving at COB.

      1. steliafidelis*

        It’s not a bad practice to draft emails in Word and copy that text into the email. Lots of people do that to avoid accidentally sending an email early or to a wrong person.

        1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

          And then you proofread it again after copying it into the email editor, because the layout might differ slightly. Only the other day I caught a mistake on a website I’d translated: I’d used the expression “akin to” except that “akin” was the last word in the line and “to” should have been on the next line, and it wasn’t. Once the layout guy put my file online, “akin” landed in the middle of a line and it was immediately obvious that “to” was missing.

      2. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

        I was going to suggest this also. It won’t catch 100% but it will cut down, especially if paired with the read function.

    5. Lalitah92*

      Was going to say the same thing. Most Windows 10 computers have dictation capabilities and it’s an in-built feature of Microsoft 365.

    6. NeedRain47*

      I wonder if the OP has an office. I work, have worked, and probably always will work in a cubicle farm and it wouldn’t be okay to have people dictating their private emails where everyone can hear everything.

        1. Lydia*

          I don’t really understand this comment. Are you suggesting their coworkers all warn everyone when they’re getting ready to dictate, so put on your headphones? And even if you’re speaking into a microphone on a headset, people around you can hear you.

            1. Environmental Compliance*

              Lydia brought up dictating, though, which is speech to text, not text to speech. My own headphones will not help me keep sounds from getting to my coworkers in a shared space if I have to talk.

              1. Reluctant Mezzo*

                The Colbert show had a tech thing on it (which he made fun of) which allowed gameplayers to make loud comments without waking up the neighbors. It looks like a muzzle, hence the humor, but something on that close order could work.

    7. RT*

      Another recommendation for Read Aloud in Microsoft Word and Outlook. I don’t use it for short emails, but almost always use it as a last step before submitting a longer written document. Almost always find a few errors that way, even in documents that have already been reviewed by multiple people.

  2. Hoda*

    LW4: Install grammarly on your computer and an extension on your browser. Free version works just fine. It is been a lifesaver for me.

      1. Fancy marketing*

        It really isn’t. It’s wrong in a disturbing amount of cases (nothing different from built-in spell checkers, really) and on top of that it’s technically a keylogger.

        Now I have no reason to believe they are actually collecting passwords and they claim that it recognises password fields, but they don’t explain how and at any rate, it’s an unnecessary vulnerability.

        I’d use the read-aloud function over Grammarly, tbh.

        1. Adelheid*

          Grammarly probably recognizes password fields the same way as any browsers, add-ons etc. In html forms have an input type, the type “password” makes the stars or dots appear instead of the typed in text.

        2. Gray Lady*

          I usually think its stylistic advice is pretty bad, but in a case like LW’s it would be helpful because it recognizes context where a spell checker doesn’t if the word used is some correctly spelled word. Grammarly would at least flag the apparently incorrect word. LW could ignore the style advice and just use it for contextual typos.

          1. Dr. Vibrissae*

            Yes, Grammarly and I disagree muchly on when it is necessary to use an article (or not) and there is no way to make it stop making the same annoying suggestion. I did use it as a general spelling/grammar checker in a program I had to use regularly for work that did not have that capability.

          2. rebelwithmouseyhair*

            The grammar checker in the latest version of Word is pretty good. I’d tried it years ago and it was a waste of time, nowadays it picks up on all sorts of stuff and even suggests synonyms that improve the style, like “enormous” instead of “very big” and “hilarious” instead of “too funny”.

      1. Willow Pillow*

        Same. Grammarly’s TOS includes the ability to save your data, and whether or not they actually do that’s a big issue for sensitive or confidential information.

    1. Opportunities*

      If your company is using any version of MS Office, just turn on spelling and grammar checking. Outlook has it built in. If you have MS Word, type your emails in that first as any errors are highlighted.

    2. Mangoslice*

      Same! I’m a terrible speller and was always getting those types of edits from people reviewing my work. I tried to read it back to myself, have a program read it to me and eventually installed Grammerly. It’s sooo much better that I expected it to be and has been great so far.

    3. nona*

      My spelling is so bad it was mentioned twice in the speeches at my wedding. I’m also very susceptible to typos, or just using a completely different word. A few things have helped me:
      1. I’d not heard of grammarly, however I achieve the same thing by copying any email that matters into a word processing document to do a grammar check. It’ll complain about things that are OK (my profession uses several common verbs as nouns), but is pretty good at picking up things like of/or switches.
      2. I make the same mistakes repeatedly (“fir” in place of “for”, “ration” in place of “ratio”), so for important documents I keep a list of those words and search for them.
      3. Accepting that I will never spell well, and that I’m still good at my job, and it doesn’t really matter that much. Some people will probably judge me for it, but so be it.

      If it makes you feel better, I have also told my close colleagues that I know typos are a problem for me, and I’m doing everything I can to catch them, but I just seem to be missing some ability to see them. I wanted them to know that it’s not carelessness.

      On the other hand, I have a colleague who’s emails are unintelligible word garbage. Several people have commented to me that they have trouble working with him, as they can’t understand his emails, and the only way to figure out what he’s saying is to phone him and ask. Emails like this are definitely a problem – but the odd typo that doesn’t really affect readability is a little embarrassing, but is not ultimately going to affect your ability to do your job well.

      1. just another bureaucrat*

        I have someone I work with who always has perfect punctuation and grammar but honestly it’s impossible to tell what she’s trying to say because it’s a nonsense way of approaching the topics. I’d rather have someone who gets a typo or using the wrong work occasionally than someone who is unintelligible every day. (That said it might be because I’m on the poor writer but good content side vs the “good” writer but poor content side)

      2. rebelwithmouseyhair*

        My partner is not great with written communication, so I find it best to read his messages aloud, or imagine him reading it aloud, and somehow I understand much better like that. He’ll sometimes use a word that’s not quite the right word but with the right first letters and the same rhythm to it (like operating and operation). While I think it’s on your colleague to write more clearly, it could help to catch the drift at least until such time as you can speak on the phone with him.

    4. AnonInCanada*

      While Grammarly is a tremendous resource for fixing grammar errors, it’s also a resource hog on your computer. Outlook slows literally to a crawl on this ancient relic of a computer I’m banging this reply on, if the plugin loads at all.

    5. Fez Knots*

      Came here to say this! All these suggestions on how to edit are great, but Grammarly is reliable and way, way faster.

  3. Luisa*

    #4 – Have you tried Grammarly? Drives me nuts but my kid swears by it. It does real-time spell check and grammar check.

    1. Fancy marketing*

      So does a built-in spell checker.

      Grammarly has a bunch of silly, frankly nonsensical marketing and that’s about it. There’s really nothing it does that the average built-in spell checker doesn’t.

      1. Double A*

        That’s not true; it works in fields where built in spell checkers don’t and it catches grammar errors, not just spelling. Some of its grammar corrections don’t make sense for the context (it really wants you to include articles always) but I find it super useful for catching typos like writing you instead of your or missing the -ed.

        Although if there’s a browser with a decent built in typo catcher please recommend it!

        1. Felis alwayshungryis*

          My husband is dyslexic and absolutely swears by it – it catches quite/quiet typos and also spots when he’s missed words out entirely.

          1. Fancy marketing*

            Just to be clear I’m not saying that Grammarly can’t be a useful tool, it’s just the idea that Grammarly is the be all end all of writing assistants that I want to push back on. By all means, use whatever tools you like if you need them. Just be cautious of relying on it too much, just like any other spelling/grammar checker, and make sure to use the right tools for the right projects.

            1. Michelle Smith*

              There was nothing in LW4’s post that suggested they don’t understand grammar and spelling rules. In fact, it seems like the exact opposite. They know them quite well and just don’t see them. They are the perfect person to use Grammarly, as they will be able to tell what suggestions to take and which to ignore.

              1. Observer*


                I *would* hesitate to recommend to someone who wrote in saying “I know nothing about grammar. What can I do?” But it’s perfect for someone who essentially needs an “always on” proof reader whose suggestions they can ignore.

        2. Fancy marketing*

          Most spell checkers I tested a few years ago when I was looking into Grammarly (I’ll admit, I was curious to see if it was as good as their stupid marketing made it seem) also check grammar nowadays. They were not particularly worse than Grammarly, either.

          Most browsers have spell checks, too (usually try to check my spelling and grammar in the wrong language, but that’s another issue).

          On top of that, Grammarly achieves what it does by technically being a keylogger. They do claim that it ignores password fields and I have no reason to doubt that claim, but they also don’t explain how this is achieved.

          Frankly I can’t recommend a browser because I don’t know what you consider to be a decent typo catcher and I’m usually using multiple languages, so I tend to ignore grammar check entirely and just have it read out loud to me if I need to make sure all typos have been removed and all grammar is on point.

          And the few times I do pay attention to grammar checks (including that one time I was testing Grammarly) they are often so hilariously wrong or trying to adjust my way of speaking (no thanks, if I wanted to sound generic I’d be writing generically) I’ve just learned to ignore them. Which is an issue in and of itself.

            1. Don't Call Me Shirley*

              It doesn’t – using it on company confidential information, or even sensitive personal information is going to be a breech of policy at best.

              1. Michelle Smith*

                My organization explicitly requires that we use it. There is no need to install any browser extensions. You go to Grammarly’s website, upload a Word doc, and review the suggestions. There is no need to risk any passwords or anything else. I don’t know why people are so stuck on this. Literally all LW has to do is paste the email into a doc and upload it, then edit their email based on the suggestions.

                1. Willow Pillow*

                  That would still be a violation of my organization’s infosec policies – I work with sensitive and/or confidential information and Grammarly’s TOS includes the right to retain a copy of any data provided to it.

                2. Don't do this*

                  Because you’re uploading potentially sensitive corporate or even government information.

        3. Cambridge Comma*

          Word also checks grammar when it checks spelling. If you tweak the settings for what you are doing the results can be quite helpful, certainly better than Grammarly’s hundreds of false positives.

          1. amoeba*

            Yeah, seconding Word. The grammar check usually just annoys me because I have actual reasons to write differently than it wants me to, but it does appear to catch a lot of things.
            Would try to quickly copy my emails into an empty word doc before sending and see what it finds…

          2. Fancy marketing*

            I just have to say I love your username in the context of talking about Grammarly, because hoo boy does Grammarly have issues with commas.

      2. Observer*

        Grammarly has a bunch of silly, frankly nonsensical marketing and that’s about it. There’s really nothing it does that the average built-in spell checker doesn’t.

        Nope. The difference between Grammarly and a regular spell checker is that it does do grammar and context checks. It’s not 100% correct – I’ve had it make suggestions that are not correct, but for the most part it picks up things like punctuation, wrong word form and the occasional spilling error.

          1. Observer*

            The last time I checked it, it did a terrible job. But it’s been a while.

            The nice thing for me with Grammarly is that I generally use it in places like web sites, where Word’s tools don’t apply.

          2. Sleeve McQueen*

            There’s a bunch of functionality in the Word spell checker that is not turned on by default – level of formality, passive voice, too many adverbs and use of problematic language.

    2. WalkAndTalk*

      Surprised by all the pushback here on Grammarly! I’m a former book and digital publication editor now working in communications, and Grammarly is a fantastic tool I use daily to proof my own writing. No, it’s not 100% correct about all things, especially style, but it’s a great time and face saver.

      1. Lydia*

        It’s not practical if you’re worried about the security or privacy of the information you’re using it on.

  4. Chilipepper Attitude*

    For #5, on forms like that, where there are few options, I’ve listed work phone numbers and emails for very old managers even when I know they retired or the org does not exist. I do the best I can; it usually works itself out later.

      1. Earlk*

        A lot of places I’ve applied actually prefer to get HRs details for the organisation because often in the UK they’re more concerned about if the dates and job title is correct and any disciplinary action than actual subjective reviews of an employee.

        1. EvilQueenRegina*

          I bet there’s a few people who use the number from your username when they can’t provide a legit number! (Although I hope they use 555 as the area code.)

    1. The Prettiest Curse*

      The office where I had my first post-university office job closed many years ago and the building has since been demolished and replaced by housing, so I just list the contact info of that employer’s head office instead. Nobody has ever asked me about it.

      1. CL*

        Recently filling out paperwork, I had to look up the zip code for the office where a family member worked 30 years ago. The name of the federal agency and location of the office has change twice since then… how useful is that information?

    2. Green great dragon*

      At worst, you could tick yes and put ‘not available’ in all the boxes. As Alison says, this is about getting through the computer system. Once it gets to a human, they can spot the difference between ‘you are missing your 8th most recent reference’s contact details’ and ‘you have not provided any of references’, and can also ask instead of just chucking out your appliction.

      1. Antilles*

        Unfortunately, a lot of application forms don’t actually give you a “not available” option. You have the choice to say whether they can contact you (with the question carrying the implications that AAM mentions of saying no might look bad) ..but the instant you click “yes, I allow you to contact this person”, another box opens up with their contact information and by golly the computer form expects 10 digits in this Contact Phone box and won’t let you proceed until there’s 10 digits in that box.
        And that’s where the other suggestions for how to fill out that box come into play – using the generic company line or their last known phone number or all zeroes or etc.

    3. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I mentally translate “can we” to “may we” every time….because it would take a ouija board to contact a couple of those former managers.

    4. Critical Rolls*

      If you encounter a form that is demanding a phone number that doesn’t exist, such as a company that isn’t in business anymore, 555-555-5555 is the lorem ipsum of phone numbers.

      1. Schrodinger's Cat*

        I never realized that you were supposed to check yes even if your former managers are retired or sadly passed away! Even after 20 years in the work force I learn new things about general job expectations, lol.

    5. SafaWilkel*

      OP here. All good comments (and replies). Definitely took things too literally and thought that if I couldn’t give them specific personal info about my particular supervisor in a role, then I couldn’t answer. Wish I had thought more globally about it, but what’s done is done. I probably won’t get that job, but I just got an invite for an initial interview for a job I am super excited about, so fingers crossed!!!

    6. my cat is the employee of the month*

      I completed a form for a thorough background check and had to get creative for several of my employers because it was during the period of the pandemic where many people were working from home. Luckily the form included space for comments, and I made fairly extensive comments about their work locations varying during the week. One person was 100% WFH while the company built a local office, too. Another company had gone bankrupt. It worked out just fine, and they were able to get the information they needed.

  5. MK*

    #2, is there a reason to deliberately try to make friends with higher level coworkers? It’s the plural that strikes me as odd: I can understand having an unusually strong connection with one person who us a manager, but it sounds as if you want to actively pursue closer relationships with several higher-ups. The optics are a bit off.

    1. Punk*

      I agree that the letter has an odd tone (deliberately picking potential friends instead of letting things happen naturally) but there are valid reasons for it. I went back to school and pivoted to a new career where my work level peers are 10-15 years younger than me. I don’t have a hangup about it and I chat with them just fine, but my deeper work friendships are in management roles due to age.

      1. Zombeyonce*

        I did the same at a previous job and it ended up biting me in the butt. I was friends with a coworker in another department that was closer to my age than my immediate teammates. We became such close friends that we eventually became roommates (actual roommates, not “and they were roommates!”).

        It was great until my boss left and they got promoted to fill the position. HR insisted I move. I understood, but it was still really frustrating to have to change my entire living situation because someone else got promoted.

        1. Earlk*

          Is that not overstepping on HRs part? I would assume previous relationships wouldn’t be required to change? After all they made the hiring decision when you were already living together. Not even as a couple too.

          1. OfOtherWorlds*

            It’s one of those odd things where it’s too personal for HR to suggest it, but you need to figure out yourself that one roommate should move out in relatively short order.

    2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      I was wondering if this was a smaller community and those other managers were part of a shared hobby group/fitness class/other outside of work shared interests? In that case, yes avoid the immediate manager (and anybody else in your management chain), but I don’t see a problem being friendly/friends with managers who aren’t in your department – and it could even be helpful if there is ever a cross departmental project – because you are a slightly known quantity to that other manager.

      1. MK*

        I think it’s different if it’s a casual friendship in the context of a shared activity. It sounds to me as if the OP has a close personal friendship in mind.

    3. Nikki*

      Even removing the power dynamics in the question, it struck me as odd that the LW is so hyper focused on targeting specific people as potential friends. Work is not generally a place to actively seek out close friendships. Of course you want to be friendly with your co workers and sometimes those relationships develop organically into something closer, but it’s unusual to spend so much energy trying to make those close relationships happen in a work environment.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Yeah, this felt akin to “I am surveying upper management as my future friends” rather than “Since I started on the company softball team I’ve become friendly with several top managers from the alpaca division.”

        OP, are you doing “I’m mostly at work, so that’s where I encounter people who can fill other roles in my life, too”? Because the standard advice there is to find a hobby.

        1. OP2 - Friending is Hard*

          Falling Diphthong, I mentioned this in a couple other comments, but clarifying again – I’m not specifically looking to befriend managers. There happen to be a couple managers who I get along well with and have spent time with at things like happy hours / informal gatherings with coworkers, have run into in some social settings, etc.

          As for whether work is where I mostly encounter potential friends…did you have to call me out like that?! lol Admittedly this is an area for me to work on. This is less about spending all my time at work and more about using up my energy at work and not having enough left to like, consistently keep up with doing my dishes or whatever, let alone start new hobbies and maintain a thriving social life. This is due to a combination of work stress and my own mental health stuff – both of which I’ve been working to address.

      2. TechWorker*

        I think this is a little unkind, an alternative read is that the LW feels these friendships *would* develop naturally, but is currently holding back because they weren’t sure whether it was appropriate.

        1. Hlao-roo*

          Yes, I interpreted the letter to be about relationships that had reached the stage where, if they were peers, it would be natural to invite these coworkers to outside of work social activities and the LW is holding back because they are managers. The LW is only asking about managers and not peers because they know it is OK to let friendships with peers develop.

          And as for the LW feeling friendship potential with multiple managers, the LW has been at this company for at least a few years (so plenty of time to meet lots of different coworkers–individual contributors and managers). It doesn’t strike me as strange that there’s more than one manager that the LW think would make a compatible friend.

        2. Cyborg Llama Horde*

          Yeah, the phrasing didn’t seem odd to me at all.

          In IT, I can be friends with my nominal peers, but I am also to some extent an authority over them — if I say, “No, you can’t install Grammarly because it’s a security vulnerability,” they need to comply. Some of those instances are policies set above me, but I’m also expected to exercise my independent judgement about what’s appropriate (usually on the no side; I can tell someone not to use something on my own authority, and it can be appealed to my manager, but to get a yes beyond a well-defined area, I should get my manager to approve). And since there’s often more mobility in other parts of the org than there may be in IT, if I stick around for a couple of years, I am probably more senior in terms of tenure than those nominal peers — and their managers may well be the people who were my nominal peers when I started. So it wasn’t at all uncommon for me to become friends with Anne and Lynn, and remain friends with them after they were promoted to the level of my manager.

          I wasn’t trying to make friends with higher-ups, but if you have the sort of role where you’re working with people on multiple levels of the org, it can be pretty easy to become work-friends (and perhaps real-friends) with people who aren’t on the same level as you, especially if your org is not especially hierarchical.

          1. allathian*

            Yes, this. I work for a government agency in Finland, and I’m a senior IC in a very flat organization. Below me in the org are only interns and junior ICs. I don’t have any managerial authority over them, but I can and do provide some training for new teammates. Our main team is managed by our manager who’s responsible for hiring, performance evaluations, firing, etc. We also have 3 supporting team leads, but my team lead doesn’t have any managerial authority as such. Above my manager there’s just the department head and above her there’s the top boss of the agency. There’s also a director in central administration who’s responsible for strategic long-term plans for our department, but she doesn’t have any supervisory authority over us. Partial matrix organizations can be a bit tricky to navigate sometimes…

            Many of my closest work friends in other departments are peers with my manager, and that’s not a problem because my job requires a very specific set of skills that are only useful in my team.

        3. Lyudie*

          That’s also how I read this. I’m not sure that OP is going out of their way to make friends at higher levels, I read it as they get along well with or have some kind of connection with other managers.

          1. OP2 - Friending is Hard*

            Yes, exactly. Not looking to managers specifically for friendships, there are just some folks I get along with well who happen to be managers. I’ve also had some friendships at work with people who are peers in terms of where they fall in the organizational hierarchy, but like Hlao-roo’s said, I didn’t include that in my question since I was more confident on how to handle those situations.

      3. MCMonkeyBean*

        I wondered at first but it sound like in at least one of these cases, OP feels like the manager in question is already acting as though interested in a friendship so they just want to check and make sure that’s okay before they see where it goes.

        1. OP2 - Friending is Hard*

          Yes, that’s part of it. There’s one manager who has invited me to social things a couple times and who has expressed interest in hanging out more. I’d held back on accepting invitations or being like, “Yeah, let’s hang out more,” because I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea or not with our working relationship.

    4. Ellis Bell*

      The plural didn’t strike me as odd at all – I assumed that the managers are already friends with each other and OP has had some kind of an opportunity to join the group; either through a connection with one manager or a shared hobby they have with the group.

    5. Delta Delta*

      I read it slightly differently. It struck me more like, “Jane in finance and Natasha in purchasing seem like people I’d like to be friends with, but they’re a level above me and I don’t know if this is okay.”

    6. Smithy*

      I think the optics might be why the letter was written – but there may be a really mundane reason for the situation. Like belonging to a hobby or other affinity group as some high level coworkers, or even just being in a satellite office and all the other coworkers there are higher level but on other teams.

      It’s also very often that in different teams people will rise through the ranks at different speeds. To pick on a joke stereotype (that may have no basis in reality) – a Director in TikTok might be closer in age to someone more junior on the Finance team.

    7. tamarack etc.*

      The normal AAM advice about friendships at work is something that would mostly have worked when I lived in large cities, but now that I’m part of a small college community in a very small city it’s really not realistic. Whatever activity you engage in, whatever group of friends you develop, they’re likely to include both people from above and below you (as well as roughly equals) in the university hierarchy. Everyone knows that it’s something to pay attention to.

      So while it’s possible to mostly avoid too close entanglement with one’s immediate line of command, where I sit friendships with multiple people at different hierarchical levels are common. As is, for example, never getting involved with the local birding org because one of their long-time board members is the former director of your now-defunct unit, who did a terrible job when the unit got into financial trouble. (And that’s even though they seem to be doing a really good job furthering birding-related conservation and educational outreach…)

      (I’m aware I’m a bit off-center WRT the AAM norm when it comes to friendships at works.)

    8. OP2 - Friending is Hard*

      To clarify, I’m not trying to specifically seek friendships with higher level coworkers. It’s more that I’ve gotten to know a couple of these folks from working with them over the years, and I’ve enjoyed spending time with them at the occasional social-but-still-work-related thing (e.g. happy hour with a group of coworkers). I also cross paths with some folks outside of work. For instance, there’s a coworker who I’ve seen a few times at parties hosted by mutual friends, and there are coworkers who live near me who I could run into around my neighborhood. Feels like some friendships could develop, but I didn’t want to encourage that if it could cause tension at work or make for weird power dynamics or something.

  6. QuailKeeper*


    Write one sentence on each line (like this).
    Use a tool to check spelling, grammar, or both.
    Use text to speech.
    Write shorter emails.
    Accept your emails as they are and realize everyone makes mistakes.

    1. it's-a-me*

      I tired to read this as a limerick because of the line lengths, so…

      Write one sentence on each line (like this).
      And a checking tool won’t be remiss.
      Try to use text to speech.
      A length cap do not breach.
      Or your self judgement kindly dismiss.

      1. Rhymetime*

        Here’s another suggestion
        For contemplating this question
        Paste the email in Word
        And once it’s transferred
        It prevents being a distressed ‘un

        (I have to say that seeing another poster using limericks has made my day, my week, and my year!)

        1. Our Lady of the Cats*

          “Distressed ‘un” is a SONDHEIM quality rhyme, my friend! Bowing to your genius!

    2. Cambridge Comma*

      Additionally, OP could write some templates that she checks more carefully if she has some common types of mail, and use a text expander for common phrases.

      1. Scandinavian Vacationer*

        YES, templates are your friend! I bet you could condense your top 5 or 10 emails into templates, which would save your future self both time and potential embarrassment.

  7. Ginger Baker*

    I uhhhh. I know BigLaw is often on the heavier-drinking side, but not only can I not think of one person who would not be shocked at the suggestion that three drinks is “too much” for a work event, those same folks (aka everyone I work with, including many levels above me) are usually much more shocked when I limit my drinking to one or two drinks.

    Not to say Alison’s take is wrong, just that I think there’s also a strong Industry Factor.

    1. WishIWasATimeTraveller*

      Yeah, I was surprised at that as well. I don’t drink at all, but 3 drinks doesn’t seem like too much. Then again, it’s not unusual to me to see people have a drink or two at a team lunch before returning to the office to finish up the day.

      In this particular instance though, it sounds more like a medication issue than a drinking issue, so I’d definitely want that recorded, and if I was the manager I wouldn’t write them up for it.

      1. Miette*

        See that’s the thing–the CEO writing OP up strikes me as unnecessarily mean-spirited, particularly given the explanation. Is this person a teetotaler or something? In which case, perhaps no drinking with them in them in the mix in the future. And regardless, this would be enough for me to consider an exit strategy, because either they don’t believe OP’s reason or they’re an ass, and either one is a bad situation.

        1. BuildMeUp*

          I would assume the writeup was more about OP displaying inappropriate behavior because they were drunk than about the specific number of drinks they had.

          1. Lydia*

            Yes to this. I can’t see a write up for “you should have known that 3 drinks were too many. At this company we stick to a strict 2 drink rule.” It’s probably more the OP was being a little sloppy.

        2. Distracted Librarian*

          I’m a teetotaler, and I’d backpedal on the writeup immediately if someone mentioned a medication reaction. I also wouldn’t be counting people’s drinks, but I would definitely notice drunk behavior. A little tipsy is fine (if you have a safe ride), but someone being sloppy drunk at a work event is a big nope for me.

      2. MsClaw*

        It is pretty surprising to me to see so many people pushing back on the idea of 3 drinks being a lot at a work event. Many people are going to be over the legal limit to drive after 3 drinks, and if you’re too tipsy to get behind the wheel you’re probably not going to be at your most professional.

        I realize there is a lot of range based on weight, age, tolerance, and societal expectations based around your field of work. But yeah, 3 seems like a lot in most work contexts to me.

        1. B*

          Depends on the timeframe. For example, at a 4 hour-long dinner event three glasses of wine is perfectly fine, and many people wouldn’t even feel buzzed. But pounding three drinks in a half hour on an empty stomachs would most likely be problematic.

        2. TechWorker*

          I don’t drive after one drink, I would also not work, interact with clients or senior people I don’t know after one drink. But a work social with my peers or managers who know me well (and tbh are also likely having a drink)? Three drinks over a while is not really a problem.

        3. Performative gumption*

          That’s what public transport and taxis are for.
          I think it depends on location, culture etc

        4. Nina*

          Many people are going to be over the legal limit to drive after 3 drinks

          Funny story, I used to work as a surveyor attached to roadside breath alcohol testing in my country where the limit is much much lower than it is in most of the US (and where the police are not armed and generally not glassbowls, btw). The end-of-survey party involved the cops bringing the breathalyzer bus to the office for educational purposes. I’m a small thin woman and I’m well under the limit at three drinks in one hour, which is about two drinks more than I’d consider it safe to drive on. One guy who was built like a rugby lock (because he was) was still under the limit after fourteen drinks in one hour.

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

      Yeah three drinks doesn’t seem like a lot to me either, depending on the time frame.

      I think it also depends on the company. My current employer’s parties, they give out two drink tickets, I’m not even sure there’s a way to get a third drink though they are transferrableand there’s always someone willing to give you one or both of their tickets. My last employer had a drinking culture, e.g. a kegerator in the kitchen, and when the CEO departed 1 year and 1 day after the company was acquired, her favorite liquor was Fireball so she bought a fifth of fireball for every employee for her goodbye party and brought in an ice luge to serve it with (or other liquors if you preferred).

      1. MadCatter*

        I think this could also depend on region. I’m from a great lakes state and for the places I’ve worked, three drinks wouldn’t even be noticed.

      2. Susie*

        Haa, we generally get 2 drink tickets as well and there’s always at least a couple pregnant women or non-drinkers giving me their tickets. Once I ended up with 7 or 8 drink tickets and was like … uhhh, folks, you don’t want me to try this.

    3. I really cannot hold my liquor*

      I think it depends on other factors too. Like I’m a petite woman I can do one drink and remain soberish, anything after that is a crapshoot. Three drinks and I’m gonnnnneeeee. In fact, I had to abstain from alcohol for about two years due to my pregnancy and subsequent breastfeeding. When I had finally weaned, I lasted half a can of beer. Totally unmedicated, just really low tolerance. But my husband, who drinks casually but not super frequently, can do 4 beers before he starts getting noticably tipsy. He’s much larger than I am in both height and weight, which to my understanding helps quite a bit tolerance wise.

      1. Bagpuss*

        Yes, and also on things like the length and nature of the event and the type of drinks. 3 small glasses of wine over a 4 hour event with food is different to 3 glasses of wine at a 90 minute mixer, for instance.

        1. Green great dragon*

          Yeh, which is very different to three cocktails on an empty stomach.

          (I also thought three drinks is not very much, especially for single-unit drinks.)

      2. Employee No. 24601*

        this contributes to my other thought which is, maybe LW wouldn’t normally have 3 drinks at a work event but if the meds + alcohol hit them pretty much immediately, they may have been making impaired self-assessments and decisions from the first sip.

    4. nodramalama*

      yeah i was pretty shocked by that tbh. For many work events I go to 3 drinks would be very standard, especially if the alcohol is free

        1. Meow*

          Agree! The idea of three drinks being a lot in Europe is laughable and we regularly have company parties that start at 5 and last until midnight or later with free alcohol.

          1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

            When the boss is paying for the open bar you bet we’re all taking advantage as much as possible!

    5. Emmy Noether*

      Definitely industry dependent, and person dependent.

      I think the number of drinks will vary, but it’s generally a good idea to stay well under one’s personal limit, which will depend on how used one is to alcohol, one’s weight, medication, what one had to eat, how tired one is, and how fast one drinks, and the type of alcohol.

      For example, right now I don’t drink (med reasons), and I haven’t drunk much/often for some years. I’d be noticeably tipsy after one quick drink. At a work function, I’d limit myself to one glass of wine sipped slowly over the evening, or nothing. On the other hand, there have been times in my life where three drinks over an evening would have been fine.

      1. amoeba*

        I’d say it’s also work function dependent. If it’s something much more official (which this sounds like, with higher ups there, etc), I’d also make sure to stay well below my limit.
        At conferences though, getting a little drunk at the hotel bar/reception is definitely not something anybody would find strange at all. (And when I was in academia, spilling red wine on my PI at dinner was completely fine. He was as drunk as I was. But then… academia. Would not recommend to try that elsewhere.)

    6. Pop*

      I suspect that if the OP worked in one of the fields where this is the case, they wouldn’t have been written up by the CEO.

      1. NotRealAnonforThis*

        Having once worked for a barely functioning alcoholic with a serious vindictive streak in his personality, I’m not sure. He’d consider “not being able to hold your alcohol” to be a personality flaw and a purposeful insult to HIM.

        Yeah, that was one seriously dysfunctional workplace.

        1. Smithy*

          Yeah….I used to work for a CEO who would recommend saving assorted prescribed treatment for food poisoning/dehydration for hangovers from work events. And would also write you up for being “inappropriately drunk” at any of our events.

          Basically the same thing – being able to hold your liquor/party with the bigwigs was a sign of industry savvy and know-how. But not doing it right was a sign of weakness.

          Ultimately, industries with big drinking cultures I think are most functional when they actually help staff navigate grey areas. Where having one more drink than you should at a team happy hour is better than an internal party with your C-suite leadership. But both of those options are preferred than doing that at an external event/one with clients. They can all be opportunities to learn, but each boo-boo isn’t the same.

          Now if only they were all functional….

      2. Rosamond*

        Hard to say. I know of someone at my company (finance) who has the exact same thing happen as the LW. It was at company holiday party with open bar and people were taking shots, etc. Three drinks would never have been noticed. It was only the medication reaction that caused any kerfuffle.

      3. Lydia*

        I don’t think that follows. The issue the OP wrote in about was how their medication interacted with the alcohol, which would have been the case had they fewer drinks. It would really weird for the write up to be about the number of drinks rather than the behavior brought on by the medication and alcohol interacting.

    7. Mialana*

      BigLaw here too, and yeah… All the after work drinks, wine tastings and cocktail making courses… People are more likely to be shocked if you only have one or two drinks.

    8. Excel-sior*

      i think it also depends on the drinks. 3 beers is going to affect me differently to 3 glasses of wine which will be different to 3 cocktails.

      1. amoeba*

        Yup, and the size of the drinks as well. Three half pints – no problem. Three pints… eeh, I’ll be fine, but you’ll probably notice I’m not sober.

        1. Excel-sior*

          i think it depends on a variety of factors; age, culture, what’s in the pint, etc; when i was younger, 3 pints was a slow Monday (Guinness at £1.50 a pint when you’re 18 is not to be sniffed at)

      2. Bart*

        I always assume standard drinks when just ‘drinks’ are mentioned; so 250 ml beer, 100 ml wine, 35 ml spirit.

        1. amoeba*

          Hah, well, that’s probably regional differences – all of those would be considered quite small here!

        2. Magenta*

          In the UK the “official” unit of alcohol would be
          125ml of wine
          half a pint (284ml – I think UK pints are bigger?) of beer
          25ml of spirit

          Colloquially most people would think one drink would be
          a medium (175ml) glass of wine
          a pint (568ml) of beer
          usually a single (25ml) measure of spirit, although you could get away with a double (50ml)

          3 of these at lunch would probably be classed as a lot, 3 over an evening at a work event would not.

    9. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      I think what’s an acceptable amount to drink is very widely carried by industry. The ones I’ve been in (education and back of house medical) are no more than one drink at most – or even better don’t drink anything alcoholic at all. Engineering (that many of my other family members have been in) is more on the two to three max end of the spectrum. Law, and especially big law from the stories I’ve heard and sales are far more, we’ll just don’t get so drunk you can’t remember what you said and did.

      I just don’t think there’s a single correct answer here.

      1. TechWorker*

        Software engineering obv =/= ‘all engineering’, but we drink plenty. Otoh there’s plenty of people who don’t drink, & that’s fine too. (Unlike my friends new marketing job where the team building social included cocktail making and a competition where the losers had to do shots (!!)).

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          Fair enough – the engineers I mostly had experience with were chemical and civil structural (think city layout, road widths, and the like). They all were pretty firm about three at most at any social event.

          But the tales of S the salesman that my dad worked with later – well, they are still legendary, even almost two decades later.

      2. Dust Bunny*

        Libraries/archives: The very few events I’ve been to that even offered alcohol, three drinks would have appeared a bit over the line from “drink with dinner” into “I’m here for the bar”. One, sure; two, fine. Three? Ehhh . . .

        (We’re also in a driving city, especially late in the evening/night when buses aren’t running as often.)

      3. Stormfly*

        I’m tech consulting, and we often get three drink tickets at events, and then management will buy rounds for everyone on top of that. If there’s a tab behind the bar, we’re encouraged to use it up.
        There’ll also be a substantial group, including management, who’ll go on to a second venue when the bar we’re in closes. And we wouldn’t be unusually permissible for our industry, I don’t think. There are definitely plenty who go and don’t drink, or only drink one or two, the networking is what’s important.

        1. ABK*

          Yup, 3 isn’t a lot. Just got back from a trip where we had 2 cups of wine at dinner, 1 or 2 at the after dinner bar, then another at the hotel. 2-3 at dinner is fine I think. (1 at the bar before dinner, 2 with dinner)

      4. Taketombo*

        When I worked for a major contractor 1 or 2 at lunch was the norm, and I don’t think anyone stopped at 3 when there was an open bar on the company’s dime. We had a 9 person department dinner go though 3 bottles of wine, plus some beers and cocktails. It really depends.

      5. Adultiest Adult*

        Yeah, some of these comments are eye opening, because in my healthcare-adjacent field, we don’t have official parties with alcohol at all, and if you’re going out with coworkers most people stick to 1-2. I feel like the guiding factor should be that this is a work event: you’re not there to drink, you’re there to represent work, so stick with 1 and don’t risk it!

    10. Well...*

      Academic here, I’ve gotten postdoc offers from profs I’ve had more than 3 drinks with at conferences.

      3 drinks is where I know I’ll be at least a little bit showing that I’m intoxicated though, so context is key. I usually follow the lead of the more senior-level people. Alternating water is important as well, especially if you have a low tolerance compared to the group (my usual situation). I’d personally find it very exhausting to hang out all night sober with people who are drinking, and my job doesn’t pay me enough to do that for the sake of professionalism.

      1. amoeba*

        Ha, yeah, well, I think in academia that’s actually a very common way of recruiting postdocs…

        1. Anon for this*

          Sadly, yeah. It’s not like I got the offers the next day, they came ~year or two later, but still, they remembered who I was and kept an eye out for my papers.

    11. londonedit*

      Yeah…I mean, I’m British, and most Americans tend to think we’re all alcoholics anyway, but three drinks at a work event is too much? I’m surprised by that. Obviously one needs to know one’s own limits, but I can quite happily have three drinks and not be ‘intoxicated’. I think the OP’s employer was very harsh – no, it wasn’t great that their medication made them have a more extreme reaction to alcohol, and obviously whatever the cause it would have been embarrassing in the moment, but I think being ‘written up’ (which I assume means some kind of formal warning) is too much given the fact that they have explained it was caused by a new medication and not by the fact that they’d been downing shots or whatever.

      1. Clara*

        Yes, I work in the City and I think my bosses would be shocked if we only had two drinks! I’ve started having a couple of gins and then switching to sparkling water, so it looks like I’m still going. I suppose it’s different with the Board there though?

      2. Jerab*

        Agreed. The alcohol culture in the UK has definitely declined since I started working, although industry does play a part. When I started going to the pub at lunchtime and having a couple of drinks would have been perfectly normal, going out in the evening with bosses I would have expected to be bought more than three drinks by my managers.

        Even now going out with senior management drinking is perfectly normal, we had a leaving do for one of our longest serving colleagues recently, started drinking at 5pm, I headed home at midnight, one of my bosses was drunk enough to fall asleep on his train home…

      3. Magenta*

        I’m in the UK. We had a guy get so drunk on a work event that he threw up on the coach on the way home, we had to pay a really hefty cleaning fee.

        The event was organised by the company who had just bought ours and was to introduce us to our new big bosses, so a good impression was important.

        The guy had made a bit of an idiot of himself at the event and was already on a PIP for poor performance and bad judgements.

        There were zero repercussions for him, the company paid the cleaning fee, the worst that happened was his manager told him that it would be best if he didn’t do it again, we moved on.

    12. MsSolo (UK)*

      It also depends on time frame – three drink in three hours is different to three drinks in one hour! My industry doesn’t tend to do drinking at work events, but it’s pretty common to go for drinks after, and there’s a strong “always have something in hand” culture (and managers buying rounds, so junior colleagues don’t have to spend too much money) that can catch new people out if they’re nervously sipping away.

      1. Excel-sior*

        also depends on the AVB. i met up with a close friend over the weekend and over the 6 hours we had quite a few pints (i don’t want to give a number for fear of glamorising heavy drinking, but i think most Brits would shrug and most Americans would be shocked). we were drinking ale (4%) and were a bit tipsy, but had that been one of the more potent European beers, we’d have been in a much worse state.

    13. Sales SVP*

      There definitely is. As an employer though, if someone is getting in a car to drive home after a dinner, three drinks worries me.

    14. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Industry and transportation method. Drinks can flow more freely when there’s no worry about driving afterwards.

      Boy I miss public transit.

      1. Ginger Baker*

        Oh, yeah, to me public transit or a Lyft home (I know maybe two people who even HAVE a car where I live) is so default I don’t even think about it! Obviously the amount of drinking I (or anyone reasonable) thinks is acceptable if you are *driving* home is WILDLY different. I just…literally forget people drive home ever!

        1. UKDancer*

          Same. I live in London, hardly anyone drives into London so I tend to forget that people drive home after something. Of my friends with cars, I don’t know any of them who would drink and drive because it’s pretty culturally engrained in the under 40s that you don’t drive when you’ve had anything to drink.

          Almost everyone in my company uses public transport. The main constraint on the amount people drink in my company tends to be financial because alcohol is expensive here. So people drink less at leaving drinks now because the money doesn’t go as far.

          1. amoeba*

            Oh, yes, true. Would be absolutely shocked to see people drive a car after a few drinks. But as I don’t drive and live in a city where no one in their right minds would drive to a party that has drinks, that didn’t even come to my mind…

          2. Storm in a teacup*

            Fellow Londoner here
            3 drinks are about what we have after work on Wednesdays (the new Thursdays, which were the new Fridays) and especially when our boss is buying!
            I cannot imagine being disciplined for it unless you do something egregious.
            In fact I’m organising our next social and thinking of doing the gin tour

    15. Morning reader*

      I’m finding this conversation amusing, because recently there was (in another advice column I think) a question about a spouse who drinks a bottle of wine every evening. The commentariat consensus was that this is too much and the spouse must be an alcoholic. I kinda thought it depended because that’s only 3-4 drinks over several hours.
      Here we have several people saying three drinks is an entirely normal amount, depending on the context, type of drink, size and experience of the drinker.
      I’m with Alison here. I would never have had more than one drink with coworkers. I’m a relatively small woman so one and a half is about my limit in any circumstance. Many of my coworkers did not drink at all, and many of us were CDL drivers, meaning that our DUI limit is .04 not .08 as it usually is for non professional drivers. Living in car culture territory, there wasn’t usually any other way to get home after an event, so unless you had a DD, it wouldn’t be prudent to have more than one anyway.
      On the other hand, I have been to parties with lawyer friends in my younger days. I wish I could say that the law crowd is as attentive to legal and safety restrictions as my CDL drivers were. I never noticed moderation in that crowd unless it was not to get so drunk you accidentally slept with opposing counsel or some such “ethical” violation.

      1. T.N.H.*

        Not to nitpick, but a standard bottle of wine is generally 5 drinks (it depends on the alcohol percentage), which is quite a bit more than 3. But also, that’s every evening. Hopefully no one is going out with their coworkers every single day.

        1. Magenta*

          A large glass is 250ml, so it is 3 large drinks, it is more than I would do by myself in a normal evening, but 2 large glasses would certainly not raise many eyebrows.

          1. Kate*

            Ah, that must be an extremely large glass! T.N.H. is correct – there are five “glasses” of wine per bottle (and that’s what restaurants and bars calculate to get out of a bottle as well).

            1. Magenta*

              In the UK the legal measure is 125ml
              However all pubs bars and restaurants I have ever been to offer
              175ml Medium glass
              250ml Large glass
              Most of them don’t bother putting the 125ml on the price list because no one wants a small glass, however legally they have to sell you 125ml if you ask.

              So in the UK there is either 6, 4.2, or 3 glasses in a bottle.

      2. Kotow*

        LOL being in law myself, it’s so true that there are minimal limits! Three or four is considered standard at events; for me, three drinks will put me over the legal limit so if I’m driving I don’t get to that one but I’m in the minority in the profession.

      3. So Tired*

        I mean, the difference is literally right there. The other story you mentioned is 3-4 drinks *every night*. That’s definitely getting into potential alcoholic territory while 3 drinks in a night every once in a while is not.

    16. Boof*

      FWIW 5 or more drinks in on day/sitting is considered “at risk” drinking behavior – so 5 is right out!
      For me at least, just 1 would probably be enough to get me buzzed if consumed within an hour. 3 would make me fairly sloppy. But I rarely drink.

    17. grocerystore*

      I agree this is industry dependent for sure. I also think its event dependent too. I worked in tech for a while and my particular company loved to drink. We had a meeting every other friday afternoon, in which we had drinks. If we had a company event (no clients), alcohol would be flowing. People would get sloshed. I am not a big drinker, so I wouldn’t partake.

    18. allathian*

      It depends on the industry and on the national and organizational culture. I’m in Finland, and at the start of my current career 20 years ago, it was both expected and acceptable that employees got at a bit tipsy during work events, so three drinks during an evening event would’ve been the expected minimum. My then-employer paid for three drinks, and alcohol was frequently served at retirement parties during working hours, and it was okay to return to work after a glass or two.

      When I started at my current job 15 years ago, my employer typically paid for two drinks during evening events, and employees were allowed to provide alcohol for birthday and retirement parties during working hours. But this has all changed, and now alcohol isn’t allowed at events that are held during working hours and on company property. During evening events that are held in licensed premises employees are allowed to drink alcohol on their own dime if they want to do so, but being visibly intoxicated is frowned on. Bad behavior will get you written up, and being drunk doesn’t excuse that. My employer will only provide alcohol at events where at least 50 percent of attendees are external stakeholders.

      I enjoy the occasional drink or two, including with friendly coworkers. That said, I’m glad of the change because not drinking alcohol is a perfectly valid lifestyle choice that people don’t question anymore, or if someone does, they’re quickly shut down by bystanders. Pressuring someone to drink at a work event when they’ve clearly indicated that they don’t drink alcohol, even as a joke, would probably get you written up if your manager heard (of) it.

    19. Juniper*

      I think this will be very country-dependent too. Here in Norway, a company could be considered cheap if they only covered 3 drinks at a social function. Not saying that our kind of drinking culture is necessarily something to emulate, only that the number of drinks this person had is *very* standard by my yardstick. I also have experience working for the federal government, and the drinks are flowing at those events. So this is very much a case of YMMV.

    20. ScruffyInternHerder*


      I’d get all shades of crap for limiting my consumption to 3 drinks at an industry event. Depending on where you are in the industry, shots are fully acceptable still.

      Long ago learned that when a new round shows up, the old drink goes back, regardless of whether I’ve touched it or not.

    21. Escapee from Corporate Management*

      I think the key phrase here is “Board of Directors”. Would I have three drinks at a happy hour with work friends? Yes. Would I have more than one drink at a reception where the CEO, other C-level executives, and the Board of Directors are in attendance? No way! The risks are too high.

    22. Quinalla*

      Agreed this is very industry & person dependent and as others have said how long the event is. I think you have to know your tolerances – and you don’t find these by testing it at work functions, do that at personal gatherings with family/friends – and know how to check your buzz level – for me remaining standing I can tell how buzzed I am, if I sit and drink it is much harder for me to tell.

      But yes you should err on the side of careful at work functions. If that means one drink only, do that. I have genetics & body weight on my side, so usually I have more than one drink myself.

    23. Ozzac*

      Yes. 3 drinks doesn’t mean anything per se.
      Individual tolerances, what kind of drinks, empty/full stomach etc. are more significant when determining drunkness levels.

    24. Bunny Lake Is Found*

      Formerly part of BigLaw. Can confirm. Think “attending the open bar wedding of someone I didn’t want to spend $200 on a blender for ” level of drinking.

    25. KayDeeAye*

      There must be a strong industry factor or perhaps a regional factor, because everywhere I’ve ever worked, three drinks would be considered quite a lot, at least under most circumstances.

      Where I work now, we’re not supposed to drink at lunch at all, so long as you’re coming back to the office afterwards. So it’s not an alcohol-friendly environment. But even at the other places I’ve worked that weren’t as uptight about alcohol, three drinks would be considered about 1 drink above the desirable level.

      1. TechWorker*

        For me there’s a huge difference between ‘lunch when you’re going back to work’, ‘a company social event with work the next day’ and ‘a Friday or weekend social event’. 3 drinks at lunch would be an absolute no (I wouldn’t even have one, though some colleagues would). Three drinks when you’re working the day after? Risky, looked down on if you’re not obviously on top form still. Three drinks on a weekend work social meant as a jolly? Absolutely fine.

    26. Meep*

      I am in a niche engineering field. Whenever we have alcoholic beverages at events, everyone gets 1-2 drink tickets, so that seems reasonable to me, honestly. Then again, a lot of people seem to think “a few” (4-5) is reasonable so maybe LW thought they were being conservative.

    27. Nina*

      I’ve worked in aerospace R&D, the space industry, and the food industry, and same same for all of those.

    28. Stuff*

      It can also be a size and familiarity factor, as well as a factor of how long the event was. I’m obese and AMAB and in my 30s. My alcohol tolerance is above average but not amazing, and over, say, two hours, three drinks wouldn’t seem unreasonable to me. However, I also have to filter this through the lens that I don’t drive and don’t have any work events where I could drink, so I’m more comfortable with day drinking and not concerned if I do end up a bit drunker than expected, as I’m not going to turn around and drive or go back to work. Still, 3 drinks over a couple hours just isn’t a lot to me, I have more of a tolerance than that.

  8. Heidi*

    I’m wondering if there shouldn’t be some complaint against LW1’s pharmacy. They can’t just change your medication dosage out of nowhere.

    1. I'm the Phoebe in Any Group*

      Or did the doc change the dosage and the pharmacy assumed you knew? Titrating anti-depressants is common.
      What happened to you at work is wrong. Please forgive me if the following comment is inappropriate, but I decided to risk it since it is a health and safety issue. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, so drinkimg might make your anti-depressant less effective or worsen your depression.

      1. Harper the Other One*

        Even if the doctor made the change, pharmacists (at least where I live) are supposed to flag changes in dose to ensure they’re correct, remind you of any potential side effects you might encounter or re-encounter with the dosage increase, etc. This is a pretty big error even if the change in dosage is doctor approved, IMO.

        1. Percysowner*

          I had a couple of blood pressure medications that changed. My pharmacist asked both times if I knew and was the change expected. I think it’s standard procedure now.

        2. Twix*

          Speaking as someone who has several chronic medical conditions and has been on many, many medications, this is neither a requirement everywhere nor always standard practice in places where it is, particularly for regular customers.

    2. zaracat*

      I’ve had something similar happen when the pharmacy accidentally dispensed escitalopram instead of citalopram. Escitalopram is equivalent to twice the dose (I won’t go into the explanation here, but if you are interested it is easy to find online). I’m so used to getting different trade names on the packaging every time that I didn’t think to check the scientific drug name until I noticed symptoms that I usually get with a dose increase (such as uncontrollable yawning) after taking it for a couple of days. Went back to pharmacy to complain and they really didn’t seem to care. They basically just shrugged and re-dispensed the right medication. Felt like there was no point making a fuss, because the “crazy” person never comes out of that situation looking good.

      1. crchtqn2*

        In this case, complain your state board for pharmacists. If the pharmacy doesn’t care, they are going to not care enough to kill someone by dispensing the wrong dosage on a stronger medication.

      2. Jack Russell Terrier*

        Also complain to your Doc/NP. That they didn’t seem concerned is an unconscionable disregard for patient safety.

        Something similar happened with my mother’s medication. I noticed and checked with the NP that she hadn’t *doubled* the dosage.

        She was angry and called up the pharmacist to give her a rocket. This was without me complaining to the pharmacist. Again – that they didn’t seem concerned is an unconscionable disregard for safety.

    3. Zaphod Beeblebrox*

      That was my thought too – changing the dosage in this instance led to an embarrassing situation, but in other cases it could be catastrophic.

    4. Lyudie*

      That was my immediate reaction too. Whether the wrong dosage was an accident or a replacement that someone didn’t think through, it’s unacceptable and very dangerous. At a minimum I think they should contact the store manager and bring this up. Someone mentioned the possibility of the dr changing the dosage, but OP would have remembered after realizing the meds they got were a different dosage…and if the dr changed the dosage without discussing it with OP and getting their agreement, that is also unacceptable and very dangerous.

      1. Lexi*

        Don’t assume OP would have remembered a dosage change. Doctors aren’t always clear with their instructions. You can interpret it one way but they meant it a different way. Or they leave out key details and expect you to know what they left out. Or they just make a mistake. I’ve run into this a couple of times.

      2. doreen*

        I don’t think we can assume that the OP realized the meds they got were a different dosage – I’ve gotten the wrong dosage once or twice ( Wait, this is 2.5 mg, I was switched to 5 mg) and judging by the reaction I got, people rarely look at the labels.

      3. Observer*

        and if the dr changed the dosage without discussing it with OP and getting their agreement, that is also unacceptable and very dangerous.

        That’s a real possibility, though. I’ve seen this happen – just recently a relative had a fairly string medication prescribed, the doctor did NOT provide instructions and neither did the pharmacy. What was really problematic is that the medication was prescribed (probably appropriately but) in a non-typical situation, so it was not clear to us that the standard package insert instructions were correct.

        And, no Relative will NEVER go back to either that doctor of pharmacist.

    5. Long Time Fed*

      Aren’t we all responsible, just a little, for ourselves? Did she speak to her doctor? Did the doctor state they were upping the medication? Did she look at the label? Should she have been drinking on the medication in the first place or was there already a warning?

      I think rushing to complain and blame rather than accepting some responsibility is wrong, not that I think OP should be written up for this.

      1. Heidi*

        Sure, the OP could have done all of that and saved themselves from being written up. However, not having caught a error on the part of the pharmacy doesn’t mean that the pharmacy isn’t accountable for making the error in the first place. We don’t know all the details of how the dosage was changed, but if they truly gave the OP an incorrect dosage, that’s a major mistake for a pharmacy.

        1. Jack Russell Terrier*

          I wrote above that I caught the pharmacy accidentally doubling the dosage for a pill of my mum. I told the NP and she gave the pharmacist a rocket.

          We should be vigilant, yes – but vigilant for a mistake. The person who made the mistake and is at fault, not the person who failed to notice.

          1. sundae funday*

            I ended up taking half the dose that I was supposed to…. The pharmacy dispensed the correct dose, but with the wrong instructions. The doctor’s office sent in that I was supposed to be taking it twice daily, but they printed “once daily” on the instructions.

            I ended up being on antibiotics for a lot longer than I should have been because I was only taking half a dose… and it ended up causing further health problems that I’m not going to get into right now….

      2. Observer*

        Sure, you need to check your medication. But that does NOT excuse whoever it was the made the change without making sure the information was clear to the OP.

        Also, a lot of people don’t know what they are looking for / at. It wasn’t until I discovered a long running error on the part of my pharmacy that I started doing some digging, and discovered that medication pills are basically standardized, regardless of brand name. Yes, there are a few exceptions, but for the most part, if your medication looks different from your last batch, it means that either your dose or the actual medication got changed.

        You better believe that I ALWAYS check now. But I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

      3. Mianaai*

        Like checking every paystub carefully I think this falls into the category of “things everyone should do but don’t always because it becomes routine”. I’ve also had a pharmacy give me the wrong dose of a medication and almost didn’t catch it! My doctor sent in the script for a medication I’ve been taking for years, at the same dose level, and the pharmacy filled it at double the dose accidentally. The pharmacy-printed label looked exactly the same as usual since it was repeating the prescription, and the pills were in the same pharmacy-provided bottle as usual – the only difference is that the pills had a tiny “102” printed on them instead of “101”.

        1. Observer*

          I’m kind of surprised that the pills looked so alike. The medication I take has a different color for each dose.

          1. Mianaai*

            Yeah, my spouse’s name-brand antidepressant has a different color for each dose, but this is apparently what the manufacturer for the generic Wellbutrin my pharmacy stocks has decided on to differentiate dose levels. I wish it was clearer!!

      4. sundae funday*

        It has never once occurred to me to check the dosage to make sure my pharmacy isn’t making a mistake. It IS the pharmacy’s fault if they dispensed the wrong dosage….

    6. 867-5309*

      I was once given an entirely different medication and didn’t realize it for months until a new primary care said “citalopram didn’t seem right” and when he mentioned the brand name, I realized it wasn’t the generic of Lexapro, which is escitaloprám.

      1. Willow Pillow*

        Citalopram and escitalopram actually contain the same chemical! The former has it in two different isomers (i.e. the left-handed and right-handed version), while the latter just has one of the two.

      2. Lyudie*

        A previous insurance company kept bugging me to go on citalopram when I was on Lexapro (which did not have a generic at that time). I was a little horrified that they didn’t seem to realize they are not same thing, though they are closely related.

    7. Observer*

      They can’t just change your medication dosage out of nowhere.

      That was my first thought. SOMEONE messed up BIG TIME. Either the pharmacy or the doctor. Or both.

      1. Twix*

        Well, there’s an option #3 – LW is the one who screwed up. It’s quite common, especially for psych meds, to titrate dosage changes, and in that case it’s perfectly normal for a doctor to lay out a titration plan to a patient once and then write the next several prescriptions for increasing dosages. “The pharmacy increased the dose and didn’t tell me” really isn’t sufficient context to judge who was at fault.

        That said, yes, if either the prescriber or pharmacy changed the dosage without LW’s knowledge, that is a HUGE issue. Albiet one that should frankly be largely irrelevant to the issue at hand – “My pharmacy gave me the wrong dosage and it mixed badly with alcohol” should not be a writeup situation, but I don’t think “I knowingly started a higher dosage of a medication that I had no reason to think would impact my alcohol tolerance, but it did” should be either.

    8. Three Cats in a Trenchcoat*

      I think it would be something best left to the letter writer to evaluate rather than us speculating! Absolutely, it could have been doctor or pharmacy error, but it also could have been something much more benign – you’ve been taking 50mg as two 25mg tablets, doctor refills at 50mg tablets to make it simpler for you, pharmacist doesn’t point it out because they are always super busy and overworked, you are in the habit of taking two tablets, oops now you’ve taken 100mg!

      What is really important is that this was a small lapse in judgement (drinking alcohol on a medication not realizing there could be a greater than usual interaction), and that the letter writer didn’t necessarily deserve a write up for that.

    9. rebelwithmouseyhair*

      yeah of course this is not the work problem but it is easily the biggest issue in what happened to OP. I’d had hotfooted it over there the next day and made sure they knew just how angry I was. And I’d probably go to a different place from then on. And I’d probably triple check every time I picked any meds up, to the point that the staff would all be saying “here comes that difficult customer”;

  9. Brain the Brian*

    LW4: Try resizing the screen window in which you’re typing your email. This will cause the line-skips to change position and hopefully help you catch typos. (It works for me! Mostly… unless I’m under-caffeinated, and then all bets are off.)

    1. Paris Geller*

      . . . this is such a genius but simple idea!! Not the LW but I am going to use this tip going forward!

    2. Festively Dressed Earl*

      Changing the font also works. Things like this help jolt you out of autopilot so that you can look at your writing with fresh eyes.

  10. bunniferous*

    Just wanted to commemt on #1…..unless things have changed the last few years, you aren’t supposed to drink at all if you are on antidepressants. It’s not just because you get drunk quicker but if I recall correctly it also affects the metabolism of the drug. Maybe someone else can weigh in here who can give more detail on that-it’s been years since I have used antidepressants.

    1. nodramalama*

      That is probably best left to LW and their prescribing doctor. Different medications have different requirements

      1. phira*

        Yeah, I’m on antidepressants and have not at all been told never to drink, just warned that I might get drunker more quickly and/or on less alcohol. It also sounds like the LW is familiar with their usual limits and that this might not have been an issue if they had been on the right dose of medication.

    2. Double A*

      I don’t know if my husband has been specifically told not to drink but has horrific side effects if he does.

  11. nodramalama*

    For LW4, one of the reasons typos happen is because your brain interprets the words you intended to write, rather than what’s on the page. If you change the font and colour of the text when you’re reviewing it can help trick the brain to think its reviewing something fresh and you might pick up more of the typos

    1. Harper the Other One*

      Exactly what I can to suggest – select all and change font and/or text colour is amazingly effective for me!

    2. Worldwalker*

      Yep. You can’t proofread your own stuff because you see what you meant to write, not what you actually wrote. I use the font trick — just switching from a serif to sans-serif font or vise versa is usually sufficient — when it’s something I can’t get someone else to proofread. If that’s not sufficient, use a more extreme font. You just need to make it look different enough so your brain has to interpret what your eyes are actually seeing, not what you “know” is there.

  12. Anna*

    #4 – If you have the time, you could cut and paste your email into a Word document and have it check the grammar/spelling for you. Or, as someone mentioned, downloading Grammarly is also a good option.

    1. Janel Jarvis*

      Just want to second this as far as “fresh eyes” advice, too. A lot of typos get missed on re-reads for the same reason they got missed the first time (like repeating a word on either side of a line break without realizing it, or a punctuation mark that looks very similar to the one you meant to use), and pasting the same text into a different browser shakes it up a little bit–the line breaks are in slightly different places, the default font in your writing app is probably a slightly different font than your email, etc. These minor changes jog our brains into interacting with the text as if it was actually “fresh” in a way that just re-reading doesn’t. But, like all brain-stuff, YMMV!

      1. Smithy*

        On the reread side of this – as someone who’s also very small typo prone – I think something else I’ve worked on is grading how important my emails are to be “perfect”. It’s acknowledging that for that to happen, it will take me a bit more time and that the extra time is worth that result.

        It can mean deploying these tricks, it can also mean making sure I’ve included someone else on my team or a direct report (or even asking my supervisor if they want to review it if the text is that “serious”) to help in the review. This isn’t a regular ask, but I do think helps me think through which emails actually are that serious where I really want to make extra sure absolutely no typos, mistakes, or missteps around clarity are included.

        In turn it takes some pressure off of other communication, where while I do still need to apply those extra tricks – I beat myself up less when a mistake or two does go through.

  13. Zanshin*

    Number 4: I print out to copy edit. What I miss on the screen is easy to see on a printed page while holding a red pen to correct!

    1. Emmy Noether*

      To review important text this works well. But printing out every one-liner email to catch a potential typo is… a lot of paper.

    2. Corporate Lawyer*

      Yes, this works for me too, and I was scrolling down the comments to see whether someone else had suggested it before I typed a new comment. To Emmy Noether’s point in this thread, I don’t do it for most things – for example, I would never print out an email with fewer than three lines to proof it – but I find for longer, more involved emails and for legal documents (of which I draft quite a few), I catch typos on a printout that I never even see on my computer screen.

  14. phira*

    LW1: I agree with Alison’s advice. I also feel like 3 drinks is a lot, but I also drink alcohol maybe twice a year, and haven’t been to a work party with provided alcohol in years. Either way, there’s no way to prove that you WOULD have still been sloppy drunk if your meds had been the right dose, and I trust that you know your alcohol tolerance. So I’d consider the situation to be akin to you being written up for having a medical issue, which would be kind of a problem for your employer!

    LW3: This totally stinks. If you hadn’t been moving out of state, I would say that it stinks but you were being a little bit naive about what would happen after 5 months. And if YOU had been the one to suggest that you stay on remotely, I’d say something similar. But it’s a huge bummer that you basically gave informal notice, and your boss wanted you to stay and asked you to work remotely, causing you to turn down another offer. I’d ask him to reconsider, reminding him that you turned down another offer because of his suggestion for you to work remotely, but I’d also get back in touch with the offer you turned down. You never know what they’ll say.

    LW4: Depending on what you’re trying to proofread (e.g. a quick email that you need to send right away vs. a cover letter that you have time to work on), what works well for me is taking a break from it for a bit (which can be 10 minutes, an hour, a day, whatever makes sense), and then reading it out loud slowly.

    1. Parky*

      I don’t drink at work whatsoever, no thanks! People at my company get sauced and it’s mostly acceptable there not every year somebody goes overboard and gets in trouble. Won’t be me!

    2. EPLawyer*

      “So I’d consider the situation to be akin to you being written up for having a medical issue, which would be kind of a problem for your employer!”

      THIS exactly. You are being written for an adverse reaction to medication. That’s not really your fault. This is bad to the point of not only should you explain in the written comments, you need to go to HR about this. It should not be in your file AT ALL.

  15. Dawn*

    LW3: I’d be pretty cheesed about that. Yes, he only guaranteed you five months, but at the same time, it’s obvious that he never had any intention of reviewing WFH in good faith, and it was dishonest of him to imply that when he knew otherwise.

        1. I should really pick a name*

          Or maybe it became evident really quickly that it wasn’t working?
          It’s totally possible that he was being disingenuous, I’m just pushing back on the idea that it’s a definite thing.

    1. Bast*

      Based on the letter, I didn’t find it obvious either. It seemed like they were both entering new territory and would need to figure out how it would work (sort of like adding a new position onto the team and figuring out how they fit in, then reassessing after a few months). I did not get “yeah we are definitely letting you go after 5 months” from what was reported.

      1. cnoocy*

        For me it depends on how “I need my team in person” was delivered. Unless the boss said something like “After two months, I’ve realized that I need people in person more than I expected” it comes across as “I’ve always known than I need people in the office, and I just offered you remote work knowing it couldn’t possibly continue.”

    2. mlem*

      Maybe I’m too cynical, but I agree. “Let’s see how we BOTH feel about this after five months” sounds to me like “let’s kill that other offer of yours dead and then go back to my preference”.

      1. Antilles*

        What do you mean “go back to my preference”?
        OP moved out of state. This isn’t something where he can just go back on his word and expect OP is going to feel forced into staying; they already moved and so the only answer to “I’m no longer allowing WFH” is OP leaving the company.

        1. mlem*

          A boss who “needs his team in person” is, in my experience, a boss who has a preference for that and will let that outweigh all other considerations like actual performance. It’s not clear whether the OP has already moved or was planning to move, but the boss has already told the OP they can’t work remotely anymore because he “needs his team in person.” Which, yeah, either means the OP leaves the company/institution or the OP can’t move as planned, but that’s the letter as written.

          My point is only that I don’t think the boss was *ever* actually open to continuing remote work long-term. I cynically suspect the boss just wanted to finish a term or otherwise prevent the OP from taking that specific other offer. If OP is moving anyway, then the boss still loses them anyway, now with the bonus of having soured the relationship.

          1. Erie*

            Maybe the job actually is better done in person. Let’s not forget that we have no idea what job it is, so it’s probably better to avoid imposing your own biases about bosses who let their preferences “outweigh all other considerations like actual performance.” When this comment section spins out on speculation, it’s usually because people project their own working situation onto someone else’s and assume it’s the same. The conclusions you’re coming to about the boss’s secret motivations on the basis of a very short letter sound that way.

          2. Antilles*

            Ah I understand what you’re saying.
            I thought “preference” was meant as the boss trying to subtly force OP to start coming back into the office the way that managers will often try to soft-hint about “I’d prefer if you came in” or whatever – it’s not specifically ordering you to come in, but it’s also pretty clearly hinted that it’s required for you to drive through traffic in the morning.

      2. S*

        I agree with this. If it was academia, then having the LW finish out the semester might be a huge benefit, and so there’s a big incentive to persuade her to stay until then. So I can see a boss stringing her along in order to prevent her from leaving immediately but not having any intention of allowing indefinite WFH.

      3. Celeste*

        This is how my remote work started… my boss said let’s see how we both feel after a few months. After a few months, it seemed to be working, so I stayed for years and years.

        I don’t think there’s any reason to think the boss wasn’t sincere, but it still totally sucks for the LW, and I wish it hadn’t gone that way.

    3. Glomarization, Esq.*

      If you’re going to be talking about good faith, I think the boss was clear, and I also think it was the LW who equivocated. On the one hand, they told the boss they wanted to work remotely, but on the other hand they told the boss they had a job offer. It seems to me that the LW used the other job offer as leverage to be allowed to work remotely.

      1. ecnaseener*

        That would make more sense if it was LW’s idea to work remotely, but it was the boss’s. It sounds to me like LW assumed they would have to resign when they moved, and the boss said “hang on let’s consider remote work” and LW said okay.

      2. Erie*

        It’s not at all clear they used the job offer as leverage. But I agree the LW engaged in some magical thinking. “Let’s review how this is working for both of us in two months” pretty clearly means “you may not be working remotely in two months.” I don’t know that I would interpret it any other way.

      3. sundae funday*

        I don’t think the LW used the other offer for leverage…. They knew they were moving out-of-state and let their boss know…. Their boss asked for the LW to stay on remotely after moving out-of-state rather than take the new job. And then, once the LW had moved, the boss informed them that they will no longer have a job in May because they won’t allow remote work, and LW already lives out-of-state.

    4. WellRed*

      Why not review it at five months time instead of two months in to give it more time to work? Why not give op a heads up sooner than the review or give the op some points on why it won’t work? Thats why it doesn’t seem like he had any interest in going through with permanently.

      1. ?*

        In an academic context it makes sense—if they reviewed in February or March and he let LW now they’d be done in May, that gives them time to look for a new role before the school year ends and gives them time to wrap up this year’s work.

      2. Qwerty*

        The 2month mark gives time to make adjustments if the situation is partially working. I’ve had a few coworkers go remote and do this sort of trial (pre-pandemic). Usually we knew within a couple weeks if it was going to be a success or not.

        Having one member of an in-person team be fully remote presents its own unique challenges that a lot of people don’t think through and can end up putting a lot of work on the side of the manager or in-person crew that no one expected. (Plus various reasons why it may suck to *be* that remote person). Rather than stringing it out and telling OP to try various ways of fixing it, the boss gave them 3months notice that remote wasn’t working well.

        1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

          Except that OP seemed to be blindsided by the decision, it sounds like she thought things were working out OK, she certainly doesn’t mention any ongoing issues or points that had caused problems because of her being remote. So I think the boss was prepared to let her do it just to the end of the school year and wasn’t interested in keeping her on otherwise.
          The only good point is that she does have plenty of time to start looking for a new job.

      3. Erie*

        A few weeks might not be enough time to assess a situation, but two whole months is certainly enough time in most contexts.

  16. Lost my name again*

    #4: I have two tips. The first is to use an online text reader to read your emails back to you. The second is to only read 3 words at a time when proofreading. It will force your brain to slow down enough to catch anything that may be off. Good luck!

  17. Distracted typoer*

    #4 – depending on the frequency and importance, I might suggest running things by other people. It would be A LOT for most emails, but also most emails likely don’t need that level of attention. I have a degree in English. I still frequently get caught up in writing something over several hours, resulting in me not noticing I have made the same point twice or something. I work at a small-ish company (2500 people) so have a lot more interaction with c suite people than I ever did at a fortune 50 company. Usually my other manager and director friends and I will call each other if it’s an important message and proofread quickly for tone (this seems actually more important than a grammatical error if I’m honest), clarity, and grammar. If it’s just normal day to day emails that might not seem like a realistic option. If you are sending something important upward it might be
    I can’t tell exactly from the message so am just throwing it out there!

    Also as general note – I find my most typoed messages result from me starting a message that I get distracted by and then spend a lot of time writing. So if I slow down, focus, and write without distraction I find I make fewer typos.

    1. Sparkle Llama*

      Anything I send to a large group of people I have my admin or the comms staff proof for me and anything I am concerned about tone on I either have someone in the same position as me or my supervisor read it over. We have a good culture of doing that when we are particularly frustrated and need that not to come across in the email.

  18. Jane*

    #1 – I would absolutely not sign a thing. You were essentially drugged by a faulty pharmacist. It’s not your fault this happened, and the pharmacy should be happy you aren’t suing them. I can’t imagine an employer writing you up because of this. BS.

    1. I'm the Phoebe in Any Group*

      It could be a pharmacy mistake or the doctor could have made a mistake or intentonally changed the dosage and the pharmacist assumed the patient knew.

      1. ecnaseener*

        It’s the pharmacist’s job to explain changes in dosage. In the US I think they’re legally required to do so.

        1. MicroManagered*

          I don’t think this is true–I just picked up a medication/new dosage yesterday and nobody said a thing and I can’t think of a time that a pharmacy made a point to say “hey now you know this is a higher dose right?”

          1. Antilles*

            At every pharmacy I’ve ever gone to, there’s a little checkbox on the Point-of-Sale system which says something like “I had the chance to discuss with the pharmacist and understand this medication”. Presumably that satisfies the pharmacy’s legal requirements to inform you about your medication/dosages.

            1. MicroManagered*

              Mmmmm yep. They do ask me “do you have any questions for the pharmacist” which is not exactly the same as “hey this is a new dose.”

            2. petty thief*

              Mine has a tick box for accepted/declined consult. They never tell me a thing & the default is decline. So me being a petty person, I check the accepted consult box and magically my signed name becomes “no consult offered”

      2. NotRealAnonforThis*

        I don’t believe that pharmacists are allowed to “assume” anything. This is based on conversations with pharmacists at multiple chains and locations to pick up my families meds.

        1. doreen*

          Sure, but if I don’t ask any questions and I check the box saying that ” I decline counseling by the pharmacist”, they don’t have to assume I am unaware of the dosage change and provide the counseling that I declined.

        2. Enai*

          In Germany, I get asked _every time_ if the medication is for me, have I had it before, do I understand that it’s generally taken in $correct_manner and I shouldn’t take more than $max_dose and so on. And that’s for freely available stuff, like Ibuprofen. I learned you can get headaches from taking painkillers that way.
          What do pharmacists in the US do, if they don’t advise the customers/patients on the most important facts about their meds?

          1. Adultiest Adult*

            Depends widely on the pharmacy. I’ve had occasions when they said nothing, and other occasions where the only question is, “Do you have any questions for the pharmacist?” and the onus is on the patient to ask. It would probably be considered extremely intrusive if a pharmacist in the U.S. went through all that questioning… Americans in general are a more self-sufficient lot, for better or worse.

          2. Alanna*

            Pharmacies in the US are really different than pharmacies in Europe. I can’t speak for Germany, but in France and Italy, even if you have a very basic medical issue and know what you need, you still have to explain your situation to the pharmacist and then they will tell you that you need cold medicine or cortisone for a bug bite and sell it to you.

            That culture does not exist in the US at all. If you need a medical consultation, you go to your doctor or an urgent clinic (some pharmacies have clinics inside the store, but those are run by doctors or nurses, not the pharmacists). Then they write a prescription for you or call it into the pharmacy, which is usually a large chain store. You interact with the pharmacist by giving them your name and they give you your pills. And the person you are interacting with is usually not actually a pharmacist — they’re a pharmacy technician, which only requires a high school diploma and training. The pharmacist is on site to supervise and answer questions as needed, but they are usually not on the front lines dealing with customers. (I’m sure there are exceptions, but this has been my experience in suburbs, big cities, and small towns in different regions of the US.)

            Anything nonprescription you can pick up yourself from the aisles. Not being able to just go into a pharmacy and grab allergy medicine or ibuprofen without talking to anyone is, without exaggeration, the biggest culture shock I’ve experienced while traveling in Europe.

    2. JSPA*

      #1, I think a lot of workplaces will hear your statement and assume that you are covering up either for some illicit drug use or for having mistakenly taken 2 pills. I have no idea whether the pharmacist would be willing to sign a statement (as, after all, there’s liability for them involved). But if you were to bring the pills to your doctor, they might be willing to sign a statement –without disclosing the specific medication– so as to put a official imprimatur on the fact that the pills dispensed were not the same as the pills prescribed; were stronger; and are known to interact with alcohol in a dose-dependent manner.

    3. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

      Do people not check their medication when they receive it (and question it if there’s a discrepancy)? I know I do and I thought everyone did … I don’t think “the pharmacist gave me something and I didn’t even bother to check it” is the get out of jail free card people might think it is.

      1. londonedit*

        Even leaving aside the pharmacy, though, I think ‘Unfortunately I’ve recently started a new dose of a medication I take and I was unaware that it would interact badly with alcohol’ is a perfectly reasonable explanation. Unless the OP was violent or abusive I think their company is being very harsh in disciplining them for simply being a little more drunk than they’d planned to be at a work event.

        1. amoeba*

          Yeah, I mean, taking them at their word, they didn’t embarrass themselves or anything, just appeared visibly drunk. I mean, if this is enough of an offense for a write-up, maybe just… don’t serve alcohol at company events?
          I can see that strict a policy if you’re anti-alcohol in general. And of course, if people get falling-over, insulting-coworkers-drunk, there should be consequences in any case. But giving people drinks and then writing them up if they slip up even a little? That just seems mean. (It’s so easy to misjudge as well – not only medication, but not enough sleep the night before, empty stomach, etc. can all get you drunk much more quickly than normally! Honestly, at that kind of place I’d be scared to even have one drink, because who knows?)

        2. EPLawyer*

          Agreed. If this behavior was out of character, I would be more worried something was wrong rather than writing them up.

          LW isn’t trying to get out of anything. They admit they should have been more careful. An assurance it won’t happen again after talking to them would have resolved this.

        3. Bunny Lake Is Found*

          Yeah, that is confusing me. I actually ended up very ill at a company holiday party (food poisoning on top of social drinking). Only one person thought I had actually gotten so drunk I threw up and even they, when informed of the food poisoning, were like “yeah, that makes more sense than Bunny tossing her cookies from pounding the prosecco too hard”. It might have helped that most had seen me drink way more on other work adjacent occasions and still be able to divide a check (including calculating the tip for each person) in my head.

          Unless the CEO has a weird hang-up about drinking or the LW is leaving something out (this isn’t the first time something like this has happened or their behavior was actually worse than described) I don’t understand the formal write up without some kind of “Hey, this out of character for you, is something going on?” first.

      2. Library gal*

        I usually just check it’s the right medication and often don’t look at the dosage, so I’ve been stung by this before – not with alcohol, but I was given a much stronger prescription than usual and didn’t notice until AFTER I’d taken it.

        I’m sure OP will be checking from now on, but calling it a “get out of jail free card” seems a bit mean spirited.

      3. Bagpuss*

        I double check mine but I don’t think it is unreasonable for someone to assume that their doctor and pharmacist have been competent.

        And I think having a new and unexpected reaction to a medication is an entirely valid and reasonable explanation. Even if OP had realised that the medication was a higher dose not knowing that it would affect her personally in that way is reasonable

      4. JSPA*

        I suppose it depends how good your eyes are, how different the pills are, whether the pharmacist said something to explain the discrepancy (like, had to use a different generic) and you took them at their word, how incapacitated you are by whatever you’re getting the pills for, and whether you’ve ever experienced a mixup before.

        It’s like counting the number of pills: unless you’ve been significantly shorted in a dispensary scam or have at least heard of it happening, you may not habitually count upon receipt, And they blame yourself if you end up 1 or 2 short, out of a large batch.

      5. Falling Diphthong*

        I’m on two prescription drugs and when I refill the prescriptions, as I did yesterday, I just set the new bottle in the right spot. I don’t read the label to see if my tamoxifin dose is the same as on the old bottle.

        If a renewed prescription changed the dose, it’s probably something my pharmacist (small, local) would mention when I picked it up. If OP knows the dose is twice as high that suggests a change in the prescription. Maybe it used to be 2 pills but this formulation you take one? Something like that, and it wasn’t flagged or OP didn’t register when it was flagged.

        For the advice at the top of this subthread, I think Alison’s is more likely to read to future file reviewers as “Ah yeah, medication change, those can screw you up.” Being too defensive about how all the fault lies elsewhere can land as a knee jerk defensive reaction, honed with much practice.

      6. WellRed*

        They should check it, people have a responsibility to know what they are taking to avoid just this sort of thing. Balls dropped all around here.

      7. Pierrot*

        Yeah, in my experience with medications, when the dosage or brand changed, it always looks different. Like 75mg will be grey and 150mg will be brown and the generic will look totally different. It’s odd that they would change the dosage since they have to follow the doctor’s prescription and I am wondering if the doctor wrote out the prescription incorrectly. But taking the LW’s word for what happened, I think that they should look into what happened with their doctor. I would want to know how this mixup occured and if it involved the doctor or the pharmacy.

        If the LW decides to inform the company about the medication, I would go the route of getting a doctor note, not a note from the pharmacy because they might not want to admit any kind of liability.

        1. Howleen Wolf*

          I used to have to use a discount pharmacy that would give you whichever generic they had in stock that month, so the same drug and dosage would look wildly different each time (ooh, I got the big pink ones this month! aww now we’re back to the nasty tasting white ones). They once even gave me two different pills in the same bottle, again same drug and dose but different manufacturer, they basically just scraped together whatever they had.

          So if LW frequently has different-looking pills month to month they might not have noticed anything wrong.

          1. MillennialHR*

            My pharmacy recently did this to me – the generic had the same active ingredients, but the inactive ingredients gave me terrible headaches, mood swings, and actually caused me to be in such a mood my boss had to ask me if everything was okay…but because the active ingredients were the same, I never thought anything of it! LW could’ve been dealing with that type of situation for sure.

            1. Howleen Wolf*

              They once switched out my buproprion for budeprion – “basically the same thing” allegedly, but it did not feel the same at ALL!

            2. Lucien Nova*

              I’ve had similar happen. Pharmacy got a new batch of rizatriptan in, same med I’d been on for years, different manufacturer – it sent me into an anaphylactic attack because I reacted to the fillers in that manufacturer’s pills. Decidedly not the pharmacy’s fault – they had no choice as to what manufacturer the pills were from – but definitely a thing that happens!

        2. metadata minion*

          That varies a lot by medication. Most of mine only change in size with dosage, but given that there is often more than one generic I’m kind of used to the medication changing appearance without notice. I do check the label, but if the pharmacy screwed up and put the wrong medication in the bottle, I would definitely not be suspicious right away.

        3. Mianaai*

          For my antidepressant, only the tiny printed number changes – easy to miss if you’re not wearing your glasses when you take your pills in the morning.

      8. HannahS*

        Many people don’t know what they’re on or the dose. A lot of my patients are on anywhere from 5-10 medications–each of which has a brand name and a generic name used interchangeably by health care workers–possibly taken in divided doses. And also their doctor is simultaneously reducing their steroid while cross-tapering between two antidepressants. And the person is also managing medication for their less-healthy spouse, child, or parent. That takes a huge amount of thought and organization to manage. It doesn’t surprise me AT ALL that people expect their doctors and pharmacists to manage it for them–they should be able to rely on us! No one is trying to “get-out-of-jail-free” by trusting health care workers or by being overwhelmed.

      9. Kel*

        If I received a medication I was getting regularly, I would likely check the bottle for the name, but if the pill was the same, I would not assume it was suddenly a different dosage.

      10. I'm just here for the cats*

        The op might not have realized there was a change in the dose if they looked exactly alike. some meds look exactly the same no matter what the doseage. For example, I take 10 mg of my meds in the AM and 5mg in the pm. I used to get 5mg tabs, take 2 in am and 1 in pm. during 2021 there was shipping problems and pharmacies around me were not able to get the 5mg tabs so we worked it out with my doctor to get the 10mg and I just split the pill in half for in the evening dose. The 5mg and 10 mg pills look exactly the same. In fact I was super careful to keep them seperate until I used all the 5mgs so I wouldn’t be accidentally use the smaller dose. as a layman there would be no way for.me to tell the difference unless I took a magnifying glass and read the tiny letters on the pill and looked it up.

        Perhaps this is what happened with the OP. the meds look the same, someone at the pharmacy messed up and gave a wrong dose without verifying on their end. To the OP the meds looked the same so they took it as usual and had no way of knowing what would happen.

        if I was op I would ask to speak with someone, maybe HR if the boss doesn’t seem to be agreeable. explain that I have a medical condition and that there was a mistake with my medicine that unknowingly made me more intoxicated with just a few drinks. If he can get a letter from his doctor explaining what happened without going into details, even better.

        I think the op should have a warning but not be written up over something he had no control over.

      11. DataSci*

        There are levels of checking, from “this is the correct medicine and the number on the bottle is correct” to “I counted the pills and checked that the appearance of every one is what I expect.” I can see someone checking the name and number of pills but missing the dosage, especially if it’s one they’ve been on for a long time.

      12. sundae funday*

        I’m on six different medications… all with different dosages… that I don’t have memorized. So no, I’m not going to notice being given the wrong dosage.

        If the pharmacy makes a mistake, that’s the pharmacy’s fault…. They’re the ones legally and morally obligated not to make a mistake.

    4. VeraWang*

      leave it to comment thread to go to the extreme. Having worked in both doctor offices and pharmacies it’s way more likely the physician changed the dosage and didn’t mention it to the LW. Hell I’ve worked for more than one doctor who completed changed the medication and forgot to tell the patient.

      1. Pierrot*

        Yeah, that’s what I was wondering. Or the doctor wrote out the prescription incorrectly. I could see a scenario where LW was getting the medication from one generic brand that did not carry a 200mg pill, so they took two 100mg, and then the pharmacy switched to a different generic brand that does carry a 200mg pill but LW didn’t realize and continued to take two doses.

        1. Former Admin turned Project Manager*

          My son, many years ago, ended up with 1.5 mg dose of his ADHD meds (stimulant) instead of the .5 he should have received because of an errant ink mark. I noticed that the pills looked different and realized the mistake before we left the pharmacy, but I had to go back to the doctor to get a new Rx written with a neater representation of the dosage. It’s probably the first time ever that a pharmacist has had someone saying “No, please give me a much lower dosage of this controlled substance.”

  19. Rebecca*

    LW4- ‘ChatGPT please edit the following paragraph for typos.’

    (Yes, I say please to the chat. I also apologize to my roomba when she gets stuck under a chair).

    1. JSPA*

      For any processing software–old or new–I would be quite worried that there could be private information going out, And that it would end up in a pile of supposedly anonymous data that is nevertheless linkable to your company due to the topic and details.

      1. Rebecca*

        That’s true of almost any plug in or app or editing software being suggested here. At this point, it’s probably true of the dictionary on Microsoft Word.

        Very few people work in places where that would be an issue, though, and those places usually have everything locked down on their own servers. I mean, yes, maybe don’t use editing software to check for typos in the email about where the smallpox vials are kept, but the stakes aren’t that high for most of us.

        1. Clara*

          Yes, I feel like most of these suggestions would only be ok if OP intends on never emailing about confidential or proprietary information.

        2. amoeba*

          I’m in R&D and most things I work with are definitely considered confidential. Word is absolutely fine, but ChatGPT? No way. (It even has a warning to that effect on it’s page, doesn’t it?)
          I’d say, in my industry, that’s the rule and not the exception…

          1. Rebecca*

            My Microsoft word is attached to OneDrive. I trust it with my data about as far as I can throw it.

            I stand by my point: not everybody works with highly sensitive and proprietary information, I’d wager that most people don’t, and advice that is useful to those people can be ok to share. Should the rest of us not use it because some people have a job where they can’t?

            1. Saddy Hour*

              Microsoft has confidentiality standards and is an approved vendor for many confidential businesses, so there’s a lot more inherent trust there if you’re using that for work already. ChatGPT has none of that.

              I don’t think anyone is saying it’s a bad idea. But plenty of people DO work with highly-sensitive information. I’m sure it’s a matter of perspective, but I’ve only ever worked in industries that do, so literally every single colleague I’ve ever had works with confidential information as well. So for me, that’s super common, and those colleagues not realizing potential privacy concerns is also super common. Like, super super super common. Debilitating-to-the-organization levels of common. Phishing scams common. We have no idea if OP has a career more like yours or more like mine. Should we not point out potential concerns because those don’t apply to everyone?

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Previous roommate: “Red, why do you always say please and thank you to Siri and Alexa?”
        Me: “So that when Skynet takes over maybe one of them will remember that I was always polite and speak on my behalf.”

        1. Relentlessly Socratic*

          I put Alexa on follow-up mode because I was thanking her all the time anyway. I like it when she sometimes sings the “you’re very welcome” song at me.

          1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

            LOL last year my partner tried OK google and asked it to play a song. Didn’t understand for some reason. So he treated it the way he would treat anyone who’s not understanding because of not paying attention, and said “listen to me carefully”. Google promptly played us a song called “listen to me carefully”. (this happened in French, and it was a crap song, no point going looking for it)

    2. Bah humbug*

      I too say please and thank you to chatgpt! And it clearly appreciates it because it says, “you’re welcome” back, haha

  20. should decide on a name*

    Regarding #5, when is it “okay” to mark that I do not give permission for them to contact my ex-manager? And what do you do if you literally have no contact information to offer?

    One ex-manager is dead. At more than one ex-job, there is literally no one who could speak on my work with any knowledge. More than one ex-manager will not give an honest reference: one faced a class action over wage theft, and another was a serial bully which resulted in legal action, settlements, and NDAs.

    1. JSPA*

      Blanket “no permission” is best used only when an ex manager is at current company, and current company doesn’t know you are looking. Or if you have an ex manager turned stalker. Otherwise, it is very nearly a boilerplate checkbox. (They have your permission to try to contact the dead.) You can shoehorn some of that info into the contact info field; if I saw “(deceased)” after a name, I’d know not to try (but someone at the company could still verify that your manager had worked there and as it’s remotely possible that they might even still have access to the manager’s assessments of you, it’s not ridiculous to give the deceased’s name, and the personnel phone number).

      If you can individually opt out, it makes good sense to opt out of the company with the legal conflict… but if part of your legal agreement with them includes a nondisparagement clause, it could even still be OK to leave them on???

    2. Cambridge Comma*

      I have ticked yes and then put deceased as the address in the past. I figured it was better than an unexplained no.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        ^Figuring out how to contact the deceased is then on the new company.

        I agree that saying “Yes/deceased” basically conveys “I would be fine with you talking to this manager about my past work for him if he were alive.”

    3. mlem*

      To get past an automated system, I’d select “yes” and then put indicative “contact info”. “Name: Deceased,Deceased Email: deceased@notvalid.com. Name: Business,Closed Email: closed@notvalid.com” and so on. Nothing jokey, but enough to make clear that you need to get past the ATS and have good reasons not to have real data.

  21. Aepyornis*

    LW 4 I think you could also consider using an app such as Antidote, which has plugins for many apps and can scan through your emails before you send them. It will catch most of the typos you describe without you needing to allocate so much time to proof-reading, waiting before you send to read one more time, etc. Seeing the mistakes caught by the app also helps point out patterns in your typos, which helps reduce them over time (at least that’s how it works for me, as English is my third language, and I’m self-taught). It doesn’t sound like you are dyslexic at all, but for readers who are, this is also a godsend.

  22. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

    OP4 (typos) I know the logical thing is that as long as communication happens clearly typos aren’t significant in their own right — but there are people in my workplace (as at all places I expect) who make a lot of typos etc in their emails similar to this, and it does give the impression of them being slapdash in general – if they rush their emails and don’t notice “details” do they rush their work and not pay attention to details as well. And you know what… there is quite a correlation between slapdash emails and slapdash work.

  23. Kate, short for Bob*

    OP 4 one quick thing might be to just change the font of your emails as you’re typing – the standard san serif can run together on the page, go for something like a palatino to get more definition between words?

    But then change it back before you send in case it makes you look weirdly formal :⁠-⁠D

  24. UKgreen*

    I’m just here for all the British and Irish people commenting that three drinks is NOT a lot… I work with lads who have three pints with lunch and then go back to the IT Service Desk…

    1. DisneyChannelThis*

      In 2017, 20% of the population reported not drinking at all [2] and overall consumption has fallen by around 16% since 2004 [3].

      In the UK, data shows that in 2020 there were 8,974 alcohol-specific deaths (around 14 per 100,000 people). This is a 18.6% increase in deaths from 2019 [4]. In 2020, in the UK, the alcohol-specific death rate was 14 per 100,000 people, an 18.6% increase compared with 2019 and the highest increase since the records began. [37]

      In England, there are an estimated 602,391 dependent drinkers (2018.19) [5], of whom 82% are not accessing treatment [6].

      Alcohol misuse is the biggest risk factor for death, ill-health and disability among 15-49 year-olds in the UK, and the fifth biggest risk factor across all ages [1].


      Stereotypes harm people.

  25. Yowza*

    I hate when applications push for information from employers decades ago. A professional license application required a contact for a job from 19 years ago. The business had gone out of business but they wanted me to find someone who had worked there as a manager at that time to verify my employment. I didn’t save anyone’s name and don’t remember after graduate school, professional jobs, two kids.

    1. Capybarely*

      Unless you’re applying for something with a security clearance or very high profile, I cannot imagine the value in tracking down references from more than the last decade.
      Heck, in 19 years I’ve changed industries 3 times. I don’t think knowing if someone did well in the work culture of llama styling in the early 00s is necessary for judging their ability to work in teapot optimization in 2023.

  26. I should really pick a name*

    #1 In 20+ years of office work, I’ve never heard of anyone being written up. Is it a US thing?

    #3 I do think the LW should have made sure they had a full understanding of the situation before turning down the other job, but I’m very curious what their boss was thinking. Did they really think someone would return to the job in person after moving to another state?

    #5 I don’t know why some companies think it’s appropriate to ask for references on an application.

    1. ecnaseener*

      Re #1, they’re not common in office jobs but the letter doesn’t say whether it’s an office job.

    2. just another queer reader*

      Getting written up is a US thing… but it’s usually only used in situations where managers don’t treat their employees with much respect and autonomy.

      So, writeups are frequently used in situations like retail. I haven’t heard of anyone getting written up in my office job; it would be more of a serious conversation.

      Alison has written about this in the past, too.

    3. Kel*

      Almost every company I’ve applied for asks for references on an application. I include them on my resume at this point.

    4. doreen*

      I don’t know if the concept of “written up” is a US thing – I know that even in the US it might refer to different situations that don’t have much in common other than being in writing. In some places , it’s a form of discipline and after a certain number of write-ups a person will be suspended or terminated. In other places, it’s not discipline but is documentation of a conversation between the boss and the employee about some aspect of performance or behavior. For example, if someone said they were “written up” , it referred to having a conversation with their supervisor and then a memo being written to document the conversation. It wasn’t disciplinary action but certain disciplinary action couldn’t be taken without prior documentation of these conversations – for example, someone couldn’t be terminated or even suspended for excessive absences without having written documentation of prior conversations, while someone could be terminated for theft the first time it happened.

      1. doreen*

        That was supposed to be “For example, if someone said they were “written up” at my last job”

    5. SafaWilkel*

      (OP) It is super annoying. I did have one application that asked me to include three references with my cover letter, resume, and some essay responses. In that one, I wrote something to the effect of, “while I know that you asked for references here, the I want to respect the work loads of the folks I would list, and therefore would prefer to share their information once I am a serious candidate for the role.” I got an initial interview anyway, so maybe that worked?

  27. Minimal Pear*

    #1, what the HELL is going on with your pharmacy??? I’m really pissed at them on your behalf.

    1. MicroManagered*

      How do you know they did anything wrong? I’ve never had a pharmacy point out a dosage change to me EVER.

      1. Minimal Pear*

        I’m chronically ill and have had various pharmacies make multiple mistakes along similar lines to #1. One of those mistakes could have been deadly. I’m incredibly grateful to my pharmacists, and I know they’re great people, but I’m also inclined to be very suspicious in situations like these.
        LW’s phrasing also indicates to me that it’s the pharmacy that made the switch, not the doctor. I’m less concerned that they didn’t say anything, and more concerned that they changed the dose in the first place.
        It could turn out their doctor changed the dose, but at the moment, I’m taking LW at their word.

      2. I'm Just Here for the Cats!!*

        It happens more than you would think. I just read something about how someone’s dog died because Walgreens filled the pet prescription wrong. They gave the dog the dosage for an adult human instead of a dog. The owner had no way of knowing and so the dog died of a horrible death of overdose. Walgreens didn’t even apologize.

      3. Mianaai*

        Nor have I but I’ve definitely had them dispense pills from the wrong bottle and give them to me with a label saying the correct dose!

      4. sundae funday*

        Pharmacies make mistakes…. In this case, it sounds like they accidentally filled a prescription for a higher dosage than they were supposed to.

        Recently, my pharmacy filled my prescription with the right dosage, but the wrong instructions, which meant I was only taking half the dose I was supposed to.

  28. Ed123*

    if we take LW#1 at their word then a write up seems over the top. Maybe a verbal
    “warning” how they shouldn’t drink that much in front of the higher ups. But an event where company provided alcohol and lw didn’t say or do anything damaging, didn’t drink excessively (i dont count 3 drinks objectively excessive). She just appeared drunk. That’s not write up material in my book ‍♀️

    1. Gemstones*

      I’m super curious as to what OP #1 even did. She says she didn’t cause a scene or fall on her face…but then how did they know she was intoxicated? Was it her being loud/obnoxious? It kind of seems like if you’re drunk to the point of getting written up, then you did make a scene.

      1. ecnaseener*

        Slurring words, swaying, etc. – definitely possible to be obviously drunk without making a scene.

    2. kiki*

      Yeah, I’m also not loving a write-up for somebody just appearing a bit too tipsy at a work event that served alcohol, especially since it sounds like this was the first time. Unless you completely abstain, it’s not hard to accidentally get drunker than intended in an evening. Sometimes drinks are stronger than normal, you don’t eat enough, or the alcohol interacts badly with a medication, etc. This seems like more of a conversation situation to me, but maybe there’s to the situation than I know.

      1. Rebecca*

        Not only does it seem more like it should be a conversation, it feels like the conversation should be starting with “are you ok?” and not “you done messed up.”

      2. no.*

        Unless you completely abstain, it’s not hard to accidentally get drunker than intended in an evening.

        Respectfully, I disagree. Limiting yourself to one drink at a work function to avoid “accidentally” overindulging is a simple and easy way to not get pissed at a work event, barring any unknown side effects of meds.

        Part of being a grown up is controlling yourself.

        1. Qwerty*

          I’ve gotten accidentally drunk from one drink because I was talking too much and missed the finger food.

          I’ve also been at fancier events where I thought I was only having one drink but turned out to have a magically refilling wine glass. (took me a while to notice that the amount of wine in the glass was going up and not down)

          My drunkest party involved one large glass of wine slowly drank over 4+hrs, because I had accidentally ran 6-7miles before the party instead of my intended 3miles and was exhausted and dehyrdated. (not a work event)

          Accidents happen. I’ve learned to always have a good dinner before work bar events because I know I’ll get caught up talking and forget to eat, but it takes experience to learn that.

        2. kiki*

          I wasn’t referring to anyone accidentally drinking a whole bottle of wine when you meant to have just one, I meant that one or two drinks can hit in unexpected ways depending on the circumstance.

          I’ve gotten drunker than anticipated (not wildly drunk or anything, just tipsy when normally one drink doesn’t even register in my system) by having one drink. A coworker was making them and apparently has a special talent for making incredibly strong drinks that taste like juice. Once some coworkers and I went to happy hour and split a bottle of wine among the 6 of us and were really feeling it– it wasn’t until after we felt the affects that we realized the wine’s ABV was incredibly high– none of us were expecting a glass of wine to hit like a stiff cocktail!

          Limiting yourself to just one drink is a really good strategy (and one that I recommend to everyone!) but it’s not foolproof even for adults who are quite experienced in drinking. I think it’s a kindness to give anyone some grace for a first mishap with drinking.

          1. sundae funday*

            Yeah “one drink” doesn’t really mean anything unless you make the drink yourself or measure out the wine (and, like your story points out, are aware of the ABV of everything).

        3. Saddy Hour*

          “One” is pretty arbitrary and doesn’t guarantee anything. My best friend gets visibly messy after one drink. This isn’t a proud admission, but it takes me more like 5-6 before you even know I’ve had any. Controlling yourself is absolutely part of being an adult, but…heck, I’ve gone to company functions where I didn’t drink at all but got so overwhelmed by sensory stuff or lack of sleep that I didn’t comport myself in the best possible light. I’d wager that we’ve all experienced *something* like that, even those who don’t ever partake.

          If you don’t want your staff to be under the effects of alcohol (which is totally fair and understandable) then the very, very simple solution is to not offer alcohol at your company events. If you do offer alcohol, there’s sort of an implication that it’s OK for your staff to drink that alcohol. Some of them, inevitably, will feel the impacts a little more. If you’ve fostered that environment and no one causes a scene, I think it’s unfair and unrealistic to punish people professionally for enjoying the night that YOU picked for them.

        4. sundae funday*

          “One drink” doesn’t really mean anything, though…. I mean, yes, there are standards as to what “one drink” means, but unless you make the drink yourself or get out a measuring cup for your wine… you don’t actually know how much alcohol is in something….

    3. virago*

      “If we take LW 1 at their word …”
      Which is what we’re supposed to do, and I agree with you that a write-up in this case seems over the top.

    4. BuildMeUp*

      didn’t drink excessively (i dont count 3 drinks objectively excessive)

      I think the issue is that her boss doesn’t know about the medication issue and presumably wasn’t monitoring the exact number of drinks each employee had. So the boss made the logical assumption that the OP was acting drunk because she was drinking excessively.

      1. Ed123*

        Could be. I was envisioning the type of work event we have where you can definately tell if someone is hitting the bar several times or ordering shots. But could be it was type of event where you don’t notice how much others drink.

  29. Jennifer Strange*

    #4 if it makes you feel better my boss sometimes has lots of typos in her emails to me and our team (I suspect in part autocorrect because she’s typing on her phone). It’s usually clear what she means (and if it isn’t I follow up to clarify) so while it can be amusing at times, it’s not a big deal (and she’s awesome in every way that counts so I don’t mind deciphering her emails).

  30. grocerystore*

    #5 – often when I am applying places and they want info from 10 years ago, I put the main company number (or store location from my retail days) and leave the Manager section blank. If it requires I fill it in, I put the managers name (if I know they still work there) or just put – Manager no longer works for XYZ, put their boss or put HR. Most places haven’t said a word and I have still gotten offers when I do this. But I will say 80% of the time I leave it blank and it the system lets me submit the application.

  31. Green great dragon*

    Working in a large, hierarchical company, many of my ex-peers are now higher up than me, I was a level above my first manager for a while and he’s now above me again and steps in when my main manager isn’t available, an old assistant of mine is now a very senior customer… even if you only strike up friendships with people who are currently your peers you may still find one of you manages the other in the future.

    1. OP2 - Friending is Hard*

      Good point! That’s especially true that my current peers could become my boss someday since I don’t have a lot of aspirations to “move up the ladder” myself at this point.

  32. Grumpy Lawyer*

    LW4 – Have you had your vision checked recently? I started noticing more typos in my work and it was a sign I needed to make adjustments when writing on the computer. For most tasks, zooming in to 125% will work, but I now wear reading glasses if I’m going to be drafting a brief or something that will take a long time. Between crossing the line into my 40s and spending 8+ hours a day in front of screens, the eye strain had really gotten to me. If it’s a newer problem and not something you’ve always dealt with, please consider a check-up.

  33. MuseumChick*

    LW #4, this may not be relevant to your situation but I’ve work with a number of people who are dyslexic or have other conditions that effect their spelling/grammar. Very smart people, very professional and for the most part once people were aware of their condition(s) everyone was super chill about it. If something was going to be released to the public we’d just have a another person look it over first.

  34. MicroManagered*

    OP3 your boss laid out the terms pretty clearly, but I can also see why you might feel like you’re getting hosed.

    It sounds like your move to the new state was happening either way and you probably did him a favor by staying on remotely for 5 months–that’s probably why he offered in the first place, so that he would not have to scramble to replace you mid-year. Assuming nothing about your work changed, I could totally see how you thought the 5 month thing was a formality and didn’t expect him to actually invoke it. If you had known the possibility of losing your job in 5 months was this imminent, I’m guessing you would’ve taken the other job.

    I think this is a good example of why to put yourSELF first in matters of work/career. Your job doesn’t love you back.

    1. AngryOctopus*

      And the fact that he said “5 months” and it coincided with an ending on the academic calendar—I feel like he thought he was clear that 5 months was the end of it, and he reserved the option to pull it after 2 months if he felt it wasn’t working. LW, I can see how you feel blindsided by this, but you don’t seem to have sat down with him and hashed out terms after the remote offer was made, instead just taking it on faith that it meant your job would continue. Seems like you were not just on different pages, but reading different books. It sucks that you turned down an offer for this, but I think it’s a lesson to make sure that things are completely clear before you make any huge changes!

  35. HonorBox*

    OP1 – I’d definitely push back. I had a situation several years ago where a similar situation happened. I’m diabetic and my blood sugar level was lower than I thought, and that, mixed with a couple of beers made me feel VERY woozy. As in your case, nothing bad happened, but I knew I was not where I should be from an intoxication level at a work event. I didn’t get written up, and I don’t think anyone actually even noticed, but I felt far different than I have in other situations. I would definitely have said something had I been in a situation like ours. My consumption wasn’t the entire cause of my feeling “off” and I’d have wanted someone in an official capacity to know it was a mix of a couple of things. Some of your situation was outside of your control … much more so than mine was even … and I think you have a right and responsibility to at least comment so that anyone looking at that write up in the future has the full context.

  36. ?*

    Related to #5, what should you do when you have no contact information for your manager or anyone else at a former job and the company doesn’t exist anymore? Some job applications require you to enter every job you’ve had along with contact information. I had one job 10+ years ago where I didn’t stay in contact with anyone and the company literally no longer exists, so I can’t even look up general company contact information. I would just leave it blank, but some applications require a phone number that at least looks valid. Is it ok to put something like 999-999-9999 or 123-456-7890?

    1. Hlao-roo*

      Personally, I would put all 9s or maybe put my own phone number as a placeholder. They won’t be checking references at the application stage (or they shouldn’t be) and if you make it far enough in the process that they want to check references, you’ll have a chance to explain that the company is out of business and you don’t have contact info.

    2. Daisy-dog*

      Yes, just a filler number or my own number. If I get a comment field, then I clarify it further. No one has ever questioned this before, so I feel like it’s pretty rare that they actually use all of this information.

  37. Marketing Unicorn Ninja*

    In my very first non-waitress job at age 18, when I filled out a paper application, I ticked the ‘no’ box regarding contacting my former manager.

    I managed to get an interview anyway (I think they were desperate…?) they asked, ‘Is there a reason we can’t contact your former manager? Is there something you’d like to tell us?’

    I very somberly replied, ‘Well, my former manager was killed in a car crash, so you literally can’t contact him.’ The very, very nice interviewer explained to 18-year-0ld me that the question was meant to be interpreted as ‘if we call this person are they going to say good or bad things about you?’ and not the very literal, ‘is this person able to answer the phone?’

    I was chagrined, and said, ‘Oh!’ And I got the job and worked there all through college and my then-manager is still a friend of mine.

    1. Given up my screen name*

      I don’t think the follow up questions of “Is there a reason we can’t contact your former manager? Is there something you’d like to tell us?” were appropriate.

      1. Colette*

        The alternative was likely not hiring her. There could be many reasons you can’t contact someone’s previous manager – death, an unpredictable and punative manager, a known bad reference that was legitimate (e.g. employee assaulted a coworker or embezzled). You can ask for clarification, or you can pass for a less risky candidate.

    2. Daisy-dog*

      That’s great that they explained it!!! I only check “no” when it’s my current job and they don’t know that I am looking.

    3. Enai*

      I think “They passed away” is a perfectly cromulent reason for it being impossible to contact a former manager. Unexpected, perhaps, but not a reason to talk to you like you did anything wrong.

    4. SafaWilkel*

      I’m glad you got an interview and they asked for clarification. That seems fair, and much more realistic than screening out candidates on a question that does not actually reveal the information they want anyway.

    5. I have RBF*

      That’s why I hate the question, personally.

      If you ask if you could contact my current manager, but they don’t know I’m looking, the answer would obviously be no. But previous jobs? If my manager from that time doesn’t work there any more, how are they supposed to contact them? I feel that the box should be “Yes”, “No” or “N/A” (not available). Because my ADHD brain will always read that as a literal “Can we contact your previous manager”, and if they aren’t contactable, my answer is “No”.

  38. Real Carp*

    OP1 – do you have friends / trusted colleagues at work who can verify how you were acting at the work party? It’s hard to be an accurate judge of your own character when you’re even just a little intoxicated. Maybe you could touch base with them and see if you appeared more intoxicated than you felt, or acting out of character for yourself.

  39. S*

    For proofreading, switching the text to a different font can help you see it with new eyes and make mistakes pop out at you. Then you can just undo back to your default font & send.

  40. Pierrot*

    LW1: I think it might be best to just say, “I am very sorry that I was intoxicated at the event. My medication changed and I did not realize that it would interact with alcohol. I accept responsibility for what happened and it will not happen again.”

    “My medication changed” is the truth, and I think it allows you to give an explanation without getting into the issues with your pharmacy which might just cause confusion or skepticism. Then the “I accept responsibility” part conveys that you’re not trying to make excuses.

    Given that antidepressants interact with alcohol, it might be best to avoid drinking at more formal company events where the board or important clients are in attendance. Other factors beyond medication can play a role like how much you’ve eaten that day so it’s never truly predictable in my experience. I also take medications that interact with alcohol including antidepressants. There’s commenters chiming in with medical advice but that’s really between you and your doctor. My suggestion here is strictly in relation to work related events.

  41. The Baconing*

    To LW#4, I read my email backwards starting with the last line and reading each sentence going up to the first. It helps me find those glaring typos, and it often helps me correct sentences that may be unintentionally confusing.

  42. KatEnigma*

    I wish that scenario from #5 would go away. Every time my husband applies for jobs (or credit- the last one being a recent car loan) we have to go through this big production to get an answer by messaging HR, because his current company doesn’t HAVE a “general” phone number. The only published contact information is for email. But the forms don’t allow email! He had two other jobs between working for the company previously and now, and ran into the problem 5+ years ago while job searching- it’s not “new.” And then, of course, with the way of the world, one of his previous employers doesn’t even exist anymore, in any form. He doesn’t want to leave it off his resume, because it provided him with specific experience and skills that he didn’t get in other jobs, but there’s no number for a place that went out of business years ago…

    1. Chirpy*

      This is so odd. I’ve had a personal email for over 20 years at this point, it’s not like it’s a new technology. And it’s definitely been around longer than widespread personal or work cell phones.

    2. I have RBF*

      And then, of course, with the way of the world, one of his previous employers doesn’t even exist anymore, in any form.

      I have this problem with multiple companies. In the past 24 years, I have at least three that have gone completely out of business – not even an HR number left. Others have moved office twice.

      I have just started declining to fill out applications that want that level of detail. It’s not worth the stress of trying to provide data that I don’t have or that doesn’t exist.

  43. Chirpy*

    #4 – change the font on your email/ writing, then re-read it. Sometimes that’s enough of a difference to make typos stand out.

  44. grubsinmygarden*

    LW #1

    I’ll never understand management that chooses to have alcohol at work events but clutch pearls at people getting drunk. People…free alcohol. It’s bound to happen. If you can’t handle that, then skip the alcohol altogether.

    I get that people who over indulge (excluding LW #1) are also at fault. But still. Let’s admit that management is knowingly setting the stage.

    1. Chocolate eclair*

      So companies should have meetings/parties with clients at McDonalds, Subway, or Panera bread maybe to ensure that they don’t have employees drinking?? In 20 years of being in the workforce I can count on my hand the number of times someone at work has gotten tipsy/drunk at events, and a few of the Consulting firms I worked for had a self serve bar in the office. I’ve rarely came across professional people who hear free alcohol at work lets get wasted.

      1. Observer*

        That’s a really weird jump. You can have parties pretty much anywhere without supplying alcohol (excluding a bar, perhaps.)

        1. Chirpy*

          Especially if the party is *at work*. Unless you work somewhere with a bar, all drinks are being brought in specifically for the party already, and it’s easy to just…not order alcohol for the party. Same with conference centers.

        2. MurpMaureep*

          Exactly. I’ve been to plenty of work events hosted at places that normally serve alcohol (restaurants, banquet halls, hotels) where alcohol wasn’t included and no one thought anything of it. I’ve also organized parties for my staff at local restaurants and they always ask how we want to handle alcohol – fully included, wine with dinner, allow people to purchase drinks themselves, not offered at all. Again, not weird.

    2. whistle*

      Totally agree. If the company is providing alcohol, there is no reason to write up an employee for being “drunk” but not doing anything “wrong”. A conversation might be warranted, but a disciplinary record is ridiculous.

  45. Michelle Smith*

    LW4: If your emails are not containing confidential information, I strongly suggest getting a Grammarly account. I started putting my work into that program because my office uses it for our writing, and it has been life changing!! It catches so, so many mistakes that I make. Having a program read through and highlight your errors before you hit send, errors that a Microsoft spellcheck won’t catch, may make a difference for you too. Please give it a try!

  46. DomaneSL5*

    LW1: I think you just need to own that write up. If you were drunk enough for people to notice and in front of board of directors, that is a lapse in judgement.. incorrect dosage or not. If I was your supervisor and you tried the whole “my medication was changed, it isn’t my fault” I would be doing some serious side eye.

    Additionally, if you were able to convince me that it was your meds that caused the problem, I would also probably start watching your work more since you are admitting your don’t have your meds under control.

    While I get you think this write up isn’t fair, trying to fight it more is probably going to do more harm then good.

    1. Dr. Rebecca*

      “Lapse in judgement” implies the LW understood the potential consequences and chose to do the action anyway. The change in medication, only discovered afterward, took away the ability to choose. It’s not an excuse, it’s a reason.

    2. I should really pick a name*

      Additionally, if you were able to convince me that it was your meds that caused the problem, I would also probably start watching your work more since you are admitting your don’t have your meds under control.

      You are making some very concerning leaps in logic here.

      1. DomaneSL5*

        I don’t think my logic is concerning at all.

        The LW even admits they were in the wrong. The issue I have is, if the pills are a problem and a excuse, then I am allowed to take that excuse at face value. That excuse isn’t absolving the LW. If you admit the pills are different and you don’t know how you are going to react. The I can take that as you don’t know how you are going to react and manage you as I see fit.

        Hence why I wrote at the end of my post, this whole write up probably isn’t worth fighting. Going to do more harm then good.

        1. Minimal Pear*

          You are getting perilously close to (hypothetical) disability discrimination in this scenario.

        2. Dr. Rebecca*

          The pills wouldn’t have been a problem if they *hadn’t been changed without the LW’s knowledge.* Not sure why you continue to ignore that bit, except that it fits your worldview.

          1. Dr. Rebecca*

            Like, this is literally equivalent to the LW saying “I got roofied” and you replying “oh, I see, you can’t hold your alcohol.”

        3. I should really pick a name*

          The information you have is that there was a medication issue that the employee is now aware of.

          Everything beyond that is an assumption on your part.

        4. Bunny Lake Is Found*

          Your logic is really concerning for people with serious medical conditions who have to switch medications often because of insurance changes to what is covered or because it is a condition that changes over time.

      2. I'm Just Here for the Cats!!*

        I think this also gets into a grey area of discrimination. Even if the boss doesn’t know what meds or medical condition the employee has if they start treating the employee differently (such as ‘watching’ their work) it could be seen as discrimination because of a medical issue.

    3. kiki*

      “I would also probably start watching your work more since you are admitting your don’t have your meds under control.”

      Whoa, that seems like a really big overreaction to somebody adjusting to a new medication that they didn’t realize would be affected by alcohol. Unless they are drinking during the workday, this really wouldn’t make me think to keep a closer eye on their work.

    4. Keymaster of Gozer*

      So, if the medical professionals mess up the prescription, or the side effects are unexpected, you’ll never trust that staff member again?

      I sincerely hope you revisit this opinion. There are a great many of us on a lot of pretty strong medications that can occassionally go wrong (due to a typo, wrong dose etc) and it’s bad enough having a major health problem without people judging you for taking medication.

      1. DataSci*

        And anyone could start a new medication at any point! So many side effects are highly individual, you can’t say for certain how they’ll affect you before you start.

        1. Anon For This*

          Absolutely true! I generally tolerate medication well and, even with medication for acute instances of depression or anxiety, have never had any negative psychiatric side effects.

          I get prescribed a medication for dry mouth and after 10 days I have paranoia, auditory hallucinations, and delusions. It was terrifying.

          Mental health side effects of that medication are incredibly rare, only appear with very high doses, and typically are just the paranoia (along with anxiety and profusive sweating). No rational person could have anticipated my side effects to a medication design to produce more spit.

    5. HR Must Love You*

      I truly hope you do not have any supervisory responsibilities, or even dotted line evaluation of coworkers. LW 1 is not the one who deserves the side-eye.

    6. Hi, I’m Troy McClure*

      I’m sorry, this comment smacks of a serious lack of empathy. I had a very similar incident to the OP once (not at a work event), and it was terrifying. I drank an amount that would not even get me tipsy under ordinary circumstances, and blacked out. OP’s work absolutely needs to know that this was not in character for her.

      1. DomaneSL5*

        Sometimes being a manager is handling situations that are uncomfortable. That doesn’t mean someone lacks empathy.

        1. Bunny Lake Is Found*

          Yes, managers have to handle uncomfortable situations and that has no bearing on whether or not someone in empathetic.

          But you still lack empathy.

    7. Qwerty*

      Woah, this is straight up discrimation. You would take action against someone for a medical side effect???

      Meds get changed regularly when figuring out what works. Side effects aren’t known and can be unpredictable. People aren’t really told the effects that they can have (please read the stickers and paperwork!). I’ve meds where the bottle said to avoid using heavy machinary and my doc told me it would be totally fine to drive to work where I use heavy machinary (spoiler, the bottle was right)

      Personally I wouldn’t have even needed the medication issue to give the OP leeway on being drunk at a company event unless they did something egregious or it was a habit. I’ve seen people become the office party drunk because they had salad as their meal therefore their tolerance was non-existant.

      1. I have RBF*

        Plus even switching brands, or brand to generic or vice-versa can mess you up.

        Lots of people have unusual reactions to medication changes, and the commenter with the unforgiving view of that is very wrong, IMO.

  47. Office Lobster DJ*

    OP2, one additional thing to consider, and that is to always stay aware of these friends’ position in the organization. It’s natural for work friends to turn to a bit of venting, sharing some gossip, being sounding boards, or “can I pick your brain about something weird” conversations. Just keep in mind that it carries a different weight when the people involved are your manager’s peers.

    1. OP2 - Friending is Hard*

      Yeah, good point – if I become friends with a manager, that’s probably not the person to go to if I need to vent about MY manager!

  48. BellyButton*

    Grammarly! I am pretty decent typist, know grammar, and can proof read well- however I still find Grammarly helpful, especially when I am on Slack, email, AAM, and texting all at once!

  49. ANONOdrunk*

    Just in January, I had the exact situation as LW1. To make it worse I was brand new at the company and it was the first time I was meeting a lot of people. I had been given a new anxiety medication, and I just completely forgot that I had never had a drink while taking it and didn’t know how it would affect me. I had 2 drinks and I was obviously drunk. Thank gawd my boss is amazing and didn’t fire me the very next day. We had several conversations, I did everything I could to repair my reputation, and everyone seems to have moved past it and are still giving me a chance. I am incredibly grateful.

    I was honest with my boss that I was horrified it happened, I explained about the new medication and how it wasn’t an excuse but it hopefully explains how I went from 0-100 so quickly. I am still so horrified about it, and I get a surge of anxiety when I am going to speak to someone I haven’t spoken to since that night. So far it has all been ok.

    Good luck, LW1 . It happens to the best of us.

  50. 867-5309*

    OP1, I’m surprised your boss wrote you up since it was clearly a medication issue, unless something similar has happened previously. Aligned with Alison otherwise.

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

      I don’t think the boss knows that it was a medication issue. I don’t believe the OP has told the boss. I think they should says something to the boss. I’d also ask how this write up is going to affect their future at the company(promotions, raises, future references, etc) and that it clearly states that there was a medical issue that cause the behavior that the employee is now rectifying.
      actually, I think the write up should be tossed out entirely. I think a formal write up is a bit too far if this is the first time anything like this has happened.

  51. person who writes too much*

    hey #4 — could you use a service like Grammarly? (apologies if this has already been mentioned; I skimmed the comments but am very exhausted today, haha.) My significant other has dyslexia and difficulty expressing themselves in writing, and they swear by it as an educator who also has to write a lot of emails. I was super skeptical (but I’m a literal technical writer and editor — we have a deal that I will not try to be “helpful” unless they actually ask for my help because otherwise I can be very nitpicky and annoying, haha) but I’ve watched them use it in realtime a bunch and it’s very cool.

  52. metadata minion*

    I am very curious if any of the commenters giving LW1 a hard time for not noticing/realizing a medication change have complex medical care themselves. I am currently on seven different medications, three of which start with the same letter, all of which may change appearance without notice because they switched to a different generic, and several of which have either been added or changed within the past year. Doctors and pharmacists are inconsistent in whether they refer to them by the brand name or generic despite the fact that all of them are generic, which is particularly confusing for the ones that all sound similar in either form. And there’s a global shortage of the one that allows me to do things like keep track of medications.

    Yes, the LW should have carefully checked the medication to make sure it was the correct dose, but it’s really neither suspicious nor a mortal sin that they didn’t.

    1. Minimal Pear*

      Yep, agreed. So far this morning I’ve taken ten different meds, and there’s plenty more throughout the day! I’m paranoid about med mixups because I’ve had an almost-deadly one in the past, but it’s SO easy for a patient not to catch changes like this. Or for them to get used to benign changes and therefore not think to check the one time it’s actually a problem.

    2. NeedRain47*

      YES! to all of that. I take what most people consider a boatload of pills.
      They switched the dosage on one of mine so I only have to take one pill instead of one and a half. Convenient, right? But they didn’t tell me, and I didn’t notice b/c I had no reason to suspect it’d changed. So I was getting really dizzy for several weeks before I figured it out. This could have easily been me and it’s not something I (or LW) deserve blame for.

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

      YES! I agree. And sometimes even if the dose changes the pills shape/color doesn’t. Because of a shortage, one med went from 5mg to 10 mg and I had to cut the pills/take 1 pill instead of 2. A regular person, even someone who takes medication on the daily, is not going to inspect the nearly microscopic engraving on their pill and look it up to see what the amount is.

      And pharmacies can make mistakes. They may have thought they filled the 500 mg dose but it was actually 1000mg. Or there was a shortage and contacted the doctor to make the change but someone didn’t tell the OP.

    4. Howleen Wolf*

      I used to take ritalin (generic name methylphenidate) and I can’t tell you the number of times doctors, nurses, pharmacists, etc would read my chart and then call it Adderall since they’re so similar. Thankfully it was always the right thing in the actual bottle, but they’re not the same medication!

      1. Howleen Wolf*

        Oh and there’s also the fact that you can be taking exactly the same medications, but something about your medical condition or body chemistry or the alignment of the planets or something will cause you to suddenly react much differently than you always used to!

  53. Spicy Tuna*

    I find the whole concept of being “written up” at work very juvenile and odd. It’s like being threatened with something going on your “permanent record” when you were a kid.

    That said, I had two semi-work related situations where I drank too much. One was a client’s birthday party where there was table service at a night club. The staff brings bottles and mixers to the table – you mix your own drinks. I swear I only had one or two drinks and was BOMBED because the client was mixing with a heavy hand. It was not an “official” work event and I think only one other person from the office was there; unfortunately, my boss. But I also think he completely understood that it was the client’s heavy hand that resulted in my intoxicated state and nothing was said.

    The second time was at a client’s company holiday party. I had run a marathon that morning and I was likely a little dehydrated. I had one glass of wine before dinner and one with dinner and then I was waking up in my own bed the next morning. I called my date from the prior night to ask what happened and he seemed puzzled. “Nothing happened – we had dinner, chatted with your clients and your boss and then I took you home”. Nonetheless, it was still very disconcerting!

    1. should decide on a name*

      I find the whole concept of being “written up” at work very juvenile and odd. It’s like being threatened with something going on your “permanent record” when you were a kid.

      I completely agree.

  54. CommanderBanana*

    LW#4, is it possible you need reading glasses? I noticed I was suddenly making a lot more typos in my emails and realized my up-close vision was going. I got reading glasses, but ended up just buying some of those cheaters from a drugstore. It’s weird when it happened, my vision seemed to change overnight.

  55. Raging Iron Thunder*

    @OP1 @LW1

    You could also try ProWritingAid instead of grammarly. It works better IMO and I find it a life saver for typos in my own emails.

  56. Twix*

    LW1 That is a totally valid reason to have a medical issue at work regardless of who was at fault for the unexpected dosage. However, it also really sounds like an excuse someone might come up with to cover themselves for drinking too much at a work event in hopes of hiding behind the ADA. Obviously one option would be to produce records showing the dosage change, but that’s not something you should have to do. If your employer has competent HR, you may want to consider approaching them about how to proceed.

  57. Clara*

    But it could be harder to tell – it’s very common at my work events for waiters to be circling and topping up your glass when it’s half full. It’s hard to know exactly what you’ve had in that case.

  58. Veronica*

    Has LW4 considered something else might be causing typos? I found out in my 30s the actual symptoms of my untreated ADHD. It takes me ten times as long as my peers to proof read, and I still miss things. On any important external documents I have comms or someone else do a secondary review.

  59. Advice Please! :)*

    Re: #5, is the answer different when the question is more like “Can we contact the manager/your references prior to the interview?” I always thought it was strange to call someone’s references before they even interview you, but I’ve seen that more often when applying for jobs so maybe it’s becoming the norm. I understand doing it first to potentially weed out people who wouldn’t have passed the interview in the first place, but it also doesn’t seem to give you much opportunity to give your managers/references a heads up that they might be contacted if you haven’t spoken to the interviewer yet. Does anyone have advice on/experience with this?

    1. SafaWilkel*

      No advice, just sympathy. It makes no sense to go to references before an interview. When I’ve been the hiring manager, I can get a lot of information in a short phone screen interview, much more than I could get from a professional reference at that stage. I’m just looking to see if the person behind the resume/cover letter is knowledgeable enough about the basic competencies of the role, and I want the chance to explain what I can about the position so they can ask some basic questions and see if it is still enough of a fit to move forward. A reference can verify the applicant’s experience and skills once I know more about them, but they cannot possibly tell me if that person will be a good fit for the job. I’d rather do ten 30-minute screens than call ten references (or 30, since jobs often ask for three?).

    2. Hi, I’m Troy McClure*

      One of my absolute hard rules is that I won’t apply for a job that asks for references at the initial application stage (for some industries I know this is standard, but it’s less common for mine). It just seems rude to me, and possibly a red flag for how they treat contact information.

      1. Scandinavian Vacationer*

        Agreed! Why is HR collecting references at the application stage, anyway? Such a waste of bandwidth for everyone.

      2. I have RBF*

        This. I always put “references available on request”, and won’t grant a request for references prior to the interview. The reason is this: I try very hard to be considerate of people who are doing me the favor of acting as references.

        I always call or email them to ask permission to give out their contact information for a reference check. I can’t do this for stuff bunged in to the application. So my answer is a hard “No” to applications asking for references.

    3. Advice Please! :)*

      Thanks, everyone! I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks it’s strange.

  60. Tupac Coachella*

    Re OP2: Genuine question: why the specific interest in making friends at work? I’m confused by the wording that implies deliberate interest in cultivating those friendships (“Can we move from friendly to friends?…All of this makes it difficult to define who my peers are in my workplace, which just adds to the challenge in making friends at work!”). I understand that there’s some research that says it contributes to a positive work environment (my employer’s workplace satisfaction survey even asks “Do you have a best friend at work?”, which I find quite odd), but the idea of building a friend group out of coworkers feels like an invitation to trouble for the reasons OP stated among others. I have to have an organic connection to make friends at work, and even then I proceed with caution. I know my perspective is far from the only common take on this, so I’m curious about what draws people to seek out friendships at work.

    1. OP2 - Friending is Hard*

      It’s not so much about seeking friendships at work specifically. It’s more that there are people (who happen to be coworkers) who I get along with well and I could see friendships developing there. That said, as a commenter above suggested, I probably should work on making more opportunities to meet people outside of work as well. I’m not sure that means I should avoid befriending coworkers I like simply because they are coworkers. I just should avoid ending up with the majority of my friendships tied to work.

  61. MurpMaureep*

    For LW 1, the “right” number of drinks feels like less of an issue than the inappropriateness of the reprimand in itself. I’d argue that if a company is serving alcohol at their functions, it’s pretty nasty to have the CEO (!) write someone up for getting “too” tipsy.

    LW doesn’t go into specifics of their behavior, but says they didn’t do anything wrong outside of appearing intoxicated. I’d take that to mean they were perhaps off balance, slurring words, maybe loud, maybe more gregarious, perhaps lacked a normal filter. Is that a great way to be around higher ups? No of course not, but to formally reprimand someone for being impacted by alcohol served by the company rubs me very wrong. And especially so if the person has, essentially, an undiagnosed condition that makes them more prone to intoxication. I’d say at the most this would be a situation that would warrant a conversation with their direct manager to find out what happened and coach them on expectations going forward. And that conversation should happen after the event, in the clear light of day.

    I’m not saying if alcohol is served at a work event all bets are off and everyone gets a pass. Of course some things are still unacceptable and professional adults should be able to self-police (or abstain if they can’t). But being written up then and there by a high level person seems super off.

  62. NobodyHasTimeForThis*

    I wouldn’t sweat casual replies but for ones that really matter, change the font to one you don’t normally use while proofing, it disrupts the brain reading what it expects to read instead of what is there.

  63. Lara Cruz*

    Ugh LW1 push back on this write up because your job should not be serving alcohol period if an employee getting intoxicated by the *company provided intoxicants* is write-up worthy. You have a medical condition and frankly your company has big ones to demand sobriety while encouraging a lack of it.

    Also two to three drinks is not unreasonable. My job is actually pretty conservative about drinking and I’m in Finland. We always get five drink tickets that include both non-alcoholic as well as alcoholic drinks. Anything less and they’d be accused of being too cheap and even then there’s usually grumbling that it will only include beer and wine and cocktails are usually provided but on the employee’s dime.

    This just brings me back to company parties I used to have at a job that provided alcohol like it was water and even the higher ups were always getting blitzed on both company-provided booze and their own personally-acquired drugs… then HR would start writing up lower-level employees for being “too intoxicated” after the parties. One of the higher ups literally assaulted a security guard and nothing happened to him but WE got lectured that we were the problem and henceforth all alcohol was banned (ha ha, no it wasn’t, wouldn’t want to upset the guy that ran the place right?)

    Yes I work in the game industry, it’s getting better but drinking cultures in it are still intense even when I left the US.

    1. Jennifer Strange*

      Ugh LW1 push back on this write up because your job should not be serving alcohol period if an employee getting intoxicated by the *company provided intoxicants* is write-up worthy.

      While I agree the LW should push back, the idea that a company can’t provide alcohol and also penalize someone for (in their perception) abusing it is ridiculous. Many companies provide alcohol at events without attendees getting intoxicated.

  64. Pugetkayak*

    #1 is so funny to me because this is a regular occurrence at events in my industry. I never really like to be drunk in front of others, just have a few drinks, but that sure isn’t the case for most other folks.

  65. I have RBF*

    #5: I loathe applications that want name and phone number for all your managers back until the dawn of time!

    Seriously, I don’t retain that data for more than two or three years, quite frankly because very few people stay at companies much longer than that. My manager’s name for a job I held from 2004 to 2009? A) Which manager – I had three, and B) I know all of them have moved to different jobs.

    I will often nope out of applications that will not let me proceed without that data. It’s an overreach, a recordkeeping burden, and I think it’s stupid.

  66. Mark*

    #1 seems to want to blame everyone except themselves. They say there was “a higher dose antidepressant without my knowledge”, but it’s on anyone with a prescription to be aware of when their dosages change. If you weren’t aware, it’s on you, not the doctor or pharmacist. “The first night I had a couple drinks that ended up making me very drunk.” Why are you drinking while on meds. I bet a year’s pay that your med came with warnings saying not to use alcohol while using that med.

    All that happened is on you. Take the well-deserved write up and move on. Just use it as a lesson learned to A) Pay more attention to your meds, and B) stop drinking alcohol when on meds.

    (And before anyone says I just don’t understand, I, too, am on meds that don’t mix with alcohol, so I always may attention to dosage changes, and I never, ever, have more than one drink in a day because of the meds.)

    1. Bunny Lake Is Found*

      I’m sorry, but your argument that if the pharmacist or doctor gave LW the WRONG MEDS the blame doesn’t lie with pharmacist or doctor is absolutely ridiculous. If the LW had a severe allergic reaction, would you feel the same way? The LW wrote in asking if they should opt to include a comment on the write up. How is it making excuses to clarify that this was due to a mistake with meds rather than LW just getting smashed in front of the Board because it’s Tuesday? Alison and the commentariat are the ones who suggested that they push back on the write up because it wasn’t LW’s fault– LW1 is just asking if it is better to accept the demerit or provide the full context along with the acceptance.

      Apparently the LW has been taking a lower dosage and drinking alcohol without any adverse impact to their life, why should they not do that? You don’t know their meds are the same as yours so just because you cannot drink on yours doesn’t mean LW is doing something terrible by having a few drinks on theirs.

      And lest you say I don’t understand I too have a medication (though it is for as needed use) that I could end up in the hospital if I drink even one drink. Want to know how fun it is to have to fend off people assuming you aren’t drinking because you are pregnant? It would be amazing to be able to sip 1 glass of white wine and avoid the constant painful commentary on your uterus and lack of offspring! But when I need my medication, I need it. And since I also am a big fan of breathing and remaining conscious I just deal with not being able to have a shield drink.

  67. Kijiro*

    I tried to fill out a form that asked this as well. I filled in my employement history and, when it asked it they could contact the person, I clicked “No”. The form then displayed an error when I tried to submit: “You must select YES to the question ‘Can we contact your previous employer'”

    Well, good luck, because he’s dead and there was no one else in the company but me and him. In the “contact info” section I linked his obituary and told them they’d need a Ouija board.

    They didn’t contact me back.

  68. Johannes Bols*

    As far as getting drunk at work. Does the script bottle say ‘Avoid alcohol’? Not baiting, just curious. The reason I’m commenting is that your company is at fault for providing alcohol at work related events.
    Many years ago Nordstrom held a Christmas (am I allowed to say ‘Christmas’? It won’t offend anybody, now will it?) party and two salesmen got loaded and killed themselves as well as others in a motor vehicle accident when they drove home.

    Just my opinion, but I’d include that in your statement as well. If your boss was mean enough to write you up and didn’t ask you about it first, be mean enough to say that serving alcohol was the first mistake. Don’t be afraid to be direct; it’s your integrity on the line.

    1. Jennifer Strange*

      Many organizations have provided alcohol at events without incident. People are well-equipped to enjoy it without going overboard. While I agree in this case the LW should push back due to extenuating circumstances, the idea that the company is at fault for providing alcohol is ridiculous and won’t put the LW in a good light.

      (am I allowed to say ‘Christmas’? It won’t offend anybody, now will it?)

      No one in the history of the world has been offended by the word “Christmas”.

  69. should decide on a name*

    Re #1, I’d definitely fight the write-up. If the company wanted everyone to be stone-cold sober at the event, they shouldn’t be distributing alcohol. How utterly ridiculous.

    Re #3, unless your job involves something like the operation of equipment that can only be found at the office/lab/factory where you work, your boss is clearly the type of dinosaur that needs to be left back in the 20th century. WFH, flexible work, and hybrid work are the way forward. Those in power need to accept the change to the old status quo that only ever worked from them, and move on.

    I know I left a comment about #5 above, but to circle back: when people who give maliciously, deliberately dishonest bad references face huge fines and jail time for giving a bad reference (that can 100% ruin someone’s ability to make a living), I’ll give some credence to the entire system. (An audio or written record of every reference needs to be distributed to the candidate, too, as a safeguard, so everyone knows what was said.) A super-short assessment task and asking the right questions at interview tells you everything you need to know about 90% of the time. If you have no idea who and what you need to hire, doing a reference check won’t help you any more than interviewing the candidate did.

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