I’m a nepotism baby, paying based on where employees live, and more

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

1. Can I ask coworkers to stop introducing me as my dad’s kid?

To put it bluntly, I’m a nepotism baby. I work as a paralegal at a fairly small criminal defense law firm (four attorneys, one of whom is my dad, an office manager/paralegal, and me). I got my start working as a legal assistant for my dad, then one of the other attorneys saw my work and liked it and hired me to work part-time as his assistant. When the receptionist/legal assistant quit, I started working full-time for the firm in general. I’m good at what I do, but I also recognize that I wouldn’t have the job or the knowledge without my dad.

Because the firm is so small, everyone is aware that my dad is my dad, but everyone is also fairly good at keeping our work and home lives separate. My dad is also fairly well known among criminal defense attorneys in my state.

My problem is this: when I’m at court with one of the other attorneys and they start talking to another criminal defense attorney, I’m often introduced as my dad’s kid. I understand where the attorneys are coming from, as connections are fairly important and my dad is pretty well liked. I understand that my job is something I wouldn’t have gotten without my dad, but I’d also like to be recognized for my own accomplishments. Is there a way I could politely request that I be introduced differently, or is this something that I should just accept as part of the package?

You could say something like, “Would you mind introducing me as X, rather than as Jim’s kid? I want to make sure people know me professionally first and foremost.”

Most people will get that. That said, that there will probably always be a little of this, just because people like your dad and are probably delighted to introduce his offspring (and aren’t thinking about how it might undermine you professionally). There’s a risk that if you try to stamp it out entirely or in an overly heavy-handed way, it could come across as if you’re trying to hide the connection (which could then make you look insecure about it, and that itself could undermine you) … but a simple one-time request is reasonable and shouldn’t come across that way.

Read an update to this letter

2. New coworker is obsessed with my LinkedIn profile

A few months ago, a candidate my division wanted to hire would check my LinkedIn profile every week. I’d get a profile view ding every week leading up to her interview and right before she signed the offer letter. This behavior is totally expected. That’s the point of LinkedIn.

We eventually hired this person. And the month before she started, after she signed the offer letter, she’d check my profile every week — again. Sometimes twice a week. So now, we’re talking 2-3 months of this woman pinging my profile weekly. That struck me as odd so I blocked her. Once or twice after you’ve signed the offer letter, cool. But repeatedly afterwards struck me as odd.

On her first week, she asked for a 1:1. The first question asked after the usual “how are yous?” was an aggressive, “I can no longer see your background. I don’t know anything about you. But you know everything about me — you saw my resume when our boss hired me. So it’s only fair I know your background.” Her tone changed. Her face changed. I was EXTREMELY uncomfortable. It’s just LinkedIn, I don’t get it. And she does know my background. She checked it 8+ times this quarter. So, I quickly interjected that she could ask me about my background rather than viewing my resume. I then gave her my elevator pitch. She seemed fine with the response.

However, the next week I noticed my boss and other teammates were all of a sudden checking my profile. Odd, because I’ve worked with them for about a year already and I’m not active on the platform. I just use it to apply for roles. So I’m not really posting anything mind-blowing.

Do I need to prove to new coworkers that I belong at my current job by showing my background? Is it customary for new hires to interview existing teammates after they’ve accepted and started work?

I feel as though she wanted to know how I got my job. I totally understand looking up people’s backgrounds to understand their expertise. But her antics before she started made me uncomfortable. Now that she’s hired, I just don’t get it. This new woman does not report to me. We’re now coworkers. Forget about our backgrounds and let’s just work together.

No, this is incredibly weird. It’s not odd to check out the professional backgrounds of your new coworkers (meaning a simple LinkedIn search, not in-depth digging), but it’s a little weird to visit their profiles over and over, and it’s beyond weird to confront them about why they blocked you after they got uncomfortable with your obsessive checking. And if your boss and other teammates suddenly looking at your profile indicates that your new coworker was complaining to them about the situation (which I suspect it does), her complaining is weird too.

In other words, this is all about your new coworker being a bit bananapants, and not about any kind of new hire custom you weren’t aware of.

3. Did I mess up by not sending a thank-you note for my office’s wedding gift?

I got married a few years ago. I’d started a new job in a small office of less than 20 people prior to my wedding, and I only invited one coworker who, due to a carpooling arrangement, I was the closest with. This was okay, I think, since I think everyone knew we’d become fast friends outside of work. The office pitched in to get me a wedding gift that I assume was about $100 and presented it to me in a meeting (part of me hopes there was a budgetary item for this, due to feeling guilty that people I barely knew spent money on me). I thanked them profusely and was very grateful. However, the more I think about it, the more I wonder if I committed some kind of professional snafu by not preparing some sort of thank-you card. What was the etiquette for this?

The traditional etiquette is that if you thank someone in person (like when the gift is presented, or when you next see them soon after), you don’t need to also send a thank-you card. Etiquette requires that you thank them, but not that you do it in writing.

That said, thank-you cards are always a nice gesture, even when you’ve already met the etiquette obligations another way. (And of course, not everyone knows the traditional etiquette and some people may expect a written note anyway.) You didn’t commit a faux pas, but when in doubt, a written thank-you will rarely go wrong.

4. Paying based on where employees live

Is it legal to pay remote emoloyees who work the same job differently based entirely upon the state they live in? For example, paying an employee $10,000-15,000 more because the state requires a minimum wage for that type of job, but not paying the same to an employee in a state with no wage protections. These employees would have the exact same roles/title. Does that run into any equal pay laws?

It’s legal, and it’s pretty common! Sometime the different pay is due to state laws, like you cited, but it’s even more common for it to be based on the different costs of living by area and/or and different market rates for the work in different locations.

5. How can my boss help me find a new job?

In short, the job I was hired for no longer exists (nobody’s fault, no resentment), but I am still useful because we are running pretty lean. However, today it became clear from yet another “how can we make this work?” conversation with my manager of seven months that I need to leave for my own fulfillment/growth. I’m thus in the generally-avoided situation of my manager knowing that I am looking for a new job. She is a great person and 90% of the reason I haven’t left yet, and has offered her help in finding a new job. How can I make the most of this generous offer?

Does she have contacts at other companies who she can refer you to? Other leads she can send your way? If nothing else, she can hopefully be a glowing reference when that’s needed, but if she can connect you with people who are hiring, that’s even better.

{ 436 comments… read them below }

  1. Nodramalama*

    This might be a bit of cynical take, but it’s also also possible that people are introducing LW1s family connection so that the people they’re talking to are on notice about their relationship so they don’t say something, or make a joke etc

    1. Pareto*

      That was my immediate thought too. However, I am guilty of venting to a coworker about “some jerk in Accounting named Brad” that I’d talked to on the phone, only to have the silent stranger she was with extend his hand and say “Hi, I’m Brad from Accounting!” so…being aware of who in the vicinity is who before opening one’s mouth is a lesson best learned early. (Brad and I later became friendly and no grudges were held.)

      1. Miss V*

        I work for the largest, privately owned company in my state. We have enough nepotism babies that it’s pretty standard to pull new hires aside and give them a quick heads up that we have a lot of family members who work together, so be careful what you say to who.

        1. Jessica*

          I agree. My department used to have an IT support guy who was the child of a very powerful dean. We’re a large institution and she probably wasn’t at all involved in him getting the job; they had little contact at work and were always completely professional about each other. Nonetheless, I always told new hires who he was (“Name, our great IT support guy, will help you with [things], and you summon him [in this way]. Note that he’s the son of PowerfulDean, just FYI.”).

      2. Someone Online*

        Oh, you must be the *other* Brad in accounting. How frustrating that you’re confused with him all the time. Ha ha ha…

      3. Zoe Karvounopsina*

        My father used to tell the story of a gregarious man he knew who was sat at a political party dinner, and asked the woman next to him where she was from. On being told, he said, “Oh, where old X comes from!” and went on a run on the various things old X had done, drinking, debauchery, some efficiency, but still, when he came to an end, he said, “Do you know him?”

        “Yes, he’s my father.”

        1. Essess*

          Oh I had a similar thing. I used to do volunteer work at a hospital.

          I was having lunch with someone that worked in a different area of the hospital. After the person finished their lunch and left, an unknown woman walked up to me in the cafeteria and informed me that I shouldn’t be seen hanging around that person. She scuttled away very quickly when I informed her that was my uncle.

            1. Mr. Shark*

              I definitely want more details! Why did she think you shouldn’t be hanging around your uncle?

              1. MigraineMonth*

                Is this like that coworker who insinuated LW was having an affair with the man she had lunch with… who was also LW’s husband?

      4. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        I like Brad! (And I say this as someone who once vented about AN ENTIRE COMPANY that we were then in the process of buying the rights to their source code from, to a teammate on IM, while he was unbeknownst to me at Other Company’s office presenting to them and sharing his screen. They all saw it and I was none the wiser until our CEO gave us all a talk about it, without naming any names – though I got a bit of a heads-up an hour earlier when I was on a call with Other Company and the person I was talking to, suddenly changed the topic and went on to address the issue I’d vented about. I was mortified to say the least. We were merged with Other Company a few months later and became teammates. I still have a great relationship with all of them and no grudges were held towards me either.)

        1. Mad Harry Crewe*

          That’s what silencing the conversation is for, honestly. Some of that is on your colleague.

          1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

            Agree – that was ten years ago, and since then, we have all learned how to use the settings in a chat app to suppress the incoming messages from appearing on your screen. (And then to look for those settings each time we get a new chat app.) And we also now know not to send any messages to someone whose status is “presenting”.

      5. Katydid*

        My sibling was on a multi-state commuter train when a group of men boarded and began gossiping about my in-laws, blissfully unaware that the stranger across from them was listening intently in order to repeat it all to me. I still find that hilarious, and use it as a reminder to never gossip in public.

        (My in-laws have unique names; there was no doubt the men were speaking about my spouse’s parents.)

        1. Phryne*

          My parents took part in the bikecentennial in the US in 1976. They were in a mixed group of American and Dutch cyclists, mostly young people, and you can imagine the state of them after a couple of months living out of bike panniers and living on a bicycle in the midwest in full summer.
          At one time, they were sat outside of a restaurant somewhere, when some Dutch tourists nearby started to mouth off about the group of ‘filthy unkempt hippies’ sat next to them. The Dutch members of the group quietly translated all of the commentary it to the Americans, to great amusement of the group. When they left, they made a point of walking past the Dutch tourists to wish them a happy day in Dutch.

    2. L'étrangère*

      That would totally be my first impression. If Daddy is influential, and maybe a bit unforgiving, it’s very wise to make sure that nothing untoward or involuntary reaches his ears

    3. bamcheeks*

      I would think this if LW was working for a totally different firm, but “this is Jane, she works for Bob BigLawyerPants” would do the job just as well. There isn’t much you couldn’t say about Bob BigLawyerPants in front of his daughter that you ought to be saying in front of his paralegal either!

      1. Sloanicota*

        Oh, I can totally imagine someone responding to that opening with “whew, Bob is such a difficult SOB, how is that going? I bet he’s hard to work for!” and then LW or the person introducing her being like “actually LW is his daughter!!!!”

        1. bamcheeks*

          I can, but to be honest, I’ve no sympathy for that person! If you’re trying to get a junior person to dish dirt on *their boss*, then you’re either doing it in a fairly jolly, “Bet he works you hard, am I right, haha? But he’s a decent guy”, or you’re actively putting someone in the difficult situation of having to disagree that they’re a difficult SOB or slag off their own employer. Frankly you deserve what you get if the answer is, “He’s actually my dad”!

          (speaking of which, I DID have that conversation once– not at work, but with my then-boyfriend’s flatmate, who was moaning about his mean professor who hadn’t accepted his request for an extension, who was … my dad. XD)

          1. Sloanicota*

            Fair! But if I’m the one introducing LW to my friend or colleague, I may not want to put that person in that spot, so that might be the reason she’s getting that “this-is-Jane-Bob’s-daughter” introduction. That being the case, LW could use Alison’s script and get the result she’s hoping for but there would still presumably be a whisper network. I think it’s kind of part and parcel TBH.

          2. Rebecca*

            One of my high school teachers was my mum. She is a very strict teacher. We have different last names.

            I had some version of this conversation at least once a month for four years (they never….learned).

            1. ThatGirl*

              OTOH, there were married math teachers at my high school who had the same last name as me (slight spelling variation, but nobody spelled my Swiss-German last name right anyway). We were *not* related, but I got a lot of “is that your mom and dad???”

        2. Lydia*

          “You think working with him is difficult, imagine being raised by him!” Much laughter all around?

    4. Smithy*

      I think there’s the cynical view – but I also think that having those short pieces about someone in relationship building fields is really common when introducing someone. It’s no different than introducing someone and saying that they also went to the same alma mater, live in the same part of town, also have kids in soft ball, etc. The reason the OP is hearing the piece about her dad so much, is it’s easy, familiar and no one has to switch from sometimes saying the OP lives in the NW and then other times says they graduated from Southeast High School to cultivate that quick point of similarity.

      In some ways the OP can’t escape it – but a way to augment it would actually be to build an external presence in the field. If there are local networking or leadership opportunities, then over time it can be a way to be known through leadership positions in local professional associations.

    5. CommanderBanana*

      Good point. And a LOT of law firms are family businesses. I worked for a legal association and I think the majority of the firms were family businesses, except for BigLaws. And even those tended to have a lot of people who were related working in them.

      1. rayray*

        I was thinking this too. I worked at a law firm and the majority of employees were either relatives or good friends. As someone who just happened to be employed there, I was definitely in the minority not being related to anyone or being a friend of someone.

    6. Tree*

      I once met with a witness in a case I was on. Going through his history, it turned out that he’d worked for my dad a few years prior. His response: “Oh yeah, your dad is a huge glassbowl.” So sometimes even knowing the connection won’t stop someone from badmouthing your fam!

        1. COHikerGirl*

          It comes from the readers/commenters of Carolyn Hax! (Also a pretty good group of people! The regulars anyway. I’m just a lurker there but they have a whole language like there is here!)

        2. Nina*

          Glassbowl is a euphemism for a word it rhymes with (in US English anyway, doesn’t work in UK English), because using the actual word would filter the comment into the moderation queue on many websites.

          The word refers to a fundamental orifice if that helps.

          1. Lilac*

            Would still work in Australian English, which is where I’m from, so probably also parts of the UK. Glass and Arse make the same rhyming sound because glass is said like “glarse”.

            1. Nina*

              Yeah, I’m a kiwi and we tend to use the American term for the fundamental orifice but the English pronunciation of ‘glass’. I tend to think of the US and UK terms for the orifice as being actually different words, forgot they were also just regional differences lol.

    7. DRG*

      This makes sense. People need to alert others to watch themselves and what they say, and people may also want to make it known that this nepotism is going on.

      OP, if this bothers you, I wonder if you’ve considered getting a job on your own. If you’ve gotten the job because of your family and not on merit (which you say in your letter is true), it feels pretty off to me to then also expect no one to mention that fact. Build your own professional career if not being known as your father’s daughter is important to you! But you can’t expect to both reap all benefits of being a nepotism baby and then not be known as one at work.

      1. MigraineMonth*

        I don’t think switching firms would be sufficient; OP would probably have to change careers entirely. It doesn’t sound like she wants to keep her relationship to her father secret; she just doesn’t to be literally introduced as somebody’s daughter.

        1. Silver Robin*

          Agreed. Age, nepo-baby status, and being in assistant are all things that can make others treat you less seriously. An intro that is just “This is Jane, our legal assistant, she is Bob’s daughter!” does *nothing* to establish Jane as a professional with a respectable reputation.

          Alternatively, “This is Jane, our legal assistant. She’s Bob’s daughter and has really helped us with [___]/we are lucky she joined/chip off the old block.” would help signal that OP is somebody who should be treated seriously as a professional. That said, OP cannot exactly ask folks to compliment her in their intros.

          Leaving it at “this is Jane, our legal assistant” and let the whisper network do its thing is fine. OP can establish reputation by being professional without immediately being flagged as “daughter of ___”

        2. DRG*

          Yes, I think that’s true too: she would probably need to switch careers in order to avoid this problem. I’m not advising that she do this, necessarily! She should do whatever works best for her.

          But if it is important to her to be not introduced as her father’s daughter, she would need to make her own way in a career that is not based on being her father’s daughter. Asking people not to acknowledge that relationship would make her seem very blind to the outstanding amount of privilege she’s enjoying.

          My main point is simply that you can’t (reasonably) both get your job through blatant nepotism and then also request that no one mention that fact. It’s not fair to coworkers who now need to censor themselves, and it’s not fair to those folks who DID get to where they are based on merit.

          1. Lab Lady*

            Here’s the thing — the American job market is either the working of connections OR a lottery. I mean, you QUALIFY for your job based on merit (merit is a necessary but not sufficient condition) — you GET your job based on connections. If you don’t have connections, then you enter the lottery and maybe get a job or not.

            I am going to assume that:
            1) The LW is entirely qualified for their job and would have qualified for their job on merit AND

            2) The LW is using their connections (in this case their father) for their job — like a lot of the people.

            Sure — sometimes (particularly certain family businesses) where (1) isn’t true, and those are the “nepo” cases that annoy everyone but I wouldn’t just assume that to be the case here.

            1. linger*

              I think that’s a very useful distinction to make. LW’s concern with the way she’s introduced is not so much that it states (2), but that it may be taken to negate (1), when that is clearly not the case, as she has been promoted (on merit) by other partners into her current position.

        3. rebelwithmouseyhair*

          If she moved to a different law firm I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t always be introduced as her father’s daughter. It’s important information when he’s a higher up where she’s working, not so much elsewhere unless you’re likely to be acting as counsel for prosecution while he’s defending.

    8. Common Taters on the Ax*

      Yep, totally what I thought. Honestly, I think it’s the right thing to do. And I think in law and other professional firms, hiring within the family is common enough that no one thinks less of you, but they do need to know who you are for all kinds of reasons. People do talk about people…and I would think that’s especially true in criminal law, which can have a strong performative element to it and can also be politicized.

    9. SbuxAddict*

      @LW1, I worked at this firm when I was in high school and summers in college. I then went on to school become a professional here. The firm is owned by a family member of mine so I am often introduced as SbuxAddict, TeaDrinker’s Daughter. Most of the time I make the corny “Don’t hold that against me har har” joke and just move on.

      If I notice it has people treating me as if I only got my job due to genetics, I sometimes will bring up how I’ve been with the firm for so long that I’ve done every job and when I finally got my degree/certification/passed the boards, I came back because I love the place and the way we treat clients. That usually stops the conversation because I’m emphasizing that I’m qualified to do this job so stop the nonsense.

      Also, yes, they could be doing it to let the person know not to talk bad about your dad. The few times I have had that happen to me about my parent, I joke “You think you have it hard working with (parent), you’re lucky they didn’t get the punishment we got as kids – we had to write essays to get out of being grounded! Now, what can I help you with, etc.”

      There are always going to be people and times that judge you for being a nepo hire. Believe me, I get it. But your work shines past that and eventually it becomes so commonplace that people don’t mention it or you just learn to ignore it or joke when they do. It still stings a little and it definitely makes it so you have to prove yourself more but the rewards of getting to work with my parent who I love and respect and seeing their respect for me in this profession grow is just the best.

      1. CG*

        Gently, I would just like to point out that if someone compared my experience (as someone who worked hard to get where I got by merit alone) working for a boss with their own experience of being raised by that same boss(/in their case parent), that would raise all kinds of red flags for me. These things are not the same. Your issues with your childhood groundings are not on the same level as someone having issues with their supervisor at work.

        Even as a joke, this would raise all of my hackles. If I was working in your family’s firm, I likely wouldn’t feel able to push back on it (because, nepotism) – but I sure would be looking for new work elsewhere as soon as possible.

        1. MourningSTar*

          This response confuses me. Sbuxaddict wasn’t saying, by my read, that they compare themselves to the merit of others, they were saying that they clarify their OWN resume and experience – if someone thinks “oh you just got this job because of who your Dad is”, they provide a quick rundown of “I’ve done all the jobs, and then went and got the necessary requirements, and chose to work here because I love it *and* I’m qualified.”

          If you worked with Sbux, I would wager they would be a competent and good coworker, and I don’t understand why why they said would have you looking for other work. They didn’t say their experience was the same as yours – just that they didn’t get the job ONLY on family.

          1. CG*

            I was responding to just this part of what they said: “I joke “You think you have it hard working with (parent), you’re lucky they didn’t get the punishment we got as kids – we had to write essays to get out of being grounded!”

            I would hope and wager that they are a good and competent coworker, too! But that joke would still really land the wrong way for me.

            1. Felis alwayshungryis*

              I personally can’t see anything wrong with it if it’s not their job to listen to your grievances (I would not like to work in the place where the boss’ daughter was in HR). You shouldn’t be pushing back on it, because they’re sending you a clear signal that it’s time to change the subject.

              If you must bitch about the boss, find someone else who isn’t their family member.

              1. What's my name again*

                Right, I don’t understand the big deal. Just don’t socialize with the family member if you don’t want to.

  2. Artemesia*

    If I were 1, I would be asking the others who were ‘checking’ on you about Banapants and her role in this — and expressing how weird you thought her behavior was.

    Re Thank you note. There is someone who contributed to that wedding gift in the office who was NOT there when it was presented; there always is. A posted note to the office — is a sort of minimal after this kind of gift.

    1. allathian*

      Yes, I agree that thanking people at all is the point. A Teams/Slack message to the chat channel that everyone reads, or an email sent to the mailing list of the team or whichever unit contributed to the gift also counts as a written thank you for most reasonable people. It does *not* have to be a handwritten card. If someone requires a handwritten card for the note to count, they’re being weirdly precious in this day and age.

      1. Michelle Smith*

        I would go a step farther and suggest that an emailed thank you in this circumstance is actually preferable, because a handwritten one is unlikely to reach everyone who contributed.

        1. SheLooksFamiliar*

          Exactly. A group ‘thank you’ email is a gracious gesture and includes everyone.

          Also, I disagree with Alison’s comment that ‘traditional etiquette is that if you thank someone in person (like when the gift is presented, or when you next see them soon after), you don’t need to also send a thank-you card.’ Traditional etiquette actually does require a card, preferably hand-written. NEW etiquette isn’t so formal about written thanks, either digitally or on paper.

          For the record, I’m okay with either or neither after a verbal thank you.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Not that it matters all that much, but what I cited in the post is indeed the traditional etiquette! (Source: large shelf of old etiquette books, dating from the late 1800s onward. If you consult older Emily Post stuff, for example, the rule is in there.)

            1. Jack Russell Terrier*

              That’s what Miss Manners says too!

              Love that you put ‘older Emily Post stuff’ – I’ll never forget this generation saying that if you’re invited to a wedding and unable to attend you should still send a gift. Yet more bananapants!

              1. doreen*

                Some of that is just that nuance is being lost – older sources say that verbal thanks are sufficient if you open the gift in front of the giver, which will almost always apply to a gift presented at the office and almost never apply to a wedding.( I think that’s also what Miss Manners says) Some older sources also say not exactly that you should send a gift if you are invited to a wedding and unable to attend but something a little different – that you shouldn’t deprive your beloved niece of a wedding gift because you have already committed to attending your spouse’s nephews wedding on the same date.

            2. SheLooksFamiliar*

              Eh, still going to disagree. I also have a collection of etiquette books from different generations, and the written note is still recommended. Guess it depends on which decade you target!

    2. Pareto*

      Agreed on #2. Something is not right there, and boss and coworkers are unwittingly taking part in it. I have an old coworker who checks my profile maybe quarterly…we don’t even work for the same company anymore, so that’s weird, but this is weirder.

      1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

        I can almost understand her logic “you know everything about me so I’d like to know your background” – but – having found out OPs background why does she need to keep doing it? History won’t change! I wonder if she’s turned up at their desk (if working in person, otherwise metaphorically) and kept hassling them to look up OP for her.

        This is unlikely to be the only thing she’s obsessive about, imo. I would be on the lookout for other obsessive traits.

        1. Dawn*

          My read on this is that it’s a lot less about “needing to know OP’s background” and more about “trying to find holes in OP’s story/believing OP is being dishonest”

          1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

            If you’re right, that’s more worrying as in order to ‘find’ holes/dishonesty, she’d have to have something else to compare to. What other sources of information is she contacting to try and find out whether the LI profile is consistent with them…?

            1. YeppyYeps*

              It is actually pretty worrying behavior, and I would recommend OP not ignore this behavior. I would shoot this up to my boss ASAP and put the weird behavior on their radar like last week.

              1. Common Taters on the Ax*

                Yes. It sounds like she’s gone from obsessively checking the profile to obsessively suspecting that the LW is trying to hide something. I think the conversation with the boss needs to happen to de-weirdify LW’s behavior and weirdify the co-worker’s, because she undoubtedly went to boss and said, LW has hidden her profile from me and that must mean it’s suspicious or dishonest in some way.

                I wouldn’t make it sound like a dead serious complaint, but just, “I heard from our new hire that she is concerned that I hid my profile from her. In case this information got to you somehow, I want to let you know that I did that because she was checking it every week, and that made me uncomfortable.”

                1. Carlie*

                  (Love your username; please tell me it’s a Little House reference.)

                  I agree to get out in front of it with HR. She is cyberstalking you.

            2. EPLawyer*

              But why on earth would a new hire suddenly decide they need to find holes in an employee’s work history? Unless you were hired as an undercover investigator to look into irregularities, there is no rational reason to do this.

              New Hire is weird and something serious is going on. This needs to go higher up the chain as a just By the Way this weird thing is happening.

              1. KnittyGritty*

                I’ll bet new hire thinks she should have the OP’s job, so she’s looking for anything to discredit her.

              2. Allegra*

                This is kind of a thing right now on the internet in some circles/sites–the operating principle that if someone’s private about anything it’s because they have something sinister to hide, which people then obsessively dig in to find. It’s attributed to true crime enthusiasts a lot (see “Tiktok detectives”), but I see it in other areas of social media. Maybe I’m too chronically online, but I’d wager that’s part of it. I would definitely bring it up to the boss or their manager, not only because they’re already displaying a worrying disregard for boundaries and privacy, but also because if this kind of weird purity/forced transparency thing is part of it, it can get really nasty really fast.

                1. Elizabeth West*

                  It’s attributed to true crime enthusiasts a lot (see “Tiktok detectives”), but I see it in other areas of social media.

                  Fandoms. Not that Weird Coworker is OP’s fan, but they seem to share the same obsession with details.

                  I agree that it may have something to do with Weird Coworker setting her sights on OP’s job or some aspect of it.

              3. Dawn*

                For some people, it can be as simple as “something about our interaction seemed off to me…. it’s time to investigate this discrepancy!” Or “I can’t believe that Jane didn’t know about the Obscure Llama Grooming Legislation of 1987, and she has a degree in Llama Studies? I don’t buy it.”

                Unfortunately, not all reactions are fully rational and within the realm of having a good reason, thus why we all understand the term “bananapants” in the first place.

          2. Twix*

            My first thought (and I am aware that this is 100% projecting) is that this could be some kind of anxiety issue. Obviously LW is (understandably) interpreting the entire situation as hostility, but wanting to know everything about people, especially people you’ll be interacting with professionally, is a very common presentation of anxiety – it’s a way to create the illusion of control. So is reading and rereading the same information over and over again, even if you already have it committed to memory, in order to “be prepared”. And hostility at being blocked from engaging in such a ritual also fits with that, as does the mild paranoia. The piece that really made me think this is what’s going on is the other coworkers. A new employee vindictively spreading rumors about a coworker is likely to get called out or at least someone would likely give LW a heads up that it’s happening, but “I was just looking at peoples’ LinkedIn profiles to get a sense of my coworkers, but then LW blocked me out of nowhere and told me their resume was none of my business. That’s super weird, right?” would probably arouse curiosity.

            1. Twix*

              And to be clear, speaking as someone with a severe anxiety disorder with many loved ones with severe anxiety disorders, that bit at the end would not necessarily be disingenuous. That could very well be her honest interpretation of the situation. That’s a big part of what sells it.

            2. Flowers*

              I don’t know if any of this armchair diagnosing is relevant though? Hostile is hostile, no matter what’s driving it (anxiety). And speaking as someone who also has anxiety issues, this is such mind bogglingly weird and bizarre behavior.

              1. Twix*

                I completely disagree. Hostile is hostile in the moment when you’re actively dealing with the hostility, but hostility is a behavior. You address and change behaviors by engaging with the thought process behind them. “My coworker is doing this weird thing because she’s trying to find information to undermine me with” and “My coworker is doing this weird thing because she’s struggling to feel comfortable in a new environment” are radically different situations. Now that said, this really isn’t OP’s job to fix. I think it would be reasonable to punt this to their boss at this point. But if they want to understand the problem and what steps they can take to influence the outcome, then there is a lot of value to knowing what the problem is.

                And yes, I absolutely agree that this is bizarre behavior. That’s why my mind jumped to “underlying problem”. It’s definitely not “normal” among people with anxiety issues either, but it would be far from the strangest behavior I’ve seen. But I was throwing it out there as a thought; it’s certainly not the only possible explanation.

                1. Kella*

                  Knowing the thought process behind the behavior is valuable if you are the person’s therapist or romantic partner or close friend or in any position to actually help the person problem solve their mental health issues. But as a coworker, none of that information actually changes what the response to it should be. This behavior is inappropriate, needs to stop immediately, and her superiors need to be on the lookout for other similar behaviors. The question is not “Why is she doing this?” but “Can she be trusted to stop when asked?” which knowing the cause doesn’t answer. It’s the coworker’s job to figure out how to make herself stop once she’s been informed that’s what’s expected of her.

            3. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

              Now that you say that, it reminds me of the letter (sorry, can’t remember all the details and can’t find it now) where someone thought they had been slighted by someone that didn’t say have a good weekend (?) so tracked down where the person lived to confront them about it.

        2. Momma Bear*

          She checked more than once. Did she not read it well the first time? I’ll look at people’s profiles now and then but not check up on updates weekly. If she kept bringing it up, or if there was another round of everyone looking at OP’s profile, I’d ask people (like the boss) about it. Seems odd…what’s the new curiosity about?

          I’d also CYA everything with this person.

      2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        I’m here like “I am really impressed with a teammate’s work, want to know more about their background, but are afraid to check their LI because it might make them wonder”

        But I also have no clue about who looks at my profile, because I’m too cheap to pay for Premium.

        I am completely baffled that LW’s boss and coworkers are now checking LW’s profile because of something BP had said to them? It makes no sense. Nothing BP says and does makes any sense, but that’s to be expected. I agree, time to take it up the chain, because BP is already doing it with her absurd version of events, and apparently getting buy-in.

        1. Pareto*

          I don’t pay for premium, but I see some of the views and they are occasionally weird (my college ex who I haven’t spoken to in 20 yrs peeked at my profile a few months back.)

          If I don’t want someone to see that I’m looking at their profile, I use Safari in private mode while logged out of Linkedin. That works unless someone’s privacy settings keep them from showing up in Google results. Sometimes I can’t see their whole profile. I do that if I’m curious where a former coworker went or what someone’s doing now, if I don’t actually want to start a conversation with them.

        2. Ophelia*

          Agreed – but I do think checking someone’s linkedin once in a while isn’t that weird/wouldn’t twig my antennae (I have done it when I want to–for example–suggest to a client that Wilhelmina is the right fit for the Teapot Project and want to remind myself where she worked before, or whatever–it’s just easier/faster than digging it out of our corporate CV database) – it’s the constant checking, and the fact that coworkers/boss seem to be getting pulled in that moves this into serious weirdness territory.

      3. lyonite*

        My take on the other coworkers part is that bananapants complained to them, so they went to look to see if they were blocked too/if there was something interesting in the profile. Having seen that neither is true, they’re likely to understand OP’s issues here.

        1. Random Dice*

          I was wondering if the aggressive new hire might be using their computers when they step away.

          I once had a job where I had to put a note on any unlocked unattended computer in the office, and I used a LOT of notes. People wander away without locking their computers with startling frequency.

    3. DJ Abbott*

      To me, her behavior sounds stalkerish, and confronting OP2 like she did seems threatening. I would tell your boss or someone in authority with whom you have a good, trusting relationship exactly what happened. This needs to be nipped in the bud. There is no good reason for her to behave this way because as you say, your LinkedIn profile isn’t going to change. Looking at it a few times would be enough for a reasonable person.
      Also, don’t give her any personal details about where you live, your favorite restaurants, or what you do for fun.

      1. Sloanicota*

        I would go to the most senior coworker who is now checking LW’s profile and try to get a rundown of what was said and why. TBH I don’t always trust those “who has checked your profile” type hits, as sometimes a weird quirk can throw them off (my tablet brings up “last page you visited” and “your frequent tabs” in the home screen, for example, so I can imagine that throwing off the system if I hit that to check something else on LI). However, since the coworker did confront OP it confirms that something weird is going on.

      2. RB*

        Yes, it’s worrisome behavior to me in the stalker sense and I really hope the LW hasn’t listed personal details on her LinkedIn page, or other social media places that the person might see.
        It’s especially concerning if the LW is in some sort of ethnic, religious, etc category that the new higher might have prejudices against, so is looking for ways to undermine them.

  3. OyHiOh*

    Yeah, OP 1, I left my hometown entirely, in very large part to get away from being identified as “Senior Oy’s daughter.” Getting married and taking your spouse’s name is also an option. I imagine neither of these are probably not an options for you at this time so Alison’s script is going to be your best bet. It’s also probably not going to change much. People in your industry are used to thinking of you as Last Name’s daughter and changing that pattern is not going to be easy.

    1. NotRealAnonforThis*

      Even though I’m only in a vaguely aligned industry as my Dad (Llama veterinary care and goat yoga, lets say), I opted for changing my name when I got married as just another piece of mental space there. We’ve never worked together, and though his influence definitely led me towards my career path, I’ve never been in a situation where he has directly influenced a job opportunity for me. Shoot, most places that I’ve worked have been wholly unaware that my dad is a senior fluffy llama specialist, until we need to ask a question of one or have one consult on something. And that’s the way I prefer it, so I understand very well where LW is coming at this situation.

  4. PDB*

    LW1: I was the kid: fourth generation family business, groomed from birth. It was a contracting company so The Shop was my playground, everybody knew who I was and it was frequently pointed out. I’m sorry to say your problem will never fully go away.

    1. allathian*

      At least not as long as you stay in the same town.

      One issue with nepotism hires that isn’t often talked about is imposter syndrome. Some never have the guts to leave the environment where everyone knows them as their parent’s kid because they don’t think they’ve earned that position. But the truth is that while nepotism can get you hired, it’s doubtful that it’d let you keep your job if you’re truly incompetent, at least not in a reasonably functional environment.

      Both of my parents are retired marine scientists, and my sister followed in their footsteps. I have absolutely no doubt that her career got a good start thanks to the help our parents were able to provide. Her Ph.D. was partly based on some of the research that our dad did some 30 years earlier, and it included a series of samples taken on the same sites for a period of nearly 50 years, showing changes in the marine environment. But since that early start, she’s built her own career, and now that she’s an established scientist in her field, she’s no longer primarily known as our parents’ daughter.

    2. infopubs*

      Agreed. Been there, done that. Sadly, being the boss’s kid is often the thing that stands out most about you in other people’s minds. That’s why they introduce you that way. It gives you a huge advantage at your company and in your field, and everyone is hyper aware of it. I suspect that even if you ask for a different introduction, they will still talk about this aspect of your job as part of casual small talk later. It’s like winning a marathon/having a bit part on a popular TV show/having a killer karaoke voice…it’s rare and interesting. After you’ve worked with someone for a while, they can appreciate your own work skills, but there will always be an edge to it.

    3. Lily Rowan*

      It’s funny, I have an unusual last name, and I have been introduced to people who definitely knew my parents (one was pretty prominent locally, one is in a similar field to me), and they don’t put it together for a WHILE.

      1. AnonForThisComment*

        I straight up did this with my manager when I was a student worker at my university. My Manager and Bigwig of the university have the same unusual last name, isn’t that funny?

        Three YEARS later, I put 2 and 2 together. An absolute facepalm moment for me!

        1. MigraineMonth*

          Better to err on the side of obliviousness, I think. Asking if two people named Li, Nguyen or Washington are related to each other is far worse.

    4. Wonderer*

      I have a good friend who also got a huge headstart in his scientific industry because of his well-known father. He started working with him officially when he was 16 – I only convinced him to stop talking about his father recently, more than 30 years later. He hadn’t even realized it, but he always introduced himself as XXX’s son and this was undermining himself as someone who literally had more than 3 decades of experience in the field.
      Eventually, nepotism babies can grow up and ‘move out of the house’!

    5. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      Back when the business was founded, being the “and son” in “Smith and Son” wasn’t generally looked down on. Of course there was also a lot of family and community pressure to pull your weight right away, too. And as you say, you’re always going to be the “and son”.

  5. Joan*

    LW 2, I wouldn’t be able to handle it and I’d ask my coworkers why they were looking at it. New hire is indeed banana pants, like to a disturbing degree.

    1. learnedthehardway*

      I have to wonder whether it is the coworkers looking at the OP’s profile on their own inititiave or if A) BananaPants Co-irker (hereafter referred to as BPC) is catching a glimpse of OP’s profile from other coworkers’ computers. Or B) if BPC is telling coworkers some story to get them to check OP’s profile.

      BPC sounds stalkerish to me. I would be bringing this up with HR.

      1. learnedthehardway*

        ETA – if it hadn’t been for the weirdly aggressive reaction of BCP, I would have figured that BPC’s browser “remembers” OP’s profile as its go-to LinkedIn page.

        For several months, mine decided that one particular person’s profile page was my landing page for LinkedIn. I didn’t realize they could see that someone was accessing their profile regularly (I think they would only see “someone in X industry” in my case, anyway). I changed it when I did realize. Before that though, it was great as it kept me away from my feed on LinkedIn – I don’t need the time suck that represents to my ADHD brain.

        1. Dawn*

          It’s also worth noting that most of the time, LinkedIn doesn’t tell you at all when a single person is regularly vising your profile; they deliberately obscure moast of your profile visits if you don’t have Premium (in order to sell you Premium).

          1. Ssssssssssssssssssssss*

            Oh, thanks for that. I was wondering just how on earth she knew. I’ve never paid for my LinkedIn stuff at all, and probably never will. And I don’t have the app either.

            I do get “oh, ppl are checking out your profile” but I have no clue who!

            Is it possible the banana pants co-worker didn’t know that LinkedIn can send out notifications?

          2. L*

            Not quite true, depends on your settings. Default setting shows you the views by anyone who didn’t change their setting to be private. If you change the setting to private, then others can’t see when you viewed their profile nor can you see anyone who viewed yours.

        2. Laure001*

          Yes, I was thinking something of the kind also. My reddit icon goes to a random AITA page, always the same, so yes, I totally see LinkedIn always opening on the same guy’s page for…mysterious Internet reasons. But considering OP’s colleague answer, it’s not what is happening here.

        3. Sharks Are Cool*

          Yeah, I don’t think it’s the situation here but I VERY embarrassingly didn’t know that people could see when you access their LinkedIin profile; I thought it was more like Facebook. This led to an ex reaching out after I viewed their page–actually to offer help since they hired out as a linked-in profile consultant, and it led to to us talking through how some shit went down and I suppose it was nice to get an apology and a sense of closure–but I was MORTIFIED when I realized they could see me viewing their profile.

          1. Michelle Smith*

            Yeah this is a basic settings mistake. If you don’t have Premium, in order to browse somewhat anonymously, you have to turn off the setting that allows you to see who is viewing your profile. It will still list your company name though, IIRC, which is why I say somewhat. If you’re the only person from ABC Inc. who X person knows, they’re probably going to guess it’s you looking at their profile.

            I’m glad in your situation it had a positive ending!

        4. Not like a regular teacher*

          It sounds like you guys are happy with your random landing pages but if you’re not, clearing your cache should get rid of them :)

        5. GrowthOpportunity*

          For the first half of the letter, I thought the same, she’s hitting linked in by typing in a bit of the name and her browser’s just taking her to OPs page.

          But then, the twist! The disgruntlement! Oh dear.

      2. anxiousGrad*

        My guess is that the new hire went to a bunch of people saying, “I can’t see LW’s profile on LinkedIn, can you see it?” and that’s why all of a sudden everyone in LW’s office was looking at their LinkedIn.

        1. Jane Brain*

          This seems likely. Unless LW has something salty in their history like their first job was as a PA to a war criminal or something and this person is going around telling everyone… which I assume LW might have already figured out.

          1. Sloanicota*

            Yeah I figured OP would know if there was something particularly interesting. My first guess was that this coworker was going through OP’s contacts looking for other people she knows or something like that. Now I’m not sure what to think.

          2. Irish Teacher.*

            It did occur to me that new hire might be implying there is something mysterious there, like “LW is being SO secretive about her Linked In profile. I wonder what she doesn’t want me to see,” but yeah, just asking people if they can see it is probably more likely.

          3. MigraineMonth*

            Or temping for a supervillain. I just read Hench and it is AMAZING (but contained more body horror than I was expecting).

        2. MsM*

          Or the LinkedIn notification algorithm just went “hey, this is popular; maybe you should check it out!” and everyone else just clicked to figure out why.

          1. ecnaseener*

            That’d be quite a coincidence to happen right after the new coworker got blocked.
            (If it were going to happen at all – when LinkedIn recommends something to me, it’s always “people are commenting/interacting on this specific post,” not “this person’s profile is getting viewed”)

      3. Nea*

        I’d go to Boss first, with a script along the lines of “Hey, Boss, I’ve worked for you for x years and you know my work, so I was surprised to see you checking my LinkedIn profile. Especially right after this troubling thing happened with BPC. Can you give me any insight as to what’s happening here?”

        1. Twix*

          I agree about talking to the boss, but Ithink you’d run the risk of looking really unreasonably defensive if you don’t point out the larger pattern. Someone you work with randomly looking at your LinkedIn profile isn’t odd by itself. I’d go with something like “Hey , I recently had a really strange interaction with . I noticed her checking my LinkedIn page repeatedly for weeks and it was making me uncomfortable, so I blocked her, and she responded by confronting me about and being extremely hostile. Since then I’ve noticed you and a bunch of other coworkers suddenly starting to check my profile. Is there something going on that I should know about?”

        2. Davis*

          This would be a very cringe conversation. If someone at work came up to me and starting asking me, in real life, about my social media use I’d consider it a huge waste of time. Who cares?

          1. Random Dice*

            Because your direct report was having a disturbing interaction with the new hire.

            And you’re the manager and that’s your job.

      4. dackquiri*

        I’m kinda curious what would happen in another week or two. If a coworker came up to me and encouraged me into looking up my colleague/manager’s LI (either as a favor or presenting it some curio to look at), I might oblige them and think nothing of it. A second time? My benefit of a doubt hard-drops there. I’d imagine a lot of coworkers would go from pinging LW’s profile to asking around the office what BPC’s obsession with your profile is… unless BPC is feeding them a big load of hooey to goad them into it.

        This behavior definitely is stalkerish, but I cannot fathom what kind of stalking they’re even trying to do. Most stalkers would move onto trying to dig up other social media accounts, and definitely not confront them, over LinkedIn. LinkedIn! The butterless toast (although perhaps the least-poisoned) of the social networks! And LW barely uses it! This a far cry from someone’s Instagram profile comprehensively cataloguing their social activities in photo and video format.

        I’m almost curious if BPC believes some kind of social media “custom” that some people think are universal but are only actually held by a fringe. (e.g., “If someone FaceTimes you, it’s SO RUDE to answer audio only” is a thing i saw someone genuinely post once.) I have no idea what specifically could be at play, but it really does seem like she is using LI in a bizarre, nonstandard way and ascribing way more social and professional weight to its use than reasonable. (But take that with a grain of salt, I haven’t even logged into mine since I got hired a decade ago.)

        1. Davis*

          If this person is stalking the letter writer they probably are using other social media sites. It’s just those other sites have the sense to not notify you every time someone looked at your profile. I think we’re overlooking just how bizarre it is that LinkedIn does that.

      5. Jessica Fletcher*

        I bet she’s telling people OP blocked her, to prompt others to check if they’re blocked. I also wondered if she could be using others’ computers where they’re already logged into LinkedIn.

        If another coworker I knew well checked it, I’d casually ask why and see what they say.

  6. Miss C.*

    I don’t think checking someone’s LI profile even AFTER one has been hired is weird. That person might be really active on LI, i.e. going there for news and networking and so on, so it might be a go-to for them for information, even on their new colleagues. I for one have a bad memory, so if I were wondering if (for example) a coworker had done such-and-such before, I might take a look at their LI profile to see.

    However, the confrontation after that is indeed nuts.

    1. Too Tired To Think*

      I still remember the time when LinkedIn told me that my boss in my very brand new job was celebrating their work anniversary, so I commented the standard congratulations. A couple of days later they were commenting (in person) about how weird that was. Turns out the anniversary had been many months earlier but LinkedIn was just now showing it to me because we were new connections (or something, I’m not entirely sure). Suffice it to say, I was very embarrassed. Now when LinkedIn gives me those prompts, I’ll look at the person’s profile to see if it’s legit or outdated. And if I don’t comment, LI prompts me a bunch of times. And like Miss C, I might forget in between times.

      The New Hire’s behavior does seem a bit odd, but I can totally and absolutely believe that them repeatedly checking the LWs profile could have been a mixture of weird LI notifications and anxiety on trying to connect with LW. I don’t feel that blocking the New Hire before talking to them was the wisest strategy, but I can totally understand feeling creeped out too.

      1. Not a SuPURRvisor*

        Could Banana Pants have a crush?
        I had an ex-coworker who started by harassing a coworker over teams and obsessively checked her profile after she turned him down for coffee outside of work… and then she blocked him on LinkedIn because the multiple times a day and the harassment there continued. HR got involved because since he didn’t have a premium account and was checking so much that it kept his name in the top advertisement of the “Get Premium to see who else is viewing your profile!”

      2. Sloanicota*

        Oh yeah social media totally does this to me. FB shows me old posts after I haven’t logged in in a while, and it’s not always obvious that the news isn’t recent, so it’s not hard to embarrass yourself. However, if I was the boss, I wouldn’t be surprised or annoyed at someone doing that to me. I’d just figure “oh, she just saw this.”

      3. Flowers*

        Idk how the boss usually is but that sounds pretty mean of them to point it out that it was weird and embarrass you.

      1. Dover*

        Maybe she’s got a bad memory and is quizzing herself while learning the team. Maybe she’s trying to figure out the hierarchy and how to move up in the org. Maybe she left the browser tab open and every time she opens the browser it reloads the page and she’s not even looking at it. My first thought was definitely unusual but not worrying.

        What I also find strange is that OP doesn’t use Linkedin on a regular basis, but keeps checking to see who’s looked at their page. I’m not totally sure what to make of the situation overall, tbh.

        1. Snowy*

          LinkedIn sometimes emails you to notify you that someone is looking at your profile, depending on your settings.

          1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            That was my guess – OP was getting emails that BPC has viewed your profile, and that the whole stack of those emails struck her as odd.

            If BPC hadn’t confronted them at work it would have just blown over as this weird thing that happened right after coworker started – but now because of that confrontation it’s This Huge Thing that has everything seemingly out of sorts.

        2. Happy meal with extra happy*

          But this isn’t a “who knows why they’re doing this; this could be completely harmless” situation. The coworker rudely and aggressively confronted OP, so unless you think OP is lying or you think such a confrontation is okay, I’m not sure why all the hand wringing.

        3. penny dreadful analyzer*

          I assume OP is getting email notifications or something, in which case, it might be worth braving the incomprehensible hellscape that is notifications settings to try to turn them off.

        4. amoeba*

          Eh, I’m also checking LinkedIn quite regularly (mostly to check for interesting job opportunities), so I’d definitely notice. I also never, ever post anything, so my profile would still be extremely boring for anybody else. Figured it was similar for OP…

        5. EPLawyer*

          If she was just checking on her own why would she DEMAND to know OP’s background? Even if it her work life not personal life, she doesn’t owe complete access to everyone.

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

            also, as OP points out, the new employee had seen her profile multiple times and presumably got the gist of her background. Nothing is going to change with that.

            Using BannanaPants employee’s thinking, it would be like if the OP kept a copy of her resume and looked at it weekly.

            Also, was OP even on the hiring committee? They never say if they were on the hiring pannel. If not this is even weirder, because the OP would not have the resume.

      2. Miss C.*

        I don’t, especially since the new coworker was still getting the lay of the land with her new job and who does what, etc. LI profiles can be pretty comprehensive, so I might glance at someone’s profile to see if they have a particular skill I could ask them about (e.g. “hey do you know the answer to this basic UX question?”), but then I might look at it again to look for a different skill. I’m not going to remember all of it.

        I’ve found that when I start a new job, everything becomes a jumble of roles, and sometimes those things aren’t even explained very well. LI is a good resource to look such things up.

    2. VeraWang*

      And for what it’s worth (not necessarily what happened here but worth thinking about) sometimes your browser auto populated a profile. There’s some poor guy who works with our company that Chrome has decided to use his LinkedIn page as the first web address that comes up when I start typing for LinkedIn. I’ve tried deleting it but it keeps coming back. This poor guy has a crap ton of views from me.

      1. I'm A Little Teapot*

        Try clearing your cookies and browsing history, then very deliberately typing in the address – even if it defaults to your coworker’s, change it before you hit enter. It will either fix it right away, fix it after a bit, or if you’re really unlucky, keep doing it forever and you’ll just get very used to typing the full address.

    3. morethantired*

      I agree. I also have to wonder if the person was just offended about being blocked, because I do think blocking someone is a big move if they were just looking at your profile and it only has your work info on it. If it were a personal Facebook or Instagram profile, sure, but I don’t see why you’d want to stop someone from looking unless they were harassing you through comments or messages or contacting your workplace.

    4. The Bill Murray Disagreement*

      Am I the only one who thought blocking the co-worker was a weirdly aggressive step (which preceded the coworker being weirdly aggro in their question)?

      1. rayray*

        Yeah, I kinda agree. It might be odd to continually check someone’s LinkedIn multiple times a week, but it’s not like they were stalking the persons’ home and peeking in the windows, they were simply looking at an online profile that the OP put out there. I think LinkedIn is one of the few social media sites to alert users about who views their profile but I remember many years ago I’d see things about having trackers for your myspace or facebook profiles and it never made sense to me. If you’re that bothered about someone viewing your profile, maybe you shouldn’t have one.

      2. I am Emily's failing memory*

        I was a bit surprised by LW jumping straight to blocking as well. I’d have probably just written it off as odd but harmless behavior. But, I can see some people maybe having heightened sensitivity to it if they’ve had an online stalker or bully in the past, and maybe just wanting to nip it in the bud before it became not-harmless-anymore.

        I do think it’s at least possible that the coworker’s browser was autocompleting LW’s page every time they typed “lin” into their browser bar, and most of the time they were just immediately clicking to their inbox from there or whatever, having no idea that LW was getting pinged every time she entered LI through LW’s page this way, then one day it suddenly comes up that she’s blocked and she has no idea why LW would feel the need to hide her banal work history. I wonder, did LW tell her, “I blocked you because you were checking my profile so frequently it made me uncomfortable,” or did she just respond to coworker’s accusation with, “You don’t need to see my profile?” If not, is it possible that coworker doesn’t realize her own behavior prompted the blocking?

      3. September*

        Looking through the comments, I was thinking I was the only one who thought it was aggressive. Maybe it’s weird that she clicked on the profile a lot, but she can’t get any more information than what’s there.

        People are assuming there are all kinds of weird motives, but I think there’s a good chance she was just scrolling and clicking her way through the site like people do with other social media.

        I think she mentioned she was blocked to coworkers, and they checked to see if they were blocked too because it seemed like an aggressive move.

      4. morethantired*

        I do too and I wonder if Bannapants confronted LW because she got really offended about being blocked. It doesn’t make the whole confrontation okay, it’s still not worth getting upset over.

      5. Happy meal with extra happy*

        No. Blocking someone on social media should never be seen as aggressive.

        1. Katara's side braids*

          Thank you for saying this. I really don’t understand why blocking has come to be seen as an act of aggression/hostility. The information being public doesn’t mean they don’t get to have preferences about how/how often it’s viewed, and if a tool exists to prevent people from acting outside those preferences, it’s not an act of aggression to use it.

          1. Happy meal with extra happy*

            It’s bizarre. It also directly correlates to taking a position that it’s never okay to block anyone once you’ve friended them/accepted their invite/what have you. Because if it’s not okay in this scenario, why would it be okay if someone just decides cull their connections list without reason?

        2. Emotional support capybara (he/him)*

          This right here. Access to another person via their social media is not a constitutional right, it’s a privilege that can be revoked at any time, for any reason, end of. You’re not owed an explanation or an appeals process when someone blocks you. You get over it and move on like an adult.

          Now I could understand the blockee politely asking “hey, did you block me” if they were close friends or family on otherwise good terms, but aggressively confronting someone you just work with about it? Nope. That’s creepy.

          1. rayray*

            While I do agree that it’s totally okay to block people on social media if you so choose, and you don’t necessarily need justification, I still find it odd that someone would willingly have a social media profile and then get upset that someone viewed their profile. I don’t know if it’s paranoia or what, but blocking is kind of a strange reaction. Now if they were being pestered with messages or being harassed about the information on their profile, I get it, but from what we can tell in the letter, before being blocked, the person only viewed the profile. I’ve never used any other social media websites that told me who viewed my profile, I wonder what OP thinks of sites like facebook or twitter and how they feel about the idea that others may view their profile.

            1. elle *sparkle emoji**

              OP said that they were frequently getting notifications that BP was looking at their profile. Maybe they just were annoyed by the constant alerts and decided this was the best fix as they weren’t having the same issue with anyone else. I don’t think that’s necessarily paranoid. My understanding of OP’s letter is that they have a LinkedIn more out of obligation than desire, so if someone is doing something bothersome on there and you already don’t like dealing with the website, blocking seems reasonable.

      6. BadCultureFit*

        Blocking was an incredibly disproportionate response on OP’s part.

        I suspect the new employee was then put on the defensive, and maybe nervous about their new job and fearful they did something that could jeopardize it. They then raised it in a strange manner.

        But yes, it’s very bizarre to block a new colleague for simply looking at your LI profile. As OP notes, that’s literally what LI profiles are for.

        1. Happy meal with extra happy*

          It’s actually concerning to me that you think that OP’s response was the disproportionate one. OP is allowed to block anyone they choose on their social media, and the fact that the coworker thinks they can aggressively confront OP about it? It’s absolute bananapants.

          1. AnonForThis*

            I find your usage of the word concerning disingenious. You disagree about something, that is fine. But your usage of the word indicates you feel you have an obvious moral high ground here, and the replies very clearly show that there is in fact great disagreement about this.
            Your usage of the word concern here is in the exact same way as it is being abused right now on social media by ultra-conservatives to undermine the rights of sexual and gender minorities to exist in the public space.

            Blocking a person you know and work with in real life based on nothing more than couple of views of a public profile (which, as is pointed out before is as easily explained by a weird browser glitch as by intent) is weird and bound to have consequences in real life.
            Confronting OP aggressively was bananapants.
            These two things do not contradict each other.

          2. BadCultureFit*

            Of course, anyone can block anyone they want, for any reason! That doesn’t mean it’s not a disproportionate reaction to a new colleague browsing your public LI page a few times.

            OP isn’t a victim here.

        2. Katara's side braids*

          It’s not just “looking” though. It’s looking with a near-obsessive frequency. I’m finding it interesting how many comments defending the coworker are using the “you have a profile and she looked at it, what’s the problem?” angle, when the LW clearly states it was a matter of quantity/intensity.

          The most frequent response to that point (when people choose to engage with it instead of ignoring it) isto imply LI is in the wrong for telling us when our profile is viewed, and by whom. I also find this kind of disingenuous. I said this in another thread, but most of us who use social media have accepted certain unspoken norms for when/how we observe each other online. We have terminology for when we break those norms – “facebook stalking,” “creeping on someone’s profile,” etc. Many of us have broken those norms at some point or another, but when we do, we realize we’re transgressing – and that the other person wouldn’t be wrong to feel uncomfortable if they found out. It’s why we cringe so hard when we accidentally “like” a photo from 3 years ago. Once someone makes it known – intentionally or not – that they have been observing you to that extent, blocking is far from an overreaction.

    5. shannanigans*

      My new boss has a really long, generic job title so I’ve gone on his profile more than once to remind myself what it is so I can intro him properly on calls. I’m also in marketing, so I go on coworker’s profiles to download headshots or make sure they’re using the latest company banner image.

      This is just to say, if you work with somebody who keeps checking your LI, please don’t jump to thinking they’re a weirdo stalker!

      1. Miss C.*

        Yes, THIS! People can be casual about titles during introductions, but then if, say, you’re working on something that requires those titles to be exact, then yes, you had better look them up.

  7. Punk*

    The LinkedIn scenario is weird on both sides. It’s strange to care about a coworker’s background so much, but it’s also strange to be freaked when someone looks at the public information you’ve freely posted, for the exact reason LinkedIn exists. “Look at my profile. No, not like that.” Sure, the coworker was extreme about it, but these types of questions often skip over the fact that this is public information on a platform whose purpose is to share your background.

    1. Gerry Kaey*

      I hate the whole double surveillance of LinkedIn — the fact that LI notifies you when people look at your profile is the real culprit here imo. I understand the reasons behind it but it stresses me out!

      1. Michelle Smith*

        It’s relatively straightforward to turn that off. I am a very active LI user and I do not receive these notifications and almost never think to even check unless I have a reason (like wanting to know if someone from the company I just applied to has looked at my profile yet).

    2. Alice*

      The issue isn’t that the co worker was checking the Li profile. It’s that they went “banana pants” and turned aggressive with OP after they were blocked and have now possibly roped OPs colleagues into something. OP needs to report the confrontation to her manager at the least- if not also HR

      1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

        Yeah, I would start with asking the manager (!) because they were one of the sudden profile viewers as well ad OPs team-mates.

        It is such a brazenly confrontational approach (saying this as someone quite comfortable with conflict myself). Asking for a 1:1 with a peer (I had to re-read as I thought the OP must be her lead/supervisor based on that and I had missed it, but no) and then asking that. Not even getting “tactfully” to that subject!

        She seems to feel she has a right to this info and that by blocking her OP is depriving her of this right (which of course doesn’t exist in reality). I wish OP had challenged her directly in their “1:1” rather than placating her by going over her background again to ‘prove’ that she legitimately has the job…

        As I write this, it’s occurring to me that one potential reason for the behaviour is projection. She feels uncomfortable (for real reasons or not) about something in her own background and assumes others’ background will also yield inconsistencies or reasons they shouldn’t be there. Just a thought.

        1. OlympiasEpiriot*

          I agree with starting with the manager.

          I, too, am very comfortable with confrontation — and I probably would have had to keep from laughing at her in the f2f — and would definitely be keeping an eye on this person.

      2. Dawn*

        Right. Like, I’m with OP in being weirded out if someone is visiting my personal profile repeatedly – there’s not a hard and fast rule but there’s a line on social media between “someone has visited my profile once in the last month, someone has visited my profile twice in the last month, oops, someone has visited my profile at least twice a week, that’s enough times in a short period that it is making me uncomfortable” – but the reaction afterwards to being blocked was wildly out of line and frankly troubling.

        1. Emmy Noether*

          It just occured to me that there are a lot of social interactions where we have these squishy unspoken limits.

          For example a stranger making eye contact on the bus once – fine. The same stranger staring at you every time you look up from your book – creepy! A coworker taking a detour on their way home once to drive by your house – coincidence. A coworker changing their route to drive the long way by your house every day – weird! It’s the same for social media. There’s an accepted level of curiosity, and anything significantly beyond that sets off alarm bells.

          1. JSPA*

            Driving by, maybe it’s a prettier route or less traffic or they have a friend in the area… rolling down the window and slowing down and actively looking at your house each time, feels like something odd.

          2. Dawn*

            It’s the personal space bubble for the internet era. We all have a certain distance from other people (depending on our relationship to them) which is Suddenly Not Ok. Humanity has evolved to notice these things, going all the way back to “evolutionary reasons I was not eaten by a leopard today.”

    3. BRR*

      This is how I feel about it too. The coworker was definitely way weirder about it, but I might recommend to the LW switching their profile viewing option to private mode so they no longer see who is viewing their profile.

      1. MsM*

        If I were LW, I think I’d feel more comfortable doing that after I was confident Weirdly Intense Coworker didn’t feel the need to keep tabs on me any more.

        1. Myrin*

          Yeah, now the cat’s out of the bag, so to speak, so for the time being, I reckon OP would feel just as insecure as she does now.

      2. Sloanicota*

        I admit I’ve never checked who is viewing my linked in, and certainly not every week, so I am untroubled by my coworker’s LI weirdness. I also don’t post a lot or update a lot, to be fair. I mostly just use it to connect with old coworkers when I leave a job. Still, OP seems to be on to something weird here.

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

      I once had a client get upset that I kept looking at her profile and thought I was trolling her own client list to bolster mine. The thing was, I had looked at her profile and connections once- LinkedIn kept sending her notifications that I had viewed her profile for weeks after I had last logged in. She was so freaked and such a good client that, rather than have her upset, I deleted the whole thing (I wasn’t job hunting and LinkedIn connections weren’t really a help to me in my position; I was just sort of doing it for potential future benefit). Eventually, I guess because there was no account to link the views to, it stopped and she wasn’t upset anymore.

      I don’t really use LinkedIn for anything other than just have a very basic presence in case someone would Google or search for me in a job hunt. Or for job hunting. But that experience sort of left a bad taste in my mouth for it if it was going to freak some people out.

    5. MCMonkeyBean*

      This seems really disingenuous. It is extremely reasonable to be fine with people seeing your publicly posted information but then be weirded out when someone looks at it over and over and over and then flat out asks you why they can’t see it anymore when you block them. That is objectively really weird. A million things that are perfectly normal for someone to do become weird and concerning when they start doing it all the time.

      1. Twix*

        A pretty widely acknowledged example of this is the difference between the casual acquaintance who occasionally “likes” your Facebook posts and the casual acquaintance who “likes” every single thing you post. Yeah, there could be an innocent explanation – maybe they just really agree with your point of view, or maybe all you post is pictures of kittens in funny hats. But the point is there’s a clear difference between the implications of those two patterns.

  8. Anonychick*

    Re #2 (the LinkedIn letter):

    Keeping in mind my usual full disclosure that I have no idea what I’m talking about…

    Honestly, considering the weirdness (which Alison has confirmed) of New Hire’s behavior, I wonder if all the other people checking her profile are actually doing so, or if New Hire is using their computers/accounts/etc to do so. If LW is at all close/friendly with any of the coworkers (or even the boss!), I would consider casually mentioning it, just to see if the person/people seem confused and/or deny it.

    1. Weaponized Pumpkin*

      I would be completely astonished if this were the case! How would she even have access to multiple people’s computers/accounts?! Then again, I am often completely astonished by what i read here so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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

      I don’t know how the new hire would have access to the other’s accounts? Not many people have linked in on their work computers. And why would she have access anyways?

      I think what really happened was the new hire talked with other coworkers. Maybe said something like “what is OP hiding! She is acting really weird by blocking me” and they went to see if they were blocked too.

      Honestly I think the OP should talk with some of the other coworkers and ask if new hire ws stalking them on Linked In too.

  9. Daisy*

    Different pay for different places – I have very mixed feelings about remote work that pays hugely different amounts depending on where the employee lives in the USA. On one hand, I understand businesses need to control costs, but on the other I feel it definitely takes advantage of communities that are already struggling. Many rural areas are food deserts, have severe lack of community and social services, and the closest hospital may be 2+ hours away. They do not have the job opportunities found in large cities. Housing may be cheaper to buy, but you make up that cost in driving over an hour to the closest supermarket. Small towns are disappearing and suburban sprawl around large cities is choking out commutes. Remote work could bring much needed income into these areas, enough to save their economies and still be more cost-effective than national-league cities if they would pay decently.

    1. AcademiaNut*

      It’s going to take a while to figure out the balance.

      What’s happening now is that people are taking salaries calibrated for high cost of living areas, like the Bay Area, and working remotely from more rural areas. This drives up the cost of things like housing for the locals, as the new arrivals can easily outbid them on property or pay higher rents, which can result in the locals being priced out of their own community.

      What I suspect might happen is there will be two salaries for a lot of companies – a general one for people who are fully remote and can choose where to live, and one for people who are needed to physically come into the office at least some of the time, to offset the high cost of living within commuting distance of the office.

      1. Dawn*

        To be fair to them (and the Bay Area vs rural areas is the most extreme possible example, albeit one that is actually happening,) this is the only way that I, as a Millennial who doesn’t hold a degree due to health issues, is ever going to be able to afford a house short of my parents dying, and in many cases it’s far better for the area than those homes continuing to sit vacant because nobody wants to move there.

        1. Dawn*

          Also I think that you’re partially right, but as the tech boom continues to rapidly ebb, a lot of these companies are just going to close/move their Silicon Valley etc offices to more affordable areas.

        2. JSPA*

          But it makes “getting decent internet service” a strange trojan horse issue. Underserved communities who have been agitating for even minimally functional service for a decade are now finding that new arrivals with deep pockets get extention of internet services almost instantly, at which point the housing prices and rent increases throw a giant percentage of the long term residents out (and destroy all the support networks that have been the only thing making it possible for them to live a tolerable life on a service worker or retirement income).

          If you’re revitalizing an actual ghost town, that doesn’t apply. But downgrading the residents to, “practically squatters, probably criminal or better off in a retirement home anyway” is deeply not OK (and ignores that other options don’t magically spring into existence for the people being displaced).

          1. Colette*

            Everyone deserves a place to live – we agree on that.

            But someone moving to a rural community to live there, get involved in the community, send their kids to the local school, and support local businesses is not doing anything wrong.

            I can certainly see issues if someone moves to a small town but basically only sleeps there, or if someone buys a place and keeps it empty, but buying a place to live in is not wrong.

            1. bamcheeks*

              You can “not be doing anything wrong” and it STILL has crappy, negative impacts on people less well off than you.

              I really wish this was easier to talk about– I feel like we’d be better at addressing stuctural issues if everything didn’t always get boiled down to “are you saying X is a bad person?” Maybe there’d be more of a incentive to alleviate the impacts of structural issues if it was easier to say, “this is a sound financial decision for me, but it has crappy impacts on other people.”

              1. cabbagepants*

                Any solution would need to be on a community/government level. Shaming individual people on the Internet is not an effective means of addressing social issues. Captain Awkward made a great post in this vein (about racism rather than housing costs, but the principle is similar). Letter #1272.

                1. bamcheeks*

                  Which comment specifically do you think is “shaming” an individual rather than pointing out the structural issue?

                2. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

                  How is it supposed to happen on a community/government level without support from the people with more money, more voice, and more power? I wish we could get away from this idea that it’s “shaming” someone to point out issues, especially when it’s not addressing one person but identifying the very systemic problem you acknowledge that it is.

                3. cabbagepants*

                  Instead of “raising awareness” and waiting for someone else to take non-online action, take that non-online action yourself.

                  Speaking for myself as someone who moved to a LCOL area with a high-income job, I am not going to, like, deliberately not buy a nice house for myself and my family out of fear of raising prices for other people. Sorry/not sorry.

              2. Colette*

                Who decides who is less well off? If someone is living in a city and can’t afford a place to live but can afford a place in a smaller town, what is the issue? Are you arguing that the only people entitled to live in a place are the people already there (even if that means the town will die, businesses will leave, and schools will close)?

                Why is the person at fault the one who moves there and not the existing owners who won’t take lower prices?

                1. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

                  She literally took fault out of her comment and you’re putting it back in.

                2. Katara's side braids*

                  Did you fully read bamcheeks’s comment? This isn’t a blame game, and no one is calling anyone else a bad person. In fact, bamcheeks laments the fact that these conversations frequently devolve into a back-and-forth of “bad person” labeling and defensiveness over said “bad person” labeling.

                  To answer your question: it’s a systemic issue, and while everyone (including your hypothetical city -> small town resident) is a victim here, there is a spectrum of privilege at play. The person who can afford the small-town home is on the more privileged end compared to someone from the small town who now truly has nowhere to live and is pushed into homelessness by rising rents/mortgages. Privilege =/= bad person, but it’s not enough to reassure ourselves that we’re not bad and just move on with our lives. If we’re going to fix the core systemic issue, the people with the resources to move in and (intentionally or not) push up rents also have a responsibility to advocate for policies and resources to prevent those with less from being pushed out.

              3. I am Emily's failing memory*

                One of my favorite Atlantic essays ever, a number of years ago, about “the 9.9%,” had this line that has been burned in my brain ever since because of the way it made visible something that I had been invisibly taking its truth for granted without ever examining my belief (like all good works of sociology should):

                “It’s one of the delusions of our meritocratic class…to assume that if our actions are individually blameless, then the sum of our actions will be good for society.”

                The whole essay is fascinating, as it dives into the managerial class – the people below the top 0.1% but above the bottom 90%, not wealthy, but in professional jobs and typically highly educated or trained in a skill. Over the past 50 years or so, if you chart the fortunes of the 0.1%, the 9.9%, and the 90%, you see quite clearly that the 9.9% have managed to tread water while the 90% have lost wealth and the 0.1% has gained all of it – and much of that wealth transfer wouldn’t have been possible if the 0.1% didn’t have the 9.9% who are *just close enough* to getting ahead in life that it’s only logical they’d choose to struggle within the system rather than try to dismantle it entirely.

                It’s the way so many power structures work – you need an enforcer class whom you give slightly more privileges and daily comforts than the masses get. Enough that even though you treat the enforcers crappy, too, they still side with you over the masses because they’re afraid of losing what little status they have. Maybe in some cases they even believe they could ascend to the ranks of the powerful if they play their cards right.

                It’s not a moral failing to be part of the 9.9%, or to make decisions in the best interest of you and your family, even knowing that you’re participating in a phenomenon like gentrification by doing so. But if we can recognize what’s going on – the way society has been structured so that our well-being can only seem to come at the expense of those less well off than us, never those more well off than us – we might be able to use our considerable political clout to change things in a way that would benefit ourselves AND those less well off. We can simultaneously work the system to our advantage the best we can now AND advocate its dismantling long-term – the two are not incompatible.

      2. GythaOgden*

        Yup. This is already the case in a lot of the rural UK, as people have been buying up property as second homes. Remote work not only exacerbates that problem, but also leaves the people who literally can’t work remotely without direct and involved leadership.

        As you say, it’s slowly working itself out, but there are more sides to this story than people think, and fair and equitable workplaces have legitimate needs that makes ‘escape to the country’ problematic on a logistical and ethical basis.

        It’s not all about remote workers — there are other interests that also need to be part of the conversation, from the people who make remote work possible but can’t take advantage of it themselves to the impact on people in towns subject to gentrification.

        My issue with this is not WFH itself, which is actually something I’m looking for. It’s the implications for other less mobile workers, local infrastructure (gentrification often has an impact on rural life because of urban expectations and a condescending attitude on the part of incomers) and businesses. These are hard things to confront for many in the media and wider conversations like we have here, but have hitherto been absent, largely because the sector of workers who are able to WFH almost perfectly align with those who have access to media and time/leisure/money to make their voices heard.

        Ultimately it’s up to those with privilege — the middle class WFHers who can move where they please — to acknowledge their impact on the people with less mobility or legitimately orthogonal needs. /It’s not all about YOU./

        1. I have RBF*

          I haven’t moved rural … yet. But I’m planning to do so when I retire, because I live in the SF Bay Area, and I would not be able to pay my bills here on a retirement income. Since I WFH, I’m willing to try to make the move before I retire, just to save more for when I retire.

          Would I be a “gentrifier”? Doubtful, unless people retiring and moving to cheaper homes are automatically gentrifiers. But I would get active in the local affairs of my new home, because I don’t want to make things worse for the people already there. I know that having a bunch of retirees move in makes some folks unhappy, but retirement income is usually far less than your working income, so something has to give.

          I’m actually happy that the remote work movement is revitalizing smaller towns. I know that sometimes it can lead to inflation and rising rents, but it also puts more money into the community for jobs in the service sector.

          No change is going to please everyone. We all are kept on short financial leashed by our oligarch masters. But in my 60s I am pretty tired of fighting the machine, and having it stomp on me harder, so I will leave the revolution to the young folks.

      3. bamcheeks*

        It’s going to take a while to figure out the balance.

        I think this assumes that anyone in power wants to figure out the balance. There are pretty straightforward solutions to this kind of thing if municipal authorities wanted to implement them. The problem is a political climate that says employers, state and municipal authorities have no role here and that it’s all just up to the market, because the market simply does not care.

        1. I am Emily's failing memory*

          Yes. The market, like nature, is both remarkably efficient and utterly callous. Economic regulation and wealth redistribution are to the market what inventing fire and tools were to nature. We used our brains to invent things that helped us withstand and counteract the dangerous parts of nature and increase our survival rate, just like we can use our brains to invent things that help us withstand and counteract the dangerous parts of capitalism and increase our prosperity rate.

      4. BethDH*

        This was happening in my small town during the pandemic to the degree that well-paid college faculty (and trust me that I don’t assume faculty are always paid well!) were getting pushed out by people not only willing to pay more but willing to do things like waive inspection and pay all cash.
        It’s calmed a bit in the last six months but you still need way more equity to be competitive for the same sized house.

        1. Sloanicota*

          I wonder if that’ll be self-correcting as the people who paid too much for houses in need of repair will soon presumably be putting a lot of money into service people (contractors, tradespeople) and also end up perhaps less well off. It would be nice for the locals if newly restored homes will end up back on the market at more affordable prices. Selfishly I do hate seeing beautiful old places languish in disrepair.

      5. dwilsonpa*

        I work for the government and we’ve always had locality pay charts depending on where people worked. My agency is talking about instituting a remote work policy and you’re pay would be based on the locality pay for where you live not where your agency is located. So some people will end up taking a pay cut if they decide they don’t want to have to come into the office though there are some that might actually get a raise if they go to a higher pay area. It seems fair to me since its based on cost of living in an area and spelled out in advanced.

        1. Governmint Condition*

          It’s fair until people figure out how to maintain an address in the higher pay area while actually living in the lower pay area. If the pay differential is high enough, it’s not hard to do, and it’s really hard for the government to prove it if you get caught. That’s why my state goes by agency location to determine pay differentials.

          1. Berin*

            This is not at all hard for the government to prove. If you’re using government-furnished equipment, you have to sign in using a VPN, and your IP address connects you to a location.

    2. Dawn*

      Typically with fully remote work, when there is a disparity, it is still in the employee’s favour overall; I am rarely one to side with the businesses but in this case it’s just reasonable that somebody in a higher cost-of-living location is paid more to offset that, and the “cost-of-living” isn’t guesswork, it’s pegged nationally and internationally to cost of living statistics like the Consumer Price Index and other cost of living data.

      1. GarlicBreadAfficianado*

        I agree. Even before the Covid, my husbands “team” was split between an expensive metro area in the Northeast with a high cost of living (think a 1400 sq foot house in a middle of the road densely packed suburb was hovering around 400k) and the other half of the team was in a much lower cost of living area in a southern state. The people in the north got paid more simply because a gallon of milk was 3 dollars here and a dollar fifty there. Was it “fair” ? I mean on paper? No. But in reality it was something that was necessary

        1. Lizzie*

          My company is headquartered in a HCOL area, where I live and work. We also have offices in other cities in other areas of the country. Not rural, but think southeast and midwest vs. NY Metro area (where we are) They are very upfront about the fact there is a salary differential for my location vs. the others. while they don’t disclose specifics, you know that pay is less in other areas. But they are still metropolitan areas, and not in the middle of nowhere, but the COL is less, so you are paid a bit less. And this was even before COVID and remote work.

        2. Sloanicota*

          There must be a reason why the company doesn’t fire all the people in the HCOL area and only hire remote rural workers at less price per hour. Businesses are usually pretty quick to cut labor costs when they can.

      2. YetAnotherFed*

        The federal government pay scale has locality pay applied on top of the GS levels. So because I telework, I know that if I move to a different area, I get the locality pay for that area. Which could be a pay cut or a pay increase depending on where in the country I’m located. Some of the people that I started with in federal service decided that they would rather live in lower cost areas (due to family reasons) and took the loss of locality pay. Others of us preferred being in the office and stayed in the DC area (pre-pandemic). But we all know about this and can look up what the percentage of locality pay is for a given metro area, so I think that it’s fair.

    3. Irish Teacher*

      I also think paying less in areas that don’t have a mandated minimum wage or which have a very low minimum wage comes across as “we will only pay people a living wage if there are laws to make us do so,” which makes me feel they don’t really value their employees that much. There may be valid reasons to pay different rates based on where people live – cost-of-living, for example – but I’m not sure “because we don’t legally have to pay people here as much” is a great one.

      1. Staja*

        This one gets the me the most – I live close to the order in a state (New Hampshirite) where our minimum wage is the same as the Federal minimum ($7.25/hr). Our neighboring state (Masssachusetts) has a $15/minimum wage. This is bananapants to me, because Dunkin can theoretically pay their workers half as much in our state as they can in a store just over the border. This is similarly true for the other states bordering us, and a reason I’m glad I work remotely.

        1. Onward*

          I’ll also say that this is why everyone needs to VOTE in every election rather than depend on companies to do the right thing and pay above minimum wage.

          Also, coming from a state that has become increasingly red over the years, I understand that one person cannot truly “be the change”, so it still just sucks. Nonetheless, always vote.

        2. Sloanicota*

          Yeah, I used to do an hourly job on the side and it drove me nuts that if I moved 500 feet to the left I would be earning $3 more an hour for the exact same work.

        3. harvey 6'3.5"*

          I have been helping my son look for a new job (to broaden his experience) and I am surprised by how many employers advertise salary ranges for jobs in my area that begin well below minimum wage in my area. It is a real turnoff to even applying to their company.

      2. Lexi Lynn*

        This is what stood out to me in the question. It wasn’t about paying someone who works out of Las Vegas, New Mexico less than someone in Hobg Kong, but if your county has a $2 lower minimum wage than the next county over, you get less than your coworker. That’s awful.

    4. Amy*

      About 14% of Americans live in rural areas. But even in a rural area (I’m in one), needing to drive 1 hour for groceries is pretty unusual.

      I’d guess that type of life doesn’t apply to more than 1-2% of Americans.

      1. I have RBF*

        I have some friends that live in a semi-rural area. While there are some stores in town, to get anything bulk, or specialized, for groceries they have to drive over an hour to the nearest city. They do this once a week. Sure, some of it they might be able to get locally – for twice the price and in smaller quantities. It’s like the difference in price for milk from a 7-11 and the price from a regular chain grocery store. So it actually makes sense for them to drive an hour, make three or four stops for groceries, then drive back, because they save more in grocery costs than the mileage rate.

    5. Sloanicota*

      I think I’d like to hear companies articulate the value they perceive in hiring employees who live in more expensive places. I live in DC, and many government jobs pay a premium because DC is expensive but you’re right there for a lot of networking or meetings that are in person (conferences, etc). I assume there’s a reason an expensive candidate from SFO or Seattle is more valuable versus someone from a small town far from an airport with a lot of direct flights? But honestly I’m inclined to agree with you for some of the fully remote jobs I’ve seen.

      1. alienor*

        Someone who lives in SFO or NYC has likely had more opportunities to diversify their experience and resume than someone who lives in a rural area, where there might only be one company that someone with a particular skillset can work at. That doesn’t mean that the person from the large city is better at what they do–the person from the rural area might be wildly talented–but on paper they look like a more well-rounded candidate.

        1. alienor*

          And so the company thinks they’ll bring a broader perspective, more innovation, etc. to their work, making them worth the higher cost of employing them.

      2. Roland*

        As a tech person in a remote job: an individual person in SFO or Seattle isn’t necessarily better, but if companies paid everyone Ohio wages, they would instantly lose like 70% of their talent pool, people who already live in those metros and have no interest in uprooting their lives to move somewhere cheaper. Their values isn’t higher because they live there, but they DO live there and that’s reality. And why not pay everyone those salaries? For the same reason jobs that have plenty of people willing and able to work them pay less than jobs with smaller candidate pools – because the employer wants to save money and has no incentive to pay more than they need to.

        Not making some moral argument for or against these practices, but that’s why those companies do it.

        1. Sloanicota*

          You’d just think over time they would weed out the HCOL employees and hire more LCOL employees. There must be a reason they feel the HCOL bring more value. Or maybe it’s like how companies pay women less but still generally prefer to promote men.

          1. I am Emily's failing memory*

            It’s because for a few decades now, urban centers have been drawing people to them looking for education and jobs and new experiences. Remote work has suddenly gotten more viable in more places thanks to the pandemic, but the demographic makeup of cities and small towns is still the result of that selection effect played out of many decades. As Roland says, it’s not that they’re more valuable because they’re in a HCOL area, it’s that the type of worker who they value – educated, broadly experienced, open to new experiences – have for decades been migrating to HCOL areas even when they’re born in a LCOL areas. When the company is seeking to hire workers, the talent pool skews towards urban HCOL areas, so it makes sense that the roster of those hired does, too.

            1. Corporate Lawyer*

              This. I work for a tech company with an almost entirely remote workforce, and the people with the tech skills and experience my company wants tend to be clustered in HCOL areas. My company certainly does hire in LCOL areas too, but at least for now – and this may change over time – we’re finding that the talent pool is often much larger and deeper in HCOL areas.

          2. Roland*

            A huge majority of people with the skills and talent to be good software engineers already live in HCOL areas. Plenty of them are not interested in moving. and large-scale demographic shifts take a long time, the past 3 years are nothing compared to the decades and centuries leading to where people already are.

            And tbh, when tech companies DO simply want to start hiring high quality programmers for cheaper they look overseas, not to other states. They open a new office in Poland or Ireland, not in LCOL US cities.

            1. Sloanicota*

              I’m surprised anywhere in Europe would be an easier market for employers to navigate than the US (I thought they had better contracts, insurance, PTO etc) – but I take your point about workers from, say, India or someplace similar.

    6. Rebecca*

      I live in a rural area. I keep getting contacted by recruiters who hope that I will accept low pay because the cost of living is low where I live anyway. Unfortunately, that deprives me of the flexibility to move to a larger city, which is what I want to do. It also makes me suspicious that they want to exploit me. It definitely seems unfair to me that they want me to do San Diego work for Trump Country prices.

      1. Sloanicota*

        Ooh interesting! But on the other hand I’m kind of glad that there’s a boom of interest in bringing jobs to rural communities, even if they should pay more than they do, since there’s long been a problem of “brain drain / youth flight” in the rural communities I’m familiar with. Young people who might have wanted to stay and grow in place can’t do it because the only jobs are at the prison or the road crew, so they take off for the big city, where they will struggle to afford housing and childcare. Plus, this demographic change is one reason we have young parents with no family support and seniors with no nearby assistance, so I’m cautiously hopeful.

      2. Anon for this*

        My coast-based company likes to hire ‘flyover state’ remote knowledge workers. So much so it is becoming a company joke. They are also hiring at rock bottom, think $12/hour when the local fast food place starts at $15/hour. They actively discourage discussion around pay and although they give annual raises because they start so low even long-term employees are in the bottom 10% of pay for their job.
        The answer, obviously, is to find another, better paying job or have side business. I hate job hunting and love my team and boss, but am seriously considering jumping ship.

    7. OyHiOh*

      My usual thought every time I see this issue come up: The US federal government has been paying based on location for decades. The difference between a high COL location pay and low COL location pay isn’t huge, like we’re seeing in some industries right now, but it is significant. And most people getting paid based on Cincinnati OH location probably live in Cincinnati, rather than scattered all over OH and surrounding states. But there is a model, that’s worked reasonably well for a lot of people and their employer, for a long time.

    8. Justin D*

      FWIW my employer (large name brand bank) seems to account for this. I’ve seen some rural areas assigned the same “score” as NYC and SF.

  10. Dawn*

    I just want to say that I love that you have now gone all-in adopting bananapants and that I was there to see it happen from feedback to implementation.

    1. Dawn*

      Also yes that lady is bananapants and you may want to preemptively block her elsewhere, and be more firm in shutting her down moving forward, LW2. She has, say it with me, precisely zero right to visibility of your profile(s) or background and at this point it is completely reasonable to shut her down hard if she suggests otherwise again.

      1. Hlao-roo*

        Look up the letter “my ex-boss threatened to contact my husband, his coworkers, and my father-in-law if I don’t return $48 of office supplies” from January 18, 2023 and read the comments section.

        The tl;dr is that Alison wrote that the ex-boss “appears to be batshit insane” in the answer, and some commenters pushed back that using language like “insane” and “crazy” is ableist, and suggested better wording like “bananapants,” which Alison has since incorporated into her answers.

        1. RagingADHD*

          Honest question: Going “bananas” has been a slang term for going “crazy” for a very long time. And as Threeve spotted, “bananapants” has a history as emphasis for “crazy,” rather than a substitute. So if everyone knows that “bananapants” or “bananacrackers” are euphemisms which equal “insane” or “crazy”, then how is it less ableist?

          Is it just less personal or hurtful because it sounds silly rather than serious, or because there isn’t a history of people using it as a pejorative in real life?

          Like I get how using person-first or correct terms in serious discussions is important. But if someone is expressing the sentiment, “Wow that person’s behavior is so outlandish that I think there is something wrong with their brain, ha ha ha!” does changing the term really do anything?

          1. Kit*

            The distinction is specifically because it doesn’t fall into the diagnostic term-to-slur pipeline, yes. Bananapants/bananacrackers and other phrases are designed to be colloquialisms that convey “this person’s behavior is irrational/upsetting/violates social, ethical, or moral norms” and do not conflate it with “this person isn’t neurotypical and that is Bad(TM).”

            Individuals who are neurodivergent may choose to embrace various and sundry terms for themselves, but applying them to other people is incredibly fraught and this shift recognizes that. It also helps reduce the stigmatization of those who do have something ‘wrong’ with their brain, but who are capable of controlling their behavior such that they aren’t causing coworkers to write into AAM. Reclamation of slurs is incredibly complex and individualized; choosing not to use words that are slurs in mixed company is basic manners.

            1. RagingADHD*

              I mean, point of order here, friend: neurodivergence is not a mental illness in the first place, and lots of neurotypical people struggle with mental illness.

              1. Kit*

                Fair point, I ought to know better than to post and try to hold a conversation at the same time – even if the conversation was about something as crucial as what to have for dinner! (Breakfast, because I am an adult and I can do that if I want to.)

                Both ND people and those NT people who have had to cope with mental illness can be impacted by this sort of language, which is one of the reasons to try and find alternatives that convey our disbelief at someone’s behavior being jerkish or irrational, without hurting some portion of the people who fall under the umbrella of those who have, in the past, been called “crazy” or “insane,” and had those labels used as an excuse to institutionalize them.

          2. Eyes Kiwami*

            It does not, but it gets people to stop complaining about word choice and pat themselves on the back for a few months until the euphemism becomes the slur and we repeat the cycle again. I’m sure in a month we will see comments like “that is bananapants, that person must be [mentally ill]”…

            1. Dawn*

              No, you wouldn’t see that, because implying that someone’s irrational behaviour must mean that they are mentally ill is, in fact, ableist, on multiple levels.

      2. Emmy Noether*

        There was a recent post (Jan. 18th, “my ex-boss threatened…”, I believe) that unleashed a discussion of terms like “insane” or “crazy”, and whether their use for very weird behavior associated it with mental illness and therefore stigmatized the latter.

        “Bananapants” was crowdsourced as a term that aptly expressed the concept without risking conflating it with mental illness!

    2. Sloanicota*

      Ha! I say bananapants (in part to avoid ableist language like “she’s crazy” or whatever) but I did wonder how many readers would pause, or think it looks really informal and weird, or whatever.

    3. Sitting Pretty*

      Haha yes! Some people also use bananacrackers but because I read this site and have been introduced to bananapants, my confused little brain somehow mixes up the two and now I find myself saying, out loud, “Bananapancakes.”

      Which manages to sound both wacky and yummy.

    4. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      Meanwhile, banana pants were all the rage when I was in college, and I owned a pair.

      1. AnonForThisComment*

        And my brain cannot separate those (they’re the mc hammer pants, right?) from banana hammock underwear. So I avoid saying it at all because I just know I’ll use the wrong one at an inappropriate moment!
        I’m a mental health provider and professor, so my language choices carry a lot of power. I am also sometimes utterly oblivious, and so I definitely try to cultivate a habit of using language that will be heard with positive intent, and sound okay even if taken out of context.

      2. Cmdrshprd*

        Are these like zipper pants that look like bananas? Each leg looks like one banana the peels up/down?

        Or are these pants made using a bunch of banana peels stitched together?

        1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

          It’s the first – wide around the hips, tapered at the waist and at the bottom.

    5. 8675309*

      But I think when she writes “bananapants,” the vast majority of people understand she means “batshit insane,” so while it may make people feel better nothing had fundamentally changed. She’s still describing people’s behavior as crazy, she’s just using coded language to do it.

      1. I have RBF*

        Do you have a better description for someone whose actions are so far from ordinary that their grasp of social norms is questionable? While it may not be “insane” or “crazy”, it is significantly aberrant and needs to be called out as such.

        The term “bananapants” is understood to mean “actions so far from ordinary that their grasp on social norms is questionable” or “significantly aberrant”. No judgement of their mental health status is included. For starters, it removes speculation on the cause of the disconnect, which is part of the reason to remove the ableist language. (IE it’s not “crazy” if it’s the way you were taught/raised, but it’s still not the norm.)

        1. MissElizaTudor*

          There are a lot of alternative words that are even further away from “crazy” than bananapants. It depends on the exact use of crazy, but in the context you’re describing, some potential alternatives are: bizarre, out there, wild, ridiculous, ludicrous, outrageous, weird, and wacky. Adding “very”, “extremely”, or other superlatives to these can emphasize the point even more, as can using the words in additionally descriptive sentences, if the individual words don’t feel right.

          To be clear, I don’t find bananapants bad. I think it’s a decent alternative. It’s a big improvement over just saying “insane” or “crazy”, and the fact that it was a change based on feedback about “crazy” being ableist is even better. There just definitely are a lot of ways to write that are further away from “crazy.”

          1. Dawn*

            I tend to lean towards defining (specifically) an action, rather than a person, as “irrational” a lot, because – and opinions may differ – I believe that takes the stigma and personal dynamic out of it entirely. We all do irrational things sometimes, that’s just part of being human.

  11. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

    OP5 (boss helping find a new job) – I suspect it may be empty words to make the boss feel better about the situation more than anything else. If she has contacts or other opportunities she could have come forward with them already. I think the most she’s going to be able to offer (and you should assume it will be forthcoming) is things like short notice time off for interviews. If there are any “resume improving” projects she could give OP that would also help concretely.

    I hope the company revisits its planning process after this incident. I can understand recent hires e.g. at FAANG companies) being let go with a wave of layoffs, but this sounds like a smaller and more individually impacting situation. Companies need to be more aware of the impact their actions have on employees, as they’ve now caused a short stint (assuming she finds something new soon) on OPs resume due to their own poor planning.

    Cynically I wonder if it was a bait and switch by the company. OP says she is still useful to them but that the work she’s doing isn’t what she wants to be doing – so the work she is doing still exists. Did the company knowingly hire OP and then de facto give her a different job – worth thinking about OP. If it seems to ring true then that might change your view of the company and the boss (though the boss seems to feel had about it).

    1. MsM*

      I mean, I wouldn’t proactively try to push a job search on an employee I liked but recognized was being underutilized to leave unless they indicated that was something they wanted. Honestly acknowledge the underutilization and that I didn’t see it getting better any time soon, sure, or even let them know I’d happily help if they wanted to start looking, but I wouldn’t go pressuring them to talk to other people.

    2. OP5*

      hello! thank you for your input! to clarify, I am not a new hire, I’ve been with the company for several years. I only started working under my current boss seven months ago.

  12. Rachel*

    Your mileage may vary, but I was able to head off a similarly borderline obsessive LinkedIn situation by sending a message along the lines of, “hope you are well, just wanted to make sure you are aware that I get a notification every single time you visit my profile, not just the first time! My phone has been lighting up with your name a lot!”

    They were dreadfully embarrassed and it stopped. Of course, this person is probably beyond embarrassment given the cringey confrontation, but in a slightly less extreme version of this situation it helped.

    1. JSPA*

      I like this, and it could even be spun as a tech issue. “I pay for X status on linked in, so I get notifications for every visit. But because the program can settle on one user’s profile as a landing page for another user, I obviously block people who visit repeatedly. That’s never been a problem before, as there is no legitimate work related reason to repeatedly check someone’s linked in page, and most people quickly learn to ignore the clickbait-y linked in messages that might prompt them to do so.”

      This says, “you’re using it wrong, but that’s probably because you’re new to this. It’s bothersome in a general way that’s not necessarily specific to you. I deal with the bother in a way that’s not specific to you. You still have a chance to pull back and not make this weird.”

      1. EPLawyer*

        Good grief, no. Way too wordy and also you are using it wrong is kinda condescending.

        This person is already aware that LW knows they visit a lot and is not thrilled with it. So notifying them will not change anything. LW needs to treat this like any other workplace issue by explaining to her boss, the new hire and I talked, I gave her the information she wanted, its not enough, she is not happy I blocked her, and now others are checking my profile regularly. Nothing has changed I am not job hunting. I don’t know what is going on but I am letting you know just for future reference.

        1. Spencer Hastings*

          Agreed. Also, I’ve read the sentence “ But because the program can settle on one user’s profile as a landing page for another user, I obviously block people who visit repeatedly” several times now and can’t read it as anything other than a non-sequitur so far.

          1. Nina*

            But because the program can settle on one user’s profile as a landing page for another user, I am charitably assuming that LinkedIn has decided that their personal LinkedIn landing page is going to be my profile page and to save them the annoyance of always having to navigate around my profile page and me the annoyance of constant notifications about people viewing my profile when all they wanted was to get to the LI homepage I obviously block people who visit repeatedly

            like it’s wordy but I understood where they were going with it.

  13. Lost academic*

    I don’t disagree with Allison’s response to LW2 but I think the LW also overreacted. They’re paying an awful lot of attention to having their profile viewed (in my experience without paying for the service you don’t get that many notifications about views and they aren’t typically specific) and blocking someone over it that they’d just hired was too much. It’s not personal social media, it’s professional and that step was a mistake. The right thing to do would have just been to ignore it completely, which they can still do.

    1. Happy meal with extra happy*

      No, we’re not going down this rabbit hole of making it professionally unacceptable to block people on social media, including LinkedIn.

    2. Just Another Zebra*

      I disagree. LinkedIn is, in fact, social media, even if it is typically used for professional settings. People are allowed to moderate their socials in any way that is comfortable to them. Blocking the new hire should have been a clear message. Instead, NH went bananapants… thus proving LW2 did the right thing. There’s something going on with NH.

      1. EPLawyer*

        Yes. The ONLY way new hire would know she was blocked is IF SHE KEPT LOOKING AT THE PROFILE. Which instead of going, oh they blocked me, she threw a fit and demanded a 1:1 to discuss it. Then DEMANDED information from LW. Now somehow others are looking up LWs profile too.

        This is NOT NORMAL. Normal would be realizing they were blocked, realizing they crossed a line and STOPPED THE BEHAVIOR. Not complaining about it.

        LW has every right to block the new hire. LW does not have to put up with being uncomfortable because new hire is a boundary stomper.

    3. bighairnoheart*

      You know, I disagree. Blocking someone who’s annoying you online isn’t “too much.” It’s an incredibly low-key way to exert a boundary. It’s your personal social media page–you always get to decide what level of privacy you want (within the bounds of what the site provides, of course). The block button is there for a reason.

  14. Ex-prof*

    LW1– You say that you wouldn’t have your job without your dad. May I beg leave to doubt that? From your description, you were hired on your own merits after someone other than your dad saw your work and liked it. If you’re good, you’re good; own it.

    LW2– Ugh, that’s creepy. My first thought was that her browser was autofilling your page when she went to LinkedIn, but then she went and confronted you… no.

    1. I should really pick a name*

      If their dad hadn’t gotten them the initial job as a legal assistant, the other attorney wouldn’t have seen their work, so yes, their dad was a factor AND they’re good at their job. These are not mutually exclusive.

      1. Boof*

        They just seem a little down on themselves; they did work good enough that it got noticed and hired for more things. That didn’t sound like a foregone conclusion by the letter; we can’t control who our parents are and further i think it’s ok to take the gift that is extra knowledge and help when available. Lw isn’t holding someone else down by taking the boost up.

        1. I should really pick a name*

          I think it’s good that the LW acknowledges that they DID get a leg up. There are people don’t appreciate that they had advantages that others didn’t.

        2. bamcheeks*

          Lw isn’t holding someone else down by taking the boost up

          I think it’s very hard to say this for sure! Lots of people without connections are kept out of influential industries and roles because of this kind of networking. Yes it happens all the time; no LW is not the only one; no it doesn’t mean LW should constantly bea tthemselves up; but it probably is the case that getting this opportunity because of her parent’s job meant it didn’t go to someone else without family connections.

          1. EPLawyer*

            So no one should take a job because it should go so someone else. At least LW 1 acknowledges her dad got her started. But now she can stand on her own abilities and wants to. That’s a good thing.

            1. bamcheeks*

              Right, I think LW sounds very upfront and honest about the situation, both about having got the initial opportunity through her family and then the actual job because she impressed someone with her work. She doesn’t sound to me like she needs any reassurance! It’s the fact that there are people going, “don’t say that about yourself! that’s not nepotism! I’m sure you’re really good at what you do!” that I find fascinating. LW doesn’t seem to have an issue recognising how the system worked for her– but that’s too much honesty for lots of people reading?

    2. OrdinaryJoe*

      My first thought was the autofill /accidently bookmark to the profile so that the person wasn’t really looking as much as using a weird link. Too bad she didn’t think of that excuse and out’ed herself as just weird LOL

    3. Ed123*

      Nepotism and hiring for merit are not mutually exclusive. There are absolutely fantastic professionals that are nepo babies. Nepotism is not the same as hiring someone who is workshy without qualification. Some might even compare nepotism with networking.

      1. pandop*

        Also, it’s not very long ago that it was absolutely the expectation that you would follow in your parents’ footsteps/go into the family firm/etc

        Now it is almost seen as strange to have the same career interests as your parents, as it was to have different ones then.

  15. I should really pick a name*

    I think LW#2 should talk to their boss. I’d want to know if someone on my team was being weirdly aggressive.

  16. Jeepers*

    What’s with all the people in this thread saying it’s not creepy to look at someone’s LinkedIn page all the time because it’s public? It’s definitely creepy and please don’t undermine people when they say something makes them uncomfortable. We have that feeling for a reason and it’s to protect us from harm.

    Even if social media is public it’s still creepy to look at it all the time. If I walk the same route to the train every day at the same time that’s not an open invitation for someone to follow me. If I order from the same restaurant every Friday night that’s not an invitation for someone to park themselves at the bar and stare at me. Just because you’re doing something in “public” doesn’t mean it’s open season for the creeps.

    1. ecnaseener*

      Ok, but a LinkedIn profile is not at all equivalent to your actual physical body traveling in public. You have complete control over your LinkedIn profile and fill it exclusively with information you want to make publicly available. That is the purpose of it.

      1. metadata minion*

        Just because something is publicly viewable doesn’t make it not creepy for someone to view it unusually frequently.

        I’m not really on LinkedIn, so maybe things have changed since I last used it, but are people’s LinkedIn pages something they usually update frequently? If the LW is posting stuff weekly, it makes sense that someone might check back often to see the new content. But the employee here is framing it as not knowing the LW’s background. Surely that’s not going to significantly change. Once you’ve looked at someone’s resume/history/whatever, why would you go back to look at it every week?

      2. CheeryO*

        It’s more the implication. If someone is viewing my profile weirdly often, it feels reasonable to assume that the obsession might carry over into real life and stalking, etc.

      3. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

        “You have complete control over your LinkedIn profile and fill it exclusively with information you want to make publicly available. That is the purpose of it.”

        And that includes blocking certain people from looking at it, no?

        1. ecnaseener*

          Of course! That’s what makes it so different from being leered at in person – you have all the power to say “ah, no thanks, goodbye”

    2. Onward*

      +1 Totally agree. So often in the comments (not just here), I feel like we see people use the “well there aren’t any clear rules/it’s not illegal/etc. etc.” as a reason why someone shouldn’t feel creeped out or why behavior isn’t appropriate. Yet, just because someone CAN do something, doesn’t mean they SHOULD.

      1. Allonge*

        Everyone has the right to be creeped out by a fluffy bunny rabbit if they so choose.

        It’s good, however, to get once in a while called out on being surprised that people look at what you put out there on the intranet (voluntarily, even). If LinkedIn did not send notifications you would have no idea and be perfectly happy. Just the fact of looking at someone’s profile is really close to harmless; especially as blocking functions help with the worst of it.

        Now, going bonkers for being blocked? That is bad.

        1. Katara's side braids*

          People have the right to their own preferences about how, and how often, their publicly available information is viewed. If resources (like blocking, and page view notifications) exist to help make those preferences reality, it’s not an overreaction to use them. In fact, the ability to see who looks at your profile, and how often, can be a factor in deciding whether to make a profile in the first place/what information to add to it. I’m confused as to how any of this warrants “calling out.”

          1. Allonge*

            I think we are talking about two different things.

            People have a right to manage information about themselves online, using all the tools at their disposal. Everyone, OP included, has a right to decide what they publish, where, how often, and to use all the blocking/security features available on that platform. OP did nothing wrong here, just to be clear.

            On the other hand – finding it creepy that someone (m0re than once) looks up the information you freely published is for me strange because I have no idea how it causes any harm. They checked last week where I went to college. They check this week and info is the same. I am not worse off. People are welcome to check once an hour if they so desire. This is weird, but I find it’s worth calling out that it causes zero harm to me or anyone else.

            But! We find different things creepy and that is ok. So the other thing that is good to have a reminder of is that you can a.block b.change notification preferences and c.change the content you publish any time, all of whihc can solve a lot of the issues.

            And of course after this you still may need to take action against the real weirdos, like OP’s new coworker, who cause actual harm. But – totally different thing, for me.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              I think the reason it feels creepy to a lot of people is that it feels obsessive, and you don’t want to feel that a coworker is obsessing over your unchanging LinkedIn page.

              1. Davis*

                I feel like LinkedIn is who messed up here. They should just stop telling users who viewed their profile. Other social media sites don’t do that.

            2. Katara's side braids*

              But plenty of things that cause no harm can still be creepy. I think we just disagree on that being the line. To steal someone else’s example, it’s the difference between someone “liking” one of your facebook posts versus going through your profile and “liking” everything. Harmful? No. Creepy? Many would say yes, myself among them.

              In general, many (if not most) people are fine being seen (which is why we post online in the first place – to show up on someone’s feed) but don’t like the feeling of being actively, intentionally *watched*, especially for no discernible reason. Most of us in that situation would characterize the “watcher” as creepy, although our particular threshold for when someone goes from “seeing” to “watching” may be different. But there is kind of an unspoken social contract that acknowledges “watching” behavior as eyebrow-raising, maybe even ethically dubious – think about how often we describe our *own* behavior as “facebook stalking”, “instagram stalking,” “creeping,” for actions as simple as navigating to someone’s profile from the main feed. Or how most of us want to fling ourselves into the sun after liking a crush’s post from 2017. It’s not that we don’t do it, but we acknowledge that the other person wouldn’t be entirely wrong to think of us as creepy if they found out.

              All of which to say: I’m not saying you’re wrong for not personally finding this creepy, but it’s not as simple as harm/no harm. And as others have said, we also can’t say for sure whether someone intends to do harm with our professional information (challenging credentials, etc), but viewing the information with near-obsessive frequency certainly makes it more likely.

              1. Allonge*

                Thank you for the explanation. I will stop commenting here because this level of engagement with social media is totally foreign to me, which in turn probably has an impact on how creepy or not I find people reading it.

    3. Peanut Hamper*

      I agree. I think it’s different if it’s something like Twitter or Instagram where people post something new on a regular basis. Then I would expect them to look every day. (But I would also hope that my coworkers are not following me on those platforms.)

      But a lot of people just use LinkedIn to find a job, so they basically post their resume and that’s it. (The only people I see regularly posting are either trying to promote their business or are influencer wannabes.) So yeah, I’m going to chime in on the “this is definitely weird” side of it. And that’s before the aggressive outburst during the 1:1 that was requested by the new hire (which is itself unusual, I think–that’s just not something a new hire should do).

      I mean, my house is public. It’s one thing to drive by it once and say “Oh, that’s where Peanut lives.” But it’s another thing entirely to drive by it on a regular basis for no other reason than to drive by and look at it.

      I would love an update from LW to let us know how long this new employee lasts. I don’t think they are going to last long if they continue to think this is a normal thing.

      1. Sasha*

        This is a really good analogy. I’d have no issues with my coworkers walking past my house (I’m sure some of them do, I live near my work).

        I would be very creeped out if one of them brought a deckchair and sat opposite my house all day staring at it. Even if I had a lovely house and it was a great day for a picnic, and whatever other justifications they might have for doing it, it is creepy. Whether I was in or not wouldn’t affect how weird and creepy that was.

    4. Office Cheetos*

      Hard agree. I have someone who checks my LinkedIn page frequently and I left the company five years ago. If you want to see how I’m doing, send me a message. But just looking at it weekly/bi monthly is weird to me.

      1. Allonge*

        Ok but weird is not the same as creepy / harmful (and also is in the eye of the beholder).

        If someone was just checking my LinkedIn that often, I for one would think the person has no life and is definitely weird. (Aside – presumably there are people out there who would find me weird for reading fanfiction and checking for updates on my favourite ones.)

        As I am in full control of what is on my LinkedIn page there is precisely zero harm in this for me. What I put out there is on me to manage, as well as what notifications I get from LinkedIn.

        Now everything that came after – that is not just weird but bad and actually harmful.

        1. bighairnoheart*

          Well…you’re right. You are in full control of your LinkedIn page, including the ability to block someone who’s being annoying/weird/creepy/whatever word best fits the situation here!

          If you don’t want to block people on LinkedIn, that’s fine. But it’s kind of weird to look at it through the lense of OP just not managing the situation the correct way. The block feature is there for a reason, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with using it.

          1. Allonge*

            Just in case this was not clear – I have zero issues with OP blocking this person. Zero, nothing, really. OP did nothing wrong – actually they managed the situation really well, using one of the ways that LinkedIn offers to stop something that was annoying them.

            This thread however started with someone saying that looking at a public page on a website is by itself creepy. There I still disagree. If someone did not get notifications from LinkedIn they would have no idea, and accessing the same, public info more than once is really normal.

            And just in case this needs to be said: everything that new coworker did upon finding out they were blocked is off the charts inappropriate.

            1. bighairnoheart*

              Ah, gotcha! Yeah, agree with you then. LinkedIn is so weird, because it’s the only major social media site I’m aware of that notifies users when others are looking at their page. So on any other site, I could view someone’s profile every couple of days without them ever knowing (it may or may not be considered “creepy” on a theoretical level but if they person I’m looking at doesn’t know, they’re not going to be able to be creeped out by it). LinkedIn though, ugh I just hate that setting, and I think it’s the default? Ick.

    5. OlympiasEpiriot*

      I’d agree that it is kinda creepy, but, its purpose is marketing and I don’t block anyone on it.

      I would be more inclined to speak to the person or send them a dm asking “is there something I can help you with? You keep checking my profile. Not much has changed recently.”

      No idea if that would work with this dingbat. That confrontation was extremely odd. But, seeing how often they check LW2’s profile definitely tells the LW something about them.

  17. Susannah*

    LinkedIn stalk-ee… this behavior is so bizarre. But the fact that other co-workers are now looking at your profile makes me suspect new co-worker is somehow challenging your credentials – maybe suggesting to your co-workers that you are making up parts of your resume. I mean – why else would they suddenly be looking? It’s not as if a new employee would have the influence to get co-workers to wonder about your background, all of a sudden, with no impetus.

    I hope I’m wrong, but this new employee sounds problematic.

    1. ecnaseener*

      I honestly think it was as simple as “hey I can’t see LW’s profile anymore, can you see it?” Or even “I think LW blocked me on LinkedIn” would make me curious enough to look – not because I was expecting to find something nefarious, just because it’s such a weird situation.

  18. Dinwar*

    #4 happened to me, and it ended up in my favor. I moved from CA (super high cost of living) to AL (much lower cost of living), took a cost-of-living pay cut, and ended up in a far better financial position. The cost of living reduction was less than the change in cost of living. In CA I was spending a huge chunk of my paycheck to live in a crappy apartment next to drug dealers; in AL I was being paid much less, but a much smaller portion of my paycheck is spent on a mortgage in a nice part of town.

    Absolute dollars and cents aren’t the only consideration. A dollar simply buys more in some parts of the country than in others (that’s what “lower cost of living” means), a fact that has been known for at least several hundred years, and it makes no sense to force companies to deny this fact. Attempts to do so will inevitably backfire. Companies will use the wages in the lowest-paying state they operate in to set wages for everyone, screwing over those who live in higher cost-of-living areas. Even if we mandate they use some sort of average it’ll screw over those living in higher cost-of-living areas.

  19. WellRed*

    OP 1, so you got a leg. It’s not a crime and it happens all the time in some circles. Please, please, stop thinking of yourself as a “nepotism baby” or any baby at all. *cringe

      1. Office Cheetos*

        I just have a picture of someone carrying around a leg and it’s probably the highlight of my day.

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          That has happened to me and it was hilarious. (Random lady walking down the street on two legs, carrying a third that was either a mannequin leg or a prosthetic leg over her shoulder.)

    1. The Person from the Resume*

      I know that the term “nepotism baby” just exploded out of the blue recently and is mow being covered in the media. However I also cringed and thought “don’t call yourself a ‘baby’; you’re an adult employed in a professional job.”

      1. MCMonkeyBean*

        Well that’s specifically relevant to their question in this case–they are worried that being so frequently referred to as someone’s child could make them come across as childish.

        1. Sambal*

          There was a big Vulture article that came out a few months ago that used the term “nepo[tism] baby” to call out those in Hollywood who are at least partially successful due to their parents’ connections. It’s been popular phrase for younger folks, who feel economically disadvantaged and disgruntled. Most of us feel behind in life even though we followed the path we were told would lead to success. Calling out and acknowledging that you’re a nepotism baby is actually showing fantastic self-awareness, even through the phrase itself might been a little cringey to those who aren’t in those conversations.

  20. Ms. Coffee*

    Sometimes LinkedIn will randomly send out notifications to check someone’s profile or in recognition of a work anniversary or birthday. So that*might* explain a sudden uptick in traffic to OP’s page from other colleagues.

    However, it’s super weird for the new hire to be so obsessed with OP’s LinkedIn profile. It’s not typically used like Facebook or other social networks where people regularly update so it’s not that likely you’ll see new information by checking it every day. I feel like this person would be stalking all of OP’s social media if they had access to it. Like nonstop. Very odd.

    1. Lusara*

      Up until her bat crazy reaction to being blocked, I didn’t see it as being obsessive. She was looking at her new boss’ profile once or twice a week. If she was looking at it every day then I’d agree. And this was all before she started the job. If it was after she started, then I agree it would be much weirder.

      1. EPLawyer*

        Why would you even check once or twice a week? As others noted, its LinkedIn, not a lot changes. You don’t need to check it even weekly.

        1. Allonge*

          Because you don’t remember and it would be creepier to save the information in your files? Because you have a nervous habit? And just looking at the page is harmless, exactly if / because the info does not change.

          1. EPLawyer*

            But LW also has the right to be creeped out by it and to block. Because SOMEONE ELSE might want to do it for whatever reason does not mean LW has to allow it.

            1. Just Another Zebra*

              I think this a big part of it for me. LW2 isn’t the new hire’s boss, or manager, or even really senior to her. She’s lateral (as far as I can read). I can’t imagine being interested to this degree in knowing the work history of a coworker on the same level as me.

              1. I have RBF*

                Yeah, I don’t haunt the LinkedIn pages of my coworkers. I only visit them when they’ve left, I’ve left, or there are impending layoffs.

                I don’t even spend much time on LI unless I’m job searching. They seem to want to drive “engagement” from the sheer amount of email they send me, but I filter it to its own folder and mostly ignore it.

  21. L.H. Puttgrass*

    As a lawyer who also has a lawyer father who was fairly well-known and very well-respected in his niche field, I’d suggest that LW1’s best bet is just to accept being known as “LW1’s dad’s kid”—and maybe even try to see it as a good thing and embrace it. If your father is liked and respected, then introducing you as his kid not only introduces the relationship (important in law) but also implies that since dad is smart/liked/respected, you’re probably smart/likeable/respect-worthy yourself. And as you get older, that connection to your respected and liked dad might be a source of pride. I know mine with my dad is.

    But if you really want to stand on your own, the only way to do it IMO would be to establish yourself professionally as an equal—which probably means becoming a lawyer and working really hard until you’ve built your own reputation independent of your dad. I’m sorry to say that as long as you’re a paralegal working for your dad’s firm, you’re always going to be Dad’s Kid, even though you got that job by being legitimately good at it. And even if you do become a lawyer and build your own reputation, you’re probably still going to be introduced as Dad’s Kid sometimes. The only way to avoid that is to move somewhere where people don’t know dad.

    1. Lawyer's kid*

      I just wrote a similar response. Yay for great lawyers and their great kids! Definitely a source of pride for me and my siblings.

    2. Doctor who is the child of a doctor*

      I went into the same field of medicine as one of my parents. The way I knew I’d arrived with my own reputation was when I first heard my mom being identified by her relationship to me. It had been the opposite way for years.

  22. alienor*

    #2 – “Being able to see your background” makes no sense. She’s already seen LW’s background multiple times. Unless LW has a time machine, nothing about their background is going to change, and since they already have a job that they got on those credentials, they’re not going to suddenly start claiming that they went to Harvard in order to get a raise (and if they did, the company knows what was in their original application and could check). I do occasionally visit someone’s profile more than once because I need to quickly check their title for an official communication, and what’s in the company email system isn’t always up to date, but apart from that there’s really no reason.

    #4 – A previous company I worked for had offices in two states: State A, which has a notoriously high cost of living pretty much everywhere, and State B, which has a lower cost of living except for its largest city, which rivals if not surpasses State A’s COL. I live in the high-COL city in State B, so I explained that I would need to get paid at the State A rate in order to afford rent (it was a fully remote job and I wasn’t planning to relocate) and they said okay. I don’t think there was anyone else with my exact job title, but there were definitely other people at the same pay grade, so it can be different not just between states, but between different parts of the same state.

  23. Lusara*

    LW2, why do you care that she was checking your LinkedIn once or twice a week? Yes, she is obviously crazy after the way she reacted when you blocked her. I’m not disputing that. At the same time, your reaction to her looking at your profile is a bit over the top, IMO. Why was it so upsetting to you that she kept checking your profile in the weeks leading up to her starting the job?

    I’m not trying to be snarky or argumentative, I’m genuinely curious.

    1. The Person from the Resume*

      I thought it was odd that the LW looked at those emails from linked and paid attention to them. I unsubscribed to those spam emails from LinkedIn. The purpose of those emails is to get you to log into LinkedIn.

      Yes, she her reaction was odder than yours for sure, but I don’t understand why you couldn’t just ignore it as quirk and felt the need to block her.

      1. MsM*

        But why is it any more logical for OP to dismiss any possibility of a threat than to be concerned when they know nothing about this person other than that they’ve developed this weird fixation on OP’s profile?

    2. Happy meal with extra happy*

      Different people have different comfort levels when it comes to social media, so you may not ever fully understand why it was upsetting, but that’s okay. However, to add, it wasn’t just the weekly views before getting hired, but combining them with weekly views after getting hired, and not even working together directly? That’s odd. That’s a valid reason to block someone (because, honestly, one doesn’t need any reason to block someone on social media).

    3. Emmy Noether*

      I’m not the LW, and I don’t pay LinkedIn to have that detail of visitor info, but if I knew someone went on my profile that often, I’d also be weirded out.

      Reason: it feels akin to someone staring at me in public. It’s unusual behavior. Normally, people will look once, maybe twice. And that makes one wonder: WHY would someone look at it so often? Are they expecting my alma mater to have changed from what it was last week? Are they expecting me to get fired? Do I have ketchup on my chin? WHY are they staring?!

      Unusual behavior from other people that we feel may be connected to us, or targeting us, feels creepy, that’s quite normal.

      1. Antilles*

        Are they expecting my alma mater to have changed from what it was last week?
        This is the part that baffles me. OP says they don’t use LinkedIn except for occasional job searching, so like…literally nothing is going to be different from week to week. By the third or fourth time you checked my LinkedIn, I’d expect anybody with a reasonably decent memory to already have sufficient information about my background – and by the sixth or seventh time, you could probably write the thing near-verbatim off your head.

    4. Onward*

      I would find weekly (and sometimes multiple weekly) views of my LinkedIn profile strange. It seems that OP did not find the views leading up to starting the job as odd as the increased interaction with her page even after she had started the job, even though she did not work with OP directly. The LinkedIn profile does not change that often (and especially not if someone is not acting like some kind of LinkedIn influencer or something) that someone would need to view it on a weekly basis. Why would this person feel the need to look at OP’s profile that often?

      Reasonable minds can differ on whether they would be creeped out by this behavior, but it is not up to anyone to determine what should be comfortable for another person. OP was fully within her right to block this person when she became uncomfortable. I feel like this discomforted was especially justified, though, considering this coworker personally, and rather aggressively, confronted her after the fact for blocking her.

      1. Environmental Compliance*


        Also, this person is a new hire. This person could reasonably be expected to be on their Best Behavior coming into a new place of work…. and their best behavior apparently includes an oddly high amount of checking out a coworker (not a boss!) on LinkedIn, and then *aggressively confront* the LW after being blocked because LW felt uncomfortable. Because “they need to see the LW’s background”.

    5. EPLawyer*

      Actually LW said that PRIOR to getting the job, they had no problem with the looking at the profile. Normal behavior to see what kind of people work there, find contacts, etc. It was that it continued AFTER the new hire got the job that weirded her out. Why would that happen?

      Then the confrontation made it even weirder. People are allowed to be weirded out and to establish boundaries.

      1. September*

        Aren’t some people more active on that site than others, and don’t they post things like industry news or whatever that they think is interesting? I was thinking that the new hire is probably just on the site a lot and goes through her list of people regularly to see if there’s anything new. Yes, it’s kind of obsessive, but social media does that to people.

        1. Roland*

          That’s clearly not what she was doing though, based on the confrontation. And even before that, it would be extremely weird to click on everyone multiple times a week instead of looking at your feed!

          We often tell people and especially women to listen to the part of them that’s uncomfortable and that they don’t have to disprove every single potential excuse to be “allowed” to be bothered. Why are we not affording OP the same grace?

    6. bighairnoheart*

      Most people are really good at picking up on creepy signals that others are sending them. It’s that instinct that keeps us safe. Yeah, sometimes it misfires, but in this case, with the coworker’s bananapants reaction to being blocked, it clearly was firing on all cylinders. I suspect OP might have been picking up weird vibes from the coworker even before all this, so that combined with the constant profile checks were enough to warrant the block (though, I personally see no problem with blocking someone on social media if their behavior annoys you, even if nothing else about them gives off creepy vibes).

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Most people are really good at picking up on creepy signals that others are sending them … Yeah, sometimes it misfires, but in this case, with the coworker’s bananapants reaction to being blocked, it clearly was firing on all cylinders.


      2. merida*

        Yes! When I started reading OP2’s letter I thought similar to Lusara – eh, why care if someone is looking at your LinkedIn profile? Maybe it’s someone who doesn’t get LinkedIn etiquette, or doesn’t realize that people get notified of profile views? Though of course we still all have the right to block anyone we want to.

        But everything that happens after this person was blocked gives me really weird, cringey, creepy vibes too. Her reasoning for checking LinkedIn repeatedly sounds very entitled, vindictive, and personal… Her rationale really didn’t sound like someone who is well-adjusted or who knows how the world works. Please keep your guard up around this person, OP.

    7. Dr. Rebecca*

      I don’t have linkedin, because it’s stalker central and the platform refuses to do anything about it, but some people leave notifications on for one reason and block others for another. For example, being pinged that an exec at a place you applied is viewing your profile: good info to have. Being pinged repeatedly by bananapants newbie: annoying af, and worth a block.

    8. fhqwhgads*

      I think based on the coworker’s reaction, that sort of proves OP2’s reaction wasn’t over the top? Basically, from what the coworker was doing, OP2 got a bad vibe about said coworker. Said coworker then took additional action that confirmed said bad vibe.

    9. Antilles*

      To me, the problem is just how commonly the colleague is doing this. What’s the reason for checking someone’s LinkedIn on a weekly basis?
      Checking up once or twice is totally reasonable.
      Maybe you want to understand a bit more about a colleague and see if there’s a shared connection. Maybe you have a new project and want to quickly check if anybody in the group has a background in Llamas so you’re using LinkedIn as a very quick screening tool. Maybe you went to a conference and someone said they knew me. Etc.
      But multiple times per week? OP explicitly says they aren’t updating their profile on any sort of regular basis. Not really sure what reasonable non-creepy explanation there is there.

  24. I GOTS TO KNOW!*

    #4 – At my husband’s last job, he had his pay lowered because of this and I won’t lie – we were furious. We bought a house in the neighboring county from where we lived when he started. When the address changed processed, they dropped his pay by $1 an hour. For moving to the next county. Not like we moved from Los Angeles to rural Kentucky. We moved 40 min away. And we had no recourse.

    That isn’t to say I’m opposed to cost-of-living impacting pay (in theory). I just think most companies do it very poorly and I haven’t seen a policy that I think is super strong (yet). And “we’ll only pay a living wage if we’re forced to by law” – which is how it comes off when it is based on the minimum wage being higher in a different state – doesn’t strike me as a company that actually cares about their employees.

    1. Unfettered scientist*

      I totally agree there should be transparency like maybe a map you can look at or a database you can type an address in to see how moving would affect your pay. Did your husband ask before you moved what would happen?

      Just on the $1/hr difference for 40 minutes. I actually do think the cost of living can vary by that amount or even more if you’re around a city. Not saying this was the case with you, but if I moved 40 minutes out I could afford a house…where I am currently? No chance!

      1. Dinwar*

        “I totally agree there should be transparency like maybe a map you can look at or a database you can type an address in to see how moving would affect your pay.”

        GSA.gov provides government per diem rates (lodging and food for folks who travel for work), and can give you a pretty good idea of cost of living. It’s searchable by city or zip code.

        For example, in Santa Ana California it’s $182/night for lodging and $74/day for food. Toledo Ohio has rates of $98/night for lodging and $59/night for food. It’s not perfect, but you can get a rough idea of cost of living this way.

        1. cabbagepants*

          Ehhhh I think this is good for costs BESIDES the cost of a house, but that is many family’s largest expense and this a significant weakness of that method.

          1. Dinwar*

            Agreed. Plus there’s issues of traffic. Having lived in both, Toledo Ohio has MUCH less traffic than Santa Ana, which means time and money saved.

            This has more value as a rough comparison between places than as a way to calculate exact costs.

      2. Roland*

        Right, plus if there is ANY kind of pay differential, there’s gonna be some kind of border where one side of it pays X and another pays Y. You could go as broad as “US pays X, Canada pays Y” and people from Blaine WA could still be peeved that those Canadians 40 minutes north are making more money even those the CoL is similar. Sounds like the company maybe messed up by not explain pay differences up front but just because it was only one county is not actually a problem imo.

      3. I GOTS TO KNOW!*

        He wasn’t told his pay was based on COL at all. We didn’t know until the pay change happened.

        That company was terrible in many ways, which is why he no longer works there.

        And both counties are suburbs of the same city.

  25. yala*

    LW1, tbh, that doesn’t sound so much like a “nepotism baby” to me. Like, an advantage, a privilege, an opportunity that was present early on because of who your father is. But if your work hadn’t been good, would you still be there? Would another attorney have hired you?
    To me, in my area, an introduction that includes a parent or relative the other person may know sounds completely normal. We’re a bit hobbit-like in this area, so it’s all “Oh yeah, so and so, Billy and Joan’s kid’s brother in law…”

    That said, doesn’t matter. If you don’t want to be introduced that way, then you have every right to ask not to be.

    1. HannahS*

      Nepotism doesn’t necessarily mean that that you’re kept on despite being incompetent. This OP did benefit from nepotism–she got her initial job, which led to her current position, because of her dad. That’s literally what nepotism is. Is she competent at her job? Obviously. So is Sophia Coppola. It doesn’t mean she didn’t benefit from nepotism. She doesn’t need to feel guilty about it and self-flagellate forever; nepotism isn’t a crime, and if she doesn’t want to be introduced as “Lawyer Barnes’ daughter” that’s fair and reasonable.

      The point of thinking about nepotism and privilege isn’t to make individual people feel guilty, it’s to get everyone to reflect on who gets opportunities and who doesn’t, and why, and how that contributes to inequality. That’s it.

      1. Anon and On*

        Just thinking about it and reflecting on it is enough? It’s not. It is correct to say the point is not to make individuals feel guilty. But the point really is for everybody to reflect and figure out how to end nepotism so that nobody can benefit from it in the future, keeping everybody on fair ground.

        1. MCMonkeyBean*

          Uh I don’t think ending nepotism across the board is a common goal. I’ve literally never heard anyone indicate they wanted to do that before. People wanting to provide opportunities for their kids is literally never not going to be a thing…

        2. yala*

          I don’t think “ending nepotism” entirely is plausible, because nepotism isn’t just “daddy gave junior a job.” Hannah mentioned Sophia Coppola, and that’s a good example. Maybe (probably) someone gave her a job specifically because of her father, and that’s a direct thing you could try to control for. But she also just grew up around a lot of huge names in Hollywood in front of and behind the camera, having them as people she’d just known her whole life. They can’t unknow her. That increased access would give increased familiarity, and early experience with movie making that most people could never hope to have. That’s all an advantage you can’t control for.

          If I’d decided to be a lawyer (*shudder*) I would’ve had a huge advantage because I grew up knowing lawyers and judges in my area. I’ve been to parties at their houses, chatted with them at restaurants, etc. There’s no real way to control for that.

          I think the goal is for people to be aware of the nepotism and other unearned advantages that have played a role in their life, because otherwise you get folks who think “It’s easy” and “Anyone can do it” and “Other folks must just be lazy or make bad choices” etc (and then they vote as if that were true). And because being aware of it should make people make the effort to look beyond their circle.

          I dunno, I’m saying it all pretty wrong.

      2. Sloanicota*

        The nepo conversation is interesting to me. On one hand, many children take after their parents, so it’s very possible that the child of two engineers would be interested/have aptitude in engineering, and the child of two actors or singers might well be a good and passionate actor or singer, without any other interference. Then, you add the double whammy of having an inside track on how the field works – knowing which degrees are good, having contacts in early internships etc – and early exposure to it. Lots of kids first imagine being teachers because that’s one of the careers to which they have the most exposure, and second most often is probably whatever their parents do. I don’t see how anything we can / should do as a society would seriously change this trajectory, nor would I even see how it would be fair – other than just providing more training opportunities / exposure to school children or something.

        1. Funny*

          What we can do is what is generally done, which is to eliminate actual nepotism, i.e., working directly for your parent in a role that was not competitively hired but rather handed directly to the employee by their parent.

          LW working for another firm in the legal field, using her familiarity with how it works because of information she got from her father, would not be nepotism.

          1. yala*

            True, but if the first job she gets is because the person who hired her is familiar with her father/knew her/etc, that kind of is.

      3. yala*

        I think my understanding was that there was a difference in having benefited from nepotism (ie: OP, Sophia Coppola), and being a nepotism baby, which to me means more like someone who isn’t skilled or suited to the job at all, and only continues to have the job because of nepotism. To me, the former is something to be aware of, like any privileges someone might have had–to remember and acknowledge that that was a non-merited advantage you had, and what that means. But it can be easy to start feeling like the former.

        I didn’t mean to suggest that it wasn’t nepotism at all.

  26. Office Cheetos*

    Our company has split us into regions for pay purposes. Those who live on either cost end up making more than those who work interiorly. What sucks is if you start in say, California, and end up in Ohio, you keep your California salary and salary range. That’s not fair or equitable to those who started in Ohio at the same time and then 5 years later, someone from California comes in and makes $20k more than you for doing the same job.

  27. BaskingInMyWindowlessOffice*

    LW 2. The fact that other people in the office are checking your LinkedIn suggests that she is telling people something. Double-check your profile and that everything looks to be in order (right job titles, companies, dates, etc.) and then causally ask someone you trust what is going on.

  28. New Yorker*

    I work for a midsize company I love. I moved to Florida and am remote. My NYC “premium” is gradually reduced over the years, and my grandboss can use my small percent salary increase (and others like me) to average out higher raises for for people who stayed in NY. So he can say, well our average raises last year were 8%, but I got less and others got more. I think fair.

  29. BeeMused*

    Re: LW2, I am wondering if this is my former coworker. Our salaries were public record, and she used LinkedIn and other online sources to determine exactly how much education, professional development, and experience everyone had. She had an Excel sheet comparing what she thought everyone SHOULD be making vs. what they were, and she highlighted certain people who made too much (in her opinion) or too little (including herself, naturally). She had used all publicly available sources, but when she showed it to our computer-phobic grandboss, he assumed she must have hacked into private databases to get that information. It did not go well for her at our institution.

    1. OlympiasEpiriot*

      Ok, they’ve got way too much time on their hands!!

      That. Is. Amazing.

      And not in a good way.

      1. Cmdrshprd*

        Not necessarily, a lot of times in pay discrimination lawsuits a similar analysis has to be made.

        Even if it is not an illegal pay discrimination, there cna still be other pay disparities. Person A got a 20% bump for a master’s but person B only got a 15%. Or employers who use your previous salary to calculate your current salary.

        Trying to analyze and advocate for a better salary is not wrong.

        1. OlympiasEpiriot*

          No, no, I agree with you, but, this just seems odd to me. A lot of publicly available information is incomplete. Like, my LinkedIn profile is true, but, limited. My professional resume (for marketing, etc.) is, like many in my field, several pages long and lists projects I have been on.

          A LinkedIn profile is not a background check nor even a resume.

          ┐⁠(⁠ ⁠∵⁠ ⁠)⁠┌

          1. Cmdrshprd*

            Sure it is not complete, but in the specific situation Beemused mentioned linkedin was just one of several sources used. But depending on the person some people have a lot of information on there.

            Even if the information is incomplete it can give a good insight to ask follow up questions.

            The use of “public records” makes me think it was some kind of government position that might have had a very specific pay step/grading process that should have been followed.

            “Our salaries were public record, and she used LinkedIn and other online sources to determine exactly how much education, professional development, and experience everyone had. “

            1. BeeMused*

              It was a public university actually, so staff qualifications varied widely (people with associate’s degrees and PhDs might have the same job) and units tended to have their own cultures around promotions/raises. Ours was one of the lower-paying units for similar job titles across the university, but it was within the salary bands. My coworker was definitely trying to formulate a lawsuit, but she didn’t have the full picture of what was actually going on with the budgets.

  30. Rosewolf*

    LR2, is it possible it’s something mildly fascinating but quite simple like: you went to X University, and were there the same years as movie star/politician/famous entrepreneur/notorious serial killer, and she wonders if you know them? And then she got all the others speculating?

    1. Hlao-roo*

      I think if that were the case, she would have said “hey, did you go to [X University] at the same time as [famous/notorious person]? Did you ever run into them?” instead of “I feel entitled to know (and check up on) your professional background because you read my resume.”

      1. Hlao-roo*

        To add to this, as others have said elsewhere in the comments, before LW blocked the coworker and all that had happened was multiple profile views, it was possible that the coworker had entirely benign intentions (poor memory, accidently bookmarked the LW’s profile instead of the main LinkedIn page, etc.). But the coworker proved she did not have benign intentions when she confronted the LW about being blocked. I don’t see any reason to give her the benefit of the doubt now that she has removed the doubt–she very clearly told the LW why she wanted to see the LW’s profile.

        1. Happy meal with extra happy*

          It’s incredible how some commenters on this site will. not. stop. creating fan fiction about letters no matter how much information we’re given, including direct actions and behaviors.

  31. Doctor is In*

    2. I would have asked coworker why she was checking your profile repeatedly. Did she think you would be adding or changing information often? (Do you make changes often?) Was she looking for some piece of information about you that she could not find? Very weird behavior to keep checking over and over!

    1. Forrest Rhodes*

      Asked in a casual, non-threatening manner, that seems like a direct, logical question. And I’m really curious about what BPC’s response would be.

  32. BellyButton*

    I just started a new job a couple of months ago. It is a fairly high level role that is brand new to the company and will have a lot of interactions with every one of the employees. When I joined one of the team meetings to introduce myself to the team and explain what my role is and what it will be, one of the employees was incredibly aggressive. Before I was even done hearing their introductions she had texted someone she knows at my last company. When it was time for her introduction she announced proudly she had done this. Over the next few weeks she began checking my LinkedIn several times a day and contacting leaders at my old company to ask about me! All of them texted or emailed me to ask who this person was and why she was contacting them!

    She is an individual contributor, does not report to me, and even if she did this is so boundary crossing! I had to have a very uncomfortable conversation with her about boundaries and how even if her intentions were good (I doubt they were, I had already been told by her boss and several others that she likes to gossip) the optics of it are very bad and made me feel violated. I explained that she can’t do this to anyone else.

      1. BellyButton*

        We are a very small company and her boss and my boss think she is worth investing in, so I will be coaching her over the next few months to hopefully get her to understand how her behavior (not just this, but other things) are perceived as offensive, aggressive, and personal.

        1. Sasha*

          I think she understands that already! It sounds like her goal is to be offensive, aggressive and personal towards you, for whatever reason.

          I’d be concerned that her boss and your boss aren’t nipping this in the bud and have told you to sort it out yourself if it is bothering you…

    1. I have RBF*

      WOW! That’s definitely abnormal and aggressive! Trying to do the PI thing on a coworker including contacting former coworker is definitely boundary stomping.

      I’d have told the people they contacted that they were a nosy coworker who was NOT authorized by my current employer to contact them, and they should feel free to block them.

  33. bighairnoheart*

    OP 2, just wanted to say that you completely did the right thing blocking that coworker when you started to get weirded out by her behavior. I’m a huge proponent of blocking people online! 9 times out of 10, the blockee will never even notice, and you get to stop seeing the annoying behavior (win/win!). The rare times someone does notice and make a stink about it though, it virtually always justifies the initial decision to block.

    Block, mute, etc. to your heart’s content! Weed that metaphorical garden! Okay, I’m off my soapbox now.

    1. Roland*

      Yes! You do not need an ironclad admissable-in-a-court-of-law evidence to block someone. I seriously do not understand all the handwringing about “but what if constantly checking your LI had this extremely unlikely inoccuous reason”? Like A) no it didn’t but also B) who cares, let people block people.

  34. VanLH*

    No.2. While it is true that the employee was way over the top, I think there is a double standard. Management is praised for due diligence in hiring including running background checks. But an employee is overreaching for doing the same.

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      This is not an example of a double standard. The new hire went above and beyond what is normal for this kind of thing. She is not “doing the same.”

      And in reality, you should investigate the company. The new hire repeatedly looked at a single coworker. Not a CEO, not a manager, not all of the people she would be working with. She specifically targeted a single coworker. She also got aggressive and said some things that are patently not true.

      The new hire is waving all sorts of red flags

    2. Ashley*

      She wasn’t overreaching by checking LW’s linkedin once or twice, she was overreaching by checking it a bunch and then getting UPSET at having been blocked.

    3. Expelliarmus*

      The employee had looked at the profile multiple times; what more “background checking” is needed? When management does background checks, they aren’t expected to keep proactively surveilling your online presence after you’re hired! And in situations where they do that, it’s MANAGEMENT, not some random coworker.

    4. Meghan*

      I think there’s a difference here, honestly. Its managements actual *job* to do those background checks, but its not an individuals job to do those checks.

    5. Hlao-roo*

      It would seem invasive if management continued to investigate an employee’s background after they were hired. The LW said they were OK with the frequent profile views before the coworker was hired, because it is normal for a job candidate to look into who their potential boss/coworkers will be. But once she was hired, it became invasive because she should be able to find out what she wants to know by … working with the LW and maybe asking a few questions about their background (if it’s relevant to know, it won’t seem weird to ask and answer).

    6. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

      This is a very strange take. A brand new employee does not have standing to try and do the equivalent of a background check on a colleague. Check out the company, sure. Browse your connections on LinkedIn to see if you know anyone who works there. But investigating colleagues after you’ve accepted the job is very weird and intrusive.

  35. Technically a Director*

    LW#5: Ask your boss to suggest some companies that you might enjoy working for. Then, when applying to their open positions, mention in your cover letter that you are applying because your current manager recommended them, and mention some of the good things your boss said about the company.

    This makes it clear that your boss knows you are looking and wants to go above and beyond in helping you find a place with them, as well as helping to personalize your cover letter. This removes fear about you leaving on bad terms, and makes them feel complimented at being a place that a successful professional would recommend.

    If your boss is willing, they could also post a more general appeal on social media like LinkedIn, saying that they are losing a really great employee, and soliciting openings for you to apply to (with a brief outline of your skill set). That might invite some spam, so don’t feel entitled to such a post, but if your boss is willing, it might highlight a role for you through your boss’s professional network.

  36. Hurricane Wakeen*

    For LW1, I think there’s a cultural norm in US legal practice that’s important context. It is very, very normal for people to talk up their relationships to other people in the field/firm as a way of networking or building themselves up. The “old boys club” mentality is strong in the practice of law, and I suspect the people introducing you as your father’s daughter think they’re helping you out by giving strangers a reason to remember who you are.

    Setting aside my opinions on how that mentality is problematic, I wanted to point out the context and that especially in law, you’re going to be fighting an uphill battle trying to change how you’re introduced.

  37. Technically a Director*

    LW#4: Such policies can be self-sabotaging for the company, because they tend to be micro-optimizations that make it harder to keep current with the market. More specifically, they now need to track both the national (remote) market rates by position, but also individual smaller market rates.

    If they don’t, that “optimized” lower rate they paid for a lower COL market basically prices them out of hiring in that market when the market shifts, and now they are sourcing / hiring only from the most expensive markets, which is also generally where the most competition for candidates exists (because they are generally larger talent markets).

    It’s generally better to mildly overpay relative to a local market, if that market is below the industry average, because that means you are more likely to multiply how often you can take advantage of that (cheaper) labor pool.

  38. September*

    LW1, I would just try to own it. The people who are introducing you are just bringing up the connection to be friendly and it’s interesting to people because your dad is well-liked.

    They’re not saying, “here is dad’s kid” with a “who doesn’t deserve to be here” subtext. And most of the people you’re meeting aren’t thinking that either. (It would be different if they were whispering about it behind your back!) Yes, there are a lot of people’s kids who make a mess of things, but there are plenty who follow in their dad’s footsteps and do great. I think saying something makes it awkward.

  39. Funny*

    I’m wondering if what LW2 is experiencing may be a microaggression. This may explain BPC’s extreme hostility, and why LW2 was so uncomfortable. BPC may have some bias that LW2 doesn’t “deserve” her role and is repeatedly looking at her background and fuming about it. If that is what’s happening, LW2 should feel even more justified in her decision to block.

  40. Ash*

    I would just change my LinkedIn settings so I can’t see who viewed me. Then this would all be a non-issue. Let others view my profile to their heart’s content.

  41. Avril Ludgateaux*

    #2 see this kind of behavior is why I don’t have a LinkedIn at all. I know these days all networking is done on LinkedIn but I try to restrict my social media presence in general, especially anything associated with my real name and history where anybody can look me up (repeatedly). At the same time… If you have a public profile, people are going to look at it. While I agree the employee is the one who was out of line, would it not have been the road of least resistance to simply turn off view pings so you weren’t informed when she was looking? (Assuming you can, in fact, do this.) Barring any other crossing of lines on her part, of course.

    #3 I thought the etiquette for wedding gifts specifically was always to send a thank you card? At any rate, faux pas or not, I can’t see how it would ever do harm to send a thank you card. Meanwhile, forgetting to send one can inadvertently telegraph the wrong thing.

    Case in point: I went to a longtime friend’s wedding over a decade ago and shelled out to stuff the envelope. I did not have a well-paying or even reliable, full-time job at the time, but I had considered her one of if not my absolute very best friend, so it was a big gesture I was happy to extend. I never got a thank you card, and honestly, it made me reflect deeply on our relationship. Paired with some other inconvenient truths, I took that as a sign about the health of our friendship. I stopped reaching out or trying to maintain contact, and… So did she. In another circumstance I could have brushed it off as forgetfulness or cluelessness on her part and insecurity and anxiety on mine, but the fact that the friendship ended as soon as I stopped putting in effort said everything. All because of a neglected thank you card!

    My point is, I’m not normally one to be stodgy about tradition or etiquette at all, but that specific experience put a lot of weight on the meaning and value of thank you cards for wedding gifts, for me. Maybe it’s different for more perfunctory/obligatory workplace relationships, though (I would not expect a wedding gift from my employer, nor do I think I would invite any colleagues to the affair).

    1. Lusara*

      Actually there are lot of fields where LinkedIn isn’t much of a thing. It’s very industry-dependent.

  42. EMP*

    LW3 – I think the fact that it’s a group gift given as a group further decreases the need for a thank you note. You would presumably need to thank everyone individually which is a lot more work, and I don’t think most people would expect that having just chipped in or signed a card for a group gift.

  43. JustMe*

    LW 4 – It’s legal, but it can get messy really quick. At my SO’s old job, two of his colleagues moved to a large US city with a very high cost of living. They received a cost of living adjustment. After a few years, they moved to a much less expensive city in the midwestern US. The question then became–do you keep paying them the same? Deduct their pay to reflect their new cost of living. Privately, a manager told my SO “We’re paying them the same, but neither of them is getting a raise ever again.” Another colleague at the same company was also making Major-US-City wages and during the pandemic, he and his family moved back to the Balkan country where he was born so they could save more money. When the company found out and said he needed to come back to the US right away, he just quit his job.

    Legal but still tons of kinks that are being worked out.

    1. I should really pick a name*

      Another colleague at the same company was also making Major-US-City wages and during the pandemic, he and his family moved back to the Balkan country where he was born so they could save more money. When the company found out and said he needed to come back to the US right away, he just quit his job.

      That probably has more to do with tax law than how much they were being paid. Having an employee working in another country is a problem if they’re not set up for it.

      1. Emmy Noether*

        Yes, because income taxes generally need to be paid in the country of principal residence. I don’t see a US company setting up tax withholding with a balkan country tax authority. And because the US is majorly annoying in international tax matters, probably also have to jump through a bunch of bureaucratic hoops in the US, maybe even need to pay some tax there too. Most probably not worth the headache.

  44. AnotherLibrarian*

    #1: So, I get where you are coming from, because I have the same issue. I returned to my hometown to work and work in a field adjacent to my Mother’s Work. She was award winning and very well known (before she left the field due to the rampant sexism of the 1980s). Old-timers still know her and I was regularly introduced as her daughter to them. It annoyed me, until I realized, it was actually useful. It happens less and less now that I have built my own professional reputation. I think as you become known for your own work, people will begin to see you as you and not as X’s daughter. However, Lawyers are terrible gossips and I suspect you’ll never stamp it out completely. Instead, see it as a way of easing a social and professional connection. I do think the hierarchical nature of law may also make this harder- legal secretaries, not matter how skilled, are often seen as lesser than lawyers. Good luck!

  45. HearTwoFour*

    Thank you for wedding present – OP, if your office is mostly younger people, I’m sure a slack message or email would have been sufficed. If you are one of the younger people in the office, it would have been really thoughtful (as thoughtful as they were to buy a gift for a new employee) to write a thank you note and pin it in a common place, like the bulletin board in the break room, or wherever notices about girl scout cookie sales and company potlucks are posted.
    You will never question yourself for writing a thank you note for a generous gift, but here you are, questioning yourself because you didn’t write one.

  46. Davis*

    Linked in really notifies you every time someone views your profile? That’s really stupid. I feel like the whoever made that decision is the one at fault here. Another reason I will never sign up there.

    1. Ash*

      You can turn that functionality off if you want. It means you can’t see who views your profile, and also other people will not see if you view theirs.

  47. English Major*

    LW1: The summer leading up to my sophomore year in college, I got a job as a runner/office admin at a large law firm in town. One of my father’s best friends was the managing director of the firm, which is how I got the gig. My dad frequently reminded me that “he would always help me GET a job, but he would never help me KEEP a job.”

    I was genuinely terrible at this job. When I told the office admin I needed to reduce my hours when school started again, she told me “maybe we better call it quits.” It was a huge relief for all parties (most likely my dad the most). Not long after, I changed my major from pre-law to something far less stressful! English literature! So employable.

    Parents always want to help out their children! The trick is that while your dad helped you get the job, you yourself have kept it. I’d also echo the other commenters who have pointed out that you may be introduced this way as a smart “don’t talk about X topic with Boss’s Kid” move. Keep up the good work and please think about how you can pay-it-forward to give others the same “leg up” you had.

  48. L*


    I am admittedly a total LinkedIn stalker. I don’t even know why, sometimes it is just boredom the way people would browse Facebook, except I increase my knowledge of my professional network and their career histories by doing it.

    That said… I am on private mode. For the life of me I can’t believe the default is that mode where you see everyone who viewed your profile.

  49. crisper*

    I was confidentially told that my salary was lowered because the state where I live has a generally lower COL than the state where my employer is — never mind that I live in the 2nd most expensive region in the state (and I think the COL shot up 2% just as I typed that last sentence). But, a hefty percentage of the wealth here is not from local employment (family wealth or income earned elsewhere), so it’s true that I wouldn’t likely have made this salary from a local employer. Don’t love it, but I made choices (and those choices had reasons).

  50. Lawyer's kid*

    I’m also the child of a criminal defense attorney (awesome dad, awesome lawyer)! I don’t work in the legal field, though one of my siblings does. As my dad was a practicing attorney for decades, my last name immediately made it apparent who we might be related to. And as my dad was a really good lawyer, it wasn’t out of the realm of possibility for my sibling to be introduced as my dad’s kid (or asked if they were related), which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing as they are also a good attorney. Even in my own non-legal job, several times I’ve been asked if I was related to my dad. And it didn’t hurt my credibility.

    If anything I think the acknowledgment set the bar pretty high, which rather than making it appear as though you got the job because you just happen to be someone’s child — it set the expectation that you got the job because you inherited a great lawyer’s skill and therefore would be good as well. It’s only if you don’t meet expectations that it would look like you got the job because you’re someone’s child.

  51. Phony Genius*

    I once had the inverse problem with #1. I was working as a summer I.T. intern at a utility company. Everybody who I met asked me who I was related to, and could hardly believe it when I answered “nobody.” Apparently, almost nobody gets hired as an intern there who isn’t somebody’s kid. They hired me because they couldn’t find anybody else with my experience for this particular job. It was weird, and I wound up not wanting to apply for a full-time position there.

  52. Chris*

    LW2 blocking New Hire on LinkedIn rather than having a simple “I notice you’ve been checking my profile a lot” conversation does come across as a bit passive-aggressive. New Hire’s reaction was definitely bananapants though.

  53. Nina*

    LW1, I work in a similar field to my dad; not the same, but similar enough that people in each of our fields follow news about the other field pretty closely, and definitely not law or remotely law-related. We have a very unusual surname (literally everyone with that surname in the world is related to me somehow; there are maybe 30 people in my country with it and they’re all first cousins or closer) and I used to hate it because every time I started a new job or made a new connection in Field A I would get ‘oh, Nina Xanatos, you must be related to Bob who works in Field B!’. The turning point was when I started getting successful in my own right, and one day my dad was at a conference, someone saw his name tag and said ‘oh, Bob Xanatos, you must be related to Nina who was in the news for her awesome work in Field A recently!’

    It goes both ways. Keep working toward the turning point.

    My sister actually is a (very new) lawyer and she keeps seeing people get hired and promoted ahead of her because their brother/dad/mom/uncle/cousin is a high-powered lawyer in Fancy Firm or a judge or something and she has no family connection to law, so they’re seen as New Hire Plus Useful Family Connection and she’s plain New Hire. This is just how the field works. It’s not a reflection on the quality of her work or on the quality of the Family Connection lawyers’ work, it’s just that their connections make them more valuable.

  54. a raging ball of distinction*

    OP3, since it’s still bugging you, why don’t you send a thank you email along with a photo or two from the wedding and/or honeymoon (depending on what you’re comfortable sharing)? Including photos makes it feel less random than a sudden thank you note. I sent a couple of photos in my thank you to my coworkers who pitched in for a wedding gift and they were very well received.

  55. Mothman*

    Regarding #4: Please at least look at their county or other local area rather than the state before doing this.

    I live in the Midwest. On paper, my state is VERY inexpensive. People literally move to my town seeking a one-bedroom apartment with laundry, parking, and pets allowed for $600 a month. For $600, you’re lucky to get a studio above a meth lab (seriously) with a laundromat three miles away. I once did the math, and it’s cheaper to live in Boston and on par to live in NYC. And no, I don’t live in Chicago or even St. Louis!

    But, the western 3/4 of my state is very rural. Very. Everything is inexpensive. So, people thinking they can get that $600 apartment is reasonable if they only look at the state. On my current salary, I could live like royalty only two hours away. Here…well, I was able to get takeout this week. That was pretty special.

  56. babylawyer*

    as a lawyer and child of a respected lawyer in the same small city i absolutely understand where LW1 is coming from. it’s a fair ask to not introduce you as your dad’s child. that said, law (especially smaller firms) is one of the fields where nepotism is basically a fact of life and often an expectation in a way that is different from most fields. law is a social field. it is inevitable you’re going to be defined by your connection to some lawyer or another (e.g. spouse, former law partner, mentor, judge you clerked for, sorority sister–i hear all of these often) to kickstart a round of knowing the same guy. it will come up, and when it does, the value of the relationship as an asset is much higher than the offchance someone will think you didn’t earn your job.

  57. Janel Jarvis*

    LW1 made me laugh out loud. “I want all the advantages of nepotism, but I want other people to be as impressed by me as they would be by someone who doesn’t have those advantages. How can I politely request that people just not mention I’m in the second generation of our local Murdaugh family?”

  58. HeraTech*

    I work for a global company, and our org chart is horrible. Often it will just say that someone works in the US. So I tend to check LinkedIn to try to find out where people live (and thus what time zone they are in). I’m sure it might seem weird that I keep checking people’s LinkedIn, but I swear, it’s just because I can’t remember if that VP lives in the US or the UK?

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