my boss is getting impatient with my morning sickness, coworkers expect me to be devastated I didn’t get a promotion, and more

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

1. My male boss is getting impatient with my morning sickness

I have been in good standing in my government analyst position for four years, and all of my performance evals are glowing. I recently became pregnant with my first child. Morning (all-day!) sickness has been very rough, and I’ve left work early once or twice per week for the past couple of months to deal with nausea and vomiting. I have plenty of sick leave built up, and my organization as a whole generally encourages using leave as needed. My male boss has known about my pregnancy since week 7 because I was getting so sick.

I’m now just entering my second trimester, and though I’m getting a tiny bit better, I am still struggling with the morning sickness pretty much every day. Despite all this, I have managed to keep up with all of my deadlines; however, my boss is getting really impatient with me being ill. He keeps making minimizing comments like:

“You’re having a pretty easy pregnancy—I know someone who had to be hospitalized multiple times for how sick she got! This is nothing.”
“You should be feeling fine now. You’re past the first trimester.”
“My wife was never sick with our six kids. She kept working full-time with no problems.”
“People might start thinking you’re slacking off.”

Do you have any advice how to manage this situation? I don’t know what to do. I’ve tried telling him everyone is different and I can’t control how my body reacts, and he keeps vaguely threatening that higher-ups may start questioning the amount of leave I am taking (2-8 hours per week) and if it is justified.

How generous of your boss to share his knowledge about pregnancy with you! Aside from the utter obliviousness it takes to do that, the contradictions are a mess too (pregnancy should always be a breeze to manage because his wife’s were, and also be grateful you’re not being hospitalized multiple times for how sick you are!).

Please talk to your HR and let them know what your boss is saying. They’re likely to be highly displeased that he’s hassling an employee over her pregnancy, as well as pressuring you not to use sick leave. They’ve got potential FMLA and pregnancy discrimination issues here.

2. My coworkers expect me to be devastated I didn’t get a promotion

Earlier this year, I was asked by leadership to apply for a promotion that would have me supervising many of my current coworkers. Another junior coworker, Mark, had applied, and they were hoping to have more than one internal candidate for the position. After several requests, I applied and put forth my best efforts in the interview process, which went exceptionally well.

Mark was hired. I was fine with this because he is someone I have supported throughout his career and feel will do a good job. Unfortunately, the reason given to me was that my coworkers expressed a clear preference for him, despite his more limited experience. I’m now trying to deal with the sting of knowing I was not preferred by colleagues with whom I seemingly have a great working relationship. I’m also frustrated by having so many coworkers come to me in ways that want me to manage their emotions about this process. Some are outraged on my behalf. Others are very upset and want me to console them. A few keep checking in on me to make sure I’m “okay,” with overly sympathetic expressions, as if someone has just died. I even have a couple of folks from the hiring committee approaching me in ways that seem as if they want me to absolve them from guilt over being part of the decision.

I’m fine with not getting the promotion, but I’m beyond frustrated with having to deal with all these coworkers. Frankly, I don’t even want to attend the meeting with my supervisor in which he will tell me the reasons why my coworkers preferred the other candidate because they will be personality issues and not performance issues, based on our compared work histories and the tenor of the email notifying me of his decision, a note that was explicit in stating I would do a great job in the position but that he preferred to lean heavily on the preferences of the employees on the team. Any advice on shutting down conversations with coworkers or avoiding the aftermath of a rejected promotion? I sent a very professional and complimentary note to my colleague who was given the position, and he has been nothing but gracious to me.

When coworkers approach you gingerly or with sympathy: “I’m fine with the outcome, and I’m excited for Mark.” And if they continue to give you sad faces after that: “Oh, stop! Mark’s great.” And then if necessary: “Do me the favor of believing me.”

You definitely need to attend the meeting with your manager for feedback about the decision! It’s possible there’s something legitimate that will be useful to hear … and personality differences aren’t always irrelevant, especially in a management role. For example, if you’re perceived as less approachable, less empathetic, or not as clear of a communicator, those would all be relevant, not just personality differences. On the other hand, if the reasons are BS ones, that would be good to know too.

Read an update to this letter

3. Why don’t they trust me for a simple volunteer task?

I’ve run into an issue as a volunteer at a large charity resale shop where I’ve been volunteering for several months. The task I do is simple, think something like measuring picture frames (not picture frames). I tag the frame with the measurement, and then paid staff mark the prices based on the size. Jane and Julie work in this department, and usually it is Julie who tells me which boxes of frames to work on.

Several weeks ago, early in my volunteering, Jane asked me to measure and price some frames on a day Julie was not there. On my next day, Julie told me that only staff mark the prices, and that I measured something wrong. I felt that I was being reprimanded for something that Jane asked me to do. I decided I’d just let this go.

I started volunteering one day, then two. Last week I wanted to volunteer on another day when neither of those staff work, though others are there. They did not want me to measure frames during this time or do other work for them. This week I want to come in again on this other day. They are losing 3-4 hours of time I could contribute to their work and there are always more frames. I will do other work.

I was just going to let this go, but I’m finding that this really bothers me. They are making me feel unqualified to measure frames when they are not present. I’m an accomplished person who is very familiar with frames. Could this be a control thing? Are they worried I’ll take their job? I don’t want their jobs. I’m befuddled, and, I guess, hurt by this lack of trust.

You’re interpreting this as something personal about you (and their assessment of your skills and reliability) but it’s much more likely that it’s something about the organization. For example, while working with volunteers is part of Jane and Julie’s jobs, it’s possible that no one else is charged with it (or trained in how to oversee volunteers, or wouldn’t have the time/expertise/authority to answer the questions that might come up as you work or spot problems that they’d want caught early). That doesn’t mean they don’t think you’re capable of doing the work without close supervision, but it’s normal for questions/issues to come up as a volunteer works and it’s very reasonable for other staff not to have time to field those, while Jane and Julie do. It’s really common for organizations to be structured that way, and to only be equipped to have volunteers on certain days or during certain shifts.

4. Can I give myself credit without looking like an a-hole?

I work a new nonprofit with less than 30 employees. I am in the lowest tier of seniority, but I have been there the longest. My org has encouraged giving kudos as a practice, on calls and in Slack and emails.

I think it’s great that my team is trying to build a culture of gratitude. But I’ve noticed that the kudos is often from one senior or mid-ranking staff member to another, sometimes leaving out the contributions of junior staff such as myself. For instance, a member of the leadership team once gave gushing kudos to multiple people who participated in a recruitment process, and extolled one person in particular — who’s also on the leadership team — for having the idea to split the role into two. Even though I coordinated all the interviews and did the initial review of 100+ applications for that recruitment process, which I’m sure took much longer than my coworker’s lightbulb going off, I was not mentioned at all in the post.

Would I sound like a total asshole for chiming in to give myself credit in such instances? I’m sure that a comment like “I was so happy to contribute to X” would come across as passive-aggressive, but at an organization as small as ours, I think it’s preposterous to leave anybody out when giving kudos, and especially junior staff. I’ve chimed in to give credit to others when I’ve noticed people left out of kudos.

Yeah, I think it’s hard to pull off “I also contributed to X” in that context, but the pattern is something worth raising with your manager. It’s not terribly uncommon for public credit not to mention everyone who was involved in a project — sometimes that’s a long list, or there are differences in the relative value of each person’s contribution — but when you’re noticing a pattern like this, it’s definitely worth speaking up about it. And the fact that it’s always junior staff who are being left out — at the same time that your leadership is trying to encourage credit-giving as a org-wide practice — really sucks. Say something to your manager, or to someone else in a position to impact this!

5. Should I tell an employer I’m still interested in the (still open) job they rejected me for in October?

I applied for, interviewed for, and was ultimately rejected for a job back in October. The job has consistently continued to be relisted every two to four weeks ever since. At the six-month mark, would it be unprofessional to send a message letting them know I’m still open to a position if they’re interested in revisiting my application, or is that a gross overstep?

It’s not unprofessional or an overstep, but it probably won’t make a difference since they already interviewed you. If you had only applied and not been interviewed, I’d be more encouraging — but at this point they’ve taken a pretty close look at your candidacy and decided it’s not the match they’re looking for. There’s nothing wrong with giving it a shot anyway, but I’d expect the chances of it changing anything to be low.

{ 370 comments… read them below }

  1. Raida*

    “People might start thinking you’re slacking off.” – I’m glad you’re aware of the possibility of such a misconception!
    I take it this is you advising me that you’ve got my back in shutting down any such ignorant opinions from anyone not aware I hit all my deadlines?
    Or do you think I should go to HR to get ahead of this?
    I mean, obviously neither of us want the business open to the legal risks of FMLA harassment or discrimination.

    Make it his responsibility to protect your good standing at work.

    1. Zombeyonce*

      Gotta love it when someone “warns” you that mysterious, unnamed people might think not great things about you when they really just mean that’s what they think of you/your work. It’s so annoyingly transparent.

      1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

        And it’s passive aggression. It’s aggressive, but like, it’s not me so don’t get angry with the messenger!

    2. Ellis Bell*

      OP: “There are mystery sexists out to get me? I guess I should go to HR and get it straightened out then!”

    3. Caroline*

      Love this! ”People might think”

      (Perplexed look) ”Which people? Really? Who? Who exactly? Let’s go talk to them now and report them to HR”.

      Taking into account how awful you are currently feeling – and it suuuuuuckkks epically (but truly, as the weeks go by, it will quite likely at least somewhat improve – very small consolation, but fingers crossed for you), would it be worth asking for a meeting with your boss where you lay out for him things he has said (some of which are likely thoughtless stupidity vs active nastiness) and ask him if he’d prefer you to vomit into a wastepaper basket at your office desk so as not to miss a moment of desk time? Kidding! Or am I?

      Interesting that he’s full of info on those who have had it far worse than you WHILE saying you should be past this by now. Which is it? I mean, one intrepretation might be to go full-ball ill and get signed off for weeks by an accommodating OB, you know, due to the sickness, while you’re in a protected class. Just a thought.

      1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

        > vomit into a wastepaper basket at your office desk so as not to miss a moment of desk time? Kidding! Or am I?

        It wouldn’t be my approach, but a tactical vomit in the office would flush out this issue quickly.

        1. Cait*

          Straight from The Office. As he’s lecturing you about pregnancy, maintain eye contact as you vomit into a waste basket.

          1. learnedthehardway*

            Nah – vomit on his shoes. I may have threatened to do this to more than one person when I was pregnant.

            1. 2 Cents*

              That was my go-to impulse for when people (men and women) told me I shouldn’t be STILL have morning sickness after the first trimester because they/their wife/their third cousin didn’t.

        2. Lyudie*

          Even before I read the letter, my immediate response to the headline was “vomit on his shoes.” My stance has not changed since reading the letter.

          (Obviously don’t do this. But it might help to fantasize about it when he’s being esp thick)

        3. Bee*

          No joke: I’m a teacher and had HG with my pregnancy (to the point of regular all-day vomiting and seizures). They gave me an extra trashcan to throw up in so I wouldn’t have to leave the room, and they asked me to train the students on what to do if I were to have a seizure in class.

          I was only allowed 5 days off and didn’t qualify for FMLA, so I had to do the best I could with what I was given.

          1. Observer*

            As a parent I would have been LIVID if I heard of something like that in one of my kid’s classes. That’s utterly insane.

            I get it, there is a teacher shortage and it’s hard to find people. But don’t the people reacting this way realize that this just MAKES THE PROBLEM WORSE!?

            1. 2 Cents*

              I could see this happening at my husband’s school bc the leave rules the state/school district has don’t apply to teachers. (Our state gives up to 8 weeks of parental leave. My SO got two days of his own vacation time after our kid was born and was afraid to take more because of the optics.)

              1. Molly*

                WTF!? Teachers don’t get the benefits that everyone else employed by the school district gets? Which school district employees are more important than the teachers?

                1. Rebecca*

                  none of them, and all of them.

                  Teachers are the ones who are in direct supervision of the kids. When someone from the district office needs time off, they don’t need to get anyone to cover. When a teacher needs time off, they need a warm body in the room, and don’t you caaaarrrrreeeeeeee about your kiddddooosss?

        4. Jam on Toast*

          During both my pregnancies, I could throw up three times after the same meal. I threw up in cars. In buses. On trains. Lost count how many times I had to ask my spouse to pull over so I vomit spontaneously at the roadside. I kept plastic bags in all my coat pockets in case I couldn’t make it to the bathroom in time. I threw up in a bathroom sink in front of total strangers because all the stalls were occupied and I’d been dumb enough to walk by the olive bar in the grocery store deli. Sometimes, I threw up 9 or 10 times a day. I have *literally* spent twelve months of my life in perpetual nausea. Medication kept me out of the hospital but working through it took every single ounce of energy and resolve I had.

          So yeah, from one formerly crummy-feeling pregnant person to a currently pregnant person, you should have no qualms about absolutely throwing him under the bus with HR and then enjoying the thumpety-thump as the tires drive over him. “As my manager, Fergus has made it very clear to me that he feels that using my sick leave for pregnancy related illness is not necessary and that if I continued to do so, it could jeopardize my continuing employment with the firm. Additionally, he’s told me several times that higher ups and team members have been raising questions about the amount of sick leave I have taken earlier in this pregnancy and then he advised me to be more aware of the optics and their effect on my career.”

          1. LW 1*

            Also amazing scripts. Thank you so much!

            Now that I am seeing this from the commentariat perspective, I am getting curious *which* higher ups in my section are supposedly concerned. One of them literally has a newborn himself and recently returned from paternity leave, another went out on unexplained health leave for 4 months and only just got back, and the third was hired like 8 weeks ago.

            1. Three Flowers*

              I would guess few or none of them. Fergus is just trying to cover his own gross ass by saying, “well, *other* people might think…”

              Go to HR. Use those scripts, which are things of beauty. “Nuke” him with all the inevitable, unyielding power of your months of nausea. People like him shouldn’t be in charge of cleaning the toilets after you’ve thrown up, let alone supervising humans.

            2. General von Klinkerhoffen*

              100% they do not care and your boss is projecting.

              Also 100% his wife would not agree with his assessment of her pregnancy symptoms/discomfort.

              1. Willow Pillow*

                Projecting yes, but also betting that you will act as women are socialized to do and not make a fuss.

            3. Observer*

              I agree with @Three Flowers. I also strongly suspect that it is NOT the case that the higher ups are questioning, but that *he* thinks that they SHOULD be questioning.

        5. MapleHill*

          Yes, was totally thinking pull a Pam from The Office! Even better if it’s in front of others or in meetings. Then when they inevitably ask what’s up, tell everyone your manager expressed dismay about the amount of sick time you are taking during your pregnancy and you wanted people to know you weren’t slacking off. Oh, that would be gold.

    4. Hi, I’m Troy McClure*

      If anyone ever asks me about my plans for a family in an interview, I have a similar plan:

      “Oh, I see what you’re doing! You almost got me there! I’m so glad you’re testing to see if I can spot illegal questions.”

      Probably wouldn’t get the job, but at least I’d get to make a point, and mess with their head a little in the process.

      1. Frank Doyle*

        It’s not illegal to ask the question, just to make a decision based on the answer (which is why smart employers don’t ask them in the first place).

        1. DivergentStitches*

          Exactly. This is a really common misconception that I correct multiple times a month in various employment-related social media groups I’m in.

          1. New Jack Karyn*

            Oddly, this is one of the few things that I’m kind of okay with letting go. People really shouldn’t be asking this question; if believing it’s illegal to do so is what stops them, then so be it.

            1. Observer*

              Yeah. Where it needs to be called out is when people get indignant and scream about illegal behavior.

          2. Hannah Lee*

            You can simply rephrase it –

            Turn it into “Is there a particular reason you’re asking about that, as opposed to my skills, experience or other work-related qualifications?
            Because as everyone knows, making hiring decisions based on that is illegal.” (or whatever the precise wording would be based on the question and the the law)

        2. Hi, I’m Troy McClure*

          I was always taught it was illegal, which may be a genuine difference between the US and Canada, or just the teacher repeating a myth. IDK.

          Either way, a hiring manager who says that is doing something dodgy and deserves to be put in their place a little.

          1. Willow Pillow*

            Also in Canada, my understanding is it’s illegal to ask about any protected areas.

            1. Willow Pillow*

              “The Canadian Human Rights Act entitles all individuals to equal employment opportunities without regard to race or colour, national or ethnic origin, religion, age, family or marital status, sex (including pregnancy or childbirth), pardoned conviction, disability (either physical or mental or as the result of dependence on alcohol or drugs), or sexual orientation.

              Section 8 of the Act states that:

              It is a discriminatory practice
              (a) to use or circulate any form of application for employment, or
              (b) in connection with employment or prospective employment, to publish any advertisement, or make any written or oral inquiry

              that expresses or implies any limitation, specification or preference based on a prohibited ground of discrimination.


    5. Totally Minnie*

      My boss in a past job called me to her office to tell me she thought I was taking too much sick leave. I couldn’t say anything at the time because I was so shocked. But after I talked about it with my family and workshopped some possible scripts, I asked to meet with her again. I said “it sounded as if you’re worried that I’m exaggerating my medical symptoms so I can take more time off work, is there something about my past behavior that led you to believe I would do that?” She fell all over herself to tell me of course not but people higher up the chain than her might think that, and I followed up with “after working for you all these years, I would hope that if that happened you would stand up for me and give those higher ups the context they need to understand that I’m a trustworthy and responsible employee.” She started crying and I left her office, but my use of sick leave was never mentioned again.

      1. LR*

        Wow imagine harassing an emoloyee over using the sick time they’re entitled to then CRYING when they politely call you on it. People are really wild.

        1. Totally Minnie*

          Honestly, most of the credit goes to my mom. Get yourself a trustworthy person to practice difficult conversations with who will help you plan in advance what you want to say.

    6. Anne Elliot*

      My immediate response to the pregnancy one is that the boss needs to go to the top of Shut F*** Mountain, as set forth in “Grace and Frankie:

      “Vince, look at me. Look at me to the windows of my soul. Shut the f*** up. Shut all the way the f*** up until you reach the top of Shut F*** Mountain, where there are no more f*** up to SHUT.”

    7. LW 1*

      Those are some good scripts to use. Thanks! Normally I feel like I’m pretty good at speaking up for myself, but pregnancy has been a whole different ballgame of weird emotions and insecurities and illness.

      1. Boof*

        I find i’m way more comfortable advocating for someone else’s pregnancy/leave rights than my own. The anxiety and feeling like I’m somehow betraying my entire gender by admitting a major physical and life event might impact other areas of my life looms large; but when it’s someone else then it’s supporting gender equality to support accommodations! (Tbh it also is why i really advocate for non-birthing parent leave too)
        Which is to say I totally understand the anxiety and hope you feel reassured that your boss is being a jerk and you’re doing yourself + the world a favor by professionally shutting that down

        1. Maternity Leave Isn’t Vacation*

          I encourage you to flip that script in you head. You are defending others of your gender, and all humanity, when you take the leave you deserve for a life- and body-altering event. Remind yourself that it will make it easier for the next woman to take her leave! Or the next person who needs medical leave for any reason!

  2. Raida*

    2. My coworkers expect me to be devastated I didn’t get a promotion

    You don’t *actually* know it’s a personality thing. I’d keep the meeting clear and concise, focussed on managerial skills that you can work on, and if there are none, give an assurance you’ll continue supporting Mark but you’d like everyone to stop with the “oh i feel bad for you” comments.

    It could be “Mark is highly organised” “Mark has described excellent managers he’s had in the past and how he values specific approaches they took to supporting staff”
    “LW says things like ‘I hate paperwork’ and ‘I don’t envy the managers!’ and ‘I hate going to workshops, I’d rather be doing work than talking about it”

    You’ve been there longer – they others have had longer to create an opinion of you *in their supervisor’s role* and maybe it’s entirely practical?

    1. bamcheeks*

      I would also plan something nice for yourself afterwards, just in case it is in fact a sucky meeting! Make a plan to go out for dinner that night, or have you favourite food, or save up an episode of your favourite show, or ask a friend if they’re free for lunch, or plan to go past a shop and get a new book/lipstick/houseplant on your way home. Just something to look forward to in case it is a real, “oh wow, that hurts” and you have to keep a fake professional face on even though you kind of feel like crying. Knowing that I’m going to give myself a treat as a reward for behaving professionally in crappy situations always makes them easier to bear.

      1. Totally Minnie*

        This is an amazing idea and I’m filing it away for future uncomfortable meeting days.

      2. Thistle Pie*

        I work in the public sector and often have Parks & Rec style chaotic public meetings. If I know one will be particularly bad then I will schedule a massage or a hike with a friend afterwards – like you said it gives you something to look forward to. Also, never underestimate the visceral release of screaming in your car after a stressful meeting. Get it all out and move on with your day!

    2. tg33*

      It may also be that they are used to OP as a Co-worker and can’t see her as a manager. This is just speculation on my part.

      1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

        I’m cynically imagining that Mark is a bright young man brimming with charisma and all the others are women living harried live. Even women can’t imagine women as managers. The older women feel maternal towards Mark, the younger ones fancy him.

        1. Pippa K*

          It’s true that even women tend to see men as more leadership-ready than women – there’s plenty of research to back this up. After all, sexist social norms affect everybody.

          But the idea that women can’t rationally evaluate men coworkers because of course they fancy them or feel maternal toward them is pretty sexist (and also different from the idea that women would choose Mark because they think he’s a better leader.) Frankly, I’d
          be disgusted and probably angry if someone suggested to me that I must have voted for the male candidate for a hire or promotion because I think he’s cute or feel maternal toward him. I’ve heard a lot of sexist stuff on hiring committees but if anyone said this tin my hearing, we would have A Problem.

        2. Artemesia*

          Yeah. This. I’d be very alert for evidence that you are never going to be promotable here. Bright young man, uh huh. And there will be another bright young man. This may be a one off, but the behavior of everyone seems to be ‘guilty conscience’ — as in, ‘we know you deserve it but hey bright shiny young man.’

          being passed over for promotion is a very heavy message most places. Maybe it is not a pattern, but I’d be alert to the fact that it might be.

        3. NotAnotherManager!*

          Times I’m glad I work at a place where more than 50% of the management team are women (no imagination required) and that I live in the 21st century.

    3. Tony T*

      “lean heavily on the preferences of the employees” Rely on people who might, then, leave next week, month, year … ? What if the new folks HATE Mark.

      1. Inigo Montoya*

        I know this was not the focus of the post and maybe I’m cynical, but I read “Unfortunately, the reason given to me was that my coworkers expressed a clear preference for him, despite his more limited experience.” might be Management preferred Mark but had no objective reason so claimed it was the co-workers preference. What did they do, conduct an anonymous survey? Hold a vote? Peer opinion should be taken into account when hiring new management but the way it was stated seems off.

        1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

          It’s the kind of situation where a white lie might be called for, if it really is that OP’s personality sucks in some way.

          What I read was that OP wasn’t all that enthusiastic and was asked several times to apply. So I’m thinking that others are maybe thinking that she’s not as eager to move up as Mark.

          1. Lisa Simpson*

            I worked with someone who applied for a promotion, but did not get it because she was emotionally unstable within the context of her work. She was constantly blowing up tiny mistakes, mishaps, general carelessness as acts that were perpetuated intentionally towards her as well as gossiping all sorts of stuff she should not gossip about her coworkers. She clearly did not belong in a position of leadership.

            However, management did not want to get into this because they were shortstaffed and couldn’t risk her quitting her current job, so they said that she was too young and lacked experience and they were going with someone else who had more experience. Except they hired someone who was younger than her and had only slightly more relevant experience, and was also incompetent and terrible at his job.

            The more tactful lie would have been Fergus has a bachelor’s degree and you do not, because it was true and difficult to dispute, but my boss’s boss was not smart so…

            1. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

              That happened to me once, only I was the new manger they brought in. My staff member who had been rejected for the job was horrible to her coworkers and even some community members, but upper management didn’t want to tell her the truth so I think they told her something about bringing in someone with more experience. Big surprise when she got a manager who was 10 years younger, a first time manager, and from a different industry. The experience was awful and I ended up quitting after 6 months because of her bullying.

      2. Smithy*

        As AAM alludes to, this may be more or less relevant depending on a lot of things.

        I used to work somewhere that had significant growth in a short time. And while it was due to success of the team and promotions to greater leadership made a lot of sense, it also meant that you had someone who over the course of 6 years went from supervising 1 person to leading a team of 50-60 people. And essentially focusing on the grooming of llamas indigenous to the Americas to leading a team of global grooming of llamas, alpacas, goats and sheep.

        While some staff were very supportive of promoting staff from within that had helped the team grow to that global size, others were concerned that we were getting leaders who didn’t have the experience of leading large teams or have the diversity of sector experience. Someone coming from elsewhere, due to different employment experiences might have had more management experience of larger teams or that sector experience more aligned with the promotion.

        Sure. These are the opinions of junior or peer staff members – but they’re not made without thoughtfulness to business needs.

      3. Observer*

        “lean heavily on the preferences of the employees” Rely on people who might, then, leave next week, month, year … ?

        No, lean heavily on the people on the front lines who should be expected to have a solid understanding of what they need.

        1. Hazel*

          The way to do that would be to ask what workers need from managers ahead of posting the job, so that you can include those qualifications – not to make the workplace into a faux democracy where you elect your leaders (unless it’s a commune), or even worse, a popularity contest! This, management not taking responsibility for their hiring decision, and the weird ‘we told them we want Mark but are fake sympathetic to you’, set off alarms for me. This workplace had some dysfunction and I would not expect the best from the hiring debrief, which should not be mandatory anyhow. Time to think about how this team works.

          1. Observer*

            Getting staff input on specific candidates is not “holding an election” or creating a “faux democracy”.

            I agree that what the manager communicated is problematic. But actually getting input from staff who know their needs AND know the candidates? It would be foolish to NOT get their feedback.

          2. Event coordinator?*

            The problem is not that the hiring manager utilized employee input (that’s good!) the problem is they are now putting the responsibility on the employees “because their input weighed heavily in the decision.” Because this sounds like an already dysfunctional organization, I can easily see a year down the road somebody complaining about mark and management says “well y’all picked him so deal with it!” Then people being super duper weird around OP? That signals that nobody acts like a real adult when something bad happens and so everyone has to sugarcoat and lay it on thick but, surprise, OP is an adult with emotional regulation so it’s just weird. Speculation here: is the real reason they picked Mark because they knew Mark would go nuclear if they didn’t pick him? And OP would handle it better but that’s a horrible reason to not promote someone so that’s why people are being weird.

            TL;DR- dysfunctional organization here.

        2. Lydia*

          It should definitely be part of the decision-making; I just don’t know if it’s wise to “lean heavily” on it.

  3. New Jack Karyn*

    LW2: Can I just say that I like Mark? He took OP at face value. She said kind things to him in her congratulatory email, and he has been gracious.

    If it occurred to him to do or say anything different, he thought to himself, “Even if she does want consolation or commiseration over not getting the promotion, she doesn’t want it from ME.” That kind of emotional intelligence is a good sign in a supervisor/manager.

    Her other coworkers, however: They’re the ones who said they preferred Mark to her, and now they’re ‘outraged’ and ‘upset’ enough to need consolation themselves? This all seems very performative on their parts. You’re doing fine, OP–follow Alison’s scripts and hopefully this will fade soon.

    1. Sue*

      I would have a hard time not responding to these coworker remarks with something like, “they told me the reason is because y’all preferred him so…” That would shut down these fake sympathy attempts.

      1. Chilipepper Attitude*

        Yes, a bad idea but tempting. I wonder if it can be reworked tho.

        Use Alison’s response for the first comment. But if they push, say, oh stop, Mark is great!, and it is very understandable that boss went with the team’s preference. But say it in a very upbeat tone.

      2. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

        It’s not necessarily fake sympathy, it’s unlikely that 100% of the team preferred Mark.

        1. Zoe Karvounopsina*

          Flashback to the ‘I want you to know I was outvoted’ scenes in Knives Out 1…

          1. Budgie Buddy*

            Huh this may explain what was bothering me in the post. I couldn’t figure out why the coworkers who apparently vied for Mark are now apparently soooo disappointed that Mark was chosen over OP.

            Either 1) it wasn’t unanimous 2) management shenanigans are afoot, or 3) employees are feeling guilty and want OP to absolve them.

            1. Reluctant Mezzo*

              Because management never lies to put the onus of an unpopular decision on someone else…right?

              Then again, it would be fun to see if the employees look furtive and guilty if this is brought up.

        2. Dust Bunny*

          This. I think it’s pretty realistic to assume that the preference for Mark might have been a majority but not unanimous, because that tends to be how most things are.

      3. learnedthehardway*

        I felt that this was a TOTALLY inappropriate thing for the hiring manager to disclose / claim. The team’s preferences might or might not have been a decision factor, but the hiring manager should have owned his own hiring decision. A “this was a very difficult decision, but Mark is the successful candidate” was the right way to go.

        Saying that the team preferred Mark is a major leadership failure that can’t help but affect the morale of the OP and of the team generally. It’s also generally a bad way to decide on a manager. Maybe take the opinion of 1 or 2 of your high performers into account, or of course consider whether your team actively says a candidate’s past behaviour is really problematic, but don’t make a hiring decision based on a popularity contest.

        1. Sloanicota*

          I agree, the supervisor did a crappy job here by making the rest of the team “the bad guy” – “I would have hired you BUT your coworkers voted for Mark.” That sounds like all part of the same fake-nice culture as the coworkers who want you to reassure them that you aren’t mad.

          1. Avid Reader*

            Yes, this. It is a failure of leadership that undermines the team’s cohesiveness.

            And let’s them off the hook.

        2. NotAnotherManager!*

          SAME. That was the thing that stuck out to me about the letter – why would you disclose such a thing to the runner-up candidate who is a valuable member of your team? It both has the potential to create bad blood between coworkers and undermines the manager’s authority as the decision-maker in the hiring process.

        3. Distracted Librarian*

          100%. Way to damage OP’s relationship with her teammates, all because they aren’t willing to take accountability for the hiring decision they made.

    2. Myrin*

      I have to admit that my first thought was that it isn’t actually true that the coworkers peferred Mark but that the supervisor did and he is now trying to “shift responsibility” in a way. I don’t know how likely that is given that he apparently plans on talking to OP about exactly this but it came to mind immediately.

      My second thought is that the coworkers have a hinge that their collective preference for Mark was what tipped the scales and are now feeling guilty in some way and trying to alleviate that uncomfortableness by going over the top regarding OP.

      1. Ellis Bell*

        Yeah they have definitely got the awkward-guilts and now they want OP to soothe it away for them.

      2. rebelwithmouseyhair*

        *a hunch not a hinge! (just pointing it out because I spent far too long wondering what it was, this is a minor eureka moment!)
        If it’s true that the colleagues preferred Mark, the boss should still not have said that. Because had either OP or Mark been less gracious, all hell could have broken out loose.
        And the colleagues are obviously feeling awful, thinking OP is stewing on it “how could they vote for him not me?”

        1. Myrin*

          OMG you are so right! I was staring at that word before hitting “Submit” and could not for the life of me figure out why it looked (and felt!) wrong (in my defence, it was very early here). Thanks for pointing it out!

    3. Ally*

      RE OP2: Is it common for employers to make decisions based on the preference of the people in the team? Feels a bit like a popularity contest, right?

      1. ButtonUp*

        I’d expect employees liking their boss to be good for a team and their performance typically. Also I think most people with a few years work experience will recognize that the person they like the most is not necessarily the same as the person who would be the best fit as a manager for them.

      2. Healthcare Manager*

        Preference from the team wouldn’t be the only factor but it is an important one. Leaders are chosen by the people they lead, not self nominated.

        1. Michelle Smith*

          Are they? I’ve never worked in a place where anyone cared at all what we thought about managerial candidates. In fact, at my last job, the person they promoted to be my boss wasn’t even allowed to tell us he got the job for like a month after they told him he got it. We definitely were not consulted.

          1. InsufficentlySubordinate*

            At one job, I found out I was getting a new boss when they brought him around and said, oh, [current boss] is moving to other team, and here’s your new boss. He was a complete train wreck which might’ve happened even with our input as he sounded fine at first and then turned into {sexist/arrogant} twit.

      3. bamcheeks*

        I don’t think it’s bad to take that into account (in fact I think it’s good!) but it should be A factor, and leadership should absolutely be taking responsibility for the whole decision and not trying to shift the “blame”,

        1. Tau*

          That jumped out at me – even if this was the deciding factor, telling OP so, knowing that she still had to work with these people, seemed like a really bad move to me. Usually in these situations I’d expect leadership to take ownership and stay silent about what any coworkers said – and if I were asked for my feedback on two internal candidates in this situation as a coworker, I’d expect it to stay private and not be forwarded (even if indirectly) to the losing candidate!

          1. Marzipan Shepherdess*

            Yes, I found that pretty odd, too!

            And I’d think that the LW’s manager would get better results if they framed the upcoming meeting with LW as “let’s work on the skills you need to develop to become a really outstanding leader” rather than “I’m going to tell you all the reasons why your colleagues said that they don’t like you!” The first focuses on what the OP needs to do and how they can do it. The second is guaranteed to make them uneasy around, and suspicious of, all their co-workers from now on.

          2. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

            That was my first instinct but then I thought about people who have never been promoted because they lack people skills but have never been told why. The candidate should be given an opportunity to work on that if she wants to.

            1. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

              Adding: IOW, anything that keeps someone from getting a promotion should be shared with them if they are still interested in getting a promotion.

              1. Observer*

                True, but there are better ways to do it – both more kind and more actionable.

                “Your coworkers don’t like you that much” is kind of hard to do anything with while being very hurtful.

                “You need to work of these soft skills” or “You need to learn to manage your public facing emotions better” or “As a manager you will need to be able to focus on how to deal with situations rather than getting stressed.” or “You need to learn how to prioritize better.” Or whatever it is. These are things that someone can take on board and either figure out how to learn or decide that management is not for them.

            2. Sloanicota*

              Yeah but there are a billion ways to flag that the issue was soft skills without saying “I wanted to hire you but all your coworkers prefer Mark.”

            3. Tau*

              Oh yeah, “private” was possibly a bad word choice there – management should totally be able to act on feedback from coworkers and inform the person in question of the issues in the feedback. What I’d expect them to stay silent about is that this feedback came from their coworkers. Like, own the decision, go “after due consideration, we decided that we need someone who is strong in X, Y and Z in this role and we haven’t quite seen what we’d need from you for that. To be a stronger candidate next time, you could…” etc. etc. etc. Don’t bring the coworkers into it, especially not for popularity-based stuff like “your coworkers preferred Mark to you”. That’s just a recipe for hurt feelings and a bad atmosphere in the team.

          3. MCMonkeyBean*

            I’m curious about the wording. I have a friend who was rejected from the management position he was working from two or three times, and each time was apparently told it was pretty much due to personality issues. I can’t remember exactly what he said because it’s been years but it was honestly something like him being too cold at work. I love him, but was honestly not surprised based on the things he has said about work in the past.

            If that’s really the reason, then I do think they should tell you that if it’s something that you can work on before applying for management again. Presumably that is what the upcoming meeting is for, hopefully it is constructive rather than just “people like him better.”

            1. Tau*

              See above comment – I worded that badly. It’s not that I think the feedback should be kept secret, it’s that I think the original source (OP’s peers) should be. Especially because in some sense the source doesn’t matter – management looked at the feedback and decided it was accurate enough and weighed heavily enough to be the deciding factor. At that point they should just fully own the decision and not hide behind “well, your coworkers said…”, especially because that’s got such a high chance of poisoning the team atmosphere.

              1. L-squared*

                I think though, it can be valid to say where it came from.

                There are things my manager isn’t privy to that my coworkers are. So while I don’t think you need to name names, I don’t see a problem saying “While I haven’t seen this myself, many of your coworkers you feel that you are too negative about the company mission” (or something to that effect). if nothing else, that would maybe tell the person to learn to keep their mouth shut around their coworkers and vent to friends.

                1. Observer*

                  Yeah, if that’s what was actually said to the OP, I think reactions would be different. Still not great, but understandable and somewhat actionable.

                2. rebelwithmouseyhair*

                  Yeah, something to the point like that is fine. The trouble is, it was likely more a matter of “Mary thinks Mark is really sweet” and “Fergus really doesn’t like how you blather on about DEI all the time”.

      4. L-squared*

        I’d say its not uncommon. I feel like its good to at least get a pulse for people’s thoughts. Coworkers often have a different opinion of each other than management. So while I wouldn’t say that should be the only factor, I don’t think it shouldn’t be A factor. I know I’ve had coworkers who I can 100% say I would have immediately started looking for a new role if they became my manager.

        Also, for many people, they are able to separate the personal from professional. I have many coworkers who I like as people, and I like to complain with, commisserate with, etc, but I also don’t think they’d make a great manager.

      5. LR*

        Really? You couldn’t assess your coworkers and know who has potential to be a good manager and who doesn’t? This kind of thing is going to come naturally to a lot of people.

        1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

          And yet it’s very rare for managers to even think of asking the people in question. I remember making an off-hand remark about a project manager, to the effect that she sometimes tried to bully me into taking on a task that I really didn’t have room for, and the HR woman’s eyes nearly popped out as she said “yes of course you work with the PMs all the time, you obviously know quite a bit about how they work”.
          She left very soon after that so it’s not as if her epiphany led to any changes.

      6. MCMonkeyBean*

        It’s very normal to include employees in the process when hiring for their manager. I have been involved in the interview process for someone being hired as my manager twice. It’s not like I got final say, but they definitely cared about my opinion.

        They are the people who will be working with the manager every day. Why shouldn’t they get to share their thoughts? It shouldn’t be a popularity contest, but it should be about who you can imagine working with in that way and who you think would be a better fit for the role. *Especially* for internal candidates where you have had opportunity to work with them already. There are several people I can think of off the top of my head who I really like as people and enjoy working with them but would definitely not want to work for them as a manager.

        1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

          Yes, if the team are not professional about it, it’d be like students voting for best teacher. The thing is to make sure they’re talking about professional stuff, not whether Mary’s potluck contributions are delicious or Mark is good fun at the office party.

      7. GreenShoes*

        It should be somewhat of a factor. But more in the “Can this candidate be effective with the team” sort of way. I was once hiring for a warehouse supervisor position and I knew my team was squirrelly. But they had proven themselves to be competent, reliable, and a highly functional team. You bet I thought about that when hiring a supervisor for them.

        It clearly wasn’t the only factor that I considered, they had to have the skills and experience first and foremost.

        1. Bunny Lake Is Found*

          This is crucial, I think. We don’t know enough about LW2 and Mark’s team to know if it is a delicate eco system or not. From LW2’s letter, it sounds like the team members have A LOT of FEELS about this promotion, which makes me suspect that there are individuals who react very strongly to certain things and LW2’s boss took that into account.

      8. Observer*

        Is it common for employers to make decisions based on the preference of the people in the team?

        Not THAT common. But it’s not uncommon for people in the team to have input. I do think that it’s uncommon for that to be the whole basis of the decision. And I really hope that’s not the case here.

        Feels a bit like a popularity contest, right?

        Not if it’s done right. The idea is that people who have work with the candidate(s) often have valuable insight. Same idea with accepting that the team to be managed has some insight into what they need.

      9. Delta Delta*

        Maybe. But also maybe they’d like to know who the team feels they could respond to best in the management role. Maybe Mark has management-type qualities that people respond to, or maybe OP has team member qualities they prefer in that role. It’s hard to know on the third-hand limited information.

      10. Dust Bunny*

        My department gets input on the hiring of our supervisors, yes. I assume we don’t get the last say, but once there have been a certain number of interviews we do get to talk to the final set of candidates and then with the hiring committee, and I would say that my workplace is good about listening to lower-level employees.

      11. NotAnotherManager!*

        We have included critical team members in hiring decisions, but only the ones that we know would *not* have treated it like a popularity contest (rather, the ones who wanted a strong, qualified boss who could help them get stuff done). None of our hiring decisions are single-factor, and I typically want to know what makes someone prefer one candidate over another.

    4. tg33*

      I would be open to the possibility that the Co-workers preference is a lie. It may very well be genuine, but who knows?

    5. JSPA*

      We have only the boss’s word that it was the statements from the coworkers rather than the boss’s own choice…

      1. irene adler*

        And it’s the type of lie one would be hesitant to pursue (which I bet management is counting on).

    6. andy*

      > Her other coworkers, however: They’re the ones who said they preferred Mark to her, and now they’re ‘outraged’ and ‘upset’ enough to need consolation themselves? This all seems very performative on their parts.

      OP described range of reactions in coworkers. It very well might be that the ones being upset or outraged were not the ones preferring Mark.

    7. Raspberry Pancake Time*

      I gotta say, with the way these coworkers are behaving, LW2 might have dodged a bullet. Like, LW, do you REALLY want to be the preferred candidate of people who are putting all their emotional labor on you like this? I’d take it as a compliment that I’m *not* being lumped in with people behaving this way.

      1. House On The Rock*

        As a manager who has some exceptionally emotionally needy employees, I think this is the exact right take.

        These people are trying to pull LW into some kind of drama, whether out of outrage, guilt, or some (messy) combination. It’s pretty unprofessional behavior on their part to try to egg on someone who was just turned down for an internal position! I can’t see any upside in doing that except to fan flames. Plus it likely means they will have poor boundaries with their manager. Let Mark deal with that nonsense.

    8. Pink Candyfloss*

      I find myself wondering if LW has been carrying an emotional labor load for the office prior to this as a matter of course, and part of the reason Mark was chosen as the manager by the other employees could be they think of LW as their office therapist/support person and that changes their perception of wanting to lose LW in that capacity when they have them as a manager.

      People who become the emotional support center of an office also now often know things – personal things, even – about their co-workers that might make their co-workers hesitant to enter a direct reporting relationship with them later, as we’ve seen from other LWs in other situations. LW can ask themselves if they have always been people’s go-to for venting or consoliation or whatnot and if maybe it’s time to pull back from that in favor of a less personal, more boundary driven relationship. I get that I’m speculating here but there’s some things in this post that make me feel like it’s possible LW is finding themselves reaping the repercussions of previously more personal relationships in the office in an unexpected way.

    9. Sloanicota*

      I find it not at all uncommon that people will ask for inappropriate reassurance, and I’m not sure what the solution is. If you share bad news, like a health diagnosis, you can expect a certain percentage of the time you end up consoling and comforting the other person and minimizing your own difficulties. Someone who makes a choice that harms you, as in this case, will often seek your forgiveness indirectly without apologizing so they don’t have to feel bad. Part of the solution is that it’s okay for OP to Have Feelings here and admit at least to herself that it sucks! Withdraw a little from these coworkers if you know for sure they signaled dislike for your leadership! She doesn’t have to make nice right now if she doesn’t want to. I suspect she may end up job searching (I would) and that is how it goes sometimes. You can’t control how other people think and act but you can at least be real with yourself.

    10. spiriferida*

      It might be that the coworkers didn’t specifically say that they preferred Mark, but that in some form of evaluation or ranking, they tended to rank Mark higher – or ranked Mark higher in categories that were more important to management. It is possible that the coworkers were all asked ‘which candidate would you choose in this role’ and they all answered Mark, of course. Or it’s possible that more of them answered Mark than the LW. But the nuance of that is probably something that will come out in the review conversation, should the LW choose to go.

      1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        “ranked Mark higher in categories that were more important to management”

        I think this may be it, yes, and that’s why individual coworkers are thinking “but I sang LW’s praises, why wasn’t she appointed?”

        Some years ago I was in a similar position – Tangerina was leaving a position, and Clementine and I were the candidates to replace her. Tangerina was adept in ABCD&E, and the organisation had got used to having a unicorn. Meanwhile Clementine was strong in ABC and I was strong in CDE. There was a kind of caucus and eventually Clementine was appointed because evidently the organisation had collectively decided that A&B were more/most important. I was asked to take over CDE without the position (and honestly struggled not to tell them to pound sand). Within a few months it became evident that A&B didn’t matter after all, and Clementine couldn’t/wouldn’t do C after all, which I did instead with a helping of D&E.

        It will be obvious that I still have strong feelings about this! I hope I would be able to be more chill if they had turned out to be right about the importance of A&B.

  4. Not Australian*

    Maybe it’s just my suspicious nature, but it reads to me as if OP2 was never a serious candidate for that job. It was management that persuaded them to apply ‘after several requests’, simply because they needed another candidate to set against Mark whom they clearly already intended to have the role. OP could have produced the most wonderful platinum-plated performance ever at interview but it wouldn’t have mattered a bit: they were simply there as a fig-leaf for the process to shoo-in Mark. What’s more, Mark and the other colleagues have understood this and are not okay with it; they’re expecting OP to be disappointed with the process, not the result. Management are not being transparent here, and OP may want to consider whether or not to stay in the knowledge that they are capable of this kind of subterfuge.

    1. Brain the Brian*

      I actually read OP2 as fully understanding that she was simply a “fig leaf” — as you put it — but being completely okay with the biased process as well as the eventual outcome. And her coworkers need to respect that she’s okay with it all.

      1. Myrin*

        Yeah, it read to me like these situations where someone pesters you with “Am I annoying you? Are you annoyed with me??” and you started out not being annoyed at all but their constant questioning makes it so that NOW you’re brimming with annoyance.

        1. Event coordinator?*

          Right? And now OP has to go into a meeting that is going to be some sort of personality examination because their boss to then their coworkers don’t like them when they didn’t even want this in the first place. This is a not loss for OP- I’m sorry this is happening to you.

      2. Sorrischian*

        That’s definitely how I read it too – the problem isn’t that OP2 didn’t get the job, it’s that instead of saying “thanks for applying, here’s some general feedback for if you seriously pursue a similar role in the future”, their boss for some bizarre reason decided to tell them “by the way, your coworkers like Mark more than you” and now their coworkers are making their own discomfort OP2’s problem.

        1. Ophelia*

          Yes, this exactly. Like, I don’t think OP was really expecting to get much feedback or serious consideration, was pleased that the process went well on its face, and is happy to move on. And then her boss has thrown this weird feedback into the mix when it really didn’t need to be there at all.

    2. Colette*

      Maybe – or maybe she was seriously considered but they decided Mark would be better in the job after going through the process.

    3. Sloanicota*

      Unfortunately, the way a lot of our decisions are structured (non-profit) – we end up having to run sort of semi-fake processes around procurement and hiring to meet regulations. OP could indeed have been caught up in one, like they can’t move forward without three interviews so they MUST have another applicant at least on paper.

    4. Dust Bunny*

      This sounds like an overreach, especially considering all the advice AAM offers to not read too much into feedback from interviewers. The fact remains that there was only one position open so either the LW got it or she didn’t. It’s not like she could get part of it. It’s entirely possible that she was a very solid candidate but of course that doesn’t guarantee any of us the position.

    5. daffodil*

      This is more plausible than what I was thinking, which is that somebody was intentionally stirring up drama.

    6. Shandra*

      +1 to @Not Australian. I wonder if OP’s colleagues didn’t know that Mark was up for the job, when they were asked for their input about OP.

      My friend Terry got a lateral job transfer which they neither wanted nor asked for. Their former boss thought Terry was up for a promotion, when management asked him about what Terry did for him day-to-day.

  5. Zombeyonce*

    #1: I’d love to hear the boss’ wife’s perspective on her 6 pregnancies. I’m willing to bet a lot of money that his assertion that she “had no problems” doesn’t quite match up to her memory. He sounds like a peach.

    1. BubbleTea*

      Right?! She had no issues at all! His wife getting pregnant, giving birth, and raising six children hasn’t inconvenienced him even slightly! *eye roll*

    2. Raspberry Pancake Time*

      I came here to say exactly this. Looking at my own grandparents (my grandmothers also had six children each!), there’s a 99.999999% chance that the wife was *not* completely fine during her pregnancies, but that her husband just minimized and ignored her suffering because it wasn’t inconveniencing *him* any. It’s not like *he* was doing any of the work–and probably didn’t do any of the parenting work after the births, either.

      There’s also like a 90% chance that the wife didn’t actually *want* that many kids, but that’s possibly just me angrily recalling my own poor grandmothers, who wanted one, maybe two kids max each. But their husbands were either Catholic (“all birth control is eeeebil!!!!!11”) or refused to take any precautions because that’s the “woman’s job” and “condoms make my weewee sad :(” but, oh, don’t you dare get on the pill, or people will question my virility!

      1. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

        That second paragraph is just speculative though. And there are PLENTY of actual reasons to dis him without guessing more into existence.

        It’s also not very complementary to his wife to assume she has no agency.

        1. Raspberry Pancake Time*

          I *literally* pointed out it was me speculating on my own grandmothers’ awful experiences.

          Also, I never said the wife had no agency. She could be Wonder Woman and still end up screwed over by her husband’s behavior. Please don’t assume things I never said.

          1. LR*

            You also said there was a 90% chance his wife was having that same experience though. It’s a level of fan fiction that is just totally uncalled for and added to the idea that women who aren’t doing things your way are just mindless fembots with no autonomy. It’s infantilizing women under the guise of feminism.

            1. Raspberry Pancake Time*

              No. Absolutely NO. That is NOT what I think, and not what I was trying to say. Like, as soon as I posted that, I worried it would be misunderstood, and it was, but I got called away before I could fix it, and forgot it. I get why you’d come to that conclusion, but it’s not what I was trying to say.

              And uhhhhh…there’s some serious fanfiction about my comment going on in your own, JSYK.

        2. Dust Bunny*

          Nobody said she had no agency. I know plenty of women who were openly and vocally miserable throughout pregnancies but whose husbands still remember it as being “not that bad” when it suits them.

    3. irene adler*

      Well, HE definitely had no problems.

      Before, during or after the pregnancies, in fact.

      On that, I’m sure.

    4. Observer*

      I’m willing to bet a lot of money that his assertion that she “had no problems” doesn’t quite match up to her memory

      I’m not!

      For one thing, the level of misery that the OP is experiencing is not THAT uncommon, but it’s not close to the norm (fortunately!) And I know people who really have had simple and uncomplicated pregnancies. I know that worked literally till I went into labor, with minimal disruption.

      Not that it matters! *My* experience of pregnancy has nothing to do with anyone ELSE’S experience of pregnancy. Same goes for Boss’s wife. It simply doesn’t matter. And THAT is the important point. Someone should tell him that what happened to his wife has zero to do with anyone else and that bringing it up into the discussion is beyond inappropriate.

      He sounds like a peach.

      That’s probably kinder than he deserves.

      1. Artemesia*

        I worked right up till delivery both times and never had morning sickness and felt great throughout my pregnancies. My own mother had the same experience. I was lucky and alas didn’t pass my good genes to my daughter who struggled with morning sickness in hers.

        But what does my good luck and easy pregnancy have to do with the OP’s situation? Hers is not the worst — but it is obviously tough and for a boss, to argue that since his wife wasn’t plagued by morning sickness, she should be over it by now is just peak insensitive and inconsiderate.

        Definitely one for HR. And I hope things got. alot better once she got past the midpoint of her pregnancy.

        1. Observer*

          But what does my good luck and easy pregnancy have to do with the OP’s situation? Hers is not the worst — but it is obviously tough and for a boss, to argue that since his wife wasn’t plagued by morning sickness, she should be over it by now is just peak insensitive and inconsiderate.

          Exactly. His wife’s experience is beyond irrelevant, and he needs to shut up.

    5. Jane Bingley*

      I mean, a friend of mine had seven pregnancies and they were all super smooth. She was also careful to be specific that she had seven pregnancies in part BECAUSE they were so smooth! If they’d been painful, involved a lot of vomiting, left her exhausted, or if she had serious health risks, they would have made different choices about their family size. She sees her good fortune as good fortune, not a bludgeon for punishing others who aren’t as lucky.

    6. rebelwithmouseyhair*

      And anyway, she has a husband in a managerial role with a managerial salary and great health insurance etc. so she’s probably a SAHM with that many kids. And he has no idea that she’s spent most afternoons napping because she’s half-dead with sleepless nights and all those kids to deal with.

      1. This Old House*

        I mean, the letter literally said Boss’s Wife was able to continue working full-time, so she was at least not a SAHM throughout all of her pregnancies. It’s possible something has changed, but the available evidence points to her having a full-time job. Many mothers of large families work.

    7. LW 1*

      Ugh, I hated that he made that comparison. Like how would you truly know, man who has never experienced pregnancy?? She also wasn’t working up to 44 hours a week like I am. I’m sure if I was working part time it would make a HUGE difference. Exhaustion begets more morning sickness, unfortunately.

      1. Observer*

        Honestly, when talking to HR, I wouldn’t even get into that. It’s simply a matter of “Her experience has nothing to do with me, and it’s completely inappropriate for him to insist that I should be working to her timetable and health.”

        I mean she could have been in a physically demanding 60 hour a week job, and it STILL would not matter. He has no business bringing it up! Of course the different circumstances do make his attitude a but more eye-rolly. But fundamentally the problem is that he’s a jerk that thinks that his (perceived?) experience with ONE set of pregnancies gives him standing to not just have OPINIONS but to actually push an employee on the experience of her pregnancy.

      2. RLS*

        He has absolutely nothing of value to say about this and needs to shut his mouth. I hope you can find a way to feel better and enjoy your new baby, congratulations and I’m sorry he’s choosing to taint this time in this way.

  6. Serenity by Jan*

    To LW1, literally feel your pain. I am 7 months pregnant and also dealt with bad nausea that resulted in taking several unplanned days off throughout the first trimester. That’s what PTO is for after all. I’m still dealing with some queasiness and a small appetite into the third trimester, but it’s not nearly as bad as the first 3-4 months. Some of us are just unlucky when it comes to nausea.

    Your manager is a total jerk. Hooray for his wife that she got lucky with nausea for her six pregnancies – not relevant to you. And yes, Kate Middleton had to be hospitalized with nausea – that’s the other end of the extreme. Going to HR wasn’t the first thing that came to my mind for your situation , but Alison is right. His obtuseness makes him a liability and it should be reported. He might deny it, but he’s making what is already a rough situation for you even worse. Hang in there and best of luck!

    At the very least, warn him that what he is saying violates you in your temporary protected class status.

    1. Ellis Bell*

      I don’t know what’s more exasperating about this guy: that he’s got two pieces of anecdata of the two extremes of pregnancy and still can’t figure out that there’s a scale, that he’s trying to judge OP’s pregnancy for her at all, that he’s implying he’d be more cool with it if she was hospitalized, that he’s invoking the unspoken mysterious prejudices of senior people as a given, that he’s giving his wife the right way to be pregnant award …… I don’t know how OP has contained herself. She should go to HR but the temptation to say something snarky must be immense.

      1. Hlao-roo*

        It’s morning sickness ignorance bingo!

        The “he’s got two pieces of anecdata of the two extremes of pregnancy and still can’t figure out that there’s a scale” and “he’s implying he’d be more cool with it if she was hospitalized” are the most exasperating for me because he’s *so close* to recognizing that the LW has a valid reason to use sick time and still so, so far from being cool with LW using her sick time.

        1. Sloanicota*

          This is just my own ignorance, but FMLA isn’t automatic with a pregnancy is it? I have complete sympathy for OP but in my office, taking multiple sick leaves every week for several months would have to be documented, even if you do have the time available. AFAIK that just means OP would document the situation and be eligible for intermittent FMLA leave and now the boss wouldn’t be able to ding her for excessive absences. I could see that being tough if FMLA is all that covers the maternity leave though :( We have a separate pot for that where I am.

          1. Always a Corncob*

            You need a doctor to complete paperwork that you submit to your employer in order to take FMLA leave. In OP’s case, it should be easily obtained through her OB. But yes, if the company doesn’t have a separate maternity leave policy, OP would be taking time out of her leave to use during the pregnancy. (Also, I feel compelled to note that FMLA is limited in its application, such that about half of US workers aren’t covered by it at all.)

          2. Totally Minnie*

            FMLA isn’t automatic, and it only covers up to 12 weeks, so a lot of people prefer to wait and use it for their parental leave after the birth, but laws about pregnancy discrimination kick in as soon as your boss knows/suspects that you’re pregnant. He’s coming very close to breaking the law whether LW is using FMLA or not.

      2. Snow Globe*

        EvilSnowGlobe thinks that it’s time for the LW to have a meeting in the boss’s office at a time when she’s not feeling well, and then, oops, vomit into his waste basket. Do that a couple of times, and he likely won’t object to the LW taking time off.

      3. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

        Morning sickness doesn’t exist! I knew someone who had to be hospitalized for morning sickness!

    2. Joielle*

      This letter reminded me so much of my husband’s awful experience with his chronic illness and a very crappy boss. Not pregnancy-related but it’s an illness that involves a lot of vomiting at unpredictable times!

      At one point the boss told my husband that she once had a direct report with MS who didn’t need as much time off as him (clearly implying that he was exaggerating his symptoms and should suck it up). Which… yes, different people with different chronic illnesses have different day to day experiences and need different accommodations. Just because his chronic illness isn’t likely to kill him doesn’t mean that he can work through it when he’s throwing up every 20 minutes for 12 hours and in 10/10 pain.

      He ended up quitting that job with nothing lined up because her awfulness was causing so much stress that it was making his symptoms worse. Looking back, I wish he had gone to HR first, but at the time he just needed to get out of there. I still wish her all the worst, though.

    3. Ally*

      Would it be too passive aggressive to look surprised and when he mentions the sickness say, “Oh! I didn’t realise you had a medical background! What medical area did you used to work in?” Or something like that?

      Probably too pass ag now that I’ve typed it out …

  7. Bayta Darrell*

    LW 1. as someone who also suffered from severe nausea and vomiting that lasted into the second trimester, I’m sorry you’re dealing with this. Alison has excellent advice, as always. I would just add that if you haven’t done so already, talk to your practitioner and see if what you’re experiencing qualifies as hyperemesis gravidarum. If it does, then use that phrase at work instead of saying morning sickness. Make sure to also say something like “my doctor diagnosed me.” Hyperemesis gravidarum is a serious condition, and though it’s not something your boss or HR may be familiar with, having it as a named condition can give it more weight. Also, there are medications that you can take for nausea and vomiting that are safe and effective, and were literally the only way I could function during the first half of my pregnancy. They may help you to miss less time and feel better. Again, your practitioner will know best.

    Hopefully this resolves soon. Pregnancy is stressful enough without this kind of work stress.

    1. Tired*

      Seconded. I had HG for my entire pregnancy and there were days I couldn’t get out of bed. People who haven’t experienced HG don’t understand it at all; they think you’re being overdramatic or malingering. I got to the point where if one more person asked me if I’d tried ginger ale and saltines I was going to scream. If a male supervisor or colleague had told me his wife had managed to work through all 97 of her pregnancies I think I would have punched him in the face.

      LW#1, please do go to HR. They need to be made aware of your supervisor’s comments, because they’re inappropriate and discriminatory.

      1. KTB*

        “HaVe YoU tRiEd ✨cRaCkErS✨?”

        Ugh. I eventually moved on from rage and just had dreams of vomiting on people who suggested obvious things when I was still sick well into my second trimester.

        1. Delta Delta*

          I’m a jerk sometimes so I’d be tempted to gasp, “no! What are these crackers you speak of?!”

        2. atalanta0jess*

          I didn’t have anything close to HG, but did have nausea that was outside the typical, and I SWEAR, if one more person had suggested crackers or ginger, I just don’t even know.

          I was astonished to find that after I started taking unisom and B6, crackers or ginger actually did help. It really helped me understand that what I was experiencing was different than what they were imagining.

          1. Serenity by Jan*

            I also don’t think I got to the point of HG, but I did get to the point where crackers and ginger ale grossed me out. Seabands helped. I also went the B6 and Unisom route as suggested by my doctor. I’m trying to wean myself off Unisom, but I have a yucky day still whenever I do.

            This experience has made me so much more empathetic to women who suffer from HG. I was very flexible when a direct report had health issues two years ago and she was a savior covering a project we’re working on together when I was taking several random days off during the first trimester. I didn’t even tell her I was pregnant but she knew I wasn’t well and was relieved when I eventually told her the reason for my absences. What goes around, comes around. And if the boss ever gets ill, he probably wouldn’t appreciate hearing “oh, my dad never missed a day of work when he was battling cancer and undergoing chemo.”

    2. Cat Tree*

      Good idea. It’s unfortunate that some people are like this, but using “my doctor says it’s real” will sometimes carry more weight than the person’s own evaluation of their sickness.

    3. LR*

      Hard, hard disagree.

      The answer to this is NOT “he needs and deserves more of your personal medical information to be ok with you using your sick leave.”

      Please do not attempt to normalize people with health conditions sharing specific diagnoses with judgmental managers so that those managers do those managers can *maybe* decide their health issues are valid enough to warrant the use of their sick time.

      OP is getting sick at work, to the point she cannot work and/or is throwing up. She is using her sick time appropriately. Extra conversations with her doctor or information for her manager is not the issue, or the solution.

      If he’s enough of a sexist, oblivious jerk that he is explaining how to be pregnant right to an employee, the best action is to loop in HR, so they know what she’s dealing with if it escalates, not get his approval for pregnanting right.

      1. Observer*

        Extra conversations with her doctor or information for her manager is not the issue, or the solution.

        Specific information for her supervisor? Agreed. Letting boss know that you actually HAVE spoken to your doctor and can DOCUMENT a diagnosis (preferably with HR)? Definitely worthwhile.

        And DEFINITELY conversation with her doctor. It shocking how little doctors will do for this stuff unless and until an woman starts dropping weight or starts showing “objective” symptoms of dehydration. So pushing the doctor to treat this as the significant medical problem that it is rather than “Yeah, that’s what happens in pregnancy” can be helpful.

        Of course, OP, we don’t know where your doctor falls on the scale. So please do ignore this part if your doctor is being actually helpful.

      2. LW 1*

        I agree. I don’t want to give him more info for him to analyze and make comments about. But to be clear, my doc says I don’t have HG. I don’t throw up quite *enough* for that.

        1. Observer*

          If you haven’t please do push your doctor for anything might help. You may not be throwing up enough for a diagnosis of HG, but you ARE throwing up and nauseous enough that medication is warranted if it would be effective for you.

    4. Eulerian*

      I had HG too, was hospitalised many times. But it’s fair to point out that bad morning sickness, even if it doesn’t qualify as HG, is still pretty debilitating and can require time off work. I don’t think OP should have to seek a more severe diagnosis to try to be taken more seriously.

    5. Observer*

      Also, there are medications that you can take for nausea and vomiting that are safe and effective

      Yes, PLEASE push your doctor on this. Too many practitioners really don’t take advantage of what is available.

      1. Turquoisecow*

        Yea. It was only when I was still nauseous in month four that my OB finally prescribed medication, which helped immensely. The first three months they told me it was normal, even though I had lost weight. Ask for medication!

        “Morning” sickness can last all day or not come on until the afternoon, and every pregnancy is different from the last so a woman who is no morning sickness in he first pregnancy might have it in the second. Over six kids, I wouldn’t be surprised if the wife did experience nausea but didn’t talk about it much, or if the boss is remembering kid 5 and 6 but she was nauseous for kids 1 – 4. Or maybe she didn’t tell him about it and he went off to work and she stayed home and threw up all morning. I definitely didn’t tell my husband every time I threw up, so he may not have had an accurate picture of how I was feeling. And I definitely didn’t tell other people – my go to answer for “how are you feeling?” Was “ok, just tired.” So some people are probably thinking I didn’t have nausea at all because I didn’t talk about it.

      2. LW 1*

        Thanks. I am aware of the options and have spoken to my doc several times. My doc has given me a few different options to try. So far nothing has worked and the side effects are really awful.

        1. Observer*

          Sorry, I wrote my other reply above before seeing this.

          I’m sorry that the medications are not doing it for you.

    6. NotRealAnonForThis*

      Definitely sympathy and well wishes and a hope that this resolves itself soon, LW!

      I was very lucky in that when I was carrying my first, though I was consistently queasy and nauseous, I was in the field rather than the office. I dealt with tradesmen who felt me an equal. Therefore, there was a lot of genuine concern and a sentiment of “hey. We understand. Is there anything we can do or go grab for you at lunch so that you’re just a bit less uncomfortable/miserable? You’ve discussed this with your doctor, correct? Etc.” and less of the “….this is…..annoying and over the top” which is what I got with my second, and was in the office. The guys in the field were willing to act on things that actually DID help, too, without a second ask. In the office? Three requests and a doctors note later, my office chair was temporarily replaced with one that didn’t cause pain, two weeks before my due date. ::frown::

      I was markedly sicker the first go, for the record.

  8. Jaxon Duke*

    @OP1: my pet chupacabra had absolutely terrible morning sickness, but because it was a mythical pet and didn’t actually exist, FMLA unfortunately didn’t apply and my boss rightly told me to get my butt to work. Guess what? You’re real, your baby is real, you’re awesome, and your boss is an a$$. Report him to HR, and focus on being a rockstar parent. Congratulations to you, and best wishes to your family.

    1. Slow Gin Lizz*

      My very first thought, after I got over the shock of what a jerk the boss is, was that OP needs to go over his head immediately. I suppose if OP thinks the boss is approachable enough that she could talk to him first she could do that, but this situation is awful enough that HR or her grandboss should be made aware regardless of whether OP talks to her boss too.

      1. EPLawyer*

        This isn’t a try to talk to your boss first. Which she has kinda tried anyway. This is a go directly to HR situation. Lay it all out for them everything he has said.

  9. Allonge*

    LW1 – this is a ‘great’ example of a manager who has a legit issue to solve – not OP’s fault of course, but having someone out a day per week does have a work impact – and instead of doing anything approaching constructive, the manager chooses to be an absolute jerk to OP who will not be able to solve this. What a stellar human being.

    1. Snoozing not schmoozing*

      From LW1’s letter: “Despite all this, I have managed to keep up with all of my deadlines.” That doesn’t sound like a negative work impact to me.

      1. EPLawyer*

        Which a good boss would have taken something off her plate. Just because she IS meeting her deadlines shouldn’t mean nothing changes. Someone going through a rough patch for whatever reason, you cut them some slack and help them out. You don’t get snotty at them or ignore it because hey deadlines are being met, what’s the problem?

        Reducing your staff’s stress where you can is a good thing.

    2. Dahlia*

      That isn’t what OP said, actually. They said they’ve gone home EARLY once or twice a day, and they’ve still managed to keep up with all their deadlines. There is no mention of them going home early affecting anyone else’s work or even their own.

    3. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

      I will probably get piled on for this, but leaving early 20-40% of the time over a sustained period is a lot. If the reason was something other than pregnancy there would have been a conversation by now in most companies.

      1. CommanderBanana*

        It’s also temporary. The pregnancy will end! Also, why are you building a straw man about other companies and other scenarios?

      2. Hi, I’m Troy McClure*

        Well, sometimes things happen where a worker can’t be totally present, because we are humans and not robots. Pretty much every worker is going to need that kind of understanding at SOME point in their career.

      3. SMH*

        Out of curiosity what are you advising OP do? Stay at work and throw up on everything or go on FMLA early or quit? I’m not really understanding what you think is reasonable.

        I tore my meniscus last year around April but it wasn’t diagnosed until almost June- long story. Any way I worked from home a bit more and had to avoid going on a work trip because I couldn’t walk long distances. Overall I probably missed about the same as OP but I could take heavy dose of over the counter medication and function most days. My company never said a word and just asked to keep them posted on what the doctors found out and if I would need surgery. They weren’t prying but actually concerned. I think normal companies understand injuries and pregnancies.

      4. Presea*

        I don’t think you should get piled onto, but I do want to say – I don’t really see how your comment’s actionable for the LW or anyone else. She’s accrued enough sick leave, she’s staying on top of her deadlines, she IS pregnant which is a legally protected status in the US, and her question isn’t about how her pregnancy is impacting her work impact anyway – it’s about her boss being an ass. We don’t have reason to suspect she would respond negatively to legitimate work concerns.

        1. CommanderBanana*

          Yes, but what about some other totally hypothetical situation at a different imaginary company involving different invented people?? /s

          Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd, if you’re salty about the LW needing time off because she’s sick because she’s pregnant, you can just say that.

      5. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

        There are lots of studies that show that the workweek could be reduced quite a bit without much impact on productivity. The LW indicates that it is not affecting her work, so we should believe her in that. Otherwise it’s just butts in seats, which is a particularly bad reason to target someone in a protected class.

      6. Irish Teacher.*

        Honestly, I would consider it problematic if there was a conversation for any genuine and time-bound reason, whether it be pregnancy or adjusting to medication or a medical condition or a family crisis. I have a number of colleagues who have had adaptations to working hours for various reasons – mostly care-giving responsibilities. Now a lot of these involve unpaid time off, but they are far longer periods than the LW has been leaving early for, in some cases, years. I also have a colleague who in the first term this year had a tragic bereavement, after which she missed a week or two, then had pneumonia, then covid. She probably missed 1-2 months in total, all of which would have been paid. Obviously, that was not a problem.

        There are plenty of reasons – surgeries for example – that would have a person missed weeks or months at a time. Having to leave early a few days a week for a couple of months…shouldn’t be that big a deal.

      7. EPLawyer*

        Depends on the reason. Calling out all the time just because, going to get a conversation.
        Known medical issue that might require a little bit of accomodation here and there, decent companies work with people to do what they can.

      8. Eulerian*

        Yes, true. Illness is inconvenient.

        Do you want her to be less sick and take less time off?

        What about a cancer sufferer – would you like them to get less treatment so they don’t have to leave work as often?

        I’m not entirely sure what your point is.

      9. Francie Foxglove*

        So the boss could come up with a way to work around that. Instead, he’s griping about how her probably-exaggerated medical condition makes her look (allegedly) like a slacker. Way to manage.

        I think OP should get out in front of this. Go to HR, and maybe grandboss, and tell them *now* what’s really happening. Don’t wait for boss to slander her in the next review.

      10. LW 1*

        As you should. You’re making wild incorrect assumptions about the amount of time I’m taking and then judging based on that.

        To be clear, my work is fine. I’m a government analyst. My projects are big and long and there are many many stakeholders with fingers in the pie. I am not dropping any balls and I am not taking 20-40% of my time off. I just looked at the month I took the most time off in and it was 13%. Please don’t exaggerate and make stuff up about my letter.

      11. Jennifer Strange*

        If the reason was something other than pregnancy there would have been a conversation by now in most companies.

        I mean, yes, if the situation was different there would be a different outcome. And I disagree that if the reason was something other than pregnancy there would have been a conversation, because I think if the reason is tied to any sort of health issue there would (hopefully!) be grace and understanding.

      12. Shandra*

        While this isn’t OP’s situation, I see where @Captain is coming from.

        Often an employer will simply shift an absent employee’s work to other people, with no regard for their own workloads or how the extra tasks may affect them long-term.

        I am speaking from experience. Eventually I knew 1:1 why my colleague’s leave kept getting extended. My issue was that HR kept saying another month, another month after they knew that was no longer the case.

        Until I said something, I think they didn’t realize that if they said someone was out through February 28, others were expecting the person back on March 1. I had postponed time off believing my colleague would be back soon, therefore it’d be simpler to wait.

      13. Appletini*

        What a noble martyr you are, pushing back against those lazy sorts who use physical conditions as a reason to not devote 100% to work.

    4. Observer*

      is is a ‘great’ example of a manager who has a legit issue to solve – not OP’s fault of course, but having someone out a day per week does have a work impact –

      Actually, the OP is taking time that she’s entitled to. And she’s not taking a day a week – some weeks she’s managed to keep it as low as 2 hours!

      More importantly, she’s MEETING ALL HER DEADLINES.

      In other words, he does NOT have a “legitimate issue to solve.” Which is why his threats and comments are vague – not “Grandboss of Teapot launchers is going to be ticked that the timelines for setting up the launchpad are going to slip” but “someone might wonder if you are really allowed to take your sick time and if you really need it.”

      1. Allonge*

        Some – good – managers would consider ‘my employee has to work at 130% effectiveness while sick’ a legit issue to solve and try to take some things off OP’s table. That’s the legit issue.

  10. Our Lady of the Cats*

    LW at the charity shop–there’s one other possibility that seemed to jump out at me, and that’s something that I’ve often seen happen at very low-stakes employment situations (PTA groups are another place)– Jane and Julie are having a power struggle. Both with each other, and with the volunteers. THEY are the frame-pricers, NOT you. Frame pricing is a VERY VERY important task that only the most important people can do.
    It’s 100% about them, not about you. It’s extraordinarily nice, kind, and generous of you to volunteer, and if you can decide to get past the little power skirmishes, and just focus on helping the charity, that’s wonderful. Otherwise–why not volunteer somewhere where your skills are valued?
    Just my two cents!

    1. DawnShadow*

      This was my thought as well. And you’re right – sometimes the lower the stakes, the worse people seem to be about power struggles.

    2. Chilipepper Attitude*

      Bingo! My mom worked at a charity shop and this description fits perfectly. It is very much about them and their power struggles.

    3. High Score!*

      Yes, this! I stopped volunteering at a local museum that I love. I’m highly qualified, but I already work 40 hour weeks at a paying job, so my time is limited. The volunteer coordinators were condescending, narcissistic, and a pain to work with. No more non profit work for me! I still go to the museum though and support them financially.

      1. Devo Forevo*

        Thank you for still supporting the museum – volunteer coordinator is often a high turnover position, and one bad hire can alienate half your docents. Those relationships take years to rebuild, long after the employee has moved on.

    4. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I had a less charitable idea–one of them could be pricing certain frames low for a friend to buy.

      Regardless of reason, there’s other things need doing elsewhere if not here.

    5. BreakingDishes*

      I’m LW3-volunteer at a charity shop.
      I hadn’t thought about power struggles. Or hanging onto what little power Jane and Julie might have in their jobs, I don’t begrudge them that. It helped so much just to be able to share this at AskAManager and get some feedback.
      Recently on a day I did not measure frames, I worked on another task. The person responsible for that department was not present during my volunteer time. They approached me on my next day and thanked me for my help. They also offered a few tips that would help me the next time I might have the same task.
      I’m fine with paid staff doing all pricing, but not with being scolded for pricing after being asked. Going forward, on my-not-measuring-frames-day I will do other tasks decided by managerial staff. I’ll get to know others and get some variety.

      1. Glomarization, Esq.*

        I’m fine with paid staff doing all pricing, but not with being scolded for pricing after being asked.

        You can say exactly that out loud to both Jane and Julie. Grown adults do not scold other grown adults.

      2. Michelle Smith*

        That sounds like a great approach, and kudos to you for still being willing to contribute to this charity’s mission!

      3. coffee*

        It does sound like a power struggle! And I think you’ve got a great plan for what you’re going to do going forward.

    6. The Eye of Argon*

      Yep, I can remember in the menswear department of the store I worked at there were two long-timers, Peggy and Hope, who were at war with each other. They weren’t managers or department leads or anything, just really stubborn and had very different ideas about merchandising.

      The department manager solved the problem by declaring one half of the department Peggy’s turf and the other half Hope’s. God help you if you did something “Hope’s way” in Peggy’s half and vice versa. Each also had their preferred coworkers and didn’t like them being made to do things in the other’s area.

      Nothing worse than petty tyrants.

    7. Marketing Unicorn Ninja*

      I came here to say the same thing. I actually stopped volunteering at my church’s thrift shop because life is too short to be micro-managed by people who are engaged in a power struggle over how to sort photo frames (by size vs by color, as an example.)

      I volunteer because I want to give back to my community. I’m not interested in being part of someone’s pissing contest.

    8. Bridget*

      Or, they just don’t really need OP. People tend to assume that any and all volunteering is welcome and necessary just because it’s a charity. But not everything can be done by volunteers and yes, volunteers have to be supervised. Most nonprofits will try to find a place when someone wants to volunteer because they want to nurture relationships, but that doesn’t mean that what they’re doing was an urgent need.

  11. Luna*

    LW1 – Your boss needs to back off and needs to be told to back off. This is really close or already at harassment over your pregnant state, which is a protected ‘class’, if I recall correctly. Especially with the comment about his wife, maybe just a quick reminder, “I’m not your wife, [boss].” Every pregnancy is different, after all.

    On a personal note, I would like to suggest to talk to your gyno and doctor about how bad your morning sickness is, but I’m presuming that they are aware about it and its severity and have not labelled it as hyperemesis gravidarum. I do hope your morning sickness will become more manageable.

  12. Caroline*

    LW1 – please send us an update whatever you decide to do! This boss is enraging.
    Sending you all the best wishes for a healthy pregnancy and baby.

  13. Tau*

    LW4 – Addendum to Alison’s point, if you do bring up the pattern with your boss, it’s useful to cite specific examples where it was not you but another junior person who was denied credit. It’s really unfair in a situation like this but fact is that pointing out that you didn’t get the kudos you deserved can make someone dismiss you with “sour grapes” or “glory hog”, even when the disparity is real and unfair. But if you’re pointing out that someone else didn’t get the kudos they deserved you’re standing up for your coworkers – and if they address the pattern they’ll catch it when it happens with you too.

    Asking some of your fellow coworkers if this is bothering them too, and possibly going to your boss as a group, might also be an option.

    1. Daisy-dog*

      Yes, it is such a difficult balance to highlight when you feel like you’re not getting recognition without coming across as bitter. So definitely come up with examples of your co-workers. The closer your examples are to situations that have happened to you, the better.

      A good manager will want to know that you don’t feel appreciated. Just bringing it up by yourself could risk appearing entitled (a word that I despise).

  14. Warrior Princess xena*

    LW4 – this is very much dependent on what kind of business you are in, but in my workplace at least the senior managers don’t actually have a lot of exposure to the staff/interns. There’s some, but they see the work of the supervisors/managers far more frequently, and the supervisors/managers are a lot more hands on.

    The solution we’ve implemented is that the supervisors/managers be proactive in highlighting the accomplishments of their juniors, and for senior managers etc to keep an eye on those accomplishments and extend additional praises. It’s a little awkward but helps.

    1. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

      I used to email my grandboss to congratulate people on my team when they did something noteworthy.

      1. Relentlessly Socratic*

        Same. It takes a village, and the uppers need to be reminded sometimes.

        And when I would give shout-outs to larger teams, I would triple-check the list of shout-outs to be sure I captured everyone (and sometimes I didn’t and would post a follow-up with kudos).

  15. English Rose*

    LW4 – what about setting the tone yourself by giving kudos to other junior staff members who’ve made a great contribution? That would raise awareness while making you look like a generous team player, not an a-hole.

  16. Kate*

    LW1, I am so sorry to hear that your boss is such a jerk. I hope things get better for you, both health-wise and on the work front. I was so lucky that my company and team did everything right during my recent high-risk, very challenging pregnancy. When I mentioned that I was so exhausted that I was napping on the floor during my lunch break, one of the partners in my group (I work in law but am not a lawyer) offered to bring in an air mattress for me so I’d be more comfortable. (I declined – the optics felt off.) When I had bleeding in the first trimester and my OB said I’d need to take it easy for two weeks, HR requested a note as a formality so I could WFH full-time. When I had another bleeding spell a week later, and asked HR if I’d need another note, the HR manager said, “There was no end date on that note so as far as I’m concerned it covers your entire pregnancy. You should WFH as much as you need to.” Now my son is eight months old and everyone has continued to be supportive as I deal with all the pumping and exhaustion that comes with two young children.

    In case anyone wants to know what a company doing it right looks like.

  17. JSPA*

    #1; someone has posted here in the past about a boss laying off the comments after she puked on him. This is obviously not something you can or should do on purpose. But if you’re hyperemetic, It may frankly be as simple as not moving heaven and Earth to avoid it.

    Carry a wastebasket with you… and if he’s in range and hassling you when you can’t hold out, then instead of running from the room, use the wastebasket, without worrying too much whether his carpet or his desk or he are fully out of splash range.

    “Sorry, I usually go home when my stomach is on a hair-trigger, but it came on fast this time” is all you need to say.

  18. Caroline*

    Love this! ”People might think”

    (Perplexed look) ”Which people? Really? Who? Who exactly? Let’s go talk to them now and report them to HR”.

    Taking into account how awful you are currently feeling – and it suuuuuuckkks epically (but truly, as the weeks go by, it will quite likely at least somewhat improve – very small consolation, but fingers crossed for you), would it be worth asking for a meeting with your boss where you lay out for him things he has said (some of which are likely thoughtless stupidity vs active nastiness) and ask him if he’d prefer you to vomit into a wastepaper basket at your office desk so as not to miss a moment of desk time? Kidding! Or am I?

    Interesting that he’s full of info on those who have had it far worse than you WHILE saying you should be past this by now. Which is it? I mean, one intrepretation might be to go full-ball ill and get signed off for weeks by an accommodating OB, you know, due to the sickness, while you’re in a protected class. Just a thought.

    1. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

      “Why would people think that since I’m getting all my work done? “

  19. Janet Pinkerton*

    LW 1, if talking to HR doesn’t work, go to your union rep. (I have never actually heard of someone “going to HR” in the way that’s referenced here. It’s either the union or the boss’s boss in my agency. But that might be our quirk.)

    An important note: this shouldn’t be a FMLA violation because you need to be saving your FMLA for your parental leave. If you use your FMLA for pregnancy then you’re cutting into the amount of paid parental leave you get after the baby is born. (Do I think this is dumb? Yes. But it’s how it works for us.)

      1. Janet Pinkerton*

        Hah, I chose my username just like Jan said her boyfriend was George Glass. Something near me was pink and I went from there. But you’re right! I hope I’m not indicating an interest in strikebreaking!!!

    1. Nikki*

      FMLA is not the same as paid parental leave. FMLA is just a guarantee that workers can take time away from their jobs for up to 12 weeks and the job or an equivalent job will still be available on their return. It says nothing about requiring pay for that time. In the LW’s case, if she’s already used up all of her paid leave for earlier morning sickness absences, she might have no choice but to use FMLA now. That’s what FMLA is there for, to allow for absence for things like illness. It’s possible her company’s parental leave policy is not affected by how much FMLA she takes before the birth. My company does not tie parental leave to FMLA at all, you still get the full amount even if you’ve previously used some FMLA leave.

      1. Janet Pinkerton*

        I know. I was referring to how the US federal government has implemented paid parental leave for its employees. Under that system, at least for my federal employer, you are invoking FMLA to take paid parental leave.

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

      She may not have a union. HR would be the first step because the boss is discriminating against her .

    3. Michelle Smith*

      Going to HR is the norm for most because HR is the department of most companies, nonprofits, and government agencies that has the role (among others, of course) of protecting the organization from lawsuits, like the one they are gearing up to have if this boss keeps illegally discriminating against LW1 on the basis of her pregnancy, a protected class in the US. The percentage of people in labor unions in the US (where most commenters are from) is only about 10%. Going to a union rep is not an option for the vast, vast majority of people here.

      1. Janet Pinkerton*

        Government employees are much more likely than the general public to be union-eligible, and she says she’s a government analyst. That’s why I made the recommendation.

  20. Vistaloopy*

    Op1, I feel your pain. I was sick throughout my entire pregnancy. I did discover the magical combo of unisom/vitamin b6 about halfway through, which didn’t fully stop the nausea but did curb the vomiting. That, and eating copious amounts of protein, especially meat. As in burgers. For a while I was going to 5 Guys about three times a week. It was glorious. Feel better!!

  21. Media Monkey*

    because what every pregnant women needs is a man to tell her how she should be feeling.

    1. I Am Your Grandmother*

      Exactly what I was thinking, after I stopped seeing red! It always amazes me how some dude thinks he understands your pregnancy better than you do. I would be at HR so fast he’d feel the breeze. OP, there’s a lot of good advice in this chat. Wishing you and your baby all the best.

    2. Observer*

      I don’t think that it being a man really matters here. NO ONE should be telling her that she “should be over it by now.” It’s not, and he needs to shut up. But that would be true even if the boss were a woman with 10 live births.

      1. Michelle Smith*

        You’re right that it would be wrong in that case as well and that the advice to her would be the same, but I disagree that his gender is not relevant here. People have even created a gender-specific term for what he’s doing, precisely because the gender dynamics of a man in a position of power dictating how a woman’s body should work are particularly egregious. I don’t think there is anything at all wrong with pointing that out.

    3. peacock limit*

      Or anyone, really. My husband’s grandma was always telling her granddaughters-in-law that she was never sick in pregnancy because she didn’t have time to be sick. Oh, that’s how that works!

  22. You Can't Pronounce It*

    OP 1 – as someone who struggled with all day morning sickness all 9 months of all 3 of my pregnancies, try taking your prenatal vitamins at night. I hope you get to feeling better and I’m sorry you have to deal with this.

    1. Area Woman*

      Please everyone stop giving medical advice. This kind of comment makes it seem like the OP isn’t doing everything she can to make herself feel better and just reinforces the jerkiness the boss is giving her, that it is still somehow her fault at least a little. As if she were taking her prenatal in the morning it would be different???

      Everyone’s experience is different.

      1. tg33*

        You Can’t Pronounce It isn’t saying that taking prenatal vitamins at night will cure the morning sickness, just that if they haven’t tried this, it might help.

      2. Observer*

        Sure, everyone’s experience is different. What is surprisingly common, though, is that women don’t get good advice from their medical team about this. So, it’s shockingly common that people hear about simple things that do help (even if they don’t solve the problem) for the first time NOT from their doctor but random types of encounters like this.

        This is TOTALLY not about the OP not doing everything she can, it’s about the very real possibility that the OP may not have gotten some useful advice.

        It’s crazy, but it’s true.

      3. Daisy-dog*

        My assumption there was that if OP1 is able to get some sleep at night (and therefore not being sick), she should take her prenatals then because they have a higher chance of actually being absorbed.

      4. Chutney Jitney*

        None of the people giving advice are judging her – you can’t do “everything” if you don’t know what “everything” is. They are all sharing their own experience. She may already know these things, but if not, this new info may help. I mean, the fact that you question “as if” indicates it is knowledge you did not previously possess. “Everyone’s experience is different” literally means other people have had different experiences than *you*, so may have more knowledge than you.

        My husband has ADD and I can’t tell you the number of useful things we have learned in these comments from others with ADD. Which is totally different from a rando making uninformed suggestions.

      5. Vistaloopy*

        Oof…that certainly wasn’t my intent when I commented above about unisom/vitamin b6. I didn’t learn about that particular cocktail until my 20 week ob/gyn appointment, and would have been very glad to have been told about it earlier (by anyone)!

      6. rebelwithmouseyhair*

        I would read this as a tip from one pregnant woman to another. When you’ve found something that works for you, it’s a pity not to share surely! It’s a low-stakes thing, it’s not implying any kind of diagnosis, and it’s not like it’s an expensive solution. People often suggest therapy here which could also be construed as medical advice right? and can cost a lot of money.

    2. Boolie*

      Currently taking prenatals at night and I’m still sick all day ;__; it really bites. Now I’m taking a med that’s $10 a pill that staves off all the nausea, but makes me so sleepy. Can’t win!

  23. Rainy Cumbria*

    LW4 – in addition to what Alison said, I think continuing to credit people who have been overlooked in these things will help. Hopefully that will influence the company culture on this sort of thing and encourage others to do the same.

  24. Mandie*

    LW1: I hate your boss and I’ve never even met him. What a class A jerk. It sounds like he’s very insecure about his standing in the company, and projecting that on you. And let’s not even get into how wildly inappropriate and insulting it is for him to give a *pregnant woman* any kind of opinion or advice on pregnancy. Ew, just ew. He’s awful.

  25. steliafidelis*

    For #3, even though it’s a simple task, some organizations have things that volunteers just aren’t authorized to do! You might be perfectly competent to price frames but the organization might have some liability or policy that means frame-pricing must be done by a staff person and not a volunteer.

  26. L-squared*

    #4. No, you can’t do this. Sorry. Our company does a similar thing, with recognitions that are public. And I can assure you, if someone recognized themsevles, there would be a LOT of people talking about how arrogant they are.

    But what you can do is kind of collude with some other junior people to make sure you are all recognizing each other. I don’t think its even wrong to ask someone you are close to directly if they will do that for you. If it is this pattern, I’m sure you aren’t the only person noticing, and others would probably be open to doing this as well

  27. Knope Knope Knope*

    Just another hunch for #2, but maybe your manager was throwing your peers under the bus so he didn’t seem like the bad guy. Plenty of managers have a hard time giving clear and direct feedback, especially when it isn’t positive, even though employees need and expect it from them. Maybe he’s overstating the preference of the team for mark and just doesn’t want to take responsibility for his choice.

    That said, I still agree with Alison that it’s worth listening to what “personality” issues could help you grow into management. Sometimes being too nice or being worried about likeable can be a negative (see need for clear, hard feedback above). You sound very professional and I wish you luck. Sometimes one organization doesn’t value traits that another will.

    1. Observer*

      Why is it even relevant? The idea that if X had an easy pregnancy that means that anyone else will just makes no sense. It’s like the people who say things like “It can’t be that you need so much time off for Procedure X. When I had it I only needed 2 days.” Which may be true, but different people have different situations. That’s true in spades with pregnancy.

      1. LB33*

        It isn’t relevant at all – that’s the point. There was no reason for the boss to bring it up in the first place

    2. Artemesia*

      And even if they were easy, what does that have to do with the OP?

      I gave birth twice without meds — the 70s were the era of Lamaze and natural childbirth and the first was a 36 hour miserable and painful experience; the second easy. My husband used to joke that natural childbirth was ‘complete painless, didn’t hurt me a bit.’ He was joking and the world’s most supportive father and husband, but this manager is not joking. His wife’s pregnancy didn’t bother him any so he can’t understand why you are making such a fuss about it.

      1. HR Friend*

        That’s the joke. LB33 is implying that the wife would not agree that her six pregnancies were easy. LB33 is not trying to give advice to OP. They’re making a joke.

      2. LB33*

        Yes, but if your husband told a pregnant person at his work that you had easy childbirth and therefore the pregnant person should suck it up, or take less time off etc.. that would inappropriate. I’m sure you’d agree with that

  28. GrumpyZena*

    OP1: Pregnancy sickness suuuuuuuuucks. I was so nauseated for the first trimester with my eldest, but hardly had any at all with my second pregnancy (my second pregnancy was all round a lot easier), which is to say that symptoms not only vary from person to person but from pregnancy to pregnancy!

    I still can’t drink ginger tea as I completely ruined it for myself; downing gallons of the stuff in an effort to make myself feel less sick. I hope you feel better soon, and that you have an uneventful pregnancy and birth!

  29. CommanderBanana*

    I’ve kind of soured on the whole kudos/shout-outs thing. While it’s great in theory, it’s always seemed to devolve into mutual back-patting among the C-suite in every place I’ve worked.

    1. WellRed*

      We’ve had the opposite happen: people giving a shoutout or thanks for things like “thank you to Marcy for getting that billed.” Literally her job.

      1. Lacey*

        That can be infuriating for Marcy as well. I worked at a place where the kudos actually came with a tiny bonus, but any time I went above and beyond for someone they got thanked and I got nothing.

        Then, one day, I got recognized for literally just doing my job.
        I wanted to throw something.

        1. Nina*

          I’ve worked in a place with a similar kudos system, and honestly, it was a big enough company that not everyone knew enough about the job duties of everyone they interacted with to tell the difference between ‘Jane went above and beyond and stayed hours overtime to do a task that stopped X project going wildly off the rails’ and ‘Jane did exactly what she was supposed to do and no more and works 11-7 anyway so it wasn’t even overtime when she did the task that stopped X project going wildly off the rails’. Jane gets the kudos for saving X project either way.

    2. Grits McGee*

      I’d be curious to hear any examples of a kudos program that didn’t cause unnecessary, derailing drama. I tried to start an internal newsletter at a previous office that was completely derailed by kudos drama. (Newsletter writers were mad that everyone who worked on a project got the same reward (paycheck + pizza party) no matter how much they contributed. Writers inserted kudos to highlight contributions of specific staff, then people got mad when they weren’t thanked too, so management said kudos had to be for everyone or no one. Newsletter writers killed the newsletter, supervisors stopped paying for pizza. I got another job in a more professional office.)

    3. Some words*

      It’s totally dependent on the group of people whether this comes off well or not. My employer has a similar system. All employees are encouraged to participate and recognize their co-workers whenever the opportunity arises. Current management is pretty generous with their staff recognitions. It’s my work anniversary tomorrow & I had two of these recognitions waiting for me when I arrived today. It’s one of the things they do to try to keep staff engaged. The work itself is far from exciting and we’re not making high salaries.

      I’ve also been here with a management group that was very invested in frequent self congratulations. They were not the awesome managers they kept telling us they were. Kudos from that bunch came off as phony.

      tl/dr: Managers fluffing each others’ egos while ignoring contributions by staff is gross & demoralizing, but sincere appreciation & recognition of staff is great.

    4. urguncle*

      We had possibly the shortest-lived one yet a few years ago. In August, it was announced that for Llama Groomers, the team would be able to nominate people for a $100 and $50 gift certificate. $100 for the nominee and $50 for the nominator. The very first winner was a Senior Director of the department who had recently been removed from direct reports because of conduct issues. There were no more winners after that. Only losers.

    5. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      Yeah, I was going to ask OP if they see that kind of chumminess in other ways. It’s very common for there to be 2 or 3 tiers of employees with little mobility or visibility between them. Goes double for a startup, goes triple for a nonprofit startup.

    6. EPLawyer*

      God, they have gone to kudos at my husband’s plant rather than the $25 Amazon gift card they used to give if you did something amazing. Now you can circle jerk as he calls it for anything. You get points if you are given a shout out. You can cash in the points for the sort of stuff you usually get in these systems. At really high point values of course.

      For some ODD reason this has not improved morale.

      1. Scandinavian Vacationer*

        My 10 year tenure at previous non-profit job had ONE award: for helping clean out a conference room and convert it to a storage area. Nothing noted for developing new programs, starting new products, working with Board committees, etc. So yes, award and kudos programs can be easily skewed.

    7. Daisy-dog*

      Most places I’ve worked, the C-Suite doesn’t like to brag about themselves – they seem to recognize that the C title carried extremely high expectations. However, they are all about praising senior leaders (non-C level) and department managers.

    8. Gracely*

      The problem I’ve always noticed is that the only people who ever get the kudos are the ones who do the most visible work. Especially the people who know people in other departments. If you’re in a back office/cube doing work that is day-to-day vital or supporting the people out front, you’re not going to get the kudos; Jean or Jorts who are visible out front are going to get the kudos, even if you’re the one who opened the door for Jean when she was trapped, or helped Jorts wipe all the butter off his back so he could be presentable.

      1. Gumby*

        I did work one place that gave annual “Unsung Hero” awards. No one in management was eligible and once you won one you were, by definition, no longer unsung so not eligible. I think it worked fairly well. It was a smallish company (~150 people) and they gave maybe 2 to 4 each year.

        But also? I keep a pack of thank you cards in my desk. Cheap ones that I get in packs of 8 or 10 at the dollar store. And when a co-worker does something above and beyond, I write a quick note and drop it in their mailbox. I almost got in a thank you card war with the office manager once – she sent me a thank you card for the card I sent her. I decided to respond in person to short circuit the whole thing.

      2. coffee*

        You can easily wind up where the people putting out the fires get praised while the people making sure the fires don’t start in the first place get nothing. It’s bad for morale and encourages people to let problems fester since they won’t get any credit until it’s a disaster.

  30. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

    OP3 (volunteer) – for whatever reason, their policy is that volunteers can measure the ‘frames’ but only paid staff are allowed to price them. Julie knows this but Jane didn’t, which is why Jane asked OP to price some frames. There must have been a conversation after that about “who priced these?” “OP” “what? Volunteers aren’t allowed to price items because of reason x”… Jane will have probably been told off for delegating that to a volunteer – not least because as I understand it there’s rules around having volunteers do the same work as paid staff.

    BTW, having worked as a volunteer myself in a similar place (we sold clothes and “bric a brac” like plates, CDs, books etc) the rotas were carefully worked out and typically there wasn’t scope to show up and do an extra day because you wanted to (is there any indication that they are “short staffed”?)

    1. Catherine*

      Yes, when I worked at a second hand shop, we had a lot of people coming in to do their (court-ordered) community service hours, so there weren’t often gaps.

    2. BreakingDishes*

      LW3 here-I now am letting management know ahead and they select tasks for me. I’m fine with the pricing policy. Thanks for your comment

  31. Slow Gin Lizz*

    I just wanted to say that “Do me the favor of believing me” is an all-around fantastic comeback and I am trying very hard to memorize it so I can pull it out whenever it might come in handy.

    1. Aggretsuko*

      I was watching a storytelling festival recently and the emcee went into a fabulous rant on this particular topic.

  32. Lacey*

    LW4 – Kudos systems are generally ridiculous for this exact reason.

    At best you have a few people who are genuinely wanting to show appreciation, but of course they don’t see what everyone does, so only their people get recognized.

    At worst, it’s a popularity contest and the people running it suppress the thanks given to people they don’t want to see appreciated. Or people know they should thank someone, but don’t want to admit they had help on a project, so they pretend it was all them and get thanked by the person who works closely with them.

    1. Parker*

      The first is what’s happening at my company right now. One team is really into the kudos system and are constantly giving each other shoutouts, so it’s just they same 10-12 names coming up. I don’t know if our kudos system was implemented just for “company culture/employee engagement” or if it’s a metric that’s meant to be considered in performance evaluations, but I sincerely hope it’s not the latter.

      The other day one of my coworkers told me that she doesn’t use the kudos system, but I deserve one for my work on the project. It left me feeling strange – if she hadn’t said anything about the kudos, I would have just taken the thanks at face value, but since she did I’m left feeling like I’m not getting the appropriate acknowledgement. Idk, it’s weird all around.

  33. Anon Fed*

    OP1 – I also work for a government agency, and I’m pretty new so I sat through all the boring onboarding training more recently than you. Assuming you’re working for the US federal government, you have a couple bureaucratic tools that HR should refer you to if they’re any good at their jobs, but that you could get a head start on yourself. You can make an EEO complaint, since pregnancy discrimination is considered a form of sex discrimination, so you have a protected class basis for the complaint. You can also proactively protect yourself by making a Reasonable Accommodation request under the ADA. Pregnancy, injury, and other forms of temporary disability are valid bases for ADA accommodations, and I think a lot of people don’t realize that because they only think about permanent/chronic conditions. You’ll need to document your needs with a doctor for that second one.

    Even if you’re not a US Fed, you may have access to similar processes – it’s worth taking a look!

  34. CallYourMother*

    LW1 – First, my sincerest congratulations on the pregnancy and deepest condolences on your boss. If you work for a federal agency, please explore alternative work schedules, talk to your union rep, and DOCUMENT everything. I highly recommend making requests for early leave in writing. Write yourself memos about what was said and when. Look to coworkers, if you can, for support. I guarantee this boss will deny deny deny or claim your mommy brain is misremembering.

    Pregnancy and motherhood penalties/discrimination are real and often not blatant enough to take action on from an HR perspective. I say this bluntly and speaking from personal experience – you should look for a new job. If he is like this now, what will he say when you have a sick baby at home? Or postpartum complications? Or you take pumping breaks? Don’t be surprised if you are passed over for work, accolades, or promotions etc. I’m sorry your dealing with this. I love being a mom, I love being a working mom, but our culture make it unnecessarily hard.

  35. MuseumChick*

    LW 3, as someone who has worked with a lot of volunteers this is totally and completely normal and (most likely) nothing personal about you. A lot of different things could be going on here. It is usually never good practice to let volunteers work unsupervised no matter how reliable they are. It is usually good practice to limit what types of tasks volunteers do. There is an *extremely small* possibility that you unknowingly have done something that makes them not trust you to do tasks outside of measuring frames (anyone who has ever worked with volunteers has a horror story, like the time I had a volunteer take two people through locked/secured areas without telling anyone including to places were very valuable items were kept. We didn’t even know he had access to a key for those areas but he had been volunteering for well over 10 year and had been given it by someone who no longer worked there. We took the key way from him). Much, much, much more likely they have these policies in place for a number of reasons, it very possible that includes a volunteer doing something in the past that makes them not want volunteers doing pricing.

    1. BreakingDishes*

      LW3 here-It never occurred to me that there might have been something that happened in the past that makes them wary of a volunteer working alone in their department. Not everything is about me.

      1. MuseumChick*

        I completely understand how it can feel very personal! And usually charities don’t want to speak badly about volunteers, even the ones that no longer work there. Which can be frustrating because then these seemingly random polices can feel like they were just made up out of the blue.

  36. MicroManagered*

    You definitely need to attend the meeting with your manager for feedback about the decision! It’s possible there’s something legitimate that will be useful to hear …

    OP3, of course you’ll have to attend this meeting, but I think you CAN speak up if you don’t feel like you need a huge conversation about it. For example, I’ve told my boss something like “I understand the reasons why X happened, and for what it’s worth, I don’t really have any questions or feel like *I* need more answers than I’ve got” — but note that this is different than refusing to discuss it at all. If there’s something your boss would like to discuss about it, you need to be polite and open to that, etc. but if you sense they have a mistaken impression that you’re devastated, you can correct that.

    1. Suggestion*

      As a script, I would offer…

      “Thank you for speaking with me. I have no additional questions or comments.” in the kindest voice you can muster and bid the manager good-bye…..

  37. Area Woman*

    LW #5 it is unlikely they will respond. I get re-applications from folks we interviewed and/or screened and decided against, and we usually reject again right away. I find it a little annoying that we have to try and remember who we screened and when they applied and then move them on, so it does not really help you that you have previously interviewed. If there is a possibility a candidate is a backup, then we never outright reject and we keep the resume on hold. If the spot is still open but they told you “no” pretty recently, then 99 times out of 100 they are not interested.

    That said, there is not a lot of harm in re-applying or reaching out, but if you reach out directly you’ll probably just end up getting that feedback more pointedly that they are not interested in you. Or no response. I would let it go and use your energy to find a team that wants you.

  38. Somewhere in Texas*

    LW3- Another element at play here might be setting precedent for other volunteers. You may be an expert frame measurer, but what if the next volunteer isn’t? They may have been burned by someone inexperienced doing a task incorrectly previously, so there is a blanket statement against allowing that to happen again. Basically, it’s not you they are worried about, but the possibility of something that happened in the past happening again in the future.

  39. a clockwork lemon*

    Lw2 – From the outside looking it makes sense to me that your coworkers (possibly knowing you were initially hesitant about the role) would try a few misguided attempts at building you up after the rejection…and also just generally preferred to work for someone who was enthusiastic from the jump.

    It says a lot (of positive things, imo) about your team as a whole that people are bummed on your behalf even though everyone agrees the job went to the best candidate. If you actually DO want to be in a management position with this org, it also seems like this is an excellent opportunity to practice how you’ll have to manage other peoples’ emotions as a boss.

  40. ChemistbyDay*

    LW1 – it doesn’t stop at pregnancy. I had a manager (male) ask me if I was “still taking extended breaks”. I was pumping – it’s not exactly a break. I told him “if you mean, am I still pumping to feed my child? The answer is yes”. I casually mentioned this to HR – she dropped off a boatload of articles on his desk, letting him know his behavior was not ok.

  41. Washi*

    Oof, OP1 brings back some rough memories. I dealt with “morning sickness” (lol) for my entire pregnancy. I was working an understaffed home healthcare job where I had no ready access to a bathroom and no breaks to eat or drink except while actively driving. My days were just a blur of crying and gagging in my car between patients. It was a really dark, isolating time for me.

    Allison has good advice on talking to HR. My other recommendations are:
    1. Talk to your doctor if you haven’t already. Zofran didn’t cure the nausea/dizziness but really cut down on the vomiting.

    2. Schedule a vacation if you can. There was a lot of pressure for me not to call out sick, but planned time off gave me a break to look forward to.

  42. too many dogs*

    To Letter Writer #3: Please know that this is not a reflection on you, or on how you perform your assigned tasks. My organization also uses, and appreciates, volunteers. However, we assign them to certain days/times/responsibilities based on what we need done, and when we need it. Any volunteer who would decide to just show up when they wanted to, rather than when we NEED them to, might not actually be helping. If the organization you volunteer with is like us, they are delighted when you come help — it just needs to be based on what their needs are.

    1. Colette*

      Yeah, I can think of a lot of reasons why some days would work but not others. For example, other people work the other days and there’s not enough work/room for more; some days are busier with customers and there’s less time/room for other work; they get stuff in on a predictable schedule so they need the work done when it comes in.

  43. Observer*

    #1 – Pregnancy illness.

    If you can get away from him in the long term, do so. In the best case he’s a clueless jerk who won’t have your back. In the worst case, he’s also a liar.

    Get a note from your doctor about your situation. Give one copy to your boss and one to HR, with an explanation of what’s going on.

    No reasonable higher up is actually going to be questioning your use of sick leave. Which is why I think he may be lying to you. If someone ACTUALLY asks a question a simple explanation would be enough to deal with it. Even if some idiot pushed it, he has the standing and the grounds to push back on it. So, there probably is not a real reason to worry – but he’s also made it clear that he won’t back his staff when needed. (Or at least not the women.)

  44. Lily Potter*

    LW#1, congratulations and best wishes on your pregnancy. I’m sorry you have to deal with this.

    I wish that Allison had given a more nuanced answer to LW#1 though. Going to HR is the “nuclear option” in my mind. As soon as she does this, HR will be obliged to talk with the boss about his behavior and the relationship between LW#1 and the boss isn’t going to ever be the same. We can’t tell from the letter whether the two work closely with one another day-in-day-out or if the boss is just someone from on high in the organization who approves PTO. It totally makes a difference in how to handle this. If LW#1 has a close/daily interaction with boss, she should start with some of the excellent reply suggestions further upthread. “People? What People? Let’s go talk with them now” and “Please do me the favor of believing me” are my favorites. I was hoping Allison would have a good “shutdown” script in her reply, to be honest. LW#1’s boss could simply be clueless and not have a filter, but be a good boss otherwise. Now if the situation is more that the boss is removed from LW#1’s daily orbit and is just complaining about this whenever PTO requests come through his inbox, going to HR might be appropriate.

    Short story: Don’t immediately go to HR if your boss is clueless but otherwise a good guy to work for and with. You can’t go to HR and say “I want to report something but I don’t want you to correct him or discipline him just yet”. It doesn’t work like that.

    1. Observer*

      LW#1’s boss could simply be clueless and not have a filter, but be a good boss otherwise.
      if your boss is clueless but otherwise a good guy to work for and with.

      Nope. Not at all. This is NOT just garden variety ceaselessness. Best case, he’s being a jerk. Telling her she “should be over it”? That’s beyond lack of filter. Vague threats that some higher ups “might question” her right to use banked sick leave?! With the implication that he would back such a challenge – apparently because if his wife didn’t have a problem the OP isn’t allowed to, either?!?!?!?

      Sorry, this guy’s behavior is beyond bad. It doesn’t matter WHY this is – it’s the case that he’s behaving really badly and in ways that are likely to have ongoing ramifications.

      1. Lily Potter*

        You’re right. It doesn’t matter why. Yes, the behavior is bad. No argument there! LW#1 needs to decide how to deal with the crappy behavior. However, there’s a wide range of reactions between “Silence” and “Reporting to HR”.

        1. Observer*

          True. But in considering her options, it’s important to realize that he is NOT an “otherwise good” boss with “good intentions”. He’s a bad boss.

          1. Lily Potter*

            We can agree to disagree on this one. I’ve had bosses that I could totally see making numbskull remarks like the one that LW#1 is hearing……but those bosses were absolutely wonderful to work for and with in other ways. Those were the types of guys that just said whatever came to the top of their mind rather than thinking about it first. No way in the world would I have wanted to ruin an otherwise fantastic working relationship by running to HR over this.

            Like a good number of the letters on this page, the LW is trying to find a way to stop a problem without directly confronting it herself. I get it, people don’t like confrontation. But in this case, a simple discussion with the boss will likely solve things in a more constructive way than running to HR to tattle on the boss. If a direct conversation won’t work, then you get HR involved.

            1. Observer*

              In general, anyone without a filter is unlikely to be good boss. Because there are SOOOO many ways that lack of filter can and will go wrong.

              Beyond that, the things that he is saying are just wildly inappropriate and show either a total unwillingness to provide basic support for a good employee or dishonesty (or both.)

            2. FloraPsmith*

              It is fascinating that you frame this as ‘the OP would “ruin” the relationship with her boss if she runs to HR to “tattle”’, yet the boss bears no responsibility for maintaining a decent relationship with the person he manages.

              They are not in preschool, she isn’t “tattling”.

              Sure, she probably is wanting to solve this issue without a confrontation. There is nothing wrong with that. It is literally not her job to teach this dude appropriate behavior. It is, however, HR’s job to ensure that the managers in the organization know the law and that they interact with their subordinates appropriately.

              1. Lily Potter*

                Question comes down to whether the OP wants to sacrifice her future working relationship with this boss by going to HR over these comments. Because the relationship WILL change once she does that. Going to HR should be the last resort, not the first.

                1. Lucky Meas*

                  But the relationship SHOULD change… the boss should have more respect for his worker, and he should stop violating the law by discriminating against pregnant employees.

                  It’s also HR’s job to protect OP against retaliation from the boss!

                  If OP thinks she can handle this with a conversation with her boss, great. But let’s not encourage people to be afraid of reporting discrimination to HR because of the retaliation they will face (retaliation which is also illegal).

                2. Lily Potter*

                  If OP likes her current working relationship with her boss, but for these remarks, she should not go to HR over this, because that relationship WILL change. How could it not? Unless the OP directly addresses the matter with her boss before going nuclear, the boss is going to feel blindsided.

                  Oh, and note that never once did I use the word “retaliation”. There’s a million miles between “good working relationship” and “retaliation”, just like there’s a million miles between “silence” and “going to HR”. Let’s use some common sense here, folks. If I’m a boss who said some stupid things, and the employee runs to HR to report me without ever discussing it with me directly, I’m never going to feel warm and collegial toward them again. Doesn’t mean I’m going to get mean or vindictive or retaliatory. It just means the relationship is going to become more transactional. Any sense of “we’re in this together” is going to be gone. And maybe that’s okay for the OP! As mentioned above, maybe the boss that’s making these comments is two steps above her and rarely interacts with her except to approve her PTO. In that instance, going to HR might be more appropriate since there isn’t a personal relationship worth preservation.

            3. DisgruntledPelican*

              It’s 2023. Can we maybe stop dismissing men’s bigotry as simple boys will be boys behavior?

  45. Michelle Smith*

    LW4: I would really frame the conversation you have, if you raise this issue, the way Alison has. Meaning make it not really about you but about junior staff more generally. I’d specifically mention the instances where you chimed in about someone else “junior” who got left out of the kudos. If you do it that way, it will be much less awkward, I think.

  46. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    #5 – once upon a time, this happened to me, and I re-applied – and learned that the reason I was not hired was a misunderstanding on their part. The CEO thought I was in for a sales job, yet I was in there for a computer consulting position. It turned out that they reviewed my application and offered me a position (but I had just taken another one with another company…so…)

    AND if you had been their second choice and choice #1 didn’t work out, well, they might be amenable to reviving your candidacy.

    BUT BE CAREFUL – if it’s the same position and they haven’t filled it in six months, something is really, really weird there, probably. Either they’re too wishy-washy / indecisive about filling the job, or they’re just interviewing candidates for fun.

  47. Daisy-dog*

    LW5 – I tried this. My rejection email stated they the position was filled with another candidate. But then it got reposted a few weeks later. I earnestly re-applied and reached out to both recruiters that had helped me previously (the hiring manager had not given me her contact information). No response.

    I actually work in HR, so I am very familiar with how this all works and knew it was a long shot. Just because they said that I was rejected just because the position was filled didn’t mean there wasn’t another reason that I wasn’t selected.

    1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

      Daisy-Dog, yes sometimes no means “NO”. One pig-headed company I worked for sent out a memo – once an external candidate is rejected for ANY position, he/she is blacklisted there.

      It’s too bad. Although, you can’t stop managers from shooting themselves in the foot if they insist on doing so!

  48. Looper*

    LW2- honestly, I think you dodged a bullet. This team sounds immature and back-biting and a general pain in the ass to manage, especially as a former peer to them. I do think there is something fishy about the entire “encouraged to apply, but we’ve already made our pick” interview process so for that reason alone I’d start looking at what else is out there. But the weird coworkers who seem to be using you as an emotional garbage can while simultaneously undermining your career would also be a good reason to look for something better.

  49. Melonhead*

    1. I was sick for 40 weeks, both pregnancies, and it was exhausting. I did not wish to vomit several times a day nor be unable to eat, nor even wake up at night to be sick. I am just lucky I didn’t have to be hospitalized, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t utterly miserable both times. I’m sorry your boss is a preg-splaining jackass. I hope you have an HR department. Ugh.

  50. Pink Candyfloss*

    LW#2 – you say everyone is coming to you for emotional support/emotional labor …. has this been your office culture, and your place within that culture, all this time?

    Are you the person people regularly go to when they need to vent or complain or need to talk about work or even non-work frustrations? Have you been carrying their emotional weight in other capacities prior to this?

    If that is the case – this could contribute to why people would prefer Mark in a managerial/reporting position over you. I’m speculating a lot here, and only you know the answer, but if your relationship with your co-workers is that you’re the Office Auntie or everyone’s Emotional Support Co-Worker …. it can be hard for them to then flip to seeing you in a Professional Boss Person capacity, especially if you’ve been a sounding board for their frustrations and complaints in the past, and they now have to consider whether that would make you view them differently once your role on the team changed.

    I speak from experience!

    1. Lily Potter*

      So much this. I made the mistake of being the “Office Auntie” (or at that stage in my life the “Kid Sister”) early on in my career. The book “Nice Girls Don’t Get The Corner Office” opened my eyes to some things. It was a good thing for my career when I stopped: being the shoulder to cry on, bringing in office treats, serving on social committees to plan parties, having candy on my desk, going as nuts as I’d otherwise do over a co-worker’s new baby, always pitching in to help without being asked, and other overt “like me, like me, like me” acts. I could see where it would be hard if I worked with an Office Auntie to suddenly think about them being my boss.

  51. Chirpy*

    #3 – it’s probably a liability issue for the organization. There are a lot of things that just can’t be done by volunteers, either for legal reasons or accountability reasons. For example, something like pricing – it’s an accountability thing to have one person measure and another price it, both to ensure consistency in pricing practices (by having a paid employee do it) and also to prevent someone marking things too low/inaccurately so they can get a deal.

    Other reasons an organization might not want volunteers outside of certain times may be for staffing or insurance reasons. Volunteers often take up a lot of staff resources to manage, even if they can work alone, and having volunteers present may have insurance or other legal requirements. There are things that volunteers can not legally do.

  52. management question*

    I have a question related to #2 that was something I encountered the first time I managed a pregnant employee. She ended up having some pretty severe complications (I’m not even sure what all they are, but she was hospitalized briefly and then required a lot of follow up appointments). She shared this with me but asked that I keep it confidential – she was pretty private in general – so I did, but her coworkers (one in particular) started complaining about her “slacking”. In truth, she wasn’t performing at her best, and she did need to take a lot of time off, but it wasn’t anything devastating to the team. I did my best to try to adjust her deliverables to be manageable for her at that time. I did have to redistribute some of her work – and I took some on myself – but it was temporary (and it was stuff we needed to learn how to do anyway for when she was out on leave). She had been a good performer previously and I like to give people a little slack when they need it, especially for a few months.

    I tried to shut down the comments/complaints as best I could, which made this employee complain to my boss about ME. This person had never experienced complications like this when she was pregnant! She only got a couple weeks off for maternity leave! Kids today have it so easy! So I’m just wondering… what do you DO in that situation? I handled it as best I could at the time but I always wonder if I did it right. I was absolutely not going to share personal medical info with another employee, but when she eventually found out later she immediately apologized and I could tell she felt terrible. The pregnant employee was awesome before she got pregnant and when she got back from maternity leave, though eventually left to stay home with her baby about a year later.

    1. Observer*

      You did the best you could.

      I would absolutely have been managing the complained more closely, though. There is clearly a lack of judgement there and some bias at play. “Kids these days” is always a bit of a red flag for me. *Especially* when deployed about a person who has a really solid track record.

      I do think it’s perfectly fine to tell someone “I’m not going to discuss someone else’s medical issue with you, just as I wouldn’t discuss your medical issues with anyone else.”

      “But *I* never had issues!” “Your medical history is not relevant to other people.”
      “Kids these days!” This deserves a bit more sternness, imo. “Your coworker is not a child, but a competent professional. This also has nothing to do with are or generation, any more than any other medical issue does.”

    2. AnotherSarah*

      I haven’t been in the exact same situation, but in a case like this, where someone you manage is going over your head to complain without all the details (or frankly even if they had all the details), I think it’s okay to say things like: “Are you saying you know something about the situation I don’t know?” or “It’s not a good look to go to HR without knowing any of the details.” I think it’s also worth reminding people that they can feel aggrieved/inconvenienced and that’s okay! but it’s not necessarily a situation where there’s fault, wrongdoing, etc. It’s annoying when coworkers are out! And yet–we live with it.

    3. Budgie Buddy*

      I think in this situation you just need to keep redirecting the conversation back to workload. (And as others said, escalate when an employee is clearly getting out of line and trying to find out medical info. Yuck.) That is the only part that’s relevant to other employees, and it is something a manager needs to be on top of.

      Speculation about the pregnant employee’s work ethic / health / kids these days ? That’s unprofessional and you won’t discuss it. Full stop.

      Are people feeling overwhelmed? Do they also need accommodations? Is the current distribution of work fair and doable? Is there a plan in place if more help is needed? If the team is going above and beyond to pitch in for the absent employee, are they being compensated for the extra labor?

      That the employee on leave is awesome and that she 100% needs the time off are points that have nothing to do with whether or not the rest of the team can take on her work for an extended time. It sounds like you managed this well and were meeting your team’s needs. That’s all they can ask for and medical info is none of their business.

  53. Nom*

    LW4 (on Kudos) i feel you and this is unfortunately so common. Once my boss gave Kudos individually to each attendee of a cross-departmental meeting that was the first of its kind. Except she didn’t give me Kudos, the person who had the idea for the meeting, developed the agenda, facilitated the meeting, and coordinated next steps. I think that was the day i mentally checked out from that job.

  54. H3llifIknow*

    Oh LW2, how I feel you. I was being considered for promotion at my previous (huge, 25K+) firm. My VP, 2 steps above me, decided to ask the team in the step I would be promoted to what they thought. She told me “some didn’t think you were ready for promotion.” Reasons given included, “you laugh a lot and seem to be having too good a time” and “you’re not ruthless (!) enough”. Mind you, my team of 25 people brought in a lot of money and was the fastest growing team in our region. But, the funniest part (later, not in the moment) was that eventually all of those 4 people she asked, ended up either fired or on PIPs for ethical violations around timekeeping, HR violations around sexual harassment/hostile work environment allegations, losing all of their clients/contracts, and one had literally every person on her team quit within a 2 week period because she was such a nightmare. But these were the “peers” who felt *I* wasn’t ready for the promotion. I quit shortly thereafter, and reveled in the stories I heard from those still there. I thankfully dodged a bullet it seems. But at the time, it HURT to have coworkers get to decide my fate.

  55. Elsa*

    LW1, I assume you have thought of this, but would you be able to work from home a few days a week? It sounds like you work in a job that doesn’t require physical presence, and being in the office every day is exhausting. On days that you work from home you could stop working for a few hours when you felt really awful, but still get in all of your hours at some point.

  56. RLS*

    Lmaooooooooo my wife’s SIX pregnancies were all wonderful experiences for her. Please. She just knew not to say anything to her misogynist husband cause he wouldn’t care. Good god

  57. RagingADHD*

    LW3, I think you are missing some perspective about what running a charity shop entails. Please don’t take any of this personally. I don’t think anyone is having a power struggle, as some commenters suggest. I think this is just an effort by the staff to have some consistency and oversight, so that the same staff members have ownership over the same tasks.

    Organizations that rely heavily on volunteers and also work with the public are constantly fighting the gravitational pull of chaos. They struggle with consistency and ownership. When everyone is doing a little bit of everything, then nobody knows what’s supposed to be correct, and what decisions were made on the fly. It’s also very hard to ensure that all messages and policies are communicated clearly when different volunteers show up on different days.

    For example, it’s very common for customers in charity shops to pull shenanigans like switching price tags or arguing about what something should be priced. If the tags are all uniform, and were all done by one or two people, then there’s less opportunity for that type of nonsense.

    If a customer says, “Well, when I was here on Tuesday, the cashier told me that all the yellow tag items were half price,” you best know a) who that cashier was and whether they were authorized to make that decision, b) whether it was a spur of the moment decision to clear out overstock, vs a new policy of Half Price Tuesdays that you missed the memo about, or c) whether the customer is lying.

    If the LW normally works with Jane and Julie, the staff who are present on other days probably don’t want to second-guess Jane and Julie’s decisions. If so, they are right! It’s much better to keep everything consistent, and only measure or price frames when Jane and/or Julie are there.

  58. Ellis Bell*

    So… I have a technique that I call “respond as though they said the right thing” and it kind of works because you’re just as polite as if they weren’t an arsehole but you’re saying whatever it is you want to say. Hopefully HR will come down like a hammer on a nut without you ever having to bother anyways, but just in case! I would respond to: “You’re having a pretty easy pregnancy—I know someone who had to be hospitalized, so this is nothing.” with: “Oh, it would be so great if it was nothing. However hospital treatment shouldn’t be necessary as long as I keep pacing myself.” Or when he says: “You should be feeling fine now. You’re past the first trimester” say “I know it’s so unfair! I completely got sucked in by that myth too! My doctor says that’s nothing more than a generalization” Or, when he says:
    “My wife was never sick with our six kids. She kept working full-time with no problems.” I would say “Yeah, I think most people do that when they don’t have any problems? Why do you mention it?” or when he says:
    “People might start thinking you’re slacking off.” say “I appreciate the warning! Who do we need to let into the full picture so they understand what’s happening?”

  59. Beezus Quimby*

    LW 1, I am so sorry your boss is being such a jerk. There is a huge spectrum of pregnancy symptoms all that fall under the range of “normal.” That said, you may not have to suffer this much. Have you checked in with your doctor about a hyperemesis gravidarum diagnosis and treatment? A lot of doctors brush off morning sickness as just part of pregnancy but when it is spanning the entire first trimester and going into the second that could be cause for intervention. Just adding that if you hadn’t thought of it. I hope you start feeling better.

  60. Ultra Anomnibus*

    FMLA can be used for morning sickness, etc, but using it in that way cuts the amount of FMLA you can use for maternity leave. Even if you live in a state that mandates unpaid maternity leave, that would only help you if you don’t yet qualify for FMLA, since you can’t use it to tack another 6 weeks to the 12 that FMLA provides (unless you have exhausted FMLA for a different condition).

  61. Overit*

    LW1: I am saddened that pregnant women still experience the manipulative misogyny that I did 30 years ago.
    The only advice I have to add is based on hindsight, life experience and knowledge of how my work life proceeded under the Misogynist Manipulator.

    Believe what he is showing you of his character. Character leads to action.
    Be wary now and in the future. Do not trust him
    The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.
    Misogynist Manipulators are a subset of Bullies, Passive Aggressive. Bullies do not stop if you ignore them or “play nice.” You must confront and disarm them.
    Passive aggressive bullies who prey on people in times of sickness will stoop even lower to “win.” Often in sneaky ways, a long time later, with the support of the unsuspecting.

  62. AA Baby Boomer*

    Ref morning sickness. . . . . I’m operating under the assumption that the LW is in the US with my comment / question. This is what I’m thinking. Most employers have to grant FMLA for 12 weeks for birth unless the company offers more. Or not at all if they do not meet the number of employees threshold? ( 50 or less?) If someone is having serious health issues related to their pregnancy they may not want to file for internment FMLA, that would cut into the the time they can use after the birth. It may not be an option. Some employers will let you use FMLA before the pregnancy; than when you’re out after the birth it falls under short-term disability. But that’s rare, some have it in the place that you can only use one or the other within a year. The OP would have had to file for FMLA for it to be a violation to her FMLA. If she hasn’t filed for it; or wants to use all of their time after the birth; it restricts some of her options on how to address this. He sounds like a tool.

    I wouldn’t be surprised that he said so many clueless and rude comments to his wife during her first pregnancy that she kept any complaints & issues to herself for all of the following pregnancies. Or it went in one ear and out of the another when she brought things up to him.

    Talk to your HR; because he’s like this to you now; wait until you decide to have a 2nd of third child while working with him. He could get worse.

  63. joan*

    #5 — IF you can say: “Since you interviewed me I’ve had a lot of valuable experience working with X that I didn’t have before. So I wanted to let you know, since I see the job has continued to be posted. I’ve had great feedback about my work running the X project and have highlighted it on my revised resume, attached. I hope you can take a moment to look — this half year has been solidly productive in the X area.”
    THEN you can update them, but only if it’s that meaningful. Like, you’ve written numerous articles & have the clips, or done a big PR project — that rounded out your experience. A half year of concrete growth.

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