inviting only women and LGBTQ+ coworkers to a movie screening, manager wants a video testimonial, and more

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

1. Can I invite only women and LGBTQ+ coworkers to a private movie screening?

I’m very, very excited about the upcoming release of a particular movie. I’ve been in touch with a theater about a private event on opening night and am in the process of inviting “Girls, Gays, and Theys” (women and LGBTQ+ people) only to that screening.

Among my friends, I know I’m entitled to invite whomever I would like to an event I’m organizing. But, if I were to only invite certain coworkers (women and LGBTQ+ people), would this be some form of gender- or sexual orientation-based workplace discrimination (to exclude cis/straight men)? If it matters, I wouldn’t be inviting coworkers who report to me. I’d only be inviting members of other teams/departments.

If you’re arranging a private social event that (1) isn’t in any way work-sponsored and (2) you’re not inviting some people you manage while leaving others out and (3) you’re not part of the organization’s senior leadership, you should be fine. All three of those caveats are really important though.

That’s not to say that private social events can’t be discriminatory — look at the long history of women being excluded professionally by informal men’s social networks centered around golf and strip clubs — but context matters. You’re not perpetuating a deeply entrenched system of excluding a particular demographic. If you were, my answer would be different.

That said, there could still be repercussions to this that are worth thinking through. Are there cis/straight men in your office who would like to go and will feel you’re being exclusionary (which isn’t the same as being discriminatory in this case) and will that matter in your office? That’s a different question (and a less weighty one, but still a question).

Read an update to this letter

2. Managers asking for video testimonials from former employees

I wanted to get your thoughts on something that happened a couple months ago. A past manager, “Fergus,” whom I hadn’t heard from since leaving my job almost two years ago, messaged me on a weekend evening saying he had a favor to ask. He said he had an interview and that he was hoping I could make a short video (30 seconds) about his leadership style for a video he was putting together for his interview. I found it really off-putting (I was already in pajamas, it was due the next day, and while I think he was very good at his job, he was not a manager I grew much under by virtue of outgrowing my role).

My question is twofold: One, this is a weird thing for a former manager to ask, right? I immediately thought, “What would Ask a Manager say about this power imbalance?” because it put me in the awkward position of having to decide if I would need him professionally in the future and if it was burning a bridge if I said no. And what if I really didn’t like his leadership style?

Two, is this something interviewers are asking for? Or something that candidates think helps set them apart in presentations? (And does it? I did hear through the grapevine that Fergus got this fairly prestigious job.) This is the second time I’ve been asked for a video like this from a past manager. (I did it the first time because it was a manager who I do think helped me grow a lot, and they gave me more time to send it to them.) I’ve given references before for people I’ve overseen and that can be time consuming. But this feels a lot more onerous than giving a reference for someone because of the video component.

Yeah, this is a … surprising ask. Most interviewers aren’t looking for 30-second testimonials from people the candidate managed, especially ones gathered by the candidate themselves. (As with the question about recommendation letters earlier this week, the assumption is that people won’t be fully candid if they know the candidate will see what they say … and if the employer wants references, they want to ask their own questions, not receive something the candidate has curated.) And you’re right about the power dynamics; it’s tricky to ask for this kind of favor when your need for future references gives you a strong incentive to keep him happy with you.

I think you would have been fine “not seeing” the message until a few days later, at which point it would be too late.

3. How to shut down comments from a contractor who applied for my job

I was recently hired for a fairly competitive position. Jane, who had regularly worked as a contractor with the organization, was a finalist for the job. When I was hired, she expressed support for me and (fairly aggressively) communicated that she wished to continue working on projects as a contractor, as she has done previously. Because of that, and to honor her past working history with the company and her very good work, I went ahead and hired her for a project that will be finished next year.

She is doing great work, but something she does is making it increasingly difficult for me to work with her: she keeps making weirdly passive-aggressive comments about the position, how she was the previous person’s “first pick for the job,” and “see, this is why you got this position instead of me” and “I could never do this, it really worked out for the best.” It is really starting to get on my nerves, though for now I haven’t said anything about it and not responded to the comments.

She also continues to push her other projects, sending me fully formed plans that she hopes I may be able to make happen in the future and which she would lead. She is already taking a lead role in the current project, and while I moved ahead with this because of the reasons previously mentioned, I’m now regretting it because it’s getting so uncomfortable.

I want to honor Jane’s work history with the company, but the whole dynamic feels so weird that I honestly don’t want to work with her again after this project. However, I also want to be fair to her. So I guess my question is how, in the short term, to shut down these weird comments and have a good relationship with her until this project is done, and whether in the long term I need to sever ties or find a better way to keep her involved, based on the high quality of her work and history with the company.

I know you’re probably concerned about making things more awkward, but by letting Jane’s comments go without any response, you’re letting her believe there’s nothing awkward about her repeatedly saying those things — and keeping her from knowing that she’s risking future work too. You might get better results if you instead respond in a way that makes it clearer that her comments are landing strangely. The next time she mentions how she was someone’s first pick for the role, try saying, “You’ve made a lot of comments like that and it puts me in an awkward position. Are you comfortable continuing this work with me running the X program?” (With her less aggressive comments, like “it worked out for the best,” you might try a dry, “So you’ve mentioned.”) It’s possible that by conveying a bit more of a reaction, you might jog her into realizing she’s not just venting into the wind … but is actively creating a weird dynamic with the person in charge of  her work.

If that doesn’t solve it, it could make sense to pose the question more bluntly: “You’ve made a lot of comments about me getting this job, and I’m not sure how to take them. Does it make sense for me to continue bringing you on for projects after this one is over?”

As for whether you can just sever ties after this if this doesn’t get better, it likely depends on internal politics in your organization and how much people with influence there would care. But I also suspect she’ll stop doing it if you make it clear she’s jeopardizing future work.

4. Should I say anything to my boss about how much sick leave I’ve been using?

For just over a year, I’ve worked at a job I love. I moved to a new state for this job, and since the move I seem to get sick MUCH more frequently than I ever did before.

Despite working almost entirely remotely, distancing in public, and getting all vaccines and boosters on time, I managed to contract Covid a few months into the job and spent 10 days too exhausted to do anything but sleep and eat. Now, even with similar precautions, I’ve been catching every bug going around this winter. It’s at the point where I have to call in sick for one to two days about every four weeks, and I’m starting to feel extremely guilty about it. We have combined sick/vacation time. I ran out of PTO days when I had Covid last year and had to use some unpaid time, but have since accrued enough PTO that my subsequent sick days have all been paid. My boss has never expressed doubt about any illnesses, but I’m worried that she’ll privately assume I’m abusing sick time.

My annual review is in a few days and I’m worried this will count against me as well. I have a doctor’s appointment this month and plan to ask about possible causes for my suddenly lackluster immune response, but is there anything I can do to stop feeling guilty at work? Should I let my boss know I’m aware of the issue and working on fixing it? If I’m overreacting, is there anything I can do to convince my brain to shut up with the guilt trip?

So in theory, if you’re sick you’re sick and if you’ve got enough sick days to cover it, you should be fine. In reality, though … if it’s frequent, sometimes it does raise questions from a manager (especially because frequent sick days can be more disruptive than a similar amount of vacation time just by the nature of being unplanned). If you’re worried about that, it can help to name that you see the pattern — because that signals that you’re not being cavalier about it (especially because people who are abusing sick time generally don’t raise it as a concern).

That doesn’t mean that you should apologize for being sick or using benefits that are part of your compensation package — you shouldn’t — but it could be helpful to say something like, “I wanted to mention that it’s not the norm for me to be getting sick as much as I have since moving here, and I have an appointment with my doctor to see if there’s anything going on that could be causing it.”

But also, different people use different amounts of sick time. A good boss will care more about whether you’re doing a good job and are conscientious in your approach to work. As long as you are, you should be fine.

5. Hiring manager claimed to have emailed me when she hadn’t

I recently applied for a full-time position. A friend of mine who works for the company, Jon, referred me to the hiring manager, Jane, who is his coworker. A few weeks after I’d applied, Jon reached out asking if I’d heard from Jane — she’d apparently told him she’d emailed me to set up an interview. I checked my inbox very thoroughly, dug through my spam, I had no email from Jane. I told Jon this, and he said not to worry, Jane was very disorganized and had probably forgotten but he’d tell her to email me again.

Another few weeks went by and I got another call from Jon, asking again if I’d heard from Jane. Jane had apparently told him that she’d emailed me a second time. Again, I dug through spam, I had nothing. Jon again said not to worry, repeated that Jane was very busy and had probably mixed me up with someone else, and said he’d check in with her again.

At this point I took matters into my own hands and emailed Jane myself, saying I’d heard from Jon that she’d been trying to contact me but that for some reason I hadn’t been receiving her emails. Jane responded immediately (within 10 seconds) with a generic response to set up an interview (“Thank you for your application to X. Please select an interview time here.” etc). No mention of previous email attempts.

Am I justified in feeling a bit put off by this? While I can’t know for certain that there wasn’t something odd going on with my email, it really seems to me like Jane was claiming to have emailed me for weeks when she hadn’t. What if her colleagues overheard that I’d been ignoring her emails for weeks and that impacted my ability to get jobs with them in the future? It’s really soured me on the job, but I’m wondering if that’s unfair.

I don’t think it’s particularly unfair — although I’m basing that less to Jane’s reply to you and more on what you’ve heard from Jon. If Jane is as disorganized as Jon says and as you seem to be seeing firsthand, it’s fair to assume working with her would be a frustrating experience.

I’m not really concerned about Jane’s colleagues hearing that you’d been ignoring her emails; candidates aren’t obligated to engage in any company’s hiring process and there are a lot of reasons a candidate might be unreachable — and it’s just not the kind of info that tends to stick with people who overhear a mention of it. But I’m definitely concerned about what Jane’s level of disorganization would mean for you as her employee.

{ 188 comments… read them below }

  1. Ask a Manager* Post author

    Comments on letter #1 turned into a trash fire and I’ve nuked them all, due to the time/energy it would otherwise take to moderate today (except for a few offering info that I can’t bring myself to remove).

    Organizing spaces for marginalized folks is a part of social justice work and people have a right to do it.

    People are also making assumptions about the movie itself that aren’t accurate (and are fairly misogynistic!) and are derailing from the actual question. I’ve removed the movie title from the post.

    I’m at least temporarily putting all comments on this post on moderation and asking for no further comments on letter #1. Thanks.

  2. Chris too*

    LW 4, there are plenty of people who think Covid tanks your immune system, at least temporarily. I’m never sick but I got Covid last summer and got sick quite a bit this winter.

    I believe I’ve read it takes six or eight months before our immune system recovers. I hope you’ll find this happens for you too, and that this is just a temporary blip in a long and healthy life. I think maybe this is going to be the “new normal” post infection. Hopefully employers will come to realize this.

    1. Jessica*

      I mean, good luck with that last, but so many employers haven’t even yet realized their employees are not robots and sometimes get sick. I’m not sure higher-level realizations will be happening anytime soon.

      1. Sparkles McFadden*

        Yep. When I worked a shift that was three twelve hour days a week, we were told that any sick days would require doctor’s notes because we had more days off than working “so you have plenty of days to get sick on your own time.”

        To the LW I have to add this: A reasonable manager would not think your sick days to be a big deal, but an unreasonable one would never accept any explanation.

        1. CommanderBanana*

          Ah yes, because when the flu knocks on my door, I can just tell it to hold off until next week when it’s more convenient! /s

          Seriously though, I feel like when we starting moving back into in-person after being in isolation for so long, I got sick / was exhausted more than I had ever been in my life. Whether that was just from having to interact with people again, or from having spent almost two years not exposing myself to any germs but my household’s, I don’t know.

          1. Mr. Shark*

            CommanderBanana, I feel you there. I think during Covid I was maybe the healthiest I’ve been (sickness-wise) ever. Mostly because I wasn’t around other people, but even when I was, I was masking, maintaining social distancing, and washing my hands more than ever.
            Getting back to work it seems like I’d catch a little bug every once in awhile.

        2. Richard Hershberger*

          Which is ridiculous for many legitimate conditions. A bout of mild food poisoning might knock you down for a day, but you are fine the day after that. I trip to urgent care to document that you went to urgent care is, if anything, counterproductive. You are better sleeping it off than sitting in a waiting room to get your note.

    2. RuledbyCats*

      Not only think, but there is an increasing amount of medical research showing just what Chris is saying – a significant number of people who have had COVID, mild and otherwise, are seeing impacts on other systems. Immune, cardiac, neurological and more. This was categorized as a “novel coronavirus” for a reason, and it’s likely there will continue to be longer term impacts.

      1. NYWeasel*

        Yes, was going to say that this has the potential to become a much bigger issue as more people have repeat infections and thus increase the odds that their immune system may get damaged.

      2. WhyAreThereSoManyBadManagers*

        Thank you, was hoping someone would put this out there. So many people just don’t try to avoid getting infected or reinfected anymore and don’t seem to mind if they infect others either. We have no idea what the infections may lead to 5, 10, 15 yrs down the line…especially for kids with developing brains and bodies. Look at how one bout of chickenpox as a kid can cause potentially life threatening shingles decades later, and then post-shingles debilitating nerve pain that then sometimes lasts forever for some people. This novel coronavirus that keeps mutating is being disrespected by so many, and I fear the future price will be steep.

    3. Turquoisecow*

      Yep, Covid really messes with the immune system in ways I think we don’t even realize yet. Probably the reason LW is getting sick so often is related to having had covid.

      1. BubbleTea*

        My toddler and I had covid in October 2020 and again in December 2022. Every six weeks so far in 2023 we have caught a stomach bug and each time, Toddler has had to go to hospital (admitted twice). He’s also got issues with circulation that the doctors think is a post-covid thing. Covid is no joke.

        1. MigraineMonth*

          I’m so sorry, that’s awful! I hope you and he both fully recover soon.

        2. Turquoisecow*

          As a toddler parent, I feel for you. It’s horrible when they get sick, even if the hospital isn’t required, it’s just a terrible feeling. I hope medical science can help and you both can start to feel better soon.

      2. CommanderBanana*

        The latest version, Arcturus, is apparently causing conjunctivitis, which is baffling everyone!

    4. Double A*

      I haven’t gotten covid as far as I know; if I have, it was mild and indistinguishable from the literal dozen colds my family has gotten this year and never popped a positive on a home test. Families with kids have been hit hard with “normal” illness this year and I have to imagine that is also impacting other people without kids. There is just a LOT of illness going around this year beyond covid. Unfortunately many workplaces are done being understanding about this, even though many people’s need for sick leave is higher this year than it was during the pandemic.

      1. 2 Cents*

        Our family hasn’t had covid since the summer of 2022 (thank goodness), but I can attest that my 4 YO was sick every 4 to 6 weeks in a way he wasn’t the last two years while at school. And last year, he didn’t have to mask for half of it. In March, he had a new illness every 9 days. It was nuts. I’m sorry you’ve been so sick, OP. I’ve been dragging myself to my remote desk and just sneezing my way through it :/

    5. Long Time Listener, First Time Caller*

      Yup! My brother’s been having immune system issues since he caught Covid last year and he had just a mild case

    6. Daisy*

      A minor side effect in the grand scheme of things – but I learned today that many people lose a lot of hair 3-6 months after Covid. Which explains some of my hair loss (on top of thyroid issues).
      There is so much we don’t know about the long-term impacts of Covid.

      1. CommanderBanana*

        My anti-vaxxer parent was hospitalized for about 10 days with COVID, and her hair fell out almost completely and very dramatically afterwards and she ended up buzzing it off. When it grew back, it was darker and curlier, like post-chemo hair regrowth. Apparently severe immune responses can cause your hair follicles to all enter the die phase of their lifecycle at once.

        1. JustAnotherKate*

          A good friend of mine had that, although she was fully vaxxed. She wore wigs for almost a year in a very hot climate!

          I personally didn’t have that weird post-Covid effect, but I had a couple of attacks of BPPV (vertigo) in the months after I had Covid. My doctor said it was probably an unrelated inner ear issue but admitted they really didn’t know if it could be a post-Covid thing. Thankfully it’s gone away for now!!

    7. Irish Teacher.*

      One of my colleagues mentioned having that experience too, getting sick easily after having covid. She said she wasn’t that sick with covid itself, but everything hit her afterwards.

    8. Warrior Princess Xena*

      There’s even some people who are developing a secondary autoimmune response to Covid, which is one of the things putting people into the hospital and is very similar to FIP in cats. Coronaviruses are nasty. We’re also seeing the results of a lot of people being isolated for 1.5 years giving all sorts of other bugs time to mutate and spread and lowering the guard on our immune systems.

      1. Cat and dog fosterer*

        I’m not in the pharmaceutical world so can’t confirm this, but I’ve heard that the FIP drug Mutian was quite helpful as a place to start for developing drugs for covid.

        Completely different from covid but years ago I read that Measles absolutely destroys our immune system’s memory, and that is what makes it so dangerous. Many illnesses weaken it slightly and that’s bad, but imagine if we suddenly had the immune system of a baby and how often they get sick when they first go to daycare and school. It’s frightening! Sounds like covid might have a similar effect.

        1. Warrior Princess Xena*

          I can sadly confirm that Gideon, the company making Remdesivir (an antiviral being used to make Covid) deliberately stopped developing their FIP drug so that they could get Remdesivir through FDA trials faster.

          The good news for kitty owners is that there is at least one other drug going through clinical trials that is having success at treating a previously fatal disease which I will be hoping hits the open market at some point in the near future. It’ll give a lot of hope to a lot of people and the results will be actively useful to people developing antivirals for humans as well.

    9. Keymaster of Gozer*

      Covid infection can also send the immune response hurtling the other way – and start attacking parts of you instead of the virus. There are a lot of people with new autoimmune diseases cropping up. One offshoot of having the immune system running at full bore trying to beat up your joints/thyroid is that when you do get other infections you suffer the symptoms worse.

      Because at that point the immune system has no settings apart from ‘attack with everything we have’. It’s not fun.

      1. MigraineMonth*

        The overactive immune system: can’t live with it, can’t live without it.

      2. KayDeeAye*

        That was apparently one of the big problems with the “Spanish flu” that ravaged the world in 1918-1919. It had a disproportionate effect on young, healthy people, and the theory is that this is because their immune systems would ramp up to unbelievable levels, particularly targeting the lungs.

        1. Keymaster of Gozer*

          This is absolutely correct. Most symptoms of a viral infection (fever, mucus, throwing up) are caused BY the immune system itself. It’s not an intelligent system and will throw just about anything in the hopes of getting the infection out.

          Problem is, what works – generally – fine for a bacterial infection (increasing body heat, trying to expel the infection out the nose/mouth/guts) doesn’t work for a virus.

        2. Reluctant Mezzo*

          Yes, cytokine spikes are higher in young, healthy people. Cytokine spikes kill.

    10. Llellayena*

      Yep. I had Covid and then spent the next 3 months this winter off and on sick. Just could NOT stay healthy. It also may be worse because of the move. You’re exposed to a different set of illnesses that where you came from and haven’t built up local tolerances.

      1. alienor*

        I think the move plays a part too. I moved to a new state about a year and a half ago and have been sick enough to run a fever twice since then, where normally I only get sick once every 2-3 years. My seasonal allergies have been a lot worse too, which I’m guessing is down to different pollen (and more of it, since the climate is very different here and there are lots of flowering trees). I’m hoping my body will adjust over time.

        1. OtherBecky*

          I was going to say something similar — new allergens can set off inflammatory pathways in some weird ways that can make people more vulnerable to disease, and Covid can also have lingering effects that we’re nowhere close to understanding.

          LW #4, if you’re not using N95s pretty much everywhere, I strongly recommend it. I’m dealing with some long Covid issues that mean it would be VERY BAD for me to get sick at all, much less to get Covid a second time, and it’s been working for me.

          I get my masks through the Project N95 website; they do all the vetting to make sure everything is authentic and I buy whatever is on the best sale.

          I hope your health rebounds soon!

        2. calonkat*

          I second this. I moved to the north part of the state I’m in, and the allergens are different enough that my reactions completely changed! Where I was, it was all sneezing, eye swelling, runny nose (and I had a complete set of allergy shots too!), 100 miles north, it’s more internal, asthma, coughing, and nosebleeds. But it’s all allergies!

    11. onetimethishappened*

      My family and I have been so sick this winter. Its been terrible. I caught COVID at the end of March. While I was well enough to work (after the first few days), I didn’t feel better until last week. Its been really bad. I am so glad its almost summer.

    12. Catwhisperer*

      I had a similar experience with my immune system post-COVID, it took about 6 months for it to fully recover and I caught every single bug I came into contact with during that period. Ironically I got it on a work trip, along with the rest of my team, so we were all having to take extra sick time for a bit.

    13. Venus*

      In addition to everything said so far…
      Moving to a different place is stressful, even if it’s a big positive, and may have also made you slightly less resilient.

      I would identify the pattern to your boss in a brief sentence but honestly wouldn’t worry too much about being sick with colds and such more often this year, especially if sick with covid recently.

    14. HigherEdAdminista*

      This is absolutely a thing research is finding. Just the other day, the WHO said that 1 in 10 infections will lead to some kind of new health condition or disability. Not just 1 in 10 people, 1 in 10 infections. It’s a very nasty illness that for some reason (*cough*money*cough*) our leadership has decided to embrace.

      LW 4: Prioritize rest as much as you can! I realize you probably want to take advantage when you are healthy to get more done at work and at home, but rest has been shown to be very important. Even when you feel well, rest often.

    15. Been There*

      I’ve been hit by viruses both in the fall and in the spring that have taken me out far longer than similar things would have before covid.

    16. Veryanon*

      There are a lot of weird side effects from COVID that science just doesn’t have enough information about yet. I had COVID in October 2022 and besides the ongoing fatigue and brain fog, I’ve noticed that my body temperature doesn’t regulate the way it should. Think hot flashes, but on steroids – I get really, really cold and then I have a major hot flash. I’ve asked a couple of my friends who have also had COVID and are around my age (mid-50s) and they’ve all said they’re experiencing the same thing. So maybe this is just something that happens to post-menopausal women? My doctor had no answers.

      1. Gato Blanco*

        Also pre-menopausal. Anecdotally, it happened to my 25 year old sister too. The temp regulation issues took about 18 months to go away.

    17. CommentKoi*

      Yes, I was going to say this too. There’s a decent amount of evidence that getting covid makes you way more susceptible to illness for a long time afterward. I would hope more workplaces will be prepared for that too, but lately it seems more like the opposite. Regardless, LW shouldn’t feel guilty about taking necessary sick days.

    18. Stinky Socks*

      Covid last August made me susceptible to every germ in the neighborhood, apparently. By the end of September I’d had flu A, flu B, and a sinus infection. I was battling major fatigue until at least January.
      Covid is no joke.

    19. Lacey*

      I’ve heard this as well. I didn’t personally have this problem, but I know several people who have.

      It’s also possible that the new location is a problem. A friend of mine moved across the country for a job and was frequently sick while she lived there. A few years later she got a different job and moved to another state – miraculously she no longer got the frequent illnesses.

    20. FattyMPH*

      “plenty of people” includes scientists…

      I think if your boss says anything, maybe you could suggest taking some illness precautions in the workplace so people get sick less often? Making N95’s available in the office and introducing more air filtration seem like obvious solutions to the problem of employee illness. I’m not saying that people only get sick at work, but interrupting some transmission is better than interrupting none.

    21. I have RBF*

      I just had Covid. Even though I now test negative, my immune system and energy have been wiped. Anecdata from many others suggests that it takes over a month after you test negative to get your energy back. Some studies have shown that it depresses the immune response to anything for something like six months, and more if you overdo it.

      I’m lucky in that my manager had it a few months before I did, and the amount of time his status is “idle” or “away” tells me he has to take it easy too.

      1. allathian*

        I had Covid in October 2022, probably the omicron variant. I’ve been far sicker with bacterial infections like strep throat, although thankfully antibiotics helped that time, and other respiratory viral infections.

        But no bout with influenza or “the common cold” left me so exhausted as my mild bout of Covid did. I’m not particularly fit, but I don’t normally get out of breath just walking up the stairs in our two-floor house. It took me about a month to recover from that.

    22. Reed Weird*

      Yup, this is where I’m at, I was out for two weeks with COVID in late July last year, not even respiratory. I had to get intermittent FMLA because the fatigue took so long to kick, and I’m still having to use it because it wrecked my cardiac, immune, and nervous system. I am 24, been active all my life and was fencing semi-competitively, and now I’m taking a sick day about every 2-3 weeks because either a bug takes me down or dysautonomia just says no, I can’t stand more than 5 minutes without getting dizzy today.

    23. Long Hauler (COVID not trucks)*

      Recovering from COVID can be a long, uncertain undertaking. I’ve had it twice in 2 years and I have many more health issues now than prior — and what I had before, long COVID has amplified. If this is an option where you live/work, I would recommend filing for FMLA or other forms of intermittent excused leave to protect your job and give yourself space to rest and recover. For me, things have improved over time, but it’s been a tough 18 months. It’s only in the last 6-8 months that I’ve really been able to advocate for myself, reduce my work hours, and regain my health. Don’t give up hope that things will improve, but do give yourself time and rest so that you can.

  3. Allonge*

    LW4 – can you bring this up in a context of what kind of work you would like to be able to do more (and you couldn’t this year because of all the sickness, all these bloody viruses, hope someone invents something to treat it faster…)?

    Basically I would show some (limited!) frustration, not guilt, and try to speak in terms of of the future, not the past. I know it’s not possible for you to promise it will not happen again, but if your manager is reasonable, it can start an actual discussion on your development / job duties and not just one where your manager needs to reassure you it’s ok.

    And just in case you need to hear it from an internet stranger: you have nothing to be guilty about.

    1. Warrior Princess Xena*

      For what it’s worth there are antivirals slowly starting to come onto the market! Which I find staggeringly cool because I remember being in elementary school and being told we had medicine that could stop bacteria but could only alleviate the symptoms of viruses.

      But yes – you have nothing to be guilty about. Sickness happens. It also sounds like you had a combination of moving + Covid, so a whole lot of stress right off the bat, which is not likely to have helped your immune system any.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer*

        We’ve had antivirals for a while – cold sore medications for instance. But it’s true there are few compared to antibacterials.

        The problem with combating viruses is that they can only grow inside a host cell – so to kill the virus without killing off the host is a very delicate balance.

    2. KateM*

      One or two sick days a month doesn’t sound so much to me in the first place tbh.

      1. MigraineMonth*

        Yeah, my migraines take me out 1-2 days a month, and it’s never seemed like an issue to me.

      2. Caramel & Cheddar*

        I don’t think it’s a lot in terms of how the human body works, but most workplaces aren’t offering 12-24 sick days per year and so it’s easy to see how it “feels” like a lot in a work context. (Note: I think it’s bad that this feels like a lot in a work context too.)

    3. ferrina*

      I don’t know if even frustration is needed- you could also go the route of resigned acceptance (yep, my body is doing it’s thing again). You have nothing to feel guilty about- your body is being a human body and acting in a way that is inconvenient. That’s why we have sick days. I’ve worked with quite a few coworkers who had to be out at least once a month (usually due to chronic conditions), and their attitude of resignation combined with humor combined with excellent work was inspiring. “Yeah, I’m out. My body has decided to re-enact the final battle from Star Wars from my stomach, and it’s not as much fun there as it is on the movie screen. Files for the TPS report are with the droids.”

      As long as you’re working when you’re well and have strong work product, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. I know I and my boss and pretty much any reasonable boss would both take a strong performer who is out a couple days a month over a mediocre performer who is there every day.

      1. Stuckinacrazyjob*

        I’m always anxious because if I don’t take a sick day I’m not productive and then people think I’m lazy. but I’m not productive when sick at all

      2. Allonge*

        I meant the frustrated thing just for the annual eval meeting, not in all cases of having to take sick leave!

  4. coffee*

    LW3, I’m curious about keeping Jane on to “honour her work history”. Hasn’t the work already been honoured by paying her, when it comes down to it? How much time passing do you think would count as ‘fully honoured’? Would there be a better way to honour her, like arranging for some kind of formal award/certificate/recognition?

    I don’t know if this is a common industry thing or common in your workplace, but it would be very strange in my workplace, and I feel like you wouldn’t be writing in if it was a standard behaviour? Also it doesn’t sound like Jane is honouring her work history with her behaviour. You don’t have to keep hiring her.

    1. GammaGirl1908*

      I took it as Jane has been a good partner and done excellent work, and until now has done nothing to lose a recurring gig where she is liked and doing well and where they want to keep her on. She’s not an employee, but she would have good reason to assume her contracts will be renewed. I encounter lots of things that were mediocre, and I still have to pay for them. I just don’t go back. That’s not what was happening here; The company was perfectly happy to keep using Jane’s services, and now she’s jeopardizing that.

      That to me is all the more reason to take Jane aside and have a word with her about how she seems to have a lot to say about not getting the job, and ask whether there is anything she wants to express to clear the air so the team can move forward. LW wouldn’t even have thought twice about the situation if Jane had just graciously accepted coming in second and gone back to normal, but Jane hasn’t been able to make it over the bar of “don’t make it weird.”

      (In 11th grade, I didn’t win the election for student body vice president. The next day when I saw the person who won, I hugged her and congratulated her and offered my support and help for any projects in the future. Then I never mentioned the election again. I did pretty much the same thing a couple of years ago when my company hired from outside instead of offering me my team leader’s vacant spot — I welcomed the new person and treated her the same as I would have if I hadn’t been in the running for the job. Yes, it stung a little not to get the position, but I also still had to be there and wanted to make it as easy as possible to do that. Jane, try it.)

    2. MigraineMonth*

      My interpretation is that Jane doesn’t understand how disruptive her comments are; she may even think she’s complimenting OP by pointing out the ways she’s a better candidate. It sounds like Jane does excellent work, and the only real problem is that she’s making these awkward comments (they don’t sound mean or spiteful to me).

      OP, it seems awkward to bring this sort of thing up, but things are already awkward! You’re thinking of not bringing back an experienced contractor with a history of delivering quality services; at least try talking to her first!

      1. Olive*

        Yes, my reading of this is that Jane is worried that OP might think she resents her for getting the job, and is going overboard to make sure she doesn’t get that impression, but because of excessive anxiety or general social awkwardness, doesn’t know when to let it go. I think that she’d be shocked and hurt to know that OP is considering not working with her anymore because of this. My guess is that it would suffice for OP to be kind in telling her that the subject is making her uncomfortable and she doesn’t want to talk about it anymore.

        1. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

          I agree, this totally read to me as anxiety/discomfort coming out as awkwardness. I think addressing it will likely make it stop.

          I thought “honouring her work history” meant she’s done great work and LW didn’t want to stop using her services just because of the promotion. Like, a fairness thing.

        2. MsM*

          While I hope for LW’s sake that’s all it is, I really don’t like that Jane is and has been aggressively pushing reasons to not only extend but expand the contract on terms that will make it difficult for LW to change course and reassert control if that becomes necessary. At best, she’s letting her own self-interest get in the way of giving LW the space to decide what they want to do with these proposed projects, or even talking through what that work might look like together. At worst, it’s a power play, and the attempts to butter LW up are either supposed to disguise that or entirely backhanded digs (“oh, I’d never have thought of that“).

          1. WellRed*

            Yeah I don’t get social awkwardness from Janes behavior. OP herself uses the words aggressive, passive aggressive and push. I think on some level she thinks she should have gotten the job. If that’s the case, no wonder it’s uncomfortable and it might be best after this contract for Jane to move on.

          2. My Useless 2 Cents*

            Could be an unpopular opinion but OP, please take a minute and really think about if the off-putting “aggressiveness” would land as badly if Jane was John. Aside from an awkward comment or two, a lot of what you mention sounds like classic double edged advise women often get to succeed we need to “be more aggressive” but then we get punished when we are.

            1. MsM*

              Again, I’m coming from a place of personal experience on this, so my responses may very well be biased – but not in that direction. In fact, I think I’d be even more annoyed by a John who clearly wasn’t happy about me having been selected over him, and kept finding excuses to try and get around that by trying to dictate departmental strategy in a way that conveniently placed him in charge.

              1. GammaGirl1908*

                I agree with MsM. Assuming LW is a woman, it would be even WORSE if a man just couldn’t shut up about the woman who won out over him. It would have an edge of “well, obviously THESE DAYS, y’know, they had to pick a woman over me or it just WOULDN’T LOOK RIGHT.” Then add in the part where Jane is trying to undermine LW, and it would be a mess.

        3. Ama*

          I have a colleague that makes comments about how good I am at my job that I find similarly offputting — and she wasn’t ever competing for my job (or would even want it). But she seems to be very insecure about her own work, and especially when she gets stuck on something and I can provide the answer in about 30 seconds, she makes a lot of “oh you’re so good at this” or “I’m never going to know this as well as you do” or similar noises. I tried reassuring her for a while but it 1) didn’t seem to help (in fact if anything it seemed to send her into more of a spiral about how she’s “struggling” even though she’s not) and 2) I was finding it extremely stressful to be constantly providing that level of emotional support, so now I just say “let me know if you need anything else” or “you’re welcome” or whatever and if she seems really stuck on something that could actually be fixed (like worried about a specific project/task rather than general performance anxiety) I give her manager a heads up (one other pattern this colleague has is talking to everyone *but* her manager when she feels she’s struggling).

          Since OP is in an actual supervisory role to Jane and it is affecting OP’s feelings about working together, I would recommend saying something, but if it doesn’t help I wouldn’t be entirely surprised. Some people seem to need to verbalize their anxieties.

  5. Le Vauteur*

    LW5 – if this sort of thing happens again, using the “Can I just check the email address with you?” often works wonders. Either they’ve not emailed and it prompts them, or they’ve made a genuine spelling error in the address.

    1. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

      came to say the same. maybe she had the wrong address, and if not the line provided by Le Vauteur is perfect.

      1. NZReb*

        Yep, agree. Good chance she emailed you but had the wrong address. In fact, you might want to make sure Jon has your address right.

    2. Tio*

      Yeah, that was my first thought, Jane is emailing with a typo, either her own or one that got passed along through the grapevine.

    3. zuzu*

      I had a ton of misdirects with my usual job-searching email address (my full name plus middle initial) because people were just skipping right over the middle initial. And unfortunately, the messages wouldn’t bounce because someone else had that email.

      Which left me two options: punctuation or use my university email address, which is much shorter, hard to mistype, and goes to the same inbox. I went with Door #2. It did get weird when I was applying to that same institution.

    4. AngryOctopus*

      This for sure. I have a somewhat complicated last name, and it can be easy to mistype. Someone probably had to type your email in if you didn’t apply through a portal, and it’s easy to mistype something (and not notice because you’re not personally familiar with it).

    5. Yes And*

      Came here to say this, and also to add that I’ve had a heck of a time getting Outlook to stop defaulting to a version of an email address I sent once with a typo in it. It’s very frustrating.

      1. Beth*

        This was my first thoguht also, and has been my experience too many times to count.

        Also, to kill off the typo address in Outlook: when you type the first few letters of the email name/address, Outlook should present a list of possible matches. Each item in the list has an X to the right (sometimes hard to see, sometimes appears and disappears). Click on that X and the bad item should be deleted from the Autofill datafile.

        Of course, this requires that your system be configured with certain defaults. But it usually works, and I hope it works for you.

    6. a clockwork lemon*

      I had this same thought. I had a similar experience recently with a phone number where I was increasingly frustrated that I had called someone and left multiple voicemails with no response. Finally, the person I’d been trying to call reached out to a mutual acquaintance of ours and….I had transposed two digits in the phone number.

      Typos come for us all.

    7. LW5*

      This is fair. I’d sent the job application directly to her via email, so I’d assumed she’d just be replying to that email.

      1. Emily*

        LW5: I think your assumption was logical, or she could have copied and pasted the email address, but I continue to be frustrated by the seemingly large amount of people who do illogical things. Even if it was a matter of Jane misspelling the email address or something similar, I think your frustration with Jane is warranted, and I think Alison makes a good point that it could be very frustrating to work with someone as disorganized as Jane.

  6. TransmascJourno*

    I do think it’s important to note that this movie, per the trailers that have been released, reportage (including press junket interviews with the actors and more), and the casting make it clear that yes, the Barbie multiverse is both integral to its plot, but is also meant as a subversive jumping-off point. The fact that Hari Nef, a trans woman cast as a Barbie, is very meaningful to a lot of trans people in the sense that it subverts the idea of cisheteronormativity many of us were taught to idolize. The fact that there’s racial diversity within the cast as core to its thesis—like Simu Liu as a main character, to name one example—means that this shouldn’t be dismissed as “a Barbie movie.” It’s also helmed by Greta Gerwig as a director, and the innate feminism (albeit imperfect, but duly important) speaks for itself.

    I’ll add that there’s no way we’ll be able to judge this movie for its successes or failures until it premieres, but it’s pretty myopic to pretend that this film is merely a campy romp that does nothing for representation for marginalized people. Perhaps the same people the LW wants to invite.

    I’m not someone who ever liked playing with Barbies, even though as a person who is AFAB (and who came out as queer in my late teens, and as nonbinary and transmasculine in my late twenties) it was very much foisted upon me to enjoy. What I mean here, as a person who would not be a target audience demographic by way of nostalgia, is that I think it’s important to trust that the LW has full awareness of the context and (possible, hopeful!) importance of what this movie presumably is and says. Or better yet, what this means to people who never saw themselves reflected in a ubiquitous pop culture touchstone like Barbie, who stood for a damaging paragon of white cishet beauty standards for so long.

    1. amoeba*

      That’s interesting and I wasn’t aware at all, thanks for pointing it out!
      However, I’d also assume in the LW’s place that a large number of the people she’d be inviting wouldn’t be aware of that either and just assume they were invited because… girls like barbies? Gay men are like girls and wear pink and love bubbly, while cis men prefer to drink beer and do manly man stuff?

      So if it’s really about the LGBTQ+ aspect of the film, I’d at least make very sure to make that clear in the invite. (But I’d also still question the idea – I mean, lots of straight women are… not LGBTQ+-allies at all, and a lot of men are. So if it’s about LGBTQ+, why invite straight women at all? And if it’s not, well, see above…)

      1. bamcheeks*

        It’s about creating spaces for marginalised genders and sexualities that don’t centre cishet men and their concerns. It’s the same impulse as women-only spaces, LGBTQ+ spaces, BIPOC spaces, spaces for queer women, spaces for trans and non-binary people, and so on. The majoritised group is used to having their experiences, viewpoint, humour, sensitivities etc centred. Creating spaces that don’t include the majoritised group changes the vibe, what you can say, who feels safe and so on. It’s not about saying, “these people will definitely LOVE this!”, it’s about saying, “we want a particular kind of space and experience, we get that by having a private space where our humour, sensitivities, concerns, viewpoints and so on will be centred. The “girls, gays and theys” framing is a jokey and camp way of saying “all marginalised genders and sexualities”.

    2. MigraineMonth*

      Thank you for adding this information to the discussion! I hadn’t heard about the movie at all, so it’s great to know.

  7. Adam*

    LW4, if it sets your mind at ease, people who abuse sick time also tend not to be particularly diligent or motivated employees when they are there, and managers know this. So if you feel you’re doing a good job while you’re not sick and your manager seems like a reasonable person, you’re likely to be in good shape.

    1. EPLawyer*

      Yeah when I was employed by others – I took a mental health day probably every other month, and sometimes every month. (if it became every month I knew I was just unhappy with the company and it was time to bail). Never mentioned because when I was at work, I WORKED. Got stuff done at a high level. So 1 – I don’t think a sick day or two is every month is that bad and 2 – you are a good employee so more leeway will be given to you. If you work for a reasonable company.

  8. Extra anony*

    LW5, I think you’re reacting a bit harshly, because you don’t know exactly what happened and you’re relying on Jon’s account. Maybe it was all more informal – like Jon saying “Hey, did you email my friend LW?” “Oh, I’ll do it this week” and then Jane gets wrapped up in other tasks and doesn’t do it. I don’t think that’s so egregious. Maybe she made a typing error. I wouldn’t discount the job just because of this, or even assume Jane is wildly disorganized, because we just don’t know exactly what happened.

    1. Cj*

      even if not getting an email doesn’t mean that Jane is wildly disorganized, Jon said that she is. I would definitely put some weight on his opinion.

    2. LW5*

      Yeah, I would definitely get if she’d said she WOULD do it this week and then didn’t get to it. It was the saying she already HAD that bothered me (Allison’s response is spot-on though, of course)

  9. NotSickAnymore*

    LW4, I had the same thing happen with my first full time job which I moved interstate for. I went from having one cold a year, which might last a day or two, to getting sick several times over five months, each requiring 3-4 days off work and not really getting a chance to get 100% better in between. My boss ended up talking to me about it and recommending I get checked out because I was so sick all the time (not questioning that I was sick, she could see I was, but that it wasn’t normal to be so The following winter was better, and over a few years I got less and less sick each winter.

    Since you’ve moved to a new state for work, it’s possible that the cold and flu bugs in your new area are a bit different to the ones you developed an immunity to in your home state, so you’re more susceptible. It also may be possible that your new state has different levels of temperature, humidity, pollen etc that may make you more vulnerable to illness or feel worse when you get ill. It’s certainly worth getting checked out, but there’s also a good chance your immune system will adapt in time. Good luck!

    1. Nebula*

      Yes, I was going to raise this point, it’s normal to get sick more when you move to a new area! The Covid infection probably made that worse as well. You will probably eventually be fine when your body adjusts, but you’re still in that adjustment period. It always seems like it’s going to be forever, but you will probably be OK – and not using all this sick time – eventually.

      1. Molly*

        yeah, when I moved to Boston from NYC, my allergies went haywire for at least a year before my body got used to the new pollens, etc. I guess it takes a while to adjust to a new environment.

    2. Problem!*

      I have done several major moves and can confirm the first couple cold/flu seasons after moving to a new area are rough. The worst was when I moved to the Midwest, I don’t know what they’re up to out there with their germs but I spent more time sick than well when I lived there.

    3. Michelle Smith*

      I got sick multiple times a year when I moved from Virginia to New York. I’m talking bronchitis at least 3-4 times a year with a cough that would linger for weeks. Nothing changed until I got a new primary care doctor who advised me to buy air purifiers not just for my apartment, but for my office as well (I was lucky enough to share a small office with only a couple of other people rather than working out of a large open space with just a cubicle). I stopped getting bronchitis after that. Strongly suggest following this commenter’s advice above and getting checked out but also being gentle with yourself as it can take time to figure out how to manage it so you can stay healthy in your new environment!

    4. Lady Kelvin*

      I was coming here to say the same thing. I’ve moved states 4 times in my adult life for work/grad school and the first year is always a doozy for sickness! They only time I have spent more time sick is after I had kids and the first year-year and a half they bring home every germ known to man. Hang on and know it will get better, and if you are asked about it, just mention that living in a new place means you have to get used to new germs!

  10. bamcheeks*

    Absolutely shocked by lots of the responses to LW1. Creating LGBTQ+ spaces or women’s spaces or queer women’s or BIPOC spaces is pretty basic. If it’s not for you, feel free not to attend, but you don’t have to get offended that someone running a private event and would prefer not to have cishet men there. It’s not saying anything about your identity as a woman or a queer person or a trans person except that you’d be welcome *if* you wanted to attend. Nobody thinks you should or is presuming anything about your tastes!

    1. Toaster Oven*

      Because LW1 seems to have struck a nerve, I’ll add my two cents here.

      1) It’s a private social event! You do you — Alison’s advice is spot on. And you know your friends better than we do — some folks would get an honest kick out of the premise.

      2) Even if this *were* some sort of workplace/workplace-adjacent event, it is absolutely okay to want to foster a safe space for marginalised groups. You want to have an LGBTQIA+ event? Excellent. You want to have an event for women? Awesome. You want to have an event for women and non-binary folks? This is different (and, as other commenters have pointed out, always lumping NB folks with women isn’t *great*), but depending on your purpose and phrasing this can also be well done. I think some of the flak that you’re catching from the comments is that you’re conflating women and LGBTQIA+ folks — which! again! you know your friend group! for a private social event this is fine! — which are groups who have different requirements for safe spaces.

    2. neeko*

      Just pointing out that OP didn’t come up with “girls/gays/theys”. I see it used a lot on social media in a very light-hearted way, most often by other folks in the LGBTQ+ community. Not saying folks can’t have their critiques about it but just giving some context.

      1. I heart my NC headphones*

        I’m surprised that this isn’t something the commentariat –– who is typically good with LGBTQ+ questions –– seems to have missed. I’m ace, which is (for me) a complicated identity; and I don’t consider myself an insider to queer spaces, but I had definitely heard the girls/gays/theys thing before today, along with the principle of organizing spaces around minoritized genders and sexualities.

        I suppose like bamcheeks, I’d urge OP to take this as a caution that things within your little pocket of communities are completely not a thing outside of it, and that might cause tension.

    3. Alissa*

      Completely agree- the reactions here are wild. I’m curious how many of the commenters here are actually familiar with or integrated into queer spaces. If I were OP reading these comments, I’d be banging my head against the wall.

      That said, I think this is a great preview for OP of what the reaction at work could look like, depending on how they handle it. Given how people here are responding…there be dragons here. I’d personally stick to inviting only close friends at work unless you’re willing to deal with ruffling feathers over this.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        That’s true, but lest the commentariat scare OP off I would also point out that this is a global anonymous forum going off very limited information about OP, their general dynamics with their friends and coworkers, the culture of their organization, and a million other minute factors we just can’t have insight into.

        OP you wrote in asking if you were being exclusionary and that tells me that you’re a conscientious person, and I bet your coworkers know that about you. There’s a chance there will be mixed reactions, as Alison advises and Alissa points out, but you know your situation and the players involved best – so don’t be scared off if you still feel like you want to do this! It sounds like a great event.

    4. amaru*

      THANK YOU. Sheesh, the feedback on her event idea in the comments has been wild. “I’m a woman and I’m not interested!!!” Ok, then don’t go. “Don’t exclude straight men that’s awful!!!” As Alison says, I think they’ll survive, I am not personally worried about straight men being excluded from a single friend gathering. Get a grip, fascists are literally trying to exterminate girls gays and theys!!!!!!! Right now!!! Focus your energy there.

  11. I Won't Be Applying*

    #5 Jane and email. I would assume an error in the email address. It’s at least as likely as the other explanations given here. And kinder. Once you wrote to her, she could reply to the correct address. Then observe carefully.

    1. Nonnymee*

      That was my first thought as well, that she’d sent it both times but had mistyped the e-mail. Or she used the e-mail she was given, but the person had forgotten that they needed to add an 8 or whatever because of all the other

      In the last couple of months I’ve had legit e-mails for others with my name in a couple of parts of the USA and one in Australia. Including one about a job interview! I let all senders know they’d got the wrong person.

      1. I am Emily's failing memory*

        Yep, I got Gmail when it was invitation-only so I have with no numbers, and I get wrong emails with surprising frequency from people who share my first two initials and last name – who knows if their real addresses are yahoo or aol instead of Gmail, or if there are supposed to be numbers they forget to include, but from what I’ve gathered it’s one of the curses of being an early Gmail adopter (and having a reasonably common last name, I suppose).

        Just this week I’ve been getting a series of follow-up emails for “Elizabeth’s failing memory” who seems to have either registered or expressed interest in a Salesforce training course and needs to schedule an introductory phone call. I replied to the first one indicating I was not her, but the emails have continued to come, so they’re probably some degree automated and the inbox I replied to probably isn’t monitored, which is often the case with these misdirected emails – they frequently come from no-reply@ emails and have no way to unsubscribe because it’s not just a “thanks for signing up for our emails” marketing list, it’s more often a bounceback from a form submission, or a one-off receipt for a transaction. (At one point I was getting all of someone else’s Redbox receipts!)

        1. Daisy-dog*

          One of my friends does firstmlast, but it’s hard to read because of a repeating letter like oliverrlewis. Many people email oliverlewis instead. At one point, that Oliver did send a nice reply about the error.

      2. My Useless 2 Cents*

        And I find that email programs are so “helpful” that they can be harmful. Once an email address with a typo gets sent, I have the hardest time getting that address out of the program and even months later the program tries to autofill the typo email address over the correct email address. There are a few customers I have to be EXTREMELY careful emailing :(

    2. Dust Bunny*

      This was my thought, too. I have an uncommon first name and I asked IT to change my office email to flastname instead of the standard firstname.lastname so patrons could avoid trying to spell it, because so many of them were getting it wrong and couldn’t email me.

      1. umami*

        Same. I miss a lot of emails because my first name is unusual and easy to misspell (and there are alternate correct spellings!), so I have an alias that is flastname for this reason.

    3. learnedthehardway*

      Agreeing. Also, she probably has a standard reply for candidates to access her calendar and schedule themselves. It’s pretty common to do this.

      I also wouldn’t take it personally that she’s not apologizing or saying she’s excited to meet the OP. She may not have realized that the email address was wrong, for example – that’s hardly her fault.

      1. LW5*

        I was not taking that personally! Just thought that if she’d actually been trying to reach me for weeks, she might’ve mentioned that.

    4. LW5*

      I’d sent the job application via email, so assumed she’d just be replying to that email if she wanted to move forward.

  12. Monkey's Paw Manicure*

    #2: A video of testimonials in an interview!? Are you freakin’ kidding me? I’d consider it a triumph of emotional maturity to refrain from making jerking-off motions through the whole thing.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Sometimes you should channel your inner Elle Woods or Lando Calrissian. Sometimes you should realize that you are not Elle or Lando, and appearing confused about that is going to be deeply embarrassing.

        1. MigraineMonth*

          Okay, but if you *could* pull it off, wouldn’t it be a greater tragedy not to try? That gold lame cape isn’t going to wear itself.

    1. Antilles*

      I’m just trying to picture being the interviewer on the other side of the table here.
      I ask about your management style, then you pull out your phone to show me this video. I’m pretty sure my immediate response would be complete bafflement for the first few seconds, then trying to politely interrupt to go “no, no, let’s go back to talking here”.
      I’m definitely not putting any weight on a video of cherry-picked 30-second snippet recommendations by former subordinates – especially since I have no opportunity to dig deeper, ask questions, etc. I’d also likely start wondering about your professionalism and experience as a mid-career (late career?) manager who somehow doesn’t recognize that bringing your own YouTube video isn’t a thing.

      1. MsM*

        I find it hard to imagine this wasn’t in response to a request from the potential employer. Which is not to say I don’t believe there’s someone out there who might independently decide they need to do this to “stand out,” but I’d hope they’d at least plan far enough ahead to not have to bug people about it right before the interview. (Then again, if they managed to convince themselves they needed to provide unrequested collateral in the first place…)

        1. Myrin*

          Yes, I hadn’t even considered that this might have been Fergus’s idea because that would be completely wild and just, well, really random.

        2. Worldwalker*

          I’m thinking that it might be something suggested by some kind of would-be “career coach”, the later in one’s career equivalent of those dreadful college career centers. They seem to be big on “standing out” by violating norms instead of excelling within them.

    2. Emilia Bedelia*

      After the question recently about 1 way recorded interviews, I’m wondering if this is actually an unfortunate new invention by the same people who brought us video interviews.

      1. MigraineMonth*

        This does seem like a “logical” progression from that terrible idea to an even worse one.

        The only “one-way video interview” I subjected myself to had one question that I really wanted to be able to discuss with the interviewer. The discussion would have started with “Seriously?” and continued with “Who came up with this dud?”

    3. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      I’ve participated in compilations of short videos for a milestone birthday of an extended family member.

      But work? That sounds really weird, regardless of whether OP’s old boss came up with the idea or the hiring company did.

    4. daffodil*

      Asking someone to appear on camera for an unknown audience is a big ask imo. As another commenter said, I’ve done it for a celebration type occasion but I’d be pretty annoyed by this. I hope it’s one person’s bad idea and not a new trend.

    5. Looper*

      Given the long period of no contact, odd time of request, the short notice, the request itself- I think this guy is going through something, I won’t make assumptions as to what, but to me that’s just not healthy-thinking behavior. I think the hindsight-advice to “not see” the message for a few days is good particularly because LW was never close with him and is not involved in his life at all.

    6. LW2*

      LW2 here! The request came in via text and I was worried they would see I read it so felt like I had to respond. I offered a time a week and half away that I could do it (I didn’t know at that point it was needed for the next day, but suspected the turnaround time was short), which I felt landed in the middle ground of “not dropping everything to do this” but not an outright no. He said he understood. My guess is he was asked to do a presentation as part of the interview and this was part of the presentation (his own idea?), though I don’t know for sure. But weird that I’ve been asked to do it twice by people! I really hope it’s not a new trend.

  13. FD*

    OP #5: Actually, I wouldn’t assume this is a lie. I’ve been learning about this due to running into it at work, but I’m not an expert and IT people can feel free to correct me.

    So, some email providers now just straight up block some emails that don’t past certain tests. Essentially, to reduce the prevalence of spoofing emails (emails that pretend to be from an email they’re not), some email providers use certain methods to authenticate that a particular sender really is from the domain they say they are.

    That is, if you send an email from llamagroomers DOT com, they’ll check to see if the place it came from is authorized to send emails from that domain.

    Now where this is an issue is that if you use a system to send emails on your behalf. For example, let’s say Llama Groomers uses Woolly CRM to send out marketing emails from a llamagroomers DOT com address. The need to specifically authorize Wooly CRM to send emails on their behalf. (There are a few methods to do this, but the relevant terms are SPF, DKIM, and DMARC.)

    If Llama Groomers doesn’t know this, they’ll send out emails that won’t bounce back, but won’t get through–not even to the destination’s spam folder. There *might* be a log buried somewhere in Woolly CRM’s system, or there might not.

    Gmail tends to be quite aggressive about blocking emails, and we had this issue for probably years with one of our systems before anyone realized what was going wrong.

    Short version, they might be telling the truth. If they’re using a candidate management system to send and receive emails, and they haven’t authorized it correctly, they may very well have sent an email you never got.

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      I’ve seen this happen before so yes, this is a distinct possibility. The fact that she responded immediately when emailed directly is telling.

      This might not be on Jane’s side. It might be on LW’s email provider’s side.

    2. Eldritch Office Worker*

      I worked for a large volunteer organization and this was a nightmare because maybe 5% had rcn email addresses and rarely got our emails, and we often didn’t get theirs. We had to follow up with these people by phone constantly which was a big workflow disruption.

      I don’t know if that’s what’s happening here or not, but I think I’d move ahead with the interview and get a better feel for things before I wrote the job off completely based on this.

    3. Harper the Other One*

      This is a constant worry for me. My last name contains two words which together FREQUENTLY trigger spam filters. I am always concerned when I am job hunting that stuff won’t get where it’s supposed to go. I prefer to use firstname.lastname for my professional email format so it’s easy to connect with my name on my resume but it’s happening often enough now that I’ve considered switching to initials or something similar.

    4. Dr. Vibrissae*

      Yes, I very recently had this problem. A client sent me follow-up information, and then called again when I didn’t respond. They resent the email, still nothing. they sent it to our dept address (instead of my individual email) and it finally went through. IT was able to find the emails trapped in some spam filter before they got to me (which begs the question of why some still go to my spam folder), but couldn’t explain why this client’s emails had been caught, or why they were able to send to one of our addresses, but not the other, nor how I could make sure this wasn’t happening to other clients. So now I’m paranoid I’ve missed more emails like this and never knew…and also have no way to know if it’s happening unless I suggest everyone follow up by phone the first time they try to send me an email, which is as impractical as the IT advice to put them all on my safelist (literally thousands of potential emails…)

      All of which is to say that there are many non-nefarious explanations for this series of events, and while I understand LW’s annoyance, I doubt this whole thing has even been a blip on Jane’s radar.

      1. This Old House*

        We had something like this a little while ago. We had two email threads, on two different topics, with the same people from another organization. They emailed me several times asking for a response on Topic A, and every time I responded – but they never saw my response – it was going to spam – until they put their request in the email about Topic B (apparently thinking I was very responsive on B while completely ignoring A). When I responded with the A information on the B thread, they saw it and we were able to figure it out. I can’t figure out why the same email address, to the same people, would get caught by a spam filter on one (completely innocuous) topic and not another. Technology is inscrutable.

    5. Csethiro Ceredin*

      We’ve encountered this too. A recent example was finding that emails that mysteriously weren’t getting through to our government contract holder were all ones with the date in the title… apparently their system just filtered all those out as spam even though we’re on their white list.

    6. JustaTech*

      I once had a problem with getting emails from a vendor (I was getting very frustrated with them) until they called me (something I usually hate). For some reason none of their emails were getting through, so I ended up giving them my personal email until I could get my work email fixed.
      Turns out our entire company email system was set to reject all emails from France.
      The heck?

    7. David*

      As an IT-ish person with some experience in this stuff, I thought that was a pretty good overview. There are a few more reasons I can think of why an email might not get delivered with no visible trace, but the important point is, it can and does happen, and it can definitely affect all emails from a particular sender to a particular recipient.

      I will say that I’ve actually found Gmail to be fairly forgiving. For a long time I only had SPF set up for my own email server, not DKIM or DMARC, and Gmail would let my messages through when some other servers (*glares at Hotmail*) would not. But the blocking rules these companies use can be so complex that I wouldn’t be at all surprised if my experience isn’t typical.

  14. 34avemovieguy*

    I just want to point out that the Barbie movie is co-written and directed by Greta Gerwig and co-written by Noah Baumbach, both of whom have received Oscar nominations for their writing and/or directing. Gerwig made Lady Bird and the 2019 Little Women, and Baumbach is famous for movies like Marriage Story, Frances Ha, The Squid and the Whale. I gotta push back on the idea that this movie is going to be some campy frivolous romp that people can’t take seriously. It’ll likely take on themes similar to Lady Bird and Little Women such as self-actualization, feminism, agency, and identity. It has some Oscar buzz based on the awards pedigree of the cast and crew, and looks to be a subversive, ironic, and clever movie!

    1. neeko*

      Not to mention the excellent and inclusive casting. I think people see “Barbie” and are taking some wild assumptions about what is going on here.

      1. Myrin*

        I read an interview with Ryan Gosling a few weeks ago where he said it has one of the most interesting and thoughtful scripts he’s ever been involved with.

  15. EngineerMom*

    LW #4: it’s pretty common to get sick much more frequently following a move, especially if this was a big move taking you across mountains.

    Your immune system was adapted to a particular microbiome. Then you moved into an area of entirely new-to-your-body bacteria & viruses.

    I moved every 5 years as a kid, and about every 3 years as an adult (until 8 years ago). Every single move, everyone in my household would get sick more frequently (about once a month) for the first year. It’s just part of adjusting, especially if you haven’t moved frequently prior to this.

    Add to that potential impacts from Covid, and it’s not that shocking that you’ve taken about one sick day a month for a year!

    1. Tio*

      Not only bacteria and viruses – whole new allergens that your body has never processed before, and while you’re fighting off new allergens, its very easy to get sick.

    2. Keymaster of Gozer*

      This is very true. New people, new environments mean all new bacteria and viruses to get used to. I dare say anyone who has worked as a teacher can attest to having to deal with new cold germs every year.

      I’d recommend OP get checked over by a doctor if there are any signs that an infection isn’t going away though. Like joint aches that last for months – because there’s a small chance it might have triggered something else off (dormant Epstein Barr virus, rheumatoid arthritis, etc).

  16. MsM*

    LW3: As someone who didn’t feel they had the political capital to let their Jane go at the end of that first contract, and still regrets not either pushing anyway or taking that for the red flag it was…trust your gut here. If it’s telling you this power struggle dynamic isn’t going anywhere and you don’t want to keep the relationship going, then firmly shut down any discussion of projects outside the scope of the current assignment, and do what you can to start training your team so they can jump in at least temporarily if you need to let Jane know you’ll be going in a different direction far enough before the current contract expires that a bad response from her might cause problems.

    As for how to deal with the weird remarks, “what do you mean by that?” is certainly one strategy, but you could simply point out that we’re nearly halfway through the year now and that it’s time to stop treating you like the newcomer. Or you can use the fact she’s being sycophantic about it to your advantage: “I’d certainly like to think hiring me was a good decision, too.” Maybe not getting the “oh, but Jane, you’re valued!” reassurance she seems to be fishing for will be enough to short-circuit the comments.

  17. Dust Bunny*

    OP5 I wonder if Jane misspelled your email so she did, in fact, send it but it didn’t go through. She should have gotten a bounce notice, but if she’s kind of disorganized she might not have seen it (or maybe someone else has the misspelled email as their regular email and got the messages instead).

    1. Cmdrshprd*

      It would only bounce back if the email itself did not exist, if someone else out there uses the “misspelled” email of OP it would not bounce back. The person that received it might not have responded. I likely would not respond to any email I think may have been sent in error on the chance it is some kind of phishing, virus related etc…
      OP’s email: OPdoe123 @ mail . com,
      but someone out there has OPdoe12 @ mail .com it would go through.

      Also someone above gave potential reasons and personal example of an issue where they sent emails that never made it to the persons spam folder.

  18. Eldritch Office Worker*

    OP4 – fwiw 1-2 days a month is really not that much for a lot of people! I have migraines and chronic pain, I often need 1-2 days a month just for that. I recently had to take unexpected sick time in bigger chunks and went into the red on my sick leave. I also felt bad about it, but when I brought it up no one had noticed. They noticed I was sick and hoped I was feeling better, but the actual amount of PTO used didn’t really register as an issue.

    We think about ourselves more than other people do, and often more critically. I agree you can graciously thank them for accommodating you for things that have come up, but you don’t have to apologize or feel guilty. We’re people, things happen, the world is a different place right now than it was a few years ago and our bodies and minds are working through that in a lot of ways. Be kind to yourself.

  19. Mona-Lisa Saperstein*

    OP3, I read Jane’s comments to be complimentary, and perhaps her way of trying to lift you up and defuse the awkwardness of the situation. I’m guessing she feels embarrassed or ashamed about not getting the job. I think I would approach this with empathy and try to ignore the comments until they die down. Alison’s wording here

    “You’ve made a lot of comments about me getting this job, and I’m not sure how to take them. Does it make sense for me to continue bringing you on for projects after this one is over?”

    …seems unnecessarily threatening and aggressive to me. If she was saying things like, “This is why I should have gotten the job instead of you,” that would be different, but I really think she’s just trying to deal with her own weird feelings about this, and it isn’t about you at all.

    1. WellRed*

      I had the opposite read. OP says Jane has been aggressive, passive aggressive and has pushed. But even if your take is correct, OP has the right to address it. Maybe Jane needs to move in. She certainly needs to know she’s coming across poorly.

      1. MsM*

        Yeah, if Jane is still struggling to process not getting the job, Jane needs to work out how to process that on her own time. (And maybe consider that it’s time for her to move on to something else, if it stings badly enough that she keeps circling back to it.)

    2. I should really pick a name*

      Failing to address things is how people get annoyed and then react too strongly when the irritant has happened one too many times for them.

      They don’t need to leap straight to “Does it make sense for me to continue bringing you on for projects after this one is over”, but something to the effect of “I’d appreciate it if you’d stop commenting on who got the job” seems totally reasonable.

      Jane might be dealing with her feelings, but there’s no reason that the LW has to be part of that process.

    3. Danish*

      I also reacted the same, but LW probably knows if the tone is passive aggressive or not. But I can definitely see this as an over enthusiastic response to not getting a job like JUST SO YOU KNOW, I’M NOT RESENTING YOU I THINK YOU’RE COOL and instead shooting herself in the foot by making it uncomfortable. Either way, responding to ask her to knock it off will hopefully work.

      1. umami*

        Yeah, this really sounds like something that needs to be addressed. I had a similar situation where I was hired over an internal candidate, which meant that she ended up being one of my direct reports. She was conspicuously absent on my first day of work (even though I started about 3 weeks after the formal offer), and even though she never mentioned anything directly, she would do things like say she was going to a meeting, and then I would learn that it was actually a meeting or event I should have been attending and representing my employer at. Luckily she was already actively looking for another position and left within two months of my start, but I did have to tell her that she needed to loop me in on external activities and events so we could determine who the appropriate representative would be. Ugh.

    4. tusemmeu*

      Yeah I found it odd to see those comments characterized as passive aggressive with no explanation of the tone they’ve been said in, since the words on their own don’t look bad at all to me. But I’ve also had that same thought in the past when someone else was chosen over me for something and I realized they really were the better choice, so maybe I’m just more primed to read it as sincere when the tone isn’t specifically mentioned.

  20. Observer*

    #2 Video testimonial

    Automated DND is your friend here. Your former boss’ ask was weird and inappropriate to start with. But a late evening ask to be done THAT NIGHT? That would be ridiculous even if the ask itself were sane.

    My phone goes into DND at about the time I like to be in bed at nigh. I literally do not see any notifications whatsoever. Once I’m up and around, I see the notifications in my notifications area. You can set this up to have carve outs. Eg there are two numbers that can actually call me even when I’m in DND and a select few people know about the bypass I allowed my phone to leave in place. The lets you block most stuff while making sure that the people you REALLY want to hear from even in the evening etc.

    1. Silver Robin*

      I know that here DND means “Do Not Disturb” but it definitely took me a few seconds to stop reading it as “Dungeons and Dragons” XD

      1. SimonTheGreyWarden*

        Well, if OP was playing DND, they might be occupied during the weekend evenings and thus would not have seen the message I guess?

  21. Raindrops on my head*

    Come work for Public Health and understand you will end up sick for the first year of your career as you are exposed to everything. We liken it to when kids start pre-school and are constantly sick. Most logical people understand that change of location / job / situation sets your body up to new ick. Best wishes and be sure to wash your hands.

    1. Grace*

      Yep, the same thing happens to teachers whenever they move schools. Your first year anywhere, you will spend a lot of time sick.

      I do think it’s extra worse post-covid because the masking kept us safe(r) from not just covid, but all those other illnesses, and everyone is now getting a double whammy of post-covid vulnerability combined with 2+ years of lack of exposure to those more run of the mill colds.

    2. Max*

      I used to work part time in a library and was definitely more sick then thanks to spending a lot of time in the children’s room. Things mellowed out some when I switched to an office job.

  22. I'm Just Here For The Cats!*

    #5. My First thought is that Jane didn’t have the right email address or had confused you with someone else. Like maybe she missed spelled the email or for some reason, the work email server was not sending the emails.

    I would proceed with the interview, but really look at how Jane communicates in the future.

    Another possibility is that Jon is being really pushy and Jane doesn’t like it. Or maybe there are reasons that Jon doesn’t know about that Jane didn’t reach out for an interview but is doing it now to keep Jon happy.

    1. Manic Pixie HR Girl*

      The other possibilities you listed crossed my mind as well. She also may not like or trust Jon, and is wary of hiring a contact of his (which is in no way a reflection on you, OP).

  23. Abogado Avocado*

    LW2, I’ve been asked to do something similar to what you were asked when former colleagues have applied for management consulting positions with large management consulting firms. However, in both cases, these colleagues both took me out for lunch or dinner long in advance of the due date and asked if I’d be able to devote the time to the lengthy questionnaire (think multiple pages and paragraph answers) that the firms were using. Both former colleagues made it quite clear that I could say no and they especially wanted me to be honest about their strengths and weaknesses as that would help clarify the type of consulting work for which they’d be deemed appropriate for if hired. In both cases, I said yes and, while participating took a lot of time, I was happy to help these colleagues because I felt they had good management skills and the ability to pass those on through consulting.

    Your situation sounds different — almost as if your former manager had someone agree to do a video and it fell through at the last minute. His failure to tell you why he waited so long to ask you to provide a video and your lukewarm feelings about his management justify, IMHO, saying you couldn’t participate when asked at the eleventh hour.

    1. Ama*

      Yes, this isn’t like a standard “can I put you down as a reference” ask, where a shorter time frame is more common. This is a video requiring advance preparation and certain technical equipment, and he needs it in a day. At the very least he should have written the request to be extremely apologetic about the short time frame and acknowledge that it was a big favor to ask at the last minute.

      For me personally, being asked to do a huge favor by someone who doesn’t acknowledge it is a huge favor makes it easier to say no.

  24. My Useless 2 Cents*

    LW2 – This may be a little off topic but…. Companies, stop asking references to complete work. Video testimonials – not okay. Long questionnaires – not okay. Reference letters – traditional yes, but wastes of time in 98% of cases. Short phone calls, respectful of references time – marginally acceptable.

  25. Immortal for a limited time*

    LW 3 – I can sympathize! We have one of those in my organization, too. You didn’t say whether your company is in the U.S. but I’ll assume it is. This contractor (like ours) has forgotten what it means to be a contractor. It’s not merely that her comments are annoying to you — it’s that, as a contractor, they do NOT have standing to push any project on the company. The company decides what projects will be worked on, what the scope of the project will be, what the requirements are, how much they will pay for the work, what internal resources will be available, what the deadline is, and so on. Contractors who feel entitled to the relationship — who feel ownership and agency to propose projects to the company — are crossing a line that could put the company in jeopardy under IRS rules as to the distinction between independent contractor versus someone who is essentially functioning an employee. Shut it down.

  26. Observer*

    #5 – Emails going astray.

    Maybe the problem wasn’t Jane being disorganized, but having the wrong email address. If that happened, then she could have sent out the email and you would not have gotten it. By sending her an email that she could respond to, it made it possible for her to send you the invite to the correct address.

  27. New Yorker*

    I hate combining sick and personal/vacation time into PTO, but one benefit is that it reduces the likelihood of any [sane] person thinks you are gaming sick days.

    1. SometimesCharlotte*

      As someone with them split out – I often wish they were combined. I have been lucky to be unusually healthy since I started this job (some of it probably related to masks and social distancing) so I have hundreds of sick hours banked. Hopefully I will never have to use them but on the other hand, I can’t use them to take a week off nor will I get paid out for them when I leave.

      1. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

        Got dental work that needs doing? Take the whole day off when you get that appointment. Glasses appointment? Same thing. Whittle down those sick hours *and* get some time to relax.

  28. Commenting Not Lurking Today*

    LW3. Have a candid conversation with Jane, it might be awkward but it’s best for both of you. You don’t know if she has any idea how her comments are affecting you let alone intention. How she acts after having time to process the discussion will tell you everything you need to know.

    It’s far kinder to let someone know about an issue early than to let it fester. Telling someone their ongoing behavior, performance, etc is problem after any chance to correct/improve has passed is cruel. I’ve various versions play out where employees were blindsided lost their jobs because their direct supervisor never was direct about issues and reprecussions.

    LW don’t be the person at the end of the contract who tells Jane, “Your past and current work are great but we aren’t giving you future work. I don’t want to work with you again. Your continuous comments about my postion were passive aggressive, made me uncomfortable, and drove me up the wall. I never said anything but you should have known by my lack of response.” Give her a chance to correct/redeem by explictly telling her the issue.

  29. Danish*

    My sympathies to LW 4. Even when you work for a sane manager or company and your illnesses are entirely legit it’s hard to shake the lingering guilt/paranoia that You’re Being Too Sick And Someone Cares.

  30. She of Many Hats*

    LW3 – If Allison’s advice about calling out the comments in the moment with humor and irony don’t work and you go for the full talk, I’d make a comment along the lines of “Your frequent comments indicate you are still upset about not getting the job. Is this something that you can let go or will you be happier not working with my team?” And be alert that her snide comments are not affecting the rest of your team either causing them to question your authority or undermining morale in general. If you see that, do not renew any contract with her or, if politics insist, let other teams use her for their projects.

    1. I have RBF*

      This. I’m in a disabled community group, and the impact of Covid on the already disabled population is horrible, plus a lot of new people are developing Long Covid and other autoimmune diseases as post-Covid sequelae.

      Even though mask mandates are gone, I really, really wish that people would mask in public, especially service workers who can infect many others by working sick, or even just being Covid positive with an asymptomatic case.

  31. Resigned Manager*

    LW #3 do you have a contractor I used to manage? Let her go.

    Apart from the inappropriate passive-aggressive comments, the fact that she is going out of her lane to initiate project plans and spending billable time on it — without being asked to do it is a massive RED FLAG. She’s going rogue and acting as if she is an employee, which, unfortunately, she is not. Don’t make the mistake of treating her as an employee. Just cut ties and move on.

  32. Brian*

    LW 3: My old boss had me create a goodbye Power Point about how much everyone would miss him and told me to set it to music to play at his farewell party.

  33. Sue*

    LW4, run a test with your recipient. Certain (rare) recipients do not get my gmails. No, it is not intentionally blocked, nor in thei junk or spam. Also, it shows normally in my Sent Mail, and nothing is returned undeliverable. I have to use another service to send emails to those recipients.

  34. Jenny*

    #4: As a manager my first assumption is definitely not going to be that you’re abusing sick time if your sick 1-2 days a month. I’ve had employees with kiddos in daycare that get sick every 2 weeks for those first few months, and employees with different long-term conditions where a few days a month they just need recuperation time. Especially if the time is covered by your PTO, I’m likely not even going to notice 1-2 days a month. That’s not an alarming pattern.

  35. Dawn*

    LW2: It would be weird for interviewers to ask for this! But I’m wondering if maybe the fact that it would be weird might help put your former manager’s weirdness in asking you into context; perhaps a specific job he was particularly interested in (the prestigious role you spoke of?) specifically asked for them, and so… he found himself in a weird position, and subsequently, you found yourself in a weird position.

    Sometimes it feels like the more prestigious the organization, the stranger their hiring practices get, because interviewers are constantly hearing what a great place they are to work and start to confuse correlation with causation; just look up some of the bizarre questions Google asks candidates.

  36. Just why*

    Lw4 when I moved interstate in 2018 I went from never having anything more serious than a cold to catching pneumonia, then the flu and finally glandular fever in the space of about 6 months! Sometimes moving to a new area opens you up to different strains/types of bugs that your immune system might not be used to :(

  37. tinyhipsterboy*

    #4 actually made me remember something that happened years ago when I was hired for a job at an apartment complex. I was new, and I ended up ~20 minutes late to two shifts during a week because my phone alarm didn’t go off despite my setting it. After it happened the second time, I called the Apple Store and set up an appointment so they could do diagnostics on my phone and make sure nothing was wrong with it or with the battery so I wouldn’t miss work.

    When I was later fired for performance issues (which is a whole other story; I never had a chance to even go to the company’s training classes), the manager cited the alarm issue and said I made up excuses for being late, blaming it on my phone. In my mind, I had been clear about a) what caused the issue, and b) what steps I was taking to resolve the issue. Did I do something wrong (other than… idk, not also buying an alarm clock?), or was the manager being weird?

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