my assistant won’t stop talking about my cane, recovering after a serious mistake, and more

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

1. My assistant won’t stop being “concerned” about my cane

I am a GM at a construction company office. I have a part-time assistant I cannot do without and five field technicians I see once a week or so.

Within the past 18 months, I have developed a need for the occasional use of a cane. I’m seeing a doctor, but sometimes I have to slow down or use a cane to get around.

When I walk to my assistant’s office, with the cane — not making a big deal about it (I don’t wince, sigh, push baby ducks out of the way with my cane, so forth), she sighs and puts on this face like I need a wheelchair and asks how I am, if I need a chair, if I need help at home, if I need need need. I’ve told her many times, “It’s okay, I just need a little assistance with the cane sometimes” or “Well, it’s a little damp out and this works for me.”

Thinking back, she does get a kick out of talking about illness, crazy bruises, sniffles, so forth, but I don’t comment or acknowledge with more than a polite comment. It’s nice she is concerned, but how can I get it across to her that it’s fine and she doesn’t need to keep commenting on it?

“It becomes a much bigger deal when you keep talking about it and I’d prefer that you stop doing that.” And if that doesn’t work, then get even more direct: “I don’t think I’ve been clear enough: Please stop commenting when I use my cane. It’s not the big deal you’re making of it, and it’s distracting to have to keep reassuring you that I’m fine.”

I have a feeling both of those are more direct than you’d prefer to be — but you’ve tried a softer version and it’s not getting through so you really do need to spell it out. At some point it’s actually not nice that she’s concerned because she’s ignoring what you’re telling her would actually be helpful in favor of indulging whatever is going on on her end. Either way, though, as her manager, it’s completely reasonable to be direct about something like this … and you might need to keep an eye on whether she’s being similarly aggravating to other people in the office with health conditions too.

2. How do I recover after making a serious mistake?

I am a junior employee in a department of about 20 people. I recently sent an external-facing email with an error that required my senior colleagues to do damage control in a way that could harm their relationship with some of the recipients.

What is the right thing to do when that happens? I apologized when I alerted them to the mistake, but I feel awful. I’m relatively new and I don’t want to be seen as a liability, but I also don’t want to draw further attention to myself by sending everyone a personalized quilt with “I’m sorry” embroidered into every square.

How do I recover in the eyes of my colleagues after screwing up, especially as a newer employee who hasn’t built up much capital? For what it’s worth, my manager is great and helped me handle the problem.

Everyone makes mistakes, especially when they’re junior! That’s normal. What sets good employees apart from less-good employees is how they handle it when it happens. The most important steps are to disclose the mistake as soon as you can, take responsibility for it, and share a plan for how you’ll avoid something similar happening in the future.

Sometimes people are so embarrassed about the mistake that their instinct is to not talk about it; they worry that talking about will just draw more attention to it. But that can backfire, by making it look like you’re not that concerned. Conversely, the person who says, “I realize how serious this was and here’s my plan for making sure it doesn’t happen again” will inspire a lot more trust.

Of course, that that’s likely a conversation you should have with your boss rather than the rest of your coworkers, so they won’t necessarily see that part of it. For them, the way you rebuild trust is by demonstrating conscientiousness going forward. They’ve undoubtedly seen junior employees make mistakes before, they know it happens, and what they’ll be most interested in is any pattern. If you demonstrate a pattern of good work going forward, you should be fine. That said, you could also ask your manager for advice on this — she may be able to suggest specifics that would be helpful in your office.

Regardless, though, no “I’m sorry” quilt necessary!

3. Asking for three days off after a week on the job

My grandson just accepted an entry-level position. Four days later, he learned that my daughter and husband are going on a camping trip for three days only one week after he starts the job. He wants to go. Can he still ask for time off for three days when he didn’t say anything at interview time and acceptance of offer?

He shouldn’t. If he had brought it up as part of his offer negotiations, that would have been fine — but at this point he’s accepted the offer and they’ve been planning around his start date. Asking for three days off that early — at a time when they’ve likely already scheduled training and other activities for him — will look like he’s not taking the commitment he just made to the job particularly seriously.

4. Applying for a job using a resume that isn’t current

Is it acceptable now to apply for a job using a résumé that is not current? I am the executive director of a social services program, and I noticed that we are receiving a lot of applications with résumés that aren’t current. One person we interviewed a couple of weeks ago was asked why her résumé wasn’t up to date – the jobs on the résumé stopped at 2017, but her application indicated she was working as of June 2023 – and the person responded, “Oh, I forgot to update that.”

I didn’t interview the above-mentioned person, as I would not select to interview a person if they submitted a résumé that wasn’t current. But I was wondering if it is not as important nowadays to submit a current résumé if the job application reflects the most current work history? I did some internet research but I didn’t see any information about this topic, which is why I’m emailing you the question.

No, that’s strange! I mean, it’s fine to leave off jobs that don’t strengthen your resume overall, so it would be different if they made a deliberate decision to exclude their most recent job — like if it was in a totally different field and they thought it would detract from their candidacy rather than strengthen it, or if they’d only worked there a few weeks when they applied with you, or it it were otherwise a strategic choice. Also, if you approached the candidate rather than the other way around, it could be fine in some circumstances for the person to say, “I don’t have a current resume since I’m not actively looking but I can send you my last version — be aware that it doesn’t include my current job.”

But if it’s just “I didn’t think to update my resume from several years ago before applying for a job now”? That’s an unusual lack of care about how one is presenting oneself when applying for a job. It’s not a trend, although if you’re really seeing it a lot (like more than twice recently) and these are otherwise good candidates, it’s worth exploring what’s going on. (For example, are you giving people a ridiculously short window to apply? Paying so little that people aren’t willing to put any effort into your application process? Even that wouldn’t normally result in this though, so who knows.)

5. A question about The Office

I was watching old episodes of The Office, and had a question for you inspired by the show. In the episode I watched, Michael Scott (regional manager) was dating Holly Flax (HR rep for his office). In response, Michael’s boss transferred Holly to a different branch that is seven hours away. Is this legal? It seems kind of sketchy that an employee would be transferred because they dated their boss.

Michael wasn’t Holly’s boss; she reported to corporate, not to Michael. (That’s why Michael could never fire Toby, the HR rep Holly replaced.) It’s not outrageous that they’d choose to transfer the relatively new HR person over the long-time regional manager presiding over what was (bizarrely) one of their most profitable branches.

They could be in problematic legal territory if they transferred Holly without having a clear business reason to move her while keeping Michael where he was — and definitely if they always transferred the woman when there was an office affair — but I don’t think either of these was the case here. (Although … a lawyer could probably have an interesting time with the fact that they also fired Jan while Michael was dating her. Hmmm.)

{ 268 comments… read them below }

  1. Office Drone*

    #1: If the assistant is framing her comments with questions about what the LW “needs,” it might be helpful to frame the answer with what is “needed.” Such as, “I appreciate your concern, but I need you to please stop focusing on my cane. I prefer not to talk about the issue any further. Thanks!”

    Speaking as someone who deals with medical issues myself, I know that talk of them can get old fast, so I hope you’re able to get this resolved, LW.

    1. Aquamarine*

      I was thinking something similar like, “Actually there is something I need that I’d like your help with….” Might be worth a try.

    2. Lauren19*

      Agred. “Actually, what I need is to be able to come to work and not talk about my cane or my health. Can you help me with that?”

      That language also takes the ‘you’ language only to what the assistant CAN do rather than focusing on what NOT to do. If it persists, then I think LW can go to ‘YOU NEED to stop.’

    3. Artemesia*

      This. AND make it very clear. This sort of thing is hugely undermining in a professional setting. By constantly calling attention to a minor infirmity she is projecting to everyone else that you are perhaps unable to do the job. In some people this might be an overt attempt to undermine authority. Perhaps this person thinks she is being helpful but you do need to get her to put a sock in it. Phrasing it as ‘the most helpful thing you can do is stop mentioning my cane and making a fux every time I need to use it; can we not hear about this again?’

  2. Keymaster of Gozer*

    OP1: I also use a cane and can confirm those overly ‘concerned’ people are really, really tiring. There are some who will stop when you remind them that it’s not really polite to comment on another person’s body after being told to stop (‘I’ve got this covered, I’ll ask if I need anything else and I don’t’) and then there are some who won’t.

    And after 15 years with a cane and 10 as a manager I no longer care what motivates them to continue with essentially concern trolling. If they won’t stop commenting on it after being told to do so then the only thing I’ve found effective is to bring out the cold tone and firm words. “Stop it. This is annoying and getting offensive. Do not comment on mine or another person’s health.”

    I’d rather they mutter things about me being an ice queen than endure a googol repetitions of ‘oh my god what happened’

      1. marvin*

        This kind of thing is so exhausting. I used to work in an office where I was asked for daily health updates from multiple coworkers and I was young and inexperienced enough that I didn’t have great boundaries about shutting it down. I’m very grateful to have a current workplace where most people are considerate about not making unsolicited comments about other people’s bodies.

    1. Everdene*


      A receptionist at a previous job commented EVERYDAY on whether I had a stick or not and if I was getting “better”. “Yes Linda, today the weather is good, I’m parked right outside the door and pain levels low. Who knows what will happen tomorrow.”

      1. Keymaster of Gozer*

        It’s been so long since I only needed the cane on bad days I’d completely forgotten the ‘oh glad to see you’re getting better!’ types and your comment reminded me how utterly infuriating they are.

        One particularly nosy person, back when I was a young techie, kept on with the comments on days sans cane and got a rather less professional reply. Late 20s Keymaster wasn’t a good professional if I’m honest.

        (Think Malcolm Tucker at full bore. I had a filthy mouth and believed the world was out to get me so I had to attack back. It is possible to recover a career after that but I had to do a lot of work to get there. I’m not joking – I was the kind of coworker people write to Alison about)

    2. DJ Abbott*

      I work at an office where the clients are retired people. Many come into the office with canes, walkers, or wheelchairs.
      There aren’t enough words for how rude and condescending it would be to behave like LW1’s assistant. Not to mention, we would never get anything done!

    3. Mairzy Doats*

      I’m an assistant and I am mortified for LW 1. My snarky side wants to figuratively whack some sense into that assistant with the cane. Yes, please be direct in telling her to flat out stop commenting on your and anyone else’s health.

    4. Ellen*

      as a massively under underling, with almost no time (6months) at a job, I profoundly sprained my ankle that required crutches, a lot of care, and 6 months to recover, all ENTIRELY the workplaces’ fault. those were skid safe shoes, but absolutely not a skidsafe floor mat. 5 YEARS later, I would still have people asking me about my ankle. I want to believe that, as I worked in a nursing home, this was a normal abnormality.

    5. CommanderBanana*

      I don’t know that I could trust myself not to misuse a cane to thwack people like this if I had one…

      1. Dust Bunny*


        “If you ask me one more time about the cane you’re going to need one, too.”

      2. Petty Betty*

        Sometimes, the urge to trip people is overwhelming. We call those “accidents” and move on.

        Of course, speaking up, speaking firmly, and being very clear that the cane is a non-issue is a must. Some people won’t “get it” right away, especially when you’re younger and/or only use your assistive device part time. We owe them no explanations, merely a reminder that they are the ones being rude.

    6. learnedthehardway*

      I think it would be just fine to comment about people “concern trolling” if they won’t drop the subject.

    7. Eldritch Office Worker*

      This past Christmas party a bunch of people who aren’t usually in the office saw my cane for the first time and it was exhausting. I just did a tight smile “that’s an all the time thing” and changed the subject each time but wooooof it was tiring.

      If it was someone who knew about it and didn’t stop asking after polite redirections I would not remain polite.

      1. Artemesia*

        I think you have to put up with people who comment the first time they see you with the cane, but after that, it needs to be shut down. The first comment is well intentioned; the harping on it, is something else.

    8. Sara without an H*

      If someone has built their entire identity around the idea that they are especially “compassionate & caring,” they will always be on the lookout for people they can use to demonstrate it. Whether the object of their solicitude actually appreciates their “concern” — or not– is irrelevant.

      I can understand making concerned inquiries — once — if someone has come in with an obviously new injury. In this case, the receptionist is refusing to let it drop and OP1 needs to go full managerial and shut it down.

    9. Quinalla*

      This is great and similar to what I did when using a cane temporarily. What was interesting for me is I was recovering from a broken hip. When I was still on crutches (I was 33 when I broke my hip, so I didn’t use a walker), folks certainly noted it, but except for offering to hold doors which was welcome, there was not usually a lot of concern trolling. When I moved up to just a cane, I got a lot more weird looks and concerned comments. I got a really cool tree root cane, so I usually could redirect to how cool my cane was, but still. Canes read very differently to people than crutches to people IME – folks take them to mean weak, old, infirm, etc. vs crutches which read more like temporary things while you heal up. Again, doesn’t excuse jerk behavior, but was interesting to observe. And since I did not have a cast – you don’t get one with a broken hip – it was extra confusing to people for a 30 year old to be using a cane, even the crutches confused people with no brace/cast.

      And though I could have, I specifically did NOT get a temporary ADA placard because I didn’t want to deal with that BS either – even though since I had a visible reasons (crutches or cane) like folks would have not harassed me, but still I was young so who knows!

      1. Elsewise*

        I had a very similar experience when I was using a cane. A lot of people were shocked to see someone so young using a cane, and many people assumed it was a fashion accessory and were offended, like by using a cane when I “didn’t need one” (as evidenced by me being under 60) I was making fun of people with “actual disabilities”. (None of the people who made these comments had any visible disabilities or identified themselves as part of the disabled community.)

        My partner used a wheelchair for a while and people were so eager to help but would be offended if they ever didn’t want a stranger grabbing them from behind. Sometimes people don’t want to actually help, they just want to be seen as helpful.

        1. Keymaster of Gozer*

          I was in my 30s when I started using the cane fulltime and because I don’t have casts/noticeable limp/braces and I have a really swanky cane (silver dragon headed) there were people who didn’t believe that I ‘needed’ it either.

          I’m sort of glad to say that has become less over the years – primarily when the grey hair started coming in in force.

          1. Random Dice*

            Which is so weird… who would spend all the money on a fancy cane if they didn’t need it?!

            Unwelcome-disabled-advocate-ableism is just so frustrating.

            1. Zweisatz*

              Especially when you couldn’t even argue that anything is “taken” from anybody. Parking spaces/disabled toilets are limited resources, but a cane??

              (Though yes, people are also far too comfortable to harass about disabled parking spaces and wheelchair use and such.)

      2. Elizabeth West*

        I got some very weird looks too when I had a DVT and had to go to Walmart on the way home from an ultrasound appointment, where I was supposed to be off my feet for a week. I had my grandpa’s cane and was on one of those scooters with the basket. Since I too was quite young, people were probably wondering what my deal was but no one said anything. Or maybe they feared for their lives — those things are not easy to drive!

        I would absolutely go “OMG cool cane!” and that’s all (I don’t say that to people unless it is, indeed, a cool cane). It’s unnecessary for me to know why you’re using it.

    10. lilsheba*

      The last time I commuted to an office I wasn’t using mobility aids yet. Since then (and since I have started working from home) I have progressed from a cane to a rollator and now I am an ambulatory wheelchair user. I am so thankful I don’t have to deal with people at work noticing these things, they don’t even know I use them. I am starting to go out with the wheelchair though, it’s a new item for me and I am nervous about it.

      1. ArtsNerd*

        I just bought a mobility scooter and am working up the nerve to take it out of the apartment for the first time.

        1. lilsheba*

          It’s scary, but thrilling all at once. Once you do use it…you will feel amazing! It makes simple things like shopping fun again! I took my chair out for the first time last Saturday and I can’t wait to go again this weekend.

  3. Not David Wallace*

    “a lawyer could probably have an interesting time with the fact that they also fired Jan while Michael was dating her”

    David Wallace outlines a number of reasonable concerns with Jan’s overall performance when she finds out, a lot of it was independent of Michael (and they probably knew she was having an affair with her assistant (allegedly)).

    1. Megan*

      I agree with that, David Wallace lists a long list of reasons as to why they fire Jan.

      Additionally, Michael and Holly act wildly inappropriately in the office (sitting on each others laps, making out, constant stroking each other hands etc) while I acknowledge Holly doesn’t report to Michael, I don’t think its appropriate how they acted and I don’t blame David Wallace for transferring her. When you say Alison about problematic legal territory for transferring Holly, not Michael, didn’t you already answer that: Michael was the long-standing manager of the most profitable branch, Holly was brand new and sent in as a replacement. Take gender out of it, the role of the new HR transfer employee makes more sense to transfer out of the branch versus the long time manager of the most profitable branch, who at that time had been in Scranton for what, 15 years?

      No doubt Michael in general has a bad pattern with women he works with (Jan, Holly etc) and David Wallace should probably address that with him, or enforce a company policy on dating colleagues, but honestly in both cases I believe Dunder Mifflin were right to fire Jan (due to other performance issues, coupled with sleeping with her subordinate) and transfer Holly.

      1. eggplant*

        One small point of clarification: the PDA between Michael and Holly really only becomes a problem after she is transferred back to the Scranton branch and they get back together, not before her initial transfer to Nashua.

        The part that has always baffled me is that David Wallace considers Holly’s relationship with Michael to be grounds for immediately transferring her to Nashua, but when she gets to Nashua, she almost immediately begins dating AJ, one of the sales reps at that location, which doesn’t seem to be a problem at all. I take the point that AJ isn’t the regional manager at the Nashua branch, but holy heck does Holly have terrible workplace boundaries, especially for HR!

    2. Well...*

      Yea, the show is told from a very particular point of view. Watching Jan’s job performance inexplicably unravel was so cringey. I think at one point there was a weird boob job involved? Barf emoji.

      The thing that gets me, as an academic, is that Michael and Holly broke up over the job transfer. I know couples who have been separated by countries, even continents, for years and made it through. Basically everyone I meet as a postdoc is either in a long distance relationship.

      Also, like, there are more HR and sales manager jobs in the world.

      1. Varthema*

        My only explanation for that is that her planned arc on the show ended and the writers had had no clue what explosive chemistry Steve Carrell and Amy Ryan would have. :)

      2. Hans Solo*

        Lots of people break up because it’s hard to do long distance. Not strange at all.

      3. Pounce de Lion*

        If I recall correctly, it was presented as another example of Michael’s selfishness that he expected Holly to be the one to quit her job and move.

      4. kiki*

        Break-ups over long distance do happen all the time, but it was interesting that they were supposed to be this great love story but also weren’t willing to try making it work. I forget how long they had been dating by the time she was transferred, though. I could see not being willing to pursue long distance if they had only been dating for a couple months.

        But the separation did end up adding a lot to the storyline and Michael’s character arc.

      5. AcademiaNut*

        Academia’s it’s own thing though. For most people, “Oh, you’re married – what country does your spouse live in” is not a normal question!

        Postdocs/grad students start dating knowing there’s an end date – they’ll leave the city or country in a year or so. And if you have a decent job, there’s not much use in relocating for a spouse when they’re only going to be in the new location for 2 or 3 years. Trailing spouses tend to give up their own jobs/careers to follow, and you generally have to be married to bring them along on a visa.

        I also know quite a lot of people who started jobs in a long distance relationship, and ended single (or in a different relationship, that then went long distance). Or who left academia because they wanted to be in the same city as their spouse, and maybe have kids.

        1. Well...*

          The difference is we do it in academia because we have to. There aren’t more job options. I kind of feel like a regional sales manager and an HR rep could find other jobs…

      6. ShanShan*

        What are you talking about? By the end of the series,, Michael and Holly did, in fact, wind up relocating to live together. It just took a few years, which is completely realistic. It wasn’t even that long: they temporarily broke up in Season Five and were engaged by Season Seven. That’s less time than it took Jim and Pam to get engaged.

      1. Well...*

        Sad to come back and read this at the end of the day and not see much push back on how the writers failed Jan as a character. They take the writers inventing Jan’s incompetence out of nowhere as evidence that the writing makes sense…

        1. Bunny Lake Is Found*

          Ok, but lots of strange writing choices on that show “came out of nowhere.” I think they did try and retcon Jan’s unraveling potentially coming out of her unresolved issues from her marriage falling apart. Most of her personal (and professional) issues and boundary crossing clearly stemmed from some deep need prove her attractiveness and desirability after getting out of a long term relationship. While she was abusive to Michael and did blow up her work life, I think it is pretty clear that she was in a bad position regarding her mental health. She only became really awful when she lost her job (which followed the breakup of her marriage) and that kind of shake up to your identity (if you don’t get some support and mental care) can lead to very destructive acts.

    3. kiki*

      Yeah, I think Jan was deeply fireable– to the point of ridiculousness– by the point she was fired. Jan was also higher in the hierarchy than Michael and at that point seemed to have developed a pattern of inappropriate relationships with employees in her chain of command.

      1. Grammar Penguin*

        Yes, this. Jan was Michael’s direct boss. She was also abusive and controlling. Of course it was Michael’s who accidentally outed them when he mass-emailed a picture of the two of them together. (And was that really an accident? The end result was he got out of the abusive relationship, sent her packing, secured his future with the company, and even raised his reputation as a dudely dude among the dudebros in the warehouse.)

        It makes sense that the company would fire her and keep Micheal: she was in charge of him and totally responsible for the situation. Michael could not say no to her. It was a textbook sexual harassment situation and he likely would have sued the company if he’d been fired.

      2. Warrior Princess Xena*

        I am not a particularly common watcher of the Office – I find it exquisitely painful to watch in stretches – but aren’t all the characters deeply fireable?

        1. violette*

          Not all of them – Oscar the accountant seems perfectly competent and professional, Phyllis in sales is adequate at her job and mostly pleasant, and Stanley in sales, while grumpy, seems to hit his targets without starting any problems.

          Comedy doesn’t work without a straight man

          (by which I mean the uptight or flustered person the wackier comedian plays off of, not orientation; Oscar is gay but is comedy-wise a straight man)

          1. JB*

            Parks and Recreation, and Brooklyn 99, did much better at presenting a workcom where most of the characters weren’t unsympathetic people. When they messed up they dealt with consquences and developed as people for it. When Leslie and Ben’s relationship was discovered she was suspended and he had to leave his job at city hall. There were still straight man characters, like Ann, Chris, Donna, Amy and Holt, but the people they reacted against were far nicer than the people working in the Scranton branch of Dunder Miflin.

    4. Alan*

      An employment-law firm (Ford and Harrison) had a blog analyzing each week’s episode from a legal standpoint. They never lacked for material.

      1. Lisekit*

        Jan had a number of performance issues but I’m going to stand up for her in one respect: in the final meeting where she’s fired her senior leadership team tried to call her report on Michael as a person who was not fit for management and should go back to sales where he belonged part of a “pattern of disrespect”; when really it was a pretty accurate judgement, and one that showed she wasn’t favouring him owing to the personal relationship.

        I always thought Jan got a bit of a rough deal from the writers.

        1. Hlao-roo*

          Looks like the firm’s name is FordHarrison. The blog that follows The Office is titled “that’s what she said.”

    5. Nom*

      My assumption was always that Jan needed to be fired because she was Michael’s boss, and therefore had a greater responsibility to act appropriately.

  4. Carl*

    #2 “a personalized quilt with ‘I’m sorry’ embroidered into every square”
    Lol. Now I know what Santa is getting everyone on my list!

  5. Carl*

    #3 – I recently started a new job, and realized a few days after I accepted that I forgot to mention scheduled days off. I emailed my new boss and said something to the effect of – “I realize I should have mentioned earlier, I’m scheduled to do X thing on Y dates, and would that be an issue? I understand if that doesn’t work.” The response was of course I should do X thing and it’s not a big deal.
    (Caveats: I’m not entry level and my have more leverage, the dates in question were about 8 weeks post-hire, and the event in question involved pre-purchased admission tickets with family traveling into town from out of state.)

      1. Peanut Hamper*

        And pre-purchased tickets with family traveling in from out of state are really different than a run-of-the-mill three-day camping trip, as well. We really are comparing apples and oranges here.

        There really is an issue of proportion here, as well though. Asking to take three days off of your first five days at work is really different than asking two days off from your first forty days at work. The optics are still not really great (you should have brought this up before we hired you) but still not nearly as bad.

        1. Waffles*

          Also that the LW is asking about an entry-level job and presumably the poster above is not entry level. That also makes a big difference! I would be much more willing to accommodate a vacation request like this from someone who has been working for a long time and who might have a skillset I need, who has paid for vacation out of pocket, rather than a (fairly replaceable) kid who wants to jump on a trip with mom and dad.

          1. Observer*

            I would be much more willing to accommodate a vacation request like this from someone who has been working for a long time and who might have a skillset I need, who has paid for vacation out of pocket, rather than a (fairly replaceable) kid who wants to jump on a trip with mom and dad.

            This. Especially the bolded part. Because I would absolutely be wondering just what else they are going to want to take off for, and with how much warning. Of course good employers are on board with staff taking their vacation time. But you don’t want an Annie. And with this situation it really does look like something closer to Annie than a seasoned professional who slipped up.

            Link to the post I’m referring to, to follow.

          2. SpaceySteph*

            Yup, the “kid vacationing with mom and dad” is a huge part of the optics here. He needs to establish himself as a working professional. That doesn’t mean he can never go on a trip with his parents (I still do, 15 years into my career), but the second week on the job is not the time.

        2. Elizabeth West*

          Did anyone besides me picture his parents going, “Please please please let them tell him he has to work, so we can have some alone time”

        3. Stormfly*

          I’m from outside the US, so there might be a culture difference here, but it would absolutely not be an issue, even optics wise, for someone to ask for 2 days of leave only a month in where I am. You do accrue ~2 days of leave a month anyway, which probably makes a difference.
          Three days in the first week is dodgy, and the trip would need to be important, and you’d need to make a point of being extra present and competent for a while afterwards.

      2. Critical Rolls*

        It’s good that Carl acknowledged all those things directly and said they were impactful, then.

      3. theletter*

        +1 8 weeks is more than enough notification, even for a new job. Especially if it’s something like a long weekend.

        1. Armchair Analyst*

          When I started working in offices ~20 years ago, a few places had “policies” like “no time off within first 3 months of the job”. Of course, there were always exceptions that were possible, but often for me it was in the form of unpaid time off or a requirement to make up the hours missed. I’m now mid-career(-ish) and I don’t see that policy much and I’m not sure if it’s still implicit but not explicit, or has almost disappeared, or is more for entry-level?

          I think part of the company thinking is, you’re hired because there is a great need for you to be working on this project or work right now, so it’s more important for you to do that, and you have to “earn” your paid time off.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            I haven’t seen it much anymore either. Maybe employers are less rigid than they used to be, in some fields at least, or else employees are becoming more savvy about negotiating it at the offer stage if they have something coming up.

            I also think there’s a lot more focus on work-life balance in the younger generation, who are starting to become bosses themselves.

      1. Happy meal with extra happy*

        As an only child adult who isn’t in a relationship and doesn’t have kids, I guess I’m no longer allowed to do any sort of family vacation as they’re going to be with my parents.

        The issue here is the lack of notice/less than a week after starting, NOT that it’s with his parents, so let’s not be a jerk about that part.

        1. Butterfly Counter*

          Disagree with this a little bit. I say this as an adult who still goes on about 50% of my vacations with my parents.

          The optics are just worse that a young person is asking for time off so soon to go on a trip with their parents. Yes, the lack of notice is the real issue. But the lack of notice combined with a trip with one’s parents really underlines how young and inexperienced this person is. It would have a similar feel if a person asked for time off so soon after hiring to go party with their fraternity brothers.

          1. Sister Michael*

            I agree that the optics as far as the business is concerned aren’t good, and grandson should be aware of that and taking it into account. It is, as many people have pointed out, a bad look especially as a younger person and new employee to be immediately taking time off and cite your parents as the reason.

            But sneering about “camping with mommy and daddy” is pretty mean. Why on earth shouldn’t he enjoy spending time with his family? I do, and so do lots of people. He just needs to handle the optics at his job and not immediately take time off after starting if he didn’t negotiate that ahead of time.

          2. marvin*

            I don’t think a reasonable manager should judge an employee for going camping with his parents. This doesn’t feel like a compelling enough reason that it would be worth bringing up, like visiting an ailing grandparent or having a partner unexpectedly visit from overseas or something time sensitive like that. Apart from that, it doesn’t really matter whether he’s camping with his parents or touring vineyards with his entourage, or whatever sophisticated people do.

            1. Butterfly Counter*

              I agree with this.

              I think where this lines up for me is that if I was a manager in this situation, I’d probably need a pretty good explanation of why a brand-new employee is suddenly asking for time off so soon after starting. I’d expect something unexpected or time sensitive as pretty good explanations (like you mention). But camping with Mom and Dad doesn’t seem at all pressing or necessary. Based on the lack of negotiation for that time off, it seems like a last-minute trip the parents made and, gosh darn it, junior wants to go too!

              There’s a whiff of juvenile entitlement and lack of agency on the new hire’s behalf that just doesn’t sit well and would make me wonder if this new hire would actually work out.

              Again, I vacation with my parents a LOT. But these vacations are all planned and done well in advance according to everyone’s work schedules. OP’s grandson needs to mature enough to know that he has to now plan camping trips well-enough in advance that he doesn’t have to explain his PTO to anyone.

      2. Massive Dynamic*

        Caveat here – if the grandson is a minor, then YES he is going on that camping trip. The parents in question need to start learning to work around their son’s new working life when planning family stuff, but the son is obligated to go, as a child.

        This is a tradeoff that employers make when they choose to employ older children, instead of legal adults.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          It was three days, I believe, and the OP said the job was entry-level so I assume the kid is over eighteen, at least. Probably right out of college.

        2. Michelle Smith*

          This does not make sense to me, at all. I was plenty independent as a teenager and my parents were perfectly able to leave me on my own for a few days while they did whatever they wanted or needed to do. Being legally a child and being incapable of supervising oneself are two different things. If he’s old enough to handle an adult entry-level job, surely he can feed and care for himself for 3 days.

          1. Irish Teacher*

            It really does depend on the kid. Teaching secondary school, I would say there are some older teens who I would absolutely trust to manage alone for a few days. Others…who I’d worry about being five minutes late to the class because of the mischief they could get up to unsupervised for even a short period.

            Now, obviously, the classroom is a different situation from home as groups of teens can egg each other on to do stupid things they wouldn’t if they weren’t in a group situation but there are definitely 16/17 year olds who it would be a bad idea to leave alone even for a few hours

            People mature at different rates. A friend of mine was once despairing of her 6th years (equivalent to high school seniors) who were so immature that she couldn’t even turn her back on them and said that her 1st years (12 and 13 year olds) were far more responsible and required less supervision.

            That said, if the kid had a track record of impulsive or poor behaviour that meant it would be inadvisable to leave him home alone, I would imagine the grandparent would have mentioned it, as that is a very different issue from “he wants to go with them.”

            It really doesn’t sound as if the parents are insisting he come on the trip. It sounds like the decision is up to him. And like you say, even if he is a minor, there are plenty of 16 and 17 year olds who are responsible enough to stay alone for a couple of days or it is possible that the alternative possibility is him remaining with his grandparents or a friend.

            1. allathian*

              Yes, this. People mature at very different rates, although it also depends a lot on expectations and what’s considered safe for ordinary kids with no special needs to do. I’m in Finland, and we *expect* kids to mature early. We don’t have any special school buses like in the US, but kids in urban areas travel to school on ordinary buses and commuter trains from a very early age. You have to be 7 years old to get your own ticket, and when you do, you can travel on public transit unaccompanied (kids here start school the year they turn 7, although grade 0 has been compulsory since 2015). Bus drivers and other adults are generally looking out for young unaccompanied kids, and it does help that the vast majority of kids have a smart watch or cellphone so they can call their parents if there’s any trouble. Kids who live within walking distance of their school can walk or ride a bike unaccompanied from the same age (preschoolers and those in grade 0 preparatory school need to be brought and picked up). Kids with special needs and some kids in rural areas go to and from school by taxi, paid by the municipality.

              My son started going to and from school on his own when he was in third grade and no longer wanted to stay in school for afternoon daycare. He’s an introvert and found that he preferred being home alone or with just one friend to being in a noisy environment with lots of other kids.

              But yeah, the idea that an older teenager who’s mature enough to go to work wouldn’t be mature enough to leave at home alone for a few days sounds completely absurd to me.

        3. New Jack Karyn*

          No, there are plenty of options for a teenager when their parents are traveling for 3 days. My parents went to Paris for a week, and I stayed with an aunt and uncle. Three-day weekend? Stay at a friend’s house, or nearby relative. If the parents trust the kid, stay solo with daily check-ins with an adult.

        4. sparkle emoji*

          When I was old enough to have my first job I was old enough that my parents felt comfortable leaving me home alone for a day or 2. Even if he is a minor, as long as he can drive and cook for himself I don’t see why he couldn’t stay home without his parents.

    1. Janeric*

      I think this is really useful in defining the line between “acceptable” and “bad optics”.

      At an early career job I asked for two days off for something that would be about six weeks in — I had come into Hamilton tickets in 2016 — and it definitely raised some eyebrows. I went to my supervisor with a plan to take on a lot of monitoring overtime that no one wanted as a way to earn comp time off and she was like “I understand that this is important and I’ll allow it but don’t make a habit of it/you get ONE.”

      I took my trip, I had a wonderful time, I regret nothing — but I did go into social capital debt for it.

  6. Not A Manager*

    LW1, I think you should pull rank here. “Thanks for your concern. There’s nothing that I need right now, and as your manager, if there’s anything I need I’ll let you know. In the meantime, please just assume that I’m fine and I don’t need assistance.”

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      Pulling rank is a dangerous game with this type of person, though. She shouldn’t be making that kind of comment to anyone regardless of whether they are her manager or not. She’s being “caring” to the point of being nosy and intrusive. Nobody should have to tolerate this line of questioning from any coworker, regardless of their relative position on the org chart.

  7. Jujyfruits*

    I’m confused about #4. It sounds like the resume doesn’t have the most recent job but they took the time to fill it out on an application?

    1. Alz*

      Seek (which is an Australian job website) stores your resume when you apply through them. I had uploaded multiple copies of my resume over the years for different jobs and didn’t notice that it had reverted to an older version. The job was one that I wasn’t 100% committed to (it was a bit of a rage application after a bad day at work) but I was mortified when I noticed in my interview that a huge chunk of experience was missing- the cover letter and application responses were all correct, it was just the resume that was wrong- Maybe something like that happened?

      1. Yours sincerely, Raymond Holt*

        Yes – but why not explain it when asked? However mortifying, surely better than “oh I didn’t bother/think of it”?

      2. Jam*

        I was thinking of this as well – I applied for something the other day and the job board site loaded up an ancient CV for me. If the company is getting more than one like this is could be something about one of the websites the job is posted on.

        As for the unbothered applicant… I’d be inclined to say that’s down to the individual. I was pretty paranoid about making sure the old CV got taken off that application. Maybe the person’s more recent experience is, like, working for Puppy Murderers Inc and they were hoping to squeak in without having to discuss it. Pure speculation though.

      3. Elizabeth West*

        This happened to me on LinkedIn ALL THE TIME. I had to upload a new one every time since my resume was ever evolving (and in many cases, customized to the job). I started combining it with the cover letter and naming it with the job and company, like Elizabeth West Llama Coordinator cover letter-resume 7-11-2023 so I didn’t accidentally send the wrong one!

        1. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

          Ditto. The filename for my resume always includes the month and year, just to avoid that problem.

          1. AnonORama*

            Mine does too, but I’ve used at least one job site lately where the resume upload is easy to miss, at least if you’ve already got one uploaded…AND the “submit” button actually says something like “next” or “enter.” I did get a perplexed call from an interviewer who wanted to discuss a job I haven’t had in years as if it was my current employer! But, I explained that I must’ve missed the update link on their site and sent her the new one within minutes, which I think went a long way. (I wound up getting to the finalist round, and while I wasn’t hired, it was for unrelated reasons.)

    2. Sandra*

      Hi – I sent the question, and that is correct – the person filled in the application with her most recent work history but didn’t submit an updated resume.

  8. Ellis Bell*

    “she sighs and puts on this face like I need a wheelchair”… Am I the only person alarmed by this body language towards OP1? Just because something is non verbal doesn’t mean it isn’t rude, or can’t be called out. I might start there: “Why are you sighing?” “Why the face?” She’s been fine verbalising the concern trolling too, so she will answer. I would give a really puzzled expression and say “you’ve seen this cane quite a few times now, it’s a bit strange that you keep reacting to it like it’s something new and odd. It’s not going anywhere and it’s business as usual, okay?”

    1. Grammar Penguin*

      And if she keeps it up after being told directly to stop, that’s harassment that can leave the company liable if not shut down right away.

      IANAL, but this would be harassment due to a “perceived disability” under the ADA, wouldn’t it?

  9. Keyboard Wizard*

    #4 reads to me as an application process that asks you to list your last X number of jobs and duties in the employer’s application software, THEN upload a resume and cover letter. If I was the applicant I’d probably be annoyed that I’ve been asked to enter everything from my resume and THEN upload my resume, and might just upload whatever I had to hand, regardless of it’s currency. Is it useful? No. Is it petty? Yes.

    It still doesn’t explain why someone who is apparently in the market for a new job doesn’t have a current version of their resume on hand.

    1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

      Yes – the only possibly acceptable reason to send an out of date resume is something like “I wasn’t actively looking, but this job popped up and it was perfect so I was in a hurry to apply right away”.

    2. Emmy Noether*

      Yeah, I can see a scenario where I applied to a posting on a whim even though I wasn’t yet actively looking. And then have to fight with a really inconvenient application software (I swear, some of them seem designed to test frustration tolerance) and by the time I got to the stage where one ALSO has to upload everything again as a pdf, it was both really late and I was really over the whole thing.

    3. Madame Arcati*

      I know what you mean but if that were the case surely she’d have said so when asked? “Oh I put my jobs from 2017 to now on your application form so I assumed you wouldn’t need to read them again on my resume”.

    4. Yours sincerely, Raymond Holt*

      One of the annoying things about job hunting is that the process gets to be annoying and you kind of have to be mature about it anyway. (Or just don’t apply at all if the process isn’t worth it.) Job applications aren’t a good place for being petty. Your explanation is possible but still doesn’t reflect very well on the candidate.

    5. Peanut Hamper*

      There is nothing in the letter to indicate that they are using any sort of application software. This is a very weird take.

      Applying for a job is the last place you want to be petty. If you are going to be petty during the job application process, how petty are you going to be when we hire you have actual expectations of you?

      1. amoeba*

        “but her application indicated she was working as of June 2023” – this sounds to me like there was another place where she was putting in experience/current employment (unless it’s the cover letter, sure).
        Also, depending on the field and size of company, basically every job uses an application system nowadays! I think I’ve sent a total of one application by email (out of several dozen in my life), and found that quite unusual. Even start ups usually have some kind of (simple) application system in my field.

      2. Armchair Analyst*

        Right, but knowing how job applications work in 2023 – I mean, can you even go door-to-door anymore? No, doors are locked, people work remotely, there’s no receptionists, you go to a mall even and they’ll tell you to download their app and apply online – it’s a reasonable assumption or inferral.

    6. NoMoreFirstTimeCommenter*

      I was once in a job interview where the interviewer commented something about all my experience being from quite some time ago. I corrected that I do have recent experience, and soon we noticed that they had a very old version of my resume on their table. I had applied to a different job at that same company a long time before, and their computer system for some reason offered that ancient application first. I don’t know if they invited me to the interview thinking that I had been unemployed for years, or if the mix-up happened at a later stage. I remember that the company seemed disorganized in general, they gave me contradicting information about the position at various stages, and I was at the end quite happy that I didn’t get the job.

      1. JustaTech*

        I had the same thing happen and it really brought the whole interview to a stop while the interviewers read my up-to-date resume and we all realized I was hugely overqualified for the position.
        (This is why I still bring a print copy of my resume to interviews.)

    7. SeluciaMD*

      This is what I came here to say. I find it really obnoxious that to apply for a job I’m required to put everything on my resume, field by field, into an online form…..and then upload my resume, which is duplicating so much of what I just spent an often stupid amount of time entering into your system. It’s so redundant. And frankly, my resume is arguably going to be more nuanced and give you better info than the application system fields.

      Maybe an application form makes more sense for more entry level jobs or jobs in different fields, which I can absolutely appreciate. But in those circumstances as for the application and not the resume.

      1. Armchair Analyst*

        Actually, when you’ve applied to dozens and possibly hundreds of jobs (I know AAM recommends fewer, more tailored applications, but she does not have my student loan payments and credit card minimum payments), it’s *very, very* understandable to get a little petty at moments.

  10. apex*

    OP4, with respect, this is what happens when you insist upon making people both provide a resume and go through and enter all the same information again as part of the application process.

    I’ve seen people use resumes that are out of date to apply for a role that they happened to see near the end of the application period, so they quickly apply using the most recent resume they have. I’ve also seen people accidentally provide an older version of their resume by mistake when applying.

    It’s not a big deal. If they don’t reach out of their own accord if they notice they haven’t provided the most recent version of their resume, and you think there is a more recent version of their resume, just ask them.

    1. Madame Arcati*

      But if it was a mistake why wouldn’t the applicant just say that? “I forgot to update it” is not the same as “I accidentally uploaded an old version”. The latter indicates you did what you should do [update your resume] but had a glitch with sending it; the former indicates you didn’t do what you should.

    2. Happy meal with extra happy*

      But uploading an out of date resume has nothing to do with needing to go through an application process plus include a resume.

      I mean, submitting an old/out of date resume is a big deal. If the applicant realizes and corrects it, it should fix the issue, but that doesn’t not make it a big deal.

    3. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      OP kinda did when they asked why their most recent job wasn’t on the resume. The answer wasn’t anything about systems or accidents. They literally said yeah I forgot to update my resume.

      The old resume is not the problem so much as the response. It really shows a lack of concern for how this p0rocess works. Whether you like how the process works or not, it is the process.

  11. Schmassistant*

    LW1 – Maybe you need an assistant, but you don’t need this assistant, especially if she doesn’t respond to Alison’s more direct language.

  12. Akcipitrokulo*

    OP2 –

    “I apologized **when I alerted them to the mistake**…”

    That part is so crucial! You seem to have glossed over the bit you did absolutely right!

    And the bit that ALREADY is making people regain confidence in you.

    People make mistakes. You made a mistake.


    Seriously, don’t underestimate how well you recovered by being honest and, because of that, assisting in damage recovery.

    1. bamcheeks*

      Yes! And you can definitely have a conversation with your manager about how it happened— did you have the wrong information, was it unclear that you should check with someone before you sent the email, were you working under time pressure, did you accidentally click something that sent it before you were ready— and figure out how to make sure it never happens again (if you have a good manager, they’ll probably initiate this conversation and you may already have had it, but if not, there’s no harm in initiating it yourself.)

      Once you’ve done all that, the next thing to do is MOVE ON. This can be the hardest part, but it’s essential. The mistake happened, the damage control has been done, hopefully lessons have been learned— after that, you have to move on and establish a good track record. Continually revisiting it and fretting over it or worrying about how people perceive you or trying to find ways to “make it up” don’t help. You have to trust that everyone knows ut was a mistake and is over it. It’s not easy, but it’s the best way.

      1. ecnaseener*

        if you have a good manager, they’ll probably initiate this conversation and you may already have had it, but if not, there’s no harm in initiating it yourself

        I would say there’s not just no harm, but real benefit to initiating it yourself! That way your manager doesn’t have to wonder if you would’ve ever brought it up on your own.

        1. bamcheeks*

          My only caveat is that if the manager thinks they HAVE had that conversation, but LW hasn’t recognised it as such, it could look like LW is still fretting about it when everyone else has moved on. That said, if LW hasn’t identified their own key takeaways and learning from the incident, it’s probably worth having the conversation to make sure they do.

          1. ecnaseener*

            Oh for sure! I was starting from the “if not [already had conversation]” part of the statement.

      2. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

        This is dredging up memories of a former grandboss who would have multiple meetings every time something went wrong (not just, what can we do to protect against this happening again, well beyond that). Either we were going to come up with a solution to eliminate all human error or we were going to beat our breasts for 4 hours because we couldn’t.

          1. Lily*

            Also, someone else was always to blame, even when boss was an active and deciding participant in the thing that went wrong.

            1. I Have RBF*

              I’ve had bosses like that. Always throwing people under the proverbial bus, but they were never responsible for any problems. Hated that.

      3. Smithy*

        A critical part of the move on piece is that 6, 12 months down the line if this mistake is still “an issue” or if year after year you see others getting promotions but keep on hearing that you’re not quite ready – you need to have moved on from the mistake to know that it’s time for you to move on.

        Mistakes are made at work, very often by junior staff. They are then addressed – if need be a plan is put together to make sure it’s not repeated, and then everyone can move on. Obviously sometimes the mistakes are bigger and require rebuilding reputation, not just improving. But if you haven’t moved forward and forgiven yourself, you won’t be able to see that your supervisor or employer refuses to move on and therefore you won’t be able to access future advancement.

      4. feathersflight*

        When I had something similar happen as a very junior employee, it actually made my manager realize he was falling down at his own job: overseeing my work, making sure I understand stuff, and reviewing things before they went to the wider group/stakeholders. In addition to generally keeping a closer eye and making sure I knew to ask him stuff, he implemented “campfires” where we’d gather as a team to review everything that was going to our big weekly meeting. Obviously I knew I was the reason he started them, but it wasn’t targeted at me – it helped *everyone*. I’ve always been grateful for how he handled the situation, and I’m hoping to pay that kind of good management forward when I’ve got a team of my own.

        1. bamcheeks*

          Yes, this is exactly what a good working environment should do! If you’re a “junior employee making a major mistake”, 9/10 it’s NOT solely your fault– usually, it’s a lack of training, lack of clarity about the limits of the role, lack of oversight, too much responsibility before you’re ready for it, etc. As a junior employee, you see it as YOUR mistake because you aren’t as used to looking at the interdependence of the whole team and systems– that’s part of the difference between being junior and being more senior.

          I think the other thing is that as a junior employee you see people working to fix your mistake, and you think, “oh no, I caused all this work, they wouldn’t have to do this if I hadn’t messed up.” With some experience, you tend to switch your view to, “people mess up, fixing mistakes and figuring out what to do better IS the work.” Most of the time, you just get on with it, fix it, improve processes and carry on. (And depending on your industry, you might also have the perspective where “someone was seriously injured” is a major mistake, and “we had to spend an afternoon calling clients to explain that the email was wrong” is a very, very minor mistake.)

          1. I Have RBF*

            If you’re a “junior employee making a major mistake”, 9/10 it’s NOT solely your fault– usually, it’s a lack of training, lack of clarity about the limits of the role, lack of oversight, too much responsibility before you’re ready for it, etc.

            I wanted to highlight this.

            In my first junior position in my current industry, I did not have this. I was expected to look up how to do my tasks, but I didn’t even have the right keywords or concepts to search on. So when I screwed up, even though I owned it, I got nothing but abuse for it. It was like being forced to walk over a wood slat bridge with two thirds of the slats missing, then getting blamed when I stumbled and fell.

            Please, if you have a junior employee or intern, do not assume they have the “everyone knows” knowledge in your field. They usually won’t – that’s why they are junior. You need to train and mentor their understanding not just of what to do, but why and when. You need to provide them a solid base to build their working knowledge on. They won’t have received a lot of critical industry baseline knowledge in an academic environment.

      5. Kevin Sours*

        Own it, but don’t let it define you. Apologize for it but don’t keep apologizing for it. At some point they either trust you or they don’t. If they do, you’re fine. If they don’t, all you can do is find an new start somewhere else. Show you are worthy of trust by learning from it and doing better.

        1. Kevin Sours*

          I’m reminded of a story about a waiter who dropped a $10k bottle of wine on the way to the table. A reporter asked the restaurant manager if the waiter had been fired and his reply was “where am I going to find somebody *less* likely to do that in the future”.

          1. I Have RBF*

            The story that goes around in my field is that a junior engineer caused a $100,000 error, and after they fixed it they mentioned to their boss that they were worried they’d be fired. Boss’s response? “Not when I’ve just spent $100,000 on training you.”

    2. Madame Arcati*

      Yes – and another crucial point is that you understand why your mistake was a problem (seniors had to do some damage control). This is important because someone not understanding what the big deal is or why the mistake matters is someone that doesn’t understand the rules, the processes, the job.
      I think of it like this:
      I’m sorry but I accidentally let a cat into the lobby
      I know there’s a no-cats policy because of the CEO’s belief they send curses on him – I left the door open because it’s so hot today and I thought I’d notice any meowing
      I’ll brush the fur off that chair straightaway so CEO doesn’t get scared
      In future I’ll always shut the door no matter what.
      (And do not say, it’s a stupid role because cats are cute, even if that’s true!)

      1. Kevin Sours*

        This. OP is asking all of the right questions and coming at things from the right perspective. Keep doing what you are doing.

    3. Cat's Paw for Cats*

      Truly. This is stellar behavior on the part of the OP. This is what managers are looking for. I would defend this employee to the death. As a manager I expect mistakes but the integrity to own it and try to mitigate the damage to the organization exhibits the level of integrity and big picture thinking I’m looking for.

    4. learnedthehardway*

      Agreeing – making mistakes is human. Alerting the powers that be that you have made a mistake and taking responsibility for it is – well, not divine, but very mature. That alone will let your managers and coworkers know that you are a trustworthy person.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        Especially when you’re learning a new job/a new system/a new set of clients and norms – a certain number of mistakes are expected!

        That doesn’t mean they’re not disruptive. But you flagged it, apologized, it’s being addressed…give yourself some grace to move on. Your bosses might have to throw you under the bus a bit as “the new person made a mistake” but that’s totally normal and people understand. You handled this great, OP.

    5. Venus*

      Honesty at the time and wanting to improve in future are the biggest factors. If the emails aren’t frequent (weekly rather than daily or hourly) then asking a senior to review them ahead of time would likely work really well. It would be both a second check as well as an opportunity to show OP1 is working to prevent future mistakes.

    6. MCMonkeyBean*

      Making mistakes is obviously not *great,* but it happens to everyone and I definitely think it’s best when you are able to catch them yourselves rather than when someone else does. If you are open about mistakes you make and show a willingness to help fix them if possible that’s about as good as you can hope for.

      (And on the flip side it’s SO important for a company to respond well to employees making mistakes, otherwise you end up encouraging them to try to cover them up which is only likely to lead to eventual disaster!!)

    7. I Have RBF*


      In my field, it’s almost as if you aren’t actually experienced until you’ve bought down production at least once. What separates the long term folks from the “soon to be fired” is how they deal with it: Denial, lying or blaming others? Fired. Apology, honesty and working hard to fix it? Just another routine incident.

      My very first big screw up in my field? ‘rm -rf /lib’ on an AIX machine, trying to free up disk space. I had to reinstall the OS…

    8. Lady Blerd*

      Last week, one of my reports contacted me to say they made a mistake that turned out to be a big deal but not catastrophic even though the victim of said mistake is very likely not happy, and I may have to do damage control when I go back to the office. As the boss, what I want to see is how well they handled it when they informed the “victim” of the mistake and I want to see them having learned from this moving forward. Some lessons are learned the hard way, this may be LW2’s teachable moment.

  13. Jo*

    #3. Even if he had mentioned it before hand, if I was his new employer, I would question how critical it was for your grandson to go camping with his parents. Nothing in your letter made it sound like this was anything other than a routine activity that has been done before and there will be an opportunity to do again. There are times when adult working responsibilities mean you sometimes can’t do all the fun things your friends and family are doing.

    1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      Agreed – if it was more like “Grandpa’s 90th birthday party, family flying in from all over the country, has been planned for six months” then it would be different. But placing such importance on “weekend camping with parents” makes it sound as though Grandson will regularly blow off work for a better offer.

      1. Thank God (or something) I no longer work there*

        If it was something like “Grandpa’s 90th” and a first “real” job scenario (40 hours a week, health insurance, fixed schedule) I might cut some slack but, yeah, something that’s more “2 or 3 times a summer” would be a no. I worked in police/fire dispatching for many years and missed many things because I had to be there!

    2. Heather*

      That was my thought too. A weekend-length local camping trip? Sorry, you don’t normally miss work for that, even if you’ve been there a year (unless you go through the normal process to use your vacation leave).

    3. Yours sincerely, Raymond Holt*

      Totally! I’d be really put off if a new hire asked for leave immediately for that. I’d wonder what they were going to be prioritising over work once they got comfortable, if they’re prioritising camping with family over work now, when new and (presumably) trying to make a good impression.

    4. I should really pick a name*

      If he’d mentioned it beforehand, it could have just been “Is it okay if I take these three days off or start later, I’ve got pre-existing plans?” and they could make a decision based on business impact. I generally think it’s not great for an employer to be judging the value of someone’s reason for time off. The person making the request can indicate how much of a priority it is for them without specifically saying what they’re doing.

      1. doreen*

        I agree for the most part – if he had mentioned it beforehand , there’s no usually no reason to give details Either it works for the business or it doesn’t. But I don’t think it’s out of line for an employer to say ” No, that doesn’t work” and then reconsider when you tell them it’s for your grandfather’s funeral. I’ve known people who asked for a particular day off on little or no notice, were told they couldn’t take it for operational reasons who then explained why they needed it and were upset that their supervisor approved the day off because they had a plumbing emergency. Which makes no sense to me- if you didn’t think your reason should make a difference, then why give it?

      2. kiki*

        Yeah, I agree generally that it’s not great for an employer to be judging the value of someone’s reason for time off, but I think there are some exceptions and LW’s grandson’s situation is one of them. If he had said he had pre-existing plans on the second week when he had been hired, I don’t think grandson would need to share the reason. But asking now to take time off in his second week, to demonstrate that he’s in touch with business norms, he’d need to provide a pretty solid reason to miss work. Saying, “my parents decided to go camping and I think it’d be fun to join them,” would look very out of touch.

    5. Tiger Snake*

      Given its an entry level position and his mother is the one writing in, I got the impression that this was an “first job” type scenario.
      My family had that, too. I was the oldest, and my dad made family vacation plans without telling me in time to schedule time off with my cashiering job.

      If the read I am getting is true, then its’ simply one of those situations that happens where the parents are struggling to adapt with the fact their kids are growing up. That’s normal. Parents spend nearly 18 years being the one making the plans and then telling everyone what will happen, that they don’t realise that they need to change the relationship and start planning with the kids.
      Their son’s schedule isn’t under their control or oversight anymore, whereas just a few weeks ago even accounting for teenager things like sports and school events they had more than enough oversight to just intuit.

      And rhat’s not a criticism of OP3’s family, or any other family it happens to: it’s an oversight and a mistake on the father’s part that is very normal and very common. It’s a part of learning how to deal with children growing into adults.

  14. Lille My*

    OP1: A colleague of mine had hip surgery last year and had to use crutches for a while. When she came back to work, she told everyone that she promised she would ask for help when she needed it, and if she didn’t ask, we shouldn’t offer. I thought that was a very good way to handle it. I didn’t feel impolite when I didn’t offer help, and she didn’t have to listen to people offering help all the time. And when she needed help, she asked, and that was actually what made it work, because we could trust her to tell us what she needed.

    1. kiki*

      I think this is a great script! I think a lot of people are worried if they don’t offer to help in some way they will look uncaring/unhelpful. And there are some people (especially for a temporary injury) who do appreciate proactive offers of help. Making it clear that you would rather be left to your own devices is super helpful for people to know, though I know there are some people who would persist. And that makes it easier when to shut those persistent folks down, “Hey, I told you I’d really rather handle this on my own! Please respect that.”

      1. JustaTech*

        I used to have a coworker who had several physical disabilities after an accident. One of them was that she sometimes had trouble swallowing and could choke on pretty much anything.
        Now, the person next to you choking isn’t something you want to just ignore, since breathing is pretty important, but I also didn’t want to constantly be asking this coworker “are you OK?”. But, if you are choking, you can’t talk.
        So we talked and came up with a system where, if she was just “lightly” choking on something and was actually OK, she would tap the top of her head (I think it’s a scuba signal?) so I would know she was OK and would go back to my work and pretend nothing had happened.

        The really important part of it was that we had a conversation together where I asked her what *she* wanted from me.

  15. All Outrage, All The Time*

    #OP3 Nope. Unless your grandson doesn’t like the job and wants to quit anyway. When you get a job, you exchange your availability for money. Adult responsibilities sometimes mean you have to delay gratification or sacrifice spontaneous fun. He’s learning to be an adult. It may be that he’s too young to have a job, or doesn’t have enough motivation yet. That’s ok too. He can’t have it both ways. Either commit to the job and the sacrifices you make for a paycheck, or be a kid a bit longer. Neither choice is bad. I’m assuming your grandson is like 15 or 16 and not an actual adult yet. You might also want to introduce him to this blog so he can learn professional norms.

  16. Keymaster of Gozer*

    OP2: Veteran of a series of colossal unprofessional moments and the one runs an IT department where one code error can take down an entire safety critical system here to reassure you.

    You admitted the fault. You didn’t lie, cover it up, try to blame someone else. This already lifts you out of the ‘really bad’ category. This also makes issues easier to fix!

    You’re not likely to do it again, because you admitted it was wrong. Had you tried to make out that you’d been right all along, or misunderstood or it wasn’t a big deal THAT would have been a very big red flag.

    A big quilt of contrition isn’t needed. Just be extra diligent for a while (time dependant upon severity of error) and once people learn to expect a matter of fact statement of truth (‘yeah it was me, learnt not to make that mistake the hard way’) they swiftly lose interest in the matter. Generally speaking constant questioners are hoping for an emotional response – anger or shame. Don’t give it to them.

    1. RVA Cat*

      This. It is healthy to *regret* mistakes and wish you’d done things differently. Shame is toxic because it makes it about who you are as a person, instead of something you did or didn’t do because you are human.

  17. Call Me Wheels (UK)*

    Letter #1 – What was meant by “puts on this face like I need a wheelchair” ? I was confused by that bit.

    I am sorry you’re dealing with this though, I sometimes get stuff like ‘why are you using a manual wheelchair, wouldn’t a powered one be much better?’ (no it wouldn’t for my situation.) No matter what you do to help yourself, someone’s always got something to say about it. I’ve stopped thinking of it as people wanting to be helpful or actually concerned and viewing it more as making themselves feel good in some way at our expense. If people are commenting on my mobility aids I try head them off with a breezy ‘oh this works well for me!’ which it sounds like you’ve been trying anyway. Alison’s probably right and being direct is your best bet. You’re fortunate you’re in a position of authority here, it’s something you should be able to say to anyone but realistically that can be tough.

    If you’re a manager, you might even want to spell out more clearly ‘you cannot be commenting on anyone’s mobility aids or disability’ because it’s likely she’d act similarly to anyone else. I don’t know if you’ve used the word ‘disability’ directly when talking about this but 1) she might twig that disability is a protected class and therefore something HR might end up involved in (suppose it depends what they’re like at your company) and 2) sometimes people sort of differenciate their treatment of ‘oh that person is temporarily injured’ (new + interesting to talk about even if it’s still rude) and ‘that person is disabled’ (eventually gets old, hopefully). This might not work in your case because it sounds like this has been happening a bunch but maybe it’s useful info for someone else.

    As a final note, I think it would be fine even if you were wincing or sighing to get around. Sometimes moving hurts and it’s difficult not to have a reaction to that sometimes, it’s not necessarily making a big deal out of things. I hope everything goes well with your doctor and things will ease soon, and I hope you’ll extend yourself plenty of grace and compassion however things progress. Best of luck! This is one I’m really hoping for a positive update from :)

    1. Elsewise*

      Yeah, the wheelchair comment took me off-guard as well. I initially read it as “she thinks I’m a lot more disabled than I am”, possibly with a side-dose of “it’s not like I need a WHEELCHAIR or anything”, which I’ll be honest, did make me cringe a little. But that’s possibly the least charitable interpretation. Maybe LW means that the assistant is acting like she’s not accommodating herself enough?

    2. Blinded By the Gaslight*

      I knew what the OP meant by the wheelchair comment because I had a bad accident that required me to be in a wheelchair, then use a cane for a two-year long healing process. I worked with a woman who LITERALLY gave me an exaggerated, sad, full-on frowny face every time she saw me, every effing day. I’d be working my station, see “Maureen” and say cheerfully, “Good morning, Maureen,” and when she’d see me, whatever normal expression she had on her face would instantly transform into her BIG SAD POOR YOU face, and she’d put on this big, sad, whispery empathy voice like I was dying or something. She acted like I was worse off than I was and that every day was my own personal tragedy. It was totally bizarre and gross.

  18. Kikka*

    FO #2
    Please be assured: couple of months in you’ll start to see and hear everybody elses’ mistakes and yours wont seem such a dramatic, once-in-a-lifetime occurance that will haunt you for the rest of your life. (Just my own feeling from when I was new to the working world and made a booboo)

    What you already did is all that is needed. And if your boss seems fine take it from her, she is fine. Good luck, keep doing the good work youre doing! :)

  19. Irish Teacher*

    LW1, your assistant sounds like the kind of person who probably subconsciously almost likes it when somebody has an illness or injury or problem because it allows them the chance to look caring. I have a colleague a bit like that. Among other things, when we came back after the covid lockdown, another colleague told them that she’d had a healthscare a couple of months previously, but that everything had turned out OK and the consultant had told her, “this is the result I love giving to people” and the colleague in question immediately started reassuring her about how she shouldn’t worry about it. By the time we heard about it, there was clearly nothing to worry about any more and it was like she hadn’t had the chance to be supportive when it might have been needed so she was giving the support now, even when it made no sense.

    This isn’t really any practical help but it might help in reframing things a little. I agree there is a point at which it becomes no longer “nice” because it’s about meeting the speaker’s needs and not the person to whom the help is being offered.

    LW2, generally, my impression of colleagues tends not to be based on any one incident. Everybody makes mistakes, even the most professional and competent of people. It’s more a general impression and a lot has to do with attitude. If you show concern about your work, try to learn as much as you can, do damage control when you make mistakes, etc, most people will value you.

    It’s not quite the same thing, but this year our school had a student teacher who had a really difficult class. She was at the point where she was wondering if she was really cut out to be a teacher and had even considered leaving the programme. The school switched her to another class and I think she felt that that was a failure, that she’d been moved because people thought she “couldn’t handle it.”

    She is one of the better student teachers we’ve had.

    It’s not quite the same thing, as that wasn’t really a mistake she made but my point is that this is likely looming way larger in your mind than in that of any of your colleagues. If you just continue to do your work to the best of your ability, help your colleagues out if applicable, show an interest in learning more, etc, in a couple of weeks, most of your colleagues will probably have completely forgotten about this and will be judging you, if they are judging you at all, on whatever your last task was.

    Also, most of us remember being new and I know whenever a young teacher makes a mistake, my thought is often to cringe at the memory of the mistakes I made when new. “Oh gosh, it is so embarrassing when you make those early mistakes. At least hers’ isn’t as bad as mine.”

    LW3, I think part of the issue here, as well as the fact it’s the first week, is that this is a fairly unimportant thing or at least it sounds that way. It’s not something he needs to do or a once in a life opportunity and asking for time off so early in a job for something relatively minor does look like his commitment is not entirely to the job.

    1. Chauncy Gardener*

      Agreed re-LW#1
      It’s like “caring signaling” vs “virtue signaling”

  20. DawnShadow*

    My question is, how old is the grandson, and what kind of job is this? My answer would be different if he was 16 and just got hired at his first weekend job for a bit of spending money. In my experience, in my town at least, there are few enough people applying at the sort of small business cashier / fast food / busboy type of job that his bosses wouldn’t be happy about it, but they would accommodate. I do gig work and see people walk off fast food jobs with no notice all the time. The boss of that kind of job would probably be grateful he wasn’t quitting after three days!

    And if it was more of a just out of college, onto the career stepladder type of job, it seems like Grandma/Grandpa would have less info about his daily life, and his parents would have encountered this kind of thing before. Not to mention that in my early twenties, the last thing I wanted to do is go camping with my parents! It sounds to me like a first job ever type of situation, and in that case I would figure there’s no harm in asking, as long as he says it’s okay and he understands if it’s not possible.

    1. KelseyCorvo*

      Even asking is problematic. Even considering asking is problematic. He will have more issues in the future.

    2. doreen*

      I disagree, there can be harm in asking. And it doesn’t necessarily matter what kind of job it is – just because the employer might be used to people walking off with no notice doesn’t mean they won’t use this request in forming an opinion of the grandson. He’s just starting the job and one of the first things he is going to do is ask for time off a week after starting the job. For a vacation – I would wonder what else would take priority over work if camping does. Will he be asking for Friday off in two weeks because his parents have tickets to a theme park?

      Now, if the job in question is the cashier/bus boy/fast food type and it’s a summer job while he is in school he might not care what they think of him or even if he loses the job (especially if it’s easy to get another one) – but not caring about the possible consequences isn’t the same as those consequences not existing.

    3. Peanut Hamper*

      The letter clearly states “entry level”. This is the first rung on his career ladder.

      Yes, there is harm in asking. Asking for time off during your first week looks like you have terrible, terrible judgment. That is not the impression you want to make during your first week at work.

      1. Irish Teacher*

        That was how I read it too and of course, somebody could be 18 or even younger and starting their first “career” job. There are a significant proportion of people who don’t go to college.

      2. umami*

        Definitely! I had to ask for a day off when I got a job offer because they needed me to start a particular day, but I had an appointment 3 days later that I absolutely could not change, so I had to ask for the day, and I STILL felt uncomfortable even after 30 years in the workforce. I mentioned it as soon as they told me the start date because I was willing to push it back if the day off wasn’t going to be possible, but they were willing to accommodate me. I couldn’t imagine using a trivial reason for taking a day off that early on whether entry level or senior level if you want to be taken seriously as a professional.

    4. Falling Diphthong*

      I want to expand a bit on the part about how there’s no harm in asking, so long as you’re cool with “no” being the answer.

      I don’t think “ask culture” and “guess culture” are things, so much as each more complex subculture has some things it’s okay to ask about and some things you are expected to guess about to limit hurt feelings and awkwardness. For example, you can almost always ask a strange adult* on the street if they know how to get to the train station. And it’s common to respond “Gosh afraid I have other plans” when you mean “No, I will never accept your invitation to coffee Gladys, for I find you super annoying.”

      I think the situation in the letter is one in which the grandson would do best to put himself in the shoes of the people planning onboarding–even though he’s never done this himself–and realize that accommodating this ask would be annoying, and the reason is a thing he can do any time not an unforeseeable one-off, and asking give a poor first impression that he’ll then be trying to overcome.

      And I think in practice, a lot of “obviously I would graciously accept no as an answer, I’m just asking” plays out as “well that’s not a good enough reason for the no, so now I’m going to argue.”

      *I changed this to “adult” because in fact when my children were young, this was my explanation for being cautious if some adult in a car wanted them to come over and lean in to give directions–they didn’t know how to drive to the interstate, being too young to drive, and so should be suspicious if someone asked. Context of behavior matters.

      1. birder in the backyard*

        I wonder if Grandpa is trying to chastise his kid rather than his grandkid. If the young adult is under 18 and this is their first job, I could imagine mom and dad saying something like, “Well you can’t stay home by yourself. You’ll just have to tell your boss your family is going on a 3-day trip and you have to call out.”

        Unfortunately, I’ve seen this dynamic in several families as they transition out of helicopter parenting. Parents of college kids even.

        1. doreen*

          To be fair, if the grandson is under 18 it’s entirely the parents’ call to decide he shouldn’t stay home by himself. I didn’t leave my kids home alone for the weekend when they were both under 18. If that’s what happened and the LW has a problem with it, they should restrict themself to offering to stay with the grandson for the weekend.

          1. Observer*

            And then we complain about “kids these days”.

            By and large, someone who is old enough to have a real job is old enough to stay at home for a weekend.

            And regardless, the parents do need to realize that it will *legitimately* make a bad impression. What is an employer supposed to think if a parent “explains” that the kid is either so incompetent or so untrustworthy that you can’t leave them in the house alone for a weekend.

            1. doreen*

              I’m not quite sure what you mean by “real job” , but just because a 14-17 year old is capable of working the sorts of jobs that hire those under 18 doesn’t mean they can be left home for a weekend alone. And it doesn’t have to mean they they are incompetent or untrustworthy ( maybe the parents just don’t like the idea of no one knowing if the kid ever got home Saturday night) – although really my point is that it’s not the grandparent’s place to chastise.

              1. Miss Muffet*

                Agree – I have pretty trustworthy teens, one of whom has been working since she was 15, and I wouldn’t leave her alone for a 3 day weekend. They have a lot of independence and we even live in a safe area but that’s still a bridge I’m not ready to cross yet.

              2. Observer*

                I’m not quite sure what you mean by “real job” , but just because a 14-17 year old is capable of working the sorts of jobs that hire those under 18 doesn’t mean they can be left home for a weekend alone.

                A job that is described as “entry level” is not that kind of job.

            2. I Have RBF*

              Naah. “My parents are really strict, and they don’t want me to stay alone in their house while they are away, so they are insisting that I come along. Since I live under their roof, I have to obey their rules.”

              If the kid makes it about his parents insisting, it wouldn’t be as bad. Because yes, sometimes parents are irrational about things like teenagers staying alone for a weekend because they’ve been fed horror stories about drunken parties thrown by teens when their parents are away.

              Way back when I knew peers who had parents like this. Very annoying, but also very common.

        2. Quite anon*

          Yeah, I could easily see this being a parents are being controlling situation, if not for the fact that the grandson is the one who wants to go. Put that way it almost seems as if this is a trip out the parents have planned for themselves, given that they planned it, impromptu, immediately after he got a job.

      2. Ray Gillette*

        I don’t think “ask culture” and “guess culture” are things, so much as each more complex subculture has some things it’s okay to ask about and some things you are expected to guess about to limit hurt feelings and awkwardness.

        This is something I’ve struggled to articulate for a while, but pretty much sums up my thoughts on the topic of why “ask vs. guess” is overly reductive. Stealing this. Thanks!

      3. L.H. Puttgrass*

        This is more or less where I fall on the issue. I think it’s less about asking at all and more about how the request is made.

        “I want to take off three days in my first week to go camping with my parents. That’s cool, right?” — not so good.

        “I know this is a big request in my first week, but I just found out that my parents planned our annual three-day camping trip for my first week at work. I completely understand if it’s not possible to take that time off given the importance of my onboarding and early training, but I just thought I’d check.” — better?

        If someone came to me with the second request, I wouldn’t think badly of them.

        The “camping trip with parents” angle does color things. It’s not a major life event and there will be other camping trips. Part of joining the working world is having to forego vacations for a while when you’ve just started a job. So there is a risk that even asking would be seen as a bit out of touch.

        But workplace cultures vary. Some places I’ve worked, there would be no chance of getting those three days off. Others? Not a problem at all. We have no idea which type of place the grandson works at. But unless it’s a super-stodgy business, I’d still think that it probably wouldn’t hurt to ask, as long as that request acknowledges that the answer is probably no (for good reasons).

    5. hbc*

      I don’t think the standard for Good Employee Behavior is “sometimes employees do worse things.”

      I also think there can be great harm in asking. I bet if Grandson went to LW and asked them to fund his life so he didn’t have to work, there’d be more than a simple “no” and moving on. Being the young newbie who doesn’t want to even work two full work weeks because he wants to hang with Mommy and Daddy isn’t a good look. It doesn’t mean he’s a childish slacker, but his manager doesn’t have a lot of data points about him yet, and if he gets sick during week 4, he may have used up all his benefit of the doubt.

      1. Observer*

        I don’t think the standard for Good Employee Behavior is “sometimes employees do worse things.”

        That’s exactly what I was thinking. It’s like saying “It’s ok to steal money out of the cash register every day. Some people steal the payroll money.”

        Of course, asking for time off is not stealing or anything like that. It’s just that it’s easier to see the problem when you use an example that a bit on the extreme side.

        I also think there can be great harm in asking.

        There most definitely is. I’m definitely on Team Ask. But there is a time and a place for everything. And “they can always say no” only works in contexts where people’s negative reaction to your request doesn’t matter. Here – as a new employee in an entry level job – the negative reaction DEFINITELY matters.

        It doesn’t mean he’s a childish slacker, but his manager doesn’t have a lot of data points about him yet, and if he gets sick during week 4, he may have used up all his benefit of the doubt.


  21. Hiring Mgr*

    Not advising this, but if the grandson wants to take three days off a week after starting, he needs to come up with a better story than a family camping trip. Better just to skip this one

  22. Peanut Hamper*

    #3: If a new employee asked for time off in their first week, it would not make a good impression with me. The company is making a commitment to you; it’s only fair that you make a commitment back.

  23. Bexy Bexerson*

    Re #1 “as her manager, it’s completely reasonable to be direct about something like this”…it would also be completely reasonable even if LW wasn’t her manager!

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Yes! Anyone with a coworker commenting on their disability would get the same “be direct” advice, so much so that it’s almost not worth calling out the manager relationship (except that it might help OP feel more justified – but really, be direct with people being rude or nosy).

  24. cabbagepants*

    #2 This is a way that work culture and social culture differ. When someone at work makes a mistake that impacts me, I actually care fairly little if they demonstrate “feeling sorry” (guilt, embarrassment, verbal apology, etc). What I want is for someone to recognize the impact, acknowledge the
    how their own action (mistake) caused the issue, and take steps to avoid a repeat.

    1. Qwertyuiop*

      I am interested in how (in either social or work situations), you would want someone to demonstrate that they “recognize the impact” ? Usually that takes the form of an apology.

      Guilt and embarassment presumably exist as INTERNAL negative reinforcement for violating social constructs / norms – but often people express those things (sometimes genuine, sometimes not) as part of expressing that they recognize the impact / apologize.

      In the words of Daniel Tiger : “Sorry is a good start, but it is only a start”

      1. The rafters*

        i once made a financial error. not huge, but still. i immediately accepted responsibility and apologized. they did more closely watch my work for a while, but otherwise didn’t fuss too much about it. op should expect a bit more scrutiny as well, but in even a semi functional office should be okay. it will just take some time.

        1. cabbagepants*

          Yeah! Mistakes happen. As long as someone isn’t cavalier, a healthy workplace should be able to deal with occasional human error without anyone freaking out.

      2. cabbagepants*

        I mean workplace impacts (delays, extra work, quality issue, etc) rather than your own sad feelings. “This mistake meant Bob had to work late fixing the issue” matters much more than “this mistake made me feel really guilty.”

      3. cabbagepants*

        I think we basically agree, especially with your last sentence.

        “I’m sorry you had to work late fixing my mistake; I’ll be double checking the form going forward so it doesn’t happen again” is much better than “I’m sorry I entered the data in the form wrong.”

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

        I agree that recognizing the impact is part of the apology, or at least a good apology. I just read the book “Say the Right Thing” by Kenji Yoshino a David Glasgow. And although it is a book about how to have identity related conversations they have a section about apologizing. It’s specifically about apologizing when you have done harm to someone but it works for all apologizes. They describe an authentic apology as following the 4 R’s
        Recognition: acknowledge (in this case the error)
        Responsibility: accepting you did something wrong and don’t qualify it with But
        Remorse: Express genuine contrition. You don’t want to give a tepid apology and you don’t want to over do it by berating yourself. (which sounds like what OP is doing)
        Redress: take action to correct the error.

        It sounds like the OP is stuck on remorse. If they haven’t they should sit down with their boss and find a way to make sure this doesn’t happen again. and then move on. I would also add that it sounds like the error may have had an impact on the reputation of others in the company. If that is true, and not the OP overreacting, then I think it would be a good idea to talk with those folx and explain how you are taking steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

  25. Cat's Paw for Cats*

    I hope Allison is right that sloppy resumes aren’t a trend, but I’m not sure. I’m a retired public library director and a few years ago, we advertised for a children’s librarian position. These positions require master’s degrees in library science. Out of seventeen applications only two didn’t have typos or some type of error on them. And when I declined to interview anyone who didn’t present a clean resume, the HR clerk I spoke to said I was “mean,” and that everyone was doing that now.

    1. coffee*

      That seems like it would reduce your potential candidates significantly, if you went from seventeen down to only two. So I would be asking, for this role, is “can produce an entire document with no typos” more important than other qualifications of the role? Is that the most important skill in a children’s librarian?

      1. Cat's Paw for Cats*

        It is. When you are auditioning for a new job, and that’s essentially what you’re doing, a lack of care is a characteristic of what type of employee you will be. As it happens, both of the clean applications were fairly good ones, but even so, I opted to re-advertise the position more broadly and got a number of high-quality applications at that point. I declined to interview any of the people who couldn’t be bothered to put effort into their applications.

  26. Presea*

    #1 It really sticks out to me how you say that “she sighs and puts on this face like I need a wheelchair”. This feels like a sign of some less than stellar attitudes towards disability, especially since she feels comfortable displaying this level of weirdness around medical conditions to her boss. The way she’s treating you sounds more patronizing than caring, and smacks of ableism. It might be worth digging to see if she’s been disrespectful like this with anyone else who has or is perceived to have disabilities or medical conditions so that if there is a pattern here, you can address it all in one fell swoop. (And so that you can do damage control before she concern-trolls a team member out of the building or becomes an ADA legal liability). To be clear, I’m not denying that she might also have genuine care and concern for you – just that what you describe here seems like a red flag.

    I also want to point out – fact that you personally seem to think it’s normal and even a sign of concern for someone to “pull a face” when someone else needs a wheelchair, that you think her actions are signs of concern in general, makes me think you may not be super seasoned at recognizing when someone’s being well intentioned but missing the mark, or when someone is just being outright patronizing with a thin veneer of plausible deniability. You may have some learning to do so that you can identify such situations and protect yourself more easily, whether this specific situation is a case of ableism or not.

  27. Loving Parent*

    My take is the parents needed a camping trip of their own and timed it perfectly!

    1. 3DogNight*

      I think the parents waited until Jr got a job to even plan the trip. We do that. It’s part of adult children being weaned.

    2. Expelliarmus*

      If that’s the case, why aren’t THEY the ones telling him that requesting time off under these circumstances is a bad look?

    3. Heidi*

      I’m confused about who is going camping. The OP wrote, “my daughter and husband are going on a camping trip,” so I thought that meant it was the OP’s husband, not the daughter’s husband, who was going on the trip. Not that this matters from the POV of the grandson, but a father-daughter camping trip is not really the same as an empty-nest thing.

      1. Hlao-roo*

        I assumed the OP meant “my daughter and her husband are going on a camping trip” and presumably the OP’s daughter and her husband are the parents of OP’s grandson.

  28. Jennifer Strange*

    #2 – You’re already doing the best thing you can do in this situation by owning your mistake. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t a big deal, but barring building a time machine and going back to fix it, that’s the best you can do.

    I do theatre and I remember a director I worked with talking about how actors can get pulled into a quicksand of mistakes. The idea is that you make a mistake onstage (happens to everyone) but then you spend so much time agonizing about that mistake that you make another, and then agonize about that and make another, and so on. I think this also applies to everyday things, so I encourage you not to get caught in the quicksand by agonizing over this. Accept that it happened (and that you did your duty to amend the issue) and learn from it.

  29. Risha*

    Aww LW2, I so feel your pain. I have no advice other than what Alison said, but I just want to let you know you’re not alone. I think a lot of people have made major errors at work, especially when new *raises hand*.

    I cost one job so much money due to an error I made. At that job, I was responsible for approving authorizations for people to go into nursing homes/inpatient rehabs, pretty much any facility you would go after the hospital. We’re only allowed to approve facilities that already have a contract with the insurance company, if they don’t, there’s a process that has to be done first. I was new and didn’t know that I couldn’t approve facilities that didn’t have a contract. I had several patients ready for admission into nursing homes that weren’t contracted with us. Instead of asking my manager or a coworker what to do, I asked one of the admin staff. She told me to just go ahead and approve it (she didn’t know either). It turns out the insurance company has to pay lots of money to the facility if there’s no contract. (I’m not sure why or how that works, I just know it was a Bad Thing that I approved these facilities)

    I didn’t wait for my manager to ask me, I fessed up. I told her I really didn’t know I couldn’t approve these facilities and that I was wrong for not asking her or at least a coworker. She was a bit pissed, but she also was happy that I admitted it and didn’t try to cover it up. Her and the dept director put me through a couple hours training on contracted vs non contracted facilities then that was it. Everything then went back to normal.

    So I would advise you to follow what Alison said. Definitely no sorry quilt is necessary! And if they won’t drop it, or if they keep throwing it up in your face every chance they get, that’s a red flag from them. It’s one thing to be upset in the moment, but if they keep mentioning it that’s a problem too. Also, if they start yelling or berating you, that’s a problem too. If you mess up, they can follow whatever protocols they have in place, including write ups. But they don’t get to yell or insult you or use it against you at every raise/bonus time.

  30. It's Still Muggy*

    LW#3: Oh, I completely missed the context of the camping trip. I thought it was his sister and his dad going but no, it’s his parents (hence grandma writing in and talking about “my daughter”).

    I’m betting this grandson is still living at home. Oh, kid, they wanted a weekend on their own, knowing that you would be working and could house sit for them and they could camp with less worry. And it would look bad to ask for time off so close after starting when at an entry level.

    LW#4: I try to update my resume once a year, even though I’ve been the same employer for years now. But I’ve done new things, maybe, and there’s new dates, maybe, and new training, maybe. Never taken more than an hour, tops, to read it over once a year and tweak. Unless there’s a deadline to apply and you’ve only got two hours left before that deadline runs out, take the time to update the resume.

  31. El l*

    “Look, this is the moment where you learn an important lesson about working life: There will be situations where you have to work, rather than do desirable things like go on vacations.

    It’s pretty obvious here that no you can’t – even if you could negotiate the PTO, you’re still in training.

    But in general, whether you can do a vacation is a judgement call depending on among other things how much PTO you have, whether you have deadlines to honor, and so on.

    And by the way, you’re going to have some trust-building to do with your colleagues over the next 1-5 years. Takes a while to build a proper professional mindset. So while there’s no formula to it, err on the side of building your credibility for a while here.”

    (FWIW, I took a vacation 9 months into my first job. Probably wouldn’t recommend doing that before 3-6 months in.)

    1. Olive*

      This is where you learn an important lesson about minimum wage jobs. I’ve never had a professional salaried job where saying during the hiring process “I already have a trip scheduled for [less than a month out]” has been a problem.

      1. Observer*

        Well, that’s the key thing – this was NOT pre-planned and the grandson did NOT mention it during hiring. That would have been a very different question.

  32. CTA*

    A little related to #4.

    My employer recently worked with a recruiter. The recruiter would email us the resumes and LinkedIn profiles for the candidates we were interviewing. For one candidate, his resume was written in accomplishment-style: it listed three major accomplishments, each had a paragraph summary, along with the employer and date. The most recent accomplishment was from 2017. This interview took place in 2022.

    At first, I was confused. Did this person stop working in 2017? Was the employment since then something not relevant to the position he was applying for? I glanced briefly at his LinkedIn (from my phone app) and I saw more employment (and relevant employment) since 2017. I was emailed this candidate’s info after business hours and I decided to look at his LinkedIn more closely the next day, which is the day of his interview.

    The next day, I looked at his LinkedIn (I wasn’t logged in) and I was viewing his public profile, which didn’t show the most recent experience that his private profile showed. The interview was panel-style with other colleagues, so I let my colleagues know that they had to be logged in to LinkedIn to see his most recent experience. One of my colleagues didn’t have LinkedIn and we had to download a PDF of the LinkedIn profile for her to read.

    In the feedback, I told the interviewer about the LinkedIn profile thing since one of the interviewers didn’t have LinkedIn. It could have eaten valuable interview time (interview was only an hour and it was one candidate and three interviewers) if we went in thinking the candidate hadn’t been working for the last five years. To clarify, my feedback was for the recruiter (and I specified that in the feedback) and it wasn’t for the candidate (and I didn’t take this whole LinkedIn/resume thing into consideration when doing my evaluation).

  33. learnedthehardway*

    OP #4 – the only time I would say it is fine to apply with a non-current resume would be if you are very, very concerned about confidentiality, and are concerned that your current employer might get ahold of your resume somehow. Eg. your company and the company to which you are applying are business partners, or the owners know each other. Or, you just joined your current employer, but are still looking for other roles, for whatever reason.

    In cases where you have a concern about confidentiality, applying with a prior version of your resume at least gives you plausible deniability, if anyone does share your resume. (Which they absolutely should NOT do, and in Canada, you can file a privacy complaint about it.)

  34. Gray Lady*

    My understanding of the Michael-Holly situation is that it’s simply not tenable to have the sole manager in a location and the sole HR person involved with each other. If an employee has a problem with one of them, they can’t reliably expect the other one to address it in an objective fashion.

    As for why it was Holly, I think that could be explained by the fact that she was the junior employee as far as seniority, and he was the mainstay of the branch and the reason it kept functioning (despite all appearances to the contrary, that fact was written into the premise).

    As far as Jan, she was a total trainwreck by the time she was fired, so even though someone might reasonably wonder if the connection to Michael was a common factor, DM had plenty of evidence to throw back at such a supposition to undermine it as the chief reason for her termination.

  35. Former (Emphasis on Former) Manager*

    I had a new employee once tell me (after asking if she could have multiple paid days off to do things related to her new house) that they should have negotiated paid vacation days when they took the position, because they weren’t happy I couldn’t allow them so many days off in their first few weeks on the job. They were an entry level, hourly position and literally NO ONE in our organization can negotiate extra paid vacation days BEFORE hire (professional/management people can maybe negotiate days off, but not paid vacation days) especially entry level positions! Some people just have a sense of entitlement that can’t be reasoned with. Thank goodness this person quit a few weeks later.

  36. ThatGirl*

    One of my peeves with The Office is in Season 1 or 2 when corporate calls Michael and tells him he gets to pick the health insurance plan for his office. Never in a million years would it work like that. I understand that Dunder-Mifflin is a trainwreck of a company, but that makes no sense whatsoever.

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      Interesting. I have worked places where it pretty much works like that. Smaller companies, to be sure, but still, “Here’s what the health insurance plan will be for next year” was, sadly, very much a reality.

      1. ThatGirl*

        I think you misunderstood – in the context of the episode, Michael is picking the insurance plan for JUST his office. But Dunder-Mifflin is a corporation with multiple offices across the region! It doesn’t make any sense for each individual office of ~15 people to have their own plans. Nor does it make sense for a regional manager to be choosing it instead of HR.

        1. Peanut Hamper*

          Yeah, it does actually. Each office may have different needs and can choose accordingly. Generally corporate has a handful of plans that they can choose from.

          And a manager who works with his team on a daily basis is far more likely to know what his team needs than someone from HR who may not even work in the same building and may never have met any of the team members.

          It makes perfect sense to me.

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

            I agree it does make sense. especially depending on the health systems in the area. In my region I could think of about 4-5 different health systems. There are 2 in my city. But if I go 20 miles down the road and into the other state the major health system in my state is not there, or has limited services.

            I saw this with my previous company. it was a huge company all across the country. The company had more nationwide plans such has Aetna and blue cross. But because of our health system in our part of the state for our site they also included the local hospitals insurance. And 95% percent of people took that insurance. Only people who needed to go to the other hospital system because they didnt want to change their doctor would take one of the others.

          2. ThatGirl*

            I’ve worked in corporate America for 20 years, the differences I’ve seen in healthcare plans have largely been things like deductibles and copays, not local or even regional differences in what medical groups are included. Like, everywhere takes Blue Cross Blue Shield and Aetna and United Healthcare… I guess I’m wrong about this, but it still baffles me.

          3. doreen*

            I think there may be a couple of things being mixed up here- there are plenty of employers where “This is the health insurance plan” is a thing. There are also companies where there are choices regarding health insurance – and there are no doubt situations where the choices available to the employees in the San Diego office are different from the choices in the NYC office. What doesn’t make sense is the combination of both – where San Diego has only one plan available and it’s different from the one plan available in NYC based on the decisions of the regional managers in those areas – who most likely don’t know don’t know their employees needs any better than HR and may be choosing the plan that is best for them personally . And it definitely doesn’t make sense financially to have a different insurance provider for each office of 15 employees.

    2. saskia*

      This has been basically the reality at two different companies I’ve worked for. Doesn’t seem that weird to me.

      1. ThatGirl*

        Really? they let a regional manager pick an insurance plan for ONE office instead of corporate HR doing it?

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          Corporate HR chose the options he had to pick from, he got to decide which one made sense for his operations.

        2. Retired Accountant*

          I worked for a Fortune 500 sized company that was very decentralized and had very minimal corporate HR. (It was a while ago but so was The Office.). So the CFO of our 50 person branch had to do the negotiating and contracting for health insurance. It sucked, for a lot of reasons. Not the least of which was that it shone a spotlight on people who were perceived as “driving up our insurance costs”.

    3. Eldritch Office Worker*

      It does. Not all branches of a corporation function the same. He’s managing the budget, they offer two different plans and he decides which one his branch can shoulder the financial burden of. That’s not terribly uncommon.

  37. Sunflower*

    #2 I cost my company over $300 once. I cried and offered to pay it back but they said no and just learn from it. I don’t recommend crying which is not professional but I was young and freaking out because $300 is a lot of money back in the day. But I *do* recommend apologizing and owning up to your mistake without making excuses. Let them know you learned your lesson and won’t let it happen again. Mistakes happen and will happen again. It’s how you handle it that matters.

    1. Sunflower*

      I forgot to add that in future job interviews, they’ll probably ask the dreaded question “What is a mistake you made on the job and how was it handled?” It’s a common question because we all make at least one.

  38. Littorally*

    1. The cane
    Oh man, been there – done that – got the “please stop asking about my cane” t-shirt. (I did not actually do that last, but I thought about it long and hard!)

    Most of the problem I had was related to my age; I was in my mid-20s and therefore all the middle-aged folks at my office raced to ask detailed questions about my injury and declare me “too young to need that” and generally make a lot of fuss. Even complete strangers at the grocery store would walk up to me and tell me I shouldn’t need it! Generally, people are incredibly weird about assistive devices, and doubly so if you don’t match their mental image of a disabled person.

    Something I absolutely did not expect to get people to shut up about why and whether I should use a cane, but that worked, was getting a cane with a design on it. Instantly, people started commenting on the design rather than how I shouldn’t need the cane at all or prying about what the doctor had said about it. My only guess is that people just felt the burning need to acknowledge the existence of the cane in some way, and being able to comment on the pattern redirected them away from the ruder comments. I would have preferred to use a plain black cane and have no one acknowledge its existence other than to be generally mindful of my limited ability to walk and stand, but a patterned cane was a small enough concession that it was worth the cessation of prying and unhelpful comments.

    If your assistant is mainly concerned with what they can do for you rather than the need to verbally acknowledge the existence of a cane in your hand, giving her some “default” actions that she doesn’t need to ask you about every time may help. “You can help me best by making sure there is a chair available for me on the days where the barometric pressure is expected to fall to X or lower, and by checking in on any meetings that are being planned as walking meetings, if they are planned to last 10 minutes or longer they should be changed to sit-down meetings.” Many people, especially the chronically helpful types, can be most effectively steered by giving them things TO do rather than things to avoid doing.

  39. Rapunzel Rider*

    OP2 – I echo all the other comments saying talking to your manager/owning up to your mistake and having a plan to not repeat is all that is needed. I have been lucky to have fantastic bosses who remind me (even a decade into my career and so I pass on the reminder) that we are all human and mistakes happen especially when we are still learning something new. At the end of the day, it is rarely life or death and as long as you learned from it, there was value in the mistake.
    Personally for big stuff (I am also the person who would also be hitting my spare fabric pile to start the I am sorry quilts), I have found a snack-rifice helps ease my dwelling on it. Next staff meeting, bring in a box of donuts or if you are a baker, bake an easy cake (coffee cake is my go to). While I logically know it is not necessary, physically giving something small to the team to acknowledge that their assistance was appreciated makes me feel better. I just tell myself, the mistake was ok and this is for me to feel better, I am doing it for myself and more as a gesture of appreciation for the help, not an apology for an honest mistake. Plus then I also get the food so double win.

    Again, saying sorry and coming up with a game plan is all that is needed but I get feeling

    1. umami*

      I’m not sure about the food thing, I actually had someone do that after making a pretty serious mistake, and it actually felt to me like he didn’t take it seriously and thought cookies would somehow smooth it over. So it could land differently than you hoped. Fully acknowledging the mistake and developing a plan of action to assure the mistake doesn’t happen again is all that is needed.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Agreed! Even if it’s fine in one particular set of circumstances, it’s not something I’d advise people doing generally, especially junior people.

  40. Immortal for a limited time*

    LW #2: It sounds like you handled it perfectly. Mistakes are a painful but good way to learn, and managers know that. Acknowledging the error and being diligent about preventing similar errors in the future are all you can do, so – good job! I worked in I.T. with a guy who accidentally ran a payroll process in the production environment rather than the test environment by mistake, which literally issued hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of benefits to people enrolled in a needs-based program. He wasn’t fired because it was a mistake that any one of the developers could have made and he acknowledged it right away. He worked with the management team and client to resolve it, and more guardrails were added to the internal process as a result, so in the end, everyone was satisfied (except maybe the recipients, who were understandably disappointed that the payments weren’t legitimate).

    1. kiki*

      Yes! Mistakes are one of the best ways to learn. Especially for folks who go into management, making mistakes is an important way to learn how to resolve issues and to plan to avoid mistakes in the future. Honestly, I think some of the people I know who struggle with management the most are the ones who “never make mistakes.” Because that doesn’t set them up for managing human beings.

      1. AnonORama*

        I don’t know these people, of course, but everyone I’ve known who “never makes mistakes” not only made mistakes, but were way more dangerous than the rest of us, because they were covering stuff up right and left, or hoping others wouldn’t notice the mistake (or would blame someone else). I agree that OP doesn’t need to make a guilt quilt, but they also can take comfort in the fact that everyone actually makes mistakes and they’re being honorable about it.

  41. Alex*

    At many jobs (my current one included) you are not allowed to take any time off within a certain period of starting the job, commonly 90 days. Sure, exceptions can be made for good reasons, and usually ahead of hire or in emergencies, but even in jobs where it isn’t explicitly stated you can’t take time off right after you start, it is understood that you will wait a while until you do so!

    1. Industry Behemoth*

      I once went to a temp job at a client known for requesting good people, then giving them nothing to do.

      I was no exception. The EA I was covering for had been there only a month. Her boss made an exception to their 90-day vacation policy, to let her visit her ailing parent in another state. He and most of the dept were about to depart on a major trip anyway.

      Her position was new, so I wondered if that was an additional factor in requesting a temp. If the boss hadn’t, maybe management would’ve questioned his need for his own assistant.

  42. Awlbiste*

    #1: People just never get tired about commenting on mobility devices. I also use a cane sometimes and I’ve become a master at changing the topic.

    Coworker: “Oh you’re using a cane today how are you?”
    Me: “Anyway about those llama reports…”

    Yep, I’m using a cane, it’s a medical device and it’s none of your business. Let’s move on.

  43. an infinite number of monkeys*

    Honestly, I just want to know why there are baby ducks on the way to OP1’s assistant’s office.

  44. Satan's Panties*

    #1: I wonder how many relentless questioners would be stopped in their tracks if the person they were interrogating went into Really. Explicit. Detail. “Oh yeah, that surgery was torture…and would you believe, the anesthetic didn’t work and I was *awake* for it? And now you wouldn’t believe what I have to go through just to go to the bathroom!” Though that might not work with LW’s assistant: “She does get a kick out of talking about illnesses…”

    Anyway, I have an idea what motivates some (not all) of these questioners. They see someone on crutches or whatever and think, “Could that happen to me?” They ask “What do you have, *really*?” or “How did it happen, *really*?” because they are seeking reassurance. They want to know that Those People brought it on themselves, through laziness, ignorance, unhealthy habits, reckless behavior: anything that makes it their fault. So of course, it could never happen to the questioner!

    1. Irish Teacher*

      I think that would help with some people and make it worse with others. I’ve known people who love talking about illnesses and injuries and if one was to say something like that would go around boring everybody with “did you hear LW1 was awake during her surgery. Yeah, the anaesthetic didn’t work, can you believe it? Oh, you have to be very careful. I’d always ask about the experience of the anaesthist, but sure LW1 wouldn’t know that” and so on and so forth.

    2. Keymaster of Gozer*

      I ended up showing one nosy parker at work a photo of the MRI scan of my spine to get her to shut up.

      She complained about how it made her want to throw up (fair play, it makes ME feel sick. It’s really bashed up) so…not a great success.

    3. Ellie Rose*

      “They want to know that Those People brought it on themselves, through laziness, ignorance, unhealthy habits, reckless behavior: anything that makes it their fault”

      Spot on. ‘Just World’ fallacy strikes again! drives me batty.

      often overlaps with people that thinks everything is treatable, so if you’re not getting better, it’s because you’re not trying hard enough.

      it would be great if there was a cure for most chronic conditions, but usually there’s just an exhaustingly long list of mitigations that *might* help sometimes.

  45. Observer*

    #1 – Using a cane.

    PLEASE shut this down. Firstly, you deserve to not have to deal with this kind of hassle on a regular basis. But also, Allison is 100% right. I’d be willing to bet that she has / is / will do the same thing to other people. The fact that you are her manager gives you the kind of standing other people might not have to shut this kind of nonsense down.

    Also, you say that you “cannot do without”. That’s wrong. You cannot do without a competent person in that position. But you can always figure out how to manage with a PARTICULAR person. (assuming that nothing really, really weird is going on.) I’m not suggesting that you fire her, or even go to threatening to fire her. But adjusting your thinking will enable to you handle this situation with the authority you actually have.

  46. Bluestocking*

    OP #2 I know you’re not an intern but look up the Dear Intern trend that happened on Twitter not long ago in response to an intern at HBO sending out a blank test email. A bunch of people responded with mistakes they’ve made at their own jobs; it’s one thing to know that everyone makes mistakes but it’s another to actually hear stories that make you feel a bit better!

  47. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

    OP2 (mistake that created reputational risk) – I think all you can do is show you appreciate the seriousness of it and what steps you have taken to ensure this doesn’t happen again. Unfortunately you will now need to be more ‘unimpeachable’ than others to have any chance of recovering from this, and it’s possible that you may never fully recover and move on from it at this company. Mistakes like this that damage relationships with clients etc often have much more impact than a mistake that “just” cost a load of money.

  48. kiki*

    What sets good employees apart from less-good employees is how they handle it when it happens. The most important steps are to disclose the mistake as soon as you can, take responsibility for it, and share a plan for how you’ll avoid something similar happening in the future.

    100% agree. The BEST managers and coworkers I’ve had aren’t the ones who never made mistakes. A lot of my favorite managers are quick to tell the tales of HUGE mistakes they’ve made, to make sure folks feel comfortable taking risks and making mistakes and knowing that they can come back from that and that they shouldn’t hide their blunders.

  49. Lola*

    While not a cane, I did have to spend significant time with some walking limitations. Thank goodness I’ve recovered. But it was an eye-opening experience into how our society tends to treat people with physical limits or disablities. People seemed to fall into two categories: making everything a big deal, like the LW’s assistant, or ignoring it entirely, even at times when I needed help or accommodation!

    Somewhere in the middle would be nice. See my limitations, but don’t JUST see them.

  50. Sandra*

    Re #4 – I sent the question, and I was wondering if sending the out-0f-date resume was a trend, as I have received about 5 outdated resumes in the last year. I work for an organization with 20+ departments, and I’m not a part of HR so I don’t have input on the application process, which currently is an online application to which you can attach a copy of your resume. I just thought it was odd that someone would send an outdated resume, especially now because of LinkedIn and being able to apply without an application in many cases. When I saw the first couple of outdated resumes, I thought the applicants were not detail oriented and/or didn’t care about following instructions, but since I’ve received a few – for both entry level and mid-level positions from applicants with and without years of work experience – I started to wonder if I was putting too much importance on a current resume.

    Saying all that, I appreciate all of the comments – thanks for the help!

  51. just a random teacher*

    #3: The mental transition from “I am in charge of my child’s vacations” to “my kid is an adult and I can choose to invite them along on my vacations, but they might not be able to go” can be a rough one.

    When I moved back to teach in the same school district I’d gone to as a k-12 student (living in an apartment of my own and not with my parents), my mother downloaded a copy of the district calendar and started planning “family” vacations for my school breaks, just like she had when I was in school (she had a job where she needed to put in days off right away if she wanted her days off to match school vacations). I had to explicitly explain to her that she needed to check in with me first about how I planned to use those days and whether or not I could head off to the beach with her during spring break and so on. She gets it now, but she just hadn’t really thought about the difference between planning vacations for known break times when you’re doing so for a kid versus an adult somehow (possibly because it was the same district I’d gone to school in so she had the whole kid-routine right at her fingertips).

    Anyway, since it’s the grandparent who wrote in, my advice for OP is that, if you are on the kind of terms with your daughter where your advice is welcome, that you have a conversation with her about how these things change when the kid becomes an adult with a job of their own, maybe using stories about when she was just starting out in the work world. She’s going to have to start giving her kid a lot more warning about family trips and understand that he won’t always go, which is a new pattern for everyone to get into.

  52. DJ*

    LW#3 sadly your grandson should miss this upcoming trip away. I remember being in a job where they didn’t encourage recreation leave in the first 6 months and no flex leave the first month. But they were very good when I had 2 family deaths within a week giving me a week’s bereavement leave and using my recreational leave for the other week.

    I also had an unavoidable medical appointment (to get results of a biopsy) the first fortnight I was there so was able to access flex leave. I went to my supervisor explaining the situation, i.e. appointment made before I knew I had the position, had felt it would be OK as was aware of their flex leave policy but didn’t know of their not within the first month of starting until after I started, however was not wanting to reschedule the appt which would delay it several weeks given the nature of it. Was never a problem.

  53. Sleeve McQueen*

    LW1; you can always speak the gospel of Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice ” I would rather be paid the compliment of being believed sincere.”

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