my employee is pregnant but hasn’t said anything

A reader writes:

I recently found out through the grapevine (social media) that an employee is pregnant and expecting later this year. However, she hasn’t said anything to me or management (but she’s known for at least a few weeks). How should I proceed?

I answer this question — and three others — over at Inc. today, where I’m revisiting letters that have been buried in the archives here from years ago (and sometimes updating/expanding my answers to them). You can read it here.

Other questions I’m answering there today include:

  •  We ask all job candidates to give us PowerPoint presentations
  • My boss says “yes, my child”
  • My team is reorganizing and I’m going to report to a peer

{ 262 comments… read them below }

    1. Jessica*


      If she’s only known for a few weeks, she’s still in the period where a lot of people don’t even tell close friends and family.

    2. Green Goose*

      Back in the day I had a coworker who was very visibly pregnant but wasn’t saying anything but I had the same attitude as the OP, thinking that she *should* say something even though, why? I later found out that she had a pretty serious medical history that made it very understandable that she wouldn’t want to say anything until after the baby was born. I mention this because you never know what’s going on behind the scenes and we’re not entitled to that information, and like Betty said, MYOB.

      1. Jiminy Cricket*

        Having been exactly this person: Yes, I look pregnant. No, I’m not going to talk to you about it until it is immediately relevant to your work.

        1. Jolene*

          With my first pregnancy, I told everyone at work, then lost the fetus at 4 months, and my friend had to “untell” everyone bc I was not emotionally able to do it myself.

          With my second and third pregnancies, I basically didn’t tell anyone at work until I was practically in labor.

          There are reasons people keep this to themselves.

      2. Victoria Everglot*

        I remember Jennifer Lopez famously not saying anything, despite how obvious it was that she was pregnant (with twins, no less). It’s been like 15 years so I don’t remember exactly what she said afterward but I think it was something like “I didn’t have to say anything, it was obvious and nobody’s business”.

        1. Merrie*

          Conversely, Jennifer Garner was asked in an interview once about her “baby bump” (she wasn’t pregnant) and said something to the effect of “I’ve had 3 babies, I’m always going to have a baby bump, this is what happens to women’s bodies after we have babies.”

    3. Lulu*

      This one sounds to me like the manager is not experienced with pregnancy, and don’t know the usual etiquette around it. People can announce at any time they want, but not sharing with work for several months is very very normal (and generally advised). I waited until 20 weeks to announce, and yes they all “knew”, but were polite enough to feign ignorance. By that time I had enough information and confidence that everything was going well in the pregnancy, and I had also been in the job long enough then to feel comfortable sharing. I think most people know this if they have personal or family experience with pregnancy, so this manager may just not know.

      1. Random Dice*

        I know too many people who announced at this early stage and then had a miscarriage, and had to both process it privately and discuss it publicly.

        1. KateM*

          And I know at least one case when second grapevine didn’t reach all the people that the first did, so half a year after (very early) miscarriage, someone waltzed into chat with “hi X, how are you doing? I don’t remember if you knew the gender already?”.

          1. Jolene*

            This happened to me. About a year after I lost my first pregnancy at 4 months, colleague that I don’t see often asked me how the “baby” was doing.

            We both wished we were dead.

        2. Victoria Everglot*

          My friend’s sister-in-law posted her positive pregnancy test on social media… then had to delete it several weeks later.

      2. Tough*

        My miscarriage happened at 20 wks. It was still weird coming back all messed up because our team was into each others business too much and I wasn’t out of office thay frequently. Before I returned, there were rumors going around I got plastic surgery (geez!) At the end I told my manager and a close coworker so they understand why I’m a mess and to stopthe rumors.

        1. Lulu*

          Yeah, it’s important to know that there’s no way to know that everything will turn out fine, at any point in pregnancy. I’m sorry you had to contend with rumors during such a personal and vulnerable time.

          Some of the reasons I disclosed at 20 weeks are (1) at least at that point chances of problems go down as compared to earlier stages, and (2) we needed to start planning for my leave. It wasn’t a perfect calculation, and I could’ve disclosed either earlier or later; no perfect answers here.

      3. Pissed_Off_Pregnant_Lady*

        As someone who is currently pregnant, I am amazed at the amount of well-meaning people of all genders with ZERO experience with pregnancy, in the workplace or otherwise, and the assumptions that they make. I disclosed to my boss at six weeks to ask for WFH accomodations due to severe morning sickness, and she immediately asked me to disclose to my coworkers for “fairness reasons” so they would know why I was allowed to WFH more days than the company norm. She also disclosed to sic people up the chain of command (all in the direct chain, but still…) and has continually put pressure on me to disclose to coworkers, make leave accomodations, etc… all before I was out of first trimester and when I was six months + from any absences! I don’t think she is malicious, but apparently has been alive and in the workplace for 20+ years and never has dealt with this before or had anyone she knows deal with pregnancy loss (or I guess even became pregnant?) My department consists of seven childless people, five of whom are DINKS (dual income no kids) in their forties and fifties, and it astounds me how clueless they are about these things.

        Instead of leaving in December when my baby is born, I am now leaving in September and returning to my previous organization where everyone is thrilled for me, very discreet, and very welcoming of my news when I have disclosed it.

        How supervisors react to pregnancy has a MAJOR impact on whether employees return.

    4. Anon for this*

      I’m pregnant now and due in November and I didn’t tell my boss or peers that I was pregnant until after my 20 week anatomy scan went well (I work remotely). I had a pregnancy last year that ended badly at 14 weeks (trisomy 18) and they didn’t know about that one either. Many people are very, very apprehensive to tell anyone what’s going on until way into the pregnancy and that’s fine. Honestly, I’d prefer to not share until the baby is in my arms.

      1. nm*

        My supervisor didn’t announce until 8 months in bc that’s when she had enough solid details to schedule her leave period. It was in late 2020 and we were all remote so nobody was making assumptions from looking at her.

    5. Tribbles*

      Exactly! Also, why is the letter writer following employee on Social media. I won’t follow or allow follows from someone I work with/for until I am gone from the org.

    6. M*

      I remember a coworker of mine excitedly sharing news of her pregnancy with staff and customers. Later, she had to tell everyone on that list when she miscarried. I think of that episode when I think of sharing news of your pregnancy before you’re showing. MYOB is right.

    7. Momma Bear*


      So many reasons she’d keep it private, especially at work. Also, put some distance between yourself and your employees on social media.

    8. allathian*

      Yes, this. And this is yet another reason not to follow your employees on social media. It’s a non-issue for me because I’ve opted out of social media completely, with the sole exception of WhatsApp, but even there I’m only in contact with people I already know personally at least on a superficial level, like the parents of my son’s classmates.

      That said, I also feel that it’s up to the employee to curate their social media use a bit better. If they want to announce their pregnancy to all and sundry, so be it.

    9. Flying Unicorn*

      Every day on AAM I am seeing more and more reasons not to engage with anyone at work on social media.

    10. Sibyl Rose*

      Yep. When I was on staff, and pregnant, two women there before me had miscarried, so I said nothing until after the first trimester.
      As for the “yes, my child,” I have to say… I would love that, actually. If my boss said that to me, I’d immediately start with, “Father…” and probably with a British accent. It’s just play, and fun, and I yearn to work with people like that.

    1. Glazed Donut*

      Exactly. If this has zero impact on work right now (which seems to be the case), it’s a non-issue. Even if the employee were due in 4 weeks and hadn’t yet arranged for PTO…still not an appropriate time to say “hey aren’t you pregnant?”
      Goodness gracious.

  1. Earlk*

    If I was asked to give a half hour presentation to who knows how many people I would back out of the interview process.

    1. Oolong*

      Really? That’s completely normal for me. At this point, if they don’t ask for a presentation, I wonder how serious they are about me.
      Job expectations are different, ya know?

      1. umami*

        Yes, in my line of work it’s completely normal. In the line of work of most of my colleagues, though, it is not. It wouldn’t bother me in the least, but I can see why a lot of people would and should be bothered by it.

      2. Leia Oregano*

        It would be pretty normal for me, as well, but it’s so job dependent. In my department, only a third of us need to be able to present formally. Why would we make the other two-thirds go through this too when it has no bearing on their work and wouldn’t add anything substantive to their application? When it makes sense, ask the candidate to give a presentation. But I’m not sure what a 30-40 minute overview of their work history has to do with the job they’re looking for now, particularly for candidates who may have resume gaps; have lost jobs, especially through no fault of their own; who have job hopped and are looking to change that; who have just had bad luck in terms of toxic work environments, etc. I can think of a lot of reasons why candidates would turn this down. Heck, if I was told to give a presentation on my work history, I probably wouldn’t do it unless I truly wanted *that* job and thought I’d make it to the final round/offer stage. Even then, I’d be hard-pressed to talk about myself for 30-40 minutes in that capacity and make a PowerPoint on it. Give me a topic to do a little research on or even a portion of a script, if it’s a role with scripted presentations. Or tell me to pick a work appropriate topic and present it. But 30-40 minutes of just your work history, when the people hiring already have your resume in front of them? That’s a lot of unpaid time and labor to put on them, and doesn’t make sense for the vast amount of jobs that don’t require public speaking. Even when we hired a new director a few years ago, they presented on the field, not their work history. When I applied for a different job in my department a few years ago, I presented a portion of the script I would have had to give if I’d gotten the job. That makes sense. This…doesn’t, and I’m in a role where I regularly give presentations and I have no problem speaking in public.

        1. Oolong*

          The point of the talk is not what you talk about, the point is your speaking skills. You could be talking about llama grooming. I’m guessing they ask people to present their work history bc they already have all the material and don’t have to spend hours on research.
          If the role doesn’t involve communicating, then a presentation doesn’t make sense. Most jobs involve communicating what you have done to other people, though.

          1. MassMatt*

            Most jobs require communicating in some way, yes, but that is very different than making PowerPoint presentations and public speaking.

            I agree with Alison that this is measuring every hiring decision in the organization by this one very specific skill set. Why do your brochure makers, accountants, or customer service reps need to make PowerPoint presentations? It’s not relevant to those jobs.

            It also seems odd that this is the FIRST interview. If this were relevant, I would still narrow down the candidate pool first in other interviews.

            And how many people are going to these “anyone can attend” presentations? Don’t they have work to do?

            1. MigraineMonth*

              “I’m working through lunch today so I can see the candidate for the entry-level helpdesk position talk about his one internship for half an hour” said no one in history.

              1. Anna*

                Re: LW 2 – I’d actually go a step further than Alison, and discourage making the 30 – 40 presentations the *first* part of the interview process even when it is truly job related.

                Interviews are also a place where candidates evaluate whether they want to work with that employer. I suspect you’ll see decent candidates self-select out if you ask for the level of time commitment needed for preparing a 30 – 40 minute presentation before they have a chance to ask their own questions and get a better feel for whether the position would be a good fit.

                Also, if you’re able to tell in a 15-20 minute interview if a candidate is an obvious bad fit, it’ll save you the time of having to sit through their 30 minute presentation.

            2. Elizabeth West*

              This is why I don’t do video screenings. Not only are they uncomfortable, especially the timed ones (!!!) but I feel like they scan for a reason to reject that could be based on unconscious bias re age, etc.

          2. Frickityfrack*

            None of the jobs I’ve ever had have required me to communicate what I’ve done in a presentation – actually, pretty much no one I work with has to do that, with a handful of exceptions. Having an informal “hey, here’s where we stand with x, y, and z” conversation or email exchange is way different than asking me to stand up in front of strangers and do it formally. I’m guessing most jobs really don’t need to ask for that, and they’re going to lose a lot of good applicants if they try.

          3. MigraineMonth*

            One of my jobs asked candidates for a role with public speaking to present for 30 minutes on any topic they wanted to.

            I might consider doing that. There are many things I would rather present about than my job history, because my job history is pretty boring (and in one case, going into details would violate an NDA).

            1. Allonge*

              To be honest, even then I would argue that a five-minute presentation is just as good, if not better, representation of someone’s skills in this area. Most people can talk for half an hour. Make a point / impression in 5 minutes or 2!

              1. Earlk*

                One of my biggest bugbears in committees is when people cannot keep to their time slot so I would second having a strict time limit.

            2. Cj*

              if you come back and read responses to your comment I have a question for you. did your NDA prohibit you from even telling anybody you had an nda? I had one that did, and it was really tough to say why you left the job without mentioning the NDA or anything in it.

              1. I am Emily's failing memory*

                There are limits to what can actually be enforced in an NDA. IANAL but I’ve signed one before and consulted with a lawyer at the time. Essentially to be able to recover damages from a breach of an NDA, the company would have to make an argument that you materially damaged their business or revealed trade secrets. A nebulous claim that your private (meaning not commercial and not to press/public) truthful speech about your own experiences working at the company damaged the company’s reputation is unlikely to stand up to judicial scrutiny.

                Essentially I was told – don’t talk to press about it, don’t post on social media about it, and when I do speak about it on private conversations be matter of fact and unsalacious about it (don’t go into excessive unnecessary detail). But I don’t have to evade relevant job interview questions or lie to people in my personal life just because I signed an NDA.

                Ultimately as much as you hear about people and companies using NDAs to cover up embarrassing scandals, reputation management is not really what they were legally designed for – they were crafted with the aim protecting confidential information and trade secrets. The people who draft them often fill them with unenforceable provisions and are counting on the people who sign them not to realize and obey them anyway.

          4. Rainbow*

            Yeah this is extremely normal in my field and I’m really surprised at the response just because I’m so used to it. But I suppose you have to give a lot of PowerPoint presentations in my job (scientific research). Like, if you don’t communicate well in your reports, which will be PowerPoint presentations, you can quickly screw over your whole project.

            The surprise at anyone coming along is funny too! I love to get to know my future coworkers, and learning about their research is super interesting for all of us. Plus honestly it probably means their Q&A is actually easier for them, since people from varied disciplines will be there and may ask basic stuff they haven’t learned before.

      3. metadata minion*

        My workplace (academic library) went through a period of requiring presentations for all candidates and it was incredibly annoying and probably lost us some excellent people who just aren’t very good public speakers. It makes perfect sense to require it of research help staff — we usually ask for something along the lines of a sample 30-minute library instruction session. They’re being asked for something they will actually have to do all the time at their job, and this is a great way of evaluating it. But it just really didn’t make sense for catalogers or public services staff — those departments occasionally have to give presentations at staff meetings or conferences, but having excellent public speaking skills is a nice bonus in those jobs, not at all a necessity. I’m very glad we’ve mostly gone back to having normal interviews for positions where giving presentations isn’t a key job skill.

        1. Alice*

          Conversely, sometimes I see proposals that all candidates be provided with interview questions in advance – but for research support librarians, handling unanticipated questions on the spot (or, anticipating them) without getting flustered actually is a major job skill.
          The more tailored to the position, the better the interview process will be IMO. (While also leaving space for people to describe and show transferrable skills of course)

        2. Sara without an H*

          Another academic librarian here. Yes, I’ve given/sat through a lot of presentations — it was a standard practice through most of my career. I’m not sure it actually helped us make better hires — yes, we may have lost some people who just weren’t good speakers, but I we also hired a couple of slick speakers that weren’t all that good at their jobs.

      4. I'm A Little Teapot*

        This is REALLY field dependent. Some fields, yes. Other fields – absolutely not. If anyone wanted me to give a presentation, I’d laugh in disbelief, withdraw from the process, and if there’s a recruiter involved tell them that the hiring practices are screwed up.

      5. Parakeet*

        A presentation would be normal for me, but a presentation on my work history would be weird. Any time (across multiple industries) that I’ve done a presentation during the hiring process, it was for a job where the role includes doing presentations from time to time, and the presentation was supposed to be on something field-related, not my biography.

        1. TeaCoziesRUs*

          I think this makes an incredible amount of sense to have people do a presentation on something job-related if they are applying for a job that requires it, but I also find the verbal resumé a very hard sell. Unless you’re selling yourself or another person (I’m thinking entertainment agent, gutter-minds!), I don’t see where that presentation teaches anything except how comfortable you are bragging on yourself. :D Now, ask me to do a 30-40 minute presentation on my favorite work THING or MEMORY and you’ll get an in-depth 30 minute story.

      6. DannyG*

        Same here, the interview I had in the middle of the pandemic I went to the on-site with half a dozen Zip drives with.ppt presentations on a host of topics and ranging in length from 10 minutes to an hour. The clinical director apologized for not having me present because of the infection control measures in place. It definitely depends on the field and on specific expectations.

      7. Zombeyonce*

        The issue isn’t that they’re asking for a presentation (though the length requirement is excessive), is that they’re asking everyone to present regardless of the job they’re applying for. Should the receptionist applicant have to do a presentation to a group of people? A janitor, web designer, writer, nurse, etc.?

        It’s odd that you seem surprised that people would drop out of the running because of this. I imagine that they’re losing out on a lot of good candidates who hear the requirement and nope out of the process because public speaking has absolutely nothing to do with their job.

        1. Rainbow*

          Ok but I doubt they meant the receptionists and janitors… they meant the workers in their specific department presumably

          1. New Jack Karyn*

            The letter says, “All positions.” It’s possible they didn’t mean it literally, but I’m not sure.

            I could see it stretching to a position like receptionist, where at least they deal with the public. And maybe they contract out for custodial services?

      8. Jhams*

        It would be completely normal for me to ask candidates I’m interviewing to explain the refrigeration cycle or lock out tag out procedures or how they would troubleshoot a boiler shut down on a flame failure alarm. That doesn’t mean a company asking some 22 y/o new graduate who’s applying for a junior accountant position to do so.

        Creating lengthy powerpoints and public speaking are certainly parts of some jobs, but requiring it of everyone is bizarre.

      9. Michelle Smith*

        It would not be normal for me, and I do give presentations routinely in my job. I’ve never been asked to present in any interview. Most organizations I’ve interacted with do not expect candidates to spend hours (I think it would take me quite a lot of time to create a presentation on my career) of time creating a presentation on information that should be clear from the resume and/or application.

        I would decline to move forward in an interview process like this one. I don’t feel like it respects me or my time.

    2. Chocolate lover*

      It’s pretty common in higher ed, or different areas of research. but it’s not usually about your work history, it’s usually about a related topic to the work or area of expertise.

      1. Gumby*

        Yup. Everyone we hire for research positions gives a talk, usually around an hour. It’s about their past research rather than just job history and they are NOT throwing this together at the last minute because they all have PhDs and they have these talks already prepared. The key is that everyone we hire for non-[particular science field] positions does not have to do a talk. Because we wouldn’t expect them to have one! So admin, IT, engineers: no talk.

        1. Cedrus Libani*

          That’s how it works in my field (biotech). It’s not about standing up and reading your resume; rather, it’s about a specific problem or two. It’s the equivalent of a portfolio: here’s some work that I’m proud of, which you can use to assess technical skills, creativity, etc.

          Researchers expect to give such talks; we all have one ready, so it’s no big deal for us to give it one more time. That said, if somebody’s making non-researchers give a job talk, that’s a red flag. This likely indicates that the key decision-maker(s) are from academia, such that they either don’t know there are different social norms in industry or actively see those norms as inferior, and there’s nobody else at this company with the authority and the willingness to step in and tell them no. (You would think that a researcher would be happy about working for a company run by their own kind…no, it creates all sorts of operational problems.)

      2. not nice, don't care*

        Pretty common for certain positions in higher ed. But not for all, or even most. Most universities have way more staff running the show from the ‘shadows’ who have nothing to do with public speaking.
        But then again, most faculty conveniently forget we exist unless they’ve created an emergency that only staff can rescue them from.

        1. somehow*

          “Most faculty”? Huh. Of the tons of faculty I’ve ever dealt with, including currently – at one of the largest public universities in the nation – the vast majority are quite pleasant.

          1. Rainbow*

            Most yeah, but the ones who aren’t are extremely loud about it so I think you can be forgiven for thinking

      3. DrSalty*

        Yes, this is common in science. It’s also not that big an ask because most candidates already have presentations prepared that would be appropriate.

    3. not nice, don't care*

      Same. A job interview is enough of a presentation for me. Esp if the position didn’t normally require doing them.

    4. Dona Florinda*

      Same, especially if this is the first time I’m meeting these people, as opposed to a presentation at the later stages of the hiring process.

    5. Bear Expert*

      I’m in a field where presentation skills are not expected, but they are a fast lane to advancement and it’s assumed that very senior folks are good speakers. So I don’t (and wouldn’t) include them in hiring, outside of specific senior roles. but I do make opportunities for staff to develop them and show them off.

    6. turquoisecow*

      i might be okay with it if it was on a topic other than my work history. A particular specialty that this job is hiring for and needs, and would like my specific input on because I have the experience they’re looking for? Sure. Say I’m an expert in long-haired llamas and their current staff mostly services short-haired llamas. I can give a brief presentation on the difference in llama coat types and etc, demonstrating my knowledge and making a case for me to be hired.

      but just talking for 30 minutes on my work history? Why? You have my resume, it lists my work history. The interview is about discussing that (and other things). What’s the benefit for any of us of me putting my resume into a powerpoint and reading it to you?

    7. Artemesia*

      We always had candidates for academic jobs do a presentation on their research and also teach an actual undergraduate class. But that was the 2 or 3 finalists and those are central to their role. a 40 minute presentation is a lot especially if the job doesn’t require public speaking as central to the role. If speaking is part of the job, 15 minutes will give you plenty of time to assess that and also see if the person is able to net it out. But if speaking is not a big part of the job, find other ways to assess.

    8. ZK*

      A half hour presentation, right off the bat, THEN, 3-4 more interviews! It all sounds incredibly excessive. OP #2, if you have any standing to help change this, please, please, try and get your company to rethink their entire process.

    9. Flying Unicorn*

      More and more people are withdrawing applications in situations like this and I agree they should. I’ve done it myself.

      Candidates don’t owe hiring managers free work (I am a hiring manager).

    10. MCMonkeyBean*

      30-40 minutes is so long!!! I honestly don’t know if I have ever given a presentation that long in my entire life. I gave plenty of presentations in school but I doubt many would have been even as long as 20 minutes, and I don’t think I’ve ever had to speak for more than like 10 minutes max at work.

      Unless public speaking is a *significant* part of this job, that is way too much time to be asking people to fill IMO. If you’re looking to get a sense of how well they present, what are you going to be learning at minute 32 that you didn’t already know by minute 8?

  2. whistle*

    I would nope right out of any job that asked for a 40 minute (!?) presentation on my work history. That sounds like torture for eveyone involved.

    1. pally*

      I’ve known several people who did exactly that.
      And I’d do same if requested to present.
      Besides, after the 3 minutes it takes to present my job history, what am I gonna talk about??

    2. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      First of all, nope.
      Secondly, wow. And nope.
      Thirdly…so if your first interview with this person is their presentation, ten minutes in you realize their experience is wrong, do you stop them? Do you redirect? Ask clarifying questions? Do they continue down their path not able to disprove your observation?
      I do make power points for a living. I do design and typesetting work.
      If you want to have a conversation with me about my work, call me. I’ll show my portfolio. You can observe me completing tasks on the computer.
      I do not want to present like a student competing for a scholarship.

      1. Oolong*

        About the wrong experience:
        It’s typical for me to be expected to give a presentation, and I’ve had the problem of someone whose first exposure to me was the talk (as opposed to having received my resume bc they were part of the interview team). Usually the talk is to evaluate your delivery rather than to evaluate the content, but this guy didn’t get the memo. Anyway, if you are the person who is invited to the talk and didn’t get the memo on how to evaluate it, now you know: evaluate them based on the delivery, not the subject, and also keep in mind that the people who set up the interview do have the candidate’s resume and invited them to interview based on their experience.
        If you are the speaker, have some responses prepared for people who don’t understand why you are talking about transistors at a company that makes diodes (or whatever).

      2. Gemstones*

        What does that mean, realize their experience is “wrong”? I’m not sure what they’d do in a situation like that…but is that something that comes up in regular job interviews?

        1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

          Wrong like wrong fit/wrong track.
          Things that you’d uncover in a phone screen, I believe.
          Thinking in broad strokes, someone applied for a position in marketing but it was really sales.

    3. ElizabethJane*

      at this point I don’t even apply for jobs that have me manually enter all of the information on my resume or create an account to access their application. I’m definitely not creating a PowerPoint

      1. I Have RBF*

        I will often create an account, but if it takes too long to fill out their application because of bad or non-existent resume parsing, or a couple other red flags (like asking for prior managers names and phone numbers) I will bail. Still, sites like *, where I have to create an account for each and every prospective employer that uses them, irritate the living hell out of me.

        Unless the job involved public speaking I would not want to spend the hours to develop a Power Point presentation for them, especially if it involved bragging about my work. That’s just as bed as an other “homework” that takes more than an hour, especially when they usually way underestimate the time required and forget that not everyone has their particular tech stack lying around on a development box.

        1. linger*

          True, though companies should avoid, and candidates beware, any process that seems to select for desperation rather than qualities relevant to the position. Past some critical level of disrespect for candidate time, candidates may infer desperation IS the most relevant qualification for the position (and all candidates with any other options should run for the hills). But that said, merely entering data into a cumbersome interface would fall well below that critical level for most people.

        2. Michelle Smith*

          People who are employed and looking opting out of these types of hiring processes benefits everyone. We don’t waste our time with onerous processes that annoy us. That’s less competition then for the people who are unemployed and can’t afford to pass up awful opportunities. And if employers are not getting the applications they want (volume, quality, etc.), then they may be incentivized to change their practices. So everyone benefits. You should cheer for people with current jobs being selective in how they apply for new roles as there is literally no downside for people who are unemployed.

    4. AngryOctopus*

      It’s extremely common when you have a PhD and are interviewing for a higher level scientist position. But it’s also not unusual so therefore most interviewees have one ready to go (if they’ve just graduated it’s usually their thesis presentation!). It’s for everyone to be able to evaluate how they think about science and problem solving, and lets a wider audience outside of the interviewers assess the candidate as well. But again, this is known and accepted in research, so it’s not like you get a schedule that surprises you by having “1-2 PM: presentation” on it.

  3. kiki*

    For Letter 1, I think how you saw this on social media makes some difference but not a lot. Are you not following each other and just happened to see it pop up through mutual connections? 100000% don’t say or do anything if that’s the case. Are y’all close friends on social media who follow each other closely and like each other’s posts (including the one announcing her pregnancy) and DM each other? That’s the only situation where I could see being the one to bring it up as anything other than an egregious overstep. And even then I would still probably leave it to her to address with you/ the company in a work setting.

    1. HR Friend*

      Yeah I agree with this more nuanced and generous take. At the end of the day, I agree LW shouldn’t ask about anyone’s pregnancy until they bring it up. But if these two are buddies outside of work, on socials, the personal and professional line is already blurry, so it’s not an unreasonable question!

      I’m also reading that the pregnant employee is *not* this person’s direct report (“*an* employee is pregnant… she hasn’t said anything to me or management”). It’s even more reasonable to wonder how to navigate this, if this person is indeed a peer.

    2. ecnaseener*

      I think LW’s use of “through the grapevine” means it was not your second scenario. The grapevine usually refers to secondhand information.

    3. This Old House*

      I have a few work friends on social media, but they’re not necessarily the people I’m closest to – just the people who friended me. But we told family and friends in our personal life some time before we told anyone at work, and I was afraid the whole time that even if I didn’t announce it on social media, someone else would say something online that would give it away. I also had times when I wanted to e.g. post on Marketplace looking for maternity clothes, or a stroller or whatever, but held off for fear someone would see, and it’s possible she just didn’t think about who could see things like that. IF she actually announced it on social media and IF you are connected on that platform, it’s possible she thinks she already told you. Anything else and feigning ignorance is the only move.

  4. Rick Tq*

    OP2 – Having a candidate present to any and all comers on their previous experience is probably driving away otherwise qualified people. If you aren’t interviewing for a position which requires creating and making presentations you are asking some to dance the hoky-poky just so everyone can see them turn themselves around.

    If the job DOES require those skills send them your template and a topic to present to a small group of people who CAN assess their skills, not everyone from the CEO to the janitor.

    1. datamuse*

      Yeah, I agree with this. I used to hire for an academic library and we did require presentations *if* we were hiring for a role where some sort of public speaking (especially teaching) was part of the job. We also tailored the context and general topic of presentation to the job description and expected duties.

      We definitely didn’t do it for *every* position, though. Most staff roles were at most expected to provide basic customer service–we weren’t going to ask those candidates to give an entire talk on the subject!

      1. Also cute and fluffy!*

        Exactly! I recently interviewed for an academic librarian position and I had to give a 20 minute instruction session on information literacy. I chose a topic around which to demonstrate information literacy, and it wasn’t on my previous work experience. It was on a topic that I’d be likely to be called to give instruction on at that college. And the only attendees of that presentation were the interview committee. I’ve interviewed at other colleges where the final candidates had to do an instruction session open to the public.

        1. datamuse*

          Yeah, that’s what we typically did for librarian positions (we were classed as faculty so teaching was required); I think it’s pretty standard.

          One of my last tasks before I left was helping hire my replacement (I retired, woohoo) and our finalists had to give a talk on libraries in academia, tailored somewhat to our institution. At the director/dean level that’s something they’re going to need to talk about a lot to a lot of different stakeholders, possibly in formal presentations, possibly just speaking up in council meetings.

    2. umami*

      Agreed! It’s one thing for it to be an open forum, but this kind of thing should only be done if the role requires strong presentation/communication skills and is a high-profile position or at least has an impact across the organization.

    3. Random Dice*

      Yeah no WAY I’m going to go through with a company with that requirement. Maybe after there’s a really successful first interview where we BOTH like the potential fit, and it’s required for the job.

      But this as a blanket requirement is giving off huge vibes that this company thinks that interviewing is a one-way street, and has poorly considered rules that they apply bizarrely across the board. No thanks.

  5. Tinkerbell*

    OP3, I would have assumed that “Yes, my child” is a reference to a priest taking confession, i.e. a somewhat in-jokey way to acknowledge he expects you’re bringing bad news. That assumes you’re relatively familiar with Catholicism, though, which isn’t necessarily a good assumption to make.

    1. Warrior Princess Xena*

      Yeah, it’s not the best approach! Hopefully it’s a situation where it came out of his mouth and he was internally thinking “what the heck brain filter, why did you not kick in, I know I’ve had my coffee” and never said it again.

      1. Tinkerbell*

        Everyone ends up with weird verbal tics sometimes – lately I’ve found myself replying with “Yeah, that’s fair” when someone makes a point, even if it’s not fair at all – it’s just wired in my brain now as “this is a thing to say to imply I’m listening.” If the boss just has this one particular phrase and it comes out at only somewhat-appropriate times, I’d just say it was an oddity the OP would have to get used to. If he was sexist or made the OP uncomfortable in other ways, though, I could see it being part of a bigger issue.

        1. kiki*

          Yeah! Recently I’ve been finding myself saying “okey dokey artichokey” to coworkers sometimes. It’s because I’ve been volunteering with kids a lot of the weekend. But my brain sometimes crosses wires and I say kid things at work and vice versa (“circle back to me when you finish that juice box”).

          I hope my coworkers give me the grace to assume my brain is just quirky and not take it to mean that I think of them like children or am trying to be condescending!

        2. I Am Not An Engineer*

          “That’s fair” is one of my newer generation of pointless pet peeves. To make room for hating it as much as I do, I gave up caring about “Feb-you-ary “ and “libary.”

        3. TeaCoziesRUs*

          I didn’t realize how often I started sentences with, “So….,” until I started teaching my kid how to sew and walking her through the steps. Now it’s more like, “So… now we’re going to SEW this to that,” or insert other Dad joke here. >.<

    2. Anon for This*

      Ministers use it too – that was my first thought – former priest or part-time minister.

      1. Random Dice*

        I read it in Bran Cornick’s voice from the Mercy Thompson book series.

        Er, how I imagine his voice.

    3. anonymouse*

      It gave me an ick factor. For a similar but different reason than OP
      I’m Catholic and went to the priest image.
      You are not my priest confessor. Are you making light of that?
      And it’s not that I practice. I was raised, but lapsed. I don’t even put it on medical forms. But it takes me to a place in childhood and I don’t want to do that at work.
      Boss might not feel this way at all. But that doesn’t matter. He needs to stop this because the statement is SO loaded…I don’t like the “I should take this as a joke. It’s not my issue. He may not even be thinking of the “the Church.” But look at how much bandwidth replying has taken.

    4. It Takes T to Tango*

      I thought it was hilarious, but I can see how other people would take it badly.

      I have a coworker that sometimes says at the end of meetings, “Okay, kids, we’re done.” Once I replied in a really girly voice, “Thanks, Daddy!” Oddly enough, he’s really cut down on saying that since then.

      1. anonymouse*

        Yes, I was the one icked out by “my child.”
        I also laughed at this and would have busted if I’d been in that meeting! So yeah, you can’t really know your audience, especially at work.
        And also, “Oddly enough, he’s really cut down on saying that since then.”

      1. Anne Wentworth*

        Except this dude definitely hasn’t watched DS9 if he’s doing it at work, because every time Winn says it, it makes you want to reach through the screen and claw her eyes out.

            1. allathian*

              Yes, I’d certainly argue that Louise Fletcher’s the best actor of any gender to ever appear on Star Trek.

              That said, my favorite baddy on DS9 is still Gul Dukat. It’s no coincidence that some of the best episodes of the show feature both of them.

            2. Anne Wentworth*

              My only quibble is that the whole “my child” thing is exponentially rage inducing. You never get used to it; no matter how many times you hear it, you just hate her more and more. Which for me makes it hard to rewatch Winn episodes, and I know someone who has given up on DS9 multiple times because she hates Winn so much. There’s a good baddy, and there’s someone so vile, hateful, and evil that it discourages you from watching.

              Anyone tempted to use the phrase “my child” in real life, take note.

      2. Grim*

        My thoughts exactly! If somebody said “yes, my child” to me, I’d probably take a reflexive step back to prevent them from being able to reach out and grab my ear.

    5. Jessica*

      One of my managers, who (rightfully!) referred to himself as our department’s “sin eater,” would sometimes joke when one of us came to him with That Look on our face that he had to excuse himself to take confession.

      I can see where the joke wouldn’t land well with all audiences, but I don’t think it’s nefarious or egregious or anything.

    6. wordwords*

      It’s also something I’ve seen in a lot of older books (like, from the 40s-60s), with youthful characters using it as a jokey thing with each other, in exactly this kind of way: yes, my child, go ahead with your question/request/etc. So it’s possible that OP3’s boss picked it up from some older person in their life, at some point, and hasn’t realized that it’s coming across as anything but a slightly old-fashioned joke.

      But either way, Alison is right that it’s completely fair to ask him not to use it with you! And perhaps if a few people say it bothers them, he’ll retire that particular verbal tic.

      1. Sedna*

        Yeah I took it that way too! I personally think it’s hilarious in the right situation, but definitely isn’t a joke for work on a couple of levels (religion, can read condescending, etc). You’ll be doing him a favor by flagging it.

    7. Eimz*

      Yes, I immediately thought of the Mother Superior in The Sound of Music. Probably a combination of a Catholic upbringing and the movies Alison mentioned

    8. MCMonkeyBean*

      Yeah, a priest is what it makes me think of too. I wouldn’t say it’s really *infantilizing* per se because that’s not a way that people speak to actual children, but I would say it’s inappropriate and unprofessional to adopt a jokey religious tone at the office.

  6. Liz the Snackbrarian*

    The appropriate time to tell someone you know they are pregnant is when you can see the baby’s head crowning, or the baby emerging via c-section.

    1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      My coworker: “I guess you have all figured it out, but I’m pregnant!”
      Me (who honestly hadn’t): “Congratulations. Until the baby waves at me, I don’t think about it at all.”

      1. Liz the Snackbrarian*

        A former colleague of mine kept having stomach troubles so I probably unwisely said, “Maybe you need to see a doctor.” It clicked about a week later and she told me then anyways.

      2. YMMV*

        The way my cousin announced her pregnancy to me was to hold up some sweatpants (I guess they were maternity pants?) & tell me she’s gotten so fat that she needed new clothes.

        She was always obsessed with her weight so it didn’t ping at all.

      3. nm*

        One time I, not knowing my mentor was pregnant, asked her for advice about work-life balance as a mother in a male dominated field. She hadn’t told anyone at work yet so she was like “why are you asking me….such a question…on this day of all days?”

    2. Dona Florinda*

      This year alone, my dad revealed TWO pregnancies that he had nothing to do with, and one time actively ruined the lovely announcement the couple was planning. Please don’t be my dad.

    3. Janeric*

      My upstairs neighbor was like “hey, are you possibly pregnant? Oh! When are you due?” while I was veeeerrry sloooowly walking to the car after labor started. My husband, sprinting back and forth to the car “NOW! Now! NOW!”

    4. Bug*

      This will also avoid the awkward speculation that a woman is pregnant when she’s not….like what happened to me last week. Exercise routine began the next day.

    5. Coverage Associate*

      My mother is an obstetrician. I basically learned to walk on a labor and delivery floor. I worked for her for 7 years. I have been around pregnancy a lot for someone who is no longer a health care professional and is childless.

      Even in grade school, I knew that the only time someone who is not the pregnant person’s health care professional should ask about pregnancy is if the person is in physical distress and you can see the baby crowning.

  7. Cookie Monster*

    I agree with Alison’s advice to the last LW (reporting to a peer) about how the manager handled it. BUT I would not be happy about having to report to a peer, even if I liked that peer. Are they changing that peer’s title to “team lead” or something? If not…I don’t know. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I wouldn’t like it. There’s an inherent power difference between you and the person you report to. so if they’re not getting promoted, it’s almost like you got demoted.

    1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      (speaking for OP, please and thank you, OP)
      I wouldn’t like it because peer was tapped to be promoted to a role that is clearly leading forward and upward. I wasn’t told this was a possibility. I wasn’t selected to compete or asked if I was interested. I was told when the process was over that I did not get on the promotion track.
      I don’t need to know why peer was selected.
      I want to know why I wasn’t. I’d have a meeting with manager and ask what I can do to reach a point where I would be considered. Hopefully, manager will have a good answer and some active steps to take.
      But until this happens, I’d be frustrated and feel blindsided.

      1. 3DogNight*

        We are expected to advocate for ourselves in our career. So why doesn’t your manager know you want leadership experience? If you haven’t already had this conversation then they aren’t going to know you’re going to be upset about “losing out” on the role. Yes, absolutely have the meeting afterward and start that ball rolling, but don’t be upset about the fact that they didn’t know.

      2. AngryOctopus*

        Perhaps you weren’t considered because the other person had told the boss “I’m interested in taking on X and Y and to be on track for becoming level A someday” and this is part of it. If you’ve just sat at your desk and hoped in your head that you’re going to be promoted or considered for things, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Your boss doesn’t know what you want out of your career unless you tell them. If you’re feeling blindsided because you didn’t know any of this was happening, look back and think about how you’ve advocated for yourself over your time at the job, and look at how you can in the future. It’s acceptable to go to the boss and say “I didn’t realize moving into job B was a possibility, but now that I know I’d like to be considered for that or something similar in the future. What will you need to see from me to make this a possibility?”. If you go in and say “I can’t believe you didn’t offer this to me or consider me when Person and I are peers, I’m angry and blindsided by this”, your boss is probably going to think “huh, I didn’t even know you were interested in this track. You never mentioned it and Person had, several times”.

        1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

          As I wrote, I was speculating on behalf of OP. OP wondered why s/he felt frustrated and blindsided. I offered a theory. I think OP should look inward and and outward to advocate for opportunities to move up. I really think OP should use this situation to start a conversation with manager about taking on more and moving up in the department. It’s a good time. The topic is already open.

        2. Toolate12*

          At least for myself, I doubt I would do this – my method of taking responsibility for my career is moving jobs to progress, not relying on a manager – have yet to meet a manager who especially cares about my own career progression, which is fine, it’s my own responsibility and I can switch organizations if I’m looking for pay and title increases. I’ve worked in divisions where this type of reorganization happened (to others, not to me) – all things being equal, if this had happened to me, I would probably immediately start job hunting unless the promoted peer was an incredibly exceptional manager and obviously vastly more experienced/senior.

          When I sign onto a job, I am committing to be managed by a specific person. It always is so, so much better if a manager has actively chosen me to be part of their team, rather than my being a dreg they’ve inherited from someone else’s hiring decisions. What reason does a manager have to give a shit about you if they weren’t actively invested in making the decision to choose you to join their team? In my experience, usually none.

          1. Toolate12*

            One more addendum. It sounds like OP was in a similar situation to the division where I witnessed this happen. In that case, the division head went from a totally flat structure entirely reporting to her for 2 years, to creating a middle management layer that had never previously existed when there was a sudden and unexpected increase in her division’s size.

            The people who lost in that transaction were frustrated because they didn’t know that the middle manager role was something they could have asked for, because it had never previously existed, and there wasn’t really a reason to believe it would exist before. Also understandable, because the peers who were promoted were of extremely similar seniority (2-3 years in their jobs) and experience to the ones who lost out. The promoted peers were not exactly excellent at managing starting out the gate, especially as they had never done it before.

            Again, if that had happened to me, I would immediately go on the job market, no harm no foul. (As it was, even though I was not demoted, that period was messy and unfocused enough in that division that I did start looking elsewhere during that time.)

      3. MassMatt*

        I disagree with Alison on that answer. I would definitely consider it a demotion, or at the least, being passed over for promotion. LW says their manager wants them to stay engaged, but it sounds to me that it’s more likely the manager simply wants the LW to not look for another job. Which I would start doing.

        If it turns out well, at least you’ll have updated your resume and contacts, and seen what’s out there and what the salaries are. If it doesn’t, you’ll be ahead on the search vs: waiting to see if reporting to your former peer sucks.

        1. Toolate12*

          +1! This is wisdom. The job has materially changed – it’s absolutely reasonable to do a
          fit check and be certain a better fit isn’t out there (especially *before* things go south, which is an incredibly distinct possibility if the peer happens to be inexperienced in managing).

        2. Manglement Survivor*

          I totally agree. If I was suddenly told that I was reporting to a peer, I would absolutely feel like I’d been demoted. And I would start looking for another job.

    2. Judge Judy and Executioner*

      I once had to report to a former peer, this particular peer was incredibly problematic. There was a random fluke a couple years where she was leaving my then boss a voicemail that broadcast to the office and talked about the “problems with Judy” on repeat. It was an issue with the phone system, but still, my entire department heard.

      Reporting to her was awful, and the first time I had been bullied by a manager. She would constantly pick apart my work and berate me, and anytime I protested, I got the “maybe this isn’t the job for you” when I’d been doing it for 10 years. I was called problematic, unpromotable, you name it.

      HR was engaged and did nothing to help, if anything, made it worse. I escaped to a different department when there was an opening, it was a promotion, so I guess I wasn’t unpromotable? Reporting to her was the worst 5 months of my professional career. In my nearly 2 decade career, I’ve only seen a couple time where someone reporting to a former peer isn’t a disaster.

      1. HQB*

        I’m at a matrixed organization doing project-based work, so basically all of us report to former (and often future) peers. It is a total non-issue; I have never seen it be a disaster. (I mean, I have seen a few disastrous situations, but the fact that the people involved had been peers previously was coincidental.)

    3. Occam*

      Psychologically, people feel worse when they lose something than when they fail to gain something. OP isn’t losing their job or title, but they are losing direct access to their boss and their rank in the company hierarchy, which unfairly comes with assumptions about experience and competancy.

      OP seems more concerned about the communication of the decision than the reasons behind it. While the manager handled things fine, I’m wondering what the ideal implementation/communication of this change should have been.

    4. Whyamihere*

      We have something like this happening at my work right now and it is not going over well.

  8. Warrior Princess Xena*

    #2 – Unless I was in a relatively late stage of interviewing for a position where I’d have to be presenting very regularly, or very very desperate, I would not be interested in a position where I have to give a 30 minute ppt as part of the interview process. While it may be helpful for assessing a candidate’s presentation and organizational skills, it’s likely not showing all of a candidate’s other skills to the best extent. If you’re hiring a marketer or an analyst, that might be a key part of the job, but an engineer? IT person? Accountant? There’s a lot of roles where presentation is good but should be secondary to things like technical knowledge, research, and teamwork skills.

    Also, putting together a solid 30-40 minute presentation is no joke! That’s several hours of work for even a bare bones powerpoint, and that’s a lot to demand of candidates at any stage. It sounds like you’re having them do this before you even get to small group interviews, which to me sounds like you’ve lumped this in to the immediately post-phone screen or the phone screen stage. You are likely self-selecting out a lot of skilled candidates who look at those requirements and give it a hard pass because they know they can find equivalent positions at other companies.

    I’d retire this particular interview practice post-haste.

    1. Oolong*

      but an engineer?
      Yes. Absolutely.
      Engineers do a lot of presenting. Communication skills and other soft skills are at least as important as technical skills. If all you interview for are the technical skills, then you aren’t seeing all of a candidate’s other skills to the best extent!
      In my experience in engineering, you can present on anything. I have used my graduate thesis talks since I have them prepared already, and I have also prepared general talks about my work history. If you are an experienced presenter, making a general talk about something you know about will not be that much work. Once you have made it, you can reuse it for all your interviews.

      1. Warrior Princess Xena*

        Communications and soft skills are already an important part of any interview, though. By definition you’re coming in and selling yourself and your skills. But there’s a pretty big difference between talking about yourself and your skills and putting together a 30 minute presentation! That’s a lot in any stage of an interview, especially in an early stage (since OP wrote that it’s coming before even the small group interview stage). Being an experienced presenter isn’t something that is required as a regular job duty in many jobs.

        And as Pretty Labelle mentioned below, it’s moot since OP has already acknowledged that it’s not getting them the best candidates. They’re getting candidates that are good at presenting but not good at the job. When you’ve got a tool that you know as a fact isn’t working, it’s time to move to a different tool rather than trying to keep hitting the nail with the screwdriver.

      2. Iworktheretoo*

        Ansolutley not. oolong you keep defending this practice but unless the interview is for a speaking position or in academia this is a terrible hiring practice. The only candidates who will put the 5-10 minimum hours in creating such a presentation are the ones who have the time and aren’t in demand. Those of us with actual skills who are in demand in a tight job market will tell you to go soak your head. This practice just weeda out the best candidates.

    2. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      OP even said the people who present best are often not the best fit for the job. That right there is grounds for retiring this stunt. It’s not even useful to screen for what you are hiring for. You need to screen for what you are actually looking for in a candidate. If good presentation is a requirement by all means. But if good presentation literally does not matter and in fact obscures the lack of fit for the job, then do not ask for a presentation.

    3. Pita Chips*

      I wouldn’t do it even if I was to be doing so regularly. I might submit a presentation out of my portfolio, but they can judge how I present myself at my interview.

      Someone said above hiring managers aren’t owed free work. I agree.

  9. Alex Rider*

    Letter # 1
    I agree with Alison, do NOT bring it up. She’ll tell you when she’s ready.

  10. aarti*

    30 to 40 minute presentations? Who has time to make them? Who has time to view them? What is in these presentations? This is awful!

    1. Random Bystander*

      Especially when, based on the content of the letter, this 30-40 minute presentation is the *first* stage of the interview process.

  11. AthenaC*

    Re: pregnancy. Let me set the stage for you:

    Day 1 – Find out I’m getting laid off from my job. Husband and I attend friend’s wedding and drink like I just got laid off (because I did).

    Day 14 – Turn in my computer and peripherals and leave the office for the last time

    Day 18 – Find out I’m pregnant

    Day 48 – Start at my new job. Decide that since I’m employed again, I can announce pregnancy on Facebook. Make assumptions that previously-adjusted privacy settings remain the same after recent Facebook updates.

    Day 49 – Get called into the managing partner’s office; HR is also there. He says, “We’ve been looking at your Facebook, and it looks like you’ve been telling people you’re pregnant.” After panicking for a beat, realize there’s no point in denying it: “Yes, that’s right. I’m pregnant.” He pauses for juuust long enough to make me really nervous before saying, “Well we’re just so happy for you!!”

    So. In my case it worked out but let your coworker tell your employer on her own timeline. Not advice, really, but hopefully an entertaining story for you all.

    1. Potatoes gonna potate*

      I’m so happy that worked out for you! NGL I was a little nervous reading your post until I got to the end.

    2. Sparkly Librarian*

      What did the managing partner (and HR?) want from this discussion? What happened next in that meeting? It seems really weird to confront an employee who has not disclosed a medical condition, unless their performance is affected — and you weren’t there long enough for them to tell!

  12. umami*

    OP1, just proceed as normal. Someone’s pregnancy status is their business to share, when and how they choose.

  13. Julian*

    I honestly think the “yes my child” bit is hilarious, but I can see where it would get old/infantilizing pretty fast.

      1. Julian*

        My mom says this to us in a funny voice. I believe it’s kind of riffing on her Catholic upbringing. Still not appropriate for work, but amusing.

    1. This Old House*

      I don’t hate it, like, maybe once. But this guy sounds like my kid, who said something funny (and with meticulous timing) the other day, and we laughed and told him it was really funny. The next . . . 600? times we heard that joke in a week were less and less funny all the time.

    2. I’mnotamanagerijustplayoneontv*

      I would instantly reply “yes Daddy” and either he’d find it funny or I’d need a new job…

  14. Ssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

    OMG, I remember vividly the interview / testing phase for a government job and they wanted me to compose a text for something and then create a PowerPoint for it…in 50 minutes. And my brain was like, only 40 minutes to do a PowerPoint after I sweat out 10 minutes writing new copy?!

    It was for an administrative position and my PPT skills are better now than they were 15 years ago. Today, I’d say, great, I’ve got buffer time!

    What I produced did grant me an interview and they remembered my PPT from the others. However, this was a terrible way to assess skills. It was needlessly stressful.

  15. SpaceySteph*

    Have been pregnant 4x (3 kids, 1 miscarriage), and we have a hierarchy of when we tell people:
    Parents/In-laws- after the first scan confirms pregnancy (~8 weeks)
    Extended family – 12 weeks
    Friends/social media – 16 weeks
    Work- after the 20 week scan confirms appropriate development

    There’s nothing work is doing with the information prior to 20 weeks of pregnancy and its extremely presumptuous to think you’re entitled to the private health information of an employee just because they told their friends.

    1. ElizabethJane*

      Counterpoint – work knows first (my choice to tell them, not that they are owed this information) because pregnancy comes with legal protections and accomodations and I want those ASAP.

      1. Tinkerbell*

        Honest question: which legal protections are those, and are you in the US? Because in my experience, when people disclose their pregnancy to their workplaces, the BEST they can hope for is no change – but far too many find themselves out of a job sometime between the disclosure and the birth, because the company doesn’t want to pay for maternity leave and/or doesn’t want to have to hold their job open for them.

        1. SpaceySteph*

          There are anti-discrimination laws for pregnant employees, both directly and through ADA if they develop pregnancy-related conditions. You also are entitled to reasonable accommodations (like if a job is mainly standing such as at a cash register, and a pregnant woman needs a seat).

          If a company was hell-bent on firing a pregnant woman I think it might be hard to prove it was pregnancy-related vs whatever BS they wrote you up for, but I think a lot of companies also consider pregnant women untouchable because of the law so it could work in someone’s favor that way.

        2. CheesePlease*

          Depending on the type of work, if a pregnant employee discloses their pregnancy and asks for light duty work, more frequent water / bathroom beaks etc that would be covered as accommodations.

          An employee may also want to disclose earlier in case things take a turn for the worse and they need more time off/bereavement in case of a miscarriage etc.

          In the US, many legal protections are anti-discrimination protections. If an employer knows you are pregnant, they cannot discriminate you for that. But like, they can still fire you for performance issues etc. So I don’t see the legal protection as a huge thing.

          Ultimately, employees should tell their managers when they are ready.

        3. Janeric*

          I had a coworker disclose to me early because she was hoping to trade her working with mutagens with my tedious sample prep.

          1. allathian*

            And at least in some fields and in some countries it’s illegal for pregnant employees to do work that could potentially harm the fetus (mutagens, teratogens, some forms of radiation), and the employee could be fired for failing to inform their employer of their pregnancy as soon as they tested positive. To be fair, in those circumstances the employer is required to reassign the pregnant person to work that doesn’t risk the health of the baby.

        4. ElizabethJane*

          Pregnancy is covered by the ADA. You cannot be fired or penalized as a result of your pregnancy and you can ask for formal accomodations. While your employer could still fire you and say it was a performance issue if you have your pregnancy documented it creates more of a burden of proof (they could be asked to prove it’s not related to your pregnancy).

    2. Warrior Princess Xena*

      This seems like a very sensible schedule to me! I’d only make an exception if I knew I would be doing something like working in a lab with dangerous materials, or working in a field with a lot of heavy labor. And even then it would be up to me to tell my management when I deemed it fit, not for a coworker to do it for me.

    3. Lily Potter*

      This notification schedule makes a lot of sense.

      It’s also Exhibit A for a reason to not give social media access to your current co-workers.
      (Facebook allows you to exclude people on a post-by-post basis but I think it’s just easier to not friend or follow people until you no longer work with them)

    4. JustEm*

      My last pregnancy I had hyperemesis during first trimester so no hiding it from colleagues

      1. allathian*

        Thankfully my morning sickness never got severe enough for me to throw up at work, but I had to tell my manager about my pregnancy earlier than I’d planned because she found me asleep at my desk one day.

        I’m in Finland, and we’re required to tell employers two months before the due date so they can arrange for coverage.

      2. EllenD*

        Years ago, I was in a team led by a women who had hyperemesis. At the time we had a lot of meetings, etc to promote a new initiative, so she told her immediate team and boss, so that we could step in if she left a meeting unexpectedly. We were not to discuss with anyone else. Even when we were told we could tell, we’d got into the habit of not saying anything and so colleagues had to ask, even when we were planning for her maternity leave, when she was 7 or 8 months along. In hindsight, I think this was the right approach.

  16. Jojo*

    I could certainly do a 30-40 minute Power Point presentation on my job history. I feel for anyone that has to sit through it though. It seems to me that simply meeting this requirement will be akin to malicious compliance. Of course, getting charts based off of my former book store’s average dollar per transaction metric might be difficult considering what has happened to bookstores. (I could easy spend 10 minutes on that topic alone).

    1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      “I feel for anyone that has to sit through it though.”
      This. THIS. THIS!
      OMG. Do they hate their jobs so much that watching a slide show of someone’s professional life is interesting?
      I just picture “Interview Bingo”
      -Detail oriented
      -Assisted with
      -Trouble shooting

      or pull from a hat one a card with an industry award and winner takes all.

      Bonus: will they won’t they have education on there?

      OOH, guess how many slides! Closest without going over!
      For the evil people, “count the umms”

    2. Artemesia*

      I can do lots of half hour presentations — could probably put one together with 20 minutes notice BUT on my career? just no. How boring and self involved is that always going to be?
      If requiring a presentation, at least make it something engaging.

      1. I Have RBF*


        You want a presentation off the cuff? I can do that. If I know enough about a subject I can BS about it for half an hour. I could even work up something about “why manhole covers are round”.

        But on my career? Ummmm, no, that would be like pulling teeth. I could do it, but there wouldn’t be slides, because that would be… painful.

  17. Alex*

    RE: the pregnancy–treat this the same way you would if you saw someone’s belly getting larger but they did not announce pregnancy. You wouldn’t say anything then, right, because…that’s not appropriate? This is the same. It’s just not appropriate to bring up unless they do it first.

  18. wasted time*

    LW1: stay in your lane!! That is 1000% not your business, like what?? I’d also be curious to know how you found the social media post. Do you follow them on social media? Was it a recommended “you may know X!” link? Did someone send you the post? But either way, it’s none of your business.

    LW 2: that process is frankly absurd. If I was told I needed to prepare a 30-40(!!) min presentation about myself, I’d take myself out of the running. Ain’t nobody got time for that foolishness.

    LW 3: I think your boss thought he was being funny, but clearly the joke didn’t land. Think like a guru speaking to a student.

  19. Richard Hershberger*

    Dear Alison: My company filters job candidates for a skill that often has little or nothing to do with the job. It turns out that how they do often has little or nothing to do with how qualified they are for that job. How weird is that???

    But seriously, I can do a decent presentation when I have something to say. But asking me to talk for half an hour about how wonderful I am goes against my German Lutheran cultural heritage. It also sounds stultifying, both for me and the people attending. And really, is the ability to warm to the topic of “how wonderful I am” really the attribute you should be looking for?

    1. Oolong*

      “But asking me to talk for half an hour about how wonderful I am goes against my German Lutheran cultural heritage”

      Isn’t that what an interview is, though? A presentation about your work history is just your resume in PowerPoint. And then you talk about it.

      1. NeedRain47*

        No, not at all. Interviews should not be for rehashing what it says in your resume, if that happens they’re not asking very good questions.

  20. Melicious*

    LW4 – this exact thing happened to me. There were 3 people at my level, me being the least experienced. There was a reorg, and BOTH of my peers were elevated to a position above me that didn’t exist before (me reporting to one of them). I admit it stung for awhile because it FELT like a demotion even though I knew logically it clearly wasn’t. But because everyone involved was a decent person and handled the change professionally, it worked out fine after a few months to get used to it.

    1. Artemesia*

      They can SAY it isn’t a demotion, but having you report to a previous peer is in fact a demotion. I’d be wanting to have conversations about my own professional development if faced with that.

      1. Cobol*

        I don’t think it’s a demotion. It’s a promotion for somebody else. It’s also a big part of working after you have 10-20 years experience. People get promoted, and often it’s in charge of a team they used to be part of.

        Heck, my first job working at a supermarket, there was a store manager, a department manager, and then a person with the same title as everybody else who everybody (including the assistant manager) listened to because they knew their stuff.

        1. Artemesia*

          the OP has moved down a level — they were reporting to say the ‘director’ of whatever; now there is another reporting level between them and director of whatever — that is a demotion.

          1. Cobol*

            Yes, the OP’s colleague got promoted. The OP didn’t get demoted. The director had too many people reporting to them, and fixed an untenable situation.

            Demotions are a reduction in title/pay/responsibility. At one point everybody at Microsoft reported to Bill Gates, but then they hired Steve Ballmer. Some of those initial employees stayed with the company for decades and need reported to gates again. They weren’t demoted. They just weren’t promoted as much as others.

          2. AnneMoliviaColemuff*

            I don’t think that’s always true. My department grew significantly, so they created a level of regional managers reporting to the existing national manager. I report to a former peer, but my title, responsibilities and pay remained unchanged.

            1. allathian*

              Yes, I think that’s the crucial factor here. Sometimes when a team or department grows large enough it becomes necessary to add a layer of management to ensure that the manager’s workload remains reasonable.

              This will probably happen to me in the fall, when our current 3 team leads will be promoted to managers, because our current manager’s role is becoming more strategic and because she can’t both be thinking about strategy and managing 25 direct reports. My current team lead/probable future manager is a former peer. These changes won’t affect my pay at all, so certainly don’t feel like I’m going to be demoted.

      2. Lily Potter*

        “Having to report to a previous peer is in fact a demotion”. If the two peers have roughly the same experience level, co-workers probably won’t see it that way. I mean – you can’t promote both people, right?

        However – if the person promoted has significantly less experience than the one not promoted, it is a de-facto demotion. Had this happen to me once; person promoted over me had been with the company a whole eight months to my seven plus years. In fairness, I’d made it crystal clear that I didn’t want the promotion, but I certainly wasn’t going to stay with the company if I had to report to someone who’d barely figured out how to run the copier. I had enough cred with the company and with clients that grandboss found someone more appropriate to run our department. I don’t regret the power play – it would have been humiliating to work under those parameters. Last I heard, the “newbie” still hasn’t been promoted to this day (four years later) but is handling some pretty big accounts; he’ll rise up the ranks eventually.

  21. Fluffy Fish*

    I know this is an older letter but it still constantly surprises me that anyone in this day and age thinks they are entitled to information about someone’s reproduction.

    Yes, of course someone going on leave to have a baby will have some affect on work, but I’m not aware of a trend where people gleefully call their bosses from the hospital about to give birth and letting them know then they will be out for weeks.

    You’ll know when the person deems it appropriate to share. You’re more likely to have an employee have a sudden illness or injury that puts them out of commission that gives you no planning time then you are to have a pregnant employee just…not tell you.

    1. NeedRain47*

      Especially regarding reproduction but also, everything else too. It should be standard practice to never mention anything about someones’ health, body, etc. unless they tell you about it first.

    2. Satan's Panties*

      This whole thread, I’ve been thinking of the ST: TNG episode “The Offspring”, wherein Data creates another android: his child, effectively.

      Captain Picard: “Data, I would like to have been informed.”
      Data: “I have not observed anyone else on board consulting you about their procreation, Captain.”
      Captain Picard: “…”

  22. Melicious*

    I’ve only seen presentations as part of job interviews when presenting your own work is a common part of the field (academia, client based R&D, etc). If it’s not either an expected part of the job or an industry standard skill… no. No.

    1. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

      I did that once! A short (less than 10 minutes) presentation on the history of paper, followed by hands-on instruction on making a paper crane.

      It was the 2nd interview for the job … which was technical training. It was completely appropriate!

      1. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

        And I’ll go on to say that the other trainers (who were my trainees for this exercise) had planned it well. They had the quick learner, the average person, and the one who got lost at every step. (I had made examples of each step, so I just kept handing over the example and having her do the next steps from a solid start.) I did get that job.

      2. I Have RBF*

        I can see preparing a brief instructional session being a good interview for someone in technical training. But that’s a niche skill, IMO.

    1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      You are the hero we deserve.
      I swear fealty to you and all your comments.

  23. Ann*

    #1 – it’s normal for people who leave a company to give two weeks’ notice. So giving several months’ notice for being out temporarily is way more than you would expect in other circumstances. Boss can wait until the employee is ready to share.

    And yes, as Alison says, medical issues could be getting in the way. I waited a long time to tell anyone at work, partly because of my age, and when I thought I was in the clear there was a totally unexpected medical scare out of left field, which postponed the conversation by a few more weeks.

  24. soontoberetired*

    I had someone call for a reference check, and one of the questions they ask was how good was this person at presentations because the job has nothing to do with presentations. So this is a thing for some companies now. I did tell the caller we never do formal presentations in our jobs. Our managers do from time to time, but my peers and I do not.

  25. NeedRain47*

    A forty minute presentation is insane! I’ve been in the same field for 25 years and would have a hard time talking for that long just about myself.
    I just applied for an academic (faculty) position and even that presentation only had to be 20 minutes- it’s mostly a test to make sure you can, b/c you will probably have to at some point. And I was assigned a relevant topic, not just another rehashing of my resume. That’s weird, burdensome, and not useful if the position doesn’t have any expectation of formal presenting.

  26. Former Retail Lifer*

    I have a work history dating back to a part-time job in 1994, and I don’t see how I can stretch my whole work history out to 30-40 minutes. That’s brutal for the presenter but also the hiring team. I can’t imagine they’re so enthralled by work history Powerpoints that they want to sit through multiple 30 minute presentations. If presenting is part of the job and it matters, keep doing it. But for the love of Flying Spaghetti Monster, trim the required time down to 10-15 minutes.

    1. Artemesia*

      No one wants to hear someone’s resume in a speech, so a good one would be organized around some themes — maybe what they learned about managing from their experiences if they were applying for a management role. Or how their work fits into the broader field and the contributions it makes. OR — something thematic and interesting. It would be built around engaging anecdotes and lessons learned. 40 minutes is still crazy.

  27. So Tired*

    WHY do bosses think they’re entitled to private medical info about an employee? Of course it’s normal for a pregnant person to tell their friends/family before they tell their job. As Allison said, there’s nothing you can do now that you can’t do it one, two, or even three months to prepare. Chill out and stop feeling entitled to knowing everything about your employees’ private lives!

  28. The Rafters*

    Say nothing. I once (after several weeks) said something to a coworker about her pregnancy, thinking enough time had gone by that she’d told people. She thought that the one person she’d told, a known gossip, said something, and she was very angry. Took some doing to convince her that the person hadn’t gabbed, that I had guessed because during her previous pregnancies, it didn’t matter if she was only 1 day pregnant, she just looked it right away. She calmed down after that, but I never did that to anyone ever again.

      1. Fluffy Fish*

        Its happened to me a few times and I quite enjoy saying “Not pregnant – just fat” and watching people melt into a puddle of embarrassment.

        1. SpaceySteph*

          My best was:
          “When is your baby due?”
          “Oh about 7 months ago”

          The backpedal was glorious.

        2. Pointy's in the North Tower*

          Same. I also cannot physically get pregnant, so now it’s even more fun.

  29. Copyright Economist*

    I work on a small team that’s hard to staff. So while I sympathize with the MYOB comments, I would start posting the mat leave job right away, as a one year contract, so I can do interviews. If the employee tells me later that they are pregnant, maybe the temp and the employee can have some overlap before mat leave starts. I don’t live in the US , and most pregnant people take 12 months of leave.b

    1. HolyGuacamoleBatman*

      Except not only is this a serious slap in the face to the employee’s privacy (effectively announcing to anyone who sees the ad and knows who currently holds the position that the employee is pregnant before she’s given permission for this news to be shared!), if you found someone and then for whatever reason the employee *didn’t* have the baby, you would have to yank the contract from the temp, which is a crappy thing to do if you can avoid it.

      Seriously, everyone’s saying MYOB for a reason. Prioritising hiring convenience over employees’ rights to privacy is a very poor line to take.

    2. RJ*

      And this is exactly why the women who have worked in my field (accounting) as my colleagues have kept their pregnancies on mute until the last possible minute, including when I worked at an international firm.

      1. Gathering Moss*

        This may be a cultural thing. I’m also not in the US, and although there’d be a conversation with the pregnant person first, it’d be perfectly normal and expected to handle it the way Copyright Economist suggests.
        I’m not saying other expectations are wrong, just that no-one is necessarily slapping privacies here.

        1. allathian*

          I’m in Finland, and maternity leave coverage is handled pretty much like Copyright Economist said.

          The job postings don’t say anything about coverage for maternity leave, just that the job is a fixed-term contract to cover a temporary leave of absence. Maternity/parental leave is probably the most common extended leave, but people do take leave for other reasons as well, typically for going back to school. One of my coworkers is going on study leave for 6 months starting in the fall, and we’re currently hiring a temp for that period.

          Temping in general is a great way to find good hires, my team’s hired several people who started on a fixed-term contract and later applied for a “permanent” job when one became available, often while working for us.

        2. londonedit*

          Isn’t Copyright Economist saying that they’d post a job advert based purely on their suspicion that the employee was pregnant, though? I think that would be a massive overstep where I am (UK). We do have stipulations around how much notice someone needs to give their employer if they intend to take maternity leave, and there are also obligations on the part of the employer to make sure the workplace is safe for someone who’s pregnant, so it is important that employees do disclose their pregnancy at an appropriate time. And most people here do take 9-12 months of leave, so maternity cover contracts are a very common thing, and the employer would want to have time to hire someone to cover the role. But I think it would be a massive overstep for an employer to start recruiting for a maternity cover if the employee hasn’t actually said they’re pregnant. They’d at least need to have a conversation with the employee first.

        3. Fluffy Fish*

          The problem isn’t in the posting of the job. Handling things AFTER an employee tells you they are pregnant is fine.

          The problem is if an employee has not shared with their employer that they are pregnant the employer should not be asking or making assumptions.

    3. Fluffy Fish*

      “I work on a small team that’s hard to staff.”

      That is a business problem that the business business to solve. Employees may get very ill or injured without warning. Employees leave. Your business needs to be prepared for this.

      Having a small team that’s hard to staff is not a pregnant employees problem.

      Its not your business until you are told.

    4. YMMV*

      A person capable of getting pregnant is also capable of getting hit by a bus or quit of their own volition or a hundred other things that would mean you’d have to hire again.

  30. ENFP in Texas*

    “When we conduct interviews, my company asks candidates, regardless of what position they’re interviewing for, to give a 30-40 minute PowerPoint presentation on their previous work experience, which anybody in the company can attend.”

    On top of the “regardless of position” and “30-40 minute PPT presentation” craziness…

    ANYBODY in the company can attend?

    so if I am going in there for an entry-level position, I have to present a 30-40 minute PowerPoint presentation, and anyone in the company can come watch me give it? Even if I’ll never be working with that person?

    Why? Just… WHY???

    1. Fluffy Fish*

      Gonna guess the place has bees. How many and how angry may be debatable but unreasonableness before one even gets hired is not a sign of a good place to work.

    2. Peanut Hamper*

      Yeah, I thought that was odd, as well. I mean, what is the point? Both the interviewee and the people who have nothing to do with interviewing or hiring who just drop in to watch?

    3. I Have RBF*

      Yeah, it’s the Power Point for anyone in the company that really puts it over the top. Yes, I suppose I could talk about my career for 40 minutes, but it would be all over the map if I was nervous. But wanting Power Point and organization takes a lot of prep time to do a polished presentation.

  31. fat scientist*

    I found the job presentation question funny because it is very much the norm in my field (academic research)- so much so that I read this while taking a break from emailing people to ask them to invite me to give a talk because I’m trying to get a job! From what the letter writer says about industry vs academia, I’m guessing this is an industry research position, where a lot of the people were in academia at some point and so this was pretty much the norm for them too. I know that I wouldn’t want to hire anyone for a research position without hearing them present first, but if they’re truly doing this for all jobs including like IT, that does seem over the top.

  32. Skytext*

    Wow, I would nope out of an interview process where I had to do a Power Point on my work history. But then again, I might have fun with malicious compliance. My work history includes managing horse breeding farms. I would have slides of horses having sex, stallions with erect penises, artificial vaginas, and vets palpating mares with their arms buried to the shoulder in the mare’s rectum lol.

  33. Rachel*

    I think companies are in an impossible position where they are criticized for not promoting within and then criticized for “making somebody report to a peer.”

    You can’t have it both ways.

  34. Cobol*

    Re: #4 I feel like there’s always somebody at any level who’s the defacto leader/expert of their peers. Formalizing that shouldn’t be seen as a demotion

  35. pcake*

    I’m a writer and editor by profession. I’ve never used Power Point, so in order to give a 30 minute Power Point presentation, I’d have to learn to use it, create graphics that look good, put them into Power Point template that I’d have to choose, then write the speech and practice it. And I’m not fast when it comes to using Photoshop. All of this would doubtless take 10 hours or better before we get to the interview and presentation, so I’d simply withdraw my candidacy for the position.

    There are two reasons for this. First is the time, effort and learning curve. Second is that a company that will make a candidate who will never need to give a presentation, create their own graphics or give speeches using this as a part of the routine interview process seems to be using very poor judgement and lack of respect for the candidates’ time. I wouldn’t expect that company to do better when it comes to respecting their employees’ time and effort, and I’d really have to question using part of an interview to display skills that would have nothing at all to do with many potential employees’ jobs in any way.

  36. DannyG*

    I’ve been thinking about how I could put together a .ppt about my work history, but I would start at the beginning: my lemonade stand when I was 8; snow shoveling when I was 10, followed by leaf raking & lawn mowing, moving on to actual w-2 type jobs and 6 years of working for Dad’s auctions/antique business in junior high (think American Pickers crossed with Storage Wars) and I would be going for laughs in each of these examples before going on to professional work starting in college.

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

    #4 You say that you are now going to “report to someone who is in a parallel role”now. So you feel like you are going to be reporting to a peer, but actually, it sounds like your peer is getting a promotion. So you aren’t going to be reporting to a peer. It might feel awkward for a while, especially if you had a close co-worker relationship with this person. This is a very normal thing that happens in companies.

    I don’t think this says anything about your growth in the company. It shows that your boss is trying to help his employees with advancing their careers. There could be a wide variety of reasons why your boss chose this person, such as how well they do their current job, their experience, and their willingness or ability to take on this role. Just because your boss gave this person the opportunity to advance doesn’t mean that they aren’t going to allow you to as well. You should talk to your boss if you are concerned about anything, like maybe the other person hasn’t treated you very well in the past but you didn’t say anything.

    1. MCMonkeyBean*

      Yeah, this whole situation sounds very normal–to me the only thing that is odd is that the boss would even bring the concept of “demotion” into the conversation at all. It is so common for a peer to get promoted in a way that now you report to them! Sometimes people leave over that because they don’t want to report to that peer, and that’s fine. But the concept isn’t inherently wrong or bad and it sounds like the boss was just trying to be as transparent as they could.

  38. Coin Purse*

    Re: the “everyone must do it” employment requirements….I interviewed for a nurse clinician role once at a long term facility for people with severe disabilities. I’d have been running day to day operations, hire/fire, create enrichment programming. The interview was odd but the role was interesting. However at the end I was sent a room and told to make a bed.

    I was told they make all employees do this from the cafeteria workers to the accountant. I’ve made thousands of beds in my nursing career so it was a no brainer for me but I thought it was a peculiar line in the sand for every employee to do this.

    I was not surprised when the facility closed a few years later.

  39. Raida*

    Put a calendar reminder in for two months from now.
    Put it out of your mind until then.
    When the reminder comes up, say you’ve heard she’s pregnant is that right? Congratulations!

    Put in another reminder a month after that – at that point have a meeting to discuss if she’s gotten access to all the information she needs on maternity leave processes and policies, is there anything she’d like help with, does she have any questions. Upskill yourself in the meantime on what all that is so you can effectively direct her to the correct information/team.
    At the end of that meeting, tell her let’s meet up again in a month for another quick catch-up, to make sure it’s all going smoothly, discuss timeframes when she’s had time to do some planning on her time off.
    Congratulations again.

    Again put it out of your mind and at that next meeting, be all business and nail down expected due date, acknowledge due dates are accurate to a month, review what training materials or documentation she thinks needs to be updated/created for the team while she’s away, any specific handover cross training that needs to happen, any deadlines that are near/after the due date.
    Then run through what are her plans – is it two weeks off, nine months off, a month off then half-days working remotely, etc. And if there’s any specific paperwork that needs doing to facilitate something like the remote work, offer to get on that and get back to her next week.

    Essentially – it’s too early at this point.
    Outline work needs.

    1. Broadway Duchess*

      This is still suggesting that OP congratulates without confirmation from the allegedly pregnant person. If, when the “reminder” comes up, the person has already announced, congratulations would be in order. But, “I heard you were pregnant…” is still a yikes for me.

    2. Ismonie*

      None of this. First of all, if she’s 6-8 weeks pregnant, no need to start meeting about it before the first trimester. No need to ever tell her you heard about it. Wait for her to tell.

  40. Canadien*

    Letter 3: The ‘my child’ thing is pretty clearly a jokey verbal tick and not implying that the person saying it actually sees anyone as a child. Probably started with his friends and he just started saying it in a broader context without thinking.

    I can see how it might be off-putting or annoying and LW is completely entitled to ask not to be addressed that way. I’d probably find it annoying depending on the person it was coming from. But as Alison says, I think LW3 is attributing intent to it that just isn’t there.

    1. londonedit*

      Yeah…I don’t know if there are cultural things at play that I’m just not aware of, but where I’m from someone saying ‘Yes, my child’ would clearly be doing it in a jokey/lighthearted way and it would have absolutely nothing to do with a) religion or b) that person literally seeing someone as ‘a child’. It’s just a jokey thing.

  41. Managing an age gap*

    Grateful for this post today – my day at work started with one of my employees addressing me (supervisor) and my other employee as “kids.” I know she means well, but it definitely rubbed me the wrong way, and I was able to adapt the language in letter 3 to address it quickly and breezily.

  42. My child*

    “yes, my child”

    People used to say that back in high school in the early 2000s. It was exactly the joke Alison surmised. Guarantee the boss is late 30s or early 40s and it’s just in his vernacular.

  43. NotARealManager*

    I spend about an hour of work per minute of power point presentation. So if I were expected to make a 30-40 minute presentation I’d be preparing for 30-40 hours! That would make sense in a professional context where it was my job to give a presentation, but not for an interview.

    And what if the candidate doesn’t have the work experience to fill that time? 30 minutes is a long time to talk on a subject when you’re not an experienced presenter or don’t have the content to fill it.

  44. NotARealManager*

    One of my best friends does the “yes, my child” thing. I also used to work with him and he did it at work too. To us and our other coworkers, it was funny. But we were a close-knit team. I can see this rubbing someone the wrong way, but I also know it’s not meant maliciously.

  45. Broadway Duchess*

    This is still suggesting that OP congratulates without confirmation from the allegedly pregnant person. If, when the “reminder” comes up, the person has already announced, congratulations would be in order. But, “I heard you were pregnant…” is still a yikes for me.

  46. dryakumo*

    I can empathize with LW #4, I had a similar situation recently but it’s working out fine. My manager was out for a few months dealing with family stuff, was back for a little bit, and ultimately ended up leaving the company. My grandboss let me know that they hadn’t made anything final yet but were thinking of having me report to one of my peers. I was initially a bit miffed because it felt like a demotion. However, after thinking it over, I realized that he would be one of the people I’d be happiest reporting to and we have worked well together in the past. In our first 1:1 he made it very clear that he respected my work and my team and wasn’t interested in changing any of that and rather wanted to help us with more of the professional development side of things. My mother also helpfully reminded me that if I’m not interested in climbing the ladder (and I’m not, I would like to move further out of management and into more of an individual contributor SME type role) that this sort of thing is bound to happen over my career.

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