my boss never apologizes for being late, employee announces her time off rather than requesting it, and more

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

1. My boss never apologizes for being late

My manager is always late. Always. Especially in the mornings. She’s acknowledged that it’s a problem and that she’s working on it, but it keeps happening. She’s even off-handedly said she thinks she should be put on a PIP because of her tardiness.

However, she rarely apologizes for it! She’ll send a message a couple minutes before a 9am meeting saying “Good morning! Let’s push to 9:15am” and then still not walk in the office or join the virtual call until 9:30 or later. She never offers an explanation in the moment, but often later in the day she’ll admit that she was having stomach issues, or her dog was sick, or something. I don’t need the explanation. I don’t care. She’s my boss and can do what she wants. But it grates on me that she can’t just apologize for the inconvenience and disruption.

Sometimes, when it’s meetings outside our immediate team, not only does she come in late, but she also grinds the meeting to a halt by asking us to review everything that had already been said and asking several questions on it, preventing us from getting through the whole meeting agenda.

I know it’s popular to tell women in particular not to apologize when it’s not warranted. I get that! I’m all for it! But we are a small team of all women. We are all on good terms with one another and respect each other. But! The regular tardiness with no regard for the other people on the team is frustrating to me. A quick acknowledgment with an apology would mean the world to me. Am I putting too much into this? How should I handle the frustration?

I think this is in the category of “frustrating, but nothing you can do about it.”

Yes, she should be apologizing. When you throw off someone else’s schedule or delay a meeting, it’s just good manners to apologize. But you can’t really ask your manager to apologize; it’ll come across as focused on the wrong thing. You could ask for something else more logistical, like if for more advance notice if she needs to delay a meeting or to talk about how to avoid repeating the whole agenda when she’s late (for example, should the meeting not start until she’s there?). But if it’s really just the non-apology that’s grating on you, all you can do is accept that this is how she is and try to let it roll off you.

when should you expect your boss to apologize?

2. My employee announces her time off rather than requesting it

I have an employee who has told me when she is taking time off. I think she should have put in a request for the time off. She also texts the same day as her doctor appointment to tell me that she’ll be in around noon because the provider is running late; however, I had no knowledge that she had a doctor’s appointment on that day. Not that her appointments are my business, but when your scheduled start time is an hour after your scheduled appointment, I feel as though fair warning should have been given. She always seems to want to have the last word as well, when it will not have any effect on the outcome of the situation. Am I being too picky?

Different offices do it differently: in some offices the culture is very much to simply let your manager know when you’re taking time off, and they’ll let you know if it’s a problem. Other offices expect people to get approval first. But unless you oversee jobs with a heavy coverage component (where you need to ensure coverage as part of approving any time-off request), I’m a strong believer in the first system; to the extent that people’s work allows it, treat them as adults who can manage their own schedules while keeping you in the loop, unless and until that becomes a problem. But if you have good reason for wanting her to request the time first — and it’s not just the principle of it — have you clearly told her you want her to do it that way? If you’ve explained that and she’s ignoring you, that’s a problem. But if you haven’t, then just be direct about what you want her to do differently.

The same applies when she’ll be late because of a doctor’s appointment. Tell her clearly that you want to know in advance when she’s likely to be late. If you’ve already done that, remind her of the policy and ask why she’s not following it.

Wanting to have the last word is a completely different issue (and you lumping them together makes me wonder if there are other problems with this employee too; sometimes when there are a bunch of problems, it gets harder to parse each one out individually). That’s something you can and should give direct feedback on (explaining that it’s disruptive, harming her relationships with coworkers, coming across as adversarial, or whatever the case may be).

my staff tells me what they’re doing rather than asking permission

3. How do I build a professional network?

I’ve been hearing something my whole life from a really wide range of places: that skilled professionals generally know other, similar skilled professionals, and if they can’t help you, they can probably refer you to someone who can.

I’ve been in the workforce for 11 years, and I do not have this network of similarly skilled professionals. I honestly don’t even know how to get one. I have met two or three people who could potentially do my type of work whom I might trust with a referral, but they have other interests and probably wouldn’t accept.

I do mostly employee onboarding, which is a mix of HR and admin responsibilities. Since I’m the only person most of the people in my life know with any kind of connection to HR, I get a lot of questions from my friends and family about resumes, cover letters, career path options, and how to handle problems at work. I think these people might be looking for that referral to someone with more experience than me (or would benefit from expertise I don’t have), but I just don’t have that network.

Maybe this has to do with my background. I’m the first person in three generations to get a bachelor’s degree in my family. So maybe other people’s parents are connecting them with this network? But my friends from school didn’t end up in similar work to mine either. I have an English degree, so maybe that’s different if you go into a field with a more defined career path, like chemistry or computer science?

Is it true that most professionals have a network like this? And if so, how can I get one?

Usually the type of professional network you’re describing comes from working with other people who are doing similar or adjacent work. Over time, you build up a group of people you’ve worked with, either coworkers or people in other companies who your work brings you into contact with. It’s not typically a network that comes from your parents (unless your parents are in your same field, but that’s not the case for most people); it’s one that comes directly from the people you work with over the years.

If your employers have been big enough to have someone dedicated solely to onboarding, I’m guessing you’ve worked with a fair number of other HR people — not ones necessarily doing exactly what you do, but doing other pieces of HR. This is where building relationships at work comes in — talking to coworkers, grabbing the occasional coffee with them, bouncing ideas off each other, and so forth. Those are all people who should become part of your network, even after you or they move on to other jobs. So I wonder if (a) you’re keeping to yourself at work and not building those relationships (in which case your network would definitely suffer for it) or (b) you’re just not defining “network” this way and thus don’t see that you already have one.

People who don’t have that kind of built-in potential network at work (usually because their jobs are very siloed) often go to conferences and other industry events to build it, or they might find industry communities online.

All that said, I don’t think the friends and family who ask you about HR stuff are looking for a referral to someone with more experience than you. It’s more likely that they just lump all HR people into one broad HR category and don’t realize that at large companies the work can be split into lots of separate functions — and you can have a compliance person who knows nothing about resumes, a benefits person who has no particular expertise in the interpersonal bits of HR, and so on.

4. Which internship should I choose?

I’ve been fortunate to secure interviews for two different internship opportunities, and I’m at a crossroads in making a decision.

The first option is with a relatively young but highly promising company. If I join, I would be the youngest employee on the team. The company is incredibly growth-oriented, and there are many young leaders, which I find appealing. However, the downside is that it’s entirely remote.

The second option is with a more established and older company, located locally. This internship would be a hybrid role, with some in-office work. They have a structured internship program in place, which is a positive aspect. However, there’s no guarantee of employment after the internship program concludes.

Currently, I’m leaning towards the fully remote internship due to its growth potential and the opportunity to work with a young and dynamic team. However, I’m also aware of the benefits of the local internship with a more established company. I would greatly appreciate your advice on this matter.

Absent any other information, I’d recommend the second one. Especially when you’re early-career, a ton of learning happens simply by being around more experienced colleagues in person, and it’s much, much harder to get those same benefits if you’re fully remote. I’m all for remote work when it makes sense for your job and career stage, but one of the most valuable things about internships is all the learning that happens by osmosis — by being in an office and overhearing calls and conversations, watching your coworkers do their own jobs, and generally just learning how to be in an office. As an intern, that stuff is often, or even usually, more important than the actual work tasks you’re doing.

I also think you might be overestimating the benefits of a young team. There are a ton of advantages to working with a more established company and more experienced colleagues; in many cases (although not all) you’ll find things are more organized (and thus you’ll be better positioned to get meaningful experience) and your coworkers have more expertise for you to learn from. That’s not to say there aren’t advantages to the opposite — there can be. But between these two options, the non-remote internship sounds a lot more useful.

5. Boss makes me turn around to see her while we’re eating

My coworker and I take lunch together each day, at the communal table in our break room. We sit directly across from each other, me with my back to the break room door, with my coworker facing it. Each day, our supervisor comes into the break area to chat with both of us but always stays at the door, behind me. She never walks all the way to be in an area where my coworker and I can both see her. This makes it so that for me to view her, I would have to spin my chair at least 90 degrees, no longer facing my food or my coworker who I’m eating with. Additionally, her interruption always starts as small talk but then inevitably turns into a work conversation between her and my coworker.

If you haven’t already guessed, this drives me crazy. Am I wrong for not turning around? Am I being irrational for thinking the least she could do is walk to the center of us if she is going to interrupt our lunch?? Argh!!!

I don’t think you’re irrational for being annoyed, but it does sound a little irrational that you don’t just switch up where you’re sitting, since you know it’s going to happen! I wonder if you’re digging in your heels on that a bit since you don’t think she should be interrupting your lunch in the first place — but that’s just keeping you mired in the annoying thing.

It’s also probably not even registering to your boss. Any reason not to say, “Would you come further inside so I don’t have to crane my neck to see you?” A few days of saying it might solve the problem.

{ 429 comments… read them below }

  1. Viki*

    #1, I think logistically the solve is to mentally realize that 9 am calls are not in your boss’s schedule, and plan around it.

    Potentially just schedule the first half hour/ hour as a focus hour and just have all meetings start at 10. We’ve implemented that for my team and honestly so much better for scheduling

    The wanting to apologize is a road that won’t go anywhere productive.

      1. Over It*

        OP may not be the one scheduling theses meetings. But if OP is the organizer, or the dynamics are such that it wouldn’t be out of place for OP to suggest a later start time to the organizer, then I definitely agree. Dynamics around who schedules meetings is very weird in some workplaces.

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          Yeah my boss is one of these – I definitely don’t react as strongly as the OP, but it is a little annoying if we can only schedule time to speak in the morning. I always keep a quick recap bullet list for when she joins so we don’t have to literally have our whole conversation over when she comes in, I warn the group at the beginning that she’ll probably be late, and if it’s really vital content I might talk to the organizer and express concerns on the timing. But in the flow of my work day, it’s a minor annoyance that’s over by 9:30 so I usually just roll with it.

          1. Charlotte Lucas*

            I had. manager who was always late to meetings, but morning ones were the worst. It was totally a power play on her part, so I wonder if the OP is getting this irritated because it’s a symptom of a larger problem. (In my manager’s case, the mask kept slipping in terms of lack of respect and a general desire to cause problems then swoop in to “solve” them and be a hero.)

        1. Lydia*

          Generally, even with other time zones in the morning, starting an hour later won’t make that significant of a difference. And if it means everyone who needs to be there is actually there, then pushing it back is the best way to go.

          1. A. Nonymous*

            Again, depends on attendees.

            My boss is in New York, which means I really can’t schedule a meeting with her direct report in Frankfurt any later than 10am (5pm in Frankfurt), and I’d get an earful if I scheduled something for APAC & Chicago at any time other than 9am (8am in Chicago, anywhere from 7-10pm APAC depending on the city). Pushing back isn’t always an option.

    1. Emmy Noether*

      Yeah, I have a boss with whom we just don’t set meetings before 10, because he’ll come in around 9:30 and not even remember he had a meeting that morning until he checks his calendar (core hours start at 9:45). If possible, we schedule meetings with him for the afternoon and half the time have to send someone at start of meeting to find him wherever he is in the building even then.

      We work around this quirk because he’s otherwise competent and a good boss – it is annoying, but he’s not gonna change, so no point in getting upset.

      1. KateM*

        I would think that not putting meetings outside core hours would be a given, not a workaround around someone’s quirk.

        1. Emmy Noether*

          The quirk is more that we have to go hunt him down and remind him half the time.

          And that he accepts meetings that he’s never going to make (our core hours are fairly short, so we schedule outside of them all the time as long as everyone is ok with it). This boss just needs a fair amount of people doing the thinking around admin stuff for him. He probably should have an EA, but that’s not how this company rolls.

        2. Allonge*

          Totally depends on the organization / setup (and what core hours mean in practice). We have to schedule our daily standups so that it’s finished by core hours start – it does not work otherwise, we are too meeting-heavy.

          But back to the main point, IF boss somewhat reliably shows up by 10, and OP / peers are in charge of scheduling meetings, it’s a solution to only schedule meetings from 10 or later. Knowing what my boss’s calendar looks like sometimes, it’s not nearly as easy as it sounds, but probably better than this limbo. Sorry OP, this annoy me to no end.

          1. KateM*

            In that particular case, if core hours start at 9:45, it screams to me “first meeting at 10:00, 15 minutes to get ready”.

            1. Allonge*

              But, again, this may or may not be realistic.

              For us, core hours are not ‘nobody can be expected to be in before’, they are ‘that’s the absolute latest you need to show up’. So, again, plenty of meetings and work takes place before core hours start, expecially standups that are about checking in for what is happening today. If someone needs to prepare for a 10am meeting, they need to show up before. If someone has a meeting at 5am (time zones), same thing.

          2. Seeking Second Childhood*

            If there’s work scheduled across time zones, later may be highly inconvenient for other locations. For a Chicago/UK meeting, there is a window that depends on when your UK office goes home.

        3. Eldritch Office Worker*

          That’s not always realistic. Core hours mean “definitely everyone can do this” but depending on role/responsibilities/urgency there might be an expectation to flex a little on either side. Just like in a 9-5 office, sometimes there’s an 8:30 meeting or a 4:30 meeting that definitely won’t be done by 5. It’s just going to vary and you have to know your culture – and part of knowing culture is certainly knowing what leaders will and won’t do when it comes down to it.

    2. nnn*

      That’s what I was thinking. If the person writing in were the boss, I’d be suggesting that they don’t schedule these meetings first thing so they have some leeway.

      (As someone who struggles with mornings since my concussion, I’ve gotten enormous mileage out of simply saying “I’d prefer an afternoon appointment” or “So we need to meet on Tuesday…how’s 2:00 for you?”)

    3. Rachel*

      I think 9 am was just an example.

      If the meeting was switched to 10, the same thing would happen except it is moved to 10:30.

      People who are chronically late move the goalposts. Thinking you can solve this is a big mistake. Wanting an apology is a big mistake.

      The only thing this contributor can do is deal with it

      1. Carrots*

        It would be great if she took the early meetings from home before coming in, or something like that, if she can’t make it in by 9. Lots of people on my team do that for global meetings between 7 and 9.

    4. WhoKnows*

      Came here to comment the same thing. Start meetings at 10. (And honestly, that’s how I feel about business in general unless there’s an urgent situation. People run late in the mornings for all sorts of reasons, and it happens all the time. Give everyone a buffer hour to settle in or be late!).

    5. Carvacrol*

      If this person’s presence is important for the meeting and they’re chronically late, the organizer needs to be made aware and try to find a slightly later time.

      If rescheduling is not feasible and they’re important to the meeting, I would deny the request to halt the meeting to catch them up and instead show them the meeting minutes (if that’s a thing that is done) to catch up. They’ll either adapt or they won’t.

      If they’re not important, show the minutes (caveat above) at most, otherwise reject the request for a catch-up and move along. They don’t get to derail a meeting they’re not critical to.

    6. Ashley*

      I have a colleague who is chronically late like this (I literally think she has no idea how much time some stuff actually takes…as an example she remembers the one time it took her 1/2 hr to drop her dog off at doggy daycare and uses that metric, never mind that it’s usually 45 with traffic and she doesn’t account for the 5-10 mins to actually get out and take the dog in).

      I just expect her to be late and don’t let it bother me. If I absolutely need her for something at a certain time, I tell her I need her 30 mins to 1hr before I actually do (depending on the critical-ness of her being on time). I’m not her supervisor though, we just work together and we get a LOT of autonomy in our roles. I’ve just figured out how to managed her so she doesn’t make me crazy.

      1. BubbleTea*

        Ah yes, the chronic self-destructive time optimism, I know it well! I like to believe that a 10 minute journey (with no traffic, no accidents and no hold ups) means that I can leave the house 10 minutes before I need to arrive. I have at least managed to learn that I need to put my shoes on, get my keys, go to the loo etc BEFORE those 10 minutes start, but I persist in believing in my ability to teleport from a car park into the relevant room. Even worse when I forget how cities work and don’t factor in the 20 minutes circling the city centre trying to make my way through a maze of roadworks and redirections, in a desperate hunt for parking.

        On behalf of all chronic optimists, I apologise.

        1. MagicEyes*

          Somehow it takes me five minutes to put on my shoes, grab my purse, and walk out the door to my car. I need to start getting ready to leave at least 10 minutes before I need to leave.

          1. Emmy Noether*

            There seem to be two camps for this. If you say “time to go” to me, I’m out the door in 31 seconds* (summer) to 3 minutes (winter, or having to take more stuff). My husband, on the other hand… he says that to me and then absolutely has to do like 10 things, urgently, and also go pee, twice. It did lead to a fight early on in our relationship when I found myself standing there in my boots, coat, hat and scarf slowly cooking in my own juices while he started cutting his fingernails. No, not quickly trimming a snag, all dang ten of them. He’s actually rarely late though, he just means something very different by “let’s go”.

            *I just timed myself, for science. Also, these times are without kids. All bets are off with kids.

            1. yvve*

              Ah… I am like you in terms of getting ready, but I tend to say “time to go” ahead of time just to give the other person time to transition– if I’m the one announcing that I’m ready, I don’t assume that means everyone should be also.

              But if they did get ready faster I wouldn’t hang around doing other random stuff!

            2. umami*

              Oh wow, I think you’re married to my husband lol. I was literally going to type the same thing! He ALWAYS finds things to do right before we are supposed to walk out the door, it’s like a tic. Then we’ll walk out to the car, and he’ll need to go back in to grab a soda :(

            3. Le Sigh*

              I famously just need “5 more minutes” to get ready (I definitely have time blindness). My partner really is ready in 5-10 min, but will delay getting ready bc he has plenty of time since I take forever. I give him a heads up when I’m close to getting my shoes and purse, so he can put on his shoes and be ready to go. Works great, right? Except he’ll get to reading something on his phone, lose track of time, and meanwhile I’m waiting around ready to go while he’s scrambling to find his wallet. I swear, we’re functional adults, really.

          2. Hannah Lee*

            I’ve got major time blindness, plus time-optimism, plus a tendency to squeeze in doing “one more thing” before I go out the door.

            Lately I’ve had to start my head out the door process 30-45 minutes ahead of when I want to leave. The number of times I’ve thought I’m been much ready to go, wrapping up my morning routine and getting into gear at 7:45 am, which means all I’ve got to do before I go out the door is quick brush of my teeth post coffee, check my hair, put on my shoes and make sure all the lights, appliances are off, grab my bag, check for my work keys (all which in theory would take less than 15 minutes on a slow day) but then get into my car and see it’s 8:30 am and realize I’m going to be late are … many.

            I sometimes think to myself that I’m like a combination of the dogs and cats I’ve known:
            highly distractable (like a dog who gets distracted by anything interesting or random that passes nearby) and also subject to interrupting myself for no reason when I’m in the middle of doing something simple (like a cat who excitedly hops off the sofa to greet you when you come home, but in the middle of their walk toward you suddenly stops, sits down and starts cleaning their paws)

            I am very fortunate that I have a lot of autonomy in my workflow and very few timed meetings, though someone introducing complexity or a new critical task into a day/week where I know I’ve already got several complex projects with looming deadlines can be a challenge.

        2. Impending Heat Dome*

          I cured my chronic late-ism when I became a time pessimist instead of a time optimist. Yes, I COULD arrive on time if everything went perfectly, but ultimately I had to admit to myself that it almost never went perfectly. When I started gauging my time according to the worst case scenario (e.g. I get every red light and it’ll take 20 minutes to find a place to park) then I became much more timely.

      2. Jojo*

        This is actually a thing. It’s called time blindness and is often part of the ADHD package. I don’t actually know anyone who has been able to truly change that about themselves. It’s just something they don’t have that other people do have. I’ve mostly come to peace with it, except for my coworker who has all kinds of alarms and bells going off to try and help him get to things on time. It doesn’t work and it just mostly serves to drive me batty.

        1. Weaponized Pumpkin*

          I sort of managed to solve my time blindness…but swung to the other side and created a different problem. Being chronically late due to time optimism/blindness really stressed me out, it was a daily nervous system catastrophe. Now I’m on time, but the way I do it is by being EARLY. I overcome the optimism by massively padding the time, especially for driving/parking. And I’m now the meme of the person who has a meeting in two hours and is stuck in mental limbo doing nothing until then. I’m so afraid of being late I don’t start tasks, knowing if I start anything or do anything, I’ll lose track of time…and be late…and be stressed. So yeah I’m on time but at a steep cost to my productivity. The stress is still there, it’s just more time panic now. Always afraid of being late (but rarely actually being late).

    7. Momma Bear*

      I think rather than wanting an apology, talk to her about the business impact. Does this mean you’ve missed other meetings? That clients have become annoyed? I had a manager once who was routinely late with a client and it was just a conference call so there wasn’t any excuse. We tried to start the meeting without him but when he rolled up 5-10 minutes later, we’d just have to backtrack. We brought up the customer’s frustration with him and our grandboss. I left a few months later and don’t know if he improved, but if the problem is wasting people’s time, then find a way to not have it impact you/have the impact Known. If OP is not the organizer, talk to whoever that is.

  2. Fikly*

    LW1: Any chance you’re fixating on the lack of apologies when the actual problem is the constant lateness, and how disruptive it is when she does arrive, both of which you can’t do anything about?

    Not that you can’t want an apology, but getting one doesn’t solve either of the above, and would it actually make you feel better about continuing to have to deal with it? It might be that it feels like if she apologized, she would in some way be more able to address her behavior, but sadly, that is unlikely.

    1. GythaOgden*

      Yeah — totally agree.

      Also IME very busy people are always trying to fit one more thing in before they leave for somewhere. My mother drives me batty when she does that, but the flip side is that she’s the one trying to do absolutely everything herself and she was like it when she was in her main job as a headteacher as well.

      I think when dealing with people who are always late it’s important to know what kind of late it is. Late in that they just don’t care and run a bit slower than everyone else or late in that they run fast and can’t say no and are already trying to do too many things at once. Because I know my bosses are fairly busy people, them being late doesn’t bother me as much as some others. I’m punctual because I almost got burned as a teenager nearly missing a flight, and that flipped a switch in my autistic mind. I’m getting better at not being an hour early for things! And there are situations where it really doesn’t matter if someone is late, like if I’m just meeting them for a cuppa and don’t have anything else to do later on. Surprisingly enough they’re always on time for things like a cruise embarkation! (Although the time a couple of guys left their passport at home and had to turn back was mad. Thankfully, cruises are not planes and they have much longer windows to get everyone on board.)

      But unless she’s a cruddy boss in other ways and is letting a lot of balls drop, I suspect she’s just like my mum is, beetles about everywhere at 100 mph and is just very busy. That alone wouldn’t have my hackles up.

      1. Selena81*

        I wonder wether talking about her stomach or dog *is* her apology: her way of saying ‘i did not think your meeting was unimportant, but I was completely caught up in something else’.
        And not really connecting the mental dots that she is _always_ late because of her ‘just squeeze in one more thing before my workday starts’ behavior.

      2. I'm A Little Teapot*

        It’s not very busy people. It’s people who for whatever reason are trying to get all the things done before they leave. It can be related to poor time management, which can be related to ADHD or other neuroatypical things, or entitlement or lack of caring about others, etc. But I know LOTs of very busy people who are always or usually on time.

        And while I understand and sympathize with people who are often/always late due to brain stuff, that doesn’t excuse you from being late. An explanation is not an excuse. If your brain works differently, then it is on you to figure out how bridge the gap. Is it fair? No. But it is reality. Real life isn’t fair.

        As for OP, stop trying to schedule 9am meetings, it clearly isn’t going to happen so just plan accordingly.

        1. Dust Bunny*

          I think it’s at least half fair. It’s as fair as it is for the rest of us to waste time we could have spent getting this meeting out of the way waiting for you instead.

    2. Ellis Bell*

      I agree and it calls to mind the letter from a manager who was annoyed that her reports *did* apologise for lateness, because then they felt forced to respond “It’s ok” when it wasn’t. I have always remembered Alison’s advice to say “Is everything ok?” instead which is very subtle.

    3. The Person from the Resume*

      While this could be true, I agree with the LW somewhat. The lack of apology is extra insult to injury. I inconvenienced you and IDGAF.

      I am usually on time. When I am not, I apologize because I do feel bad about making someone wait, wasting people’s time, etc. I am frustrated by people who are late and their lateness negatively impacts me. I an extra frustrated when they don’t apologize for inconveniencing me. Like they are blase about their lateness and aren’t at all concerned about incoveniencing me.

      Is there anything the LW can do, nope, probably not. But I acknowledge her frustration with this experience and with the lack of apology.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        I do see that, but with something this consistent I would personally prefer not to get an apology. It’s expected behavior, if you were really sorry your behavior would reflect that, let’s not waste either of our time on hollow apologies and rather just acknowledge this is the reality we’re living in.

        Sometimes I tell my boss she’s a pain in the ass – not as an insult or a complaint, just as a way to call attention to all the work other people are doing to accommodate her and make sure they get some recognition for that. She agrees, but she doesn’t apologize and I don’t expect her to change. I’d rather just understand what the status quo is and go about my day with realistic expectations, personally.

        But I fully acknowledge different schools of thought on this.

          1. Michelle Smith*

            You made a statement, but didn’t back it up with anything. How are you pushing back on this?

            For what it’s worth, I agree. I don’t think that behavior reflecting the regret means being perfectly on time all the time. But I am neurodivergent + have morning stomach issues and I struggle HARD with morning punctuality as a result. But I don’t just show up late day in and day out with no attempts to do anything about it. I saw a GI doctor to get tested for medical conditions and I see a dietician about my diet. When I learned that coffee was a major contributor to my…distress, I stopped drinking it and switched to a different type of morning energy drink. When I saw I was sleeping through alarms, I got tested for sleep apnea (I have it) and I started setting backup alarms to help me get up on time. I let folks on my team know that 9 am meetings are very difficult for me, so we try to start a little later in the morning whenever possible. I could go on and on but like…the point is that I didn’t just keep saying it was a problem and do nothing visible to show that I’m trying to manage it and reduce burdens on others. I show that I respect other people’s time, even though I struggle, by backing up apology with action.

            1. Eldritch Office Worker*

              Yes this exactly. I have no issues with time blindness, I experience it myself, but I have worked very hard to diminish it and I don’t laugh it off or make light of the pattern if it impacts people.

    4. el l*

      Some people are just chronically late. No way around it. They can’t keep apologizing for something they do literally every day – even if they do, the apology is meaningless. Not condoning, can’t stand it either, but that’s just who they are and there’s no bargaining with that.

      One small tactic you can try sometimes. Insofar as possible – you can’t do this for a large meeting, doesn’t make sense logistically – I’d just put a meeting on their calendar that is 15-30 minutes before the actual start time.

    5. Falling Diphthong*

      This is a good point–by the time someone is apologizing for doing the same thing 7 times in a row, the apology starts to feel pretty rote magical incantation to make everything fine again. (Apologizing for a one-off screw up is graceful.)

  3. nodramalama*

    LW1 does your manager run late throughou the day, or is it primarily a late start issue? Because one way to circumvent it might be to ask your manager if they prefer to not have meetings before 9.30am and stop booking meetings with them first thing in the morning.

    But I agree with Alison, it’s annoying but you can’t ask your manage to apologise

    1. Myrin*

      OP says her manager is “always” late so I’m not conviced she would be on time to a later meeting.

    2. Ellis Bell*

      I am a naturally late person, and yeah, this isn’t going to work on a late person; if they are usually five minutes late to a 9am meeting, they will be five minutes late to a 9.30 or to one at noon. Mornings do tend to be tougher for people who struggle with punctuality, but in OPs shoes, I’d keep the meetings as early as possible. It’s much worse to have a late afternoon meeting start late and then overrun at the end of the day. Instead I’d mentally reframe ‘start times’ as ‘being ready to start soon’ and having some small task to hand, like your to do list or checking emails that would cost you time to do elsewhere.

      1. TechWorker*

        I mean it very much depends why they’re late no? There are a bunch of reasons you could be chronically late for 9am that would mean you’d be fine for 9.30 (school dropoff, public transport, amount of traffic..)

        1. Ellis Bell*

          Totally, and the OP does specify it’s “especially” mornings. I may be self projecting, but the variety of excuses that the boss provides sounds like ‘anything that happens in the morning will throw me way off’. So, that sounds like someone with either a tight time budget because of something unalterable like school drop offs, or someone with a tight time budget because they are bad at tracking time passing, and therefore planning time buffers. It all depends if OP really means that they are ‘always’ late (so they are late every day, even when nothing particular happens) and if “especially in the mornings” means they are also late at other times. I’m actually wondering if OP would rather have explanations than apologies.

          1. OP 1*

            No kids, just bad at time management. I’d really just rather have meetings that start closer to on time! It makes me feel like she doesn’t value my time by constantly pushing meetings or being late. Sometimes she’ll just be chatting about personal things with coworkers in her office and that makes her late to our meetings.

            1. Ellis Bell*

              I don’t know if it makes any difference but your boss could easily be me, and my timekeeping has never been about not caring. Whenever I have been aware of people who care about time, I really strained myself to please them, failing repeatedly. It has taken years of routines, and time training for me to be reliably punctual. Simply caring did not make me magically skilled at being punctual, so I was miserable with myself because I cared! When I have had a boss like yours, I have actually been really pleased with them showing a flexible attitude to timekeeping, even though to my surprise – not everyone felt the same way!

              1. Stuckinacrazyjob*

                Yes,my stomach hurts all the time about being like 5 minutes late. it’s not that I don’t care, it’s just that it is hard and if I don’t have all my things in order ( I sleep through my alarm or I was in a hurry last night so I lost a thing) I am late

              2. Weaponized Pumpkin*

                Yes. The narrative that someone who’s late is disrespectful or doesn’t care about others makes me sad because that was never true for me. I cared so much, and beat myself up so much, and yet I was late a lot because I so easily lose track of time. (And as I posted elsewhere, my solution created a new problem that is equally stressful and messes with my productivity. But for my people who feel disrespected by lateness, it is now my problem and not theirs. So I guess that’s a win?)

                1. Michelle Smith*

                  I hate to say this, but yes, it is a win. The people around you feel respected or at least not actively disrespected. I’m sorry it’s negatively impacting your productivity and stressing you out.

            2. Ellis Bell*

              So.. “chatting about personal things with coworkers in her office and that makes her late to our meetings” is either a) not noticing the passage of time when her attention is engaged, or b) not realising that anyone cares about the meeting starting on time. It could easily be both. Or, you can know about people caring, and genuinely care in response and still not be good at A, or you can just be genuinely in the dark that people care about the meeting starting on time. Either way, I think it has very little to do with her personal thoughts and feelings about the value of your time – she probably doesn’t value her own time.

              1. Allonge*

                So – I understand that this may not be (likely is not) malicious from OP’s boss, but that does not help with OP’s own feelings about their time being wasted…

                1. Hlao-roo*

                  “I feel like my time is being wasted” and “I feel like she doesn’t value my time” are not the same thing (though both feelings often occur together!). Acknowledging that the lateness may not be malicious can help with “I feel like she doesn’t value my time,” which is what OP1 wrote in the comment Ellis Bell was responding to.

                  I agree that acknowledging that OP’s boss can genuinely care and still be late doesn’t help with “I feel like my time is being wasted.” Other strategies are needed for that (such as trying to have tasks you can work on between the meetings stated start time and when the boss shows up).

                2. Eldritch Office Worker*

                  @Hlao-roo yes, very different things. For meetings, the time is being held anyway so wasted could be a matter of perspective. “Doesn’t respect my time” is a completely different feeling, and a harder one to shrug off.

                3. Ellis Bell*

                  It sounds like OP is going to be frustrated either way, but I think attributing it to deliberately not caring about oneself can only increase the level of annoyance.

                4. Allonge*

                  @Ellis Bell

                  Obviously it would be worse if this was done with bad intent. I am afraid though that you are right and long term it would not make that much of a difference for me: my boss (who, amongst others, is supposed to treat it as a reasonably precious resource) wasting my time regularly is never going to be a non-frustrating thing. Intent v. impact.

            3. T.N.H.*

              Do you think you would feel better if you accept that she’ll be late to all these meetings and make sure you have other things to do? She absolutely should be on time. But I absolutely do not think she will be on time. There’s probably nothing you can magically say or do to make it better. I would plan your own schedule differently to compensate as much as possible and let go of the rest.

              1. MigraineMonth*

                Yeah, I have a dear friend who just never leaves the house on time. We’ve switched from me picking her up to her picking me up, so I can do other stuff until she actually arrives. If we’re meeting someplace, I bring a book and use it as a destress time.

                OP, it’s unlikely that you can change your boss (and getting an apology isn’t worth the effort). Can you change the circumstances so you get less irritated (e.g. delay the start of the meeting, arrive at the meeting when the boss does) or just consider waiting for the boss part of the job?

            4. Really?*

              Can you text her when the meeting is about to start? That’s the norm in my company if someone doesn’t show as expected. As in “are you planning to join the xyz meeting? We just started.”

              1. Eldritch Office Worker*

                Always a good idea, but if she’s doing something like standing in someone else’s office chatting she might not see it. If it’s in person, physically going to her and saying “we’re waiting for you” can also be helpful.

      2. Selena81*

        Yeah, I’m very much an evening person but I hate late starts: I’ll still be sleeping in as late as I can so I still have to rush to be on time, but now the work is bleeding over into my precious evenings.

        When I have a week off I get up at noon and go to bed long after midnight, but I much rather work 9-5 then 12-8.

        1. Dust Bunny*

          Saaaaame. I’m a night owl by nature but you’d better believe I can get up early if it means getting work done sooner. And I even like my job, but I’d still rather be doing my own stuff.

      3. K*

        Or “late people” could stop being so inconsiderate of others’ time. You’re late to things not because you’re naturally a “late person” but because of choices you are making. The same is true of OP’s boss.

        If I was OP I would go to her boss’s boss with this issue and if it wasn’t resolved soon I’d look for a new job and then take it.

        1. Ellis Bell*

          I work very hard to be on time for people. I have not kept people waiting for aboutten years. It took about thirty years ot learn the strategies which made that possible.

          1. WellRed*

            I had a friend like this. Always late by at least 30 minutes. It finally sunk in around age 40 when a supervisor at a social work internship said that being constantly late in a job that required meeting with clients wasn’t going to work. She’s so much better now!

            1. Ellis Bell*

              Wow, I’m kind of amazed that all it took for her was *being told*, but that it took so long for someone to do it!

              1. New Jack Karyn*

                I think it’s the context in which she was told. Starting a career in social work at 40 really echoes for me–there are jobs where it doesn’t matter if you’re in at 8:30 or 9:15. But being 40 minutes late to meet a client who is in need of social services–that’s the opposite of helping them. Knowing that her chronic lateness would have serious effects on a person in crisis might have been the ticket.

        2. mb*

          I think people can naturally struggle with being on time for a myriad of reasons – I used to be chronically late. I just think as an adult you find ways to mitigate the problem. If you lose track of time because you’re chatting with coworkers you can have some sort of smartwatch set to buzz on your wrist 5 minutes before the meeting and then you pack up and head over.

          1. Allonge*

            And especially as a manager you do your best to mitigate – you are wasting the time of the exact team whose delivery you are responsible for.

            I get that ‘just be on time’ is not an option, but OP’s boss could tell the team to keep working until she comes in and she will call them or to check in with her about decision points via email or whatever works.

        3. Jackalope*

          I would strongly encourage you to stop thinking that being late happens because someone is choosing to be late, or is trying to be inconsiderate. That’s true of some people, of course, but it’s also true that a) many cultures (and subcultures) don’t place value on exact punctuality, and if you were raised in such a culture the whole way your sense of time is formed works differently than for someone who is raised to take punctuality as the primary consideration above all. And b) there are reasons such as brain chemistry and medical conditions that make time blindness a real thing, and it’s not something you can just muscle your way through (ADHD is a condition many people have mentioned on the blog before, for example, that has time blindness as one of its features).

          All of that doesn’t mean that you can’t be annoyed at someone is chronically late, or that you shouldn’t find ways to plan around it (giving them a half hour earlier start time than everyone else, for example). But if you take nothing else from the comments section today, please at least take to heart the fact that most chronically late people aren’t being late AT you.

          1. Butterfly Counter*

            They aren’t being late AT me, but here I am, sitting and waiting and having my time being wasted doing nothing while the chronically late person is getting things done, chit chatting, or doing whatever.

            If we are peers or I have the power in that situation, you better believe I am making lateness a problem for the person who is late rather than me who is on time at the agreed starting point.

            Yes, there are cultural issues, executive dysfunction, time blindness, etc., but as we see all over these comments, people can find ways to work through it. Figure it out.

            1. alienor*

              I figure when I’m at work, I’m getting paid to be there regardless of what I’m doing. Whether I’m attending a meeting or waiting for a meeting to start, I’m going to be there anyway and I’m still going to be paid for it. So if someone’s late, they may be wasting time, but they’re not really wasting my time because I’ve sold it to the company for X amount per hour. If it’s an outside-work appointment and I could be somewhere else doing something I’d rather be doing, that’s a different story.

              1. Michelle Smith*

                If I am rushing to accomplish my other tasks because I was waiting on you to show up to the meeting and either couldn’t get other work done while waiting or needed the outcome of the meeting to move that work forward, it very much is my time being wasted. If our scheduled meeting is at X time and runs late or gets derailed because you were late, making me have to push back other work, delaying my lunch, or causing me to work late? Yes, I consider that my time being wasted. Perhaps it’s different if you’re not exempt and get to go home for sure at a specific time every day, but for me, I have to work until the work is done. If your delays mean I have to work until 6, I don’t get to just shut off my computer at 5 and bounce without professional repercussions.

              2. Yellow cake*

                If I were paid by the hour and work not completed was never my problem I’d agree. But instead I’m working nights or weekends to finish things off because u get paid to get work done – not the time on the clock.

                I hate sitting around waiting for people who are chronically late. I had a boss that was chronically late and I just stopped putting any effort into being on time. I now tend to be late to any meeting of theirs that starts on time because I stopped caring.

                Being on time is harder for some people – but it is normal for some people to have to put in more effort to achieve things at the same level as others. If I struggle with something but want to achieve at the same level I have to find ways to get better. Whether that’s carpentry, sales, or making it to work/meetings on time is irrelevant.

            2. Ellis Bell*

              It is very, very funny that you think the chronically late person is getting things done!

              1. Fushi*

                Right? For anything more complex than “click the zoom button on the computer I am already at all day” it takes me at least 1-2 hours of concerted effort in addition to half a day’s worth of prepping and checking in with my schedule to be on time. And that’s just for one thing. If it’s an important or non-routine thing, usually I’m stressed and distracted for a good 24 hours beforehand, especially if I have to be on time to two or more things in the same day. The idea some people here have that their 2 mins of lost productivity when someone is late is at all comparable to what some of us go through to be on time is ridiculous.

                1. Jackalope*

                  I was talking to a friend this morning about how I’ve spent the last several WEEKS strategizing about how to make sure I’m on time for an important thing later on this week (catching a plane, so one of the few things that is completely inflexible). I should make it on time – if everything goes as planned we shall be an hour earlier than the recommended time – but that’s more work than I can reasonably put in on the regular. I’m not even generally that late, usually just a couple of minutes, but trying to change that is just not an option if I’m going to get anything else done.

        4. birch*

          People who struggle with being on time know you all hate and resent us for being late, nobody is late because they somehow don’t know it annoys you. A small percentage of people know it annoys you and don’t care. It doesn’t make the rest of us any earlier to lump us in with the a-holes and complain about it. I bet there are things you struggle with that annoy other people too, but they’re considerate enough to not turn it into a personal attack on your “choices.”

        5. It's Me*

          With all due respect, the derision in your tone for people who struggle to be on time is very off-putting and hurtful. I’m sure others will mention very valid reasons why someone may be chronically late, but here’s mine. I have ADHD and mine happens to come with an amount of time blindness. I have absolutely no ability to know how much time is passing, how long something will take me, etc. I tend to over compensate by always being early because I overestimate how much of a buffer I will need. But that doesn’t change the fact that my body legitimately does not feel the passage as time. Five minutes feels the same to me as fifty, as five hours. Often times the only way I have of knowing that a large chunk of time has passed is that I *might* notice that I’m extremely hungry.

          And the thing is, sometimes I get it wrong. I think something will only take five minutes and it takes fifteen and I only know it took longer because of the time on the clock. I tried my best to be on time, and just didn’t know how long something would take. And no, before someone suggests it, alarms are not foolproof. Often I’ll have an alarm go off and forget why I’d set it in the first place. Or a notification will appear on my phone and I’ll get rid of the annoying red circle without processing what it was for, and then go back to hyperfocusing and thus miss what I was meant to do.

          All this to say that I sincerely hope you take a moment to reflect on your tone and accept that some peoples’ brains and brain chemistry does not work in the way that yours does. And then to work to realize that people aren’t running late *AT* you. Trust me, as someone with ADHD I know that it can frustrate people when I do get it wrong and run late, but I really am trying my best. There’s no reason to believe LW’s boss isn’t also trying her best. Please just be a little bit kinder.

      4. Bee*

        Conversely, I am just a person who CANNOT do mornings and am always late to work, or to breakfast meetings, but I am pretty punctual to meetings that start after 11. I think the solution is different if they’re half an hour late to every meeting or just the ones that start at 9am.

  4. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

    #4: I recommend the in-person internship too.
    *In person is MUCH better for learning and building relationships and just seeing how your coworkers do their jobs. MUCH. I learned so much my first months at my first office job just from listening to my coworkers talking to each other and to customers. I wouldn’t have gotten any of that in a remote position.
    *The established company sounds like they have A Plan for what to do with you. Managing an intern properly is a learned skill, gotten from experience and mistakes. Sounds like the young company might not have that experience and Plan, which means they would probably be making the mistakes with you as well.
    *An experienced company means you have older coworkers with a wealth of experience to learn from. You might not be buddies with them like you would with mid-twenties folks, but they can probably teach you much more.
    *Sounds like the young company has already promised to hire you on after the internship? That’s a bit iffy to me. They haven’t worked with you yet, so they don’t know if you are awesome or awful. Why are they already saying they want to hire you? (Ignore this point if it doesn’t apply.)

    1. MK*

      Also, I think a benefit in working for an established company is that it can give you an idea of how things are traditionally run, good and bad, which makes you able to discern whether the innovators have substance or not. No offense OP, but you sound a bit dazzled by the younger company’s “image”; however, if you don’t have much work experience, you might not be able to tell if the young leaders you speak of are truly worthy mentors or if they just come across as cool.

      1. D*

        Yeah, internships are so valuable in learning “how things are typically done.” Doing that at an established company is just inherently way more useful than a startup scrambling with a “growth” focus–you’re an intern! You’re going to be doing way more work than learning there, so they’d at least better be paying you.

      2. Selena81*

        Agreed on the ‘good AND bad’ thought: the idea behind advising the older company is not that experienced companies do everything right, because they don’t. It’s more about growing a basic understanding of which parts are good and bad, and what has been done in the past to try to fix bad parts.

      3. Momma Bear*

        I agree. A lot of work can be done remotely but just like living on campus is a different experience, so is being IN an office. Take the opportunity to learn office norms – something that is so lacking that some companies kind of do a boot camp for fresh grads. Soft skills can be just as important as other expertise. If the other company has a strong internship program, that may be really good. OP can always keep in touch with the other company – just say they want some in-office experience before going fully remote fresh out of college. Get skills. Learn the business. Any decent company will accept that.

    2. TechWorker*

      I completely agree – from the way you’ve put ‘no guaranteed employment afterwards’ as a negative for the in person one that sounds like the first one has offered you a job, that is both weird and likely not something they have any obligation to follow through with, so I wouldn’t count it as a positive in your calculations.

    3. Selena81*

      The young company sounds like they have a lot of self-confidence (‘we will be growing so fast that we will constantly be wanting for new staff, so we will absolutely hire you’).

      But if they are ‘start-up young’ there is a pretty big chance none of that will come to pass and they’ll fold within a few years.
      (there are no guarantees and the old company might stumble while the young company thrives, it’s just less likely for a well-established company to blink out of existence)

      And yeah, in general there is just way more to learn from experienced people in an office than inexperienced people over zoom.

      1. cabbagepants*

        Great point that the start-up could easily fold, as so many start-ups do. Internships can be very valuable to have on your resume to get full-time jobs. An internship with a well-known company is going to be much better on your resume than an internship with an unknown, defunct start-up.

      2. WellRed*

        Yes I can think of several overly self confident young startups that have failed and had movies and lawsuits follow.

    4. Alz*

      I would also recommend, if you are at all on the fence, going for the one that is slightly different to where you think you would like a job when you graduate- I did an internship with a big stuffy old company…and loved it! I moved across to a smaller company later in my career and, looking back, it wouldn’t have worked as well for me (I was a little idealistic in my youth). The only caveat would be if you are not confident about job offers- interning can give you a leg up for offers, but if you are being offered multiple internships I am assuming your CV/grades are looking good

    5. Been There*

      Agreed. An established internship programme is so incredibly valuable when you have little to no other work experience.

      The start-up sounds dazzling, but you’ll either be tasked with jobs and responsibilities way above where you currently are, or you’ll have nothing to do.

      1. Snow Globe*

        “have nothing to do” – unfortunately, this happens a LOT with internships with companies that don’t have a formal internship program. They need someone to do work, but it often ends up taking more time training someone than it does to do it themselves, so they don’t hand it off, and the intern sits around doing nothing.

        1. Sloanicota*

          Or they realize after one half-hearted conversation that it was probably inappropriate to expect someone with little to no experience to take over a project and do a good job. I’ve seen it sooo many times in my nonprofits. After you’ve been in the field a few years you forget what the average person does and doesn’t know and all the little things you’ve picked up along the way without noticing.

          1. Smithy*

            This is so real. All the things you learn along the way can easily blur together and feel compressed, but if anyone ever actually wanted to sit down and listen to you talk endlessly about your professional life. After hours it might then be clear how much time all of that took.

            I also want to shout out the amazing benefit of a formal program with a formal end date. The established internship program might be very ho-hum and average. But it’ll have a formal stop date, where the OP can reliably know they can show up reliably until that end date and do the professional basics. By doing that, they’ll get a standard recommendation or confirmation of completion from the internship program, all of which benefits their resume and they can move on. If it’s great and turns into more, fantastic, but if it’s not – the OP can treat this like any other required college course, get the best grade they can – and move on.

            A start-up without a formal internship program and relying on this program to serve as a feeder for entry level staff puts far more chaotic stakes in place.

          2. MigraineMonth*

            I had an internship with a well-known, established company where they had a plan for what project they wanted me to do… and it was a disaster. I had zero experience in the area they wanted me to work in, the tools they wanted me to use were so niche only one person in the company (and no-one outside the company) knew how to use them, and the project required me to have large amounts of institutional knowledge.

            I almost cried in relief when they decided to give up on the project and just gave me basic-level work.

      2. AngryOctopus*

        Especially with a remote internship! If it’s startup crazy, there’s a good chance that the intern that ‘someone’ thought would be a good idea will be the first thing to fall by the wayside.
        OP I know it seems on the face of it that working with a young cool group with a dream would be great, but I join the chorus saying that it’s not really a good idea. The established company will 1-have a space for you to do things, 2-have people around who you can ask questions of and 3-they may or may not be able to make you an employment offer after, but they want to see how you work first, which makes a lot of sense!

      3. And the Skeletons Are… Part of It*

        Yes don’t intern at a startup. You almost certainly won’t learn good office behavior and what’s normal, even if it were in person.

    6. I Would Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

      I’d like to add my voice to the chorus advocating for number 2.

      Absent other information, a lot of those ‘young, exciting’ companies seem so because they haven’t run into a lot of the dificulties and issues that every industry can expect and because they are fueled more by optimistism (and sometimes naivete) than expertise.

      If it’s a start-up, then the chances that this will materialise into a job you want to have are slim-to-none, and if it’s roughly organised then the chances you’ll be exposed to work you really will grow from is also less.

      I’d seriously consider the boring, hybrid company. You can always join a fun company later in your career!

    7. Myth*

      It sounds like you have two good options in front of you. If it were me, I’d prioritize the direct, organized, in-person mentorship you’ll get from the hybrid internship. A good mentor was critical to my early career success. You’ll be well supported and learn a ton. Even if this internship doesn’t turn into a long-term position, you’ll be better positive with skills and connections when you job search than you would be after an internship with little mentorship.

    8. Sutemi*

      The established company sounds like they have lots of interns, which can be very valuable! It gives you a peer group to network with, and often there will be coordinated intern activities so you can learn about each other’s jobs. You can learn more about the career paths that aren’t obvious and don’t have a direct path from academics.

      1. Hlao-roo*

        Yes to this! I interned at a large company with an established internship program. Most of the full-time people on the team I worked with were 10 or 20 years older than I was (so not young and dynamic) but there were other interns at the site and hanging out with them was a great way to learn about other teams and departments in the business.

      2. Sloanicota*

        Good point – building off question #3, this is sometimes how professional networks get started! You can meet someone when you’re all ‘just interns’ that goes on to big things later, and you might not have gotten to know them except you all started together. This is kind of what LinkedIn is for, for professional contacts you may want to keep connected to even if you’re not BFFs who want to share vacation photos.

    9. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

      Agree on all of this. My office runs an internship program every summer and it’s well-run because the coordinators do a TON of work and the rest of us know what the expectations are for providing interesting projects and shadowing opportunities. I think the chances of a young startup with a fully remote internship doing that internship well are slim. It really does take planning and intentionality and even more so when people are remote and the company forgets they exist.

      Well-known company on the resume doesn’t hurt either.

    10. Sloanicota*

      To your last point, the fact that OP said the second company had no guaranteed employment made me think maybe they felt the first company had a better track to employment, which is certainly a very valuable consideration. That would be the only reason to lean towards that one IMO – an internship is great but a job is better.

      1. Smithy*

        Without knowing a lot more about the industry and the internship program – a lot of companies that do this “internship to employment” track do so as a way to skirt employment laws.

        Essentially hiring an intern to do a job that should be done by a entry level employee, and then after a probationary period of the employer’s choosing – offering them full-time employment when technically that’s what the work the young person has been doing the whole time. So while I understand where this bias comes from, I actually think it’s part of the red flags against the first company.

        1. Sandi*

          My experience is very different with tech. Companies tend to hire university interns because it gives them a trial with the student and if it doesn’t go well then it is easy to quietly choose someone else next year, and if it goes well then they hire them after graduation.

          I would suggest to OP that if the new company is going to be hiring a lot in the next couple years and wanted to have OP as an intern now, then they will be even more interested in hiring them after graduation when they have more skills from the more established employer.

        2. MCMonkeyBean*

          I guess it probably depends strongly on field–the places I’ve seen that have a well-structured internship program like that are places that actually pay their interns. They basically are entry-level employees except that they haven’t graduated yet.

      2. Emilia Bedelia*

        Experience at the second company would also help the OP get a full time job at company #1. If they’re good enough to hire now (with 0 experience), they’ll still be good enough to hire after they’ve completed this other internship. If this startup isn’t interested in hiring employees who have learned from experienced, established people in the field, that’s a giant red flag they that are not going to be successful.

        An in person internship is SO MUCH MORE VALUABLE!! than a fully remote one.
        Also, a high quality, established company will look a lot better on a resume than a no name startup. OP should definitely go for the established company!

    11. learnedthehardway*

      Adding my agree – definitely take the internship that is in-person with the more established company that has a formal internship program. Why?

      1. The company has put real thought into their internship program – that means you will be provided training, mentoring, a REAL work mandate and projects to work on.
      2. The company will have put in expectations and training for their own employees and the managers for what interns should be doing, what meaningful work consists of, etc. etc.
      3. Being at least partly in-person (as long as the rest of the company is hybrid as well) is better for you to build relationships and network, at this early stage of your career.
      4. It will likely look better on your resume to have been through “formal internship program” at well-established XYZ company vs. US Co (US = Unknown Startup).
      5. Start ups fail all the time – a guarantee of employment after the internship is not really as guaranteed as it sounds.
      6. Older, more experienced employees likely have a lot more to teach you, and you’ll get more of their time/attention than you likely would in a start-up with very stretched employees.

    12. Eldritch Office Worker*

      These are all really good points and I want to highlight the in-person learning. During the pandemic there was a severe decline in how quickly our entry level employees picked up concepts, learned professional norms, improved after corrections – all things that can benefit from modeled behavior and working among peers. We’re hybrid now and it works great, but I would never bring on a remote intern after our experiences. There’s too much to learn in too short a time and I don’t think there would be real benefit to them or us in that setup.

      1. Anax*

        I don’t disagree with you about the downsides of remote internships; missing out on professional norms and modeling is not ideal. Just wanted to throw my two cents in – a lot of the advantages of in-person work are specifically benefits for neurotypical folks, and if your brain isn’t wired that way, it might be worth weighing the pros and cons differently.

        I had a great internship in my senior year of college, and I learned a lot, but… I don’t read facial expressions or pick up on nonverbal cues very well, and I get flustered when there are a lot of impromptu interruptions – even super useful ones, like impromptu learning opportunities or team lunches, will fluster me if I don’t have at least a day’s notice. That means that I’m often a little flustered and off-base in an office setting, and miss out on a lot of the typical benefits.

        Working remotely has been *amazing*, because we’re all basically on the same playing field. There are frequent check-in meetings, people verbalize more rather than relying on facial expressions because their cameras are off, and most things go on our calendars rather than ‘just coming up’.

        I’m wary about company 1 as a startup full of young folks, but if company 2 were remote – say, an established remote team with procedures and checkins in place – that would probably have been ideal for me, personally.

        No idea what LW would find best, of course! It just seemed worth mentioning since the informal benefits of in-person employment are being discussed so much.

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          For the record I have ADHD and work in a roughly 20% ND office so my advice has that built in.

        2. Tiger Snake*

          The problem with needing a day’s notice for impromptu learnings is that it won’t be there in a day, though?

          Impromptu learning is one of two things. Its either “Hey I’m in high demand, but this one meeting got out early so now I have a chance to go over some extra stuff with you and that chance would never otherwise have happened”, or “I am doing this task right now and you should come learn about it, but this is my work and so I need to get it done right now.”
          (Or, “New kid! I’m about present to The Big Director because he rescheduled my meeting that was meant to be in two weeks, but we literally just fixed the Bad Part so now it’s going to be a good meeting and there’s nothing you don’t have clearance for. Dial in and just listen because Talking To Directors is a skill to learn, and then I’ll explain any questions you had after.“)

          In both cases; it’s not possible to schedule it in advance, and it’s not possible to reschedule it for later, and they’re going to give you a lost of extremely valuable knowledge that expands or reinforces what those learning sessions did show you. It might be flustering to have spontaneity, but it’s the very nature of being at the level of work and complexity that those people who can teach you these things are dealing with.

    13. Danielle*

      OP, my first internship was with a “young team”. They had a cool hip office full of snacks and hoverboards and exercise balls and such. I thought it would be fun, but in reality, they did not know how to run a company, how to operate in an office, or how to manage me. It was incredibly dysfunctional the entire time. Worst job experience of my life. I went from there to a full-time job where everyone was several decades older than me and the office was boring grey cubicles. Can’t tell you how much of a better time I had. Take the second one, hands-down.

      1. MigraineMonth*

        Someone pointed out early in my career that if you’re working someplace with such a cool office and amazing benefits that you don’t want to go home, the company expects you to never go home.

        Company-provided lunch and good healthcare? Great.

        Company-provided breakfast and dinner, nap pods, after-work exercise classes, laundry machines, happy hour, parties, video games… That’s a red flag for zero work-life balance.

        It’s the tech-bro version of “We’re all a faaaaaaamily here!” (It’s also much harder to quit a job if that means you lose all your friends, exercise classes, social events, etc.)

    14. Random Dice*

      Not to mention, more established folks have a bigger network, which can be of benefit to you down the line.

    15. Tiger Snake*

      I’ll join the echo chamber on saying pick Option 2.

      If this was a ‘ordinary’ job, in a field where you’d at least held one other position, it wouldn’t matter. But this is expressly an internship. You’re not just learning from your trainers and supervisors; you’ll learn all sorts of skills from all your other coworkers. I will tell you right now; when we were remote for lock down, my interns learned literally half of what their successors learned when we were back in the office.

      Everyone’s going to talk about culture, but even aside from that; you’re an intern, and that means you’re not here to learn from just your trainers and supervisors, you’re here to learn from everyone. But when we’re remote, people just aren’t available in the way on-the-job learning needs. Those ten minutes between meetings can no longer be spent just casually dropping pearls as we chat with you.

      When you’re remote, every session must be scheduled in advance for a specific purpose. There are no opportunities to say “Oh hey, new kid come here and see this” – this is my work, I have no own deadlines, I cannot reschedule to make it a training session. Your chance to shadow me on all sorts of extra tasks because it turns out this will be a good learning moment after all is just GONE.

  5. AcademiaNut*

    For LW4, I strongly agree with Alison. Having an established internship program, interaction with people with varying levels of experience, and in-person interaction are all very valuable.

    I would say that in a lot of cases, a growing company with young leadership could be more useful as a second job – after the internship and a couple years in an entry level position. Once you have a good grounding in how things work in an established, functional company, you will have a better ability to evaluate a younger, more freewheeling system. A newer company with fast growth and young leadership can work, but it’s also prone to the kind of dysfunction that comes from inexperience, and not knowing what you don’t know (c.f. leadership implosions in various tech companies as they try to mature past the break stuff dude-bro stage).

    1. cabbagepants*

      My first job experience was in a particularly high-chaos division of a large company, and wow it has been hard to unlearn all the bad habits I picked up there.

    2. Really?*

      Agreed. It will also provide a way to build your network by meeting people and developing relationships with others that might not necessarily be involved directly with your work. In a remote internship, you would likely develop relationships with fewer people in the company.

  6. EA*

    1 and 5 are both cases where you’ll get more results by changing your own behavior vs. trying to get your boss to change. For #1, just stop scheduling early meetings whenever possible. Don’t give that time slot to clients. You don’t need to tell your boss you’re doing this, just quietly phase out early meetings. For #5, switch places with your coworker, at least every other day, and then you won’t have to crane your neck.

    Sounds like both have underlying issues though – annoyance that boss gets away with tardiness daily, and at being interrupted at lunch with work matters. For the latter, I do think you can politely say stuff like, “Yes, that’s important! I’ll find you when I’m done eating so we can talk through it” etc to politely push back on work talk during breaks.

    1. KateM*

      OP#5 writes “her interruption always starts as small talk but then inevitably turns into a work conversation between her and my coworker”. Not “us”, but “my coworker”. I wonder if it is because OP is with her back, or because the supervisor actually has conversation with coworker and OP is just someone who happens to be there. In the second case, her trying to send the manager away would probably get weird glances, but it would be really interesting to see what would happen if OP changed places with coworker – would supervisor then talk mostly with OP, or would she come further in so as to face the coworker.

      1. AngryOctopus*

        I do get the impression that it’s work talk *because* boss sees coworkers face and then just can’t stop themselves from work talk, so if they swapped OP would get the work talk. I think they should swap just to see, and then maybe can move to a table further from the door? If nothing else it might force the boss in further to talk to them, and put them in a less awkward situation.

      2. Office Lobster DJ*

        For OP #5, after one too many meals gone cold because of the same, I’d give a few minutes of undivided attention, but then I’d start turning back and continuing to eat between conversational “beats.” It’s a lot of swiveling, but it’s better than pretending to focus on the conversation while your mind is on your rapidly congealing soup.

        If you happen to be hourly and this is your unpaid lunch hour being interrupted, do not feel any sort of guilt politely saying you’ll check in about something later, AFTER LUNCH.

        1. Starbuck*

          I’d not even do that – turn around and greet the person for a sentence or two, sure, but then I’m going back to what I was doing. If you want face-to-face, you move! I was sitting down first. Obviously for a friend in a social situation I’d be happy to be much more accommodating, but for a coworker interrupting my lunch? Nope!

      3. Kyrielle*

        If possible, I’d rearrange the table/how I sit with the coworker, so that both are at right angles to the door. This may not be possible, depending on the space – but if neither directly faces the door and neither directly faces away, it may be easier to eat and converse. Or to eat and listen.

      4. Common Taters on the Ax*

        The fact that the conversation with the other coworker led me to wonder if the dynamic isn’t that the other coworker turns it to work, because the OP doesn’t say how the conversation takes that turn. I may be reading too much into it, but to me it sounds fully possible that the boss may be trying to be friendly but distant with the coworkers, starting some chitchat that she expects to be brief (and so she stands in the doorway), and the coworker may be uncomfortable with socializing with the boss and so turns it to work. I especially wonder that since there’s no indication the two coworkers have discussed this before. If that is the dynamic, it might help to discuss it with the coworker to bounce ideas off each other about how to keep these chats short.

    2. No Longer Working*

      I would ask my friend to switch seats with me permanently so her back is to the door. Then when the boss comes in to talk to her, the boss will have to walk farther into the room to face her. Easy-peasy solution!

    3. Manglement Survivor*

      I think when the conversation turns to work for a LW5, I would get up and move to another table with my lunch. I might say something like, “oh you guys are talking work, so I’ll leave you to it while I go enjoy my lunch break”.

  7. Over It*

    #2 I would let go of the fact that your employee is telling you she’s taking PTO rather than asking if she can. It’s her earned time off and she’s entitled to use it. However, definitely address the lack of notice around doctor’s appointments! Unless it’s truly a surprise “I need to go to urgent care ASAP situation,” the lack of notice isn’t okay. She should be telling you at least a day or two ahead of time if she plans to be out, unless she truly got an appointment last minute, in which case she should still be contacting you before she’s supposed to be in. It’s very reasonable as a supervisor to want to know when your employee isn’t going to be at work.

    1. nodramalama*

      I think there’s maybe a distinction between “being entitled to use PTO” and “being entitled to take it when I want to.” Not everyone is able to take leave whenever they want, especially if there are operational requirements at play.

      When I have leave I want to take, I position it to my manager as a plan but then say “let me know if you have concerns with those dates”. That way my manager can say, “all good” or, “actually those dates fall in the middle of school holidays and multiple people are taking leave already.”

      1. UKDancer*

        This so much. I am generally happy for my team to take leave. I do need them to check with me first so I can make sure we have cover and there’s not going to be a major issue especially if they want a long period off (e.g. I used to have an Australian staff member who wanted 3 weeks off in the summer to go home – so we needed to agree timings well in advance).

        Likewise when I book my leave with my boss I check that there is sufficient team leader level cover in the office.

      2. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

        But the LW didn’t identify any of those types of concerns and they’re far from universal. And a boss can say no (if there is a good reason) even if the employee doesn’t phrase it as a question.

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          Yeah OP should really reflect on WHY this bothers them. If there’s a workflow interruption, if you aren’t able to find her when it’s important, if she’s taking more than her allocated PTO time – sure, those are conversations. If it’s just “I feel like it should be done this way” – nah.

          Also as an additional point, now that I work somewhere that people tell me when they’re taking time off instead of me having to do a whole approval and tracking process it saves me so much time. I can just look at their calendar and I never need to think about it.

        2. Itsa Me, Mario*

          Agreed, and agreed that this sounds like some kind of Jeopardy! style power trip, or maybe a “bitch eating crackers” type of situation.

      3. Johanna Cabal*

        It could also be that the employee is following advice she received. Years ago, in my first post-college job, I went to a leadership seminar. The speaker made a lot of good points. The one point she made that troubled me was that the speaker never asked for time off, she just went ahead and scheduled it.

        Now, I personally think PTO should certainly be used, however, there are times when it can conflict with job duties. Such as when I worked at a non-profit and a critical person in the meetings department took the week of our annual meeting off for a vacation. Said staff member could’ve taken the week off after the event and no one would’ve cared.

        Also, looking back, that speaker was in a high-level director position. Most of the attendees in the seminar were early in their careers like me. I certainly didn’t have the cachet of pulling something like that off. A lot of times, career advice fails to account for the nuances among industries and job levels, something I saw when I went from working at a financial institution to a startup and then to a non-profit.

        1. Yellow cake*

          Industries differ. Job roles differ. If there’s no job role reason to care that someone is late – don’t track people out expect advance notice that if an appointment runs late they’ll be late to work.

          I have regular medical appointments. My boss sort of knows this as it is no secret I need regular medical treatment. I don’t tell my boss when I have one booked I just block my calendar so nobody can schedule a late/early meeting that is an issue. I only say anything if a clash arises.

          It’s possible this employee has a weekly appointment scheduled to end in plenty of time before work. But occasionally they run late and so she lets her boss know when this happens. It may be she blocks her calendar so even if running late it won’t cause issues (what I do).

          LW you don’t want your employees feeling they need to get your ok to book appointments in their personal time just in case something goes wrong UNLESS there’s coverage issues that need managing.

    2. KateM*

      The way I understood, she didn’t plan to be out – she scheduled the appointment an hour before work, planning that she can come to work straight from appointment maybe. There may be many, many other appointments that OP doesn’t know anything about because the doctor didn’t run late.

      1. Jackalope*

        Yeah, I normally schedule my appointments after work rather than before because I start at 7 am, it I’ve had many appointments that no one at my office knew about because I just quietly left at the end of my day. If I had a job that started later then I could totally see doing the same thing in the morning and just coming in when I was done without mentioning it unless there was a problem.

      2. Llama Llama*

        Makes me think of my last pregnancy. I had an 8:00 appointment and didn’t even mention it to my manager because it was before my start time. Then in the middle of the night in between my labor pain I irrationally worried that I should have mentioned it to her because doctor appointments are never timely. (I was very late for work. 16 weeks late.)

        1. Mr. Shark*

          Well you definitely should’ve notified your manager if you plan to be 16 weeks late! Haha! Congratulations on your new baby Llama!!

      3. Marie H*

        I read it the other way around, that her appointment was scheduled for an hour after her scheduled start time.

        1. Marie H*

          Clearly I need coffee – I read it again and it finally clicked that the appointment was beforehand. Disregard my comment before.

      4. Ace in the Hole*

        I’d be pretty unhappy if my supervisor demanded I tell them about every appointment I schedule before work just on the off chance that one happens to run late.

        Doctor’s appointments are often quite short – a standard office visit is usually only 10-20 minutes. She scheduled it for an hour before her shift started. If the doctor isn’t far from work, that’s plenty of time for the appointment plus travel with extra time in case the doctor was running a few minutes late. And indeed, she may have appointments at this time regularly and this is the first time it’s gone over enough to cause an issue.

        1. nodramalama*

          Doctors appointments may be short in theory, but as someone who worked for nearly 10 years for a doctors clinic, these days I always book a doctors appointment with the awareness that I might be there for an hour. It is very easy for doctors to get delayed, and the delays compound during the day.

      5. Itsa Me, Mario*

        This. I found it strange that LW would be bent out of shape about a doctor’s appointment scheduled before work, even with the slight risk of it causing her to be late. What’s the difference between being a few minutes late because of traffic or a minor emergency, vs. being late due to a medical appointment running late?

        Then again, I also found it weird that LW #1’s boss self-criticized by saying she should be on a PIP, because I’ve never worked in any corporate office job where being 15 minutes late could ever conceivably escalate to that point. And I say this as a chronically prompt person.

        1. constant_craving*

          The importance of being 15 minutes late really depends on what you do. For some jobs there’s absolutely no impact. In others, it’s a big problem, like when it means leaving a client waiting, the business unopened, etc.

          I worked as a research coordinator for years. If I had been 15 minutes late with any kind of consistency, I would expect to have been basically immediately fired. It doesn’t sound like the situation in the letter rises to quite that level, but the boss does seem to be delaying meetings coordinated across multiple countries/timezones that aren’t easy to schedule. That’s not insignificant.

    3. bamcheeks*

      It sounds like the doctor’s appointment was outside work time, and only leaked into work time because there was a delay? LW says, “when your scheduled start time is only an hour after your scheduled appointment time”— it really depends how foreseeable the delay was, but if the clinic usually runs on time and the employee thought she’d be done and dusted by 11 and at work for her scheduled start time of 11:30, it’s not unreasonable not to mention it!

    4. AngryOctopus*

      Well, OP says that the appt is scheduled for well before the employee starts, but she’s late b/c doc is late. I don’t think employee is obligated to say she’s in a doc appt before her start time. If she has to have a lot of appointments and the doc is routinely late even with an early start, it would be good for employee to give a heads up though.

      1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

        I would give a heads up anyway because doctor’s offices run late for a variety of reasons. If you rarely see a doctor you might not realize this but if you go regularly or even semi regularly you know. Just a hey, I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow morning, I might be late is all that’s needed.

        1. jasmine*

          But we don’t know how often she’s going to see the doctor. If it’s often, I personally wouldn’t want to alert my manager every time because it would flag that there’s some sort of health situation going on. It may be the case that most of the time the doctor is on time but occasionally they’re late. We just don’t know.

        2. Itsa Me, Mario*

          Eh. I’ve had a mix of experiences. Sometimes predictable – you get to know after a while that this one doctor is always late – and some not. I’ve definitely had routine appointments that were on time and moved quickly, often enough that I wouldn’t think anything of scheduling them as if they will be on time.

        3. Common Taters on the Ax*

          That very much depends on the doctor. I’ve had some that always kept me waiting, so I would let my coworkers know that I hoped to be in by xx o’clock, but who knows? I have others that are always in and out on time.

        4. Mr. Shark*

          Yeah, I agree with that. If I have something going on in the morning before work, depending on your office politics, it would be wise to just say “hey, I have an appointment tomorrow morning, so I may be late depending on how things go.” There’s nothing wrong with that, for the most part.
          But then again, this LW is getting worked up about telling about PTO rather than asking, so maybe the person is not comfortable with that conversation because it doesn’t seem like LW is really big on that flexibility.

        5. Dahlia*

          The clinic I go to is very timely. My appointments almost always are on time or even early. The only time I’ve waited longer was when an unexpected baby was born and they rescheduled me.

    5. Lily Rowan*

      Eh, it really depends! I had a doctor’s appointment the other day that I literally didn’t tell my boss about. I had the time marked on my calendar, there is no concern about coverage, I’m salaried, it was no big deal. I know she would not care that I was out of pocket for an hour.

    6. learnedthehardway*

      Disagreeing that employees can just announce when they are taking time off. A level-setting discussion with the employee is in order to point out that while she is entitled to PTO, she is obliged to get manager’s approval as to the timing and how many days/weeks at a time she can take (ie. if she has a large block of vacation days).

      Of course, the OP should not be expecting anyone to be beseeching them for vacation time. And perhaps when the employees says, “I’m going to take Dec 3 – 15 as my vacation”, they really mean “unless you have objections”. So coming down on the employee for being high-handed may seem a bit much. Just a reminder that “this will have to be approved before we can confirm your plans. Don’t book anything you can’t cancel until you hear from me.” should be enough of a warning that the timing is not entirely up to the employee.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        If there’s a business reason, sure. I want a heads up if someone will be out for more than a couple days. If multiple people being out on the same time would be a problem there’s also a coordination aspect that absolutely should be considered. But if it’s just for the sake of having time off approved? Nah. These are all adults, they don’t need a hall pass for a doctor’s appointment. I just have a vacation calendar that people plop their time off onto, I don’t need the administrative headaches and they don’t need me to be a bottleneck in their vacation planning.

      2. Colette*

        That’s not the case in all companies or all roles. It’s relevant in a role that needs coverage, but that’s not universal.

    7. Carla V*

      Regarding LW2:
      Since my husband died, my view on this issue has changed DRAMATICALLY. My work was very kind in letting me take last-minute time to get married in the hospital and sit with my new husband as he died. I realize that not all businesses can do this, but in general, life is short, and as long as they give appropriate notice, you’re darn right to take the time first and worry about work last.

      1. Hannah Lee*

        Oh, Carla, so sorry for your loss.

        And you’re absolutely right. At the end of the day, we have to focus on what matters in the big scheme of things.

  8. MK*

    #1, personally I would find apologies for something that happens often and isn’t improved aggravating. OP, are you sure that, if she did apologize, after a while you would resent all these meaningless expressions of regret?

    1. Teapot Wrangler*

      I tend to agree – the “If you were actually sorry, you would change it” school of thought. Honestly, though, I’d probably be annoyed either way. I’m absolutely not a morning person – I never allow meetings in my diary before 10am – but people being late does feel rude to me.

      1. FashionablyEvil*

        Exactly! I had a boss who was always late and always apologizing. It was so frustrating because all I wanted to say was, “If you were actually sorry, you’d stop being late!”

    2. allathian*

      Yes, I absolutely agree.

      When my manager started a few years ago, she was always running more than a few minutes late to every meeting and kept apologizing for it. I didn’t say anything, but in the end the apologies just started to annoy me more than her actual lateness did. In 2020 when all of us went remote, my org instituted 25 and 50-minute meetings, and that’s helped a lot. She’s pretty much never late now.

      My manager wasn’t late because she was unable to get started, she was late because she had a full schedule, and I find this much easier to accept than someone being constantly late because they’re procrastinating.

    3. Seashell*

      I can see your point, but I think I’d prefer if a person behaving badly at least felt a little badly about it. Not acknowledging it at all makes it seem like the manager doesn’t feel she’s doing anything wrong.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        Yeah but saying sorry and feeling badly aren’t the same thing. If she’s joking that she should be punished for her tardiness, she’s not taking it seriously and she doesn’t feel bad.

      2. Ellis Bell*

        I would hazard a guess that she doesn’t think it’s wrong? I’ve said elsewhere in the thread, that even though I logically think being unpunctual is generally wrong, and a terrible idea, I wouldn’t feel personally wronged by a boss like this (the great upside to time blindness is that you don’t notice time passing when you are waiting, so you don’t care about waiting for a fellow late person in the way you hear other people describe it as painfully slow or rude). I admit to speculating, but the vibe I get from OPs boss is more: “Eh, things happen, people know things happen and I’ll just let them know I’m running late so that they know something’s happened!” I don’t really get a vibe of “Eh, the little people are unimportant, let them wait and I’m not going to bow down low enough to admit to how much I suck either” but that kind of attitude would require more evidence of general jerkiness apart from the lateness thing imo.

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          “the great upside to time blindness is that you don’t notice time passing when you are waiting, so you don’t care about waiting for a fellow late person”

          This is so true. Especially if I start doing something idle while I wait – they might even scare me when they show up lol

    4. Office Lobster DJ*

      My thoughts as well. I can see why the current pattern is grating — I’m sure later admitting that she or her dog were indisposed is meant apologetically but it also absolves her from any real responsibility, in a way — but I don’t think tacking on a perfunctory “Sorry!” is going to change much.

    5. Ann O'Nemity*

      My first thought was the manager is not apologizing because she’s not sorry. Would the OP prefer to hear a lie?

  9. STFU and Let me Eat my sandwich*

    LW 5 – Isn’t the issue more that you’re at lunch and need a break from work, not to be interrupted by your boss and talking about work? Due to the nature of you job is eating somewhere else not an option. I’d eat in my car if my boss interrupted my lunch regularly.

    1. Aubergine*

      I’m on the same wavelength. Also, is the OP exempt or non-exempt? In some states (like mine) non-exempt employees are entitled to a lunch break uninterrupted by work tasks.

    2. Angstrom*

      Exactly. You have to train your boss out of the “I’ll catch them together while they’re on break” habit. If she wants to see you together for work issues, she can call a quick meeting.

    3. A Poster Has No Name*

      Yeah, boss is rude for interrupting employees for work talk while they’re clearly at lunch, but unless you can gently suggest to boss (either in the moment or later) that you’re at lunch and would like the break from work talk (and not have them overreact), your option is pretty much to change where to take your break.

    4. Common Taters on the Ax*

      It sounds like the boss doesn’t start out with the apparent intention of talking about work, and it’s not clear how the topic moves on to work matters. It could be the coworker taking it there. But whoever’s doing it, I think a quick, cheerful, “We/I can stop by to talk to you about that after lunch” might help send the message. If the conversation is strictly between the coworker and the boss and doesn’t impact the OP at all, maybe ask the coworker to try to stay off work topics and use the deflection if the boss goes there.

      1. Hannah Lee*

        If it’s not possible to take lunch somewhere else completely, maybe getting into the habit of getting up and leaving if boss and co-worker wind up in a work discussion might help.

        Not in a flouncy way, just in a ” I’m going to step out and leave you two to it … just remembered I’ve got a (call to make, errand to run) before lunch break is over.” When you’re first implementing this, try to choose lunches that are portable, that it won’t be awkward to pick them up and walk away with them and finish them elsewhere.

        It doesn’t stop the boss’s interruption, but at least it removes the sense of being held hostage in the break room where you’re not in the discussion, but not out of it enough to feel like you can ignore it and eat your lunch in peace.

    5. Pesad@*

      I’m happy to see from others on this blog how very normal it is to eat lunch in the car. Some people would always give me weird looks but I needed the peace and quiet.

  10. Shrimp Emplaced*

    Congrats OP4 on getting two interviews! From your letter, it sounds like you haven’t done them yet? If that’s the case, you may be rushing ahead to the decision between them.

    As Alison often says, getting interviews doesn’t mean you have either job (in your case, internship) yet. So you may consider factoring that into your expectations.

    Also, the interview process is a time where you get to practice taking in information and your observations about these companies and the people you’d be working alongside so that you can evaluate them too. Yes, you’re new to the workforce or industry, so you’ll just be discovering what suits you, and you may find it necessary to adjust to office norms. But your interview process may give you relevant info that could factor into any decision you might have to make. It’s great to have a sense that, all things being equal, the in-person opportunity is the better choice, for all the reasons Alison and other commenters have stated. Just know that you get to factor in what you learn and how you jibe with the two teams too.

    Much good luck!

    1. CG*

      Yes! I was surprised Alison didn’t mention in her response that when you’re at the interview stage and not the offer stage, you don’t have to decide between your options – the interview is helpful for getting more information! It may be that the in-person opportunity is on a very siloed team with limited mentoring/social interaction, and the remote team has regular opportunities for you to get to know everyone, build your office savvy, etc. Office culture and your likely outcomes from the internship are the sorts of thing to find out more detail about in the interviews.

      Good luck!

  11. KR*

    #5, the thing that comes to mind is to set up another chair and say, “Oh Susan, won’t you sit and join us?”

    1. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      Yeah. I’ll bet you anything the boss is trying to be polite, from her perspective, by not physically barging into the break room – as if it’s the space that’s important, not the actions that take place in and around the space.

    2. The Username Lost to Time*

      This is definitely an option. It sounds like the OP may also want to avoid work talk during their lunch break so an invite without conversation boundaries might not fully solve the issue.

  12. Susie*

    LW#1 – I had a boss like this. What worked is just accepting he wasn’t a morning person. I never scheduled a meeting with him before 1030am, and that seemed to solve it!

    1. Myrin*

      Although OP says that while her boss is “especially” late in the mornings, she’s actually “always” late, so it sounds like she would be late to a meeting at 10:30 as well.

  13. Ellis Bell*

    I feel like the issue OP3 raises is definitely affected by your background! I am the first person in my family to have a degree, or professional job and this has always been a struggle for me. I see other people doing what Alison describes and it always feels culturally off to me, like I either have to maintain a full blown friendship with people I worked with, or else I’m just pretending to be friends with people. I see middle class friends do this stuff effortlessly but it has never come easily to me.

    1. Emmy Noether*

      It may depend on the field how well this works, but in my experience you don’t have to be actual friends with people in you professional nework. For me it’s just people I’ve worked with or talked to at a conference. And I’m building it up slowly 10 years into the job now, it takes time. There may be some small talk before meetings (or maybe even a beer in the evening at the conference), but no actual friendship or non-work contact. Maybe I don’t even talk to them for a year or three, because there’s no occasion to do so. Usually referring someone to them is beneficial to them as well (potential client), so it’s not like they’ll complain just because it’s been a while since we talked.

      1. Mel*

        Yep, in my white-collar role a professional network is just people you would feel comfortable asking a work-related question even though you don’t work together.
        For niche roles the isolation is real, you definitely need those wider conferences and a chance to just gossip about work honestly.

        1. LW3*

          that’s helpful – I do know more people I could ask one work question than people I consider friends in my field.

          1. Lily Rowan*

            That is definitely your network. It’s those loose ties with people you could reach out to. I didn’t have much of a network until I had worked at a larger place for a while, and then suddenly I knew people who worked at a bunch of different places, as my coworkers moved on to other jobs.

      2. Ellis Bell*

        I completely understand that it’s the done thing and that no one will complain… that doesn’t make it feel any more natural! A lot of this stuff gets done by instinct. I do manage to network, but it’s a struggle.

        1. There's a G&T with my name on it*

          Same here – first gen uni, first gen white-collar professional, my network is hard-won and very slowly built over the last decade or so.

        2. Emmy Noether*

          Interestingly, I find networking in general pretty hard too, and I suuuuuck at asking for things for myself, because I do feel I need more closeness for that. Giving recommendations or contacts is the easiest part for me – feels more akin to recommending a dentist or a photographer, whom one also isn’t usually personal friends with.

        3. LW3*

          I understand it’s a struggle… but what specific activities are you doing in order to network?

          1. pally*

            What I did: join a professional organization that has a chapter that is local to me. And I got involved with their activities (monthly dinner meetings, tours of local companies, working on the leadership committee, networking events).

            This resulted in getting to know a lot of folks professionally. And, I have a network of contacts where I can refer others to. And ask questions myself.

          2. MigraineMonth*

            I think the most important is the easiest: just adding contacts to your Linked-In profile means you will be able to find and contact them later. I think it’s most natural to do that when starting a job or leaving it, but others keep their profiles more up-to-date.

            A network isn’t ride-or-die or even a real friendship. It’s people who you’ve had a conversation with who work in the same field. Some will be reference-quality contacts (can speak to the quality of your work and vice-versa), but many will just be former coworkers, college classmates or conference goers.

          3. Ellis Bell*

            I volunteer for extra curricular stuff that doesn’t necessarily directly help my role. So, I’m currently taking a course being offered by my employer which will put me in contact with a lot of people who are training/trainers in my field and I’m probably going to keep in touch some future date by saying “hey just wondering if anyone is implementing (training) in a particular way as I’m having a particular struggle with (issue)”. As this very column proves, people lurve to give advice. The last time I went on purely voluntary training of this kind, I met someone who remembered me from our (unrelated to our field) degree – so I made the effort to jot down her name, make some small talk and connect with her online.

      3. UKDancer*

        Yes same. My network is people I’ve worked with and got along with on a professional level either in the same company as them or meeting professionally. I’ve met some while we’ve worked on a project together and others because they belong to the same professional organisation or attend the same conferences. They’re not personal friends but they’re people I’d have a coffee with if we’re in the same place, or meet up with for a drink at a conference. Very few of them are actual friends (I think 2 people from the past 15 years are real friends) but they’re people I talk to and network with.

        I don’t think it’s a conscious decision, you just click with some people and keep in touch with them / connect on LinkedIn.

        1. English Rose*

          Yes LinkedIn is a great way to stay connected and grow your network. I’ve been keeping in touch there actively for many years now.
          My network is former colleagues, more casual business contacts and even people I’ve never met but we’ve connected over each other’s articles and comments.

      4. Stuckinacrazyjob*

        So that’s a network! I didn’t think I had one since I never play parcheesi with the old coworkers, but at least 30 people are like ‘ I worked with her. She helped me sometimes ‘

        1. UKDancer*

          Yes. Network is shorthand for “people I get on with and can ask to do stuff or talk about work stuff with in a mutually reciprocal manner.”

          So someone who worked for me 2 years ago messaged asked me to look at his application for a promotion last week. This week I asked a colleague from another part of the company to be on an interview panel and had coffee with a different colleague to discuss how we were both approaching a problem we faced to share expertise.

          None of these people are friends but they’re all my network.

    2. bamcheeks*

      This is really interesting to me! I still find it kind of awkward and it’s definitely a ~learned~ behaviour rather than something I do naturally; but it’s also the case that I had lots of models for this type of relationship growing up. I sang in lots of choirs with my mum, and I think a lot of the friends and connections we both had through that were like business relationships: a mixture of people you genuinely love and want to be real friends with, people you like and get on with but have no desire to be more intimate with, and people you don’t particularly like but respect and get on with, and people you actively dislike but have to get on with anyway. And that thing of, “i like and appreciate you when I meet you, but there’s no expectation that we’ll be in touch in between these sporadic meetings and that’s ok”. So I definitely learned the skills for engaging that way.

      That said, I of course know working-class people who are renowned as networkers, some of them who were similarly involved in activities like sports or scouting or whatever growing up, and others just have the aptitude. But I think you’re right that middle-class people are more likely to see those kind of relationships modelled as they’re growing up and for that to be OK and good rather than a sign of insincerity or fakeness.

      1. Bee*

        This raises an interesting point for me, because absolutely the person who modeled that kind of relationship-building for me was my mom – who did it all in her personal life. She grew up in a very interconnected Irish-American neighborhood, so it was cultural for her (her sisters are all very good at it too), and this kind of staying in touch even when you aren’t close, reconnecting when you see people, making plans to foster the relationship, remembering details about people’s lives and asking them about it, general network-building was stuff she did with local acquaintances & my friends’ parents & her childhood neighbors & distant family members. She was a SAHM until I was in middle school, and actually she got her first job back in the workforce through a neighbor she knew in this way, who worked in real estate and was like “I bet you’d be great at this.” (She was right – that skill is like 70% of being a successful real estate agent!) I am nowhere near as good at it as her, either in my personal life or in business, but what I know of maintaining professional connections is based on how my mom maintained personal ones.

      2. Ellis Bell*

        This is like my friend’s mum; she’s professional middle class and is also a social powerhouse organizing pretty much everything in their village. So, my friend was always an excellent networker and I learned a fair bit from her.

    3. doreen*

      I think it’s affected not only by your background, but by your actual job. And it’s probably easier if you make a distinction in your personal life between “friends” and “acquaintances” – I am also the first in my family to have a degree/professional job and my family didn’t really make a distinction between “acquaintances” , “friends of circumstance” and “true friends”. Neither did the people at my first jobs. And I had to learn that “work friends” don’t necessarily have to get invited if I have a party and that people I sat with at a meeting often weren’t really even “work friends” – I could call them with a question or maybe ask for a work-related favor but they probably didn’t know anything about my personal life.

      1. UnicornUnicorn*

        I think my problem is that I make such a hard line distinction between acquaintances and friends. Acquaintances are people you nod hello to at the grocery store. Friends are people you ask for things. Asking an acquaintance (like a former coworker) to get a coffee together so you can talk shop feels so… intimate to me.

    4. ecnaseener*

      I really don’t think friendship has to come into it. I’m sure it *can* help, but in my experience just being reasonably warm (and competent and helpful) during normal work interactions is all it takes to make a work acquaintance think well of you. And that’s what a “network” is, it’s all the people who think well enough of you to be receptive to little questions and requests. It’s not limited to actual friends, or actual-pretend-friends, or anything as intense as that.

    5. glouby*

      Partly I came to recognize I had a network when I stopped trying to solve all problems and questions in my work by myself, or solely in dialogue with my boss and immediate team. Or, sometimes I would come up with a short-term solution or answer, but realize that I could get better perspectives for thinking long-term by asking someone else outside of my organization how they’ve handled this.

    6. I'm just here for the cats!*

      I feel the same way! Yeah I know a lot of people from former jobs but I don’t know what they are doing now and I wouldn’t refer someone to them. I think it also depends on your job. Like if someone was looking for something in my employer I might be able to point them in the right direction. But there are many jobs where you wouldn’t be able to set up a network. (I’m thinking like my previous jobs as customer service. There’s no networking unless you get to be a manager or something).

    7. Ann O'Nemity*

      First gen here too. It’s a disadvantage when your family doesn’t model effective networking skills and help you establish your own network early.

      That said, I’ve found a lot of really good community resources for people in my shoes. The young professionals group organized by the local chamber and my university’s alumni group were particularly helpful in the first decade of my career; both had specific committees and resources for first gen professionals. Participating in those groups led to invitations to other groups, like the DEI Council and the Women in Tech networking group.

      Volunteering was another wonderful way to organically grow my network. I didn’t really set out to intentionally create a network, but I kept running into the same people at various events and causes.

      Finding related professional groups is also helpful. Many fields have their own niche professional groups. There are several different HR groups in my area. Most are general, but some get into specific types of HR like recruiting, talent development, and benefits administration.

      Overall, I’ve had really good luck approaching this from a service perspective. How can I get involved? How can I help my community? How can I help my field? This approach helps build trust and relationships, especially when you’re not expecting a transactional benefit.

  14. talos*

    #2 – I once asked my manager about my proposed PTO, and he was upset that I would think he would ever say no!

    1. Phryne*

      I enjoy imagining the look on my boss’ face if I would ask for permission to take time off. She will just expect us to make sure no work issues arise form it if we want to take leave outside of school holidays. Doctors appointments etc I just put in my calendar as blocked private time so they can see why i’m not there. Not going to bother telling anyone.
      Really, unless you are in a kind of business where work will immediately suffer when people are not there for a couple of hours (like shift work, or coverage based work), there is no reason to get worked up as a manager about overrunning doctor visits, that’s just micromanaging. Assess people on the quality of their work, making deadlines etc. If that is fine just let them work as they want. Makes for much happier and thus more motivated people.

      1. londonedit*

        Yeah, same. We have a centralised system where you book leave, and technically the ‘approval’ goes to my boss, but that’s just a formality. I wouldn’t feel the need to ask whether I’m allowed to take time off. I know our schedules – out of politeness I’ll say ‘I’m planning on taking the week of the 21st as holiday – I don’t think there’s anything major going on that week but let me know if it’ll be a problem’, but I’m not asking permission from my boss, I’m just letting them know my plans.

        With doctor’s appointments it’s understood that in most cases you have to take whatever appointment you can get, and with WFH we don’t have to take any time off for a doctor’s appointment – it’s just ‘I have an appointment at 10am on Wednesday, shouldn’t be gone for more than about an hour’. Again, I definitely wouldn’t ask permission from my boss before booking a doctor’s appointment – obviously I’d try to avoid any glaring clashes, but if the only time I can be seen is 10am on Wednesday then that’s the appointment I’m booking.

        1. KateM*

          Those appointments for OP#2 employee aren’t even during work hours unless the doctor gets behind. Now imagine that you would be expected to inform your boss well before all your personal appointments outside work hours just in case they will run late.

          1. londonedit*

            Indeed. I have regular blood tests for a medical condition and I usually book these in for 8am, well before I start work. Again, out of sheer politeness I do usually say to my boss ‘I have to go to the hospital for 8am tomorrow – should be back in plenty of time but if I’m a bit late logging on that’s where I am’, because that’s the dynamic we have and because I’m never sure of the traffic on the way home. But it’s in no way expected and if I did it the other way round and just said ‘Sorry I’m late – had a hospital appointment and the traffic was a nightmare coming back’ on the rare occasion there is a problem, my boss would be absolutely fine with that because we’re all adults.

            1. Allonge*

              That’s great and it works well in a lot of work cultures, but it’s not universal – not (just) because some managers can be controlling but in a bunch of workplaces / teams there is a genuine need for people to show up reliably by a certain time, or to flag that they may not be.

              In high-collaboration, high-intensity places it’s really not about being an adult. It’s knowing that Frank is actually coming in or not by grooming time, otherwise Lauren and Pirya need to find a third person to manage Spitting!Llama. It’s not a problem that Frank may be late, there is a way to replace him! But him being late comes with certain action items, and it’s suboptimal to be left wondering.

              1. Ace in the Hole*

                Right, but the nature of life is that sometimes people are late.

                If this is a recurring issue, then I agree LW is justified in telling her employee to handle it differently. For example if the doctor frequently runs late enough that she can’t make it to her shift on time, she needs to either schedule appointments earlier or let LW know ahead of time.

                On the other hand, if this is a rare thing it seems invasive to demand she notify her employer of all personal appointments just in case. A doctor who’s usually timely might unexpectedly run very late one day. But she could be late to work for all sorts of reasons outside her control – a flat tire, traffic accident, medical emergencies, extreme weather, a fallen tree blocking her driveway, etc. Occasional unplanned absences/tardiness is just something a business needs to plan for no matter how reliable their employees are.

                1. MigraineMonth*

                  I can count on one hand the number of medical appointments I’ve had in my life that run an entire hour late, so it wouldn’t be something I’d think to warn my boss about unless it became a regular issue.

          2. Snow Globe*

            If the employee had told OP that they have an appointment at 7:30 am, but still expect to be in the office by their usual start time, what exactly would the OP have done with that information?

            It doesn’t seem like there is any practical reason to know about this appointment until it became clear that the employee would be in late, and that’s when the employee told them about it.

            1. Allonge*

              I share that kind of information with my boss for the 1% chance that it will not work out, not because I want to waste their time.

              If anything, OP could think about how to build a culture where that kind of thinking is the default for everyone.

            2. nc*

              And even if the employee was sharing out of an abundance of caution that it *could* run late, I’d still warn them to tread carefully with that kind of sharing — in my past experience, some managers have taken that transparency as a tacit approval of them having opinions on my healthcare schedule and/or use of my non-work time.

        2. Random Bystander*

          Yeah–at my job, the system is to set an appointment in outlook (marking as “free” so it doesn’t actually block the calendar but always as “all day” even when taking a partial day) and then invite the supervisor. Once supervisor accepts the invitation, it is approved and shows up visibly to everyone on the team. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone’s time off not being approved. If you’re doing a partial day, you just put some added text in there whether coming in early or leaving early.

          But if I had a dr appointment on a work day (since I work 4 10s, I pretty much always try to schedule for Mondays–the only time I didn’t was back when I was doing testing for what turned out to be cancer … I’m 2 years cancer free now, but my post-surgery follow ups are always on a Monday).

        3. I Have RBF*

          Yes. At my job we are all older, and we understand that dentists and doctors operate on their own schedules, and that you get your appointments when you can. We have a joint calendar that we put things like that on.

      2. Eldritch Office Worker*

        Yeah the one time I asked if I could take a vacation my boss laughed and said “Yeah I think you should!”

      3. MigraineMonth*

        My work doesn’t require coverage, so I tell my manager which days I’m planning to take as vacation, but not when I have a doctor’s appointment during the workday.

        There’s even a type of PTO at my org that requires supervisor’s approval to use, and my supervisor just gave me blanket permission rather than have me ask every month.

    2. Lainey L. L-C*

      I came from a workplace culture where you had to put vacation days up on work calendar well in advance (really wanted them in first months of new year), certain weeks were blocked off from anyone to use, email the dates to your supervisor and their supervisor and at least 50 percent of the time you were told no sometimes the day before your requested day off. If you had kids/were a caregiver of someone, you also had to hold a certain amount of vacation days in case they’d be sick, because you couldn’t use a sick day to take care of a sick person.

      Job now, we have a work calendar for PTO and assumedly our supervisor would tell us if there was a problem (never happened to me yet) and we have a certain amount of sick time we can use for taking care of a sick person.

    3. Itsa Me, Mario*

      Same here. I was told by a manager a few years ago that I didn’t need to sweat this sort of thing and could just let him know.

      Even taking coverage into account, I have had a few situations in the opposite direction, when I was asked to cover someone at a time that wasn’t convenient for me and when I would have preferred to decline/that they not schedule their vacation at that time, and I just sucked it up and covered for them. Because it’s what you do. IMO even a “coverage” situation would need to rise to a fairly extreme level before it should result in someone’s time off being denied.

  15. Issue with the site*

    Is anyone else having issues with the site randomly refreshing and taking them back to the top of the screen? I thought it was an issue with my phone so I’ve checked using my work computer and I’m having the same issue.

    About every 30 seconds or so the site refreshes and takes me back to the top of the page and I’m finding it impossible to read the questions or the advice :(

    1. I should really pick a name*

      There’s a form for tech issues.
      The link appears when you start a reply to a comment.

      1. I should really pick a name*

        Though to your question, that’s not happening to me on mobile or desktop.

      1. Peanut Hamper*

        Yep, they are constantly refreshing and not all of them are the same size, so everything bounces around. It makes it difficult to read when text is jumping up and down.

      2. ecnaseener*

        It works nicely on Firefox!
        I do get the occasional weird refresh on Firefox when there are a ton of comments and I scroll a little too fast.

    2. Ann O'Nemity*

      I consider it the trade-off for free advice. If you are not paying for the product, then you are the product.

      1. I should really pick a name*

        There’s nothing wrong with describing behaviour that makes it harder to read the site.

    3. Cardboard Marmalade*

      I had been having this problem, but just updated Chrome and that seems to have fixed it? (I’m on an Android smartphone, if that data point helps at all.)

  16. General von Klinkerhoffen*

    LW1 – I wonder whether this might partly be an “apology languages” thing (as discussed earlier this week). Maybe boss thinks she does apologise, and would be astonished to hear that you think she doesn’t. She may think that acknowledging the time and explaining the delay shows that she wasn’t doing on purpose, and that that’s enough.

  17. Emmy Noether*

    #2: The conflating of the issues (telling instead of asking; having the last word) made me wonder if what LW doesn’t like is this employee being “uppity”, i.e. not being deferential enough to the LW’s tastes in their interactions. That’s the common thread between the two. If that’s the case, LW, then you do really just have to get over it. Requiring deference purely for deference’s sake, beyond general politeness and without an actual work need, is not a good look on a manager.

    1. Grith*

      Yeah, that letter reeks of “symptoms of a larger problem” to me too. Not that I think the LW is being dishonest, but rather that they’re focusing on little edge-case examples rather than examining why they have an issue with the employee more generally. And there’s no attempt described in the letter to address any of this – just that the employee isn’t behaving in a way the LW find acceptable and has failed to psychically realise that’s the case.

      The given answer is correct, but also, take a step back and try to examine why this person gets under your skin more generally. Even if these three issues are corrected, without a more holistic view you’ll just find something else about them that annoys you.

    2. mlem*

      Yes, I was wondering the same thing; Alison’s take that it’s a symptom of broader problems with the employee took me by surprise.

    3. AngryOctopus*

      Yes, the statement that OP thinks the employee should be *asking* for vacation instead of telling, with no other context, makes me think that OP thinks their employee should be more ‘respectful’. It smacks of the letter where the LW was angry about how the employee advocated for themselves when their paychecks were not getting processed. This is not a big deal and OP needs to just let it go.

    4. Ginger Cat Lady*

      This is the impression I got, too. “My employee isn’t being deferential enough to me! They need to ASK me if they can do anything! Must maintain my authority over the lowly employee!”
      You’re all adults. Please treat your employees like the adults they are, no need for the “mother may I?” approach.

      1. Allonge*

        Adults ask for things all the time. I really wonder what’s so difficult about saying, hey, boss, I was thinking / need to to take off next Friday, is that ok?

  18. Oatmeal Mom*

    #4 – Option one sounds like a startup sort of company. It may be a fun atmosphere — it also may a disaster zone when it comes to professional standards and norms. I think Allison’s advice is sound, go with the older company, learn the established norms, learn from older colleagues.

  19. Weez*

    #3, I think the referrals people refer to are more with regard to business inquiries, not favors. If your friend wants to pay for resume review, maybe you have someone in your professional network who left recruiting and started a resume review business. If your friend wants you to look over their resume as a favor/for free/in turn for helping you move your piano, then you wouldn’t ask your professional network to help your friend in your stead – not for free, and generally not for pay* either unless they have a business doing it for pay. (If your resume review expert contact is also part of your social network, then it can make sense if it’s a rare thing – e.g. you’d ask them to help your child, but not your friend.)

    I’m not in the US though. Social and professional norms may vary.

    *Some friends would also be quite put off if they asked you for ten minutes of glancing at a resume and you responded by recommending they spend €€€ on a service.

    1. LW3*

      sure, and I’m happy to glance at anybody’s resume.

      but also I am fully unable to answer the question “will this resume get me the park ranger job I’ve always wanted,” because I’m not even sure exactly what a park ranger does.

      (or, more lately, “how can I , someone who has only intermittently worked at a gas station, get a fully remote job that pays 80k with great benefits?” which I totally think everyone deserves a great job but I just don’t have that information.)

      1. I should really pick a name*

        Is there a reason you think you should be able to get that answer for someone?

        There’s nothing wrong with saying “I’m sorry, but I don’t know”.

      2. bamcheeks*

        I think these are really unrealistic asks along the lines of yesterday’s “get me a job at your non-profit, pretty please”, and you shouldn’t feel bad about saying, “I can’t do that, sorry.” You could have the best network in the world, and you will still get some people asking you things that you just can’t do, because people outside your role will have weird expectations and assumptions about what you do and can do, and it’s totally fine to let them know when their expectations and questions are off!

      3. metadata minion*

        These both seem like questions that even a broadly-networked HR person wouldn’t necessarily be able to answer. The first one needs to go to someone with parks experience, and the second is…honestly probably impossible if they’re not expecting to have several jobs in between, but if they ask anyone it should be a job counselor of some kind.

      4. Daisy-dog*

        I have a very solid network in HR. We all have adopted a general rule to not HR for friends or family. Reviewing a resume is acceptable, providing tips for interpersonal problems is fine. But saying, “No, I don’t know enough about X to help you” is very acceptable. (X can be the situation, the company culture, the other side of the story, etc.)

      5. Lily Rowan*

        Ah, I see. The answer you can provide in those cases is, “I can’t get you a job, but I can help make your resume more effective.” If you want to help, of course! If not, you can just say no. It sounds like you might be the person with the best professional job in that second person’s life, so they probably just need general advice.

      6. Allonge*

        It’s really ok for you to say you don’t know. For the park ranger question, even if you were managing park rangers every day, you still could not answer this with any certainty – it’s a question of who else applies, for one.

        I would guess that no serious HR professional will answer these questions definitively (unless it’s a resounding ‘no’).

    2. doreen*

      Most of the time when I hear “skilled professionals generally know other, similar skilled professionals, and if they can’t help you, they can probably refer you to someone who can.” it’s about something a little different than what you seem to be talking about. It’s means that if I’m trying to find a mechanic to work on my car, my friend who works at a body shop probably knows a good mechanic. Or that my divorce lawyer probably know a good real estate lawyer. Or that if I work for your company and have a question about FMLA or COBRA even if you can’t answer the question, you can probably refer me to someone who can.

      1. Sloanicota*

        Yeah, in your comment above LW you say that the “help” people are looking for, which you or someone you know, is supposed to be able to provide, is – help getting a job for which someone is underqualified. That is not generally the type of thing people are talking about. It’s more like professional help, like “an expert in Y” when the person looking for that is planning to *pay* that professional for that expertise. Maybe someone who could quickly answer one technical question as a favor. High level networked professionals don’t get unqualified people into jobs, because that would quickly erode their credibility, and nobody wants unqualified hires.

  20. Teapot Wrangler*

    LW2 – You want your employee to tell you about an appointment an hour before she starts work? “when your scheduled start time is an hour after your scheduled appointment, I feel as though fair warning should have been given”
    That’s not reasonable. I think it is a completely legitimate expectation that if I have an appointment outside of work hours, my boss has no need to know about it!
    My only exception would be if she’s been before and knows it overran by hours and hours – then I’d expect a heads up in advance that she might be late

    1. Allonge*

      An hour sounds pretty tight though for a lot of things, especially if you count travel time (I suppose the appointment is in a different building).

      So while there is no need to flag the appointment itself, the strong chance of being late is something that would be ideally communicated (at least in my workplace it would be something we flag). It’s not an issue to be late, but non-communication around planned events can turn it into one.

      1. Snow Globe*

        Depends what the appointment was for and how close to the office. Could be just to get a flu shot and the office is down the street. Apparently the employee thought she’d be in the office on time, and contacted the OP when she realized they were running late. I don’t know why the OP would expect more than that.

        1. AngryOctopus*

          Exactly. It could have be a routine blood draw that takes 5, but the tech got stuck in traffic, or had to call out with a sick kid and the other tech comes in 30′ later–so many reasons why there’s no need for the employee to give a heads up. And they did let OP know, as soon as they knew, that they’d be delayed. Which is exactly how it should work.

        2. Allonge*

          Depends what the appointment was for and how close to the office.

          That was supposed to be my point, I just went too far in the other direction :). Traffic and distances vary, of course, I was just reacting to ‘why on earth would you flag something that is a whole hour before you are supposed to start work’ from Teapot Wrangler. And the answer to that is an hour can be pretty short for some things.

          1. AngryOctopus*

            Presumably the employee knows that they’ll be on time, it’s just that in this instance there was an issue. Not too different from “hey there was a huge accident on the freeway so I’m going to be 45′ late because of traffic”–you left at the normal time, so you think you’ll be on time, but something out of the ordinary happened, so you call in.

            1. KateM*

              It’s the difference between “there was a huge accident on the freeway so I’m going to be 45′ late because of traffic” and “there was a huge accident on the freeway so doctor was 45′ late because of traffic”, basically.

      2. Itsa Me, Mario*

        I see a dentist that is in the same office park as my work precisely because that way I never have to factor travel time into making an appointment that already stresses me out enough. Similarly, I have to get blood work once or twice a year and always choose a lab that is within 5-10 minutes of the office. My GP happens to be further afield because I have a specific provider I like, but even that person isn’t so far from work that running a few minutes late on one occasion would be a big deal. It’s not in a different city or anything like that.

        We don’t know whether travel time is a factor here, and it seems like an odd bit of fanfiction to add to the scenario.

        1. Allonge*

          Ok, but not everyone works next to all their medical needs? I don’t have any doctor’s offices within 20 minutes from my workplace.

          1. Itsa Me, Mario*

            My point isn’t that everyone should do this, but that we don’t have any information about whether travel time is a factor. So it could be absolutely not at all a factor, or it could be a major factor. We don’t know. The severity of the lateness wasn’t even mentioned in the letter. (Could have been 15 minutes, could have been several hours.)

  21. MK*

    I don’t think it’s that unreasonable; if you set an appointment for 1 hour before you start work, you are kind-of knowingly taking a risk that you might run late. But that might be because in my experience doctors are always running late.

    1. Other Alice*

      That really depends. I like setting my appts for 8am because I’m often the first person of the day and I’ve never been late to work because of that. If course if something unexpected came up I would warm my manager, but if it’s outside of work hours and I have no expectations that it will interfere with my ability to get to work on time, then it’s my own business.

      1. Itsa Me, Mario*

        This. Morning appointments are the trick to your doctor probably being as on time as can be expected.

  22. Allonge*

    LW3 – if the only reason you are missing a network is for referrals for friends and family, I would not worry overmuch about it. Do recommend that these people read AAM though!

      1. NerdCentral*

        oh cool I was scrolling to see if this had been suggested, it wasn’t, then I see LW3 here themselves, so you might see this reply. Professional conferences and organizations are how you build a network outside of just jobs.

        I volunteer on an open source (nonprofit) software project, and go to tech conferences. I’m also a member of a few organizations called “user groups” centered around the software and programming my work relates to. Then to get more variety, I’m a member of Toastmasters. My one HR contact is from that club. This could be any club that is frequented by professionals/adults like Rotary, chamber of commerce, etc.

        Finally, alumni associations can be good if you actually liked your college.

        I add every recruiter that requests it if they seem “real”… it’s not bad to have a stable of them to hit up if you need a job fast!

  23. nnn*

    A consideration for #4 that I haven’t seen mentioned yet:

    In a world where COVID numbers are increasing with little or no corresponding increase in public health protections, and many employers seem to be somehow incentivized to make employees work in-office even for roles that can easily be done fully remotely, a full-remote role that seems to have a greater chance of hiring you is immensely valuable.

    1. Phryne*

      There is no indication either way in the letter on whether the in-office work is on location for a reason or not. On the other hand, LW directly states that full remote is a downside to them.
      There is no mention of reasons why in-office would be a problem for the LW. There is no reason to assume either of these employers are going to be mindful of their workers or not if the situation arrives, the now hybrid company might well be willing to go full remote as the systems are in place (and if LW had concerns they could probably find out easily enough how these companies operated in 2020-2022).
      You are filling in a lot here. You would find your considerations important, but they don’t seem very useful to the LW.

  24. Hiring Mgr*

    For the intern, #2 definitely has a huge advantage in that there’s a formal intern program, and of course the in person aspect.

    #1 does have some benefits too though – mainly that there’s a good chance you’ll get to do lots of different things during your internship (“wearing many hats”). I think the fun/cool vibe of a startup is legitimate, but also I don’t think you’ll really experience that if it’s 100% remote.

  25. Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom*

    OP #1, Is it possible that it is not the lack of apology and the lateness that is grating on you each date, but rather the authority and cavalier attitude that your supervisor has towards her job? That you would not do that, if you were in her shoes? It does become gendered because it is a woman that you are frustrated by, and I wonder if you would feel that way, if it were a man. It’s possible that this situation is something that you won’t be able to fix. I would be careful not to fixate too much on this flaw. I hope that you’ll find some peace in this weird dynamic.

    1. Allonge*

      It’s not that we should not examine our attitudes towards gender issues, but someone being regularly half an hour late to meetings is very annoying to a vast number of people, regardless of the gender of everyone involved (or their intentions). I don’t think we need to find a way for OP to feel bad about finding this difficult to tolerate.

    2. metadata minion*

      Being constantly late to meetings — especially if that person is the one who’s supposed to be running the meetings — is something that would annoy a large percentage of people. I’m all for examining your annoyances for potential bias, but is there any reason to think the LW *wouldn’t* be equally annoyed if a man was late all the time?

  26. Anon in Canada*

    I think companies that don’t have an office at all, or where the vast majority of employees are remote, should not be in the internship business at all. Remote internships do a great disservice to interns! You learn so much better being around co-workers!

    Also in this case, a long-established company with a structured internship program probably “knows what they’re doing” much better than a young start-up.

  27. Testerbert*

    LW2: I think Alison nails the matter of PTO. Communicate how you want people to manage their PTO. If you want them to get approval for it, get that process in writing but be prepared for the additional workload of having to actively manage requests and telling people no. Don’t become the sort of manager we see letters about who insists on their staff having ‘good’ reasons for taking PTO, or who creates a system whereby it becomes impossible to get leave booked.

    As for the second part; her business outside of working hours is her business. Do you want all your staff to tell you *everything* that they do before arriving in work, just in case it causes them to be late? “Just letting you know that I’m setting off to work now, I should be in on time unless there are escaped Llamas on the train tracks” etc. Because that’s what you are asking for, which sounds like you don’t trust them.

    I’m presuming that her appointment was being held in a venue where getting to work on time wouldn’t have been an issue had it run on schedule, of course.

  28. Moodbling*

    OP4- you said you have interviews for both of these internships. Please don’t turn either of them down until those interviews have become offers! Either internship would be better than no internship.

  29. cabbagepants*

    #4 — learn the fundamentals from the more established, hybrid company. There’s value is going fast and breaking things but first learn the best practices and norms. I’ve had interns in both types of environment and the ones in the more start-up environment just suffer a lot because they can never catch the thread of what’s going on, how things work, or how to get help.

  30. Peanut Hamper*

    I had a similar problem to LW#1 years ago. I handled it by scheduling the appointment for 10:00, but telling the person involved that it started at 9:30. They rolled in on time at 10:00, thinking they were half an hour later.

    This method works.

    1. Phryne*

      That is smart planning :) But if it is a repeat appointment would they not get wise eventually?

      1. Peanut Hamper*

        Yep. And then you tell them why. Either they’re fine with it or they get their act together.

        I mean, I suppose they could get upset about it, but that’s an unreasonable response.

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          There’s a secret third option, where they build that buffer time into their time management (or lack thereof) and are then just an hour late for everything

        2. Phryne*

          I guess there are those that will just adjust accordingly and come in at 10.30, but for most reasonable people I can see that working.

    2. Delta Delta*

      I went to a wedding like this once. The invitation said 5:00. The ceremony started at 6:00 because it was well-known (apparently) that the bride’s entire family operates in their own timezone and if they had it at 5, the family would be an hour late. Lovely for them, I suppose, but deeply irritating for the groom’s family who arrived before 5, as one does, and sat around for over an hour waiting for it to start.

      This was 16 years ago and I’m still irked. (they’re in-laws, which may be part of it)

      1. The Unspeakable Queen Lisa*

        They didn’t do it right! They didn’t solve anything. Everyone else sat around for an hour, just like they would have done if they invite said 6. This only works if you tell everyone else the real time and the late people the fake time.

  31. VP of Monitoring Employees' LinkedIn Profiles**

    OP 1…

    She’ll send a message a couple minutes before a 9am meeting saying “Good morning! Let’s push to 9:15am” and then still not walk in the office or join the virtual call until 9:30 or later.

    Since Boss clearly intends to be late no matter when the meeting is set to start, maybe start the meeting without her (and maybe even finish without her)?

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      Or everybody else just shows up late. If the meeting is scheduled for 9:00, everyone should just show up at 9:30. This really makes the most sense.

    2. AngryOctopus*

      Biggest problem with this is that OP says the boss will roll in at Boss Time, but then demand to be caught up on all meeting happenings before Boss Time began. I agree that if they could get through the whole meeting before the boss that would be great (then someone can be assigned to catch boss up, but it’s not impacting the meeting), but it may not be practical to have MORE time that the boss demands to rehash.

    3. Allonge*

      I would expect that if the meeting could be done without Boss, they would do it without her. It’s a sad fact of life that once in a while you actually need your boss to be present at these things :)

  32. T*

    I was recently told don’t apology for your lateness but thank the person for waiting for you. I know that doesn’t solve LWs dilemma but it might help you reframe it.

    1. K*

      I don’t appreciate being thanks for my “patience” since I had no option but to wait, since the person thanking me didn’t show up on time, and I may not have actually been patient.

      1. Peanut Hamper*

        Yep, this. Thanking someone for their patience when they had no choice in the matter is not the right approach. If you inconvenience or harm someone in some way, an apology is definitely warranted.

        The manager really should get her act together, but that’s entirely beyond LW’s control, unfortunately.

      2. Aquamarine*

        Yes! people take the “don’t apologize” thing too far. You should still apologize if you’re late!

        1. And the Skeletons Are… Part of It*

          Yes, “don’t overapologize when not warranted” is advice for overly-deferential people, but inconsiderate people took it and ran with it as “don’t apologize even when obviously warranted.”

    2. Allonge*

      I think this is advice for very specific situations (if you are an overapologizer) and not something that applies generally.

    3. Ginger Cat Lady*

      That’s even worse than no apology, and I really loathe people who do this. Don’t thank me for your carelessness and inability to show up.
      People who recommend this *think* that by thanking someone, you’ll come off as kinder. But you come off worse, not better.
      Just don’t. Apologize. Take responsibility for how you treated others. Don’t thank them, and especially don’t thank them when you’re their boss and they have no option but to put up with your rudeness.

  33. Peanut Hamper*

    LW #2:

    She always seems to want to have the last word as well, when it will not have any effect on the outcome of the situation.

    The only reason this becomes an issue is when you also want to have the last word. Just let the employee have the last word and then walk away.

    I think there are some bigger issues here, and not all of them are with the employee.

    1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      Why should the employee be allowed to have the last word? Nowhere does the boss say she has to be the one with the last word (although that is kinda how it works, boss says this gets done and be willing to explain but once the decision is made its made, no point arguing it). Its apparently not just with boss but with everyone. All that does is delay ending the meeting, conversation, whatever and annoys people. It’s a bad habit that employee needs to unlearn.

      Alison rightly points out this is something that needs to change because its making it hard to work with her. Not insisting on the last word is one of those soft skills people need to learn in order to get along with their coworkers.

      1. Peanut Hamper*

        Why does the last word even have to be a thing?

        The only reason it’s a thing is because LW is making it a thing by insisting that she has the last word. That’s exactly how this works.

        Not insisting on the last word is one of those soft skills people need to learn in order to get along with their coworkers.

        You are absolutely right. But this applies to both LW and their employee.

        It takes two to tango. This is a bad habit that both of them need to unlearn.

        1. Itsa Me, Mario*

          It also feels weird to me that their working relationship is so adversarial that *anyone* has to have the last word.

          1. Michelle Smith*

            This. I have no idea who has the “last word” in my interactions with my bosses or coworkers. That’s just not framing that I think even applies.

    2. The Username Lost to Time*

      That last part definitely seemed out of nowhere. Now that I’m rereading the line “when it will not have any effect on the outcome of the situation” it really drives home that it’s fine to let the employee have the last word. It won’t have any effect. Just be the bigger person.

      1. Lily Rowan*

        Yeah, I think this employee is driving the manager nuts, and the leave thing is the straw that has broken the camel’s back.

  34. NYNY*

    LW4 — ESPECIALLY if your intended career is any way including compliance (legal, accounting, HR for some), please take the larger more establish company. You will likely get a much better idea of best practices. I have worked for small companies that care about compliance, but not as univeral as large ones.

  35. Delta Delta*

    #1 – I’m an attorney and I’ve had 2 especially memorable chronically late people in my career. With the first, the person was always considerably late. It was always something, and everyone was always waiting for her. People accommodated her and essentially made her a broken stair. It bogged down everyone and made everyone late and angry.

    I currently have several cases with another attorney who has literally never been on time for anything and doesn’t seem to care. This person is treated differently than the first; life moves on without her. One especially memorable court hearing occurred where the judge just did the hearing without her and made a decision she wouldn’t like (but was wholly appropriate). When she rolled in 10 minutes after the hearing ended and demanded to go back on the record, she was all surprised pikachu face that the judge refused. Did she start showing up on time? She did not.

    In both cases, neither person cares that they are deeply inconveniencing other people by their complete inability to show up on on time. You will almost never get an apology. The question is how you deal with it.

  36. Tempus Fugit*

    LW 1 and all people obsessed with timeliness- the only way to work not be frustrated with a late person is to know they are a late person and work around it. Tell them meetings start 30 minutes before they do! Get to their stuff later in the agenda. Be late yourself. Go to the bathroom as soon as she arrives so she has to wait for you. Clutching pearls about how other people “should” behave is only going to frustrate you. Walking around the broken stair will get you where you need to go.

    1. metadata minion*

      In this case the late person is the boss, who is likely setting the time of meetings.

    2. The Username Lost to Time*

      “Get to their stuff later in the agenda.” Oh, I like that one! People get petty and deceptive when they are frustrated, but there are some very direct options.

    3. The Unspeakable Queen Lisa*

      It’s weird that you frame basic courtesy as an obsession. The boss is being objectively inconsiderate of others and it is normal to be annoyed by inconsiderate behavior.

      Those of use who work in offices have to be on time for timed events. If events were not timed, then no one would be upset.

      There is also definitely an element of power dynamic. The boss can roll in 30 late, but I bet the employees cannot.

      In addition to being late, the boss then forces everyone else who was on time to repeat everything that was already said. Which also means they don’t get through the entire agenda, forcing either overtime or to schedule yet another meeting boss will be late to. This is an additional obnoxious behavior she can only get away with because she’s the boss.

      Yes, you can adapt to the jerk, yes, you can only control your own feelings and behavior, but it’s also okay to acknowledge that the boss is acting like a jerk and affecting a lot of other people.

  37. zelavie*

    LW3 – Are you on LinkedIn? If you don’t have an in-person network, you can build a virtual one! Look for people in roles similar to yours, connect with them, and start commenting on their posts. I’ve done the same, and will get to meet some in person at a conference this month for the first time – it already feels like I know them, so it’s a total win-win.

    1. t-vex*

      Also, check out your local chapter of SHRM or other professional group. Many cities also have a Leadership [City] program through the chamber of commerce that is a great way to meet other professionals.

    2. LW3*

      I am on LinkedIn! my LinkedIn friends post:
      – when they get a new job
      – weird “inspirational” work stories (think “this homeless man turned out to be a skilled programmer! maybe some homeless people are people!”)

      do I just have the wrong LinkedIn friends?

      1. I Have RBF*

        No, LinkedIn posts these days are a dumpster fire. If my network was dependent on them I would have no network.

        The way I use LI is to keep track of former coworkers, and where they are now. Sometimes, if I’m in the mood, I’ll drop them a note and ask how they’re doing, etc. If they’re like me, they may or may not see it, and that’s okay. I only log in there once a month, just to look at messages to see if it’s from anyone that I care about. When I’m job hunting, it’s more often, but I’m looking at job reqs, not reading smarmy listicle or feel good brag posts.

      2. Michelle Smith*

        Yes, you do. There are influencers on LinkedIn just like any social platform, and they mostly post the mindless drivel you describe in your second bullet. These are not the people you should be following.

        Use the search function. Put in hashtags and keywords (one at a time) for things relevant to your position. Click on some profiles and see if people who are doing interesting work are posting things that are interesting to you (you’ll be able to see recent posts and comments towards the top of the profile under “Activity”). If someone is making insightful content, drop a follow. Read and interact with their posts. Read the comments. Did someone else in the field (which you should be able to tell from their headline if they did a good job with their profile) make a valuable insight or seem knowledgeable? Click through to their profile, repeat the activity check, and if their content is good, follow them. I find new connections like this all the time. So much so that I no longer need to search – the people in the comments of my existing connections and follows are posting valuable content so I can find them now just scrolling my feed.

        Your friends job updates may not be interesting to you. Interact with them anyway. Drop a handclap or like on the update. If you want, you can leave a comment wishing them well or telling them their new place is lucky to have them. This is an extremely easy and low effort way to maintain tangential relationships with folks – interact with their posts! Then if while you’re doing the searches above for new contacts, you see under the follow button that “John Doe and Janet Smith are mutual connections” consider hitting the connection button instead of follow. In fact, you may default to connecting instead of following anyway unless the person states on their profile that they prefer follows (some do that as there is a connection cap).

        Avoid people posting copy/pasted stories about how they hired someone with no experience. Avoid people posting things that are clearly designed to drive sales to their coaching businesses (e.g. false statements about hidden job markets, ATS’s making hiring decisions without recruiter input, etc.). The quality of your feed is entirely dependent on you – you control who you follow and connect with. You will get things on your feed from 2nd, 3rd, and 3+ level contacts, but it is very easy to mark unwanted content as such and prevent them from showing up on your feed in the future.

  38. Dinwar*

    LW #2: I’ve had staff like that.

    Part of the issue was that they thought that that’s how it worked–you say “I need this time off” and people do it. They didn’t see the negotiations going on, or the fact that “I need this time off” really was the opening to a 20 minute staffing discussion, not the end of it. I’m a huge believer in always asking “What am I doing wrong?” first, so the first thing you should do is review your time-off-request procedures and make sure they’re clearly presented, that everyone understands them (not the same thing!), and that they’re adequate. If the employee is going to a doctor’s visit because of a flair-up in a medical condition, for example, they may not get much notice and a good manager would take that into account.

    The potentially bigger issue–and their need to get the last word in supports this–is that your employee does not respect you. This may or may not be a deal breaker. I’ve had people working for me who definitely did not respect me, and it worked out okay because they respected the job, and I’ve had people working for me who didn’t respect me and it poisoned the relationship until we couldn’t work together (to be fair, there are people I don’t respect, and that I refuse to work with; it happens, and I try not to take it personally). Some people are useful enough that the disrespect can be tolerated; in some cases the disrespect can be a bonus (keeps you from being in an echo chamber). But that’s up to you to decide.

    1. AngryOctopus*

      Seems like OP is disrespecting the employee–the only reason given for “should ask and not tell” is that OP thinks that should happen. OP is upset that they didn’t know about the doctor appt that was happening BEFORE employee is scheduled to be in the office (OP–consider how many appointments you don’t know about because there was no delay). OP is angry about the ‘last word’, but what does that actually mean?
      All of this points to OP needing to do some reflection on WHY they feel this way, and how to reframe it, because employee seems to be doing a good job and OP is only upset about what they see is a lack of deference.

      1. Dinwar*

        “…the only reason given for “should ask and not tell” is that OP thinks that should happen.”

        Tell me you haven’t managed staff without telling me you haven’t managed staff…..

        The reason you need to ask is that an employee doesn’t have as deep an understanding of the work that needs done and the resources available to do it as the manager. NO ONE has enough staff that people can just drop out without significant impacts to the capacity of the group to perform the work required. Maybe they should, but they don’t. Failing to give adequate advanced notice and refusing to discuss the matter means that you’re prioritizing yourself over your peers and expecting them to pick up your slack. Even if you don’t intend for that to be the case, that’s what actually happens so that’s what it means.

        And to be clear, asking isn’t begging, and nothing in the letter suggests it is. Requesting time off means going through the process and working with your supervisor in order to find an outcome that works for everybody. To ask means that one is willing to negotiate and find a win/win situation; to tell your supervisor you’re taking time off means you’re willing to throw your peers under the bus to get what you want.

        (For what it’s worth, I would consider “I’m taking time off, Joe agreed to handle X Y and Z for me while I’m gone” to be acceptable–it eliminates the problem, and shows that you’re gaining that broader perspective.)

        “OP is angry about the ‘last word’, but what does that actually mean?”

        It means that the employee is combative and hostile. They are unwilling to listen to other opinions and demand that their voice is the only one heard. Dealing with people is exhausting; you spend all your time trying to appease them, which harms everyone else.

        This is a common enough phrase, and a common enough complaint in interpersonal relationships, that I find ignorance of its meaning disingenuous at best. Talk to pretty much any divorced person if you want a more detailed explanation.

        “…OP is only upset about what they see is a lack of deference.”

        You actually have this backwards. The employee is demanding deference from the LW. The employee is the one saying “This is how it is, if you don’t like it screw you.” The LW is asking for basic respect and cooperation.

        Should an employee show their boss deference? To an extent yes. The higher on the org chart you are the broader your vision (the lower you are, the more detailed your vision; healthy organizations acknowledge and respect both). The employee doesn’t know–or doesn’t care–how their sudden absences affect the rest of the team; it’s the LW’s job to do that. It is hardly unreasonable to request that the employee cooperate with this process.

        1. Ari*

          I’ve managed staff and I’ve never had them ask permission to take their earned PTO, so your dig wasn’t warranted. All workplaces are different, and mine is such that we don’t have to ask. We do find our own backup, but these are set people on our team who are familiar with the project and/or system already. If this workplace has different norms, then that needs to be communicated to the employee clearly, but there’s no indication that’s the case. There are also no specifics to “has to have the last word” so it could easily be that this employee has the type of personality that rubs LW the wrong way. LW needs to identify why all of these things bother them and handle it accordingly. If it’s simply a personality difference, then LW needs to learn how to work with people who aren’t like them. I’ve had employees like that but I had to treat them impartially and fairly, because that’s what good managers do. The employees weren’t doing anything wrong…they just communicated in a more blunt or brusque manner than I do. That’s not a problem in and of itself.

          1. Dinwar*

            “I’ve managed staff and I’ve never had them ask permission to take their earned PTO…”

            Where in the letter does it say this institutions works via earned PTO? You are assuming that this is the case, but it’s not necessarily true–many places don’t operate this way. For example, when I was a cashier we didn’t accrue PTO, we just had to make sure someone covered our shift.

            Secondly, not everywhere that accrues PTO allows you to use it whenever you want. When I was a field grunt I had to request time off–mostly from the project managers, to ensure I wasn’t leaving them in a lurch, but also from my direct manager. It’s changed since then, but only since my role has changed.

            Given that the LW is objecting to this behavior it’s fair to assume that their organization is on the “request time off” side rather than what you’re used to.

            “…mine is such that we don’t have to ask.”

            The LW’s doesn’t work in such a place. That should be obvious. The fact that the LW expects the employee to request time off, not tell her the day of, is as clear an indication that the norms are different as you could ask for.

            I continue to find your willful misunderstanding of “has to have the last word” to be disingenuous, to the point where I am starting to believe you’re hostile to the LW and have no intention of giving them a fair hearing. Not terribly unusual; I’ve found this commentariat has a weird hostility towards management (especially weird given the name of this blog).

            1. I should really pick a name*

              Except for the late medical appointments, the LW doesn’t state that they’re being notified the day of for PTO requests.

              Also, a certain amount of what you’re stating to be obvious doesn’t seem obvious to me.
              It’s note clear if requesting time off is the LW’s preference, or the organization’s preference. It sounds like the LW’s other employees do it that way, but that could simply be a matter of language, not process.

              I think you’re getting pushback because you’re speculating a lot about how the organization works, and the employee’s thought process and presenting it as fact.

            2. a clockwork lemon*

              My manager has to approve my PTO requests in our HR system in order to classify the time. I don’t “ask” his permission to schedule vacation in the sense that I don’t have a conversation with him in which I specifically confirm with him that it is okay for me to take PTO before I submit the system request–and from his perspective it would be really weird if I did.

              Same thing with doctor’s appointments. I have a standing appointment that I expect to be allowed to take with no pushback. The only “ask” involved in the scheduling of that appointment was whether our corporate policy required me to request an official accommodation. For non-standing appointments I don’t ask at all–I block off the time on my calendar and maybe put in a sick day request in our system if I suspect the appointment will take longer than a standard office visit.

              1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

                > I don’t “ask” his permission to schedule vacation

                You do though, implicitly, because that system has an approve function so I assume it also has a deny function. Submitting the request “is” the request.

                1. I Have RBF*

                  An electronic system “request” is a lower level of “ask” than specifically “asking” the manager if you can. It’s a subtle difference, but it is often the difference between a patronizing workplace and an adult one.

                2. Michelle Smith*

                  No, that’s an assumption that may be untrue. I put in vacation requests in an electronic system. Sick leave actually works the same way – the system requires me to enter it the same way I would a vacation request. In practice though, I quite literally NEVER put in my sick leave “request” until I’m forced to do my timesheet at the end of the month, even for prescheduled doctor’s appointments. That’s because I work in a workplace where I’m treated like an adult and get to make up hours. So my doctor’s appointment I have tomorrow requires me to leave work an hour early to be there on time. If I choose to work through my lunch, I won’t take any sick leave. If I choose to start work an hour earlier or work late after I get back from my appointment, I won’t take any sick leave. If I’ve had enough that day (maybe the appointment is particularly delayed or I’m tired or whatever), I’ll put in the “request” at the end of the month, but I’ve already actually taken the leave at that point. It’s just called a request in the electronic system, but I’m not actually asking.

        2. Itsa Me, Mario*

          I’ve worked in two types of workplaces: places where it was widely understood that any time out of office was potentially a coverage clusterfuck, and places where under normal circumstances it was fine to tell and not ask. I’ve never worked anywhere that somehow fell in between, where managers knew that any PTO request was a coverage minefield while employees assumed that it was OK to take their accrued time as needed.

    2. I should really pick a name*

      Part of the issue was that they thought that that’s how it worked–you say “I need this time off” and people do it

      That’s how it DOES work at a lot of companies.
      If an employee’s expectations are off from the company’s culture, they should be corrected, but it’s not a failing on their part.

      1. Dinwar*

        Agreed, and if the employee wasn’t otherwise problematic I’d chalk it up to that. I’m actually in this position now myself–I tell my manager when I’m taking time off, because I know more about when I CAN take time off than my manager does (I’m sort of in a weird place where my role seeps all over the org chart). And if I were to transfer to a new company, or a new group where I wasn’t in that position, I could see myself making the same error as well. Errors of knowledge are mistakes that can be corrected.

        The fact that the employe is combative and unwilling to listen/negotiate is what tips the scales for me. In isolation the way they handle time off is one thing; in context, it stops being “I don’t understand how time off works here” and becomes “I’m not a team player and don’t respect the people who work here.”

        1. Ari*

          I don’t understand why you’re interpreting a brief comment that way. LW gave zero examples of this behavior, so we don’t know if it’s combative or not. It could be a cultural thing, or a newer to professional workplaces thing, or any number of other explanations that don’t mean the employee is intentionally being rude or dismissive or combative.

          1. Dinwar*

            First, the phrase has a connotation of hostility inherent to it. This is common usage and I do not believe you don’t know that. Thus, I believe you are not arguing in good faith.

            Second, context. In isolation this would be an annoying habit. As part of the whole picture, however, it presents the picture of someone who is very disrespectful.

            Put more simply: I’m taking the LW at her word, rather than finding excuses to blame the LW for the other person’s behavior. Put even more simply: I’m following the rules for commenting on this blog.

            1. Happy*

              I disagree that “getting in the last word” has an inherent connotation of hostility.

              It could be due to hostility, or cluelessness, or an inflated sense of self-worth, or insecurity, or lack of social grace, or any number of other causes. None are particularly flattering, but they aren’t necessarily hostile.

              I also don’t see any evidence that Ari isn’t arguing in good faith…

            2. I Have RBF*

              You know, your whole stance seems like a “Respect my authoritay!” demand. When I get around people like that, my immediate response is “What have you done to earn it?” with an underlying current of “LOL, no.”

              The reason I respect my boss is that he has earned it. Not just by being put in charge of people, but because he is a good manager. He doesn’t demand “respect”. He asks for cooperation and collaboration within the team and with other groups.

              You seem to be coming from the viewpoint that every workplace is full of recalcitrant children who will disrespect their boss unless commanded to perform respect. This is not the norm in all but the most dysfunctional professional workplaces. It is the norm in sales level retail, restaurant, fast food and warehouse positions, unfortunately, which is, IMO, part of why those jobs have higher turnover.

              Respect is earned, and needs to be mutual. If a boss doesn’t respect their employees, then they need to sack those employees, or learn to respect them. Because there is nothing worse than a boss who demands “respect” but shows none to those that they are demanding respect from.

  39. FashionablyEvil*

    #1–I had a boss who was always late. I just stopped expecting him to be on time—if he was, what a pleasant surprise! Otherwise, I just planned to keep working on whatever it was I was doing or would take the time to read AAM, browse for new shoes, etc.

  40. ccsquared*

    LW3, I really like Karen Wickre’s book “Taking the Work out of Networking”, especially if you can treat it as a menu of ideas to choose from based on your goals and personality, rather than a set of commandments. She’s an introvert and started in more of a technical role, so it’s much more chill than books like Never Eat Lunch Alone.

  41. ktate*

    #1 I agree with the fact that as an employee you just need to suck it up when your boss does something disrespectful but I’ve noticed a trend. Some companies send out satisfaction surveys once or twice a year. If these scores come back unfavorable it could cause problems. (Even bosses have bosses unless the boss is the owner.) I’m only commenting because in certain circumstances, as a manager/boss, it may help to just acknowledge the issue and schedule meetings later than being rude enough continually arrive late.

  42. Tesuji*


    Yeah, I think I’d be telling her when I’m taking my PTO, rather than asking, too.

    I’m getting the distinct vibes that this is a manager who thinks she’s entitled to have opinions as to why someone is taking PTO and sees the granting of PTO as a gracious gift she gives rather than something anyone is entitled to.

    Perhaps this is the world’s worst employee, and that’s why LW is being so sensitive, but the letter reeks to me of the real problem being that LW believes she’s entitled to a higher level of deference and reverence than she’s getting. The way this is put makes me think that asking would not be seen as just a token politeness, but rather that she would arbitrarily refuse requests with flimsy excuses as a way of punishing the worker for being too uppity.

    1. Lily Potter*

      Totally disagree. An employee is entitled to take PTO time, but is not necessarily entitled to take that time any damn time they want. A manager is absolutely allowed to say yes or no to PTO submissions. A good manager will work with employees to give them what they’ve requested but there are times when work needs trump individual wants.

      I like whoever above that said that a PTO request should be thought of as the start of a discussion. What this employee is doing is informing their boss that they’re going on vacation. Not cool, and not respectful.

      Obviously, I’m not talking about PTO needed for sick leave, an extended lunch, or the like. That’s more of an “inform the boss” thing than a “requesting a week off” deal.

    2. Peanut Hamper*

      Yes, agreed. There is something else going on here, and not all of it has to do with the employee.

      As I said upthread, the whole “has to have the last word” thing is a red flag for me. That is definitely a takes-two-to-tango thing.

  43. bamcheeks*

    LW4, along with everyone else, I think Internship 2 is the safe option. At a more established company with an established and structured internship programme, the worst case scenario is that it’s a bit boring or doesn’t quite hit exactly what you want to do, but you still learn a lot. The best case scenario is that it’s really interesting, informative, and sets you up really well for whatever you want to do next, including looking for roles in a more dynamic and younger start-up or something if you decide that’s what you want to do.

    Internship 1 is much higher-risk. Yes, there’s a chance you’ll have an amazing time, do some real work on a rapidly evolving project and impress them so much that you create a place for yourself and rise with the company. But there’s a much bigger risk that basically they’ll forget to assign you a mentor, or assign you someone who is too busy to look after you or doesn’t know how to look after you, you’ll get barely any work to do or really low-level work, no chance to sit in on meetings or speak to more senior people, and you come away after two months with barely anything to show for it. And that doesn’t have to be because they’re bad or incompetent: it’s just the nature of that dynamic, rapidly-scaling environment that a big order or an opportunity to present to a major funder comes in unexpected the day you start, and everyone’s scrambling that to fulfil it, and it’s way to easy for everyone to forget about the intern who isn’t even visibly THERE because they’re remote.

    BUT. Remember there’s no law that says you have to take the safe option. If you are attracted to that dynamic environment, and you can afford to take a risk, and you’ve asked lots of sensible questions, and they’ve told you that you’ll be included in the team meeting every morning and you’ve got someone assigned to check in with you a couple of times a week to see how you’re getting on, and you think you’ve got just enough pushiness to insert yourself into meetings and projects just in case they DO forget to include you or assign work to you — go for it!

    I think it’s important that you recognise that it IS a higher risk, and the more established placement comes with a much more solid guarantee that you’ll have a good experience and learn a lot. But if you really want to go for that higher-risk option and see what happens, that’s a totally reasonable choice and good luck!

    1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

      The safer option is also safer because of recognition of the company by future potential employers, and actually just the continued existence of the company is much more likely given how many startups fail (good luck getting a reference about the internship from a defunct startup, and if that’s your only work experience, well)

      Also many startups do a poor job of teaching (and practising) fundamentals and doing things “properly”.

  44. Lily Potter*

    LW#2 – as Allison notes, “requesting vs announcing” PTO time is a workplace norm and dependent upon whether it’s a coverage-type industry. However, I feel that its just plain old respectful to a boss to couch it as a request regardless. I worked many years for a boss who never once denied me a PTO day, but I still would request the time in an email along the lines of “I’m planning to submit for PTO on the week of the 9th, unless you have concerns about that. I’ll assume I’m good to go unless you tell me otherwise by Friday” As employees, we’re allowed to take our PTO hours but we can’t always assume we can take them any time we like. The taking of time for a long lunch or an appointment that goes over is a different situation, though in those instances I would have always had the courtesy to let the boss know what’s up.

    All of the above aside, I agree with other commenters that this “ask vs tell” thing is a symptom of a larger respect issue. You’ve got an employee with a lot of attitude there.

    1. Colette*

      I think framing it as respect is a sign of a weak manager.

      In some jobs coverage matters; in others it doesn’t (the work will wait until the employee gets back). In a job where coverage matters, it makes sense to check with the people who would be covering you before booking time off – but that’s not necessarily the manager. And in jobs where no one is covering, there is no reason to consult the manger.

      Sometimes there is a reason to loop the manager in, but that’s not because of respect, it’s because it makes sense in that job.

      1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

        It isn’t really respect or deference to the particular manager, but to “the company” / “the work” as a whole (for which the manager is just the representative of it to the requester). Anywhere I’ve worked has been subject to manager approval because the manager (could be someone else like a project manager in matrix orgs) has the broad view of work commitments etc. Most people are not operating totally independently within their role as if they were a sole trader, other things will be dependent even if it isn’t a “coverage” position as such.

      2. I Have RBF*

        I think framing it as respect is a sign of a weak manager.


        IMO, respect is earned. Yes, you should have a basic amount of respect for someone who presumably has earned their position. However, I’ve had managers who started there, and then did enough garbage things that I no longer had any respect for them whatsoever, and was on my way out the door.

        Also, by the same token, managers should respect their direct reports. If they can’t, or don’t, they either need to get people they can respect, or just not be a manager.

        I see a lot of people standing up on their hind legs and demanding “respect” in various environments. To me, that says much, much more about the demand-er than those they are demanding respect from, and none of it is good. Don’t demand respect, you will never get it that way.

        This is freaking high school level stuff.

    2. The Unspeakable Queen Lisa*

      You’ve posted this type of thing before – you continue to make the mistake of believing that what you do is what everyone else *should* do. You do one thing, other people do different things. None of this is about respect.

      To me, you seem ridiculously deferential. This was not how any of my previous jobs have worked. Norms for different companies, teams and bosses are different. That doesn’t make them wrong. Or me discourteous or disrespectful for telling my boss when I was going to take PTO.

      1. Allonge*

        For those who work in a ‘tell it’ environment, it’s not disrespectful to tell it. If you tell it in a ‘request’ environment, that can be a misunderstanding or disrespect. I assume from LW’s expectation that this is a ‘request’ environment.

        1. Lily Potter*

          Allonge, you’re totally on to something here. Gotta know your culture. It’s possible that LW2 is in a “request” environment but no one has explained that to her employee, who may be young or have come from a “tell it” environment. In my opinion, the best way to do PTO is through an online system – employee requests time, employer either approves or denies. No one has to get worked up about “deference” but it does give the employer the option to say “No, don’t buy tickets to Paris in April because three of your co-workers have already asked off for that week. I need you here”.

          As far as the respect issue, Dinwar addressed that nicely earlier today (my time stamp shows 10:45 am). S/he frames it as a respect for co-worker issue but I’d say that the argument works for an employee’s manager too, particularly if the manager personally has to cover for the employee asking for time off.

          1. I Have RBF*

            In my opinion, the best way to do PTO is through an online system – employee requests time, employer either approves or denies.

            100000% agree. It makes it easier to schedule, to notify, and to keep track of hours for payroll. Electronic requests also don’t have the connotation of begging or “Mother may I” that going direct to the manager and asking does.

            Online systems are more convenient for both the employees and the managers.

    3. RussianInTexas*

      My work (my whole work like works, really) required for me to request PTOs. and notify when I am out for doctors appointments and such. Company policy. It’s not “may I?” but more of “I am planning on, please approve”.
      I have never once been denied.
      But also, if you work where this isn’t the policy, telling vs asking is not at all a sign of disrespect.
      I respect my boss in general, as I respect other people, but not because he is my boss. There is no need to be deferential.

    4. Sarah*

      Absolutely not. Managers should have enough “respect” for employees that they don’t need them to prostrate themselves by asking for vacation when there is no legit business need for it.

      1. Alice*

        Why are these managers afraid of an interaction like this?
        “I’m planning to be out November 3-6.”
        “Sorry, that’s not possible, because of [reason].”
        The manager still has the power in the relationship, whether the first sentence starts “I’m planning to” versus “May I.”

  45. Enn Pee*

    LW3 – I am in a field closely related to HR, from a technical side, and this is what I have done to network:

    1 – My employer is a corporate member of an industry group and I subscribed to different email forums and actively participate. This group also has regional and a BIG annual conference. Whenever possible, I attend those conferences and actively participated in coordinating our regional conference and presented at any conference I could.
    Note that even if you don’t feel you are knowledgeable enough to present, people are ALWAYS looking for those who can coordinate conferences. This is a great way to get your foot in the door and meet people…and get a free conference pass (if your employer can’t otherwise pay for it).

    2 – I also separately became involved in a related industry group. They needed someone to lead a monthly conference call. At the time I started leading, about three years ago, there were about 20 people on the calls. The call was supposed to last for an hour and would usually be over at 20 minutes because it was so quiet.
    I asked what people wanted in those calls — and I really listened. (There were many complaints!)
    Then I decided to do what everyone wanted!
    We now have 120+ people regularly attend the calls and SO MUCH participation.
    I do NOT need to be the expert on every single call; I really consider myself a facilitator. I do spend some time finding people to give a brief 10-15 minute presentation on an interesting topic.

    3 – In the HR world, I think there are numerous local groups that regularly meet. This is sort of related to #1 – but, again, I’d seek those out and see which ones might suit you best.

    1. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      Yes to all of this. Get to know the people in your industry that are nearby.

      Also, branch out vertically (ie, up and down the supply chain). Do you deal with vendors – like the payroll processor or companies that manage any of your benefits (health insurance, EAP, etc)? Do you have individual contacts there, like an account rep? Start to build up a bank of relationships with those people too. Even if it’s just a few minutes on the phone every now and then, or 5 minutes of chatting before an in-person meeting starts.

      1. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

        To amplify — if you ever need to find another job, then it’s very easy to ask one of those account reps “Hey, do you know anybody who’s hiring?”.

  46. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

    3. It took a long time to build up a good network for me as I’m extremely bad at dealing with people, highly introverted, moderately crazy and work in IT.

    However, these things worked!:

    1. I got really lucky and have a fantastic mentor. My former manager who also rose up the ranks from techie. I owe him so much.

    2. Forums! I used to be a frequent poster on a now defunct tech comedy site where we shared tales of frustration and WTF moments. On the forums we helped each other get jobs often and I got several very good contracts that way.

    3. Keep in touch with people you like and are good at what they do. My best friend in the world is someone I once worked with over 24 years ago and is one of those people with a wide circle of people she knows (she’s an executive PA). We actually clicked due to both being corporate goths but I digress.

    4. Communications with people in other departments. I got one of the best jobs via knowing a guy in finance who it turns out had switched careers from IT but still had the contacts.

    Weirdly, what has never worked for me is any kind of conference or official professional organisation (I don’t belong to any).

  47. Pink Candyfloss*

    LW#4 – if you want the most value out of the internship, go with the second option. The first option is ringing some alarm bells in my head including the tendency young companies have to dump a ton of stuff on the intern *because they can* and have significantly less support available to help you navigate through it. You have plenty of time for remote work in the future. At this stage of your career, don’t underestimate the value of experience you will get from an experienced team in an established company with a more hands-on approach.

    “Let’s get an intern to help us” I have heard more than once on small, overworked teams. They do not see it as an opportunity to teach or help you in your career; they view you as a temporary contractor they can have dig them out of the hole they’re buried in.

    1. AngryOctopus*

      Yes, this could be another downside. You could be pushed into something you’re not ready for (because you’re just an intern, and don’t have the experience) just because you’re another pair of hands, and if it gets too crazy you may not have anyone who has time to help you. That’s not going to give you a good experience. I wouldn’t discourage you 100% from a startup like what you describe as an employee with something to fall back on, but as an internship I think it has the highest potential to go wrong in many ways.

  48. HonorBox*

    OP1 – The lack of apology sucks, but I think for your own sake, you need to let that go. What is the work around? Talk to your boss and express that it is difficult when meetings get pushed last minute. Tell her that it is a challenge to go over things she’s missed. Ask if there’s a solution she has in mind. Could you just start meetings at 9:30 or 10 instead? Let her know it would give the rest of the team more opportunity to get things done rather than waiting or spending time rehashing.

    OP2 – Without delving into the ask vs. tell side of PTO because that is very different in different situations, I’d address the doctor’s appointment thing. Even if it is a run to urgent care because someone woke up sick, you should hear from the employee that they’re going to be coming in late. And presumably, a regular appointment has been scheduled in advance, so they should be giving you a heads up that they have an appointment first thing. Then you’re not caught off guard when you hear that the provider is behind and they’re going to be late.

    “I want to talk about the appointment you had the other day. While I don’t need to know any specifics about what your appointment is, when I’m hearing from you about the time you’re due to be in that you’re at an appointment and the provider is running late, that can throw things off. If you’d give me a heads up in the future to let me know that you have an appointment and may be in a few minutes late, I’d sure appreciate it. That way we’re not scheduling something that we’d have to move last second.”

  49. Lily Potter*

    LW#1 – yep, you need to get over this. There are people out there that get an internal thrill out of making other people wait for them. You’re not going to get the apology you’re looking for – and even if you asked for one and got one, how meaningful would it be? It’s like telling your spouse that you want red roses on your birthday and they supply said roses. You got part of what you wanted (the roses) but not the other part (receiving roses as a symbol of thoughtfulness – you only got them because you demanded them!)

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      How meaningful would it be? I think you’re right–it wouldn’t be meaningful at all. Then the next letter would be “I asked my boss to apologize, but her apology wasn’t very sincere”.

      LW just needs to develop some strategies to work around this chronic tardiness. Boss probably isn’t going to change.

  50. I'm just here for the cats!*

    #1 is your boss only late to morning meetings or does this happen when she already started for the day. If it happens in the morning, is there any way you all could shift the meeting time to later? If it happens when she is already at work is there any way you could remind her?

    #2 I do not agree that if a person has a doctor’s appointment an hour before their scheduled shift they need to tell you. Many appointments don’t take long and she could easily get to work on time. For example, my chiropractor and PT appointments only take about 20 minutes. Sometimes I’m waiting longer in the waiting room than my actual appointment. I can very easily see my doctor and then get to work. And she is doing the right thing when she gives you a heads up. Also, take a look at why you feel she has to request (aka ask permission) to take PTO. Why do you feel this way? Is there a specific reason, like there could be meetings or coverage issues if she’s out at the last minute or do you just have this feeling that that’s how time off should be?

  51. Peanut Hamper*

    LW #4 (the internship):

    It’s good to remember that there’s never any guarantee of employment after an internship, regardless of what they say. They could decide you’re not the right fit, or that their budget has suddenly shrunk, or something.

    Choose an internship based on what you can get out of it during the internship and not after.

    1. Generic Name*

      I work for a very large company that routinely hires its interns after graduation. Basically, unless you supremely sucked during the internship, you get an offer when you graduate. I don’t know if this is communicated to interns, but I frankly wouldn’t put too much stock in a very small company telling a potential intern that they would be hired permanently. The fortunes of small companies, especially startups can swing wildly based on if they win or lose a single contract.

  52. Cacofonix*

    #1 – Would be interesting to know whether boss trots in on time with peers or her superiors. If so, she *can* do it, she just won’t show respect for her team.

    There was a manager at a company I consulted with who was notorious for being just like this. He swanned in late again, a little taken aback to discover his boss, the director decided to attend… always cc’d but never came. Director had not been pleased that the meeting had to start without the manager, who was supposed to facilitate. Manager tried to begin taking control, but Director said… “We started on time and your team has this meeting in hand. Let’s continue. I’ll catch you up on what you missed in my office directly after the meeting.” Grateful, smug smiles all around.

    After that, Director was cc’d on all meetings the Manager was in and you never knew when he would pop his head in, so Manager’s promptness improved greatly.

    But being late for meetings is a symptom of bigger performance problems. Manager didn’t last long after that.

  53. Peanut Hamper*

    #5: The boss isn’t making you turn around. You can respond to them without turning around.

    I think you need to reframe this in your head. If most of the conversation is between your boss and your coworker, there’s no need for you to be a part of that. Just keep eating.

    I’m guessing you’re more annoyed by the interruption to what should be a work-free time than having to turn around.

  54. LucyGoosy*

    LW 2 – There are a few people like this in my office. I think this creates an issue if not everyone is on the same page about whether they need to “request” time off or whether they can just say “Hey, I’ll be in at 12…” We have some employees who are always on time, ever have appointments during work hours, and if they do, they notify everyone WELL in advance, and so when other employees just text, “I’ll be in this afternoon” it can be frustrating. (We’re the type of office where you need to be physically there in case something comes up, so we sometimes need to scramble to find coverage if someone is unexpectedly out. The people who do this also don’t offer to cover when other people are out.) The answer may not be, “Require everyone to ask for time off well in advance,” but it could be a matter of say, talking to everyone about the rules for coverage if someone is out, or saying, “During this particular week, please be aware that we need people here for this mission-critical work, so try not to schedule appointments unless it’s an emergency…” or something in that vein while also making sure work is more evenly distributed to make up for absences like that.

  55. Pink Geek*

    LW4: Take the structured internship! Going to a small company that is not used to having interns is likely to lead to you learning less and possibly not even doing the work you want. Good internships are a lot of work on the company’s side and you will learn much more with the establish program.

    I will also +1 what Allison said about learning more in an office especially when you are just starting out.

  56. Seeking Second Childhood*

    OP1, An employer once walked a large group of ys through an exercise to determine how much PER MINUTE our meetings were costing in staff time. They used madeup hand-waving numbers — staff at x, managers at 150% x, directors at 200% x, etc. We all knew the numbers were tooling so the stunningly high totals really had an impact.

    The only problem is how to show that to your boss…. its easier if it’s your employee.

    Any chance of finding a reason for a meeting with higher-ups that would make the lateness visible to them?

  57. BellyButton*

    #3 All of my professional connections are people I have either worked with in the past or people through my professional organization memberships. If you are in HR you can ask your company to pay for a SHRM or Association of Talent Development membership or for admin- the American Association of Administrative Professionals– all of which offer local chapters with get togethers, lunch and learns, free webinars, and just this week I participated in a virtual coffee chat which had a quest speaker to talk about trends in AI and L&D.

  58. Not A Manager*

    LW5 – Try sitting next to your co-worker, instead of across from her. You can still chat with each other, and then when your supervisor comes in, you’ll be facing her.

  59. Pierre*

    LW2 is wrong on the PTO part. PTO is not a privilege your boss needs to OK. You get X number of days off a year when you want to use them, unless you are working in a role that requires coverage like a hospital, emergency call center, etc. The employee should be giving a heads up on the doctors appointments if it’s a consistent issue though.

    1. Allonge*

      “when you want to use them, unless you are working in a role that requires coverage”

      This is really not universal. In a bunch of places the employer dictates when people can and cannot be on leave (shutdowns or busy periods, for example).

      Also, coverage is needed in a lot more places than you seem to expect – I have at least three roles where we need to switch off with someone to be able to perform a process – most of them do not need to happen every day but we cannot both be out for the same three weeks.

      1. Sarah*

        Why don’t your employees know the rules around coverage? Then they can see themselves who is going to be out and know it’s not an appropriate time to plan a trip.

    2. Jennifer Strange*

      That’s not definitively true. Even in areas other than the ones you name they may still need a certain number of people from a specific department to be in to make sure certain tasks are being done. Yes, barring an extreme situation a supervisor should approve PTO when requested, but an employee should still get it approved before making concrete plans (like buying plane tickets).

  60. BellyButton*

    #4- take the structured internship. Hands down. Companies that have an actual internship program offers so much more than a company that hires an intern without a clear plan in place. Typically a structured program will have a set project, timelines, check-ins with goals/milestones defined, intern events, development. There are too many companies out there that hire an intern and give them just busy work- and have no clear path or plan for what they will be doing, and they aren’t helpful for anything other than putting it on your resume. There are so many letters on here from frustrated employees not knowing what to do with an intern and from interns who aren’t getting anything from their internship.

    1. Pita Chips*

      I miss having interns. An organization I worked for years ago had a formal program and they were just fantastic. The interns applied to the program who would review applications and then would match them to teams who would then interview & hire. As a hiring manager, I had to apply to the program as well, deailing what work I’d be expecting them to do. It wasn’t a question of “get me someone to bring me coffee and screen my calls (which I never asked them to do).”

      The program also ran seminars for them like grant writing and even social events so they could build their networks with each other.

  61. TX_Trucker*

    LW 3. Salespeople and vendors can be part of your network, and/or help you expand your network. Let’s say you are looking to implement new time-keeping software in your HR duties. You ask the salesperson for some references. You call these companies and ask them about their experience with this software. You may or may not buy the software, but now you know some folks outside your organization that deal with time-keeping. When you experience an unusual situation with payroll, send an email to one of those folks: You might remember we talked a few months ago about Paycom. I’m having an issue with xyz. Have you ever encountered anything similar, do you have any advice for me?

    If you are doing HR work, becoming a member of SHRM will greatly expand your network. Your company may pay for your membership.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Interesting I really haven’t found SHRM or HRCI to expand my network. They look good on job postings and push me to attend more PD webinars than I might otherwise, but so many people in HR don’t have either and I haven’t found the ones who do really reach out to each other or anything.

  62. Seven If You Count Bad John*

    I once had a boss who, 15 minutes late for a scheduled meeting, we’d call and he’d say he’d be there in 20 minutes…20 minutes later “where are you?” “I’ll be there in 20 minutes” we wouldn’t see him until maybe the next day. It was AN ISSUE.

  63. Anon900*

    OP #1

    Do we work at the same place lol? My boss is like this (but a bit worse) and it’s slowly driving me nuts.

    We have weekly meetings that they’re is late to at least half the time. And it happens similarly as described in the letter. Everyone will be gathered at 9:00 am, when the boss says let’s push it back a bit, and more often then not they’re late to that time as well. Cancellations also come at the very last minute, sometimes after the meeting was scheduled to start.

    We can’t easily move the meeting time, because of timezone and work-related reasons (and my boss is late morning, evening, afternoon). It’s also not possible to carry on without them. I feel it’s really rude to leave 10+ people waiting on you for up to 30+ minutes on a regular basis.

    No real advice for you, OP, just commiseration. My boss never apologizes, either, and I’ve reached the point where I’d find it pretty hollow, given the behavior won’t change.

    1. Michelle Smith*

      I have a client like this. I do not have control over the meeting time or the ability to “fire” the client. We meet at 8 am local time and I am NOT a morning person. It’s a 50/50 whether he shows up to the scheduled meetings. I’ve started just bringing work to do while I wait. If I have to be up anyway, I’m not going to waste the meeting time, I’m going to use their tardiness to get ahead on some other tasks. Might be harder to do for in-person meetings, but if you have a laptop…

  64. RaginMiner*

    LW4: I am a current college student who has had several internships in the field of engineering (so ymmv if you’re in a very different industry) but I would recommend internship 2! A company with a structured intern program will off the bat recognize your value as an intern and they actively invest time in your growth. I also agree with Alison that I learned a LOT just by being in an office!

  65. Michelle Smith*

    LW3: If you want to build a network, I strongly suggest you follow the advice to look for professional organizations, conferences, and online spaces to connect. Some initial ideas:
    * Look for an HR professional organization in your state and join a committee. If you can’t afford a membership and your workplace won’t pay for it, at least sign up for their mailing list. They probably have information about national and statewide conferences that you could attend.
    * Again, try to attend a conference. It is STRONGLY recommended that you go in person, if that option is available. I am the only person I know who still masks 100% of the time, even outside in uncrowded areas, so I am not being cavalier with this suggestion. It’s just that having been to both virtual and in-person conferences over the years, I’ve found it is very, very difficult to meet new contacts via virtual offerings. It’s far easier to strike up conversations with the person seated next to you at the plenary session over lunch or in the workshop on a topic of mutual interest.
    * Sign up for LinkedIn. There are so, so, so many HR professionals on LinkedIn. Follow them, add them as connections, read and react/comment on their posts, and consider posting your own content. I haven’t found much value in LinkedIn groups, but they do exist and there’s nothing to lose by joining some in your field – they might be more active than mine. And despite not having friends or former classmates who went into your line of work, add them anyway. I can’t tell you how many times someone has reached out to me to say their friend/coworker/family member wants to do what I do and can they introduce us. Your network is not just the people you personally know, but also the people they know.

    I think you would benefit from creating a network even if you don’t plan to use it to refer other people you know for help with their resumes. You never know when you might need a new job or want to change fields or want to learn more about a specific aspect of your current field, and having that network already established in advance is great. People are more inclined to help when they already know you, so build those relationships before you actually need them and always think about ways in which you can give back to your network as well.

  66. Champagne Cocktail*

    I think the second internship sounds like the better opportunity. An organization with a formal internship program, in my opinion, will make better use of your time and expose you to more aspects of the business.

    Unfortunately, no matter how well you perform as an intern, even a formal program won’t automatically mean a route to a permanent position. A company in a growth cycle may not either.

    Best of luck!

  67. Pizza Rat*

    I think the manager needs to set expectations that define just what constitutes a “fair warming” for a doctor’s appointment that might make the employee late, and the full process for taking PTO.

    I suspect from the casual way the employee is acting, that this was SOP at their previous position and they’ve never been told anything different.

  68. Pita Chips*

    I don’t remember who said it first, but “never explain, never apologize,” was a rule of thumb back in the stone age for executives and people wanting to get ahead.

    I’m glad most people are more considerate now. The ones who aren’t, though? You’re not going to get an apology from them.

  69. It's Marie - Not Maria*

    LW3 – If you are on Facebook, check out The Evil HR Lady Facebook Group! It is a group specifically for HR Professionals, and is a great networking resource as well. The group are all big fans of Allison!

  70. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

    Another way to think about networking is the other way round: Which old coworkers would you happily do a minor favor for? If Bob who you worked with five years ago emailed and asked if your company was any good to work for, would you email back and give him the low-down? If Penelope in accounting has a niece who’s thinking about going into HR, would you talk to the niece? If Susan calls up because she remembered that you could get the Blafelgrab system to talk to the internet, would you let her pick your brain?

    Networks work both ways.

  71. Meow*

    The “ask don’t tell” about PTO is a cultural thing. My old job, we always had to “ask” for PTO (side note, i hated how micromanaging and abusive that job was overall). My current manager says we are all adults just inform her.

  72. Adults should not have to beg for leave.*

    I don’t ask permission to take time off. I am an adult & I know how to manage my workflow & schedule time off so it does not impact my clients, my coworkers, my reports, or my manager. We just jump on the shared calendar, check to see if anyone else is already off, then add our leave. It is VERY unusual that someone already has leave booked for when I want time off & in that rare case I assess if we are required for the same projects & if we are, change dates or if the leave is absolutely necessary (surgery, wedding, you know, something absolutely unmovable) I discuss with the other person to see if we can come to an arrangement.

  73. Sarah*

    #2- when I first took this job, people were emailing me for vacation approvals. I told them to stop. Just put your vacation on my calendar and the calendar of folks you work closely with. During busy vacation periods, I proactively touch base with people to make sure we have enough coverage. If someone has something before work, my expectation is they don’t schedule anything super important first thing in case they run late.

    Hire competent adults and then treat people like they are competent adults.

  74. PopVulture*

    I think LW2 is in a one-sided power struggle with this employee. For the LW to resent the employee getting the last word indicates that maybe the LW would actually like to have it. To want to be ‘asked’ for permission instead of informed that the employee is taking time (that is part of her compensation package, and that isn’t causing any problems) is just domineering and icky.

    Relax, and treat the employee like a professional instead of an underling.

  75. blood orange*

    OP #4 – I’d add that there’s a not insignificant risk that the young company will create misperceptions of healthy and/or effective office environments. There’s a lot to learn in new businesses where things are being created on the fly and innovation is all around you, but I’d say that’s a better experience when you’ve already built a foundation of office norms from a more established company (ideally more than one).

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