someone insulted my grieving coworker and made it look like I did it, getting a job offer after only one interview, and more

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

1. Someone insulted my grieving coworker and made it look like I did it

Recently, one of my coworkers who is on the same team as me lost her cat to cancer. Her manager set up a virtual greeting card for our team to sign. I signed the card today and left this message: “I’m so sorry for your loss, you and Fluffy were lucky to have each other” and left it at that.

A few hours later, another coworker slacks me with this message: “Just a warning that everyone can see what you wrote. You still have time to change or it, or you can own it, I guess.” I had no idea what he was talking about, but figured it was about the greeting card since the only other things I had written that day were emails or reminders that he wasn’t included on.

I clicked back into the greeting card and saw that the message I wrote had been replaced with one insulting my coworker and her cat. However, when I went to change it back to what I had actually written, my original message was in the draft field. I sent it again and saw that it was the right message, but now I’m worried. What if someone else besides the coworker who Slacked me saw the offensive message? I told the person in charge of the card what happened, but I’m worried she won’t believe me and will think I’m just trying to cover my butt. Was I right to let her know? Should I also let my boss know?

Also, other teams have set up virtual cards on the same site for other coworkers, but now I’m scared to sign those cards in case this would happen again.

You should let your boss know because one of your colleagues did a really horrible thing and tried to make it look like you did! Who sends an insulting message about the death of someone’s cat? And tries to pin it on someone else? That’s seriously messed up behavior, and if I were your boss I’d sure as hell want to know that someone on my team did something so crappy.

You can frame it this way: “This is such a weird thing, but after I left a condolence message in the card for Jane, someone changed it to something absolutely horrible, insulting Jane and her cat. Somehow they made it look like it was mine. I was disgusted and changed it back to my original message, but I didn’t know it was possible for someone to do that so I wanted to flag that for you, as well as the fact that someone on our team did such a cruel thing to someone who’s grieving. I figured you’d want to be aware of it.” As long as you let your natural horror at their message show, and as long as you aren’t known in your office for being the kind of person who insults people in condolence cards, it’s very unlikely that your boss or Jane will think this was an elaborate plot by you to insult her and then backtrack.

2. Can I go over my manager’s head to ask that she have a lighter workload?

I’ve worked at my company for about a year and a half. My manager started in our department a few weeks before I did and is a first-time people manager. She’s great at her job, friendly, gives clear advice and feedback, and really wants me to grow in my role. We get along well. We’re both in our late 20s.

My issue is that she’s very clearly extremely burnt out. I have a good glimpse (but not a full picture) of her workload, and it’s just too much for any one person to handle. She’s mentioned that she feels burnt out and, from our one-on-ones and daily chatter, is clearly very stressed and overwhelmed nearly daily. My own workload is fine; it’s a lot of work, but I come from a related industry known for harsh deadlines and no work-life balance, so I’m comfortable here in comparison. I’ve asked to take more off her plate to even the load and I’ve been able to take on a little more, but there’s not much more within the realm of both our roles that I can do.

I know my overall company is kind of a mess and I think the only reason my workload is as comfortable as it is is because of her. I know she’s advocating for herself but, from my viewpoint, her workload is only getting heavier. I’m really worried she might burn out or need to quit. Selfishly, I’m worried that my job here will be way more unpleasant if she leaves, but also, I’ve experienced burnout and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

Would it unreasonable to talk to her manager and express concern that too much is being asked of her? I don’t want to make it seem like she’s doing badly at her job (she’s not!) and I don’t want to seem patronizing or anything like that. I think if I ask her first she might insist it’s unnecessary; she’s talked along those lines before. I just wonder if another voice advocating for her would be helpful or harmful.

Don’t do it! This is very much between your manager and the people above her; trying to advocate for her is highly likely to come across as undermining to her. If she wants to address her workload with her manager, she needs to do that herself. Having someone she manages go over her head will make it look like you don’t think she’s capable of accurately assessing and addressing her own work situation, or like she’s been venting inappropriately to you, or even like she asked you to advocate for her. If someone who reported to me did this without my knowledge, I’d be pissed — you don’t know how it might blow back on her or make her look like a weak manager.

I know you’re not seeing it that way — you’re seeing “I like this manager, know she’s overworked, and want to make sure we don’t lose her” — but the hierarchy will make it play out really weirdly.

3. Is it alarming to get a job offer after only one interview?

I had a zoom interview last Thursday. I thought it went well. Yesterday I got an offer letter. Salary and benefits are good, however being an Xer, I was a little taken aback by an offer after a 45-minute interview, especially when I hear horror stories about seven rounds of interviews.

It is a young company (2021) with founders who seem to be very driven. There have really been no other red flags.

Am I being paranoid or is there any cause for alarm? They gave me a week to sign the offer letter and I would start two weeks after that.

A lot of places still hire after only one interview! It’s not uncommon. But the big question for you is whether you have the information you need to make a decision. Do you have a good enough understanding of the job, the team, the manager, and the culture? Do you have big questions that are still unanswered? Have you had time to do other research on the company to make sure you know what you’re getting into (like what I describe here)?

If you don’t feel like you have enough information to make a decision on your side, it’s completely fine to say something like, “Would it be possible to set up a call this week so I can ask some remaining questions? I didn’t get a chance to ask everything at our earlier meeting and I want to make sure I have a full understanding of the job and the team.”

should I be worried by a hiring process that’s just a single 30-minute interview?

4. My laptop is disgusting

I just started a new job I am very excited about! The laptop given to me when I started was clearly used before. I just sat down to clean it up with some rubbing alcohol today.

It’s filthy. I didn’t notice because I dock it at home and at work. I am talking greasy film over all the keys on the keyboard. There is dust. I pried out some food stuck under the keys. It smells. IT SMELLS.

This is a decently resourced organization. How would you handle this?

My laptop is also disgusting but at least it doesn’t smell (and somehow it’s less gross when your own grubby fingers are the source of the mess). But sometimes I see it through someone else’s eyes and am horrified and then immediately clean it.

But laptops should be cleaned in between users!

In any case, it weren’t for the smell, the most practical thing would be to just clean it yourself — but I’m assuming there’s nothing you can do about the smell on your own. Can you go to IT/whoever issued you the laptop and say, “This came to me in really bad shape, with greasy film on the keys and food stuck in it. I’ve cleaned it as best I can but it still smells. Can I swap it for a different one or can we get it cleaned?”

5. My interview is tomorrow and I’m sick

I have a (virtual) job interview on Friday, but I’m currently sick and sound it. I’m hoping that I will sound better by Friday, but what’s the threshold for sounding congested/hoarse in an interview? Obviously if I’m still coughing up a storm every time I try to string two sentences together by the time the interview comes around, I need to cancel, but I’m unsure about what to do if I feel fine but still sound sick. I suppose the question here is twofold:

1. If I am too sick to keep the interview, how much notice should I give to reschedule and what should I say? And how sick is too sick? If I can talk fine, but still sound congested, is that okay? Or should I wait until I fully have my voice back?

2. If I’m well enough to have the interview at the current time but still sound a little hoarse/froggy, do I acknowledge it at the beginning of the interview? “I’m getting over a cold, so apologies that I still sound a little hoarse, but I’m excited to meet you….” or something like that?

If you feel well enough to do it (no brain fog, not exhausted, etc.) but just sound hoarse or congested, you should be fine proceeding. Just briefly and cheerfully address it at the start of the conversation — “excuse my voice, I’m getting over a cold but excited for this call” or similar.

If you’re too sick to keep the interview, try to give a day’s notice if you can (but if you can’t, then as soon as possible the morning of the appointment). And you can simply say, “I’m so sorry about the late notice — unfortunately I’ve gotten sick and am looking increasingly unlikely to be better in time for our interview tomorrow. Would we be able to reschedule for next week?”

If it weren’t virtual, my advice would be different; in that case, even if you’re confident you’re not contagious, your interviewers won’t be and it’s not a good idea to make your interviewer worry you’re exposing them to an active infection.

{ 374 comments… read them below }

  1. LinZella*

    Ohhh OP 2– Do not do not do not go over your boss’s head. I get what your intentions are, and it’s kind of you to want to help. But – holy moly – you simply CANNOT go forward with your idea. It would make her look terrible- as if she asked you to do that, that she is incapable of even talking to her own boss, or that you don’t understand how office dynamics work.

    1. Fierce Jindo*

      ESPECIALLY because the manager is a woman (and thus far more likely to be read as weak, manipulative, inappropriately close, etc).

        1. Knope Knope Knope*

          I literally wonder if I’m your grand boss. If so, we have a great relationship and you can talk to me about anything. However, I stand by Alison’s advice. My direct report, the manager in this scenario, is very ambitious for her own career and empathetic for own direct reports. She’ll always take on more. The best thing her direct reports can do is really focus on becoming independent and asking her for a personalized plan towards taking on more responsibilities. Our team has the same amount of work no matter what. I delegate what I can to her. If she’s overloaded, she needs to delegate more, but needs to feel the team can handle it. Otherwise it’s just more work for her. I’d ask myself: are all my assignments completed on time? Is the work product high quality? Am I independently managing my time and workload and proactively identifying how to move my work forward and how to help my team? If yes, great. If not, getting to that place will help your manager’s workload.

          1. So they all cheap-ass rolled over and one fell out*

            Part of moving up is often being able to delegate, so you can focus your time on higher-level thinking, being a force multiplier, and other things that sound really buzzwordy as I type them but are actually real.

        2. Pastor Petty Labelle*

          Oooh even worse. Your boss’ workload is hers to manage. You don’t need to step in to save her. You don’t know best for her, no matter how you wrap it up.

        3. MassMatt*

          If you are able to handle more work, maybe suggest to your boss that she delegate more, or the need for more staff?

        4. buddleia*

          This may be bad advice and commentariat please say so if it is: would you be comfortable saying to your boss, “is there anything I can do to help with your workload? I’m a little concerned seeing you so stressed out.” Maybe that’ll start a conversation and get some ideas going for her. Or not. Maybe that will raise a flag with her that this is something that she needs to address. Because if she’s burning out, that’s not good for anyone.

          1. Elsewise*

            Two of my colleagues recently did that with my (extremely overworked) boss, and she really appreciated it! I think it really depends on the relationship LW has with his boss and how he approaches it, but it could work.

          2. Analytical Tree Hugger*

            I think this is fine, but I’d keep it to, “Is there anything I can do to help with your workload?”

            The latter piece isn’t wrong and could be helpful, but could also feel…patronizing? It really depends on the relationship with the manager.

            In OP’s specific situation, it sounds like the two of them have had the conversation already (i.e., “I’ve asked to take more off her plate to even the load and I’ve been able to take on a little more, but there’s not much more within the realm of both our roles that I can do”).

          3. LW2*

            I have said something to this effect! She’s been able to give me some admin tasks that I wasn’t doing before, but she’s said she’s not sure if there’s anything else I can take off her plate. Honestly a lot of this is a staffing issue, we just need more people on our team. I know she’s advocating for that, too.

          4. Ghee Buttersnaps*

            I’ve had an employee do this to me. It was a wake up call that I wasn’t handling things as well as I thought. And it told me that she actually wanted to grow into new areas. I have been able to delegate and train her on more items and it has been wonderful!

            1. allathian*

              I hope there’s also been funds in your budget to give her a raise. She deserves one, if she’s contributing more to the team.

          5. Menace_to_Sobriety*

            I liked it until I got to, “I’m a little concerned seeing you so stressed out.” That’s getting too… I dunno… personal? emotionally invested? something I can’t quite put my finger on. But, a “I’m caught up, can I take anything off your plate for you?” Or “Anything I can work on to ease your workload at the moment?” I think is fine. Just keep the “concern” piece out of it, especially in this particular male/female dynamic where it could come off paternalistic, or patronizing somehow.

        5. Ellie*

          Since you’re a man and your boss is a woman, I would probably think that you were either gunning for her job, or else displaying sexism yourself, if you came forward in this way. Whether you mean it that way or not, this could come back on you if you go above her head. You need to trust her to manage her own workload.

    2. Artemesia*

      This a hundred times. Never speak for someone above you. I once had a subordinate advocate for a program the PTB had already rejected when I proposed it. And they CCed me on the memo advocating. The effect was to make it look like I had no sense and had not understood that the program had been rejected. Never use someone else’s name in your cause without permission and never try to speak on the behalf of someone above you. The only exception is when you are asked by management for feedback on your boss — even then be careful to not overdo it.

    3. Cat Tree*

      I think it’s more likely that it just won’t be effective. The manager has probably already been talking to her manager about workload with little success. If her own manager is unwilling or unable to address it right now, one more person voicing the problem is unlikely to change that.

      I’m in the same spot as LW2’s manager. I actually wondered if one of my own reports wrote in except I’m not in my 20s. My workload sucks but my manager also isn’t great. I’ve discussed it with him numerous times but he’s unsympathetic. When others give feedback that I seem too busy, my boss’s response is to give me tips on time management. The only way for me to fix this is to find a new job (preferably within our very large company), but I’m too burned out to update my resume.

      1. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

        I hate hearing about anyone who felt like I used to feel all the time. I’d be willing to help with your resume if you ever wanted a body double or like someone to pull up Teams and screen share and you tell me what you did and I’ll translate it into resume-speak and type it for you.

      2. NotAnotherManager!*

        I would not assume that the manager has already raised the issue. There are a lot of people who think that, if they ask for help, they’ll be thought of as incompetent or unable to handle their jobs and assume that their boss wouldn’t give them more than they can handle and the problems lies with them (or perceive that they are the only one struggling to keep up). That may not be the case here, but I’ve seen it happen enough that I would not discount it, especially with someone new to a role or company who doesn’t have a good lay of the land.

        Regardless, this is LW2’s boss’s battle to fight and not his. All things being equal, it’s not his place and can be undermining or, at worst, perceived as a play for his boss’s job. That the boss is a woman and he’s a man only exacerbates this.

      3. Analytical Tree Hugger*


        I think of it this way: Why would a more junior person have more pull than their manager?

        They wouldn’t, so it would be odd (at best), with a high likelihood of the worse outcomes others have pointed out above.

    4. Momma Bear*

      There is also simply a point at which you need to trust adults to make decisions for themselves. She’s stressed, she can’t offload more to you, and whether or not she quits is up to her. It might impact your future workload, but so could her being sick or being transferred, etc. Continue to work with her to get tasks done as you can, but if this is a systemic corporate problem, it’s certainly not going to help for you to say HER workload is too much. Let her advocate for herself. Don’t undermine her or speak for her.

    5. Grey*

      Right. If my employee did that to me, they’d be done. Who are you to tell my boss I can’t handle my job?

        1. Irish Teacher.*

          Or else that the underling was trying to undermine the boss. If I were a grandboss and somebody came to me to say they were concerned their boss was overworked as she seemed really stressed, my immediate thought would be that they were angling for a greater role themselves or were trying to make her look like she couldn’t cope to make themselves look better by comparison or something.

          I want to be clear that I don’t think the LW is trying to do this, but that’s because there is context here that the grandboss wouldn’t necessarily have.

      1. Le Sigh*

        I once had a colleague do something similar to me. I was so angry. They later admitted to leadership that I had no knowledge of the email, but it definitely hurt me in the long run at that job. If someone I manage did this, I’d be twice as angry — they don’t know the dynamics between me and my manager, they don’t know what I’ve said or advocated for, or negotiated, etc., nor do they know that I’ve made conscious choices sometimes to take it on the chin so my team operate well. Doing this could undue all of that. It would really make me question their judgment, even if their intentions are good.

      2. SansaJacklyn*

        Also, my old boss absolutely had too much work, and she refused to delegate appropriately because of control issues. It was completely on her and her micromanaging of things. And it didn’t just make her stressed, it very much negatively affected the business, but even in this case, that was not up to me to go over her head. She’s still doing it to this day I hear.

      3. Hannah Lee*

        What LW is contemplating could come off as super patronizing and out of bounds, to their boss and others. It’s like a variation of a parent who wants to contact their adult child’s boss to advocate for them, only with more work entanglement.

        It will have the effect of undermining BOTH lw and boss with grandboss: lw because he’s demonstrating he doesn’t know how workplaces work and is stepping WAY out of his lane and presuming that boss/grandboss are incapable of managing workloads or communication between each other and that he has super special insight, compassion, whatever AND beleaguered boss because it makes her look incompetent, overwhelmed and too passive, timid, whatever other non-leadershipy thing to be willing and able to advocate for herself to her own boss.

        It may be that boss is managing to be very successful in grandboss’s eyes right now, managing to keep the nuts, bolts and stress of “how the sausage gets made” out of the public eye, and is showing more of her frayed edges to LW because of trust between them (not great to share that you’re overwhelmed with your reports, but it happens). Raising the issue with grandboss would destroy all of that, and not in a ‘sometimes you got to crack some eggs to make an good omelet’ way.

    6. Lenny*

      op 2- outside of that you got hired to do your job. if you start taking on duties from your boss without compensation you are creating a precedent shooting yourself in the foot.

      1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

        I disagree with a blanket rule against going over your manager’s head (not sure if that’s what you meant, though).

        There are a limited number of instances when it is necessary to go over your boss’ head (e.g., whistle-blowing illegal or unethical actions; reporting if they are undermining the granfboss’ directives).

    1. Earlk*

      If this happened to me as a manager I would consider that they’re maybe trying to oust me and claim my job.

    2. I guess that makes me a bad direct report?*

      Uh oh, I have told my grand-boss that I was worried about my boss burning out and I didn’t want the team to lose him. I didn’t go seek out the conversation, I said it at a semi-regular “skip level” meeting.

      1. allathian*

        That’s different, because in your org you have meetings with skip level managers. It’s one thing to at a skip level meeting say that your manager’s seemingly excessive workload is affecting your ability to work effectively with your manager, *when your grandboss is asking how you’re doing at your job*. It’s another thing entirely to initiate a meeting with your grandboss specifically to talk about your manager’s workload, if you’d normally never talk to them 1:1.

  2. Estrella the Starfish*

    LW1, I’d be very disturbed to find out someone I worked with acted like this. Taunting a grieving person is incredibly cruel, it was fortunate that it was discovered before the card went to the colleague

    1. Myrin*

      Yeah, I can’t see any reason for this other than cruelty for cruelty’s sake (and possibly some sort of axe to grind with OP, but it’s equally likely that her message was just randomly selected ad the one to be changed) and I’d find that highly alarming in a coworker.

      1. Not Australian*

        The ‘axe to grind with OP’ aspect is what concerns me most here: there’s something so irredeemably spiteful about this that I’d be wondering what else the perpetrator was capable of. I wonder whether IT might be able to trace the alteration?

        1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

          I think its someone who thought it would be “funny” to do this. After all, its just a virtual card, its all anonymous who did it. Just a joke from a keyboard warrior. No harm after all, RIGHT?

          1. Sloanicota*

            I thought it was also intended to be “funny” – possibly the person thinks it’s ridiculous to have coworkers sign a pet sympathy card and wanted to register their complaint. But really cruel to make it look like it came from OP!

            1. Cmdrshprd*

              I wonder if this was the case, and if the person that did it was the co-worker that pointed it out to OP.

              The coworker was the one that did it, they “pointed it out” right away to OP so no one else would have seen it, I can see where that person might think it was harmless. I don’t agree with that. It shows bad judgment and hurt OP.

              1. Turtlewings*

                I wondered about that too. There’s a reason the person who found the body is always the first suspect. I feel bad even suspecting them, because if it WASN’T them, then they’re the only reason this wasn’t a complete catastrophe. But I’d be looking very closely at that coworker.

            2. goddessoftransitory*

              Framing the OP shows that lie for what it is! If the person genuinely, however misguidedly, thought taunting a grieving coworker was funny, they wouldn’t try to hide their cruelty behind another coworker.

              This kind of stuff is why I don’t buy the “oh, I had no idea people wouldn’t think it was a joke, ha ha” defense 99% of the time. If you had no idea, why were you trying your incredibly clumsy and possibly job ending frame up of someone else instead of taking credit?

            3. Enai*

              If I think a card for pet bereavement is ridiculous, I can just not sign it, mind my own business and avoid adding to another person’s grief. It costs $0, and takes no effort at all. If confronted, I can lie and say that I forgot or that I thought I signed, whoopsie, the computer must’ve eaten it.

              This just seems needlessly cruel to both the LW as well as her coworker.

          2. PNW cat lady*

            I understand you are providing a possible reason, but for the life of me can’t fathom finding it funny that someone’s cat died of cancer. And they were not joking by risking someone else’s professional reputation by attributing it to the LW. I am tearing up writing this- my beloved cat died of cancer and it was terrible- she suffered so much. Whether you are an animal person or not, we should all be able to agree cancer is the worst. The person who did that was both cruel and manipulative. I’m glad it was caught before the grieving co-worker found it.

    2. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

      I’m wondering if we can even be sure that this was done by someone who works there. I’m wondering if this could be a case of the e-card equivalent of zoombombing, where there’s a group of people that, for reasons I do not understand, seem to delight in making things worse for total strangers just because they can.

      1. Olive*

        Agreed – if this was a 3rd party card service (it seems unlikely that IT would be making sympathy e-cards if that wasn’t their company’s product), I’d caution the OP to not assume that a coworker must have done this. While her manager and HR should investigate, it would be a shame for her to be losing trust in her coworkers if it turns out that it was an outside hack all along.

        1. SomeWords*

          My employer has a range of e-cards for a variety of occasions for us to send to each other. I work for a financial institution, so nothing greeting card related.

          I’d be asking to have IT see if they could identify who made the change.

          1. Hannah Lee*

            Good idea! Because it might have been someone who works there (which would be important information for boss and the chain of command to have details on because it’s such an unprofessional thing to have done)

            But also because if it’s not someone who works there, the company may have a cyber security issue on its hands, whether someone who has access to the company’s network, user access or if it’s someone who can spoof being an employee /infiltrate that particular greeting card app.

            The way the LW’s original text was still in their draft window does make me wonder if it’s one of those cases of an idiotic co-worker noticing you left a window open / didn’t screen lock when you walked away from your desk and deciding to prank you, but even so, doing it on a condolence card is a super unprofessional, glass bowl, maximum fallout thing that they’d still deserve some sort of discipline for it even if it wasn’t a security breach or purposely malicious action.

        2. OP1*

          Hi, I’m the OP, and I was also thinking it was some kind of 3rd party who did this either through some kind of virtual card zoom bombing or someone at the greeting card company. Things seem to have blown over, so I’ll probably try to let it go unless something similar happens again. I also let the person who organized the card know, in case there are security issues we need to worry about.

    3. AGD*

      Ugh, I feel for you, LW1. Someone did a similar thing to me at work once at a part-time job I had a LONG time ago. We passed around a card wishing a coworker all the best in the future. When it got to me, someone had already written a weird note signed with my name (which is distinctive and shared with no one else on the team). As far as I could tell, it matched no one else’s handwriting and no one else’s pen.

      I didn’t even understand what the message was getting at (honestly, in retrospect, it might have been an inside joke at my expense), and found I didn’t want to cross out part of a card lest that look suspicious, so I just drew an arrow and wrote, “I promise I did not write that. This is my real message. All the best, [coworker].” The whole thing still makes me shudder a bit.

      1. AGD*

        Sorry, end of my retelling was ambiguous. I meant it in the sense of, ‘All the best to you, [coworker], from [me].’

    4. Putting the Dys in Dysfunction*

      This is serious enough that I would ask around to see whether it’s possible for the tech folks to ascertain anything about the origin of this awful message. Is this an internal system? Is it something outsourced, like Kudoboard? It could be useful to at least narrow the possibilities as to where this might have come from.

      You also might want to ask around to see whether you or the grieving cat owner have any previously unknown enemies in your organization. I would be telling everyone about what happened.

      1. Selena81*

        if the software automatically adds names it also might track changes (and record the login of the person making the change)

      2. JMR*

        I was thinking of Kudoboard too, and doesn’t Kudoboard require a login and password? So someone had to have had OP’s credentials in order to change their post? It must be possible for someone in the organization’s IT department to track the changes or at least see what IP address the changes came from. Even the organization that hosts the software (Kudoboard or whatever OP used) might be willing to help; it’s in their best interests to suss it out and confirm that the breach didn’t come from their side.

    5. Momma Bear*

      Not to dismiss the loss of a beloved pet, but what if this happened with the loss of a person? I’d let the manager know that the e-greetings are not secure and can be changed/hacked. A card you pass around to sign may be better in the future.

      1. Marzipan Shepherdess*

        Yes, at my agency we often send around paper greeting cards to our colleagues (condolences, congratulations, get-well, etc.) It’s more personal and allows each of us to handwrite our messages and of course to sign them as well. That might be helpful in this case, too; LW1 might also consider simply sending their own individual cards (virtual or paper) in the future. It’s really a shame, because a card full of kindly messages is heartwarming, but it may be the best way to avoid this kind of debacle if you’ve got a spitemonger in the office.

        But seriously…who on earth thinks it’s acceptable to hurt one grieving colleague by sending them an insult on an office greeting card AND to slander another by signing their name to the insulting message?! That person should be out of there ASAP!

      2. Silver Robin*

        A physical card could fix this (or not, see AGD’s comment). But also, a virtual card is kind of the only way to do it if your office is hybrid/remote. I never thought to check if my office’s virtual cards could have people edit each other’s messages because the thought of doing anything except *MAYBE* shifting the text box slightly to make room never even occurred to me.

        I am sympathetic to wanting a more secure card-signing system but also, good grief, why is LW on a team where that is necessary???

        1. Silver Robin*

          Realized the end could be read as saying it is LW’s fault, but I meant more like “it is absolutely absurd that this is something that LW has to worry about and the bigger issue is the awful coworker; nobody should have to worry about this kind of vandalism”

          1. Lydia*

            It’s likely nobody knows they work with a complete shitheel of a human being. Although there are always signs.

            1. Silver Robin*

              Sure, I just feel like the bigger priority needs to be figuring out who the jerk is and dealing with them. Ensuring more security for the cards is likely easier/faster, and can/should be implemented to deal with the symptoms of the problem (jerk coworker). But I really hope it does not stop there.

              1. Observer*

                Sure, I just feel like the bigger priority needs to be figuring out who the jerk is and dealing with them.

                Absolutely! Yes, in the short term the cards need to be protected. But in the long term, the company needs to figure out what is going on. Because someone who will do something like this is someone who cannot be trusted and who is gratuitously cruel. Either is BAD. Together? Even if no one cares about human decency, it’s a real risk to everyone.

                1. constant_craving*

                  That’s assuming it actually was done by someone who works there, which isn’t a given.

            2. Hannah Lee*

              Yeah, I work with people I usually get along fine with. But one day I noticed a FJB sticker on one of their cars. (not the initials, the actual words, they later wore a shirt with LGB written out on it)

              Differences of political opinion/philosophy in the before-times wasn’t really an big issue for me, except when it came to hypocrisy or lies in the run-up to war-crimes or denying someone’s fundamental human rights. But at this point, that kind of crass nonsense is just a giant flaming red glassbowl flag to me, and so disappointing when someone outs themselves like that.

        2. Bibliovore*

          “But also, a virtual card is kind of the only way to do it if your office is hybrid/remote.” — That can depend a bit on the office. My last one had people on multiple continents, sometimes even within the same team, and we usually did paper cards. Whoever was coordinating any given card would ask those elsewhere to message them with any specific text to add; the coordinator would then either write/”sign” those into the physical card or print them out and tape them in there.

        3. Lizzo*

          For a while when we had a mix of team members in-office and fully remote, people would handwrite and then photograph their sentiments or type them up, and then send them to someone on-site who would print, cut and paste everything into a physical card alongside whomever was in the office to sign in person. Wasn’t super efficient, but it got the job done!

    6. MCMonkeyBean*

      This has got to be one of the weirdest things to come through here, what the heck! I cannot imagine how I would handle this. It’s so baffling and horrible. I feel like I would want to go to the coworker who alerted me and swear that was not the message I had put in, and show them that apparently you can change other people’s messages on the website… but I don’t know how to do that without sounding too defensive.

      I also agree that definitely you need to talk to your boss. I think that should be framed as both 1) I want to make sure you don’t think I wrote this and 2) I think we need to find a different way to send joint cards to people if they can be manipulated in this way

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

      I would certainly talk to the boss right away, and hopefully before the card goes out so that they can review it to make sure there were no other changes. I’d also say to the coworker who pointed it out that you were thankful they caught that because that was not the message you sent and that I hope you don’t think that I would ever say anything like that.

    8. learnedthehardway*

      Agreeing. This VERY DEFINITELY needs to be raised with the LW’s manager and with HR. Whoever did this wanted to hurt the person whose pet died, and they wanted to damage the LW’s reputation and relationships with their team members. One or the other (and they’re callous enough to not care who gets affected), and quite possibly both (diabolical of them to get a 2-for-1 on on this).

      That’s a very malicious person.

      The OP should protect themselves (their reputation, their relationships with coworkers) by pursuing this further. IT will be able to track down where the replaced message came from.

      1. House On The Rock*

        Agree 100%! This is so hurtful on so many levels: for the OP, for the recipient of the card, heck, for people who saw the cruel comment and had to process that! Someone that malicious is likely doing other cruel/strange/outrageous things to others (or wants to). As a manager I’d definitely want to know about it.

    9. AMB*

      I just lost my kitty of 16+ years and my office gave me a sympathy card when I returned to the office, and it was such an incredibly nice gesture (especially since it was a really busy time for us and I was worried they’d be annoyed at my unexpected absence). While some of the notes were more personal than others (it’s obvious who’s a pet person in the office versus not), everything was kind. I can’t imagine if the card I received had something like the LW1 described. So thankful it was caught. But seriously LW1, you work with someone who is just cruel.

    10. goddessoftransitory*

      I would be too! Not only are they taunting a grieving person, but trying to frame someone else for it. That’s not some kind of spiteful one off, it was planned, deliberate.

  3. Jasmine Tea*

    #2 Tell your manager if she decides to go to a company where she will not have to burn out please keep you in mind if there’s an opening in her department.

  4. Ane*

    LW1: Well, I have a suspect. “Or you can own it, I guess.” is such a weird thing to say if you’re horrified of someone else’s actions. But I am writing fanfiction now..

    1. Off Plumb*

      I had the same thought. If it was someone I held in enough esteem to warn, I would also think highly enough of them to give them the benefit of the doubt, so I’d say something like “I think you need to check the card, something happened to your message.” There’s something about the combination of “I have no problem believing you would say something that horrible” and “I want to make sure you know that you’re being perceived in this way” that makes me think the person who spoke up is deliberately stirring the pot and does not have kind feelings toward the LW.

      1. gmg22*

        Yep. Why would LW need to be told that “everyone can see what you wrote”? It’s a virtual greeting card, that’s how they work.

        1. Mangled Metaphor*

          I think the emphasis is on “you”.

          As in “everyone can see what *you* wrote”.

          It’s less that everyone can see the words, it’s that everyone can see *who* the “nasty” person is (implied by the coworker to be LW). It’s either further twisting the knife (on the unfounded assumption that the coworker is the perpetrator (note, we have no proof)), or highlighting the fact that it’s LW who will get into trouble (assuming coworker had altruistic intentions)

      2. birb*

        If anyone could have anonymously changed it, SURELY this person could have anonymously deleted it and warned her. I’d also be really suspicious of that person.

        1. Silver Robin*

          No, I do not think so. If I were coworker and I thought LW genuinely wrote it, I would not delete it. I would tell the manager and curator of the card and let them deal with it. If I was close enough to LW, I might say something like, “That seems like an odd message coming from you, what is going on?”. But I would not delete what I thought was evidence of LW being a jerk.

          1. the bat in the office popcorn machine*

            LW being a jerk is way less important than protecting the grieving coworker from seeing it. However, if it was before distribution/griever access, then I would assess who can edit the card before spearheading the LW is a jerk campaign like the vandal clearly would want. The person who spoke to LW (although their message is weird) did the right thing because I doubt a card that can be edited by anyone who accesses it will have a robust audit history (so the curator of the card could be the problem, too…so you’d be reporting the problem to the problem).

            At the end of the day, if this seems OOC for everyone in the office, it’s very disturbing on two fronts: someone saying this at all and someone framing LW for it.

      3. the bat in the office popcorn machine*

        Exactly. I would have said “hey did you mean to write this: [screenshot of message]? if not, something serious happened to your message.” Or something that didn’t outright accuse them.

        I’ve signed these virtual cards before and usually only the owner can edit or delete things other users write. I suspect OP should look into who had editing privileges because this goes beyond just using their name – it looks like their original message was altered.

    2. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

      I would be quite surprised if the person who tipped OP off is the one who changed the message! More likely they saw it, struggled with whether they should say anything to OP, struggled with their perception of OP (because they know OP as a nice person and suddenly it appears that she is not) and ultimately decided to say something. Remember the tipper-off doesn’t know that other people can change your message, so it wouldn’t occur to them that anyone other than OP wrote it.

      1. Myrin*

        Yeah, that was my thought as well.
        I feel like if he’d been the culprit, he would’ve just left it alone so that the terrible message would’ve reached the bereaved coworker and OP would look like a horrible person as a result.
        It’s of course possible that he’s playing some weird mind game where he wants to leave OP with a feeling of “see would could happen to you at any time” but it seems much more likely to have played out like you suggest.

        1. Selena81*

          Yeah, it doesn’t make much sense to me that he’d alter her message and then alert her of the change.

          1. Cmdrshprd*

            I think it could if that coworker was trying to play a “joke” on OP. The coworker didn’t actually want the message to go to the grieving employee, they just wanted to get OP worked up.

        2. Observer*

          I feel like if he’d been the culprit, he would’ve just left it alone so that the terrible message would’ve reached the bereaved coworker and OP would look like a horrible person as a result.

          Yes, this seems to me to be more likely than the other speculation. Yes, it could be some sort of mind game and “shadow warning” of to “not mess with me”, but it’s waaay to subtle as a warning.

      2. JSPA*

        I’d probably assume someone left their laptop open where their immature kid could get at it. I would not assume they’d written it themselves!

        1. Selena81*

          That’s an interesting angle. I can absolutely imagine a 12yo kid eye-rolling about their parent writing condolences over a dead cat and thinking this is hilarious.

          1. goddessoftransitory*

            Boy, if I found out *my* kid had done something like this he’d be snatched bald-headed before he could blink.

      3. Sloanicota*

        Yeah if I didn’t know a coworker super well but thought a message was inappropriate I might try to raise that in this way. Like “maybe this is really what you meant but I thought it was crappy and there’s still time to change it.”

      4. darsynia*

        Yeah my instinct was that this person probably thought the LW had an in-joke with the coworker and that they might not be aware that the in-joke would be seen and misconstrued as serious by the rest of the office.

      5. Jojo*

        My mother in law has a long history of doing cruel things, pointing them out, and then blaming it on someone else. She keyed my husband’s first car and then blamed it on his best friend saying his friend was probably jealous. She scratched my sister-in-law’s dashboard in her first car, and immediately pointed it out and blamed it on my husband. (Holiday’s are a blast) My point here is that often times, people who are messed up enough to be cruel are also all around unreasonable. What’s the point of being cruel if no one witnesses it. I’d be very concerned about the person who pointed out the edit.

        Whoever did it, I think the letter writer should let her boss know about it. Someone in the work group my have some personality problems.

        1. Emily*

          Yeah, I don’t think we should automatically assume that just because the person who pointed it out to LW automatically did not do it. Some people are messed up. However, instead of speculating who did it (unless LW has evidence) I think the most important thing is for LW to point out what happened to her boss, ASAP. (Jojo, I sincerely hope you and your husband have another place to spend the holidays, even if it is just with each other, because your mother in law sounds horrendous. I am sorry you are dealing with that).

          1. Jojo*

            Thank you Emily. My husband was NC for several years. Now, if we do see her, we control the when and where and she seems to understand that she needs to behave if she ever wants to see us again.

    3. Orsoneko*

      Yeah, I’m truly having a hard time imagining how the culprit could have been anyone other than the coworker who sent LW1 that “warning.”

      1. Other Alice*

        Please don’t, this is just speculation. It could be anyone else. This is no better than seeing a nasty message under someone else’s name and assuming they wrote it.

        1. Orsoneko*

          Yeah, I probably should have worded that differently or at least elaborated (or better yet, refrained from submitting a comment at literally the exact moment the melatonin kicked in). What I meant was that the tone and wording of the coworker’s message, even if paraphrased, makes absolutely no sense to me as the reaction of someone who geniunely believed the LW had written the horrible note. And if they didn’t genuinely believe it, the only explanation is that they were the one who wrote it. I mean, it makes no sense either way, but that’s what felt like the likelier scenario from my vantage point at 12:30 in the morning. At this point, my sizzling hot take is that it’s all just too bizarre to parse.

      2. Celeste*

        Seems like it could be lots of people – everyone else with access. To me it seems way less likely that it’s the warning coworker than someone else.

      3. TWE*

        Every time anything even slightly spicy goes up on this site, the community will select somebody from the story to be the villain, and that selection is always done completely at random.

      4. Observer*

        Yeah, I’m truly having a hard time imagining how the culprit could have been anyone other than the coworker who sent LW1 that “warning.”

        This is totally non-useful speculation, and there is nothing to support it.

        On the other hand, why would the person have warned the OP, they were the culprit. If they had second thoughts, they could have just changed it back by themself.

        1. Orsoneko*

          That’s fair, and a good reminder why I usually make it a habit *not* to go a-commenting on the internet in the middle of the night. My reasoning, which it would have helped to include, felt a lot more ironclad when I was half-awake, but Off Plumb’s comment upthread pretty much sums it up:
          If it was someone I held in enough esteem to warn, I would also think highly enough of them to give them the benefit of the doubt, so I’d say something like “I think you need to check the card, something happened to your message.” There’s something about the combination of “I have no problem believing you would say something that horrible” and “I want to make sure you know that you’re being perceived in this way” that makes me think the person who spoke up is deliberately stirring the pot and does not have kind feelings toward the LW.

          At this point I truly don’t know what to think and I have no investment in any particular read on the situation, but that’s where I was coming from.

        2. Orsoneko*

          That’s fair, and a good reminder why I usually make it a habit *not* to go a-commenting on the internet in the middle of the night. My reasoning, which it would have helped to include, felt a lot more ironclad when I was half-awake, but Off Plumb’s comment upthread pretty much sums it up:
          If it was someone I held in enough esteem to warn, I would also think highly enough of them to give them the benefit of the doubt, so I’d say something like “I think you need to check the card, something happened to your message.” There’s something about the combination of “I have no problem believing you would say something that horrible” and “I want to make sure you know that you’re being perceived in this way” that makes me think the person who spoke up is deliberately stirring the pot and does not have kind feelings toward the LW.

          At this point I truly don’t know what to think and have no investment in any particular read on the situation, but that’s where I was coming from.

    4. Pyjamas*

      “Or you can own it” is an odd thing to say. After all, her name was attached to the message so if it were genuine, she had owned it. I suspect this person did it.

      Also, when I sign a card, I don’t usually read what everyone else wrote. I write something short and sweet and move on

      1. Hlao-roo*

        I read “or you can own it” with an implied “you can continue to own it,” or perhaps “you can own it to the card recipient.”

        The way I see it, there was still time for the letter writer to change the message so the message wasn’t fully “owned” because the recipient of the card had not yet seen it.

        1. Selena81*

          I read it as it as ‘i am appaled by what you have written, but maybe you were drink or thought this was somehow funny so I am giving you one(!) chance to change it, or you can double-down and become another horrible free-speech warrior’

      2. Cmdrshprd*

        “Also, when I sign a card, I don’t usually read what everyone else wrote. I write something short and sweet and move on”

        I do because while I know there are only so many ways to say “thank you/happy birthday/congratulations/ goodbye” etc… I try to add other personalized messages (I work in small office so know everyone decently well) and avoid repeating the same thing someone else has said, or at least rephrase it.

      3. sb51*

        At least with the e-signing platform some of my coworkers have used for things, you end up with multiple people signing per page, so if you’re late to signing, when you’re flipping through looking for a blank space, it’s easy to see what other people have written. (And it’s a lot easier to read the messages when they’re typed (even in “handwriting font”) and horizontally written, rather than the hodgepodge of tiny scrawls at angles you get fitting 20 messages into a real printed card.)

        My experience has just been “oh, god, I’m the tenth person to write exactly the same congratulations phrase, better rephrase” because I’m actually reading the other ones, not something horrible like this, but I definitely find I read the other messages with e-cards in a way I never did with print.

      4. nodramalama*

        I often read other peoples messages. I want to know the vibe of what people are saying when I write my own.

    5. Drag0nfly*

      To me the “Or you can own it, I guess” comes across as contempt. It’s an offer to hang yourself with all the rope you’re being given. The warning is that either you be a decent person and remove the message, or I will let someone know that you’re the kind of heel who would write such a thing.

      The benefit of the doubt is that you (I mean the LW) might be the kind of person who thinks such messages are “funny,” so the message lets the LW know that it’s NOT funny. There are absolute heels who really would insist the message is a joke, so the option can’t be ruled out. “Own it” for me would just mean that I will brook no cries that it’s “unfair” if you get into trouble for writing it.

      I just don’t see a motive for the writer of the message to ALSO tell the LW, whom they’re victimizing. To what end? That just gave the LW the opportunity to clear her or his name AND alert the authorities to what happened. Potentially they might even be able to track down the wrongdoer. What would the culprit “win” in that case?

      1. DJ Abbott*

        IME People who do bad things and then say they were joking know perfectly well they were not joking, unless they’re in denial. They say this because it’s allowed them to get away with doing bad things.

        1. Selena81*

          Absolutely. They are either in denial about the harm they’re causing or they know that passing stuff of as a joke gives them the benefit of the doubt (at least in cursory examinations and/or amongst strangers: if they pull ‘just joking’ more than once it becomes obvious to onlookers it was not an honest mistake)

      2. rebelwithmouseyhair*

        “I just don’t see a motive for the writer of the message to ALSO tell the LW, whom they’re victimizing. To what end?”
        I’d think they wouldn’t actually want the bereaved person to see such a horrible message, they just want to make OP panic and worry about who would be so horrible as to modify her message.

        I remember once, the sales guy at my last job sent a message to a potential client and got “sorry our boss just died we’ll get back to you later”. He promptly wrote a really nasty message about celebrating that the boss was no longer around to make them do tasks they didn’t like… and hit send, apparently by accident. He immediately wrote to say “my sincere condolences, please delete unread my previous message which was sent by mistake” but that company never did place an order with us.
        That sales guy was a piece of work, he even took the boss to court later on and won by hiring a shark lawyer and telling a pack of lies. So these people exist.

    6. Myrin*

      I don’t think it’s particularly weird.
      I’d think most people wouldn’t even assume that you can change other people’s messages in systems like that, so coworker saw OP’s message and probably had his view of her completely upended because of how horrible it is.
      And if someone is a horrible, cruel person, they might easily not care at all that others perceive them as such, so my message to them might indeed be “hey, this is cruel and horrible and others can see it, but, I guess as the person who writes something like this in the first place you might not even care, so you do you (I guess?)”.

      1. Irish Teacher*

        What I think is weird is that saying “you can own it” implies they are currently trying to pretend it wasn’t them. “Either remove it or own it” sounds like something you would say if the message were anonymous and you were telling the person to either admit they wrote it or remove it. I could understand that response after the LW had said it wasn’t them. It could mean, “well, if it really wasn’t you, you’ll remove it. If you don’t, I know you are lying.” But saying “own it,” when it seemed like the person WANTED it to go out with their name on it seems odd to me. There was no indication at that point that they were trying to do anything but own it.

        1. Myrin*

          I get what you’re saying but I also feel like that’s putting a level of analysis to the whole exchange that’s unlikely to have happened in the mind of a coworker who just wrote a simple slack message to their colleague.
          He thought OP-as-the-writer-of-the-horrible-note thought that only the bereaved coworker could see the message and there’s a difference between owning something in front of one person and owning something in front of your whole team of however many people.

          1. Ane*

            That actually makes a lot of sense. On second thought, it is actually a good thing the coworker at least said something. The alternative would either be going directly to the manager, or worse: no one said anything and the message was seen by the bereaved.

            1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

              I wonder if the organiser of these cards “inspects” all the messages before sending it over, just to make sure there isn’t anything unsuitable on there. I know the admin who coordinates these in my workplace does!

      2. miss_chevious*

        Yeah, this is how I read it. Like, “I’m telling you in case you didn’t know, but if you did know and want this message to be seen, then ¯\_(ツ)_/¯”. I don’t think it’s particularly suspicious or weird, just a way for the informer to allow for the possibility that maybe OP *is* a terrible person and, if so, that’s up to OP.

    7. Gyne*

      See, that didn’t read as weird to me at all. It might just come down to regional speech patterns. Coworker was calling out LW for their [perceived] cruelty and giving them a chance to decide what kind of person they really want to be in a non-confrontational way.

      1. MigraineMonth*

        That was my read as well. Coworker was warning them that their “joke” wasn’t funny, could be read by everyone, and this is their chance to either remove it or “own” it from here on out.

        I don’t think it would have occurred to coworker that it was vandalism when it was signed with OP’s name.

    8. redflagday701*

      My initial thought was that if this were happening in a TV show or movie, the co-worker who warned OP would definitely be the culprit. But I think it’s pretty futile to glean much from a close reading of a Slack message. It’s unlikely the co-worker put anywhere near as much thought into “Or you can own it” as we’re tempted to put into deciphering it.

      For us, because we have such a limited window into the situation and it’s one of the few data points we have, it feels like a clue. For the co-worker, assuming they weren’t the culprit, it was a pissed-off note they dashed off quickly after being shocked by what they’d read.

      1. Celeste*

        Yeah – I’m thinking the coworker was surprised by the message, didn’t have any reason to suspect it could have been anyone other than the LW (why would you?), and decided to say essentially, “hey, everyone else can read this too, do you really want to own this in front of the whole team?”

    9. MCMonkeyBean*

      I think that’s a pretty normal sarcastic response to someone that you think did something terrible–it’s certainly possible it was them, but why would they alert the LW then?

    10. Julia*

      You’re writing fanfiction.

      That is something I would say sarcastically because I was incredibly pissed off.

      1. JB (not in Houston)*

        Yeah, people in the comments are at it again. It’s something I would say, too, if I were in that coworker’s position. If I don’t know if you were trying to be funny, or maybe you’re secretly awful and didn’t realize everyone else could see what you were writing, I might tack on something like that. In any case, there’s no reason to spend all this time parsing the words of the person who warned the OP, especially since doing it doesn’t help the OP at all. People are reading way too much into the words when the OP is in a better position to know if the coworker who warned them is someone to be suspicious about.

    11. Tesuji*

      Yeah, this feels like insane fanfic to me. “Or you can own it, I guess” feels like a perfectly reasonable response to someone doing something horrible, to either backtrack or go all-in on being horrible.

      Also: Thanks for pointing out why people just stand back and watch. The mindset of “No innocent person would actually get themselves involved in a situation like this, so obviously anyone who tries to help is a suspect” is a toxic one.

      1. Boss Scaggs*

        Unless they work for a mining company and one of their slogans is “Ore: You can own it!”

      2. Orsoneko*

        [quote]“Or you can own it, I guess” feels like a perfectly reasonable response to someone doing something horrible, to either backtrack or go all-in on being horrible.[/quote]

        Despite my previous foray into fanfiction territory, I don’t disagree with this. Where I was getting hung up is that I can’t imagine responding this way (in the context of a coworker relationship, at least) unless I already had an adversarial relationship with that person and/or already had reason to suspect they might be terrible. I certainly don’t think it would have been right under any circumstances for the coworker to sit by and say nothing, though! It was absolutely appropriate for them to intervene.

        1. Orsoneko*

          One of these days, I swear, I will remember how to do blockquotes correctly. I’ll try that one more time.

          [blockquote]“Or you can own it, I guess” feels like a perfectly reasonable response to someone doing something horrible, to either backtrack or go all-in on being horrible.[/blockquote]

          Despite my previous foray into fanfiction territory, I don’t disagree with this. Where I was getting hung up is that I can’t imagine responding this way (in the context of a coworker relationship, at least) unless I already had an adversarial relationship with that person and/or already had reason to suspect they might be terrible. I certainly don’t think it would have been right under any circumstances for the coworker to sit by and say nothing, though! It was absolutely appropriate for them to intervene.

    12. English Teacher*

      Yeah, maybe I’ve taught middle school too long, but the private messager was my immediate suspect too. Classic bully behavior, if they’re afraid their “joke” isn’t being noticed quickly enough. Not that you should accuse them, but something to consider.

    13. OP1*

      Yes, I’m still hoping it was a 3rd party/the virtual card website having bad security, but friends who I talked to outside of work did say that the way my coworker phrased it was weird. They already kind of rub some people at our org the wrong way (nothing bad, just different personalities not meshing well, but they’re otherwise good at their job), but I was trying to be fair and not assume the worst.

      1. Ane*

        Ah, that prior communication mismatch does explain the poor phrasing. It was a good thing they said something to you – albeit a horrible situation to find oneself in.

  5. Myrin*

    A general question re: #1 since I don’t know the slightest thing about electronic greeting cards – is there such a thing as a change log or any way for the person who organised/set the card up to see when something has been changed, possibly by whom? OP’s worrying could probably be eased if she knew there’s an easy way to see any changes made.

    1. Godbert*

      Some electronic invitation/greeting card systems let the “host”/whoever’s in charge of the card see whenever anyone has edited or changed a response. Won’t that be fun for whoever did this.

      1. eeeek*

        That’s what I was thinking. I’ve organized a few of these things on different web-based systems (kudoboard comes to mind) – as I recall, users could edit their own messages, but the “owner/organizer” could change any message. This was useful when I did one of these for a family member and helped less tech-proficient relatives with their messages. I could see things like edit/post times, who wrote, and messages authored by email addresses that didn’t match addresses I had invited to participate. It was pretty easy for me to see where I needed to intervene, and with whom.

    2. The Prettiest Curse*

      We use electronic greeting cards at my work and the settings don’t let me edit anyone else’s text or sign it as anyone other than me. But I’m sure it varies by card provider and account security settings.

    3. sequitur*

      At my work we use a PowerPoint deck designed to look like a greeting card, which offers version control history (file > info > version control). If something like this ever happened we’d be able to see exactly who edited the file & when.

    4. Emmy Noether*

      Honestly, a system that is both complex enough to save personal drafts (so, some kind of account setup), but also lets people change other people’s messages is really, really weird to me. So, hard to know if the dunces who made this thought of change logs. Could go either way.

      Though I’d bet if IT was really motivated to find out who it was, they probably could, if it went through the company network (pulling the history of who accessed the site?)

      1. bamcheeks*

        I’m also confused by this! The only ones I’m familiar with create unique links for each user, so you can go back and edit, but they aren’t tied to specific name. So the only way someone could pretend to be LW would be to write a nasty message and sign it with LW’s name, and LW going back and posting her own drafted-but-not posted message would just mean there were two messages with LW’s name, not that the nasty message got deleted.

        Anyway, regardless of the tech, it’s definitely something to bring to the attention of whoever is organising the card because they don’t want to risk giving something to poor Cat Colleague with a nasty message.

    5. Lacey*

      Hopefully. I have a friend who caught a lying coworker this way.

      He was editing project details so he wouldn’t get in trouble for not doing his work correctly, but the system logged when changes were made and who made them.

    6. MCMonkeyBean*

      I hope that’s the case and the LW is able to find out who did it and comes back with an update on how that person was fired

    7. the bat in the office popcorn machine*

      I’ve used kudoboards as a user and I was able to write my message and provide my name, but I didn’t have to give an email. Access was through an open link sent by the person organizing the card.

      I could not access other people’s messages though. This whole situation points to the organizer being the culprit.

      1. Dara*

        Our office uses Kudoboards for a lot. You can do your message and just add your name without signing up/logging in, and in doing so, you give up the option to edit later. Or you can sign up to have an account with Kudoboards, and as long as you’re logged in when you post your message, you can go back and change it

      2. constant_craving*

        A set up like that actually makes me think the most likely culprit is someone immature who could access LW’s computer. Does LW have a tween aged kid that would think this was funny and not understand the seriousness?

      3. Kara*

        One other possibility: a kudoboard employee having ‘fun’. They’re the ones most likely to be familiar with the software bugs and holes, and they’re more likely to have access to the back end. Pick a random card and edit something to be ‘funny’.

  6. Anony Mouse*

    #3: I think this varies a bit by region as well – I’m not in the US and it’s pretty standard where I live to do a single interview (and maybe some kind of aptitude test, presentation etc.) unless it’s for a high level position. I always find it weird how many interviews people seem to require in the US – I don’t know how they ever manage to actually complete the hiring process!

    1. Lady Wendlebury*

      came here to say the same, 45 minutes for an interview and then a decision is very standard in the UK. Some places may also give you a skill test but again that usually no more than 30 minutes to an hour.

      1. amoeba*

        Is it a regional or a discipline thing? I’m in Europe, but in my field, initial remote interview plus full day on site with multiple panel interviews is pretty standard. In other, even closely related fields, it’s one interview plus maybe initial screening, done.

        Or maybe a bit of both?

        1. Myrin*

          I’d say it’s broadly a regional thing – as in, the US (and possibly other countries?) generally do more than one interview, Europe (at least the parts I’m familiar with) generally do only one interview, but within these parametres, there will be fields which do it a different way (such as yours; IIRC, we’re in the same country and I hadn’t ever even heard of multiple interviews until I started reading AAM; since then, I’ve seen it mentioned sometimes in job ads but only for what seemed to me like highly technical jobs and, strangely, places whose ad alone makes it feel like they’re hell-bent on being seen as “cool”; no idea what the connection is there).

        2. Irish Teacher*

          I’d say both. Different countries have different norms and within countries, different fields have different norms. I have the sense that the UK has way longer interviews for teaching than we do in Ireland, for example.

          1. bamcheeks*

            Yeah, it’s usually a morning or an afternoon, with an interview, school tour and teaching demonstration (usually 20-30 minutes.) What’s *horrendous* is that they offer you the job on the same day and expect you to accept or decline the same day. I can’t imagine that having to make a decision then and there (when you may have other interviews with schools which you may be more excited about!) helps with the recruitment and retention crisis.

          2. Ellis Bell*

            It’s either an entire day, or if you are lucky, a half day for teaching interviews in the UK. Sometimes the interview day is so long and structured we have to feed them, so all the lucky contestants get to hang out in the staff room and have a catered lunch in between rounds. What is it like in Ireland?

            1. Irish Teacher*

              It’s usually a 15-30 minute interview, usually with the principal, deputy principal and often one other person (could be a teacher of the subject in question or a member of the board, that sort of thing)

      2. londonedit*

        I’m also in the UK, in book publishing, and it’s not unheard of for people to be hired after one interview, especially for entry-level jobs. We don’t really do phone screens – you apply with CV and cover letter, then the next step is a first in-person interview, usually with a short editorial test at the end (proofreading a page of text, for example, or that plus writing a paragraph of marketing copy about a book they outline for you). Usually a final shortlist of maybe 4-5 people will then go forward to a second interview, especially if it’s a more senior role, but earlier in my career there were a couple of occasions where I was offered the job after the first interview. Publishing doesn’t tend to go in for long interview processes – usually you’ll meet with a couple of senior members of the editorial team first off, and then if there’s a second interview they’ll add in someone at the level above that, and that’s it. I’ve never had more than two interviews for a job.

        1. bamcheeks*

          In universities, a presentation + one-hour, single interview is pretty standard for a professorial role, and the Head Of and Associate Director roles are usually a single morning with a presentation, meet the team and a one-hour interview. MUCH more extensive job applications, though, and you’d always have the opportunity to speak to the hiring manager before applying.

          1. zuzu*

            Where is this? In US law schools, there is a presentation, but there are also talks with different groups of faculty, plus lunch and likely dinner the night before. If they’re going to fly you in, they’re going to try to sell you (and your spouse/partner/kids) on the location, so they will often set up a city tour with someone of similar age and life stage to tout the benefits of living there. If your spouse is in medicine, they’ll try to find someone whose spouse is also in medicine to talk about the opportunities in the area at local hospitals and medical schools. If they’re a K-12 teacher, same.

            I’m a law librarian, and it’s somewhat similar, only we meet with librarians and staff rather than faculty (sometimes you can corral a couple of faculty who are interested in the library to participate). There’s a bit less hard sell on the area because we’re not tenure-track for the most part. But the interviews will usually take all day, involve lunch, and sometimes dinner. You’ll meet everyone. And then it takes FOREVER to hear anything.

            In fact, I’m currently in limbo on a job because my application is in the hands of the provost due to it being an academic appointment with the university libraries (it always goes faster when the decision is solely that of the law library director) and my building is breathing down my neck about whether I’m going to renew my lease for another year. They told me two weeks, we’re at three, and I’m not sure when to start pushing them for a no so I can give my building an answer.

      3. Cam*

        Yeah in the NHS for even fairly senior positioins it is usually one interview up to an hour. This has been the way for every job I have gotten. At my last interview it was a 10 minute presentation I had to prepare followed by questions for about 40 minutes.

      4. Turquoisecow*

        I think it very much depends on the field and the job itself and maybe how many people are applying. I got my first full-time job after a brief chat with the recruiter (at a job fair situation) and a very short interview with the hiring manager, they called me later that day to offer the job.

        But a year or two later one of my coworkers was hired after a very lengthy interview process because there were 3 or 4 good candidates and the hiring manager couldn’t decide – he ended up bringing in several other managers at his level to give their opinions so that was a third interview after he’d interviewed each of them twice already.

        Both of these jobs were also fairly entry level, I imagine a more experienced job with more applicants might take more time, plus if there’s a lot of bureaucracy and the manager’s manager needs to weigh in but isn’t free for the first interview.

        In contrast when my husband’s company hires a new person they have peer interviews and each candidate is interviewed not just by the hiring manager but several other managers, each weighing in on the process. But he’s in tech and I’m not.

        1. Trippedamean*

          Agree with this. I used to work in higher ed and did multiple interviews there, but often had tons of applicants because we were hiring for entry-level positions.

          I’m in a totally different field now where our work is much more specialized so we have a lot fewer applicants. Hiring decisions are made after one 30-45 minute interview.

        2. MigraineMonth*

          Ugh, getting flashbacks to the interview process for my current job. I was applying to work in department X as a support for department Y, and for some reason two managers from department Z sat in on the second interview. I still have no idea why.

    2. Gritter*

      I guess is depends on how senior the position is as well. I understand 4-5 stages for a director level role. But for most jobs 1-2 stage interviews are fine. I’ve only once had 3 stages and that was because I had to have a final meeting with a client.

      I wouldn’t assume that a recruitment process that only has a 1 stage is somehow automatically a ‘rad flag’.

    3. Katie*

      Every single position I have hired for has only been one interview. A few required two peoples view points, so we interviewed together.

      I see no need for multi round interviews. I can figure out what I need in that time.

      1. LCW*

        One interview is the norm in Australia. Written application and resume; then interviews; maybe a work test (not that common); reference check then offers. That is also the case for our federal public service (government).

        It hurts my head reading this blog and the many many steps involved in the US

        1. allathian*

          One interview’s the norm in Finland too, maybe two for high-level jobs. When I interviewed for my current job, I sent in an application and resume, and the hiring manager and another person on the team who had the same job title as the position I applied for interviewed me. There was a phone screen, but it was the hiring manager who called, asked a few questions, and then we scheduled the in-person interview together. Immediately after the interview I was asked to do a work test, which took about an hour.

          This system worked because she only interviewed something like 10 candidates for my position (this job’s a bit niche even in my niche field). I suspect that with a larger number of applicants, the process has more stages.

    4. ecnaseener*

      Assuming a quick phone screen doesn’t count as an interview, my experience in the US for entry- and mid-level jobs has also been just one interview. Maybe there are general regional trends, but I would guess field plays more of a role than region.

      1. Michelle Smith*

        Field is definitely relevant. I’ve never gotten a legal job with less than 3 interviews.

        1. Avery*

          Legal meaning working as an attorney specifically, or just anything within the legal field? Because I posted below about a paralegal job that I got after just one phone interview, and it was a great job!

      2. MCMonkeyBean*

        I think for most of mine, I only went in one time but I talked to several people so the overall time spent was much more than 45 minutes.

        I know that one job I applied for though they had been pretty desperate to find someone with some niche experience that I had so I got the feeling that they really wanted to hire me even before the interview and just needed to make sure I was reasonably competent lol.

        OP, if you have some relevant experience they may be struggling to find or it’s an entry level role or something that doesn’t really need particular experience and they just clicked with you and felt right away like you’d be a good fit then I think it’s not unreasonable to make an offer after just one interview! No sense in wasting everyone’s time if they already know they like you–but of course as Alison says that doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to ask to talk more if you aren’t 100% on board yet.

    5. Toolate12*

      The vast majority of jobs I’ve ever been hired for (or ever been part of the hiring for) were one interview only, I can only really think of about one exception. Certainly varies by industry – I don’t practice now, but when I was interested in legal jobs, it was a screener plus an all-day in-person gauntlet of six interviews with multi-person panels (plus the lunch, which also functioned as a hidden interview, sigh). Have also done an assessment for a non-legal private sector job. I think the difference is largely along public v. private sector split, and/or how expensive of a hire you’d be.

      1. kicking-k*

        I can only recall two jobs for which I had a phone screen, and one had a recruitment company handling the hiring and the first screen was with them. (The other was retail and had a group recruitment evening plus a short interview.) The rest of the jobs I’ve applied to have had one interview, which quite often incorporates a tour of the building, and usually either a presentation by me or a skills test. All this would be sub-2hrs, though.

    6. Super Duper Anon*

      Yeah, all of my interviews (in Canada) have been a quick phone screen, then one on-site interview. Only one job had two on-site interviews on different days and I think that was just a scheduling issue. Sometimes I have been interviewed by separate people back-to-back, but even then both of those interviews were at most an hour each.

    7. Momma Bear*

      I’ve never had more than 2 interviews for the same position. My company generally does one small-panel interview (2-3 people) and then makes a collective decision. Please don’t over think this, LW3. It’s actually very normal in a lot of companies, especially those that are not full of bees.

    8. HannahS*

      I think it does vary by region and field. My partner works the non-profit/civil service field and it’s 1-2 interviews, depending on the size of the organization. In medicine it’s a highly standardized interview process for each position until you fully graduate, but when you apply to academic positions I think it’s generally a phone call and one interview.

    9. I am Emily's failing memory*

      It can be a nightmare even on the hiring manager side. I wish I could just interview candidates and make a unilateral decision who to hire, but the general consensus is that peers and subordinates who will work with the role deserve a chance to interview finalists and share their opinion before someone gets hired they’re going to have to work with, and the hiring manager’s manager should also interview the finalist, to make sure the manager is making a good decision I guess? And then sometimes at the last minute the VP four levels above the role doesn’t feel right about a hire being made in their department if they haven’t talked to the candidate too.

      I do get that there’s value in having more than one solitary person make the decision with no oversight, but at my company we definitely skew way further than necessary in the opposite direction. Often many of the extra interviews are with people who are only interviewing the one finalist to whom the HM is otherwise ready to make an offer – so they’re not even comparing that candidate against others and sharing which they prefer, it’s just to make sure nobody hates the HM’s pick at first sight, I guess? I don’t think I’ve ever seen an offer not be extended to someone once the HM made their pick, except when the candidate dropped out of the hiring process because they got another offer before we were done putting them in front of umpteen panels of people so that everyone in the solar system could have a chance to lobby against them before an offer is made.

      1. bamcheeks*

        You almost never have a single person interviewing in a formal recruitment process in the UK– that’s to say, you’d certainly have it for things like retail and other customer service jobs, small businesses, and any other situations where isn’t much HR oversight and hiring is done relatively lightly. But for public sector roles and large organisation roles, an interview panel will usually be the hiring manager + two or more others. They might be peers to the role or more senior or junior (you’d usually try to have a mixture), and for some more senior roles you’d make sure there was someone external to your department and for REALLY senior roles you might even have someone external to your organisation. But they would all interview the candidates at the same time, usually 4-6 on the same day.

        The biggest panel I ever met was SEVEN, plus HR, which was ridiculous. I have no idea how they made a decision, or how they managed to find a time in the diary that so many pretty senior people were available. I still remember the guy who frowned and looked furious all the way through my presentation, though. He stood out.

    10. Moo*

      Don’t know about region, but every job I’ve ever had has only come with one interview (Northeast US), and when I hired for my team last year (for the first time with no experience and not knowing what I was doing) I only held one interview per person, for about 30-45 minutes each. I felt like I got a good sense of their work from that and their references, and the person I chose has worked out wonderfully. Then again, I only had two weeks to do it in because they gave me a list of candidates that was expiring (civil service) and said I had to make the nomination quickly or wait another few months, and there was no way I could wait!

    11. Statler von Waldorf*

      I’ve worked in multiple cities and small towns in Canada, and I’ve worked quite a few types of jobs. In 25 years working, I’ve only had ONE job that had more than one interview, and that was for admin work at a law office. That one had two interviews, an initial screening one with the admin staff and a second one with the lawyers.

      Compare that to my current admin job, which started with a single fifteen minute interview. And then we get into the blue-collar jobs I’ve worked, which are even more extreme:

      I got a job as a swamper on a vac truck with a 30 second interview once. All the owner of the truck wanted to know is if I would show up sober every morning. I said yes and got hired.

      When I worked concrete, my “interview” consisted of me demonstrating that I could pick up a 50KG bag of cement and carry it across the shop without hurting myself. That took two minutes, tops.

      The most extreme example was the time I worked at Tim Horton’s, back in the day when they actually hired bakers to make their donuts in-store. I didn’t even interview. I asked if they were hiring, and I was told I could start tomorrow. He didn’t even know my name yet. (In retrospect, this one was a nightmare that I should not have accepted. Alison has a very good point about interviews going both ways.)

      So not only does this stuff vary by location, it varies a lot by industry. The hiring practices I’ve seen in more blue-collar industries is so different from the stuff I read here that I sometimes wonder how anyone gets hired in white-collar jobs in the US.

    12. LinuxSystemsGuy*

      It varies even more than “by country” or “by field”. I got my current job after a single 45 minute interview, and have since learned that my current employer almost never does more than this. There was a 25 minute call with our executive for me (because I was being considered for a very senior role), but that was really just a formality, and for most employees we don’t even do it. My previous position I did 9(!) separate interview, including as high as the COO for the whole company. It seems to have as much to do with company culture as anything.

    13. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      I’ve worked mostly in Germany, with short spells in the UK, Sweden, NL. I only ever had 1 f2f interview before an offer, no skills tests, no phone or virtual interviews (I retired just before panini)

      I’m in a niche subfield of R&D engineering which has always been short of qualified people, so I had an offer in 4 /5 of my applications. Maybe different for the jobs AAM talks about with 100+ applicants per job.

    14. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      Also, we never had drug tests or background checks to make offers conditional.
      Once I had a few years experience and was known in the niche field they didn’t even ask for references.
      And I always had a detailed contract signed by employer and myself.

  7. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

    OP1 (insulting condolence message) –

    1. What a jerk, whoever it was.
    2. Why does that system allow someone to change someone else’s message? Needs raising to the provider of that software as a bug…
    3. Manager needs to know. What else is “whoever it was” comfortable with forging?

      1. Gritter*

        I assume the virtual card was set up via a 3rd party website so it’s unlikely internal IT will be able to able to assist.

        Report it to whoever set up the card. There might be some facility provided by the website to track changes, or at least to show that the comment was made and then at some point afterwards edited.

      1. House On The Rock*

        +eleventy million
        I’d be incredibly disturbed to find out that someone I worked with did this. Being cruel to someone who is grieving AND implicating someone else in that? I really can’t imagine any justification for it. Even if it was a deeply misguided “joke”, I’d have so many questions about their judgement in any professional (or personal) interaction.

  8. LW2*

    LW2 here! Thanks for your all y’all’s thoughts. I was definitely erring on the side of “Don’t do it” but the advice cemented that. I know she’s advocating for herself and I was thinking another voice would help, but I see how that would be overreaching. Her manager said, (unprompted, I did not bring this up) he’d like to delegate some more of her work to me and my coworker to try and solve this issue, so I’m hoping that will help!

    1. Michelle Smith*

      Be careful with this too LW2. You don’t want to set your own workload above what is comfortable/reasonable for your life just to ease the burden on a manager you like.

    2. Momma Bear*

      Also (coffee kicking in) you said in another message that you’re a guy and men tend to go to “how can I fix this?” when sometimes women just want/need to vent and stating a thing is not asking for help or making a to do list. They can fix it themselves. I’m glad that there seems to be progress on rearranging the workload. The “fix” seems to be HER boss clueing in and also just keeping up with your own tasks.

      1. LW2*

        I’m autistic and I admit that I have a very difficult time discerning between a request for help (direct or indirect) and someone just venting. I’m glad you brought this up – now I wonder if she was just venting and is less stressed than I thought she was.

        1. ND Manager*

          I’ve found in this situation, just flat out saying “hey, I’ve noticed that you seem really stressed. Is there anything I can do to support you?” can work. Also, it’s totally valid to ask “are you looking for sympathy or solutions?” or some variant/combo with the above. It’s not something that people often are explicit about, but I’ve found it really helpful. When I talk to my team (and partner for home stuff), I try to distinguish between “I need to kvetch for a minute” vs “I need help solutioneering”

    3. Corelle*

      Talking to her about it and making it clear in your conversations that you see the issue and are concerned and want to help, may help her advocate for herself, LW2. When I’m talking to my bosses about problems I see as a manager, there are times where it’s helpful for me to say “my team is seeing this as well, I’m getting feedback from them like X and Y, so this isn’t just my take.”

    4. Florp*

      If the chance comes up, organically and casually, in a conversation with your Grandboss, you could say you like working with your manager because she gives good advice and feedback. Don’t go out of your way to create the conversation, and don’t gush or express pity that she’s burnt out–just a very simple she’s good at her job and good to work with.

      And then you’ll have done something positive without really sticking your nose in, so you can feel good about letting it go and get on with your own stuff.

  9. Zarniwoop*

    “Also, other teams have set up virtual cards on the same site for other coworkers, but now I’m scared to sign those cards in case this would happen again.”
    And rightly so, and anyone else who signs these cards should be too. This is a major IT flaw that should be addressed.

    1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      Which is why it needs to be raised to boss right away. Not only for the LW to defend themselves, but to prevent it from happening again.

    2. Cmdrshprd*

      “This is a major IT flaw that should be addressed.”

      I don’t know that it is. Most e-cards that I have signed might ask for you email, but I think many let you just click on a link to sign, and you just enter a name to sign off with. In 99.9% of the cases that system works just fine, it would be overkill to make someone create an account/log in to authenticate themselves to ensure people can’t pretend to be other people. I don’t know if I would sign e-cards if I had to do all that.

      Most of the time people would not write a horrible message and try to pin it on someone else. Even in this situation like Allison said as long as OP is known to be a reasonable person I don’t think many (anyone?) will actually think OP wrote the message. Who would be silly/stupid to write something like that and use their own name. The boss should address the situation and let the unknown perpetrator know what they did was not cool and if it happens again it will be investigated and action will be taken.

      But an IT fix I don’t think is necessary, you don’t need to put in guardrails for every single stupid thing people might be able to do.

      1. Tesuji*

        > Even in this situation like Allison said as long as OP is known to be a reasonable person I don’t think many (anyone?) will actually think OP wrote the message.

        If someone publicly posted something horrible, then tried to claim that it wasn’t really them (they were hacked!), and the person was not a personal friend, I would 100% believe that they wrote the message.

        (I wouldn’t believe they *intentionally* posted it, unless they were known to be an idiot. I’d assume that they were saying something cruel that they didn’t mean for everyone to see, accidentally made it public, and then frantically were trying to cover it up.)

        1. Cmdrshprd*

          Maybe we are just see things fundamentally different but I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt/believe people are good unless they show me otherwise.

          I think in this situation in something that seems like it is way out of character for a person that is not known to be mean/cruel I would 100% believe it was not them. What would anyone get out of writing something they didn’t mean to post. To me someone else trying to frame/make OP look bad makes more sense, then OP wrote a nasty message for fun but did not mean to actually post it.

          I think it would be different if it were something like social media like twitter (I mean xer), FB. But even then I have had people on social media (some people I barely knew others people I knew well) that have been hacked and sent me weird scam links. I do recall some of the more famous instances of people claiming it wasn’t them, or it was the ambian that made them say things. But I think social media can lead to more reactionary/impulsive message versus a sympathy card.

  10. Irish Teacher*

    LW2, in addition to what Alison said, it could reflect badly on you. If I were the person you went to, I might wonder if you were trying to undermine your manager or get hold of some of her projects or I might think you the sort of person who thinks you know what is best for others and tries to force it on them.

    It’s clear you mean well and want to help but this could go wrong in so many ways. And even if it didn’t, imagine how she’d feel if she found out. She might be grateful but she might also be embarrassed that she seemed like she couldn’t handle things or she might feel undermined. I wouldn’t like somebody deciding I was stressed and needed them to advocate for me.

    LW3, that doesn’t sound at all odd to me. The vast majority of jobs I’ve applied to have had one 15-30 minute interview. A couple have had two interviews, but that would be maybe 5%. I would consider a 45 minute interview pretty long .

    1. LJ*

      Curious for the 15 min interviews- were you already pre vetted in some way? (Like if you’re a certified teacher and these were schools in the local school board). Otherwise I can’t imagine hiring someone for a job on such a short chat (maybe retail during a holiday rush I suppose)

      1. Irish Teacher*

        Well, everybody applying would be qualified teachers, but other than that, no pre-vetting. You just apply with either a CV and cover letter or an application form and cover letter, depending on what the school prefers, then a certain number of people are called for interview and those usually last 15-30 minutes. I do think the shorter ones are often ones where there is already a preferred candidate and unless there is a real rockstar, that candidate will be reemployed, but 20-30 minute interviews are pretty serious ones.

        You can actually get through a lot in a 15 minute conversation. Generally, I would be asked about my qualifications, my approach to teaching, how I deal with discipline issues, what I thought of the previous exams, what I knew about the most recent innovations in education.

        1. Ellis Bell*

          I assume your safeguarding checks happen post-offer then? We have to provide a timeline of our jobs/schools from the age of 16 for safeguarding purposes, and the employers, especially recent ones, are then called up to make sure we were working in those places on the dates we claimed to, and no safeguarding issues were behind the reason to leave.

          1. Irish Teacher*

            We are Garda Vetted through the teaching council and can’t register as a teacher without that vetting (the gardaí or guards are our police force) so we don’t have to be re-vetted for each job. Some schools ask for evidence that you are vetted to be included with your CV or application form.

  11. Awkwardness*

    #4: Maybe IT docked the Laptop too when preparing it and also did not realise the problem.
    I think I would it frame a little differently with “I tried cleaning it myself, but with not so good results. So you have any advice what to do instead?”
    I do not like yes/no questions as mentioned above. I always fear I will be the one to have to ask the grumpy colleague and get a no.

    1. Nela*

      “So you have any advice what to do instead?”
      Nah, I’d explicitly ask that it be taken to a professional laptop cleaning service. Deep cleaning of company property is not in the LW’s job description. And my guess is neither is in the IT folks’, though they may get saddled with it.

    2. Still*

      I get why you don’t like the yes or no questions! That’s why I like to ask How questions. You assume that of course the answer is yes, and you’re asking how. How do we go about getting me a new laptop or getting this one professionally cleaned?

    3. Gritter*

      Setting up new Laptops for users used to be my job. Making sure they where clean and free from debris was a pretty standard part of the process. We also used to inspect them for this sort of thing when they where returned.

      Getting a ‘used’ laptop is to be expected. Even companies with decent IT budgets will only get rid of laptops when they either break or reach end of life (4-5 years) so light scratches or faded letters on keyboards are to be expected. But they should absolutely be clean.

      Log a ticket with your IT team, include photos of the debris and request it be cleaned.

      1. Nonny-nonny-non*

        Getting a pre-used laptop is even more common at the moment as there’s still shortages in the supply chain, so prices are higher and availability is lower. However, I’d expect them to be cleaned (digitally and physically) before being re-used.
        That said, I had a new start that I needed to get a laptop for and the one IT offered me had our site leader’s name on it – I declined firmly. I don’t know what that man does to his electronics; frankly I suspect he has a computer-virus-generating aura because he has the most computer and phone problems of anyone I’ve worked with in the last ten years. Even after digital cleaning, *no-one* deserves to be stuck with any electronics he’s previously used.

        1. Kitty*

          Laptops are usually re-imaged before being given to new users. That means that any viruses, files, changes, etc. are gone because the computer is completely wiped down to the OS.

          1. OMG, Bees!*

            At well run companies, there are images, but I have seen all kinds setups in IT. One client even fired me after reformatting a laptop to fix some issues and wiped an ex-user’s profile that was still on it (because said profile had illegally downloaded software which we banned from the server). Too many companies are still like “This was Jim’s laptop, we’ll just set you up with a new profile, don’t touch Jim’s.”

      2. I Have RBF*

        When I worked end user support and provisioning, we would always clean the equipment that we got back, even if we were going to sell it off or e-waste it. We also wiped and re-imaged the laptops and desktops. If a laptop was really gross we would take it apart and blow the crumbs out of the guts, too. Not too many were like that, because most people docked them and used a separate keyboard. Returned keyboards, OTOH… some were so gross that we just cleaned what we could and sent them to e-waste.

    4. HonorBox*

      Agree with this. “How do you suggest we address this, because this isn’t workable for me” is a good way to both open the door to suggestions AND let them know that doing nothing isn’t an option.

    5. Fluffy Fish*

      Nah – Ask for what you need. IT manages the laptops it’s IT’s problem to deal with not OP.

      There’s no reason to be coy. Not to mention they can just as easily say no (sorry nothing we can to) to that framing.

    6. Heather*

      Agreed! Saying “How can we get this cleaned” to the person responsible for doing the cleaning seems pretty passive aggressive. LW needs to just flag it as an issue and ask what can be done.

    7. Itsa Me, Mario*

      Eh, with IT — unless maybe you also work in IT and have key relationships to maintain — I feel like I should be able to ask, and if they say no, that’s also OK. Similarly to an HR question about our benefits package, an accounting question about expense policy, etc. These are low-stakes questions with finite answers. If I need to do so much hand-holding that I can’t just ask for what I need in a clear way, something on that team is dysfunctional.

    8. OMG, Bees!*

      I’ve been in IT in a lot of roles, and there is no way I would send out a laptop in such a state. Even when we’ve had bare bones systems and supplies with old hard drives instead of SSDs, it would at least be clean.

      LW4, definitely go to the manager then IT for a replacement laptop or send it in to be cleaned properly. If there are no funds for better laptops, complaints like this is how those funds get there.

  12. English Rose*

    On #4, I now have a vision of every AAM reader doing what I just did by putting my nose really close to my laptop to make sure it doesn’t stink. (It doesn’t.) It’s laptop obeisance day folks!

    1. Stay-at-Homesteader*

      Well, *know* I have! thankfully, no smell. my kid’s tablet, though…not even going to test. I literally gave it a sponge bath the other day after he ate spaghetti while watching it. Fire Tablets kinda blow but are basically indestructible and relatively free of nooks and crannies.

      1. bamcheeks*

        saaaaame. Every time she gives it to me to fix something I’m just … it’s so sticky. Like five minutes after it was last cleaned.

    2. mariemac*

      My parents owned a company that sold phone systems to businesses, and one of my first jobs in high school was to clean the old phone systems they took out to install a new system. For real, many, many of office phones are just disgusting germ machines. There was caked-on makeup, food, just grime and dirt. It was gross. Every time I’ve started a new job, I’ve gone through the workspace and cleaned it, especially the technology.

      1. I Have RBF*

        Yep. The only nice thing about the pandemic is that there are now more plain rubbing alcohol wipes on the market. Those make it much easier to clean gross gear.

      2. Office Chinchilla*

        I was watching a procedural show a couple years ago that solved the mystery partly because “she had alcohol wipes in her desk. Only a serious germaphobe would wipe down their phone!” And I was yelling at the TV, “or a temp, or anyone with a history of being a temp. Because the FIRST thing we do in a new office is wipe down your phone. I’m probably here because you’re out sick!”

        (Not to mention, individually-packaged wipes are one of those office supplies that you buy a box of once and then there’s always a few all over the office forever.)

  13. Yours sincerely, Raymond Holt*

    LW2, you can definitely invite her to delegate more. Could you even ask if there are things you could do differently to make delegation easier?

    Sometimes it feels easier to do things yourself and when deadlines are tight there isn’t the time to delegate, especially if the work is new to that person.

    Maybe you shadow her more, or set aside time to run through certain areas in more detail once and for all, or maybe there’s specific training you could do that would help.

    DO NOT go over her head, though. I would be so furious if someone thought it was their place to do this. I’d question their judgement for a long time afterwards.

  14. Jay*

    LW1, at least for the online cards I’ve used only the person who owns the card (created the event) can edit or delete messages. Is there any reason this person has something against you?

  15. Gritter*

    #4 it’s worth flagging this with whoever set up the card. There may be a facility where they can track who made the changes. Or even if they can’t see which individual changed it, they may be able to see that your massage was amended some time after it was originally written, which would at least corroborate your version of events.

  16. Flossy*

    LW1, as much as I don’t particularly like to say it, some people really detest cats. Disliking dogs doesn’t seem to draw nearly the same ire. Could that be a possibility?

    1. Flossy*

      To add: I do agree that if this is the reason your coworker is a jerk. In fact. Regardless. They sound like a jerk.

    2. Jolie*

      Obviously this is pure speculation, but I would find it more likely that the wrongdoer motivation’s was “I want to hurt OP, coworker with the cat is collateral damage” than, I want to insult cats/Coworker, OP is collateral damage”. Just my hunch.

      1. gmg22*

        Or maybe “I want OP to look bad to the person who organized the card,” who is possibly a manager — it’s quite likely that that person would review all the messages before finalizing it and sending it to the recipient, so they (not the recipient, thankfully) would be the one to see the forged message framing OP as a huge jerk.

    3. Seahorse*

      Yes, some people get really weird about pet deaths. After seeing another colleague mocked for discussing a recent loss, I decided never to bring up the subject at work. I take a couple sick days and leave it at that.
      I’m not surprised that someone was an ass about grief for a cat, but trying to pin their bad behavior on another person is especially alarming.

      1. No Yelling on the Bus*

        At a previous job, my dog had a very scary accident (and survived) in my first week at work and I learned about it while at work. I was beside myself (couldn’t go home because my boss was a horrible human). As I was crying in the bathroom, the boss’s EA came out and asked why I was crying and then said something insensitive/unkind and then left. We had a frosty relationship for >1 year, and then I learned that she was only an EA because her business – as a professional pet sitter/groomer – had collapsed due to the economy. I was flabbergasted that somebody who loved animals could be so cold to me on such a terrible day. When our relationship later got warmer, I made a joke (thinking of this incident) that I believed she didn’t like me when I started working there. She said “I just didn’t understand you that well.” …………….. It is many years later and I still can’t comprehend ANY excuse for being unkind when somebody is clearly suffering.

    4. Seashell*

      Or maybe they’re aggravated that people are getting condolence cards for a dead pet? I love animals, but it does seem a bit much to me. (That said, if I was irritated by it, I would just not sign it rather than be nasty about it, under my name or someone else’s.)

      1. LGP*

        I appreciate that you, and hopefully most people, would just not sign the card rather than write something nasty. But I do disagree that it’s “a bit much.” Pets are family members, and the loss of any family member (or other loved one) can hurt. It’s not up to anyone else to decide how much grief a loss deserves.

        1. Seashell*

          It’s reasonable that someone would be sad on a loss of a pet. I have been the sad person who lost the pet, and I have expressed condolences to people I know that have lost a pet. Heck, I’ve even been sad when other people’s pets that I had regular contact with died.

          That said, I would not want anyone at work to send condolence cards if I lost a pet, and I’d probably roll my eyes a bit if someone organized that for a co-worker. I would keep my opinions to myself though. Being nasty about it is crazy, and being nasty about it under someone else’s name is double-crazy. I also think if anyone grieves more for the loss of a pet than the loss of a beloved parents/spouse/child, they might need some mental health treatment.

          1. Michelle Smith*

            I just lost (a human) someone close to me and I couldn’t disagree with you more. I don’t think we get to dictate how people experience grief or suggest that something is wrong with them if the death of a pet hits them hard. Not everyone is even close to their parents, and certainly many people do not have spouses or children. But a pet that has been a person’s companion, emotional support, and a source of unconditional love for 10, 15, even 20 years? Yes, I can see how that loss would be incredibly devastating. No need to make unfair comparisons to other losses, when they may not even be something that person has or will experience.

          2. LGP*

            if anyone grieves more for the loss of a pet than the loss of a beloved parents/spouse/child, they might need some mental health treatment.

            That is harsh and uncalled for. Again, you don’t get to decide how other people should grieve. And there’s no need to compare losses; every loss of a loved one is painful in its own way, and it’s all valid.

          3. Scout*

            Seconding Michelle’s response to this. Just because *you* would not grieve a pet in such a way doesn’t mean it’s a mental health issue, and it’s frankly a bit shocking you would frame it that way. Grief is an extremely personal subject because the things that trigger it are extremely personal. You have no way of knowing what someone’s pet meant to them or why–many people feel closer to their animal companions than human ones for a variety of reasons. Last year I lost a cat I’d had since I was fifteen years old–I’d had him for literally half of my life, longer than many friendships I’ve had over the years. How I felt about that loss is my business and my grieving it deeply isn’t a mental health issue just because you personally think it’s over the top.

            1. Fives*

              This was me a few years back. I’d had my cat since I was 25 and she passed when I was 41. I’m sorry for your loss.

              1. Scout*

                Thank you, and I’m sorry for yours too. People really underestimate how much *time* is spent with pets–I spend more physical time with my remaining cat than I do human friends and family just because we live in the same apartment! That alone is a stunning loss when the pet is gone.

            2. aebhel*

              Yeah, I’m not a huge fan of the trend of going ‘you need mental health treatment for doing this harmless thing that I find odd or unrelatable’. That’s not what mental health treatment is for, and phrasing it more circumspectly than ‘get help, freak’ does not actually make the sentiment kinder.

              1. Twix*

                As someone who has spent the majority of my life in treatment for actual crippling mental illness, thank you. Weaponizing mental healthcare this way is really, really gross. It trivializes mental illness, stigmatizes seeking mental healthcare, and as you said is just a more circumspect (but still very transparent) way of calling someone crazy. It is perfectly fine for someone to enlist a therapist to help with processing the loss of a pet, or to explore why it hit them so hard compared to losing human loved ones, but that should be a choice for their own benefit, not something they “need” because they don’t fit someone else’s idea of “normal” in a way that neither harms anyone else nor significantly disrupts their ability to live their life.

          4. Fives*

            “I also think if anyone grieves more for the loss of a pet than the loss of a beloved parents/spouse/child, they might need some mental health treatment.”

            This is uncalled for. I grieved for my previous cat terribly, and I will grieve for my current cat when it happens. This doesn’t need I need mental health treatment. It’s grief for a beloved family member.

            Please think twice in the future if you feel inclined to say “if____, they might need some mental health treatment.”

          5. giraffecat*

            This is probably not your intention, but your comment reads as though you roll your eyes at the idea of giving someone a bit of comfort while they are grieving. It’s really not okay to judge people for whom or how they grieve. There’s not a whole lot that we can do to comfort people when they are grieving; the loss will still be there no matter what we do, but showing a bit of empathy and compassion can go a long way to provide a bit of comfort. I’m glad you keep your opinions to yourself in front of those grieving, but you might want to reflect on why you have such a reaction to the idea of people doing something so simple like signing a card to show condolences for someone’s loss.

          6. Fluffy Fish*

            I just reread and this -“I also think if anyone grieves more for the loss of a pet than the loss of a beloved parents/spouse/child, they might need some mental health treatment.”

            Is nasty and uncalled for. YOU don’t get to decide how someone feels or grieves and its disgusting to insinuate that because people might grieve differently than you feel appropriate that they are mentally ill.

            As someone with a mental illness I assure you that was not why I grieved for my dog nor why I will not grieve for my abusive parents.

            1. House On The Rock*

              Years ago I lost my dog and my grandmother within a day of one another. It was a truly horrible time, but I grieved more for my dog than my grandmother. My dog passed at a young age due to a congenital condition, while my grandmother had a long, rich, meaningful life. Also, my dog was an entirely pure and loving creature, and my grandmother and I had a sometimes tense and fraught relationship. I don’t think this means anything except that grief is strange and relationships are complex and we get to grieve as we see fit.

              I am sorry about your dog <3

          7. The Unspeakable Queen Lisa*

            In addition to what everyone else said, you are also casting “getting mental health treatment” as a negative. As though people only do that when there’s something wrong with them. All people have feelings and there is nothing wrong with any of them. Grief counseling is mental health treatment and would be appropriate for someone grieving, not a sign that they are weird or broken.

            Maybe you need some mental health treatment to figure out why you’re so judgy about other people having the “wrong” emotions.

          8. Bast*

            I have had many pets throughout the years, and some losses have hit worse than others. My sister was killed by a drunk driver 5 years ago, and when she died, I inherited her cat. I was already at a not so great point in my life when that happened, and her loss was a whammy for me. That cat felt like my last link to her, and when she also died a few years later it was devastating in a way that I hadn’t felt towards any other pet– and I say that as a huge animal lover. If I could have afforded it, counseling probably would have helped, but I wouldn’t say that there was anything “wrong” with me for feeling the loss, which seems to be the implication.

            1. Shynosaur*

              This is exactly what I would say, and I send you internet stranger hugs in sympathy :( I was sad but relatively unaffected when I lost my first two cats in my teenage years. My current cat is one I’ve raised from a kitten, but she “belonged” to my niece who died of cancer at age 10. In fact, the longer time goes on, the more I think of this as “niece’s cat,” and though she’s an extremely healthy 14 years old this week with a good shot of living to age 30, it does in fact weigh heavily on me how devastated I will be to lose her, and a large chunk of that is the cat’s connection to my lost family member.

              By and large, I don’t think humans can control what we form emotional attachments to, or how deeply those emotional attachments can root. It’s not fair to judge other people by our standards, especially ESPECIALLY when their emotional response doesn’t even have an impact on us. I think it’s basic human empathy to appreciate when someone is grieved by something, even when we ourselves wouldn’t be hit in that situation.

          9. Emmy Noether*

            I read somewhere that grief for a pet can be extremely intense, especially at the beginning, because it was part of one’s household and one’s routines, so there are constant reminders of the loss. Makes a lot of sense to me. Also, a pet would normally bring comfort, and now that’s not available, so the coping mechanisms are disrupted.

            Also also, grief is weird. It comes in waves and strange forms, sometimes much more or much less intense than expected. Don’t judge.

          10. JelloStapler*

            You might want to walk that back. You don’t get to gatekeep how people react to loss of important living beings in their life.

          11. Please Stop*

            My own parents (in their 80s now) would tell me with all sincerity that they’d understand me grieving for a pet more than them, since we’ve had good, whole, meaningful lives together and are able to talk about and process what my life will be like without them.

            Your experience is not everyone’s experience and your judgements about how and when people grief and what counts as “appropriate” grief are cruel. You say “I would keep my opinions to myself”…except you don’t here.

          12. YetAnotherAnalyst*

            Probably most of us could benefit from some mental health treatment.

            I want to add my voice to the chorus that grief doesn’t have any rules, and relationships run the full gamut. Depth of grief doesn’t necessarily correspond to depth of love, either. I’ve lost livestock and been completely broken up about it for weeks, because when you’re wholly responsible for something’s well-being and you choose to end their life, it’s a heavy burden even when it’s the right decision. I’ve lost parents and been mostly fine, because it was a long time coming and a blessing at the end, and my grieving had all been done in dribs and drabs over the previous decade.

            I love my husband deeply, and I hope we’ll continue to be here for each other for many, many years to come. But it’s a complicated sort of love, with decades of baggage and all the practical realities that come with making a life together. We can’t afford to be each other’s primary focus very often, because there’s bills to pay and a child to raise and chores to do.

            In comparison, my love for my dog is a bright, simple thing. We spend almost every waking hour together. Our disagreements are straightforward and resolved quickly, and are usually pretty low-stakes (“You cannot chase the chickens”, rather than “Do we move for your job or stay here for mine?”). Being near me is always her number one priority (and eating sheep poop is a distant second). She can be my companion and my confidante in a way that my husband simply can’t, because her life is so very different from our own.

            1. Fellow Animal Lover*

              This is so beautifully put, thank you!
              Your like “she can be my companion and my confidante in a way that my husband simply can’t” resonates. I love my spouse more than words can say, but I can’t “commune” with him as I do my pets, in part because I know he’s reacting to all my emotions. When I want pure, unadulterated happy love, holding a cat is the way to go.

      2. ecnaseener*

        What’s to be aggravated about? I can understand thinking it’s unnecessary / simply not caring, but it’s a free e-card. I don’t get why that would actively irritate anybody, unless maybe they’d had a loss of their own that went unrecognized.

        1. Irish Teacher*

          I agree. I’m not much of an animal person and tend not to feel particularly strongly about them, but I can’t imagine being aggravated by somebody getting sympathy. Somebody being confused, I could understand, if they didn’t know anybody who felt strongly about their pets or even somebody thinking it a bit silly (I wouldn’t agree with the latter; even though I don’t feel particularly strongly about animals myself, that doesn’t mean I think others shouldn’t. As somebody mentioned, there are people who aren’t close to their parents or siblings and that doesn’t mean it’s silly to be close to them. But I could understand why somebody might not get it). But aggravated seems over the top when it doesn’t harm the person who is being aggravated in any way.

        2. Michelle Smith*

          This is an interesting point. I mean, I’m not sure aggravation or cruel behavior has to be rational. But I can see someone being irritated that Jane got a condolence card for Fluffy, but I – Jim – did not get any similar gesture when I lost my uncle or my grandmother. It wouldn’t be right for Jim to be cruel to Jane, but I’d somewhat understand the frustration.

          It’s like a previous job when a coworker and I resigned within a week of each other. My boss got coworker a cake, a large bouquet of flowers, and a bunch of positive comments throughout her notice period. I received nothing, not even a “thanks for your work” email, despite having been on the team for 4 years (my coworker had joined less than 6 months prior, so this was not a case of it being a retirement or something like that). I still think that boss was a massive jerk for that and would never, ever work with her again in any capacity…even though I otherwise do not feel owed anything for leaving a job. Disparate treatment does absolutely breed resentment.

          1. Lady_Lessa*

            I agree about the disparate treatment. That can hurt for a long time, and you get reminded of it when others are talking about the same thing. A co-worker and I both lost mothers about the same time. The local loss had flowers sent etc. Mine which was 2/3 of the country away did not. My boss did let me stay away as long as I needed to, because of dealing with the house etc.

          2. Observer*

            But I can see someone being irritated that Jane got a condolence card for Fluffy, but I – Jim – did not get any similar gesture when I lost my uncle or my grandmother.

            This is speculation. But, yes, if something like that happened, I could see the irritation. But that still doesn’t explain any of the rest of this.

            Because there are a lot of things that people could be irritated about that they do not and should not do anything about. At least if we are talking about a competent and functional adult.

            Disparate treatment does absolutely breed resentment.

            Yes, it does. But who were you resentful of? Your coworker or you ex-boss?

      3. Clare*

        Some people love their pets like family. Many don’t. But some do. Different people love other beings in different ways. Some people don’t love their grandparents. Other people would be appalled at that thought. Some parents don’t love their children. We all agree that the existence of those people doesn’t invalidate the deep love felt by most parents. In the same way, instead of invalidating those who can love an animal so deeply as to be distraught by their passing, let’s be kind.

        We can be impressed by their ability to extend such deep empathy to beings that are so foreign, instead of treating them as ‘weird’ or ‘soft’, or being irritated by the inevitable result of their having to grieve for those they loved so selflessly. The ability to empathise deeply with beings who are alien to us isn’t a flaw, it’s a strength.

      4. amoeba*

        I mean, I find it… unusual, as even for human deaths in the family, my department does a card and flowers (depending on how close of a family member passed away), but not with messages from all coworkers. Only line manager and maybe office mates. But I think that’s more of a privacy thing, because not everybody wants the whole department to know their grandma died…
        So yeah, a card with messages from everybody does seem slightly weird to me for those reasons (but too public, maybe?), but that absolutely doesn’t explain (or excuse, obviously!) anything about what happened here!

      5. Fluffy Fish*

        It’s a bit odd to be aggravated by an act of kindness. A condolence card is simply an acknowledgement that someone you care about in some capacity is hurting. I lost my dog last year, who was very much family to me, and my colleagues got me a card. It was unexpected but really nice. I still have it.

        The person who did this is cruel.

      6. I am Emily's failing memory*

        The thing is, it’s not about the cat. You don’t send condolence cards based on what happened to someone, you send them based on how someone feels. If you have a co-worker who is visibly hurting, it’s a kindness to offer empathy, and empathy means recognizing that everyone’s pain is different – the causes, the way they carry it, and the way they deal with it – and still be able to recognize pain in another person even when it looks different than it would for you.

      7. MCMonkeyBean*

        This is a bafflingly cold take to me. When my cat died I had friends who sent me flowers and one dropped off a very nice card with a stuffed cat that I treasure to this day. It was so lovely to feel loved during a really hard time. If you don’t want to extend your own condolences that’s fine but I cannot fathom feeling irritated at the very idea of other people saying nice things to someone who is sad.

      8. the bat in the office popcorn machine*

        Everyday I am in awe at how much people diminish the human capacity for love and regulate other people’s grief by what is appropriate (whether it’s ‘a bit much’ for a pet or ‘too little,’ aimed at the widow/er who starts dating again). No, it’s not a bit much and I don’t even think this is a matter of opinion. Something they loved and nurtured, perhaps for years, died. It’s completely appropriate to get a condolence card if they’re genuinely grieving. Some people don’t want a condolence card at all, no matter what.

        The fact you’d roll your eyes (your later message) at being asked to sign this isn’t about the species, human or pet or whatever — it’s the fact that it’s a clear sign someone is going through a hard time and you think they’re being an overly sensitive baby about it. I’m glad you wouldn’t write a nasty message, but respectfully, that’s such a low bar and not a flex. In my opinion, you’re just one step behind the person who does vocalize it. It’s so easy to say “I’m sorry for your loss” and move on.

        Giving sympathy to someone who’s lost their pet isn’t taking from some finite well of sympathy that we’re reserving only for humans.

      9. Observer*

        Or maybe they’re aggravated that people are getting condolence cards for a dead pet? I love animals, but it does seem a bit much to me. (That said, if I was irritated by it, I would just not sign it rather than be nasty about it, under my name or someone else’s.)

        See, that’s the thing here. I totally get the whole “this is a bit over the top” feeling. But why on earth would someone take even a few minutes to insult the person because of that? So that’s way out there, to start with.

        And trying to pin it to someone else? What on earth is that all about?

      10. I Have RBF*

        When you have a being around for 16 years who sleeps in the same bed as you, you get attached. A pet is a part of your family. My cat died last December, and I still miss her.

        Yes, some people seem to go overboard, but often that pet has been an emotional support for that person for a long time.

        People who aren’t pet people don’t understand it, and that’s okay. But mocking or derision are out of bounds, regardless.

    5. Jane Fiddlesticks*

      @Flossy, I think whatever the reason, it’s not an excuse to be nasty.

      I mean, I think people are stupid beings 90 % of the time, but don’t go around telling people that, do I?

    6. Observer*

      as much as I don’t particularly like to say it, some people really detest cats. Disliking dogs doesn’t seem to draw nearly the same ire. Could that be a possibility?

      That’s a pretty bizarre take on the matter.

      You don’t like cats? Don’t sign the card. Making fun of someone who is grieving is absolutely not something even cat *hater* could be expected to do, if they are a decent human being. To do it in a way that makes it look like *someone else* wrote it?! How does that even come into the question??

      1. House On The Rock*

        Well put. What on earth is the impetus to search for a “justification” for that behavior? And it ignores the fact that the person didn’t write a nasty thing on their own, they tried to pin it on the LW. That’s malicious and deeply upsetting.

      2. Expelliarmus*

        In principle, I agree that if one doesn’t like cats, they shouldn’t sign the card. But as many Internet commenting systems have shown us over the years, people are willing to say many horrible things that they’re better off keeping to themselves when the target(s) of their ire are not in front of them. ESPECIALLY when they can conceal their identity or hide behind someone else’s.

    7. OP1*

      If it was someone who works with me, they picked the wrong person to pin this on, because I absolutely love cats (and dogs, but I’m very much a cat person). My profile picture on our work Slack is a picture of my cat!

      1. Jan*

        I hope you get it sorted out soon, OP. I know what it’s like to have a malicious person at work trying to get you into trouble. And your poor colleague. I’m sorry for her loss.

  17. JM in England*

    Re #3

    I got offered one of my previous jobs on the spot immediately after the first (only) interview. Being unemployed at the time and with no other offers on the horizon, I took it!

    1. Gritter*

      Years ago I was desperate to leave a Toxic with a nightmare boss and a horrible commute. I desperation I took a job that was local to me, but the interview process consisted of a 30 minute phone call!

      Normally I’d have run a mile, but I was determined to get out. Turned out a be a pretty good gig and I stayed for a few years.

  18. thatone*

    I started a new job almost a year ago exactly. I was hired after only one interview. It was via Zoom as well. Honestly it was kind of refreshing I didn’t have to sit through multiple interviews. There were 3 people on my call and I really feel like we got to know each other. For the most part I really like my job.

    1. thatone*

      Sorry it cut off before I was done.

      I have interviewed placed before where they bring me into the office on 3 or 4 separate occasions. Only to turn me down. So its def a nice change of pace!

      1. Bast*

        Where I live and in my field, 3-4 interviews (not including an initial phone screen here) would be seen as excessive and a waste of time unless interviewing for a very senior position. It would actually make me think the company is disorganized and can’t get it together.

        It baffles me that this is a so common a thing in some fields/places, as many people need to use PTO to attend these interviews unless they happen to offer early/late hours. 3-4 days of PTO really adds up, (even taking half days adds up quickly when you have that many rounds for a single job) particularly as many folks in the US (where it seems to be most common) seem to only get around 10-15 days of PTO a year. I’d be bummed to use that much PTO for a single job and then not even get it, and, on top of that, now I have very limited PTO to go to other interviews.

        1. thatone*

          I know I am glad places are moving away from it. Once I interviewed somewhere that had me come in 4 times (this was like 2015). Every time was a different location, as this company had a few offices in town. Not only did have to arranged to take PTO and time off 4 times, I was driving all over the metro area. At the end of the 4th interview they told me thanks but no thanks. Why did even bring me in then? It was so confusing. I was obviously much younger then. Now I would def push back, or say something in a professional way about it.

  19. I should really pick a name*

    Did you tell the coworker who alerted you that you didn’t write that message? (it’s not clear if they’re the same person as the one in charge of the card)
    There’s no guarantee that they’ll believe you, but I think that saying nothing would look worse than saying something.

    1. Kes*

      Yeah, I have to say, my reaction to that message from the coworker would be ‘What do you mean?’, both because I’d want to know what is wrong and also to make it clear I don’t actually know what they’re talking about. As it is I’d talk to the manager but I’d also go back to the coworker if you didn’t say anything and tell them that you figured out what they meant but you didn’t write that and you are bringing this up to the manager because it’s disturbing that someone changed your message to something cruel.

    2. OP1*

      I did tell him that I didn’t write the message, but I also didn’t ask him what he was referring to, just because it was pretty easy to figure out since he wouldn’t have seen any of the emails or Slack messages that I had sent out that day, so the card was the only thing he would have seen. I thought maybe I made some stupid typo, even though I thought I checked my message or that somehow I said something that was unintentionally triggering. It was not, my original, nice message was just replaced by something horrible.

  20. Bookworm*

    #3: It could be paranoia (don’t want to minimize how you feel!) and I totally get you.

    But it could be that you simply blew them and any other candidates out of the water. It’s not unusual. Alison’s advice is spot on, though, and I personally understand where you’re coming from. I’d feel the same. Good luck in however you decide!!!

  21. Shanders*

    OP1!! Please speak to management about this – whoever has access to the account for the software, program, etc that is circulating the card likely has admin and can review edit history and what accounts have accessed (especially if this circulated via an internal managed email domain). If you can see drafts, your admin may very see all revision histories, or even time stamps and versions to narrow down access that may even show that you DIDN’T if not who did. When we have comment based revisions on design projects, our staff just see comments… our head of design sees who, when, and any changes they made to the comment. If I’m right and this is the case, I would really love to see an update. Some people have no clue how easy it is for people to track down foolishness like this because they are used to Reddit internet anonymity and don’t realize managed accounts have permission tiers.

    1. CatLover*

      OP1 PLEASE LISTEN TO THIS! We use Google Suite at work, and anyone can go into the revision history and see who made edits when. I assume other shared documents/programs are similar. You, or an admin, should be able to see your original message and WHO changed it to WHAT and WHEN. And that you then changed it back. This is beyond gross.

  22. pally*

    For #3, what would worry me more would be the amount of time between the interview and the job offer presentation.

    I interviewed via Zoom. Talked to HR and the hiring manager. Total time about 40 minutes. They told me they would be making a decision by the following week. Fair enough.

    Yet just a few minutes later, my phone rings- it’s a job offer. For me, that’s too short a time period for them to assess my interview and discuss other candidates. Or something else maybe?

    During the interview, the hiring manager was just too upbeat. Even when asked about when someone makes a mistake (“we focus on the positives and don’t discuss mistakes”). Or how she handled things when a major problem occurs. It felt phony. I got the impression they were looking for people who had to put up with whatever craziness they dished out (because they were not easily employable elsewhere).

    I accepted the offer but ghosted them after things got strange. They wanted the pre-employment physical to include being checked out on respirators. The physician had no idea what that was about and wanted me to explain things. I had no clue what to tell him. This was not mentioned in the interview at all.

    1. Lady_Lessa*

      If you were going to be working in a lab that used certain hazardous materials, I can see needing the respirator testing, but that is something you should have known up front. I’ve had that testing done mainly for isocyanates, which are half of polyurethanes.

      1. pally*

        Sure -that makes sense! But then that should be discussed at the interview. And maybe even a bullet point in the job description itself.

        This position was in QA for a lab. No lab work involved. Doc review, auditing and such.

      2. AngryOctopus*

        I had to get a chest Xray and a hearing test (among other things) in a screening for working in a chemical plant. But all of that was discussed up front (it helped that it was a summer job where my dad worked, so he knew what was usual and what was not). If I showed up at a doctor’s office and the doctor didn’t know why certain tests were being/would be done, and asked for an explanation, I’d bounce out too. I mean, normally the doc has a contract with the company to provide these medical exams, so they know what’s needed and why! I don’t blame you for noping on out.

    2. Student*

      It’s probably an inadvertent holdover from early COVID days. They probably haven’t updated the medical test since the vaccine became widely available.

      My job had us do the respirator fit test for N95 masks in the first year or two of the pandemic because it’s government work and it involved lots of contact with people at high risk for COVID at the time. Not all N95 masks fit everyone, so they have to test you on multiple versions and figure out which type actually fits your face snugly, such that air only goes through the mask and not around the edges. Then, that’s the type of N95 mask you’re approved to wear, and the job makes sure you have access to that particular brand/size when you’re out doing work at high risk of contracting COVID.

      We haven’t done that in a while. Once vaccines became widely available and our most COVID-focused work winded down, we swapped to bring-your-own-mask, like most people. The N95 fit test was a big deal at the time for us.

  23. Bast*

    LW 3– I wouldn’t say it’s too odd. It has been fairly standard for the companies I have been with to hire after a phone screen (which I’m not counting as a real interview, as mostly it was used to screen out the obviously bad fits) and one real, in person interview, with the exception being particularly high level positions. This goes for both being the interviewee and interviewer. The only times I have run into the multi-step interview process are for government positions.

  24. Lacey*

    Lw3: I’ve worked for multiple companies that only did one 45-60 minute interview.
    And while it’s not like I’ve worked for any industry leaders, those jobs have generally been better than the ones I got after multiple rounds of interviews and practice projects.

  25. HonorBox*

    OP1- Looking at the situation from your boss’s standpoint, I’d definitely want to know. Maybe there’s a weird flaw in the greeting card system that allows someone to make a change like the one that happened to you. It would definitely be worth bringing it up just for that reason alone. You’re covering your butt too, but raising it in a way that points out that something like this has happened and could again. The recipient of the card doesn’t deserve anything like what happened and people shouldn’t be worried that an a-hole in the office is making others look bad.

  26. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

    I was offered my job after the first interview–I was supposed to be flying in for an in-person second-round interview, but it got switched to onboarding at the last second. I’d call it a yellow flag at worst–some places are really good at narrowing down their candidates and recognizing who they want when they see them.

  27. FreelancingOnTheFreeway*

    Letter write 2: please, don’t do it. Drop it. It looks like you already offered your help and it was declined. That’s it, when you offer to help, the “helpee” (sorry English is not my 1st language) is the person that matters, not your intentions per se.
    If help is declined, thinking that you know better and pushing is not going to come across as helpful at all.

    1. The Unspeakable Queen Lisa*

      That is actually exactly how I would write it. Not that it’s a real word, but that’s how English is structured. Helper *ought* to have a “helpee” word partner.

  28. Jane Fiddlesticks*

    #3 As long as you’ve done your research on the company, whether they are doing well financially, have a good product-market fit, and have solid reviews on Glassdoor etc, I would not be too worried about a job offer after 1 interview. It’s very quick but maybe you are a perfect match and made a stellar impression!

    I have to admire their efficiency. I’m doing job applications now and I’ve had 6 interviews for one company (entry level role) and 4 for another (and a 5th coming up) which apparently is normal now.

    The worst thing is that they divide the interviews in rounds so it looks like they’re “only” asking you to do 4 rounds, which can still be about 7 – 8 interviews.

    1. AngryOctopus*

      Rounds are pretty normal in biotech, but they’re generally done in one day, so it’s not the biggest commitment of time. You get to talk to several different levels of people so you get a sense of not only the job itself, but the scientific strategy that drives both the department and the company as a whole. I’ve only had it spread over more than one day twice: once when I was interviewing at a startup and they had an emergency board meeting, and once when the company was crappy and didn’t know what they were doing, so made me talk to basically everyone.

      1. amoeba*

        Yeah, same in Chemistry. One day with multiple rounds is fine, I actually prefer it that way as I also like meeting some potential coworkers, seeing the cafeteria (lunch is important!), etc. But coming in multiple times? (Luckily, here, hiring is quite international and companies pay interview expenses, so I’d say it’s in their own best financial interest to not fly people in more than once!)

  29. bamcheeks*

    I’m sort of confusing by LW in that both LW and the co-worker who tipped them off seem more concerned about LW’s reputation than the impact on Grieving Co-Worker! I don’t quite understand what system you’re using, but if it was any of the standard online e-cards I’ve used then LW completing and posting their message wouldn’t have deleted the nasty one, since that would have come through a different link.

    LW, if you haven’t already, you should definitely talk to the person organising the card (whether that’s your manager or someone else) to make sure the nasty message gets deleted before it goes to Grieving Co-Worker. Unless you know for sure that Tipping Off Co-Worker has already done that, and that’s information that wasn’t included in the email. But that’s definitely the immediate priority and will also minimise any reputational blowback on you!

    1. fhqwhgads*

      I think they were less concerned about Grieving Coworker because it got reverted back before Grieving Coworker received it. So you don’t really need to worry about a grieving person being hurt by something they never received.

      1. bamcheeks*

        That’s what I don’t understand– *how* it got reverted back. On all the systems I’ve used, LW, Aimee, Bert, Chris, Dave etc get a link, and when they click on it it generates an individual entry for that person, and you can’t see who has posted what except that most people sign their name. So Dave, the evil person, wouldn’t have access to LW’s link– they’d only have been able to sign it “LW” to make it look as if LW wrote that. LW editing and posting their own comment wouldn’t have deleted that comment because it was on Dave’s link.

        I’m a bit worried that LW thinks they “fixed” the mean comment when actually they just left it there and fixed their own.

        1. Myrin*

          “they’d only have been able to sign it “LW” to make it look as if LW wrote that”
          It doesn’t sound like that’s what happened, though – OP says “I clicked back into the greeting card and saw that the message I wrote had been replaced with one insulting my coworker and her cat.”, meaning that Evil Dave DID have direct access to OP’s message; OP wouldn’t have had to edit anything in the first place if there had just been a random second comment with her name under it.

          1. bamcheeks*

            But they continue However, when I went to change it back to what I had actually written, my original message was in the draft field.— so I read that as they THOUGHT their comment had been changed, but when they looked, they hadn’t actually posted their comment. So clicking “send” posted another comment which was signed LW, but didn’t do anything about the nasty comment. That’s the way any of the ones I’ve used would work, though obviously it could be a different system all together.

            1. Myrin*

              Hm, I see, you’re right – I had been wondering about the “draft field” thing but seeing how I’ve never used such a system at all, I figured I just didn’t recognise the terminology. I do think it’s really only speculation one way or the other, though, since as long as we don’t know what system OP used, we might simply be imagining something completely different from what it actually was like.

              1. OP1*

                Unfortunately, I’m also as confused as all of you. I did let my boss and the person who organized the card know about what was going on, so the organizer would have made sure that none of the messages were messed with again when she went to turn off the option to keep editing the card so it could be sent to the recipient. I would have been horrified if my grieving coworker had seen it even though I didn’t write the message, but since she luckily did not, my worry was admittedly mostly focused on my anxiety. The draft field being weird is making me wonder if it’s some third party or someone from the greeting card site though.

  30. Mothman*

    Can I just say that, with the exception of the jerk who changed the message, it’s so wonderful that an office would treat the death of someone’s pet with such compassion? I can’t believe one person wouldn’t see how lovely that is or do that.

    If there wasn’t a card, I wonder if they would have the guts to walk up to her and say “LW thinks blah blah blah.”

  31. ZSD*

    1. Does anyone know if Kudoboards have this vulnerability? That’s what my office uses, and now I’m nervous.

    4. Ew. Small question: I don’t understand how using docking stations prevented you from noticing that the laptop was gross. Can you explain the relevance?

    1. ThatGirl*

      I would be curious to know that about Kudoboard too.

      I’m guessing the docking station means the laptop is closed most of the time – that’s how the ones I’ve used have operated; the laptop itself serves as the “hard drive” and I use external monitors, keyboard etc. The difference being that I can disconnect it from the dock and take it with me.

    2. Off Plumb*

      Re: docking a laptop, I figured that when they docked it they had it connected to a monitor and keyboard so they didn’t need to open it.

    3. Elsewise*

      Coincidentally, I just got an email with a kudoboard for a coworker’s birthday, so I tested it out, and I can’t see any way of editing anyone else’s messages. So I think you’re good!

  32. Jedi Sentinel Bird*

    LW4,(with the gross laptop)

    It sounds like your IT dept failed to do their job. I would make the point that you received it in its gross condition when you got it but didn’t notice it until you started moving it from work to home office. And that it’s starting to smell.

    Tell them it’s a biohazard and you need it replaced asap. See if you can get in contact with one of the higher ups within the IT dept as those people would want to know if new employees are receiving filthy devices.

    Majority of newer laptops can’t be taken apart as easily to clean so a lot of companies put broken, obsolete or dirty computers out to pasture.

    Some larger companies have contracts with computer companies like Dell which have warranties too. (although I am not sure if it would cover dirty machines)

    Good luck!

  33. JelloStapler*

    LW 1- I am so sorry- I would also watch you back as someone seems to want to get at you.

    LW4- Granted, this was years ago, but I offered a job hours after my one interview – it happens!

  34. H3llifIknow*

    I find the question about being offered a job after only 1 interview funny, because I’ve ONLY ever had one interview (although one time that was with 4 people, representing different areas, like HR, my specific role, etc…) and been offered the job, and my current one (going on 4 years now) was offered to me and the end of just a phone interview. So, it happens when everyone/everything clicks. Now, I am a govt. contractor in a highly in demand field, so that may have something to do with it, but I have to admit that when I read of the multiple interviews and hoops that some people have written in about, I am horrified. And the places asking for people to DO WORK SAMPLES. So glad that is NOT.A.THING I’ve had to experience.

  35. Sunflower*

    #1 What a nasty thing to do! I would inform the manager. I’d also be scared to sign another card again and would send my own card or message so it won’t happen again. You were alerted this time but what about next time?

  36. Peanut Hamper*

    The first laptop I got at my current job was kind of gunky, but that was easily cleaned and it didn’t smell.

    But apparently the last employee to use it used to let their cat sit on the keyboard. (It’s warm, so it makes sense.) I would be typing away, and a cat hair would suddenly sneak out from under a key and waft up in front of the screen.

    I used to joke with my boss that if I had saved all those cat hairs, I could have felted a small kitten with them.

  37. Observer*

    #4 – Smelly laptop.

    PLEASE talk to your IT ASAP. A laptop should have been cleaned before it was given to you, so that’s not great to start with, but I can see how that could slip through the cracks. But there is a real difference between a laptop that is *dirty* (even with food stuck to it – people eat over their computers all.the.time.)

    But *smelly* is different. It makes me wonder what happened to the laptop. And aside from the obvious issues of who wants to touch something that has something causing smells inside of it, it brings two other issues to mind.

    One is that whatever is causing the smell could have an effect on the physical durability of the laptop. All it takes is a very small amount of something in the right place to blow your laptop. So the question to me would be “is the thing causing the smell also emitting some vapor or liquid that could corrode or short the electronics on this machine?”

    Secondly, I really, really have to wonder about the judgement of the person who used this laptop before you. I would absolutely want to take a full image of the disk and then do a full scale re-set to factory settings and complete wipe of the drive. Because who knows what other strange (and possibly dangerously stupid) things this person did?

    I may sound paranoid, but I’ve seen enough stupidity that it’s something I think a good IT department needs to take seriously.

    1. Student*

      Milk is my first bet on the source of the smell. Had a room mate who did that – she tipped over a bowl of cereal with milk into her keyboard.

  38. I'm A Little Teapot*

    #3 – my current job actively courted me. They talked the recruiter into talking me into talking to them, the interview was very much them trying to convince me to come back into the field. They would have given me an offer right away, but I asked to speak to a couple of other people who are key in the work. I had rare experience, my location is rare, my qualifications are exactly what they needed. Sometimes it happens this way. And I’m very happy at this company.

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

    #5 there have been two different times we’ve had candidates who were sick on their scheduled interview day. One we rescheduled to the following day(and they wore a mask during the interview), the other we did over Zoom. As long as you feel capable of doing the interview and acknowledge that you are getting over a cold a good hiring manager is not going to hold it against you.

  40. Empress Penguin*

    As someone who lives in the UK and has worked for the public sector my entire working life, one 30-45 interview is absolutely the norm. I’d be so stressed if I had to do any more than that!

    Just kinda funny to think how different our cultural norms are.

    1. bamcheeks*

      What I’ve learned from AAM is that we frontload the recruitment process waaaay more. Usually a chance to speak to the hiring manager before applying, then a looooong application form that can easily take a few hours to fill in properly for professional-level roles, and then a single interview, often with a presentation and/or work task. Whereas in the US it’s a fairly basic CV & tailored cover letter, then a screen, and then any number of interviews and sometimes significant work tasks.

      1. Selena81*

        In the Netherlands you read the job-ad, send your CV & cover letter, 1-hour interview, offer.

        There might be a short skills-test or a presentation, but that’s rare. Usually your education and experience already prove you have the necessary skills.

        You can ask questions before applying, but only genuine questions, you’ll look annoying if you ‘try to build report’ by asking fake questions

        1. bamcheeks*

          We have a much more “open” graduate labour market in the UK than the rest of Europe– usually the figure that’s quoted is that 80% of graduate jobs don’t care about what subject your undergraduate degree was in, they are recruiting for skills. So I wonder whether that plays into our much greater reliance on competency-based applications, especially in the public and corporate sectors.

  41. BellyButton*

    #1 that is horrible! What is wrong with people??? I wouldn’t be able to let that go. I would probably post in the team Slack channel “thank you (team member) for letting me know that my message on the ecard had inadvertently been edited by someone else. ” It let’s everyone know who saw it what really happened and let’s whoever did it know it was discovered before the card was sent.

  42. Hamster pants*

    Re #3 –
    I wouldn’t call it alarming on its own.

    My current job – 20-30 minute in person interview where the interviewer/partner did most of the talking (later on when coworkers were sharing their interview stories, they all laughed and said he was a very chatty person) and had a pretty much verbal offer by the end of it. There were no red flags at any point. Everyone was nice, polite, professional and friendly, from the admin who was initial point of contact to the receptionist etc. The best thing – in my mind – was that the partner said they’d send me a response after the weekend, and true to their word, I got a phone call on Monday afternoon and offer letter on Tuesday for the highest end of their salary.

    All the right signs were there, I asked the right questions and heard the right answers.

    This was a year and a half ago and it’ hasn’t been the easiest experience for me. And if I’m honest the responsibility lies on both sides.

    But on its own – short answer is that no a short interview is not a red flag.

  43. thatone*

    For the smelly laptop – Not sure what the smell is. I used to work in the Inventory area of a company. We would hand out and collect equipment from employees. We got a monitor back once that reeked of cigarette smoke. We gave it the best scrub down we could and let it air out and it was ok.

    Def reach out to IT. However in the mean time I would wipe it down with some wipes. You could also try leaving it in small space with a bowl of baking soda. Don’t put the baking soda on it of course. This may help, depending on the smell.

  44. Abogado Avocado.*

    LW#5: I hope you feel better. And if you decide to do the interview while still sounding froggy, you can always say tell your interviewers your “Lauren Bacall voice” or your “whiskey and cigarettes voice” is a feature of your recovery. It’ll get a laugh and you’ll be able to move on from there.

  45. Nelalvai*

    I wonder how reports CAN deal with overloaded bosses. My boss’s schedule is so packed with meetings that it’s VERY hard to get responses from her in a timely manner. I have several topics in a follow up folder that I’ve been pinging her about weekly for a couple months now, and that was her suggestion! Is there anything else I can do, or do I just hope she learns to set boundaries someday?

    1. Selena81*

      I’d probably focus on explaining to your boss that her being busy is also negatively affecting your work.
      But if she really thinks she *has to* attend all these meetings I doubt you could give her any help in terms of learning to prioritize which meetings she can skip.

  46. Selena81*

    LW3: getting an offer after just a 1-hour interview (after sending in my resume and motivation) is how I got my last 3 jobs.

    Which is the norm in Europe for both prestigious and crappy jobs: at most there’s another 1-hour interview.
    As in: you have an interview with HR, and if you pass that you get an interview with the hiring manager, and if they give the okay you get an offer (but most companies have started to skip that HR-interview entirely, or they combine both interviews and maybe also invite a future coworker into the interview, so you sit across 1-3 people in total: HR-person, manager, coworker)

    Perhaps the person in charge of your hiring spend some time in Europe and what is strange to you is normal to them? The logic behind the quick decisions is that you already know from a resume wether a candidate has the skills, and know from the interview wether a candidate can act bussiness-appropriate (has basic social skills and can answer job-relevant questions)

  47. soshedances1126*

    RE: #3, some people do still hire on a relatively quick interview process! My husband got his current job as an operations supervisor six months ago after a phone screening and an hour in person interview. He received an offer two hours after his interview. The entire process (application to offer) took less than a week. It’s been a totally normal job so far that he likes! (And we were wildly grateful for the short process as he’d been unemployed for almost six months at this point. Some of his other interview processes were…frustrating, to say the least.)

  48. DivergentStitches*

    I took a job after only one interview. I was grossly underpaid and they offered a 55% salary increase that I desperately needed, so I took it. Turned out I’d be working a later shift than I’d ideally like (I was used to 8 am to 5 pm and this is 9 am to 6 pm, which makes it difficult to do a lot of things after work). AND it was a call center job where I’d be chained to the phone for half my shift. I hate those aspects but otherwise really enjoy the job. After I’ve been here a year I’ll be looking internally. So it’s not a total disaster but I’m a little unhappy.

  49. t-vex*

    #1 Please follow up with Jane as well! She may have seen it (or had it pointed out to her) and might be re-evaluating all your interactions. She’s already grieving, she doesn’t need this on her plate as well.

    1. OP1*

      She luckily did not see it! The card didn’t get sent to her until the next day, after I changed the message back to what I had really written and the card organizer would have had time to review all the messages before sending it out.

  50. CubeFarmer*

    LW#1: Document, document, document. If that other coworker messaged you on Slack, print/save/screenshot somehow document that notice.

    I don’t use Slack, so I don’t know the details of how it works, but my money is on that coworker, somehow for some reason, changed that message and that this might be the start of a pattern.

    Also, I wonder if IT can look at a log file and see what went down. Like, you typed your message, and then when (and possibly which user) altered it. This is very concerning, and if I were your manager, I would want to know as much as I could about how this happened.

  51. spcepickle*

    I hire lots of people, we only ever do 1 interview and while they are scheduled for an hour they normally only take 45 min. I would welcome the candidates to follow up with more questions! If the job is in person at all I would ask for a tour of the building and to meet some people – you can get a good feel about the vibe in a pretty short amount of time.

  52. Yes And*

    LW#1: There’s a variously-credited saying I like: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by incompetence. I can see a scenario where someone wrote their real thoughts about someone they perceive as overly grieving a pet (an uncharitable thought that I have been guilty of, but had the good sense to keep to myself) to get it off their chest, and then intended to delete their message and replace it with something generic… and did it wrong somehow? OP’s original message still being saved in drafts (rather than completely gone) may indicate that this is what happened. Maybe I’m naive, but I find “bad at version tracking” more plausible than “most mundane supervillain in the world”.

    1. OP1*

      Thanks for this! If it wasn’t some third party or Internet troll, this does seem more likely than outright malice. Though grieving coworker hasn’t even talked about her cat’s death that much, beyond letting our team know that her cat had a terminal illness a little over a month ago after someone asked how she was doing during a meeting, and then letting us know when they were going to put her to sleep.

      1. All Het Up About It*

        I hadn’t even thought of strange incompetence, but it IS any option. I literally came back to check the comments to see if you had weighed in, OP1! Thank you for doing so. I think the general heads up you gave and then essentially trying to let it go is the best you can do at this point. Hope you have a good weekend!

  53. both things!*

    I got my current job after zero interviews! Gave someone my resume to pass on and got an offer by email. So literally anything is possible. However, I also could have written the other letter asking if we could go to our manager’s boss to get her workload reduced. There’s probably a connection here and yes the connection has to do with how poorly and bizarrely the company is managed. I still like the job though and hey, I hear they actually do interviews now.

  54. Kat*

    #3 – I know it happens, but I, personally, have never been interviewed more than once for any job I’ve gotten. I’ve gotten jobs where my interview was 15 minutes long and they called me the next day and were like “We’d like you to come and work for us.” At my current job my now-boss called me to ask about me being okay with the commute, set up an interview for the following day, and then the day after the interview called me and offered me the job. I think some industries and careers need to do that whole 7 rounds of interviews thing but in my experience most places don’t. Especially if you are interviewing with a manager who has been managing people for a long time and knows what kind of people they want to work with. I’m not 100% positive, but I think I’m the only person who was interviewed for my current position, and now having worked with my manager for 3 months, I know she’s definitely the kind of person who knows what she’s looking for.

  55. Boss Scaggs*

    #1 is truly baffling. If everyone in your office has always been polite and friendly up until now, I wonder if it was someone attempting an (extremely bad) “prank” or something like that.

    Anyway I agree, definitely let your manager know!

  56. Avery*

    OP 3: As reassurance, my last job hired me after a single phone interview that took about half an hour. I was a little apprehensive/paranoid myself, and in hindsight I perhaps could have used to ask a few more questions about the job during that interview, but it was a great job for me in a lot of ways. Let this contribute to the anecdata that hiring after one interview doesn’t necessarily mean the place is a disaster!

  57. DCBreadBox*

    When I was changing careers last year I got a job offer the day after my sole interview (not counting my brief initial chat with HR). I was mildly freaked out and thought it was a bad sign, but in the end took it because,
    1) I was career changing and finding it extremely difficult to get my foot in the door
    2) it was almost my same salary (see above career change comment)
    3) it was a remote job, so I figured worst case I could tough it out for a year (and not have to worry about my non-existent poker face angrily broadcasting to others nonstop) to get my first job in this new career path

    It has been a year and I am SO GLAD I DID. IMMV of course, but all this to say it’s not an automatic bad sign. Keep an eye out for other alarm bells, of course, but don’t automatically assume it means it will be bad. In my case it was because it was a new project and they just needed someone to help get it up and running.

  58. Scott*

    LW4: As an IT guy, it’s likely that a few things happened:

    1) There wasn’t the budget to get you a new computer, so they had to give you a machine that had been a loaner or had belonged to someone else. (We used to have a BAD bottleneck post-COVID where you couldn’t get a new laptop in the USA for love or money, but that’s mostly gotten better).

    2) IT probably got *very short* notice about your onboarding; some places are much better about this, but some places I’ve first heard about someone needing a computer on a new hire’s first day, so there’s a scramble to lay hands on *something* so they can start working.

    3) IT people, despite our neckbeardy reputation, are aware of the difference between a machine that’s used-but-serviceable (worn keys on the keyboard, maybe a creaky laptop hinge) and *gross*. If you have a walk-in Helpdesk, a visit there would be prudent, as we always have stuff in the back to care for hardware (canned air, cleaner wipes, etc.), and any competent Helpdesk would be happy to help you out.

  59. D. R.*

    I have a similar situation regarding “Is it alarming to get a job offer after only one interview”. A friend of a friend was a recruiter who was contacted by the CTO to find someone who was knowledgeable of ERP and who had IT experience and programming experience. The recruiter landed me an interview and after a 30 minute phonecall the CTO told me I start tomorrow. The IT director first heard about my employment when the CTO introduced me to him. The IT director had been interviewing people and was flabbergasted when the CTO decided to just hire me. Turns out there was a battle of egos (all of the three letter titles had egos you wouldn’t believe, compensating for their inability to be effective) that the IT director wanted no part of but was forced into as a condition of employment.

    The IT director took me under his wing and we moved forward. He pointed out the utter incompotence of the 3-letter titles at the company. The same guy who hired me read a Yahoo advertisement disguised as a news article and decided that the system he read about was the one the company was going to use. It was terrible. I was hired to hack the system so they didn’t have to pay a consultant who was the ‘expert’ at the system to get everything they needed.

    The battle of ego’s ended when they decided to outsource the IT department. Since the nature of material stored on the servers involved material that could only be managed by someone who had a high level of security clearance, the IT director was the only person at the company who had it. The application process takes about 6 months to get so when they replaced us, they lost the ability to work with about 80% of their business. This ability would be unattainable for at least 6 months so the ego battle was devastating to the company.

  60. Lenny*

    op #1 the slack history is viewable by administrators. definitely go to your boss you don’t know who saw that post this can make people think you are a jerk.

  61. Kitty*

    LW 4: Reach out to a friend in the IT department and ask if they can help you. If you don’t have anyone, swing by and ask the lowest person on the totem pole if they can help you clean it.

    Definitely don’t ask for a new one. That’s overkill and not respectful of their time – someone has to take the time to re-set everything up for you. Just ask them to help you clean it. They can open it up and clean inside.


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