my office is obsessed with my professional athlete fiancé, did my manager give me the finger, and more

I’m on vacation. Here are some past letters that I’m making new again, rather than leaving them to wilt in the archives.

1. My office is obsessed with my professional athlete fiancé

My fiancé plays professional baseball for the city in which we currently live. He is on a minor league team, which means that he makes less than minimum wage and might not ever be awarded a spot on the “big league” roster. However, this does not stop my boss and coworkers from acting like he’s a celebrity and almost harassing me at work because of it. I enjoy my job, my coworkers, and my boss, but everyone seems more interested in the success and potential super-stardom that is my fiancé rather than asking me about, well, me.

My coworkers are routinely (I’m talking 4-5 times a day) stopping by my desk to ask for updates on my fiancé. What team is he on right now? How fast is he throwing these days? What does he think about this player? What are his chances of making it to the major leagues? I have some that go as far as to Google search his name and send me news articles about him, and others that follow him every time he pitches just to report back to me on how he did, as if I didn’t already know.

It’s gotten to the point that it is completely distracting me from my work and making me cringe when I walk into work, for fear of who will stop by my desk today. I want people to take me seriously for the work I produce, and not try and befriend me because of what they think my fiancé could someday be. I tried talking to my boss, but he is unfortunately, a huge baseball fan and thus a contributor to the chaos. He even asked me once if my fiancé could pitch to him sometime to see if he could hit a baseball off of him. HELP!

Do you have the kind of relationship with your coworkers where you could say, “Y’all, I get asked about Xavier all day every day, and it’s to the point that it’s distracting me from work and making the relationship weird. So going forward, I’ve got a Xavier ban while I’m at work.”

And then when people ask you about him anyway, be a boring broken record: “Xavier is off-limits while I’m at work because it got so weird. What do you think about (work topic)?”

Personally I’d also be tempted to set up a Xavier equivalent of a swear jar and make them put a dollar in every time they talk to you about his pitching stats.


Read an update to this letter here.

2. Did my manager give me the finger?

I work in a culture that I find rather repressive, but I refuse to be repressed so I sometimes say things other people don’t like. I get that, but I am willing to have a conversation and negotiate, and I can handle disagreement or “no” responses. I think I present myself that way, but I tend to get indirect statements. (“I am not the one quashing your proposal – it’s the higher-ups.”)

Recently I proposed something that my boss wasn’t keen on, but she gave me the go-ahead to develop my idea anyway. While she was doing this, she used her middle finger to adjust her glasses. I haven’t seen her do this before, so my instinct is that she was sending me a negative message despite trying to appear positive. I really don’t want to waste time developing an idea that’s going to get smacked down behind my back. Am I making too much of the finger?


It’s highly, highly unlikely that your manager was giving you the finger while trying to disguise it. That’s not really what professional adults do in offices, let alone to someone who they manage.


3. My employee over-thanks the coworkers she’s friends with

I manage a small office with 10 employees. The employees in this office are segregated into very specific cliques, and while there are never huge issues, it is clear who is on whose team. I have in this position for about a year, and have been working hard to unify the office.

One employee, Veronica, has gotten in the habit of over-thanking her friends when they do something helpful at work. For example, I asked an employee to switch lunch times one Friday to allow Veronica to attend a webinar and the employee happily obliged. Veronica made a point to loudly announce to the office that she would be buying lunch for that employee as a thank-you. On the one hand, that is super thoughtful, and it is nice when your coworkers appreciate your help. On the other hand, employees outside of Veronica’s clique have made similar efforts to be helpful, and they receive a quick “Thanks!” This kind of thing happens regularly with the people Veronica considers her “pals” at the office.

Am I over-thinking this? I know I can’t tell people who they can buy lunch for, but I’m concerned that excessive praise for acts that are really just employees doing their job can be polarizing when it is only directed to certain people. I know it would be a way bigger issue if I, as the manager, were doing this, but is it still a problem? If so, how can I address it? Veronica is a great employee; I just don’t want this behavior to further divide the office.

As long as Veronica is thanking everyone who helps her and not treating some of them brusquely, I’d leave this alone. I definitely get where your worry is coming from, but it’s okay for her to be more effusive with the people she’s personally closer to. If she were being rude to others, you’d need to address that, but if it’s just that she’s being excessively nice to some, I’d write that off as a personal quirk and not something you need to intervene on. (The exception would be if she’s doing it in a way that really does slight someone. For example, if two coworkers did her the exact same favor in the same week and she did a public celebration of one and not the other, you could privately point out to her that the disparity probably didn’t feel great and may make the people getting the short end of the stick less inclined to help her out in the future.)

The other thing that could be relevant here: Does Veronica want to move into a leadership role on your team or otherwise take on more responsibility over time? If so, you could point out to her this kind of blatant favoritism will make it hard to promote her, because to move into a position of authority over others, she needs to seem reasonably unbiased. (That’s true even if she’s not going for a management position; it would be hard to move her into even an informal team lead position if people don’t think she’ll treat them evenhandedly.)


4. Should I be paid like my manager when I fill in for her?

My question is about pay and responsibilities. My boss often takes time off and I have to fulfill her duties when she is out. Shouldn’t I get paid her rate of pay when I have to do her job?

No, that’s not typically the way it works. Your manager gets a higher wage because she has higher-level responsibilities all the time, not just sometimes. Also, when you fill in for her, you’re presumably filling in only on the day-to-day work for that period, but not for the longer-range responsibilities that come with managing (like setting long-term goals, creating strategies to meet them, developing staff members, giving feedback, addressing performance issues, hiring a strong team, and so forth).


{ 91 comments… read them below }

  1. Dadjokesareforeveryone*

    Can confirm as someone who wears glasses that it is very common to push up one’s glasses with your middle finger, just because it’s the longest. Unless the other fingers are down I wouldn’t worry about it.

    1. Apt Nickname*

      My grandmother and aunt are well known for forgetting to push their glasses up for a picture until right as the picture is taken, so there’s many pictures of them inadvertently flipping off the camera. Grandma is always mortified while my aunt thinks it’s hilarious.

    2. Hedgehog rock*

      Yup…it’s also possible the boss has done this before but the LW just never noticed.

      (Not saying I don’t believe the LW, but more that it’s fascinating what your brain will ignore until it stops ignoring that thing. It’s kind of like when you pick up a new hobby and suddenly see hobby-related stuff everywhere – those things have always been there, but got ignored because it was not relevant. This sounds like something similar, just a negative version – a bit like how people try to decode secret messages in rejection e-mails or e-mails outlining the next step in a hiring process.)

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        The “My daughter is going to Eritrea, and suddenly stuff about Eritrea is everywhere” effect.

        Can confirm that I pushed my glasses up with my middle finger while reading this letter. Something I don’t normally think about.

    3. Retail Maven*

      Agreed- this reminds me of when my team was meeting with a vendor, and at the end of the meeting as we were all saying goodbye my boss said, ” ok see you next Tuesday” and walked away (we had a standing appointment with this vendor on Tuesdays) and the vendor looked at me and said, “umm… did she just call me a …..?” and my coworkers and I had to reassure her that no, she did not, and then the we had to explain to my boss what ”C U Next Tuesday” could be interpreted as. luckily all involved had a good sense of humor and it became a long running joke.

      1. RVA Cat*

        Meanwhile, all of us who are off work from tomorrow through Tuesday get to enjoy the plausible deniabilty.

    4. Cacofonix*

      On the flip side of this (ahem), I worked at an office where a middle manager did this just a little too pointedly. We got along so as I got to know him, I casually commented on it and he confided that he did it on purpose to flip off people just to make him feel better when talking to someone he couldn’t contradict or thought was a jerk.

      After that, I couldn’t unsee it. He only did it to certain people and only when they were pushing his buttons in some way. I noticed more than a few recipients doing a puzzled double take then shrug as manager continued being agreeable and friendly.

      After that I’ve always been careful to use my thumb and forefinger to adjust my glasses. It looks more professional anyway and why would you want yet another thing to undermine you unwittingly?

    5. OMG, Bees!*

      I don’t know if I ever made it a conscience effort, but I always use my pointer finger for my glasses. But I also have known people to point at things with the middle finger (very obviously not flipping anyone off) simply because it is the longest finger. I wouldn’t read into it on that situation.

      1. Jazz hands*

        My dad has a partial amputation of his index finger and does all the point-y/glasses pushing stuff with his middle finger on that hand. I picked it up from him as a child and I’m always worried that it will come off wrong (it’s obvious why he’s doing it, not so much for me). This thread is making me oddly relieved that I’m not the only middle finger glasses pusher.

  2. The Katie*

    RE Letter 2: I’ve seen plenty of people use their middle finger as a pointer, mostly older women. My manager at an old job used to do it, and so did most of our customers.

    1. Jamoche*

      My dad did that while he was a substitute teacher in one of my high school classes. I was so mortified.

    2. Editor Emeritus*

      I know some older people who do that. I never saw it till I moved to England, so thought it was a “here” thing. My guess is they were told as children it’s rude to point with your index finger.

      Esp when my MIL does it, I have to avert my eyes. I myself learned the hard way not to indicate the numeral 2 with the back of my hand pointing outward.

        1. Editor Emeritus*

          Burst into flames, I assume.

          Seriously, it’s weird feeling like my 92-year-old MIL, who’s actually really lovely, is flipping me the bird.

      1. CommanderBanana*

        I’ve noticed that a lot of American politicians don’t point with their index finger, they’ll put their hand into a fist and use the thumb instead.

      2. new old friend*

        I had a middle school teacher who was British and frequently had to quell giggling in response to him pointing with a middle finger. He said it was normal over there, although it was also incredibly hard to tell when he was joking or not. (And I have no idea how old he was. Middle schoolers are terrible at that, and it’s obviously been a bit since then.)

        1. Ron McDon*

          This is really interesting to me, as I’m nearly 50, British, and have never seen anyone pointing with their middle finger. I wonder if it’s a regional thing – I’m from the South West.

    3. Madre del becchino*

      I had a social studies teacher in high school in the ’80s that would constantly use his middle finger to point to things on the blackboard–and then couldn’t understand why everyone was giggling.

    4. Random Dice*

      It’s considered more polite in some countries like Nicaragua, where middle finger pointing is polite and pointer finger pointing is extremely ill-mannerly.

  3. Ink*

    The moments when pushing up your glasses becomes an urgent problem never happen in private, and often manage to coincide with realizing you have chocolate all over your fingers, like a very large and very lost preschooler, or you’ve super glued some together somehow, or on and on. Usually in sight of one of my brothers, for me, because of course that’s when. (“Did you just punch yourself in the eye?” You and I both know you know the answer to that question is no!)

    1. Juicebox Hero*

      My glasses are guaranteed to slip if my hands are full of something fragile or tippy and I really need to see where I’m going, while I’m mixing meatloaf or something similar with my hands, or using cleaners I really really don’t want anywhere near my eyes. Either that or my nose will itch.

  4. Alternative Person*


    The best you can expect from that situation is learning a few tasks and getting some experience for when (if) you plan to move up/on.

    That said, if it’s very, very regular, you might be able to negotiate a little extra at review time.

    I definitely side eye it, I was given manager level responsibility with no extra pay, then later managerial projects with limited OT pay but it ended up being a situation where I had/have to remember the experience I got from it all will benefit me (hopefully sooner rather than later).

    1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

      > if it’s very, very regular, you might be able to negotiate a little extra at review time.

      This needs some masterful wording, not to come off as “since you’re out sick so often and I have to pick up your slack all the time…” I realise you don’t think someone would say that in those words, but it would be easy for the manager to infer the ‘real’ meaning.

      1. nnn*

        I wonder if something like “served as acting manager for a total of X weeks” might help, if X is a sufficiently impressive number?

        1. MK*

          Acting manager is someone who does the whole job temporarily, not someone who fills in, and you won’t get far trying to play it like that. When you fill in, you don’t do the whole job, you handle urgent and/or day-to-day matters; so, even if you are filling in for a considerable time period, it’s still not that. Quality vs. Quantity.

        2. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

          What about wording like “deputised for manager in case of absence etc”, that could be a closer representation.

          1. I.T. Phone Home*

            That wording would still come across as weird to me. Just be very specific and concrete: what new processes or tasks you learned, what projects you worked on, etc. It isn’t any different than what you would do when listing your accomplishments for your review any other year. You don’t have to (and shouldn’t!) draw attention to the fact you did this work because Boss was absent, and you definitely shouldn’t write that you did Boss’s job title. If it doesn’t sound sufficiently impressive without doing that, then reflect on whether this is worth bringing up at all. In that case, you’re probably better off highlighting what you accomplished in your own role than focusing on the fact that you were someone’s out of office contact for a couple weeks.

        3. Red flags everywhere*

          LW4: one possible angle is adding a job duty (if it’s not already there) for “serve as backup for responsibilities” and using that as the basis for a small raise. This is what we’ve done for the person who serves as my backup. I think it’s more common for it to fall under the generic “other duties as assigned” and if that’s a very occasional thing, that’s appropriate. If it’s happening more often, officially pulling it out as a separate job duty may work.

          1. Alternative Person*

            This. If something like ‘authorised key holder’ is relevant that would be a starting point.

      2. Green great dragon*

        Maybe there are specific things they could bring up, like ‘presented to the board’ if that would normally be a manager-level task and it went well?

    2. Yellow sports car*

      This is likely both an industry and country thing – but in old job I definitely got paid higher rates while filling in for the manager. It was part of our work conditions, to not do so would hand been illegal. While I say on the role officially, I got paid the rates of that role.

      If boss was out for a day or two I didn’t need to sit in the role, but if or for a week or two I filled that role and mine was left empty.

      In other jobs I’ve done temporary lead roles with no extra remuneration – it was just “other duties”, but there was no set wage for different roles.

  5. nnn*

    What strikes me in #2 is it makes no difference whatsoever if your manager gave you the finger.

    You already know she’s not too keen on the idea, because of whatever words and actions led you to that conclusion.

    And she’s already given you the go-ahead.

    So if you want to develop the idea, take the go-ahead she’s given you.

    And if it’s more important to you not to waste energy on an idea that might ultimately get sidelined, you can go to her with “I get the impression you’re not too keen on Idea because of [specific words and actions], and I really don’t want to waste time developing an idea that’s just going to get sidelined…”

    1. lyonite*

      From the way Letter #2 is phrased, I have the impression that the LW is taking a very confrontational approach to this workplace, and is looking for any sign that their attitude is reciprocated/justified. (After all, your boss flipping you off would certainly indicate that they were inclined to be opposed to you personally!) As many commenters have pointed out though, it’s a fairly normal gesture, and if the manager was really that immature, there would likely be much more definitive signs.

      1. Cat Tree*

        I was thinking dramatic, but confrontational is probably a better description. This talk of refusing to be repressed sounds like a Lifetime movie. But unless they’re standing up for outright illegal or unethical activity, that is way too much emotional investment.

        1. CommanderBanana*

          That or they are actually one of the constitutional peasants from Monty Python’s The Holy Grail.

          1. RVA Cat*

            “You can’t expect to wield supreme executive power just ’cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!”

      2. Rainy*

        Re your observation on the LW’s confrontational approach to work…yes. I completely agree. I’m reasonably blunt in general, in an office full of people who are the sort who are more likely to soften statements to the point of nonsense, and I read the letter and thought “yikes”. It’s possible to be plain-spoken and not a jerk!

        I also feel sorry for this person’s manager, who has probably sensed that their report is looking for any and every indication that the manager is making vulgar gestures toward them? Oof.

    2. MK*

      Eh, I don’t see the point of this. Any idea you spent time developing, even one your boss is enthusiastic about, might not end up happening, developing anything is a risk. OP has a rather bizarre view of her workplace relationships, e.g. there is nothing indirect about a manager saying the higher-ups quashing a proposal; it may not be true, and the manager is using them as an excuse, but it’s a direct and actually very probable statement.

      In this scenario, she seems to think that her boss will quash this idea also, but…won’t say no directly for some reason?

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        OP thinks “I am not the one who said no to your proposal; upper management said no” is indirect hinting.

        I suspect they have gotten into a cycle where they are unhappy, and they look for signs of collusion against their contributions, and put a whole lot of things in that bucket. Can’t say if they would be like this everywhere or it’s just a very bad fit with this job.

      2. Antilles*

        The last paragraph is the part that makes the whole thing feel odd to me. The boss has all the power in this scenario!
        If she really wants to quash the idea and tell OP to stop wasting time on it, she can just say that. There’s no need for some subtle mental message while adjusting her glasses like OP is proposing, the boss can just come right out and say “VP said he won’t be approving training budgets this year so I need you to stop bringing this up”.

        1. AngryOctopus*

          Yeah, the most likely possibility here is that OP is proposing something that isn’t the boss’s direct area of interest, so she personally isn’t that invested, but as can also see how it could be a company/OP benefit, so it’s worth the time to develop it. Thats part of being a good boss!
          I’m more concerned with OP “refusing to be repressed”, which, with this story, comes across as “I fail to read the culture of the company correctly but assume everything I do is gold and it’s unfair of them to say no to things”. I hope OP either took a good look at themselves and settled into the culture, or found a different job where the culture was better suited.

          1. duinath*

            i read it less as failing to read the culture and more putting greater value in being direct than in being pleasant to be around. which imho can lead to situations where you’re looking for signs that people don’t like you. that’s what i think was happening here, and on some level i do hope op2 learned to put more weight on how they come across to people, not because it is the correct thing to do, but because it makes life easier. for everyone. “just being honest” and “devil’s advocate” are phrases i’ve learned to dislike more as time goes by, and i get strong “just being honest” vibes from this letter.

    3. EC*

      LW also seems to be looking for a fight. The way the whole thing is written makes it sound like LW is a lot to deal with. “I refuse to be restrained and I say things I know people won’t like!” screams someone who enjoys making drama.

  6. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

    OP4 (filling in for manager) – this depends on how much of the manager role you are actually doing. It could be like the answer says: the manager also does long range planning, staff development etc as well as the day to day operational stuff that has to be covered. Or the manager could be more like a “team lead” whose role is to handle the more complex stuff but is essentially just a more difficult/ senior version of OPs responsibilities. It wasn’t clear from the letter which it is and to what extent OP has to fill in.

    1. Jiminy Cricket*

      Right. When someone on my team is my back-up while I’m out, they respond to urgent client emails. I don’t hand over the budget and the product roadmap and figure they might hire or fire somebody if they feel like it.

  7. FanciestCat*

    #4 In the private sector there’s not much you can do except document how often you cover for your supervisor, and at what level (are you making important decisions?) and make a case to the bosses for a raise. I doubt it would work unless your boss is taking a pretty substantial amount of leave. In the public sector, if you are unionized check your MOU. There will probably be a section about out-of-class pay and you can see if your situation qualifies. Again, it would probably require your boss being out for a large chunck of time. This is meant to be general info towards a generic “you”, since this is an old letter.

    1. John Smith*

      I was going to comment similar. In my workplace (public sector, UK), it’s a given that you don’t do work intended for a higher pay grade without being paid at that rate. Sadly its open to abuse by managers who try to conjure up job descriptions that are wide enough to fit a submarine through.

      If its happening frequently, or if it involves the ‘long term’ work which Alison mentions, I’d be arguing for a pay increase. If they want managerial cover, they should offer managerial pay for it.

    2. doreen*

      Even if you can get the higher pay, it’s something to think a lot about. I worked for a government agency and when the manager above me retired, one of my peers was appointed “acting” until the job was filled. He did not do anything close to the whole job -mostly what he did was go to meetings/receive emails and transmit the information to us. He didn’t approve anything, not even vacations or timesheets , he didn’t make any decisions, didn’t do any sort of planning. He filed a grievance , somehow got the higher pay – and tanked his chances of ever being promoted again.

      1. bamcheeks*

        That’s pretty crap! If the decision was that he was entitled to the higher pay, then he shouldn’t have been punished for asserting his right to it.

        1. doreen*

          Maybe- but most people thought he was out of line to expect the higher pay since he wasn’t doing much of the job ( he literally just passed information from his peers to the assistant commissioner and vice versa) and couldn’t figure out how he got it unless it was one of those things where there isn’t actually a decision that he was entitled to it but he got it because someone missed a deadline.

          1. Yellow sports car*

            Sounds like two different issues – was he actually the acting whatever, & separately was he any good at the role.

            On the first, if he was appointed acting teapot lead then he should be paid the rate of an acting teapot lead add per whatever employment rights exist. He should not need penalised for raising a good faith grievance over pay. Where I am – that is illegal and he could be entitled to compensation if he is being denied promotion for making a good faith claim for his wages (so even if found against and he didn’t get the money it would need illegal to not promotion him over that).

            Competently separately is the issue of his performance during that role. It is ok to take prior performance into account when determining future appointments – and so if he didn’t fulfill his duties that could legitimately tank future promotion opportunities over the near future (it should not affect things 20 years later!). Unless the wage laws/agreements have a clause to reduce pay for poor performance, how well he did the job had no impact on whether he should be paid the agreed amount.

  8. Loz*

    #4 Australian local government pays “higher duties”, i.e. the rate you are performing at if you’re filling in. That is cooked into the contract. Seems fair but I imagine you’d gave to negotiate it in the private sector. Why not ask?

  9. Irish Teacher.*

    My impression is that LW2 may be misinterpreting a lot. I’m not doubting that they find their workplace rather repressive, but given their interpretation of somebody adjusting their glasses as a hidden way of insulting them, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the other indirect messages were simple statements of fact too, that they were seeing hidden messages that didn’t exist in. “I am not rejecting your idea; the higher ups did” could be a way of wriggling out of responsibility but it could also mean, “I liked your idea but unfortunately our boss says we don’t have the budget.”

    Most of the time, people mean what they say. I’m not denying that people can be passive-aggressive, but the majority of comments people hear in a day are not passive-aggression. It seems like the LW might be overthinking a lot and reading insults into purely factual statements.

    It is also possible the boss is very passive-aggressive and does include hidden insults in casual comments, but without a reason to assume that, I’d think it’s more likely she means what she says.

    1. bamcheeks*

      Yeah, this sounds like a super stressful and exhausting way to operate at work. Impossible to say whether it’s a problem with the workplace or whether LW has just reached their limit with an otherwise perfectly normal workplace, but if you don’t trust your boss not to be covertly swearing at you it’s really time to think about whether another job might suit you better!

      1. Irish Teacher.*

        Yeah, I was thinking either way, job searching sounds like a good idea. Either this workplace is truly toxic, to the point that it is warping the LW’s idea of what’s normal or they are a really terrible fit for the culture

      2. Stuckinacrazyjob*

        Sometimes when people are stressed out over other things, their thoughts become warped and it ends up like ” they are secretly conspiring against me” when the boss in the letter probably just got shot down by the big boss, and decided to just let the idea go.

        People can learn to identify cognitive distortions but it’s hard in times of high emotions

    2. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      OP2 does seem determined to be difficult. Help I’m being oppressed. Look, for all the talk of bring your whole self to work, we really don’t. there is a modicum of professionalism expect. that’s not repression, its just expected to act in a way that gets along with people you are around 8 hours a day. Which means trying to be polite and not confrontational. If you know how you come across annoys people, why not rein that in a bit rather than just shrug and say that’s how I am? Sometimes projects get nixed after approval. Doesn’t mean anyone is lying to you its just a thing.

      1. Irish Teacher.*

        And even if they are lying to you about it being a decision from the higher ups, it still doesn’t indicate that they dislike you or that they are sending some kind of covert message. In some workplaces, “x won’t sanction that” is just a way of saying “that idea won’t work.” It doesn’t mean the boss is rejecting the idea out of malice or anything, just that they know it won’t work and they find it easier to claim somebody else made the decision. And honestly, with some people, I can understand why they would, as some people do argue everything and “x says no” puts a stop to that.

        Either way (and the odds are the boss is telling the truth) it’s unlikely to be personal. Either the boss thinks the idea won’t work or the higher ups do. Neither indicates a personal dislike of the LW.

  10. Llama Llama*

    Die the first one based on the update
    a) OP is right to never bring it up. People can’t obsess over stuff they don’t know
    b) I think the fiance may have gone to the majors because one can’t live on minimum wage and substitute teacher pay.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      Usually people playing minor league ball have a separate job. (There was a Leverage episode about this. It was very touching because even though Elliot initially doesn’t even like baseball–because you can’t score on defense–he eventually came around and the townsfolk named a sandwich after him.)

    1. Rachel*

      I think it’s really interesting how different this phrase reads to people.

      I think the LW said they are fine accepting a “no” or disagreement but then went on to detail how skeptical they are of “no” and disagreement. This pings me as immature, if the LW is brand new to the workforce and under 25, I get it.

      Over 25, this becomes less charming as the years go on and eventually devolves into antisocial.

      1. Antilles*

        I blinked pretty hard at that phrase when the immediate follow-up was about saying things people don’t like. That really strikes me as akin to when people use phrases like “I’m a blunt and direct person” where it has value…but people who take pride in it usually take it to a negative extreme.

        1. Random Dice*

          “I refuse to be repressed.”

          Well THAT’S not a giant neon blinking sign of a red flag. No siree.

      1. Was the Grink There*

        Voting OP “Most likely to quit over nothing while belting out ‘Don’t Rain On My Parade’”

  11. Fellow Canadian*

    How many glasses wearers read letter 2 and tried pushing their glasses up with different fingers? I can’t be the only one! hehe

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      Index if I fold the other fingers completely out of the way. Middle if I slightly bend the shorter fingers to avoid smudges. I think the latter is my default when I’m not carefully observing my fingers to see what they do.

      Ring finger feels extremely complicated.

      1. Juicebox Hero*

        My default is the same: middle finger with the other fingers bent slightly back. I will also use my wrist or pointer finger knuckle to push them up if my hands are gunky.

        I also scrunch my nose to scoot them back down and tilt my head back and gaze down when I can’t quite see properly through the bifocals. I’m not sneering at and looking down my nose at people, I promise. I’m just trying to see what I’m looking at 8D

      2. allathian*

        Yup, can confirm. I usually push my glasses up with my middle finger with the other fingers bent out of the way, too.

    2. Nightengale*

      I paid attention this AM and it seems my usual gesture is a joint push with the index and middle fingers together. I keep the palm overall in a flat open position with the ring and pinky fingers then bent down slightly towards the nose without making contact with the glasses. Maybe I use two fingers because my hands are small?

  12. korangeen*

    I wonder what sort of company LW1 was working at where that many people would be this infatuated with a minor league baseball player?? Bizarre. But of course it’s inappropriate and obnoxious to be acting like that toward a coworker (or a subordinate) no matter what level of celebrity their partner is.

    1. Jen*

      I can see it if it is a particularly loved team. Our nearby city has a beloved and longtime ECHL hockey team and if the team were doing really well I wouldn’t be surprised if people got obsessed with talking about it to someone connected. Actually, I could see it with the minor league baseball team too, maybe, though they’re not as longstanding. There is a lot of pride in those small cities for their sports teams.

    2. Lynn P*

      My first professional job was in an office that closed for the MLB home opener so everyone could attend and that level of obsession seems excessive to me.

    3. BurnOutCandidate*

      I’m a minor league baseball fan. I have a season ticket package with my local team (a quarter-season plan), and I go to a dozen-ish more games for teams within about an hour, hour and a half. I have six team schedules printed out on my desk; maybe this weekend I’ll sit down and put my 2024 jigsaw schedule together. I have posters and pennants hanging in my office at work. I wear team hats and hoodies to work and around town.

      You’d think I’d be like LW1’s coworkers—Ehrmagerd, I work with the wife of one the team’s players! I’d actually be really chill. If someone told me, I’d file it away. If I ran into her at the ballpark, I’d evince some surprise at seeing her and then go my way, leaving her alone.

  13. Juicebox Hero*

    My area also has long-running minor-league baseball and hockey teams who are big deals. Certain players and coaches, especially if they are locals, attract huge local fan bases.

    Plus, so many people dream about becoming pro athletes and yet have a snowball’s chance of making it that I can see how it’s kind of thrilling to know someone who made it… or knowing someone in their immediate circle will do in a pinch.

  14. Cacofonix*

    Lesson. It’s a small thing, but don’t use your middle finger alone for anything at the office. I point with my whole hand as a welcoming type gesture (over there), or two fingers when something close and specific such as on a page. It has worked well for me over the years. I’ve met all kinds, and have noticed discomfiture more than a few times when encountering the glasses thing.

    People might argue that it’s not useful to look for offence when none is intended, but we cater to all kinds of office norms just to work well together and move things along. It’s the little things that grate the most sometimes.

    1. allathian*

      Yeah, and it’s also up to each individual person to decide just how much of that nonsense they’re willing to accommodate. I always use my middle finger to push my glasses up, and nobody’s ever been weird about it. I guess I work in an environment where people aren’t looking for offense where none is intended.

  15. Lurker*

    LW1-I almost wish you had gotten the chance to use the jar idea, because it would have been funny and made you money. Glad to hear it worked out (as per the update).

  16. Sydney*

    #4 – My employment contract states that if I fill in for someone at a higher grade for more than 5 days, I get paid at that higher rate (or its lowest band for that level). There’s usually a handover and specific tasks or things to watch out for during that period.

    I would say that it’s only fair to be paid if you’re fulfilling that role during that time.

  17. Thank you*

    Re #4, in many jurisdictions, if you are filling in for a manager, then yes, you are legally required to be paid at a manager rate of pay for the time you are filling in for them.

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