employee named his dog after his manager, coworker keeps cooking for me, 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. When an employee names his dog after his manager

One of your employees gets a dog and he names it after his supervisor and makes sure he tells all of his coworkers. I think this is disrespectful. What do you think? (And no, it’s not a common name.)

It’s either disrespectful or … a sign of honor! Especially if the manager has a sense of humor. It’s hard to evaluate it without more context, like what this employee is like more broadly. Are there problems with his performance or attitude? Does he seem to dislike the manager? If that kind of thing is true, then the manager should be focusing there — but I wouldn’t get too worked up about the dog name alone.


2. My coworker keeps cooking for me, and my own food is going to waste

This seems like it shouldn’t be a problem, but I have a coworker who overwhelms me with homecooked meals. I am looking for a way to decline food that he has prepared, or to ask him to cut way back on how often he brings me food. We have different cultural backgrounds and I don’t want to offend him — I understand that he enjoys cooking and there are challenges to cooking for one person. But I also spend a lot of time planning and preparing meals for myself as part of my mental health self-care and I hate wasting food. so it really bothers me to have a fridge full of groceries that I have planned for the week and then find three (or more) full meals from him waiting on my desk.

I have tried offering it to other people in my office, but it feels awkward that he only cooks for two of us. The food is usually delicious, and the thought is appreciated, but it’s causing me stress and I don’t know how to slow this down. Any suggestions of scripts or how to handle this situation would be appreciated.

“I’ve started doing a lot of cooking and don’t want to waste food, so I shouldn’t accept any more, but thank you for all the amazing food you’ve shared.” If you wanted to (although it’s okay if you don’t), you could add, “Maybe we could do a swap one day a month where we each share something we’ve cooked?”

If that doesn’t get the message across and meals keep showing up, you can say, “I’ve got a fridge full of food so I can’t take this, but maybe there’s someone else here who would enjoy these?”


3. My boss punished me by removing the tools I need to do my job

I have started in a new position. We are getting a new management system here at work, and our boss made up a survey/test (not required by the organization) to be completed over the weekend. I had a family emergency where a family member has a week left to live, so the assignment completely slipped my mind. Upon my return to the office on Monday, my boss removed my and my coworker’s access to the system as punishment. However, the system makes up 98% of our day-to-day work and she does not “know” when she’ll return our access. I am trying to be calm, but this affects every single project that I have and she is known to write harsh comments on performance reviews for incomplete work. Is there a way I can handle the situation so that I can still get my work done?

Your boss decided to remove your ability to do 98% of your work? (Ridiculous thing #1.) As “punishment”? (Ridiculous thing #2.) Because you have a dying family member? (Ridiculous thing #3.)

Your boss is a terrible manager, and a terrible human.

Managing isn’t about “punishing” people (!) and it’s definitely not about preventing people from doing their work. Please know this is outrageous and not normal and not okay.

As for what to do, you could say to her, “I’m not able to do the vast majority of my work without access to the system. What would you like me to focus on meanwhile, until I have access back?”

But you’ve just learned that you’re working for a nightmare, and you’ll have to plan accordingly. (That sounds vague, but it could mean anything from “start job searching immediately” to “know she’s horrid and expect more outrages,” depending on your situation and what options you feel you have.)


Read an update to this letter here.

4. My interviewer turned out to be a distant cousin

I recently went for an interview and spent half the time trying to figure out why one of my interviewers looked so familiar. It didn’t dawn on me until on the way home it was a distant cousin of mine. I see that side of the family once, maybe twice per year. I’m not sure at this point if he recognized me, either by my name or when I came in. However, we did call another relative to ask where he works to rule out the possibility of an eerie look alike, and they confirmed that was him.

I wouldn’t think twice if he was just on the interview panel, and considering it’s a family owned and operated business, I don’t think they would mind two cousins in the same office. However, he would be my boss. We aren’t close, so I wouldn’t mind, but I don’t want him to feel awkward. I was asked in for a second interview with someone else in the organization (all my correspondence has been with his coworker, so I haven’t talked to him directly aside from sending a post-interview thank you email). Should I disclose it? Should I contact him somehow and ask if he’s comfortable with this? I still don’t know at this point if he knows it’s me since we see each other so little.

Yes, you should disclose it. If the company is smart, they won’t want a relative directly managing another relative because of the possibility of bias or the appearance of favoritism. And you’re far better off disclosing it now and finding out whether it’s an issue, rather than finding out after you’re on the job that they consider it prohibitive.

Start with your relative. I’d send an email saying something like, “I didn’t connect the dots until after I left, but I just realized you’re Percival Montblanc’s son! My mother, Clarissa Plufferton, is his cousin. I’m not sure if this complicates my candidacy for the __ role, which I remain highly interested in, but I figured I should disclose it.”


{ 184 comments… read them below }

  1. nodramalama*

    i don’t know, maybe its because i’m in a small city where everyone knows everyone anyway, or because i have hundreds of second cousins, but I don’t think I would blink an eye at my boss being someone I’m distantly related to. There are probably people I’m distantly related to who I’ve worked with before and had no idea. Especially one you didn’t immediately recognise.

    I mean, sure, disclose it, but to me it’s like working with someone you went to university with and had a class together once.

    1. Allonge*

      As always, in a conflict of interest, the issue can be both actual and perceived favoritism (or, of course, un-favoritism).

      I agree it’s unlikely that the family connection will be an issue when it took a significant time for the person involved to even recognise the other, but ‘oh, of course Bob likes Adam’s project best, they are cousins! is a short sentence that can be a killer for people’s careers.

      So, as you say: disclose and then go with what happens.

      Incidentally, I am not sure I agree with the advice that the disclosure should go to the cousin first. The whole point is to make the connection known to people who are impartial, so I would send it to everyone, explaining that Cousin probably did not know just as I did not realise until after because (long history of us not communicating). It’s tricky because it puts Cousin on the spot a little even then, but at least where I work now, that would be the way to go.

      1. The Terrible Tom*

        Yes, that’s a good point. No reason to not just tell everyone at once. I feel like it’s barely putting someone on the spot to be like, “Afterwards I realized who you were; that is to say that you are my distant cousin.” “Ah! I didn’t recognize you!”

    2. BurnOutCandidate*

      I work with one of my cousins. We’re in different departments on different projects, and though I see him most every day we don’t interact very often. A handful of people in the office know we’re related (my boss and at least one higher-up, just for awareness purposes), but he doesn’t want people knowing and I respect that. It’s not a big deal.

      There are probably people I’m distantly related to who I’ve worked with before and had no idea.

      For a variety of reasons, from estrangement to reticence to discuss, much of my family history has been forgotten, and things weren’t explained well, if at all. (I said to my mom a few years ago, “I didn’t understand how H fit” — H was someone older I saw at pretty much every family gathering — “until I sat down a few years ago and started working out the family tree.” Because… the family didn’t talk about that.) I discovered links between my branch of the family and another branch had existed into my mom’s childhood, and I started making connections with cousins on that branch. It turned out one of those cousins was the childhood friend of someone I’d worked with for a decade, and it was because I worked on mapping out the the tree that they reconnected.

    3. Llama Llama*

      The running joke was that my former boss’s boss was cousins to everyone at work because of some family connection somewhere (except for me, my parents were not originally from the area). It honestly meant nothing.

      BUT they are related enough that they saw each other once or twice a year. So it may be more of a connection than 3rd cousin twice removed

      1. Kit*

        I mean, I’m weird in that I know a lot of my second and third cousins (including degrees of remove where applicable) because of family reunions and the like – but the ones I saw more frequently than every year or so, growing up, were the ones my age who I went to school with. For a lot of the relatives who don’t live in my area, it would indeed be a case of “You look familiar, but I can’t place it…” although if their full name rang a bell, I’d probably just ask in the moment. Not everyone is comfortable doing that, and that’s fine.

    4. PhyllisB*

      Yes!! When I was an operator I worked in an office out of state for a couple of years and right before I left to come back home one of the supervisors and I discovered we were distantly related. It’s a small world.

    5. EC*

      Its seems odd to be this concerned to me too. But, like you I have a ton of cousins who all live in the same area. My family has lived in the same town for the past 300+ years, so if I moved back there it would be difficult to NOT work with a relative.

  2. Clare*

    Surely #1 has got to be a compliment, right? Reminding yourself of the existence of someone you don’t like multiple times a day for over a decade seems like a really unlikely decision.

    1. nodramalama*

      I guess unless they got some kind of pleasure of ordering the dog around? Like, down bruno! Sit bruno! beg Bruno!

      1. RetiredAcademicLibrarian*

        Reminds of the possibly apocryphal story of the ex-wife who tried to sue her ex-husband (who still lived nearby) after he named his dog after her and could be heard throughout the neighborhood yelling “Susan, don’t pee on those flowers!” and “Susan, don’t roll in that cat poop!”

        1. Double A*

          I have an unusual name and one of them families in my kid’s class has a dog with the same name (it predates me and is spelled different).

          We ran into them at the park and it was definitely jarring hearing someone yell, “Double A, drop it!” ha.

          1. Elsewise*

            As a kid, I had a dog with a human name. It was pretty similar to mine, even rhymed, but we adopted her at six and she already knew her name and I didn’t want to change it (because I was five and wouldn’t have wanted someone to change my name). Think my name is Nick and my dog’s was Rick. I later had a classmate named Rick, which would have been awkward enough, but she had a dog named Nick!

        2. Crunchy Granola*

          Reminds me of a family friend who had a boat that he’d named after his wife & daughter. After the divorce he changed the name to Fergus’ Revenge.

      2. Was the Grink There*

        Even then, I feel like that would be only likely to rankle a manager who had issues with insecurity and perceived authority. Which might be the case here, and might be designed to do so, but the problem still lies with the insecure person. People tend to love their dogs, so even if it’s a joke on ordering something around that has the boss’s name, that novelty wears off in a week and then it’s just your pet’s name.

      3. EvilQueenRegina*

        It makes me think of a book I read when I was in primary school, Six Cousins at Mistletoe Farm by Enid Blyton. The village policeman, Mr Potts, used to shout after the village poacher “Twigg! Hey, Sam Twigg! Come here, you!” Twigg retaliated by calling his dog Mr Potts, and every time he saw the policeman approaching, he’d call for his dog “Mr Potts! hey, Potts, come here, you!”

    2. bamcheeks*

      I know someone who named her dog after her best friend, and it was absolutely intended to be a compliment but I find it such an odd decison! “Do you want a cup of tea, Rosemary– Rosemary, ROSEMARY! Put that down!– sorry Rosemary, did you say yes to tea?”

      I suppose it’s not really all that different from when I was little and had the same name as one of my parents’ best friends, but at least I grew out of the “Rosemary! ROSEMARY, NO!” stage.

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        I worked with someone whose younger sister was named after her father’s childhood dog. (FTR, it was a human name, not a dog name, like Spot.)

        From the stories she told, I got the impression her father was a pretty odd guy.

      2. Cyborg Llama Horde*

        In college I had a friend who named a pet mouse after me (There were three mice — one was named after another friend, and one was given a normal, non-human mouse name). She meant it with respect and appreciation, and I appreciated the sentiment, but felt like it was a very weird thing to do and was going to wind up being awkward. When unfortunate circumstances occurred several months later, the friend was extremely cut up and I attempted to be sympathetic, while biting my tongue on “Well, how did you THINK this was going to turn out?”

        I would find a dog a bit weird, too, perhaps more so because you interact with the dog more, but at least there’s a reasonable expectation of the dog having a decent lifespan.

        (I do know someone whose dog has the same name as her son or husband (can’t remember which), but the dog came with that name and they decided not to try to change it.)

      3. lyonite*

        I had a friend give her dog my name (not named after me, as far as I know, it was just what she wanted to call her dog). Kind of weird, especially when she would post things on Facebook like “Lyonite just ate a whole box of crayons and threw up all over the living room!”

    3. Arthenonyma*

      Really? I can’t imagine this as anything other than an insult, with the employee making sure EVERYONE knows they named the dog after their manager!

      1. 248_Ballerinas*

        Agreed. Normally one doesn’t go around announcing a new pet’s name to all and sundry.

        Another reason why it’s a good idea to give pets non-human names.

        1. Also-ADHD*

          Really? I would say one thing I know about folks in my broader department (the team that contains my team’s team, so wider colleague tree) is their pet names as we share about pets a lot (more than kids, but I’m on the pets specific channels in Slack too). I know what/who (none even work related) lots of people named their dogs and cats and such after. It’s the one fun fact many people share in team building along with pictures of their pets! I think it depends broadly on the culture and preferences of the group?

        2. Dog momma*

          My dogs have/ had human names… Casey, Sasha, Riker (after STNG character), Vivian, Halle, Sam & Emma. All well thought out. Why name a beloved family member after someone you can’t stand?

          The only other thing I could think of is that he TOLD everyone he did this, but actually named the dog something else.

          1. Charlotte Lucas*

            My first name IRL is a common name for dogs, so not a fan. Especially not when I worked in customer service, and upon hearing my name, some people would tell me that they had had a dog with that name. I love dogs, but I didn’t need to hear that.

            1. Gemstones*

              “That should do it…is there anything else you need help with today?”
              “I’m all set. Thank you for your help, Patches!”

            2. JustaTech*

              When I was picking a name for my child there was one I was quite fond of until I saw an article in the paper that it was the most common name in the city … for dogs.

              (I did have a coworker who’s dog had the same name as our other coworker’s daughter – it was only briefly confusing, but man was I impressed by the dog’s drawing ability!)

        3. YetAnotherAnalyst*

          I’m just one data point, but I’m much more likely to know my coworkers’ pets’ names than to know their kids’ or spouses’ names. I’ve definitely shared pictures and stories of my pets with coworkers that I don’t know well, but I never share pictures of my son with coworkers, and I think only my very immediate team know his name.

        4. Bear Expert*

          This is not my experience at all.

          My current work is very careful to talk about pet names. I know more pet’s names than children’s names. (Getting deeply into people’s kids feels very personal and intimate. Where a new person joined my team a couple weeks ago and our first introduction was pets and exchanging pet pictures and which pets were likely to show up on video.)

          When I got my cats, the chat group mostly full of colleagues from a previous job helped me through the whole naming process. A suggestion from one of them is how I ended up accidentally naming one of my cats the same name as my therapist. (I wasn’t thinking about my therapist, I was thinking about kittens and authors.)

    4. Seahorse*

      I named my childhood dog after a beloved teacher. She took it in the spirit intended and was very flattered.

      1. Double A*

        Okay a kid doing this is absolutely a compliment. That’s so sweet.

        Also…were you Also-ADHD’s student??? (See below).

    5. Also-ADHD*

      I generally name dogs after characters (not common ones) in things and such and never one I don’t like—I can’t imagine naming a dog after any human you don’t like either. I had a student name my dog after me (my last name) once, back when I was teaching, and I took it as an honor. If any of my colleagues or reports wanted to name their dogs after me, I’d be equally honored. I wouldn’t imagine it was an insult. But that could be situational or cultural, certainly.

      1. metadata minion*

        I know we’re not supposed to try to guess who people are, but it would be delightful if you were Seahorse’s teacher :-D

    6. Chapeau*

      In grade school, a boy in my class named his dog after his crush. Not sure what the crush thought, but their moms both thought it was hilarious.

    7. YetAnotherAnalyst*

      I could also see it being a joke. Like, if the shelter named the dog and it was coincidentally the supervisor’s name, I might jokingly tell coworkers that I named the dog after the supervisor. But then, 3 out of 4 pets I’ve adopted in the last several years kept their shelter names.

    8. Olive*

      As a child, I named a dog after a favorite uncle. In hindsight, I can now recall small clues that he wasn’t thrilled about it, but he took it in good humor and acted like he was honored in a way that was convincing to a 7 year old.

      It would be such a weird thing to do as an adult about a boss.

    9. Sir Nose d'Voidoffunk*

      There’s a (probably apocryphal) story about former Virginia basketball coach Terry Holland naming his dog Dean, after famous UNC coach Dean Smith, because the dog whined so much.

        1. Sir Nose d'Voidoffunk*

          In what’s surely one of the more bizarre tangents to grace AAM, I want to offer an RIP and condolences for Eric Montross. A good player, a good broadcaster, and by all accounts a fantastic father and human being.

    10. Generic Name*

      I share a name with a former coworker’s dog. The small office we worked in together was dog-friendly, so everyone knew the dog’s name. He got the dog while working there, and didn’t change the dog’s shelter name. I found it amusing.

      And according to my mom, my kindergarten teacher named a cat after me.

    11. The Person from the Resume*

      I can’t quite tell if Clare is being sarcastic or not, but it is unlikely the naming an animal/pet after a human is a compliment. Especially because the owner get to order/boss the pet around often by using the name.

      Basically I’m of the “it’s got to be an insult” opinion. No way it is not.

      1. Also-ADHD*

        I wouldn’t ever name a dog after anyone I didn’t think was both fantastic and similar to the dog in some complementary way-I usually go with characters as I mentioned above, but if I went with a person, it would be the same as naming a kid after someone, only if I wanted to value and remember them (and the name felt right for the dog). The idea it’s an insult seems weird—I do wonder if that’s how folks who don’t love dogs would take it.

      2. Irish Teacher.*

        I dunno. I’d assume they just liked the name. I think it would be kinda weird to name your pet after somebody you disliked for the sake of insulting them. For one thing, there’s a good chance they wouldn’t get it and for another…it seems kinda like cutting off your nose to spite your face. Like you now have a pet with a name that reminds you of somebody you hate.

        Not saying it’s impossible because people do all kind of weird things, but I think most people are more likely to give a pet a name they like than a name they think will insult somebody. And I don’t think most people really think about the fact “I am naming something I get to order around” when choosing a name for their pet.

        I mean, there is no way of knowing but most people love their pets and wouldn’t think it an insult to be associated with them.

      3. Clare*

        No, I wasn’t being sarcastic. “Here’s a creature I’m going to order around a lot” isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when I adopt a pet. I’m thinking “What’s a suitable name to call as I invite this creature to hop up onto my lap for pets and cuddles?”.

        After reflecting on it and reading the comments, I’m thinking possibly the difference in opinion is between those who’ve owned working/farm animals and those who’ve only had pets? I can understand how someone might see humour in the role-reversal of naming, say, a sheepdog after their boss and getting to tell Jeff how to do his job for once.

      4. amoeba*

        I mean, I can see doing it with the CEO’s name. Like, not as an insult, but as a joke that I personally would find funny (although I’d be careful to make sure that information never makes it back to them – so probably wouldn’t share with my actual colleagues!)
        But with my line manager, nah. But I also struggle with seeing it as an insult. It’s just… weird?

    12. morethantired*

      I can nearly guarantee it’s because the person thinks it’s funny. Because a dog named something like Timothy is funny. It’s neither an insult or a compliment, it’s just “dog with person name is funny.”

    13. Needy seafood*

      There was a story from the UK about someone who named his dog ‘Hitler’ and went around saying ‘Heel, Hitler.’ He apparently thought it was hilarious – no one else did. IIRC, he was actually given an order to change the dog’s name, which is incredibly rare (and, in this case, entirely justified).

      More seriously, I think this shows bad judgement at the very least. I am reminded of the Dilbert strip where Dilbert had a pointy-haired boss doll … and hit it every time the boss did something stupid. Funny in the strip, but not so much in real life.

  3. Armchair Analyst*

    I feel like I’ve read this story before…. Exodus Chapter 5, maybe?

    And reading the original letter and the update also sounds like when Pharoah would announce that the enslaved Hebrews would be freed… and then announce no, he was just kidding, see y’all at work tomorrow. The Bible explains this as the hardening of Pharoah’s heart.

    I don’t know that I’ve considered the story of Exodus before in a workers’ rights context.

    I hope the LW found freedom!

    1. All het up about it*

      I’d love a second update for that one!
      I just – WOW! Glad the OP got out and hope they found something new and wonderful. Or at least new and not ridiculously toxic and non-sensical.

  4. Gatomon*

    Re: #1 – I know someone who was named after a dog. The mother asked her kids to pick out a name for the new baby, not realizing where the suggested name came from until it was too late. Apparently the kids were very fond of some friend’s new dog at the time… whoops. :)

    Anyway, I think if the dog-naming was intended to be disrespectful, it would be told to everyone in a derogatory manner or just kept quiet. I don’t think I’ve ever considered the name of someone I disliked for a pet, though. I love my pets, why would I want to burden them, and myself, with the reminder? If it’s an uncommon name, I bet they just really like it and felt like it fit.

    1. Please remove your monkeys from my circus*

      When I was a kid, my neighbors had a dog whose name is a fairly common human name that is also happens to be a plant. (This was before pets with human names was common.) Relatives of my neighbors’ had a baby, gave her the same name as the dog, and then demanded the dog’s name be changed—the dog who was at least 5 years old, had had the name her entire life, and whom said relatives knew. I was only slightly older than the dog, but I remember being fascinated by how banana crackers it all was. Upshot: the dog and the baby kept their matching names, and those two families spent much less time together for a while.

      1. revulk*

        A friend of mine married someone who had a (male) dog with the (female) name she had always wanted for a daughter. She told him that IF they were to have kids and IF the child were female, he was going to have to change the dogs name.

    2. Gemstones*

      But if it’s a nice name and the mother liked it, why is it a “whoops” moment? There’s probably a dog out there for almost any human name anyway.

    3. Lenora Rose*

      I realised belatedly that my son’s name is the same name as a dog we had when I was in my own toddler years… but at least that was an actual coincidence. I don’t really have memories of the dog itself, and we have mostly had long term attachments to cats.

    4. Sled dog mama*

      This sounds like when people asked 3 year old me what I wanted to name my soon to arrive twin brothers. I very innocently replied with the names of my uncle’s cats. I had just gotten to meet his cats and was fascinated.
      The cats’s names?……..Gin and Tonic

  5. Katie*

    My dad worked with my second cousin for about a year before he realized it. I don’t think they worked super closely together, but it’s not a huge company, either. Whoever introduced him to my dad at work pronounced his last name wrong, and my dad didn’t connect the dots until they were carpooling to a work outing and the cousin mentioned where he grew up and a couple of other things about himself, and my dad was like, “Uh…your mother’s my cousin.” His parents send out one of those Christmas newsletters every year, too! It probably just named the general industry he was working in rather than the company, but yeah.

    1. Slartibartfast*

      I worked closely with someone for two years and we had no idea we were related until we bumped into each other at the family reunion.

    2. The OG Sleepless*

      My husband met somebody in college who said “hey, that’s your last name? It’s my mother’s maiden name.” After much comparing of notes, they figured out they were third cousins and had met a couple of times at family reunions when they were kids.

    3. Clisby*

      My son had a couple of high school friends who realized they were distant cousins during one of the boys’ birthday party. A much older relative was there, and enlightened them.

      1. YetAnotherAnalyst*

        I was good friends with a second cousin all through grade school and had no idea. My mom knew, and his mom knew, but there had been an estrangement between our respective grandparents and neither of us had any idea we had relatives living in the same town.

    4. Charlotte Lucas*

      I was once running training for new employees when a trainee recognized another’s last name, asked a couple questions and realized that they were distant cousins by marriage.

    5. EvilQueenRegina*

      My dad had this story once about a party in his teenage years, he’d been telling his grandmother about this girl “Persephone Mongoose” who he’d met playing Spin the Bottle and wanted to see her again. His grandmother said “That’s your cousin.” Turned out she’d had a previous marriage before marrying my great grandfather, had a son with the first husband, and this Persephone was the child of that son. Dad had no idea the Mongoose branch of the family existed.

  6. A rose by any other name*

    My cat shares the same name as my boss, but it’s a coincidence. Everyone gets a laugh out of it. I’m surprised how many people think I named the cat after him. I think it would be an odd thing to do but definitely not an insult.

    1. GythaOgden*

      I found a lovely ginger tom on the RSPCA website with the same name as my late husband’s pet name amongst his friends. I took it as a cute sign that maybe he approved of me getting a feline companion, although at the time I found the lovely Jez, I didn’t have the opportunity to go and get my kitty-cat.

      I’m still adjusting to my new job and nothing will be done before Christmas but in the new year I will be looking for a pet. But yeah, we named a cat after a friend’s daughter and our dog after someone who hosted my parents on a Russian exchange (back in the immediate post-communist days when hospitality was alive and well despite the hardship their hosts were going through at the time — I truly hope the Russian people eventually get the leadership they deserve :(…) and although I’m probably not going to call a cat Jez or any other derivative of hubby’s name (if it’s a male, I’m thinking Chairman Miaow, because that’s my jokey political self speaking, but I guess it has to be the right name for the right animal), I think it’s generally a compliment when someone names a pet after a person.

    2. WS*

      I was named after a cat! It is a reasonably common name for humans these days (it wasn’t when I was little) and an unusual name for a cat, but it was a cat my grandmother looked after when the owners were away, and that’s what inspired my parents!

    3. Seal*

      I inadvertently gave my then-newly adopted cat the same name as my boss. He (the cat) was a stray and I was trying out a few names for him. Ultimately the names morphed into my boss’s name, which seemed to suit the cat so I went with it. People laughed it off and I don’t think I ever told my boss, but he would have laughed it off too. The cat is 10 years old now and gets called a variety of nicknames at home, although I use his given name whenever I talk about him (the cat) with friends and family.

    4. WoodswomanWrites*

      I’m having a flashback to when my older sister in high school had a friend who was always nice to the kid sister. He was taking a biology class and cultivating a slime mold. I remember being so proud when he told me he’d named it after me. It cracks me up now. Out of curiosity, I looked for that guy on LinkedIn and found him, and we’re now connected there.

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        Awwww, as a total nerd I love this! I also was always nice to the kid siblings of my friends, probably because I was the younger child in my family and always wanted a younger sib myself.

    5. The OG Sleepless*

      I had a coworker who had way, way entered the BEC stage with all of us when he got a puppy and gave it the same name as my boss’ child. Knowing this guy, it was probably just a thoughtless coincidence, but one of my other coworkers who REALLY detested the guy had an absolute fit. He was convinced the guy was some kind of pedophile. And no, nobody asked him why he chose that name. By that point our communications with him were the minimum needed to be professional.

    6. ecnaseener*

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the case in this letter was also a coincidence. The “and no, it’s not a common name” line suggests that LW doesn’t actually know what the intent was, and is just assuming based on the fact that it’s an uncommon name — otherwise they would’ve said something more like “and yes, the employee was clear that they named it after their supervisor rather than just happening to like the name.”

    7. Elsewise*

      My dog shares a name with a manager at my work (not my manager). It’s a common enough name for a human, but unusual for a dog. I happened to be in a Zoom call with this manager one on one recently, and said “oh, hi Jane!” and then had a dog in my lap wanting attention. I then had to explain to the manager that if I suddenly shout “Jane, HUSH!” I’m probably not talking to her.

    8. EC*

      One of my cats shares a name with a labmate, and its totally unrelated. The cat and his sister is named after two of the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Funnily enough, the cat’s name is also the same as my boyfriend’s best friend. We didn’t even think about that until the friend pointed it out.

  7. Was the Grink There*

    Having a pleasant conversation about it is the correct way to go, but I do feel like OP2 could be doing a little adjusting here. I’m unclear on whether the coworker’s meals are being given to OP to eat for lunch at work, or to take home for later, but if it’s happening consistently more than once a week, maybe scale back the groceries slightly so nothing’s going to waste and you still get to enjoy the gifts? Or cook things that will keep a day or two?

    I understand that being able to cook and prep is a mental health thing for OP, but it does seem a little inflexible that they don’t seem to have been willing to adjust to the current situation even a little bit, but are just surprised every time that they end up wasting food, week after week.

    I get that for whatever reason you want someone’s nice gesture to be slightly different, you should just talk to them about it like in the example. It just seems like they’re unwilling to adjust or anticipate at all for something that has been happening for a while now.

    1. zaracat*

      I think that depending on your background (especially things like previous food insecurity, controlling behaviour around food by parents or partner, favour sharking), it can be tough to change your routine if it involves planning around – or feeling as if you’re relying on – a gift that can be withdrawn at any time or an unexpected favour demanded in return. It might feel safer to always have enough of your own food even if that means too much when the coworker’s is added.

      1. BubbleTea*

        I have some issues around food and wouldn’t be able to make use of meals someone gave me unexpectedly (or sometimes even planned gifts of food). It’s hard to explain and I’d probably end up throwing out the food and feeling guilty instead of trying to explain my weird brain to a colleague.

    2. Matt*

      Oh gosh, I would think the total opposite. If a co-worker kept randomly giving only me an additional 3 meals per week I would be at the least be unhappy about it. But the LW is very clear that she needs to control her own food. She needs him to stop as (a) it will not aid her mental health, (b) she is being singled out and it makes her uncomfortable and (c) it is not a normal activity to expect from a co-worker.

      Her right to decide what she eats herself takes precedence.

      1. DJ Abbott*

        Leaving out my food allergies, the thing that would bother me most is why the coworker is doing that. Is he trying to date her, or something else inappropriate? I would find out why, probably by asking him, before I accepted any meals.

        1. The OG Sleepless*

          My guess is that at some point she enthused over his ethnic cooking, and in a fit of enthusiasm he decided it was their “thing.”

        2. Slow Gin Lizz*

          It does seem like the guy is favor sharking, but also possible that I’m just an ol’ cynic and he’s really just a nice guy. He may not be the best at reading social cues and might actually have appreciated OP just saying that they didn’t need him to cook for them anymore.

        3. ferrina*

          Seconding. This is super weird. I was immediately wondering if this was a weird crush situation. Is this an attempt at love bombing? Favor sharking? Why is he not doing this for other coworkers?

          I wouldn’t negotiate with this guy. I’d just say no, and send the meals back to him if he brings them anyways. When you say no and he ignores that, that is always a bad sign. The polite conversation/negotiation is too gentle if OP doesn’t want to do that. It’s okay to be a bit rude when you’ve already said no- them ignoring your No was already rude.

          1. Office Lobster DJ*

            It stood out to me that OP talks about the situation causing stress and not knowing how to slow things down. That implies weird vibes to me, which is enough to shut this down without any justifications about food waste/meal planning/liking to cook.

            1. bamcheeks*

              There are SO MANY PEOPLE who have been raised to think that asking someone to change something they are doing is Rude and Unpleasant and only justified if the other person is doing something actively mean or malicious. I don’t think it necessarily indicates anything about the vibes!

      2. Hannah Lee*

        I tried one of those meal kit box services this past January. Though the food – ingredients, recipes – were pretty good, I found having 3 meals for 2 show up on my doorstep to be too much. It started to feel like a food firehose that just never turned off, I wound up either eating more than I wanted or having things go bad, trying to hand off meals to other people. And I missed just being able to decide for myself what I wanted to plan, shop for, or just having a couple of days where all I ate was yogurt/soup/crudite/peanut butter and crackers or WTH I felt like in the moment.

        And that was when I had actively decided to have those meals delivered.

        If someone else was randomly presenting me with 3 meals a week that I didn’t ask for *, and didn’t get to choose, it would really annoy me.

        *yes there was a time when I was in my 20s that my mother did exactly that. Sometimes she’d hand them to me at the end of a visit, other times I’d get home from work or whereever and find them on my doorstep, or in my fridge. I dealt with it and balanced my complex feelings about it, the boundary issues, my overall relationship with her, with the entire Italian-American family we are part of, where food could be a delivery package filled with joy, oppression, sense of shared community, guilt – sometimes all 4 at the same time – because She Was My Mother.

        I do NOT want to have to deal with all of that with any of my co-workers and would Opt Out of Random Dude’s Random Meal Delivery in a hot second, I do not care how delicious they are.

    3. nnn*

      Wow, I disagree! I want to be able to pick out my own meals, not rely on what someone else might decide to make me (or might not end up making me and then I’d be scrambling at the last minute). I also want to be able to use up leftovers from other nights or go out to dinner with friends or manage my nutrition in a particular way or just eat what I feel like eating. That’s not inflexible, it’s a pretty basic prerogative of being an adult. It’s weird to say the OP has to accommodate her coworker’s desire to cook rather than just telling him thanks but she can’t take any more food.

      1. TechWorker*


        If you’re someone who doesn’t like cooking & doesn’t care what they eat, then sure ‘adjust’ to this and happily accept the food. Otherwise no it’s not ‘inflexible’ at all

      2. Helvetica*

        Agreed! It may be a nice gesture but I would also want to be able to make my own choices of what I eat, even if the offerings are tasty.
        I mean, I also struggle with cooking for one but the solution is not to foist the food on a co-worker who has not asked for it. I just have leftovers and/or freeze stuff.

      3. AngryOctopus*

        Yeah, I like eating food and trying what others have made, but when it comes down to it, I want to be able to make my own food and do my own thing. If I came in and was just finding meals my coworker left on my desk, I’d be returning them with a “thanks this is so nice of you, but I actually brought my own food!”

    4. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

      > I’m unclear on whether the coworker’s meals are being given to OP to eat for lunch at work, or to take home for later,

      Yes, I wasn’t sure how that works. The colleague brings in 3 meals at a time, and I assume OP doesn’t eat all of those in a single day since they sound like full-size meals, so are they frozen? In those insulated chiller bag things?

      A direct conversation is called for. Who knows, perhaps the colleague feels obligated to keep bringing these in for OP as she ‘needs’ them, although he would rather not continue with it!

      Also a white lie has its place. Perhaps OP’s doctor has said that she needs to eat specific things so she can’t accept his meals any more, but thank you so much for all these while she was ‘able’ to accept…

    5. MEH Squared*

      I disagree. The OP has no obligation to accept food they don’t want, especially as it’s deletorious to their mental health. Reading between the lines, they don’t seem to have tried to turn down the offerings yet. They should bring it up to their coworker using the scripts given or stating matter-of-factly that they prefer to cook their own food. Hopefully, that will do the trick. If it doesn’t, then it’s the coworker who is being inflexible, not the OP.

      1. Dog momma*

        And if you think about it it, its actually kind of creepy.. what if the guy’s got a crush on her & now thinks she’s his ” girlfriend “? Or something just as weird? bc its gone on much too long.

    6. allathian*

      Yeah, well, it seems like the cooking coworker’s the one who’s being weird. I mean, why cook food for your coworker at all?

      That said, the LW has been making it even weirder for herself by accepting the food, so politely but firmly resetting the expectations for the future seems like the way to go.

      Thank him for the food he’s given until now, but tell him that you won’t be accepting any more food from him, and that from now on, if he brings her any more food, she’s going to tell the rest of the office to take it if they want. And if nobody wants it, to throw it in the trash, preferably in front of the coworker who brough the food.

      I’m not saying this will be easy for the LW. I have hangups about throwing food away, to the point that I sometimes overeat because I have to empty my plate, at least when I’ve filled it myself, it’s easier for me to leave stuff in a sit-down restaurant where portion sizes are frequently too large for my appetite. Sometimes a little humiliation is the only way to get people to stop an unwanted behavior.

      Quite honestly it feels like the coworker bringing food for the LW and not for anyone else makes me think there’s some other motivation for it than simple generosity. Providing food for others is some people’s love language. There’s still some truth to the old adage “the way to a man’s heart goes through his stomach” and it also works if you reverse the genders.

      I just think that the occasional potlucks aside, bringing food to the office for your coworkers to eat is so out of the norm of most office cultures that the LW is entitled to take whatever steps necessary to get it to stop. I’m not saying she should be nasty about it, but I also don’t think there’s any need to bend over backwards to accommodate this coworker’s weird habit of bringing in food for her. This includes changing her shopping and cooking habits to accommodate his wishes to give her food.

      1. Dahlia*

        I honestly don’t think it’s that weird to do once in a rare while, not if you’re friendly. I recently made like 9 pounds of pumpkin bread for an event and had a decent amount leftover, and sent some to work with my mom to share with her coworkers.

        I also sent in a container of cabbage roll soup once for one of her coworkers because I accidentally made like 4 times as much as we needed and I didn’t want to freeze that much or have it go to waste. They talk about dinner and cooking and recipes and stuff a lot, and she really enjoyed it.

    7. bamcheeks*

      I feel like this is exactly the kind of thinking that’s led LW into this problem in the first place! There are some situations where it is absolutely right to put other people’s needs over your own– things where people need medical or health accommodations might well take precedence over your preferences, or situations where you love someone and don’t mind a bit of temporary discomfort if it makes them really happy. If it was LW’s adored grandma whose greatest pleasure in life was to make extra meals, then sure, maybe you’d adjust. But “my co-worker likes to make me food but I’d rather he didn’t” just isn’t something that requires adjustment on LW’s part!

      1. AngryOctopus*

        Yes, this! It may be hard to say “thanks but no thanks” because you feel rude, but the bottom line is that OP didn’t ask for the food, and doesn’t really want it. If saying ‘no’ flat out is too hard, they could ease it back by proposing a (single) meal exchange every other week? That way OP doesn’t waste because they’re exchanging a meal? Might be nice if they enjoy the food, just not the waste.

    8. Ellis Bell*

      I wouldn’t class that as flexibility – it’s just bad planning to rely on gifts, for something as important as feeding yourself! So if OP is ‘flexible’ and buys less food, and for some reason the coworker doesn’t share the usual meals with them (which could happen for any reason at all) then that means the OP is short on food, but they can hardly say “Hey you usually give me more food than this, and I need it because I stopped buying things”. If this were sweet, storable things like cookies, yeah – but actual dinners no. It is possible to plan more cleverly around this, but why should OP have to design a shelf stable pantry because their colleague likes to cook?

    9. Allonge*

      Yeah, no.

      Let’s say* that all that is happening here is coworker likes to cook and likes OP and wants to share food. No bad intentions at all, he expects nothing beyond a thank you. It’s still pretty inappropriate for OP to start relying on food gifts from a coworker, just as it’s pretty inappropriate for coworker to decide he will randomly, but frequently feed OP.

      *Bit of a stretch here to be honest – this can so easily be targeted, classic-depend-on-me, be-grateful-for-something-I-never-asked-if-you-wanted, weird behavior around a sensitive topic. Don’t do this, people! Bring cookies in once in a while by all means, but this is not the same.

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        targeted, classic-depend-on-me, be-grateful-for-something-I-never-asked-if-you-wanted, weird behavior

        Also known as favor sharking. I love the term favor sharking, because it very definitely is a thing and it’s absolutely wonderful to have a succinct term for it (even though favor sharking itself is absolutely not wonderful).

        1. Office Lobster DJ*

          This thread just introduced me to the term, and my life is better for it.

          This time, the topic happens to be food, but it could be any persistent, unneeded and unasked-for “favor.” It should be a yellow flag at least.

          If a kind but clear conversation doesn’t change things, it’s a red flag and OP is under no obligation to consider this guy’s feelings when shutting this down.

    10. HonorBox*

      While I think a pleasant conversation is the way to go, I think there’s probably more to this than just having meals foisted upon the LW. They indicate that they do meal prep, and by my read, the coworker bringing food isn’t doing so on a schedule that they could plan around. If LW does their food shopping and prep on a Sunday and meals show up on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, how would they know? It is work to plan meals and prep accordingly and suggesting that the LW just scale back groceries or cook things that keep longer isn’t a solution when they’re not able to plan with certainty what is being gifted to them. Having the conversation in a nice way, showing appreciation for what the coworker has done, while also asking them to scale back or stop is the correct way to go.

    11. Office Lobster DJ*

      I’m perplexed by criticizing the OP as not “willing to adjust to the current situation even a little bit.” No matter what the co-worker’s intentions are, this dynamic is completely optional all around; it’s not something that OP needs to figure out how to tolerate.

    12. Dinwar*

      “…but I do feel like OP2 could be doing a little adjusting here.”


      Seriously, why is the OP obliged to change their eating habits to accommodate anyone in their office in this manner? This isn’t something like nuking fish, where the OP’s actions are actually interfering with someone. The coworker is the one who’s actions are impacting others, and thinking they’re doing something nice isn’t sufficient justification for ignoring their coworkers’ views on the thing.

      The issue is that the OP wants to set a boundary with their coworker. To respond with a variant of “Could you just, not?” isn’t healthy–boundaries are necessary in any relationship. And it’s not unreasonable to set the boundary “I manage my own diet”. One is not obliged to change one’s eating habits merely because someone else wants to feel generous.

      Put another way: The LW is not responsible for managing their coworker’s feelings. This includes positive as well as negative emotions.

    13. There You Are*

      “This man wants to be nice at you, OP, doing something you don’t want them to do, so you need to rearrange your life to allow him to continue doing Nice Thing that you don’t actually enjoy. Your own feelings, desires, and needs are secondary to Men Who Do Nice Things. Don’t be so inflexible.”

  8. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

    OP3 (manager took away access to a work system OP needs) – the part that struck me (although of course I appreciate that the whole thing is crazy) is that the manager took away the co-worker’s access, as well as OP’s. A co-worker who presumably had no involvement in OP’s family emergency…

    I presume this was done so that OP couldn’t just ask the co-worker to “please could you do this task for me in that system as a favour as it is urgent?”. This means that the manager’s real reason was to stop OP from being able to complete their work so that they’d have something “concrete” on OP later (figuring that “OP had to take emergency leave because of a family incident” would, rightly, not be accepted by others as a reason to ding OP).

    There’s really no point trying to ask the manager things like “how do you suggest I proceed here, given that I need that system for 90% of my work, what should I do instead?” which would work on a more reasonable manager. I normally try to address things directly with people rather than escalate but for me this would be an exception and I’d send that straight up the chain. Manager is acting against OP but also, crucially, against the organisation.

    1. BellStell*

      yes this. The acting against strategic goals is a problem but sounds like the letter writer said the place also had other dysfunctional traits

    2. The Other Sage*

      I would say that asking how OP ahould complete their work is less about finding a solution and more about covering themselves. When the manager makes problems because of uncompleted work that she herself sabotaged, OP will have proof of it.

    3. Anon. For*

      “OP had to take emergency leave because of a family incident” would, rightly, not be accepted by others as a reason to ding OP)” – I once had the manager / administrator of the health service I was working for (who wasn’t my manager – complicated reporting structure) complain to my manager that I hadn’t fully participated in a team building activity that I was involved in setting up, and had left early.
      What the admin hadn’t told my manager was that I had left early because the police had called me to tell me that my father had died in an accident. Some people simply shouldn’t ever be in a position of authority.

    4. Also-ADHD*

      The point would be CYA and you ask boss via email and start what will be likely a thick folder, or add to it.

    5. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      I think the coworker also did not finish the assignment. Because if the system is 90% of their day to day work, asking the coworker for ahelp just means the coworker does twice as much work.

      I would have gone over the manager’s head too. I would not waste time on the what would you like me to work on instead conversation. The manager already knows they can’t do their work without access. Grandboss needs to know how this manager approaches incomplete assignments — by making more work incomplete.

      1. Miette*

        I think this is what I’d have done. Not to mention, if you read the update, apparently this was a large nonprofit. So not only is the boss a grade A a-hole, they lack compassion for someone who’s on the verge of losing a family member, and surely the Big Boss would want to know that.

      2. Marzipan Shepherdess*

        And although this is the LEAST important aspect of this story, it sounds as if the boss was demanding that the LW and their colleagues complete a work assignment over the weekend (NOT their normal working time) – and I’d bet my next paycheck that she didn’t pay them for the time spent doing it. As I said, that is the least of the awful things she did, but it certainly doesn’t speak well for her ethics or her professionalism!

    6. WellRed*

      I assume the coworker also hasn’t completed the assignment so had their access taken away for reasons that have nothing to do with OP.

    7. SheLooksFamiliar*

      ‘There’s really no point trying to ask the manager things like “how do you suggest I proceed here, given that I need that system for 90% of my work, what should I do instead?” which would work on a more reasonable manager. ‘

      Exactly, OP didn’t report to a reasonable person who I just can’t bring myself to call a manager. A secure, reasonable manager would have dealt with the delay and offered her wishes for a speedy recovery. She might have emphasized the importance of the project, but wouldn’t have been spiteful and petty about removing the OP’s access to necessary work tools. She certainly would not have involved the whole team. She would have been mature enough to know that our families sometimes need us more than work does. She also would have known the difference between discipline and punishment, and that the first was not warranted here. She would have known that punishment isn’t what good managers dole out because they’re managers.

      OP, I hope you found a great role with a great manager.

    8. learnedthehardway*

      Agreed – looping in HR and upper management is the correct thing to do here. The manager is preventing OP from doing their work.

    1. Slow Gin Lizz*

      Done! I already wanted an update on the first two letters so I was happy to see that #3 actually had one. I still want an update on the others. I want more background on the dog owner; was he a suck up or did he hate the manager and want to order him around so that’s why he named his dog after the manager? What ever happened to the coworker cook? And interviewing cousin? I NEED TO KNOW ALL THE THINGS!!!!!

    2. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      I know right. Although OP fell into the trap: But the miiiissssion. No mission of a nonprofit is worth your health, no matter how noble or well run the organization is.

      1. Spinner of Light*

        Lifelong employee of nonprofits here: Yes, we DO care about the mission of the nonprofit where we work or we wouldn’t accept the low pay we get for doing it! And yes, at the end of the day (or at the close of our lives – I’m 73) there’s incomparable satisfaction at knowing that we’ve made a real, positive contribution to the lives of others and haven’t just lived to enrich ourselves.

        But nonprofits are like any other organization – they can be well and nobly run OR they can be very poorly run by unethical, incompetent people. Unfortunately, the OP in this case wound up working for one of the latter. I’m just glad that they’re out of there now! And you’re right, Pastor Petty Labelle; no mission is worth being mistreated that badly.

        1. Slow Gin Lizz*

          It’s always really disappointing when the nonprofit you work for and care about the mission is one of the bad ones. I’m casually looking for a new job and while I feel like my nonprofit is heading towards the bad side, I really love my supervisor and some coworkers (two of whom quit/were “laid off”/”fired” just this current month!) and none of the other places I’ve looked interest me enough to even apply. I also made the mistake of reading Glassdoor reviews at the one place that did tempt me and that deterred me from applying. Not sure how much stock I should put in Glassdoor reviews but I feel like since I was pretty lukewarm on the job anyway the reviews just helped prod me one way or the other.

      2. bad non-profits*

        Agree. I also question how effectively a non-profit can accomplish their mission if they’re dysfunctional. Seems like bad bosses and HR would lead to a less efficient and effective organization. Better to support the healthy non-profits which can get more done.

        1. Dinwar*

          The issue is scale. There are policies and procedures that work to keep a 10-person team efficient that would make a 200 person team. Unfortunately it takes time, money, and effort to make the transition, and there’s always a lot of inertia to it. And unfortunately toxicity breeds toxicity in many cases; once things start going wrong people will take advantage of it, or try to fix it ineffectively, or otherwise make things worse, and the good people will leave, and the people who stay get more toxic as their understanding of norms shifts.

          So you frequently end up with organizations that were once great places to work, which slowly become more and more toxic.

    3. Generic Name*

      Yes, it was very satisfying to read, and I’m glad OP is out of there. I’m sure the boss was shocked when OP resigned. I hope they’re doing well.

  9. I've got a special hat...*

    If I ever have a Persian cat again, it’s name will almost certainly be “Clarissa Plufferton” or if it’s male “Montgomery Plufferton”

    1. YetAnotherAnalyst*

      When our dog is having a particularly vocal day, we refer to her as “Miss Woofy Woofington, of the Yap-Yap Woofingtons”. But she’s just “Ginger” to her friends.

  10. Setras*

    LW2 could always pay it forward. Coworker gives them a meal. LW2, in turn, gives shares their own groceries with a friend/neighbor.

    1. TechWorker*

      If they don’t want the food they shouldn’t have to eat it! Maybe they could directly share the food they’re getting given but now they just have an extra task in their week which is ‘find someone who actually wants this free food and then distribute it & collect the containers’. Asking the coworker to stop or donate their food elsewhere is totally reasonable.

      1. Allonge*

        Exactly, this does not need to be accommodated to the level where OP jumps through extra hoops. If coworker cannot cook for one person, it’s on him to find someone who actually wants the food. Protip: ask.

        1. AngryOctopus*

          +10000. I like to cook. I’ve never ever brought in food for co-workers without asking them if they wanted it. The only person I give unsolicited food to is my mom–and that’s because I know she hates to cook!
          There is no scenario on earth where OP needs to just silently accept the food and change their routine. Coworker needs to cut it out!

    2. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      So they have to do more work because of an unwanted gift so as to not just tell the coworker to stop because it might hurt the coworker’s feelings?

      The OP should not find a way to live it. Telling the coworker no is the easiest and best solution for all.

      1. DisgruntledPelican*

        They don’t *have* to do anything. But so far, OP clearly hasn’t wanted to have a conversation with this guy asking him to stop, so here’s a suggestion of something to do if the desire to not have a conversation outweighs the desire to not receive this gift.

    3. Olive*

      It’s highly likely that friends and neighbors are also not going to want someone to pick out their groceries for them on a schedule they didn’t choose, any more than the LW wants their coworker to control all their meals.

    4. Nancy*

      Why should LW give away groceries they want and accept food they don’t? And giving away home cooked meals is difficult if you aren’t the one who made it and can give an ingredient list.

      Just tell the coworker no thank you.

    5. learnedthehardway*

      I wouldn’t – the issue is that OP feels uncomfortable accepting the food. Why would they go and potentially make someone else feel uncomfortable too?

  11. Richard Bacon*

    (different name than usual because this is pretty identifiable)
    My mum (while working for the local council) once named a pig after hated local right wing MP Richard Bacon and told everyone at work. I’m pretty sure it got back to him lol

    1. bamcheeks*

      wait, I don’t think I’d ever realised that Richard Bacon MP is not the same person as Richard Bacon of Blue Peter/cocaine fame.

            1. friends not food*

              Not going to derail by arguing the ethics of why eating meat is bad, so I’ll just say stop being dense on purpose. It’s not cute.

    2. Constance Lloyd*

      I grew up on the edge of farm country and suburbia. My friend’s family raised a very small herd of cattle, and named all of the steers eventually destined for the dinner table after dictators.

    3. slashgirl*

      One of my coworkers, she and her hubby raise a few pigs for meat some years. Usually they’re named: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Nothing like honesty!

      1. Dinwar*

        All the pigs my grandfather had (only a few at a time) were called Scooter. He was dead set against naming them, because ultimately they’re food on the hoof, so you don’t want to get attached. But when one tries to bite you you’ve gotta yell something at it, and us kids weren’t allowed to cuss!

  12. JTP*

    My dog and my grand-grand-grand-boss have the same name. But I had the dog before I met the boss. I do get funny looks when I say “Carl [insert stupid thing the dog did]” to people who don’t know my dog’s name.

  13. mango chiffon*

    A coworker of mine had a dog that had the same name as a new hire on the same team (dog was named first) and I will say I had to do a lot of double takes when the coworker would talk about his dog.

  14. Juicebox Hero*

    At least #4 was a distant cousin and not an unknown half sibling who then started a campaign to wreck their career.

    1. learnedthehardway*

      And better to find out if they are potentially bananapants before joining the company, than afterwards….

  15. cat namesake*

    I named a cat after a favorite character of mine, and later renamed myself after the same character, so for several years my cat and I shared the same name. People managed to indicate which of us they wanted to communicate with.

  16. Honestly, some people’s children!*

    My mom moved from a small farm town to the big city right after high school. She was the middle child in a large family so I have cousins who are around 20 years older than me and cousins who are around 20 years younger. Large family get togethers pretty much stopped except for the occasional wedding or funeral when Grandma died. I could probably work with one of those much younger or older cousins for a long time before realizing it! If we did realize it I’d probably treat it as a light funny story. “Claire and I just realized we are cousins because…”

    1. JustaTech*

      My mom comes from a small family but had a *lot* of cousins growing up of a wide variety of ages, so I have a mountain of cousins I’ve never met who are anywhere from my age to pushing 100.
      I’m pretty sure all of the known cousins live many states away, so it’s unlikely that I’ll ever run into them.

  17. Olive*

    I’m biased about LW1 because I have a name that’s a pretty common dog name (it’s not really Olive). And I get SO SICK of people telling me “oh I used to have a dog named [my name]”. It’s awkward. I can handle it like a mature adult, but I hate it.

    That’s why my parents shouldn’t have named me Fido.

    Kidding, but seriously, don’t name your pets after a specific person unless you’re absolutely positive they’ll see it as truly funny or as an honor. You probably don’t know your boss that well.

  18. HonorBox*

    Letter 3 – I wonder how employees were notified of the survey to begin with. Did they just get an email and the boss expected them to check their emails? Was a text sent? Doesn’t matter… but it gives me even more pause about how terribly this was handled. I think expecting employees to fill out a survey over the weekend, not understanding that they may not even see it, let alone have an emergency to address, then taking away access to the fundamental tools to use to do their job would have me assessing the supervisor. I wish there was someone who could have weighed in above the manager to let them know that their actions are completely unacceptable and they likely lost good people because of their actions.

  19. Nancy*

    They probably really like the name, have no feelings one why or the other about the boss, and know they won’t be at that job/with that boss for many years. Telling people your new pet’s name is a common thing to do, regardless of what the name is. ‘Not a common name’ doesn’t mean no one else has it, so they could even have named the pet after someone else.

  20. My Brain is Exploding*

    I was selected for a jury duty pool. During the voir dire (questioning of potential jurors) one of the attorneys asked one of the potential jurors if she knew him. She said, “No, should I?” He said yes. She then exclaimed, “Oh sh**!” and then the judge laughed and said that we could hear worse language than that at a trial. The lawyer said he was married to her cousin, and she said “It’s a big family!” He agreed and noted that they had only met once at a big family wedding. She was not automatically disqualified because of the relationship.

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

    One thing that gets me about #3 that wasn’t mentioned in the response is that the boss was punishing the OP’s coworker too. This whole thing is just insane!

    I hope OP’s coworkers all left too.

  22. Melissa*

    I love when people send in a brief, strange question with no context at all! “What if someone names their dog after a manager.” Well, depends on the someone, depends on the dog, depends on the manager!

  23. What'sinaname?*

    We had a dog named X (female version of the name). We ended up naming our son X (male version of the name). The names are different enough in the way they are spelled and pronounced that it’s not an automatic connection, and we absolutely did NOT name our son after the dog, contrary to the opinions of some people who should have known better.

    1. BellyButton*

      Steve Irwin and his wife named their daughter after their beloved dog Bindy. He spoke abut it often right after she was born

  24. BellyButton*

    #1 is one of those things I read and think, “Why do you care? Why does it bother you?” the dog wasn’t named after LW.

  25. Might Be Spam*

    My mother wanted to name me Susan, but it was one of the most popular names for dogs that year, so she chose another name. Eventually she forgot about that and named my sister Susan. By the time she remembered, it was too late. My sister doesn’t know.

  26. Drago Cucina*

    Long ago, in a state far away, my mother atteneded a certification program at the local junior college. On the last day the lead instructor took the students to lunch. The inevitable, “Where are you from” discussion came up. It turned out the lead instructor and my mother were third cousins.

  27. random commentor 3985*

    One of the C-suite adopted a dog with the exact same name as another member of the the C-suite. They both found it funny but oof.

  28. Fortitudine*

    On my last tour of active duty, I had a sergeant report in who 1) had my grandmother’s maiden name and 2) had a home of record that was my father’s hometown. Yep – we started swapping ancestors and discovered a common great-grandparent. At the time I was second in command of the section.

    Since he was going to be filling a billet on another part of the base and with one level of command between the two of us, and since I was due to transfer out in six weeks, we laughed about it and it didn’t come up again.

  29. musical chairs*

    I don’t see it mentioned here so maybe it’s less common that I thought. I know of/come from a culture where naming a dog after someone would be seen as disrespectful. In many western counties, dogs are seen as part of the family. In other countries, in some places dogs are more in line with other animals that live strictly outside and are generally unsanitary, even if well cared for. The implication that this action is meant to be an insult could be coming from cultural differences.

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