company says coming in early or staying late “doesn’t count,” I know who’s unvaccinated because of my job, and more

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

1. My company says coming in early or staying late “doesn’t count” toward our hours

I work for a business whose locations are open seven days a week. During our busy season, salaried managers like myself have always been required to work six-day weeks. That doesn’t bother me, as it’s integral to our success during those times. But last year, our company started saying that any hours worked outside of opening hours are not productive and cannot count towards our required 42.5 minimum. So, staying late or coming in early for things like inventory, training, maintenance issues, etc. must be worked on top of that 42.5. I’ve been pretty graceful about that, even though my ability to get admin work done has been very difficult, because I know my team needs me most during those opening hours and I’m not wanting to come in early every day to do something that I was able to come in early for two years ago. But now … I’m pretty annoyed.

We just finished up our busiest weeks of the year. My regional has just decided that he’s going to host a meeting that’s four hours away from home. And we’re required to work six days again that week. That means that I’ll work my 42.5 hours in my location, eight hours at the meeting, and another eight hours drive time, for a whopping 58.5-hour week (assuming I can even leave work at the regular time the other five days, which is rare in a service-based industry). Am I crazy for thinking that’s unreasonable? I have enough staffing to cover traffic in my location and could make this just a regular part of my week. He offered to allow those who are driving in to get a hotel the night before the meeting, but that would mean working until 7, and by the time I get on the road, I wouldn’t be there till midnight that night. So, I’m likely going to just leave at 5 am the morning of, do the meeting, and then drive home. Is this type of demand normal?

What?! No.

I have encountered a ton of bad policies over the years while writing this column, but this one is up there with some of the most ridiculous. Any hours worked outside of opening hours “are not productive” and thus don’t count toward your hours for the week? That makes no sense. If hours worked outside opening hours aren’t productive, then they should just require everyone to stick to opening hours and not work outside of them at all … but they seem perfectly happy to let you work whenever you want as long as they can shortchange you on compensation for it.

Get out of this company.

2. I know who’s unvaccinated because of my job — can I use that info to make personal decisions?

I am the school secretary at the school that my children attend. I am also pregnant and some bloodwork revealed that I have lost immunity to chicken pox and rubella, both of which can be very serious, especially during pregnancy, and it is not safe to get vaccinated until after delivery. Obviously I want to avoid unvaccinated people as much as possible.

I maintain vaccination records for the school, so I already know which kids aren’t vaccinated off the top of my head. I plan on not allowing out-of-school play dates for my own kids with the non-vaccinating families for the rest of my pregnancy. My question is, how do I handle it? Do I just make up excuses for why we won’t be getting together with those 2-3 families or can I explain (cheerily and factually) that we won’t be getting together with unvaccinated kids until the baby and I have been properly vaccinated? Using the information I access as part of my job to make personal decisions feels like a breach of confidentiality, but is it really? I’ve checked applicable laws and it only says that records have to be kept confidential and neither of my supervisors had an answer for me. Is it better to play dumb and appear as if we are spurning all events involving these families or name the problem to them privately?

Unless these families have told you directly that they don’t vaccinate, you shouldn’t say anything that indicates you’re relying on records you’ve only seen because of your job. Most jobs that involve working with confidential records require, either explicitly or implicitly, a polite fiction that you don’t know the contents of those records when you’re not in a job-related context.

I don’t think it’s a breach of confidentiality for you to privately use that knowledge to inform your own decisions (you can’t un-know things, after all, and the stakes here are high), but you shouldn’t make it obvious to them that you’re doing that. Otherwise, you’re too likely to seem too casual about that element of your job — and you risk one or more of them complaining to the school and raising the question of whether you’ve shared their confidential info with other people.

3. Coworker was a jerk after I gave her (solicited) feedback

I’m new to contracting, but I’ve been in high-profile roles at major organizations for nearly 20 years and am an expert in my specialist field. I took to contracting to avoid managerial roles and to stave off the boredom I get nine months into any project. Regular peer review is a core part of my discipline and various techniques are widely practiced and discussed in my industry.

My latest contract is at a tiny government department. Today I was invited to a one-to-one meeting to give feedback to a perm employee on some informational pages she’s been working on for contractors. We gave condensed biographies to introduce ourselves, and I learned that three years ago she was working in front-line customer service roles.

I provided what I thought was kind and productive feedback, staying clear of criticism. However this person replied with aggression and extreme condescension, making negative statements about contractors and claiming my feedback was irrelevant because I “didn’t know anything” about the department and “don’t have any context.” I was taken aback, not least because the pages she was asking for feedback on were supposed to be helpful for me specifically!

I’ve never been treated with such impoliteness and disrespect before, and especially not from someone so immensely junior to me. On reflection, I did mention early on that working on specialist intranet pages is a useful exercise for trainees (directly after she’d mentioned taking over the pages as a trainee). I didn’t, however, expect this to be taken so immensely badly.

In the moment, I rolled over and essentially showed my belly, almost grovelling in the face of her aggression.

I’ve also worked in the service industry and honestly, if a customer had acted in this way towards me I would have asked my boss to bar them. Should I say something to her boss, or do I need to suck it up?

You should talk to whoever asked you to provide the feedback and explain what happened (particularly that your coworker said your feedback was irrelevant). If she is the one who asked you to do it, it’s a little murkier — but in that case I’d probably start with your own boss, framing it as “this happened, I was taken aback, and I wasn’t sure if it’s something I should share with someone.”

4. I applied for a manager job but was offered a lower-level position

I applied to a company as a supervisor. I have been offered a senior tech position instead, with them saying this: “You interviewed very well but don’t have too much people management experience, so I thought that teaching you the company processes + people management would have been too much and we will have set you up to fail.”

I actually find people management natural for me and much easier than technical stuff, and filling my gaps was the challenge I was looking for. I had to accept because I need to work, but otherwise I would have rejected it. I think this feedback does not make sense at all to me and means that according to that manager I look stupid. The person hired for the supervisor title was someone having people management experience but no industry experience at all, so even more to learn than I may have learnt. Is this a correct thought or am I exaggerating? How do I prove otherwise?

Learning to manage people well is an enormous learning curve. Most new managers require a significant amount of support if they’re going to do it well and avoid the many, many pitfalls they can otherwise fall into. Maybe you’re the exception to that, but a new company has no reason to assume you are, and it definitely doesn’t mean they think you’re stupid. It means they think you’re light on a piece of the job that requires intensive experience and/or training and support.

You can’t really prove that they should have hired you for the other job; someone else already has that job and you have a different one. But you can talk to your boss about your interest in taking on management responsibilities and moving into a management role in the future, and you can ask for opportunities to demonstrate and build those skills so that you’re a stronger candidate the next time a position is open.

5. Putting Jeopardy! on your resume

I was on Jeopardy! (almost 20 years ago) and I belong to a closed Facebook group of former contestants. A young man in the group who is just finishing college asked the group whether he should include his appearance on the show on his resume.

A lot of people in the group are advising him to do so and telling specific stories (“My boss says when he saw it on my resume he HAD to interview me!”) to urge him to do so. But a voice in my head is saying no — it’s irrelevant (unless the job is “bar trivia host”) and it might strike some as bragging. What say you?

Yes, especially as a new grad, he should put it on his resume! It’s one of those things interviewers often find interesting and ask about. I wouldn’t suggesting putting, like, The Price is Right on your resume, but Jeopardy is different; it has an intellectual reputation and it’s pretty commonly known that getting on requires an enormous amount of wide-ranging knowledge and testing. It’s similar to the way someone might include that they were an Olympic athlete or an Eagle scout; it’s not job experience (so it wouldn’t go in that section) but it’s something a lot of people will find interesting and impressive.

{ 636 comments… read them below }

  1. Artemesia*

    rubella can destroy your child’s life — literally. So of course you avoid unvaccinated kids — and probably ought to avoid public crowds where you can’t know. Of course you can’t SAY why if you learned through your access BUT you can sure act on it.

    There was a rubella epidemic when I was pregnant with my son; my mother had told me I had rubella (vaccines were not available when I was a kid) — turned out I hadn’t, so I was panicked for those months. got vaccinated in the hospital the day after delivery. This is a big scary deal. Getting this one can destroy your child’s life.

    1. SwiftSunrise*

      Yeah, my mom also thought she was vaccinated for rubella when she was pregnant with me, but HER mom either lied or was wrong (could go either way ….), so the obstetrician LITERALLY had the syringe with the vaccine ready to go on a tray as soon as they cut the cord.

      “Okay, baby’s here!” *JAB*

      1. Bruce*

        I remember when there was no rubella vaccine, makes me shudder. I think LW2 should absolutely protect herself and her family, but like Alison says keep the reason to her self.

      2. Slartibartfast*

        There’s a lot of us vaccinated in the 80s who have lost immunity because of a change in vaccine protocol at the time and don’t know it. I didn’t know it until I took a job in medicine and had a blood titer test because my records were unavailable. Since my job was in OB, you can bet I corrected that immediately.

        1. doreen*

          I was vaccinated in the 60s and by the time my daughter was pregnant 4 years ago, I had lost immunity to I think rubella and measles.

        2. Selina Luna*

          I remember that, and I wasn’t surprised when I had to get a new MMR vaccine when I went to college (along with hepatitis and DTaP). I was more surprised that I had to get another vaccine 10 years later when I tested negative for MMR antibodies, but you know, 10 years is a long time. I was extremely surprised when I was tested 4 years after that and tested negative again for MMR antibodies. I talked to my doctor, and I’m just one of those lucky, lucky people for whom the vaccine might NEVER work. I am wholly reliant on herd immunity, and that sucks, because I know how badly the herd sucks.
          Anyway, don’t let your kids hang out with the unvaccinated kids. You don’t need to tell them why. But anyone who doesn’t vaccinate is also unlikely to take COVID, RSV, and influenza seriously, and they’re highly unlikely to take chicken pox seriously.

          1. Nightengale*

            Supposedly some of us who don’t have antibody titers after vaccination probably have cellular immunity. At least that is what I have been told after showing no titers to chicken pox following multiple childhood exposures and then getting vaccinated as an adult and still not mounting titers. The vaccine came out when I was in college.

            My alternative explanation is that I have an ant-chicken pox force field.

          2. zuzu*

            Even if they don’t take chicken pox seriously, they should take shingles seriously.

            I grew up before the chicken pox vaccine, and it was common for parents to expose their kids to sick kids because, well, you were gonna get it anyway and might as well get it over with. My entire family of six kids spread over two schools had it at once, and it was suspected patient zero may have been a girl in our scout troop who was sent to a campout while she was sick. The whole troop got sick, then everyone in the couple of small towns that fed that troop got sick. We brought it back to our families, then spread it to our schools. Other than a few scars here and there, no one was seriously ill or affected as kids.

            No big, right? Except my brother recently got shingles at age 49, just before he was old enough to get the Shingrix vaccine covered by insurance. I was 50 when that happened, so I searched high and low for a pharmacy that had it in stock and got the jab. Shingles sounds miserable, and can be very harmful if you get it in your eyes or other places you don’t want it.

            1. Selina Luna*

              Yeah, Shingles is utterly miserable. I’ll get the vaccine when I can. I’m not old enough yet, though. I don’t trust that humanity will take ANY disease seriously at this point, though. Even Shingles.

              1. Trina*

                I’ve heard enough stories of people my age (mid 30s) and lower getting shingles that I wish it was an option for younger folks; I don’t know what supply vs. demand generally looks like but maybe the vaccine age can drop to 40 or at least 45?

                1. Parakeet*

                  Yeah I got shingles when I was 31. As cases go, it could have been a lot worse, but still. My sister also had it in her early 30s so maybe there’s a genetic vulnerability or something.

                2. zaracat*

                  In Australia, which is often held out as a positive example of healthcare, the age to get free shingrix vaccine is 70 (younger only if you have certain risk factors). Otherwise it costs upward of $500. Stupid penny pinching decision by govt.

                3. Mice is different than good*

                  If you have certain pre-existing conditions, you can get the shingles vaccine early. I’m 30 and have completed my course of shots.

                4. Mice is different than good*

                  I forgot to add: The CDC page on shingles vaccination lists the cases for early vaccination

              2. Panhandlerann*

                my husband’s anti-vaxxer cousin just had shingles. she was miserable but still contends the shingles vaccine is pure evil.

            2. shingles is no joke*

              My father in law had his shingles vaccine delayed by COVID, got shingles on his face, and went legally blind in one eye from it.

            3. Tree*

              I had chicken pox when I was a toddler in the early 70s. I ended up with pneumonia and nearly died. I don’t remember it, thank goodness, but it was pretty traumatic for my parents! The thought of shingles makes me break out into a cold sweat.

              1. Reluctant Mezzo*

                I knew someone who got chicken pox when she was 21 and she nearly died. (pre-vaccine). So just because you’re not a kid doesn’t mean you can’t get it (unless vaccine).

            4. Virus on a shingle*

              Not sure if anyone needs to hear this, but someone that never had chicken pox can get it from someone that has shingles.

              Logically, it makes total sense, since they are the same virus. However, a friend that thought he had chicken pox as a kid worked with a guy who had shingles. Hey, he has immunity, right? Turned out he missed all those chicken pox parties in his youth and now had chicken pox as an adult, with all the attendant worse symptoms.

              I on the other hand, had chicken pox at three months. My brother (6) brought it home and give it to other brother (3), sister (2) and me. He was not the most popular with my parents at the time. Oldest brother got paid back by getting the shingles in his forties. I got the shingles shot as soon as I could.

              It is a germy world out there! Stay safe!

            5. Clisby*

              My husband got shingles maybe 10 years ago – and it was agony. You better believe I hustled over to the CVS and got my shots. Both of us are old enough that no chickenpox vaccine was available when we were growing up.

            6. NY Linda*

              I too grew up before vaccines for measles or chicken pox and had both as a child. Now, the thought of Shingles scares me. While I’m finally eligible for the Shingles vaccine — I’m afraid of the Shingles vaccine too. I’m a believer in vaccines and have gotten every COVID vaccine. But the Shingles vaccine warns against the possibility of Guilliam Barre Syndrome. My mother contracted that after a flu shot when she was in her 60s — spent a month in the hospital, a month in in-patient rehab following by months of out-patient rehab relearning how to walk and fine motor skills. Guilliam Barre is a horrible potential outcome and I weigh the risks constantly. Food for thought.

          3. JustaTech*

            Yeah, I had my mumps antibody titer checked and it was way low, so I had another round of MMR and the mumps antibody titer was *still* low-to-negative.

            It’s too bad it’s so expensive to run the cellular immunity tests (T-cells vs B cells). If I’d had the materials I would have run it myself at work, just for my own information.

        3. Smithy*

          This right here. I think there’s a particular window in the early 80’s where the MMR booster is a bit less likely for all infants to necessarily have received.

          I remember during one of the measles outbreaks in Brooklyn reading about a few people with that birthyear who genuinely thought they were vaccinated. All to say, I then did my own research having a similar birth year, and my mom swore up and down that I did get my MMR booster despite in all of her very thorough records only showing one shot. I’m not going to call her a liar in the sense of having an intent to deceive, and she clearly took a lot of care to get my all my vaccinations. Therefore, the idea that she would have missed one was not part of her narrative as a parent.

          All to say, for those of us that want to be MMR vaccinated and were born in the 80’s – it’s worth getting checked for immunity or just getting another booster.

          1. Aha*

            Yeah, I was born in 1989 at the time that they were doing one shot instead of a series. I was tested in the early 2010s and had immunity. By the time I was pregnant in 2021, they tested and I had lost immunity. I got the shot about 2 hours after giving birth.

            It does make me wonder why we haven’t decided to screen mothers as part of pre-conception care. I was absolutely vaccinated in the bracket of time when it was likely to have worn off, and I spoke with my doctor before conceiving. It would’ve been a great time to get the booster.

          2. Greatest Blue Heron*

            I was one of those people! We had clear records of me getting the MMR but it just didn’t stick. Found out from fertility testing.

        4. Artemesia*

          I would have gotten vaccinated before getting pregnant if my Mom who waas a nurse had not told me I had had it — but the titre showed, ‘no’ — really upset as once I was pregnant there was an epidemic in our city.

        5. Freya*

          I know rubella immunity is something that’s pretty routine to be tested for in Australia if you go to your doctor and say either that you’re trying to conceive or already pregnant. The serology tests and vaccinations are much much cheaper and easier than the alternative!

      3. Eldritch Office Worker*

        I was absolutely vaccinated, but due to a whole boring to-do I had to have my immunity tested before I went to college and I had lost my rubella immunity (from the early 90s, about 20 years prior to that test). Some people may not even know they’re susceptible to rubella, as it sounds this mom didn’t before her pregnancy.

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          I also had chicken pox twice and was never vaccinated (vaccine didn’t exist) so I have no idea where that stands. People should be careful even if they think they’re immune!

          1. Seashell*

            I had chicken pox as a kid, but when I got tested during pregnancy #1, the test said I didn’t have immunity. They suggested maybe I didn’t have bad enough of a case, but I remember a good deal of itching.

            Then, the test during pregnancy #2 said I was immune. I had no symptoms in the interim and didn’t know anyone who had chicken pox, so I think the first test may have been wrong. My doctor said that they assume anyone born before 1980 (as I was) is immune due to being exposed to chicken pox.

            1. Michelle Smith*

              If you’ve had chicken pox before, you’re susceptible to shingles. They are MISERABLE!! Itchy spreading rash + painful nerve shocks like you wouldn’t believe. I am surprised your doctor didn’t mention it. I got them last year at only 36 (you can’t be vaccinated for shingles where I live until you’re 50, even if you’ve already had them).

              1. CommanderBanana*

                I am absolutely getting the shingles vaccine the second I’m eligible. My parents were of the generation that thought getting chickenpox as a child was a good thing, so they deliberately let me get it from a cousin when I was 6.

                1. Astor*

                  Just in case people dont know this: Getting chickenpox as a child WAS a good thing. There was no vaccine, it was endemic, and getting it as a child was way less risky than as an adult. You’d expose children on purpose not because you thought chickenpox was no big deal, but because you knew chickenpox *as an adult* was a big deal and since it was unlikely that you’d be able to avoid it your whole life so you’d control the part you could.

                2. Astor*

                  (I mean, and then once you were exposing children on purpose for health reasons it also made sense to control the timing so all your kids would be sick at the same time.)

                3. Artemesia*

                  Medicare didn’t cover shingles vaccine when we were first eligible but we paid around $600 to get it because my FIL died as a result of a series of events that began with serious shingles. One really doens’t want to get it. The vaccine is awful; until COVID vaccines that I always react badly too, it was my only really miserable vaccine experience. But better a reaction than either of these illnesses.

                4. Goldfeesh*

                  Exactly, Astor. It’s not like our parents were stupid or ill-intentioned, it was best for us to get chicken pox when young.

                5. biobotb*

                  To second several commenters, unless the vaccine was available when you were young, your parents were right. It’s MUCH better to get chicken pox as a child than as an adult.

              2. Resident Catholicville, U.S.A.*

                At this point, I don’t know why they don’t let anyone who was born before the chickenpox vaccine get the shingles vaccine. It seems ridiculous to wait until I’m 50- I’m 44 now and had chickenpox as a child. Is waiting 6 more years for the vaccine really worth it? If there was an overwhelming demand for the vaccine, I could see it being an issue, but at this point, you’d think they’d just want to give it to anyone who would take it.

                1. Slartibartfast*

                  That particular vaccine is about $450 per dose. You need two. It’s a combination of cost vs statistical likelihood of getting the disease. If someone has increased risk of developing the disease, they can get it sooner.

                2. Barefoot Librarian*

                  I’m also 44 and my husband HAD shingles last year. I could not get the vaccine (though I tried) because I wasn’t old enough, but seeing him go through all that pain and discomfort was eye opening.

                3. Slartibartfast*

                  Also we’re not really sure yet how long immunity lasts with the vaccine, so there’s hedging of bets to keep up the protection ad you age

                4. Former Admin turned Project Manager*

                  I had chicken pox twice (once as a kid and again in my early 90s college days) and shingles once (in my early 30s) and still had to wait until 50 to get the shingles vaccine. The varicella virus loves to party in my immune system.

                5. CommanderBanana*

                  I think it’s odd too. I also have a friend who developed shingles in her early 20s and it was terrible – and very hard for her to get diagnosed, because the doctors they saw didn’t think someone her age could have shingles.

                6. Really?*

                  The vaccine that was covered by my insurance is no longer manufactured. After watching friends suffer, I checked with my doctor, and got the vaccine. I had to pay out of pocket. Costco had the lowest price I could find in my area, and I believe I paid about $125 per dose. It was totally worth it in my opinion, if you can afford it.

              3. KaciHall*

                I had shingles twice by the time I was 25. spent my entire pregnancy (at 28) terrified that I would have an outbreak and give my kiddo chicken pox. the first time I had them, my mother in law ‘diagnosed’ me and I laughed, because that’s not something you catch on your twenties! Turns out if you don’t go to the doctor immediately, there’s nothing they can do for them medically. Second time I felt the weird burning rash start on my shoulder, I went to urgent care almost immediately. Told the doctor I had shingles and needed the antivirals, and he laughed and told me that was highly unlikely. Then actually looked at the rash and gave me my prescription :)

                That was a decade ago. I still can’t get the shingles vaccine because I’m not old enough. My doctor told me that usually you only get out once, but if you get it a second time you are even more likely to get it again. Yay!

              4. Ellie Chumsfanleigh*

                I had chicken pox as a child (pre-vaccine availability) and got my first round of shingles in my early 40’s. Thankfully, my shingles’ MO is a teensy-tiny cluster of blisters BUT a whooooole lot of nerve pain, plus a low-grade fever.

                I also get it on both sides of my body which, according to the docs I’ve seen so far, isn’t supposed to be able to happen. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

                I got the first Shingrix shot the day I turned 50 (Happy Birthday to me!) and the 2nd shot two weeks later.

                And the day after Shot 2, I got the worst shingles of my life.

                I joke that the shingles vaccine gave me shingles but, really, it was just the stress to my system that caused it to flare up. My flare-ups historically happened whenever I was under a lot of physical or emotional stress (or both, whee!).

                Note for anyone looking forward to the vaccine: In my case, it didn’t end flare-ups entirely, but it did turn down the volume on them. So if the flare-up after Shot 2 was an 11, the ones post-vaccination are 2’s and 3’s. It’s a huge improvement, but it sucks when I can feel the nerve pain starting up. :-(

            2. Freya*

              My Dad dealt with both kids coming down with chicken pox in the same outbreak, and then sharing a hotel room bed on a trip with my mum before she went to the doctor and was told that the rash she was coming out with was shingles. He’s still (in his late 70s) never had chickenpox and has tested as having no immunity.

          2. Aitch Arr*

            I never had chicken pox, much to my PCP’s disbelief.
            So I got the vax right after my son was born.
            It didn’t take, so I ended up having to get it again!

            1. oh crap*

              my husband never had chickenpox either, although no doctor thought to ask either of us(parents) when our kids were born, and it never occured to us to ask. Which is how my husband ended up with the chicken pox when he was 35. it did not look like fun. (to be fair: it might have nothing to do with our children, he’d spend a while on a plane before coming down with it)

              1. Professional Cat Lady*

                My mother got it when I was 3 (so in her mid-30’s) and she was SO sick! Or so my father tells me. He had me sleep in bed with her bc a)it made her happy and b)it meant I got it, and barely noticed it.

          3. Keymaster in absentia*

            Chicken pox is a herpes virus and those are very very good at a) causing repeat infections and b) hiding from your immune system. Same with Epstein Barr (mono/glandular fever) and cold sores (herpes simplex).

      4. Observer*

        but HER mom either lied or was wrong (could go either way ….),

        Third possibility is that the immunity waned. That is so common, in fact, that many OB practices routinely test. And in my community people will often test as soon as they get engaged, so they can get the shot before they get married, even if they have immunization records.

        1. Clisby*

          Yes, I was tested before my first pregnancy. I was 40 or 41, and because of my age I went to the doctor, told him I was hoping to get pregnant, but wanted a complete physical first just in case there were problems I could take care of ahead of time. There weren’t, but he ran the blood titer (?) tests and found out I was immune to plenty of things I had never been vaccinated for, including measles, mumps, and rubella. I could remember having measles and mumps as a child, but never knew about rubella – apparently it can have very mild symptoms. He also told me I had antibodies to toxyplasmosis, which was good since I had a cat.

        2. SwiftSunrise*

          Also a possibility! Grandma’s relationship with the truth was sometimes … questionable (but she genuinely BELIEVED what she was saying), and she also liked to pick her medical practitioners based on “who their people were” rather than knowledge, skill, or intelligence.

    2. allathian*

      My mom had rubella when I was a kid after my sister and I had it. Thankfully she wasn’t pregnant at the time, but I remember she was a lot sicker than either of us.

      I recommend avoiding crowds as much as possible, especially indoors, and wearing a mask when you absolutely can’t avoid them, LW.

      I’m so glad there are vaccines available for so many childhood diseases now, I had pretty much all of them except measles and smallpox (which was declared eradicated all over the world in 1980 and had disappeared sooner than that in Europe).

      1. DJ Abbott*

        Or, just wear a mask all the time outside your home. There are no laws about where you can wear a mask, as far as I know.

        1. Lime green Pacer*

          It’s cold, flu, RSV, and Covid season now. I’ve been masking almost as much as I did in 2022, just because I want to stay healthy. LW has an even better reason to mask than I do.

          1. be kind and wash your hands*

            That was allathian’s advice, yeah. DJ Abbot’s advice was supplementary to that: mask in crowds AND mask everywhere else.

        2. Betty Beep Boop*

          Masks are great for airborne stuff but these aren’t all strictly airborne.

          Chicken poz causes a weeping rash and can infect you through a graze. Measles causes a closed rash but kids scratch. It’s a good precaution for public crowds but much less useful for playdates.

      2. I Have RBF*

        I wear an N95 mask when I am indoors in public, or outdoors in a crowd. I am high risk, I have roommates that are immune compromised, and my spouse has cancer. We got Covid in 2023, and don’t want it again.

        The fact that people go out, unmasked, when they are sick irks me, as do people who go to work sick. Yes, I understand all too well that most workplaces, especially retail and food service, don’t offer adequate sick time and demand that people work sick unless they are literally hospitalized. It’s one of the things I hate about our work culture.

    3. gimmeausername*

      Yep. Google Gene Tierney and rubella if you don’t believe it. (You *will* come across spoilers for an Agatha Christie novel as Christie was inspired by Tierney’s story)

      1. Tree*

        I did not know that The Mirror Crack’d was based on a true story! Thanks for this, I’m going to look up Gene Tierney’s story.

    4. M. Magpie*

      Born in the seventies, I also cannot carry a rubella titer. Healthcare my entire career. But, early in university, I had a late-term still birth because of rubella. Heartbreaking. I understand the need to act out of caution and maintain the confidential aspect of information, in this case.

      1. MI Dawn*

        So sorry to read this. That’s absolutely heartbreaking.

        My mother swore I never had rubella, until my first titers showed I was immune. On the other hand, my maternal grandfather was a GP, and we got every vaccine that came down the pike as he got his hands on them. So I may have gotten the single dose vaccine from him.

        I also know what you mean about not carrying a titer. Though not rubella – in my case it’s *regular* measles. I’ve been vaccinated many times but still don’t carry an immune level titer. So I’m terrified (born in the 60s) everytime measles outbreaks occur because I could be terribly sick, at my age.

        1. Irish Teacher.*

          Apparently, it’s pretty common for rubella to be asymptomatic or barely symptomatic so it is very possible that you had it without anybody knowing.

          1. Artemesia*

            yeah it is a mild nothing illness for most kids and adults — it is just that is is monstrous to babies in the early months of development in utero.

    5. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Vaccination batches can go bad.

      Maybe 10 years ago I learned that there had been a bad batch of MMR vaccine in my childhood — various fully vaccinated classmates had gotten measles. With a transplant recipient in my family, I went to my doctor to have immunity levels checked…and my rubella was non existent. Yay boosters.

    6. Cj*

      they said they only have to work 6 days a week during their busy season. maybe it’s because I’m a CPA in a tax firm and regularly works 65 hours a week during tax season, but I don’t consider 58.5 hours to be a “whopping” amount of hours.

      the whole thing kind of confuses me. if they were previously allowed to count the hours they worked before and after opening towards the 42.5 hours, did they not work an entire shift during their open hours?

      and when they work 6 days a week, do they still only work 42.5 hours?

      1. CB212*

        I mean, that’s six 7-hour days which isn’t insubstantial – especially with six commutes on top of it. (Being salaried, they shouldnt have unpaid lunch hours… but this place sounds like they have an unusual counting system anyway, I wouldn’t be surprised if lunch also doesn’t count.)

        Sounds like before, they could start two hours early and leave, yes. But in the USA it’s unlikely that 42.5h covers six days entirely. There may well be two or more managers on site – it doesn’t mean there were no managers on shift at closing or opening.

      2. Observer*

        maybe it’s because I’m a CPA in a tax firm and regularly works 65 hours a week during tax season, but I don’t consider 58.5 hours to be a “whopping” amount of hours.

        Yeah, it’s because your norms are messed up. It’s almost 50% of an extra full time week.

        Accounting has a problem with how tax season works. But imo, it’s pretty toxic to dismiss unreasonable working hours because tax accountants have to work ridiculous hours 3 months a year. Rather, accountants should understand that this *is* actually a real problem and one that keeps many people who are otherwise perfectly well qualified out of the filed.

      3. Totally Minnie*

        the whole thing kind of confuses me. if they were previously allowed to count the hours they worked before and after opening towards the 42.5 hours, did they not work an entire shift during their open hours?

        I used to work in a service type job, and almost no one works an entire shift during open hours. Say the place is open from 9AM to 7PM. You’ll schedule at least two shifts. Shift 1 will be 8-5, because you need staff in the building to make sure everything is ready for customers before opening. For shift 2, I always scheduled as 10:15-7:15, because you can’t guarantee that all the customers will actually leave at closing time and you may need staff to stay a few minutes after to tidy and lock up.

        I am firmly of the opinion that if the work you are doing is necessary to the operation of the business, that work should be on the clock and count toward your minimum weekly hours. I don’t care if someone is salaried/exempt. It may be legal to require them to work hours they’re not being paid for, but it’s not ethical.

      4. Cthulhu's Librarian*

        The fact that you don’t find that an unreasonable number of hours is absolutely about you being in tax, and conditioned to truly miserable and unhealthy work practices.

        A six day, sixty hour work week should fill most people with dread.

        1. I Have RBF*

          Seriously. I had a contract job that was 6 x 10. That place was full of bees. I got paid hourly. When they wanted me to go permanent, they lowballed me on salary and their benefits were worse than the contracting agency! I declined. When I left, they replaced me with three younger males (I identified as female at the time), salaried, and none of them lasted even six months.

          I get kind of tetchy now when required to work over 40 hours without comp time.

      5. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

        Yikes accountants sound hardcore.
        We worked a 35-hour week at FinalJob, so 65 hours sounds like nearly 2 work weeks to me

      6. Freya*

        This is why I’m a bookkeeper and not an accountant. As a bookkeeper, I work no unpaid overtime, and because of that my hourly rate is equivalent to a similarly experienced accountant.

    7. Karstmama*

      I’d probably treat this like guns in the house or other stuff you ask other parents – ‘Oh, by the way, my OB found out I need a rubella booster so I’m asking everyone if they’re up on their shots. You aren’t? Ok, we’ll catch you after either y’all are or I am! Thanks!’ Breezy and up front and asking everyone about it in order to protect yourself.

      1. iglwif*

        Came here to say this — just ask everybody, and explain why it’s a concern. It’s still possible someone might choose to be a jerk about it, but it doesn’t expose you either to rubella or to suspicions about your ability to keep medical info confidential!

        1. Kyrielle*

          My only worry with this approach is how OP should handle it if someone lies…or says they’re up to date but doesn’t comment that their kids aren’t. At that point OP is stuck with either going along with the risk (which I wouldn’t do) or giving away that they know better (which is not going to be taken well, *especially* if they’ve just asked innocently).

          1. Artemesia*

            the vulnerable period in pregnancy is a few months — I’d just lie very low for a few months and avoid groups, wear a mask and pull back on playgroups.

          2. Lenora Rose*

            Well, if they lie, you can lie right back. “Oh, sorry, I need to walk my goldfish that day. Another time, then!”

      2. Hats Are Great*

        This is exactly what I would recommend. Just straight-up ask if people and their children are up to date on vaccines and be matter-of-fact that you lost your immunity and have to be careful due to pregnancy.

      3. Happy*

        That works as long as they tell the truth, otherwise you’re then in a really uncomfortable position.

    8. Lenora Rose*

      I caught rubella (as an adult!) while working at a place with pregnant coworkers. You can be sure I stayed away very carefully until the contagious phase passed.

    9. Database Developer Dude*

      100% in agreement with this. You cannot be obligated to NOT protect yourself and your children and to-be-born child just to preserve someone else’s confidentiality.

      Besides, as long as you (OP#2) don’t say anything, if someone else objects to not having a play date, they will have to say why, so they’ll out themselves.

    10. learnedthehardway*

      Agreed. My Mum was in the same backyard as the neighbour kids who had rubella, when she was pregnant with my younger sibling. When their mother told her the kids were ill, she was horrified and raced right out of there. Her doctor advised her to abort the pregnancy, due to possible exposure. My Mum chose not to do so (and was really upset about the suggestion), but the mere suggestion from the doctor illustrates just how serious being exposed to rubella is for a fetus.

      It turned out that my sibling was okay, meaning that my Mum was very luckily not actually exposed to the pathogen.

      The OP should do whatever she needs to do to keep her pregnancy safe. Being conveniently not available (rather than outright stating that she knows the friends of her kids are unvaccinated) is preferable, but I wouldn’t sacrifice safety for politeness. I’d also make sure her own family and kids are fully vaccinated, if the kids are in the same classes as these children.

    1. ScruffyInternHerder*

      Not just me then? That was my exact thought, was “is this the new hire from yesterday’s letter?”

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      Archetypes are archetypes for a reason. “I interviewed for a higher level position but was offered a lower level one” has some predictable emotions that go with it.

      1. Zennish*

        Really, I think everything is mostly just a result of the lens through which one chooses to view it. The OP could have chosen to take it as “Well, they think I’m light on management experience, but they want me with the company badly enough that they’re still offering me a position.”

        1. Cmdrshprd*

          I know it is not the same for everyone but I do think to a certain extent in general being a good manager/having soft people skills is harder to teach/train then technical skills. I think on the job learning/training of managing people for a supervisor/manager has a higher risk of going badly versus on the job training of technical skills.

          In OP’s situation it seems like the company might be open to teaching/training OP in people management while they are not actually managing someone and taking it at a slower pace.

          1. The Riddlee*

            We hired my current manager because of his extensive management experience and good interview on those topics, and despite his lack of technical skills which we naturally assumed we could teach him. Not only is he not learning the technical skills, but his management “skills” have already lost us two team members.

            1. Cmdrshprd*

              Can and does it happen absolutely, not saying my example is always the case.

              The reverse is true, sometimes people with good technical skills get promoted into management or hired as managers and they are not good at it or have a harder time learning the people aspect of the position.

              In the OP example even if the hire ends up being bad it does not necessarily mean OP was the right person for the job.

              1. The Riddlee*

                I was just venting, not disagreeing with you.
                Hiring is hard regardless of what type of skills you are attempting to asses in your small handful of hours with a candidate!

                Letter 3 is also relevant: my manager asked the team for anonymous feedback, got mostly negative feedback with a number of consistent themes, and then called a meeting to argue with us all about it.

          2. I Have RBF*

            There’s a catch-22 at work here: You can’t get a management job without management experience, but you never get creditable management experience without a management job. Even being a volunteer manager of people, complete with having to fire someone, doesn’t goddamn count!

            When I, a technical person with boobs, ask about getting into management, I get told to go be a (non-technical) project “manager”, that in no ways counts as management experience. Yes, I’m salty about this. I have younger, marginally technical men vaulted over my head all the time.

        2. TootsNYC*

          right? And I’d also think that they’d be eventually open to me gaining some experience there. Or that they’d recognize my abilities once they see me in action.

          1. Smithy*

            I took a position like that – and in practicality, let’s just go with my experience being a yes and no.

            I didn’t have any grumbling about being offered the position with less supervisory duties because I knew that was a weakness. However, once I was there, I did see who they hired. And while she had a lot more supervisory experience, her technical experience was really low, it never really grew, and then I later heard she also wasn’t liked or respected as a supervisor.

            The difference of the money, leadership and visibility she received over me was noticeable and this was an employer where you really only have leverage when you’re first hired. Ultimately, it made it clear that this was a stepping stone job and I treated it that way. But I will say that even if you can see the silver lining at first, acknowledging that this may not be setting you up for longer term success at that employer is also savvy.

            1. Cmdrshprd*

              “then I later heard she also wasn’t liked or respected as a supervisor.”

              You know the situation better but that I don’t think is the greatest barometer of a good manager/supervisor. It really depends on the reasons. If the team had a bad manager who was friends with everyone and didn’t manage well, employees might bristle at being properly managed and held to task. The manager might be a good one but is the team/employees are not it might not work out.

              In the situation maybe at the time they needed more management experience over technical skills and the level was fine.

              1. MigraineMonth*

                I always liked the least popular teachers in college. In my experience, they were the ones who laid out clear expectations and generally stuck to the syllabus/schedule. The most well-liked teachers tended to give extensions or lower the project requirements for the whole class at the last minute, after I’d already finished it.

                So yeah, clear expectations and holding reports accountable doesn’t always make you well liked.

    3. BeenThere*

      To give some context I’d be absolutely frustrated by this as a technical lead trying to get a manager role. It also so common for senior technical people to get stuck and not be able to move into management, even with top company and major project lead experience. Think massive feature launches that you see in the media. I’ve taken the technical lead job within the same company with promises of developing leadership skills and then nothing. Now I insist to any recruiter that I’m only interested in manager roles. A lot of places won’t let you even interview without being a manager first. Imagine you finally get an interview that’s the next logical step in your career and for them to turn around and go, sorry but here you go here’s a job that’s like what you currently do and more often than not you are reporting to the person that got the manager role and propping them up.

      It’s a problem in industry that deeply experienced technical folks get stuck under green mangers for life. There’s a whole bunch of us that feel undervalued and underused, which is why we end up doing the bare minimum or have extra side jobs. I don’t have a good solution, wouldn’t it be nice if there were entry level manager roles.

      1. MigraineMonth*

        Ironically, most places I’ve worked have the opposite problem: they promote extremely experienced technical people to management even if they have no management experience or interest. In fact, my current manager only went management track because there was no other way to get a promotion. (Which benefitted me, because they fought hard to create another level of my job so I could be promoted as an individual contributor/technical person.)

        1. Galadriel's Garden*

          That’s the case I’ve seen most often, myself – a person is very advanced on the technical side of things, but absolutely does not have the skills that would make a good manager, but hey we need to promote them somewhere otherwise they’ll leave with all of that experience and know-how…yeah. My company recently developed a parallel career track for people to get promoted up to VP-level positions without needing to manage people, and I have been *very* grateful for that move.

          1. BeenThere*

            If they did this and you had a manager that was at that appropriate level of the tree then it would totally be a different ball game.

      2. Laura*

        It’s so frustrating the manager roles require you to have management experience. How do you get the experience in the first place??

        1. NZReb*

          If you have a decent manager (and the nature of the work makes it possible), they get you doing some of the things managers do – leading multi-person projects, mentoring new people, leading meetings, creating and leading team training, etc.

          And you can get into leadership roles in your hobbies too, that helps.

          1. BeenThere*

            Speaking from experience, that only helps you internally and only if a role opens up, external companies don’t care about any of that soft leadership experience. At least in tech the explicitly want someone who had direct reports, had all the hiring and firing responsibilities.

  2. LifeBeforeCorona*

    LW2 If you are comfortable with sharing your own medical information you can state that being pregnant and working with the public (kids) means you need to be extra vigilant because of possible infectious disease outbreaks.

    1. Ruby Sunday*

      I don’t think you should even say that. It will hint at their private information. Which could get you fired.

      1. doreen*

        It will only hint at their private information if the LW doesn’t socialize with the unvaccinated kids but does with others. If she eliminates all out of school socializing , there won’t be any hints. And TBH, I think I would do that anyway – there’s no way to know whether a vaccinated kid is actually immune or if it didn’t take, wore off etc.

        1. MCMonkeyBean*

          It does sound she she is specifically looking to avoid playdates with the unvaccinated family, rather than keeping their child from all playdates.

          Unless any of the unvaccinated kids are your child’s closest friends I think this should not be too difficult to navigate. Just a few “oh no, can’t make it work that day”s to get you through is likely all that will be needed.

        2. Colo*

          THIS is the really important point: “there’s no way to know whether a vaccinated kid is actually immune or if it didn’t take, wore off etc.”

          1. Lizzianna*

            Eh, I don’t know if I agree. I was pregnant right when the COVID vaccine was introduced, so I had a lot of time to think about this, and it’s just not accurate to equate those two risks. The risk of spending time with an unvaccinated person just isn’t comparable to the risk that someone was vaccinated and it was ineffective for that individual.

            It’s not unreasonable for someone to not want to cut off all social contact for their kids during their pregnancy.

        3. Lizzianna*

          It sounds like her kids attend that school. If that’s the case, avoiding socialization with all kids from the school doesn’t seem fair to her own children, who presumably want to see their friends at play dates and birthday parties.

      2. iglwif*

        Not if she says it to everyone! “Hey, I need to be super careful about this, so I have to ask you…”

    2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      I would alter this to be more like the following:

      “I’m actually pregnant at the moment so we’re keeping closer to home of late due to all the respiratory illnesses going around right now. Maybe we can get together some other time?”

      And honestly – in my region right now all the hospitals have gone back to mandatory masking because of Covid and RSV Surges that are putting hundreds weekly into the hospital. My oldest kiddo has taken to carrying a mask again because they have asthma and really don’t want to get sick.

      1. LifeBeforeCorona*

        Yes, you said it better than I did. Frame it as concern about yourself and family without mentioning that you know specifically who is not vaxxed. At this point everyone can agree that there are still many unvaxxed people and they know some personally. Since you work in a school setting it should not be an issue because most people know that school kids are walking germ factories. Not all of them but enough to be wary of contact.

      2. IneffableBastard*

        Mine went back to in-person school this year. They had gone from sep-dec 2021, then the masks mandates at school dropped and they went back to online (the right decision at the time as the school went from 2 covid cases in 4 months to 42 in a week). They are the only ones masking; thankfully they care more about keeping safe than about what others think. Masks came to stay, at least until ventilation is MUCH improved in the Northern hemisphere.

    3. Stay-at-homesteader*

      I recently learned that hand foot and mouth can be especially dangerous to pregnant people! There was an outbreak at my son’s school and they sent home a special note asking us to be extra careful because there was a pregnant teacher. The pediatrician’s office didn’t even mention that to me when I called them! (Also, he ABSOLUTELY got it at school but we were apparently the first people to actually report it, which I thought was kinda weird.)

      1. ScruffyInternHerder*

        “…apparently the first people to actually report it, which I thought was kinda weird.”

        I hate to say it, and I agree its weird, but its’ probably because society makes it difficult to impossible to do the obviously correct thing as working parents so often.

        As an example, if the mini-Scruffs were to contract Covid, for example, the correct thing would be obvious. However, regardless the current medical advice for quarantine, their teachers don’t “have to” put their schoolwork online for them, my employer doesn’t “have to” permit me to WFH to prevent me possibly transmitting a contagious disease to my coworkers, and doesn’t “have to” offer paid sick leave if I get sick. Thankfully my employer DOES permit WFH and offer paid sick leave, and save one, my minis have reasonable teachers who wouldn’t want them THAT far behind in their schoolwork.

        And that’s not even touching on the possibility that other children with HFAM at school just didn’t see a pediatrician over it.

        I’d hoped that society had learned a couple of lessons in 2020, but sadly, it appears that we have not.

        1. ScruffyInternHerder*

          And I am NOT by any means defending this, I’m just pointing out that sometimes, the choices you’re presented with really really suck. I’m privileged enough to avoid the worst of it (being fired or losing pay) but to have to deal with $hitty choices because society has decided that the obviously correct thing isn’t profitable? Well.

        2. Zennish*

          A sizeable portion of society seems to have gone with “Pretend everything is fine, and become hostile if someone points out it isn’t.”

          1. Caramel & Cheddar*

            This. While I appreciate that there are a ton of people who are stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to this stuff, there are a lot of people who aren’t and just choose to be jerks.

            1. Totally Minnie*

              Those people always chose to be jerks, though. I worked at a daycare when I was in college I can’t even tell you how many times we called a parent to pick up their sick kid, only for that parent to say they had given the kid a fever reducer that morning so they wouldn’t have to keep them out of school. Parents have been trying to mask their kids’ symptoms and send them to school sick for as long as I’m aware of. Some of it is that the parent doesn’t have the ability to stay home with a sick kid, but a lot of the instances I’ve personally observed were a parent who really just didn’t care if their kid got someone else sick, they just didn’t want to be inconvenienced.

              It feels a lot more prevalent now because we’re seeing the stories from all over the country in a way we couldn’t 15 years ago.

        3. Warrior Princess Xena*

          This, exactly this.

          I have actually had similar problems getting a recommended but not required vaccine. I got my first dose at the pediatrician. Ok, where do I go to get my second dose? IDK. They legally couldn’t give it to me because I was “too old” (I was 17 turning 18 in a few months). The main clinic didn’t have it. The state health board didn’t have it. I tried every medical center in my half of the state for the next 6 months. No one could give it to me. So I never got it. I’m the last thing from anti-vax but it’s very hard to get recommended public health things done if literally no one is doing it!

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        Hand foot and mouth (or enterovirus) has a range of symptoms and severity. My husband caught it and felt like a nap several afternoons, then developed a slight cough. When I started the same symptoms we thought “Whew, that means it wasn’t covid!” (At the time rapid tests took more than a week.)

        Then I kept on developing all the other possible symptoms. It took two separate rounds of steroid treatment, one for the mouth sores and one for the swollen hands and feet. Epic misery. But my spouse’s was barely noticeable, and with some people it’s completely asymptomatic.

    4. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      I had similar thoughts.

      “I’m pregnant so we’re only doing playdates (etc) with fully vaccinated families just now. Are you guys up to date?”

      Then you do not get drawn into a conversation about why/why not, just cheerful “people make different choices, we’ll look forward to catching up with you later”.

      My toddler caught chickenpox from daycare when I was first trimester. I couldn’t go home until we had confirmed my status. That was quite frightening enough.

      1. MountainAir*

        Hate to say this, but some people will 1) lie or 2) give a wishy washy answer about immunity/health if you say this. Some people want to skip vaccines but not suffer the social consequences, and if they give a vague or untruthful answer you’re back in an uncomfortable position where you KNOW the answer but can’t say it. So I think just drawing the line with the pretext of it being a general decision, and not putting anyone on the spot, is best.

        I think the language suggested upthread is good because it doesn’t put the ball in anyone else’s court – OP can just say that she’s not doing many playdates right now because of her own vigilance and constant exposure to kids, and could add that they can talk about getting together once the baby arrives and you’re out of the immediate danger zone for exposures.

        1. bamcheeks*

          Yeah, maybe the thing to do here is to think of it as “opt-in” rather than “strike out”— have play dates with those families and kids you *know* and trust to be honest and on the same page as you about health.

          Also, as soon as you are telling people you are pregnant, you are allowed to be both a) very tired and b) a little weird, and your child is allowed to be a little unsettled and clingy, so just lean into those things when you’re giving “whys”. “Yeah, Freddie would love a play date with Joe too, but in all honesty he’s finding me being pregnant A Lot and he’s a bit of a handful at the moment. So we’re sticking to a reduced play date schedule until things settle down a bit.” “God yes sorry, I meant to check our calendar and message you back, but mind like a sieve at the moment. I’ll let you know [never]!” “Sorry, I’m absolutely knackered so we’re just having a quiet family weekend. See you next week!”

          1. Insert Clever Name Here*

            This is the way. One of our child’s friends has repeatedly shown that they are not to be trusted in our house and somehow (cough) the only time we’re able to make play dates work is when they’re at the park; funny how that works.

          2. MountainAir*

            Yeah, I think this is the best possible approach. Playdates with trusted folks, limit exposures generally, have a handful of excuses on hand and a general message about being extra careful due to pregnancy + everything going around + kiddo having trouble with the transition.

        2. Pastor Petty Labelle*

          Also some kids might be unvaccinated because they cannot be. Let’s not assume all the kids are unvaccinated because their parents don’t care.

          Better to make it about being careful because of everything out there than about what other families are doing.

          Just a note – if I found out that someone was using confidential information — even for a very good reason — outside of a work context I would be livid. You only know this information because of your job. And again, you know the bare bones, you don’t know the why. If you didn’t hve this job, what decisions would you make?

          1. Happy meal with extra happy*

            Even if there was never any way to know that she was using confidential information? You’d rather she put her and her family’s health at risk? This isn’t insider trading – I find “livid” to be pretty extreme.

            1. bamcheeks*

              Pastor Patty Labelle says “if I found out”, which precludes “even if there was never any way to know”! If you can do this with perfect discretion and nobody ever knows, that’s one thing. But if you slip up in any way and it comes out, that’s on you, and it’s quite fair enough for people to be livid. You can’t help knowing what you know, but people are entitled to expect complete confidentiality in how their medical records are treated and used.

              1. Allonge*

                They can expect confidentiality, not self-sacrifice in the face of a known risk.

                I did not get the sense that OP was going to share information in any way, just act, quietly, on what she knows. And I totally agree it needs to be very quiet indeed, but several people commenting here shared reasonable excuses for not making a specific playdate happen.

          2. Hazel*

            This! The whole unvaccinated kids thing is a red herring. OP is out in the world and possibly exposed to all kinds of stuff from random people who breathed the same air or touched the same door handle.
            If your kids are immune they shouldn’t bring stuff home to you right? Maybe don’t host kids or adults in your house, directly exposed to you, but acknowledge that a public facing job with people whose immunity status you didn’t know is likely a bigger risk, and you can mitigate by hand washing and masking.

            1. MountainAir*

              Unvaccinated kids is not a red herring. Just because OP is navigating exposures to her job doesn’t mean she shouldn’t reduce her exposures in meaningful ways wherever she can. Washing hands, masking – yes, good ideas. Reducing contact with kids/people who have a higher likelihood of transmitting a disease that can cause stillbirth is another very common sense risk mitigation decision. You cannot seal yourself in a bubble while pregnant, but you can make conservative choices that lower your likelihood of encountering something with elevated or catastrophic consequences. It’s similar to avoiding certain foods while pregnant because while the risk of contracting an illness may be low overall, the impact of contracting said illness would be substantial.

            2. Critical Rolls*

              No, the “unvaccinated kids thing” is basic risk management. Regardless of *why* they are unvaccinated, they are much more likely to catch the illness and transmit it to the pregnant person’s household if there is prolonged exposure. Just like masking and hand-washing, it limits a known risk not to take that chance.

              Also, nearly four years into a global pandemic, it’s disheartening that some people still think vaccinations are magic shields that deflect germs for 100% protection.

            3. Keymaster in absentia*

              That’s not how vaccines work. There are none that give you a 100% barrier against catching a virus. And goddess help you if the virus mutates (which they love doing, tricksy things) to a form the vaccine doesn’t protect against.

              We saw this with Covid. People going ‘well if you’re vaccinated what do you care that my family isn’t?’ and ignoring that an unvaccinated cohort is a prime ground to generate mutations. This is why there’s so many covid vaccine variants.

              Even if you’ve been vaccinated against a disease it’s still a good idea to avoid the live virus.

            4. JustaTech*

              Actually some of these diseases are a lot more contagious than you’d think and can literally hang out in the air. There was a measles outbreak a few years back where one (unvaccinated) person caught it from riding in an elevator that a sick person had used like an hour before.
              They didn’t share the elevator, they didn’t see each other, they just used the same elevator at different times.

              Thankfully most things aren’t as contagious as the measles, but given the horrible consequences of rubella while pregnant, a lot of caution is perfectly reasonable.

          3. Lenora Rose*

            if she catches rubella, does the why matter?

            I agree that she should absolutely do nothing to indicate she has the inside information about who is and isn’t vaccinated, but if she wasn’t in a role where she already knew, I guarantee she’d be trying to find out.

            Frankly, she should be asking everyone about their family health before making playdates anyhow, because there are other bugs going around with no or insufficient vaccines, and things happen (the vaccine doesn’t take and a vaccinated kid is one of those “lucky” ones who gets it anyhow). The inside information means she also knows if someone tries to lie to her about it or brush it off, but she should be asking.

          4. anecdata*

            Yeah, I am very very pro vaccine and – if I found out someone in admin at my kids’ school or HR at work was using info this way, I would expect them to be fired immediately. There just has to be a firewall when your job gives you access to confidential information

            If you’re doing it in a way where you’re 100% confident no one will ever guess/suspect, that’s kind of a moot point though

            1. MountainAir*

              You would expect someone to be fired for discreetly and quietly reducing exposure to a disease that causes stillbirth while pregnant? Again, if OP is not broadcasting what they are doing and simply using information they can’t “un-see” to inform their personal choices, I cannot see how this is a reasonable response to the situation. The alternative proposition is that OP should just expose herself and baby to additional risk on principle? That seems very inhumane.

            2. Joron Twiner*

              lol what? Is OP supposed to socialize extra closely with unvaccinated families and put herself at risk?

              The villain here is people who choose not to vaccinate their kids, not OP who is trying to protect her unborn child.

          5. Cmdrshprd*

            “Also some kids might be unvaccinated because they cannot be. Let’s not assume all the kids are unvaccinated because their parents don’t care.”

            Even if the kids can’t be vaccinated the end result is the same they pose a risk to OP. It really does not matter why.

            OP isn’t spreading the information around, OP is just using to make a decision about themselves. OP has access to this information and is required to use it. It is different from OP accessing information that they have no need to use, looking at it and using it to make a decision.

            Confidentiality does not mean people have to ignore the information they learn. Like a payroll person that regularly sees everyone’s pay and learns that men are paid double for the same role as women. Yes the person should not spread the specific information Jane makes $X and John makes $2X, but telling people “the company is paying men double what it pays women we should complain.”

            1. IneffableBastard*

              I agree. And some of the parents of the kids who cannot be vaccinated are sometimes vocal about that, as it’s likely very frustrating to see people deny to their kids and to society in general the protection you wish you could give yours. But despite this information changing how the LW thinks about that parents (who must be very good at risk management out of necessity), it does not mean that she will be obligated to schedule playdates with these children. In a few months she will be able to, if she wishes so.

          6. MountainAir*

            The reasons for not vaccinating are not at all relevant here. OP just says she happens to know which kids are vaccinated and which aren’t. The why genuinely doesn’t matter. It is absolutely a health risk to be around unvaccinated kids, and I think it’s more than a little ridiculous to insinuate that OP should feel bad about not exposing her unborn baby and herself to elevated risk on principle. She just needs to *not communicate* what she’s doing so as to stay on the right side of the line, and maintain the polite and professional fiction that she does not know this information.

          7. RussianInTexas*

            So ok, what do you suppose the LW should do? Have playdates with the unvaccinated kids, so she couldn’t be accused of using the confidential information?
            She should be extremely discrete and never ever talk about it, but she is absolutely in the right to use the information for her own family safety.
            This isn’t insider trading.

            1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

              I literally never said make playdates with vaccinated. I said what would you do if you didn’t have this information? What if she were say a CPA, found out she was pregnant and had concerns? Proceed on that basis, not on some privileged information.

              Because as others have pointed out — its not just the kids she could be exposed to. Going to the store, she is breathing the same air as everyone else. You don’t know who is vaccinated and who is not.

              1. Happy meal with extra happy*

                Why the hypothetical though? OP’s not a CPA, OP has the information. It’s still completely wild that you don’t think she can take actions to prevent significant harm to her family because she may take risks in other scenarios.

              2. RussianInTexas*

                But she DOES have the information. She seen it. She cannot unseen it.
                So she can now quietly make a decision based on it without revealing to anyone why and how.

          8. Irish Teacher.*

            I don’t think the why matters. Her concern is whether she is safe or not and the why doesn’t affect that. I’d honestly be more annoyed if I thought the person was considering the why because then it would be not socialising with people whose parents make decisions I disagree with rather than not socialising with people who could inadvertently harm me.

            Surely covid taught us that avoiding people isn’t a criticism of them but simply a necessity sometimes.

            It wouldn’t bother me if somebody were using my medical information in the way the LW is suggesting. If say a workmate was pregnant when I had radioiodine treatment and decided to keep their distance from me, having learnt that from my sick note, that would seem perfectly reasonable to me. Then again, I come down on the “pretend to trip and spill it” it side of the hypothetical dilemma for the priest who has somebody tell him in confession they poisoned the communion wine and the bar for acting on a confession is a good deal higher than just info gained at work, but I think when people’s lives or health hangs in the balance, then acting on something while taking care not to give the info away to others is reasonable.

          9. Artemesia*

            Let’s see — a blind and deaf baby on one hand and your principles on HIPPA on the other. I know where I would come down. Use, but not spread, the information I was privy to.

            1. anecdata*

              From that approach, wouldn’t you also feel morally to start telling people (“a blind and deaf baby vs your principals on HIPPA”), like say another mom friend in the class figured confides in you that she is in the same position, and you happen to know her kid is best friends with an unvaccinated kid…

              However – there is a way to minimize risk without using this confidential information which is – ask /any and all/ playdate families about vaccination. You have a higher risk, temporary situation, and that’s what you would do if you didn’t have this privileged information (and even vaccinated kids can have unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated younger siblings)

        3. birb*

          I’m SO sick of people feeling entitled to a good reputation and no social consequences when making bad decisions that affect others.

      2. Kotow*

        As someone who doesn’t get flu or Covid vaccines, this language will not work. The second you’re honest about not getting a vaccine, it results in a discussion about vaccines that becomes unproductive very quickly. The way to avoid that discussion is by giving a non-answer (which of course means the answer is “no” without directly saying it). I think it would be better to keep it as a general “we’re not doing as many playdates right now.” That way, you’re not telling anyone that you’re cutting out playdates entirely, but there’s no expectation that you will be able to get together.

        I also think that a good place to start would be to consider how you would approach people if you **didn’t** know this information from work. Would you directly ask people their vaccination status, or would you keep it a general “we can’t do as much.”

    5. PinkCandyFloss*

      But if the kids are allowed to play with some and not others, that pretty quickly reveals the lie in this situation. If this is the excuse then NO play dates is the only solution – otherwise smart parents may put 2+2 together and realize the pattern. That puts this employee into hot water.

      1. Lenora Rose*

        This is why I prefer asking aloud and acting on the basis of that info, even with the extra support of having the info in the back of her mind.

        Vaccinated kids could have an unvaccinated grandma or uncle or whatnot.

        And I don’t know about you, but for many of us parents, playdates don’t happen so often that this would be a noticeable blip.

        1. Cmdrshprd*

          “This is why I prefer asking aloud and acting on the basis of that info, even with the extra support of having the info in the back of her mind.”

          But the problem is if someone lies OP has backed themselves into a corner.
          OP: We are only doing playdates with people that have their vaccines, are you vaccinated?
          Parent: Yes, fully vaccinated. (OP knows this is a lie, now what?)

          1. anecdata*

            “Great, let me check my calendar”
            “Arggh shoot totally forgot about that dentist’s appointment”

            This approach at least minimizes the likelihood of having to rely on confidential info (and on the flip side – you should be asking anyway bc just because the school age kid is vaccinated doesn’t mean whole household is

          2. Lenora Rose*

            So? They lied. You lie back. “Oops, our camel has an appointment with the hairdresser, I just can’t make that date work.”

            1. Insert Clever Name Here*

              I guess I just don’t see the need for the play acting that OP isn’t making a decision based on something that’s in the file — if she’s doing it quietly, it seems like a lot of rigmarole for no reason.

      2. Jackalope*

        Does it really, though? Given that as a parent the OP is likely super busy and as a pregnant person she is quite possibly more tired than usual, I don’t see that being the conclusion everyone jumps to. Many commenters have given ways to excuse her kids from play dates with those kids (“Sorry, we’re having a family-only weekend…. I’m so tired with this pregnancy I can’t do one more thing this week… The kids need some down time so we’re skipping that event….”). Unless they are her kids’ best friends, I doubt anyone else will notice.

      3. Insert Clever Name Here*

        Will they? My kid invited Friend over to play on Saturday and they were not able to come — I could no more tell you if Friend had a playdate with someone else on Sunday than I could tell you what you had for breakfast that day. I don’t track my kid’s friends’ schedules. And if I *did* somehow notice that Friend played with Jane on Sunday when Friend couldn’t play here on Saturday, I would think merely “they were not available Saturday.”

        As long as OP isnt going around loudly proclaiming “WE ONLY PLAY WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE UP TO DATE ON RUBELLA VACCINATIONS” there would be *so* much triangulation necessary to figure out “OP is systematically not scheduling play dates with these 3 families and literally the only consistent explanation is they are not vaccinated for rubella.”

      4. Joron Twiner*

        If parents choose not to vaccinate their kids, but then deduce which people are avoiding them because of that choice… sounds like the social consequences of making an antisocial choice.

  3. PDB*

    I was on Jeopardy too in 1993. Won one show. It really piques some people’s interest so it can be helpful.

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      I have seen both Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune on resumes in the past. But only saw Wheel once – and the person had the tape to prove they’d completely run the board and won every puzzle. They felt it showed they were good at quick thinking on their feet.

    2. Starter for ten*

      I have University Challenge on my CV (I’m in the UK, obvs) and it’s an easy and predictable question that helps to connect with the interviewer.

      1. Ferret*

        Same – although I’ve taken it off now as it was a while ago but it was a good icebreaker. It also doesn’t need to take up a lot of space, it can just be one line, or even just a couple of words in an “Other” or “Interests” section, which is pretty standard in the CVs I’ve seen

      2. Sharpie*

        Uni Challenge is one of the very few programmes I watch these days! Those questions can get extraordinarily complicated, and the breadth of knowledge displayed is astonishing.

      3. Richard Hershberger*

        Back when I was in the job market my resume included a line about my early baseball history publications. Partly it was to use being a published author as testimony to my being functionally literate, but mostly because some percentage of people reviewing my resume will be baseball fans, and this line item would be interesting.

          1. Richard Hershberger*

            But seriously, if you are interested in the topic of the history of baseball’s rules, this is literally the only book on the subject, meaning it is also the best! But I don’t push it on friends, acquaintances, and random passersby who aren’t interested in this rather nerdy niche subject.

              1. Long time reader*

                Oooooooooooh this might be a good gift for my baseball loving boyfriend!! (and honestly I’m not much of a fan but I do find the rule changes fascinating so I feel like I’d enjoy it too).

              2. Megan*

                I just saved this for my husband birthday as well. It perfectly fits the Venn Diagram of two of his interests, non-fiction/history books and all things baseball.

                Bonus points that I can get it in hardback!

      4. Elizabeth West*

        Whenever anyone mentions that show, the first thing I think of is that episode of The Young Ones called “Bambi,” when the Scumbag College students went on. “It’s University Challenge, Rik!”

    3. Helvetica*

      I was on Who Wants to be a Millionaire about 18 years ago – winning a lot of money -, which was exciting for a while in my very small country. I’ve never put it on my CV but it’s come up in conversation a couple of times and yeah, people are definitely curious about it. If anything, I’ve used it as an icebreaker but never thought it would somehow assist me in my career.

    4. Interviewer*

      Absolutely, it’s interesting stuff that wakes you up after the usual batch of CVs which you are checking for relevant experience, its a little “oh really” moment. It may not get your CV accepted but it would warrant a “hey look, this persons been on whatever” comment to the rest of the office

      1. Cj*

        as an interviewer, do you think a person should put that they are member of Mensa on their resume?

        it would show you are intelligent, but intelligence isn’t the same as knowledge. however, I think intelligence generally allows people to pick up on new things they would need to learn at the job more quickly.

        doing well and Jeopardy shows you have a lot of knowledge about a lot of different subjects, but not necessarily knowledge of what you would be doing on the job. so in that respect, I’m not sure it’s not much different than belonging to Mensa.

        1. Be Gneiss*

          I can’t put my finger on why, but Mensa sounds braggy (which, I realize, is basically the purpose of a resume, but it feels like the wrong kind of self-promotion), where somehow Jeopardy! doesn’t.
          If someone told me “I’m in Mensa.” I feel like I’d do a mental eye roll, but if someone told me “I was on Jeopardy!” I would definitely want to hear more.

          1. LifeBeforeCorona*

            When I was very much younger I took the Mensa exam because my ex bragged about being a member. He encouraged me to try because he was convinced my IQ would be too low. I passed with a higher number than his and he was extremely salty about it. It taught me that IQ numbers don’t really matter, it’s the person.

          2. AngryOctopus*

            Mensa is based on your IQ score, which we all know is a problematic measurement. Being on Jeopardy means you 1-passed an online test, 2-passed an in-person mock Jeopardy test 3-got selected to go on. The first two are actual practical applications of knowledge and skill and thinking on your feet.
            Also, having being on Jeopardy on your resume can give a tertiary interviewer something to chat with you about–some companies have way too many people meet with you, and they won’t really being working with you, so this gives you a nice non-work topic to round out after some job talk :)

              1. AngryOctopus*

                Interesting. She was on in 2008 (around then, at least), so I know she took the online test, then got called for the in person mock, then her name went into the “possible contestants” bin that is maintained for a year (?). Then when she wasn’t pulled the first time they tell you that you can go back and do it all again to be in the pool again, and she got pulled to go the second time.

                1. Victoria*

                  It’s all online now! Step one is the Jeopardy! Anytime online test. Step two is a second round of a similar online test, this time logged onto Zoom so they can watch you and make sure you’re actually the one answering the questions. Third round is a Zoom-based audition where you play a shortened mock game and do a contestant interview. Then you’re in the pool (or not, I guess) for 18 months, at which point it resets and you have to start the process over.

                  I was on J! last year. I did… well, let’s call it poorly. (Understatement!) My work doesn’t involve resumes, but if at some point I submit another resume I think I would include it. People love to talk about it, and REALLY love to chuckle along with me at some of my boneheaded responses.

                2. Aitch Arr*

                  My dad did this as well, sometime in the 90s.
                  He didn’t get called from the possible contestant pool, though.

                3. Book Ness Monster*

                  Victoria, I like to call it “placing third.” Or, I was “the second runner-up.” Because, really, WE MADE IT ONTO JEOPARDY and that was darned fun! After my episode, one of the audience members stopped me to tell me that it was clear I was delighted to be there (would’ve been even more delighted to have won, but I’ll take what I can get).

                  I am always surprised at the number of people who fail to understand the reference to “I lost on Jeopardy, baby, woo-oo-oo-oo.”

                  It’s been nearly 11 years since I got The Call from Sony, and I’m still tickled. I may just have to go add that to my resume now!

          3. Betsy*

            I would have the same reaction as Be Gneiss. Also, IQ tests are notoriously biased, so having a high IQ isn’t as impressive as being able to get on “Jeopardy!”.

            1. amoeba*

              I mean, I generally agree and also wouldn’t put Mensa, but… aren’t the assessments you take to qualify as a candidate probably at least as biased as an IQ test?

              I’d be more on the side of “Jeopardy is an interesting icebreaker/small talk topic, whereas Mensa isn’t”.

              1. Victoria*

                Definitely! The Jeopardy! “canon” is rather specific.

                I think the difference a lot of us feel in talking about it is that Jeopardy! isn’t *only* about “intelligence,” or even quick-thinking — it’s also entertainment. We’ve all seen it. We’ve played along and wondered how we would do. We’ve known answers when the players haven’t. It’s something we can connect with, rather than something that feels intentionally set apart and superior.

          4. Lenora Rose*

            I think there’s a, shall we say, stereotype about the type of person who joins Mensa aside from their strict intelligence (I suspect many of us know a number of people who qualify who wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole) and that might be what makes the difference.

            (let’s just say LifeBeforeCorona’s ex sounds… typical of what I expect from someone who actually mentions joining Mensa without having been pushed into it by someone like LifeBeforeCorona’s ex.)

        2. metadata minion*

          I would definitely react differently to them. Some of that is that I’ve had too many bad experiences with people who really, really like to say that they’re in Mensa and are therefore a Smart Person and are very proud of being smarter than everyone else, regardless of their actual skill at the task at hand. But setting aside that association, Jeopardy is an actual competition that you’ve done, which likely requires at least some planning, ambition, etc. as well as the ability to think on your feet. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re any better at the job I’m hiring for, but it’s a neutral-to-positive interesting fact, like if you ran marathons or published a book of poetry.

          Belonging to Mensa means you’ve taken an IQ test, which is a deeply problematic way to measure intelligence or ability at anything other than taking IQ tests (in a lot of ways it shows your childhood socioeconomic status more than anything else). Unless you’re seriously involved in the organization in a leadership/planning capacity, it’s really just a brag about your IQ.

          1. Daisy-dog*

            My thoughts too. Jeopardy is a whole event, including being on television. Mensa is very passive.

          2. Pocket*

            And if you are seriously involved in the organization I’d be more concerned!

            Jamie Loftus’s hilarious My Year in Mensa podcast tells one story of membership going badly, and not just for her.

          3. New Mom (of 1 5/9)*

            You make an excellent point, but the big difference between Mensa and Jeopardy is that in order to be on Jeopardy, you have to be “normal” enough to present well on TV. I’ve known many Jeopardy contestants (and, uh, I’ve been one) and many people who will never be on Jeopardy because they have zero stage presence, or an inability to talk sufficiently slowly/clearly/calmly, etc.

            1. RetiredAcademicLibrarian*

              I joke that I passed the test and the mock game, but flunked the personality test (I passed the first two back in the dark ages when they were both in person, the final part was to talk about yourself (like you were doing the part where Alex would talk to the contestants), and after that, I never got called to be on it.

              (It probably wasn’t that, I was told that so many librarians in the LA area passed the test that they limited the number called to play so there would be more variety in the background of the contestants)

            2. metadata minion*

              Absolutely, but there are tons of other random interesting accomplishments you could put on a resume; it’s not like I would prioritize Jeopardy candidates over marathon runners or historical recipe researchers or whatever unless it was somehow actually relevant to the job.

        3. SheLooksFamiliar*

          I’ve interviewed people for decades. My take is No to listing your Mensa membership on a resume – no need for ‘Personal Interests’, period – and being on Jeopardy! as well. Beyond ‘Huh, that’s mildly interesting’, there’s is little/if any relevant professional experience to offer by participating in either/both.

          I now know 3 people who were on Jeopardy! and they might not be the norm, but they are both insufferable about their appearance. They know stuff to be sure, but that didn’t make them great at their jobs…which is what we’re trying to find out on interview, not what kind of cool things someone did once upon a time.

          Also, I qualified for but declined to join Mensa after a couple of get-to-know-us meetings. No one ever got into Mensa because they were good at dealing with people in general, and there was a clear pecking order in the chapter I visited: there was smart, and then there was SMART. Listening to smart and SMART people argue about esoterics was dull as oats to me.

          I’m sure a lot of people find Jeopardy! interesting, and mentioning it in conversation can be a good icebreaker. But on a resume? Can’t support it, feels gimmicky to me.

          1. Sparkly Librarian*

            I now know 3 people who were on Jeopardy! and they might not be the norm, but they are both insufferable about their appearance.

            See, other people at work are more likely to bring up my J! appearance from a few years ago. I had kind of rough time under the lights and didn’t win the game, so for me it’s not really a positive talking point! But it is something I’d always wanted to do, so I’m glad I had the experience before Alex Trebek left.

            Agree about the “mildly interesting” resume point. Mine is mentioned as a project on LinkedIn, but not on my resume per se.

        4. Jack of all trades, master of French*

          I think the difference is (based on my experience as a former Jeopardy contestant) that you need to have some comfort level in unusual situations, a modicum of public speaking skills, and a certain amount of thinking on your feet. To qualify for Mensa, you need to perform well on a test that has been critiqued for being not an accurate measure of what it claims to measure.

          And that doesn’t even touch on the reputation Mensa members have acquired.

          I don’t have Jeopardy on my resume, but I do use it as my “fun fact” for work icebreakers, and when I had an office, I had my commemorative photo with Alex Trebek on display.

          1. Ann Nonymous*

            Greetings, fellow Jeopardess/Jeopardude! I have Jeopardy! listed at the bottom of my resume, partly because I’d love to see that on someone else’s resume as well. As you know, it’s harder to get on the show than to get into Harvard, so it’s an impressive feat on so many levels.

        5. Dedicated1776*

          I’ve been in Mensa a long time, but I’m not active because frankly a lot of Mensans are boring and not that accomplished. My mom got me the lifetime membership when I joined as a kid; if I had to pay, I would have quit years ago. I don’t tell people I’m in Mensa. Drive and perseverance are more important than a number on a test.

          However, in college I got to try out for Jeopardy! (did not pass the test), and that’s a story I tell occasionally because it’s fun and was an interesting process!

        6. Pastor Petty Labelle*

          Having been in Mensa — no. Its a social organization, not anything that really demonstrates anything else other than you qualified. And they are just as petty, bickering and annoying as any other organization.

        7. Relentlessly Socratic*

          I’m in Mensa, and echo what others are saying–the organization has a lot of issues and problematic members (although the volunteer leadership [a number of whom I count as friends] is trying hard to help effect some change).

          Mensa is primarily a social club. That’s all. Mere membership in Mensa costs the price of a test, or submission of test scores from elsewhere and payment of dues. Putting membership in Mensa on a resume tells me that you can reliably cut a check once a year or set up an auto-draft on your credit card. If you’re a life member, it tells me you cut a big check once. For a time, Mensa was pushing people to use that as a certification on LinkedIn, but I think that, thankfully, most of the membership rolled their eyes and ignored it.

          Now, there are people (the volunteer leaders for different regions, volunteers who run the catering at gatherings, etc.) who do a tremendous amount of very job-related work demonstrating useful and transferable skills, and I have seen people who list those roles under volunteer work and it’s wholly appropriate.

        8. Jiminy Cricket*

          Jeopardy is fun. Mensa is not. I like to work with fun and interesting, smart people.

          Obviously, it’s not a job qualification and doesn’t overcome any deficits in qualifications, but it is an opening to a conversation about the person as a whole. And you can learn a lot about what a person would be like to work with by talking to them about their genuine interests.

          1. Jiminy Cricket*

            Actually, now I feel bad: Maybe those Mensa meetings are fun! I should ask someone some time. It would be a good conversation starter. ;)

            1. birb*

              I have only had horrible experiences with Mensa. I have never seen an organization go to such great lengths to avoid accountability for sexual assault of adults and minors, harassment, racism, homophobia, etc. I’ve also never felt more dehumanized.

              Attempts to reform the org from within have consistently failed. A member was charged with brutally beating two women, including locking one in a cage and dousing her with lighter fluid while screaming he’d kill her, and people were arguing over whether or not he should hypothetically be banned, even post conviction. I literally never went to a single in person event because I wasn’t comfortable going without a man to escort me for safety.

              Years later I still get DMs from men I’ve never even met through that org or spoken with trying to pick me up, literally three last month. There’s a podcast by a comedian that joined to be funny, then called them out for their treatment of women… the response was rape and death threats. They still post about her regularly years later because they’re so mad someone came for them with receipts.

        9. Critical Rolls*

          Mensa members have a reputation for being utterly insufferable about how smart they are. Obviously (hopefully?) this is not universal, but the stereotype is strong enough that I really would not put it on a resume where you can’t convey that you aren’t a butthole about it.

        10. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

          Hell, no.

          Plenty of people who are intelligent enough to be in Mensa never bother to apply. To me Mensa says “I am an annoying braggart who believes IQ scores measure something other than the ability to take tests and who views themself as the Smartest One In The Room at all times and will not shut up about it”. It would be a (small) red flag. There are better ways to gauge useful intelligence than this fixation on standardized test scores.

      1. Justice*

        I’m also a 2-time winner, and the number of people whose faces light up when it comes up in conversation (naturally, I promise) was surprising to me, but it’s a real thing.
        If I were looking for a job, I would absolutely put it on my resume. A resume is a marketing document, and if it helps you stand out and get an extra minute of someone’s attention as they comb through the slush pile of resumes, it’s worth it.
        Between this question and the one yesterday about the scholarship, it seems like some here are very concerned about the perception that they’re “bragging” when they mention any positive accomplishments, and I confess I don’t get it. As long as you’re matter-of-fact and humble about impressive things that you’ve done, the vast majority of people are happy for you.
        (But I have to say, that doesn’t apply to Mensa membership in my book. I’ve never been tempted to touch Mensa with a 10-foot pole, and I’m happy with that decision.)

    5. LegalEagle*

      I was on a much less intellectually impressive game show, and even that’s on my resume. It’s a fun conversation starter, and I figure there’s enough other experience to counteract it!

    6. iglwif*

      I was on Jeopardy fairly recently (I did not win even one show, alas) and if I’m updating my resume it’s definitely going on there. People got VERY excited about it at the time.

    7. The Original K.*

      I have an acquaintance who was on Jeopardy and for a while, his LinkedIn picture was of him & Alex Trebec (RIP).

    8. Aeryn Sun*

      I know I’ve seen a rising trend in recommendations to include a small section of personal info on resumes, so I think it would be perfect to include as a little fun fact along with other stuff. Getting on the show requires a lot of general knowledge, creative thinking, memory, etc etc. As a Jeopardy fan (who has done the online test several times, no dice!) I would definitely view that with interest.

    9. We still use so much paper!*

      I was on Jeopardy in the 90s as well. Won one game too. It’s still on my resume cause it gets me in the door.

    10. Fleur-de-Lis*

      I was on Jeopardy! in 2017, and not only did my then-employer feature it on their website (I work in higher ed), but also I put it on my resume now. It’s gotten really great feedback in my particular business sector, and people seem to enjoy the stories about how it all works behind the scenes from the contestant perspective. It was a joyful experience for me – I’m a one-day champ – and all I could have hoped for as someone who literally grew up on Jeopardy! after school; the current incarnation of Jeopardy! started when I was in kindergarten. Yes to putting it on your resume! I list it next to my other community engagement/conversation starter bits at the very end.

    11. Anticoyote*

      Whether or not to put something on a resume is the applicant’s choice. When I was a hiring manager, I didn’t care much for these superficial items, unless it looks like they are “padding” it or it stretches the resume for pages. Then it gives me pause to assume their work may be like that as well.

    12. rebelwithmouseyhair*

      In France there’s a TV personality who hosts shows about books and high-brow culture, and who also runs a nationwide dictation contest. Dictation in French is very difficult because of silent letters which may or may not be there according to obscure grammar rules. An ESL student of mine worked with this TV personality on the dictation contest, and invited me along. I had not long been living in France so they suggested I took the high school level dictation, and I got 18/20. I was really really chuffed. They didn’t keep records of scores for non-native speakers, but my student said I must have been among the very highest.
      I never once thought to include that on my CV, and I’m now thinking I could have done, since it’s similarly a fun thing to have done which shows a very high level of French, always a good thing for a translator translating out of French.

    1. LCH*

      just tell the regional guy that your understanding is that hours worked outside of normal hours are not productive and ask how this meeting is any different. /s

      1. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

        You have /s but you’re not wrong.

        “So, staying late or coming in early for things like inventory, training, maintenance issues, etc. must be worked on top of that 42.5. ”

        Honestly, a better interpretation is that anything that can’t get done in the 42.5 hours OP1 works is not important enough to do.

        1. LCH*

          heh, yeah, the sarcasm was because it probably would go over badly, maybe badly enough for being written up (or whatever this workplace does) or firing. so i couldn’t suggest it as a real option. but honestly, this place is horrible.

  4. Bruce*

    LW1… to me for a salaried person the thing about the hours is annoying but lots of salaried jobs require more than 40 hours a week and more than 5 days a week. Though “salaried” covers a wide range and often the salary for managers is not up to what they are asking you to do. But expecting you to work a full day and THEN show up the next day for a meeting that is a 4 hour drive away… Is this normally your day off? Are you expected to work the next day too? That is bad, inconsiderate, abusive even. Worth looking around…

    1. WellRed*

      The fact they’ve told OP work tasks/time that used to count as work hours no longer does is more egregious to me and worth leaving over (when possible). The meeting is ridiculous but it’s a one time thing. And sadly not as uncommon as it should be.

      1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

        THIS. Being salaried means you are expected to do what needs to be done regardless of the hours. Then don’t turn around and count hours, deciding what counts and what doesn’t.

        I would do malicious compliance. Oh its not productive, then it doesn’t need to be done. Which of course will cause wailing and gnashing of teeth from the higher ups. So seriously, the only solution is get out now.

        1. Starbuck*

          Right, it’s asinine. If the work isn’t worth counting the hours for, then clearly it’s not worth doing. Oh, I’m required to do it anyway? Then those hours are for sure going to count.

      2. JM60*

        Their excuse that those hours don’t count because they’re “not productive” is ridiculous. If it’s “not productive”, then why make them do that work? Clearly it is productive, since that work needs to be done.

        1. Anticoyote*

          I totally agree with you but in this sense, “productive” probably means cost efficient. Even if the cost isn’t monetary, it needs to be counted.

          When I was a manager, I would routinely do one of my staff’s job for a day and see how long it took and if the company was providing enough resources. This way I could also get a handle on what the employee was doing. I not only would fine slackers, but just as often I found employees doing things that were out of their job description and lumbered on them. I was then able to reallocate these jobs to the appropriate person.

          What management is saying, is that it should take 42.5 hours to do your job, so why do you need more? At this point, it would be wise to document what you are doing. And I know this adds MORE hours to your already overburden schedule.

          But you can’t go in without any evidence and expect results. Perhaps managers are doing things they should be delegating. I’ve seen this happen a lot. And when upper (or highest) level managers have gone over duties they can do the job in the time allotted.

          The above applies to a decent company. There are some bad companies and this may be one and in that case, update your resume should be done immediately. Life is too short to spend with those who don’t appreciate you.

    2. Bagpuss*

      More than standard hours, yes. More than 5 days a week – much less common or reasonable. And in most *functional* workplaces the ‘extra’ hours are not all the time – for isntnace, if you are a tax advisor / accountant then you might have those extra hours around the end of the financial year / tax filing time, but not year round.

      OP, for the meeting, is there any scope for proposing that it is held remotely ? an 8 hour round trip and possible hotel stay seem a lot of cost and time, where it might be possible to deal with the same meeting via Teams or Zoom.

      1. doreen*

        That “six day a week” makes me wonder if it’s retail or something similar. And that in turn makes me wonder about the hours. That the hours don’t count toward the minimum because they aren’t productive is ridiculous – but some jobs have limited flexibility regarding hours and if the retail manager who is supposed to work from 8-4 comes in at 6 for whatever reason ( training, admin work , inventory) they won’t necessarily be able to leave at 2 and the store will have no manager on-site from 2-4. Which is not a problem for every type of business but is for some.

        1. Notaretailmanageranymore*

          almost certain I used to work for this company, definitely retail, and definitely run LW1!

        2. AngryOctopus*

          Well, if this place were not a buzzing hive of agitated bees, then having to come in at 6 for inventory would also mean that another manager would be in at say 1, for some overlap, and they’d work till close, and you can go home after a normal shift. Or you’d have someone in standard 8-4, and maybe another manager in later who stays later for inventory purposes as well. Point being, in a normal place, you’d have scheduled overlap if things HAVE to be done outside opening hours.

          1. Bruce*

            I understand why it is upsetting, especially since they changed the rules to demand more (probably without any extra pay). Front line management often gets badly treated, my sister was promoted to assistant manager at one job, she got a 50 cent raise to her wage and much worse work conditions… having to call in coverage at the last minute or work the shift herself with no notice, including her days off. I realize I was not acknowledging that the change itself is a take-away for LW1, that is more than “annoying”…

        3. Starbuck*

          Right, the framing is wrong and bad. If there are required core hours to be present, regardless of other time worked early or late, they should at least be honest and phrase it that way. They think they’re sly by not just calling it ‘mandatory unpaid overtime’ but do they really think they’re fooling anyone that that’s what they want?

          Yet another reason the federal overtime exempt threshold needs to be much higher. Like, double.

    3. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      OP, you are getting screwed left, right and center, it’s like art and pornography, I can’t explain it but I know it when I see it.

      And, Can someone explain this to me like I’ve never worked before, because I don’t understand what the company is saying.
      OP must run the store 6 days a week and clock 42.5 hours a week.
      The job consists of X Tasks, retail management and Y tasks, administrative management
      In the 42.5 hours, OP must complete X tasks and Y tasks.
      If OP manages the store for 42.5 hours in 6 days, and does not complete the Y tasks during that time…this is where I slip off the rails.

      1. Ellie Chumsfanleigh*

        I *think* what’s happening is that OP used to be able to come in an hour before opening and get shelves stocked / straightened, count out the day’s tills, deposit the cash & checks from the night before, whatever, and then work 6 hours in the store while customers are roaming about. Together, the pre-opening and during-open-hours work added up to her daily requirement of 7-ish hours (42.5/6 days).

        Now, however, all the work which can only be done pre-opening (no customers in the store) doesn’t count toward her 42.5. So she still has to come in early, but she can’t leave after the store has been open for 6 hours.

      2. B*

        If this indeed retail, and the job entails the kinds of things you describe, there’s a decent chance OP is misclassified and actually should be getting overtime pay. Retail is notorious for misclassifying managers as FLSA-exempt.

        1. Anticoyote*

          >>Retail is notorious for misclassifying managers as FLSA-exempt.

          Actually it’s not that difficult. On a federal level there are only three conditions

          1) must make at least $684 per week ($35,568/year)
          2) must possess creativity or decision-making power. (this must be ACTUAL, if you still need to get approval for your decision it isn’t actual
          3) Must direct the activities of at least two full time employees (or the part time equivalent of two full time employees)

          Yes, managers can work shifts, be required to do routine work other non-exempt employees do. But there are oddities to this. For example if a restaurant manager works the cash register because there IS no cashier and the business would call for one, then they are probably misclassified. If manager is simply filling in if it’s busy, during breaks or call off that is OK. This is why job descriptions are important.

          Also there are a lot of exemptions: Professions requiring advanced degrees, like lawyer, physician and some professions like acting, farming and child care (nannies) are covered under differing laws.

          Also state and local laws often have higher standards for exempt employees.

          And I have seen some weird result. For instance, we had one secretary in a company that I believed was misclassified. She filed a wage claim and the arbitrator said, “since she had full and total power over office supplies, that was sufficient authority to classify her as exempt.”

          So the bottom line is whether a person is exempt or non-exempt often will come down to a judge or arbitrator if the question goes into a wage claim.

    4. Elizabeth West*

      This is one reason I like being hourly. Yes, it sucks having to adjust time around appointments, my physical therapy, or whatever. But most companies don’t want to pay overtime (mine will if it’s necessary, which it has been from time to time) so the hours are fairly consistent, and at the end of the day, I can shut off the computer and/or leave and forget about work entirely. The delineation was something I had to lean hard into while I was at OldExjob, thanks to the toxic atmosphere.

  5. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

    OP2 (vaccine info) – What would you have done if you didn’t have access to this information? Probably avoid all play dates during that time. I think that is the path to take rather than single out these families. It’s always useful with these type of situations where someone is relying on special access or confidential info to ask “what would you have done if you didn’t have that”, and if that is a reasonable action, it’s usually the way to go.

    1. Allonge*

      Is that realistic though, no playdates for OP’s kids for months? I don’t know what their schedule looks like of course, but it feels a bit too much, even with the risks involved (the kids meet at school anyway, so it cannot be a perfect separation).

      I understand that OP would want a midway solution, is what I am saying.

      1. Harper the Other One*

        I mean, sometimes we have to change things because of family circumstances! She’s not planning to pull her kids out of school or deny them all social contact; she’s just avoiding out of school playdates.

        I think it’s important to remember that there are plenty of people with disabilities/health conditions where this has to be their permanent policy, not a matter of months. What needs to be done for health reasons IS realistic because it has to be.

      2. Slartibartfast*

        Their other kids will survive. The baby though could die or suffer permanent severe harm. That’s not a risk worth taking.

        1. Allonge*

          I understand, but it’s not a binary safe/unsafe, is it?

          It’s one choice in what has to be a hundred that OP needs to make around this, and not a no playdates = risk averted situation. The same kids go to the school with OP’s, for one.

          OP can reduce the risk somewhat with using the information from her job (I would say fair enough to do that).

          1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

            But it still goes back to the basic point — if OP didn’t have this confidential information, what choices would she make otherwise?

            1. Allonge*

              Yes, but she does have access. What purpose does it serve if she ignores it? She is not making illegal financial transactions, she is making her family a little safer, while not stopping all playdates for her kids.

            2. Observer*

              I agree with @Allonge

              The idea that it is NEVER ok to use confidential information is kind of ridiculous. Yes, there are situations where use of confidential information is a major problem, but this is not one of them.

              And while the kids “will survive” basically shutting off their out of school social lives till the baby comes is a BIG ask – for the kids and for the parents. If it’s possible to do avoid it, it’s reasonable.

              Keep in mind that in many cases, the answer to “what would you do otherwise” does not turn out to viable.

              1. Lenora Rose*

                I see the risk as, if she indicates publicly or to other families or the school that her decisions are being made based on the confidential information *alone*, there is an issue.

                If she happens to use that confidential information as a backup resource to a more extensive “keep my fetus and myself safe” plan, and doesn’t at any point mention the vaccination records aloud…

                I have access to possible confidential information about my kids’ school due to my job in the division. I can’t not know it, but I do try and make sure any decision I make as a parent is based on more prongs of information from more public sources as well.

              2. MCMonkeyBean*

                Yeah, don’t go telling everyone your confidential information, and don’t do something to gain from your knowledge financially. Otherwise–if you know it, you know it, and pretending otherwise to just yourself is silly. ESPECIALLY when it’s about your own personal safety!

            3. doreen*

              I don’t think it’s really possible to know what you would do if you didn’t have information that you do have. That’s why you will sometimes see people trying to avoid having information – I can’t illegally discriminate against you for having children ( it is illegal in my state) if I don’t know you have them.

          2. Slartibartfast*

            OPs kid being vaccinated is a barrier for her own child bringing the illness home in a way that direct exposure to an unvaccinated child is not. And when the risks include possible death of the baby she’s carrying, it does move this more towards the binary in this situation, because however statistically small the risk might be, the consequences are dire. Especially since you can be contagious for days before you show any symptoms.

            1. Allonge*

              My issue is that (unless I misunderstand you), based on this thinking, no pregnant person would go anywhere or meet anyone, as there is always a statistically small risk of meeting someone who is contagious. It’s unrealistic to separate yourself from the entirety of society, no matter how safe it makes her or the baby.

              OP can, with some finesse, separate herself from kids she knows are not vaccinated without disclosing that she is doing this based on information she gets from her job. That has to be good enough for a lot of circumstances – most people don’t have this option at all.

              1. Eldritch Office Worker*

                This isn’t ‘no pregnant person’, this is a high risk pregnant person. High risk pregnant people do, very often, isolate themselves.

                1. Allonge*

                  This is a pregnant person who did not ask for health advice and is getting a lot of ‘this can kill your baby’, which they are obviously aware of.

                  I don’t think we should be telling them how to live their life, and deciding for them if they need to isolate from society. OP asked a work-related question, not a question on what is the best possible safety measure while they are pregnant. And OP asked a question for a specific situation, where she is aware of information that can help her keep safe.

                2. Slartibartfast*

                  Allonge, I am not giving medical advice to OP. And neither is Eldritch. But I am saying that OP does have a damn good reason to privately act on this information that she knows incidentally. But no, she cannot say out loud that this information is the reason behind her decisions, because she only became aware of this through a confidential circumstance. So it is better to have a white lie prepared for those people who are unvaccinated, should the situation present itself.

                3. Allonge*

                  Slartibartfast, then we agree totally. I am just arguing for OP’s use of the information, not disclosure.

                  But I am seeing here what looks like advice to OP that says to ignore what she knows and implement instead no playdates at all and also that ‘high risk pregnant people isolate from the world often’. This is just not realistic – I would expect that ‘often’ either applies in the 1% of society where that is even an option, or for very short periods only.

                  And pregnant people already get a lot more advice than needed, which is what raised my hackles here, really.

                4. Eldritch Office Worker*

                  I gave no advice to the OP, I challenged YOUR assumptions. You’ve never heard of someone going on bedrest? Needing to spend the end of their pregnancy with a caregiver (even if that’s a spouse or family member)? These are the things OP has to worry about, and kids not going on playdates is a super low cost for that. Again, a response to you and your comments, directly.

                5. Allonge*

                  Eldritch Office Worker – ok, you are not giving medical advice, and yet it looks to me that you are indicating what choices OP or someone in her position should make about her kids and their collective life (in order to keep healty/safe). Or I am not understanding what you are saying, in which case I am sorry.

                  I know about people going on bed rest. I never heard of people going on bed rest when stopping e.g. long-distance running / other optional activity was sufficient to reduce the risk to a manageable level. And I don’t get why OP needs to worry about going on bed rest or similar isolation if that is not something her doctor advised, which at least we have not heard of.

                  I am not advising the OP to do anything, I am going by what she indicated she intends to do here. That was stopping certain playdates, not full isolation. I would discourage her from telling people why and how she got the info, but that has very little to do with how appropriate the planned action is from a safety / health perspective.

          3. Eldritch Office Worker*

            It kind of is. You don’t know what the kids have been exposed to. You don’t know if the other parents immunity waned, as many of us described experiencing upthread. With the unvaccinated parents it is a 100% real confirmed red flag risk but that risk is still present whether you know about it or not.

      3. Jackalope*

        In response to the other responses in this thread, we’ve all just been through a much more extensive version of this where we had to isolate for years, and by all accounts it was psychologically incredibly damaging. Someone mentioned disabled people who have to isolate all the time as a rule, and from what I’ve heard from the disabled people in my life it is also incredibly psychologically damaging for them. The OP didn’t mention how far along she is, but that could be a long time that her kids would have to isolate AGAIN (especially if she’s concerned about, say, whooping cough once the baby is born – also a very reasonable fear).

        It makes sense to stick to play dates with vaccinated children only for the next however many months, or to ask people upfront if they’re vaccinated and use that as a requirement. But given the 90%+ efficacy rate of the MMR vaccine and high rate of efficacy for chicken pox (I found different percentages for that one), cutting off all social contact outside of school for the kids for months with other vaccinated children is not going to add any meaningful level of protection and is likely to be harmful to said children.

        1. doreen*

          I don’t think anyone actually meant “no playdates of any kind” – much of the reason for people saying “no playdates” is to avoid people knowing that only certain families are being avoided which might let vaccination status become known. But that would only apply to schoolmates. If my kids still have playdates with kids who don’t attend that school ( neighborhood friends , my sibling’s kids, my friends’ kids ) that won’t disclose anyone’s vaccination status.

          1. Jackalope*

            Given that the post starting this thread said “avoid all okay dates… I think that is the path to take”, and given that other people are talking about complete isolation outside of school and work, I think that “no play dates of any kind” is exactly what is being advocated for here.

        2. IneffableBastard*

          Outdoor playdates are also helpful, as there is less air/surfaces sharing. Kid can have a shower when back home and wash out what’s not airborne.

      4. TootsNYC*

        except that perhaps what she would have done is to ask the other families about their vaccination status, explaining that she herself is now relying on THEIR immunization status because her own is not available to her anymore. And pointing out the EXTREME consequences of someone giving her the disease.

        She might even ask to see immunization records if she’s afraid they’ll lie.

        1. Lana Kane*

          My feeling is that asking people this question will not go well, especially with the parents who aren’t vaccinating. And OP is an employee at the school, which adds a layer of social complexity.

    2. Meat Oatmeal*

      Yeah! Or instead of avoiding ALL play dates, maybe ask the family of each potential play date about their vaccination history and maybe for proof of vaccination? Not all families at once — just, if someone proposes a play date, that’s when it’s time to talk to that family about vaccines.

      Families with kids who are known to be vaccinated should still be asked.

      1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

        Potentially, but then you get into the issue of “what if they lie about this and you know it to be a lie”…

          1. Cmdrshprd*

            Eh idk, definitely saw news stories of people buying fake vaccine cards to be able to “prove” vaccine status without having it.

          2. Observer*

            Most people who aren’t vaccinating by choice usually aren’t shy about sharing their opinions.

            Not necessarily true. Sure there are some people who are in your face about it but many are not. Especially the ones who have some sort of issue (whether the kids can’t medically get a shot, or an issue with the other parent etc.)

        1. TootsNYC*

          Then you ask them to provide you with the records.
          Or you say, “I don’t know, I’m still not really comfortable. Let’s pick it back up when I’m not in danger of birth defects to my baby.”

      1. Bagpuss*

        YEs – you can say “Can I ask ifyour kids are up to date with their vaccinations? Due to medical vulnerabilities we need to limit exposure to anyone who isn’t up to date?

        If they are honest and say they aren’t vaccinated you can plitely devclien to playdate, if they lie and say they are, you can’t disclose you know them to be lying but you can have a sudden conflict or other resn to cancel / be unable to find a mutually convenient date .

        1. TootsNYC*

          “Due to medical vulnerabilities”

          If I were the LW, this would be too wishy-washy for me. People who don’t vaccinate need to have some hard, hard truths accurately described.

          “I don’t want my baby to have birth defects.”

          1. IneffableBastard*

            I agree, but she is a school worker and these people’s kids are in the school. Sometimes an euphemism avoids many problems in the workplace.

    3. Harper the Other One*

      +1 to this. You can’t really draw on confidential information you have access to from work, so decide what you would do if you worked in an entirely different context. Maybe that’s no play dates at all, maybe that’s Mom masks during play dates, maybe that’s only playdates outdoors. But whatever it is, that is really what you should do.

    4. Thomas*

      The thing is a *possible* answer is, have absolutely no idea that so many other parents at the school aren’t getting their children vaccinated.

    5. Batman*

      Why should op go out of her way to not make these people who haven’t vaccinated their children uncomfortable?

      1. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

        It’s more that she needs to avoid anyone realising she is using her job’s access to vaccination status

        1. Nodramalama*

          It’s not about being overly polite, it’s about avoiding the perception that she is using or acting on confidential information.

          1. Yellow sports car*

            Not perception – fact. LW is absolutely planning to use confidential medical information, that she can only access because of her job, “against” these children. Her question was be open about that, or not.

            Honestly I’d fire an employee that was obviously exploiting their access to confidential medical records to decide who her kids can play with. For me the risks to me as the boss are just too high to be worth keeping her.

            LW has the option of maintaining the appearance of not using confidential medical information in her decision making. Just say – no play dates. She could simply say – I’ve discovered my vaccination against rubella has waned and until I can be vaccinated again we’re being extra cautious – so we’re limiting what we do as a family for a while.

            LW how would you feel if the secretary at your medical practice uninvited your kids from a birthday party or event because they know you aren’t fully vaccinated? Or basing decisions on the fact that you are pregnant? You’d probably be unhappy with them using your records that way, and while you might not legally have to provide the same level of confidentiality as a medical practice – you definitely should aim to do so.

            1. Allonge*

              That’s a bit harsh. The unvaccinated kids in question are very unlikely to suffer from not being invited for playdates with OP’s kids for some months, this is not a discriminatory action (equal playdates for all is not a thing).

            2. Happy meal with extra happy*

              This is wild. OP can’t un ring the bell and unlearn who’s vaccinated or not, and to expect her to not privately use this information and blithely accept potential significant health consequences. This isn’t Severance.

            3. Critical Rolls*

              What risk is there to you as a boss if this person, without referencing her knowledge, quietly uses what she knows to protect herself and her baby? Are you really insisting the LW pretend she doesn’t know about these vaccination status, with the result of increased risk to her and her baby for a disease that can be fatal?

              1. GythaOgden*

                She can do it quietly — but her letter to Alison is about doing it openly, which is something most of us are warning her against doing.

                1. Critical Rolls*

                  This is not true or reasonable. If she’s discreet, she hasn’t disclosed the information, she hasn’t taken unfair financial advantage, she hasn’t shown favor or disfavor in any official capacity. Where’s the violation of policy or ethics?

            4. New Jack Karyn*

              “Honestly I’d fire an employee that was obviously exploiting their access to confidential medical records to decide who her kids can play with.”

              Let’s take that to a different conclusion–a worker finds out that a child has an active case of chicken pox. Is it unethical for her to say that her kids can’t have a playdate with that family until it’s resolved?

              LW’s question is how open she can be about it–and the answer is, not open at all. She can’t straight up say that she knows the other kids are not vaccinated. I think she can duck invitations by those few families, and arrange get-togethers with other families. I think she’d do well to come up with 5-6 stock responses and rotate through them.

      2. DinoZebra*

        While I have no problem making anti-vaxers feel uncomfortable sometimes kids can’t be vaccinated for medical reasons. One of my cousins couldn’t be given about half the usual childhood vaccines (including Rubella) because she was on life-saving medication that her had all sorts of horrible side-effects including damage to her immune system.
        Obviously LW would still need to avoid contact with a child like that – but it should be done with tact and sensitivity not by treating her and her family as irresponsible pariahs.

          1. Anon1*

            It’s rare for someone to be unable to vaccinate at all, in my experience it’s not as rare to not be able to be “fully vaccinated” ie. fully up to date with every vaccine recommended for their age group

          2. Dramatic Intent To Flounce*

            About 3% of adults in the US are at least moderately immunocompromised – in other words, three in every hundred. Not sure how that number translates to kids, and there are obviously degrees involved and plenty of immunocompromised people who are that way temporarily (because they’re on chemotherapy, for example,) but three in one hundred isn’t actually that rare. And on top of that you get people who can’t get certain vaccines due to allergies but who can get others – to my knowledge, they’re not necessarily considered in that count.

            So it definitely happens… which is all the more reason for people who CAN to get themselves fully vaccinated. Generally speaking I suspect most people with immunocompromised kids/who are immunocompromised themselves are going to be pretty understanding if you asked because you’re at higher risk, since a responsible parent is being pretty careful themselves for essentially the same reason. Uuuuunfortunately, there are enough people who are irresponsible with regards to public health that I wouldn’t count on any given circumstance being that one in three hundred unless I’ve got reason to believe otherwise.

        1. metadata minion*

          I’m sure this varies a lot, but people I know who can’t be vaccinated for immune reasons are generally very understanding of other high-risk people wanting to avoid potential transmission, and are very careful to not hang out with other unvaccinated people if at all possible. I’d be mildly surprised if parents in that situation didn’t ask the LW on their own about her family’s vaccine status.

      3. Nancy*

        OP shouldn’t be letting parents know she has access to their personal information.

        OP may not even know why the kids aren’t vaccinated. One of my siblings is missing one of the childhood vaccines because they had such a horrible reaction to the first dose.

        OP2: politely decline or ask the parents straight up if the kids are vaccinated.

        1. Allonge*

          OP is not judging the unvaccinated kids, she just does not want to meet them (at least in optional playdates) until the risky period is over. Why someone is not vaccinated matters very little here.

      4. Friendo*

        Why should OP go out of her way to hide that she is using their private records for her families personal life?

        1. Head sheep counter*

          Using confidential information is usually grounds for firing and for a good reason. You want people to trust that their information is safe so that they will fully disclose and participate. If you can demonstrate that it isn’t safe… then the down stream impacts can be quite severe.

  6. Anne*

    Cue malicious compliance – if the only work that counts during the 42.5 hours then only do what you can manage in 42.5 hours. If upper management complains about all the work that’s not getting done, just say “sorry extra work hours doesn’t count.” How delusional their company is!

    1. KateM*

      “Sorry, but you know how it is – any hours worked outside of opening hours are not productive, so there’s no point in being at work during those hours.”

    2. Inkhorn*

      That’s what I was thinking. If hours worked outside of opening hours aren’t productive, there’s no point in working them is there? You’d only be wasting the company’s time faffing around with your unproductive things, and surely the company wouldn’t want its time wasted…

    3. Sean*

      And indeed it is the company itself (and not the stretched employees) which has declared that all those extra hours are not even productive anyway!

    4. bamcheeks*

      Yes, the *only* good reasons to work extra hours are if you are getting paid for them, or you have the kind of job where the focus is on what you do/ produce not the hours you work, and the flexibility goes both ways. It makes zero sense for a company to track that you’re doing precisely 42.5 hours (which, let’s face it, is already a longer than normal week!) if you’re in a salaried role where you don’t get paid for overtime. They should be looking at results, not hours!

      LW, unless you’re in some kind of profit-sharing / franchise contract where the success of the company *directly* benefits you, this is ridiculous and you should figure out a comfortable minimum until you can find another position.

    5. GettingTheIck*

      Refusing to do your work isn’t malicious compliance. In the real world that kind of malicious compliance (or really most kinds) gets you fired real quick. It’s just an Internet “and then everyone cheered” kind of thing. The real world doesn’t work that way.

      1. bamcheeks*

        If the company’s perspective is that any admin work LW does outside of the 42.5 hours of store-opening time (or whatever kind of business it is) “doesn’t count”, then LW should do their admin work during store opening time and stop doing whatever store-walk-arounds, staff training, staff support etc she was previously doing during store opening, *unless* she’s on a contract where that kind of activity directly and significantly supports her own compensation. That’s not malicious compliance, that’s just working in the way the company openly incentivises.

        1. bamcheeks*

          (I realise LW accepts a certain amount of overtime as part and parcel of the type of work she does, so in reality it’s probably “don’t do more than ~50 hours you accept as reasonable for the salary you earn”. But not going above-and-beyond whatever you consider reasonable work for a company that doesn’t provide any reward or recognition of that effort is not “malicious compliance”, it’s the kind of rational self-interest that capitalism is *supposed* to work on.)

        2. doreen*

          It’s not at all clear that that isn’t exactly what the company wants – the letter says “my ability to get admin work done has been very difficult, because I know my team needs me most during those opening hours” but doesn’t say specifically what that means. It could mean the LW is providing necessary training during the opening hours – or it could mean the LW is on the sales floor for the entire time the store is open or anything in between. And the company may not want them on the sales floor as much as they are.

          The meeting , however is unreasonable.

      2. Boof*

        They aren’t refusing to work; they aren’t working above and beyond/ maximizing their work time because the company has been so inflexible

        1. Boof*

          … of course they could be fired for anything including that, especially if there’s loads of people raring to take their spot (idk if this is game industry or something wildly popular that lets employers get away with stuff, but op didn’t mention that so seems unlikely). Op probably knows best if their company is probe to firing people or ignoring when people don’t jump to redic commands. And again, going somewhere else may be better anyway!

      3. Sandals*

        Great post, GettingTheIck, and it’s refreshing to see a practical response. Really, this situation very likely belongs in the category of “You either accept company’s terms and find a way to manage them, or you don’t, and you go elsewhere.”

      4. Gumby*

        Working to the rule / working to the contract is a frequently used bargaining tool for unionized employees. It’s probably less safe on an individual basis but might not be an automatic firing if it is done the right way given a sane supervisor. It’s the same concept of saying “I can do A and B or B and C but not all three, which would you like me to prioritize” (paraphrased) which is suggested here all the time. Though OP1’s management doesn’t seem particularly reasonable which might make this riskier. OTOH, I’d dearly like OP1 to be able to escape this beehive so…

    6. Your Mate in Oz*

      At the very least this meeting seems like a candidate for “can you explain why this meeting is needed, since it’s outside opening hours and therefore unproductive”.

      It depends a lot on the company, I’m used to retail “managers” working silly hours for low pay because they don’t have other options for progression. Then once they count as “experienced managers” they fight to get the few decent jobs in that area. But the flip side is that anyone who isn’t working 50+ hours for 40 hours pay is going to be fired or demoted pretty quickly.

    7. Richard Hershberger*

      This letter dredged up bad memories of working in retail. The way it works, for major chains, is to keep hourly payroll below what is really needed for a well run store. The store manager is largely evaluated on how well they can make this work. In practice this means that the salaried staff (typically the store manager and a handful of assistant managers) works ridiculous hours. What the “only during store hours” really means is that they want the salaried people on the floor during store hours, stocking the shelves or working a register or whatever–stuff that could be done by an hourly employee, if there were enough hours available. This of course leaves the administrative tasks to be done at other times, but this isn’t upper managements problem.

      1. NotRealAnonForThis*


        More than half a lifetime ago, I was an assistant store manager. The pay “sounded” good, along with the fact that I actually got healthcare to go with it, but it quickly became obvious that even this small chain filled in holes in the allowed hourly payroll amounts by requiring salaried to work 60+ hours a week.

        The pathetic laugh that the store manager and I shared when we realized that payroll for the week after Christmas (so after Christmas sales and returns, yikes) permitted us less than half the store’s open hours….

    8. Cj*

      saying work outside of open hours sucks, and is obviously productive, they said they have to work a *minimum* of 42.5 hours.

    9. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      I’ll bet you there’s a manager who hates dealing with people, and so tries to put in as many hours before opening and after closing as possible. Like working 4am to noon, or 4pm to midnight, in order to avoid interacting with the public.

      So rather than address this one manager’s poor performance, they push out a blanket rule that punishes the good people.

    10. danmei kid*

      This company is staying afloat on the backs of its underpaid and overworked employees. Malicious compliance is only step 1; quitting is step 2!

  7. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

    OP5 (Jeopardy! on a resume) – I wouldn’t rule someone in or out of the hiring process just based on that of course, but I’d be thinking “that was 20 years ago! What have you done since?” It does have a reputation for being more ‘intellectual’, yes, but am I hiring ‘intellectuals’ or am I hiring someone who can administer our web site (or whatever the actual job is).

    1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

      Sorry, hit send before I’d finished – in the case of the young man in that group, the experience must be more recent so it is potentially more relevant.

      You know how there’s always someone I’m a workplace who starts everything with “WELL, when I was at Well Known Company, we didn’t do it like this, we….” – Let’s hope there aren’t too many references to “when I was on Jeopardy!” when he gets a job as people will tire of that quickly.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I agree I wouldn’t put it on from 20 years ago but the OP isn’t asking for themselves, they’re asking for someone who’s just about to finish college.

    3. Irish Teacher*

      I think it’s going to depend on the job too. Being an “intellectual” might be more impressive/relevant in the context of some jobs than others. If the job requires a lot of memory skills or is one where people are expected to be intellectual, it may be more helpful than if the job is completely unrelated to any of the skills one would use for Jeopardy.

      For teaching, a lot of hobby typed stuff is relevant because of the benefit to students. Something like that might be beneficial to a teacher applying for jobs, not so much because it makes them seem like an intellectual (though I think that could also bias principals in their favour) but because this is somebody who might organise a quiz team or a debate team with the students.

      And yeah, that is a particular case, but I suspect there could be other jobs where it might have relevance.

  8. Anonymous Poster*

    For Eagle Scout, I am one. But I got it like, 20 years ago. I’ve always wondered whether to include it or not, and it’s something that I’ll easily drop off my resume if I think my resume is getting too long. I’ve been working for 15 years and think it’s reasonable to have a 1.5 page resume at this point, but I generally feel as though no one is going to read a really lengthy resume.

    I guess my question is, if I have room I might include that I’m an Eagle Scout, but does anyone really care about it? Especially since it was so long ago now and I have experience that’s far preferable to write about, I’d think?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Yep, see above — good to include when you have less experience, doesn’t make sense when you have 15 years of work experience to talk about instead.

      1. Aqua409*

        Interesting. My husband received his almost 34 years ago and has kept it on his résumé. He still has interviewers asking about it.

        1. MyStars*

          Eagle Scouts in real life, aside from their resumes, remain lifelong valuable contributors to their communities and the “higher good.” It reflects commitment to a core value system that aligns with the qualities needed for employment success, including keeping commitments (such as to work schedules and assigned tasks), persisting through difficult situations, and planning/executing complicated tasks (Eagle Projects). A lifelong meaningful resume boost and one of the few extracurriculars that is quantifiable.

          1. Goldie*

            Funny thing, Girl Scouts has a Gold Award that is similarly challenging, community service oriented, etc. does not have the cache of an Eagle Scout award.

            1. Slow Gin Lizz*

              It doesn’t, one of many reasons being that it had gotten its name changed several times before they finally settled on the name Gold Award, so there wasn’t the consistency of name that Eagle Scout had. That said, I got my Gold Award back in 1996 and I did have it on my resume until my most recent job search, and my previous boss liked that because she’d been a Girl Scout for many years too. I’m not sure how many applicants they’d had for that job but I’m sure having the Gold Award on my resume gave me a minuscule bump in the running.

              My point being, GSA tells their Gold Awardees that they should put it on their resumes because it IS the same as Eagle Scout, but since not as many people know about it, you are correct that it doesn’t have the cachet of Eagle Scout. I say we should change this though!

              As an aside, it does seem that a LOT of Eagle Scouts, or at least the ones we hear about, tend to do construction projects or very publicly seen projects. My Gold Award project was a brochure for a specialized field (pre-internet, if you recall) and I doubt anyone ever read it. I don’t know what other Gold Award projects tend to be but I do notice when I’m hiking somewhere and the little footbridge has a sign saying it was an Eagle Scout project; I’ve never seen a Gold Award footbridge but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any of them out there. I would be SO EXCITED to see one. I’m sure there are Gold Award projects where the girls help people in need and I am very proud of those girls, but I don’t know of any specifically.

              1. Next Gen Girl Scout*

                A Girl Scout in my hometown renovated the courtyard of our public library! I don’t know if she got a plaque, but she deserves one. She transformed it from the concrete void I remember from my childhood into an inviting, lush garden full of meeting spaces and reading perches and she coordinated donated time and labor to add quality touches like nice brickwork and a water feature. Years later, I used that space to tutor kids in the summer who were interested in keeping their English skills up over the school break. They were recent immigrants from Central America, and I like to think that a big factor in making summer study worthwhile (maybe even enjoyable??) for them and for me is that we had this very welcoming, open-air space that was shady but warm. It was neutral ground in a town where many spaces did not welcome immigrants, and a genuinely pleasant space to inhabit. That was a Gold Award gift that kept on giving!

                1. Slow Gin Lizz*

                  Wow, I LOVE this!!!! I wish I’d been more garden/outdoor oriented in my youth because that would’ve been a lot more fun than the project I did end up doing.

              2. On My Honor*

                Lifetime GSUSA member, Gold Award earner and former professional Girl Scout (20+ year employee) – the big difference between Eagle and Gold is that the service project for Eagle is the final step to achieve Eagle rank, from a specific checklist of tasks that must be completed over a several year period- badges earned, service hours, etc. For Gold, all the requirements pertain mostly to the project itself, there are a few pre-reqs but the main focus is the project. The girl has to put at least 80 hours of work into their project (after completing the pre-requisites), the project proposal has to be approved by a local volunteer board and it has to have some kind of sustainable aspect to it. So they are often a bit more abstract than a construction project like a bridge or benches. But ultimately, both GS & BS put a ton of time and hard work into earning those awards.

                And yes, the name has changed too many times, but it has been Gold Award since 1980.

                1. Slow Gin Lizz*

                  From what I recall, the Gold Award also had a bunch of other requirements like badges, leadership award, and some other prereqs before you started your project. Is that no longer the case? It took me most of high school to do all the requirements (and it was like pulling teeth; I only did it because my mother wouldn’t let me not do it).

              3. Camp staff*

                I think this might be changing for the better, esp since GSUSA has really been publicizing what their awards are. My daughter is in college now, and she is a Gold Award/Trifecta/Medal of Honor Girl Scout, and this definitely helped her college process.

            2. Betsy*

              As I’m reading this thread, I’m thinking the same thing. When I was a Girl Scout, the Eagle Scout equivalent was called First Class. I assume that whichever term is used, people won’t even know what it signifies (it was a lot of hard work! Mostly TEAM work, and therefore relevant info for employers.).

            3. Marillenbaum*

              When I worked in college admissions, I was broadly more impressed by Gold Award recipients than by the Eagle Scouts, in part because the nature of the projects was typically more challenging than building a park bench.

          2. Heather*

            The point is that if you’ve been a valuable contributor to your community for 20 years you’ve presumably got something more recent to list as an interesting tidbit than something you did in high school.

            1. Sloanicota*

              I agree. I’d rather see “build houses” or “designed nature trails” on a resume than something I associate with teenage award, particularly if the applicant is senior or even middle aged. That’s me personally. I’d also be a bit leery about someone being super excited to be a boy scout given the LGBTQ conversations going on now; I work in a very liberal office so we might probe their tolerance a bit more if they were listing this with the expectation it’s boosting their candidacy. Sorry.

              1. Friendo*

                BSA now accepts gay scouts.

                Also, I would ask you to rethink your views considering that many individuals who I did scouting with are gay.

          3. ferrina*

            Mileage may vary.

            My first encounter with an Eagle Scout was a high school boyfriend. His parents had plotted out exactly how to get the badge- all he needed to do was show up (which was all he did do). He didn’t even really do the final project. His parents had suggested the idea and of doing a community clean up and coordinated with the other adults, and I was the one who actually recruited and coordinated the volunteers to clean up. Once again, the guy getting the Eagle badge just kinda showed up and got credit.

            I can attest that this kid did not develop a long-term commitment to community and higher good. As with all things, there will be some who really embody the values and others who really don’t.

          4. CDM*

            The Boy Scout core value system has always and continues to discriminate against certain people for membership and leadership. Their official policies still exclude atheists and agnostics from membership and leadership.

            1. Anonymouse*

              Yeah, seeing “Eagle Scout” on a resume, especially from someone who isn’t a recent grad, is a yellow flag for me, because it can also reflect a commitment to a core value system that is at odds with working in a diverse environment.

          5. Parakeet*

            There is no childhood or adolescent project that ensures that you have a lifelong commitment to the “higher good” and are permanently a “valuable contributor” to your community. Those are qualities that have to be sustained over, well, someone’s lifetime. There’s no adult project that ensures it either, for the same reasons, but at least adult projects show something more recent about the person.

          6. biobotb*

            If their only evidence of commitment to these values is being an Eagle Scout, that would actually reveal they weren’t so committed after all. Someone who remained committed over their lifetime would have a lot of public service they could point to instead of just one thing they did in adolescence.

    2. urguncle*

      I was a foreign exchange student in high school closing in on 20 years ago now. It’s not on my resume, but because it was through Rotary, it’s something that I’ll mention if I see the interviewer is in the local Rotary. Even when it hasn’t immediately gotten me the job, it seems to create a level. Scouts is even more common; you may talk to someone who has a kid in Scouts or a nephew and they can immediately see you as part of an organization.

    3. Caramel & Cheddar*

      I think there was a letter about this a few months/years ago, where I think the commentariat broke into two camps: that on the one hand it was something that was difficult to achieve so people who *did* achieve it felt like it was worth including because it showed dedication and hard work, and on the other hand if you weren’t familiar with or cared about Boy Scouts of America it seemed like something very weird to put on your resume because the gravity/importance of it doesn’t feel as widely known to people outside of BSA.

      I wouldn’t put it on, but I’m in the latter category of people and it wouldn’t mean much to me to see it unless it was related in some way to the job someone was applying to.

      1. Filosofickle*

        It’s not the same thing but it reminds me of my experience having an MBA. I put it on my resume because it’s education, but there is almost never an upside to talking about it. (There may be an exception here for the tippy top schools, but I don’t hang out with that crew.) Those who have MBAs think they are no big deal, because everyone they know has one. It’s a checkbox. Those who don’t have MBAs are also unimpressed — because they believe degree is a waste of time (meaning if you had any talent for business you’d learn on the job) or they just have a very low opinion of people with MBAs.

    4. 1-800-BrownCow*

      My dad is a former Scout Leader and my brother and 2 cousins are Eagle Scouts. I also have 2 sons in Scouts that are working toward their Eagle Scout, so I’m quite familiar with what it takes to get your Eagle Scout. If I see it listed on a resume for someone I’m interviewing, I always ask about it. I would definitely keep it on there.

    5. Luanne Platter*

      Yes, keep including it! Shows a dedication to community and higher purpose that I think transcends a specific amount of time. As a hiring manager, I love to see Eagle Scout on a resume.

    6. Anticoyote*

      The question of whether to include being an “eagle scout” is interesting. Because scouting isn’t what it once was and I am an oldie, I realize that obtaining the rank of eagle scout is difficult and requires dedication.

      Most people today wouldn’t know that or maybe not know what one is.

      It would be, what I call a ’tilt factor’ if I was hiring someone and the two candidates were dead even.

      The bottom line, as always, is the correct resume is the one that lands you the job.

  9. MK*

    Eh, I don’t understand the relevance of the customer service work history in #3. Why did OP find it necessary to mention that this coworker was working a customer service job 3 years ago? Why compare the situation to a customer treating her badly? Am I missing something?

    1. Nela*

      I understood it this way: the coworker has less than 3 years of relevant experience in the specialty they both work in now.

    2. KateM*

      I understood it as “as she had been working so recently in front-line customer service roles, shouldn’t she still remember how to respond politely even if customer has impossible demands?”. Would be nice to know if Nela or I was nearer to truth. :D

      1. OP#3*

        Hello! You’re both right. It was actually about two years ago she was in a completely different field, while I’ve been in this field for 15+ years. But also, the fact she worked in a customer-facing role before would make me hope she would be better at soft skills than she is.

        1. Beau*

          Your use of “immensely junior” makes me think your tone wasn’t very respectful either. It came through pretty clear you look down on her and that probably was obvious your feedback.

          1. Willow Pillow*

            I picked up on the same thing. Even the response seemed too intense – “in the moment, I rolled over and essentially showed my belly, almost grovelling in the face of her aggression.” That’s not a good response to negative feedback either.

          2. The Unspeakable Queen Lisa*

            Hahaha! What?! No. The contact was rude and aggressive and *condescending* to someone extremely senior to her when providing *requested feedback*. You have it totally backwards. A newbie telling a senior contributor that they don’t know what they’re talking about is pretty shocking. Stating that someone is below you in the hierarchy doesn’t equate looking down on them.

            1. Beau*

              She didn’t say junior, she said immensely junior, that seems condescending from the start. If you go in with that attitude, it sets the tone for the meeting.

          3. BuildMeUp*

            Nitpicking language/word use like this is against the rules here.

            Plus, the OP’s wording/approach in a letter to AAM is of course going to be different from how they interact with their coworker directly.

            1. Beau*

              I don’t think is is nitpicking to point out that the OP came across as looking down on the person they giving feedback to and how that may have come across in the interaction and led to the defensive response.

              1. BuildMeUp*

                Your use of “immensely junior” makes me think

                This is literally nitpicking word use. Making assumptions – very negative ones – about the OP based on the word that they used.

                You’re also stating your opinion as fact. I don’t think the OP “came across as looking down on” the other person at all.

                1. Beau*

                  “You’re also stating your opinion as fact.”
                  isn’t this what you are doing as well?
                  We think differently and that is okay.

                2. BuildMeUp*

                  isn’t this what you are doing as well?

                  …no. Not even remotely. I pointed out that you stated your opinion as fact. In support, I mentioned that your opinion is clearly not the only option, as I had interpreted the OP’s letter differently than you did. Neither of our opinions are facts; they’re just interpretations.

      2. Cat Tree*

        There’s a big difference between a customer and a coworker though. LW3 also has customer service experience and so presumably knows about “customer service voice”. The coworker was definitely rude, but the customer service thing was definitely a non sequitur.

        1. fhqwhgads*

          I disagree. Most people who have and use “customer service voice” know enough to muster it up when annoyed with coworkers so as to not seem like an asshole.

  10. Free Meerkats*

    For number 5, you never know what might pique someone’s interest. I was reference for a former coworker and when they called I mentioned, among other points, that she had attended B&B Clown College when asked about her experience dealing with the public. He said something like, “Well, that’s not on her resume.” She’s an engineer and was applying for an engineering job at the Hoover Dam. In the final interview before she got hired, her manager asked her about it and later told her that was one of the reasons she got the job; when doing tours, improv experience comes in handy.

    1. Slow Gin Lizz*

      Wait, the tours are given by the engineers at the dam? Wow, I would’ve thought they had dedicated tour guides there! We went on a tour there when I was five and we were driving across the country. I had an adorable little bucket hat with LIZ on it in colorful letters and the tour guide was very friendly to me, calling me by my name and I honestly forget what else, but I loved it and that tour is one of the few very specific memories I have of that trip.

      Yes, I still have the hat. No, it does not fit anymore.

      1. Cmdrshprd*

        “Wait, the tours are given by the engineers at the dam?”

        I think that makes sense for something like that in that it is very technical, and people likely ask more technical questions “How does this work/what does this do?”

        While I am sure most can be thought learned by tour guides, it does seem better to have them be given by an engineer, who can maybe go into more depth behind the science/mechanics of is.

  11. Jules the First*

    I have OP#1’s problem in an office job…our HR will flatly refuse a compressed schedule because “people work long days anyway” and they reckon a lot more people would be angry about the unpaid overtime if they saw their colleagues working four ten hour days and then getting one off while they worked eight hours unpaid overtime. (And yes, I recognise that the unpaid overtime is the problem, but it’s industry wide…)

    1. ecnaseener*

      If people work long days anyway, they have no incentive to give anyone a compressed schedule! Someone who’s currently working five 9-10 hour days asks to switch to four 10s, why would HR give up the unpaid overtime?

  12. Elsa*

    LW3, do I understand correctly that you give feedback and then leave, and that it really makes no difference to you whether the companies you contract with use your feedback or not? In that case, you should keep that in mind at all times. You never need to fight with someone to convince them that your advice is good, nor do you need to apologize if they don’t like your advice.

    You should definitely let the boss know how her employer reacted to the feedback she is paying for. But it also sounds like you may just need a script for yourself, if someone is handling your feedback poorly. Maybe something like “This feedback is for you. I will not be checking up on you to see if you follow it or not. So if there’s anything you don’t like, feel free to just smile and nod.”

    1. OP#3*

      Yes, you’re completely right: I’ll be gone from this role before the year is up, and probably before summer. Thanks for your advice – I’m new to contracting and really need to learn to let go.

      1. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

        Larry Niven’s law: Not responsible for advice not taken.

        In other words, don’t get emotionally invested in the decisions of others; it’s the inverse of “I told you so”. You gave them advice, they chose not to follow it, so anything that happens, good or bad, is not your concern.

        1. fhqwhgads*

          This is true, but at the same time, I don’t think the concern was primarily about if the person takes the feedback or not? But rather that the recipient of the feedback got aggressive and attackey and just plain rude. Like, we’re still humans, and it’s still unpleasant to have someone do that to you. Yes, if they don’t take the feedback that’ll be their own failure and no problem for OP3, but if the desire to tell a supervisor of some sort what happened is so the next contractor doesn’t get a verbal lashing, that’s a kind impetus. It’s a “hey your employee treats people like shit” thing, not a “hey your employee doesn’t listen” thing.

          1. Mermaid of the Lunacy*

            fhqwhgads: Love your name!! Now I’ll have that song running through my head all day. :D

          2. Umami*

            I think the initial comment about the colleague’s background put them in a defensive mindset, to where they then didn’t respond favorably to the feedback. Not saying they were right to feel defensive, but it could be an understandably natural reaction under those circumstances. I would suggest to the OP to just stick to the feedback they are being paid to give and try not to unintentionally undermine the person they are providing it to, but also just let it roll off it it’s not received for its intended purpose.

    2. learnedthehardway*

      I feel like it is best for the OP to circle back with whoever had asked her to provide the feedback – particularly if it was the worker’s manager. A) the manager should know that the OP complied with the request, and they should know how their report takes constructive feedback. B) The worker sounds unreasonably offended, and it seems quite possible that they would complain to the manager about the OP’s feedback or even just the way feedback was delivered.

      For example, I let a candidate know they would not be moving forward in a hiring process. They were angry that I sent the did this on a Friday evening (specifically said they thought it was unprofessional and that it wrecked their weekend!!!) and complained to my client about it. Now, the fact that they had a virtual tantrum was itself proof that the hiring manager was right in refusing to consider them. I had given the client the heads up that the rejection had not been taken well, because the person was just off the wall. And it had no repercussions on me. But it serves as an illustration that unreasonable people do unreasonable things, and it is best to get out in front of it.)

  13. Green great dragon*

    LW2 turn it round. When you want to set up playdates with a vaccinated kid, ask them whether they’re vaccinated, which both gives you the info directly and picks up any ‘yes, but fyi my unvaccinated cousin’s over that week’. Then if any non-vacc’d families ask, you can say you’re only socialising with vacc’d families and ask them if they are.

    Yes, they might claim to be vaccinated, in which case you need to find another excuse or ask them more (maybe they’ve got it recently and the records aren’t updated). But assuming you don’t expect any of the families to be unvaccinated and to ask your kids to playdates and to lie to you, it should work.

    1. Ms. Murchison*

      Came here to say this too. LW2 should just ask everyone if they’re vaccinated, and in the case of folks whose records you’ve seen, you have the extra benefit of knowing if anyone is lying to you.

  14. Keymaster in absentia*

    2: Hoo boy, that’s a dilemma and a half. I mean, any disease that has a vaccine is potentially very serious (there’s a measles outbreak going on up the road from me due to people not vaccinating their kids and that virus scares the @#%# out of me).

    But on the other hand you have access to information that they didn’t give directly to you and data protection is a thing.

    Asking the parents of play date children if they are up to date on their vaccinations before your kids interact could be a way around. If you ask it across the board then there’s no indicator of privileged knowledge. And in my experience with people without vaccines you’ll either get a genuine ‘sorry, we can’t because of medical issue but I’m happy to work on minimising contact’ or a long rambling diatribe on why vaccines are pointless. It’s the defensiveness that lets you know if the person genuinely has a medical exception or is just a tosser.

    Good luck and hope you stay 100% virus free!

    1. Observer*

      But on the other hand you have access to information that they didn’t give directly to you and data protection is a thing.

      And that’s why the OP should not mention what they know. But the idea that they cannot use that information? In a context like this, I totally disagree.

  15. münchner kindl*

    # 2, vaccinations: I’m surprised that non-vaccinated children are allowed to come into the public place at all, but laws vary.

    As for what to do: since anti-vaxxers are not rational, if you did tell them that you avoided them for that reason, it’s unlikely that you would change their minds. So it’s better to protect your job and reputation by not saying anything, just avoiding them.

    Reasonable people can be given a reasonable explanation, but unreasonable people have no right to one, so just give them a white lie.

    1. Phryne*

      There have been attempts to make vaccination compulsory for children attending day care etc for years in my country, but it is a pretty complicated thing. For one, there is a pretty clear law that safeguards every individuals right to bodily integrity/ the untouchability of the body. I think it might even be European Law. It ensures that no one can ever be forced to eg undergo an invasive procedure, but it is also the law that carries the right on abortion (no one can be forced to carry a pregnancy to full term against their will) and forced sterilisation.So not a law you amend lightly for fear of what other loopholes that might open up, but under this law, you cannot force people to undergo vaccination against their will. Corona has taught us this law stands up even during a pandemic (it was challenged in court I believe).
      And on the other hand there is a law that says every child has the right to access those care facilities and/or education (home schooling is not really allowed except in some very few and specific cases) and you can not punish a child for the actions of the parent.
      And there is laws on religious freedom, as a substantial part of vaccine refusers are traditionally a group of conservative calvinist christians that refuse vaccinations and health care insurance as defying the will of god, and their right is assured too in the constitution.
      So though I personally think it would be reasonable to require vaccination for kids unless there is a medical indication, it is actually a very tricky legal minefield to get that into any kind of law.

        1. Phryne*

          Yes, and for those kids it is extra important that all the other kids are, as they depend on these diseases not breaking out at all. Which is why I included the line ‘unless there is a medical indication’ but I could have been more clear.

        2. Gem-Like Flame*

          Yes, and of course there are also adults whose health complications don’t allow them to be vaccinated as well. I’m lucky enough to be able to get the vaccines and I definitely think that everyone who CAN get them SHOULD get them – not only for themselves and their families, but to help protect everyone who’d LOVE to be vaccinated but can’t be.

          And while we’re rightly impatient with people who’ve succumbed to anti-vaxxer nonsense (and who thus risk their own health and those of others), we should always remember that not every unvaccinated person is a crank or a fool. Some are simply unable to be vaccinated safely – and they should NOT be lumped in with the ignorant anti-vaxxers or be sneered at and scorned.

          1. Katie A*

            There’s also disparities in who gets their children their childhood vaccinations based on race, income, having health insurance, and rural vs. urban. Not everyone who doesn’t get their kids vaccinated is anti-vax. There are issues of time, money, education, and distrust in the medical system that is distinct from the typical ideas of what an antivaxxer is .

            1. Observer*

              There’s also disparities in who gets their children their childhood vaccinations based on race, income, having health insurance, and rural vs. urban.

              Yes. And what’s really infuriating about this is that part of this disparity exists because of barriers put in place by government regulations, in many cases.

              As an adult, I can get almost any vaccine that I am eligible for at many locations, other than my doctor’s office. That means that if for some reason I don’t have a PCP, or I don’t have one that has reasonable hours for me, I can go get the shot somewhere that can accommodate me. (eg I’ve gotten flu shots at a local pharmacy chain during my lunch hour.) But you cannot do that for young children. In most cases, if a child is under 6 you have to have it done in a doctor’s office only. And for a lot of people that means taking off work. Which may be no big deal for someone with decent PTO and good bosses. But for other people, as we *know*, that’s just not the case.

          2. KateM*

            They should NOT be lumped in with the ignorant anti-vaxxers or be sneered at and scorned – or even just not allowed out at public at all, as the suggestion by OP seemed to be. Imagine being shut in your home for all your life because your health complications don’t let you do have vaccines.

            1. metadata minion*

              Severely immuncompromised people often *do* have to spend much of their lives very isolated, because they don’t want to get sick. And yeah, it sucks profoundly, but I’m a bit disturbed by how often in this thread people are equating not wanting to be around unvaccinated people with punishing or judging them, rather than wanting to avoid serious illness. A pathogen doesn’t care why you’re not vaccinated; you can spread it to me just as well if you catch it.

              1. KateM*

                Yes, but saying that those children should never ever be allowed out in public is rather an overreaction IMO.

      1. Kim Gwen*

        Hey Phryne, which country are you from? I’m from the Netherlands and I was so, so disappointed when the law regarding mandatary vaccination status for childcare centers didn’t pass

          1. Phryne*

            It is also the reason you cannot require medical staff to get the flu shot for instance. Very frustrating, but I do also appreciate the underlying difficulties. It is the eternal wrenching point between personal freedom and the common good.

            1. Boof*

              *grumbles* i’d still say if someone won’t protect others by getting vaccinated they lose the right to public resources (ones that put others at higher risk anyway). Or at least there should be some steps taken to isolate them ie the nonvax daycare if there are a lot

              1. Katie A*

                It’s more complicated in this case than in many others, since the person making the bad decision not protect others by getting vaccinated (the parent) isn’t the only one who will lose access to daycare (the child will, too).

                That doesn’t mean it’s wrong to keep unvaccinated kids out of daycare, but it is complicated. It’s another one of those eternal problems, the tension of children being separate individuals with their own interests but they’re also under the control of someone else to some extent and have varying levels of ability to exercise their own autonomy.

            2. Pippa K*

              This one seems like it has an easy solution compatible with rights, though: you don’t have to get the flu vaccine, but unvaccinated people may not work in medical settings.

                1. Katie A*

                  I think it makes perfect sense and is good for hospitals, doctor’s offices, etc. to require medical professionals to get various vaccines, but that’s a good point.

                  Depending on various factors, it could actually be better for everyone’s health overall for some people to catch the flu while in a medical setting rather than requiring those vaccinations, if it results in enough nurses and careworkers leaving the profession that it harms more people/harms people more than some people having the flu.

                  Is that really a risk, though? In the US, a lot of people threatened to quit if they had to get the COVID vaccine, and then very few actually did.

              1. amoeba*

                They did do that for COVID in my country. Due to the extreme shortage of medical personnel I can understand why they hesitate to use it more widely though… (and the flu shot isn’t even recommended by our national org except for risk groups. Whole different story, don’t get me started.)

              2. boof*

                Even pre covid the rule at my hospital was staff who wouldn’t / couldn’t get the flu vaccine had to mask ALL flu season
                … now I just mask all the time at work (at least during all patient care) and I think most staff do too, though it’s a bit more optional than it was (I work with a lot of variably immunocompromised patients and do not wish to be the plague carrier)

      2. Anon1*

        Ans it’s also important to note, OP is worried because she is vaccinated but lost her imunity (or never aquired it), so the people who she is considering “safe” may not be. And she only has the data for the kids, as someone who works in healthcare it’s very common for parente to vaccinate their kids but be outdated with their own vaccination, specially those that don’t have yearly doses. So if the aim is safety and not ilusion of safety avoiding unvaccinated kids doesn’t solve anything

        1. New Jack Karyn*

          Avoiding unvaccinated kids reduces risk; it doesn’t guarantee safety, but nothing does.

    2. Nancy*

      Medical and religious exemptions exist and no one knows why these kids aren’t. I have a medical exemption for a vaccine, as does a sibling.

    3. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      In the United States, it depends on what state you live in: there are a handful of states that require vaccination in order to attend school, with limited medical exemptions. Most other states allow religious or “personal belief” exemptions, which often means that parents can just sign a form saying “no we don’t want to vaccinate our child.”

      I think there are one or two states that now allow that exemption, but only after a trip to the doctor’s office to discuss why vaccination is a good idea. That discussion may not convince anyone who is strongly anti-vax, but that’s not the only reason for the requirement. The idea is that not vaccinating your children shouldn’t be easier/more convenient than vaccinating them, so children whose parents don’t care but are in a hurry will be vaccinated.

      It’s established precedent in the United States that the government can require vaccination, because you don’t have an unlimited right to risk other people’s life and health. The precedent in question is from a smallpox outbreak in 1905, and also applied during covid.

    4. Yellow sports car*

      Non-vaccination isn’t that simple though. People like to think in terms of medical reasons = acceptable, and other = unacceptable. But there often isn’t a lot of thought into the WHY of non-vaccination. I’ve seen summaries of studies that have found administrative factors are our leading cause of non-compliance not ideological. Here, we’d have our biggest shift in the vaccination rates if we targeted those who are open to vaccination but not to schedule than focusing on a small minority of ideological opposition where it isn’t clustered.

      For those who are ideologically unvaccinated it can be because of a distrust in government or doctors based on prior experience. A family member/friend who is disabled or died because of medical negligence. Some communities were (?are) experimented on medically – distrust is reasonable. Some people have experienced genuinely traumatic interactions with government authorities or medical systems and their fear is actually reasonable. Yes there’s definitely people who exploit that fear encouraging extreme opposition – and that needs to be combated. But u don’t think denying the kids access to education is actually a solution (we get that proposed quite often here – usually a thought bubble with no pathway to legislation).

      In my country what vaccinations you have is largely a factor of age/location. Most people followed the govt scheme as they grew up – but even amongst my siblings the recommended schedule/combinations varied. If anyone can figure out the adult regime they deserve a prize.

      Then there’s the money barriers. While recommended childhood vaccines are “free” – there might be a fee to see the doctor to get the vaccine. If you miss any, you may have to pay to get them late (+ doctor fees). Any vaccines I need as an adult I (or my employer) has to pay for – COVID was an exception. Next round of free vaccines kick in when I’m officially old. So yeah money is a huge issue.

      And some extra admin ones: Access might be tied to specific criteria (age, location, racial/cultural background, sex, profession/workplace ) and if people shift between categories they may not realise that they should be vaccinated against things they were previously told weren’t recommended. They can also be given wrong advice because a criteria is missed.

      I think I’m fully up to date with all recommended vaccines. I also purchase vaccines that are medically relevant to me, but I haven’t fitted the profile to get for free. I’m definitely in favour of vaccination. But labelling people as irrational doesn’t usually help convince them to adopt your stance.

      1. Slartibartfast*

        Or you might have to travel to a county health facility to get the free ones and transportation is an issue. There’s a US government program called VFC (vaccines for children) that provides vaccines free of charge to qualifying families. But you have to be qualified for them AND have them given by a VFC provider. There’s significant red tape and you have to carry a physically separate inventory of identical vaccines, VFC and private stock cannot be used interchangeably, so that’s double the refrigerator space needed. Many pediatricians will also be VFC providers but it’s not a given. And a family practice probably wouldn’t be. It’s another hurdle that disproportionately affects lower income families. Because if you have a good income and good insurance, you don’t even need to think about what your kid’s shots are going to cost you. And it’s not like 20-30 bucks either, it’s a couple hundred dollars per vaccine if you don’t have coverage.

      2. MCMonkeyBean*

        “People who are not vaccinated” is not the same thing as “anti-vaxxers” so I don’t know why you reacted so defensively to that comment.

        And ultimately none of this is relevant when OP is just making decisions for her own personal safety.

  16. münchner kindl*

    # 4, experience in managing:

    OP, your reaction sounds to me a bit intense. It’s a simple fact that you have, as far as the company can see from your CV (which you sent) no (significant or not enough) management experience, and it’s a good decision to not throw you into the deep end, but even offer building up your experience.

    But you jump right to “they think I’m stupid”. That’s a weird overreaction that to me is proof that you are not good at managing. “Stupid” has nothing to do directly with experience or competence.
    And a manager needs to be able to be calm and asses things they are told from as bias-free perspective as possible (for a human), not jump straight to a bad interpretation.

    So this reaction alone would to me confirm that you are not suited to management (yet).

    As for “managing people comes easy to me” that depends a lot on the context. Doing fun activities with kids for a summer camp of 3 weeks is a good preparation for teachers, but it’s very different from real classroom work where the kids can’t opt out of the boring parts, and discipline must be maintained.

    So being good at one part of the job doesn’t automatically make a person qualified to do a different and more difficult aspect of the job, especially without further training.

    1. Mmmmmm*

      I … gently? lightly? disagree with the part about “they think I’m stupid” = likely poor management. Mostly because as someone who struggles a lot with self-esteem, my view of self doesn’t transfer to my view of others and response to them; I do people management and I’m good at it. (I know this b/c I’ve received good feedback from peers and supervisors.)

      That said. I agree with “managing people comes easy to me” and would encourage OP to think about what they’re envisioning when they say this. If it’s prior workplace-related people management, then sure, perhaps the new job got things wrong, in which case OP might be better served by continuing to apply elsewhere. But if it’s a summer camp or an activity for their religious organization or something non work related, then buckling down and looking for opportunities to develop workplace-related people management is a better call, to ensure that their own idea of what they’re good at lines up with what their actual resume shows.

      1. Clare*

        I trust your assessment that you’re a good manager because you say you have plenty of good feedback, however, in general I’d agree that poor self esteem can be a red flag for potential managers, because in many people it can get in the way of being able to properly weigh constructive criticism, thus leading to either over- or under-correction.

        Hearing “You lack skill X and need to develop it to excel in this role” without either getting defensive and dismissing it or taking it as a shame-inducing blow to your sense of self-worth is often challenging for those with low self esteem, but vital for a manager.

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          I agree with this. Also poor self esteem is hard to read in “I know I’d be good at this thing I haven’t done a lot of.” Gently, Mmmmmm*, I think you’re projecting your own stuff onto the letter writer.

      2. Observer*

        disagree with the part about “they think I’m stupid” = likely poor management. Mostly because as someone who struggles a lot with self-esteem, my view of self doesn’t transfer to my view of others and response to them

        In addition to what the others have said, I would point out that what the OP is showing here is not so much “poor self esteem”, but jumping to unexamined conclusions. Jumping to conclusions is bad, and so it failure to actually think these things through and realize that maybe your personal perception and reality are different.

        As a manager I don’t care that much about your self esteem. What I do care about is your ability to accurately evaluate a situation and respond appropriately. And the OP did not do that. When you accept your colleagues’ and supervisors’ assessments for what they are, you show that despite your self esteem issues you can actually evaluate and respond appropriately to your performance evaluations.

      3. Starbuck*

        I think the issue is it sounds less like low self esteem on LW’s end, and more like indignation/insult from the rest of what they wrote. Which is a bit of a yellow flag.

    2. Sloanicota*

      Yeah OP jumping to this, when nobody said anything like that and even seemed to be quite careful to keep their remarks positive, is strange. It might just be that they were using frustrated shorthand to keep the letter brief, but if you often find yourself inferring mean things that other people “meant” and assuming you know their thoughts, this is something to reflect more on.

    3. ferrina*

      The “managing people comes easy to me” was also something that, as an interviewer, I absolutely would not trust a general self-assessment. Leadership is something that a lot of people are pretty terrible at self-assessing and the Dunning-Kruger effect is strong.

      Good management is shown through accolades and accomplishments, not through “it feels natural”. Accolades/Accomplishments are gained through experience. Management is hard, and interviewers have very limited information. Assuming that you’d be a strong manager immediately is not a good hiring assumption without other evidence. You may feel like you’d be the exception, but it’s irrational to think that the interviewers (who don’t have the same information and experience of you) would do the same. In fact, if you assume that the interviewers should accept your self-assessment and/or should magically know that you are the exception, I would argue that that lack of other’s information needs may point to you not being the exception.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        I’ve been bitten in the ass so many times as a hiring manager when someone’s “management experience” is either inflated or was gained in an environment that did not nurture good management skills. It’s more than being able to delegate and put out fires, and in some places that’s all you gain experience in.

      2. Jack Straw from Wichita*

        Correct, ferrina. That phrase is a pretty big red flag for me as an interviewer, TBH. Leading others and doing it well takes an immense amount of hard work.

    4. Observer*

      So this reaction alone would to me confirm that you are not suited to management (yet).

      Yes. And if you tried to push that line, I would also wonder how good of an employee you will be *in general*. Because the last thing a manager needs is someone who takes feedback so personally and negatively. (See letter #3) Obviously people need to provide feedback respectfully. But very few managers have the time or energy to handle people with kid gloves any time they have to give feedback the person is probably not going to like.

  17. English Rose*

    LW4, what stood out to me was your statement about the manager thinking you are ‘stupid’. That’s a big leap and must be inaccurate because otherwise you wouldn’t have been offered a technical job.
    You say you find people management ‘natural’ but not how much experience you’ve actually had. It seems clear that the person brought in to the management role has significantly more than you. Remember that managing people well is a very distinct skill, as evidenced by the number of letters here about people who do it badly. In my experience a great manager can learn industry norms quickly, but as Alison says, learning to be a great manager is a longer road.
    Let’s hope you enjoy the company you’ve moved to and that as suggested you take opportunities to move you in the right direction. Good luck to you.

  18. radiant*

    LW5 – I’ve been on Mastermind (UK quiz show) twice, and it’s on my CV! I even posted about my most recent appearance on LinkedIn.

    I’m pretty sure having it on my CV has secured me a few interviews (if not the job), and it’s a good truth to stick in a “two truths and a lie” icebreaker (which are never fun, lets face it).

    1. anononon*

      Also a Mastermind contender here! Although it was more than ten years ago and is no longer on my CV, it was on there for a couple of years after my appearance, and it DEFINITELY got me a couple of interviews!

      1. radiant*

        My most recent one was broadcast on Monday (i.e. two days ago) haha! Before that it was 2016, so I had taken it off. But now it’s going back on :)

    2. The Prettiest Curse*

      I really admire anyone who has been on Mastermind. It’s the kind of thing that looks doable when you’re watching at home, but must be vastly different when you’re sitting in the chair and there’s a big light shining right onto your face.

      1. radiant*

        The first time I did it, there was a studio audience, and that was the most nerve-wracking aspect. Post-covid, they didn’t bring the audience back, and that helped a lot – I felt a lot calmer this time.

      2. Bagpuss*

        A relative of mine was on it many years ago. He said it was nerve wracking . (One of the questions he got wrong in the geneeneral knowlege round was the name of a (foreign) city – which happened to be the city where his father (a career diplomat) spent a signficant portion of his career, so my relative had spent lots of time there, knoew much more about it than most people woukld, and still totally blanked on the name when asked in The Chair!
        (He cme second, which he felt was perfect, as it meant he could feel he had done well, but also that he didn’t have to do it all again!)

        1. GythaOgden*

          I tried out for University Challenge but the LSE wasn’t very good at qualifying because as a social sciences institution, we lacked the hard science/maths crew that could round out the team.

          A friend of mine from UCL popped up on it long after I graduated though. I can’t remember whether they won the round, but I was definitely very proud.

      3. AngryOctopus*

        My former roommate was on Jeopardy and we watched a lot of it to prepare. I like to think I’m quite good at armchair Jeopardy in that I know a lot of answers to things and can say them. But I also know I’d be a disaster if actually required to think and buzz in and answer! Being on the show is quite a different experience. I assume that’s why one screener for Jeopardy is doing a mock game with other potential contestants.

        1. iglwif*

          I’m terrific at armchair Jeopardy! And can confirm that actual Jeopardy! is a VERY different experience. That dang buzzer, man.

    3. Maz*

      Things that are interesting and can make your CV stand out are always useful. When I was in college one of the other students kept pet snakes and mentioned it on their CV. They didn’t go into detail, but they always got invited to interview because it made them memorable and becuase interviewers wanted to ask them about it.

  19. bamcheeks*

    LW4, the “can’t get experience in management without experience in management” is up there with the “new graduate can’t get experience without experience” problem! I was stuck there for about three years, and it’s so frustrating. After nearly a dozen interviews where I was “really close, but we went with the first candidate because they had more management experience”, I finally got lucky with someone who decided to take a chance, but gave me the smallest of the four teams she was recruiting managers for because I was new to management and would lead a lot of oversight. Six weeks after I started, she went on stress leave and never came back, so I was managing without a manager for the next three months, so, lol.

    On the one hand I can see that it’s true that you don’t know whether you’re suited to management until you do it, but on the other, I was right, I AM good at it, I enjoy it, and everyone has to start somewhere. You have to remember that every interview process comes down to, “is this person going to make my life easier or harder”, and many people will default to, “this person has management experience and that makes this easier”. It doesn’t even necessarily mean they are going to make a *better* manager than you: it can just mean they make it an easier *decision* because they can talk about how they’ve handled real situations and you are talking about how you’d theoretically handle theoretical situations. You have to mentally accept that it’s an annoying problem but it’s not a reflection in your personal potential or ability at all.

    In my experience, many people get over that initial hurdle by being in the right place to get promoted into a management or team lead role, even if it a temporary or cover duties. Even a couple of months of “yes, I approved people’s leave, compiled reports for management and had fortnightly one-to-ones with my team and sorted a software snarl-up that was holding them up” goes a long way to showing a hiring manager that firstly, you have the organisational skills to stay on top of the admin of being a manager, and secondly, that you can make the shift from being responsible for your work to being responsible for a team’s work. So when you are settled into your new role, or you have a annual review, it is worth letting your new manager know that your 3-5 year plan is to move into a management role and ask for help with opportunities to develop that skillset and awareness. And then just keeping your fingers crossed and your eyes open, because chances are that opportunity WILL come up, either internally or externally. But it’s not easy!

    1. Sloanicota*

      I feel this. I’ve been stuck for the past probably five years just overseeing interns or being the official-unofficial team leader to sort of approximate manager experience, but I can’t quite get a leg up into the next rung (which is okay for me, as I enjoy being an individual contributor, but definitely limits my salary potential). I probably need to target positions where you only manage one or two individuals in the hopes of eventually becoming more of a team manager, but I don’t know who is ever going to give me a shot. I was hoping they would create a position below mine but I don’t see it happening.

    2. ferrina*

      This is 100% true.

      I became a manager because I’d already been working in the department for several years as an individual contributor, and my area of expertise was expanding and it made sense for the new hire to be put under me. At that point I’d already had years of supervisory non-management experience (basically I was in charge of people’s work product, day-to-day tasks and directives, and honing their skills to fit our needes; I was not in charge of their schedule, annual review, and I had no disciplinary power. In one case I was responsible for overseeing someone’s PIP even though I technically wasn’t a manager….don’t do that, that is bonkers). I had as much management experience as one can get without being an actual manager, and there was still a slight learning curve with my first direct report.
      Most new managers I work with have a tougher time. There’s a lot to juggle- setting goals for a team is different that setting goals for yourself. Being a team lead means that you need to get buy-in. It means that you need to be the negotiator between your company and your team. Sometimes it means that you are the one playing politics on behalf of your team. It means that you are doing the crappy admin tasks and making your team do the crappy admin tasks. It means that when plans change and people are disappointed, you are the bearer of bad news. It means that when things go well, you are usually handing credit to other people so they can get recognized. It can be a thankless job. A lot of people see the glamor of “being in charge” and have the confidence of a Monday morning quarterback, but actually being there in the moment is a lot tougher. It definitely takes time and investment to train up a new manager if you want them to be any good. (that said, there’s a lot of bad managers out there)

    3. HonorBox*

      I had a conversation years ago with a counterpart who was hiring for a role that had been advertised as requiring experience. He pulled me into his office and said he was thinking of hiring someone fresh out of college because she had the skillset and he was sort of thinking of his daughter, who was similarly aged as the candidate. He said, “while we want experience, how does a person get experience without experience.” Then he asked me if I thought he was off base for having that thought and if I thought he should hire the person he wanted to hire, even without the experience. I told him I thought he was right and his question was a good one. It turns out the person he hired was GREAT and is now second in command at a much larger firm. I think we shortchange people entering into the workforce at times. Though I do think management does take a particular skillset that is harder to learn in a classroom. There are management unicorns to be sure, but they’re unicorns for a reason.

    4. Cmdrshprd*

      “the “can’t get experience in management without experience in management” is up there with the “new graduate can’t get experience without experience” problem! I was stuck there for about three years, and it’s so frustrating.”

      There are ways to get management experience without being a full manager and ways to train into/upto it. You start by unofficially managing/overseeing the work of lower level employees, then maybe move into a supervisor position where you officially manage the day to day stuff but don’t handle the HR/firing/hiring issues etc….

      Same for new graduates, there are positions that are explicitly look for new grads and give them experience and some that will hire new grads, but if they can get someone with experience that would be better.

      1. bamcheeks*

        There are ways to get management experience without being a full manager and ways to train into/upto it.

        Absolutely, in the same way that most graduates do overcome the “no experience without experience” bind — but it’s the kind of thing that seems really doable once you’ve done it, and completely impossible when you’re stuck in it, because it’s not something you can control. You either have to have a manager who supports you in getting this experience, or people at the same/lower level who naturally look up to you as a more senior person, and ideally both. You cannot manoeuvre yourself into a unofficial position of managing/overseeing the work of others without clear support from your leader. (That’s the super annoying letter of “Jane thinks she’s my manager but she’s not???” we see every so often– doing that without management’s support is incredibly disruptive, and ironically makes you anti-management-material!)

        That’s what I mean about telling your manager that you’re looking for that kind of opportunity and keeping your eyes open for opportunities that come up– and often they eventually do! But it’s not something you can *make happen* without the opportunity existing, and that can be a really hard and frustrating position to be in.

    5. Observer*

      LW4, the “can’t get experience in management without experience in management” is up there with the “new graduate can’t get experience without experience” problem

      Yes, it’s frustrating as all get out, and I don’t know of a lot of good answers to either problem. Classic catch-22

      I think that a lot of your advice here is sound.

      But the OP needs to understand what they are dealing with. It’s one thing to ask someone to take a chance on you even though you don’t have the experience, or step up in the kind of environment you describe. It’s another thing to expect someone to just accept that you will be good manager because “it feels natural” to me.

  20. Cabbagepants*

    #1 — by all means avoid unvaccinated people, but I’m struggling to see a charitable reason to “cheerily” announce information you were given in confidence.

    1. DannyG*

      I’m surprised nobody has mentioned HIPPA. Sharing confidential medical information you have access to without authorization could land you and your employer in a world of hurt. You know what you know, say nothing.

      1. FashionablyEvil*

        HIPAA almost certainly does not apply here (unless the school is directly providing the vaccinations.) FERPA may. (Not a lawyer, just a health policy wonk.)

        1. Name*

          Both apply here. (Not a lawyer, just someone who’s worked HR for school districts for seven years and counting.)

            1. Name*

              It applies to health care providers (school nurses) and people who have access to health records (LW 2). For schools, HIPAA begins where FERPA ends and vice versa.

              1. doreen*

                Maybe – according to HHS (posting link separately ) elementary and secondary schools are usually either not HIPAA covered entities or don’t have “protected health information” because the information is contained in educational records. But even before we get to that – the OP is the school secretary and maintains vaccination records. Chances are the school doesn’t even have a
                nurse .

              2. Observer*

                and people who have access to health records (LW 2)

                Nope. It depends on how you get that information.

            2. ecnaseener*

              More or less. Health care providers if they do certain transactions like billing electronically, insurance, and clearinghouses. I believe you’re right that public schools (even school nurses) don’t usually count as health care providers because they don’t do those electronic transactions. But sometimes a college campus’s clinics count. (Not a lawyer, but my work involves HIPAA compliance for research.)

          1. AnonyNurse*

            It applies in an HR context — to the employees for whom the school district provides health insurance, making it a covered entity. It would likely also apply to any licensed healthcare providers working for the district if they provide care to students, however it would not apply to non-healthcare staff with access to records that are not in an healthcare or health insurance context.

            Public health information is often different from similar information in a clinical context.

            1. Manic Pixie HR Girl*

              This only applies in the context of health insurance and employees, and even then it is very narrow (i.e., if the employer is self-insured, etc.).

              HIPAA is far, far more narrow than people think it is.

              That being said, it is still considered PHI and would fall under ADA protections for need to know basis (which is also more permissive than HIPAA is, hence why the OP has this information in the first place). (FERPA, perhaps, too, which is mentioned upthread, but I am not an expert in that.)

              The link above even states, “With respect to HIPAA, even where student health records maintained by a health care provider are not education records protected by FERPA, the HIPAA Privacy Rule would apply to such records only if the provider conducts one or more of the HIPAA transactions electronically, e.g., billing a health plan electronically for his or her services, making the provider a HIPAA covered entity.”

              Source: IANAL, but I am an HR professional.

              1. Anticoyote*

                Manic Pixie HR Girl is correct.

                However you have to look at local laws too. The city I work in has much, much stricter guidelines for such things, as does the school district.

                So you need to make sure you are looking at ALL LEVELS of government.

      2. Slartibartfast*

        HIPAA might not apply here, because OP isn’t working in a medical capacity, but confidentiality certainly does

      3. Broadway Duchess*

        HIPAA doesn’t apply, but a certain level of confidentiality is at play. OP should be careful here — I would avoid the unvaccinated kids/families and not indicate where I for rhw information.

    2. HannahS*

      I think that the OP is thinking that kindest thing to do is to set boundaries with politeness and honesty, as you might with a family member (e.g. [Sister,] as you know I’m pregnant and since you’re children aren’t vaccinated, I can’t be around them until [month.] Love you, hope we can find other ways to connect until then.) That’s often what is generally recommended by advice columnists, so I see why it might seem like the right way forward.

      What Alison pointed out is that when you’re working with private information, discretion is more important than honesty. In this case, being evasive is better, even though it’s less honest and transparent.

  21. Keymaster in absentia*

    Number one. I’d say your company is taking the absolute piss. I just fed their train of ‘logic’ into my test rig and half a second later it was burping smoke out the rear vents.

    As Alison rightly says, this is pure nonsense. I’m not even sure what on earth they’re trying to attempt to prove here.

    As with any major dysfunction (see yesterday’s letter on the paranoid boss) coming from above though, if it’s going to be impossible to change their mind then it’s a lost cause.

  22. matt r*

    *absolutely* include the “jeopardy” thing on a resume. it’s fun and interesting, but i personally would view it as evidence of intelligence and an ability to think on your feet. it would at least make your resume stand out a bit and get you in the door for an interview.

    1. Anticoyote*

      I tend to agree. A friend of mine got a job at Fermilab because she put under “activities” “sorting through and classifying rocks.”

      She applied for an admin job when her husband moved into the area. However the interviewer saw this and asked if she had a science background. She said that she intended to be a geologist, but after two and a half years in college, said college dropped the degree program and rather than transfer she was able to switch over to an English major.

      The interviewer hired her, not for an admin, but for their public press releases, because with a science background, she was able to take very technical science papers and write them up in a way for public release. She has been at that job for over 20 years now.

      So you do never know what will lead to what.

  23. Woah*

    this came up when i worked as a county epidemiologist during covid- sometimes what people said and what they actually did were very different. I used all the available knowledge I had to keep myself and my family safe, that said, I never said anything, never sought out additional information, and made sure to be scrupulous in my ethics, which I had SO MUCH training in as an epidemiologist, I’m sure you have similar as a nurse. and my husband just understood that anything weird I did was likely due to something confidential.

    three weeks after I stopped shopping at our local coop where we have a sustaining membership, the local paper revealed that 95% of employees had contracted COVID after an (illegal at the time) employee gathering. My husband found out about it at the same time as everyone else, from the local paper. He was just like “oooooooh. now i get it.”

    1. Cmdrshprd*

      I want to highlight your post:

      “the “can’t get experience in management without experience in management” is up there with the “new graduate can’t get experience without experience” problem! I was stuck there for about three years, and it’s so frustrating.”

      OP can act on the info but needs to make sure they don’t reveal to family/partner why they are acting on the info. I think to family/partner the response is we just can’t make it work. Even saying something like “I have info I can’t share with you but it is a good reason not to have a playdate with timmy.” is too much.

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

        I hear what you’re saying but unless you are in charge of ALL THE SCHEDULING (which granted, LW may very well be) you’d need to tell your spouse that we, collectively, need to be unableable to make it work until further notice.

  24. Jenga*

    “last year, our company started saying that any hours worked outside of opening hours are not productive and cannot count towards our required 42.5 minimum”

    Since you don’t consider this time to be productive, I will no longer be doing these tasks. Let’s have a conversation about who will now have to take care of a, b and c.

    1. Sloanicota*

      Yep I realize restaurants and the like are insane, but OP really needs to step back here. “Working six days a week is integral to our success during those times” is crazy talk. It’s THEIR success, OP; you’re clearly not seeing the benefit of it. This isn’t your company where you’re getting equity from them. They’re exploiting you and they’re getting worse about it.

      1. HonorBox*

        Agree to an extent. Depending on the workplace, six days a week can be part and parcel. Thinking accountants during tax season, or retail during holidays. But that should be an exception, not the rule. And there should be an expectation that during other times of the year, the schedule is much more flexible. Maybe that’s the case in the LW’s situation, but the company also needs to have understanding that scheduling a mandatory meeting on an off day, during the busiest time of year, is not at all helpful.

        The letter reeks of “we expect management to cover other aspects of the retail place’s function so we don’t have to hire as many part time people” while also forgetting that management has things like inventory, accounting, hiring, training, ordering, etc. that are integral to the operation. Some of those HAVE to be done at times other than peak hours.

        The more I think of this, the more I think that this is a overcorrection to a manager who was doing all the administrative stuff when the store isn’t open and then bouncing, leaving the place understaffed/under-covered at times. But that’s a conversation with one person about their hours, not telling all managers that their other work isn’t important and shouldn’t be part of their regular hours.

  25. Hiring Mgr*

    I was on Match Game ’76 and while it’s not so intellectual and never put it on my resume, I was able to get Charles Nelson Reilly to write me a LinkedIn recommendation

      1. Sparkle llama*

        I must know what he said! I had a letter of recommendation for grad school from a congressman but would gladly take one from CNR over that.

    1. pinyata*

      I need to know everything about this. Tell me the sentences, everything CNR said, who else was on the panel (Brett Somers???), EVERYTHING.

    2. Hiring Mgr*

      Slight exaggeration to the story – it was actually my Mom who was on and while CNR didn’t give anyone a recommendation, she did get autographed photos from all the celebs, plus a photo of her kissing actor Dick Gautier.

  26. Kim Gwen*

    LW #1: this sounds like it should be illegal but I’m not surprised it isn’t :(
    I would definitely find another job if possible or let the problems pile up (while sending e-mails regularly regarding the inability to do certain tasks during working hours) until management needs to go in and fix things.

    LW #2: first of all, congratulations on your pregnancy. Second of all: just have inane scheduling conflicts all the time. Do not let them know you know they are anti-vax. Most of those people are insane and might very well come for you and/or your job. And before anyone comes for me: in cases where one child is immunocompromised and thus unvaxed, the other children are usually well up to date. So I must therefore assume it’s a matter of tinfoilhattery and usually they are not shy to cry discrimination. Keep yourself AND your job safe by just having scheduling conflicts. Best of luck and wishing you a happy meeting with your baby.

    1. ecnaseener*

      Yeah, not illegal for a salaried exempt employee. The pay is the same whether you work 42.5 hours or 60. They’re basically just saying they have required “core hours” but the core hours are the full work week -_-

  27. Name*

    LW 2 – FERPA and HIPAA. If you start telling people thatyou won’t let you children socialize with them due to their vaccination status, they may start paying attention to who you do and don’t let your children play with. Eventually, they’ll put two and two together and figure out who’s vaccinated and who’s not. You could unintentionally find yourself violating HIPAA and possibly FERPA. Best to keep it quiet or you could find yourself out of a job.
    And this is from someone who works HR in a school district.

      1. GythaOgden*

        She’s probably bound by a lot of other rules, though, as well as the generally agreed social contract that people’s data, especially children’s data, is not for public consumption and use outside what it’s collected for.

    1. Glazed Donut*

      HIPAA is not at play here unless the school secretary is also a healthcare provider.
      FERPA, however, is likely part of these records. FERPA covers any educational records, and if someone submitted vaccination information as part of their educational file (ie to enroll in school), then any disclosure of this information without explicit permission in writing from a parent is a no no. This is coming from someone who worked at the state level for education and had to have parents sign a form that we could receive copies of students’ state-mandated test results (…that the state administered), otherwise we could be violating FERPA rules.
      Better to be safe than sorry. In this case, I’d just stick with a “Sorry, we won’t be able to, wish we could!” and leave it at that.

  28. She has them all!*

    FWIW – I moved across town and school systems. My kids doctors office sent over the medical records to the new school. Per the records they sent my daughter was missing one shot of the 4 hepatitis(?) shots that she was supposed to get when she was 2. Therefore not considered up-to-date on her vaccines. The school called and confirmed that was the deal!! This was shocking to me because I had been told she had been all caught up and she was 10 now. And her previous school had no issues. So:
    1) I already hated my kids pediatrician so that put me over the top and we changed pediatricians. (the stories I have!)
    2) I told the school that I would get her any shot needed BUT in the meantime they had me fill out an exemption form. The form makes it look like I didn’t have her get any of the shots.
    3) Get to the new pediatrician, prepared to get shots. She has all her shots. Previous office was incompetent. They gave me the medical form with the details to give the school but it’s still sitting on the dinner table for the last two months.
    So in short maybe that is the one family that had the same crazy set of circumstances and the kid really has the vaccines.

    1. I should really pick a name*

      I think the LW would be better served to err on the side of caution, because a situation like this is more likely to be the exception than the rule.

    2. Boof*

      Ok, but not worth the risk to lw to figure that out; they’re just going to avoid socializing for a few months! Does sound super frustrating tho @-@ i try hard to keep a log of all my kids shots (and my own; in health care + move a lot i have a folder!)

    3. OP2*

      I would know about this because I’m the persona at the school who would be calling you telling you your child’s vaccines weren’t up to date and how to fix it.

      1. Katie A*

        I feel that makes a difference to your letter, as well. Not only do you know this information about them because of your job, it sounds like they would know that’s how you know. Is that right?

        If so, yeah, definitely do not mention the reason you’re avoiding them. Just politely decline.

        There’s no reason to say anything about the vaccinations, unless you are looking for a chance to tell them why they’re wrong for having their kids unvaccinated. It’s way more trouble than it’s worth. That was true before you shared that they know you have that information because of your job, but it’s even more true knowing that fact.

      2. bamcheeks*

        OP2, I’m kind of surprised that your managers haven’t given you a clear answer to this, because it’s *super* obvious to me that if you are someone who is known in your community to have access to personal medical information, you have to be absolutely whiter-than-white in being seen to be responsible in how you use it. You have to mentally have a complete firewall in your head between, “I am saying hi to you in the supermarket and I also know that your son has verrucas”. You-as-Kids-Mom and You-as-School-Secretary are to all intents and purposes different people. Just like you wouldn’t want your gynaecologist asking you how you’re getting on with the new birth control at the school gate.

        Obviously you can’t help knowing what you know, and you don’t have to take any unnecessary risks. But for that reason I think you have to find away to navigate this that prioritises the appearance of absolute discretion. Anything else calls your professionalism and everyone’s right to confidentiality into question.

        1. GythaOgden*

          It’s very difficult to be in a position like that. I worked on reception for NHS business admin centre, and a letter went through the post machine for my dad. It was simultaneously a reminder of ‘this job that feels crappy is actually a really important one’ and ‘all these other people are just like my dad and I’m entrusted with their details, so this is a reminder to pay attention to information governance’.

          I don’t work where I live (even now, I’m administrating a raft of sites over three counties north of the M4, including the one I was a receptionist at, whereas I live south of it) but this is also a really good reason I’m not sure I really could do this job around people I know. Better to remove all temptation than to have to navigate this kind of minefield every day.

  29. AnonPriorFed*

    LW3, welcome to government contracting. Your past experience got you the contracting job but doesn’t necessarily matter going forward; you have become a portable cog in the great machine. Some orgs will treat you as part of the team, while others will maintain more separation for all the reasons that come with not being a direct employee. Some get really negative about contractors.

    Your org may vary. However, in my experience, one of those perceptions can definitely be that the contractor does as the government employee asks (within the scope of the contract). Regardless of your past positions or experience, sounds like you’re still acting like you should be in charge and dispensing wisdom when the perception from the other side may very well be that *you* as a contractor are junior to *any* full time government employee.

    Because you are replaceable. That’s part of why the government hires contractors, and why I’m being very blunt here. I’ve seen contractors come in with similar attitudes and get fired for it. Please, consider a perspective shift here.

    For this meeting, sounds like an expectation mismatch. I wonder if your feedback was meant to be about the informational pages, not the employee. I’d have been quite taken aback if a contractor not in my management chain had started giving me career advice. She certainly reacted poorly, but given all the context, are you sure you understood why you were there and the project goals?

    1. Clare*

      Your last paragraph sounds plausible. If she was expecting:
      “The content of the pages is good, but maybe consider using a larger font and running those red and green sections through a colourblindness checker”
      and instead heard:
      “Well done on writing these pages, they’ll be a good career starter for you! Don’t forget to talk to teams A and B to get their input on content”
      then I can understand why she might have felt affronted. She could have done a much better job of handling those emotions in the moment, by the sounds of things, but from her perspective it may have been a totally logical reaction.

      Or, who knows, maybe she just had a rock in her shoe and felt snarly. As Alison says, a check-in with the letter-writer’s boss may shed some more light on the context.

    2. Goldie*

      I’m so confused by LW #3. As a consultant you should strive to give feedback in a manner that is usable to the client. The “I’m up here snd you are down there” energy is so off-putting.

      1. Cmdrshprd*

        “The “I’m up here snd you are down there” energy is so off-putting.”

        That is not at all what I got from the post, what makes you think that?

        The only thing I can think of is:

        “On reflection, I did mention early on that working on specialist intranet pages is a useful exercise for trainees (directly after she’d mentioned taking over the pages as a trainee). ”

        But that is such a mild statement that I don’t think the employee’s reaction was warranted. I think OP mentioned their history/experience as useful context to the situation. I do think it matters. If OP only had 1/2 years more experience than the coworker it would be different situation than OP with 15/20 years of experience.

      2. Cat Tree*

        LW3’s writing style and some details are throwing up a ton of red flags for me, to the extent that I haven’t commented much because the rule is to give them the benefit of the doubt and I’m struggling to do that. Plus the recipient of the feedback should be civil in a work context even if someone is being weird or abrasive so I can’t say that the employee was faultless in any case.

        But in my professional life (longer than LW3’s, FWIW), I’ve worked with two types of contractors and both were prone to abrasiveness based on the nature of the position. In dysfunctional workplaces, the boss or CEO would bring in some outside consultant to try to re-vamp a bad process and often to give employees feedback that the manager was too afraid to do themselves. But then we have someone coming who has virtually no knowledge of our specific process, regardless of industry experience, and also has no stake in the outcome because they’ll be gone in a few months. Then they often tell employees things they already know, or things that are nice ideas but are unworkable, or suggestions that employees already thought of but management won’t provide the resources to accomplish. It rankles. Then add in bizarre phrasing like “show my belly”, which seems aggressive because the alternative would be to attack, I guess? (I realize LW3 didn’t say that specifically to the employee but I wonder if it’s an example of broader unusual language.)

        LW3 is just doing their job and the employee really needed to remain civil in any case, but I can understand the big feelings especially if this wasn’t the first contractor trying to do this.

        Also, it seems like in this set-up the company and therefore the employee are LW3’s customer, not the other way around. So the customer service abilities of the employee aren’t nearly as relevant as LW3’s.

        1. Cmdrshprd*

          IDK the comment about being a intranet being a good task seems very mild to me. To me it seemed like maybe the gov. employee maybe feels insecure about their experience/position and lashed out.

          Both issues you mentioned with contractors don’t really seem to be the contractors fault but rather the company/organization.

          “Then add in bizarre phrasing like “show my belly”, which seems aggressive because the alternative would be to attack, I guess?”
          I think there is a wide range of responses between “show my belly” and “attack” OP could have apologized but held their ground.
          To me it seemed like OP was trying to say that they went overly apologetic in response, kinda like “I’m soo sorry you are absolutely right, you know everything better than I do.” and not a more medium/neutral stance like “I’m sorry for the misunderstanding, but I was brought in to provide feedback, you don’t have to take it.”

    3. Dasein9 (he/him)*

      Where are you getting “career advice” or that LW#3 was giving feedback on the employee herself from the letter? The LW explained that she was giving feedback on informational pages for contractors, as she was hired to do.

      1. AnonPriorFed*

        “I did mention early on that working on specialist intranet pages is a useful exercise for trainees” – right after calling her “someone so immensely junior to me.” The first part is career commentary. The second is a flag.

        I was a government supervisor. If anyone came to me with this story, I’d get the whole story from both parties but potentially flag both of them for follow up. The government employee probably needs to control her temper and be clear on setting expectations. Government employees are there for the long run and my responsibility to develop, coach, and mentor. The contractor may have forgotten that they’re not in charge and would be watched to see if they’re overall difficult to work with. The contractor is the contracting company’s responsibility for mentoring and development, including how things change when the person’s role does (this is really hard!). Either the contracting company deals with it, or the individual contractor is gone, because the company presumably doesn’t want to lose the contract overall.

        1. Dasein9 (he/him)*

          That was in response to the gov employee saying she’d been given the task as a trainee, which is pretty relevant. Obviously follow-up wouldn’t be a bad idea because of the hostile response but I didn’t see any red flags there.

        2. Cmdrshprd*

          “right after calling her “someone so immensely junior to me.””

          I don’t think OP called the gov. employee “immensely junior” to their face, but was telling us for context. I think it is relevant context and (maybe we disagree) but a 20 year career versus a 3 year career, I would say the gov. employee was/is “immensely junior” to OP in terms of experience. That is not a put down or a negative, it just is. Maybe not in terms of hierarchy in the department/agency.

  30. I should really pick a name*

    If you can come up with excuses, I think that’s a good approach.

    If not, I’d say something like “We’re scaling back on playdates while I’m pregnant”

    1. Warrior Princess Xena*

      Yup, this all the way. Dial back play dates to close friends + family for a bit and if anyone does ask (which is probably unlikely), claim over scheduling or exhaustion or pregnancy caution. Do not say a word about vaccine status. Even if it’s not illegal and IMO not incredibly unethical to make your personal decisions based on that info, it might still land you into hot water with the school board if it comes out.

  31. I should really pick a name*

    You mention that you find people management natural to you. Does that mean you have people management experience that isn’t showing on your resume?
    You generally want your resume to be pretty direct, and not rely on people to infer what your skills are.

    Your goal may have been to fill in gaps, but that might not have been in line with the company’s goal. They may have been looking for someone to hit the ground running as opposed to needing training in certain areas.

    Why do you think you look stupid to the manager? It just looks like you don’t have people management experience, which isn’t a commentary on your intelligence. If they thought you were stupid, they wouldn’t have hired you for the other role.

    1. ecnaseener*

      Given that the manager said LW didn’t have “too much” management experience, it sounds like some management experience was on the resume.

  32. Acronyms Are Life (AAL)*

    It’s not about being polite, it’s the fact that she has privileged information that she’s technically not using in the way it was intended. If she were to reference that she saw their information on the school forms, I would think that she’s probably looking at other aspects within those forms to make determinations on who she wants as her kid’s friend group. You probably could find out if the kids are on reduced/free lunch on those forms, their parent’s marital statuses, race, religion, etc. If she was coming through the records to find out who’s not vaccinated I’d think twice, rightly or wrongly, about what else she has specifically looked at.

    1. Acronyms Are Life (AAL)*

      Nesting fail, but thoughts remain the same. Bottom line, OP should just ask ALL people if they are vaccinated prior to play dates. Besides, OP only has access to the kids records, what about the adults? You would assume all adults are vaccinated if their kids are, but you can’t be sure unless you ask.

    2. Tiger Snake*

      Yes. I’ve had to refrain from commenting on LW#2 initially, because my response is very much stuck on “You are actively admitting to abusing your privileged access in these systems for personal motivation and gain, and I think people who do that should be fired.” Roads to hell and all that – there are some things that we have to take a hard “but to do that you had to abuse our trust and that is never going to make it acceptable” stance.

  33. Bunny*

    #5 – chiming in to provide my experience as a college admissions interviewer. frankly, being an Eagle Scout raised yellow flags to me now that I will probe during an interview. while it may have previously been a universally admirable achievement, the eagle scouts I have interviewed have all achieved the ranking through the significant financial sponsorship of their parents (eg the kid does a fundraiser for charity where the parents donate 1000s), which makes it less impressive as a demonstration of leadership and initiative. additionally, kids these days have so many opportunities to demonstrate leadership and responsibility that Eagle Scout doesn’t stand out to me any more than say being captain of the varsity X team does, and I generally find kids with the latter achievement to demonstrate more maturity and discipline in an interview. So frankly I’m surprised by the recommendation to put Eagle Scout on a resume for a post college job because usually high school sports don’t go on resumes, and to me an Eagle Scout is a high school accolade.

    1. The Person from the Resume*

      I am not male so I was never a boy scout, but I agree.

      Boy Scouts have, in the past, discriminated against homosexuals. I not sure how much they have cleaned up their act about that, but being a member of a homophobic group is not something to brag about.

      And I agree I’ve seen some Eagle Scout projects that I have been underwhelmed by. Just so I don’t see that and think that someone has demonstrated an impressive amount of leadership and initive.

      1. Bunny*

        Right. I think it’s important for me not to make assumptions about the values an Eagle Scout holds or the way they achieved the ranking, but because it’s college admissions interviewing I do make a point of asking them about the project, how they developed the idea for their project, how they planned it, etc. And it’s wild, literally all the Eagle Scout candidates I’ve interviewed have basically been spoon-fed the projects by their parents. Granted it’s not a huge number – like five candidates over 8 years of interviewing. And I’m sure there are Eagle Scouts that get there through true maturity and leadership that I would be very impressed by, but I think the accolade by itself is certainly not the equivalent of being on Jeopardy or an Olympic athlete! I’m surprised by Alison putting them together.

      2. Katie A*

        Since you aren’t sure how much they’ve cleaned up their act, I thought you’d be pleased to know that they removed their ban on gay scouts 10 years ago and removed their ban on gay troop leaders a year later. And that they have allowed trans members since 2017 and have allowed girls to join in various ways since 2018.

        I’m sure there’s still all sorts of issues with the group, but their official policies are no longer homophobic.

      3. Filosofickle*

        When my brother got his Eagle, his troop always did big, physical conservation-type projects that required rallying and leading a crew through weeks or months of hard work. Recently a friend’s kid got his by making a dozen bird houses, completely on his own, and i wondered…has the standard changed?!

    2. watermelon fruitcake*

      For all the legitimate criticism of the Boy Scouts – and there is plenty – “Eagle Scout is not an impressive demonstration of leadership and initiative” or “it’s merely a high school accolade” is not one. Not that I support the military-industrial complex, but as an example of how widely recognized and respected it is, having achieved Eagle Scout automatically raises your rank if you enter the military. If it is an accomplishment whereby the US government would treat you as more capable from the get-go, then it is certainly resume-worthy.

      1. Bunny*

        that’s interesting, I didn’t know that about the military increasing your rank if you are an Eagle Scout! That context is good to have, and I appreciate you pointing it out. I stand by my assessment of the particular students I spoke with not having demonstrated leadership or initiative in impressive ways, however, so that I would not automatically consider Eagle Scout an impressive achievement, personally. I guess I agree to disagree with the military practice, as I do with other things as well.

    3. Hiring Mgr*

      Going to college itself often involves significant financial sponsorship by the parents.

      I’m not doubting your anecdotes, but also sounds like a small sample size.

      As someone who was the captain of Varsity team X, I can assure you we are no more or less suited for leadership (who is at 18 anyway?)

    4. Naomi*

      I don’t think the financial part is broadly true. My brother is an Eagle Scout, and I know our parents did not have the money to throw a fundraiser for him, nor do I think the others in his Scout cohort came from wealth. At most, our parents might have found him a project for a volunteer group they were involved in.

      1. Bunny*

        Thanks for sharing your story. I think “parents finding projects for scouts” is common in the Eagle Scouts I have interviewed, and when I compare to students I’ve interviewed who have independently developed projects without parents being involved and without being part of Scouts, this is where I find the Eagle Scouts I have interviewed lacking.

        1. Hiring Mgr*

          Maybe they were just clever enough to pretend their parents didn’t help. A scout could never do that, due to their code of honor and truth.

  34. Magdalena*

    LW4. I am confused by the “I actually find people management natural for me” when you also state that you do not have a lot of management experience.

    Does it mean you’ve had a short stint managing people and it went fine? TBH I would be wondering whether a person claiming that they were successful from the very start in something new to them was sufficiently self-aware to actually be good at managing.

    Also “they think I’m stupid” gave me serious pause. It came across as defensive and unnecessarily adversarial, two things I wouldn’t want my manager to be.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Yeah the attitude is really hard to swallow here. And I don’t mean you’re snotty or anything, OP, just that the way you present this information tells me you really don’t know what you’re getting yourself into with people management.

      For a manager role a lot of places would, rightly, rather hire someone with management experience who has less practical knowledge in the business mechanics, and that seems foreign to you. Business mechanics can be learned very quickly, work can be shadowed, a good manager will talk to their new staff and learn about their daily challenges. But moving from hands-on expert to management is HARD, and you don’t sound prepared for that just yet.

      The advice to find small opportunities to learn and prove yourself is your best path here.

    2. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

      And related, I think that an important aspect of managing people is understanding where they are coming from–and it should be reasonably easy to understand why interviewers don’t take “I have a little bit of experience and a natural talent” as a reason to hire someone over the person who has a lot of experience and presumably references who can attest to their skill in that area.

    3. Decima Dewey*

      You can’t know that “people management comes naturally to you” until you’ve done a lot of it.

      It’s one thing to cover for your boss when they’re on vacation or out sick. It’s another when you’re doing it full time and you’re the one who has to cope when a clerical assistant calls in tears because her baby died, or there’s a flood in the basement after a heavy rain, or your second in command is stuck taking care of her mother in another time zone and she was the one scheduled to work on the Saturday you expected have off, and so forth.

      1. 1-800-BrownCow*

        I agree, you don’t know until you’ve done it. I’ve had a few people tell me they’re natural leaders and can manage people without any experience…but really, they can’t. Managing people is HARD, even with the easy employees.

    4. Salsa Verde*

      Totally agree with your last comment. “They think I’m stupid” is really jumping to conclusions, and is objectively wrong, since they did offer you a job. If they really thought you were stupid, they wouldn’t have hired you, so you jumping to that conclusion is not great. I wouldn’t want my manager to jump to conclusions like that.

    5. Ellis Bell*

      This is probably an unfair and untrue characterisation of OP’s actual opinion, but those ways of expressing it read to me as “Only stupid people aren’t good with people, and anyone who’s got good people skills can be a manager”. I don’t say that to accuse OP of actually having this mindset, but just to make them aware that it’s a very common belief which good hiring managers will be wary of. Basically the concept that “anyone with some brains and a can do attitude can manage others” is one they will want to distance themselves from. The very worst type of manager is one who accepts the responsibility very glibly and thinks they’ll be able to wing it with good verbal skills and some basic common sense. OP needs to come across as having given it more serious thought than that, to acknowledge that there’s a whole bunch of management situations that hasn’t had a chance to have occured on their watch yet, and that they understand it’s a job were it’s not possible to have too much experience in, and that the challenges are going to be steep.

  35. Somewhere in Texas*

    LW #5- It’s a great human-interest piece that is relevant. Back when I was first applying to remote jobs, I would check the vibe if the company and if they were “enjoy the world while working remote!” level of remote companies (or had a fun IG presence) I would link my travel/skoolie account in the bottom on the resume. I didn’t do it on all of them, but where it made sense. I also listed “Foodie” in skills for one where I would be booking travel through an agency.

  36. kiki*

    “Our company started saying that any hours worked outside of opening hours are not productive and cannot count towards our required 42.5 minimum.”

    This is such a wild thing for management say that I’m wondering if there’s some original context and telephone going on that has garbled the original somewhat sensical intention?

    I worked in retail for a while with a manager who went way overboard with working outside the store’s open hours. Like, they’d sort of randomly decide that they need to come in 4 hours early when there wasn’t really anything that needed to be done while the store wasn’t open. They’d then complain to leadership about how much time they were spending in office and/ or would require another manager to cover closing because they’d already put in 8 hours by mid-afternoon.

    Maybe leadership at LW’s company really meant, “Hey, don’t go too crazy on hours outside store opening,” then it went through 6 levels of people and ended up saying something kind of stupid. That’s the only logical explanation I can think of for leadership’s stance in this letter.

    1. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

      Companies that don’t have sensible rules seem as common as those that do. And the upshot of saying it’s not productive to work those hours is that they only need to do what fits within working hours, as the company has said that the rest is unproductive, so not necessary.

  37. HonorBox*

    OP1 – NO. Just no.

    The hours thing baffles me. If you’re not getting credit for working outside of open hours, then you’re not getting credit for the time you’re putting in to do the work that is necessary for the job. There’s no reason that they should not compensate you for that time.

    Secondly, the meeting. You’re expected to put in your regular six day work week, then travel four hours to meet then travel back to go back to work? Hard no. The expectations this business has are so out of whack with the reality of how good business functions. If there’s an expectation that you’re attending a mandatory meeting on one of your days off, they absolutely need to be offering (not conceding) that you’re getting credit for those hours…both the meeting hours and the travel time. All they’re doing now is setting their entire team up for turnover due to burnout.

  38. HonorBox*

    OP2 – As Alison says, use the knowledge to inform your decisions. Don’t say your kids can’t have playdates because the other kids are unvaccinated. But you should say, “I’ve been told through my pregnancy that I’m at higher risk for some illnesses, so I’m just shying away from playdates until after the baby is born.” You’d approach things similarly if a family member who lived with you was going through chemo treatment or something else that made them more susceptible to any random illness, so treat it as a “you” problem and not a “them” problem… even though it is a them problem.

    OP3 – I’d definitely say something to whoever set up the feedback meeting. It sounds like you were very measured in the feedback you gave, and the response was really abnormal. If I’m the person’s boss, I’d want to know. You were hired for a reason, and the meeting was set up for a reason. Even if it was set up by the person who responded negatively, I’d suggest going over their head because that’s something their leadership will want to know.

  39. Lenny Briscoe*

    I was pretty much on board with LW #3, until they mentioned how “Junior” she was to them. Sounds a little smug to me. Consider checking your superiority at the door.

    1. Happy meal with extra happy*

      That’s a necessary fact because 1) if OP didn’t include it, there’d be tons of comments here about how maybe they’re at the same career level, so OP has less standing to critique and 2) more experienced people generally do know more – it’s not superiority.

      1. Lenny Briscoe*

        I completely disagree. They were disrespected by someone “so junior” to them. Screams superiority.

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          It matters though, especially since OP is a content expert. Someone with less experience, less knowledge, and less context telling you don’t know what you’re talking about is very different than a peer saying it to you.

    2. Ellis Bell*

      While it would be equally unacceptable for a peer or senior person to be rude, it’s extremely relevant context that this came from a junior. It’s incredibly rare for people who are aggressive to snark upwards against the grain of the power direction in the hierarchy. It does suggest something about the level of aggression from this particular person. Also, if you’re on the receiving end of disrespect as a senior, the thought process and the resolution is very different. If your peer reads you out, you go to your supervisor and if it’s a senior person you often just have to lump it. The fact that OP has more power here is ironically the reason she was taken so much by surprise and “showed her belly”. I think in retrospect OP sees that she had the capital to shut this down immediately, but again this is rare so she was taken unawares.

  40. watermelon fruitcake*

    #1 If my employer told me hours outside of a specific window were “not productive,” I would take that to mean they were not valuable or profitable and therefore not only not mandatory, but discouraged. Call it malicious compliance, call it being a brat, but if called out on not participating in extra work, I would refer to the “not productive” statement over and over and over again. Yes, I am aware this is something of a privileged fantasy because in the real world people get fired over such things. This isn’t the kind of job worth keeping.

    #2 Even though you already know their status, one approach might be to coax them to volunteer the information, directly, about whether or not they vaccinate. Tell them in the interest of your child’s health, you have to know if their kids are vaccinated, and if no, you won’t be meeting with them until your child has been caught up on all vaccinations. Not only does this give them a chance to reveal status to you, saving you from having to misuse private information you stumbled on at work… perhaps more importantly, if they choose to lie, this also tells you something critical about the kind of people they are, and you can make informed choices about the relationship(s) going forward. (YMMV but I’m more than happy to cut people out of my life for “just one thing” to protect my children.)

  41. Observer*

    #1 – “non-productive” hours.

    Please note that if they are applying this to non-exempt staff, this is flatly illegal.

    Also, your company if really bad to start with and doesn’t really understand what “exempt” means, if they are *requiring* 42.5 hours per week.

  42. Observer*

    #2 – Vaccination status.

    I’m going to agree with Alison that you are fine making the decisions that work for you. With some exceptions, making the decisions that work for you based on information you have gotten legitimately is not an ethical breach. But *sharing* that information? No, that is absolutely not ok. And there is no way to say that – even directly to them- without crossing a line. Do not say anything to them.

  43. EA*

    OP2, I agree with the advice – I certainly wouldn’t perceive a discussion as “cheery and factual” based on my private medical information (even if you have legitimate access to it through work). This is especially true for a subject as fraught as child vaccination; no good will come out of trying to have a discussion about it. You already know the information, so just act accordingly; there are millions of excuses you can make while pregnant to not get together with these families – you’re tired, busy, have family obligations, are swamped with other activities, etc. Make sure not to mention the vaccination information to your kids, either, because most kids won’t know to keep it to themselves.

  44. Anonymousz*

    I work in healthcare and my spouse works in education. We end up knowing a lot of protected information about people in our community. You absolutely don’t share it (even with your spouse or kids) and don’t even mention it in any form. If I say we aren’t going to go to a particular retail location anymore, he just says okay. If he gives me the code phrase to indicate we need to decline an invitation to someone’s home, I just say okay and go along with it.

    If you are the kind of person who would directly ask each family if they’ve been vaccinated before you or your kids spend time with them (what about kids in other districts or friends you don’t have access to their personal records, or activities outside of school, or in public places?) then make that your default. Otherwise, you need an excuse that has nothing to do with vaccination records. And vaccination should never be mentioned or hinted at. That’s part of your job. Keeping the FERPA info private.

  45. Sean Connery for $200*

    Former Jeopardy contestant here – it’s definitely on my resume and it definitely gets me interviews! It’s a great conversation starter! The question I get asked most often is “how did you prepare for the show?” And you can definitely use that as an opening line to showcase your work ethic.

    1. i like hound dogs*

      See, I was on American Ninja Warrior, and people always ask “did you win?”

      No … no I did not. Lol.

      I would definitely be impressed if I saw Jeopardy on someone’s resume!

  46. BecauseHigherEd*

    LW 5 – it’s bragging for sure, but so is saying you went to an Ivy League school, speak several languages, have won a number of awards, etc. Even if it’s not directly relevant to the job, it could signal the *type* of employee you might be and also just generally may be more memorable. Ex. One of the interns in my office has lived in at least five different countries on four continents, and it was mentioned in her cover letter and came up briefly in her interview. That’s not a prerequisite for the front desk, but for us, that signaled that she might be good at interacting with people from different backgrounds, would have some intercultural competency, and also might be an interesting person to work with. (That all ended up being true.)

  47. LinesInTheSand*

    OP 5, I have a section on my resume specifically labeled “conversation starters” where I put stuff like this. I wasn’t on Jeopardy but I do race cars in my spare time which, while not directly relevant to my day job, provides a lot of opportunities for me to show off grit and determination and problem solving.

  48. Database Developer Dude*

    Oh! My! God!

    I have been actually lectured to for including associate degrees on my resume in the education section, but including having been on Jeopardy! is okay? No. That is a slap in the face. Completing a college degree, ANY college degree, shows I can handle responsibility, goal setting, and manage a workload to get things done. If that’s irrelevant, and Jeopardy is not, it’s not MY priorities that are screwed up.

    1. Caramel & Cheddar*

      I’m trying to see where Alison advocated for *not* including an associate degree in the education section of one’s resume and I’m coming up very short.

      1. Database Developer Dude*

        I didn’t say Alison advocated for not including an AA/AS degree on the resume. She did not.

        Any hiring manager that would accept something like this, and not having AA/AS degrees on the resume (and they ARE out there) has screwed up priorities.

        And don’t even get me started on those who’ve lectured me about my 2 page resume with 35 years of experience in my field.

    2. i like hound dogs*

      Why wouldn’t you include an associate degree? I’m confused by their reasoning. It’s a valid educational accomplishment.

    3. iglwif*

      I don’t know what an associate degree is, but surely ANY degree is exactly the kind of thing that should go in your Education section???

      What a weird thing for someone to say to you!

      1. Hlao-roo*

        An associate’s degree is generally a 2-year undergraduate degree (usually seen as less prestigious than a bachelor’s degree, which is generally 4 years). But it definitely goes in the education section of a resume! I agree with all the commenters here who say that the person who lectured Database Developer Dude is unreasonable.

        1. iglwif*

          Oh so it’s like a college diploma rather than a university degree — got it. (Not the first time I’ve been tripped up by American vocabulary on this site ;))

          And doesn’t change my reaction, which is the same as yours. Some people are just absurd!

    4. Jiminy Cricket*

      Oh, those people who lectured you are 100% wrong. Absolutely put all your degrees under education.

    5. BecauseHigherEd*

      Yeah, what? Why wouldn’t you list your AA/AS(s)? I remember Alison saying that you shouldn’t list a degree from, say, a diploma mill (because that inherently doesn’t signal responsibility, goal setting, managing workloads, etc.) but in general, why not?

      I might say, though, that if you have an AA/AS for a non-related thing, I’d put it in the same category as the Jeopardy thing. Ex. If you studied cosmetology, worked in that field, then went to back to become a paralegal, that could be an interesting thing to note that tells someone more about you and signals some great transferrable skills but also doesn’t have to be the central focus.

    6. Warrior Princess Xena*

      Huh – I can think of a few situations where you might not want to include a degree on a resume but they’re relatively niche. I’m not sure why someone would have lectured you on it but I suspect that they are wrong.

    7. Starbuck*

      Someone else putting “Jeopardy contestant” on their resume isn’t slapping you in the face. This is a really intense (or at least misdirected) reaction to something very innocuous.

    8. biobotb*

      You feel slapped in the face because Alison has an opinion about including Jeopardy on resumes that is different than someone else’s opinion about AA degrees on resumes? Am I missing something?

  49. Ann O'Nemity*

    #2 Why share the real reason, given all the risks? And what’s the upside? I can’t imagine the families will appreciate the honesty.

    This is a temporary problem for the rest of the pregnancy. Parents turn down playdate requests all the time. Just give generic excuses, nothing elaborate that will get you caught in a lie.

  50. i like hound dogs*

    I was on American Ninja Warrior three times … I’ve never put it on my resume, but people are always interested in it when they find out. I’d add it, but … where??

    1. londonedit*

      I gather this is less common in the US, but in the UK it’s fairly normal to have an ‘Other interests and experience’ section on your CV, where you put non-work things that might be relevant or interesting – you’d put Ninja Warrior/Jeopardy/Mastermind/University Challenge on there, along with other things like ‘Keen member of local amateur dramatics society’ and ‘Qualified under-9s rugby coach’ or whatever.

      1. BecauseHigherEd*

        Not as common here in the US but I would LOVE to interview a “Qualified under-9’s rugby coach.” We should make this a thing.

      2. Ellis Bell*

        Ah, I used to hate coming up with stuff for that section. This is a real boon category for people who have sailed around the world, or appeared on Gladiators. Not so much for me, who enjoys baking, yoga, gardening and movies!

    2. Ann O'Nemity*

      Do it! I know someone who was on ANW for several seasons. It is definitely part of her personal brand, and it is clearly helping her career.

  51. Jiminy Cricket*

    I cannot imagine as a high-risk pregnant person choosing to have contact with people I know to be unvaccinated, no matter how I got that information.

    Yes, I know there are unknown risks out there. But why would that mean you should put yourself in the way of harm you know to be there?

    Of course, telling people how you know what you know, or telling anyone else, would be a breach of confidentiality. But, I would absolutely use this information to protect myself and my child.

  52. Nathan*

    For what it’s worth, when I got my Eagle Scout rank, the person awarding me the rank said “this is pretty much the only thing you will do at this age that you’ll keep on your resume for the rest of your life”.

    I thought about this a few years ago when I took Eagle Scout off my resume. I needed more room for relevant experience, and after my first job nobody ever asked me about it. In other industries I think it might be important and relevant, but for mine it’s not nearly as compelling as my actual career accomplishments, and multi-page resumes are so rare that it’s worth making the effort to keep everything on one page.

    So while I don’t disagree with Alison’s answer, if there comes a time when you’re deciding between keeping Jeopardy! on your resume or adding an impressive career accomplishment, trust your gut and your knowledge of your industry.

  53. MCMonkeyBean*

    I’m confused about what has changed functionally for OP 1. As a salaried manager, your pay is unchanged right? So if previously you were hitting a certain number of expected hours that included early or late hours–what happened then? Were you able to leave the store during a time that it was open? Because you say you hesitate to do your admin work during hours the store is open in case the employees need you, but if previously you would have left after hitting your expected amount of hours, then why not do the admin work when you would have otherwise been gone? Or if you wouldn’t have gone home after working the extra hours then I guess I’m just not understanding what is different now.

    1. Jiminy Cricket*

      My understanding is that the OP works retail or in the restaurant business and actually has enough coverage to schedule someone else to cover the 8 hours or whatever in the store during the week, so they could, for example, work 36 hours in the store and travel to the meeting for 8 hours, hitting their hours target and getting all their work done. But they are being told, no, they have to be in the store 42 hours plus 8 at the meeting, regardless.

      1. MCMonkeyBean*

        I see, okay if they would otherwise be having someone cover some of their store time then this makes more sense to me. Thanks!

    2. VintageLydia*

      Traditionally managers are scheduled to overlap some so one will be in the morning to do admin work. accept shipments, manage stock employees, etc in the AM and be available during the day for other customers and employees. Then the evening manager would overlap with them for an hour or so, usually early afternoon, and work until close and do the closing duties which can take an hour or longer after the store closes. Now they’re made to work the entirety of their official shift during the store hours, but the other stuff still needs to happen (can’t close all the registers to count down the safe while customers still expect to purchase items. Can’t have a truck cooling its heels from 4am until 9am when the store opens, especially when that truck has other deliveries scheduled for 5:30am.) This effectively cut their hourly pay since now they must work longer hours to do the same job, regardless if their paycheck remains the same. I guarantee you this was to reduce the number of hourly employees working during the day (because then a salaried manager, who when the math is done can be making less than the federal minimum wage, can run the register for a couple hours vs the part time but $10-15/hr cashier.)

  54. Ticotac*

    LW2 – It’s not a confidentiality breach to know things! As long as nobody materially suffers because of your refusal to hang around those unvaccinated families, and you tell no one why you don’t want to hang out with them, you’re fine. And you really want to tell nothing- avoid even a vague “just trying to be safe!” unless you’re avoiding every family, because that could open a whole can of worms.

    Good luck!

  55. HugeTractsofLand*

    OP #2- Speaking as a school data manager, you absolutely CANNOT tell those families you know their vaccination status. They might put 2+2 together and realize you know that info in a professional capacity, but you aren’t in the wrong unless you *tell* someone outside of school staff that you know their information (and tbh you’d still be in the wrong if you told staff who normally don’t have access to health information). Also, these families are likely going to feel salty if you tell them exactly why you aren’t hanging out anymore, and you don’t want to give them this kind of ammunition. “School staff member shares private vax data” is exactly the kind of story that will blow up on social media and in local papers and (god forbid) get picked up on a slow news day by certain news channels…and I say that as someone who had all 3 things happen to their tiny rural school district recently. You don’t want your name caught up in the middle of that crap!

    As to what you could do, you could ask them upfront if they’re vaccinated. Hopefully they don’t lie, and who knows, maybe they’re pro-vax but have just been dragging their feet and this is the push they need to get it done? Either way, good luck with your pregnancy!

    1. Elsajeni*

      I think even asking is probably a bad idea, tbh, exactly because, as you mentioned, they might put two and two together — if you say “oh we’d love to but because of my pregnancy I just need to check, are the kids fully vaccinated?” and they say “yes!” and you know from their records that the true answer is no, are you going to go ahead with the playdate? Because I wouldn’t, but I also would feel that responding “oh, super! but uhhhh you know I just remembered I have to wash my… horse… that day? so never mind actually, sorry!” would almost definitely make them think “oh right, she handles the vaccination records. HEY, WHY WAS SHE LOOKING AT OUR VACCINATION RECORDS.” I would just be vaguely and mysteriously unavailable to these particular families.

  56. Dovasary Balitang*

    #1 – I encountered something like this at a retail job in a small store. I was explicitly told by my manager not to clock in before my shift was scheduled to start. I stopped coming in early to get the store set-up ahead of time and would do it while customers were wandering around.

  57. Menace to Sobriety*

    For the unvaccinated, just….don’t schedule playdates with those kids; is it really THAT big of a problem, like you’ve been doing it weekly for years and are suddenly stopping?? You owe nobody a reason or even an apology for saying, “No”. If they push, “well, it’s cold and flu season and with me being pregnant, just being cautious” etc… works fine, I suppose. But, I would definitely NOT call them out on their unvaccinated status (although…how are they not? Religious exemption? Allergy? Our district MANDATES those vaccinations, unless the child is literally allergic to it, or they’re homeschooled, and a parent must provide annual shot records as part of the yearly welcome back to school/orientation packet). Regardless, you can’t “UNKNOW” what you know, so use it to keep yourself and baby safe, just don’t announce it, and keep it lowkey. Heck it might not even come up at all!

    1. HannahS*

      Yeah, this is kind of where I fall. Of course you should keep yourself as safe as you reasonably can. And also just…don’t schedule playdates with those kids. Or if they ask, say, “Thanks, what a lovely idea, let me check our schedule; I’ll let you know,” and never reply. And if they follow-up, “You know, I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather lately so we’re holding off on playdates for a bit; I’ll let you know when we’re free!”

      I work in healthcare (albeit in Canada) and I fail to see how it would be breach of confidentiality to privately make a choice based on your knowledge of someone else’s medical information. It would be a violation of confidentiality to SHARE the info with your spouse or children if you are in fact bound by health-information privacy acts…but you’re not a healthcare worker, so you probably aren’t. It would, at worst, be a violation of your employer’s policies and/or the unspoken expectations of your job, like how you wouldn’t share whose parents are getting divorced if it’s not public yet. It’s neither unethical or illegal to avoid playdates with kids who you know to be unvaccinated.

      1. HannahS*

        Oh, also–I totally see why it might seem like the right answer is to be kindly transparent, because generally, being honest while setting boundaries is seen as a good thing. But as Alison says, the calculus changes when you’re working with private information. In this case, it’s more important to be discreet than to be transparent or honest. The polite fiction that no one knows their private information is really important, and is a professional expectation for someone in your position.

      2. Purpleshark*

        I’m am late to this discussion and I am sorry if this is a repeat. I also work in a school and just underwent my recent FERPA or Family Rights and privacy act training. A school employee is not allowed to access a student record if you do not have a professional reason to be in there. Looking up vaccination records for students your child associates with would be a no. I am sorry because I feel like you, I would not want to be around families where they would take that risk.

  58. Throwaway Account*

    I did not read all the comments, but for #2 and the private vaccine issue:
    Option #1: ask everyone before setting up play dates if they are vaccinated for things like [list diseases] and say you are being very careful because your immunity has ended and you cannot get vaccinated yet (or explain the pregnancy if you are ok with that).
    Option #2: tell everyone who asks for a playdate and who you know is also unvaccinated that you are limiting all contact right now to keep everyone healthy and turn down the playdate.

  59. blueInARedHell*

    LW#2: You do NOT need to be consistent! Tell everyone that you are not doing playdates at all. Then just schedule them with those individual families that you decide you want to/trust. Never mention or allude to any inside knowledge. If someone points out that you had a playdate with Alice, so why not their Bob, just say that you had an understandable lapse of judgement due to pregnancy brain and you are super-duper going to have no play dates from here on out. Then rinse and repeat.

  60. In the middle*

    I was on Who Wants to be a Millionaire-and put it in my coverletter for a librarian position. I got the job!

  61. learnedthehardway*

    OP#4 – the hiring manager does not think you are stupid. They would not have hired you for the technical role, if that were the case. In fact, they’ve indicated to you that they think you have POTENTIAL to grow into management roles, but that you aren’t there yet.

    Also, they had another candidate who already did have management experience. While that person comes from another industry, clearly they have whatever requirements the hiring manager wanted to be able to do the manager job. The fact that you discount their overall experience because they do not come from the specific industry illustrates that perhaps you don’t understand the manager job, yet.

    Management entails not just people leadership, but also a higher level of strategic thinking or at least operations planning, budgeting, working with other department leaders, and seeing the big picture. It takes time and training to develop those skills. Besides which, while you may feel that you’re good at leading people, that doesn’t mean that you met the requirements as the hiring manager saw them. (I evaluate candidates as my job, and there are a LOT of people who think they have good people leadership, but don’t. Not saying you’re one of them, but I would NEVER take a candidate’s self-assessment of their leadership skills at face value, and clearly, the hiring manager didn’t, either).

    I would look at this role as an opportunity to learn the company, perform your role excellently, and EARN the opportunity to be considered for future management roles. Prove yourself and build your skills, in other words, rather than trying to prove the hiring manager wrong about their assessment of your readiness for management. That said, what you CAN do is to tell your manager that you want to grow to management levels, and ask them for guidance and opportunities to build the skills that you need to get there.

  62. Observer*

    #4 – Rejected for management

    This must feel like a real pile on, and I feel bad about it. But if you read and take on board what people are saying, you will come out ahead. Because what people are saying is true.

    * Without experience you cannot *really* know that you are good at it.

    * Even if you are the unicorn who can actually know that they are good without a lot of experience it’ wildly unrealistic for the company to take your word for it.

    * Jumping from “I disagree with their assessment” to “They think I’m stupid” is a wild leap. It’s the kind of thing that actually makes it extremely hard to manage well. So that indicates that you are not as ready for management as you think. And if any potential employer sees a tendency to take unwarranted or jump to unreasonable conclusions, both of which you did here, they are reasonably going to be hesitant to hire that person into a management position.

    Having said that, I want to also say that you just did something very smart here. You reached out to a professional for a reality check. That is an excellent move, and the kind of thing that smart managers (especially upper level managers) like to see.

    Lots of luck!

  63. M*

    Hey OP #1! Your situation sounds like it’s retail, so I’m going to go ahead and respond as if it is; if it’s not, obviously disregard.

    I’ve been in retail for over 16 years, and in a salaried role for 5, with multiple companies, and this is so far out of the realm of what I’ve experienced as normal that my jaw dropped as I read your letter. Required 6-day weeks during peak isn’t unheard of (although it’s not something I’ve ever experienced, so I wouldn’t say it’s common, either), but to say that it has to be 48 hours of time during business hours is deranged. Full bananapants, if you will.

    I know that trying to leave retail for another industry can feel really challenging, and maybe that’s partly why you’ve stayed, but I promise there are retail companies out there that don’t treat their salaried managers like this, and I would really really encourage you to look around for something better. I had significant staffing issues this holiday season, and I was still able to keep my weeks under 45 hours.

    I’ve read this site for a long time, and there’s definitely a pretty negative view of all retail jobs among the commenters (sometimes fairly, sometimes not), so I wanted to speak up as someone who is in retail, in case that helps. Look elsewhere!

  64. Former J! Contestant*

    I was on Jeopardy! (won three times) and it’s been on my resume for more than a decade. I’m now on the later end of mid-career, but it’s not going to budge; it’s an instant conversation starter that carries some degree of credibility with it.

  65. Purpleshark*

    I’m am late to this discussion and I am sorry if this is a repeat. I also work in a school and just underwent my recent FERPA or Family Rights and privacy act training. A school employee is not allowed to access a student record if you do not have a professional reason to be in there. Looking up vaccination records for students your child associates with would be a no. I am sorry because I feel like you, I would not want to be around families where they would take that risk.

    1. Lenora Rose*

      This is irrelevant; they *do* already know because of their job. This is not “Can I look it up?” (Which, agreed, is an obvious nope. Never look at student records past what you need to do your job).

      This is “I am the exact person who had to input the data into the system, therefore I already know. Can I use that knowledge to protect myself?”

      1. Hydrangea MacDuff*

        I agree with you and also—assuming are in the US, most of the childhood vaccines required for school are obtained before the age of school entry. So, new students would have their records input but there is little to no reason for an employee to be looking up those records unless the fam is out of compliance for their kids. In my state there is still a religious exemption and a “philosophical exemption” for some vaccines, which is a whole other story, but either way the person should not be poking around in vax records for any reason other than work related.

        If they happen to know something they can use that info while keeping mum, though.

        (K-12 records officer here!)

  66. Annabelle*

    For LW3: don’t make playdates with the unvaccinated families but don’t tell them that’s why. And if you’re in the Philadelphia area, mask up and avoid crowds. We’re in a measles outbreak currently because someone’s unvaccinated kid caught it while overseas, the family broke quarantine to send their kid to daycare, then the kid had to go to the hospital (because duh, measles is serious), and some more unvaccinated people caught it while in the ER. Woot woot.

  67. Lacey*

    LW1 – Do you work for a fast casual restaurant?
    It sounds like the kind of nonsense they pull.

    Get out, you’ll slowly destroy your mental and physical health.

  68. PlainJane*

    Definitely talk to someone because that response is super weird. Something is going on with that employee. And your sense of having had to “show your belly”? That doesn’t happen with a garden variety encounter, that makes it sound quite frightening–in an actual physical danger way–which shouldn’t ever be an issue in a work interaction. Terrorizing colleagues is never okay, and if she did it with you, someone in a higher position, imagine what she’s doing to her colleagues. This is something that a manager needs to know about. (And maybe the employee needs to talk to EAP; this is extremely weird behavior if you’re just getting feedback about a document. I do some things that I’d probably get my feelings hurt about if someone said, “Ick, that’s terrible”–things I take pride in doing well, mostly–but getting feelings hurt does not translate into “Terrorize the person who did it.”)

  69. Tiger Snake*

    #4; I’d like to hone in on this comment:

    “The person hired for the supervisor title was someone having people management experience but no industry experience at all, so even more to learn than I may have learnt”

    As someone who’s moved ‘up’ from the technical industry roles into team leader, director and supervisor over time, what I’m getting from this statement is the person they hired has the primary skills and experienced they needed from the role, while you only had the secondary skills.

    Yes, it’s great when your manager knows what you do and could do it herself if she needed to. But that’s why her employees are there for! It’s more important that she have that people management experience. Industry skills are a bonus.

  70. Wowzers*

    OP2 – definitely do not make it known to these families that you are using access to confidential student information for our personal decisions. I think even if technically you aren’t obligated to keep it confidential or private, it’ll be bad for your reputation and could blow up for you at work. I think many families assume that information they give schools on health matters, accommodations, etc. is kept private, even if it’s not subject to laws about privacy or confidentiality. On the work front, do you need accommodations if there is a chicken pox outbreak for example, or what about an initial case? Could be worth considering if you hadn’t already. On the personal front, other options I thought about are sharing your health situation and (1) saying for that reason you can’t host playdates at your house until [whenever], so would they mind hosting for the next few months or (2) ask them directly about vaccination status. If you’re not super friendly with these folks, maybe you don’t want to share personal details about your own health, but if you’re trying to maintain a relationship to return to post-delivery, it could help them to know your current circumstances and that you aren’t trying to be in their business unnecessarily.

  71. Jack Straw from Wichita*

    I want to thank Alison for her reply to #4. Managing people isn’t just having “natual leadership,” and it isn’t/shouldn’t be easy if you’re doing it right.

    It is a seriously under-rated skill, and the LW should honestly count themselves lucky that they work at an org that recognizes that functional and technical things can be learned far more quickly than leadership skills.

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