I’m stuck in a job I can’t quit, an X-rated view from my office window, and more

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

1. I’m stuck in a job I can’t quit

A few months ago, my wife and I moved long distances so I could take a management job with a pay bump and better annual raises. The company also paid for the relocation. It seemed like a total home run, even if it meant moving very far away from any of our families.

I had been in a similar job in my industry where I was wildly successful, and respected by my management team, to the point where one pushed pretty hard for me for the job I have now. I was doing so well, my company was stunned that I left, but it came down to money.

The new job has been a disaster and is a bad fit. My managers have pointed out several faults they have with me. Among these: I’m not “vocal” enough, I’m not a “loud presence in the room,” and they like to point out my predecessor “made sure everyone in the room knew he was there.” They have also told me I’m not “assertive” in the way they need me to be.

I have never been a vocal person, a loud presence, or an assertive person. If anyone who knew me asked to describe me, those kind of words would be the absolute last they would use to describe me. I tend to keep to myself as much as possible. I’ve always been that way but it’s not been an issue for any other employer before now. As a painfully shy person who could be considered socially anxious, I am never going to be those things above. My current employer obviously wants someone with a different personality than I have.

It’s become clear my company’s priorities do not align with my strengths the way they did at my last company. More importantly, my bosses have a different vision for what someone in my position looks like, and it’s not someone put together like me. In hindsight, my last job now feels like a senior-level individual contributor role instead of a management role, even though I was part of the management team.

Quitting is not an option because I’d have to pay back what they gave us to relocate, plus steep penalties for breaking the two-year contract I signed. If they fire me, I shouldn’t owe anything but I’m essentially trapped in a job that’s a very bad fit. Because of our rental lease, which my income mostly supports, I need to gut it out here for at least a year. Any advice?

If they’re as unhappy as it sounds like they are, they might be open to a negotiated departure where you both agree it’s the wrong fit and they let you out of the contract and the relocation repayment. It’s worth a conversation where you say something like, “I’m increasingly realizing that you want someone for this role whose strengths are XYZ — which are not mine. I think there may be a fundamental mismatch between what you need and what I’m good at. I don’t feel like I’m in a position to simply move on, given the contract penalties and relocation repayment that would trigger, but if you’d consider waiving those, it could open up some easier options for both of us.”

2. I can see someone having sex from my office window

What’s the best response to a couple having sex very visibly from your office window? This has happened twice now.

I work downtown and my office building faces an apartment building that has floor to ceiling windows in some apartments, including the bedroom. Most apartments have the bedroom blinds closed, but not this one!

I do have blinds, but closing them makes my office feel immediately claustrophobic, so I want to leave them open as much as possible. However, that window is very visible to anyone entering my office, and now I’m grappling with the very real possibility that someone will come in and see this couple having sex behind me.

Am I doomed to claustrophobia? Should I put a large sign up in the window asking them to close the blinds? Mime the inconvenience until they notice?

Also: how do I respond to someone if they’re in my office and do see the couple having sex because I hadn’t noticed before? Thankfully I’m not client-facing, but that’s still not a conversation I want to have with my boss!

Oh my. Is there a middle ground where partly closing the blinds could block the view a bit but without making your office feel so closed off?

Otherwise, you’re stuck choosing between closing the blinds completely or risking some truly distracting stuff behind you when people come in.

Readers, any better thoughts?

3. Should I give unsolicited advice to a job-hopping client?

I am happily self-employed in business services practice. My question for you is about a tax client who, in the decade I’ve prepared her taxes, has had W2s from multiple companies (it’s six or seven over this time), and also had self-employment income from various contracting engagements.

Jane is well-educated and has many accomplishments. However, the constant job movement is, in my eyes, due to some difficult personal qualities. She dominates conversations of every type. Whether in-person or via teleconference, it’s almost impossible to break in and say anything. This even happens when I am responding to direct questions from her. Interruptions are nearly constant. She refers to her specialty (logistics, software support for logistics, documentation for logistical processes) constantly, and often out of context. References to interactions at the C-suite level are not uncommon. Several years ago she was hired by a distinguished local financial institution. When we first discussed this new job, she announced that she’d settled for the position after several months of unemployment and was “managing up” to assist her supervisor. That one lasted about 18 months, just like most of the others.

It must be infuriating for any manager to have such a person on their team. I know that these were qualities that I coached people out of when I managed a staff of my own. My question for you is – should I say anything to the client about this? To be clear, she has not sought my guidance. I see her only during tax season, and briefly. None of this really impacts me. But… it seems to an ongoing problem, with little self-reflection available to address it.

Absolutely not. You don’t have the sort of relationship where the feedback would be appropriate; it would be pretty bizarre for the person she’s hired to prepare her taxes to give that sort of feedback unsolicited. (You also don’t know if she even considers the job hopping a problem!) It would be as a serious overstep.

4. How to turn down fans who want to connect one-on-one

I work on a mental health podcast that’s recently gotten pretty popular. With the increased attention, we also have a lot of listeners private messaging to us for advice and mentorship (we aren’t therapists and that’s not the focus of the podcast, so those regulations don’t enter into the equation). At first, we were so excited about reaching so many people that we happily jumped on calls/made friends/connected with people. That’s no longer feasible with the volume of requests that we get — our host would literally spend every waking hour having one-on-one conversations with fans.

We’re nowhere near famous and I hate the idea that we have to distance ourselves from everyone who makes us successful. We specifically got into this to help people! Do you have a script for turning people down when they reach out? What do you do personally in this situation as someone whose blog has really exploded? Also, we do have multiple lists of resources that we can pass along but many of our listeners have no access to real mental health care because of cost, availability of providers, and long waiting lists (which is infuriating and only makes this harder).

I went through a period where I tried to respond to every single person who wrote me (at least privately) and it was overwhelming. To keep doing it, I would have had to give up most of my leisure time and would still have “go answer more email” constantly hanging over me. So I quickly came to terms with the fact that it wasn’t realistic — and that’s completely okay! When you create something, it’s amazing to know that it resonates with people so much that they want to connect with you in a more personal way … but you’ve got to get comfortable setting boundaries so that you can continue to make the thing that caught their attention in the first place, because (at least after a certain point) you cannot do both.

Don’t look at this as distancing yourself from the people who made you successful; it’s about being clear on what you are equipped to offer (podcasts that delve into mental health that serve a large audience) and what you aren’t (phone calls and other private communication that has an audience of one). That boundary is necessary to maintain your primary product (the podcast), because otherwise you will quickly burn out and then not help anyone at all.

What that means in practice: you need some warm, friendly form letters to field all the requests you’re getting. Sample language: “It means a ton to us that you liked our work enough to reach out. We’ve been overwhelmed by the volume of messages we receive and unfortunately that volume means we can’t respond personally to each one, as much as we would like to.” People will generally get it if you spell it out.

5. How long should I keep old-work-related papers?

I’m working on scanning and shredding my paper clutter, and I have many, many copies of old performance evaluations, as well as other things like letters confirming job offers, etc. Is there any reason to keep any of this? Tax records have published data for how long you should keep documentation, but how about work-related things? I feel like I need “permission” to just shred some of this stuff, like the performance evaluation from my first job in the early 1990s (eeeeeek)!

There are no real guidelines on this, but I’d say keep stuff for at least the last 10 years (but it doesn’t have to be paper copies; it’s fine to scan and store them electronically). You never know when you might have trouble confirming employment (if a place shuts down, for example) and could use an offer letter, etc. to help do it. You’re highly unlikely to need really old performance evaluations, although as a completist I might be tempted to scan those too in case they’re amusing to look back on 20 years from now (but to clear, this would be for nostalgic/entertainment value and not “what if it would ever help to show I excelled at my job in 1992” … and if you do not consider bureaucratic detritus in any way amusing, you can skip it).

{ 556 comments… read them below }

  1. Kiv*

    LW2: Put a stained-glass window hanging or window sticker over the zone of the window where the rowdy couple is visible.

      1. Halley*

        Yeah, depending on the angle of the bedroom window from the office, a bulky plant (or even one of those vases of dried pampas grasses) could be effective. Depending on the amount of space available, an open shelving unit in front of the window could also be an option – stack work-appropriate books / binders / neutral looking document storage boxes to block the relevant area and leave the rest empty/sparse.

      2. Sue*

        How about standing at the window with binoculars or even better, a telescope?
        I’m assuming if you can see them very well, the reverse is true…

        1. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

          Their activity is presumably more interesting that the OP’s job, so I would expect they aren’t as distractable. And OP’s windows might have a reflective coating too.

          1. GythaOgden*

            A lot of people get distracted by things like that. Try being in a room with a muted but still active TV behind you and focusing on something. That’s awkward for a lot of people, never mind when it’s something you’d rather not see and rather not let others see.

            1. len*

              I think they meant the people having sex are distracted and wouldn’t notice subtle signals from the LW.

              1. linger*

                OP2 asks: What’s the best response?
                If subtle signals won’t cut through, then how about performing The Timewarp with vigorous hand gestures?

                1. AngryOctopus*

                  This is always the answer (unless you prefer a Wayne’s World-esque rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody).

                2. Anthony Tellier*

                  How often DO they “do it”?! Hourly? Non-stop? (!) Call colleagues in the the show! Take videos ….

                3. tamarack and fireweed*

                  I would be tempted to tape a note on the door of the apartment building “To the couple on the Xth floor: everyone in the office building across the street can see you”.

            1. JustaTech*

              I’m not so sure. We had this problem at my old office and it was that people genuinely forget that people can see in the window (especially when you’re up several stories).
              Our situation was slightly different in that we had a lot of people in an office building working nights, so it’s not unreasonable that the people in the apartment building next door thought that we had all gone home.

            2. Rainy*

              My initial thought was this, but it’s also *very* possible that they are looking at office buildings with reflective window coatings and assuming that if they can’t see into the building across the way, the building across the way can’t see into their bedroom. So they might just not realize that anyone can see them.

              1. Jennifer Strange*

                This. It’s easy to assume that if you can’t see others, they can’t see you. I remember when I moved to Chicago it took me a while to realize that just because my apartment was up high didn’t mean others couldn’t see me.

        2. Michelle Smith*

          Okay, I guess I’ll be the one to say it. Not everyone that exposes themselves in front of a window is clueless about the fact that people can see them. Some people find that exciting and thrilling and keep their windows open in the hopes that people are in fact seeing them (or at least get off on the fact that it’s a possibility). If LW indicates in this way that they are watching the couple, (1) it might increase rather than end the behavior and (2) it’s probably going to get them fired if their boss or someone else in the company walks in on them.

          1. gmg22*

            I have to assume that this is most likely the case. My suggestion was going to be to be so forthright as to put a sign in the window in big letters saying “Helpful FYI to apartment on X floor, we can see your private activities!” … but if you are dealing with a pair of happy voyeurs, then a sign like that would probably just stir them to hit it even more often, lol.

            The clear answer is to apply an opaque sticker panel to one of the windows, then pull the rest of the blinds and leave that one open. Still lets light in but obscures anything that would, um, distract from the work day. (Also, surely LW is not the only person in his office dealing with this?)

          2. Lydia*

            Yeah, what’s worse? The people having sex presumably in a location where it’s allowed, or the OP even pretending to watch? It’s the OP that’s worse here.

            OP, I know closing off the window is not the A plan, but this is one of those cases where you have to weigh one unpleasantness against the other and decide which you’re more willing to live with. Or a plant.

          3. Auk*

            Many years ago, I worked in an office whose back windows all faced a residential tower block. We would regularly look out the window to notice that….shenanigans were occuring on the balcony of one of the flats, very visibly to everyone in the local area. Unfortunately, it wasn’t just sex happening, they also would sit on the balcony rail looking like they were about to fall off (sometimes clothed, sometimes not so much). Our receptionist had the police go round to check they were ok a number of times but it never made much difference.

          4. KHB*

            If they’re doing this on purpose, though, wouldn’t that count as indecent exposure (and thus something the authorities could help resolve)? I’m not a lawyer and I’m hardly an expert, but from a quick search it looks like in at least some jurisdictions, acts performed in private locations are still illegal if they’re “publicly viewable.”

            If I were the OP I’d look into this. I hate the idea that the burden falls on the unwilling spectators to avert their eyes when someone(s) is determined to present them with an uncomfortable spectacle of this nature.

            1. Rainy*

              Those “publicly viewable” clauses are usually intended to apply to people having sex up against the picture window in their living room, at street level, in full view of the sidewalk or street. Even if LW’s jurisdiction does have a provision like that, I doubt the cops will do anything but laugh when someone complains that a bedroom window on a floor in the teens or twenties–or higher–of a highrise is “publicly viewable”.

        3. Princess Sparklepony*

          The amorous couple might like that. The public nature of their lovemaking may be part of their thing….

      3. Gingerblue*

        A plant was my thought too! Also, LW2, is there any chance you can move your desk so that the amorous duo aren’t right in a visitor’s line of sight?

        Alternatively, can you get a bow and arrows with cartoonish suction cups on the ends and shoot one across to their window with a note reading CLOSE YOUR BLINDS?

        1. The Grinchess*

          I was thinking: tape an outward facing sign that says, “hey! Amorous couple with the XYZ distinguishing apartment feature! We can see you! Close your blinds! Thanks!”

            1. A perfectly normal-size space bird*

              Get an assortment and rotate between narrowed eyes, googly eyes, goat eyes, and whatever else you can find. Occasionally add eyebrows for extra effect.

          1. JustaTech*

            Too long. Try just a sign that says “Hi!”.
            Everyone who isn’t a problem will be lightly amused and also reminded that, hey, we can see you, and the people who are a problem (if they’re not doing it on purpose) will not have everyone in their building know what they were doing.

        2. Snow Globe*

          Re-arranging the desk/chairs is also a good idea. A 90 degree turn will have visitors looking the other direction.

        3. MCMonkeyBean*

          I understand why OP doesn’t want to have their blinds closed all the time for something that has only happened twice and may or may not happen again, but ultimately I don’t think it is reasonable to say “I’m not going to close my blinds but you need to close yours.” (Even though they obviously should!)

          I vote for the privacy window film or plant options if OP wants to control their own view without closing the blinds.

          1. Gingerblue*

            I think it’s *entirely* reasonable to expect people to not be publicly visible while having sex.

            1. Quill*

              It’s also entirely reasonable for the couple who are indoors in a high building to not have realized that anybody can see them…

              Has anybody suggested a window sticker reading CENSORED at their bedroom height?

          2. H*

            2 options

            1. window stickers so that you get both privacy and daylight.
            2. call a curtain store and make an appointment for a consultation at their address.

      4. Random Dice*

        I have successfully used a frosted window film. You just lightly wet it, and it stays in place. You still get light in. You can have it covering say the bottom half of the window so you can still see the sky.

        1. anonny*

          This is what I was going to suggest – a patterned film to obscure the activity but still let all the light in.

        2. ILoveLllamas*

          I was going to say the same thing. Offices often use an opaque film/tint to create some “privacy” while still allowing natural light in. Think conference rooms oftentimes. You could just do a 12-18″ band across the most ummm, noticeable? area. However, the question becomes different angles (i.e. standing versus sitting). If you do a bland film without colors, stickers, etc., folks won’t even notice it much less ask you about it. Good luck!

        3. The Other Dawn*

          I was thinking the same thing. I use on a window in my house for privacy. It’s cheap, works well, and comes right off when you don’t want it anymore.

        4. frosted cling film*

          This! I put up frosted window film in my bathroom window and was really impressed! It’s reasonably priced on amazon, only uses water to put it up, and still lets in light/ vague shapes from the outside world. Also the one I got throws rainbows when the sun hits it which is extra lovely!

        5. RedinSC*

          I was going to recommend this. The frosted window film works great! I got some off amazon and installed at work. It peeled off easily too, once I was no longer in that office.

        6. Seamyst*

          I was going to suggest this, too! I put a frosted film on the window in my shower, which the previous landlord had covered with blinds (in the shower, wtf?), and it worked perfectly.

        7. Princess Sparklepony*

          Yes, it’s about a $15 solution. It can be a little bit of a bear to put up if your window is big. I just put some on a mirror to keep the senile dog I have from barking at himself. I had a 3 foot wide area to cover and the film that I was able to get was about 4 foot high, I didn’t need it that high, but it’s what they had. It works to blur the view very well.

      5. Dawn*

        Also came here to say plants. There’s lots of stuff that you could put in a window that’s easy to care for and would largely or completely obscure the view.

    1. Roland*

      I was thinking in this direction also. Another option: lots of people put sticky notes in fun shapes on their window in offices I’ve worked in, you could strategically do that for the angles from the door and from any chairs a visitor might use.

      1. KateM*

        If there are enough notes, it doesn’t even matter if the notes are exactly there because they would be distracting (in a good way) enough in themselves.

    2. Emmy Noether*

      I came here to suggest window film! It sticks with static, so is removable truly without a trace, and it comes in different designs. You can easily cut a strip that strategically covers just the relevant area.

      People will probably ask why you have it though, so be prepared with an answer.

      1. mzanonnow*

        Yes, we have that on our windows and it really works well. I don’t know who would ask the OP about it though – if it’s other coworkers, no problem telling the truth. But I don’t know that guests or clients would ask?

        1. AngryOctopus*

          It’s easy enough to say “oh, it prevents me from spinning my chair around and zoning out”.

      2. DyneinWalking*

        I’m not really sure that anyone would ask but if they do, something like “There’s an apartment building really close by and I felt uncomfortable looking into other people’s private spaces” should be enough of an explanation without being too specific.

        1. But what to call me?*

          If additional explanation is needed, it probably wouldn’t be too awkward to add something like “there are some people over there who don’t seem terribly concerned about doing certain activities with the blinds open.” People can draw their own conclusions about what those activities might be.

        2. Data Bear*

          I don’t see any reason not to be direct about it. “There appear to be some exhibitionists in the neighboring building” isn’t racy in the least, but is also clear enough not to arouse curiosity nor to imply that you’re weird about privacy.

      3. Alpacas Are Not Dairy Animals*

        Get the film that stops birds from flying into the windows? Then the answer can be that you’re saving the environment, win/win.

        1. Lime green Pacer*

          As a birder, I would like to note that the film only works for its intended purpose when applied to the *exterior* glass.

          1. Lydia*

            Most people won’t know that, I think, so it’s a harmless lie that allows everyone to save some embarrassment.

        2. No Longer Working*

          Those decals have to be placed on the outside of the window, so probably can’t be used here.

      4. lyonite*

        I think “it’s for privacy” will sound reasonable to most people–you don’t have to say privacy for whom!

        1. Kalros, the mother of all thresher maws*

          Truly this is all you need to say. I can’t imagine anyone actually asking, but everyone knows that buildings face each other and wanting to obstruct the view both ways is such a normal thing.

      5. ThatOtherClare*

        “The people in one of the apartments opposite often walk around in their underwear.” That’s true, and still an egregious enough situation for a work environment without being graphic. No need to describe that the underwear also often comes off pretty quickly.

    3. Atomic Tangerine*

      I was thinking something similar, maybe translucent window film that would still let in the light.

      Although, I kind of love the idea of the huge sign informing the couple they are visible.

      1. Gemma*

        I wouldn’t assume they would be embarrassed!

        You’re not responsible for what’s viewable from your office. Certainly feel free to block it for your own sense of comfort but I don’t think you need to worry about those that may happen by at the right time and notice AND comment.

        1. MigraineMonth*

          Yeah, I don’t think you need to worry about being judged for what is visible from your office window, OP. Take whatever measures you need to for your own comfort and that of your visitors (frosted window film, for example), but you are not responsible for what others do that just happens to be visible from your office.

          1. JustaTech*

            Yeah, when you work in a city there’s a certain level of “stuff” going on outside that you’re not responsible for. In my old building some days it was a truck with a giant bubble machine, or seeing orcas in the bay, and other days it was “street commerce” (drugs and…).

            It’s not like the LW is asking those people to do that thing, or forcing anyone else to look at them, they’re just there. It’s obnoxious, and you would hope a sign would warn them off (it does work sometimes!), but it’s part of city life.

      1. HigherEd Expat*

        Second the sheers. We had them in all our windows growing up – great for light and privacy (both ways!).

        1. eggo*

          They aren’t technically allowed in my building but a lot of the people have them up anyway. You could hang them up with a tension rod, no muss, no fuss and if someone DID say something, you can have it taken down in minutes.

      2. Garblesnark*

        I love my light filtering curtains at home. They let the light in, dramatically reduced glare, and no one outside can see what I do inside. it does work both ways. I got some beautiful flowery ones from IKEA pretty affordably. LW, I wonder if your employer would even comp this expense if you told them why it’s needed.

      3. ChattyDelle*

        ^^^ this is what I was thinking too. I love natural light and open blinds. but use sheer curtains to protect my furniture.

    4. Laura*

      I’ve been thinking of semi-transparent piece of paper (or, LW#2, if you are allowed to, sticky foil created for purposes just like this) that masks the neighbors’ window if someone is sitting or standing at or near your desk, but lets you still see the sky and lets in light.

      We have all those glass walls in the office, and lots of semi-transparent foil on it so that a visitor won’t see everyone’s desks and monitors. Before, we used big wall calenders to not feel like we were sitting in a terrarium.

    5. Dragon_Dreamer*

      Half of me wants to suggest putting a sign in the window: “We can see you.” But they probably wouldn’t catch on that it’s meant for them.

      1. Lydia*

        Or they would and wouldn’t care. Either way, it’s probably not going to get the reaction the OP is looking for.

    6. Nobiggie*

      I don’t agree that the letter writer needs to do anything necessarily. LW hasn’t caused this in *any* way. If someone comes in and seems distracted LW can just matter of factly get up, close the blinds to the extent is necessary and carry on. It doesn’t have to be addressed. It’s completely unrelated to LW or their workplace, they didn’t cause it, and it’s not the end of the world. The LW is not the person subjecting them to this and has no responsibility pther than closing the drapes if/when they notice.

      1. Roland*

        The LW has expressed that they don’t want to have this potential awkward conversation with their boss or any visitors coming in, so people are suggesting ways they can achieve the goal of “no visitors should be able to see this happening”. No one is saying LW has a moral responsibility.

    7. CheesePlease*

      Yes – think a window cling that is used for privacy purposes will let the light come in but obscure anything outside your window

    8. Seeking Second Childhood*

      A long time ago somebody me a similar story. His friend figured out the building and told the doorman to make sure residents know their windows don’t block the view in. Blinds were drawn within days. I wish there’d been a way to know how many people the doorman got to tell that story and how many assumed it was them …

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        I was thinking a well-placed word to the building management might help.

        Otherwise, I vote for the static film and/or plant.

    9. TootsNYC*

      is that not illegal? To have sex, or even be naked, where someone going about their own business can see you?
      I mean, OP is not on the sidewalk, but it’s got to be pretty obvious that the window can be seen.

      I’d wonder what would happen if the someone (the cops? the other building’s management?) figured out which apartment and stopped by to tell them they need to pull the blinds.

      Get the office prankster to help you figure out who they are, and find their phone number, and call them.

      1. Turnipnator*

        The legal precedent in the US (which I understand to be very well established) is that you have a right to expect privacy in your home; if someone “can” see in it’s on them to not look in your windows. I’m glad of this; I would be mortified in the couples position but policing people’s sexual activities or nudity in their own home would be a _huge_ invasion. The doorman story is definitely preferable.

        1. Michelle Smith*

          This is a vast oversimplification of the law, to the point of just being incorrect. Yes, you have an expectation of privacy in your home, but that doesn’t mean you can put on a show for the neighborhood children to see and not get in trouble for it because you’re technically in your house.

          For example, in my state, you can be found guilty of public lewdness “in private premises under circumstances in which he or she may readily be observed from either a public place or from other private premises, and with intent that he or she be so observed.”

          1. RussianInTexas*

            It’s similar in my state too. If you can be seen from the sidewalk or another public place, you can be found guilty of public lewdness.

          2. Lisa Simpson*

            Also remember that in NYC, Alex Rodriguez’s toilet was deemed public view, so the picture of him pooping with the blinds open was fair game and not an intrusion of his privacy.

          3. Kevin Sours*

            This is the part that’s going to be hard to show: “with intent that he or she be so observed”

        2. Observer*

          ; if someone “can” see in it’s on them to not look in your windows.

          Only to a point. Like if you had o come onto the porch to look in the window, or somehow take an extra action, then that’s on you. But it what you are doing is visible to people just walking down the street and minding their business, or a case like this where people are just sitting in the office and need to take affirmative steps to not see, that’s on them.

          The expectation of privacy applies when that expectation is actually *reasonable*. When you do the kind of stuff described here, that does not apply.

      2. Kristin*

        I feel like half the letters Alison answers include “isn’t my employer doing something illegal?” and it’s usually not, just a dick move. Same here, I am not a lawyer but I very much doubt having sex in your own apartment is against any law, even if you don’t draw the blinds. It is also kind of a dick move, but imagine a world where the cops could knock on your door and issue you a summons if your neighbours peep in your windows!

        1. fluffy*

          Do you know how tempting it is to make a sex-related joke regarding the literal interpretation of the phrase “dick move?”

      3. Observer*

        I’d wonder what would happen if the someone (the cops? the other building’s management?) figured out which apartment and stopped by to tell them they need to pull the blinds.

        I imagine that building management might have a word with them. The cops? Not in a million years. They’ve got way too much on their plates in most areas to be able to waste the time of staff to deal with this.

    10. Lex Talionis*

      I used to have an office with a window looking out onto a large tree. In the spring it was chock full of bird-on-bird action. I thought that was a bit embarrassing but you got me beat!

      1. Quill*

        Birds, squirrels… the apartment across the way…

        Nature is full of creatures that don’t care if you’re getting an eyeful.

      2. Beth*

        I had no idea how frisky sparrows were until I had an office with a sparrow’s nest on the ledge outside.

        I actually found it funny, but I did end up having to get a large vase to block part of the window part of the time — not for the sake of the avian quickies, but because during certain times of day at certain times of the year, the sun bounced off a specific patch of very shiny metal across the way and right straight into my eyes.

    11. silly little public health worker*

      this happened to my boss!! it happened when we were all working in sexual health so it was mostly funny but he did work with donors and we sometimes had to be…mindful.

      THIS THING. THIS THING. I use this in my own bathroom after having to use it because we accidentally discovered that one of our staff bathrooms had a ~revealing~ window that faced onto other people’s offices. Still lets in plenty of light while obscuring ~~~anything offensive~~~


      1. cityMouse*

        Rabbitgoo’s static cling films are amazing! You just spray the window with water, apply film, press out any bubbles, and it stays on for ages.

    12. AnonInCanada*

      Or maybe a sheet of translucent privacy film to let the light in and keep the .. ahem ahem .. view out? You can get this at most hardware stores, and can also be removed when the amorous couple decides to stop their .. ahem ahem .. “performance.”

    13. LCH*

      yes, do something to block the lower part of the window, not the upper part so you still get light. a stick-on, a tension rod with a flat curtain or blinds, whatever!

    14. Momma Bear*

      I was thinking this – you can easily get window cling sheets that can be decorative but cover the whole window and are only held in place by static. I’d do that to get some light but also block the view.

    15. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

      I was going to recommend privacy film to still allow light into the office. OP could also try moving furniture/desk items to block the view, or a more extreme approach would be to contact the apartment/condo building management to ask them to notify residents that their apartments are visible from the offices next door. This particular couple may or may not care but I imagine there are others in the building who don’t realize they can be seen in their home!

    16. Beth*

      Obscuring it is a good idea if it’s really distracting to you, OP! But I also don’t think you really NEED to do anything here. I get why you’re anxious about it, but the odds of someone 1) walking in to your office right when this couple is going at it, 2) looking out the window (instead of at their phone, your computer, you, etc), and 3) commenting on it (vs ignoring it so they don’t have to talk about sex at work) seem pretty slim.

    17. a clockwork lemon*

      A friend of mine has a similar issue except they work across the street from a big hotel with large windows in their bathrooms–their solution was to make a big sign in the window saying “I CAN SEE YOU POOPING”

    18. Oh January*

      Yes! There are also clear “frosted” window stickers that look very nice, and deliberate, and still let in all the light. Signed, a former Home Depot Employee haha

  2. BG*

    For LW2–would it be possible to put some of that stick-on “privacy film” on your window so you still get the light, but can’t see outside in great detail? You may be able to get film that stays on via static if you can’t use an adhesive on your window.

    1. Jill Swinburne*

      Yeah, that was my suggestion – ask facilities first though! People use it to screen off poorly-placed bedroom and bathroom windows for privacy, it even comes in decorative designs.

      1. A Poster Has No Name*

        My first thought was to talk to facilities first–explain the problem and see what solutions they might have (or least what the LW would be allowed to do on their own).

        Depending on the size of the building, it’s plausible that facilities has dealt with other offices having the same problem with the same couple, so they may already have some options.

    2. Chloe*

      Yes to the film! There is commonly sold non-adhesive film (I picked up some for a similar issue at Lowe’s) that applies with just water and a squeegee. We used this for similar issues at my home and my office. Took less than 10 minutes to install and still allows light. Best of luck!

    3. osmoglossom*

      I was thinking of this, too — opaque, non-adhesive window film. Home Depot and Lowe’s carry them.

    4. PWMB*

      Yep, privacy film is my suggestion too! If it’s the static kind, then you might not even have to check with facilities, though you might want to check with them anyways because they could be able to help you put it up.

      A second, bit more involved option might be to buy some sheer curtains? If your window makes it easy to put up a tension rod, you could hang some light-weight, sheer curtains from it and not have to worry about installing actual hardware. Though I guess asking facilities if they/you can install an actual curtain rod could be a third option.

      1. GythaOgden*

        As a facilities person (who in her first months on the job successfully got a spare corkboard re-assigned to the breakroom wall, so coming at this from a genuine intention rather than a spirit of being a killjoy), please ask before you do anything! There are a lot of regulations around things like this and while we’d be able to help, there are legit reasons why things rated for domestic use might not be suitable for use in an office. (There was a big fire once where someone fitted a domestic space heater into the cabin of a funicular train. Domestic appliances are rated for limited, occasional use rather than use all day every day, and the attempt to cut corners resulted in massive loss of life. That’s unlikely to be an issue with what’s being discussed, but facilities will be able to procure things that fit e g. lighting regulations, fireproofing and other requirements for fabric in an office.) Tension rods are cool but it creates a bit of liability for the company if they fall down on someone’s head (some people might not realise they’re not fixed to the wall). So asking for a curtain rod to be properly installed would save that kind of frustration from something being badly installed and promptly /uninstalling/ itself.

        The plant or other moveable object sounds like a better idea than getting involved in impromptu DIY. But in any event, talk to facilities first before you do anything and don’t just go about hanging stuff off the walls or on the windows. We can always work with you but there are a lot of moving parts and regulations to follow for us and there are a lor of things you wouldn’t necessarily think of. In an office setting I’d err on the side of ‘seek permission not forgiveness’ because it’s easier to work with you than against you.

        1. the cat's pajamas*

          I appreciate your perspective. I was just thinking facilities might be more empathetic to the reason why you want to cover the window and might have other ideas, too. It’s a potential liability for the company, too. For example, if a customer noticed and complained about it.

      2. KateM*

        I have “day curtains” and they block view from outside to inside but not much the other way around during day. From a darker place to a more lighted place you can still see well enough.

      3. duinath*

        depending on where the couple is in op’s line of sight, white pull out shades (ikea has one called schottis) that can be put in the bottom of the window with no drilling could be helpful.

    5. SHSF*

      Yes, this is what I came to suggest! I use the non-adhesive kind on the lower half of my apartment windows. My dog would sit on the couch and bark at people passing by on the sidewalk, and the film now blocks her view while still allowing me to enjoy the rest of the view. It also still allows light to pass through so it doesn’t make my apartment dark. I’ve used it before in other apartments and peels right off without leaving any residue or damaging the glass, and it’s also inexpensive. Hopefully LW2 can use something like this in their office.

    6. Vitrification*

      “Privacy glass” isn’t the answer so much as “smart glass,” which is also available in the form of a film that can be applied to conventional glass. Smart glass will allow the user to change the window from transparent to opaque in a matter of seconds.

      It’s featured in the sickbay set of “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds”; indeed, it was a minor plot point in one of the last few episodes! But the product exists today, in the real world, and unlike early smart glass technology, it doesn’t take minutes to change from transparent to opaque.

      1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        There’s a UK TV show about people who design and build their own homes (which is more unusual here) called Grand Designs.

        One home was designed with all the bedrooms having three ordinary walls and one smart glass wall, the idea being to make the rooms feel larger but still have the opportunity for privacy.

        The idea has occupied my brain ever since.

      2. Firefighter (Metaphorical)*

        How is that different from pulling down the blind (except for being cooler?) I imagine it still makes the room dark/claustrophobic. Though, and I say this in all seriousness, perhaps the coolness of it would outweigh the negatives.

        (Cool in the sense of awesome, not in the sense of less warm)

    7. rebelwithmouseyhair*

      You can cut it into pretty shapes too: in our seaside home I cut it into wavy shapes to depict the sea for example.
      In this case, I’d like to suggest using letter shapes to form a message like “I can see you having sex” or “She’s simulating” in the hopes that I might be able to take them off later. (The second one is what I shout if ever I hear neighbours who don’t realise that if their window is open, chances are mine is too).

  3. Jade*

    If my tax person started commenting on my personality and job hopping, I’d find another tax person. Please stay in your own lane.

    1. Pink Sprite*

      To OP #3: Just enjoy the show for a week or two every year.
      Not a single thing you can (or should) do about her work-life.

        1. AnonInCanada*

          I think in #2’s case, the show is something she’d rather not enjoy, especially if clients are in the .. er .. skybox with her. (wink).

    2. JayNay*

      I think the LW is taking a really roundabout way to address something that bothers THEM by framing it as something that must bother other people.
      I’d suggest speaking up about the part that gets in the way of your work and leaving all else alone. “Jane, let me finish my thought please” or “ you just interrupted me, can I continue explaining tax thing?” Basically, work toward having a good working relationship with this client and withhold judgement about her life choices or personality.

      1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

        That, or simply bill more because it takes that much longer to get a message across. Time is money is time.

      2. Thegreatprevaricator*

        Yes this! It made me smile to see the lack of self awareness ascribed else where in lw3. It’s legit for behaviour to be a problem for you, but recognise it’s a problem for you and there’s no evidence it’s a problem for other people or at work.

      3. Pastor Petty Labelle*

        If her personality is really a problem to the OP, OP can drop her as a client. Other than that, it is none of OP’s business. OP you are hired to do her taxes in a professional manner, not give life coach advice. I agree with Jade, if my tax person started telling me how to runn my life — other than how it affects my taxes — I would be looking for a new tax person.

        1. MigraineMonth*

          I think there’s room to ask a client to adjust the way they communicate with you (e.g. “Could you wait until I’ve finished before asking additional questions?”). Particularly if it’s causing significant issues and you’re willing to lose the client.

          That’s very different than giving unsolicited career advice/personality critique like what the OP was proposing, though.

      4. sparkle emoji*

        Yeah, that letter felt like the LW finds Jane annoying and was looking for a way to tell her that that seemed kind or helpful.

    3. JubJubtheIguana*

      Agreed. And it’s a massive, massive leap between “she interrupts a person she hires who she barely knows” to “clearly, she has a terrible personality and is constantly being fired.”

      Lots of Gen Z in particular regularly job hop by choice, it’s very normal to actively choose to regularly change your job.

      1. ScruffyInternHerder*

        I’m not even Gen Z (or Millenial for that matter, I’m Gen-X for the record), and my experience for the longest time was that in order to get more than a 1-2% “raise” (hahahahahah), a new employer was necessary.

        1. bamcheeks*

          I was also thinking that! 1979-er, and I’m used to “things that I consider normal being ascribed to Millenials”, but hearing I’m Gen Z is a new one.

          1. Cat Tree*

            I think the short stints are more common early in a career. Many (not all) millennials and older have now settled into longer-term things. They’re ascribing it to Gen Z because they forget about their early career and those of their peers. Or maybe remember “job hopping” but feeling like it was considered unprofessional anyway.

        2. Helen Waite*

          This former IT Gen-Xer has “job-hopped” frequently around the turn of the millennium due to layoffs every other year.

        3. not nice, don't care*

          Also gen X, also a job hopper, at least until I snagged a state job with a fkton of leave accrual and a super nice office. Golden handcuffs.

      2. Selena81*

        I’m a shy person who likes working on long projects, so I hate that job-hopping and high levels of assertiveness seem to be the only way to get a significant raise.

        I hate that most companies have adopted an attitude (both towards customers and towards employees) that any kind of loyalty makes you a sucker.

      3. Cat Tree*

        Yeah, it doesn’t make sense to assume she acts this way in all situations.

        I also tend to interrupt and dominate conversations. It’s partly due to ADHD impulsiveness, which isn’t an excuse but is an explanation. It’s still rude and I understand that. Listening and participating correctly in a conversation is a skill that can be improved with practice. And I do practice it, and have improved quite a lot. But it’s harder for me than for the average person and sometimes I slip. It’s still rude to interrupt someone I hired, for sure. But knowing that I won’t be “on” 100% of the time, I will definitely prioritize my paying job that is responsible for my livelihood.

        And I agree that 18 months is just not a big deal. I thought LW was gonna say short jobs of 2 or 3 months. 18 is unremarkable once, and only slightly noteworthy of there’s a string of them. And I say this as a hiring manager. I would ask about it but it would not make someone unhireable.

    4. Also-ADHD*

      18 months is not even that unusual in many cases these days. I don’t even see an evident issue—this person makes enough to pay someone to do their taxes (not really worth it if you’re very poor usually) so they’re doing okay.

      1. MigraineMonth*

        Yeah, that puzzled me! It’s not like she’s getting fired during her probation period or leaving after less than a year; 18 months is a solid tenure in many industries these days.

        1. Selena81*

          It very much depends on the industry and the kind of job, but if she is working in operations research (LW might have misunderstood ‘logistics’) she is probably paid very well to come up with a bunch of optimization ideas.

          I’m not saying it are always good ideas, just that a lot of companies pay top-dollar to consultants to go through their work-stream.
          Being annoyed at your ‘dumb’ manager is part of that whole act.

      2. Evan Þ*

        I wouldn’t necessarily assume someone’s doing okay based on that. I volunteer with the VITA free tax prep program, and I see too many clients who’ve gone to paid preparers in the past even though I can see they aren’t making enough to be doing okay.

    5. Llama Llama*

      I did taxes for a year. There was a lot of ‘advice’ I could have given clients. But alas they were not paying me for career advice.

      1. AngryOctopus*

        This. The only advice that your clients want, LW, is related to their taxes. You’re not also a career counselor. And honestly it doesn’t seem that you really know enough about this woman to give her any advice! So just do the taxes, think whatever you want to think, and move on!

        1. Selena81*

          Yeah. Please stay in your lane.
          It probably feels like you are doing this woman a disservice by letting her make a fool of herself.
          But turn it around: think of how intrusive and insulting it would feel if she started lecturing you to be more like her.

    6. Aerin*

      I’m just not sure how OP expects that conversation to go. “Just a bit of friendly advice–you have a terrible personality”?

    7. 867-5309*

      I came here to say the same thing. There is no universe where I think my CPA has a right to comment on my job, except as it relates to taxes.

    8. Sloanicota*

      Yeah my cat sitter once tried to share some housekeeping tips. I’m sure he thought he was being helpful. It felt very intrusive and I switched cat sitters. This is what it will feel like if you try to counsel your tax client on job skills.

      1. xylocopa*

        My pet-sitter commenting on my housekeeping sounds like my worst nightmare. And yeah, a tax person telling me to fix my personality would be a good runner-up.

    9. learnedthehardway*

      Agreed – this is a “pearls before swine” situation. Jane is the way she is. She’s not going to take it well from her tax accountant that her personality is a major problem.

      Consider that she has managed to NOT hear/absorb feedback from her family, friends, managers, coworkers, and teachers over the course of her entire life. Her tax accountant isn’t going to make a dent in her obliviousness.

      If you don’t want her as a client, tell her that directly. But don’t torpedo the relationship by giving her advice she is incapable of taking. You don’t need the tirade and bad-mouthing that will entail.

    10. H.C.*

      That’s exactly after what happened after my tax person (same CPA as my parents) started suggesting to me that I buy a house (OK I guess if she’s aware of tax credits & other incentives at that time…) and that I should move my parents in to live with me.

      I started doing my own taxes shortly after that.

    11. Quill*

      Also I have a tax person because my industry keeps changing it’s dang mind, and I have had too many jobs to do a simple file on my own!

    1. KateM*

      I once saw a sunshde for houseplants that was like a mini fildable screen for window, that could work for privacy without even a plant. But plant is a good idea because people would then look at the plant and not so much past it.

  4. Brain the Brian*

    I work in a downtown office with an open cubicle layout and no blinds on our full-height, wraparound windows. In the pre-pandemic times, a couple in a neighboring apartment regularly had sex multiple times a day. We had no way to block the view, and none of us was brave enough to raise it with HR or building management. It sounds like something out of a sitcom, I know, but we just learned to ignore it.

    1. Elsewise*

      I worked in a downtown office next to a hotel for several years. We had a few couples having sex, a naked sun salute, a few teenagers dancing around in their underwear and quite a lot of solo time. We generally would just close the blinds for the duration, but this was a large open office with plenty of other windows letting in natural light.

      1. Smithy*

        Man….our office is currently right across the street from a hotel, and the amount of folks who walk around their hotel rooms in underwear or less with the curtains open.

        I will say, the unpredictability and volume of the situation has made it less personal than “‘this is the couple in that window”. But I also know someone asked to have their desk moved because they found the reality so distracting and truly there’s no way to block it.

    2. Sheworkshardforthemoney*

      Our city has been buiding high rise condos over the past few years. Many of them are just metres from each other. With the trend toward larger windows, sights like that are more common than not.They found sheer drapes allowed the light in and blocked the activites of everything, not just fun times.

    3. Richard Hershberger*

      One couple multiple times a day? Start a betting pool. Call my a cynic, but I would take the under. Some things simply aren’t sustainable.

        1. AnonInCanada*

          Even if it weren’t the same partner, I don’t think the one partner doing the .. ahem ahem .. performance would have the stamina (or body parts) to do it several times a day.

          Okay, I’m trying to get my mind out of the gutter, but this is why I love this site so much!
          You never know what you’ll read in here on any given day.

        2. Brain the Brian*

          I mean, we thought it was the same two people. But as we were trying to ignore the whole situation, we might have been wrong.

    4. I should really pick a name*

      none of us was brave enough to raise it with HR or building management

      Was the concern that HR/building management wouldn’t take it seriously?

      1. Brain the Brian*

        The opposite, actually. We work in a lot of conservative overseas countries, so our HR tends to be… strict, shall we say… about anything involving sex. At the same time, money has always been tight, and requesting anything — like drapes or blinds — that would cost money and require tons of approvals to install would put us in their crosshairs. We were generally afraid of retaliation for reporting — e.g. that they would turn it on its head and claim that we had been enjoying watching this couple and thus needed to be fired. Thankfully, the couple moved mid-pandemic.

    5. SnackAttack*

      My main question is what kind of lives do these couples have where they can stay home and do that multiple times a day? Don’t they have work or school??

      1. Eff Walsingham*

        That’s exactly what I used to wonder, when I was in this situation! I had a job with offices on the twentieth floor, and across the street they built a luxury hotel with condos above. *Their* nineteenth / twentieth floors has a couple of, er, sporting couples, and a guy who spent his weekdays alone in his underwear, talking on the phone and, er, amusing himself. I used to call him “the day trader,” but co-workers had various ideas on how he paid his luxury condo fees.

        Anyway, the only person who expressed concern over the situation was our Investor Relations person, because she was more likely to have visitors from outside the company. Everyone else would joke about binoculars or getting scorecards, etc. We were downtown in a major Canadian city with staff from several different countries, so YMMV for sure. But… we didn’t do anything to request these performances, so we didn’t feel compelled to do anything about it. I *did* tend to close the blinds in the boardroom before important meetings, just in case. If people get distracted, they might not accomplish everything on the agenda. ;)

  5. Not A Manager*

    Shades that pull up from the bottom will block the view but allow light in from the top part. You probably can’t get those installed on one window, but can you get a short shoji screen with translucent paper panels in it? You can place that in front of the window all the time, if you want, or keep it folded and only unfold it when you have company in your space or “company” in your view.

    It’s either that or a snarky message in block letters on construction paper.

    1. Lizabeth*

      I went to themessage in the window first…

      “Dear Apt directly across from my window,
      Please draw your blinds when engaging in daytime sex because I can see EVERYTHING. Thank you”

        1. Direct Nope*

          I came here to raise this! Surely they know they can be seen. I’m finding it hard to draw any conclusion other than this couple is making LW and everyone else in the building a non consenting part of the fun.

          Surely a quick counting of windows calculation would help identify the right apartment to send a note to. I’d be tempted to point out local laws about public indecency to make sure they get those blinds shut.

          1. Azure Jane Lunatic*

            If OP’s office window has any kind of reflective coating on the outside, the couple may not realize what kind of sight lines are going on, or may assume that anyone who has the right angle to see in is simply too far away to get any kind of personal detail.

            1. Nebula*

              Yes, I think this is more likely than ‘These sick freaks want everyone to watch them having sex’, which seems to be the conclusion a lot of commenters have come to.

              1. Ellis Bell*

                It’s definitely a lot more likely to be a mistake, and I always veer towards assuming ignorance over malice… That said it’s a pretty common kink to be watched, and they never think it’s being malicious. They think people are cheering them on. I knew a girl who welcomed her partner home from serving abroad by “wearing a mini skirt so we could pull over have sex by the side of the side of the road; everyone passing beeped and cheered!”… we were very much saying to her ‘uh, no that’s illegal and wow, that’s not everyone’s reaction to seeing that!’ but she insisted. Then you have Oh Dears post below relating the cheery wave when she was seen by the guy having sex. I would definitely try letting this couple know, and assume it’s an innocent mistake – but it’s not always.

              2. Richard Hershberger*

                Surely “sick freaks” falls into the category of kink shaming. The critique is not of the king, but that they are making others non-consenting participants to it.

                1. Please*

                  Yes. Forcing non-consenting people to participate in your kink and sex life earns you the name “sick freak”.

              3. Charlotte Lucas*

                I am often amazed at how many people don’t seem to understand how windows work. I vote that they like natural light and don’t know that anyone can see them.

                1. JustaTech*

                  When I was a kid (living in a semi-rural area) I rarely closed my blinds and would often dance around using the window as a mirror. Until my mom happened to come home late and saw me and realized I didn’t know that I was *very* visible from outside. (Not that there was anyone to see me, but she wanted me to know for when I moved to somewhere more populated.)

                2. RC*

                  Yup yup yup. Based on my experience with… people in general, I am 1000% ready to believe the more likely explanation is that people don’t understand how windows work, not that they’re doing it on purpose.

            2. JustaTech*

              Yes to this. My husband worked in abuilding that was across the street from an apartment building where no one seemed to be aware that the other buildings 1) were occupied in the evening and 2) could see in just fine.

              So my husband’s coworkers started putting friendly notes (really, really big font) (“Hi!” “Nice fern!”) in the windows and suddenly most everyone, including folks assumed to be exhibitionists, closed their curtains at night.

            3. Elsajeni*

              I know someone who had this problem at their apartment, and dealt with it by temporarily changing their wi-fi network name to something like “YourWindowsArentTinted” — hard to say whether the message actually reached the specific naked guy they were targeting, but he did change some of his naked habits. But they were generally sympathetic to the neighbors, and took care to point out, when they talked about the problem, that tint, mirroring, and the angle you’re looking from are such large factors that it is honestly hard to gauge how much someone can see from a neighboring building — naked guy probably wasn’t an exhibitionist perv, he just had looked up at his building from ground level and thought “oh good, mirrored windows” and didn’t realize they were a lot less mirrored from straight on.

            1. Ellis Bell*

              Obviously depends on the jurisdiction. Here in the UK it’s pretty contextually dependent. If someone just happens to have really good sightlines into an area you would think is private, and you’re not deliberately trying to expose yourself, you’re fine. But you can’t stand at windows and doorways flashing people iykwim.

            2. Engineer*

              Technically yes. The exact specifics vary by jurisdiction, but many state that if you know or can reasonably assume you can be seen nude/engaging in sexual acts, it counts as public indecency.

              1. La Triviata*

                There was a court case in my area where a man would stand, naked, in a large window in his home. The law got involved because, seemingly, he’d do this when either children or a neighbor came by at the same time every day.

      1. The Other Sage*

        A horrible idea I have (don’t do this!): put a poster of sauron’s eye on the window, facing the couple.

          1. Heffalump*

            If you’ve been reading AAM for any length of time, presumably you accepted the risk of snorting pop through your nose. :)

    2. Skippy*

      Trying to imagine how to put something that looks like those old silver coin-operated binocular viewers on the outside and a professional-looking image on the inside.

    3. just here*

      Second vote for the blinds that can be raised/lowered from both the top and bottom. I’m not sure why one set couldn’t be installed in LW’s office for this issue… Also, if anyone else in the office faces the same way, they might need a solution too!

      1. John Smith*

        And the amorous couple might like it that way. True, they may be daft enough to not realise so it’s worth a shot, but I’d guess they probably know but don’t care.

        Besides blocking the view, you could always report the matter to the police and let them handle it (I’m assuming sexual activity that can be seen (there’s more to it than that but I’m not going into it) is an offence as it is here in the UK.

        Another idea – are you able / willing to move your desk to another position ornpossibly switch to another office? Sell tickets (no!)?

        1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

          So instead of “we can see you”, how about “She’s simulating”? That’d kill the mood pretty quick! (Worked when I shouted it at my neighbours)

        2. bamcheeks*

          I don’t think sexual activity that can be seen *in your own home* is an offence, is it? That seems wild.

          1. M*

            Yes, if they are aware that they can easily be seen by the public, some states have ordinances that would make this illegal. LW2: Like others have said, it might not hurt to start by posting a sign or trying to somehow communicate with them that they are visible. Maybe they really don’t know and, once they find out, they’ll fix the problem on their end. However, if it becomes clear that they are aware and are doing this on purpose, then I’d check with local law enforcement to see what can be done.

            1. bamcheeks*

              I’m in the UK and so is John Smith. I’d be very surprised if that’s the law here— there are definitely laws about public exposure and public decency but I would have thought being indoors in your own home would be a pretty solid defence.

              1. Ellis Bell*

                No, it’s not an automatic defence on the UK that you’re at home, but it’s also not disregarded that you’re at home and may simply be going about your business. Indecent exposure must meet a legal requirement of “intending to cause harm or distress” and unfortunately sometimes people do expose themselves deliberately from indoors – but the vast majority of what we do indoors, even if someone else sees it, wouldn’t meet the standard of deliberate intent.

              2. John Smith*

                if you can be seen from a public place, then the offence can be committed even in your own home. Again, I’m not going into details but it’s all very context dependent.

              3. doreen*

                My guess is that the laws everywhere are going to depend on a lot of factors other than simply indoors, such as intent. Someone having sex in a 10th floor bedroom who can only be seen by occupants of a another tall building with binoculars is one thing, and having sex in a picture window directly next to the public sidewalk is another.

          2. John Smith*

            It’s not so much that the act is in your own home, but that it can be seen from a public place. You *could* be prosecuted for indecent exposure or possibly outraging public decency in the UK. It’s very context dependant which is why I said I didn’t want to go onto the finer detail for fear of a discussion going off the rails. (again, I’m speaking from the UK. Your laws may vary).

            *If* the randy duo are deliberately putting on a show, I doubt anything short of the law will stop them. Whilst some may see exhibitionism as a thrill and the world full of paid actors willing to watch/join in, there can be serious consequences such as if a child sees the act.

        3. Observer*

          Besides blocking the view, you could always report the matter to the police and let them handle it

          Please don’t do that.

          For one thing, if the police DO “handle” it, things could go very badly and as gross as this is (even if the couple is doing this on purpose), I think that that’s just too much.

          Besides it really is a waste of resources – to the point that in many jurisdictions the police actually will NOT “handle it”. Because they just don’t have the capacity.

  6. ENFP in Texas*

    LW#3 This is SO not your circus, and TOTALLY not your monkeys, and all that offering your unsolicited criticism is likely to do is lose you a client.

    She’s paying you to do her taxes, not offer life and career guidance.

    1. Area Woman*

      She does sound exhausting though, as a client. I would probably roll my eyes a lot at all the interjections about her job…. That said, even if I did not value her, it is still out of line to comment on it.

    2. el l*

      Yeah. Also: Isn’t this tax season? Aren’t there bigger fish to fry?

      Now, if the question is, “This client is exhausting, this is part of a wider pattern, how do I get her to treat me differently?” The answer is likely, “Nothing you can do about that, either, apart from (a) Setting boundaries, (b) Pushing back when each is breached, and (c) Being willing to fire the client if it gets bad enough.”

    3. Observer*

      and all that offering your unsolicited criticism is likely to do is lose you a client.

      It might also cost you other clients. I’m sure she knows more than a few people and some of those people could be clients, prospective clients, and friends / family of clients. And a lot of people hearing this might decide to look elsewhere. Tax accountants tend to see a LOT of personal stuff, and the last thing most of us want is an accountant who is judging our decisions and lives. If we had any reason to think that they are actually going to try “advise” us on this?! I’m outa there! And I imagine that others would be as well.

    4. vimesrules*

      I think LW3’s actual issue is that she doesn’t like this client. All of her reported issues are stuff the LW clearly doesn’t want to deal with, but it probably feels “better” to think that this feedback would somehow help the client in life more generally. I’d suggest letting the business relationship end. There have to be other tax clients out there.

  7. Weekend Warrior*

    For LW4: Oliver Burkeman, author of 4000 Weeks and other popular books, used to promise to respond to all (!) responses to his Imperfectionist newsletter. Now he includes this disclaimer at the end. I’m sure none of his fans hold it against him.
    “To respond to this newsletter, just hit reply. I love getting replies, and read them all, but have reluctantly come to the conclusion I can’t realistically reply to most. Trust me, I hate this. But, well, human finitude, etc. Thank you for your understanding.”

    1. Sloanicota*

      I think authors get this a lot. When someone reads your book, they feel very close and intimate with you. They often want to share their thoughts, reactions, and related personal experiences. However, this is ultimately kind of a one-way medium, much though readers may like it to be two way. And some authors do write back (which unfortunately this has caused teachers to assign students to write to authors, hoping to get replies, which adds even more to the admin). Most now will have a kind, compassionate auto-response or at least a template email they can send with a click.

      1. Always Bring Pickles to a Potluck*

        I’d imagine podcasters do even more. It’s a more intimate medium because you hear their voice in your ears.

        1. OP#4*

          OP#4 here: I think this is exactly the problem. I knew podcasters dealt with this but I definitely thought that was only the ones everyone knew, people with millions of followers and the like.

          1. Michelle Smith*

            By any chance, do you have a Patreon or Substack or other platform where people can leave comments and respond to each other? Perhaps trying to moderate or recruit someone to moderate that space would become an additional issue, but I’m wondering if people might enjoy leaving those heartfelt comments to you in a way that can be anonymous/distanced from their legal name and in a way that lets other listeners react with a like or comment and affirm their experiences, without you having to be the one to provide that response.

            1. OP#4*

              OP#4 here (repeat of comment below): We have this! It’s a great resource for a much smaller group. But we get a TON of requests from everyone in the smaller group to talk individually (that’s actually why I wrote in when someone in our “fan group” asked for 1:1 mentorship).

    2. GreenDoor*

      If your podcast would be conducive to it, maybe consider a “question from a listener” segment. Anonymize the listener, of course, but when my favorite podcasters do this, it reinforces the idea that they DO read their mail and they DO sincerely want to help actual listeners.

  8. nnn*

    For #2, for the specific subquestion of what if someone comes into your office and sees the couple, the most tactful thing is probably to act just as surprised as they are, as though it’s never happened before. Just a startled “Oh! . . . I’ll close the blinds”

    1. Ashley*

      This! As long as you aren’t… enjoying the show (shudder) and someone walks in and sees you seeing them, no one is going to think you have anything to do with it!

    2. Camellia*

      But that would only work once. After that, people coming in would expect the blinds to be closed all the time.

      I wonder if this is something that could be reported to the police, sort of an I-know-they’re-in-their-own-space-but-the-uncovered-window-makes-it-public-indecency report? The police could knock on their door and let them know they need to cover the window at the, um, appropriate times.

      1. Awkwardness*

        After that, people coming in would expect the blinds to be closed all the time.

        Why would they? I do not think that the fact that they might have irregularly sex every few weeks would warrant OP sitting there all workday every day of the week with blinds closed. This is an unreasonable expectation.

        1. Caliente Papillon*

          For sure, especially since it sounds like LW can’t see them from where she sits at her desk.

      2. ecnaseener*

        I really don’t think people would expect the blinds to be permanently closed after seeing it once! Unless they’re told that this happens all the time, they’re going to assume it was a one-off thing or at least rare enough that there’s no need to permanently close the blinds.

        I don’t even think LW needs to feign “this has never happened before!”-level surprise. “Oh, sorry I didn’t notice, let me close the blinds” is just fine.

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

        I don’t think that the blinds would have to be up all the time. If it happens again the OP could say “Oh no! Not again! and close the blinds

        1. Observer*

          I agree.

          If facilities doesn’t have any good ideas and something like privacy film won’t work, I think that this is your best bet.

      4. Parakeet*

        Even if the police followed up on it and were well-meaning, it seems very excessive to bring armed agents of the state into such a minor situation. And the history of the state intervening in people’s sexual activity, in the US (I’m guessing the US is not unique here) is not great. That goes double if this is the tenth floor or something such that there’s no way random people walking by on the sidewalk would see it. Just use blinds (I agree with the people below who don’t think this would require the OP to always have the blinds closed) or privacy film or something of the sort – many commenters have had good suggestions along these lines.

  9. Maureen*

    For letter #2, I think I would contact the management of the apartment building. It’s not fair to you to have to deal with seeing people have sex while you’re at work, and if you can tell building management the floor and window then I assume they’d be able to figure out which apartment it is.

        1. Zelda*

          It depends. There are at least some cases where people whose windows make them visible to the public have been charged with public indecency for nudity, even though they were located on private property. The precise wording and the enforcement precedents of local laws will vary.

          1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

            The people living opposite the Tate Modern in London took the museum to court, and won, so the Tate had to put up blinds to prevent visitors from seeing the people in their homes just opposite.
            I’d have thought if you buy a home just next to a place of interest attracting millions of visitors a year, you’d have to expect a degree of intrusion. They had the money to pay for a top lawyer.

            1. Ganymede*

              The flats were there several years before the gallery’s viewing platform was opened – Tate visitors were apparently able to photograph right into the interiors of people’s homes. The Tate had an appeal and the platform is now reopen, but I believe only partially.

              1. Phony Genius*

                Why did the visitors do that? Did the they think that the residential building was some sort of live art exhibition?

                1. FloralWraith*

                  The viewing platform is one of the only free, non-bookable tall spaces in the city. People were likely just trying to get nice panoramic photos from all around the city and the residential building is just RIGHT THERE so it is hard to avoid. https://maps.app.goo.gl/p8pLPwmVU2XbAovFA

                  Most of the other free and non-free observation towers/platforms in London are much taller than the buildings surrounding them so you don’t get the same issue with Bishopgate or the Shard.

        2. Phony Genius*

          In some jurisdictions, there is. Local laws vary, but the most likely standard is whether they are doing deliberately to make sure people see them. That’s where going to building management can help. The building manager can put them on notice that they can be seen. If they continue after that, then one could assume that it is deliberate and could be a violation. But I’m not sure if law enforcement would see this as a priority, unless minors can see them.

        3. Sister George Michael*

          In 2018, there was a pilot who was was walking around naked in his hotel room near the Denver airport, and apparently people at the airport could see him. The police arrested him!

          1. Vi*

            And the city ended up paying him $300,000 in compensation for the wrongful arrest. He’s also suing the hotel but I couldn’t find an update on how that is going. (I live in Denver, remembered the story and your post made me curious about what ended up happening to him so I googled.)

      1. be kind and wash your hands*

        they could let the couple know that they are bothering the office worker across the street

        1. GythaOgden*

          Or that they’re visible to potentially a LOT more people than just OP and they might want to close their curtains.

            1. Random Dice*

              Oh for heaven’s sake. You want people to be arrested and have permanent sex offender status for love inside their own home?!

              Grow up. Sex happens. Adults can handle it.

              1. Yossariana*

                Really? This reminds me that here in Chicago, there has been a situation where a man in one apartment building (near mine, but fortunately out of my sightline) has been walking around naked and touching himself in full view of the apartments facing his. It’s been in the news and many people believe it rises to the level of harassment. Ultimately, he pled guilty to a misdemeanor. Sounds like you are on his side, but the law is not necessarily on yours.



                1. Turquoisecow*

                  That sounds more like a deliberate act intended to disturb or upset the public. Having sex in your own bedroom several floors up where random office workers happen to see you (without you realizing it) is nowhere near on the same level. That dude is a sex offender. This couple is not.

                2. Nomic*

                  That doesn’t seem like the same thing at all. You share a new scenario, assume the previous poster would side with the guy, and then judge him for it. Please don’t do that.

              2. anonymous ace*

                Not wanting to watch someone have sex, especially AT WORK, non-consensually, does not make one immature.

                The OP is not the one who needs to “grow up” here.

                Your comment isn’t helpful.

                1. Lisa Vanderpump*

                  Random Dice wasn’t talking to the OP, they were talking to the individual bringing up indecent exposure. It’s OK and normal and right to not want to watch people having sex, it’s controlling and puritanical and weird to bring up indecent exposure when it comes to what people are doing in their own homes.

                  Taking comments out of context isn’t helpful.

              3. Ellis Bell*

                So it would be okay to object if there were kids around? Odd, I had no idea that consent only applies to kids. Regardless, an arrest would be an overreaction. A civil chat with the homeowner that they’re (unintentionally) exposing themselves is usually enough to sort it out. Not many people are going to deliberately include people in their sex life non consensually, and if they do that’s when the relevant laws kick in.

              4. per my last email*

                Agreed. All this pearl-clutching is ludicrous. I worked in an office tower in midtown Manhattan – across the street was an apartment tower where we could see couples having sex, a guy who did his free weight workouts in the nude and a woman who would stand in the window naked. You know what we did? We went about our business. Everyone once in a while we’d make a joke about it, but it didn’t elicit all the upheaval on display in these comments.

                1. anonymous ace*

                  People who don’t want to watch others having sex are not automatically puritanical. That’s a very judgmental comment.
                  There are asexual folks like myself, or people who have suffered sexual abuse who find it triggering etc.
                  The NON CONSENSUAL part is key.

                  Public indecency can still be illegal AND calling the cops about it is still a bad idea.

                  Multiple things can be true at the same time.

        1. JustaTech*

          Logistically this could be hard (it can be complicated to figure out apartment numbers), but yes, I would strongly advocate for a sign in the window (“Hi!”), and then ask for privacy film or just close those blinds whenever the OP notices.
          Yes, it’s annoying, but unless these people are going at it literally all the time, it should only be half an hour a day.

      2. Random Dice*

        I’m just imagining the management company fielding that request, and how long they’d roll their eyes before trashing it.

    1. KG*

      People are allowed to do what they want in their own homes. They aren’t hurting anyone. This is not their problem.

  10. Oh dear*

    LW2 brings back memories to my university dorm days…dude from the dorm across from me was pretty nice. Always waved back when he was doggystyling his girlfriend on the couch.

    1. Oh dear*

      For the record, “always” here means like…twice that I noticed them (desk at the window, what can ya do). The woman whose dorm it was started using her curtains more after she argued with a friend (I think) and I happened to look up at the same time she did.

      I waved.

      She pulled her curtains shut.

      Didn’t muffle the yelling all that much.

    2. Jennifer Strange*

      For me it wasn’t the dorm, but one of the college buildings (we were in downtown Chicago, so they were dispersed about the city). One of the buildings was right across from a small hotel, and one day in class we all watched a couple clearly having sex. The guy definitely knew we could see him because he decided to stand up and look out the window in such a way to perfectly hide his groin area ala Austin Powers.

    3. cktc*

      Oof, dormitories. I never had to deal with unwelcome views, but one warm summer when everyone had their windows open, the whole dorm was treated to very loud vocals. This happened on more than one night.

  11. Goody*

    A third recommendation for privacy film for LW2, although I think most are designed to keep other people from seeing into your space so they may need to put it up “backwards” so the outside view is blocked.

    1. Labrat*

      There are designs that block both directions unless you’re right against it. I got some for my bedroom because my cats killed the blinds.

    2. Emmy Noether*

      Don’t bother trying to find out which is the right way around – there really aren’t any truly effective ways to make something transparent in one direction and opaque in the other. Even one-way mirrors depend on there being light on one side and dark on the other. If you reverse the lighting levels, they work in the opposite direction.

      Privacy film works by scattering the light (randomizing the direction of the rays) and is the same in both directions. Get one of those frosted looking ones. Tinted film or mirrored film will block only the inside view (towards darker) in the daytime, no matter which way you put it.

    3. Juicebox Hero*

      I have the translucent kind that looks like textured frosted glass. It would be perfect here as long as LW is allowed to use it.

  12. The Prettiest Curse*

    #5 – This is a really difficult balance to get right. A couple of years back, I had to compile a list of every job I’ve ever had and the dates I held them. (This was for the purpose of topping up my UK state pension.) I had many, many temp jobs in the late 90s, most of which I had forgotten about entirely – and no way would I have been able to write that list if I didn’t still have pay stubs. So you never know when you’ll need this stuff.

    In general, though, I think if it’s more than 20 years old, shred away. But keep a list of all your jobs and the associated contact info somewhere in case you ever need it!

    1. Azure Jane Lunatic*

      I keep that list in a spreadsheet. Every time I see a new weird question about your past workplaces on a job application form, I consider whether I should put that field in the spreadsheet.

    2. Love to WFH*

      The last time I was hired, several of my past jobs were at companies that had been acquired, and no one at the new company verified employment. I had to upload W2s (with pay redacted) to prove I’d been employed there. So keep your tax records as far back as someone would want to verify employment.

    3. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I am an information pack rat, but I do scan everything and organize my folders and files well, so it’s not that cumbersome.

      What I’m unclear about for #5 is, if she’s scanning everything, why is it even a question? Shred away! I don’t even keep paper tax records any longer, since employers and financial institutions all offer PDFs of W-2s, 1099s, and such. But I have everything either downloaded or scanned. Although I didn’t bother scanning performance reviews from the old paper days, ADP does have my salary increases by % all the way back into the aughts!

      OP #5, a good home shredder (crosscut, of course!) is worth it, and if your area recycles, just put the shredding in a paper bag and staple the top shut. That last part is important, unless you want your street to look like a ticker tape parade! And if you don’t, office supply stores like Staples will shred things for you, and at least in our area there are free shredding events where you can drive up with a paper bag or box of documents.

      1. OP#5*

        It was a question because I didn’t want to get burned by shredding something that might be necessary in the future. I have already killed one scanner in the past (RIP after serving me well) and wanted to be a little more select with my scanning if possible. Have a P5 shredder so I’m good to go in that area.

        thanks for the feedback.

      2. JustaTech*

        Just a heads up that cross-cut shreds aren’t recyclable in a lot of places because the fibers are too short. But! At least where I live they are *compostable*, which is brilliant for true privacy, because they get dumped in with your coffee grounds and banana peels and off to the giant industrial compost facility where no one is ever going to be able to put them back together.

        1. RC*

          (Do I own a paper shredder almost entirely to make bedding for my vermicompost worms? Should I actually be shredding more documents I obviously don’t need anymore, instead of mostly just pizza boxes?)

          I do kind of love the idea to dump your coffee grounds and your shredded important documents in one bag, into your unit’s compost bin though!

    4. Sara without an H*

      Spreadsheets are great for this kind of thing. I can think of very, very few work-related documents that you’d need to retain in hard copy. Scan it, shred the original, then spend some time developing a good online filing system.

    5. Sloanicota*

      Ugh in the days of paper I used to end up with so many notes / agendas etc from meetings – which felt important to keep at the time as a record, but were obviously not relevant within a year of the meeting. I had to go through every year and recycle, recycle, recycle. But sometimes the attendee lists were valuable, as in conferences. Sooo glad that all that kind of thing has moved online (although I do struggle with leaving jobs and losing access to a lot of files, particularly in my email, unless I made the effort to download them and store them offsite).

      1. OP#5*

        I had scanned meeting notes that were helpful in documenting a very abusive and inappropriate manager that helped build a case to get that person removed…

    6. learnedthehardway*

      I default to keeping the information – you never know when or why you might need it.

      I had to get a copy of my degree certificate from X0+ years ago for a new client once. This was when I discovered that my diplomas were lost in a move that had happened 3 years earlier. It was a major pain to have to contact the university and get a letter from them (they wouldn’t replace the diploma – I’m still disappointed about that).

      And another time – I started volunteering with an organization that required a security check – I had to have information from employment, where I lived, phone numbers, etc. etc. over the past X0+ years. Took awhile to dig everything out – I was glad I had the old copies of my resume.

      Pro tip – keep old copies of your resume, when you drop off work done prior to 15 years ago – you never know when you might need to remember the date you graduated or when you worked for XYZZ company, when you were just out of school.

      1. Lurkers R Us*

        When I cleaned out my office (of nearly 30 years) to switch to permanent work from home, I shredded all of my printed performance evaluations. It was incredibly cathartic because when I first started working there, the organizational culture was really toxic and I was pretty unhappy, although I was young enough (and had come from another toxic work environment) that I didn’t quite realize how bad it was while I was in it. Shredding the bad years made me feel so much lighter.

        I have a *very* detailed master CV where I keep track of everything, so employment dates and such are pretty easy to find. Not that it matters because I’ve been working at the same place for my entire professional career. I’m three years away from retirement, so I’m more than likely at my first and last professional job.

  13. Peter*

    LW1, I’m annoyed on your behalf. I am sure I would be considered a “loud presence in the room” at work, but I think any company that requires everyone be like that has a real problem with its culture.

    1. Random Dice*

      I’m wondering if they are female.

      That all is such deeply gender coded language. I haven’t heard it applied to a man before.

      1. mlem*

        I actually thought it was code for “you, LW, are female-presenting, and we want Assertive Male Energy in this role”.

        1. Czhorat*

          I didn’t read it quite that way; I could see it as more taking proactive leadership of meetings and projects rather than being more focused on listening and reacting.

          Do you ask a client what they want, wait for them to tell you what they want, or do YOU tell THEM what you think they need based on industry best practices? Any of those could be appropriate given the industry, client, and culture.

      2. Person from the Resume*

        The company hired the LW knowing the LW’s gender. The LW seems to think their personality doesn’t match what the feedback on their performance is. This could just be a personality mismatch. Especially as the LW notes despite the title of manager their previous job was individual performer and they are not suited for an outspoken type of management.

        1. Sloanicota*

          I can imagine coming across as more calm-assertive in an interview whereas I’m actually a more retiring personality overall. It could be gender but it doesn’t have to be.

      3. Pastor Petty Labelle*

        It struck me as they want Bro Culture. OP is not a self-described Alpha Male who doesn’t think about others but just Dominates. Which actually is not good in a manager.

      4. Myrin*

        I’d be somewhat surprised if these managers wanted a woman to be a louder presence and more assertive, unless those are qualities which are strongly needed/desired in this role in general (or they are particularly invested in fostering female assertiveness, which I somehow doubt).

    2. Lady Blerd*

      I work in an org that requires extraversion in attitude but obviously the individuals within it have varying personalities. Years ago, I was interviewed for an internal position and was straight told by the interviewer that I saved my job because I had learned to come out of my shell for interviews, they said when they’d see me in the hallways, I looked like I wanted to melt into the walls. Ironically, I now work in the interviewer’s chain of command and I have come to realize that he too was an introvert, only with a loud, go-getter personality that he puts on for work.

      1. StarTrek Nutcase*

        Another one here. Coworkers who come across me outside work are shocked. Learning to present the typically acceptable “face/personality” at work was a very valuable skill I learned very early in my career. Some things are worth pushing back on, but pretending to be more extraverted or social was a no win one.

      2. learnedthehardway*

        This is a really good point – you can learn to cultivate a “persona” for work. My DH – extremely introverted – was in a sales role. You would think that impossible for him, until you realized that he had a character he played for his sales activities. This persona was NOT him, but he could inhabit the persona for however long he needed to with clients.

        It helped that he had done some acting and taking some acting training when he was a student.

        Might be an idea for the OP to try – playing a role is a lot easier than being yourself, if people just want you to be “louder” / “more assertive”.

        1. Grey Coder*

          I know an improv teacher who does coaching for exactly this kind of thing.

          I can imagine this would be exhausting if you needed to play the role full-time, but maybe it’s only needed in specific situations?

      3. The Original K.*

        Yep, I have a Work Self that’s different from myself. People I work with are surprised to learn that I’m introverted.

      4. Smithy*

        Yeah – I’m not saying that the OP’s case isn’t gendered – but I work in a sector that’s predominantly women and I’ve been on teams where loudness and presence in spaces was the expectation. Some of those people were like that in their private life, some were super reserved home bodies – but the expectation on those teams was to be viewed as assertive.

        I had a direct report for a year who was brilliant at the work, but didn’t convey that loudness. In managing her, I tried to be really specific about meetings or audiences where displaying “performative loudness” was helpful with senior leadership, even if it wasn’t a marker of mine around how well she was doing. So think being in a large team meeting, and when someone says “any questions” – being in the mix as someone who has A Question. Provided the question wasn’t completely ludicrous (i.e. Can you tell us what font you used in the PowerPoint?”), it was very often seen as a marker of being engaged and capable.

        Personally, I’m on the louder side and over the course of a year would inevitably have those moments to demonstrate that personality. But working with someone who’s skills weren’t always seen due to having a quieter personality was frustrating for me and no doubt for her. Long term, neither of us lasted there, but this was a dynamic upheld and enforced by women. Not saying that larger patriarchy elements aren’t at play big picture, but I could easily see a version of that letter written about my old team where the majority of players would have been women.

    3. LCH*

      so many of the company’s complaints make me wonder, why did they hire OP then?? especially as a relocation employee. like, if they wanted all that, how did they not figure out ahead of time that OP wasn’t it? what has changed?

  14. MK*

    #1, do I understand correctly that the company has no issue with OP’s work, but are receiving negative feedback about their …personality, it sounds like? Is this something that happens? Because, with the exception of jobs where it matters to a certain degree, like a spokesperson, this is the sort of thing a boss might be privately disappointed about, but not actually mention to a hire.

      1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

        It does seem strange, because there must be a higher “bar” in some sense for hiring someone who needs to relocate due to all the costs, admin, potentially lead time, etc. Before committing to someone moving across the country funded by you, you’d want to be really sure they are the right person and a good fit, and had been so much better than anyone more local (who wouldn’t need to relocate) that it was a good business decision. So I do wonder what’s gone wrong here.

      2. Ms. Murchison*

        Sometimes people don’t figure out what they don’t want until they’ve accidentally hired it.

        Once while a boss was chewing me out for being an introvert, I pointed out that I’d been careful to act quiet & reserved in my interview because that’s my normal demeanor (a lot of folks want someone outgoing for those positions and I wanted to find a job that didn’t need that). She stammered something about how you can’t expect interviewers to figure out what people are really like in the artificial setting of an interview and continued to make my life hell because she didn’t want to work with an introvert. She just didn’t know it until she hired me and discovered she didn’t like having an introvert around.

        1. I Have RBF*

          … she didn’t like having an introvert around.


          People who don’t like introverts that much exist? I am an introvert, but I can play an extrovert quite well. But I’ve never gotten hate for being an introvert. I get crap all the time for being AFAB in a male dominated field, but not for being an introvert.

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

        I thought the same thing. Like unless the OP was extremely boisterous or something for the interview how did they not see this. what really caught me off guard was this “my bosses have a different vision for what someone in my position looks like, and it’s not someone put together like me. ”
        So either the bosses thought the OP was putting on airs for the interview and decided to hire them anyways or something else is going on.

      4. John*

        Possibly because the interviews were done over Zoom, on my phone camera while sitting in my car during a lunch break at my last job.

        1. Gemstones*

          But for a job where you have to relocate, presumably they would have met in person at least once…ideally for a full or half day interview.

    1. Myrin*

      OP says “They have also told me I’m not “assertive” in the way they need me to be.” so I’d assume there’s at least some sort of business case for this expectation, but at the same time it sounds like they’re simply comparing her to her predecessor.
      OP doesn’t say what the job is so we have no way of judging her mangers’ assertions but given how she says she’s been (successfully!) in a similar job before, it sounds like this goes more in the direction of “preference” on leadership’s part than an actual “must have”.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      There are some jobs where you have to be a fairly assertive presence when you’re working with a group, and it’s possible this is one of them (think about jobs that involve a lot of figurative cat herding, for example). If so, it should have been discussed in the hiring process — but sometimes people managing those roles don’t realize how necessary it is until they see someone in the role who isn’t like that. (I’m not defending that, just saying it can happen sometimes.)

      1. GythaOgden*

        My manager interviewed me for my promotion and told me afterwards — after I got the job — that she was looking for me to come out of my shell a bit more than I often did while on reception. In this job I’m her enforcer — I have to chase people to get things done and be able to speak up boldly to clarify things in meetings. So she wanted me to tell her why I should get it. And evidently, I had enough stake in getting this promotion that I impressed her.

        Facilities and maintenance is also a fast moving job with antsy customers, things that suddenly needed to be done yesterday, and a lot of different things happening at once, and you do need to be able to stand up for yourself to get things completed on time. A compliance officer sits in with us quite often on team meetings and while our figures are good, it’s really important that it gets done, because we’re talking about things that keep people safe and comfortable at work. We’re having an issue with one building where the toilets are out of action but were only informally reported to our representative there. A lot of the assignment of jobs goes through our systems to roving engineers and contractors, but it was previously less formally done, and so the problem is that no-one wants to take the five minutes to put it through the system. Then they complain that nothing has been done. I mean, on reception is have done it in two minutes, but I left that building well before Christmas. Not my problem, sorry. YOU need to do YOUR job so we can do ours in the way we’re set up to do it. We gave you the tools to report it…so you need to report it. (I’m a bit annoyed at my former colleagues; they’re the ultimate last line of reporting something like that, but I’ve come to realize I didn’t see some of the dysfunction there that my manager did.)

        Obviously you shouldn’t be assertive not to the point of abrasiveness, but I agree with Alison — there’s assertive and then there’s aggressive and it sounds like a bad cultural fit. However, there are jobs out there which handle things a lot of things happening in the present tense and those need someone to have a relatively pushy manner to get things done.

      2. Olive*

        “I tend to keep to myself as much as possible” and “painfully shy” did seem like an odd fit for a managerial job. Having great boundaries and a reserved personality shouldn’t be a problem (for a reasonable company), but as an IC, I really really want my managers and their managers who are less at a people and more at a departmental level to be able to speak up for the team, promote our projects, and make the kinds of connections that end up socially padding our work (for example, a manager who can give us a friendly and helpful contact on another team is a big asset).

        1. John*

          At my last job, my boss accepted the fact that I was quiet and tended to keep to myself, but he also knew I would say something if I really had something to say. He also said when the quietest voice in the room says something, it carries more weight. My current employer doesn’t buy into any of that thought. My last job was such a success because it was a great blend of expectations and skills. The pay just wasn’t great, though I would go back if I could (not an option since the job was filled). Here, I’ve been put into a lot of things that are not in my wheelhouse, things that aren’t my strengths, and bosses that have drastically different expectations.

      3. House On The Rock*

        My original job description was, essentially, administrative people manager, but my actual job is a combination of managing a large team, maintaining good relationships with high level internal customers, and trying to get things done in a fragmented organization across many teams with a lot of politics.

        As it happens, I’m quite good at all of that…but it can be intense and nothing in either the job description or the interview process prepared me for that intensity. I can see someone being good at the HR/management aspect of the job and being totally out to sea with the politics and relationship management.

    3. rebelwithmouseyhair*

      Yeah I think it’s really unfair to expect someone to have the same personality as their predecessor, and I think it would be worth asking why they need to be like that.

      It reminds me of someone who was meeting all her KPIs and deadlines and all her employees loved her to bits and would go the distance when she asked them to because they knew she stood up for them whenever possible. Her boss told her she was too soft-spoken and sweet (ie feminine). This was in automotive manufacturing and she was the only woman at that level. Why are you not surprised?
      She then moved to a place selling DIY equipment and funnily enough they loved her there.

      1. Random Dice*

        I also noticed the gender coding in the criticism, as compared to the prior man in the role. I’d love for OP to comment and confirm if they are a woman as I suspect.

      2. Pastor Petty Labelle*

        Yeah most of the criticism seems to be — you aren’t your predecessor. Well yes, OP is entirely different person. OP was recruited by a previous boss for this job, so that person knew the personality of OP.

        But I don’t think the company is going to change their expectation of wanting a clone of the previous person. The advice to negotiate an out is solid. Saves everyone.

    4. Lily Rowan*

      I’ve had the pleasantly opposite experience to LW1 in my current job — in previous jobs, I often got “lack of sense of urgency” in my reviews. Do I ever miss a deadline? No. Am I extremely responsive to whatever comes up? Yes. So it really was a personality critique. Now, consistently across a few different bosses, my “calm and effective demeanor” is a positive in my reviews.

      1. I Have RBF*

        I personally hate when employers want you to change your personality. It’s a bridge too far.

        Yes, if your behaviors are problematic, they can and should coach you to change them. If you are a cynic, for example, they can ask that you not approach work conversations from a cynical attitude, or if you have cynical comments to please keep them to yourself.

        But personality? Not their wheelhouse, not their place to try to rewrite your personality. That gets into brainwashing territory, and is abusive. When I get a manager that wants me to change my personality, I start looking for a new job.

    5. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      do I understand correctly that the company has no issue with OP’s work, but are receiving negative feedback about their …personality, it sounds like?

      I’m going through that a dozen years into the job. My supervisor was fired almost a year ago, now I report to my grand-boss and being I’m being “lead” by “team leads;” all of the sudden, I’m a failure of a personality fit. It does happen.

    6. Pobody’s Nerfect*

      I used to be at a toxic job with a horrible boss who rated traits of my personality negatively on my annual performance reviews. They didn’t like I was too quiet, withdrawn, I even got insulted for keeping my desk too neat, they said it showed a lack of ability to multitask (because they were a multitasker & their desk was a shambles). The first time I was shocked, brought it up that those seemed to be ratings of my personality and not my work performance or output (which was exemplary), they just brushed me off saying they could rate me in anything they deemed necessary. It was awful, couldn’t get out of there quick enough.

      1. GythaOgden*

        Ouch. I’d wonder about whether it would be a workers’ comp claim …because it happened on the job. (I’m here all week.) As someone involved in health and safety work that would be a huge liability, but I’d be sorely tempted even if it was just to make them aware they could be seen.

      2. Dr Sarah*

        I’ve never been a cat owner, but isn’t that sort of thing (without the red dot) an occupational hazard of owning cats anyway? I mean, surely you get used to shutting the bedroom door first with the cat on the other side of it, or you take the consequences…

        1. I should really pick a name*

          Sometimes it’s a choice between a cat in the room, or a cat yowling to be let in because the cat had no interest in going into the room until the door was closed.

      3. Sharpie*

        Laser light scatters as it gets further from the source, which is why it’s a really huge deal to shine a laser at a plane – the light blinds the pilots because it scatters all around the cockpit. There have been some very close calls, I don’t know if people have been prosecuted for it (probably, if they were caught).

        1. Bagpuss*

          They have, and recieved prison sentences . In the UK there have been cases of people getting prison sentences of 6-12 months and in Minnesota a guy got a 2 year prison sentence a few years ago.
          I don’t know how common it is, I would have thought it might be quite hard to identify the perpetrator, but if definitely happens.

          1. Seeking Second Childhood*

            Minnesota man was brazen enough to keep shining the laser on multiple aurcraft—including the police craft that tracked him down. Even the summary is pretty scary–captain temporarily blinded while landing and receiving final runway instructions!?

  15. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

    OP2 (couple seen from office window) I don’t think I would do anything particular, just treat it as you would any other distracting but inevitable thing that might go on outside an office building (construction work, emergency incidents, etc). If you are meeting with someone in your office and they get distracted just redirect them onto the business at hand as you would normally.

    1. European mentality*

      Yes, this. It may be the European in me talking but, OP, you sound way too worried about this. When someone (your boss) comes into your office, they know it’s not something you have control over. You seem to think it’s like having NSFW material in your office, but it’s not. It’s an outside disturbance that you can’t control. There may be a moment of awkwardness, but most likely boss will just ignore the view.

      1. GythaOgden*

        I’m European and I’d be annoyed by it. There’s motion in the corner of my eyes and it’s going to draw the attention away from what I’m doing.

        Plus, you know, even Europeans would probably prefer some privacy. They may not realize they’re on view and if OP can see them so can a lot of other people. It’s not accurate to say that Europeans as a whole would not feel awkward either seeing this or being unwittingly on display (and thus probably falling foul of public indecency laws, which Europe has — from a brief Google, they have exceptions for nudist beaches etc but not generally speaking, and while nudity is ok sex isn’t) so can we not accuse Americans of being prudes here? It’s kind of ignoring a lot of different cultures across Europe and setting up rather arrogant antagonisms about the subject, which is ultimately not fair on OP if she finds it uncomfortable to be privy to someone else’s intimacy just by sitting in her office.

        1. Emmy Noether*

          I’m also European and I’d probably find it annoying if it happened more than once or twice. Mostly because I want it to become a thing in the office that my window has a “view”.

          However, I think the “motion is distracting” angle doesn’t hold up. Someone pacing or exercising would probably be just as distracting motion-wise. Plus, the LW already has their back to the window, it sounds like. So it IS specifically about it being sex.

          Also, my understanding of public indecency laws (here!) is that they don’t really apply to private spaces visible from other private spaces. IANAL though, so this may be inaccurate.

        2. Allonge*

          Uh – all European mentality said was that OP has no control over this and it’s unlikely that anyone will blame them for seeing it from their office (and qualified it with maybe it’s the European perspective).

          For what it’s worth, I agree – OP, I think this is understandably distracting for you, but nobody sane will blame you for not stopping it, and you are not obliged to work in the dark just because there are things happening outside that are weird.

          1. European mentality*

            Exactly, thank you. I am sorry that I was not as clear as I hoped I would be.
            This European would be soooo grossed out by the situation. For myself, I would put up blinds and still have the idea pulling at my thoughts, so I understand that. What I don’t get is the sentiment (from OP and many commenters) that the problem, or at least a big part of the problem, is what people coming to my office would think. For me this is a situation for polite fiction: in the office we’d all act as if there was nothing peculiar about the view. If my boss or a visitor raised the question, I would be quite taken aback.
            I didn’t mean to accuse anyone of being a prude. I was just wondering if there was a difference in how this would be perceived in the US versus the reality I know.

        3. Awkwardness*

          What stood out to me was but that’s still not a conversation I want to have with my boss!
          Like… what is the manager going to say? I would assume that every reasonable person understands that these are things outside your control, especially in densely populated urban areas.

          1. House On The Rock*

            I also don’t understand why they wouldn’t want to talk to their boss about this. I would actually be quite comfortable saying to my boss “I can clearly see things happening in the apartments across the way that are not work appropriate and that could be distracting for me and visitors, what are our options?”.

            Unless your boss assumes you are somehow into observing this, or is themselves very immature, it is a legitimate work issue with the office space you occupy.

            1. JustaTech*

              I could see this being something just too awkward to bring up for some people with some bosses. Like, when I could see in the lactation room of the building across the street I did not mention it to my boss because it would be awkward (I mentioned it to someone who worked in that building and then the curtains were closed, so yay).
              It *shouldn’t* be awkward, as you say, it’s not like the LW is causing this, but I can see just not wanting to ever have to mention sex to your boss, even if it is “sorry about the people across the street, I’ll close the blinds.”
              (Awesome user name!)

        4. bamcheeks*

          I don’t think that was what European Mentality was saying. It wasn’t “you’re making too big a deal over this”, it was, “it’s not your responsibility to worry about what guests to your office see out the window”. Nobody is going to be thinking, “That LW, they let people have sex outside their office window! Disgusting!”

      2. bighairnoheart*

        I think the problem the OP is getting at here is that they DO have some control over the situation (by closing the blinds), they just really want to avoid that particular solution if possible. And if I were the OP and my boss came into the office at the wrong time, even as chill as they are about most things, I’m pretty sure they’d tell me to close the blinds whenever someone else was in my office, just to be safe, which would be annoying for me to have to do since I also value natural lighting.

        Thankfully the commenters have offered some good alternate suggestions that might make it harder for the office to see those activities while still keeping the blinds open, and I hope one of them works for OP!

    2. Ellis Bell*

      I think this is a valid option, but it totally depends on how visible and how far away. If it’s highly visible when you walk in then that’s going to change the atmosphere of the office a lot, and OP is right to feel like there’s an elephant in the room, possibly a very undeniable one which will change interaction with anyone coming in; even if they don’t blame OP (which I agree is unreasonable) it still might make people forget what they originally came in to talk about, or change the topic entirely to window coverings. That’s OK once or twice, but not regularly. If the distraction is more of a distance away, like, you can see the couple if you look in the right place, but not straight away or it’s possible to turn your head away, doing nothing might be more possible.

  16. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

    OP1 (job relocated for is a bad fit due to lack of “assertiveness” etc) – to some degree these traits can be learned and ‘put on’. Think of them as behaviours rather than innate personality traits (a similar line of thinking to when people say fake it until you make it). It may not be your nature to be assertive etc naturally but is it possible to introduce more assertive behaviour? You might find you actually take it on over time and it benefits you…

    I have a similar struggle (personality trait vs behaviour) though with organisation and structure rather than assertiveness. Naturally I work in a very unstructured way, desk is a mess, notepad is a mess, everything is kept in my head, I jump from one subject to another… at work I consciously “do” more organised behaviour like taking things in a more step by step and structured way, make sure things I say follow on logically, resist the urge to interrupt, etc. I will never be able to change my fundamental nature but I am able to learn to act organised in the same way I learn a new technology etc.

    1. Brambles are not the only fruit*

      Good reply! The OP is out of their comfort zone here and that is clear. However, instead of scuttling back to safe oldJob after a suitable time has passed – as seems to be the plan – why not look at this as a golden opportunity for change. Being more vocal or assertive doesn’t mean obnoxious. For every meeting, pick one topic you want to push and practice speaking in a clear, assertive voice and don’t let yourself get interrupted. If someone starts talking over you, just raise the volume a bit and power through. As you’ve more or less decided to leave then what have you got to lose.

      1. Susan*

        It might also be a good idea to try out this approach until the end of the two-year period with the clear intention of reconsidering it afterwards. Sometimes it is easier to experiment with (potenially beneficial) changes when there is a fixed end date.

        1. Dasein9 (he/him)*

          In OP1’s position, I’d probably talk to my boss and outline that I’m taking these steps and ask for feedback/support.

          (Well, I’d do this if I felt like I could trust my boss. If not, getting out would be urgent.)

      2. Username Lost to Time*

        I was also thinking along these lines. “my last job now feels like a senior-level individual contributor role instead of a management role.” OK, so OP #1 uses a modification of Alison’s script and considers adding something about being a first-time manager and needing more coaching and leadership development than either they or their new employer anticipated. This doesn’t have to be the end of this job opportunity if OP#1 and their employer are willing to address the issue.

    2. Allonge*

      I agree! And I have to say that for a management position, a fair level of assertiveness can be expected: I don’t think it’s reasonable to go for ‘fill the room’, but it has to be pretty difficult to manage efficiently if someone keeps to themselves and is leaning into their shy nature.

      OP, you don’t need to be greagarious. But maybe you can proactively participate in discussions, make sure that your team is represented and to on?

      1. ecnaseener*

        I agree. It sounds like even with a negotiated departure, LW probably needs to make this work to afford rent for the rest of the year unless they find an equally high-paying job. In their shoes, I would focus on the assertiveness issue because that’s the one likely to be a legitimate work-related weakness (no one wants a passive manager!) rather than just a difference in style. It may be that if the higher-ups see some progress there, they’ll be less concerned about the rest.

    3. Generic Name*

      This might work…….or it might backfire. I vividly remember the performance evaluation where my boss told me I need to work on my confidence and I should speak up in meetings. So at the next opportunity, I made sure to be a more active contributor in meetings. The next time I med with my boss, she reprimanded me for talking too much in meetings. The company was legitimately shocked when I put in my notice.

  17. Jessica*

    LW2, the Afternoon Delight couple are presumably one of these:
    a) exhibitionists who have the shades open on purpose and would enjoy knowing you can see them;
    b) indifferent about it;
    c) unaware that your office has that view into their living space, and would be horrified to know their sex life is on display.

    If it’s (a) this suggestion will be useless (or worse), but your description sounds like there’s been nothing in their conduct to suggest it’s (a). If it’s (c) or hopefully even (b), what about figuring out what floor they’re on (hopefully possible from outside the building?) and sending a polite letter addressed to Resident? Ask them to close the blinds and maybe they will.

    1. I should really pick a name*

      It can be pretty difficult to find the specific unit number to address the letter to from outside.

    2. Mockingjay*

      It’s not OP2’s responsibility to do that.

      I do think OP2 is overthinking it a bit. Seeing into private spaces from an office is a frequent occurrence in urban environments. Put up film on the lower part of the window, natural light can still come through the top. If asked: “oh, the film cuts down glare on my screen.” No need for details or extensive justifications.

  18. Despachito*


    – if you are able to contact the management of the building, tell them and let them tell their tenants
    – arrange the seating in your office to not have the clients face the window

    1. GythaOgden*

      I’m thinking a nice corporate style armchair might solve the problem. Firstly, it seats guests away from the window. Secondly, it would also block OP’s view.

      We have some going spare at my old building, although they’re like electric blue in keeping with NHS branding. We discovered that normal soft reception furniture is unfortunately not kind on people’s backs, and given we have just established a physiotherapy clinic in the building, they don’t play well with people who need more upright seats to help their conditions.

  19. Grey Coder*

    LW5, consider keeping payslips as evidence of employment. I work in tech, and between acquisitions and failed startups, none of the companies I have previously worked for exist. I needed old payslips to get through the background checks for my current job.

  20. Daria Grace*

    #5, At least keep documentation confirming when you started and finish jobs. Because of some weird arrangements at the start of my last job (I was paid via a temp agency for unusually long) its possible reference checkers would turn up different information about the length of my employment so I may need documents to verify things.

  21. JSPA*

    #2, there are all sorts of multi-panel free-standing screens, from openwork (anything from wicker to anodized aluminum to iron), to classic art, to slats. Even the open-work ones can be strategically customized such that the relevant panels have something more opaque attached.

    Size them so they can be no more than 60% unfolded for greater stability and for more eye-diverting angles.

    If you are in a windy area with opening windows, attach a heavy-based standing lamp to each end for additional stability.

  22. Dropping to anon for this one*

    Did happen upon a similar unfortunate view situation when I worked on a site that had a popular ‘dogging’ spot nearby. For those of a retiring nature it’s an English term for public car sex.

    Viewable from the windows in the lunch room. Culturally we don’t tend to make a fuss but we also love crude humour. There was a lot of jokes. But over time the novelty wore off, both for us and apparently the doggers.

    We did consider putting blinds in and leaving them open for light as a slatted view of humping looks very different to full view but we couldn’t get the cash. Maybe that might work?

    1. Bagpuss*

      Years ago, in the UK city where I worked at the time, a brnad new Crown Court buidling was opened (so dealing with Criminal cases)
      After it was opened, it was discovered that the windows for the Judge’s offices and retiring rooms, and the robing robe (for legal representatives) all had windows overlooking a very popular spot for Ladies (and Gentlemen) of the night to both solicit customers and, in some cases, ply their trade. Some awkwardness ensued.

      1. Dropping to anon for this one*

        The firm at the time did another clanger – built a brand new office on the same road as the noted red light area of the local town. A 24 hour office. The security cameras got an eyeful.

    2. Minimal Pear*

      Oh, it’s IN the car? The term came up in a book I was reading recently and I assumed from context that it was a more ground-based activity.

      1. Gozer (she/her)*

        It’s one couple (or more ahem) inside the car and other people watching through the windows.
        Given the ambient weather conditions in that part of the UK it was rather non optimal.

  23. Lady Knittington*

    I think LW2 should stand in their window with score paddles, ready for when the couple finish. They should get the message pretty quickly.

    1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      Or perhaps make requests/suggestions. Posterboard, six-inch high letters, “How about chocolate syrup?” / “[Sex toy store] has [accessory] on special offer this week.”

      (/jk in case not obvious)

    2. Awkwardness*

      That came to my mind first.
      But I do not think this would be an appropriate reaction if OP is on the clock thus representing their employer.

    3. ZSD*

      This was my thought also! Get two of your colleagues to join you, and then hold up scores out of ten.

      But alas, the privacy film is probably the way to go.

    4. LizardOfOz*

      We actually did that once, when a couple were engaging in some fairly public make-outs in clear view from our classroom in uni. We even had the grumpy judge who gave them a much lower score.

  24. FashionablyEvil*

    #2–This strikes me as life in a big city. Contacting building management or the apartment building seems like an overstep, especially when there are a number of other options (a plant, a screen, window film, etc.)

    Just let it go and dine out on the story.

  25. CountryLass*

    Is it possible to work out what floor they are on, and have a little note dropped into the mailbox of all of them informing them that their activities can be seen, and maybe suggest getting some of that film where the light etc can still get in to their room, but no-one can see in? I’ve assumed that you are not the only building and window that could see them, to give you plausible deniability if they start trying to find out who the ‘perv’ looking in the window is.

    Otherwise, some sort of plant like others have suggested, or an opaque net are your best bets…

  26. Roscoe da Cat*

    LW #2 windows are a great place to stick up reminders and schedules. People tend to focus on what they can actually read so that would take care of most of it without lowering the blinds.

    1. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      Oh great advice. Only takes a half-dozen sticky notes in different sizes, or a calendar on a suction cup hook.

  27. Elephant Wickie*

    #2: Report this to HR. Employers have a duty to make sure that you are not exposed to sexual harassment, including harassment perpetrated by third parties. That duty kicks in once the employer is on notice of what is going on. They must take prompt and appropriate corrective action. It’s your company’s responsibility to address this, not yours.

    1. Parakeet*

      Wow, labeling people as sexual harassers, a serious type of interpersonal violence, for having consensual sex in their own home.

      I could see an argument that if LW2 informs the company and the company won’t pay for privacy film or blinds or something, then the company is creating a sexualized environment for the LW and that that would be sexual harassment. But that’s a very different framing.

    2. Very Sensual Salad*

      I am an attorney and this BADLY misstates the law. The employer does not owe any sort of affirmative duty to OP to stop two randos from having sex in their own home in a different building.

  28. DawnShadow*

    LW2 – honestly, how often is this a problem? Even the most randy couples wouldn’t go at it more than, on average, twice a day. And there is no way that anyone would hold you responsible for what someone unrelated to you or your company is doing in another building!

    If it were me, I would just put it out of my mind and ignore it. However, I can understand if it’s like a train wreck and you can’t look away, and if you want to put some kind of decorative stickers in your window, but if I were you, I’d just focus on making it so *you* can’t see them from your desk or wherever you usually are. Because I just can’t imagine anyone walking into your office and (1) actually noticing what’s going on in the next building and (2) blaming you for it! I hope you can let go of your anxiety over that.

  29. Cabbagepants*

    #2 not to be glib but could you try… not looking? I know that one’s eye can get pulled towards shocking/unusual things, but can you practice not letting your gaze fall into their bedroom? Like if you had an attractive colleague who sometimes had an outline of (your favorite body) visible, you would still find a way to avert your eyes and do your job.

    1. londonedit*

      I think the issue the OP is worried about is less that they will see this couple getting it on (which presumably they can ignore or block out as it’s a regular occurrence) but that people who come to speak to them at their desk will see the couple getting it on, and that it might then be awkward or weird or distracting or difficult, and/or the OP will have to deal with visitors’ reactions.

      I agree that the best solution is probably some sort of window film so that light will still come in but the view out of the window will be obscured, but also I think if someone does come to OP’s desk, see the couple out of the window and make a fuss about it, the best response from the OP is probably just a roll of the eyes and a deadpan ‘I know, those two are always at it’. Just don’t make a big deal out of it.

      1. Cabbagepants*

        hmm, in that case I don’t think it’s a problem LW needs to solve, especially at the expense of the comfort of their office! LW is not responsible for the entire world outside their window. The exception would be if LW had a lot of very sensitive conversations where their image was very very important, but they didn’t mention that so I’m going to assume it’s not the case.

    2. JSPA*

      rather than put something up to hide (which will only draw people’s eyes in that direction) how about putting one of those electronic picture frames on another wall, to draw the eye away?

    3. Ellis Bell*

      I think OP has already solved this though; they specify in the letter that they can turn away from the couple – they’re more concerned with somebody else being exposed to the couple “having sex behind me”.

  30. Also-ADHD*

    For LW2, if it’s not bothering/distracting you too much, and you’re just worried about people walking in, I can say if I walked in and happened to see that, I would just assume the person in the office hadn’t noticed yet it was happening and not judge you for not closing your blinds or anything. I don’t know how close the buildings are or how wildly obvious, but no matter what unless you’re staring directly out, I’m not assuming you’re seeing everything out the window, and I’m certainly not holding you responsible for it—which seems to be your worry.

  31. Irish Teacher.*

    LW3, you don’t really even know if the traits you dislike (and it sounds like with good reason) in Jane have anything to do with her jobhopping. If she is choosing to change jobs regularly for reasons of her own (whether that be being headhunted or for family reasons or just because she likes a change), it would come across very strangely for somebody to say, “you know, you could keep a job for longer if you stopped interrupting and dominating conversations.”

    It may be true, but it also may not and she is in a much better position to know that than you are. If she is regularly being fired for difficult behaviour, then it is very likely that her bosses have made the reason clear to her and if she doesn’t listen to them or change her behaviour after being fired numerous times for it, I doubt she would listen to somebody who wasn’t even there and doesn’t really have the perspective to judge the situation.

    Equally, if she is storming out in a huff because things don’t go 100% her way (which sounds possible, given how she describes her experience of “managing up”), then that is, to some extent, a choice she is making. If being unemployed for 18 months doesn’t make her think of changing it, I doubt you will be able to make her change her mind. If she values not giving in to bosses above having a stable job history, well, it’s not a choice I’d make, but it is a choice (even if it’s likely to be an unconscious one) and it doesn’t sound like she is unhappy with it.

    And given her “difficult personality,” she doesn’t sound like somebody who would be open to advice even from somebody who knew the details of why she changes jobs so often, so I really can’t imagine her taking advice from somebody who is making an educated guess.

    1. FYI*

      We don’t even know if Tax Client actually HAS a difficult personality. We just know that LW3 doesn’t like her. It takes a lot of hubris to assume that all her employers have felt the same way. LW3 knows nothing — zilch — about the quality of her work.

  32. melissa*

    I’ve noticed that some people in positions like yours have a blanket policy, listed in their social media profile, which is “No DMs/No advice.” And they simply do not respond to (my guess would be that they do not even check) private messages. I don’t think that is unfriendly— having it clear and advertised openly means people won’t be left thinking “Why did they ignore my message.”

  33. Vaca*

    1, this isn’t going to be popular advice – but be more assertive. You are presumably an adult, and you can change. It won’t be easy for you, but to just say “I’m shy” isn’t, fundamentally, being your best self. You can choose to be different. I’d highly recommend you go read seven habits of highly successful people.

    1. Colette*

      That’s like saying “just wear heels, you’ll be taller”. Yeah, it’s possible; it’s not likely to be comfortable, and the OP’s energy would be better spent finding a place where she’s valued for who she is.

    2. Seashell*

      Social anxiety was mentioned as well, so this might be something that requires mental health treatment to change, rather than a self-help book.

      That aside, I think people can change their demeanor somewhat, but one is probably not going to go from being a shrinking violet to the personality of a professional wrestler. Coming across as 10 or 20% more assertive is more of a reasonable possibility.

      1. I Have RBF*

        Yeah, a person should not be asked to change their personality. It’s not something a job has a right to do, IMO, even if the personality is “asshole”. They can, and should, ask an employee not to display their asshole behaviors at work.

        The LW should be able to “put on” a worksona of more assertive, outgoing behaviors. It’s like acting, or masking, which is something that a lot of people do to be able to work. So they need to invent a role for their job of “outgoing, assertive manager”, then fake it ’til they make it. It’s much easier to fake being an extrovert for nine hours a day that to actually become an extrovert.

    3. Irish Teacher.*

      I’d disagree that being shy is not necessarily being one’s best self. It doesn’t sound like it’s a good fit for that particular job, but being loud and assertive isn’t inherently better than being quiet and retiring. They are just different personality types.

      There is a point at which either can hold you back. Jane in the third letter may be an example of how being too assertive can hold one back and equally, if somebody is too shy to attend job interviews or they can’t present themselves well at interviews because they are so anxious or they are afraid to talk to anybody new, that is likely to hold them back.

      But I don’t see anything in the letter to indicate that the LW wants to be any different. It sounds to me like they are reasonably happy with the way they are and simply want a job that suits their personality. “Change your personality so you are a better fit for jobs you are unlikely to enjoy and perhaps a less good fit for those that you will” probably isn’t the best choice for most people.

      And while I haven’t read the book, I’d be very wary of anything that claims to list the habits of highly successful people, because firstly, I would want to know how they are defining success. I suspect the habits of those who succeed in getting a “nice easy job” that doesn’t tax them too much are going to be very different in those who succeed in getting to the top of a very competitive job and both are going to have very different habits from those who succeed in being popular and having many friends or those who succeed at parenting or at being a good friend to those they care about or those who succeed in say aid work or at creating amazing works of art.

      And all these people are successful. I suspect that book might priotise the succeed at getting to the top in a highly competitive job, which is something only a small minority want. It may be good advice for them (I don’t know enough about the book to be able to judge whether it is based on thorough peer-reviewed research or is just based on the observations of somebody with minimal qualifications in psychology or anywhere in between) but even assuming it’s well-researched and based on peer-reviewed research, I very much doubt it would work for everybody and allow people to succeed in all areas.

    4. JSPA*

      “Be someone the opposite of what you are like” is a huge waste of effort, and it’s soul-killing.

      The LW doesn’t lack what it takes to be highly valued and successful. They are answering to a company that prioritizes loudness over competence, and bluster over character.

      There are plenty of loud mouth blow hards to take the job, and plenty of jobs that will value quietly confident and competent leadership.

      It’s not like the letter writer loves the job, and is trying to measure up, and failing.
      The LW hates the job, wants out, and the only thing keeping them there is the draconian contract.

    5. Ex-prof*

      Introverts and extroverts have SO much trouble understanding each other.

      But introverts aren’t broken.

      Repeat: Houston, introverts do not have a problem.

      At least not internally.

      Honestly from what the letter writer describes (2nd hand) of their predecessor, that predecessor sounds like a nightmare. I’d have spent every day hiding under my desk if I had to work with someone like that.

      Well, not really. But I’d certainly be glad when he left.

      1. JustaTech*

        Yes! There’s a great book about this: “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain.

        Maybe this position really does require a very loud, forceful person in order to lead well. Or maybe that’s just how the last person did it, and the LW could be equally successful in a different way, if the organization let them.

    6. Jackalope*

      Your advice is rubbing me the wrong way. I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but it’s not such a simple thing as that. And honestly, as someone who is more quiet and reserved in groups I don’t know well, I’m not interested in being assertive and outgoing like that. The OP may find that they want to try to change, but it makes sense to say it’s time to just say it didn’t work out and go rather than trying to remake themselves. And why is it not possible to have the person they are right now, shyness and all, already be their best self?

    7. Ellis Bell*

      This is great advice if it helps someone get into a role that they actually want. OP has realized this role won’t make them happy, so they are actually allowed to leave and return to something that was a better fit.

      1. Humble Schoolmarm*

        Exactly! I would also say that there’s a wide variety of grey area between “be your true self always” and “change completely”. My work persona (with students) is very perky and enthusiastic about everything I’m teaching. Real me is border line cynical. It works for me because I can actually fool myself into feeling more positively about grammar, but if I had to fake enjoying spending time with young teens, that would be completely unsustainable.

    8. RagingADHD*

      I think this is overly simplistic, but it is true that introverts can manage people well (I have had very good managers who are introverts), they can contribute in meetings and be influential — I have known a number of introverted experts whose contributions were taken all the more seriously because they *weren’t* loud and didn’t run their mouths to no purpose. When they spoke, people listened, because it was worth listening to.

      Your predecessor’s way of doing things isn’t your way, and doesn’t need to be. But there is a way to be an effective presence in the room without being loud.

      Maybe your new employers are just shortsighted and shallow. That’s possible. But if it’s a good company that your mentors recommended, it seems like there are probably some people in management who are not just shallow. Maybe you just need more time to find / create your own way of building influence and being effective. And if social anxiety is getting in your way, maybe it’s not a bad idea to get help for that.

    9. ThatOtherClare*

      This bugs me, because a lot of people conflate “loud and pushy” with “assertive”. Letter writer #1, so long as you’re happy to hold your boundaries in a quiet way, you don’t need to change a thing! If you’d feel better being able to hold your boundaries and share your ideas a little more confidently, then do what makes you feel better. But actions speak louder than words, and if you’re confident of your ability to hold your “no” and vocalise your thoughts when appropriate, then you don’t have to let any of the loud noisy pushy shove-y people force you to try and turn into one of them. My Mother has a “shy” friend with sky-high self assuredness. You can’t push Jo into doing anything she doesn’t want to. If you think you’d feel better after a change, go for it! But if you’re a Jo, don’t let people put doubts in your head that you’re somehow existing wrong.

  34. Hiring Mgr*

    I don’t think I would use the script suggested in #1 unless you are willing to be let go on the spot.

    1. Lexi Vipond*

      But that’s the case, isn’t it? The OP doesn’t have to pay back the money if sacked, so needs to find a way to be sacked with the minimum of ill will.

      1. Seashell*

        It sounds like the yearlong lease might be an issue too, so they would have to consider if they could get out of that or afford to keep paying it for the duration if they were let go.

      2. Hiring Mgr*

        The letter made it seem like they needed the income for at least the length of their lease, so while yes getting fired would solve the relocation part, I don’t think that’s what he’s hoping for. (Unless they give him a massive severance for some reason)

    2. ecnaseener*

      Admittedly I don’t know much about how employment contracts work, but why would LW broaching the possibility make the employer immediately fire them if they weren’t already going to?

      1. House On The Rock*

        Because, unfortunately, it’s letting the employer know that the employee is open to the possibility of ending the working relationship. For most people, getting let go is something they try to avoid at all cost. So the employer is right now working under the assumption that bullying the employee to “be more assertive” will turn them into the person they want. If the employee says “not gonna happen”, that introduces a big risk. LW will of course need to determine when and whether they could be let go with the least impact to their overall life.

        1. ecnaseener*

          But what does that have to do with being let go on the spot, as Hiring Mgr says? Isn’t the point of a contract that both sides are bound?

          1. Hiring Mgr*

            I’m assuming the LW is in the US where there typically aren’t contracts and you can be fired at will. The contract part here might refer to the repayment of the relo.

            If it really is a contract, then yes you’re right that would be an additional factor.

            1. ecnaseener*

              LW wrote “I’d have to pay back what they gave us to relocate, plus steep penalties for breaking the two-year contract I signed” (emphasis mine)

  35. E*

    #4, I wonder if having some kind of listener community could help – a listserv or blog with comment section like this? Moderating is obviously a task of its own as I’m sure Alison can attest to, and maybe even more sensitive when it comes to mental health, but maybe having a forum where your listeners can connect with one another would be a good middle ground between offering them more avenues for human connection/support and doing it all yourself?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      It’s such a kind thought, but when it’s about mental health, it would be a job unto itself (ask Captain Awkward, who shut down comments partly for that reason).

    2. OP#4*

      OP#4 here: We do have a small group that’s fully moderated. It’s actually why I posed the question because someone in that space asked for 1:1 mentorship. I wanted to find a good way/place to draw the line. I like Alison’s response that people realize how this works and the explanation should be short.

  36. The Direct Approach*

    For LW2, if it’s an apartment building (edpecially a condo or coop), you should be able to figure out the apartment number from real estate listings with floor plans. Then mail or drop off an anonymous letter.

    1. Ex-prof*

      And the apartment occupants should be able to figure out who sent the anonymous letter by similar means.

      1. anywhere but here*

        So? “Hey your sex and nudity is visible, please close your blinds” isn’t offensive to any reasonable person. The anonymity is beneficial just because it is awkward to be the one who points it out. And if they decide to escalate in retaliation then well LW1 can demonstate that the indecent exposure is clearly deliberate and can contact the authorities. (Idk why that wasn’t suggested in the original letter.)

      2. 2e asteroid*

        The couple has floor-to-ceiling bedroom windows. LW2 is definitely not the only one who can see them.

        1. 2e asteroid*

          (which is not to say that the anonymous letter is a good idea, but this is not the reason why it isn’t)

        2. Dust Bunny*

          I’m afraid that for some tenants this may be a feature, not a bug.

          LW, how about window film? The kind that installs non-permanently with slightly-soapy water.

      3. JustaTech*

        How? They’ve got to be visible by at least the offices directly adjacent the LW, and the floor above too.
        If I go stand at my office window I can see into 50 different offices in the building across the street. About half of them have the blinds drawn, but the other half don’t. If I sent some kind of anonymous complaint to that building they would know what building and what company the complaint was coming from, but there’s no way they could pin it down any farther.

    2. Anonono*

      Yes, because anonymous letter have such a great record of being effective! What a wonderful idea. /sarcasm tag

    3. Elsa*

      Why would the letter need to be anonymous? Maybe it’s just my own small-town attitude, but my first thought about letter #2 was to figure out the apartment number, knock on their door, introduce yourself, and politely tell them that they might want to know that you have a direct view of their bedroom window. That might be too much for a jaded city dweller, but certainly you could have the guts to write a letter and sign it.

      1. Ellis Bell*

        Yeah, not only would I be okay with signing this, and treating it as a courtesy, an FYI in case your visible to others, I’d be quick to reassure the couple that I was doing my part to make them less visible on my end with window treatments. So the minute I got some window film, they’d know where the letter came from anyway.

      2. Rachel*

        How would you gain access to the building?

        Generally, there is a two part security system. You have a code or swipe at the entrance and then a separate one for your unit.

        Most condos and apartments located adjacent to business districts do not allow people to simply wander around the building.

  37. You Aren't as Stuck as They Want You to Think*

    LW1 – Because they hired you, having interviewed you, but are now not happy with the fit, you have more leverage than it appears. You signed a two year contract, and, if you stick it out they will have paid you that full two years. If you choose to have a conversation about options, you should ask for severance through the end of your lease plus a waiver of the relocation/etc. I had one of those “it has become clear that what you want in this role is no longer me” conversations and left with 6 months of severance and a very narrowly worded non-compete that caused me zero problems. On the other hand, you might have that conversation and rather than sucking up the costs, they may choose to stop complaining…

  38. HonorBox*

    OP2 – While it doesn’t help perfectly, because you might still have to witness something you don’t want to see for a second… can you just close your blinds for a bit when the couple is in their more passionate moments? I know there are other solutions, but this prevents you from having to buy stuff, explain why you have a rainforest set up along your window, or otherwise decorate your office just to block the neighbors. You witness them getting frisky, quickly close your blinds and then open them up a bit later. There’s no perfect solution, but this is a solution between redecorating and keeping your blinds closed permanently.

  39. EA*

    OP1, I disagree with the advice. You’ve only been in this role a few months. I think you should view this as an opportunity to learn about management. Being a good manager does require a certain level of assertiveness and good communication skills that can be learned in a workplace setting. You do not need to suddenly become gregarious and loud; I say this as a person who always identified as very shy who learned certain soft skills for management.

    Management might not be for you in the end, but I think it’s better to try and see it as a 2-year learning experience (plus have the financial benefits) rather than risk getting fired. Ask your boss to give you specific feedback and guidance on where you can improve instead of basically asking them to fire you.

    1. Don't quit just yet, OP1!*

      I fully agree with this advice. Look into other options before quitting. Give this job your 100% best shot. Let your employer know that you’re willing to work with them to find a solution. If you genuinely try and it doesn’t work out, you are more likely to leave the company with a good impression and they may be lenient when it comes to the money stuff. They were the ones who hired you, after all. They decided you’d be good for the job so there must be something about you that won them over.

      And you never know, you might find that you like the new role and will learn you can do more than expected!

      If it’s possible/relevant, you can try seeing a professional for a few sessions, see if they can help through this time.

      I also don’t know if this applies to you, but the most assertive people I’ve known mastered the art of being disappointed, not angry. They never had to yell or be vocal, just give you a look and oh boy if you didn’t want to melt into the floor, but you never made the same mistake again.

  40. danmei kid*

    LW#4 I have a friend who has a popular podcast for romance books, and had a similar problem – some superfans created a Facebook group and now they all talk to each other instead. It hasn’t eliminated the 1:1 requests but it has cut way back on them. In her autoreply message, my friend links to other resources for people to check out. Yours could link to Psychology Today website or similar, for people to find resources that can help them 1:1.

    1. mskyle*

      Yeah, or a lot of podcasts I follow have a patreon-only discord or something like that – the hosts dip in (and do some moderation, which is its own kind of work) but it gives people a chance to feel like they’re participating in the community (and being heard by the hosts) without requiring individual responses.

    2. canary*

      This was going to be my suggestion – create a space for fans to interact with each other. Sounds like what folks are looking for is connection with others who might be like-minded/dealing with similar challenges, so an online community could be a great way to get them talking to each other and not just to you.

    3. OP#4*

      OP#4 here: We have this! It’s a great resource for a much smaller group. But we get a TON of requests from everyone in the smaller group to talk individually (that’s actually why I wrote in when someone in our “fan group” asked for 1:1 mentorship).

  41. ZSD*

    1. The guy who “made sure everyone in the room knew he was there” sounds obnoxious, by the way. LW, I hope you’re able to negotiate a release from paying back the moving costs. If not, though, at least you can internally call it a victory that you’re not that guy.

  42. Pretty as a Princess*

    For #2, why not just call or email the leasing or management office (it has to be an easily accessible number) and tell them that there are residents who may not be aware that their sexytime is on view to the office building on the left/right/whatever. Say you’re passing this along as you are sure that the folks involved probably don’t intend to be on display, so of course you want to do them a kindness. You don’t have to identify yourself, and just approach it from the perspective of they probably would be embarrassed if they knew. I wouldn’t bother with the detective work of identifying the apartment or sending a letter to the residents. about as far as I would go is if you are confident the floor number, you could include that. Tell the people who run the building, who probably will agree that the residents will want to be aware of the situation and will have a way to reach out to all of them.

    And then close your blinds if you ever notice they are in flagrante delicto.

  43. Ex-prof*

    To the unwilling witness: Is there any way you can tape paper to the window to block out the sight lines from your desk and from your doorway?

    And I would be tempted to write “CLOSE YOUR CURTAINS PLEASE” on the backside of the paper.

  44. Pretty as a Princess*

    For #1, I’d encourage digging in to this further. Is it that they really want someone who is “loud” in the room, or are they using that comparison to get at something else which is “Your work is not being represented because you are not speaking in meetings” or “We rely on feedback from your team and we’re not getting that.” I have a long career of realizing that often when people ask for a specific X, what they are really asking for is an *outcome* that they have previously seen in X format.

    Introverts do have it harder, absolutely. But also when I read that you “keep to myself as much as possible” I am hearing that you might not be proactively surfacing issues/challenges/feedback/opinions in the forum that this company uses to have those conversations.

    With so much at stake, I think you owe it to yourself to really sit down with your manager 1:1 and try to talk about specific examples of what they felt was not accomplished. It may well be that there is a disconnect that could be resolved by far less drastic action.

    1. SnowyRose*

      You make a really good point about asking for X but really seeking the outcome seen in that format. It can be really hard to disentangle the two, especially if the format and outcome have been enmeshed for awhile.

      I think you’re right in suggesting the LW gives it real consideration and has the conversations with their manager. Ultimately, the job or culture might not be a good fit, but LW might find a smoother path if they have to stick it out for the term.

  45. Somewhere in Texas*

    LW #3- They make clear contact paper for windows that looks like stained glass or other patterns that still let in light. Could this obscure the view, but not make you feel blocked in?

  46. She of Many Hats*

    LW 2
    My first thought was a row of tallish plants across the window sill so those sitting in the office don’t get that eyeful. If you’re not a green-thumb, there are some really nice looking fake plants available at home-goods type stores.

    If office decor policies and building policies allow, another option might be some spring-loaded curtain rods and sheer curtains from Ikea. They’ll block the view, reduce glare on your monitors, and still let light in.

  47. AMT*

    I treat hoarding and had to laugh when I saw the last letter. Work-related papers are one of the biggest sources of hoarding I see. Scanning and storing the absolute most important ones is a good idea *if you know you’ll do it quickly.* But if it keeps getting put off or there are huge piles that will take weeks to sort through, do yourself a favor and trash it. It’s inconvenient to go hunting for a reference’s name, but it’s a lot more inconvenient to live with clutter.

    In anxiety disorder treatment, we have a phrase called “ritual cost”—that is, the price of doing things that lower your perceived risk. For example, being late for work is a ritual cost of compulsively checking and re-checking that the stove is off. The ritual cost of keeping physical copies of old work papers around for years out of anxiety that they might contain something important is that you not only can’t use that space, but you have a boring task hanging over your head for that span of time. In many cases, it’s worth it to risk losing that one phone number or important password to finally be rid of the crap.

    1. Jay (no, the other one)*

      Thank you. You have just helped me have a great deal more compassion for my husband. To his credit, he has made massive strides over the past few years. I still find myself sometimes irritated and resentful about the remaining piles. I’m not his therapist and I won’t try to be so this is solely for my own benefit. So important.

      1. AMT*

        I do want to add that I think it’s important for partners of people with hoarding and clutter issues to be able to set their own boundaries! And that’s different from trying to be his therapist—in other words, you’re not saying “Do this so you can get better,” you’re saying, “I need this so I feel better.” Your needs in the relationship (e.g. uncluttered spaces, empathy for your feelings about the clutter) aren’t inherently less important than the other person’s (e.g. understanding and patience for what is usually a long treatment process). A good compromise holds both partners accountable for making the situation livable during the treatment process—so while he might need to be able to expect a certain level of accommodation and support from you, you can absolutely also ask for your own accommodations. Some partners need to have designated uncluttered spaces, or a timeline on when a certain space is going to be usable, for example. Others just need acknowledgement that, yes, it is difficult to live with clutter. But whatever it is, it’s okay for there to be as much space for your feelings about the clutter as there is for his.

    2. Observer*

      Scanning and storing the absolute most important ones is a good idea *if you know you’ll do it quickly.* But if it keeps getting put off or there are huge piles that will take weeks to sort through, do yourself a favor and trash it. It’s inconvenient to go hunting for a reference’s name, but it’s a lot more inconvenient to live with clutter.

      Or just scan ALL of it. Then you don’t have to agonize over whether THIS ONE paper is going to be *the one* I need after I shredded it. Sure, it takes longer than scanning only the important ones, but it can be a lot easier for people who have a tendency to hoard “just in case”.

    3. Rainy*

      You can hire services to scan your papers; you can even specify that you want them to *go through* your papers and only scan X or Y type, although this is way more expensive than just scanning several boxes of documents because it requires time and independent judgment, not just the time to feed a handful of papers at a time into the bulk scanner.

      If you have the budget for it, some problems really benefit from having money thrown at them.

    4. OP#5*

      Very useful – already scanned 600 documents with my new scanner, so I’ll probably just scan everything and deal with deleting in the electronic sorting phase.

  48. anywhere but here*

    LW2, it may be worth checking what your legal options are. Indecent exposure can still apply if someone is in a home but still visible outside it. I find it hard to believe that they are just forgetting that they are visible and think it’s more likely that there’s some degree of intentionality. Or even if it is unintentional, a warning from the authorities can let the couple know that they are visible so they change their bwhavior.

    “I can’t have my blinds open because people are being publicly nude” isn’t acceptable and we have laws for a reason.

    1. Rachel*

      I think this would be a reasonable course of action if this was persistent.

      It sounds like it is occasional in an area with residential and commercial real estate together.

      If the LW wants to pay a lawyer to talk about this, sure, go ahead. But let’s take this down a notch in the comments.

      1. Rainy*

        Yeah, my main curiosity is if this is actually persistent. “This has happened twice now”–okay, in what span of time? Twice in 2-3 days? That may be an issue. Twice in multiple years? My $sibling in $deity, please reflect on yourself.

    2. JustaTech*

      On the subject of people forgetting they’re visible: how many times have you seen someone alone in their car in traffic singing along to the radio at the top of their lungs? Or picking their nose? Or doing any of those other things people do alone in their cars that they would never do in a “public” setting?

      Like, yes, you’re alone in your car, but your car has windows and you’re 3 feet from me and I can absolutely see you.
      So I can totally believe that these people have just forgotten that people can see in their windows.

    3. anywhere but here*

      No lawyer or payment is necessary. LW2 can contact the authorities and lodge a complaint about public indecency, and the authorities can give them a warning after which point they will hopefully change their behavior.

      LW2 is clearly bothered enough about this to send it to an advice blog and is considering keeping their blinds always closed to avoid it happening again. Context suggests that it is frequent enough to be a genuine problem and make LW2 concerned about recurrence.

      It is actually quite easy if one lives in a populated area to be sure one’s blinds are closed if one is naked or engaged in bedroom activities, and it is bizarre how the expectation is that LW2 find a way to work around it rather than the resident(s) keep their private activites (and their privates) . . . well, private.

  49. Berin*

    LW2: Opaque window film. There are a ton of options on Amazon that adhere to glass just using water, so you won’t have any sticky residue when it’s removed, plus you don’t have to ever close the blinds if you don’t want to.

  50. LilPinkSock*

    LW #3, the only time I ever accepted unsolicited advice from my accountant was when my accountant was my dad…and even then I had to politely ask him to knock it off a few times. With all due respect, your business is taxes, so I’d stick to minding that instead of Jane’s resume.

  51. FrogEngineer*

    LW2: put one of those coin-operated binocular things in your office pointed right at the apartment until they get it.


  52. Jigglypuff*

    For LW2, if you can find out the name of the apartment complex, you could call them and let them know, in general, that things are visible from the front windows when the blinds are open. They could send out a resident-wide email reminder or something similar, and that way you’re not calling out the particular residents in question but they would still receive the information.

  53. Window Pain*

    OP2, my office had the exact same issue! It was a major concern for us because we are a public space and regularly have children in the office – but for anyone, you should not be subjected to that at work. Check out your local bylaws. Our city’s makes very clear that it is an offense to be nude or engage in sexual activity anywhere that cannot be “reasonably believed to be private,” and that even if you’re on private property you don’t have reasonable expectation of privacy by uncovered windows facing the street or other properties. Turns out people get ticketed for it all the time. We first tried contacting the building to try to ask the guilty parties directly, but the building froze us out. You couldn’t even get in the front door without cooperation, but if it’s an apartment you can try leaving a note in the lobby. You could also try reporting it to their property management company. Ultimately we reported it to bylaw (told them which window and the time of the last incident) and never had any issues again.

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

    #2 As others have suggested get some window privacy film. It’s relatively inexpensive on amazon. You can even get some that makes prisms, so if anyone asks you can say you like the way the light comes through and sparkles. Or that you found looking out the window distracting (which it is).
    Another thought would be, is there a way to contact the building manager for that apartment and say, have them give a discreate note? Or heck, I would put a giant sign in your window over the weekend saying that you can see them and to please put curtains up.

  55. New Mom (of 1 6/9)*

    Ugh, the person in #3 sounds like my (maybe-soon-to-be-ex?) brother-in-law. Insanely self-aggrandizing, can’t hold down a desk job for the life of him, had problems with the truth–which it sounds to me like Jane might, too. Turned out he was into the illegal white stuff.

    Anyways, LW3 should consider that the “job-hopping” might not be voluntary, and if you’re not close to the person you’ll never be able to change them. Or really, even if you are close to them!

  56. Sunflower*

    #2 Yeah I’d go with other people’s suggestion of a large plant, film or sheer curtain, or even pretty decals, etc.

    But my first thought was placing one of those life size cardboard cutouts of a celebrity (or make your own) in front of the window. Facing them and waving or giving a thumbs up of course.

  57. Facilities Squirrel*

    “as a completist” same!
    also it’s not “bureaucratic detritus” at my house, it’s ephemera, ok?

  58. Ess Ess*

    I live and work in a big city with windows right next to each other. It’s a pretty common solution to contact the property management office of the building containing the exhibitionists and let the management know which window is giving the peepshow. (Example — “4th down from the top, second from the right”). They are supposed to contact the residents and let them know that they are exposing themselves. If it doesn’t stop, then contact the non-emergency police line. In most places, it counts as indecent exposure when you can be seen easily and most places have rules against it. I found this info from https://www.hg.org/legal-articles/indecent-exposure-can-i-be-charged-if-i-am-naked-in-my-own-home-52610#:~:text=Police%20Contact,was%20seen%20by%20others%20naked.

  59. Reality.Bites*

    Back in the daily print newspaper days, Abby and Ann provided responses to each letter, but they both had paid staff to handle it and, probably most important, in order to get a response you had to write out a letter on paper and mail it. I’d prefer solving just about any problem myself to having to write out something on paper!

  60. Yes, You CAN Get Your Naked Neighbor Charged with Public Indecency (in Chicago)*

    A scenario similar to LW2’s made the WGN news (Chicago) several times–slight differences being that it was residence-to-residence viewing, not office-to-residence, and it was a solo act where the male “performer” taunted his neighbors in response to their “please stop” with “come over” signage. The neighbors went to the other building’s management company to register their complaint. Guy stopped briefly, then resumed with more frequency. Neighbors went to the police; police took reports, but said “nothing we can do” because of the vagueness of local indecency laws. Neighbors went to the news… who went to the offender’s building… he actually spoke to them and said he didn’t know it was a problem, on camera. A few months later, the police actually charged him with several misdemeanors, one of which he pled guilty to. He received two years’ probation, I believe. Search “naked neighbor update” on WGN for the details.

  61. el l*

    Yes, and add that just because you’re not a good fit for management at NewJob doesn’t mean you’re a bad fit for management at OldJob. It sounds like NewJob has a very particular idea of what a management personality looks like, which may not be the norm.

    Here’s how I’d frame the conversation:
    “It’s become clear to me based on numerous pieces of feedback that a very particular personality is required for this role – and that I don’t have it. A shame, but that’s how it is. So, think we have 2 options. We could each wait until the 2 year term is up. Or, we can have a discussion of what a negotiated exit looks like, which I’d prefer. This way we can each get what we need sooner. [Tone setting language about moving forward in spirit of working together, etc]”

  62. RagingADHD*

    Why would it be your responsibility if someone walks into your office and sees someone having sex in anther building? You aren’t in charge of them or their window treatments.

    If someone walks in and says, “OMG, what’s going on over there?” The way you respond is to also express surprise and close the blinds.

    If you want to make sure you don’t have to catch a glimpse, and you have Venetian blinds, you can keep them angled upwards to obscure your view without cutting off all the light.

  63. RVA Cat*

    #2 – A big whiteboard could block the view and be used for work stuff *and* for passive-aggressive signs directed at the couple.

  64. RagingADHD*

    LW5, my husband’s latest job at a university asked him for proof of employment from a job he had in 1995, at an organization which has not existed for about 20 years. He doesn’t even list it on his resume anymore, but the background check required that he list every job he ever had. He managed to find a digital copy of a newsletter he’d produced for them. His hiring manager didn’t care, but it was apparently part of the bureaucratic process to require documentation for every single item on the background check. And since even the IRS doesn’t keep tax records that far back, he was lucky to find anything.

    That’s an outlier, of course (and obviously ridiculous). But some systems are like that.

    1. ArchivesPony*

      For future reference, if he’s desperate, check to see if that organization’s papers went to an archives somewhere. That archives may have kept employee lists.

      And for a University to question that is ridiculous (as someone who works in higher ed!)

  65. LingNerd*

    Being caught in the act by an office happened to my parents once. Apparently they got a round of applause, and my dad grinned and waved and closed the curtains

  66. Megan*

    For the sex scene issue, this could potentially be illegal (depending on specifics of it.) You could try reporting this to the non-emergency police line since it’s a repeat issue or you could try reporting to the apartment management across the street and see if they could speak to the offenders about this. Otherwise, I agree that maybe a shaded window sun block sticker or maybe a planter or shelf that lets some light through, but could block major view might work.

  67. FYI*

    ” … with little self-reflection available to address it.”

    Little self-reflection?! You don’t say! You have no idea whatsoever what her work life is like (or her personal life, for that matter). None. Not everyone is the same. Not everyone thinks it’s the be-all, end-all to stay in a job for years. Not everyone conforms.

  68. jojo*

    LW2, two words: Laser Pointer.

    Or grab a very bright flashlight and learn how to say FOR THE LOVE OF GOD CLOSE YOUR BLINDS in Morse code. Hey, it almost worked for Jodie Foster in Panic Room!

    I’m a hothead, so I would figure out which apartment it is and find a way to go bang on their door next time they start up. Just me?

    1. Menace to Sobriety*

      “I’m a hothead, so I would figure out which apartment it is and find a way to go bang on their door next time they start up. Just me?”

      Kinda? I mean, the idea of people having sex in their own space, likely oblivious to the fact that others can see, actually makes you ANGRY enough you’d go “bang on their door”?? I think apartment dwelling in cities, often gives people a weird illusion of invisibility/anonymity. The people might be exhibitionists, but more likely they just aren’t thinking about it. It might annoy me enough to put a film on the window or put up a sign to let them know, but angry? That’s a bit of an overreaction. Also, if some angry person, especially if a male, came “banging” on my door and shouting for me to stop having sex or something, I’D probably call the cops. That’d be some scary stuff.

      1. jojo*

        Okay, I get that. I’ll say, though, 1) That line was about 90% a joke.
        2) There’s no way the other 10% of me would even contemplate knocking on someone’s door without trying less invasive ways of reaching them first–like laser pointers!
        3) Though I did say I can be a hothead, I never said I’d be “angry” at the people. I might feel desperate for it to stop. Sexual exhibitionism sometimes triggers my trauma responses. And, since I’m a woman and probably less likely to be perceived as a threat, I’d rather try to reach the people myself than send in law enforcement (like others here have suggested) or building management.

  69. WhyIsEverythingBananas*

    To the podcast hosts who are turning down one-on-one reachouts: While you can’t connect with people one on one, I’m seeing an increasing number of “people on the internet” offering things like coaching sessions and learning opportunities tailored to different interests. They variously offer these free, on a sliding scale, or paid – often providing a free group learning opportunity with a paid “get additional one on one support” type add-on. I wonder if something like that might be the way to go, to both meet the needs of the community, support their desire to connect, but be efficient enough to be workable for the podcast host. It could also turn into a new revenue stream, for wins all around!

  70. just a gyal*

    LW 2: Can you buy some window adhesives for your office window? They let in the light, but block people from looking in (or you seeing anything unwanted outside) and feel less claustrophobic (at least for me) than actual window shades.

  71. Hiring Mgr*

    I can see #3 being the setup for a TV show “The Accountant” where every week OP#4 gets involved in the situations of different clients, and helps them navigate life’s challenges.

    One week he’s helping Jane find a better job. Next week he helps Tom get away from that shady charity he’s claiming deductions for and so on.

    Other than that – I don’t think your opinion would be welcome

  72. Jane Bingley*

    I’m surprised at the number of people who are suggesting OP #1 should just – become a different person? I think there’s a bit of wiggle room to learn to become more assertive, but it sounds like the company really wanted a naturally gregarious and extroverted person, and inexplicably hired a naturally quiet, introverted person. That’s a hiring error on the company’s part, not a personality flaw on OP’s part.

    There are lots of companies that appreciate and value quiet leadership and introverted work patterns. In addition to Alison’s advice on trying to get out of the contract without penalties, it’s worth checking out companies and fields where a more introverted nature is welcomed and appreciated, whether you want to manage or not. Ideally your next role is one where you can be yourself.

  73. Juicebox Hero*

    For LW#2, maybe put a big sign in your window that says “quit staring at me while I’m working!”

    Or, for an actual solution, go with the translucent window film as long as you’re allowed to use it.

  74. ThePear8*

    LW4 – I don’t know how applicable this is to your area of focus, but just throwing the suggestion out there, could you make an FAQ page somewhere? I used to run a couple of relatively popular and fast growing online communities, and when we started getting flooded with emails and DMs I noticed a lot of people had the same questions and compiled them into an FAQ so instead of answering everyone individually I could simply link them to the FAQ page.

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

      Yes this is a great idea. I’m not sure if the LW said that they have a list of resources but they could try that too, and just have a genearic email with those resources.

      Also, if you are in the US, most places have 211 which is a hotline that can help people get connected to resources in their area. It’s usually for the closest large city but it could be someplace people can try.

      988 suicide prevention & Crisis line can also help. They can also talk to people who are worried about someone else. They have Spanish and ASL

  75. OMG It's 2024*

    So, LW2 has a few options. 1) they sell peel and stick window cling that looks like it’s frosted, or pebbled, etc… at home improvement stores. We had a big window in our shower at our old home and we used it in there. Lets in light but blurs any view. 2) if your blinds are the old fashioned ones that can be adjusted with a rod, you can easily adjust the angle to allow in a large amount of light w/o showing anything outside (or is it the fact of the blinds being down at all that makes you feel claustrophobic?) and 3) I LIKE the idea of getting a piece of posterboard and writing with giant sharpie either, “Hey! I can SEE YOU!!” or “CLOSE YOUR BLINDS!” on it and posting it in your window for a couple of days. But if they’re the type (and they are out there) who get a thrill from the idea that someone *might* see them, well, that’s not going to help! 4) I (before the WFH times) had in my office a half dozen or so “suncatchers” on suction cups on my office window sort of randomly placed. Perhaps you could *strategically* place a few? Plus they’re pretty! Please update us when you can what you choose to do!

    1. Unfortunate Office Viewing*

      Ooooh, the suncatcher idea had not occurred to me and I do love them. I might go this route, thank you!!

      1. OMG It's 2024*

        If I do nothing else productive today, this is all I needed to feel like I accomplished something! Enjoy them, if you do!

  76. gfeeeee*

    #1: And by doing that, I think you may also give them a shakeup because if they DO want to keep you, they’re now realizing you’re taking all their comments seriously and not as “just hazing”. So they may think they’re just “joking around” but you’re hearing it as “about to be fired/bad fit” and this might realign communication issues, if this is just a communication issue.

    Because seriously, the last guy was a yeller and they *liked that*????? Wow.

  77. Tegan Keenan*

    LW#2: two good options

    1) Partial window film, as many have suggested. In my last office I sat facing a desktop-to-ceiling window that was on the main stairwell. I installed a heavily-patterned window film (to reduce the distraction of movement) to slightly above my eye level. Plenty of light and it was really beautiful.

    2) Replace standard blinds with bottom-up blinds (assuming your windows are large enough to still leave some window uncovered while still blocking the offenders).

  78. Jonathan MacKay*

    Put up a sign saying – “Filming in Progress”?

    More seriously, glazing the window to opacity might be the more effective option, but that would also limit the amount of light that would come in through the window, so it may cause the same issue of claustrophobia.

  79. Oh yeah, Me again*

    “Wildly successful?” In sales, maybe I could see it, but in a management role? How would you even measure this? Maybe. . . you were lucky to have good people under you.

    Given your current role: have you tried just reassuring the bosses? “Yeah, that’s not my style! But not everyone manages the same way. We’ve got good material to work with here. it’s early days yet. Just give me a chance to do this job, and you’ll see!”

  80. Jake*


    0 people are going to judge you for what people in another building are doing. If it doesn’t bother you, just leave the blinds open.

    1. OMG It's 2024*

      I don’t know that the OP sounds worried about people judging her, so much as since the window is behind her, they have a direct view, which could definitely be distracting if someone were to walk in for a chat. “Hey Jane I was wonder WTF IS HAPPENING OVER THERE?!” And once word got out, there’d be the creepers and juvenile jerks who’d make excuses to stop by hoping for a glimpse. The LW should shut down the potential for accidental viewing IMHO.

  81. Kit Franklin*

    The romantic couple visible in the office window reminds me of one of my sister’s job. She was an HR executive at a major museum and, for a few years, had a rather graphic image of a penetrative romantic act between the artist, Jeff Koons, and his then wife as the art outside her door. It certainly made for an odd conversation starter.

    1. RVA Cat*

      I had to look it up. Must be from the Made in Heaven series? Lordy I hope it wasn’t the “close up” one!

      1. Kit Franklin*

        It actually was a very rare one that is generally never seen because it is too explicit for most public galleries. The “close up” one gives you the general idea.

        1. RVA Cat*

          Double standards as it wouldn’t be considered art if it was her work (if it’s his then-wife who was an adult film performer).

  82. e271828*

    I imagine this will sound like hoarding to some, but I have kept a copy of every income tax return since I began work. I just drop a copy in the file box once a year. Certainly they could be scanned but the proliferation of files, etc., makes that a far easier way for me to lose track of them than a plastic box in the back of the closet behind the long coats. Costs me nothing. Also, the box is the right size for the cat to lie on.

    My reasoning was that the deductible status of retirement account contributions has varied over the years, and I doubt that the accounts, which have moved between institutions more than once, are going to correctly track the history… but those documents also enabled me to fill out a security clearance form very easily, when I needed to.

    1. Rainy*

      My dad keeps (neatly filed) everything that could be considered “official communication” and it makes my mum so irritated, but about five years ago, he had a serious medical issue related to his Army service (like, life-flight serious), and while chatting with someone at the VFW who volunteers his time helping disabled vets get their disability payments a few months later, he mentioned that he’d been classed as a disabled vet when he was discharged, and got disability payments for a few years and then one day in the ’70s he got a letter saying that his disability payments were being stopped, no explanation. The guy was like, the ‘7os you say–I don’t suppose you still have that letter?

      Dad said that not only did he have the letter stopping his payments, he also had the letter that notified him he would be receiving payments, and the letter he was given when he was discharged stating his percentage disability and the causes. The guy said “Hey, if you want some help filing a bunch of forms, we can probably get those payments reinstated. Bring all your paperwork.”

      Dad is now 100% disabled as a result of his military service. The lump sum for the forty-odd years when his payments were stopped paid off the property my parents bought when they retired to their current state. The monthly payments are a nice supplement to their other retirement income, and the medical benefits have eliminated one of their biggest worries in retirement.

      My mother has grudgingly admitted that keeping the paperwork paid off. ;)

  83. WhyAreThereSoManyBadManagers*

    Re: situation of LW 1, I’d be interested in how to avoid getting into this predicament before it happens. How do any of us know a huge new job is going to work out, but it seems especially important when it involves a huge move cross country etc. Is a trial work period even a thing, say 3 months living in temp housing etc, before both sides commit? Maybe it should be!

  84. Slap Bet Commissioner*

    This is a super old reference but has anyone else here seen the early 2000 movie “keeping the faith” with Ben Stiller, Ed Norton and Jenna Elfman? There is a minor story line in that movie that question 2 immediately made me think of…
    The solution in the romantic comedy movie was to use the x-rated neighbors to help you get the girl back at the end.

  85. Curtis M Sawyer*

    For the person asking about keeping old job offer and work related papers (#5), agree that it can be scanned in, but while rare, there may be circumstances where you need to know offer date, manager’s name and contact information, official title, or other details years later. For example, if you ever have to apply for a US DoD Security Clearance (completing a Standard Form 86 (SF-86)), you’ll be glad you kept as much documentation as possible.

  86. Kevin Sours*

    For LW2 I would treat this like any other problem affecting your work. Loop in management and ask facilities for potential solutions. As people have suggested there are window treatments that will let in light while obscuring the view but office facilities may have broader options and a greater ability to make physical changes.

  87. Hilary*

    For #5: I recently ran into an issue where I failed a background check for a new job. They said they found that my job title on my resume from an old job 6 years ago didn’t match what the company told them. I went through my old file of job docs (performance reviews, offer letters, business cards) and was able to show a business card and offer letter that showed my job title was what I had said it was. I keep a few things, and always will, just for these scenarios!

  88. Immortal for a limited time*

    I’d say LW#2 isn’t responsible for solving that window problem at all! Isn’t that just the nature of working in an office building so close to an apartment building? Maybe it’s a good thing if the boss catches a glimpse — they might agree to put privacy film on the window or something that doesn’t block the light.

  89. Eddie*

    LW4: Since this is a podcast and you seem to get these requests frequently, would doing a “call in” episode make sense? That way you could provide some of the one-on-one advice your fans are looking for while still helping a wider audience.

    Note: Any similarities to Frasier Crane are purely accidental!

  90. Lauren*

    I’d probably write a note, and tape it to the elevators of the apartment building and see if that gets them to close the curtains. You don’t have to find the apartment and likely won’t be able to get into a higher floor anyway.

  91. Unfortunate Office Viewing*

    Hi everyone! I’m LW2. I have been greatly enjoying everyone’s suggestions. I wanted to clear a few things up: first, I’m on the 13th floor. These folks are the same, possibly one higher, so it definitely isn’t visible from the street! Second, I’m in a law office (I actually am a lawyer, no need to call one!), so there’s no risk of kids seeing this (across different departments, we take up the top few floors, so no lower line of sight). I’m definitely not calling the cops on some people having sex in their own bedroom – this post was meant to be resigned/humorous, not pearl-clutching!

    This also isn’t happening super frequently, by any stretch, so it’s not like I’m trying to manage this situation all the time. There unfortunately isn’t a way I can rearrange my office so visitors aren’t looking out the window – the window and the door are across from each other, with me facing the wall between them.

    I think the suggestions to just go “oh dear!” and close the blinds if someone is in my office and it starts happening makes the most sense. I really appreciate the privacy film suggestion, and if this continues to be an option I’ll absolutely look at it more closely. My major barrier to that is that it would prevent me from seeing all the pets in the apartments, who show up more frequently than the couple and do help keep me going. Same with the plants idea – I also don’t think my windowsill is large enough!

    (I am writing down the googly eyes idea though!)

    1. Rainy*

      I think in your place I’d be tempted to figure out (maybe with the help of a friend or colleague) your sightline from your desk to the amorous couple’s bedroom window, and maybe the same for someone standing in your doorway, and then put decor or plants or something that obstruct those rectangles of window–but just those rectangles. (The doorway one is going to be tall and skinny to account for different average sightlines–I’d probably do 5’2″-6’2″ which will work for most of the population unless everyone else in your firm is either freakishly tall or freakishly short.)

      That way your view of dogs and cats is mostly still there but your view of t&&& and a$$ is not. :D

      1. Unfortunate Office Viewing*

        Another commenter suggested suncatchers, which I feel like fits into this option very neatly!

        1. Rainy*

          You could also probably do seasonal window clings–like, bats for Halloween and eggs and bunnies in spring etc.

  92. Donkey Hotey*

    Good news: After all these years, I finally have direct experience with a letter writer’s question!

    Bad news: it’s LW2.

    Short version: we printed out – one letter per A4 sheet – and hung in the window “WE CAN SEE YOU” Bonus: until they noticed, it provided a low level screen against accidentally getting an eye full.

  93. Adds*

    For LW2: I would suggest a frosted vinyl cling window film or privacy vinyl cling window film. The vinyl cling kind is non-permanent with no adhesives involved, and installation isn’t too complicated (a little bit of water in a spray bottle and a squeegee will make it super easy) It will let light through but obscure the view. I don’t know if you’re willing to spend personal money on your office, or if the company would be willing to expense it out for you but Amazon has several options at reasonable price points.

  94. Mmm.*

    LW2: Put a giant sign on your window saying “I can see you boning!”

    I’d probably close the blinds with the slats open so you get some light coming in. Or if you can get curtains, some sheet ones so they’re essentially blurred out.

Comments are closed.