my father keeps responding to my employee’s Facebook posts

A reader writes:

My father keeps responding to my employee’s political posts on Facebook. My father is very conservative and my employee is very liberal, so you can guess that their opinions go together like oil and water. I feel that it is inappropriate for my father to be interacting with someone I supervise, and I asked him to stop. He feels that Facebook is a public forum, and that the fact that I supervise someone should not deny his right to respond to a public post.

(Before I became this person’s manager, I was friends with him on Facebook. When I became his manager, I did not unfriend him, just stopped interacting on his posts, and let him know I’d be doing that. At some point, though, he and my father friended each other, but it was almost certainly because they were both connected to me. I realize now I should have completely cut the Facebook connection/unfriended this employee at the beginning. Lesson learned!)

While the posts in question are political, I would feel uncomfortable with my father interacting with any of my employees over Facebook, no matter how innocuous the topic. It feels like it crosses boundaries. Should I mention to my employee that he is welcome to block my father if he wishes? Or should I stay out of it because Facebook is a public forum, and this is outside and unrelated to work?

For some context: The employee knows this is my father. My father is retired and has no relationship at all to my workplace. My employee has never mentioned my father’s Facebook responses at work.

I answer this question — and three others — over at Inc. today, where I’m revisiting letters that have been buried in the archives here from years ago (and sometimes updating/expanding my answers to them). You can read it here.

Other questions I’m answering there today include:

  • My new hire backed out before starting
  • Can I ask my employee to connect me to her husband, who I want to network with?
  • How to recommend someone when my last recommendation went wrong

{ 209 comments… read them below }

  1. Richard Hershberger*

    New hire withdrawing: This is a pure example of an employer complaining when an almost-hire treats the employer exactly like many employers treat almost-hires all the time. Sure, it may be that the LW would never withdraw a job offer a week for it was to start, but it certainly does happen. This is the world we live in.

    1. B*

      Yup – don’t want people to renege on a job? Give them a contract! Yet somehow, employers aren’t so willing to give up that at-will status when it takes a commitment from them.

      1. Sleeve McQueen*

        Contracts are standard in Australian salaried employment and we’ve had exactly the same scenario happen where I work regardless. I find it amazing that they are not as common elsewhere, but I am not sure this is a situation where the contract actually has that much weight, or at the very least none of the options are worth pursuing.

        1. allathian*

          I’m in Finland, and most jobs have contracts. I’ve only worked one job without a written contract, and that was at a call center with no benefits except the legal minimum. But the no contract meant that I was essentially rehired for every shift I showed up for, and it’s the only job I’ve literally walked away from, and I did it when I got a professional job. At the end of my last shift I just told the shift supervisor that I wouldn’t be back, and that was that. I got my last payslip and a certificate of employment confirming my dates of employment in the mail. Certificates of employment are pretty good, too, because that way you can prove your former employment without showing a payslip to the potential employer, and when the company’s gone bust or been acquired, there’s much less hassle in tracking the employer down. References from former managers are a thing, but HR doesn’t have to answer calls to confirm employment.

          That said, new employees are on probation for a period of up to six months before all the contract terms kick in. Until then, the employer can fire the employee basically at will and the employee can also walk away at will. Quitting with no notice while you’re still on probation happens when people get a better offer.

          1. amoeba*

            Yup, same here. During the probationary period, there is no notice period from either side, so people definitely still do that. Although I’d imagine there’s more of a psychological barrier when you’ve actually signed a contract!

          2. selena81*

            Similar in the Netherlands.

            There are part-time temporary jobs at small companies where things go with a handshake (of course laws re minimum wage and stuff still apply)

            And there are independent contractors who can make their own deals (again, within the bounds of the law).

            But most people work in jobs that have contracts. There is a standard probation period of a year. With a 1-month cancellation-period within that year. After that year you are a permanent employee and it’s pretty difficult to get rid of you (a judge needs to agree on your cancellation, and unless you committed fraud you’ll probably get a decent settlement out of it)

            Anyhow. People who are actively job-hunting will apply to several jobs. So it still happens that an applicant comes back to you with ‘thank you for the offer but i decided to go with another company’

    2. HonorBox*

      I think the thing that stood out was the three month window between hiring and start date. So much can come up in that time. And while there are situations that exist that make that a reasonable timeline, I’d say that if the LW wanted to ensure this didn’t happen again, they could do everything in their power to close that gap.

      1. Uranus Wars*

        I was curious if the new hire asked for this or if the company did? It does seem like a long time!

        1. samwise*

          3 month gap between offer and start date? Happens all the time in academia, especially at entry-level faculty positions. Offers made in the spring for a fall start.

          1. An Australian In London*

            I’m currently on month four waiting for a contract from my last consulting side-gig. The one before that was ten months from first phone call to sending me paperwork to sign.

            Admittedly B2B consulting isn’t the same as employment job offers. It speaks to the same “the wheels can turn remarkably slowly” in many industries.

            This isn’t academia BTW. Both clients are large banks; one each in Australia and the USA.

          2. But what to call me?*

            Same in K-12. No one is going to hire me to work at a school with a start date before August unless I’m replacing someone who broke their contract mid-year, but if I didn’t have a job offer by the end of the spring semester I would be pretty sure the offer wasn’t happening.

            It always seem so strange to me that people get hired and then start work within a couple of weeks. I intellectually know that’s normal in jobs that don’t have such specific annual hiring cycles, but there’s always a moment of ‘wait, what?’ before I remember that people start new jobs all throughout the year. It’s the same with the idea that you can just decide you want to leave, find someone who’s ready to hire you, and be gone 2 weeks (or less) later at any time of year with no penalty. And, for that matter, that it’s risky to tell your employer that you’re leaving next year. I guess my K-12 employers could have decided to be jerks about it and make my remaining time at the school hard if they’d wanted to, but they sure weren’t going to make their own lives harder by firing me and having to replace me in the middle of the year (plus, contract!)

            1. selena81*

              But what to call me?

              That is in turn weird for me. In my industry there is a bit of a cycle, in that budgets often get approved in december and in August everyone is on vacation.
              But those aren’t particularly strict rules and people get hired throughout the year.

          3. amoeba*

            It’s also the norm for most jobs in Europe! (Not sure if the LW specified the country?)

        2. It Might Be Me*

          In the US the average wait time between interview and job offer is 54 days* for private sector employers. For the federal government it’s 81 days (down from 147). While it’s longer than the average, it does happen.

          *–2023 study by the US GAO

          1. Lena*

            That is such a long time. I’m in New Zealand and I had an offer within a week with my most recent job, two would be the maximum.

      2. Lizzianna*

        Cries in government background check backlogs.

        We have internal candidates waiting 3+ months for their background checks to clear. We have lost so many good candidates who simply couldn’t afford to wait and got an offer from the private sector that could bring them on immediately.

    3. Who Knows*

      While it occasionally happens, most employers don’t pull an offer that’s already been accepted (especially not because they found a candidate they like better). I think it’s far more common for employees to back out than the other way around.

      1. Too Stunned To Speak*

        Neither one happens frequently, but they happen enough to create problems. However, employees have a lot more to lose when an employer rescinds an offer than the company does when an employee backs out.

        1. Momma Bear*

          Agreed. While it’s frustrating to not know why, IMO better than onboarding them and they last mere days to weeks. We’ve had that happen.

          1. Wendy Darling*

            Yep, my team once had a new hire bail after three days and it was a way bigger pain than if they had bailed before they were onboarded. We were hiring because we had more work than we could handle, so spending 2 1/2 days training someone who quit after day 3 was a bummer.

            We also had a guy quit halfway through his first day because he refused to sign an NDA. It was standard in our industry and we’d mentioned it when he was interviewing, so he knew he was going to have to, but apparently he decided the best way to handle this was to accept the job and then take a stand about it.

            1. UKDancer*

              Yeah I had someone quit 2 days into a job working for me in my last company. Apparently she didn’t like it and wanted to go back to her old company who had not filled her job. It was annoying but we didn’t take it personally. That’s the way things are. We went to the reserve candidate and offered her the job and she was absolutely great.

              1. Wendy Darling*

                Yeah, it’s sort of the employment equivalent of a flat tire. It sucks and it’s inconvenient but it happens and there’s no point taking it personally.

      2. SusieGlass*

        Bumping up against employers doing mass layoffs with minimal severance days before announcing record profits…AND the fact that they do sometimes pull offers even after a person has relocated, I hardly have any empathy for someone like LW#1. Maybe we all need to reevaluate “at will” employment if both sides want to see better behavior.

        1. selena81*

          On the one hand I can sympathize with how annoying this is for LW trying to fo their job.

          On the other hand: yeah, companies have set a standard of screwing over employees so of course employees in turn don’t feel any loyalty and will do whatever suits them best

      3. Statler von Waldorf*

        I have over 20 years of HR experience. My observation is the complete opposite. I have seen more employers pull offers in the last minute than I have seen employees back out at the last minute, and it hasn’t been very close. This was mostly observed in smaller, blue-collar businesses, and it was especially rampant in retail businesses. You don’t want to even get me started on the hiring disfunction I saw in a single family-run retail business that “hired” 11 people in three weeks and only two of them ever worked a single shift.

        I’ll admit that it probably is different for larger white-collar employers with more established hiring procedures and employees who are viewed as less disposable. But in my lived experience, it’s employer’s ghosting employees, not the other way around.

      4. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

        Only one person’s experience, but I’ve been on a team (a couple jobs ago) where we withdrew job offers – a big round of layoffs was announced and withdrawing offers rather than laying off an established employee was the least bad situation. I’ve never seen the reverse.

        1. Not A Girl Boss*

          We’ve had hiring freezes that also impact anyone with an offer that hasn’t yet started. Its pretty awful…

        2. Industry Behemoth*

          I’ve heard of an instance where a new hire was let go on their first day, because management announced a hiring freeze that very morning.

      5. NotMyExperience*

        Not in my experience. Most people I know who’ve gone through more than 2-3 job searches have had an offer pulled. I’ve personally had it happen to me three times. While I know it happens, I’ve never experienced an employee backing out after finalizing an acceptance (I have had things fall apart between the initial offer and the agreement being finalized and formally accepted, especially on contracts where there is an actual agreement to sign, and sometimes that results in the employee withdrawing their acceptance. The one time I did it was when an employer snuck in an addendum stating they didn’t have to pay me if they didn’t like my work and structured things so they’d get 6 weeks of free work before my first paycheck was due).

      6. FieldMouse*

        They do. It’s becoming more common in tech for employers to rescind job offers that have been accepted due to all kinds of things (not anything the new hire did wrong ).

    4. Hot Flash Gordon*

      I’ve had this happen a couple of times. It’s definitely annoying, but it’s silly to take it personally.

    5. Not A Girl Boss*

      I withdrew an acceptance the day before I was scheduled to start a new job. My job counter offered me with a dream position and salary bump, but it took them the full 2 weeks notice period to make the written offer.

      I felt HORRIBLE about it, but the way the company I was supposed to go to handled it (tried to call twice, no one picked up, so I sent an email that they never replied to) made me feel like I’d made the right choice. And, I reminded myself its ‘just business’.

      I did really *mean* my acceptance at the time, but thinking back, the job had red flags that I was ignoring because I was so excited about the title change that my company ended up giving me anyway. E.G., they were proud of how they’d transitioned their inventory system from typewriter-on-index-card to an excel file… in the year 2023. I pause to be grateful I didn’t take that job at least once a week.

    6. Pizza Rat*

      That’s exactly what it is.

      Many employers only want the “at will” rules to apply when they fire on a whim. Technically, at will employment means an employee has the right to walk anytime, for any reason, no notice required, but try getting a reference if you don’t give notice.

  2. Raisin Walking to the Moon*

    Ugh, I had to cut ties with an extended family member when he made threats against a coworker on my Facebook page and then doubled-down on it in private. It’s so messy and embarrassing. And, for me, that relative still says things like “she let politics get in the way of family,” as if 1) human rights are a matter of politics, and 2) he didn’t let politics get in the way of the golden rule.
    With my coworker, I apologized in person. If they had been a manager or employee, though, I wouldn’t have had them on my friends’ list to begin with.

    1. Chauncy Gardener*

      I feel this so much! We have family who are out of their minds on FB. Just why why why do they have to have heated political discussions with everybody on FB? They’ve been unfriended by more people than I probably even know. Ugh.

    2. JelloStapler*

      Love when the very people making politics the reason for unhinged behavior claim others caused the issue.

      1. Just an “opinion”*

        “Why are you letting politics get in the way of family”

        “First off mom you are the one who can’t keep quiet on politics. Second the your ‘political’ stance is stating your intention to jail anyone who disagrees with you or has a different religion. Third I was trying to tell you about my life but apparently your ‘political opinion’ is more interesting than how I’m doing with my career”

        At least now she can wonder why her kids don’t talk to her

      2. Raisin Walking to the Moon*

        This particular guy has illustrated the concept of projection in some really fascinating ways. He’s been unemployed since 2008 and used to “subtly” question my work ethic, or ask me questions about my career and then disagree with whatever I said.

      1. Raisin Walking to the Moon*

        @Seashell I agree, but I don’t really see the point of mentioning that here.

    3. Luanne Platter*

      Political arguing and escalating tension b/c of politics are why I’m not on FB anymore. I don’t miss it at all.

    4. Someone Else's Boss*

      I think it’s also something to consider about social media in general. What kind of social media user do you want to be? The kind who is friends online with friends/family who espouse heated political rhetoric? Or the kind who is casually friends with colleagues? Because you really can’t be both without it possibly getting weird. I opted for the kind who doesn’t use social media, and so when I was promoted above my friends at work, there was nothing I had to unravel online. I think you can easily be connected to colleagues on social media as long as you are able to manage an appropriate social media profile/connections. If you can’t bear to disconnect from dear old bonkers dad, then don’t connect with colleagues. You probably wouldn’t invite your colleague to have dinner with your dad, so they don’t both need to connect online.

      1. Chas*

        Yes, I don’t use social media much, so I find it very surprising when people say they follow their coworkers (on sites other than LinkedIn)- I have one ex-coworker I got on well with on my Facebook (the social media site I use/make comments with least often) and that’s it. If my current coworkers want to know what I’m doing in my free time, then they can ask me!
        I certainly can’t imagine following my current coworkers parents! Do some people just add every person Facebook recommends to them without checking if they really know the person or not?

    5. Wendy Darling*

      Facebook is genuinely the worst thing that has ever happened to my relationship with my extended family. I finally gave up and unfollowed everyone because somehow all of them are absolute goblins on Facebook, even the ones who are lovely and even-keeled in real life (a few of them are also kind of goblins IRL and those ones are UNHINGED on Facebook).

      1. Filosofickle*

        I have come to believe that one of the reasons I do well with Facebook is that I have no family on it! I have a tiny family (that isn’t even on it anyway) so no unhinged relatives to make things awkward.

        1. AnonORama*

          I’m friends with certain extended family members on Facebook because they’d complain if I wasn’t, but I never follow them. I haven’t seen a post from the more chaos-goblin types in years, and they’re too busy dropping little hate bombs on strangers’ posts that they’ve never noticed.

      2. Raisin Walking to the Moon*

        I have to say I’m glad to have found out that certain people are terrible. One college friend was super charismatic when we were 19, and if I hadn’t seen his QAnon anti-vaxx Libertarian stuff on Facebook I’d end up at his house for Friendsgiving, and that would suck. Or, this cousin of mine who likes to harrass my coworkers, if I didn’t know that about him I could easily imagine asking him for advice and sharing my life with him. But now I’m spared that.

    6. Meg C*

      I’m sorry but LW #3 is a terrible *manager* if they think it’s okay to request a subordinate to help them network with that person’s *spouse*. This isn’t a case of just being a terrible “networker”.
      This would be a dubious proposition even if the person were senior to them and a mentor to them, because it’s outside of the org. But at least there’d be no power dynamic issues.

      I would like to see LW #3 go through all of AAM’s “power dynamics”, boss/subordinate letters before they look for a new role. This letter is such a red flag I would be very surprised if this is the only situation where LW behaves inappropriately (or considers it anyways) with subordinates. Best of luck in your job search LW, maybe look for a non-supervisory role!

      1. Meg C*

        Also the site is being whacky with all the refreshing ads and I have no idea how my comment wound up nested in this thread. Hopefully AAM can remove it!

  3. Yup*

    We had to sit my father down to have some hard conversations about his FB use. He refused to see what he did wrong (inappropriate messages to young women we knew or friends or friends), but huffed he’d just stop messaging at all. Between that and telling people not to friend him, it’s been a much smoother ride.

    He still doesn’t get the issue, and the fact that my words and points had 0 power to make him change behaviour that was truly negatively affecting my life… Well, he chose the relationship he wanted with his offspring, I guess.

    I feel this one so hard.

    1. CommanderBanana*

      Ugh, I am sorry. Also, yes, maybe it WOULD be better if he just stopped messaging at all!

      I am also several years in to mostly-estrangement from my parents, due in part to some of the same thing (fortunately neither uses social media) so fist-bumps of solidarity.

    2. Ally McBeal*

      I really wish my father had listened when my brother and I complained about all the flirty stickers (this was the pre-emoji era) he would exchange with random women around the world. He insisted he was just collecting friends in every country even though everyone in our extended family could plainly see – and mentioned to him – that all those “friends” were attractive women. I don’t know (and don’t care to know) if the woman he left our mom for was one of those women or if he initially met her in person. He, like your dad, chose the relationship he wants with his offspring and it shattered me.

      1. CommanderBanana*

        Yeah, I had one of those moments of clarity where I realized that his need to make nasty, needling “jokes” about politics was more important to him than I was, so I noped out of interacting with him. My life is way more peaceful and I honestly don’t miss him, since I always felt like shit after we interacted anyway.

        1. Ally McBeal*

          My cousins try to tell me about his political posts on Facebook – he has always been very conservative and has apparently gotten worse since a certain president was elected – and all I do is roll my eyes and say “sounds like him.” Like please don’t tell me about it, I blocked him for several reasons including this one.

    3. Cee Es*

      “He refused to see what he did wrong (inappropriate messages to young women we knew or friends or friends)…”

      I had a co-worker in his mid-50s who didn’t understand why his offhand remarks on ethnicity was inappropriate at the workplace. (That’s before DEI became a thing.) He continued to make such comments from time to time with different folks even after I told him how inappropriate they were. (I was a woman with a few years of experience.) Perhaps he thought that he’s invincible because he’s an experienced engineer with decades of experience.

      Then he was let go during a around of layoffs. He never find a comparable job again. The wake-up call was too late. He could’ve retired in his 60s in his own accord.

      1. Uranus Wars*

        This was something that happened at my place too. Tried to warn the guy and he doubled down…and like an extreme sports person, it’s like he just kept getting worse as he got more comfortable there. He said something to someone once and the person who overheard it reported him to HR…and he was walked out immediately. He blamed it on “woke culture”. The rest of it blamed it on him being an AH.

        1. Galadriel's Garden*

          “Woke culture”…ugh. “Wahhh, I can’t be openly bigoted anymore! Why are people so mean to me when I’m being being actively discriminatory?! >:( “

        2. Cee Es*

          Urgh. Those folks would also say that they have freedom of speech. Fine, you enjoy your freedom. As an employer, we have the responsibility to protect others from harassment. (I also have a story on C-levels being an AH but let’s save the story for a different time.)

          From another job, there was a 40-something man who made offhand comments from sexual overtones from time to time. The most alarming incident took place right before a meeting one day. The meeting didn’t have enough chairs. He said, “Would anyone like to sit on my lap?” My manager responded immediately and firmly in front of everyone, “If you say this again, I am sending you to HR.”

          He clearly wanted to keep the job. He kept reminding himself frequently, “Oh, I afraid this-and-that words are no longer appropriate. I don’t want to be sent to HR.”

          1. Sam I Am*

            Ew. He wanted token his job but he didn’t learn his lesson! Pointedly talking about how you’re *not* saying the forbidden words is still AH behavior.

    4. Turquoisecow*

      Yeah this is why I am not friends with my father-in-law. It’s not worth the effort to try to control his behavior when he doesn’t see how anything he’s doing is inappropriate.

      That said, i think this is partly on the employee. If they don’t want to get into political arguments with OP’s father, then they could unfriend him. If I was OP I would probably say something like “I’m sorry my dad is like this. You don’t have to remain connected with him if you don’t want to,” because maybe they feel like they have to stay connected? But after that, it’s up to them if they want to have that relationship

      And same with OP, they don’t have to be friends with their dad online, especially if he’s getting into political arguments.

      1. Artemesia*

        I’d be stronger. ‘I am sorry about the way my father gets so combative on facebook; it is really inappropriate given our relationship and I would really appreciate it if you would unfriend him.’

      2. learnedthehardway*

        In the OP’s shoes, I would go one further and ask my employee to unfriend my father, if I were the OP. I would apologize and tell them that obviously, my opinions and my father’s have nothing to do with each other, but I WOULD say that it is an uncomfortable situation and that AS THEIR MANAGER, it would be best if they were not in contact with each other.

        1. allathian*

          I prefer Artemesia’s wording above because it lets the employee decide how to handle it. For all we know, the employee thrives on political debate and gets a kick out of arguing with their manager’s father, as is totally their right.

          It’s tricky because it’s crossing the streams between professional and personal connections. I mean, I’m not on social media, but if I were, I wouldn’t take it very kindly if my manager tried to police my social media connections. I’d block them first.

  4. Rattled*

    Frankly, it’s weird to me that the employee chose to friend your father! It’s a bizarre choice on the employee’s end, and makes me inclined to think you don’t need to get involved. He’s an adult and can handle the consequences of his own social media choices (or unfriend should he choose!).

    1. anon_sighing*

      This. He accepted the request…or maybe sent it?

      LW, do you know who sent this initial request? Because if it was your father, you should tell your employee that he was under no obligation and would receive no penalty had he not accepted the request. If *he* sent it, then that’s his deal. Frankly, I don’t use FB anymore but I know better to not accept random requests from people I know through a loose network who only end up fighting with me.

      I’d tell the employee that they should unfriend both boss and dad, and boss should tell dad that it was boss’ “order” for this to be done since boss is the only link and it’s weird to be friend’s with your boss’ dad when your not friends with boss.

    2. Caramel & Cheddar*

      Right? I always used to wonder how people had like 1200 friends on Facebook, but it turns out that it’s because they add literally everyone in their orbit or their orbit’s orbit, which in this case apparently includes colleagues’ parents or your child’s coworker. There’s almost zero reason for either of these people to have added each other except for if they already knew each other in some other context (e.g. they live in a really small town, they’re in the same bridge club, they met at an event LW hosted and hit it off, etc.).

      I don’t think it would be bad for LW to say something because she’s his boss and maybe he feels weird about unfriending/blocking/muting her dad, but ultimately he made a choice with how to manage his social media and he can do whatever he wants to solve those problems using the ample number of tools provided by Facebook.

      1. Warrior Princess Xena*

        Ha – I do this on LinkedIn! But I don’t cold-message people out of nowhere, and I at least keep it in my industry/near industry. This sounds exhausting to try and curate.

        1. selena81*

          I accept pretty much everyone on LinkedIn. And when I was at just a dozen connections I spend a few months inviting all the ‘proposed friends’ that LinkedIn offered.

          I don’t care about accumulating 10000 ‘friends’, but I think having at least 50-100 connections makes a profile look a bit more professional and active.

          Now that I’ve had a few jobs I connect with all the people in each new team. And that’s enough for me: I don’t think it’s worth it to hunt down connections-of-connections. Networking does hold all that much weight in my industry. Most people have a LinkedIn page, but jobleads come from job-boards (including the jobs posted to LinkedIn) and it’s rare for there to be a need for references.

      2. Irish Teacher.*

        Yes, I have a facebook friend like this. She literally sent a request to my mother, the mother of somebody she’d met on a forum, because I mentioned once that my mum had seen a picture of her dog when I was checking my facebook feed and my mum was in the room, and thought he was cute.

        And this person tends to truly believe all her facebook friends are “her friends” and gets really upset when somebody misinterprets what she says or rejects her friend request because “surely, my friends would know I didn’t mean it like that.” Seriously, the person who took offense is the cousin of somebody you engaged with a couple of times online; they don’t know you from Adam. They have no way of knowing what your values are.

        So yeah, these people exist.

      3. BlondeSpiders*

        It’s also entirely possible that this employee enjoys sparring with OP’s dad and doesn’t feel weird about it at all. Some people love arguing with strangers on FB.

        1. allathian*

          Exactly. I think the most the LW can do is to make sure the employee knows that there will be no negative consequences if they block her dad. After that, it’s up to the employee to decide whether or not they want to continue engaging in that debate.

          1. selena81*

            Yeah. If employee and dad really want to go at it there’s little that LW can do about it. But LW does need to make it clear that they didn’t intend for this connection to happen and would kinda prefer it if it stopped. And that employee should definitely not feel pressured to continue because of the power dynamic.

      4. Elizabeth West*

        Yeah, I know people like that. They add everybody.

        I don’t add anyone unless I know them, with very very rare exceptions, and coworkers and bosses are NOT on that list unless both of us have left the job already. It’s just not a good idea all around. My profile pic on my personal account is different from my pic elsewhere in case they go looking (it’s not a pic of me).

        I agree with your second paragraph.

        1. Lenora Rose*

          I don’t *even* add everyone I know (and I’m not counting exes or people with whom I now have bad blood, just people I like fine, as far as I know them.)

    3. Jennifer Strange*

      Some people accept accept every friend request they get, especially if there’s a mutual friend (more so earlier in the days of FB). For example, a client of my husband sent a friend request to my dad (who accepted it because he just assumed he knew him, likely because he was also friends with my husband).

      1. doreen*

        I asked my cousin once how he knew a mutual friend, who was one of my HS teachers, because I knew my cousin didn’t go to the same HS. Turns out my teacher sent him a request ( possibly because they had many friends in common who did go to that school) and since they had so many friends in common , my cousin assumed they knew each other and he had forgotten.

        1. Loredena*

          I did that! A friend asked me how I knew a mutual friend on facebook and that was exactly it. She’d sent me a request and I accepted, assuming she was someone from HS who I couldn’t quite place.

      2. Tracy*

        My dad is like that. He also got offended that I wouldn’t accept a friend request from some rando he went to high school with 50 years ago and hasn’t seen since because she “wanted to see the wedding photos.” Um, no, and the real reason was that she wanted free vet advice.

        I keep a very clean, manicured Facebook page and it always boggles my mindnwhen people friend every indirect connection they have.

        1. The OG Sleepless*

          Hello, colleague. Keep up the good fight against the randos wanting free vet advice.

          1. an infinite number of monkeys*

            Ugh, seriously.

            But hey, while I’ve got you here, my dog has this growth…

    4. Dek*

      I mean, they weren’t OP’s employee at the time. I had a few of my friends’ parents friended. I could also see a situation where you see each other in the comments and have an amicable conversation, and so friend each other, and then a few years down the line it’s like…oh no.

  5. ArchivesPony*

    LW2 (the facebook), you can also limit what you see if your father’s. I can’t remember the settings exactly but it’s possible

    1. Aerin*

      I was gonna say that the Facebook LW might as well just go ahead and block their dad. When dad complains about it, you can just say, “You were acting like a dick and I got tired of seeing it. You might have the right to use Facebook this way, but everyone else has the right to send you to the void.”

      (I have no patience for grownups who act like 13yo edgelords online and then can only offer the defense that their behavior isn’t technically illegal.)

      1. Tio*

        I think the bigger problem is not LW seeing the father, but that the father is arguing with their coworker! I would specifically ASK the report to block the father, not just suggest.

        1. L'étrangère*

          Yes, that seems like the best solution to me. Don’t be facefriends with either your boss or their family, period. It’s entirely possible the employee got snared in without realizing the relationship, and just doesn’t know how to get out of it without causing offense, so asking them to block would be the kindest. Frankly if this was my father I’d block him too, if only to prevent him being suggested to my friends

        2. lost academic*

          And what if they don’t want to? It’s pretty intrusive to make assumptions about that. Who else will the OP ask the employee to block because the online interactions she observes upset her? How much social media monitoring is OK by your boss? If something like that happened to me, I’d immediately want to block my boss (and feel very concerned about how doing that would be perceived), probably go to HR and see if there was a way I could get transferred.

          1. Tio*

            That is so far away from what the situation is… This is specifically a problem because it’s the boss’s father, who is behaving badly. The report can of course say no, and the boss shouldn’t do anything about it, but I actually DO think both the report and the boss should unfriend each other regardless. But it’s kind of weird to me that you’ve turned a very specific situation with a specific, unusual set of circumstances into a spiraling fanfiction about the boss monitoring someone’s entire social media behavior. The boss and employee have apparently been FB friends for a while since they added each other before the employee became a report and have had no other mentionable problems, so I find it highly unlikely anything like what you’re describing is/was/will be going on.

          2. CommanderBanana*

            Who else will the OP ask the employee to block because the online interactions she observes upset her?

            That’s a lovely strawman you’re building there.

            1. Wendy Darling*

              On the one hand, yes. On the other hand, though, I think when you’re someone’s manager you do have to think of the optics of asking them to block someone, because the power imbalance puts a lot more pressure behind the request. I think that’s why Alison suggested telling the employee that they should feel free to block Dad rather than that instructing them to actually do it.

          1. allathian*

            Yes, I agree with this.

            The most the LW should say to the employee is that if the employee wants to block her dad, there’ll be no negative consequences for that.

      2. selena81*

        (I have no patience for grownups who act like 13yo edgelords online and then can only offer the defense that their behavior isn’t technically illegal.)

        Ugh, agreed. It’s one thing for a kid to be trolling a bit: they haven’t quite learned that strangers are people.
        But at some point you’re a dick who should know better.

    2. Nameless*

      Unfollowing! I am 99% sure FB designed the unfollow feature for exactly this kind of situation – you don’t want to unfriend your relative because it will cause a kerfuffle, but you also don’t want to see their nonsense in your feed.

      1. Gray Lady*

        You will still see their comments on mutual friends’ posts, though, which is the problem here.

        1. allathian*

          One option for the LW would be to say something like: “I’m sorry my father keeps posting inflammatory comments on your feed. If you want to unfriend him or unfollow him, I want you to know that you have my full support in doing so. But I wouldn’t dream of trying to police your connections on FB, so if you want to, you can stay in touch with my father. But please know that if you choose to do that, I will unfriend you and unfollow my father for the time being because the comments upset me so much.”

  6. Aerin*

    I got a job offer that was contingent on getting clearance, which they said could take 12-15 weeks. They actually hired me sight-unseen (as in, one phone interview where they didn’t even ask me any questions) mostly because they were so desperate to fill the position… because people kept pulling out before their clearance went through, since that’s a long time to wait if you need a paycheck right now.

    Naturally, while I was waiting, I got another offer from a great org and withdrew from the clearance role. My contact basically said, “yup, not surprised.”

    1. Warrior Princess Xena*

      My cousin worked for a company with a clearance requirement. Their solution: have a couple of projects/tasks that don’t require clearance that the employee can start on while getting clearance. That way you can get a lot of the standard starting employee things (training/paperwork/tech setup/etc) done during less valuable time, employee gets a paycheck and starts learning the office, and everyone gets to do an initial fit assessment. It seemed like a good compromise!

      1. AnotherOne*

        A friend of mine has worked jobs where they hire. Only once you’ve been hired and are getting paid do they make you complete the security paperwork.

        They do enough of a background check before that they are pretty sure of the outcome but that way there isn’t a huge wait between offer and 1st paycheck. (I imagine there are some potential employees who are changing jobs and opt to get the clearance 1st, cuz you risk not getting the clearance and having no job.)

      2. Momma Bear*

        I think this is a good idea. You can also use it as a probationary period. The downside is this generally won’t work if they need to be in a cleared facility. In those cases you would need to find someone with an active clearance that would transfer.

      3. Just Thinkin' Here*

        Xena: Right, I think this is standard in the government / military contracting industry where clearance is a minimum job requirement. That way people are paid while the clearance works through the process. The bigger issue is hanging onto people once that Clearance comes through as they are now extra valuable for already having it.

      4. Random Dice*

        That’s the way I’ve seen it done. Hire someone, give them uncleared work while their clearance is being done, then move them to a classified project.

    2. Adam*

      Wow, everywhere I’ve known that required security clearances has brought people on immediately and given them unclassified stuff to do while they wait for the interim clearance to come through. Doing otherwise is definitely a recipe for people backing out.

    1. Cee Es*

      I keep some of my social media accounts because of the messenger to stay in touch with friends and family.

      1. Emily Byrd Starr*

        That’s (more or less) the reason why I haven’t completely deleted my Instagram account. I don’t use it, but I still have it in case I ever need to contact someone and I don’t have their email or phone number.

    2. allathian*

      That’s the reason why I only use WhatsApp, and except for the parents’ group of my son’s class and his scout troop, everyone I’m in contact with is in my contacts for other reasons.

  7. Yes And*

    Re #3 (the networker): I’d be curious to know whether/how Alison’s advice would change if LW already had a professional relationship with the employee’s husband. Would it then be okay to reach out to the husband because LW wasn’t asking the employee to take any action? Or would it still be too much of an icky power dynamic/putting the employee in the middle?

    1. Warrior Princess Xena*

      I’d personally still steer clear of it on the grounds of better safe than sorry. It would still create many of the same problems of “burdening employee with knowledge that I’m job-searching”, and the dynamics would still feel off.

    2. lyonite*

      I’d come down on the side of “not worth it” myself. Networking connections are nice and all, but they’re rarely that big of a thing to get you a job, unless it’s something like a former manager bringing you on at their new place. Just having a chat with someone you’ve never worked with about their employer doesn’t go nearly far enough to take this kind of risk.

    3. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      I don’t think it would be a power dynamic question if OP was in grad school with Bob and knew him from classes and socially then OP worked for Company A where she supervised Sally and Bob worked for Company B.
      I think in this situation, if OP asked Bob about Company B, she would be putting both Bob and Sally in awkward positions. Should Bob not tell Sally that her boss is looking at a job in his Company? Should Sally pretend she doesn’t know that OP is looking at new jobs?
      This is just one of those weird “too many variables” situations where OP needs to sacrifice the benefit of networking for her own best interests.
      Especially because it doesn’t seem like husband is that valuable to get her an in. If she were going to be interviewing with him, she would probably need to talk to Sally and him about discretion. But as it stands, he may not even know that she’s interviewing there. And that is best.

  8. Heidi*

    I wonder how Jane got the idea that people don’t do resumes anymore. Are there industries that rely solely on LinkedIn for hiring and don’t want resumes?

    1. LCH*

      and what a weird response. someone was asking for the resume so that’s a huge clue they still matter… at least to the person who was hiring.

    2. Armchair Analyst*

      Every “career coach” emphasizes networking
      Every job search motivational speaker
      Every alumni career center
      Yes they do say, have a resume ready!

      But they definitely imply that if you work their system correctly, your contact will tell you about an open position. Usually IME it works the other way around and doesn’t guarantee a screening or interview

    3. Lab Boss*

      It seems almost like Jane internalized the common complaint about online hiring portals requiring you to submit a resume and then fill out a form with all the same information, and somehow came to the conclusion that it’s unreasonable to be expected to make your resume info available in more than one format ever.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        I picture the people who insist that no one uses email anymore, and so prospective employers should figure out how to connect with them on Slack, which is the only hep messaging system.

        (Probably Slack has gone the way of Vine and now it’s all Roomba App Messaging?)

        1. Lab Boss*

          If you can’t make your resume appear on the door-screen at the local carry out when I go in to get beer, are you really clever enough that I should hire you?

        2. Zephy*

          It’s not even that they think “no one uses email anymore,” it’s that *they’ve* never used email for anything other than logging in to websites or getting receipts for online orders. Email is not a communication tool to a large and growing subset of the population.

      2. Not Tom, Just Petty*

        I’m imagining her quixotic battle to “make people realized that LinkedIn is the new normal.”
        But, really, is it? I could accept, “please view my work history on my personal company website and download a PDF yourself.”
        What I don’t get is committing to LinkedIn.
        It’s funny, sitting on the couch typing my old fart rants on a laptop, to ask this, but “Is any platform permanent?” How many have come and gone? When the next big thing or even iteration of LinkedIn comes about that makes it harder to just “go to LinkedIn” without increasing your own membership level, will she still be banging this drum?

    4. ecnaseener*

      People give all sorts of weird job-seeking advice online, and I’m sure LinkedIn boosts the posts that inflate LinkedIn’s importance. Very weird that she wouldn’t even use the “generate resume” button LinkedIn gives you.

    5. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      Came to the comments for this thread. Who doesn’t have one? What person who is freelancing (and open to friends recommending clients, not people fully booked) has no bulleted document of work history and skills?

    6. Dorothy Zpornak*

      Even if that were true, I think it’s pretty obnoxious to expect the person you are asking for a job to do the work to look you up on LinkedIn – at least she could have sent a link.

      This happened to me recently as well. I mentioned at a conference that I would be hiring soon, and was approached by someone who expressed an interest, who then told me, “Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn.” Like… YOU should be asking if you can connect with ME on LinkedIn. Not only was she putting the work on me, but I had given her my card and she gave me nothing, yet she was expecting me to divine the spelling of her name and remember her organization or go digging to find her.

    7. B*

      You can also literally click a button in linked in to have it export your profile to a resume format. Then you neaten it up a little and there you go, done.

      A weird hill to die on for sure

    1. Yup*

      They may feel it can’t be done as it’s their superior’s parent.

      The father is 100% the problem here, although at this point the solution needs to come from elsewhere.

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      The existence of unfriending day on Facebook is because who is and isn’t friends is emotionally fraught. Not wanting to mess up other important relationships by indicating how irritating you find your boss’s parent, or your sister’s best friend, or your mom’s catsitter, is a thing people weigh.

      1. BlondeSpiders*

        Luckily, there’s now the option to Unfollow. This way I don’t have to see the posts that p*ss me off, but I avoid the drama of UnfRieNdiNg FaMilY, how dare you!!

          1. AnonORama*

            I love unfollow to avoid seeing posts from folks I don’t want to full-on unfriend, and also recommend the “friends except” setting when posting.

    3. Lab Boss*

      We know OP doesn’t like what’s happening, but not how the employee feels about it. It could be that they feel they “can’t” for some reason, but there’s other options: They simply aren’t phased by the replies, they enjoy “debating” online, they get to feel smug because someone is making bad arguments against them, or even that they’re unwilling to do the unfriending because that feels like “losing” the internet argument.

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

      Is FBLW sure that their employee and father are friends? Facebook likes to show users their friends’ friends’ posts, especially controversial (sorry I mean “high engagement”) posts. Unfriending the employee may very well solve this issue.

    5. Seashell*

      If unfriending might lead to drama, it’s easy enough to post to a limited audience and/or not see any posts of people you’re friends with.

    6. allathian*

      Personally, I think it’s completely inappropriate for managers and employees to be friends on social media, except (supposedly) professional networks like LinkedIn. The LW should have unfriended the report as soon as she became their manager. If that had happened, there wouldn’t have been a mutual connection between the employee and the father.

      But as she didn’t, I think the LW should unfriend the report and tell them that’s because they don’t want to unfriend their father but also don’t want to see any further posts from him on the report’s feed.

  9. L-squared*

    Maybe unpopular, but for the Facebook one, I think that, as long as the employee is letting their posts be public like this, then they can deal with it. You can easily put people in a group where you don’t unfriend them, but can’t see your posts. I’m pretty sure you can also make posts that people can’t comment on. But if you stay connected to someone, and allow them to see your posts, that is the risk you run. OP, nor their father, would even know if he just stopped seeing the posts because he was put in that group.

    These are 2 adults, let them handle it themselves. Hell, some people are fine with a bit of debate.

    1. Lab Boss*

      Yes. I have a family member who I haven’t unfriended because it would create drama I don’t feel like dealing with- but I don’t see anything she posts, and my default setting on Facebook is that my posts are visible to all of my friends other than her.

    2. yetanotherlibrarian*

      I think Alison’s advice to let the employee know they can unfriend her father is necessary though. The employee may feel like they can’t unfriend their boss’s dad because of power dynamics.

      1. Tio*

        This is my read on it too. If OP says they can unfollow the dad and they don’t because they like that kind of debate… ok, that’s their choice. But if the employee is worried internally that unfriending the father might hurt their standing with LW, then being given the sign to let go of that may free them.

      2. L-squared*

        Again though, they don’t need to unfried. Just change the settings so the dad can’t see it. That way there is nothing awkward happening.

    3. The OG Sleepless*

      That was my thought. The employee and the dad are choosing to get each other’s goat and they can each choose to stop doing it at any time. It really doesn’t have much to do with the LW. I don’t doubt that it’s awkward to watch, though.

    4. Office Lobster DJ*

      I do think LW should take steps to let the employee know it’s perfectly fine to delete comments, block, or unfriend.

      I might even suggest documenting the conversation. While there’s nothing to suggest the employee is planning anything of the sort, it would personally make me uncomfortable to have something the employee could point to and suggest “See? Obviously, LW must be biased against me and retaliating on behalf of her father. Clearly, that has to be the only reason I’m on this PIP / didn’t get that promotion.”

    5. Czhorat*

      They can deal with it, but that doesn’t mean the father isn’t a jerk.

      “It’s public so I’m free to FIGHT POLITICS whenever I want to!” is an incredibly juvenile and position in addition to being needlessly combative. The fact that he’s knowingly doing it with a person his offspring supervises makes it that much worse; once it was pointed out to him that it could create awkwardness at work he could have been an adult and stopped. Instead he doubled down.

      One thing that’s made me happier in life is the realization that I don’t need to fight with every halfwit I see on the internet.

    6. Yes And*

      I don’t think it’s that simple, because of the power dynamic. What happens if OP needs to discipline the employee, or pass them up for a promotion, or deny them a raise? Is there a potential for the appearance (or actuality) of retaliation for this employee’s public confrontations with OP’s father? The fact that it’s public makes it stickier for OP to manage their team, even if the employee actively enjoys wallowing in the mud with OP’s father.

    7. Trillian*

      Agree. The OP can tell the employee that (a) they don’t have to friend OPs father, (b) they don’t have to respond to him, (c) please take care to stay within company social media policy, (d) OP is not responsible for her father’s views, (e) have at it.

  10. HonorBox*

    Regarding the recommendation, I don’t think it went “wrong” per se. It was weird, and perhaps sideways, but not wrong. It isn’t as though the person got into a working relationship and things blew up, they didn’t show up, or they stole money. They just had a weird approach to what is still pretty normal, and that’s on them not on you.

    I think your best bet it that going forward, you ensure that someone you’re referring to this client knows that the client expects a resume. That’s all…

    1. AngryOctopus*

      Yep. Sounds like even if you were to have told Jane “you need to send in a resume” right up front, she would have declined. That’s on her! She can be as weird about things as she wants to be, since it’ll only affect her!
      I do think it’s strange that your contact told YOU that he expected a resume. I know you’re recommending her, but I guess if it were me I might say to the LW “Oh, Jane never sent a resume when I asked, just directed me to her LinkedIn, so we didn’t consider her for the position.”. What LW does with that information and how they interact with Jane now is up to them–but I don’t think LW should be running interference trying to get Jane to do thing, even if they did recommend her. People gonna be weird. You can’t stop it.

      1. metadata minion*

        I think it was reasonable to send a note to the LW saying “hey, this person you recommend seems to have some deeply weird ideas about business norms”. That kind of thing could affect whether you recommend someone for another job.

        1. HonorBox*

          This makes sense. If Jane is off base in her understanding of norms, I’d want to know if I’m the LW because I sure as heck wouldn’t recommend her again.

          But the client sort of expecting that LW would be the go-between seems like a little too much.

  11. Martha S*

    Give your employee clear permission to block your father. They simply may not realize that doing this would not offend you.

    1. Ginger Cat Lady*

      This is what I would suggest. Just say something like “If you ever get sick of my dad commenting on your posts, feel free to unfriend him!” and then just leave it there.

      1. UKDancer*

        Me too. I mean the employee might enjoy the arguments, I know some people who really enjoy having an argument. I think make it clear they can block father and then it’s up to them.

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

      Yes, and then once that is clear, wash your hands of the situation. If your employee enjoys having political arguments in their off hours, let them, regardless of who they are arguing with.

  12. Scottish Teapot*

    LW #1 is there no way you can secretly borrow you dads phone and unfriend and block this person for him?

    1. lost academic*

      If you found out that you had an employee who did that to one of their reports – interfering with their personal life at that level – what would you do? Because that’s a pretty serious and inappropriate move.

      1. KateM*

        Dad’s phone, not coworker’s. The suggestion was to interfere with the online life of their aging parent.

        1. lost academic*

          The action ALSO interferes with the online life of the employee. You can’t have it just be one way. It’s just not OK, period, and it’s a work problem to do it, too.

    2. The OG Sleepless*

      If I, as a competent adult, had a family member break into my phone, get into my Facebook, and make a change to my friends list, I would be…displeased.

        1. CommanderBanana*

          lost academic feels really, really strongly about the LW’s dad’s right to snipe at her direct report on Facebook, as you’ll see by some of their other comments.

          After all, it’s a slippery slope from asking your dad to not harass your coworker online to COMMUNISM. /s

  13. Whoa Nelly*

    I just opted out of a job that was 99.9% coming. Before they talked to my references, I wanted to clarify the pay, which was worded very manipulatively, to imply that X dollars was being offered for a specific time frame, when it was actually Y. And Y was a hair above minimum wage, for a job that requires an advanced degree, tons of experience, and 65 hours a week. They wanted to pay as if it was entry level, and I had to say thanks but no thanks before anyone else wasted their time. I also didn’t want to accept, then quit 2 weeks later. It actually wasn’t the pay – it was the pay for the entire busy season requiring double the hours. I suppose someone out there will take the job. I desperately needed a job, but also needed to sleep and be with the fam.

  14. Fergus*

    I knew a recruiter years ago where a government agency pulled 5 job offers the Friday before the Monday the new hires were supposed to start. The recruiter declined to fill anymore positions for that agency.

  15. Mark This Confidential And Leave It Laying Around*

    The manager who wants to contact her subordinate’s husband for a job lead *did* lead with the information that she’s a terrible networker. Developing a sense of what is and isn’t appropriate to ask for is a good place to start improving. (At least she wrote in to AAM!)

  16. Bast*

    I have been the new hire withdrawing, and it was because the company presented one way and was another: 1) the owner of the company became incredibly creepy and began crossing so many boundaries the second I accepted the offer that it became alarming; it got to the point he was pestering me multiple times a day about “what if you just quit today instead of giving two weeks, we need you here now” and “I can’t wait to be able to see you in the office everyday” complete with a winky face emoji and even beyond that 2) I spoke with a few other female employees who reported that this behavior was not only normal for him, but he routinely crossed the line with female staff members AND that the company never gave raises. Like, ever. They had promised me that my starting wage would be evaluated after 6 months and change based on performance, but apparently this promise had been made to everyone who started and it was rarely, if ever, made good on. I spoke with people who had been there for years and years with no raises, and the ones who had received some raises had to put up with a lot of BS to get there ie: being harassed by this guy. 3) This is also the same office I have mentioned in other comments that had such a crappy sick/PTO policy that they encouraged people to just come in on the weekends and late at night to finish their hours. Originally, I had been told that WFH would be a possibility when I interviewed which would mitigate some of the crappy PTO policy, but again, I was told by other employees that it is never something that materializes; they just say that to get you in the door. Not having the ability to WFH is a deal breaker for me. When I tried bringing this up and reinforcing that WFH was a non-negotiable for me, they beat around the bush and refused to directly confirm or deny that I would be able to work from home.

    This place was a huge, huge red flag, and the more I dug into it, the more problems I found. I am also not from the area that the business was based in, so I had no knowledge when I interviewed of the reputation this guy had. He apparently has a hard time hiring local help because of all the crap. Every example isn’t as extreme as this, but this was my experience as someone who withdrew once I got a clearer view of who the owner really was.

  17. RJ*

    I’m at the tail end of an onboarding process with a new employer that has been endlessly tedious. If it weren’t for my immediate economic need, I would have backed out, but as it stands I can already sense that this is a job I won’t be at for very long. I can completely understand someone backing out of a job offer. Things become apparent, both personally and professionally, when going through the interview/hiring process once the offer is relayed that can change perspective.

  18. Tradd*

    Easy solution – don’t mix current coworkers and FB. I saw a number of people get fired back around 2012-ish due to FB drama with current/former coworkers (I was not FB friends with any of them). I will connect with current coworkers on LinkedIn.

    1. Just Thinkin' Here*

      Right? I felt like this shouldn’t be a new concept but maybe folks entering the workforce (either due to school or family needs) aren’t used to drawing that line between personal and professional lives?

    2. Filosofickle*

      That’s always been my official policy, but many times I have had a preexisting relationship on FB and THEN we start working together! Several good friends have hired me as a consultant. I’ve had former colleagues (that I friended only after I quit that job) become colleagues/clients again years later. The worst is probably my MBA group — we friended each other in school but a decade later we’ve collaborated on projects and hired each other.

      My career is not linear and many friends are in complementary fields, so there will never be a clear line. My solution is mainly to be very mindful what I post and shift marginal cases to LinkedIn. Most of my people aren’t even using FB anymore so this isn’t as much of a problem as it was 10 years ago.

  19. Artsygurl*

    Having flash backs to a time a coworker had made a well written, heartfelt social media post about challenges of being a BIPOC woman for Black History Month. Our grandboss’s spouse took insane umbrage to the post and responded by publicly berating co-worker on the platform, telling her that her challenges were not nearly as difficult as the challenges he had to face as a (very wealthy, white) gay man. Everyone was horrified because my coworker’s post in no way called out anyone or claimed that only BIPOC women faced challenges and the coworker obviously could not respond in anyway since this was her boss’s spouse. Of course grandboss ended up being fired for racist statements so….

      1. Artsygurl*

        No one was sad to see grandboss and spouse go – but there is still fallout from the chaos and damage the inflicted. The spouse once demanded that I personally come to his house every morning because a houseguest (who I was tangentially working with) kept forgetting to turn off the lights and lock the door. Keep in mind spouse could easy check these things himself but wanted me to drive out of my way and do this. He also informed me of this dictate after hours on my personal cell phone – which he should not have had the number to. Luckily I spoke with my boss who instantly took him to task about the behavior.

    1. Dorothy Zpornak*

      Yeah, I think all the people talking about how the employee may like debate or how they could block the father if they wanted to are missing that the father’s behavior could reflect poorly on LW at their org, even if the specific employee doesn’t care (presumably, they’re FB friends with others at the org who can see what’s going on) — both because of the presumably intolerant content of the posts, but also just because a manager’s relative is bullying one of their reports, and the manager might be assumed to be complicit in it.

    2. CommanderBanana*

      Just……….wow. Also, as someone who had to work with some white, wealthy, conservative gay men, I can confirm that type of behavior is not unusual.

      Glad grandboss got canned.

      1. allathian*

        The most misogynistic person I’ve ever had the misfortune to meet was a fairly wealthy gay man who was also a white supremacist who despised men he didn’t find attractive. As if his sexual preferences determined whether people were entitled to basic human rights or not. He briefly dated my friend’s brother when all of us were college students on the same campus, until my friend’s brother realized how horrible he was and dumped him.

        I’m also glad grandboss got canned.

        1. CommanderBanana*

          I have sadly had to work with 2 or 3 men that sound really similar to what you’re describing, and yes, they despised women, were openly racist and anti-Semitic, and were just…a giant ball of nastiness in a vaguely human-shaped package. What was crazy was that they would use the fact that they were gay as a get-out-of-jail-free card to be all-around horrible people.

  20. lost academic*

    I think the advice for the Facebook situation is getting too involved. The employee knows that the OP isn’t going to interact anymore with him on social media now that the reporting structure has changed. The employee is connected to the father directly – it’s not like they’re having a comment war on OP’s posts or apparently involving OP at all. It’s never come up or ever been discussed at work – which it shouldn’t, of course, because it has nothing to do with it. My guess, based on everything I’ve seen on the internet, is that OP’s father is just another one of those people on the internet to OP. If he had an actual problem with it, he could unfriend him or block him. Some people enjoy the conflict. And honestly, the employee probably sees plenty of people like the OP’s father out there on the internet – too much time on their hands, lots of loud and specific opinions. No one would ever reasonably think that meant anything about what their relatives also thought without further evidence.

    If OP has a problem with it, she can unfriend or block one or both of these people but there’s np reason to get involved and plenty not to. Bringing it up a all or trying to manage it (in or out of the workplace) is actually going to say to the employee that the OP as manager IS silently observing a lot of social media interaction and conduct and that’s more off putting in my mind. Stay out of it, OP. Stop looking at it, stop thinking about it.

    1. Stopped Using My Name*

      The concern from the OP seems fraught.

      I feel like social media has been around long enough that people know not all interactions will be pleasant (even if you know all the parties involved).

  21. Susannah*

    If a friend I recommended said s/he won’t send a resume since “no one” uses them anymore… AFTER the prospective employer asked for a resume… I would never recommend that person for any job again, ever.
    How clueless can you be? An employer asks you for a resume and you just refuse?
    I have a similar situation – people who call, do not leave a message, and get annoyed when I don’t just call back, even if I don’t know who’s calling or what they want. When I point this out, they say, “no one leaves voice mail messages anymore.” Well, I do – and I sure as hell won’t call someone back if that person can’t be bothered to say who they are and what they want.

    1. Which Susan are you?*

      I pick up messages for one of our office phones. The number of calls where the person says only “This is Susan, call me back” are astounding. They get sent to the Cyberspace Trash Pit immediately.

      1. Lena*

        Constant at my job! I can see their phone number on the caller ID and call back that way, some people call from business numbers and there’s no way tonknow exaxtly who Susan is, or their number is blocked from caller ID!

    2. But what to call me?*

      …If no one leaves voicemail messages anymore it’s usually because they text about it instead.

      How in the world do these people take that to mean it’s now more reasonable to expect you to call them back without having any idea why they called? If I got an unexpected call with no voicemail or text I would probably just assume the call was an accident. Or, if it wasn’t from someone in my contacts, I would assume it was spam. Either way, they’re not getting a return call.

  22. HSE Compliance*

    Re: backing out – I once did something like this, actually! It was because the benefits summary they gave me with the offer packet didn’t match (drastically) the benefits packet they gave me after I accepted. Then, when I questioned it, they told me that it would match the summary. Problem being it was a HUGE difference and the summary was dated the prior year vs. the packet dated the correct year. Then they tried to tell me the packet and summary said the same thing. It really didn’t, and the packet itself had a ridiculous amount of conflicting statements.

    The more I questioned it and the more non-information they gave me the more I got the ick and I finally withdrew my acceptance.

  23. liquidus*

    A three month lead up is normal in other countries depending on local office culture. At least in Germany, the norm, as I understand, is to that resignations are typically effective at the end of the next full quarter (I’d have to check my contract) to see mine so it wouldn’t be unusual to be hired for a job knowing someone might not be able to start for months.

    1. Just Thinkin' Here*

      Wow! In the US a 2 week notice is more typical. And sometimes I would take a week off in-between, so 3-4 weeks max? I’m glad you commented on the European work culture, as the timing seemed off to this American.

      1. lost academic*

        You’d see a long lead time for cyclical hiring too – some federal agencies hire classes of new employees that all start in January. Teachers are hired to start all at about the same time for the most part.

      2. londonedit*

        In the UK a one-month notice period is standard, but many more senior roles will have three-month notice periods, or even six months or longer in some cases (my dad’s contract stated that he had to give the company two years’ notice of his retirement, because he’d pretty much set up the entire arm of the company he was in charge of). So on the one hand as an employer you get at least a month’s notice that someone is leaving, which means you can begin the recruitment process, but you also know that whoever you hire will have at least a month’s notice to work out before they can start. It’s just the way things are, so people are used to working that way, and it does mean that there’s plenty of time before an employee leaves to get things in order in terms of handover notes etc.

    2. Cee Es*

      India has a long lead up time (2-3 months?) for job change as well. Some folks paid their previous employers just to get out earlier.

  24. Jack Straw from Wichita*

    His fanatically religious/conservative comments on my posts are why, although I asked him to officiate my second marriage and he’s the closes thing to a father I have, I unfriended my ex-FIL on social media. The day my 28YO daughter said, “Mom, that’s why I’m not friends with grandpa on social media,” I took it as a sign/permission. Never been an issue since.

  25. Just Thinkin' Here*

    OP#1 – Why the extended hiring timeline? I’ve only seen that with relocation. Relocation should have involved regular discussions along the way as they navigate the move. Otherwise, this person wasn’t really available when they interviewed but you accepted the timing risk by offering the job.

    OP#2 – This is why you should never be Facebook, Insta, X, or otherwise social media connected to current co-workers. As much as you became their manager, they could have become yours. Once your connected, people can see everything you post, everything commented under that post, anytime you are tagged, anytime you respond to someone else’s post, everything you’ve liked, etc. Even if you try to set all your permissions and access strict, these websites constantly change the options and often reset the permissions to open. Keep your social media friends and family only. No work related folks unless it’s a job that’s done and gone.

  26. duinath*

    oh, 3. sometimes the title is all you need to say nooooooo do not. i am glad you checked with someone before trying this, that is good thinking and should continue.

  27. Asking For a Friend*

    If you back out of a job after accepting the offer but before you start, is it safe to say you’ve burned the bridge with that company? Even if you’ve apologized and provided the reasons (not emergency reasons but also not flippant). Should you just forget about applying there ever again? Curious if folks think there is any gray area there.

    1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      I did it once (I accepted a counter-offer) and I was pretty much dead to them by the time they accepted that I wasn’t starting.

    2. DramaQ*

      I withdrew an acceptance from my previous employer when I first got out of school. I accepted it because the clock was running out for student loan forbearance but it was a part time position. In-between I got an interview with another university that ended up being a full time job. I took that one.

      They understood. I ended up at the former university three years later and remained there for 12 years before moving out of academia entirely.

      It’s just the nature of job hunting, IMO. Companies do thing like that all the time. I interviewed for a job and a week later the place called me back to say sorry they decided to freeze the position then removed it all together.

      An employer should understand that I am in business for myself. If they can’t I consider that a red flag.

      Now if I actually started and onboarded I can see that being more of a dick move that might put me in a bad spot if I ever want to work there again. They already invested time in me. But then again that is what a probation period is supposed to be for. They can decide I don’t work out, I am supposed to be able to do the same. Funny employers don’t seem to agree on the second part.

      But if I haven’t even walked in the door and it’s taking 3 months for you to onboard me and I get another offer? If you don’t ever want to hire me again because I decided to choose another employer who could onboard me faster? Okay that’s cool I am likely not interested in playing the hiring game with you guys again either.

  28. Reality.Bites*

    When I got on Facebook way back when I made a rule – no co-workers and no family. I didn’t want to have to devote any effort to worrying about some people seeing what other people connected to me post.

    (I also never go on Facebook)

  29. Rondeaux*

    I don’t know why the person in #4 didn’t want to send a resume, but the employer could have simply taken a look at her LinkedIn also, since he was the one who approached her.

    1. Nameless*

      I will say that an actual resume doc has the benefit of allowing you to make notes on it, which is nice, and isn’t internet dependent.

    2. But what to call me?*

      That’s the thing that has seemed off to me about the replies to that one. Yes, it’s weird that Jane thinks no one uses resumes anymore, but we don’t actually know how motivated she was to apply for this job in the first place. The employer was the one who was searching, not her. It could be that she was interested enough to be willing to talk about it if the employer wanted to put in the effort but wasn’t interested enough to put much effort into applying, herself.

  30. Meg C*

    I’m sorry but LW #3 is a terrible *manager* if they think it’s okay to request a subordinate to help them network with that person’s *spouse*. This isn’t a case of just being a terrible “networker”.
    This would be a dubious proposition even if the person were senior to them and a mentor to them, because it’s outside of the org. But at least there’d be no power dynamic issues.

    I would like to see LW #3 go through all of AAM’s “power dynamics”, boss/subordinate letters before they look for a new role. This letter is such a red flag I would be very surprised if this is the only situation where LW behaves inappropriately (or considers it anyways) with subordinates. Best of luck in your job search LW, maybe look for a non-supervisory role!

  31. Oh, just me again*

    Re new hire quitting before they start, without phone call: Once my boss got a handwritten note in the MAIL (USPA) on the very day new co-worker was supposed to start. Sorry, his mother has incurable disease, and he needed to say close, so can’t relocate, etc. Do you know, 2 years later, job is open again, he reapplied and gets it! After all, he still has the best qualifications, interviews well, and so they choose him despite the fogoing lapse in manners (Had he called on the day he mailed the letter, we would have had at least a few days notice) So, he started. I ask what had happened with his mother. Well, she remarried he said, and now has new husband to care for her. Later, Mother has problems and I ask what about Mr. Newhusband. Well, he’s in prison – suppposedly. Never mentioned again, through her illness and decline (& surrounding family drama), death, and settlement of estate. Turned out, our guy knew his stuff ok, but had no regard for the truth, and took us on a wild rollercoaster ride until his own -eventual – drama-filled decline and death. I loved him to pieces -exasperating as he was. Work friends are like that, sometimes!

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