husband’s boss didn’t tell me about his medical episode, asking about starting time, and more

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

1. My husband’s boss didn’t alert me when he had a medical episode

My husband works for a small, family-owned business. The owners of the business are three siblings. The oldest brother used to be in charge, but he retired a year or so ago. The next oldest sister, Tina, is now trying to run the show. Tina is a mess. She doesn’t even show up for work until around 4:30 pm when they close at 5:30 pm. She claims she is working at home, but with nothing to show for it. They are struggling financially, but that is not the real question here.

My husband has some serious health issues. It is under control and he seems high-functioning, but it’s still there and he is dealing with it. He recently has been having a bad run of luck with continuity of care and refilling needed medications. He will have “episodes” and need to sleep them off. One of his episodes hid a stroke, so they are nothing to laugh at. He hasn’t had one in a few years since he started on medication.

Today he was sent out to do a pick-up and delivery in the company’s poorly-maintained, aging semi-sized delivery truck, a round trip of around five hours. He had an episode while driving today, and he pulled over and slept for a few hours. When he woke up, he called me and told me what was going on and said he was going to call Tina and then sleep some more. I gave him an hour or so to feel better and was thinking that Tina would call and let me know what was going on and what the plan was should he need assistance. Nope! I finally called him and he was back on the road and feeling a little bit better. Tina finally called a few minutes later, but she only called because he wasn’t answering her calls, not to tell me there was an issue. Oh, and she wanted to ask him a work question.

I told her I was about to call her and tell her to send someone to go get him and take him for medical evaluation. She had the nerve to be defensive with me. She was more worried about her empty truck than whether or not my husband was having a medical emergency.

Am I overreacting? How should this have been handled? What is an employer’s responsibility when this happens? I would have left my job and driven two hours or further to try and find him. I am really just stunned at the lack of … anything. It’s not even his job to do the deliveries.

Without knowing what your husband told Tina, I don’t think this necessarily warrants outrage. Did she know he was potentially having a medical emergency and could be in need of help, or could she have had the impression it was something more minor that your husband had under control? If the latter, it makes sense that she didn’t call you.

I’m guessing you have a lot more background on your husband’s health situation than Tina does and so you’re able to see that the situation required XYZ, but an employer wouldn’t necessarily have the info to make that call themselves. Going forward, can your husband work out a more official plan for these episodes with his employer, including them calling you if that’s a step he wants them to take? Otherwise, if he hasn’t given them clear guidance on how it should be handled, and especially if he just said he needed to rest before continuing the drive, it’s understandable that they wouldn’t know to alert you.

2. When can I ask about morning start time in an interview process?

You’ve written a few times about when you can bring up salary during an interview process. But what about office hours?

It seems like a lot of places have moved to starting at 8am instead of 9am. That is a deal-breaker for me. An otherwise perfect job that requires me to get up an hour earlier is an automatic no, the same way an otherwise perfect job that’s a $20,000 pay cut would be an automatic no. So, it seems to me it should be discussed around the same time, very early on in the interview process.

However, there is a weird, persistent stigma around night owls being viewed as lazy, despite the fact that we’re doing the same amount of work as the early birds, just later in the day. And while there has been growing acceptance of discussing salary earlier on and including it in job postings, there doesn’t seem to be the same discussion about scheduling.

Yeah, it’s BS and I imagine at some point it will change, but it hasn’t changed yet. Asking to work a schedule of, say, 11am – 7pm often does trigger an “indolent layabout” bias that asking about working 7am – 3pm doesn’t. It’s irrational — it’s the same amount of work, and there’s nothing inherently more virtuous about early hours versus late hours, but that bias persists in our culture.

I do think you can ask about hours fairly early on — as in, “What hours do people generally work?” That’s not asking about starting time, but about hours overall. If you don’t get clear info on starting time, you can follow up with, “Do most people start at 9 or 8 or…?”

Where it gets trickier is that if you hear 8 am, you won’t necessarily know if you could negotiate a later start time at the end of the hiring process if they conclude you’re they one they want to hire. You could ask about it on the spot (“I’ll be up-front, starting earlier than 9 isn’t a good fit for me — are you open to later schedules or would that be a deal-breaker?”) but sometimes it’s easier to get agreement at the offer stage than while you’re early in the interview process. Still, though, if you’re going to bow out at that point anyway, you might as well give it a shot and see what happens.

should I stop using my office’s flex hours since my coworkers have earlier schedules?

3. Should I correct my boss about someone else’s pronouns?

I have an absolutely wonderful boss who is super compassionate, smart, takes care of her employees, and has a spine with the higher-ups. She’s been in this job for a few years) and we’re around the same age.

We’ve been working with someone in a related department, also our age and at about my level, who uses they/them pronouns but goes by a traditionally feminine name, let’s say “Emma.” Our company’s internal directory displays people’s preferred pronouns, but not everyone fills this section out, and not everyone knows to look. I’ve noticed my boss talking about Emma using she/her when we are discussing our common work. So far this hasn’t happened while we’ve been talking to Emma one-on-one, but I worry that my boss might inadvertently misgender Emma to their face without meaning to do so.

However, she’s still my boss, so I don’t want to issue a corrective if it’s not my place to do so. Should I say something to her? Should I enlist another colleague who is at her level to say something? Should I make it less about my boss and more about “hey, everyone should know about this pronouns thing in the directory?”

It’s reasonable to assume a decent person would appreciate a heads-up, and your boss sounds like a decent person. The next time she uses the wrong pronouns for Emma, just say matter-of-factly, “Emma uses they/them pronouns” and continue right along with the conversation. Ideally it shouldn’t be a big deal — you relay the needed info, your boss hears it, and you move on, just like if you were letting her know Emma’s title recently changed or that they have an unusual pronunciation to their name.

4. Should I try to grow in my current job or leave for more money and more PTO?

I’ve been in my position for nearly three years. After a particularly rough season, I decided I would not stick around for more than another year. I started working on my résumé and putting out feelers. I knew that one possible pivot would increase my pay and get me some benefits that would matter a ton to me right now, specifically increased PTO. But then things changed at work. There were some personnel changes, and I ended up in a role where I was needed and thriving. Things were so busy as well that I totally dropped my own career planning. I started to think as well that I perhaps wouldn’t need to move on, things could work here.

Recently things have started to feel the way they did during the very bad season, and I am full of regret that I am facing down another one here. When I felt like things had changed, I was glad to try to make it work. Now I fear I’ve trapped myself.

I believe that my rough season was caused by multiple factors. Some are on me. I should have demanded better training and guidance. I shouldn’t have been afraid to ask for what I needed. When the training was not adequate, I should have been open and forthright in order to get the training I needed to be the employee they needed.

I’m struggling with whether I’m jumping ship because I’m lacking confidence and afraid, or whether it is the right choice. The prospect of more money and better benefits sounds wonderful. I also think that this pivot will be a better fit for me. I fear I’ve never been a good fit for this position. I believe I could grow better at it, but I wonder if I’m capable of growing fast enough to make it a less difficult place to be. I worry that I’m letting my sensitive nature make me quit something that I could grow at. On the other hand, maybe my sensitive nature will help me get more money at another position where I am a more natural fit!

Do you think there’s a way to know clearly whether my motivations are adequate for leaving or whether I should stick it out and find a way to be strong enough to grow? It has been hard to grow in this position, because I just feel stupid. Things that come easily to other people do not come easily to me. I am learning and I am growing. But the fact that I’ve disappointed people has never been hidden from me.

I suppose my worry is that I only think the pivot would be a better fit for me, and that actually I’ll just be at least a bit of a disappointment everywhere I go. So I may as well try to make it work here.

Wanting more money and better benefits is enough! You don’t need to try to contort yourself into something that doesn’t feel comfortable for the sake of “toughing it out” or showing that you’re strong enough to do it. You’re not happy in your job, you see a path that would get you more money and better benefits … that’s enough. Maybe you could stick it out and grow in your current position. But there’s no special merit in doing that, and you’re not failing by choosing not to. You’re allowed to leave whenever you feel like leaving, and it sounds like you feel like leaving.

As for your worry that the next job won’t be a better fit … maybe it won’t be! There’s never any guarantee. But you’ve been at your current job for three years, and that’s a reasonable time to move on if you’re not satisfied. Try something new, do your due diligence before accepting it, and give yourself the gift of not feeling tethered to a place that you already regret not leaving earlier.

{ 593 comments… read them below }

  1. learnedthehardway*

    OP#1 – I wouldn’t have even assumed that Tina was aware of the health episode or – if she was aware that your DH had felt poorly – that she had any real understanding of his health issues. I think you’re over-reacting. You know your DH and his health situation. His rather absent boss likely has NO idea. I would bet that your DH did not tell her details – probably just said he wasn’t feeling well and had to pull over until he was okay to continue driving.

    Besides that, unless there was a health emergency (of the “call an ambulance” variety) that his boss was aware of, it would be off-side for a manager to connect with a spouse about an employee’s health.

    I remember the one and only time my mother got a call about my dad – it was when he had collapsed at work and was taken to the hospital. That was a definite “inform next of kin” situation. He was sometimes sick, but as long as he was walking about under his own steam, it wouldn’t have been appropriate for his manager to reach out to my mother.

    1. allathian*

      Yes, I agree with you on this.

      That said, it sounds like the LW’s husband isn’t safe to drive anymore, and he’s definitely not safe to drive for work. The LW’s husband got lucky this time as he realized that he wasn’t feeling well and was able to stop before driving into a ditch or rear-ending someone else. Next time, he may not be so lucky.

      So I don’t blame the boss for not reaching out to the LW, but I do think she’s rather callous to care more about her crappy truck than the health of her employee. She’s free to feel however she likes, of course, but it’s not an appropriate emotion to express to the employee’s wife.

      1. JM60*

        To be fair to Tina, she might have suspected the possibility of a medical issue. So she have been caught off guard when learning about the medical incident in real-time on the phone with the OP, causing her to get defensive in the moment. If so, that in-the-moment defensiveness doesn’t necessarily mean that she cares more about her truck than she does the well-being of the OP’s husband.

      2. Green great dragon*

        We can’t say from the letter he’s not safe to drive. Episodes may come on gradually enough that he has time to pull over. Let’s trust he, his medical team and his wife have a better handle on this than we do.

        1. PinaColada*

          I don’t think there’s any standard delivery/driving position that accepts “sometimes I have health episodes that cause me to have to pull over and sleep for several hours before resuming driving” as “safe to drive”, no matter how gradually they come on.

          It sounds more likely that this was a one-off situation that they thought he’d be fine for… But he really wasn’t

          1. JSPA*

            Do they screen out people with painless migraines? Because my lifelong, (normally aura- only) migraines, which always start with a tiny (pinpoint) visual disturbance, then take a good 15 to 20 minutes to cover more of my field of vision (but never at full occlusion of real visual input), would roughly fit the description.

            Maybe once a year, they are accompanied and followed by a couple of hours of severe photosensitivity. But anyone can have a health incident once a year that sidelines them for 2 or 3 hours. (A bad gas station hot dog once laid me out for 3 days.)

            1. Goldenrod*

              I get painless migraines too! I thought it was just a weird thing unique to me.

              1. Just Another Cog*

                I get them, too! While it’s annoying to have it happen when you’re trying to work on a computer, it’s pretty scary to have half your vision in each eye go blank when you’re barreling down the highway at 65 MPH. I feel for the OP’s husband.

            2. KayDeeAye*

              My mother used to get painless migraines, too – she just saw little speckles floating around. She could treat the migraines with just a little extra boost of caffeine.

              And my pharmacist also gets painless migraines, but they are quite alarming because she loses alllll of her peripheral vision and is left with just this little tunnel that she can see through. They only last about a half hour, though, and she gets a few minutes warning, so if she happens to be driving, she just pulls over ASAP and waits it out.

          2. Orv*

            If his doctor thought he wasn’t safe to drive he’d have already asked the state to pull his license. Doctors are required to report certain conditions (like sleep disorders, and epilepsy.)

            1. CV*

              I may have missed whether his doctor knows about his symptoms and has also been told he’s driving commercially.

              I’ve known people who kept things from their doctors on purpose.

              1. xl*

                It’s not unusual to keep things from your doctor or avoid going to the doctor altogether when your livelihood depends upon it. That’s a constant in certain career fields.

                I work in a career that requires yearly medical certification, and part of the process is turning over all your medical records from the past year.

                Conditions such as depression are disqualifying. Anyone who would go to a doctor for treatment for that would be committing career suicide.

            2. RussianInTexas*

              In my states physicians are not obligated to report medical conditions that could affect a patient’s ability to drive.

        2. PinaColada*

          I don’t think there’s a commercial driving/delivery position out there that would equate “a medical issue that causes episodes whereby a person needs to pull over and sleep for several hours” with “safe to drive”.

          More likely, because they are a small family owned business, (and dysfunctionally run, apparently), they haven’t thought through the legal and ethical ramifications of allowing this unsafe driver to drive.

          I’m willing to surmise that they thought his condition was under control with his medication, but now they know it’s not.

          1. MigraineMonth*

            I thought OP said driving was not a usual part of the husband’s duties, and this was unusual. I can see how having a regular delivery driver who has an episodic (but not accident-causing) health issue that requires long breaks for recovery (like migraines, IBS, etc.) would be a problem for a business’ efficiency, but that’s not really the case here.

        3. PineappleColada*

          I don’t think there’s a commercial driving/delivery position out there that would equate “a medical issue that causes episodes whereby a person needs to pull over and sleep for several hours” with “safe to drive”.

          More likely, because they are a small family owned business, (and dysfunctionally run, apparently), they haven’t thought through the legal and ethical ramifications of allowing this him to drive.

          I’m willing to surmise that they thought his condition was under control with his medication, but now they know it’s not. Plus it was a one-off situation, which hopefully won’t happen again.

        4. Dawn*

          I’m Type 1 diabetic and the instructions from my doctor are basically, “Dawn is fine to drive, her diabetes is under control and she knows to pull over and address her blood sugars if they become a problem while driving.” Lots of people with medical issues that may cause them to occasionally need to pull off the road drive every day; the key point in there is, “are they aware of when it’s happening and do they remove themselves from the road until it is safe for them to drive again?”

          1. Star Trek Nutcase*

            Personally, I don’t want to trust my life or my family’s to someone else’s ability to always detect when to pull over. My coworker was diabetic and mentioned the same ability – of course, she also crashed over a railing and barely missed an alligator-infested pond because her blood sugar-induced brain fog. From discussions with her, a few such instances had happened over 10 years, usually prompted by need for medication changes. I feel sorry for her, but even more for her young daughter in her backseat. Regardless, she risks lives driving and I don’t care if it’s a 1 in 10,000 chance. Driving is a privilege not a right.

            IMO the OP’s husband’s business shouldn’t allow him to drive any longer – if for no other reason than liability & insurance, but YMMV.

            1. BestBet*

              Driving is a privilege and not a right is a hard line to hold in the US where almost all ability to have reliable transportation is predicated on having a car and being able to drive (outside of a very few large cities). I think if we had better public transportation a lot less people would put themselves in situations like your coworker. It’s an issue that needs a systemic response, not individual shaming.

              Of course, that’s not really relevant to driving for work purposes, which I’d agree it sounds like this man maybe shouldn’t be.

              1. MigraineMonth*

                Yeah, I lived most of my adult life without a car, but that basically means you have to live in a large can never go anywhere that isn’t also a large city without needing to either rent a car (which defeats the purpose if you’re trying to avoid driving) or use rideshare/taxis.

                I ended up getting a car to visit family that lived less than 2 hours away. Or in other words, 2 rideshare/taxi rides, 2 busses and a train (5+ hours).

              2. NotEveryoneCanDrive*

                and that itself is a problem because there are legitimately people who are medically unable to drive


                We have to pay a huge disability tax to live near usually unreliable public transportation. Because most of the country prioritizes driving as the default transportation mode. That doesn’t make me any more able to drive or make it more tenable for someone who can’t safely drive to do it anyway (making no judgements re: whether this person falls into that category)

                1. Dawn*

                  And the cost of rent!

                  I was trying to save up to buy a house when I got laid off; the government tried very hard to take my license (because the Ontario government is extremely overbearing about medical license suspensions and you can look that up, there’s evidence it’s to the point where it’s literally against our constitution,) and a mortgage outside of the city would be waaaaaaaaaaay less expensive than the average rent in my city of $2,218 per month for a crappy 2br apartment.

                  But to buy a house in one of those places I absolutely must have a car, and the government definitely prefers their disabled people to remain in poverty.

                2. Anax*

                  Solidarity! I’m in that boat too.

                  I’m lucky enough to have partners who can drive me, which is fortunate, because I’m *also* unable to access most public transportation – that unreliability is killer if you can’t be out in the weather for long, and I’m prone to heatstroke.

              3. Anax*

                Yeah, totally agreed. There’s also a tendency to assume that “driving a car” is an ability every “real adult” should have, in the US – non-drivers are often framed as childish, senile, or otherwise not ‘really’ full adults, regardless of the reason they can’t drive.

                People who should not drive are often pressured to drive, even if they know it’s unsafe, which is awful. I’ve experienced that myself.

                I mean, heck, not being able to drive was one of the reasons I lost my last job. It’s due to a medical disability, but my (public-sector) job absolutely refused to let me keep working from home, because HR believed that disability-related commute issues were ‘not their problem.’

                I’ve driven when, in retrospect, I should not have. I wasn’t cavalier about it – I did absolutely everything in my power to reduce risk, and my health issues were undiagnosed at the time. There was no other way I could afford to get food or get to medical appointments.

                (Taxis are VERY expensive, public transit didn’t cover the needed areas, I couldn’t walk or bike far enough, and my friends and family generally didn’t believe me about my health issues.)

                But god, it was terrifying. If I had had any other option, I would never have gotten a driver’s license – and as soon as I *did* have another option, I stopped driving completely.

                People often assume I’m not an equal contributor to my relationship because I don’t drive – I rely on my partners to run errands. There’s a lot of guilt around that, even though I’m sure I’m making the right decision.

                I still technically have a license – my doctor believes the risk can be mitigated enough that it’s useful for me to have a driver’s license in case of a real emergency, like ‘taking someone to the hospital.’ That seems to be surprisingly common in ‘edge case’ medical issues, where driving can be unsafe under some circumstances but the risk can be mitigated or variable.

                It’s very much a systemic issue, and that sucks, and needs systemic change!

                (And protip from experience, DON’T DRIVE WHEN YOU HAVE HEATSTROKE.)

            2. iliketoknit*

              I’m sorry about what happened with your co-worker. However, there’s no way to predict when an apparently perfectly healthy person will be struck with a medical emergency when driving, either. If someone’s doctor says they’re fine to drive, that should be sufficient.

            3. Dawn*

              I can pull the numbers for this if you’d like, but the odds of a perfectly healthy person being in an accident are 3%, the odds of a diabetic driver being in an accident is 4%. What you are saying here is straight-up ableism and is highly discriminatory.

            4. Kella*

              100% of drivers have the capacity to be unsafe to drive if, for example, they don’t get enough sleep. *Everybody* has the potential to have a medical emergency that requires them to recognize they are no longer safe to drive and pull over, including you. People with intermittent or chronic health issues are just as capable of assessing whether their condition will interfere with their driving as healthy people are.

              It sounds like your coworker is either not as good at making that assessment as she thinks she is (just like lots of healthy people think they are fine to drive sleep-deprived or even drunk) or necessity meant that she did not have the external support system necessary to transport her during medical flareups. I hope she receives the support she needs so she no longer has to take that kind or risk.

          2. Quill*

            I was just thinking of diabetes as a comparable “safe to drive 99% of the time, in some cases gives you enough warning to stop driving” that, like LW’s Husband, can be exacerbated by changes in medication.

            Especially if delivery driving is less frequent at this business, and the episodes are usually better controlled, I don’t think we can conclude right now that LW’s husband is categorically safe, or unsafe, to drive – though it is almost definitely worth asking if someone else can drive the deliveries until he gets his medications sorted out / updated / on a regular schedule, or reassessed by a doctor, or whatever it is that brought this situation on.

            1. I Have RBF*

              The LW said that “It’s not even his job to do the deliveries.” If he’s having an issue with episodes because his medication is unavailable or not regular, he should not be driving on the clock.

          3. PineappleColada*

            But do you drive commercially? I think the standard is higher for commercial driving, as it should be.

            1. Lenora Rose*

              Neither does the OP’s husband drive commercially; he just works for a dysfunctional place that decided today he had to do the delivery job since nobody else was available and he was the warm body on hand.

                1. Orv*

                  It is, but not necessarily driving that requires a CDL. It depends on the gross vehicle weight of the truck.

              1. biobotb*

                So he is doing commercial driving, even though he shouldn’t (for safety and possible legal reasons).

            2. Dawn*

              Commercial drivers are still fully allowed to be diabetic, actually. They have to get a doctor’s agreement that they’re safe to drive, yes, and the requirements are moderately more stringent, yes, but diabetics are absolutely still fully allowed to be commercial drivers. We are, for the most part, ordinary people trying to live ordinary lives with a condition most of us manage very well.

                1. Dawn*

                  Thank you, WellRed. It amazes me how confidently people will proclaim with their whole chests that any medical condition makes one unsafe to ever drive when the odds are extremely good that as they age they’ll get one of those conditions and suddenly feel differently when it’s their license on the chopping block and they’re still fully capable.

                2. Meadow*

                  +1 to Dawn

                  And a big ‘ol raspberry to the anti-car crowd that saw this thread as an opportunity to mount their favorite hobby horse.

      3. Captain Radish*

        He definitely would have an issue with a state DOT exam. I am not an interstate truck driver (which these are required for) but my company wants everybody to take. It actually was a pretty good thing, really, as it found I have actually been diabetic for several years now and never knew.

        1. ScruffyInternHerder*

          My experience in a lot of small businesses has been that there’s little attention paid to who is technically permitted to drive what vehicle….until there’s a problem or fine that makes them pay attention.

          1. ElastiGirl*

            This. And how would they know of an off-site problem?

            I once followed a driver for several miles as he swerved, stopped and started oddly, nearly ran 3 other cars off the road. When I pulled up alongside at a stop light, I saw the elderly driver was fast asleep at the wheel. The name of his company was painted on the side of his car, so I called them. They had no idea there was a problem. They called me back later to tell me the long-time employee had lost his license for medical issues, and they never thought to ask if he still had a license.

            It may, sadly, be time for the LW’s husband to be tested for the ability to drive safely

        2. Lydia*

          You definitely don’t know what he’s permitted to do as far as driving, so let’s take not make stuff up.

        3. Petty Betty*

          I’m a CDL holder. I had to jump through a LOT of extra hoops because of my medication list, and I have to do it annually because of said medication list. If I were experiencing what OP’s husband were experiencing, they would pull my CDL. The fact that his “episodes” has hidden a mini-stroke on at least one occasion is alarming enough to me. His “episodes” require him to sleep the effects off for an hour or more, which means he’s not capable of handling a vehicle at all during or directly after the episode (which could potentially be during an emergency situation outside of the episode).

          From a safety standpoint, I wouldn’t feel comfortable with him driving a company vehicle.

    2. JM60*

      The fact that Tina called “because he wasn’t answering her calls” tells me that she didn’t get any information from OP1’s husband (and therefore didn’t know about him having a medical issue). She was probably thinking, “Bob forgot to give me a status update,” not “He must be having a medical emergency.”

      1. Brain the Brian*

        Or she was calling LW1 to find out if LW1 knew anything about her employee’s safety status! LW1 is misinterpreting this, I think — perhaps because of Tina’s generally disorganized nature.

      2. OP1*

        No he called her to tell her what was going on. She was later trying to reach him for a work question. Not to see how he was doing. And when I say she was more worried about the work truck, it meant that she expected him to drive another hour to the distributor and park the truck there.

        1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

          Its highly likely he said I already called my wife. So as far as Tina knew, you already knew. There wouldn’t be a reason to call you with the same information.

          1. Lea*

            Yeah considering that her husband was communicating with her I’m confused what communication she expected from
            His boss

          2. Hannah*

            Exactly – why would Tina call his wife when he was clearly capable of doing so, and in fact had already called her? That makes no sense.

          3. Shutterdoula*

            This was my thought, too. That he said something about calling you already, or that she said “do you need me to call your wife?” and he said “No, I already talked with her.
            You were not left out of the loop at all, in fact you were informed *before* she was, so there was no need for her to call you and inform you of anything.
            It really does seem like you’re straining to find fault with her because you already don’t like her.

            1. Jo*

              I agree. The LW has expressed a long litany of issues she has with her husband’s employer. Taking umbrage about not being called when her husband already called her doesn’t make sense. It’s up to her husband to manage his career and he should have refused to drive if he’s not up to it. These episodes are nothing to do with his job.

        2. fhqwhgads*

          Does she have him actually on the insurance policy for that truck? She may be doing some illegal things by having him drive it in the first place, given his conditions. Raising that issue could potentially get him out of being asked to drive in the future, but either way, time to look for a new job. None of this was safe, and if she’s not only asking him to drive when that’s not his job, but also potentially asking him to drive when he’s not insured to be driving that vehicle (possibly not licensed to be driving that vehicle too), this is just a liability nightmare waiting to happen.

        3. MigraineMonth*

          OP, I think what we’re missing here is what your husband told his boss about his health/ability to drive. Did he say he wasn’t safe to continue and she forced him to? If yes, that’s what’s outrageous.

          If he said he was safe to drive, why shouldn’t she believe him? Do you disagree with your husband’s assessment think the boss should have consulted you before allowing him to continue?

        4. Data*

          Your husband was conscious. I don’t want my contacts called except for extreme emergency. Different prospective.

        5. Observer*

          No he called her to tell her what was going on.

          OK, she’s a major league jerk. But there is no reason she should have called you to alert you that there is a problem. She should also not have called you to get the truck back either, of course, but that’s a different issue.

    3. Cj*

      if I were the wife, I wouldn`t be upset with Tina, because I really don’t think she knew what was going on. but I sure as heck would be upset with my husband for not calling me as soon as he had to pull over, instead of after he had already slept for several hours.

      what if he had had a significant episode, or had even had a stroke? he would have been in his truck on the side of the road, and his wife wouldn’t have known what was going on.

      1. bamcheeks*

        The vibe I’m getting from this is that LW’s husband either isn’t capable of making safe decisions after an episode (if he’s confused / hypoglycaemic / something else that affects cognition) OR that he doesn’t think they’re as big a deal as LW does and she’s trying to enlist his boss into husband-management because husband isn’t doing it himself.

        LW, the first thing you need to do is get on the same page as your husband. If your husband doesn’t recognise that he needs to stop work and go and get checked out after an episode, you *cannot* go directly to his boss and try and get her to enforce that. Your husband gets to make decisions about his health, even if you’re pretty sure they’re the wrong ones, and if he says he’s fine after a couple of hours sleep, then that’s what his boss is going to listen to. (The exception here is if he’s officially not safe to *drive*, according to your doctor— if your husband is brushing off medical advice that he shouldn’t drive after these incidents, then that’s something I think you can and should inform his boss about, same as you would if he was drunk-driving. But be prepared for your husband to be very angry.)

        If your husband is broadly on the same page as you about his illness but lacks capacity to make safe decisions in the aftermath of an episode, then your husband (with your support) should make a medical plan with his boss whilst he’s feeling well and ask them to follow it. If he’s told his boss he lacks decision-making abilities, and not to take his, “I’m fine to keep working!” at face value, and they still do, THEN you have a problem.

        But what you can’t do is get his boss to MAKE him do what you think the medically right thing is if your husband doesn’t agree.

        1. OP1*

          He is very stubborn for sure, but she knows. He shouldn’t be put into the position to drive in the first place. He will tell her flat out that he is not doing the deliveries anymore and it isn’t safe and she will turn around and tell him that she scheduled a delivery for him the next day. The large truck most likely triggered the episode with the large windshield and flickering sunlight, plus being bounced around non stop. They have a delivery person, but he doesn’t bother coming to work and has his own medical issues. This is just a symptom of larger problems. I work for a large corporate company and they would call the paramedics at the first sign of anyone having an issue. It’s about liability too.

          1. Mo*

            It’s on him to refuse to drive when she schedules a delivery for him. THIS is what he should be stubborn about. Tina is an issue for sure, but the bigger issue is that your husband is getting behind the wheel and knowingly endangering himself and others. He’s an adult and that’s squarely on him.

          2. bamcheeks*

            He will tell her flat out that he is not doing the deliveries anymore and it isn’t safe and she will turn around and tell him that she scheduled a delivery for him the next day

            So why does he say yes? I get how frustrating this must be for you but you can’t influence Tina, only your husband. You need *him* to see this isn’t OK and start either sticking to his decision or looking for a new job.

          3. Zarniwoop*

            “The large truck most likely triggered the episode”
            In which case he should never drive it again for the sake of the safety of everyone else on the road.

          4. biobotb*

            Tina sounds legitimately awful, but if certain steps need to be taken after one of your husband’s health episodes, he’s in charge of deciding what those are. If you need to be involved in those, why didn’t you two decide that already, or why didn’t he tell you that when he called?

            Your husband clearly needs a new job.

          5. Bruce*

            I’m glad he’s trying to push back on having to do deliveries, it must be a source of worry for you. I hope he can find a way to change that!

          6. Martin Blackwood*

            OP1, i dont know what kind of employment rights you have where you are, but where i am theres the “right to refuse” work that can have safety issues. You and your husband might want to see if thats the case where you are

          7. MigraineMonth*

            Okay, this sounds like the real issue: “My boss keeps assigning me tasks that are dangerous for me to perform due to my health issues. I’ve told her ‘no’, but she blows past all my refusals and continues scheduling me to do the tasks.”

            It sounds like you and your husband are on the same page about not wanting to do the deliveries, at least (even if he’s being pressured into doing them in the moment). In that case, I think the ADA might help here. Can you have a doctor send a certified note that it would be dangerous for him to drive a large truck? I think the existence of such a note in his file would scare a lot of reasonable businesses into recognizing their legal liability.

            Though this place sounds like it’s already playing fast and loose with CDL rules, so… get out, get out, get out?

          8. mbs001*

            Your husband is a grown adult – not a child. He can certainly advocate for himself with his employer.

          9. An Honest Nudibranch*

            Ya, honestly this comes across a bit as misdirected anger – the fact she didn’t call you isn’t the problem, the *problem* is she’s telling him to do something that both of them know is unsafe. And that is a huge deal.

            (Like, look, I don’t know your life situation well enough to know what your options are. But honestly this is a situation that can warrant quitting without a replacement if it’s financially feasible – and it might be worth looking into if any form of unemployment benefits are still available if someone quits due to flagrant safety or legal violations wherever you live.)

      2. OP1*

        Tina is the first person to call me at my job when she can’t get a hold of my husband and she wants something. I have a full time job and she interrupts it for stupid stuff. She was more worried about her own poison ivy than my husband’s health.

        1. Green great dragon*

          She what!? Do you work for the same company? Because if not this is the crackers bit. And even if you do, she shouldn’t be calling you because she can’t get your husband.

        2. Cookie Monster*

          Tina sounds awful but isn’t it possible that your husband told Tina he already talked to you? So then she wouldn’t feel the need to also call you?

        3. Baunilha*

          OP, I think you’re focusing on the wrong thing here. While I don’t think Tina necessarily had to call you after learning about your husband’s incident, I agree that she was a little callous aftwards. However, this seems like a BEC situation: Tina is bad at her job, she calls you at work (!!!), the company may be sinking, and probably other stuff that you didn’t mention. Your husband’s episode is the tip of a very messy iceberg.

          You and your husband should work out two clear plans: one for how both you and his employer should proceed in case another of his episodes happens at work, and one for setting clear boundaries with Tina, because she shouldn’t be calling you unless it was a real emergency. (And I’m guessing she does other stuff that annoys you, so work on them as well)

          1. Ray B Purchase*

            100%. Reading OP’s post and comments it seems like her annoyance from this event is being really overblown by distaste with Tina’s poor management and generally obnoxious behavior as the husband’s boss.

            If OP were the employee I think we’d probably be suggesting that with a new bad boss and the company in a financially bad place, it might be time to look elsewhere. I don’t wanna speculate too much but I wonder if OP and husband have been disagreeing on whether it’s time for him to move on both because of the company and his health and that’s also exacerbating this incident in OP’s POV.

            1. Petty Betty*

              That’s my read, too.

              This is a situation where the husband needs to be leaving the company because one way or another, the company is going to go under. The question is: will it go under because he ends up having an episode while driving and get into a serious wreck that causes the company (and him) to be sued?

          2. HappyPenguin*

            Spot on. It’s very clear from OP’s letter that she doesn’t like or respect Tina, so I think this instance is being blown way out of proportion. And as others have said, since OP’s husband had already spoken to OP, what did she expect or want to learn from Tina after the fact? The husband was capable of making a phone call and did, to OP. I think the concerns about husband’s job and bad management need to be addressed separately, by husband.

            1. xl*

              Yes. The initial letter was framed as to make her sound as bad as possible, and every follow-up has done the same. You can sense the aggravation in OP when she’s told that Tina didn’t do anything wrong.

              “I don’t think Tina did anything wrong, but I see problems with x, y, and z.”

              “Did I mention that Tina also did something else egregious?? And that she burnt down a puppy and kitten shelter?!”

              OP, your main problem is your hatred with Tina and no matter what anyone here says, you’re going to bend it to that narrative.

              1. Dr Sarah*

                Yes. And, to be fair, it sounds like she has more than enough reason to be furious with Tina. It’s just that in this case that’s spilled over into being furious with Tina over a specific thing that *wasn’t* actually a wrongdoing on Tina’s part. So, OP, instead of focusing on that, focus on what needs to be done to deal with the ways in which Tina actually is a disaster to deal with, preferably by your husband getting the hell out of this job, and definitely by him pushing back and standing firm next time she tries to make him drive the truck.

          3. Slow Gin Lizz*

            I don’t think this is a true BEC situation because afaik BEC is for when you dislike a person for some small reason but you blow it out of proportion and hate everything that person does. The fact that Tina is a terrible boss and calls OP about her husband when she doesn’t even work at the company is a really good reason to dislike Tina, IMO. Tina should NOT be calling OP at all except for a medical emergency. This is tough situation, though, because you do need to be able to be in touch with Tina if there *is* an emergency so you can’t block her number, but it’s going to take both you and your husband telling Tina to stop calling you for mundane work reasons.

            And as others have been saying here, she absolutely needs to find someone else to do the truck driving. Aside from the fact that your husband should NOT be driving a semi, he also really shouldn’t be driving so far away from home if there’s a chance that he might not be able to drive back, even if he were only driving a small car.

            But honestly? I’m going to recommend your husband find a job with a decent boss that doesn’t require him to drive anything for any reason. Tina sounds like a nightmare and the company certainly doesn’t sound like a great place to be given that it isn’t financially stable.

            1. Raisin Walking to the Moon*

              @Slow Gin Lizz, you’re misunderstanding the BEC phenomenon. It’s used when you have a good reason to dislike someone, and that’s what makes the contrast humorous. You have cause to dislike someone, but now everything they do (like eating crackers) makes you angry.

            2. OP1*

              Yep, that is pretty much it. This is just another symptom of bigger issues. Husband feels a loyalty to the family and it is very misguided and one sided. I have told him to quit. Tina has no boundaries and does all kinds of things that are very self serving and interfering with our personal time. We don’t need to have nightly swim sessions with her or go out for drinks every night after work. Calls day and night to ask him stupid questions. When she can’t reach him, she calls me. And her husband who doesn’t even work at the company does the same thing. They take advantage of my husband and have given him empty promises of giving him a percentage of the business.

              1. MigraineMonth*

                That sounds like an absolute nightmare, but unfortunately there’s nothing you can do to put down boundaries for your husband if he won’t enforce them.

                It sounds like you need a real heart-to-heart with your husband . Your task is to try to understand what he’s getting out of the job/relationship and his hopes for the future. Right now, he doesn’t seem like he wants to change anything. If things were to stay like this for another 5 or 10 years, could you be happy?

              2. Dahlia*

                You have a husband problem, not a Tina problem. Say no to going swimming with her. Hang up when she calls if it’s not an emergency. You’re letting yourself get enmeshed in this drama.

              3. Kay*

                I’m curious as to why you simply don’t stop taking her, and her husband’s, calls? That is fully within your control as a boundary to set, yet you haven’t.

              4. terracotta*

                Look, honestly, Tina sounds like a hot mess. But you and your husband are both being totally passive about it. If you keep saying yes to Tina, and keep taking her calls and listening to her go on about poison ivy or whatever, and keep going for drinks with Tina, and your husband keeps driving for Tina, then nothing is ever going to change. She’s not going to become a better person overnight. He. Needs. To. Quit. And if he won’t, you have a husband problem, not a Tina problem. He is choosing to work there, choosing to engage with these people, choosing to get behind the wheel of a huge truck he shouldn’t be driving. He has agency here, he’s not a helpless puppet in Tina’s evil grip.

            3. Peach Parfaits Pls*

              It means the opposite; it’s when you have real reasons to dislike someone but extend that to taking offense at even normal things they do.

        4. kiki*

          I’m wondering if the real root of the issue here is that Tina shouldn’t be calling you at work except in case of, like, a medical emergency, but in the one scenario where there actually was a medical issue, Tina was calling about another trivial concern.

          It was probably alarming to know your husband had recently been having a medical episode, then see Tina’s name pop up on your phone. And then picking up the phone only to realize she was calling about her own nonsense is super aggravating.

          I think going forward, your husband needs to lay down the law with Tina– only call OP1 in case of a medical emergency or suspected medical emergency. But candidly, LW, I think you also need to talk to your husband about expected communication when he’s had a medical episode– if he’s able to drive and make calls, he should be the one following up with you. He should be calling you to let you know what’s going on. If there’s an emergency, he’s incapacitated, and Tina is facilitating an emergency plan of some sort, yes, Tina should call you to keep you up-to-date about the plans on how his care is being handled, but it sounds like your husband felt fine enough to get back on the road and was able to talk on the phone without issue– it’s not odd that Tina didn’t reach out. It is definitely frustrating that she called you about something trivial, though

        5. Kat*

          OP1, do you know Tina in a context outside of just as your husband’s boss? Like, is she related to you or someone else in your family, or were you friends or colleagues or schoolmates at some point?

          The fact that she calls her employee’s spouse at another company about not only her own work but also her own poison ivy(???) and the sheer level of emotional intensity that you’re displaying here makes me wonder if there is some other personal context or relationship that would make this all make a bit more sense (in a messy sort of way).

          1. Ray B Purchase*

            Based on some of OP1’s other comments it seems like Tina has kind of become a social friend against OP1’s will.

        6. iliketoknit*

          Tina calling you all the time about your husband is rude and annoying and rightfully frustrating. But I think it’s a separate issue from what she should/shouldn’t have done about your husband’s health, given that he’d called her. Presumably if he’d needed something he’d have told her and if she didn’t provide it he’d have called you. If he called her and said he’d had an incident and would sleep it off, I don’t know that she should be expected to provide medical assistance unless he actually said to her, I need medical assistance.

        7. NotYourMom*

          Yours and your husbands relationship with his boss is dysfunctional. Start making some firm boundaries with her, because continuing to take her calls in those situations reinforces her bad behaviour and tells her its ok.

          It’s really hard to say whether she made the right call in terms of not contacting you or not (her obligation is to your husbands privacy, not providing you information). From your letter it isn’t clear she understood he was having an episode, or what severity that was.

        8. La Colombe*

          OP1, you mentioned that this is a family business in that Tina and the owners are all related to each other…are they all also related to you or your husband???

          Because after reading through the additional comments, that sort of seems like the only conclusion here, based on the extra stuff you included about your interactions with Tina. Like, WTF. And is that why your husband is still working there even though Tina apparently blows past his refusals to be a delivery driver all the time because of his medical condition?

          IDK, it just seems like we’re going to get an update at some point that’s like “oh I didn’t mention this in my original letter but Tina is [a blood relative of OP or the OP’s husband]”

          And I sympathize with your dilemma, I do. I have a loved one with a similar vertigo condition that comes without warning. They can go years without an episode and then get multiple vertigo episodes in a 4-month period with no apparent trigger. To say it’s frustrating doesn’t even begin to cover it. AND we’ve had to deal with busy-body family members who make it allll about them too instead of being concerned about, you know, the actual family member who has the actual medical episodes. So I have an idea of what you’re going through. Which is why I’m like, “…you seem way more invested in Tina that B-word than your husband’s declining health…why???? Is Tina your SIL or something???”

    4. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

      Tina will have assumed (as would I) that since he was able to call Tina, he is also able to call OP, and would do so if needed. This doesn’t seem to me like a situation where Tina should have used the emergency contact process.

      1. Allonge*

        Exactly waht I was thinking. OP, you need a more spelled-out process for this, especially between you and your husband and that should include what he asks Tina to do in such cases.

        I totally understand you are worried! It’s just that you have a lot more information – in general* – than Tina does at this stage.

        *In particular, I am not sure – you are not obliged to tell us all the details, but when your husband called Tina, what did he say? If I get a call from an employee saying ‘I am delayed, was not feeling well and had to pull over, better now, will get on the road again in some time’ – calling their emergency contact may not be my first thought. I would hopefully ask if they need me to, but without context, I would probably be 1. do you need an ambulance 2. should someone go get you 3. can I do anything else.

        1. Cyborg Llama Horde*

          Honestly, If someone phrased it like that, I would assume that they were having unpleasant digestive issues and needed to spend a few hours near a bathroom/convenient clump of trees/whatever. Something unlikely to be serious, but also incompatible with driving safely.

      2. Adam*

        In addition to that, he may have mentioned that he had called his spouse to Tina, in which case why would Tina call? Any information that needed to be passed along to the spouse would have already happened, so what is there for Tina to do?

      3. TechWorker*

        Also I’m confused by the title because it sounds like her husband did infact call her *before* letting Tina know what was going on. It seems she was expecting Tina to, I don’t know, mount a rescue mission? Which would be very odd if her husband hadn’t requested that and was saying he was ok to drive…

        1. OP1*

          It is a vertigo episode. If it went away and he was safe to drive after sleeping for a little bit that would be one thing. He was 4 hours from home and there is a history of one of his vertigo episodes resulting in a stroke. So, if it didn’t clear up, what should have been done? He was out in the middle of nowhere, so I don’t even know if there was a motel to stay at or a hospital. Someone would have needed to go and rescue him if he couldn’t drive home.

      4. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

        Yeah, this is 100% where I land. Husband was capable of making phone calls! Either Tina knew that, if he called her, or didn’t, in which case she wouldn’t have been aware of the episode either. Acting as an intermediary between LW and her husband would have been an overstep.

        LW, I think you’re letting your concern for your husband and your irritation at Tina in general cloud your interpretation of this incident.

    5. OP1*

      No, she knows. He isn’t shy about sharing. Tina just doesn’t care. We are talking about someone hours from home driving a large dangerous truck with extreme vertigo.

      1. MK*

        It’s still not appropriate for an employer to co-ordinate an employee’s medical care with their spouse; you said yourself your husband called you before he called Tina, so why didnt he tell you if he needed assistance? Why did you expect to hear from Tina about that? I think you are conflating three problems: 1) Tina is a bad manager and likely a bad businesswoman and that is making your husband’s work life difficult, 2) your husband has medical issues that sound like they require accommodations (e.g. not driving long distances) and Tina, because she is a bad manager, isn’t handling that well (or at all), and 3) Tina didn’t call you when your husband told her he was feeling unwell. The first may be the root of all the problems, but it’s not something you or your husband can do anything about. The second might be the easiest to solve, if your husband can require accommodations, or even simply refuse to do tasks that endager himself and others and ask for help whne he needs to, but you need to get him on board for that, not expect Tina to do it. The last, as others have said, is not really the outrage you see it as, given that your husband was conscious and making calls.

        I am going to take a wild guess that you are dealing with the dual frustrations of a husband who isn’t handling his medical issues as he should (I get that he might be endangering his job by refusing, but driving when incapacitated isn’t just dangerous for him, he could hurt an innocent person) and his boss who apparently doens’t care at all. But only onw of those is something you can do anything about.

      2. mbs001*

        It’s your husband’s business to manage his illness and to contact you. Take the issue up with your husband.

      3. Also-ADHD*

        You also already knew though, so I’m confused about this incident and why notification to you matters here. You were notified, by him, and he was awake and communicating, so why would anyone communicate on his behalf?

        1. OP1*

          If he can’t drive, then someone needs to go and get him. He was hours from home. I was willing to go and get him, however I did not know the route he took to the distributor 4 hours away. I was trying to be reasonable. I would have appreciated a call to let me know that he is having issues, ex: he is going to try and sleep it off for a little bit, and if he still is not OK to drive, then we will need a plan to go get him. The situation needed a plan because the distance was so far. He was in the middle of nowhere too. Totally unsafe to drive for himself or someone else sharing the road. She doesn’t listen when he tells her to he can’t drive, she will still schedule deliveries for him to do and then scolds him for not doing what she says. I don’t know how many times she has called me for some of their work issues. He needs to quit, but besides Tina and the driving, he really loves it there.

          1. Ineffable Bastard*

            If he refuses to quit, he needs to flat out refuse to drive no matter what Tina say. He is putting not only himself but lots of other people in danger by driving and not driving should be his priority. Does he care about not killing other people?
            If Tina fires him (tbh I doubt she would), he can likely sue for wrongful termination.

          2. GrooveBat*

            But you *got* a call that he was having issues! That call came from him. Everyone is confused as to why you think it was necessary for Tina to also call you when you were already aware of what was going on.

            The bottom line is, it sounds like your husband should not be driving and needs to get a medical accommodation so Tina can’t force him to drive. And he needs to do this before he has another incident that could potentially hurt or kill him or someone else.

            1. Myrin*

              Yeah, there’s a real disconnect here and I can’t for the life of me figure out where it lies.

              OP says (in the letter): “When he woke up, he called me and told me what was going on and said he was going to call Tina and then sleep some more.”
              OP also says (in a comment): “I would have appreciated a call to let me know that he is having issues, ex: he is going to try and sleep it off for a little bit”.
              These two things are the same thing, and that’s what’s confusing.

              If it was “just” (in scare quotes because there’s no “just” about such a serious situation) about a plan to get him, well, quite frankly, it doesn’t sound like that was on Tina’s radar anyway.

          3. Cordelia*

            I still don’t get it – you had a call letting you know he was having issues and was going to sleep it off, the call came from your husband. Why couldn’t you call him back in a bit and see how he was and whether he needed you to come and get him? If the choice is between driving “a large dangerous truck with extreme vertigo”, as you say, or being “scolded” by Tina, he needs to choose option 2.

          4. Peach Parfaits Pls*

            He has an absolute moral and legal responsibility to refuse all future driving, no matter how his job requests. If he (heaven forbid) runs someone over because of an episode that *he knows* he’s prone to, it’s his responsibility. This is serious.

        2. HappyPenguin*

          Agreed. I’m not sure what OP wanted or expected from Tina, since OP had already spoken to husband. Like someone else said, it feels like a BEC situation.

      4. Sbtyah*

        Wait, what? Your words:

        His health condition means he is a danger to himself and others, and indicates he shouldn’t be driving, period. This is the wrong job for him. Right now, I am angry at both of you for not thinking of the risk he poses to others.

        Your issues with Tina and whatever hours she chooses etc are completely separate from the more serious issues to tackle here. PLEASE face the actual health issue with your husband and work out a plan of action so he gets the help he needs, and a job better suited that does not ALSO put so many others in harm’s way. That last half is hard, I know, but needs to be done.

        1. N/A*

          This!!! Why on earth does the husband even still have a drivers license, let alone a cdl. He’s going to kill someone someday

        2. Hyaline*

          This. I wasn’t going to decide “not safe to drive” based on the letter alone but if the LW feels the situation was unsafe and could happen again, that’s the biggest issue here, not Tina’s phone skills.

          1. MigraineMonth*

            Yeah, from the letter I was thinking “migraine preceded by aura” or something that has a half-hour warning to get off the road before your driving ability is significantly affected. I was also picturing, like, a pickup truck or similar that didn’t require a CDL, since it sounds like OP’s husband wasn’t actually hired as a driver.

            This keeps getting worse with every comment. It turns out the boss isn’t only calling OP with trivial things when she’s at work, she’s also meeting up with OP and her husband for nightly swimming and drinks? *NIGHTLY?* Holy enmeshment, Batman. Even if you got a share of the company, you do not want it.

          1. GrooveBat*

            Then it is up to the husband to get an accommodation (e.g., “no driving”) based on his disability.

            But I’m super confused by OP’s complaint. It seems like she’s mainly annoyed that when Tina tracked her down at her work (something OP should push back on very strongly) she didn’t mention anything about the husband’s medical incident. I’m not sure what that has to do with anything.

            1. Allonge*

              And until the accommodation, just plain decline to do these jobs.

              I know, easier said than done, but it’s not safe, not for husband, nor for anyone driving around him.

              1. GrooveBat*

                Yeah, I know that pushing back on the boss is difficult. But you know what else is difficult? Getting into a fatal accident and finding out insurance won’t cover you because you were driving with a known medical condition that caused the accident.

          2. biobotb*

            Driving isn’t *supposed* to be part of his job, but Tina’s made it clear that she considers it part of his job, and he continues to do it as part of his job.

          3. NotYourMom*

            And if husband were writing in, there would be advise to give him on how to deal with that.

            But if OP is not an employee, that is not her business.

            1. MigraineMonth*

              Presumably OP and her husband are on good enough terms that she could offer him support in getting an accommodation, or encouragement to stand up to the boss’ bullying.

              Also, we have had letters in the past about whether to report family members who were not safe to drive (whether to report a sister-in-law who kept driving company vehicles while drunk), and the answer was yes.

        3. Mrs. Potts*

          Former paramedic here: HARD AGREE. I once ran on a scene where a driver with a known should-not-be-driving type medical history had an episode and plowed right into someone else. We did our best but the other driver died in the end. And they were both driving sedans – there was a fair amount of traffic that day and I can’t imagine how much more damage he would have done if he’d been driving a big truck weighed down with inventory.

          OP, your husband simply should not be driving anymore. If that means seeking accommodations at his current job or leaving altogether it needs to happen yesterday. The potential ramifications are deadly.

          1. Carrot*

            My partner and I were knocked off our bicycles because the guy in the car behind us unfortunately had a stroke, lost control, and mowed us down on a residential street.

            It was sheer, utter luck that we survived, with only minor (though lifelong) injuries, and that there was no one else (e.g. children) in the path of the vehicle.

            Forgive me if you’ve already acknowledged the seriousness in another comment OP but, this. Could. Be. Your. Husband.

            I know appeasing difficult bosses can be easiest, that there can be some pretty heavy emotional and logistical consequences of facing the fact somes is not safe to drive but… it’s that or people’s lives. It’s so not okay for him to keep risking it!

            1. MigraineMonth*

              At some point, it’s not about her anymore. *Your husband* is the one making the choice to get into that truck and endanger both himself and every other driver/passenger/pedestrian/cyclist on the road.

              “But my boss told me to” isn’t going to hold up in court on murder charges if he does have an accident during one of his episodes.

            2. Cordelia*

              He is doing the dangerous thing though, not her. He needs to stop doing it. He is choosing to put other people’s lives at risk rather than say no to Tina.

            3. K Smith*

              OP, this situation sounds totally frustrating! Your husband’s boss sounds really unreasonable and like she makes a lot of bad decisions!

              But, your husband has some personal responsibility here not to put himself in a dangerous situation, regardless of what his boss tells him to do. If the boss were telling him to speed, run red lights, and drive on the wrong side of the road to save time, should your husband do that just because the boss said so? No – that’s really dangerous! Please encourage your husband to think about (and consult with his doctor) whether he can safely drive and not endanger the lives of others on the road with him.

            4. Ray B Purchase*

              I know people have said this throughout the whole post, but I think you need to have a serious conversation with him about how dangerous this is and insist that he stop agreeing. I get she’s not listening, but he’s not without free will here and that’s what people are trying to say.

              He might not want to drive and he might argue with his boss about it, but he is still on occasion getting into a semi truck and driving in it all day and that *must* stop happening. His and other people’s lives are not worth the risk of Tina’s family’s failing business.

              1. Ray B Purchase*

                I mistyped my last sentence — Tina’s family’s failing business is not worth the risk of his and other peoples’ lives.

            5. DisgruntledPelican*

              She doesn’t need to listen. Your husband does. Your husband is the one who keeps choosing to get behind the wheel.

            6. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

              If she doesn’t listen then he needs to flat out refuse. He should not get behind the wheel of a semi. Getting fired is better than getting in a fatal car accident, and “oh well boss doesn’t listen guess I’ll go do this very dangerous thing” is not okay.

            7. Peach Parfaits Pls*

              At a certain point, you need to set a hard boundary that he has to stop driving, or you too are complicit.

            8. terracotta*

              OK, but at this point he needs to not do the unbelievably dangerous and irresponsible thing *even if she is telling him to*. I get that this is his workplace and it’s not easy to tell your boss no. But if he freaking kills someone, ‘Tina told me to drive’ will not fix it and will not absolve him of responsibility.

      5. Ellis Bell*

        If she knows she is putting him in danger then she absolutely sucks, but I still don’t know why she would ever talk directly to you about this stuff. It would be highly patronising for a boss to coordinate with a spouse. This is between your husband and his boss. Why would your husband agree to something dangerous and not push back with Tina?

      6. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

        You have my sympathy as I also have a spouse with some complex medical issues that can also cause extreme and debilitating vertigo.

        That being said, your husband had already called you, called Tina and said what he planned to do. I’m really not sure what you were expecting Tina to do that you or your husband could not. This isn’t a situation where he had a stroke at work and was rushed to the hospital and no one told you. You knew were he was a presumably could have called him to check on him or called for an ambulance yourself if you were concerned. Tina may be a terrible boss but and may have been a bit callous, but she didn’t have an obligation to get him medical attention he didn’t ask for.

        It sounds like this job isn’t a good fit for him for a variety of reasons. You and your husband really need to come up with a plan with his doctors on what he’s able to safely do for work and request accommodations or he needs to fine a different job (which sounds like he should anyway)

        1. SpaceySteph*

          Yeah when I read the headline I thought of a time my husband had to call 911 because a coworker he shared an office with collapsed (turned out he had a heart attack). In that case, yes absolutely, work should notify the person’s emergency contact.

          In this case, Tina herself found out from husband via phone call from the husband, so why wouldn’t she expect husband also called OP.

          Tina sucks, but this is squarely in the “husband problem” category.

      7. Nancy*

        Your husband was capable of making calls and discussing his medical event with you. There was no reason for Tina to get involved in that conversation. Employers are not going to call spouses about an employee’s medical event if the employee can do so themselves.

      8. Ro*

        Tina aside. I’m sorry but if your husband is driving dangerous machinery with extreme vertigo he just isn’t safe and needs a new job. It is possible his health issues will invalidate insurance and if he hurts himself medical bills wont be covered or he will have to pay out of pocket if he accidentally harms someone else. Worst case scenario he could crash, lose his life and take others with him and you could be grieving while being sued for his estate by any victims. I don’t wish to sound harsh but it really is that serious you need to protect yourself and him.

        1. MigraineMonth*

          In the almost-worst-case scenario, your husband can kill people and go to prison for multiple counts of 3rd-degree murder or vehicular homicide.

          He can additionally be sued for civil damages.

      9. Tippy*

        If you are that concerned with your husband driving semi’s why are you not reporting him to the DMV? Sure Tina shouldn’t be allowing him to drive, but don’t negate your responsibility as someone who knows he’s driving when it is not safe for him to do so.

        1. Tio*

          I’m wondering if they don’t want to report it to the DMV because they don’t want his license revoked or restricted completely for personal reasons. Which is not a great response, but sometimes you gotta take a hit on that.

          1. Ineffable Bastard*

            I am sorry, but as a person with disabilities and chronic health issues, often people don’t get to choose — our conditions mean not being able to. He should not be driving at all. He is not able to.

              1. Ineffable Bastard*

                oh, sorry! English is not my first language and sometimes I misunderstand it. Thanks for clarifying :)

          2. Orv*

            I had a friend who had a sleep disorder she refused to get treatment for because she was afraid they would pull their license. It was a real dilemma because that would have left her jobless, without health insurance, and eventually homeless.

          3. OP1*

            It’s vertigo and he hasn’t had an episode in several years. Even people with seizure disorder are able to drive and maintain licenses if they haven’t had a seizure in the time frame indicated by the state in which they live.

            1. MigraineMonth*

              …Sorry, I’m confused. Didn’t you say he just had an episode, and that’s why you were writing for advice?

              Also, does he have a regular license or a commercial driver’s license? If the former, is that legal for the type of truck he drives? If the latter, does he still meet all the qualifications?

              1. EchoGirl*

                I’m assuming OP means “he hadn’t had an episode in several years before this incident”. So he would have been considered safe to drive before this happened (although whether he’d be able to be officially cleared commercial driving is a different question, since those rules tend to be stricter — in this case, it seems like that’s just getting bypassed by instructing employees to do the task without proper certification, which in itself could well be illegal), though this episode might reset the clock on that.

            2. terracotta*

              OK- so you’re saying that until this episode, he was considered safe to drive? In which case, why has he been telling Tina he can’t do the driving? Why the history of him trying to avoid it because of the danger, and Tina callously ignoring the danger and sending him out anyway? Either he’s known for a while that he shouldn’t be doing this, or he’s just now found out that he shouldn’t be doing this. It can’t be both.

      10. NotYourMom*

        Your husband has agency here too. If he has extreme vertigo, he shouldn’t have agreed to drive the truck. He could have refused unsafe work.

        On the one hand, it’s not cool for the boss to ask someone with vertigo to drive. On the other – if he is safe to drive a car it stands that he is as safe to drive a truck. It maybe sounds like he shouldn’t be driving at all – which isn’t a boss issue, either.

        I get that you’re are mad and it seems like you have a lot of good reasons to be upset. But the particular thing you are writing in about – whether the boss called you about the incident – is blown out of proportion.

        1. MigraineMonth*

          In the US, we’ve decided that legally there’s a different level of training and safety regulations required to drive large vehicles such as busses and semi-trailers (which OP clarifies in the comments is the vehicle her husband drives).

          So no, in the case of particularly large trucks, safe to drive a car isn’t the same as safe to drive a semi truck. The number of traffic fatalities you can cause with the latter is much larger than with a regular car.

          1. Pickwick*

            Agreed! As a safe and careful driver of very small vehicles, I once helped a friend move across several states. The rental company didn’t have any moving vans of the size we’d reserved, so they “upgraded” us to what the clerk said was the largest vehicle that didn’t require a CDL (I don’t know how all that works, so I took him at his word on that.)

            Never. Again. I sweated bullets for the whole, hundreds-of-miles drive. The air becomes your enemy and tugs you back and forth, requiring constant attention and steering adjustment. It is SO much harder to control larger vehicles and to keep track of all the space around you, and we’ve all seen pictures of the twenty-car pile-ups that start when a semi jackknifes across multiple lanes.

      11. mbs001*

        Someone who is a grown adult. It’s not like you’re leaving a child with a caregiver. If your husband isn’t well enough to work it’s up to him to contact his employer. He obviously did make the call. Any communication issues between you and he are your own personal problems.

    6. Serious Sillyputty*

      Yes and: The OP didn’t NEED to be informed of her husband’s medical condition— he’d already told her himself! If a person is able to contact their people, the assumption is that they do so.
      If I let my spouse know about a medical incident, it is on me to keep them abreast of its resolution. Employer should only get involved if there was new *medical* information to share, which there wasn’t.

    7. ecnaseener*

      I agree, if I were Tina and my employee told me he’d already called his spouse, I wouldn’t think to call the spouse again myself unless something major changes.

      In general it’s not really clear to me what LW expected Tina to do — did husband need an ambulance called? (I’m guessing not, or LW would’ve called one for him, since he said he’d be staying put for awhile longer.) Did he just need permission to end his shift and call a car service to take him either home or to a hospital? If the latter, maybe husband was too out-of-it to ask and Tina should’ve suggested it, or maybe he did ask and she said no, idk, but in neither scenario (or the scenario where she says yes!) would I expect Tina to call the spouse about it unless the employee asked her to.

      I say all this, LW, to illustrate that your expectations aren’t obvious to me, reading your side of the story — probably they weren’t any more obvious to Tina with less information.

    8. WellRed*

      It sounds like OP is at BEC stage, of sorts, with husbands company and loooking for a fight. Husband is a grown man. Also, probably time to stop driving.

    9. Misty*

      I’m confused about LW1’s expectations. If an employee is able to use the phone why would the employer need to be involved at all?

      From title, I was thinking employee was taken to the hospital, was unconscious or incapacitated.

      If a person can make their own decision about calling people, what to tell them, I’m confused?

    10. Prof*

      Also…OP had already talked to her husband! And was not unable to communicate or anything like that. Why would his boss need to call? To update her on the plan they’d come up with? Why would she expect that instead of her husband to just tell her? Boss should only be calling her if husband is incapacitated.

    11. Jellybeans*

      The letter reads like LW just has a personal grudge against Tina for some reason and wants an excuse to dislike her.

      1. Pool Noodle Barnacle Pen0s*

        This. LW1 already hates Tina and is going to look at everything she does through the least charitable lens possible.

        LW, it’s time for your husband to either pursue SSDI, or find a different job. He should definitely not be driving a semi-sized vehicle ever, for any reason. It’s reckless for him to continue doing this with the symptoms you describe.

      2. Irish Teacher.*

        Honestly, from the LW’s replies, I think she has valid reasons to be annoyed at Tina, but I do think she is focussing on the wrong thing here. The concerning part is that Tina apparently put pressure on the LW’s husband to drive when it was not his job and Tina apparently was aware that there was a high chance he could not drive safely. Compared with that, her not calling the LW was minor.

      3. terracotta*

        I think the personal grudge is for pretty legitimate reasons, Tina sounds terrible. But it doesn’t follow that every bad situation is 100% Tina’s fault, which is where I think OP is landing here.

    12. Dawn*

      Right, like, I literally have had to call my employer in the past and say, “I’m not feeling well and I need to take a little lie-down before I can continue with the work,” and I’d have been shocked and extremely upset if they’d called my emergency contact over that.

      It sounds like your husband called Tina before he called you, and as it also sounds like he did not instruct her to contact you as well, of course she didn’t. Tina might be a mess but not contacting an emergency contact when you’ve heard from the employee, who appeared lucid, and have not been asked to, sounds utterly reasonable to me.

    13. Starlike*

      Since the husband did talk to LW first and say he was then calling Tina before he rested, I’m not even clear what the issue is. He called the first and second people who need to know when there’s a medical situation while driving a company vehicle, stated a plan, and followed through with that plan. Presumably he told Tina, “I just got off the phone with LW and wanted to check in with you too, this is what’s happening and what I’m doing about it.” If a separate safety plan needs to be set up that includes both LW and Tina’s communication and involvement together, then that needs to be stated upfront.

  2. TG*

    LW#2 – I am also a night owl so I feel you; however start time is sometimes dictated by the work you do and the impact on others who work a more standard schedule. What I would say is that you should be prepared to work normal business hours but you can ask if you don’t have meetings or anything urgent if you could have the flexibility to start your day later. But you have to understand that if the business functions start at 9AM you need to be ready and working then, sometimes I use my lunch for a cat nap to recharge so you could try that. Even 26 minutes is enough of a rest to be functional after.

    1. coffee*

      LW2 says she wants to start at 9AM so I’m confused by your comment. I also think it’s not particularly useful advice for her question.

      1. amoeba*

        Yeah, the standard office hours are exactly what the LW is trying to find out in the interview!

      2. Another person*

        This is completely relevant: “start time is sometimes dictated by the work you do and the impact on others who work a more standard schedule. ”

        For example, I have a job where I work my preferred 8 AM start time most days, but on days where I have meetings with clients in later time zones, I will start and end later. This is dictated by the work I do and the impact on others.

        If the OP is early career or has some flexibility in the types of jobs they are seeking, they could target jobs that are more of an individual contributor role rather than customer service, for example, where having slightly different hours may have less of an impact. Or a remote job that primarily works with people in another time zone.

        1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

          OP said jobs with an 8 am start time are a hard no. So she won’t take a job that requires her to be there at 8 am. If the ocassional meeting pops up that is one thing but she will not take a job if the regular start time is 8.

          Which is fine. If that is her line in the sand then it is her line in the sand.

          1. Another person*

            I’ve had several jobs where the standard start hours are 8-5 but employee can flex earlier or later if their job doesn’t involve providing time based coverage or support. Those might be a possibility but of course OP would have to ask.

      3. TG*

        Coffee she is saying starting at 8am is a dealbreaker – what I was saying was that if the start time is going to be an issue for her she could ask for some flexibility so that if there’s not a meeting at eight or nine or whatever time and she wants to start her day later she can ask if that’s possible. Because we night owls tend to stay up later More productive at night I was also just mentioning A midday break if that would help her.

    2. Varthema*

      I would also say that for night owls, early starts aren’t just about losing sleep and needing a nap. I can get a full 7-9 hours of sleep and still my brain just doesn’t work as well in the morning, whereas in the evenings I’m a blaze of productivity. The only time that changes is when I’m jetlagged.

      1. anon24*

        I wish people understood this better. I am not a morning person, and never will be, despite years of working jobs that started at 7am or earlier. I spent years forcing my body to do something it hated and was an absolutely miserable, angry, nonstop exhausted person who napped constantly and slept for hours on my days off. My body hates mornings so much I will literally vomit if I have to get up early; I did this daily for years.

        Now I work night shift and people who know me have commented that I have an entirely different personality. I never realized how much of my misery, depression and anger was simply because my brain was in a constant fog of exhaustion. I may only get 3-6 hours of sleep a day now but I’m wide awake and functional all night for my shift. I wish more jobs had a night shift option, I don’t know what I’ll do when I finish college and transition to office work. I guess go back to being an angry miserable person who wants to die 24-7.

        1. NotAnotherManager!*

          My mom, the morning person, didn’t get it until the second kid also has significant issues functioning in the morning. I tried for years to explain to her that it’s a full hour after I wake up before my brain kicks into full gear, but she thought I was just being lazy or staying up too late after bedtime. My spouse is fully alert from the moment he wakes up; I feel like I’m wandering in a fog no matter how much sleep I get. He’s always started work before 9 AM, which is my idea of hell.

          8 AM start times would also interfere with a lot of parents’ morning schedules as that’s prime getting ready/getting to school time here.

          1. That Crazy Cat Lady*

            I got this a lot from my college roommate, actually. She was a morning person and I was not.

            Our normal routine was she was in bed by 10pm at the latest, whereas I would be up studying for at least 2 or 3 more hours. Then she would get up around 6am, whereas I slept till around 10am (if I was able to and didn’t have an early class, that is).

            She always maintained that I was so lazy because I “slept the whole morning away.” It didn’t seem to matter that I was up much later than her, or that we were getting the same amount of sleep. I also graduated with honors, same as she did.

            Yeah, none of that mattered. She always maintained that I was lazy, so I just quit trying to convince her otherwise.

            1. Spencer Hastings*

              Yes, somehow such people don’t notice or acknowledge that *they* sleep the *evening* away… ;)

              1. Slow Gin Lizz*

                Right? I had a boss who was the type of morning person who woke up at 4 a.m. and started work at 5. I, OTOH, wouldn’t often start working until 10 or even 11 if I were really tired. It actually worked well b/c I would send him stuff later in the day, when he was off, and he’d review it early in the morning when I was off, then we could chat about it and I could do the work and send him more work later in the day.

                But I think there’s a mistaken belief that morning people MUST be more productive because just look at how much they get done before noon! Ok, sure, but just look at how much I get done between noon and 6!

                1. I can read anything except the room*

                  There was an amazing Reductress piece with a headline like, “Woman Reconsiders Desire for Success After Learning She Might Have to Wake Up Early,” which had a fantastic quote from said woman along the lines of, “I always read about those people who say they get up at 4 a.m. to get more done, but I thought that was a joke we were all in on, like, ha-ha, why would anyone do something so ridiculous?” Perfect.

          2. MigraineMonth*

            When I was in second grade, my parents needed to get me up every day at something awful like 6 or 6:30am to catch the bus, and it was absolute misery for both of us. Obviously I wasn’t getting enough sleep with my 10pm bedtime, so we shifted it to 9:30. 9. 8:30. At some point I started my going-to-bed ritual at 7pm, involving a bath, warm milk, a peanut-butter-and-banana sandwich, a lavender scented pillow, blackout curtains, soothing ocean waves, everything anyone had ever said helped with sleep. Nothing worked.

            My parents finally gave up, let me stay up until 11pm (at which point I would fall asleep on my own), and just accepted that I wasn’t going to get enough sleep until the weekend.

            1. LW2*

              My parents and I went through SO MUCH trying to get me to go to bed earlier as a kid so I could get up on time for school. Not watching tv after a certain time, not eating certain things, all the different suggestions short of medication. Nothing worked. I simply cannot fall asleep before 11pm at the earliest. It was so miserable.

              But now I’m an adult and get to pick whether I have to show up somewhere at 7:45am or not :)

        2. Helen Waite*

          Another night person here. Solidarity on the years of getting up at WayTooEarly O’Clock, zombie until about an hour into my shift. I’m second shift now and it’s so much better! Not to mention, when I started, there was a shift differential that meant I got paid more for working these hours.

          I don’t miss the rush hour traffic, I don’t miss the crowds when running errands. I don’t miss laying in bed trying to force myself to sleep. I especially don’t miss being jolted awake by an alarm clock just when I’m at the best part of my sleep cycle.

        3. Baunilha*

          I don’t work the night shift (although I have when I worked retail), but my current job offers a lot of flexibility so I can start at 11am. Also, since I work from home, I don’t have to get up a lot earlier to commute. The difference in my mood and overall well-being is HUGE.

          OP, my advice is to ask prospective employers if they offer at least some flexibility. (You may not be able to start at 11am like me, but 9am is by no means unreasonable for you to ask) You don’t need to tell them you’re a night owl — a lot of people need a bit of leeway in the morning for so many reasons.

          1. I Have RBF*


            I have done the 7 am BS. I was always late. 8 am, same thing. 9 am with a commute? Yep, still late. I often rolled in a 10:30, and worked until 7:30 pm. It meant my commute time was under half if I left my house after 9 am, and evening was also half what is was for 8 to 5.

            Now I work remotely. I get up at 8:30. I am logged on by 9 am. If I get tired, I’m take a nap at lunch, or after work. I go to bed between 12:30 and 2 am. I often wake up a few minutes before my alarm, and haven’t had to hit snooze in a couple years.

        4. a clockwork lemon*

          I think a lot of people understand that individuals have different circadian rhythms, but it doesn’t change the fact that if my workday is 9-done and I need to meet about something with a coworker who starts at 11, I’m having to work around their schedule in a way that is often very disruptive to my own. (And I say this as one of those heinous insomniacs who doesn’t have and never has had any sort of normal sleep schedule)

          1. LW2*

            I have coworkers who start early and leave at 3, and I have to work around their schedule. My boss has a lot of meetings that are frequently off-site, and I have to work around her schedule. Some of my colleagues travel to conferences a lot, and I have to work around their schedules.

            1. Lana Kane*

              My employer has introduced more access to flexing schedules, which everyone loves but yes, the consequence is working around each others’ schedules. It’s simply the downside of flexing. We all love being able to have somewhat flexible schedules so we just understand it’s the cost of having flexibility.

              What makes me &$#@ is when people don’t update their calendars accordingly. I have mine set to my hours in Outlook, and since my Fridays look different, I block out the time as Out of Office. When meeting with those people, I make them schedule the meeting.

              1. Zee*

                Ugh people in my office are so bad about putting things on their calendars. Like, even whole weeklong vacations won’t be blocked off. It drives me absolutely bonkers.

          2. Cyborg Llama Horde*

            In my line of work, it’s always been worth having to wait for the 11am person to get in for whatever I need, in order to have someone for whom a problem at 7pm is just part of their regular working hours.

          3. hohumdrum*

            Right, and if your coworker needs to meet with you they also have to work around your schedule in a way that is disruptive to their own. They experience the same thing as you.

            In the same vein as if you have coworkers overseas, or who have very different workloads than you, or when you work in public institutions where everyone has different off days, etc. everyone will have to figure out how to work around each other’s varying needs and schedules. That’s part of work.

        5. JustaTech*

          I have a friend who quit her 9-5 and moved to a night shift job and it is shocking how much happier she is, even though she’s making a lot less money.

          In college most of the people I knew (computer science majors) kept a pretty late schedule (most of their classes were scheduled for the afternoon), so I’m used to the idea that people can sleep until noon and easily be at least as productive (if not more) as people who are up at 7.

          Now if only someone would explain the opposite to my VP, that people who leave at 3 (because they arrived at 6:30) are not “slackers”.

      2. Turquoisecow*

        Same. It doesn’t matter how much sleep I’ve had, my brain works better later in the day.

      3. BubbleTea*

        Same. I actually try not to start work before 10am, although that’s also due to childcare logistics. It works because I run my own business but even when I was employed, I would not ever have started before 9am. I tried shift work in my 20s and it was a disaster.

      4. Kindred Spirit*

        Me too. I WFH and am self-employed, so in general, the hours I work can be pretty flexible as long as I meet deadlines. I do have the occasional early morning meeting (anything before 10am feels early to me) and I feel like I’m in a fog no matter how much caffeine I have ingested. On the other hand, I often do my best work between 10pm and 2am. That only works if I can then sleep until around 9am after working until 2am.

        I sometimes wish I were an early bird, but I think this is just the way my body clock runs.

      5. PlainJane*

        Also a night person, and yes, people try to make you feel like there’s something wrong with you. I like the quiet after it’s dark, and I dislike early mornings. I’m lucky, I work with people who like the early shift and hate staying to evening closing, while I hate the early shift and have no problem at all with staying through the evening, but I honestly have thought a lot about whether or not it’s worth looking for a higher level job if it means working 8-5. (And whatever happened to 9-5? I seem to recall at least two pop songs stating this as the normal hours, as well as it being the stereotypical boring job–a nine-to-fiver. What is this 8-5 or 9-6 or 10-7? IT DOESN’T FIT THE LYRICS. Sorry, side rant.)

        But if I were to suggest meetings in evening hours, it would be a scandal, while no one thinks twice about saying, “Oh, we’ll move that nine o’clock meeting to eight, kthnxbai. You evening people won’t mind shifting your whole day around, after all. I mean, you’re getting the better hours!” No. No, I am not, especially if there’s a long drive to the meeting location. And my brain is sluggish until around 11. It’s great around ten or eleven at night–that’s my ideal writing time–but I would never think of asking morning people to meet at ten. Can’t we do meetings at, like, 1pm? Or even from 4-5? Everyone would be somewhere in their wake cycle by then.

        1. Zee*

          And whatever happened to 9-5? I seem to recall at least two pop songs stating this as the normal hours, as well as it being the stereotypical boring job–a nine-to-fiver. What is this 8-5 or 9-6 or 10-7? IT DOESN’T FIT THE LYRICS. Sorry, side rant.

          Capitalism trying to steal more unpaid work time from us.

    3. Also-ADHD*

      It sounds like LW is not desperate or in d enough to take jobs that start before 9am and that’s their prerogative, though. It doesn’t look like they want strategies for starting earlier, just for communicating their needs and getting as little bias as possible.

      We also don’t know their industry, function, etc. and even in industry/companies where some functions need coverage at 8 or even 9, others will not particularly. I’m actually an early bird, but there’s no particular merit to me working at 8am, I just do it and often start earlier than that. (I also leave earlier than some on my team, both due to starting early and time zone. We’re remote and across time zones in our case.) But technically our starts in paper, org wide for regular shift is 8-5, with a 1 hour lunch, though we’re salaried and can work a lot of different stuff (not take lunch, start/leave early or late, shift hours between days, etc) if it’s fine with the department. Business operations on paper often don’t reflect actual needs and that’s why LW wanted to be able to ask about this stuff, I figure, to see where there’s a fit. Plenty of jobs would be fine with starting at 9, some will be fine with an even later start and may have midday core hours or other organization practices. It is kind of messed up that me working 7-3 with no lunch is seen as “better” somehow to employers than people like LW working 9-6 with a lunch or whatever. Frankly, no one knows which hours are more valuable—it’s not universal. There may be no difference, or a few later afternoon/evening hours might even work or being more useful!

    4. Irish Teacher.*

      It sounds like the LW has the advantage of being able to be picky about their work – perhaps they currently have a job that starts at 9am and they are looking around for something better and they don’t want to leave for something that would be a worse fit for them, eg starting at 8am.

      It sounds like they are not going to choose a job whose business functions start at 8am and they are asking how to find out if a business’s does so they can choose not to take that job.

    5. metadata minion*

      If the work means that a daily all-hands meeting first thing is essential, or the job involves opening a store, this makes sense, but for most office work just starting an hour earlier or later than most people isn’t going to make a huge difference. In my office people start anywhere from 7 to 10 and that still leaves plenty of time for meetings, especially since most of us are able to flex occasionally if there’s just no other time X person can meet.

      1. Jackalope*

        In addition, many non-office jobs (since we don’t know what the OP is looking for) also start at varying times. Shift work is totally a thing in a lot of sectors, and in some areas having someone who wants to start later can be a boon if everyone else wants to work early and then leave.

        1. MigraineMonth*

          Yeah, people talk about coverage needing to start at 8am, but coverage also usually has to extend until the time parents with small children need to leave to pick them up. Having a couple of people starting late may make it hard to schedule early meetings, but it does mean there’s coverage if you need to leave early for any reason.

    6. WillowSunstar*

      It can also be a medical issue, with things like hypothyroidism and also women going through perimenopause. I’m sure there are other medical issues that make it unrealistic for people to wake up early and be perfectly ready to work and not make a bunch of mistakes.

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        I’ve had two medical issues that made starting before 9 a.m. absolutely dreadful for me. I was not a morning person and was convinced that I never would be, but medication for both issues have turned me into a morning person and it’s very strange. I still am completely useless before I take one of the meds in the morning, which is proof that I’m still really a night owl but medicated enough to function as a morning person. I also used to be mostly useless in the mornings and more productive in the afternoon, but I haven’t noticed if that’s changed much except that I am less useless in the morning than I used to be. Since I always wanted to be a morning person I’m rather pleased with this turn of events, but it means that I have a LOT of sympathy for the night owls who have unmedicate-able reasons why they always will be night owls.

        I wish other people understood how ingrained circadian rhythms can be. I read a million things about how to change your sleep habits so you could become a morning person and none of them worked for me. The #1 thing I saw everywhere was that if you start going to bed earlier you can start getting up earlier, or if you start getting up earlier you will start falling asleep earlier and then you’ll become a morning person, but having gotten up at 4:45 a.m. for nearly a year to catch a train for my two-hour commute, I *never* got used to that. Now, with medication, I might be able to, but before meds it absolutely never would have happened. My brain just needed to be asleep in the early morning and there was no way around it. (I would, in fact, wake up, get ready to go, hop on the train, and sleep for the hour until the train arrived in the city. Luckily it was the last stop so I didn’t have to worry about missing it.)

    7. Web of Pies*

      I was shocked, SHOCKED, and how useless I was moving work start time just one hour earlier. Over multiple years at that job, I never got used to 8am, it was a daily struggle. OP is right to screen these employers out.

      Also, not everyone can nap! I can’t, regardless of how tired I am.

    8. M2*

      I think many places are going toward if you get it done it is fine.

      My direct boss works 11-7 and usually longer. I drop my kids at school and am working most days by 8:30 sometimes 8:15. I’m not opposed as long as people get there work done but usually there are core hours you should be available and you might have to come in early or stay late sometimes. Sometimes people need to be in at 8 (but given a heads up) and sometimes we need people working until 7. But it varies by field.

      I totally think it is fine to ask! When people first start I always say they should come in the first few months more if a normal hours (8:30,9or 10 start) so they get the idea but once they can start doing things on their own without questions then it doesn’t matter to me. I would always be fine with that question during an interview and I usually ask it as well.

      1. NightOwl*

        I would agree that it never hurts to ask more broadly, about the expectation for availability during a certain set of working hours and flexibility for your role in particular. You can give examples like school pick up/drop off, morning exercise classes (and time to shower after), significantly less traffic on your commute as reasons why you might want a later start time/later end time, and indicate how often you’d be able to adjust. If there’s an early team meeting once a week or month, that’s better than every day, right?

        Also, if possible, I’d recommend LW2 look at jobs with distributed and/or remote workforce across different timezones. The culture for those workplaces is usually more accepting of flexible schedules (in my experience), because an 8am start in Eastern Time is a 5am start in Pacific Time, and that’s not reasonable to expect. So most work is done asynchronously, or people aim to do collaborative work during ‘core hours’ of 11am-4pm Eastern. (If LW2 is in Pacific Time, this won’t be helpful, but might give insight into why the earlier start times are becoming more common).

  3. Not A Manager*

    Lw1, is it entirely safe for your husband to be driving? Is it safe for him to be driving on behalf of his employer?

    1. allathian*

      I’d say no to the first and definitely not to the second.

      I’m in Finland, and the health requirements for professional drivers (including everyone who drives on behalf of their employer) are much more stringent than for drivers who pay their own auto insurance.

    2. Brain the Brian*

      That depends on the nature of the episodes, which we can’t surmise from the letter. If it’s uncontrolled seizures (which I think is probably what most people are picturing), obviously not. If it’s a cardiovascular issue that causes dizziness or mild vision impairment, it may be safe to drive as long as he can pull over and wait it out. Either way, we don’t know the nature of the episodes, and site rules are that we not try to armchair-diagnose LWs or the people in their letters with medical conditions. Let’s take the LW at their word that their husband is okay to drive as long as he can pull over and sleep off an episode.

      1. bamcheeks*

        Yeah, I occasionally get migraine aura, which usually lasts about twenty minute and very rarely escalates beyond that. I obviously don’t want to drive when I can’t see half the road, but it doesn’t affect my driving otherwise.

        1. bamcheeks*

          (that said, if LW’s husband is in fact not safe to drive in the aftermath of his episodes and isn’t taking that seriously, I think that’s the only point when LW should escalate it to Tina even if her husband doesn’t want her too.)

        2. Brain the Brian*

          Another classic example. My mother gets migraine auras — I can’t believe I forgot them when writing my original reply. :)

        3. KMFDM me*

          Had one of those last year, for the first time ever. So weird, like getting a concussion in extreme slow motion. At least it didn’t hurt.

      2. OP1*

        It’s extreme vertigo and blinding headaches. Which can last hours. If he can sleep it off and have it be over with in an hour or so, that is a good outcome. In this case it lasted all day and she expected him to drive to the final destination, plus stop for a delivery and then return home. I am reasonable. Give him a chance to sleep for a few hours and then see how he feels, that is one thing. If he is not getting over it, then someone needs to go and find him and see if he needs to be medically evaluated. Or he needs to be encouraged to call 911.

        1. Mo*

          If he’s not getting over it he should call you. You shouldn’t be waiting to hear from his boss when you’ve already been directly in contact with him. It would be reasonable for Tina to assume that she didn’t need to contact you on his behalf since he was already in contact with you on his own. to He was able to make and receive calls; he had already called you. It would be weird for her to get involved in passing along messages that he could communicate directly.

        2. 40 Years In the Hole*

          Not in any way Dx here, but sounds quite similar to my sister’s suffering with vestibular issues (aura migraines, vertigo). Many other manifestations particular to her situation but the hours/days-long aura migraines and vertigo are a cornerstone of vestibular manifestation. It took years to figure out. She’s opted out of driving for now till things become more stable. Just something to consider. Wishing your hubby well in his health and employment.

      3. NA*

        Where are you getting this info from that it’s ok to drive if you have episodes of dizziness and loss of vision while driving?

        1. Brain the Brian*

          From my neurologist, frankly. It depends very much on the nature of one’s individual condition. That said, LW1 has clarified that he really should not be driving right now — so that settles it.

        2. Slow Gin Lizz*

          Mild vision impairment isn’t the same as loss of vision. I don’t have the kinds of medical conditions that can cause unexpected vision impairment, but I do wear glasses. If, for some reason, my glasses suddenly flew off my face and into the back seat of my car, I could see well enough to pull over and get them, but I definitely would have to do that before I could safely drive any further. But I do agree that any kind of long distance driving on the highway would not be great if I thought my glasses would come flying off my face unexpectedly, because pulling over onto a shoulder of a high-speed road for any length of time isn’t all that safe either.

      4. DataGirl*

        My daughter has an orthostatic condition that can cause fainting. It may vary by State, but where we are she is not allowed to drive/ have a valid drivers license unless she can go 6 months without an episode. It doesn’t matter that it’s never happened while driving. I’m not going to pass judgment when I don’t have all the details, but I also question whether he should be driving at all with this is known health issue.

    3. OP1*

      Not really. Would you want someone with a bad case of vertigo behind the wheel of a semi. It isn’t his normal job, but because Tina won’t hire someone appropriate to do it, he is stuck with it.

      1. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

        No, he’s not. And if it’s a semi I’m confused about how he passed the CDL test with his condition.

        If he is not safe to drive a semi he should not be in a job requiring him to be one. He needs to tell Tina he can’t do it. And be prepared to find a new job. But unemployment is better than the potential alternative of having an accident that ends up with someone dying.

      2. Irish Teacher.*

        Honestly, I think this is a bigger issue than Tina not contacting you or even the fact that she appears to be a bad manager. The fact that your husband is being asked to do a job he cannot do safely and is in a position where he is possibly putting his own life and that of others at risk seems to me to be the real issue here and I think the question of how your husband can refuse to continue driving is a more important one than how Tina should have handled the specific situation.

        With this context, I can definitely see why you are annoyed at Tina and concerned for your husband, but I do think there is a bigger issue that is really what needs to be addressed.

        1. Cmdrshprd*

          Tina is a bad manager certainly. But also if husband is saying no, no. no. YES, then husband is training Tina to just keep pushing. Husband needs to find a new job asap, or refuse to drive/deliver no matter how much Tina pushes and see is they still keep him on or fire him.

      3. Pierrot*

        He should definitely NOT be driving a semi, and I think he really needs to continue to push back. It is unsafe to him and anyone else on the road, and if something terrible happens, the Tina’s company will be liable. I get that job security is important, especially when you’re dealing with health issues, but none of that matters if your husband gets into a serious or fatal accident because of an episode. This is not a you issue, it’s an issue with Tina that your husband seems to be enabling by continuing to agree to drive the truck. He needs to put his foot down.

      4. AnonyNurse*

        This is a husband problem. He has an obligation to himself, to you/family, and to everyone else on the road to not drive. Your anger seems to be misplaced — you are mad at Tina for not communicating with you about your husband, which is not her job. Instead of with your husband for not communicating with Tina about his limitations, you about his plans, and his healthcare providers about his work activities.

        1. AngryOctopus*

          This, 1000%. Your husband is a grown man who needs to be able to say “I am working through a medical issue with my doctor, but it means I cannot safely drive a work truck for the time being” or something similar. He can’t agree to this just because it’s the path of least resistance for him to drive the truck. I understand that Tina “knows” about these things, but she is unlikely to know details of how it shakes out, and it’s on your husband to be clear.

          1. Brain the Brian*

            Absolutely. With the clarity that LW1 has provided, it’s now clear that LW1 needs to put their foot down and insist that their husband say exactly this to Tina. As a caveat, I recommend checking employment laws in your state to see what protections he has against firing due to a temporary medical concern that prevents him from accomplishing a non-core job duty.

          2. NotYourMom*

            Yes 100%.

            The actual problem lays with the husband. His poor handling of his health and safety. His refusal to set boundaries at work or take accountability.

            The manager isn’t great. But she’s not OP’s manager, and should be handled by setting boundaries about how to handle off topic conversations. OP, you can’t change the manager that *you don’t even work for*. The only issues you can address are with your husband.

      5. Maggie*

        So he just does it anyway? This situation is unsafe and untenable. I’m so sorry for what he’s going through but this can’t continue for his own safety

        1. Lellow*

          I honestly care far less about his safety than the safety of the other road users and pedestrians that he’s choosing to endanger because saying no to his boss is haaaaaard. LW1, you really need to take this as a wake-up call. The main problem in this letter and your comments is your husband’s selfishness.

      6. T.N.H*

        He has to refuse this part of the job citing medical issues. I’m sure he can get his license revoked to make it official or request a formal ADA accommodation. You are taking way too much agency away from your husband. He has likely a legal and definitely moral responsibility to stop driving semis.

            1. Anon for This*

              That doesn’t mean he can’t cite its requirements anyway. Lots of employers who are too small to be formally covered still make attempts to abide by its provisions because they recognize that it makes them a better employer. Tina may not be that kind of employer, but she also may not realize that the ADA doesn’t apply to her business (if, in fact, it doesn’t).

      7. Hyaline*

        Honesty, the part you said “wasn’t the real question” actually is the real question—Tina is an ineffective boss who is sinking the business and on top of that makes unsafe demands on her employees. You may have had unrealistic expectations of an appropriate action from her on this particular situation, but the overall problem is bad and actually dangerous management. Your husband would be well served to get out.

      8. DrSalty*

        Your husband can and should refuse to get behind the wheel of a semi. He’s an adult with agency. Tina can’t force him to do that.

    4. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      Yes, you should be mad with Tina for requiring him to drive when he isn’t safe on the road, rather than being angry she didn’t call you about his health episode

      1. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

        She should also be mad at her husband for not pushing back and saying “No, this is not safe, I will not drive this truck”.

        1. Tio*

          If he’s worried about his job – and tbh he should already be job hunting anyway given that his boss is terrible and the company is in financial trouble – he should get an ADA accommodation and use that to push back and say he can’t drive the truck. I know that isn’t necessarily a great solution – she could fire him anyway, and then he would have to sue, and that would take time and money while he’s out of work – but he just can’t be doing this and he needs to take a hard line for everyone’s safety.

          1. Nightengale*

            Depends how small the “small” company is – the ADA only covers employers with 15 or more employees.

  4. Jaydee*

    LW4 – Even if the new job isn’t a better fit for you, at least it’s a not-great fit that pays more and offers more PTO. But if it is a better fit, then it still pays more and offers more PTO.

    I give you this advice from a place of personal experience, with a hint of “do as I say, not as I do” to it: don’t contort yourself to fit someone else’s expectations of you; find the people and places (including jobs) where you fit well as you are.

    It’s always good to try to learn and grow in a job, but that doesn’t mean you need to stay someplace you’re unhappy just because you think you need to prove that you can. Imagine a fish trying to ride a bicycle while all the other fish are swimming in the river. That fish is going to have so much more success if it jumps into the river too than if it keeps stubbornly insisting that it can figure out how to ride the bike if it just tries harder.

    1. ferrina*

      Yeah. Adding to this- I’m hearing a lot of imposter syndrome in this letter.

      “I should have demanded better training and guidance”
      This made no sense to me. You can ask for training and guidance, and you should definitely alert your boss to things that will make your work better, but demanding training? That’s usually coded language that means “I’m blaming myself for a lack of information and/or support”. That’s learned behavior, usually either taught to you by a dysfunctional workplace that blames employees for things they have no control over, or leftover childhood lessons from parents or teachers that made children responsible for adult issues.

      I know I’m reading a lot into this, but this is also an incredibly common pattern and one that I fell into. You don’t apply for the new job because on some level you feel like you don’t deserve it. Don’t let the brain weasels win- job hunting is an area where you should always unabashedly chase your own interests.

      1. RedinSC*

        I read the same into, too. I felt the imposter syndrome going on. And I understand that the only thing we can control is ourselves, so it’s good to look at see what role we played in things, but I think the LW is being way to hard on themselves.

      2. MigraineMonth*

        The need to get better and finally please all the people you’ve disappointed struck a deep chord with me, OP, but it kept me trapped in a place for years after I should have gotten out. Don’t let it do the same for you!

        Is this by any chance your first professional job? It was for me. I treated it like an extension of school: I would work hard, accept feedback, get an A, get the next assignment, and be promoted to the next level at the end of the year. Except it didn’t work that way! I needed to be asking for feedback, it was impossible to get an A because there was so much I didn’t understand and had never been taught, failures trailed after me instead of being left behind at the end of the semester, and no one gave me that promotion I hadn’t asked for. So I tried harder, and harder, and I got a bit better, but the expectations got so much higher that not only did I not get that A, I was falling behind. I got so caught up in chasing my boss’ approval that I ironically tanked my professional reputation.

        Does any of that resonate with you? You aren’t in school any more. You don’t have to get anyone’s approval or permission to move on. There are no grades, just raises, and you can give yourself one by moving to another organization and trying something new. You don’t get any points for staying loyal to an organization for longer than a couple of years, for struggling to learn a job you aren’t good at, or suffering in silence. (If you have a therapist/good friend, maybe talk with them about why you feel like you should?)

        Don’t let yourself get trapped. Put yourself and your career first.

      3. Get Out*

        I stayed in a job for far too long because I didn’t want to be seen as the girl who couldn’t make it. After getting out of that situation I am now able to see that I was never that right fit for that job and there is no point in trying to prove an imaginary point to people I don’t respect.

        Now I’m happy, confident, and fulfilled at work. Your next job might not be the perfect fit, but you *know* your current job isn’t. Find something new and listen to your gut during interviews.

        Best of luck! It’s better on the other side.

    2. My Useless 2 Cents*

      I really side-eye the whole “you have to force yourself to do uncomfortable things or you’ll never grow” mentality. Yes, sometimes you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone or you stall. But in my experience, if the situation is constantly putting me outside my comfort zone, with no time to re-center myself, I do not “grow”, I shrink. It actually made my social anxiety worse when I was working a job that constantly forced me to deal with phones/strangers. LW4 remember that while stress can make you grow, constant stress is bad for your health. If the new job isn’t a right fit for you, at least you’ll be making more money with more time off.

      1. MigraineMonth*

        Agreed; you cannot grow completely inside your comfort zone or completely outside it.

    3. Sara without an H*

      LW4, you sound like someone who overthinks a lot. Be careful of that tendency, because it has the potential to make you very unhappy.

      You had a tough year that highlighted all the deficiencies of your employer. Then there were some personnel changes, there was brief improvement, then everything reverted to the lousy norm. This should tell you that the problems are in the company, not the people, and certainly not in you. Toughing it out is unlikely to change anything substantial.

      In addition to what the other commenters in this thread have said, I’d like to point out that you never really earn back lost income. You’ve spent three years at a job you’re not happy with, and you know there are places out there where you’ll be compensated better and, at least potentially, get to do something you’re good at.

      Three years is enough time to spend in a position that you yourself don’t think is a good fit. So take Alison’s advice, go through the AAM archives and look at everything she has posted on job search advice, and start looking. Please send us an update when you find something.

  5. Jolie*

    LW2, you’ve just made me wonder if my accolades and good reviews and 2x yearly bonus/raises were because I always asked to work 7-3. I remember another person in my department wanted to work 11-7 and people thought she was lazy. I think she went 2 years without a raise…

    (I think she liked the schedule because she had morning PT for a knee replacement, but that wasn’t widely known).

    I’ve always been praised for being early when I’m just a morning person…not particularly virtuous.

    1. Allonge*

      So – it might well have an impact, but it’s unlikely that you never delivered anything else but an early start schedule!

      This is not something to doubt yourself over, it’s something to be conscious of when thinking of (and before judging) others.

    2. Rain*

      I absolutely loathe the view that if you work 8 hours starting at 6:00 a.m., you’re somehow more virtuous than if you work 8 hours starting at 10:00 a.m.

      My job has core hours- 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Other than that, people can set what hours they want.

      But we have a team that’s full of early risers, and one of them frequently asked if they can schedule meetings with us for 8:30 or 9:00 a.m. “just this once”.

      I tell them “No but we are free to meet at 6:00 p.m” … that usually gets the message across.

      in fact, on our last 360 reviews, I received positive feedback on supporting the team in not being forced to come to early meetings.

      1. Lady Lessa*

        I tend toward being an early bird, but I still hate meetings that start at 8:30 am.

        Thank you for being reasonable.

      2. ferrina*

        If it makes you feel better, I tried to work a 7am-4pm shift (exempt, worked through lunch), and my boss chided me for “leaving early”. I was doing extra hours because the department was horribly understaffed and I was helping bridge the gap. But my boss wanted me there before I arrived until after she leaved- if she noticed I wasn’t working when she was, then clearly I was not working hard enough /s

        1. Rain*

          That also sucks. I find it terribly annoying when people get fixated on what hours other people are working. If my team is getting all their work done, they’re available during core hours, and they’re not creating extra work for anyone else, I could not possibly care less when they work.

          It’s just such paternalistic behavior- they’re there to do work, if they’re doing work, that’s all you need to worry about.

          1. MigraineMonth*

            A strong focus on working hours for exempt non-coverage-based jobs usually means management doesn’t know how to measure or evaluate results.

            We’re getting a new executive at my org, and the head of our department just sent an email saying we’re doing great, but to remember to be at work at least 40 hours a week until the new exec had settled in. He expressed hope that we could return to “results-based” management soon. *facepalm*

    3. Nancy*

      Unlikely that is the only reason why you reviews are good.

      I work 10-6 or 11-7 depending on the day and my reviews have always been excellent.

    4. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

      I wonder why your coworker didn’t want her PT sessions known. Was it because of potential ageism, given that knee replacements are associated with getting older?

      1. Annie*

        If not ageism, it’s potential ableism.

        If the employer knows the employee has a chronic condition, that can limit how much the employee can be squeezed for, especially for stuff that falls outside official job duties. Employers may also be worried about accommodation costs such as purchasing assistive devices/software, extra need for time off (actual or potential), chronic condition symptoms affecting behavior towards coworkers and clients, etc.

  6. Awkwardness*

    #1: You have no idea how your husband is presenting himself to his employer and how much of information he disclosed.
    Be might be scared to lose his job, and is downplaying everything.
    So try to get a better understanding first how he handles those things (and not how you assume he does or should do)

    1. Charley*

      Right. It also sounds from your account that your husband was able to reach out to you directly to let you know, so he boss may have figured he had that covered / thought it would be redundant or too much for you to hear from her as well.

  7. Cheezmouser*

    LW #2: I think asking about start time and regular working hours during the hiring process is fair. People might not be able to do an 8am start for all types of reasons, from school/daycare drop offs to public transportation schedules. It’s not just a problem for night owls, it could impact anyone.

    1. amoeba*

      Yeah, I might honestly frame it as scheduling issues! Even though the conflicting appointment is with your pillow, they don’t need to do that… (like, “due to my schedule, an 8 a.m. start won’t work for me”). Shouldn’t be necessary but I feel like it would make them less likely to object or try to convince you…

      1. Malarkey01*

        This was going to be my suggestion. There are a lot of reasons you may have a need to start at 9- no need for details.

    2. Lauren19*

      I also don’t think all businesses are biased to early start times. I’ve worked in places where no one notices when you start, but EVERYONE notices when you leave/logoff. I’d prefer to start early and be done by four, but in a lot of places that’s just not an option.

      1. Managing While Female*

        I agree. When I worked in office, I was one of the early birds and it seemed like the people who stayed “late” (even though they came in late, so they worked the same hours) were favored over the ones who came early and left on time. I would get the stink-eye or attitude from managers when I would leave at 3:30 or 4 (even though I had worked my time). Really just depends on company culture.

        1. Turquoisecow*

          I worked a place where it was both. The hours were theoretically 8:30-4:45 but there was a boss who’d walk around and complain no one was there at 8:00 or 5:00. Um, because they’re not supposed to be? And many of them are hourly.

          1. MigraineMonth*

            I assume he complained much more vociferously if they worked 8 to 5 and logged all those hours.

        2. Dahlia*

          There’s a tech support company in my area that changed their hours to having no morning shifts and instead being open from 1pm-9pm because most businesses want them to work after they close at 6pm. They just weren’t making money in the mornings.

      2. ferrina*

        Ditto. I’ve worked more places where late hours were valued more than being early. Working 10- 7 (taking an hour-long lunch) was seen as “harder-working” than working 7-4, even if the 7-4 person worked through lunch and actually clocked more hours.

      3. Tired Librarian*

        Agreed – my husband gets in the office around 8 compared to everyone else arriving closer to 10…and then gets snide comments when he leaves at 5.30 (which is still a longer than normal day)! If you’re the first one in nobody knows it, they only see when you leave.

        1. Slow Gin Lizz*

          Yeah, this is why when I had a job where they were nice enough to move my starting hour to 8 from the usual 9 for the rest of the office because of the ridiculous train schedule I was beholden to, I was loath to leave too early. Boss said I could leave at 4:15 but I should have asked to leave at 4 b/c it was the full 8 hours (they were human and didn’t count lunchtime against the 8 hrs) and b/c then I would’ve had a much better chance of catching the early train instead of missing it by seconds and having to wait 50 min for the next one. But I was young(er) and stupid(er) and didn’t even think to ask for this accommodation, and, again, I didn’t want to be seen as a slacker by leaving early. I really shouldn’t have cared so much, though, but I was always worried about my job despite having an excellent performance record.

      4. Annie*

        Totally agree. Just like people notice someone “coming in late” (starting their eight hours at 10:00 AM), people notice someone “leaving early” (finishing their eight hours at 3:00 PM).

    3. HonorBox*

      The question is fair. The OP has a right to choose a job based on office hours (or any other detail that is important to them) but I think you’re right that framing it more about schedule conflicts than being a night owl is probably going to land better.

      1. Allonge*

        Yes, this. And it is true – sleep schedule is a schedule.

        It’s frankly nobody’s business what exactly the issue is – OP is willing to treat this as a dealbreaker, so it is a dealbreaker. And it would be for a lot of people for a million different reasons, so I think it’s really ok to ask.

    4. SpaceySteph*

      Yeah this is what I thought as well. My kid’s school doors open at 7:30 (for 8am class) but between dropoff line and commute time, being at my desk at 8am every day is unrealistic.

      Rather than disclose you’re a night owl, you could just say something vague about “personal schedule constraints” in the morning when asking about start time.

    5. Web of Pies*

      A missing component in the advice for me is that if you do start earlier than 9am in a regular office environment, I think the interviewers are obligated to point that out proactively.

      I worked with multiple remote people, and was always clear in interviews that their time zones could mean a 5 or 6am start time, and to really weigh that quality of life variable when considering working with us.

    6. TigressInTech*

      Not only that, but the company’s attitude when asking about different/flexible working hours may be a good indicator for how they handle other things. One of my friends took a job with a company that absolutely did *not* allow a different start/end time (for a salaried/exempt employee working hybrid) and it turned out the company/management was also inflexible about other things, including ADA accommodations (fun!). My friend has a new job now.

    7. Orv*

      I’ve noticed a trend toward listing core hours in job descriptions, which is good. On the other hand, I’ve noticed those core hours drifting earlier, which is not so good.

      1. Aggretsuko*

        I’ve NEVER seen anything listed but 8-5. I note my current job has a bit of flex scheduling after all, but everyone advertises 8-5 and there’s usually no flexibility in jobs unless you want to work earlier. That’s my state, anyway. Maybe the other coast is different.

  8. AcademiaNut*

    For an issue like #1, you really need to have a plan that’s detailed and explicit, with limited expectation that the boss will make medical decisions for someone else.

    For example – if they know that when the husband says he needs to sleep in the middle of the day, he’s having an episode, and they need to get him to the emergency room, either by picking him up and driving him there or calling an ambulance, that’s pretty clear. Expecting the boss to try and figure out if he just needs to sleep or needs emergency care, or to know that they should wait an hour to see how he’s doing, then figure out where he left the car and go get him and arrange for someone to drive the vehicle back, and then phone his wife to consult and coordinate not necessarily reasonable.

  9. Observer*

    #4 – Thinking about a job change.

    Here is the question I would ask you: What does an “adequate motive” mean and why do you need one? Sure, don’t make a career change to spite or hurt someone. But outside of that, pretty much *any* motive seems acceptable to me.

    The only questions you really need to answer are:
    Will this help, hurt or be neutral to my personal life?
    Will this help, hurt or be neutral to my immediate professional life?
    Will this help, hurt or be neutral to my long term goals?

    To me it seems like you would not answer “hurts” to any of these, and you would definitely answer “helps” to the immediate goals. Long term sounds like either neutral or helps.

    Lots of luck!

    1. Cyborg Llama Horde*

      I will also say: Nearly five years ago I left a job I’d been at for almost seven years (and arguably should have left sooner). I recently had an opportunity to chat with one of my ex-coworkers who’s still at that job. He was senior to me, and I admired his skills. He still has those skills, but when I talked to him, I was struck by how stagnant he seemed. In the intervening five years, I went to a different company and learned a whole new set of systems and ways of doing things. My formerly-senior colleague is still at the same job, doing basically the same work. Yes, there are probably ways in which I would’ve grown if I’d stayed in that job, but I’ve grown SO MUCH MORE in the one I moved to.

      (I also would not be at all surprised if I’m making more money than my ex-coworker is. I definitely have a more marketable title, and more in-demand skills.)

      1. MigraineMonth*

        So true! The first six months at a new job can be rough because you’re learning different ways of doing everything (and in my job, inevitably new technology), but you’re *learning* so much. After four or five years in the same position, your learning curve has really flattened out.

  10. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

    OP4 (leave for a better role or try to grow in the current one?) – I think there’s a bit of “sunk cost fallacy” thinking going on here – ie so much time and energy invested in the current company already, that it would be ‘wasted’ if you move on now. That isn’t the case at all – the current job has set you up for moving onto the next one. There might be a chance to grow in the current role, but things aren’t going very well there and you have the opportunity to ‘start fresh’ at a new company, which might be the change you need. The trouble is, thinking a few years into the future will you be in a deeper version of this situation again if you stay at your current place?

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      Yes, very much this! I have seen so many people flounder and be miserable in their jobs because of the sunk cost fallacy. And I have seen a very small number of them actually leave a job where they are miserable and then absolutely flourish in a new job.

    2. Nowwhat465*

      Agreed! OP, I was in a very similar boat to you several months ago before starting my current position. I had been at my company for 8 years, in my last team for 5, and that specific role for 3. I had received promotions and enjoyed my work and my colleagues. However, there were times of serious strife, due to internal politics and a lack of flexibility, plus I had climbed as far as I could without major departmental changes. But I had spent so much time there that I felt I “owed” it to stick it out and try and make it work.

      Then a new opportunity fell in my lap. Same type of work, slightly more pay, but a lot more flexibility and room for growth. This new position still has its challenges, but I’m able to see my family more, able to have a bigger impact, and the company has a lot less drama/politics. Any issues that pop up are truly work focused and not interpersonal conflicts.

      It can be hard to make the move when you’ve been somewhere for so long, but you’ll never know unless you give it a shot. And if your industry is anything like mine, it’s typical for an employee to work at Company A, move to Company B for a few years, and then come back to company A in a higher position or totally different role. So you could always keep in the back of your mind that if you leave on good terms, you could always go back.

    3. ferrina*

      So much this! It sounds like LW hasn’t even applied for the other job- first step is to apply! Applying isn’t a commitment to leaving. LW should learn more about the other opportunity(s), then see how they feel. Ask those questions. Learn more. If the grass looks greener after due diligence, then go! Just because something new seems better doesn’t mean that it’s actually worse- sometimes the grass looks greener because it actually is greener!

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        Yes! And also, LW, even just looking at job listings might help you realize what you want to do next and what salaries and benefits are being offered for those roles. I found that to be true for me when I was looking for the job I just started three weeks ago. When I started looking last Dec, I realized that my now ExJob was massively underpaying me for my level of expertise and the benefits weren’t all that great. I asked for a raise and was denied, so that kicked my job search up a level (along with some terrible internal politics I couldn’t deal with) and I got a new job much more quickly than I was expecting to (although the actual interview process seemed to take forever, with a month elapsing from initial phone screen to my receiving the offer), with a 40% pay increase, way better benefits, and at a large university that I’m hoping will be a better fit for me than the smaller places I’ve been at for the last 15 years.

        What the job search showed me that I am most grateful for was that I could definitely find a job elsewhere for much better pay, which was extremely helpful for me when dealing with the last few months at ExJob. I felt extremely confident in taking no crap from those who were throwing crap at me (this was partly helped by my excellent boss who totally had my back). So, LW, while you might not get to this level of confidence with your current job, just knowing that other opportunities exist might help you mentally deal with where you are now as you apply for other positions that you are more excited about.

        Also: once I was firmly into my 40s, I definitely reached a higher level of confidence and IDGAF about nonsense. I hope you get there too, LW. Best of luck!

  11. coffee*

    LW3, I think you should handle this like you would if someone was mispronouncing someone’s name. “Oh actually it’s pronounced Wakeen.” “Oh actually Emma uses they/them pronouns.” A fairly neutral-to-positive correcting of a mistake so that future interactions go well. A kind of favour where you’re setting your boss up for successful interactions.

    1. Shinespark*

      This is exactly how I’d want people to handle this for me. I’m a they/them, and despite having pronouns in my email sig and all my office communications, most have my team have settled on he/him for me regardless. It can feel like having to gamble some of your social capital to correct people on those things (particularly your bosses) so knowing another member of the team was doing this for me would mean a lot.

      Treat it like it’s no big deal, with a tone of *of course* the other person wants to get this right too.

      1. Mine Own Telemachus*

        This, exactly. I’m non-binary and out at work, but have a feminine legal name (I go by a more neutral name in my personal life but haven’t navigated changing it professionally yet). I get “she/her’d” a lot and it means SO MUCH when my cisgender (not-trans) coworkers speak up on my behalf. It takes the weight of the calculation off and reminds them that it’s a common courtesy.

      2. I Have RBF*


        One of my team members keeps using she/her for me, but I’m actually they/them. Usually it’s in the middle of a status update on stuff we were working on together, so I can’t interrupt and correct. Yes, I would appreciate it if other people would correct them, so I don’t come off as a prickly snowflake standing on my prerogatives or something.

        One part that is hard for me is that I only came out as non-binary three years ago. When I adopted the they/them pronouns, it was hard to make the switch at 60 years old. So I can understand people making the mistake, as it’s only now becoming a norm.

    2. münchner kindl*

      To me, it’s the reaction to a polite/ matter-of-fact correction that shows innocence (or not, bigotism), not the initial mistake.

      To use the old analogy: if you are standing on somebody’s toes, and they say “Could you please get off (that hurts)”, then the normal, decent reaction is
      to step off
      and maybe “sorry, I didn’t see” (though if embarrassed, the stepper might stay silent.

      Any aggressive/ defensive reaction (I didn’t see you, so it doesn’t matter/ Doesn’t bother me, so stop being upset/ I have a good heart, so only my intentions matter) while the stepper keeps standing is proof that they are not a good person, but a jerk/bigot, and you can adjust your behaviour accordingly.

      But starting with expecting decency sorts out normal people who might defensive if they feel attacked, so the stepped-on person shouldn’t start with “Hey jerk get off my foot, why are you doing that?” – that will raise hackles even from otherwise decent people.

      1. Irish Teacher.*

        Yeah, I once read something that said that what determines whether you are a good person or not isn’t whether or not you mess up; we all do. It’s not even how badly you mess up because there are all kinds of things that can affect that, some of which aren’t about whether or not you are a decent person. What really says whether or not you are a good person is how you react when somebody points out that you have messed up. A good person will try to improve whereas a jerk or bigot will become defensive or do the “well, I used to support you but I’m not going to now because you dared to criticise me.”

    3. theothermadeline*

      Big agree. Once at the very beginning of lockdowns when everyone was getting used to zoom transition awkwardness, I was in an all-company meeting that was shifting to breakout rooms. After people seemed to stop populating, my boss (the second most senior person in the org) enthusiastically said “The WOMEN!” because there were about four women and a femme-presenting non-binary colleague there. After a beat, I said, “Sue, Jenn actually doesn’t identify as a woman.” Sue apologized and Jenn thanked me in a DM. I was close to Jenn and knew they specifically would appreciate me speaking up in that manner, and I’ve also read and listened enough from trans folks that not always having the burden by themselves to name it in the moment as a perfectly normal stumble and then moving on is generally very appreciated.

    4. Flor*

      It might also help LW3 to see it less as you’re trying to “issue a corrective” and more that you’re just giving your boss important information, the same as you would about a technical issue or something a client said.

      1. ferrina*

        Exactly this. I’m usually really good about pronouns, but there have been a few times I haven’t realized I was using the wrong one. The sooner I’m corrected, the more I appreciate it. I’m always mortified when someone doesn’t correct me because 1) I’m embarrassed I used the wrong pronoun and misrepresented the person I was talking about and 2) it makes me worry that people don’t feel comfortable correcting me and that I’m not making myself open enough for feedback (if I’m coming across as someone who isn’t receptive to using preferred pronouns, I’m not doing a good job making a safe space or being a safe person).

    5. Rebecca*

      I’ve been on the receiving end of this very same pronoun correction. I genuinely didn’t know, and it was an honest mistake.

      I was grateful someone corrected me. I said thank you, filed that piece of information in my brain, and moved on. The person that corrected me was very matter of fact, taking the approach that OF COURSE I wouldn’t want to accidentally offend anyone. And that’s exactly how I took it. That’s the right approach.

    6. Cyborg Llama Horde*

      This is exactly the tone I’ve taken with my boss or other senior people when correctly pronouns, and it’s always gone over at least reasonably well. (I do work at a company where I’m confident gender transitions and nonbinary pronouns aren’t a big deal.)

      If I’m pretty sure the person doesn’t know the correct pronouns, it’s usually something like, “FYI, Peter Lilley uses they/them,” and if I know the person knows the pronouns but just messed up, (and I know them well), I’ll often just toss in a casual, “he” or whatever, right after “She’s working on the TPS reports.”

      I did the latter to my boss last week, and he thanked me because he knows he needs to be better about that particular person’s pronouns, and we had a great discussion.

    7. Trans-lator*

      I’ve changed pronouns in the past year (they/them in most cases, but he/him at work because the language I work in is gendered and therefore a nightmare for enbies), and I can almost always tell when people are only using the right pronouns/grammar in front of me but continuing to misgender me otherwise. In most cases it’s more laziness than malice, but having others step in with corrections while I’m not around goes a long way towards stopping that behaviour.

    8. Snarl Trolley*

      I think this could be a time to use another of Alison’s time-honored social tactics – utilizing your coworkers to help out, too! I’m the first nonbinary person to come out at my predominately 50+ y/o cis women job, and it absolutely took some time for them to adapt to new-to-them pronouns (and not casually calling me “lady”/”girl”, which I’d hate with a passion even if I WAS cis…). But the biggest reason I think they were all so successful is because I asked them directly to hold each -other- accountable and practice together, and that made a huge difference.

  12. Seven If You Count Bad John*

    Where has OP 2 been working, that a standard business day starts at 9 and not 8 or even earlier? (I mean, I’ve done jobs that do start that late, but those were call centers or retail, where there were shifts for early open and late close)

    I’ve never once worked at a regular business type office that opened at 9, unless they were also concomitantly open as late as 6 (a different kind of horrible.) This isn’t a new trend.

    1. Lizard the Second*

      Really? I’m quite surprised at your assertion – “9 to 5” is a saying for a reason, and the majority of my workplaces have had that as the default.

      1. Allonge*

        I think it’s more that a lot of the classic 9-5 office jobs went flexible(r). Workplaces that are open to the public or have a lot of ‘front desk’ function still have opening hours that are not negotiable.

        That said, I don’t think it makes sense to discuss this in general; I don’t doubt OP when they say they see a trend, but it’s field-dependent and local culture-dependent and so on. There is a lot of variety out there, just not in every industry in every town.

        1. Seven If You Count Bad John*

          Sure, I just would like to know where it is that this is a *recent* trend. The whole of my working life, “9-5” has been a euphemism for “8-5 with an unpaid hour lunch” or similar. (A start time of 9 am would typically have an end time of 6.)

          1. doreen*

            I think that depends a lot on location – since I’ve been working full time , my hours have always been 9-5 or the equivalent such as 8-4 or 8:30 to 4:30. I have never been expected to work a 40 hour week – it’s always been either 7 hours of work with a 1 hour lunch or 7.5 hours of work with a half-hour lunch.

      2. Anonymous Educator*

        “9 to 5” is a saying for a reason, and the majority of my workplaces have had that as the default.

        I’m Gen X (in the U.S.) and heard “Working 9 to 5” when I was a kid and thought those would be the normal hours, but I’ve had quite a few office jobs over the decades, and not a single one has actually been 9 to 5. I’ve had 8 to 5 and 8:30 to 4:30, but never an actual 9 to 5.

        1. Tradd*

          Yes, GenX here, too. I’ve had a few jobs that were 8:30-5, but the majority of my working years (since the early 90s) has been 8-5 or 4:30 (depends on if lunch was paid or not). I have a customer facing job (customs broker). Not only do I have to deal with customers 8-5, but I also have to deal with Customs and other federal agencies. Some of those agency offices work 8-4 or 9-5. I have NEVER had a job where you could come and go as you wished. International transportation pretty much has strict hours.

        2. Mak*

          Same. Even though salaried and not punching a time clock, I’ve never worked an office job where expectation wasn’t a 40 hour week, lunch not included.

          The standard was always built around M-F 8-5, 1 hour for lunch. Some had variations, allowing worker to coordinate with manager for a SLIGHTLY different start, a 30 minute lunch, or even 4 ten hour days (plus lunch).

      3. Daisy-dog*

        I’ve always been the “why do people say thaaaaaat?????” person about 9-5. I’ve had 1 job that was 9-5, but the facility was actually 24/7 – this was just for my role. (And my manager who set my hours got fired and I just never asked anyone else if I should work 8-5 instead and my new manager didn’t correct me.)

      4. Baunilha*

        My experience has been the same as yours, Lizard. In fact, where I am, you’d have a hard time trying to find companies that are open before 9am. Not that they don’t exist (and sure there are some industries where starting earlier is the norm) but most business here start the day at 9.

      5. Peach Parfaits Pls*

        I think it’s a more of an east coast thing, but nine-to-five is metaphorical where I live (pnw). 8 to 5 is default everywhere I’ve worked or heard of here and flexible schedules still take that as a starting point.

    2. Daria grace*

      I work for a charity. I usually arrive at my office around 8:40 and I’m often one of the first there. Many people arrive at 9. Some are even later although they are often starting work tasks on their train commute. So far I haven’t had any meetings scheduled before 9:30am.

    3. TechWorker*

      This is clearly industry/company dependent.. I work in tech & my internships were all 9am start, and the job I’ve had the last 10 years is ‘be in by 10’ with the most common schedule being 9.30-6. I’m in at 8.30 today and there’s no-one else on my floor :p

      The other office jobs I’ve had (not tech) were also a 9am start so maybe starting earlier is not as ubiquitous as it feels to you :)

      Disclaimer: the *offices* generally were open before 9, so I guess if you are working security or reception then someone has to be in earlier, but that tends to be shift work, and my one reception job was 9-6 (with the overnight security folks covering reception until that point.)

      1. Magpie*

        It’s not industry specific. I also work in tech and have always had an 8 AM start time at every job I’ve worked. I think it’s location specific? It seems more common to start at 9 on the east coast. The further west you go, the more common it is to start at 8.

        1. Pescadero*

          I work in Tech – and I’ve never had a workplace with a fixed “start time”.

          My current job – anything 6am-9am is pretty normal.
          My first job at Intel had core hours 10a-3p… so pretty much anything from a 6a-10a start time.

          1. Magpie*

            I should clarify that there isn’t a required start time, at least at my current job. We have core hours and people are allowed to work around them. It’s more an unspoken trend. Most people are working by 8AM and it’s typical for meetings to be scheduled that early so you’re going to get the side eye if you’re not available at that time.

          2. A stand up guy*

            I do interviewing for my tech company and do occasionally have candidates ask OP’s question. I have a stock answer which is that we have core hours of 10-4 and you can flex around that. A long time ago (pre-COVID) I had a coworker who wanted to work 7-3 for childcare reasons and was denied; I believe there’s a better chance it would be approved today. An almost surprising amount of my jobs have had daily standups at 10AM and at least one coworker at a previous company got multiple talkings-to about not being there for the start of standup (he often arrived 5 or 10 minutes in). In my first job out of college (without any daily standups) I had a teammate that worked like 8 PM to something AM. I didn’t even meet him for months.

        2. AnonyNurse*

          Yea, I think a lot of it is time zone influenced in the US. 9am or so more common on the east coast, 8am more common as you move west.

          1. Gumby*

            Odd. SF Bay Area here and 8 am is uncommon in my experience. Especially in tech. If places bother to have core hours they are more like 10 – 3. OTOH, my current company collaborates with several organizations on the East Coast and some of them are out the door at 4 p.m. on the dot which makes finding meeting times an adventure.

        3. BlueWolf*

          Yes, I think location has a lot to do with it. I am on the east coast and our company’s core hours are 9-5:30 (37.5 hour work week with 1 hour lunches). Growing up in the Midwest though, my parents usually started work at 8:00, I’m sure because they did work with people on the east coast.

        4. LW2*

          I personally have found 9am start times to be typical on both the east coast (mid-Atlantic) and west coast (PNW), but I now live in the South and 8am (or earlier!) seems to be typical here. Everything is so early – school starts at 7am, stores close earlier, a lot of evening activities start at 5 or 6pm whereas elsewhere things are held at 7 or 8pm.

          1. A stand up guy*

            I only worked a couple jobs on the East coast but the people I knew in those jobs tended to arrive early – like 7 AM. In the PNW, as I mentioned in another comment, most of my jobs have required arrival by 10 AM but not earlier than that.

          2. I Have RBF*

            IMO, in the South they have heat to deal with in the afternoon, so they want to get business out of the way in the morning. That’s what my mom, who lives in Florida, has told me, anyway.

          3. Not Totally Subclinical*

            LW2, if you’re in the eastern Central time zone part of the South, that may also be part of it. I’ve lived in the Central time zone for many years, but when I lived on the eastern edge, I had no trouble getting up at 6am; I now live much further west, and sunrise is an hour later than where I used to live, and my internal clock has reset accordingly.

    4. Brain the Brian*

      My natural sleeping hours are 4am to noon. I would love a job that let me cover the late shift in a public-facing office well *past* 6pm if it meant avoiding mornings altogether. 6pm would be preferable for me, not awful at all. (Alas, my industry does flexible 9-5, and most of my offices earlier to be better synchronized across time zones.)

      1. anonomatopeia*

        I see and agree with you.

        It’s 209 am in my time zone right now, and I’m up because this is part of the up pay off the day for me. I currently have arranged a 10am start time, but…

        Anyway, it’s almost the weekend, when other people socialize and I sleep 14 hours both days.

        1. Brain the Brian*

          Lol, when I typed that comment, it was about 4am, and I was consigned to under five hours of sleep. That weekend thing is so real…

      2. Seven If You Count Bad John*

        I’m with you on that. I personally prefer later starts, or *very early* starts (like 5 or 6 am). I haaaaaate starting at 8.

      3. LW2*

        My natural sleep hours are midnight-9am, so by having a 9am start time I am already compromising but I’ve accepted that in my current career path I am unlikely to find somewhere that allows a 10am start.

        1. Spreadsheet Queen*

          Similar natural sleep hours for me. (And Fitbit says I do actually need 9 hours in bed to get 8 hours of sleep. I wake up a lot because more things hurt as you age and you have to turn over.)
          I’ve been starting between 9 & 10 am for the past 30 years (and have a good career). Since I started working from home during the pandemic, I’m generally on closer to 9 than 10, but when I went in person, I ran closer to 10 am.
          Unfortunately, as we get more and more absorbed with our partner company who is a time zone ahead, I get a lot more “why have you not done this thing that was due at 10 am” – like timesheets for example – but it’s not 10 am yet! I’ve also had to push back on meetings that start early. I’ll take an occasional 8 am meeting, but I’ll push back on 7:30. It just ruins my effectiveness all day. So I end up working more hours to get the same amount of stuff done. My productive hours don’t move earlier just because I had to log on earlier.
          I definitely have asked for (and received) a later schedule at some places. Other places, I’ve just done it after proving myself for a bit, and people didn’t care.

    5. londonedit*

      I get the feeling early start times are more common in (parts of?) the US, but here in the UK an ordinary office job with an 8am start time would be extremely unusual. My jobs have always had standard hours of 9-5 or 9.30-5.30, never anything before 9am. In fact I currently do start work earlier, because we have core hours and can choose to work anything from 7-3 to 10-6 as long we stick to the same pattern, but I’ve never come across a non-shift-work job that started at 8am.

      1. anonomatopeia*

        The US west coast has a lot of 8am because obviously if we start at 9 the East Coast is at lunch and so we can’t call each other. Never mind that the Internet exists.

        1. DJ Abbott*

          Yes, my understanding is that US Midwest start times are around eight because it’s synced up with the East Coast start time at nine. This was important when business was done by telephone.
          I am an afternoon-evening person and I’ve just learned to deal with the 8:00 or 8:30 start time. It helps if I have a good breakfast with plenty of meat or chicken, and then I eat a snack after I get to work.
          What’s really ridiculous here is the start time for trade and blue collar jobs. They almost always start at 7 AM and some even earlier, at 6 AM. Maybe there was originally a reason for that, but I have never been able to see one now.
          And it’s sometimes spills over into office work. When I worked at a hospital, I heard that the data people in another hospital started at 6 AM. That’s just ridiculous. It screws up your whole life because you have to get up at what, 4 AM? Or earlier? And the only safe way to commute is by a car, and then you can’t stay up past around 6 PM.
          Being able to get to work at a reasonable time and do a good job may be “virtuous”. Requiring employees to contort their whole lives around ridiculous start times is most definitely not. IMO such things are just a power play by the employer.

          1. The Meat Embezzler*

            Tradespeople that work outside jobs tend to start early (especially in the summer months) simply to beat the heat.

          2. Carlie*

            For trade jobs, starting early allows you to avoid as many hours in full heat as possible. Even working indoors can be unpleasant, since warehouses and factories tend to not be very well temperature-controlled. And some jobs get in the way of the other people working in the same location, so they try to offset it to avoid as much disruption to the “regular” schedule people.

          3. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

            Another reason blue collar work tends to start very early is shifts: The day shift works from 6 to 2:30 (half hour lunch) and the evening shift is from 3 to 11:30. Or variations thereof. They cannot overlap much because there is only so much machinery in a factory-if you have two crimping machines, you only need two crimping machine operators.

            Also, if you are at work at 6, you probably wake up at 5, which means you need to be in bed at 9 PM, not 6 PM. Which is still early, but not that early.

            And if you wake up even earlier to work out before work, like my brother does, you are a CRAZILY morning person and it’s your own choice.

              1. Lexi Vipond*

                The average commute time is 28 minutes in the UK and 27 minutes in the US, Google tells me.

                1. Orv*

                  It takes me longer than 30 minutes to get myself out of bed, shower, and get dressed for work. Maybe I’m just unusually slow.

          4. Clisby*

            Hospitals have a number of employees working round-the-clock shifts. I don’t mean individuals are working round the clock, I mean some are working 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., some 3 p.m. to 11 p.m., and some 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. Factory work can be similar.

          5. DJ Abbott*

            Yes, but this doesn’t explain why data people working in an office were required to start at 6am.
            Or housekeepers or interior painters. I knew one who was required to work 5am-1pm to paint walls in the hospital. It would not have inconvenienced anyone if he worked regular first shift.
            In a big city like mine, commutes can be an hour or more. There’s no getting up at five to be at work at six. As a non-morning person who eats breakfast, I get up at 5:30 for my 50-minute commute to arrive at 8:20. I would not even consider these ridiculously early start times.

            1. Lexi Vipond*

              So you leave the house at 7:30? It takes me maybe 10 minutes to get dressed and 10 minutes to eat a bowl of cereal – add 10 minutes to waste, but I genuinely can’t imagine what you’re doing with the other hour and a half!

              1. Dahlia*

                Feeding children and pets? Taking children to school? Caregiving? Exercising? Putting on makeup/doing hair? Showering? Eating breakfast that isn’t cereal? Adding in time so when their 50 minute commute has a 15 minute delay getting a connection they aren’t late?

                1. DJ Abbott*

                  Yes, to some of that. Since I’m not a morning person, it takes half an hour to get sufficiently awake to refresh my hair, pour some water to drink, and put on music. Then I make a real breakfast with meat and bread, not just cereal, and pack my food for the day. That’s about half an hour. Then it takes about 40 minutes to shower, dress, and take the trash out before I go catch my train. I leave an hour before official start time and normally arrive 10 minutes early.
                  The point is since I’m not a morning person, it takes me longer than a morning person who bounces out of bed full of energy and doesn’t need a big breakfast. I would have to get up in the middle of the night for a 6 or 7 AM start, and that should not be expected of anyone. But morning people rule this world…

        2. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

          I WISH my West Coast colleagues would avoid scheduling meetings at noon Eastern! Most days I can either have lunch at 11:30 or 1:30.

    6. Cassielfsw*

      I was wondering the same thing. Is it a time zone/regional thing? I’m in the Midwest and the only time I’ve had a start time later than 8am was when I was working in a call center that was open until 7pm and therefore had some shifts that went until 7pm.

    7. Cj*

      I was also kind of confused see they say this is a new trend. I’ve been in the work force for 43 years, and for the first 30 of those I didn’t have a job that didn’t start at 8:00.

      most have had a 1 hour, unpaid lunch, so by starting at 8:00 you were done by 5:00. we are done at 4:30 at my current job, but only get a half hour lunch. I would hate the half hour if I wasn’t remote.

      During the last 10 years or so I’ve worked places that had core hours, so for instance everybody had to be there between 10:00 and 3:00, and you could start or end earlier or later than what the office was open as long as you got in 8 hours. The vast majority of employees did start at eight o’clock, but it is a situation that would work for the OP.

      1. Cj*

        I should know that I’m a cpa, and the flexible hours apply to people on the professional staff. if you’re support staff that deals with clients or needs to be there during business hours to support the professional staff, then you need to be there when the office is open.

      2. Anon in Canada*

        Yeah, I found this statement weird as well. It’s not a new trend by any means. What may be a “new-ish” trend (past 15-20 years or so) is shortening lunch from an hour to 30 minutes. Most people prefer the 30 minute lunch, because it allows them to be back home earlier; but there are still some traditionalists who really hate this change and think anything less than an hour is not enough.

        I think hour lunches may have made sense in the days of assembly lines, or when offices would close for lunch and everyone was on lunch at the same time. Then coworkers could spend that hour together and socialize. Such setups have become fairly rare; nowadays lunches are either staggered, or employees choose when to take it and people end up taking it at different times. Hour lunches in such a setup simply mean an hour of being lonely and bored, and having 30 minutes less at home. So companies that shortened lunch are simply going by the preference of most employees for a shorter lunch.

        1. Azure Jane Lunatic*

          Hour lunches also make sense when people are on site, there are not particularly many good food options around the site, and people are paid well enough that going off site for hot food seems reasonable.

          Ubiquitous smartphones are driving down the likelihood of a solo lunch hour being lonely and/or boring, I’ve found.

          1. Anon in Canada*

            Not everyone wants to spend a whole hour alone in a work break room with only their phone for “company”. I would much, much rather be home 30 minutes earlier, even if that means having to bring lunches to work rather than getting take-out food.

      3. hellohello*

        I think this is really dependent on location – most office jobs in my hometown start at 8 am, but in my current city the default start time for standard office hours is 9 am. These are both midwestern cities, too, so while it might be more common in some time zones, I don’t think it’s universal. Just a city by city work culture thing.

    8. Irish Teacher.*

      It sounds like the LW would be quite happy with working until 6 though. Different things suit different people. I definitely wouldn’t find working until 6 particularly horrible and certainly not comparative to starting at 8am.

        1. commensally*

          I work 10-6 and it’s great! I can wake up at a reasonable time for me, not be rushed in the morning, and still have enough evening time to do stuff. They let people flex their hours more during Covid when fewer people were in the building and I think they were surprised by how many people jumped at 10-6 (currently it’s about 1/4 of the staff here.) I am staying here forever unless they move my hours and I think the others are too – at least one of them turned down a promotion in order to stay 10-6!

    9. MistOrMister*

      Most offices I have worked in have a general start time around 9. Usually 8:30 or 9 are the norm. Some people do start earlier or later but it would not be out of place for someone to want to start at 9, at all. I prefer to start at 7 or 7:30 and I always have to get special permission to do so.

    10. Helewise*

      Yeah, I’m feeling a little jealous! I had one job years ago that started at 9, but everywhere else I’ve worked has been an 8am start. 9am is so much nicer.

    11. Sudsy Malone*

      I’ve worked in salaried office job positions my entire career and never had a job that started earlier than 9. I don’t remotely doubt that what you are describing about your own experience is true — but given that we’re all just trading small sample sizes, maybe give OP the same grace?

    12. WhyAreThereSoManyBadManagers*

      I was thinking the same. My entire working life of 30+ yrs now, every single place I’ve worked both in public and private sectors, started at 8 AM. I think this may be a United States v. everywhere else issue, because 40 hrs/wk is the US standard and 8-5 w/an hour lunch is the most common path to 40. Non-US is more commonly 35 or 32 hrs/wk so the 9 AM start time makes more sense & is doable then. Sure wish US would pass that 32 hr workweek bill sooner rather than later.

      1. Spreadsheet Queen*

        Yes, all the white collar companies (except retail) I’ve worked at had a standard 8 – 5 schedule, but except for one temp job where the office was literally locked up at 5 pm, flexing has been doable.
        I basically learned that no matter how early I start, I’m still finishing at 6 or 7 pm most days, and so I was working MORE hours coming in at 8 am, but not getting any more done than if I came in at 9 or 9:30 or 10.
        Everything is on email or Sharepoint or whatever, so as long as you do your part, a perfect alignment of hours is unnecessary. Plus a lot of times, the “leap-frogging” works really well – I do my piece and send it out in the evening, the next person who is a morning person gets to log on and review it in the morning before I get in and get their feedback to me and that results in less “hurry up and wait” for both of us.
        (Yes, I understand that some roles do need a more specific availability at explicit times, but I don’t work that sort of role. And in fact, in one job, almost everyone I interacted with outside my company was two time zones later, so my preferred schedule was in perfect alignment, lol.)

    13. A Simple Narwhal*

      Interesting, I’m on the east coast and every job I’ve had started at 8:30 except one which started at 9. Ironically the 9am start job was the only one where I was expected to receive calls from external clients, also starting at 9, every other job had no external function.

    14. Gray Lady*

      A non-medical public facing job comes to mind. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit to have an insurance agency or brokerage office keep those hours.

      I agree, though — 9 to 5 is more of a trope than a reality for most office jobs.

    15. Bee*

      And every office I’ve worked in started at 10, so. It’s going to vary widely by industry & location norms.

    16. Lady Danbury*

      My entire career has been in salaried “professional” roles (legal and finance) in a variety of industries and I’ve never been expected to arrive at 8. Standard work days have always been 9-5. I’ve even had roles where the start time on paper was 8:30 but it was still 8:30 for 9 (ie most people would aim to arrive between 8:45 and 9). However, as salaried employees, the expectation was always that we would work as needed. While there was no issue leaving at 5 (or even earlier) sometimes, there were other times where we were expected to stay well after that based on workloads and deadlines.

    17. ThursdaysGeek*

      It sounds like we should indicate our location too. I’m PNW, and I’ve never had a job that didn’t normally start at 8am. However, I’ve usually worked jobs where most of the people can flex that a bit, so earlier or later is also fine.

      And that whole 9-5 bit? I’ve never had a paid lunch, and have always been expected to work 8 hours, so that just sounded like a fictional song.

    18. JustaTech*

      So I work in biotech in the PNW, and maybe we have set hours somewhere, but for the non-manufacturing staff the start time is “morning”. Like, generally everyone is in by 9:30, I think, but there’s no specific start time (also none of us are hourly).
      Usually it depends on your specific group, but also what work you have that day or week. Like, if we have a big lab day we might get in by 7 on harvest day because we need to get that done in time for the analysis team to get started and not have to work until midnight.
      Other times I’ve had experiments with extremely specific time points where I had to be in at 8pm, or 3am or 6am or who knows.

      When I worked in an academic lab I have no idea if there were set hours, because the vibe was “always”, but also the boss wasn’t in until late morning (10?), so he actually didn’t realize that we were mostly working 7:30-4 or 8-4:30 until he wanted to hold journal club at 5pm on Friday and we told him “no, we’re not staying late for that”. (Except the post-docs, they never left the lab.)

      My friend who works at a daycare? Strict start time. My friend who works for the government? I think she’s got a pretty firm start time. My friends in Big Tech? When they were ICs they all started at like 10 or whenever, but now that they’re all managers they’ve got meetings starting at 8:30 and don’t love it.
      (And when I worked at an academic library? I was a “total slacker” (mostly joking) when I arrived at 7:50; many librarians were in by 6am to avoid the students.)

      All of which is to say, it is incredibly industry, region and organization dependent.

    19. hohumdrum*

      I don’t know why people are arguing with LW about this, it’s obviously so experience specific.

      In my industry/location 9-5 is absolutely standard, though 10-6 is also incredibly common. 8am is a very unexpected start time outside of specific needs, and people tend to apologize about scheduling meetings before 11.

      I believe all of you who say your whole experience is different, because experience and norms are highly individual!

      1. Seven If You Count Bad John*

        Not arguing at all! I’m completely in agreement with the LW that an 8 am start time is heinous and they should try to not have to do that, if they can! I’m only curious as to where the idea that this is a “new trend” is coming from–I’d love to hear a few more details from the LW–for example, have they always heard the phrase “9 to 5” and they’re very young, so they don’t know that’s not usually literal nowadays? Or do they work in an industry that has traditionally started at later times and now for some reason all the places they’re interviewing are downshifting because e.g. the big clients are all on the East Coast now instead of the Midwest? Or all of their friends work at Company A but they’re all programmers who can make their own hours but LW is a receptionist who has to open and close the phones at certain times? Like that.

        1. hohumdrum*

          But 9-5 is literal in many, many places. It’s the only schedule I’ve ever experienced as standard. If I were applying to jobs and they were suggesting 8-5 is normal and how it’s always been I would be taken aback and would see it as a “new trend”. Truly this thread is eye opening to me, I’m shocked by how many people think starting at 8 is normal. I’m in my mid 30s, for the record also, I’m not just starting out.

          Sounds like the LW has had the same experience as I have.

          1. DisgruntledPelican*

            Would you call it a new “trend” or simply not your experience. There’s a difference.

        2. LW2*

          have they always heard the phrase “9 to 5” and they’re very young, so they don’t know that’s not usually literal nowadays?

          I mean your own comment here shows that 9-5 used to be considered standard and no longer is.

          FWIW, I’m in my mid-30s. I work in the non-profit sector, in roles/at organizations that have no business reason for starting at 8am vs. 9am. Not a receptionist, not at places that are open to the public, not trying to coordinate with people in other timezones, etc.

          It’s anecdotal I suppose, but I feel like I see a lot more jobs starting at 8am than I used to. When I was a kid, my friends’ parents who had office jobs were 9-5 (and school started at 8 or 8:30 depending on grade level so you could drop your kids off on the way in). When I was younger, my office jobs were all 9-5 or 9-5:30. I was shocked when the job I had immediately prior to my current one expected me to show up at 8am because I had just assumed it would be 9, because 9 is standard and they didn’t tell me otherwise during the interview process. (I left that job quickly, and the experience is part of why I was asking this question.)

          A lot of what I see for the shift to 8am start is a shift to unpaid lunches. You have to start at 8am now to be off by 5pm. This is just yet another example of employers trying to squeeze more work out of employees for the same amount of money.

          1. Seven If You Count Bad John*

            Yeah, I think this is it–and another commenter above said much the same–it used to be an 8 hour day including a paid lunch hour (so 7 working hours but you get paid for 8) and now the expectation is that lunch is unpaid (unless salaried/exempt/etc) so they lengthen the total work day to compensate.

            I’ve always hated this, and prefer a half-hour lunch for this reason–but that’s regardless of the absolute start time, which is your whole dealbreaker–you don’t want a start time earlier than 9 regardless of the length of the day. Totally fair!

            I too am finding this whole discussion eye-opening!

          2. londonedit*

            I think lunch has always been unpaid in the UK. It’s a 35-hour week with an hour’s unpaid lunch, so 9-5 is the norm. I agree that flexible working has become more common – as I said, where I work core hours are 10-3, but you can work 7-3 or 8-4 or 9-5 or 10-6 as long as it’s a regular pattern (so the only thing you can’t do is chop and change whenever you like – you agree your regular hours with your manager and you stick to it). But I’ve never come across a UK publishing company with a standard start time of 8am. Early starts are something people can choose for themselves, they’re not standard.

    20. Location*

      In the US this us also sometimes geographical – when I lived in Mountain time it was very common for offices to open at 8am to maximize overlap with the east coast. Here on the east coast 9-9:30 are both pretty common, with some 8:30 or 10am outliers.

      Flexible hours are also common when coverage isn’t an issue.

  13. stk*

    LW4, I just felt so much sympathy for you. Feeling stjpid is horrible. Wherever you go next, and whatever job you’re in, I hope you find something that makes you feel good about your day and that plays to your strengths.

    1. JustaTech*

      Yes! There is nothing wrong, AT ALL, with wanting to play to your strengths!

      There is no prize in working life for taking the hardest possible route. (I think there might be in some religions, which is why I didn’t make it a blanket statement.)

      Starting from your strengths means that your hard work will go farther, and leave you more time/energy to grow in the ways that *you* want to grow.

  14. LateRiser*

    I really feel for LW2. While all my jobs have officially started at 9am, I currently work in a team of 4 where the other 3 work 8am-4pm while I usually log in by 9:30am. Core hours are 10am-3pm so it’s not a problem per se, but it does feel a bit weird being the only late-finisher.

    I also had a previous job where I didn’t find out the working hours were 9am-6pm until they sent me the contract to sign, having accepted the offer. I apologised and turned it down because my commute would be over an hour and F that, but they then offered to let me leave “early”. Lovely people, but sadly turned out to be an awful job.

  15. I Would Prefer Not To*

    LW2, as others are saying, just frame it as a scheduling issue and asking about flexibility: “I cannot be available before 9 AM on most days” or if you don’t want to dress it up, you can also just say that you know yourself well enough to know you do your best work later in the day. This assumes that there is flexibility in the office hours of course but since you’re clear that you wouldn’t accept a hard pre-9 AM start. You might also want to ask not only about formal working hours but the culture around this in the office. In my previous job, hours were flexible but most people were at their desks by 8 AM, meaning meetings would often start at 9 AM and conversely, few were available for meetings at 3.30 PM. In my current job, still with flexible hours, people generally show up between 9 and 9.30 AM and lots of meetings are invited for at 3.30 PM. So there’s something about how well one is a fit in the working culture and whether you will be de facto inhibited in doing your job (again, all depending on the kind of work you do). I was wondering a little bit if the reason you feel this is somehow a contentious question is because of any resentment you may (justifiably!) feel about the bias against night owls – just a thought, because I don’t think hiring managers would consider your question anything other than a fair investigation of whether you’re a good match for each other.

  16. Green great dragon*

    From what the letter says, I think it would be an overstep for Tina to have called LW! Husband called her, says he’s had an episode and needs to sleep it off, and that he’s told his family. An employer shouldn’t then start calling family members and making plans for him that are different to what they’ve agreed with their employee!

    I’d want my employer to call my family and get me medical help if I was incapable of doing it myself. I’d want them to override my own plan for my health if they had reason to believe I wasn’t capable of making sound decisions. That’s it.

    1. anon24*

      I agree! How many times lately have we gotten letters from companies abusing emergency contacts? Tina didn’t call OP until she couldn’t get ahold of her employee and probably didn’t know another way to, which seems reasonable. It doesn’t seem like Tina even knew there was a medical issue until then, so how could she have called the OP to inform her?

      Even if she did know and was a great boss, it would be absolutely inappropriate for a boss to call the family of an alert and oriented employee having a medical event unless there is a prior plan in place or said employee requests it in the moment. I would argue this is the case even if the employee is sent to the hospital. It’s not hard to ask an employee who is telling you they’re going to the hospital “would you like me to notify your emergency contact, or will you call them?” I’m an EMT and I’ve responded to many workplaces where managers are asking employees this question as I’m putting them on my stretcher and it isn’t inappropriate if the employee is still up and talking and not actively dying and we don’t mind someone coming up and asking our patient that while we are caring for them.

      To me the emergency contact is for when the employee physically cannot do so themselves, is unconscious, confused or so gravely injured that making a phone call isn’t happening.

    2. MistOrMister*

      OP also says her husband had called her first and was going to go back to sleep after calling Tina. I would assume if he needed any sort of emergency care that he would have let OP know at that time. If he didn’t indicate medical care was required, why in the world would Tina call to set up a plan to handle a non-issue? I realize OP was worried and likely thinking it could have been a bigger issue than assumed, but Tina is not in the wrong for how she handled the matter. It seems to me that what OP really wanted was for her husband to get medical care and for his workplace to figure out how to make that happen.

      1. MicroManagered*

        This was the big one for me. He already called his wife. There was no reason for Tina to call him, unless or until Tina couldn’t reach him herself. Which is what Tina did. All the other info about Tina’s organizational skills or lack thereof, or the age of the delivery truck, is unnecessary. We don’t need to prove that Tina is a terrible boss. She did exactly the correct thing.

  17. Despachito*

    OP1 – I wouldn’t blame Tina in this case. She may be a crappy boss otherwise, but here I would not see it as a logical thing for her to call OP.

    I wonder about several things here. First, OP herself seems to have evaluated the situation as non-urgent (she says she gave her husband an hour to sleep it off), yet she berates Tina for not sending someone to take husband for medical evaluation.

    She says “I would have left my job and driven two hours or further to try and find him. ” – I wonder whether she expects Tina to do this but if so why she didn’t do it herself once the husband called her (given that her husband’s condition may have been serious and time sensitive, given the previous stroke).

    This said, I think the husband should definitely not be driving. I am sorry for OP’s situation but I don’t think that what she describes is the real problem. Ideally, her husband should find a different job.

  18. PrivacyRules*

    OP1, it would be a serious overstep for anyone to call you from your husband’s job about any health issue without his explicit permission. It would be a violation of his privacy and, in theory, something he could sue the company for and probably win. This would be true even if he ended up in the hospital while at work. If he wants you to be informed, he needs to frmally arrange it ahead of time.

    1. Brain the Brian*

      Not if he has his spouse listed as an emergency contact (and it would be very strange indeed if he did not). The whole point of emergency contacts is to call them in an emergency, and a hospital visit would certainly count as that.

      That said, as others have noted, it sounds like LW1’s husband had not told his manager about his health issues.

      1. AngryOctopus*

        Well, if the employee is awake and talking but needs to be taken to the hospital, they are certainly allowed to say “I don’t want you to call my emergency contact”. That generally happens when the patient is incapacitated in some way. When I dislocated my shoulder at work, they didn’t call my emergency contact because I was awake and fine, and just needed to go to the ER to get it put back. But my mom didn’t have to be called!! I had someone taking me, and was able to arrange my own care. Calling my mom would have been if I had passed out and was unable to make my own care decisions.

      2. Jackalope*

        Part of the point of putting someone down as an emergency contact at work is that you are giving your employer implicit permission to get in touch with them if an emergency happens. Calling the OP with non-emergency random questions like Tina did later is out of line (and from what the OP says above it sounds like Tina has done that on a number of occasions), but calling the OP if there’s a emergency or even just a health crisis is totally reasonable.

        1. Brain the Brian*

          Agreed fully. It’s difficult to assess *why* Tina called in the first place before she started asking work questions from this far afield.

    2. doreen*

      Generally not in the US unless the employer is also the husband’s health care provider. I mean, they shouldn’t call without permission if the employee is able make any calls they want to make – but there are many things employers shouldn’t do that are perfectly legal and won’t result in winning a lawsuit.

  19. Pandas*

    I’m actually a bit suprised that so many people have 9-5 jobs. I thought that was something that existed back when Dolly sang about it but had gone the way of the payphone. But I guess, now that I think about it, I mostly only know people who work in government like me or people in the private sector who are hourly. I suspect jobs with a lot of hourly employees (like government) do 8-5 because of mandated lunch breaks. I suppose if a company was all salaried, 9-5 would work. Do ya’all not get lunch then? Or do you actually only work 7 hours?

    1. aqua*

      My contract is for 37.5 hours a week and my working time is flexible so I could do, for example, 9am to 5pm with a half hour break, 9am to 5:30pm with a one hour break, 10am to 6pm with a half hour break, etc.

    2. bamcheeks*

      Standard working week in UK public sector varies between 35-37.5 hours. I’ve never worked anywhere that had a 40 hour week.

      1. londonedit*

        Same. Our working week is 35 hours but I have had jobs with 37.5-hour weeks. Never encountered a 40-hour week.

      2. Amey*

        My UK contract is 37.5 hours as is my husband’s. My employer’s standard work day was 9-5:15, his was 8:45-5, both with a 1 hour lunch break. Both employers flex time a bit more now but that’s the baseline you negotiate from.

      3. Lady Danbury*

        Same, in every job that I’ve had. But as a salaried employee, I definitely average over 40 hours a week. The expectation is that you manage your time as needed.

    3. münchner kindl*

      I work in an office and we have flex time with core hours of 10 am to 3 pm. Some people come in early, because of commuting, some people come in later because they are not early birds, which means one person is there at 8 am already, and another person stays until 6 pm, which is good.

      Generally, with offices I expect core hours of 9 am to 4 pm availabilty, whether it’s public places or the offices that work for stores (the stores themselves obviously are open longer, but to get a manager or an expert for a complicated thing, you call during core hours).

      Medical practices often have one long afternoon till 6 pm for working people; our city’s public offices start at 7:30 am on some days (so people can come before work), but those are recent developments.

      I remember back in the 80s, when bank opening hours were really difficult (after 9 am, close at 3 pm, lunch break 1:30 hr) for normal workers, and asked my sister why they had such a long lunch break, and she told me that the long lunch break was not for the employees, but to enter all the data into the computer from the customer transactions and meetings of the morning, and similar, closing at 3 pm didn’t mean they went home early. Similar in a medical practice, the paper stuff takes time, too, seperate from opening hours.

      And that’s also why office employees often have flex time, the paper stuff doesn’t care if it’s done at 8 am or 6 pm (unless you need to contact somebody else).

    4. 653-CXK*

      I work 8-4:30 at CurrentJob, but I do not have the flexibility of starting early – the earliest I can start is 7:50 – this happened due to a time clock switch and a few abuses of flex time. I work 8 hours a day with a half hour lunch and a half hour paid break, which I combine into an hour lunch.

    5. TX_Trucker*

      All my government jobs in the USA were officially 8 – 4:30 with a 30 minute lunch break. Most folks filed a “schedule adjustment” and worked until 5 and took an hour lunch. My USA corporate jobs have been 40 hours (theoretically) with a starting time of usually 7 or 8. The transportation industry tend to be early folks.

    6. Zee*

      I work 9-5:30 currently with a 1/2 hour unpaid lunch break. I’ve had past 9-5 jobs where the lunch break was paid so I only “worked” 7.5 hours a day.

    7. fhqwhgads*

      My last few jobs have been flexible, but the official hours were: 9-5:30, unpaid half hour lunch; 8-5, unpaid hour lunch, 9-6, unpaid hour lunch.
      I also had the impression that other than union jobs that specify otherwise, that in the US the idea of a paid lunch had indeed gone the way of the payphone. I haven’t known anyone in the US whose schedule was literally 9-5 in over 25 years.

    8. Ginger Baker*

      7 hours. Depends tho on location; I know our DC office it’s 7.5 hours. My lunch is a paid hour. And every single job I have had ever has been set up like this (I think the two TINY places I worked the first three years the lunch was unpaid, but still 9-5 inclusive of lunch). I’m in NYC and all have been office jobs, and I’ve been working since the late 90s. I am not salaried/exempt.

    9. Clisby*

      Before I retired, I had worked 27 years in tech at a company – most salaried IT people had a flexible schedule: arrive between 7 and 9; take a half hour to 1.5 hours (unpaid) for lunch; work a total of 8 hours. So the earliest schedule would be 7-3:30; the latest would be 9-6:30. There was an unwritten rule that meetings weren’t to be scheduled later than 3 pm unless you knew everyone invited worked a later schedule. (Same probably went for scheduling meetings at 7 a.m., although I don’t recall that really being much of a problem. I loved starting at 7 and wouldn’t have minded, but it also was nice to come in early and have a solid 2 hours of concentrated work time.)

    10. Hyaline*

      I mean, if we’re talking salaried employees they’re not likely sitting there with a stopwatch monitoring exact hours. 40 hours a week is an estimate not a requirement. Sometimes you work more, sometimes less. Many salaried employees eat lunch at their desks or take work home. Maybe some days they do only work 7 hours but it’s unlikely anyone cares unless they’re causing a problem with it.

    11. Michigander*

      I’m in the UK and full-time at my university is 35 hours. The standard is 9-5 with an unpaid hour for lunch, though we also have a lot of flexibility in most departments so a lot of people do more unconventional hours.

    12. doreen*

      My jobs have never been anything other than 9-5 or the equivalent (such as 4-midnight) including my government jobs. That was even the longest scheduled shift in my fast food jobs ( 24 hour days breaks up into three 8 hour shifts.) I was supposed to work either 7 or 7.5 hours depending on the job. When I took a day off, I used either 7.5 or 7 hours of leave, not 8. Once I wasn’t overtime-eligible, I sometimes worked longer – but that wasn’t a matter of my normal workday being 8-5. It was that on a particular day I needed to work longer hours for some reason.

      1. doreen*

        Forgot to mention this was in the US. And that even the one very flexible job required me to work 37.5 hours a week . Pretty much any 37.5 hours but 37.5, not 40.

    13. hohumdrum*

      When I worked hourly I worked 9-5:30 with a 30 min lunch. Now I’m salaried and my official work day is 7 hours a day 9-5 with an hour lunch. In my workplace 10-6 is also extremely common.

      Now my actual days are incredibly varied because there is a need component to my job (public programs can be incredibly varied) so my actual work days all start and end at different times and are of different lengths and I never take a full hour lunch, but yeah, theoretically I work a 9-5 with an hour break.

    14. Lunch*

      every place I’ve worked expects 40 hours of actual work time. I haven’t worked in a job with set hours in ages, but they typically went 8-5 with lunch out west or 9-6 with lunch on the east coast.

  20. Queer Anon*

    LW3: Have you been using they/them pronouns for Emma and your boss hasn’t picked up on it? If so, matter-of-factly calling attention to it just like Alison says definitely makes sense, with the awareness that you may need to do some additional educating about pronouns in general or singular they in particular. I generally find that if I use pronouns for someone that don’t match the ones the person I’m talking to is using for that person, if they’re “in the know” they will pick up on that and quickly switch or possibly ask for confirmation.

  21. sam!*

    LW3- as a person who uses they/them myself and appears rather feminine at the moment (although I chose a very neutral name and am 3 months on testosterone (woo!)), I really appreciate it when others are willing to step up and correct people, especially when I’m not around. “Oh, Emma uses they/them” is perfectly fine to say, IMO.

    Thank you for being willing to do this, it really means a lot.

  22. bamcheeks*

    Lw4, I am slightly worried about you because I can see ZERO benefit to staying in your current job unless you were brought up with the kind of mindset that says it’s not good for you unless it’s making you miserable, and that a choice that makes you happy is some kind of immoral or cheating.

    You deserve work that makes you feel good about yourself, AND more pay, AND better benefits! All of those are good and OK things to want! It’s not cheating to have a job you like and which makes you feel good. And yes, we all have to get out of our comfort zones sometimes, but most cognitive research shows we learn best when we feel confident, supported, and happy. Feeling small, stupid and unappreciated is a block to learning, not something you have to tough out.

    Go get it!

    1. Ladida*

      Reposting for emphasis! *It’s not cheating to have a job you like and which makes you feel good.*

    2. Irish Teacher.*

      Yes. I can see no argument for the LW staying in their current job.

      I could completely understand their dilemma if they felt they were doing really well in their currrent job and got on well with their coworkers and felt confident and secure but were unhappy with the pay and benefits. Then I could see somebody wondering if it was safe to leave a place they were doing so well, even if they could get better benefits elsewhere. Or vice versa, if they didn’t feel confident with their work but the pay and benefits were so good that they would probably need to take a reduction. Or if they knew they were in line for a promotion that they would really enjoy.

      But in this case, it seems like there is nothing they prefer about this job to the alternatives and that the absolute worst case is ending up in a job that is slightly better. So what have they to lose.

    3. RVA Cat*

      “…you were brought up with the kind of mindset that says it’s not good for you unless it’s making you miserable.”

      This right here is just as wrong as Gumption. I’m halfway through my career and just now unlearning it as I unpack other childhood issues. Generational trauma is a hella drug.

  23. Coffee Cup*

    I don’t understand the first letter; why would Tina call her employee’s wife about his episode? He called both of them himself to let them know, if I were the boss it wouldn’t occur to me to call the wife myself.

    1. Ellis Bell*

      From the comments OP has made; she thinks her husband has told Tina he isn’t safe to drive and has health problems, but Tina seems unimpressed or hasn’t really believed that it’s all that severe. Tina has then sent him on a driving errand (which isn’t a normal part of the job) and the weird part is that her husband has just gone ahead and agreed to risk his life, which is only going to further Tina’s initial impression that his health issue is no big deal. OP got a call from her husband to say he was driving and had an episode. Instead of going zero tolerance and driving to get him with a plan to scold him for risking his life, she simply decided to let him sleep it off?! Part of this lack of reaction is she was trusting Tina to give further status updates, who obviously isn’t going to do that. Tina obviously is a sub par boss, but this willingness to risk lives is the really alarming thing. OP and her husband need to get medically exempted from this type of work, perhaps seek legal advice on keeping the job with medical exemptions and/or look at leaving the job if necessary. But never risk your life and other people’s lives for a job!

      1. londonedit*

        I’m surprised the OP’s husband is able to hold a driving licence if he has a condition like this, and I’m especially surprised that he has a licence allowing him to drive what sounds like a big truck (I’m not sure what a semi is, but it sounds large and like something that would require a specific licence).

        I get the feeling a lot of this is coming from the OP just not liking Tina, and it’s fair enough not to like Tina because she sounds like a nightmare, but I’m also not sure where the OP got the idea that Tina was going to provide updates on her husband’s condition. Sounds to me like the husband said ‘I’m not well, I’m going to call Tina and then see if I can sleep it off’, and that was it. I’d have been expecting the husband to ring the OP back once he was awake and he knew what he needed in terms of being picked up or whatever. Not sure why Tina would have been involved with that unless there was a major emergency and the OP’s husband wasn’t able to call himself. It sounds like…I’m not even sure I can call it a misunderstanding, more that the OP for some reason had an expectation that Tina would take over and call with updates, and that didn’t happen, and now she’s annoyed.

        I think the whole thing sounds like a complete mess, the OP’s husband should not be anywhere near a job where he’s feeling like he has no option but to do something as dangerous as driving, and they should both get away from having to have anything to do with Tina.

        1. Hlao-roo*

          Just a side note for “divided by a common language,” semi is US slang that’s short for semi-truck or semi-trailer (also called “eighteen-wheelers” in the US). Wikipedia says these are known as articulated lorries or juggernauts in British English and transport trucks or transfer trucks in Canadian English.

          All that to say, yes, definitely something large that requires a specific license to drive!

          1. londonedit*

            Right, yeah, articulated lorry (sometimes called an ‘artic’ here) is definitely something that needs a specific HGV licence!

            1. londonedit*

              And just to note, an HGV licence is definitely not something you can legally obtain or hold if you have any sort of medical condition that could put you and other people in danger if you’re behind the wheel.

            2. UKDancer*

              Yes if you want to drive anything that big you need an HGV licence and the conditions are a lot more rigorous (and rightly so in my view, accidents involving HGVs can be nasty).

              I dated someone working in a logistics company for a time, all his drivers needed to pass medical exams and would lose their vocational licence for any major health issues affecting their ability to drive safely.

        2. AngryOctopus*

          This. OPs husband called her and updated her on his plan for getting through the episode. He was capable of calling her and Tina. Tina may be a nightmare, but that doesn’t change that the husband was 1-capable of calling people himself and taking care of his medical needs (we know this because he did it!) and 2-pretty irresponsible if he agreed to drive the semi instead of saying “I have a medical issue which is flaring up which means I should not be driving [semi] for work at the moment” or something similar.

        3. doreen*

          I’m surprised the OP’s husband is able to hold a driving licence if he has a condition like this, and I’m especially surprised that he has a licence allowing him to drive what sounds like a big truck

          I’m not really surprised. In my state, you need a medical certificate for certain licenses, but you go to your own doctor. Urgent cares often advertise that they perform these exams and sometimes list conditions which require you to bring documentation/a list of medications to the exam. But if I walk into an urgent care where I’ve never been seen before, they aren’t going to know about my high blood pressure or diabetes if it’s controlled by medication or that I have a stent or that I have sleep apnea. Not unless I tell them – and some people surely don’t.

          1. londonedit*

            That’s absolute madness. You can’t drive an HGV here if you have a medical condition that could affect your ability to drive.

            1. doreen*

              I suppose technically you can’t here either – you do have to get a medical certificate and I suppose there is some sort of paperwork you sign saying you don’t have this or that condition. But if I go to an urgent care and my blood pressure is normal and my A1C is normal, they can’t possibly tell from an ordinary exam that those numbers are normal only because I’m on medication or that I had a stroke two years ago. We don’t have any sort of central medical records ( I might see five different doctors each of whom keeps their own records) and it’s entirely possible that someone never sees a doctor except for the exam required for their license so it wouldn’t even raise suspicion if someone said they had no other medical records.

      2. Coffee Cup*

        I mean, I agree that these are all important problems, but they are separate from Tina calling L1. From Tina’s perspective in this case, her employee called her, and probably told her what he told his wife (“I am going to sleep this off, and I called/will call my wife/boss”). I don’t see how she would think she needs to call the wife to tell her.

        1. terracotta*

          Yeah, I think this is the case. The husband was already in contact with LW, and could have called her again to sort out a rescue plan if needed. LW is irate with Tina for being callous and a generally terrible person, and therefore thinks Tina should have done X, Y and Z specific things in this case – not because they needed doing for practical purposes, but to show that she cared and took the situation seriously. (Tina should care and should take it seriously! But LW has a very specific way that she wants Tina to have demonstrated that, when actually I think a lot of people in Tina’s shoes would also have thought it unnecessary to call.)

  24. Problem!*

    LW2 this is one of my major soapbox issues. Personally I’d suck it up and come in at 8 to start and then once you got the feel of the company see if you can roll it back a little towards 9.

    I used to work somewhere where one guy who was absolutely vital to our workflows would get in at 5 AM and leave at 1. If you needed him after 1 PM, too bad. If you complained about his lack of availability in the afternoons you were met with a “welp guess you needed to plan better!”. Another employee worked 10-6. He was regarded as lazy and was always asked to come in early for meetings so it wouldn’t inconvenience people, but the same never happened for 5-1 guy and asking him to stay late. Its stupid. Most people worked 8:30-4:30 so 10 AM start guy was closer to everyone else’s working hours, but somehow he was the one causing problems.

    1. Irish Teacher.*

      I don’t see any reason why the LW should presumably leave a job that starts at the time that suits them in order to “suck it up” and take on a job that suits them less, by expecting them to come in at a time that doesn’t suit them.

      I honestly think waiting until you’ve moved to a job to “get a feel for” whether or not it was worth leaving your last job for or if it is a bad choice and you would have been better staying where you were is a bad idea. That is something you should ideally be finding out before you make the move.

      1. Hyaline*

        I agree but it might unfortunately be the reality that it’s hard to know for sure if your preferred hours will be a fit even in a workplace that supposedly supports flexible hours or setting your schedule. If it’s “sure! As long as you’re available to your coworkers!” and they all come in at 7 and frequently schedule 8:30 meetings that may or may not be easy to suss out in early interviews. LW may have to accept that difficulty if this is truly their hill to die on.

        1. Irish Teacher.*

          But the LW can filter for workplaces where starting at 9 or later is the norm rather than applying to workplaces where starting at 8 is the norm and asking for flexibility. I presume that is why they want to ask early in the process, so that they don’t need flexibility.

          And if it turns out that everywhere the apply to is a worse fit for them (ie starts at 8 or earlier) than where they currently work, then presumably they can stay where they are.

          This isn’t a matter of “dying on a hill.” The question is how can they find out if a company is worth applying to. It sounds like they have already decided that companies where they will have to start before 9 are ruled out. What they are asking is how to know which companies are in this category that they do not want to consider, not whether or not they should consider companies where working before 9 is an option or how to get flexibility if it turns out that working before 9 is the norm. They just want to know how to ask if working before 9 is the norm, in which case, they can rule out that company/job.

          1. The Original K.*

            Yeah, I have a friend who does exactly this and asks the question up front. They’re also senior enough now that nobody’s watching their clock, but starting before 9 is a dealbreaker and they move accordingly when looking.

          2. LW2*

            But the LW can filter for workplaces where starting at 9 or later is the norm rather than applying to workplaces where starting at 8 is the norm and asking for flexibility. I presume that is why they want to ask early in the process, so that they don’t need flexibility.

            Yes, exactly this.

    2. Peanut Hamper*

      Yeah, this is exactly why LW wrote in. They want to find a job where this isn’t an issue and are wondering at what point in the interview process it’s appropriate to bring this up. They’re not asking for advice on how to navigate after they have a job.

      It bugs me that so many people are misreading this letter, because this kind of prejudice is exactly what the LW is talking about. Telling people to “suck it up” is exactly the kind of dismissive behavior that LW wants to avoid by finding a job with hours that work for them.

      1. LW2*

        Thank you! It has been real hard for me to resist being snarky in the comment section.
        I am fortunately in a place where I can be picky and turn down jobs that don’t suit me.

        1. Hlao-roo*

          I have used the “What hours do people generally work?” question in interviews before, and I like it for three reasons:

          – the answer usually includes typical start times, typical end times, and lunch break length (I have worked places with both 30 min and 60 min lunch breaks)

          – the answer usually gives me a good idea if this is a place where people typically work 40-hour weeks, 50-hour weeks, etc.

          – the question is neutral, so the interviewer is unlikely to form judgements like “wants a late start time so is lazy” or “wants to work a 40-hour week so is lazy”

          Good luck with your job search!

          1. Hyaline*

            This is a good early feeler question! One thing I’d keep in mind is that the initial interviewer might not know the ins and outs of the particular team you’d be hired into—so it’s probable that while you could rule out a general bad fit for the entire company initially, it’s likely not failsafe (that is—AlphaCo has an expectation of butts in seats at 8 is an obvious nonstarter from initial interview, but you might not discover until a later interview that despite the flexibility at BetaCo your team is all in office by 8 and holding meetings at 8:30.) You’re not wasting anyone’s time or doing anything wrong if you can’t immediately weed out every poor fit! That’s the point of the interview process—both parties assessing if this will work out well.

          2. theletter*

            I like this! Green flags to watch out for is “we have to support stakeholders in this later timezone so we end up working late,” and “There always seems to be fire at the end of the day so we end up working late,” or “no matter how early we start, something always comes up at the end of the day so we end up working late.” See if you can get them to say “gee I wish we had someone in the office who was ok with a later shift,” and then lay out your desires as a key feature of your candidancy.

        2. I treated you like a son*

          I don’t know if it’s misreading, but rather most people don’t have the sleep/night owl issue, so to most of us it’s like “well if you can get there at 9 just wake up an hour earlier”
          without realizing there might be reasons why that doesn’t work

          1. Observer*

            Yeah, but the LW is pretty explicit that it really won’t work. No one should need “reasons” to believe a letter writer on something like that.

            By the way, this is a medical thing – Circadian Rhythm Disorders are a thing, although a lot of doctors are not really aware of it.

            1. I treated you like a son*

              Yes I would assume it’s medical, rather than LW just stays up partying all night :)

              But as you noted, many doctors aren’t aware of it so it’s not surprising alot of us aren’t either.

          2. Irish Teacher.*

            But that’s not the question. The question isn’t “how do I make it work?” or “will not being able to work before 9 hinder me in my job search?” Not being able to work before 9 isn’t a problem for the LW. They simply want to know how to get the information about which companies might expect them to work before 9 so that they don’t continue with applications to those companies.

            Presumably, they currently have a job where they start after nine and they are just looking to see if there is anything better. It is no different than somebody say asking how they can find out which companies are willing to pay over $150,000 a year because they currently earn $140,000 and are not willing to take a pay cut or which companies offer a minimum of 8 weeks holidays a year before that is what they currently get and they are not willing to settle for less.

            I mean, most people can live on less than $150,000 a year, but it still wouldn’t answer the question if somebody asked “how soon can I ask about pay because I don’t want to waste my time continuing with the interview process if they are not willing to match my current salary” and people started answering with how they should just suck it up and take less and ask for a pay raise when they’d proven themselves or with advice about how to live on a lower salary. Sure, those things would be good advice if the person were unable to earn the salary they wanted, just as the advice about adapting to earlier hours would be helpful if the LW had to start work at 8am, but they don’t.

            So it really doesn’t matter what reason the LW has for ruling our jobs that start before 9am. They are allowed to filter their job search by any criteria they want. If they were filtering it by “how soon can I ask the colour of the uniform because I refuse to work anywhere where I would have to wear blue?” well, that’s their choice. There is no obligation on them to take a job that suits them less well than their current job and they do not need to have a reason why a worse fit won’t work for them in order to refuse it. Just “I prefer my current conditions” is enough.

            1. I treated you like a son*

              I understand that was the question, but not every comment has to be a precise answer to the exact question, otherwise every comment would be similar/repetitive.

              Overall I agree with your advice – if an 8am start is a deal breaker imo that should be asked and answered quickly, same as salary, health insurance, WFH or anything else

              1. Bee*

                Right now we have a lot of repetitive comments saying this is an unreasonable expectation because obviously all jobs have to start at 8am, which is unhelpful AND untrue, so frankly I’d prefer a lot of repetitive comments answering the actual question LW2 asked.

                1. I treated you like a son*

                  “this is an unreasonable expectation because obviously all jobs have to start at 8am”

                  That’s absurd but my point is that if someone has a deal breaker there’s no sense in playing around with it, because as you can see people don’t know what these conditions are, so it’s better to try to get the info up front

                2. LW2*

                  Haha yeah I was telling my friends I wrote in about this and mentioned that 90% of the related comments were people bickering about whether 8am or 9am is the “standard” start time for office jobs. Which is pretty typical of an internet comment section, to be honest – fixating on some minor detail that doesn’t really have any bearing on the question at hand.

  25. Dog momma*

    #1. sounds like this man is having poorly controlled seizures, which his spouse is calling ” episodes “. In which case he needs to go to the doctor & have his meds adjusted.
    And in no way should he be driving! Many times that’s state law.

  26. FashionablyEvil*

    LW1–I think your letter misses a key point: your husband works for a small, struggling business. Time to look for a new job.

  27. I treated you like a son*

    The company and Tina in #1 may be a mess, but I’m not sure why she would have called you in this case since it sounds like you already knew what was going on

  28. Abigail*

    2: it might be helpful to understand that nobody is setting early hours at you. This is not a personal decision at all.

    Accept or decline the job as offered. You are entitled to any dealbreaker you want at a job. If this is yours, that is fine. It doesn’t make 8am inherently wrong, though. You just don’t like it. Which is, again, fine.

    1. Dahlia*

      That really isn’t what they said or asked? You’re putting a lot of words in their mouth.

      They want to know when to ask in an interview what a job’s hours are. That’s all.

  29. Irish Teacher.*

    LW1, I think a lot depends on how much Tina knows about your husband’s medical condition. Given that you have said he seems high-functioning, is it possible she is unaware of how serious it is? Does she know about the stroke?

    If he just called her and said he was dealing with a medical issue and needed to take a break and sleep for a while, she might not have thought it anything serious.

    It sounds like you have concerns about Tina’s management in general and this might be having an impact on how you are interpreting her reaction here.

    LW2, while I agree that night owls often face stigma, I don’t think asking “what time do you open in the morning?” or “what time does work begin?” or “what are the usual working hours?” would necessarily make them think you were a night owl (and honestly, somebody wanting to start at 9am wouldn’t make me think “night owl” anyway, but there are cultural issues here as I think other countries might start earlier than we do). For all they know, you might prefer an 8am start or you might just want to know in order to plan your commute/arrange childcare quickly if you get the job.

    LW3, I would definitely want to know if I was accidentally misgendering somebody and I think that given your boss is a reasonable person and it sounds like it might be a genuine error, I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t do it. My students regularly correct me on their own or other’s names, “Miss, he prefers to be called ‘Steve,’ not ‘Steven,” “Miss, that’s pronounced differently.” With teens, I will generally check with the person themselves as sometimes kids try and get me to call a student by a nickname they dislike, to prank them but I certainly don’t think you have to be of equal “status” to mention something like that.

  30. Morning Reading*

    LW1: your husband needs to stop driving (especially a large poorly maintained truck.) he is a danger. Actually no one should drive that truck.
    Anecdotes: co-worker, while driving another to a work function, had a stroke, passed out, drove into a brick wall. They both survived, barely. And that was a car. That co-worker didn’t know she was at risk of stroke, but your husband does.

    1. Morning Reading*

      Also, a close friend is a lawyer handling shipping and trucking cases. Your story sounds very much like the beginning of one of her stories, involving death, destruction, and expensive lawsuits. Please don’t let that happen. New job for spouse or he just refuses to get behind the wheel in this one.

  31. El l*

    LW4, the most important statement you made, was, “New job would be a better fit for me.” Follow that.

    it’s your argument for staying that’s based on fear, not your argument for leaving.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      LW4, past commenter example that stayed with me: Someone’s dad believed that you could never leave a job where you were miserable, because that was giving up and letting the other guy win. So he did not understand when commenter just up and quit a job they didn’t like and went somewhere with more money and more enjoyable work. And he was still in the job he hated because he was never going to give in and let the bastards win.

      1. sofar*

        My parents’ have a similar view — you have to “win” at your job before you “deserve” to move on, otherwise you’re just “abandoning” ways to grow.

        I’ve learned that changing jobs every few years if you’re not super fulfilled where you are at is healthy. Plus, it’s important for companies to have consequences to overwhelming and overworking people. What incentives do they have to offer better benefits/better working environment if people just stay where they’re at? Bad companies should have to pay the penalty of churn.

    2. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      Yep, time to find another job that is a better fit and gives you more scope to develop.

    3. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      Also more money is a perfectly acceptable reason to leave a job. We work for money. We don’t work for growth or development (not mainly). We definitely don’t work for so-called character building. We exchange our labor for cold hard cash.

      Here’s the thing, people think they need a good reason to leave a job. For varying definitions of good. You don’t. Just as an employer can fire you for any reason at all, you can quit a job for any reason at all. You don’t have to justify your reason to your now former employer. They can’t make you stay if they think your reason is not good enough. You don’t have to explain why you are leaving in your resignation. It’s literally, I am resigning my position, my last day is X.

  32. Pocket Mouse*

    LW 1: You and your husband need to make plans together, and your husband needs to communicate better with both you and his employer.

    When your husband initially called you, he should have let you know exactly where he was (like, “I’m at the Wendy’s on Main Street in LittleTown, I’ll be in the white box truck with license plate X”). Then he should have called both you and Tina to say he was back on the road. This is regardless of whether an episode rises to the level of emergency; he felt unwell enough that he had to pause work and an update on both his wellbeing and work was warranted. It seems he correctly let each of you know what was happening as soon as he could; it seems he wrongly did NOT let each of you know the pause in work was over. I say “it seems” because I’m not seeing any actual evidence in the letter that he did call Tina after he called you, nor is it clear he didn’t call Tina before getting back on the road.

    That said, you and your husband need to get on the same page about what is and isn’t an emergency, plan for his safety, and make a decision tree about actions to take based on the situation, including whether or not you have heard from/are able to get in contact with him after an agreed-upon time (established ahead of time or in the moment).

    1. Angstrom*

      The safety plan could include enabling Find My Phone or an equivalent tracker so he could be located if he’s unresponsive.
      They need to have a serious talk with their medical provider about driving and other activities with safety implications.
      Assume that Tina is unreliable and plan accordingly.

  33. Falling Diphthong*

    I think OP1 is standing atop a mountain of problems out of her control–husband’s health, how that impacts keeping his job, how Tina’s incompetence impacts both keeping his job and doing his job, how that stress impacts his health–and pulled out one small thing to focus on that seems controllable.

    As others have said OP: If someone is well enough to call you before they call work, then it would be strange and out of line for work to then call you.

    1. Jennifer Strange*

      I’m having the same read on that letter. It sounds like the LW is hearing about Tina’s incompetence from her husband and feels helpless to do anything about this, but recognized his health as one thing she could possibly control. It sounds like he’s in a bad spot, and I’m really sorry for that, but the LW is focused on the wrong thing.

    2. Red Wheel Barrow*

      This (Falling Diphthong’s response) seems like an accurate and compassionate reading. A lot of people are telling the OP that her husband urgently needs to stop driving for work–which is certainly true!–but she has far less control over this decision than either her husband or his horrific boss.

  34. It's Me. Hi.*

    LW4 – fwiw, I’ve been at my place for over a decade and now am in a senior leadership role after said decade. Our new CEO is my age. B/c they moved around and moved up – I chose to stay where I knew a certain set of factors. I definitely have some feelings about being the same age as the big boss and a couple of my peers being 10 years younger – sometimes regret. Move on. Try the thing. You’ve got this.

    1. sofar*

      Yep, there are a lot of advantages to switching jobs every few years. Upper mobility, as you mentioned. And also increasing your skillset, as one company might level you up in one way, and another on in another way. And it all makes you a better more-rounded candidate for that next job.

      I learned that the hard way by sticking in a job for “too long” and not having certain skills (because that company had a certain way of doing things) when I did end up back in the job market.

      My parents’ and their generation consider that a crazy amount of “job hopping,” but they’re from a different world.

  35. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

    #2 It’s great when you don’t have to take a job urgently to pay the bills. You can take the time to find a good fit, so you will be happier, healthier and a better employee with better career prospects.

    Yes, ask about starting time and anything else you value during your working day, e.g. average hours per day/week, time flexibility, amount of travel and type of accommodations while away, remote/hybrid/in-office, any clothing rules.

    Neither earlybird nor nightowl nor “average” bod are superior; you just need to make sure you don’t have to twist yourself into a pretzel because your workplace runs on a different time to your body.

    1. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      As to asking start time, since you’d refuse an unsuitable job, I’d straight out add that I work much better after/before xx time so I’m only considering jobs where this works without inconveniencing my coworkers.
      (because you don’t want to be the person who negotiated a different schedule to everyone else so they have to wait for your input until the next day, or they have to do more work to avoid this)

  36. fhqwhgads*

    LW1, my first thought from reading your description of events is: it looks like he called you first, and then Tina. If he told Tina he’d already spoken to you, then she’d have no reason to call you to alert you of the situation he called her about – because he already told you himself.
    Her attitude later when she did call wasn’t great, but when she couldn’t reach him the second time, she did call.
    It does sound like there needs to be a clearer plan on when to call emergency contacts or not, and I imagine her business autoinsurance might not want him on the policy, which might avoid future driving situations, but the lack of the call when the issue first happened isn’t itself a red flag to me.

  37. woops*

    for the night owl – it’s perfectly reasonable for people to have their individual particular hills to die on. everyone has them. but rigidity around something as minor as a one hour start difference to the level you’d pass up an otherwise perfect job – that seems almost pathological. as a prospective employer, i’d want to know that early in the negotiation process as well, just so we wouldn’t waste each other’s time. i would recommend that you explain it as if you had other morning commitments (like child or elder care) and couldn’t start until 9am – you’re much more likely to get accommodation. otherwise a lot of people are just going to think that’s a major red flag and gossip about it, maybe interfering with other opportunities (“geez i offered this dude a $150,000k a year and he was excited about the job then passed because he can’t drag his lazy butt out of bed before 7″…)…

    1. Hlao-roo*

      but rigidity around something as minor as a one hour start difference to the level you’d pass up an otherwise perfect job – that seems almost pathological

      I’m going to push back on this a little bit. And I’m a morning person, for context. 9am, 8am, even 7am start times are good with me. But a 6am start time? I can make an occasional 6am meeting (for example, when working on a project with people across multiple time zones) but I would not take a job with 6am start time every day. That particular one hour makes a huge difference in my quality of life, even though it is “just” one hour.

      I suspect letter-writer #2 is similar to me, only their particular make-or-break hour happens to be 8am/9am instead of my 6am/7am. That’s not pathological; that’s good self-knowledge.

      1. metadata minion*

        Same here. I’m happiest with an 8am start time and a few years ago had to come in at 7 for about a year. That hour made so much difference. I’m a morning person but I need a nice gentle start to the morning, so I get up at 6 and have time to eat breakfast, read, etc. before heading in to work. Having to get up and do everything quickly and efficiently meant I *could* come in then, but I was much less happy and somewhat less able to work well.

    2. Dasein9 (he/him)*

      Is it really the employer’s place to judge the worthiness of the employee’s boundaries and scheduling needs?

    3. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      We get to set our boundaries. For OP, an 8 am start time would not be a good job regardless of any other factor. They aren’t asking for accomodation. They just want to know when to ask so they can screen out a job that doesn’t fit, just like you would screen for low salary.

      No one says oh take the lower salary its otherwise a good job and maybe you can negotiate a raise later after they got you working at the lower salary. Same thing with start time, negotiate it unfront or withdraw.

      And yes one hour can make a huge difference to someone. Take OP at her word. She knows what hours work best for her.

      I am not a morning person either. I can handle 9 a.m. start times for court. 930 is preferred. For some reason 10 is just weird. But 830 start times are terrible. Half an hour. But it feels like getting there at dawn.

    4. Nancy*

      All LW has to do is ask whether there is flexibility. There is no need to lie about morning commitments.

      Turning down a job because the hours don’t suit you is no different than turning down one because the commute is bad or any other reason you don’t feel is a good fit. And when turning it down, you don’t have to give details why.

      1. Quill*

        Turning down a job because the hours are too early for you is functionally the same whether the start time is a “standard” one like 8 AM or something like 5 AM. It’s the same as turning it down because the shift is 2 PM to 10 PM, or because it’s a rotating schedule, or whatever.

        The moralizing about the start time, however, is unnecessary on woops’ part, and I ask woops to consider if they would call passing over a job that started at 4 AM or ran into the night “pathological.”

    5. ecnaseener*

      I can’t tell whether by “almost pathological” you’re referring to the possibility of sleep disorders, which are very real and pathological, not “almost” — or if you just mean setting this rule for yourself would be so extreme that you find it indicative of a more psychological pathology?

      If the second, I think you have it precisely backwards: being chronically sleep-deprived will make you less mentally and physically healthy. Prioritizing your sleep schedule is excellent for your health if you can manage it, and this LW can.

      1. Delayed Sleep Phaser*

        A+ to this comment. 1 hour makes a surprising amount of difference for me. I took my current role so I could start at 9, WFH. I get to sleep from 12-8! The years I spent commuting in order to start at 8:30 or 9 were contributing to the depression and anxiety that were slowly ruining my life.

        I “just sucked it up” for so long, but commuting and start times that were too early for me resulted in falling asleep while driving. No, I’m not sucking it up anymore, I’d like to stay alive and not ruin anyone else’s life over “just one hour”.

    6. Chidi has a stomach ache*

      I mean, morning hours can affect quality of life in ways beyond sleep. We also don’t know things like traffic patterns, etc where this person lives. When I taught secondary ed, I was supposed to be in at 7:45a every day — which is the exact time my metro area’s rush hour started to reach peak awful. I would have to leave at 6:45a every day to commute work and account for various traffic curveballs. But if I had to be in at, say, 8:30a, I would have a 35 minute commute because I would be behind the 7:30-8a volume crunch. That lost time makes a difference in stress, in childcare pickup/dropoff, in even the ability to exercise, etc. I was so, so glad when I got to leave that job behind.

    7. Observer*

      but rigidity around something as minor as a one hour start difference to the level you’d pass up an otherwise perfect job – that seems almost pathological

      That’s an incredibly ignorant, and rude tbh, thing to say. I think it’s reasonable to conclude that if they are comparing that one hour to a $20K pay cut, FOR THEM it is most definitely *not* minor.

      There are a lot of reasons why it may not be minor – commitments that cannot be moved, medical issues, transportation, whatever. How do you just assume that none of these things exists or, if they do, they are “minor”.

      1. Delayed Sleep Phaser*

        Yes, this!! Please continue to help normalize flexible work schedules for the variety of circadian rhythms that have been thoroughly proven to exist.

    8. Irish Teacher.*

      I don’t think it is pathological not to take a job that suits you less than the one you have, even if the inconvenience is only slightly more.

      It doesn’t sound like the LW is looking for accommodations. It sounds like they are trying to figure out whether a move makes sense for them. I am guessing they currently have a job that starts at 9am or later so they aren’t willing to change that job for a poorer fit.

    9. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      1 hour difference in start time is perfectly reasonable to refuse a job, provided you don’t need a new job urgently.
      It can make a difference to the quality of life, such as improved sleep, or be essential to fit in other commitments e.g. childcare dropoff

    10. Zee*

      Calling someone a “lazy butt” because they have a different schedule than you and saying you’d trash-talk them to other employers because of that is a whole other level of messed-up.

    11. Dahlia*

      It is absolutely horrible to trash talk someone for having a different sleep schedule than you.

      Why aren’t you working until midnight every day? Are you a “lazy butt” for going home at 5 when you could be working until midnight?

    12. mandm*

      “However, there is a weird, persistent stigma around night owls being viewed as lazy, despite the fact that we’re doing the same amount of work as the early birds, just later in the day” case in point

    13. Red Wheel Barrow*

      I’m surprised at the number of responses that assume it’s no particularly big deal to drag oneself to the office earlier than one’s body can comfortably tolerate, or that adjusting one’s schedule by an hour or more is an easy matter. I guess some people’s bodies work that way, but many people’s don’t. I was desperately sleep-deprived and in constant physical pain when I worked jobs that began at 8 or 9. Changing to a later schedule was life-changing. It’s deeply frustrating to see people assuming that their own physical experience is universal and that others are at fault for caring for their bodies. I hope that people who make this kind of comment are learning from the replies.

    14. Zee*

      but rigidity around something as minor as a one hour start difference to the level you’d pass up an otherwise perfect job – that seems almost pathological

      Let me flip this around on you: if an hour difference in start time is apparently not a big deal, why is it such a big deal to you? You’d be so “rigid” as to pass up an otherwise perfect candidate because they wanted to start an hour later?

    15. DisgruntledPelican*

      I can’t imagine caring enough to gossip about a random candidate not liking the start time we offered. I certainly can’t imagine hearing about a random candidate not liking the start a company offered and finding that remotely interesting.

      I’m sorry the people around you are so dull that someone’s start time preference could ever be considered fodder for gossip. What a gray world.

    16. Festively Dressed Earl*

      Unless there’s an actual need for coverage earlier, a smart company would hear that gossip and realize they can get 8 hours of productive work out of a good employee for $140k instead of paying someone $150k for (at best) the same employee with a different body clock or (at worst) an employee who can put in 6 productive hours preceded by 2 hours of sitting there in a stupor.

  38. HappySummer*

    LW4 – it’s ok to move on! I had worked on the vendor side of a job for 3 years, and never felt like it was the best fit, and blamed myself for not being able to calm down irritated clients well. I moved to the corporate side (who use the vendor) for double the pay and it’s also a better fit, and I’ve been promoted a few times. The parts of my first job that I hated are minimal and I’m in a similar line of work with better benefits.

  39. Juicebox Hero*

    The state of the delivery truck is a red herring here. It wouldn’t matter if it was a brand new truck in tip-top shape with all the latest safety features. If their husband’s episode came on too quickly for him to pull over, or he was in heavy traffic and unable to get off the road in time, people could wind up just as severely hurt or dead as they would if he were driving the old clunker.

    So, quite frankly, is Tina’s performance as manager and personality. OP1 is obviously well over the BEC horizon with her – it sounds like with good reason – but it’s still not her job to coordinate communication between spouses. Even the best boss in the world wouldn’t be obligated to do so.

    The problem here that really needs addressed is that your husband’s health has deteriorated to the point where it’s not safe for him to be out on the road for long periods, if at all. He’s going to have to either renegotiate his job duties or else find a new job, because it’s not just his own safety at stake here.

  40. A Simple Narwhal*

    I feel #2. I was recently talking with a recruiter (who reached out to me) about a job and we’d discussed all the standard things, and when they asked if I had any other questions I asked about office hours. She was a bit dodgy about it and said “oh you know, normal office hours, either 9-5 or maybe 8-6 I don’t know, but no one’s ever complained about it.” and internally I was like ummm there’s a big difference between 9-5 and 8-6, that’s potentially two more hours a day, 10 more hours a week! Factor in commuting time, there’s a huge difference in quality of life. And the “no one’s ever complained about it” felt so insincere and false. As someone who really values their work-life balance, it raised a red flag with me.

    1. I Have RBF*


      People who assume that “everyone” works just fine during the same early hours they do are a big red flag to me, especially when they say “no one’s ever complained about it.” I’ve heard that line before, when I’ve had a complaint about something that I also know my coworkers dislike.

      To me “no one’s ever complained about it” means “a few people have complained, but we never take it seriously, so no one who mattered to us has ever complained about it.”

      It’s a big red flag to me.

  41. Jennifer Strange*

    #3 could easily be about my boss (right down to having a co-worker who uses they/them pronouns while having a name that skews feminine). Please let your boss know! I would be mortified to find out I was continually misgendering someone, and if she’s a good person she likely would be too! Alison’s script for it is perfect.

  42. mango chiffon*

    LW3: Hi I’m a they/them in the workplace as well! I so appreciate when other people can correct people are using the incorrect pronouns. I get she/her-d still quite a bit and it doesn’t feel worth it for me to try and correct people. It’s uncomfortable for me and I don’t like “making a scene” about it. If other people are allies and do this on my behalf, I so appreciate it. I also do notice when people use they/them for me or even correct themselves immediately after making a mistake. These things go far in making the working environment better for us!

  43. Dasein9 (he/him)*

    LW#3, sometimes people only pay attention to how they refer to trans and nonbinary people when we’re in earshot and they’re only doing it to humor us or to avoid conflict, not out of real respect. One thing that really helps with that is when they get the reminder from another cis person.

    This is a great chance to be an ally and to model how ally-ing works for others.

    1. Snarl Trolley*


      Frankly, it would be a fairly significant red flag to me if I knew someone higher than me at work was misgendering me as frequently and consistently as it sounds this person’s boss is. Changing language patterns does take a little time and practice! But your boss isn’t actively trying. That’s…real evident here. Just because she (or anybody else) may not have actively Bad Intentions, the harm is still being done. How many colleagues might not be out, and will now -never- come out, because they see how this boss is dismissing the out employee’s humanity? Because they see nobody even correcting her? Or correcting once then giving up? That stuff does serious harm, even when the person it’s about isn’t in the room.

    2. terracotta*

      Yup, this. My father’s wife makes a vague effort to get my trans son’s pronouns right when she’s around him, but behind his back it’s she/her all the way. And then she moans that it’s so hard for her to remember. Maybe because you don’t believe him in the first place and have no intention of trying to practice getting it right or adjust how you think of him, JANET.


  44. Nancy*

    LW4: 8am start times have been around for a long time. You can ask whether there is flexibility with the start and end times. I have done that with every job interview as prt of the ‘do you have any questions for us’ portion.

  45. too many dogs*

    LW #2: I think it’s going to depend on the job. I work for a public library, and our hours are variable. Some days I have to be there at 8:00 because we open at 9:00. Other days I work 12:00 – 8:00, because we’re open until 8:00. Because we are so understaffed, these hours aren’t adjustable. We just drink a lot of coffee.

    1. LW2*

      The issue I’m having is that near-identical jobs at near-identical organizations could have 8am or 9am start times and almost never indicate that anywhere. There’s no business reason for one or the other.

        1. Annie*

          More than likely, LW2’s “no business reason” means the start time is not coverage-based, i.e. no phone coverage, reception desk, client appointments (walk-in or scheduled), or other urgent work items that need to be completed before 9:00 to meet a client agreement or other business need.

          The actual business reason, from that perspective, seems indistinguishable from “because management said so”.

        2. LW2*

          Because these aren’t jobs like a hospital where there are patients 24/7. Nothing is being done at 8am that can’t be done at 9am instead.

  46. Bast*

    LW 4 — “I’m struggling with whether I’m jumping ship because I’m lacking confidence and afraid, or whether it is the right choice.” I have been in this same boat. I, too, stayed longer than I should have in places that weren’t for me because it would get better for a little bit, just as you describe earlier in the letter, and I’d think maybe it wasn’t so bad, but that feeling would only last a month or two before I’d plunge right back down into feeling EXACTLY how I had felt originally –ready to leave. In my case, it wasn’t so much that I had difficulty with the job itself as opposed to poor upper management that drove me out. It was like a yoyo, though, where they knew when you were about to snap off the string and they’d reel you back in with more promises. I always figured the devil I knew was better than the devil I didn’t, and that I could always end up somewhere worse, or somewhere that I was bad at the job. I had been doing the same thing at the same place for years, and was afraid of moving somewhere that I didn’t know the office culture, norms, people, procedures, etc. It took years, but moving was absolutely the right choice. I wish you the best!

  47. BW*

    At my last job, I was told that the office was 24×7, and they needed me to work the 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. shift. I would have preferred the 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. shift, but I was able to get that after a few years.

    Maybe ask what the office hours are, and then if it sounds like they have a later shift, you could mention that you’re very open to working the late shift. It’s usually a shift most people don’t want, so that would improve your chances of being hired.

  48. insert traditionally feminine name here*

    LW3 – As a nonbinary person with a traditionally feminine name as well who uses they/them pronouns and also gets frequently misgendered, it’s very helpful for me when coworkers correct people who misgender me–especially if I’m not in the room. Not only does it take some of the responsibility off of me to constantly correct people (which is exhausting), but it’s important to me that people use my correct pronouns even when I’m not there. If I found out my boss was only correctly using my pronouns in front of me and then turning around and misgendering me when I wasn’t there (even accidentally), it wouldn’t feel great.

    That said, I’d ask Emma specifically what they would prefer for you to do. They might be happy for you to speak up o their behalf, or they might prefer to have a conversation with their boss and direct that themselves.

  49. DramaQ*

    LW #1 you can’t get the manager to force your husband to take his health seriously. At any time he could have spoken up BEFORE driving the truck. He could get checked out by his doctor and have paperwork put in place saying that he is not allowed to drive the truck. It sounds like he called you and Tina. I do not see where he mentioned to anyone he was at risk of stroke. If he didn’t indicate to anyone it was an emergency why would Tina call you or call an ambulance? If he said all he needed was rest then she likely took him at his word. And TBF to Tina she did call when she hadn’t heard he was back on the road. While Tina sounds inept and I can get being upset she asked about her truck/delivery first instead I believe you are projecting onto her. The real issue is your husband. If he cannot safely drive then he needs to stop driving. .. period. Perhaps it is time to have a sit down with him about applying for disability or finding a job that does not involve expectations of driving. Then you both need to have an emergency plan in place AND get accomodations put in place at any employer he’s at.

  50. MissMeghan*

    LW3 I think an easy way to keep it light is a quick “oh boss, I noticed on the directory Emma uses they/them pronouns”. Then you don’t have to wait for boss to mention Emma again or use she/her, it can come up independently as you sharing information you learned.

  51. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

    LW2, I would ask near the end of the first interview.

    I worked two places that had a “strict” 8am-5pm shift. Both ended up running Production 24×7. At the first, I found my most productive period was when I was on the 2pm-11pm shift; Production appreciated having someone who was adept at troubleshooting and had a strong sense of danger available after 5 pm (because things inevitably went wrong and that screwed up their agenda). The second was so averse to hiring morning people that it effectively operated on Mountain time while being located near the US east coast. There, my 7a-varies shift was appreciated because I got in, got to, and fixed problems 3 hours earlier than most of my peers even came online.

    TLDR, just because everyone else is working a certain shift doesn’t mean there isn’t demand outside that time period; your preferred shift may end up being a more desirable candidate .

    (The common thread is not that I’m a early bird or night owl; it’s that I’m usually more productive when I’m working alone.)

  52. HonorBox*

    OP2 – You have a right to make a decision about a job for any reason that is important to you. If 9am is important and you’re willing to turn down an otherwise great job, that’s your decision to make.

    I think because that’s a make or break for you, not just a point of negotiation, you can ask what the hours are and ask if there’s flexibility to start at 9 instead of 8. Depending on the workplace and the specifics of the job, it may not be something they can negotiate. But this isn’t dissimilar to “I need $x salary or X PTO days based on my experience” and people walk away from offers because salary doesn’t match expectations all the time.

  53. MicroManagered*

    OP2 I view your question about start time like my thing about remote work. I’m 0.00% interested in a fully in-office job. I’m PROBABLY not interested in hybrid work either, but I’d consider it under the right conditions. This is so important to me that I ask about it the first moment I’m asked if I have questions in an interview.

    When I’m hiring, I always give my little intro spiel about the job and then say “We’ve allocated time at the end for your questions, but is there anything you want to ask before we dive in?” I’m allowing for the applicant to ask about deal-breakers that might make the next hour a complete waste of time. This is when I’d expect to be asked about something like a start time. PLEASE ask me that up front so we don’t waste each other’s time! Ya know?

  54. My Useless 2 Cents*

    The 9AM thing has always confused me. I’m no spring chicken but my entire working career, I have never, not once, come across an office that started later than 8AM. I figured it was regional (west coast US) or just old-school norms but is it more common than I thought?

    LW#2 – I would think if it really is a deal breaker, bringing it up early in the process would just save you a ton stress.

    1. londonedit*

      In my entire working career in the UK, I’ve never come across a non-shift-work office-based job with a start time *earlier* than 9am. Where I work we can *choose* to work 8-4, but 9-5 is the standard working pattern. An 8am start would be very unusual for an ordinary office job – it’s not something I’ve ever come across or heard of from friends etc. Standard hours here are 9-5 or 9.30-5.30, or occasionally 9-5.30 if it’s a 37.5-hour week instead of 35 hours. Ordinary office jobs here also don’t have 40-hour weeks.

    2. CST*

      Almost every job I’ve ever encountered in my area of the US (CST) starts at 8:00. The best theory I have heard is that it lines up with the 9:00 east coast start time. I once heard that when you look at business operating hours there are really only two time zones in the United States: Eastern/Central and Mountain/West.

      Where I live it could also have to do with being surrounded by agriculture where everyone is up by the crack of dawn as well.

  55. Can't Sit Still*

    LW2: Technically, business hours are 8 – 5 at my company, but I don’t know anyone who actually works those hours anymore. My team in particular is pretty asynchronous, so I get emails at all hours, but I’m not expected to respond to them until I start my day. We’re pretty flexible overall, as long as your work is getting done and you respond to people in a timely manner. In fact, a lot of our senior leadership has something like this in their email signature: “I’m sending this now because it’s a convenient time for me. An immediate response is not required from you.”

    I believe there are few roles that have non-negotiable hours, but it would also be normal to ask what the set hours are for those roles.

    1. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      There are a lot of jobs that have non-negotiable hours, so if this is an issue for you, always ask at an early stage, so you don’t waste your time proceeding.

  56. Hedgehug*

    I worked for a small, family owned company once. Two sisters. Extremely disfunctional. Screaming at each other, threatening with knives, you name it. Hoo boy was it a ride, lol.
    But, that being said, unfortunately this is the nature of working for small, family companies. Is it right? No. But that’s how it is. When it’s small, they don’t have HR, they are trying to wear all the hats. And when the owners are wearing all the hats, they tend to expect the employees to also wear multiple hats. It is a perpetual “all hands on deck” situation.
    So knowing and understanding that, and now that the older brother is no longer there and the sisters are trying to run the show, your husband needs to decided if he is ok to continue there, or whether he can’t.

    Like others have said, the two of you need to work out a more clear plan of action. I think it’s obvious to everyone on here, and maybe not so obvious to you two, but he needs to stop driving. His warning times that an episode is coming may get shorter and shorter. And he has no right to be on the road endangering the lives of others like that. So that means communicating to Tina that “my medical condition has changed and I am no longer an option to make deliveries, but I am happy to help hold the fort here in whatever way I can.”

    People are confused why you were expecting Tina to phone you when your husband was able to communicate himself. Emergency contacting is typically for a situation when the person in crisis can’t contact their loved ones on their own. This was not the case. It sounds to me like you are just trying to nail down Tina for a procedure issue because of your own issues with Tina. I think you need to start separating yourself from your husband’s work. Don’t answer your phone when Tina calls. If it is truly an emergency, she’ll leave you an urgent voicemail.

  57. Artemesia*

    good grief. Your husband has medical episodes that might be strokes and he is driving a semi rig on the highway for work? The least problem here is communication. This is a major tragedy in someone else’s life waiting to happen.

  58. twoeyessquared*

    Coming in with your regular reminder they are not PREFERRED pronouns. A person’s pronouns are just that, their pronouns. They aren’t preferred. They’re not okay with you using other pronouns and just prefer you to use the ones they’ve chosen.

  59. NobodyHasTimeForThis*

    #2 – I see nothing wrong in asking fairly early on in the process. “What is the typical schedule for this position?” “Does your office have any flex time policy?”

    I wouldn’t see this as a red flag kind of question. I’ve had jobs with clear flex policies around core hours and then jobs that did not and how they answer this can also give you information. My current job does not officially have flex however when I asked that question I was given “We do not officially have flex time, we can be a little bit flexible, but we need a minimum of X people staffing the office between 9 and 5 because of specific job function.

    To me having a reason for not being flexible works because that means they have thought about what the true need is. And as it turns out there has been more flexibility as time has passed since Covid required us to make more services available online.

  60. Jordan*

    #2 I’m always astonished when I read about 9am start times seen as the norm for office jobs. I’m sure it must be true in some places, but I’ve never encountered it in 35+ years of various corporate jobs. Banking maybe? East coast to align with earlier time zones?

    Standard work schedule in my environments was always 8-5. Depending on the company and coverage needs, FLEX schedules might allow for 30 minutes, even an hour, either way but those were the minority schedules. 8:30-5:30 wasn’t terribly uncommon as a flex schedule. More often coworkers asked for earlier start times, coming in at 7:30 or 7:00 to beat our horrible traffic.

    This doesn’t count retail or hospitality which is a totally different thing. Nor contract work that was fulfillment based.

  61. A Tired Queer*

    OP#3: As a professional in a similar situation to “Emma” (traditionally feminine name, they/them pronouns), I super appreciate it when my coworkers correct each other or higher-ups about the right thing to call me. It can be so uncomfortable and exhausting to do that myself, especially to higher-ups, so it was really a relief to hear someone else say “it’s they, actually!” in a meeting when my new boss used “she” for me. Good bosses will appreciate the heads up, and bad ones? Well, that’s information.

  62. CV*

    I looked up the general regs for driving a semi truck, and it looks like most USA states require a Commercial Driver’s License to do so.

    I think everyone in the first letter should look up their particular state’s rules, (easy on the internet) and also consult with their motor vehicle insurance company.

    Someone else might consider dropping a dime to the insurer of Tina’s business.

  63. they/themma*

    LW3 was WILD to read as a they/them-using Emma with pronouns in their email signature who hasn’t yet cracked how to come out at work in any other dimension. I’m significantly younger than my boss/all other managerial people and our directory doesn’t have pronoun slots (I just took it upon myself to add the pronouns to my signature a few months ago), so I don’t think this is about me… still real trippy to read though.

    Other commenters have provided a lot of helpful strategies for talking about pronouns and your boss sounds like someone who will take it well. If there are other openly trans people at your workplace, seeing how she talks about them might inform how she’ll react to a misgendering correction from you. I know I always appreciate it when other people correct my pronouns in discussions with other people; it’s stressful as all get-out to do it for myself and I think it’s really sweet of you to think of them.

    Also, if anyone has tips on coming out as trans at work/otherwise navigating a situation like that, it would be much appreciated…

    1. Hlao-roo*

      First of all, excellent username!

      There have been some past posts on LGBT topics here that might be worth a read:

      “navigating LGBTQ issues at work: an open thread” from April 4, 2019

      “how do I change to “they” pronouns at work?” from July 23, 2020

      “how can I come out as queer mid-career?” from May 20, 2021

      “how do I know if it’s safe to be out at work … and other questions about LGBTQ+ issues at work” from September 1, 2021

      “changing pronouns at work: a success story” from February 22, 2022

      I’ll put links to the above posts in a reply to this comment.

  64. RagingADHD*

    OP1, you say this is a family business and give more info in the comments. Whose family is it?

    You and Tina seem to know each other extremely well and share an awful lot of personal information. Are you all related to each other? This sounds like a family problem as much as a work problem.

    Is your husband actually licensed to drive the semi, or is he doing it despite not being qualified for a commercial license? Because it’s hard to imagine that someone with his conditions would pass the testing.

    If your husband isn’t willing to look for another job or say “no” to Tina despite her demanding that he do clearly unsafe (and probably illegal) things, there just isn’t anything for you to do. You can’t control Tina, and you can’t control him.

    FWIW, I think you’re right that this whole situation is unreasonable and untenable. But being right doesn’t really accomplish anything when the decisions aren’t up to you.

  65. Garblesnark*

    LW4, when you have given a job a fair shake,* and you have a history of generally staying in jobs for over a year (assuming you’ve had jobs before), and you have either enough savings for a long job search or another offer that pays enough to cover your expenses, there are almost no wrong reasons to leave a job. Each of having lost your confidence, better pay, better benefits, better location, not liking your manager, not liking your responsibilities, or wanting more training are sufficient conditions alone to move on.

    *You have always given a job a fair shake by your second anniversary with the company.

    1. The Original K.*

      I totally agree. I could be LW #4, except with a desire to change fields, not just jobs. I like my coworkers but not the work, and I’ve realized that I’ve been trying to fit a square peg in a round hole for most of my working life. The things I struggle with/don’t enjoy are built into the kind of work I currently do. I’ve been at this job three years, so I should be trying to move up and I 100% don’t want to, so I know it’s time to go. I regret that it’s taken this long to figure out.

      LW#4, you don’t need a reason but if it helps, you’ve listed plenty! Go and good luck. I hope you find somewhere where you thrive.

  66. Don't Send Your Kids to Hudson University*

    OP1, What information could Tina have provided you that you did not already have? When your husband called Tina, did he mention that he had (or would) informed you of what was happening? If Tina had reason to think you had already been looped in by your husband directly, there was nothing more for her to convey to you. I may have missed something, but it doesn’t sound like there was ever a point in this situation where Tina had more information than you did or where you husband wasn’t capable of reaching out to you directly. If I were in Tina’s shoes, I would have thought it an overstep to contact you under those circumstances. I also think your expectations for how others around you husband (including yourself) are not very workable in the long term. You can encourage your husband to advocate for himself, seek accommodation, and attempt to establish better protocols around his health condition with his boss, but you can’t and shouldn’t do any of that for him. If he is unable to do those things himself, have you started having those difficult conversations about whether he can continue in this job, or for how much longer?

  67. Jennifer Strange*

    I see so many folks commenting that they’re surprised to hear of a 9-5 work day, and I’m surprised in the opposite direction. With on exception, every office job I’ve ever had started no earlier than 9:00 (the only one that started earlier started at 8:45). The one I’m in now is generally 10:00 – 6:00, but I work 9:00 – 5:00 because I find it preferable.

      1. Jennifer Strange*

        Nope! I get half an hour for lunch, and my work week is 37.5 hours. At my previous job I got an hour for lunch and my work week was 35 hours.

    1. londonedit*

      Are you in the UK? Seems that the people who are surprised at a 9am start are all in the US, where 8am and a 40-hour week seems to be much more common. 8am would be very out of the ordinary here for a normal office-based job, and standard working weeks are 35 or 37.5 hours, one hour unpaid lunch.

  68. Delayed Sleep Phaser*

    Re#2, I’m so glad you’re insisting on this for yourself. I could have written this question word for word (and almost have, actually!). I managed to work the question in to my interviews, and I’m so glad I did. I’ve thought about looking for something else, but I’m absolutely not willing to start earlier than 9 (and that’s if it’s WFH. 10 if I have to leave the house.)

    Sleep is SO important. Read Matthew Walker’s book “Why We Sleep” if you want supremely helpful data and analysis on why sleep quality, quantity, timing, and regularity are ALL important for brain health. And general health too! Or listen to the podcast series he did with Andrew Huberman.

  69. anony5318*

    Sometimes you have to take risks. Are you early on in your career or later? If early, then it is ok to change jobs every few years. Once you had about three, maybe four, or five, then you are probably at a point where you want to stick around and want something stable. It’s fine to see what else is out there, and you never have to accept an offer although try not to burn too many bridges.

    Recently, I started looking around as well, but then quickly realized that there aren’t as many openings as there were a few years ago, and the salary would be a bit of a cut. And it doesn’t make sense for me to start over at a new company and have to re-learn everything for a similar position I am already in now. Despite the fact that there are things that suck at my current job, I did notice that over a few months, there were some changes and some people left, and new openings were created. So if you are feeling “just ok” at your job, then maybe it could be worth sticking around for a bit. Remember, people will eventually leave, or retire, other roles will eventually open up when the time is right, company will take on new businesses, new projects, and people’s roles will evolve over time.

  70. TheBunny*


    I get not being a morning person…but I also think it’s an odd hill to die on when it comes to a job.

    If they want you to come in at 5am, no. But I think 8am or later is pretty reasonable and standard.

    1. Jennifer Strange*

      Why do you think it’s an off hill to die on? And what’s the difference between someone not wanting to start at 5am and someone not wanting to start at 8am other than society telling you one is “reasonable and standard”?

    2. LW2*

      Apparently you don’t actually “get” not being a morning person. Consider that how you feel at 5am is how others feel at 8am.

      1. Bird names*

        In my last role we thankfully had enough team members that were happy to work late that I could start as early as I was comfortable. We needed to cover more than 8 hours due to some time zone differences and our mixed team turned out to be a real asset for that.
        So for my part, LW2, I am very glad to have had colleagues like you and hope you can find a similar spot yourself!

    3. Annie*

      But why is 8am or later “pretty reasonable and standard”? Why not 7:00-7:59am?

      Is it societal inertia? Is it close enough to compatible with a large enough percentage of circadian rhythms to be “pretty reasonable and standard”? Is it based on majority preference to be awake and active during natural daylight hours?

      This is sorites paradox stuff.

    4. terracotta*

      “I get that people are different but surely they’re not ACTUALLY different.”

    5. Observer*

      I get not being a morning person…but I also think it’s an odd hill to die on when it comes to a job.

      Those two statements are mutually exclusive. If you understand that for someone “not a morning person” means “I don’t function properly in the morning” and maybe even “It also messes up the rest of the day”, how could you consider that an “odd” thing to be careful about? Would you say that if someone had a severe allergy and therefore took care to screen out places where they might be exposed to that allergen?

  71. Margaret Cavendish*

    OP2, my natural working hours are about 10-6. I can do 9am if I absolutely have to, but I’m not happy about it. 8am would be a dealbreaker for me too. And you’re right about the stigma, and the need to keep having the conversation. We’ll get there, some day!

    1. Margaret Cavendish*

      (I started writing this as a response to TheBunny above, but it turned into a bit of a manifesto! So I’m posting it under my own comment rather than arguing with a stranger on the internet who probably doesn’t feel nearly as strongly about this as I do.)

      My ideal start time would be 10am, I can manage 9:30 on most days, and I can do 9:00 if I have to but it’s really stressful for me. 8:00 would be an absolute dealbreaker for me as well.

      It’s not just a matter of being “not a morning person.” It’s literally, my body does not work that way. I don’t go to sleep until quite late at night, and all the exercise and good habits and sleep hygiene in the world don’t change that. Melatonin doesn’t help me fall asleep any earlier – all it does is make me extremely groggy the next morning. And even if it did work, I’m not prepared to take melatonin every night for the rest of my career, in order to comply with an arbitrary start time.

      Also, 8:00am is very hard for people with caregiving responsibilities in the morning. Day care spots are really limited in most areas, and the ones that are available often don’t open until 8:00 regardless. Not to mention, “people with caregiving responsibilities” are still mostly women. So this becomes an equity issue as well, if it’s is having a disproportionate impact on one gender over another.

      Obviously there are some workplaces that have to be open by 8:00 or even earlier, but those aren’t the ones I’m talking about. In an environment where the start time is set by convention rather than business need – an 8:00 start time is not only unnecessary, it’s discriminatory. I will die on this hill.

    2. LW2*

      Yep, that’s where I’m at as well. I’d much prefer 10am but can deal with 9am. Nothing I do will allow me to fall asleep any earlier than 11pm, and most nights it’s between 11:30pm-midnight. If I go to bed earlier, all that happens is I lay in the dark staring at the wall until 11:30. Doesn’t matter how early I got up or how tired I am. Doesn’t matter if I take melatonin or benadryl or whatever.

  72. Sparrow*

    LW #3, as a trans person, I’d like to add one more suggestion to Alison’s excellent advice: if your boss misgenders Emma but the flow of the conversation means that you can’t immediately correct her (e.g. if correcting her right then would mean cutting her off abruptly), just wait until your next chance to speak, then start with something like “Quick note, Emma uses they/them pronouns, not she/her” before continuing with whatever else you’d like to say in response to what your boss said.

    This doesn’t have to be complicated or tricky just because she’s your boss. It’s just a quick, casual correction on a basic fact about an employee that your boss is mistaken on. You can use the same tone you’d use if your boss said something like “Can you email Catelyn Tully for an update on the Riverlands project?” and you responded “Sure! By the way, Catelyn just got married; her surname is Stark now.”

  73. Festively Dressed Earl*

    LW1, I’m so sorry you’re having to watch your husband deal with this. Tina does sound incompetent, and it’s excruciating when you want to make things better/safer for them but aren’t in a position to do so.

    But there’s the thing. You aren’t in a position to do so. You can’t be, unless you want to risk hurting your husband’s professional reputation and possibly even alienating him. Reread Alison’s advice to other spouses or parents who’ve desperately wanted to intervene with their loved ones’ employment. Tell Tina off internally, hope she leaves the company to star in a reality TV show, pretend she’s left the country to train bears in Czechoslovakia, plan a celebration dinner for the day your husband gets a different job. But outwardly, give the Tina thing a rest for your sake and his.

    (Except for Tina calling you to track him down. Next time she calls you at work to find out where he is, tell her to knock it off.)

  74. Once upon a mattress*

    Hi OP1, I’m late to the discussion but I really hope you see this because I have lived a little bit of what you’re experiencing.

    First off – Tina sounds terrible. Unprofessional, callous, no boundaries. However I think the fact that she is so awful has maybe distorted your perspective of the big picture here. Put Tina aside for a moment and imagine your husband, with his health condition, were working somewhere else – a more well-functioning company with reasonable colleagues and managers. If that were the case, it is very unlikely you’d be having such frequent contact with his boss/workplace. Because in a normal, professional setting, spouses are typically only reached out to if there is an actual health/safety emergency and the spouse is the emergency contact. If an adult’s health condition is well controlled you wouldn’t expect this to happen more than, say, once every few years on average, maybe 1-2x year at most. If an adult’s health condition is such that their company is having to reach out to an emergency contact much more frequently than that, it suggests something needs to change. HR and line managers do not want to be in the business of playing school nurse – they’re not trained for this and it’s just really not appropriate. Your husband is a fully grown man who needs to advocate for his own needs at work, even if his boss is a bully, and it’s really not your role to be in such regular contact with his employer. In a normal environment operating like this would be extremely undermining of him and you’d likely be causing real damage – I’d certainly start questioning how physically and mentally competent someone on my team were if their spouse was regularly trying to have these conversations with me. So maybe just keep that in the back of your mind as sort of a benchmark for normalcy. The way his workplace is operating is really, really unprofessional, and that likely won’t change. But it still may be possible to reset the boundaries on *your* side to be more “normal” – if doing so will be a net positive for you.

    Here’s the version of your story that I’ve lived through-
    My husband was in his mid-career years when he had to take a 9 month medical leave because of recurring seizures. Eventually his doctor got him under control on a new treatment plan. He of course couldn’t drive during that whole period. In our state at that time there was a six month driving restriction after the last seizure so when he started back to work I actually had to drive him to and from the office for several months. He hated that but it was what it was. After a month or two back at work he started bringing work home at night and he was seeming pretty stressed out. He vented a little bit here and there about how much work he had, but in retrospect I think I sort of complained on his behalf more than him really saying that much. I was mostly trying to commiserate but I was also starting to worry about how all this stress might affect his health. His manager knew why he had been out on leave and had actually been very kind and supportive about everything during that time, so I was pretty surprised that now he was being so intense and demanding.
    So this went on for several months until one night all the stress just sort of bubbled over. We were arguing because I had been pushing him to go try to meet with HR and see if maybe there was another team he could transfer to, but he was just being so resistant. And then he told me the truth – turns out he had *voluntarily* taken on all these new projects that had him working nights and weekends. Voluntarily! I still am not sure I fully understand what he was thinking, but I think it was a little bit of trying to prove to his colleagues that he was still just as mentally sharp as before, mixed with a LOT of trying to prove the same to himself. I remember he said when he started taking on the extra work that seemed to get most of his colleagues to stop walking on eggshells and start treating him normally, like everyone else. I never saw those interactions of course but I can picture it. I know how much he disliked the attention and questions he would get about his seizures (it was a different time, there wasn’t much privacy about things like this and I think everyone in the whole office knew of his health condition). So that was why he started taking on the extra work. The reason he continued doing so despite sometimes feeling overwhelmed was that it made him happy to feel needed.

    Well this got really long, I’m sorry! Hopefully something in here is helpful.

  75. e271828*

    OP1, on reading your original question and your replies in the thread, it’s very clear that you have a husband problem, not an employer problem. You also may have a communication problem if said husband is habitually dismissing your worry about hos health and workplace safety.

  76. TLC Squeak*

    LW3 – Has Emma openly put they/them pronouns on their public profile or otherwise publicly announced this? If not, tread with caution. You do not want to publicly out someone at work.

  77. FunkyMunky*

    I’m an owl and I absolutely hate how society labels us as lazy, too. I used to work 11-7 (which was great for sleeping in but absolutely terrible for after work life). I now work 10-6 and it’s much better. I wouldn’t even apply for a job starting at 8am

    1. LW2*

      10-6 is the dream. I just wish people would put the work hours in a job posting along with salary so I wouldn’t waste my time applying for 8am jobs either!

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