my coworker will quit if I’m promoted, shimmer body oil at work, and more

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

1. My office mate announces all their comings and goings

How do I get my office mate to stop announcing every time they enter or leave the office? “I’m going to lunch.” “I’m back.” “So many trips to the copier?” “Okay, I’m going to a meeting.”

None of this is in any way relevant to either of our jobs. I’ve told them several times I have ADHD and that it really disrupts me when they do this, but they continue. When I mentioned the ADHD, they just kind of looked at me like they didn’t really understand.

I need a way to drive home that idle chatter and constant interruptions are not just bothersome to me but make me angry. I know it’s not a rational response, but I don’t like it and it really bothers me and I would hope that someone would acknowledge that and appreciate it. I just need to know how to say that without sounding like a complete jerk.

Rather than trying to educate them about ADHD, try simplifying it: “It really breaks my concentration when you tell me that you’re coming or going, and then it takes me a while to be able to refocus. I know you might feel rude just walking in or out without saying anything, but it really would help me maintain my focus.”

If they keep it up after that: headphones.

2. My coworker will quit if I’m promoted

I’ve found myself in a bit of a pickle. My manager wants to promote me, but my coworker says she will quit if it happens. I expect it would be a messy departure. Should I warn my manager about this?

This coworker, “Becky,” and I share the same title and basic responsibilities, but she has significantly less experience than me and is not a great fit for the job we have. She’s cooled down a bit but is emotionally volatile and has quite the mean streak. I’m constantly walking on eggshells, and nearly any task handed to me and not her sends her blood boiling.

Due to her nature and history, I’m expecting a pretty epic blowout when news of this promotion comes to light. Big enough that I’m actually hesitant to take the role. I don’t know if Becky will follow through on actually quitting (though she has mentioned this hypothetical several times), but the interpersonal drama will be inevitable, even if she stays. It’s frankly burning me out just to work with her currently, and I don’t know that I have the capacity to weather the explosion, even if it will eventually blow over.

Other than this one person, I really like my job, company, and team. I’m ready for new challenges, but don’t want to actually leave if I don’t have to — not that I’ve had any success in trying anyway — and this promotion will give me much needed skills to further my career.

It’s messy business to bring up another coworker leaving to one’s manager, and I don’t want to proceed with something unethical. Do you have any advice or scripts on how to navigate this while protecting myself?

If Becky causes some messy drama because a coworker is promoted, that’s on Becky, not you. You’re not obligated to warn your manager about that, especially if it there’s any chance that it warning her could derail your promotion.

But if you want to warn your manager, there’s nothing unethical about doing that. How aware is your boss about the problems with Becky? Assuming they have a general idea of her issues, there’s nothing wrong with saying, “I want to warn you that I think it’s likely that there will be some drama with Becky if I’m promoted, and I don’t want you to be blindsided by it.” An additional benefit to that conversation is that, as long as you handle it professionally, it could help position you as above the fray and more level-headed than Becky, as well as help your boss see you as a leader who’s thinking about team dynamics as a whole (usually a good thing for promotions).

Beyond that, though … why not just let Becky implode?  It sounds like it would be a good thing if she leaves! Let her quit in a huff. On the other hand, if it’s just going to cause weeks of drama that doesn’t end in her departure, then be aware that that says as much about your manager as it does about Becky — because your manager shouldn’t permit that to happen.

But don’t let your fear of Becky’s volatility keep you from accepting a promotion you’d otherwise want. She’s going to act however she acts, and you don’t need to engage.

3. Shimmer body oil at work

Do you think shimmer body oil is appropriate in a workplace setting? You can catch a few flecks of the glitter.

For daytime/office jobs with professional dress codes, no. (And based on where your email signature says you work — a large firm with a fairly conservative reputation  — definitely no.)

Is it the worst dress code violation someone will commit this summer? No. But you’re better off not shimmering in an office.

4. Should I “out” a candidate who want to cheat on their job with us?

I serve on a community board for an organization that is now hiring its first employee. This contract employee will work 20-40 hours per week at a competitive hourly rate with hours set to reflect their availability and our needs, which change seasonally.

We’ve screened several candidates, and one person shared that they have a full-time job which, based on their duties, requires that they work only 25 hours per week. They would plan to keep this job in addition to ours. This was a red flag for us anyway, but the issue I’m having is that their employer is also on our board of directors!

I feel crummy at the idea of telling my colleague, knowing that doing so could get this candidate fired, and I feel crummy keeping such a secret from someone with whom I have a professional relationship. What should I do?

To make sure I’m clear, their employer thinks they’ll be working 40 hours a week but they really plan to work for you during part of that time? Yeah, don’t hire that person. Not only are there the obvious integrity issues (which they’re apparently so cavalier about that they didn’t hesitate to announce their plan to you!), but you’d also be setting yourself up for problems when the needs of the two jobs conflict. It’s one thing to say, “Well, I really only have 25 hours of work to complete” — but what’s going to happen when they’ve committed to doing something for you Thursday afternoon and suddenly the first job needs them to be in a last-minute meeting then?

Whether to out them to your board member is a different question. I’d default to not doing that unless you’re close to the board member, and then I think those loyalties would need to win out. But you could certainly tell the candidate their employer is on your board and ask for their thoughts on how that would get navigated…

5. Returning to work after a medical incident that happened in front of coworkers

I work in HR for a medium-sized company, officially contracted to our head office but in practice working remotely. Last week I went in to our office for the first time in a couple of months for a full department (30 people) meeting. Towards the end of the meeting I began to feel very dizzy and a coworker came with me to get some air. There I started shaking uncontrollably and felt absolutely horrible.

This went on for a while, to the point that I was sat on a bench outside my office while five colleagues, including my boss and boss’s boss (C suite level), stood around me and an ambulance was called. To compound this, I had never met my boss’s boss previously and had only had a brief conversation over Teams. I was taken to the hospital and once they’d established there was nothing physically wrong, the suggestion was put forward that I’d had a panic attack. Truthfully this makes sense, I’ve been very stressed recently, primarily as I’m awaiting surgery with no date yet and also for work-related reasons. It made me realize I’ve been having moderate anxiety pretty consistently for a few months now and have just been doing my best to ignore it (top tip: don’t do that).

I’m taking some time off to sort myself out and get used to the medication I’ve been prescribed to alleviate the physical symptoms. That said, I’m already concerned about when I return to work, because frankly it was embarrassing. I’ve already had more time off than I would like to deal with my physical health, and now to top it off I’ve had this in front of colleagues (and more senior ones at that). I worry that people will be losing patience while I try and get my health together and, unreasonable though it is, I feel this has made me look weak and unreliable. What would be your advice for dealing with this upon my return?

This is the sort of thing that is sometimes mortifying to the person it happens to, while the people who were around for it almost never have a reaction that would warrant mortification. Your colleagues are almost certainly just going to be concerned about you being okay; it’s incredibly unlikely that they’ll regard you as weak or think less of you in any way. After all, imagine yourself in their shoes: if a colleague you’d never met before had a medical emergency in front of you, wouldn’t you truly just be concerned for them afterwards? (Also keep in mind, they don’t know and don’t need to know that it was a panic attack, if that’s part of what’s worrying you.)

When you return, try to keep this in the forefront of your mind: unless people are monsters, they generally have good will toward someone who’s been through a medical crisis in front of them and will just be glad you’re okay.

{ 534 comments… read them below }

  1. Spring*

    RE #5: Regardless of the reason for the emergency, you do not need to tell anyone what the diagnosis is when you come back to the office.

    1. EluzabethT*

      do not share what the diagnosis was.

      “Ì’m working with my doctor & she thinks we have it under control” is as far as I’d go.

      1. nekosan*

        Yes. Do not share the diagnosis.
        I’ve done so in the past and I’ve regretted it. (Nothing horrible, it’s just better to keep coworkers as coworkers, and only share what you want with close friends.)

      2. Monsters everywhere*

        Also, I am a monster. I have limited sympathy and empathy and have been called a monster many times. I wasn’t there, I know LW5 had a panic attack. And frankly I’m just glad they are out of the hospital and feeling better.

        I still wouldn’t share the diagnosis though.

    2. Nodramalama*

      I agree they don’t need to share the diagnosis. Having said that, if they’re comfortable I think a vague statement like “I’m ok now” may help. While it’s not LWs responsibility to soothe people it’s quite scary to witness an emergency and a lot of people may be concerned

      1. ferrina*

        Yeah, don’t say what happened, but reassure people that you and your doctor have it covered. Any decent person would be worried about you- just say something like:
        “Thank you for checking. I’m okay now- my doctor and I have spent a lot of time making sure I’ll be alright, and I’m just thankful to be able to be back to normal life! So tell me about [Completely Unrelated Topic]”

      2. rebelwithmouseyhair*

        “I’m OK, it was nothing too serious, and I’m pretty confident it won’t happen again.”

    3. office hobbit*

      Agree, and if it helps: from the description LW 5 gave, there are several purely physical conditions that could cause that (source: I have one), so you don’t have to feel that everyone is already guessing it was a panic attack or anxiety related.

      1. AGD*

        Seriously. I’m not a doctor, but I’d assume epilepsy or hypoglycemia or maybe a weird migraine before I’d start wondering about the possibility of a panic attack.

        1. Brain the Brian*

          Yep. I have epilepsy (controlled now, thankfully) and was carted out of the office in an ambulance once after a seizure (back before I had a solid medication regimen). In my case, I found that sharing about my diagnosis and what my coworkers can do to help if I have a seizure helped reassure both them and me. Even though it’s now been years since I had a seizure, I still share the basics of seizure care and my own seizure plan with new coworkers. Everyone is kind and understand to a fault.

          I promise you, LW5, your coworkers are not judging you — and if they are, *they* are the problem, not you. This is not middle school. These are professional adults.

        2. LW5*

          Thanks, weirdly I actually have epilepsy but we mostly ruled that out as it manifested completely differently from my usual seizures, I’ve been medication controlled for a long while now and didn’t really line up.

          As a more general side note thanks everyone for the words of support and reassurance in the comments, it genuinely is lovely and I’ll try to respond to a couple more today.

          1. Annie*

            Yes, absolutely any sane person would just be concerned about how you are doing and that you are recovered, and would never judge you negatively for what was a medical issue, so I wouldn’t worry about being embarrassed about it or worrying it makes you look weak.

          2. hellohello*

            To join in the crowd reassuring you, I’d be concerned for a colleague that went through what you did but would feel absolutely no judgement towards them. It likely wouldn’t even be top of mind when I think about them in the future. (In fact, when I first read the topic of your letter I assumed it was going to be much more dramatic! Actively passing out or otherwise being incredibly visibly sick, which also wouldn’t have been embarrassing, but would have been more burned in ones memory than getting shaky and going to the hospital to check it out.)

            As it is, I suspect anyone who think much about it will assume you had low blood pressure and/or low blood sugar and will leave it at that.

          3. Quill*

            Glad you’re doing better! Also, as someone who has had panic attacks at work, though admittedly none that required medical intervention – if anybody is nosier than “are you okay” and “are you good to be back at work?” and the like, they suck.

        3. Lime green Pacer*

          +1. Panic attack was not my first, or even second, guess. I still think it could eventually prove to be something else. But I’m not medically trained at all, so this is just meant as an example of how one layperson thinks, nothing more.

          1. Clisby*

            Yeah, my first thought was that it might be an insulin reaction. (My younger sister is a Type 1 diabetic, and she’s had similar symptoms when she didn’t eat enough and therefore had too much insulin in her blood.)

            Now, if I had ever had a panic attack, my mind might have gone there – but as someone said above, the symptoms described could indicate a lot of things.

          1. Ipsedixitism*

            But, I guess, those who have had them and recognise them will hopefully be the last to judge and the first to sympathise!

          2. doreen*

            I’ve never had a panic attack – but it wouldn’t be my first guess because when I had those symptoms and actually thought I might have been having a panic attack , it turned out to be a heart attack. ( Symptoms in women are often different from the well-known ones). There are lots of conditions that could cause those symptoms.

          3. Prof*

            I also have a panic disorder, and mine look nothing like that, so wasn’t what I thought of…it’s unlikely anyone will be sure of what happened, so OP can be vague

        4. By the lake*

          My first thought was hypoglycaemia as I also have that. And it’s happened at work. I’ve also full on passed out at work and passed out in a book store. So yeah, medical things happen and yea, you may feel embarrassed. But you also had some awesome coworkers who were focused on making sure you were ok. So gloss right over the cause, oh turns out I’m fine, doctor and I handled it, but I didn’t know that at the time and it was so nice of X to sit with me. I want to thank Y for calling the ambulance, it was not how I planned to ge those from work. So, how about those meeting snacks? Etc etc etc.

        5. sophie hatter*

          I have absolutely had these symptoms, in public, on more than one occasion, and eventually wound up with a chronic migraine diagnosis (fun fact, it is possible to have migraines where the primary symptom is NOT pain). I don’t have a whole lot of memory of the incidents themselves (nearly passing out will do that to you), but do I remember being absolutely floored, when I got back, by how scared people said they had been for me. (Especially because, sans diagnosis, I kept feeling like I’d been a total drama queen.) I fully understand why you’re feeling embarrassed and anxious about this, but I want to reassure you that you that the people who saw it happen are mostly going to be worried about you. They are not going to think you have anything to be embarrassed about, and I really hope *you* will eventually reach a point where you’re not embarrassed about it either. (I know that shame over flare-ups are something I still have to work on, so don’t twist yourself up feeling ashamed of your embarrassment either. It’s hard.)

          (I also want to acknowledge that an anxiety attack might feel more stigmatized than a migraine. But all of the above absolutely holds true whatever your diagnosis, or lack thereof.)

      2. londonedit*

        Definitely. People most likely won’t be thinking about it, or if they do it’ll be from a place of concern. If they do think about a cause then they’ll probably think ‘I wonder if she hadn’t had breakfast’ or ‘It was really hot in that room’. And I’m sure the most they’ll say on your return is ‘I hope you’re feeling better’ or ‘I hope you’re OK now’. And all you need to say to that is ‘Much better, thank you!’ or ‘What a drama – luckily I’m fine now!’

      3. Smithy*

        This right here. As someone who deals with vasovagal syncope (aka more easily prone to fainting) this is where my mind went. And as someone who once passed out in a setting where an ambulance was called….to have the diagnosis of “prone to fainting” it was still embarrassing.

        Not that I would leap to a diagnosis, but to hear a vague response about being fine and cleared for work – I’d be both sympathetic as well as not necessarily expect a massive medical diagnosis.

        I will also add that right after the expensive and embarrassing ambulance trip – I did try telling my workplace that it had happened but if anything like that happened at work I wouldn’t need an ambulance. I said that once at work, and my supervisor froze. It was a helpful piece of insight around when working in a nonmedical situation how a decent response may result in being overly cautious. Even if its just out of liability concerns, for our nonmedical colleagues to take the most cautious response makes a lot more sense now. I’m not equating this to longer term conditions and making sure that people aren’t unnecessarily babied at work – but for these first time or very infrequent incidents, it can help to reframe the response as coming from a workplace running well.

      4. Baunilha*

        I’ve been on both sides of this: once I passed out in the mall, and more than once I’ve had to help people who weren’t feeling well, including at work.
        Was the mall thing the most humiliating situation I’ve ever been through? Yes. Was I thinking anything bad of the coworker who had hypoglycemia and fainted in the break room? Heck no.

        That is all to say that when it happens to us, we feel so embarrassed about it but, when we see it happening to other people, all we feel is concern.

    4. Jojo*

      LW #5, this happened to me at work. We have onsite EMTs and they also called the local emergency services. I got wheeled out of the office on a stretcher in front of many of my coworkers to find 2 ambulances and a fire truck waiting for me in front of the office. It was mortifying.

      It’s been a year, and we still don’t know what happened. Something happened with my ear and then I ended up with vertigo (and motion sickness). When I followed up with my doctor he was like, if it ever happens again, give me a call. It has not, but I have medicine for if it does.

      My advice to you is to say you are following up with your doctor to see what happened and to prepare for if it happens again, and then drop it. If you haven’t returned to the office yet, be prepared for everyone asking you about what happened and checking in to see if you are OK. Just say something about not feeling well, not really knowing what happened, and then turn the conversation around and thank them for being concerned…oh, and do you have the TPS report?

      My first day back was…a lot. But it was nice that so many of my coworkers seemed to care about me. And then, by the next day, it was over. I haven’t been asked about it since.

      1. Anon for this*

        I fainted on two of my neighbors in college. (Literally knocked one of them over because she tried to catch me.) It’s not the same dynamic as senior leadership at your job, but everyone was kind and concerned and not pushy, and just glad that I was okay.

      2. anotherfan*

        I was standing by my boss’s desk a decade or so ago and … just lost my sense of balance. Like couldn’t find the floor. I grabbed his desk and almost fell over. Had to have someone help me to my desk and then drive me to the emergency room. I was dizzy and nauseated as if I were car sick. It turned out to be something to do with the hairs/cilia in my inner ear and a drop of fluid of some sort striking them — I’m sure there’s a real name for it, but that’s what it was. It hasn’t happened again, just one of those odd things. When I went back to work, everybody was just asking if I was OK and that was it. I don’t think anybody even remembered about it two days later.

        Now the time I sliced open my finger while cutting bagels became an office legend — there’s humiliation for you! After you acknowledge your own stupidity, you just have to laugh along with the joke.

        1. LabSnep*

          I almost fell down the stairs at a former workplace (thankfully a hospital) and I got sent to ER and they made me go home for the day.

          My manager had to drive me home because I could not drive I was so dizzy.

        2. londonedit*

          Years ago I sat with my legs crossed for too long in a meeting (as in, one knee over the other – I wasn’t cross-legged) and when I stood up my right foot had fallen asleep and I almost fell flat on the floor. I had to grab on to a chair and it was extremely obvious – slightly embarrassing, yes, but my colleagues were just concerned that I was OK (and I definitely was once my foot had come back to life!) I of course remember it but I doubt anyone else would.

          1. Butterfly Counter*

            I did this as an 11-year old when taking a course on babysitting during the summer. Everyone there laughed as I tripped as a result. Turns out, I had actually broken my ankle as a result. I had only thought it was a bad sprain, but years later, when I thought I HAD broken the same ankle, the doc pointed out a healed fracture.

            For real, wait for your foot to wake up before trying to walk on it!

            1. Quill*

              Dislocated a foot doing something similar once, it’s still not right during the winter, so I second this.

          2. Another Lab Rat*

            Yep, I was once sitting in my wheeled office chair, went to get up, and…somehow got both feet tangled up in the wheeled foot part and fell flat on my face? My colleagues were alarmed at first but once they saw that I was laughing as I picked myself up off the floor, everything was fine and I doubt any of them even remember that it happened.

        3. Happily Retired*

          As you are asking for a name, I’ll offer up BPPV: benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (I am formally diagnosed with it.)

          Benign: not an indication of something worse
          Paroxysmal: comes on suddenly or without warnings
          Positional: triggered by certain head positions for me, looking up and turning my head side to side
          Vertigo: vertigo!

          For me, it happens maybe twice a year. An incredible nuisance for the first day or two.

          1. jez chickena*

            This sounds precisely like a migraine to me. I fainted once in the CEO’s office as I was trying to let her know; I couldn’t find coverage so I could go home, and boom, I fainted. I came to immediately, and after everyone calmed down a colleague drove me home.

            I was told that the guy who “didn’t feel like covering for me” got a big lecture from the boss. It was also pointed out that I covered for him on more than one occasion.

          2. Pony tailed wonder*

            I have been diagnosed with that. Epley maneuvers are very helpful if it gets bad.

      3. Rainy*

        Oof, that’s so rough. I developed labyrinthitis some years back, which was discovered when I was struck with really severe vertigo, to the point that I was walking to the bus stop from work one evening and became unable to stand between one step and the next. My boss came and got me, managed to guide me into her car, and drove me home. When it happened all I could think about was not kissing pavement, but if it had happened during the work day, I probably would have had the same experience as you. She was really worried about me but we have a very solid relationship and she didn’t make it weird.

        I’m glad it hasn’t happened to you again!

    5. CommanderBanana*

      ^^ This. And if anyone’s pushy about it, I’ve found that saying “blood sugar issues” is a good catchall for anything.

      1. Georgia Carolyn Mason*

        Yes! Blood sugar, anemia, vertigo, onset of flu/fever, even a couple nights of poor sleep can be used if anyone presses you. (Which they shouldn’t, but people are nosy.) It would be great if folks were cool about a mental health related cause, but in my experience we’re not there yet. At least at my job, the person would generally be treated well to their face but would get a reputation for fragility. (And there would be that one guy saying “Sorry, OP, does that PANIC you? Do we need to call the ambulance?” Ideally you don’t have middle-school bullies in middle-aged bodies at your job, though.)

        1. ChurchOfDietCoke*

          Before my colleague’s diabetes was stabilised she frequently had blood sugar ‘crashes’ that looked and sounded a lot like what OP described. No-one even thought ‘panic attack’ was an option for these symptoms.

    6. Momma Bear*

      Agreed. When that happened to a colleague of mine, I said it was good to see them back and focused forward on work and didn’t mention the incident. People will take your lead, and if someone doesn’t, tell them firmly that you just want to focus on the task.

    7. Mark*

      Agree that you dont share a diagnosis. I would probably say: “They had to adjust a medication” which is marginally true (adjusted from zero to some other dosage), explains what happens, sounds benign and shuts down further conversation. You dont have to say anything, but its sort of an elephant in the room that may cause rumors if you dont say something. If this happened to one of my employees, as a manager I would want to hear that they are doing something about the problem and I would not want to konw the details. An explanation like this would reassure me that I dont need to concern myself with the problem, the employee is dealing with it.

  2. Bruce*

    LW 1: Headphones saved me when 1 week into my new job the VP of Engineering would come out every hour and harangue the manager in the next cube over for 10 minutes at a time (the manager quit 2 weeks after I started). Good head phones with noise cancellation!

    1. Middle Aged SME*

      Would you recommend the headphones that worked for you? I’m having a similar issue and I’ve found that most noise cancelling headphones intentionally cancel background noise, but not voices, which honestly makes the voices even harder for me to ignore.

      1. urguncle*

        Sony WH1000MX. Not only can you control when they cancel the noise-cancelling (it defaults to when you’re being spoken to, but you can change it), but they also have a great microphone if you’re taking calls. I’ve had mine for almost 2 years now, they go on EVERY plane ride with me and the battery life is honestly shockingly good. Like 12+ hour travel day good.

        1. I take tea*

          I absolutely love my Sonys too. I got them as a gift from my partner and it was such a thoughtful gift, because I never would have bought something that expensive for myself, but my world changed for the better. Especially when travelling (including commuting) they are splendid. I used to be so stressed and having to do all kinds of calming exercises to cope with the noise, now I just put on my headphones and immediately calm down.

      2. Michelle Smith*

        Second here to say Sony has worked well for me. They worked so well that I had to put up a sign to tell people to come into my line of sight and wave to get my attention because I wouldn’t hear them if they came up behind my desk and just said hi or my name.

        1. Michelle Smith*

          You’re going to pay for the quality though. Think mine retailed about $300 or so when I bought them 10 years ago.

      3. Bruce*

        My story is from 30 years ago, so the recs for Sony would be much more current. I’ve also used plain old ear protectors when working in a loud lab, they can fit over wired earbuds

    2. ferrina*

      And if the coworker demands acknowledgement, a quick thumbs-up without removing the headphones.

      1. Observer*

        And if the coworker demands acknowledgement, a quick thumbs-up without removing the headphones.

        Nope. Ignore them. The LW can’t control what the other guy does, but the other guy also doesn’t get to “demand” extraneous stuff from the LW either. And having to break concentration from what they are doing is a problem even without hearing the words.

        And how is OM supposed to “demand” an acknowledgement if the LW doesn’t even hear them? If OM is ridiculous enough to actually start tapping the LW or anything similarly disruptive, it’s time for the LW to talk to their manager. Because regardless of why the LW doesn’t want to be interrupted, OM would blowing past every reasonable boundary.

        1. ferrina*

          I guess the word “demand” was too harsh. Maybe “if the coworker seems agitated by lack of acknowledgement”?

          It sounds like this is a communication style conflicting with hyperfocus (I’m ADHD, so totally get the hyperfocus disruption frustration). OP’s desires are clear- they are in hyperfocus and don’t want any distraction unless it’s a true emergency. Coworker has conflicting desires- they want to foster transparency by regular communication. The regular communication is conflicting with the hyperfocus. Neither one of these people is wrong. I see some commentors saying that Coworker is wrong for disturbing someone who doesn’t want to be disturbed, but 1) Coworker may not know when OP is in hyperfocus, and 2) Coworker sounds like they just don’t get the needs of hyperfocus. Some people just don’t get it, and we still have to deal with these people.

          The easiest way I’ve dealt with this in my life is the quick acknowledgement. The other person has their communication desire met, and I don’t break my hyperfocus. Sometimes I’m only aware of the other person insofar as “this person is saying something routine that isn’t relevant- noted”. This solution isn’t for people that you are close to like friends or family, but it can be fine for others that you need to deal with on a more casual basis.

          1. Also-ADHD*

            I would say the person who has a want (coworker) that hinders the functioning of the other person, especially insofar as it further disables them, is wrong in their want. Their want is entirely selfish and unnecessary (the need is self created). LW’s need is a functioning need and supersedes.

  3. Nodramalama*

    LW5 someone at my work once had what appeared to be a stroke in the office and then the next week was back at work and had baked a tart for the office because they felt bad it had happened at work.

    Most people were mainly concerned they came back to work and baking so quickly if it helps

    1. Brain the Brian*

      My high school theatre teacher had a stroke two weeks before the annual spring musical one year and made it back for tech week. Really, people need time off to recover! My goodness.

      1. College Career Counselor*

        I get that the show must go on, but I agree, that’s too much!

        1. Brain the Brian*

          IIRC, she took some more time off after the show and was fine after that. Tech week was an odd experience, for sure.

    2. ThatMom*

      A former coworker of mine didn’t take enough time off to recover following a heart attack (that started at work), and ended up dying the day he was scheduled to return. He was in his 50s.

      Take the time needed to adequately recover. Work can wait.

  4. Pink Sprite*

    To OP#5: I’ve been in the exact same situation. I was meeting a huge group of new folks in a situation I was already unfamiliar and uncomfortable with and by lunchtime – boom!! Enormous panic attack!
    Thankfully it was a long time ago, so I don’t remember what I or anyone else did.
    I took some time off of work to start and adjust some medications – made a huge difference.
    People were nothing but kind and supportive. I received tons of cards, flowers, emails, texts – ALL positive and wishing me well.
    I’m certain you’ll receive the same treatment. :)
    Best wishes and a virtual high five from Michigan! ✋

    1. DeskApple*

      same! I even threw up in front of colleagues during a panic attack and now at least one is throwing up because of pregnancy, another is caring for her mom with cancer- just remember we are all so very human and your colleagues have other things on their minds than remembering this!

          1. Michelle Smith*

            I’m too young to have known the incident (I was like 4 or something at the time), but I Googled it. In case others are curious, there is an entire wikipedia article called “George H. W. Bush vomiting incident.” Apparently he vomited in the Japanese prime minister’s lap and then fainted. So OP5 you can always at least rest assured that what happened to you at work was nowhere near that embarrassing, nor will you have people looking up the story on Wikipedia in 30+ years to learn about it.

            1. Bruce*

              I remember that. The PM was very solicitous and held HW’s head in his lap even though he was covered in gunk. Great example of how to behave in the moment, whatever other issues that particular PM and party may have had (covering myself since I don’t remember the exact politics of Japan from back then)

            2. Worldwalker*

              Then there’s Teddy Roosevelt’s dog that not only bit random people, but he tore the pants off the French ambassador!

              People still know about that over 100 years later. And of course it’s on Wikipedia.

              (You think President Biden’s dog is bad? At least he hasn’t de-pantsed a foreign ambassador!)

            3. coffee*

              I had not heard about the vomiting incident until just now, but I will for sure be forever comforted that I am almost certainly not making it onto wikipedia like that. Also that, you know, these things happen.

      1. JustaTech*

        I’ve thrown up at work in front of coworkers because of a work thing we were doing (they were drawing my blood and I just couldn’t take it) – everyone was super nice and solicitous about it (I was apparently white as a sheet) – they even got me a cookie from the bakery to get my blood sugar back up and my boss (who could be a real jerk) sent me home “when you feel safe to drive”.
        Now, they were used to that kind of thing because they drew a lot of people’s blood and people threw up or fainted regularly, but no one teased me or made a big deal about it.

        The vast majority of people you’ll work with are just going to hope you’re ok and then give it no more thought. And many people will have been in a similar situation so it’s unlikely that they’ll default to “weak” rather than “human”.

    2. Melody Powers*

      I had the same thing happen on day two of my new job. Started feeling dizzy, things spiraled from there, and I got wheeled out to an ambulance. They decided it was a panic attack in my case too. I was worried it would look like I couldn’t handle the job but everyone was very supportive and I just kept telling anyone who asked that I was feeling better without going into detail. I’ve been doing well at the job and trying not to let that pressure to prove that I really can do it get too bad. I hope things turn out well for you too.

    3. NYWeasel*

      From the other side, someone at our office recently fainted at work and was taken away by ambulance. Absolutely no one has expressed anything other than “I hope (coworker) is ok!” I personally would feel mortified myself if I was the person who took ill but it’s good to see that really everyone just wants to know that the coworker is feeling better now.

  5. Tisserande d'Encre*

    I really want to know whether #3 is OP asking for themself, or to settle a bet

      1. Raisin Walking to the Moon*

        @Nodramalama ‘shimmer body oil’ is a body product, particularly for the legs but really you can put it anywhere. The original is Nars Monoi Body Glow, for reference. An equivalent product for the face is called ‘liquid highlighter.’

    1. Jo-Maroon*

      Maybe there’s a vampire in the workplace, and the OP has mistaken their sparkly complexion for body oil?

      1. Nonanon*

        I’m looking forward to the follow up “also they won’t eat garlic” letter

      2. PropJoe*

        Hopefully the vampire isn’t Colin Robinson. I could see Laszlo putting on some shimmer oil though.

      1. fhqwhgads*

        Yeah I took it as “someone else is already doing it and I think they should stop, am I reasonable?”

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          This one is not cross stitch on a pillow. This one is elegant embroidery on a gauze shawl. :)

        2. Working Class Lady*

          LW3 – Generally speaking, I would avoid wearing body shimmer oil to work, regardless of what you do. Save it for the bars or nightclubs or whatever after work.

          LW5- Any decent human being who witnesses someone having a medical emergency is just going to be concerned, and glad to hear the person is okay afterward.

          Something like,
          “Thanks for making sure I was okay yesterday. I’m working with my doctor and I should be okay going forward.”
          is all that’s really necessary. Moat decent, reasonable adults also understand the concept of medical privacy and won’t pry.

          1. Raisin Walking to the Moon*

            @Working Class Lady you’re probably thinking of body glitter. Shimmer oil isn’t for nighttime, but is common for daytime in the summer. It was originally developed to tint the legs and give the slightly shimmery appearance of wearing nylon hosiery. Of course, shimmer levels vary, but it’s interesting that this is a product that was pretty work-appropriate 60 years ago.

      1. CommanderBanana*

        You can’t dull my shine – OR my shimmer.*

        *kidding, I would also err on the side of shimmering outside of office hours.

      2. Alexandra W.*

        I’m a successful professional who shimmers at her place of work every single day. While I do take care not to go overboard, I will always choose to move through the world with a subtle sparkle!

    2. I'm the Phoebe in Any Group*

      On first read, I thought they were upset someone else was wearing shimmer oil, shedding an ocassional fleck of glitter and wanted ammunition to get the other person to stop. I could be totally wrong. Letter Writer? Am I off-base?

    3. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I think for themselves since their letter to me included a link a specific brand of shimmer oil so I could see what it looked like.

      1. Nonanon*

        …which brand asking for me
        (Not for the office but I do like to be glittery from time to time)

        1. H.C.*

          You should also look into Unicorn Snot products – I love their mildly shimmery sunscreen (which is also lightly birthday cake scented) and they have a eco-friendlier line w biodegradable glitter.

      2. MikeM_inMD*

        I had to look up what “shimmer oil” is. This old guy never heard of it before, and I’m still not sure why you would want to use it in a non-social occasion/place.

        1. CommanderBanana*

          For the same reasons people use hand lotion or Chapstick.


          1. MikeM_inMD*

            Skin care I understand; it’s just the shimmer part that I don’t get. I’m not saying it’s “wrong” – I just don’t understand. But I’m not the type to were flashy colors, either.

        2. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

          This 40-something butch woman never heard of it before either, but people do all sorts of appearance-based things that are mystifying to me. Works for them, does me no harm, why do I care?

      3. Me1980*

        Okay but now I need to know what the worst violation of dress code WILL be this summer! You can’t just throw that out there. I mean, it’s just mean.

    4. MusicWithRocksIn*

      I know if I ever noticed a coworker wearing body shimmer and I ever found glitter on myself or any of my things at work I would have a very visceral “UGH” reaction directed at that person. I don’t think it’s worth it at all as people can be very anti-glitter. I still resent the time I hosted a bridal shower and someone sprinkled some glitter decorations around my house that I found for years to come.

      1. NonprofitED*

        Beware of body creams that shimmer too! I was gifted some bath gels and body cream and I did not realize that the body cream had “shimmer” in it until I got to work and saw my legs kept sparkling. All I could do was hope no one noticed and keep my legs under my desk as much as possible. Of course I should have thought about it since the gift came from my 14 year old goddaughter. :-) I have not used the body cream again. I am waiting for a shimmer appropriate moment!

      2. toolegittoresign*

        The one LW was asking about is very glittery but when I was going into the office I used a body glow lotion on my legs in the summer because I’m very pale and felt like it looked better, especially as my legs would get blotchy from the cold AC. I think use of that sort of thing is very common but typically people aren’t using one full of glitter that’s going to get everywhere.

      3. Freya*

        There have been partner dancing events I’ve gone to where glitter was definitely a trend amongst a small group of people. It would get on everyone, because it’s partner dancing, and surface transfer happens. Even if you showered before going to bed, it would get on your sheets, and in my case, I was cleaning it out of my hair and various crevices for weeks. Always fun blowing your nose and finding glitter in the tissue…

      4. Reluctant Mezzo*

        I got a Christmas card full of glitter one year. It took months to get it all (and the pine needles which fell from the tree) vacuumed up.

    5. OP #3*

      OP #3 here! It was just for myself! I think many people are hearing glitter and thinking that I douse myself in flecks of gold – I’m referring to the ABH Body Shimmer. It’s more subtle in person, but helps gives off more of a glow (I’m pretty pale).

      I work at a global consulting firm and while no one has ever commented, I will refrain from putting it on during the work days!

      1. Rainy*

        Yeah, I knew what you meant when you said shimmer–I think there are a lot of people who don’t understand the difference between a shimmer product and like, chunky 90s style body glitter.

        I do think it’s probably better to save it for weekends, although I understand liking a little shimmer. Maybe one of those super subtle “glow” body lotions with the very very subtle self-tanner pigment instead?

      2. Admin of Sys*

        Personally, I doubt I’d notice shimmer vs ‘this person is made up’? Like I’d be able to tell you were wearing makeup, but I don’t think I’d clock that it was shinier than normal unless you were at the twilight level of sparkle.

      3. toolegittoresign*

        If it’s subtle and doesn’t shed glitter, on your legs it’s probably fine. I would stay away from doing your arms only because that’s where you risk it transferring onto desks, armrests, tables, keyboards, etc. I just used to use a glow lotion where the shimmer itself was so fine it didn’t transfer.

  6. PDB*

    I’ve been the person with the medical event and my experience is that your co-workers are probably freaked out as well. I’m pretty sure that concern for your well being will be all you see on your return.

    1. Juicebox Hero*

      Can confirm. My coworkers once had to call an ambulance for me because I was dizzy, sweating, nauseous, and disoriented – all signs of a heart attack in women – and everyone was nothing but concerned, even the office jerk.

      It turned out to be Benign Paroxysmic Positional Vertigo or BPPV, which made life interesting until I could get to an ENT to be property diagnosed and treated.

    2. Annie*

      Agree. I fainted at work which was fortunately in a hospital. I came back a few days later and everyone was glad I was ok.

    3. Artemesia*

      And I would not describe it to them as a panic attempt but ‘oh just something minor, I’m fine now.’

    4. Nesprin*

      Panic attacks are medical events! OP had a medical thing that made them unable to breathe. I’d be worried about them and hope they’re doing better.

  7. Keymaster of Gozer (She/Her)*

    3: Please no fine glitter (or glitter of any kind really) at work. Cleaning it out of keyboard switches/motherboards/heat sinks/electrical sockets isn’t a fun job and that stuff gets everywhere. It sheds worse than cat hair.

    Also don’t go to work after glitter baths from lush without a very vigorous shower the morning after. I speak from experience.

    1. Allonge*

      Just a data point: the glimmer / shine oils I have seen have a much smaller particle size of whatever makes it shine than anything with glitter.

      My guess it’s not much bigger than any other cosmetics (eye shadow, various powders) and at least in my experience, they do not shed (not the same as a glitter bath anyway).

      This definitely does not mean that the technology around should not be considered, but it’s not quite the same thing as a glittery craft table.

      1. MsM*

        Yeah, there are some brands that are really more of a subtle sheen/glow that I think could work, especially if you’re not exposing that much skin anyway.

        If it glitters, you’ve gone too far.

        1. CR*

          Yeah, I was surprised that Alison’s blanket advice is that it’s inappropriate. Lots of body lotions (self-tanners, too) give a sheen and there’s nothing unprofessional about that. It just makes your skin look nicer.

            1. Allonge*

              Mamma mia, that is advanced vampire-level sparkle indeed.

              At least photographed that way – I have seen nothing close to this (on skin).

            2. Festively Dressed Earl*

              From the description/reviews, I wonder if the tropical vanilla scent might be a bigger issue than sparkles. There’s a sharp divide about it in the comments that got me thinking about scent-trigger issues.

      2. Keymaster of Gozer (She/Her)*

        Based on the gunk I’ve cleaned out of keyboards even very fine particulate matter and especially when combined with an oil based carrier can and will get into electronics.

        Additionally I do have several shimmering oils myself (I like the effect actually) but it’s very much a situational thing. I’ll never forget the bollocking I got from mum when I left a shiny smear on her sofa!

        However it’s true on the grand scheme of things it’s a minor annoyance. I’ve cleaned things out of chassis fans that would make you retch.

        1. JustaTech*

          This would be a fascinating conversation at my work, because we have to be very careful about particulates in the clean room, so it’s very firmly No Makeup (of any kind), but also very firmly Please Moisturize (to keep you from shedding too many skin flecks in the very dry space, yes it’s gross, don’t think about it).

          So body oil would be good for your skin, but sparkles (even a very fine shimmer) would be bad for the particulate count.

    2. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      Definitely. Keep glitter out of the office, no matter how fine it is. The finer it is, the harder it is to get out of wherever it gets. And glitter gets everywhere.

    3. K*

      Also don’t combine a bath melt with a glitter bomb thinking you’re going to have a really luxurious moisturing glitter bath. The oils in the melt just make the glitter stick to you like super glue.

      1. I can read anything except the room*

        About 10 years ago when Kesha’s first album was topping the charts and she was perpetually covered in glitter in her videos and on stage, she revealed that she achieved her performance look with baby oil and craft glitter – cosmetics with glitter effects are all too subtle to achieve a degree of glittering that shows up on camera or from the cheap seats in a stadium.

        I tried it. Once. It was incredibly uncomfortable! Craft glitter is made entirely of sharp edges!

        1. londonedit*

          A corner of the internet I used to frequent had the phrase ‘knicker wasps’ in its lexicon, to describe the stray bits of glitter you’d end up being spiked by after using a Lush bath bomb.

          1. Quill*

            Now there is a mental image. I’ll stick with non-glitter industrial strength hand cream!

    4. Alice in Spreadsheetland*

      Yeah, even in the most permissive of offices there’s an issue of transfer/shedding. It’s one thing if it’s just you that’s glittery but if you start shedding glitter and body oil on every surface you touch and into the carpet, people will not be happy. I love glitter but if I got glitter all over my office clothes because my coworker sat at the same break room table or conference seat before me I’d be pretty pissed off.

      LW- if you apply in the morning and can spend all day sitting on your couch, at the kitchen table, etc. and by the end of the day those things contain absolutely zero glitter, then maybe. But if people tell you you’re shedding then it’s not good for a communal space like an office and may be best for somewhere like the beach.

    5. whingedrinking*

      Re: Lush bath bombs: Oh god yes. Especially if it has cocoa butter or other oils in it. I once had to google “how to get glitter off a pleather couch”.

  8. Superduperanonomous*

    Maybe an unpopular opinion, but I’m not so sure the co-worker in letter 1 is doing anything offensive or unusual. It’s kind of normal to let folks know where you’re going and when you can be expected to return, especially if you can’t be reached. It almost seems like the LW is a bit over the top (though they acknowledge that in their letter).

    1. Myrin*

      The problem as I see it is more that OP has asked the coworker (multiple times!) to not do it and yet they continue to do so.

      Things can be normal and even polite to do in general but become the opposite once someone has specifically asked for a different thing.

      (I’ve encountered this several times over the years and vastly different environments where people were adamant that they don’t want visitors to knock on their doors but to just come in. To this day, I haven’t figured out what that’s all about, but I still always did it even though it went against everything I’ve ever learned regarding closed doors outside of one’s home and felt exceptionally rude literally every time.)

      1. Malarkey01*

        I get your point, but the thing she’s asking her not to do is speak (and not long chit chat but 4-5 words)…..that’s going to be really out of step in A LOT of offices.

        As a manager I could support someone saying Jane distracts me with non work conversations, if someone said I want Jane to never speak to me in passing I’d say that’s not reasonable or the tone we want for the office. Your office may differ but I really doubt it.

        1. JSPA*

          That’s where the “I” statement about what, exactly, is distracting to them, comes in. It’s a sort of low-key accommodation. “I get that what you’re doing is normal and work-appropriate, but nevertheless, it’s more auditory distraction than I can handle.”

          Maybe the LW can suggest that coworker deploy reusable post-it notes that they leave on their desk. “back in 5 min” and “back in 15 min” and “in person meeting” and “lunch break.”

          Also, if LW gets through work by using several hours of deep focus, the office mate may think they are modeling a “more healthy” break schedule (that’s happened to me). LW, if you ever allude to “oh dear, have to go urgently and I’m so thirsty and forgot to eat lunch” (like younger me did, when I’d finally gotten into a deep groove at work) it may help to not do that, because to others it will feel like you’re announcing a problem that needs to be solved, or a fear of taking reasonable and customary breaks.

          In that case, “I’m curious why you’re continuing to do X, is there an underlying message I’m missing?” might (????) lead to a productive conversation.

        2. So Tired*

          OP is not asking their coworker not to speak though. They are specifically asking their coworker not to interrupt them with updates on where they’re going or when they’re back. There is nothing in the letter about OP saying they want their officemate to remain silent for the entire day.

          Regardless of whether those updates are rude or not, the fact is that OP has asked their coworker to stop, and the coworker has blatantly ignored them. And that is a problem.

        3. Seeking Second Childhood*

          It sounds like one person’s job requires running a lot of errands and the other person’s job requires deep concentration.

          I have seen that exact situation play out and the solution was for the senior programmer to be moved into a different workspace.

        4. Charlotte Lucas*

          But it sounds like it’s every time the person leaves or comes back. I would also find that pointless and annoying. My job isn’t to keep track of my coworkers, so even if someone asked me, I would probably not know where they went. And if the person has a lot of meetings or has to come and go a lot, that would annoy me. (If the person would be gone a significant amount of time or unexpectedly, then I might want to know.)

          Online calendars exist for a reason.

          1. Momma Bear*

            Even without ADHD, there have been studies showing it takes around 20 minutes to refocus if you’re interrupted so imagine having your day punctuated like this over and over again and what it would do to your workflow. I wonder if the coworker used to have a job that required such check ins and if they are not the norm for the current role. It seems to be specific to this coworker. I think OP is well within rights to ask OP to stop announcing themselves to OP.

            1. Trout 'Waver*

              20 minutes being normal sounds preposterous to me. Can you reference those studies?

              1. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

                It sounds entirely normal for getting back to deep focus for something like coding. If you’re answering emails or doing something routine in Excel or editing a Powerpoint, no, but when you’re deep in something complicated it can take awhile to pick up the threads. (This is why I actually prefer back-to-back meetings, within reason. I get much more than twice as much done in one hour between meetings than I would in two disconnected half-hour chunks.)

                That said, a simple “hello” or “I’m going to lunch now” wouldn’t be enough to disrupt my focus, thank goodness.

              2. I Have RBF*

                It’s not preposterous. With stuff like coding or design, you have to build up a mental model of what the part you are working on is doing in order to understand what needs to be added or changed. This takes 15 to 20 minutes.

    2. Kella*

      Sounds like OP doesn’t think what they’re doing is unusual, but because it’s disruptive to their specific workflow, they’ve asked their coworkers to stop and they haven’t stopped. There are other ways to communicate that information if it’s really necessary that would accommodate OP’s needs here.

      1. Michelle Smith*

        In fact, I have one to recommend! In one of my old offices, we were required to sign in and out on a white board at the reception desk. We were busy attorneys and the receptionist needed to know (for example, if a judge called and wanted us to come to court on a case) what to say about where we were (e.g., Michelle is on trial in Part 76, Michelle is out of the office but will be back in an hour, etc.).

        There is no reason this couldn’t be adapted to a single shared office. OP or their officemate could get a small whiteboard (the office might even pay for one) and put it on the wall by the door. Then when officemate needs to run to a meeting or lunch or whatever, they can write a note on the board like “back at noon” or “meeting with Boss, 1-2 pm.” That way they’ve communicated the information in case anyone comes by looking for them, but OP isn’t interrupted in the moment.

        1. Elitist Semicolon*

          I’ve been wondering whether the coworker is new either to this particular office or to the workforce in general. They sound like they’re self-conscious about not being at their desk and therefore over-explaining what they’re doing to justify being away for a minute. There’s a difference between “going to a meeting; back in an hour” and “brb making three copies” in terms of what the OP needs to know for their own schedule and what’s useful to relay if someone else stops by, and it sounds like the coworker doesn’t really know that they don’t have to account for where they are at that level of granularity. Maybe the way to do handle this isn’t for OP to say “please stop interrupting me” but rather “I don’t need to know where you are all the time.”

          In my first real post-school professional-level job, I didn’t know whether I was supposed to check in or out with the director in some way and no one had mentioned. Instead of Using My Words (because I was new and nervous), I started dropping by the director’s office, which was in a completely different suite, and saying something like, “I’m off! Hope you had a good day!” After about a week of this, she said, “you don’t have to check in or out with me. We all keep our own hours.” I was mortified but at least I knew. (And then I moved to a job in a suite with a receptionist and had to figure out whether I was supposed to say hi every time I walked through!)

    3. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      Coworker sounds over the top with frequency though. Once per day would be my personal maximum, because of likely breaking a coworker’s train of thought.

      I’d inform a coworker if I was going offsite, or going to lunch if it wasn’t my regular time, but not for short excursions away from my desk. Meetings etc would be in my calendar for reference anyway.

      I do hope she doesn’t announce bathroom trips, especially a more specific announcement like “time for #2”

      1. The Prettiest Curse*

        The colleague in this letter has been asked to reduce the frequency and definitely should – but for some people, giving this type of information is a deeply ingrained habit. (My mother announces what she’s about to do more or less every time she stands up.) There are some work environments where you are expected to announce why you’re going to be away from your work station every single time you leave.

        I have worked in offices where people were expected to verbally announce if they were going to lunch, coffee etc. or people would ask questions. So the colleague may actually think they are being helpful by giving the OP this info, even though it has the exact opposite effect.

        1. Ridiculous Penguin*

          I have a direct report who tells me every day when she is leaving for lunch and when she comes back, despite my telling her many times I do not need nor want to know (I have ADHD and it really interferes with my concentration to get the Teams messages interrupting my workflow). She somehow doesn’t get the message and it’s really aggravating.

          1. ConfigureThisYourself*

            Okay, verbal announcements are one thing, but Teams/Slack/IM is not supposed to be interruptive -it’s an asynchronous form of communication – and if it is for you because you’re compelled to check every message notification the instant you get it, that’s on you and something you need to manage by changing the way you’re notified of new messages. Turn off alerts you find interruptive and check Teams when you’re free to look at it. Problem solved without removing the purpose of using Teams in the first place.

            1. JellyDawn*

              I completely disagree, the entire point of the word “instant” in instant messaging (IM) is because it is meant to be sychronous. It can be used asynchronously, but that’s never been its intended purpose. Email is the asynchronous medium.

              1. bamcheeks*

                It CAN be instant, but there’s no expectation that it has to be.
                There are multiple options for signalling Away or Busy or switching to Do Not Disturb.

                1. Michelle Smith*

                  And that person is probably annoyed by the interruption because they need to keep notifications on rather than putting up Do Not Disturb. I know, because I have ADHD and experience something similar. I have to keep my notifications on because sometimes I really do need my train of thought interrupted to deal with something right that second and Slack is perfect for people to get in touch with me that way. I’m also not in a position to change the culture of the team and say use email or Teams for emergencies and Slack for non-emergencies. That person may be in a similar situation – some messages are important, others are not, but they’re not able to turn off notifications for the unimportant ones without missing the urgent ones.

              2. Rex Libris*

                Actually, my understanding is that it’s called “instant” messaging because when it first became popular in the early 1990’s, messages appeared live on the other end in real time, character by character as they were typed, rather than as a whole message.

                Systems like Slack are pretty indistinguishable from email in form and function.

                1. I can read anything except the room*

                  I would have to disagree that they’re identical. It’s a lot easier to manage many disparate discussions (often with largely the same but slightly different configurations of people involved) across multiple email threads under a descriptive subject line that falls out of use as soon as the thread is no longer relevant but remains easily searchable.

                  On Slack, I have like 10 Starred group chats that are just slightly different configurations of which members of my small team work on different types of projects, and the only way to assign a name or label to a thread is by turning it into a channel, and it’s just practical to create a new channel for every topic the way you create a new email thread for a new topic.

                  As a result, I have a really hard time searching and finding details from old conversations on Slack – I very often can’t remember exactly what group chat or what thread in which channel it happened in, and it’s a struggle to sift through search results for fairly general words that come up as a bunch of unlabeled discussions. Scrolling up and down a very long thread is also more cumbersome than being able to scan the first line of every email in a thread and expand/collapse individual emails as needed. Lastly, the real-time nature of Slack means people are more prone to sprinkling social side chatter, gifs, etc into threads than they would be over email.

                  Slack is great for quick back and forth, and for giving us remote workers a place to have social side chatter and share silly gifs, but if I want the record of the conversation to be able to be easily found months or years later, or I want to have all the details of an assignment neatly and concisely organized in a single window that I can keep open and reference while working on the task, without losing my place if I need to send further messages, email is by far the better solution for that.

                2. Emmy Noether*

                  I prefer chat when I’m expecting to have a whole (slightly asynchronous) conversation of pretty much one-liners, because it’s displayed in a way that’s much more readable than the same thing as an email chain.

                  Also, chat feels less official than email, but that’s pure convention.

            2. Seeking Second Childhood*

              I disagree because there are times when I definitely need the immediate notification that my offering manager has determined the final phrase of a specification. At that same time, I would not want to receive repeated information about why someone is leaving their desk. “BRB” I can ignore.

            3. JenLP*

              Teams doesn’t allow you to turn off some notifications (like flashing in the Task Bar) and that orange flash is so disruptive. Only way I’ve found to avoid it is to just sign off completely – which doesn’t work if I need to be in a Teams meeting.

              This might’ve changed since I last tried to figure out how to do it (last year) but I so want to turn that off!

              Also, I have enough to do without filtering through messages I don’t need and have asked not to receive.

        2. Observer*

          So the colleague may actually think they are being helpful by giving the OP this info, even though it has the exact opposite effect.

          Even though the OP has explicitly asked them to stop and explains that it’s disruptive? And they have done that *several times*. That takes a lot of commitment to knowing what people need, better than those people. And that’s even more problematic than the interruptions.

          1. Nocturna*

            It’s not clear to me that OP has actually explicitly asked for it to stop. They say, “I’ve told them several times I have ADHD and that it really disrupts me when they do this” but they don’t actually mention that they followed that with “so please stop doing it”. Now, that omission might be a result of editing down for the letter, but it also may not be.

            If OP hasn’t added in that explicit “please stop”, I would recommend they do so. While I think “this is disruptive for me” should be understood as an implicit request to stop, it’s pretty clear that not everyone (for a wide variety of reasons) will understand that implicit message, so I think making the request explicit is beneficial.

        3. Emily Byrd Starr*

          But OP has told the co-worker several times not to do this, yet she continues to anyway.

      2. AcademiaNut*

        It definitely depends on workplace. I share an office with a couple of people, and we only announce where we are going if we’re going to be away for more than a day (as in – “I’m in Spain next week, so I won’t be in the office”). But we don’t work on the same projects, have flexible schedules, and there’s no coverage issues.

        1. JustaTech*

          When I shared an office with a coworker (and then when we moved out to the cube farm) the things we would verbally announce were:
          “good morning”
          “hey, I’m going to lunch” (as an invitation, our group usually ate together)
          “I’m headed into the lab” (either as a “if anyone needs me” or as a “I will meet you in there” depending on what we were doing that day)
          “I’m going to the bakery/to get coffee” (either an invitation or just to say you’d be out of the building)
          “good night” (both to say goodbye and also a “if anyone is looking for me I’m gone”

          We did not announce every bathroom break or trip to the printer or even heading out to meetings, only things that would be of immediate interest to the person we were talking to. Since the OP has said that they don’t want to hear these things (because it disrupts their concentration) it would be polite of their coworker to at least reign it in to maybe just “going to lunch”.

          (We do this a lot less now, and I do wish people would say bye when they head out because sometimes I come out of my office in the afternoon and everyone is gone.)

    4. I'm the Phoebe in Any Group*

      A running commentary all day is over the top. I’m going to sharpen my pencil now. I’m going to take this invoice to accounting. I’m going to get a cup of coffee now. Okay, now I have to pee.

      1. Everything Bagel*

        I wonder what harm there would be if OP just asks their co-worker next time, “You know you don’t need to tell me that, right?” in a nice friendly tone. I the answer is I don’t know, then you could say it really breaks your concentration and ask if they can try harder to stop doing it.

        1. Cherub Cobbler*

          OP already asked the person multiple times to stop and why. I’d suggest office mate get a white board for the office and put the relevant info there instead.

    5. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      To me it comes down to frequency. If it’s just meal and a longer break – ehh, find a better way to communicate that info and move on. But if co-worker is up every five minutes for something and constantly announcing it every time they leave their chair – yeah that’s to “nails on a chalkboard” territory now.

      But I’m in a coverage based job – so I’m possibly norm skewed in wanting to know when my co-workers are stepping away for more than 15 minutes so I can tell other folks looking for them when to expect so-and-so back.

      1. Sleeve McQueen*

        Maybe you can ask them to post their movements in a Teams chat and then turn off the notifications for that chat. Then if someone comes looking for Deirdre, you can consult that but not have it interrupt you in the zone

        1. Auntie Social*

          Or give the guy a grease board so he can leave notes for the world about getting another cup of coffee….

        2. Harper the Other One*

          This is what I came to suggest – give them an alternative way to notify. Maybe a white board on a cubicle wall if a Teams message will also be disruptive, or a Post-It on a monitor saying “back at 12:30”.

    6. NorthBayTeky*

      I didn’t think it was a lot. I guess it depends on how many people are in that office. If it’s just the 2 of them, the coworker should cut back on the announcements.
      My last job there were 5 of us in the same room. I would say where I was going as I walked out of the room, because it was SOP for someone to call “for you” if you were out. The announcement was a courtesy.
      LW should probably just get headphones.

      1. Lexi Vipond*

        Yes, it’s quite normal in my office for someone to announce that they’re going off to a meeting, or to the print room – but there are generally 6-10 of us in the room, so usually someone will be just pottering about and free to listen. If someone vanishes without saying anything you assume they’ve just gone to the toilet or to make coffee or print one thing and will be back in a minute, or gone to lunch if it’s lunchtime.

      2. Emmy Noether*

        Huh, interesting, for me it would be the reverse – less appropriate the more people there are, because then if everyone does it, that’s a LOT of interruptions. Whereas if it’s only two people in an office, there’s more of an expectation on the part of people swinging by that one knows where the other is.

        I guess if one can tune out words not directly adressed to oneself (which may be necessary in an open plan/large office anyway), it may be less of a problem?

      3. Cherub Cobbler*

        That makes sense if you share a phone or are in a coverage-based department.

        To me, it sounds like OP just has one office mate and they don’t overlap on work. It sounds like the early part of my career, two to an office and almost never on the same projects and probably not even the same department.

    7. londonedit*

      It doesn’t sound to me like the OP actually works directly with this person, more that they just happen to share an office. OP says ‘none of this is relevant to our jobs’ so it sounds like they don’t need to be aware of their office-mate’s movements all the time.

      In my team we’ll let each other know if we’re going for lunch or going into a meeting, or if it’s anything else that means we’ll be away for a length of time – but then we work closely together. I wouldn’t generally announce to the room that I’m going out for lunch. And I don’t say ‘just nipping to the printer’ or ‘just going to the loo’ or ‘going to the kitchen to find a fork’ or whatever. If I’m nipping away from my desk quickly there’s no need to tell anyone. Sounds like the office-mate is a) announcing where they’re going every time they leave their desk, which would drive me mad and b) ignoring the fact that the OP has asked them not to do it.

      1. doreen*

        When I shared an office , I didn’t really work closely with my office mate – but we did share a phone line. We would generally tell each other when we left for lunch, a meeting or for the day ( it wasn’t a job with a strict schedule and it involved field work , so I might leave the office for the day anywhere between 10:30 am and 8pm) just to know how to deal with phone calls or people coming to look for me.

    8. Helvetica*

      I agree, and this kind of small communication is very common in my office, as most people do this (not about going to the copier but going to meetings, lunch, etc.).
      It does feel rude to me as well to enter/exit rooms without acknowledging the people in that room but, if someone said that it rather distracts them, I would definitely stop doing it. So, just say the magic words!

      1. melissa*

        Yep! I am a chatty person and thus, I chat:

        Sure is hot in here. Can’t believe the water dispenser is already out. Gonna go grab a coffee. Wow, it’s already Thursday.

        If someone asked me to knock it off, I would, but I would likely need several reminders. This kind if thing is deeply ingrained.

        1. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

          To be clear, you do this at random times throughout the day? Not as part of a back-and-forth conversation, or when you first get in / get back from lunch? If the other person isn’t responding, and you’re just talking to yourself, maybe try toning it down.

          1. amoeba*

            That’s quite an assumption! I’ve only ever worked in offices where that kind of thing was normal and everybody did it – and honestly, I’d feel so unhappy in an office where that wasn’t a thing at all. Just sitting in silence and not acknowledging the other human in the room all day would feel so hostile and weird.

            (And no, I obviously don’t interrupt my colleague when they appear to be in deep focus, not do I announce it every time I step away from my desk for a few minutes! But something like “I’m going for lunch” “oh, enjoy your meal” “going to the cafeteria, would anybody like anything” “oh wow, look, it started raining like crazy” is just so normal here and I’d feel so weird to cut all of it!)

            1. Venus*

              The key is to check first if someone is deep in thought. My new coworker will announce her plans at me (she goes to everyone, so it’s not a group announcement that I can more easily ignore) even when I’m clearly concentrating on my work. Thankfully this lessened quickly over the first couple weeks and she now notices when I’m busy. Her work doesn’t affect mine so the interruptions for irrelevant info were irritating.

            2. Elitist Semicolon*

              There’s a pretty wide area between keeping up a running commentary and sitting in silence and not acknowledging the other human in the room all day, though, and in HFB’s defense, I’d think chatting generally assumes two-way participation, not someone talking into a void. A series of unexpected comments that don’t seem like they expect/require someone else to respond would be – to me, at least – less like engaging with a co-worker and more like creating background noise. If it happened every day and went on after I told my colleague it was disrupting my work, I’d probably have to ask to switch offices – and maybe that’s the answer here.

              1. londonedit*

                I agree, this is the crux of it – there’s a difference between the odd ‘I’m just nipping to the kitchen, can I get you a cup of tea?’ and a day-long stream of ‘Right, going to the kitchen, just nipping to the loo, going to the printer, off out for lunch now, just need to go and find a notebook, just making a cup of tea…’ statements that don’t actually require a response. The latter would really annoy me, too.

              2. Spite Sweater*

                Nailed it. I had a co-worker who sat next to me like this and it did really annoy me. She would say out loud every observation she had like “it’s raining, wow it’s 10 already, wow it’s 12 already, wow it’s 2 already, the sun came out”. Anyway, I think it’s fine to communicate if you’ll be gone for a while like for lunch or a longer meeting, but every time you leave for desk is excessive.

            3. Also-ADHD*

              The LW didn’t say they never wanted to chat—they just don’t want a running commentary. It’s one thing to look over and see a coworker that looks open to chat or to chat at natural transition times for the other person, but it sounds like LW is focusing and office mate either doesn’t notice or care (if they truly have trouble, perhaps a visual representation of do not disturb could help). LW does not want their focus interrupted (and might do deep work—this is often a big distinction and folks with ADHD might be able to leverage hyperfocus to do really good deep work—I know that’s one way my ADHD works for me, particularly remote, if I’m not being interrupted and doing deep design work). But there’s no indication that LW is asking for silence always or to never chat when it’s not disruptive.

          2. K8T*

            Small talk like their example is extremely normal and clearly they weren’t just blurting it out, no need for uncharitable takes.

            1. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

              It’s not meant to be uncharitable, but since multiple people read it that way I clearly goofed, and I’m sorry.

              What I was trying to say is that comments like this can be either very normal small talk or weirdly interrupting, and that the OP’s co-worker seems to be on the “weirdly interrupting” side of things – so I was trying to clarify whether this commenter was indeed doing the same thing the OP’s co-worker was, of blurting out random comments throughout the day, rather than making normal workplace conversation. I’m sorry I wasn’t more clear!

              1. Everything Bagel*

                I was thinking the same as you. If the person you’re saying these things to doesn’t respond at all, that may be a clue that it isn’t important to them if you’re going somewhere. This may be especially true if they don’t bother announcing to you where they’re going when they go.

      2. Observer*

        as most people do this (not about going to the copier but going to meetings, lunch, etc.).

        That’s one difference here – the OM is announcing even the little thing.

        just say the magic words!

        The LW says that they have done so. Several times, in fact.

    9. Excel-sior*

      i don’t think theres anything wrong with saying you’re going to lunch or to a meeting – it makes sense. but theres no need for it if you’re just going to the copier and absolutely no need to announce you’re back.

    10. Irish Teacher.*

      It didn’t occur to me that the coworker was doing anything offensive or unusual, just something that was fine/normal with neurotypical colleagues but not helpful to somebody with ADHD. I definitely didn’t think the LW was “over the top” either. They just have a different working style that the coworker didn’t realise.

      Now, once the LW said something, the coworker should have adjusted what they are doing, but I guess it can be difficult to get used to treating one person differently than your normal style.

      Nobody is really “wrong” here; it’s just that different things work for different people. Have you seen that thing on social media about the “tendril theory.” People with ADHD and other neuroatypicalities experience things differently so something doesn’t have to be “offensive or unusual” for it to cause them difficulties and equally, there are things that cause neurotypical people difficulties that might not be a problem for them at all.

      1. Cherub Cobbler*

        I can’t imagine the neurotypical (myself included) would welcome the boring details of an officemate’s daily itinerary unless they actually need to know that information, for example because they share a phone line or it’s a coverage issue. Even then, I’d ask to put up a white board for that.

    11. No creative name yet*

      Hmm, I think that’s pretty dependent on position and office culture—I’ve certainly never had a job where that level of sharing happens and my first thought was that person is new to the professional workforce. I’m learning from these comments that it can make sense in coverage-based jobs though it doesn’t sound like that’s the OP’s position. Regardless, I agree with Allison that they can gently point out the pattern and that it’s not necessary to announce, and if wearing headphones, maybe let them know that you’re wearing them to focus. That’s both so you don’t hear them but also so that they hopefully see the visual clue of headphones and it stops them from announcing.

      1. My Useless 2 Cents*

        Or it can be like my work. I mention I’m going to lunch and coworkers acts annoyed and put out by the interruption. I don’t mention I’m going to lunch (grab purse and casually leave office), I come back from lunch to a bunch of wide-eyed coworkers and “You just ran out! We didn’t know if something was wrong!”

    12. Ellis Bell*

      Saying that you’re about to go out, or you’re off to go do something = not that uncommon, unusual or offensive.
      Insisting on still doing that commentary about your movements when you’ve been specifically asked not to = downright rude and totally oblivious. Also, this is just a tip from my last SEN training session, but I like to question my own use of the word “normal” (because I use it a lot) when helping someone navigate a neurodivergency. Not in a “this word is banned” sort of way, but just as a double check that you’re not basing your advice on simply telling people to be more neurotypical (which is impossible).

    13. K8T*

      Agreed, that’s 100% standard office small talk/courtesy. I share an office and if I head to a meeting, I let my officemate know in case someone comes looking for me.
      LW needs to A) get headphones (go with over the ear if they really want to spell out they’re not listening and B) be an adult and have a polite chat with their coworker, I’m sure they’d be willing to try to accommodate. I also have ADHD and it’s not anyone else’s responsibility to manage my own behavior.

      1. metadata minion*

        Just as another anecdote, it’s not the norm in my office at all. We can see each other’s calendars, so if some comes looking for Coworker A, I can check and see if they’re in a meeting or working from home that day. (And most of the time, whoever is looking for them can *also* just check their calendar) There’s a certain amount of hi/bye at the beginning and end of the day, but no expectation that you’ll tell people when leaving for lunch or a meeting.

        I don’t think there’s anything wrong with either method, but if the LW is bothered by interruptions and doesn’t typically need to know where their coworker is, it seems completely reasonable to me to ask them to stop.

      2. Observer*

        be an adult and have a polite chat with their coworker, I’m sure they’d be willing to try to accommodate.

        The LW says that they HAVE tried to have a polite conversation. So, they do have a legitimate complaint here.

        . I also have ADHD and it’s not anyone else’s responsibility to manage my own behavior.

        That’s true. But it’s unreasonable to ignore a simple request like this.

        I share an office and if I head to a meeting, I let my officemate know in case someone comes looking for me.

        But that’s not what’s going on here. The OM is announcing *every* absence and *also* when they come back. And it doesn’t even sound like the LW needs to know about the longer absences.

        But, I *do* agree that the LW should probably get headphones.

      3. Elitist Semicolon*

        OP isn’t asking anyone to manage her behavior; she’s asking the coworker to manage THEIR behavior. “You are distrupting my work; please stop” is a valid request.

      4. Also-ADHD*

        LW is being an adult and expressing their reasonable adult needs—even with context and understanding that everyone won’t naturally act how they want without being informed what they need.

        I hate when people use “be an adult” to mean “ignore your own needs and boundaries and conform to some imposed will of others”—that’s very opposite what adulthood has been for me, frankly! It’s been standing up for my own needs. LW doesn’t need to interrupt their flow to chat or accept chatter. They can escalate for accommodation if needed (though they shouldn’t have to because the office mate should just be courteous enough to not do what they’ve been asked not to do).

        Also—could be a good ideas but headphones can cause sensory issues (though may be a good solution if they don’t for LW). One of my biggest ADHD issues is sensory (and another is being interrupted in deep work/hyperfocus) so I know that was always a challenge for me before I worked remote.

    14. Observer*

      . It’s kind of normal to let folks know where you’re going and when you can be expected to return, especially if you can’t be reached.

      Not necessarily. And when someone specifically tells you “I don’t need to know that, and it’s making it hard for me to work” the *normal* response is “OK” and stopping to make announcements.

      The LW is specific that they don’t actually need this information and this person’s whereabouts are not relevant to them. So there is no issue of need to know at all.

    15. Dust Bunny*

      Unless there is a specific reason they need to know, though, it’s just disruption.

      I don’t need to know where my coworkers are going 98% of the time. I might need to know that my supervisor will be unavailable between x:00 and y:00, but for the rest of them, I don’t need to know and do not particularly care. If someone else needs them I’ll take a message.

    16. Hyaline*

      I wonder if the coworker feels that the “I’ll be out” info is necessary—if they do, they’re probably not processing it as included in “hey don’t interrupt me.” If it is important that someone know the coworker is at lunch or out or whatever maybe they can agree on an alternate way to communicate that (door sign, post on slack, whatever).

      1. Also-ADHD*

        That’s just your own anxiety or a toxic workplace though, not the situation for LW. If that colleague is also anxious about that, they can say so and then see there’s no reason to tell LW as LW didn’t think that.

    17. Petty_Boop*

      I have a coworker who probably 30 times a day types “BRB” and then a minute or 5 later “Back”. It is SO annoying. I really hate it. Unless you’re going to be AFK or from your desk for more than say 15 minutes, you don’t need to alert anyone. People don’t expect others to be “THERE” 100% of the time, and I’d be annoyed too, if someone was constantly telling me “going to X” “back” “going to Y” “back” … “Hey heading out to lunch–back in 45ish” is fine, useful info. Otherwise, If someone asks about you, I’ll assume you are in the restroom or grabbing a coffee or in a meeting, but for the most part, I personally probably won’t think about it at all or care that you’ve stepped away!

    18. I Have RBF*

      IMO, this is the problem with fishbowl style offices – everyone thinks they have to announce their comings and goings to their neighbor(s), who is usually trying to finish something, or concentrate, or just wishes everyone would STFU so that they could get some work done.

      The custom in open plans is to treat people with their heads down into their work as if they are not there. That way work actually gets done without as much noise. But people actually have to be aware of what other people are doing, and that is not possible for people who are only concerned with themselves.

    19. Also-ADHD*

      The offense is to keep doing it when asked not to and given a good reason not to.

  9. Alternative Person*

    OP2. Take the promotion.

    Maybe Becky will implode, maybe she won’t. Maybe she quits, maybe she won’t. Maybe her bark is worse than her bite.

    Continue to act professionally, keep your documentation up to date and you’ll come out ahead whatever happens.

    1. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      Absolutely. Don’t let her weird get to you; it’s a her problem not a you problem.
      Enjoy your job and your promotion. You’ve earned it by your good work.

    2. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

      Agree – also too much risk in talking to the boss, imo – what if they decide to avoid that drama by promoting someone else instead?

      1. amoeba*

        Yup, that’s what I thought! Seems like saying nothing would be a win win for the LW – you get the promotion and Becky leaves. I mean, will it be uncomfortable? Sure, probably, but also over quickly. Working with her now already sounds so bad that a maximum of two weeks’ increased drama (if she gives notice and doesn’t just walk out) sounds like a good deal to get rid of her permanently!

        1. Miette*

          My thoughts too. That said, if OP is expected to manage Becky in any capacity, that would change my opinion. I’d then go with the script as provided above.

      1. SarahKay*

        That was pretty much my thought. Becky quitting is definitely a feature, not a bug.

        1. Observer*

          Becky quitting is definitely a feature, not a bug.


          LW, in general, it’s not your job to make sacrifices to keep other people from quitting. And when it’s someone like Becky, who has some significant flaws as an employee and coworker? Don’t let it give you even one second’s pause.

    3. The Magician's Aunty*

      Becky is being awful, and after your promotion has gone through, I hope you’ll feel free to TELL your manager what she’s doing (if she’s still doing it)! The fact that you were thinking of turning down a promotion because of her threatening you (basically) is a nuts situation. After the promotion is safely done and dusted, I would say you need to give your manager a run down of Becky’s behaviour to you, because she is causing huge problems for your welfare and your work.

      1. Escapee from Corporate Management*

        I’d recommend you tell your manager now. It’s not clear if your promotion will involve managing others, but as a manager, you would want to know how Becky is acting. I’m sure your current manager would appreciate the heads-up.

        1. Venus*

          This could result in them promoting someone else. I wouldn’t say anything, and would document Becky’s bad behavior *after* the promotion and then bring that to the manager. It would look bad to tell the manager about things that had happened in the past, prior to promotion, and Becky sounds sufficiently unhinged that there should be a long list of problems within the first few days of the promotion being announced.

          1. Everything Bagel*

            Yes, and if Becky is already so dramatic, it’s hard to imagine that the current manager isn’t already aware of at least some of it and apparently not handling it.

            1. Hell in a Handbasket*

              I don’t know, the way OP talks, it sounds like maybe she thinks she just has to put up with Becky because looping in her manager would be “unethical” or tattling or whatever. I think it’s possible she’s just been suffering in silence. OP, these are definitely issues that you should be raising!

        2. ferrina*

          I wouldn’t. I’ve known a few managers that would take back a promotion from a reasonable person to avoid angering an unreasonable person. Take the promotion, and if Becky starts the histrionics, just look confused and say “I thought that was a joke!” Because of course Becky wouldn’t be so dramatic as to be serious about that (of course she is, but you don’t need to acknowledge that)

          1. Tio*

            this is a good point

            I also want to point out that OP will also be above Becky in the hierarchy now. I’m not sure if They’ll manage her or not, but OP is going to have to get comfortable with discomfort and NOT walk on eggshells around Becky. This is how bad managers are formed – being afraid of drama so they alter their behavior rather than altering the bad behavior. I’m not saying you’re going to be a bad manager, OP, but you have to get that comfort or you can become one. Let Becky be your testing ground and hold strong.

      2. Laser99*

        I think the LW should loop them in pronto. A good manager wants to know if a staff member is this problematic.

    4. TheGrinchess*

      Absolutely take that promotion. Never let the fear of how someone is going to react limit your goals and dreams. That’s putting yourself in such a tiny box for your life. Spread your wings and fly!

    5. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      OP is not responsible for Becky’s emotional regulation. Take the promotion. How Becky reacts is on Becky.

    6. SheLooksFamiliar*

      OP, seconding everything here. For now, you can’t do anything to change her behavior or thinking, so don’t try. But please don’t let Becky’s current and possible future behavior stop you from taking the promotion. Who knows? She may retreat once your promotion is made public. But if she talks smack about you, tries to undermine you, or makes any threats, document scrupulously and talk to your manager.

      And if she flounces out – sorry, that’s how I’m seeing it, I’ve known a few Beckys – that’s not on you nor should you feel responsible. Just appreciate that sometimes, the garden weeds itself.

      1. ferrina*

        My money is on Becky staying. Almost all of the Beckys I’ve known were about manipulation, but generally refused to take outright action. They wouldn’t quit until they were good and ready.

        Becky will likely complain about you behind your back. But odds are that she’s doing that anyways. You can’t reason with unreasonable people. You can’t control the reaction of people who are deliberately out of control. Do what’s right for you and let them do whatever they are going to do. (and if Becky does quit, that honestly sounds like a win!)

    7. Excel-sior*

      100% agreed.

      (also, did anyone else find themselves reading this in the style of that one bit in Baz Luhrmann’s Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen))? no? just me? ok…

    8. The Starsong Princess*

      Take the promotion and if Becky doesn’t rage quit, expect to move her towards termination.

    9. House On The Rock*

      Yep, Becky is definitely not your problem and, honestly, your manager probably already knows she’s an issue and is either dealing with it, or not. Plus, if you were to actually turn down a promotion because of fear of her reaction, you are giving her so much power! And heaven forfend she realize you turned down a promotion to placate her – that will only make her more insufferable. Why not let her rage quit and be the better for it?

    10. Artemesia*

      And why would you want to endanger the promotion in any way by telling the manager that she will quit. A decent manager would say ‘oh good’ — but a wussy one who has already not dealt with this clown might well decide to promote someone else.

      Hope you get promoted. And if she melts down — well let this be the manager’s problem.

    11. Goldenrod*

      Take the promotion. Becky can shove it.

      You can’t let the Becky’s of this world keep you from advancing in your career (or any other positive thing in your life)!

    12. Brevity*

      Two things: first, as a few people have pointed out, your manager probably knows all about Becky’s issues and has a plan for her ( as in letting her go) as well as for you (the promotion). I wouldn’t bring it up unless her behavior is well and truly preventing you from getting work done.

      Second, you are not in charge of other people’s emotions — and this is a very important if you’re going to grow into a good manager yourself. What if someday you have to manage a Becky? NOW is when you learn. You can be World’s Best Manager and still have crappy employees, because some people are just like that. You are not responsible for Becky’s unprofessionalism.

  10. Bruce*

    LW 5: One of my staff fainted at a company picnic, we called the ambulance and the EMTs checked him out then I took him to the ER for more checks. It was not as dramatic as what you experienced, but still the reaction was just genuine concern and relief when he was able to go home after getting rehydrated. I hope your managers reach out to you to reassure you about your welcome back, and I agree that you don’t need to explain yourself in detail… if you need accommodation then be clear what you need. Best wishes!

  11. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

    #5: Sounds like the best kind of medical emergency. Nobody was actually in danger, but everyone (except you) got to mill around together, and decide what to do, and offer to get you water or a snack or something, and somebody got to call an ambulance! A nice bit of excitement and a good story to tell the family when they get home. Probably a very fruitful impromptu team-building exercise as well (for everyone else). Maybe a bit of an adrenaline rush, but everything turned out ok.

    People will want to make sure you’re ok and to see if they can help in some way, but they had a very different experience of the whole thing than you did. They are not embarrassed because, from their perspective, they got to help somebody in need. They are probably proud of themselves, if anything, and not thinking that you might be embarrassed.

    I’m not saying that you are wrong to be embarrassed. I’d probably be a bit embarrassed too. But that’s your side of the story and your coworkers will be too busy looking at their own side to think much about yours.

    1. Bearly Containing Myself, Grrr*

      LW #5, I hope you read the above comment which has a wise and comforting take on what happened.

    2. aubrey*

      I have witnessed/assisted with a couple coworkers and strangers who had mild medical emergencies and it was exactly like this. We bystanders all felt a little proud of ourselves for helping, maybe discussed it a little in a ‘goodness that livened up our boring Tuesday’ kind of way, and then that was that. Its like that mild camaraderie you get with people when you all get caught in a downpour together or something. Truly, unless your coworkers are evil, they’re not thinking about it as something for you to be embarrassed about and are just glad you’re okay.

    3. Ann O'Nemity*

      Yeah, this is a good way to think about it.

      If I was the LW, I’d shift the focus to THANKING my coworkers for taking care of me. They deserve the positive praise – and it moves the spotlight.

    4. Spacewoman Spiff*

      This is a great comment and I think is spot-on. Years ago I broke a couple bones by falling down my stairs, and was so embarrassed by my clumsiness that rather than calling a neighbor who was always helping out in little ways, I quietly took a cab to the ER. When he saw me come home on crutches I realized, right away, that he was upset I hadn’t asked him for help. People want to help! He would have happily driven me to the ER! I think it’s natural to feel embarrassed by our own health issues, especially when they happen in front of other people, but Elspeth is totally right by that your colleagues’ experience of this event is very different from yours and they’re just glad they could help, there was nothing embarrassing about this from their POV and they’ll just be happy to know you’re OK.

      1. Georgia Carolyn Mason*

        I had that experience (briefly) years ago when my officemate had a seizure. I called 911 and got another person to help me turn her to her side, which was the only thing we remembered. We felt like we had done a good job!

        …and then she came back the next day, spitting mad that I had called 911 and demanding I pay the $1,500 charge for the ambulance. Apparently she knew she’d come out of it quickly enough that she didn’t need to go to the hospital. I had no idea she had epilepsy (and she wasn’t obligated to tell me), so I felt like calling 911 was still the right thing, but it definitely took the wind out of my sails! Instead of feeling good about helping someone in need, I had someone fighting with me about money!

        Thankfully, when she took it to our leadership, they said I had acted correctly in calling 911 and (I think) the company just paid the ambulance bill. It was super uncomfy sharing an office with her, though!

        1. Bruce*

          That is a shame that she reacted that way, you did the right thing based on what you knew, I would have done the same. Uncontrolled seizures are really bad. I had a friend with similar issues, she would have a seizure in public, people would justifiably call 911, and she’d wake up in the ambulance on a non-voluntary trip to the ER. It became a severe financial burden for her, but to my knowledge she never blamed anyone for calling 911. I speak of her in the past tense because she had a seizure at a bad moment and died in an accident at home. Your officemate probably had a lot of stress about this, but blaming you was not reasonable.

        2. Enai*

          Yeah, the fact that emergency medical aid isn’t free throws a rather gigantic wrench into the “should I call aid or not?” mental calculation. You had no way of knowing that your coworker would be fine (seizures can be deadly, even in the absence of “falling off a ladder because of the seizure” type of complications) and she was out $1500. You can buy a crappy car with that! Or go on a nice vacation!

          Also, cool username.

      2. Laser99*

        Agreed. Most people are eager to help. How do you know if a particular person does not want to? Answer: They’ll tell you.

    5. Emily Byrd Starr*

      I’ve had panic attacks before, and trust me, they aren’t “the best” at all. True, it’s preferable to being diagnosed with a terminal illness, but please don’t minimize how horrible and scary they are for the person having them.

    6. Jen MaHRtini*

      Apologies if this has already been mentioned, but I think the fact that the OP is in HR is making her feel more awkward. We’re the ones expected to take the lead on medical emergencies so it can be disconcerting to be the one in need of help. OP, you have nothing to feel bad about, we’re humans too.

  12. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

    #3 ooh, I’d never heard of shimmer body oil. I must try it!
    (I’m retired and also considering metallic blue hair)

    “You’re better off not shimmering in an office” :)
    Ace and a good general rule, although FinalJob apparently only had the unwritten rule of “cover your naughty bits” and anyway only noticed anything unusual if you were an engineering component.

    1. Professor Plum*

      OP2: I want to suggest you change one word in Alison’s script to make your promotion more definitive so that you don’t plant doubt in your manager’s mind.

      Instead of “I want to warn you that I think it’s likely that there will be some drama with Becky IF I’m promoted, and I don’t want you to be blindsided by it.”

      Say this instead “I want to warn you that I think it’s likely that there will be some drama with Becky WHEN I’m promoted, and I don’t want you to be blindsided by it.”

      1. porridge fan*

        I would go as far as to recommend waiting until the promotion is confirmed before warning the boss.

    2. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      I see upthread that keymaster warned that glitter gets everywhere e.g. on keyboards, so probably best to avoid in any office. Pity.

      1. londonedit*

        It does, even the tiny shimmery stuff. I once bought a really nice sun cream that promised a ‘golden glow’ – it had teeny tiny little shimmery particles in it. Not even glitter, just tiny shimmery bits. Used it with abandon until I realised I had shimmer all over my sofa, my car, pretty much anything I touched. Never again!

        1. BubbleTea*

          I misread this and thought you had shimmered your cat, which is an amusing image

          1. MsM*

            I’ve seen photos of the aftermath of someone not cleaning a tub after one of the Lush bath bombs someone mentioned above. Definitely not recommended if you have a black cat who likes hanging out in the bathroom.

            1. JustaTech*

              I actually got something useful out of watching a YouTube Lush bath bomb haul – what to do when you’re done with your bath!

              Don’t drain it! First, get a kitchen strainer and strain all the big stuff (flower petals and whatnot) out. Then skim again and again until you’re really sure you’ve gotten everything. Then you can drain the bath and get to cleaning up the stuff.
              (Or just take a bath every day for a week to use up the residual shimmer before getting in there with a scrubber.)

        2. Allonge*

          Hm, good to know – it was not my experience with the ones I tried (I was pretty gentle with the application in general).

        3. CommanderBanana*

          I think we may have had the same experience. It wasn’t Jergens, was it? The shimmer was NOT subtle.

    3. RandomNameAllocated*

      Definitely go for metallic blue hair, especially if your hair is already white / silvery, it takes the dye so well. I’d also suggest getting it done at the hairdressers – more expensive yes, but then they get to deal with the dye in the sink, on towels etc.

      1. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

        Thanks, I was hoping the blue would take. I regularly tint at the hairdressers so I’ll ask them when my current brown tint has faded. I keep a v short pixie.

        1. Persephone Mulberry*

          Fair warning: for a lot of people, blue will take and *never* leave. It’ll fade out (usually greenish unless it was a very purpleish blue) but it will never entirely go away. You can dye over it but if it’s another non-permanent color, the blue will still be there when the new color washes out. With a short pixie it’s less of a concern because it’ll grow out and get trimmed off relatively quickly, but forewarned is forearmed. ;)

    4. Sasha*

      It’s usually very subtle! Just gives your legs a bit of a flattering sheen in summer when you aren’t wearing tights but haven’t yet developed much of a tan. I’ll link below to some pictures of real people

      Honestly I’d be amazed if anyone noticed. Obviously don’t do the full wet-look full-body applied-with-a-hosepipe application.

      1. Helvetica*

        Of course we don’t know what the oil is but I use Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse, which is not with glitter but rather gives a nice “just been in the sun” glow. I’m not shimmering or sparkling but it does help my very pale legs look better in summer indeed.

    5. Inkhorn*

      …and there’s my hair ambition for when I go grey. *makes note to future self*

      1. bamcheeks*

        That was my plan, but I’m 45 and still have only a few greys, so I have concluded I take after my dad’s side (grandma still had dark hair into her late 80s) and got half of it bleached!

        1. londonedit*

          My aim is a Dawn French grey bob, but I’m nearly 43 and only have one small stripe of grey so far.

          1. Smurfette*

            I’m 53 and have a few grey hairs starting to show. I’m hoping to get that lovely silver hair when I eventually go grey!

    6. Generic Name*

      Maybe this is a sign I’m spending too much time with the 20-something’s in my office, but I don’t think it sounds like a terrible thing? But not if it gets everywhere, like some have mentioned, I guess. Alas.

      1. Guest1929347*

        Same, I honestly don’t see what would be the problem with this? Has remote work made me that out of touch with business norms? Unless the person is showing a lot of skin, I’d even be surprised if anyone noticed the shimmer?

        1. OP #3*

          Yeah, I’ll be honest – no one in my personal or professional life has ever commented on the ABH Body Shimmer. I work at a global consulting firm and while it can be conservative, most of my coworkers are people in their 20’s as this is their first job out of college. It’s definitely better to ere on the side of caution (who really wants to be the glitter girl?), but I think it’s just creating a little bit of a glow on my arms (not much of my skin is actually exposed). I’m going to wear it this weekend and ask my friends for how obvious it is.

    7. OP #3*

      If you haven’t tried it before I definitely would recommend! I was referencing the Anastasia Beverly Hills Shimmer Body Oil – it’s much more subtle than the picture online (I would recommend looking up product reviews on youtube/tik tok), but it really helps your skin look more glowy and tan. As a professional pale person, it’s a great go to.

  13. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

    OP4 (candidate proposes double dipping) – by stating this conflict of interest openly the candidate has lost any rights to you keeping it secret. If they get fired – I’m afraid they have brought it on themselves (at least they were open about it though! I wonder what they expected you to do with that information? Is there any possibility that by staying employed by their old organisation as well as yours, that they would be passing on insider info, and think that this is a plus point for hiring them? Is it just radical transparency? Speaking before engaging their brain? who knows!) They have now put you in a conflict of interest situation as well by telling you this, and I think for that reason in itself you have to declare it.

    1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

      (I say this mainly because the two organisations are linked via the board of directors. If they were just saying they currently have unrelated job x but it leaves enough time for yours – I wouldn’t pass that on to someone I happened to know from the pub or wherever who works at their company – I would encourage them to think twice about that though…)

    2. Christmas Carol*

      What about just doing a reference check for a potential hire, and let the chips fall where they may?

      1. Looper*

        Or just pass on the candidate they already know they don’t want to hire and not be vindictive towards someone who needs money enough to work 2 jobs?

    3. Falling Diphthong*

      I wonder what they expected you to do with that information?
      I think that’s the biggest detractor for me: The very questionable judgment on what information to share with whom.

      1. Also-ADHD*

        To be fair, it made me wonder whether it was above board. I do contract work on the side (of a full time remote job) and I’m totally sanctioned to take most contracts (if it’s related to our industry, there is a flag I have to make, but my functional work is across industries so plenty not competing with my company). I then tell the folks I contract for my work situation, where I have schedule flexibility or don’t, etc. I am not saying this person has permission to do both jobs, but that does happen. I’ve taken on even full time short term contracts. My last boss realized they couldn’t keep up with raises that matched my productivity so that was her suggestion—I make money by doing contracts they’d work around. This was a major company too and they were fine with it (it was in my paperwork I had permission to work contract jobs except for direct competition).

    4. Antilles*

      My guess is that the candidate just didn’t think it was at all a concern, so it came out naturally as part of an answer. Something like this:

      Interviewer: Now this position is part time, typically somewhere around 20 hours a week based on your availability and our needs. Since this isn’t a full time role, we understand you may have other responsibilities or another job to work around and we’ll be as flexible as we can, but there might be times where we need up to 40 hours or have hard deadlines. Is this viable for you? What sort of commitments do you have to work around?
      Candidate: Oh well, no worries there, my current full time role only requires 25 hours a week and most of my responsibilities can be shifted as needed, so I should be able to fit this right in.

      1. learnedthehardway*

        Agreed – I wouldn’t read anything into it. The person may have quite a lot of flexibility in the way they do their other job.

        Or, they may be transposing “Full Time” for “permanent” – I see that quite a lot with people who are interviewing – I’ll ask if they are open to contract or perm and they’ll tell me they’re looking for full time, which means a f/up question about exactly what they are looking for.

        At any rate, I would say that the person’s other job is none of your business, and that you should make your decision on their suitability for your own organization’s role. If you feel that they are short-changing their other job by not working all their hours, well, don’t hire them based on the ethics you feel pertain. However, dealing with their current employment is a matter for their current management to notice and discipline.

        Another factor – candidate privacy. Whether someone on your board is an employee of the candidate’s current employer or not, the candidate is owed privacy until/unless you are in a position to make an offer and ask for references. Even then, it should be that you’re disclosing their candidacy on a need to know basis, only. In some jurisdictions (like where I live), violating candidate privacy could get your organization in trouble with the Privacy Ombudsman.

      2. Spark*

        This is almost precisely what happened, though they then followed up by email to further explain it. They did share that they work a full time, benefitted job, which just doesn’t work for us, though I would expect a person in this role to have other work also. It wasn’t clear how transparent they were being with their employer, which is a large employer, and whether this was a quiet agreement with their supervisor or not.

    5. Peter the Bubblehead*

      The first question that popped in my head when I read this letter – and the initial letter doesn’t make this clear – is whether this potential employee is actually cheating the system (Working their first job only 25 hours a week but telling their employee they worked 40) or are they in a situation where the first job is only giving them 25 hours a week and they need to take on this second job to pay the bills? The letter writer seems to imply (and believe) that some sort of timecard cheating is going on here, but is it possible something is being misunderstood?
      I need more clarification.

      1. Spark*

        We can’t be sure – the candidate didn’t directly say they were cheating their employer – but even if we did, I’d still tend to err toward the person with the least power in the situation (the candidate). Still, it’s uncomfortable to keep this information from their employer who is on our board, and my co-interviewer wants to share the information, which is what prompted the question.

    6. The Starsong Princess*

      Is OP offering full time work? 20 to 40 hours is a big spread. Unless they are guaranteeing 40 hours per week, whoever they hire is going to have another job. This candidate was just too vocal about saying they weren’t putting 40 hours into their other job.

    7. AnotherOne*

      yeah, I admit I find it odd that the candidate phrased it like that.

      I have a friend who has done the two jobs at the same time thing periodically but only when his “primary” job (read: the first held job that provided insurance and he was looking to keep) knew about the second job.

      Cuz I was considering whether their employer may know about them applying for this job and may have suggested it.

  14. I'm the Phoebe in Any Group*

    #2, if your colleague quits, that’s a win. Question, though. Is your manager aware of Becky’s behaviors? If so and they do nothing, that’s a red flag. It sounds like Becky is not very good at her job and not very productive. That’s a lot of mad if she gets upset every time you are handed a piece of work, and you know, do your job. Anger and tantrums are very time consuming.

    1. bamcheeks*

      #2, if your colleague quits, that’s a win

      This is what I was thinking! I kept waiting for the reason why it would be a bad thing if Becky quit, like that she has a really hard to find skillset or it would double LW’s workload or something. But honestly, don’t be scared of people who are “not a great fit” and “emotionally volatile” and “have a mean streak” quitting. Especially if you are moving towards management yourself: a lot of bad stuff happens in companies because people get into the idea that staff must be retained at all costs, even when they’re obviously bad news.

      1. Myrin*

        I think whether or not Becky ends up quitting is a bit of a red herring in the responses – from the letter, OP’s concern seems to be the “inevitable interpersonal drama”, which OP predicts will happen “even if [Becky] stays”; whether Becky actually quits seems quite secondary, honestly.

        OP says she doesn’t know if she has the capacity to weather the inevitable explosion, to which I have to say – and I’m really sorry I have to do so – but OP, I think this is something you will simply have to endure and ride out in this case and hope – or advocate for – her manager handling it.

        1. MsM*

          To be fair, if OP feels the need to avoid interpersonal drama at all costs, maybe taking a step back and considering if they want to be on the manager track is warranted. (I think dealing with it is a skill worth developing regardless, though.)

          1. Kara*

            I’d gotten the idea that OP was being promoted to something along the lines of Senior Llama Groomer rather than manager. Not sure why, now that i go back and reread, but there are promotion opportunies other than just “management”.

        2. I should really pick a name*

          The LW is already constantly walking on eggshells around Becky. That can be exhausting.
          The explosion could actually be a good thing because it would (hopefully) force management to do something and the LW wouldn’t be in this heightened state of caution anymore.

        3. Antilles*

          I think that’s the concern, but it’s a flawed argument since Becky is ALREADY causing interpersonal drama (see “walking on eggshells” comment). Especially since if OP gets promoted, Becky is no longer your problem.

          If Becky quits, then you deal with a one afternoon “blowup” while she storms out, then you literally never have to see her again in your life.

          If Becky sticks around, then OP being promoted gives OP tools to deal with Becky – either by firing her (if Becky is in promoted OP’s reporting line) OR by not having to deal with her nearly as often (if OP’s promotion is in a different department).

          1. bamcheeks*

            I think this is the classic emotional abuse situation– you are so focussed on avoiding the terrible awful Thing that they might do if you do/don’t do X, you lose sight of just how awful the status quo is. I don’t know whether Becky is intentionally manipulating LW like this or not, but it IS manipulation and it is awful.

            LW, Becky sounds awful, but the really important thing to remember is that she has no power over you. It can be really hard to internalise that, but however uncomfortable and unpleasant Becky can make working with her, she does not have hiring or firing power over you, and you certainly should not give her the power to derail your promotion! Best of luck.

      2. Anon for this*

        I had a Becky — or, not quite a Becky, let’s call her Becca. We were work-friends (at least I considered her a work-friend; according to Becca, she didn’t believe in having friends at work), and she didn’t implode until after the promotion where I became her manager.

        I will be honest, the implosion was AWFUL. It lasted a month or two, and our 1:1s were daggers drawn, and team meetings were tense enough that other team members noticed. (Yes, I was her manager and had standing to tell her to knock it off, but things were bad enough that I didn’t want to start tone policing her on top of everything else, and I was more focused on trying to get her to shape up her work product.) It was very clear that this Was Not Working and I was suspicious it was going to have to end with her being fired (which was going to be even more awful, both interpersonally and because the team was incredibly short-staffed).

        And then she quit. And I had to pick up the annoying piece of work that no one else wanted to do, which was the only thing she’d been doing reliably, and you know what? Doing all of her work while interviewing for her replacement was less stressful than dealing with her being hostile and rude to me all the time. My manager and I stopped spending 3/4ths of our 1:1s talking about Becca. We stopped needing meetings where my manger mediated between the two of us. The team was even more understaffed than we’d already been, and it was SUCH a huge quality of life improvement.

        All of which to say: let Becky leave, and good riddance to her. I dealt with Becca for a month or two and it was awful. LW is on the edge of burnout due to this situation — while the implosion won’t be fun, it will absolutely be worth it.

        1. Observer*

          but things were bad enough that I didn’t want to start tone policing her on top of everything else,

          I know you were doing your best in a tough situation. But I really want to call this out. Yes, tone policing is a real thing. But what you are describing is *not* that. Expecting someone to be civil and dial down the *overt and clear* (enough that everyone else in the meeting were being made uncomfortable) is completely reasonable, and in fact part of the job of managing people.

          Like I said, I get that you were prioritizing. But I think it’s important to differentiate between “tone policing” and expecting basic reasonable adult behavior.

        2. Margot*

          I have a Becca at work, too. My promotion did not involve supervision but I oversee certain work projects and she melts down every single time (in addition to her usual process issues). Document and loop in your supervisor early and often (e.g., here’s an email from Becca saying she’s overwhelmed. My planned response is X — does that sound right to you?)

    2. JSPA*

      If I could count on a problem employee quitting, rather than having to do the paperwork and documentation to fire them…and also getting the company out of having to pay unemployment…and all it would take is promoting someone good, that I intended to promote in any case? Big win. Becky will Becky, Becky will at some point say “then I quit” to the LW (not having clocked that the LW is now management) and the boss then only has to email, “your verbal resignation is accepted effective immediately; you will be paid through [tomorrow’s date plus 2 weeks].”

    3. LW #2 Maple*

      Wow, thank you all for your encouraging comments, everyone in this thread hit the nail on the head!

      The promotion I’m tapped for will be unofficial leadership, so I won’t actually have any direct reports (thank goodness), but I will be the lead for my office. It’s honestly going to be a lot of what I already do (all the additional responsibilities that Becky freaks out about me having, but refuses to take onto her own plate to grow herself), with added admin tasks that are much more my interest.

      Honestly, I think I really just needed the reality check that my perceptions were getting screwed. I’m so caught up in the day-to-day eggshell walking that all I’m really able to worry about is mitigating the next big blowout. Am I going to have to do customer damage control for a whole week again? Call out sick from stress again?

      My manager is aware of the Becky situation to at least some extent – she has all the notes left by Previous Manager, who was simply too soft and let this drag on since September. I have a meeting with my manager tomorrow, and had mentioned my concerns to her in an email—almost identically the script Allison provided above. Manager said she doesn’t think Becky “will last long” after I’m promoted. So, that’s promising. I think the new manager has a bit more of a backbone.

    4. Heffalump*

      If Becky quits voluntarily, she won’t be able to collect unemployment insurance, at least in the USA. By all means, let her quit.

  15. Mark*

    #5 I really feel for you, it must feel awful, but I admire so happy that you know the cause and are working with your doctor to rectify. And that is all your co-workers need to know.
    I recall back in the day when I did first aid we were advised to give the injured party as much privacy as possible when they ill. If in a public place create a cordon of people with their backs to the injured person, or say in an office environment to ask everyone to leave unless they were necessary – for the privacy & dignity of the injured person.
    Best of luck and I hope you recover soon.

  16. Siege*

    LW 5: I’ve shared this story several times. I hope it puts your mind to rest.

    I dropped dead in a almost-full-staff meeting from a cardiac arrest and had to be resuscitated. Three of my coworkers performed CPR, one called 911, one went to guide the ambulance, a couple left the meeting room to get out of the way, one called our boss who was getting on a plane. After I was transported, one staffer found out we had no emergency contact info and had to ping an old discord chat he used to frequent to find someone who knew my partner; my partner was able to call my parents. People in two states dropped everything to be at the hospital.

    The most anyone has ever said other than wishing me well, supporting my extremely extended recovery, eating the catered lunch my mother bought as a thank you, and recognizing that there are some differences in my life now was the coworker who very, very delicately and in a roundabout way tried to reassure me that all my coworkers hadn’t seen me fully naked because they’d only taken my upper garments off for CPR and it was the paramedics who took off my pants. (It was extremely clear he was worried I was dwelling on the fact I was naked on arrival at the hospital; between the not-conscious and the brown recluse bite and the staph infection that nearly took my arm, where my clothes went (but I got my shoes back somehow) was not a priority.)

    I promise, all anyone cares about is that you’re okay, and that you will be okay. Unless you work with my CPR-giving colleague, who was genuinely being very kind and sweet and still wanted to reassure me about something I had not, until that moment, considered.

    1. Elsewise*

      Wow! I’m glad your coworkers were so on top of it, and that you’re (presumably) doing okay now. Was the brown recluse bite what caused it?

      1. Siege*

        No! The cardiac arrest was just by chance – I have a diagnosed heart murmur and just grabbed the brass ring for the arrest that particular day. While I was recovering from the defibrillator implant, I was bitten by a spider, which I didn’t actually see but my mother had seen a couple of brown recluses (it was in her bathroom and the bitemarks were very visible so Hanlon’s razor). I had a serious reaction to that, with significant swelling (I had a rectangle on my arm the size of a poptart) and arm immobility but it all was background noise for a week until I was about to go back to work and then my arm started turning red. Between the spider bite and the hospital stay I was at increased risk for a staph or strep infection so I spent two weeks going to ER daily for what turned out to be insufficient treatment (and this is why height and weight checks can kiss my butt – I had a doc actually LOOKING AT ME when he wrote a scrip appropriate for a person the size of a 12 year old child) but we never identified what kind of infection it was because it was closed and no one wanted to open it, since MRSA and some horrible strep were both on the table and the ultimate treatment handled both.

        Basically it was all just random horrible chance!

          1. Siege*

            Nope! I have an extremely unpleasant memory that carried across the event – I’d just taken something out of my bag – and after I returned to full consciousness, I experienced that memory going from a memory waiting room to long-term storage. The unpleasantness is around the recognition that there was, for a time, no me to remember this thing, and then once there was a me again, my brain was going to get on with its routine filing, thankyouverymuch. I think about that loose-end memory a lot.

            But otherwise, my memory stops at acknowledging a coworker, restarts once to my sisters standing over my bed, and then restarts into forward gear. I don’t remember the discomfort that must have come with it (you get breathless as you go into vfib) and there wasn’t any kind of light or sound or otherworldly experience. Lights out, no me, then the lights were back on. I did have a long period of consciousness at the hospital where I was clearly tracking – I kept asking about my cats and about a meeting I had that night – but I have no memory of that at all due to one of the medications they used.

  17. Kelly*

    LW1: Oh my god stop torturing yourself and just get noise cancelling headphones now. I had a similar issue with my last job and being a lone worker in amongst the HR (very chatty) team. I’ve since been diagnosed with ADHD, but at the time, I was hanging on to my sanity by my fingernails.

    In another old role, where I was one of 18 people in a single large office open collaborative setting, I learned that either classical music or pop music in foreign languages would allow focus. It drowned out the office sounds, but because I didn’t speak the language my brain wouldn’t pick up a verse and follow that stream of thought instead of my work. The ‘So Frenchy So Chic’ film soundtrack collection albums were my go-to back in 2007. It also means that Mozart’s ‘Piano Concerto No. 5 in D major, K. 175’ is weirdly hard to hear now because after the first 10 seconds of music my brain just doesn’t listen to it, having listened to that on my old iPod Classic so often that it had 1500+ more plays than any other song on my iPod.

    You might want to create a few Spotify playlists that you flag as “Exclude From My Taste Profile” lest your Spotify Unwrapped and Discover Weekly are forever tainted by Brahms on repeat, and also, that way you can just ram a bunch of foreign language pop on them, and if you come across songs that include phrases in a language that you do speak, you can eliminate them from the playlist if you find it distracting enough.

    1. A.*

      I agree with listening to Instrumental Music! It definitely helps… But it has to be the *right kind*, because my brain doesn’t like some sounds. {*Thanks to a combination of ADHD & Misophonia*}

      Finding the music (or a version of white/brown noise) that soothes your brain & allows concentration may take a bit of experimenting, but it’s worth it!

      I like Jazz – Instrumental only… has to be somewhat mellow (but not so much that I want a nap). Classical is okay, but not every composer/composition (because some grate every nerve).

      At my old job (2006-2008), I listened to the “Celtic Magic: Eleven Irish Instrumentals by Various Artists” CD on repeat most days. The people I worked with were always radiating high stress. It was essentially my version of calming white noise. I actually still like it & occasionally play it in my car if I’m feeling stressed/anxious.

      Other Language music doesn’t work for me, because eventually I learn the lyrics (even if I don’t understand them) & I will sing along.

      1. NotRealAnonForThis*

        I have a similar experience with music and noise canceling headphones, but a slight variation in “what works”.

        Music that I listened to while I was in high school, for example, works significantly better for me than instrumental. I do not know why! I just know that instrumental sends me off the rails, while “mid nineties alternative” is a way for me to get EVERYTHING on my list done, add a few things, and check them off too!

    2. Jackalope*

      I personally have had a lot of luck with music from the video game Skyrim. Nice and lyrical, most of it is intended to be background music rather than something you actively listen to, and there’s a LOT of it. Some other video games have music that’s good for this too but Skyrim is the best that I’ve found so far.

      1. I take tea*

        I really like the Skyrim soundtrack too! I have never played the game – I think I got the suggestion from a thread some years ago – but it works really well.

        The Faroese folk rock band Hamradun is another favourite of mine. It gives something of the same feel.

        Other things that work are Jason Lewis Mind Amend concentration sounds and mynoise dot net, mostly with nature sounds, but also some others. You can adjust the sounds a bit there, which is nice if the chirping gets a bit loud.

        1. Goopy Gils Carbo*

          Seconding Jason Lewis Mind Amend on YouTube and all of the music outlets! He has so many productivity tracks for all sorts of different musical genres and has many ADHD-specific tracks that have saved my sanity at work!

    3. RVA Cat*

      Instrumental covers are good too. Though something the Bridgerton soundtrack may be too emotionally loaded, just like film and TV scores in general. Of course you can lean into that where appropriate. I recently discovered YouTuber Punk Cellist and man is it satisfying to listen to his cover of F*** Authority.

    4. Agent Diane*

      I have different playlists for different work modes. But my default soundtrack for focussing is Mogwai’s Les Revenants.

      1. Georgia Carolyn Mason*

        I actually can’t do music, but there are several “rain” tracks on YouTube that work well — they really block irritating voices, at least in combo with my headphones. (Mine are Sony and ostensibly noise-canceling, but they were only $100 or so, so they’re not the top of the line ones that folks talked about above. Thankfully, I’ve been able to get away without spending $300+.)

  18. Late night TV*

    #5 – One time I had a coworker have stroke in front of the team. My boss was freaking out and my stupid brain got stuck on how do you call 911 if you have to dial 9 first to dial out. Is it 9911 or just 911? I ended up calling security to call for EMS for me.

    Pro-tip it literally doesn’t matter. Both work just fine.

    But as the coworker in that situation, I promise you I think more about my own reaction to the situation and what I could have done better then than how my coworker acted afterwards (she refused medical treatment from EMS).

    I have never thought less of her because of her medical emergency.

    1. Desk Dragon*

      One place I worked changed their outside-line digit from 9 to 8 for exactly this reason—too many people accidentally hitting the 1 twice while trying to make a long distance call and getting 9-1-1 by mistake.

    2. umami*

      I learned that it is simply 911, when I accidentally hit 9 and then accidentally tapped the 1 twice. I immediately hung up to redial (it was a scheduled conference call), and the police called me while I was on the line, so of course I had to take the call and assured them everything was fine, that I had simply misdialed. But they insisted on getting my location and coming out to check on me, all while I wsa still trying to lead the conference call and apologizing that I had to pause to talk to the police lol. It was a bit of a mess, but I appreciated their diligence!

    3. Industry Behemoth*

      IIRC, high-rise buildings I’ve worked in actually wanted tenants to have security call 911. Then they could coordinate meeting the first responders and getting them upstairs adap.

  19. TeapotNinja*

    #4 – If I had a candidate do this, I’d turn it around and ask the candidate if their current employer is aware of their plans, and in this particular situation I’d also casually mention that their employer is on the board of our organization. Unless the candidate is a professional poker player, their reaction would tell you all about how above the board their plan is.

    1. Ama*

      Yeah there is a chance the employer encouraged this person to apply because they know they don’t have enough work, but you’d want to confirm that before moving forward with this person.

      I’ll be honest though, unless the candidate was clearly the best for the position I’d be likely to not move them forward. I hired someone once at my nonprofit employer who found our open position through a board member who was a personal friend of hers. For the most part she and the board member kept their relationship out of the office, but there were a few times when the board member would ask my report to find the answer to a question that my report really shouldn’t have been handling (at our employer, board members have a designated staff contact and aren’t supposed to be contacting junior staff directly at random). I would be concerned that even if the original employer approved of this plan that the line between the two jobs could get messy.

  20. HollyTree*

    I have ADHD, and headphones and ambient music all the way. I use downtempo tracks* just to drown out noise, and more uptempo wordless electronica to pump me up for tasks I’m struggling with.

    You can even find some repeating tracks by searching ADHD music, although some of it is your usual fake classical without actually using the patterns/tempo that helps ADHD, so you might want to search a little.

    (*If droning style ambient annoys you or you aren’t in the mood for it, try something like entomongaku , anything by Adam Borsage, or the Rituals series from Downtempo Rituals. My favourite is No.57.)

    1. Excel-sior*

      Might i recommend a few ambient albums?

      ‘And Their Refinement of the Decline’ by Stars of the Lid

      ‘Lazy Sunday Funerals’ by Marsen Jules

      ‘Dreamweapon’ by Spacemen 3

    2. Pickwick*

      On the uptempo side of things, some games have great music these days! The soundtrack to “Tunic” is hours of energetic, sometimes suspenseful, sometimes contented ambient electronica. If you give it a listen, I hope you enjoy it.

    3. Jackalope*

      I mentioned Skyrim music above, but you reminded me that for Getting Things Done I have had fantastic success with the original Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack. Very energetic and helped me when I was trying to get a ton of stuff done in a short amount of time.

      1. anon tech writer*

        My go-to “I have to focus and get stuff done NOW” artist/composer is Jean-Michel Jarre. No idea why, but it absolutely works for me.

        You can find his Oxygene on YouTube and it’s… like, suddenly it’s been an hour and I’ve gotten SO much done.

        Not ADHD (at least, not diagnosed) but this whole thread is so resonant with me.

    4. amoeba*

      Minimal art can also be great for this! I love Philip Glass, especially the piano works.

      In addition, for whatever reason choral music is great for me to work to. I pretty much wrote my PhD to Mozart’s and Verdi’s Requiems, Händel’s Messiah and Dixit Dominus, Bach’s Christmas Oratorium and Magnificat… Especially if I know the music well, as in have sung it myself. Somehow it keeps the right parts of my brain occupied.

  21. Adrina*

    #3 In what workplaces would shimmer be no issue? All I can think of are performing arts or working with children.

    1. bamcheeks*

      I don’t think it would raise any eyebrows in a business casual office, any more than a coloured or shimmery eyeshadow would. We’re not talking full-on body glitter.

    2. Allonge*

      Depends – we are a business end of business casual workplace and there are plenty of subtle shimmers that would be ok here.

      It’s really not (all) such products that make you like a vampire from Twilight, there are very subtle ones with minimal visibility. Obviously there should not be any transfer of glimmering to other surfaces, but over the summer months, nobody would care as long as you keep it reasonable.

    3. londonedit*

      I work in book publishing and assuming it’s a gentle sheen rather than body glitter, I doubt anyone would notice or care.

      1. Lore*

        Honestly even body glitter would probably be fine in book publishing! The only time I have ever thought, “Wow, that person is inappropriately dressed in my office” was a few weeks ago when someone was wearing a strapless sundress that looked like it was just a beach towel wrapped around, and even then my issue was more that all our cubes have bookshelves that are a bit of a stretch for a petite woman and the thought of trying to reach overhead and have that dress stay up seemed unlikely.

        1. londonedit*

          True! The only time I’ve ever raised a private eyebrow at someone’s outfit was when it was chunky fishnet tights, short denim shorts, Doc Martens and a tight t-shirt. I probably wouldn’t raise an eyebrow at body glitter, but maybe not for an author meeting.

              1. londonedit*

                Yep, part of my surprise was my brain going ‘Christ, I haven’t seen that look since the mid-90s’ and part of it was ‘Bold choice there’!

      2. Scholarly Publisher*

        Same here. (Unless it was our director or a handful of other people whose style is very much not the glitter type, and then we’d only notice because of how different from their usual style it was.)

    4. Media Monkey*

      Advertising media agency. literally no one would care. although we are in london and so from what i understand here generally more casual in a lot of industries than the US.

    5. Dr. Rebecca*

      I’m a professor. No one would care, so long as it wasn’t an official university event. Even then, there’d be degrees of noticing/caring. Like I wouldn’t wear it to meet the President/Vice President level, but with my own deans? They wouldn’t care.

      1. Daughter of Ada and Grace*

        I work in software development, and the only issue I can think of with someone wearing this in our office is the one Keymaster mentioned earlier – glitter in the equipment.

    6. Irish Teacher.*

      I’m a secondary school teacher and well, I don’t really know what the shimmer looks like but my feeling is it would depend on the school. In mine, I doubt anybody would care, beyond maybe a colleague saying “hey, that looks cool.” I have worked in some more conservative schools, especially ones in very upper-middle-class areas, where it would be more likely to be an issue.

    7. amoeba*

      Pretty sure nobody would care about the look itself here, either! (Science/office environment, somewhere between business casual and just casual). From the descriptions it sounds like “shedding” of glitter would be the larger problem though, and I guess my colleagues wouldn’t be too happy about that… but just as in “a shimmer on your arms”? No problem whatsever.

    8. Nancy*

      No one would care where I work, or possibly even notice. Shimmer body oil is not body glitter.

    9. kiki*

      Assuming it’s a subtle shimmer intended to look like a slightly more intense than natural glow, I think there would be a lot of casual industries where it would be fine. But I think that hinges on the oil being somewhat subtle and not, like, full-on body glitter or something so shimmery that you’re blinding people from across the room.

    10. Generic Name*

      I work for a large construction company with a “smart casual” dress code. If it was subtle, it would probably be ok in the office if it was on someone’s legs (rather than exposed bosom).

    11. Sparkle Llama*

      I actually had a coworker where body shimmer not long ago. I work in a semi customer focused government job (nowadays we get 0-4 people in office per day). I honestly chocked it up to her being by far the most stylish and on trend person in the office. It is not something I would have recommended she wear but didn’t didn’t raise any alarm bells. I would guess that it was hard to notice through the glass we have at the counter so if she did have to help a customer they probably wouldn’t have noticed anyways.

      We are a decently casual office – jeans ok any day of the week with nice tops, no hoodies any day and nice pants expected for scheduled external meetings.

    12. metadata minion*

      It would potentially be a problem in my library job, but only because the glitter could come off on the books. Appearance-wise nobody would care except to maybe ask where you got it.

  22. Caramel & Cheddar*

    Re: Becky quitting: it’s so rare for someone to actually quit when they threaten to do so that I definitely don’t think it’s worth telling your boss. Becky sounds awful, but she probably also has rent/a mortgage to pay, groceries to buy, etc. and following through on her threat is probably unlikely.

    She very much sounds to me like she’s lashing out in hopes that your promotion won’t go through; if she has actual concerns about that, she can talk to your boss about it herself. But if she won’t do that, then she’s welcome to keep stewing about it and once you get the promotion, you can mention her antics to your boss if she continues to behave like this. But my money’s on her not quitting and just continuing to be a bad employee.

    1. Elsewise*

      Yeah, I really don’t think she’s going to quit, at least not right away. I see her loudly announcing that she’s going to quit as soon as she finds another job and then never applying for anything. (I had a former coworker who did that every time something didn’t go her way. She was a genuinely nice person aside from that, and I’m a little sad that ten years on she’s the only one of that social group still in the same crappy job.)

  23. melissa*

    #1– And be patient with your coworker; you may have to have this conversation more than once. I am an announcer too (“OMG this elevator is so slow!”) and it is a deeply ingrained habit. I would rein it in if you asked me to, but it would take some effort and I would need reminders before I got used to the silence.

    1. Spicy Tuna*

      Yes, some people are uncomfortable with silence. My MIL does this and so does my husband. I am an “enjoy the silence” kind of person, so it’s grating, but when you realize people do it because they feel silence is uncomfortable, it’s easier to accept.

      1. Evelyn*

        Is that why my MIL audibly catalogs everything she sees out the car window?! I will think of this and try to have a little more patience in the future…but grating is an understatement.

        1. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

          My mom does this too. She didn’t when I was a kid, so I’m not sure what’s going on, but it drives me to distraction.

          1. JSPA*

            As I age, I

            a) no longer GAF if I talk to myself (or a pet). Especially if it’s keeping me alert and engaged without the extra coffee I no longer tolerate well, in other ways.

            b) no longer necessarily shut that self-chat down, when someone else is around.

            Cut some slack now, or dine on crow later, if & when you find yourself doing same, I guess?

      2. londonedit*

        Yep, I have a friend who absolutely cannot leave a silence and it can be irritating, but she’s definitely doing it because she finds silence too awkward to bear, and she’s generally an anxious person and silence ramps up her anxiety. So she prattles on endlessly but it’s not because she wants to be annoying, it’s because to her it’s better than leaving a gap in the conversation.

  24. Maria*

    #2: I wouldn’t be concerned about Becky quitting because a) I don’t think she would actually quit and b) even if she did, it would be a win. But I would be concerned about the possibility of Becky making a big drama instead. Yelling, crying, being unpleasant towards OP, disrupting her, etc. Especially if the boss is incompetent, which seems likely (otherwise they would have already addressed Becky’s behavior).

    1. ecnaseener*

      Yep, but ultimately if Becky decides to yell and cry and be disruptive, let her. It’s not within LW’s control. It’ll be annoying, but certainly not worth turning down the promotion to avoid it.

  25. Thank someone I no longer work there*

    LW2…You can’t worry about other peoples reactions in this sort of situation. I took over as manager on a team where people had been manipulating the previous manager with statements like “If you make Susie a supervisor I’ll quit”. I started telling them that if that’s what they have to do that’s what they have to do and “By the way, the paperwork for resigning/retiring is in the drawer with the x forms”. It took about six weeks but they finally stopped. You could say something like Allison suggested that you want them to be prepared if that’s what fits the culture but don’t make decisions based on it and hopefully your manager doesn’t either!

    1. Sneaky Squirrel*

      100% this. Whatever Becky’s reasoning, this is manipulative behavior that shouldn’t be humored and is not productive in an office environment.

  26. A Book about Metals*

    For #4, if you’ve already decided you’re not moving the candidate forward, I don’t see why you’d mention anything to your fellow board member. You’d be potentially harming someone else’s job/career, and for what gain?

    1. Dandylions*

      That’s how I feel I about it too.

      If the applicant were say, the director at their org and thus definitely delegating more of their work then they should, I would feel differently.

      But just an underutilized IC? No need to blow up their income.

    2. Dandylions*

      Same here. If it were, say a manager or director who would be in a position to delegate their work and abuse the system, that would be one thing, but an individual contributor whose under utilized? I’d let it lie.

      Also we can’t discount the fact that the candidate has an informal arrangement with their boss who is expecting more work next year and doesn’t have a problem with OP working a seasonal second job this year. It could be a problem for the board member to find out even if the candidate is above board.

    3. Looper*

      Yeah, and also I’m unclear on what the problem is? If the candidate’s other job only requires 25 hours a week and this role is as low as 20 hours a week, why is this an issue? I also am wondering what candidate would be down for a job that could be only 20 hours or sometimes completely full time, depending on vague factors. Like, is this a PT job or FT, because those are different pools of job seekers. If it’s being advertised as Flex but is higher skilled, anticipate a lot of already-employed applicants!

      1. Some Words*

        Because they’re scheduled and getting paid for 40 hours and, probably receiving benefits based on a 40 hour work week.

        Being able to complete their full time job in 25 hours doesn’t really change the dishonesty and lack of ethics the applicant is displaying. Not to mention the stupidity of mentioning their intended employment scam to a prospective new employer.

        1. A Book about Metals*

          That might be a reason not to hire them, but I still don’t get why LW would say anything to the other board member.

          Ok so someone who’s working (maybe) part time now was looking into another (maybe) part time job…. Sure maybe it’s not doable in this case but why would you want to potentially get some person you’ve never met fired by complaining to their boss

        2. Looper*

          But is that the case? Is there an expectation that this person be dedicating 40 hours a week at another company, or is that an assumption of the LW? Lots of commenters of this blog regularly mention that their jobs are “as long as the work gets done, you’re in charge of your hours”. Could that be the case here? I feel like the LW is tempted to create drama for no reason. If they have doubts the candidate can meet the time commitment required for the role, then pass on them. But to make accusations about their character and to consider jeopardizing their other employment seems punitive and unnecessary.

      2. Tio*

        Alison has read it as the current job is a 40hr/week job that they really only do 25 hours of work in, and they intend to work both jobs as full time. I am curious if that’s the case, though, or if the first job is actually 25hr/week and they want to work a second 40hr/week job as well, which wouldn’t necessarily be the worst, if both jobs agreed. If it were the second scenario, I could see running it by the board member, as the companies are clearly quite close if he’s on the board of the second one

  27. Irish Teacher.*

    LW1, I think the problem you are running into here is that most people don’t really have that much understanding of ADHD. I would think it is a minority that would understand how it would make distractions more difficult. I am a resource teacher, working with students with special educational needs and I think I only found this out online (and from noticing it with a colleague who I strongly suspect has ADHD). The popular perception of ADHD is somebody who seems to be doing 100 things at once and can’t settle to any particular one, so if people thought about ADHD at all, I’d imagine many would be more likely to think that people with ADHD would welcome distractions.

    I love Alison’s script here. Your coworkers don’t really need to know why distractions bother you, just that they do and from what you say, it sounds like the ADHD is getting in the way of their understanding the message. It shouldn’t. They should do as you ask regardless of how much detail you give about the reason, but it is possible they are seeing the ADHD as making it a “you” problem or something you need to work on rather than something they should change (again, this is not the right response from them, but it isn’t unsual for people to view something more negatively when it’s described as part of a neurological difference, then they start seeing it as something the person “needs to overcome” rather than a different way of working).

    LW2, it sounds like it would be a good thing if your coworker quit. I realise that it’s quite likely she won’t and will instead start making everybody’s life even more difficult.

    LW5, I really don’t think this is going to be a problem. As others have said, unless you disclosed your condition, I certainly wouldn’t assume anxiety (not that anxiety is anything to be embarrassed by). You became dizzy at work, were taken to hospital and had to take some time off. If you were my coworker, I would be concerned and hope that it was nothing serious, but I certainly wouldn’t think you weak or unreliable.

    Heck, the fact that you were obviously unwell at work would make it very clear to me that you were not taking advantage/calling in sick when you just wanted some time off (not that I go about thinking that about my coworkers anyway, but it would make me quite certain that in your case, this was not a sign of unreliability as you were quite clearly genuinely ill). If anything, I would wonder if you were a bit too reliable and hard-working and had come to work despite feeling unwell because you were so dedicated.

    I will say that a principal I once worked with took a number of months off for stress related illness (she disclosed this) and I certainly don’t think her weak or unreliable.

  28. Abigail*

    1: I think most people can give a broad definition of psychological terms like ADHD (see also: OCD, narcissism) but they don’t know the details.

    Unless you are trained professionally (healthcare or education) or have the disorder yourself, most people do not know the specifics of psychological diagnosis.

    Even if they did, one thing people with ADHD say is “if you know one person with ADHD, you know one person with ADHD.” This means you can’t transfer your knowledge of one person who has this to another. If you say this to somebody, it’s starting a conversation, not ending it.

  29. Spicy Tuna*

    #2 if Becky blows up, it’s not your problem and will reflect poorly on her, not you. In fact, if she is the only part of the job you don’t like, and she quits, well then – 2 birds, one stone

    #5 don’t worry about what happened. I was once in my boss’s office with a VP from another department and one of his direct reports. My boss and I were about to dump a huge problem on him and ahead of the meeting, my boss said, “you know D is going to have a heart attack when we tell him this”. When he told him what we needed, D started looking distressed, stood up and said, “guys, I don’t feel so good” before passing out and hitting his head on the wall. He was half in my boss’s office and half out. Someone brought the defibrillator. Someone else called 911. D came to and was carted off by EMTs. He was fine, he came back to work the next day and updated everyone that it was something very minor brought on by stress. My boss did put a frame around the dent in his wall left by D’s head, but that was the kind of office it was.

  30. used to be a tester*

    Re. body oil, especially in a conservative industry:
    I used to work with a lady that loved 2 things in the summer – shimmery body oil and sleeveless blouses. I don’t think anyone actually called her GlitterPits to her face, but the name stuck. Unlike the glitter, which ended up everywhere.

    1. RVA Cat*

      GlitterPits! I’m dying.
      At least it wasn’t on her cleavage for a rhyming nickname that’s decidedly NSFW.

      1. used to be a tester*

        I suspect she got called that too, but the men I worked with wouldn’t have said it in front of my delicate womanly self. :)

    2. Juicebox Hero*

      OMG glitter pits. I love it.

      I’m sure she did have glitter in that other location, but it wasn’t on display.

  31. Delta Delta*

    OP 2 – I think it’s worth a chat with the boss as the promotion comes to fruition. Because as much as Becky is stomping her feet and threatening to quit, she might not. Then you’re stuck with Becky doing Becky things, which will make OP’s job harder than it needs to be. I’d both tread lightly and be prepared for the inevitable storm of whatever comes next. Also, if there’s a storm, I’d love to read an update, because I suspect it’ll be a doozy.

  32. Falling Diphthong*

    #3 You can catch a few flecks of the glitter.
    Can someone explain what this means?

    My mental image would be flecks of glitter falling from the shimmery person and onto the keyboard. But other comments seem to picture someone who wouldn’t be trailing flakes of glitter.

    (I loved the glitter bomb subplot in Only Murders in the Building S2, and am surprised it hasn’t caught on for office lunch thieves.)

    1. bamcheeks*

      I read it as “you can catch sight of a few fleck of glitter when the light hits” rather than physically catching them.

    2. Allonge*

      I read it as ‘when I wear the oil/lotion, the only thing you notice is some minor sparkly bits here and there on my skin’.

      Meaning, I am not glow-in-the-dark, nor look like an alien or vampire – it’s visible but not a major thing. So ‘catch’ in the sense of ‘you notice’, not ‘I transfer them’.

      But then this is based on my experience with similar products.

    3. OP #3*

      It’s pretty subtle, but in the sun you can pick up some small reflections of light from the shimmer in the body oil. I’m talking about the ABH Body Shimmer specifically – there’s a lot of product reviews and pictures online. You don’t end up looking like a vampire, but it makes your skin seem slighter tanner and glow-y would be my best descriptor.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        … Hmm. Thanks for providing the specific one. To my eyes the people in the image search look sweaty. (I am totally willing to own being unhip.)

  33. le teacher*

    LW5 – Allison nailed it with this: “This is the sort of thing that is sometimes mortifying to the person it happens to, while the people who were around for it almost never have a reaction that would warrant mortification.”

    I am a high school teacher. A few years ago, in the middle of presentations for my 9th graders, I started to get a menstrual cramp so severe that I knew I would pass out (this happens to me, rarely, but does happen). I sat down, dismissed the class, and told one of my more responsible students to get the nurse. The nurse came rushing over with a red medical bag and a wheelchair, and I had to be WHEELED OUT OF THE CLASSROOM, across the school, and into the clinic, before my husband could pick me up. The students didn’t know the cause of my pain, but all they knew was that their teacher had to be removed via wheelchair!

    But you know what? Everyone was concerned for my health and worried. My colleagues and bosses all checked up on me. And believe it or not, my students, these teens, were all concerned as well. I even got several emails that evening from students asking if I was okay.

    So my point is that yes, while it is mortifying for the person experiencing the event, the people around you only are concerned for your wellbeing. Think about it – if you saw a coworker having a medical emergency, you’d most likely be concerned and want to help, not snicker about it!

  34. Astronaut Barbie*

    Oh my gosh, Becky sounds like a complete control freak and manipulator. And why are you taking this treatment from her to begin with? She is not your significant other or a member of your family! You can escape all this drama by not caring one bit about her tantrums and reactions. I suspect her antics have worked on you in the past which is why she is using them now to try to keep you from that promotion. Seriously why are you even considering appeasing her!? Step back and take a good look at what looks like an emotionally abusive situation, and then just step out of it. Let her spiral into drama and quit if she wants, it sounds like the best outcome for you. Also, if you are going to be her supervisor once you are promoted, please make sure you learn how to make this all her problem and none of yours.

  35. I should really pick a name*

    I suggest you either take the promotion, or look for another job elsewhere.

    If Becky is such an issue that you would give up a promotion to appease her, you are not going to further your career at this company.

  36. Ms. Norbury*

    LW#2, I’m sure there’s a lot more context you didn’t or couldn’t add to you letter, so this may be off but… it seems all the blowout would be Becky throwing an epic tantrum, quitting, and then the company having to deal with the minor (but normal) annoyance of replacing her. I’m pretty conflict-averse myself, so I get the allergy to drama, but unless you feel Becky might become violent (in which case you DEFINITELY should tell your manager) that’s… not a big deal, actually.

    If that is all (and honestly, even if it isn’t), I don’t see why you should let Becky’s feelings dictate what career moves you’re allowed to make. And I don’t see why you see managing her feelings and her reactions as your responsibility, to the point you wonder if it would be unethical to make Becky angry.
    Let me say that again:

    Becky’s feelings should not dictate the decisions you make about your career. They shouldn’t even count. It’s not “mean” to not consider Becky’s feelings in this decision. At all.

    If Becky does implode when your promotion comes through, managing her behavior should be her boss’s responsibility – NOT yours.

    Good luck and congratulations on the promotion you should absolutely 100% take.

    1. HonorBox*

      Absolutely! It seems like saying something to your boss right now might have three consequences:

      1. Your boss appreciates your diplomacy in letting her know and manages accordingly.
      2. Your boss sees this as you stirring up drama, which changes her perception of you.
      3. Your boss decides that Becky is valuable enough to keep her around and decides to find an outsider to manage you both.

      I’d lean toward not saying anything because, even though Becky has alluded to quitting, you don’t know for sure. She might just be a big talker. If she quits or does something dramatic in reaction to your promotion, that’s not your drama to handle. And you’re going to get to help replace her with someone who will be easier to work with.

    2. El l*

      Exactly. Keeping Becky calm is not OPs responsibility. If she blows up, that’s on her and will be seen as such. And if Becky quits, honestly doesn’t sound like a bad thing.

    3. Polly Hedron*

      If Becky does implode when your promotion comes through, managing her behavior should be her boss’s responsibility – NOT yours.

      Unless the promotion would make LW#2 Becky’s boss, and, in that case, LW#2, you should figure out in advance how to manage Becky, or if you can’t face that, don’t take the promotion.

      1. Ms. Norbury*

        That’s true! I feel LW would have mentioned that if it were the case, but maybe they just didn’t, and it would definitely make things more complicated.

        To LW, I get some strong fear-of-conflict vibes from your letter (takes one to know one, though of course I may be completely off the mark and Becky is just exceptionally terrible). If that is the case AND your career path is likely to involve managing people, I strongly suggest you work hard on that part of yourself moving forward.

    4. Dust Bunny*

      Yeah, I’m slightly more concerned about the OP’s concern about this than about whatever fit Becky might pitch. Unless Becky is a whole lot more volatile than was conveyed here, I think it’s a lot more odd that the OP would consider passing up a promotion because of a coworker’s snit.

      So . . . is the OP really that anxious, or is there a history at this workplace of caving to Becky’s abuse? Does the manager now know about Becky, or does s/he know but not care? What is going on here?

  37. HonorBox*

    OP4 – While you COULD say something to your fellow board member, I think I’d lean more toward just expressing your concerns to those on the search committee. While perhaps this person could navigate the work obligations with their other job, it also makes a lot of sense to hire a person who you know for sure can be available to you. That doesn’t preclude someone from having two jobs, but given that you know they work full-time, you’re hiring someone and painting yourself into a corner because if their full-time role needs them, it is likely that your organization will be put on the back burner. That may not happen much, but your role is to hire the best person for your organization, and you want someone who has the ability to prioritize your organization’s needs, especially because this is the first staff person this organization will have.

    If others feel strongly that you should continue to keep this candidate in the mix, then ask the candidate how they’d navigate having their employer on the board…

  38. Long Time Lurker*

    I’m sure others have said something similar, but I wanted to reassure #5: Many years ago at a previous job we had a new employee who collapsed while being walked around and introduced to people. On his first day of work! Since I worked as a volunteer EMT in college, people shouted for me and I came running to assess the situation. He was breathing and was able to speak after a few minutes but I recommended we call 911 anyway since he seemed a little confused (wasn’t sure where he was at first) and he was taken to the ER. Short version: he was fine. But he was SO embarrassed. I know because he came to talk to me since I was the person who was asked to help him. But the truth was, nobody thought anything other than “Thank God he’s okay.” It really wasn’t a big deal in the end, and he was a great guy, and we worked together for years afterwards. I honestly only recalled the way we met because of this post!

  39. El l*

    Op1: Get the headphones. Period.

    “I’m going to lunch” is such banal office chatter that if it’s not that distracting you, it’ll be some other everyday talk common to the office.

  40. K*

    OP 5: I had my first optical migraine at work, didn’t know what was going on, just suddenly lost a chunk of vision, and it turned into a whole disruptive THING — I was working in a medical setting so all my colleagues came running over to assess, did a mini neuro exam, etc, one of the nurses drove me to the emergency room; the next day when I was back at work like normal everyone was like “glad you’re feeling better!” and that was it.

    Also one time I came to work with blue nail beds after a messy craft project and my coworker overreacted and was like ARE YOU HYPOXIC and I was like nope, just messing around with indigo over the weekend.

  41. K*

    LW 2: It really sounds like your coworker quitting would actually be the best outcome here.

  42. Sneaky Squirrel*

    LW1 – I’m under the impression that the office mate is generally quiet in office and respectful of your work time, otherwise there is a larger complaint here that needs to be addressed. The times the office mate comes and goes, they say, what, 5 words at the most each time? Your ask comes off as you requesting your office mate to never speak with you and that’s not a reasonable ask of a colleague, regardless of how unnecessary their speaking to you may be.

    If there are specific times that require extensive concentration, perhaps you can come to an agreement about a no-speaking rule. Or you can wear headphones to reduce the external noises. Perhaps you can even propose a little white board where the office mate can indicate where they are at if they need to announce their departure.

    1. WellRed*

      Yeah, I would find the constant updates annoying and worth speaking up about, politely. But for such brief comments, is there any way OP can learn to tune them out?

      1. Emily Byrd Starr*

        Unfortunately, no. That’s literally what ADHD is- an inability to tune out distractions. I have ADHD and I can’t “learn to tune them out” any more than a person with celiac disease can learn to tolerate gluten.

  43. Person from the Resume*

    Why, why , why do you want to glitter at work? Where work = professional, white collar daytime/office jobs (and a large conservative company to boot). I literally mean for LW3 to ask themselves what’s their goal with the glitter.

    I am a somewhat butch lesbian and that probably influences why I have personally never really desired to look pretty or beautiful so I acknowledge that I probably can’t get in the head of the LW. (I have however glittered the heck out of myself for Pride or Mardi Gras celebrations so I understand the desire to glitter in certain circumstances).

    LW3, IMO your goal for your work look in an office/professional setting should be professional, competent, put together, even polished but sparkly and shimmery are not part of those looks. You can look beautiful, attractive, and pretty and also professional, but there are some outfits and accessories that really push the look into only going for beautiful and not appropriate for professional office settings and glitter is one of them.

    1. bamcheeks*

      It’s kind of like the sheen you get from wearing fine-denier tights– it’s kind of an alternative to fake tan and/or includes a little bit of colour as well but the sheen adds to the colour-smoothing effect of fake tan so your skin looks smoother and more colour-consistent. If it’s one of the light ones, it is not THAT weird to wear to work, any more than tights or fake tan or bronzer or any of those kind of things! It is probably not the kind of body or face glitter you’d wear for pride!

      1. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

        That is not likely to be a useful comparison for a butch lesbian, speaking as one myself.

        Person from the Resume, there are a lot of femme (in the older “not butch” sense, not in the more current “leaning female in gender identification” sense) things that I don’t get either. But people aren’t wearing glitter either for you or at you, and it does you no harm. The OP here is literally ASKING whether it’s appropriate for office settings – you say it’s not, some disagree, but there are plenty of office-appropriate things whose only purpose is beauty.

        1. bamcheeks*

          Speaking as a fellow lesbian, that’s an impressive obliviousness to what other women wear! My best friend would never wear tights or fake tan, but I don’t think she’d find the concept that other women wear them baffling. :-)

          1. Melody Powers*

            I wouldn’t call myself butch but I also have no idea how any of that stuff you were talking about works in terms of particular tights and color smoothing and whatnot. Now I’m finding myself curious if I’m really that unusually out of touch with these things.

          2. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

            Tights, yes. Denier? Not a clue. I’m also not particularly attracted to super-feminine women so it’s not something I have direct experience with.

    2. londonedit*

      To be fair, it’s not glitter, it’s a moisturising product with a shimmer to it. I’ve worn that sort of thing before, because I’m extremely pale and something with a bit of shimmer just makes your skin look nicer, and it enhances whatever tiny bit of a tan I might have. As I said above, I did have an experience with one shimmery sun cream that looked like it would provide a subtle healthy glow, but actually ended up depositing a shimmery sheen on everything I came into contact with, but there are lots of ‘glow’ sorts of products that just aim to give your skin a slight shimmery glow.

      As I also said above, in London and in book publishing I don’t think anyone would care if someone was wearing body glitter, let alone just a shimmery moisturiser, but the goal with these products is to give your skin a healthy glow and even out the look of skin texture. That’s why people use them.

    3. Cardboard Marmalade*

      Because it seems like a harmless way to bring some joy into their day? I definitely have worked jobs before where I needed a little extra encouragement to make myself get out of bed, and sometimes having something fun to wear was the only thing that would do the trick.

    4. Liz the Snackbrarian*

      Because life is short and glitter is fun? If OP worked in a corporate office in a fashion or beauty related industry, I could see it passing. I also think they mean “a light shimmer that catches the light if you turn a certain way”, as opposed to my middle school days where I would smear a glitter stick from Claire’s on my face and not bother blotting it.

    5. OP #3*

      bamcheeks, describes it best – the product creates more of a “healthy sheen” than actually being covered in glitter. At this point, it’s just a part of my usual skin routine but the only part that’s actually showing to my coworkers would be my forearms. As a fellow lesbian, I’m constantly aware of the office politics/social dynamics impacting me as a younger women in a more conservative field, but I don’t wear this product to look more attractive to others – I’m just so pale it helps me not look sickly.

      While no one has commented at the workplace, I’m going so ask my friends for how obvious/what it looks like.

      1. OP #3*

        I’m specifically referring to the Anastasia Beverly Hills Body Shimmer – while the product pictures make it look very glittery I would refer you to product reviews on youtube/tik tok.

        1. judyjudyjudy*

          You have the power here OP, and you seem pretty convinced the shimmer is subtle enough that it won’t warrant notice much less a raised eyebrow. But you did write in — there is some niggling doubt. The safest path is to save your “healthy sheen” glitzy stuff for after work and weekends if your workplace has more a conservative dress code, but you are free person. Be bold! Sparkle like a certain vampire family in the Pacific Northwest sunshine!

          But personally, I wouldn’t do it. No sparkle lotion sheen is worth getting wide-eyed at work, for me.

          1. judyjudyjudy*

            Side-eyed! Or maybe wide-eyed too — in amazement for how healthy and Dewey your skin looks.

            1. judyjudyjudy*

              Last comment, I promise — could you try some non-shimmery alternative products, that gives you the glow you want without the glitter? I think asking friends is a good idea — maybe friends who work in a similar environment?

              1. londonedit*

                Not sure whether it’s available in the US but I absolutely love Dove Summer Revived body lotion. It’s a gradual self-tan thing but it doesn’t make you orange (I’m very pale and I use the fair/medium) and it doesn’t smell weird. I use it a couple of times a week at night (I put it on and let it dry before I put my pyjamas on) and it just keeps up a golden glow that takes the edge off my milk-bottle white legs.

  44. A Simple Narwhal*

    #5 Years ago my coworker fainted at work and an ambulance was called. She later said she was so embarrassed at having to be carried out on a stretcher. We were all just so worried about her! There’s no shame in having a medical event – are you perhaps feeling worse because you think it was “just” a panic attack and not a “real” medical event? Hopefully not as it is real and serious, but I could understand the feeling. It’s hard to look back at anything stressful (medical or not) after the fact when everything turned out ok and not doubt if you handled it right.

    Fwiw I recall fainting in high school and being wheeled out of class by the school nurse in a wheel chair, and I remember that being horrifically embarrassing! But just to me – the only thing ever said was about being worried about me. So I totally understand the feeling.

    This is absolutely a common phenomenon, just check out the old Dane Cook bit “Struck by a vehicle”. (Involves swearing so definitely wear headphones if you’re at work!)

    Hope you’re feeling better OP#5!

    1. Dust Bunny*

      I projectile-vomited in front of my whole first-grade class and even they didn’t tease me. If a bunch of seven-year-olds can be gracious about it, I would hope adults can!

      1. A Simple Narwhal*

        Oh my goodness how awful!

        Reminds me of the time my friend fainted in front of her class, and the kids were all so wonderful and caring about it. She was a teacher at an all-boys military academy high school and she’d had some horror stories, so it was really touching to hear their positive reactions.

  45. A Book about Metals*

    I googled “Shimmer body oil glitter” to see what it looks like – some of the photos were extremely oily and glittery, but others you could barely notice anything different.

    So maybe like many things, moderation is the answer here.

  46. OP5*

    Thanks all for the kind comments and reassurance, as I mentioned in my letter I’ve been dealing with a lot recently and probably over panicking about things, really I guess I should have seen this coming.

    To answer a couple of comments above, the paramedics/hospital checked blood sugar, gave me an ECG and did just about everything to rule out other possibilities. Someone mentioned epilepsy, weirdly I do have epilepsy and we did consider this but with some consideration alongside knowing that my epilepsy is incredibly well controlled we don’t think that was the issue. I’ve been stressed and feeling a bit out of it for months and quite anxious, I’m just one of those people whom tries to work through those things and am learning that’s probably not a wise idea.

    Thankfully I’ve got a consultation with my surgeon about my other issues this week which should take some of the stress off. My hope that having the appointment, alongside some of the reassurance here will get me in the right frame of mind to go back. Alison and commenters are right in that probably nobody is thinking about what happened in that way other than me.

    1. KWu*

      You are allowed to be a human with a body! No one reasonable or kind expects you to be an automaton or robot.

      Glad to hear that you’re getting help too.

    2. Elsewise*

      As someone else who tries to work through these things without dealing with them, sending you so much empathy and love. I know lots of people who only ever have one panic attack in their lives, and for those of us who get more than one, the first one is the worst because you don’t know what’s going on. Be gentle with yourself, and go forward with hopes for the best!

  47. Juicebox Hero*

    I have a shimmery coworker – she uses some kind of body lotion that’s shimmery and also very highly fragranced. She uses a lot of it. I’m sensitive to a lot of fragrances but we have our own offices so normally it doesn’t bother me.

    One week last summer, due to a series of stupid and annoying events, I had to use her office while she was on vacation. Sticky smelly sparkly lotion residue on the keyboard, mouse, mouse pad, chair seat, arm rests, calculator, phone, and even the pens she used all the time were slippery. I spent most of the first day – since I couldn’t access my emails, phone messages, or documents thanks to poor planning – using Clorox wipes to try and scrub the sticky coating off of everything. My eyes and throat were itching like crazy and I had to take a shower as soon as I got home because I smelled like her lotion. Plus the air conditioning was broken and it was July, so everything was just stickier and smellier than ever.

    So, please, if you decide to shimmer at work, realize it’s going to migrate to everything you touch and your coworkers might not want to share.

    1. bamcheeks*

      I’ve found this with basic foundation– I have a colleague who wears very heavy make-up and I once had to work at her desk. Her headphones were completely orange, and I felt kind of weird and gross using them! I wear a very light foundation to work but stuff that is heavy enough to be visible on work stuff is unfathomable to me.

    2. BikeWalkBarb*

      That sounds really gross–sorry you had to deal with it.

      I was wondering about the scent issue as well. I’m mostly WFH but we have a rule about not wearing scented products into the office. No one has brought up shimmering but now I’m ready for it.

    3. londonedit*

      This is the main issue with things like this. I stopped using the shimmery sun cream I mentioned above when I realised it was leaving shimmery residue anywhere I sat, including all over my car seat and sofa, and on the steering wheel and gearstick of my car, etc. It was as if the moisturising ingredients soaked into my skin and left the shimmery particles behind, and those particles then transferred themselves to anything I leant against or touched for a period of time. It was really annoying and it really put me off using anything shimmery. And that was just my own car and sofa – I’d be annoyed if I came to the office and there was shimmery stuff all over the desk and chair. I think the problem with this is not necessarily people noticing that you’re wearing a shimmery product, but the risk that the shimmery bits might end up on the furniture/other people’s clothes etc.

  48. UpstateDownstate*

    At my first job I worked at the front desk, with one other coworker, for a totally insane individual who was also part mindreader.

    The phone rang constantly and we were never really allowed to leave the front desk and it still amazes me that we even managed to sneak in any sort of ‘lunch’ at all! Any time one of us got up to use the bathroom, which was around the corner and down a long-@ss hallway, he would appear and demand to know where the other one of us was. He’d get totally irate and throw a tantrum. So my coworker and I got into a habit of telling one another that we were heading to the ‘bathroom,’ or ‘the loo.’

    Twenty years later and I still have that ingrained in me and even if I’m out with people or anywhere really, whenever I head to the bathroom I tell everyone…’brb I’m heading to the loo!’ Ugh.

  49. Juicebox Hero*

    When I worked at a department store in the early 00s, where I worked was next to the women’s dresses. Glittery dresses were popular for a while – they had various patterns printed on them that were coated with fine glitter. But it was impossible to stick all the glitter to the fabric. There were little heaps of glitter under the racks they hung on. There were trails of glitter in and out of the fitting rooms. The employees had glitter all over their arms and faces when they had to fool with them.

    One day I was covering that department because someone called off, I think, when a woman wearing one came storming up to the register because she’d worn one to church and got glitter all over everything and she was totally embarrassed, and demanded a refund – for the dress she was wearing.

    And I worked normally in the kid’s department, where for the girls there was glitter lip gloss, hair gel, face glitter, nail polish with glitter, glittery shirts…

    If you’re getting the impression that I hate glitter… you’re completely right :D

  50. She of Many Hats*

    LW 5: How you and your superiors handle your situation will also demonstrate how your coworkers and the company’s front-line staff can hope to be treated if they experience a health crisis like you did. You don’t have to go all poster-child but returning after the time away that you needed and demonstrating confidence that you aren’t worried there might be consequences will reinforce your company’s positive attitude toward work/life health and all those little things that build employee morale & loyalty.

  51. HailRobonia*

    On the topic of promotions: You know that meme in movies where the main character is up for promotion and in a big meeting the promotion is announced and it’s always the character’s rival? Is that a thing? Do any companies really announce promotions publicly without notifying the person first? I am sure this is one of those things for drama, like writing a number on a piece of paper and sliding it across the desk in negotiations.

    1. Elsewise*

      I may have told this story here before, but years ago my management position was eliminated to create a new position, which I applied for (and was well-qualified for). They dragged the process on and on and on, to the point where I officially passed my “last day” as a manager with no other role made clear. I’d been told I would go back to an individual contributor role if I didn’t get the new position.

      Well, my (now-former) team had a new hire starting, and I was told to onboard her even though I wasn’t officially a manager anymore. Someone handed me a paper with her training schedule on it, and it was while I was sitting in a meeting with the new hire, going over the schedule, that I saw that she had a session with the new position, with someone else’s name next to that role. And that’s how I found out I didn’t get the job.

      I’ve never had anything similar happen before or since, so I guess my answer is: functional workplaces don’t. Dysfunctional workplaces are anyone’s guess.

    2. NotARealManager*

      It hasn’t been a rival, but I have applied for internal roles, gotten some traction from my employer (interviews, or conversations about what the role would entail with a “we’ll talk more about it next week” from the hiring manager), and then heard nothing else only to have the announcement of “Robin Sparkles is now the head of llama grooming at our company!” come the following week. So yeah, I could see it happening. Not out of malice, but often carelessness.

    3. Still Looking*

      I applied for a coordinator position and they introduced the new coordinator at a meeting. They came up to me right before the meeting started and let me know I didn’t get the job — clearly realizing at the last minute that I was about to find out publicly that they hired someone else. They tried to be discrete about it, but it was really awkward and I was afraid/embarrassed that someone overheard. I would have preferred to process the information privately and ahead of meeting the new coordinator.

      In my current job search, it’s so common to be ghosted after interviews I guess I should be grateful they bothered to tell me at all.

  52. Nancy*

    LW1: Get headphones
    LW2: Stop putting so much thought into how your promotion will affect Becky. Don’t warn your manager.
    LW5: I’ve had coworkers have strokes and heart attacks at the office. When they returned we told them we were glad they were ok. I’d be very surprised if anyone expressed anything other than concern and relief that you are better.

  53. Megan*

    AAM take is nor how I understood the second job one. I understood it to mean her first job is 25 hours a week and this second one is 25 to 40 and she can work a reasonable amount of time outside the first job. She was being up front with you that she plans to keep the first job and it may make her unavailable at all times. That is the real question. And no, you shouldn’t compromise the integrity of your hiring by ousting people to their employers! That is so gross.

    1. HonorBox*

      It looks like the job the person has now is technically full time, but they only really have 25 hours of work each week. The second is 25-40, but flexible. It sounds that while they’re being up front that they’ll keep the first job, the real concern is the lack of integrity. While they may only have 25 real hours of work each week, they’re expected to be at that job 40 hours.

      There’s certainly more to the story – like why does the person only have 25 hours of actual work – but the bottom line is that there’s an issue that someone is fudging some details and being very up front about it. It would be better to pass on the candidate because when their employer, who is on the board of the second job, figures out that there’s a lack of integrity with schedule and work duties, it is going to blow up. Better to steer clear.

      1. Looper*

        Is it lack of integrity though? The candidate was completely up front about her other time commitments, that her other job “only required her to work 25 hours a week”. There is no mention of what her boss knows or what this other organization expects of their employee. The LW seems to be making an issue out of the other job. But if the position they’re offering doesn’t have consistent hours (which it doesn’t) they have to expect their candidates are going to have other jobs.

        1. SarahKay*

          In which case Alison’s suggestion of “But you could certainly tell the candidate their employer is on your board and ask for their thoughts on how that would get navigated…”, while perhaps meant to be tongue-in-cheek, is actually a good one.
          If candidate is being upfront with both sets of employers, then fair enough.
          If candidate is not telling their full-time employer what they are doing, then that talks to a lack of integrity that would certainly give me second thoughts.

    2. bamcheeks*

      That was my first reading, but it does say “a full-time job which, based on their duties, requires that they work only 25 hours per week”– which is why I think everyone assumes the candidate is supposed to be working 40 hours but just doesn’t have enough work to fill that time. I don’t know whether there’s another way to interpret that– in the UK, someone might refer to a full-time job when what they actually mean is a substantive or contracted part-time job, ie. they’re guaranteed 25 hours a week, unlike a casual/zero hours job which would be “however many hours we have for you, we don’t guarantee you’ll get any”, or that the job is definitely Mon-Wed and couldn’t be flexed, or whatever.

      As an interviewer, I would want to dig into that to make sure I’d understood that they do definitely are telling me that their current employer expects them to be working between 9-5pm Mon-Fri and that they were proposing to be working for us during those hours instead, because that is such a wild thing for someone to say in an interview I’d assume they had misspoken or something!

      1. londonedit*

        Agreed – I was thinking someone could possibly say ‘full-time job’ of 25 hours a week if they mean they work full days up to 25 hours (‘part-time’ in some people’s heads might mean working evenings only, like a part-time job in a pub or something). But it definitely needs closer inspection, because it sounds like what they mean is ‘I am contracted to work 40 hours a week, but I never have 40 hours’ worth of work to do, so I can fit this job in during my downtime’, and that’s obviously not something the OP wants to get involved with.

      2. fhqwhgads*

        Yeah, in the US it’s much much much more common for “full time” to mean “40 hours” but in some contexts 30 hours is still full time. So if the candidate called the job full time, but also said “only 25 hours” the reasonable conclusion is the job more than that (at least 5 but probably 15) and the candidate is simply saying they only have 25 hours worth of work to do. Otherwise it makes no sense to have referred to it as full time. It’s possible the candidate just phrased it awkwardly, sure, but the “something shady here” interpretation is the more obvious one if taking what the person said at face value.

  54. learnedthehardway*

    OP#2 – I would NOT tell your manager that Becky will quit, if you are promoted. A) you’ve earned that promotion. B) Your manager should know that Becky is problematic, already. C) Becky is trying to be controlling, and that shouldn’t be rewarded.

    Instead, talk with your manager about a plan for them & you to deal with the transition. As in, “Manager, as I’m transitioning into the role of Team Lead (or whatever), there are likely going to be some people who need to get used to taking direction from me on a task basis. It would help if you explain when people should come to me vs you, when you announce my new role, and when people come to you when they should come to me, over the next few months. I’m sure some will. I will do X and Y to ensure I am helping people adjust, but I think I am going to need you to support/enforce things on your end, as well.”

    1. Margot*

      I like this option, both as a constructive way of framing things and as a strategy for encouraging some mentoring in your new role (which managers should do. . . but sometimes prompting helps)

  55. MistOrMister*

    Re OP3, I agree with Alison on not shimmering in the office. I had to look up shimmer oil and I do think the look would be out of place in many offices. I can’t decide if I would be charmed to see someone with a full body of shimmer pil at work or nonplussed, but I would err on the side of not doing it. I think it’s probably completely fine to do something like the halo glow type makeup on the face, but full body (especially if there is going to be any fallout or glitter transfer) would probably get you some serious side eyes.

  56. Anony7213*

    Wow, I admit that I am in a similar situation except I am the Becky! My colleague and I were peers and a new role was created and she was promoted to manage me and another teammate. I was angry, and reason was that I felt she had the technical skills but not the people skills. Also, I was upset that I was no longer reporting to my now grandboss. Although I did not say out loud that I would quit over it, I definitely started looking around but nothing beats the benefits i have now. Quitting is easier said than done. My now grandboss also knew I wasn’t happy over the promotion although I did not say that directly but she was still promoted. although I would never give my now new manager/old colleagues a hard time, I guess my anger is directed towards my now grandboss. I am still in the situation now except I am now giving 100% instead of the 110% before.

    1. Observer*

      Then you are not Becky.

      Based on what you are saying, I’m not sure you are being entirely reasonable, but that’s not really anyone’s business. And looking for a new job when you are unhappy, while still doing your work *is* eminently reasonable! So that is *totally* different than what the LW is describing.

  57. Jam Today*

    #LW5 – I had what I would characterize as a small nervous breakdown in front of about 40 people including the business partner whose relationship I managed. I lost my ability to speak, went down like a sack of potatoes in the hallway, and began crying hysterically. I had to be driven home while someone else followed in my car, where I took a valium that I had leftover from a dental procedure about five years earlier, and took the rest of the week off. Everyone had the grace not to bring it up, and the only people who asked how I was were the specific people who hustled me out of there. It is not an experience I would recommend, but it also wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

  58. Observer*

    #1 – Interrupting coworker, I think that your issue is legitimate and your CW is being rude. BUT.

    You say that “I need a way to drive home that idle chatter and constant interruptions are not just bothersome to me but make me angry

    No, do not go there. Especially if you have to escalate to your manager. Your anger is not just “not rational” it’s really unreasonable and is going to make you look really bad. Dealing with your unreasonable emotions is your job, not your CW’s.

    When I mentioned the ADHD, they just kind of looked at me like they didn’t really understand.

    They looked at you like that because they really do NOT understand. That doesn’t matter, though. Alison is correct – try talking to your coworker one more time and keep it simple. I might keep it even shorter than her language. Something like “Please don’t keep telling me where you are going. I don’t need to know and it is extremely disruptive to my works. Thanks for understanding!” (Or replace the last sentence with “I absolutely will not think you are rude.”)

    And if that doesn’t work, yes, headphones. Good ones can be a real game changer.

    I doubt it would happen, but if your Office Mate then decides to do something like tapping you on the shoulder, you could talk to your manager. Again, keep it simple, but at that point someone doing that has blown past reasonable behavior, so you’re in a much better place.

  59. I should really pick a name*


    I feel crummy keeping such a secret from someone with whom I have a professional relationship

    Remember that your professional relationship is for THIS organization, not their other one. If your main concern about not telling them is some sort of professional obligation, I don’t think there is an obligation here.

    1. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      They may not have an official obligation but they do have a professional relationship and need their goodwill, which needs maintaining, whereas they have no relationship with the candidate.

      I’d not risk an important relationship by keeping quiet about something unethical they’d want to know.

  60. BikeWalkBarb*

    LW #3, does your workplace have a no-fragrance rule? Mine does. I’m betting unscented shimmer oil isn’t a thing. If you want to look and feel smooth and soft find an unscented lotion without particles that you’ll stick to everything you come in contact with. Person from the Resume nailed it with their advice in addition to Allison’s; ask yourself why on earth you’d want to shimmer at work when you presumably want to be taken seriously as a professional.

    LW #4, someone who wasn’t heads-up enough to review the list of your board members and recognize their employer’s name isn’t the strongest candidate. As your first employee they would be working closely with the board. Since your job is hourly and hours vary you may already have candidates who have a second job they didn’t disclose or they may need one depending on cost of living where you are, so have a question about managing the varying hours to check this with finalists. A second job they can put in second place isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker.

  61. Dust Bunny*

    OP2: take the promotion!

    If your manager knows about Becky’s wackiness and hasn’t handled it, then that’s the manager’s fault. If the manager doesn’t know, then they need to (is there a reason you haven’t been warning your manager about her all along?). After that . . . let Becky melt down. Let her quit! My guess is she won’t be missed that much, anyway.

  62. Dust Bunny*

    OP5 So far my department has seen a panic attack, an asthma attack (of a “trip to the ER” variety, not just some wheezing), and . . . some kind of horrendous potentially-fatal heart-related episode, although I forget offhand what it was. Aortic dissection, maybe? Anyway, nobody is side-eyeing the people who suffered these. Stuff happens and we were all glad they were OK (the heart one had surgery and retired but is still very much alive). Things happen. Unless your coworkers are really horrible people I promise they are just glad you’re OK.

  63. Anony7213*

    Re: #2
    I was in Becky’s situation. I worked in corporate. They won’t care if she quits. They will just hire another person to replace her. And if the new hire also quits? Well, they will just keep replacing. That’s corporate!

    1. Dust Bunny*

      . . . yes, that tends to be how workplaces work. Even good ones. If you leave and they still need someone to do that job, they hire someone else. That’s not “corporate”–that’s a position that needs to be filled because work needs to be done.

    2. Observer*

      You say that as though it were some sort of flaw. But it’s not. It’s how every reasonable workplace operates.

      In general, especially at lower levels, a workplace should to go into a major tizzy if someone leaves for any reason.

      If you quite because you thought it would “punish” your workplace, that’s on you.

      1. Observer*

        That should be

        a workplace should *not* (rather than to) go into a major tizzy if someone leaves for any reason.

  64. SansaStark*

    I was in a similar situation to #2 although my Becky was a low simmer of anger, not loudly dramatic. She handed in her resignation on the day HR told her that I was given the promotion instead of her and it was truly the best thing for everyone. I talked with my boss about it much later and he said he knew that giving it to me meant probably losing her, but he weighed the risks/benefits and went ahead with it. If Becky is this dramatic, I would bet the boss already has some idea of the reaction they can expect.

    It suuuucked for a little bit (some of her work friends literally never forgave me and were low-key cold to me), but I just remained as scrupulously professional and warm as I had always been, we hired her replacement, and eventually found a better job where she’s much happier.

  65. RagingADHD*

    Caveat to #3, if you’re in a very conservative environment and people can tell at a glance that you’re wearing shimmer body oil, the issue may actually be that you’re showing more skin than really fits with your work culture. See the reference to “Glitter pits” above.

    So not necessarily the shimmer per se, but the overall impression.

    1. metadata minion*

      Wouldn’t it be visible on forearms or cheeks or something? Bare arms aren’t unusual even in formal settings, at least for women.

      1. RagingADHD*

        It’s just a guess. But in general, the amount of real estate that is shimmering makes a big difference in how noticeable it is. If the shimmer is actually subtle and not overtly glittery, and it were only on places like face or forearms, I doubt anyone would be able to tell you were wearing it at all.

  66. Yes And*

    LW4: Given how candid this candidate was about their plans w/r/t their other job, and the connection between your organization and their current employer, is there any possibility that the candidate has an arrangement with their current employer, and this is all above board? It seems to me the most logical explanation.

    If there’s even any chance at all of that being the case, I wouldn’t say anything to the board member/employer. You’d only make yourself look like a busybody.

  67. Just Thinkin' Here*

    OP #2 – you are letting your co-worker’s inappropriate behavior dictate your future earning potential by possibly turning down a promotion because of drama? No – you need to think about your needs, your future, your salary. It’s time to re-prioritize. Becky is not your mother, sister, wife, daughter or anyone else whose opinion counts in this matter. Whether you are a people pleaser or timid, do not let your opportunity go to waste because of someone else’s behavior. And make this an issue for your boss – because it is an issue and should have been dealt with long ago.

  68. Jellyfish Catcher*

    To # 2: Do not let Becky derail your advancement in your company – you earned that.
    My take is to keep away from the drama: do not inform about Becky prior to the announcement; do not complain to work friends about her, and be calm and professional.

    Becky will do her thing; it will finally be very obvious that she’s a problem employee,
    who needs, at the very least, to be placed on a PIP.
    You observe from the sidelines, (unless asked for input) and get a free lesson on how to manage a difficult employee. You’ll be fine.

  69. Melissa*

    LW5 – I fainted at work in front of about 50 coworkers. I was a little embarrassed but for the most part, everyone was just concerned about me and glad that I was okay. No one asked why it happened, it was only occasionally brought up when we talked about policies we had changed due to it (namely, there were more snacks available in the office, and we had to send the info for at least one emergency contact.) I’m sorry this happened to you and I hope things get easier soon!

    1. Chanel No. π*

      In my early 30s, I had a grand mal seizure at work. I literally remember nothing between opening a file cabinet…and sitting on my sofa at home, blinking at my coworkers Jane and Wakeen. I must have been lucid at the emergency room, or they wouldn’t have released me, and I probably gave directions to my apartment, because my neighborhood had a lot of one-way streets, but I just had to take everyone’s word for it.

      No embarrassment on my part; the reason I mention it is because I was impressed by another co-worker, Jake. He gave me CPR, and everyone said “How do you know CPR?” “Had to take a first-aid course when my son was in Scouts and I was a troop leader.” “You have a son that old?!” It’s like people have been saying above: it was exciting, not tragic, and Jake got to be a bit of a hero. We all moved on. (And I don’t have seizures any more. It was an issue in the 2000s, but gradually faded away.)

  70. Hyaline*

    LW2–since you didn’t mention it I assume not but—this promotion wouldn’t put you in a position of *managing Becky*, would it? Because if so, that changes my calculus and makes it absolutely a conversation I’d have with my manager—that this transition had the potential to be very difficult for, ahem, specific personnel.

  71. Happy Pineapple*

    LW #5, this happened to me! I became dizzy, shaky, disoriented, and was barely able to form coherent words while at a new-ish job. My boss took me to the hospital. Doctors thought it was dehydration and a panic attack. I was absolutely mortified that my coworkers had seen me in such a vulnerable state, but they were super kind and understanding. They never mentioned it again other than to check that I was okay when I returned to work. I didn’t share the diagnosis, and they didn’t pry for answers.

  72. The Bigger the Hair…*

    #2: Please do not let the Becky’s of the world dim your light! Go for the promotion with full enthusiasm. If she has a melt-down, that’s on her. This might be the catalyst for her to move on. Better for you and better for the company. No one person should hold the company hostage with threats of tantrums.

  73. Doozie*

    LW5 – I’m a diabetic and my first guess was low blood sugar. If you feel compelled to elaborate (and you shouldn’t) – say it was a temporary blood sugar thing. But again – don’t feel compelled to elaborate.

  74. Fernie*

    LW1, I was the interrupter, at one past workplace. There was a supply room key that was kept in the top desk drawer of the Office Manager. If you needed it, you were to just grab it from there, even if she was sitting at the desk. But I used to announce myself each time, because I could not bring myself to cross the threshhold of her cubicle, must less her desk, without being invited in, it just seemed intolerably rude.

    At first she laughingly said, “Oh, you don’t have to ask, just grab the key, everyone does!” but I still could not bring myself to do it. After one heavy day of multiple trips into the supply room, she was finally more firm with me – “Please don’t ask me every time, it interrupts my work, I’d prefer if you just grab the key and go.” Message finally received. I had taken her first laughing comment to be, “Oh, you don’t have to worry about being polite”, but her second one made it clear, “You are actually being more rude to me doing what you’re doing.”

    So, you might have to be very firm with your coworker and ask them to stop, and even if they feel bad in the moment, it should get the message across.

  75. Bored of Directors*

    LW4: I agree that the candidate has some integrity issues and you should absolutely not hire them for this job. But PLEASE do not blow up their professional life by outing them to their current employer. I work in an extremely interconnected non-profit field, and have many times been in a position where a job candidate worked for someone closely connected to our work through a partnership or board affiliation. If we ratted out every applicant whose boss we knew, no one would ever be able to apply anywhere. The only appropriate time to get in touch with someone’s current employer is at the late stage of an offer or reference check, with the candidate’s full knowledge and permission.

    1. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      By outing them to their current employer, are you referring to “normal” job-seeking, when they want to leave their old job, or secret double-dipping?

      In the former case, of course you should keep quiet about unless you absolutely must have that current reference – if you can, do avoid asking for this at all.

      In the latter case, if you don’t have a relationship with the other employer, MYOB.
      However, if you do know them – and value that relationship – then you need to inform them about double-dipping, time fraud or anything similar which the organisation would want to know. It would be in the interests of your own organisation to preserve this relationship and you are paid to look after those interests, not those of job candidates you reject.

    2. Dancing Otter*

      Wage theft by time card fraud is a crime. Is it ethical not to disclose if someone informs you they intend to commit a crime?
      This isn’t about “one of your employees is job-hunting.”

      1. CR Heads*

        What wage theft? What time card fraud? What crime?

        Working two jobs is not a crime and it’s not illegal. I just talked with a Lyft driver who also drives for Doordash – should I call the authorities and out him? Our cleaning lady also does landscaping in the summer – not sure who i should report her to.

      2. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

        Double-dipping isn’t a crime. However, it is by definition using the same hours for 2 employers, so unless they both agree to this, then the employee may well be sacked if found out.

        Someone else who finds this out is not ethically obliged to disclose it unless it affects a relationship that is important/relevant to their own employer, in which case they should inform their employer, as they are expected to protect those interests (and will likely be in trouble themself if they don’t and are found out)

        Working 2 jobs with different hours is completely different and normally perfectly ok (unless you have a contract stating otherwise for e.g. conflict of interest)

  76. Anne*


    All else aside, I don’t think Becky is necessarily in the wrong for wanting to quit if OP gets the promotion. I’ve been in the position where I’ve also had to say, “If X takes on this role, I plan on finding a job elsewhere,” and I genuinely meant it and searched/had options available to follow through on that statement. Sometimes, you just know you will not do well under the leadership of certain people, especially if you’ve worked with them in a previous context.

    1. Sneaky Squirrel*

      It’s the way that Becky has approached it that’s inappropriate. Becky is free to go to her manager and tell them that she’s disappointed she’s being passed over for LW. She can think it’s unfair and that LW is undeserving or that she is more deserving of the promotion. She’s not free to bully LW into passing up pay or promotional opportunities. She’s not free to blow up at LW for doing the job they were assigned to do.

      If Becky’s really not as good of a fit at this job as LW implies and her job is one to easily replace, as a manager I’d give her a “I’m sorry to hear that. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out”. If Becky can’t handle her ire appropriately, she is not someone that you want working long term.

  77. TheBunny*

    #1 Alison’s answer is perfect. I’m guessing it’s not a lack of awareness of you, but them trying not to be rude in a shared space.

    Headphones. But I would tell them you are going to do it before doing it so they don’t take it personally (even though it is) and make it worse.

  78. Hannah Lee*

    ” … you’re better off not shimmering in an office…”

    Words to live by, no matter what the source of the shimmering is.

  79. Emily Byrd Starr*

    1: I have ADHD and also have the same problem with interruptions. Here’s what I tell people:
    “In order for me to concentrate on something, I have to get myself in the right frame of mind by really focusing. Think of it like putting an invisible bubble around myself. Whenever I am unexpectedly interrupted, the bubble gets burst. Unlike some people, I can’t simply go back to what I was working on before I was interrupted. I have to start all over again with a brand new bubble, and it often takes me several minutes to do so.”
    I have found that this is a very effective way of explaining it so that neurotypical people can understand it.

    1. Dancing Otter*

      You mean, that doesn’t happen for everyone? Maybe I have been woefully undiagnosed for the last {mumble} decades…
      But it’s a very good way of explaining it, thank you.

      1. Irish Teacher.*

        Not in the same way/to the same extent, I don’t think. Like I think most of us have situations where our concentration is broken and we need to rethink where we were, but somebody just saying, “hey, I’m just going out to collect my mail,” wouldn’t break my concentration whereas I have a colleague who I suspect has ADHD and she could get very confused by an interruption like that.

  80. AnonForThisOne*

    I’m going to be vague on this as I don’t want to take the chance of outing myself even though it’s anonymous.

    My partner had a medical event at work. They went to the hospital. It was dramatic. Turned out not to be anything major.

    All of the response from coworkers has been to ask if they are OK. No one has said anything negative. No one has given any indication of any reply other than “hey are you OK?”

    It’s embarrassing on your side as you know what happened and you are in your head. Everyone else is just relieved you are OK.

  81. rebelwithmouseyhair*

    I would accept the promotion (I mean, it can’t be Becky, right? and you do want it and probably deserve it!)
    And I would just change Alison’s script to “I want to warn you that I think it’s likely that there will be some drama with Becky WHEN I’m promoted”.
    Your manager has chosen you, they know Becky is not as good. If she quits or behaves in a way that’s worthy of firing, well they’ll have to find two people to replace you and her.

  82. AngryOwl*

    LW 4: Don’t hire them if you don’t want to, though if they’re a good candidate otherwise you might dig a bit to see if it’s actually as bad as it seems, given how blatant they’re being and the employer being on the board — it’s possible they’re just brazen/thoughtless, but it’s also possible there’s more to this.

    But do not “out” them. We live in a hellscape and people are surviving. What possible reason could there be to tell on them? (And no, loyalty to a friend doesn’t count to me. If the person is doing their work then the employer is getting what they’re paying for; if not then they should let them go regardless.)

  83. Coco*

    One time my coworker came into the office with a her hair in a glittery updo, which was very out of character for her. She promptly started laughing, and explained she had accidentally used her preteen daughter’s sparkle hairspray. She had no time to rewash her hair before coming to work. So she just decided to run with it lol

  84. Jack Straw from Wichita*

    ” the interpersonal drama will be inevitable, even if she stays” – in that case, take the promotion. It’s going to happen either way.

  85. H.C.*

    I dig shimmery/glittery products (may have to with my on-and-off raver life outside of work) but yeah, def. not for the workplace!

  86. OhBehave*

    OP 2
    Let Becky….Becky! There is absolutely no reason you should not take the promotion. This is ridiculous. Her reaction will reflect poorly on HER. Stay above the drama and take the promotion. Then maybe tell your boss she threatened to quit. She’s childish for making threats.

  87. Umiel12*

    LW1: If you have ADHD, a more effective approach is to find coping skills to manage interruptions, rather than expecting your co-worker to adapt to you. If your co-worker also has a neurodivergence (such as ASD, OCD, etc.), it may be particularly challenging for them to change their behavior. While it’s perfectly reasonable to firmly ask them to stop, you’re likely to be more successful by managing your own reactions. For example, although Bose headphones can be quite expensive, I’ve found them invaluable in helping me block out distractions. It’s money well spent.

  88. WantonSeedStitch*

    OP #2: unless the promotion will put you in a position of managing Becky yourself, this shouldn’t impact your willingness to go through with the promotion AT ALL. If you are promoted and she quits, great! No more problematic coworker. If you are promoted and she DOESN’T quit, she’s still a problematic coworker but you are in a higher position and making more money. Now, if you’d be managing Becky with this promotion and she quits, great! No more problematic employee. If you would be managing her and she DOESN’T quit, that’s the only messy scenario, but you can still require her to be professional and do her dang job, and fire her if she doesn’t.

    1. Dancing Otter*

      Haven’t we seen a letter about that last possibility, managing a former peer? At least this one wouldn’t have the complication of being friends.

  89. Art3mis*

    #1 – I have a coworker that does this except we’re all remote and she announces everything via Teams.

  90. Raida*

    3. Shimmer body oil at work
    Don’t wear anything that’s going to leave glitter behind.

    And I’d ask “What is the purpose of wearing a shimmering body oil?” is it the best best thing for your skin and nothing comes close? or do you feel prettier in it? or sexier? or more fun? Because those are good reasons to enjoy pieces of your wardrobe and makeup and accessories overall, but drawing attention to your *skin specifically* is odd for an office setting.
    Different shoes or earrings or underwear can achieve a variety of similar results without specifically looking like you’re wanting physical attention.

  91. Working Class Lady*

    LW3 – Generally speaking, I would avoid wearing body shimmer oil to work, regardless of what you do. Save it for the bars or nightclubs or whatever after work.

    LW5- Any decent human being who witnesses someone having a medical emergency is just going to be concerned, and glad to hear the person is okay afterward.

    Something like,
    “Thanks for making sure I was okay yesterday. I’m working with my doctor and I should be okay going forward.”
    is all that’s really necessary. Moat decent, reasonable adults also understand the concept of medical privacy and won’t pry.

  92. B*

    #2 screw Becky. Sounds like a better place to work in the long run if she quits. But where will she be when your retirement fund isn’t as high at retirement time because you didn’t have the extra wage to invest now? Will she give you a glowing reference when your resume isn’t good enough for some other job just because you didn’t take this promotion? Don’t let her put you in the shadow to make herself look better. Take the promotion, let her quit.

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