Ask a Manager Weekly Thread 05/23/22 - 05/29/22

  1. Speaking of which, whatever happened to Hellmouth? Did Alison ban her, or did she just stop showing up after a while? (I didn’t follow AAM or this sub for most of the time she was “blogging,” so I don’t remember how that saga ended).

  2. That rule has helped keep some of the frequent flyers at bay, I'll give AAM that. Rebecca didn't need to post weekly gripes about her mother, she needed therapy.

  3. So, I have to ask: how is a 10-week-old baby "super high energy"? I don't have kids and truly don't know what that means. And no snark, just curious.

  4. They really should have wrote, "Jobs with absolutely no human contact except with my boss every Friday for 10 mins on Zoom."

  5. Somebody named [REDACTED] replied with a long, sympathetic post about what sounds like an even more dysfunctional relationship.

  6. I think they're asking "how do we navigate this without a vasectomy (or abstinence) and a divorce?" and I'm not sure the situation is navigated without a vasectomy (or abstinence) and a divorce.

  7. I don't even know if there is a good online place to work out something like this. I mean, what can a stranger who doesn't know either of you really say that would make a tough situation like this any easier?

  8. I was going to snark about the open thread. But everyone there is such a tightly-wound ball of anxiety, it's just sad. Is it OK to eat lunch alone? I have a pending legal matter; can I take a vacation if I bring my phone? OMG OMG OMG we had a team-building exercise and what if I catch Covid.

  9. I appreciated this response regarding the "horror" of team-building stuff. I'm glad some people still call out the pattern of unreasonable outrage happening in that comment section; I stopped trying a long time ago.

  10. I'm happy for her, and happy that RagingADHD is there to push back on an insane response to what ended up being a non-problem for EW.

  11. I'm glad to hear that it's been a positive experience for her. Though I get frustrated with her rambles and rants, I genuinely want to see her do better in life.

  12. Seems like a fake question for AAM attention. If you are comfortable enough to eat by yourself, you are probably comfortable with not caring what people think is weird.

  13. I genuinely feel bad for LW 2. Not because I think they were right, but because I think they are genuinely an unpleasant person to work with who is a perpetual victim.

  14. This letter gave me big EW vibes, though I know it can't have been her. LW came in with a chip ok her shoulder about being overqualified from the start and seems to have been as adversarial as possible in every interaction, then is surprised that she shot herself in the foot.

  15. Can anyone else not follow this letter at all? Multiple resignations and requests for raises? She handed in a letter of resignation but is still working there but doesn't want to work while going to school but also doesn't understand why she will no longer have a position soon? When was she planning on leaving? What do you mean the boss told you that you were taking over another employee's position? Didn't you resign?

  16. Um yeah, when you resign twice in 6 months and just leave your (second) end-date as "summer" and are shocked when you're replaced and can stay til June, which is the summer, seems like a "you" problem.

  17. What really jumped out to me was that LW resigned via letter/email without a conversation, then acted like a victim when the boss asked why they didn’t talk about it first. There are legit situations where resigning in a passive way is appropriate, but nothing in this letter suggests that this was one of those situations. An “I quit” via letter/email/text is super unprofessional and blindsided the boss. Label me a boot licker, but I’m on the boss’s side here, who is probably thrilled to be done with LW.

  18. It sounds like this person announced their intention to leave in February, and now they're surprised their boss has replaced them and is (still pretty generously imo) telling them they can stay til June max?

  19. I truly feel great sympathy for this commenter if "trickle-down dickishness effect" is one of the most amusing phrases they've ever did hear. It's AaM, not Oscar Wilde.

  20. The thing about the dick letter is LW hasn’t received an offer. And, if you’ve been laid off, you might have to seriously consider taking what you can get. There are plenty of upper echelon dicks, but if you’re 3 levels down, I doubt that the dickishness will have an effect.

  21. Um, using “dick” and “trickle-down” in the same sentence doesn’t seem like the greatest idea. Of course, that’s probably why AAM loves it.

  22. I'd appreciate it if I knew she was reading this gleefully because I bet she's probably fed up with her core commenting audience as much as anyone.

  23. It’s a bit insincere too. Alison has long favored letters that are more “is it wrong to be upset about this” rather than a clear question about how to approach a problem. It’s one of the first things I noticed about her when I started reading circa 2013ish.

  24. Or people have realized that submitting thinly disguised rants with "is this the new normal?" tacked on at the end is the easiest way to get a letter published.

  25. No sympathy for the person dealing with job candidates who aren't giving their full availability to interview for a low paying part time job with high turnover.

  26. Maybe I'm being dim but I got the feeling that in an effort to be clear this OP was just confusing everyone by sending them way too much information and an overly complicated request for their available times. I don't think I've ever had an interviewer ask me for all the times I'm available, usually they give me a few options to choose from.

  27. Alison tried to say as much but way too gently for it to stick imo. And she shouldn't have included a pity concession.

  28. Seriously. It's a part time, practically minimum wage job - there's only so much you can expect from people who are applying to that type of position when they could make twice as much running the drive thru at Chick fil A. Also, leaving the timing open-ended like that means the LW is going to have to come back with a time anyway, so might as well just set some times and let the interviewees pick from those.

  29. I've noticed over the years that various threads move higher or lower on the page over time. Is Alison rearranging them based on some criteria (even just how interesting she thinks they are) or is there an algorithm doing it? I've always wondered. Anybody know?

  30. I always assumed she's doing it. She's made mention in the past of moving potentially "derailing" threads down so they wouldn't be the first thing people see and gain more steam.

  31. So don’t know if they’re from the UK (their writing seems like English is their first language and the UK is the most prominent English speaking country with thalidomide victims) but there is/was no one in the UK affected by thalidomide named Andrea or Andi Stubbs (my job has me working very closely with UK Thalidomide victims so I can say that for certain). Hopefully they’re talking about someone not in the UK otherwise that’s a really cruel thing to make up.

  32. But do you know for certain that the Ronly Bonly situation doesn't happen regularly with every member of the world's vast population of R. B. Jones's?

  33. So, if I understand correctly, a co-worker had a nickname that he asked both men and women to call him, the women decided that they didn't want to call him the nickname, and he was unpleasant to them?

  34. Yeah, I feel like you'd have to go out of your way to intentionally call someone by the wrong name. Like if were greeting him or starting an email, you could say ”Hi, Babe", but if you don't feel comfortable with that (which I kind of get) the default would just be ”Hi."

  35. EDIT: I can't believe I have to state this, but it sure seems like a bunch of you think that I think requiring a pay stub with an application is good. I do not. I think it is bad. My comment is about why companies might be doing this, which are all things Alison (a self-professed expert) totally missed.

  36. It's so much easier to weed out people in this fashion to have them do those assessment tests. [Damn, I'm glad I purged those devil mfers.]

  37. Wouldn’t it also allow them to screen out anyone who they think will ask for too much money and let them lowball someone who might otherwise be offered more? I didn’t see anything about redacting pay info on the paystub, but I could be wrong.

  38. C gets me, because I think we may see that rationale driving some of the inane "can you do X" requests. It's insane to me how many people manage to bluster their basic technology ability. And I'm not talking, for example, lying about knowing SAS, but I've seen coworkers struggle with just figuring out how to access the Internet.

  39. They will lose good candidates over this. It's not reasonable to add a bunch of work for people they haven't talked too in order to save tim for themselves.

  40. I would find any company sus who asks for a pay stub as employment verification at the jump. So many easier and automated ways to do this than having to request and store sensitive pay information from the many to one relationship of candidates to open roles. It would seem more legitimate if the stub was requested prior to offer. I cannot think of one valid reason why this would be asked for at the beginning of the application phase. Closer to an offer, sure, but right up front screams to me an attempt to identify candidates who are susceptible to low ball salary/wages.

  41. That whole letter seems weird to me. There have been plenty of times when I've been sick with something that made me sound horrible but I didn't actually feel bad. Before covid I probably would have just gone to work in those circumstances (due to lack of sick time etc). If the person is well enough to work and is only staying home because they know they have covid, but is well enough to keep working from home, then I don't see why this manager is trying so hard to get them to take more sick time. And short term disability seems way over the top for an illness that is likely to last for a couple of weeks. It seems somehow performative or nannying or something, I'm not sure the word I'm looking for.

  42. Yes, it'll depend on their plan requirements too. Since she can work from home, she just "sounds horrible". A doctor is not necessarily going to be okay claiming you need STD to recover at that stage. STD is overly complicated to avoid this kind of claim.

  43. Really depends on the policies I think. Though I suspect for ST Disability you'll need to use up at a minimum all the sick leave.

  44. And those STD companies love to really fight claims and make you bend over backward to prove you can’t work. I had a friend with a hand injury and couldn’t lift more than 3 lbs or grip, and they still tried to deny them.

  45. Yep! My dad had to go on short-term disability earlier this year and it seriously sucked. It was hard and annoying to sign up for, he had to exhaust his leave first, and I don't know how much of his salary he got but it sure wasn't anywhere near 100%. If I had covid and was capable of working through it from home, there's no way in hell I'd consider short-term disability.

  46. Agreed. My company has a five-day waiting period, during which time you burn PTO or take it unpaid if you don't have PTO left. And then you're paid 60% I believe, or maybe a bit more. I know it's not 100%.

  47. Why didn't the writer start popping it the popcorn? S/he had the time to reach out to people which is probably the same amount of time it takes to make popcorn.

  48. Re: the "dramatic reaction" posts. If these are her "favorites" I'd hate to see which ones were rejected. What an amazing collection of utterly pointless anecdotes.

  49. I'll say. I thought a couple of them were amusing, but on the whole they were pretty dull. But I'm sure Alison will keep doing these kind of posts, figuring "Why should I spend time writing content when I can get the commenters to just write it for me for free?"

  50. For the second time this year I'm dealing with having to recreate the past and fix or create documentation that was never done by someone else who has since moved on. These people attended all the Zoom meetings and made phone calls, responded to emails, texts, etc. And then just literally did nothing they were supposed to do in print. If they had to do daily or weekly reports at least it might have been caught sooner that this stuff wasn't being done because hopefully someone would have thought to ask for the paperwork they claimed to spend days working on. Or maybe before they ran away someone could have said, "But you spent 8 days last month working on this, why is it blank?"

  51. Sadly, I suspect the same managers who aren’t keeping up with their subordinate’s deliverables (to the point where work doesn’t get done or doesn’t get retained after employees leave) probably aren’t going to be keeping up with the daily or weekly reports about that work either. I used to do internal audit work at a big company and that was one of our perennial issues.

  52. I feel your pain. I am currently training as a backup to someone newly hired into a position adjacent to mine. Their manager, who has been doing the work all on their own for some time, left weeks later and took much unwritten knowledge with them, with shaky and incomplete manuals and documentation left behind. So myself and the new person are now learning the job almost from scratch AND writing operations agendas and documentation as we go.

  53. i'm so sad, sick, and tired of all the "trans people bad" discourse and that's all i really have to say about the they/them letter. i'm nonbinary and do use they/them pronouns, for context. i'm just so tired. i really wish this letter hadn't been published. AG now has a pattern of posting these letters that allow the "trans ppl bad" thing to flourish/promulgate and it's really gross.

  54. Yeah. I agree with you. Ive actually met some people who think we should use they/them for all, but he is a cis man with autism seeking very clear rules to ensure he can make everyone feel included. I’ve also seen extremely online young queers make this argument.

  55. I was confused by the bit about feeling alienated by a lot of people stating their pronouns as she/her. I guess that's what makes this letter seem like anti-trans bait?

  56. I commented that Alison shouldn't have posted it. Besides the weird shit about "she/her" reinforcing the gender identity, the line about "everyone here has different racial/ethnic/neurodiversity, etc" also rubbed me the wrong way, like this post was to give Fox News dickheads something to point at. I did say she only did it for clicks so maybe I come off as an asshole.

  57. Hey, I read that one as well and found it to be kind of bait-y. I really am sorry that this keeps happening with this blog about supposed Office Norms, and that you're subjected to this.

  58. That letter 100% feels like fake anti-trans bait to me. I can't imagine it being real, and what the LW is proposing is a bad idea, since they/them isn't some kind of nebulous "neutral" stand-in pronoun but rather an identity in and of itself. I wish Allison would stop publishing this type of letter or at least turn off comments.

  59. she's a classic example of what happens when people try to act woke without actually internalizing any of the principles and act like just adopting the right language and vocabulary makes you inclusive.

  60. I don't even want to wade into that mess again (I took one quick look and noped out pretty quickly). Did the LW write in to explain the "slew of femme-presenting people" comment?

  61. Yeah. I thought her reply was fine, but I question her decision to publish this letter that's barely on-topic for a workplace advice column (and rediculous and outrageous).

  62. That line from the letter really had me scratching my head. I get the idea of not requiring people to state their pronoun and having it be voluntary. But that line comes across like saying "I don't want people who identify as women to use she/her."

  63. This exchange on today's Five Letters re: detailed daily writeups is cracking me up. "Here's an example of malicious compliance. LOL JK I got fired for it."

  64. I love that they think the way to get their boss off their back about getting stuff done while working from home is to submit a bunch overly detailed logs that they obviously wasted time to write.

  65. Lol, it's wrecking me that WellRed didn't expect that outcome b/c I totally did. What, did they think the boss was going to give PannaLisenka a raise for being so witty and creative?

  66. I don't think it's the same. There is one working week between the vacation and the start date. So LW would give notice 3 weeks before her start date, work one week, take the vacation, and work one last week. The LW's plan had her working two weeks before vacation with vacation time paid out and then one week with neither job and no vacation pay.

  67. Oh, good! Today we get another chance to hear them all bitch about how terrible it is to have to come into the office ever. (Obviously the manager's requirement for a "work from home report" is completely ridiculous.)

  68. What's interesting to me is the number of reasons/excuses the OP lists--implying that they have approached management/their boss multiple times about these reports. Like, you got your BS answer, clearly that's how it's going to be, either make it work or make it your hill to die on, but don't keep pestering the manager for "answers"!

  69. We had to do this for most of the time we were working 100% from home. After maybe a year of writing daily reports I finally told my supervisor that it would be more effective if I wrote weekly reports (supervisor was clearly not registering anything from my daily reports, and writing them weekly allowed me to highlight what I actually got accomplished, which was helpful to me -- I found 100% WFH to not be as productive for me), and it was fine. Apparently others hadn't been complying at all. And if my supervisor had been having actual 1:1s with us during that time, maybe we wouldn't have needed to write daily (or weekly) reports?

  70. I hereby present this letter writer with the Use Your Words award for resolving a problem through the use of polite conversation.

  71. Honestly I kind of like this update. You’re absolutely right — so many of these workplace problems really can be solved with a relatively low stakes conversation. Most people really aren’t that bad.

  72. I know we snark on AAM’s thredup ads here but I just went to the website looking for an item and was shocked by how terrible every item looked. So wrinkly and crumpled. I guess I get why they haven’t fired her yet.

  73. Yeah I feel like ThredUp kinda went downhill over the last year? Or were they always like that and I just got lucky with my first few purchases?

  74. Some pushback in the comments on the receptionist letter for not revising her answer to the letter and just doing a reprint. Saving for posterity in case they get wiped.

  75. The LW for the original "rude receptionist" letter posted a comment! Good to hear that things worked out for the receptionist, but it definitely sounds like she was going through some personal issues at the time.

  76. That update explained what literally happened but left me "baffled" as to what was "really" going on, ya know? Like was it a mutual thing where the receptionist was abrasive and salty and people were being racist, triggering a vicious circle, or something else? Like what was the root cause! That's what I really want to know.

  77. I wonder if the situation was a bit more complicated/nuanced than this update makes it sound (though I'm not really trying to snark on the LW that much, this seems like just a quick, off the cuff update in the comments). Like I wonder if some of the original complaints were racially motivated (even if subconsciously), and then when it was brought up by the manager originally it caused the receptionist to spiral or caused a bit of a snowball effect where she did start being objectively rude or unprofessional which the LW eventually saw in the emails.

  78. Maybe I value potlucks too much and have seen way to many managers try and "save the company a dime" by taking away things like this that aren't really taking up to much tim. My fav was the anti march madness crusader after the Forbes article talking about billions in lost productivity came out. But I feel like the reactions to this are warranted and predictable. I also wouldn't call, one department did there own thing, another manager decided to shine as the best yes man and ban fun completely, as "all hell breaking loose". Like what did they think would happen when you took away a cool perk like this?

  79. Under the "weirdly dramatic reactions" post, I just don't believe #10 (the doctor's office and appointment system) really happened. A doctor having a kicking-and-screaming tantrum on the floor? I'm willing to believe that the doctors complained or were annoyed, but "I refuse" to believe it happened as the LW stated.

  80. If it is true, it seems likely there's context the LW doesn't know about. It may not be as simple as "coworker has unreasonable reaction to office change".

  81. NGL. I believe it after having worked with Drs at a hospital for 5+ years. There are good doctors out there, but 80%+ of the ones I worked with were some of the biggest most entitled assholes I have ever had to deal with. A lot of them are dumber then you would think any Dr could be too.

  82. Seriously. If I say that I'm worried about how my neighbors might think I'm rude or brusque, it would likely make a difference if you know that I only recently moved from outside Philadelphia, PA to Savannah, GA. (Oh god, everyone is still too friendly down here!!)

  83. That can certainly provide color on why she might be behaving that way, but it doesn't make it acceptable and wouldn't really change the fact that she either needs additional training on expectations or that she's not fit for the role. So...not really need-to-know.

  84. There are only three guarantees in life: death, taxes, and AAM commenters seizing the opportunity to talk about their undying hatred for receptionists.

  85. Someone pointed out that in the comments of the original letter the receptionist was Black and everyone else was white, so naturally their brains are breaking at the idea racism vs. hatred of receptionists.

  86. Job hopping/LW4 - not really going to argue for or against Alison’s advice here because it really is industry specific and there is no universal truth anymore. But did anyone notice that Alison references herself as evidence that job hopping is still taboo? Not only is she out of touch, she really believes she has a pulse on what managers are looking for in 2022.

  87. It's definitely industry specific. I have a neighbor who works on political campaigns. Two years is her longest stint, and she told me it's common to have only weeks-long stints for some things.

  88. I'm embarrassed to admit that 10 years ago I panicked and completely re-wrote my resume when several commentors over their reporting to be managers said that internal job hopping was a thing. I down played my frequent promotions by eliminating some roles I was only in for 8-13 months before being promoted.

  89. It's really fascinating to me that she has not budged on the job hopping topic. So many things she prefaces with "The labor market has drastically changed, so the old standards don't apply," but she's still digging in her heels on this one.

  90. I don't mind second hand letters. What does it really matter if it's the LW or their daughter? There's a set of circumstances that we're supposed to believe. Alison answers based on those circumstances. Readers are supposed to be either entertained or educated about employment issues.

  91. The only problem with banning these secondhand letters is that then they’re going to start writing them like it’s their own situation and we get an even worse view of the situation.

  92. I generally agree. Even when an LW is describing their own situation they often leave stuff out or have to clarify something in the comments. When the LW is describing something that they heard about second hand or third hand the chances that they’re getting major facts wrong are so high, especially when the situation is ridiculous.

  93. Maybe I just work in a super strict industry and workplace, but if I was not going in to the office the required number of days and it came out or someone complained, I would get fired. I acknowledge that not all workplaces and industries are as formal and strict as mine however Alison can't possibly predict the outcome for every single one. There are so many variables and it does the letter writer no favors to pretend otherwise.

  94. Yeah return to work is going to be a rude awakening for a lot of people. The future of WFH is as a perk that is going to be given to in demand employees with a lot of leverage.

  95. Based on the comments today, I really hope Alison at some points writes a post about the realities of working. "What I'd like it to be/should be" versus "what it really is." Some of these people need a reality check.

  96. That letter is so silly to me b/c if that LW had just talked to the new manager and explained they typically came into the office once every other week or whatever, I think there's an extremely good chance the manager would be fine with that continuing. It doesn't sound like LW needs to be in the office to do their job, and their whole team is remote, so it would be easy to make an argument for coming in very infrequently rather than just doing whatever you want and possibly getting in trouble.

  97. One thing I hate about letters like this is that it’s clear that the LW is fishing for someone to say “eh, it’ll be fine, don’t worry about it”. Maybe it WILL be fine but there’s no way for Alison to promise that unequivocally. She doesn’t know anything about the company or how strict it is or what the management is like or what the industry is like or anything like that.

  98. When reading LW1, I just thought …”and this is why some companies want everyone back in the office.” LW just thinks the rules shouldn’t apply to her and there’s no indication she needs an accommodation for health reasons. Either follow the rules or find a full remote job.

  99. I also bristled at her suggestion to plead ignorance. It may be a good play for the LW here, but Alison’s lack of integrity only one day after a “can I lie on my resume?” is a bit startling. LW is knowingly out of compliance with a job requirement, the options for them should be to get into compliance or to appeal to new management again for an exception. Waiting to get caught and preparing a defense is shockingly bad advice.

  100. Yeah, there's no way that this one ends well for the OP. I promise you: SOMEONE has noticed, even if they haven't said or done anything directly. If there was an expectation to come in and you haven't been, that's going to come out and end badly.

  101. I agree. I also think she should have mentioned how it could affect the morale of other people who notice what LW is doing and is getting away with it, while they're stuck being in the office two days a week and abide by policy. I mean, I know it's on the managers to manage and people should min their own business, but I've been in the position of watching someone get away with something that nobody else can and it really sucks. As much as you try to mind your own business and not care, it's a big morale hit. But if I said all this over there, I'd get raked over the coals because they think anything you can do to stick it to the company and coworkers is fine as long as it gets you what you want.

  102. I agree. I think Alison really glossed over this possibility of serious repercussions like it was imaginary or something. LW acknowledges the policy is to come into the office. Unless LW has something in writing from a supervisor saying they don't need to come in (and it doesn't sound like they have that), then the LW really could have a problem. It's also possible that literally nobody will know or care, but Alison probably should have done more to prepare the LW (and by extension, the rest of her readers) that some places will care a lot and will see this as a serious, prolonged, and intentional violation of policy.

  103. As much joy as these comments make me, since Allison and some of her loyal fanbase is aware of this subreddit, I wonder how much time it will take before they start claiming it's all a plot by us to troll her site?

  104. Alison publishes a story about how customer service employees are facing worse and worse behavior. The very first comment is all, “well, ACKSHUALLY, this is all the employees’ fault!”

  105. My favorite comment is the one responding to someone trying to pull a "both sides!" by referring to customers as "emotionally disregulated":

  106. As others have said: it's for liability and it's just enough time for the women on staff to concoct elaborate plans to accuse their co-workers of attempting to grope them. Any less and the plan falls completely through.

  107. Certainly the AAM commenters would be horrified to have an eight hour drive demanded of them… and they probably have disabilities or anxiety that prevents them from driving

  108. Could it be for liability reasons? If there is some sort of internal policy on driving x hours. Or maybe the items they are picking up require two people, perhaps for ensuring there are two witnesses to receiving the item...hard to say without knowing what they are actually picking up

  109. The shoe tampering thread... It's clear that AAM commenters have never worked in manufacturing. Bob finds his shoes are damp when they've been near the showers, and people are suggesting not just going to HR, but that the company should have given him a day off with pay and sent him to the store to buy replacement shoes on their dime. I thought we were only supposed to discuss the world we live in, not the world we wished we lived in. HR isn't going to GAF, they're certainly not going to say, "here's $50 go shopping, we'll pay you for today!

  110. As someone who usually works outside and often gets very wet I can only imagine the blank stare I'd get if I complained that my work boots were damp and expected to be told to go out and buy a new pair one the company dime.

  111. Never worked in manufacturing, and have never done any kind of shift work, and lack the curiosity or imagination to understand how most workers earn a living.

  112. I like how she’s supposedly British and never left Britain but every week she has half a dozen stories of being persecuted by American-style evangelicals or similar. Like the “won’t be alone with women” thing is what you find from Mike Pence and his ilk. Anyone could run into someone like that in the UK occasionally but for her it’s constant when even in the US it’s rare in most places.

  113. She’s the boss? I thought her boss had commented on her not wanting children. Or something…but pretty sure it was her boss. This was in regard to her recent alleged surgery.

  114. Not to cry about fake letters, but that was a novel that boiled down to "I accidentally implied someone did a bad thing, and now they're mad at me, what do?" But conveniently with enough triggers (blue collar work, clothing, smell, potential racism) to set off the AAM crowd.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may have missed