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Friday, August 1st, 2014 10:09 pm


So I finally, FINALLY, got around to cleaning my room. I always would stress and panic about just the thought of cleaning it, because it’s like, where do I start and where would this stuff go and omg it’s all too much and then I wouldn’t do it. So it’s been a disaster area for quite some time and I’m glad I could get it done. I’m really bad at getting distracted while cleaning, so I only took a break for dinner and the bathroom. I threw on some music and got to work. I stared at around 5pm and finished up around 4am. There was a lot to clean and I knew if I stopped for even a tiny bit that I wouldn’t finish. I’m so happy and super proud of myself for getting it all done. Granted my closet is kinda not as well organized as I’d like, but I can get to that another time. At least I can access and find things in it. I also need to donate that giant plastic bag full of clothes, it’s just super heavy and so transporting it somewhere is what will be difficult. Anyway, YAY ME! Now I can sleep in peace in my super spiffy clean room!

Friday, August 1st, 2014 09:19 pm
Watch drought take over the entire state of California in one GIF

Containing Ebola Is Extremely Labor Intensive, Former CDC Researcher Says

How cultures around the world think about parenting

Amazon’s Failed Pitch to Authors

New Harry Potter covers revealed

Kids who identify with the hero of J.K. Rowling’s popular fantasy novels hold more open-minded attitudes toward immigrants and gays.

Mayor Sued By ACLU Compares Atheist Near Prayer Group To KKK At MLK Event

A social media strategist for a Utah school that teaches English as a second language was fired for a blog post about homophones – words that sound alike but have a different meaning.

Tim Torkildson was let go from the Nomen Global Language Center because his boss, Clark Woodger, thought it would make people think the school had a gay agenda because homophone sounds kind of like homosexual - or homophobe.

The FBI Misses 1 Million Rapes While Focused on Fabricating Terrorism

Depression Is a Risk Factor for Dementia, New Research Says

GOP blocks tax hike on firms moving overseas

U.N. official breaks down over deaths of Palestinian children

US condemns shelling of UN school in Gaza but restocks Israeli ammunition

For teens at Rikers Island, solitary confinement pushes mental limits

Mysterious holes in Siberia may be craters of climate change explosions

One species of deep-sea octopus broods over its eggs for more than four years, longer than any other known species.

Warmer Parenting Makes Antisocial Toddlers More Empathetic

Death of New York man a homicide caused by police choke hold

It Takes a Village to Raise a Child—Especially for the Working Poor

Oil refinery threatened by sea-level rise, asks government to fix problem

Climate extremes are here to stay: Expect more heat waves and cold snaps
Friday, August 1st, 2014 09:03 pm

Thanks! I’m going to respond to you and a couple other people with this one.

I’ve bookmarked to dig into their list posts and masterposts, and the advice column stuff looks good.

OTOH I’m not sure if I can handle following the blog because of a couple reasons: One is that some of the directions aren’t written in ways that let me prioritize by utility, specifically the daily posts. Like, the daily “Make your bed! Excuses are boring” posts trigger some combination of childhood shit and ‘uh but it is literally the lowest thing on my priority list and I really don’t have the spoons to do pointless pain-aggravating things when I could be doing other things and I know my life better than you do’ in-head argumentativeness, the “go to bed at a reasonable hour” list items trigger badfeels and ‘ha ha yes and stop being depressive while I’m at it?’ since I have a sleep disorder, and while I could tune out the stuff that is specifically unhelpful to me, I’m pretty sure from other things I’ve attempted like this that making the effort to tune out some instructions either results in tuning out all the instructions or takes the executive function spoons that I rightfully need for the actual unfucking part.

The other is that the broad-based to-do-lists they post tend to be incompatible with my own personal “peanut butter sandwich programming instructions” test? Like, the particular types of executive dysfunction I have when trying to organize tend to require me to break things down into their component steps fairly explicitly (If condition X, then Y. If condition Y, then Z, or possibly B if preferred) and most of their instructions aren’t… broken down that way.

Which I’m sure is a plus for other people who aren’t me and don’t require overly specific complexity for breakfast, lunch, dinner and midnight snacks! I’m not slagging on the blog at all, and it clearly works for a lot of people and that’s cool.

But yeah, nonspecific instructions sometimes fall into the “I know I’m supposed to do that already” list backlog and therefore don’t hook up with the appropriate frontal lobe circuits to get me off my butt. (This is partly because attempting cleaning tasks without specific instructions often hits one of my poor motor areas. Example: When I need to clean a floor I usually resort to damp paper towels because the motor skill of brooms is broken for me for reasons I do not fully understand and it tends to make me panicky.)

(I’m tagging this post to them in case they’re interested in this sort of gentle “here’s why it doesn’t work for me, a particular individual autistic person with a sleep disorder who has weirdly touchy baggage around cleaning, as written” feedback and they’re welcome to disregard if that feedback is overly specific, overly complicated or not relevant to their interests! Similarly, I’m tagging it at the people who recommended this blog to let them know I’ve heard the recommendation and appreciate it anyway, and if bringing up my specific problems makes you think of a different blog or way of deconstructing instruction sets or something, feel free to throw it up here, I won’t mind.)

(…Now that I think about it, I might be able to set up a phrase blocker/phrase changer browser addon to make the phrases that bug me turn into something else. Anyone know a good addon of this nature for Chrome?)

Friday, August 1st, 2014 09:01 pm

  • Wash the dishes in your sink

  • Get your outfit for tomorrow together, including accessories

  • Set up coffee/tea/breakfast

  • Make your lunch

  • Put your keys somewhere obvious

  • Wash your face and brush your teeth

  • Charge your electronics

  • Pour a little cleaner in the toilet bowl (if you don’t have pets or children or sleepwalking adults)

  • Set your alarm

  • Go to bed at a reasonable hour

Friday, August 1st, 2014 09:01 pm

  • Wash the dishes in your sink

  • Get your outfit for tomorrow together, including accessories

  • Set up coffee/tea/breakfast

  • Make your lunch

  • Put your keys somewhere obvious

  • Wash your face and brush your teeth

  • Charge your electronics

  • Pour a little cleaner in the toilet bowl (if you don’t have pets or children or sleepwalking adults)

  • Set your alarm

  • Go to bed at a reasonable hour

Thursday, July 31st, 2014 08:37 pm
Empire State Building on Thursday, MoMA (which I've never been to before) on Friday.

Ana developed a sudden and crippling fear of extreme heights between the entrance of the ESB and the observation deck, and spent her time huddled in a corner with a book. Eva and their friend were more interested, but after spending all their quarters on binoculars they were done. We were there a total of about two hours, and only spent maybe ten minutes of that on the 86th floor. Sheesh. And, of course, Ana's $23 was totally wasted, but she was a trooper about it, didn't panic or anything.

We were lucky to have gone in the morning. By the time we left, the roped aisles we'd practically raced through were one long line of people. Guys? Wherever you are, if you're doing the tourism thing, remember: it pays to set your alarm clock! Get up early and beat the rush! (And by "rush" I mean the dull tedium of standing in line three or four times as long as you would've if you'd gotten there when they opened.)

MoMA was better, and they really enjoyed it. Apparently, the art lab gives out bingo sheets so you can tour the museum with your kids and try to fill up a bingo board with the various materials the artwork uses. It *does* keep them engaged and occupied. Unfortunately, it also meant they were waaaaay more interested in the notes next to the artwork than the art itself... and to read those notes they had to come close enough to touch the art. Which they never did (whew!) but they *did* touch the wall a lot. That's why we eventually left, actually, Eva was getting a bit too touchy and I could just see her inevitably tripping over something and banging into a painting or sculpture that we can't afford to pay for.

One thing about MoMA, they apparently do not believe in talking down to their visitors. Like, at all. They have, in addition to the notes for each piece, descriptions in each gallery of the sort of art you'll view and the historical context, and those descriptions were impossible. My vocabulary certainly isn't lacking, but I still found myself going cross-eyed at the text. To be honest, I found that a very distancing decision on their part. If you already have to be well-educated to understand what they're saying, you're not going to get as much out of it as you would with slightly simpler writing, and that might turn off some people who already have a hard enough time braving the $25 entrance fee to visit. (They are actually free on Friday afternoons from 4 to 8.) I've been to the Met easily fifty times in my life, not just because of the suggested donation (admittedly a big attraction) but because I can learn something while I'm there. You can't learn something from impenetrable prose, and I wouldn't be surprised if this turns away people who might want to be repeat visitors. Edit: Actually, probably more than 50 times. We used to have a membership when I was a child. But I'm going to discount all the times before I was 10 or so, because my memories are too fuzzy.

But I can't fault the art!

Now, I've got one ticket left in that citypass book, and that's to the Guggenheim. I just might use it myself tomorrow. We would've gone to that midweek, but remember, on Tuesday poor Ana fell down the porch stairs, crashed into the bannister on the stoop, and then had a very heavy wagon fall on her arm. It's not broken, but she spent most of Wednesday hurting, so we canceled with our friend and stayed in.
Friday, August 1st, 2014 08:29 pm

Giant pipe left over from the refit of the hydroelectric plant just downriver from my house.
Friday, August 1st, 2014 08:12 pm
Not professional, not note-perfect, but I'm pretty pleased-- especially considering that I learned it with no help.
Friday, August 1st, 2014 02:46 pm


I’ve been feeling really shitty about what feels like my lack of ability to complete basic everyday tasks, so I’m posting these before and afters from last week to remind myself that I’m not completely useless.

Friday, August 1st, 2014 04:00 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

This was originally published on January 12, 2010. And while the question is about what to ask someone who has the job you just got promoted to, these would also be good questions to ask someone who has the type of job you’d like to hold eventually.

A reader writes:

Do you have any ideas for questions to ask someone who already has the role that you just got promoted to?

Great question! Here are some that come to mind, and I hope others will join in with their own suggestions:

* What surprised you about the role that you didn’t know when you first started in it? What was different from what you had expected?

* What are the biggest challenges you face and why?

* How can you tell when you’re being successful? How do others measure your success?

* Is there any recent history in the department or job I should be aware of?

* What advice do you wish someone gave you when you first started?

* What advice do you have about working with other departments/people that this job interacts with a lot? What things should I be sensitive to?

* What are the most common requests that come your way?

* What are the most common problems you encounter, and how do you handle them?

* What were the big things you are trying to achieve this year?

* What things are worrying you?

* What’s the best approach to working with our manager? What does she like and dislike? What’s hardest about working with her? What’s the best thing about working with her? What surprised you about her?

What suggestions do other people have?

what to ask someone who has the job you just got promoted to was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Friday, August 1st, 2014 03:00 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

Olive on chairIt’s the Friday open thread. This post is for work-related discussions only. Please hold anything off topic for the free-for-all open thread that’s coming this Sunday.

The comment section on this post is open for discussion with other readers on anything work-related that you want to talk about. If you want an answer from me, emailing me is still your best bet, but this is a chance to talk to other readers.

open thread – August 1, 2014 was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Friday, August 1st, 2014 11:07 am
Cordelia is appalled that so much of the summer has gone already. She feels like it's gone past too fast, poor kid.

Scott had to work late last night. That meant that I had to cook dinner because we were completely out of leftovers. I suggested baked beans to Cordelia because I know how much she dislikes the way I cook chicken (she wrote a poem about how terrible 'Mama's meat' is when she was in third grade). She rejected that idea, and she did end up eating what I came up with which was chicken baked with cheese sauce (yes! a sauce Cordelia will eat!).

As it turns out, it's a good thing Scott did the overtime last night. Today, they had too little work, so they sent home the folks who had already worked overtime. Scott got out of there at 10:30. I expect him home any minute now. He's torn between getting things done today and going to see the Guardians of the Galaxy movie. We have things going on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, so it's a hard decision. It may come down to whether or not he can talk Cordelia into going to the movie with him.

My website is back up. It took Scott all of five minutes, but he'd put it off because he had no idea if it would be something quick or if it would take hours. I haven't posted "Not All My Grief" there yet. I'll probably do that today. I also have to post the bit of "Occlusion" that I wrote for [ profile] weissvsaiyuki. The difficulty is that the most recent bit comes in between two sections that I wrote previously and posted as a single document. I shall have to mess around with separating those sections into new documents so that the new bit can be put in between.
Friday, August 1st, 2014 02:00 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

You may have noticed some changes since yesterday…

1. Expandable and collapsible comments. In response to much demand, we now have expandable and collapsible comments. At the top of every comment section, you’ll see a link to collapse (or expand) all the replies on the page. You’ll also see the same option after each individual comment that has replies to it. So, if you see a comment that you find utterly uninteresting and it has 30 replies to it, you can simply click to collapse those replies and move on to the next comment thread, rather than having to scroll through them all.

2. New layout. We’ve gone down to two columns from three, which means that the main post area is wider and thus you don’t have to do as much scrolling.

3. Responsive theme. The new layout is a responsive theme, which means that it will automatically optimize when you’re viewing it on a phone. For instance, the text will fill the page width, so you won’t need to zoom in like you used to. (I do know some of you are wary of mobile versions, but give this one a shot and see what you think.)

4. Powered by Inc. Some big news on my end: Ask a Manager has partnered with Inc. They’re now providing the advertising here, and I’m really excited to be working with their awesome team.

As with any website change, we may find things that need to be tweaked in the next few days. Please let me know of anything you spot.

And huge thanks to Laura Moore of, who put a ton of work into making this happen and go so smoothly.

some changes… was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Friday, August 1st, 2014 09:39 am
You know how sometimes I'll get an image stuck in my head of one of my RP characters in a situation and eventually have to build it into a plot somewhere just to make it happen and get it out?

I need Ellen to encounter this guy. And possibly come home with his shield.

I'm pretty sure he's not anywhere near the Capital Wasteland, though. Interstate 35, in our world, runs from Texas to Minnesota. For Ellen that's an insanely long way, given that her available means of transportation are a) her feet and b) her cow's feet. If I alter the sign a little, to 85, my chances are better; I-85 runs from Alabama to Virginia, and I've never really gone into anything to the south of the Capital Wastes. It might give me a chance to fill in some details while I wait for news about Fallout 4 (so I can decide whether to work with what they give us for canon or just say 'sod it, complete AU', as I'm kind of attached to my idea of the Commonwealth as a GRIMDARK MATRIARCHY OF SCIENCE).

Just thinkin' out loud.
Friday, August 1st, 2014 08:14 am

Posted by Tab

The internet has decided- Monday is Shades day, with 2 updates landing late monday evening after being livestreamed during the day. Because why wait when you can gorge all at once?

Anywhoo, here’s the cover to part 2- Shades After. I could have called it ‘book 2′ or something similar, but it seemed like a nice idea to call it something a bit more catchy XP

After pondering what image to use on this cover I decided on the keyboard- firstly it’s a pun on the whole key thing you get on the last book in the 50 shades of grey series:


I considered a bunch of imagery, trying to think of something that comes up a lot in the story to come- and the consistent thread through the story is Anwar’s blog and different form of communications, so a keyboard. A cover page is born!

See y’all Monday!

Friday, August 1st, 2014 12:30 am
Wouldn't it be GREAT if conquering fatigue were this easy? Image found on Wikipedia

I want to alert ya'll to a series of upcoming posts beginning on Monday Aug 4th authored by Sarah Schafer, MD.

Dr. Schafer is a patient with Sjögren’s and an advocate for the Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation. Previously, she was a public health physician focused on child health, family planning, and STD for the city of San Francisco and Contra Costa County. She has recently written an excellent article published in The Rheumatologist found here entitled Under the Radar: A physician–patient’s experience with Sjögren’s syndrome.

I have enjoyed getting to know Sarah over the years and appreciate the perspective that she brings as both patient and health care provider. Sarah has told me that one of the most disabling symptoms of Sjogren's for her has been the fatigue:
Sicca symptoms are important. I know this firsthand, having severe dry eye disease, including a painful neuropathic component. However, what impacts my life the most is the disabling flu-like fatigue that is seen in 70% of primary Sjögren’s patients. This is not normal exhaustion that can be managed with rest and recovery. Because of fatigue, I have had nothing resembling a normal life for the past 11 years.
She has shared her experiences, her exhaustive examination of current research, and the resulting coping strategies in a series of three essays entitled Managing Sjogren's Fatigue, the first of which will be posted here on Monday.

I can't wait for you to read them.
Friday, August 1st, 2014 05:00 am

Posted by PJ Jonas

It’s time for another Goat Milk Stuff contest!  This month’s contest will be a little different. We will be giving away 1 sample pack ($50 retail value) to each winner.  A sample pack includes 28 travel bars of our most popular soap scents. Each travel bar will come in a cotton GMS bag. The Facts: Contest Begins: 8/1/14 Contest Ends: 8/31/14 Winner […]
Friday, August 1st, 2014 04:03 am

Posted by Ask a Manager

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

1. Will martial arts hurt my boyfriend’s career in child care?

My boyfriend is looking for a job in child care, but he doesn’t have much experience working with children. He has done the state training in childcare (not a full degree, just an online 40-hour certification) and completed first aid training, as many of the job announcements ask for those. On one version of his resume, he’s included volunteer time with a martial art he participated in for over a decade, because he helped train new members–including children. I thought the martial arts training was a great addition, since he has no work experience he could talk about, but the martial arts trainings did regularly include children and teenagers, and he could talk about how he helped with them. He drove vehicles with them to meets all over the state, checked in with parents about scheduling, and sparred with them. He wasn’t a master of his art, but for years a respected and looked-up-to member of their local chapter, and helped many members advance in the art.

A friend, however, thought that the martial arts experience didn’t belong on his resume, since it makes him sound “like not the kind of guy you’d want around your kids!” … which… completely depends on what individuals think about the various martial arts! When he talks about martial arts, he’s talking about health and perseverance–things which should be great things to share with kids, and would be appropriate in a childcare setting– but our friend said most people just think punching and violence on TV. Most of the online childcare/babysitting fora seem to agree to not mention any martial arts training, but it’s by far the most “official” time he’s spent with unrelated children, and I think it’s important to have something on there that says, “adults other than my relatives trust me with their children.” Do you (or your readers) have any opinions on this?

And how can men ensure they don’t appear creepy when applying for work with children? We’ve debated all this quite a bit and would love to hear other ideas on it!

I can’t imagine why include his martial arts work would be a negative. As you point out, it demonstrates work with children and a track record of being responsible for them. And someone who’s worried about a man being in charge of kids isn’t going to be more worried because he’s a martial artist; if he can’t be trusted with kids, he can’t be trusted — it doesn’t make the situation worse that he could karate chop them.

Some people do still have a bias against men in child care, which is rooted in incredibly sexist and insulting assumptions. I’m not sure there’s much your boyfriend can do about that other than be squeaky clean and responsible, but I’m interested to hear other people’s thoughts on it.

2. My company hires new managers without giving anyone internal the chance to apply

Last year, I (a senior-level, non-management staff member) assisted in interviewing a person I thought would be a new colleague just under me in rank. Instead, he was hired as a manager in the department I work in, and a second person was hired for the job actually posted. None of us had been told there was even a plan in place to hire another manager, and even though several of us had repeatedly expressed interest in moving up in the company, nobody had an opportunity to apply for this managerial position – because it was never even posted, publicly or within the company. After this, two staff members quit.

Now this has happened again, in a different department. Can you suggest any leverage we might have in fighting these “invisible” management hires from outside at the expense of employee growth in the company? I suspect it is technically legal, just crappy practice. It has been very demoralizing; I have heard from several coworkers that they feel like their jobs are total dead-ends. I don’t think anyone feels they are “owed” a management position; we just want a chance to throw our hats in the ring!

It’s perfectly legal, but you’re right that it’s demoralizing; it sends a message to people that they don’t have much of a future in your company if they want to grow, because they’ll never be given the opportunity to even apply for higher-level roles. To be clear, the problem is mostly about the pattern; something like this happening once can be understandable (plans change, the new manager might have been clearly perfect for what they wanted, the potential internal candidates might have been clearly not as strong), but (a) they should have given you all more of an explanation than they did, and (b) it happening a second time is understandably troubling.

The thing to do here is to speak up. Talk to whoever is in a position to have influence on this process, explain why what they’re doing is discouraging, and ask for more openness and transparency in the process in the future.

3. Asking applicants why they’re interested in part-time work

I am an employer who is very careful not to cross the line with inappropriate interview questions. Is it inappropriate or illegal to ask this: “When responding [to this job posting], please explain why you currently prefer to work part-time hours.” We have a part-time job available and are finding what appears to be numerous full-time workers applying. Naturally, I don’t want to hire someone who will leave when their a full-time job opens up for them.

Nope, it’s not illegal to ask the question and it’s a sensible thing to ask. However, you run the risk of inviting answers explaining that some applicants are women with kids, which potentially makes it easier for someone to later claim that you’re discriminating against women. It’s pretty unlikely though, and it’s a totally reasonable question to ask. You might, however, ask it as part of your early-stage phone screening, rather than making it such a focal point of the initial application.

4. I sent money to a company that wanted to hire me and now they’ve disappeared

So I recently applied to a job in a pharmaceutical facility on kijiji. A few days later, I received a reply from a manager for a company, telling me he would like to offer me a tentative position and that I would just need to e-transfer them a $40 fee for a criminal record check, but I would be reimbursed on my first paycheck and once that was passed I could go to their employment offices to fill out paperwork and have the position. There is no information surrounding the company name he had under his name in the email signature. I thought, okay, maybe it’s a private hiring contract or something and also it’s based in Ottawa (I am located in Windsor, Ontario). So, no interview, just a criminal record check. I’ve also called the phone number listed in the email, no answer, and no answer from my email that was replied to 2 days ago as well as this morning. This job pays $15/hour and I’m really hoping it’s just not too good to be true.

You were told you were being hired without even an interview and you just needed to transfer money to them to make it happen? That sounds like a scam, and I think you’re probably out that $40. I’m sorry.

I don’t know that there’s much you can do, but at a minimum you should report it to the site where you applied for the job.

5. I have to wait two years for a salary review

I joined the staff of a small nonprofit in spring 2013. I had a 90-day review in summer 2013 and was told my first opportunity for a raise would be summer 2014. In January 2014, my supervisor confirmed that I had completed 2/3 of my goals for the year and would receive at least a 2% raise at my review.

Sometime during the first half of the year, HR changed policy on reviews: instead of doing all staff reviews at the end of the fiscal year, they would be done on hire date anniversaries. I waited a couple of months past my hire date anniversary and finally asked my boss when I would be getting my review. He told me because the policy had been passed the week before my hire date, I wouldn’t have a review until my *next* hire date (in 2015).

Most of the rest of the staff has anniversaries in the fall so their reviews were only postponed by a couple of months. I am not sure what to do with the fact that my first opportunity for a raise will now be Spring 2015 after starting Spring 2013. Is this normal procedure with a policy change? I did express some frustration and was told it was just luck of the draw.

It sounds like your boss misinterpreted the policy. This is exactly the kind of thing HR is useful for. Go talk to them.

will martial arts hurt my boyfriend’s career in child care, I sent money to an employer who has disappeared, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Thursday, July 31st, 2014 09:00 pm

  • Wash the dishes in your sink

  • Get your outfit for tomorrow together, including accessories

  • Set up coffee/tea/breakfast

  • Make your lunch

  • Put your keys somewhere obvious

  • Wash your face and brush your teeth

  • Charge your electronics

  • Pour a little cleaner in the toilet bowl (if you don’t have pets or children or sleepwalking adults)

  • Set your alarm

  • Go to bed at a reasonable hour

Thursday, July 31st, 2014 08:19 pm

Before (aka the husband's version of clean)


Mid way, emptied the contents of the sink onto the side





An hour and a half of unfucking, still not happy but it’s usable now.

Thursday, July 31st, 2014 08:11 pm
Adapted from a leafy salad at 101 cookbooks

Accessibility & Dietary Notes )

What you need and what you do with it )

I served this as a side dish to a roast chicken, and then took the leftovers and cooked them into a risotto using the basic recipe I used here. Om nom nom.
Thursday, July 31st, 2014 04:00 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

Walking into an existing team as the new manager is tough. People are often wary of a new manager and will be scrutinizing your every word and action, as they try to figure out what to expect from you.

If you’re the new boss, there are some important things you should do to quickly gain the respect of your team. I talk about five of them at Intuit QuickBase’s Fast Track blog today.

how to gain respect as the new boss was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Thursday, July 31st, 2014 03:00 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

A reader writes:

I work in an office at a university, and came to the decision to finish my position at the end of this contract, rather than accepting the extension that had been offered to me. I wrote a letter of resignation and arranged a meeting with my direct supervisor to give it to him and to inform him of my intentions.

When I gave him the letter, his first question was if I had another job. I do not, and as I don’t believe in lying about things, I told him that I did not. I told him the reason I was planning on leaving was that I would rather focus on my academics for my last term as I am creating and facilitating a seminar on top of a full-time course load. While this is true, the real reason I do not want to continue my position is because the working environment is absolutely atrocious on so many levels, and as I cannot see myself having any future in this office (non-union staff are rarely promoted to union positions), nor do I want to pursue a career in this field, there isn’t much point in staying.

Instead of the reaction I was expecting, he told me that I don’t have to make this decision right now as they are “not in a hurry to hire anyone,” and he wouldn’t accept my letter. He then proceeded to tell me that the only reason I’m making this decision now is because I am “overwhelmed and anxious about an unknown future” and that once I see that facilitating a seminar won’t take a lot of effort, I’ll be okay to work. He then proceeded to list all of the pros to working here, citing that it’s nice to have pocket money, that no other job will give me the flexibility that this job can give me, and that if I’m going to be on campus anyway “10 hours a week really is nothing.” He also told me that because of this job I am closer to my cultural heritage and community, and it would be a shame for me to lose that. At no point did he tell me that I’m doing a good job, that I’m a valuable asset to the team, or anything else about my performance and why he would want me to stay. Considering I receive no feedback at all from him ever (I had to hear from another employee that he thinks I’m doing incredible work and he is pleased with my performance), I can’t think of a more appropriate time to give some, especially considering that it seems he is relatively desperate to keep me on. He ended the exchange by handing me my resignation letter back, telling me that we will set up a meeting with myself and my part-time supervisor (who I do not directly report to) to “work things out” and to not tell anyone I was thinking of leaving. I did not accept the return of the letter, and left it on his desk.

How can I best prepare for this meeting? I am fairly intent on quitting, but I would consider staying if a lot of things change — but I don’t feel as if I can voice the reasons why I am actually leaving without hurting people’s feelings. The majority of the problems in this workplace arise from the fact that my direct supervisor is an ineffective manager, and because of his ineffective leadership and his inability to be assertive, everything in our unit suffers. Finally, if they refuse to accept my resignation, am I obligated to keep working for them, even though it obvious I want to quit?

No, you’re not obligated to continue working for them. It doesn’t matter if they “accept” your resignation or not; all you have to say is “X will be my last day” and then stick to it.

Your boss was certainly overbearing in his response, but it sounds like your conversation allowed him to get the impression that you’re open to being convinced to stay. If you’re not, you need to clearly tell him that. As in: “I appreciate you offering to set up another meeting to discuss how to keep me on. However, I’ve given it a lot of thought and I’m sticking with my decision. August 15 will be my last day. Let’s talk about what I can do between now and then to make the transition as smooth as possible.”

If he pushes back, you just need to keep saying, “No, I’ve thought it over and my decision is final.” It’s very unlikely you’ll need to say that more than once or twice.

As for whether it’s worth mentioning the changes that would get you to consider staying: It sounds like you’d need your manager to become a whole different person, and that’s very unlikely to happen. Given that, I don’t see a lot of point in you getting into that with him.

Also, about that resignation letter: You don’t generally need a written letter unless your employer asks you for one. Resignation letters are a formality, and many people don’t use them at all. They’re really just there to document that you did in fact resign your job. In your case, though, I’d recommend following up this next conversation with an email reiterating the date that you’ve chosen for your last day — just to ensure that there’s no miscommunication over it later and that your boss can’t say there was any uncertainty about it.

my boss won’t accept my resignation was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Thursday, July 31st, 2014 02:00 pm

Posted by Brett Jonas

Building a house was not something our family had ever planned to do.  But with the growth of Goat Milk Stuff, we needed a new farm and soaproom. And since the property we purchased did not have a house, we needed a house too! The construction project took almost two years from start to finish. […]
Thursday, July 31st, 2014 09:50 am
Flying lesson scheduled for Saturday. Got a call from my instructor yesterday asking if I was interested in a last-minute discount lesson, but I'd have to get to LWM by 4; by the time I got back to him with the local train schedule the circumstances had changed and I'd have had to arrive by 2:30 to have time for a preflight check, possibly earlier. Ah well.

I need to contact Wilzig about their ER records, as my fax to them last week didn't work.

Pretty sure I am putting more effort into this than I did into getting everything in order so I could get a master's degree. Not sure I care. The possibility of turning this into a job eventually exists, but the debt level would be astronomical; you need 200 hours of flight time for a commercial license and most places don't start hiring until you have 400 hours, and it costs a lot per hour. On the other hand, if the FAA likes my medical records and issues me that certificate, the possibility does exist. So... eh, who knows.
Thursday, July 31st, 2014 07:56 am
I'm up unusually early today. I couldn't get back to sleep after Scott got up at 5:10, and around 7:00, I gave up. So far as I know, Cordelia's not up yet. I'm not sure when she's waking up these days. She turns out her light around 11:00, and she prods me out of bed if I'm not up by 10:00.

Thursday's not a great day for getting up early because, no matter how tired I get in the afternoon, lying down isn't really an option. Thursday is the day the cleaning lady comes, and while I have (while sick) lain down while she was working on occasion, I don't like to. Also, there's a whole bunch of Scott's laundry that has to go in the bedroom while the cleaning lady is here so that she doesn't mess with it. (He keeps his work uniforms in two baskets, one for clean and one for dirty. If they're left out, the cleaning lady shoves other stuff in with the clothes, and we lose track of what's clean and what isn't.) That takes up the space where I'd be likely to lie down.

I'm not at all sure we're getting our money's worth out of renting Cordelia's viola. She hasn't figured out how to tune it yet. She's afraid to touch the knobs on the neck and keeps trying to tune it by adjusting the pegs that hold the strings at the bottom. I don't think that's how it's supposed to be done, and it doesn't help the sound at all. Why on earth couldn't they teach the kids how to tune? Even a single rudimentary lesson would have helped a lot because Cordelia wouldn't be so afraid of doing something wrong.

We only watched half an episode of Clone Wars yesterday. I'm not sure why. Cordelia apparently had other things she wanted to do.

Last night, Scott ran his FATE game. My character had a lot to do because we were dealing with a bunch of people who'd been possessed by a nanotechnology controlled virus or some such. My character is a doctor. She had to figure out what the problem was and work with the inventor character to make a device that would fry the stuff. Scott commented afterward that he didn't make the rolls hard enough for me-- For standard skills, a +4 bonus is the highest one can go before rolling the dice (and the dice subtract more often than they add in my experience), but I have an extra +2 because I'm specialized in medicine. That meant I could have the dice subtract a little and still succeed by a lot.

I still don't understand a lot about how FATE works. I have the impression that the rest of the players are in the same boat. Scott's trying to keep track of our characters and let us know when we have options we don't realize we have. I think I understand how stunts work, more or less, but aspects confuse me (and my character doesn't have as many aspects as she's supposed to because I couldn't think of anything. I'm hoping that some will come up in play).
Thursday, July 31st, 2014 07:23 am


A little moving before and after. It only took us about 2 weeks to totally unpack, I just kept forgetting to take pictures!

Thursday, July 31st, 2014 12:30 am
Hmm. That profile looks suspiciously familiar.....  Vampire image found on Wikipedia

I feel like a vampire.

My doctors have told me repeatedly that the most important thing that I can do to minimize the effects of my cutaneous lupus is to stay indoors. Period. This is hard.

I probably got more sun than I should have out at the coast even though I took serious precautions with clothing, hats, sunscreen, and living in the shade. But the gradual improvement in my rash that I had noted earlier seemed to come to a standstill since we've been there. So today I was a good girl and didn't even put one toe outdoors until evening.

Hence that vampire sensation: I avoid the daylight and I'm preoccupied with blood samples.

Are those FANGS I see in the mirror??
Thursday, July 31st, 2014 04:03 am

Posted by Ask a Manager

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

1. My coworker is making hateful comments about a foreign country

An employee where I work has become very radical in his views concerning a foreign country which is going through a crisis. He has family in that region. His social media is littered with hateful thoughts concerning what he feels is their enemy — and how evil the enemy is, how non-human, etc. Often the comments are aimed at people of a specific religion, and he makes similar comments to coworkers.

I have mentioned to my boss that I am concerned, especially in today’s world in which people sometimes just “snap.” She shrugged it off. Should I put this in writing? If something should happen in the workplace, I think I would want evidence that a report had been made. Or is that jumping the gun (no pun intended) since there have not been threats made to his coworkers?

Your boss should at a minimum be concerned that your coworker might be creating a hostile workplace — in the legal sense — for people with roots in the region your coworker is ranting about. Just like federal law requires employers to maintain workplaces free of sexual harassment, they also require them to act on hostile statements that are grounded in ethnicity, race, national origin, religion, and other protected classes.

And aside from the law, your boss should also be concerned that your coworker is spewing this kind of vitriol into your work environment. Apparently she’s not, which is messed up, but I’d bet your HR department would be. I’m not a fan of going to HR for 85% of the things it’s suggested for, but this one is right up their alley (and they’re trained — or at least should be — to realize the legal issues this poses, which your boss apparently missed). Go pay them a visit.

2. Am I misrepresenting my commitment to a job?

I’m currently interviewing for jobs, and while I’m a hard worker and I strive for excellence in my work, I also prize my time out of the office. I don’t just want work-life balance, I need it. In my current job, that can mean that I will elect to leave work on time rather than staying late, or not check email at night unless it’s an emergency.

I’m currently interviewing for a new job I want very much. I plan to tell them that I will be an excellent, committed worker in their company, always striving for excellence. My concern is: is this false advertising? I want to sell myself, but if don’t want them to get the impression that I will be working late into the night, or that I’ll drop what I’m doing on a weekend to answer emails. This company is a nonprofit, so many employees stay late because of their commitment to the cause.

When I’m in the office, I have a strong and committed work ethic, but I can’t be that way 24/7. Will I be selling myself incorrectly on an interview if I don’t indicate that?

“Excellent and committed” doesn’t mean “committed 24-7 with no outside commitments” — at least not in reasonably functional workplaces. It does, however, often mean “willing to tolerate small amounts of inconvenience when the work requires it,” like staying late on occasion, working through lunch when you have a packed schedule, or checking email outside of work when something important is going on. It becomes unreasonable if it means working late into the night on a regular basis (although in some fields, like law, that is considered reasonable), but in most professional positions, you’re expected to work late on occasion if the work demands it. So you don’t want to draw a hard line — or rather, if you do want to draw a hard line, you’ll need to make sure you’re focusing on fields where that will be okay. (Nonprofit work could go either way, depending on the culture of the organization and the type of role you’re in.)

In any case, it’s in your best interest to find out what their expectations are of you. You don’t want to talk your way into a job and then find out that you’re required to work hours you’re not interested in. So you should ask your own questions too — about what hours people typically work, how often people work on weekends, and so forth.

3. Company says they don’t have to pay out my vacation days, but they do

I’m about to leave my current job, and after giving my notice, I talked to HR (which is really just one uninterested woman) about my unused vacation days. She informed me that they don’t pay out for unused vacation days, which was news to me. I checked Maryland state law and it says that the only way a company can not pay out unused vacation time is if they put it in writing and inform the employee at the time they start the position. I brought this up and she said the law doesn’t apply to them because that’s not their company policy — which isn’t written anywhere, not even in the employment agreement that I signed. Their compromise was to allow me to take off 3 of the 7 days I am owed during my last 2 weeks. Is this legal at all, or so I just have to let it go?

Maryland’s law does indeed state that if an employer doesn’t have a written policy to the contrary that was communicated to you at the time of your hiring, then they must pay out your unused vacation days upon your exit. It’s all well and good for your HR person to say that they do have such a written policy, but if she’s wrong about that, then they owe you the money. I’d go back to her and say, “I’ve looked everywhere for some record of this policy and can’t find it. The law says that the policy would need to be in writing and communicated at the time of hire. Is there something I’m overlooking? If not, we really need to follow the law on this.”

4. Coworker is calling an older coworker “daddy”

Am I wrong to think it’s creepy for a young woman in our office to be calling an older coworker “daddy”? To me, it sounds sexual and just creepy. The man on the receiving end of this is a nice guy and he just laughs. I don’t think my female coworker understands how it sounds because she is from Vietnam and not a native English speaker. I tried to explain it to her, but I only hurt her feelings, which i apologized for — but it just sounds sexual and inappropriate.

Whoa. Yes, inappropriate indeed. I’m sure it is a language issue, but someone should help her realize that she should stop. Ideally, that someone would be the guy on the receiving end of it — he should stop laughing and tell her that he’d like her to call him Percival or whatever his name is.

5. My company wants me to buy new clothes for work

I have been working for my current employer for about four months. I have fallen into the role of manager/cleaner/chef/bartender at a country pub/restaurant bed and breakfast. Yesterday they decided I have to buy black and white clothes to wear to work. I feel this is unfair as I have been buying work-specific clothes since I started work there. I also feel that as they didn’t mention this when I started, it is unreasonable for them to change their minds four months later. My job is poorly paid and I have no desire to spend what little money I have on clothes that someone else has decided I must wear. Do I have any rights? I have no contract and nothing in writing.

They can legally require this. But before resigning yourself to it, try talking to them. Explain your situation and see if anything can be done. For instance: “I want to be respectful of this change, but it’s going to create a hardship for me. I don’t have many black and white clothes so would need to buy new ones, and I’ve already been putting money into buying ___ under the old dress code. Are there any alternatives that would work?”

am I misrepresenting my commitment to a job, calling a coworker “daddy,” and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 11:25 pm
-- realizing that your back is hurting horribly from having spent too much time in your desk chair this week, so picking up your laptop and moving to the hammock on your front porch.

(It's a balmy 72 degrees outside right now.)
Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 09:01 pm

  • Wash the dishes in your sink

  • Get your outfit for tomorrow together, including accessories

  • Set up coffee/tea/breakfast

  • Make your lunch

  • Put your keys somewhere obvious

  • Wash your face and brush your teeth

  • Charge your electronics

  • Pour a little cleaner in the toilet bowl (if you don’t have pets or children or sleepwalking adults)

  • Set your alarm

  • Go to bed at a reasonable hour

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 09:19 pm

Posted by Christina

I’ve been pinching my pennies of late, but still craving new products to try. I had never before tried any products by Nyx, which is a budget, drugstore brand with quite a range of colors. Their new Butter Lipsticks and Butter Glosses have been much loved in the make-up blogosphere.  So when I recently found myself in Ulta, which was having a buy-one, get one 50% off sale on Nyx, I went, “sure, why not?”

NyxI ended up choosing four lippies from four different formulas. I picked (L-R):

– Butter Lipstick in Little Susie, a pinkish coral.

– Soft Matte Lip Cream in Copenhagen, a deep purpled berry. Very vampy.

– Lipstick (often called Round Lipstick) in Doll, a pinkish mauve.

– Aqua Luxe Lip Gloss in Glitter Dreams, a fun pink sparkle.

Little Susie, Doll, Copenhagen, Glitter Dreams

Little Susie, Doll, Copenhagen, Glitter Dreams

Little Susie, Doll, Copenhagen, Glitter Dreams (in sunlight)

Little Susie, Doll, Copenhagen, Glitter Dreams (in sunlight)



Onto the swatches! First up, Little Susie:

NYX Little Susie


IMG_2982This one appears brighter in real life. As for the Butter Lipstick formula- it’s incredibly comfortable to wear. It’s got a lot of slip, but it’s very creamy! Unfortunately, that does not bode well for longevity. This one is gone with the wind inside of an hour. So I’d basically compare this to the Revlon Colorburst balms in terms of lasting. It does, however, look like a lipstick in wear, and not a balm. I liked this product a lot, but would not wear it if I wasn’t planning on frequent touch ups.

Next: Doll.



IMG_3010Slightly darker than a MLBB, very universally wearable. I got about an hour and a half’s worth of wear with this one, because it felt very much like the Butter Lipstick when applied. That said, I understand the Round Case lipsticks come in a variety of finishes– the metallics might have longer wear times. Still, like above, I found it very comfortable to wear and wear it when I have the opportunity to do touch-ups.

Glitter Dreams:




You don’t need full-face shots of this. It’s sparkly gloss. Thick-ish, tacky, and pretty. ‘Nuff said.





I am Vampira, Princess of THE NIGHT.

I’ve said before how I’m not really a matte person. It looks great in pictures, but is rarely my thing in real life. And that holds true here. But I will say that I did not at all feel dried out when wearing this, it had less transference than I expected from a $5.99 product, and the color is gorgeous! I have deep berry gloss that I’ll throw on top of this in the fall. I’m actually quite pleased with this, and enjoyed its buttercream scent. As for wear time: I got about 3 hours. It was fine until I had a beer, at which case it was like “LOL NO BYE.”

And now I give you pictures of my cat, Nox, who is my swatching buddy. Because I can.



I am a regal mothafuckkah.


And a swirly picture of my hair in a bun. Because a friend requested it, and it’s darn hard to get an aerial shot of the back of your head, so I’mma post it here, too.

Aerial swirl!



Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 03:38 pm


This week, make the most of your “waiting” time. Most of us do things in our daily routine that involve having to wait around for a little bit of time (starting the coffeepot, waiting for dinner to cook, filling the bathtub, commercial breaks, that kind of thing). Make it a point this week to use this time to do some unfucking. Even if it’s only a minute or two of quick clean-up, you’d be surprised how much that little bit helps keep you on track.

Mid-week check-in! How’s everyone doing with this week’s challenge?

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 06:30 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

A service announcement: If you follow Ask a Manager on Facebook, be aware that Facebook has changed its algorithm for the pages you follow, and you might not be seeing all (or even any) updates.

What can you do about this, if you don’t want to miss any updates? Three things:

1. When you do see Ask a Manager posts, if you interact with them (like them, comment on them, share them), Facebook will show you more of them in the future.

2. Remember that you can click “pages feed “on the left sidebar of your Facebook news feed to see content from all the pages you’ve liked.

3. Consider following the site a more reliable way (such as with an RSS reader, on Twitter, signing up for the AAM email list, daily visits, or whatever works for you).

following Ask a Manager on Facebook? there’s something you should know was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 12:43 pm
down the stairs, landed at the bottom of the stoop, and then had a wagon crash on top of her arm.

She's fine, thank goodness, but we spent several hours at the doctor's office making sure and her arm is bruised and hurty, which put the kibbosh on today's plans as well.

Our dryer is doing this weird thing where it's heating up just fine to start, and then the heat is shutting off. I *think* this is a problem with the thermostat (I love google), but upon close inspection I find I don't like the way the drum of the dryer looks. The grille where the heat comes in looks... really bad. I should find out if we're still under warranty.


A more vigorous US economy appears to be emerging

Face Blends of ‘Star Trek: The Original Series’ Actors and Their Film Reboot Counterparts

That might be the hottest Kirk I have ever seen.

5 Myths The Koch Brothers Want Millennials To Believe About Obamacare

Koch brothers’ politics reflect their father’s anti-communism

'Milestone' for child malaria vaccine

Democrats want to ban government contracts for companies that leave the U.S. to avoid taxes

Mom arrested for allowing 7-year-old son to go to park alone

You know, I think the tide really is turning. Just look at those comments! It wasn't that long ago when they would've been universally condemning her, but now it's slightly weighted towards "she did nothing wrong".

Ebola outbreak: Asky bans flights in West Africa

Inside Colorado’s flourishing, segregated black market for pot

The Centerpiece of Obama’s Energy Policy Will Actually Make Climate Change Worse

President Warren Harding love letters reveal steamy affair, what he named his private parts

The microbes living in the guts of males and females react differently to diet, even when the diets are identical, according to a new study. These results suggest that therapies designed to improve human health and treat diseases through nutrition might need to be tailored for each sex.

UK to allow driverless cars on public roads in January

Where cats are more popular than dogs in the U.S.—and all over the world

Satanists Demand Religious Exemption From Abortion Restrictions, Cite Hobby Lobby Ruling

Well, god bless the Satanists, once again saying and doing the shit the rest of us want to but don't.

The Suburbs Will Die: One Man’s Fight to Fix the American Dream

One supermarket proved it can provide employees with a livable wage, annual bonuses, and a retirement plan. They can beat Walmart's prices. They can turn a profit, too. So why was its CEO just forced out?

The middle class is 20 percent poorer than it was in 1984

FactCheck: is air travel getting more dangerous?

The world will face “insurmountable” water crises in less than three decades, researchers said Tuesday, if it does not move away from water-intensive power production.
Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 04:30 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

A reader writes:

I need to fire our office manager. It’s a mix of issues, all related to attention to detail and organization. I’ve clearly warned her and put her on a performance improvement plan, which she hasn’t passed, so I’ve got my documentation in order. The problem is that she’s the most popular person in the office. She’s friendly, outgoing and fun and people really like her. How do I let her go without the rest of the staff hating me?

You can read my answer at DailyWorth today.

how do I fire the most popular person in the office? was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.