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Thursday, February 23rd, 2017 07:00 pm

Posted by Brett Jonas

Quote Post Emery: “You can tell I’m in bad shape when I only do 30 pullups and 90 pushups.”
Brett: “…um, I do not think that word means what you think it means.”
Emery: “What word?”
Brett: “Bad shape.”
Thursday, February 23rd, 2017 06:59 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

A reader writes:

I’m curious what you make of this situation, about a friend trying to strong-arm her way into a promotion.

Sansa is an entry-level teapot inspector at a very prestigious company. This is her first real job. Sansa is young but hard working and ambitious. In her spare time she designs her own teacups and markets them online. At work, she’s always asking for more responsibility. Two teapot design positions opened up, one junior and one senior. Sansa applied for the junior position and thought she was a shoo-in. Instead they hired Fergus, who actually has less direct teapot design experience than Sansa. As a result, Fergus frequently seeks out Sansa’s help and advice.

Frustrated, Sansa applied for the senior design role. Even though the hiring manager, Cersei, is specifically looking for a senior person, Sansa believes she deserves the job and was already passed over once so she has nothing to lose. But the Cersei is taking her time and Sansa is impatient.

So Sansa thinks that maybe she needs to quit and focus on her own teapot design business. She goes to her friend and more senior colleague Arya. Arya used to work at a small company called Tiny Teacups, which is hiring for a part-time tea cup inspector. Sansa asks Arya to recommend her for the inspector job. She reasons that she can work part-time and focus on her side-hustle. So Arya really goes to bat for Sansa, and Sansa gets an offer. The day she gets the offer, Sansa goes into Cersei’s boss’s office and says “I have an offer from Tiny Teacups. If you don’t hire me for the senior teapot design job, I quitting.” Cersei’s boss is very surprised — Tiny Teacups is a much less prestigious company, and Sansa’s role would be very easy to fill — but he tries to placate her by saying he will look into it.

Sansa is so confident about getting the promotion that she immediately emails Tiny Teacups and declines their offer. She doesn’t call and doesn’t let Arya know that she declines. So now Arya is angry that she recommended her. Then Sansa emails Cersei’s boss and says, “I trust that you will do the right thing, so I declined the offer.”

Cersei still hasn’t filled the role. Is there a chance that this ploy could have worked? Arya thinks that Sansa has probably burned bridges and hurt her reputation. What would you be thinking if you were Cersei or her boss? How would you advise Sansa?

(If it makes a difference, Sansa’s behavior might have been driven by the fact she had recently found out she making less than a male coworker in the exact same role, with similar experience. When she complained, she was given a small bump but not parity.)

Oh my goodness. Talk about unforced errors — Sansa has messed this up all over the place.

Applying for a senior role from an entry-level one … usually doesn’t result in success. When you know that your boss is specifically looking for a senior-level person, applying as an entry-level person can hurt you (despite Sansa’s “I have nothing to lose” stance) because it makes you look like a particularly difficult type of naive.

Then, trying announcing that she’ll quit if they don’ hire her for a job she’s not qualified for … again, a particularly difficult type of naive is the nicest way I can describe this.

Then, declining the other offer because she was so convinced her current company would cave and hire her for a senior position, when they’d agreed to no such thing … good lord.

And then there’s the bridge she’s burnt with Arya, who probably will never go to bat for her or recommend her for a job again after being treated so shabbily. It’s not that Sansa was obligated to accept the job with Arya’s company — she wasn’t — but it now looks to Arya like Sansa used her to negotiate with her current employer and never seriously intended to take the job that Arya spent capital to get her. And not even telling Arya that she declined the job there?! It’s not good.

Now, does Sansa have a legitimate beef about the salary issue? Quite possibly, and I would have urged her to focus there. But she’s harmed her ability to address it, because now she’s given her employer all sorts of legitimate reasons not to want to work with her at all. She also might have had a legitimate beef about them hiring a less-qualified dude for the junior teapot role — although if Sansa has shown this kind of bad judgment before, it’s possible that they passed her over for good reason.

To answer your questions: Is there a chance that Sansa’s ploy could have worked? No. An entry-level person who has displayed terrible judgment is not getting hired into a senior-level role, at least not in any functioning company.

What is Cersei thinking? That she has a loose cannon on her hands. She’s also probably trying to figure out if the strengths Sansa brings to the job are worth the headaches she brings, and whether she can coach her into better judgment in the future, and whether she should take an “I understand you’re not happy here so let’s set your last day” stance.

As for advice for Sansa herself, she needs to figure out if she can stay happily in her current role, knowing that she’s not likely to be promoted into the senior one anytime soon. It wouldn’t hurt to get a more realistic understanding of what jobs she’s qualified for, and what the path to higher level work looks like. She probably needs to apologize to Cersei and Cersei’s boss for handling things the way she did. And if it’s true, she can say that she’s been very frustrated by being paid less than a male coworker doing the same work and by missing out on a promotion to someone with fewer skills and less experience, and that it was her frustration with that situation that they were seeing here. She can ask if there’s a way to address those concerns and move forward.

And she should apologize profusely to Arya.

my friend tried to strong-arm her way into a promotion was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017 05:30 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

Remember the letter-writer who applied for a job and was asked to fill out a lengthy form with ridiculously detailed information about every job he’d ever had? For each job, they wanted him to write out details about things like like “how my supervisor would grade my performance, why would they grade it that way, did I leave on my own, did they ask me to or was it 50/50, give more detail about my leaving, favorite parts of the job, and least favorite parts.” For every job. Ever. Here’s the update.

Shortly after the post went live, I was surprised to see an email from the CEO of the company in question. He said he was taken aback at my response as I was a promising candidate and wanted to know why I had such strong feelings about Topgrading. Since he was open enough for feedback, I sent him a softer version of the response I posted in the comments originally. I also included some thoughts my friends in HR had regarding their experience with the method and the candidates that make it through. He responded with an offer to schedule a short 15-minute interview without having to go through the whole Topgrading process. I was sincerely interested in the position, and chose an appropriate time.

The interview was … interesting. While he wasn’t outright rude, he was incredibly pushy and dismissive, starting our conversation by commenting about how I got his attention by “yelling” at him. He seemed far more interested in wanting to know about my contacts and their hiring methods (and proving them wrong) as opposed to if I would fit in his organization. When asked if I saw any problems with how the company was currently presenting itself, I mentioned some concerning pages against their product that had prominent placement and he waved off that he would throw money at it and it would go away. In general, it was an uncomfortable meeting, and while he said he’d be in contact, I never heard from him again.

I’m OK with it.

update: is this job application horribly invasive or is it just me? was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017 03:59 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

A reader writes:

So, I have been at my job for two weeks now, and am in the middle of training. Things have been going great and I really like the job. There is just one problem.

Almost every day since I have started, my supervisor has had Skype meetings with people from corporate, our district manager, or a large meeting with someone from every branch we have in the area. I thought this was something she just did and didn’t think twice about it. However, today she told me to listen in as I was organizing some files because “you’ll be joining these meetings soon.”

I froze and honestly could not tell you anything that was said at the meeting because … I have an extreme aversion to having my picture taken. I can count on one hand the number of photos I have known to have been taken of me in 10 years and one of those was at my wedding (I looked at three pictures from that day, wanted to vomit, and have never looked at any others since). This is a problem I have had since high school (I am now 40) and I fully admit it is a crazy problem to have! But as bad as photographs are, video is ten times worse. I can’t even think about being on camera for anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour (which is the general length of these things) without tearing up and panicking. It is a cold, sharp, sliver of fear that is almost paralyzing.

On my second day, I saw one of the branches had their camera off-kilter, and the district manager stopped the meeting, and called her out saying “we can’t continue if you don’t fix your camera, Brenda, we need to see you.” This leads me to believe they won’t allow me to just be present via voice. Am I required to be on camera for a job? And if not is there a way I can ask to be let out of it without coming off sounding like “oh the new girl isn’t a team player” or the “crazy” one? I should also mention that my fear is so real that had they mentioned this in my interview that it was a requirement, I would have not accepted the job.

I sympathize, I really do — I’m no fan of video either.

I’m not going to tell you to just get over it, because if it’s truly a phobia, it’s not that simple.

But I also think that when something is interfering in your life and is common enough that you’re likely to find it in other jobs in the future, it’s worth trying to do something about it.

Because the thing is, this could come up at other jobs without warning too. Video is increasingly common in workplaces, especially as teams get spread out in multiple locations, and I don’t think there’s a reliable way to be sure you can avoid it. Most jobs won’t mention it in the hiring process because it’s considered such an unremarkable thing, and even if they don’t use video when you start, it’s not unlikely that they could end up using it later on.

Now, in some cases you’ll be able to say “Actually, I really hate being on video, so I’m going to just use audio if that’s okay with you.”

And in this case, you can certainly try pushing back with your boss. You could say something like this: “I know this is strange, but I have a pretty intense phobia about video. Would it be okay for me to attend by audio only?” I’m leaning toward thinking that you should say “clinical-level phobia,” because (a) it sounds like that’s true and (b) it will make it less likely that your boss will brush off your request. But people are strange about mental health issues, and it’s possible that that’s going to attach some stigma to you that you don’t want. On the other hand, it sounds like you’d rather have the stigma than be required to be on video, so that could be the way to go. (And really, if your work is otherwise good, this shouldn’t be a big deal in a healthy office.)

But there will probably be other times when you’re going to be expected to use video, and your work life is going to be so much easier if you’re able to do it.

So I think it’s worth tackling this the same way you would any other phobia that was interfering with your life, which might mean seeking a professional’s help with it.

I suspect you’re thinking that you’ve been able to avoid it up until now and so you should be able to keep doing that. And maybe you can. But do you really want to turn down jobs you’d otherwise want because of this? Maybe your answer to that is yes … but then we’re back to the fact that it’s going to keep getting increasingly common, and I don’t think you can outrun it forever.

do I really have to be on camera for my job? was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017 10:33 am
I discovered last night that I have serious difficulty opening the bathroom door because gripping the knob is very painful. The knob is kind of stubborn about turning, and the door sticks a bit. This is only an issue when we have company, so last night was the first time I’d needed to deal with that in months.

I’m also thinking that Scott is right that I need a new lamp. I don’t want to lose the one I’ve got because Mom made it for me, but I have problems with the switch because it needs turning. A lot of the time, I can manage because it’s such a brief thing, but… It does hurt.

I’ve got one load in the washer and one in the dryer. The bed is half made (the blankets are in the wash). I think the next step is the sandwich for Cordelia. That will take less than two minutes. (I make sandwiches for Scott and Cordelia because it takes me less than five minutes to make both sandwiches. Scott and Cordelia both take more than ten minutes to make a single sandwich. I have no idea what they do to take that long.) I think the dishwasher should be next followed by calling UHS.
Thursday, February 23rd, 2017 08:57 am
My left Achille’s tendon has really been hurting the last few days. It’s been very nice outside, in the 50s and 60s, and I very much want to take a walk. I just know that I wouldn’t make it very far before the pain was too much, and then I wouldn’t be able to do anything the rest of the day. That’s not been an option all week and won’t be today, either. Tomorrow, I will almost certainly walk too much because Scott has the day off (it’s his birthday) and will want to do things.

All of the laundry has also made my hands hurt a lot. My right hand was angry enough to make sleeping difficult last night which is highly unusual. I slept badly last night, generally. I was too warm, and my sinuses complained a lot. When I’m upright, I feel fine and don’t think I have a cold at all, but when I lie down, suddenly, I feel like I have a bad cold. I can’t think of anything in the bed that I might be allergic to.

We had three friends over last night. We talked about a game Scott wants to run in the Firefly universe. I’m kind of generally eh on Firefly, but everyone else is really enthusiastic. The game system will be Cortex Plus which I don’t know a lot about. We only had one copy of the book last night, and I let other people look at it since it lives here and is mine any other time.

I only have to do two loads of laundry today. I’m kind of hoping that I can get all of the chores done quickly and then nap. It might happen. Maybe.

To do list )
Thursday, February 23rd, 2017 05:03 am

Posted by Ask a Manager

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

1. I’m jealous of my employee and it’s impacting how I treat her

Before I state my question, I will tell you I am ashamed of myself and what I am doing. It has taken me almost a week to write in to you because of how awful I feel about myself.

I am a manager with a team of a dozen people reporting to me. I have struggled with an eating disorder in the past, and I’m in therapy right now for anxiety and my body image issues. I was doing well until the newest hire started on my team. I feel guilty for saying this, but I am jealous of her and don’t like her. She is attractive, thin, fashionable … everything I am not. I didn’t hire her; my boss, the manager of the department was the one who interviewed her. I never would have hired her if I had been the one doing the interviews.

I know this affecting how I deal with her. Other members of my team have noticed, and I’m sure they believe she is less competent based on my treatment of her. She has mentioned something to my boss about me being jealous, and I am ashamed to admit I lied to my boss about it and used the fact that we have a decade-long relationship to make my boss believe me.

I have learned to act confident in front of people who aren’t my close family or friends, and no one at work knows I about my eating disorder or attending therapy. No one would believe how insecure I really am. I know I need to stop treating her this way and I tell myself I need to be better, but then I see her and my jealousy and dislike comes out. What can I do to stop this and start treating her fairly?

It’s the week of questions that are out of my depth! But I’m going to give it a shot.

First, good for you for admitting to yourself what you’re doing and that it’s wrong. A lot of people in your shoes wouldn’t do that, so you have a promising foundation here to build on. But yeah, now you need to take the next step, which is making your actions align with the person who you want to be.

Would you be horrified if you knew a manager was treating someone poorly because of their race or nationality? Assuming you would be, that’s the paradigm you can use here — this isn’t all that different from that, and framing it that way might help jolt you out of what you’ve been doing. (And this really is in a similar category; we can thank sexism for pitting women against each other and teaching them to compete on looks. )

Also, can you make a point of getting to know her better? That’s probably the last thing you want to do, but I suspect it would help if you can start seeing her more as a full-fledged person rather than just what she looks like.

Maybe, too, you can remind yourself that treating her this way is likely to make you look bad eventually. If people pick up on what’s going on, it’s going to make you look far less attractive as a human than standing next to a thin and fashionable coworker ever will.

And most importantly, bring this up with your therapist! This is prime therapy material.

Meanwhile, though, I think you’ve got to put structures in place to counteract this. For example, commit to giving her X number of pieces of positive feedback each week (X should be as much as you give others performing at her level), make a point of praising her good qualities in front of other people, commit to giving her decent projects and development opportunities, and so forth. Basically, lock yourself into whatever positive external actions you can, to start giving her a more equitable place on your team while you work on this internally.

2. Do I need to work for free when I’m changing careers?

My question and situation is very similar to the one described here. My situation, however, involves a more dramatic career change. I’m completing my Master’s in Accounting and Financial Management and taking the CPA exam this year, with the goal of transitioning out of the publishing industry and into accounting and finance. I’ve been in publishing for 15 years, book publishing for eight of those years, and have developed several key business skills I thought would be transferrable — public speaking, project management, relationship building, report writing, etc.

However, I just got off the phone with a career counselor who told me that none of that really matters and that I would have to volunteer my time to get experience (in addition to working full-time) in a small CPA firm to get in the door. I’m planning to do this, but I’m wondering if in this case you would in fact advise volunteering to make up for lack of work experience in a career change scenario.

What?! Don’t listen to that career counselor. What she’s telling you to do is illegal — you can’t “volunteer” for for-profit businesses — and no reputable CPA firm is going to agree to let you work for free since that would require them to break the law. (I’m assuming she’s not talking about an unpaid internship, which could be legal if it complies with very strict regulations.)

Lots of career counselors are, unfortunately, terrible. This one sucks, and anything else she told you will need to be suspect too.

You’re essentially in the same position as any other brand new CPA, but with the addition of a hell of a lot of useful skills. You should not need to illegally work for free to find work.

3. How to respond to unpolished cold emails from students

I’m the second in command at a small media company on the east coast. Especially in this region, our field can be pretty hard to break into; there are a lot more students who want to learn than there are companies that want to hire them. So I’m pretty used to getting cold emails from high school and college students asking about internships or job openings.

The ones who send polite professional emails with their resumes attached usually at least get an informational interview or phone call. But how do I respond to the less professional requests? A few times a month I receive an email that’s some version or another of “Are you guys hiring/accepting interns?” with no resume or further information included. So far I’ve just been ignoring the emails; should I just keep on keeping on? I’m sure I made equally unprofessional mistakes as a college student, and I would have appreciated a polite heads-up. Would that be overstepping, or come across as patronizing? What would you do in these instances?

Hmmm, I actually don’t think it’s that egregious that they’re asking whether you accept interns without attaching a resume. At this stage, they’re gathering information, and who knows, they may want to customize their resume if you say yes. I mean, yes, ideally they’d attach it anyway because it makes it easier for you to give them a more useful answer than just yes or not, but it’s pretty typical that college students (and definitely high school students) wouldn’t realize that was a good thing to do. I’d just answer the question, although you could instead say something like, “If you send over your resume and a cover letter, we’d be glad to take a look.”

(That said, if your website makes it obvious that you are indeed hiring interns, then they’re being lazy and I’d agree with your assessment.)

4. Telling my new manager about my son’s cancer

My son was diagnosed with a very rare cancer several months ago. This type of cancer varies significantly. It can go away without treatment or require aggressive chemotherapy. Right now, based on where it is located, the doctors are monitoring it, hoping it is the type that will go away. We just don’t know.

I have been open about the diagnosis with my current manager and coworkers. They have been very supportive. So far, the only impact is a doctor’s appointment once a month.

I had an opportunity to change jobs within my employer and will be starting in a couple weeks. My new manager works in a different state and we haven’t met yet. I don’t know when and how I should bring this up. Do I tell him now or wait until I am more established or only if there is an issue?

Whichever you’re most comfortable with! If you’d have more peace of mind mentioning it right when you start, that’s fine to do. (I would wait until you’ve actually started though; I wouldn’t contact him about it now. It’s more of a “now that we’re working together” thing.) But it’s also fine to wait and raise it when there’s a specific need to. If all the options feel basically equal to you, I’d say to mention it about a month in. At that point, you’ll have started establishing a rapport and a history there, which can make it easier.

5. Explaining why I’m job searching after only six months

Last July, I was laid off from my job, after working for 10 years. At the end of August, I found a new job as an IT manager. However, this company lacks professionalism (emails from my supervisor include F-bombs) and structure, nepotism and favoritism are the norm, and rules and regulations don’t matter. This place is a revolving door, as people quit pretty much every week, I have had three supervisors in six months.

Six months into this job, I have been pretty much forced to be nothing more than a well-paid help desk employee. I am doing 5% of what was listed in the job announcement. I really would like to leave this company as soon as possible. I am concerned as to how can I address the question of “why do you want to leave Company XYZ?” I have been there for six months, and I know that you can’t speak negatively about your current workplace. Can I say that the job that I was hired for didn’t turn out to be what was on the job announcement? If so, how can I say it without bashing the current company?

Yes, you absolutely can. Say it this way: “I was hired to manage IT for the company, but the job has turned out to be primarily a help desk employee. I really want to be focusing on X and Y, so this isn’t the right role, unfortunately. I’m excited about the role you’re hiring for because ___.”

That’s not considered badmouthing your employer; it’s just a calm, factual statement that the role ended up changing from what you were hired for. That’s completely fine to say.

I’m jealous of my attractive employee, working for free when changing careers, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 10:09 pm


Besides my bedroom, the other big decluttering project the last month has been dealing with our filing cabinet. I have the bad habit of filing new paperwork but never removing old stuff. As a result I had three drawers overstuffed with papers, hanging files so heavy they had ripped and were just sitting in the drawer, tons of paperwork for cars we no longer owned, statements for loans that were paid off, etc. Each week in February I took all the files from one drawer, put them in a banker’s box, and then took it to the dining room where I could go through each and every file. I finished this process yesterday (yahoo!), but allowed my dining room to become a complete mess in the process. Today I took half an hour to reset the dining room back to clean. I’m  trying to teach myself that maintaining clean IS making progress. Cleaning and decluttering a messy area gives me a sense of accomplishment. Keeping an area clean feels like I’ve done nothing. But that’s WRONG. Maintaining what has already been done IS an accomplishment, like keeping off the weight you’ve lost even if you’ve hit a plateau.

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 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
  • Take your medication/set out your meds for the morning
  • 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, February 22nd, 2017 08:28 pm
...but I <3 <3 <3 inline commenting on my reading page.
Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 09:47 pm
Sunday was sunny and warming, so I went walking in a large park nearby. When I got back in the car, the bright sunlight on my windshield suddenly made me see, backwards, "10*16" twice. Registration and inspection, both expired last October. Yikes!

I drove home carefully, and got on the internet to see what to do next. The answer was inspection first, so early Monday morning I called our mechanic and got a 1 pm appointment. I drove myself to work, then dropped off the car (pastor drove me home). I knew that at 130k miles, it wasn't likely to pass inspection straight off, and I was right-- I got a call that work was needed on the front suspension. Yesterday I got yet another call, that work was going slowly and the car still wasn't done.

Today I drove hubby to work and kept our other car. After lunch I finally got the call that mine was finished. I drove in, paid for it and picked up the keys. The mechanic was kind enough to give me a small discount and a free oil change to make up for the car-free days.

Next step was to renew the registration. I tried to do it online but the system wouldn't cooperate, so I headed across town to the DMV. I was nervous, as there was potentially a huge fine for being so late. I explained that I was sure I hadn't received the renewal paperwork, though that doesn't really excuse not noticing the stickers for so long. The clerk noted that my address had been changed a year ago, and asked if I had changed it on the registration as well... no, that had never occurred to me. She waived the fine! So now I have the sticker and am legal again. (I asked how to fix the online problems and the clerk replied, "I really wouldn't bother, the system has so many problems. Probably 2/3 of the people I work with say they tried online first.")

I spent the next few hours clearing up a banking snafu (new ATM cards that never arrived), walking, and finally having a relaxing dinner, before picking up my car at last.
Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 07:42 pm


People in the mental health field often begrudgingly accept the necessary use of technology like email and electronic forms while also stereotyping those who enjoy using technology such as video games.

You know what?

Gamers are regular people with responsibilities like everybody else. You think I’m wrong? I have a bachelors degree and a masters degree. I work. I’ve come a long way in dealing with my own issues. I’m also a gamer. So why don’t you insult me to my face?    

a bit more promotion of my new psychotherapy blog

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 07:56 pm
No joy on the lottery for Community High School. Cordelia's far enough down the waitlist that getting in this year is vastly unlikely-- 194th when the school takes 132 kids. She seems to be taking it okay, but we're all disappointed.
Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 12:55 pm


Before an after.

I have collected a lot of t-shirts in my time.
Cleared out over half of my shirts being that they don’t fit anymore.
Two drawers took almost an hour because of trying on each shirt to verify that it did or didn’t fit.

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 03:35 pm
Does that explain how Africa looks an awful lot like Vancouver? I mean, I've never been to either place, but I'm guessing here.

(How did they escape global warming on Earth-2?)

Read more... )
Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 07:00 pm

Posted by Brett Jonas

Quote Post Brett: “Let me have some of that pot pie.”
Colter: “No, it’s mine.”
Brett: “There’s another one in the fridge; just let me have a bite or two of that one.”
Colter: “I ate the first half of this pot pie, and I want to eat the second half. Go get your own pot pie.”
Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 06:59 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

A reader writes:

I recently got a job running a research facility at a university. A few months into the job, my soon-to-be wife mentioned she’d like to come in and see my office. I, however, find this kind of weird. I don’t see anyone else’s spouses or friends dropping by. Also, as a new person, I don’t want to it to look like I’m socializing instead of working. She thinks I’m the weird one for saying no. Am I being too rigid? Is this just field-dependent (she used to work in publishing)?

I’ve seen you answer questions about spouses at work events or being there on a regular basis, but not about very occasional visits.

I think it’s in how you frame it.

In lots of offices, it’s not big deal at all for people’s spouses or significant others to stop in on occasion, except that it’s less often “to see the office” and more “we’re going to lunch and meeting at your office, and maybe I’ll meet a few of your coworkers when I’m there.”

I do think that “this is Jane and she’s here to see the office” would be a little odd in most offices — although not crazy-odd, just unusual-odd.

But if she wants to see your office, having her meet you there before heading out to lunch together would be a very normal way to do it.

I wouldn’t do that your first couple of weeks on the job, since at that point people know so little about you that every minor deviation from the norm stands out, and you don’t want it to look like you’re going to treat your office as some sort of odd clubhouse for family and friends. But you’ve been on the job a few months now. It should be fine to do.

That said, you know your office best, and you should be the one to make the call.

is it weird to have your spouse visit you at your office? was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 01:22 pm
I’ve been sick and exhausted, complete with headaches, all week which has not helped me do the things that really, really need doing but that aren’t survival things. I need to make an appointment with my primary care doctor. I need to write a letter to the school and to call them and complain loudly to the school counselor about broken promises.

I’ve been putting 90% of my energy into laundry. We’ve got a minor parasite infestation that required medication followed by washing all bedding every single day through tomorrow. That has meant a minimum of three loads most days and generally five or six loads most days. Plus, I’ve had to strip and remake the beds each day.

That would be hard enough if I were getting enough sleep, but I haven’t been. I got more sleep last night, about seven hours, but I really need a night when I can get ten to twelve hours or, at the very least, manage to nap for several hours. Monday, I couldn’t nap because Cordelia was home. Yesterday and today, I was too wound up about the time required for the chores that need doing to be able to sleep at all. I skipped my usual black tea when I got up with Cordelia in the hope that that would help, and it didn’t at all.

I think Scott doesn’t realize that I can’t go to sleep early because he will rouse me to full alertness half a dozen times as he gets ready for bed over the course of an hour to an hour and a half. Maybe I should try Ativan to see if that lets me stop being quite so hypervigilant? Some part of my brain insists that, if there are other people in the house, I need to be aware of what they’re doing in case something goes wrong. If Scott drops something or anything happens to prompt him to make an exasperated noise, I’m fully awake because it might be something I need to help with. And if Cordelia drops her water bottle or gets up to use the bathroom… Yeah.

I have the edges of a cold. I’m not sure if it’s going to completely grab hold or if I can still evade it. My suspicion is that the amount of sleep I get will be a big factor there, and we’re having friends over this evening. I really, really want to see someone who isn’t family, but I also kind of want to crash early.

But crashing early won’t work unless I can get Scott and Cordelia to do it, too, so, really, I might as well spend the time with friends.

We got sushi from Totoro for dinner last night. I ended up having unexpected issues with it. They haven’t previously put cucumber in their California rolls, but they did this time. (I know that most places use cucumber in California rolls; it’s just that Totoro hasn’t previously.) I was stupid and ate some anyway, and I really, really shouldn’t have. Cucumber doesn’t seem like it ought to be something that would give me reflux issues, but it does, and I always forget that it does because I avoid it due to not liking how it tastes.

Under certain circumstances, I can get reflux from lettuce (all types). That seems to be mitigated by eating more of other things than I do lettuce but is more likely to happen if I don’t use dressing than if I do, so it’s not an issue with fat in the dressing.

Hm. It’s 1:15. I need to put the fitted sheet on our bed. I need to get myself lunch. I will need to change over the laundry in about ten minutes. I can only manage one of the three at a time and will need twenty to thirty minutes to rest between. I want the bed made as soon as possible (partly so that I have the option of lying down and partly so that I have an empty laundry basket that I can use for Cordelia’s bedding). I need the laundry to be entirely finished by 6:00 so that there’s time to make Cordelia’s bed before company arrives. But it’s been six hours since I last ate, so that’s high priority, too, especially since there are meds I take with lunch.
Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 05:30 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

A reader writes:

How can I help an employee who is suffering from anxiety? The employee in question is a very hardworking, very conscientious employee but she suffers from excessive worry and anxiety. This isn’t my diagnosis — she told me she’s taking advantage of our employee assistance program and getting help with it. However, part of her illness is that she worries — a lot — and doesn’t always have a good sense of perspective on what’s worth worrying about and what’s not. I understand this, as I’ve been there as well.

The way this manifests is that she frequently asks me if she’s messed something up, or made mistakes, and she seeks constant reassurance. I am very good about giving feedback, positive and negative, so she knows that I’ll tell her if there’s a problem. But I think the illness is clouding her ability to really accept that. So how do I work this? I don’t mind giving reassurance, but I don’t think it’s really helping. Is there something else I should be doing?

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

Other questions I’m answering there today include:

  • My coworker keeps answering all my emails in person
  • Should I let my friend know his references are terrible?
  • I gave the wrong answer about salary
  • Should HR prep candidates before interviews?

how can I help an employee who suffers from anxiety? was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 11:04 am


To repeat what I said in an earlier post regarding my bedroom closet, I have been MIA on here for about a month now.  I was feeling really down on myself because I had gotten such a good start unfucking my life in January and then progress seemed to grind to a halt.  I’ve been working on the master bedroom and closet.  It is a HUGE job.  My teenage daughter decided to clean out her room by dumping all her stuff in my bedroom about a year ago.  I then didn’t get around to sorting through her stuff and added stuff of my own.  Then even stuff that had a storage place was left on the floor because I couldn’t get across the room to the location.  Then I did emergency box-ups from around the house when I was running short of time and people were coming over and those boxes of miscellaneous junk got added to the bedroom.  It was an overwhelming nightmare.  I’ve been chipping away since mid-January and was kicking myself for not being done.  I decided to take pictures of how much has been done so far and I suddenly feel better.  Above are photos of the bedroom.  The bed was literally surrounded by mounds of miscellaneous stuff that belonged all over the house.  It’s not finished yet, but the room is back to being mostly functional, meaning I can actually get across the floor without falling over stuff and breaking my face.  There were countless little thingies that needed to be put away or given away or thrown away – barrettes, dog toys, stuffed animals, jewelry, clothing, odd bits of Christmas wrapping paper, toiletries, craft supplies.  It seemed endless.  I still have some work to do, but this has taught me the power of taking photos.  I’d still be looking at the current state of the room and feeling bad.  But now that I can look at how far I’ve come and how much work I accomplished, my mood is much improved.

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 03:59 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

A reader writes:

I manage two clinics, both of which are located in the same building. By necessity, I spend most of my day at the main clinic; I oversee everything, but the nature of the work in the smaller clinic does not require constant clinical oversight the way it does in the main clinic.

The receptionist for the smaller clinic was hired before I became her manager. She has many great qualities – she is very skilled at her job (our industry is very niche so I definitely value her knowledge and experience), has a good rapport with patients, and is an enthusiastic and creative problem solver.

Here’s the rub: this employee has the tendency to be sneaky. I have caught her in some small lies, and they are starting to create issues with the staff members she works with at the smaller clinic. She is honest about the big stuff – I’ve monitored those things VERY closely – but she has a pattern of pushing the boundaries of what she can get away with over time. For example, she will take liberties for a while (e.g., leaving the clinic regularly to make personal calls during business hours, arriving 10 minutes late once or twice per week even though coverage and punctuality are both important parts of her job) but I only hear about it from her colleagues once they start to notice a clear pattern of behavior. I also know of a handful of times over the years that she’s told small lies, such as saying she had approval for something when she didn’t.

As soon as I address the issues with her (I’ve sat down with her three times in total), she is incredibly apologetic and minimizes the issues as misunderstandings that will be cleared up immediately. She then performs the duties of her job perfectly … until 3-6 months pass and she starts the process over again, usually with slight variations of the same issues. The fact that I am pulled by the other clinic and can’t have my eyes in both areas at once definitely works to her advantage.

A few months back, her coworkers approached me with a short list of things she’d been getting too lax about. Most of the items were fairly minor but collectively they were definitely concerning, and most of them were also on my radar so it was clear that I had to act. I prepared a list of expectations for her and went over them with her in person. I expressed disappointment that I was having to revisit issues that had come up in the past. I also made it clear that the expectations were non-negotiable and that I’d be monitoring her adherence to the list. She seemed genuinely discouraged, and embarrassed by the feedback – she felt that she had really stepped up her efforts over the previous year (it’s true, she has taken a lot of initiative and her overall performance has been excellent otherwise) and thought that her colleagues were overreacting to occasional problems. There could be a grain of truth to that – since she’s shown herself to be sneaky in the past, her colleagues are probably less willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. She was quite teary and she assured me that the expectations were crystal clear.

In the month or so following the meeting, things seemed to be going well … but then the plot thickened. The employee currently has an immediate relative who is gravely ill and there are some additional factors have made her personal circumstances incredibly challenging. She has made some reasonable requests that make her life a bit easier during a very difficult time and I have approved those requests. Unfortunately, I am now finding out that she has been pushing the boundaries again, such as on one occasion telling an employee that she had been given permission to do something from me when she hadn’t. Frustratingly, it was something I would have allowed had she asked me, but she didn’t and she should have. 

I have worried that the dishonesty might extend to bigger things, but I have only seen signs that she IS behaving honestly in other areas. For example, when I took over as manager, the cash box had never been properly monitored and she could have reasonably assumed that that would continue (or else the paper trail would be too confusing to go through in detail). What I found was that she had consistently tracked every single item accurately and honestly. Obviously, not everyone who lies is bold enough to steal, but I found it reassuring that she had protected an area of vulnerability when she could have quite easily taken advantage of the lack of oversight. I find that she is conscientious about asking for approval before going forward with anything of definite significance, even for things she could get away with not asking about. It’s not an excuse for the other behavior, but it shows that there are shades of gray that make it difficult for me to tease everything apart — it seems that she can keep herself in check for the big stuff but takes liberties with the stuff she views as being trivial.

I have seen past posts where you’ve talked about toxic employees who undermine authority, but this situation seems less cut and dry and her personal circumstances add to the confusion. I am hopeful that the situation is salvageable. Her colleagues otherwise have a decent working relationship with her.

This employee knows how to straddle the line between acceptable and unacceptable behavior so closely that I sometimes question whether I am overreacting or under-reacting at the same time. On the one hand, these are relatively minor issues that are coming up with an employee who is otherwise very competent. On the other hand, how could I not have major concerns about her integrity at this point?


I think the fundamental question for you here is: Are you okay with having an employee who you know will lie about small-ish things, which means that you can’t take her at her word when she tells you something? And who you know will do things you’ve asked her not to do, as long as she thinks she’s not being watched closely?

I don’t think you should be okay with that, even though the rest of her work is good.

I especially don’t think you should be okay with it because you’ve talked to her about this before. It would be one thing if she somehow didn’t think this stuff was a big deal and that you wouldn’t really care if you knew about it anyway. But you’ve talked to her about it and told her clearly that it’s not okay and that it needs to stop … and it’s still happening.

It’s also concerning that she’ll shape up for a few months when she knows she’s being watched, and then will slide right back after some time goes by. That says she does understand what you want her to stop doing, and she’s capable of stopping it during the short periods where she takes you seriously … but ultimately she’s just not in sync with you that it matters.

Since she’s otherwise a good employee, you could give her one more chance and be extremely clear that the change needs to be a permanent and sustained one or you won’t be able to keep her on. As in: “We’ve talked several times in the past about these issues. I’m really concerned that it’s come up again. Can you help me understand why this keeps happening?” Followed by: “You do good work, but I cannot keep you in this job if I can’t trust you to operate with a high degree of integrity. I need to be able to take you at your word, because the alternative is that I’d have to check up on everything you tell me, and that’s not practical. I want to be very clear with you that this is a final warning and if the problems resume, I will need to let you go. I hope that doesn’t happen because I think you’re very valuable here, but these issues are serious and I need you to take them seriously as well.”

I know you want to be sensitive to the stuff going on in her personal life right now, and that’s a good instinct. But that should lead you to do things like give her more schedule flexibility if you can and even to give her this final chance … but it’s not something that should make you overlook fundamental integrity issues.

my employee tells small lies but is otherwise good at her job was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 09:47 am
I'm just showing off some wire work I've been practicing. Once I get to the point where I feel like it'd be worthwhile to use precious metal wire instead of the stainless steel I'm learning on, it'll be another story.

Wire wrapped cabochon image behind the cut. )
Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 09:40 am
This one took somewhat longer to do than the basic beadwork stuff but I like to think it came out well. It's available for a $15 donation to the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, Common Cause, or the ACLU. Send me a screenshot of your donation or a receipt, and I'll cover first class shipping within the US.

Marble cage pendant shot behind the cut. )
Tuesday, February 21st, 2017 11:51 pm
Is Fermented Tea Making People Feel Enlightened Because of ... Alcohol?

Squid Communicate With a Secret, Skin-Powered Alphabet

The Compost King of New York

Cutting-edge cameras reveal the secret life of dolphins

Thousands of demonstrators across US say 'Not My President'

Teen suicide attempts fell as same-sex marriage became legal

Former white supremacists help others leave hate groups

‘Segregation Had to Be Invented’

Long-winded speech could be early sign of Alzheimer's disease, says study

In Kuwait, 'too many foreigners' becomes a frequent refrain

True love waits? The story of my purity ring and feeling like I didn't have a choice

Demonstrators vow face-off against North Dakota pipeline

Trump supporters see a successful president — and are frustrated with critics who don’t

Mexico City, Parched and Sinking, Faces a Water Crisis

Do voter identification laws suppress minority voting? Yes. We did the research.

Millions targeted for possible deportation under Trump rules

Trump to spare U.S. 'dreamer' immigrants from crackdown

Europe’s Child-Refugee Crisis (Everything is awful and people suck.)

Immigrants Want You to See These Chilling Photos of US Detention Centers

Revised travel ban targets same countries

Fifth of world's food lost to over-eating and waste, study finds

U.N. says 1.4 million children at imminent risk of death in famines

Losing a Son in the New York State Prisons (The guard claims that on the day the young man killed himself, every single prisoner he was supposed to let outside for rec was asleep. Bullshit. That story doesn't even try to be plausible - and I don't believe he refused two meals in a row that day either.)
Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 05:03 am

Posted by Ask a Manager

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

1. How often can you take mental health days?

How often (if ever) do you think someone should take a mental health day? I think about taking one every few weeks, and then convince myself I am too busy. I am not particularly stressed, but I wonder if it would be a good way to recharge. What do you think?

Every few weeks would definitely be too much, but a couple a year is totally fine to do, as long as you choose days that won’t mess up anyone’s work flow. More here.

2. Is our new employee ranking system insane?

We have a new HR head who is shaking things up (a good thing) but a change to our performance evaluation system leaves me scratching my head. They announced that we will now be graded on a curve, and what followed was the most bewildering presentation I’ve seen in a while. HR explained to our team that managers will still score reports against their job descriptions and manager expectations on a 1-4 score, but now those performance scores will be sent up the chain, where they will be re-scored to fit a bell curve. This new score will be both the annual evaluation score that goes into our file and will be used for incentive distribution. The info session devolved into colleagues asking how they can be ranked as “exceed expectations” by a manager and then marked as “needs improvement” a day later because of the bell curve. The new HR person kept saying this was about “rewarding performers, which might be new here” and was generally condescending.

Is it just me, or is this an insane way to “measure” performance? Working on a high-pressure team where weekend work is routine and headhunters are constantly dialing us, I am really concerned about the morale hit from arbitrarily classifying a quarter of high-power performers as “needs improvement” or even “meets expectations.” I realize that some of our organization (450 employees) needs motivation, but mediocre performers don’t last until annual review in my shop. We have assembled 12 rock stars for my team and yet only two “exceeds expectations” slots will be available. The craziest part is that we will need to create performance improvement plans for perfectly great workers who will randomly get the short straws when HR HAL crunches the numbers. On paper, it also puts them on the path to termination (though I never expect that would happen). This plan is the centerpiece of the new HR person’s agenda, so I am at a loss of how to raise my concerns without offending someone who got quite defensive when rolling it out. For what it is worth, we are highly profitable and we are not under budgetary pressure to reduce force (quite the opposite).

Yeah, that’s a ridiculous system. You sound like you’re a manager there. Ideally you and other managers would push back as a group, which will make you much harder to brush off. Say that this isn’t a system that serves your needs as managers (and remember that HR is there to serve you as part of the company’s management, not the other way around); that you’re not willing to spend time putting good performers on performance improvement plans (!); that based on what you know of your staff, this will demoralize and drive away strong employees; and that this will destroy the work you’ve done to create a team of high performers.

Speaking up as a group is going to be key here, and I strongly suggest that you go over the HR person’s head to do it. And frankly, as a group, you might try a firm “we simply are not willing to manage our teams this way” and see what happens.

3. I’m worried that my coworker is burning herself out

I work in a small, close-knit department. I am very close with my coworker Bertha (outside of work, not just “really good work friends”), and we have the same boss, who is awesome and seems to really care about our happiness and career growth. Bertha and I work with a separate department that is pretty demanding and challenging to work with, and I’m really concerned about Bertha’s mental well-being.

Bertha is crazy smart and does excellent work, but the nature of our jobs means that you get very little recognition from the other department, there is a lot of shuffling, priority switching, etc. The chaos is just the nature of the beast in our industry. Bertha, however, takes every shift very personally (for example, being moved off a project that she hated anyway) and assumes it’s a reflection of her work (which it definitely isn’t). She is also suspicious that she is not well-liked (she is very well-liked) and bad at setting boundaries with her team (she often tells me she was up until 11 p.m. working on some last-minute request).

Our other coworkers and I keep trying to give her pep talks: “It’s not you, we all feel like this, it’s a hard job, don’t take it personally, did you even WANT that project?” and I keep telling her she needs to talk to our manager about her work hours. I know she’s unhappy, but her self-esteem seems too low to entertain the thought that she’s not the problem. I care about Bertha a lot, and I worry she’s going to spiral herself into quitting, or self-sabotage until she really does drop the ball.

Given how close we are, and our solid relationship with our boss, is there a way for me to talk to Boss about my concerns, i.e., “Hey, I’m really worried about Bertha, she seems to be working crazy hours and I think she’s getting burned out”? (Or something similar.) Normally I would butt out, but he’s been really helpful working me through similar problems, and I think she trusts him — she just won’t initiate the conversation herself.

If you are very, very confident that your boss will handle it appropriately, then yes, you could give him a low-key heads-up that she could use some help. But it’s crucial that you be confident about that, because you don’t want your conversation to trigger a horrible mishandling of the situation (like your boss pulling Bertha off more projects without explanation or, worse, keeping her from work that would be good for her professionally). In fact, because of that, it would be good to be pretty specific with your boss about what would and wouldn’t help, so that he doesn’t inadvertently flub his response.

Big caveat here: If Bertha would be horrified or upset if she knew you had done this, don’t do it. It’s not an act of friendship if she would consider it undermining or unwelcome, no matter how good your intentions.

4. How to leave a meeting that’s devolved into chit-chat

I work at an organization where many of us know each other from previous jobs and we are very friendly and fairly informal. In our department, we have pairs of junior and senior staff working on the same portfolio, and everyone is supervised by the head of the department. I’m the junior in the pair, and my senior has known our boss for decades, through several previous jobs. I have no doubt that their close relationship has benefited me (more attention from the boss on our issues, etc.).

It is not unusual to have a meeting with just the three of us. Sometimes after we’ve dispensed with whatever the topic of the meeting was, we’ll get to talking about something else and the conversation will go on for a long time. Sometimes it’s completely not related to work, sometimes it’s them regaling me with “war stories” from their history. Usually I enjoy — and participate in — these conversations. We all know the feeling of wanting to delay getting back to our desks and going back to work.

But I’ve been particularly busy lately. There’s a new leader of world teapots and we anticipate having to do a lot more work defending the tea drinkers we represent. It’s going to be very busy this year for all of us. Lately these long, dallying conversations have just been making me anxious — I can picture the emails piling up in my inbox — and I’m not enjoying them as much. What is a polite, professional way to extricate myself without alienating my colleagues? If we are in a conference room, it’s easier because there is often another meeting coming in. But if we are in my boss’s office it’s harder. They know my schedule well, so I can’t fake another meeting — plus I don’t want to lie to people I genuinely like and respect.

“Do you mind if I duck out? I’m swamped this month and have a bunch of projects I need to dive back into.”

After you do this at one or two meetings, you could say at the next one, “By the way, my workload has really increased lately, so while I normally love sticking around and chatting when we’re done with our agenda, for the next little while I’m going to head straight back to my desk. I didn’t want either of you wondering why the sudden change — it’s nothing personal!”

It would probably be a good idea to still do one of these chat sessions every now and then — like maybe one a month — just to maintain the relationships you’ve built. But it’s very reasonable not to do it more often than that.

5. Interviewing with hair loss and a turban

I have been making steps to move out of my current job and look for something that satisfies me more, so I’ve started reworking my resume and taking a look at posted jobs. I don’t have a hard timeline that I’m working with, and my current bosses like me, so I’m only concerned with exiting before I get too bogged down.

My issue is this: last year I was diagnosed with lupus, and in the last 8-9 months, most of the hair on my head fell out, along with some facial hair. Eyebrows I can disguise with makeup, but while my hair grows back in (and until it decides on one color) I have been wearing turbans at all times except at home. I have zero other symptoms and currently do not require extensive medical appointments.

Everyone who sees me assumes I am going through cancer treatments – until I correct them, which I can only do if they ask me directly. Yet I know you’re not supposed to ask applicants about medical issues. I don’t know how to approach possible job interviews and the assumptions people may make about my health. Is it the best option to mention it in an interview, or keep silent until I receive an offer? Is there anything that can be done about those assumptions without putting employers in a weird privacy spot? I’m concerned that biases against people who might medical time away or have to leave could seriously impact my options.

A wig isn’t an option because a nice wig is expensive, and I’ve found anything on my head other than cotton itches/is uncomfortable.

I’ve been mulling on this and am torn between thinking the best option is not to mention it (on the grounds that it’s not really relevant to the hiring process) vs. thinking it might be better to say something, but being unable to come up with good wording. Readers, can you help?

how often can you take mental health days, is this employee ranking system insane, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017 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
  • Take your medication/set out your meds for the morning
  • 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
Saturday, January 14th, 2017 10:24 am
Allow users to specify an account as a roleplaying account

accounts, statistics

Allow users to specify an account for roleplay without affecting paid account services.

This is a suggestion mainly for statistical purposes! Dreamwidth has an active, sizable roleplaying community, a consequence of which is that there are a lot of "character accounts" scattered across the site. As someone who's very curious about DW's site statistics, I can't help but think that means there's a lot of essentially fictional data skewing things one way or another.

If possible, I'd like for roleplayers to be able to specify an account as being made for roleplay. It would have to be in a way that doesn't affect paid services, since some get paid/paid premium accounts and some don't. In addition to being able to choose it during account creation, there would also need to be an option for existing accounts to "switch over", since there are many, MANY existing character accounts.

Challenges involved: oh boy! I'm not at all familiar with site coding, especially Dreamwidth's, so I can't imagine how complicated this might be. I also don't know how many people would actually use this option, but I thought I'd throw this out there anyway.

Poll #18026 Allow users to specify an account as a roleplaying account
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 41

This suggestion:

View Answers

Should be implemented as-is.
24 (58.5%)

Should be implemented with changes. (please comment)
1 (2.4%)

Shouldn't be implemented.
0 (0.0%)

(I have no opinion)
16 (39.0%)

(Other: please comment)
0 (0.0%)

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017 07:00 pm

Posted by Brett Jonas

Quote Post Jim: “The scrapings in the bottom of the bucket is actually enough sourdough starter to feed?”
PJ: “Yeah, that’s like the size of a normal family’s starter.”
Tuesday, February 21st, 2017 06:59 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

A reader writes:

I recently told my boss that I am looking for a new job, and that I would be leaving his company within four weeks. When I had a few offers, I met with the boss and discussed them with him, especially since one of the offers is a current client. He said that he wishes me well and that he will waive adherence to the “non-compete” clause, as the client is not changing any services with his company. A few days later, my boss calls me and says that he feels that it is fair that I pay 20% of my new salary as a conversion fee to his company.

He said that it was because of him that I was able to interact with the company, and most recruiters charge 20% of the new salary as a fee. I would have to pay about $25,000 to my old boss because I have a new job. He said that it was only fair since he was “nice enough” to let me out of my non-compete clause. Is this legal?

Sure, it’s legal for him to ask for it, just like it’s legal for him to ask for your first-born child or a lock of your hair.

It’s also legal for you to laugh and laugh and laugh, and give him nothing — no child, no hair, and no money.

He has zero claim to any portion of your new salary. He has zero claim to even a single dollar from your wallet.

Yes, you met your new employer through your current job, as hundreds of thousands of people before you have done. That’s a very normal thing. It’s a huge part of what networking is.

The type of recruiter fee he’s referring to is paid by the hiring company, not the person being hired — and only when there’s a pre-negotiated contract agreeing to said fee.

As for the non-compete, loads of employers have people sign overly broad non-competes that won’t hold up in court. You’d be well-served by having a lawyer look at yours.

But what your boss is asking for is ludicrous and outrageous. Do not pay him any money.

I do worry that he will try to torpedo your job offer with this client when you decline to turn over your money to him. It would be good to be working with a lawyer before he hears your answer, because your lawyer might be able to warn him off doing that, possibly citing tortious interference (illegally and intentionally damaging someone’s business relationships) or something similar. Note that I’m not a lawyer and can’t say if you’d actually have a case … but a good lawyer is likely to have lots of tools at her disposal to get your boss to back off regardless. Call one today.

my boss wants 20% of my salary from my next job was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Thursday, January 12th, 2017 10:32 pm

(Read more...) functioning as the black triangle to the left of it


Can we please have the (Read more...) link functioning as the cut-opening arrow, not as the direct link to the entry?

Right now, when you click the (Read more...) link, you are redirected to the whole entry with the comments. If you want to simply open the cut and read what's inside, remaining on the main page of the journal, you have to click the tiny black triangle to the left of (Read more...). Can we please ditch this black triangle, which is barely visible, and have the (Read more...) link functioning as one? As for the direct link to the whole entry, it can be moved to the header, which is currently plain text without any use.

Poll #18025 (Read more...) functioning as the black triangle to the left of it
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 36

This suggestion:

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Should be implemented as-is.
6 (16.7%)

Should be implemented with changes. (please comment)
3 (8.3%)

Shouldn't be implemented.
22 (61.1%)

(I have no opinion)
4 (11.1%)

(Other: please comment)
1 (2.8%)

Thursday, January 5th, 2017 07:20 pm

posting a comment


is it possible to implement a worldwide hotkey ctrl+enter for posting a comment?

is it possible to implement a worldwide hotkey "ctrl+enter" for posting a comment?

Poll #18024 posting a comment
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 27

This suggestion:

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Should be implemented as-is.
2 (7.4%)

Should be implemented with changes. (please comment)
2 (7.4%)

Shouldn't be implemented.
6 (22.2%)

(I have no opinion)
17 (63.0%)

(Other: please comment)
0 (0.0%)

Thursday, August 25th, 2016 10:26 pm

System for Marking Entries to Read Later


Similar to how AO3 allows you to bookmark fic to read later, it would be super convenient to be able to mark a DW entry on my reading page for later, especially if you often read Dreamwidth on mobile.

I try to read my reading page every day, but I don't always have time to read everything on it, especially when someone is doing heavy lifting for personal issues or has written a long, meaty entry I want time to digest, or hey look there's fic and I don't have time for it right this second but I really want to read it. I often read on mobile, and it's not really feasible to keep dozens of tabs open in mobile browser until I can come back to them. So, I'd love a way to store entries to read later that's separate from the memories feature (which in my mind is for stuff I've already read and want to remember.) I think this would make DW easier to use from mobile as well (oh look there's a post full of images, I don't want to look at that on a cell connection.)

Poll #18023 System for Marking Entries to Read Later
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 31

This suggestion:

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Should be implemented as-is.
12 (38.7%)

Should be implemented with changes. (please comment)
6 (19.4%)

Shouldn't be implemented.
0 (0.0%)

(I have no opinion)
12 (38.7%)

(Other: please comment)
1 (3.2%)