kyrielle: A photo of kyrielle, in profile, turned slightly toward the viewer (Default)

Most Popular Tags

Page Summary

Style Credit

Friday, March 27th, 2015 04:00 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

A reader writes:

I’ve had an employee come to me to tell me about some problematic behavior he witnessed from another employee. It’s serious enough that not addressing it isn’t an option, but the employee who told me about it asked me not to reveal that the information came from him. However, no one else saw it happen. What’s the best approach to address this without violating his confidentiality?

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

what to do when an employee gives you info in confidence was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Friday, March 27th, 2015 02:58 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

It’s the Friday open thread! 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.

* If you submitted a question to me recently, please don’t repost it here, as it may be in the to-be-answered queue :)

open thread – March 27, 2015 was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Friday, March 27th, 2015 02:00 pm

Posted by Jim Jonas

I feel sorry for people who regularly eat at chain restaurants.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand why people (myself included at times) do; especially when traveling.

local flavor_blog_1

If I have my history right, chains like Denny’s or Cracker Barrel, or Colter’s favorite, TGI Fridays became popular as our culture become more mobile.
As more families took vacations to places they had never been, or had no family nearby, they needed someplace to eat. The problem with new places is that sometimes, the food can be very different from what is available at home. Chain restaurants met the need of travelers by providing predictable menus no matter where they were located. What a relief!

So why the sympathy for people who are simply avoiding a horrible roadside lunch spot or the greasy spoon that serves up food poisoning to unsuspecting vacationers?

The answer came to me after a winter of our family travels that took us from Detroit, MI to New Orleans, LA and back up to Wisconsin. It was a lot of ground to cover, much of which was virgin territory for me. I noticed that while the trees and fields varied somewhat by latitude, suburban sprawl had made much of the scenery along the highways look remarkably… the same. Chain restaurants, along with big box stores, are a major part of that similarity. To me it seemed somehow wrong that if I got off the highway in Louisiana it was indistinguishable from an exit community in Wisconsin. Where was the local flavor, the places that were unique to the culture of the community? What makes each place special if it is marked by all the usual eateries found all across the nation? Why was I even bothering to travel if everywhere was the same anyhow? There isn’t much point in it is there?

That’s why I feel sorry for people who regularly eat at chain restaurants. There’s no new experience; nothing to write home about. All you get is a full belly.
But isn’t a predictably happy belly better than any level of culinary excitement that comes with gastrointestinal risk?

local flavor_blog

Perhaps, but NOW there are ways to mitigate that risk that we didn’t have just a few years ago.

With the advent of mobile devices and social proof travelers can find the best of anywhere just by searching!
Apps like Yelp, Foursquare, TripAdvisor, Facebook and Google Maps allow people to rate, and leave comments about places along the way so you don’t have to wonder where the best Mediterranean food in Merrillville, Indiana is. You don’t have to look for the most familiar lit-up logo-on-a-pole while you’re filling your tank to figure out where to feed your face. You can have that a figured out a few exits in advance based on what you feel like eating, and “what’s good around here.”

Of course, if you know where you’re headed and when you’re leaving you can mark a few spots the you might like to try along your route. For instance, when we went to New Orleans, I ‘saved’ a few restaurants on Google Maps that I had found on Yelp, in the areas where I had a feeling we’d be getting hungry. Sure enough, as we were approaching Bowling Green, Kentucky, the kids were ready for breakfast. I pulled into Wild Eggs and we chowed down like royalty on crepes, omelets and cinnamon rolls. It should be noted that this example is actually a small, regional chain. (See, I’m not anti-franchise, just anti-same-old-same-old!)

I’m encouraged that local businesses, the small family restaurants that used to be the focal points of so many neighborhoods, can get new customers this way. My hope, especially since I live right near one, is that the exit communities across America will be seeded with such businesses, and not be choked out by the national chains that have so dominated that landscape. If this can happen, then the charm of these communities may be experienced by anyone passing through, and you’ll decide to get off at exit 29 not because there’s a Denny’s and a Cracker Barrel, but because you discovered that the locally made goat milk delicacies are out-of-this-world!

Jim Signature



Friday, March 27th, 2015 10:32 am
Getting up at 5 a.m. to take my thyroid medicine proved to me that walking semi-normally without the boot almost doesn't hurt at all while doing anything with the boot on hurts like the dickens. (I can't use the walker for this early morning trip to the bathroom because there's nowhere in our bedroom to put the walker and because putting it in the hall outside our room would mean that nobody could get out of their bedroom without moving the dratted thing.) I also still haven't figured out a way to bring my coffee into the living room while using the walker. I did bring a bottle of water into the living room at the same time I brought my coffee and my breakfast. I noticed yesterday that I was getting dehydrated because getting to the kitchen for water was so darned difficult (and painful). I am a little worried-- The ankle on my good foot is starting to hurt. I'm afraid that all of this may be putting too much strain on it.

I did crawl across our bed to get to the dresser this morning to retrieve my clothing. Usually, I'd get up and walk around the bed. I suspect that tomorrow I'll walk around the bed. Crawling hurt a lot.

Cordelia did a fine job getting dinner yesterday. Of course, she decided that she didn't want any of hers heated up, not the turkey and not the green beans. I had cold turkey, too, so the only thing she had to heat up was my green beans. The real test will come when I ask her to handle raw meat and get it into the oven. She's said she's not willing to do that, but it will need doing.

We watched The Flash last night. I had to cover my ears and look away during the scenes between Barry and Iris. I do not handle vicarious embarrassment well.

Feedly is giving me trouble. If I try to open it in a new tab, I get an error message claiming that it can't load and that it must be due to some extension I've tacked onto my browser. I've looked at what I have, and none of it should have that effect-- Not to mention that nothing at all changed in between Wednesday, when everything was fine, and yesterday. Scott suggested opening Feedly in a new window, and that worked. I have no idea why, and I worry that it won't continue to work. I use Feedly for [community profile] metanews link finding. I'd say that about 90% of our links come from the blogs we follow on Feedly.

I have arranged for Cordelia to have a ride to the Girl Scout thing on Saturday. Apparently it's more of an open house than an all day event, so they don't have to be there at any particular time as long as they've got at least an hour before it closes at 3:00. The woman who'll be giving Cordelia a ride says they'll likely leave about 11:30 and that I should both feed Cordelia lunch before that and provide her with a snack to take along.

Tonight, some parents from Cordelia's class have organized another bowling night. Cordelia is going as is her best friend. I offered a ride to Cordelia's best friend, and her family accepted. Scott will be doing the driving alone because I don't want to have to get in and out of the car. It's a pity because the original plan was for us to go out for dinner while Cordelia was bowling. It's just too hard to do now. Maybe we'll get some kind of carry out and watch a movie. We have a movie that we've been halfway through for about three weeks now. Scott and I both keep forgetting about it.
Friday, March 27th, 2015 12:30 am
@LAlupusLady recently sent this intriguing tweet out on Twitter:

Does anyone "celebrate" the day they were diagnosed w/ #Lupus?
33 years at a 3PM Drs. appointment heard "you have Lupus."

Hm. I had to think about that. Do I "celebrate" the date of my Sjogren's diagnosis? My first reaction was, Heck NO. I don't "celebrate" anything about autoimmune disease. I don't even know the actual date of my diagnosis. I suppose I could look back in my records...


After a little reflection on how stressed I was for those months before my diagnosis, I would grudgingly admit that while my diagnosis was not something to celebrate, it certainly was a relief to have a specific name for my problems.

I never thought about commemorating the day of my diagnosis. Did you?

Hey. If marking my diagnosis day means cake......I'm all for it. Like this one:

I wonder if it comes in a gluten and dairy free, low-sugar version?

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 01:42 am
The one that said "Every time people ask for book recommendations, be sure to give at least one that fits any axis of 'diversity', because otherwise nobody else will".

By doing this, I've recently become aware that I need to read more non-genre fiction. Or, at least, that I ought to so I can give better recommendations rather than google ones. Trying not to get disheartened by the fact that really, I'm the only one.

Sooo... quick question. The Farsala trilogy by Hilari Bell (which you all ought to read), does that count on my little diversity quota I have in my head? I mean, the main characters are all more or less Iranian, aren't they? I mean, Farsala is clearly Persia, the Hrum are obviously the Romans, and the Suud are... okay, I don't know who they're standing in for.

I have also seriously got to write up my own booklist. I'm so tired of having to google. Need to stop putting that off.


Tiny bio-robot is a germ suited-up with graphene quantum dots

Report: DEA agents had ‘sex parties’ with prostitutes hired by drug cartels

New York City buildings collapse in possible gas blast, injuring 12 people

When HIV Infects the Brain

Voter ID laws are screwing the planet, too

Indiana religious objections bill signed as dispute swirls

How the U.S. dropped these gory propaganda leaflets over Syria

Graphene allows strange form of ice to occur at room temperature. My first thought was "My goodness, it's ice-nine", but it's not quite that scary.

U.S. court halts Labor Department same-sex couple protections

It's Not Easy Being Scientology

Archaeologists discover Maya 'melting pot'

Chechnya Threatens to Arm Mexico if U.S. Sends Weapons to Ukraine

Why the U.S. Is Fighting Beside Iran in Iraq and Against It in Yemen

Police settle suit over use of tear gas during Missouri protests

BYU graduates complain to accrediting board over school’s treatment of lapsed-Mormon students

Why the Rich Don't Give to Charity

Universe may be on the brink of collapse (on the cosmological timescale)

New DNA construct can set off a “mutagenic chain reaction”

New Census data: Americans are returning to the far-flung suburbs

Spacecraft Traveling Close to Light Speed Should Be Visible with Current Technology, Say Engineers

Racist Police, Courts, Fraternities: Who Says We Don't Need Affirmative Action Anymore?

Supreme Court: Treat a Pregnancy at Least as Forgivingly as a DUI

Engineering students use sound waves to put out fires

Massive Underground City Found in Cappadocia Region of Turkey

US isolated as allies line up to join China-led bank
Friday, March 27th, 2015 04:03 am

Posted by Ask a Manager

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

1. Employee reported her coworker for a Facebook photo that showed some skin

My coworker, “Kara,” reported our coworker “Sally” to the manager of our organization for having a Facebook profile photo that Kara felt was inappropriate and reflected poorly on the organization. The photo showed a strip of Sally’s bare skin, but there was no reference to our organization visible in the photo or in the caption. (Her back faced the camera, and she had a fur over her shoulders. You could see a portion of her back and part of an armpit, but not as far down as her waist. According to Sally, she was wearing a halter top that wasn’t visible in the photo. According to the Kara who reported it, it was a topless photo. She claimed to know this because she overheard the other employee discussing the photo shoot in their shared residence.)

Our manager directed Sally’s supervisor to speak to her about the photo. The supervisor did so, although she felt that the photo had no bearing on our organization and was not inappropriate.

I will soon become the supervisor of both Kara and Sally. Sally expressed concern about being able to work productively in close proximity to Kara and stated that the reporting of the Facebook photo to our manager had been very upsetting. Due to the nature of our work, these employees not only work together but also live in close proximity to each other, and it is difficult to establish solid boundaries between work and personal lives. I want to ensure that Kara does not continue to pass information about the personal lives of her coworkers on to the manager of our organization when that information has no impact on work performance. Unfortunately, this behavior seems to be condoned by the manager. What is the best way to manage this situation?

This is none of Kara’s business. Who cares if she had a halter top on or not? The photo was of a piece of her back. It’s hardly scandalous.

Your real issue here is your manager, who thought this was an appropriate thing for the organization to involve itself in. I want you to tell Kara that you want her to focus on doing her work and that it’s not appropriate to make this sort of complaint, but before you can do that, you need to get aligned with your own boss about that — because you don’t her to undermine that message, and it sounds like she might. I’d say this to your boss: “I feel strongly that Sally’s photo didn’t cross any lines, and that it was none of our business. I want to discourage Kara from interfering in her coworkers’ private lives in the future, and I want to make sure that we’re on the same page about that.”

2. Admin is monitoring our hours

I am a salaried employee and have been so with my company for over 7 years. I just got a new position and had my boss come to me and tell me that there is an admin monitoring the time I’m clocked into the office and that she noticed I’m sometimes short of 40 hours every week.

This has never come up in any other position I have had. I even had an experience at a previous location where one of my coworkers, who consequently left the company, did recieve a formal notice from HR for missing time, but my boss at the time was rather a gossip and also told me that it required executive level permission to even be able to pull his time.

Is it legal for this admin to be pulling and checking time specifically for this department when it is not done for every other salaried employee? I feel like I’m being treated differently than I was before.

Yes, that’s legal. It would be illegal if you were being singled out for different treatment because of your race, religion, sex, disability, or other protected class. But it’s perfectly legal to do it for other reasons. And it’s pretty common for one department to managed differently than another. Your new boss has a different management style than your previous boss.

As for how to handle this, if you regularly work more than 40 hours in other weeks, I’d point that out to your boss and note that it balances out over time. I’d also ask if he’s concerned about your output. But otherwise, what you’re hearing is that your boss wants you working 40 hours a week.

3. Can I ask for my old job back?

I recently left a position I enjoyed for one offering more money. I left on good terms, with excellent performance reviews during my time with the company. The new employer has turned out to be a very poor fit, leaving me sick from the stress of facing work day after day. My former employer has not yet filled my former spot. Is it reasonable to request my position back if I provide an assurance that I would return for the long-term. If so, what is the best way to approach this?

Some back information: it has been 3 months since my departure. I was replaced by a temporary employee for the remainder of the fiscal year. I helped the department locate this employee because I knew her to be a good match for the work and culture. She is not interested in the position beyond the original temporary period. The department has approval to refill the position for the new fiscal year.

Sure, you can reach out to them. Say that you’ve given it a great deal of thought and you’re regretting your decision to leave and wondering if they’d be interested in talking about you coming back. As the boss in this situation, I’d be wondering about the issues that drove you to leave in the first place and how I’d be able to be confident that those won’t have you thinking about leaving again in a year or two — because if they will, it might be more in my interest to just keep things as they are now that we’ve made the transition. So you’ll need to be prepared to talk about why you left and why you don’t think those issues will continue to be issues, and to be convincing about it.

And make sure that whatever you say is really true. There were presumably reasons you went searching for a new job in the first place, and those will likely still be there. Do you want to go back because it’s the easiest way out of your current position? Or do you truly want to go back and stay for a good long time? If it’s the former, you might be better off searching for something new.

4. Changing my resignation date

Once I have submitted a resignation, can I change the date? I gave 2 months notice to help facilitate the transition, but work is making it unbearable to be there and my health is taking a big hit for it. High blood pressure and migraines to name a couple.

I would like to decrease to one month notice as per policy.

Absolutely you can. I’d say this: “Unfortunately my circumstances have changed, and I’m not longer able to give you the two month notice period I’d hoped to give. Instead, I’ll need my last day to be X, which is still one month of notice from today.”

And really, if it’s truly awful and/or impacting your health, there’s no reason that you have to stay a full month, unless you’re contractually obligated (and a statement in a personnel handbook that they want one month’s notice does not in itself create a contractual obligation on your side). More on that here.

5. Using technical terms in an interview

I frequently see postings for social media marketing positions or employees who are tech-savvy in general. However, many times the interviewer (who is often older and not proficient in computer skills) seems lost when I attempt to communicate my capacities in these areas. For example, during an interview, I might use terms like: “blog,” “newsfeed,” “tweet,” “upload,” “cloud,” posted on.”

Are the above terms too “technical?” But if that’s the case, how do I explain my skills?

Nooooooo. Those terms are barely technical at all. If your interviewer doesn’t understand them, the problem is on their end, not yours. I realize that doesn’t help you if you want the job, but this is so bizarre that I don’t really know how to advise on it. I could imagine encountering this once as a weird fluke, but if you’re encountering it regularly … well, I’m at a loss and baffled that it’s even happening. Are you perhaps interviewing with … time travelers?

Seriously, it’s weird.

employee reported her coworker for a Facebook photo that showed some skin, time-traveling interviewers, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 11:43 pm
I gave up waiting for her to give me all her deductible information and told her I'd simply submit an amended form if she ever got around to it, and if she doesn't like it she can do her own taxes. I feel accomplished!

Ana finished her final edit for her writing course... and then accidentally deleted the whole thing when going to copy it. D'oh! Lately she's been going to book club once a week way uptown. She loves it. She loves the kids, loves the group... and really loves that we trusted her to find her way to 86th street on her own, and to get back on her own every week. Trust may be overstating it. I was fraught with anxiety her first week. All I can say is, thank goodness for cell phones! Next week she forgot to bring hers. Naturally.


When the road salt seeps, sometimes the manhole covers fly

Indonesian police blame jihadis returning from Syria for chlorine bomb

Jupiter might have wrecked the first version of our solar system

Jesse L. Martin and Flash Co-Stars Thank Joss Whedon with Gospel Cover of the Firefly Theme Song

Remains of Iraqi troops found in mass grave in Yathrib

Court faults redistricting plan that 'packed' black voters

Every Argument About “Buffy” On The Internet, From 1998 Until Now

Orchids underground: a beautiful parasite

The Fallout of Workers’ Comp ‘Reforms’:  5 Tales of Harm

US aiding Saudi air strikes against Houthi in Yemen

Yemen's Hadi seeks UN military support to deter Houthis

Allies of Yemen Houthis seize Aden airport, close in on president

Americans Don’t Care That Much About the Environment, Poll Shows

Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories

Looks Like The Paleo Diet Wasn't Always So Hot For Ancient Teeth

Gay, disabled journalist's 'personal view' new in Serbia

From skyscraper to 'plyscraper': The tower blocks made from wood

We’re treating soil like dirt. It’s a fatal mistake, as our lives depend on it

Siege limits options for Gaza's chronically ill

It is actually illegal in Colorado to collect the rain that falls on your home​

Virtual noses keep real-world VR sickness at bay

Cheers, tears for U.S. Army convoy in Europe

Why Don't Animals Get Schizophrenia (and How Come We Do)?

US officials: Military worries about easing transgender ban

Map: Every single road in the U.S., in mind-boggling detail

A Conversation Between The Two People I Assume Design All Restaurant Bathrooms

AP Investigation: Men forced to work as slaves to catch seafood for global supply

New shape-shifting 'punk' frog knows how to blend in

Islamic State conflict: US launches Tikrit air strikes

Mastectomies on the rise in Venezuela amid economic crisis. "We're practicing medicine from the 1940s here, and we know that's not right," Romero said.

USDA proposes definition of farming, limiting some subsidies

Fiber-Famished Gut Microbes Linked to Poor Health

20 Things You Didn't Know About... Nothing
Thursday, March 26th, 2015 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
Thursday, March 26th, 2015 07:21 pm
I've emailed my primary care doctor to ask if, under the circumstances, she still wants me to come in on Monday for my annual or if it would be better to reschedule the appointment again. I don't feel particularly urgent about getting the fasting blood sugar and cholesterol and all or about the pap smear (I think this is the year for one, but I forget). They did all my vitals when I saw her last week. My blood pressure was a trifle high for me but still quite comfortably in the normal range. (Today's blood pressure at Orthopedics was unusual-- 128/62. Usually, I run about 90/70.)

I'm hoping she'll say we can delay the appointment. Getting around UHS while using the walker will be a serious pain. Just getting to UHS will be difficult since the new boot doesn't comfortably go through car door. Of course, she may want to poke and prod my foot and ankle herself. Who knows?

Either there's something in the house that I'm allergic to (something that came in last night), or I forgot to take my Claritin last night. I've been sniffly and sneezy all day today except during the two or so hours I was out of the house. It definitely feels more like allergies than like a cold. Maybe I'll take tonight's Claritin a couple of hours early. It might mean that I can sleep reasonably by the time bedtime arrives.

Ah, well. Time to hobble to the kitchen for some water and my evening medications. I've been putting that off because using the walker is such a pain.
Thursday, March 26th, 2015 03:16 pm
Scott has to work late tonight. This means Cordelia will be fixing dinner for me and for herself. We have leftover turkey and green beans, so it's just a matter of putting stuff on plates and microwaving it. I suspect, though, that I'm going to have to offer a lot of verbal reassurance that she's doing it right.

I have just emailed Cordelia's teachers. Next Tuesday evening, from 5:00 to 7:00, the school is having another Expo. That means presentations in the classrooms and standing for two hours. The sixth grade classrooms are on the second floor, and there's no way I can manage either the stairs or the prolonged standing. The building must have an elevator somewhere (though I've no idea where), so maybe they can get me and my broken foot upstairs. I don't know. Given that the thing starts at 5:00, there's no guarantee that Scott will be available to take Cordelia to Expo. It's just barely possible that he could be home and showered by 5:00, but that's not the way to bet.

Last Expo, they didn't allow any kids to be present without a parent, so this may mean that Cordelia can't go which would be a great pity. I think she's perfectly capable of going on her own and behaving well. I suppose I can see why the school would make that a blanket policy. Kids do tend to want to run wild when there are that many other kids around, and most of the kids are younger than Cordelia is (the school is K-6 this year).

At any rate, I'm hoping they can make an exception to the only attend with parents thing for Cordelia, just in case Scott can't get home in time. Expo is a really big deal for the whole school, and I know Cordelia and her group have worked hard on their project.

I am finding that using the walker is awkward, at least in the house. Part of it is that I'm not always sure when to bear down on the walker. I suppose I'll eventually get that coordinated. If putting weight on my bad foot hurt more, I'd probably have an easier time of it.

Time to summon Cordelia to move my laptop and table so that the cleaning lady has access to the living room.
Thursday, March 26th, 2015 06:00 pm

Posted by PJ Jonas

Quote Post Hewitt: “Mom, what is the kind of salsa I like? Bland?”
Mom: “Mild.”
Thursday, March 26th, 2015 05:58 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

A reader writes:

I searched on your site and saw you have given examples of common questions interviewers ask. However, while a candidate can prepare for those types of questions, for situational interview questions it’s tough for them to come up with answers when I’m asking them to draw on their experience and give me examples of specific situations on the spot.

Are there any disadvantages to supplying situational interview questions to candidates ahead of time so they can prepare thoughtful answers? I’ve never had a potential employer offer them to me prior to an interview, but I see only advantages to doing so. For example, for people who get very nervous in interviews, it seems to me that it would help to level the playing field since they wouldn’t have the stress of having to answer on the spot. In addition, it also seems the interviewers would get better quality answers from all candidates who took the time to prepare. The only potential disadvantage I see is that people could used canned responses, but since situational interview questions draw on their experience, it seems like it would be difficult to do that.

The timing of this letter is uncanny, because I’ve just started experimenting with doing exactly this.

I’m interviewing for a junior-level admin position, and most of the candidates are fairly inexperienced — especially at interviewing. Candidates who are newer to the work world tend not to be great at interviewing, and they often struggle to come up with useful answers to questions like “tell me about a time that you improved an existing system” or “tell me about a time that you had to juggle lots of competing priorities” or any of the many other “tell me about a time when…” questions I like to use. (And in general, interviewers should use lots of those questions because they get you the best information about how candidates operate.)

I thought exactly what you’re thinking here: that giving them a heads-up in advance would help them prepare more thoughtful answers and give me better information about them. And they can’t really “cheat” by making up fantastic but false answers ahead of time, because I respond to their initial answer with tons of follow-up questions about what they’ve told me.

So now for this position, when I confirm a phone interview, I send along a note that says this:

“I’d love if you’d come prepared to talk about:
– a particularly significant professional achievement — what your role was, what the challenges were, and how you approached it
- a specific time in the past when you’ve had to stay on top of a large volume of work and juggle a lot of competing priorities, and how you approached it
- a time when you went above and beyond to get results — what the situation was and what you did”

The result has been great. I’m getting better-thought-out answers that make it easier for me to assess each person’s fit for the role, since they’re not scrambling to think of an example on the spot. Plus, I’m able to see how well they did or didn’t use the chance to think through the questions ahead of time. (Specifically, I’m still encountering candidates who struggle with these answers, which is particularly telling now that they’ve had an advance heads-up.)

To be clear, I’m not prepping these candidates for every question I’ll be asking, or even for most of them — just for a few specific situations that I really want to probe into and where having some time to come up with strong examples will help (and won’t hurt).

I’m also only doing this with candidates for junior-level roles. For more senior roles, I expect candidates to be more equipped to talk about their experience — although frankly, I could see an argument for doing a bit of it there too.

And I can’t stress this part enough: If you do this as an interviewer, the key is to probe into whatever answers you receive. You need to ask a bunch of follow-up questions (what was the biggest challenge with that? why did you approach it that way? did you worry about X? how did you handle Y? what would you do differently if you could do it again?) or you do risk a canned answer.

But I’m really liking it, it’s strengthened my ability to assess this particular group of candidates, and they seem to like it too.

should you give job candidates the interview questions ahead of time? was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 04:30 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

A reader asks:

How do you put order and structure to a boss’s calendar that is out of control with constant meetings and no time to get any work done? Due to downsizing, my manager oversees three departments now instead of just one. My boss has meetings on top of meetings on top of meetings, many of which he requests. I manage his schedule and I block off “Office Time” on his calendar, but those times only get bumped for more meetings. I simply must help him take control of his work days, but can’t figure out where to start. Help!

You can read my answer to this question over at Intuit QuickBase’s Fast Track blog today.

how can I help my boss manage his time better? was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 11:49 am
I'm just back from my orthopedics appointment. From what they said, I probably won't need surgery, but they do want me to stay off my right foot completely for at least the next two weeks. I've hauled out the walker I used when I was pregnant, and I will use it when I leave the house, but I don't think I can use it in the house. It won't fit in our bathroom or our bedroom, for one thing. For another, I can't carry anything while I use it, and I do need to get food and things to drink and bring them to where I can sit down.

They gave me a new, sturdier and much taller boot. It's more complicated to put on (I'm not sure I entirely understand how to do it. Hopefully, I'll figure it out). It also goes up high enough that I can't sit normally while wearing it because it digs in to my thigh. It made getting in and out of the cab on the way home very difficult. I basically had to swing my leg up and around in order to get through the door frame. I think I'm going to avoid car rides as much as I can while I'm wearing this dratted thing.

I have to have Scott pick up a bottle of aspirin on his way home tonight. They want me to take one a day to help prevent blood clots.

What they told me is that, basically, one of my ligaments yanked a piece off of my calcaneous.

I've emailed the school librarian to tell her that I won't be in next week either. I have to decide whether or not I can take care of three kids during spring break (which starts a week from tomorrow) while staying off my foot. I'll have two eleven year olds, and I should be able to talk them through food preparation. At least I think so.
Thursday, March 26th, 2015 03:00 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

A reader writes:

My job offer was rescinded after I sent an email attempting to negotiate the base salary to $3,000 plus what was originally offered. I was horrified after receiving the employer’s initial response withdrawing the offer. Such a situation is rarely talked about in internet job articles (I read yours on this matter but like I said — not too many others) and I was not expecting it. I have been job searching for almost a year now and I just cannot seem to get past the interview stage. I have had many interviews and no offers — until now.

In an attempt to be professional, I emailed the employer back asking the reason for his decision and thanking him for his time and consideration. He just replied with this: “Simply, I’ve never had a negotiation process with any new applicant in hiring. My experience is that if a new employee is not content that he or she didn’t get enough in the beginning, it results in lack of commitment.”

I’m very desperate right now. I know I should not have attempted to negotiate if I wasn’t ready to walk away. Now that I have realized my mistake, I would really like to rectify it. So my question is, should I frame a response that essentially begs asks for the first offer since I am content with it? Or should I just let this (as painful as it is) go?

Well, the first thing to know is that this guy is completely out of line. Assuming that you were professional and polite when you tried to negotiate, no reasonable employer would yank an offer just because you asked for a few thousand dollars more. They certainly might say no, but telling you that people shouldn’t even try to negotiate?  Negotiating in that range is a normal, common, totally accepted part of the hiring process. Unless he told you earlier that he doesn’t negotiate and that his offer was his best and only offer, it’s irrational and wildly out of touch to penalize people for engaging in normal behavior.

That means that you really might be better off not working for this guy. People who have rigid and weird and wrong ideas like this are often terrible to work with. You’d almost certainly see similar rigidity and weirdness and wrongness from him about other issues too — like vacation time or speaking up when your workload is high or expressing a dissenting opinion.

Basically, what he just showed you is that you dodged a bullet.

That said, if you’re desperate for work, even a bullet can be appealing.

If that’s your situation — if you just need work and don’t care if it’s for a horrible employer — then you can certainly try responding and seeing if it can be salvaged. It may or may not be salvageable, but you have nothing to lose by trying.

If you do want to try, I’d say this: “I’m actually very committed to this job and was incredibly excited to receive your offer. I’ve always worked with employers where negotiation was an expected part of the offer process, and most of what I’ve read encourages candidates to negotiate. But I’d be glad to accept your original offer, and could do so very happily if you’re still willing to extend it. I’d love to do this job.”

But again, I’d think long and hard about this before doing it, because if he says yes, you’ll be signing up to work with a horrid and unreasonable person.

employer pulled the job offer after I tried to negotiate was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 07:23 am
I enjoyed this movie quite a bit, but probably not for the reasons that anyone else in the theater did. A side note, before I begin, has to do with the Frozen Fever short that played before the movie. It was... cute. So cute. And so merchandisable. It reminded me of the articles I read about the Sailor Moon manga's plot being timed around various school holidays and celebrations in Japan so that brand new merchandise would be on the shelves in time for girls to see it during breaks. In this case, Elsa and Anna got new dresses (ka-ching) and there were little snow golems that appeared every time Elsa sneezed (d'awww, plushie!) The song that accompanied the major plot was cute, but it didn't have the staying power of the songs in the original movie. I guess I'd call the whole thing harmless, if it didn't seem to be such a cash grab.

But, yes, anyway, the movie itself. The Good parts: the costume porn was Spec. Tac. Cular, and the set dressing excellent. I could have watched an entire movie set at the ball, because I suspect there was more set dressing (of the food porn variety) that there wasn't time to show. The animals that Cinderella talks to were actually cute, not cloying. The transformation (and "de-transformation") sequences were top-notch. Helena Bonham Carter appeared to be having the time of her life as the Fairy Godmother.

Not-So-Good: It's been widely observed that parents in Disney movies don't last long, and this movie had that issue in spades. Not only do Cinderella's parents die from Plotdeviceitis, but the Prince's father died, too, of some unspecified malady. (3 parental deaths in one movie is a lot!)

Another thing that stuck in my craw was the constant reiterating of Cinderella's saintly mother's dying advice: "Have courage and be kind." While this is good advice, it's not especially nuanced or universally applicable, although this movie gamely tried to prove otherwise. This phrase started to annoy me on the level that "With great power comes great responsibility" did in the first Spiderman movie. It's one thing to explore an idea, but it's another to bludgeon the audience repeatedly with it. There were scenes that showed this idea effectively--Cinderella admonishing the Prince not to hunt the stag, for example, was a very nice way to show us this dictum in action, but annoyingly, the writers worked the aphorism into the dialogue at the end of it, blergh--but the idea hovered over the entire thing so omnipotently that it was like a single-minded deity running the entire show.

On the good side, there was a lot of effort made to humanize the prince, which is nice, I guess, because my memories of him from the animated movie are somewhat on the "cardboard cutout" side of things. In this case, the Prince was so handsome and winsome that the first scene he appeared in... well, it was like the first scene in Maison Ikkoku where Kyoko meets Coach Mitaka, he turns around to greet her, and he's so handsome that his teeth sparkle. I honestly kept waiting for this Prince's teeth to sparkle like the bishounen hottie he was meant to be. Fortunately, he wasn't a jerk or smarmy during any of this, and as it turned out he was smart enough for a pivotal plot twist to take place. So yay for that? But he's not the star of the thing... Cinderella is. And Lily James is just lovely, and she played the whole thing as well as she could. But I didn't leave the film liking Cinderella as a character any more than when I'd come in, and I feel like there was a real missed opportunity there. There's a lot that's good about the original animated film, and the story is timeless and appealing, but I wish this version, with all its beauty, had set its sights just a little higher in terms of character development for its heroine.

A side note: if making animated princess films into live action spectacles is the new thing, can we please do The Princess and the Frog next? Tiana is the BEST, Lottie is hilarious, New Orleans in the 20s would be a great setting, and I would pay all the monies to see that.
Thursday, March 26th, 2015 07:53 am
Yesterday I tried Stash's chai green tea and liked it quite a lot. It had the flavor of the spices without much bitterness. The first few swallows had no bitterness, but deeper in the cup, I got some bitterness.

I supervised Cordelia in making bread yesterday. The idea was for me to be able to remain sitting the whole time. It didn't entirely work because Scott, for some unknown reason, decided to put the powdered milk somewhere other than where we've stored it for the last couple of years. Cordelia didn't know what it looked like, so it was hard for her to search for it. That meant that I had to get up and find it. The loaf came out okay. The top is a little concave but not horribly so.

I'm starting to think that this boot is a little too small. When I inflate it, my big toe hits the edge and hangs partway off. I doubt it's supposed to do that. At the same time, I don't want to go asking for a replacement-- This one cost $43, and I assume a new one would cost at least that much.

I went through my email inbox and deleted a bunch of messages that I no longer needed. A lot of them were LJ or DW comments that I meant to reply to but that got buried. Two or three years later, I don't think there's a point. I now only have 125 messages in my inbox.

I'm supposed to fill out an online form before going to my appointment this morning, but there's a problem. The instructions say that one can't use the 'no' button, that that should only be used by the clinic itself, but the system won't accept the form unless one answers every single question. I can't very well answer 'yes' to everything when they're asking about conditions I don't have. It's really ridiculous.

I probably could have gotten away with staying in bed until Cordelia leaves, but I thought I'd be happier if I got up when she did. I've had my coffee. I'll eat breakfast in about ten minutes. Naturally, I got up to discover that my phone was out of charge. Fortunately, two hours should be quite long enough to charge it fully.

I have to email around. There's a Girl Scout thing on Saturday that Cordelia wants to go to but that I can't get her to. It's about an hour and a half drive away (and starts at 9 a.m. She'll have to be up very, very early). One of her friends who lives near here is going, and I'm hoping that Cordelia can ride with them.

I may be coming down with a cold. I was sniffling all night, and it made sleeping difficult. If I am coming down with a cold, it must be something I caught at UHS last week. I really hope this isn't a cold as that would be just one more thing to make my life miserable.

Scott's a little annoyed because we didn't get around to watching The Flash last night. I feel a little less urgency about it. We'll get to it tonight. Last night, we had other things to catch up on-- two episodes each of The Daily Show and The Nightly Show. I'm not sure what I think of The Nightly Show yet. It's very different from either The Daily Show or The Colbert Report, and I like Larry Wilmore, but I'm not sure I like the panel discussions-- I think those need more time to work well. Four guests are also a lot to track; I don't feel like any of them have time to say much.

I still haven't done any writing. I have been thinking about what I want to write, though. I need to figure out just who a particular character I'm going to be bringing in is. There's not a lot about her in the books, and the circumstances of this AU mean that she'd be rather different anyway. I'm also trying to decide how one of my point of view characters will react to a particular situation-- He might just accept it as something else he has no choice about doing, but he also might find that he can't do what's being demanded of him at all. I don't know. I suppose I can write it and find out that way.
Thursday, March 26th, 2015 12:30 am
Over the years, as I've read the results of (far too few!) studies looking at various aspect of Sjogren's syndrome, the study authors conclude with a phrase similar to this one: more research needed

No kidding. It's disheartening to feel as though very little progress is being made in the diagnosis and treatment of our disease.

I was encouraged, however, as I read the Sjogren's Quarterly newsletter from the Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation Winter 2015 edition. It contains a piece entitled Treating Sjogren's - The Future! which reported progress made in increasing clinical trials, targets for new therapeutics, and validation of outcome measures for Sjogren's. Here's a few excerpts:

By Theresa Lawrence Ford, MD, Chair SSF Clinical Trials Consortium:  
While many barriers exist in getting new therapies to market in Sjogren's, tremendous progress has been made or is underway. Several factors are contributing to the increased interest and subsequent plans for clinical trials in Sjogren's, including the development of biomarkers; novel diagnostics that are coming onto the market to speed up and increase the precision of diagnosis as well as the numbers of those diagnosed; internationally-accepted classification criteria becoming finalized over the next year; and internationally-accepted outcome measures finally being in place.  
By Denise Faustman, MD, PhD:
Sjogren's is poised to benefit from the new era of drug development that we are entering for many diseases with the increasing possibility of tailoring therapies to a specific patient's needs. Therapies of the future most likely will be highly individualized by targeting specific signs and symptoms of Sjogren's...........In addition to new biologics currently under investigation, a combination or sequential use of different therapies may be found most efficacious. As mentioned earlier, a study published in 2014 by Salvatore De Vita et al using belimumab followed by rituximab demonstrated initial success and projected potential long-term benefits. We look forward to a better future in which more studies will expand our knowledge of the science exponentially and lead to more precise biomarkers and potential targets for therapeutics. That future is not far away. 
And this by Raphaele Seror, MD, Steering Committee, EULAR Outcome Measures in Sjogren's Syndrome:
Clinical trial design has made a major leap forward with the final validation of the EULAR-endorsed outcome measures known as the EULAR SS Disease Activity Index (ESSDAI) and EULAR SS Patient-Reported Index (ESSPRI). The validation study, published on March 2014, concludes a nearly decade-long effort by researchers to develop outcome measures that could be embraced consensually by the international community at large. The ESSDAI includes the 12 following domains: constitutional, lymphadenopathy, glandular, articular, cutaneous, pulmonary, renal, muscular, peripheral nervous system, central nervous system, haematological, and biological. The ESSPRI includes dryness, pain and fatigue that were considered by patients as the most important areas for needed improvement. 
You can read the article in it's entirety here which includes citations of the studies referenced, however keep in mind that this periodical's targeted audience is rheumatology health care professionals and the language and terms used reflect this.

I found the section by Dr. Faustman entitled Targets for New Therapeutics - The Science particularly interesting. In it, she describes potential therapies under investigation or being considered for use in the treatment of Sjogren's syndrome:

B cell inhibitors or modulators

  • rituximab
  • epratuzumab

BAFF/BLyS targets

  • belimumab
  • VAY736

T cell regulation and cytokine targets

  • abatacept
  • baminercept
  • BCG vaccine
  • tocilizumab

Genetics and epigenetics

Hope for more research resulting in increased knowledge and improved treatment of Sjogren's syndrome is a very good thing. 
Thursday, March 26th, 2015 04:03 am

Posted by Ask a Manager

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

1. Asking to work 20% fewer hours

I have been at my new job for about 5 weeks now. I noticed that some of my coworkers work “80 percent” or 32 hours per week. I would love to pare my schedule down to 32 hours per week, but I have no idea how to ask my boss how to do that. Because I started work in wintry February, I already had to leave early once to pick my kids up from school when it closed early, and I had to use one sick day due to a stomach virus that went through our family. I’m afraid I’ve already rubbed her the wrong way and asking her about 80% will make things worse. For what it’s worth, my former boss loved me and didn’t even blink if I had to leave work early or work from home because I always met my deadlines and did great work.

Asking to work 20% less is a big deal — it’s not like asking to flex your hours one day a week or telecommute on occasion. It’s a significant cut to the work you’d be doing.

I’d wait at least six months before asking about this. Asking when you’re so new risk really alarming your manager, who hired you to do a full-time job and likely won’t be thrilled to hear you’d like to chop off 20% of that. Meanwhile, you could discreetly ask some of your 80% coworkers how they negotiated the arrangement, to get some sense of whether it would be a reasonable thing for you to ask for — and how long you’d need to wait.

2. Company won’t pay interest on credit card charges for business expenses

When interest is incurred on a personal credit card for company travel expenses, who is responsible for paying the interest?

I recently had to spend $2,000 on my personal credit card for company business, and the company took 3 weeks to reimburse me. During that time the interest accrued on the credit card stacked up to about $60– showing them my credit card statement, I asked the company to reimburse me for that and they wouldn’t. Then they sent out a company-wide email telling everyone no credit card interest would be reimbursed on company expenses. This seems unethical to me, what is your take on it?

Hell, yes, it’s unethical. And unreasonable and unfair and crappy and a good way to drive away good employees. They’re asking you not only to float them the money for business expenses, but to incur penalties for doing so. They absolutely should pay those interest charges. They suck.

3. Not having references from your current job

I’ve recently started up my job search after a few years at a great job – nothing is wrong, but it’s a small nonprofit (5 employees) and there’s really not any more upward mobility available, so it’s time to move on. I am directly under the executive director, and the other employees are below me in terms of hierarchy/seniority, although I don’t manage them. I have a great relationship with my boss, and in the future, there are several people I feel that I could use as references from this job (the ED and a few board members), but for obvious reasons I don’t want them to know that I’m job-hunting right now.

In the past, I’ve used colleagues and project managers who were a little above me seniority-wise as references when I didn’t want to alert my supervisor to my job search, but I’ve never been in the position before where there’s nobody else above me except for my boss. Is it a huge problem to not have references for your current job? I do work closely with several outside contractors (mainly special events planners and consultants) – is it okay to use them as references? If not, any thoughts on others I might be able to use?

It’s pretty normal, actually. Most people don’t use references from their current job, because they don’t want to jeopardize their employment, and other employers understand that. Just use managers from previous jobs.

4. My manager is prohibiting me from hanging out with his ex-wife

Can my boss prohibit me from hanging out with his ex-wife?

Legally? Yes. And you know, while the idea of a manager telling someone who they can and can’t hang out with in their private life is certainly disagreeable to most of us (including me), it also doesn’t take a ton of emotional intelligence or knowledge of human dynamics to realize that growing close to your boss’s ex could be something that impacts your working relationship, fairly or unfairly.

5. Juno email accounts will email ads along with your resume

I just got an application sent from a Juno email address (apparently they’re still around), and the way they cover costs for their free accounts is by including ads.  That your recipient will see.  And judging by the one I got, they’re on a par with the “Ellen has tricked the world!” ads.  *Seriously* offputting.

Mine is from a student, so I’m not going to hold it too much against her, but if we do hire her, I’m going to tell her to not to use that email in any professional correspondence in her life ever, ever again.

Agreed. Y’all, sending advertisements to your interviewer is a very bad idea. Free email accounts without ads abound; get and use one of those.

asking to work 20% fewer hours, company won’t pay interest on business credit card charges, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 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, March 25th, 2015 03:30 pm


  • A genuinely nice person
  • Will pop up in my 1001 Knights comic!
  • Can defeat giant electrical seahorse dragons by herself
  • Often considered a bit out there for going out on her own to hunt giant creatures making things difficult for mankind.
Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 06:00 pm

Posted by Brett Jonas

Quote Post

Hewitt: “Why does time go by so quickly? I feel like I’m two. And yet… I’m ten.”

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 05:58 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

A reader writes:

I am a government employee with a few supporting contractors. About a year and a half ago, I had a contractor removed for poor performance. She was in a role that required her to do analysis and prepare written reports on the results, but she did not have the skills to do either. I gave her some examples and step-by-step guidance on analyses, but saw no improvement – in one case she even cut and pasted straight from the example without changing the name of the product! I sent the contract manager an explanation of why I needed her removed and provided examples of what she had submitted. Bizarrely, the contract manager replied with an email attacking me in response and blamed the situation on a personal problem between myself and the contractor. Fortunately, I had kept my boss in the loop the whole time, so when she cc’d him on her attack, I had plenty of top cover and the contractor was removed. The contract manager has also moved on since then.

Fast forward to this month, when the contractor in question showed up in my division as a new employee. The division is only about 100 people, all in the same physical location, and all with the same office keys except for supervisors. I informed my boss, who immediately remembered her from the earlier incident. He has no idea why the other manager didn’t ask around about her, given that she even listed her work with me on her resume, but did talk to the other supervisor so that any performance issues can be caught quickly.

I am concerned about having this former contractor working here. The performance problems are her new manager’s issue to handle, and I am currently staying out of that – my boss has discussed that with her new boss. However, I don’t know if it was her or the contractor manager who started the personal attack, and I’m nervous about this person having keys to access my office. Does that sound paranoid? Is there anything else I should be doing or not doing? Is it fair to her new coworkers to not warn them and let her have a chance at a good first impression if she has improved in the past 18 months?

The right thing to do here is what your boss has already done — talk to the person’s manager and explain the context from the last time she worked with you. That’s important to do so that that manager can keep an eye out for issues like the last time, and having an early heads-up can often help catch problems more quickly.

But your boss has done that, so that’s taken care of. From there, it’s really up to the new hire’s manager to handle. All you can really do is to behave as professionally as possible toward her.

As for being nervous about her being able to access your office, unless she’s given you some specific reason to fear that, I think that’s probably unwarranted. Most people who do bad work aren’t the sorts of people who will break into your office and try to sabotage you. That’s especially true when someone has been hired back after being fired; she presumably wants to keep a low profile where you’re concerned.

At most, you could explain to her manager why you’re concerned and more about the context from her contractor period, but since your manager has already talked to her, I think that’s probably overkill.

Of course, if you do see anything that makes you concerned about this person’s ability to behave professionally and appropriately — toward you, or in general — you should raise that immediately with her boss.

But until or unless that happens, someone hired her and you pretty much need to treat her like you would any other new hire.

(I do wonder how this person got hired in the first place, and wonder if she deliberately didn’t mention that she used to do contract work for your company. Either that, or someone was startlingly negligent in the normal due diligence you’d do on someone who used to work with your company, contractor or not.)

my new coworker is the contractor who I fired last year was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 04:30 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

A reader writes:

How do you express concerns about a slacking coworker to your boss without coming out sounding like a jerk? I have a coworker who spends quite a bit of time visiting with other employees. This same person expects others on the team to “offer” to help with work not finished. We’ve tried to gently point out that if he spent less time visiting and more time working, then maybe he wouldn’t need help from us in finishing his work, but he just gives us the silent treatment and creates an uncomfortable work environment. He is also extremely critical of what he perceives as others’ mistakes, even when almost always guilty of the same thing.

Now he wants to rearrange some of the work assignments so that his workload will be lightened, but I have a problem with that since if he just spent more time working and less time visiting, there wouldn’t be a need to rearrange anything. Is this something worth talking to my manager about?

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

should you tell your boss about a slacker coworker? was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 02:58 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

A reader writes:

‎A while back, I called into work sick for the first time in my 6 months there because I had a stomach bug and was throwing up. I followed standard procedure and left a voicemail for my manager at 6:30 a.m. saying that I had a stomach bug, wouldn’t be in, and I had no outstanding work or anything due that day.

I then turned off my ringer so I could get back to bed. I woke up at 10:30 a.m. to see that my manager had called me 4 times and I had received a text from my dad (who is listed as my emergency contact), who said that my manager had called him asking if I was around so that she could speak to me. I freaked out and called her. She said she got my message and just asked me if I was sick and if I had any outstanding work. I said no. I mean, I had already told her that in my message.

Since then, I have learned from other employees and from Glass door reviews that it’s usual for my company to call people’s emergency contacts when they call in sick for minor illnesses like colds, etc. This is the first time I had ever called in sick. I’m a high performer and I always show up to work prepared and on time. This just sounds creepily controlling. Do other companies have similar policies?


There are some companies that require that you speak to a live person when you call in sick — that it’s not enough to simply leave a message. That’s a bad policy and most companies don’t have it, although some do. I suppose it’s possible that your company has such a policy — although even among companies that do, managers wouldn’t typically call someone repeatedly, let alone call their emergency contact (!) looking for them.

And as for your emergency contact, what the hell? There was no emergency. Your boss knew where you where: at home sick. She knew why she couldn’t reach you: you were sick and probably resting and not answering work calls.

I’d say this to your boss: “I was confused and concerned when you called me four times the morning I was out sick, and especially when I learned you had called my emergency contact. I assumed you must not have received the voicemail I left you that morning explaining that I’d be taking a sick day, but you said that you did so … what you were looking for from me that day? Is there a different sick day procedure you’d like me to follow, instead of leaving you a voicemail?”

If she says something like, “No, the voicemail was fine, but I wanted to talk with you personally,” then I’d say this: “I’d like to be able to leave a voicemail explaining the situation and then return to sleep if I’m sick and need rest. It’s tough to be expected to answer work calls when you’re very ill. Can you help me understand more about what you’re looking for in that situation and why you called my emergency contact when there was no emergency and you knew that I was home sick?”

But this is pretty much just a band-aid for the immediate issue. The real problem is much bigger: You don’t typically see behavior like this from an otherwise reasonable and highly-functioning manager. This is the kind of behavior you see from a manager who will cross loads of other boundaries and subject you to other ridiculous expectations, and I’d start taking a look at whether that’s the case here.

my boss called me repeatedly while I was out sick and even phoned my dad was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 02:00 pm

Posted by Brett Jonas

Kidding season has kept everyone very busy around the farm. With night watches, milking twice a day, and lots of bottle feeding babies, there is plenty of action in the barn!

During midday while everyone was working steadily, we heard Greyden yell out “BABIES!!!!” We all sprinted to gather towels and all the necessary stuff for helping Pandora.

Parsley was already on the ground and being taken care of by her mom when we got there. She was tiny at 5.8 lbs, but was healthy and doing well.

I helped get Pecan out a few minutes later. She was such a cute tiny baby! She made the funniest little grunt sounds that made her sound more like a little duck than a little goat.

baby goats pandora_blog

We all loved Pecan instantly!

2015 kid count: 26 doelings, 21 bucklings
2015 doe status (33 total): 19 does kidded, 14 left to go
2 set of quads, 7 sets of triplets, 8 set of twins, 2 singles

Signature Emery



Tuesday, March 24th, 2015 08:34 am
Marjoram is much cheaper than tarragon. I don't know what she's so scared of.


Ashraf Ghani visit: US to slow Afghan troops withdrawal

These Brilliant Innovations Are Bringing Clean Water To People Worldwide

Global warming is now slowing down the circulation of the oceans — with potentially dire consequences More

30 Heat-Tolerant Beans Identified, Poised to Endure Warming World

Monsanto seeks retraction for report linking herbicide to cancer

Tunisian town near 'Star Wars' backdrop now features in battle against ISIS

Ukraine pleads for quick restructuring of debts

A year ago he was the only Russian politician to vote against annexing Crimea. Now he’s an exile.

Poland Prepares for ‘Hybrid War’ Amidst Russian Threat

Boko Haram crisis: 'About 500' Nigerian children missing

Tuberculosis isn’t history, and it’s much more dangerous than malaria or Ebola.

Millions in U.S. military equipment lost as Yemen heads down Syria’s path

Yemen crisis: Houthi rebels capture air base near Aden

3-D Silk Structure Enables Scientists to Grow Blood Cells Outside the Body

Famous Paintings Can Reveal Visual Disorders

Woman held 8 days in NYC psych ward for saying Obama followed her on Twitter — even though he does

How to Attract Teachers to Poor, Rural Schools

Islamic State recruits 400 children since January: Syria monitor

Amid brazen, deadly attacks, gay Syrians tell of fear of ISIS persecution

Flower-friendly farms 'boost bee populations'

Reports suggest that Israel spied on US diplomats involved in Iran nuclear talks. Frankly, that's not a surprise. But how Israel used that information has led to outrage.

Why Do Americans Hate Negotiating With Their Enemies?

Cops Who Shot and Killed Unarmed Autistic Black Man Awarded Nearly $2 Million Dollars Each

The Purpose of Our Eyes' Strange Wiring Is Unveiled

Inmates at America’s oldest women’s prison are writing a history of it—and exploding the myth of its benevolent founders.

Landmark study proves that magnets can control heat and sound

The science of why stepping on Legos makes you want to die. This may seem silly, but I'm posting this mostly because it quotes Tycho Sleator on the subject, William Sleator's youngest brother.

The soda industry is discovering what the future of Diet Coke looks like (and it isn’t pretty)

Ted Cruz going on Obamacare - a law he has been on a crusade to kill.

Uruguay will no longer grant asylum to Guantanamo prisoners
Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 08:33 am
I did something to my foot/ankle as I slept. Usually, it feels, well, not good but at least not terrible when I first get up. This morning, it was aching enough to get me out of bed early. I did have a dream about needing, for some reason, to move my feet, pointing and flexing them. That may have done it. I'm not at all sure what I can do to keep it from happening again.

I need to shower today, so I haven't put the boot on yet. I figure I'll get in the shower as soon as I've had breakfast. Showering isn't any fun with the foot/ankle issues. Getting in and out of the tub is particularly fraught.

I spent about five hours link finding for [community profile] metanews yesterday. There's not too much to say about that except that I'm still undecided about some of the links I put in. There are three in particular that I may pull out because I'm not convinced they're fannish meta.

I did get the turkey into the oven last night, but I did it later than I should have, so it wasn't done until about 8:00 which is too late for me to eat dinner. Scott made potstickers about 7:00, and that's what we all had for dinner. All of the turkey went into the fridge for dinner tonight.

Scott will have to go back again for another peripheral vision test next month. There're still problems with him not seeing everywhere he should, but, this time, the trouble was with the other eye. That leaves them thinking that something might be going on but having no idea what.

I need to make bread today if I can possibly manage it. I'm not sure I will. It involves more walking around than I really want to do, but Scott needs bread.