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Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 11:03 pm
No word from the doctor so good thing the prednisone request wasn't an emergency. Yeah, I know, I should have called if I wanted it fast. But, I didn't. So I whine. If it weren't for my ear and this cough, I'd almost say I was getting better which I probably am but I want far less ear hurty before I concede.

On the bright side, I was sewing up my latest shirt. I when I got to the part where I needed the seam tape, the mail carrier brought it! Literally just in time delivery.

And then, when it was time for an afternoon snack, UPS brought my Perfect Size for 1 Cake. So I had cake for a snack.

It was this one.

I had a thing of Betty Crocker butter cream icing in the fridge so I dolloped a little on top - cause cake needs icing, right?

First I should explain that my cake requirements are pretty plain and simple. My very favorite cake of all times is white cake with vanilla butter cream frosting. Really. This was fancier with bits of carmel and chocolate in it. But, a quick mix with a little water and 60 mins in the microwave and UMMMMM Good! Really. It did NOT need the icing at all. It was just good.

These will now be my go to deserts. From now on. Amazon is still showing 1-2 months to ship and some for $8 but Walmart has 'em cheaper and shipping in two days. Each box has 4 cakes. There are a lot of flavors I want to try. I still haven't seen the first one in an actual store.


Also in the middle of this entry, I got a call from a doctor. My Doctor is on vacation. Dr. #2 is the one I saw earlier in the week and the one that I sent the request to. Dr. #3 got the request and wasn't high on the idea of writing me the prescription. He suggested giving the antibiotic a could more days. I listened to what he had to say and then pointed out that I was staring down the nose of a weekend and I had just had enough of being miserable and knew from experience that prednisone would fix me quick. He relented. He was very nice and it was only after I hung up that I realized he had called me directly! Not his office person or his assistant. He did. Which was really really nice.

I hopped in the car to the pharmacy where both cashiers said 'back again??!' I told them I was doing a drug tour and was going to try each one they had. I told them I couldn't remember the name of the doctor and so one of them looked it up and said 'oh! he's my doctor! he's soooo nice.' They fixed me up. What a most pleasant experience.

The only side effect I've ever experienced from prenisone is that I feel better - way better - quickly. Hopefully, that tradition will hold this time.

Earlier this afternoon I went down the street to the fabric shop. Next month, I have a class there to learn how to clone my favorite long sleeved t-shirt and how to use a serger. I have fabric but I thought it would be classier to actually buy some from them. Plus they give a discount for fabric for class. I got two nice prints - one for sleeves and one for shirt.

So it hasn't been a horrible day at all.

The Mariners play again tonight. They've won the last three by playing really well. It would be fun if they did it again tonight.
Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 03:48 pm
I wanted to check out some scheduled posts another Imzy user had made, but found that they weren't available. The dreaded 404 pages are popping up now.

I do hope the site is somehow archived. :'( I also hope the staff is doing okay. I can't imagine how they're feeling about all this.
Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 03:25 pm

Senate Republicans have finally released what appears to be the draft text of H.R. 1628, the “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.”

It’s 142 pages, and to be honest, I’m having a hard time deciphering it all. (Not a lawyer or a legislator.) But here are some things that stood out at me…

Elimination of the individual and employer mandate. (Pages 10-11)

Tax repeals on medications, health insurance, health savings accounts, etc. (Pages 25-29)

This includes the “Repeal of Tanning Tax” on page 29.

The continuing attack on abortion rights.

“Disallowance of small employer health insurance credit for plan which includes coverage for abortion.” (Pages 8-9)

“No Federal funds provided from a program referred to in this subsection that is considered direct spending for any year may be made available to a State for payments to a prohibited entity,” which is then defined as an entity providing abortion services except in cases of rape, incest, or when the woman’s life is in danger. (Page 35)


According to a USA Today analysis, this bill would:

  • Reduce or eliminate most subsidies for individuals and families
  • “Eliminate the ACA’s requirement that insurers can’t charge older customers more than three times what younger customers pay for the same coverage. Instead, those in their 60s could be charged five times as much, or more.”
  • Eliminate penalties to large employers who choose not to offer health insurance. (Elimination of the employer mandate.)
  • Make it easier to drop coverage for things like maternity care and mental health issues.

CNN points out that the bill would also:

  • Defund Planned Parenthood for a year.
  • Require coverage of preexisting conditions. However, it also lets states “waive the federal mandate on what insurers must cover… This would allow insurers to offer less comprehensive policies, so those with pre-existing conditions may not have all of their treatments covered.”

A PBS article says the bill would:

  • Cap and reduce Medicaid funding, and allow states to add a work requirement for “able-bodied” recipients of Medicaid.
  • Provide $2 billion to help states fight opioid addiction

Fox News, unsurprisingly, focused on what they saw as positive in the proposed bill:

  • It preserves health care for people with preexisting conditions (with the potential exceptions noted in the CNN bullets, above), and allows children to stay on their parents’ insurance plan through age 26.
  • It expands health care savings accounts.
  • It provides a short-term stabilization fund to help struggling insurance markets.

The Congressional Budget Office is expected to release their report on the senate bill next week. The CBO estimated that the House-passed bill would result in 26 million fewer insured Americans by 2026, and would cut the budget by $119 billion over the same time. (Source)


Nothing here is particularly shocking. I’m glad I and my family can’t be kicked off our insurance for our various preexisting conditions…though some of those conditions might no longer be covered, which sucks. It would hurt the poor, the elderly, women, and the mentally ill, among others. None of my readers will be shocked to hear that I think this is another step backward. The ACA was far from perfect — it’s like a patient with a broken leg, but instead of trying to fix the broken leg, we’ll just throw them through a woodchipper, because hey, it’s cheaper!

It looks like this may be a tight vote, which would make this an excellent time to call your Senator.

Please keep any comments civil. I’m angry about this too, but I don’t have the time or the spoons to moderate fights and nastiness today. (Which probably means I shouldn’t have posted this in the first place, but I never claimed to be that bright…)

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 07:00 pm
Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 01:41 pm
Sunset is the same time as in NYC, but sunrise is an hour later.

So... from here to Wavre, the time of sunset is different this time of year but the time of sunrise is the same. And from here to Austin, the time of sunset is the same this time of year but the time of sunrise is different. But on the other solstice, it's the other way around - Austin and NYC share a sunrise time, Wavre and NYC share a sunset time.

There is some way this all makes sense, and I know I've had it explained to me before, but... I guess it didn't make enough sense. (It has something to do with how the sun appears to move in a figure 8?)

Semi-related, Mr. "How did they know it was noon?" reminded me of something. There is an algorithm to convert sundial time to clock time, and vice versa. Apparently, when mechanical clocks first became common, their time was considered inaccurate, and true time was sundial time. This is blindingly obvious the second you hear it explained, but it didn't occur to me until I happened to read it on Wikipedia while looking up common sundial mottoes. (It's later than you think!)

There must have been a middle period in there where the younger generation was chronically annoying the older generation by showing up for things at clock time when the older generation obviously meant real time.


The Deseret Alphabet, a 38-Letter Writing System Developed by Mormons

Pictures: Colored Honey Made by Candy-Eating French Bees (There's something to pointlessly engineer - flowers with multicolored nectar to make multicolored honey! If they think they can sell pink pineapples, colorful honey is sure to be a hit. And it won't be garbage, so it won't be gross.)

Census: US growing older and more racially diverse

The Mussels That Eat Oil

When the Bus Stop Button is Broken

Medieval medical books could hold the recipe for new antibiotics

Man sent home from work for wearing shorts in over 30°C heat comes back in a dress

Memory for stimulus sequences distinguishes humans from other animals

This ‘Indian Dr. Seuss’ Is Very Fond of Nonsense

How the Liberal Arts Help Veterans Thrive

Urban agriculture only provides small environmental benefits in northeastern US

Supreme Court Says You Can't Ban People From The Internet, No Matter What They've Done

People with disabilities at risk in Central African Republic

Abused children find Japan’s shelters provide little comfort

Desperate Venezuelans set sights on Colombia as worry mounts

Hundreds of Inmates Still Confined to Tent City During Phoenix Heat Wave

Former immigration detainees challenge labor practices

How Our Modern Lifestyles Perpetuate Slavery

War-torn Yemen to get cholera vaccines as death toll mounts

U.S. will take weapons from Kurds after Islamic State defeat: Turkey
Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 05:59 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

A reader:

I have been working for a company (Company A) for six months now, on a temporary contract. The pay is good and the hours are flexible, and as I would like to start studying part time soon this arrangement suits me. I don’t see a lot of potential for growth in this company, and doubt they will offer me a permanent contract.

However, I recently came across an opportunity at Company B that sounded like an exciting new opportunity. They loved my CV, and I expressed to them via email that I was a fan of their work and excited at the prospect of contributing to it. I went to an interview, and a few details made it clear that this position wouldn’t be as ideal as I imagined. The pay is significantly less than I am earning now, and the commute would be very long and impractical, additionally, I got the feeling that the culture would not suit me either. However, the interviewer was so enthusiastic about my work, and I didn’t want to say no to this opportunity too quickly. I made it clear in the interview that I would like to discuss the details with my spouse and consider if the position would be best for me.

This morning, I received a written offer via email, and the salary is even less than what was discussed during the interview. I plan on taking a day or two to think it over, but likely will decline the offer, as I don’t feel it’s best for me. However, when I thanked the interviewer for sending the offer and expressed (again) that I would discuss it with my spouse and let them know my decision, the interviewer’s response was, “Haha, what decision? We’re just ironing out details.”

This makes me very uncomfortable, as I believe I made it clear I still needed to think it over. However, I worry that I have led the interviewer on by expressing my excitement about their work. I am very concerned that if I decline this offer, the interviewer will feel angry and deceived, and that I may burn a bridge.

What is the polite and professional thing to do in this situation?

Whoa, no, unless you said the words “I am accepting the job” or something close to that, you didn’t lead your interviewer on.

It’s implicit in the hiring process that either side may sound excited and enthusiastic, but that there’s no job offer until the employer explicitly makes one, and there’s no acceptance of a job offer until the candidate explicitly accepts.

This employer is being weird.

You didn’t lead them on. You’re allowed to express interest and enthusiasm without committing yourself to accepting the job. (And really, how could you commit without knowing the salary? That they think you would says something really odd about their thinking.)

Flip this around: It’s not uncommon for candidates to (wrongly) think they have a job in the bag because the interviewer seems enthusiastic about them. But imagine an employer saying to a candidate, “We’ll be in touch later this week with our decision,” and that candidate replying “”Haha, what decision? We’re just ironing out details.”

Ridiculous, right? It’s ridiculous here too.

This employer is acting as if candidates are just waiting to be picked, rather than doing their own picking too. That’s a fundamental misunderstanding of what hiring is about.

You could proceed two different ways here: You could just ignore the interviewer’s comment and trust that they’ll figure it out soon enough if you end up declining the offer. Or, if they seemed really serious — if it definitely wasn’t a joke and it’s clear to you that they genuinely think you’re already on board — you could respond with, “Before I can accept the offer, I need to think it over and talk with my spouse. But I’ll be back to you no later than X.” Hell, if you want to drive the point home, you could add, “The offer is for a lower salary than we’d discussed in the interview, and is significantly less than I’m earning now.” (But they may take that as you opening negotiations, so if you know you’re not going to accept the offer, it might not make sense to open that up. Although when you decline, you can certainly cite that as a reason.)

did I lead my interviewer on? was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 04:30 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

Remember the letter-writer last December whose coworker was constantly policing and commenting on people’s food choices? Here’s the update.

I don’t have MUCH of an update on this issue, but did want to mention something that happened recently. I was in the break room with two coworkers — one being the Food Police — and overheard a conversation that went something like:

Totally normal coworker eating a totally normal broccoli/cheese/rice casserole: (insert some sort of justification for why they’re “allowed” to eat this normal meal)
Food Police: Well, it’s not healthy because of carbs.
Me: *rips headphones out of ears* You need carbs to function. Most of our energy comes from carbs.
FP: Well, yeah.
Normal coworker: Really? I didn’t know that!
Me: In fact, you need x grams of carbs per day just for brain function.
FP: Don’t tell her THAT.

Anyway, I basically just told him I wasn’t going to stand back if I heard terrible nutrition advice. Normal Coworker actually thanked me multiple times just for sharing the bit of nutrition knowledge I have with her (I assume because it legalized a necessary macro nutrient that’s been absurdly demonized by loads of people). Not a huge update and it may not solve the problem, but I was at least able to speak up both to the Food Police and for a coworker who was just trying to eat her lunch.

A major reason I wanted to write, though, was to thank all of your commenters. I have been SO encouraged reading through the comments on a lot of posts — but especially the food-related ones. Sometimes being in eating disorder recovery feels like challenging the entire world because the concept of nutritional balance without loads of food rules isn’t spoken or written about much. Reading input from SO many people who seem to have a grasp on what overall wellness and normalized eating looks like has really helped me understand what healthy thought patterns regarding food look like. This is such a supportive and understanding community. I really appreciate it.

update: my coworker acts like the food police was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 12:11 pm
I think I'm having allergy problems right now. I started sneezing mid-afternoon yesterday, and by evening, my nose was running, and my left eye was watering constantly. No idea at all why my right eye is clear, but I'm glad of that much. I got about three hours of sleep last night because, any time I moved, I'd start sneezing and/or desperately need to blow my nose. (I'm not sure Scott got much sleep either.) Basically, shifting around makes me feel an itching burn in my sinuses that's really unpleasant. I've gone through an entire box of tissues so far.

I may have to take my box of tissues and a bag to throw the used ones into and vacate the house this afternoon because I'm pretty sure that the stuff the cleaning lady uses will make things much, much worse. But I can't imagine what I'd do with myself for five hours, especially if it's raining.

I'm trying to think of anything that changed in the house yesterday, and I'm coming up completely empty. I also didn't eat or drink anything different or use different toiletries.

My anniversary present for Scott has arrived. I got him some bluetooth earbuds. His old ones died, and he needs them for listening to podcasts and audiobooks while doing things like mowing the lawn.

Cordelia has her volunteer training for working at the library this afternoon. I need to prod her a bit to make sure she actually eats something before she goes. She'll also have to leave earlier than she wants to be because of the bus detour (the training is at the Traverwood branch).

Scott will be going to bed early tonight because he'll need to get up around midnight to go to Top of the Park and get Cordelia. She has asked the friends she's going with if any of them can give her a ride home but hasn't gotten any answers yet. I offered to spring for a cab, but Cordelia balked at the expense. I don't know, though, $11 for Scott not to have to get up in the middle of the night? Sounds like a bargain to me.

I managed nearly 700 words on my NPT story yesterday. I still don't know exactly where it's going, though, and I'm a bit over 3000 words. This does not bode well. Then again, endings often come up unexpectedly and smack me in the face, so maybe I'll find the end soon.
Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 03:13 pm
My head feels marginally less clogged up but now one of my ears is screaming. I only woke up coughing about 3 times last night and none was for very long. But, I still do feel like crap. The muscles of my rib cage are also not happy. I sent the doctor a note this morning and ask for the prednisone. One day of that and all will be fixed.

I ran into Sandy, the HOA president, coming in from the pool this morning. She mentioned something about Michael (the old building manager) and I allowed as I had not been a fan and, in fact, am enjoying the calmness of the public areas now that he's not running the show any more. She did not appear to be surprised and I was glad to have found a way to let her know. I also let her know that I very much appreciated the touch and style of the interim guy who, she says wants the job. So... an interesting pre 7am chat!

Oh and she also said she's been in touch with the guy to fix the leak in my terrace ceiling so all good. No rain the the future will help that, too.

It does appear that I may finally need to turn on the A/C in the next day or two. This is like the Junes of old. The past 5 years have been way hotter way earlier so this has been just lovely. But all good things... and at least I have the cool at the ready.

I have a shirt cut out and ready but I have held off sewing it waiting for some seam tape I ordered. It was due to come in next week but I just got a text that it will be here today! Also one of those Duncan Hines Just Perfect cake in a mug mixes is coming today. So nice day for deliveries, I hope.
Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 02:59 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

I’m throwing this one out to commenters to weigh in on. A reader writes:

I am in my third office job and I’m starting to think its not the place, but the actual “office” that is giving me trouble. My first job was okay but only part time so I moved onto one that was full-time. That job was truly a terrible place that I was glad to leave and I’m in a much better office now with better coworkers and more interesting work … Yet I’m still not feeling it.

I look at my group of friends and peers: half are in strictly office work (banks, insurance, government, etc.) and the other half are doing far more interesting, not-restricted-to-an-office work. Things like teacher, dog trainer, librarian, living museum participant, journalist, to name a few. I find myself very envious of their jobs. I know they’re not without their own hassles (the teachers complain about bad principals and helicopter parents, the dog trainers about terrible owners, the journalists of long hours) but I long for a job that would get me out of the office setting. Heck, my current job has me working closely with contractors who make various things and I’m envious of them getting to do back-breaking hands-on things even though I couldn’t work their tools to save my life.

It’s something I’ve looked into but the problem is that a lot of those things that interest me (and I’m looking very widely here, I don’t have tunnel vision on a particular path) either don’t pay enough for me to make a living or they require additional education and degrees that I can’t do at this time. These are things I can pursue in my free time like volunteering but I’m so miserable in my office setting that I really think transitioning to something a little less conventional would increase my quality of life. Perhaps even office work in a less Corporate America setting would be good but they seem very difficult to break into (I’ve applied to various universities, museums, and non-profits for office work I’m qualified for but was turned down for not having specific experience in those settings).

Anyway, I’d just love to hear your thoughts and the community’s thoughts on getting out of eight-hour office work, because I really do feel like I’m going to be miserable if I continue down this office path. Any ideas of jobs that are a little more hands-on, or even office jobs in a more interesting setting, I’d appreciate any guidance you might have.

I asked the letter-writer about her skills and experience are. The answer:

My skills lie mostly in customer service. I honestly miss working retail because I loved working with the customers in person rather than just over the phone. I like working with people and helping them. My current office job is better than the others because I’m support to a very large team so I get to help lots of different coworkers with various tasks, my favorites being anything that takes me away from my computer, even just packing boxes and picking up lunch orders.

Actual marketable skills beyond that would be writing, editing, invoice processing, event/meeting planning, and various other administrative skills like that (yes, all skills mainly geared towards office work but I think I’d be able to take some evening classes in the near future so I may soon be able to add to my skill set).

Readers, what advice do you have for this letter-writer, and perhaps for others struggling with this question?

ask the readers: what kind of work can I do that’s not in an office? was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 10:19 am
We are tired of tropical storm Cindy. Honey and I both. We got more rain on the Eastern side of the storm than Louisiana and Mississippi where she landed and it is still going on. It has stormed the past 3 days. My grass is about knee high. I need my lawn guy to come, but it has to quit raining first.
Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 12:25 am
I'll never understand how sunrise and sunset work.

Also, be sure to do today's Google doodle. I could do that all day.


Cow herd behavior is fodder for complex systems analysis

Making Cents of Currency’s Ancient Rise

The Lion-Shaped Maps That United a Nation

African farmers’ kids conquer the marshmallow test

Summer solstice: the perfect day to bask in a dazzling scientific feat (First comment: "How did they know it was noon?" I can't even...)

Discovery could lead to sustainable ethanol made from carbon dioxide

She May Be The Most Unstoppable Scientist In The World

Dinosaurs got an evolutionary assist from huge volcanic eruptions

The Great Uprising: How a Powder Revolutionized Baking

Why the 'peculiar' stands out in our memory

Incredibly pictures of NYC when it was covered in farmland

'Human Project' study will ask 10,000 to share life's data

The App That Does Nothing

DNA reveals how cats achieved world domination

The ATU Fable Index: Like the Dewey Decimal System, But With More Ogres (I don't really care what happens in "Bunnies Beware of the King", but I'm more than a little perturbed that I can't even read the entire synopsis for 910J: Never plant a thorn tree.)

Chimps' cultural traditions extend beyond family

A Good News Story About Diarrhea — With One Surprising Exception

The Forgotten Trains of India (Photojournalism)

South Africa's District Six Cookbook Helps Preserve A Lost Community

Forever green: Cemeteries make more room for natural burials

Debate heats up over teaching climate change in US schools

Bosnian students keep up their protest against segregated schools

Afghan de-miners cling to hard but much-needed jobs

What Is the Point of Sean Spicer's Briefings? (I've got a question for Sean Spicer. "Do you know that you make yourself a laughingstock every time you hold one of these briefings? How much are you getting paid to shred your dignity to bits? Are you sure it's really worth it?" Damn, that's such a good question, rather than waiting for a journalist to ask it, I should send him a postcard. Or I could go traditional - "How do you sleep at night?" Postcards are cheap, I can send both questions.)

Iraqi forces advance on Mosul mosque where IS declared caliphate

What Is Putin Up To in Syria?

US interrogates detainees in Yemen prisons rife with torture
Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 04:03 am

Posted by Ask a Manager

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

1. I want to invoice an employer who wasted my time in an interview process

I was recently involved in a two-month interview process where they flew me out for an in person interview as a “final step.” They paid for my flight and hotel, and I had asked my recruiter what I was responsible for but did not get any response, so all else fell to me. During the interview, I used my subject expertise to provide the company a training among other things (lots of notes were taken and questions were asked to me that made it apparent they plan to use everything I gave them). A week later, I reached out to the recruiter to be told the company never got approval for it to be a remote position (which was what I was told the entire time).

I am considering sending them an invoice for my expenses and time. Am I just being petty or should I actually consider sending it? Had they said “we don’t think its a fit,” I would have dropped this altogether.

Between expenses and everything, this cost me around $400 out of my own pocket. I have three small children and we are a one-income family, so $400 is a lot of money to us, plus missing that time with my kids and wife means a lot to me.

You absolutely can’t send it.

I understand the impulse, but they’re not going to pay expenses that they never agreed to pay and you’ll make yourself look really bad in the process because it’s just not done.

There’s never a guarantee that you’ll get a job at the end of a hiring process, no matter how positive a company is sounding. Plans fall through, budgets and priorities change, stronger candidates emerge at the last minute, etc. I know that in this case they’d led you to believe that remote work was already approved, but even that kind of thing can change (or people can assume it’ll be fine and then discover that some decision-maker several levels up was never informed and doesn’t like it, or so forth).

The only safe thing to do is to not invest time or money into hiring processes if you’re not okay with the prospect of it not panning out in the end. I’m sorry!

2. Returning to professional work after being a phone sex operator

I was an executive in a nonprofit agency and worked in the sector for almost 10 years. This last winter I left a very prestigious job to pursue work in the adult industry. I had been working as a phone sex operator part-time during my employment just to make some extra money. After a major management change, I decided to leave my job and work full-time on the phone. Aside from the obvious benefits of working from home and making my own hours, the pay is phenomenal! I’m easily making more than twice as much as I was as a program director in nonprofit.

It’s been almost six months since I left my job and I still haven’t moved forward with finding any other employment. I never thought I’d be doing this this long. My concern is how I am going to explain this gap in my employment when I do decide it’s time to return to my profession. It could be another six months until I find another job (I want to be selective and hold out for the right position since I have the luxury to do so right now) and I’m nervous about explaining myself. With the phone company, I’m officially listed as a contractor.

I know this is a really weird situation and I need all the help I can get. I really don’t want people to know what I’ve been doing for this last year, but I also don’t want to lie. Even if I get a job after having been truthful, I’d be embarrassed and would feel like I’ve made a really weird impression.

Unfortunately, because we live in a society that is so puritanical about anything related to sex, I think you’re better off not trying to come up with PG cover for the job and instead just saying you took some time off to do something else — travel, pursue a personal interest, attend to family, or so forth. If your previous job was a highly stressful one, you could even just say that after a decade of high-stress work, you wanted to take a break to recharge and think about what you wanted to focus on next.

If you’re only out for a year, I think you can make that work. Once it starts getting longer than that, that starts getting trickier, as people will worry about your skills getting stale, whether you really want to return to work, etc.

3. What help can I ask for after spraining my ankle?

I sprained my ankle playing soccer yesterday. I have a parking spot that I pay around $50 a month for that is four blocks away from my office. This parking spot is subsidized by my office (I think about $50).

It took me a half hour to walk in my crutches to my office from the garage — it was up hill on uneven ground. And I am an assistant so some of my daily functions require walking (copies, greeting clients, dispersing paperwork, etc.)

What, if anything, would be a reasonable request for my HR department? Or since this happened on my own time from my own stupidity do I just make do? There’s parking behind where I work but it’s all taken up by people with seniority. Would it be unreasonable to ask to park there for the week (or two) until this heals? Can I ask for a pass from some of the walking-related work things? I don’t know what’s reasonable and what isn’t. My first job out of high school, and I don’t want to be fussy, but I also don’t want to get needlessly screwed.

You can ask for all of that. It’s very reasonable to ask HR for temporary parking closer to the building. You should also talk to your boss (not HR) and explain that it’s difficult to walk right now and ask for temporary accommodations to your responsibilities until you’re off the crutches. These are both normal things to ask for and you’re not being fussy!

4. I was asked to complete an “automated phone screen”

I submitted a resume through a job board and received a reply from the job board, asking me to “Please complete your automated phone screen for [position].”

I’m supposed to call a number and answer pre-prepared questions, ones you’re typically asked in a live phone screen: “Tell us a little about your background,” “why are you interested in this position” (I’m not, but I need a job; can’t say that!), past accomplishment, and describe a difficult situation and how you resolved it. I have a week to do it, but I’m leaning toward simply deleting the email and forgetting the entire thing.

Is this a normal thing? I’ve never run across this before, ever. It’s for a receptionist job at a personal injury law firm. I’ve applied to law firms before and this never happened. Am I crazy to think this is lazy as hell? Anybody else run into this?

It’s not a super common thing, but it’s a technology that’s out there that some companies use … companies that don’t know how to hire well. It’s terrible for tons of reasons, including that it asks candidates who have already provided resumes and cover letters to spend more time investing in the job possibility while the company still isn’t investing any time back (i.e., answering their questions), it treats candidates like cattle, and it deprives the employers of most of the benefits of phone interviews (like seeing how the candidate speaks off the cuff, rather than how they read a script they may have written down in advance, and being able to ask follow-up questions).

5. Interviews in public spaces

I think I need some help with interview scheduling ettiquette. I currently work on a campus, within which several businesses share the same public spaces. I have an upcoming interview with one of the other businesses, and the hiring manager has asked to meet in the shared dining area for the interview. I’m not particularly comfortable asking her to move the location, as there is nowhere else nearby that is suitable. However, it’s highly likely that coworkers or bosses will see me and either realize I’m in an interview, or come and speak to me!

Would it be reasonable for me to ask the interviewer if we can ensure that the meeting is held outside of normal lunch hours? Should I admit that it’s because I want to be discreet? Or does that come across like I’m being underhanded about leaving my current job? I feel a bit awkward about all options!

You can do that! It’s a normal thing to not want your current job to know you’re interviewing; that’s not seen as underhanded.

Say it this way: “My current boss and many of my current coworkers tend to eat in that area around lunchtime, and I worry that we’ll be interrupted or that it could be awkward since my manager doesn’t know I’m interviewing. Is there somewhere else we could meet, or would it work for you to meet there outside of normal lunch hours?”

I want to bill an employer who wasted my time, returning to work after working in the adult industry, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 10:09 pm


It’s done! It’s FINALLY done! After months and months of letting clutter and laundry take over my room and doing nothing about it, I finally built up the motivation and got it done within a couple days.
A lot of the clothes on the floor were things I never put away after attempting to do six months worth of laundry, so that made it easier, I guess. The before photos actually took place after a little bit of work, so that’s really saying something. I’ve still got some clutter and drawers I need to go through and organize.
The feeling of not worrying about tripping over things while trying to walk around in my bedroom is absolutely amazing. That and I’m not embarrassed to open my blinds or leave my door open.

Wednesday, June 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
Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 11:06 pm
Midsummer always takes me by surprise. The sun seems to set so early! I keep thinking that it set later when I was a child, during the summers.

And well, yes, that's because it did. Most of my memories of childhood summers take place in Belgium. The sun didn't set in Wavre today until 10pm. It set here at 8:30.

Logically, I know that I spent many more summers in NYC than in Belgium (and I also spent a few in Austin, with my other grandmother), but... somehow, in my memories, except for the 4th and the occasional trip to the beach, it's always Belgium. And in Belgium, the sun stays up forever in the summer. (It sets correspondingly earlier in the winter, but we never were there in the winter.)
Tuesday, June 20th, 2017 10:30 pm
Google would win at pictionary.

The trick is not to draw well, but to draw like everybody else. A quick sketch of a rectangle with a fin on it is better than a beautiful, photorealistic picture of a shark - and apparently, the entire world, when confronted with "animal migration", decides to make a few m-birds and call it a day. (The algorithm is entirely too fond of throwing out "animal migration" as a challenge.)
Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 05:12 pm
If you or a loved one have any direct experience with either hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis, could you please comment here? None of the literature searches I've done provide much detail on how the two types affect the people getting dialysis on a day-to-day basis, especially when the patients are over 65 (my mom is 75, and has been told she needs to choose, soon, between dialysis and palliative care). All comments will be screened so that absolute confidentiality is preserved.
Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 11:36 pm
I figured out this morning why ... for the past week + that I've had this cough, my go to cough miracle - benzonatate - has not been working. I thought it was just because everything else was broken so why should it work. And then, this morning, I realized that the pills I have been taking are expired. Yes, folks. I've been taking dead medicine and expecting it to work. And, what's even more stupider is that I have a fresh bottle of benzonatate that I haven't touched. Fuck me. I tossed the old and took the new and, guess what? Coughing halted totally. That kind of stupid should not be legal.

I did get all my errands done this morning and then came home to a totally wonderful clean house. I went to bed and slept an solid hour, woke up and did it again. And really have not done much of anything else.

There are two games here tonight. The Mariners play at 7 and then here closer to me by a block, the soccer team plays at 7:30. The 'hood will be packed to the gills.

I was sitting here about 3:30 trying to think of what to have for dinner. I didn't feel like making anything. Going anywhere was totally out of the question traffic wise and all of the neighborhood restaurants will be packed. I looked at Amazon Prime for delivery but none of the good stuff is delivered early. And then I realized I was starving right now. Why wait for dinner time?

So I put on my shoes and walked across the street to the sports bar which was not yet busy but gearing up and ordered one of their cheeseburgers with their hand cut shoestring fries to go. Their hamburgers are tall and serviced with grilled onion, cheese, lettuce, really good pickles and bacon and so... not something you really want to eat in public. They are of the juice down the arm variety.

I bought it home and sat at my dining room table and just pigged out. It was so delicious that I could hardly stand it. Really. Plus it brightened my mood considerably and clean up involved throwing the packaging in the trash so my kitchen is still clean.

It was really the best idea I've had in forever. Plus, maybe now that I'm not taking nothing pills, I'll be able to sleep tonight without coughing. God I am so tired of being sick.
Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 12:55 pm


This was yesterday’s project. It wasn’t as bad as the other room. I definitely didn’t finish it, the living room has more random stuff that I need to find homes for. But it’s definitely much nicer than it was.

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 07:00 pm
Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 05:42 pm
Happy first day of summer!!  The rain has left yet again and here we are hustlin' around the farm trying to keep up with it all! I had my first pint of blueberries yesterday and boy was that exciting.  Looks like we are going to open our u-pick blueberries on Saturday, July 1st (we'll also be loading up your CSA bag with them soon!)  We've almost finished construction on our farm headquarters as well as the pizza oven area which is really exciting. just in time for Friday pizza nights (like this Friday!)

In other news we have our final round of summer squash in the ground, have planted more basil, our tomatoes are starting to fruit, the peppers are growing (and even flowering in the hoop houses) and things are coming alive. Your shares are going to get more and more bountiful as the season goes along!  

ALSO, big note, THANK YOU to those that return their bags weekly but PLEASE REMEMBER TO RETURN YOUR BAG if you haven't been, we don't want to have to purchase more for many reasons but mainly to keep the cost of CSA down!
 COLLARD GREENS:  First of the season to CSA!  These hearty greens are full of nutrients (fiber, vitamin A, B, C and iron) and although more often used in fall/winter are a great routine switch from kale or chard.  Collards can be braised, sautéed, boiled and more.  I love eating them for breakfast with eggs and toast.  One of our old farm crew folks, Martha, gave me this great pasta and collards recipe here.

SALAD MIX:  A lovely salad mix instead of lettuce this week.  We grow salad mix year round and right now it is buttery and tender.  This salad mix goes great with pretty much any additions and any dressing.   We make seasonal vinaigrettes here at the farm (as well as sell them in Portland at Providore, Alberta Coop, World Foods and Peoples Coop) and they are available through the online store!  Like all of our produce, it is a good reminder to note that we do not wash our greens though we do give them several field rinses and spin them.   

PEA TENDRIL MICROGREENS:  WE ARE SO EXCITED ABOUT THESE.  Elise and I have been working in our spare time (haha) to get our microgreen program back up and running!  We really want everyone to feel they are getting their shares worth for CSA and especially in these hard shoulder times we are constantly trying to figure out how we can grow and harvest more with ya'll especially in mind!!  We started with one of our favorite specialty crops, pea tendrils.  These tendrils are packed to the brim with nutrients, are super tasty, tender and just plain adorable.  They are great added to salad, eaten by themselves (woops) or served with a protein (a bed of pea greens anyone?) Please, please note that these haven't been washed to preserve their quality so make sure you give them a good rinse!!

MIXED BEETS:  Gold, red, white and chioggia (the candy stripe, pronounced key-oh-jah) all with their greens on.  Another first of the season, we really love our beets here.  Some received mixed bunches while others all one variety but we'll be rotating through a lot this season.  These beets are sweet and earthy.  The greens can be cooked much like chard is (same family) and roots have a ton of versatility...beet salad, pickled beets, roasted beets, shaved beets, candied beets and more.  Our kitchen loves to make beet hummus!  Beets store really well so if you decide to keep them longer than a couple days just trim the stems off!

CILANTRO: A lovely cilantro bunch. For me this is one of the markers of summer actually being here!  I love to garnish everything with cilantro (stir fry, tacos) or make a cilantro pesto to use for soups, fish, et cetera.  The best way to store cilantro is to put it in a glass of water in your fridge (you can even put a bag over the greens).  Change the water out every couple of days for best keep, less stink.

SUMMER SQUASH:  Tromba d'Albegna or Zucchini!  Roast it, sauté it, make a raw shaved squash salad.

SCAPES:  A nice bunch of scapes!  Grill, use as garlic, roast, you name it!  I know I already mentioned pesto but scape pesto is super tasty!!

SAVORY:  This variety of savory is "winter savory."  I know it seems like the wrong season but this variety of savory grows year round and is great to cook with.  Winter savory is a perennial herb that comes from the Mediterranean much like thyme and rosemary.  I'd put this in the "hang in your kitchen to dry" category.  By the end of the year ya'll are going to have a lot of herbs in your kitchen toolbox!   It mixes wonderfully with thyme, sage and rosemary, and can be used for all sorts of dishes.  I might suggest using it with meat, bean dishes, herb marinade and more.
Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 02:06 pm
If you could choose three store credit cards with no limits, that were paid off by someone other than you, and which had no effect on your credit score, which stores would you pick?

Today, for me those stores would be Anthropologie, Williams-Sonoma, and one from a big bulk store like Sam's or Costco. So... basically food/electronics/random stuff, fancy food, and fancy décor.

Yeah, today is one of those "contemplative" days.
Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 02:00 pm
Cordelia spent last night with her best friend, a sleepover. They went to a movie at Top of the Park (outdoor showing), so they were out quite late. I think they saw Hidden Figures. The girls are eager to go to more of these movies. The main difficulty is getting them home afterward. I don't think the buses run that late, and Scott can't stay up for that. I doubt the other girl's parents can either.

My psychiatrist says I should use Ativan every night for a while in the hope that that will get me used to the c-PAP. We discussed Lunesta as an option as well, but I wasn't keen on it because new medications that sedate me can send my anxiety through the roof. Lunesta might not since it's supposed to make a person fall asleep really, really fast, but... I thought trying Ativan first was wiser.

She also wants me to practice taking the gear off and putting it back on in as close to night time darkness as I can manage in the hope that that will help the anxiety caused by feeling less able to respond to an emergency. (What sort of emergency, I can't imagine. The anxiety portions of my brain are simply adamant that I must be prepared for emergencies at all times. All possible emergencies rather than anything specific.) There's a reason that, when I startle awake, including with an alarm, I wake pretty completely and can function immediately, no matter how tired I am. That ability to function fades as the day goes on.

I took an Ativan last night and used the c-PAP until Scott's alarm at 5 a.m. I slept without it after that until about 8:30 when Cordelia texted me with a question. That's two hours longer than I'd have slept on a school night. I'm still tired, but I'm able to function. Maybe this will work.

I'm starting to get a headache now, so I'm going to lie down for a while.
Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 05:21 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

Y’all, I wrote a book.

ASK A MANAGER: Clueless Coworkers, Lunch-Stealing Bosses, and Other Work Conversations Made Easy will be published by Random House/Ballantine next spring.

The book — which is nearly all new content that you haven’t read here — takes on more than 200 difficult conversations you might need to have during your career (with your boss, your coworkers, your employees, or your job interviewer) and gives you the wording to do it … focusing especially on the awkward and cringey conversations that people dread most.

In a decade of running this site, the theme I’ve seen over and over is that people shy away from having difficult conversations because they don’t know what to say. Often they worry it’ll feel aggressive or adversarial, and they’re looking for wording that won’t kill the relationship. And understandably so! Your quality of life at work can depend on having decent relationships with your coworkers and your boss, so the stakes are high.

But the stakes are high if you don’t speak up too. As I wrote in the intro to the book: “When the issue is serious – for example, if you’re not getting paid on time – not speaking up could mean not paying your bills. But even when the issue isn’t so crucial – when it’s, say, asking your coworker to turn his music down or to stop calling you ‘m’lady’ – not speaking up means not having perfectly reasonable conversations, all in the name of avoiding pretty minor awkwardness. If you speak up – not adversarially, not aggressively, just calmly and matter-of-factly – you’ll build a reputation as someone who’s able to navigate tough situations with relative grace. You’ll also significantly improve your quality of life at work, because when you speak up appropriately, you improve your working conditions and your relationships.”

I’m super excited for this to come out and believe me, I will tell you when it’s ready for pre-ordering.

the Ask a Manager book is coming was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 04:30 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

A reader writes:

I have a new salaried staff member who is a manager-in-training for a new location we are opening up. She has worked for us for a week now, and is having child-care issues causing her to be tardy or have to leave earlier than expected. I would like your advice on the most professional way to handle this.

The nature of our business doesn’t allow for flex-time, and we are a semi-warehouse environment, so we don’t allow children inside the location. Location managers are also expected to be the last one out the door at night, which means sometimes you are going to be working 10-20 minutes later than you expected. She knew all of this before when she accepted the position.

The last four days, she has either been late (because the sitter was late), or she’s had to leave before other non-managerial employees in the evening to pick her child up. She’s a single mom, so I understand that she’s in a tough spot. The first time I had a conversation with her about her tardiness, she burst into tears. My boss spoke with her the next day, just to reinforce what I had said, and she burst into tears.

What’s the best way to have a crying-free conversation with her about tardiness and that as a manager, her schedule is firm, and that she needs to understand that some evenings she’ll be expected to work a little later?

I don’t want to scare her off or to think she’s not capable of doing this job, but I also can’t risk a phone call from the client complaining that she hasn’t been there when they expected her to be, or from other employees saying she wasn’t there to unlock the door, making them late.

I answer this question 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.

what to say to a chronically late employee was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 11:04 am


Who here likes a good Before and After photo? Yep, these are from the same fan.

When I would come over to help my dad clean, I would dust and wipe down the ceiling fan, but I never actually took the blades down to wash them until now. It’s summer this week, so I wanted to dust and wipe them, but discovered they were sticky with grime. The best thing I’ve found for this kind of cleaning is plain dish soap and water, applied with elbow grease. I have found it helps to put the soap on the sponge, rather than the dirty surface.

With hundreds of ongoing tasks and playing catch-up on years of neglect, I’ve also found it helps me to multi-task. I used a perfectly good but forgotten cooler to soak the fan blades while I shoveled planting soil into my tractor trailer, so about 40 minutes, probably. When I was done washing them, I washed out the cooler, then added salt and vinegar to the soapy water inside, and dumped it all over the patio flagstones, to kill some invasive weeds. 

Fan cleaned and reassembled, trailer filled, weeds tended to, cooler cleaned and ready for use, all inside an hour and fifteen minutes.

It occurred to me, on our first Father’s Day without Dad, I’m basically still doing odd jobs for him.

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 02:55 pm
Last night's ballgame ended in a 10th inning walk off which was lovely. But, I watched it from my bed. I went to the game and I had a wonderful dinner but I soon discovered that sitting in the stands was just not going to work. My seat is in the very middle of a row. To get out, I have to crawl over 11 people no matter which way I go. To keep from coughing, I have to be sipping something constantly. I can't sit there and sip something constantly without worrying about how I was going to crawl all over all those people to get out to go pee. It was just too distracting.

So at the end of the 3rd inning, I went inside the club. Which was really nice. There were TV's everywhere so you could still easily watch the game. I met a really nice lady named Ruthie. We sat at a table and nibbled on snacks and watched the game. About the 7th inning I decided to head on home. I really just felt like shit.

I only missed a half inning. I stayed up late hoping that being super sleepy would enable me to sleep better. Wrong. I coughed pretty much all night long. It was miserable.

My gut is telling me this morning that the antibiotic is working. Per mixter11nm's advice, I need to go get some acidophilus this morning. Yogurt clearly isn't up to the task. I kind of wish I'd just gotten the prednizone instead of this antibiotic but, too late now.

On the bright side, my swim was wonderful. I swear, I think I'd just be all over miserable all the time without swimming.

Today is house cleaner day. So when she gets here, I'll head out for errands. Today just has to be better.
Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 02:59 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

A reader writes:

I have a question regarding ownership and I will preface it by saying that I realize it’s kind of a petty one. I am the graphic designer (I’m the only one) at a small IT company that does a lot of government work. Most of the work I’ve produced for them are infographics and some marketing things like flyers, banners, etc. I also rebranded the company to come up with logos and such.

After two years of being incredibly unhappy here and watching my employers really mistreat their employees I am excited to say that I got a new job (*throws confetti*) that I’m very excited about.

I’ve been wondering how much of my work I can leave with and not let them keep. Obviously things like logos and such is different, but I honestly don’t want to leave them any of the source files for infographics or even some of the marketing stuff that I’ve done. I want to leave them with as little as possible.

I admit that me entertaining this idea is fueled by some personal feelings about my bosses and the way they run their business. I’ve witnessed and documented enough to be able to put them out of business and destroy their reputation if I really wanted to. I’m surprised no one has already, considering how awful they’ve been to all of us.

I read through my contract and the employee manual and didn’t see anything about ownership. The closest thing is a section saying that employees need to return company property when they leave, such as computers, etc. A friend of my mine mentioned the other day that ownership may extend to the image files of my work (which there would be a very limited amount of use for since they’re very specific to the projects they were tailored for), but it’s possible that it doesn’t mean the company owns the source files too.

It’s vindictive and petty and, yes, immature, I know. Really, I don’t know if I’ll really even go through with any of it if it’s an option. I realize it’s unprofessional, but this is a bridge I’m not worried about burning either. My supervisor knows I’ve been job searching, that I’ve got a new offer, and has told me that I am always welcome to use him as a reference no matter what. I don’t trust my employers enough to ever consider them a good reference anyway even though I know that they like my work.

So how does ownership in situations like this work? Is it possible to leave them with image files but not the source?


As an employee, you’re engaged in what’s called “work for hire.” This is a provision in U.S. copyright law that says that an employer is the author and owner of work prepared by an employee within the scope of her employment. In other words, if you did it while working there as part of your job, they own it.

And come on, it is petty and immature. It’s also unethical; you were paid for that work, and trying to destroy their ability to use it on your way out would be a huge blow to your integrity. And it would only take a single mention of that to really damage your reputation. It doesn’t matter how terrible your employer was — “she sabotaged their files when she left” will a be a deal-breaker for any future employer who hears it.

It’s also unlikely to cause the harm to your employer that you might be thinking it would. They presumably have back-ups or other means if recreating things if they need to.

You didn’t say what sort of awful things this employer has done, but if any of them happen to be legal violations, the law may give you much more ethical means for redress that way.

If not … well, there’s Glassdoor, there’s discreetly sharing information on them with people in your field, there’s helping your coworkers get out of there themselves … and there’s living well without ever thinking much of them again, which is a special kind of satisfaction.

should I sabotage my terrible employer on my way out? was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 11:56 am
My friend took me to lunch yesterday for a late birthday gift. Thai food. I have never had Thai food and I was not in love with it at all, but the company was fun. Our bridge game was awful. :(

It is raining again today. It has been raining steadily for 2 days, we are on the wet side of the tropical storm that is coming ashore tomorrow (I think) My grass will need a baler if it does not get mowed soon, but it has really been raining a lot for a week or two.

I have nothing on my plate for the rest of this week or next, I to find something constructive to occupy me.

The other day I kind of went crazy and looked on Craiglist for really cheap RVs. I actually contacted one person and made an appointment to see it, but cancelled soon after when I came to my senses. I can not afford any kind of RV, and one I could pay cash for would be really old. I am not capable of fixing things, not do I need more insurance, etc. I have to be realistic about things!! Just wishful thinking.
Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 04:03 am

Posted by Ask a Manager

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

1. My mom is mad that I didn’t negotiate more

I recently received a job offer that I’m really excited about. There is growth opportunity, I get great vibes from my new manager (and her manager), the new workplace is both flexible on where I work and very close my house, and I would be doing work that I find interesting and meaningful. During the verbal offer, the manager put out a number ~$7,000 less than the low end of my range (and about $1,500 less than what I currently make). She has been a pretty straight shooter up until this point, and when I said it would be hard for me to move on for a pay decrease, she came up $2,000. She told me that’s all that was in the budget for this position and that if I refused this offer, they would need to kind of go back to the drawing board to see if it would even be possible. I didn’t want to jeopardize the offer, especially because this number is within reason for this position in this kind of industry. I verbally accepted.

The problem is my mom. She is absolutely furious with me for accepting right away. She works at my current workplace (on a different campus) doing a very similar job, though she makes almost $40,000 more than me because of her longevity at the institution. She is the one who found me my current position. She told me “you NEVER accept a job offer right away” and that I’m “not being rational.” Alison, I feel that moving to this job is maybe the most rational career move I’ve ever made. Yes, I will be stuck with this salary for a while, and I probably could have wrung a couple thousand more out of them, but I really, really want this position. The other complicating factor is that I’ve been “on the market” for a year now and this was my first interview. Did I make some kind of horrible mistake?


And your mom is being particularly weird here because you didn’t accept their first offer. You negotiated and got an additional $2,000.

You got a job you’re really excited about that you feel good about accepting, at a salary that you say is within the market range for the work, and you got them to tack on an extra $2,000. You did fine. Ignore your mom.

(And it actually might be time to pull back on how many of these sorts of details you share with her if she’s going to get furious about something like this.)

2. Inappropriate ring tones

When is a ring tone considered inappropriate?

I have a female coworker who has a man whistling (like the obnoxious whistle a man makes when a pretty woman walks by) as her text message alert. My company is 98% men so it makes me hate her ringtone even more. I’m curious to know if I am overreacting or not.

I tend to think that any alert tone that your coworkers can hear is already veering toward inappropriate, but one that mirrors catcalling noises is particularly so.

3. Company asked my reference for other references

I’m in the interviewing process for a new job, and the company seems very interested in bringing me on.

However, when they reached out to one of my references, the reference-checker asked her if she knew of any additional references for me. She was a little taken aback by this and said she’d get back to them if she thought of any.

She told me about this, and I’m a little unsure what to do since this seems out of the ordinary. I don’t think it would make sense for her to pass along a reference to someone she doesn’t know at all, but do I reach out to the interviewer instead? I’m confused that if they really wanted this info, I don’t know why wouldn’t they just directly contact me. Do I do nothing and just let it slide?

Yes. This is actually a technique that some reference-checking experts recommend; the idea is to broaden your base of people who know the candidate but are less likely to have promised the person a good reference and who therefore might speak more candidly.

It’s more common in background checks than in reference checks, but it is a thing that some reference checkers do. You don’t have to like it — and I can understand why you don’t — but enough people consider it a legitimate practice that it’s likely to come across strangely if you say something about it. (That said, you typically see it most with candidates for senior executive type positions. It’s much less common at less senior levels.)

Personally, I’m not a fan — although I see the value for CEO-type positions. Otherwise, though, I prefer to just ask the candidate to connect me to specific people I’d like to speak with who weren’t on the original reference list.

4. Applicants who don’t include cover letters

I’m not new to hiring or being a manager, but I am new to my current company and am hiring for the first time in this role.

I’ve been working with a recruiter and my team to get the word out about my need for applicants, and I have a few good resumes coming in. What’s strange is I’m getting almost no cover letters.

Would it be appropriate to ask them to add a cover letter after they’ve already submitted their resume? It would really help me to understand why they are applying and see a bit of their writing style.

You can do that! It’s fine to say something like, “We’re asking all applicants to include a cover letter. We’d be glad to consider your application if you can resubmit it with a cover letter included.”

One thing I can’t tell from your letter is whether the job is posted anywhere. You say you’re working with a recruiter and your team so I can’t tell if you’re doing this informally or not. If you are, I’d change that — formally post it, and in your application instructions, specifically ask for a cover letter. You’ll get a bigger pool and you won’t be relying as heavily on your team’s own networks (which is a good thing for lots of reasons, including that you’ll generally get more diverse candidates if you branch out beyond your existing networks). And you can also tell your recruiter to make sure people send cover letters when they apply.

5. Was it illegal for my manager to ask if I was pregnant?

Several months ago, I asked my manager for a morning off the following week because my husband and I were getting married at the courthouse. I supplied this information willingly. He looked distraught and asked if I was pregnant. I was caught off guard and answered no and explained the monetary reasons for getting married. It colored my view of him, as I am resentful of the inappropriateness and the implications but I moved on outwardly.

Fast forward several months and when I relayed the event to friends, they insisted it was an illegal question. I’m not sure it is though, since it wasn’t an interview. Wildly inappropriate certainly, but quite possibly legal. My internet searches have turned up conflicting information on the matter and the situation is made murkier by the fact that I’m a contractor with an agency, not an employee of my manager.

Do you know whether this was illegal or not? I’ve already turned down the job offer to be an employee for that reason and more but I’d like to know the answer for future opportunities elsewhere.

Nope, it wasn’t illegal. And it wouldn’t have been illegal in a job interview either.

It’s not illegal for managers or interviews to ask about pregnancy — or race or religion or national origin or any of the other protected characteristics (except for disability). What is illegal is using that information to make an employment decision — like deciding not to hire someone based on that info, or denying someone a promotion because of it, or so forth. Because of that, smart interviewers and smart managers don’t ask these questions — since once you do, it can be very hard to prove that you didn’t act on the answer in an illegal way. (And plus, so many people wrongly think the act of asking is illegal that it tends to make people super uncomfortable.)

This is possibly the thing people get wrong about workplace law most frequently; you’ll even see news articles from respected sources get it wrong. (Here’s one from Consumerist that got it right.)

my mom is mad I didn’t negotiate more, inappropriate ring tones, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Tuesday, June 20th, 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
Tuesday, June 20th, 2017 08:43 pm
My doctor is on vacation! So I got shuttled to a backup doc who, thankfully, had openings today. And I went. I'm not good with doctors. I love mine but I'm always afraid that doctors will want to save me and/or want tests or not understand or whatever. It's stupid. So I was not thrilled with the switcheroo but I was pretty desperate.

Turns out backup doc was terrific! A lady doc. Who was sharp and smart and got a big kick out of my plastic DNR bracelet and then got an even bigger kick out that my other arm was sporting a fitness tracker. Bases covered.

She says my lungs actually sound good and that my coughing is from a sinus infection! Plus she said it looks like my ears were going south as well. So I'm sure glad I went in. She gave me antibiotics (that are as big as a freakin' filet minion. I asked the pharmacist if it came with a side salad.). The doc said to send her a my chart note if, in a day or so, I felt like I needed prednesone and she would call it in so I wouldn't have to come back.

So so so nice. And I feel better already just knowing I'll feel better soon and if not, I have a solid Plan B.

I also found out that the clinic where all my docs work now has a 7 day a week walk in branch. It's not particularly convenient but it's sure good to know about.

Then I had to stop at the grocery store to get some yogurt to encourage the antibiotic to behave.

And, when I opened up my wallet to pay for the gynormous pills (which were only $7!), I found the t-mobile sim I lost last week! I ordered it so that I could set up this tiny little candy bar phone for a backup that isn't connected to my other cellphone or to Google. It's on it's own T-Mobile plan $3.00 a month for 30 minutes to talk and text. It's all set up now. I even thought to text my brother so he'll recognize the number when I call him after the apocalypse.

So things are looking up here. Next stop Diamond Club. I had cold sesame noodles with a yogurt for lunch and there will be no snacking this afternoon. Gotta make room for yummy ballpark banquet.
Tuesday, June 20th, 2017 02:46 pm


Bought an organizer for my sewing supplies and tidied my art corner (again). It’s not my favorite piece of furniture but i was getting claustrophobic with the supply pile creeping into the rest of the room. It’ll do until i find that “just right” piece. #unfuckyourhabitat

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017 07:00 pm