Sunday, December 10, 2023
HomeJob OpportunityAsk a Manager speed round — Ask a Manager

Ask a Manager speed round — Ask a Manager

It’s the annual Ask a Manager speed round! Until 3:30 pm ET today, I’ll be answering questions live.

How to ask questions: Submit a question using the form here. (Don’t leave your question in the comment section; I won’t see it there.) If you submitted a question yesterday, there’s no need to submit it again; I’ve got it in my queue.

How to read answers live: Refresh the page to see new questions/answers. I’ll post new answers at the top as I go so you don’t have to scroll down to see the latest.

Other info: It’s a speed round so these are going to be quick answers. We’ll see how many I can get through.

46. Worst Boss

Do I have to be asking a question about my horrible ex-boss to nominate her for Worst Boss of the Year? I just really want her to win.

Yep, you’d have to submit a question about her featuring her horribleness.

45. Is the term “suffering together” indicative of bad culture?

My workplace uses internal core values as part of our quarterly and yearly annual reviews. We are required to submit self-assessments of our performance and how we meet the core values. Each value has a sentence or two explaining how we might meet that value in our work, one of the values is Sacrifice. A part of the sentence to describe this value says “Employee suffers together with coworkers to complete tasks when necessary.” Is it just me or is this a bit much?

I can see what they were going for, but their wording is pretty bad! I don’t think it’s indicative of a bad culture on its own, but it’s not hard to imagine it stemming from one.

44. Your Reading Life!

I love your book recommendations and have tried out quite a few! Where do you get book suggestions? You often recommend ones that I have not heard of.

I read a ton of book reviews (New York Times, Washington Post, Goodreads, The Millions, and lots of others). I also occasionally spend a chunk of time playing around with “if you liked Book X, here are recommendations for what to read next” sites. But mostly, reviews.

43. Is it time to retire?

I’m 62, I own my home and have hit “my number” (the amount I was aiming for retirement) as of last week. I’m not enthused or challenged by my job, but I’m paid well, work 100% remote and know how the job and where all the “bodies are buried” so it’s not particularly stressful. Every day I ask myself – do I really want to spend my remaining good health doing…this nonsense? Getting a new job, most likely entailing a commute and wearing actual clothes and learning new things, is probably off the table. There’s zero chance of advancement with this employer. It’s either keep doing this until Medicare kicks in, or shut it down now and hope some time off gets me back enough energy to consider doing something else.

If you can afford to retire, retire! You don’t need to work several more years because of an arbitrary number.

However, make sure that your money target still works if you add several extra years of retirement (and potential market volatility) in there — it might be low if the original target assumed a retirement age of 65, not 62. It would be smart to have a finance person sign off on your plan before you do anything.

42. LinkedIn recommendation importance

Do LinkedIn recommendations carry any weight for senior roles? I have a coach who demands I pester people in my network and personal life to write one – and insists I can’t get hired into a more senior role or attract good recruiters without one for every year of experience – to show I’m not difficult to work with. (I’m 15 years into highly technical individual contributor or project management roles.)

No. Most people don’t put any weight on LinkedIn recommendations because they’re public (so not going to contain anything critical or negative) and rarely very nuanced. That coach is highly suspect.

41. Pooping at work

If I need to poop at work, I go to a different floor in my building. Is this okay? Is there better work-pooping protocol?

This is okay.

40. To correct or not to correct my boss’ misspelling

It has been over a year, and my boss is still misspelling the last name of someone above him in a different branch of the company org chart. The misspelled VP is a woman, so this grates on my nerves. On the other hand, watching him continue to misspell is amusing, especially as he will vary the misspelling. Am I morally obligated to correct him on this or may I continue to watch this for my (mild) entertainment?

You are not morally obligated to correct him. You can correct him if you want to, but you’re not obligated to (unless your job includes proofreading his communications, obviously).

39. What to wear to work

I’m a fresh grad who just started work. My workplace explicitly stated that the dress code is casual on days when we’re not working with clients directly. Since my work does not require me to work with clients at all, will it be okay for me to dress casually everyday? I’m also wondering if casual means that t-shirts with cartoon characters and sports jerseys are fine.

“Casual” means different things in different offices. In some it means “khakis and collared shirts,” believe it or not. In others it means “jeans but no shorts” or “t-shirts but no writing on them” and all kinds of other variations. The best thing to do is to dress slightly less casually than your ultimate aim in the beginning and take a week or two to observe what other people wear. (Make sure you don’t calibrate down to the absolutely most casual person there since they could be out of sync with what’s expected — look at what the majority of people at your level and just above are wearing.)

38. HR says we can’t use negative internal knowledge when hiring

My academic department recently had a position open that required someone with a specific and rare specialization. We had very few applicants, and the one my supervisor selected to bring to interview was a former doctoral graduate of our academic program. I was rather alarmed when I heard they had been selected, as the candidate had intentionally plagiarized on a major assignment in my course while he was a student. When I brought this up to my supervisor (stating that I’d be willing to go along with the department decision), my supervisor informed me that she had raised the issue with HR and was told we could not consider any information we already knew about the student outside of the hiring process. Is this legit or is my HR off-base?

There’s no legal requirement that they do that; at most it’s an internal policy.

And it’s horrible hiring. It’s the kind of thing you see when hiring processes get so standardized that all individual judgment is removed from the process.

37. Dying awful colleague

A member of our C-suite has gone from being healthy and fit, to suffering from a sudden and aggressive cancer that has him in hospice. The chance of recovery is almost zero. Everyone at our company is basically just waiting for “the call.” It is a sad time for almost everyone who works here. Except for me. In the short time we’ve worked together, I was the target of his racist and misogynistic behavior, to the point that HR nearly had to get involved. I don’t wish him death or pain, but I have no interest in attending his funeral. Very few people know he treated me this poorly. I worry that being new to the company, many staffers will judge me harshly for not attending. Additionally, it’s about a 7 hour round trip drive to where the funeral will be held (as soon as he was diagnosed, he moved back to his hometown for better support). Can I skip this, or must I go?

You don’t need to go. If anyone asks about it, you can say in a regretful tone, “Unfortunately I’m not able to attend.”

36. Coach junior employee or nah?

I’m one of two senior people on this team. We have a junior, new to the company and new to salaried work as far as I know. She and the other senior run a weekly event, but the other colleague has been calling out on event days. Now the junior is pouting in our IMs and threatening to call out on those days too. If she does, I have to step in and run it, which is not my job but otherwise it won’t get done. I’ve been gently trying to coach her on professionalism due to this and other behaviors, but she’s pushing back a lot (and to be honest, she’s not entirely wrong). Do I keep trying, let our manager know what’s up and ask for her help, or just step back and let the manager manage (or not manage)? Yes, the other senior is a problem but that’s a whole other issue.

If you trust your manager to handle it well, ideally you’d give them a discreet heads-up about your concern since it’s affecting your work. It sounds, though, like you should make sure it’s clear to your manager that the junior is only part of the problem; the other part is that the other senior person keeps skipping events, which is causing all this in the first place.

35. Returning to work

When an employee is returning to work after a long-term sickness, is it better to have them do less days but full days, say 2 days a week, then 3 days, to build back up to all 5 days? Or do more days but shorter hours like 4 days until 12:00, then all 5 days until 1:00, etc., building up the hours? What do you recommend to help get an employee back on their feet and transition their workload back to them?

Ask them! Different people will have different answers, based on their own preferences and energy patterns throughout the days and the right answer for one person could be different from the right answer for someone else. What you can do as their manager, though, is to lay out the various options so they know what’s possible to choose from — because they may not realize some of those schedules are possible.

34. Favorite time management tips

What are some of your favorite time management (or schedule management) tips?

If it’ll take two minutes or less, do it right now.

Also, write everything down. Don’t rely on your memory; it will fail you at some point and it takes mental energy better spent in other places.

33. Wrong font?

One of my coworkers uses a different font than the default company email – it’s not one of the other “standard” business fonts like TNR or Arial but it also isn’t a fancy font. It just comes across kind of odd that everyone in the company uses the default font except her. Is it overly micromanaging to ask her to please use the default font or is this just a quirk we should get over?

Nah, let it go. If she were doing it in printed materials, it would be reasonable to expect she comply with your organization’s style guide, but it’s just her font in emails. She’s allowed to have that kind of quirk, unless someone with authority to say otherwise decides to say otherwise.

I do wonder why people do this, though! It’s possible that it’s easier for her to read … or maybe she just likes it and it’s the equivalent of decorating your locker in high school, who knows.

32. Layoffs

Are layoffs always based strictly on salary and finances? My department only had two people and me, the manager. We knew layoffs were coming and we were all told to present two employees for potential layoffs. The idea being they would choose one of the two. The CEO and HR chose to lay off my highest performer and best employee because she made $2000 more a year than the other employee, who is a low performer and difficult to work with. Employee #2 was on their third strike for attendance and work quality. The CEO and HR said it was strictly a financial decision when in my opinion Employee # 2 costs us so much more with their bad performance. Is that normal?

Wow, no, that’s a terrible way to do it. That’s not a good financial decision for exactly the reason you say: the bad performer undoubtedly costs you more than $2,000 compared to the good performer. It could be different if the salary difference were really enormous, but it’s incredibly unlikely that $2,000 will be in any way meaningful within the company’s larger budget (and if it is, things are on the brink of collapse).

31. Promotions of senior management

Am I out of touch for finding it awkward when an email goes out announcing that several people within senior management have all been promoted?

Do similar emails go out for lower-level promotions? Or is it work-relevant info that people need to have to function effectively in the company? Either of those would make the emails pretty justified. But if it’s basically just PR for senior execs … well, it’s pretty standard corporate practice but you’re allowed to have feelings about it.

30. I just really love cats

We have a “pets” slack channel at work. How do I know if I’m posting there too often? I try to make sure I don’t have more than two in a row. I just really love my cats okay, and people always like and comment on their pictures.

How often do other people post? If you post more than anyone else, that’s likely a sign to scale it back. Or you could start posting photos of your cats in disguise.

29. Negotiating Remote Work

I have an interview for a role that would be a terrible commute, but I lost my job 6 months ago and have had zero luck finding anything new. It was stated clearly in the JD that it’s on site, and the recruiter also made sure to confirm that I’m ok with a non-remote role. I said I would be for the right fit. I’ve been moved on to speak with the hiring manager and now I’m second guessing whether I can really make that commute; however I am not in the position to turn it down if I get the job. Is there room to negotiate a hybrid schedule, and if you think so, when should I bring it up? This is not a senior level position, so I don’t have a lot of pull. The salary is fine, but not great taking into considering the amount of gas I’d use. Any thoughts/advice would be helpful!! Thank you!

Ha, see #20. If they’ve made a point of confirming that you’re okay with on-site several times, they’re unlikely to change it although you can try. If you have extremely in-demand skills and they really want to hire you specifically, you have a better chance of negotiating it than if that’s not really the case. (Before you ask, though, I’d think really objectively about what their reasons are for requiring the work to be on-site. They might have good reason for it! And if the rest of the company is on-site, there can be serious downsides to being the one person who isn’t.)

28. Favorite books

Do you or would you ever create a reading list of your favorite/recommended books? Would love to see/read what you’re reading!

They exist! I do a recommendation every Saturday, and then every December I compile all the year’s recommendations into one list. You can find them here:

27. Thank-you’s in text-based communication

What’s your take on thank you etiquette for text-based communications (email, Teams, etc.)– always, never, context dependent?

I have a coworker who never thanks me for my replies to her requests, no matter how complicated, and it drives me batty! However, a mentor of mine recently shared that at a conference, a presenter suggested that thank you emails be eliminated to reduce email fatigue (we’re in a busy academic hospital setting, if it matters).

Eliminating thank yous seems wild to me, but maybe I’m out of touch? If it’s more nuanced than that, would I be out of line to ask my coworker for a thank you every now and then?

It’s context-dependent, but a lot of people don’t send thank-you’s for minor work stuff because they’re trying not to flood people’s inboxes. If your coworker doesn’t ever acknowledge even substantial efforts, that’s rude … but asking her to thank you would be weird itself (unless you legitimately need to know something was received and sufficient, but then you’d ask for that rather than for thanks).

26. Wet/Damp Hair

Would you consider arriving at work with wet hair unprofessional (wet from the shower, not from weather)?

It really depends on what it looks like. If it’s pulled back and just a little damp, that’s not a big deal. If it’s very wet, long, and hanging in your face, that would be off for a lot of offices and especially if you’re client-facing. (Also, in many cases curly hair has to air-dry and that complicates things … but that’s where pulling it back if it’s long can help.)

25. WFH separation of desk and bedroom

Is it better to have your work desk in your actual bedroom, rather than in your living or dining room? For some reason, being able to see my monitors from bed is bumming me out (probably because I hate my job). I wonder if this is a thing for anyone else. Could just be a manifestation of, again, how much I loathe into work every morning.

I don’t think you’re the only one who would find that unpleasant! In fact, a lot of sleep hygiene advice focuses on only using your bedroom for sleep.

Try moving to your living room or dining room and see if it improves anything.

24. How do you gracefully accept a resignation (you are secretly glad to receive)?

I manage a team of 5, one of whom is severely underperforming and on the verge of a PIP. I know he has accepted a job elsewhere and will be handing in his resignation within the next two weeks, but I’m not supposed to know this — one of his colleagues gave me a heads-up in private. The usual period notice for his role is four weeks, but I’m happy to reduce that significantly. What should I say when he resigns? How can I offer a shorter notice period?

If you can say it in good faith, start with something positive — “We’ll miss you, but I’m happy for you” or similar. Then, about the notice period, if you’ve been talking openly with him about his performance struggles, it’s okay to reference that: “Because of the issues we’ve been working on, I think a shorter notice period would be fine — would (X amount of time) work for you?” (Or “we could set your last day as early as this Friday, depending on what works on your side” or whatever you’d ideally like to do.)

But keep in mind that he might have set his start date at his new job based on the assumption that he needs to do four weeks with you, and he might not want/be able to give up any of that income if you have him end earlier. So you want to be sensitive to that and not just dictate an earlier end date if he’d prefer the usual notice period your org has set. (Ultimately you’re coming out ahead regardless, since you won’t have to go through a PIP and possible firing.)

23. Your reading routine

I love your reading recommendations. I think of myself as quite a bookworm, but even I don’t manage a book a week year-round. What’s your reading routine?

I read for ideally a couple of hours every night before I sleep, and then ideally more on weekends. This is problem, though, because it means if I get caught up in a book, I’m prone to staying up way too late.

22. Can I tell my manager to stop joking in official documents?

My fun/personable manager can be… too fun, in official documents. One recent example was a document on client policies that included the line “those who don’t follow XYZ policy might be discontinued as our clients, or beaten with a limp noodle.” Which doesn’t send a clear message about the importance of XYZ policy. Similar such language in official emails and other website features abounds, and I don’t know if it’s worth trying to be the fun police.

Do you have standing to tell her to stop — like are in you charge of corporate communications or client relationships or something else that would make it part of your job to manage this kind of thing? If not, and if she’s not soliciting your advice, it doesn’t rise to the level of something you should take on. Internally roll your eyes and let it go. (Also, who still thinks wet noodle comments are the height of humor? Dads, I guess.)

21. Bathroom privacy and flossing

There are no single-person bathrooms at my office, only a 3-stall restroom that, because my workplace is largely women, I therefore share with my boss, grandboss, supervisees, etc. I like to floss and brush after lunch. If anyone comes in the restroom and seems to be needing a while, I assume they are possibly waiting for me to leave so they can poop, etc. What’s the etiquette here? Should I go away and come back to floss later? Is it ok to continue but just hurry up? (Flossing and brushing in the staff kitchen is not allowed.)

I don’t think you need to leave — brushing and flossing is a legitimate use for the bathroom too — but it would be thoughtful to finish as quickly as you can.

20. We really don’t do remote jobs

I help with our HR department in a local nonprofit. When we post jobs, we’re pretty explicit about this job being hybrid, requiring 3/5 days onsite (with actual reasoning relating to the roles, not just to be managed). We’ve had 3 applicants who applied from outside the state withdrawal their applications because they thought we could be flexible about the hybrid/remote status (again, we can’t, and it’s specified in the role description). Is there any other way to signal that no, we don’t do full remote positions?

It’s frustrating when you’re up-front about something in the ad and then people assume they can change it! All you can really do is to continue being really clear about it in the ad, and then address it again in the first interview screen — “I wanted to make sure you know that the role is hybrid and requires three days a week on site, because of the nature of the work. Will that work for you?”

19. Resignation

What’s a good, non-awkward way of telling colleagues in other departments (so your absence won’t effect their work) you’ve resigned?

Just be direct and matter-of-fact! “I wanted to let you know that I’ve accepted another job and my last day here will be (date). I’ve really enjoyed working with you!”

18. No coffee after 2 pm

My boss has been reading up on the effects of caffeine on the body, and how it can stay in your system for hours. Since then, he has decided to turn off our office coffee maker at 2 pm every day, and also confiscates one of its components so we can’t just turn it back on. When a coworker pushed back, he said he “wants us to all have a good night’s sleep”. Most of us are going to Starbucks in the afternoon now but that is a cost we don’t necessarily want to shoulder. Any advice on how to approach this more effectively?

Wow, that’s a big overstep. Can you go to him as a group and say, “We’re adults who manage our own coffee consumption and we don’t want you managing that for us. This is just making us need to leave the office to go to Starbucks, which takes us away from work and costs us money. We’d like the machine on all day.” If that doesn’t work, is one of you willing to bring in your own machine that stays under your own control?

17. Friendship and work

Can I be friends with someone I have managed for several years and always had a friendly (but with good professional boundaries) relationship with, now that she has moved on to a role at another company? She’s reached out and I’d like to say yes! We’re both married women in our 40s if that matters.

Yes, since you’re not working together anymore! I’d just think about whether you’re likely to work together again in the future and how this could affect things if you do. But otherwise, go forth and be friends!

16. Unadvertised jobs

I read online that around 80% of open positions are never advertised and instead are filled more informally, through networks, referrals and internal candidates. Is that true?

Nope. It gets repeated all the time but it’s not based on anything real; it’s just a bunch of people repeating each other with no one bothering to confirm it. More here.

15. Responding to Sick Day Emails

I treat employees like adults. You feel puny or need a mental health day-have at it. When I answer I want to show a bit of humanity but it’s really none of my business why they are out. OK is too curt. “Feel better” doesn’t seem right. Suggestions?

I think “feel better” is good! You could also say, “We’ll see you when you’re feeling better” or “good luck with whatever it is.”

14. Family Emergency Questions

Last week, I had to take last minute time off for 4 days to try and visit a dying relative in another country. Due to flight cancellations and other travel issues, I did not make it in time to see the relative. The whole process was long, frustrating, and incredibly sad. How do I respond to the questions that are “Did everything turn out alright?” It’s easy to respond to every other style of question, but that specific one I can’t come up with a good answer for without lying.

“Unfortunately my (relative) died — it’s been a tough week.”

Or if you prefer less info, just “It was a pretty difficult week for my family. I appreciate you asking.”

I’m so sorry about your relative.

13. Retirement hobbies

Do you ever dream of retirement? What hobbies do you plan to enjoy in retirement?

Hell yes. I am just going to lie around and read all day, every day, then cook and eat extravagant dinners.

12. Layoffs

Would a company ever answer anything other than “we don’t know if any plans for layoffs at this time” when asked? That’s the only answer I’ve ever heard given, almost verbatim. Is there any circumstance where they’d actually say yes or no?

Not really. The timing of layoff announcements is usually really carefully considered with a bunch of strategic things going into it, and they’re not going to upend that just because someone asks before they’re ready to announce anything. Occasionally you’ll get a manager who’s willing to discreetly tip you off, but that’s pretty rare (and they may not even know themselves, especially if they’re not very senior).

11. Is wearing a mask weird now?

I just got back from a conference, and I was the only one wearing a mask out of my whole team. Everyone acted a little chilly about it. Do I need to give an excuse, or can I keep wearing my mask without having to explain myself?

You don’t have to explain yourself, but if you feel like other people are reacting strangely (which is BS but it happens), sometimes it helps to say something briskly and cheerfully . I’m still masking in some situations because my mom is having chemo and I find people are generally really receptive to a quick, “I’m going to mask because my mom is having chemo.” You could do a similar, “I need to mask for medical reasons right now.” (That even has the benefit of indicating maybe you’re protecting them from you.)

10. Old Gumption Letter?

I know this is totally the wrong forum for this (sorry), but did you ever get an update from this LW?

Nope. If there’s an update, it’ll always be linked at the bottom of the column.

9. Makeup at work

Is it unprofessional to wear colorful makeup at work? Trying to find the reasoning behind why red lipstick, e.g., is ok even though its meant to mimic the color of labia, whereas green lipstick isn’t ok?

Most people who wear red lipstick aren’t trying to invoke labias; they’re trying to enhance their natural lip color. That also explains the difference in acceptability (in professional dress codes) between red and green: red lips are reasonably within what you might find in nature, whereas green usually isn’t.

8. Interviewer questions

I applied for a job with a company branch that I wound up not taking due to commute time/branch issues. At a job interview for a different job at a different branch (same system), the interviewer asked me why I didn’t take that other job. I handled my answer fine, but I later had weird feelings about the question, which seems like it could have a potential negative impact on my application. Thoughts?

It’s not weird that they asked! Your answer had the potential to be relevant to them — for example, if there was something about the first job or salary or team that would be an obstacle with the job they’re hiring for too. There’s no real expectation of privacy or a firewall between hiring processes within the same organization.

7. Consistent updates?

Is there a schedule for when you update your resume, even if you’re not job searching? Something to make that “polish your resume” less arduous in the future!

I don’t think you need to do it on any particular schedule … but it’s smart to update it roughly every year or so, just so you don’t forget significant accomplishments that you might want to include. One option is to mentally link it to annual performance reviews if your company does those, so that you can add things to your resume while they’re fresh in your mind.

6. Going back to work to “revitalize the local economy”

I work for local government in a large metro area, and recently local leaders have been making a lot of noise about getting departments back into the office to revitalize our downtown. A lot of gov employees think this is silly, as going back to the office significantly increases our overhead expenses. What do you think?

I think they have it backwards: downtowns should serve the needs of the communities they’re in, rather than the people of those communities needing to serve their downtowns.

5. Imposter syndrome

How do I know if I’m any good at my job? I just got a new job, highly competitive, and feel like a total fraud. I know that might be imposter syndrome, but what if it’s not? What if I am just bad at my job and good at hiding it? How can I see the signs, and what can I do to get better? Also in my situation I don’t have a boss or manager.

What are the signs of success in your work for any given period? Do you have clear goals that you’re trying to meet for the quarter or year? If not, you need those — not just so you know if you’re doing a good job or not, but because that’s what should be guiding you work and priorities on any given day. When you’re really clear on the goals you’re there to achieve, it gets a lot easier to tell if you’re meeting those goals — i.e., being good at your job — or not.

Also, side note: I got a lot of questions about imposter syndrome when I opened up the question form yesterday!

4. What kind of branded gifts do people actually like?

I feel like a lot of people in the corporate world have countless branded mugs, pens, drawstring backpacks, etc. gathering dust because every conference/fundraiser/what have you does the same thing. Is there anything out there that a company could put a logo on and give out that people would actually be excited to get?

All people? No. There’s not a single item everyone will like. That can’t be your measure of success. Personally I don’t want any of that stuff and will toss it all immediately. Other people like water bottles but not backpacks, or backpacks but not water bottles, and on and on. There’s no item that will please everyone.

3. Can I ask a vendor to chill?

I have a vendor at work that I work very closely with. We speak and email several times a day. Occasionally if I don’t get back to him right away, he will simply just forward his email to me again and again, until I do respond. I have never left him without a response, by the EOB. But there are times when I can’t respond within the hour or even the next few hours. Do I just have to deal with this as one of his quirks? Or can I ask him to chill a bit?

Yes, tell him to chill! “Please don’t forward me your emails if I haven’t answered you right away. If I don’t respond immediately, I may be tied up with other things. I will generally get back to you by the end of the day, so please don’t follow up before then.”

Also, if this is an outside vendor — meaning you are giving them your business, which is what it sounds like — you can be very, very, very firm about this.

2. Awkward re-encounter

I just learned that a beloved former coworker has unexpectedly passed away. I’m invited to the memorial and really want to arrend. The only problem is that my former manager from this job will also be there. She was a nightmare — the worst manager I have ever had. I don’t want to dramatize, but it’s been 15 years and my heart is racing with stress at the thought of meeting her again. (She wasn’t a candidate for worst boss of the year, but she constantly undermined me, was unrelentingly critical, and had completely unreasonable expectations). Any advice? I don’t know how possible it will be to avoid her at the event.

It’s really easy to avoid people at memorial services. Maybe not 100% — she still might come over to say hello — but you can extract yourself quickly by saying, “I’m so sorry, I just saw someone I need to speak with” or “I was just on my way to the bathroom” or even just “Please excuse me.”

Ultimately though: would you be more upset about going and seeing her or not going because of her?

1. Do you have to listen to a counter-offer out of politeness?

When I gave notice at my last job, my boss there told me it’s unprofessional and impolite to not “at least consider” a counter offer from him before officially resigning. I had never been given a counter offer and didn’t know much about them, so I agreed to consider it for politeness’s sake (and a little bit out of curiosity). However, five days later, he still hadn’t come up with an official counter offer, saying that it was still “in discussion” with the board and president. At that point, I had to sign my offer letter at my new job and begin the pre-employment paperwork, so I told him I no longer could wait for a counter offer and that I resign. He seemed insulted and embarrassed that he’d brought it to the board and then had to tell them I was leaving, and barely spoke to me during the rest of my notice period. Who was in the wrong here?

He is. First, it’s not unprofessional or impolite not to consider a counter-offer, particularly when one hasn’t actually been presented to you. Second, it’s ridiculous for him to think you’d be willing to wait 5+ days to even see the counter, especially without him confirming your timeline. This is on him for taking so long, not on you.


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