a garden in riotous bloom
Beautiful. Damn hard. Increasingly useful.
other gardeners 
16 October 2017 21:15 - 2017 Sunburst Awards Winners

Posted by locusmag

The winners for the 2017 Sunburst Awards for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic have been announced:

Adult Fiction

Young Adult Fiction

...Read More

Posted by Richa

1 Pot, 30 Minute Veggie Spring Rolls Fried Rice! Fridge clean up fried rice with cabbage, carrots, bell pepper,  with rice or other cooked grains for a quick weeknight meal. Vegan Gluten-free Nut-free Recipe.

1 Pot, 30 Minute Veggie Spring Rolls Fried Rice! Fridge clean up fried rice with cabbage, carrots, bell pepper, with rice or other cooked grains for a quick weeknight meal. Vegan Gluten-free Nut-free Recipe | VeganRicha.com

Deep fried Veggie Spring Rolls deconstructed! and tossed into rice to make a 1 pot meal. All the veggie fun and no assembly or frying. Add some toasted wonton wrappers as garnish to this fridge clean up meal for a fun weeknight dinner!

Veggies like thinly sliced cabbage, carrots and peppers are cooked lightly. Some soy sauce, ginger and garlic powder and black pepper adds flavor. You can use this veggie mixture to fill up spring roll or wonton wrappers and bake as well. Or fold in cooked rice or grains of choice to make veggie fried rice and serve as is or as a side with some sweet and sour or kung pao dishes. Delicious! 

While you are here, do catch a feature about my second book on Huffington post here, talking about it on Main Street vegan here and a wonderful question answer session at VeganMofo here.  Get a copy here.

Back to this 1 Pot simple meal! 

Continue reading: Veggie Spring Rolls Fried Rice – 1 Pot 30 Mins

The post Veggie Spring Rolls Fried Rice – 1 Pot 30 Mins appeared first on Vegan Richa.

Posted by Ask a Manager

A reader writes:

I submitted a cover letter and resume a couple weeks ago for a job. Four days ago, the hiring manager’s assistant emailed to ask if I was available for an interview with the hiring manager on a specific date and time next week. She only gave me one option, and unfortunately I had a very important conflict. So I emailed back that day expressing enthusiasm for the job and said I was glad to hear from her, but asked if it would be possible to do another day. I gave her four alternative dates and times.

I waited two days and she hadn’t responded to my response, so I emailed again today saying I was just circling back to confirm the date and time. It’s only been a day since my follow-up email, so I know there is still a good chance she will respond to my follow-up. But I’m concerned — what if she doesn’t? What is my next move? I’ve not encountered this situation before. I don’t like the idea of sending a second follow-up, and contacting the hiring manager directly seems tattle-tale-y. But do I have any other options, other than forgetting about it and praying they get back to me eventually? This is the least appealing option. I am lucky to currently have a good job so I’m not desperate, but I prefer to be proactive in my job search whenever possible.

I should also add that this is a dream job for me. It is a stretch job, but I am very ambitious and have been applying for it at different organizations for months. I was very excited to get the news that they wanted an interview, and it’s pretty crushing to feel it slipping away and not know why and feel like there’s nothing I can do.

This is one of the most frustrating things about job hunting: that ultimately it’s the employer’s call whether to interview you, and that remains true even in a situation where they’ve initially expressed interest but then disappear … and that ultimately there’s not much you can do to nudge them if they’re not contacting you to do that.

Of course, it’s possible that the assistant will still get back to you and this will be moot.

But if she doesn’t, the most likely scenario is that they’ve moved forward with other candidates and she’s (rudely) neglected to explain that to you. That is a thing that happens — some employers will not bother interviewing people who don’t make it really easy to schedule an interview, meaning that if you turn down the first offered date, you may not hear from them again.

To be clear, for most jobs that’s really poor practice. Candidates aren’t interchangeable and you won’t make the best hires by eliminating people who aren’t available on a particular day and time. But there are plenty of employers who don’t care about making the absolute best hire and instead just care about “good enough” — and when that’s the case, and they’ve already scheduled three or four of those “good enough” candidates, they won’t always bother getting back to the person who didn’t easily fit in the original schedule. You also see this happen when a manager has identified one or two top candidates who they’re most interested in — they may offer interviews to a couple of others, but the initial times don’t work for that latter group, they may decide it’s not worth it to pursue them.

Or, of course, if the hiring manager’s assistant doesn’t get back to you, it’s possible that she has dropped the ball and that her boss would have wanted her to get back to you to find another time. That happens less often, though, than the other scenarios.

This tends to be very unsettling to job seekers, because it makes them feel like they need to make themselves available at whatever initial date and time an employer offers, lest they lose the opportunity to interview altogether. The reality is that sometimes that’s really the case. But it’s rarely the case with good employers. Good employers want to hire the best people, and if they’ve asked you to interview, they’re going to try to find a time that works on both sides. (There are some exceptions to this. For example, sometimes the schedules of everyone involved in the process are so hard to coordinate that they have three days they can all be available and can’t offer any others. Or sometimes they need to do the interview this week, because they’re going to lose a top candidate if they delay the process any longer. Or sometimes they might being willing to delay things for a truly superb candidate, but not for a borderline one. But in general, good employers will try to work with you on scheduling and will explain why if they can’t.)

So, where does that leave you? Unfortunately, right about where you already are.  You’ve followed up once, so they know that you’re interested and at this point it’s in their court. At most, you could try calling the assistant for one final follow-up; that risks being annoying, but she’s lost the standing to be too annoyed by that since she’s ignored your emails. After that, though, there’s nothing else to do other than accept that it may or may not pan out — that’s just how this stuff goes. (And you’re right that contacting the hiring manager isn’t the way to go; you’d seem like you were trying to circumvent their process.)

As is usually the case when you’re waiting and wondering if an employer will contact you, the best thing to do is to tell yourself that they must have decided to focus on other candidates, and let it be a pleasant surprise if they do get back to you. I know that may seem defeatist, but it doesn’t change any actions you’d take; it just ends the waiting and agonizing, which is better for your peace of mind.

an employer invited me to interview but never responded to my reply was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Posted by Editor

As part of a Twitter conversation, one of my favorite gamewriters, Ken St. Andre, suggested I write up something about SFWA and independent writers that goes into enough detail that people can understand why — or why not — they might want to join. This is part one of a multi-part series that will talk about some of the history behind the decision, and in this first part I want to talk about the organization prior to admitting independent writers. Part two will discuss how SFWA came to change membership criteria in order to make it possible for people to qualify for membership with indie sales in 2016, and some of the changes made as part of planning for that expansion. Part three will focus on how SFWA has changed in the intervening time, while part four will look at what I see as the changes that will continue as we move forward over the next decade. In all of this, I’m trying to provide something of an insider’s look that may or may not be useful, but certainly will be full of many words.

So what is/was SFWA, before the change? I’m going to paint in broad strokes here based on my understanding and research. (I’d love to see a book devoted to the history of SFWA at some point and one of our current projects is trying to collect that, under Vice President Erin M. Hartshorn’s direction.) The organization started in 1965 with Damon Knight organizing a number of professional genre writers in order to force publishers to treat writers better, namely pay them decent rates in a timely fashion while not taking excessive rights.

One of the first writers they helped was J.R.R. Tolkien, whose work has been pirated in the United States, Bob Silverberg said to me in email that there’s very few of those founding members left, but they included himself, Brian Aldiss, Harrison, Robert Heinlein, Kate Wilhelm and a host of distinguished others. Silverberg says Ellison as well, though the document he sent me seems to contradict that. At that time it was the Science Fiction Writers of America.

Initially SFWA was exactly what you would expect of a volunteer organization run by the most chaotic, capricious, and disorganized creatures possible: science fiction writers. Stories abound, including records getting lost because someone’s cat peed on them, Jerry Pournelle inviting Newt Gingrich to be the Nebulas toastmaster and a subsequent heated brouhaha that included some people walking out of the ceremony and Philip K. Dick agitating to get Stanislaw Lem expelled. My favorite remains Joe Haldeman’s account of the SFWA finances being somewhere in the realm of $2.67 when he became SFWA treasurer; he bought the notebook to keep track of them out of his own pocket.

The membership requirements were proof of a professional sale. Over time the memberships would expand, allowing associate members to join with a story sale, bringing in publishing professionals as associate members, and introducing estate and family memberships. The question of requalification – making members prove at intervals that they were still producing — was raised more than once, usually with plenty of heated discussion — but never implemented.

List of the founding members of SFWA.

The charter members of SFWA.

Along the way, SFWA grew and became an organization that did what its founders had envisioned, and more. Under Jerry Pournelle’s leadership, the Emergency Medical Fund, which helps writers with medical emergencies affecting their ability to to write, was implemented. A similar fund for legal situations followed. Ann Crispin and Victoria Strauss launched Writer Beware under SFWA’s auspices and began the fight to keep new writers aware of unscrupulous editors, publishers, and agents.

The fight to keep writers from being preyed upon remained a focus for SFWA. In 2004, a group of SFWAns, under the direction of James D. Macdonald, wrote Atlanta Nights in order to expose the unscrupulous practices of PublishAmerica. The book, deliberately constructed to be unpublishable, featured two identical chapters, a chapter of computer-generated gibberish, missing chapters, and a list of characters whose names spelled out the phrase “PublishAmerica is a vanity press.” It was accepted for publication by the company, which withdrew the acceptance after the hoax was revealed.

Another focus would be an effort unsurprising for a group of writers: establishing a set of awards, the Nebulas. While that may seem a bit cynical on my part, I’ll point much less cynically to the effect of the awards: the recognition of some of the best and most interesting F&SF over the years via a prestigious award group that has grown to include screenplays and Middle Grade/Young Adult Fiction as well as recognizing achievements in the field via the Kate Wilhelm Solstice award and the SFWA Grand Mastership.

Other good stuff that SFWA took on or did over the decades included a publisher audit that helped draw attention to auditing practices, started the SFWA Bulletin, a public-facing magazine aimed at educating and informing professional F&SF writers, and many efforts that started, worked for a while, and then died a graceful (sometimes less so) death when the volunteer driving them lost interest, died, or got fed up with SFWA.

Those membership requirements continued to change over the years, usually to reflect inflation. (To a degree. I’ve calculated that if we matched the buying power of the original rate, we’d be looking at closer to 20, 25 cents per word than the current 6.) The Science Fiction part was expanded to include Fantasy.

Over the decades, SFWA communications took multiple forms. The paper Forum was intended only for members and featured a letter column that was often lively in pre-Internet days. As the Internet grew in popularity, that shifted. The message boards were originally hosted on Compuserve and later moved to SFF.net, where they gained a name for being acerbic, nasty, and often contentious to the point where, when I joined, I was warned not to visit them. When I did, I found them considerably less heated than had been described, and not actually full of epic levels of bon mots, clever insults, and sundry literary feuds. The SFWA Handbook appeared in multiple forms, compiling articles of interest to working F&SF writers. The SFWA Bulletin became SFWA’s outward facing publication, publishing not just what SFWA was doing, but articles of interest to all genre writers.

During Russell Davis’s term as SFWA President, Davis did something that would radically affect the direction of the organization: began the move towards reincorporation as a 501c nonprofit in California. The organization had originally been incorporated in Massachusetts, which meant there were restrictions that included having to use paper ballots for elections rather than being able to use electronic means. I will confess here that when the advantages of it all have been explained to me in the past, my eyes glaze over a bit, so I may not be the best person to speak to all of the motivations.

I joined SFWA in early 2006 but did not do much with the organization, as an associate member with a short story sale to Chizine. I found the message board system unwelcoming and generally once I’d joined, I figured I’d checked that box off my writerly bingo card and could now move onto something else.

However, I got asked to volunteer for a group assembled after an incident where a bunch of files got pulled from Scribd, including a number whose rights-holders did not want them pulled. That was an interesting group and I learned a lot about copyright as a result. I also served on a jury for the Nebula award for short story; our job was to put one thing on the ballot that we thought would otherwise get overlooked. My impression of SFWA was, I think, like most members: I didn’t think much about what the board was doing and I took advantage of some of the SFWA offerings, like the SFWA suite at conventions, the local reading series, and reading the Bulletin.

In 2012, I was asked if I’d take over as head moderator of the SFWA discussion boards, which had moved away from SFF.net onto the SFWA website. I had been the moderator of an often contentious discussion board for a game community as well as a BBS, and so I felt reasonably comfortable taking on the role. What I didn’t foresee was how that role would change my relationship to the organization, making me much more aware of its internal workings. And then, Steven Gould spoke with me in 2014 and asked if I’d consider running for Vice President. It was an interesting time in SFWA’s history, I liked the people, and so I said yes.

In Part Two, I’ll talk about the discussion and process by which SFWA came to admit independent writers. #sfwa


SFWA President Cat Rambo persists in writing, teaching, and editing atop a hill in West Seattle. Her 200+ story publications have been published in places such as Asimov’s, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Tor.com.  Her second novel, Hearts of Tabat, the sequel to Compton Crook Award nominated Beasts of Tabat, appears in early 2018 from Wordfire Press. Her nonfiction work includes Creating an Online Presence for Writers, Ad Astra: The SFWA 50th Anniversary Cookbook, and forthcoming Moving From Idea to Story.
Find links to her fiction, Patreon campaign, and popular online school, The Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers at http://www.catrambo.com .

Posted by Ask a Manager

usnewsThe hardest part of writing an effective resume is figuring out the content – how to talk about your achievements in ways that tie to what an employer is looking for. But people also do an awful lot of agonizing about the smaller details of a resume – things like format, length, and even font choices.

Let’s put those worries to rest. At U.S. News & World Report today, I answer the most commonly asked questions about how to format a resume. You can read it here.

here’s the right way to format your resume was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

16 October 2017 16:42 - Locusmag Redesign Going Live

Posted by admin

I’m excited to announce that we’ll be migrating eight years of content plus some 20,000 images into a redesigned site TODAY! Going forward we’ll continue to post all of the content you normally see at Locusmag, with Mark R. Kelly generating the web-only content as before, plus more reviews and articles from the magazine going online, and some new pages and features being added.

The pre-2010 Locusmag pages will remain online for reference, and we’re doing our best to keep old links from breaking (but it’s worth checking on them later this week if you have them on your own site).

Thanks for your patience while we do this migration! We are hoping to complete the bulk of the work today, but pardon our dust while we make sure everything is working properly.




Posted by JenniferP

Hi Captain,

My question is not exactly high-stakes, but I’m having some anxiety about this situation all the same, and not sure what to do.

I (she/her) started using OkCupid recently, and a couple days ago, my coworker (he/him) who I don’t know well but see around often (we work at a very small company) sent me a message. I know it can be fun to send a couple silly messages back and forth when you see your friends on these sites without making it weird, but I don’t think this is that.

Anyway, if I see coworkers on dating sites, I think the polite thing to do is just ignore it and move along, so I was not super into the fact that this guy messaged me but I figured he was just being kind of socially obtuse. His message implied that he was going to ask me out “until he realized who I was,” which made me immediately uncomfortable. Dude, if you realized that, why did you message me anyway and tell me that?

I felt like ignoring him might make things weird at work, so I just messaged back noncommittally (like, “Ha, look who it is”), hoping I could move the conversation to peter out without making it awkward. However, things got awkward anyway, because coworker continued sending messages despite my polite attempts to disengage (“[Cool, unsolicited weekend plan you shared] sounds fun. Anyway, see you Monday!” …and then he’d send another message trying to continue the conversation.) I read and did not respond to the last message.

I’m sure I should communicate that I feel uncomfortable chatting with a coworker on a dating site, so do you have any scripts for that? Or would it be better to just block him and pretend it never happened? In hindsight, I feel like there are other things I could have said or done to end the conversation sooner, but that’s only now that I know I wasn’t able to end it without confrontation. It might be useful in general to know how to stop an inappropriate interaction like this in the future, so what would you have done?



Hello OkAwkward!

It’s not inherently weird to be on the same dating site as other people you know in other contexts. It feels weird because the illusion of privacy has been punctured for a moment, but it’s not actually that strange. The awkwardness is in what people do about it.

I believe I have shared the story of the Shadowy Dating Juggernaut where Commander Logic and I and both of her roommates and a few other friends in the Bespectacled Bookish Brunettes of Chicago Knitting Circle And Culinary Society were on OkCupid at the same time, right? It was inevitable that streams would cross and one of us would bring a dude we were dating to a party and watch him slowly figure out where he knew the rest of us from…because if you liked one of us enough to write to you probably liked all of us…and that we all knew each other….and that we had definitely had been trading notes about him behind the scenes in the name of safety, solidarity, and hilarity.

When seeking romance (etc.) on the great wide Internet it is inevitable that we will run across people we know in other contexts. Like you, my strategy has been either to totally ignore it or to be like “Oh, ha, look who it is. See you at work, Work Person!” and then drop the conversation completely. Whether I ignored or said something depended a lot on context and the vulnerability of what was on display in their ad. “My mom and my friends say I’m funny and I like long walks on the beach and living life to the fullest” guy got a “hey, hilarious that we’re both here, good luck bro!” Someone revealing kinks or more explicit sexual content or desires just got ignored and in some cases insta-blocked more so that I wouldn’t make THEM uncomfortable or feel like they were being monitored. Mostly my attitude was “No shame, no foul, and no gossip unless you do something actually creepy.” And if it ever came up at work, I’d be like “Whoa, awkward, right? I won’t talk about it if you won’t, and heyyyyyyy good luck out there buddy!” #don’tcrossthestreams

Another true story: Years ago colleague who was new in town messaged me once on OK Cupid and we went for a friendly coffee before we knew we’d be working together. Then we got assigned to co-teach a class. Upon being “introduced” at work, we never mentioned or even hinted that we had met each other before in any other context. Yay professionalism!

If your coworker has got overall good intentions and is also feeling awkward about what to do next like, “aaaaahhhhh, I started this, do I have to keep emailing her now back and forth forever, ugh, so awkward?” he will gratefully take your lead. And if he’s not taking your lead, like now? Then don’t reply to anything else via the dating site, or, reply once to say “Hey, let’s wind this conversation down, I’m not interested in connecting here, see you at work” or “Hey, let’s block each other here so it’s not super-weird to have a coworker hanging out whenever we log in, ok? Good luck out there!” and then block him. Blocks are not mean. Blocks are often necessary to make a social site usable.

Then, keep work conversations only about work and wait for the awkward levels to normalize.

And, if your colleague won’t drop the subject and starts bringing it up at work, making you feel like he’s monitoring your dating and sex life, and making your life weird at work? DOCUMENT THE EVERLOVING SHIT OUT OF IT. America needs about 100,000,000 uncomfortable training sessions led by HR right now.









Posted by Ask a Manager

A reader writes:

I have a question about interacting with colleagues. I work in a client-facing organisation. For the past six months, we have been understaffed and I have been managing projects pretty much on my own (client management and the delivery). I’ve been with the organisation around five years and it’s my first job out of college.

As I’ve moved up the ladder, I’ve taken on more and bigger projects but it’s only recently that we have taken on some more staff to help with the workload. I now work across two teams, managing projects for both, and I have recently been asked to manage one of our biggest projects.

This all is great for my career but I’m getting seriously stressed out. I am getting irritable at people at work, and I’ve gained 15 pounds because I’m living out of a suitcase and I barely see my husband. All of this would be fine (not fine, but easier to swallow) if I was paid in line with market rates but I’m underpaid!

My manager (who is great) has said everything I’ve achieved warrants a raise and that some projects can be shifted around to ease my load so I can concentrate on this big project. He said to push back if people in other teams ask me to take anything else on.

I really need some Alison phrases I can turn to when colleagues add more tasks to my list (“I have 60 emails to deal with already!” doesn’t seem like the most calm and professional way to go about it). How can I push back without it affecting my raise request? Often colleagues who add to my workload are more senior but aren’t my manager so they don’t fully understand my workload.

The good news here is that your manager has explicitly told you that it’s okay to push back when other teams ask you to take on more work. Knowing that he has your back on this makes this a lot easier.

So, phrases:

* “Normally I’d love to help, but Cecil and I agreed I shouldn’t take on anything new because I’m swamped with the X and Y projects.”

* “Realistically I wouldn’t be able to get to that any time in the next four months because X and Y are taking up so much of my time, so I’m not the person to take it on, unfortunately.”

* “Oh, I’m sorry — I can’t. My plate is completely full right now because of X and I’m not able to take on anything new.”

* “Cecil asked me to be really disciplined about not taking on anything new right now because I’m already overloaded with X and Y. Sorry I can’t help!”

(The language that invokes your boss is particularly good to use with people who are senior to you, so that it’s clear that you’re not arbitrarily turning down work but that this is a directive that has come from someone above you.)

Generally this should be all you need to say. But occasionally someone might push back and say something like, “Oh, I don’t care when you get to it — can you just add it to your list for whenever you have time?” or “It’s really quick — it’ll just take 20 minutes.” If that happens, say this: “I’m sorry, I really can’t. Cecil and I agreed that I wouldn’t add anything to my plate right now.”

Also, remember that people aren’t deliberately trying to overload you with work. In most/all cases, they probably don’t have a good sense of what your existing workload is and are just assuming that you’ll let them know if their request is a problem. I mention that because it’s easy in your shoes to start feeling resentful of the people who ask you to help with additional projects, and it’s important to realize that they’re not being thoughtless or unreasonable. It’s just that generally no one is going to be as familiar with how much work you’re juggling as you are (even your manager won’t generally have as good of a sense of that as you will). That can be hard to remember when it feels obvious to you that you’re drowning in work — but generally other people really don’t know that.

how to say no to coworkers who ask me to take on work I don’t have time for was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Posted by Ask a Manager

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

1. My boss goes overboard for Halloween

I’ve worked six years for a man who goes way over the top with Halloween. Our office becomes a haunted dungeon with spooky lighting, a disturbing soundtrack, gothic pictures and dust covers, and toys that use sensors to jump out at people and make loud noises. For reasons I don’t understand, my boss loves this.

I hate it. I have PTSD from a bad childhood and the whole thing increases my anxiety. Especially the soundtrack can make me spin out. If I didn’t have an office with a door, I wouldn’t be able to work here.

My boss is also a workaholic who seems to have been spinning out the last few years, but has been better lately. Last year he didn’t do the Halloween decor because he was too busy. I hoped he had realized not everyone likes it and wouldn’t do it again. But no… As I write the decorations and lighting are going up. It used to be the whole month, at least now it’s only one and a half weeks. Meanwhile people are waiting for his input on time-sensitive matters.

I’ve thought of asking him not to do it. He probably would stop if I asked — but then he would resent me for years. Maybe forever. I don’t want the damage to my career. I’ve heard several people say they don’t like it, or are afraid of the toys, so I’m not the only one. But no one wants to burst his bubble, and there are a handful who enjoy it. I have some earplugs I bought for a music show I ended up not going to and I think I’ll bring them in so I won’t have to hear the soundtrack when I leave my office. Thank God for my door.

When you have legitimate grounds to worry that you’ll be penalized in some way for asking your boss or employer to change a policy or practice (and “penalized” includes just having a more tense, less positive relationship with your boss), and when you’re not the only one who would like that change, it’s often best to speak up as a group. Why not speak up with a few of your coworkers, and at least address the music and the motion-activated toys? You could all explain that it’s distracting and even unsettling, and ask him to retire them. He’d have to be special kind of jerk to hear that and still insist on forcing a “celebration” on people that they’ve told him outright they find disturbing.

2. Hiring manager called me seven times in two hours

I had an interview recently that seemed to go well. The hiring manager said he would call me within two weeks with his decision. I just graduated school and I’m not working yet, but I have a side job, which I was working at this afternoon. I saw the manager calling me at 12:31, but I couldn’t pick up as I was at work. He left a voicemail asking to call him back. He then proceeded to call me six more times in the next two hours: 12:47, 1:10, 1:22, 1:35, 2:00, and 2:33. Seriously.

I called him back after the 2:33 missed call, saying I was happy to hear from him but I wasn’t able to talk right then, and if it would be okay to give him a call at another time. It was a bit awkward, but he said sure, and that he wanted to offer me the position. I thanked him and said I look forward to talking with him more soon.

We’re in different time zones, but that still wouldn’t explain the need to call me literally seven times. Even if he were to be heading out of the office early that day and trying to catch me beforehand, surely it could have waited till the following morning. I’m trying to decide if this is simply a personality quirk or a red flag. He’s not somebody that I would be working with at all, he’s only involved in hiring and also said he attends the occasional meeting with the rest of us, but that’s it. The industry is notoriously difficult to break into, so I’m not in a position to be choosy. Scale of 1-10, how weird?

Hmmm. Four?

I mean, it’s weird, don’t get me wrong. But I wouldn’t turn down the job over it, assuming you’ve done your due diligence and have reason to believe that he’d be good to work for. Who knows — maybe he had a really tight schedule that day and was trying to reach you in between other stuff, knowing that he’d be harder to reach later. Maybe he was going to be out tomorrow and wanted to get the offer process rolling before he left. It’s still weird behavior, particularly in the age of Caller ID, where he should know you were going to see how often he was calling. But it’s not “run away!” level weird.

So maybe it’s like a six on the weirdness scale, but more like a one or a two on the red flag scale. Sometimes those scales converge, but not always. (Of course, if you go to work for him and he turns out to be someone who constantly nudges you about work that isn’t due for three more days, you’re going to kick yourself for not identifying this as a warning sign. But that’s where the rest of your due diligence comes in.)

3. My employees leave every two hours to move their cars

I am a manager of a public library circulation desk. Through a pilot program, the city I work in recently changed the parking to some metered parking mixed with the two-hour free spaces that were there previously. This has dramatically impacted my staff’s ability to cover the desk adequately, as they often have to leave their desk shifts to move their cars every two hours. While this wasn’t so much a problem before, the patrolled parking hours were extended and it takes them much longer to find free spaces. I find it completely ineffective and would like to nudge them towards locating all-day spots.

The problem is, they are quite attached to the two-hour shuffle, and the breaks they tend to attach to it. When I first started, I noticed this, but it is an ingrained office culture fixture that has not been needed to be tackled until now (there were much bigger hills to die on at that point). I know they’ll have to start parking further away to avoid the meters if this becomes permanent (and I am fairly confident it will be). How would you address this issue?

Explain that having people leave every two hours throughout the day is causing people to be away from work too often, and that by X date, you’re going to need people to move to all-day spots that don’t require constant tending. Have X be a month away, so that people have enough warning that they don’t feel like you’re springing it on them out of nowhere and so they have time to find other spaces and adjust to the change in their routines. Then if people keep doing it after X passes, talk with them individually, tell them that you can’t let them continue to leave every two hours, and ask them to make alternate arrangements.

Also, give people a list of all-day parking areas so that they can’t claim they don’t know of alternatives.

4. My manager told me to stop bringing in Starbucks because people will be jealous

I work for one of the five big banks. I have always brought in Starbucks coffee as my morning ritual to work. I have worked there for 10 years and I have had various supervisors and managers throughout this time. Today I was told by the bank manager I was not to bring in Starbucks coffee anymore because it offends some of my coworkers because they can’t afford to drink Starbucks. Really??? I know that other people also bring in Starbucks from time to time. They have not been singled out. Only me.

I can understand if they want to ban coffee completely, but I don’t think the manager has any right to ban my favorite coffee. Thoughts on how to handle this so-called new policy that Starbucks coffee is not allowed?

That’s ridiculous. Are you also banned from wearing expensive shoes or carrying a particularly nice bag because someone might be upset they can’t afford the same thing? And it’s just Starbucks coffee. It’s not like you’re bringing in cappuccinos with gold flakes in them (this is a real thing).

Anyway, not that you should have to do this, but you can circumvent the whole thing by just pouring your coffee into your own container.

5. My manager didn’t say anything about my five-year work anniversary

A major milestone work anniversary for me (my five-year work anniversary) came and went, and there was no recognition or acknowledgement from anyone in my chain of command. The HR system generated an automated email with a $25(!) gift card with my boss in copy, so I know they know. Am I right to be peeved, or should I forget and forgive?

This is not a major offense. Lots of employers don’t do anything for work anniversaries, or only do something for really big ones (like 20 years). And lots do the automated acknowledgment thing that yours did and nothing beyond that. And of course, plenty do celebrate them, and plenty of managers do acknowledge them — but it’s not a slap in the face that yours didn’t.

That said, if your manager has a history of acknowledging other people’s five-year anniversaries, then I can see why you’re disappointed. But I’d write that off to an oversight, not to a deliberate slight, especially if the relationship is otherwise good.

Your letter was well-timed, since there was actually a long discussion of how people’s workplaces observe (or don’t observe) work anniversaries in the open thread last Friday.

my boss goes overboard for Halloween, hiring manager called me seven times in two hours, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Posted by Ask a Manager

This comment section is open for any non-work-related discussion you’d like to have with other readers, by popular demand. (This one is truly no work and no school.)

Book recommendation of the week: 4 3 2 1, by Paul Auster. This is four stories in one — all starting with the birth of the same person, but they then diverge into separate narrations of the paths his life might take. All four stories are told in parallel — Chapter 1 is divided into 1.1. 1.2, 1.3, and 1.4, and so forth with each chapter. It’s a very long book, and since I hate it when a good book ends, I’m enjoying knowing that I’ll still be reading this a month from now and possibly forever.

weekend free-for-all – October 14-15, 2017 was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

13 October 2017 18:18 - 2017 Parsec Awards Finalists

Posted by admin

Finalists for the 2017 Parsec Awards, honoring excellence in speculative fiction podcasting, have been announced. Winners will be announced during a virtual streaming ceremony in November.

Best Speculative Fiction Comedy/Parody Podcast

  • Are You Scared of These Stories?
  • GnomeMatter: Cadavorue & Macoy in 2016
  • Kakos Industries
  • Nerdy Show: Nerdcasting the Multiverse: Thanksgiving Special 
  • Star Wars Best in Galaxy Season 3
  • Wynabego Warrior The Tale of John Waynnabe

Best Podcast ...Read More

13 October 2017 18:17 - 2017 Geffen Awards Winners

Posted by admin

The 2017 Geffen Awards winners have been announced. The awards are presented annually by the Israeli Society for Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Best Translated Science Fiction Book

Best Translated Fantasy Book

...Read More
13 October 2017 18:16 - Ward Wins Genius Grant

Posted by admin

Jesmyn Ward, author of Sing, Unburied, Sing (Scribner), is one of 24 John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellows selected for 2017. Each “genius grant” recipient receives “a stipend of $625,000… paid out in equal quarterly installments over five years.”

Although nominees are reviewed for their achievements, the fellowship is not a lifetime achievement award, but rather an investment in a person’s originality, insight, and potential. Indeed, the purpose ...Read More

13 October 2017 15:00 - open thread – October 13-14, 2017

Posted by Ask a Manager

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

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

open thread – October 13-14, 2017 was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

12 October 2017 23:01 - Restless

Posted by Fonder

Late night a cappella.

This comic brought to you courtesy of my amazing patrons. Special thanks to:
Karen Carpenter, Julia, Dan Cunningham, Colin Dellow, ‘FOL’, Giz, Reece Hall, Yuliya Levina, Dawn Lim Yun Hui, Jonna Märijärvi, Coté Nicholas, and Chantal Rivest

13 October 2017 04:50 - Great Fantasy Comes in Bundles

Posted by Editor

For a limited time, readers have a chance to buy some fantastic fiction at fantastic prices, as once again, SFWA teams up with StoryBundle.

This time around, Cat Rambo, President of SFWA, curates the SFWA Fantasy Story Bundle, featuring works from SFWA fantasy authors. As always, readers choose what percentage goes to the writers, to StoryBundle, and to SFWA–the featured charity.

Proceeds benefit SFWA in its efforts to support, promote, inform, defend, and advocate for professional fantasy and science fiction writers. For more about the grants program, see http://www.sfwa.org/2017/09/call-grants-2017/.

At a minimum price level of $5 readers get:

  • The Dashkova Memoirs: Books 1-4 by Thomas K. Carpenter
  • Sorcerous Moons – Book 1 – Lonen’s War by Jeffe Kennedy
  • Cracked: A Magic iPhone Story by Janine A. Southard
  • The High House by James Stoddard

At $15 or more, readers get all four of the regular titles, plus EIGHT more!

  • The Winter Boy by Sally Wiener Grotta
  • The Garden of Abracadabra by Lisa Mason
  • The Moon Etherium by L. Rowyn
  • Black Angel by Kyell Gold
  • Shadows in the Water by Kory M. Shrum
  • Stay Crazy by Erica L. Satifka
  • The Wolf at the End of the World by Douglas Smith
  • Off Leash by Daniel Potter

The ebooks are DRM-free and come in multiple formats to allow for easy reading on computers, smartphones, tablets, and e-readers.

For more information, and for a word from Cat Rambo, head to StoryBundle.

The clock is counting down! Don’t miss out.

Posted by Ask a Manager

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

1. Should I warn a candidate that one of her references was bad?

This is my first time chairing a hiring committee. We narrowed the field to three, and interviewed the first. After that, the first candidate withdrew, the second candidate withdrew, we interviewed the third and asked for references. Two references were fine, but the candidate’s most recent supervisor had many negative comments about the candidate’s ability to follow directions or work independently.

That candidate was very young and relatively new to job hunting. Do I have any responsibility to that candidate to recommend not using that particular reference in the future? The veteran teacher/advisor in me is dying to use this teachable moment, but the inexperienced manager in me is unsure whether I’m allowed to reveal something a reference said to me, presumably in confidence. This candidate just reached out to me, looking for an update on our job search.

You can’t do that. You’re asking references to talk to you in confidence; it’s implicit in your request, since you presumably want honest feedback. They talked to you in good faith because they figured it would be helpful to you. You’ll be betraying that confidence if you pass along details of what the person said. And if people have to worry that their comments won’t be handled with discretion, you’re much less likely to get useful references in the future.

At most, you could say something like “I had some concerns about some input that came up when I talked with your references” without identifying the specific reference. Even that is skirting the line a bit, and if you do it I’d do it only if you want to have an actual conversation with her about the specifics that concerned you — not to warn her not to use the reference, since that’s not your place.

For the record, if the manager felt she couldn’t give the candidate a good reference, she should have warned the candidate about that — but not everyone even asks references for permission before listing them. And sometimes the problems with someone’s performance have been so thoroughly discussed between reference and candidate that reasonable people would assume the reference would reflect that.

2. I sent a desperate-sounding email when a job I wanted closed

I got to the final round at my dream job only to be notified two days before the interview that the position was no longer available. I was a fool and asked the recruiter and hiring manager for more information and if we could carry on with the interview since it was already scheduled. I think I may have come off as desperate. (I wrote this: “Thank you for relaying this news to me. I am very sad to hear that this position will be relocated. Is there any further clarification on this decision that you may be able to provide? I have also reached out to the hiring manager to see if he too would be able to provide any further information about this decision. I have expressed to him that my drive and ambition to be a part of the software development team will ensure that I excel in this role. I strongly believe I would be able to provide great value to the team and your company with my background and skills. Is there any possibility for us to continue with my interview, scheduled for this Thursday, to determine if there is an opportunity for me to fill this position?”)

Now a similar position is open that fits my background but I have not heard back after seven days. The previous job posting moved very quickly, as I was contacted the day after I applied. It is the same recruiter and I fear I am not getting an interview because of what I did the previous time. Should I be worried about being viewed negatively after possibly looking desperate? If so, is there anything I can do to get on a positive note and hopefully an interview for this position? Or should I do nothing and try not to make it any worse?

Hmmm, yeah, that email wasn’t good. Positions get closed all the time — because someone has been hired, or priorities change, or roles get reconfigured, or there’s a budget freeze, or all kind of other reasons. You didn’t really need the details about why; they told you what you needed to know, which was that they were no longer hiring for it, so asking two different people to give you more information about why was a little overbearing. And asking to still interview sounded like you were missing the point — there was no reason for them to spend time interviewing you when they weren’t hiring for the job anymore, and it came across as if you thought that you could change their minds … which comes across as naive at best and pushy/presumptuous at worst. You said you wanted to determine if there was an opportunity for you to fill that position, but they had already determined that — and as they told you, the answer was no.

So I would definitely not do anything else now. It’s possible that they’re not going to consider you this time because that email was so off, but who knows, maybe they will. But your chances go way down if you remind them of it.

3. Should my cover letter reference my boobs?

I am about to apply for a job at a lingerie store which caters exclusively for bigger busted women. I have long been a customer at this store, as I love its clothes and its philosophy. Normally I would mention this in a cover letter but … to do so is basically announcing I have big boobs. The instructions are to email your CV to “jobs@store.co.uk”, or post it to someone with a female name. However, the job is in IT, so very likely to be male-dominated, and it’s possible my application could be shared more widely. Is this a really bad idea, or should I just go ahead and do it?

Go ahead and mention that you’re a long time customer and fan of theirs. It’s not going to sound salacious; this is their work, and it’s probably been thoroughly de-eroticized for them. I mean, obviously you shouldn’t write “as a large-busted woman…” but “as a long-time fan of your store” is just fine. You could also include a line or two about why you love their philosophy.

4. Should I thank my manager for interviewing my husband?

I’ve recently received a promotion at work, which I’m very excited about. I’m going from a general “information office” to a reference library within the same government agency; my direct supervisor will change but my supervisor’s supervisor will stay the same. My current job is nearly entry-level: the work itself is extremely easy, and most of the work is either data entry, ready reference, or figuring out which person within the larger office will be able to answer our customers’ questions and connecting them. The supervisors prefer that new hires have some knowledge of the agency (we hire a lot of former interns), but it’s not absolutely necessary. Turnover is fairly high, because our section is treated as a feeder pool — it is somewhat expected that we are hoping to move up in the organization, and many of the specialists and higher-ups started in my job.

My husband works in a completely different industry, but has been trying to transition into government service for awhile (he wants to be the next Leslie Knope). When the announcement to fill my job was posted, he sent in an application, and has an interview coming up next week. I suspect that a large part of the reason he was called is because my supervisor knows who he is, since we have a very unusual last name (also, she’s met him in passing). He would be able to do the work very well, but he has no background in the government. My question is: should I thank my supervisor for considering him, or should I just not acknowledge it? I’m planning to make sure that I’m on my lunch break when he comes to his interview so we won’t see each other, but is there anything else I should do to make sure that everything is on the up-and-up?

Don’t thank your manager for considering him, since that sounds like she’s doing you a favor, which she hopefully isn’t; she should be considering him on his own merits, not as your spouse, as it could be a little insulting to her to imply otherwise, even inadvertently.

But if things proceed, do make sure at some point that she knows you’re married. If she doesn’t already know, it’s important that you alert her — because she may actually prefer not to hire the spouse of a current employee (for all the reasons here). She also may be totally fine with that — but if she’s not, it’s much easier to find that out now than after your husband starts. Ideally he should be the one to mention it. If things progress, he should say something like, “I want to make sure you know that I’m married to Jane Warbleworth, who works in the X department. I wasn’t sure if you knew that and I wanted to mention it in case it poses any kind of issue.”

should I warn a candidate that one of her references was bad, boobs in cover letters, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Posted by Ask a Manager

A reader writes:

After a rough few years, I landed a great job at the beginning of the summer. With the help of a superb manager, I’ve thrived in my new position, completing almost all tasks ahead of schedule and with few errors. I’ve been told repeatedly that my work is excellent and that I’m of great value to the organization. All in all, my first full-time position is going well.

My manager recently raised the prospect of me attending and introducing myself at the next board meeting. Part of my job involves communication with certain board members, so at one level this does seem routine; I imagine the members I speak to on the phone would like to see my face at some point. On the other hand, I am nervous about being asked about my background beyond my professional history, which up until I took this job consisted of mostly unrelated part-time positions.

Why am I nervous? I am still at an age where people, especially older individuals working in the same professional “space,” will ask where I grew up, went to college, what I studied etc. I understand these questions are mostly banal conversation-starters, but they bring back painful memories for me and will often trigger terrible depressive episodes hours later. Telling a coworker, “I’m sorry, but I would rather not talk about that period of my life” is no big deal in my experience. But there are situations where discussing this is unavoidable, such as a job interview.

My question is: Is this board meeting another situation where I would be compelled to answer a question such as, “Where did you go to school”? My manager knows the answers to these questions because she interviewed me, but she is obviously unaware of my condition (for which I’ve been going to regular therapy sessions). If this is a situation where I can reasonably refuse to answer such questions, how should I go about explaining this to my manager beforehand? I imagine she would be stunned, and possibly embarrassed, if I bluntly told board members that I didn’t want to discuss my personal background.

Yeah, you can’t really flatly refuse to answer what will seem like routine, polite questions to them. I get that they don’t feel routine to you, but this is one of those things that will come across as rude because they don’t know your personal history.

But you don’t need to talk about painful elements of your past! I’d recommend coming up with bland answers to the questions you’re most likely to be asked. Someone asking where you grew up isn’t asking for a thorough accounting of your life. They’re just expecting an answer like “Boston” or “California.” Even if the answer is more complicated then that — for example, if you lived in 22 states before the age of 15 — you can still just pick one place (maybe the first or the last or the one you spent the longest time in) and say that one. Most people really aren’t trying to pry and they’re not looking for all the details — they’re just asking what’s normally considered a kind way of conveying “I see you and take an interest in you, fellow human who works in the same space as me.”

And if the fear is that they’ll keep probing from there with follow-up questions, you can politely change the subject by asking about them. Keep following that up with more small talk focused on them — “that’s a great area of the country — did you like it?” “how did you deal with the winters?” and so forth. People usually like being asked about themselves, and most people will find it flattering that you’re taking an interest. (That’s true even when they’re older/more powerful than you. Everyone likes a thoughtful, interested young person.) And best of all, they probably won’t notice that you’ve skillfully changed the conversation completely away from yourself.

If the issue is that you don’t even want to give brief answers like “Boston” or “Penn State” … you do have to do that, unfortunately. It’ll come across as rude if you refuse. And if you explain why you’re refusing (“I don’t like to talk about that period of my life”), it’ll put way more attention on it, because it’s such an unusual thing. Since these are people who don’t know you well or see you often, that will become the biggest thing they know about you, and that’s the opposite of what you want. Quick, vague answers actually get you closer to the outcome you want here — which is to not have this be A Thing and to be able to quickly move on.

can I refuse to answer questions about my personal background? was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Posted by JenniferP

Dear Captain Awkward,

Happy Thursday! I hope you are having a great week so far. I wanted to ask your opinion on how to best handle my husband when he gets angry and upset and how I can better help us move towards having a happier marriage.

Some background: My husband and I are pretty nostalgic, and we both enjoy reminiscing on past things (I feel like I tend to be more in the present, but just because I think that doesn’t mean that is true). We met in college and hit it off. We had a great group of friends who we keep up with and we both got jobs about an hour away from our hometown/college town. The trouble is, he seems like he’s been upset ever since graduating. I totally get that, as school was a lot of fun and it was great being able to learn so many things (we are both engineers) and meet different types of people.

Fast-forward to now. We got married in 2012. Our marriage isn’t the greatest, and we usually do things on our own around the house and do not spend much time together. He constantly pines for the college days and constantly complains about how much things have changed and how people disappoint him and how much he hates his job. Both he and I are pretty selfish people who suffer from anxiety and depression, and I constantly feel like I’m forced to do things for him and on his schedule to try to keep him happy.

My husband likes to unwind after work, and his unwinding time got so long that I would find other things to do. I got involved in a dance class where we live now which has allowed me to make friends and to keep in shape. My husband has been watching a lot of youtube and complains about how he feels he is getting fat. Neither of us are super great at keeping up with the house, however I feel like I am the one who usually ends up cleaning and taking care of those type of things. He also likes to complain that when I go to dance (I am currently a competitive dancer, so I dance 2 days a week) I am out of the house for much longer than I really am, and that all I do revolves around dance. I do not feel like this is true, as I constantly skip events and I have drawn back on how involved I was in comparison to when I first started. I have made lots of friends with this activity and it’s a great social outlet for me. I do not want to quit, but he keeps dropping ultimatums. Of course, he doesn’t have his own hobby, aside from watching TV and reading the news, and neither of us have a hobby that we share.

Since my husband is so set on his college days, he is very attached to that group of friends. Unfortunately, since they do not live close by, we do not see them nearly as much as we did (why would we? We don’t live a mile away anymore!). When we do make plans to see them, whether it’s last minute or no, my husband expects me to drop everything to make it happen. He will not visit with them on his own, as he says that it’s important that I’m there to share the experience with him. I have trouble believing this because I feel like he usually tries to police my behavior in front of them and gets upset when I do not act the way he wants me to. We have tentatively gotten involved with some work friends in our area, but he is always on edge about doing things with them, and if any event conflicts with a change to see college friends, he always chooses the college friends.

He is very in touch with his emotions, however he is not very good at reflecting on himself. He has a bad habit of talking about heavy issues through emails at work, while he doesn’t like to discuss things at home. Sometimes he can lay it on thick and really tear into my personality and how awful of a person I am and how much I am hurting him (I get called names pretty consistently). This sometimes has a really bad effect on my attitude and makes it really hard to mask at work. Other times I’m able to ignore it and get on with my day, only to have him write to me the next day that I didn’t have time for him and he feels neglected.

I am a very active person, and I feel like I have no support in this marriage. I cannot talk to my parents or his parents about this, to save face. I feel like I am constantly changing my plans to suit his needs and wants only to get yelled at about it all later on, or to be told bluntly everything that is wrong with my personality and my thought process. It’s an extremely negative environment and I am having a lot of trouble handling it. Unfortunately, for the last 5 or 6 years, it’s been a weekly occurrence. I started seeing a counselor, which has helped a little, but it’s a process that will take a long while.

I have also read a LOT of relationship articles and books to try to understand how he feels and things that I can do to change it. (I’m not trying to make myself out as a “holier-than-thou” type of person, even though I am sure that’s exactly what I’m doing, but I would like to illustrate that I am trying). None of it seems to be making a difference, and it’s really difficult to make myself continuously try when nothing seems to work at all. I get discouraged and I don’t want to keep trying.
Both of us are too lazy to divorce and I’m (relatively) Catholic, so I don’t think that’s something I’d want to do in the end anyway.

Just would like someone else’s perspective. If this email is ignored, I totally get it, as you’ve addressed issues like this a lot. Also, my apologies for being such a poor writer.


Worn out

Worn Out, I’m really sorry this is happening to you. It is not your fault. Nothing that is happening right now is your fault.

I going to talk to your husband for a sec, ok? He will probably never read this and in fact I don’t recommend that you show him this post but I have some stuff to say:

Dude. Here is a list of things you can do besides pressuring your wife to quit the fun thing that she loves doing, yelling at her,  and sending her mean emails when she’s at work:

  1. Treat your anxiety and depression like the serious conditions they are. Whether that means finding a therapist or counselor, getting a full health screen where you tell your doctor about having a low mood and being irritable and discuss medications, or using tools to self-manage if counseling is not possible right now, there are steps that you (and you alone) can take to try to feel better.
  2. Get a hobby.
  3. Join a MeetUp group and meet more people.
  4. Take an evening class in something that interests you.
  5. Check out the UFYH website and start cleaning the house once in a while.
  6. Go see your college friends by yourself sometimes. You are not 4. You don’t need mommy to come on your playdates.
  7. Those long emails about serious, negative topics that you’re writing and sending while your wife is at work or at dance class? Write that shit in a journal. Get the feelings out of your head and onto the page. Then, don’t send them to your wife.
  8. Repeat after me: “I am responsible for working to make a happy life for myself. My wife is not responsible for my social relationships with others or my happiness.
  9. If you really do need constant companionship at home and feel lonely when your wife is out, consider a pet.
  10. Wash your hair. Work out. Do a crossword puzzle. Use compressed air to clean out your computer keyboard and marvel at the grossness. Stare at the ceiling. Bingewatch every show that starts with P on Netflix. Do literally anything else besides yell at your wife.

Depression and anxiety don’t happen by choice, but being mean to your wife is a choice. You have a lot of choices about how to try to make a happy life for yourself and how to self-soothe when you feel sad. You are choosing to yell at your wife, derail her plans, try to drag her away from dance (thereby isolating her from friends and something she loves), and send her horribly critical emails. Here’s a list of common emotional abuse signifiers. This letter is checking off more than half of them, so, congratulations, you are emotionally abusing your wife. If hearing that hurts your feelings and scares you, good! Your behavior is mean and scary! You should be ready to move mountains to figure out how to stop it and do better.

Okay, Letter Writer, let’s talk. You can’t change your husband’s feelings or his behaviors or his choices. You can’t singlehandedly help him recapture the magic of college. You can’t make your life small enough that he won’t be threatened and resentful and mean to you. You can’t make your entire world revolve around this sad, lazy man. You are doing a ton of work (reading relationship books, etc.) and he is doing zero work to make the relationship better. It’s time to apply the Sheelzebub Principle, namely, if things stayed exactly like they are and nothing got better, how long would you stay? It’s already been bad for five years, so, would you stay another year? Another 5 years? Another 10? The rest of your life? Inertia is powerful and the Catholic church does frown on divorce but the Catholic church also doesn’t have to hang out with this dude day in and day out and you do. If you want to serve God in your life there are lots of ways to do that and staying in a marriage for form’s sake or martyring yourself to this man’s struggle to feel as cool as he did in college is not the only way.

I’m glad you have a counselor, please stick with that. I’m glad you have a hobby that you love, please stick with that and do not ever give it up for another person. In my opinion it’s time to at least talk to a divorce lawyer even if it’s just to get a picture of what the process will look like, so that you can make an informed decision. There’s a site called The Lilac Tree that some people I know have found helpful, use it if it’s useful to you.

Here are some scripts and strategies for you:

  1. It’s okay to filter his emails and not look at them when you’re at work. Don’t delete them – they are documentation of how bad things have gotten that you can show a counselor (or a lawyer) – but maybe set up a filter so they bypass your inbox. He is not allowed to electronically yell at you while you are at work! I hate so much that he does this, like, any minute you are away from him he has to somehow crawl in and poison it. You can tell him you’re not reading them – “I don’t have time to read emotional discussions at work, let’s talk about it later”  – or, you can just quietly take care of yourself around this.
  2. It’s okay to say “I can’t go to [college friends] event, I have a conflict. You should go and have fun.” And not cancel your plans. And if he won’t go without you, that’s his decision. And if he yells at you or sulks remember: He was going to do that anyway, no matter what you did. He was going to criticize everything you said and did in front of your friends. Him: “I won’t go without you.” You: “Ok, that’s your choice.” 
  3. You’ve read a lot of books about relationships, so, howabout one more? There’s a book called Why Does He Do That by Lundy Bancroft that is oft-recommended here. Here’s a quote:

“The abusive man’s high entitlement leads him to have unfair and unreasonable expectations, so that the relationship revolves around his demands. His attitude is: “You owe me.” For each ounce he gives, he wants a pound in return. He wants his partner to devote herself fully to catering to him, even if it means that her own needs—or her children’s—get neglected. You can pour all your energy into keeping your partner content, but if he has this mind-set, he’ll never be satisfied for long. And he will keep feeling that you are controlling him, because he doesn’t believe that you should set any limits on his conduct or insist that he meet his responsibilities.”
― Lundy BancroftWhy Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men

Bolding mine. Um, sound like anyone we know?

4. If you are capable of becoming pregnant and you don’t have children already, use a contraception method that doesn’t depend on him to succeed and one that he can’t easily sabotage. Lock it down for now.

I’m really sorry you’ve ended up here, but again, it’s not your fault. Nothing you have ever done could make you deserve this behavior from your husband. And the sad truth is that there is nothing you can do, no book you can read, no work you can do, no emotional labor you can perform, no magic words you can say that can turn an unhappy mean person into a happy kind one without his effort and participation. It’s time to protect yourself and invest in yourself. I wish you safety, and peace, and a lot of dancing.



Posted by Ask a Manager

Remember the letter-writer in July whose employee had quit and said in her exit interview that the team environment was too cliquish? Her first update is here, and now here’s a later one.

I wanted to provide an update. I spent August and the first half of September attending some pretty intensive therapy which was beneficial. In therapy, I learned how to deal with people who challenged me past my comfort zone. It also made me step back and realize that I don’t ever want to manage again and that my personality is not one suited for management. I also had the ability to step back and review my behavior: I was self destructive in the work place and those behaviors rubbed off on my team as my team members were younger and more impressionable. I plan to continue individual therapy.

I did get a new job. I started a new position in marketing (which is what my degreee is in). It’s a few steps above entry level in a small firm where I’ll be under more supervision. I’m excited to move on from my mistakes.

Thank you to you and your readers for your advice. While the comments were harsh, I took the time to read them a few times over throughout the course of therapy. It’s tough to hear how much people think you suck but it helped me get back on track.

I wish you and your readers the best for the remainder of 2017 and beyond.

update: is the work environment I’ve created on my team too exclusive? was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Posted by Ask a Manager

There’s a whole field of career advice that’s based on the idea that you need to show “gumption” to get a job: “Walk into their office with your resume and ask to speak to the person in charge!” “Call every day until they agree to give you an interview!” “Send your resume on special paper through overnight mail, and the hiring manager will be blown away by your initiative!” “Send a cake with your resume written out in frosting!” In other words, ignore the way the employer has told you they want to manage their hiring, and do something weird/pushy/gimmicky/creepy instead.

Every so often, you’ll hear a story about someone who got a job using  this kind of “gumption.” You do not hear as much about the many more times that it didn’t work and instead just made hiring managers cringe/roll their eyes/call security. (You also don’t hear much about what it’s like for the person who triumphed through gumption and is now stuck working for a manager who responds to gimmicks over substance.)

For some reason, gumption advice just won’t die, despite being uniformly terrible. So, let’s discuss. What’s the weirdest or worst gumption advice you’ve heard?

what’s the worst “you need to show gumption to get a job?” advice you’ve heard? was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

12 October 2017 04:01 - Pants Shopping

Posted by Robot Hugs

New comic!

This was originally going to be a lot more sober, since pants shopping is basically a perfect storm to create all kinds of gender and body dysphoria but I am often client facing in a nice office so I need to have clothes that fit and look not used and it was way harder than I thought! But I did end up with 2 pairs of pants, so.

Anyways, I am lucky to have a partner who will make me go pant shopping when pant shopping is terrible.

Any excuse to draw my butt tho, really.


Posted by Ask a Manager

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

1. Should I tell my coworkers I have hemorrhoids?

This is a little gross, but something that would be really helpful to have some advice on. I have been in my role as an administrative assistant for about two years now. Around the time I started this job, I developed hemorrhoids (or more precisely, piles, as we all have hemorrhoids).

I called out sick eight or nine times the first year I worked here. It felt like a lot. The first few times I was out, people asked if I was feeling alright and were concerned. I always said I had a stomach bug, because I was obviously not sick with a cough/cold. As the year went on, people stopped asking me if I was feeling better, or smiled when they asked if I was feeling better. I imagine they thought I was playing hooky.

The issue I have cannot be fixed with surgery. I have really worked on my diet and as a result, have a lot less issues with my condition. I have only called out once in the past 4 months as a result of the condition. My question to you is, should I share my condition with coworkers? I have always been on the fence about how much I want to keep this to myself and how much I care about my reputation.

There is one other person in the office who calls out as much as I did the first year, but she has a condition that is less embarrassing/gross, and so we all know why she is out when she is out. I also want my manager to know why I called out so much that first year, in case I do decide to look for a new job in the future. I don’t want them to think I am a bad employee. What do you think about this?

Sharing that you’re dealing with hemorrhoids would be TMI, but I do think you could mention that you have a chronic health condition. The next time you’re out sick, you could say something like, “I have a chronic health condition that’s flaring up” or you could mention it in conversation another way. That’s the piece that people need to know, not the specifics of what the condition is.

In addition to that, if you wanted to, you could say something less off-the-cuff to your boss. For example: “I know I called out more than average in my first year here. I have a chronic health condition that was flaring up a lot that year. It’s now better under control, and I wanted to mention it so that you didn’t wonder why I was out so much previously. Going forward, I’m hoping that it won’t be an issue at all.” I don’t think you have to do this since it sounds like your absences have gone way down, but it’s an option if it would give you some peace of mind.

2. Is it a red flag if all your interviewers are running late?

I recently had three interviews with a company that I was very excited about, until the actual interview process. The first interview was on a Monday and by phone. They had instructed me that they would conference call me and asked for a number to reach me. They were 23 minutes late to call. I had planned this interview during my lunch break so that I could take the call away from my office and sat in my car waiting. At 20 minutes, I decided to give them another five and then call it good, but they made it within my additional five minute allowance. They apologized profusely saying a meeting ran late, so I let it go (we’ve all been there, meeting runs late and you know someone is waiting for you but the time to get up and walk out is not appropriate).

After the phone interview, I was invited to an in-person interview to be conducted by one of the phone interviewers and two other team members. They told me to plan for 1.5 hours – I was there for 2.5 hours because they were 45 minutes late to start. I sat in the conference room waiting that entire 45 minutes without anyone coming to check on me or ask me if I needed water or the restroom. There was no excuse when they finally arrived and they dove right in without again checking in on my wait. This to me was a bit of a red flag, two interviews and late – but I again put it aside just thinking perhaps the lateness is the one person who was present for both interviews. I wouldn’t be working with that person on a daily basis, so dropped it.

They asked me to come back for a “final” interview with three new people who I had not yet met, these being higher in rank, and informed me that I would have one hour with each – again, late. The first person was 10 minutes late, the second 15 minutes late, and the third 30 minutes late (this is on top of the lateness from the previous interview). The third one was the only one to offer an excuse and told me she needed to eat her lunch prior to meeting me because she wouldn’t have time after and had an afternoon full of important meetings that she needed to be on time to. What??? The meeting she had with me wasn’t important enough to be on time?

It really felt as though they did not see me as a priority – until they made an offer yesterday. I’m not sure how I feel about being there now. The interviews went fine and the job would be an advance from what I am doing now, but I’m just not sure – the interview process was a bit of downer. Are late interview starts a new trend? I’ve been at my current job for eight years, so maybe I am missing something.

Ten minutes, even 15 minutes late isn’t a big deal in this context. Annoying, yes, but not something I’d read much into, definitely not enough to turn down an offer over. The reality is that things sometimes run late, and interviews are widely treated as something people can be a little late to. That’s a double standard, yes, but it’s one that’s widely accepted. (And actually, in that day of three interviews, once the first person was late, it’s more understandable that the others were late too — they presumably plugged something else into the original time they’d planned for you, and weren’t sure when you’d be finished with the previous person and available for them. When that third person’s slot got bumped back, it’s very possible that it really did mess up her only ability to eat for the day.)

But the longer waits and the lack of any acknowledgement or apology would worry me more. Still not necessarily enough to turn down the offer over, but I’d take it as a flag to look really hard at what else you’ve learned about their culture and ways of operating. Have you seen evidence that aside from this, they’re really on top of things and operating at a high level? Or have you seen other evidence of disorganization/flakiness? Put this in the context of everything else you know, rather than in a vacuum.

3. My coworker got drunk and couldn’t work

I work in the guiding/outdoors industry. Part of my job is to take people out for recreational purposes, mostly hiking and camping. Most clients/participants bring alcohol to have around the campfire and we all take part on a drink or two.

My coworker is not a morning person and often times he gets up late, but it hasn’t been a big deal. Except for this last time where he was up until 2 a.m. drinking with one of the participants and they got severely intoxicated. I woke up early and made breakfast for everybody, but my partner didn’t get up in time to be ready to continue the trip, so I woke him up and since it was the last day of our trip, asked him to clean up camp and head out to the office.

I hate to be the bad guy, but I had to report his behavior and I think he might get fired. Did I do the right thing? I had talked to him already about getting up early and that didn’t change, so I brought it to my supervisor and they had a talk. I feel like his behavior was unacceptable and that even if you are off the clock, you are still responsible for your participants. Even if you want to drink, I feel like you are expected to show up in a timely manner and be functional. I really love the kid (he is 10 years junior than me) but is this tough love? Was I too harsh?

You did the right thing. Drinking so much that he couldn’t get up in time to continue the trip when his job is to be a trip guide is a really serious dereliction of duty. There’s not much that’s a more basic requirement than “be present and lucid when your job requires you to guide a group of people in the outdoors.”

If he gets fired, that’s a sign of how seriously the company takes this too — in which case not reporting it would have reflected really poorly on you if they ever found out about it. And if he does get fired, keep in mind that you didn’t get him fired; he did.

4. How to deal with coworkers who are annoying about Christmas

Through no fault of my own, I am serving a term on our organization’s Social Committee. It’s time to organize the annual “holiday” party, and it’s not sitting right with me. I could use some perspective!

In the first planning meeting, while discussing dates, I suggested we hold it in January, as people tend to have more free time then, plus “it’s less alienating for people who don’t celebrate Christmas.” That suggestion was quickly shot down.

The rest of the meeting was full of phrases like “Let’s go traditional with the food, since I like a traditional Christmas, I mean holiday” and “Oh we can’t do that because Christmas offends some people.”

I celebrate Christmas! I like Christmas! But I feel weird about celebrating Christmas at work. Not everyone celebrates, some people prefer to celebrate somberly or privately, and for some people, the last few months of the year in general bring up painful memories.

It really rubs me the wrong way that an event ostensibly organized as something fun for all employees can actually be a source of unhappiness and exclusion for anyone who doesn’t adhere to a particular (religious) custom. Is there anything I can do to promote a spirit of inclusion or is this just something we’re stuck with in modern-day America?

Ick, yeah. If you’re up for it, I would say this: “If we truly value a diverse staff and an include workplace, this is the kind of thing that matters. No one here has said that Christmas offends people. The issue is that acting as if everyone celebrates Christmas can alienate people and make them feel invisible, and that’s at odds with our commitment to diversity and inclusivity. That’s it. Let’s please not set up straw men that aren’t actually in play here.”

5. I told my interviewer I have strep and he said to come in anyway

I have an interview in two hours. I was very excited about it. But I got strep throat. I contacted them first thing this morning and told them I was sick and asked to please reschedule, as I did not want to get anyone sick. He replied, “Just come at noon. There won’t be as many people here.” I was so shocked, I agreed. But I look like hell, and my head feels like a balloon. I can barely think or talk? What now?

Yeah, that’s not good. It sounds like he took you literally when you said you didn’t want to get anyone sick, rather than realizing that the subtext there was “I am too sick to come in regardless.” Ideally you would have corrected that impression on the spot and said something like, “With strep, I’m really too ill to come in at all today. Would you be open to rescheduling in a few days?”

But it’s not too late! Well, technically it is for you because now it’s been a few days, but in general in this situation it’s not too late, which hopefully will be helpful to anyone in this situation in the future: In this situation, you can call back and say, “I’m so sorry, but I’ve realized I’m too ill to come in today — germs aside, I feel very sick. Would you be open to rescheduling in a few days to give me some time to recover?”

should I tell my coworkers I have hemorrhoids, all my interviewers were running late, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

12 October 2017 01:58 - How We Got Our Daughter Back

Posted by janet

“It’s almost as if he’s never gotten over having a sibling.” That insightful aside was made by a parent in an online discussion group who was requesting advice from the group for handling her 5-year-old’s disagreeable and sometimes aggressive behavior toward his 3-year-old sister. For me, her comment nailed the issue perfectly.

The transition children must make after the birth of a sibling tends to be bumpy, painful, and long, a grieving process that is unique to each child in each situation. While feelings may seem to go underground for some children who might fear they’ll lose their parents’ acceptance otherwise, the process is never easy, nor is it seamless. A disruptive, dramatic life change such as this could never be. It certainly isn’t for us as parents, and for children this adjustment is even more sensitive and difficult to navigate.

So, the more we can be aware of the gravity of this transition, and then remember to welcome, accept, and try to empathize with the mix of feelings our children express, the healthier and more fluid it will be. And, ultimately, the more room our children will have in their hearts to genuinely and deeply love their siblings.

The grieving process tends to show itself in two interconnected ways:

1) Messy, disruptive displays of negativity, aggression, defiance, limit-pushing behaviors and impulses, all of which often seem to come out of nowhere. It can be hard for a frustrated or overwhelmed parent to connect the dots back to the transition itself.

2) Emotional fragility, tantrums, sadness, whining, pouting, petulance, and overreaction.

In all of the above cases, children need us to have as much patience and trust in their process as we can muster, while still setting reasonable behavioral limits. The biggest challenge is to normalize the behavior for ourselves so that we’re not surprised or offended by it. With the right perspective, we can approach any situation from a place of being consistently on our children’s “side,” helping them with their “mean” or unsafe impulses rather than judging them, losing patience and reacting emotionally ourselves. We won’t and don’t need to be perfect as long as we keep placing ourselves back on track.

Gretchen shared with me how this process played out in her family:

“I have been following you since I had my first daughter nearly four years ago.  Treating babies and toddlers with respect makes perfect sense to me. As my daughter grew older, I learned a lot from you about the way my responses to her behavior can impact her emotions, development and understanding of herself and others.

We had our second daughter six months ago, and at first all was fine. Then after about 3 months I noticed a profound change in my eldest. She became very emotional, crying deeply over what seemed like trivial things, listless, and lacking in energy and incredibly moany (whining) a lot of the time. I knew this was her coming to terms with the huge shift in her family life and verbalized this to her, saying it was okay to feel sad and angry and scared that things had changed. I reassured her I loved her as much as I always had. I worked hard to remain unruffled and not get angry.  Sometimes I did feel myself getting drawn in to trying to rationalize with her in the moment and would then have to take a step back to remember this wasn’t about the way I cut her toast, or that I had chosen the wrong book to read. I did on occasion lose my patience, but I would apologize after, saying I was sorry for being angry. I knew that wasn’t what she needed. As the weeks passed, I started to really worry – where was my happy, funny, curious, energetic little girl? Would she ever return?

And then, just like that, she came back to us. She has mourned the change and loss of what she had before and now seems to have assimilated this change and embraced it. She laughs and jokes, walks and runs with joy. She can play independently again and is an absolute joy to spend time with. Thank you so much for showing me light in the dark times. Thanks to you I felt confident that my approach was helping her and that she would come back to us.”

For many more details on sibling challenges, please check out my exclusive interview (along with perspectives from a host of experts in the field) in “Raising Siblings,” an upcoming FREE video series hosted by Parenting with Presence author Susan Stiffelman. Register for “Raising Siblings” HERE

A BIG thank you to Gretchen for allowing me to share her story!

Posted by JenniferP

Dear Captain Awkward:

I have been engaged for 1 1/2 years now. We are both in our 40’s and have been married before. I have no contact with my ex. When my fiancé and I first got together I made the mistake of discussing things from my previous marriage. There was nothing good about my past but my fiancé doesn’t believe that. He thinks I am still in love with the ex. I am not! He admits to being jealous and possessive and needs to feel like he is #1. If he is not #1 then he can not move forward with me. He has always been the first for the woman he has married or dated. He has never been with a woman that has much of a past in regards to relationships. He wants to be able to get over this hurdle about my ex and I want to do everything to help us get over this hurdle. What can we do?

Lovely Letter Writer, you’re not going to like this, because my #1 piece of advice is: Maybe…don’t…marry him? Maybe don’t “move forward” with someone who suddenly becomes obsessed with your romantic past and who accuses you of things that aren’t true? Maybe this road block is a gift to you, telling you to get out of this relationship with a jealous and possessive man who is using your past as a wedge between you.

Look, I really distrust people, especially straight cis men, who self-describe as “jealous & possessive.” I have a lifetime of experience/an inbox full of examples/an endless sea of violent headlines that point to why the guy who “playfully” grabs your phone on a first date and casually scrolls through it looking for male names and quizzing you about each of them (true story) or why the guy who is threatened by someone you haven’t talked to in EIGHT YEARS sets off alarm bells for me. The Venn diagram of “men who monitor the women in their lives and who get hung up on being ‘#1′” and “men who do scary stuff to exert control over the women in their lives…and bystanders” has a lot of overlap. I specifically mistrust this guy because if I’m reading correctly he has been married at least once before (and dated other people before) and that’s not a problem but somehow you doing the same exact stuff is a problem? Get the entire fuck out of here, Sexist Double Standard Dude. All the way out.

Furthermore “jealous & possessive” are not awesome qualities one should lean into. Those are not things to brag about. They also aren’t excuses for behaving like a jerk. And while attachment styles are a thing and jealous feelings are a thing, people who feel a lot of jealousy and anxiety about romantic partners and fidelity still have choices about how they express those feelings. He could feel weird about your ex and never ever make it your problem. This guy is choosing to make his feelings into your problem. He’s also telling you that his feelings about your past relationships are more valid and more true than your actual words and actions. You saying “I love only you and want to marry you” is less valid to him than his newly-acquired insecurity re: your ex. I don’t like it.

I can think of two likely reasons that this is coming up now and neither of them are great:

Reason 1: He’s getting cold feet about marrying you and is looking for an excuse to break it off or slow things down but instead of saying “I don’t think this is working, let’s break up” he’s fixated on something to blame you for, some “flaw” in you that makes the breakup all your fault.

Reason 2: He is cool with getting married as long as he can put you in an impossible position of having to convince him and pet him and audition for him and reassure him and apologize to him about something that is not actually a problem and not actually happening, i.e., you are not still in love with or even in touch with your ex. He has taken things you told him in confidence long ago and is now using them as a weapon against you to make you beg and apologize and strive for his affection and look for ways to fix a thing that is all in his head. This is an attempt to establish control and reset the power balance between you. Not good.

I mean, if your fiancé truly wants to get over this hurdle, he could talk to a therapist about why he’s having these thoughts and feelings. He could take responsibility for the feelings, like, “Hey, I know I am out of line and your romantic past is actually none of my business, so I’m going to figure out a way to deal with this so that it doesn’t intrude on our life together anymore, please bear with me for a bit, I love you and of course I trust you.” He could talk to a therapist and say “Hey I’m feeling really insecure and need a lot of reassurance from my fiancée about this stuff lately, and it’s upsetting her and stressing her out, how can I redirect some of these thoughts?” He has some negative emotions and you’re supposed to…what…build a time machine? No ma’am.

I think the most gentle script I can think of is something like: “Whoa, I’m sorry you feel that way, that must be a really awful feeling. Since I’m not in love with my ex and none of this is actually true, I’m at a loss for what I can do to help. I agree, though, we should absolutely take a step back and slow down wedding plans. You’re right, we absolutely can’t move forward while this is such an issue for you. Why don’t you talk to a therapist or somebody and try to work it out?

Yes, he gets the “I’m sorry you feel that way” non-apology. Yes, he gets his bluff called.

If you told him that script, what do you think he’d do? Would he yell? Would he blame you? Would he accuse you? Would he bring up old painful things you told him in confidence? Would he monitor you, follow you, quiz you about your plans and who you’re with? Would saying something like that generate too much friction and conflict to be worth it? Would you end up having to soothe his ego and pet him for hours afterward? Are you already dreading the fruitless and stressful conversation you’ll end up having about this? Do you feel safe being able to say “Whoa, hold up, that is not actually a problem or my issue to handle, it’s yours” to him?

Other scripts:

  • “That’s incorrect.”
  • “But you’re wrong about me still having feelings for that guy.”
  • “But you’re upset with me about something that isn’t true.”
  • “Could you explain to me why this is a problem? Can you help me understand why it’s just suddenly coming up?”
  • “It’s not possible for you to be my first-ever husband, but you’re the one I’m choosing in the end. That has to be enough for you.”
  • “I’m sorry you feel that way. What would you like me to do about it now?”
  • “Wow, none of that is true. I don’t know how to reassure you about this. What do you want me to say?”
  • “I can tell you feel really anxious about this and I honestly don’t know what to say that will make it better. What do you think we should do next?”
  • “What is this really about?”

Whatever you decide to do about the relationship, hold this close: You didn’t do anything wrong. This is literally all in his head. Do not give into the idea that you did something wrong by meeting somebody when you were younger and loving someone else before you met this man. If you start saying to yourself “Well, he does have a point about this, to be fair, some of this is my fault,” it’s time to RUN. That is an abuse script talking, one that shows that the abuse has moved inside and colonized the victim. Seriously, run.

This is a problem created by him, and one that only he can solve (by getting over himself already). It’s not fixable by you because nothing that is happening is created or caused by you. What would happen to the relationship if you didn’t try to fix it, like, “Ok, welp, that’s your weird obsession to deal with, good luck working on that, let me know when you want to go back to enjoying our relationship instead of manufacturing problems.

Proceed with extreme caution. Pull in your Team You and make sure you have safe, supportive people to talk to. Do not get married with this cloud hanging over you.

I know this is really hard and not what you wanted to hear, but I don’t have a magic spell against misogyny in general or dudes who suddenly decide to hold your life story against you because “Love!”

Update: The fiancé showed up in the thread to tell us that the Letter Writer is way more jealouser than he is, among other things. Warning bells have become klaxons. I’m closing comments because, among other reasons, it’s very possible that this guy feeds on the attention and will use what we say to hurt and punish the Letter Writer.

I hate this.






11 October 2017 18:40 - Vegan Sweet Potato Pie Bars

Posted by Richa

Vegan Sweet Potato Pie Bars. Spiced Sweet Potato Pie layered over cinnamony Snickerdoodle crust. Make this into a pie for decadent holiday dessert. Gluten-free option

Vegan Sweet Potato Pie Bars. Spiced Sweet Potato Pie layered over cinnamony snickerdoodle crust. Make this into a pie for decadent holiday dessert. GF option | VeganRicha.com

These sweet potato pie bars are easy and great for fall and holidays. They are a great snack or dessert. The crust is a simple cinnamony flour and sugar mix pressed together and prebaked. The crust reminds me of snickerdoodle cookies and works amazingly. The crust is topped with well spiced sweet potato puree. Maple syrup and coconut sugar make up the sweeteners. 

These delicious vegan sweet potato pie bars can be served as is or with whipped coconut cream or ice cream. This recipe makes just the right amount to treat before the main event. Double it up and bake into a pie! These can be easily made with pumpkin or other squash puree. Do you like sweet potato or pumpkin in your pies and pie bars?

Continue reading: Vegan Sweet Potato Pie Bars

The post Vegan Sweet Potato Pie Bars appeared first on Vegan Richa.

Posted by Ask a Manager

A reader writes:

My coworker Fergus and I are at semi-equal levels (i’m a manager and he’s a project manager) on a small team at the headquarters of a company that has branches all over the country. We handle lots of regular reports distributed to the branches and we produce ad hoc reports that go up the chain to executives.

The issue is that whenever we are asked to produce something special, Fergus always says yes and gives a very quick turnaround time. He does this by working overnight and abandoning all other projects. He will turn around something that takes eight hours to do the next morning, and our director and VPs think this is amazing. He has never outright lied, but our leaders think that the overnight turnaround means these projects are small and easily accomplished in a couple hours –they are completely unaware that he is working on them overnight.

I turn my projects in at a normal completion time, and no one has ever said anything since they assume I take longer since I have other management duties.

I have never cared about him burning the candle at both ends, except that it today has really gotten us into a pickle. He did an eight-hour project and turned it in the next morning, and the VP loved it so much he wants us to do it for six additional regions and have it done by 1 p.m. tomorrow. He believes that this is easily accomplished by Fergus and me because, after all, one region takes only two hours so between the two of us, we should be able to have it ready for review by tomorrow lunch if we hustle and work a little bit tonight. No! This is over 48 hours of work and cannot be accomplished by tomorrow close of business, let alone by 1 p.m.!

I told my director this and she looked at me like I was crazy and that it really couldn’t be all that much work and that I needed to figure it out as I am a manager. She also told me I can’t pull my employees off their normal work and I still need to get my normal tasks done. I have no idea what to do and I know that we will show up tomorrow to the meeting and not have even half of it done. I asked Fergus to tell her that it won’t be doable but he refuses. I feel like I’m going to get reamed out for not getting the task accomplished and for not bringing this to her attention a long time ago. Help!

Oh my goodness. I didn’t get this in time to help you with the 48-hour project that needed to be done by the next day’s lunchtime, but regardless, you need to talk to both your manager and Fergus.

To your manager, say this: “I think Fergus’ willingness to work overnight in order to turn things around quickly has created inaccurate expectations about how long some types of work take.  For example, something like the X project takes about eight hours. Because he worked all night on Thursday to finish it by the morning, people who didn’t know he did that thought he was able to do it in just a couple of hours. With the Y project, same thing (fill in details). It’s up to him if he wants to do that, but I’m concerned that it’s causing a lot of misunderstanding about what kind of turnaround time is reasonable.”

If she’s skeptical, then say, “Would you be willing to ask him directly? Or if that doesn’t confirm this, I’d think his computer log-out times might show what I’m talking about. I’m not trying to cast aspersions on him at all — but we need to have accurate timelines for how long these things take so that we can plan correctly. If people misunderstand the amount of work involved, it’s going to disrupt our ability to get the outcomes we need.”

And then talk to Fergus too. If you haven’t already, explain the impact of what he’s doing, and ask him to be clear with people how many person-hours are involved in the work.

It’s possible that Fergus has some kind of diabolical plan to make everyone else look bad, like they can’t keep up with him … in which case talking to him won’t get you anywhere. But it’s more likely that he’s just more interested in making himself look good or that he’s waaaayyy too invested in being helpful, and he can still do both those things by working overnight if he wants to — you’re just asking him to be clear with people that that’s what he’s doing.

Of course, ideally he would stop working those hours altogether because even if he’s totally transparent about it, he’s still setting up the rest of you to have to deal with unrealistic expectations … but that’s more a conversation for his boss to have with him. However, it’s possible that he truly doesn’t realize the impact of what he’s doing, so step one is to spell it out for him.

my coworker over-delivers and it’s causing us major problems was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Posted by Ask a Manager

A reader writes:

As managers, we all have had to interview a person where you know five minutes in that there is zero chance you are going to proceed with them. Sometimes it’s a lack of interest on their end, inability to answer clearly or professionally, or maybe just being woefully unqualified. Is there a nice way to cut bait?

I like to treat people interviewing with respect and dignity, and always try to be as hospitable as possible. However, carrying someone through a conversation for 25-30 minutes who you know isn’t a fit is just a waste of their time and yours.

How do you politely say, “Thanks, that’ll be all?”

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.

should you end an interview early if the candidate obviously isn’t right for the job? was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Posted by JenniferP

Dear Captain and Co.,

Please help me sort out this mess. I don’t know how to handle this at all.
My mom keeps on pressuring me to have a relationship with my dad, who is a Darth Vader Boyfriend to his girlfriend. She wants me to see him and we had this huge fight over months where I didn’t want him to come to my college graduation because my Dad and I were estranged at the time and she thought he should come for the sole reason that he was my dad. Part of the reason that Dad and I are very very low contact is how he treats his girlfriend, including kicking her out of the house because she did a thing he didn’t like and then texting me “Happy Valentine’s Day”. I found out about it because Girlfriend texted my sister in the biggest guilt trip I have ever seen and told Sister how much Girlfriend hated our dad and how mean he was to her and then asked Sister to help even though Sister barely knows her and wasn’t even in state. The other reason Dad and I are estranged is that he was very abusive when he and Mom were divorcing and treated Sister and I as his emotional dumpsters and trash-talked our Mother constantly. Most recently he took Sister and I to China in hopes of reconciliation and meeting family but threatened to abandon us there after a day because he was jealous that we were talking to our mother.

My mom says that what goes on between Dad and his Girlfriend is between the two of them and I shouldn’t let it affect my relationship with him. She has a history of enabling him and not standing up for me. I’m just really confused about how to handle this, because even if I discounted his treatment of Girlfriend, I still don’t like him that much. Is it true that I shouldn’t let what goes on between Dad and his Girlfriend affect my relationship with him? I feel that I can’t have a relationship with someone in a vacuum.

Thank you very much,
WTF Do I Do About My Dad

Dear WTF Dad?

Your letter reminds me: I read this really compassionate, wise piece about family estrangement written by a rabbi who counsels people at the end of their lives this week. The piece contains some references dealing with family members who commit sexual assault (can’t imagine why people would be estranged after that!) and other heavy topics so know that if you’re going to open the link , but I think it gets to one of the biggest arguments people use to pressure estranged family members to reconcile: “Well, what if [abusive person] DIES and you haven’t fixed your relationship?” The good rabbi’s answer is something like: Okay, that might very well happen, so, how do you grieve and learn to make peace with the situation as it is instead of pressuring yourself (or others) to force a reconciliation that isn’t meant to be?

Letter Writer, forgive the tangent, I just know that this topic of family estrangement and pressure is on a lot of readers’ minds. Back to your situation.

I think your mom is living with a few fantasies here. One is that the divorce didn’t really affect you and your sister all that much, because look, it’s still possible for her kids to have a good relationship with their dad! She’s not standing in the way of that, she’s doing her part to make that possible for you! She’s being the bigger person!

Another fantasy is that it’s possible to compartmentalize your feelings and relationships to a certain degree, like, surely you can ignore your actual dad’s actual personality and actual crappy behaviors in service to respecting your duty of filial piety to the dad-shaped thing who can attend graduations and dutifully pose for photos and all pretend to be a “normal” family for a few hours.

Her habit of compartmentalizing, minimizing, and going through the motions where he’s concerned is probably how she survived the abusive marriage with him and was able to leave it, so, you can be gentle with her and have compassion for her around this even while you stand up for yourself. In extracting herself from that marriage she had to let go of many dreams and plans for what the rest of her life would look like and now that you’re hitting milestones like graduations there are more little aftershocks from letting go of what those moments “should” be like. For example, your dad “should” be at your college graduation, her mental picture of that event is/was somehow incomplete without him. So she pressures you to help her complete that picture, to make allowances, to observe the form if not the content. (Cut to: The 100+ questions in my inbox from brides re: “My dad is abusive, do I have to ask him to walk me down the aisle at my wedding?” Blanket Answer: Nope! I get why this topic hurts because it is messing with the picture you had of what this would be like and it’s also messing with other people’s expectations of what this should be like, but it’s okay for you to honor what it IS like. Walk yourself down the aisle, or have someone who is always nice to you do it, but don’t torment yourself for a photo-op or to meet other people’s expectations about what your family should be like. Traditions are there for you, you don’t exist to serve them at your own expense.)


None of this means you have to do what she says, it just means recognizing, “Hey, my mom has a pattern when it comes to my dad and she’s just following the pattern I know well.” You know that this pattern is not for you going forward, and that knowledge is power. Your dad also has a pattern where he treats all the women in his life with contempt and attempts to control them, and you’ve made a pretty reasonable and healthy decision to minimize how much you want to deal with someone who acts like that. You don’t have to recreate or fall into these patterns.

Your mom has unwittingly given you the perfect vehicle for making yourself clear around this. She says that your dad’s relationship with his girlfriend is between the two of them and that it shouldn’t affect how you interact with him. Welp, in that case, your relationship with your dad is between the two of you and it’s not for your mom to manage.

Basic script: “That’s between me & Dad, Mom, there’s nothing you can do to fix it, so let me figure it out.

Longer Script: “Mom, I know you’d like it if Dad and I had a better relationship, but we have the one we’ve got. We’re both adults and it’s our job to figure out and manage how we interact from here on out, not yours. You’ve done all you can here, and I appreciate it all so much. It must have been hard to keep the peace with him all this time for the sake of co-parenting and I know you’ve bitten your tongue many times so that I could have the best possible relationship with him. But that’s not your job anymore.

Right now I need a break from being pressured, hurt, and disappointed by Dad. I need to be able to look forward to celebrations and milestones without the shadow of managing his feelings hanging over the whole thing. And I need you to give me space to figure this out for myself. If Dad wants a better relationship with me, he knows how to get in touch, and he can make the effort. If I want to invite him to something I know how to reach him and I can make the effort. You don’t have to carry water for him anymore, ok? You did your best, now it’s time to let us muddle through this ourselves.” 

If you use any of the above you’ll probably use it in smaller pieces, especially as reminders/boundary enforcement, like “Mom, we talked about this – this is for me & Dad to figure out together, you don’t have to defend him or fix it.

I mean, her argument, “But he’s your father…” cuts both ways. She means “He’s your father, so you should accommodate him/invite him/keep trying to make peace with him/brush off his bad behavior/forgive him.” But also, he’s your dad so he shouldn’t use you as an emotional dumping ground and take out his anger at the divorce on you. He shouldn’t make threats to abandon you in a foreign country. He’s your dad, so he shouldn’t be cruel and awful to your mom. He’s your father, so he  shouldn’t emotionally abuse his girlfriend and then expect you to be cool with it. He’s your dad, so maybe the financial and emotional support you’ve gotten from him shouldn’t come with all these awful strings attached. Lots of dudes fertilize eggs that turn into kids. Not all of them are good dudes or good dads.

For the record, I think your mom is also wrong about how you should view your dad and his girlfriend. How your dad treats the people in his life DOES affect how you see him, and that’s HEALTHY. Forming your own relationship with and opinions about your dad based on observed behavior is, again, HEALTHY and NORMAL. Someone who is nice to you and awful to everyone else is pretty awful, (and your dad isn’t even nice to you, like, remember the time he took you to China and then almost abandoned you there after a single day?).

And yes, family ties are strong and powerful and can withstand a lot of ups and downs, but I think we need to push back on the idea that they are unconditional. People who are routinely mean and inconsiderate to you and others should expect some consequences to the relationship even if y’all are faaaaaaaaaamily. You don’t have to forgive or welcome in people who treat you badly and you especially don’t have to do it when they neither apologize nor change the bad behaviors. You don’t have to give them chance after chance to disappoint and abuse you. Your dad is emotionally abusing his girlfriend. You are correctly spotting this as a red flag in a sea of red flags that surround this guy. Trust your own instincts here and break the familial patterns of apologizing for and shoring up this dude at the expense of your own happiness.

I don’t know if your relationship with your dad will ever get better. I do know that you will feel better if you have some space from him and freedom from pressure to make excuses for him, and that there’s no possible route to a better relationship that doesn’t involve you feeling better, more free, more safe, and having more autonomy in managing your relationship with him.


Posted by Ask a Manager

A reader writes:

Recently my seven-year-old son’s pediatrician has recommended that he be evaluated by a psychologist for ADHD and giftedness. He has had some behavior challenges at home and at school. We live in a small town an hour’s drive away from any larger town or city, and the options for psychological care nearby are limited. My son has seen a local psychologist for an unrelated issue in the past, and I was less than impressed. I made an appointment with a specialist in the nearby city and informed my boss that I would need to take a half-day off and why. She expressed surprise and questioned me about finding local care, but granted the request.

The next day, she came to my office and said that she had discussed the matter with her husband and that he said that I was overreacting — that excessive energy was normal and to be expected for a boy. He went on to say that he had been energetic as a boy himself, received many spankings, and look at him now — university professor. My response in the moment was “Respectfully, your husband has never met my son. I have spent seven years with him and I believe I know best.”

At no point did she insist that I cancel the appointment or alter my plans. The tone was more advice-giving than managerial time-management. However, I don’t want to seem like an employee who requests time off for frivolous things as this is not the impression I want to leave. I also remain bothered by the fact that she discussed this matter with her husband at all. I’m not sure if I am overreacting about that. My son will likely require several follow-up appointments in the city to establish his diagnosis and treatment plan. Do you have any advice for me if this (vocal skepticism regarding my son’s care) comes up again?

Possibly relevant details: I am salaried (exempt) and do not have to take sick time for less than a full day’s absence.

I think this is a case of how people who are overbearing in life don’t stop being overbearing once they become managers.

In other words, I think this is less about her acting as your manager, and more about her just saying something obnoxious that she would have said even if she weren’t your manager and knew you socially. It sounds like she’s offering you what she thinks is helpful advice, not signaling that you shouldn’t be taking the time off.

Of course, that’s not okay. Managers need to be aware that their words will always carry more weight and be seen through a different lens. The fact that she’s your manager means that you have to worry about different things than if a social acquaintance (or even just a peer-level coworker) said this to you — whether she intended that or not.

In the future, I’d recommend not sharing details with her at all. If you need time off to take your son to an appointment, be as vague as possible — “I’ll be out a half day on Tuesday for a medical appointment.” That’s it.

If she asks how your son is doing, stay vague — “he’s hanging in there,” “he’s good,” or so forth. If she pushes for details beyond that, say something like, “Oh, I’m enjoying not having to think about it while I’m at work!” or “Nothing anyone but his mom would find interesting” or “Oh, nothing worth getting into.”

If she tries to offer her own opinions again (or her husband’s — ?@!?), say this: “Oh, I’d rather not discuss it. These things can be so complicated, as I’m sure you know. I appreciate your thinking of us though!” That last part might be insincere — because you probably do not appreciate her thinking about this — but it’s there just for relationship-preservation reasons. This is your boss, and it’s helpful to soften a “mind your own business” when you can do that without compromising the outcome you’re going for.

my boss is questioning the need for my child’s medical care was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Posted by Lou Doench

Hey there Readers! Sorry for the dead air these last few weeks, but The Girl and The Hellions and I have been working our buttocks off to make the final push to move into our brand new custom built modern house, dubbed Wishful Thinking lo those many months ago when I could still joke about it. We are tired but happy. Mad props to our builders, SMP Design, who did an incredible job translating The Girl’s notebook sketches and The Boy’s fevered imagination into a home we can be proud of. Now on to a backlog of news and links!

In the same week that Attorney General and Evil Elf Jeff Session’s Justice Department rescinded a memo protecting the rights of transgender workers,  and Wicked Witch of the Midwest Betsy Devos continued to quietly erase Barack Obama’s education legacy, including rolling back protections for trans students, we got a glimpse of the real life impact of this retrograde agenda in Lebanon, Maine. Stiles Zuchlag, a valedictorian candidate at Tri-City Christian Academy in Somersworth was told he could not return to the school he had attended since kindergarten because he is transgender. 

In related news the Southern Poverty Law Center warns that the guidelines issued last week by the Justice Department for “protecting religious freedom” endanger LGBTQ rights. 

Religious freedom is a treasured right in our country, and it should never be used as a guise for harming others. The guidance memo ignores this competing American value – that in exercising our rights we must and should account for the rights and well-being of others. Freedom of religion does not give us the right to impose our beliefs on others, or to discriminate.

The clear intent of this guidance is to undermine the many gains LGBT Americans and others have achieved in securing dignity and equality for themselves and their families. It is motivated by the false notion that LGBT rights, reproductive rights and other rights have come at the expense of religious liberties, an idea that is an affront to the millions of Americans of faith who reject discrimination against all people, including LGBT people. It does not reflect who we are as a nation, with a clear majority of Americans supporting laws that protect LGBT people from unequal treatment

Oh, and just in case you thought that shiny new Pope we got a few years ago was a big improvement on Ratzinger (the Nazi Pope,) Jorge Bergoglio (or Pope Francis to his fans,) has made strong statements condemning gender reassignment surgery. Thus reinforcing the notion that Jesus is more important than your doctor.

And the shitty news piles up! The Cheeto Tinted Tyrant last Friday made it easier for companies to refuse to cover birth control in their company provided insurance plans,  leaving many women to have to pay out of pocket for birth control. Vox’s Tara Isabella Burton digs deep into how birth control has become a part of the Evangelical agenda and thus part of the hardcore Trump base.

Yet among evangelical Protestants, at least, birth control — and who has access to it — has only recently become a major political issue. Unlike Catholics, whose catechism denounces use of most forms of contraception as a sin, evangelical Protestants by and large do not. (Because of the disparate nature of evangelical Protestantism, which includes hundreds if not thousands of separate denominations, it’s difficult to speak of a “formal stance” in the way we can of Catholics.) But alongside Catholic organizations like Little Sisters of the Poor, it’s evangelical-led companies like Hobby Lobby that have been on the forefront of opposition to the ACA birth control mandate.

In this, the evangelical stance on the ACA birth control mandate reflects a wider issue: the increased convergence of Catholics and evangelical Protestants — hardly historical allies — on social issues in the past few decades, as issues like the same-sex marriage debate and abortion have united the two socially conservative groups. As David Talcott, professor of philosophy at King’s College and an expert in Christian sexual ethics, told Vox, “Catholic and conservative evangelicals have become allies of certain kinds,” each defending the interests of other, as theological and philosophical overlap between the two.

You might have seen this story circulating on social media, as some jerk with an iPhone snapped a photo of an exhausted mom at the airport letting her infant get some wiggle time on a blanket while she caught up on emails. His tone deaf shaming quickly went viral. Scarymommy has the whole story. 

More Devos-station from the Secretary of Miseducation… Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has decided that Obama-era policies that put pressure on colleges to handle campus rape allegations swiftly and fairly are actually unfair to accused rapists. 

Crap, didn’t I find any good news? Houston teen India Landry, a senior at Windfern High School is suing the school after being expelled for refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. We wish her luck standing up to the authoritarian wave washing over the nation in the Trump era.

Crap again… A Sanilac County Circuit judge has granted parenting time and joint legal custody of an 8-year-old boy to a convicted sex offender who allegedly raped the child’s mother nine years ago. The victim was 12 years old at the time of the assault. 

Finally some kind of good news… Sesame Street has stepped up in the face of all the traumatic news facing children these days with an online teaching program Traumatic Experiences. Here’s a great sample…

Featured Image Credit: Punch Nazi’s by The Schmoo


The post Wednesday Reads: We’re Finally Moved In Edition! appeared first on Grounded Parents.

Posted by Ask a Manager

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

1. A bank called my employer to complain I was rude

I have been working as a bookkeeper for five months at my current job. There was a problem with a bank statement, so I went to the bank to find out what happened. The bank is a small local bank with hardly anyone ever in it. When I walked in, four tellers all smiled at me and said hi (no customer was in the bank but me). I smiled, said hi and then asked lightheartedly, “Who would like this problem?” Then one teller piped up and said she could help me. I explained my problem, and she said since I wasn’t on the account yet, she couldn’t help. Then I asked if I could call my manager to give permission over the phone. She said no, that she would do it this time. So the problem was fixed, and I told them I was grateful and thank you. I left.

Well, today I got called into a manager meeting saying that the bank called them and complained about my behavior, that I was mean and rude and demanded someone to help me fix the problem, then huffed away after snapping at them when they told me they couldn’t help me since I wasn’t on the account. This did not happen at all. They did help me, and fixed the problem. I am completely dumbfounded at this situation, and really hurt because that kind of behavior is not even close to who I am. I got written up at work, and I feel like a fool. I find it completely unprofessional that a bank would call my employers and make up this story. Is there anything I can do, or anything I should do in this situation? I am completely deflated, and feel liked I got slapped in the face.

Is there any chance that you came off much differently than you realized or intended? It’s a pretty big deal for a bank to call someone’s employer about something like that, which makes me wonder if they could have reasonably misunderstood your tone or actions.

If you’re positive that that’s not the case, I think you could say this to your boss: “I’ve been over and over this in my head, and I just can’t understand what prompted that phone call. When I was in the bank, I was cheerful and polite, I smiled and made small talk, and I was understanding when they said I wasn’t on the account. I feel terrible that anyone there thought I was being rude or snapping at them; I would never do that in a customer service situation, and I’m mortified that anyone thought I did. As best as I can figure out, this must be a misunderstanding — but I wanted to raise it with you because I don’t want you to have the impression that I would do something like that.”

2. I got my interview date wrong

I have been preparing for an interview for what could be my dream job for almost a week. I had the first interview eight weeks ago and beat five external candidates. I was advised that the second interview date would need to be confirmed, and I was contacted every week by the HR explaining they were still interested but due to “restructure/being our busiest time,” they were still waiting for a confirmed date and content for the interview. All this is fine, it’s my dream job as I say, so I was happy to wait.

I confirmed a date for a Tuesday. This was confirmed on the phone. That Monday, I was called and advised I was expected. I quickly found the confirmation email and they were right. We confirmed Tuesday on the phone, but the email confirmation said the interview was for Monday. I explained the misunderstanding and was mortified. It’s rescheduled. But I am so concerned that it looks like I lack attention to detail. I have already written an email apologizing and confirming I will be there on the rescheduled date, but is there anything I can say at the start of the interview that will help my chances? I also do not want to draw too much attention to it. Please note: this is for a managerial position and I am up against an internal candidate, which already puts me on the back foot.

Ooof, that sucks. I would just quickly address it at the start of the interview and then move on: “I want to apologize again for the miscommunication about the interview date. I’d thought we’d confirmed Tuesday when we spoke on the phone, but regardless I’m mortified — I’m neurotic about getting appointment times correct, and I can assure you this isn’t my normal M.O.”

3. Horrible old boss is messaging me incessantly on LinkedIn

My friend and old coworker, “Ethel,” is urging me to email you because I’m dealing with a weird situation. A few years ago, I had a horrible manager who we’ll call Fergus. He frequently talked down to me and Ethel, wasn’t a very helpful manager, and when we finally were moved out from under him, went full psycho calling Ethel the b-word and saying he was going to get us fired for bringing up his shortcomings to our grandboss.

Eventually, Ethel and I reported this to our grandboss and Fergus was let go. HR actually sent out an email to make sure no one let him in the office because we were legitimately scared he would take his firing out on us.

Fast forward to today and Fergus connected with me on LinkedIn and has been incessantly messaging me trying to tell me about “his new ventures.” I politely responded once, more or less saying “That’s great. Nice to hear all is well.” But he keeps on messaging. I haven’t responded since the first message and he just emailed me again saying, “I’m a little confused, would you like to catch up? It would be great if you do but if not just let me know.”

How do I respond? Do I tell him that I have zero interest in seeing him again because he was an absolute monster? Do I keep ignoring him? Help!

Send one vague, bland response shutting it down and then don’t reply again. I’d say something like, “I don’t check LinkedIn much so won’t always see messages here. My schedule is swamped right now so I can’t schedule anything, but I’m glad things are well for you and wish you well in the future.”

Tempting as it would be to tell him that he’s a monster, I wouldn’t open that up with someone who made you scared for your safety previously.

4. My boss is assigning work to my intern without my knowledge

My manager has assigned some tasks to my intern (who I manage) without my knowledge. I only got to know about it when my intern asked me how to perform some of them, as he is not yet well versed on our day-to-day operations at that time.

I’m fine that my intern gets asked to do/help with something for new learnings, but I feel that I should be informed by my manager beforehand so that I have some visibility on priorities set for him. Am I overthinking/overreacting?

Nah, it’s reasonable to want to be aware of what work your intern has been asked to take on. But depending on your office’s set-up, it may or may not be reasonable to ask your boss to loop you in every time. If you’re not always easily accessible and the intern clearly has enough time to take on the work, it might be reasonable for your boss to just assign it to him directly. In other cases, it would be reasonable for to ask your boss to send it through you, so that you’re in the loop on his workload and can help him prioritize and make sure he’s meeting deadlines and getting the oversight and input he needs. In the first situation, though, you can ask the intern to let you know about anything your boss or anyone else adds to his plate — the onus can be on him to loop you in, rather than your boss having to do it.

5. Why would an employer restrict a job posting to internal candidates only?

Can you explain why an organization would list an open position on their job board with the caveat that it is only open to internal candidates? Aren’t they severely limiting their candidate pool by assuming the best candidate already works for them? And if they have someone in mind for the position internally already (the reason I’d guess that they’re limiting the pool), why even post it?

The position listing I’m referencing isn’t high level or one that would require specific organizational knowledge. It is so frustrating to see a position I would be really well suited for, and not even be able to apply.

Sometimes it’s because they need someone who already has institutional knowledge, and an outside candidate won’t have that (and while you note that this job wouldn’t require that, that’s really hard to know with certainty from the outside; there are all kinds of internal nuances that could impact that). Sometimes it’s because they want current employees to be able to advance, and the position makes sense as a promotion opportunity for good employees who are already there. And sometimes it’s because they’re signaling that they already have a particular internal candidate in mind, but their company rules require them to post all positions.

a bank called my employer to complain about me, I got my interview date wrong, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Posted by KathrynBaker

Dr. Yoji Kondo, known to science fiction readers as Eric Kotani, passed away yesterday at the age of 84.

Yoji Kondo was an astrophysicist at NASA/GSFC, where he served as Director of the NASA International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE) satellite observatory, among other prestigious appointments, and had formerly served as the head of the astrophysics laboratory at NASA/Johnson Space Flight Center during the Apollo and Skylab years. He was a mentor for many scientists at NASA, and a man of renowned generosity. He was also a black belt in Aikido and Judo.

Yoji wrote five science fiction books under the pseudonym of Eric Kotani, in collaboration with John Maddox Roberts and Roger McBride Allen. He edited Requiem: New Collected Works by Robert A. Heinlein and Tributes to the Grand Master (1992), and contributed to New Destinies, Vol VI/Winter 1988 – Robert A. Heinlein Memorial Issue (1988), after his friend Robert Heinlein passed away in 1988.

A special thanks to SFWA member, Alan Smale for the In Memoriam post.

Posted by KathrynBaker

ElizaBeth A. Gilligan (Lace), died in her sleep on the morning on October 9, 2017 after a battle with cancer.  Gilligan published her first short story, Evolution,” in 1990 and began writing as a columnist for Midnight Zoo in 1991.

Subsequent short stories appeared in Witch FantasticSword and SorceressBlack Gate, and other anthologies.  Her story “Iron Joan” made the Nebula preliminary ballot in 2002.  Gilligan’s Silken Magic trilogy was published by DAW Books, with the first volume, Magic’s Silken Snare, appearing in 2003 and the second volume The Silken Shroud showing up the next year.

The final volume, Sovereign Silk, was delayed until earlier this year due to chronic illness.  She edited the anthology Alterna-Teas in 2016. Gilligan served as the secretary for SFWA from 2002-2003 and continued to volunteer her time to the organization when she was able, most recently at MidAmeriCon II in 2016.

SFWA President Cat Rambo said, “I had the pleasure with working with Beth as a volunteer the past couple of years and got a chance to interact with her in person at the Spokane Worldcon. This year has had a lot of losses; this one hits particularly hard.”

Posted by JenniferP

Hello Captain!

This is a weird position I have found myself in.

I go to a lot of events, and I’ve noticed the people I go with or see there try to convert me to their lifestyle which heavily feature said events. Examples:

1) I go to the gym once a week with a friend. They always suggest me going 1 or 2 times more per week and doing tiny exercises all day long.

2) I go to a rope-bondage-workshop. After the 90min-sessions the organizer keeps talking for 20-30 minutes about how we all can improve heavily if we have a rope on-hand all day and excercise with it all day long.

3) A few friend who is heavily into nutrition regularly suggest changing my diet to accomodate more protein/fibre/etc

I would like to do all of these things, but I do not have the time and/or energy! I am happy already I can manage 1 gym-trip per week, and adjusting my lifestyle to accomodate more is not feasible.

And when I have to listen to somene trying to convert me I do now know how to make them stop without seriously alienating them (as may have happened in the past)

I have mentioned this idea to a few friends, and that I feel the social contract in that situation is brokenby the other person. “I attend your workshop, learn something, have fun, pay you, but I will not listen to you trying to convert me completely to this idea for another period of time that is 1/3rd of the actual workshop itself”, and everyone disagrees saying I should just swallow and endure it.

What would be an appropriate way to deal with this?

Hello! Good news, this is all very solvable.

The script you’re looking for is “Thanks, I’m good” or “Thanks, I’ll think about it” or “Thanks, but no” or “Thanks but this is working for me” followed by action:

Either change the subject (in conversations with friends) or give yourself permission to leave (from workshops that go on too long).

Be terse. Don’t elaborate about why. Explaining to people you’d love to but you can’t right now because: reasons! is registering as a negotiation. Your reasons are good reasons and reasons would convince you to drop the subject, but people who don’t take no for an answer see “reasons you don’t want to do x” as “problems to be solved,” like if they could just helpfully fix your time/energy constraints you would be at the gym eating fiber-covered-protein with one hand while you skillfully manipulate ropes in the other all day every day.

You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do or with more intensity than you want to do it and you don’t have to be a conversational hostage here. “Thanks, but that doesn’t work for me” + “Are you excited for Riverdale coming back?” (or the subject change topic of your choice and interest) can get the job done. Someone who keeps pushing you when you’ve made it clear that you don’t want to talk about or do something is the one making it weird, not you. If people push more, follow up with “Hey, why are you still asking about this when I’ve said ‘no thanks?’“I love your enthusiasm, friend, but what I’m doing now is right for me.

With the workshop it might have felt like it was rude to leave, like, it officially ended but there was no pause to say thank you or ask questions and everyone was still sitting there politely listening. You can still leave, though! Get up quietly and go. If you want to thank the instructor later, send an email. The people who find the extra info valuable can stay.


Posted by admin

Author and scientist Yoji Kondo, who wrote SF as Eric Kotani, 84, died October 9, 2017.

His Island Worlds series (written with John Maddox Roberts) includes Act of God (1985) The Island Worlds (1987), and Between the Stars (1988). He wrote standalones Delta Pavonis (1990) and Legacy of Prometheus (2000) with Maddox, and Supernova (1991) with Roger MacBride Allen. With Dean Wesley Smith he wrote Star Trek Voyager: Death of ...Read More

10 October 2017 18:27 - 2017 HWA Scholarship Winners

Posted by admin

The Horror Writers Association (HWA) announced the recipients of its 2017 scholarships.

The Horror Writers Association Scholarship went to John C. Mannone. First awarded in 2014 and open to all horror writers, $2,500 is “given annually to a deserving horror writer to assist in his/her professional development.”

The Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Scholarship went to A.E. Siraki. Open to female horror writers and first awarded in 2014, $2,500 is ...Read More

Posted by Ask a Manager

A reader writes:

I’m currently unemployed. I’m in a final interview for a position. I’ve already had a first interview and a writing test. The company then asked me to send my salary requirements or current salary before the interview.

My reaction was fury. Just pure fury because I think this is a dick move. They clearly have a budget for the position, and if they think I’m going to ask for too much they could have told me what they expect to pay rather than demanding what I want to earn. I cannot stand organizations that act this way and it sets off a bad beginning should I work for them.

My friends and I split about my reaction. One person who does more hiring than I ever have didn’t understand why I was *so* upset and cited times when candidates were in interviews for positions that paid $50,000 and they asked for $100,000. (I’ve seen that happen before, where a person was considered a strong candidate and then may have asked for six figures because they thought the office was going to pay it, not realizing how cheap my then-boss was or didn’t know how to look up a 990 form on Guidestar.) I have also been in positions where I had no idea what they were budgeting for a position and been told it was $20k more than I even imagined. Then asked “would that be acceptable to you?” (Hell ya!) Hiring managers are becoming strangely insistent at asking before the interview even happens for my salary requirements. I absolutely will refuse to give salary history, but I may cite what I made at my previous job, but only if I absolutely have to or forfeit the possibility of the position.

The truth is I’m in such dire financial straights that if the position paid $30k less than I previously made, I would still take the position. But the employer doesn’t need to know that. I was well compensated at my previous job but not unreasonably so for the field. I also got that employer $5,000 above what they wanted to pay for my role. I know for a fact I negotiated them above what they initially were hoping but not outside the real range they capitulated to.

I know my field pretty well and my position in it. I’m not a naif who would think I’m going to get a six-figure position at an organization where only the president is earning above six figures, according to their 990.

I eventually settled on giving a 20K range back to the interviewer prior to the interview and got back “Thanks so much.” I’ve handled this question in different ways. After a first interview or during a first interview, if I have to give a range or expectation, I go with the 20K range or the “well, in my last position I earned X” if I think they will go that high. But prior to a first interview, I won’t give that number at all, and one employer withdrew an offer of an interview because I asked them for the range because I needed to know more about the position. (I was less interested in that job and really disliked how they handled it.)

Here’s my actual question though: am I wrong to think that an employer who acts this way during the interview will be a miser when it comes to either actual salary negotiation or a terrible boss? I think that’s the split between me and my friends. I think this is a *terrible* indicator for a boss and some of my friends think this is just “maybe not the best but not the worst.” Is this objectively a “dick” move for an interviewer or am I flying off the handle thinking this says something about how they will operate should I work for them? For what it’s worth, it may be my field is especially filled with people who try to take advantage of youth and nativity or that I’ve just had some bad experiences with miserly employers.

It’s so, so common that I don’t think you can read that much into it.

I’d also distinguish between salary history and salary expectations. The former is no one’s business (for all the reasons I talk about here), while the latter is at least a more reasonable question. It’s still better for the employer to name a number first (for the reasons I talk about here), but it’s not outrageous for them to ask what salary range a candidate is looking for.

But both of these things are so common that they’re really not automatically terrible signs about the employer more broadly. I’ve known excellent managers who ask, “So what are you looking for salary-wise?” and I’ve known perfectly good employers who ask for someone’s previous salary, even though that’s an incredibly wrong-headed thing to do.

There are lots of wrong-headed hiring practices that are so common that you can’t draw broader conclusions about what working there will be like (for example, using unfriendly application systems, or waiting months to update people on the status of their candidacy, or sending you into an interview with someone who just got your resume two minutes earlier).

It would be much easier if it was always true that stupid act X meant an employer would be a terrible place to work — you could screen much more effectively if it worked that way! — but the reality is that it doesn’t. Even at good employers, hiring can be messy and full of less-than-ideal practices. (Most places kind of suck at hiring, actually.)

And to be clear, I don’t mean to say that just because something is common, it’s okay. That’s not the case. But I do think you’re wrong to jump to broad conclusions on this one, and fury feels like an overreaction.

does an employer asking you to name your salary requirements first mean they’re jerks? was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

10 October 2017 17:07 - ElizaBeth Gilligan (1962-2017)

Posted by admin

Writer ElizaBeth Gilligan, 55, died October 9, 2017 of cancer. Gilligan’s first story was “Evolution” (1990), and she published several stories in anthologies and magazines. She was best known for the Silken Magic trilogy: Magic’s Silken Snare (2003), The Silken Shroud (2004), and Sovereign Silk (2017). She edited anthology Alterna-Teas (2016), wrote a column for Midnight Zoo in the 1990s, and served as secretary of SFWA from 2002 to 2003. ...Read More

This page was loaded on 17 October 2017 at 00:05 GMT.