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my boss wants to give me his kidney — but I don’t want it


A reader writes:

I have a question that is on the opposite end of the spectrum from the boss who (shudder) tried to force his employees to donate an organ to his brother.

I have a serious chronic kidney disease. I was diagnosed almost a decade ago and have been able to control many of the most serious complications with diet and medication. Recently however, my kidney function has diminished. I am now on regular dialysis and will soon need a transplant.

Because of the sudden change in my health, I had to let my boss, who I have only worked for for six months, know that I would be out several times a week for the treatments. He has been incredibly supportive and I am grateful. However, his support is almost TOO much. He regularly visits me while I’m getting treatments (not to assign work, like another boss someone wrote in about), but just to offer support and “keep me company.” I appreciate that he wants to be there for me, which I think comes from his knowing I don’t have any family locally, but this is unnecessary. My treatments make me very, very tired and I often get sick during and after them. I delicately let him know that I prefer to have my treatments alone, and to his credit, he has cut back on his pop-ins significantly, but now I have another hurdle … he wants to give me his kidney.

Organ donation is very invasive and recovery can take months. There are so many issues with that organ coming from my boss that I don’t even know where to begin, but here’s the main two:

1. Would my boss then feel as if I was obligated to stay in my position? I love my job and have no plans to leave anytime soon, but I don’t want to feel guilty about doing what’s best for me career wise because my supervisor literally saved my life.

2. Things can go wrong with organ donation. There are so many risks that I don’t feel comfortable having my boss undertake on my behalf.

I don’t currently have another donor lined up, but I know I am not comfortable accepting my boss’s offer. How do I tell my incredibly generous boss that I don’t want his kidney, when he knows that if I don’t find an alternative, I could possibly die? He is such a kind man, and I would like a way to firmly, but kindly let him know that isn’t something I can allow him to do, while also expressing my gratitude at the offer.

How about this: “This is an incredibly kind and generous offer and I’m so grateful that you’d consider it. There are enough risks with organ donation and potential complications to our employment relationship that I wouldn’t feel comfortable accepting that from my boss — I hope you understand. Honestly, the best thing you can do for me is what you’ve been doing — giving me the flexibility that I need for medical treatments. You’re the only person in my life who’s in a position to do that, and that on its own has made this time so much easier for me.”

If he continues to push his kidney (a surprising phrase to write), say this: “It actually makes my life easier and less stressful if we keep our relationship to boss/employee rather than donor/organ recipient. I love my job and I don’t want to introduce any potential complications to that. I’m really grateful for the offer, and I hope you understand.”

If he continues to push after that, personally I would yell “I will not take your kidney!” but adapt to whatever you’re comfortable with.

By the way … there is such a thing as too much support, if it ignores the stated wishes of the person being supported. I don’t know how delicate you were when you told him you prefer to have your treatments alone, but “cutting back” on his visits is not the same as respecting your request that he stop. That said, if “delicate” means that you hinted to the point that the message wasn’t quite clear, you may need to be more direct. It’s okay to say, “It’s so kind of you to come check on me, but the treatments take so much out of me, and sometimes make me sick, that I find I prefer to do them alone.” You could also enlist the staff at the clinic and have them tell him you’re resting and not accepting visitors the next time he shows up.

Your boss is clearly trying to help. If he’s as supportive as he seems to be trying to be, you’ll be doing both of you a favor if you let him know (kindly and with enthusiasm) the ways in which you welcome his help — and the ways in which you don’t.

my boss wants to give me his kidney — but I don’t want it was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

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3 days ago
Melbourne, Australia
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what to do if you hate your job

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I wrote this for LinkedIn’s Weekend Essay this weekend.

If you’re miserable at work, you’re not alone. Having written Ask a Manager for more than a decade now, I’ve answered questions from literally thousands of people who hate their jobs. Whether it’s due to a difficult boss, unpleasant colleagues, mind-numbing work, or a toxic culture, there are a lot of people toiling away at jobs they’d rather not be in.

The unsettling reality is that even if you do everything right in screening your jobs, you can still end up in a work situation that makes you unhappy. The great boss who you were so excited to work with could move on a few months after you start, and her replacement could end up being a disaster. Your office could have budget cuts that leave you with an unmanageable workload. You could be assigned a new client who turns your dream job into a nightmare. Or, if you’re like a lot of people, you might just end up in a job that sounded amazing in the interview but fell drastically short of your expectations once you started.

If you find yourself in this situation, step one is to get really clear about exactly what the problem is. Is your boss a hovering micromanager who doesn’t give you any autonomy, despite your years of experience? Or maybe the problem is your coworkers – is your work life lonely because you haven’t been able to form any rapport with your colleagues? Maybe it’s the work itself; you might have signed up expecting to do X but ended up doing Y, or the workload might be way too high or so low that you’re bored for hours every week. Or maybe it’s your company culture since not every culture will be a fit for every person. Maybe your office is slow-moving and resistant to change, while you’re more entrepreneurial and need a culture that values that, or maybe it rewards people who spend their off-hours golfing with the company bigwigs and you’re not up for that. Or maybe upon reflection you’ll realize that the problem isn’t this particular job, but rather the idea of having to work in general that’s making you miserable.

Once you’ve zeroed in on what the problem is, the next step is to figure out if it’s worth trying to fix it. If you have fundamental issues with your company’s culture, that’s not likely something you’ll be able to change. But if the issue is, say, that your workload is too high and you’re in danger of burning out, you might actually be able to get relief by talking with your boss. Not always – but if your boss is reasonable and has a track record of taking people’s concerns seriously, it’s worth raising the issue and seeing if anything changes. And if nothing does, at least then you’ll know for sure; you’ll have raised the issue, learned the problem isn’t going to go away, and then can make decisions for yourself from a place of greater information.

Of course, sometimes it can be hard to know if something is fixable. In the past, I’ve pulled complaints out of people who weren’t speaking up on their own because they were certain that the thing they disliked couldn’t be fixed, and yet once I knew about it, I was able to resolve the problem relatively quickly. So even an issue seems insurmountable to you, it might still be worth raising – because your manager has a different vantage point and might be more able to address the problem than you realized. Not always, of course, but if you’re unhappy enough that you’re likely to leave over whatever’s bothering you, it might be worth a conversation.

That said, if your manager isn’t open to feedback, tends to punish people for rocking the boat, or just isn’t particularly reasonable, you might rightly conclude that there’s not much to be gained by going that route. And other times, even if your manager would be receptive, you might realize that there are so many problems contributing to your unhappiness that fixing a few of them won’t be enough.

Once you have a more solid idea of whether your problems with your job can be resolved or not, you can move on to figuring out what to do next. Even if the problems can’t or won’t be fixed, that doesn’t automatically mean that you should leave. At this stage in your thinking, you should step back and take stock of your situation, being as brutally honest with yourself as you can. Things to think about: What are you getting out of the situation if you stay (for example, pay, benefits, a flexible schedule, a great commute, interesting work, professional opportunities, and so forth)? How likely are you to find those things somewhere else? Do the advantages of staying outweigh the negatives? What are the negatives of leaving (such as missed opportunities or having multiple short-term stays on your resume), and how do you weigh those in this calculation?

In other words, this decision should rarely be as simple as “I hate my job so I should leave.” Sure, sometimes that might be the answer. But other times you might realize that if you can get through two years of this job, you can parlay it into something much better … or sometimes it might be as simple as deciding that while yes, you don’t like the work, you love your salary and your 10-minute commute and you can reframe your thinking so that you’re less unhappy day-to-day. Getting really clear in your head that you’re choosing to stay because you’ve calculated that the trade-offs are worth it to you can sometimes make the situation much more bearable – probably because it reinforces that you do have choices and some control. Yes, my boss is a jerk, you can think, but I’m choosing to stick it out for now because I’m paid well and I love my commute. I can always change my mind later, but for now this makes sense for me.

Or, you might come out of this calculation with a really clear sense that you do indeed need to move on. You might decide that the things that bother you are serious problems, aren’t going to change, and aren’t worth the pay and other benefits you’re getting by staying. That’s a good outcome too. The idea is just to be really clear-eyed about what you are and aren’t willing to accept, how you weigh all the different factors in the situation, and which matter most to you.

If you go through this mental exercise and still aren’t sure if you should stay or go, one middle-ground option is to try launching a casual job search. Look around at what job postings are out there, put out some feelers to people in your network, talk to some recruiters. You’ll probably start getting some useful data about the market that will push you in one direction or the other. You might find, for example, that the market is booming for people with your skills and that it’ll be relatively easy to find a new position without the problems at your current job. Or who knows, after seeing what else is out there, you might see your current job in a new, more positive light. But either way, you’ll get more data, which will help you make better decisions.

And of course, if you do decide to leave, it’s crucial not to be in such a rush to get out of your current job that you skimp on doing your due diligence about the new one. When you’re miserable at work, it’s very easy to grasp at the first life raft that comes along – but leaping too hastily can mean you end up somewhere else where you’re unhappy too. Taking time to be really thoughtful and deliberative about where you end up next, even if it slows down your departure a bit, will pay off in your next position.

what to do if you hate your job was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

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3 days ago
Melbourne, Australia
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3 days ago
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Rio de Janeiro, Brasil

It Came From The Search Terms: Month of May


Turbulent month, turbulent song:

And yes, it’s that time of the month, when we treat the things people typed into search engines as if they are questions they want answers to.

1 “How to handle snubs from close relatives.”

Sometimes you end up related to people you would never interact with by choice.

If you’re the one who messed things up and you know it, apologize once and then try to do better.

If you’re not the person who caused the breach, or if your apology for what you did is not accepted, stop trying so hard to make the situation better. Your effort is probably wasted, and you don’t have to keep auditioning for the approval of people who regularly show that they don’t care about you or want you around.

When you absolutely have to deal with the person, it might help to find a basic amount of polite that you can be to them suitable to the occasion. Not because they deserve it, but because it might make you feel better if you have a plan for interacting with some dignity. If it helps, imagine they are distant acquaintances, like, employees of a satellite office of your company that you run into once a year at the holiday party. In that instance you’d say “Hi, happy new year!” and then you go talk to the people you actually like and want to see.

Don’t treat the family like a monolith. Form your own relationships with the people you care about and who you want to connect with. The uncle who hates you hosts Thanksgiving every year? You do not have to go to his house and choke down his grudge-turkey, but also you don’t have to let Thanksgiving and his turf be the only time you see any of these people. He doesn’t own your grandma or your cousins or the month of November.


2 “My aunt says my partner is not welcome, what do I do?”

“Well, Aunt, we’ll be sorry to miss you. Maybe next year.” It’s okay to skip events where your partner is not welcome.

Unless your partner is some form of Nazi. In that case, I’m Team Aunt and also you should dump that Nazi dickhead.


3 “Do you have to invite adult son’s girlfriend to family parties.”

Depends. Do you want your son to come to these parties and feel happy and welcome there, or do you secretly wish he’d stay away?

Also depends – is his girlfriend a Nazi? If so, definitely don’t invite her to anything.


4 “My neighbor doesn’t respect the property line.”

You need to find someone who knows the laws where you live. That’s not me, even if you live where I live.


5 “My boyfriend tells me how to eat how to exercise.”

Did you want a free volunteer personal trainer? If so, enjoy! If not, tell him it’s none of his beeswax.


6 “What do you say to someone who is trying to set you up with someone you’re not interested in?”

“I appreciate the thought, but I’m not interested.”

“No thank you!”


7 “I’m in New Jersey when is this oak pollen going to go away for god sakes.”

I’m in Chicago and I also want to know this.


8 “Where will Harry and Meghan live?”

Google says “Nottingham Cottage” in “Kensington Palace.”


9 “Stories of sexy young girl with huge tits.”

Stories of people who are not efficient users of search engines.



10 “Boyfriend wants me to better myself.”

Did you ask him to be your amateur life coach? If not, tell him to focus on his own issues and ambitions.


11 “I don’t like my grandchild’s name.”

Learn to love it, or learn to be quiet about it, or both.



12 “Coworker dating app.”

My jerk of a brain initially read this as “Oh shit did someone make an app to try to help people date their coworkers please god no” when really the person is probably looking for “what do I do if I spot my coworker on a dating app.” Picture my entire body seizing up with revulsion for a few seconds until my brain caught up with the more likely interpretation.

My instinct is almost always to say hey, just leave the person alone, it’s not like it’s some terrible secret that you’re both on the app, and it would be pretty cool if you could give each other the gift of a bubble of privacy while you both try to do something vulnerable, especially since you work together. If they spot you as well and are interested in you, they can find a way to let you know!


13 “Husband doesn’t want me on birth control.”

If you’re a person who can get pregnant, you are the ultimate boss of whether, when, and if. No exceptions.


14 “I want to call suicide hotline but don’t know what to say.”

“Hi, I’m [Firstname] and I’m having suicidal thoughts.”

“Hi, I’m nervous about calling this hotline and I don’t know what to say.”

You won’t freak them out or get it wrong. They want you to call even if you don’t know what to say. I really hope you get what you need.


15 “When family wants you to visit but they never visit you.”

Visit them when you want to and when it makes sense for you, and if they pressure you for more visits say “I won’t make it, but you’re always welcome to visit me here! Can we put a plan together?” 


16 “jean luc picard open shirt”



Image description: Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard wearing shorts and an open shirt reading a book on a green lounge chair. First spotted on this site here.


17 “Is it rude to invite guests to someone’s house without letting them know?”

Almost certainly yes! Even if you know this person is very hospitable and wouldn’t mind extra guests, why wouldn’t you at least let them know to expect them?


18 “firthing”

Refers to the way Mr. Darcy (as played by Colin Firth in the 1990s Pride & Prejudice adaptation) treats Elizabeth Bennett when he develops a crush on her. Especially characterized by weird, intense staring bouts or standing really close to someone while studiously NOT looking at them, general glowering, and hostile non sequiturs intended to camouflage romantic interest. If unchecked, Firthing can lead to cornering one’s love interest and vomiting a bunch of feelings all over someone who didn’t even know that you liked them, or doing weird shit like showing up in the middle of the night to give them wordy letters.

Mitigating factors: A really nice house

Best avoided by: Asking the person on a date pretty soon after you know that you like them.

(Please tell me someone who knows Colin Firth reads this blog and has told him about this, it would make my year.)

NOTICE: By request, this behavior will from now on be referred to as “Darcy-ing.”













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4 days ago
Omg the notice at the end
Melbourne, Australia
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love letters as writing samples, the candidate who spoke Pirate, and other tales of amazing resumes

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A few weeks ago, I asked you about the strangest things you’ve ever seen on a resume. You shared some amazing stories — so many, in fact, that I couldn’t pick my usual 10, so here are 30 of the best.

1. “A recent applicant for an entry-level office job at the nonprofit where I work wrote in his application, ‘Just Google me.’ As if I wasn’t already going to. The candidate did not get an interview.

2. “At a previous job we received a 3-page resume that started with a list of accomplishments. One of the so-called accomplishments was ‘Met Lenny Kravitz.’ We had a laugh at that, because WTF?! It had absolutely nothing to do with the job or the industry that we were in. And, I mean, he just met the dude, he didn’t work with him or anything. That’s absolutely not an ‘accomplishment’ even if you’re trying to break into the recording business or something!

Then we got to the third page of his resume and it was just a scanned picture of him with Lenny Kravitz.

We did not move forward with his application.”

3. “A candidate listed his part in a play in the 1980s for an office job at a university. He was either in elementary or middle school then. He had no other acting or theatrical experience. I’m pretty sure it was a school play.”

4. “We interviewed a guy for a web designer’s job. His portfolio was quite good, until we came across one of our own websites in there. We asked him to explain and he said that he put it in there as an example of a well designed website. We didn’t really believe him. He didn’t get the job.”

5. “This was a position aimed at university students. A student applied, and in the application where she had to select an option, instead of using an X or check mark, she filled in the blanks with hearts.”

6. “We had someone with a languages section and they wrote ‘Pirate.’ We only called because we were desperate and his work was in line with what we needed. We made him an offer but I’m worried that might have enforced his decision here. We asked about it in the phone screen and he confirmed that it meant talking with a lot of ‘arrr’s.'”

7. “A college student applied for a summer internship by sending us copies of love letters he wrote to his high school crush as a proof of his writing skills.”

8. “I had a husband and wife apply together for one position, with a single resume. It listed degrees and experience, with dates, but did not differentiate between spouses. They were working artists and explained they preferred to share a job and decide among themselves who would show up on any given day.

They provided a link to their art portfolio. (The position I was hiring for was not art-related.) I looked and their art involved nude photos of themselves, digitally combined and altered into sort of amorphous abstracts.”

9. “A female applicant put “Bachelorette Degree” on her resume and when I called her to screen, let her know of, what I had assumed, was a typo. She assured me that she did, indeed, have a Bachelorette degree because she’s not a man. Duh.”

10. “I got a resume where instead of attaching his resume, the poor guy accidentally attached a letter from his mom telling him to get a job and stop taking money from his grandfather. He didn’t get an interview either. I still wonder if he ever stopped mooching off his grandpa.”

11. “I’ve seen quite a few resumes that list fanfic and it’s even worse when it’s fanfic for books that my company publishes. I’m in fandom and enjoy writing/reading fanfic, but no one is going to hire someone who wrote fanfic for X series to work with that author. It’s a disaster waiting to happen.

There have been a few who have linked to their fanfic and well…….I checked out of pure curiosity (none of them were invited for an interview). One was a really great author. Another had some of the more hardcore kinks fandom loves (and ones that make me uncomfortable), and I was just baffled that someone would think it’s a good idea to link to their erotica on a resume.”

12. “It was the kind of application form where you’re supposed to upload your resume as an attachment, and one candidate uploaded a Word document that contained one line: ‘Resume available upon request.'”

13. “Once received a resume that was written in the form of a recipe:

1/2 cup working with individuals on their job skills
2 tsp crisis intervention
3 cups supervising staff

That kind of thing. And there were little clip art gingerbread men all over it. And I remember the paper being pink. No actual time spent in jobs (list of jobs at the bottom), or list of skills. It was up to us to figure out what to what the different measurements equated.”

14. “One listed why he left each job. Fired, quit because the boss sucked (yes, that was a reason), but the one that stood out? Fired because he was in jail for attempted murder. Yeah… we didn’t interview him. (In the resume, he did note that he was found ‘not guilty on a technicality.’ Not that he wasn’t actually not guilty, but found not guilty due to a technicality.)”

15. “In the past few months I have seen:
– excessive use of emojis (more than 0 is excessive to me)
– put down ‘working my ass off’ as one of the bullet points for a position
– a very ‘light’ resume in the work history section, but a very detailed Karate section”

16. “When we had an open position that was half-admin-half-research-assistant, one applicant in his late twenties sent a resume that began with standard education/work history and continued on the 3rd page into a creative writing sample/series of diary entries. The entries covered every topic from a conversation with his dying grandfather, to his first sexual experience (3rd base graphically described, occurring in a back room of his parents’ church), to a very flowery description of doing drugs in a field with his best friends.

Our office came up with several theories. I half regret never reaching out to him to confirm whether this was a prank, accident, or gross misunderstanding of the job posting.”

17. “I once got someone who listed ‘World’s Best Grandson’ under awards. He was the winner in 2003, and then again from 2006-2008. I contacted him to come in for an interview (this was a part time call center job), but he didn’t answer. I was slightly disappointed, because his resume cracked me up.”

18. “I once received a resume that contained a photo of the applicant. It was a formally posed shot of him standing in front of a bookshelf holding a book and looking thoughtfully into the distance. The same resume include a series of quotes about him from people he knew (think the kind of blurbs you find on book jackets). Unfortunately for him, I knew some of them as well and they confirmed they hadn’t either said those things or given him permission to use their names in his resume.”

19. “I once received a resume that was fairly normal, along with a cover letter that was written as a ransom note (all the letters and words cut out of different magazines). I think the intent was to show creativity and humor, but it actually just felt a little creepy. No interview.”

20. “The strangest was a resume started off with the usual stuff like name address, etc. Then he states male with defined brown beard with a few gray hairs. The resume then continued on like a normal resume. If it wasn’t for that line he totally would have gotten an interview.”

21. “Instead of stating I was a stay at home mom and now I’m returning to work one woman listed it as a job. But also listed it as if she was talking to a 4-year-old. Something like this:
The Smith Household
1/1/13 to forever
Mommy to the best children in the world
*care for two amazing kids I love so much
*pay household bills for my wonderful family
*grocery shop to provide for my loves”

22. “I will never forget the time we were hiring for a research assistant and indicated a preference for bilingual English/Spanish speakers. One applicant’s cover letter included: ‘I’m not bilingual or bisexual (that I know of).'”

23. “I hired for >15 years for professional healthcare positions. Some of the memorable ones:

– Honorable mention certificate from a high school science fair
– 3rd place finish in a karate tournament in 7th grade
– Bikini photo of candidate
– Photo of candidate posing with firearm
– Photo of applicant posing in a bar saluting with a neon-blue cocktail while wearing a stethescope around her neck
– Related: doc who had IN VITO VERITAS as the actual header on his resume (like, I’m an enophile too, but unless you’re applying for a job in the beverage industry, THAT’S NOT RELEVANT.)”

24. “I received a two page resume where the first page listed the applicant’s interpersonal skills. In bullet points. The second page had a ‘Work’ heading, with the note that they would be happy to discuss their professional experience during their interview…but that they were not going to provide any info on their experience beforehand

25. “I had an applicant give me his entire budget … down to his electric bill and Netflix account, including a line item for the amount he would need ‘to take my girlfriend out to dinner now and again’ when asked for his salary requirements.”

26. “For a professional position in management an applicant sent a resume that was around 9 pages in length. The length was bad enough but the last several pages were detailed lists of his children’s accomplishments from middle school up until college (recent). Apparently he thought that demonstrating that he could rear productive and accomplished children said a lot about his management skills.”

27. “We recently had an applicant who didn’t even send a resume. Instead he attached a headshot and an invoice from a recent eye doctor appointment. Needless to say he did not receive the position.”

28. “The person who treated her resume like a wedding invitation. The resume itself had been printed on a pearlescent cardstock, with the applicant’s initials set as a watermark in the background in a fancy script. That same watermark was printed on a piece of (synthetic) vellum laid overtop the resume, for which purpose I’m still unclear. It also came with a reply card using the same paper finishes / watermarks / font style. Where the rest of the resume was obviously reaching for some sort of matrimonial elegance, the reply card ended with what I assume was a tongue-in-cheek joke but landed super flat. The options on the reply card were ‘Yes, we’d love to interview you and will be in touch!’, ‘No, but I’ll pass along your resume to a colleague who may be interested,’ and my favourite, ”NO, and don’t ever apply here again!’ My boss at the time was like, ‘Can I add a fourth option that says “This is a deeply inappropriate way to format your application”?'”

29. “I think the oddest I’ve seen to date, was a resume cover letter that included a picture of the applicant doing the 70’s action hero slide across the hood of a car.”

30. And from way back in 2014, because it needs to be included every time this topic comes up:

“The candidate who listed ‘Birthed four children vaginally with no anaesthetic’ under ‘Other Experience.'”

love letters as writing samples, the candidate who spoke Pirate, and other tales of amazing resumes was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

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15 days ago
Melbourne, Australia
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my dad is dating my boss, and they want me to go to couples therapy with them

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A reader writes:

My dad started dating this woman (Jill) about two years ago, after he and my stepmom amicably divorced. As this was going on, I graduated from grad school, ended my student internship, and started looking for jobs. In six months, I applied to 275 jobs and didn’t get a single interview. I was desperate for work when my dad said Jill needed a new executive assistant. Jill is the chair of a nonprofit, and the job came with a good salary and a lot new responsibilities. I had an interview and was offered the job right away.

Immediately, things were much worse than I expected:

• She tells me when to start working either late at night or in the morning. My hours aren’t terribly long, but it is impossible to schedule anything since I don’t know my schedule in advance, and my health and self-care have taken a beating. I don’t have set hours, so she calls and texts at any time, and I never know when I’m done for the day.

• One of my main roles is to work on her book, a memoir about the struggles of being a minority and a woman. My dad, a white man, is writing the entire thing secretly; she hasn’t told her publisher that a ghostwriter is involved, and he is getting no compensation or recognition as she goes around telling everyone that she’s the only woman of this ethnic group to write a book on the subject.

• When I ask clarifying questions, she belittles me (“That’s common sense” or “You know as much as I do”).

• She’s rude and cruel to me in front of others at meetings, events, and on conference calls. Once when I said the way she was talking to me was making me flustered, she yelled that this is how she manages people, that I perceive things the wrong way, and that it’s a problem with me.

• She is always coming up with elaborate rumors about our out-of-state staff. She often says that her former assistant had brain damage; her reasoning was that she was born premature and therefore must have brain damage and be “mentally handicapped.” So-and-so is obese because her kid died and now she’s too emotionally unstable to work. So-and-so must be crazy because he chose to serve on a submarine while in the Navy.

• She doesn’t do anything herself because she doesn’t know how to use Word. She makes me come to her house to print things because she doesn’t want to open them on her computer. I write columns under her name, and then we go through upwards of six drafts as she makes minuscule tweaks, forgets she made those tweaks, and changes them back to the original, all while criticizing me for not making any sense.

• She volunteered to watch her infant granddaughter twice a week, but she started leaving the baby with me while she goes to her law office. I don’t get paid extra for this; she says that would be unfair to the organization.

We go through cycles where I think everything is fine, and then I get yelled at about something small that I didn’t realize was an issue. Every time there’s some sort of problem, I try to change what I do, only to have a new problem spring up that was never an issue before. My job has become one big game of whack-a-mole that I’m being forced to play when I really just want to focus on the mountain of tasks I’ve been assigned. She wants me to be just a personal assistant, but the job responsibilities I have are a lot bigger than that (helping to plan large events and writing for our publications), and tending to her has become a distraction from my work, which I know bothers her. I try to be polite and helpful, but I have so much stuff to do that it’s hard to remind her to respond to emails, especially when usually she snaps that I should know how to respond myself, even when she needs to review things to give the final okay.

She’s also always brought my dad into things. When I first started, she’d say she cared more about me being her assistant than dating my dad, and that if she needed to devote more time to making our work relationship better, she’d end things with my dad. I was constantly terrified of doing something that would make her dump my father. In the months since, my dad has moved in, and they started seeing a couples counselor (Jill constantly threatens to end their relationship).

Last week, I forgot to do something, she reminded me, and I quickly did the task. Hours later at 11 p.m., she accused me of not doing it and started sending me long, mean texts saying, “This is becoming a problem with you,” etc. When I said I had done the task, she said she shouldn’t have had to remind me. I thought I’d just ride the storm out. Everything I said was met with a different criticism, I wasn’t sure what to do, it was late, and this wasn’t productive, so I didn’t respond to her last text (which hadn’t asked anything of me). Soon after, my dad called to say that Jill had yelled at him for half an hour about distracting me from my work. The next day, they went on a weeklong vacation to Mexico, where she had sporadic internet access. She barely emailed me the entire time, leaving me to work on her book.

Yesterday, my father started giving me job advice: morning check-ins and updates with Jill, etc. — things I do every day and have been doing for the past 10 months. Then he said, “Would you be open to seeing our family therapist with us to help with your job?” I told him there was no way I was going to do that. I was really upset afterwards that he would try to put me in that position where they would gang up on me in their therapist’s office, especially when he knows I’ve started seeking out other jobs.

This morning, she told me to come over at 8:30 a.m. When I got there, she and my dad sat opposite me and spent 45 minutes scolding me, citing “complaints” by the out-of-state employees with whom I have great relationships and get along very well. Then she said that the only solution she can think of to deal with my communication problems is for me to join her and my father at their couples therapist. She said I hadn’t forgotten to do the task from the week before and that it was a deeper issue. I was literally cornered in her living room, and I could see from my heart rate monitor that I was at 115 bpm, frantically trying not to hyperventilate. When I said I thought it was inappropriate to go see a therapist with my boss and my dad, she said she would write it into my job requirement or put me on probation. She’s given me two days to agree to therapy or write a list of all the reasons I won’t go with them and what I’ll do to change my behavior. I seriously suspect she has narcissistic personality disorder, and I know from experience that she doesn’t respond well when I try to explain myself or disagree with her.

I’ve been depressed for months, but I’ve reached a new level of desperation. I would work anywhere else — I would do anything else. I’ve been applying to jobs for a couple weeks now, and I would be thrilled to wait tables while continuing my job hunt. My mom says that I won’t be able to get a good job if I’ve quit a job after less than a year and start doing something that isn’t on a larger career path, but all of my friends my age say that my health is more important. I feel so confused, gaslighted, abused — and then I feel like maybe I’m just being a millenial and don’t have what it takes to be successful. Am I just a bad employee? I probably don’t have the best personality for a personal assistant, but I try to work hard, keep organized and professional, and board members go out of their way to compliment me when we’re at meetings and events. Since getting this job, I never complained to my father about his girlfriend or brought her up, but Jill is constantly blurring the boundaries by asking about extremely personal things during work and bringing up work when we’re celebrating holidays and birthdays.

I am miserable and feel so trapped and confused. Is all this normal?! I have so many mixed signals about every aspect of my job, and this situation is taking over my life. What do I do when I have to give my answer to the ultimatum?

Let me say this very, very clearly: Jill and your dad are the problems here, not you.

This is a horrible, toxic, dysfunctional brew of a work situation, and not because of you.

Jill is a terrible boss, has wildly unreasonable and unrealistic expectations of you, is asking you to do things far outside the scope of what is okay to ask, and is behaving like an asshole. More specifically:

It’s not okay to give someone no set hours and just expect them to start working late at night or early in the morning with no notice, and then get angry if they’re not responsive.

It’s not okay to belittle anyone, and particularly not okay to belittle people one has power over.

It’s not okay to expect you to regularly babysit an infant — without pay! — as part of an office job and without your enthusiastic consent.

Her propensity to lie and gossip unkindly about people who work for her — and about their hardships, in particular — is, frankly, disgusting.

And it is insanely inappropriate for Jill and your dad to ask you to attend couples counseling. Insanely. And that’s before we even get into Jill’s ludicrous threat to make it a job requirement or put you on probation over it. This is liver boss / chemo boss / leave-a-work-note-at-a-grave boss level of insanity and inappropriateness.

On top of all that, Jill also sounds incompetent … and it says something that that’s the least of the problems here.

As for the immediate problem of the therapy ultimatum … If the organization has 25+ employees, it’s covered by the ADA, and thus Jill probably can’t legally order you to attend therapy. But she sounds horrible enough that she might not care if you point out that it’s illegal. If the organization is smaller than 25 people and/or she doesn’t care about the law, then try saying this to her: “If there are issues with my work performance, let’s discuss those. But I’m not attending therapy with you or my father. That’s inappropriate for a work relationship, and it’s not something I’m going to do.” If she pushes, say, “This isn’t something I’m going to continue to discuss.”

More importantly, though: please please please take any other job you can get right now so that you can quit this one.

This situation is bad enough that it might even make sense to quit now, without another job lined up, if you can afford to. But if you can’t — and there’s no shame in it if you can’t — then for whatever remaining period of time you’re stuck there, make a point of emotionally disengaging from the work. Go through the motions and do the bare minimum you need to do to keep a paycheck coming in, but don’t emotionally invest in the work or Jill’s expectations or Jill’s feedback.

Tell her you’re not longer available for babysitting, too. Use the words “I’m not comfortable being left in charge of an infant and will no longer be able to watch her for you. I need to stick to the work I was hired to do.”

And please know that your mom is wrong that you won’t be able to get a good job if you quit this one. One seven-month stay will not be a big deal. It’s a pattern of short-term stays that’s a problem, not one of them. And if interviewers ask why you left this job, you can say, “My boss started dating my father, and it became too awkward to stay there.” Believe me, everyone will understand that. You will receive sympathy gasps.

Last, no matter what else you do, stop being terrified that you’ll do something that will make Jill dump your dad. Frankly, it might be a better outcome for everyone if she does because she is horrid — but either way, their relationship is not your responsibility. It never was, but your dad forfeited burned to ashes any claim to consideration in that realm when he became an accessory to Jill’s mistreatment of you.

my dad is dating my boss, and they want me to go to couples therapy with them was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

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16 days ago
Melbourne, Australia
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16 days ago
>>> way worse than it sounds
Rio de Janeiro, Brasil

Amazon threatens to suspend Signal's AWS account over censorship circumvention

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Last week, we received the following email from Amazon:


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23 days ago
Melbourne, Australia
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23 days ago
22 days ago
I don't really think amazon is wrong here. Which really sucks. But being right on a detail but wrong in spirit is kind of capitalism in a nutshell
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