Shared posts

14 Feb 17:33

The Sleep Blanket

by Jason Kottke
Anne Griffin

Amazing. The link to best data visualizations is also worth the click through for sure

Over a period of three months, Seung Lee knit a blanket showing a visualization of his infant son’s sleep patterns from birth to his first birthday.

Sleep Blanket

The sleep data was collected with the BabyConnect app which lets you export to CSV. The CSVs were filtered and converted into JSON (using Google Apps Script and Python) which could then be used for visualization and tracking.

Brilliant. This deservedly made Flowing Data’s list of the Best Data Visualization Projects of 2019. See also Global Warming Blankets and this train delay scarf.

Tags: design   infoviz   Seung Lee
23 Dec 21:27

The Most Popular Recipes of the Year

by Sam Sifton
Anne Griffin

I was excited about this until I realized that the Times publishes what, 3 new recipes per week? So it’s not exactly the winnowing down I would have hoped for... any favorite new recipes of the year, TOR friends?

The ultimate 2019 recipe list, with weeknight chicken and pork chops rising to the top of the list.
23 Dec 01:52

Genius Baker Cuts Heads Off of Angel Cookies to Create Baby Yoda Cookies

by Naomi Tomky
Anne Griffin

Brb doing this

It's a holiday miracle! READ MORE...
13 Dec 17:45

I don’t want to work with my estranged father, changing in front of coworkers at the gym, and more

by Ask a Manager
Anne Griffin

How on earth does 2-3 day’s of stopping by to feed a cat run >$200?!? Use an automated feeder for goodness sake!

(When I travel I have someone check on Simon every other day for changing water, litter, and wet food as well as playtime/company and use an automated dispenser for his dry food. It’s like $15 per visit?)

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

1. My amazing new job has a catch: my father

I just started a new job at what appears to be a great company. On my first day, I learned that my new company is owned by the company my father works for. I also learned that interaction between the companies is expected to increase, and while it’s not probable, it’s possible that I could end up working with my father. At least one of the higher-up members in my division even knows him. (Aside: this company definitely has no concerns about relatives working together.)

The problem is that my father and I have not spoken for three years. I might be able to have a very distant professional relationship with him, but, to be frank, almost any interaction at all would make me want to quit. 

It’s known that my father works for the parent company, but no one knows that we have had an intense falling out. Should I mention this to my team lead? I’d obviously couch it in professional verbiage, a la “My father works for [parent company], but we do not get along. If at all possible, I’d prefer that any work that might involve him or his team be delegated to someone else.”

This is literally my second day on the job, and I’m worried about coming across as full of drama. I’m also worried that even though it was my father who disowned me, my reporting our soured relationship will make me look bad, but I specifically want them to know that this goes beyond the potential awkwardness of working with family so that they never intentionally put us together. And, finally, I’m so new to the company that I have no metric with which to gauge how reactions to this information would go.

Yes, mention it to your manager. Your wording is good, but I’d tweak it to this: “I hadn’t realized the extent to which [this company] works with [parent company], but now that I do, I feel I should let you know that my father works for [parent company] and we’ve been estranged for several years. I wouldn’t want that to cause any awkwardness in a work context, so I’m hoping that if we ever have work that might involve him or his team, it could be assigned to someone else.”

Companies generally don’t want to invite family drama into their work, and it’s pretty likely that if there’s a way to keep you from having to work with your dad, they’ll try to accommodate that. (There might not be, of course, but it’s a reasonable thing to flag.) You’re not going to come across as full as drama as long as you don’t … come across as full of drama. In other words, if you conduct yourself professionally and maturely (as opposed to, say, complaining about him all the time, sobbing in meetings when his company name is mentioned, etc.), that’s not going to be outweighed by having a difficult family connection.

And remember, lots of people have tough family dynamics. You’re not weird or dramatic for having one too.

2. Locker room etiquette when your gym is full of coworkers

My office recently added some cool new perks on top of our employee benefits. My favorite? They’re now offering anyone who wants it a free membership to the gym right across the street from our office. It’s been hard for me to work out previously because of my commute, so I’ve been taking full advantage of this perk since it took effect a couple months ago. Lots of my other coworkers have jumped on this perk as well, and I’ll run into them at the gym frequently. Overall, it’s been positive, but there’s one thing I don’t know how to handle — the locker rooms.

I’m pretty comfortable in my body, and I’m not that awkward about changing in your standard locker room full of strangers. But the prospect of a coworker — or worse, my boss — walking in on me changing has me feeling incredibly awkward. So far, I haven’t been seen by my coworkers while changing and haven’t walked in on anyone else from my office, but I know it’s only a matter of time. This is a situation I’ve never encountered before — I didn’t know anyone who worked out at my previous gyms. What should I do if I run into a coworker in the locker room while one or both of us are in various states of undress? Should I just change in the toilet stalls to avoid anyone seeing me? I might be making a bigger deal of this in my head than it actually is, but it has me feeling really uncomfortable.

It’s pretty much the same locker room code as always: There’s a collective agreement to ignore everyone else’s nudity.

The last time this came up, a commenter offered this, which I really liked:

“I think there’s a big difference between functional nudity and casual nudity at the gym. Functional = in order to change, I have to take off my clothes. I am no longer 12 and trying to hide my body at all costs, so if someone glances over at me while I am changing, they will see me naked. Casual nudity = I am wandering around naked, blow drying my hair naked, etc. This is fine generally in a locker room, but is best to avoid at a work gym. Though I would totally blow dry my hair wearing a bra and not a shirt to avoid getting hot/sweaty.”

In other words, make any nudity fairly quick. Don’t linger.

But it’s also completely fine to decide you’re just not comfortable with locker room nudity around coworkers at all and change in a stall. There’s no shame in that; you’re not being weirdly prudish if you got that route.

3. Why don’t companies reimburse for pet and child care when you’re traveling for work?

I travel for work approximately once a month. Often it is just an overnight trip, but frequently enough it is for two to three nights. I live alone and have two cats in one of the most expensive cities in the country. Having someone stop by to feed them often runs me upwards of $200 for the multi-night trips. I recently asked my boss if this was something I could expense (a past boss at the same company let me do this for a week-long trip out of the country), and I was turned down on the account of “then people would want to expense child care.” My thought is, this is an expense I am incurring due to a mandatory work trip, so I should be compensated. If a colleague was incurring childcare expenses they don’t usually incur due to a work trip, that should be compensated as well. We shouldn’t be losing money by going on work-required trips, right? Or am I wrong, because I agreed to a certain amount of travel when accepting the job? (And yes, I try to have friends stop by to feed them, but there’s only so much you can put your friends out!)

There are some companies that will reimburse for pet care or child care when you travel, but (a) they’re much more the exception than the rule and (b) even then, it’s often a small yearly limit that doesn’t cover the full costs. More typically, companies just don’t cover it. But you’re right that in general you shouldn’t have to lose money when you go on work trips, so I can’t make a logical case for why this is; it seems to just be convention.

Generally the expectation is that if you’re taking a job that involves travel, you’ll factor that into your salary negotiations and ask for a salary that allows you to do the travel comfortably (both in terms of not taking a loss on things like this, and in terms of compensating you for the quality-of-life impacts of business travel). But that’s not the entire explanation for why we do it this way, since that doesn’t cover people who just get sent on a trip once or twice a year without it being a thing they explicitly signed up for.

One situation where you can sometimes get an exception made is when you’re doing the travel as a favor to the company — like they need someone to go at the last minute, or it’s a hardship trip that you could say no to, etc. In those cases, you often have more leverage to say, “Well, I could do it but I’d incur $X in pet-sitting — if you could help with that, I could say yes.” The rest of the time, though, it’s mostly seen as a personal expense rather than a business one.

4. Explaining I’m leaving because of looming layoffs

About 18 months ago, I took on a great job. I have enjoyed the work and feel like it’s putting my career in the right direction. I got a great performance review and have a good reputation in the company. Recently, it was announced that our company will be acquired by another. Over the next few months (and years), we will be having significant layoffs. While it’s possible my job will survive, my lack of tenure at the company and fear of getting laid off has me looking for other jobs. I want to use my success at my current job to help me get my next job. How can I explain why I want to leave without looking like I am being forced out or that I am afraid of change? I don’t want to seem like I’m not adaptable in today’s environment where layoffs are the norm.

“We’ve been acquired by another company and expect to have significant layoffs in the next year. I’ve enjoyed the work there, but am looking for stability.”

Interviewers hear this kind of thing all the time and it won’t raise any eyebrows. Also, wanting to avoid an involuntary layoff doesn’t mean you’re afraid of change or not adaptable! It means you’re making sensible and understandable decisions for yourself.

5. How do I describe subcontracting work on my resume?

I’m trying to build a resume after having freelanced for the majority of my career, and I’m at a loss as to how to describe my experience. Say Big Llama Inc. and Llama Co. both have ongoing relationships to hire Small Farmers to handle their llama production, and Small Farmers hires me to handle grooming. I could say I worked with Small Farmers, but that would look essentially meaningless (no one outside the industry would have any idea what Small Farmers did or that the big companies outsource their work — plus, I’m not their employee, they just happen to be my only client). I want to say that I have worked on projects for Big Llama and Llama Co., which is true, but they never hired me personally, nor do I have any relationships with them, only through Small Farmers. I don’t want to be misleading! What’s the best way to describe this?

Like this:

Llama Groomer — contracted via Small Farmers
Jan. 2015 – September 2018
* Groomed llamas for Big Llama Inc. and Llama Co
* Cleared four-month grooming backlog for Big Llama Inc. in three weeks
* Increased llama satisfaction surveys for Llama Co from 64% “highly satisfied” to 91% “highly satisfied” over six months
* Another accomplishment
* Another accomplishment

I don’t want to work with my estranged father, changing in front of coworkers at the gym, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

04 Dec 20:25

Snowbrawl

by Jason Kottke
Anne Griffin

Ok this was super fun.

Also: uncredited co-director? What?

Snowbrawl is a fun short film of a children’s snowball fight shot as if it were a John Wick or Mission Impossible action sequence. David Leitch, the uncredited co-director of John Wick and director of Deadpool 2, shot the whole thing for Apple on an iPhone 11 Pro.

Tags: advertising   Apple   David Leitch   telephony   video
04 Dec 03:56

How Jell-O Molds Claimed Their Spot on the American Table

by Julia Moskin
Anne Griffin

This article made me REALLY want to make a Jello mold...

All aquiver for the holidays, festive molds and gelatin salads are a Thanksgiving staple with deep origins.
04 Dec 03:50

5 Thanksgiving Vegetables You Can Cook in a Butter Bath

by Meghan Splawn
Anne Griffin

Has anyone tried this technique? It sounds DELICIOUS

The smartest, easiest way to have not-boring boiled vegetables. READ MORE...
04 Dec 02:08

The 50 Best Nonfiction Books from the Past 25 Years

by Jason Kottke
Anne Griffin

Ooh, lots to bookmark here! I recently downloaded Overdrive to borrow library ebooks on my phone and this will help. (Also I have only read 5 of the 50, yikes!)

Slate recently compiled a list of the 50 best nonfiction books published in the past 25 years and it could not possibly be more up my alley. Let’s take a look at some of the books on the list:

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. “Through his reporting of McCandless’ passionate and foolhardy journey into transcendence — and writing about his own, similar youthful experiences — Krakauer explores our modern relationship to the wilderness and the deep desire many young people feel to seek out unthinkable danger.”

A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace. “His editors at Harper’s sent him to a state fair and on a holiday cruise, pastimes whose reputations for carefree, middle American fun seemed hopelessly alien to Wallace himself, a hyperactive observational machine desperate to shed his own self-consciousness but incapable of doing so.” A personal favorite of mine, my book-length introduction to Wallace.

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers. I loved this when it came out. I wonder how it holds up…

The Night of the Gun by David Carr. “In 2008, David Carr had been a respected New York Timesman for years, the paper’s media reporter and a beloved mentor of countless young journalists. But two decades before that, Carr was a junkie — a crack addict who washed out of journalism jobs, who was rung up by the Minneapolis cops nine times, and whose twin daughters were born 2 1/2 months premature to a mother who’d smoked crack the night before their delivery.”

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson. A wonderful masterful book, one of my all-time favorites.

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan. “Barbarian Days is a masterpiece of sports writing, focusing its lens on the smallest unit of both athletic and artistic achievement: the single human body, attempting to do something difficult and beautiful.”

I’ve read fewer of the listed books than I would have thought. Time to remedy that.

Tags: best of   books   lists
19 Nov 18:36

my coworker wants “pawternity” leave

by Ask a Manager
Anne Griffin

Both these people are weird and obnoxious!

A reader writes:

I’m a middle-aged woman who works in an office with other women in the same age range as myself. Half of our office are parents, the other half are not. One of my coworkers is fairly open about being and remaining child-free. She’s spoken about donating to abortion access funds, and in her personal life has counseled younger women who are on the fence about children to delay or remain child-free. I didn’t feel she was obnoxious about her child-free preference until this past Mother’s Day when she grew upset over no one wishing her a “happy Mother’s Day” because she’s a dog-mom and lashed out at another parent who tried tried to explain the difference.

Lately she’s been vocal about wanting “pawternity” leave for her new puppy. I smiled, nodded and reminded her that new parents in our company need to use our vacation and sick banks to have any substantial time at home with our newborns. I encouraged her to use vacation time and stay home for a few days.

That was the wrong thing to say. Members of her clique have admonished me, saying that I hurt her feelings and her desire to spend time with a loved one is as valid as my desire to spend time with my kid. I agree! I only asked that she not use the term “pawternity.” Even though the term is playful, I feel that it undermines the maternity/paternity leave argument, similar to the argument “teachers get summers off.”

On the whole, our office divides work fairly. No one works overtime except in project-specific instances. Managers rotate who covers responsibilities of individuals who are out, but even then it’s usually to check that the workload is manageable. When staff have competing out-of-office needs, managers work with other departments to bring in coverage rather than tell the individuals “No.”

I feel cowed by her and her clique now, to the point that I don’t even want to interact with them. Was I wrong to ask her not use the phrase “pawternity”? Moreover, how can I convey my hurt over her continual cavalier attitude toward parenthood without jeopardizing our working relationship?

She is being silly, but you are getting too invested in setting her straight.

She’s allowed to have a cavalier attitude toward parenthood. You don’t need to convey your hurt about that; you can privately think she’s being obnoxious about it, but there’s no need to hash it out with her.

If she had a track record of respectful dialogue, perhaps that could be an interesting conversation, but given what you already know about her, there’s no point. And really, she’s just a coworker. This isn’t your mom or your spouse or someone whose opinions you need to care much about at all.

And if she wants to talk about “pawternity” leave, let her. It’s not going to undermine maternity or paternity leave. Most people are clear on the differing needs of human and canine dependents. The only thing she’s going to undermine is her own professional reputation if she tries to argue they’re the same.

You have a weird coworker! She lashes out at people who don’t wish her a Happy Mother’s Day because she has a dog! Let her be your weird coworker and don’t get invested.

my coworker wants “pawternity” leave was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

15 Nov 22:03

We’re Obsessed With This Chic Cookware Launch — & You Will Be Too

by Elizabeth Buxton

Sexy and cookware aren’t terms we’re apt to pair, but a new brand just seamlessly melded the two together in a majorly accessible way. Direct-to-consumer home brand, Caraway, launched today with its first collection of affordably packaged and stylish cookware — and we got a first-person glimpse of its IRL appeal.

Pre-launch we met with the brand’s co-founder, Jordan Nathan, who walked us through each of the essential bundles — which, even when laid out in the small start-up’s temporary office space, looked vibrant, streamlined, and chic. Priced at $395 (aka the total cost of one Le Creuset), the sets include everything from a fry-pan to a saucepan, dutch oven, sauté pan, and three matching lids. The Caraway team explained that all of the cookware is eco-friendly, thoughtfully crafted from sleek non-toxic and non-stick materials. The ceramic goods are available in five separate color options that aren’t commonly seen across the current cookware scene — perracotta (pink terracotta), sage, cream, navy, or gray — making kitchen clutter look like chic decor. Oh, and did we mention that each set also includes four magnetic pan racks and a canvas lid-holder with cabinet hooks to streamline your kitchen Martha-Stewart-style? We were ready to run out of there with the canvas hanging organizer alone. Genius.

Distinctly separate scenarios used come to mind when we thought of pots and pans: questionably rusted hand-me-downs clunking around in our cabinets OR a streamlined stainless-steel rack glistening from the pristine heights of Martha Stewart’s kitchen. But, that’s where Caraway shook things up for those of us who believed our tiny spaces (and budgets) could never own a full, let alone matching, set of cookware. These clever bundles are ideal investments for starter apartments, second homes, or anyone in need of a stylish and easy kitchen upgrade — and we’re calling this new venture one to watch.

At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?

28 Oct 20:11

Drag Performer Jaremi Carey Cosplays New Harry Potter Character Each Day in October

by Jason Kottke
Anne Griffin

This is really fun! I think my favorites are Umbridge, Skeeter, Tonks and Narcissa Malfoy- they’re not the most technically advanced (no prosthetics, not a lot of contouring, etc) but they look the most like the original characters to me. Narcissa in particular is a dead ringer.

Jaremi Carey Potter

Jaremi Carey Potter

Jaremi Carey Potter

For his project 31 Days of Wizardry, Jaremi Carey has been dressing up as a different Harry Potter character each day in October and posting the results to his Instagram. These are great. Strong Cindy Sherman vibes when you view them all together. And his Dobby! He’s only done one of the main characters so far though (Hermione on polyjuice)…perhaps he’s saving Dumbledore, Harry, Ron, and Voldemort for the final days?

Carey previously did a similar 365 Days of Drag project in 2016. (via @rel_games)

Tags: Harry Potter   Jaremi Carey   movies   photography
21 Oct 15:57

RARE AYE-AYE BORN AT THE DUKE LEMUR CENTER

by Andrew Bleiman
Anne Griffin

Horror movie inspiration. One of the few non cute baby animals

EDSHPDSC6945Photos 1, 3, and 4 by David Haring. Photo 2 by Sara Clark.

Meet Melisandre, a rare baby aye-aye born at the Duke Lemur Center on August 13, 2019!

The daughter of 23-year-old Ardrey and 9-year-old Grendel, “Mel” is one of nine aye-ayes at the DLC and one of only 25 of her kind in the United States. She is Ardrey’s sixth infant and Grendel’s first.

Melisandra weighed 81 grams on her first weighing on August 14. Although her birthweight was lower than average, Mel’s keeper, Matt Cuskelly, observed that despite her small size she seemed bright, alert, and strong.

Ardrey is an experienced, attentive mother who spends most of her time inside her nest with her infant. And Melisandre is thriving: By August 16, she’d grown to 98 grams; and on August 27, she tipped the scales at 210 grams. (Way to go, Ardrey!)

SMALL-FILE-Ardrey-infant-weighing-08-26-19-FAVORITE-1024x683
SMALL-FILE-Ardrey-infant-weighing-08-26-19-FAVORITE-1024x683
SMALL-FILE-Ardrey-infant-weighing-08-26-19-FAVORITE-1024x683

Nocturnal primates with bushy tails and bony middle fingers, aye-ayes are endangered on their native island of Madagascar, where logging, slash-and-burn agriculture, and hunting are suspected to have cut their numbers in half in recent decades.

Some villagers in Madagascar believe these lemurs are evil omens and can curse a person by pointing their middle fingers at them; hence many aye-ayes are killed on sight.

In reality, says DLC curator Cathy Williams, the aye-aye is one of the gentlest lemur species. “They’re not at all aggressive, they’re extremely curious and energetic and they’re very intelligent — they learn very quickly.”

Melisandre’s parents Ardrey and Grendel were deemed a good genetic match by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan. Her grandparents — Morticia and Poe (Ardrey) and Endora and Nosferatu (Grendel) — are the first aye-ayes ever imported to the United States.

When Poe and Nosferatu arrived at Duke from Madagascar in 1987, they represented the only aye-ayes in the world within human care. Morticia and Endora arrived in 1991.

Today, all but one of the aye-ayes in North America — as well as others overseas in London, Frankfurt, Bristol, and the Jersey Channel Islands — are descendants of these eight founders.

Melisandre will stay with Ardrey for two to three years while she learns how to forage for food, build a nest and other aye-aye survival skills.

Visitors won’t be able to see the new infant, but they can see her 36-year-old grandmother, Endora. Just be sure to book a tour before visiting.

In the meantime, the Duke Lemur Center works diligently to maintain a genetic safety net for aye-ayes in the wild. Together, aye-ayes at the DLC and other institutions worldwide form a genetic safety net for their species, and each new birth helps sustain a healthy and genetically diverse population of aye-ayes for the long-term future.

If you want to learn more about aye-ayes AND help support their care and conservation, please consider symbolically adopting Agatha, an aye-aye born at the DLC in 2017, through the DLC’s Adopt a Lemur Program! Your adoption goes toward the $8,400 per year cost it takes to care for each lemur at the DLC, as well as aiding our conservation efforts in Madagascar. You’ll also receive quarterly updates and photos, making this a fun, educational gift that keeps giving all year long! Please visit our Adopt a Lemur homepage to learn more.

To learn more about the DLC’s aye-ayes, visit our Meet the Lemurs webpage.

VIDEO! To watch a video of Melisandre taken on September 19, please click here or on the screenshot below to be redirected to the DLC’s YouTube channel. We love her bright, beautiful eyes!

 

08 Oct 15:21

Christopher Walken Can Dance

by Jason Kottke
Anne Griffin

This was a very enjoyable way to spend 4 minutes

This is an older clip so maybe you’ve seen it before, but if you need something a little bit fun & joyful today, you can’t do much better than this video of Christopher Walken dancing in dozens of his movies, edited together to C+C Music Factory’s “Gonna Make You Sweat”.

Walken is, of course, a wonderful dancer…a throwback to the “Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, dance on air” era of the 30s, 40s, and 50s. See also Walken dancing in Spike Jonze’s video for Fatboy Slim’s Weapon of Choice.

Tags: Christopher Walken   dance   movies   music   remix   video
07 Oct 03:17

The Finalists for the 2019 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

by Jason Kottke
Anne Griffin

Omg the rhinoceros one

The internet is 97% hilarious animals and today we have the best of the best. The finalists for the 2019 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards have been announced. Among them are this well-timed shot of a bird who’s really hauling:

Comedy Wildlife 2019

A small chimp kicking back at his desk after a hard day at work:

Comedy Wildlife 2019

And then there’s this dramatic fellow:

Comedy Wildlife 2019

You can check out the rest of the finalists on the website. (via digg)

Update: See also this enraptured squirrel smelling a yellow flower.

Tags: best of   best of 2019   photography
07 Oct 03:16

The Songs of 1979

by Jason Kottke
Anne Griffin

Finally got around to listening to this and it is super enjoyable! It has a bit of a Girl Talk vibe to me but maybe that’s only because that’s the last time I listened to mashups? #ifeelold

Chicago mashup masters The Hood Internet have been pretty quiet lately — their last mixtape was released more than two years ago. But in the west, a shadow stirs… In the same vein as their 40 Years of Hip Hop video, the duo has released a musical tribute to 1979, combining 50 songs released that year into a tight 3-minute mix.

Their plan is to release a new video each week in October that will cover the subsequent four years, 1980-1983.

Update: Here is their video for 1980. I’ll share the rest of them as they post.

Tags: music   remix   The Hood Internet   video
07 Oct 03:15

Have a Lovely Weekend.

by Joanna Goddard
Anne Griffin

Click thru to the poll: you can insert the word “fucking” into the poem “This is just to say” exactly once. Where do you put it?

San Francisco dog

What are you up to this weekend? We are having friends over tonight for a taco bar. Alex is making most of it, while I’m in charge of the guacamole.… Read more

The post Have a Lovely Weekend. appeared first on A Cup of Jo.

27 Sep 18:21

‘I’ve Been Dishonored’: French Chef Sues Michelin Guide Over Lost Star

by Aurelien Breeden
Anne Griffin

This is in Talloires! (I have not been.) also on losing the star, he says: “I feel like my parents have died a second time” 😱

Marc Veyrat is disputing the downgrade of La Maison des Bois, his restaurant in the French Alps, which lost the guide’s maximum three-star rating.
27 Sep 17:58

Where to Eat and Drink in Boston: A Local's Guide

by Amy Traverso
Anne Griffin

Thoughts on this list?
Off the bat: I would put ICOB above Row 34 and Union Oyster House. Orfano just opened and seems way too early to be on a “cant miss.” Love that Sofra made it. Just got to celeste and it was amazing.


Boston-based food writer Amy Traverso on 10 can't-miss restaurants and bars in Boston, MA. Read More
27 Sep 03:28

Graffiti That Helps You See Through Walls

by Jason Kottke
Anne Griffin

Whooaaaaahhh

For some of his latest street art, Portuguese graffiti artist Vile has been creating optical illusions of his name “cut” into the walls of buildings.

Vile graffiti

That’s just spray paint he’s using…that effect is quite good, no? Here’s another one:

Vile graffiti

And here’s how that wall looked before:

Vile graffiti

You can see Vile’s most recent work on Instagram.

Tags: art   graffiti   Vile
23 Sep 15:30

coworker tells me to order more food “for the men,” my email will display a name I don’t go by, and more

by Ask a Manager
Anne Griffin

Guesses on the name of #2? I’m thinking it’s “Madonna.”

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

1. My coworker tells me to order more food “for the men”

In the past few months, my coworker “Jane” and I have been in charge of work events, and part of that job is to order the catering. Jane (who’s at my same level) helps by giving me the number of RSVPs, but when she does she always includes the gender ratio and when there’s more men than women she always says things like, “You better order a lot of food for the hungry men attending” and other similar comments on men needing more food.

I’ve always thought that we should order for the number of attendees, not expected appetites, and I don’t think that men are going to be so ravenous that it’s required we spend extra to make sure they get their fill. Besides, there is usually a fair amount of leftovers from the events, so I’m not sure why Jane continues to say more food should be ordered just for the men.

What can I say to Jane so she will stop making these comments? Or am I the odd one out and it’s normal to consider attendees gender and appetites when ordering meals?

You are not the odd one out. Jane is a grandmother from 1874 who has time traveled.

I mean, yes, it’s true that on average men often have higher caloric needs than women (just based on size), but typical office catering is usually sufficient for that and doesn’t require that you order the men extra portions.

One option is to just ignore her and continue ordering the way you have been. But if you want to say something to hopefully get her to stop, you could say, “I don’t think we should be ordering based on gender. We have plenty of leftovers each time as it is.” Or you could just go with, “I think the women will be hungry too.”

2. IT insists my email needs to display a name I don’t go by

I work at a good-sized university. I do not use my first name. I have never used it socially or professionally. I HATE it. When people learn of it, they ask if I’m Italian and/or Catholic. I cannot convey the anger and hatred I have for this name. My parents only ever used it when they yelled at me.

The IT Department has decided that in the email system all faculty, students, and staff should go by their first names. I have tried to no avail to explain to them that I do not use that name. They seem mystified and have argued that no one has ever not used their legal first name. That no one has ever objected to using it. EVER.

I should say that I have worked here for decades, and in previous email system upgrades, I have been able to get the display name changed to middle and last name only.

I will now have to correct multiple people in multiple emails each and every day. I will have to explain that I don’t use that name. And NO, I am not Italian. And NO, I am not Catholic. Nothing wrong with being either of those things, but I am not and cannot pretend that I am. Am I being unreasonable in asking for this change?

No, you aren’t being unreasonable; they are. You should get to use the name you actually go by.

Your IT department shouldn’t be the final word on something this fundamental, so if they haven’t been responsive to reason, go over their heads. Talk to HR or talk to whoever IT reports to, or have your boss do that if she’ll have more pull. Explain that you cannot have an email address that isn’t the name people know you by and that it will cause tremendous confusion with your contacts and impede your ability to do your work. (And you might also point out that this new policy is incredibly unfriendly to trans people who haven’t legally changed their names. In California, it would violate the law.)

3. Employee keeps pushing for a promotion we’ve already said we can’t give him

I have a direct report who is regularly (every three to six months over the past 18 months) asking to be promoted to a position he has created for himself. While there is merit in his idea, the company simply does not want to move forward with this position at this time as there is not enough work to justify it. He wasn’t interested in accepting a compromise (a position that is opening soon that could be blended with some of what he is proposing), and even then, my supervisor cannot guarantee the C-Suite would go for the idea.

A different department recently created a position for one of their staff members, and now he is questioning me on why the same cannot be done for him. I understand the frustration, but as it is not my department I cannot provide an explanation. Quite frankly, I don’t think I should have to. Sometimes it is what it is. If that area has different needs that took priority, there is not much I can do about that.

How can I advise him to stop asking, as this has all been explained multiple times and now he is just coming off as being pushy? We’ve told him that when advancement opportunities open up in our area, he would be a primary candidate, but that also did not appease him. His initiative is appreciated, but business decisions cannot be made just because someone wants something — and this has been explained to him.

You could say, “I realize you’re interested in moving into the role you proposed. For the foreseeable future, that’s not something that can happen. I realize that might mean that you look outside the company for other opportunities, which I would understand. But I hope that we can keep you and we’ll definitely consider you for future openings. Meanwhile, though, we can’t keep having the same conversation over and over.” If you’re open to him raising this again in, say, a year, you could add, “If you’d like, you’re welcome to raise this again in a year, but I want to be very transparent that nothing will change before then.”

Then, if he raises it in another three months, you can say, “I know we’ve talked about this before and I explained (everything you explained). You keep raising it as if we haven’t had those conversations or as if the answer wasn’t as concrete as it was. Is something else going on?” Or you could just say, “Nothing has changed since the last time we talked. I of course understand if you end up needing to look outside the company because of that.”

4. Long interview process — and no job open

There’s a job that I REALLY desire, so I applied. For whatever reason, I have had the hardest time getting job offers lately, where I used never have an issue with this.

The company is new-ish so the founders are very hands-on, as that is their baby. I interviewed for a period of two months, no lie. I had to speak with multiple people and do a skills assignment that took hours. I get to the millionth stage of interviewing and am told there is actually no position open at the time, but there should be in the next couple of months. Although I was floored (no one else could have told me that weeks ago?), I said I understood and would be waiting on the position and hope to move forward at that time.

I had an additional interview after that, and then got a call letting me know the job was 100% not available yet, but they really really liked me. The recruiter even asked if they could just offer me the job now instead of waiting, but they could not since nothing was open. I was told to keep in touch until it’s open and let them know if I had any other questions. What do I say in the meantime? I don’t want to send an email every two weeks saying, “Hi, just wanted to check in and see if you had any updates about the role. I am still on board and look forward to hearing from you!

So what do I say? Obviously I don’t want to wait, I’d love the job now, but it works so well for me and my family I am willing to wait on them.

There’s not that much to say in the interim! You can check in again in 4-6 weeks, and then again a few months after that … but I’d be more inclined to just leave it in their court and tell them to get in touch with you if the role does open up.

However. I’d also be fairly wary of this company. A long interview process isn’t terribly unusual these days, but a long interview where they don’t tell you until the end that there’s no actual job opening is. They sound disorganized and a bit inconsiderate. Combine that with them also being a start-up, and you have the beginnings of many work horror stories. If you do seriously consider a job with them at some point, do a lot of due diligence about their culture and how well managed they are.

5. Should I mention I was a finalist for a similar job at another company?

I’m in the midst of a multi-year career transition and job hunt. This spring, I came the closest yet to getting an offer when I was one of two finalists for a position that was basically my dream job. I was not offered the position by Company A, but was strongly encouraged to apply again when they expanded the department.

Fast forward about three months, and a very similar position, though one where I’m an even stronger candidate, has come up at another company (Company B) in the same field. The field is close-knit enough that people from Company A and Company B very likely know one another. Would be be a good or bad move to mention, in an appropriate spot on my application for the position at Company B, that I was a finalist for a similar position at Company A? There’s an optional “tell us something that’s not on your resume” spot where it seems like it wouldn’t be too strange.

Nope, don’t mention it. It’s not a qualification in any way, and it’ll come across strangely if you try to use it as one. It also sort of implies that you think Company B should put more weight on Company A’s interest in you than they do on their own screening methods.

coworker tells me to order more food “for the men,” my email will display a name I don’t go by, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

26 Aug 16:05

Baby Fur Seal Winning Fans in Poland

by Andrew Bleiman
Anne Griffin

Oh my goodness

DSC_4135-Edit kotik

An African Fur Seal born on June 17 at Poland’s Zoo Wrocław is already charming zoo guests and her care team with her winning personality.

The pup was named Zuri by her fans on social media. The name comes from Shona, a language used by the Bantu peoples in the Seals’ native African home.

DSC_4029-Edit kotik mały
DSC_4029-Edit kotik małyPhoto Credit: Zoo Wrocław

A minor health issue resulted in Zuri requiring extra care from her keepers. Fortunately, Zuri turned out to be perfectly healthy, but her care team now has a special bond with the little Seal.

Zuri still nurses from her mother Nabi. She is the fourth African Sea Lion pup to be born at Zoo Wrocław. Her three siblings provide her with plenty of playmates. Zuri is still learning to swim, so she has yet to join the group in the main pool, preferring instead to practice swimming in a mini-pool behind the scenes.

The zoo’s Seals participate in daily training sessions, which zoo guests can watch. The training sessions allow the Seals to participate in their own medical care and permit the care team to monitor the animals closely.

African Fur Seals inhabit the coastlines of southwestern and southern Africa. For most of the year, the Seals live in the ocean, where they dive up to 600 feet to capture fish. Fur Seals come ashore only during the breeding season.

African Fur Seals are not threatened at this time, but other marine species are under pressure from reduced fish populations, caused when humans overharvest fish. Fur Seals are still legally hunted in Namibia for their fur and other body parts.

12 Jun 15:15

The 212: The Family-Run Store That’s Sold New York’s Best Lox Since 1914

by REGGIE NADELSON
Anne Griffin

True story: Marty used to talk about this store all the time and until I actually went to it in NY, I thought it was called "Russian Daughters"

Russ & Daughters has served its beloved bagels, bialys and smoked fish for over a century, but its legacy is about much more than food.
04 Jun 03:03

why do people get stuck in “reply all” hell on email lists?

by Ask a Manager
Anne Griffin

wait isn't the ultimate answer just to use Outlook's "mute conversation" feature?

A reader writes:

Can we get a definitive ruling on the etiquette when someone accidentally emails an incorrect distribution list in a large office? Today I went to lunch for 40 minutes and came back to 239 emails — someone emailed the wrong distribution list for a request (I heard there were over 1,000 people on this list, though I don’t know for sure). It always starts with few people emailing back and replying to all that it’s the wrong list, but then more people pile on. Soon we are in a “reply all” hell of emails saying “please remove me from this list” or “I received this in error.” Then it inevitably descends into “please stop replying all” and “why are people replying to all?”

Today it got so bad that my Outlook crashed. I have now received 430 emails less than 70 minutes, it’s descending into madness! Senior people are even replying to all. (They should know better!) I’ve seen it maybe 12 times in my 10-year career so far and every time I just delete after I see that the person has been alerted and I don’t reply all. Shouldn’t all of us just delete after we see the first couple emails alerting the person to what happened? Why are people piling on? People are saying they need to be removed from the list when these are large lists that include everyone in a division and obviously are needed for some reasons to communicate certain messages to everyone. Plus replying all doesn’t remove you, you have to email the administrator of a list in most cases. (I used to do that job in an old role.) Note: This is for internal email lists of employees only, no one external if that changes anything.

P.S. In the time I wrote this email, it climbed to 495 emails in less than 90 minutes! My Outlook is having so much trouble processing it that I haven’t been able to delete as the emails come and at this point would really like to see how high it goes…

The definitive ruling you’ve requested is: STOP REPLYING TO THE LIST.

But it won’t work.

It’s a fascinating riddle of human behavior that otherwise reasonably computer-savvy adults who know how this works still cannot resist the impulse to reply-all to these threads. It’s like people who lean on their horn in traffic — they know it’s not going to make things move any faster, but they have an overwhelming desire to express their aggravation and so they do. The “please remove me” and the “stop replying!” emails are the horns in the traffic jam.

To be fair, there are also people who truly don’t get how this works — who don’t realize they’re replying to the whole list, or who haven’t yet read the other 238 emails and thus don’t realize they’re not helpfully pointing out something that hasn’t already been spotted.

But most people are doing the equivalent of leaning on their horns in frustration.

It’s counterproductive but they get an instant of satisfaction.

The best thing to do when you’re in the middle of this kind of reply-all madness is to sit back and be entertained. You are witnessing a large-scale demonstration of humans being weird, and not all of those are funny but this one is, and when you can laugh, you should.

why do people get stuck in “reply all” hell on email lists? was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

30 May 23:56

LaCroix Unveils Its Latest Sparkling Water Flavor and the Internet Is Disappointed

by Elisabeth Sherman
Anne Griffin

I am NOT disappointed, I think this sounds delicious and can't wait to try it.

22 May 00:22

coworker whispers a daily affirmation to me, do I have to tell people I met with about my strep throat, and more

by Ask a Manager
Anne Griffin

omg #1 is SO CREEPY!!!!

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

1. My coworker whispers a daily affirmation to me

I work in a fairly open plan corporate setting. A new colleague joined another team about a month ago, and passes my station daily on his way to see his boss. Every single morning he briefly stops, wait for me to make eye contact, whispers “You’re amazing” to me, and heads on his way.

It’s flattering but odd, and can take me out of my headspace. I am incredibly busy (which I don’t expect a new person on another team to appreciate), and he has probably been told that I will be a useful resource to him — which is true, if my workload allows. Some mornings I’ve turned it into a quick chat (“How are you settling in? “Plans for the weekend?”) — enough to learn he is happily married and some of his hobbies. This interaction comes across more as pleasant-but-awkward coworker rather than creepy person.

I am not aware of him doing it to others: he passes about a dozen workstations and another dozen offices on this route, and he definitely doesn’t do it to the ~one third that I can see/hear.

I’m generally cheerful and approachable, have a reputation for knowing the answer to whatever question people have, and always being busy (it’s true, and I’m addressing that with my bosses separately). I have a very prominent workstation on a corner, right outside our CEO’s office, so many infer I am somewhat important.

Am I doing any damage letting this daily affirmation continue? I think some mornings I likely haven’t looked up being buried in some task, and he hasn’t interrupted me so I appreciate that. My neighbor is utterly baffled by it, but I don’t think it’s affecting her work much. It is building an easy opportunity to talk about work but our paths won’t cross too frequently task-wise — and if they do it will be one way, generating some work for me rather than them.

This would creep me out — the whispering, ugh! — but I’m forcing myself to take you at your word that your vibe is that he’s being awkward rather than creepy. And I can actually picture this type — extremely cheerful, does things that would be smarmy from someone else but just seems … wholesomely weird from him?

I mean, who knows, maybe it’s a bizarre Machiavellian maneuver to set you up to feel a higher degree of obligation to his work requests, although it doesn’t sound like he’ll have many for you — but it could also be 100% a response to you seeming like a gatekeeper to the CEO. Either way, ew.

But I don’t think there’s any reason you have to put a stop to it. It doesn’t sound like it’s bugging you too much — it’s just a weird thing that can provide mild entertainment for you and your neighbor. That said, if you ever do want it to stop, you could always respond with cheerful briskness, “Okay, that’s enough of that!” or “You’re going to need to wait for me to actually earn that” … or begin your own whisper campaign of “you’re magnificent,” etc.

2. Do I need to tell people I met with that I later developed strep throat?

A significant portion of my job is shuttling clients around to important meetings with investors. This involves a lot of shaking hands, etc., where there’s plenty of opportunity to spread disease. After one round of such meetings last week, I was suddenly struck ill (103 degree fever, difficult to talk, etc). A day later I managed to make it to the doctor where I was diagnosed with strep throat. Not fatal, obviously, but not much fun and quite contagious. Do I reach out to the parties I met with and let them know so that they can take steps to avoid spreading the illness themselves (coworkers, kids, etc.)?

I’m interested to hear other opinions on this, but I don’t think you need to. According to a bunch of medical sources that Google led me to, strep throat symptoms usually develop within two to five days after someone was exposed. You sent this to me on Friday of last week, which means that the meeting you were at “last week” was the previous week — meaning you’re already outside that time window. (I’m far from an expert on infectious disease though, so let’s see what others have to say.)

3. Asking for work before I start

I recently got the job I’ve wanted for a few months at a new company. I don’t start until mid June, but am very excited, and want to do some prep work before I start (part of my job involves creating structure around strategy and data). Would it be too much to reach out to my manager and ask them if they had any documents or guiding thoughts as prep work for the job ahead? I should mention I’ve already signed with them and agreed to a start date.

If you really want to, it’s fine to ask if there’s anything you can read to start preparing before your first day, but I’d leave it at that. Don’t ask for guiding thoughts or other prep work, and be prepared for the answer to be that nope, they’ll get you everything you need once you start. It’s great that you’re enthusiastic and want to come in prepared, but (a) you don’t work there yet and you shouldn’t give away your time for free and (b) your new manager may not have the time to put anything together for you before you officially start anyway.

4. A company expedited my interview, but then said they couldn’t compete with my other offer deadline

So after months of job hunting in the financial sector, I received an offer. Not the job or the direction I want to go in, but it’s a start. While reviewing this offer, I also was asked to come in for a second round, final interview with my preferred other company. They expedited my interview because I was transparent about my other job offer deadline. I had the final interview and received an email from HR saying they would not be able to compete with the other deadline since I was the first person they met and they want to follow through on the process.

I made the choice to decline the first offer due to it not being a good long-term career decision. I replied with this information briefly to my preferred company, asking to still be considered. Am I just not seeing the “no” here? No response back yet but it hasn’t even been a day. Thoughts?

When a company expedites your interview because they know you have another offer, that means they think you might be strong enough they’d want to snatch you up before the other company does. But when you do that expedited interview and then they tell you, “Well, actually, we need to stick with our original process and timeline so won’t have an answer for you before the deadline on your other offer,” that means that they decided from your interview that they’re not interested enough to do said snatching. Sometimes that means they learned from the interview that you’re a definite no for them, and sometimes it means you’re still a possible yes but they’re not interested enough to short-circuit the rest of their process. To be honest, it’s not great news — reading between the lines, they’re not especially enthused about you, at least not right now.

They might get back to you and tell you they’ll be glad to keep you in their process, or they might tell you they don’t think it’s the right match, or they might not respond at all (which is rude but common). But it’s fine that you asked to stay in their process. Now it’s just in their court.

5. Letting candidates pick between Skype or in-person interviews

I’m on a hiring committee for the first time, in a job I’m fairly new at. My field has a notoriously dismal job market, and we have many strong candidates who all know they are vying for scarce opportunities.

While making plans for the second round of interviews, the issue of travel funds came up. There’s no guarantee we will be able to pay for candidates’ travel, and several committee members suggested that in the future we offer candidates the chance to choose between Skyping in for the second interview or traveling. The in-person interview includes a tour, a chance to meet with clients, a presentation by the candidate, and a meal with the committee. I don’t believe a Skype interview is an equitable replacement, and I’m worried that offering this choice will privilege those that can afford travel, or put people in the awkward position of telling a hiring committee that they are trying to impress that they can’t afford travel. I’m also worried that to avoid that, or out of fear of looking disinterested, candidates will spend money they don’t have on travel, and we’re back to the original problem but will have put the responsibility on the candidate by saying it was their choice.

I suggested that the only equitable solution was to pay for everyone’s travel, or have everyone skype, but that didn’t gain much traction. My colleagues are thoughtful people who are sensitive to issues of equity, so I’m second-guessing myself. Am I off-base?

Nope, you’re right. You should pay for everyone’s travel or have everyone Skype for this round. I do think you need to see your finalists in-person at some point, but maybe that means you need a third round in the process just for your top two or three finalists.

That said, companies that don’t pay for candidates’ interview travel do typically do what your committee member suggested — leave it up to the candidates, knowing some will pay to fly themselves in and others will not. But if you care about equity (and it sounds like you do), that’s not a solution you should pursue because it means you’re likely to disadvantage candidates based on their finances.

coworker whispers a daily affirmation to me, do I have to tell people I met with about my strep throat, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

21 May 15:54

Classic Airline Logos

by Jason Kottke
Anne Griffin

Oh man these are fantastic. The 80s action figure and American car logos are also great. (The car logos are fun to see how they evolve through time - I wish they had the date of the actual logo on them!)

Airline Logos

Reagan Ray has collected a bunch of classic logos from American airlines, from the big ones (Delta, United) to small regional airlines (Pennsylvania Central, Cardiff and Peacock) to those no longer with us (Pan Am, TWA, Northwest). I sent him the logo for my dad’s old airline, Blue Line Air Express…I hope it makes it in!

See also Reagan’s collections of record label logos, 80s action figure logos, American car logos, VHS distributor logos, and railway logos. Careful, you might spend all day on these… (via @mrgan)

Update: Ray was kind enough to add Blue Line into the mix! Thank you!

Tags: design   flying   logos   Reagan Ray
21 May 01:35

Hollywood Dream Machines: an Exhibition of Vehicles from Sci-Fi Movies

by Jason Kottke
Anne Griffin

I want to go to there!

Hollywood Dream Machines

Hollywood Dream Machines

Hollywood Dream Machines

Hollywood Dream Machines

An exhibition called Hollywood Dream Machines: Vehicles of Science Fiction and Fantasy just opened at the Petersen Automotive Museum in LA. It features more than 50 vehicles from sci-fi and fantasy films like Blade Runner, Iron Man, Mad Max: Fury Road, Black Panther, Minority Report, Star Wars, Speed Racer, Back to the Future, and Tron: Legacy. The exhibition runs through March 2020.

Tags: cars   movies   museums
20 May 15:58

Do You Have a Dog?

by Joanna Goddard
Anne Griffin

omg I hope they get a dog, it would be family blog heaven. also I love this quote: "our family is like a soup, and we don't have all the ingredients."

Do You Have a Dog?

Five-year-old Anton and nine-year-old Toby have started their childhood campaign to get a dog…

“Our family is like a soup,” said Toby last week, “and we don’t have all the ingredients.”

And Anton points out cute dogs on the street.… Read more

The post Do You Have a Dog? appeared first on A Cup of Jo.

14 May 16:03

taking notes on an iPad during an interview, the poo police, and more

by Ask a Manager
Anne Griffin

Poo alert on #2! autoshare

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

1. Can I take notes on an iPad in an interview?

This happened to me two years ago, but I’m still not sure what to make of it. I had signed up for government-sponsored interview training, where they teach you how to prepare for an interview and practice with you through roleplay. It was a great class, very useful, and I learned some great skills. Then one of the two instructors mentioned to the class that we should always bring a nice notepad and pen to take notes during an interview, as opposed to some crumpled copier paper and a chewed up pen. Since looking professional and presentable was the topic, I asked if it would be acceptable to take notes on an iPad instead.

Well, that sure started something! The instructor got incensed and argued very passionately that this would be a terrible thing to do, that flaunting luxury electronics signals that I don’t even need a job and that it would make me look like a gadget-obsessed teenager instead of an adult professional. The other instructor chimed in and tried to talk the first one down arguing that it was 2017 and iPad and phone note-taking weren’t all that remarkable anymore. They argued back and forth for quite a while and they both … felt very strongly. I never really got an answer either and seriously did not want to push my luck. Just to be on the safe side, I never used my iPad or any other device to take notes in interviews anymore.

Still, two years later, this freaking haunts me. What do you think?

The instructor who was incensed is weird. Taking notes on an iPad isn’t “flashing luxury electronics”; it’s using equipment that’s standard issue in a lot of offices. And “it’ll look like you don’t need a job” is an incredibly odd viewpoint.

That said … I’d be wary about taking notes on a tablet (or a laptop) in an interview. You generally shouldn’t be taking so many notes in an interview that you need more than a single sheet of paper and a pen (otherwise you’re too focused on note-taking and not enough on the conversation and on maintaining the connection with your interviewer). Plus, you risk the interviewer wondering if you’re distracted by other things on the device and not fully paying attention; a lot of people feel like a device pulls your attention away from the conversation in a way that paper and pen doesn’t. (I’m not endorsing that viewpoint and personally would be fine with a candidate using a tablet — but there are still a lot of people who wouldn’t be.)

2. The poo police

I used to work at a resort hotel with a spa. I have friends who still work there. There is a general rule that no employee may use any of the public guest bathrooms at the resort, so over 100 employees are restricted to a couple of bathrooms near the service entrance.

Spa employees work on a very strict schedule (about five minutes between services to walk guest back to the lounge, clean the room, and hopefully take a drink of water). It takes about two minutes just to walk to the employee restrooms in the main hotel, so spa workers have been allowed to use the guest restrooms at the spa itself.

They still can, as long as they don’t poop in there. Literally. There is a new mandate that spa employees must go to the employee restroom at the main hotel to poop. Since we’re talking four minutes of walking and five to ten minutes of using the restroom, this will make the employees run behind schedule.

I do not question whether this is legal; unfortunately there’s no doubt, given the state this resort is located in. My question is: what on earth should an employee do in this situation? Risk being written up for answering the call of nature, or risk being written up for falling behind on the schedule?

Ideally, neither of those. The first thing to do here is for them to talk with their management, ideally as a group, point out the problem, and make the manager pick: “We can either use the spa bathroom in those circumstances or be five minutes late to the next appointment. Which do you want us to do?”

And perhaps someone can suggest a one-month experiment with an ample supply of Poopourri.

(Also, I’m dying to know how this new rule was communicated, exactly how they worded it, and how they intended to enforce it.)

3. How do I apologize for doing bad work while dealing with depression?

Recently, I was called in to my supervisor’s office and informed that they wouldn’t be offering me an extension on my contract. This contract is one that is nearly always renewed indefinitely, so this was certainly a punitive action. They are letting me finish out the current contract term (a few more weeks) but I will be no longer working here after that. They cited a lot of problems with my work, mostly surrounding a lot of missed deadlines that caused customer complaints. I completely understand their decision, and I’m not disputing that I really dropped the ball with this.

I’m not normally this terrible of an employee. I even won a competitive award for my work at this same company only a few months ago! However, I’ve been struggling lately with near-crippling clinical depression that has necessitated me seeking therapy and starting medication. Even though I freely admit that I didn’t meet the requirements of my job lately, I’m somewhat proud of myself for even managing to get out of bed and go into work at all — it was that severe. I didn’t disclose this to my supervisor or HR because I incorrectly thought that I could work through it and get things done, and I was hoping that when the new meds kicked in, I’d be back to my old self and excelling at this work again. That didn’t end up happening, at least not quickly enough to salvage this contract.

I want to email my supervisor and explain what has been happening, but I’m not sure how to approach it. I don’t want to seem like I’m making excuses or begging for my job back; I was already thinking about moving on from this position on my own, and I’ve been lucky to already have something else lined up for when this contract ends. But I do feel like it’s important for my supervisor to know that the problems I’ve been having don’t reflect my normal work ethic, and that I honestly feel bad about letting them down. How can I word this so that I don’t seem like I’m disputing their decision or job-begging? Or should I just let this go and not bother them with explanations?

Don’t do this in email. Have a face-to-face conversation with your manager and say something like, “I want to let you know that I know my performance really suffered in the last few months, and I understand your decision not to renew my contract. I didn’t want to leave without giving you some context for what happened. I’ve been struggling with some health issues that have made the last couple of months really tough, and it clearly affected my work. I’m getting treatment and am hopeful about where things are headed, and I wanted to let you know what’s been going on so that you didn’t have to wonder. I’m not saying this to ask you to reconsider the decision — I’ve lined up other work starting in a few weeks. But I’ve liked working with you and respect the organization and care about your assessment of my work! I hope my track record from before this happened hasn’t been erased by the last couple of months, and I’d love to be able to stay in touch in the future.”

Not only will this probably give you more peace of mind, but it might open the door a little wider to you working with them in the future, and could make it easier for them to give you a good reference down the road.

4. Am I wrong to delete so many emails?

I am a compulsive de-clutterer in every aspect of my life, which extends to my email inbox. I use my inbox as a to-do list. Once I’m done with an email either by replying to it and/or completing a task, I either 1) move the email to a project-specific sub-folder in my inbox for safekeeping, or 2) delete it. I initially estimated that I keep way more emails than I actually do, because in doing the math on what’s in my inbox vs. my trash folder, I keep only 7% of my emails.

Over the years, I’ve been told by multiple people never to delete any emails because they serve as written documentation of business, but my brain can’t fathom the thought of having over 10,000 emails a year in my inbox! I’ve also been told that at some point after receiving tens of thousands of emails, Outlook will refuse to store any more and I’ll need to back them up externally (or has technology evolved enough that this is unlikely to happen?). In my 10-year career, I can only think of a handful times that I’ve been burned when I have to refer to an old email, but Outlook has automatically deleted it from my trash folder. Is it true that I should keep all emails as a record of business? I could just move them to a “Crap That I Probably Won’t Need Again, But Will Keep Just In Case” folder.

You absolutely don’t need to keep all emails. In addition to the obvious deletions like “there’s cake in the kitchen” or “I’m going to be out next week,” in most cases you probably don’t need to keep routine back-and-forth on minor details of projects (like “can you try increasing the font size on the cover?”). But it’s smart to keep emails that contain key decisions on projects and processes (in case you or someone else has questions about them later), process instructions (in case you need to check them in the future), and correspondence that could potentially be helpful later on (for example, I archive all correspondence with job candidates, because I might want to review it if they apply again in two years).

That doesn’t mean you need to have an elaborate system of dozens of folders in your email (although at least a small number of folders is usually helpful), but if nothing else you should at least have an Archive folder where you send things you might conceivably want to refer back to in the future.

(And of course, if your company has internal rules on what to store or not store, those trump anything I’ve written here.)

5. How do I handled already-booked business travel when I resign?

At the beginning of this year, I applied for a conference travel scholarship from my current job around the same time that I applied for a different job (in the same town, double the pay). I received the scholarship with the stipulation that it had to be for a specific conference this summer. Unfortunately/fortunately, I’ve also gotten pretty far into the hiring process for the job I applied to. Now I don’t know what to do if I get the new job, because the start date for it is a month earlier than the conference, and my current job has already purchased the flight tickets and booked the hotel. If I get the job, how should I handle this with my current company? Should I offer to repay my current job for the money they’ve spent? Could I see if they can take it out of my last few paychecks? Should I try to delay the start date for the new job? I feel so guilty, because I appreciate what my current job has done for me, but I don’t want to sacrifice this new opportunity.

Do not offer to repay your company. These are business costs for them, and it’s really normal for people to resign with pre-paid business travel still outstanding. Often companies are able to get those travel costs refunded (nearly always with hotels as long as there’s enough notice, and often with airline tickets as well, depending on what type of ticket they purchased). But even when they’re not refundable, this is a cost of doing business. Employees leave, get sick, have emergencies, etc. and travel plans get canceled. That’s just how it goes.

I think you might feel like this is different because it’s not a trip they were sending you on for a work project, but rather a conference that you asked to be sent to. But they agreed for business reasons, it’s business travel, and the same rules apply.

Once you resign, when you’re talking over logistics, you should say, “Obviously I won’t be able to go the X conference in July. I really appreciate you being willing to send me, and maybe there’s someone else who would want to go instead. (And then stop talking, so that you don’t get nervous and offer to cover the costs.)

taking notes on an iPad during an interview, the poo police, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

12 May 23:13

Game of Groans: Pun-tastic Recipes for Your GoT Watch Party

by Sasha Marx
Anne Griffin

Okay some of these are pretty good but nothing holds a candle to "You Know Muffin Jon Snow"


Game of Thrones is almost over. Eat, drink, and be wary of everyone that could double-cross you in the quest for the Iron Throne. Read More