Shared posts

18 Jan 12:52

Ancient Greek Vase Shaped Like a Lobster Claw

by Jason Kottke
Anne Griffin

a) this is so cool looking! How did they make something like this in 460 BC?!
b) "the boy is fair", eh?

Greek Claw Vase

Greek Claw Vase

Terracotta vase in the form of a lobster claw from the collection at the Met. Circa 460 BC.

Because so many aspects of Greek life depended on the sea, a vase in the shape of a lobster claw is not surprising. It is, however, exceptional and may be a variant of the askos — a bag-shaped oil container provided with a vertical mouth and strap handle. The Dionysiac iconography of the lobster claw suggests that it was a novelty item used at symposia (drinking parties).

The vase bears an inscription that reads “the boy is fair”.

Tags: art   Greece
18 Jan 12:45

US Book Covers vs. UK Book Covers

by Joanna Goddard
Anne Griffin

this post is so interesting!!!

Ben Marcus

What book covers have caught your eye recently? When the same book is published in the U.S. and U.K., the covers can be completely different. Yesterday I came across a Literary Hub post comparing the covers in 2018, and it’s fascinating to see (the U.S.… Read more

The post US Book Covers vs. UK Book Covers appeared first on A Cup of Jo.

17 Jan 00:28

Visualizing Dubious Spelling with Flow Diagrams

by Jason Kottke
Anne Griffin

ha this is really funny, also i like this type of diagram a lot!

related: everyone spells Griffin wrong (as "Griffen" even though NO ONE SPELLS IT THAT WAY)

Colin Morris recently analyzed a corpus of comments from Reddit for misspellings by searching for words near uncertainty indicators like “(sp?)”. Among the words that provoked the most doubt were Kaepernick, comradery, adderall, Minaj, seizure, Galifianakis, loogie, and Gyllenhaal. Morris then used a Sankey diagram to visualize how people misspelled “Gyllenhaal” in different ways (with the arrow thickness denoting the frequency of each spelling):

Sankey Chart Gyllenhaal

Tag yourself! (I’m probably on the yellow “LL” arrow.) Sankey diagrams are typically used in science and engineering to visualize flows of energy in and out of a system, but this is a clever adaptation to linguistics (sp?). I’d to see one of these for rhythm. (via @kellianderson)

Tags: Colin Morris   infoviz   Jake Gyllenhaal   language   Maggie Gyllenhaal
12 Jan 23:55

am I doing dog-friendly wrong, do I still need printed copies of my resume, and more

by Ask a Manager
Anne Griffin

omg #2... what did Steve say once? "Humanity contains multitudes!"

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

1. Am I doing dog-friendly wrong?

I recently started a job at a dog-friendly office and I love the option to bring my dog to work with me sometimes. While I don’t bring him every day, I do it more than I anticipated because it’s just such a nice perk. Most of the dogs at work are old and very relaxed — they don’t stray too far from their owners and they don’t really have much energy. A coworker mentioned she would bring a baby gate for her slightly more active dog, and so that is what I’ve been doing. That said, everyone seems to want to let my dog out to hold and play with because he’s cute. He’s well-behaved, if active, but I just don’t feel comfortable letting him wander to places I can’t see him — I like to monitor his behavior and, if he does seem to be bothering someone or playing too noisily with another dog, to cut that off.

Most of the day, while I have the gate up, he sleeps or plays quietly. When folks let him out to play, though, he wanders and occasionally barks or gets into things, which I know is distracting even though people insist they don’t mind. I’m getting a lot of pushback about the gate. (“But he looks so sad!” “Let him out; he’ll be fine!” “I think you should let him play more.”) I want to keep using it and stop justifying it, and I’m not comfortable without it even though others are. Do I need to stop bringing him if I want to use the gate most of the day? Is there a way to cut off the conversation about it?

Some options:
* “He does better with the gate, thanks!”
* “The gate is a must for me to feel comfortable bringing him.”
* “He’s happier with the gate.”

If you get someone who keeps pushing the issue after you use these responses a couple of times, it’s worth saying to that person, “Hey, you’ve mentioned this a few times, and I need you to trust me that he really does do better with the gate.” If you want, you could add, “It’s really distracting when you keep saying that! Could we consider it settled?” or “It makes me feel weirdly guilty when you say that, so could you stop?”

You could even try putting a sign on the gate that says “I like my gate!” Also, if you’re up for it with particular people, you could have a slightly bigger-picture conversation about your thinking, noting that you’re aware that not everyone wants to be bothered by a dog during the day, some of them won’t feel comfortable speaking up about it, and you want to. be considerate to those people. It’s a good message to spread, if you don’t think it’ll just invite push-back.

2. My coworker only drinks things out of caps and lids

I work in a large agency of the federal government. The office I’m in is also fairly large, as is my specific department. In my department, there’s this one coworker (let’s call him Glenn). Generally speaking, he’s a nice, a hard worker, and easy to work with and get along with. There’s just one issue: he drinks most (if not all) liquids out of the cap/lid of the bottle/cup that they’re for. For example, is he has a bottle of coke, he’ll take a few sips out of the bottle, and then start pouring it into the lid and sipping from that instead until the bottle is empty. If he has a cup of coffee instead, he’ll do the same thing using the cup’s lid (which sometimes ends up spilling because of the hole). This is something Glenn seems to do regardless of who he‘s around (i.e., during internal and external meetings, business lunches/dinners, etc.). I think it’s odd and generally looks very unprofessional, but is it as big of a deal as I think it is? Should I address this with him or ask our manager to do so? I should mention that our manger has seen him do this countless times, but I don’t know if he’s talked to Glenn yet.

It’s certainly odd. Those bottle caps are tiny and, as you note, those coffee lids have holes! I wouldn’t say it’s a big deal, just awfully weird. If I were his boss, I’d probably ask what was up with it and that he not do it around clients (largely because having him slurp coffee out of a cup lid while liquid spills through the hole is not really an image I want to put in front of clients). But your boss knows he does it, and if it’s something he wants to address, he will. It’s not something you need to worry about or address personally.

3. Should I still bring printed copies of my resume to interviews?

I’m wondering if it’s still considered a best practice to bring printed copies of your resume to interviews, or if that’s old advice that has become irrelevant.

When I’m the interviewer, I always bring a copy of the interviewee’s resume, often annotated with questions I plan to ask, and copies provided by the interviewee just become excess paper on the table. Now that I’m interviewing for a new job, I’m wondering if would make me look unprepared to skip the printed resume, or to only offer it if the interviewer doesn’t have one already.

You should still bring printed copies of your resume to interviews. Lots of interviewers do ask for them (and sometimes you get an interviewer who was pulled in at the last minute and was never given their own copy, didn’t have time to print it out, etc.).

Note, though, that you can print it on regular printer paper. You do not need fancy “resume paper” and it’s weird that that’s still being labeled that way.

4. Would this networking move be creepy or useful?

I’ve recently joined an international hospitality company and I’m loving it! I’m in the communications sector and my location doesn’t have anyone else in a similar field. One of the perks of my role is that I get to travel a lot and can do so for a reduced rate. I wondered if it would be considered strange if I reached out to those in my role in other locations (we’re talking different countries/cities) to see if they were free to have coffee while I’m in town so that we can share notes. What do you think: creepy or useful?

Not creepy at all. Totally normal to do.

5. When should I tell my coworkers I’m leaving?

When is the right time to tell your coworkers you are leaving? I intend to hand in my notice within the next few months (no bad blood, it’s just time for me to move on) and because I work on a small team of three, training in someone new is inevitably going to disrupt our workflow.

Should I give the team a heads-up before I talk with my manager? Or leave it until after? How soon before/after should I talk to them about it?

No, definitely tell your manager first! Otherwise there’s too much chance it could get back to your manager before you tell her, and for better or worse, the etiquette of the situation is that you tell your manager first. Once you do tell your manager, you can typically tell your coworkers as soon as you want after that, unless your manager asks you to hold off for some reason. (If that happens, it’s reasonable to agree to hold off for a few days, but I’d be skeptical about waiting longer than that since it risks making you look to them like you left without sufficient notice, prevents you from starting to transition your work, and so forth.)

am I doing dog-friendly wrong, do I still need printed copies of my resume, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

11 Jan 13:26

coworkers only ask me about ducks, adult facts in a work presentation, and more

by Ask a Manager
Anne Griffin


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

1. People only ask me about the ducks I work with

I’m in the lower-middle level of food service establishment with a couple hundred employees. Last year, I started a side project where I got us a small flock of ducks for fresh eggs and general merriment.

Ever since, folks only ask me about the ducks. I have brief interactions with at least a dozen people a day and 90% of the conversations start with, or completely consist of, “how are the ducks?”

The ducks are darling and entertaining and I love working with them, but they are a small part of my job and not the only interesting thing about my role or personality. I’m getting increasingly cranky and desperate for more diverse conversations. The ducks are always fine. If anything big happened with them, I’d let folks know. They are literally out the back door and anybody could go look at them if they wanted.

Is there any way I can get out of having this same insubstantial conversation 10 times a day for the foreseeable future? Especially since any one person probably won’t ask me about them more than twice a week, so it seems unreasonable to ask an individual to stop? I want to be friendly and gracious but seriously enough with the ducks for one second.

I feel guilty because I really want to ask you for a picture of the ducks.

This is going to be tough because lots of people are going to find it amazing to have ducks at work, and they are going to think of it every time they see you and feel jealous that you work with the ducks and will want to ask about it. It’s easily the biggest conversation starter that people who don’t know you well will remember. (In fact, I bet that the people who know you really well / work with you most closely don’t do this nearly as much, right?) They’re also probably not accounting for the fact that everyone else is asking about the same thing all day long.

You could put up a sign that says, “The ducks are great! They are right out that door if you want to see them” with an arrow and a picture of the ducks … and that will probably cut down on some of the inquiries, although not all.

You could also cheerfully respond to inquiries with, “Everyone asks me about the ducks!” As long as you say it cheerfully and not resentfully, that’s a polite way to nudge more perceptive people into realizing that it’s probably too much.

But that might be the best you can do, unfortunately. You have ducks at work! It’s going to be a thing. (Although it will probably become less of a thing in time, when the novelty has worn off a little.)

2. Is sex a bad example in a work presentation?

I sometimes present internal “an intro to statistics” seminars at my company. Previously I have based the seminar on the fact that men say they have sex with women much more often than woman say they have sex with men, which is by far the clearest example I have of many obvious and not-so-obvious statistical issues.

No clients attend and the seminars were well received, but I am now less young (and I have read your blog more) and I think this was a bad idea. My question is how bad? Can I never mention the example at all?

Yeah, I’d steer clear of that example (unless, of course, it’s directly relevant to the organization’s work, in which case that’s entirely different). It wasn’t the worst thing in the world and you don’t need to feel mortified or anything like that, but using an example about sex in a work context risks (a) coming across as gratuitous — like you had other good examples but chose this one because Sex! or (b) making people a little uncomfortable. We’re all adults and know people have sex, obviously, but it can feel a little jarring to have it come up in a work presentation. (Plus if you have anyone creepy there, they’ll be all too happy to use it as a lead-in for inappropriate remarks to others, either in the moment or later.)

3. Another org’s volunteer went on transphobic rant in a shared space — and their staff did nothing

My nonprofit organization shares office space with bigger health care organization.

One of the other organization’s volunteers was standing in a common (but not public) area, talking loudly and at length to one of their staff, and saying a litany of transphobic and anti-LGBTQIA2S things. I could hear this person ranting from my office a good distance down the hall. The staff member didn’t say anything to shut it down or challenge their bigotry. Their only response was to say things like, “mmhmm” and laugh (uncomfortably?) along.

Both organizations work with many trans and queer people, including me — I also happen to be a client of this other organization.

I’m shaken up by having to listen to this at work, and I’m horrified at the possibility that other LGBTQIA2S clients may have heard this go unchallenged.

I’m going to talk to my boss about this, but is there a way I could have responded in the moment? What’s the best way for my boss to approach this? Since I heard this while I was at work rather than accessing services as a client would it be inappropriate to file a complaint as a client?

I think you had standing to interrupt the conversation and say, “We’d rather not hear things like that in this space — could you take this somewhere else?” Or more explicitly, “We support the people you’re speaking about. It’s not okay to say things like that here.” Or, “What you’re saying is really offensive. Could you please stop having this conversation here?”

You could indeed file a complaint as a client. But another option is to approach someone with some power in that organization and frame it as “as a client and as someone sharing workspace here, I was alarmed that your staff didn’t shut this down.” And you’re someone with the standing to push the other organization on this (which may or may not be your boss) can make it clear to them that it’s not okay for bigotry to flow in your shared halls, and that their staff needs better training and supervision in what to do when a client is spewing bigotry (at least that’s the charitable interpretation, and you might as well start there when talking to them).

4. When your college changes its name

My undergraduate school has changed its name in the time since I graduated. When I put my education on a resume, should I use the name the school is known by now, or the name that appears on my diploma? I’m not sure which one is technically correct.

Both! Do it like this:

Old Name (now New Name)

5. I don’t want to have LinkedIn because of an abusive ex

I escaped an abusive relationship about three years ago. My ex’s sister thinks I lied to “try and ruin his life” and is the kind of person who would email false complaints about me to an employer to try and get me fired to “ruin my life as revenge.” So I never ever post on the internet where I work.

But I keep getting pressured to have a LinkedIn and I am worried it looks like I have something to hide career-wise. Is it sufficient enough to say “I have concerns about putting personal information online” when asked about this, or is there another approach I should take?

Who’s pressuring you? If it’s just random people, you can cheerfully say, “I’m not a fan of having personal info online, and I’ve never found that I need it.”

But if it’s your boss, I’d be more explicit. It should be enough to say something like the above, but if you’re getting continuing pressure (in some roles, some companies do like people to have a LinkedIn presence), it’s very likely that she’ll stop if you say, “I had a situation in my past that means for safety reasons I can’t put information online about where I live or work.” If you think it’ll carry more weight, reword that to “Because of a situation in my past, I’ve been advised that for safety reasons I shouldn’t put information online about where I live or work.” (I’ve just advised you of that, so it’s true.)

coworkers only ask me about ducks, adult facts in a work presentation, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

11 Jan 11:16

the weird world of writing an advice column

by Ask a Manager
Anne Griffin

omg all my favorite people in one place

Over at Buzzfeed today, I joined Daniel Ortberg of Dear Prudence, Jolie Kerr of Ask a Clean Person, Jennifer Peepas of Captain Awkward, Nicole Cliffe of Care and Feeding, and Harris O’Malley of Dr. Nerdlove in a roundtable about writing advice columns.

We talked about weird letters, whether we give advice to family/friends, how to get your letter answered, the letters that stay with us, and more. You can read it here. (Be warned that it contains adult language and topics.)

the weird world of writing an advice column was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

04 Jan 21:25

updates: we’re supposed to be hugged to check for fragrances, and more

by Ask a Manager
Anne Griffin

Oh my god, #1!!!

It’s “where are you now?” month at Ask a Manager, and all December I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past. Here are five updates from past letter-writers.

1. Our group member has a fragrance sensitivity – and we’re supposed to be hugged to check for any scents

As I’m sure you and your readers can imagine, there was an awful lot of pushback amongst the group on the “hug tests” and the telling people how to conduct their body care. After an initial round of unpleasant emails to the leader and a lot of chitchat, the issue kind of died down; we were breaking for the summer, but I also expect the leader retreated on the issue a bit due to the strong reaction she got from the way it was handled.

Since reconvening in the fall, there have been no more major communications or intrusive solutions, just he standard reminders.

I have since learned the secret identify of the scent sensitive person, and of particular interest is that she was not a part of the solution of hugs and shopping for new products, and was mortified by it all. An important learning to communicate and engage people in problem solving! Thanks to you and all your readers for your input and overwhelming support on this weird circumstance!

2. Should I admit my nose job to coworkers? (#2 at the link)

I’m happy to report… that there’s nothing to report! My usually nosy (no pun intended) coworkers, if they notice a difference at all, have chalked up my appearance change to me wearing contacts rather than glasses, which my surgeon has mandated for now to not disfigure my new nose. I had only one coworker push when I said I was out for a surgical procedure but backed off quickly when I said a version of the “I had a medical procedure but I’m fine now!” script. I’m relieved to have flown under the radar and am so happy with the function and aesthetics of my nose.

3. My coworker has terrible imposter syndrome

I wanted to send in a quick update, although I’m afraid it’s not the most interesting one in the world! I’m the letter writer whose colleague, Sonja, constantly apologised and talked herself down when we worked together.

Our joint project ended up being pushed back a few months, so we have only spoken a few times since I wrote to you. I have tried to address the over-apologising in the moment by saying “you have nothing to apologise for” but this just leads to “I know, but…” followed by explanations of her feeling like a burden/feeling stupid/asking too many questions/being generally useless, and we’re back at square one! It honestly makes me feel equal parts exhausted and sympathetic. I wish I knew the right words to say to help her.

One interesting interaction happened when we ran into a software issue that neither of us have the skills to fix, which means we’re unavoidably going to be slightly behind at our next progress meeting. It’s not ideal, but it’s also nothing that we could have foreseen, and nor was it in any way our fault. Sonja’s emails became quite agitated and anxious when this issue arose, and after it was clear that we could go no further I signed off for the day (it was already after hours) with a promise that I would contact our software developers and update her the following day. The next morning I find that Sonja sent half a dozen more emails during the night, some just to me and some that included my boss and the project leader, all expressing her anxiety about the delay and her frustration that we couldn’t fix the problem ourselves. This led to my (slightly confused) boss wanting to know why I “didn’t help” Sonja, and expressing concern about the status of the project. Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill!

4. I’m on a PIP — can I get off it and ask about a promotion? (#3 at the link)

On the same day that my question was published, I came into the office to find our director and HR present. I was ready to graciously be let go but *plot twist* they actually let my manager go. While I have never been given a reason why, I have seen a huge shift in team dynamics like increased trust and support since her departure. Also since that time, I’ve worked hard to close out the PIP with my new manager. During our last check-in (about 8 months after the issuing of the PIP), we started a discussion about promotions where she identified how hard it is to turn around a PIP but that I have successfully re-branded myself. She recommended a 5% increase to acknowledge my efforts which can into effect this week.

Your advice was some helpful truth under my old manager but I think, while my situation is uncommon, it’s a good reminder that not all managers have your best interests in mind.

5. Talking about my future goals when I lack ambition (#3 at the link)

I just wanted to thank you and the commenters for your advice and give you a quick update. Firstly, thank you for replying to my question and for putting my mind at ease about feeling like I am not ambitious enough. You and the commenters really made me see that interviewers aren’t trying to filter people out based on not being ambitious enough but are genuinely trying to get a sense of your overall career goals and where this job fits in with them.

Secondly, my situation has changed a bit and I am no longer going to be leaving my school in the near future. In fact, I now plan on staying for another 2 – 3 years! A lot of the commenters who have had experience in international education pointed out that schools often look for people who are going to stick around and that it might look better on my resume to stay at this job longer at such an early stage in my career. That is not the only thing that made me decide to stay at this school but it was a factor that I hadn’t considered before. Additionally, my responsibilities have grown over the course of the year and I am much more excited about staying where I am long term. I didn’t mention it in my initial letter, but the school is a boarding school and so has a lot of pastoral support in place for students. As well as my teaching duties, I am doing a pastoral role with additional responsibilities and salary. The school is also planning to change the structure of our pastoral leadership which could provide some more opportunities for career advancement and increasing my responsibilities even further. So even though I don’t have the desire to rise through the ranks and enter management any time soon, I have actually found out that I’m more ambitious than I thought and am very excited to develop in the roles I have and take on additional duties.

Thanks again for answering my question and for all the great advice you publish!

updates: we’re supposed to be hugged to check for fragrances, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

23 Dec 18:24

vote for the worst boss of 2018

by Ask a Manager
Anne Griffin

oooh, what does everyone think?

It’s time to vote on the worst boss of the year!

We’ll crown the worst boss of the year later this week, based on your votes … so please vote below. (Voting ends at 11:59 p.m. EST Wednesday night.)

Who was the worst boss of 2018?

vote for the worst boss of 2018 was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

20 Dec 18:43

Costco Is Selling a $500 Leg of Ham and It's Glorious — Grocery News

by Joseph Lamour
Anne Griffin

Steve, can we have this at the New Year's Party this year?

Costco is a reliable go-to for just about everything in life, including fabulous things like Wagyu beef, diamonds, and caviar. In fact, for a little while now Costco has been stocking serrano ham (prosciutto's Spanish cousin), and based on how quickly it flies off the shelf, it would be the jewel of any holiday table.


09 Dec 18:40

what do I say to call in for a mental health day, I’ve never worked in an office, and more

by Ask a Manager
Anne Griffin

Oooh, curious about people's takes on #4. I actually disagree with Alison here (rare!). I don't think it was unethical but it's a huge oversight and speaks to someone's responsibility and attention to detail, so I would have major qualms in hiring.

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

1. What do I say when I’m calling in sick for a mental health day?

I am a firm believer in (occasionally) using a sick day as a mental health day, when I know I’m not leaving my coworkers hanging. What do I say when I’m calling in sick, but I’m not actually sick? Am I supposed to lie and say that I’m sick? I am a part of a fairly small, close-knit team, so I hate coming back to people asking if I’m feeling better, out of genuine concern. On the other hand, I don’t want my coworkers to think I’m taking advantage of our generous policy just because I felt like taking a day to stay in my pajamas and watch Netflix.

With “mental health days” — meaning a day that you take off to relieve stress/avoid burnout or when you just can’t face the world — say that you’re “under the weather” or “ a bit ill.” You can’t really call up and say, “I can’t bear the thought of coming into work today,” but you also shouldn’t make up a hacking cough. It fine to just be vague. (In fact, it’s fine to be vague even when you have an actual sickness like the flu or horrific diarrhea or whatever. Decent managers will accept “I’m sick today and won’t be in” rather than expecting or even wanting a detailed list of your symptoms.)

2. Will it be a problem that I’ve never worked in an office?

I’m in my mid-twenties, and I’ve been working freelance ever since I graduated, in the arts and media sector. The jobs I do are typically now freelance positions, but 5-10 years ago they were always entry-level in-house positions (and some lucky orgs still have in-house workers for these jobs). I’ve actually gotten pretty good at what I do, my income isn’t so bad, and I’m satisfied with how things are progressing.

However, it’s ultimately my aim to get an office job in this industry, even if it’s not the specific role that I’m in now, and I’m wondering whether I’ll be at a disadvantage by the time the opportunity rolls around. I’m young, but I’m not a recent graduate, and I haven’t ever worked in an office (my previous jobs were retail and cleaning work). I’m getting decent experience in my field, but it’s definitely very different to freelance than to work in office as part of a team, and I understand that.

Will people look unfavorably on the fact that I’ve only ever worked from home, and have no experience working in an office? Is it unwise to only have a freelance background so early on in my career?

Possibly. If your work is excellent, it’s unlikely to keep you from getting hired, but it’s true that never having worked in an office before may giving some hiring managers pause. There’s actually a fairly steep learning curve in your first year or two in an office job, where you’re figuring out … just how to be in an office, and how to get things done in that context. You’re not going to come in like a inexperienced intern who’s learning everything for the first time, but there’s likely to be a learning curve and adjustment period. Not a huge one, and not one that would stand in the way of hiring you if your work is great … but if you’re competing against candidates whose work is equally great and have been working in an office environment, then yeah, it could put you at a disadvantage. Not a significant one, just a small one. But someone who really wants to hire you isn’t likely to be deterred.

The bigger question for you, I think, is whether you’re losing out on things that will later be valuable to you by staying fully freelance now. Are you losing out on the kind of mentoring and feedback you’d get from a decent manager? Are you losing out on collaboration with colleagues? Are you missing out by not having coworkers at all? What about benefits, like paid vacation and retirement contributions? What about the specific type of professional growth that comes from learning to work effectively in an office — will you feel at a disadvantage later if you’re starting from scratch there? You may calculate that the benefits you get from freelancing outweigh all of those things — and they may because there are a lot of them! — but ensure that you’re factoring them into your calculus.

3. People keep asking the origin of my name

I am a white woman with an African-sounding name. Most people assume that I am black before they meet me in person. I love my name. I couldn’t imagine for even a second being called anything else, and I think my name has given me a very unique perspective on race relations in my everyday life (including watching how a LOT of white people will try to ask why I have a black name without actually saying it, as if it’s a bad thing). However, I am very white. My parents have been here for generations, so far back that no one is entirely sure where in Europe we are from.

I am a clinician in my field, and it is a very customer-centered field. I work almost entirely with seniors, and I am very comfortable talking to my clients in a professional but warm and friendly way. But my name is always something that comes up, and I still don’t know how to get around the inevitable “Oh, interesting name, where does it come from?” question.

Here’s the thing. I don’t actually know the answer. I come from an abusive and racist household, so every time I asked my parents, I was given a jokey non-answer. This is obviously not something I want to talk about.

I have tried EVERYTHING to get out of answering the question. I’ve been doing it my whole life. I’ve tried the “Oh, it’s really personal/private/special to me” — which tells the client too much already, and they always try to get more. The “It’s a long and boring story” — which results in something like “I’ve got time.” I went by a nickname for a long time, but now that my diploma and licence to practice have my full name, and that just results in them asking who the person on the wall is. Everyone expects this long story about where my name comes from and what my name means, and I just don’t know how to get out of this conversation while still giving a satisfactory answer to my clients, that won’t harm the rapport I am trying to build with them. I’ll be their clinician for a full three years, we need to have a good relationship.

I’m with each client for an entire hour, and it comes up with Every. Single. Client. Multiple times. They’re coming from good — albeit ignorant — places. Do you have any suggestions of how to navigate this?

How about a bland “Oh, there’s no story behind it, it’s just my name”? Or “I guess my parents just liked it”?

Because of the history with your parents, I think this is feeling more fraught to you than it needs to. The answers you’ve been using suggest that there is a story but not one you want to share, which is reinforcing their belief that there’s something to hear. But you don’t have to indulge people in the idea that there must be a story at all (and it’s a problematic assumption for them to make in the first place). You’re not obligated to come up with an answer that will satisfy them. “There’s no story!” is perfectly fine, just like you’d say about any name where there was no story. And then follow it up with an immediate subject change to signal that there’s nothing else to discuss about it.

4. A graduation mix-up and a pulled job offer

My stepdaughter, who is not the most responsible person in the world, recently graduated from college. She has been job hunting for several months and has finally gotten an offer. When her new employer (a multi-thousand employee, multi-location corporation) did a background check, they discovered that she had indeed not graduated. It turns out she had a financial hold on her account (less than $100) and, as she did not pay it, the university did not graduate her. She has taken care of the financial hold and the registrar’s office provided a letter saying that her coursework has been completed, that she is qualified to graduate, and she will receive her diploma at the end of the next semester, which is December. Her new employer, though, has pulled her offer and blacklisted her.

As someone who is involved in the hiring process for our new candidates, I have never encountered a situation precisely like this. You say you have your diploma, but in reality you don’t, but it’s due to an oversight. I would have indeed pulled the offer. (How could you not have your act together enough to know whether you’ve graduated or not? The fact that your diploma never arrived in the mail didn’t cause you concern? Huge read flags there.) I’m not sure on the blacklisting though. So I wanted to ask your opinion on this. Would you consider this just an oversight? As a hiring manager with no knowledge of all of the circumstances, would you just see it as lying on your resume? This employer decided it qualified as lying on an application. How would you have handled this? Since I know the circumstances around my stepdaughter, my view is clouded. I’m am trying to view this as an outsider would and determine what I would do if ever in this situation.

I wouldn’t have even pulled the offer if she’d explained the situation. Pulling an offer makes sense when a candidate knowingly lied or was so reckless with the truth that it amounts to the same thing. But someone who understandably assumed she’d graduated and didn’t realize a $100 charge was holding up the paperwork, and then took care of it once she found out? That stuff happens, and it doesn’t sound like she was deliberately representing the situation on her resume — presenting herself as a graduate while knowing she wasn’t. Pulling the offer seems more punitive than anything else; they’re saying this is something about her integrity when it’s really not. (Unless it’s a situation where she cannot start the job until she formally has her diploma, but I’m skeptical that it’s that, given the timeline.)

And the blacklisting is absurd, although I suppose if they see this as enough of an ethical violation to pull the offer, it makes sense that they wouldn’t be open to hiring her in the future either.

5. A company responded to my application by suggesting I follow them on social media

I recently applied for a role within a social media business. I received the standard “Thanks for your application; we will be in contact soon” email, but the last paragraph stood out to me: “In the meantime, you can build your digital skills by reading our expert articles published on our blog, following us on Twitter, or joining in the discussion on LinkedIn.”

Do you think following them on these sites would help my chances? Are they just looking for more followers? Or is this becoming a normal way to end this kind of email?

Nope, it sounds like they’re just marketing to job candidates, which is pretty tacky. It’s very unlikely that following them on social media will increase your chances (and indeed, they’re not suggesting that; they’re just suggesting it’s a way to build your skills).

what do I say to call in for a mental health day, I’ve never worked in an office, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

08 Dec 20:12

Transportation-less Transportation

by Jason Kottke
Anne Griffin

aaaah i can't fucking wait for self driving cars!!!

Google finally announced a consumer service around the self-driving car technology they’ve been developing for almost a decade. Waymo One is basically a taxi hailing service backed by a fleet of automated cars. The promotional video for the service is an upbeat but ho-hum reminder of the convenience of app-hailed transportation:

But there’s a voiceover line about halfway through that gets at the heart of why self-driving cars seem so compelling to people:

What if getting there felt like being there?

Sure, it’s not so much the destination that matters, it’s the journey…but commuting isn’t a journey. People in cities spend a lot of their time in rooms: working, reading, drinking, chatting, etc. Waymo’s cars aren’t quite rooms, but that’s where they’re headed: private rooms for hire that also get you from one place to another. It’s WeWork on wheels, a mobile Starbucks, a portable third place. Along the way, you could have a beer or coffee, do karaoke, make some work calls, watch a movie, chat with friends, make out, or answer some emails. C-suite executives with dedicated chauffeured transportion are already doing this with custom vans. Private jets are essentially vacation homes that can travel anywhere in the world. (Cruises offer this experience too.) If Waymo (or someone else) can make this happen for a much larger segment of the population, that’s a compelling service: transportation-less transportation.

Tags: advertising   driverless cars   Google   video   Waymo
07 Dec 07:46

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

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.
07 Dec 03:43

I Tried Starbucks' Juniper Latte and It Really Surprised Me — Food News

by Elisabeth Sherman
Anne Griffin

Ooh I have to get this in honor of my dog right!?

In the realm of drink flavors, Starbucks isn't known for its subtlety. Think back to the green and purple Witch's Brew Frappuccino the company unleashed for Halloween to get an idea of what I mean. Even the Peppermint Mocha, my favorite among the Starbucks' holiday drink lineup, is a bit heavy-handed on the peppermint syrup.

So when Starbucks announced that the juniper latte would be available nationwide this year, I had my reservations. Would it taste like a handful of pine needles blended up with some steamed milk? After trying it for myself, I can honestly say that Starbucks nailed the Christmas-flavored coffee drink this time.


05 Dec 15:44

Gift Guide #6: Your Adoring Wife Who Never Met a Cheese She Didn’t Love.

by Joanna Goddard
Anne Griffin

Click through - the PRISM GLASSES! AMAZING

young frankk hoop earrings

Pretty earrings to wear all year, $88. (Or these cuties for $20.)

massage candle by get maude

Massage candle, $25, made with skin-softening jojoba oil, which can be poured on skin once melted.… Read more

The post Gift Guide #6: Your Adoring Wife Who Never Met a Cheese She Didn’t Love. appeared first on A Cup of Jo.

04 Dec 14:56

the backless shirt, the person who frosted cupcakes at her desk, and more of your cringeworthy work moments

by Ask a Manager
Anne Griffin

for Cherv re: backless sweaters

Last month I asked people to share things they did at work in the past that they now cringe over. In lieu of any more posts today since it’s Thanksgiving, here are some of my favorites.

1.  “I was executive assistant to the president of a local college. She left for a business trip, after sternly telling me that I needed to be more proactive ‘managing’ the things in her office (like Christmas cards, etc.). So while she was gone, I rearranged the items in her desk drawers. I don’t think she ever got over the shock of finding that I had straightened out her entire desk, and I sure wish I hadn’t done it. I believe my time was limited after that. But on the other hand – it was a good job but she was a terrible boss, and in retrospect maybe it was, after all, not a bad idea. Never mind! :)”

2. “I wore a backless shirt to an internship at a political consulting firm in college. What was I thinking? I was generally fairly savvy about such things, even!”

3. “Internship… I was upset that I had to hotdesk while all other employees had permanent desks/offices/whatever. We had an available office that wasn’t being used and didn’t have any furniture in it, so I decided that would be my permanent home. I spent the morning moving furniture into the office and ‘customizing’ my space, including extra chairs for when people came into the office to meet with me (WTF was wrong with me?!). I was setting up the computer when the CEO (my direct supervisor) came in and was like no….

Thankfully he and I knew each other from a previous internship I did, and he had a pretty good sense of humor about it so I completed my internship and got a great recommendation. But good Lord that was bad…”

4. “Oh the shame. One time when I was a fresh and new manager, I asked a job candidate to give me a ride after we had an interview. I had been in a car accident a couple weeks prior, and my rental car coverage time was maxed out. I needed to take the car back that day before they closed or I’d have to personally pay for it (I was so broke at the time, I would not have been able to pay). Immediately after the interview, I asked her if she’d give me a ride. She was gracious, though I’m sure she felt extremely pressured to do it. Needless to say, she didn’t take the job. I saw her at a street fair a few weeks later and gave her a hug. Why or why did I do these things? I’m going to go hide for a bit.”

5. “Back when I worked in food service, my manager kept getting on my butt for me to do delivery instead of just working in the store. I point blank refused, but he kept nagging me about it. Finally I just decided, ‘Well, he can’t make me use my car if I don’t have one.’ I lived in the next town over and I walked five and a half miles to go to my store. When I showed up, my manager told me that he really needed me to delivery that day because some people had called in. I told him I didn’t have a car. He asked where it was, I told him at home. He stared at me and said ‘don’t you live in the next town over?’ and I said I did.

I was an uppity little shit but he never asked me again and never brought it up. I don’t think that was very professional but it proved my point.”

Note from Alison: This is not cringe-worthy; this is awesome.

6. “Just out of college, I was working a very boring job at a law firm where I was supposed to manage files for one of the lawyers but often had very little to do. I was also DEEPLY disliked by his secretary, Agatha Trunchbull (she was very possessive of the dude and was proud of the fact that she had run off three young women before me), who tortured me daily. At this job every bit of billable time had to be accounted for in the company software system, and I had been told that for people in my position the descriptions were never read and we just had to put down SOMETHING. So, whenever I had time blocks where I literally had nothing to do I would (very, very stupidly) put down things like ‘Thinking of puppies’ and ‘Imagining Agatha Trunchbull being eaten by a Canadian Trap Door Alligator.’ Ultimately, this did not work out well.”

7. “As a first year grad student, I asked my grad advisor (a tenured professor) to remind me of my project deadlines because I worked better with a little pressure from authority. He gently told me that managing my own deadlines was my own responsibility. Yup.”

8. “My first job would send out a peer feedback form every 6 months. The first time it came out, I wrote long, obnoxious diatribes about the supposed shortcoming of all of my peers. We had some really inexperienced managers who then forwarded the feedback, verbatim, to the people it was about. Everyone spent weeks speculating about who wrote which comments, while I tried to keep my head down.”

9. “I once got some very much-deserved criticism that I was taking too long (1-3 weeks) to resolve invoice issues that should have, at most, taken a couple of days to work out. The actual problem was that I was prioritizing other work that I found more interesting and only tackling the invoices when someone yelled about them.

My suggestion was to have Accounts Payable print the problem invoices for me on color-coded paper, with a different color for each day of the week, so I could see at a glance when my GIANT PILE of invoices contained too many older ones, so I’d know I needed to tackle them. My boss somehow refrained from slapping me upside the head Gibbs-style, and actually discussed the suggestion with our A/P manager – at the time, I thought she took it to him as an actual possibility and he said no, but now I think they probably had a mutual ‘this is what she said, omg wtf?!??!!’ conversation about it before telling me to consider actually getting my work done as a solution.”

10. “I took a year off from college and my aunt got me a job at a place called ‘the onion factory’ one winter before going back to college. It was a processing plant for onions and they had big trucks come in full of onions that were weighed and then would dump their load into the hopper for processing. Part of my job was to do data entry of the weight of the onions that had come in. They had pre-printed slips of paper that said gross/tare/net. Sometimes they only filled in two of the three sections (but it wasn’t consistent which ones were filled in). I didn’t actually know what those words meant, so I wasn’t sure what to do when only two of the three sections were filled in. This was in the late 90s, before the internet, so I couldn’t just google it. And at that time I was mortified of ‘being a bother’ and ‘asking too many questions’ so I decided to just split the difference: sometimes I put the numbers in one column and sometimes in another.

My boss didn’t even check my work until the end of the season. When she finally asked me what was going on with the data I meekly explained what had happened. This usually verbose woman was speechless. I think she was in awe of my incompetence? An entire season’s worth of data was useless.”

11. “I used to come to my first internship at a magazine with hickies all over my neck. I was newly in a relationship with my then-girlfriend, and I guess we liked each other a little too intensely. It got to the point where my supervisor wrote me an email to tell me to make sure they’re not showing when I go to interview people. To this day that is the single most embarrassing email I’ve received.”

12. “In an interview I said I admired the ingenuity of a guy that had gotten fired from my previous employer for embezzling money. Srsly ???”

13. “I used to wear knee-high stockings and if my feet got too sweaty (yes, gross), I would take them off in my cube, wash them in the office restroom, and hang them to dry on my cubicle wall. My manager at the time even came by and saw them hanging on the wall, looked at me, looked at them, looked back at me, and said ‘Hmm!’ with a perplexed look. But no one ever said anything to me about it, so I kept doing it.

My reasoning was, no one ever told me it *wasn’t* okay to wash, hang, and dry stockings on your cubicle wall at work.”

14. “I once asked my manager if I could take the afternoon off because I was feeling hateful. Yes, those are the exact words I used.”

15. “My first job after college was a very straightforward clerical job, 8 am – 5 pm. Many of friends had jobs that were structured differently, with later hours or less predictable hours.

So, at 5:01 pm when I was “off the clock,” I would hang around at work, because I was waiting for my friends to get out of their jobs, and it seemed pointless to go home just to go out again later. AT MY DESK, which was IN THE C-SUITE, I would put my make-up on, do my hair, call all my friends (loudly) to ask important questions like “do you know if the hottie bartender is working tonight?” or “I was going to wear my black boots but do you know if Tami is wearing her black books because in that case I would wear my silver pumps but tell me if you think they look slutty because if so then I could wear my red sandals unless it rains in which case maybe my Mary Janes etc etc etc etc.” I would bring projects to keep myself occupied, like plugging in a hot glue gun to work on a Halloween costume, or (this is real) frosting cupcakes that I was bringing to a party later on that night. Even though I was finished at 5 pm, there were still plenty of people still working, or wrapping up for the day, including senior leadership. I am dying thinking about it now.

Finally, the office manager started hinting that if I wasn’t actually working, I didn’t need to be at work. And I was so clueless, I earnestly wanted to know if there was a policy against it, because sometimes I saw Reginald reading a magazine at his desk while he was waiting for his ride to pick him up, or a lady who was taking an evening class one night a week would sometimes do her reading in the break room between work and class. It was a friendly, casual office and all sorts of people sometimes spent some non-work time at their desks doing some QUIET and LOW-KEY personal business, but I could not see how there was any difference between someone occasionally reading a magazine while waiting for carpool, and me turning my desk into my Own Personal Rec Room several times a week. What was I thinking?”

the backless shirt, the person who frosted cupcakes at her desk, and more of your cringeworthy work moments was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

27 Nov 21:13

Dogs Catching Treats

by Jason Kottke

Dogs Catching Treats

Dogs Catching Treats

This is pretty straightforward and hilarious: using a high-speed setup, Christian Vieler photographs dogs catching treats. The photographs also come in book form and as a 2019 wall calendar.

Tags: Christian Vieler   photography
06 Nov 03:27

Gricia Is the Silky, Porky Roman Pasta Everyone Should Know

by Sasha Marx
Anne Griffin

Guys we made this on Sunday and it is un fucking real, make it now

Porky pasta perfection with a minimalist bent: It's time for gricia to re-take its rightful place in the pantheon of Roman pasta. Read More
25 Oct 12:28

my boss took away the tools I need for my job, coworkers on speakerphone, and more

by Ask a Manager
Anne Griffin

I’m so curious about this: what is the “typical toxic environment of a vet clinic”?! Are they known for being toxic?!?

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

1. My boss punished me by removing the tools I need to do my job

I have started in a new position. We are getting a new management system here at work, and our boss made up a survey/test (not required by the organization) to be completed over the weekend. I had a family emergency where a family member has a week left to live, so the assignment completely slipped my mind. Upon my return to the office on Monday, my boss removed my and my coworker’s access to the system as punishment. However, the system makes up 98% of our day-to-day work and she does not “know” when she’ll return our access. I am trying to be calm, but this affects every single project that I have and she is known to write harsh comments on performance reviews for incomplete work. Is there a way I can handle the situation so that I can still get my work done?

Your boss decided to remove your ability to do 98% of your work? (Ridiculous thing #1.) As “punishment”? (Ridiculous thing #2.) Because you have a dying family member? (Ridiculous thing #3.)

Your boss is a terrible manager, and a terrible human.

Managing isn’t about “punishing” people (!) and it’s definitely not about preventing people from doing their work. Please know this is outrageous and not normal and not okay.

As for what to do, you could say to her, “I’m not able to do the vast majority of my work without access to the system. What would you like me to focus on meanwhile, unless I have access back?”

But you’ve just learned that you’re working for a nightmare, and you’ll have to plan accordingly. (That sounds vague, but it could mean anything from “start job searching immediately” to “know she’s horrid and expect more outrages,” depending on your situation and what options you feel you have.)

2. A coworker’s says he won’t read any of his emails once he’s back from leave

Curious about your thoughts on something I came across. A male coworker is out on paternity leave for three weeks. This is great and he has his out-of-office set-up appropriately. However, I noticed in his out-of-office, he specifically said, “I have no plans to follow up directly for anything that I receive during this time. If you still need my input on the matter after I return, I ask that you please send me a follow-up email at that time.”

Is this normal for extended leaves? I understand possibly not reading through everything in detail, but setting the expectation that you won’t follow up at all irks me. Maybe it’s because I was out on maternity earlier this year for four months. Yes, I did mass delete a bunch of emails, but I also did a quick glance at most of them. Maybe I shouldn’t have? Would love you or your reader’s thoughts on conventions on this topic.

For just three weeks? In most offices, that would be overly demanding. That’s not an extended leave; that’s more like a slightly longer-than-average vacation, and it’s generally wouldn’t be reasonable to tell one’s colleagues (or clients, etc.) that they need to shoulder the burden of telling him twice what they need from him (and remembering a few weeks from now to do that) just because he doesn’t want to read accumulated emails when he’s back after such a short time away.

If he were going to be out for four months, then yes, this approach can be reasonable. But for most people, in most jobs, in most offices, this is going to look odd.

That said, who knows, maybe he has a job where this makes sense — like one where the emails he receives are all going to be things that need to be handled in the next 48 hours, and so it won’t make sense for him to deal with any when he’s back. Without knowing more, it’s hard to say that it definitely doesn’t make sense in his context.

3. Dealing with a run in your pantyhose at a business meeting

At an out-of-town business meeting, my black pantyhose developed a large run (think banana-sized!). As an attendee I wasn’t quite sure the most professional thing to do and would like your opinion.

I decided due to the cold climate to keep the hose on and sit and walk in ways that would visually shied most attendees from seeing the run which was on my right calf. I debated removing the hose but worried one might question my decision-making skills if I walked around bare-legged at a business formal event. But, is it more unprofessional to keep the hose on with a large hole visible? Should I have kept the pantyhose on or removed them in the restroom?

Take them off. Bare legs are not scandalous anymore, and it is really common and normal for professional women to have bare legs. There are still some particularly conservative fields and regions where that’s not the case, but they’re shrinking — and even then I’d argue most people will be happier — and look more polished — if they’re bare-legged than with a banana-sized run in their stockings.

It’s not a huge deal that you didn’t though (although I hate the idea of you having to be so self-conscious about how you were walking!).

4. My coworkers call each other on speakerphone

What can I do about colleagues who work in an open office space, sit in cubes next to one another, but call each other on the desk phone and one of them puts it on speakerphone?

It is a mystery to all of us who sit nearby these two folks. It is fine to make a quick call to get a question answered vs. walking over to the person’s desk, but speakerphone? Really? It is an almost daily occurrence and pretty obnoxious and distracting.

Speak up! It’s completely reasonable and normal to say, “Hey, it’s really distracting when you have those calls on speakerphone. Would you mind not using the speaker?” That’s it.

I imagine you haven’t done that yet because you feel weird about saying something, but you have to be able to have these conversations when you’re in a shared space, and it’s really, really normal. Right now you’re aggravated and stewing, and you can fix that with a 30-second conversation.

5. Should I leave the low-paying job I love for one that will make me less happy but pay more?

I have a dilemma that I know most people would kill for. I work as a veterinary nurse, and I love my clinic. I’m respected there and have developed close friendships with my coworkers and some of the doctors. There’s advancement opportunities and education, and my boss is wonderful. I’m highly skilled and am still learning so much. This clinic has worked hard to remove the typical toxic environment of a vet clinic. It’s an exhausting and stressful job that’s hard on my body and heart, but that’s true of the entire veterinary industry.

The problem is that this clinic pays terribly. It’s causing tension in my marriage! I work 45-50 hours a week and make next to nothing. When I graduated college, I was hired at another clinic (with no experience!) and made $2.60/ hour more than I do now, and worked at another awful and toxic hospital for $3.50/hour more. This is true for every employee here. The highest paid nurse has been there for five years and earns $2/hour less than the living wage for our state. My schedule is irregular and I never see my spouse as it is, so getting a second job that will allow for this is tough. My reduced income is putting strain on my family. Should I leave for a job that will make me significantly less happy but pay me better?

Only you can decide that! It comes down to how much you value the good things about working there versus how much of a problem the pay is. Some people would be genuinely fine with the lower pay in exchange for the benefits you’re getting by working there. Other people wouldn’t.

That said, when it’s at the point that it’s causing (understandable) tension in your marriage and putting strain on your family, then yeah, I do think you’ve got a responsibility to at least look around at what other options are available to you. That doesn’t mean you have to take another job — but I do think you need to at least look at options and then include your spouse in your thinking about how to proceed.

my boss took away the tools I need for my job, coworkers on speakerphone, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

13 Sep 16:43

Naked Mole Rats Born at Bioparc Valencia

by Andrew Bleiman
Anne Griffin

New reader meme for Steve & Chris to imitate!

BIOPARC Valencia - Nace una camada de ratas topo - verano 2018

A litter of Naked Mole Rats was born last week at Bioparc Valencia, highlighting this unusual and unique species.

Native to the dry grasslands of Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti, Naked Mole Rats excavate extensive underground burrows. They are well adapted to their underground life, with tiny eyes and large teeth for digging. As the name suggests, Naked Mole Rats have very little hair and lack a fat layer under the skin.

BIOPARC Valencia - Ratas topo y crías recién nacidas - verano 2018
BIOPARC Valencia - Ratas topo y crías recién nacidas - verano 2018Photo Credit: Bioparc Valencia

Naked Mole Rats are unusual among mammals in that they exhibit eusociality, a social structure similar to that of ants, termites and bees. The life of the colony is governed by chemical mechanisms, where there is only one breeding female (the queen), and one to three breeding males (the drones). The rest of the individuals in the colony are workers, which are sterile and are charged with maintaining the nest and gathering food.

Scientists are greatly interested in Naked Mole Rats because they are believed to be resistant to cancer, likely due to their genetic makeup. They are insensitive to pain because they lack a specific neurotransmitter. Naked Mole Rats are able to thrive in a low-oxygen environment (only about 2-9%, compared to 21% above ground). In addition, their relatively long lifespan of 32 years – unlike many rodents that live just a few years – is of great interest to scientists who study the aging process.

One of the objectives of BIOPARC Valencia is to make known the rich biodiversity of the planet and the need to conserve it, where all species are essential.

13 Aug 16:58

Zen and the Art of the Maryland Crab Feast

by Daniel Gritzer
Anne Griffin


A Maryland crab feast, in which blue crabs are steamed with Old Bay seasoning, is a culinary tradition worth learning how to prepare—and eat. This guide takes you through steaming the crabs and picking them apart, one step at a time. Read More
02 Aug 16:43

Summer Like a Spaniard With Watermelon Gazpacho

by Sohla El-Waylly
Anne Griffin

Guys yet another killer recipe from Sohla El-Waylly! Made this on Monday while rest of dinner was in the oven, chilled overnight, and ate Tuesday & Wednesday for dinner with some crusty bread and it is DELICIOUS. The Calabrian chile topper is excellent.

A lightly fruity twist on the traditional chilled soup to see you through the hottest days of summer. Read More
03 Jul 15:23

Chili Salt Makes These Tamarind Popsicles a Grown-Up Treat

by Sohla El-Waylly
Anne Griffin

These look so good! Sohla El-Waylly is a newish addition to the SeriousEats staff and she is knocking it out of the park. (She's the author behind the Vietnamese chicken meatballs AND the infamous aji amarillo chicken!)

Pelon Pelo Rico is a sticky, tamarind-flavored candy paste spiked with chili and salt. It’s the kind of messy, goopy, and shameless treat only a child can love, but I’ll always be hooked on the combo of spicy, sour, salty, and sweet. These popsicles are inspired by the flavors of Pelon Pelo Rico, but all grown up with real tamarind concentrate, nutty palm sugar, and a sharp hit of tang from malic acid. Read More
25 Jun 19:00

Thinx Wants to Conquer Period Sex Stigma — With a $369 Blanket

by Angela Lashbrook
Anne Griffin

Wow Apartment Therapy is changing

Period sex is a highlight of what I, personally, consider the most miserable 3-5 days of the month. Because of my birth control, it's been about a year since I've had an actual period, but the previous fifteen years of intermittent anguish are burned into my memory: cramps, mood swings, anxiety attacks, ruined underwear, bloating, acne, and spotted sheets, to name just a few symptoms. But sex on my period? The heightened sensitivity, increased natural lubrication, and diminished cramps weren't enough to erase everything else I was going through — but it certainly helped.

Then there's the issue of the mess.


22 Jun 16:24

Lettuce Wraps With Sweet-Spicy Chicken Meatballs Make Dinner Easy AF

by Sohla El-Waylly
Anne Griffin

Ignore the "trying-way-too-hard" headline ... these look super tasty!

Vietnamese-inspired meatballs are so quick, easy, and cheap to throw together that they're one of our go-to meals or midnight snacks. Read More
03 Jun 21:30

Eleven Slushie Cocktails to Make This Summer

by Heidi
Anne Griffin

I'll take one of each please

The slushie cocktails I bookmarked last summer, for this summer. I think it’s best that we stop at eleven here 😉 It’s my personal slushie list, inspired by some of my favorite cocktail maestros.

1. Frozen Mezcal Palomas(Serious Eats)
Number one on my list. From Julia Turshen’s much-loved Small Victories cookbook, you know these are going to be hard to beat. Get the recipe here.

Eleven Slushie Cocktails to Make This Summer

2. Frozen Sgroppino(PUNCH)
Vodka + Limoncello + Lemon Sorbet + Prosecco – preferably enjoyed in the sun somewhere on the Italian coast. Get the recipe here.

Eleven Slushie Cocktails to Make This Summer

3. Color-Changing Frozen Mojito(Buzzfeed)
Have to admit, I’m intrigued by this one. Red cabbage is infused into boiling water to create blue simple syrup. When the acid in the lime juice hits it, color shift! I think it’s in the Tasty cookbook, and you can see it play out in the video. Get the recipe here.

Eleven Slushie Cocktails to Make This Summer

4. Mango Coconut and Orange Vodka Crush(Heather Christo)
Fresh Mango and coconut milk, offset with orange and lime juices, and vodka. Get the recipe here.

Eleven Slushie Cocktails to Make This Summer

5. Friesling(PUNCH)
A case for swapping switching out your rosé habit. Some good guidelines and recommendations here. Recipes in right-hand column on this page.

Eleven Slushie Cocktails to Make This Summer

6. Cucumber Gin Slush(QUITOKEETO)
A go-to this summer. This one should go in the slushie cocktail hall of fame. I love the refreshing cucumber, gin, and limoncello trifecta. Get the recipe here.

Eleven Slushie Cocktails to Make This Summer

7. Peach Wine Slushes(Dessert for Two)
A simple as it gets, in the best way – fruity white wine + frozen peaches. Get the recipe here.

Eleven Slushie Cocktails to Make This Summer

8. Cherry Moscato Slush(Salt & Lavender)
I always stock up on frozen cherries (because I’m usually too lazy to pit them). Pair those with a bottle of moscato and a spike of lime, and this is where you’re at. Contender for best-looking slushie cocktail. Get the recipe here.

Eleven Slushie Cocktails to Make This Summer

9. Strawberry Dragonfruit Margarita(Host The Toast)
In addition to frozen cherries, I always stock up on frozen dragonfruit puree when I come across it. I can imagine a version of this using the puree being A+! Get the recipe here.

Eleven Slushie Cocktails to Make This Summer

10. Frozen Blood Orange Negroni(The Kitchn)
The classic Negroni is equal parts gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth. Here it meets the blender and gets rounded out with fresh blood orange juice. Yes, please. Get the recipe here.

Eleven Slushie Cocktails to Make This Summer

11. Bourbon Slush Punch(Smitten Kitchen)
Finishing strong. Literally. Smitten Kitchen meets Garden & Gun. This one looks a tad dangerous. Get the recipe here.

Eleven Slushie Cocktails to Make This Summer

Also, just in case you want to get serious and roll out your own slushie machine, you’re going to want to read this. Straight talk from the master: How to use a slushie machine. And, here’s a little tip sheet on Bon Appétit related to crafting your own frozen drinks. Lastly! I also love (and make a lot of) weeknight non-alcohol cocktails, let me know if you’d like me to do a list of those. Enjoy!

Continue reading Eleven Slushie Cocktails to Make This Summer on 101 Cookbooks

14 May 17:06

is it rude to write “ASAP” in an email?

by Ask a Manager
Anne Griffin

oof this is a TERRIBLE response (from the letter writer ... Alison as usual nails it). it is crazy to me how much offense some of these writers manage to take at some things.

A reader writes:

I’ve been a fan and daily reader of your site for months and months. I am excited to finally have a question for you. It’s nothing too earth-shaking compared to your usual fare, but more of an etiquette question.

A person in a different department wrote me an email last week, telling me that she needed something “ASAP.” It has to do with an invoice she gave me the week before. I work with her maybe once a month or so, always having to do with invoices.

This term makes me bristle for a number of reasons:

• I served in the Navy, and this term reminds me of the demeaning and condescending way that some officers and senior enlisted talked to the lowly swabbies. In fact, I think this acronym even originated in the military, in the Army.
• It seems a bossy way to write to someone not even in her department, much less a part of her reporting structure.
• It seems overly dramatic, as if to say: “I need this so badly and urgently that I don’t even have time to write out a softer-sounding alternative,” such as “as soon as you can get to it,” “at your earliest convenience,” etc.
• It kind of implies that I’m just sitting on things, and need to be prompted to take action.
• It also, to my mind, implies that I don’t know how to prioritize tasks, that I can’t set my own priorities.
• It is presumptuous in that she has no idea what I have going on, what tasks are right in front of me, or what my priorities are from my manager.
• One of the online discussions said you shouldn’t write in an email what you wouldn’t say to someone in person, and actually telling someone you need something ASAP would sound very harsh.

There is one person who I work with closely, and often, and in a very friendly way, and we have mutual dependencies for getting parts of our jobs done. He will occasionally write ASAP, as will I, to communicate that this particular item really is important and time-sensitive. But this is pretty rare.

I pondered all this, and then sent her a brief response: “Everything I do is ASAP! I didn’t get a chance to look at this yet. Thanks,” etc.

Boy, did that set her off. She fired back a three-paragraph rant, liberally punctuated with ASAPs in almost every sentence. It was a monument to ASAP. She also copied her manager. At this point, I was officially angry, and so have backed off to cool down, not wanting to write something that I would regret.

What is your opinion of ASAP? Do you use it? Am I overly thin-skinned about this?

I might add that she is not a native speaker of English. I think “ASAP” is part of the business jargon she picked up along the way. So, I’m willing to concede that if it’s as annoying as I think it is, she might not have a good context for understanding that. On a side note, we’ve actually always gotten along pretty well, so I am also wondering about how to approach her next time I see her. She is hard to communicate with sometimes due to the language barrier, so I don’t know if it would be worthwhile to try to explain why I object to her use of ASAP.

ASAP can be annoying in some contexts, but it’s also pretty standard wording and not something you should take offense over.

ASAP isn’t annoying because it’s bossy or implies that you’d otherwise be lazy. It’s annoying because it’s vague. Some people use “ASAP” to mean “normally these requests can take a couple of weeks, but I need this one back in a couple of days.” Other times people use “ASAP” to mean “if you don’t drop everything to complete this in the next hour, the company will shutter and you will be in jail by this evening — it’s truly urgent and of the highest importance.” Because there’s such a wide variation in possible meaning, it’s not that helpful. It’s far more useful for people to spell out what they really mean.

But it’s really, really common, so you shouldn’t take it personally or bristle at it.

If you need more info about when the person truly needs it by, it’s fine to write back and say, “Since I have a bunch of high priorities right now, can you tell me more about when you need this by so I can fit it in with everything else?”

Your coworker sounds like she overreacted to your email, but … your email wasn’t great. She told you an invoice from last week was a high priority, and so you should have at least told her when you’d be able to get to it. Telling her that everything you do is a high priority and you haven’t looked at it yet wasn’t helpful — and in fact was essentially ignoring what she’d just said. At a minimum she needed to hear “I should be able to process by X” so she could tell you if it needed to be faster than that or not.

And if the invoice was unusually urgent and she was trying to tell you that, it would be frustrating to hear “I’m not going to change anything about what I’m doing, and I’ll get to it when I get to it,” which is basically what you communicated. I can see why that might result in a concerned response cc’ing her manager.

As for what to do from here? Dig out that invoice and process it, and let her know that you’re sorry that you didn’t take her initial message more seriously. You could explain that “ASAP” isn’t very helpful to you because so many requests are “ASAP” but that in the future, if she explains her timeline more explicitly, you’ll do what you can to meet it and let her know if you won’t be able to.

is it rude to write “ASAP” in an email? was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

14 May 15:14

do I really need to stay at work late to “show dedication”?

by Ask a Manager
Anne Griffin

I am so confused by this person's traffic and life environment:
-they have to get in by 7 to "beat the traffic" yet traffic when they leave at 6pm (WHICH IS STILL PEAK RUSH HOUR) only takes 30 minutes?
-They have to go to bed by 8pm ... why exactly? in order to have enough sleep to get into work by 7am the next day (which we've established is less than a 30 minute commute, if they're 'beating the traffic')? so if they leave at 6:30, let's say they get up at 5:30... so they needed 9.5 hours of sleep!? what is happening here, am I missing something?

A reader writes:

Thanks to your blog, I found the job of my dreams. I have so much autonomy and my boss is amazing.

I arrive at 7 a.m. to beat the morning traffic. I leave at 4 p.m., again, to beat the traffic. My wonderful boss knows this. She’s in by 9 and out by 5. I have received glowing praise from my boss in the short time I’ve been here.

I live with my dad because I can’t afford to move out. I make $30,000, salary. He insists I should stay later, to “show dedication,” that I should leave after my boss leaves.

Obviously, I stay when I have to get things done. When I do stay, I leave at 6 and get home by 6:30. I’m in bed by 8. I don’t see that being a healthy pattern for the long term.

I don’t understand this advice to prove I’m interested in the job. Is this suggestion outdated or does it have merit?

I do think there was a time when this was common “how to get ahead” advice, but it’s pretty outdated at this point. At least for most bosses, and certainly for good bosses.

Good bosses don’t expect you to put in face time just for the principle of it. They expect you to get great results in your work. If that sometimes means that you need to stay late to get that done, they’ll expect you to do that. But they won’t expect you to do it just to “show dedication.” In fact, they actively won’t want you to do that, because that’s a bad use of your time and contributes to a messed up culture that values the wrong things.

It’s true that there are some bosses who don’t know how to effectively assess performance and so they rely on things like “how often do I see this person here as late as me?” But they’re bad bosses, and the goal is to avoid working for them.

If your boss is happy with your work and you are getting glowing praise, you are in good shape.

Your dad has outdated notions on this one.

do I really need to stay at work late to “show dedication”? was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

04 May 20:09

my boss killed my plant, CEO wants everyone to donate their pay back to the organization, and more

by Ask a Manager
Anne Griffin

Oh man #3 is happening right around here I think! That's gotta be Mount Ida, right?

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

1. My boss killed my plant

My office is windowless, so when I left for my two weeks’ vacation I asked my boss, Jane, if I could leave my miniature rose on the wide windowsill in hers while I was gone. She said sure, and agreed to water it a few times as well.

When I got back, however, the plant had been returned to my desk and was in an advanced state of dehydration. Jane told me that it had fruit flies, which quite reasonably bothered her, so she took it out of her office — but then she left it in the dark and didn’t water it, and it has since become obvious that it’s not going to survive.

To be clear, it doesn’t bother me at all that Jane didn’t want to deal with the fruit flies; they irritate me too and I’m aggressively swatting them as fast as I can. But it does bother me that she neglected the plant to the point of it dying. I mean, this is a grocery store miniature rose and I even have a cutting from it that’s prospering, but still. She killed my plant, and didn’t even apologize; she seems to think that she doesn’t need to because of the fruit fly issue. What now?

Well, there isn’t really a next step here. It’s pretty likely that Jane just forgot to water your plant once she wasn’t seeing it in her office every day, as opposed to malicious neglect. Yes, she should notice it’s now dying and apologize, but who knows, maybe she’s not a plant person and hasn’t even put it together. In any case, it’s not the kind of thing that makes sense for you to escalate with her in any way. You can’t force an apology or get her to confess to plant-slaughter; just assume you shouldn’t leave plants or other living things in her custody in the future.

2. Our CEO wants everyone to donate a percentage of their pay back to the organization

I am a director in a mid-size nonprofit. I report directly to the CEO. We are going through some service delivery changes and restructuring that are not 100% popular with the staff at every level.

Recently, the CEO rolled out the “opportunity” for employees to donate a percentage of their paycheck back to the organization, via a letter talking about what an honor it should be to support the company in this way, and assuring everyone that it would not affect their job in any way if they don’t choose to. She asked us to forward to our reports. I did forward the email once, without comment, to my team. Meanwhile, I was feeling a lot of pressure to contribute, so I selected a small amount to be deducted from each paycheck.

I do support and believe in our mission, and do give back in a number of ways. I am very fairly compensated in my role, but we have a lot of entry-level direct service workers who don’t make a ton of money. I do not feel right asking them this or even reminding them. I sent it out once and that’s all I am going to do. The CEO has sent another email, asking us to tell our team that we are contributing and that they should, too.

This whole thing leaves a bad tase in my mouth. Not only is it unfair to assume that everyone wants to donate to a charity that is also their employer, but I believe it opens us up to scrutiny from staff about how all money is used (such as conferences, etc.) It’s not the same as being able to buy stock in a company where you get dividends, and we have been known to do layoffs (and recently) and I don’t like the implication that this would somehow save everyone from that. Is this a normal thing?

It’s not unheard of, unfortunately. (This is one way nonprofits can be very different from other employers.) It’s gross but not uncommon.

It’s one thing to give staff an opportunity to donate, but it’s really inappropriate to pressure them to — at any level, but especially with lower-paid workers. Some (not all) nonprofits have an ethos that employees should donate to support the organization’s mission, which overlooks the fact that they may be donating simply by virtue of accepting less than they’d make working at a for-profit (and even if not, any work that’s above and beyond could be thought of as a donation in support of the organization’s mission).

Depending on what kind of rapport you have with your CEO, you could explain that you shared the initial request but you think continued follow-up will put a bad taste in people’s mouths and be counterproductive. Or, if you don’t feel like you have the standing to say that, you could just quietly ignore it — or if you can’t get away with that, you could forward it on with a clear “Jane asked me to share this request with you, but this is entirely up to you.”

3. Who gets to keep the travel voucher if you’re bumped from a flight for work?

My new position requires that I do a fair amount of travel. As an avid traveler outside of work as well, I am fascinated by a recent story in the news where a woman was given a $10,000 travel voucher for being involuntarily bumped from a flight.

While this woman was traveling for personal reasons, I’m wondering what the ethics would be if she had been traveling for business? If she had been bumped from her flight while on her way to or from a business trip, would she be entitled to keep the voucher for personal use? Or would she be expected to hand it over to her company for future business travel? After all, the company would be paying for the original ticket.

My business trips mostly take me to a small regional airport that is only accessible via a layover through a very busy hub. While I’ve gotten lucky so far, every time I’ve been delayed getting out of my home airport and have JUST made a really tight connection. It’s only a matter of time before I get stuck in the middle of my trip, or end up on an overbooked flight. Of course I would never volunteer my seat if I needed to make it to a business meeting or back to my home office, but in the hypothetical event I was involuntarily bumped, and negotiated compensation from the airline, what should happen to the travel voucher?

Companies sometimes have policies on this that would require you to hand over the voucher (including, I believe, if you work for the government). In companies that don’t have a policy, I’d say that ethically it’s yours if you were personally inconvenienced — for example, if you had been scheduled to get home at 7 p.m. but getting bumped meant you didn’t get in until 8 a.m the next day. That said, it’s smart to check with your employer if you’re unsure how they’d want you to handle it.

Also, $10,000?! That’s surprisingly enormous.

4. The school where I got my degree is closing

I graduated a few years ago from a small private college and still live in the area. While it isn’t a top tier school, it has a good reputation and offered a strong program for my degree. I’m currently employed but job searching.

The school has just announced that it’s closing. The circumstances are not great. Apparently they just signed new faculty contracts last month, and new students were accepted for the fall and offered generous financial aid packages. The president even received a significant raise recently. And now the school is shuttering with very little notice because of financial issues. Students are scrambling. Parents are crying and angrily protesting in public meetings. The story is being closely followed by local and regional news outlets and it’s pretty much a scandal.

I am concerned that having a degree from this school will reflect badly on me as I job search. I’m not sure if it would look worse to take my degree off of my resume/be vague about my academic background. My field does require a degree, so I’d be disqualified for any position I want if I don’t present at least some information. I’m not sure how to even tactfully discuss the situation if it comes up in an interview. What to do?

Don’t take the degree off your resume! The school’s financial problems don’t reflect on the value of your education or your degree. Sometimes schools close — not often, but it happens. That doesn’t render the degrees they granted worthless, not at all. If the school had a good reputation for academics, that’s what matters. And if an interviewer asks you about it, it’s likely to be as small talk or to express sympathy, and all you’d need to say in response is something like, “I was so sad to see that. I had a great experience there and think it’s a real loss.”

my boss killed my plant, CEO wants everyone to donate their pay back to the organization, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

27 Apr 18:47

Asparagus Mimosa

by David
Anne Griffin

I learned something today! "mimosa" in French means served with hard-cooked eggs... much more appealing than my first interpretation of "asparagus mimosa"

I came to the conclusion a while back that there isn’t a vegetable that’s not better roasted. I backtracked a bit, not just because that idea was too many double-negatives in one sentence, but thought that peas probably aren’t better roasted. I haven’t tried them; the idea of tiny peas being reduced to a shriveled bb’s doesn’t sound appealing to me. And while I know a lot of people like to roast radishes, boasting that they’re better than fresh ones, don’t believe them.

Continue Reading Asparagus Mimosa...

27 Apr 18:15

Chickpea Butter Is a Protein-Packed Alternative to Traditional Peanut Butter — Grocery News

by Elizabeth Licata
Anne Griffin

I'm so confused, wouldn't this just be, like, hummus? (to be fair I have not clicked thru)

Chickpeas might be one of the most versatile ingredients in the entire world. You can toss them on salads and use them in stews, but you can also make them into pasta and turn them into puffy, Cheetos-esque snack foods. And now chickpeas can also make a sweet, toasty, protein-packed alternative to peanut butter.