It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…
1. I got drunk and flipped out at a company dinner
Friday night, we had my company’s annual dinner, which includes all management. My husband works for the same company and we are both at the same level. I drank entirely too much, and didn’t eat at all (food was terrible). I was fine during dinner, having fun and laughing, nothing out of control. After dinner, some coworkers decided to go to the bar, so my husband and I agreed to go also. Before heading to the bar, I told my husband I needed to use the restroom.
From this point on, everything is a blur. I came out of the restroom looking for my husband, and thought he had ditched me. I looked and looked for him and finally found him at the bar, with two guys from work, one of them who I REALLY don’t like. I went ballistic. I lost it. My husband tells me I flipped out on him and apparently also said a few things (very mean things) to the two guys. I don’t remember most of this or why I was so angry. My husband got me out of there eventually.
I’m currently dealing with a lot of personal things, so maybe not finding my husband was a huge trigger for me. I think I felt abandoned. I’m filled with shame and embarrassment. I really feel like I should send an email to the two guys and apologize for my behavior, but my husband says I shouldn’t. We work for a big company, I don’t work directly with them, but I do see them every now and then. I don’t want to get in trouble either. I don’t know what to do.
It’s hard to imagine that you shouldn’t apologize if you flipped out and said mean things to these guys, so I’m curious to know what your husband’s reasoning is for that. Does he just want to not deal with this any further and worries that apologizing will drag it out? If it’s just that, I’d overrule him and apologize — it’s your name and reputation that’s on the line here.
If possible, I wouldn’t use email. Email can feel like a cowardly way out in this kind of situation, so I would talk to them face to face. (And actually, same for anyone else who may have witnessed it, not just these two guys.)
2. Talking about a weaknesses in a job interview
I am graduating from college soon and am nervously anticipating interview questions. Specifically, the dreaded “what’s your greatest weakness?”
I know what my greatest weakness is. I can be very judgmental of people and it takes me a while to get over a bad impression. Since I want to answer this question honestly, my practice answer is, “My greatest weakness is my tendency to over-judge people. I realize how harmful this mindset can be, and I try and challenge my perceptions and overcompensate by trying to be as empathetic and understanding of others as possible.”
Do you think it would be shooting myself in the foot to admit this weakness during an interview, or do you think my explanation of my improvement plan can help?
I wouldn’t use that weakness. It makes you sound potentially like you’re going to be difficult to work with or that you’ll have trouble in your relationships with coworkers.
I know I say you should be honest about your weaknesses, but when you’re just kind of going fishing for one to use, I’d pick something different. If you worked during college, where did you feel like you had the most room for improvement? What kind of feedback did you get from managers? That might point out in the right direction, but if it doesn’t, pick something that’s more about work skills than interpersonal skills.
Frankly, though, I think this question is going out of style and you’re a lot less likely to encounter it than you used to be, and that’s especially true when you’re interviewing as a new grad since people know that you’re unlikely to have a good sense of your work-related weaknesses yet. It’s still good to prepare for it because some interviewers do still ask it, but good ones will cut new grads a lot of slack for not being able to accurately assess their own skills.
3. How do we get out of a company softball league?
A colleague of mine recently organized a co-ed softball team that our company has chosen to sponsor. This co-ed league requires a team of five women and five men to play each game. If there are not enough women, the team is forced to forfeit. I work in a male-dominated industry and there are very few women who work at our company. After asking about everyone he could, the organizer was able to gather four hesitant female coworkers who said, “yes, I would be interested in playing softball.” The other player is the girlfriend of organizer and is not an employee at our company. The team organizer had very few details about the games and schedule when he sent the interest email.
About a week after the original email went out, the organizer sent out a second email that said he had signed up our teams and thanked us for all committing to playing. I did make the organizer aware of my hesitation with playing in the first place, but I did “commit” verbally after the original interest email went out. I have spoken with two female coworkers who feel that they did not actually ever say they were “committed” to playing and now feel trapped.
It has now been almost a month, and we just received the softball schedule. Many of us leave work at 5:30 p.m., and we were told the games would be no later than 6:30 p.m. Six of the 10 games don’t even start until 7:30 or 8:30 p.m. Our company is at the halfway point between where I live and the field where we’ll play. From my house, it is about 45-50 minutes to the field. From work, it is still about a 25-minute drive for everyone. When I originally said I’d be interested, I really hadn’t realized I would be committing all day, every Monday, until July to this softball league. I have other after work commitments I really enjoy and must rearrange to make these games, which has made me lose all interest in actually playing.
I would love to be able to say I cannot make the games that are later than 6:30 p.m., but that may mean that they don’t have enough women to play at all. At least two other female team mates would also like to back out, but because it is a company-sponsored team we feel that it would reflect poorly on us and put the organizer in an awkward position. Is there anything I can do here to save my colleagues and I or do we have to suck it up and play?
You absolutely don’t need suck it up and play, nor should you. He’s asking for a pretty big commitment, and he didn’t even give you all the relevant information at first; in fact, he gave you wrong info. It’s perfectly reasonable to say, “Sorry, when I said I’d be interested, I based that on your initial email saying that no game would be later than 6:30. This schedule won’t work for me, so I need to withdraw.”
And even if the scheduling mix-up hadn’t happened, it would still be reasonable for any of you to say, “I’ve given this more thought and realized it’s a bigger time commitment than I can make,” or for your coworkers to say, “Hey, wait, I said I’d potentially be interested, but I didn’t commit — please don’t count me as a definite yes.”
You don’t need to worry about it reflecting poorly on your company; the organizer is the one who messed this up, and while it’s nice to help people out of jams when you can, losing all your Monday evenings for months on end is far beyond the call of duty.
4. Can I redo my application for a job I applied for recently?
I saw a great job posting that I felt qualified for. It recommended applying within a month of the posting going up, but had zero indication of when that actually was. Not wanting the opportunity to pass me by, I decided to apply as quickly as I could.
It’s now been over a month since I applied, and certainly over a month since the posting went up (whenever the heck that was). So obviously, time was not as big an issue as I thought. I don’t think my application was bad at all, but after a month of dwelling on it (it really is a dream job for me), I do think I could have gone an entirely different direction on my cover letter — one that would have more specifically tied my experiences to their needs. Not to mention, I’ve accomplished some things in the past few weeks that would boost my qualifications. I’m trying to be positive and say that this is all stuff I can use to wow them in an interview, if I get there.
But still, a question lingers … if there’s been an opening for months and you feel like you can make a notably better application, is it acceptable to re-submit for a job you’ve already applied to? Obviously the quality of an application is different when I have two days to think about it, versus two months. But it still seems like something that comes off as naive and unprofessional. If a friend were asking me for advice, I’d say to just keep their fingers crossed and trust their initial application. But what’s the hiring manager perspective on this?
Yeah, don’t do it. You’re expected to basically put your best foot forward when you apply, and it’s annoying to be asked to read a second application for the same person because they want to take another stab at it. I totally understand the impulse, but resist it!
5. New hire has weird boundaries
I had an employee start today, and he’s already showing signs of being “inappropriately” uncomfortable. It’s little things: picking things up off other other people’s desks, leaning against doorframes, walking into another department’s office to “explore” while on his 10-minute break.
I don’t want to sound uptight, but it feels something akin to someone visiting your house for the first time and opening your fridge without asking. It’s like, “hey, boundaries.”
How to I politely nip this in bud to let him know I expect him have a more professional/respectful demeanor? (He’s also not new to working. He’s 27 and has been in the workforce for eight years, including two years as a manager in a corporate department.)
Start with this: “Hey, it seems like we might have somewhat more formal boundaries than you may be used to from past jobs. Picking up things off other people’s desks or going exploring in other departments without a reason for being there will come across strangely here. Since it seems like it might be a different culture than what you’re used to, it might help to be deliberate about watching how others on our team do things here, and I’m happy to answer any questions you have too. I know it can be tough to adjust to a new culture.”
If it continues after that, you’ll have to decide how big of a deal it is. If it’s not just the stuff you named but bigger things too (interrupting in meetings, being relaxed to the point of unprofessionalism in his work, etc.), it may be that he’s just not the right match for your office (although it’s still worth naming that stuff explicitly for him and seeing if some feedback gets you anywhere).
I got drunk and flipped out at a company dinner, talking about a weaknesses in a job interview, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.
During the burning of Washington in the War of 1812, when a British expeditionary force leveled a cannon at the Patent Office, superintendent William Thornton “put himself before the gun, and in a frenzy of excitement exclaimed: ‘Are you Englishmen or only Goths and Vandals? This is the Patent Office, a depository of the ingenuity of the American nation, in which the whole civilized world is interested. Would you destroy it? If so, fire away, and let the charge pass through my body.'”
“The effect is said to have been magical upon the soldiers, and to have saved the Patent Office from destruction. … When the smoke cleared from the dreadful attack, the Patent Office was the only Government building … left untouched.”
(From R. Beresford’s Brief History of the United States Patent Office From Its Foundation, 1886.)
“I think a singular identity isn’t very interesting, and I’m a little bit more multifaceted as a person than that.” ~Catherine Opie
Are you a person who gets inspiring ideas every day? Do you wake up, galvanized with such thoughts, only to end up feeling sore as the day ends because you failed to act on these bright morning ideas? Perhaps you also end up blaming yourself and feeling guilty for not having taken any action.
Then welcome to the world of multipotentialite, a word I first encountered when I heard a TEDX talk by Emilie Wapnick. In her talk, Emilie talks about the challenges multipotentialites face and how to embrace them.
So who is a multipotentialite? The urban dictionary defines it as “somebody who has potential in multiple fields.” Sounds cool, right? It seems that such a person would lead a meaningful life. They’d never get bored, as there would always be something to catch their fancy.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t usually work out that way. How do I know? I happen to be one.
I am a software engineer turned writer, counselor, web designer, and trek guide. I haven’t stuck to any particular field, so I cannot say I am an expert or a specialist—words the world loves.
I detest family gatherings. Do you know why? People around me talk about promotions and their success while I talk about beginnings. I don’t mind; I’m a learner. But it’s difficult to explain to your family, who wishes to see you settled in your career, that you have multiple interests.
Without a supportive environment, several things can go wrong. Here are some of them.
Great ideas but no follow through
You get plenty of ideas, so much so that it becomes overwhelming. There are countless things you’d like to do right away. Sometimes it’s difficult to choose, for fear that you’ll leave it mid-way. Or you have a desire to do a multitude of things, all at once. Or the dissatisfaction of the earlier half-finished projects may bog you down, so you don’t start at all.
You’re labeled “irresponsible” or “afraid to commit”
You begin to feel that you’re not a responsible person because you don’t stick to anything. After all, hasn’t it been drilled into you that success depends on your level of commitment? And a lack of commitment could mean anything from not being serious to being irresponsible and careless.
The blame game
You start blaming yourself. The pressure to perform and stick to one particular career or task intensifies. It may be a self-created vortex, or others around you will contribute to the pressure by saying things like, “get serious” or “discipline is just what you need.”
Not fitting in
Finally ,you realize you don’t fit in. You start feeling something’s wrong with you, that you’re not like other “normal” people around you who commit to doing things. You believe you’re different and feel you don’t belong anywhere. This can also lead to loneliness or a sense of being alone in the world.
Disappointments greet you
When you’re unable to come up with a goal for yourself, it can hurt. You know you’re ready to put in the hard work, but goals keep changing, as nothing interests you for long. The hurt and disappointment can erode your self-confidence, as well.
Yet you try. You keep searching for that single purpose that will make you feel whole again. Maybe you feel there’s something out there that is “you”—something that’s meant especially for you. You only have to find it and then you’ll be okay. Beware: This path is full of lies.
The feeling of being abnormal
You begin searching for mental disorders on the web. Maybe this is a symptom of a condition, or maybe it signifies a psychiatric illness. The web is extremely helpful here, as it displays twenty or more different disorders that you could box yourself into.
You start sticking to a goal even if it kills you. You wake up day after day reassuring yourself that things will work out in the end. The suppression does not get you anywhere. Instead, you feel a disconnect, an overwhelming feeling that something is missing.
So this, in a nutshell, is the world of multipotentialites.
In spite of their vulnerabilities, multipotentialites can get a lot done. They’re generally quick learners who are able to grasp varied things, a strength that they could capitalize on. In a team they can come up with innovative ideas; the jack-of-all-trades does not lack solutions. Belief in yourself is the only thing that’s missing. Well, that and a couple of other things.
Trust that the dots connect.
Nothing ever goes to waste. The skills you learn along the way will help you in the future.
For a brief period I got a job as a travel writer when a magazine editor realized that I had explored quite a number of places within my city.
A web design course helped me juggle multiple roles at a start-up that was always short on staff.
The counseling degree gave me a better understanding of people around me. It also helped when my friend needed a student counselor for her tuition center.
So my skills were put to good use and I sometimes got paid too, without any conscious effort on my part.
Take small steps.
A quote by Katie Kacvinsky sums this aptly. She says, “You need to be content with small steps. That’s all life is. Small steps that you take every day so when you look back down the road it all adds up and you know you covered some distance.”
Especially when you have hundreds of things that you would like to do, it helps to make a list. Write down your desires and start with one of them. That’s it. Don’t expect anything except the desire to learn.
When you feel saturated, stop and proceed to do the next thing on your list.
The list will grow and so will you. Drop the expectations that you need to finish the project. It’s the learning that counts for you.
Looks for creative ways to contribute.
Maybe you could utilize your skills to earn more, by writing in your particular field, coaching, or even speaking. The important thing is not to give up on your interests; instead, look at them closely and see how you can proactively pursue them to better your situation. This removes the pressure on you and you start feeling less anxious.
Connect with people who can relate.
Joining a like-minded community helps put things in perspective. Forums and websites like Puttylike, started by Emilie, can help you restore your faith in yourself and move ahead in your life.
In the end it’s all about perspective. A quote by George Carlin sums it rather well.
“Some people see the glass half full. Others see it half empty. I see a glass that’s twice as big as it needs to be.”
So choose to focus on your strengths. Success will surely follow.
About Usha Mv
Usha is a freelance writer with varied passions—trekking, walking, history, and books to name a few. You can contact Usha at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The post Are You a Multipotentialite? What to Do When You Have Many Interests appeared first on Tiny Buddha.
No women are allowed on Greece’s Mount Athos, the site of 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries, because they would hinder the monks’ progress toward spiritual enlightenment. Mary alone represents her sex on the mountain.
The ban has been in place since an imperial decree in 1046, with a few colorful exceptions:
- In the 1300s a Serbian emperor brought his wife to the peninsula to protect her from the plague. She was borne in a hand carriage the whole time, her feet never touching the ground.
- French writer Maryse Choisy snuck in in the 1920s, disguised as a sailor. She published her adventure under the title Un mois chez les hommes (“A Month With Men”).
- In 1953 Ohio Fulbright Program teacher Cora Miller landed briefly with two other women, creating a furor.
- In 2008, five Moldovan migrants arrived by way of Turkey; four were women. The monks forgave them.
The rule extends even to hens, cows, nanny-goats, and sows, which means that dairy products and eggs have to be brought in from outside. Female cats, insects, and songbirds are admitted.
In 2003 the European Parliament passed a resolution saying the ban violated “the universally recognised principle of gender equality,” but it remains in place — even female sightseers must stay at least 500 meters offshore.
For those of you who collect original art -- or who would just like a little bit of SHELDON puggy goodness hangin' on your walls -- I have a fun piece of original art up on eBay. It's starting at 1 penny: Go snag it!
It's a delightfully goofy image of Oso the pug, labelled "PUGS, NOT DRUGS".
It's drawn in lightfast, archival inks on acid-free, vellum Bristol stock. And there are no mistakes or corrections in the artwork itself, so it will frame up especially nice! Go look!
A reader writes:
I started working part-time in communications for a small nonprofit startup (25 employees) six months ago. My boss, who is a very smart, talented woman in her late 20’s, started the nonprofit with her boyfriend and a couple of friends a few years ago, and it has been extremely successful. But she doesn’t have much experience managing employees who aren’t her personal friends. I was the second hire in her department after another college friend, and I’m significantly older than most of the other 20-somethings in the office (who tend to go off to grad school or medical school after working there for a year.)
The organization underwent a major transition this spring, and she’s largely been absent since I was hired — in meetings, working somewhere else in the office, doing something more important than supervising or helping me. Her desk is less than six feet away from mine, but I’ve resorted to sending her daily update emails with questions and reports. At the same time, she doesn’t trust me to write things and checks and rewrites all my work–down to individual Facebook posts for our web page–because I either “don’t have the right tone” or I make copy-editing errors. The poor communication and lack of trust make it hard for me to get work done. It’s all strange because my last three bosses all loved my writing, and I’ve worked as a professional writer for decades. I’ve gone from being a star to an incompetent in six months.
My title has been “acting communications manager.” Recently, a friend of me sent me a listing for a “communications manager” job, saying “Isn’t this your job?” It was! I emailed my boss the listing saying “We need to talk about this.” We had a professional development session coming up, and she said she was looking for someone who could replace her, and that person wasn’t me. That’s fine — but she doesn’t seem to understand that I spent my whole weekend terrified that I was about to get fired. I stayed quiet; she didn’t seem to understand the effect it had on me at all, and I didn’t know how to start explaining.
She’s trying to find another role for me in the organization (under a different supervisor), but I’m feeling angry and betrayed. Did she think I wouldn’t find out? I get along well with everyone else in the office, but I feel like I can’t trust the organization as a whole. I’ve started looking for another job, but my contract goes for another month and a half. What should I do? What should I say?
She sounds like she’s just an inexperienced manager who doesn’t know what she’s doing … which is another way of saying she’s a bad manager.
It’s not just her mishandling of this; it’s her incompetence in managing you more broadly. For example, if you “don’t have the right tone” for things you’re supposed to write, she should be giving you actionable feedback and coaching you on that, not just settling on redoing all your work as if that’s an acceptable solution. And if things reached the point where she had decided you weren’t the right fit for the job, she should have talked to you about that, not left you to figure it out when you saw your own damn job listed.
It’s most likely her inexperience that’s making her a bad manager. It sounds like she started the organization soon after college, which means it was probably her first time managing people (which rarely goes smoothly, even when the new manager has a boss to coach her, which she doesn’t have) and that she hadn’t had much time in the work world to watch and learn from other managers. And she’s been managing only friends up until now, which isn’t exactly the sign of a super professionalized manager.
So, if you step back and look at it, this isn’t terribly surprising. It’s a start-up organization run by someone without much experience, and she is indeed operating like someone without much experience. That rarely works out well for the people being managed in that situation.
And because she’s running this organization, it’s very unlikely that moving to another job there would be a great choice because the whole organization is going to be mismanaged. Since your contract there ends shortly anyway, I wouldn’t worry about addressing this with her; just focus on finding a job that isn’t there.
(All that said, “acting communications manager” does imply the role wasn’t a permanent one, so maybe there’s something there that explains some of how she handled this?)
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April 26th, 2017: I am still in Alaska! IT IS STILL GORGEOUS!! Everyone come here, it's great! Only some local teens burned down the local (AMAZING) park so I am here to tell you: teens, don't do that. Teens, you will go to jail for burning down a park and then everyone will say "what the heck is wrong with these teens".
The idea is, instead of a single "defuse bomb" roll, you need multiple things, open the panel without setting something off, find the deadman's switch, choose the right wire, cut it.
And these might be things that require a variety of skills.
4e designed a version which really rubbed me up the wrong way. It optimised for designing a scenario that could be run mechanically for different groups and present a particular level of challenge, and assumed that each challenge would be defined by "achieve N successes before X failures, using skills A, B, C or D".
I've only skimmed the rules for 5e but it seems to be somewhat more freeform. Because I thought this was a *great* idea, basically codifying something that a good GM would do automatically, but I really didn't like the way it was hard-coded, and presented to the players up-front.
Ideally, it should be obvious without specifying to the players. For the bomb, maybe each failure makes the bomb arm itself, then begin flashing, then finally explode. You don't know for sure how many steps, but you can tell things are getting critical. (And if you're aiming for fun rather than challenge, the GM can escalate or descelate the requirements according to how challenging this encounter should be compared to other ones that have happened this session.) It should be obvious which skills might apply, but they might lead to different paths -- a knowledge skill might open up an easier path to success, not count as a success/failure itself; different skills might stack or not; etc.
Or it ties into combat, each failure makes combat more difficult (it makes the platform you're standing on move dangerously or lets more enemies catch up), or you need to coordinate making skill rolls with other characters doing combat.
If you're improv'ing, that's all fairly easy to do, even though it's hard to spec in advance.
I said on twitter, skill challenges are a great idea, but I find it more fun if it's "how the GM designs the scenario" not "a mechanic the players need to be familiar with". Now I think of it, I see the same contrast with "what monsters you encounter". That easily can be pre-specified, and the players know, basically, the mechanics are "here's the monsters who exist" or "they spawn every two rounds" (as in 4e), and know everyone faced a similar challenge. Or it can be improvised -- if the players faff around, the reinforcements arrive early, if they players have a lucky plan to bar a door, they can't come in, etc, etc. (as I'd like it).
 This makes sense from a tactical combat perspective, but I found very frustrating. Every 2 rounds skeletons climb out of a sarcophagus. No, you can't look inside. No, you can't judge how many skeletons could fit inside. No, you can't judge what sort of spell or effect is responsible (well, you can, but you can't expect it to matter). No, you can't try to block the lid. It's screaming "accept the premise and desperately avoid imagining being there". Except that if you do that, you have no way to judge "having the infinite spawning skeletons finished or will they continue" and are punished for guessing wrong. I feel like you could have 90% of the effect by saying "there's a pile of bones, a skeleton assembles itself out of them, there's still 3/4 of the pile left" or "the sundered skeleton parts begin to reassemble themselves" or "the air shimmers and a skeleton warrior sprouts from the ground".
Some are picked because they are good examples from other countries, some show details of a move that is almost impossible to understand from a written description, some are old traditional dances and some are excellent modern ones.
A reader writes:
I applied for a job that I thought I’d be a good fit for. I clicked with the external recruiter immediately, and he said he wanted to introduce me to on-site recruiter at the client. When I met the second guy, he said he would definitely like to introduce me to the owner/director of the business. I met with the owner/director, and we talked for over an hour.
Then the first recruiter got back in touch and said that she would like to hear me explain what I can offer the company and how my skills can help move it forward. I decided to compile notes on all areas… sales, communication, people, costs, then round off with talking through the words people have used to describe me in feedback I’ve had throughout my career. I thought we had covered this already and in detail.
I did yet another interview this morning. At the end they said, “We’ll get back to you on Monday, we think. We might need candidates at this stage to complete a personality test. We’ve hired badly in the past and we don’t want to make mistakes again.”
Meanwhile I’m thinking, “This is the fourth interview I’ve had regarding this. I’ve been very open and honest and I think I’ve given a full picture of who I am and what I can do.”
They kept talking about avoiding a bad fit, but as far as I was concerned I had decided I really wanted to work for them after interview #3 and told them that. So I guess my quandary is… getting a second interview is a signal that they’re really interested, and getting a third one should be even more positive, right? But a fourth or a fifth? I just do not know what to make of this; my head is buzzing.
I answer this question over at Inc. today, where I’m revisiting letters that have been buried in the archives here from years ago (and sometimes updating/expanding my answers to them). You can read it here.
Alliance 0 > xThe winner gets nothing but boasting rights and glory. Sorry; I'm both skint and disorganised, so arranging actual physical prizes is beyond my capabilities at the mo. And yes, I'm going to put my pixels where my mouth is. ( my prediction under the cut )
Conservative 330 > x
DUP 8 > x
Green 1 > x
Independent 4 > x
Labour 229 > x
Liberal Democrat 9 > x
Official Monster Raving Loony 0 > x
Plaid Cymru 3 > x
Sinn Fein 4 > x
SDLP 3 > x
SNP 54 > x
Speaker 1 > x
UKIP 1 > x
UUP 2 > x
Others 0 > x
Total 649* > 650
* NB: total is currently 649 because of the death of Gerald Kaufman.
A reader writes:
Every spring, the company I work for hires interns. This year I was assigned an intern to train and manage for the first time. Two days ago I had a project meeting at another site and my boss said I should bring my intern as it would be a good experience for him. Up until this point, my intern’s behavior had been nothing but professional.
Before the meeting started, when people were still arriving and getting settled in, my intern told someone he was speaking with a tasteless, disgusting joke (about people jumping from buildings on 9/11). He said it with a normal level voice and everyone around him heard, including me. I immediately told him to stop talking. The person sitting next to him went off because she had a family member who died on 9/11 and may have been one of those who jumped. She had to be pulled out of the room by three of her colleagues in tears and still yelling at him over their shoulders. No one could blame her for her reaction.
My intern was kicked out of the meeting and took a cab back to our office. I texted my boss to let him know what happened and profusely apologized to everyone on behalf of the company. There were people from two other companies and the government at this meeting, and they were all appalled. The intern was fired and at least two complaints have been filed against him to the association that governs those who work in our industry. Multiple people from the meeting have called my boss and other higher-ups to complain.
I am worried that my intern’s behavior will reflect badly on me. I think what he did was disgusting, but he was here for a month before this happened and he was nothing but polite and professional. I was so embarrassed at the meeting.
My boss and the higher-ups are furious and doing major damage control. Should I say something to them or try to explain I had no idea he would do anything like this? Should I apologize again? I’m afraid to show my face at the next meeting because I am so embarrassed.
You aren’t responsible for someone else’s offensive joke.
Actually, I’ll caveat that: If you’d seen earlier evidence of problems with him and not addressed it, then sure, you’d have some responsibility here.
But that’s not what happened here. You’d seen nothing but professional behavior from him previously, and you had no way of knowing that he was about to bust out a horrible offensive remark.
When it happened, you immediately told him to stop talking. You apologized profusely to everyone who was at the meeting, and you alerted your boss to what happened. Those are all the correct actions to take.
Sometime people turn out not to be who we thought they were. As long as you don’t pretend you’re not seeing/hearing it and as long as you don’t let bad behavior continue, that’s not your fault.
I don’t know what you’ve said to your boss and other higher-ups so far, but if you haven’t told them how appalled you are and that you’d seen no signs of problems from him before, tell them that now. Emphasize “appalled.” Also, tell your boss that you’re really embarrassed and ask for her advice about whether there’s anything else that you should be doing.
But really, this sounds like an intern who ran amok in a particularly awful way. Sometimes that happens. You deal with it, you apologize to anyone impacted, and then you get to move on.
my intern told a horribly offensive joke at a meeting with other companies was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.
"What do you think of this rain?" you ask.
She's silent, focused.
"Might not ever stop," you say. "Busier for me though."
After another 20 seconds she says, "Fuck."
You ask if there's something wrong and she says it's the song. You ask if she hates the song she says it's not that. She says she hasn't heard it in over three years.
"People think it's a love song," you say. "But I read it was actually about Bowie."
Her face is pained.
"Takin' you back, huh?" you say.
She says no, in fact no it's not at all. She says it was the song he played on the jukebox the night they first kissed. She says it's the song they'd put on at least once during the early-going Saturdays they'd spend all day in bed. She says it's the song she played on repeat in the months after he was gone until she swore to never ever play it again.
"I'll turn it off," you say.
She says no, don't bother.
"I pride myself on my star rating," you say. "If the song is upsetting you I'll--"
"It's not upsetting me," she says. "It's not doing anything to me."
"Are you sure?"
"Quit making me say it out loud!" she screams. "It's hard enough as it is."
It's like the song never played while she was burying her face in his hair, like they never put it on the rental car stereo when they were driving around her hometown to escape from her parents at Thanksgiving, like she never played it while trying to bring herself to replace the Brita pitcher he took with him when he moved out.
"How about a new station," you say.
"You can play it," she whispers. "It's fine. It doesn't matter anymore. Let the song play."
That's when she starts swearing and punching the back of your seat and slamming her palms against the car window. You hardly ever give a passenger a bad rating but you can't have someone becoming violent and treating your vehicle like that, no matter how hard it is to discover that even the pain a lover leaves behind will eventually go away. The window rattles a little now.
Happy You Can Play It It's Fine It Doesn't Matter Let The Song Play Day!