[syndicated profile] askamanager_feed

Posted by Ask a Manager

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

1. Can I decline to take a personality test during a hiring process?

I’m about to head into a third interview, and I was just asked to take a personality test and cognitive aptitude test. I am incredibly uncomfortable with a personality test and said as much – but am willing to take the cognitive aptitude test. I don’t feel personality tests are useful or conclusive in any way. Am I blowing the interview? Is it wrong that I’m not willing to play the game?

I’m no fan of personality tests either, but organizations who use them are likely to require it if you want to continue in their process. The exceptions to this are if you’ve come into their process through a personal connection, one who has enough standing there to say “she can skip it” or if the hiring manager likes you enough at this point to exempt you. Absent either of those factors, they’re likely to take “won’t play the game” as “self-selecting out.”

2. My coworkers are trying to reassign my work to the receptionist

I work in a small department with four people, two of whom are new to the organization. One employee (coworker #1) was hired to do a certain job, and we also hired a receptionist to round out our department two months ago.

Coworker #1 doesn’t like some aspects of her job responsibilities, and she has gotten close to the CEO, who has advocated for a title change for her and coworker is trying to pass off the “undesirable” responsibilities to the receptionist. Two coworkers from other departments who we work closely with on various projects “feel bad” that the receptionist “doesn’t have enough to do” and are prepared to assign her a bunch of different responsibilities, including trying to reduce some of mine to give to her! Our manager is on vacation all week, so they plan on surprising him with the job responsibility changes upon his return.

I’m frustrated that my coworkers assume that they can make these changes on a whim without discussing it with the affected department members first (especially the manager), and I told them that I was uncomfortable with putting their ideas in motion before my manager returns. I think that they think that because they either report to or work closely with the CEO, they can wave a wand and make changes to fit their tastes. I don’t mind if the receptionist has additional responsibilities, but I do not want my work to be encroached on and I think it’s inappropriate for coworkers to be creating and changing responsibilities for each other. I feel like my manager definitely needs to know about this–what should I do?

Just be direct! It’s totally reasonable to say, “I want to wait to talk to (manager) when he returns next week, so please don’t move forward on this until I do.” If you’re comfortable with it, you could be even clearer: “I’d actually like to hang on to Task X because (I like it/it’s a significant part of my job/it intersects with other things I do/I’m better positioned to handle it because of Y/whatever). If you feel strongly about it, we can certainly talk with (manager) when he returns next week, but it would need to wait until then.”

3. How to assess a candidate who might have very different values from our organization

I’m a recruiter for a health-related nonprofit. One application we got recently raised some eyebrows because the applicant’s current position is with a notoriously conservative organization, and our organizational culture is definitely on the liberal side of things. Plus, we provide services (family planning, post-abortion care, heavily promoting condom usage for HIV prevention, etc) that his current organization actively campaigns against. They’re also in the “homosexuality is a sin” camp and the hiring manager is gay. Obviously, not every employee has to privately espouse the values of their organization (the current one, or ours) but we also want to make our atmosphere clear, and determine his nebulous “fit” with the rest of the team. How can we do that without implying “we’re worried you’re a bigot”?

When you do advocacy or many other types of nonprofit work, it’s entirely reasonable to require that candidates have a commitment to the objectives of your organization. You can be pretty direct about this: “Your current organization pretty actively campaigns against much of the work we do. Tell me more about your interest in moving from them over to us.”

To get at basic comfort with / skill at working with people who might be different from himself, you can ask things like “Tell me about a time that you had to work with a group of people from different backgrounds and move them to action. How did you approach it, and to what extent did that shape your approach?” Or even more directly, “Tell me about a time you had to navigate issues of identity and diversity — how did you approach it?” or “One of our core values is around diversity and inclusion, which for us means ___. Tell me about how that value has played out in your work.” (I stole all three of these from The Management Center.)

For what it’s worth, you might end up being surprised! When I was working to end marijuana prohibition, among our job candidates were two former DEA agents, a Republican judge (we hired him and he was great), and a bunch of others whose exposure to the other side of the issue had been what made them support our work. Or he might just be someone who doesn’t realize what type of work you do, or who hasn’t thought particularly deeply on your issues. But you should get a pretty good idea with the sorts of questions above.

4. Should I apply for a job I don’t want in order to get my foot in the door?

I am very interested in applying to work for a specific, small nonprofit organization. I truly believe in their mission and the work they do. However, they have no open positions for the job I would be suitable for. Can I apply to a different position I am not interested in just to get my foot in the door? Should I email them my resume and cover letter for the job for which they are not currently hiring? How can I get myself on this organization’s radar?

Don’t apply for a position you’re not interested in. You’ll be wasting their time, and small organizations really don’t have the luxury of that. Plus,  if you get the job, you’d be potentially sidetracking your own career for a different job that might never happen. Instead, your best bet is to find ways to make connections with people there (volunteering is one way, but it doesn’t have to be that), let them know you’d love to work for them some day and what you do, and make sure you stay in touch. If feasible, go to their events and get involved in other ways. In other words, get on their radar and keep yourself there so that you’re around if they ever do have an opening that’s right for you.

Plus, once you get to know their context better, you might see a way to pitch the type of work you’d like to do — but that will be a lot more effective once you know more about them.

5. A friend referred me for a job but then I was automatically rejected

A friend of mine referred me to a job and forwarded my resume to the actual hiring manager. He told me to apply for the position online as well. Unfortunately, I received an automated email from their HR department stating they were deciding to pursue other candidates. My question is: Was I really not considered by the actual HR manager or was this a result of their hiring software? Have there been situations where an HR manager may have reviewed a resume personally and decided to move forward with an applicant while a “hiring software” may have done the opposite (i.e. rejected an applicant)?

It could be either. If the hiring manager reviewed your materials and decided to reject you, it’s likely she’d have the normal rejection sent and you wouldn’t be able to tell that was the case. On the other hand, it’s also possible that you were rejected by HR or filtered out by screening software if you didn’t meet specific qualifications. Competent employers don’t set up their software in a way that would result in candidates they’d want to interview being automatically screened out, but it happens.

All you can really do here is mention to the friend who referred you that you received what looks like an automatic rejection, and let the friend decide if it’s worth him following up with the hiring manager. (Whether he will or should depends on how well positioned he is to assess your candidacy.)

can I decline a personality test, coworkers are trying to reassign my work, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

beatrice_otter: All true wealth is biological (Wealth)
[personal profile] beatrice_otter
Given the very diverse views I've heard on this book (everything from love to hate), I've been quite curious as to what I'd think of the book.  And I can see why some people don't like it; it's very different, in tone and scope and style, from most of the Vorkosigan books.  To top it off, it's part of a genre that there isn't much of, and certainly not within the SF/F field.  Bujold often genre-hops within SF, going from mystery to intrigue to comedy of manners to coming of age space-opera.  All of which are things there are a lot of, both in SF/F and outside of it.  They're things we're used to, things that have defined audiences already.  If you like space opera but not comedy-of-manners, you know to read The Warriors Apprentice and skip or skim A Civil Campaign.  And going into them, you know what to expect.  Within the first couple of chapters there are the cues for what sort of genre it's going to be, and you can calibrate your expectations accordingly.

With Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen ... not so much.  I've tried to think of what genre it is or how to describe it, and I really can't.  There are undoubtedly other works like it out there, but not many, and I can't think of any at all in SF/F.  It's sort of like a middle-aged coming-of-age novel, except that that carries connotations of middle-aged middle-class white guys being douchebags as part of a mid-life crisis, and this is most definitely not that.  It's about two middle-aged people coming to a natural transition point in their lives and figuring out what they want to do with their remaining time.  Sensibly, quietly, maturely, after having had a couple of years to recover from a devastating loss.  There's no huge drama, no great adventure, nothing like that.  It's not domestic enough to be what in fanfic would be called "curtain fic," but it's that sort of thing.  A lot of it is general day-to-day life stuff, albeit with uterine replicators and on an alien planet with really weird biology and foreign diplomats.  A lot of it is about having an interesting internal life when you're of an age that most people younger than you assume you're beyond such things.  A lot of it is about just doing all the mundane ordinary things that any job entails.  Even Miles showing up doesn't result in fireworks, because it's not his story, on a very fundamental level.  There's humor and romance and minor intrigue and minor action, but that's not what it's about.

I really enjoyed it.  I don't know that I would have ten years ago.  And I wonder what I'll think about it when I'm closer to Cordelia and Oliver's age.  It's not even close to my favorite Vorkosigan novel, but I'm glad I read it and I'm glad it exists.

(Note: if you're annoyed by the Vorkosiverse focus on children and parenthood, this is probably not the book for you.)

walking too far ahead

Feb. 9th, 2016 09:25 pm
thistleingrey: (Default)
[personal profile] thistleingrey
Rebecca Stead, When You Reach Me (2009): so much love for this book. I'm not sure what to say. Miranda and her mother live in a NYC apartment: one could say that the biggest supporting character is 1978 New York City as it impinges upon Miranda's sixth-grade existence. Her mother, who hates her job as a paralegal (and would have trained as a lawyer if Miranda hadn't been born during law school), practices every night to appear on $20,000 Pyramid, a show that was called $25,000 by the time I watched it during summer vacations. Miranda's best friend won't talk with her after he's punched by a random kid. Random kid, Marcus, turns out to love math and physics and to chat with Miranda about a crucial moment in A Wrinkle in Time. (That moment bothered me, too, and is part of why I always loved A Swiftly Tilting Planet best. Illogical history is different.)

As a friend says in her Goodreads review, adults can anticipate the ending more swiftly than the adolescents who're considered the primary audience; the book has won a Newbery Medal. It may reduce some of the primary effect of narrative revelations, but because the story is so well told, there are other effects for non-adolescent readers to consider which pack their own punches. Things I enjoyed especially: which character serves as the cavalry when the cavalry is called in; how Miranda's perspectives about her classmates change during the narrative, sometimes having nothing directly to do with the denouement but filling out the space she inhabits; that no one is particularly evil or particularly beyond reproach, yet everyone does or embodies at least one conventionally negative thing, casually, because it's how life is.

Kid had a rough day today.

Feb. 10th, 2016 12:01 am
archangelbeth: Bleach's Captain Byakuya, three-quarters view. Captioned: sigh (Sigh)
[personal profile] archangelbeth
And stayed home.

Friskie went to the vet, where she had her teeth cleaned and one bone-infected tooth pulled. Antibiotics for her before we go to bed.

Looking for Sariel D. I... have pieced together at least where her mom is. I'm being a bit too chicken to email her mom yet. Or call. Or... whatever. *facepalm*

Havva Quote
So pretty much anybirdie who isn't going to kill me has to have a tragic tale filled with woe?
Oh god, I did the birdie thing again.

INwatch+Bookwatch )

Dragons under fold )

You Lose At Winning

Feb. 10th, 2016 04:00 am
[syndicated profile] notalwaysright_feed

Posted by BD

Grocery Store | NE, USA

(With the huge lottery jackpot, we’ve gotten quite a few customers in who are unfamiliar with how lottery works. I’m naturally sarcastic and with the hoards of customers, I’m getting a little snarky.)

Customer: “I’ll have a lottery ticket!”

Me: “Sorry, we just sold out.”

Customer: “Really?”

Me: “No, just kidding.” *sells lottery ticket, proceeds to the next customer* “What can I get for you?”

Customer #2: “The winning lottery numbers!”

Me: “Okay…” *touches a couple buttons, then hands the print out to the customer*

Customer: “What’s this?”

Me: “The winning lottery numbers.”

Customer #2: “But these were for the last drawing!”

Me: “You weren’t specific.”

The post You Lose At Winning appeared first on Funny & Stupid Customer Stories - Not Always Right.

Unsorted linkspam

Feb. 10th, 2016 12:29 am
umadoshi: (Killjoys - Johnny 01 (inawhirl_icons))
[personal profile] umadoshi
At The OASG, "Five Questions with Dr. Casey Brienza, Author of Manga in America". [Probably unnecessary disclaimer: I haven't read the book yet, but I was one of the manymanymany people Casey interviewed when researching it.]

"How To Make Something People Give A Shit About".

"20 free fashion books to download from The Metropolitan Museum of Art".

"Decipher Your Cat's Body Language With This Helpful Infographic". (Also includes the corresponding dog body language infographic.) [Mental Floss]

"Why Do Poor People 'Waste' Money On Luxury Goods?"

"Girth Guides are online!" is a post announcing Girth Guides: Patches for Fat Activists. Being a fat person is tough work & sometimes we deserve a bit of recognition for living in the world while fat. Girth Guides is a way to connect with other fat activists and seek comfort in community; a club where we can witness and validate our own strength and lived experiences.

"10 Things You Should Say to Someone with a Chronic Illness". [2014]

"17 Pictures Of Beach Bodies That Will Get You Motivated". [Buzzfeed] No humans in sight in this article! "“Being able to return to a stage of sexual immaturity after reaching sexual maturity and remaining essentially biologically immortal is really helpful for maintaining my youthful glow,” she shared."

Here is a tweet with a retail listing description and a link to photos. Hard to describe; worth a look.

The Globe and Mail has an excerpt from Untangled, in which "psychotherapist Lisa Damour uses neuroscience to help parents – and anyone perplexed by teenage girls – understand what’s really going on in their heads". (Not a field I know anything about, so take my linking it with a grain of salt, but I found the excerpt more interesting than The Globe and Mail's description suggests.)

Report cards, books and other stuff

Feb. 9th, 2016 10:19 pm
aome: pile of books (books)
[personal profile] aome
Second-quarter report cards were handed out today. Both kids did great! )

I finished reading Manners and Mutiny, Gail Carriger's last Finishing School book. Thoughts under here )

I'm also reading Uprooted by Naomi Novik, a Christmas gift from [personal profile] hamsterwoman. I don't usually read two books concurrently, but since Uprooted is hard copy and Manners and Mutiny was Kindle format, it was handy when I couldn't find one, to just grab the other. And I just started reading The Iron Trial aloud to Two, after we finished the last of the four-book Origami Yoda series Will gave me for Christmas. (There's two more books, but we'll have to get those out of the library.)

As a follow-up to last Saturday's post: thankfully, things were calm again by dinner, and mostly fine on Sun, too. MiniPlu owned up to having been excessively bitchy on Sat am, which helped, as well. I didn't go to the used book sale, but that's ok, and I did get to run a few errands on my own on Sun. And I went to TKD for the first time this afternoon, with no ill effects, although we weren't taxing the upper body too much anyway.

Am giving up known sources of gluten for Lent (I tend to cheat pretty much every day, within limits) and am committing to drinking more water. I might try to cut back on sugar, but I'm not sure about giving it up entirely for the occasion. Will's giving up both sugar and alcohol. Given that he's been a huge stress case lately, I'm not sure what he's going to do to calm himself (besides exercise for hours, but he does that already) for the next six weeks!

London Meetup, Feb 13

Feb. 10th, 2016 02:38 am
[syndicated profile] captainawkward_feed

Posted by JenniferP

From Kate, here’s your monthly Meetup info:

Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, SE1 8XX near Waterloo station, 13th February, 11am onwards.

Bad book swap!  Bring a book you don’t like, swap it for one someone else doesn’t like.  Any reason for not liking it is fine, too many/too few vampires for your tastes, or whatever.

This venue is working out really well.

They sell food in a cafe (standard sandwiches etc.), but they also don’t mind people bringing food in from outside. There are several other local places where you can buy stuff as well. The excellent food market outside has loads of different food options, which can fit most food requirements, or you can also bring a packed lunch.
Meet on the fourth floor, outside the Blue Bar (go up in the JCB lift, lift 7, which is bright yellow and quite musical).

Here is the internal map of the Royal Festival Hall: http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/sites/default/files/documents/RFH_map.pdf

I will have my Cthulhu with me, which looks like this: http://forbiddenplanet.com/3950-cthulhu-baby-plush/  One time I forgot it but I will do my best this time, however if I forget again I will put up a sign. I have long brown hair and glasses.

The venue is accessible via a lift, and has accessible toilets.  Waterloo tube station has step free access on the Jubilee line but not on the Northern line.

The London Awkward group has a Facebook page, which is here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/549571375087294/.  There is also a thread in the new forums for saying hello.

My email is Kate DOT Towner AT Gmail DOT com

(March meetup will be on the 12th.)


[syndicated profile] captainawkward_feed

Posted by JenniferP

A series of letters from people who are trying to disengage but don’t know how. There’s some really toxic addiction and abusive behavior described in some of the letters, so, know that going in.

Hey Captain Awkward,

This is the LW of #776. This time my question isn’t about dealing with Toby’s parents, but Toby himself.

Firstly, some good (ish?) news – Toby did make the visit to his parents and came back fine (although I did have to loan him money so he could secretly go pick up the 5 antipsychotics/antidepressants/antiepileptics that they refused to let him go to the pharmacy to get) and his mother is now paying him $50 a week to not talk about his life to her (so they can keep their relationship ‘light and airy’) so at least he’s slightly richer for it.

Anyway, around that time he met a guy, who I’ll call Judas, who at first seemed like a really positive influence in his life – he’d been present for a major dissociative self-harm episode and got in touch with me to work out a recovery plan, he’s quite a lot older than either of us with a good, stable career and what seemed to be his head on his shoulders. After a while he and Toby started a sexual and emotional relationship which was undercut when Judas told him that he was already in a semi-open long-distance relationship with a boyfriend who was coming back to the country in a matter of months. This was a warning sign for me, considering Judas knew about Toby’s BPD and severe abandonment issues from the beginning. Since then, Toby’s had an up and down time which has included another protracted period of homelessness during which he stayed on my couch until I moved cities to focus on some chronic health issues (he was originally planning to come with me, but later decided to stay).

The first week I was here I found out incidentally from a mutual acquaintance that Toby has not only relapsed as an alcoholic, but was only ‘sober’ for around one or two months and had been maintaining the illusion for me that he hadn’t had a sip of alcohol for a year. I confronted him about this – calmly but emotionally – and he told me that he’d never lied to me, that he’d just ‘never debunked the lies I was telling myself’ or something. When I told him that his sister, Jackie, had told me that she thought he’d been drinking again on her last visit, he said she brought him the bottles herself. He also said that Judas has been actively enabling him (in addition to a bunch of other stuff that Toby said he was hurt by – focusing on his weight and dress when he has severe dysmorphia and bulimia, encouraging him to remove the tattoos he got to match his own self-image) by buying drinks unasked every time they hang out. After this I sent Judas an angry letter outlining the ways I thought he was letting Toby down and failing to responsibly manage his addictions. Toby at first agreed with me about the contents of the letter and said Judas was responsive and remorseful, but then didn’t talk to me for weeks and when confronted said that the letter had greatly affected our relationship and that we were still best friends but he’d ‘hated me for it’, that he shouldn’t be surprised that he’s still drinking because ‘he’s an addict and if it’s not one thing, it’s going to be another’, that ‘it’s his life and he’ll fuck it up any way he wants’ and that I’m ‘meddling in his relationships when he has no problem with the way he’s being treated’. When I brought up his past complaints and asked if being strung along by Judas was the way he wanted to be treated Toby said ‘you know it is’.

We’ve had big fights before but they’ve always blown over quickly. Even though at the end of that one we reconciled I still have a huge empty feeling. I feel incredibly disappointed in him for lying to me, in myself for not recognising this, in everyone else he holds close in his life for actively encouraging his addiction despite him being clear he was in recovery. What you said about me taking on the emotional legwork of this relationship resonated but I still feel regret for almost a full year where I could have helped him get back on track if only I’d known. It casts all our past interactions into an odd relief, because I thought he’d changed into a much better person, and it makes me doubt the point of the effort I made to help him through past relationships with similar to much-worse issues. Toby hasn’t talked to me in over a week, since that conversation, and I feel like I’m just out-of-sight, out-of-mind for him and that he has no genuine sense of apology for what he’s done. He’s been my best friend for years and the prospect of being without him makes me feel so alone, but I’m not sure how to come back from this. Is this salvageable? Should I even try?


Dear Argh,

Hello again. I’m sorry things are still a roller-coaster with your friendship with Toby and that his recovery is compromised.

Once again, you are describing a situation where your instincts about what the best course of action is might be absolutely correct, but Toby is still the boss of how he wants to handle his life. Once again, I’m not sure you really believe that Toby is the boss of his own life. For example, Judas does not sound like the world’s best partner for a recovering addict, but Toby is right that it is his decision to stay, and if he says “No more letters to my partner about me!” or “You have overstepped here!” or “It’s my life to mess up” or even bullshit self-justifications like “That thing where I lied to you wasn’t really LYING-lying, it was just sort of lying,” it’s still his decision.

(Like, the letter to Judas thing really IS an overstep on your part, even if every word of it is well-meant and based on truth. I don’t think you’ll ever get a “thank you” for that one from any of the parties.)

Once again, you can’t control what Toby or Judas or Toby’s family does. You can only control what you do. So how much of yourself do you want to pour into fixing things with someone who sabotages his own recovery and lies to you about it?

Once again, I don’t have access to Toby, I only have access to you, so you are my priority and concern.

I know that it is probably literally the hardest and most painful thing for you to imagine right now, but the best thing for you might be to detox from your friendship with Toby. He is avoiding you, so what if you stopped trying to make things work? You can wish for good things for him without actively engaging with him, especially now when he doesn’t want to talk to you. Channel the energy instead into shoring up your own mental health and physical health. Look into a resource like Al-Anon which supports the loved ones of alcoholics. Nurture your relationships with people who are not Toby. Kick ass at work or school, sock money away in your emergency fund, and try to figure out what “normal” and “happy” and “safe” feels like for you. Stop being the Toby Information Clearinghouse – “You’ll have to talk directly with Toby about that” can be your mantra for family, Judas, and mutual friends. When intrusive thoughts of Toby come to you (and they will), practice saying to yourself “I hope he’s well, I wish him well” and imagine your worried thoughts transforming into little butterflies or clouds that will find him and surround him with positive vibes.  If Toby ever needed a place to stay or called you needing someone to talk to, I have no doubt you’d help him however you can, and it’s okay to leave that door open in your heart! But I don’t think it’s helping anyone for you to be on this day-to-day roller-coaster with him.

I know you love him, and I know your heart is broken, I know you have a lot invested in being Toby’s #1 Person, and I wish I had more to say than “It might literally be unfixable right now, I’m so sorry.” You can care about people, but you can’t do their caring instead of them, and I’m so sorry that Toby seems determined to drive that point home just now.

Dear Captain,

I’ve made alot of mistakes in the last year or more. The biggest was
rushing into a rebound relationship shortly after my marriage ended.
He was way too needy and wouldn’t know a boundary if it smacked him in
the face. I ended it, but life, despite years of infertility, decided
a whoops was in order and I’m expecting. I’m happy about the baby and
she’s due very soon.

Her dad is a constant stress. He’s engaged in behaviour my lawyer says
classifies as stalking, verbal abuse and sexual harassment. He has
some diagnosed mental conditions that he doesn’t really accept,
despite being under involuntary treatment for them and some major
history of stalking his ex wife (all of which I found out after we
broke up).

My lawyer says if I push, I can probably keep him away from the baby
on a pretty permanent basis (he has a habit of emailing/texting me
clear evidence of all the crap he pulls). However, it will still
likely cost lots of time, lots of stress, oodles of cash and involve
some fairly heavy government stuff, like independent children’s
lawyers, etc. And of course, if I charge him with stuff it has a
really serious long-term impact on his life, which I don’t take

Sometimes he is fine. He can be really helpful and thoughtful. He can
be nice and funny and willingly helps people whenever he can. I (sigh)
do think there is still good in him – though I don’t want any kind of
physical or romantic relationship with him whatsoever.

I also want my daughter to have a Dad in her life if she can have it.
And every website I go to says to try to avoid family court and settle
things yourselves if you can.
But…he pushes so hard he’s almost sent me into early labour a few
times. I use my words, but he just won’t hear me. He constantly tries
to pry into my personal life (jealousy is also an issue with him), he
has threatened to “ruin my life”, to prevent me from traveling back to
where my family lives (another country) by putting baby on a no-fly
list, has tried to trade the promise of sex for a favourable custody
arrangement, etc.

I really struggle with whether by relying on the “good times” when
things are calm and okay, I’m being naive and foolish and letting him
get away with appalling behaviour I always said I’d never put up
with…or if I’m being a good mom and a responsible adult.

How do you know when it’s time to draw that line in the sand that
changes everything?


Turns Out, Rebounds ARE a Thing

Dear Rebounds,

I’m glad you have a lawyer, so, please listen to that person above all, but you asked for my opinion and this is it: My instinct is that you should gain full legal custody of your future child, and to have any future interactions between father and child happen at your sole discretion and 100% according to your terms. You should do it now, before the baby is born, before there is time to develop a relationship and before he has any kind of access to her. I am not a legal expert, but my sense is that the longer your ex has a relationship with your actual daughter, the harder it will be to get the court to sever that relationship in her and your best interests.

Right now you are looking at it as “denying my daughter her father, maybe forever!” vs. “giving the father the maximum chance to show his good side!” which is not a decision to be made lightly. Nor is the decision to trust in the legal system or involve it in someone’s life. But really what you are doing is putting in place a legal structure that gives you the maximum amount of freedom and control to protect yourself and your daughter from violence. Your ex is already threatening to use the baby to control your whereabouts and to give him permanent access to your life on his terms, he is already stalking and harassing you and has a history of the same with his ex-wife.He is already ruining your life by adding to your stress and almost sending you into labor! These patterns won’t suddenly change for the better when there is an actual baby involved, they will escalate because now he has the ultimate trump card that he can play on you again and again and again. He feels ignored? He will use the baby. You start dating someone new? He will threaten the baby. He will act like a great dad when everyone is watching but also let you know that he could hurt you and the baby any time he wants to. He will drag you into court (or make you do the calculus of whether court, etc. is worth it to you) again and again and again if it gives him what he wants, which is control over you. When someone says “I will ruin your life,” believe them!

It’s natural to want things to be better and fantasize about a world where your ex behaves much better toward you. However, if you re-cast the “good times” you notice as “moments he is choosing not to stalk & harass & threaten you,” maybe you can start to see the bad moments as moments he is choosing to stalk & harass & threaten you. Does he stalk and harass his boss? His friends? Random men he meets on the street? You say there is mental health stuff going on, and I believe you, but it’s interesting how he chooses to stalk and harass only the women in his life.

I don’t know how you get mentally & emotionally free of this guy, but when you measure “The generic idea of a good dad, maybe” vs. “A man who terrifies and stalks and threatens women, definitely,” please let your lawyer be your advocate and use all the resources available to you. Suggested reading: Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft.

Hi Awkward crew!

My friend and I had sex, hurt each other, and things are messy. I would love for the wisdom of the Awkward community.

This story does not present Friend in the best light, but he has many wonderful qualities.

Friend and I were close and spent a lot of one on one time together. I liked him and also felt obligated to him. I was his only friend, and he was suicidal.

He was veeeeery helpful and kind to me – sometimes too much. He asked if he could give me a Valentine’s day gift, I said no, he brought me one anyways.

We had chemistry, I got a bit of a crush too, and we eventually began having sex. I was clear that I did not want a boyfriend.

I eventually wanted to stop the sex, but somehow we kept going back to it. I was very lonely and worried I would lose his friendship. I felt trapped and so I became unkind. I said many hurtful things to him and I regret this deeply.

After we graduated college Friend took a summer job several states away. Suddenly I felt free. I told him the sex was over. He was upset but eventually seemed okay with it.

We had been planning a post-graduation trip since before we began having sex. I visited him right before the trip. We did not do anything sexual. He was upset whenever I texted my other friends. He followed me step for step around a museum and cried when I asked him to stop. Eventually Friend broke down and said he still had feelings for me. We decided to call off the trip and take a break from our friendship, with the possibility of rekindling a friendship in the future.

This was three months ago. My questions are

  • I want us to have a healthy friendship with solid boundaries. Is this possible? How do we get there?
  • Should I reestablish contact with him?
  • If so, when and how? Any scripts?
  • What can I do to alleviate the hurt caused by the things I said to him?
  • I blame myself for most of this. Is that reasonable?
  • He has reason to be angry at me, but I think I am angry too. How can I navigate that?
  • He lives 300 miles away, so our friendship would have to be rekindled long distance. How would we do that?
  • How do I stop feeling gross and sad about this?

Relevant:  I am a woman (she/her pronouns). I feel like it is also relevant to say, I have been in an abusive relationship in the past.

Thank you!!

Hi there!

It’s okay to be angry and it’s okay to still be processing everything that happened between you, but I can’t help advising you to disengage. What if you could say  to yourself”I did the best I could to be honest and be a good friend, but it just didn’t work out” and then let this friendship go? What if you told yourself “I don’t have to fix this?” or “I made some mistakes but I won’t make those mistakes again,” and let yourself move on?

It’s time to forgive yourself for any mistakes you made in the past.

It’s time to give yourself your own closure for the things that didn’t work between you.

It’s time for you to see the time apart and the distance and silence as a gift you are giving each other.

It is not time to reopen old wounds by processing all of this with your former friend.

It’s time to take all that energy and effort you sunk into fixing your relationship with him and put it into making new friends or nurturing friendships with people who don’t have all these complications.

I think rituals can really help here. You could write him a letter that you don’t send, or talk to a therapist to process all the old lessons and feelings, or write in a journal, or imagine thoughts of him turning into puffy little clouds that float away. Whatever you do, it’s time to let this friendship (and all the attendant guilt and shame and worry) go from your life, dear Letter Writer. You can want good things for this person and think kind thoughts about him without bringing the work of being friends with him back into your life.

Wishing all of you strength and courage in the coming year.


Thanks for all who contributed to the Winter Pledge Drive, and thanks for the very supportive and respectful discussions last week. You can always donate if you like, but I will stop bugging people about it every day.

Best To Nip(ple) That One In The Bud

Feb. 10th, 2016 02:00 am
[syndicated profile] notalwaysright_feed

Posted by BD

Butcher Shop | Toronto, ON, Canada

(A customer has asked me for five kilos of pork belly, in large pieces, but she has rejected every piece I’ve shown her, after looking at the underside of it. Note that pork belly comes with the skin on.)

Me: *after another refusal* “May I ask wh—”

Customer: “They have nipples!”

Me: *looking at the tiny nipples on the skin side* “Uh… yes?”

Customer: “I don’t want it with nipples!”

Me: “It’s pork belly. That’s… where the nipples are.”

Customer: “I need it without nipples.”

Me: “I can have the butcher remove the skin for you…”

Customer: “NO. I’ll still know they were there.”

Me: “Okay, so… what would you like?”

Customer: “Don’t you have any without nipples?”

Me: “All mammals have nipples, ma’am.”

(She didn’t buy any pork belly.)

The post Best To Nip(ple) That One In The Bud appeared first on Funny & Stupid Customer Stories - Not Always Right.


Feb. 10th, 2016 01:03 pm
tielan: (AVG - maria)
[personal profile] tielan
Also it's MCU Ladies Week over at Tumblr.

I think I'm just going to reblog my old gifsets for Maria for this. Too tired/stressed to make new ones, much as I'd like.

Brief medical update

Feb. 9th, 2016 04:50 pm
rachelmanija: (Default)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
The test I wrote about, which I was told to have immediately on a "you might need emergency surgery!!!!" basis, of course came back negative. (Well, it found some stuff - at my age, if you look closely enough at someone's body you'll generally eventually find something - but probably nothing that could be causing any symptoms.)

That same doctor also told me I needed to IMMEDIATELY schedule two very expensive, time-consuming tests for a type of cancer I had already been checked for two months previously in a different manner, because she found something that she thinks the two-months-ago test missed.

Me: "Do you seriously think this is cancer? Because there's that completely benign condition which I already told you about, which I've had my entire life and which causes the exact thing you found…"

Doctor Five Alarm Fire (reluctant): "No, I don't think it's cancer, it's probably that benign thing. But you need to get it checked immediately, because it MIGHT be cancer!"

She also strongly implied that I was in immediate risk of dropping dead of a heart attack. "Go to the drug store, buy baby aspirin, and start taking it TONIGHT!"

Considering that the disease causing actual symptoms, whatever the fuck it is, almost certainly does not involve either my heart or the possibly cancerous parts, I'm thinking she was maybe a little alarmist. (At that point, my heart had already been checked repeatedly, by multiple methods, and appears to be fine.) I think THREE completely unrelated and extremely serious diseases are just a bit unlikely, considering that I have now been scanned and tested to hell and back and no one's ever found much of anything.

The good news is that I found a GP I actually like, who is additionally unlikely to give up and refer me out for both professional and personal reasons. (She's a friend of a friend.) She has basically the same theory on the probable nature and cause of my illness that I do, which of course endeared her to me, but since she's a doctor and I'm not, she came up with a quite detailed plan for 1) investigation with that in mind, 2) treatment of symptoms in the meanwhile, 3) consults, 4) back-up plans in case the first investigations don't find anything. Very methodical. I'm encouraged.

(She also thought the Three-Alarm-Fire doctor was being a bit alarmist, on all fronts.)

Incidentally, this is something like the fourth time in the last seven months that a doctor has outright said or strongly implied that I might be dying or in imminent danger of dropping dead. This is naturally doing wonders for my general stress level.

Comments closed to prevent a deluge of "Get the cancer tests done IMMEDIATELY!" I want a second opinion on that. Those particular tests often lead to painful, unnecessary, invasive procedures that find that oops, it was the previously-known, benign condition after all.)


ursamajor: people on the beach watching the ocean (Default)
she of the remarkable biochemical capabilities!

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