When your office decides the pandemic is over

Send questions about the office, money, career, and work-life balance to workfriend@nytimes.com. Include your name and location or request anonymity. Messages can be edited.

I worked for three years as a legal advisor to the president and founder of a growing company of about 100 people. I’m a liberal in what feels like a sea of ​​Fox News fans, but we’ve shied away from politics and got along well in the past. Although none of my colleagues are going to be my BFFs, I admire them for their skill and lack of disease.

Into Covid, and now I’m seething with resentment towards almost everyone in the office. The masking tasks are gone and never actually executed. People show up every day with a “cold” without questioning whether the cough could be due to a virus. I listened to my boss, but he’s sick of talking about Covid (unlike the rest of us, who love it!), dismissing concerns as the pandemic has been “politicized” chemical,” and called me to meetings with him when he could barely talk through his stuffy nose.

None of our conversations about Covid went well. I thought I would quit this company after 5 years. Should I leave it out and see how Covid plays out? Right now, my negative feelings towards co-workers are actually leading to some very long days.

– Incognito

Your resentment is understandable. As we enter our third year of living with Covid-19, it’s hard not to be completely outraged at the significant number of Americans who have chosen not to be vaccinated or wear face masks, and refuse to do the bare minimum to protect themselves. community health support. Working with people who are proactively or passively challenged while managing pandemic fatigue is incredibly rewarding.

Their actions put you and everyone you come in contact with, no matter how careful you are. But quitting isn’t necessarily the solution. There’s no guarantee you’ll find a workplace where everyone shares your values. And the fact that you have been pushed this far leads me to believe that you are more disappointed with the overall situation of the world than your colleagues, even though they appear to be intentionally ignorant.

If you quit your job for this reason, getting another job to replace your coworker becomes the target of your understandable frustration. If you can afford to quit and it gives you peace of mind, by all means treat yourself. But if you can’t, it’s time to develop some coping mechanisms. Can you work from home at some point or all the time? Can you enforce boundaries around how you interact with your co-workers? There are no easy answers here. This is part of why the pandemic has become so intense. Americans currently live in two different countries and the borders between those countries are impassable.

I’m the entire HR department for a global tech startup. Honestly, this place is a mess, but I love the challenge and I learned a lot while feeling productive in my position and seeing gratifying results. However, I have no formal HR background and have decided to start fixing this with a graduate certificate program in the field. My company has generously offered to reimburse me for tuition and other related expenses. Would it be ethical to charge my standard hourly rate – I’m a contractor – for hours of class time? I feel greedy even considering this, but I paid the same way for the independent research required for my position.

– Incognito

If you have chosen to develop a formal HR background that is not required by your employer and your company has offered to cover the costs of that professional development, my instinct is not, you cannot bill your standard hourly rate. I would love to hear what other people think.

I would also like to note that since this is voluntary, tuition refunds over $5,250 are generally taxed as income.

I work for a small company (less than 50 employees). We recently lost a key account and had to lay off 3 employees, all of whom were people of color.

I know the rest of the staff couldn’t be given the details of the decision – and I hope there’s plenty of consideration – I’m still bothered that these three have been selected. Because we are a small organization, this really affects our representation. Our company preaches about inclusion and equity, but this can seem like a big obstacle.

I don’t think this was done intentionally or with any malice. But there should have been questions on the way to confronting any underlying unconscious biases. Maybe there are and I don’t know about them. Am I wrong to feel uncomfortable with this?

– Incognito

It is important to be aware of unconscious biases and how they can manifest in the workplace. You are not wrong to feel uncomfortable with this. If nothing else, the optics are absolutely terrible. But there are more such situations than just optics. Are these three the newest employees? Is there a performance problem? Are they considered disposable by regulators? Did people use that old “culture fit” story to give them a go?

You need more information and unfortunately your employer has chosen not to provide an explanation for why these three were fired, based on context. If an event occurs, I will raise your concerns with your manager, not because it will change what has been done, but so that in the future, those in charge will be more mindful of how they are doing. make such a decision.

I worked for three years at a professional services organization. The work is well done and the pay and benefits are great. However, I am a woman in her 40s; My boss, a teammate and a contractor we work with are all men in their 60s who have worked together for many years. In many cases, I feel left out. I was talked over or cut off; my email is unread; My ideas are often ignored unless someone else repeats them. Others outside the team have noticed and mentioned this to me. My boss is a nice man but seems a bit forgetful when others are having challenges unless they are explicitly mentioned to him. I started recording the behavior and had some time to discuss it with him.

Another colleague with similar problems told me that she went to human resources and was given strategies on how to deal with these unpleasant interactions. I am thinking of doing the same. Should I tell my boss? I didn’t want him to find out and think I was being sneaky, but I was afraid telling him would sound like a threat. I was recently promoted, so despite these discomforts, it doesn’t seem to be stopping me from advancing. But it also feels disrespected and makes me less happy at work.

– Incognito

You don’t have to stealthily seek advice from HR. You are advocating for yourself. The fact that this dynamic is so persistent and visible that your coworker has raised a concern is good reason for you to try to resolve the issue. I am pleased to hear that you can advance in this organization but can fail immensely if you always feel silenced and spoken out. Unfortunately, this is a fairly common experience in some workplace cultures.

You want to develop some strategy for dealing with this. Clearly indicate this motivation to your boss, to one. Keep recording it. When your coworker talks to you or interrupts you, keep talking. Keep talking until they stop talking and start listening. Maintain eye contact. Do not give the impression that you have been defeated. When you can, just point out what’s going on. “Sorry, Cliff, but I’m talking.” Or, “Sorry, Biff, I haven’t finished my thoughts. Please keep your comments until I’m done”. And look for colleagues who can be allies in these situations who can call on this dynamic for or with you, and create space for you to speak and be heard.

All of this said, know that you are not the problem here. You don’t need to adopt any of these strategies. Your older male colleagues should adjust their behavior and learn to be better communicators, respectful of those who are talking to them.

Roxane Gay is the author, most recently, of “Hunger” and a contributing writer. Write to her at workfriend@nytimes.com.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/28/business/roxane-gay-work-pandemic.html When your office decides the pandemic is over

Fry Electronics Team

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