Email, a modern expression of passive regression

One of my responsibilities is managing a team in another state. That department is used for much greater independence. I have implemented the structure, and it is running smoothly. Recently, I have come across the challenge of managing a long-term employee who is also the mother of two young children.

If that child was ill, this worker would leave his job to stay at home. Her role is client-facing and appointment-based so rescheduling a full day of appointments at a moment’s notice is disruptive, but it’s sometimes not a big deal when that happens. Now, however, Kovid-19 is intimidating and with potential exposure, he is demanding his children on 14 days leave for school quarantine – many chores and even on multiple occasions. We talked through it and I felt we had come to an agreement about how to proceed, but it came up again and he clearly stated that he was not interested in creating a backup plan for these isolated instances. is.

She is sincere and good at her job, even though she is doing the bare minimum. I want to be supportive and provide suitable accommodation for fatherhood. But how much is too much? In what position is she benefiting as a senior employee?

– Anonymous, New York

With the epidemic, we are becoming more flexible about meeting all schedules and responsibilities. I applaud you for supporting this woman as both an employee and a mother. All employers should do so. When you and your employee mutually agree to move forward and do not keep their share of the bargain, then you have a problem that must be managed. She is not interested in creating a backup plan to fulfill her job responsibilities in this challenging time, but she needs to do it anyway. It is not up to him.

Refusing to have a backup plan to handle client meetings and appointments, when her family would have to be raised, would be … irresponsible and awkward. This is definitely too much. She is, in fact, taking advantage of her seniority. Give him a timeline and your expectations to develop contingencies when necessary. If you do not have to comply, you should outline the results and be prepared to follow those results. Supporting your staff members in making their employees perform well is a mutually beneficial way to adjust to paternity. I am sure you will find it.

I am in graduate school and I work closely with an associate in another graduate program at a nearby university. Every time I email him directly, he mimics my (very amazing, but very overworked) mentor on my response. It really bothers me because I intentionally drop her from a less important email chain, because I know how her work is out of the inbox and I don’t want to clutter it with more irrelevant messages. I also think it makes me feel bad – like I messed up and forgot to include her in all these email chains, when in reality I intentionally left them.

Should I confront my colleague (a fellow grade student) about this behavior and ask him to stop? Or should I just let it go and accept that it’s just the way it emails?

– Lauren, California

People play all kinds of funny games with email. Think of it as a modern expression of passive aggression. Your coworker is cc’ing your boss, so he knows what he is doing. He is trying to make his work visible to a person with power. Or, he does not respect your authority or ability and is looping for the person whose authority he respects. It is transparent and annoying, but let it go. You can, of course, ask him to stop, but when doing so, you can create unnecessary drama. This will irk me for the record as well, but it is a nuisance that you can process once in your group chats or with friends over drinks.

Regarding your concerns about leaving an email to your boss and looking bad, it’s a thoughtful gesture, but it’s not your job to manage her inbox. She is an enhanced woman who can handle her professional communication. If she does not want to be copied to this parent’s email, she is fully capable of telling him. If it makes you feel better, you can copy Paytm his Boss when you email him. He will get the message very quickly.

Roxanne Gay The author is, most recently, “Hunger” and a contributing writer. Write on it workfriend@nytimes.com.

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