Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Friday Links

This has been a busy week in my household. On Sunday we took the kids to an NBA game (right in our neighborhood – at the Barclays Center – where the Brooklyn Nets play), on Tuesday we all took advantage of Kids Night on Broadway (a yearly event where kids get in free to participating shows as long as they’re with a full-paying adult) and saw Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (I’m not a HP fan so it wasn’t really my jam, but the kids loved it and the special effects were cool to see), we attended parent teacher conferences for both kids, Jackson started tennis lessons, Joanie got signed up for a skateboarding class, we hosted a couple play dates, and Drew and I even got out for some socializing with friends (sans kids). Tomorrow we have some other friends coming over whom we haven’t seen in ages, and Joanie requested I make one of my famous (well, famous to her) cheese boards. I’m also going to make some celery salad to go with it because I really know how to have a good time.

Hope you all have a great weekend – first weekend of Spring, yay! – and here are some links you might be interested in, including dark family secrets, impressive questions to ask in a job interview, and a vacation that sounds like hell to me:

These are wild: 21 People Revealed The Dark Secrets Their Families Kept From Them For Years, And It’s Quite Intense

Now that we, as a society, are finally acknowledging the existence of middle-age and older women – and along with them, menopause (and perimenopause, which is the period most of us think of when we think of menopause), there’s an enormous potential for entrepreneurs to make a killing marketing to women going through perimenopause, which begs the question: what do menopausal women want?

Related: Drew Barrymore opens up about her personal experience with perimenopause

This is where we are now in America in 2023: Small planes and secrecy: Pilots fly people to Kansas and other states for abortions

These are good: 10 Impressive Questions to Ask in a Job Interview

There’s a travel company that specializes in Type-A millennial tour groups where 12-14 strangers – often female white collar professionals in their 30s and early 40s – are grouped together and taken on 1-week vacations in far-flung locales where every minute of the week is scheduled and packed with activities (which usually begin at the crack of dawn and go into the evening). One of the promised goals of the company is to foster friendships. Caity Weaver, a recent participant on one of the tours (to Morocco), writes about her experience here, and it sounds like… not my jam. One evening, two of the women in her group went off itinerary and, after a wine tour, followed by some shots at a bar, snuck out and went skinny dipping. The tour guide was NOT happy and let them know it. The other participants didn’t seem to mind, but, as Weaver writes :

“These two women, while violating the tenet that Flash Pack vacations are not only vacations but also group projects, in which individual whims must be subordinated to the needs and desires of the commonwealth, had, nonetheless, passed the larger test: They had found time, outside the packed schedule, to do the sort of spontaneous thing a pair of real adult friends might, in theory, do on vacation. Had their behavior in any way impinged on the remaining officially sanctioned good times scheduled to fill out the final two days of our itinerary, it’s possible the remainder of the group would have devoted a portion of its collective acumen and pragmatism to ruining these women’s lives.”
Would you enjoy this type of vacation?

Speaking of traveling and making friends, this is a sweet story of two strangers who shared a hotel room in London in 2010 when both their respective flights were cancelled and how they became lifelong best friends.

23 comments… add one
  • Ange March 24, 2023, 5:25 pm

    Ooof yeah that holiday doesn’t sound that fun. I’ve never enjoyed those ‘pack it all in and see the country in 3 days’ type of tours. Plus the forced dynamic sounds vaguely culty.

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    • ktfran March 24, 2023, 7:41 pm

      Agreed. Hard pass. I don’t like rigidity. And I’d need my own room, thank you. And I’d need downtime.

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      • Ange March 25, 2023, 8:28 pm

        I don’t mind room sharing myself but I’m a snorer, I wonder how they work with things like that. I wouldn’t want to inflict myself on someone else trying to enjoy their trip.

      • allathian March 27, 2023, 6:36 am

        Yeah, I agree. I hate forced group activities and I’m introverted enough that I need a lot of time alone to recharge after spending a day surrounded by other people.

  • Tui March 24, 2023, 7:45 pm

    I’ve actually been on a flashpack holiday and it was awesome. The itinerary is made clear before you book and it is for those who want to pack a lot into a day and has activities like canyoning included. There was adequate downtime, and we weren’t expected to hang out together all the time, but it was such a cool group we ended up doing so. Definitely not a cult experience and not full of ‘type A’s. Just people in their 30s and 40s who wanted to do stuff but also stay in comfortable accommodation and not have to navigate public transport or getting ripped off while travelling like I did in my teens/early 20s. The cost is the only thing that would put me off doing another one as it was very expensive.

    I also think that going skinny dipping in Morocco is not a normal thing to do a muslim country (albeit a pretty western and liberal one) and would be offensive to a lot of the population including the local guide. It’s a big deal to be licensed as a guide there, so he was probably also worrying about his job and family security.

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      Dear Wendy March 24, 2023, 9:48 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! what country did you visit?

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    Copa March 25, 2023, 8:59 am

    So fun fact about Barclays: My sister was one of the architects on that project. It was her second job out of school. She has super cool pics of it from various stages of construction.

    Will definitely be reviewing the interview questions article before my interviews this and next week.

    Re: group travel, it has never really appealed to me, but I can see the appeal. I have a LOT more PTO than my boyfriend and have thought about solo traveling or even trying a group trip. My alma mater’s alumni association has been bombarding me with info about their alumni group trips lately. The promo has been so heavy that I wonder if participation is down big time. Some of the destinations sound super cool, but they’re also very pricey and some are like 22 days long (omg no to a 3-week trip with randos). I also think I’d be embarrassed to take one of those pics I’ve seen of alums posing with the college flag in front of, like, the pyramids in Giza. Different from Flash Pack, I know. In any case, I’d sooner travel solo.

    I’m bummed that the weather here is trash. I can’t wait for that first sunny, 60+ degree day where the weather feels like it’s time to chug an aperol spritz on a patio even though it’s 2 p.m. on a Tuesday.

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  • ktfran March 25, 2023, 10:11 am

    Copa, who did your sister work for? My firm was part of design and construction of Barclays. We have a pretty prominent sports practice.

    I’m headed to my sisters right now. One niece’s bday was yesterday (3) and one is today (14). We’re celebrating both so my fam is in town.

    The niece and nephew who live here have Spring Break this upcoming week. I’ll prob take a day off work to hang. Last year we went to the Arboretum (sp?) at was a lot of fun.

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      Copa March 25, 2023, 10:48 am

      She was at Ellerbe Beckett at the time.

      Have a great time with your fam!

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      • ktfran March 25, 2023, 10:59 am

        That’s one of our firms! I had a feeling it would have been.

  • Kate March 26, 2023, 7:49 am

    Those are good solid classic interview questions, nothing gimmicky. I asked some of them last year when I interviewed internally for my new role. I don’t think anyone else interviewed for it, lol, though my boss says many people did. She lies.

    Speaking of menopause, she has said she’s going through it. I never want to assume someone is acting batshit because of that, but since she’s said it… I’m also confused because she claims to be 4 years younger than I think she really is based on her college dates on LinkedIn, which would make her 57, but who knows. She’s been absolutely bonkers lately. We had this long drawn out ~thing~ when I took a half day of pto to do something I needed to do and didn’t feel like explaining what it was. She literally asked me if I was working another job. And she’s been yelling at people, telling them they’re doing terrible, making them cry, making them look to get off our team. Like wtf. She bawled me out last Friday when I tried to ask her advice on something, then she dwelt on it all weekend and yelled at me again Monday. I’m a Gen X with a thick skin, but it’s getting to be a lot even for me.

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      Dear Wendy March 26, 2023, 8:06 am

      Ugh, she sounds intolerable. Maybe perimenopause, maybe something else. Hope it gets better soon!

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      • Kate March 26, 2023, 8:51 am

        Yeah, she’s the first boss I’ve had where it’s been all weird like this and they want emotional support yet don’t give the same to others. I do think she’s fairly high on a narcissism spectrum and lacks self awareness, so I can deal with it by thinking, ok, this is just how she is, and it isn’t personal. I feel like if I left now, I’d be dealing with some other type of bullshit somewhere else, but I also don’t want to stick around so long that I end up getting burned. I don’t know. I try to be compassionate because I know things can’t be easy for someone who’s acting like this.

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        Dear Wendy March 26, 2023, 9:44 am

        I have a really low tolerance for this kind of work dynamic, so I have empathy for you (though I know you have a much higher tolerance than I do). If others are also affected by her behavior, is there a chance HR might step in?

      • Kate March 26, 2023, 10:48 am

        We do have this annual manager survey, and it’s coming in a week. So I will get rated too by my two direct reports and two people who dotted-line to me. Last year, my boss shared her results with us (I think she’s required to), and she kind of just read the good open-ends aloud and ignored the constructive ones. And she’s like, only 5 ppl took this so the numbers don’t matter (😭😭😭). So I think what happens is you then get “personalized coaching” from this HR software platform, based on your areas you need to work on. But it’s very easy for someone like her with no self-awareness to just sort of gloss over it all.

        Last year she had some excuses for maybe not getting great feedback, but now I don’t think she does, with her new manager in place and up to speed. And this year some of her newer reports who joined like 9 months ago are very upset and will absolutely go to town on this survey. And my friend who was afraid to fill it out last year for fear of being identified will do the same. So my boss might get identified as being a problem. But overall, my take on HR is they are not your friend, they’re there to protect the company, not you, and if you go to them about your boss, it’s likely going to backfire. I have some hope for this survey though.

      • Kate March 26, 2023, 10:54 am

        Also, what happens is people leave her team and stay with the company, and it’s a very visible pattern. I think her manager might have to look into it more. In my experience, for anything to be done about a bad manager, the feedback has to be both egregious and unanimous.

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        Dear Wendy March 26, 2023, 10:59 am

        Well, here’s hoping! 🤞

      • Kate March 26, 2023, 11:05 am

        Thank you. ALSO we have this general employee survey twice a year, which generates a Net Promotor Score. The one for our department (under HER manager) was awful compared to the company overall. And that IS being addressed. What’s interesting is that my boss, for the first time, has a big enough team that she gets her own NPS score. And she told us she would share it with us but she didn’t! Which makes me think it’s abysmal. So that data was collected in October, and the April Manager survey data is going to add a lot of color to that, so if people are paying attention, they may have to now address it. I really hope. The way she’s treating people, while maybe not abusive, isn’t right.

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        Copa March 27, 2023, 9:32 am

        Yeah, I do not miss having a wacko boss. Like, it’s high up on my list of fears should I move organizations. I have a friend who has never really jived with her boss, and she’s now on a PIP.

        I wish my company did 360 reviews. I generally like and get along with my boss, but I see value in doing it that way. Like I’d be open to feedback even from those on my level who work with me. Our review process is a bit of a joke. At one point we were doing them monthly. My boss has something like 10 direct reports and it ate up time he didn’t have.

    • ktfran March 26, 2023, 11:10 am

      Sorry about your manager @kate. She sounds super difficult and exhausting.

      I wish our company did a yearly manager survey. I actually like my manager, but I think it’s the best way to offer constructive feedback for managers and likely may help identify bad ones.

      I have 4 direct reports. I think I do a pretty good job. I don’t take credit for work. I don’t micromanage. I’ll always take a phone call and try to help with problems. I know I’m not perfect and there’s always ways to improve, but I try to do good my people. I’d still be happy to get feedback.

      I’ve not had good experiences with HR in a variety of circumstances so I try to avoid them at all costs. I know there are good HR people, I don’t fully trust them though.

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      • Kate March 26, 2023, 11:16 am

        Yeah, I hope they give me honest feedback. No one gives you any when you ask for it. But then, if they assume only 2-4 ppl are filling it out, I think people hold back because you would know who said what. Obviously I would, haha, that’s why I have this side gig. I can tell who tf said what.

        I think if your boss didn’t do something like hit you with a bat or offer promotions for sex, your only recourse is to wait it out, get off their team, or do something really sneaky like manipulate a junior person into unloading in their exit interview (I did that once and it was effective. She wanted to do it, I just didn’t tell her not to).

      • ktfran March 26, 2023, 9:56 pm

        A few years ago, I was in some future leader type program. As part of it, we did a 360 review. I did get some constructive feedback from my direct reports. And I could totally tell who wrote what. I def adjusted a few things after. I appreciated it. I always want to do better.

      • Kate March 27, 2023, 4:54 am

        I feel like my boss likely won’t be able to tell who said what unless they include very specific info, because she’s so NOT attuned to how people feel (though she thinks she’s an empath), and because she’s doing the same stuff to everyone basically. She’s so wound up these days I don’t think she can think straight a lot of the time.


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