Work-Life Balance, Careers And Professions, Your-Feed-Selfcare, Workplace

Work-Life Balance, Careers And Professions

Vomiting at Work Doesn’t Mean You’re Bad at Your Job

Meet your new Work Friend, Caity Weaver.

8.11.2019

“Let’s assume the worst: that you are a terrible worker, totally unfit for the job, who should be fired immediately. The odds you will be are low, because humans hate change.” caityweaver is here to help you with work, a topic she knows very little about.

Meet your new Work Friend, Caity Weaver.

For the next six months, I will confidently answer your questions without betraying the true depraved depths of my innermost thoughts — a skill I honed as a fitting-room attendant at Marshalls. I will analyze your co-worker disputes with the panache of one who has made lifelong companions and enemies both in offices and while working from home. I will prise you from the rigor-mortis grip of your anxieties and tell you what time of day to email people. (8:50 a.m. Prewrite the email the day before and schedule a delayed send.) (Contact me if you don’t know how.) As Frankenstein’s dæmon famously menaced him, I will even “be with you on your wedding-night” — provided your wedding night is directly relevant to some employment conundrum.

You got so nervous about starting a new job that you threw up. Not ideal, but also not unheard-of. Humans hate change so much that sometimes the sheer fear of it makes our bodies go haywire. This is why we are all unfit for work of any kind.

. Not only would the bosses have to cast about for your replacement, and do that person’s new hire paperwork,

You say you believe your work is fine, but worry about negative thoughts. Listen to me — the words you are reading right now? I hate them. I regret my decision to select these specific ones from the rich English lexicon and am embarrassed at the idiotic way I have chosen to arrange them into these sentences. My worst possible fate is being buried alive while also burning to death slowly, and the second worst is hearing someone read these paragraphs back to me aloud. But the fact is, they’re probably fine. (By which I mean they’re definitely terrible, but the average person will probably think that they’re fine, because the only person on Earth who actually understands what is good is me, which is an awful burden to have.)

An ex-employee of the company where I work is under consideration for a new job at a wonderful place. He is a perfect fit for the position. The problem is that the hiring manager at the new job is calling around, asking why the ex-employee left in the first place. The actual answer is that someone in management, who subsequently left, simply hated his guts. There is no real way to reveal that without ignoring the informal company norm of simply verifying that he worked here from date X to date Y. What is the ethical thing to do?

Whether the call is for basic due diligence or an attempt to dig up dirt (by a wonderful company?), you can reasonably respond to it with something like, “I remember him fondly. He worked here from date X to date Y,” and maybe top it off with your observation that this job sounds like a great fit. It’s possible to both remain professional and do him a good turn without sharing the plotlines of your workplace’s psychological melodramas. These should be emailed directly to me at

Caity Weaver is a writer for the Styles section and The New York Times Magazine. Write to her at workfriend@nytimes.com.

Read more: NYT Styles

caityweaver Hmmm..., Rutgers your sick or anxious. Be better if you don’t caityweaver Well, that's kind of a mean slag on Caity. I'm sure she works very hard.

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