You can still wear a mask to meetings

I will say this too – I imagine that if other arrangements could be made, he would have already made them. Perhaps his attitude is not so much entitled as frustration. Another way to look at this is to ask yourself what you would expect if the situation were reversed. How do you want your coworkers to help you? If you feel generous, I would suggest talking to this coworker and finding out why he or she needs to leave early so that you are dealing with a choice that is not really yours instead of an obligation.

I’ve noticed that out-of-office messages now usually have a subject line “out of office” or “away from email.” I think it’s important to make vacations normal – and they don’t really work during the holidays, so I use them as my subject line when I’m on vacation (like “on vacation; on DATE.”). There are some advantages to using “non-vacation” language because it does not specify when people are out for medical or family holidays and I want people to be able to keep it private and why not ask me about it if I’m out of the office. I tell them no. I’m wondering if I should reconsider my one-person campaign to make the holidays visible.

– Deborah, Berkeley, Calif.

There is no need to reconsider your campaign. If people want to be vague about being out of the office, for whatever reason, they can and will. For those of us who want to make the holidays normal, something that everyone deserves, it’s a way to take a small but important position. There is more to life than work. It’s an incredibly healthy frontier that you’re not at work and don’t work during your holidays. More people should take a vacation that is a real vacation and more people should have a way to do it. Make your next vacation as relaxing and restorative as you need it to be.

I work for a small company made up entirely of women in our 20’s and 30’s, in addition to our founder and CEO, who was a man in his late 40’s. Each year, our team of managers requests a contribution to purchase a birthday gift and a Christmas gift for our CEO. The contributions they offer for each gift are small ($ 10 / person), technically optional and the managers make their own pockets from the rest. .

But something about this still rubs me wrong. The messaging around these gifts is always that we thank him for everything he does for us, but really he is a bit of a moving leader. We don’t buy joint gifts for anyone else. He probably made a lot more money than the rest of us. Am I thinking this extra? If not, can I talk to my boss about it, or should I give it up because contributions are supposedly optional and it’s only 20 20 a year? I’m not sure my colleagues in the company feel the same way and I’m too afraid to bring it up lest I be taken for granted.

– Anonymous

I love giving gifts. Cheese as it sounds, gifted is the language of my love. But I never want to feel compelled to give gifts, especially to those with whom I have no personal relationship. To that end, it is not uncommon for your company’s CEO to be reluctant to give a gift. The power imbalance between you and your CEO is significant. The difference in income is also significant. He is not your friend. He will not love you because you and your colleagues give him gifts twice a year.

I understand why your team is doing this but the underlying obligation will rank me. You can, naturally, ask your peers how they feel about giving this gift, which can help you decide how to proceed. These kinds of things are so clever because if you resist giving such compulsory “voluntary” gifts you are not a team player and you do not fit the culture and much more. These are pretty hard labels to shake off, so I understand your reluctance to say anything It can be one of those things that you just have to put up with, but it’s also ridiculous that people have to play these kinds of games at work.

Roxanne Gay The author, most recently, is the author of “Hunger” and a contributing opinion. Write to him workfriend@nytimes.com.

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