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Anonymous Mailbag

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It’s Tuesday and in two days we’ll be officially kicking off the Outkick bus tour for the fall of 2021 with a party in Knoxville for the Bowling Green-Tennessee game. The Outkick 360 will be broadcasting live from 3-6 eastern at the Uptown Bar and Grill located at 1912 Cumberland Avenue, just down the road from Neyland Stadium. I’ll be there with them some before the game and then we’ll also have a post-game party. So if you’re going to be in Knoxville I’d encourage you to come hang.

Then on Saturday we will be broadcasting live from the Outkick bus tour for Fox and Fox News from Charlotte, North Carolina, site of the Georgia-Clemson game. New users can bet $5 on the Georgia-Clemson winner and you get back $150 if you’re right. Have a friend take the other side of the bet and you guys are guaranteed to win $150 on a $10 bet. So get your bets in now.

As always, send your anonymous mailbag questions to claytravis@gmail.com, anonymity guaranteed.

Okay, here we go:

“I’m currently in the midst of a dispute with two buddies of mine over an upcoming October wedding for a childhood friend of ours. We’re all excited for our friend and his bride-to-be, but the other two guys are also a bit miffed that none of us have been selected as groomsmen — the party consists of our friend’s brothers, as well as a few other guys he’s met through college/his professional career.

Personally, I don’t see much of an issue — it’s my friend’s wedding, he can do as he sees fit with his wedding party, and there are only so many groomsman spots to go around. The other guys, though, think I’m looking at it the wrong way. They say I’m being too passive, and that it’s the kind of thing none of us would do to a longtime friend.

There’s too much drama these days with weddings, and I don’t really feel like contributing further to that. Yeah, it would be cool to be our friend’s groomsman, but at least we’re there for the wedding (and with less responsibilities/grunt work, to boot). Is a perceived slight like that really worth being too worked up over? Just hoping we can avoid a full-on bloodbath once the bachelor party rolls around next month.”

Your buddies are being total pussies here.

What do they want to do? Demand to be included as groomsmen? Do they really think that’s going to work if they confront the groom? It’s not. It’s just going to make things incredibly awkward with the groom, maybe forever. Frankly, in my opinion, being concerned enough about something like this that you confront the groom is pathetic behavior only adopted by total losers.

The only way I can see this being worthy of a conversation at all would be if one of your buddies had this guy as their best man and then they weren’t included as groomsmen and the wedding party was like ten groomsmen and ten bridesmaids. And even then I don’t think saying something would fix anything, it would just make things more awkward. Plus, again, I can’t imagine a groom actually changing his groomsmen over a demand like this. A conversation about an issue like this doesn’t change anything and just serves to make everything super weird when it comes to their friendship.

Here’s what I can almost 100% guarantee you happened in this scenario: the bride-to-be, his fiancee, decided how many bridesmaids she was having and then told your friend that was how many groomsmen he could have too. Then, rather than fight over his desired groomsmen list being larger than her desired bridesmaid list, he picked whatever number of groomsmen his fiancee told him he could have. In so doing, he may well have seriously debated, maybe even stressed out, over the choices he made. That’s especially the case because his fiancee’s brother(s) may also be obligatory choices, further limiting his overall number of friend spots; my point here is there’s almost a zero percent chance that there was any intentional slight intended in his groomsmen selections.

Again, big picture here, your friends are being pussies.

If you were good friends with the groom before his wedding, why would you let HIS wedding change that?

Tell your friends to just enjoy the bachelor party and the wedding.

“I was recently diagnosed with a meningioma. I am having surgery this Friday to have it removed. The recovery process means I have to take a minimum of 4 weeks off work, but the doctor said it will likely be 8-12 weeks due to how active my job is. (I work in a warehouse) Don’t worry about the surgery, I should be fine.
Since you recently said you wanted to keep things a little lighter, I am looking for some recommendations. And I know you don’t know what I have seen or read. Still curious what you would suggest.
1. What’s a TV show that I can binge that you would recommend watching?
2. What’s a book or two I should read?
3. If you had 4-12 weeks where you could not do your job, what would you spend your time doing to get the most out of the time? (Only caveat, it can’t be anything real physical.)”
First, get well.
Second, having an excuse to watch every football game for the next three months doesn’t suck at all. Especially if you’re getting paid — I hope you are — while you recover.
Third, my three favorite shows that are currently airing on television are: 1. Succession 2. Yellowstone 3. Ozark. I’d recommend all three if you haven’t watched them yet.
If you want old shows, I loved Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Friday Night Lights, and The Sopranos. That’s plenty to keep you busy on the television front.
From a reading perspective, I’d go with history books. Dive into the Civil War or World War II. I love reading history books because it shows you, even if you’re recovering from an illness, how much tougher people have had it in the past than we all have it now. Perspective, especially right now, is wildly important.
The best Civil War trilogy out there, and it will take you a ton of time to read, is Shelby Foote’s “The Civil War: A Narrative.” It’s just absolutely fantastic, even if you don’t have much knowledge of the Civil War. When it comes to World War II books, I’m a big fan of “Walking With Destiny,” a great Winston Churchill biography and “Band of Brothers,” and “D-Day” by Stephen Ambrose. (Also, “Undaunted Courage,” about the Lewis and Clark expedition, also by Ambrose, is absolutely phenomenal as well.)
That should keep you plenty busy.

“About 4 months ago I took a job that required me to move from Florida to Tennessee. My new company paid me 5k as a moving allowance with no contingencies other than I actually move to the area. I did and even came out of my own pocket quite a bit to complete the move.

Fast forward to now and another company in Kansas City has offered me a job that is leaps and bounds better than the one in Tennessee. I weighed my options and decided that the Kansas job was too good to pass up. When I put my notice in with my current employer, they started mentioning they were going to want their 5k back. I work in the construction industry, which is heavily reliant on contracts and what is in writing is the truth. Nothing I signed to come to Tennessee put any requirements regarding the length of time I had to stay with the company. Is it unreasonable of me to tell my old boss I don’t intend to pay that back? As far as I can tell, I have no legal obligation to pay it back. I know some people will say I should, but I’m looking for a legal perspective.”

There’s no doubt the company who paid $5k for you to move from Florida to Tennessee expected you to work with them longer than four months. (By the way, if you’re a single guy, $5k to move from Florida to Tennessee feels like way more than enough of money. How many possessions do you actually have if you had expenses higher than that? I moved to the Caribbean with my wife, and back, for less than that.) But assuming you’re correct and there’s nothing in writing requiring you to repay the company in the event you leave in under a certain amount of time then you don’t appear to have any legal obligation to repay them this $5k. But legal and moral obligations can be different. (This also doesn’t mean, by the way, they may not come after you for this sum of money. Big companies are often willing to spend money on issues like this out of principle and to avoid setting precedents in the cases of other employees. You also should be aware they may read your contract different than you do. In other words, just because you don’t believe they have a claim to be recompensed for your moving fees doesn’t mean they don’t have it. They may even dock some of your final paychecks and take the money out of there.)

Having said all of this, you know your industry better than I do. By leaving your job after just four months you’re already burning a bridge, presumably, with this employer going forward by bailing on them after such a short period of time. If you repaid the moving expenses — or at least part of the moving expenses — you might have a chance to work there again some day. My guess is if you leave within four months and stick them with the $5k in moving expenses the chances of you ever being employed there again are virtually zero.

You may not care at all, but I think it’s worth factoring in to your overall decision making. Most industries are fairly small, especially if you start moving up the ladder to higher levels of responsibility. Hopefully the new job pays you way more and you last there much longer. But I’m not a big fan of burning bridges if you can avoid doing so.

And it sounds like you are basically tossing a match over your head and lighting the bridge on fire as you leave.

“I was visiting with a couple board members of local hospitals recently. One asked the other if they were going to require their employees to get vaccinated. The hospital is ~70% vaccinated, and the board member said they discussed it but decided at this time, they would not because 1) they were worried about losing even a small portion of the remaining 30% and creating issues with hospital staffing, and 2) as most hospitals around us are requiring it, they felt they may have a hiring advantage if they are in the minority of hospitals that do not require employees to be vaccinated. I think it’s a fascinating angle to discuss. (set aside the stupidity behind firing hospital employees during a pandemic for not getting the shot in the first place. If this was a true pandemic, and hospitals were overwhelmed, this would never be done…right?)

As we see more and more employers requiring vaccinations as a condition of employment, do you see current or future opportunities/advantages for the remaining freedom-loving employers that do not require their employees to be vaccinated?”

Most employers are having extreme difficultly hiring talented employees right now. That’s especially true, at least based on my understanding, in the health care field.

So I definitely think it’s likely there will be a competitive advantage in not requiring the vaccine. I would never require our Outkick employees to get the vaccine. Because I think it should be the decision of every person in the country.

That’s especially the case, and I’m going to keep beating this drum, because many of the people not getting the vaccine may already have had covid, leaving them with natural immunity. Since we know natural immunity is up to 27x as effective as vaccinated immunity, the decision to require the vaccine feels very arbitrary.

Right now roughly 75% of people ages 18 and up have had at least one shot of the covid vaccine. Remember that we were all told if 70% of people had the covid vaccine by July 4th we’d all be able to go back to normal. Well, right now it’s the end of August, 75% of people have had the covid vaccine, and some states are talking about reinstituting lockdowns. That’s madness. Particularly because, again, I’m among the 25% who haven’t gotten the vaccine because I already have natural immunity.

So how many of the 25% of “unvaccinated” out there are people like me that have already had covid? I’d bet a pretty substantial percentage of them.

Given how difficult it is to hire employees right now, I do think there is likely to be a competitive advantage in not requiring vaccinations. But if you’re obsessed with covid, I don’t know why you wouldn’t require the vaccination or require proof of antibodies to allow those people who have already been infected to work as well.

“I’m 36. I work in a/v and communications at a large statewide non-profit hospital. I’ve been there 4 years. Right now my job title is a “coordinator.” There are others younger than me, but who have been there longer, in my department who are “senior coordinators.” Nothing against them- they do great work, but I’ve felt for a little while now that I deserve to be a senior coordinator as well. My duties and responsibilities have increased in the last 6 months or so. My question is how do I go about proposing this? I’ve never really had to ask or propose a promotion/raise.

The catch is that they’ve recently hired someone new to be my supervisor. He and I get along well and it’s all good there- he’s just new. I say that because I don’t know how much pull he has to make this happen. You’re a businessman- how do I go about this? Do I bring this up in a one-on-one meeting with him? Draw up a written statement?”

I’d bring it up in a one-on-one meeting with your new boss rather than putting something in writing. Once you put something in writing it feels very formalized and your boss may take it as you putting him on the spot when it comes to your salary request. Which is why I think the initial way to discuss this is through a face to face conversation.

During that conversation you can make the case that you believe you’re entitled to the raise and a new job title and, since your supervisor is relatively new, you can let him know you’re also happy to make your request in writing if it would make it easier for him to take your request to his supervisor.

I’d also be prepared for what you actually want in terms of a raise. That’s in case they flip it back to you and ask what you want. In other words, don’t just ask for a raise, be ready to say exactly what you want and/or need from your employer.

You also should keep in mind that some places have less flexibility than others when it comes to raises and job titles. So you should also do your research and try and determine this in advance. Are people paid based on titles? Are there stair step promotions that factor in here? You need to educate yourself as best you can before you have these conversations about wanting a new raise and a new job title.

Good luck.

As always, send your anonymous mailbag questions to claytravis@gmail.com, anonymity guaranteed.

And I hope to see some of you in Knoxville and Charlotte this week.

Written by Clay Travis

OutKick founder, host and author. He's presently banned from appearing on both CNN and ESPN because he’s too honest for both.

4 Comments

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  1. To the wedding guy – Clay is 100000% right they need to just let this go. Speaking from personal experience, my wife and I both had multiple brothers (and I am close with them all) and not one sister between us so I was completely handcuffed when it came to groomsmen. I made a few of the guys that got “left out” ushers so they got a similar tux and were still in a lot of the fun photos and such. It was a great compromise. I agree with Clay you/they shouldn’t say anything, but if they do, the usher route is a decent middle ground rather than “demanding” to be a groomsman.

  2. I honestly couldn’t give 2 shits about being a groomsman. I’m there for the free food and open bar, no hard feelings. Just try to avoid scheduling your wedding on any big football weekend or shoot for Spring.

  3. To the job bouncer, the company will almost certainly doc your last paychecks to recoup the money and then what? You will sue them? For a few thousand? You will tell your new employer or those in industry what they did? 99/100 managers will side with the company. You didn’t live up to your side of the implied bargain. That’s fine, you are allowed to and you have to do what is right for you. But you should willingly offer to pay part of this back. At least whatever amount you didn’t spend on moving (I agree with Clay it seems unlikely you spent $5000 to move a few hundred miles)

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