update: a possible coworker turned out to be my date’s wife

by Alison Green on December 12, 2013

Remember the reader whose date turned out to be the husband of an employee at the company she was interviewing with? She got the job, and here’s her update from after she started working there.

So, she was told by friends of friends that I work here: my close friend’s husband works here too. I’ve been greeting lots and lots of my colleagues from previous jobs here, and they all expressed how glad they were I had come on board. My field is a really small world, and though we usually get fairly paltry raises, we get good pay bumps from rotating through different companies every so many years–we’re constantly running into folks we used to work with. *Except* Mrs. Dancer has been at this job ever since she graduated from college, so she doesn’t really have the same connections/network.

The company is being audited by a third party quality certification group, and literally everything she does is being combed through for her errors, and they are finding many. The lead on the third party quality group is from my hometown (in the middle of nowhere) and I actually went to grade school with his daughter. This keeps getting weirder and weirder, I swear the stars have aligned or something. Anyway, I get along well with the lead auditor, and he’s very good at his job. He and the other auditors have expressed how pleased they are with my work already (in just two weeks). The third party auditors handle the quality certifications, I never have to deal with her directly: she deals with them, and I deal with them, but we don’t have occasion to meet just because of how the third party system is set up. When I’m at lunch, I have plenty of current and former colleagues to sit with at the cool kids’ table, no worries there. We don’t speak to each other at all, and because my group has much more political power than hers (we determine whether the facility will be able to operate at all, as third party consultants ourselves), she really REALLY doesn’t speak to me or anyone else in my group.

The job is going pretty well so far, though it’s only been two weeks, and I’m getting lots of responsibility right off the bat. I like most of the people I work with–there are a few characters, there always are–and I like my client contact a lot, we also grew up in the same area. The client contact and my boss have been extremely supportive of me, which is awesome. We are in the middle of relocating the satellite office from Big City to Hipster Paradise, and when we’re done I’ll have a really nice office with a door, in a fashionable part of town only a few blocks from one of my favorite dance studios! Plus I get to pick out the office furniture. Very exciting!

I realize, however, that despite my networking like crazy to get the lowdown on the place before accepting the offer, most of this is pure dumb luck. I did buy myself some fantastic dance shoes, though.

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{ 153 comments… read them below or add one }

fposte December 12, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Good for you, OP–sounds like you managed to drive your way out of the boggy patch.

Though now I kind of want Mrs. Dancer to write in to AAM and ask what to do.

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Kevin December 12, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Dear AAM,

This new woman started at my company and she won’t let my husband have an affair with her, no matter how much I try and convince her. What should I do?

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Dana December 12, 2013 at 3:14 pm

LOL that’s awesome. Oh, and “Is it legal for her to work here if she doesn’t let my husband have an affair with her?”

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Sascha December 12, 2013 at 4:52 pm

LOL!!! Nearly snorted my water!!

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Jessa December 13, 2013 at 1:02 am

Coughed water on my keyboard. Thank goodness for silicone keyboard covers.

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Iain Clarke December 13, 2013 at 4:22 am

Only in California…

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BGirl81 December 12, 2013 at 3:39 pm

I just choked on my latte!! :)

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TeeSee December 12, 2013 at 5:17 pm

The “cool kids’ table?” Give me a large break! How old is OP? 22 going on 15? And is Mrs. Dancer the inept bad guy only because she happens to be married to the schmuck philanderer who dated this person?

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Saturn9 December 12, 2013 at 5:57 pm

You got it.

The first letter sounded like the OP was trying to avoid a potentially awkward situation but in this update it’s clear that the OP is just a mean girl (of Mean Girls fame).

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Anonymous December 12, 2013 at 6:56 pm

I am guessing she was kidding?

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fposte December 12, 2013 at 8:04 pm

Hang on, there’s considerably more to it than that–it wasn’t just that Mrs. Dancer was married to the guy who dated the OP. It was that after the OP broke it off with Mr. Dancer, Mrs. Dancer emailed the OP out of the blue, attempted to convince her to have an affair with Mrs. Dancer’s husband, and got huffy when the OP said no.

You don’t have to like the OP, but any indignation based on the notion that Mrs. Dancer is an innocent bystander is misplaced.

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Cat December 12, 2013 at 9:56 pm

Though someone on the comments on that post suggested that the e-mails from Mrs. Dancer might really have come from the husband in a last-ditch effort to into the OP’s pants. That suggestion made so much sense to me that I really would give Mrs. Dancer the benefit of the doubt at this point.

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Zillah December 19, 2013 at 1:18 am

This is about a week late, but…

Oh my god, that would make so much sense. And it adds a new layer of creepy to the whole thing, honestly. Ick.

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Eric December 12, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Sounds like high school.

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Clever Name December 12, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Yes. Especially this: “When I’m at lunch, I have plenty of current and former colleagues to sit with at the cool kids’ table, no worries there.”

I’m going to be brutally honest. I really hope I’m off-base. Please be aware that approaching things (career, life) with this mentality can end up hurting people whether you intend it or not. Not everyone is interested in playing games. And really, “cool kids table”?

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Sophia December 12, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Yeah, that rubbed me the wrong way too

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tesyaa December 12, 2013 at 2:48 pm

I think she’s just saying she’s not ostracized or otherwise set apart from the group. I doubt she meant to hurt anyone’s feelings or play middle school games.

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Sophia December 12, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Then I think she should have said that rather than conjure up clique and middle school images. Plus she follows it up with “no worries there” – I think it just rubs me the wrong way, as does the tone of the email (as I am reading it)

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tesyaa December 12, 2013 at 3:21 pm

For goodness sake, it’s from an email – probably written quickly – not a dissertation.

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Sophia December 12, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Which is fine, but that email is all we have to go from. You’re allowed to see it as no big deal, I’m allowed to feel like it rubbed me the wrong way.

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Anonymous December 12, 2013 at 3:12 pm

I doubt she means to cause hurt feelings as well, but she certainly sounds like someone who loves a drama-filled life.

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anon December 12, 2013 at 5:01 pm

+one

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AnonK December 13, 2013 at 4:22 am

+infinity

The OP is a lightning rod for drama. If the cool kid table is important to her, she may be shocked to learn that drama has a relatively short half life.

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Rose December 12, 2013 at 2:49 pm

+1.
I was wondering if she was talking about high school or work. She came across as a little self-centered actually.

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Mena December 12, 2013 at 3:20 pm

‘Cool kids table’ in your eyes perhaps but it really sounds silly, as did you over-involving yourself in their marriage.

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Marie December 12, 2013 at 3:26 pm

Yeah, ‘cool kids table’ rubbed me the wrong way, too.

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Jen in RO December 13, 2013 at 3:56 am

I didn’t find anything weird in that. I think she was just kidding. (Yes, you’re allowed to do that even when you’re a working adult.)

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Joey December 12, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Is it me or does it sound like the op taking a little too much interest in her work performance and turning it into some sort of contest?

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Just a Thought December 12, 2013 at 2:28 pm

I picked up on that too.

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ThursdaysGeek December 12, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Yeah, you are now working at the same company. That means you are working together, as a team, trying to accomplish common goals. Quit trying to compete — that’s not what it’s about.

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esra December 12, 2013 at 5:05 pm

This update was definitely… dramatic I guess? I think the less drama-filled you can make your work life, the happier and better off you will be.

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Interviewer December 12, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Two weeks on the job, you already have some of your work done *and* reviewed by 3rd party auditors? What kind of fresh hell place to work is this?

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Jamie December 12, 2013 at 4:08 pm

Trust me, when someone is there for 2 weeks their work isn’t being audited – what’s being audited is the documentation of her training and just making sure procedures are being followed. Any errors would have been firmly in the lap of her boss this early in.

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Just a Thought December 12, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Yeah, I wasn’t feeling the “cool kids table”, verbiage either. OP has a flair of “I’m new and already better/more popular than you…”

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fposte December 12, 2013 at 2:37 pm

Maybe, but I also think that this was somebody who was understandably worried that a bizarre personal situation was going to completely gut her job trajectory. I think it’s okay for her followup to relate with the relief the ways in which it hasn’t. (I read “cool kids’ table” as ironic myself.)

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tesyaa December 12, 2013 at 2:48 pm

I just made a similar comment up above.

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Ask a Manager December 12, 2013 at 2:53 pm

That was my take on it too.

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The IT Manager December 12, 2013 at 3:14 pm

+1 That’s totally my take. I laughed a little and I think that was the point of using that term. I did notice “cool kids table” while reading the letter, but I took it to be very jokey and casual not that she thought that the high school cliches remain. The entire letter has a casual, jokey feel to it. Perhaps it giddy relief that its working out so well.

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fposte December 12, 2013 at 3:59 pm

And I think OP communicates on the bubbly side in general, while we tend to run a little dryer in the comments here, so there may be a bit of a tonal gap.

And you know, even if I turned out not to like the OP, I’d still side with somebody who’s privately crowing over somebody who engages in long conversations attempting to get you to sleep with her husband.

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HR Coolkidstabel December 12, 2013 at 7:57 pm

“And I think OP communicates on the bubbly side in general, while we tend to run a little dryer in the comments here, so there may be a bit of a tonal gap”

+1
You got it. I read it as fun/bubbly as well.

This place is so dry, even my driest delivery isn’t parched enough.

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Lacey December 12, 2013 at 9:08 pm

Agreed. Its kind of ironic that OP is getting hammered so badly for her ‘cool kids’ comment by what are, essentially, the ‘cool kids’ of the comments section of this blog. Slight overreaction, IMHO.

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KVM December 13, 2013 at 10:31 am

Tonal Gap = Band Name.

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Just a Reader December 12, 2013 at 2:45 pm

I thought this too. Good for the OP for settling in well…but remember what goes around sometimes does come around, and I hope Mrs. Dancer isn’t ever in a position to gloat over something professionally.

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Christine December 12, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Agreed. On its own, I might have taken it as more of a joking statement, but combined with the rest of the letter I’m getting the same vibe. But I might be off base and just reading it in the wrong tone.

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Lynn December 12, 2013 at 2:31 pm

OP sounds incredibly obnoxious.

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EM December 12, 2013 at 3:13 pm

I think she sounds very immature which can definitely lead to obnoxiousness.

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Jax December 12, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Agreed. I read this and thought, “Ick.”

So are the cool kids all sitting around the table smirking at Mrs. Dancer and her cheating husband? Or has the OP restrained herself from sharing that tidbit?

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AnonK December 13, 2013 at 4:27 am

I’m not sure OP has demonstrated that “restraint” is one of her characteristics in the entire exchange. I hope I’m wrong, for her sake.

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LD December 13, 2013 at 9:48 pm

What? That seems a bit overwrought and not warranted by the update from the OP. It’s fine to think someone’s tone is a bit off, but anyone who read both letters would be aware that it was an odd situation and Mr. and Mrs. Dancer are really not role models of moderation and discretion. Perhaps the OP is relieved and coming across as a bit giddy at her good fortune to have landed in the new role where she feels valued, appreciated, and welcomed as well as feeling fortunate at the lack of drama from Mrs. Dancer.

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TeeSee December 12, 2013 at 5:20 pm

I’ll second that!

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amaranth16 December 13, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Wow, I think that’s a strong statement. I think she’s just relieved that Mrs. Dancer hasn’t done/said anything that would leave the OP deeply isolated and despised.

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A Teacher December 12, 2013 at 2:32 pm

I teach high school and it sounds like a cliquey place to work, it may not be but your line about the cool kids table and some of your other comments sums up more about you than the other lady at this point. I read the original post and while I don’t think the wife handled it the best, you don’t come across well at all. It is almost like a sense of entitlement or something, I don’t know but it makes you (the OP) difficult to like from this update.

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AVP December 12, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Now I’m super curious about which cities you’re moving to and from – Dallas to Austin? LA to Palm Springs?

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TL December 12, 2013 at 3:12 pm

None of the (ballroom) dance studios in Austin are in the fashionable part of town. :)

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some1 December 12, 2013 at 3:34 pm

“Now I’m super curious about which cities you’re moving to and from”

I think the LW wanted us to be curious, the tone of that point really came off like “I’m revealing part of something to get asked more info about it”

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Ask a Manager December 12, 2013 at 3:37 pm

I didn’t get that sense! You guys are really piling on today.

(On the other hand, I’ve been wanting to call people “baby girl” all day long.)

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Ask a Manager December 12, 2013 at 3:37 pm

And that parenthetical note will be inexplicable to anyone who reads these comments in the future and doesn’t realize it’s a reference to this morning’s post.

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BGirl81 December 12, 2013 at 3:42 pm

I actually read The Baby Girl Debacle aloud to a group of my coworkers at lunch! Naturally, we’ve amused ourselves for hours calling each other “Baby Girl” and “Baby Boy”.

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some1 December 12, 2013 at 3:57 pm

With all due respect, you don’t think her using the term “Hipster Paradise” vs “we’re moving to a cool neighborhood with a great vibe” or whatever was meant to evoke curiosity?

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thenoiseinspace December 12, 2013 at 4:05 pm

No, not really. I think she assumed everybody knew exactly the type of town she was talking about when she used that phrase (which we do, as far as I can see), whereas if she had said the name of the town, it’s likely that none of us would have known anything about it.

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fposte December 12, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Me too–I thought she was jokingly reducing them to their common types.

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Ask a Manager December 12, 2013 at 4:17 pm

Yeah, I thought that was just the OP jokingly providing vivid, colorful descriptions (of that and much else).

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tcookson December 13, 2013 at 8:27 am

I think the whole crux of whether OP’s letter is funny or appalling depends upon whether you read it as literal or as all an ironic joke. When I got to the “cool kids table” part, I thought that either OP is kind of immature and shallow, or she is saying that with a “nudge, nudge; wink, wink” tone. And since it’s hard to tell, it’s a Schroedinger’s update situation (the letter is both potentially appalling and potentially funny)?

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Sophia December 12, 2013 at 4:07 pm

You know, maybe I am being too sensitive to the update which rubs me the wrong way. If I am, it’s because I’ve been in an office which did have a “cool kids’ table” that I was not a part of and it does not create a healthy or good atmosphere. I also think that it’s hard to convey joking tones over email (shared) with strangers.

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some1 December 12, 2013 at 4:17 pm

To me, the statement is sort of like that old commercial “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful”. At least be humble enough to pretend you don’t know it’s the Cool Table.

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Ask a Manager December 12, 2013 at 4:19 pm

If it was said with no irony, agreed. I read it as more tongue-in-cheek.

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Clever Name December 12, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Yeah, I’m going through something of this nature at work, and (as I mentioned above), I read this the same as you. But I’ve been wrong before. :)

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Elizabeth West December 12, 2013 at 5:34 pm

*giggle-snorts*

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Lacey December 12, 2013 at 9:09 pm

+ 100. Such a tiny comment by OP, such a massive reaction.

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The IT Manager December 13, 2013 at 9:42 am

Ha! Yesterday my boss/co-worker accidentally called me “mama” in an IM. He meant to call me “ma’am” and apoloigzed for “mama.” The “ma’am” was also sarcasm for me being a bit bossy in asking him to do something via IM.

There is a middle-aged immigrant woman who calls every female “mama” at one of my social activities. I assume it is a term of friendliness and respect of a sort in her culture. Definately not as bad as “girl” or the truely aweful “baby girl” of yesterday mornings post. And it’s not a professional environment.

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amaranth16 December 13, 2013 at 1:44 pm

Hahahahahahahahahahahaha.

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A Cita December 12, 2013 at 9:07 pm

I guess Manhattan to Brooklyn

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tesyaa December 12, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Most of what I remember from the post (besides the ballroom dancing) is that almost every commenter told the OP not to take the job.

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thenoiseinspace December 12, 2013 at 2:55 pm

That was what I remember too, although I’m not surprised she took it – it seemed like she always wanted to take it, but wanted to get some other opinions first.

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Joey December 12, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Makes me wonder how many people really take Alison’s advice or just look to validate their own decisions? Any idea Alison?

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Ask a Manager December 12, 2013 at 3:23 pm

I would love to know that. I wish that a condition of having your letter answered here was that you promised to update us later, possibly filling out a detailed survey about what pieces of the advice, if any, you took.

My hunch is that people usually take the advice on basic job search stuff and other pretty straightforward questions, but that it’s often harder to on the more nuanced interpersonal stuff.

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Marie December 12, 2013 at 3:30 pm

I took it – Alison was kind enough to answer my question before I had to deal with the issue, and it got me out of a lot of trouble!

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Suz December 12, 2013 at 3:53 pm

I took your advice too. Thanks!

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LMW December 12, 2013 at 4:43 pm

I would have taken your advice, had the problem come up again. But it suddenly stopped on its own.

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tcookson December 13, 2013 at 8:30 am

If I ever have an issue that I can ask Alison about, I’m taking the advice all the way to the bank, that’s for sure! I’ll combine it with the nuance from all the trusted commenters, and be better off for it.

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Gracie December 13, 2013 at 9:17 am

In my case*, even before my original letter was posted, I knew deep down that the only real solution was to get a new job– anything else would be a Band-Aid at best. After I got the new job, I waited a few months to settle into it before sending in an update.

*The stupid cubicle=migraine saga. Now let’s never speak of it again.

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Anon December 12, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Oh she wanted the job. And she loves the fact that she’s doing “better” error wise and has a connection with an auditor unlike the wife. And has lots more friends and more contacts and network opportunities because she hasn’t limited herself to just one company since college. Like the wife. And gee, she’s going to get a cool office with a door and neat furniture in a hip town which proves how special she really is. And don’t forget the OPs group has the real political power, not the wifes group.

What’s lost in this is maybe the OP is not having a problem at her new job not because she’s so super duper with contacts and friends and power and stars in alignment while sitting at the cool kids table, but maybe because the wife has been discreet and acted like a professional and kept the private life private.

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fposte December 12, 2013 at 8:09 pm

But that doesn’t really make sense–if she’s doing well because the wife sensibly kept her mouth shut about trying to get the OP to sleep with her husband, that means she’s doing well because her work is good. Which is legitimate reason to do well, not a gift from Mrs. Dancer.

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Lacey December 12, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Exactly! Why are so many commentators reading this update so negatively? She can’t be doing well in her job because she is useless at her job.

She’s doing well, why don’t we just say well done?

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Jen in RO December 13, 2013 at 4:01 am

I read the letter as someone who was very apprehensive going into this job and is now extremely happy to see the stars aligning. I was honestly happy for her when I read the update last night and now I’m reading the comments and wondering why everyone is so outraged…

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AnonK December 13, 2013 at 4:36 am

I was rubbed the wrong way because it seems that she has gone through an awful lot of trouble to inventory and then to express why this woman isn’t a threat to her at work. Obviously an awkward situation for both of them, but it seems like the OP is keeping score and gloating, when truth is she hasn’t really been there long enough to get a true read on political dynamics. I think a simple update such as “two weeks in and no signs of this being a problem for me” would have reflected much better than petty digs at her rival’s error riddled work, limited network, etc.

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hamster December 13, 2013 at 8:39 am

I found OPs update obnoxious too. Perhaps she is afraid of the woman, and what mess it can cause and re-listing every upper hand situation just to reassure herself

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Rose December 12, 2013 at 2:56 pm

What I don’t understand is after 2 weeks, she has been audited, will be getting a new office with a door AND she gets to pick the furniture? Isn’t a contractor hired by a third party?
This sounds a little far-fetched to me.

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De Minimis December 12, 2013 at 3:15 pm

At my job we have a lot of contractors who are essentially permanent employees in everything other than how they are paid, so it’s possible.

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Rose December 12, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Either way 2 weeks seems a little early to be picking out your own office furniture.

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Elizabeth December 12, 2013 at 3:54 pm

When I started a new job that was essentially a new role for the office/department, they let me pick out my desk chair and a few other items (eg printer stand) after I had only worked there 2 days. (I was stuck with the desk, but I loved the chair!)

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Ask a Manager December 12, 2013 at 3:25 pm

That doesn’t seem that unusual to me, at many senior-level positions.

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Joey December 12, 2013 at 2:59 pm

This is a bit off topic, but the comments on the last handful of posts seem unusually thin. Is it the time of year or the topics?

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Emily, admin extraordinaire December 12, 2013 at 3:01 pm

I think it’s because we’re all trying not to procrastinate. :)

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fposte December 12, 2013 at 3:06 pm

I’m going to try not to procrastinate later.

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amaranth16 December 13, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Ohhhh, this got me right in the gut… this is my motto.

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Yup December 12, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Update posts generally seem to generate fewer responses, too.

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Ask a Manager December 12, 2013 at 3:20 pm

It’s the time of year (I hope). Traffic always goes down a bit in between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.

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TheSnarkyB December 12, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Finals? at least for me & prob others too

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Mike C. December 12, 2013 at 3:58 pm

I’d say the topics. There hasn’t been anything particularly contentious today versus the past few days.

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thenoiseinspace December 12, 2013 at 4:07 pm

That was my thought too. The past few days I’ve tried to think of something constructive to say, but couldn’t think of anything worth posting and didn’t want to waste everyone else’s time.

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Jamie December 12, 2013 at 4:15 pm

I think it’s just a busy time for a lot of us.

I just finished my own external audit last week and now gearing up for end of year which is where the cost accounting part of my brain fights the IT part of my brain and there is a constant battle in there of year end financials and year end maintenance and upgrade projects.

I think there is an office pool betting on the day my head will actually explode. :)

I know, tldr, but I’m wondering if readership dips a little this time of year as well? Because I still read, but usually by the end of the day someone else has already said what I was thinking and so no need for me to chime in late.

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Ask a Manager December 12, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Yep, there’s a definite annual dip in traffic in December. Not a huge one, but this month it seems to be going from about 40,000 visitors a day (weekdays) to about 37-38,000 a day.

(Of course, last year, 37,000/day would have been huge. It’s all relative.)

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BellaLuna December 13, 2013 at 9:40 am

Alison,

The success of your blog is awesome. I am in career transition and share it at all the job seeker meetings I attend. I recently recommended in an interview to the woman who I am hoping will be my next mgr.

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Julie December 14, 2013 at 5:10 pm

Yay for you, Alison!

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CindyB December 12, 2013 at 7:38 pm

Jamie, I always find your comments insightful and worth reading. And often quirky and funny too!

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Jamie December 13, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Reading this just made my otherwise totally craptastic day.

Thanks!

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Rana December 14, 2013 at 10:45 pm

In my case, taking care of an infant is cutting into my commenting time. At the very least, it’s hard to type with just one hand! :)

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some1 December 12, 2013 at 3:30 pm

I think the LW *was* expressing relief that the Dancer Guy situation didn’t harm her professionally, but I definitely think she’s delighting in the fact that she’s more popular and has more clout there than the wife.

Then again, the entire update came off braggy and self-absorbed, and awkward for this audience. What difference does it make that you went to grade school with somebody’s daughter, or that the office is relocating to a hipster neighborhood?

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Susan December 12, 2013 at 3:37 pm

Agreed. Aggressively catty, especially the part about the wife having people look over her work.

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Lacey December 12, 2013 at 9:14 pm

Finding it hard to believe you’ve read all the comments on this and you’re saying the OP is catty….this is one of the less pleasant reactions to a post I’ve seen on AAM.

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thenoiseinspace December 12, 2013 at 3:59 pm

Hey, now. Some of it could easily be an attempt at humor. I thought the mention of going to school with the daughter was just another weird coincidence in a long story of weird coincidences that she thought we might find amusing. It’s just like if a blue car cuts you off, you wouldn’t tell people, but if three blue cars cut you off in a row, it becomes a weird thing that you might mention to people. If it’s a small enough town or far enough away, then I could see how she could start to get kind of a “This Is Your Life” kind of vibe and think we might be entertained, especially given that in the last post, so many people compared her life to a reality show and said they were eager for the next juicy episode.

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Sophia December 12, 2013 at 4:03 pm

True. But then she talks about how the wife doesn’t have the same networks or connections as the OP because she stayed at the same company. Which in and of itself, is fine and probably true. In the whole tone of the letter it just seems off…

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some1 December 12, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Yeah, there seemed to be no other reason to bring that up besides making the wife look inferior.

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thenoiseinspace December 12, 2013 at 4:09 pm

Okay, good point. Because, in fairness, the OP really has no idea how many connections the wife has. By her own admission, they never see each other.

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some1 December 12, 2013 at 4:09 pm

Right, but a lot of the details would be the kind of thing you would update close friends (or at least people you know IRL) about, it comes off as over-sharing for this blog.

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Ask a Manager December 12, 2013 at 4:25 pm

especially given that in the last post, so many people compared her life to a reality show and said they were eager for the next juicy episode.

Yes — we were all begging for details :)

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Yep December 12, 2013 at 4:18 pm

+1

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pizzagrl December 12, 2013 at 4:04 pm

The OP really sounds like she’s relishing in someone else’s misery. Not a coworker I’d like to have.

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Liz in a library December 12, 2013 at 4:09 pm

I am a little bewildered at the way the OP’s letter seems to be coming off for the majority. To me, she just sounds like someone thrilled with a new job and happy that her fears were unfounded that Dance Wife would ruin her chances of fitting into the office. I’m not sure what I’m missing(?).

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fposte December 12, 2013 at 4:17 pm

Yeah, that’s kind of surprising to me. I could see it more if this were the OP’s first post, but when I read it after the previous post, it seems perfectly emotionally logical as a reaction to the outcome. And she was really participatory in the comments, so I can see why she’d treat this as if she were updating people she knew.

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Jamie December 12, 2013 at 4:20 pm

Yep – to me just sounded like someone naturally perky and really bubbly gushing about stuff and throwing in all details, extraneous or not. It didn’t read snotty to me, but I can absolutely see how it could.

I also saw the lunch table remark as a figure of speech – but I just came out of a meeting where I suggested making year end compensation and hiring decisions solely based on games of dodge ball…so I’ve turned a weird corner myself.

(We’re not going with my brilliant idea, btw, sticking with the whole merit thing…100% less dodge ball.)

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fposte December 12, 2013 at 4:24 pm

“Hiring’s always fun until somebody loses an eye.”

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esra December 12, 2013 at 5:09 pm

If you can dodge a wrench, you get a raise.

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anon December 12, 2013 at 4:27 pm

100% less dodgeball means 100% less FUN :(

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Judy December 12, 2013 at 4:49 pm

I thought the merit thing was just a year long game of dodgeball?

kidding. sort of.

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Jamie December 12, 2013 at 5:11 pm

I wish. I was really good at dodge ball.

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Anoners December 12, 2013 at 4:30 pm

Yeah I agree. People really nitpick LWs language to pounce on anything that rubs them the wrong way. As soon as I read “cool kids table” I knew there’d be a lot of negative comments. I think she’s just really excited / relieved that this worked out for her. I’s understand if she was like “I sit at the cool kids table, and we gossip about the woman constantly and now she’s been exiled!!! LULZZZ!”.

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mollsbot December 12, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Agreed! It seems like people are obsessing over the phrase “cool kids table.”

I guess that phrase doesn’t bother me because any table I’m sitting at with friends is the cool kids table. I just really like my friends.

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LMW December 12, 2013 at 4:50 pm

I think so too. I think that since there was a strong possibility of this being a bad move for her and it could have been a really negative working environment, she’s just excited to be in a new role where she likes the work, she actually has positive relationships with a lot of people there and none of the negatives have materialized. She’s kind of giddy.

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Anonymous December 12, 2013 at 5:59 pm

I think some people are missing the fact that OP’s hobby is dance, which can be very drama(tic) filled, and so is OP’s personality. So people are taking drama to be negative, while OP is not, considering she talked to the cheater’s wife on multiple occasions, but didn’t get blocked by that situation by getting hired.

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BellaLuna December 13, 2013 at 9:50 am

Agree with Liz. My guess is that many of the update comments are to demonstrate that accepting the position was a good decision; especially given the advice not to.

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tesyaa December 12, 2013 at 4:28 pm

Maybe the different reactions to the “cool kids” comment are generational. Someone a few years out of school would be sensitive to the idea of the cool kids’ table; and may even have some bad memories of being uncool, or conversely, some remorse for their own hurtful behavior as a “cool kid”. Those of us who are many decades removed from high school have expunged those memories, for the most part, and just see it as a figure of speech.

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Anonymous December 12, 2013 at 5:15 pm

And how high your irony radar/assumption is. If I were to say that I sat at the “cool kids’ table”, re: my work, it would totally be joking because my friends – while lovely – are as far from being hip and ‘with it’ as one can be. I assumed she just meant that she got along with her colleagues and was poking light fun at her own dorkiness (which came across to me in her tone a little bit too). So that’s where my head went, but I can see how it could also come across as a literal “thank god I’m in with the in-crowd and that loser psycho weirdo isn’t.”

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Kelly L. December 12, 2013 at 6:47 pm

Yeah, I’ve definitely heard “cool kids’ table” (as well as “the kids’ table”) used ironically to describe one’s own group of lunch buddies, and the meaning is kind of “hee hee, we’re all dorks here.”

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fposte December 12, 2013 at 8:10 pm

Yeah, I’ve never heard an adult use that phrase in any way other than for its absurdity.

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Lacey December 12, 2013 at 9:16 pm

Exactly, I really think it was used ironically.

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TL December 12, 2013 at 11:40 pm

Yup, I use it tongue-in-cheek all the time when eating with friends, especially when we run into somebody we know and they can’t join us.

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Lindsay J December 13, 2013 at 1:42 am

Yes, I’ve used this phrase (and similar) to refer to my friends at work, and it’s always used in an ironic fashion. Most of us are so far from anything even resembling “cool” that there is no danger of anybody who knows us taking it literally.

Though here the “cool kids table” comment combined with the talk about her social group being more politically powerful, and how she has so many connections here and the wife doesn’t have connections like that, made me feel a little icky.

The cool kids table wouldn’t necessarily bother me usually, but in the context of this letter it did because there is so much else going on here, too.

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Mints December 13, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Or of the school you went to was so huge, there was no cafeteria and the whole idea of cool kids tables seems as imaginary as Gryffindor table, haha.
Yeah, I read it as really excited, giddy relief that things are going well.

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Not So NewReader December 12, 2013 at 4:31 pm

Not sure how to say this– to me OP sounds like she is incredulous that all these things fell into place the way they did. It’s like a natural high or a kick. I think that is what we are seeing here in her word choice- we are seeing her excitement.

There tends to be ups and downs with any job. I tend to be cautious about great things happening at work because it seems to be a cycle. After something great happens, then something not so great happens. And the cycle repeats.
My take away from seeing this was to tell myself “watch out for the rollercoaster”. Don’t get too upset over the lows and don’t get too excited over the highs. It can wear a person right out.

OP does have a strong point about knowing a lot of people. That will help pull a person out of a nasty situation. Though the flip side of that is it take a lot- a REAL lot – of effort to maintain these relationships over long periods of time. Part of that maintenance work is not to let highs get too high and not to let lows get too low.

Overall, I am happy that things are going better for the OP. And yeah, it is a bit of a kick when a situation turns itself around.

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Laura December 12, 2013 at 4:54 pm

“We don’t speak to each other at all, and because my group has much more political power than hers (we determine whether the facility will be able to operate at all, as third party consultants ourselves), she really REALLY doesn’t speak to me or anyone else in my group.”

Granted I don’t know what this job or industry is, but if Mrs Dancer has been at the company for many years, she may have plenty of political power in the company. I’m also not sure how you can know whether or not she speaks to anyone in your group, since you don’t interact with her yourself.

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Rana December 14, 2013 at 10:50 pm

That’s a good point. And the wife’s staying in one place isn’t necessarily a bar to having an extensive network, if other people are cycling in and out as often as the OP suggests. It’s like how hanging out at the hors d’oeuvres table often works as well as going out and mingling at parties. Whether you’re going to people, or they’re coming to you, connections can still be made.

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Andrea December 12, 2013 at 5:03 pm

The part that really stuck out to me was her mention that the wife doesn’t have a network because she’s been at this place for a long time. That’s not really the assumption I would have made—in many industries, someone working at the same place for a long time would still have a good-sized network, even in a small field, because you’d have former co-workers all over the place and contractors and others you’d gotten to know over the years and at various industry gatherings/functions. And anyway, what makes the OP think she knows anything about what kind of network this woman might or might not have? Why even mention it? It really doesn’t seem relevant. Then she immediately starts in about the errors that auditors have found in the wife’s work…it just all seems gossipy and petty and like the OP is comparing herself favorably in every single way she can come up with. Eh, I don’t know—I usually really love these updates, but I think they’re so much more satisfying to read when I think, “Gosh, I’m so glad things are going better for the OP!” or even, “It’s a shame things aren’t better yet, this OP seems like a professional who’s doing everything right, so hopefully her luck will change soon.” This time, I just think that the OP is gloating and has made this into some weird competition for no reason other than just loving the drama. Hope I’m wrong, but either way, I’m pretty sure my city is not quite a Hipster Paradise, so I guess it won’t be my problem.

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Mike B. (@epenthesis) December 12, 2013 at 5:23 pm

I have to wonder about the people who provide every last detail to AAM. I hope for the OP’s sake that none of her coworkers are readers, because they would immediately recognize not only their workplace but all of the story’s participants.

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Lindsay J December 13, 2013 at 1:46 am

For me, I’m not very concerned about people reading that might recognize me. Many of my comments (and my user name) are fairly identifiable.

It did concern me when I wanted to recommend this blog to some coworkers because of how identifiable I am. However, I also don’t usually disparage my workplace or anybody in it so in the long run I figured it wasn’t a big deal if people knew it was me commenting or not.

In a more delicate situation – like that of the OP here – I think I would hold back much more info, though.

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mollsbot December 12, 2013 at 5:25 pm

I’m happy for you OP! Congratulations :)

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Sydney December 12, 2013 at 6:24 pm

Glad it all worked out for you, OP. Just wanted to chime in and say that I didn’t take your follow-up in a negative light. I was really interested to hear how it all played out.

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HannahS December 12, 2013 at 8:16 pm

The letter came off as excited and happy to me, too–not malicious or nasty. Glad it all worked out, OP!

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AlisonW December 13, 2013 at 9:17 am

Ech, way too much schadenfreude in this letter for me.

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Laura December 13, 2013 at 12:10 pm

I didn’t see this until the update; I’m glad it’s working out. To those who told to OP to not take the job – there may be another good reason to take it.

I work in a really small industry as well. (Not, based on what the OP has said here, the same one, though.)

If I were at second-interview stage for a good job that was a step up for me, and then I turned it down, the speculation as to why would immediately start. If it were due to something like this, the guesses would be nowhere near the truth (because who would guess this sort of thing??). But they might be more damaging professionally than the truth.

Things I might expect they’d guess: “She got cold feet.” / “She’s not ready for more responsibility.” / “Maybe she’s gone as high as she can.” / “Maybe the offer was too low…but I know roughly what they would have offered, and does she really think she’s all that?” / “Guess she really doesn’t like (future manager) after meeting him.”

And maybe other things I haven’t thought of. They wouldn’t guess I was happy where I am or didn’t like the hiring company, not after two enthusiastic interviews.

And the idea that I backed out of responsibility could damage my career – within my small industry – a LOT faster than having to manage a cool, professional poker face around one woman, with the easy defusing line (should she go off the rails) of, “Unfortunately, I went on a couple dates with her husband before finding out he was married. It was very awkward.”

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Lee December 13, 2013 at 4:13 pm

“the stars have aligned or something”
“I have plenty of current and former colleagues to sit with at the cool kids’ table, no worries there”
“my group has much more political power than hers”
“there are a few characters, there always are”
“Big City to Hipster Paradise”
“I did buy myself some fantastic dance shoes”

I can’t quite put my finger on it, but those quoted statements by the OP really bothered me…
I think it’s because I liked the OP originally and then suddenly she relaxed/was happy once her co-worker was drowning.
It’s great it worked out for you, but at the expense of someone else, this just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

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LD December 13, 2013 at 10:11 pm

The coworker, Mrs. Dancer, is drowning? I didn’t see that. Maybe having some areas for improvement based on audits. And having been through a few audits, sometimes the stuff they bring us is actionable and sometimes it’s just stuff the auditor has on their list of things to advise. Some are more critical than others. So I do see a little gloating, but I think it may be more understandable after the awkward interactions between OP and Mrs. Dancer before OP accepted the new job. Again, as others have said, maybe not the most restrained and dry update, but she seems understandably relieved and excited that things are going well in the face of what could have been an extremely awkward and uncomfortable situation.

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