I was promoted but still get asked to do my old job, I asked for a lower performance evaluation rating, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. I was promoted, but my former manager keeps asking me to do my old job

Two months ago, I received a promotion to a manager level position at my company. Prior to that promotion, I had been working as an administrative assistant to an executive in another department. Along with my promotion, I have moved to another department and work with a completely new team. While I love this change in my work, my old supervisor continues to ask me to do things for him that others on his team are more than capable of (e.g. processing invoices, scanning, etc.).

When I was initially promoted, I told my old supervisor that I would still be somewhat available to help out while he searched for a new admin assistant. However, I was under the impression that, after two months, he would have found someone else to fill my role. My current supervisor does not want me to be doing work for my old supervisor and has communicated that to him, but my old supervisor has ignored those requests. Regardless, I’m still being put in the middle of it. How can I approach this problem and solve it in the best way?

It’s totally reasonable to say you can’t help anymore, particularly since your new manager has directly told you that she doesn’t want you to. Just be direct: “My workload in my new role has increased to the point that I need to focus 100% of my time here, so I won’t be able to keep helping out.” And then if he ask for your help after that, just remind him: “Sorry, I can’t help out anymore, because of my workload over here.”

If you feel like it, you could also add, “But Fergus and Lucinda (on his team) can do those tasks well — maybe check with them.”

2. Why am good enough to train my new manager if I wasn’t good enough to get her job?

I’ve worked for a company for four years in the same department. When the department manager is not there, I’m the one in charge. I do all the work they do — scheduling, orders, inventory, etc. Each time the position for department manager has become available, I’ve had an interview for it. The first time I didn’t interview well, so I understand not getting it, but this last time the interview went great. I’ve always had great reviews and received a raise each year. While the position is open, I’m in the position of manager. Now they’ve given it to someone else yet again. I’m expected to train this new person how to do the job. It doesn’t seem very ethical to tell me I’m not right for the job, but good enough to train the new person to do it. I was also told by a higher up manager that I’ll still be basically in charge, but just not have the title. Help me understand this, and what are my best options to take?

Well, you can definitely be qualified to train someone in the basics without being the best candidate to actually lead the department; the basics that you’d relay in training someone are different from the work of driving the department forward, making judgment calls, and managing people. It’s not unethical unless they’re leading you along with no intent of ever promoting you. But why not ask for specific feedback about what you’d need to do in order to be a strong candidate for the role in the future? And meanwhile, since advancement in a particular role is never assured, why not also be looking at possible roles outside of your current company? There’s no need to confine yourself to only one possible path.

3. I asked my boss to lower my performance evaluation rating and now I’m in trouble

My boss recently did employee evaluations. He said he was open to feedback on my evaluation, which I thought would be a favor. I hadn’t taken a prescription medication that particular day (looking back, missing a dosage or not taking it right on time seems to make me more impulsive). He had given me a lot of average ratings, with some things to work on and some he thought I did a good job on. He had given me a slightly below average rating on attendance since I am sometimes late, but he had made a side note that seemed to make it not seem like a serious issue. I told him I felt like it needed to be lowered because I wanted to work on it–which I do. He agreed with me and bumped it down.

A few weeks later, he came to me with a letter that was sent to 3 or 4 of his higher-ups with specific dates of my tardies and the minutes of each. I was stunned he did it and baffled at the dates, frequencies, and minutes he had written down. I don’t necessarily doubt the frequency of them, but it seems like he went through a lot of trouble rounding to the nearest or later 5 minute interval. I’ve been trying to make a better effort since then. He included on the formal letter that future attendance problems could result in termination and had me sign whether or not I agree with it. It can be difficult to get to work on time sometimes because of my health and cognitive status (documented elsewhere). Would I have any recourse if he let me go?

It sounds like you inadvertently prompted him to take a closer look at the attendance issue, and in doing so, he realized that the problem was worse than he had realized before — and that he’s now taking steps to address it. It feels unfair because you’re the one who pointed it out to him, but — depending on the severity of the problem — it’s possible that his ultimate actions are warranted.

But the whole thing is weird. On your side, you didn’t need to ask to have the rating lowered in order to prompt yourself to work on it (you can work on something of your own volition, after all). And on his side, given how he discovered it, he should have acknowledged that you were trying to do the right thing in highlighting it for him — and probably given you a more informal warning rather than this whole formal write-up (unless the problem truly has a big impact).

As far as legal recourse: If you have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, the Americans with Disabilities Act would require your company to work with you to make reasonable accommodations for that disability as long as (a) you’re performing the essential functions of the job, (b) your company has 25 or more employees, and (c) the needed accommodation doesn’t cause them undue hardship. If you haven’t initiated that discussion with them yet, it might make sense to do that now (after reading up on the ADA to see if you’re likely protected by it).

4. I was required to take classes that my manager teaches at a separate school

I work at a school and am required to complete certain training programs. The training is taught by my supervisor or her assistant. However, I and others were required to take the courses after hours at a local college. We had to apply for grants for tuition and our supervisor was the instructor. She received a salary from the college for teaching these classes, which are normally taught in-house. The courses were specific for the school and not for outside use. Isn’t this a conflict of interest or at least an appearance.

It sure sounds like a conflict of interest to me. It would be interesting to know if your school’s administration was aware of the whole arrangement.

5. How to ask what portion of health insurance a new employer will cover

I’m looking to leave my first full-time job. My current job covers 100% of my health insurance premium, and I want to ask prospective employers what they cover before finalizing my salary so I don’t end up taking home less than what I make now. When in the interview stages would you recommend bringing this up (when/if they ask you about salary expectations, wait til you have an offer, etc.)? Also, do you have any recommendations on how to phrase this question?

That’s totally reasonable to ask. Wait until you have an offer, and at that point, ask for information about their benefits. If the info they provide you with doesn’t make this clear, then ask, “What portion of health insurance premiums do you cover, and how much do employees pay?” (No real need for special tact on this one — it’s a very routine thing to ask about.)

{ 106 comments… read them below }

  1. Jillian

    Re the statement in #2 “I do all the work they do — scheduling, orders, inventory, etc. ” You really have no way of knowing that you do ALL the work your manager does. I am absent fairly often (for a manager) due to ongoing health issues, and have a designated back-up. My boss and I have determined the tasks the back up is assigned and it’s really only a small portion of my normal workload. Everything else is either not done, done by my boss, or completed when I return.

  2. Jillian

    To OP #3, it’s possible that the score you insisted on triggered a mandatory written warning. At my company, that happens for scores below a certain point.

    1. Vicki

      I am still trying to wrap my mind around the concept of asking a manager to Lower a performance evaluation rating.

      OP #3 – What were you THINKing??

  3. Gene

    My thoughts on #3 are either what Jillian said, or someone higher up the COC saw the rating and asked the supervisor for either details, or what he was doing about it.

    Oh yeah, unless the LW punches in on a time clock, it was probably simpler to think back and say, “About 10 minutes that day, about 5 that other day, …”

  4. Manager anonymous

    #2
    This certainly pushed my buttons. In our organization it is possible for an employee of Level 2 status to be promoted to Level 3 status and become the manager of a department.
    I was hired at two levels above Level 3 , (title, salary and benefits all befitting that level with 20 years experience in the field) The level 2 person who reported to me had been “holding down the fort” nine months before my arrival with 6 years in department and proclaimed to anyone who would listen that she was doing the “same” job as all the level 3s in the division. My first week, she demanded a promotion and a raise to level 3. ( I reviewed her personnel file, spoke to my supervisor and received authorization and budget approval) I said wait 6 months, I will able to document your role and then I can put through the paperwork. During the 6 months, not only was I unable to document her work as she did not complete even one component of her job description satisfactorily, she actively sabotaged my work by refusing to answer my questions about policies and procedures. I found out later that her refusal to communicate was because she “wasn’t going to train someone to do the job she was already doing”
    As I was very open about the work that I was doing, it should have been obvious that I wasn’t “doing her job” and this was her opportunity to shine and grow into the Level 3 position.

    OP # 2 needs to understand that she might not possess the skills and experience at that higher level. She can seek information not “why didn’t I get the job” but what skills, experience and perhaps education do I need to obtain to be a viable candidate for the next opening at that level.

    OP#3 Jillian- exactly that. And now that there is a written warning with documentation, please take that seriously. Come to work on time. If you cannot because of a medical condition or documented disability seek accommodation through employee assistance.

    1. GrumpyBoss

      It amazes me that OP #2 either hasn’t asked for any direct feedback as to why they weren’t selected, or has decided to ignore it. The accusation of a company being unethical over this doesn’t sit well with me.

      1. CLT

        For me the jump to “unethical” says the OP perhaps doesn’t understand how management is different than other jobs, and it is an indicator of not being ready for a leadership role. Businesses expect leaders to seek to understand their decisions, not to accuse them of wrong-doing when they disagree.

        1. passed over

          I have asked for feed back and I do understand the few areas I could grow. I’m not the type to normally use the word unethical, but it’s the only thing that seems to fit. I’m not unwilling to train the new department manager. I’m just trying to make some sense of the situation, pulling knowledge from people who have seen both sides of the rule of a manager. It not only came as a shock to me but all the other management in my facility. With the exception of the manager who made the hire.

          1. CLT

            I don’t mean to judge – certainly it is possible that there is something unethical happening. However, I’ve been decades in the workforce in many different industries, and while I have rarely experienced an actual lack of ethics, I have experienced, especially in recent years, a lot of accusations of such. Some workers today (and I am not meaning you) are quick to throw around words like unethical, unprofessional, immoral, illegal, etc., when in fact, they are lacking in information and therefore jumping to conclusions, and the worst possible conclusions at that.

            As the head of an organization, I treat unfounded accusations as a red flag that a person is not ready for a leadership role. I expect leaders to ask questions when they need to understand a decision, and to understand that some HR decisions have confidential reasons that won’t be shared.

            In your case, there is an obvious lack of information. If I were you, I would assume that whoever made the decision had a good reason, and I would seek her out to see if she can share any information that would help me understand. You have asked for feedback, which you have said was helpful. There may be additional reasons that have to do with organizational strategy or personnel issues that aren’t personally about you at all – maybe the hiring party can share her thinking. Even if she can’t, a question respectfully asked to the responsible party is a demonstration of leadership which might help you along the management path.

            1. PEBCAK

              I don’t think it’s wise to assume that managers make good hiring and promotion decisions. Some do, but many don’t. The halo effect can be extremely strong, and if the hiring manager can’t articulate a good reason why the OP was passed over, “gut feelings” very often lead to unfair decisions.

            2. passed over

              I’ll try to explain in more detail all the information I have, because I’m trying really hard to understand the reasoning. The position I want is a low level management job so I’ll call it level 1 the manager who made the hiring decision is a level 3 . This level 3 manager has been my mentor and been me in becoming a level 1 . My direct level 2 and level 1 managers have also been grooming me for this position. When I say I have been doing the job in all aspects, I mean it I’ve learned all the paperwork, inventory, staffing, etc. I’ve been the leader, my team has met and exceeded our production goals. My reviews have always been at the highest level. I’ve taken all feedback and improved where needed. I was told they hired the new level manager because she wishes to become a level 2 and she had to have been a level 1 first. There is a level 2 position opening up in a few months. They put her in the first level 1 position that came open. She had no experience in the department and has to learn from the ground up, so I’ve also been told I’ll still be expected to do most of her duties. While I’m a team player and can see her as a potential allie for the future. It doesn’t sit right with me that they would pass over the person the trained to fast track her to the next position. Also let me clarify this is the only place I’ve made any mention of unethical behavior since I’m using this as an anonymous sounding board. I don’t want to make any statements at my workplace or any where else until I’ve gathered more information.

              1. CLT

                You are wise to use an anonymous place like this for sorting out your thoughts. It sounds like they had a business reason for their decision. Maybe their business reason is a good one and maybe it’s not – you may not be in a position to ever know. There may be information they cannot share. They may even be making a mistake with this decision. But this doesn’t equate to unethical. Charges of unethical behavior are very serious. Just because you have ruled out all the other reasons for this decision that you can think of, it doesn’t mean there aren’t valid reasons or even invalid but well-intentioned reasons for the decision.

                You want to be a manager, and as a manager you will make decisions that affect people’s careers, often balancing one person’s needs against another’s and against the company’s needs as well. You will do your best, but you will disappoint people. You will appreciate it when people assume the best rather than the worst.

                You will also appreciate it when people you have disappointed let you know about it, respectfully, so that you have the opportunity to do your best by them in the future. I would encourage you to talk to your mentor, just to let her know that while you understand there were business reasons for the decision, others had lead you to believe that the position would be yours, that you are feeling disappointed, and that you would like to know what you might expect in the future with regards to a promotion.

  5. Chocolate Teapot

    2. “I was also told by a higher up manager that I’ll still be basically in charge, but just not have the title.”

    I would be trying to clarify what this meant.

    1. passed over

      I found out yesterday what was meant by I’ll still be in charge. Basically she won’t be there long enough to be fully trained before being moved to her next position. Positive side of it is the position will be open again in a few months and in that time I have the opportunity to really improve all my skills. Negative is having to wait.

      1. majigail

        I’d focus the next several months on improving your leadership skills and shining on the managerial tasks. Work hard at training the new manager so she excels. It sounds like she might be on the fast track and will be a good ally in the future.
        The times I’ve seen acting managers passed over, it’s been because of relationships within the department. Maybe there’s another key employee who you don’t get along with well that the higher ups don’t want to see you managing on a long term basis. Maybe the other managers don’t see you in the role. It’s hard telling, but I would really work on soft skills and the way you come across to others in the the coming months.

        1. Jamie

          ITA – this is a huge opportunity to put yourself in a better position next time.

          I’ve seen people passed over for job they can technically do, because of politics and relationships as well…both people who have difficulty getting along and also those who seem too friendly – too soft, too nice where there is concern they can’t make the hard decisions or have the unpleasant conversations.

      2. Observer

        The fact that they are putting someone in there in a relatively temporary capacity, even though you are “in charge” speaks very clearly to the fact that the higher ups do NOT see that you are “doing the same job.” So much so, that it’s worth it to them to take of the cost of the training you will need to provide (and it IS a cost), to enable someone to do the parts that you are not doing.

        1. Artemesia

          Exactly. So time to sit down and get detailed feedback on what you can do to be moved into that job. Every person I have managed who claimed to be doing a higher level job, wasn’t. There are certain routine functions that a temp can perform, but often the most important parts of jobs are not readily visible. So find out what additional skills you need or competences you need to demonstrate to be a contender next time out. And perhaps you will also find that for interpersonal reasons, maybe not even ‘your fault’, you will never be promoted and so it is time to look elsewhere.

          1. AnonyMouse

            Seconding the advice to get feedback on what you should be doing to improve your chances! If you haven’t asked this yet, it could be as simple as a few key things you need to work on. Or, as Artemesia said, could be confirmation that they’re not really considering you for promotion for some reason, and be the encouragement you need to start looking at other opportunities.

            1. Artemesia

              To elaborate here. Within organizations people develop a reputation and it sticks. If you are in a box that says ‘useful hard worker but doesn’t have the leadership ability or interpersonal skills to manage’ then you won’t even be considered. I have seen situations where obvious people to consider for potential promotion simply weren’t because they were not considered candidates (think of it as like papabile i.e. the status of a cardinal being a potential Pope — some are on everyone’s list and some get no consideration at all — the same happens when promotions occur. And it often happens to women who are seen as good drudges i.e. hard workers who will do whatever is asked, but who don’t have that magic something (hmmmm) that makes them potential bosses) It is very hard to move from the dismissed pile into the candidate for greatness pile once opinions are fixed. Asking about what you need to work on, perhaps getting business supporting special training or whatever might help make that move — but often, the location on the ‘no’ list is permanent.

                1. HR Pro

                  I think the point of what is being said is that there can be good reasons for looking for higher-level jobs at another company, rather than continuing to try to get promoted at one’s current company.

  6. Susan

    #2, You shouldn’t take my example to necessarily equate with your own, but I remember a place where I was an intern, I witnessed our department actually promote someone from outside the company to fill a role when there were plenty of people available in-house wanting the spot. I remember one woman, in particular, was training this new person basically the entire time I was there. Certainly, this woman would have done just fine had she been promoted instead.

    But as time went on, I think I understood why they hired this other person. This was a management position and this new person had incredible — I mean incredible — interpersonal skills. This was a position that had to deal with conflict constantly, whether it be with freelance contracts, important people across the brands wanting to get their way, or more immediate stuff in the office. She was just amazing as keeping a situation calm, and reeling in really difficult personalities. I found out that the manager who hired her, had previous worked with her at another company. I know that could be read as favoritism, but I don’t think that’s the case at all. I think she must have seen this woman in action previously and known she would be an asset to the company.

    So while this woman didn’t know the technical day-to-day things of her job and had to be trained in them, she was definitely an asset to the position. The other woman who did not get the job clearly could have been quite competent at it as well–just because she didn’t get it doesn’t mean she was a bad fit, it just means someone else was a better fit. But I think some positions don’t take just technical ability but a certain personality where you won’t get burned out by all the stress of the negative people you have to manage. For instance, I’d like to think I’m a very detail-oriented, hardworking individual, but I’d probably be miserable in that position. She had to deal with a lot of very strong egos basically all day every day and that sounds absolutely dreadful to me.

    1. Jen RO

      Interpersonal skills would be my guess too. I’ve seen many people who were very good on the technical side, but their lack of people skills made them unsuited for a management position.

      1. Fish Microwaver

        And I’ve seen people with both woeful technical AND interpersonal skills promoted over what I consider more suitable candidates.

    2. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

      I’ve got a story from the-division-that-is-not-mine. Management didn’t handle this in the best way from outset but handled well or not, committing job suicide doesn’t feed your family.

      The gentleman who had run a certain piece of operations retired. Rather than replace him, three people who ran different aspects of the operations were promoted upwards, in their own functions, and given raises. Two of the three were hoping to get the retiree’s overall job initially, so there was some disappointment , but they did have authority and autonomy in their own functions for about a year.

      After about a year, the decision was made to hire someone with experience to be the overall head of these operations. There were a bunch of reasons for this, the biggest bringing outside knowledge of best practices into our company. We promote from within to a fault and sometimes it limits us.

      So truly nice guy hired, many years of experience but no experience in our industry or our company. He’s now the boss of these three people and it’s their job to educate him about what they do and how things work here and specific industry/company information. Nobody got a pay cut or title cut or responsibility cut, they just got a new boss. 2 of 3 handled it and fine and third……

      Wow.

      Well he was very vocal with PTB and his new boss about how it wasn’t his job to train some new guy to be his boss as well as telling them all that the job should have been his. Ugly stuff. He also called out random days and random days in a row for random reasons either because he was too mad to come into work or to try to sabotage the new guy by throwing new guy into having to run that particular function with no back knowledge. Very senior management got involved in trying to calm the long time employee down and get him back on the right track.

      Didn’t last longer than a month, in one of the most spectacular flare outs ever:

      One of the principals, an owner of the company emailed longtime guy a question. The question was a calculation for a quote that was needed to be given to a customer and something longtime guy had been doing for many years. The question was part of the job function of longtime guy, whose duties had not been changed.

      Longtime guy emails back (did I mention owner of the company ) that he no longer does this work and new guy has to handle this, copying in new guy (who wouldn’t have the faintest idea how to do this calc).

      And longtime guy was terminated about four hours later.

      1. GrumpyBoss

        Unbelievable (actually, totally believable). People go to such great lengths to win a battle that exists only in their mind, just to lose the war.

        1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

          The thing is, I could write a medium sized list of things management did wrong/could have done better leading up to the hiring of new guy, and I’m not even sure new guy was the right hire. It’s a year later and the jury is out whether the relationship is right for the long term.

          All longtime guy had to do was stick to his job, be at least superficially helpful, and see what happens next.

          The other shame of it is, our company was longtime employee’s only real work history so only real work reference. He started out as a min wage pick and packer and advanced to a pretty decent salaried position over 8 years, so he blew up a whole lot of everything in his moves.

          (This makes me feel bad as I write it. I promise a number of people tried to help him before he threw himself on the grenade of refusing to answer the question of an owner of the company.)

      2. Not So NewReader

        What an awesome fail. This guy could have written a “what not to do” book. And this guy proved day after day that management had made the correct decision.

        Gotta look at it from a management perspective.

      3. B

        Too mad to come to work?!

        Wow. I work in the public sector in the UK and it’s a Very Big Thing to discipline/sack people, but even with my exemplary record I’m pretty sure I would be very quickly on a final warning if I tried that.

  7. Anonymous

    I think In the response for 2, “… Possible roles otherwise… ” should be “… Possible roles outside… “

      1. Jamie

        Alison has said she doesn’t mind when people point it out so she can correct the post itself, but doesn’t want us correcting the comments.

        1. Dang

          Oh, okay. I was just wondering because I don’t see it a lot on other blogs but I see it a fair amount here. Figured it had been a discussion at some point, but I don’t always read all of the comments.

          1. Ask a Manager Post author

            Could be that other bloggers make fewer typos too. I rarely proof my own stuff here — I write it, post it, and am done (which is the trade-off I’ve settled on in exchange for being able to post this much content), so I’m not surprised that it’s typo city at times.

            1. BeenThere

              .and all the readers love the quality and quantity of the content. A few typos is a great exchange for the wisdom here :)

            2. YaH

              I for one am delighted at the frequency of new posts on the blog. I come here at least twice a day to see what’s new, and really enjoy the information I receive from each post. It’s oddly disappointing to visit other blogs, especially advice-type blogs, that go a week, two weeks, or more between updates. It pretty much guarantees that I’ll stop following them.

      2. Anonymous

        Because it was difficult to understand the guidance with the correction. While editing and proof reading is part of what I do professionally, I wouldn’t have pointed it out if it was a misspelling or something along those lines that didn’t impact the meaning.

    1. AGirlCalledFriday

      I don’t want to offend anyone, but I’m going to stick my neck out here and say that the typos really, really bother me, and have for a long time.

      I try to remind myself of the trade-off of distracting typos for more posts, and I do love that the posts are frequent. I’m a teacher though and from the school of thought that multiple errors detract from the message and make it seem like the author doesn’t care about their product. I know it’s a minority opinion.

      1. AGirlCalledFriday

        I just want to clarify that I know this isn’t the situation here. It’s just the thinking I default to and trying to ignore that is part of what makes it distracting.

  8. Apollo Warbucks

    #2 A similar thing happened to me when my supervisor was on extended leave. Their job was advertised and I thought I had a good chance of getting the temporary promotion, whilst my technical skills are extremely good there are other areas that I’m useless at, and that makes a fair chunk of the job I applied for, that left me taking on more of the technical side of things whilst someone else with no background or expireance got the promotion. I used the time to work on better projects and increase my skills, it still annoys me but if I’m being honest with myself I wasn’t up to doing all of the job.

  9. Anonymous for this one

    #3

    You might be the first person ever to ask the boss to *lower* a formal, written evaluation. Can I ask what you expected to happen?

    I have attendance “issues” that I want to work on as well… Like show up to my professional job before 11am. But there’s no way in heck in going to ask my boss to put that in writing.

    It’s going to stay between me and… Anybody who notices and cares what hours I keep. Which may very well be my boss, but he will have to figure it out himself.

    1. Taz

      What jumped out at me is OP hadn’t taken his/her meds, which OP says makes him/her more impulsive. It’s hard to tell, but it made me wonder if the suggestion came off as almost a sarcastic self-sabotaging thing as a result? In any case, I do tend to agree with those upthread who think the lower score automatically triggered something internally, whether that be a review by higher-ups of the OP or possibly even of the manager who revised and lowered the written score.

    2. jag

      I’ve done it few times when what my boss had wasn’t accurate. This did not involve any calculation on my part of what the implications would be – I simply don’t like stuff that’s factually wrong.

    3. Lana

      Asking to lower the performance rating might have been something LW 3 was hoping would act as a kind of external cue or extra motivation to address the attendance issue. I think most people can be expected to take care of this “of their own volition”, but for people with executive functioning issues (these can show up with autism and ADHD, that’s where I get mine), some kind of external thing can be vital to getting something done, even if it’s something they want to do that’s recognized as important to keeping their job. It could be that if they were feeling less impulsive in the moment they might have had a conversation about what kinds of things can be put in place to help with that issue, instead of going for the lowered evaluation (which someone else has pointed out might have triggered the formal warning).

      Also, as for the ADA accommodations, for me, it was not too late to get those even after I was on a warning for attendance, which was something I was worried about. If your tardiness is connected to a documented condition, it should still be possible to work with that. I can’t say for sure, as I don’t know what in my case is covered by ADA and what is covered by my company’s approach to accommodations, but I wouldn’t say LW 3 is past the point of no return as far as pursuing accommodations.

      1. AnonyMouse

        Good point about ADA accommodations, and about the external motivator for people with executive functioning issues. In this case, I think it might be more effective for the OP (or someone in a similar position) to address it verbally during the evaluation. They had already received a slightly below average score, so simply telling their boss during the discussion that attendance is an area where they’d personally really like to improve, and therefore wouldn’t mind and would even appreciate being held to a higher attendance standard could work well without triggering the unpleasant consequences. That might incentivise their manager to start cracking down more on lateness, and spur a positive change.

        Of course, the boss might (fairly) feel like it’s not their job to worry about that day to day. In that case the OP would need to think of new strategies, possibly including accommodations of some kind.

  10. AH

    #2: I had something similar happen. I was denied a promotion for a job that I was already doing. They gave it to a newer person on my team for “office politics ” type reasons. The worst part was that she refused to learn the job and I continued to do the job even after she was promoted! I immediately started looking for a new job. I suggest you go the same.

    1. crazy

      Crazy how sometimes in some places that jobs are almost a style you wear – like it didn’t matter that the person promoted wasn’t actually doing what was involved

  11. UKJo

    #1 – not only is it reasonable for you to say to your old boss that you can’t help out further, but it’s pretty much mandatory since your new boss has given you the directive not to. If you continue to help out in your old role now, you’ll be directly going against a clear instruction, which tends to be a pretty bad idea. If you’re struggling to get oldboss to take no for an answer, even with Alison’s excellent advice, then asking them to take it up with newboss might help too. (i.e. get yourself out of the middle!) I’m not usually a fan of that sort of borrowing authority, but sometimes it can be a sensible solution when dealing with the terminally thick skinned…

    1. Not So NewReader

      Well said. It is only because OP keeps doing the tasks that the old boss keeps asking. After a few “no’s” the requests will probably stop.

      I had a coworker who insisted upon doing X task. All X task work was assigned to a different department. My boss told her to stop doing X immediately. “But-but-but”, she sputtered. So she started sneaking around in order to keep doing X. Boss caught her, again. He informed her if she did not stop it would be a automatic write up the next time she did X. THEN, we got to listen to weeks of how stupid the boss was.
      None of us had empathy for her plight. See, if she was off doing X then she was not with us and helping with the work at hand. And we so very badly needed her to remain present and not wander off. To us, she looked like someone who could not follow instructions. In her mind, she felt she was a hero to our company. [After watching years of this, I personally felt that she was a lazy worker who preferred to pick and chose her own projects. Mostly she stood around gossiping and maligning people. Then I scolded myself for being so negative and not focusing on my own work.]

      Nature abhors a vacuum. OP, if you just stop doing old boss’ work someone will jump in and take over. I know you did not ask this, but going forward do not make promises to so-to-be former bosses because this is what happens. When you leave a position, totally leave the position. Craft an exit plan that does not include you. This can mean instruction booklets, or getting others to agree to teach certain aspects of the job, etc.

      1. Manager anonymous

        This. I had a direct report who had a “hero” complex and was constantly volunteering to help other departments at the expense of getting her regular job tasks completed in an accurate and timely manner. She was often “MIA” In meetings about her documented failure of meeting expectations, she continued to excuse her lack of performance due to spending the time “fixing” “saving” “helping” and covering so-and-so’s shift in an emergency (and in doing so not being available for our department’s work). I had to put in writing that she was never to volunteer to help without my permission. She felt I was being unreasonable as she was just being a team player and these other departments “needed” her. She ignored this directive. I had to go through stepped discipline with her on this matter.

        1. GrumpyBoss

          I had an employee like that. The metaphor I used in his review was if this was high school, he’d be the guy in the yearbook who joined every single club. All while barely managing a C- average. That approach didn’t work either. I had to take the disciplinary approach you did.

          To this day, I’m sure he blames me for “holding him back” from being the company’s savior.

          1. Jen RO

            “the guy in the yearbook who joined every single club” – oh how apt this description is. My guy is still very new and trainable, but he wants to be involved in everything and he screws most things up :(

      2. Ruffingit

        It’s amazing how many people refuse to stop doing certain things even when told directly. I’m working with someone now who maligns the boss all the time and while his approach to many things is not my favorite, she’d find life a lot easier if she would simply do what she is told instead of trying to side-step and then defend herself about why she did the opposite of what she was told to do.

        She just can’t seem to grasp that you do not need to help other people when they haven’t asked for it, you do not need to try and go around the boss’s instructions to make life easier for yourself. Just do what you are told. Really not a difficult concept, but so many just can’t grasp it.

        1. Not So NewReader

          I bet this is the same one who was having problems with professional boundaries with the people being served, yes?

  12. passed over

    I’m the one who asked question number two. To Jillian I know I’m doing the full job of manager, because I’m friends with the prior two managers. They’ve been training me to do it, being told I was to be their replacement once they where promoted. I do much more than the basics. I should perhaps clarify I don’t have a probelm training the new manager, it is just when I’ve been told over and over I’m too be next in line it was a shock. It’s also come to my attention that the reason s he got it was not because she is more qualified, but because in order to get to another position she wants she has to do this one first. I am looking at other paths to advance, except it’s very difficult to transfer departments.

    1. Not So NewReader

      Not buying into the logic of their decision. Using their logic if you decide you want a job over there somewhere and you need the experience of managing here, then they should promote you just on the basis that you want that other job.
      If I want a job ruling the world, I don’t think anyone is going to promote me to POTUS so I can get some hands on experience.

      On a calmer side of the issue, I guess I would ask when my turn for promotion will come. I would feel safe opening that discussion because you were being told you would be the replacement for the two previous managers when they left. Annnndd, I would consider the sources that told me this. Are these sources in a position to make that type of promise? Are these sources reliable people or are they pie-in-the-sky dreamers?

      1. Ruffingit

        Not only that, but I would also look at the politics of the office. Are you in the right political position to be promoted? That is, you’ve been playing the office politics game (whatever that might be for your workplace)? Because, as others have stated here, a lot of promotions have little or nothing to do with your skill set or current job. Sad truth, but there it is.

    2. Mary

      Something similar happened to me about 18 months ago. I was shocked, everyone I worked with was shocked. And I was angry (and frankly, I still am). However, I decided within days of getting the news that I was going to do my job and not act out or be uncooperative, but also that I was going to get out. ASAP. Four months later, I got the promotion at a different location in my organization where I now fall under a different chain of command, and I’m happy there. Before that happened, though, I was also pursuing opportunities elsewhere in my field. I was determined to walk through the first viable exit that opened up for me, preferably in the area where I lived, but I was open to relocating, too. I guess that’s my advice, keep your eyes open, be flexible, and don’t rely on your company to get you to where you want to go, because that’s not how companies operate. Good Luck.

      1. KKaty

        This same thing happened to me and the new person starts tomorrow. As she will sit on my floor, I was struggling to how to handle not getting the role AND seeing the person that did every.single.day! You will never know how much your wise advice helped me, Mary. I will also start pursuing opportunities elsewhere. Again, many thanks!

        1. Lisa

          Keeping in mind that the view is always better from the moral high ground, you’ve got a concrete reason to handle this as professionally as possible: you have the opportunity here to make a solid ally of this person. Your company is spending a lot of money to bring her on board; if you do your utmost to help her succeed, it can only help you, and when you identify other opportunities you’ll be able to get a strong reference from her… sabotaging new hires is rarely seen as a promotable skill, in my experience!

          1. KKaty

            Thank you for the advise, Lisa. Her job isn’t in my group – it just offices on my floor – and it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to offer assistance. I will however, greet her warmly when I see her in the coffee bar.

          2. Ruffingit

            That and the fact that it’s not her fault you didn’t get the job. It’s easy to blame her, but she didn’t do anything wrong here except apply for a job you wanted. Don’t make her pay for the decision others are responsible for.

    3. Colette

      One of the things that stands out to me is that your previous managers told you you would be their replacement. That’s not necessarily up to them, and it seems odd for them to say it.

    4. Colette

      One of the things that stands out to me is that your previous managers told you you would be their replacement. That’s not necessarily up to them, and it seems odd for them to say it.

      1. Manager anonymous

        This. It is very unusual to hire your own replacement. I did that in my old position as I needed to leave mid fall semester. I had been in the position for 15 years and had earned the trust of the faculty, parents, graduate students and school administrators. The position did require a unique set of skills so with the blessing of the dean and my supervisor, we created two positions (my salary could cover both and there was a budget allowance for benefits) The Provost and CFO were in on the plan. I and my supervisor and the Deans interviewed and selected the two outstanding candidates to overlap with me for month and spend the year as ‘interim’ while a national search took place. (this was not an unusual arrangement for our institution) Both candidates were aware that this was only a one year contract but were eager for the experience. Both candidates had worked within the institution previously as high visibility volunteer, student teacher/employee. Both candidates had already been vetted/background checked and fingerprinted. Both candidates had extensive experience and were “flight ready”

        We forgot to loop in HR to the plan. I guess I thought my supervisor did that, and she thought the CFO did that and the Deans thought maybe the provost did that.

        When I went to HR with the resumes of the ones we wanted to hire and put in place next steps, I got a dressing down. Voices were raised (not mine) Fortunately this was overheard by my supervisor who had stopped by to drop off some other paperwork. (oddly in this institution HR had not and was not part of the interview process. HR placed advertising in appropriate journals. The first time a candidate went to HR was after the deans/directors, selection committee did all the interviews, vetted recommendations and made the offer.
        The HR director stated that she refused to hire “new positions” By the end of the day the Deans made an end-run around HR, as they have the right to hire “substitute teachers” Both positions were hired as school year substitutes as if I had been on leave and was returning. In a way that is what happened as I had already filed my curriculum and lesson plans for that school year and they had an extensive road map.

        Still….it taught me this lesson….we do not hire our replacements. Walk away. Move on. Other people will do what is best for the institution.

      2. Judy

        But generally managers know and at least sometimes communicate the department’s succession plan to those who are being groomed to fill particular places. Generally, as it’s been explained to me where I’ve worked, managers have to present to their bosses the succession plan for leadership positions, and work through the development needed to have those people ready for the positions. I know that at a certain point I was targeted for a group lead (not a people manager, but a senior position that manages technical output) and was told that was why certain training and development opportunities were coming my way. I was put in that position about 2 years later.

  13. MK

    OP2, I think you have the wrong idea about what “training” a new co-worker (peer or not) means. In normal circumstances, you are not teaching them how to do the job; it’s assumed that they know this, otherwise they wouldn’t have been hired. You are showing them how you do things in your department, educating them about the procedusres already in place, how problems were handled in the past, telling them where the office supplies are and how the printer works, etc. This kind of training has little to do with anyone’s ability to do thei job.

    Also, being a substitute is not the same as holding the position permenantly. I substitute to the person above me in the hierarchy regularly, but what I do is handle the day-to-day stuff in the way that she usually does so, following the directions she has left. If I were to be given her job, not only would I have to do a lot more stuff, I would also be expected to provide my own solutions to problems. I don’t know how it works in your job, of course, but don’t assume that you do all the work your manager does just because you occasionaly fill in for them.

    The higher-up telling you that you ’ll still be basically in charge, but not have the title, has two explanations in my opinion. One, it was offered as a sop to you, a (misguided) way to console a valued employee who has been turned down for a promotion yet again, in which case it’s meaningless. Or, it could be that you will be expected to do your new manager’s job and this person was hired for some other reason (office politics, favoritism), in which case start looking for a new job.

    1. Dang

      This is a really good point. I’m an admin and don’t do this yet since I’m fairly new, but admins at my organization “train” the new partners when they come in, basically about how the office works, how they get reimbursed for travel, processes of projects, etc. In no way does this qualify us for their positions.

      There isn’t really enough info here to know whether this is the case, but I completely understand ops frustration. ITA with the advice to ask for feedback and if it’s obvious that they are just not into promoting you, it couldn’t hurt to start looking elsewhere.

      1. AnonyMouse

        +1 for this as a solid point about training. I once “trained” a new and higher level employee on how to do a few office-specific tasks while I was still an intern – not because I had the other experience or personal skills required to handle the full position, but just because I had been there for longer and I knew how to work with the database etc.

  14. Rebecca

    #5 – Yes, you absolutely should ask this question. Health insurance premiums can be quite steep. In my case, for a 2 person plan, the premiums eat up 12% of my gross wages. It’s just gotten worse over the years, with no offsetting COLA or merit increases. Another reason in the growing list of why I’m looking for another job.

    1. GrumpyBoss

      I had a job where the premiums were around 8% for just me on insurance. I’m lucky that I have no children and my husband got insurance for himself through his employer. I paid the high premiums because it allowed my preferred doctor to be in network, or else I wouldn’t have bothered.

      I have no idea how the sole provider for a family is able to pay for insurance at some companies. It is insane! #5 needs to inquire about this in the offer stage (but not before…that’s an interviewing pet peeve of mine).

    2. AdAgencyChick

      Yup. I’ve been in #5’s shoes (sadly, a long time ago — it’s been 10 years since I’ve worked anywhere that offered 100% premiums paid, and I can see why). As Alison suggested, I asked after I had an offer how much the monthly premium payment was, because the raise they were offering me was not huge and I did not want it canceled out or even mostly canceled out if I quit. No one raised an eyebrow at this question. In fact, if I were a hiring manager or HR person and I heard an applicant ask this, the only thing that would surprise me is that an employer is still generous enough to pay 100% of the premium, and I’d think “*of course* this person wants to know how the numbers are going to work with our plan!”

      1. Rebecca

        I know eventually my manager will have to hire someone for our office, as the workload is unmanageable, at least I hope this is the case, and I truly wonder how she will spin the high health insurance premiums, and the whole “we don’t give raises, but you might get a small bonus at the end of the year” thing. I almost want to have a typewritten note ready to slip to a prospective employee prompting them to ask these specific questions and not let the manager weasel out of them.

    3. the gold digger

      Not only do you need to know what the premiums will be, you also need to ask what the waiting period is (there didn’t used to be a waiting period for professional hires) and you need to find out how the insurance is handled for termed ees where you work now.

      For example, my new job has a 30-day waiting period. For everyone. Old job lets your insurance run to the end of the month. So I quit at the beginning of August and started new job a few days later. My new insurance doesn’t start for another week and my old insurance just ran out yesterday. What this means is I don’t dare leave the house until next week. :)

      (And of course, the one time I have used the insurance at OldJob was two weeks ago when I crashed on my bike and had to go to the ER. OldJob insurance has a $3,000 deductible. NewJob insurance has a $100 co-pay for ER.)

      1. Artemesia

        This is precisely the moment for COBRA. You can apply for COBRA and then not pay for 90 days; if during this period you get sick or hurt, you pay the bill. If you don’t, then you just let it lapse. It is a sort of 90 day free transition. I used that when I retired and my husband was not yet eligible for medicare — it patched him over until his medicare kicked in.

        1. the gold digger

          Yes – I have the COBRA paperwork, but it’s my understanding that you can apply for it retroactively. (And it used to be 60 days – has it changed?)

          If anything happens before the new insurance kicks in, at least I will have met my deductible.

      2. Judy

        In my experience, for engineering jobs, it’s just in the last 10-15 years that there wasn’t a waiting period for insurance. My first and second job out of college, both with F50 companies had waiting periods, one for 60 and one for 90 days after hire. I did cobra for the second one, but got a really cheap catastrophic plan for the first one, since I wasn’t a student and couldn’t stay on my dad’s plan any more.

        The last two jobs I haven’t had a waiting period.

    4. ella

      I have a high-deductible plan so my premium is really low (which works for me since my most likely reason to need to visit a doctor is “got hit by a truck”), but I was shocked that the OP had a job that covered 100% of their premiums. I had no idea that was even a thing. So yeah, OP, try to mentally prepare yourself for some sticker shock.

      1. the gold digger

        Ella, that used to be standard. I worked in the industry and we wouldn’t even sell an account if the employer didn’t agree to pay 100% of the employee premium.

        And the whole idea with the high-deductible plan was that the employer would fund the deductible, but of course my former employer, who wouldn’t even pay for nameplates (probably wise, given the turnover), didn’t fund the deductible. The point was to get people to think about how they were spending medical dollars – and that has worked, but now, we are really spending our own money.

      2. CA Anon

        I got a job last year that pays 100% of our premiums for us and all family members. I’m never leaving this company.

  15. GrumpyBoss

    #3: AAM was much kinder than I would have been. Let me get this straight: you had attendance issues that were bad enough to warrant a below average rating. You point out that they are really worse than that (and in the land of ratings, I can’t imagine that lower than below average is any place that you wish to be). You then continue to allow your attendance to be an issue. And now you are upset that it had been documented as a formal write up?

    Wow.

    Even if you hadn’t asked for a lower rating, your attendance was bad enough that it warranted a rating in a “needs improvement” territory. By pointing out that it was a bigger problem, you acknowledged that you were aware that it was a problem. Your attendance was an issue, you understood it was an issue, and instead of taking steps to have it excused based on medical reasons, you allowed it to continue.

    I’m not seeing how you are a victim here.

    1. Not So NewReader

      On the hopeful side of things- OP can fix this. She has a couple of routes to use. It could be worse in that the boss could have decided to tell her to double or triple her productivity[insert some other astronomical goal].
      Yes, the turn of events in that situation could be jarring to a person, but it IS fixable.

      1. ella

        Definitely fixable. And if the job has a clock in/clock out system, totally documentable (which is good for things like this). If there’s no timeclock, I’d encourage the OP to set up a system somehow–a Google Drive document, poking their head into the manager’s office, asking a coworker for help–to make note of what time they arrive at work each morning. OP says they don’t dispute the accuracy of the manager’s notes, but that’s a different thing than noticing and experiencing the tardies in the first place.

        For me, the answer is almost always “leave for work as soon as you’re ready to leave,” because I’m fine at waking up early enough, but if I’m ready to leave and it’s not time to leave, I’ll start to do something “real quick,” and the next thing you know i’m ten minutes late. So instead I just leave and get to work 20 minutes early and read a book there.

        1. teclatwig

          Ella, figuring out the “leave when you are ready and bring a book” thing revolutionized my life. I was forever arriving late because I’d thought there was time to throw some laundry in the machine, write an email, etc. Then I would leave a few minutes late, the bus would be slow and I’d miss the train, etc. Now I aim to arrive early, and bring something to do once I arrive.

    2. StarHopper

      Yeah, the language used is a little odd. OP#3 blames medication issues for the poor impulse control at the evaluation, and general health/cognitive issues for the attendance problems in the first place. They say they were “baffled” about the list of tardies even though they didn’t dispute the accuracy, and it’s unclear whether the efforts toward improving came after the eval or after the formal write-up. Then the question isn’t about how to communicate their disability and arrange accommodations, but rather about (legal?) resource in case they are terminated. While management could have communicated a little better about the consequences of a lowered rating, it sounds like OP is avoiding taking responsibility for their part in this.

      1. Not So NewReader

        I think OP was surprised that the boss bothered to make a list. She did not expect him to respond to her impulsive comment with written documentation. It escalated quickly.

        1. GrumpyBoss

          But why would she expect otherwise? When people are given a poor rating, there is usually a standard procedure that a manager has to follow if improvement isn’t demonstrated. If this company rated on a scale of 1-5, with 3 being average, it is very possible that the OP walked away with a rating of 1. I know that is I were to put down a rating that low, any HR department I’ve ever known would expect me to have a plan of how we are either going to work that person up to an acceptable number (like a 3), or when we’d cut bait.

          We see so many letters from people here who feel that their manager isn’t taking action on a low performing colleague. And now we have a manager who is apparently doing that. Good on the manager. The only problem I see here is that the OP seems to have been caught off guard that there are consequences to her actions. But seeing as how the entire complaint isn’t grounded in reality, I’m inclined to give the manager the benefit of the doubt here.

  16. nicolefromqueens

    #2, if you haven’t already, read up on soft skills, especially as it pertains to managing. I’m working on improving my soft skills, I think it’s making me a better employee.

    /not a manager, probably never will be.

  17. Jazzy Red

    #2 – I cannot pass this one by.

    “I was also told by a higher up manager that I’ll still be basically in charge, but just not have the title.”

    If you’re doing the work, but not getting the money or the title, you’re being cheated. If you accept that, you’ll never get a promotion from these people. This happened to me, and I’ve seen it happen to other people. If you’re good enough to do the job, you deserve the title and the pay.

    I suggest you start looking for a job somewhere else, where you’ll be treated more fairly.

  18. AnotherAnon

    The ADA is hideously worded, letting employers weasel things around as they see fit. I was having problems coming in on time due to transportation problems – due to my disability, buses packed with other riders would refuse to let me on, claiming it would cause them to displace existing riders, leaving me to sometimes wait for transport for over an hour. My boss was furious that I was either over an hour late or two (or more) hours early if I tried to start trying to get a bus earlier. HR gleefully informed me that the company lawyers said that the only ADA accommodation they were required to make was a half-hour flexibility. I was a salaried, not hourly, employee, and my required “hours” were the whim of my boss. Although I got on the waiting list for the pre-reserved specialty disability transport system, the list was over two years long. HR and my boss refused further accommodation, added up all times I was not at work at the proper hours (even if I was putting in 50+ hour weeks), and fired me.

    An employment attorney told me I had no case — all they had to do was claim that I was needed at specific times, whether it was true, and they could justify refusing accommodation.

  19. hayling

    #5: I would want to know not only what portion they cover but what are the details of the covered plan. Covering 100% of a basic (cheap) plan is very different than covering 100% of a premium plan. My company is pretty cheap and they only cover 100% of a plan that was not comprehensive enough for my needs so I pay the difference between that plan and one with better coverage.

  20. John

    #3 — a wake-up call: employers don’t want to see “better effort” at being on time, they want and expect you to be on time. And you either are or you aren’t, and if it’s the latter, it probably seems to them like work is not your top priority.

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