new hire is plotting a coup, getting rid of an unlimited vacation policy, and more

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

1. Our new hire is plotting a coup on her second day

I work in HR, and we had a new recruiter start yesterday. She seems to struggle with issues from her previous job with “corporate bullying” and may be unstable (lots of home problems, arrived extremely late on first day, complained about previous position extensively, etc.).

Today (her second day of employment) she pulled me aside and spoke disdainfully of my supervisor who heads the HR department, saying that I could have his job in two years and everyone in Recruiting hates him in an attempt to try to “recruit” me to sabotoge my boss. This is all too much drama for someone starting their second day, and this tells me that her fellow recruiters are badmouthing my boss and telling her how awful he is–I’m not sure if they are encouraging her loose cannon behavior or are working as a group on this plot. But hatching a plan to overthrow my boss is taking it too far, makes me very uncomfortable, and is a crazy distraction. How should I approach this bizarre situation? Should I warn my boss?

Yes, tell your boss. What you’re describing is insane behavior for someone’s second day, and your boss needs to know what’s going on. It’s possible that it reflects on the other recruiters, but it absolutely, 100% for sure reflects on this new hire, and your boss needs to know that there’s a loon on the loose in the office. Frankly, this combined with the being extremely late on her first day and the complaining really indicates she’s not the right hire — and the sooner your boss concludes that, the better for everyone.

And if the new hire brings anything like this up to you again, say this: “That hasn’t been my experience with (supervisor). I’d take some time to get to know the office and the staff before you conclude something like that.” Then refuse to discuss further.

Read an update to this letter here.

2. Should I suggest we get rid of our unlimited vacation policy?

This question is related in part to Netflix’s recent announcement of “unlimited time off” for new parents. When I started at my job, we were very young and small as a company (10 people), but we have experienced massive growth in the last year and our employee count is now exceeding 30.

Recently we had a review of company policy, and I have concerns specifically regarding our vacation guidelines. Yes, we are one of those companies with “unlimited vacation.” My direct manager has caused many problems for the company in the past, which I will not get into now, but a main concern of mine is his use of the unlimited vacation. He probably takes about one week off every month and a half. When he is gone, my workload essentially doubles.

And I do not believe that an unlimited vacation policy is beneficial at all, and there are many pieces of evidence to back up the idea that unlimited vacation is problematic. I am wondering if it would be too forward to email one of our cofounders an article detailing the issues with the policy, with the explanation that it might be helpful to consider as our employee count grows? We are a very feedback-based business and my gut says that it wouldn’t be out of line but I am not sure.

[I should note that I am a HUGE fan of generous vacation policies, especially for new parents. However, to me, a generous policy is “one year off for all new parents” – not “unlimited time off for all new parents in the first year.” On the surface, both of those sound similar (perhaps the second one even sounds better!) but they are actually fundamentally different policies.]

The issue isn’t the unlimited vacation policy; the issue is that your manager is abusing it and no one is addressing it.

You could address it from the angle of the policy in general if you truly believe it’s a bad policy for your company, totally aside from your manager, and it would be fine to include some articles talking about problems with it if you do that (although I wouldn’t just forward the articles; you’d want to provide context as well). But I think you’re more likely to get your actual problem solved if you instead talk about the impact that your manager’s vacationing is having on you. Ideally you’d start by speaking with him directly … but if that doesn’t get you anywhere or if he has a track record of not responding well to feedback, then you’d want to consider whether it’s worth going over his head (which, realistically, depends on the factors that I talk about here).

But I think the problem is your manager, not the policy … and that if you get rid of the policy, he’s still going to find ways to be a problem.

Read an update to this letter here.

3. Can I avoid a wrap-up conversation with my soon-to-be-former boss?

I recently accepted a new job. More pay, seems like a better environment (so far it seems really great), more successful company, etc. I have been very frustrated with my current job, but I rolled with the punches since I was still gaining experience in my field. So I left because I wanted to leave but I also left because I found a much better opportunity.

When I gave notice, my boss started shaking, which freaked me out a bit, but recovered and asked me where I was going. I had just signed the offer letter an hour before I met with her and I balked, saying I didn’t want to disclose that. She was fine, but I then had to go talk to the salesperson who was expecting me to go work on-site for a client in a few weeks. He was devastated, saying “no, no, no, this is really bad for us.” He also asked where I was going and I balked. He said “Congrats, I guess.” I left the office and went back home (I work from home). More evidence that our company might not be doing well.

This was a week ago. The president of the company keeps calling me, saying she wants to have a “wrap-up” talk and wants to know where I am going as well. She knew I would probably be looking since the work is somewhat sporadic and I am paid hourly to work from home, so it isn’t a huge surprise, but she still might not be happy. She works from home too so I rarely see her.

I’m not sure I want to have this conversation at all. For one, I’ll have to tell her my new job is confidential, plus she can be really condescending and patronizing. Hard to explain but she’ll talk about me more personally than I’d like. I also don’t trust the company 100 percent because they aren’t very forthcoming with employees, and she knows a ton of people in my industry and who knows what she’ll say to others. I don’t want anything getting in the way of my new job.

I’d rather just have her email me last steps and leave it at that. Should I do this? I don’t want to burn a bridge but I really don’t want to talk to her. My last day is a week from tomorrow.

No, you can’t refuse to have a wrap-up conversation; that’s a normal part of transitioning out of a job and being able to have that conversation is part of the purpose of giving a notice period. But you’re not required to tell her where you’re going if you don’t want to. Normally, it comes across as pretty strange if you flatly refuse to tell (more on that here), but if you definitely don’t want to (and it sounds like you might have good reason for that), you can simply say, “I’m not ready to announce it yet.”

4. Will this error reflect badly on me as a candidate?

I received one of those generic rejection emails today that does not have my name or the job ID, but the email is from an organization whose name has “Orlando” in it. I thought it was from a job I applied for in Orlando that I went through three phone interviews with recently and immediately thought that the email was an error from them. I emailed a staff person in HR to ask if the email is correct and the position has been filled. Five seconds later, I realized that it was from a organization that I applied to months ago and had put it off of my mind since I did not hear anything from them. HR replied back and said that the email is from another organization that has no affiliation with them. I immediately replied to her to apologize and to reiterate that I am highly interested in the position with them and that I appreciate for the interview opportunity that was given to me yesterday. Will this reflect badly about me as a candidate? The other organization is their competitor.

Well, it doesn’t look great — not because you’re applying to a competitor but just because it makes you look a little scattered / not attentive to detail. But it’s not necessarily the kiss of death, and certainly if you’re the top candidate, it’s unlikely that this would be a deal-breaker. On the other hand, if they’re on the fence about you, it’s possible that this could hurt.

Don’t beat yourself up about it though; you are human, and people make mistakes.

5. My company is withholding a week’s pay because I didn’t give enough notice

Can a company keep my first week’s paycheck (that is always held back) if i don’t give a two-week notice before I quit? I was told it was in their guidelines that they could. I work for a hospital facility in Illinois. I read there are no conditions under which an employer is allowed to withhold payment of wages, and employers who refuse to pay employees for their hours risk sanctions by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.

Hell no, they cannot. You are required to be paid for all the time you worked, at the wage you agreed to. And Illinois law requires you to receive your pay no later than 13 days after the end of the pay period in which the money was earned (or once per month if you’re exempt). When you quit, you must receive your final check no later than your next scheduled payday. Your next step here is to file a wage claim with the Illinois Department of Labor.

{ 337 comments… read them below }

  1. Biff*

    In regards to #1, I’m intensely curious how this women performed in her interview and if there were any red flags. I’m also curious if she had a drug test.

    1. Adam*

      I mean seriously: her SECOND day?! It almost feels like she had this planned from the beginning.

      1. Stephanie*

        Right? Did she strategize after figuring out the org chart from a couple of interviews.

      2. The Other Dawn*

        If she acts like this TWO DAYS into the job, how will she act when she’s been there for a few months and is more comfortable and established?? But for me, this person wouldn’t make it past two days. I can’t imagine someone like this will improve.

      3. Diddly*

        I don’t know…
        I mean she doesn’t sound the greatest hire – lateness, complaints etc. She sounds somewhat unstable.
        But I don’t get the coup angle, unless she explicitly said something to that effect. What it may have been was an entirely misjudged compliment, in a very odd manner, rather than a stealth attempt to overthrow someone on her second day. Perhaps she feels she’s including OP1 in a secret that she thinks OP1 isn’t aware of (turns out OP1 isn’t aware everyone in Recruiting thinks badly of her boss.) Perhaps recruiting is really bad (I mean they hired her…) they’re also the ones that gave her this information and let her run with it – like you say it’s only her second day. Sounds like the problem is actually Recruiting.
        I feel what she said is misjudged and silly – and perhaps is the sort of heads-up/compliment you give a really good friend/colleague after a couple of beers – or in confidence, after who knows how long. But not your second day. But OP1 seems to be using inflammatory language – which unless was the exact words the new hire used, seems to be over-dramatizing the actual situation.

        1. fposte*

          Well, I think the whole “tried to recruit me to sabotage my boss” thing pretty much qualifies.

          (Is the thing interfering with copying text for other people, too?”

        2. OP1*

          I kid you not guys, I was wrapping up an new hire orientation with her and my boss and she asks to stay behind afterwards to ask “me a question” on benefits. As my boss leaves she says “I know you don’t like working with him, you could be the HR Director in two years.” I say “What? Oh, he is not that bad at all, he’s a good mentor–” New Hire: “You deserve a perfect boss though. [Recruiters] told me all about him. Don’t worry, we’ll work together to come up with a plan to get him out of here.”

          Yeah. She invited me out to dinner that night and a late lunch the next day but I declined with excuses because I do not want any part of what’s occurring here. I think she was in contact with the Recruiters a few weeks before being hired (through LinkedIn, phone conversations after the offer letter, etc.) which is how she got involved into office drama so early on.

          1. LBK*

            Wow. Just…wow. I didn’t know real people actually operated like this.

            Yeah, your manager definitely needs to know and the new hire needs to be terminated ASAP. Sounds like the recruiting team could use a serious Come to Jesus meeting as well.

          2. B personality at it again*

            This is someone who sounds like one of the great 10%…the B personality type who’ll try to destroy whatever is in her reach ultimately for her own gain. This sounds like a plot where ultimately she can divide and conquer, initially by buttering you up (although good for you for not taking the bait).

            She needs to be shown the exit door ASAP.

          3. Mallory Janis Ian*

            Wow. My eyebrows were going up and up and my eyes getting wider and wider as I read this. Your boss definitely needs to know about this. I’d just calmly and matter-of-factly tell him what has happened and what has been said so far and let him deal with it.

          4. Cleopatra Jones*

            This sounds like the plot of a really bad made for TV-cable movie.

            I’d tell the boss so fast her head would spin. As others mentioned if she feels this comfortable to plan a coup on her second day (without knowing anything about the office or culture) her subsequent behavior won’t get any better in the ensuing weeks or months. If anything, she’s going to feel comfortable enough to be outright hostile and disrespectful to you and your boss.

            Her tenure at your company is going to filled with drama, hostility, and a lot of chaos for anyone caught in her sights. For your own sanity, please tell the boss so he can nip this in the bud.

            1. Anna*

              Adrian Pasdar has one setting and that setting is chewing the scenery, but he’s great in everything he does. :)

          5. Anomanom*

            Who, seriously raise your hand, has ever worked for a “perfect boss”? I mean, I’ve worked for some excellent bosses, but even they had a behavior or two that could drive me up a wall. Much like dating though, you look for the situation where the overall makes you happy and the things you have to overlook are minor in the scheme of things. That statement is the real, she’s a whack-a-doo clue to me.

          6. Colette*

            If you’d gone along with her, I wonder how long it would have been before she would have gone to your boss and told him you were trying to get him fired.

            1. JMegan*

              +1. Seems to me she’s not “involved” in the office drama, so much as creating it herself. I hope you can get her out quickly and (relatively) painlessly.

              1. RMRIC0*

                Yeah, in my first scan of the letter my thought was that she was making up discontent amongst her new peers to see what you might say.

          7. Helka*

            Ohhhhh yeah. You take that straight to your boss posthaste. The new hire is a problem and it sounds like the rest of Recruiting might be, too. She could have made the whole thing up, of course, but if she didn’t…

          8. Stranger than fiction*

            Wow, just wow. Op, she’s obviously a drama queen, but I’m also worried about what these other recruiters are doing, they are a big problem as well, and clearly trying to use the new hire as a medium for some agenda they have. They all need to be pulled in for a serious talking to.

            1. LJL*

              If indeed the other recruiters are involved with this, which I’m not sure of. I would doubt the new hire’s version of truth as she doesn’t seem trustworthy.

              1. TootsNYC*


                She’s SO far off the norm that she has NO credibility to me whatsoever.

                If anything, I might also go to the recruiters and say, “I had an interesting exchange with the new hire. Here’s what she said–as close to verbatim as I can remember.” They deserve to know what she’s doing. (and if they -are- grousing, this will be a huge wake-up call to shape up)

              2. ImprovForCats*

                Agreed. My experience with this kind of grandiose behavior is that they are fully capable of manufacturing outrage and conspiracy theories from completely innocuous comments or their own “intuition.”

          9. Beancounter in Texas*

            If she’s putting words in your mouth about not liking your boss, I’d be skeptical that she’s putting words in the recruiters’ mouths too.

          10. Charlotte Collins*

            I think it’s very possible that she was lying about or at least misrepresenting what the recruiters actually said. (I used to work for a woman who did this sort of thing all the time. You could tell she was lying, because her lips were moving.)

          11. Ama*

            Be very aware she could be lying through her teeth about the Recruiters — you can check it out if you want, but in my experience, people like this often claim support where there isn’t any.

            An ex boss of mine told me on my very first day (first hour, really) on the job that two of my coworkers would try to sabotage me. I have no idea what that was based on (they were great colleagues, one of them in particular). Less than a year later, Boss lady quit suddenly and it was discovered she’d been lying about all sorts of budgetary and project status issues — in fact, when I finally left there almost three years after that we were still occasionally finding something she’d screwed up and hid.

            1. Brisvegan*

              Where you one of the people hired by my old and bad boss? She lured 3 friends of hers to quit excellent professional jobs and work for us on very short casual contracts on the grounds the 3 of us (including me) would be “leaving soon.”

              Complete news to me, as I am tenured and had no intent to leave. Ditto for the other colleagues, who had long contracts. However, boss did her darnedest to bully us into quitting (with some truly weird behaviours). Telling her friends that we were sabotaging them and her was part of her cover up of various odd goings on of hers that we questioned and to isolate the new hires from the old, so we wouldn’t be able to question her competence (problematic) or behaviours.

              Boss “moved on” (and was not going to have her contract renewed). Her friends protested about not getting the long term positions that never existed. Boss has since “moved on” from her next job, after being significantly demoted from her original position with the new organisation (presumably once she demonstrated a similar level of competence and interpersonal skills to that which she demonstrated at my institution).

          12. TootsNYC*

            everyone in Recruiting hates him in an attempt to try to “recruit” me to sabotoge my boss. This is all too much drama for someone starting their second day, and this tells me that her fellow recruiters are badmouthing my boss and telling her how awful he is–I’m not sure if they are encouraging her loose cannon behavior or are working as a group on this plot.

            “recruiters told me all about him”–do you really believe her?

            Please don’t form any opinion about your other colleagues based on her comments.

            She may have asked, “is HR sensitive to bullying? Is the HR top guy a bully?” and they said, “he’s a pretty firm manager.”

            I wouldn’t trust a single word that came out of her mouth–she’s phenomenally skewed.

            But yes, TELL! Right away. Quote her as close to verbatim as you can, and simply report, like a tape recorder.

            “Boss, I had an exchange w/ new employee that someone else need to hear.”

          13. Diddly*

            Eeee… Thing is clearly she’s bad but Recruiting is the problem, and if you get rid of her no doubt Recruiting will install the next person with the same craziness…

        1. LBK*

          As a Big Brother fan I feel obligated to point out that even there, you don’t try to make big moves on the second day!

          1. Kelly L.*

            I think that’s really where Audrey screwed up this season. Too much blatantly obvious gameplay at the wrong times.

    2. NickelandDime*

      I’d also like to know if they contacted this woman’s references – outside of the list of people that love her she provided – to get their take on her performance. Because Allison is right about this – CHECK REFERENCES.

      Some people just can’t go to work and go home. They have to turn the workplace into some type of Reality Show Drama.

      1. SevenSixOne*

        Maybe their references gave glowing praise because they’re eager to get rid of her!

      2. BenAdminGeek*

        We had a woman who wanted to transfer to another department. Very much like OP’s pal. We tried to give them fair warning, and got told to butt out because they knew what they were doing. One month later they reached out complaining and telling us we should take her back. We respectfully declined that offer.

      3. Meri*

        Reality Show Drama, hell. This is Shakespearean. Did you happen to encounter 3 witches last week? Because I’ve read this play, and it doesn’t end up well for anyone.

    3. OP1*

      Well, she was in part hired because they liked her ‘eccentric’ nature (they were looking for someone who could not only do the work, but fit into their group I guess). I think they got more than they bargained for…

      1. Biff*

        Have you considered the possibility that Recruiting does hate your boss and DID bring her on to help destroy him? My earlier thoughts were “mental illness” but now I’m wondering if your job has a department run amok.

      2. eplawyer*

        There is eccentric and then there is bat guano crazy. She is the latter. Eccentric people can make the office fun and interesting. Bat guano crazy just bring the drama which makes the office stressful.

        Sounds like Recruiting might be the problem though. Besides talking to the boss about Exhibit A, you might also want to bring up that maybe the criteria for a recruiter need to be looked at a bit.

    4. JMegan*

      We had a hire like that once. No red flags in the interview, and in fact she seemed like a really great candidate. By the end of her first week she had made her colleague (a peer) cry, asked to have her position reclassified, and refused to share any information with me because I was only her supervisor and not her “real” manager. She was something special, that’s for sure!

      1. Ama*

        Yeah, the boss I talk about above seemed totally normal in the two interviews I had with her — it was also an internal transfer and the boss I was leaving also spoke very highly of her. Absolutely no signs until my first day that she didn’t entirely live in reality.

    5. Jem*

      I often wonder if people who do nutty stuff like this are being misadvised by some crazy book they read about how to get ahead at work. I know there’s some really bad advice out there. But I guess there’s always the possibility her nuttiness is home grown.

    6. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

      Ah, I’ve seen people attempt office coups before. In the public sector, sometimes they get somewhere as civil service/union protection keep the perps in their jobs, win or lose. An individual or group of employees might gang up, start a whispering campaign, etc. with the intention of replacing a boss with one of their own.

      In the private sector – they generally DON’T work. Middle and upper managers are wise to such antics, and since most employees are “at will employees” – attempting an office coup will usually get you fired.

      This does not mean that bad managers can’t be replaced or ousted; but in the private sector trying to oust your boss will usually get you fired. Even if there is a troublesome boss, the boss’ higher-ups will almost always respect the chain of command and the authority of a manager.

      So – those of you out there, if you are in a group, and don’t like your boss, don’t try to change things by organizing a mutiny. Because YOUR heads will likely be the ones to roll.

  2. Daisy*

    I’m confused about #5. How long do they hold the first paycheck? Are they only doing it because they want 2 weeks notice? That doesn’t seem legal either. It reads to me they hold it until you quit but I don’t know.

    1. Preaction*

      It’s more likely the standard delay in getting the first paycheck. As was mentioned, withholding paychecks is Super-Illegal.

      1. Ann O'Nemity*

        Yeah, I can’t tell from the letter if the first paycheck was actually withheld (as in the LW never got it, ever) or if it’s just a standard delay.

        In my state, the rule is that you must be paid within 2 weeks of the end of the pay period. When employers have 2-week pay periods and also wait the full 2 week to issue paychecks, I could see an employee thinking that their employer had withheld the first check. Because basically, an employee works 2 weeks and gets nothing, then works another 2 weeks before getting paid. If the policy isn’t clear, there may be confusion about what pay period that first paycheck covered.

      2. TootsNYC*

        One of the readings every three years in my church is from Leviticus chapter 19.

        “The wages of a hired worker shall not remain with you all night until the morning.”

        Now this always comes to mind when I hear discussion about the standard paycheck delay. Or any paycheck delay.

    2. Blue Anne*

      At my company (in the UK) if you start just after the payroll cut-off date for your first month, they’ll apparently just pay you that money when you leave instead. It’s usually a week. I’m not sure it’s entirely legal and it could be a hassle for some folks, but most don’t complain because they’ll pay it out based on your final salary at the end.

      So if you join as a new grad earning £21k and leave five years later earning £40k you’ll get a week’s pay at your £40k salary instead of your £21k salary.

      Possibly hilarious side note: We are accountants.

    3. BRR*

      It almost sounds like they hold it indefinitely (which would still be illegal). It’s really unclear though.

      1. Charlotte Collins*

        It sounds like they withhold it until you leave the company, which is illegal in IL.

        Sometimes I think employers get confused between first paycheck and the fact that landlords often ask for first and last months’ rent on an apartment. (This is legal in many states, so that landlords get paid for the final month and don’t have to track down a tenant. But it is so not the same as paying someone for work that they do.)

      2. Texas HR Pro*

        I think it looks like it was “held” because the pay cycle may be offset or rolling forward. So, for instance the employee works Week 1 and Week 2, then gets paid for those at the end of Week 3.

        The employees may think they got paid for Weeks 2 and 3 at that pay day, and that Week 1 payment was “held”.

    4. Anna*

      I wondered the same thing. It’s amazing to me how wrong so many employers can be about what they can and can’t do. It’s not that difficult to look this stuff up to figure out if what you’re doing is actually permissible under your state’s laws. Or the federal laws, for that matter.

    5. LookyLou*

      I am thinking that this is someone just starting work and finding out their paycheque is being held – they probably are terrified that it is held forever and you are never compensated for that first week.

    6. Mae North*

      I get employees all the time who are confused about the fact that we pay behind, and think we’re withholding their first check. Some managers, too.

      Not paying her for her last week worked is totally not on, though. Definitely file a wage claim.

  3. Mike C.*

    RE: #1

    Let’s set aside the fact that this person is crazy for a moment. Are there tensions between HR and Recruiting that need to be resolved? As in, is this newbie getting sucked into something crazy by her coworkers or is she coming up with this all on her own? Does Recruiting have any actual power to try and “stage a coup”? How does that even happen – we’re not talking about a hereditary monarchy or armed warlords taking over, so outside of the sort of thing you only see on House of Cards, how does this work in the real world?

    This is all full of crazy so I’m really just curious if we’re talking about a normal work environment of a few hundred people or what. Do other departments do business like it’s a game of Diplomacy as well?

    1. T3k*

      Risk: The Office edition

      But seriously, I’ve heard of people in an office, if they want to get rid of someone (in this case, her boss) they try to either push them out in subtle ways or rack up allegations against them for even the smallest things.

        1. Mallory Janis Ian*

          I’ve seen a dean pushed out by the combined efforts of faculty and staff (not frivolously, though). He was carrying on with the receptionist and letting it affect his decisions to the point that the receptionist was pretty much calling the shots around the school. People tried to talk to him; a delegation of faculty tried to get through to him, and then a delegation of staff. He wouldn’t listen and kept carrying on, so as a last-ditch effort, everyone put what he was doing in his evaluation by an outside agency for the upper administration to see. Then everyone had to have individual appointments with the university attorneys because, as it turned out, the receptionist had filed a sexual harassment claim against him.

        2. Anne S*

          My department recently pushed out a VP, only in our case it was going to his boss and saying, essentially, ‘He’s been here for 18 months and still doesn’t understand the work we do. It’s affecting his ability to get things done because we don’t have leadership. Please either get him to fix it or fire him.’ Of course, it’s very possible/likely that his boss knew this as well and it would have happened without us saying anything.

    2. Biff*

      This is a really good question. I got the impression from the letter this was an older, experienced employee, but if this is actually a younger employee, I can see getting suckered into horrible office drama being a potential explanation for this very strange behavior.

        1. Dana*

          Maybe two days of actual work, but if she was talking with these people for multiple interviews or training, it could very well be longer.

    3. UKAnon*

      This sounds like a minefield of a situation, and for the OP I think it will be really important to stay calm, matter of fact and professional (and not let the word ‘coup’ anywhere near their conversation with their boss) If there are tensions the OP doesn’t want to be seen to be exacerbating and so ‘get on the wrong side’ of either or both parties; if there weren’t before there will be and OP risks a ‘shoot the messenger’. Either way OP absolutely does need to have the conversation, but they might like to practice being calm and professional a few times first so they know exactly what they’re going to say in the moment and not get sidetracked into DRAMA like it sounds the rest of the office has… Good luck OP! This is tough, so I hope it goes smoothly. Let us know how you get on.

    4. Ani*

      No. Do not indulge this bizarre behavior — this isn’t a reality game show and it’s certainly not deft House of Cards maneuvering that should intrigue anyone.

    5. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

      Mike, you need to write this book,

      No wait, television series.

      USA it would be Suits, the non lawyer version.

    6. Nea*

      “As in, is this newbie getting sucked into something crazy by her coworkers or is she coming up with this all on her own?”

      I wondered that myself. Second day on the job seems to awfully soon to be plugged into the unspoken angst of the rest of the office.

      1. Chalupa Batman*

        My initial thought was that maybe the coworkers that supposedly hate the boss don’t even know this coup is happening. Comments like “Tyrian’s a real jerk, huh?” met with anything remotely affirmative became validation of whatever grudge she’s developed in 2 days (!). It honestly didn’t occur to me that she may be the newest pawn in an existing office issue, which still makes her a problem because she so willingly and eagerly embraced the drama, but would mean that firing her wouldn’t necessarily make the real issue go away. They need to figure out if she’s a would-be manipulator who showed her hand too soon or a symptom of a bigger problem.

      2. ConstructionHR*

        ” Second day on the job seems to awfully soon to be plugged into the unspoken angst of the rest of the office.”

        Notwithstanding that she missed a big portion of her first day.

          1. Evan Þ*

            Conceivably, not knowing the start time? Maybe the company starts at 6 AM, but no one told her, so she came in at 9:30?

            Okay, I’m seriously reaching here, but I remember two internships where nobody told me an expected start time until I asked a couple days before I started.

      3. PontoonPirate*

        Y’all aren’t thinking big enough. This is clearly a long game; this was a sleeper candidate put into place at her old job three years ago specifically to be positioned to take this new job at this exact moment so her team–also sleeper workers–could put the plan into play. They’ve been meeting in the second supply closet at the southwest corner of the building after 8 p.m. for years now. Be alert! They will strike at any moment. The password is “paradigm shift.”

        It’s not Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, my friends. It’s Janitor, Receptionist, Clerk, Recruiter.

        OR, this candidate has issues. Toss-up.

        1. Matt F*

          Forget telling the boss as people upthread are saying. Why would you want to miss the most epic conclusion to this fecal spectacle?

          I’m seeing a hostile takeover of their office when the boss goes on vacation, complete with furniture barricades, bizarre proclamations, followed by a massacre of non-believers.

    7. LQ*

      How could you possibly get realistically sucked into someone else’s drama by day 2. Even assuming this is the end of day 2. Day 1 is like here’s your desk, and here’s your paperwork, sign a bunch of stuff. Or possibly sign things and sit in on this training if it’s very structured?

      The most off the rails situations we’ve had took several weeks to show up. And it was serious. How bad does it have to be to go this way after a day of paperwork and forms and sitting at your desk….Or is it because that person is like I don’t know what is going on and gets sucked into a vortex of a current person. But wouldn’t you know the current person was like that…

      None of this makes sense!

      1. Traveler*

        I’ve had jobs where some pretty crazy stuff has happened in the first two days. Sometimes you just come in in the middle of a storm, especially if that’s why the previous person left and the org has done a good job of keeping it under wraps until you actually work for them.

          1. Charlotte Collins*

            Also, if she were a reasonable person and there is that kind of drama, wouldn’t she do her best within the first week or so *not* to get sucked into the crazy? I would think most people would try to keep their heads down, do their work, and see what’s really going on – then try to get out as fast as they can if things get worse.

            1. Jeanne*

              I can’t even learn coworker’s names in three days. Figuring our the alliances and hatreds? Not possible. I think there has to be underlying craziness.

      2. Bolistoli*

        At my last job, I had a new coworker expose her crazy on the 1st day. It was bizarre. Our small company did not provide health insurance for the first 90 days (probation period), which they were very clear about during the interview process. On day 1, my boss is out of town, so she comes to me to tell me she might have to quit because she is “dying” (!) and can’t be without health insurance. The truth is she has a lung disorder that makes her health more precarious than most, but not really dying. All I thought was “If your health is at that much risk, then why didn’t you clarify health benefits before you accepted the job?” I let both my boss and our HR person know (who she had already told) because what else could I do?

        All she really wanted was to manipulate me (and others) into what? Feeling sorry for her? It just put me on my guard, and I never really trusted her. I also never warmed up to her, which made her furious, and it all went downhill from there. She was full of drama, and made my life miserable for 3 months. Lucky for me, my company dealt with her behavior issues head on, and she quit immediately after her 3 month probation review.

        I did get to witness her dig some big holes for herself, so that was about the only up side. You know, like when you see the insane driver pulled over by the cops down the road. :)

      3. Brisvegan*

        Bad boss I mentioned above came in on the first day and screamed at our administrative staf about a non-existent mess in her office (seriously, I had checked it) to, “teach them their place,” as she confided to me later the same day. She also went nuts on one admin within a few weeks for not anticipating when boss’ stapler ran out of staples and refilling it for her, instead of just supplying boxes of staples with other stationery.

        By the end of the second week, she was calling a much higher person in the org chart on the weekends in tears over our alleged “sabotage.” (All completely untrue stuff.)

        I suspect that the drama in the first few weeks was intended to discredit anyone who might report her idiosyncratic approach to our budget, her desire to do things outside the organisation standards and her interesting approach to legal requirements. The drama was clearly planned and very weird.

        We found out later that she had never lasted much longer than 2 years in a job and mostly about a year, for around 15 years. She had also started searching for her next job within months of being hired by us, based on the job she moved to and their lead times. Apparently for each job, she just needed to stay until she was ready to jump to the next. Drama and trying to set everyone against each other may have facilitated that.

    8. Vex*

      I have actually been at two separate jobs where crazy office drama went down during my first week. I was fresh out of college, but as green as I was, even I had the sense to keep my mouth SHUT and stick to the facts when I was asked something.

      It’s entirely possible there’s something hinky going on at OP#1’s workplace. But unless OP#1 grossly misrepresented what the employee said, the way it was raised was so tone-deaf and inappropriate it’s hard to take seriously. Actually, I think the employee’s comments would be eyebrow-raising even if it were her second year on the job, let alone the second day. If she really was picking up on office drama, a sensible person would have said something like: “I’ve heard there were some concerns with [Supervisor]. Is there any background I should be aware of?”

    9. OP1*

      The office is pretty small 40-50 people, but yes there are tensions between Recruiting and HR–I have not worked here long enough to know exactly what the underlying issue is though. They are treated fairly, are promoted but maybe they want someone else to report to for some reason…

      1. Judy*

        Just curious what type of place has multiple recruiters and HR mgr + HR person for 40-50 people?

        We’ve got 70 people, and the finance manager handles any benefits questions. The hiring managers have to recruit for themselves.

        1. OP1*

          A place with high turnover unfortunately. We have satellite offices as well with additional people.

      2. Pete*

        You haven’t worked there long enough to make an assessment about the underlying issue? You new hire has. C’mon, Man! Jump to those dramatic conclusions!

  4. pony tailed wonder*

    LW 1 – gosh! This is behavior from a new employee in HR? Please think of your company and the employees that she might someday be ‘helping’ and let your boss know about this immediately! Good luck with this awful situation.

  5. Artemesia*

    The unlimited vacation policy is a classic example of what happens when some airhead puts in a policy they learned at some seminar (wholocracy is another of these) but then fails to manage. What kind of policy allows someone to dump their work on someone else ‘doubling their workload’ every month? Having flexible vacation policies is a great thing but someone has to be managing the workload and dealing with people who take advantage of the situation.

    The OP might start by sticking t reasonable hours and bringing Lazybones extra work to her manager with ‘these are Alfonso’s projects that are not getting done; I am totally covered up with the TPS reports, who do you want to do Alfonso’s work when he is out every month for a week?’

    Unfortunately idiots who inflict this sort of sounds good policy are also often thin skinned about push back and bad managers. As always this is a failure of management.

    1. pony tailed wonder*

      But it is her direct manager who is the vacation abuser so she can’t implement your solution. It is rather tricky to complain about your own boss.

      1. AdAgencyChick*

        Totally. Depending on OP’s relationship with her boss, she might be able to say, “Fergus, I need help distributing the workload better when you’re on vacation. I can handle it a couple of times a year, but when it happens every six weeks it’s overwhelming.” This is a less confrontational thing to say than “Fergus, it’s obnoxious that you take so much vacation and it’s too much work for me when you do” (note that it doesn’t even suggest that his taking less vacation is the solution to the problem; it could be moving work to other employees or having Fergus do some of the work from home if he’s going to take vacation so often). But even that will cause some managers to blow their stacks.

        OP, good luck with this difficult conversation!

      2. Artemesia*

        Good point. But her first step is not being able to complete his work and asking what is to be done with it. It is insane for her to work overtime uncompensated so he can vacation.

    2. Hooligan*

      My company has an unlimited vacation policy, and it works. Our policy comes with guidelines.
      1. The company doesn’t track, but employees are expected to take 3-4 weeks a year
      2. Time off needs to be approved by a manager – the longer you take off, the earlier you need approval
      3. Our busy period is a blackout period for PTO.

      The other flexibility we have is we can take more time off than 3-4 weeks, or take time off during the blackout period, but work from home. One of my colleagues is working from her family’s beachhouse this week, and I’ve gotten everything I need from her.

      I lost some benefits offered by my previous employer coming to this company, but I love the time off benefits. I was skeptical at first that it’s a ploy to get employees to take no time off. But we have guidelines, managers who enforce, and reasonable colleagues, so it works.

      Employees have been dismissed for abusing this flexibility.

      1. T*

        I used to work at a job where everyone was remote. I never met my manager the entire time I worked there and was also hired over the phone. We did 90% of our work over IM with an occasional phone call. I initially wondered how this could possibly work because there are always a few slackers doing the bare minimum and/or shifting their work to others, even in an office setting with the manager onsite. Well, I quickly learned it was actually no different at all. When you have established rules and clear expectations, it is very easy to tell who is pulling their share of the load. We had one guy who was never available and sure enough, he was fired. I’ve seen people in offices slack off for years without even getting a warning. It’s all about clear expectations and follow through by managers when they are not met.

        1. Jessa*

          You’re very lucky you have a very reasonable smart company. It’s the ones that perpetuate the “okay person is abusing policy x, so we will take x away from everyone,” response to problems, that are an issue, especially when you can’t always tell from the interview stage which type of company you’re getting.

      2. OP2*

        I like the sound of those guidelines! I wouldn’t mind if those stipulations came with our vacation policy.

        1. 2 Cents*

          When I’ve seen unlimited vacation policies listed (which would be awesome to me!), the usually have wording that says like “as long as your work is done and you’re not leaving your coworkers in a lurch, we’re flexible with vacation” or something like that. Meaning, if your vacation doesn’t do extra harm to others, than go for it.

          And yeah, your manager is going to slack no matter what (if he’s in the office, who says he’ll do the work then!?), and his boss is avoiding his duty.

    3. Kyrielle*

      Yep. We have unlimited vacation policy at my new company. As far as I can tell after observing for a few months, people in my group take reasonable vacations, neither too much nor too little, some in blocks and some as four-day weekends (because it’s what he wants).

      Then again, we _do_ require manager approval to take it. Our manager’s policy is that he won’t refuse if the request is reasonable, unless there’s a major business reason for it, and so far that seems to be followed. (No idea what he does with unreasonable requests, as we haven’t had an example that I know of.)

    4. OP2*

      Unfortunately I can’t really complain about my manager. Our CEO knows that he abuses the vacatiob policy – when anyone takes a vacation, it’s “hurting the company” but when my manager does it, it’s seen as a “power move” (no joke, that phrase was used)

        1. OP2*

          Honestly, it’s not! but while I am still with the company I want to continue respectfully voicing my opinions. Even if that means simply emailing a higher up with some articles and back story

    1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

      I want there to be a dead body floating in a tank and Viola Davis to be involved.

      *okay I don’t want actual death so maybe just Viola Davis with no death. But a trophy. There needs to be a battle over a trophy.

    2. Long Time Reader First Time Poster*

      So… unlimited vacation policy doesn’t *really* mean unlimited vacation? Because a week off every month sounds like it fits the description of unlimited.

      Not saying it’s the *right* policy… just saying it seems like the guy who is taking that much time off isn’t doing anything wrong at the moment.

      1. Long Time Reader First Time Poster*

        Dammit. Posted as a response to the wrong comment thread AGAIN. What is wrong with me, lol?

  6. Scotty_Smalls*

    I feel bad for the recruiters getting sucked into this. I have a strong feeling that the have no idea the new person is telling OP they hate their boss. Maybe they complained a little and new coworker heard “Down with the tyrant!”

    1. Ani*

      They might well have said nothing at all. The employee was extremely late the first day — it seems more than possible that this person might already have experienced HR Boss’s crackdown and that’s where this unhealthy plot for an overthrow started.

      1. Nea*

        It doesn’t even need to be a crackdown that they’re reacting to. Admittedly we’re seeing this person’s actions second-hand through a single filter, but what do we know about them?
        1) They badmouth family and former employers
        2) They behaved badly on the first day
        3) They tried to recruit someone else to in a career-destroying move on the second day

        Which in my mind, leads directly to 4) This person likes to stir the pot.

        1. fposte*

          Yes, the notion that the OP knows this much about their family and their previous job after what, 8 hours of work? Is not good.

          1. OP1*

            My thoughts were that I know too much about her for the first few days without digging for information. It was one of those situations where you’re friendly to a new hire and making small talk (particularly a flustered one that has arrived very late on Day 1) inquiring if she was OK after a rough start and how she settling in so far. Then they proceed to start along the lines of “I love it here so far! At my last job they were so awful, they…” and the floodgates open.

            1. fposte*

              And presumably you heard about her family as well, in more detail than one would expect at that point.

              So now I really am curious about the hiring process that got you her. Has she managed to stay anywhere for long? Did her references not mention any of this?

              1. OP1*

                She was at her last job for a very, very short amount of time (3 months). But the reasoning is that she was ‘poached’ by our recruiting team.

                1. fposte*

                  Whose reasoning? And surely she had to go through hiring even if she was invited to apply, right? If this is a situation where a recruiter can just ask a new employee to hop on board without any additional checks, that needs reexamination, and if they only knew her for three months, that’s way too soon for her to be worth poaching.

                  Maybe there is something to the theory that something is awry in your recruiting department, but if so it sounds like there are policies that make it easy for this to happen.

                2. fposte*

                  Sorry, that sounded really peremptory. It’s just that in my experience that kind of agentless attribution often means that nobody was really in charge on this and that’s why it happened.

                3. voluptuousfire*

                  Unless she was a really competent and in demand recruiter, why would your recruitment team “poach” someone who had only been in their previous role a few months? Chances are she sounds like the type of person who job hops moreso due to causing internal drama and chaos than opportunities for advancement and more money.

                  She sounds like a walking chaos merchant.

                4. fposte*

                  @voluptuousfire–Oh, I really like “walking chaos merchant.” She’s definitely selling; OP needs to make sure she’s not buying.

      2. TootsNYC*

        Or CrazyPants Lady (who is strongly focused on workplace bullying) asked questions, and twisted the answers she got into something she could use.

    2. T*

      This is why you should always let new hires draw their own conclusions. Saying “that’s Bob and he does X & Y” is better than “that’s Bob and he does X & Y – oh, and he’s f***ing crazy”. What you think of Bob is your opinion, even if it seems to be held by the entire office. And if you are actually trying to overthrow your manager, involving the new person is probably not a wise move. I was in a similar situation early in my career and what I learned from that drama-filled experience is I would look for a new job if my boss truly needed to be “overthrown”.

  7. And as I rise above the tree lines and the clouds*

    #3: I totally get why you don’t want to meet with this person. But I tend to agree with Alison that you’re not going to be able to avoid it.

    That said, I think you should probably focus on getting through the meeting without damage. I get the sense that you’re very nervous about talking to this person, so you may want to focus on techniques to keep yourself calm and in control. Like: Don’t rush. Take a deep breath before the meeting, and maybe before you begin to speak at length. If you have someone you can practice / role play with, that would be good. I’m no kind of expert on this, but if you google around I’m pretty sure you’ll find a lot of material on this topic.

    Also: make sure you’ve got some kind of hard-stop at 30 minutes or 60 minutes. Keep an eye on the clock – when the meeting is over, get the hell out of there! :)

    Good luck with this! Oh – for the sake of completeness, don’t try to calm yourself with alcohol – alcohol has been The Official Drug of FAIL for centuries – and don’t resort to prescription drugs (ie, a benzo like lorazepam or valium et al) unless you know what you’re doing.

    1. Maxwell Edison*

      Love your name, by the way. :) Now that song’s in my head…

      The OP’s situation is why I was glad that ToxicJob didn’t bother to give me an exit interview when I left (I was particularly concerned about one of the managers, who fancied herself an amateur therapist). But it seems that their new policy is to not do exit interviews (one of my colleagues didn’t have one when he left either). Saved me a lot of worry about having to say “it’s not you, it’s me” a lot.

    2. copperbird*

      I would say this is the kind of situation where you could get out of it if you wanted. After all, what are they going to do? Fire you?

      Sure, it is the professional thing to do — go to the exit interview, give the company some feedback, say something polite about missing them when you’re gone. But if you feel you’ve been treated badly, that the exit interview is going to be traumatic, and/or that it’s just one step too far then you do have some options. You could tell them straight out that you find it quite intimidating that people have been so pushy about wanting to know where you are going (unless there’s something in your contract, you don’t need to tell them that), you could ask to give feedback in writing, you could ask for a colleague to be present with you (maybe someone from HR if you are worried about bullying — they won’t be on your side per se but having someone else there might blunt the effects) or you could just be off sick that day (no one says this is good practice, but after you’ve already given your notice is the one time you can get away with it).

      Or you could just go and take the opportunity to tell them what a crap employer they were ;) In a professional way, obv.

    1. LBK*

      I think the assumption is that there’s no way she would know that so soon after being hired without hearing it from her coworkers.

    2. OP1*

      I know because when I started and I met with them during orientation week, they had some unflattering things to say about my boss, which I chalked up to general office gossip/trying to be cool and say the boss sucks, etc. (he’s not that bad from what I’ve seen, so I blew it off). The difference in this case is that there’s a new hire that told me that they’re actually planning something to send him packing.

      1. TootsNYC*

        In which case, then I’d take your “report” to the boss, but also back to them. So the know their indiscretions are being leaked.

  8. And as I rise above the tree lines and the clouds*

    #2: this notion of solving issues by focusing on “problem individuals” versus trying to solve by making universal policy has been showing up a lot recently. Is this a fad that’s going through management circles recently? Or is it an “AAM Original”? If the latter: this is the book you should write, Alison.

    1. BRR*

      I’ve heard/experienced trying to handle problem individuals with blanket statements policies i.e. telling everyone not to check their phones at work when it’s one person who spends too much time on their phone. I think dealing with the individual is the rational person’s response from seeing these actions.

      1. rory*

        Yes, especially because the person who is always on their phone NEVER thinks you are talking about them. I’ve seen this happen my entire life, starting in *grade school* (where it wasn’t phones, obviously). If one person is being a problem and you say a general thing of “please stop doing this problem thing”, the nervous people who *aren’t* doing it will think you’re talking about them, and the guilty person *never realizes*.

        Direct discussions are the best. “John, please stop checking your phone during meetings, we need your complete attention”. (Of course if it’s a meeting John doesn’t need to be in anyway… that’s a different problem entirely and the Too Many Useless Meetings Issue may need to be addressed.)

        1. Stranger than fiction*

          Yeah, that can happen, so the solution would be to have a private talk with the private person, and then reiterate policy to the rest of the team, shows fairness all around.

        2. Ruffingit*

          Yup, addressing the individual would be so helpful. At my workplace, we are now required to sign a paper sheet with the time we get in, the time we leave for the lunch, the time we return, and the time we leave work. We also clock in to a computerized clock downstairs before we even come up to the 4th floor to sign in on the paper sheet. Oh, and we’re exempt salaried. It’s ridiculous. I suspect it’s because the boss wants to be able to point out that one of the employees (there are only three of us) is habitually late. But then, talk to her. Don’t make the rest of us who show up on time and do our work suffer.

    2. hayling*

      No it’s not a fad, it’s a bad management strategy that is as old as time. It comes from managers who don’t want to deal with confronting the offender.

  9. Jader*

    #2- Devils advocate… a week every 1.5 months is 8 weeks of vacation. Which could be excessive but in a senior position I wouldn’t say it’s that far off. My Husband is a manager who has been with his company for 8 years. He has worked up to 5 weeks vacation, 1 week of personal days and this year he rolled one week over, for a total of 7 weeks. It’d be 8 if you included sick days. I think the problem is a little less with the policy and more with what happens with the workload when the boss takes vacation.

    1. NutellaNutterson*

      I was about to say exactly that. It’s not so much about the time but about how work is (or isn’t) being delegated/managed by this boss.

      1. Jessa*

        This. It’s not about the time. It needs to be about the impact – Alison is great for suggesting this, don’t talk about the personalities or whatever, just “I can’t do x or y if z happens. What do you want me to do about that?”

    2. Stephanie*

      That was sort of my thinking, too, although it is very generous by American standards. Senior people (like 25+ years of service) at my job get six weeks of vacation plus sick leave. It’s use or lose, too, so you do get some people gone for a week at a time semi regularly. But people usually have to schedule vacations at the start of the year to avoid coverage gaps.

    3. De (Germany)*

      Many people in Germany start their careers with 6 weeks, myself included. Taking 8 weeks really doesn’t seem like an excessive amount to me. Especially not the kind of excessive that should put the whole policy into question – as I understand it, what usually happens with “unlimited vacation” is that many people take *less* time off because they feel taking more would be abusing the policy.

      1. Bluebirds Fly*

        My employer converts all accumulated vacation leave above 240 hours (6 weeks) to sick leave at the beginning of January. They used to just eliminate the hours, so this method is a lot better. It limits their cash liability if an employee leaves, but still lets the employee use the leave they earned if needed. I’ve almost zeroed my total leave three times in 25+ years (birth of my child, very sick husband short-term, and recovery from my own surgery). We earn comptime which goes to time and a half if over 40 hours are worked in a week. They try to get us to take that time off within 6 weeks to limit their large payouts when (apparently overworked and under managed) employees leave.

      2. Blue_eyes*

        But assuming OP#2 is in the US, then 8 weeks is quite a lot. Many workers in the US start their careers with maybe 2 weeks of vacation time. Very few people in the US have (and take) 8 weeks off per year, so in that context it is quite a lot of vacation time. (I wish US employers would adopt a more European view of vacation, but we’re not there).

        1. ThursdaysGeek*

          Most US workers start with 0 vacation time, or if they are really lucky, 1 week. Or are you talking about most professional US workers? Only there is 2 weeks a common standard at starting. And it stays there for 4-10 years, so if you change jobs very often, you’re still stuck at 2 weeks when you’ve been working for 20+ years.

    4. Career Counselorette*

      Yeah, I’m not keen on this thinking of “I had one negative experience with something that could be beneficial to others, so it should be universally stopped.”

    5. AnotherAlison*

      While it’s true that senior people have this much vacation, few use it. I get 5 weeks PTO/year, but I have about 8 weeks banked. I think my most senior coworker has 15 weeks banked, which triggers the limit to stop accumulating vacation time.

      I know a few people who use ~4 weeks at a time for a trip overseas, and who might use another 3 weeks throughout the year, but it’s fairly uncommon. I guess most people are somewhat conscious of taking that much time off and dumping all their work on others.

      1. PontoonPirate*

        True, but if we’re at the point socially where we’re starting to question whether our work culture still actually works for us–and more and more of us are starting to look more closely at other countries’ vacation policies as part of that–then the issue here should not be, “My manager is taking too much vacation,” but, “When we decide to honor our generous policies, how are we fairly distributing the workload?” To make his vacation use the issue drags us backwards.

        1. Charlotte Collins*

          I agree. I think the issue isn’t the vacation at all but the way the workload is distributed. Either the manager needs to do more up front before vacation to make sure that everyone’s ready, or the work needs to be distributed among more staff so that the time off doesn’t impact one person so much, or some things need to not be done during the time the manager is off. Possibly all three.

          Also, the OP should get some comp time or some other benefit for working extra hours during the manager’s vacations. (I know some places give Amex gift cards to exempt staff who work extra during busy seasons. And this seems like a mini-busy season for the OP.)

      2. ID10T Detector*

        I don’t know that what you say is universal, as many places have policies that don’t allow for rolling over PTO – it’s “use it or lose it”. In my industry, I know many senior people who take 5+ weeks per year. I also know many senior people in other industries who do not take all of their PTO.

    6. Ad Astra*

      I agree. Eight weeks of vacation a year sounds insane to me, but I accrue 1.5 hours per pay period for a total of 5 days per year. But it’s not the real issue.

      This policy won’t work in an office that’s not equipped to cover for people. OP should broach the subject with her manager, framing it in terms of workload and coverage. Maybe the solution is for the boss to take less time off, but maybe there are more people/resources available to share the load that OP isn’t aware of.

    7. rory*

      Yeah, I’m not sure this is an issue of the amount of time taken, so much as the lack of coverage is the main issue. And since it’s a frequent thing, the lack of coverage is an issue that keeps coming up repeatedly and is starting to cause problems, like a sore tooth.

      1. sunny-dee*

        Yeah, I think there is a difference (both in perception and in coverage) of taking time off all at once versus in chunks. If the manager took all of August off, that’s one thing — you cover the gap and then it’s back to normal. Taking a week at a time stretches the same amount of time off over six months, and it’s never normal — half your time is working double and then catching up.

  10. S*

    #2 — I’m most likely in the minority, but I’ve worked in places with both unlimited and limited vacation time and I much prefer unlimited time. Now that I’ve got limited vacation (the standard 10 days), I find myself hesitating and trying to bank it up instead of, y’know, actually using it when I need to and want to.

    1. Sarahnova*

      See, I strongly prefer generous but limited, such as is standard in the UK and Europe. I have 30 days’ holiday, and as a rule I take it all (or take all but a week, which I roll over into the next year). So do all my colleagues. This cultivates a mindset where everybody takes their holiday, everybody is off for about the same amount of time annually, and nobody feels guilty or singled out. Plus you don’t get the effect with unlimited holiday where the employee has to judge what’s “appropriate”/acceptable and conscientious people end up taking less time off than if they had a defined limit.

      1. blackcat*

        I was also a bit baffled when my friend working in New Zealand and HAD to take off some time at the end of the year. She made it sound like the company could face penalties because she hadn’t taken the minimum amount. It seems so strange, but it’s a good way to make sure no one feels pressure to waive their vacation time.

        1. Brock*

          In financial institutions it’s now common to insist on mandatory leave (e.g. at least one consecutive week off per year) in order to minimise the risk of embezzlement, money laundering etc.

          1. Chocolate lover*

            I worked at a finance firm about a decade ago (in US.) They were required to 2 of their 3 weeks together, for the reason you described. They could request an exemption, but they often didn’t get it.

          2. blackcat*

            But this sounded like a national law, for all workers. There was really nothing my friend did that was at all sensitive work. What she told me is that any company that had a certain amount of leave go unused got in trouble. This was also a while ago (pre-crash). Maybe someone from NZ can speak up!

          3. BRR*

            I’m pretty sure I think faster than I read because I thought you were going to comment about how certain financial institutions are giving mandatory leave for their investment bankers but rules likes “take one weekend day off a month.”

          4. GigglyPuff*

            There was an AAM post about that wasn’t there? Probably a while ago, about how someone finally went on vacation and that’s when the company realized they’d been embezzling for a while…or am I thinking of an actual news story?

            1. NJ Anon*

              This happened to a former classmate. His CFO had been paying himself 2 paychecks per pay period FOR FIFTEEN YEARS! Didn’t get caught until he went on vacation.

              1. Sigrid*

                Hopefully he saved that extra money, because he’s not likely to work as a CFO again! (TWO PAYCHECKS. For FIFTEEN YEARS. The mind boggles.)

              2. MashaKasha*

                Holy cow! A few of my friends worked at a startup in the 90s where the upper management (25yo dudebros from wealthy families who got their parents and their parents’ friends to invest in the business) gave themselves huge bonuses that they used to buy vintage cars, houses etc. But that was only once. And in the 90s. And the company was out of business a year later. How can someone get away with it for FIFTEEN YEARS?

            2. jhhj*

              It’s really, really common — there are thousands of those stories, and why in general people who have access to sensitive financial data are required to take 2 consecutive weeks off, which is enough time for most embezzlement schemes to come to light. (Not legally required, typically mandated by the company as a sort of best practices rule.)

              It’s useful for all sorts of roles, though, because on a one week vacation, probably you’d just wait for the person to return. In two weeks, you can find things.

              1. Stranger than fiction*

                So, are y’all saying in high Finance, they mandate vacation so they can go through the employee’s files and stuff while they’re gone?! Or, it just somehow naturally comes to light when their coworkers cover them? I’m intrigued.

                1. The Other Dawn*

                  I’m in banking and most banks require employees with three or more weeks of vacation to take two of those weeks consecutively. No one rifles through files when the employee is gone. At least not at any bank I’ve been in. It’s something that could come to light in the normal course of business while the employee is away and someone else is doing her work. The thought is that an employee who is embezzeling from the bank will have a harder time covering it up if she’s gone for a longer stretch. It might be doable if she’s gone a week, but it gets a lot harder over two weeks.

                2. NJ Anon*

                  In accounting, it’s called internal controls. When someone is out for a week or two, someone else takes over and that is usually when things are discovered.

            3. NutellaNutterson*

              The Freakonomics guys highlight the real story in their new book, When To Rob A Bank.

        2. Misc*

          It’s because it shows up as ‘owed money’ during the end of year tax stuff, so they always try and get it off the books before the end of March. You can roll it over, but they STRONGLY encourage you to use it up (my last job I had six weeks, and as long as I let my manager know I planned on going travelling for two months later in the year it was fine to save up).

          My current job’s interesting because I *technically* get the standard four weeks, but in reality I work from home and am not monitored, so I can just do what I like. I never quite needed the full six weeks when I didn’t travel (once I stopped having uni exams and stuff that required me to take chunks of time twice a year), but it;s nice to have a guideline of how much I ‘should’ take and the flexibility to take a bit more or less as needed. And not having to count it is very nice. (My company’s being a bit sneaky actually – by assuming we take the four weeks, they never have to pay it out. But the flexibility and lack of needing to track *anything*, including sick leave or hours worked, makes up for that).

          1. Misc*

            …If I do want to take 4-5 weeks to go overseas, that’s fine, I just arrange it and someone picks up the important stuff for that time.

          2. Stranger than fiction*

            Yup, that’s (I think, in my opinion) the only reason why we get a bonus in December every year.

        3. The IT Manager*

          It’s not “the law,” but US government employees have a limit on how many hours they can roll over. Employees losing leave is highly discouraged so this leads to discussions of “use or lose” leave at the end of the calendar year. It is handy that this happens around Christmas when people tend to take time off anyway, but I have known discussions about allowing or not allowing a person to take 3 or 4 weeks of leave at the end of the year. December is a slow month so it can be done, but in reality it’s a pain for their teammates. US organizations are simply not resourced to allow people to take 3 or 4 weeks off at a time. So it’s not a discussion of if that person should be allowed to take 4 weeks off throughout the year but if they should be allowed to take 4 weeks off at once. Some tasks might be able to sit or a week but a month is too long. And if it’s November and someone has about a month of use or lose leave , they have planned their vacation days badly, and should have spread them out throughout the year.

          ** And we’re just talking use or lose leave. That means the amount of leave they have ON TOP OF the 30 days they can carry over.

          1. Anna*

            My dad used to have to take sick days when he wasn’t sick because of the “use it or lose it” policy. He’d rollover so many sick hours, he’d max out and had to take some Fridays off.

            The company I work for now has rollover for vacation and personal leave. Because I’m horrible at tracking that stuff, right now I’m not entirely sure how many hours of this year’s leave I’ve accrued and how many hours I used that were rollover hours. I basically approach it as “as long as I don’t get to less than 8 hours of each, I’m good.”

        4. Brisvegan*

          I am in Australia, which is similar to NZ for a lot of stuff. Our employers usually pay out unused rec leave when staff leave, so they encourage staff to take it, rather than bank it. Also stops banking of 4 weeks annual leave to turn into many months after a several years. (4 weeks is mandatory for full time workers here.)

          We also have a culture in which many organisations see breaks and workers being refreshed after breaks as contributing to higher productivity.

      2. BRR*

        I have generous but limited and love it (I’m in the US). We accumulate two days a month and get an extra two days at the start of every fiscal year. We can roll over two years worth of time. I like that it’s a lot of time, it rolls over, and it accumulates so you don’t feel like you get a huge chunk then have to ration.

        1. Anonymosity*

          We get a certain amount of hours per biweekly pay period. We only get to roll over 40 at fiscal year end, so you get a glut of people frantically taking or submitting banked leave before the end of the year (in summer). But they let you go 40 hours in the hole, and then you earn it out before you start getting more PTO. I think that’s a great perk because if someone were sick and used all their PTO they’ll still get paid for a little bit anyway.

      3. K.*

        I had that at my old company – it was a European-based company. I had 25 PTO days. The US offices were open over Christmas and New Year’s so I’d take that off, plus a summer vacation, plus assorted long weekends. You could only roll over two weeks and it was use or lose, so you had to take it – I actually lost some time when I had a boss there who frowned on taking vacation time. (And bereavement, which was separate from PTO.) I think senior people had even more than that. It was a good deal – I hated working there for a lot of reasons, but I’ve always spoken well of their PTO policies.

          1. K.*

            She was just not a nice person. The company offered a week’s bereavement if an employee’s spouse, parent, sibling, grandparent or (God forbid) child (bio, step, adoptive, foster, or in-law) died, and three days for everyone else. You could use PTO if you needed to take longer; bereavement and PTO were two different things. I had a death in the family and took bereavement. She asked if I was going to use the whole thing – “Do you need the whole time? What are you going to be doing?” When I came back she was like “Well, that week wasn’t fun, but I got through it.” I REALLY wish I’d said “It wasn’t fun for me either, I was burying a loved one,” but I didn’t.

            It was a combination of her not liking me (there were two of us she didn’t care for and one she tolerated a little better. A lot of people commented on the pejorative way she spoke to the team as a whole, though I don’t know if anyone said anything to her directly) and being a workaholic. Our team’s days got much longer under her.

      4. That One Girl*

        I’m in the “generous but limited” camp, but I personally don’t really take long vacations, since I’m a single woman with no kids. I like taking the occasional Friday (and maybe Monday) off for mini-vacations to either go out of town to see friends, or go to events that last over a weekend.

        Problem is that I work for a small company (10 employees small), and I’m the only one who does my job, so if I take a day off, either someone has to come in and do shipping for me (I also do over phone tech support, but we have another guy who does that with me), or leave it until I come back. It gets frustrating because when I say I’m taking a day off for personal reasons, people treat it like it’s the end of the world. And if that’s the reaction when I give them advance notice I hate to see what happens when I call out sick. I’ve only been at my job for 8 months, and yes, I do know that new people don’t get as many perks, but I don’t find it unreasonable to take a day or two off once in a while.

        My bosses recently revised the vacation/sick time policy and this is what they came up with:
        Year 1: 3 days vacation with a waiting period for new employees during their first three months on the job
        Year 2~3: 5 days vacation
        Year 4~5: 6 days vacation (5 days + 1 day)
        Year 6~7: 7 days vacation (5 days + 2 days)
        Year 8~9: 8 days vacation (5 days + 3 days)
        Year 10~11 : 9 days vacation (5 days + 4 days)
        Year 12~: 10 days vacation (5 days + 5 days)

        We also get 3 paid sick days a year. I should note that I work for the American branch of a South Korean company and 7 out of the 10 employees are Korean, including the person that wrote the policy, so take that as you will. I’m not gonna start going “is this legal?” but consider yourself lucky if you get 2 weeks paid vacation when you start a new job.

          1. That One Girl*

            When I had a retail job as an assistant manager I got 2 weeks paid vacation right away.

            Of course, actually taking a vacation was hard because the other managers would bitch about having to cover. It’s kind of the same here where we get vacation, but you’re not really encouraged to take it because it means having to find someone to cover or someone is doing more work, etc.

            I really want a new job, but I have no idea where I would go right now (especially since this is my first “real” out of retail job and I’ve been here under a year). Guess I’ll stick it our for now and do my best.

              1. That One Girl*

                Ha! I wish I could, but I don’t have a lot of options right now. I’ll see what happens at the next staff meeting and if anyone says anything. I feel I’m too low rung on the ladder to bring something up myself and say “um………”

    2. MashaKasha*

      I’ll be following this thread, because I’m very curious to see how unlimited vacation works in real life. The cynical me had always suspected that giving your employees unlimited vacation is a sneaky way of forcing them to never take vacation at all. You’d apply for a vacation and your manager would tell you that a business need requires you to be in the office that week, but don’t worry, you’ve got unlimited vacation, you can take it another time! rinse, repeat. At least when you say “I’ve got to use this week before this date or else I’ll lose it”, people listen.

      Also, what happens when you quit? If I have 3 weeks vacation and have only used up one, I get paid for the other two when I leave. What would happen in an unlimited vacation situation? Do you get unlimited cash (lol), $0.00, or something in between?

      1. the gold digger*

        At my husband’s former company, a California company that changed to unlimited vacation, the new policy was that there was no accrued vacation payout when someone quits. Because the person has no accrued vacation. See how that works?

      2. OP2*

        I have to agree with you on this one! The unlimited vacation things isn’t an issue just for me. There’s a general agreement with most people in the office that people feel pressured not to ever take vacations in practice. And about the quitting thing – no idea! lol

      3. Katieinthemountains*

        My husband just started at a company that does unlimited. I was nervous for those reasons, too, but he was encouraged to see that his hiring process was actually delayed slightly because several people took some time off. He won’t have the vacation payout, but they made a generous offer, so I think we’re still coming out ahead.

      4. Small Creatures Such As We*

        My employer (California) was recently just acquired by a larger California company with “unlimited” vacation time. PTO does not accrue, so it’s not paid out when you leave. And GlassDoor consensus confirms the carryover from “my” parent company: poor work-life balance just means that no one ever takes vacation (when you have no back-up and have been covering the workload of two people for well over a year, vacation, sick days, and 40-hour work weeks are a pipedream).

    3. Stranger than fiction*

      I have a feeling, though, that due to workload Op’s coworkers are hesitating, and the only one this policy is serving well is her boss, making this policy literally self-serving. Just the impression I’m getting.

    4. C*

      The problem is that it really depends on the company culture about whether this is a good thing or a really bad thing. I worked at a company that went from limited to unlimited vacation time and it was horrible because the culture didn’t reward accomplishments, it rewarded heroic effort. Most times, this effort was needed because management couldn’t schedule anything properly, so you always ran up against an immovable deadline and spent long hours in the office. But since we were perpetually behind, it felt like there was no time to take a vacation, and hardly anybody actually took vacations. At least when we had limited vacation time, if you started nearing the cap, it was an excuse to use it that people wouldn’t question.

      I also hear that Netflix has the same culture, and their unlimited policies are more lip service than reality. While you can take the vacation, you’ll be limiting your career if you do.

  11. Kiwi*

    #1 Watch out for The Stirrer. When New Recruiter realises that you aren’t her ally and that you aren’t buying into her manufactured drama, she may then attempt to turn people against you (and may even decide that HR Boss is great and attempt make an ally of her). You may not even know what’s happened until other people start treating you differently. It’s just how Stirrers work. Don’t be fooled into complacency by the overt crazy. Stirrers are cunning like a fox.

    1. Lizabeth (call me hop along)*

      This…although the phrase “loon with a spoon” popped into my head!

    2. BRR*

      This is a good point. Some people just need drama and aren’t picky about where it comes from.

    3. Nea*


      This person gives every indication of desiring a daily dose of drama. Having provided it on the first day all on her own and being reminded that this is a good way to lose the job, she’s now on the lookout for a catspaw she can send out into the office as her remote drama drone. If she doesn’t get what she emotionally wants out of you, she’ll move on – after marking you as a target.

      To be honest, Writer #1, I’m a little concerned that you’ve already given serious belief to her statement that the rest of your co-workers are badmouthing the boss. Unless you are already aware of tensions within the department from your own observations, it should be pointed out that one day on the job – a half a day, considering she came in late – is hardly enough time for her to make the connections to see deeply into the soul of the office gestalt.

      People like this will destroy an office just for the fun of watching the explosion… and then they go to their next job complaining about how they just had to escape the crazy.

    4. OP1*

      That’s why I asked for advice! I need to know how to handle this (whether its telling my boss, staying quiet and avoiding said employee, or something else). As an admitted introvert, I do not want to get ‘below the surface’ in interactions with employees unless its related to company business. So I’m tempted to continue to keep my distance and keep our interactions very short and on-business-topic.

      1. Colette*

        I think avoiding the drama is important, but I also think you need to tell your boss what happened while it’s still a relatively minor issue.

    5. Jem*

      To me, she doesn’t seem sly enough to fool very many people. Plotting the second day in doesn’t seem too slick.

  12. Coach Devie*

    #1 – with all that you know about new-hire, and her strange behavior so early in, I can’t help but wonder how exactly she got through the screening process.

    I remember starting jobs when I was younger and whoever was tasked with showing me the ropes, often had their own personal commentary on certain people/policies etc. Sometimes to the negative. So, I understand the other recruiters casually sharing woes with a new team member – it happens. But her reaction to it… is kind of scary. Not even that she could cause potential harm, but in that she will likely just be a nightmare to work with going forward.

    I hope there is a follow up to this question in the future!

    1. MsChanandlerBong*

      She probably has some natural charm. I know someone who seems like the nicest person in the world when you meet her, and even for a few months afterward. Unfortunately, the charm fades pretty quickly.

      1. LCL*

        Yes! The people that I have worked with who are expert manipulators have one thing in common- they are very charismatic. It is fascinating to watch their interactions with other people, who will listen to them and entertain their BS even when they know better.
        The other thing these types have in common is they can become very ugly when you directly confront them. All tactics are fair, to them. And they lie. And others (that charisma thing again) will believe their lies, for awhile.

    2. OP1*

      Honestly I’m confused as well and am not sure how it will play out…I’m keeping my distance for now and declining her lunch invites with reasonable excuses (I have a large workload now, on deadline, etc.) , but if she approaches me again with this plan I’m letting my boss know.

        1. Us, Too*

          Yes, not telling your boss this reflects poorly upon YOUR professionalism and judgment. Tell him/her at once!

      1. louche low life*

        She has waved a metaphorical loaded gun in your face once. You don’t need a second time to have to take it seriously.

      2. 2 Cents*

        I’d tell your boss ASAP. If it were me, I’d frame it as “I had the strangest interaction with CrazyPants the other day that I wanted to let you know about.”

        Your boss could think you’re a part of it, especially if Crazy Pants says to anyone else, “Well, OP1 agrees with me! I told her all about it!”

        1. MK*

          “Well, OP1 agrees with me! I told her all about it!”
          This is exactly why you need to tell your boss immediately. I am an introvert as well and had a similar, yet much less dramatic situation happen and I tried to distance myself and kept my mouth shut. MYOB, right? This person decided that my silence meant total agreement and when she did finally get caught complaining about the boss, my boss was angry with me as well because she said I agreed with her and my boss believed it because I didn’t say anything to the boss when it counted. Plus, anything you do say, like “he’s not that bad” will absolutely be twisted around to “OP said he was bad, too!” or even if you get quoted exactly, it will be turned into “OP said he’s not that bad but obviously she thinks he is and is just afraid to say anything else”.

  13. Coach Devie*

    #5 – some clarity on this “the first week check is always withheld” thing… where/how/what?? I don’t understand this. I know that if you start in an off week, (that is, if you are paid biweekly) then your first check will be only for a week, instead of two, for example. But what job, ever, holds your first week pay until you leave? I don’t understand this, nor do I think this is legal. Makes no sense to me. All in all, you’re owed every dime for every minute that you worked, so don’t let this slide. Do what you need to do. This company may need their payment policies looked into!

    1. Apollo Warbucks*

      I’m wondering if it is the first weeks pay being withheld, or if it’s the paycheque for the last week work that’s only just become due.

      Not that it matters because the OP is owed the money and there is no reason it shouldn’t be paid.

    2. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

      It’s likely a timing difference in pay cycles. First paycheck withheld is an old, old concept, isn’t it? I haven’t heard that terminology since I was a youngster.

      What is generally true is that when people terminate, they are always calculating more money due than payroll is. Assuming an automated payroll system/payment provider (which nearly everybody has, yes??), it’s a matter of walking the person through yes, you’ve been paid everything due, here’s the back up information to support that.

      You can’t penalize someone for not enough notice. Depending on your written polices and your state laws, you might be able to be less generous about paying out sick or vacation time, that you can do, but you can’t not pay someone for any hours they actually worked. I find it hard to believe there’s a person around who thinks they can do that. Topic US atm.

      1. BRR*

        I feel like this has been a trend lately but company policy (even if you sign something) can’t circumvent the law.

        I’ve never even heard of the first paycheck always being withheld. I had to search for it. Seems like sometimes it’s just payroll needs time to process and other times they actually hold it until you leave. It sounds like when you sign a lease and they want a security deposit.

        1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

          It did used to be a thing, when I was first starting out 30 years ago, but even then when it was called “holding your first paycheck” it was never really holding your first pay check, it was just an extra week delay in the pay cycle.

          1. The IT Manager*

            If they “hold your first paycheck,” would the first paycheck you receive be unusually high because it cover more than a single pay period?

            1. Colette*

              What they’re doing is likely paying their employees a week or two after they work the hours – so if they start work on the 1st, they get paid for the 1st-7th on the 14th, and the 8th-21th on the 28th. So payroll is always a week behind what they’ve worked.

        2. doreen*

          I can’t tell if the OP is talking about a lag payroll ( which means your pay is always X weeks in arrears, and you get a last paycheck of X weeks of your final salary ) or about the actual pay for the first payroll period being withheld (so that your last paycheck is for a pay period at your initial hiring rate). The first is very common, but I’d never heard of the second until I Googled it.

    3. Rebecca*

      At my first job, they held back one week’s pay in case someone quit and had *gasp* used 1 or 2 more vacation days that would have accrued to that time. You were hired on Monday, worked M-F week one, M-F week two and on Thursday (payday) of week 3, you were paid for the hours you worked on week 2. Week 4, you got paid for the previous week 3, etc. They had a really stingy vacation policy, and no sick time, and you had to work 10 years before you got 10 days vacation for the year, and 8 days of that was mandated to be taken during the 4th of July week and Christmas week. So, that left 2 days for an entire year that you had to take for your personal days off, and that’s only if you were there 10 years.

      If some poor soul quit that had only 5 days vacation, and they had used a day before it accrued, it was deducted from that 1 week pay on their final paycheck.

      As I said, stingy. Stingy and awful. And one of the many reasons I’m no longer working there.

      1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

        Did it literally say that on the paycheck, the pay periods? That there was no pay for that first week?

        IANAL, but I don’t think there’s a state in the US it’s legal to simply not pay somebody for a week. I think but do not know that maybe in some states you can drag the payment time out a bit, so you are paying people with an extra week’s delay, but literal what-it-says-on-the-paycheck-youve-been-paid-for, I don’t think anybody can do do that.

        btw, we deduct for days used but not yet accrued but that’s easy enough to do a in a final paycheck. There’s no reason to drag out the pay cycle to be able to do that.

        1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

          To be more precise, we reconcile flex days in the final paycheck. We pay out accrued but not used and deduct for used but not accrued.

        2. Rebecca*

          I meant week 3 paid for week 1, so the pay stub on Thursday August 20th would be for hours worked on August 3 – 7. So you were paid for week 1 on the 3rd week – I mistyped it (early, and little coffee). So they skated just under the 14 day rule that way. When you quit, if you had used even 1 day vacation extra, they could deduct it from your last paycheck.

          My apologies!

        3. Sigrid*

          It does happen, though — it’s just illegal. #5 sounds so close to my friend’s experience I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the same company. (Although there are probably lots of companies who do this.) Her first job out of college withheld the first paycheck — I mean actually withheld, never payed until the person left — and then only gave it to you if you left a) on good terms; b) after giving two weeks notice; and c) without having taken more than the allotted PTO. It was illegal as hell, and not the only shady business practice the company practiced. She didn’t last long.

          1. Sigrid*

            PS She had to sign something “allowing” the company to do this. I told her that you can’t, legally speaking, waive your rights to being paid on time, but she didn’t want to push back. I have no doubt that the company targeted recent grads new to the work force who wouldn’t realize they couldn’t sign away their rights, and/or who were easily cowed.

      2. Mallory Janis Ian*

        I had jobs early in my career with the “one-week holdback” policy, and it worked exactly as you describe. The holdback was a cushion for the company in case the employee had used any benefits before they accrued and then quit.

        1. Judy*

          Depending on the company and state laws (in US), it can happen today. In my state, you must be paid within 14 days of the end of the pay period. So I work week A, B, C & D. I get paid for week A on the Friday of week C, paid for week B on the Friday of week D, etc. My pay statements clearly note this, though.

    4. LookyLou*

      I find the idea weird – my parents ask me every single time I start a new job if they withheld my first week. When my dad was younger he actually had bosses not pay him until the end of the first month to make sure that he wasn’t just trying to get together drug money or something!

      I think it is a misconception because let’s say I start on Monday and its the first day of the pay period. After working my full 2 weeks my paycheque isn’t actually deposited into my account until the end of week 3 – so I am wondering if people are thinking that this delay in processing is someone withholding their pay?

  14. The Other Dawn*

    RE: #1

    I would absolutely love to know how this person got through the screening and interview process without setting of any red flags. Or maybe she displayed some flags and the person who interviewed her just didn’t pick up on it. Either way, this is someone who qualifies for immediate termination in my opinion. No questions asked. I don’t need or want that kind of toxicity.

    1. Anon Accountant*

      Exactly. I have to ask if the company checked references and if so were her references good.

      1. tango*

        Just makes you wonder if the references weren’t necessarily steller as in this is the best employee ever! but still quite good because the old company so wanted to be rid of her and it’s easier when an employee quits for another job verses having to fire them. So they “fudged” the reference. Or it’s possible the employee gave fake references – friends or family who backed her up and said they were former supervisors, etc and then gave good references on her behalf. I mean I can only imagine what a nightmare in the personal life this woman must be to family to the point they’d do whatever possible not to piss her off.

    2. some1*

      If there’s anyone who knows what to say in an interview and hide all their weaknesses, I’d expect it to be a recruiter. But I would be really interested to hear what her references said.

  15. AdAgencyChick*

    #3, you’ve got a great new gig lined up. What’s the worst thing that can happen to you? Keep your excitement about your new job firmly in mind and there’s nothing the president can say that can touch you. She starts making personal comments about you? You are smiling, thinking about how in just a couple of weeks, you’ll never have to deal with her again. She fires questions about the new job at you? You are smiling, saying, “Yes, I’m so excited about taking this next step! It’s going to be a really great opportunity for me.” She demands specifics? You are still smiling, saying, “I’m afraid my agreement with the new company doesn’t allow me to discuss it.” It would take Attila the Hun to wipe the silly grin off your face.

    (I am speaking from experience…I resigned yesterday. And it felt AMAZING!)

    1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

      Shut up!

      Okay no side conversation except to say, Friday, want to hear all about it, girl. Can’t wait!

    2. Kathy Spence*

      well done :-)

      but seriously, what good can come of this exit interview?
      what bad can come of politely declining (i.e. “too swamped”, “try to fit it in”, “unexpectedly called away”)
      never been a fan either as the interviewer or the interviewee.

      1. AdAgencyChick*

        It’s not so much that good things come of it, as that not doing it means the ex-employer’s last impression of you is negative. If anyone calls this person asking for a reference, the last thing you want is for her to be all crabby and say, “Yeah, OP refused to even talk to me after she quit!”

  16. WaDaisy*

    2: I don’t really understand why you keep bringing the Netflix thing up- maternity/paternity leave and holiday seem more “fundamentally different policies” to me than the two forms of maternity leave you mention. Unless this boss has a new baby, I don’t see how it’s relevant at all, and I hope you’re not trying to change those policies on the basis of something that really has nothing to do with it.

    1. Sunshine Brite*

      The way I read it yesterday is that the maternity/paternity leave is in addition to an unlimited time off policy. They have to continue to meet work standards of course to be eligible to use the time off as desired.

  17. Katie the Fed*

    Hoooo boy we’ve got some doozies here!

    1. Here there be dragons! Stay as far away from this person as possible before you get sucked into her vortex of crazy. She’ll be her undoing soon enough, but I would make yourself as uninteresting as possible to stay off her radar.

    2. Yeah – your issues are with your boss, not the policy. It’s poor form to advocate removing a policy that many people use responsibly because of your own boss’s misuse. Fix the problem at hand and don’t punish others.

    3. I would attend the meeting and go to my mental happy place where I am as pleasant and agreeable as possible. Just nod along, don’t say much of anything, give vague answers about wanting to move on to new opportunities, etc. If you’re sure they won’t be receptive to anything, then there’s no point being forthright with your opinions. It’ll be over soon enough.

    5. The first week’s paycheck is always held back? I’ve never heard of that. This isn’t an apartment rental, it’s a job. They need to pay you!

      1. GigglyPuff*

        For all day yesterday I thought it was Tuesday, and didn’t realize that today was Thursday until I got to work and looked at my email with the day sent. It was weird, not one of those “it feels like such and such day”, but literally thought it was Wednesday this morning and yesterday was Tuesday.

        1. Blue Anne*

          Even though rationally I know it isn’t, I’m still absolutely convinced that today is Friday. It feels like a Friday, and it feels like it *should* be Friday. In fact, it feels like this week has been so long we should be well into next Tuesday by now. This week is interminable.

        2. Mallory Janis Ian*

          I thought it was Thursday all day yesterday. I have a mandatory band parent meeting on Thursday and my parents-in-law are arriving in town on Thursday. So yesterday, I did all my preparation for the band parent meeting (filled out the paperwork, wrote a check, and put it all in my purse for the meeting). Then I bought a take & bake pizza for my in-laws’ visit because I would be at the meeting and the kids could bake it for them. I texted my in-laws to come on over anytime. And THEN, when they texted me back with, “We’re not leaving Colorado until tomorrow morning,” was my first clue of the whole entire day that it was NOT THURSDAY. So now I have to do Thursday all over again today.

  18. hbc*

    #3: “She knew I would probably be looking since the work is somewhat sporadic and I am paid hourly to work from home, so it isn’t a huge surprise, but she still might not be happy.”

    This is close to an ideal resignation situation, honestly. Yeah, they’re not pleased to have to find someone new, but you have an excellent reason for leaving that they seem to understand, as would anyone with a bit of reasonableness. I think you need to internalize that everyone’s “I’d prefer this wasn’t happening” reaction is not the same as “You are an awful person for doing this to me.”

    And if the president is completely unreasonable and starts bashing you, you’re free to walk out of the meeting. She has no power over you anymore.

  19. Brandy*

    #2. My company has unlimited PTO, but you still have to get mgmt approval. I tun a department so certain requests get escalated up to me. I always ask that persons manager if they forsee any issues, and they most often say no. I *never* have people out for a week a month, though! I would say people take 1-2 week or extra long weekend vacations (maybe- some take none!).It is much more people throwing in half day Fridays here and there.

    For what it’s worth, I manage managers/ senior managers /senior individual contributors, so perhaps that plays a part. But our company switched to unlimited recently and I have seen the HR decks that show no major change in pto.

  20. Elkay*

    #2 – Alison’s right, this is akin to requiring the whole team to line up at 9am for roll call because Jane gets in late every Wednesday.

  21. Not an IT Guy*

    #5- This almost reminds me of my first job, in which you had to agree to forfeit your previous 2 weeks pay if you didn’t give notice. Of course I realize the rules for seasonal employees are just a bit different so this may have been the case. If you are owed money, I’d get it back ASAP. Another job I had didn’t give me my final paycheck until a month after they were legally required to, and as a result they continued to make payroll deductions which caused a dent in two weeks vacation pay.

  22. The Other Dawn*

    RE: #2

    We don’t have unlimited vacation here, but my husband’s place used to have it before they were bought by another company (new Major Corporation sucks for many reasons, BTW). He said that for the most part, people didn’t abuse it. Some people took maybe an extra whole week more than they used to, but the majority took long weekend or used it to take off early on Friday.

    If we had it here, that’s what I would do. I don’t need a week every month and a half (how does work get done!?). I just want an extra week to play around with and the ability to take off early sometimes. Although I pretty much have that now: the unspoken rule is that for exempt people, if we’re gone anything less than 4 hours in a day we don’t have to count it against our PTO. I do that only when I need to, like when I have a doctor’s appointment and it’s far away or I need to pick up a family member at the train station. I definitely don’t abuse it.

  23. AnnieNonymous*

    Ugh, I’m loathe to suggest this, but it seems more relevant than OP1 is giving credence to:

    Setting aside that the employee is nutty and is desperate for excuses to not do any work, it’s unlikely that she’s going to target a particular higher-up after just one full day of work (well, not full, as she was late). She came to you on her second day with complaints about someone she hasn’t even met yet, someone whose name she might not have reason to be familiar with yet. She’s getting these ideas from somewhere, and she’s going after this one person for a reason. Make sure that these issues aren’t actually legit. Nothing’s worse than a loose canon who was actually right about something.

    Are we labeling this person and her team “recruiters” because they’re trying to recruit OP1 or because they do recruiting for the company? For what it’s worth, I’ve worked as a recruiter, and it was terrible. One of the few jobs I walked out on without notice. I was held to impossible standards, forced to call the same call lists over and over, instructed to ignore “do not call” directives, and made to call people at times that didn’t jive with time zone appropriateness. It’s very easy for staffers who do the “real” work of the business to be completely unaware of what’s going on in recruiting. When I did recruiting, there were always conversations about getting management in trouble or trying to overshadow certain bosses. It’s just something that happens when you have unrealistic company goals and you force people to spend 8 hours a day calling people who adamantly do not want to speak with you.

    1. LBK*

      But a good employee would hear these complaints from her coworkers and ignore or deflect them until she had time to form her own opinions. Being so easily poisoned by office toxicity that you’re running to your manager on your second day is a huge, huge problem, regardless of the validity of her statements. The only thing I do when I hear someone bitching at a new job is make a mental note to tread lightly around that person so I don’t get infected by their negativity.

      1. AnnieNonymous*

        It’s certainly true that this person’s batty no matter what, and is certainly too eager to jump right into drama. However, if OP is going to replace this person anyway, I think it’s in the best interests of the business to find out what’s really going on with recruiting re: the manager in question. It’s pointless to keep throwing newbies into a toxic department. It might also be the type of low-wage, unskilled phone work (as was my recruiting job) that can’t really expect to draw higher-quality candidates.

        Whatever the case may be, I think the OP should find out for sure what’s going on (as a separate issue from dealing with this one nutty employee). Otherwise, new hires are always going to be bombarded with the negative chitchat. ESPECIALLY if the one who spoke up (crazy though she is) was let go shortly after making the department’s feelings known.

  24. CollegeAdmin*

    “…your boss needs to know that there’s a loon on the loose in the office.”

    This might be one of my favorite AAM sentences of all time. I’m picturing an actual loon (the bird) flapping about the office and making its creepy loon bird call noises.

    1. Retail Lifer*

      I laughed pretty hard at that sentence, and now again, picturing a bird running arounf the office.

    2. Elizabeth West*

      Instead of the Duck Club, these employees could form a Loon Club. Its call would be “hoo hoo!” and when you get the call, you meet in the break room to flap about squawking your grievances over coffee and glazed doughnuts.

      1. ACA*

        Just don’t get the Loon Club confused with the Owl Club (“Hoot, hoot!”) who meet in the supply closet to regurgitate mice and discuss philosophy.

  25. MLT*

    #4 I wouldn’t worry about it. As someone in hiring, if I received your email I would think 1) this person is working hard to get a job, and 2) that other company sends a crappy rejection letter. It just would not phase me a bit.

  26. JC*

    #2: I read the Vox article you linked but I still don’t really get the distinction between “one year off for new parents” and “unlimited time off for new parents in the first year.” Is the distinction that in the first case, all new parents HAVE to take a year off? I get that making the time off optional means that people feel pressure to not take the time, but you also can’t force new parents to stay out of the workplace for a year. I am one of those women who simply does not enjoy being at home and was happy/relieved to go back to work after my 3 month maternity leave. I would feel really ostracized to have to put my career on hold for a year (or 2-3 years for multiple children) because of childbirth. I would especially feel that way if somehow new mothers were “forced” to take a year and new fathers were not. I understand that many/most parents don’t feel that way and would welcome a forced leave, but still.

    1. over educated and underemployed*

      I think it would depend on the policy itself, but “one year off” implies an expectation that it’s ok, and possibly even a norm, to take the whole year off, but you wouldn’t be penalized by going back early. Just like for paternity leave in particular, men who are allowed to take it often don’t take the full amount, but offering it is attempting to establish a norm. Whereas “unlimited time off in the first year” implies no expectation, more of a figure it out yourself situation, so people would wind up figuring out what’s appropriate based on what their colleagues do or what the general culture seems to support in order to not get penalized for taking “too much.” I could see people feeling pressure not to take more than the “standard” 3 months for mothers and 1-2 weeks for fathers to avoid seeming like slackers, even if they personally would prefer to take advantage of more. I would prefer a standard myself.

    2. Colette*

      It sounds to me like the distinction is that in the second case, you’re back at work but can take time off as long as your work is getting done, while in the first case, you’re not working at all.

    3. Elsajeni*

      Well, I don’t hear “unlimited time off this year” as meaning “you can take the entire year off.” Maybe that’s actually what they mean, which would be great! But what I hear is “you can take a ‘normal’-length maternity leave, and for the rest of the year until your kid’s first birthday, you have unlimited time off.” Very different from “you can take up to one year as maternity leave.”

      1. Judy*

        Yes, this.

        I read unlimited time off in the first year to mean some maternity leave, and less flack about running to take a kid to the doctor, handle childcare issues, etc once you’re back to work.

        1. LBK*

          Having unlimited PTO in the bank doesn’t actually prevent the flack from occurring, though. It prevents you from having to worry about eating up your vacation time but it doesn’t change whether you’re out of the office too frequently by your manager’s standards. If you’re running into problems with people getting grilled too much about absences, the solution isn’t to delete the limit out of your PTO system, it’s to reshape your culture to focus less on attendance when it’s not merited. On the other hand, if you are legitimately out of the office too often to perform your job, having an unlimited PTO bank doesn’t permit you to jedi hand wave your manager’s concern away.

    4. LBK*

      The difference is whether you’re expected to be working or not and the pressure that accompanies using an unlimited PTO option. As with any “unlimited” model, that doesn’t mean you can just take off whenever you want, and there is generally an unspoken cap – so ultimately it’s probably a lot less generous than it sounds. It doesn’t mean you can work 20 hours per week for a year (or that you can take the whole year off).

      I don’t think anyone is questioning whether some parents prefer to work or not. It’s that for parents who don’t want to work, unlimited leave for a year is not a functional replacement for a year of leave, because it means you’re still expected to be working most of the time during that year.

    5. Kyrielle*

      Yeah, I don’t read “one year off for new parents” as *requiring* a year off. I read it as saying you can take up to a year off as your maternity/paternity leave if you want. I read “unlimited time off for new parents in the first year” as “you can’t have the whole year off, but you can take all the time you need for sick child care, doctor’s appointments, yourself, etc.” – except “all the time you need” then is open to judgements. Actually *taking* the full year if you wanted year-long maternity leave ala Canada would, I expect, be frowned on in that case…and I’d be very wary of taking “too much” time and not know how much was “too much”.

  27. Erin*

    #3 – What I did when I was in a similar situation to you is I had someone waiting in their car for me outside the building. It might sound silly or overly dramatic, but knowing your significant other or friend or whomever is out there ready to have your back can be really reassuring. And if the president goes nuts or something, you can call them for help before leaving the building.

    That is scary about your boss shaking, and everyone generally reacting really poorly, but at this point they do know you’re leaving and have had some time to wrap their minds around it. So maybe it won’t actually be as bad as you think.

    1. J*

      It’s all via phone since she works at home and so do I. I mean I can hang up whenever I want I suppose. The president encouraged me to apply elsewhere since I had outgrown the role and they weren’t sure there would be enough contracts to keep me busy, but I still kept myself in the running for projects as I was looking.

      1. Erin*

        Ah, I assumed it would be in person. Well this can’t be too bad then! Yes last resort option just hang up if you need to. Or if she starts shouting or being irrational you could say something like, “If you continue to speak to me like this I’m going to have to disconnect the call.”

        Good luck!

  28. anonanonanon*

    #2: Is the manager the only one abusing the unlimited vacation policy? If so, why would you suggest taking away such a perk and punishing everyone else who does not abuse it? That seems incredibly unfair and would most likely cause very low morale.

    The problem doesn’t seem to be the policy, but the person taking it, which is the same issue you’ll get no matter if it’s unlimited vacation time or unlimited maternity/paternity leave. You need a stronger policy in place on who handles the workload when the person is out or making sure that person has projects wrapped up or paused in a good place before they leave. I’m all for unlimited vacation/new parent leaves, but I do admit that I’m always a bit worried that such policies mean dumping more work on existing employees. But I’ve worked at two different companies that refused to hire temps when several people were out on maternity leave around the same time, and that doubled people’s workloads and made everyone miserable.

    There just needs to be a better handle on covering work. Taking away the benefit for the company won’t solve any problems.

  29. Phantom*

    I work for a company that introduced an unlimited time off policy and later dropped it. The policy had been promoted as evidence of how much the organization trusted and respected employees, and when it went away, a lot of employees took it as a sign no one really trusted or respected them after all. People who had recently been hired under the unlimited policy felt like they had been mislead during the hiring process. Whether or not unlimited time off policies are a good idea, dropping them is messy business. In a company that had just grown 200% in the past year under an unlimited policy, I’d be especially cautious about changing the policy.

    If the current policy is a “take as much time as you like so long as you’re getting your work done” sort of deal, the manager who frequently makes more work for others by taking lots of time off is probably going against the current policy.

  30. Retail Lifer*

    OP #1, I had to fire someone on her first day. That’s when people are generally on their best behavior. In my situation, during a new hire orientation session, a newly hired woman argued with me over dress code, complained that she should have been the one hired for the permament position and not the temp position (in front of the girl we hired for the permanent position), and then complained about filling out the new hire forms, stating that this information was “none of my business.”


    1. Yep*


      My husband has fired people on their first or second day several times. Unfortunately, sometimes you do know right away.

      In his case, it was happening so frequently he realized he needed to take a look at the hiring process in general. He started hiring part timers only, moving them up to full time rather quickly (and giving them raises) as soon as he realized they are in fact a good fit. He now has some great employees and hasn’t fired anyone in quite some time. :)

      OP1, it sounds like in your case this is one nutjob (or loon, haha). But as others have alluded to, maybe it’s time for your boss to take another gander at the hiring process. It is surprising this behavior wasn’t spotted and flagged early on. That’s probably not literally what you should say to him, but just throwing that out there.

        1. Anonymous for a corny joke*

          It seems that things have run “a fowl” with this new hire rather quickly, what shame…

    2. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I can’t help but wonder how people like that manage to apply for jobs and get through the interviews!

  31. NicoleK*

    LW 1: There are people who operate outside the normally accepted professional norms. I know cause I work with someone like this (I’ve had many WTF, Who Does this??, I feel like I’m working in the Twilight Zone moments). It’s obviously working for her.

  32. The Cosmic Avenger*

    I have to say, to go from “Hello” to boss-eating-crackers in two days has to be some kind of record.

  33. J*

    So I’m LW#3. The only reason I was trying to skip it is because we’re all remote and she’s not my direct boss (who I’m working out project transition details with during my notice period).

    She’s also just weirdly personal and it’s kinda like talking to your old middle school teacher you didn’t like. And she’s great at putting her foot in her mouth and spilling the beans and she knows a lot of people in my industry, so it’s not that she’ll intentionally interfere with my new job, but you just never know what kind of odd offhand comment she might make if she knows someone who works at my new place.

    Also funny: she thought I had already left! I swear the people here don’t talk to each other.

    But, I’m talking to her later, so we’ll see. Can’t be that bad.

  34. J*

    How can you “overthrow” a boss? I mean, their boss is in control of whether they stay in the job or not, not his/her direct reports.

    1. AnnieNonymous*

      You go to their higher-ups, or you get together as a team and request to work under a different manager.

  35. Pete*

    #3 – Attend the meeting and go Beast Mode, “I’m just here so I don’t get fined.” Every response. It will end quickly enough, and you’ll have a laugh.

    You could try “Both teams played hard, my man,” instead because it would be funnier.

  36. Lisa*

    To #3

    Yes you can totally refuse to have that conversation or an exit interview if you want. I did that. My recruiter is psycho and still keeps calling/vm me and emailing. It is crazy even though I left the company more than a month back.
    You are NOT a slave, you were an employee and a professional. You have the choice to say no. Anytime.

    1. J*

      Thank you! I wish I had refused, but I had the conversation and it was awkward and unnecessary.

  37. NomadiCat*

    Oh #1, you have my deepest sympathies.

    I hired someone exactly like this (no indications that she might be out of her tree in the interview process– none) and she started waving red flags around like she was in color guard within the first HOUR of her first day. Undermining me, undermining our team, creating drama with our colleagues, lying about what she was doing during the day… it was hell.

    Worst of all, I could get no support or traction from HR or my bosses to fire her. It took me six months of continuous documentation before they’d let me show her the door. By the end I had close to 80 pages on her awfulness.

    In short, #1? No matter what happens, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT. Document time, date, who was present, what she said, and most importantly (according to a mentor of mine) the impact this had. Be as factual as possible for all of the above, but HR seems to care about impact more than anything.

    Also? Since you’ve demonstrated you won’t play along, this woman will be gunning for you. Never, ever be in the same room alone with her if you can help it, always have witnesses nearby, and again: document everything.

    Good luck ,and godspeed.

    1. Mallory Janis Ian*

      How do they keep their red flags so well under wraps throughout the interview process? That seems like they must know that they way they normally behave needs to be hidden until they’re safely hired. So how can they be capable of hiding their crazy for just long enough to get hired? and how do they decide that in less than one day sufficient time has passed for them to let the crazy out? Shouldn’t they wait for their 90-day probation period to be up or some such?

      1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

        Well, “red flags” sometimes occur, (or “Yellow caution flags”) but many younger workers who have not been snake-bitten in the past by them won’t pick up on them easily.

        When I went to my second job (age 31) I needed a salary boost, and was anxious to take the job, and its paycheck, then realized I had entered a nightmare. Subsequent job interviews, in other places – I learned how to detect red flags and get the hell outa there.

        I did take a job with a “yellow caution flag” – they made a lowball offer, which I rejected in good faith. Then they came back , 20 minutes later, with one I’d accept – but – I knew – that when “serious raise time/promotion time” came up, I’d have to execute what we call in IS/IT a “power play” to get the promotion and raise.

        And yes, I DID have to resign to get the counter-offer – which they had already prepared. But that was a yellow flag, not a red one.

  38. Vicki*

    #3 “you can’t refuse to have a wrap-up conversation; that’s a normal part of transitioning out of a job”.

    Not in all fields / industries / jobs. I’ve had “exit interviews” with HR (which usually mean “please give us your badge, sign these papers, remember you’re still under NDA”.

    I have never had a “wrap-up conversation” with my managers and certainly never with the president of the company, no matter how small the company was. The idea of the president of the company wanting to have a “wrap up” conversation strikes me as particularly odd.

    1. J*

      I’m OP 3 and yeah, that’s part of why I was weirded out. We had the convo, I ended it quick when she started asking me who my manager would be. Apparently she know my new boss. She also wanted to talk about why I agreed to take a new assignment when I knew I would be leaving.

      1. J*

        OP3 here. I’m doing that with my actual boss. Most of the conversation was about why I didn’t tell them sooner, so that one of our clients wasn’t expecting me onsite this month. I didn’t really have an answer other than “I didn’t know it would move this fast.”

  39. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    I’ve had exit interviews, only one went sour, that I had to terminate it.

    Others went well but I expressed my honesty – my last three were very pleasant — one I left because it was a job I absolutely loved, BUT, there was no job security and I had a family to take care of; another, because I wanted to do work that was more fitting with my past experience, but everything there had been great; another – because I was being offered the work I truly wanted to do.

  40. J*

    So, OP3 here again.

    I did the call, she figured out where I was going anyways, she knows my future boss, and she tried to “find out” why I agreed to take another assignment with them when I knew I would be looking for a new job. She lectured me on how to not make promises like that and what I should do in the future. I explained my perspective, which I regret doing, and pushed to wrap up the call. And like I said in the letter, she is not my boss, but it’s a small company so I know her well. I regret having the conversation since I had to defend myself.

    I don’t think Alison gave me the best advice.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I stand by the advice! The point isn’t to avoid an annoying conversation; it’s to wrap up in a way that’s professional and reflects well on you. Refusing to talk as you’re getting ready to leave wouldn’t have done the latter. You don’t have to defend anything to her, but you should indeed remain professional and polite (barring some sort of horrible behavior from her, which doesn’t sound like the case).

      1. J*

        “You don’t have to defend anything to her”

        It was the nature of the conversation!

        Why I didn’t say something sooner, how when she went on vacation she thought everything was good but then she came back and found out I was leaving, how bad this is for them, how I should’ve told our client that not to expect anything long term…it was just a lecture/third degree.

        The actual wrap up/next steps were about COBRA forms that I should be expecting. That could’ve been done in a quick email, if that. The phone conversation was solely to lecture me and that’s exactly what I suspected.

        1. Coach Devie*

          In Alison’s defense (although I’m sure she doesn’t need my aid) your letter didn’t really clarify that you would be doing the typical wrap-up stuff with your direct boss. It sort of sounded like the president was going to be going over these things with you in the exit-interview, and I think that’s what the advice was geared to.

          It’s unfortunate that the president just wanted to grind her axe at you, but it is now behind you. The president, to me, seems unreasonable in thinking that you would halt any contract work just because you were looking… who would do that? That would mean not earning a living just because you were hunting. So bearing that in mind, it’s safe to assume the president might just be an unreasonable person and would be like this towards anyone, or no matter what circumstances you left under. So I suppose, my advice here is don’t worry about it too much. Shake it off.. you’re done there!! And hopefully this new venture is a much better environment and situation for you. best wishes.

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