update: I’m getting mixed messages about whether I have to work overtime

Remember the recent letter-writer who was getting mixed messages about whether she needed to work overtime on the weekends, even though she had negotiated no overtime when she was hired? Here’s the update.

I met with my manager and reminded him of our discussion when I transitioned from a temp to full-time employee last August. He didn’t remember the conversation at all and insisted he would have advised me not to take the position.

So it goes.

Since then, we’ve been told our work on Saturday is not mandatory but meeting our long-term deadline depends on it. So you’re a bit scarlet lettered if you are not there working on Saturdays.

I am presently looking around for a new position so I can have Saturdays free to be a parent, be human, and do my grocery shopping.

Thank you so much for the good advice and I also really appreciate the community; there were many comments that I printed out and had with me at my meeting with my manager as talking points. Thanks everyone!

{ 113 comments… read them below }

  1. The Rat-Catcher*

    Amazing how many bad managers “forget” conversations that don’t align with their current goals! So sorry, OP. Best of luck with the job search!!

    1. NJ Anon*

      This is why everything needs to be put in writing. My ED complained to me that one of my direct reports did not follow through on a request. Direct report stated she had a conversation with the ED about the issue. I told her from now on any verbal discussion needs to be put in an email back to the ED. She forgets, a lot.

          1. neverjaunty*

            It’s terrifying how many people don’t understand that was meant to be a joke, not a life motto.

    2. esra*

      UGH. The favourite phrase of one of the worst managers I’ve worked for: Oh, I don’t recall.

      Then you would send her the CYA email chain full of multiple reminders and acknowledgements, but still, she just couldn’t recall. “My bad.”

      1. Rater Z*

        My supervisor went the other direction. He actually remembered telling me that I could only use my paid time off on days I am not scheduled to work. That was six months after he told me that and, yes, it is still in effect. That means I can use them only on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. He did tell me that the woman who works the shifts I don’t (it’s midnights) might be willing to trade a night with me for the one Friday night I want off.

        I guess I shouldn’t complain. I am semi-retired working for a company which gives paid time off to part-time workers who average 20 hours a week. Been there 16 years now and I am given 25 days a year pro-rated at 5.75 hours a night.

        He did mention this morning that the company now has a HR department office based at our store. I didn’t know that and I might be having an interesting conversation with them.

        1. Josh S*

          Wait–you can only use your Paid Time Off on days when you’re not working anyway?

          For 9-5 M-F workers, that’s the equivalent of “You can only use your PTO on weekends.” That’s INSANE.

  2. JMegan*

    Not mandatory, other than that your job depends on it. Nice.

    Sorry to hear this, OP, and good luck with your job search!

    1. RVA Cat*

      Anyone else almost hoping that they may have a death spiral where OP and their other good workers leave, causing them to get further behind the deadlines, so that they force the remaining employees to work more overtime, causing them to quit, until the “forgetful” boss has to do everything himself?

      1. ANonnyNonnyMous*

        I’m in a place right now where this could happen – 3 leaders are looking to leave after a clash with management.

        We need popcorn.

      2. Rater Z*

        I’m thinking of a cliff with the manager standing on the edge and me right behind him.

        I’ve actually told people, including two supervisors, that there are three types of managers: 1) the type you wouldn’t mind pushing off a cliff 2) the vast group who are decent and good but it really doesn’t matter when they leave, and 3) the boss you would follow to the end of the earth. Those are rare. I had a boss for six weeks who went to bat for me when he found out what was causing my problems at work where they were threatening to fire me. He did the best he could but was still ordered to let me go. When he walked me out to my car, I told him of those three types above and told hem I thought he was a #3. I was told later he went in and spent four hours in his office with the door shut, didn’t talk to anyone during that time.

    2. MissDisplaced*

      Well, I suppose you could just go every other Saturday and say that’s it. You would be making effort, but not every Saturday, which is reasonable. Then the onus is on them to fire you.

      1. finman*

        My guess is that this “mandatory” overtime is in an exempt position, so LW is not even getting paid overtime. Which makes it even worse.

  3. Analyst*

    Your manager sucks so bad. Who could possibly forget a conversation of that much importance? Same people that tend to forget their employees are humans with lives, I bet.

    I hope your new opportunity comes up very fast!

    1. Sadsack*

      Not to only forgetting, but basically insinuating that it never happened because he wouldn’t have agreed if they had the conversation. What an ass.

      1. Elizabeth the Ginger*

        Yeah, that borders on gas lighting. “No, that couldn’t have happened! Silly employee, you must be imagining things.”

      2. Kyrielle*

        Yeah, that’s the really bad part. Had the manager said, “Wow, I don’t remember having that conversation…but okay, we can make this work” or even “Wow, I don’t remember having that conversation…I’m sorry, but I really don’t see how we can accommodate that under the current conditions”, either would be better. The latter would call for a job search still, of course.

        But to insinuate he *could not* have said it, did not say it? That’s gaslighting, and an extra layer of not-cool.

  4. Stranger than fiction*

    Grrr, that sucks, Op! I’m so sorry to hear your manager fell on the Not Reasonable side of things. I’m glad you’re looking for another job, good luck.

    1. MT*

      most of the time its customer expectations. we live in a time where some customers expect things to be done over the weekends and late at night. thank you big box retailers and such.

      1. JMegan*

        Speaking as a customer, I would be happy to wait for most things. A couple of weeks ago, I ordered something online on a Sunday afternoon, and it was delivered Monday morning, less than 24 hours later. And my first reaction was “That’s nice that it got here so fast, but I didn’t NEED it that fast, and I hope the people who got it here are being paid well for doing it!”

        It’s kind of a chicken-and-egg question, whether it’s the retailers or the consumers who are driving this apparent expectation. But I for one would be happy to opt out and slow down a bit.

        1. MT*

          most of the time, it comes from a business trying to set itself apart from the competition. What better reason for a customer to choose a new provider, if that provider can do it cheaper and faster.

        2. ginger ale for all*

          The business could have also hired people who prefer to work weekends. I have a part time gig that has weekend hours and I love it.

          1. Rater Z*

            That’s how I picked up my part-time job. It morphed into third shift on Sat and Sun and it doveailed nicely with my regular job which was 5pm-5am or later Mon thru Friday. When I lost that job, it became the source of grocery/money. Being midnights is great since I am caretaker for a wife with multiple health problems and possible dementia. It’s really a great place to work, except for the problem over the paid time off I mentioned above.

      2. justcourt*

        I think it’s more than customers. I think it’s culture.

        I’m assuming OP is in the U.S., though I could be wrong. It just seems like society expects people not to take time off, to work late into the evenings, and to happily give up weekends.

        1. TrainerGirl*


          I had a conversation with my manager a couple of weeks ago, after he asked everyone to submit their vacation plans for the year (he lives in another country). He mentioned that most of our team takes a certain amount of vacation during the year, and I had submitted a lot less. He asked me to “consider more vacation”. I’m still shaking my head that my boss is asking me to take more time off to be in line with my team. But it makes me realize that our US guilt over being out of the office is not shared with the rest of the world.

        2. GovWorker*

          That’s some of the reasons why Americans are nervous wrecks. The Puritan work ethic needs to go.

        3. finman*

          That’s why I love my current job. The second week in, my boss (the CFO) told me he had to leave work at 5:00 on Mondays to make it to his tennis matches. I’ve only worked past 6 a handful of times and that was to meet BOD package or acquisition bid deadlines. This compared to many times working through my MBA classes and at least once a month working until 9-10 PM to meet artificial management reporting deadlines. It makes such a difference to your happiness level when the culture of the company is to work hard, play hard.

      3. Rana*

        But even if such customer expectations exist, there’s no reason that employees have to kill themselves to meet them. A good employer will make sure there’s enough staff to cover the demand without making it impossible for their employees to have lives outside of work. Customer demand is just an excuse for being a cheapass with the hiring.

        1. NotAnotherManager!*

          I don’t entirely agree with this. There are a number of reasons where staff needing to work additional hours is not related to poor management. If you have a low-skilled position where people can be rotated out without any quality impact on product, sure, add more people. If you have a consistent amount of work that would warrant an additional skilled hire, sure, hire more people. But, often, management has to staff to the middle rather than to peaks to avoid having cycles of hiring and firing people as work ebbs and flows, reducing raises and bonuses to support additional hiring, or relying upon expensive temps (assuming you can find the skillset in a temp/consultant that is needed). Project work can also require more flexibility from staff as there are milestones and sometimes contingencies over which management can have little control. I also work in an industry that sometimes expects to see the same people’s names on project bills and, in some cases, refuses to pay for adding additional staff at peak times. (Their rationale is that new people require time to get up to speed and are less efficient than those familiar with their project. And they don’t pay for ramp-up/training time.)

          I can’t speak to the circumstances of OP’s situation — it is entirely possible it’s bad management/resource allocation. But I absolutely have times where I expect people to come in to support their projects on weekends, evenings, and holidays. The difference is that I’m VERY upfront in the interview process that flexibility is required. It is never a surprise to the employee, which is a big part of the problem in OP’s situation.

      4. INTP*

        It’s common in industries where the customers are other businesses that aren’t working on weekends, too. They just want to get more out of employees for their money. (Or if it’s like my old boss, are disorganized and consider it everyone’s job to work over a weekend because they forgot about a deadline.)

  5. OP*

    Thanks for commiserating guys. It’s a pretty awkward situation all around. People are wide-eyed when I say I can’t come in Saturdays, like, “I wonder what is going to happen to her!”.

    My manager said he understood why I could not come in but the project is built with those hours. When other team members asked why I wasn’t there, he explained it was because I had a child. I let him know that put me in a bad spot with my teammates and I wish this was handled a bit differently.

    The good news is the economy is great here and there are many other wonderful companies (hopefully) to work for. I’ve learned a lot about how to navigate my situation with the hiring process and I’ll likely document it in some way next go around.

    1. Elizabeth the Ginger*

      Off. In your shoes I’d be tempted to be really direct with co-workers: “When I transitioned to full-time last August, I was upfront with Sam that I wouldn’t be able to work overtime regularly. He now says he doesn’t remember having that conversation.” But that would probably be stirring up more drama to no good effect…

      1. 2 Cents*

        Yeah, I wish OP could say to her manager, “Funny, I would remember if you told me not to take the job. Yet here I am!”

      2. INTP*

        I would do that as well, if I trusted my coworkers. It could even create a bonding opportunity when they then bring up a way that Sam screwed them over too!

        If they have it out for you over you not working weekends, though, maybe don’t say anything.

    2. Sharon*

      ” the project is built with those hours”

      BAD, bad management. :-( Makes me think this should be one of the questions we ask during job interviews. Not sure how to frame it in the best light, though, and still get a clear answer.

      1. Just Another Techie*

        Agreed. Whoever designed that schedule should be fired. Even if all your employees are single with no family or community obligations, that’s still a recipe for burnout.

        1. INTP*

          It sounds like the schedule wasn’t “designed” so much as “The people who had the project before you missed their deadlines so now we’ve got 300 hours of work per person and 6 weeks to do it in, so you all work Saturdays.”

      2. AnotherAlison*

        And rereading the original letter, it said that she was being asked each week to work Saturdays because the project was late. Which is it? Was the project scheduled with 50-hr weeks, or 40-hr weeks and is playing catch up now?

        I’m not going to wholly agree that it’s bad management to schedule that way. If you are a citizen, you probably love seeing road construction with expedited schedules. It is bad management to not tell project employees the truth about expectations, though.

        1. OP*

          I may not understand your question, but new functionality was discovered and the project has fallen behind incorporating those new reqs. Rather than expanding the schedule they’ve added more hours worked to each week.

            1. 12345678910112 do do do*

              That’s still really bad project management. That was on your higher-ups to tell the clients that new functionality outside the original specs would take longer, or would be handled as a separate project. Not to promise that new specs could be delivered in the same time period.

              1. Stranger than fiction*

                Yep but they still want that revenue in time is what it boils down to, so they push the envelope with their employees.

                1. Miles*

                  Doesn’t matter. If they want to change the specs, the proper procedure is to cancel the current contract, settle up and create a new contract. And halfway decent project manager knows & does this, and includes a clause in the contract that they have to pay for any work that’s been done if the contract is terminated early.

                2. Kyrielle*

                  Or signing a modifying contract, which may remove feature X (not yet implemented) to add features Y and Z, or extend the schedule while adding Y and Z without removing anything, or whatever. Yep.

            2. Arjay*

              Can I just apologize on behalf of business teams everywhere? I work on the business side, and I spend so much time with my team internally trying to get them to answer questions like, “What do we want this to do?” BEFORE the requirements and specs are written. Then again, before they’re approved, “So we want it to do this specific thing?” And IT develops the code, QA tests it, it comes to UAT, and all of a sudden someone says, “Oh! I didn’t want it to do THAT!” It’s frustrating.
              True story: yesterday I reported a defect. Today after talking to the rest of the team, they decided that the defect actually delivers some functionality they prefer to what we originally asked for.

              1. OP*

                Thank you, and I think that’s ok. When I was a PM I built in 20% contingency to account for this. Then when that runs out you have to to make other trade offs. 6 months of overtime was the choice here and it was a poor choice, in my opinion. The cost of this will be really expensive in many ways.

                1. Dee*

                  My husband has been working nonstop weekends because of exactly this issue. He’s not the PM but he is the senior lead and he is mighty pissed that no one has the balls to tell the client what’s up. On hours the agency is upside down so everyone is working more for the same dollars, the agency is mad because they’re losing money and the client still keeps throwing hissy fits. If someone threw onto that mess “oh Hus can’t work this Saturday because HE has KIDS” well… That would be a douchebag move indeed. We don’t have kids but he told them to eff off last weekend because he was over it. Because the ask for relentless overtime is what’s wrong, not the having kids or needing a weekend to clean the house and buy groceries. Good luck to you.

              2. Dan*

                I’m a huge fan of rapid prototyping. I’ll note that I don’t work in a production environment.

                The reality is people don’t know what they want until they look at a semi-functional system. At first, they think they know what they want, but then they change their mind once they see something.

                The sooner you can get them to look at something, the better.

                Pay now or pay later, but someone pays either way.

              3. Tau*

                I’m on the IT side of this equation and all this sounds so very familiar.

                Add to that when we go “hey, client, before we can develop X we REALLY need you to answer the following questions about how you want that to look,” they never answer, and then a few months later they’re angry about why X hasn’t been implemented yet… rinse and repeat.

                1. neverjaunty*

                  Out of curiosity, what happens when you reply with “We told you that we needed these questions answered by February 1st so that we could determine how to set up the teapot UI”? Let me guess – they get mad that you didn’t keep bugging them for an answer?

          1. AdAgencyChick*

            Yeah, it’s all too common that the requirements change but the end date doesn’t. My sympathies.

          2. AnotherAlison*

            All I meant was that I wasn’t clear if they had planned the job with 50 hr work weeks from the get-go, of if it was a recovery plan. I think he’s less of a jerk since it’s a recovery plan than I would have if it was the original project schedule all along. . .he might have hoped a recovery plan wouldn’t have been needed on this job. The trick is figuring out if that’s SOP for them or not. If you’re going to be on “recovery schedules” on every project, I’d get out of there!

          3. AcademiaNut*


            So the initial plan was based on 40 hour work weeks (although they probably didn’t factor in people being sick, quitting, training new hires, etc). Now the plan is based on 50 hour work weeks for the next six months, and no plans to hire extra people or shift the deadlines.

            Then someone (like you) quits, and more requests are added. So in a couple of months the plan will change to 60 hour/7 day work week for four months. Then the days will get longer. Then people will start quitting in exhaustion, or getting sick more often because they are burnt out. And any new hires will need to be brought up to speed. So they won’t make the deadline, or anything close, and they’ll have a burnt-out staff that’s actively looking for new work, and they probably will have no idea why things went so wrong so fast.

        2. Just Another Techie*

          It’s bad management to schedule things where you expect employees to consistently work overtime. It’s not bad management to expect to always have coverage 7 days a week, but you really should be rotating people in and out so everyone gets down time during the week.

          1. Rana*

            Exactly. If 24/7 coverage is important to your business, you budget for appropriate staffing so that your employees don’t burn out.

      3. the_scientist*

        I know I’m beating a dead horse here, but this is both terrible project management and terrible management management. Best of luck in finding something better soon, OP!

      4. Jenna*

        When I was leaving a job that had a routine end of month panic day(OMG MUST SHIP ALL THE TEAPOTS NAO!) one of my standard questions for the companies that I was interviewing at involved work flow and timing; was there some end of month, end of quarter deadline, and how did that company deal with the workflow at that time?
        I don’t mind deadlines. I mind deadlines where the people upstream on the workflow have no concern about how much they dump on me on the last day things are due. I rejected a job because they admitted that the engineers usually were very late getting the paperwork filled out for certifications, and that the position that I was interviewing for was the one that had to turn it all in at the last step.
        Not what I was looking for given the job that I was leaving.

    3. Chriama*

      Honestly, your boss kind of sounds like a jerk. I bet he remembered the conversation (or at least remembered vaguely that something like that was discussed) when you mentioned it to him. And instead of being a good leader and saying “I know, I’m sorry but the circumstances have changed”, he’s pretending it didn’t happen. Same with the communication around weekends — instead of saying “look, we need to work weekends to meet the project deadline” he says “well we don’t need to work weekends but if we don’t we won’t meet the deadline.” So unless the assumption is “we don’t need to meet the project deadline”, it’s obvious you guys need to work weekends. What a spineless jerk. Honestly, someone who operates like that will probably undermine your career in other ways (someone mentions a mistake that was made and thinks you did it, he says nothing instead of pointing out that it was based on incorrect data given by the client, etc) so it’s better that you found out now before he could do some real damage to you or your professional reputation.

      However, now I’m wondering: how do you suss out something like this in future employers? I’m sure this boss can talk a good game when needed, so what kind of questions could you ask to see if your potential new boss is a snivelling yes-man or a decent leader?

  6. Bend & Snap*

    Op, I’m a single parent, and my best tip is grocery delivery until you can get your weekends back. I use Peapod (Boston area) and it’s a lifesaver when I just can’t get to the grocery store.

    I hope you find something soon. And your boss is a dick.

    1. Hermione*

      I have friends with young children who also use Peapod, but they use the “pickup” option instead. They’ll let you choose a timeframe, their staff loads the groceries into your car, and it takes about 5 minutes total. In case you’re uncomfortable with the delivery idea, but don’t want to waste valuable weekend hours in the grocery store.

      1. Anonymous this time*

        Peapod Pickup is great. You choose a 1 hour window for picking uo your groceries and it’s less than half of the cost of delivery (and there’s no tipping). They load everything into your car at the store. We started doing it maybe 7-8 months ago and with two parents working full time on different schedules plus kid activities, it’s so very worth the $2.95 pickup charge for one of us to not have to spend 45 minutes to an hour in the supermarket every week. I meal plan and place the order on Friday evening, and we pick it up on Sunday on our way home from church.

        Several of my friends with young children do grocery delivery/pickup. It’s a small fee to pay to basically outsource your grocery shopping.

    2. LawBee*

      My grocery store has an express lane service – I fill up my basket online over lunch and pick it up on the way home. For me, it’s worth the extra $5 – and bonus, I stick to my grocery list.

    3. Another Lawyer*

      Chiming in on Boston area delivery: Instacart if it’s in your zipcode. Market Basket! Petco! Whole Foods! Hmart! Seriously, I’m in love.

    4. Elle*

      I am trying the pickup option for the first time today, as soon as I leave work. I sounds like a dream come true if it works!

      1. Hiding on the Internet Today*

        I hope it works for you, I love it. I do a drive by with the baby, they load up the trunk with my week’s groceries, baby and I smile and wave. Done!

        1. Kyrielle*

          *wistful* I would so love that. I like my town, but it’s apparently a little too suburban – I’ve found three services that are in my metro area but don’t reach here, so far. Alas!

          1. neverjaunty*

            Check your grocery store! A lot of regular ol’ grocery stores are now experimenting with delivery. I use mine infrequently enough that they waive the delivery fee to lure me back.

            1. Kyrielle*

              Yeah, that was the third failure. It’s a chain and they have curbside pickup at some locations, but not in my town. A pity, as I literally go right by their parking lot when picking my kids up at the end of the day.

              (I’d actually rather have at-store pickup than delivery, but apparently I have neither.)

              We do have four stores that I can get groceries at; three have no pickup or delivery, and the fourth has it but not *here*. (And admittedly, one of them could have that option added and I still probably wouldn’t do most of my shopping there. They’re already ridiculously expensive and to be avoided, in my experience.)

  7. V*

    Gotta love forgetful management. I’m currently dealing with the occasional threat to switch my job from telecommuting with occasional trips into the office, to driving in 45 minutes every day. I accepted this job because of the telecommuting arrangements and slightly more stable funding.

    They keep threatening this, not because of anything I’ve ever done, or any problems with my work, but because upper management wants to be able to reach us easily. Apparently calling my cellphone, using our IM system, or sending an email is too hard.

    1. Irishgal*

      They really expect you to believe that if you were physically on the premises that upper management would “reach” you by walking to your desk or calling you to theirs each and every time they want to talk to you for a face to face discussion? Yeah right!

  8. videogamePrincess*

    My current revenge fantasy involves him applying for a promotion, only to be turned down and then told by the person who was promoted in his stead that he is getting laid off. Or even better, he applies for a new job and gives his notice, only to be told by one of his workers that he is not getting the job after all, and that the worker took it instead. None of these are particularly virtuous or a good use of my time, but grrrrrr.

  9. Grumpy*

    Argh. This happened to a close friend. She asked about late hours during her interview and was was told no late hours, ever. She took the position based on that.
    The rest of the team was told she was hired specifically to cover late hours.
    Conflict ensued.
    This must be a sleazy move the dark side has added to their bag of sleazy tricks to fill positions.

    1. Amadeo*

      This hurts my head. How did those folks not realize after that specific question that trying to schedule their new hire for late hours was going to result in problems!?

      1. INTP*

        Some managers think it’s still 2008 and an employee isn’t going to walk out of a job over anything short of a gun to their head.

  10. Bookworm*

    I agree that the boss is at fault here.

    That said, I lean toward Hanlon’s Razor on this issue. I see a possible scenario where the boss, during the interview/offer process, wasn’t being realistic in his assessment of overtime hours. A lot of focus on this blog is given to how interviewees put on their rose-colored glasses and aren’t seeing how their ‘dream job’ might not be so dreamy. I think it’s totally possible the boss did this, in reverse. (And, in fact, that seems more likely than him deliberately misleading the candidate or lying when he says he forgot the conversation.)

    1. Meg Murry*

      That, or he used a phrase like “oh, we only work overtime and weekends when there is an emergency”. What he neglected to tell OP was that they have been operating in an emergency status for the past several months and plan to do so for the next 6+ months.

      I’ve worked places like this, where it is an “emergency” every weekend for months on end! That’s no longer the definition of an emergency – that’s the definition of poor planning.

      Given how passive this boss is, I wonder what will happen to OP if she just doesn’t work the OT? Will he send another co-worker to come talk to her? Will he fire her, knowing that then they will be down even one more body?

      I’d keep looking OP, because given what you have said about this boss I suspect that you are looking at months of passive aggressive comments and guilt trips about not working Saturdays, but never a direct order to work Saturdays, and then a negative review and/or one day being told to go.

      Oh, and I’d also keep a log of your hours (somewhere other than just on their computer/their servers!) in case this company ever gets charged with improperly classifying people as exempt that shouldn’t be.

      1. OP*

        Thank for the advice on keeping a log of hours, this is a great idea. I am currently working more than my 40 M-F. I’ve declined to volunteer the non-mandatory Saturday and I’m hedging by looking for another job. I’m being extremely selective as I don’t feel like I’ll be let go at this time because of the pinch they are in, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a replacement for me is found that will work the overtime.

        1. Bet on it*

          “I don’t feel like I’ll be let go at this time because of the pinch they are in.”

          Nope, you need to keep up with your job search – diligently! I’d be willing to bet on the fact they are looking for someone to work those hours that you cannot.

          This happened to me. I was working over 60 hours a week at one place – not something I agreed to and something that would have kept me from ever taking the job. When interviewing, I thought it was very clear what my job duties were and what the expectations were; but, after starting they kept creating new items for me to do.

          Knowing full well that they were in a pinch trying to meet a rollout deadline I didn’t expect to be let go. But, while conducting my job search I happen to come across a job (company name not disclosed) whose description met – word for word – my current job exactly. This description included acronyms that are internal to this company; not something that should be in any job posting. I do not believe that they were looking to hire additional help. Nope, they were looking to replace me.

          I found another job about a month later. They found a replacement for me less than a week after I gave 2-weeks notice. So, sorry to be negative; but, I’d bet that they are looking to replace you as they now see you as a “scarlet letter.”

      2. INTP*

        I’ve had the constant emergency experience too. I wish they had warned me in an interview that the CEO was compulsively last-minute on EVERYTHING so that literally every decision he had to sign off on, literally down to which pens to order to give out at a conference, had to become a massive crisis (i.e. us staying late frantically googling for a company that can produce and deliver 500 personalized pens in 2 days).

      3. Rubyrose*

        I worked with a team of seven developers once. Management, every single week at 3:00 on Fridays, would call three of us in for a “hot project” that they said they had no idea about on Thursday afternoon and that absolutely had to be done by Monday morning. It was never the same three people; there was no way to predict who it would be. If chosen, you could not trade off with someone else.

        This was not going over well with our group. This, along with management calling us in one day and telling all of us that we all had to be on call 24/7, no breaks, no rotation, caused morale to plummet. We started as a group taking a 2.5 hour lunch on Fridays, getting back about half an hour before the 3:00 call.

        We developed a comradery that was akin to having our own union, something unusual for a group of developers. Within 5 months we were all gone.

      4. BananaPants*

        Everyone’s replaceable. Your boss is being passive-aggressive and gaslighting, and telling your coworkers you can’t work weekends because you have a kid. I’d expect a crappy performance review and good odds of being let go in the future. Keep up the job search.

  11. No longer new commenter*

    I hope you are able to get out of there soon. I can’t imagine anything good will happen in a job where Management lied about the hours in the interview. Even if you were to give in and work weekends, you would never be able to rely on anything your boss said again. The relationship was broken before it really began.

  12. boop*

    And where did the deception get them? Now they will have to replace another person. The turnover must be intense there.

    Management at my workplace is like this. Hires young kids who are only told what time to show up. They immediately learn that they have to work until 2am every weekend, and are pretty much abandoned with no way of getting home (buses stop between 9pm in residential areas, 1am if you just happen to live in a busy spot). And the rest of us get stuck training constantly for no extra compensation, knowing we won’t see them again a week from now.

    Just tell the truth!

  13. OP*

    Well, I got fired!

    That’s how the story ends. I was told 6 days a week on salary is a requirement of the job for the foreseeable future and I maintained I can’t do it. So, fired.

    The end

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Holy shit. OP, you should definitely be able to file for and receive unemployment (being unable to meet a significant change in schedule is going to be a legit reason to get approved in most states). I hope you at least got severance?

    2. Megan*

      OMG I am so sorry – this company sounds terrible and they have given you some rotten treatment. Quality assurance is critical for good software and your time and project management skills should be respected!

      Fortunately there are a lot of companies who get it, and since everyone wants to have their own app these days, quality assurance engineers are in demand. A couple of years ago a manager of mine (a quality assurance manager) was fired for a very good reason, but he received a couple of job offers in less than a month – now he’s very happy with his current job; and the best part is . . . it pays better!

  14. OP*

    Well, it’s murky. The communication was verbal and not handled clearly. I was brought into a meeting with hr and my manager. I think I was offered resignation in lieu of termination. It was odd. This disqualifies me for unemployment. They offered that with no severance which makes that particular dismount financially impossible. I responded there was no way I could do that financially. We are in the middle of a lot of back and forth emails that all measure up to them not wanton me to be able to collect unemployment. It’s just confusing and I’m seeking legal assistance to put something reasonable on paper.

    Never mind I have a stack of accolades via email from coworkers as recently as today calling me a key player on the project. It’s a total bummer and could have been avoided when I was hired.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      In most states, if they force you to resign and you explain that to unemployment, it won’t matter that it was a resignation; you’ll usually get awarded it anyway. Assuming that your employer doesn’t lie and say it was voluntary (or that you can document the truth if they do lie).

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