my abusive ex works at the company where I’m interviewing, friends keep trying to lure me from my job, and more

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

1. My abusive ex works at the company where I’m interviewing

I have been out of work since June, when my previous company laid me off. My unemployment benefits end at the end of November, and I have been just barely scraping by this whole time. I received a call from a company this afternoon to discuss a potential position. They were very enthusiastic to find someone with my qualifications and even asked how long I had been on the market, and said that I would likely hear from someone within the week to discuss further steps (i.e. an in-person interview.) They didn’t bat an eyelash at my salary requirements, and had no difficulty with offering me the refresher training I would need for some lapsed certifications.

The problem is that my abusive ex-boyfriend is currently employed by the same company. Obviously, we did not end on good terms, and I have spent the past two years since our breakup doing my utmost to avoid him. After some of the things he put me through, I don’t know if I can in good faith be in the same room as him.

The position I’ve been offered would be located at a different office, but I am concerned that I would have at the very least contact with him. I feel like this is something that should be addressed if an offer is made, but is it appropriate for me to say that I wouldn’t be comfortable working with this particular individual? Should I cut my losses and keep searching? I’m worried that time is running out.

Ooof. Is the job you’re applying for one that’s likely to have to work with him, or be around him? If so, I do think you need to just keep looking — as a new hire, it’s going to be hard to refuse to work with someone already there. If that’s not likely, then I think it comes down to how willing you are to accept the risk that you may end up having casual interaction with him. If you truly can’t be in the same room as him, then I think that’s your answer — you’d need to keep looking. It’s reasonable to prioritize your well-being over a job that would put you back in contact with an abusive ex.

Read an update to this letter here.

2. People keep trying to get me to leave my home-based business

What is the best way to deal with people who are unhappy with your career and are always trying to get you to change it when you are happy and satisfied with it?

I have owned my own home-based business since around 2004. During that time, friends, family members, acquaintances, etc. have propositioned me to come and work for/with them. In many cases, the jobs that they proposed were things I was neither trained nor qualified to do, nor did I have any background in the field. On one occasion, after months and months of nagging, I applied at my brother’s company as a retail sales rep. The hiring manager seemed baffled that I would be willing to give up being my own boss to come and work retail. I imagine had I pursued the various security guard and food service, flight attendant, astronaut jobs I have been propositioned with over the years in spite of having no training, certification or experience in them, the other hiring managers would have felt the same way.

“No, thanks, I’m very happy with what I’m doing.”

That’s it, seriously.

But why are these people nagging you so much? Do they have the impression that you’re struggling financially or that your business isn’t doing well? If so, I could see them pushing job leads on you to try to be helpful. In fact, maybe this points to a need to be more explicit that you’re happy and doing well — at least when this subject comes up. But really, I think you just need to let it roll off you — say you’re not interested and that you’re happy where you are, and don’t give it more attention than that. (And definitely don’t get pressured into applying for jobs that you’re not actually interested in.)

3. Withdrawing a reference after uncovering serious problems with someone’s work

I worked with a doctor who I shall call Dr. Feelgood. He was a brilliant man with a good knowledge of medicine, kind to the nursing staff, and well liked by his patients. However, he was terrible on documentation. He was often 4-8 weeks behind on his notes, and he used a lot of cut-and-sloppy. (Cut-and-sloppy is pasting the old note into the current note, but not updating the current note. He wrote that one of his patients had her dog die five months in a row because of his use of this.)

When he decided to move back to his home state, he asked me for a reference. Because I thought his documentation issues were fixable with good supervision (he could do great notes on time if administration kept on top of him), I agreed to give it to him. I was very clear with him and with the clinic he interviewed at about the documentation issues, and that they needed to be on top of it.

After he left, the other doctors I work with and I took over his patients. We were shocked to find that his care was terrible! He completely ignored abnormal labs and x-rays. He was prescribing opiate pain pills to people who were clearly using cocaine or heroin. We all had the experience of having patients giggle when we went to do a physical exam and saying, “Dr. Feelgood never did that. He didn’t think it was necessary.” (Although he documented a full physical with every visit.) One of his patients died a month after he left of a condition that he should have diagnosed three months sooner. (I don’t think his negligence made a difference in the outcome, but he still missed a blatant problem.)

A month or two after he left, I got a call for another reference. I refused to give it. I got an email from him asking me to give the reference, and I responded that I had found enough issues with his care that I was no longer willing to give him a reference. I am hoping never to have this situation of going from being willing to give a reference to not willing never come up again, although I have had other cases where I went from wildly enthusiastic to lukewarm. However, if it does: 1) Do I need to contact the person and ask them to no longer use me as a reference? 2) Do I have any obligation to contact the place I gave a good reference to amend it?

I’d contact him and let you know that you’re no longer comfortable giving him a reference, so that he’s not out there assuming that you’re saying positive things about him when you’re not. You can be as direct about why as you’re comfortable being.

The second question is trickier. If this weren’t a job caring for patients, I’d say no — there’s no obligation to contact the place you gave the good reference to. But with a doctor, the calculation changes — you’re talking about potentially putting people at risk. I don’t know the standards of your field in this regard (or for that matter, whether there’s any other reporting you should be doing about him), but I’ve got to think there are some industry norms governing how to handle this kind of thing. Anyone?

4. Is my manager hinting that I won’t get hired?

I’ve been covering for a vacant position for 18 months and have consistently received glowing reviews. I’ve interviewed for correlating positions elsewhere, but I want to remain in this city. The deputy director has strongly encouraged me to apply for the open position which is now about to post.

However my new supervisor (no previous management experience) is asking me what to do if he doesn’t find a viable candidate, what language to use, my thoughts on potential candidates, etc. — questions that are inappropriate to ask someone who’s applying for the position.

I’m not sure if he’s asking me because I do have management experience, or he’s thinking out loud, or he’s implying something. He’s aware that I’m applying for the position. It’s also common knowledge that the deputy director is an avid avoider of confrontation. He will encourage employees to apply for internal, open positions but is on the record stating that he refuses to hire internally.

How do I handle this? I’m sitting at my desk crying! I knew I wasn’t an automatic shoo-in but was strongly encouraged nonetheless. (The deputy director had me rewrite my job description with the implication that it would affect this decision). Clearly, crying isn’t going to resolve this, and the situation will not improve until the position is filled. Do I just apply and wait for the inevitable? Should I take his questions as an implication that I am not a suitable candidate?

I wouldn’t assume that’s what his questions mean. That would be an incredibly passive and lily-livered way to signal to you that you aren’t getting the job. I suppose it’s possible that that he really is that silly and ineffectual or simply callous … but if that’s the case, it’s worth considering whether you’d want him to be your permanent boss, no?

On the other hand, if you have a deputy director who’s known to encourage people to apply for internal positions but who also says that he won’t hire internally — well, that’s pretty clear. I’d assume that what you know there is accurate, and that there’s no reason to think he’s following a different pattern here. Given that, I’d mentally move on from this possibility, assume you won’t get it, focus on other job leads, and let it be a pleasant surprise if this one does pan out.

5. Can my resume list projects and services that have since been canceled?

My workplace recently experienced a significant restructure in which several people, myself included, were removed from project management positions in an effort to consolidate all decision-making on the upper management level. For various reasons, some of them associated with this reorganization, I’ve decided it is time for me to move on to my next career step, ideally shifting into a role at another organization with more leadership opportunities on either a project-leader or department-management level.

Given this career goal, my cover letter and resume both feature a number of successes related to added-value customer-focused services I developed while managing my former program. Unfortunately my new boss has a very different vision regarding both customer service and the “obligations” of our work and is in the process of stripping many/most of these added-value services (regardless of success or popularity with customers) in favor of a more basic/core services model. Can I still feature these accomplishments in my application material, even though they have been scrapped? If so, what is the best way to do this? I’m concerned potential employers may question why I refer to subservices no longer advertised as offered and think I’m being deceitful, but I’m also concerned about preemptively indicating these services have been cancelled because it may imply a more dramatic reason for their removal.

Nope, you can still list them. They were legitimate accomplishments, and they don’t stop being things you achieved just because they’re no longer around. You also don’t need to include a caveat on your resume that they’re now defunct programs.

If asked, you can simply explain that they were successful for a while but the company has since scaled back to core services, which is one of the reasons that you’re interested in moving on the type of job you’re interviewing for.

{ 219 comments… read them below }

  1. justcourt*

    #3, in addition to posing patient safety issues, his record keeping (e.g. documenting physicals that were never performed) might also be proof of overbilling. You might need to investigate that or alert someone in your organization.

    1. Mela*

      Yea, that sounds like massive insurance fraud. It sounds shallow and wide enough to not trigger anything but the liability possibilities…woah.

    2. snuck*

      I’m pretty sure that in Australia the licensing bodies would want to hear about him… I’m not sure if there would be a legal obligation to report him though.

      And medicare fraud… medicare would want to know he was billing for things he hasn’t done… that’s BAD.

      (But this doesn’t sound like it’s in Australia?)

      1. Liane*

        US Medicare and Medicaid (former for those age 65+ or people with certain chronic conditions, latter for children and ssome low income) would love to hear about it too.

        1. Shannon*

          Given that the OP says Dr. Feelgood was prescribing opiates to people who were clearly opiate addicts, I wonder if this is something the Drug Enforcement Agency would be interested in.

          1. Snuck*

            In Australia doctors get waaaaay too much free range. Everything is a guideline even around doctor shopping for schedule 8 meds. All he would have to say is that the patient was counselled and he would be off the hook. The patient would get in trouble instead. It is ridiculous.

    3. Dweali*

      Definitely came here to mention the insurance fraud aspect (especially if it was Medicare or Medicaid)

    4. Working Mom*

      Yes, this was one of the first things I thought of. How much of what was diagnosed/billed was done incorrectly? And who knows what the intent was. I work in a healthcare field. If I were the OP, I would absolutely call the place I gave a good reference to, and share what I’ve recently discovered. Absolutely, hands down, no question about it. (Even if the Dr is no longer providing direct care to patients, the newly discovered level of documentation issues is significant enough in any relevant area of healthcare to call and address it.

    5. President of the Lutheran Sisterhood Gun Club*

      I’m a doctor, and I think this would definitely be something to report to whatever your licensing organization is (depending on what country you’re in, etc.). I think now that you know that he has been negligent, it is your ethical responsibility to report him so that he can be investigated and steps can be taken to make sure he is not putting other patients at risk from being in his care. He might lose his license, or they might decide he needs some education, or whatever, but I think you need to report him.

    6. rubyrose*

      I work in healthcare IT and just yesterday had to take my annual training on Fraud, Abuse, and Waste.
      Fraud – intentional deception, misrepresentation.
      Abuse – practices that are inconsistent with sound fiscal or care.
      Waste – spending that could be eliminated without reducing quality of care.

      Sounds like this guy may be doing a little bit of all three.

      There is both a civil and criminal False Claims Act. The civil one would be fines. The criminal one carries fines and imprisonment. These laws pertain specifically to Medicaid and Medicare.

      You/your organization needs to be talking to lawyer now, if you are doing government billing. I would also be reporting him to the state medical board. And it sounds like your practice needs to institute some method of monitoring the care your providers give.

  2. Brigitha*

    #1, if “in a different office” means in a different building, then you might want to go to the interview and feel out how much contact the position will have with the other office. If you mean down the hall then you might need to pass.

    1. Revolver Rani*

      Even if it means a different building – even a different city – I would encourage #1 to think very carefully about this. This isn’t just an awkward breakup – it’s an abuser. Do you want an abuser to have access to you via email and IM systems that you cannot block? To have your phone number? To know who the people you work with are, and have access to them, too? Even in different branches, it’s more of a connection than you might want.

      I’m sorry, #1, I know you really need a job and this sounds like a great opportunity – but please do make sure you are thinking through not just how you would react to the possibility of contact with him, but how he would react to suddenly having new and unavoidable ways to contact you. :/

      1. Case of the Mondays*

        So the friend I mentioned way below actually works with her abuser. She is able to block his IM and emails. But you are very right that he has an enormous amount of power by working with her bosses. He gaslights the F out of her. She ends up feeling forced to talk to him so he doesn’t make a scene in the office. I think he’s the one that would like an @$$ if he made a scene in the office but part of the problem is his reality and hers are so different. She talked to another man professionally. He thinks she cheated on him. She doesn’t want to deal with her coworkers hearing him scream at her for cheating when she’s not a cheater. The whole situation is soooooo f’d up. I’m not saying definitely no to OP but I agree you have to consider all of the issues.

        1. 42*

          Excellent post, I agree. I know abusive individuals, and if there’s any little opening available for them to make any kind of power play (and they’re very adept at creating one), they will. They can think up ways that we couldn’t even imagine.

          Think about this very hard, OP. You’ll be creating a connection with him that you don’t have today.

    2. JM in England*

      I had a somewhat similar experience to OP#1 earlier this year during the job search that led to my current posting. A recruiter put me forward for a position and my research on the company revealed that the manager of the department with the vacancy was a former boss. This boss was abusive and bullying towards me and several other coworkers at OldJob; in fact, one of these coworkers just walked out one day after over 30 years of service with the company!

      Consequently, I told the recruiter to withdraw my application. When asked the reason, I simply said that former boss was someone that I didn’t care to work with again (btw, I previously posted about this situation in a Friday free-for-all and obtained the advice about what to tell the recruiter from the commenters- I thank them for this). The recruiter then told me that there were other roles going at the same company but in different departments. I politely declined, saying diplomatically that I didn’t even want to be in the same town as former boss, let alone the same premises……………

  3. Jeanne*

    #2, This is one of those questions where I wish we had a lot more info. Your family wants you to take a job, any job, rather than your home based business. Is this an MLM where you are constantly bugging them to buy your products? Do you ask for loans? Do you tell them you can never have free time because of your business? Is it a dying industry? Family members don’t usually do this so consistently without a reason. (Unless your family hates for you to be happy which is a different problem.) Spend some time with someone you trust discussing possible issues with your business and I’m convinced you’ll figure it out.

    1. LeRainDrop*

      I think this is great insight. It does seem very weird that the OP would have so many different people trying to push her towards other random jobs. There’s got to be a particular reason for that, perhaps one of the scenarios that Jeanne lists.

      1. Not the Droid You Are Looking For*

        One of my dearest friends is a freelance writer, and has built a really solid career for herself. However she has a lot of friends and family who constantly push her to get a “real” job. As misguided as it is, it really does seem to come from a good place. I think some people just are not comfortable with the idea of not having a steady paycheck.

        1. MsChandandlerBong*

          I’m a freelance writer, too. For about the first six years, my mother couldn’t understand how I made my “Internet money.” She finally shut up when we went on vacation together and I had the money to pay for all of my own meals, half the gas expense, souvenirs, etc. Unfortunately, she still thinks I have it easier than she does because she works from 8:3o to 5:00 every weekday. She says I’ve never had to work a full day…she has no idea that there are days I start working at 8 a.m. and don’t stop until midnight, with only a few short meal and bathroom breaks in between. Some people just don’t get it.

      2. Cat steals keyboard*

        On the one hand it’s true that we don’t know what OP does, but actually this happens to a lot of self employed people. When I had my own business I was constantly asked if I was doing this because I couldn’t find a job, had people describe me as not having a job and once had someone try to force me to watch their dog as I was supposedly doing nothing.

        I worked in communications (I’ve since career changed to mental health) and worked on projects for very well-known companies and for the government, but nobody wanted to hear that!

        1. Artemesia*

          I know lots of people who freelance in this field and they are in every case the major support of their family i.e. make more than their spouse who is a teacher or has some other standard job with benefits.

        2. Juli G.*

          I didn’t realize so many self-employed people had this issue; I immediately jumped to a MLM from the letter.

          That’s why this is the best comment section on the Internet.

          1. Cat steals keyboard*

            They do! Commiserating with other people who are self employed and comparing ridiculous comments can help lots.

          2. the gold digger*

            That’s why this is the best comment section on the Internet.

            And also because everyone here is so civil. Sure, there is the occasional mild snark, but in general, everyone here is really, really nice.

          3. LeRainDrop*

            Same here. I had no idea how commonplace it is for people to treat their self-employed friends/family as if they don’t have a legitimate job! It’s kinda astonishing what gall some people have! In that case, I withdraw my earlier comment, as I had assumed that if so many people were saying these things to OP then they probably had a legitimate concern.

            1. sstabeler*

              it’s not just self-employed people- people that work from home can have similar problems- n that friends/family as them to do errands as if they don’t have work to do. (as in, ” since you’re at home anyway, can you…” rather than it being something that is legitimately easier for the working from home spouse to deal with. (basically, the implication being that it isn’t real work))

        3. Teapot project manager*

          My husband owes his own business, has 17 employees and 9 vans out on the field working in a service industry to residential customers. When he started it was just him with a van working out of his home. His mom asked him for years “why don’t you get a job”

          1. Pennalynn Lott*

            THIS! My boyfriend and I own a residential and store-front window cleaning business. His parents (a stay-at-home mom and an ex-lifetime-union worker who now draws a pension, both in their late 70’s) pestered him for YEARS to get a “real job”.

            One day after talking to them on the phone, he was stressing about his dad’s disapproval of our company and I said, “Do they know that we clear a healthy six figures each year?” and made him promise to (a) tell them that we’re incredibly profitable, and (b) ask them to stop the alternate job suggestions the next time he talked to them. He did, and they have finally stopped telling him that getting a job with a good pension [HAHAHAHA!] is the only way to be successful in life.

        4. Chickaletta*

          Yes, as a self-employed person I also get offers to go work somewhere else every once in awhile. For whatever reason, some people just assume that you’re “available” when you’re a freelancer/self-employed. This is actually not the case at all; if I was employed I’d be much more available than I am as a freelancer because then I wouldn’t have to close down a business and let go all my clients just to go work for them!

          OP shouldn’t read too much into it. It happens to all of us self-employed folk. As long as OP is doing fine financially and is happy with what they’re doing, just keep letting others know that you’re not interested.

      3. Artemesia*

        When I read the OP I immediately thought MLM and enthusiastic hawking whatever to the family and they are tired of either buying stuff they don’t want or having to fend her off and thus want her to have a real job. It is hard to imagine someone with a successful business who is being nagged to this level by family especially for low level jobs like security guard or retail. There has to be something going on that is bugging family or giving them the message that the business is a failure. Does the OP have health insurance? That would also be something that would concern a family who might feel they will be on the hook for such expenses.

        1. Government Worker*

          I also thought MLM. We try not to nitpick OP’s word choices or the amount of detail in their letters, but the word choice of “home-based business” rather than referring to freelancing or consulting or some other term seemed a little odd and in line with how a lot of MLM sales reps talk about things.

          Or maybe OP is working full-time selling her crafts on Etsy, and her friends and family don’t realize that it’s not just a hobby and she’s actually making a living at it?

            1. Allison*

              That does come to mind when I hear “home-based business” but I also picture someone who makes and sells things from their home, either via Etsy or their own website.

              1. Jayn*

                I’ve also known a number of hairdressers who worked out of their homes. I can imagine people in similar lines of work doing the same.

                1. Bexx*

                  I was a stylist for 12 years. I worked for myself for 11 of those years. It was common to be asked by family members why I didn’t work at a “real” salon. Funny how only a few made the effort to come see my salon! A few were long term clients eventually but the older family members could not believe a young stylist could support themselves without a bunch of coworkers.

                2. Government Worker*

                  That’s certainly true. My comment was based on the fact that I saw OP’s choice of the term “home-based business” as unusual, since many people would use terms like freelancing, consulting, self-employed, or sole practitioner instead. But with in-person services like stylists, where people come to your house as your place of business, I can see the term being used more.

            2. Whats In A Name*

              I have a friend who calls her business “home-based” but it’s not MLM. She does consulting and her office is at her house. A lot of what she does is computer & online work and she balances several clients at one time. Some of our friends and her family have this illusion that she is in some kind of crisis of career and worry about her. She makes 6 figures and has a solid career, but still gets “the talk” now and then from friends and family asking her when she is going to get a “real” job with a steady income.

              I am also self employed and work as a consultant (in a different field) but I work on site with my client and have an office. My family can’t seem to grasp the concept and are constantly telling people I work for this great company and get these amazing benefits when the reality is I don’t work for them and pay for health care out of my pocket and don’t get to participate in any of the other benefits (like paid continuing education and training). She has a much better gig that I do, yet no one chides me for my choice of self-employment like they do her.

              I say all that to say that people have preconceived notions, often don’t understand what other people do for a living. They also equate working from home to goofing off most of the time. At least in my experience.

                1. Whats In A Name*

                  “Have you ever thought about consulting?”…”Why yes, that is actually what I do now.”
                  (Bangs head repeatedly on table)

                2. LawBee*

                  “Consulting” seems so mysterious to me. How do you get that? What fields are good for that? Where do the clients come from? What do you DO?

                  I get the confusion – but I wouldn’t be pushing #2 to “get a real job”. I’m more likely to grill them on what they do. then again, every job that isn’t what I do is fascinating to me.

                3. Whats In A Name*

                  @LawBee I develop and facilitate classroom programs with Wellness Departments that focus on physical activity & health-related fitness. I also focus on other aspects of employee wellness (group activities, etc.)
                  Companies often don’t want to take on the expense of a FTE but want to offer programs to their employees, so this is a good option for them to have to get ramped up and started without having to add to someone else’s workload.

                  I also have friends who consult in fields like HR, doing everything from interim roles until FTEs can be replaced at high levels (think VP) or implement new payroll or system solutions. Once the transition is fully implemented they move on (if full-time) or work a certain number of hours with a variety of clients.

            3. Jonathan T.*

              To me “home based business” is a bit of an umbrella term. It could describe any kind of business run out of a person’s home as opposed to their leasing office or retail space. It could be a hair dresser, a CPA, a provider of child, pet or elder care services, someone who purchases and resells wholesale products or any number of other things. And this may come as a surprise, but I have known some MLM people who rented office space as they found it virtually impossible to work from home due to chaotic home situations, noisy neighbors and other things that hindered their ability to get work done.

          1. LawLady*

            Yeah, “home-based business” immediately made me think MLM as well, since my friends who are involved with those things use the exact same phrase.

          1. Rat in the Sugar*

            Multi-level marketing–think Mary Kay, Amway, Tupperware, Pampered Chef, etc. They’re all technically not pyramid schemes, legally speaking, but a lot of people get taken advantage of and lose a ton of money on this kind of thing thinking that they are creating their own business. While some people can be successful with it or just keep it small time so they can get make-up or tupperware cheaply, it goes badly a lot of the time.

          2. Rando*

            Multi level marketing. These companies have non-employee “consultants” sell products to friends and family basically.

        2. JB (not in Houston)*

          It’s not hard to imagine if you know the right people. I have a friend who has a good solo law practice going, but she has a number of lawyer friends from when she worked at a firm who try to get her to apply every single time they hear about an opening at a firm or government agency. These are people who cannot imagine living without a steady, consistent paycheck and benefits, and they have a hard time imagining that other people would be different. It is stressful for them that someone they care about is without those things, and so they try to get her to change.

          1. TootsNYC*

            The funny thing is that their “steady, consistent paycheck” is really only dependent on whether their law firm recruits enough clients. People with “steady, consistent paychecks” can find themselves laid off in a flash!

            If you’re on your own, you get control over how you recruit clients.

    2. AcademiaNut*

      I can see a number of possibilities that would explain such a widespread problem with the OP’s choices.

      – The OP has a dysfunctional family/social circle who also offers unwanted opinions and advice on the rest of her life as well – who she dates, where she lives, what she wears, etc. In which case it’s going to take a lot more than a stock answer to solve the problem.

      – The OP is in the habit of complaining more than she realizes about her business and its stresses, so they have concluded that she’s not happy and would welcome other options (or are tired of hearing the complaints). The solution here would be to vent less to family and friends, and find a professional organization to talk about issues with.

      – The OP is living in an environment where running your own business (or the type of business she has) is very unusual, and people honestly don’t grasp that she can be successful and happy doing what she is doing. In this case, Alison’s advice would be the best way to go.

      – The OP is in the habit of leaning on family and friends for financial or practical assistance (like loans) and they have concluded that the business isn’t enough to support her. Here, the solution would be to stop doing it.

      – The OP is depending on her family and social circle as customers, and they’re tired of it. For this, the solution is to compartmentalize her life – let friends come to her if they want to, but don’t pursue them as customers.

    3. Jonathan T.*

      I do affiliate marketing where I partner with companies to sell products-services in exchange for commissions. I do fairly well and never have to bother friends-family members to buy anything. Since I say very little about my business, as I was always taught not to discuss work outside of work, many people have no idea what I do. When I do mention it, they either don’t take it seriously or they are dismissive of it being legitimate. So many of my relatives kind of perceive me as this guy who just sits home, does something to get by and spends his days playing video games, watching television, “fooling around on the computer” and just having a “grand old time.” My family is very old school in the sense that either someone went out to work and physically reported to their job everyday, or it was assumed that they didn’t work and were either just sitting home being supported by others or getting by off of illegitimate means. So I consider their issues largely having to do with jealousy as well as assumptions and misconceptions.

      1. Jonathan T.*

        What gets me is the attitude of “I’m using my connections to do you a favor.” I struggle at times to bite my tongue and not point out how many times the person has vented to me about how much they” hate” their job, “hate” the company they work for and “hate” the people they work with. And now they expect me to forget all of that and join them in an environment that they themselves can’t stand being in? Their “connections” are little more than knowledge of an open position that is often posted on numerous job boards and the company website long before they pitch the idea of me applying for a position I really don’t want in an industry where I have no background or training. A lot of times, I think of it as sheer annoyance, and think that if I were actually looking for this kind of work they wouldn’t be the least bit interested in “helping” me.

  4. neverjaunty*

    OP #3, you should be talking to your malpractice insurance carrier YESTERDAY. And possibly also reporting Dr. Feel good to your medical licensing board.

      1. Troutwaxer*

        This is not always the best thing to do. You might want to do an internal audit first, then speak to a lawyer (or maybe speak to a lawyer first.) I say this as someone who walked into his medical billing job once and found that the building was filled up by people with guns/uniforms, some of whom wanted to ask me some Very Important Questions about what had been charged to (a particular entity.) Fortunately, these charges were a practice that dated to before I’d been hired, but the experience has made me very conservative when it comes to the idea that someone needs to charge off and report something.

        Thinks about it first.

        1. Clytemnestra Stein*

          Can you give more explanation about why to not report? From what you said it sounds like you don’t like the idea merely because it caused inconveniences at the workplace for you. I generally agree that having a lawyer to advise is very helpful in guiding one through something like this, but if it’s truly dire I don’t see why reporting may not be the best thing.

          1. Snuck*

            I assume Troutwaxer is talking about finding out the legal requirements and ramifications first. It could well be that telling party A gets you federal marshalls turning your office over where telling party B gets you time to do an audit and decide the narrative and thus keep your doors open for business. Both get to the same legal end point, one with less drama and public reputation destruction, because while dr Feelgood needs a kick in the bum the other docs at the surgery don’t deserve to be tainted by this and there is nothing like a storming gun toting cop to destroy a business’ reputation.

          2. Snuck*

            Another thought is that while things look shady someone needs to know whether they actually are. The legal definition and clinical expectations could be different… So he wrote he has done a physical and he check A B C and that is sufficient but standard clinical practice is to check D E F as well. He might not actually have broken the rules, he has done half and that might be a minimum requirement, and this while it is not best practice itmight not be criminal… So the licensing board might want to re educate him, but it might not be law courts and lawyers.

        2. neverjaunty*

          In this case, this isn’t just discomfort, but a doctor who is an active danger to his patients.

          You are absolutely right that the OP should talk to a lawyer, but that’s what the malpractice insurance is for (and she could waive her right to have them pay for a defense if she doesn’t promptly report).

    1. PackersFan*

      I second talking to the medical licensing board in your state. They take prescribing Opiates to patients who have active addictions very seriously (I say this working in a Primary Care Clinic where we had a doctor investigated by the state medical board for a similar concern.) The state medical board also probably has provisions about documentation and timely documentation expectations.

      As a side note, I just looked up my state medical board reporting requirements, and in my state working for a health clinic we would be required to report this person. You may want to check out your state medical board website.

  5. Augusta Sugarbean*

    #3 If you are in healthcare, first priority is patient care. Contact the company and update your reference. How would you feel if you called for a reference and someone knew your candidate was putting patients in danger and didn’t tell you?

    And report him to the licensing board. Ignoring abnormal labs and x-rays? Essentially falsifying patient charts? Giving opiates to addicts? Come on. Would you want this person treating your family or friends? You have an obligation to protect his future patients. And I wouldn’t discount you and your company being held liable also if you knew he was doing all these things and you didn’t report him.

    1. Tuckerman*

      Definitely agree about the importance of reporting this doctor’s overall pattern of poor treatment of patients.
      One thing I do want to point out. There are instances where it is appropriate to prescribe opioids to people with substance use disorders. Granted, since it sounds like this doctor’s practices are overall suspect it would be hard to believe he is doing it appropriately.

    2. Cathy*

      You would want to report him to the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General first. They are responsible for investigating and prosecuting allegations of Medicare fraud and abuse. Then you want to find out where your state’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit is located (some are in the Attorney General’s office, sometimes they are part of the local Bureau of Investigations) and cross-report to them.
      Both of these entities work closely with the various licensing agencies and can absolutely speed up the process of removing his license to practice as well as his DEA license if necessary.

    3. NPDBGJ*

      The phrase ‘do no harm’ comes to mind. I know it’s uncomfortable, but I think that the person who supported Dr. Feelgood and gave references as an ethical obligation to contact the people s/he referred them to.

      I also think that it’s better to come clean up front and admit it than pray it never comes to light and be publicized as someone who looked the other way. Start with the people the Dr. was referred to, then contact the State Medical Board.

      Let the state do the heavy lifting of figuring out who/how/when to contact everyone else. This sounds like a giant hornet’s nest and I would imagine that it’s better to have them on your side than at your door.

  6. Cat steals keyboard*

    #2: A lot of people just don’t get home-based and self-employed work and will assume you’re doing it because you can’t get another job. It sounds like that might be the case here. My award-winning journalist friend has a relative who asks if they are still &writing letters to the newspaper’, for example. And when I ran my own business a lot of people said things like: “so you don’t have a job!” no matter how fervently I insisted I did. I bet other commenters will have similar tales to tell. Say thanks but no thanks.

    #4: You mention the person who encouraged you to apply is on record saying he won’t hire internally and has done this before. Unfortunately I think you already have your likely answer but are struggling to believe what you know – it sounds like you might have written in hoping for a different answer, or for signs to watch for that mean you’re in with a chance. This isn’t a nice position to be in and I’m really sorry but I think you need to assume it won’t happen. I do wish there was an AAM magic wand that could fix this and other things though! (And as tone of voice gets lost online please know I mean that genuinely and kindly!)

    1. Emma*

      On #2 – I’m currently a freelance artist, and doing decently. I can’t count the number of people, even family and friends, who describe what I do as my hobby, who describe me as unemployed, who express complete bafflement that I have money to pay bills (you know, maybe that’s a sign that I have a job) – or who describe me as lazy and expect me to be able to do all sorts of favors for them.

      I heard all the same things, minus the hobby bit, when I did online customer service from my home. Then I also got accused of “goofing off on the computer all day.”

      No amount of explaining fixes it for the chronic people. They just see me as not going into an 8-5 job everyday, or don’t see me doing a job they understand, and so they … don’t understand. With them, you just have to let the comments roll off, or just shut down job talk entirely.

      1. Sophie Winston*

        And this not understanding isn’t limited to home based business. Some folks just don’t understand career tracks they have no contact with. My mother is convinced I’m a secretary, and she means that in the old fashioned sense of that terminology, and gives me advice on making my boss’ coffee. I actually have a management job requiring an advanced degree and professional license. But as someone who’s never used a computer, much less worked in a corporate office, she has no concept of the complexity of my work. She is constantly worried I’m living well above my means, and I can’t convince her otherwise. Of course, her solution is for me to find a husband, but my wife wouldn’t like that.
        Sigh. Yes, there are some mental health issues involved, so this is an extreme example, but still.

        1. ZVA*

          This is so true. My company manufactures chocolate teapots, but we don’t design them… and my grandmother is convinced we design them. I’ve attempted to explain what I do all day many times, but her comments make it abundantly clear that she still doesn’t get it. This stuff can be so frustrating.

          1. Hlyssande*

            My mom constantly tells people that I’m a corporate trainer, which is completely untrue – but she keeps doing it no matter how much I tell her that’s not the case.

            I do run training sessions for a homegrown application the company has, but those are a very small part of my job – and nothing like what an actual trainer would be doing.

          2. Kristine*

            I used to work at a company with the work “Yankee” in the name. My grandmother was convinced I worked at Yankee Candle. I did not work at Yankee Candle.

            1. Kelly L.*

              I used to work at a lovely liberal arts college whose name is a common last name for a person to have. Let’s call it “Johnson College.” Two hours away, there was a for-profit college that was named “John Johnson College.” No connection at all between the two. My mom thought for probably 8 years that I worked at John Johnson college and would not be dissuaded, even though I didn’t even live in the city it was in. She also thinks I’m a Project Manager.

          3. Ayla K*

            That is exhausting. I used to work at a bank, but I did event coordination for premium banking clients. My whole family referred to me as a “banker.”

            1. MegaMoose, Esq*

              Well, if you were at a BANK, you must be a BANKER!

              Related, I’m pretty sure every lawyer in the history of lawyers has been asked “divorces or DUIs”? Because those are the only two kinds of lawyers, for sure.

          4. Damn It Hardison!*

            My family thinks I work in banking. I’m in IT in a biotech. I have no idea how they turned that into a bank.

        2. Myrin*

          I’m so glad that my own mum, while for the most part not understanding what exactly it is that I do, is very supportive and also generally interested (especially if she gets to hear the weird stories about the weird people I have to deal with sometimes). The majority of people in my life don’t really get what I’m doing because it’s university-based and no one who’s close to me but one friend has actually ever attended university, so it really is a different world in a way. I do have some phrases I use which, while a bit simplifying, seem to get the core of the things I do across quite nicely.

        3. LadyKelvin*

          I get this from my family too as I’m an academic and no one in my family have college degrees. I’m a marine biologist and my Great Aunt constantly asks me if I am going diving with Jacques Cousteau. One of the skills I’ve developed is to be able to explain what I do so that anyone can understand it, because I have to do so every time I go home to visit.

          1. Charlotte, not NC*

            Your aunt apparently thinks you have skills as a necromancer in addition to marine biology, so there’s that I suppose.

          2. SimontheGreyWarden*

            If you ever see Jacques Cousteau while diving, make sure you go through proper decompression because those kinds of hallucinations can signal big problems. :)

        4. Natalie*

          Ugh, this. My husband is the only blue collar person among our friends, and for Reasons I won’t go into they are stuck on the idea that he’s a plumber. He’s not a plumber, or even doing a tangentially plumbing related job or pursuing a career in plumbing.

        5. Emma*

          Yeah, that’s definitely a good point. I also think that we have a tendency to minimize how much work goes into jobs we aren’t familiar with – I know my mother, a teacher, gets a lot of nonsense about how nice it is to have summers “off,” among other things, from people whose only exposure to teaching is when they were students themselves.

        6. Kriss*

          LOL. I’m classified as a seasonal employee & my aunt worries about me to the point she trolls my company’s job listing sites for the full time work & sends the listings to me. The last two times I told her that not only was I overqualified for the jobs she sent me, they would be a $20k & $25k pay cut. “but you’ll have benefits–you’ll have insurance & retirement.” “I have benefits–I qualify for everything they offer except the insurance & PTO. I buy my own insurance & taking a $25k paycut to save on about $5k of annual expenses for insurance just isn’t smart.”

          she just doesn’t get that in my case–seasonal employment doesn’t mean low pay.

        7. gmg*

          Co-sign all these examples. I moved back to my home state more than two years ago and took a job at a public policy nonprofit. I have now explained more times than I can count to various relatives what I do. Yet because the organization is based in our state capital, they continue to believe that I “work for the state” (which also gives them entree to complain to me about high taxes, etc). I suspect they will continue to believe this unless/until I get a job in some other town.

      2. the gold digger*

        I also got accused of “goofing off on the computer all day.”

        My husband’s father was a college professor. My husband is an engineer and he worked from home. He would work even when he visited his parents, but they didn’t think he really worked or that his job was that hard because all he did was spend time on his computer.

    2. Chaordic One*

      #2: Not to be rude, but sometimes people do become self-employed when they can’t get another job. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’m aware of several successful self-employed individuals who really would prefer to be working in a more conventional job with an employer, but who for various reasons are unable to get hired. There’s a lot of discrimination out there.

      Some don’t get offers of decent compensation. Some of them just do not interview well. Some of them are members of racial minorities, or are obviously GLBT. Others are overweight or are of a certain age (say over 50). One big advantage of internet-based businesses in particular is that no one sees you unless you want them to. And you can use an old picture of when you were younger or slimmer if you want to. In a perfect world they’d be snapped up in a minute, but we don’t live in a perfect world so a lot of people make do as best they can, and some of them do quite well.

  7. Cat steals keyboard*

    #5 Do you have to say they were cancelled – could you say they ‘ran from x to y date’?

    1. OP No. 5*

      Hi, OP #5 here! I don’t need to say they were cancelled, no, and there’s reason to believe that a potential employer might not realize they have ended at all if they don’t inspect MPOW’s web presence and note there is no longer any mention of the services (it depends on the diligence of the search committee). My uncertainty was over if I should try and avoid unspoken suspicions by explaining early, or if explaining early might trigger unspoken suspicion.

      1. sunny-dee*

        FWIW, I work in software, and about 70% of projects never get released. It is still totally acceptable to talk about what you did with those projects — it’s usually not software failures, it’s market changes that dictate what products go out. As a freelancer, I did a lot of report work for new businesses that may or may not have lasted 6 months (usually not), but it still goes in the portfolio.

        It’s really not necessary to explain that anything ended unless they explicitly ask what’s happening today — organizations change directions all the time. And adapting to that change is a good thing.

      2. Pwyll*

        I’m not sure this would even register for suspicion unless you brought up that they were cancelled. And even if they did ask “How are those programs doing now?” I think Alison’s language would be the right answer.

        For example, one of my former employers has since closed. I can only ever remember once that I was asked about it, everyone else has asked about the programs I worked on and those achievements, but not the fact that the business closed. Even if asked why the program is discontinued, the response can be something like, “The company has decided to move in a new direction away from (services), but I’m really proud of the work we did increasing widgets by x% while the program was still in operation.”

        1. OP No. 5*

          More good advice, thank you. I might borrow your language if it does come up in an interview. It answers the question, is honest, but doesn’t come across as speaking poorly of the decision to cancel it or the new management/model.

  8. Djuna*

    #4 I wonder if your manager is aware of the Deputy Director’s stance and trying to figure out a way to say there are no *external* candidates who fit the bill, therefore maybe the “never internal” rule should be broken in your case?
    I mean, it would be reasonable for a manager with a stellar secondee/temp to want to keep them, and to prepare arguments to deal with the obstacle to doing so.
    I realize that I could be being overly optimistic, but I think that’s worth considering too.

  9. Apollo Warbucks*

    #1 Never mind contacting him and the new work place, contact the regulators seriously this guy is incompetent and dangerous.

  10. Nico m*

    #4. Apply. and respond to all questions with some polite variant of “Ive applied, and Im the best candidate”.

  11. Some Sort of Management Consultant*

    #3 – I’m also wondering whether this would be an issue to report to the licensing board.
    It sounds… very dangerous, actually and not the kind of thing that should be ignored.

  12. Milton Waddams*

    5: It’s probably worth mentioning that people who have been around the block a few times know about the “cancelled project” trick — making decisions that look fantastic early on but that drastically increase the chance of project failure, then making sure that you have been transferred to the head of another project by the time everything hits the fan.

    If that is not what is happening here, it might be worth elaborating in your interview. If that is what’s happening — knock it off. :-) It looks bad for you, and causes a lot of problems for the staff who have to see everything through to the end, and for the over-optimistic project manager who inherits the blame for the death march.

    1. OP No. 5*

      OP No. 5 here. I’m not entirely sure what you’re accusing me of here regarding the “cancelled project trick” but, regardless, let me assure you that that is not what is occurring here. I’m not even sure that’s a scenario that could potentially exist in my field, given the nature of our work (maybe this applies in a corporate environment? I have no idea. It sounds highly frustrating, whatever the field). That being said, your comment embodies the very concerns I have. It’s my fear that potential employers will make assumptions and logical leaps based on their own experiences and assume something nefarious rather than the rather mundane reality that a new structure and culture was installed with different priorities and values. It sounds like it really would be best to avoid the caveat, lest I trigger unbeneficial postulation.

      1. Jessie*

        OP, no, Milton’s comment is an aberration I think. Really. Sure, there will be the occasional person who jumps to something nefarious, but businesses change all the time and most people absolutely understand that priorities change and organizations restructure. Adding a caveat to your letters/resume/phone screening to head-off the concerns of the few people who will jump to the worst-case scenario is not the best job-search technique. Most people won’t have an issue, and you’ll end up looking like a person who protests too much (i.e., is hiding something). It turns something into an issue that should not be an issue.

        Honestly, if an employer does jump to the worst-case scenario, that’s likely a signal that they have a toxic culture – it’s part of their norm, so they see it everywhere. That’s probably information you want to have.

        1. OP No. 5*

          You make a good point about possible signals of toxic culture at a potential new workplace. I once had a colleague who would do more than the normal amount of web-based background digging into candidates (up to and including their recorded price paid on their homes). I guess I was envisioning someone a bit like this when I worried about someone investigating my resume. But you’re right, if the culture of the organization and/or leadership would allow that sort of behavior or basic assumptions, it’s probably not a place I want to be (or, at the very least, I would want to know I was walking into it before I signed on). And it’s also, as you said, probably not to start from a position of defensiveness either. Thank you! :)

      2. Charlotte, not NC*

        I agree with Jessie. Milton is an outlier. Most people get that a company’s long-term whims do not reflect on the snapshot of time included on a resume.

        1. OP No. 5*

          Thank you! If this was an old/past job on my resume I’d be less concerned, I just wasn’t sure how to handle it with a job I was still in. This experience has been my first go-round with a massive reorganization and, subsequently, trying to apply for positions following one.

      3. Anonymous 40*

        As others have said, I wouldn’t worry about Milton’s comment. It’s the nature of project work that sometimes a project is canceled, despite the excellent work that’s gone into it. Personally I’d be wary of anyone doing project-based work who says they’ve never had one canceled. I’m not sure which blocks Milton’s been around but it sounds like a part of town you’d want to avoid. If someone makes the same assumption reading your resume, you’re probably better off not working in their environment anyway.

    2. the gold digger*

      What? I think that’s uncalled for, Milton. There is nothing in what LW wrote to indicate that she is trying to trick anyone.

      OP5, for what it’s worth, I worked two years as the data quality lead on an SAP conversion project that ended up being cancelled after I was laid off. I did not try to trick anyone. Nobody was trying to trick anyone. The work is all on my resume and nobody has ever implied that there were nefarious undertakings.

    3. Temperance*

      Okay so I definitely know people who do things like that, but that’s not even CLOSE to what she’s asking.

      1. Judy*

        Any time I’ve ever seen that, it’s been up at a director level or higher. And they’re usually on to the “next big thing” before anything hits the fan.

  13. StylishEntrepreneur*

    On 3, I personally prefer Dr. Willie Makeit. Dr. Feel good sounds horrible, awful, atrocious, the list goes on and on.

    1. LawBee*

      It’s Motley Crue!

      “Jigsaw Jimmy he’s running a gang
      But I hear he’s doin’ okay
      Got a cozy little job sells the Mexican mob
      Packages of candy cane
      He’s the one they call Dr. Feelgood
      He’s the one that makes ya feel alright”

      It’s actually really appropriate in this situation!

      1. NPDBGJ*

        …and here I was thinking someone was citing Weird Al Yankovic’s “Polka Your Eyes Out”. *sigh*


  14. eplawyer*

    #1 — I know this is tough because you are concerned about money. That makes it harder to walk away from any job offer. But please consider the things Alison said. The money won’t make up for the stress and anxiety of being exposed to this guy. Only you know how much interaction you can handle with him. Don’t try to rationalize more than you know you can handle just to get that paycheck. Your safety and well being has value too.

    1. Harper*

      And also, please consider the fact that, depending on him and the way things ended, he could see you coming to work where he does as some sort of attempt to rekindle the relationship from your side.

    2. AFRC*

      My question is what should the OP say if she’s offered the job but declines? If she tells the truth, it raises concerns for the employer about the boyfriend (and if that ever gets back to him – yikes), but I’d hate for her to make up something instead of telling the truth.

      1. PolarBearGirl*

        The OP could contact the company and say that, while she appreciates the interest, after further investigation and reflection, she believes the fit is not right and would like to withdraw her candidacy. (And working with a former abuser would indeed be a terrible fit!)

      2. TheOperaGhost*

        Additionally, if she does get the offer and declines it, depending on her state, she could loose the last of her unemployment early. I know in my state, PA, that if I’m on unemployment and I turn down a job, all additional money I could get is lost. I know she doesn’t have much more time on unemployment, but if she is scraping by as she said in the letter, it could be another financial hardship that she may not be able to face.

      3. HRish Dude*

        She doesn’t have to lie and she doesn’t have to say she’s not taking the job because of an abusive ex. She can just say she isn’t taking the job because it’s not the best fit for her.

  15. ZVA*

    Re: LW #2, I’m surprised so many commenters are jumping to “MLM” or “LW must complain about her job a lot” or whatever. This letter feels very familiar to me, though my situation is somewhat different. I’ve dreamed of being a novelist for most of my life, but I’m happily employed & focused on my current career for now… and my maternal grandmother constantly asks me how my writing is going, expresses concern that my full-time job is “interfering” with my creative pursuits, suggests I join writing groups, etc… I’ve told her many times how happy I am with my job, that it’s my priority for now, that writing is on the back burner, but she simply refuses to believe it. It makes me feel like she can’t even see me for who I am—just for who she wants me to be. It’s maddening & demoralizing when I let it get to me.

    Bottom line is, family and friends often think they know what’s best for you, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Based on the comments so far, this may be especially true for self-employed folks. I think Allison’s advice is good. Firmly tell them you’re happy where you are and repeat as necessary, but try not to let it get under your skin. You’ll never convince some of them—and the sooner you accept that, the happier you’ll be.

    1. shep*

      I’m also doing the day job (which I actually really like) and writing in the margins. I was lucky enough to also have family support in writing. My master’s degree is in creative writing, and my parents helped me foot the bill. But they realize that writing, even once you’ve secured a contract and/or an agent, isn’t going to pay the bills.

      My other creative hobby is making YouTube videos, and I’d only ever DARED TO HOPE ad revenue would generate some modest income. It’s taken off in the last few months, and now I’m making a VERY sizable part-time income. (I used to work part-time at a tutoring center, and I’d probably have to go back to working a full twenty hours a week to make what I’m pulling from YouTube for approximately five to seven hours of work.)

      Weirdly, I MYSELF had to start taking it seriously–at first I didn’t believe it could be a viable or relied-upon income, and I kept chastising myself for not focusing more on my writing outside of my day job. But then I buckled down and started treating video production like a real part-time position, and I’ve seen nothing but great results.

      I realize that’s not quite the same thing as you’ve described in your own experience, but I was just so surprised when I realized I was the one who needed convincing that what I did wasn’t just a hobby; it’s a job that brings in sizable revenue per month.

      1. ZVA*

        Yeah, my degree was in literature—fully supported (emotionally & financially!) by my family, so I’ve been lucky in that regard. But I think that trying to make a living from writing would break my heart (not to mention the bank). It would be great to make money off of a creative pursuit (I’m in the early stages of laying out a webcomic atm, and I do sometimes fantasize about leveraging it into ad revenue or a Patreon or something, as I’ve seen successful author/artists do), but my actual expectations are extremely modest in that regard, like yours were in the beginning… (Incidentally, I think modest expectations can be crucial to some kinds of success—and certainly to happiness!)

        1. Elizabeth West*

          *sigh* Ah, the fantasy.

          Mercedes Lackey is a Quora member and often answers writing-related questions as well as others, and she consistently gives the same advice over and over:

          –Only 10% of writers actually make a living at just that.
          –The percentage of those who make a living at ONLY fiction is even lower.
          –Get a day job that won’t make you want to open a vein, because that’s pretty much what you’ll be doing most of the time.
          –If you want to succeed at all, you basically will have no life. She said there was a ten-year period where she had no idea what happened in popular culture because when she wasn’t working, she was writing!

          And yet, we dream. :) IT COULD HAPPEN. IT COULD.

          1. ZVA*

            Yeah, I’ve long since given up on my fantasy of making a living off of writing! I felt sure that was my future when I was younger/more naive, but I know now that all but the most stratospherically successful writers have day jobs or other sources of income (Merritt Tierce had a great piece on this in Marie Claire recently)… and, to be honest, I don’t actually want to write full time, at least not right now. So it’s a combo of our cultural/economic climate and my own temperament, I guess.

            I do have stories I want to tell, but I’m taking my sweet time about it, b/c I do enjoy my day job & I’m not desperate to quit! But I do also think a lot about how we might make writing and other artistic careers more financially viable… guaranteed minimum income, etc. I hate that it’s so hard to make a living that way.

            1. Elizabeth West*

              Here’s the funny part, and it goes back to what we were talking about. Some members of my family have read my work and liked it, work that’s also been praised by pros in the field (yay! \0/). I like that they think I can actually do something well. But they also believe that because I’m a halfway decent writer that I can–and I quote–

              WRITE MY OWN TICKET.

              I wish that were the case. I really do. But I read that excellent Tierce article too. And I’ll add this Salon article by Ann Bauer– “‘Sponsored’ by my husband: Why it’s a problem that writers never talk about where their money comes from”. They make me feel slightly desperate, but not enough to stop.

              My family will never understand it. So I don’t try to explain to them that publication may take a long time, and it might not happen at all. When I do, I’m just being “negative.” No, dammit, I’m being realistic. And unless a miracle happens and I marry a f*cking film star (hey, it could happen, LOL! Dream!), I won’t have even what Bauer has. I’ll just have to clack away, exhausted, on the sofa at night. Alone.

              It’s disheartening. So I try not to think about it and I think about the book deal and the film star instead. :P

              1. Chaordic One*

                “‘Sponsored’ by my husband.” LOL!

                There is certainly more than a grain of truth to that one.

                Some successful artists and writers come from well-to-do families and many of them are “trustifarians.”

          2. starsaphire*

            I agree. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being one of the other 90%. :)

            Most artists have a “day job,” and my partner and I are both in that boat. I write romance novels; he’s a musician. We have full-time day jobs to deal with bills and rent and food. We both make so little from our art that it barely covers its own expenses. And we are quite happy.

            Dream the dream, by all means! I dream it too. With my butt planted in my office chair, and my fingers planted on my keyboard. :)

          3. Clytemnestra Stein*

            I somewhat disagree with the last pointer you listed from her (and I promise, I’m not being a grumpy troll about it! I mean this very sincerely and friendly-like), because it seems to me that “being in the world” should be a very large part of being a writer. In college I remember my poetry professor (who is now quite famous and lauded) saying that if we wanted to be poets, we needed to also study contemporary poetry (like, poetry in the last 20 years) because, how would we even know what to write and how to engage if we are not even conscious of the “conversation” that we are now inhabiting? I think some of it might be due to the fact that Lackey is a white fantasy writer and my old professor is a POC poet, so I can see the inherent differences in approach, but it still seems rather important (especially since I’m seeing a YA trend recently toward some publishers seeking more diverse/minority issues, which are more rooted in “the now”).

            I’ve also recently been dipping my toe into screenwriting and stuff, and I’ve been consistently baffled by the TONS of people who want to be writing TV or movies but insist that they don’t watch any TV because it’s all crap nowadays. And I’m like…how in the world can you even compete against the writers of Breaking Bad, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, House of Cards, OITNB, etc. if you don’t even know what they’re doing, story-telling wise?

            1. Elizabeth West*

              Yes, she writes fantasy, which doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be involved in real life! ;)

              Agree with the screenwriting. I’d like to give that a shot just for fun, but I’m under no illusions that 1) I can even do it, or 2) any film based on one of my screenplays would ever be good even if the screenplay were brilliant, because executives. :P

          4. Camellia*

            Yes, it could! Our niece’s fourth book just came out. These are real, honest-to-goodness, hardback, Young Adult books, movie rights picked up (although this is probably standard now for just about any YA series), walk into Barnes & Noble and see them on the first display, books. Is that cool or what?!?!

          5. Camellia*

            Yes, it could! Our niece’s fourth book just came out. These are honest-to-goodness, hardback, Young Adult, movie rights picked up (although this is probably standard now, for YA books), walk into Barnes & Noble and see them on the first display in front of the door, books. Is that cool or what?!?!?

          6. Cath in Canada*

            I’ve had a bunch of people assume I’m going to quit my day job when my book comes out next year. I just laugh and say that I know people who’ve written four or five very successful non-fiction books – people whose editors practically beg them to write another one – who still need day jobs. I was a bit worried that my boss might be thinking along the same lines, so I proactively let him know that the total amount I stand to make doesn’t even put me over our org’s threshold for a COI declaration :(

            Oh, and I often cite that 10% figure, too – NB it’s 10% of people who make money from their writing who can actually make a living from it, not 10% of all writers (since some make no money at all). And that 10% includes your JK Rowlings, your Dan Browns, and your Stephen Kings. The rest of us scrap for the crumbs!

          7. Candi*

            I have to object to this.

            Lackey’s advice only applies to traditionally published writers.

            For those willing to go into the business -and it is a business- of independent publishing their works, the advice is quite different. Although a big part is you have to be willing to produce, adding more and more to your available works.

            I know two authors -as in, I’m online friends with them- who make a good living -not six figures, but more than enough to pay the bills and then some. One takes care of her elderly parents; the other is married with three kids.

            For traditional publishing, Lackey is good. But for independent publishing, you want someone like Kristine Katharine Rusch. Her blog is at kriswrites.

    2. sunny-dee*

      Yeah, I was a freelancer for several years, and totally supported myself and was on a good career path …. and my family were convinced that I was unemployed and putting on a brave face. Some people just get a mindset that traditional office job = real work (or that traditional job = lack of creative fulfillment) and just can’t get past it.

      I smiled and nodded and if my aunt slipped me a twenty at Christmas, I took it.

    3. Chickaletta*

      Totally. I’m also self-employed (no, it’s not an MLM) and I deal with questions like this all the time. “How’s you’re business going?”, “Oh, you have clients to work for this week?”, “Are you getting business these days?”. And they always assume you’re free to do anything during the day. People ask me to meet them for lunch, for shopping, whatever, as if I had nothing to do. Although one of the perks of being self-employed is that I can schedule my day however I want, I still have work to get done! And, yep, I get asked to apply for jobs every once in awhile as if I wasn’t already working.

    4. Anonymous 40*

      I LOVE that your grandmother is so supportive of your writing over your job! I’m not trying to minimize her second guessing of your choices at all. It’s just refreshing to hear of an aspiring writer whose family isn’t a boring stereotype of “When are you going to give up this writing nonsense and get a real job?”

      1. ZVA*

        That’s a great way of looking at it, actually… I’ll try and reframe it in my head that way next time she starts in on this! People—tho not family, luckily—used to comment on my literature degree like that when I was in college all the time (“Good luck getting a job/making money,” etc.) so I know how annoying it can be.

        1. starsaphire*

          Oh man, I got that too, all the time.

          “What does an English major say after graduation? ‘Ya want fries with that?’ Bwa ha haa!” Ugh.

          I just smiled. I knew what I was doing, and I managed to pull it off just fine. :)

          1. ZVA*

            People have no idea how useful a lit degree can be! I don’t “use” it in my current job per se, but I sure as heck use the writing skills I developed while earning it… and get immense satisfaction out of a well-crafted work email.

            Also, I interact with a wide range of people for work—graphic designers, curators, gallery directors, etc.—and you might be surprised how many of them say “Me too!” when I tell them I majored in lit. We’re everywhere :)

  16. Sigrid*

    #3, as a doctor (albeit a newly minted one), I would say you absolutely need to inform his new place of employment. He is a serious danger to patients. And his documentation problems aren’t minor, they’re fraud (documenting an exam you didn’t do is illegal). That’s something to escalate up the food chain; I don’t know what kind of practice you’re operating in, but if you’re big enough to have legal counsel, they’re going to want to know. You’re practice is onen to liability as well.

  17. Liane*

    OP1: if you are in the USA & on unemployment, you need to figure out as early in the process as possible whether there will be so little contact with Ex that you will feel safe working there. If not, you should withdraw before they make an offer. In many states, you will lose those benefits if you refuse an offer. There may be exceptions for certain situations, but since you mentioned money is tight, you probably can’t afford to lose your benefit for any amount of time, even if you appealed and got it reinstated.

    1. Manic Pixie HR Girl*

      Additionally to this, LW#1, is there a local DV group you can contact? They may have tips or language that you can use should unemployment be an issue (you said they run out at the end of November, anyway, but obviously you don’t want them to end earlier). Additionally, they may have support group resources to share – it sounds like you are doing fairly well on your own, but even so it might be worthwhile for you, especially since you live in the same geographic area and there seems to be at least some overlap career wise.

  18. Blue Anne*

    Alison, I think I’m reading #3 differently than you. The OP has already told Dr. Feelgood that she’s not willing to be his reference any more. I think she’s asking whether she should contact the person she had already given a reference to, and tell them that her opinion of Dr. Feelgood’s work has changed since she gave him a good reference.

    1. Blue Anne*

      Never mind, that’s the second part. I’m apparently reading it differently because I’m not reading it properly. :)

      It sounds like she already told Dr. Feelgood over email though? Confusing…

      1. Manic Pixie HR Girl*

        I got the impression she was confirming that, in the future, should she say something proactively rather than wait to be contacted for another reference like she did this time.

  19. AMT*

    #3: Please, please, please do contact the place you gave a good reference! I work at a hospital and have worked with doctors and nurses with similar issues. It is absolutely terrible for both patients and coworkers, especially since it can be so hard to fire people (for comparison, there’s an admin my supervisor has been trying to fire for two years and an awful clinical employee who has worked here for thirty).

  20. Not Karen*

    #3: I’m confused as to how he got away with this for so long. Are there not nurses or other staff involved in the patients’ care? Every time I go to the doctor, the nurse or medical assistant goes through my chart first before the doctor even comes in the room.

      1. An MD/DO*

        That’s really not true (physician here). You’ve tended to have a really negative view on health professions here and in past comment threads that I’ve noticed. I am all for full accountability for all health professionals but I would respectfully request that you treat our profession with courtesy.

        (As a side note – I 100% agree with everyone here who has said this guy needs to be reported.)

    1. Pwyll*

      I’m not sure that the nurses would be in the room during treatment, though. So, if everyone knows the Doctor is sloppy with records, they may just assume the records are a bit off, not necessarily that the Doctor wasn’t doing the correct examinations.

      Incredibly concerning, but I can see how it would happen. The real question is whether the supervising Doctors have an obligation to report the conduct to their regulating agency.

  21. Merida May*

    #2 – You’ve gotta get good at standing your ground on this. I’ve actually had the opposite end of this occur in my own life. I went to culinary school and, while I ultimately wound up in a completely different field with a job I enjoy, there is a large portion of my family that feels like all I need is the correct amount of encouragement to realize my greatest dream is to be a restaurant owner. Some people just have a really strong opinion about what you should be doing and make no bones about telling you, doubly so if they are in the friends/family camp.

    1. KR*

      Same here. I’m a woman in tech and people love to lecture me about how if I can just train up a little I’ll be running my department soon and taking my bosses job when he retires! And so first I have to explain that no, I don’t have close to the amount of knowledge or experience I need to do something like that at this point, it’s not as simple as taking a few classes and him showing me a few things, and I don’t want to! I don’t love tech, I’m not passionate about it and I don’t want to do it forever. And yes I’ve explained this over and over to the (usually male) people who want to explain to me how I have so many career opportunities and” I’ll be running the place soon!”

      1. friendlyinitials*

        I’m in a similar-ish boat. I have a job in a field I’m not crazy about, but the pay is good and the people are decent so I’m staying put for the time being. Also there are aspects of my job that I enjoy, so my plan is to save money while I figure out the next step. My family are in turns telling me that I look unhappy, that this is not the job I always said I dreamed of doing, wouldn’t I be happier in another job? and telling me that I should really go for it and do all the training and pass all the exams and make this my career. They have 10000% more ambition than me, which causes a lot of strife in our relationship so now I just change the subject and try to keep our conversations light and breezy. I’ve accepted that we just have different views on this.

    2. YawningDodo*

      Reminds me when I was in my last year of college, finishing up a double degree in film studies, and revealed to another kid in film studies that I was going on to a graduate program to become an archivist because I’d changed my mind about going out to Hollywood and immersing myself in the film industry after getting more education on what that would actually entail. He assumed that 1.) me being in film studies meant I’d wanted to be a film director (I’d actually been aiming for editor before I changed my mind about the whole thing) and 2.) that I was giving up on it because…Idk, the man had beaten me down or something. Cue him sputtering “but it’s your dream! You have to follow your dream!” no matter how many times I explained to him that I’d decided I didn’t care for production work and wanted to go into a field that would allow me to focus on history instead. I finally gave up talking to him and I think he came away with the impression that he’d convinced me I needed to switch my life back over to “my dream” of being a film director.

    3. Rosamond*

      Yeah, it’s funny…I’m also in the opposite boat in that my family always wanted me to be a writer. I realized in college that I didn’t want that lifestyle, and moreover that I found writing pretty tortuous, even if I was good at it. Their “But you really want to be writer” business continued well after I had an established career. Last time it came up, I said, “Oh, I write stuff all the time for my job! A lot of it even gets published!” (In professional journals, newsletters, blogs, etc.). They were nonplussed because they think a writer writes novels, or for the newspaper.

    4. Wildflower*

      I get this a lot. I’m trying to get into publishing, but I just graduated with a BA in June and I can’t figure out how to get someone to hire me! My parents, however, are convinced that my true calling is to be a librarian. I’ve told them that I don’t want to get a masters degree right away, and I don’t want to take on that debt, but my dad still insists that if I just “put in that effort” I’d be “running the Library of Congress someday.” They have a ton of faith in me, which is awesome, but it’s a little too much to deal with sometimes!

  22. Case of the Mondays*

    To number 1, I see many different sides to this question and it really depends on where you are emotionally after this abuse. Do you have a therapist? Could you discuss it with him/her? I’ve never been in an abusive relationship but I am very close to someone who is. I also think the answer is different if he was physically abusive or “just” emotionally abusive. I’m sure you are aware of the cycle of abuse. The biggest thing I see with my friend is she has a hard time cutting him off. He has destroyed her self esteem such that she wants to prove to him how great she is and that she can do all the things he said she couldn’t. If something similar happened to you and you can go to work, look fabulous, ignore him, even if he tries to talk and re-kindle and just be a superwoman, than sure, go for it and get the best revenge. However, if he hurt you in a way like my friend is hurt and you are going to feel the need to talk to him, fall for his false promises, get involved with him to prove to yourself that you are now worthy of his attention then NO stay far away. For my friend, her abuser is like a drug and she has a very hard time going cold turkey or being tempted. If you need no contact to stay out of each other’s lives than this is a bad idea.

    If he was physically violent and the only reason you are safe is because he no longer knows where you live and work than I don’t think this is a good idea. But, rather than skip the job all together if different office means different building, I think AFTER the offer stage you can say that you just learned that someone you previously had a restraining order against (if true) or just you could say a former abuser, is employed in the other building and you would like to be assured that he will not learn of you working in your building and that you will have no group trainings or anything. Some companies are big enough for this to be possible.

    1. ZVA*

      Yeah, this is really tough, and I do think it depends on the nature of the abuse and the LW’s mental & emotional state, at least to some extent… My emotionally abusive relationship ended 5 years ago and I’ve had essentially no contact with my ex since then. The healing process has been long as hell—in some ways, I’m still healing. By a twist of fate, my ex and I ended up in adjacent industries, and I’ve come into professional contact w/ him recently—but luckily this was by my choice and on my own terms. I wouldn’t have been able to work with him 3 years ago—and certainly not under circumstances like the LW’s.

      The problem as I see it, LW, is that if you take a job with this company, your contact w/ this abusive ex will be out of your control. Unfortunately, I don’t think you can refuse to work with him, and it’s likely that you will end up in the same room with him eventually—and what if you’re assigned to the same project? Or he’s transferred to your office? If that’s something you can’t handle (and it sounds like it is), I don’t think you should take this job. The risks are just too great.

      LW, I really feel for you… and it sounds like you should keep looking. But best wishes either way.

  23. Jesmlet*

    #1- I feel for you… But don’t let your abusive ex screw up your career and your finances. There’s a vague way to phrase this if you get an offer, something like ‘I have a history with someone in another office and was wondering how much potential there is for interaction. It isn’t prohibitive for me (even if it is) but I just want to be aware… etc’.

    Allowing this opportunity to pass you by without even checking if there’s no interaction or wiggle room on the level of interaction could be seen as a continuation of the abuse because he’s affecting your life in a negative way. At least ask and feel out what the chances actually are before pulling yourself out of the running or turning it down.

    1. Franzia Spritzer*


      Moreover, when you show up, succeeding and killing it, you’re kind of rubbing it in you’re ex’s face that you’re doing well without them.

      Be prepared to put your shields up when and if you have to be in the same room with the person, know that there is nothing they can do to you at work, if they try you have recourse. Get yourself into your therapist to lean good solid coping skills to get you through the moments of sharing space with this ex.

      Don’t let this person derail your career, that’d be letting them maintain control over you. Prevail!

      1. Jessie*

        “Don’t let this person derail your career, that’d be letting them maintain control over you. Prevail!”

        Sometimes, the strong and safe thing to do is keep yourself out of someone else’s orbit. There is more than one way to “prevail,” and I think it does a disservice to victims of violence to push for healing and managing safety in only one specific way.

        1. Case of the Mondays*

          Yes! This is true after major tragedies too. I was at the Boston Marathon bombing. The whole “Boston Strong” thing and people going to the marathon the next year “so the terrorists don’t win” was very hard for me. I was still anxious in crowds and not at all ready to go back the scene of the crime during the same crowded day. I felt far worse because of all the rhetoric that I needed to be stronger to not let them win. It was like I was the cause of my current distress because I couldn’t just snap my fingers and magically rise above it. For those that can do that, it is awesome and I admire you and more power to you. But, you can’t expect everyone else to be able to do it too. Since the opposite of strong is weak it implies that those that can’t do what you have been able to accomplish are weak. That is not the case. Everyone’s definition of strong is different. For some, that is getting out of bed and going to work. For others it is going to a concert or flying in a plane. For others it is reliving the experience. We all push ourselves, our destinations are just different.

          1. Candi*

            Damn. You were there? My sympathies.

            You weren’t and aren’t weak. You were healing in your own time and way. Healing takes strength, which must be diverted from what that strength might normally be used for.

            Wanting to not have wounds reopened, to conserve strength, is perfectly reasonable.

        2. Jesmlet*

          Yes there are always multiple ways to prevail over past abuse and the right way depends entirely on OP. It’s not clear what the extent of the abuse is and whether OP’s presence there would be a rub it in his face moment or would put them in more danger. My interpretation is this isn’t a stalking/life-threatening issue because if it was, they would probably never consider working for the same company even if they would never see each other. If that’s the correct interpretation, then I think showing up and kicking *ss would be a nice way to lift themselves up and rise above the piece of crap that abused them.

          1. neverjaunty*

            Showing up and kicking ass somewhere she doesn’t have to fear being around her abuser is also a great way to rise above.

            1. Jesmlet*

              “Yes there are always multiple ways to prevail over past abuse and the right way depends entirely on OP.”

              It’s not clear if it would be fear or discomfort. Does she have a reason to be afraid of him still, or does she just not want to be around him because of the emotional weight of it? The only one who knows the answer is OP and I think working there is just as viable an option as looking elsewhere, especially if OP can financially float herself (but it seems like that might not be the case).

    2. Artemesia*

      This would depend on HOW abusive the relationship was and how damaged the OP is by it. I would be able to handle a former jerk but certainly wouldn’t want to be around someone who was crazy physically abusive or with whom I was truly fearful. She has to decide where her borders are and if with therapy she could cope. The fact that she wrote in suggests it is a threat to her — but it would be a shame to lose a valuable career advance over it.

      1. Wendy*

        Which is why it is not her responsibility to keep the guy away from her. It’s the employer’s responsibility.

        Here, incidentally, is how a good manager handles this. Suppose you have an employee who, unbeknownst to you, has a documented history of domestic abuse. You like this person and think he does good work. Then you hire a great interview who turns out to have been abused by this man.

        As a good manager, you now recognize that you were mistaken about the sort of person you’d been employing, and you wonder if his direct reports and coworkers have been treated okay by this guy. You look into the situation discreetly. You also talk to HR, if you’re a big enough company, and you find out what kind of liability might be involved. If all is well, you leave it alone, but you find a way for this new hire to work without contact with the guy who abused her.

        One thing you don’t do is complain about how this woman has dumped this situation in your lap, because you know that one thing you’re not looking to engage in is making abused people pay for having been abused. Another thing you’re not looking to engage in is victim-blaming with fantasies about how victims of abuse should become superheroes and behave as though they haven’t been abused. You place the blame for this where it belongs — on the abuser — and you recognize that as a member of society it’s your responsibility to help make sure the blame goes in the right spot. Yes, it’s kind of a pain, but so are other civic responsibilities, like jury duty and making sure you get to the polls before they close.

        1. Jesmlet*

          While it is the employer’s responsibility, you can’t always count on someone to take a stranger’s word over someone who may have a very good reputation. What OP can do at the very least is ask and it seems like this is what their question is:

          “but is it appropriate for me to say that I wouldn’t be comfortable working with this particular individual? Should I cut my losses and keep searching? I’m worried that time is running out.”

          The answer to that is 100% yes, you should voice your concerns and say you wouldn’t be comfortable. This is what my comment is about, that they should speak up and ask and not just pass on this opportunity because they’re afraid of how the manager would respond.

          1. RVA Cat*

            You know, it may be a good idea to be up front about the situation with the hiring manager. How they respond should tell you a lot about how they handle conflict and risk.

            1. Jesmlet*

              That’s a good point. I would still start with vague and see how the respond and if they’re not accommodating right away, then delve into more details, but that’s just my preference because I’m a bit private and wouldn’t necessarily want to provide those details if it wasn’t necessary.

        2. NPDBGJ*

          As a new manager (about nine months), you’d better believe I want to know YESTERDAY if my company employed a person who abused their partner. There’s just too much room for issues. Even if they don’t work together – how is it going to play out when they are in the kitchen together? Or if they have to walk by the abuser’s desk to use the copier? And as a manager – how do I know they don’t abuse their team members?

          Yeah, I’d mention this in the interview and make sure the potential employer knows.

    3. Wendy*

      Please do not victim-blame by telling the victim of abuse that she’s doing something wrong if she doesn’t turn into some kind of imaginary creature of steel and “prevail” in a manner that makes sense to you.

      If you’re a manager, please read up on abuse so that you understand its effects better.

      1. Jesmlet*

        I’m rolling my eyes because I’ve been in a very similar situation and I’m clearly not coming from a place of blaming the victim. I just want them to consider all the options before they make a decision. Prevail was not my word, and everyone handles every situation differently. Some want to just move past things like this, others would take the opportunity to prove to the abuser that they’ve gotten past it, and there’s no right or wrong way to handle it. It’s up to OP but it’s better that they have all the information before making a decision.

        Clearly the right thing for the manager to do would be to believe OP and do everything to accommodate. And trust me, as a manager and a victim of DV from both ex boyfriends and parents, I understand the effects perfectly well.

  24. LuvzALaugh*

    OP 4 I so feel you. Crying at your desk. I use the bathroom stall and the commute. Do my best as well, great reviews, take on new things whenever possible, have all the education certifications and past experience and can’t even get an interview for the open position because of bitter manager who it took 15 years to move into the role she wanted says and I quote ” you don’t just get to walk in here after a year and be a manager” Well, I may have only been here for a year but I was in the same field at the job I came from and quite frankly doing more as I wasn’t under a stifling micromanaging professionally jealous and bitter shrew so thanks for the feedback on how to be qualified for the role next time it opens. Thanks but no thanks if I have to work here and pay my dues for 15 years to be as bitter as you Job Hunt on.

    1. Whats In A Name*

      I recently had to have this discussion with a client. Yes, my actual business is new but I have more than a decade of experience. That is what makes me good at my job. Luckily this argument worked and I secured a lengthy contract but some people sometimes equate competence with a calendar and don’t factor in outside circumstances. The trick is having someone open enough to have the discussion and it sounds like your manager is not that person.

  25. Anon for now*

    Wow, #3! OP, that’s terrible. I hope you will amend that reference, tersely alert Dr. Feelgood that “I cannot provide you with a reference anymore” and let that be the end of it in terms of communicating with him (you can ignore any calls and emails from him on this subject), really think about notifying the medical licensing entity in your state and his new state about these issues with patient care, and consider consulting legal counsel. (I’m not sure how you are affiliated with the other physicians you work with, but could an audit of this doctor’s documents impact you and the other doctors? What if a payer wants to audit the records? Something to think about and be prepared for.)

    1. BabyDoc3000*

      An audit can definitely affect the OP and the other doctors. Insurance/Medicare fraud is taken VERY seriously, and can lead to big time expenses for the practice- fines, yes, but also reimbursement of all of the “fraudulent” charges. Reimbursement by the PRACTICE, not by Dr Feelgood. So basically if fraud is proven, OP and his/her partners will be paying back Medicare for the money Dr Feelgood made during his tenure there.
      There can also be medicolegal repercussions for the other docs in the group for reporting, and for not reporting. Basically if you knew, or should have known, that your colleague was messing up and didn’t stop him, you can be on the line too. And it sounds like everybody knew about the shoddy record keeping- just not the degree. So the question is, will reporting now protect you in the event something happens (because once you realized the degree you said something), or will it simply bring to the attention of the state board that Dr Feelgood has been “sloppy-pasting” for years and none of his partners thought it was that big of a deal? I honestly don’t know, but it might be worth checking with your malpractice carrier before taking any other steps.
      FWIW, I would notify the new practice regardless of anything else. If nothing else, a doc-to-doc (or NP-to-doc, or whatever everybody’s credentials are) phone conversation- they’ll probably be exceedingly grateful to OP for the heads-up, even if they’ve already hired the guy.

  26. Wendy*

    No, no, no, no.

    The unemployed woman does not have to pass up work because the abusive ex is there. No. That is wrong. You’re suggesting that she keep on paying for the fact that she’s been abused, and that is the wrong answer.

    The unemployed woman interviews and, if all goes well, gets the job.

    At that point she can tell HR about any documented history of abuse. It is then the employer’s responsibility to see that he is not in contact with her.


    1. memoryisram*

      I can’t imagine my abuser wanting to even know where I worked, but there are varying degrees of this sort of thing. In a perfect world, yes, HR would do something about it, but if he has seniority, it’s a he-said-she-said and I’m not 100% the company would have her back, especially with her being new.

      Honestly OP #1, I would keep looking.

      1. Wendy*

        Note the word “documented”.

        This is one of only about a billion reasons why it’s important to document abuse.

    2. neverjaunty*

      It’s not our job to tell the OP what she’s comfortable with.

      Some people would be fine in this situation as long as the company could insure they didn’t work together. Other people would not be, and would constantly be on guard about the abusive ex now knowing where they work and having the opportunity to mess up their lives further.

    3. Emma*

      Ah, I see. So instead, she should put herself in danger, banking on people valuing a new hire over an established employee.

      Look, I get it’s far more satisfying to just go “take back your power! don’t let him trample all over you!” but it’s not that simple, and acting like it is is dangerous. Sometimes the safest, wisest, healthiest thing you can do with an abuser is avoid them.

  27. Former Retail Manager*

    OP#1….some other considerations for your situation:
    — What position does the ex hold and could he potentially wield power over you or influence the decisions of those that do have power over you? Is there a possibility that he could ever manage you or torpedo your career at potential new job?
    — Does he really like/love the job and does he have an incentive to be on his best behavior in the interest of keeping the job/not airing his previous dirty laundry about his past behavior? (Most men don’t want it to be known that they ever abused anyone, be it verbal or physical. The negative connotation is enough to torpedo his career, potentially.)
    — In the last 2 years has he moved on? Long time girlfriend or perhaps gotten married?
    — What was the level of abuse? (I realize that this question will likely be unpopular but I believe there is a HUGE difference between someone that physically beat you regularly or within inches of your life and someone that was perhaps verbally abusive and broke a plate or punched a wall. While breaking things is violent behavior, there’s a difference in breaking stuff and breaking your face.)
    — As a result of the abuse, has the abuser potentially sought or been forced to seek counseling? Perhaps it’s been years since the event(s) occurred and he is no longer that way?
    — Is there a known pattern of abuse with others before you or after you?

    I think all of this should be considered along with your feelings. If you’ve been unemployed for 4 months and this is the first real viable offer you’ve gotten and are on the brink of financial ruin (or close to it from what it sounds like) I think these factors are worth considering. All that said, if the mere thought of a random encounter as simple as “good morning” in the hallway terrifies you or makes you sick to your stomach or makes you fear for your personal safety, then you shouldn’t put yourself in a situation where emotional fear will greatly impact your ability to perform at your best. Even if you take the job and this whole ordeal blows up in the future, for whatever reason, you are risking being let go and having a bad reference or no reference at all. No doubt it’s a tough spot to be in. Best of luck!

    1. OP #1*

      Hi! AFAIK, though he would have seniority at the company, we would hold similar titles and positions. So he wouldn’t necessarily be in a position of power over me.

      I actually ended up going for an in-person interview for this company. Some of the initial details I’d gotten were off – I would indeed be at the same office, but likely not on the same projects.

      Unfortunately my industry is small enough that unless I leave the state, the likelihood of overlap is high. I count my blessings daily that the majority of my abuse was mostly gaslighting and verbal, not physical, and things that would not stand in a professional environment.

      At the conclusion of the interview, I ended up talking with my potential manager about the situation in very vague terms, and she was very, very understanding. I’m waiting to see if an offer is made, and I will likely end up taking it – my unemployment has run out sooner than I expected – and looking elsewhere in the meantime.

      Thank you – I know there’s no way this is an ideal situation, but as it stands, I can’t make rent for November and need something like, now.

      1. Justin*

        I know you’re desperate but that’s not a good idea. He may try to abuse you at work in some way or stalk you or something.

        1. Bumblebee*

          She doesn’t seem to have much choice. Practically, sometime you have to take a bad situation for a little while you plot and plan for something better.

          OP – If you must take it, don’t beat yourself up about it. But do start aggressively saving. Start working to be in the place where you can have a year’s worth of expenses in your bank account. Start looking out of state and aggressively networking. Don’t let this guy threaten your long term wellbeing.

      2. Wendy*

        I’m glad both that you went to the interview and that she was understanding.

        You’ve actually made me wonder what protections exist for someone in your situation under VAWA, so I’m off to find out.

      3. Candi*

        LW: If you get the job, from the first moment you deal with him, establish boundaries. Draw a line and stick to it. He may push; stay professionally polite and don’t give.

        That’s what helped me after I walked out on my ex. Divorce and custody proceedings meant I still had to deal with him. Stand your ground.

      4. atma*

        Good to hear back from you. I wanted to post and say talk to the interviewer about the situation and if they’re supportive, give it a chance. Hearing that the manager is supportive is very good. I hope it works out for the best. IF he hasn’t pursued the abusive behaviour after the relationship was over, there is a good chance he’ll leave you alone.

        And please keep looking for jobs. In case you end up not feeling comfortable there you will be ahead for your net job

  28. Justin*

    With number 5, I think this might be a case of taking the common and very good advice to show accomplishments on a resume and then taking it a little too far. Assuming that if a project you worked on wasn’t finished or assuming that if a program or product you created or contributed to was perhaps discontinued or phased out, that you basically didn’t “accomplish” anything.

    I used to overthink my resume and job searches and I can see where someone might get the idea that the only accomplishments that matter are ones that are still standing. You can build a perfectly good house, and if someone tears it down and builds a bigger house or builds an office building instead, or even leaves the lot vacant because they don’t want to maintain the house, it doesn’t mean you didn’t build the house and do a good job of it.

    1. Justin*

      OR if the house doesn’t get completed at all, it doesn’t mean you didn’t do a good job building the frame or pouring the foundation, and you could still say that you accomplished those things.

  29. Jules*

    #4 Never assume you are getting the job unless the offer is in hand

    I am sorry that you are in this situation. I was a contractor before doing a role and going above and beyond but when a position opened up, someone else was hired. That candidate they ended up hiring was inexperienced and had no transferable skills either. But I ended up it a better situation in the long run (a few years later). Maybe you will get it if you apply, maybe you will not. What you can do though is to keep performing your best so that when the right opportunity appears on the horizon, you are ready and able. And when people recognize your work, even better. As cliche as it sounds, sometimes we don’t get what we want now, but around the corner, awaits something better.

    1. JM in England*

      Well said Jules!

      I too take the same approach to job offers. In fact, I apply a key principle of my industry (which is heavily regulated) to everyday life. This principle is : “Anything not in writing is just a rumour”……………

  30. seejay*

    LW#1: without getting into the details, when I was 18, the place I worked at hired someone that I had a bad history with. Not directly with but there were connections and because of it, there were people that would show up at the workplace that put me in a *very* uncomfortable position, and this also included legal issues. I approached my manager about it and told her some if it (avoiding details because I didn’t want to get into it since it was humiliating and embarrassing) and was basically told to just suck it up and deal with it.

    Of course, this was a minimum wage, low paying high school job for an 18 year old and they could afford to just replace me if I didn’t like it, but it was a terrible feeling, especially since I had to stay inside the business and this coworker would be hanging around outside with some of his friends, including the particular person that there were “issues” with. It was terrifying. I don’t know if I could ever go through it again. (I honestly can’t remember if I wound up leaving the job because we moved away or if the coworker left before me, it was awhile ago).

    LW#2: Lesson I’ve learned to do with my mother, who insists on trying to push her beliefs/will on me: shut the conversation down with “this is the last time we’re having this conversation, this is my answer, my answer is no, and if you bring it up again, I’m hanging up / walking away.” It doesn’t always end it from happening, but it does cut down the number of times it happens. (My mother’s insistence/arguments that I move back to our home country has dropped from one every two months to one a year at this point, the most recent being two days ago when she insisted the US is going to catch fire in civil war after the elections are over, no matter who wins. *eyeroll*)

  31. Librarian Ish*

    Hey OP#1, I haven’t had a chance to read through all the comments so this might have also been missed. You didn’t mention if you have a restraining order against this person or not, but if that is something you think you would need either now or in the future, that’s another thing to keep in mind. Unfortunately I’ve seen judges who would look at getting a job at the same company as your abuser a sign that you’re “not really afraid” of them, and that could lead to a restraining order being dropped. Hopefully that’s not something you need to keep yourself safe.

    I also second the idea of visiting a DV resources center.

    All my best. This isn’t the sort of choice anyone should have to make, and I’m sorry. I would love to hear an update, especially one where you have a new, great, and safe job far away from them.

    1. OP #1*

      I don’t have a restraining order against him – I’ve genuinely had no contact with him for over two years, and didn’t have any need to get one at time of separation.

      I may look into a DV center if an offer happens to be made, though.

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