when a manager keeps saying he took a chance on you, boss keeps canceling meetings, and more

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

1. Manager kept reminding me that he took a chance on me

Is it appropriate for a manager to constantly remind an employee (in one-on-one check-in meetings and evaluations and the like) that they “took a chance on him” by hiring him because he didn’t have the skills required, needed training, etc.? And to use this “fact” to attempt to motivate the employee to work harder to prove that the chance they gave him was appreciated? And then to text the employee’s cell phone after the employee has quit and gotten a new job because the manager heard the employee complain (on Facebook) about something he didn’t like at his old job, and the manager felt like he wasn’t being grateful enough for the chance that was taken on him?

Isn’t EVERY hiring choice taking a chance on someone? If you regret hiring someone later, shouldn’t you either live with it or fire them, rather than constantly remind them that you hired them even though they weren’t qualified?

Yes. And that manager was being ridiculous and a real jerk. Every hiring decision is indeed taking a chance on someone, just as every decision to accept a job is taking a chance on an employer and a manager. And yes, if the hiring decision turns out to be the wrong one, the manager’s job is to give candid and direct feedback, determine if person can make the needed improvements, and transition them out if they can’t. And texting a former employee to complain after the person doesn’t work there anymore — well, if you didn’t already know that this guy was ridiculous, there’s your clincher.

Your old manager is a terrible manager and an ass, and you should have no qualms about erasing him from your head.

2. My manager keeps canceling our meetings

I’m a recent college grad at my first office job, which is at a school district office. I’m here as an Americorps VISTA, which is a one-year volunteer commitment for which I’m compensated just enough to live by the federal government. My coworkers and supervisor are all wonderful, considerate people and I’m learning a lot about professionalism and work culture.

The problem is that my supervisor is very busy, being fairly high up in the district chain of command. She is pulled in a million directions and supervises nine people as well as an entire program at the district. I understand that as a volunteer doing indirect service my time isn’t as valuable as the superintendent’s or the program coordinators’. However, my supervisor never accepts my meeting requests, even when I schedule them for very open days in her calendar far in advance. She also double-books herself over these meetings that I try to schedule. This is especially frustrating because when I ask her in person to meet, she says “put it on my calendar.”

Recently she double-booked herself during an important meeting with a potential partner that I scheduled a month ago. I had even rescheduled it twice to accommodate her schedule, and she never accepted it to put it on her calendar. The meeting she scheduled over mine is with the superintendent, so I understand she takes priority. This is a common occurrence though, and it has started to make me feel like my work isn’t important, especially because I have a co-volunteer who seems not to have any trouble getting on our supervisor’s calendar.

How do I handle this? Do I need to swallow my pride and accept that she just doesn’t want to reserve time for me, or is there a tactful, professional way that I could bring this issue up?

Talk to her in person and say this: “I’m having trouble finding time on your calendar that doesn’t get booked over. It’s really important to me to meet with you and talk about how things are going. Can you tell me how to book time with you that we’ll be able to reliably plan on? Or if that’s not realistic, what can I do differently to ensure that we’re able to meet once or twice a month?”

Also, talk to your co-volunteer who does meet with her successfully and ask for her advice. You might discover that she knows some trick that would help you, like that your manager is more available early Tuesday mornings or something like that.

3. How to tell my boss that I can’t work with a client

I recently got hired at a studio as a dance instructor — a job I’ve been trying to get for years. I also found out I’m pregnant with my second child and am 27 weeks along, so I’m dealing with a lot of stressful emotions. Recently, a woman contacted the studio wanting info about classes I teach. However, she’s already an instructor somewhere else for the same subject. She has a history of being confrontational and aggressive and often makes up blatant lies about colleagues in the industry, to the point where she’s been banned from events/organizations. I go out of my way to stay away from her since she unnerved me even when I wasn’t pregnant. Also, she knows I’m the instructor since she cornered me one day and tried to intimidate me into sharing gym time (I couldn’t because the studio is the one paying for their students to get the whole gym).

How do I tell my boss I don’t feel comfortable being around this person when this is my first year working for them? I dont want to turn away clients, but I feel sick, shaky and on edge even glimpsing her from a distance.

“I wanted to give you a heads-up that I can’t let Lavinia Livermore sign up for my class. She’s a zoomba instructor herself and she has a long history of being hostile and aggressive to other instructors, to the point that several organizations have banned her from classes and events. I prefer not to open the door to problems with her; frankly, she scares me. I wanted to talk to you about how to ensure she doesn’t end up in my class.”

4. LinkedIn etiquette after a death

Recently, a manager died. We have removed his contact entries on our own company website, but I’m wondering what the etiquette is regarding his LinkedIn profile, which he used quite a lot. It’s within my powers to log in to his account, but I don’t know whether I should contact everyone he’s linked to inform them of his passing, change his details/status to say he’s died, or simply delete his entire account. What do you think?

None of that! This is something his family should decide, not his employer. While it’s true that LinkedIn is used for business, it’s still his personal account and not one that his employer should take control of after his death.

If you think that you’re the only one who has the ability to log in to his account, you could contact his next of kin to pass the info along, but you shouldn’t do anything else.

5. Should a manager tell her assistant she’s resigning before she tells everyone else?

Does a supervisor owe her assistant any sort of notification when she gives notice? I have suspected for some time now that my supervisor was looking for another job–she’s had some pretty big clashes recently with fellow clergy in our office, and she is assistant clergy, here five years already, with no chance to be promoted. I opened her email today to help sort and organize everything, and then there I saw it. She gave official notice yesterday to the senior clergy and president of the congregation. There has been no email or message for me, and she is not in the office today. There will, however, be a big staff meeting with everyone in a few hours and I’m sure that the news will be shared then. Is it too much to expect that she would have contacted me separately, so that I would not potentially learn at the same time as all of my colleagues?

Well … ideally, yes, she would meet with you one-on-one to tell you before she tells everyone else (not before she tells her own boss, of course, but before she tells the full staff). But I’ve learned from writing this site that many people are really weird about resigning and have odd ideas about protocol and how to do it. Hell, there are still people who think they’re supposed to resign by leaving a typed letter on their boss’s desk.

I think this falls into the “not ideal but not a huge deal” category and I’d try not to be too irked by it.

{ 267 comments… read them below }

  1. Natalie*

    LinkedIn (like many social media sites) has a process to handle accounts once the person has died, which shouldn’t require their log in credentials. I think it’s wise to leave it to the family, but if they don’t do anything with it in a few months you could just contact LI yourself.

    For any other social media I don’t think this would be appropriate for both practical and emotional reasons, but LI is a little different since it’s mainly for networking.

    1. Generation Catalano*

      I don’t think you should do this. A few months may not be a long time for a bereaved family. This is not your call. Even on LI.

      1. Mookie*

        Seriously, a LinkedIn account is doing this company precisely no harm*. I actually have the same advice for LW4 as I do for LW1: past and present employers don’t own you in perpetuity. A person’s career and resumé is their own. There is no reason to meddle with it or treat death as an incidental circumstance needing to be managed like a loose end needs tying up or an account needs auditing for optimization. Death, excluding the work-related sort, is a personal experience, not a professional one that requires an employer’s input.

        *I suppose maybe if you squint at it a bit a LinkedIn account still listing a person’s position and contact information within a company might briefly confuse people, including applicants, but the company website reflects the current personnel, so nobody should be using LI to substitute for a quick trawl through that or a directory.

        1. Artemesia*

          I read this more as a kindness to family who might not know. I see nothing wrong with contacting a family member with condolences and asking if they would like you to take care of the notification of the account since you have access. If there are other business related details to take care of, this might be included in the list when the person from the business contacts the family.

          1. Cath in Canada*

            I realised a few years ago that the vast majority of my in-laws (huge family) don’t have LI accounts – they’re not in careers where it would make any sense to have a profile. So when my MIL was in hospital following an aneurysm and we were trying to contact my BIL, who works on a lot of short contracts overseas, I was the only person who could find his current employer’s name (seriously, BIL, answer your cell phone and check your personal email more than once a month!). So there definitely are families out there who wouldn’t think of LI, even if they were proactively closing down a deceased relative’s other social media accounts.

        2. Amber T*

          100% agree. And even if you squint real hard, I still don’t think it’s the company’s responsibility. Imagine yourself in the position of reaching out to someone on LI and finding out later that that person had passed away. My response would be “oh man, I had no idea, how sad!” and figure out Step 2 (whatever it may be) from there. I don’t think any reasonable person would find fault with the company. Of course we know reasonable people don’t make up 100% of the population, so sure, there might be some people that’ll get angry. But I have a few choice words for them that wouldn’t be allowed to post here.

      2. Natalie*

        Eh, I have a hard time imagining a grieving family regularly perusing their deceased love one’s LI page, assuming they even know the person had one. *Maybe* if the person used LinkedIn a lot. It’s essentially a resume and a list of business contacts, and won’t be used after death except by accident.

        1. Natalie*

          On second thought, the presence or absence a grieving person isn’t really the difference for me – I just view LinkedIn as a fundamentally business oriented item, rather than a personal or family oriented item. I wouldn’t leave a dead colleague’s voicemail box active, or keep their bio up on the business website without noting they had died, even if I thought it would give the grieving family some comfort.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            It’s a business item, yes, but it’s still not the employer’s call. It’s the family’s call. It would be like the employer going in and updating your LinkedIn profile if you were incapacitated in the hospital; it’s just not theirs to mess with.

          2. Snark*

            No; it’s a fundamentally career-oriented item – to support an individual’s career and networking efforts, and to remain in touch with colleagues and other contacts. It’s not – not not not – a “business” item that one’s employer has a stake in. One’s professional life still has personal elements. Your employee’s professional life and their job may have a good deal of overlap, but it’s by no means total. I use LinkedIn to stay in touch with academics in my field (I’m a consultant), conference contacts, and mentees, not just to do my job.

          3. Elsajeni*

            But the account is owned and set up by that individual, not by the business — it’s more like trying to change their bio on their personal website so it no longer says “Currently, Elsajeni is VP of Spouts at Chocolate Teapots, Inc.” than like removing their bio from the business’s website. Or think of it as if they had changed jobs or retired, rather than passing away, and hadn’t updated their LinkedIn to reflect the change yet — you might be annoyed, and if you could reach them you might ask them to hurry up and change it, but it wouldn’t be okay to just go in and change it for them.

      1. Laura*

        Thank you. A man died from my church a few weeks after his wife, and LinkedIn keeps suggesting him to me. I’d like to report to them that he’s deceased.

        1. the gold digger*

          LinkedIn continues to suggest I connect with my dead mother in law.

          1. She has been dead for almost two years.
          2. She – didn’t work. She could have done nothing for me professionally.
          3. She hated me.
          4. LinkedIn had no reason to suspect I even knew her except of course they went into my email somehow, which sounds paranoid but I swear it happened, as LinkedIn also suggested I connect many other of my email contacts who were not even on LinkedIn.

          1. Jean*

            I get suggestions for people on my email list all the time. I must have at some point authorized that, but I sure don’t remember doing it.

          2. mskyle*

            They don’t necessarily have to get into *your* email (though a lot of these services make it hard to avoid giving them permission to do so) – they can get this info from your contacts’ contact lists, or from mutual contacts’ contact lists.

          3. Lora*

            It happened when Google bought LinkedIn. If you have a gmail account, any contact in your email inbox will be suggested as someone you should connect with/invite.

            1. Snorlax*

              LinkedIn is not owned by Google. It was acquired by Microsoft in 2016 but the capability for LinkedIn to suggest connections based on your email contacts has existed for much longer than that.

              1. Lora*

                Thanks for the correction.

                Weirdly, it only pulled contacts from my gmail address. My other email address from the ISP was untouched. I guess that’s why I thought it was google? Does it do the same with other email host services like yahoo and hotmail?

          4. Venus Supreme*

            I have a theory that computers can listen to what you say and then use that information for related ads, suggested friend requests, auto-fill google searches… etc. It sounds kooky but I’m convinced. Our devices are listening to us.

    2. Estate Planning Atty*

      It’s also probably a violation of their terms of service for the poster to be logging in anyway. People do this all the time, but don’t realize that there can be penalties for doing so. There’s penalties depend upon what’s written into the TOS. It’s a contract and one has to abide by it whether or not it makes sense.

      When I have clients who asked me if they should log into their deceased relatives’ various accounts, I point this out to them and tell them that it would cost a lot of money to have me render an opinion as to whether or not it was a violation and what the penalty would be as many of the TOSs are labyrinthine. I also tell them that I can offer them no advice as to whether or not it would be worth doing even if there was a penalty.

      Personally, I would log in to my mother’s or my husband’s account without any hesitation. I would never log in to a colleague or employers account.

      I understand that a lot of people do this, but it still doesn’t mean that it’s “legal.” The fact that I’m to and has a post- death process we’re dealing with accounts makes me suspicious that they have a policy against people logging in to other’s accounts just because they have credentials.

      Legally speaking, if OP had been given permission to login by her boss while he was alive as his agent , that permission ende in the moment he died.

  2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

    OP#1, your old boss is a real class act. I’m glad you’re no longer working with him.

    OP#5, are you concerned that you weren’t told, or are you concerned that her departure means you may lose your job?

    1. Morning Glory*

      +1 for #5, I was wondering this as well! Hopefully OP’s job is secure, but it’s not unheard of for the old assistant to be let go if the new person decides to bring in her own.

    2. AK*

      OP # 5 here — my job is secure, especially because I also have a lot of duties outside assisting her. It’s more that we work closely together, so I thought it would be a courtesy to be told in person and not as an afterthought. And even after writing in, I found out that there were other colleagues she told in person a day or two before she told me.

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        I’m so sorry, AK :( It’s true that it would have been way better if she had told you personally, and it’s lame that she didn’t. My hope is that she was just being thoughtless, which is not great… but it’s slightly better than if she actively decided not to tell you personally.

        But I hear you—I, too, would feel frustrated and a little hurt if I were in your position.

  3. So Very Anonymous*

    OP #1, can you block this guy? Because it sounds like he deserves blocking, both literally (no more text messages!) and figuratively (as Alison said, erase him from your head!)

    1. Michele*

      That old boss sounds really unstable. That is just bizarre behavior. I would definitely block his number.

  4. Artemesia*

    #1 Are we not overlooking the fact that the OP complained on facebook about the workplace. Yes, the contact was inappropriate and childish by the boss, but the provocation on facebook was also inappropriate. You just don’t whine about your workplace on line; very uncool. (unless I am reading this wrong somehow since neither Alison nor anyone else has picked up on or mentioned this yet.)

      1. Artemesia*

        Yes I agree. The boss is a jerk to rise to the bait, but it is extremely uncool to rank on your old workplace on line. There is sin on both sides here.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Eh, we don’t really know. The OP says he complained “about something he didn’t like at his old job.” That could be something as minor as, I don’t know comparing the parking situation at the old job and the new job. Or the vending machines. There are lots of innocuous things that wouldn’t be a big deal to post online. If I’m wrong and the OP did really trash the old employer, then yes, of course that’s bad judgment … but it still doesn’t justify the boss’s behavior.

          1. Lora*

            There’s loads of criticism of ex-employers that I am happy to own, which my bosses would actually agree with wholeheartedly:

            ExJob’s cafeteria served food that was greasy and starchy and huge portions and fried and unhealthy, and we all got food poisoning from there more than once.

            ExJob’s open office plan was THE PITS, nobody could focus.

            ExJob’s layoffs were extremely demoralizing, continuing in waves for years on end, and we lost many good people.

            The location ExCEO chose for our pilot plant was driven by economic reasons and had real problems with contamination from the neighboring sewage treatment plant.

            ExCEO was a crummy leader because he did not have the appropriate qualifications for leading a technology-driven company. Thankfully, he was replaced by the COO who had more relevant education and experience.

            Those are all absolutely true and documented by Forbes, the NYT, Bloomberg and various other publications. There’s nothing special about me saying that. In fact, I would probably be thought of as a lying, disingenuous phony if I didn’t openly acknowledge those things when asked directly. When I ask people about their workplaces which I know to be a cesspool, if they aren’t fairly honest about it (even if couched in euphemisms) or talking about how they are dealing with it and trying to make it work, I get suspicious of everything else they are telling me.

              1. Lora*

                It’s one of those, you try the pasta and get sick, and then two months later you’re in a hurry and you think, “I’ll just get salad, how can they eff up a salad bar?” and you get sick from that too.

                1. V*

                  I would think that the salad bar would be much, much worse. Maybe it got into my head from Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential, but I tend to view restaurant salads (especially salad *bars*) as contaminated and dangerous.

              2. Elizabeth West*

                Twice, but I never set food in a KFC again. It was the same one–however, as I shouldn’t eat it in any case, the incidents made it much easier to avoid overall.

            1. Snowglobe*

              Artemesia said twice that the boss was not justified in what they did. But conversely, the egregiousness of the boss’s behavior doesn’t mean that it is ok to publicly trash the employer,*if* that is what the OP did. I agree with Alison that we don’t know what the complaint was, and it might not have been that bad. It’s still not a good idea to publicly say negative things about a former employer, especially if your privacy settings are such that former boss can read it.

                1. hermit crab*

                  Yes, and also, we know this boss has questionable judgement. I don’t think we should be taking their word on what constitutes a “complaint”!

              1. the gold digger*

                I don’t know what LW wrote, but sometimes, facts are just facts. I, for one, felt nothing but blissful glee the day I learned that the horrible CEO at my old job had been fired by the board. My former colleagues and I all wondered why it had taken so long.

        2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          This is a false equivalency. We don’t know how severe the criticism was, but there are plenty of workplace gripes that are totally appropriate to put online. Further, most people think they’re speaking in a personal capacity when they write a Facebook post, and I think most readers take Facebook critiques with a grain of salt. OldBoss contacting OP about it is unnecessarily petty and jerk-y.

          1. RVA Cat*

            Yes. It’s like a smaller version of the fact we all know people aren’t supposed to peddle illegal cigarettes in the street, etc. but that doesn’t mean police are supposed to KILL them.

        3. Mookie*

          There’s nothing in the letter to suggest that the comments were intended to serve as “bait.” The LW was not trying to mortally wound anyone, but express anger / frustration / whatever in a platform well-suited to just that. The boss is living in a dream if he thinks this is the first time an employee has vented. Venting is a universal job duty.

        4. OP #1*

          Hi, OP #1 here. I was neither baiting nor “ranking” my old workplace. I was posting in a large networking group on Facebook about my career journey and stated that flexibility is very important to me, and my previous job wouldn’t allow me to work from home for any reason, so I quit that job and got a new one that did and I was much happier. I did have a parenthetical “Don’t even get me started on that” after saying I couldn’t work from home at the last job, which I would probably have toned down had I realized the old manager was also in the group, but as I said it’s quite large and I didn’t know because said manager had never posted or commented in the group before at all.

          1. Fafaflunkie*

            Thank you for the absolute proof: this boss was (is!) a complete jerk. Best to ignore whatever he says or does, unless it gets to the point of harassment, in which case I’d sick the authorities on him.

          2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            Frankly, that sounds reasonable, OP#1, and not at all out of line (even with the parenthetical expressing frustration over the policy). Your ExBoss is not a reasonable/decent person, at least insofar as his work relationship with you is concerned.

            1. EmmaLou*

              Ohhh and now I want a ding-dong. First Elizabeth with the KFC and now ding-dongs… Goes back to willing sugar-free mocha to turn into creamy hot chocolate.

          3. Whats In A Name*

            I don’t even think this is a criticism. I think it’s a preference. Some people prefer an office and set hours; some people prefer flexibility.

            Your boss is an asshat.

          4. the gold digger*

            As I said – sometimes facts are just facts! Not being allowed to work from home is not “My boss is a big smelly jerk whose mother dresses her funny.” There is no personal insult in stating a fact.

          5. ElleKat*

            op1 – Don’t give the old boss another thought. I was part of a large group hire in an org which had a strenuous 90 day training period/probation. Several people didn’t “pass” the training but I did pretty well.. when day 91 rolled around they called us in one-by-one to meet with the VP of HR (“affectionately known” as the ice queen) and wouldn’t you know – she said that I must be so grateful because they took a huge change hiring me.. I was crushed.. my morale plummeted and my motivation suffered. Turned out that was her standard patter in all the meetings… silly cow…
            So please don’t take it personally….it says more about your old boss than you!

          6. IP*

            OP#1 – I had a similar experience but many years ago before the internet (seriously, it was before the internet). I was graduating college and needed a full time job. My manager got me a whopping $1.50 raise meaning I was making $1.50 above the minimum wage. He held that buck fifty over me every freaking day until I left (which was only a few months). He was an ass. Your old boss was an ass. And an ass who looks for crap to be upset about. Good on you for getting out. Don’t look back.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Without knowing the context, it’s hard to say for sure. It’s possible that it wasn’t particularly egregious. Regardless, though, the boss is way more out of line than the OP was.

      1. neverjaunty*

        Odd how nobody brought up “don’t criticize your boss online” during the Worst Boss Contest.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          To be fair, people are anonymous here, and not on Facebook. So it’s different. But I’m guessing that whatever the OP may have posted has to pale in comparison to what the boss has done.

          1. always in email jail*

            I don’t care if one of my ex-employees posted “So glad not to work for that b*tch anymore!” on their facebook, I don’t have a right to contact them about it!! Especially through a text!

          2. Hiring Mgr*

            My old workplace was infested with owls, and when I mentioned this on facebook it garnered about 12 likes. So i think it’s all about stating a fact, not purposely trashing anyone

              1. Karen K*

                Bats here as well. One of the perks of actually having a belfry in the oldest section of the hospital.

          3. Christine*

            Why don’t people block their bosses on their social media accounts? I have my boss & some of my co-workers blocked because it’s private, it’s my time away from work, and I do not want to hear about my FB comments etc. at work. I have a couple of friends at work that I have friended, but it’s limited. Too many people allow “friends of friends” to see their posts, that is an extremely large group and could include someone you do not want to see.

            To me the same rule with e-mail applies to FB. If you don’t want it forwarded or a screen shot taken, do not post it. I have a friend at work that does our PR, she says you need to look at FB as a job application. If you do not want your employer or a prospective employer to see it, do not post it or lock the privacy down.

            I also recommend that the poster changes his password, just in case the employer has the ability to pull passwords from the computer at work; if he’s logged onto his FB account at the prior job.

            1. Anna*

              I think this is a fairly paranoid reaction to what boils down to a pretty innocuous comment and a pretty outrageous reaction from a ding-a-ling of an exboss.

    1. Purple Dragon*

      I wondered about that too but the comment could have been something innocuous like “I love my new job – it’s better than my last job”. My company brought out a draconian social media policy so my strategy is that I don’t mention anything directly or indirectly about my company/boss online unless I’m anonymous (like here). It just isn’t worth the grief.

      OP#1 – I agree your ex-boss is a nutter. I would seriously not mention anything on any non-anonymous forums about him or your previous company. You might also want to start considering who at your previous company you might be able to use as a reference in the future, ’cause I don’t think he’s going to be good. Although I think if a reference checker got the “I took a chance on him” spiel they’d hopefully think twice about putting too much faith in what he says.

    2. Mookie*

      You just don’t whine about your workplace on line

      Yes, you do. Glassdoor exists and people do exactly that, sometimes with their own names and everything. There’s nothing unprofessional about it and employers should anticipate that former employees will do it, just like a reference. Beyond a non-disclosure or other binding agreement, employers have no expectation of privacy. The medium doesn’t invalidate the process and it helps applicants make informed decisions.

      1. Freya UK*

        Heck yes.

        “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” [Anne Lamott]

        1. Morning Glory*

          Well, this assumes the person writing is an objective, reliable narrator, right?
          I’m on the OP’s side in this case but as a general rule, the last half of that quote seems like a dangerous carte blanche to trash talk people.

          1. Sas*

            True. But, the people that care about the writing being objective are almost never the ones that put it all out there without thinking.

            1. Morning Glory*

              Yeah – that is true. My point was that this quote seems like the sort of thing I might see Lucinda post on Facebook right before she launches into a diatribe about Fergus about x. And then I might see Fergus post that exact same quote right before complaining about Lucinda, also about x.

              Again, this has nothing to do with the OP – I defend OP’s right to complain about a former job on Facebook. I just think the quote can be abused to rationalize bad behavior, because people can be slow to see bad behavior in themselves, and quick to see it in others.

      2. Michele*

        Exactly. Also, I think that a lot of employers have employees to scared to speak up. In the long-term, it is actually bad for a company to not know if they are doing something wrong, but more importantly, employees shouldn’t have to live in fear that they might cross some invisible line with a former employer. They have the right to have opinions, and as long as it doesn’t violate a confidentiality agreement and isn’t libelous, a former employer doesn’t get to tell them to not express those opinions.

      3. Jessesgirl72*


        How else would people be able to do the “due diligence” before taking the job?

        If what the OP said was a lie, that’s one thing- but she has the right to share her story about a bad employer, to save the rest of us!

    3. Zip Silver*

      Millennial here. In general, it’s best to not post anything on non-anonymous social media beyond “I’m doing this with my life” or dog pictures. Opinions should stay off facebook, for the most part. That’s especially true with politics and work.

      1. Oryx*

        I’m not entirely sure what your being a Millenial has to do with anything but as another Millennial, I have my FB locked down specifically so I CAN talk about politics and work. My Twitter is public and I sometimes talk about politics there but I also know my company well enough to know they don’t care.

        1. Freya UK*

          Same (another Millenial). I have my FB on full lockdown and my flist intimate (family and people I actually consider friends) so that I can express myself freely. What’s the point otherwise?

          1. TL -*

            Facebook isn’t the cause of drama – there’s this beautiful phrase, “okay, thanks but I’m not discussing it now.”
            You can definitely keep your facebook how you want it, but using it for a political platform or to complain about life isn’t an inherently bad thing.

          2. Oryx*

            Just because someone wants to engage in a conversation over turkey at Thanksgiving doesn’t mean you have to reciprocate. There’s also no rule that you have to be friends with family members on Facebook (although, I do know that can cause it’s own level of drama depending on your family).

            I’ve gotten into arguments with family before over our differing political opinions. I’ve also shut down conversations when I didn’t think it was the appropriate place to have them — like, say, over turkey at Thanksgiving.

            Facebook itself as a medium is not the catalyst for such drama.

              1. Oryx*

                I had a cousin-in-law unfriend me after I posted some left leaning stuff on FB and then about six months later sent me a friend request. Um, no.

              2. Mike C.*

                Yeah, my brother’s brother in law blocked me after he became upset that I wasn’t willing to take his word about “how dangerous vaccinations were”. He expected me to sit through some fake documentary but was completely unwilling to engage in any scientifically vetted material.


          3. SarahTheEntwife*

            Not all Facebook posts have to be visible to all people. Facebook does make it irritatingly hard to keep track of privacy settings, but you can absolutely set up friends filters to have people-I-discuss-politics-with posts and work-griping posts and innocuous-cat-pictures posts just like you would filter your speech in person.

          4. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            But your family dynamics/drama are not the OP’s, and it doesn’t make sense for everyone to manage their own personal and professional relationships by one person’s yardstick.

      2. Jesmlet*

        Another millennial disagreeing here, this is why you don’t friend your coworkers on social media which is supposed to be an outlet to express your opinions (or at least that’s what it’s turned into)

      3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        This might be your practice, but it is not and should not be a general rule for social media (certainly not for Facebook).

      4. Elizabeth West*

        I don’t talk about work on social media, nor do I friend coworkers or bosses unless one or both of us are no longer at the company. I prefer to keep those things separate. But if I have an opinion I want to share with my friends/followers, or publicly, I will. This is my social feed–it’s not on LinkedIn, and I don’t talk about it at work.

        I also decided that even though I’m job hunting right now, I am NOT going to hold back on Twitter re resistance, posting links to voting calendars, retweeting climate change stuff, etc. I also retweet pictures of kittens, but if you don’t like any of it, don’t follow me.

    4. OP*

      Hi all, OP here. I wouldn’t say I “complained on Facebook about the workplace”. Rather, I was a member of a large networking group on Facebook in which I posted about my career journey and I mentioned that flexibility in the workplace is very important to me, and my former job would not allow me to work from home ever (and made a parenthetical comment saying “don’t even start me on that”), so I quit that job and got a new one that did. I didn’t realize the manager was also in the group or I may have toned it down a bit more, but even so I feel like the comment was relatively harmless.

      1. Mookie*

        OP, to reiterate others: you’re fine. The boss is proving you right. Glad to hear you’ve moved on to greener pastures!

  5. Greg M.*

    minor but amusing typo “to the point that several organizations have been her from classes and events”

    she’s such a problem that an entire organization transformed into her.

    sorry just found that one funny.

  6. Sorgatani*

    If the manager mentioned in #1 behaved that way towards a friend or romantic partner, it would raise red flags.
    I’m glad that OP #1 escaped.

    1. Cassandra*

      I had an ex-boss show up at my house (to which he had never been invited) once. It was scary. I pretended not to be home, and he went away and did not repeat the contact attempt.

      So… yeah. Some people.

    2. Junior Dev*

      Yes! It reminds me of all my crappy exes rolled into one. “Remember that you’re terrible and I’m a saint to put up with you..BUT ALSO if you leave me I’ll pitch a giant fit and obsessively stalk you for months.” Good job escaping from that job, OP1!

        1. Jadelyn*

          I’m so glad I’ve learned this phrase here. It makes it so much easier to talk about people’s bad behaviors.

  7. Generation Catalano*

    #1 That sounds like bullying and harassment to me. Also, if you have a skills gap what your manager should do is coach you or I arrange training.

    #2 It sounds like you’re talking about two kinds of meetings: managerial supervision and meetings with other contacts.

    I’d check the agreement for your employer to have people from that scheme as I think it’s not really on if you’re not getting what the scheme thinks you should be getting.

    We’ve had a lot of letters lately about bosses that cancel meetings or can’t be pinned down. Is there something in the water?

    1. JB (not in Houston)*

      Yes, I also got the feeling that there were two different kinds of meetings the OP was trying to schedule. OP, if that’s the case, then when you’re talking to the supervisor about how better to set meetings, make sure you’re are clear that you are asking about both meeting with her for your feedback and also meetings with third parties. She may want you to handle those differently.

    2. Rainy, PI*

      Piggybacking on this–#2, definitely talk to your opposite number who does manage to schedule meetings. It’s possible that those days only look open on boss’s calendar because she holds them for specific tasks and meetings, so they’re actually stealth full. I used to do this in my last role–I would refuse to take meetings or anything else on specific days because I knew that I would spend that whole day with a mallet bopping mice as soon as they stuck their heads up. Occasionally I’d have someone say “but your Thursday is totally open” and I’d be like “…my Thursday is TOTALLY closed.” And frankly, I should probably start doing it again.

      1. Snark*

        To the contrary, you should never do that particular thing again. Having been on the other side of this, it’s tremendously frustrating and annoying when you’ve got to second-guess whether open is busy, and get smacked for the reasonable assumption that open is open. If your Thursday is closed, fill it with a calendar entry, don’t leave it open – title it “Unavailable” or “Putting Out Fires” and communicate clearly.

        1. Rainy, PI*

          I don’t use the Outlook calendar–if someone asks, I tell them what my availability looks like and we work from there. Someone who tries to use my Outlook calendar is always going to have problems, because I don’t use it, and make that absolutely clear to everyone.

          What I meant was that I should start scheduling those mouse-bopping days for myself, because I still need them.

      2. Annie Moose*

        In such a case, shouldn’t you tell people that, though? Or at least put something on your calendar to block the time? If the supervisor is letting people schedule meetings for that time, and then just booking over them without going “hey, actually, don’t schedule stuff on Thursdays”, that’s not the LW’s fault, it’s the supervisor’s.

  8. Midge*

    #2 if you can’t get anywhere with your supervisor and your co-volunteer doesn’t have any helpful advice, I would suggest going to your VISTA coordinator as a last resort. Part of her job should be making sure your placement is successful, which includes being able to meet with your boss. If you really can’t get anywhere with your boss, I would ask her for advice. Or if you think she has a good relationship with your boss and could pull off this kind of conversation successfully, ask her to talk to your boss and gently remind her that one of her obligations as your supervisor is to meet with you.

    I was an AmeriCorps volunteer right after college as well, and my supervisor was out for a month or two due to complications from surgery. Luckily the other staff at my site stepped up, but I don’t know what I would have done if I had just been left without any support.

    1. Artemesia*

      But this is last resort. The OP should deal with this herself and will have learned a lot if she is able to make this happen. I liked Alison’s advise here to be clear about her needs in person and to point out that she HAS booked on the calendar and that isn’t working — put the ball back in the boss’s court here, clearly, calmly and politely. Always best to handle this yourself if possible as it always undercuts the impression of competence to have the coordinator have to come in and fix it. ANd yes, it is sometimes necessary to do that, but give it another round or two with Alison’s suggestion.

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        Midge isn’t telling OP to go to Americorps first. She advised OP to follow Alison’s advice, and if Alison’s suggested approach is unsuccessful, to consider checking in with her VISTA coordinator. I would recommend the same thing, along with Generation Catalano’s suggestion to review the placement agreement/contract (it will often spell out the responsibilities of the host and the volunteer, as well as providing a conflict resolution process—or at least it did when I was an Americorps volunteer).

          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            FWIW, Midge, I thought you were pretty clear about that—your post reads, “I would suggest going to your VISTA coordinator as a last resort” (emphasis mine).

      2. Michele*

        It might help to talk with the boss and find a set weekly time when they can meet. I found that I was going for weeks without talking to my boss. He has a million meetings, and ones that we had scheduled would always get pre-empted. By setting aside an hour every Monday afternoon at 3:00, it became a fixed meeting in his mind and he became more aware of how often he was scheduling other things on top of it. It became something that he needed to set time aside for instead of something that slipped into his calendar.

        Also, if you don’t have a set time, scheduling a month in advance can actually hurt you. It gives the person plenty of time to forget after they accept the invitation. Then they look at the calendar and wonder where that meeting came from.

        1. Newby*

          The supervisor may be too busy to have a weekly meeting. It may help to have a clear purpose for the meeting when scheduling it. For example, say that you need help with a specific problem or that you want some advice about a specific program. A vague meeting for checking in may be very low priority in her mind while if there is a specific purpose you might be more successful. You could also try making the meetings you are scheduling shorter so that they fit into her schedule easier.

      1. Grits McGee*

        You may be thinking about the Peace Corps, which does work in foreign countries. Americorps and its various components are all based in the US. Most of the programs and associated groups (VISTA, NCCC, Teach for America, Student Conservation Association, etc) tend to focus on issues stemming from poverty, disaster relief, or the environment.

      2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        Yes. I think all Americorps placements are in the U.S.—it’s often described as a “domestic Peace Corps,” although its goals and administration are slightly distinct.

  9. Katie the Fed*

    2 – do you really need to be scheduling meetings with your supervisor? Is it possible she’d prefer to give you feedback in more informal settings, or through email? I tend to be more informal and I don’t love the idea of scheduling formal meetings 1-on-1 with my employees, unless it’s for performance reviews or similar.

    Maybe she’s just not a meeting person? Can you email her a short overview of exactly what you want to discuss so she can weigh in on how she’d like to address it?

    1. EW*

      The supervisor keeps telling her to book some time on her calendar. The supervisor also sounds too busy to just “drop by” when her calendar is free (if it’s ever free?).

    2. SignalLost*

      The other person in a similar role has no trouble getting meetings with this person, and she keeps telling OP to put it on her calendar. There’s something personal going on here.

    3. Jesmlet*

      Maybe the issue is that she puts things so far in advance that when other more crucial meetings come up, they’re scheduled on top. Maybe it would be easier to schedule something for the very next day so there’s less of a chance of another meeting taking precedence. Of course that would only work if the supervisor has time. I don’t think we should be encouraging OP to assume it’s something about them personally until they’ve talked with the other person.

      1. Michele*

        I think that part of the problem is that meetings are scheduled too far in advance. I get it, because I like to know what to expect and have things planned out. But even for someone like me, if I accept a meeting for next month, I will forget about it by the time it comes around unless I am specifically reminded. I think it would work better to find an opening tomorrow or the day after and schedule a meeting for that time.

    4. HB*

      Yes, I don’t want to be dismissive here…but I was reading this thinking, do you really need all these meetings? It sounds like there are a mix of purposes – one is just checking in for one-on-ones, while others are more important (outside partners). I would try to get your supervisor’s ear and figure out what the priorities are. It could be you don’t need regular check-in meetings! Maybe she is just too busy and they are not a priority, and she wants you to be independent and move forward with your own work. If you’re setting up a group meeting to go over something specific where you need her approval/input, I think you need a really clear way to communicate that this is important. Otherwise, you might just be learning how to be a very independent and self-directed worker. I say this as someone who meets with my boss maaaaaybe once a month, if I’m lucky. It’s not always ideal but I know what I’m doing in this role and I knew I would be fairly independent to begin with.

      Other option – does your boss have a secretary, assistant? Check in with that person about the ideal way/time to schedule meetings and how to really get a message across. It could be this person has the secret to managing a very important director and you can learn some tips, or just get some more feedback.

  10. Mortorph*

    #2 as a VISTA volunteer, do you have an external coordinator that is a liason between the organization and the feds? I know when I was a vista, I had similar situations….and it boiled down to the organization not realizing how much of a commitment they signed on to. The kicker is they need to honor these commitments with the feds. If you don’t make headway with your direct supervisor, I would track down the regional/local VISTA person and give them a heads up on your situation.

    1. Bananistan*

      Many of my co-VISTAs had the same problem with their supervisor at our site. Since the organization didn’t have to budget much money for us, they also didn’t budget any time. That was a huge problem for the project.

  11. Backwoods Ranger*

    I have done two terms of service with AmeriCorps and host sites that misunderstand your role is a normal problem. I see a lot of self doubt in your letter about where you rank in the organization and I just want you to know that your goals are important too. Similar to unpaid internships, you are essentially volunteering your time and skills without the benefits if a real salary or stability and in turn host sites are supposed to give you reasonable support and training. You are not asking for anything unreasonable and I agree that there if speaking to your supervisor and the other volunteer does not work you should talk with your coordinator for help raising the priority of your meeting.

    1. Grits McGee*

      It’s interesting to see from the comments how common the experience with (way too) hands-off VISTA supervisors is! I know that my supervisors saw VISTA more as a program to get the federal government to pay for independent short-term professionals, while most of the recent-grad VISTAs saw it as more of an internship.

      OP#2, I don’t have much to add other than to echo Alison’s and others’ advice to see what the other VISTA is doing, and also to try to clarify who your day-to-day supervisor is. If your supervisor isn’t the organization’s VISTA POC, is it possible she may be under the impression that your VISTA coordinator is responsible for managing you.

    2. LizB*

      +1 from another two-term AmeriCorps alum! Yes, OP2, your time is technically not very valuable in that the district is basically not spending any money to have you there… but you were brought on to fill some kind of need, and if you can’t do your job effectively, whatever program or initiative you’re in charge of is losing out, as are however many kids are served by that program. You are there to do valuable work, and you shouldn’t feel bad about asking for the tools you need to be able to do that work.

    3. Lindsay*

      Agreed on all this advice – also something to bring up with your VISTA leader first for ideas to fix the problem, then if she’s still unresponsive, to elevate to a larger level. VISTA sites have certain contractual responsibilities for hosting members and regular meetings with the VISTA is most likely named in that contract. So you can work this within the office and within the VISTA host relationship as well.

  12. Fiona the Lurker*

    Re #1, I had a charmer of a boss who went to great lengths to inform a member of staff that “I found you in the gutter and that’s where you’d still be if I hadn’t come along; I can send you back there any time I like!” The person in question was in fact a highly-qualified professional who took no b.s. from anybody and she laughed it off (although he wasn’t joking, he was seriously angry) with the response that if he went around hiring people he’d picked up out of the gutter he deserved absolutely everything he got. IMHO, the only sane response to ‘I took a chance on you’ is ‘Yes, and look how well it turned out!’

    1. Mookie*

      had a charmer of a boss who went to great lengths to inform a member of staff that “I found you in the gutter and that’s where you’d still be if I hadn’t come along; I can send you back there any time I like!”

      Were you working for Kenneth Halliwell?

    2. Zip Silver*

      My dad used to say “I brought you into this world and I can take you out”. I’m pretty sure he stole it from Bill Cosby, lol

    3. Emi.*

      Oh my word. That’s beyond terrible. Did he just mean “you were nobody,” or did he intend the gutter=prostitution implication as well?

      1. Sadsack*

        I did not know gutter=prostitution. I just thought it meant being in a lowly state, dregs, slums, that sort of thing.

        1. Emi.*

          I don’t think it’s a hard-and-fast thing, but I always understood that to be the meaning of “And then she ended up in the gutter, poor girl.” Possibly related to “get your mind out of the gutter”?

    4. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      Wow, and kudos to your coworker! I would have been stunned/floored, but now I’ll have a nifty comeback if I’m ever in the position of working for a raving narcissist going on an ego bender.

    5. starsaphire*

      That boss sounds completely horrible.

      Was this staff member working as a waitress in a cocktail bar, perchance? #80sflashback

        1. AdAgencyChick*

          I’m glad I scrolled down because I was TOTALLY going to respond to this with “You were working as a waitress in a cocktail bar…”

    6. Lora*

      I thought of Dr FrankNFurter from Rocky Horror Picture Show: “I made you! And I can break you just as easily!” *freeze ray*

  13. mreasy*

    Unhelpfully chiming in just to say, I now have the ABBA song “Take A Chance On Me” firmly stuck in my head.

    1. hermit crab*

      You are not the only one.

      OP1, I’m glad you got a new job. Also, maybe block the old manager’s number if you haven’t yet. You don’t need to be subjected to these unkind/unprofessional texts.

    2. Fafaflunkie*

      Likewise with the ABBA. (Shrug)

      I feel for you, OP #1. I’ve had one boss who said things far worse, and thankfully is no longer part of my life either.
      Yes, block his phone number from your phone and remember: voice mail is your friend. Don’t recognize the number that comes up? Let it go there.

      1. discarvard*

        I came to the comments specifically to see if anyone mentioned ABBA. I was not disappointed.

        Although, really, it’s a fun catchy song, but the sentiment it describes is clingy and creepy if you actually express it to someone’s face. Much like what the boss said to OP.

    3. Jessesgirl72*

      Unfortunately, yes, and it’s one of the ABBA songs ruined for me by the movie version of Mamma Mia! ;)

    4. JohnJ*

      Funny. My thinking after reading #1 was Yondu’s repeated line from Guardians of the Galaxy: “When I picked you up as a kid, these boys wanted to eat you. They ain’t never tasted Terran before. I saved your life!”

    5. Bad Candidate*

      Thanks. That’s certainly better than the local BBQ joint’s radio jingle that was in my head before.

  14. Callalily*

    #4: To delete the LinkedIn yourself or change it to say he is dead would be majorly inappropriate in the eyes of his surviving family… it is entirely conceivable that those people may actually look at his LinkedIn profile during their grieving and would be mortified to see that a stranger changed/deleted it without their consent.

    Even if they didn’t look at it, it just isn’t your place. The only time I could imagine this appropriate is if he had no living relatives or close friends who would be impacted by this.

    This doesn’t seem rational but there is nothing rational about dealing with death – if I discovered a stranger deleted or altered my fathers online presence without my permission, I would probably feel like that person was the one who took my dad from me. Just don’t interfere with the grieving process for others.

    1. Estate Planning Atty*

      She needs to simply send an email to a member of the family and ask them if they are aware of the profile and if they want her to deal with it or if they prefer to deal with it themselves. Ideally they should be directed at whomever is likely to be the executor of the estate under his will.

      It’s not even the family’s place to deal with this. It’s the executors and his or hers alone.

      When someone dies, a lot of people rushing to “help” and end up making things far worse. That there will be filed in an executor be appointed because it’s their responsibility to deal with all of this.

      I know this is a fairly innocuous case, but I’ve also seen good Samaritans rush in in contact family from whom the deceased was estranged. In one case the deceased was a non-heteronormative individual and their family disapproved of their lifestyle. The deceased had left control of his estate to a friend. The good Samaritan completely do the family into something that the deceased had wanted them kept out of.

      Not only would she be substituting her a judgment for the family’s judgment, you may also be riding the express wishes of the decedent.

      This is a case for the golden rule fails us. We want to do what we think we would want done, not realizing the other person may have had circumstances in their private lives that we were unaware of.

      I prefer the platinum rule. Do you and to others as they want you to do unto them.

      1. animaniactoo*

        Carp. I never even thought about having to handle this when I do my turn as executor. Fortunately for one of the people I’m named, I have access to all her stuff anyway since I’m the one who has set the majority of it up for her and handles it on a regular basis. I guess I need to have a convo with my parents about their stuff though to make it easier when the time comes.

        1. Another Attorney as Well*

          I always discuss the “digital” legacy with my clients.

          If you haven’t had this conversation with your parents, you need to do so.

          If you don’t have a will with someone designated, it’s important to do so.

          So much of our lives in 2017 are locked up in a digital world.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            Yes, it’s good to have a plan for that. Since I don’t have a spouse or a lawyer, my brother has all my passwords, etc., plus a thing of what-to-do-if-I-die instructions I gave him before my first trip back to the UK–just in case I didn’t mind the gap. :)

            He also got my itinerary, both trips. I absolutely trust him not to mess with my accounts, but that way, he could notify my online groups and deactivate accounts if anything happened.

        2. Karen K*

          We had horrible problems with AOL when my mother died. It took my brother hours on the phone with them to get them to cancel her account.

          As a last resort, I was planning to cancel the credit card of record and get my father another one, but he finally succeeded.

    2. Spoonie*

      Exactly this. If someone changed say my sibling’s social media profiles without my knowledge and I just discovered it, I would be furious. And since I would also be grieving, that anger would probably know very few bounds, which may not end up reflecting well on the company.

      Updating a social media profile is certainly something to be handled by someone with legal authority (which generally ends up being family/close friend) — unless that power has been bestowed upon you/the company in some manner.

      Please discuss it before making that decision on your own. As you know, approach it from the standpoint of wanting to help the family, not from wanting to help your company. The list of things to get done immediately after a death is extremely long, and as my family is learning, it keeps going well after the actual event.

      1. Another Attorney*

        This really needs to be handled by whoever the court appoints to administer the estate. Period.

        That will be whomever the decedent designated in there will or if there is no will, the next of kin the court appoints.

        It’s highly inappropriate for anyone else to be involved. It doesn’t matter what the decedent did during life. Any power he delegated during his life terminated when he died.

        So unless she’s contacted by someone who can prove to her they have the authority to tell her to act, she needs to do nothing except perhaps contact the executor or estate admin once the court has appointed someone.

        It’s also not appropriate for anyone in the family to deal with until the estate has been opened. I understand why family members may feel proprietary about it, but they have no more rights legally then anyone else until the court says they do. Yes, morally, they may have ownership. Even then, it’s possible the decedent left that responsibility to someone else. What needs to be front and center here is what the decedent wanted. We don’t know anything about his or her particular wishes on the matter. We won’t know until a will has been presented to the court.

        There’s no rush on this anyway. Better to wait and see what happens.

      2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        I disagree that it’s “highly inappropriate” for relatives/next-of-kin to be involved in the decision making, even if they’re not the executor. I understand why, from a legal perspective, that sounds right, but from a practical and human perspective it’s not the most egregious thing in estate management for a family to decide to leave up a social media account (or to request its shutdown).

        1. fposte*

          And not every estate goes through probate or has an executor. My father’s didn’t, and that was legally fine by the laws of his state.

          1. Another Attorney as Well*

            That’s fine, but that’s not what the other attorney was addressing.

            In your case, the next of kin (e.g., your mother), should be the decision maker.

            1. fposte*

              The statement was “This really needs to be handled by whoever the court appoints to administer the estate. Period.” My point was that my father’s estate, like many others, didn’t have anybody appointed by the court to administer it, so the “Period” doesn’t really fly. (And yes, that’s why I was the decision-maker, and I also think it’s better for the office to notify the family rather than handle it.)

        2. animaniactoo*

          I think the point is that the executor can consult them and allow them input into the decision but that executor has final choice and it’s up to them to implement it. Certainly for my parents, I would consult my sisters, but for my godmother, I am much more unlikely to consult her brother or nephew, because I have a pretty solid idea of what *she* would want, and it’s her wishes that I’m working to execute. Including knowing that the status of her relationship with her other family members is such that she would not want their wishes to have significant weight for how stuff is handled.

          1. Another Attorney as Well*

            Thank you for this. A lot of people do not realize that family is not necessarily who the deceased wanted to act on their behalf.

            If your godmother has asked/appointed you, there is a reason.

          2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            I understand the point being made, but I disagree with it. My point is that it’s dangerous to tell everyone that they need to wait for court action before they can request that their close family member’s social media account is closed or otherwise wrapped up. There are loads of states where a person’s estate never goes through probate or is not provided an executor. This is not as big of an estate problem as it’s being described as.

            Frankly, most people don’t ever convey their wishes re: how they want their social media account dealt with in the event of death, and in most cases, it would be fine/appropriate for the family to resolve the matter instead of trying to guess what the deceased would have wanted.

        3. Natalie*

          It’s also not remotely necessary per LI’s terms. Anyone can report a deceased person’s account if they can provide some documentation.

          1. Another Attorney as Well*

            But that’s not what we are talking about here. We’re not talking about reporting it, we are talking about logging in and changing information or using the information from the contacts in Linked in to contact people and say that the person has died.

            The reporting via LI came in later.

        4. Another Attorney as Well*

          There’s a difference between “being involved” and taking action without the permission of the executor. I think you are reading into what the other attorney said above.

          It’s perfectly permissible for anyone to report it to LI, it’s not ok for someone other than the executor/admin or the next-of-kin (if the estate isn’t probated) to either login to the account or use it to get information on who the former boss knew.

          I don’t think the poster above was at all disagreeing with what you said.

          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            No, I’m not reading in, but I was imprecise in my wording, so for that I apologize. There are many circumstances in which the next-of-kin of a decedent logs into that person’s social media account, post-death, and either delete or otherwise transform the account’s purpose, regardless of the TOS or the status of the estate or whether that person is the executor. Barring circumstances in which there are toxic relationships between the decedent and her next of kin, most people would consider it reasonable—even if it’s not technically “legal”—to pursue that course of action.

  15. Murphy*

    #2, I feel your pain. In theory, I have weekly meetings with my boss, always on our calendars for the same time. But if something comes up that he deems more important (I rarely know what it is, but I assume that it is actually more important) it gets canceled, usually at the last minute and with no explanation. My boss is usually fairly good at getting with me when he has some time, unless he’s really swamped. In those cases, I have to push him hard to get him to meet with me, if I actually have something important to discuss.

  16. Rusty Shackelford*

    #1 “Yes, and I took a chance on you as an employer. Sad to see how it turned out.”

  17. Delta Delta*

    #2 – I think it’s worth asking the supervisor exactly how she’d like you to book things on the calendar. I recently came from a workplace that used Outlook for calendaring. Many people who use Outlook will send a meeting request that then schedules onto the calendar when it’s accepted. Not this place. This was a “we manually put it on the calendar” sort of place, and if people sent those meeting requests, they were pretty routinely ignored. It’s possible something similar is going on here – OP is doing what she believes is the way to do it, but the organization does it differently. I have no idea if that’s the case here, but it’s possible it’s a mixup in how to do the calendaring.

    Alternatively, it might be worth scheduling a standing meeting for a certain day/time every week or every other week so that you and the supervisor get into the habit of having a regular meeting.

    1. EvilQueenRegina*

      I’m now picturing Fergus from the other day answering “how would you like me to book things on the calendar?” with “In Arabic please!”

  18. Catalyst*

    #4 – The only time I would think it would possibly be appropriate to do something about a deceased persons LinkedIn page (and I would still first try contacting the family about it) would be if they are specifically a recruiter for your company through LinkedIn and they had been posting job postings and requesting resumes through LinkedIn. Otherwise, I totally agree that you should not touch it.

  19. Batshua*

    I haven’t had a chance to skim all 71 previous comments so maybe someone already suggested this for OP #2, but what about tagging along to co-volunteer’s meetings? And making them small meetings with two volunteers rather than one-on-ones?

    1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      I would be careful—my first reaction to this was “yikes.” Although they’re both volunteers, oftentimes your responsibilities are sufficiently distinct that it can inappropriate to try to combine meetings. But I think your advice has merit, so after pursuing the Alison plan, perhaps OP#2 could first check in with her co-volunteer to see if it would be appropriate/ok to join her meeting and then pitch it to the boss for approval (assuming co-volunteer is on board).

    2. Artemesia*

      I’d be pissed if I had managed to get meetings set up and my co-worker didn’t and so hogged my time with the mentor/boss. Don’t do this unless invited.

    1. J.B.*

      I also adore “zoomba”! I have no idea if it was an intentional word choice or an alternate spelling of zumba, but I love love love the idea of dancing on roombas!

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Ha, I should have looked up how to spell that. My lack of knowledge about exercise has betrayed me. But yes, now I’m going to pretend it was intentional and Roomba-related.

  20. Rusty Shackelford*

    Lavinia teaches the same class elsewhere, but wants to take yours? Is this a common thing among dance instructors? It sounds awfully fishy to me, but I’m not a dance instructor.

    1. Jesmlet*

      Depends on the type of dance class. What I’m imagining is zumba where all the routines are different depending on what the instructor comes up with. I have a friend/coworker who teaches zumba and she both takes and teaches different classes.

      1. Fact & Fiction*

        Yep. I’m a Zumba instructor. Many of us teach group exercise classes on a very part-time basis and take other instructors’ classes as well, especially when we started as class members before getting licensed to teach. I assume it’s the same for other formats and even straight-up dance classes that aren’t group ex–there’s often more to learn no matter how long you’ve been teaching, fun and companionship to be had in class, more exercise, and sometimes we just want to exercise without being “on” all the time.

    2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      It’s pretty common in dance, and also in group exercise classes (yoga, pilates, etc.)—from what I’ve seen, it seems to be the norm, not the exception. That said, usually folks who teach in the same field or same studio/gym will ask one another if that teacher is comfortable with the other instructor dropping in.

      When instructors have a good relationship, this is no big deal—the instructor who’s taking the class follows the etiquette rules that apply to all students. When the instructors do not have a good relationship, or in this case when an instructor is toxic, it can be a little more difficult to remove them from your class because the default norm is that it’s ok to take another instructor’s class, so you often have to provide greater explanation/context for saying no.

    3. Cait*

      Very common in dance. I teach ballet, mostly kids but sometimes adults, and I take a variety of ballet classes around my city both for personal development (I don’t advance much in my own classes) and to get ideas (both material and effective teaching strategies) from other teachers. I have good relationships with other teachers at a couple studios and sometimes substitute for them, and one lets me take her classes free. But no one in my city’s ballet “community” (that’s too strong a word for it but whatever) is stealing clients/students or jobs from each other. In a case where that were happening, the friendly conventions of visiting each other’s classes would likely change.

  21. Jessesgirl72*

    OP2: You might want to consider whether or not your meetings with your supervisor are necessary- not just to you personally, but to her and the organization. If you are trying to schedule meetings with her just to chat, that is not the best use of her already overscheduled time. Make sure you are meeting with her for good reasons. The next thing to look at is how efficient are the meetings when you do actually meet with her. Are you making the best use of the time with her to get to the purpose of the meeting, or are you rambling and unfocused? Your supervisor should tell you these things, if that is the reason she keeps blowing you off, but for someone who is there only temporarily and she is always overbooked anyway, I can see why she might be taking the path of least resistance. It doesn’t justify it, but it might explain it.

  22. OP #1*

    Hi, OP#1 here. Just wanted to clarify. In the manager’s defense, I did know them outside of work, too. However it felt awkward to be contacted in a “friend” kind of way–via text message to my cell phone–to address what was really a workplace matter, but which was also irrelevant since I didn’t work there any longer. Also the Facebook post I referred to was posted in a large networking/support group on Facebook, didn’t call out the name of my old job or manager specifically but rather was an offhand comment about how my former job wouldn’t let me work from home ever, so I quit that job and got a new one that did and I am much happier now, and it was in the context of a larger post with a completely different point. So it’s not like I went off on a tirade about hating my old job or something.

    The text message felt like old manager was upset that I wasn’t showing more gratitude to the job that took a chance on me, which I don’t think is fair. You don’t have to love everything about a job even if it’s a good job and even if it took a chance on you. I mean, I took a chance on that job too, and it turned out I wasn’t happy with a couple aspects of it, so I moved on. End of story. No need for drama-filled text exchanges, right?

    I started wondering, though, if all the reminders of the “chance” while I was still working there were normal, which is why I wrote the email to AAM. It felt like a weird way to try to motivate me, and I seriously thought I was about to get fired every time I had a check-in meeting or a performance review.

    1. Venus Supreme*

      No matter which way you dice it, OldManager is still an asshat.

      At ToxicJob, ExBoss was plain cruel to the girl who had my job before me. She warned me that when she handed in her resignation letter, OldBoss told her she was “ungrateful” because he “made her what she is today” and “she’d be nothing without ToxicJob” which, frankly, scared the cooties out of me when it was time for me to quit. Luckily he didn’t say anything of the like to me (he actually said “I saw this coming”…) but prior to my leaving if he ever got angry on a project he’d ask me if I really wanted to work in this industry because I wasn’t “working hard enough.”

      Luckily OldBoss’s texts never got to me because it was revealed he had the office number listed as my mobile.

      Either way, OP#1, your old manager is a nitwit. I think your post didn’t warrant his reaction, and I’m happy to hear you have a better working situation!

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        Ugh, I’m so sorry VS—this is textbook abusive/harassing behavior. No one should have to work under conditions like that or for someone so twisted.

        1. Venus Supreme*

          Yeah, it was extremely toxic. OldBoss was also really racist (esp. to our Chinese intern!) — this taught me never to work for a 3-person-operated company again!

    2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      Your reaction is totally reasonable, OP#1. Your friend/ex-manager was not kind or fair, and it’s cruel/abusive to continually remind someone you “took a chance on them” while denying them the opportunity to access the tools or cultivate the skills they need to be successful in their position. You’re not in the wrong on this one; your ex-manager is basically carrying over his abusive and inappropriate communication style from the old workplace to your personal life. On all levels, he’s the bad actor here, and I’m sorry you’re having to manage his bad behavior.

    3. Safety Coordinator*

      I took a job in a field that I had literally zero experience with once. My boss sometimes comment that she’d never hired someone with no experience in the field before me, but I think that was less encouragement and more just reminding herself to be patient with me. I suffered greatly for a while too. At the end when I left, we had a chat about it and she said that she hired me because she wanted to know if she could teach someone with no experience, that she learned a lot from the experience and thanked me for my work.

      I think that’s probably more normal.

  23. anon for this*

    #2 – My manager is the same way. We have weekly scheduled meetings. and they tell me to email, call or ping at any time. The problem is that emails get ignored, and meetings are pushed back and rescheduled and they always mention how they have back to back meetings all day.
    I have never met them in person, so I have little sense of their “day-in-the-life”, while others on the team see them daily. I feel this puts me at a disadvantage to the other team members, as even during our rare conversations, the manager will turn from our meeting to address people stopping by.
    I have started to realize that they are not great with time-management, and that since their job is to manage ME (not just projects or other people) and been more assertive when reaching out. I also have a pre-determined agenda for most meetings and communicate ahead of time.

  24. AnitaJ*

    I have Thoughts and Feelings about #5, but I’m also really sensitive. I’m an EA and I’ve been in positions where the person I supported announced their departure via firm-wide email and I felt blindsided. This was two-part: professionally and personally.

    Professionally, it’s extremely helpful to me if I know that someone is planning to leave. It means I have more visibility into their schedule or travel plans, so that I can stop scheduling meetings or trips that won’t happen (aka, wasting my time), and it helps me begin the process of ‘what do I need to do to help them wrap up their workload’. Personally, I develop a courteous and trusting relationship with the individual, usually based on mutual respect and generally just liking the person. Not a friendship per se, as I always maintain professional boundaries at work, but still, a friendly connection. I do feel slightly betrayed when they choose not to confide in me, they person that they work most closely with, and I’m knocked sideways with the news, needing to process things very quickly.

    HOWEVER. I am also pretty sensitive in general and I recognize that they’re not ‘hiding’ information from me on purpose. But still, I can’t help feeling a teeny bit like they broke faith with me. We’re obviously not best friends and they’re not stabbing me in the back. I just feel that my loyalty towards them is obviously not reciprocated. Logical? Nah. But I’m human.

    1. Judy*

      I’ve never been in the position of having a widespread announcement when someone was leaving by choice. I did once sit in a site meeting of about 250 people and saw an org chart on the screen that showed that my boss had been fired. He had been called into his manager’s office 30 minutes before that meeting, and was packing while we were in the meeting. (It was a previously scheduled quarterly update meeting.) The people on my team were instructed while the slide was showing to report to a conference room after the meeting to meet the new hire new manager.

      It would have been nice for them to talk to us before that meeting instead of just dropping it on us like that.

    2. Karen K*

      I’ve “outlived” three division directors to date. If I hadn’t internally transferred to another job, I’d be on my fourth. In every case, I was the first to know not only that they were leaving, but in the last two cases, that they were interviewing for other jobs! I think I knew even before their other partners (doctors). I worked extremely closely with all three. I would have been very hurt if I heard the news through the grapevine.

      1. AnitaJ*

        I think some of my annoyance/frustration is that if they know they’re leaving and they don’t tell me, they’re allowing me to waste my time doing things that will have to be undone. That’s time I could spend getting other things done, and I hate it when people waste my time. They know that what I’m doing is pointless, and yet they choose not to tell me. Anyway. Rant over!

    3. ThursdaysGeek*

      My spouse and I were part of the youth staff for a youth pastor at a church. We did what he needed us to do, chaperoned, helped out every week. And when he decided to leave, he never told us. We found out from others, and then he was gone. We got left in charge with no communication. It did feel a bit like a slap in the face – you worked with us for years and yet can’t let us know when you’re leaving?

  25. Lulabelle*

    OP#1 That sounds like what my mother says to try and get me to do something. XD It’s so indirect and obnoxious, as well as everything else you said.

  26. Chickaletta*

    #1 – My first manager out of college was the same way: kept reminding me she was taking a chance on me (supposedly because I had no experience), and gave me tasks that were better suited for someone with 10 years experience without any guidance; in other words she set me up to fail while reminding me that I was a risk. When 9/11 happened and the economy went from bad to worse, I was the one she let go from her staff of 5. It wasn’t a surprise. On my last day, she insisted that I THANK her for hiring me. Yes, my manager insisted that I thank her after she laid me off. At least this was in the day before social media because I’m pretty sure I would have posted something not so nice about her.

    1. Snark*

      I love the expectation of unidirectional loyalty, fealty, and chance-taking. And people wonder why those of us who entered the workforce after 2001 or so are looking out for #1?

    2. Engineer Woman*

      I can’t even imagine how one insists others thank them. Seriously: how does the conversation (or is it via email) go?

      1. Michele*

        I am imagining the thank you. “Thank you for showing me what an awful boss and horrible working conditions look like. Now I know what to avoid in the future.”

  27. Amber Rose*

    This is off topic but, last night I had a work crisis of sorts, and I very briefly debated calling 911… or emailing AAM.
    Neither of those would have been the correct response, I just think it’s funny that my mind went there when I was panicking, before more reasonable responses.

    But I do think a 24 hour emergency AAM hotline would be pretty awesome for a lot of us.

    1. Future Analyst*

      I love it!! “244, what’s your emergency?” “My boss is lurking outside my apartment to see if I’m really sick. Should I answer the door?”

      1. Critter*

        The only time I resigned I had to do it in person because a typed letter would not have been found on his desk :)

      2. Tarit*

        Is a written notice ever appropriate? If, for instance, you wanted a record that you’d met your contractual obligation to give notice?

          1. Gaara*

            Are there any industry-specific exceptions to this? My mother-in-law, a professor at a liberal arts college, tried to tell me that it’s normal among her peer group to resign by letter.

            1. MegaMoose, Esq*

              I’d guess a lot might have to do with how hierarchical your organization is and how often you actually interact with your “boss.” I do contract work overseen by project managers who aren’t the direct hiring/firing authorities and we have to give notice in writing. Doing a face-to-face would be weird in my circumstances, though totally normal in other parts of my industry.

            2. PB*

              I’m a university librarian. I don’t know about professors, but in my field, your resignation isn’t official until it’s submitted in writing to the Dean. When resigning from my last job, I told my direct manager and everyone I work with closely in person before submitting my resignation letter.

              Academia is a weird world. Previously, I’d transitioned from one job to another in the same department, and they still required a written resignation from job #1. Also, the last time I left a job, I gave a full eight weeks’ notice, and people still acted like I should have done it sooner.

        1. Critter*

          At my current job, employees are required to resign through HR, and most send a letter to them. Most times the information comes to us through HR.

  28. Anon 12*

    It’s perfectly okay for a non family member to make the notice to LinkedIn about the passing. Employers do it all the time when ex employees don’t change their profile post leaving the company (which can have repercussions for the former employer). All you are really doing is putting it in LinkedIn’s trust and care team to handle. They will handle based on their protocols so no need for the reporter to make a decision about what happens and who has to sign off on it.

    1. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist*

      It may be appropriate when ex-employees don’t change their profile after leaving. That doesn’t mean it’s appropriate when someone died.

    2. MegaMoose, Esq*

      While I definitely think that an employer/coworker should NOT log in and do anything to the account themselves, it does seem to make sense that they might send a notice to LinkedIn about it. That doesn’t seem as intrusive, and presumably LinkedIn has some process to make sure it’s not just a prank.

      1. Anon 12*

        Right, that’s my point. LinkedIn has a process for validating and then determine when it it is or is not appropriate to make a status change or close an account. For all I know, they won’t do anything when a non-family member notifies them of a passing. However it’s their process and covered in the terms of service for all users. There is no ethics issue here for the person reporting it.

  29. Brett*

    This one comes from my wife who has had situations similar to #3.

    How should the boss handle the client in #3? How do you let the client know, “Sorry you can’t take this class” or “Sorry, you cannot take any classes here.”

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I think it depends on the details of the situation. But one option is to just say the class is full. If that’s not feasible, then you have to be more straightforward — “We don’t think we’re the right match for you but wish you all the best in finding a studio that’s the right fit.”

  30. Anon 12*

    Leaving your assistant to find out about your resignation through reading of an email seems disrespectful, or at least thoughtless, but if I were on the receiving end of that I would just put it in my “behaviors I never want to emulate” bucket and move on.

Comments are closed.