3 updates from letter-writers (the acne, the ghoster, and the texting boss)

Here are three updates from people who had their letters answered here recently.

1. Could my acne be keeping me from getting a job?

I’m the one who wrote to you a few weeks back about whether or not acne was affecting my job search. A lot has happened since then!

First, unfortunately, I was not able to talk to my GP. My health insurance ended when my current position ended, and I was not able to keep the appointment because my GP does not take my secondary insurance. However, I cut back on the harsh products I was putting on my face and began just using regular soap and water, and that seems to work well for me! I haven’t had a bad breakout like I was having since I started that. Thanks to all the comments and suggestions — it really made me realize there’s no “one size fits all” cure for acne, and that a lot of us deal with it!

Second, I ended up getting two surprise interviews with different schools back to back, and they both seemed to go really well! I made sure that my suit fit me well and that my face was done up as well as I could – nothing too outlandish, just coverup and neutral eyeshadow. I think I carried myself very well during the interview and answered their questions well, and I was so excited to get to demonstrate my lessons that I wasn’t even thinking about my face!

I guess the school thought so too, because I was formally offered an educational position! The best part is that there’s stability and room for growth in the position, which is something that I haven’t had in quite a long time. Alison, I cannot thank you enough for all the advice – not just what you’ve directly given me, but from what I’ve absorbed as a daily reader of your site. I would never have known how to conduct myself in interviews or good questions to ask, or even how to accept the feedback they gave me in the interview. I’ve also learned a lot more about confidence and not getting so caught up in how my face looks, and I think I carry myself a lot better since reading your response. I’m so excited to start at my new school!

2. My boss texts me constantly and blows up if I don’t respond immediately

It’s been almost four months since you’ve answered my question and I had been reading the comments in the post. I thought I’d just write in to give you an update on what’s happened since.

Not long after I wrote in, there was a rather large incident about replying to messages and that sort of was the final straw. I’ve since resigned from the place – and there were waterworks when I did submit my resignation letter – but I’ve found a new place that is very chill, has a boss who is pretty awesome, and doesn’t expect me to acknowledge every single message that is sent.

I do keep in touch with some of my ex-colleagues though, and it seems that nothing has changed.

3. I ghosted on a reference and mentor (#2 at the link)

I finally worked up the nerve to send that email off this week and WHEW! All is well. She was very happy to hear from me and had just been completely confused about what went wrong.

{ 66 comments… read them below }

    1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      I thought I was losing my mind for a moment :)

      (Congrats on the move, Alison!)

  1. An Inspector of Gadgets*

    Didn’t we already see update #4 recently? I even remember thinking “woogly is a weird word”…

  2. Granny K*

    I would also chime in that if you have problems with acne, try adjusting your diet. Giving up diet soda (and when I’m stressed, ALL soda) works well. Also, I realized that Oreo’s and Girl Scout thin mints make me break out terribly (which is tragic, but well, there it is.) so I avoid them most of the time.

    1. LadyMountaineer*

      Yes! Also, changing your pillowcase nightly and using over-the-counter Differin (or other retinoid) gel as well as a gentile face wash. Acne sucks.

      1. Allie Oops*

        The pillowcase thing made a HUGE difference for me. Along with that, washing my hair at night and tying it up on top of my head helped a ton, so I go to bed with clean and product-free hair that doesn’t lie against my face or neck in my sleep.

      2. Allison*

        Back in maaaah day, Differin wasn’t even covered by insurance, it cost an arm and a leg to get it from the pharmacy. I’m so glad it’s OTC now, because topical retinoids are amazing (I used Tazorac for a while, worked really well), especially if your face doesn’t respond well to benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.

        Everyone’s face is a little different though, so no matter how loudly or frequently you advise people to do what worked for you, it’s not going to make everyone’s acne go away. That said, I do agree that it helps to ensure that every piece of fabric that touches your face is changed out and/or washed often – that goes for pillowcases, towels, even hats and scarves.

        1. LadyMountaineer*

          Right? My dog kept getting into my Retin-A because (I think) he liked the shape/heaviness of the tube. He would give up after puncturing it once. Replacing it was the worst.

          I just like to share what worked for me not because I think the whole world should be acne-free (I don’t care that much about other people’s skin) but because I hope it gives them another option from someone who has been there vs. someone with weird Just-World Hypothesis on how being a good, moral clean person will free your face of zits.

          1. Kiki*

            >someone with weird Just-World Hypothesis on how being a good, moral clean person will free your face of zits.

            I was surprised by how often I got this when I was dealing with horrible cystic acne. Someone once said to me, “Maybe if you weren’t so dirty and washed your face then you wouldn’t have that problem.” As though washing my face had never occurred to me before…?!?

            Thankfully I found the right skincare products for me and have been acne free for two years!

            1. Rainy, PI*

              My old roommate had cystic acne as a young woman and she washes her face literally 8-10 times a day with plain water and twice (morning and night) with gentle cleanser.

              Like, you could basically eat off her face, and she still has acne, it’s just not that really deep painful acne anymore.

              1. Lady Phoenix*

                That is probably cause she is washing her face TOO MUCH. When you wash your face too much, you actually start stripping away the essentially oils your skin produces–so it makes hella more JUST to compensate.

                1. Rainy, PI*

                  Nope. This is the exact right amount of face-washing for her and gets her less acne than any other amount of face-washing, which she has tried.

                  Everyone’s skin is different.

                2. Rainy, PI*

                  Incidentally, I wash my face with water in the morning, use a makeup wipe in the evenings, and have had 4 spots in the last year. Everyone’s skin is different. :)

            2. Lora*

              Isn’t that weird? In my day it was supposedly diet. Except I practically lived off veggies and pasta, which in those days was still considered healthy. No candy, no pizza, no burgers, no fries. In real life it turned out to be a combination of thyroid malfunction, horrible genetics and hormones. Once the thyroid and hormones were corrected and the genetics was dealt with via ridiculous amounts of exfoliation (acid peels), everything was mostly under control even when I had a steady diet of ramen, Tastykakes and haluski.

              The latest and greatest research is that it’s a bacterial flora diversity/subtype issue. Some people just have magical bacterial flora that are able to fight off acne bugs more efficiently.

              1. many bells down*

                Ah, genetics. My mother had flawless skin. Not a single pimple even under heavy bangs all through her teenage years.

                Unfortunately, I take after my father whose cystic acne persisted well into his 50’s.

            3. Hrovitnir*

              I find it astounding people do this. I shouldn’t, but I do. I’m sorry you’ve ever had to hear that utter rubbish.

        2. Fishcakes*

          Yeah, my acne is hormonal. Obviously not washing my pillowcase etc. makes it worse, but the only “cure” in my case is estrogen. I wish I had realized this when I was 13, instead of 30.

      3. Fabulous*

        I tried Differin for a bit and it didn’t do anything for me other than ruin my expensive, brand new pillowcase.

    2. phedre*

      For me, it was getting on the right med (spironolactone) and getting on the right skincare regime. The subreddit Skincare Addiction was a big help! After reading posts and trying out their regimen, it turns out I wasn’t moisturizing enough and I was way too rough on my skin (bar soap, physical exfoliation, overdoing it with spot treatments, not taking makeup off). It’s amazing how the combo of meds and taking care of your skin properly can help!

    3. Nervous Accountant*

      I started getting pimples around my cheek & chin last year; I’ve always had clear skin and rarely had any breakouts as a teenager. As a 31 yo w pimples, I started hating my ski and I noticed it was always right before my period.

      I started using Differin in May, and in June I went to a dermatologist. She put me on clindamycin & finacea because they were safe to use in case I get pregnant. Finally after 2 months the amt of breakouts has gone down and my scars are lightening. So that’s worked for me thank God.

  3. The IT Manager*

    You’re not crazy … #4 was posted as a stand alone update last week.

    I know there’s been more than one letters about this, but I knew it looked very familiar.

    1. Artemesia*

      Yes a classic of ‘your boss is an ass and isn’t going to get better’ so leave moment; glad you were able to leave and get something new and good.

  4. Mananana*

    Congratulations, Update #1. That’s fantastic news, and I’m so happy to hear of your new position.

  5. Solidus Pilcrow*

    Just wanted to say that I like the quick list of updates in the titles of these updates. Makes it much easier to figure out which “X updates from letter-writers” is which.

    Thanks, Supreme Blogger Green!

  6. Observer*

    #2 – I had to laugh when you said there were waterworks when you handed in your resignation. That sounds straight out of a sitcom. But, then again, the best sitcom writers DO get their material from the real world.

    Did she talk about loyalty; why didn’t you TALK to me? I thought we had SUCH a good relationship! and all that jazz?

    But, most of all, I’m so glad you found another place. The best thing you can to is to see if you can help others find other positions as well.

    1. Rainy, PI*

      I had a job many years ago that I left to go back and finish my BA. I gave notice in September for the end of December. My boss went straight from “you are crap at your job, your loyalty is shit, anyone off the street could do your job” (none of it was true, of course) straight into “now advertise for your replacement, take applications, make a short list, interview candidates, hire someone by early November to start before the beginning of December, and train them”.

      My replacement (the best of the available candidates, and someone who seemed phlegmatic enough to handle the outrageously toxic environment) lasted six weeks after I left and quit via post-it stuck to the desk in the middle of the day. At 3 1/2 years, I was the longest-lasting person in that role that that company had had in 30 years of business. But sure, I was shit at my job.

        1. Rainy, PI*

          Her resignation had exactly the kind of quiet dignity that business didn’t deserve.

          They told me later that they tried to make her come in and collect her last check in person so that they could harangue her. No dice, she was smart enough to make them mail it to her.

          1. Observer*

            Oh, wow. Lovely people. It’s wonder you lasted that long. I hope you didn’t have too many after effects.

    2. KaraLynn*

      Pretty sure “there were waterworks” is the OP’s way of saying that she cried when she handed in her resignation, not her boss.

      1. RabbitRabbit*

        I totally assumed it was the boss – turning on a dime like ‘oh no, what will we do, you’re such a valued employee.’

      2. Lily in NYC*

        Hm, I think the boss is the one who cried. It doesn’t make sense the other way around – OP was thrilled to get out of that place.

  7. The IT Manager*

    Congrats to LW#3. That’s something that’s very difficult to work up the courage to do , but it’s such a relief when it is done especially since your reference was gracious about it.

  8. Kyrielle*

    Congratulations, all three of you – #1 and #2 for the job, and #3 for doing the hard thing and reaching out. Glad it went well!

  9. Lady Phoenix*

    OP #1: Be careful with soap, as many are made with fragrance which is AWFUL for sensitive skin and causes a lot of breakouts.

    1. Erin*

      Same thing with laundry detergent. If you use laundry detergent with harsh scents then change your pillow case it’s rubbing against your face for 8 hours.

  10. art.the.nerd*


    > I’ve since resigned from the place – and there were waterworks when I did submit my resignation letter

    I understand “there were waterworks” means “someone cried”. But who cried, and why? Some possibilities:

    1. OP cried at the the cathartic relief of quitting.

    2. OP cried because s/he will really miss the place.

    3. Boss cried because boss believes really really loves her. (Pronoun comes from OP’s original letter.)

    4. Boss cried because boss likes to fire people and was deprived of the chance.

    5. Either one cried because the fantasy of an office affair will go unrealized.

    6. Both cried when they realized simultaneously that Comic Sans is not the best choice of font for a resignation letter.

    1. Amber Rose*

      Comic Sans is not the best choice of font for anything except a child’s lemonade stand.

    2. art.the.nerd*


      3. Boss cried because boss believed OP really really loves working for her.


    3. I Am Fergus*

      When I resign and the place sucks I use my favorite font Crayola. Yes I have done it.

      1. Chaordic One*

        I’m not sure what “Chiller” looks like, but it sounds cool.

        I opened up my OpenOffice Writer word processing program (I’m cheap) and I don’t have “Chiller.” However, I found a fonts similar to Comic Sans called “Catholic School Girls International” and “Boopee.”

        1. Roguey*

          Chiller is a dripping-blood style font. Super good for haunted houses, horror shows, and halloween parties.

  11. SpiderLadyCEO*

    #1, I had the same issue. Horrific acne through middle, HS and early college. Roommate suggested as a joke I stop using any treatments at all, and replace them with the gentlest cleanser.
    Immediate difference.

    1. many bells down*

      That’s what I had to do. Turns out, I’ve got a topical allergy to benzoyl peroxide AND salicylic acid. Plain water with occasional dabs of tea tree oil, and remembering not to touch my face were the only things that worked. It probably helps that I wear very little makeup most of the time, so I don’t have to do a lot of washing to get that off.

    2. SweetTooth*

      Isn’t that fascinating? I use super gentle philosophy ‘purity made simple’ cleanser to wash my face twice a day, and my husband uses alllllll of the Proactiv products several times a day (especially if he sweats). We both had skin issues all during our 20’s but are generally in pretty good shape now. Everyone’s skin responds so differently to treatments!

      So happy for the OP that you found a solution and confidence in general! Ideally confidence in your appearance would not be tied so deeply to confidence in your abilities, but I know it is for me, and it’s particularly hard when trying to find someone else to believe in you enough to hire you. Congratulations on your new role!

  12. Thin Blue Noose*

    Enough on the food and beauty product shaming for the LW with acne. I listened to that nonsense for years from self-righteous, judgemental know-it-alls… came to find out, untreated autoimmune disorders can also cause acne. And as soon as mine got medicated properly, that was the permanent end of my pimples.

    1. Future Dev (formerly CA Admin)*

      Nobody is shaming anyone with acne–people are simply sharing their own experiences dealing with it. Everyone’s skin is different, there’s no one way to treat it, so discussions around what works and doesn’t for individuals tends to be pretty varied. They’re also useful for those who haven’t figured out what their particular causes/triggers are, since sometimes someone else’s experience can give you a new idea for something to try.

      Acne can be caused by dozens of different factors. Products and foods can be triggers for some, but for others make no difference. Genetics/hormones/other disorders can be the cause for some too, but not for others. We can all share our experiences without negating anyone else’s.

      For what it’s worth, my acne was a combination of hormones/genetics and inappropriate products for my skin. Treating the hormonal issue helped, but I also needed to totally revamp my routine/products to get beyond the plateau I got to on prescription medications. Harsh/stripping products (especially high pH cleansers) and insufficient hydration (skin needs both oil and water to be healthy, who knew?) made my skin a prime breeding ground for acne-causing bacteria, no matter how diligent I was about washing my face or what I ate. Making those changes helped as much as the 6 months of Accutane, and the ongoing prescriptions of Adapalene, Spirnolactone, Clindamycin, and Azelaic Acid have.

    2. Lily in NYC*

      What is judgmental is assuming everyone’s experience is the same as yours and your answer is the only correct one. Acne has a bunch of different causes and diet changes work wonders for many people, including myself. Cutting out dairy was a huge help with my acne and worked better than medication. It’s not “shaming” to provide advice that worked for us.

  13. I have a skincare certificate*

    I had acne as a teenager and was on antibiotics, Retin A and Accutane for many years. Then in my 30’s I took classes and got my skincare cert. There are 2 skincare lines that I have used and think that they could be a good choice for OP #1. Check these out (you can find them in some health food stores or order on line):
    Leaf People
    And by the way, I don’t work for these companies. I just like their products.

  14. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    Back in my day (60s) we didn’t have acne medication, and were advised that eating candy, drinking soft drinks, and engaging in certain behaviors would result in acne.

    I had a few pimples from time to time during the winter — during the summer, I was at the beach, sun, sand, surfboarding – and that tended to eliminate it.

    I did have a friend (male, as am I ) — brilliant guy, otherwise great personality – but he was afflicted with acne as a teen – while the rest of us did the typical teen stuff – dating, partying, dancing, athletics – he was withdrawn in many ways — and that carried over into his adult life. He never married, never even had a relationship, did very little socializing, and spent his entire adult life as a caretaker for his mother and sister.

    It’s hard for me to say but , the important thing is – DON’T LOSE YOUR SELF CONFIDENCE. Don’t despair, plan for good things.

  15. Delta Delta*

    #1 – What a happy update!

    #2 – I’d sort of like to know what this large incident was….

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