updates: the Dixieland doorbell, plain dress in interviews, and more

Here are updates from five people who had their letters answered here this year.

1. My office doorbell plays “Dixieland”

I took your advice, and I am so happy I did—it is resolved! But not after a bit more back and forth than I anticipated. I sent the email to HR with the exact verbiage you provided. HR responded quickly and enthusiastically that they understood and agreed it was a problem. Apparently, HR said, they had tried to change the doorbell a few times, but it kept rotating through. So I had an immediate, supportive response back from HR, but I knew I wouldn’t be completely satisfied until I heard the doorbell ring again.

Sure enough, later that week, “Dixie” plays clear and loudly.

At our team’s end of the week meeting, which we have in an open concept office space, my boss asked the entire team if there was anything else we wanted to bring up. I said, “I keep hearing ‘Dixie’ play in our doorbell. It has a controversial, racist history as a song, and I think our company can do better. [My boss], would you be willing to bring this up to HR?” My entire team heard, as well as anyone in that open concept area.

My boss did, and I think that helped. That helped, and talking about it out loud to other people did too. I thought bringing it up more openly would be fair to do after I had pursued it privately and directly with HR twice.

It’s been almost six months, and I haven’t heard it since! (It does still ring loudly like a grandfather clock, but I can live with that.)

Thank you very much, Alison. On a personal note, I really like your blog. My VP complimented me on my leadership growth this year, and learning from your writing has definitely helped me in that respect. Take care!

2. My staff keeps requesting time off at the last minute, even though I keep asking for advance notice

Thank you so much for answering my letter, and for all the commenters who had great suggestions.

Since that time, my employee’s habits have not changed at all, and I still get more requests for last-minute time off than I do for planned-in-advance time away.

What has changed is that I’ve gotten into the habit of letting them know I will consider it and get back to them, instead of answering immediately. And I am now more willing to say no if it has too much of an impact on office coverage. So far, the staff members have been just fine when I have said no. Their approach seems to be “well, it couldn’t hurt to ask!” To be honest, that’s still not my ideal — it feels scattershot to me for requests that are asking for an exception to a stated policy … but since saying no more frequently is solving most of my workflow problem, I’ve decided it’s not the worst outcome.

The staff member who took off early for a vacation despite an uncompleted group project has continued to be an excellent employee in other ways, and I feel this was a genuine misunderstanding on his part of how flexible (and by that I mean “not flexible at all”) our timeline was. While we haven’t had any situations that were exactly similar, your advice was a good reminder to me to be more explicit about what needs to happen if someone is arranging time out of the office, including checking in with me with a status update on any work in progress instead of cruising out.

The short version of this update is: pausing to give myself more time to think it through, declining requests more often as needed, and asking for specific check-ins in advance have reduced the amount of time I was spending scrambling around last-minute requests, and being annoyed by them — which was taking up a lot of my mental energy.

Thanks so much again, to you and your forum participants!

3. Explaining religious Plain Dress in a job interview (#4 at the link)

Earlier this year, you offered some advice regarding my dress code and job hunting. I wanted to share an update with you: I have a new job!

I applied for a promising position, received a phone interview, and was invited to an in-person interview. I’m not a particularly brilliant conversationalist, so I explained my dress code to the Hiring Manager in an email. He said it shouldn’t be a problem and informed the people interviewing me in person (my future bosses).

The interview went well and I got an offer soon after. The Hiring Manager gave me a call to discuss the office dress code (it’s a conservative environment that expects suits/ties). They wanted to know if they could get me to change my religious dress or to ask if any parts of it were flexible. I was a little off-put, but they were very polite and understanding when I told them it wasn’t an option.

Your advice, combined with the comments and observations in the accompanying thread really helped me tailor my approach, and when they pushed back, I literally thought to myself “friendly but direct” before giving my answer.

The job has been amazing thus far, and I just wanted to say THANK YOU for the part you and the AAM community played in my interview process.

4. Scheduling surgery when I’m waiting to hear back about an interview (#4 at the link)

I took your advice and went ahead with the surgery, which was the right move because the company ended up ghosting me. It’s been two months now, and neither the hiring manager nor the recruiter who initially reached out to me responded to the “could you share your timeline for next steps?” email I sent a few weeks after my last interview. But at least my foot no longer hurts – thanks for your advice!

5. I had a one-night fling with my new boss’s then-husband (first update here)

I have a (regular, non-seasonal) full-time job and so has the father of my child. They are retail jobs which only pay minimum wage right now but it is better than nothing. My main hope is to get some good references from this since I only have one at the moment (having left both previous jobs I have had because of what happened and all the rumors and things I mentioned in the comments of my other update).

I have gotten over the fact I will never work in that field again and am over it now. I am extremely thankful both the father of my child and myself have a good support system, parents who took us back in and help with our child along with siblings and other extended family. Our child has a stable life because of them.

His ex who would have been my boss won a big award for a project she led earlier this year and has been promoted as far as I have heard. I haven’t had any contact from her since I left that job, she hasn’t crossed my path at all.

Thanks to everyone who had a kind comment for me.

Your site was helpful when I was crafting my resume and going through interviews. Thanks so much for all your help.

{ 432 comments… read them below }

  1. Sandra*

    Re: #5. I don’t understand why you are leaving the industry because of one horrible person. You must have other references, especially because you barely worked for her. I’m glad your child has stability. Good luck to you and the father!

    1. A.N. O'Nyme*

      She could be a rock star in a small field, so her word might have a big influence on hiring decisions and overall status in a field. It’s a sucky situation, but it happens, sadly.

      1. Lady Phoenix*

        Also, if there is a lot of networkig and get the ogether, OP will have to deal with Ex’s shadow all the time.

      2. Hills to Die on*

        That’s what it sounds like to me. The former boss has clout, and this is a very emotional situation. I’m not judging anyone in it. You could say plenty about anyone involved here but what’s done is done. Onward and upward!

    2. Science!*

      I think I remember this one, and if I’m remembering correctly, OP5 left on bad terms with her previous employment, got another job but then the new boss came on and she felt she had to leave immediately due to (legitimate) fears of retaliation. So OP5 has no reference from the most recent two positions, and I think those were her only positions in the field.

      1. Q*

        First Job was lost because of the…sleeping with married man thing (I think it was implied she worked with him or he was a supervisor of some sort?), so burned bridges.

        Second one she quit with no notice.

        So, no good references for 12 years of work, she said.

        1. Wow*

          In the first job, the ex-wife convinced the clients that they had a long term affair on company time. This resulted in not only clients leaving, but the rules and flexibility being tightened and taken away from their coworkers. This made everyone upset with them and the bridge was burned because of it.

          She quit the second because the ex-wife chose to be her manager (despite having other options from the company after the merger) for the sole reason of getting back at her.

          1. BG39*

            Yea, that’s what I remember too. Honestly, I’m not quite sure why everyone feels so bad for OP#5. I don’t. She’s just experiencing the consequences of her actions.

            1. Ainomiaka*

              Really? It is reasonable consequences for her to be driven out of an industry by lies and threats? No. I have seen this attitude here that an employee’s sexual choices somehow have bearing on their work and need work consequences. And it’s gross.

              1. Lindsay J*

                Your sexual choices do have bearing on your work and have work consequences when you choose to sleep with a supervisor at your work.

                They shouldn’t in any other context.

                1. Sarah M*

                  Per the OP he was a peer/colleague, not a boss or supervisor. Not sure where you are getting that from.

                2. Lindsay J*

                  Oops, just realized that he wasn’t a supervisor, and that it was a different company. (I should have gone back and reread before commenting.)

                  I do still think that choosing to sleep with someone at work has the ability to affect things at work in a way that your sexual choices outside of work do not. It’s still not necessarily a judgement on someone’s sexuality – being best friends with people at work, having been a bully to someone at work when you were in elementary school, being related to someone at work, etc – all have the potential to adversely affect your work life because people don’t always behave rationally, emotions are messy, and a lot of companies have policies to try and prevent conflicts of interest like that.

                  However, OP definitely shouldn’t have been driven out of the industry entirely, and definitely shouldn’t have to deal with the consequences anew job because of what happened at the previous job. HR not doing anything to reign the vengeful ex-wife in is really not okay.

                3. Ainomiaka*

                  The “when you choose to sleep with your supervisor at work ” , while not what happened here, is also pretty gross to me. Yes, let’s punish the person with less power. That seems like a great system. And has no implications for the ability of women to stay in their jobs and avoid harassment. None at all. /s

                4. mrs__peel*

                  @ Ainomiaka-

                  I completely agree. The inherent coercion in that situation means that the less-powerful party generally can’t make a 100% free choice, and it’s really gross to put the blame on them.

            2. LSP*

              You can feel compassion for someone, even if they got themselves into whatever mess they are in. Those are not mutually exclusive or conflicting viewpoints.

              1. Koko*


                I’m also reminded of the poor LW who had gotten himself into a vicious debt cycle on his company credit card, where he kept using floating cash advances from the same card to pay it off, all the while accumulating more and more interest. It was all his doing, but it was still a crappy situation for him to be in, and you can’t change the past–all you can do is try to move forward.

                1. Bigglesworth*

                  And his last update was encredibly uplifting. It showed how much someone can change when they’re willing to try and resolve the situation they caused.

            3. I GOTS TO KNOW!*

              I posted this on another comment, but the lack of empathy being shown here is disturbing.

              One night of cheating means you should have your life completely ruined and you should be harassed constantly? That’s… so incredibly vindictive and lacking of empathy I can barely fathom it.

              OP made a mistake. She lost her job and had her whole family find out about an affair she had in a very embarrassing way. The cheating husband lost his job and his vehicle and savings. That should be enough. Believing they deserve to CONTINUE being punished when they are not continuing to do wrong is, frankly, disgusting and cruel. They had an extramarital one night stand. That shouldn’t mean a lifetime of misery.

              She admits she did wrong and is just trying to provide for herself and her child. Not only do I have course have empathy and sympathy for her, I question those who do not.

                1. Falling Diphthong*

                  Eh, helping someone dance the cucuracha on their partner’s feelings is a pretty crappy thing to do. I don’t hold with blaming the affair partner more than the partnered and cheating person, but it’s not okay to kick their spouse in the stomach because you “never promised them anything.” And no, that doesn’t change if the spouse “doesn’t understand them.”

                  That said, I think predictable consequences are “get named in divorce suit” or “get screamed at at work even though you told them to not scream at you because everything is the other person’s fault.” Not lose your job, unless you’ve in a branch of the military or spying where that’s a thing.

                2. ainomiaka*

                  I can’t nest any further-but exactly Failing Diphthong-it’s reasonable to say she should have suspected being named in the divorce suit, or that the wife wouldn’t like her. The campaign of lies to get her fired? Not so much.

                3. JS*

                  Exactly! Why people get mad at the other woman/man when they dont know them is beyond me! It’s one thing if you have a relationship with the person but otherwise, they aren’t beholden to any responsibility of your relationship.

                4. Ray Palmer*

                  JS – hopefully you never have to go through this, but as someone coming out of the tail-end if a divorce where this was a large factor (my wife cheating in me with her coworker), the other person is just as responsible as the person cheating as *they* are KNOWINGLY sleeping with someone who is off limits already.

                  I don’t know how this is even I question.

                5. Oranges*

                  I’m not saying that she’s 100% guilt free. Most people aren’t. But she clearly states it was a bad idea. She has regret.

                  The exwife however is going beyond what society deems as correct behavior. She is still nursing an active vendetta too long.

                  I personally believe that infidelity doesn’t happen in a vacuum and nothing that the “other person” did made the cheater cheat. It’s not okay but to me it’s more like abetting a crime than actually doing said crime.

                6. JamieS*

                  Ray Palmer, it absolutely baffles me why people enter relationship, sometimes going so far as to make vows to one another, and think that gives them the right to expect others to keep their partner faithful. It’s very simple. If you expect monogamy then look no further than your partner to keep them faithful. If you don’t feel you can do that then don’t enter the relationship.

                7. Boris*

                  Ray Palmer, I really don’t see how someone not in your marriage is just as responsible for upholding its internal rules as you are!

                8. mrs__peel*

                  I wouldn’t even consider “being named in a divorce suit” to be a foreseeable consequence of having an affair in 2017, given that the vast majority of divorces these days are no-fault. Fault mostly doesn’t matter for child custody or the division of assets in most states anymore.

                  (Personally, I associate “being named” with wacky shenanigans and hired co-respondents in 1930s musicals…)

                9. Phoenix Programmer*


                  I did go through something like that. All I asked for from the other woman was a simple apology for kissing my partner.

                  Most of my beef and reconciliation was with partner.

                10. The Rat-Catcher*

                  100% agree with JamieS. If my entire relationship rises or falls on the woman’s response, we’re already in a really broken place regardless of what she ends up saying.

              1. Myrin*

                I’m actually reminded of Alison’s personal post yesterday. It seems to me that some people go through life with the stance of “You feel bad and aplogised, but I want you to feel bad and apologise more!” and are absolutely relentless about that. I obviously wouldn’t want to forbid people to feel how they feel but I am disheartened by a continued, loud expression of those feelings (especially when they aren’t even involved! Presumably none of us know the OP!).

                1. Lady Phoenix*

                  Replace “apologize” with “punoshment”. It is scary that I have to ask how far is too far for some of these commenters.

                  Should the Ex assault the OP? Steal from the OP? Trash op’s house? Attack op’s child and/or pets? Or go to straight out murder? Cause right now stalking and harassment seem a-ok to some of these commenters for being an accessory to cheating.

                  This is why I called the Ex “Heathcliff”, because Heathcliff took his justifiable rage and hatred to levels where it was no longer justifiable and it turned him into a monster.

                2. Detective Amy Santiago*

                  “You feel bad and aplogised, but I want you to feel bad and apologise more!” and are absolutely relentless about that.

                  We are all human and we all make mistakes and sometimes those mistakes hurt other people. I am really uncomfortable when people act like no apology will ever be good enough. What do they want to happen? We can’t go back and change the past. The best we can do is learn from it and move forward.

                3. PlainJane*

                  This. It also seems like there are a lot of people who think someone should be entirely defined by a screw-up they made years ago. People grow and change, and to quote what is now a cliche, when we know better, we do better. Do we really want to never let people move on from a mistake?

                4. Temperance*

                  I honestly think it depends on what the action is. Like, LW5 regrets the one-time mistake she made, and the consequences have been huge as compared to the actual transgression. There’s nothing she could do to make that beast stop haranguing her.

              2. monica's thunder*

                My issue with OP #5 was her utter lack of responsibility for her actions. I honestly didn’t care about the sleeping with the boss. I originally felt empathy/sympathy for her, but her comments on the posts were… not great. She was defensive, played the victim, and refused to take responsibility for her actions. I’ve left jobs on bad terms- I can still find a few people who will serve as a reference. If she has only has one reference for 12 years of work history, that implies to me there are other mistakes she’s made with her coworkers.

                1. Anna*

                  I don’t think the OP, or anyone for that matter, has to climb up on a cross for a bad decision until you feel they’ve shown enough remorse. In fact, I just looked over the original responses from the OP and at no point does she come across as defensive. I think what you mean to say, then, is that she isn’t being penitent enough for you. That’s not a good enough reason to be treated so shabbily, in my opinion.

                2. Sarah M*

                  OP #5 slept with her colleague/peer, so I’m not sure where you are getting that she slept with her boss from?…

                3. I woke up like this*

                  I think the child changes everything. I imagine the OP can’t truthfully say she wishes she never slept with the colleague because the act, even though it was a mistake, resulted in the birth of her child. And that child is her focus and priority rather than atoning to the wife. And I’m ok with that.

                4. Forrest*

                  I’m fine with that too but I find it amusing that people are claiming she feels bad or is sorry for what happened when she’s never even hinted that she was.

                  And you can feel about hurting someone and still love your child. People are capable of multiple emotions and if she’s been working for over 12 years, she’s old enough to know that.

                5. JS*

                  OP is the victim in a way. She made a mistake but that doesn’t mean she deserves to be retaliated against on the job. The ex-wife lied and made threats to ruin their careers. If anyone deserves ill treatment its her. People make mistakes, both OP and the husband deserve second chances. Ruining someone’s life and career is petty and vindictive. OP and husband werent right in their affair but I honestly think they are better people at this point than the exwife.

                6. Ray Palmer*

                  To her credit she at least kept the baby. If nothing else, she at least accepted THAT responsibility.

                7. TrainerGirl*

                  I can only guess that this topic has caused a LOT of projection from some of the folks here, and if you’ve ever been in this situation (or one close to it), your lens is probably too dirty to be objective. The boss who is still punishing the ex-husband and OP has gotten stuck and is now letting her hate and vindictiveness rule her life. I hope that she’s able to heal and move on from this.

                8. Temperance*

                  @Ray Palmer: wtf is your comment? I hope you’re not suggesting that women shouldn’t have the right to choose, because that’s messed up.

                9. paul*

                  There were also things they said that made me question their perception; they mentioned the ex getting the car as being vindictive, they chalked up wage garnishments to being vindictive (which, from my understanding, garnishments happen if someone hasn’t been paying their child support–it isn’t something you can just magically do), they chalked up being mentioned in the divorce as vindictiveness too…

                  Like, yeah, some of what OP described does seem incredibly hostile, but some of the actions they initially described as hostile or cruel or petty really don’t seem to be eithher, and that does make me question their perception a bit.

                  And yes, I also wonder about not having any references for 12 years of working in a field.

                10. Oranges*

                  @paul the reason about the car being vindictive wasn’t that she got it. It was when the husband asked if he could keep it for two weeks so he could get something else in place to continue his job she said no. Okay, her perrogitive but then she called to get it repossessed soon after. Which caused him to lose his job because no wheels. Vindictive yes but… it was her car…

                  The garnished wages also was vindictive because she opted for that instead of a normal payment plan which incidentally would have gotten her more money. That seems like either she thinks he won’t pay her or she wants to embarrass him. By all her former actions I’m guessing the latter. (The OP commented using the name Rachel on both posts)

                  The wife has done a bunch of things that constitute to me a pattern. One or two could be a mistake but this is a vendetta.

                11. Triplestep*

                  I also read OP’s comments in the original letter and the update, and she *absolutely* takes responsibility for her actions, multiple times. I can’t think of a single time she came off as defensive, and as for playing the victim … it’s not “playing” when someone is actually harassing you!

                12. Ray Palmer*


                  I’m not saying anything of the sort. I’m saying that she chose not to kill a human being, and she also chose not to put it up for adoption. Following through with a natural consequence of sex takes a lot of guts in 2017.

                13. Oranges*

                  @ray I can only say ewwwwwww. Please stop. Just. Stop. There is not enough nope in me right now. I hope this is just one of many comments to point out what you just said is NOT okay.

                14. Forrest*

                  I just don’t see any evidence that the ex wife is still bothering her. The LW hasn’t said anything, so logically the ex wife has moved on.

                  Did the ex wife treat her terribly? Yes, she did. Is she still? We don’t know – the LW didn’t tell us that in this update. So far all we know, the ex wife has stopped tormenting and punishing the LW.

                  And taking responsibility and feeling remorse are two different things.

                15. Phoenix Programmer*

                  I actually got the opposite – that she feels really bad and this was letting V for vendetta ex wife punish her to much!

                16. Oranges*

                  @forest I also think the exwife’s actions have made it very hard for the OP to have any remorse towards her.

                  Like if I kicked you and was sorry for it but then you went and set my hair on fire, suddenly I’d have less remorse towards you personally while still knowing that kicking you was indeed wrong.

                17. Lady Ariel Ponyweather*

                  She absolutely did take responsibility for actions and made no excuses. She was only looking for advice so she could get back to work and take care of her child. As for the references, she explained that as well.

                18. mrs__peel*

                  @ Ray Palmer-

                  This is REALLY not the place for anti-choice nonsense. And it’s certainly not on-topic, per the site rules.

                19. Forrest*


                  I’m more inclined to believe a woman who willingly and knowingly slept with a married man never cared about the wife’s feelings.

            4. esra (also a Canadian)*

              This keeps getting into, but I’m pretty firmly on the team of Adequate Consequences Don’t Equal Being Banned From Life. Seriously.

            5. Tuxedo Cat*

              OP #5 and her child’s father messed up, and I don’t blame the ex-wife for not feeling warm towards OP #5. I’m not entirely against all the actions the ex-wife has taken (though I am against some of them).

              However, (and I certainly don’t condone cheating or cheating partners) there’s a point IMO where the punishment is disproportionate. It’s reached that point to me. OP #5 didn’t kill anyone, harass anyone, etc.

              1. Forrest*

                But what punishment is there besides the wife not liking her? Is the wife all of a sudden supposed to forgive her? It would be nice but it’s not something she has to do now or ever.

                1. ainomiaka*

                  in this case? The wife lied to get the OP fired from one job then threatened her at a second. No, the wife doesn’t have to forgive her, but the ex wife absolutely should have to follow the law and behave professionally. If the ex-wife wrote in and said “I want to tell this company that a one night affair was actually long term” everyone here would say don’t do it, it’ll burn your credibility and make you look like a loon. I cannot understand why that same logic isn’t getting applied here.

                2. Forrest*

                  But we don’t know if she’s still doing that either. So if she isn’t, the wife isn’t punishing her, she’s just not helping her either.

                3. sap*

                  The ex-wife specifically chose from two equivalent positions at the new company to manage #5 when she learned that managing #5 was possible. Given that she had lied to derail #5’s employment previously, and was continuing to lash out at #5’s co-parent, it’s not reasonable to insist that #5 was making unwarranted assumptions about this woman’s future behavior.

                4. Forrest*

                  Who’s insisting that LW is making unwarranted assumptions?

                  People are saying the LW has been punished enough. By the LW’s own admission the wife hasn’t been contact and has left her alone. If the wife was still interfering with the LW, wouldn’t she say that?

                  People are saying she’s been punished enough as if it’s still going on. There’s no evidence that it is.

                5. Tuxedo Cat*

                  OP #5 lost a job, the one where she slept with the guy. The ex-wife played a role in that.

                  She quit another job where because the ex-wife was going to be her boss and it was clear it would’ve been a bad situation because of comments the ex-wife made in the levator.

                  This is more than the ex-wife disliking the letter writer. It sucks that the OP can’t work in her field anymore after working in it for over a decade.

                6. Temperance*

                  Of course she doesn’t have to forgive! There’s a difference between not forgiving and actively trying to destroy someone, though.

                  For instance, I hate one of my SILs for something that she did to me. I’ll never forgive her because she can never atone for this specific thing. I’ll never help her. However, I haven’t called her employer and let them know that she has two DUIs/public drunkenness arrests and that she’s an alcoholic who doesn’t take care of her children.

                7. Forrest*

                  Yes, but what punishment is there now besides the wife not liking her. There’s no evidence in the update that the ex wife hasn’t moved on.

                  Everyone is asking when the LW will stopped being punished – so what is that punishment? She may be still feeling the effects from everything but that doesn’t equal punishment.

                8. Phoenix Programmer*

                  The punishment from wide was 1) calling old job to lie and get them forever claiming they had sex dieing work 2) 8 YEARS later taking a position of power over op and then gleefully tormenting and dangling this per over her in elevator 3) lying as a reference about op to get her future jobs tanked.

                  None of these were ok for ex wife to do. None! Harassment only stopped when op stopped applying to industry jobs. It’s reasonable to assume ex would continue smear campaign of op if she hasn’t quit trying.

                9. Sarah M*

                  This reply is to Phoenix Programmer because of the nesting. It was only 3 or 4 years later, not eight. OP worked at her first job for eight years. The fling only happened 3 or 4 years ago.

                  (I agree with the rest of your post though)

              2. Forrest*

                “Harassment only stopped when op stopped applying to industry jobs.”

                In other words, she’s not being punished now.

            6. buttercup*

              This is one of those stories where I don’t really sympathize with anyone because all the characters are horrible. The OP and the husband who cheated aren’t exactly great people, and ex-wife is horrendous. I will dish out my sympathy elsewhere.

              1. Forrest*


                I would think differently even the LW had even acknowledged a little bit that she hurt another person badly. But nothing.

                The stance of “I did this and I don’t care” is admirable in a way but it doesn’t endear me to feel sorry for her.

            7. Temperance*

              I feel bad for her because she made one bad decision. ONE. The consequences to her mistake, which she fully owns, BTW!, are ridiculous in comparison.

          2. Valancy*

            Re-reading the comments on the update…did the ex actually convince the clients of that? Unless I’ve missed something, Rachel said that the ex-wife told the clients about the affair, but she doesn’t mention that she lied to them about the circumstances, just that the clients believed it was on company time.

        2. Princess Cimorene*

          He was only her co-worker. Same level, same age as her. They had a one night stand, a child was produced. He was married. She was not. His wife ended up being her soon-to-be-new-boss when her company merged. She had to leave as no one had her back. Crazy unfortunate and excessive consequences for her.

    3. Millennial Lawyer*

      We don’t know that she’s such a horrible person. OP had a baby with the woman’s husband. Clearly it has been a painful situation for all involved, caused by OP and the woman’s husband. I totally am for being supportive to OP and giving her the best advice possible but I don’t think it’s right to disparage this boss/woman who hasn’t done anything except divorce her husband who cheated on her.

      1. Q*

        While I have issues declaring people wholesale “awful” or “good,” the woman in question also:

        -Paid someone to announce that she slept with a married man in her hospital delivery room in front of her friends, family, and colleagues.

        -Specifically chose to manage OP to get back at one of the people who “shattered her life.”

        -Made a rather ominous comment about the situation to OP in private indicating she planned to be a vicious manager.

        OP has a right to be wary of this woman.

        1. Hills to Die on*

          OP should unequivocally be wary of her! The woman is vindictive and not without blame. But she’s also human and I think many people would not handle this with perfect grace, professionalism, and forgiveness. I just think calling her ‘horrible’ goes too far, personally.

          1. Q*

            That comment was motivated by “woman who hasn’t done anything except divorce her husband who cheated on her.”

            Well. That’s not fair to say, either.

            1. Millennial Lawyer*

              If I could I’d edit my original comment reflecting that I must have missed additional details. I still have a gut reaction about calling a woman horrible even if she’s acting out in a very unhealthy way but obviously OP should be nowhere near her.

              1. mrs__peel*

                I personally think that a sustained campaign of harassment lasting *years* can be described as horrible. Unless someone, like, …. murdered your entire family, it’s really disproportionate and not okay to “act out” for revenge in harassing ways.

                Also, when I hear that someone took “revenge” on an ex in an over-the-line way (e.g., by getting them fired, destroying their property, etc.), I tend to assume that they were also abusive or controlling when they were in the relationship. Because those kinds of behavior often go hand in hand.

          2. Trout 'Waver*

            I strongly believe that every that does evil thinks their evil is justified because they themselves were wronged.

            Just sayin’

        2. Millennial Lawyer*

          Is this in an update I missed? That wasn’t in the original post I’m getting my information from. Obviously if that’s true all of that is going WAY too far and clearly the woman isn’t handling her (justified) pain in a healthy way.

        3. Myrin*

          Very true. ML, have you read any of the updates/comments the OP provided? This woman did much, much more than (rightly) just “divorce her husband who cheated on her”.

          I’m very sympathetic to the abstract and objective situation the ex-wife is in but I’m having a hard time feeling a lot of sympathy in this particular situation with all the additional details OP filled us in on. Of course I’m still sorry her husband cheated on her because that must feel awful but it feels like in this case, it started a whole avalanche of instances of terrible, over-the-top retaliation (towards OP no less, who, while certainly not blameless, shouldn’t bear the brunt of this marital problem) which makes it hard for me to utter anything past a generic “I’m sorry he cheated on you, that must have sucked”.

          OP, I’m very glad to hear that you continue to have a good support net and people around you who stand behind you. I wish you and your child all the best in anything the future might hold!

      2. Wow*

        The ex-wife told all the clients that there had been a long affair on their time and their dime. Clients left, and the rules at the office got tightened, making everyone who worked there upset with the OP and the husband.

        She took the job managing OP for the sole reason of getting back at her, despite having other options. She relished in the opportunity to make OP miserable.

        She paid to have OP served at the hospital when the baby was born and loudly tell everyone she had been with a married man.

        She subpoenaed OP to testify in the divorce and posted all the testimony online for everyone to see (since the court was open and not subject to privacy)

        Her husband offered a payment plan where she would get more money in the end. Instead she had his car repossessed while he was at work and without a car, he could not do his job or get there and he lost his job.

        She made sure OP will not get a reference at the job she left.

        She has made it so OP and her husband can never work in the industry again.

        Sounds horrible to me.

        1. Millennial Lawyer*

          Clearly there was a LOT more that I missed. I do not really feel bad for the husband in this situation… (although clearly this woman is acting out in pain in unhealthy ways) but I hope everything works out for OP she shouldn’t be subject to this over the top harassment.

          1. Wow*

            The worst of it is that OP consulted at least one lawyer, but the ex-wife has not done anything illegal or gone near the child so nothing can be done by the courts or the police. She is purposely being as horrible as possible without breaking the law, leaving OP and the husband with with no recourse.

              1. Jesca*

                I tend to have more sympathy who have in the moment emotional outbursts. I tend to reduce sympathy for those who plan and attack over long periods of time cooly and calmly. At that point, it is not about being hurt, it is actually more about vengeance and control.

                1. Aeon*


                  I understand that it must have been really painful for the (now) ex-wife to find out her husband had cheated on her and got another woman pregnant. I don’t know what I would do in that position, I hope I can stay reasonable, but I also might lash out (let’s hope I never find out ;-) )

                  However, she kept bullying her ex and the OP, they both lost their job (the ex because she took his car) and she made it so that they cannot work in their field anymore by giving bad references (Granted, I wouldn’t give a glowin rec eather, but I would be pretty neutral so that they can keep working in the field they like, just not near me in the same office).
                  This is really ugly. Especially considering that they now have a very young child to feed and raise (the most innocent person in all this).

                  So yes, I’m glad that OP is doing better and that she has a good and supportive social circle around her.

        2. Lady Phoenix*

          Pretty much. Just because she got cheated on does not mean she has full allowance to essentially stalk, harass, and terrorize the OP.

        3. Anony McAnonface*

          You are a nicer person that me, I guess. My sympathy is still with the boss. Is she behaving badly? Absolutely. But maybe don’t sleep with someone if you’re already married. And don’t sleep with someone who is married. And also there’s a kid!? Sometimes the wronged party will be gracious but sometimes they might burn your life down. You roll the dice, you get what you get.

          >She paid to have OP served at the hospital when the baby was born and loudly tell everyone she had been with a married man.
          >She subpoenaed OP to testify in the divorce and posted all the testimony online for everyone to see (since the court was open and not subject to privacy)

          Why should she keep it secret? I’d put the OP and ex on blast too if someone did that to me.

          I’d have less sympathy for the Boss if she was only attacking the OP, but she’s gone after her ex just as hard. They did something ill-advised and are now paying for it. Is it disproportionate? Maybe, but don’t kick a hornet’s nest and you won’t get stung.

          FYI I have never been married, this is not me being angry about my own life. I just don’t think cheaters should prosper.

          Mostly I think HR are the main bunglers in this situation. Any idiot can see these two people shouldn’t be in the same office never mind in the same reporting structure. My sympathies to the OP and her child’s father, and the boss, but a big Fail to HR.

          1. The Supreme Troll*

            Anony McAnonface, I really get what you’re saying and probably agree with you on most of your points. And I was one of the ones more critical to Rachel (I did not want her to make up justifications or excuses, nor did I see her as a victim here).

            But I think that (from my understanding) the type of “torture” vendetta that the boss’s ex-wife wanted to inflict on Rachel was bordering on crazy. She was actively making it a mission of her life to destroy Rachel in any way possible.

            1. Koko*

              Yes, and while, the risk of kicking up a hornet’s nest of torture vendetta is a real risk that one could warn something about before they act, pointing out in retrospect that another person’s off-the-rails response was always a theoretical possibility is neither helpful to the OP nor a justification for the off-the-rails behavior.

              Like, if I ride a carnival ride, there’s a risk that the teenagers operating it haven’t been doing proper maintenance and I could be seriously injured. But telling me after I’ve been injured that your sympathy lies with the carnival workers because I should have known that their negligence was a possibility would absurd.

              The boss is a bad actor regardless of her motivation and regardless of whether OP could have been able to anticipate that her one-night consensual indiscretion would provoke this response. Wrong doesn’t become right just because you were aggrieved. There are limits to what is a reasonable response.

              1. bawab*

                Your analogy doesn’t quite work. It makes “you” (universal you) passive. It’s more like if you shoved the teenagers out of the way to get on the Ferris wheel, so they stopped it when you were at the top and walked away. As with Rachel’s behavior, the person basically created their own misery with their actions. It’s like picking a fight and being mad you got your tush kicked.

          2. Banana stand*

            I totally agree with you and I’m actually baffled by all of the sympathy she’s getting like she’s an innocent in this. And like you, I’ve never been married or cheated on. I just firmly believe that if you do something bad like sleep with a married man, there might be consequences.

            1. Hills to Die on*

              I have sympathy for both of them, but I didn’t see where anyone thinks the OP is innocent. I think there is blame to go around and the whole thing is just sad.

            2. Koko*

              The consequences just seem to be disproportionate to the severity of the crime. She’s already been punished. She has a child she’s trying to support. When will she and her child have been punished enough? Does the punishment ever stop?

              1. Luna*

                The cause of the consequences seems to be more due to the LW’s lack of references than the ex-wife. I understand why LW can’t ask managers for a reference (other than the 1 who retired), but how is it that she can’t come up with 2 co-workers who can provide references, after 12 years of working? Yes it’s not ideal, managers are preferred, but I’ve gotten hired before with only 1 reference being a manager. If she had other references she would not have had to take the extreme measure of leaving the industry altogether.

                1. mrs__peel*

                  From the previous updates, it sounded like the ex-wife had poisoned the well at the first job by spreading lies about the LW. The lies apparently led to lost clients and office-wide policy changes that the LW was blamed for. So I don’t think it’s really her fault that she can’t get a reference there.

                  For the second, if I remember right, I don’t think she had been there very long and she left without giving notice for what I would consider to be good reasons. (Namely, that their HR department was absolutely useless and prepared to look the other way on a clear conflict of interest).

          3. Ainomiaka*

            While I agree that the ex wife isn’t required to keep what happened a secret, the whole affair on company time thing? According to original letters and updates not true. Even if cheaters shouldn’t prosper you don’t get to go around spreading malicious lies to get someone fired for it.

            1. Clare*

              True but does the ex know it is a lie, or did she really believe it to be true? If my husband told me that story- it was just one time, but whoops she got pregnant!- I would probably think he was the one lying, so I don’t blame the ex wife for being suspicious.

          4. hERE wE gO aGAIN*

            I have difficulty having sympathy for the OP here too and though it is in part due to her original choices, it is mainly due to some of the things she said in her letters:
            1. “I was dragged into the divorce proceedings and she went out of her way to humiliate me.” Except that you willingly walked into her marriage and were part and parcel of why they divorced. Also, you humiliated her not just by having an affair but by having her husband’s child.
            2. “Neither of us has a car, I cannot afford it and his ex-wife got his in the divorce” While the situation with not having a car is quite difficult, the ex-wife didn’t necessarily get HIS in the divorce. OP is listening to the husband’s story and he’s already not credible due to his own actions. I’d assume community property and the wife won the car. Generally this stuff is mediated out or resolved in court.
            3. “he is still dealing with the fallout from his bankruptcy and his ex-wife having his wages garnished instead of accepting a payment plan)” Again, she is listening to the husband and has only his side. Unless she is literally part of the mediation and knows exactly what’s going on, she would do better to step back and make statements that she doesn’t know to be true. There’s likely a pretty good legal reason to garnish wages rather than accept a payment plan. She would do well to stay out of this and not make these statements because it makes her look, to me, like she is trying to demonize the ex-wife and declare this man the poor, innocent victim of his evil ex. That’s so not fair considering how they all got here.

            The whole situation is sad and I feel bad for all involved, especially baby. But demonizing others isn’t a good look. Yes, ex-wife certainly appears to have enjoyed her power, but walk a mile in her shoes – she coped with a situation that wasn’t of her making but of which she had to deal with immense fallout. OP would do well too to not sit back and claim the role of victim.

            1. LCL*

              Telling somebody something ‘isn’t a good look’ is one of those superior slap down statements that just escalates things.

              I just, I still can’t see, sleeping with someone as a deliberate humiliation. This kind of sex patrolling in the end usually ends up punishing women more than men. I don’t think anyone should be punished for consensual acts.

              1. Katherine*

                It may not have been a deliberate humiliation, but it was certainly a foreseeable one- unless OP didn’t know that the father was married, she knew the wife might find out and be humiliated.

                1. Sarah M*

                  OP admitted she knew he was married before they slept together. The ex-wife went for a fault divorce based on adultery and that’s why OP was called in to testify.

              2. Koko*

                I agree. I’m not saying cheating isn’t a huge betrayal, but there’s a difference between feeling embarrassed by your husband’s betrayal and going out of your way to target another person for humiliation (on multiple occasions/in multiple ways). If we want to talk about things that “aren’t a good look” ex-wife is behaving like she walked off the set of Desperate Housewives and she’s putting on a drama show for a camera crew.

            2. Millennial Lawyer*

              I agree. It’s sad and I hope OP gets her life together but I don’t really feel bad for the husband losing his car etc. That happens in a divorce.

            3. Hello...ello...ello..ello..llo..llo..lo*

              I hadn’t read this one, so just caught up on the saga. Oof, is really all I have to say on this one.

              Like you I don’t really think the ExWife was totally out of line. Nothing she did was over the line or harassment during the divorce (and actually quite normal from the sounds of it). I get that it was embarrassing for the LW, but I think one can expect fallout in situations like this.

              I think the LW is doing the best thing here by moving on and reestablishing her career and hope for the best for her. I do hope that this is the one of the few outlets she is voicing criticisms of the ExWife in. Otherwise I fear that that past actions could continue to overshadow her life. It’s great that she’s got a good co-parenting relationship with the father/ExHusband, but she should leave it at that and not get involved about the ExWife.

              1. Salamander*

                Judging by the comments here, there are apparently some people in the world who would shrug and walk away gracefully if their spouse had an affair. There are others who would go scorched earth. Neither, frankly, is wrong.

                What’s silly is anyone who knowingly sleeps with a married person and expects that they’re going to get a wronged spouse from column A…even that one has a RIGHT to expect that the wronged party is going to keep turning the other cheek and keep taking the high road. It’s equally possible that one will be dealing a wronged spouse who will destroy all offenders. You’ve got no way of knowing what you’re dealing with if you walk into this situation, and it’s not worth the gamble. You gotta expect that you’re gonna get a scorched-earth response.

                But of course, everyone assumes that they’re not gonna get caught. Rarely, rarely is that the case.

                I’m really skeptical of the OP not being able to get ANY references from anyone. If this is the case, there are problems. She would best be served by starting over, putting this as far behind her as she can, and going forward with the knowledge that she has control of herself, not other people’s responses.

                1. Jadelyn*

                  Out of curiosity, does everyone who gets hurt by someone they care about have carte blanche from you to go “scorched earth” on the person or people who hurt them, or is it just spouses who’ve been cheated on? I just don’t see how you can say that “neither response is wrong”. What if someone’s definition of “scorched earth” involves physical violence against the other person? Is that still an okay response, justified because they were cheated on?

                  Like, I get having sympathy for someone whose spouse cheated on them – my dad cheated on my mom and basically wrecked the family, and I’ve been cheated on myself, so I get how awful it is – but sympathy doesn’t mean absolving people from standards of basic human decency.

                2. Salamander*

                  I draw the line at illegal behavior, actually. So, no stalking, physical harm, etc. I didn’t explicitly say that, because there wasn’t any stalking, assault, or abuse mentioned in the original letter or the update.

                  The boss didn’t do anything illegal. And I generally don’t expect graceful behavior from people I’ve been rotten to.

                3. Mike C.*

                  I certainly wouldn’t follow an ex around with the sole purpose of becoming their manager or otherwise driving them out of their career.

                  Your post is incredible reductive. There’s a lot of context you’re ignoring.

                4. mrs__peel*

                  “The boss didn’t do anything illegal.”

                  Hmmm, spreading lies about the LW at her first job could fall under the heading of defamation, slander, etc.

                5. mrs__peel*

                  “You’ve got no way of knowing what you’re dealing with”

                  I mean, sure, but there are also things like criminal laws and workplace rules to prevent (most) people from going all-out in the pursuit of revenge. If someone crosses the line into harassment or violent retaliation after a relationship ends, there are often legal and professional consequences like being arrested or losing your job. And being recently cheated on doesn’t generally give someone a “get out of jail free” card.

                  In a workplace setting, I would sympathize if (e.g.) a direct report had recently been cheated on and divorced her husband, but I would still hold her to the same standards of professional behavior as any other employee. She could certainly be fired if she failed to report a conflict of interest in supervising the “other woman” or retaliated against her at work.

              2. Jadelyn*

                “Nothing she did was over the line or harassment during the divorce”

                So…outright lying about the duration/type of affair in order to screw over the ex and the Other Woman, deliberately choosing to manage the Other Woman at work specifically in order to make her life miserable, calculated public humiliation, that’s not over the line to you? I have to wonder where the heck your line actually is, then. Because I find it hard to sympathize with someone who’s gone from spontaneously lashing out from hurt, to calculated cruelty for revenge’s sake. At the point at which it’s deliberate, calculated cruelty, that’s over the line.

              3. mrs__peel*

                “Nothing she did was over the line”

                Really? I’m sure the LW’s first employer would disagree, since (according to the previous letters) they ended up losing clients over lies that the ex-wife spread around.

                A *lot* of what was described sounds like harassment to me. It was certainly highly unprofessional, if not illegal.

            4. Susanne*

              “Neither of us has a car, I cannot afford it and his ex-wife got his in the divorce”

              If this woman was on such economic thin ice that she couldn’t afford a car, it makes me wonder about her judgment in having unprotected relations that could lead to pregnancy.

              1. Susanne*

                Or put another way – there are other smarter choices that could be made with unwanted pregnancies when someone is on economic thin ice.

                1. Mustache Cat*

                  You’re mixing it up. She’s on economic thin ice because she lost two jobs as a result of the affair that produced the pregnancy.

                2. Oranges*

                  I’m not sure you mean this but to me this comment is saying “she should have had an abortion” which… ewwwww. I’m really really really hoping I’m reading this wrong.

                3. Jadelyn*

                  …why are we suddenly auditing OP’s *personal sexual and reproductive choices*? That’s super gross.

                4. Choices*

                  To Oranges:
                  Adoption was also an option.* It would have been a better choice for the child in my opinion. Bring a child into a situation like this is cruel and one of, if not, the worst parts of this. I agree with Susanne, OP could have made a smarter choice.

                  *Susanne may or may not have been referring to abortion, but that was not the only option.

              2. Detective Amy Santiago*

                Yes, because birth control is 100% effective and never fails.

                What is the purpose of continuing to flagellate the LW? She admitted she made a mistake and she can’t go back and undo what happened.

              3. Anna*

                Could you maybe not participate in the grossest form of judgment? It doesn’t suit you or humanity for that matter.

            5. Mustache Cat*

              I disagree heartily with other parts of your comment, but also, jesus. A child is a child, not a humiliation to another person.

            6. Christmas Carol*

              Neither of us has a car, I cannot afford it and his ex-wife got his in the divorce

              Yeah, because after all, everyone knows that when a married couple owns a car, that really means it is the sole property of the one with the y-chromosome.


            7. Lady Ariel Ponyweather*

              None of these comments are her demonising anyone or playing the victim. She’s simply stating facts about her situation. She wrote in looking for advice on how to find gainful employment. That’s as far as playing the victim as you can get.

          5. Nita*

            OP is not married. And not sure if she knew the cheating ex-husband was married. And not that life is fair, but many people suffer much less severe consequences for doing much worse things than what OP did. This seems almost like a pre-civilized society level of punishment, where adulterers are either stoned to death literally, or cast out and ostracized to the point where they no longer have the means to survive.

            If everyone responded to being wronged the way the boss did, that would be a lot of lives burned to the ground. Including the lives of innocent bystanders, children, parents, etc. (I’m thinking of something that’s currently going on in my own life, and this is pretty much the one thing stopping me from going ballistic on the person who’s causing me trouble.)

            1. Sarah M*

              OP did admit that she knew he was married before they got together. She had to testify about it in the divorce because the ex-wife applied for a fault divorce.

          6. Anony*

            I agree that HR was the worst part. At the very least they should have laid off the OP during the merger instead of putting her in a position where she would have to quit. I don’t feel too sorry for the husband loosing everything in the divorce and having his wages garnished. I believe that he was also OP’s supervisor, so loosing his job seems like a reasonable outcome. But the OP didn’t make any promises to the ex and targeting her seems misplaced and excessive. Also, since the OP was the subordinate, she did not abuse a position of power by having an affair (or one night stand) with her boss.

            1. Sarah M*

              OP slept with her colleague. He was a peer and they were close in age. So I’m not sure why you say he was her boss and it was an abuse of a position of power?..

            2. Yorick*

              If the OP had been the subordinate (she wasn’t, but if we imagine), the boss would’ve been the one to abuse power, not OP.

            3. Specialk9*

              Exactly. I hate how there is a trope that the lover is worse than the adulterer. The lover didn’t make oaths!* The other man/woman is still in the wrong, but like 10% the amount of the cheater.

              But there are incentives to reduce blame on one’s spouse (getting back together, having to coparent, years of emotional investment). So the less guilty person pays far more than the truly responsible one. Like here – he lost his car and some wages; she lost a job, career, and ability to get a decent job in the future, all while dealing with an unplanned-for newborn.

              This lesson was driven home for me when a high school friend had to report a fellow Coast Guard academy cadet, her roommate, for admitting to murder. Her long distance boyfriend had cheated, and in order for them to get back together, they agreed that the other woman (I believe a teenager) had to die, like some twisted atonement. So they literally murdered her, so they could date again. O_o Even then, I thought that murdering HIM sounded more just, although also, oh yeah, utterly unhinged.

              *Not all marriage vows involve sexual fidelity, but this one clearly did.

                1. Specialk9*

                  I threaded my response wrong, this was supposed to go under krysb’s statement “If there are two people in a relationship, in this specific case, Husband and Wife, then those two people made promises to one another and owe fidelity to one another. OP is not in a relationship with Wife, has made no promises to her, and owes her nothing. It’s the whole “blame the other woman where really your man needs to be kicked in the balls” issue that gets to me. No one made Husband step out of his marriage. That was his decision, and he should deal with the consequences.”

          7. krysb*

            Here’s why I’m sympathetic: If there are two people in a relationship, in this specific case, Husband and Wife, then those two people made promises to one another and owe fidelity to one another. OP is not in a relationship with Wife, has made no promises to her, and owes her nothing. It’s the whole “blame the other woman where really your man needs to be kicked in the balls” issue that gets to me. No one made Husband step out of his marriage. That was his decision, and he should deal with the consequences.

            1. Soon to be former fed*

              I totally disagree. The OP made the infidelity possible. She shares culpability and disrespected the wife’s marriage. Then, neither one of them had the sense to use condoms, creating a health risk for the wife.

              Don’t judge wife unless you have been in her shoes. I have. No children were involved and none of us worked together though.

              1. Mike C.*

                Uh, no. It was the husband who decided to break his vows. The OP had no vows to break in the first place.

                So would you follow your ex’s lover around and ruin their career as well? At what point does vengeance end?

                1. The Supreme Troll*

                  Mike C., Rachel knew that her boss was married. Rachel’s boss that did claim to be single, nor did he force himself upon her. Rachel made a conscious decision to sleep with her married boss, which led to the birth of a child.

                  I am not condoning the ex-wife’s vicious vendetta goals, but we have to tell it like it is here. By any reasonable social standard, Rachel used very poor judgement. And that was on her.

                2. The Supreme Troll*

                  And also, to be clear, I am not giving a pass whatsoever to Rachel’s boss, who is equally to blame, if not more so.

              2. mrs__peel*

                I have been in a similar situation, and I still think the ex-wife’s actions were *wildly* disproportionate and unhinged.

            2. Pine cones huddle*

              I agree. Husband and Wife made commitments here no one else. OP doesn’t owe Wife shit. This isn’t bible times. Granted, Wife doesn’t have to like her and is entitled to feel hurt, but make no mistake, OP nor any of the rest of us are under any obligation not to sleep with married people. Married people are under obligations to maintain the level of fidelity expected by their spouse. That doesn’t mean banging married people is a mess I want to get tangled up in, but I made no commitment to that marriage, unless I was a bridesmaid or something. We need to get out of this mindset where the “other woman” is equally to blame. She’s not. Because all she did was have sex with someone WHICH SHE IS ALLOWED TO DO. She didn’t stand up in front of everyone and fill out paperwork and commit to anyone. Sure Wife was a jerk. And Husband saw his marriage fall apart. But OP? She gets to have sex with whoever she wants. End of story.

              1. Specialk9*

                Both of you take extreme positions, when my belief is it’s somewhere in the middle but to the side. When one has sex with someone known to be married, they own about 10-15% of the guilt. (Unless poly, in which case one is still responsible for verifying that it’s a legit open relationship, ethically speaking.) The married adulterer, who made the vows, owns 85-90% of the guilt and should end up holding most of the consequences. Our societies, however, heap 90% of the consequences on the one with 10% culpability.

                And yes I’m pulling these statistics out of thin air.

              2. The Supreme Troll*

                Pine cones huddle, please read my response above to Mike C. Maybe then you can not miss the point and understand why some commenters (such as myself) responded the way they did.

              3. Traffic_Spiral*

                Well, to use your logic, the ex-wife owes LW nothing, so why does she have to be nice to her? LW knew that screwing the husband would hurt the wife, but did it anyway because it felt good. Now the ex-wife is trashing LW’s career because it feels good. Same-same.

            1. Lissa*

              Seriously! I feel like all this “but, consequences should be expected” is fairly superior-seeming. Yes, every action has potential consequences, but that doesn’t mean that they will always be reasonable, fair, or even expected. Isn’t “be prepared for consequences” something that can be applied to pretty much…anything, and therefore anyone who makes any type of mistake should just accept anything that happens to them if it’s related to that mistake? That…doesn’t seem reasonable to me.

              1. Jadelyn*

                Clearly, if you get into a car wreck, you shouldn’t be allowed to get medical treatment or get your car repaired, because car wrecks are a potential consequence of driving no matter how careful you are, so you should’ve foreseen that happening and now you just have to live with the consequences.

                1. Lissa*

                  Actually a very similar scenario if the driver of the car wreck was at fault, or did something careless at all when driving.

                2. Jadelyn*

                  @soon to be former fed: How so, exactly? In both situations, you have someone who made a choice to engage in an activity that carries inherent risk (driving carries risk of accidents, having affairs carries risk of discovery and social fallout), who then fell afoul of one of the worse possibilities in the set of potential outcomes (car accident, pissed off ex-spouse). So why, then, does the person in one scenario get understanding and permission to take steps to mitigate the effect of those outcomes (medical treatment and fixing their car), while the person in the other gets told “you made your bed, now lie in it” (people excusing the ex-wife’s calculated, cruel vendetta as just a “possible consequence” of having had the affair that OP should have either foreseen or should just shut up and accept, depending on whose comments you’re looking at)?

              2. Soon to be former fed*

                OP has no choice but to accept it. We don’t always get to pick our consequences. She did what she wanted to do, and so did the wife. The wife didn’t approve of OP’s actions either. I really don’t get all this judgement being directed at the wife.

                1. Lissa*

                  Sure, she can “accept” it because she can’t change it, but we have to accept things every day that are unfair, whether or not it even does have anything to do with the behaviour. I think it’d be pretty unreasonable for her to smile and say “Well, I made a really bad choice, so I guess she gets to do whatever she wants to me for the rest of her life.”

                2. For real tho*

                  Sounds to me like you need some therapy to work through what are clearly residual issues from your own situation. Yeesh. Best of luck to you.

                3. mrs__peel*

                  I mean, she *might* have had a choice, if the HR department at her second job had been reasonable or functional enough to prevent a ridiculous conflict of interest.

                  Regardless of how one feels about the ethics of affairs, it’s supposed to be HR’s job to prevent that kind of personal retaliation from happening. And they went so far as to tell her that they were going to ignore it. There were failures from outside parties here, apart from those two people’s choices.

            2. TrainerGirl*

              And I hope that all of the folks here that think it’s okay for the ex-wife to carry out a vendetta on OP have never done anything wrong. Or perhaps it’s only cheating that allows the injured party to exact revenge unchecked. I get that cheating on your spouse gets a lot of people wound up, but my goodness…unclench, please.

              1. Soon to be former fed*

                Have you ever been cheated on? I’ll clench all I want to. It’s an extremely powerless position to be in when your marriage has been violated. Wife regained her power in a spectacular way and I am not hating on her for it. Life ain’t fair.

                1. Pine cones huddle*

                  See that’s the thing. People want to take all their personal crap about having been cheated on at some point and use it as fuel to burn every cheater and their accomplices at the stake. While being cheated on sucks, having had it happen to you doesn’t make the OP the villain here.

                2. Lissa*

                  Sure. There are lots of powerless positions one can (will) be in in life We’ll all get wronged, and I’d argue we’ll all be wronged. It doesn’t make everything that comes from that OK just because you’re “regaining your power”.

                3. Specialk9*

                  Being a Disney villain isn’t regaining one’s power, it’s being corrupted by hate. (As another person whose prior spouse was a serial cheater and abusive to boot.) Regaining power happens by standing for your rights and then rebuilding a kick-ass life.

                4. mrs__peel*

                  Like Captain Ahab “regained his power” by becoming obsessed with the whale. That sounds super healthy.

              2. Erin*

                HR for company #2 screwed up. I wouldn’t want to work for a boss who purposely took a job to get revenge on someone for something personal that happens 8 years earlier. How does it look to other people in the department that work for the company? I’d start looking for another job if I knew my boss wanted to drag this kind of personal crap and go to these extreme measures years after the fact for revenge.
                Why would anyone in their right mind offer someone a supervisor position so she can get revenge?

          8. Anna*

            No, Boss has burned through any sympathy. She doesn’t get to take out long term vengeance plans on people. She’s screwed up and if you think it’s all right, you might want to check yourself, too.

            1. Soon to be former fed*

              Yes she does. I disagree that she is screwed up. Neither you nor I was in her shoes. I haven’t done anything near what the wife has done here, but I didn’t care what happened to my ex or his mistress. Don’t screw a married man if you don’t want to play with fire. Hell hath no fury, etc.

              1. Atly*

                With all of your previous comments on this thread I’m feeling more and more sorry for you. Hope one day you can move past the burn everything to the ground phase.

              2. mrs__peel*

                The things she did (e.g., spreading lies, accepting a position that was a clear conflict of interest, etc.) were in fact incredibly unprofessional from a work perspective. If I were a higher-up at that company and knew about her behavior, I would consider her a liability.

          9. Stranger than fiction*

            IDK, from what I’ve read here, the boss sounds very high-schoolish. Sure, vent to your friends and family. But her actions seem like a tantrum. Meanwhile Op and the baby’s dad have had a lesson in humility, have had to start their libes and careers over, and seem to be handling it well and moving on. Like adults. And let’s not forget the boss lost clients due to her insistence on telling them. What a dumbass. Why on Earth would anyone shoot themselves in the foot like that just to gain sympathy.

            1. Sarah M*

              The ex-wife wasn’t the boss back then. She didn’t lose any clients. The company her husband and OP #5 worked for lost clients because the ex-wife told them they were fooling around on company time, but per the OP she didn’t work with them at that company, so I’m not sure where you are getting the losing clients/shooting themselves in the foot from?…

                1. Sarah M*

                  She didn’t work there with them. So I’m not sure how she could get fired from a job she didn’t have. She became OP’s manager when OP was working at a different place and there was a merger. But she didn’t work at the place where her husband and the OP met.

              1. Non cheater*

                to be honest Sarah she is blaming it on the ex wife saying that , but if I remember I think they slept together on a business trip, if they did sleep together during a business trip and then that information was shared it makes it an accurate statement.

                1. Sarah M*

                  They slept together once on their own time, not on a business trip or company time. The ex-wife planted the bug about a long affair on company time that the clients were paying for. The clients believed her and the company locked down things at the office (more rules, less flexibility) in an attempt to stop clients from leaving.

            2. mrs__peel*

              I completely agree. Unless it involves something truly serious and safety-oriented (like reporting sexual harassment, stalking, etc.), keep your personal life out of the office.

          10. buttercup*

            I have this weird contradiction of feelings where I definitely don’t condone the boss’s actions, but I don’t feel sorry for the OP and husband either. (I do feel sorry for the baby, however.) I would feel sorry for the OP if she was unaware that the husband guy was married.

            If it makes sympathizers feel better, the boss is probably 10x more miserable than either the OP and the husband. It can’t feel good to hold onto anger for that long and that tightly.

        4. Jesca*

          Yeah, it went like way over the top really. And I mean honestly yeah sometimes people snap during a divorce and do some of these things, but she just kept going on and on and on. At some point, it becomes a character flaw. I feel for her, but there does come a point to just stop being hateful. I always wish people like this had others in their lives who could give them reality checks on their behavior. Like if my friend was like “hey, that chick my ex-husband cheated on me with is now going to be my direct report because I decided to make it that way and now I am going to make her life a living hell” I would be definitely be having a frank “rein it in, Betty” talk with her. I think eventually this will all catch up with her, unless she can come to terms with losing control a bit.

          1. Lady Phoenix*

            Hate to say it, but she became Heathcliff.

            Yes, the people who wronged him were bad… but his response made him far worse.

            As great as all the revenge fantasies can be, there comes a point where you do have to “Let it go”, or channel that negative energy into something positive. Otherwise, you become this toxic, bitter person.

            1. AKchic*

              You have put this far better than I could have.

              Every person is entitled to react to finding out their spouse cheating on them. They are allowed to feel their feels when not only have they discovered the infidelity (of any magnitude), but also a resulting pregnancy from the infidelity. A person is wholeheartedly allowed to feel their justifiable outrage and humiliation and betrayal. They can want revenge and punitive measures taken upon the two-timing spouse and sure, they can even irrationally want to feel the same anger at the other person. I’ll even allow that the negative feelings are warranted if the person is known (relative, friend, or someone known to the family in some way). The cheated on spouse had every right to be angry and hurt. Had every right to want a divorce and take what was legally hers in the divorce. She had no legal obligation to be nice. HE was not nice to her when he chose to cheat.

              Now, having said that: lets move on from *that* aspect. It’s been years. At some point, she has to move on. Everyone is able to rebuild from a divorce, especially when you’ve got the upper hand, which it appears that she does. She was given what appears to be a good settlement. She has a vehicle, she has her job with upward movement, she has a home, etc.
              She, herself needs to start moving on from what happened. Dwelling isn’t going to make her feel any better about what happened.

              I unfortunately know what I’m talking about in this situation. My 2nd ex-husband slept with my younger sister. I only found out 2 years after the fact when my sister told me because *he* didn’t and she was going through her list of conquests to tell them she had an STD and they needed to get checked. She told me at the family Christmas party. To avoid “a scene”. He kept denying. She had the video. Of course there was video. He was a 22 year old drunken fool and she was an 18 year old trying to prove a point. She thought I was sleeping with her then-boyfriend because we liked the same book series (for the record – no, we didn’t sleep together, we seriously liked the same book series and he was trying to dump her and hid at our place to avoid her because she wouldn’t take “we’re over” for “we’re over”).
              Yeah – we’re divorced. I’ll let you guess how family get-togethers were after that.

              1. Mb13*

                So…your second husband was a 22 year old? How old were you when you married him? I am just really curious about this time line.

            2. stitchinthyme*

              I’ve always wondered how people who once loved each other can be so horrible to each other when the relationship ends. Short of physical abuse, I can’t imagine anything my husband could do that would make me want to completely ruin his life if we were to break up. If he were to, say, cheat on me, yes, I’d be angry and sad, but I’d call it quits and move on with my life, because the old quote is true: Resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

              1. AKchic*

                Love and hate are opposite sides of the same coin? What I’ve seen is the resentful/bitter/angry person is angry/hurt/embarrassed and feels like they’ve wasted their time, feel mortally betrayed, had their love spurned and/or flung back in their face, or even proven right if someone tried to warn them against the relationship; so part of it is embarrassment and anger, some of it could be a bit of a break from rationality adding fuel to the fire.

                Of course, others might have seen things differently and have other opinions as to why this happens.

              2. Mb13*

                Its more than likely that the Ex wife didn’t just have a switch go off that turned her into a vengeance pursuing terminator. This was a part of her character from the start, and when her husband cheated on her it that characteristic was magnified. Self righteous, being petty, and a huge sense of victim hood were probably major part of her personality and it translated into small way in the marriage. And all of a sudden it’s not “the dishes aren’t clean” it’s “he didn’t clean the dishes to spite me, and I always take care of him”.

                It’s small thoughts (or not just thoughts. Genuinely believing that small acts of annoyance are a sign of malice) like that ends up slowly chiping away at the love respect and adoration you feel for your partner.

                1. Mb13*

                  Replaying to cyberwulf. I never said she made him cheat, I just tried to explain the mental process of why some people (and possibly Ex Wife) might have from loving their partner to hating their partner.

                  The husband chose to cheat, that was extremely unkind of him. But the ex wife chose to act vendective to the point of over kill towards her husband and the LW.

              3. Jadelyn*

                I think it’s because the hurt goes so deep, and love and hate are so closely related anyway. As much as you love someone now, when they betray you, that love turns to hate, but the intensity of the emotion doesn’t diminish. Suddenly you hate them with all the fury and passion that you previously loved them with – plus there’s a lot of psychological muck around conflicting feelings because you do still love the person to a degree, so often people try to push that away and make everything super clear for their own emotional comfort – like saying No seriously, I HATE this person AND NOTHING ELSE. So they double down on the anger and hate.

              4. Cyberwulf*

                What if Ex-wife has a disease now because of husband’s cheating?

                Incidentally OP5 get yourself checked out if you haven’t because I doubt you were the only person husband cheated with.

                1. Sarah M*

                  It happened 3 or 4 years ago now and it was only once, they are not together now. OP #5 would know by now if she had anything.

              1. Koko*

                As a child I remember having such a hard time with that book because I couldn’t figure out who the “good guy” was that I was supposed to be rooting for.

              2. Lady Phoenix*

                Thank you.

                I read it in High School and despite my struggle with the language, I found the book fascinating… probably because I actually did see this as a great big tragedy brought by everyone’s follies. I loved it because I knew I was supposed too hate it and the characters.

            3. Chameleon*

              Gonna get jumped on here, but this woman’s vile and malicious behaviour makes me wonder what horrible things the husband had to deal with before the affair. I’m not at all surprised he cheated.

              1. Lady Phoenix*

                I possibly though that too, since I heard a lot of abuse victims tend to cheat.

                I didn’t want to assume too much because armchair diagnosis, but I also wouldn’t be too surprised

                1. Sarah M*

                  There is NOTHING in any of the letters to suggest that there was abuse going on. This is wild speculation and has nothing to do with OP’s situation. She didn’t write in to have the marriage analyzed.

                2. Chameleon*

                  People who act the way the ex acted generally don’t just jump to “cruel and horrible” out of the blue. If I was cheated on, I might scream at the other woman, I might break some of my husband’s prized possessions, but I would not UNDERGO A YEARS-LONG REVENGE CRUSADE. Seriously, I feel NO sympathy for the ex, and I feel a hell of a lot for the husband for dealing with that.

              2. Oranges*

                I believe that cheating is a symptom of something being very wrong in the relationship. Either the relationship is in trouble or the cheater is an entitled idiot. That doesn’t excuse the fact that they cheated instead of going “hey, I actually am afraid I will act upon this crush. I should probably figure out why I’m feeling like my committed relationship is right now less important to me than hooking up with this other person”

        5. hm*

          “She paid to have OP served at the hospital when the baby was born and loudly tell everyone she had been with a married man.”

          This is one reason why I do not believe OP. There’s no way the ex-wife would have known Rachel was in labor. Also, you can’t dictate the terms of someone being served. Yes, ex-wife sounds terrible, but I don’t think Rachel is being truthful.

          1. I GOTS TO KNOW!*

            I was absolutely able to dictate the terms of having someone served. And if she had a private detective following her, it’s very easy to know when someone is heading to hospital.

          2. Susanne*

            I agree with you completely, hm. When you have someone served, you pay a company who … well, serves them. You provide the relevant information / address and they do it on their own schedule within a certain amount of time. They don’t just wait around to see when someone goes into labor, follow them to the hospital, and chase them into the labor & delivery suite. They also don’t engage in chit-chat or gossip with the other people around them. Their job is to ensure that a certain package reaches the actual hands of the intended person, and they have neither the time nor the interest to gossip about it with people around them. Is this from the OP’s original email, or is this interpretation from a poster?

            1. Susanne*

              I GOTS TO KNOW – are you suggesting that a private detective was tracking this woman’s movements 24/7 and once it was ascertained that she was now in a car on the way to the hospital to deliver, the server was then called to deliver the package, because they are at your beck and call 24/7 as well? That’s not how it works. They have regular business hours and they are told what the location is (e.g., Bob works at 123 Main Street between 9 and 5 every day). They are not on-call in this way.

              1. Sarah M*

                OP said that the ex-wife made it out that she was evading service, so they were trying to track her down wherever they could. I have worked in the court system and I can totally believe that someone serving papers would do this. I have seen it with my own eyes, including the making announcements meant to embarrass the person being served?

              2. Bartlet for President*

                Despite your condescending/know-it-all tone, it is, indeed, how it works sometimes. Some legal proceedings grind to a halt until the parties have been served, and it’s not uncommon in very contentious proceedings for one party to make it incredibly difficult to serve them. If they don’t have a job, it can be incredibly difficult to serve them – so, if the process server finds out that the individual is in X location right now, they may very well show up.

                It is also entirely possible that whomever served the OP wasn’t a professional process server. In my state, the person doing the service has to be unrelated to the proceedings – there is no requirement for licenses or anything. So, you could go find someone unrelated to the proceedings and offer them $100 to go show up, announce some stuff, and hand over the documents upon confirmation that the individual is the target. The person signs something saying they did the service, and viola! service is complete. I imagine you could easily find people via Task Rabbit or Craigslist (although, and uninterested third party wouldn’t be hard to find).

            2. myswtghst*

              Several people on the most recent update (including PCBH, a regular commenter who tends to know their stuff) confirmed you can absolutely pay a less-than-honorable process server a little extra to make this happen, and provided numerous scenarios explaining exactly how this could have happened. All it takes is the OP having allowed the hospital to give their room # to visitors (so family and friends could stop by) and OP (or a family member / friend) posting something publicly on social media about the baby arriving, and boom, ex-wife knows where and when.

              It’s so frustrating that 2 updates later we’re still rehashing the same speculation based on discrediting the OP (a thing Alison asks us not to do, by the by), rather than trying to provide helpful advice so the OP can continue to move forward and support their child. If you don’t believe the OP, you don’t have to comment.

              1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

                Yeah, I find it weird that people think that this is not something that can happen. It absolutely can happen. I’ve seen it happen.

                But I also don’t get why the obsession with tearing apart OP’s narrative and engaging in prolonged schadenfreude. Of course her story is skewed—it’s her experience and perspective! But I don’t think she’s an unreliable narrator when it comes to some of the facts and her subjective description of what she experienced/felt.

                I think it’s a case of folks wanting there to be a clear good guy and a clear bad guy. I don’t think any situation is that simple, and this letter is a great example of that.

                1. Cercis*

                  Well, I mean even ethical process servers will serve someone the way you ask – not in this way (usually) but I worked doing probate law in Texas (which includes guardianships) and our process server would work with us and our clients to serve the other person in a way that minimized their stress and worry (because when you’re setting up a guardianship for an elderly parent, you really want to be careful how they’re served).

                2. Oranges*

                  I’m personally seeing it as slut shaming wrapped up with social shaming for sleeping with a married person.

                  Added on top are some commenters personal feelings about being cheated on and you’ve kinda got a perfect storm.

          3. mrs__peel*

            They were apparently in a small industry where the ex-wife knew many of the LW’s co-workers. It probably wasn’t that hard to find out the news from someone. And she may have had some contact with her ex (the dad), even in the midst of the divorce.

        6. JS*

          +1 she is a horribly vindictive woman and while no one deserves to be cheated on or their relationship broken up in that way I can see why her ex husband was looking elsewhere. He should have just broken up with her instead of cheating.

        7. Princess Cimorene*

          Honestly she sounds like a horrible woman. I almost wonder how she was in the marriage. Not that it excuses what HE did (but the OP wasn’t married to her and some people say well she slept with an “off-limits” man, but everybody doesn’t believe or feel the way you feel / hold value about things like that so he may not have felt off-limits to her, or hell she may not have known until after the pregnancy test that he was even married, I don’t recall her reading what she knew or the details, which aren’t really our business, behind how they were involved the one time) but the way she handled this isn’t justifiable. I don’t care how hurt you are. Doing these malicious things and trying to ruin people’s lives forever is unhealthy awful behavior which to me are done by people are awful unhealthy mean people in other areas of life too. The healthiest thing for the scorned wife to do was the divorce and to MOVE ON with her life. Spending her life with a vendetta against this man and woman and thusly affecting their innocent child is the work of someone who probably isn’t a very good or nice person. I’ve been HURT in a way like this before. So yes, I can “understand” where she is coming from. I can’t even understand the feelings and desire to “ruin” their lives. But the difference is acting on those feelings. I like to think I am a good person. And I put myself first and putting myself first was finding out how to heal and move on for MY sake. Carrying grudges like this for YEARS? Ex-wife needs to be in therapy. She sounds awful.

        8. DArcy*

          I would point out that the ex-wife didn’t have HIS car repossessed; she was forced by the ex-husband to have HER OWN car repossessed because he refused to hand it over after the divorce proceedings. While some of her other actions can be interpreted as vindictive, that really isn’t.

          1. Candi*

            If you read all of Rachel’s comments and updates:

            The husband asked if he could keep the car for two weeks, until he arranged other transportation. Without transportation he would lose his job. This is a normal request when a long-time couple splits up, whether married or otherwise.

            The wife agreed to the two weeks.

            The wife then had the car repossessed, knowing the lack of transportation would cost the husband his job.

            This chain of events is specifically vindictive behavior. She could have just said no in the first place, particularly if this conversation took place through lawyers/with lawyers present.

      3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        Folks, can we not rehash the arguments over who is good/bad and worthy/unworthy of sympathy? The original letter and first update seem to have fully covered that territory.

        1. Millennial Lawyer*

          I agree – sorry to have started it but only the original post was linked so I thought that’s all there was and it spilled out to this discussion.

          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            It’s ok! I just realized we could easily end up with 200+ comments that are repeats of the original :)

      4. LSP*

        She did WAY more than just divorce the man who cheated on her. I get her anger, her rage at being betrayed, but her actions don’t put her in the best light either. She has purposefully went out of her way to be as punitive as possible towards the people who hurt her. And the thing about that is, it doesn’t solve anything. It doesn’t take away the hurt, or turn back time. What it does is spread the hurt around. Like it or not, there is a child involved, and her actions (however seemingly justified based on her own anger and grief at the end of her marriage), have spread that hurt to a child, who had NO choice in how they came into being.

        I’m not saying she’s a terrible person, but she has done way more than just file for divorce from a cheater.

      5. Lindsay J*

        I mean, and basically threatened the OP and implied that she wouldn’t be treating the OP fairly when she was the boss when she came in to the office for a meeting.

      6. Dawn*

        This woman went scorched earth on OP and dude. Being cheated on sucks, it hurts, and it is embarrassing, but behaving like a vindictive lunatic isn’t going to help anything.

      1. I GOTS TO KNOW!*

        Taking a job so you can torment and harass someone you don’t like doesn’t make you a good person, and it certainly suggests that someone should not be managing people because that is a complete abuse of power.

        Is the ex-wife / boss an all around horrible person? Probably not. But she went on a campaign of continued harassment and made decisions based on inflicting pain on people who had already had consequences and were trying to move on. Those are not the actions of a person trying to do good.

      2. Anna*

        LOL at person blaming the other woman for the divorce instead of the cheating husband! And then ignoring the campaign of harassment and abuse of power! LOLZ!

        It’s hilarious because it’s BS.

      3. Lissa*

        “LOL at an opposite opinion to mine with no explanation or defense of my own POV” is hardly constructive, nor does it add anything to create a pleasant environment in which to comment. (And no, I’m not a fan of a single “Wow” with nothing else, either, no matter how much Carolyn Hax likes it…)

  2. Natalie*

    Was there a prior update on #5? I seem to remember one but I could be conflating a couple of different letters.

  3. MuseumChick*

    #5, I am so glad that there is some good traction going in your life now. I totally understand being driven out a field by one jerk. When someone is that high profile, in a small industry, things get around. Especially with the difficulties with your references you are really in a no-win situation. I hope your new job propels you to bigger and better things.

    1. Hills to Die on*

      #5, Life can be messy. Getting through life isn’t usually a graceful process (for me anyway). I’m glad you have stability and support in your life. I wish good things for you and your family.

    2. Em*

      OP #5 — glad to hear things are starting to turn around and that you have great support. Yours was one of the letters that I think about from time to time and wonder how you are doing.

  4. Detective Amy Santiago*

    Congrats #3! I’m glad that you found a position where they will respect your beliefs.

  5. QuakerBanker*

    Congrats #3! Its a little bit bothersome that they pushed back a little bit on your dress, knowing from the interview and from your email to the hiring manager that you dress Plain, but I am glad that they were ultimately understanding.

    1. LBK*

      I do think there’s a difference between being understanding about a prospective candidate’s attire in a one-off interview vs questioning if there’s leeway for an actual employee to adjust their attire long-term. But it also sounds like they weren’t aggressive about it or pressuring her, either, just asking, and they laid off entirely when she said no.

      1. Lance*

        Yeah, that’s what I was thinking, that it was mostly a matter of seeing how far the religious dress code stretched, and if they could adapt any of the business’ dress code. Especially given them backing down when told that it wasn’t an option, and the LW being happily employed, from the sound of things, I’m not ready to make that a black mark against them.

        1. Religious Nutter*

          #3 Here,
          It worried me a lot at the time. I didn’t know the office or any of my soon-to-be coworkers. Was this a sign of future problems? Would I be getting regular or repeated pushback for my clothing?

          Thankfully, it’s the only time I’ve been asked. It’s a very positive environment now that I’m actually in the role.

          1. Kim*

            I feel that Plain dress could fit into an office environment. It’s smart and practical (or what I’ve seen is) and the colours wouldn’t stand out. I’m glad you are finding it a positive experience.

      2. Anony*

        Asking once doesn’t seem terrible, especially since many of us do not understand exactly what the rules are for Plain dress. It does seem like a simple google search could have given them the answer, but at least it sounds like ignorance rather than intentional boundary pushing.

        1. Natalie*

          I’m not sure searching online would have helped – as far as I understand there isn’t one uniform standard of Plain Dress. Much like veiling for Muslim women, it varies by sect, location, personal devoutness, and so forth.

          1. nnn*

            That’s what I was thinking. I actually did google it when the original letter came out, and again to refresh myself with this update, because I’d never heard the term Plain Dress before. A quick google search made me go “Oh, THAT thing!”, in that I’d seen it before, but I still have no idea what the rules are.

            For example, OP describes the workplace’s dress code as “expects suits/ties”, and based on my googling I wouldn’t have seen that as incompatible with Plain Dress. So I don’t think someone inexperienced needing more information about OP’s restrictions would be completely out of line, although I agree that it’s tedious for OP to have to do the extra work of educating people just to get through their day unremarked upon.

            1. Religious Nutter*

              It’s complicated. Whenever the subject comes up, people often want to know the specific rules, right down to why it’s required and what the penalty is for disobeying it.

              But getting into all of that can take hours to properly explain, and the explanation is useless if you encounter someone in a similar situation, because what applies for me doesn’t apply for someone else.

              On the other hand one of the reasons I dress the way I do is BECAUSE it draws attention. I have had more conversations about my faith in the few years I’ve followed these rules than in the rest of my life combined. It’s part of why I do it, to stop being invisibly faithful… ah, there, see? It’ll be another 3 pages before I finish explaining that properly. ;-)

              1. Andersen*

                so great, you do it for attention and you pick what applies to you, but not enough to make changes for the working world…. I think your name explains most of it.

                1. Pontoon Pirate*

                  You’re tremendously snide and unhelpful, but I have a feeling you like it that way. Bless your heart.

                2. Religious Nutter*

                  I started that statement with “it’s complicated” for a reason. I could go into a full explanation of my faith and the reasons behind doing what I do, but we’d be here for a very long time.

                  And, frankly, I’m not particularly motivated to give an explanation of any length to someone who’s being so dismissive and rude. I can see how you could take my statement to mean “it’s an arbitrary bid for attention”, but doing so assumes a lot of malice on my part. Do you honestly think I’d jeopardize possible employment opportunities on a whim? I don’t dress the way I do for the fun of it.

                3. Akcipitrokulo*

                  That’s nothing like what she said – that sounds more cherry picking and misinterpreting a couple of phrases to match up to what you’ve already decided.

                4. a different Vicki*

                  What if Religious Nutter wants his religion to be visible for reasons similar to why some of us are out about our sexuality, and some of my friends are choosing jewelry that identifies them as Jewish: one message is “we exist, and some of us are your friends and neighbors.” It’s a lot easier to think people of Religious Nutter’s faith must be weird, or bisexuals are all greedy and untrustworthy, if you don’t know any, or think you don’t.

                5. Religious Nutter*

                  Thank you, A Different Vicki, well said. That’s exactly the point I was trying to make in the first place.

        2. JulieBulie*

          I would not rely on a Google search for a definitive answer. The specifics may be very different for different groups. My sister practiced Plain Dress for about a year, but Google found conflicting descriptions of what that entailed.

          1. Samiratou*

            Exactly. Frex, the Wikipedia page sez “Within these general practices, distinctions abound. In some groups, for example, the women’s preferred head covering is lacy or translucent; in others, it must be opaque.”

            When LW said she needs a hat, what does that mean, exactly? Bonnet? Translucent? Opague? Straw hat? Something else entirely?

            At my company it wouldn’t really matter, but we’re not client-facing or in an industry with expected standards of dress for women, like high heels, full makeup, dress & hose or whatever.

            1. Religious Nutter*

              And Wikipedia has it right. Explaining the details of the uniform gets extremely complex, and varies so much that you’d practically need a new explanation for each person you meet.

        3. Artemesia*

          I am assuming they thought the issue was modesty and hence very modest but more modern dress styles might be reasonable to expect. It is good that they asked and that they accepted the answer that it would not work in this person’s religious commitment.

      3. Blue Anne*

        Agreed. It would make me a little wary, like the OP, but it sounds like it was handled well overall.

      4. QuakerBanker*

        I guess maybe I should have used “frustrating” rather than “bothersome”. The letter writer sounds happy, so no judgment about the employer here….I can just relate to the frustration that can come along with the typical leeway type of questioning.

        1. LBK*

          That’s valid – I can see it being annoying for them to kind of say “Okay, we know you told us this before, but do you reeeeeeally have to dress like that?”

          1. Religious Nutter*

            Precisely! And answering properly takes a very very long time.
            “Do I really have to dress like this? That depends on how you look at it. Will my hair catch on fire if I leave it uncovered? Will I be kicked out of my church? Will I go to hell? Ummm. No. So I guess you could say that I do not in fact need to dress like this. Technically… Hang on, let me pull up some texts from the 1700s by religious leaders in my sect so we can discuss their interpretation of… Where are you going?”

      5. Goya de la Mancha*

        Agreed. Especially because they immediately backed down, I took this as a general question of someone not sure of your faith and it’s teachings.

        Pretend the office had a “navy suit only” policy. Would ensuring her clothes were navy (to conform to company policy as much as possible) be OK or out of the question? If her hat had a more casual appearance (someone else had suggested straw hat), is there something that would work in it’s place (like a plain colored fabric bonnet?).

        I could be completely off on the PC-ness of this, but I would compare this to someone who wore a head scarf or turban. Perhaps a very conservative company would just ask that all those items be solid “neutral” colors (ie: no neon colors) during work hours.

        1. Pretend Scientist*

          From the original post, Alison confirmed that OP is a man, so I think it was an actual hat with a brim, not a bonnet. She addressed in the original letter that the clothes didn’t seem like they would be a problem, but that the hat would need an explanation.

          1. Goya de la Mancha*

            See how important reading comprehension is kids?

            *doh* on my part. I skimmed and must have missed the gender identification – and then made it worse by assuming it was a female! Thanks Pretend Scientist :)

            1. Religious Nutter*

              LW here,

              Hardly a problem. The issue applies to both genders and all manner of religious dress. In many ways it’s worse for women. They get more patronizing questions about who MAKES them dress like that, and extreme misunderstandings based on their presumed lack of “worldliness”. Compared to plain-dress women I know, I have it pretty easy.

          2. Pollygrammer*

            Maybe I’m stereotyping, but I had assumed it was a man, because a woman in a religion that practices Plain Dress is…probably not going to be working in an office.

            1. Religious Nutter*

              That is a bit of a stereotype!
              I am a man, but I know plenty of plain-dress women who work in all manner of jobs. This is an issue that came up in the first comment thread, and it’s a complex problem to unpack. It’s not crazy to assume that members of a conservative religion might hold sexist beliefs. There’s plenty of evidence to support that conclusion. At the same time, making that assumption of someone isn’t really fair either.

              1. Cactus*

                Religious Nutter, I just wanted to let you know that your comments have been remarkably kind, patient, and educational here. Thank you.

  6. MuseumChick*

    #3, I just want to say I think you handled their push back on your clothing perfectly. A lot of people literally have not clue about stuff like this, so your friendly but firm answer probably helped educate them.

    1. Oranges*

      As a person who has zero clue, very yes.

      I don’t know if their questions were exactly pushing back or not. In their place I would want to know the guidelines so if there was an issue with how you dressed that impacted the business in some way I could thread the needle. So I would have asked about the clothing too (only once and hopefully in a way that stated “I just want to make sure of your religious boundaries”). I also would have respected your answers.

      However I know that there are some people who aren’t… balanced in their reactions to religion(s) and that this would be a possible issue (at least in my area) of coworker friction. Not your issue because you’re not doing anything wrong! But a possible issue to mentally bookmark and head off. Like making it clear that the person who was transitioning was to be treated with respect because… yeah.

      1. Religious Nutter*

        LW Here,

        It’s frustrating, because (especially in the US) faith and politics get mixed in weird and ugly ways. There’s this pervasive opinion that if someone says “it’s my religion!” it entitles them to be deeply unprofessional towards their coworkers.

        Personally? I’m fine. Gender, gender presentation, sexual orientation? It’s all good. However, even if it weren’t, how on earth would that have a place in a professional environment?

        It’s just my personal take, but I think a lot of jerks use religion as a shield to avoid people critiquing their jerk behavior.

        1. Oranges*

          Agreed. I also think that how you dress should be your choice but since I don’t live in my own programmed Matrix where I can enforce that I’ll have to continue signaling that it’s not okay to judge people because they’re different. Judge them because they’re being a jerk.

    2. Samiratou*

      Right, I was thinking this, too–I don’t know about Plan Dress, either, so I could see asking about things like “can you add a suit jacket on top of your dress?” or about colors or styles that might be more in-line with usual office standards or client expectations because I really don’t know what the standards are. Not intending to try to talk you out of Plain Dress, just trying to understand a little better and see what (if any) flexibility there may be.

      1. MuseumChick*

        That’s what the company’s questions felt like to me, “We don’t really know about this particular thing so we better ask questions now so we don’t do/say something stupid later”

        1. Jesca*

          See, the thing is where I live, there are a lot of Amish and varying levels of Mennonites in nearby areas. Somehow we all grow up just knowing their religious beliefs and culture. (Just by looking at dress, I can tell the difference between the Amish, and the varying levels of Mennonites) So, this may have been a general question of “without asking which religion you practice, let me understand a little bit more about your adherence to Plain Dress as I am not sure how much you can bend.” Cuz, trust me, depending on the belief, there can be bend.

          1. MuseumChick*

            I have a very limited understanding of the varying levels of Amish, Mennonites, etc so I would need to ask a lot of question to understand a particular person’s belief and all that goes along with that, including clothing. Oh the other hand, in high school had a very large Asian population so I have fairly good understand about that cultural differences between Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, and Hmong people. I remember getting to college and being really surprised that some people couldn’t tell the difference between say, traditional Chinese and traditional Japanese dress.

            1. Jesca*

              Yes exactly. And I was going with the idea that assuming OP was applying to and getting jobs in his general area, they may be already aware. They may have just been asking how much bend there was. That is not in this context too outside of the box kind of question. For instance: Amish will not wear commercial made clothing while some Mennonites will wear some commercially made clothing as long as they are “modest”. And that legitimately could have been their question.

              1. Religious Nutter*

                LW here,

                It’s a really tough line to walk. They definitely wanted to know how much flexibility I had so they could fit me into their dress code as much as possible.

                On the one hand, I completely understand where they’re coming from. They don’t know my deal, and they want to figure out how to fit me into a space that already has some completely unrelated strictures on it.

                On the other hand, these kinds of conversations almost always devolve into a frustratingly defensive mess of in-the-weeds discussions about dress codes and faith. What about this? What about that? Why can’t we make you wear X?

                I’d love to go with “because I say so, stop asking”, but that’s also it’s own brand of super rude.

                In my case, it was a good conversation, and a testament to the skill of the Hiring Manager. They made it really clear I wasn’t going to be forced into anything, and that my willingness (or lack thereof) to change my dress code wouldn’t impact the offer they’d put forward.

                1. Pine cones huddle*

                  Just a question out of curiosity, would a job that required a uniform, for instance McDonalds or firefighter or military be off limits for someone who practices plain dress? Just kind of wondering if there were certain jobs or careers that would never work for you. I’m genuinely interested.

                2. Pine cones huddle*

                  And I ask this because women I know whose religion requires they wear skirts are able to work jobs that require uniforms by ordering the skirt instead of the pants. Or head coverings or yarmulkes, they just wear it over or incorporated with the uniform. I don’t personally know anyone that I might ask this question to. I certainly don’t mean it to come off as trying to get into a back and forth or asking you to defend anything. And after I posted, I just kept thinking of more employers that have uniforms: Ikea, UPS, cable installers or many people really who come, into your home to perform a service, people who have to wear coveralls, and now I kind of want to see how many I can think of :)

                3. Religious Nutter*

                  That depends heavily on who you’re talking to, why they practice Plain Dress, what religious tradition are they from, etc. Most Plain Dress people are from Peace Churches, so the Military isn’t an option and Police is largely off the table too (though that’s not as settled).

                  Working for a fast food place, a big box store, or other polo-as-uniform place? I’d probably just have the same discussion and volunteer to wear a large nametag that identified me as a member of the staff. Mabe change my shirt color to match the color of the uniforms.

                4. Bleeborp*

                  I do think you could benefit from a pat, polite version of “because I say so” because it seems that you understood the reason they were asking just not having to answer the nosier “why” parts. I would think a polite refrain of “my practice requires this limit” and then any discussion of the why or “who says” or “what happens if you don’t?” would just be answered with “my practice requires this *particular item of clothing in this particular color*” “But I imagine that because people outside your faith are so curious they start asking more than they really need to know and you seem like someone who likes to have a theological discussion but it’s all just outside the bounds of what should really be discussed in a professional setting.

    3. Student*

      Folks with similar religious restrictions –

      Does it help for us clueless folk to acknowledge our cluelessness explicitly in these conversations? Does that make it feel less like “push back” and more like “please explain what your boundaries are”? It feels awkward to say such things, but I lean towards it being better for me to feel a bit awkward than to make a (misunderstood/persecuted/unusual) minority feel like they aren’t welcome.

      If it’s a religious clothes issue such as this, would it feel better for you to hear something like, “I don’t have experience with your religious dress restrictions. Could you please explain them to me? That would help me make sure we accommodate your religion, and give me a chance to figure out any potential workarounds we may need to come up with. Could you let me know what, if any, dress issues you’re concerned about specifically for this job?”

      1. MuseumChick*

        My go to line in situations like this is to start my questions with “Can I ask you something that is probably a stupid question?” because I feel like that acknowledges my own ignorance about what ever I am asking about and and while not explicit also somewhat acknowledge that the person probably gets a lot of stupid questions directed at them.

      2. QuakerBanker*

        I am part of a faith community where some folks dress Plain and some do not. I am one who does not, but there are some other things that I do as part of my faith that are not exactly mainstream, and your script is, in my opinion, a very respectful way to ask someone about their religious restrictions without coming off in a negative way. I think that the Plain dressing folks who I do know wouldn’t object to it either. :)

      3. Genny*

        I think you could just ask whatever question you had (can you wear X instead of Y or avoid neon colors or whatever) and then add “I’m not familiar with this type of religious dress requirements, so if none of this is possible, that’s fine too.” I don’t think you have to be obsequious or overly hand-holding about it all. Don’t ask them to educate you though. I’d be really put off by having to explain to my employer anything about my religion because then I have to figure out the boundaries of what information you need and what’s too much/too specific.

        1. Religious Nutter*

          That’s definitely part of the problem. In my case, explaining my dress code in any detail means giving a 101 on the fundamental tenets of my faith, which always seems inappropriate in an office environment. Not explaining it feels standoffish and rude, explaining it feels like defending my religion to my employer. It’s just not a good situation to get into.

          Coming from a more general or cooperative direction would help. “This is our dress code, and the company reasons for that code. We’re not going to force you to do anything uncomfortable, but you know your rules better than anyone. Is there anything here where you can meet us part way?”

          1. Genny*

            Agreed. You don’t want to make the person feel like they have to defend their religion (which people from minority religions or the conservative end of religions can often feel like they have to do) or make them feel like they’re asking for onerous accommodations. Keeping things light and collaborative is the trick.

      4. Religious Nutter*

        For me, at least, it does help. Both in professional and casual environments, it’s one thing to explain something to someone curious, it’s another to deal with someone who thinks they know your dress code better than you.

        Striking a balance between explaining too much and too little is where I always get tangled up. I can go on for HOURS about my religion (ask me how I know!), but while such a lecture might help explain the details of my dress code, it also makes you look and sound like… well, my username.

  7. Aphrodite*

    OP #5, congratulations! I remember your original letter and the update very well because you were so honest and forthright and I cared very much what happened to you. It sounds like you have begun a strong move toward your new life. I am so pleased for you. Your positive attitude and gratitude come across strongly in this update. You really deserve it. I hope you will consider letting us know where you are in a year.

    1. ThisIsNotWhoYouThinkItIs*

      Yes! I’m so glad that your outlook is positive and things seem to be moving in a better direction. Best of luck OP #5.

  8. Hills to Die on*

    Good job #1! I’m so glad you pushed for this, and in such a professional way. Your company is better off for having you there!

  9. Sara*

    LW#5 I remember your prior letters and I’m glad you’re on an upswing. I’m sorry the fall out was so severe for you, and happy that you had a support system you could lean on. Good luck!!

  10. Hills to Die on*

    #4: so glad you got your surgery! You will have a much easier time in the interviewing process without having to deal with pain all the time.

    1. Artemesia*

      This is a perfect example of why people should proceed with their life choices that benefit them and not dance in attendance on hiring managers. Now her foot has been taken care of, her life is better and she hasn’t the feeling of having needed to suffer endlessly while the job ghosted as they so often do. I went ahead and had the baby ‘at a bad time’ in my career. Then my organization collapsed and I was in a department that was eliminated in a merger, and was out of work. But I had my daughter and she is still among the best things every to happen in my life. Do YOU first.

  11. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

    I am so pleased that the employer in OP#1 and OP#3’s case did the right thing. It’s a nice reminder that there are sane and inclusive/responsive offices, even if there are a few missteps along the way.

    1. Religious Nutter*

      #3 here,

      It really had me worried when they started asking, but once I got on the job and into my role, it wasn’t an issue at all.

  12. I'll come up with a clever name later.*

    There was a second update to #5 that wasn’t included in the links here. Allison, any chance you can include it?

  13. Myrin*

    OP #1, you sound like a super swell person who handled the issue maturely and calmy. And how great that the office reacted well and you managed to instigate such a positive change. I was super happy and dare I say proud of you (from afar, without knowing you) reading this awesome update!

  14. Mustache Cat*

    Hey Rachel-
    I’ve been thinking about you. I’m so glad to hear you and your child are doing better now. Congratulations so much on moving on with your life.

  15. Antilles*

    I love how OP#1 subtly used the open concept office plan in her favor so that even people who weren’t in the meeting overheard the concern.

    1. K.*

      I liked that too – I hate open concept floor plans (in offices and in homes), but way to work the situation to your advantage, OP!

      1. Spaceman Spiff*

        OP#1 Here! Thank you. Funny how even mildly annoying features can have a silver lining… I appreciate your thoughts and note! :D

  16. The Supreme Troll*

    I do not want to keep passing judgement on Rachel; she was made aware time and again that what she had done was very wrong. The consequences fell upon her as they sometimes can in life; I don’t think that she was making excuses for her past behavior (and I certainly hope that she hadn’t).

    1. Ainomiaka*

      I’ve said elsewhere, I am really creeper out by the idea that a targeted threat and harassment campaign is reasonable consequences. Just no.

      1. I GOTS TO KNOW!*

        For real. One night of cheating means you should have your life completely ruined and you should be harassed constantly? That’s… so incredibly vindictive and lacking of empathy I can barely fathom it.

        OP made a mistake. She lost her job and had her whole family find out about an affair she had in a very embarrassing way. The cheating husband lost his job and his vehicle and savings. That should be enough. Believing they deserve to CONTINUE being punished when they are not continuing to do wrong is, frankly, disgusting and cruel. They didn’t embezzle funds from poor people. They didn’t murder someone. They had an extramarital one night stand. That shouldn’t mean a lifetime of misery.

        OP5: I am glad your child’s father and you have both found full-time work. I am sorry it worked out the way that it did. Hopefully you can find similar work to what you were doing before in a different field soon. You made a mistake and the consequences you suffered far outweighed that mistake, IMO. Yes I think losing your first job should have happened. But I do not believe you deserved the abuse of the ex-wife (you weren’t the one who made vows to her, after all) and your last company treated you very badly.

        Good luck to you, your child, and the child’s father. And happy holidays!

        1. Delphine*

          She lost her job and had her whole family find out about an affair she had in a very embarrassing way. The cheating husband lost his job and his vehicle and savings.

          I’m guessing the wife feels those things are not punishments as much as the natural consequences of their actions. If you cheat, be prepared for divorce. If you cheat, be prepared for others to find out about it. Those don’t really outweigh the “mistake”. It’s a one-night stand to the outside observer, but the wife lost her marriage. That’s no little thing, so I’m not surprised she has no empathy for her husband or her husband’s girlfriend.

          1. I GOTS TO KNOW!*

            So you think continuing to torment them is ok? That taking a job solely to be able to continue to punish a woman that owed you nothing and made no vows or promises to you is a perfectly reasonable action? That they should never be able to get back on their feet again because a marriage ended? You *really* think that is a fair consequence?

            Natural consequences are often punishments. That’s the consequence – punishment.

              1. sap*

                If you go back and read the updates #5 provided, the ex-wife made threatening comments to #5 about how she was glad to now be in a position of power over #5. The company that ex-wife is still at said negative but unknown things about #5 in reference calls. Given that #5 quit following a merger and following a request for reassignment (not following performance issues), it seems unlikely that ex-wife’s company’s poor reference isn’t related to something ex-wife said about #5, since #5 didn’t otherwise do anything that would merit a bad reference. That sounds like continued action to me?

                1. Forrest*

                  I’m not sure how it does, unless you think it’s the wife’s who’s giving the reference.

                  The LW also quit without notice from her last job. And as we all know from this site, that’s not a wise thing to do.

                  There is literally no evidence the wife is still tormenting her outside of her former employer is giving negative references about a woman who quit without notice.

                  If the wife was still tormenting her, wouldn’t the LW say that?

                2. I GOTS TO KNOW!*

                  Forrest, I meant continuing to torment her after the divorce was over. Not as in, still occurring now.

                  OP lost her job and was humiliated by the process server, at Ex-Wife’s direction. That should have been enough.

                  But it wasn’t. Ex-wife found out she had the opportunity to manage OP and chose that over a position unconnected to OP *in order to abuse her position and torment her*

                  People are saying that that behavior, that continuing campaign against the OP years after the fact (which yes, has stopped now because OP quit) is ok. THAT IS NOT OK BEHAVIOR.

                3. Forrest*

                  I haven’t seen anyone say the ex wife pushing the LW out of her job is ok.

                  I’ve seen people say what the LW is experiencing *now* is a natural consequence. Since there’s no evidence of the ex wife is bothering the LW, how is she still tormenting her?

          2. krysb*

            Rachel didn’t cheat. She wasn’t in the relationship. I think there’s a special place in hell for women who blame other women for the breakdowns in their marriages, when those marriages only have two parties. The only time a third party can have any real culpability here is if that third party is very close (such as close friend or family member) of the person who was cheated on.

            1. Becca*

              I’m of the opinion that people have a responsibility to try to minimize the pain they cause others. She knew he was married. Therefore, OP has some culpability. He has more, but she deserves some blame as well.

              That said, I also believe very strongly in second chances. Rachel’s suffered the natural consequences. The ex-wife doesn’t have to forgive her or make things easy on her, but she also doesn’t have the right to lie about the situation or to go out of her way (*years after the fact*!) to target OP the way she has.

              Good luck Rachel! I hope you find great success and fulfillment in a different field!

          3. Jesca*

            Read the updates. It was so much more than that. Lying and coldly planning attacks and aligning yourself to do more damage … no. Those are not consequences. Have you ever seen those shows where the ex-wife like stalks and plans out attacks and how crazy that sounds? Yeah that is what is actually going on here. Divorce is the only natural consequence to infidelity. Not retribution. People like who the OP are describing are actually completely out of control.

          4. I GOTS TO KNOW!*

            What I think outweighed the mistake is her losing a second job due to a continued campaign of torment from the ex-wife and now not being able to get work in her field.

          5. Lady Phoenix*

            here is a good question? How far will yall accept the “punishment” to the OP? Will you allow Ex to physically assault OP? Steal from OP? Maybe attack her child or her pets? Maybe murder?

            There is a limit. And honestly my limit will probably be a facebook rant to her.

          6. SallytooShort*

            And that the wife has no empathy for the BABY who now can’t be supported says all we need to know about her. Zero sympathy for her.

            1. Decimus*

              This is why I feel the wife has gone overboard with the revenge. It’s no longer “punishing” the unfaithful and is now punishing a completely innocent child by depriving the parent(s) of the ability to earn greater income.

      2. Q*

        That’s a really valid point I hadn’t considered. Maybe that’s why it bugs me so much. OP definitely wrong Ex, but..

      3. Oranges*

        I was reading Troll as asking can we not pass judgement? But yes, not clear.

        Because yeah, what should happen in my reality if you’re the other woman: people lose faith in your judgement and maybe do a mental calculation about if they want you in their lives (eg. I would be asking if this was an aberration or not). The End.

        Rambling Story Time!

        Andy and Agatha are married. Andy wants to do something lets say… burn down their house. He goes out to a gas station and gets gasoline. Now, if the first store refused to sell gas to him because they knew he was gonna commit arson with it. Do you really think he’d give up? Or would he go to the next store and maybe this time lie?

        Andy was going to cheat because he ranked his personal feels more important than the oath he swore to. I’m not gonna judge him either actually because I don’t know if that house was infected with the plague and his solution was arson instead of calling the CDC. Or if he’s an entitled glassbowl who thinks his feels are the most important thing evers! (I’m leaning towards the first one based upon his later conduct however… I’m not omniscient.

        1. Rip Hunter*

          The problem with this analogy is that if the clerk knew full well Andy was going to commit arson, then the clerk is – at the very least an accessory, if not – an accomplice. And in this particular instance, the clerk not only sold the petrol for the fire, but also went and helped pour it along with Andy. Agatha wasn’t home, so she wasn’t going to know the clerk wasn’t responsible.

          If the clerk therefore, assisted in burning down this marriage, even if Agatha didn’t know it was with the clerk’s assistance and wholly blamed Andy, does that absolve the clerk of any responsibility in the crime?

          1. Oranges*

            Nope. It doesn’t absolve her but it doesn’t change the fact that Andy’s gonna burn the house down regardless of the clerks involvement. She shouldn’t have sold him the gas knowing he was going to commit a crime with it.

            I don’t think she actively took part in the arson. That would be more like if she was sleeping with Andy with the purpose of hurting Agatha. She knew Agatha was going to get hurt but her getting that sale was more important to her. So bad judgment call 100%. She can’t go back and not sell the gas though. She admits it was a mistake to sell it and she’s trying to do right.

            Agatha on the other hand has a personal vendetta against them both for ruining her life. Both of them. Her response has gone outside what I feel is decent human behavior into she be kinda scary and I hope she finds peace territory.

            1. Rip Hunter*

              “Nope. It doesn’t absolve her but it doesn’t change the fact that Andy’s gonna burn the house down regardless of the clerks involvement. She shouldn’t have sold him the gas knowing he was going to commit a crime with it.

              I don’t think she actively took part in the arson.”

              See, if we change the analogy to someone walking into a gun store and saying “I’m going to go out and kill my neighbour tomorrow”, would you boil it down to the gun store clerk not actively taking part in the murder?

              “That would be more like if she was sleeping with Andy with the purpose of hurting Agatha. She knew Agatha was going to get hurt but her getting that sale was more important to her. So bad judgment call 100%. She can’t go back and not sell the gas though. She admits it was a mistake to sell it and she’s trying to do right.”

              She’s trying to do what’s right, and that’s great. I’m all for that! Butt the fact is, she was still actively complicit in what led to Agatha getting hurt. If we adjust the analogy again, and the clerk is now a drunk driver and she accidentally hurts or kills Agatha as a result of her actions, does her intent of not going out to hurt Agatha still hold water?

              “Agatha on the other hand has a personal vendetta against them both for ruining her life. Both of them. Her response has gone outside what I feel is decent human behavior into she be kinda scary and I hope she finds peace territory.”

              Her reaction was arguably extreme, but at the same time, the fact the OP has knowingly slept with her husband shows not only bad judgment, but poor choice of integrity (i.e. sleeping with someone off the market). Just because the OP didn’t have the same commitment to Agatha that Andy has, she had the obligation as a decent human being to not do that.

              The simple fact is we have standards on this planet that mean the consequences of a specific action will be different depending on who was ultimately wronged. You sleep with your neighbour’s wife you’ll probably get punched in the face. You sleep with a prominent industry figure’s husband, she’ll say that you don’t have the integrity to work in that industry.

              It sucks, but that’s how it has always been, and probably how it always will be.

              Not to mention, we are literally only hearing one side of the story. It’s entirely possible there are valid reasons Agatha is reacting the way she is.

              1. Oranges*

                The gun is a false equivalency. The destruction of a house/keepsakes/etc is more on par. Ditto for the drunk driver.

                Also yes the gun store clerk didn’t do the action that killed the other person. They enabled the action, yes. So again, SOME culpability. But because murder is a more serious crime we tend to punish enablers of murder more.

                Also the drunk driver parallel breaks down due to having only two actors. Intention isn’t magic. Back to the arson example. If the clerk was a pyromaniac and sold Andy the gas because of what he wanted it for does that matter? Maybe to her family and friends because that’s kinda messed up. But the wife Agatha? She only cares that her house was burned down and she’s stuck in this idea if only the clerk hadn’t sold Andy that gas everything in her life would be roses. Note: no it wouldn’t because Andy’s still gonna burn that house down. If not with that gasoline than with something else.

              2. Oranges*

                Ps. What I mean by he’s gonna burn down the house with something else is the fact that Andy and Agatha’s relationship is in serious trouble (be it from growing apart or Andy being an entitled prick or Agatha being all scary or a combo). So this relationship is in trouble full stop.

                There were a billion better ways for Andy to get out of it than burning it down with all of Agatha’s things inside and now she’s homeless. That’s cruel. But it in no way excuses Agatha for her own behavior.

                1. Kim*

                  I think I know what you mean. Years ago I found myself drinking late at night with a friend who was married. We were also work colleagues. I trusted him and knew his wife. I was just out of a long term relationship and really vulnerable. Didn’t stop him trying to have sex with me. A few weeks later he’s having a sexual relationship with another colleague. He left his wife and tiny children for her. I think he was unhappy, and actively looking for an affair or new relationship. If it wasn’t to be me it was someone else. As for the OP, if it wasn’t her I suspect it would have been someone else.

                2. Oranges*

                  Exactly! If you find yourself fantasizing about how great a different new house would be to live in.. that’s normal because you know it’s a fantasy. It’s still a house and will need all the upkeep but because it’s new and different and you don’t know all the little things that will annoy you about the house.

                  When you fantasize continuously about new houses it should be an alarm bell that something is wrong.

                  Some people take that wake up call and try to fix their current house in good faith. Some people know it’s doomed and then start the ball rolling on moving out. Those are good faith actions.

                  And the allegory is stretched as far as I can take it I think.

                3. Oranges*

                  To clarify: Sometimes what’s wrong with the relationship is that one person is a GIANT glassbowl. Blaming the one partner for the other person’s infidelity is super gross. It can be a multitude of different reasons that the relationship is in trouble but when one partner cheats ipso facto there’s a problem.

      4. Turtle Candle*

        I read The Supreme Troll as saying “this has been rehashed a lot; let’s stop with the continued rehashing.” Which I agree with. The “who is more to blame?” argument is never going to come to a satisfying conclusion for everyone, but also, it’s irrelevant. Even if we all 10000% agreed that LW should not have had their career wrecked over this, it would not give us the power to fix that anyway.

      5. SallytooShort*

        Yes, exactly. I’m shocked anyone thinks this is an appropriate comeuppance.

        This woman never took any vows. She made no promises to the wife. That’s not to say she did the right thing. she didn’t. But she wasn’t the one who broke faith.

        Yes, there are still consequences. But a reasonable consequence is losing the job. Not a horrendous harassment campaign against her. That is not acceptable human behavior. Anyone behaving that way is behaving monstrously. It’s not something to applaud or shrug your shoulders at.

        And this woman has a child she must support. And for awhile without an income.

        1. Stellaaaaa*

          I’m not going to comment after this, but the thought I keep coming back to is…what did Rachel expect? I’m asking in the most neutral way possible: What outcome was she hoping for? Because there’s a sense in her letters that she feels something has been unfairly taken away from her, and it might help to focus the conversation (and pull it back from the Blame Game) if we could identify the thing that she thinks she has lost. The circumstances surrounding the loss of her job were beyond dramatic, but it’s not surprising that she’s not working there anymore. She was a participant in a workplace affair that resulted in a child. She was never going to remain employed there and keep the affair a secret from the wife. I mean, it might have been great for her if her baby’s father and the ex-wife had stayed married and if Rachel had somehow been able to get child support from the man (from his and his wife’s shared bank account?)…but this was NEVER going to be a situation where the marriage was preserved, Rachel kept her job there, and the wife remained ignorant of the child’s existence forever while being Rachel’s supervisor.

          I think that part of the, I guess, impatience that some people have for Rachel is due to her prior difficulty in accepting the reality that the loss of her job wasn’t solely due to the ex-wife. When you sleep with a married coworker, you both might get fired, and part of being an employable adult is accepting that that’s how jobs work sometimes. Even though the ex-wife had a hand in it this time, Rachel sealed her fate by participating in the affair. It could have been a kind-hearted HR person who gently let her go. It could have been a pre-merger manager who alerted Rachel to the new management structure and urged her to give her two weeks notice. But there is no set of circumstances that would have lined up to allow Rachel to retain her employment at this company, and she needs to accept that instead of pointing fingers. “I would still be working there if not for the ex-wife.” No, that’s not true. If it wasn’t the wife, if would have been someone or something else.

          1. Oranges*

            Please read the letters and the comments from the OP she posts under Rachel.

            It’s kinda… a long soap opera like read so I’m not surprised you got confused about the events.

            If you don’t feel like it, basically the ex wife got her fired from her first job by lying. Exwife didn’t work with the OP at the time btw. Exwife Got her served with papers in front of her family and social circle right after she delivered her baby. Repossessed the husband’s car when he asked if he could use it for two more weeks because it was the ex wife’s now. Garnished his wages when not doing so would net her more money. Years later the exwife bumps into the OP again and chooses the job (out of two) which means she would have power over the OP. Gloated about her power to the OP.

            I think I got it all but even if the OP is seeing these things through a biased filter (I believe not) this is just… beyond the pale.

          2. Phoenix Programmer*

            I would expect to be named in the divorce proceedings.

            I would not expect a targeted harassment campaign of lies to get me fired from my job followed by ex wife stalking me to next company AFTER 8 YEARS and her threatening me with her new power to make my life hard followed by her giving terrible untruthful references about me.

            I mean would you expect that after a one night fling?

            1. Sarah M*

              OP #5 worked at her first job for a total of 8 years. The fling happened 3 or 4 years ago. I agree with the rest of your post though.

      6. Susanne*

        I don’t think they are reasonable consequences and I think the ex-wife could have handled things a lot better. However, they really aren’t consequences that anyone can do anything about at this stage, and the OP may be better served by just closing the door on that chapter and moving on.

  17. Ruby Red Tulips*

    Feel you so hard on the ghosting, #4. I was recently ghosted by a very old international financial services firm for a position supporting – get this – their team that handles employer branding and employee value proposition, along with other facets of culture and engagement. The irony is too bitter to be sweet.

  18. Oranges*

    Hey #5, your continuing to act with grace in this situation makes me personally want to work with you. Your judgement is sound and you’re pragmatic about the realities of the world. I say your judgement is sound because you knew what the ex would do and you did the research to see what your options were. You took the best option you could in a crappy situation with your eyes open.

    May you never run into the ex again and may she have some peace in her life. I cannot fathom what her internal landscape is like but I can tell you it’s not currently a place where good things can flourish. Keep on helping your little one grow and flourish to be the best version of themselves.

    1. Spaceman Spiff*

      OP#1 Here: Thank you! I have as many weaknesses as the next person, but I am not afraid to speak up! :D

  19. Kyle*

    Re: Dixieland playing, about 10 years ago I worked for a startup that was entirely staffed by dudes in their 20s and 30s. A shared password for something we all accessed was “rape.” I suggested it was offensive and I was told to lighten up. Then we brought on a man in his 50s in a leadership role who was mortified and said he had dealt with family members being sexually assaulted and be would not he typing “rape” as a password every day. Apologies were muttered and it was quickly changed.

    1. Robbie*

      Why in the name of all things good did they use that as their password? Was there any logic behind it?
      Bonus points for them not taking your complain seriously, but instead had to wait for the middle-aged man to say something.

  20. Monker*

    The nicest way that I can put it is that I find it annoying that people can get away with dressing what they deem important due to religion, while the rest have to suck up with whatever the office attire is.

    1. saffytaffy*

      Well, try to have some compassion for others, and it should start to seem less annoying and just become a basic part of living in a society.

      1. Monker*

        well, in that case I would like to wear my bright sneakers, spaghetti top with cartigan, and bell pants to my bank job. And you tell those bosses to have some compassion, cause my beliefs and religion is that I shouldn’t be forced to dress by their dress code. That it’s too oppressive for my beliefs.

        Has nothing to do with compassion. It’s giving extra privilege to people who are just adamant about their belief.
        Why bother with dress codes in the first place then, if some can get on with life ignoring them due to their claim about what their God requires.

        1. sap*

          If you don’t think religious belief accommodations should be entitled to special legal protections, that’s something you should talk to your lawmakers about.

          However, I’d like to stick up for religious belief accommodations, to a certain extent, as being different in character than a belief that spaghetti straps are awesome. A religious belief about something generally means a belief that doing or not doing something is either dis/respectful of God or absolutely impermissible in God’s eyes. As a society, we have recognized that everyone is rightly asked to do things they don’t want to and perhaps disagree with when they are an employee, but that there should be a line that these requests should not cross. One of the lines we’ve picked is “someone sincerely believes that taking this action would violate the way God wants them to behave,” because these are generally tied to deeply held beliefs about morality.

          There are good debates to be had about whether there should be a morality exemption at all, whether religion should or can be the morality proxy (I don’t think it should, as an atheist), but none of those debates are facilitated by pretending that “believing people should be able to wear clothes they like and I like spaghetti straps” is an equivalent to believing that God asks that hats are worn to show respect and taking them off (for a job) demonstrates someone respects man more than s/he respects God.

        2. Todd Chrisley Knows Best*

          I don’t think it’s quite the same. If you absolutely loathe the idea of a dress code, you could (with some serious effort) likely find a business who didn’t care what you wore, work from home, or start your own business. But that would all be because it was your choice. I don’t think someone else should be subjected to the same struggle just because they believe in dressing a certain way for religious reasons. (Which, in some ways is a choice on its own, but not as much so as “I just feel like wearing pajamas to work today”) I can see where you find it unfair, and while I personally don’t agree, I respect your reasoning. I think it’s a minor accommodation for employers to continue to hire the best candidates.

          1. Monker*

            So if I believe hard enough that my god says that I should wear those spaghetti straps and bell pants, and not office attire, would you then think it would be required of the work space to make accommodations? If I said that I was part of the Lukulala Belief, and this was part of my strong belief, would that be enough?
            I find it crazy that there is this double standard in this world, where rules don’t apply the same to religious people, just because they are either indoctrinated, or decide to be religious.
            So one person can wear a hat, because they truly believe it’s that important that they do, while another person can’t, because they don’t have a claim to some god.

            1. Mb13*

              The accommodations aren’t about who get to wear what silly hat and when. The accommodation are about protecting people’s freedom to practice their religion, which in the U.S. its kinda of a big deal. If you want to live in a country where protecting your freedom to practice religion (or none religion) wasn’t that big of a deal, please consider moving to the hundreds of country across the world that share this opinion. I heard Burma is lovely this time of year.

              And while the U.S. isn’t always the best at respecting all religions, I would like to bring your attention back to Burma. You know Burma, the country that right now is slaughtering thousands of Rohingya people as a part of their ethnic cleansing.

              Finally you might not have noticed this but even religious people manage to match their religious attire to the work setting and they don’t just go for the most outlandish options out there.

            2. Todd Chrisley Knows Best*

              @Monker, if you can back it up in a religious text (as I believe most religions with the accommodations have), or find enough people to form your own religion that was accepted, or at the very least recognized, then sure. (And a religion not solely based on dress, either. It would need another beliefs to hold water.) You’d have the right to wear your spaghetti straps. Claiming to believe strongly in some god for the sake of being able to wear those spaghetti straps, not so much.

              I’d also like to note that all the religions I’ve seen needing accommodations tend to still dress modestly, so I don’t think your spaghetti strap theory works perfectly with the situation and I think employers are generally more willing to forfeit dress code for attire that’s still modest, but like I said, if you can back it up or form a religion, be my guest and rock your spaghetti straps.

            3. Religious Nutter*

              It’s interesting you should mention this, because the push and pull between religions and people in positions of authority has been going on for as long as there have been gods and rulers.

              The question of who decides what’s appropriate isn’t (and shouldn’t be) based on someone saying “Well my god said to do this so you can’t complain”. I can complain. I can complain quite loudly. I live in a country that protects both religious liberty and freedom of speech. Thus the state won’t come after me for saying “The Westboro Baptists are a bunch of jerks”.

              We’re all humans, and when we come into conflict, the best we can do is try to accommodate each other within reason. This is why others on this thread aren’t taking your spaghetti strap argument very seriously. Could you actually immagine trying to pull “Spaghetti straps are religious” on your boss? You’d get laughed out of the room. It’s not reasonable.

              Religion isn’t a “I get to do whatever I want” kind of calling. In fact, most of the time it’s “There’s a ton of things I can’t do because I’m following a specific set of rules”. Religious accommodations are a compromise our society landed on to allow the broadest swath of the population the most freedom they can be afforded. It’s not perfect, because we’re all human.

              1. Religious Nutter*

                And since we’re on the topic of “Strongly held religious beliefs”, who made your fashionable bank-wear? I hate to break it to you, but if you’ve purchased “Reasonably priced” clothing in the US, then you’ve indirectly supported human trafficking.

                I’m not innocent of this. I own store-bought clothing. However, as a member of a religion with a Strongly Held Religious Belief in the fundamental dignity and equality of all human souls, I do the best I can to avoid feeding that monster.

                I own 8 sets of clothes. 1 for each day of the week, and 1 for while I’m washing the rest. I avoid buying clothes because God told me to. If you want to make fun of me for that, go right ahead, I’m being judged by a higher authority than you can muster.

                1. Religious Nutter*

                  This comment is fairly standoffish, and I apologize for that.

                  I made it to point out that fashion =/= religious dress. There are often deeply rooted reasons why religious folk dress the way we do. It’s tied to our faith and our entire worldview. We make a lot of sacrifices for it, and when someone comes around with the old “Well my religion says I get to wear flip-flops!” chestnut, it can be a little grating.

                2. MuseumChick*

                  I’m sorry you’ve been put in a position of defending your beliefs on this site. I’m an atheist and I find it really frustrating when very reasonable religious people (like yourself, who I find to be in the vast majority) are placed in position when they have to defend the smallest thing they do related to their religious beliefs.

                3. Monker*

                  ” I’m being judged by a higher authority than you can muster.” you don’t know that. You believe that, but the texts written by humans many years ago are not proof of that. It’s great for the environment that you do, but people saying that god told them this or that, is not fact based.
                  I realize that we live in a world, that if enough people believe in something that isn’t fact based, and pull out some old scriptures, then we are to be understanding and accommodating. That is the current reality.
                  I don’t agree with it. I think people can believe in what they wish, have their houses of worship, have their traditions, but not expect employers to bend to those rules in work environments.

                  The example of the spaghetti clothing is a bad one, because it may look extreme. It would apply to anything religious really. It’s that if I am not religious, then I have to wear what the work place requires, or look for a different job. I don’t get to pull out the ” but my faith says” card.

                4. Goya de la Mancha*

                  @Monker – Religious Nutter has been very open and patient with those of us who lack understanding of his own beliefs. If you can’t play nice in the sandbox, go somewhere else and play with yourself.

                5. Religious Nutter*

                  Monker, I actually get where you’re coming from. It can seem unbalanced. However, not all employees are the same. We’re not replaceable cogs; We’re humans. 90% of the content on AAM is about the fact that people need help accommodating conflicts of viewpoint.

                  To use a secular example from my own experience, I once had a coworker who got to leave early every day and had a very high absence rate. The reason? He had to pick up his kids from school. He also had to stay home with them when school closed or they got sick. Our employer granted my coworker significant leeway in hours and attendance, without penalizing his vacation. No one batted an eye. He was a parent.

                  To young and single me, it seemed quite unfair. Kids equaled huge amounts of slack that I wasn’t afforded. Who’s my employer to judge that my use of that time is any more or less valid than using it for child rearing?

                  So why accommodate him on kids, or me on clothing? In both cases, we were top performers in our areas. If you have good people doing good work for you, you try to cut them as much slack as you can.

                  Incidentally, if you think “but my faith says” is some kind of magical power that gets people to do things for you without consequences… Try it sometime and see how that goes. My faith has cost me employment opportunities. It’s not exactly a vacation to disneyland.

                6. Lady Ariel Ponyweather*

                  Just want to say that I completely understand what you mean about not wanting to take part in a system that harms others. The hardest thing to deal with in my life is knowing that my very basic needs come at the expense of someone else’s comfort, whether it’s clothing or food. I try to keep my purchases to a minimum, and support ethical/local sources, but it’s often not possible.

                  (And what is up with all the judgement in this post?! Did we get an influx from r€dpill or something???)

              2. Oranges*

                Yeppers. You get special dispensation about clothes due to religion. This isn’t a big deal since it impacts me exactly 0%.

                Treating everyone exactly the same isn’t fair, it’s lazy and sometimes immoral. Cooperation means we as a society decide what contexts deserve special treatment. Ours has decided that this is one and it’s one I’m okay with.

                Counter example: One I am not okay with is the leeway we give “rockstars” to abuse their power. I want the idea that being extra good at something makes up for being abusive to go right away.

    2. Temperance*

      Meh, I’m pretty anti-religion in general, but at the same time, I personally wouldn’t want to deal with the shit that those who follow religious dress do.

    3. Mb13*

      This is the nicest way that I can put it but I find it annoying that some people try to undermine belittle and marginalize some peoples freedom to practice their religion because they are too lazy to put on pants in the morning.

    4. Bea*

      Why are you trolling right now? You can certainly wear bright sneakers if many places, one of my former bosses has more neon colored sneakers, it has to do with finding an employer who doesn’t believe in dress codes that upset some people. I’ve worked in accounting my entire career and have worked in sweat pants quite a few times.

      1. Monker*

        It’s not about sneakers or not. It’s about that everyone has to follow the rules, except that one , or two, or three people who don’t because of ” but my faith says…”

        1. MuseumChick*

          As a society we have more or less recognized that diversity is a good thing in the work place. Skill, talent, intelligence, work ethic, etc are not limited to one narrow group of people. And with that we have also more or less recognized that with diversity comes the need to be flexible in certain ways. Whether it be give some slack to a single mother who is the sole caregiver of her child when she needs to leave earlier than most to pick up her kid from school, or providing a specialized meal at work events for the one vegan in the office (how I would love to have a specialized meal provided instead of standing in line at buffet!), or allowing a dog in the office when someone requires it for their disability (I would love to bring my dog to work!) , or as with this providing a reasonable accommodation for someones religion. We make all kinds of accommodations for all kinds of co-workers, it’s pretty naive to think that a company could attract the best talent without doing that.

        2. Oranges*

          Ah… what rankles you is the unfairness. I would suggest that everyone following the exact same rules is actually in and of itself unfair. We all have times/areas in which we need special dispensations.

          If your goal is to have a social darwin-like society then yes making everyone adhere to the exact same rules is the correct way. Since then people who are “different” will not do as well as the “normal” humans. People who get hit by unknown life circumstances would also be toast.

          However if you want a society where everyone contributes to the best of their abilities then flexibility is desired. As a society we have said that the value of personal expression and personal religion is important. Therefore we make special allowances to people because they have a sincere conviction that causes them above average distress if we make them adhere to certain rules. We do a cost/benefit calculation and decide that having this person co-operate in our society is worth it.

          Now, if they thought they needed to sacrifice a hamster, or police my personal sexuality, or try to save people from hell then the calculation changes. Their beliefs don’t trump animal cruelty or my self-knowledge or my wish to not be badgered.

          (To clarify: I’m not saying the OP believes ANY of these things. I’m just drawing from hyperbole in the first example and my own experience for the other two.)

          1. Religious Nutter*

            One of the problems with religion (and why it gets such a bad rap) is a weirdly pervasive idea among religious people that EVERYONE should follow their religious rules. It’s not enough for the faithful to obey the tenants of their faith. Everybody else has to follow it too or it’s somehow less valid.

            It’s always come across as oddly desperate to me. This is part of why I’m so coy about my beliefs in this thread. No one here signed up for a comparative religions course. The “why” isn’t really what we’re discussing here.

            Any worldview that requires you to constantly preach it at others makes me wary. If the validity of your beliefs is affected by how many people you can convert to your way of thinking, then I have to ask: Is there really something there? Or is it the philosophical equivalent of a popularity contest?

    5. mrs__peel*

      As an atheist myself and a former ACLU employee…… you are *really* not helping, my dude.

      There’s a whole body of case law regarding this issue. Reasonable workplace accommodations for religious dress are widely considered to be reasonable by reasonable Americans. If you think it’s that unfair that you can’t wear spaghetti straps to work, then call a few dozen lawyers and see if you can get a single one to take your case. (If not, *maybe* that’s a signal that you’re the one being unreasonable).

      FYI, it’s not “extra privilege” not to be discriminated against in the workplace because of your religion (or race, gender, national origin, etc., etc.). It’s putting you on an equal footing with other employees.

  21. Princess Cimorene*

    #1 – I am glad that the doorbell is gone!! Good on you for speaking up. Need more people willing to shake the table a bit on things like this. Cheers!

    #5 – Rachel! My sincerest hope is you are able to give us an update next year about the great things that have happened since. You sound like you have a good head on your shoulders and are very grounded. Things will turn around. I am glad you and your childs father are amicable and able to lovingly co-parent your child. I hope now or soon ex-wife is not a factor in either of your lives so that you both are able to move on. I hope too, that you both are able to find work in your field again or in doing something closely related if it is something you both enjoy. I’m always trying to think up creative ways this can be accomplished, but it’s hard to do not knowing what your industry or prior jobs were. You guys were young. Things happen. Life happens. Neither of you deserve to be endlessly tormented and harassed by ex-wife. If at any point in the future she still creates a problem that affects your livelihood I think there will be cause for restraining order’s or lawsuits against her. She needs to move on. You and your kid don’t deserve to have a vendetta against your for the rest of your lives. Luckily to us all you sound like you are stable and reasonable and that will serve you will in the long run. I don’t know about ex-wife if she doesn’t learn to let go and move on and live her life. I hope she does. Best wishes! I hope you are able to build up a career that is fulfilling and pays appropriately as well. xoxo

  22. Nox*

    #5. Just would like to acknowledge that despite all the stuff that the ex-wife had to go through, she was able to pick up the pieces and win an award for her work. It’s disappointing in the manner she handled her personal issues.

    full disclosure:I have 0 tolerance for cheating partners or people who are complicit with cheating. Sorry.

    1. Phoenix Programmer*

      It doesn’t sound like there were pieces to pick up. Clearly the relationship was rocky then they split after he cheated.

      Everything else she did was just horrible and any pain or problems are squarely on exes shoulders.

      Going on a smear campaign to lie to the company and client to get the ex and “other woman” fired is way overboard. Then going out of your way to try and supervise “other woman” is not only unprofessional but also pretty unstable!

      Frankly the ex sounds like a terrible person. Industry award or no.

    2. Observer*

      I also have no tolerance for people who cheat. But that includes lying about people. Why is that ok?

  23. Lady Ariel Ponyweather*

    Late, but thank you everyone for your updates! It’s so good to hear that everyone’s situation is improving/has improved. Hearing how problems were resolved is affirming for the rest of us.

    #3 – Congratulations on the new job! So glad you’ve found a welcoming environment. Thank you also for your comments regarding your religion. They’ve been very informative.

    #5 – Rachel, thank you for updating us. How wonderful that you’ve found employment and that you and your child have so much love and support around you. You might not work in that particular field again, but you do have skills and insights that are valuable. You never know what the future can bring and how you can utilise what you have to offer. The world is always changing and opportunties can show up when we least expect it. As for the ex-wife, here’s hoping that no one crosses paths again and that she finds a healthy way to deal with her pain. (I really wonder if she has anyone in her life that’s supportive – if one of my friends told me she acted/planned to act in this way, I would be very concerned and do what I could to help her.)

    It sounds like your life is moving forward quite well. Good luck with the future, hope 2018 is a great year for you!

Comments are closed.