updates: the self-harm scars, the employee who wouldn’t accept his performance was bad, and more

It’s “where are you now?” month at Ask a Manager, and all December I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past. Here are five updates from past letter-writers.

1. Should I say something about my coworker’s old self-harm scars? (#2 at the link)

So an anti-climactic but good update to my coworker with the scars. We were chatting the other day about previous jobs and she told me that before this she used to work in a restaurant. She didn’t mention the scars but it looks like the commenters who suggested that were right. Makes me feel even better about listening to my instincts and ignoring it.

2. My employee can’t accept that his performance is bad

Alison, thank you so much for publishing my letter and a huge thanks to everyone who commented. Your response gave me some additional phrasing to try with Benedict but also prompted me to reflect whether I truly had been as clear as possible – and I think I was by the time I wrote in to you, but probably I hadn’t been at the start. A learning process for me as well!

Ultimately the process played out to ALMOST the very end, with Benedict resigning the day I was to submit my final report. While the PIP paperwork will stay on our files here, he did manage to secure another role and leave us without being let go. We work in a smallish industry and I’ve heard he is doing well in the new role where he is more a subject specialist and doesn’t have staffing responsibilities.

The 6 months of process took a huge toll on me but I came out the other side stronger, more resilient, and with a whole lot more tools than I went into it. The downside is that I’m about to launch into a similar process with another staff member. This time there are fewer complicating factors and I feel better equipped to manage it.

The best thing from writing in was to hear that I wasn’t alone. The comments from everyone else reassured me that I wasn’t going crazy (is it possible to gaslight yourself??!), and just knowing that other people had been through similar experiences and survived gave me a boost to keep going, so thank you so much to you all!

3. I need to gain skills overnight for an interview for a stretch job

Thanks again to you and everyone in the comments, the advice really helped me reframe things and feel more comfortable. I reread everything just before the interview (especially some of the lovely comments) which definitely helped me feel more comfortable.

It turned out that the knowledge and skills I didn’t have weren’t a concern as it was normal to pick it up on the job. They made me an offer, and I accepted. I’ve been there a month now and I love the job! It’s challenging in all the right ways, I get a lot of feedback and I’m either working towards or meeting expectations (which I’m updated on regularly so I always know how I’m doing). It’s also a lot of fun! I enjoy the actual work and it’s a job with basically no downtime (there’s always something to do) which, as it turns out, works pretty well for me. I’ve been learning tons and getting to work on some fascinating topics. I’m so glad I applied for this job!

Thanks again!

4. How can you tell if an overqualified applicant is right for the job?

We interviewed the candidate in question again, and her answers to our questions made it sound like the position was what she was looking for. She expressed a desire for something lower stress, administrative in nature and provided some context that made us believe she would be happy in the position. We offered her the job, and after a week and half of back and forth, she accepted. Several days later, she contacted us again to say that she changed her mind and would be accepting a different offer.

I’ve heard from someone who knows her that the job she accepted was one with more responsibility and a direct route to advancing into a leadership role. On one hand, I’m glad she made this decision before we invested time into onboarding and training. I’m still frustrated that we spent several weeks doing more interviews, reference checks and negotiations for a candidate who ended up wanting more, but I know this is just a reality of the hiring process. In the future, we will continue the recruitment process until someone has accepted the position to avoid a setback in our timeline.

5. Applying for jobs from a current work email address (#5 at the link)

Even though my letter was one of the most benign of last year I have an update!
I originally wrote to you because I was worried that using my institute email for internship applications would give a bad impression. I needn’t have worried, a week after my letter ran I received an offer from an UN Agency to work in a science office in a large tropical city on a completely different continent. I’m a STEM PhD candidate it was a dream opportunity, especially as I also received a grant from my university to cover flights and accommodation.

I had two wonderfully supportive supervisors. I’m interested in science communication and policy, so they made sure that the bulk of my work was related to this. I helped organise events for a ministerial science forum and was even allowed to help moderate. I had the opportunity to write proposals and speeches and will hopefully have a first author publication on science communication soon. It honestly couldn’t have gone better.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Your website was such a valuable tool for me when I was preparing my application. You might hear from me in a year or so when I’m trying to work out how to explain the jump out of research.

{ 64 comments… read them below }

  1. ZSD*

    I went back to the original post about the self-harm scars, and I don’t see any comments suggesting the person might have worked at a restaurant. Was the suggestion that they might be burn scars from an oven?

    1. Rebecca in Dallas*

      There was a discussion about oven scars, I know I mentioned my own scars in it. I have a couple of bad ones from accidentally hitting my forearm on various oven racks (I invested in long oven mitts!)

      1. kitryan*

        Yeah, there’s several comments/threads about it. ZSD, if you search ‘kitchen’ and ‘oven’, they come up. I think that no one referred to restaurants by name but rather to (restaurant) kitchen work.

        This is a nice batch of updates! Seems like everyone had outcomes ranging from ok to great.
        For #4, people do look for and take jobs with less responsibility sometimes, even if that candidate ended up not being one of them. I went from a high stress job where I basically lived and breathed work for 5 years to a receptionist position and it was because I needed a break from that. I stayed in that job until they promoted me out of it. I even turned down their first offer to move away from reception, it was such a relief to have a job where I couldn’t do anything for work outside of work hours.

        1. Kelly AF*

          I used to have terrible burn scars all over the insides of my forearms — I worked in a movie theater, and we had to clean the popcorn machine. It was IMPOSSIBLE to avoid brushing the incredibly hot metal kettle that actually popped the corn. They’ve all faded — and they were ovals, not thin lines like from being cut, luckily!

          1. Flash Bristow*

            There’s a saying that you’re not a proper cook til you’ve got the burns to prove it…

            I think this more applies to pub kitchens and fast food, where there’s a pressure to keep moving – hence “cook” instead of “chef” – but yeah, some scars are pretty inevitable since nobody has half an hour spare to do cold water, ice packs and stuff in a busy kitchen. Friends and my then-bf in that situation came home with different scars every day.

            It *shouldn’t* be a rite of passage, but nor should minimal hours off work, even kipping on site, and men becoming infertile from working next to hot ovens (mostly “chefs” rather than “cooks” as I understand it – issues tackled (ho ho) by Gordon Ramsay.

      2. AnnaBananna*

        Ditto. Damn cookie sheets make some brutal oblong scars that can look rather…harmful, if seen without context.

    2. Mommy MD*

      I had my teen daughter quit her pizza place job because her arms were getting burned and scarred up.

    3. LGC*

      Pretty much! (I remember that letter, and I’m surprised I didn’t think of it myself – I have a similar scar about three inches above my right wrist. On the inside of my arm. Going horizontally. No one’s ever commented on it, but I remember when I first got it about ten years ago, I thought it looked like I’d tried to hurt myself.)

      I think people were so caught up in that LW possibly overstepping his boundaries (which he clarified in a response) that everyone (myself included) skipped over the fact that there are ways to get scars on your arms other than self-harm.

      1. patricia*

        Yes, I burned myself baking last month and it looks exactly like I tried to cut my wrist. No one has commented on it (cold weather and long sleeves probably help) but I have to think some are wondering.

    4. Slartibartfast*

      My hands and arms are covered in scars from vet tech work. I’ve had doctors mistake certain ones for surgery scars. It’s common for those of us in the field to compare scars and swap stories. It used to bother me, but it’s kind of a mark of honor now.

  2. Jennifer*

    I’m sorry to hear that the overqualified applicant didn’t accept the role. Sounds as though the LW’s instincts about her were correct. It’s a lesson learned.

  3. Anonymous this time*

    On #4, I have a similar question. We’ve had poor experiences filling our small team’s admin position. Twice we’ve chosen a more experienced candidate over someone at the beginning of their career. One had very relevant admin experience and the other had done a variety of jobs but admin work had been part of them. We expected that this would be a first step into a larger career at our very big university, but we’d have them for 1-2 years before they moved on and all would be good.

    But both turned out to be bad hires who actually didn’t have great admin skills, to be nice about it, and both were, frankly, weird. It made me wonder if being in admin roles for 15+ years AND being willing to take our job, which is not well paid, is a bad sign. I don’t see why it should be! There’s nothing wrong with enjoying administrative work, making it a career, and/or being willing to take a temporary step or two down to get into a workplace that has a lot of long-term opportunity. Maybe we just had bad luck.

    Any advice for how to avoid this would be appreciated. We’re stumped. They both had good references and made it past three-month probation before getting strange/before their lack of skills could no longer be hidden behind “still training.”

    1. irene adler*

      Are you not going as in-depth as you could regarding their actual experience level with the skill set you expect them to have mastered? And as to what they do daily at their current position?

      How about the ‘gut’ test? Did your gut give you any indication that you could be making a bad hire?

      I have nothing to say this person would have been a bad hire, but one time both my boss and I INDEPENDENTLY selected out one of the three finalists for a job we were hiring for. I just had a bad feeling about the guy. Nothing I could put into words. He met the skill set we were looking for. Seemed pleasant and all. So when my boss handed me his resume and said “either of the other two would be fine, but do NOT hire this guy, ” I asked him why. He said that something just wasn’t right but he didn’t know what.

    2. Op #4*

      You can see my comment below about an additional update from our situation. I’m not sure how to avoid this, honestly. Sometimes I feel like hiring is just a bit unpredictable, even if you do all the right things. I’m learning to try to read a little bit further into reference check questions relating to interpersonal skills because that seems to be such a huge factor in people’s ability to succeed in our small office. I’m also trying to make sure that we request that references are former supervisors rather than just a “professional reference”. I think we could have avoided some of our “qualified” but challenging hires by doing this.

      When you checked these references, were there any things that you look back on and identify as red flags? Or, areas that you didn’t ask about that you wish you would have?

    3. BRR*

      Thinking out loud: Are you really digging into why they’re interested in this position when you interview them? Are their reference previous managers or people who can really speak to their work? Is there a skills test you can give them?

    4. Tuckerman*

      I think most people you want working for you (motivated, quick to learn, detail oriented) are not interested in lateral changes, and yet many job postings want you to have several years of experience in a similar role. Which means you hire people who are unhappy with the lateral changes (and then leave as soon as they can) or you hire people who are incapable of progressing past entry level and then you deal with the performance issues that kept them from being promoted.

      I think a lack of professional growth (or at least increase in responsibilities) over 15 years should be a red flag. Why would you hire someone with 15 years of experience into an entry level position?

    5. Antilles*

      Here’s a few potential things to think about – I don’t know the situation as well as you (obviously), so maybe some of these don’t necessarily apply, but these are some off the cuff thoughts:
      1.) Admin work as “part of a role” is a bit different from having that be your primary job. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider it relevant experience (you should; it absolutely counts!), but it does mean that you should really dig deep to make sure they understand the role.
      2.) Did you check references? And not just a cursory “how is she? She’s good? thanks, bye” but digging in as best you can.
      3.) Is there any way to address the probationary period? You can’t modify the length (I assume), but it might be worth thinking through what you can do to more quickly evaluate whether it’s “still getting the hang of things” versus “not a good fit”. Especially if you’re hiring someone with ‘very relevant experience’, I would expect them to get adjusted relatively quickly – not all the details but at least a general clear indication of where it’s heading.
      4.) Are you expecting too much? The budget is what it is, but you yourself said it’s “not well paying”. Talent generally goes where the money is. Especially since your big selling point appears to be “a first step into a larger career” which itself implies that you should be expecting mostly entry-level candidates who are going to make entry-level mistakes.
      5.) How has your hiring been in general? 0-2 could still be coincidence, but it’s worth thinking about whether this is symptomatic of a larger trend or not.

      1. Dust Bunny*

        4) Yeah, don’t underestimate this. If the pay isn’t great, you’re going to get people who can’t get better-paying positions.

        I don’t mind doing admin work but I’m not going to take a low-paying position unless I’m kind of desperate. I get that jobs like these generally don’t pay all that well, but if yours is low even by admin standards, you’re going to get people who either can’t get hired anywhere else, or who are only going to stay until they find something better.

    6. Flash Bristow*

      Are you testing them at interview? I don’t mean a two hour essay, but like a salesman might get given an everyday item and told “sell me this stapler”, I’ve seen people tested by a pre-cued manager phoning the desk from another room, the interviewee asked to answer it and deal with it, there and then. You expect them to be unflustered, remember and answer with the company name, then pacify the inevitably riled “customer” and offer to transfer them to someone who can help / take details and call back when you’ve looked into it – the usual way a customer facing admin would handle calls on day 1…

      Obviously, dilute to taste. Maybe even a simple filing task – I was once employed to replace someone who had filed all invoices starting 1, then all starting 2, so: 1, 195, 14, 1187, 12… Oh goodness.

      Test tasks only need to be 5-10 mins each, maybe 2 in an hour’s interview? But you get a feel for whether they can think on their feet / be calm and courteous with the public / pay attention to detail, or whatever skills you need.

      You’d *think* someone more experienced would have this down pat, but sometimes older admins are a bit muddle headed or slow… I’ve seen that too… So worth seeing if they’re stuck in their ways, or fully engaged, etc.

      1. Flash Bristow*

        By “stuck in their ways” I mean “but this is how I *always* use Word / answer emails / organise my files” etc. Are they ready and keen to learn what they have to do in *this* role, especially if it’s now all admin rather than just enough admin to accommodate their previous tasks?

        Sometimes first-jobbers are more open to learning, and want to do well rather than just get by. Particularly if the experienced candidate is used to doing admin to support their own needs, but will now need to learn to do it as required to support others.

    7. ChachkisGalore*

      In all honesty, if an admin with 15 years of experience is willing to work for the same pay as an entry-level or 1-3 yrs of admin experience, yeah… it probably isn’t a good sign.

      For example, in my industry/region a career admin with 15yrs of experience could be making six figures. So I’d be a bit weary about someone with so much experience that hasn’t either been promoted in a higher paying role, or hasn’t been hired into a higher paying role…

      1. Marthooh*

        “It made me wonder if being in admin roles for 15+ years AND being willing to take our job, which is not well paid, is a bad sign. I don’t see why it should be!”

        Anonymous spells out one way this might work out well for everyone — if the jobseeker has a long-term strategy. In any other case, though, it is probably a bad sign. Maybe ask applicants something like where they see themselves in five years.

    8. Emily K*

      There’s nothing wrong with enjoying administrative work, making it a career, and/or being willing to take a temporary step or two down to get into a workplace that has a lot of long-term opportunity.

      While there’s nothing wrong with wanting that, I would question whether “get into a workplace that has a lot of long-term opportunity” accurately represents the typical person with 15 years of experience who is willing to take a pay cut.

      Having done a lot of hiring in a previous gig for a nonprofit with a very limited budget, the more of a disconnect there is between how much skill/experience you’re asking for and how much you’re willing to compensate for it, the more likely you are to get people who are job-searching because they have performance issues and have been let go, are in danger of being let go, or at minimum have been passed over for promotions because their work quality is “meh.”

      If you want to give a role a lot of responsibility for very little pay, I’ve found you get the best results by hiring inexperienced people and pitching the job as a growth opportunity to do higher-level work than they would typically be able to do at other jobs that might pay the same but be more menial. Bonus points if you’re a small org without a ton of rigid/formalized processes and you can pitch the position as one where they’ll be able to develop their own way of doing things.

  4. OP #4*

    Additional update from the overqualified applicant situation! We ended up hiring someone who brought very little applicable experience and hard skills. But- she came in with such glowing references for her dedication, interpersonal skills, and general attitude that we decided to hire her. She has been WONDERFUL. I will admit, it has taken more of my time to train and coach her, but she’s so receptive and appreciative. It makes supervision one of the things that I love about my job rather than dread. Plus, this type of job and the part-time schedule is exactly what she was looking for, so I have a feeling she’ll be a warm and positive addition to the team for far longer than other applicants we considered.

    1. Jennifer*

      Awesome! Sometimes slightly under-qualified applicants who are smart, hard-working and willing to learn are the best way to go.

      1. AnnaBananna*

        Yep, because you get to mold them from the start, instead of trying to work out previous ‘bad’ habits. I think a newb with a good attitude is perfect for a receptionist job.

  5. Close Bracket*

    > In the future, we will continue the recruitment process until someone has accepted the position to avoid a setback in our timeline.

    Ouch. OK. I can’t judge too much bc the job seeking and hiring situation is what it is, but as a job candidate, I didn’t need the extra angst of knowing that any position I apply for and maybe even interview for might already be filled and just waiting on someone to actually start. Ouch. Seriously. Can I suggest that instead of actively recruiting, you just hold off on rejecting your second choice candidates until someone has started? Yes, you do have to protect yourself from candidates who jerk you around, but do try to minimize the amount of jerking around of candidates you implement as you do so.

    1. it is what it is*

      …but there are plenty of jobs that you “apply to” that aren’t really open, for other reasons. For example, a company who is really intending to give an internal candidate a promotion but has to interview “outsiders” to fulfill some sort of HR requirement.

    2. Jennifer*

      I thought that too. I would hate to think I actually had a shot at a job when they had basically already hired someone. I think having a second or third choice candidate waiting in the wings is a better option as well instead of continuing the interviewing process up until the day the person starts.

    3. Emily K*

      It’s a little unclear because this candidate had already accepted the offer but just not started yet, but the practice of continuing the recruitment process until an offer is accepted is actually really common in companies that do rolling recruitment. Typically they wouldn’t be interviewing candidates when an offer has been extended but not yet responded to, but they’ll also be continuing to schedule candidates for phone interviews/first interviews even when there’s a promising candidate who has already advanced to the second interview.

      The way places I’ve worked that do rolling recruitment handle it is, once the promising candidate that you like has completed the final interview in your process, and you’re considering making an offer, at that point you hold off on scheduling any more interviews, but you conduct any that are already on the books, and you don’t make an offer to the leading candidate until you’ve finished those, just in case one of those candidates might end up edging out the leading candidate who was a bit further along in the process. In practice this usually means the leading candidate waits up to 1-2 weeks after their final interview to receive an offer, and the interview-scheduling is only paused for that same 1-2 week period. If they reject the offer, you resume the process and continue advancing resumes to phone screen, phone screened candidates to first interview, first interview to second interview, etc.

      This is as much to the company’s benefit as the candidate’s, because nobody wants to cancel an interview that was already scheduled, nor does anybody want to waste their time interviewing someone when another candidate has already been chosen. (A lot of people don’t appreciate that interviewers are 99% of the time fitting interviewing in around their actual job commitments, and in a lot of cases, the vacant position means they’re overworked until the position is filled, so they *really* aren’t going to want to burn time on someone who isn’t still in the running.)

      1. Op #4*

        This is pretty much what I was thinking when I wrote this. In the past we’ve stopped processing applicants once we had a “pool” from which to select candidates to interview. We have some dynamics in our area that make it really hard to find good candidates, so I think continuing to move good applicants forward even if we’re scheduling interviews will help keep the process efficient. I don’t think it would be a waste of the candidate’s time more than any other interview process (unless we were pretty set on a candidate that we had interviewed).

        Also, Emily was spot on about the note that vacant positions often mean someone is being overworked. I covered the work from the vacant position for three months, which meant I was real eager to get someone in the position.

  6. Jennifer*

    I think the self-harm scars letter was very kind, even without knowing that he is a mandated reporter. So many times people dismiss mental health issues as ‘not my problem.’ Sometimes when you are in a depression the people at work are the only ones who see you on a regular basis since you tend to isolate yourself from family and friends. I do think that the advice was correct but at the same time I want to encourage people to speak up when they see someone may be struggling, even if they are just your coworker.

    Sidebar – I was shocked to learn that suicide is so common among teachers. How tragic.

    1. Incantanto*

      As a person with self harm scars I think the important point of that letter was the scars were old.

      If they were fresher I think mandated reporting would kick in, and at the time I would have appreciated someone noticing I think, but several years late I dislike the idea of it entirely, it goes from helping to unnecesssary nosiness.

      1. Jennifer*

        I agree with you. I wouldn’t want someone to bring up my old scars either.

        It’s just nice to know that some people out there still care.

    2. KR*

      I think mandated reporting is only a thing when the person being reported on is a child or possibly an elderly/otherwise incapacitated person. Like if I wanted to self harm right now obviously it is unhealthy and whatnot but unless a judge orders me to be committed or I am incarcerated it is my right as an adult (at least in the US).

      1. Jennifer*

        I guess you’re right. If I knew someone was self-harming, I’d be very worried and concerned about them and would express that. Not as a mandated reporter but as a human being.

      2. Nodramalama*

        That’s not actually always right. A lot of hospitals and other medical professionals have the ability to place someone on (or refer them for) temporary hold if they have a concern that person is a danger to others or to themselves. It doesn’t always have to go before a judge.

        1. KR*

          Ok, but assuming I’m not at a hospital a random citizen has no need to manually report anything. I must have missed when OP said they were in a healthcare setting or were this person’s health care provider.

    3. Notasecurityguard*

      To clarify: I’m a school resource officer, my coworker who committed suicide was a fellow officer not a teacher

  7. Chris*

    It’s definitely possible to gaslight yourself. If anything, self-deception may be the most common kind of deception.

      1. Mongrel*

        “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool”. – Richard P. Feynman

  8. AnnaBananna*

    Yay for #5! I think that internship sounds AMAZING (esp the locale!) and I am totally jealous.

    — academic research analyst

  9. Typhon Worker Bee*

    OP#5, that sounds amazing! I wish I’d known about that kind of opportunity during grad school instead of somehow managing to stumble into a policy/communications-adjacent roll 16 years later :D

  10. HLK1219HLK*

    OP1 & Allison: the only caveat to Allison’s recommendation for an evening in-office meeting is to make sure there are others close by or in the meeting. I get a bad feeling about this guy based on her description, and creepy as the dinner interview sounds, at least there are other people to intervene if he tries anything. If he has her alone in an empty office on the other hand…just don’t do it. Or bring pepper spray and have your phone ready to call 911.

    Yes, that’s worst case scenario, but there are too many #MeToo stories out there already without risking creating a new one.

  11. HalloweenCat*

    Oh OP #2. I am (unreasonably?) outraged on your behalf that this dude RESIGNED on the last day of his PIP. That, to me, says that for at least part of the time you were trying to help and train him he was job searching. Meanwhile, you and your HR department were putting in all that extra effort to help him and carrying what I’m sure was a bit of an emotional burden about possibly having to fire someone.

    1. Anu*

      Oh come on! If an employee was put on a PIP, it would be stupid of them not to be searching for another job since there’s a very good chance they would lose their current one. I’m sure if someone in that situation were to write in Alison’s advice would be to start job searching immediately. I honestly don’t understand the outrage at all.

      1. short_stuff*

        I agree. I had someone resign about a week before the end of their PIP that was not going well. I think this was a decent outcome all around. And I was delighted they found a job that seems to suit them better.

        If you are on a PIP you have to be job searching, even if you would rather succeed and stay. You are at serious risk of losing your job.

    2. hbc*

      I don’t understand the outrage. Yes, they were trying to help him, but presumably he was also trying to improve. Both sides were putting in effort to make the position work, and both sides were actively planning for what to do if said effort did not pay off.

      In addition, there are a fair number of companies that don’t put a heck of a lot of effort into PIPs–basically just write up a list of expectations as a precursor to termination. A manager at my last company told me that his employee had improved as they asked, but they had to cut him loose because they didn’t think he could sustain it and they had already scheduled interviews for his position.

    3. Tinker*

      In a sense I think it’s understandable to be outraged for the reasons you state — in the sense, I mean, that on an emotional level it probably can feel a bit like going out of one’s way to do a favor for someone and that not being reciprocated.

      But I do think it’s an unreasonable expectation of the person that he should not have conducted a job search during his PIP.

      What would have happened if he had not started looking for a job? The strong implication is that if he had not resigned when he did, he would have been fired shortly thereafter. He would then be starting a job search from the position of having been fired and while having no income.

      Alternatively, what would have happened if he had resigned at the point where he started the job search? His position would be similar — he would have no income, and while not technically fired he would have resigned without another job from a company that in the reference process would presumably disclose the PIP — that’s roughly equivalent to being fired.

      There’s an honorable appeal to a notion like — he’s a poor performer in his role, the fact of him job searching means he’s not like ride or die with the initiative to improve his performance, therefore he does not deserve to continue working through the PIP process and should fall on his sword. But many people prefer to eat food and sleep indoors, and I do not think an employer can reasonably expect an employee to act so directly counter to their best interests.

      Also: it sounds like the job that he got is a different role that he is now performing well in. Particularly given that, it sounds very much like his side of the story could be akin to “It became very clear to me that the job was not right for my skills in a way not easily solved, but having a completely frank conversation about that fact and its implications is something that one rarely gets to do in one’s career — and never if one does not already have a good working relationship with the right kind of manager. So I did my best to keep the wheels on and engage with the performance improvement process, but I was realistic about my chances of success and also started a job search which was ultimately successful. Now both myself and my former company have one less problem, so clearly that was the right thing to do.”

      1. prudencep*

        OP here (prudencep) – The petty side of me was disappointed that after the whole ordeal I didn’t get the satisfaction of showing him the door, I’ll admit that. I also felt somewhat frustrated that we had previously offered to help him with any job search if he was interested in that (we have all sorts of career services) and he didn’t take any of them up earlier in the process. I also found out he had been offered the job about a month before he told me, so that was an extra month of ordeal for both of us. He did his best to burn as many bridges as he could on the way out, right up to a parting defamatory email he sent. Argh. However, the human part of me is just glad that he was able to find a new job and one he is seemingly better suited for. In the end it was a good outcome and his team is doing much better now!

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