updates: afraid to show weakness, remote work bait and switch, and more

Here are updates from  three people who had their letters answered here in the past.

1. I’m afraid to show any weakness at work

I wanted to send in an update, since it’s been a year. I appreciated the comments more than I can say!. Everyone helped me see another perspective, and by re-framing my mindset, I think I’ve been able to become a stronger professional.

At the time, I did have a toxic employee that I didn’t see as toxic. This person left on their own volition, about a month after my letter was posted, and I began to notice a change in the culture. I realize now that their snide criticisms and subtle gas-lighting impacted me more than I thought. I also, very intentionally, changed my language around certain things, and began to share my thought process with the team. For example, when I was asked to create a huge program that no one had ever seen before (but given no support or budget to do so), I shared my apprehension with my team. Or when I had someone back out of an accepted job offer one week before the start date (that’s a whole other AAM letter!), I shared my frustrations and worries with the team. I could see that my willingness to say things like “Hmmm, that’s a good question, and I’m not sure. What do you think?” or “I’m not sure yet, but I can get back to you” has had a hugely positive impact on the team.

I also spent time thinking about where my “never be vulnerable” belief came from, and why I had it, and I think it was just a self-dictated problem that I carried around. I must have internalized that asking for help = weakness, even though I teach students otherwise. During a recent performance eval, my most senior employee noted the change in culture and in my demonstrated vulnerability. She said that it was a huge relief to her to know that when she was nervous or uncertain about something, I was feeling the same way. So again, thank you for posting my letter, and thank you to everyone who commented.

2. My boss said I could work from anywhere — but keeps telling me to come into the office

Thank you so much for answering my letter. Quick update which I mentioned in the comments: I brought this up to my boss, and she was very against working from home. It seemed like it was because she herself finds it difficult, and because she generally distrusts that people do any work while working remotely. Not what I wanted to hear, but useful information anyway.

Two hours later, she emailed me to say she talked to the CEO (her boss), and he is all for remote work and we would discuss the logistics later in the week.

Yesterday, she called me in to talk, and although the words were “you can work remotely on a three month trial”, the tone was “I’ll be watching you closely and you better shape up.” It was bizarre. I left feeling like I’d been chastised for slacking off.

Some commenters made good points that some other things this employer had done (asking me to delay cashing my paycheck for two weeks, “forgetting” to give me access to medical benefits for going on two months now) were bigger deals than I realized.

I have an interview next week for a job that is (actually) 100% remote and more money. If I get it, I will feel really guilty for leaving so soon, but I can’t really turn down the money and flexibility either. I guess I will just have to burn this bridge if I get the offer! Thank you and thanks to the commenters!

3. My anxious employee goes into emotional spirals after even mildly negative feedback

Thanks again to you and for the kind commenters for your advice on my employee. I’m both sad and relieved to tell you that I let her go this past week. I’d spent her probation period trying to find ways of helping her work around her problems – allowing her to work independently with lots of time, or having more frequent one-on-ones to discuss everything she was doing to see if more guidance would make any difference – but in the end her work wasn’t getting any better no matter what I did, and I couldn’t justify keeping her on until the end of her probation period. While I’d told her I had concerns about her suitability for the job, she was really trying, and I think the timing (which HR picked) came as a surprise. Next time, I don’t think I’d let the situation drag out for so long.

Your advice helped convince me that it was okay to let her go at a time when I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to make it work out. I’m still really bummed that I had to do it – as I expected, she didn’t take it well – but after I stopped focusing on the personal aspect, it became clear that it was truly the best decision. I learned a lot about myself and about managing from the experience. Thanks again for your help.

{ 100 comments… read them below }

  1. CatCat*

    #2, please don’t feel guilty AT ALL when you leave for something better. Your boss is only grudgingly giving you a “3 month trial” for remote work when that is totally incongruous with what she communicated when you were interviewing, and there are serious red flags about the financial stability of the employer. Either of those on its own would be solid, non-guilt inducing reasons to bail quickly. You have given the employer a fair shake and they are actively blowing it. I cross my fingers for you on this other opportunity!!

    1. Artemesia*

      When someone ‘forgets’ to get you on the health benefits for 2 mos you need not have the slightest regret about leaving. In fact, I’d be inclined to say ‘when I couldn’t cash my paycheck or access my benefits, I felt nervous about how stable the organization is, so felt leaving was my only sensible option.’ People who take people for granted and don’t deliver on their promises deserve to lose employees.

      1. Emily K*

        Agreed. Your agreements was to do work in exchange for compensation. If they drop the ball on their end they can hardly be surprised when you don’t feel obligated to continue holding up your end.

        1. Phoenix Wright*

          Indeed. OP2, they wouldn’t think twice to fire you if you said “I won’t do any work for the next two weeks nor take paid leave, but you still need to pay me for that time”, or if you “forgot” some of your essential tasks for two whole months. So you’d be doing yourself a disservice by feeling guilty about this. You’re totally in the right for wanting to leave, you deserve much better, and I wish you all the best.

          Also, given how your boss treats you, it seems to me she wasn’t interested in keeping that bridge intact, if there was even one in the first place. This is totally on her, so please don’t blame yourself or feel guilty.

          1. valentine*

            OP2: It’s okay to burn a bridge when it’s like the prop bridge Natalie Woods’s mother promised her would hold during a rainstorm scene. You’ve already had a probationary period and worked remotely for more than three months. It’s possible she’s devaluing your excellent work because of her bias against your location.

        2. alphabet soup*

          I quit a job once because the company couldn’t make payroll. My boss sent me harried emails about how if I wanted to receive my paycheck, I needed to bring in $30,000 in sales in the next 3 business days. She was FLABBERGASTED that I’d quit over this– shocked, appalled, how could anyone ever? I applied and received unemployment benefits. However, she managed to contest the decision even though the deadline had passed because she claimed her notice had gotten lost in the mail (a friend who still worked there confirmed this was a lie). During the appeal hearing, she had the gall to say that what *I* did was dishonest. Me, the employee who quit because I have the nerve to expect to get paid. She won the appeal, and I had to pay back the unemployment benefits.

          Some people are so massively dysfunctional that they can always rationalize their own horribleness to themselves– it’s everyone else who’s crazy and they’re always the victim.

          So glad the LW is looking for a new job. This company is going to screw you over. Don’t let them.

          1. $!$!*

            How the hell did she win that appeal?? Ahh I can’t believe you had to pay back your unemployment benefits I am just so angry right now

          2. TiredWebMonkey*

            Wait whut now? She won with that argument and you had to pay back the benefits? I feel like AAM needs to feature this story because I need to know more.

        3. Librarian of SHIELD*

          Benefits are an important part of an employee’s compensation package. By not giving OP access to the benefits she was supposed to be receiving, her employer was wildly underpaying her. That’s a huge deal.

          OP, if your company just randomly withheld half your paycheck and said “whoops, we forgot,” and then never reimbursed you for the missing amount, you probably wouldn’t feel guilty about leaving. But denying you your benefits essentially did just that. They have not been paying you fairly or living up to their end of the bargain in your hiring agreement. They should feel guilty, not you.

      2. Psyche*

        Exactly! They didn’t give you the benefits promised, they didn’t pay you on time and they didn’t give you the flexibility that they promised. The job was not as advertised in some pretty egregious ways.

        1. AKchic*

          Exactly. This wasn’t the job they promised. They aren’t giving you what they promised and they are still expecting the LW to perform her job as they had advertised it, if not better, with less to work with.

          This place (I cannot call it a functioning business) inspires no loyalty, and nobody should feel bad about leaving them when they can’t uphold their end of the employment agreement.

          1. Anne of Green Gables*

            I would recommend that if you do get the other job (fingers crossed for you) you let her boss/CEO know why, especially since it sounds like CEO is fine with remote work; they need to know that Jane is not interpreting/enforcing it the same way.

            1. AKchic*

              Meh, the CEO can’t even make payroll and withholds benefits, so really, the entire company is poisoned. The WFH issue was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. By telling the CEO that Jane was restricting a previously agreed-upon benefit, all it would be telling the CEO is “hey, I was okay with you withholding my pay for two weeks and withholding my other benefits for two months, but don’t screw the next person out of their WFH bennies if you’re going to pull the other shenanigans!”

            2. HarvestKaleSlaw*

              All you have to say at a job interview is that the company is having trouble meeting payroll. Those few short words, and nobody will question your job search at all. In fact, this reason is usually so powerful that I recommend you leave the other reasons aside and keep it as simple as possible.

      3. Lance*

        God, yes. Whether someone’s healthy or not, you never screw with someone’s health benefits in such a way. Just… never.

      4. The Original K.*

        Totally agree. I’d have fired up the job boards when they told me not to cash my check for two weeks.

      5. Software Engineer*

        This organization is obviously having cash flow problems. You need to leave ASAP, before you come to work and find the office dark and the doors chained shut.

      6. TootsNYC*

        If I had the tiniest bit of goodwill, I’d give that info as “feedback that might help you retain your next hire,” and I’d make sure it got to the CEO as well as my boss. (And I’d include the “being told that remote work was possible and then being pressured by my manager to work in the office.”

        But yeah–mess with my compensation (pay AND benefits), and you lose ALL my loyalty.

    2. Beth*

      Yes yes! LW #2, your boss deserves to lose you to greener pastures, and I hope she does. Happy grazing!

    3. Workerbee*

      I agree! This is the kind of boss who would burn the bridge for you even if you stuck it out for years. It wouldn’t be your doing then and it still wouldn’t now.

    4. ItsAllFunAndGames*

      I feel that anything that comes across as “bait-and-switch” from what was told during the interview/onboarding process and what the actual job is should absolve you of any sort of worries about leaving quickly.

    5. Fergus*

      a check you can’t cash or benefits you can’t use when it is part of your compensation means they are not operating in good faith and at that point there can be no guilt. You don’t walk out the door you run.

    6. Elizabeth the Ginger*

      Yes, don’t worry about burning the bridge… your boss is the one that soaked the bridge in kerosene.

    7. YouGottaThrowtheWholeJobAway*

      If anyone ever asks you to delay cashing a check, they don’t have the money and probably won’t in the future. If an employer ever says it, you start job searching that night.

    8. Jadelyn*

      Seriously – the bridge in question is already smoldering gently in the background, so leaving isn’t so much “burning the bridge” as it is “letting the bridge finish burning on its own”.

    9. RUKiddingMe*

      Plus the CEO, OP’s grandboss is in favor of remote work. He is Boss’ boss, he has the authority to tell Boss “OP will be working remotely, and not on a “trial” basis, and you need to let it go, period.” But… he’s not doing that.

      Also treating OP like some errant child when her work is at least adequate? All the nope.

    10. pentamom*

      I came here to say this. While leaving after only a few months is usually not a good look, the terms of the work being completely different from what you were told by itself, is a good enough reason to feel like your employer, and not you, is the reason for the end of the relationship. When you add in abusive and actually illegal things like not providing health benefits you contracted for and not meeting payroll while continuing operations, you owe them nothing and therefore there is absolutely no call for guilt whatsoever.

    11. OP#2*

      Thank you all for the kind words and reality check! Leaving will be awkward but shouldn’t be a surprise to them really.

      1. darsynia*

        A good thing to remember in this situation is that even when someone is in the wrong, they still can act defensive over it. So if the people at the job you’re leaving get upset at you for leaving in what is clearly a reasonable way (you must be paid for the work you do! Them not fulfilling benefits promised to you is not okay!), remind yourself that you are acting correctly, with the benefit of taking care of yourself (which is your overarching job, wherever your paycheck comes from!).

  2. Kate R*

    #2 – Wow! I missed the update about that employer asking you to delay cashing your paycheck and not giving you access to your medical benefits. I wouldn’t feel guilty about leaving so soon at all. It sounds like they seriously misrepresented themselves.

    1. Hope*

      Yeah. Honestly if in the future anyone asked why you left, you could safely just mention the medical benefits and the delayed cashing of your paycheck and that would be more than enough to justify leaving without even mentioning the WFH issues.

      1. Olive Hornby*

        Yeah, this seems like a bridge you could safely burn! “The company was having trouble making payroll” is possibly the best excuse for a short stay you could ask for. Good luck on your interview, OP!

      2. Detective Amy Santiago*

        Absolutely. If I was interviewing someone who had been in their current position a short time, I would definitely ask why they were already looking and those are the kind of answers that would not be red flags at all.

        1. Psyche*

          Yeah. No one should be surprised when an employee would like to be paid on pay day. Anywhere that is not considered a valid reason for leaving is not somewhere you want to work anyway.

    2. Alfonzo Mango*

      I missed those ‘details’ too! How sketchy of the company.

      Also OP, don’t worry. She might be happy to see you go too since you insisted on getting the WFH you were promised.

      1. RUKiddingMe*

        Boss doesn’t trust people that WFH to not screw around. As I go through life I find that often people project negative things onto others when those are the things *they* would do in the other person’s place.

    3. CleverName*

      Holy smokes, for real! Not being able to cash your paycheck is beyond a red flag. Clearly, they’re having cash flow issues. You should absolutely be looking for a different role ASAP, because who knows how long this company will be able to pay you?

  3. UghNo*

    #2 Holy Crap! I think the bigger issue is the paycheck thing, not the WFH! I hope your interview goes well and you land the new job! Don’t feel bad about leaving, they did this to themselves.

      1. Pay your employees*

        And don’t be afraid and sugar coat it. This is a perfectly appropriate time to use phrases like “blatantly lied”, “lack of integrity”, “dishonorable” etc.

    1. Lily in NYC*

      And OP, be sure to tell the CEO exactly why you are leaving. He is not going to be thrilled that your boss chased you away with her inflexibility after he specifically said you could work from home. Shady.

      1. Detective Amy Santiago*

        Well, hopefully he would be more concerned over the payroll and benefits issues. And if he’s not, well.

      2. Clorinda*

        What about the delayed paycheck and medical benefits? The CEO doesn’t have clean hands here. He’s either borderline criminal or way-past-borderline incompetent.

    2. Antilles*

      Yeah, the paycheck thing isn’t a minor detail, but something that completely changes the situation. If OP had mentioned that in the first place, the consensus would have been a near-unanimous “run run run run run”.
      Not being able to work from home is a change which can have tons of reasons, anything from iffy to legitimate. If it was a standalone, only issue, then it’s not a red flag – you might still decide to leave if it’s really that important to you, but it’s not something that screams “sprint out the door and don’t blink”. But when paired with the much more major issues, suddenly it’s another piece of a hugely worrying puzzle.

  4. Trout 'Waver*

    OP#2, Yikes. Let’s call it what it is: asking someone to delay cashing their paycheck is missing payroll. And missing payroll is an instant “start looking immediately” alarm.

    1. JSPA*

      Anyone else hear, “if you are sitting next to me, I know you’re not interviewing elsewhere at this very minute”?

      1. OP #2*

        I think this is probably part of it! The paycheque thing was presented as possibly optional (“would you mind holding this for a couple weeks before cashing it?”) so I think it didn’t instantly ping to me as missing payroll. But it is!

  5. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    Please don’t feel guilty leaving that boss in the dust, #2. She did it to herself by treating you poorly.

    W. T. F. Delayed your benefits? That’s not even possible for our benefits. I accidentally calculated my own wrong so I sent them in thinking they started in March. The benefits admin was all ‘No bro, you were supposed to be in February!” and they charged us for the previously month because of requirements. You don’t just get to make your own rules for insurance benefits [well you do when you set them up but not for employee to employee, just employee class to employee class].

  6. BRR*

    Echoing don’t feel guilty! They pulled a bait and switch about working remotely and the paycheck/benefits things are red flags. This is entirely on them.

    1. Slow Gin Lizz*

      I third this. Sounds like they are not a great company to work for and good luck with the new position!

    1. RUKiddingMe*

      I keep hearing dialogue from Goodfellas. The Henry Hill character is explaining being partners with the mob and he’s like (paraphrased) “now the guy’s gotta cone up with Paulie’s money every week…X happened? Fuck you, pay me. Y happened? Fuck you, pay me. The joint burned down? Fuck you, pay me…”

  7. Mae Mae*

    I’m so confused. Didn’t the employee with anxiety who caused problems at the workplace get fired right after it happened? As well as charged criminally with restraining orders against them?

    1. Detective Amy Santiago*

      You’re probably thinking of the letter where the person got a coworker’s address and showed up at her house because she thought the coworker was mad at her.

      1. D'Arcy*

        But the letter writer in that case wasn’t fired immediately; she was fired a substantial time afterwards because she refused to leave the co-worker alone and kept harassing HR and management to pass an apology even after being told to stop.

  8. Akcipitrokulo*

    OP2 – you deserve so much more than this – and it’s not a bad thing to leave a place when you’re treated like that.

    Also WTH was with the attitude when “chastising” you tone came into play? My guess is CEO laid down the law and there was some pettiness creeping in.

    I think it will be difficult for you to succeed in this position with manager’s feelings the way they are. Do not feel bad if you get out!

  9. Detective Amy Santiago*

    OP3 – it sounds like you handled things as compassionately as you possibly could. Some people just aren’t a good fit for some jobs.

    1. Sara without an H*

      Yes, OP3, it’s always painful to have to let someone go, but sometimes it’s the best and most compassionate solution. You can’t save everybody, nor should you try.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Completely agree. All you can do is be compassionate and understanding but not to a fault. In the end there’s a job that has to be done and if someone is struggling to preform when all the possible accommodations are in place, you just have to let them find somewhere that’s better for them.

  10. mark132*

    @LW2, I don’t see it as a big deal burning a bridge like this. I mean you would have to be pretty desperate to go back to them I would assume?

  11. Kat A.*

    Does the CEO know about you being asked to delay cashing your paycheck or about you not yet receiving your medical benefits? He/she might not.

    1. RUKiddingMe*

      If he does know, and since he didn’t say “no trial period, period” then his hands are also dirty. Not sure how he could not know about the paycheck though.

  12. Kat A.*

    #2 I wanted to add that, depending on how long you’ve been there, it might be best to leave this job off your resume rather than risk that petty manager being called for a reference.

    1. Sienna*

      I mean, even if someone did call her for a reference she’d be hard pressed to counter “the company was having problems making payroll” as a legitimate reason to abruptly leave.

  13. Jaybeetee*

    LW3, I’m sorry it didn’t go as you were hoping with this employee, and I know it must feel pretty rough to have to fire her when both you and her were working so hard to make it work. That said, quite apart from it being the best decision for your employer/company, it’s really the best thing for her too – obviously she was quite unhappy, and it can’t have felt good not getting the hang of the job and still making mistakes despite so much coaching and help. Cutting it all off at least gives her the potential to collect EI and either find a better-suited job or focus more intently on her mental health. Forcing the situation to continue just would have continued to frazzle you both out.

    1. epi*

      I agree.

      Really early in my career– like during the transition from summer retail jobs to the type of college student jobs that get you into an office– I was fired or not rehired at a couple of different jobs. One was actually my very first student reserach assistant job, and first chance to get out of retail. Looking back, it was all for stuff that stemmed from anxiety and depression, telling myself that it was shyness and was just who I was, and failing to learn skills I needed as a result. I thought it was clear I was quiet and shy and it was fine if I did good work; to others, I came across as cold and not proactive.

      I still work in the field that RA job was in, 12 years later, and am in a position where people approach me to ask me to work for them. I needed to hear, way back then, that my demeanor was not some neutral trait of mine, but amounted to how I treated people and whether I was really doing my best work. My next jobs involved contact with patients and I am so grateful that people gave me that heads up ahead of time, that my interactions at work just could not be about protecting my emotions in that way. More work was needed on my part to become someone people want to work with, but it all would have been impossible without that early realization, even though it hurt at the time.

      It’s hard to feel like you are punishing someone who is obviously struggling. But IME anxious people are often thoughtful and conscientious– it’s one way we get stuck overthinking and over-responding. This former employee certainly sounds smart and conscientious. She’ll be able to learn from this, if she wants to.

    2. Observer*

      The OP sounds like a good person, and they definitely did what they had to. And in the long term this may very well be the best thing for the employee as well. But let’s be real- liberating her from the unhappiness of not getting it right is not the issue here, and it’s not especially “kind”. It’s not that firing her was UNkind, but that’s not the issue here. If she was that unhappy, it was on her to take action to make herself less unhappy. It’s not on the OP (or any other employer) to make those decisions for people. It really robs them of agency and it is sooo easy to make the wrong decisions for other people.

      I do agree that in the long term it’s probably for the best. But not because she was so unhappy and now she has some freedom. But because it may be the thing, or one of the things, that gets her to “hear” the feedback that she’s not really been able to take on board till now – that is that she NEEDS to find a better way t manage her anxiety without this much help from others if she is going to function in the world. That’s an extraordinarily hard thing for most people to accept, and they sometimes really need to get forced into it.

  14. Not So NewReader*

    #1. Good for you for finding that ability to change what you were doing. And that is a tough one to change, too. There are good uses for “vulnerability”, building a sense of cohesion or a sense of everyone being on the same page when the going gets a little tough is a good use.
    Like others pointed out, I am not sure vulnerability is the right word. Some of it is just a willingness to share thoughts or impressions. Some reactions are almost universal, for example a company runs out of x material and the deadline is next week. Most people in that setting would gasp and have thoughts of concern about the situation. Granted not everyone and not all the time. But in general that is a pretty human reaction for the situation.

    1. Sara without an H*

      Yeah, I don’t really like the word “vulnerability” to describe a willingness to admit you’re not omniscient and are open to other people’s input. “Humility,” maybe, would be a better word.

      1. OrigCassandra*

        I don’t mind it as much, because I think it’s a reaction against its antonym. Not a few people do their level best to project invulnerability — and for lots of reasons that tends not to work out great. Once “never show weakness, never show indecision” is stuck in your head, though, it’s hard to dislodge and it fuels self-hating and counterproductive behavior. (Ask me how I know.)

        OP1, kudos to you for what you’ve done to break out of this. I am sure it’s been hard. I do think you’ll continue to see how much people appreciate it, though! As an instructor, I live by “feet of clay are always a teaching moment” and it’s at once gratifying and sad to see how much students absolutely need to hear that they can’t (and don’t need to) be perfect all the time.

      2. TootsNYC*

        we need more humility–more ACCURATE use of the word humility, and more accurate humility–in the world.

        Humility isn’t abasing oneself. It’s acknowledging that we are no more error-free than anyone else, and not more important than other people.

    2. Bulbasaur*

      It can be surprising how often admitting to uncertainty or mistakes can transform them from a weakness into a source of strength. You will often find that other people can relate (sometimes many more of them than you think!) and once it’s out in the open you are collectively in a much better position to engage honestly and make progress together.

      1. OP1*

        Thank you all! Yes, “vulnerable” was chosen very intentionally b/c to me, it felt like admitting I didn’t know something was leaving myself open for critique/attack. I realize now that this is not true, of course, but that’s how I felt at the time.

        I didn’t delve into the toxic employee much in my update email, but HOLY GUACAMOLE, now that this person is gone, I can really see everything clearly. They kept pushing at me to be a certain way, and when I tried, they would rebuff my attempts. Or in our last 1:1, they basically laid out a list of everything I did wrong as a supervisor, not taking responsibility for their part in the breakdown of communication and cohesion. I am also learning that they trash-talked me to a few colleagues in other depts, and one of them still refuses to give me the time of day (even though we share a suite together.) It’s super awkward.

        All of this to say that I think I internalized “vulnerable” to be a bad thing based on how I was reacting to this toxic person. If I showed uncertainty, they would pounce on it.

      2. RUKiddingMe*

        Absolutely! All of us are insecure, vulnerable, and weird. We just go along pretending we’re not in order to be seen as if we have our shit together. ‍♀️

  15. Sally*

    #1: I have had at least 2 students tell me that they were so relieved when I made a mistake during the training session. It made them feel like they could make a mistake while using the software, and it wouldn’t be the end of the world. I learned a long time ago that “I don’t know, but I’ll find out” (and all of the other ways to say the same thing) is a GOOD thing. But it was really nice to have it confirmed by those students!

    1. RUKiddingMe*

      “I don’t know” and “let’s find out” are two of my favorite sentences. Not that I like ignorance but because my mom either from embarrassment (likely), or arrogance, or not wanting to look weak, or some other reason would always have an answer…even if it was wrong because she didn’t know.

      I am still, at age 56, embarrassed at how much misinformation I thought was accurate information I carried with me into adulthood. Moreover how much if it I stayed (to others) as fact. ::shudder::

      It’s ok to not know. When my son would ask something I didn’t know, we found out (almost completely pre Google btw) together. Likewise with my staff.

  16. Sara without an H*

    OP #3, I know it’s painful, but it might be useful to do some personal debriefing at this point. I went back to take a look at your original post, and you said this person was your first hire. Looking back, did anything come up during the hiring process that should have tipped you off that this employee had issues? If might be good to draft some questions you can ask candidates and their references about their resilience and responses to feedback.

    Having said that, I have to warn you about going too far overboard in screening for this on your next round of hiring. It’s possible to get so caught up in screening for a given issue that you overlook evidence that the candidate has other disqualifying features. (Ask me how I know!)

  17. Observer*

    #3 – You say that letting your employee go took her by surprise. Were you crystal clear that you were worried about whether she could stay on in the job?

    Sure, there were plenty of clues for her that things were not going well and “really trying” is often not enough. But if you were really clear and she still was surprised, then that’s a sign that there was no way you were ever going to be able to make this work. People who miss clear and crucial feedback are just not manageable.

  18. Lady Phoenix*

    Letter 2, if the CEO has your back, I would let them know about your Manager’s shenanigans.

  19. Observer*

    #2 – Did the boss know about the “forgotten” insurance benefits, or the delay in payroll? If yes, there is no bridge here. Don’t worry about burning it. If he didn’t then there is a good chance that he’s dangerously incompetent. Again, not a bridge I’d be worried about burning.

    If the boss didn’t know and is reasonably competent (and basically someone is swindling him in some fashion), letting him know what happened – not even the broken promises and attitude, but the benefits and paycheck thing – would be a huge favor to him and would keep he bridge with him intact.

    As for your boss? Don’t worry – there’s nothing to preserve here that I can see.

  20. RUKiddingMe*

    OP2: Don’t you dare feel guilty! She brought it on herself. Plus the paycheck and benefits thing? So much “get outta there.”

  21. Cube Ninja*

    OP #2, I’m going to borrow a page from Alison’s book and say this:

    Starting right now, you have permission to never, ever feel guilty about leaving this job. Asking you not to cash your paycheck is most likely illegal since they’re effectively not paying you on time. The benefits thing is the icing on the cake.

    Your employer blatantly took advantage of your kind nature and you are leaving a company run by horrible people.

  22. Need a better name, CPA*

    OP2: Good Luck with that interview. Tell them you can start as soon as needed. Because a place that doesn’t pay you on time doesn’t deserve a lot of notice.
    As soon as you have a new, better, job – how can it not be better than this one? – gather documentation of the benefits problem and paycheck problem. (I hope they emailed you, not just told you informally.) Email whomever told you not to cash your paycheck, telling them that despite their previous request you intend to cash all your paychecks promptly; bcc your personal email, and forward any reply you get. Then walk that check to the issuing bank to cash it – you want to know immediately whether it will clear or be NSF.
    Actually, do that with the paycheck right away, new job or not. Unemployment benefits are better than any amount of purported salary that you don’t really receive.
    Document your hours and the amount they owe you through your last day. Send all of this to your personal email as well as printing a couple of copies.
    I predict you will have trouble getting your final paycheck. You need ammunition to take to your state or province department of labor. And that place deserves to be reported.

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