update: I now manage the guy who hired me — and I’m afraid he might quit over it

Remember the letter-writer who was promoted over the person who hired her, found out he’d been promised that promotion himself and was afraid he’d quit over it? Here’s the update.

Thank you so much for answering my question! I have an update that is pretty much what you expected…

Tom gave notice this week. He has gotten a job as head of sales and marketing for a small but fast-growing startup that produces a similar set of products to the one my team is responsible for. It sounds like a perfect setup for him — they are ramping up with additional product development, he’ll get to lead a big team, he will be paid more plus get equity (which we don’t have available to us). And even though the company is based elsewhere, he’ll work remote from our city.

Tom’s timing was very strategic. Our company had a very broad non-compete in place that would have barred Tom from making the move he did — but there’s been a case with a former employee challenging the non-compete. A week before Tom gave notice, the non-compete was invalidated in court, and Tom gave his notice before the company was able to draft a narrower one for everyone to sign. It seems clear he was waiting for that decision to make his move.

I am actually worried. He knows our clients really well, and Tom’s new company’s product is frankly superior to our legacy product. I had hoped to get more client exposure for my newer team members, but there’s only so much opportunity in the space of a couple months. We’ll see what happens. For what it’s worth, I kept trying to get my boss and HR to give me something tangible to incentivize him — I raised this with my boss in person at every one-on-one and documented my concern that Tom was a flight risk in emails at least once a week.

And I’m more than worried — I think I should leave myself. After Tom gave notice, my boss and HR hastily put together a counter-offer (that still didn’t equal his new offer). I told them this was a bad move and I thought it would be tone-deaf disrespectful to Tom, but my VP directed me to make it. Tom obviously refused. Then the COO, who my VP reports to, came to my office (!) and said that Tom was very important to the company and asked why I hadn’t done more to keep him. I was so frustrated with this, I told her that I had been pushing and pushing for something to offer Tom and had been turned down, and that I would be happy to share the email back and forth. She responded that “Money isn’t everything. If you want to succeed, you need to create a team culture that is magnetic to people like Tom.” Well, that sealed it for me — I’m a manager, not a miracle worker. I guess I wasn’t exposed to this kind of weirdness from our higher-ups before my promotion, but I don’t want to stick around if those are the expectations I have to labor under. I’m trying to figure out my own exit now.

I’m really grateful in all this for the grace with which Tom handled this. When he gave notice, he confirmed everything I’d heard from our mutual friend but emphasized that he had no hard feelings against me, and that he thought I was a great team leader and manager. He said he would have been happy to work under me if the company had come through with the money to match his promised promotion, and that he was leaving not because of me but because of the broken promise. I asked why he hadn’t raised the concerns to me before, and he said he didn’t want to put me in an awkward position or feel bad about my own achievement. He only brought it up because I asked in his notice conversation.

Not a great update but probably not a surprising one either. Thanks for answering my question!

{ 323 comments… read them below }

    1. 867-5309*

      I came here to type the same thing. Tom sounds like an incredibly employee, and OP is right to seek employment elsewhere.

          1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

            OP’s company will close that door very quickly. Looks like they are drafting a new non-compete.

              1. sacados*

                Definitely — no matter what OP should make sure to maintain the good relationship with Tom (make sure he knows how much OP tried to go to bat for him to make the company recognize his worth, though it sounds like Tom may already understand this) and keep in touch with him! He sounds like a great professional contact to have regardless.

                Not to mention, there’s no guarantee that even the “narrower” non-compete OP’s company is drafting would be ruled enforceable either.

            1. Artemesia*

              Suggests moving faster rather than slower — one can slow walk signing such documents usually; have lawyer review them etc while scrambling to make a move.

              1. Kimberlee, No Longer Esq.*

                Though, honestly, if they have just lost Tom and are hurting for talent, I have a hard time imagining OP facing major consequences for simply never signing the doc? I mean, for sure start out with saying you’re having the lawyers review it, and boy are they taking forever, and then you just conveniently forget week after week… it doesn’t really benefit the company to back OP into a wall and make them sign the new agreement, but then again, a lot of the things this company does doesn’t seem to benefit them… anyway, I bet OP can slowplay this for a long time while job searching.

                1. Massmatt*

                  It will be hard to get someone to sign the new non-compete agreement if the only incentive is the threat of firing, especially if that threat is hollow.

                  I’m not a lawyer but There’s a good chance a new agreement won’t hold up in court either, my understanding is they are hard to enforce, and the very means they have to use to get you to sign (threat of being fired) is pretty coercive.

            2. SomebodyElse*

              OP could drag her feet on signing the non compete :)

              I would totally ask Tom to look out for any positions at his new company that he thinks I’d be good at.

                1. Jen Mahrtini*

                  Technically, the employer would have to offer some type of financial consideration in exchange for the updated non-compete beyond keeping the existing job.

                2. SusanIvanova*

                  Basically “Sign this thing that controls what you do if you leave later, or leave now” – in what universe does this make sense?

              1. Amber T*

                I would assume it would end up being something like “sign this or your fired.” Since they’re hurting for talent they might not push it as much… then again, if they’re also blaming her for not doing enough to keep Tom (which… ugh) and they know she has a good relationship with him, they might think it makes sense to “clean house.” Honestly, any current employee that was a rockstar under Tom they’re probably worried about.

              2. Erstwhile Lurker*

                In the UK, not signing but remaining in your position only works for 3 months, then its deemed that you agree with the new terms so she may well have a window of opportunity here if the laws are similar where the letter writer lives.

        1. Working Mom*

          Yes! My first thought – Tom sounds way more professional and reasonable than senior leaders at the current company. If you can follow him to his new company quickly before the new non-compete is in place… do it!!

          The leaders at the current company should NOT be surprised. They put Tom in the position to leave and never gave him a reason to stay. Sure – money isn’t everything to a lot of people – but you’ve got to know your staff’s motivation. Tom was clearly motivated by the $$ (as I am, too). I’m beyond frustrated for the OP, at the position they’ve tried to put her in, making this her fault for not “creating a culture” in which Tom would have stayed. That’s ridiculous.

    2. Fibchopkin*

      Gotta say, I’m not sad to hear that Tom has found such a great opportunity, and I think his timing and exit procedures show a lot of wisdom and maturity in the face of a pretty crappy situation for him, but I am sad that it’s put you in an awkward place. I think your instincts are good – time to ramp up that job search! Your company seems pretty shady, and you’ll probably be happier if you can find a similar position in an org that doesn’t a) treat it’s long term, stellar employees like crap by dangling imaginary carrots in front of them for extended periods, b) set unrealistic expectations for managers, and c) disregard repeated supervisor input when dealing with employee retention. Best of luck OP; I’m rooting for you (and Tom)!

      1. Anonymouse*

        So true. I left my former job because I saw how badly my coworkers were treated and how my supervisor was consistently passed over for promotions and made a mockery of for asking for basic things like COLA. The discussion from a few weeks ago about when to job hunt rings true here. For me, I don’t wait until the bad thing happens to me because then it’s too late. If the bad pattern is there, you shouldn’t wait until you’re victimized to jump ships.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          I left a job once because they offered my boss a demotion or immediate dismissal because of an issue. My boss had bills coming in, like the rest of us, and he took the demotion.

          This was one of my life-time favorite bosses. I admired his professionalism, his knowledge and his people skills. I figured if he couldn’t cut it with the company, I wouldn’t either. It was the last straw in a long line of straws. So bye-bye.

          1. Door Guy*

            I SHOULD have cut my ties with my last job a year earlier than I did when I got told that not only was I not getting the promotion they’d already told me I was getting and instead getting a “pseudo” promotion, but that my coworker (the other half of our 2-supervisor office) who got an upgraded version of the promotion I had been denied – instead of office level they made him state level – but they were not going to replace him “until work picks up” since it happened in our “slow” period, even though we weren’t slow at all in our office. I did the work of 2 full time supervisors with 2 full teams alone for 6 months alone with only my annual 3% performance review adding to my salary. When I brought up getting a raise (since the original promotion came with a raise AND doing double the work) I was told that due to budget they had cut costs everywhere and 22 supervisors had actually been let go company wide the previous week so the fact that my coworker was promoted out probably saved one of us from getting the axe and I should count my blessings I still had a job.

            While I was waiting to hear back about my 2nd interview with my current job, they dropped a bomb on us in the staff call that to try and make one of our more annoying contracts happy, they were going to expand the schedule to include 3 new time slots: 7am-9am, 7pm-9pm, and opening up Sunday for the full 7am-9pm (before Sunday’s were not scheduled at all). I had a personal hatred of this contract before due to not just the work (it was tiny, delicate work, and I have poor fine motor dexterity after some nerve damage/carpel tunnel when I did factory work) but also because the area we covered was 1.5 hours from my house typically so any job was a minimum of 3 hours of driving and they penalized showing up early the same as showing up late – they used location services in the app (work phone) and automatically put you on site when the system thought you were physically there. I got dinged once because I drove by on my way to a different job and sat at the red light 2 doors down for a minute.

      2. Richard Hershberger*

        “Shady” seems uncalled for. There is nothing to suggest that they aren’t selling a legitimate product. It’s just that it is obsolescent, and executive suite is behind the curve. These are ample reasons to move on, without any suggestion of shadiness.

        1. Parenthetically*

          I dunno, I think it’s pretty shady to force your employees to sign a non-compete that’s so broad it gets overturned in court, promise a stellar and committed employee a major raise and promotion, renege on that promise and promote a newer hire over him, promise him a raise without a promotion, and renege on THAT promise too.

          1. Luke*

            And then they ignored OP’s warnings and recommendations, before turning around and blaming OP for not doing enough to keep Tom!

            1. Mama Bear*

              This. I’d watch my back if I were the OP if upper management is willing to throw people under the bus for their own mistakes. Money isn’t everything, but since Tom said he would have stayed with the raise, then money would have helped. OP can’t fix what management won’t acknowledge.

            2. Librarian of SHIELD*

              Yeah, I’d call it shady that upper management hand waved the OP’s repeated warnings, then tried to blame the OP for not doing enough when the thing they’d been giving those warnings about finally came to pass.

        2. The Cosmic Avenger*

          The “magnetic” comment was incredibly tone-deaf, to think that managers can create an environment that is isolated from the (probably toxic) larger corporate environment. Putting aside salary: benefits, infrastructure, perks, work-life balance….all those things really require at least upper management buy-in and enthusiastic, active support, if not resources, from upper management.

          1. CommanderBanana*

            Oof, haha. I work in an organization that is going through a budget crises and shedding employees like crazy, plus restructuring what feels like weekly – and our CEO thinks that calling meetings and throwing around management buzzwords will fix everything. That sounds exactly like something he’d say.

          2. Squid*

            OP, if/when you leave, I implore you to tell the COO and VP that they just didn’t do enough to make the work environment magnetic for you.

            (Okay, probably not actually a great idea, but nice to think about!)

          3. Jen S. 2.0*

            And that’s ON TOP OF the way they treated Tom. They’re repeatedly stabbing him in the back while telling OP to find a culture-based way to get him to want to stay.

            Well, not having superiors who stab him in the back might be a start?

          4. Not So NewReader*

            “Can you give me examples of what you consider magnetic?”

            It would be interesting to hear what they say when you tell them what he said about the raise. This was a clear cut money issue no amount of magnetism would fix this.

          5. Daisy*

            Yes. And that’s the bit that’s extra weird about it: Even if it’s generally true that culture can trump money, Tom’s already been there ten years! He knows perfectly well what the all-round culture’s like! OP can’t change that in two months. It’s bizarre how they’re acting like Tom just now wandered in off the street and they need to razzle-dazzle him.

        3. Vemasi*

          I think they meant shady from an employment and employee relations perspective, not from a product and customer/client perspective. We don’t know enough about the product to make any claims that way. The concern here is in how they treat their employees, by shortchanging valuable asset workers until they are halfway out the door and then offering them an inadequate incentive to stay, and then shifting the blame onto their manager for not spinning the inadequate incentive enough to keep them (despite that manager having advocated tirelessly for the departing employee for a long time).

          Their product record could be spotless. The concern here is with how they treat their employees.

        4. smoke tree*

          I would say the position they put the LW in is pretty unethical–first they break their promise to Tom by promoting the LW over him, then they ignore the LW’s very legitimate concerns that he would move on, then try to place the blame on the LW for not somehow being able to compensate for how badly they’ve treated him. Based on these facts alone, I wouldn’t be able to trust them.

        5. Jadelyn*

          The product is fine, presumably – but their employment practices are shady as hell. They’re lying to employees, leading them on about promotions/raises then not following through, refusing to listen to line managers about what their staff need, and blaming the manager when their inaction results in a problem. That definitely qualifies as shady.

    3. Mocking Jay*

      I was going to say the exact same thing. It’s not for everyone to handle such a complicated situation with the grace Tom handled it. I have to say I’m taking a few pointers from Tom for when I move on from my current job!

      1. Massmatt*

        Yes, it was a happy ending for Tom, I hope the OP is able to find success also.

        Shame on the upper management both for letting it happen despite many warnings and blaming the OP for it when it did.

    4. Elenna*

      This. Tom sounds awesome, I’m glad he found a good place, and OP should definitely consider leaving and finding a decent workplace that doesn’t mistreat valuable employees and then try to get them other employees to keep them through the magical power of “team environment”. :P

    1. Jedi Squirrel*

      Yep! What goes around comes around, and now they are going to lose two excellent employees.

      I’d be asking if they want some butter for the big slice of karma they just got.

        1. Diahann Carroll (formerly Fortitude Jones)*

          That can be invalidated as well. A lot of non-compete’s end up being unenforceable.

          1. Ethyl*

            I was going to ask about this — I was under the impression that in the US, at least, non-competes are really hard to do right and are largely unenforceable, but I am basing that off, like, r/legaladvice so who knows :)

            1. Mayati*

              Yeah, a lot of employers write non-competes much more broadly than necessary, which frequently means the whole thing can be thrown out. But it’s really situational — it depends on your field, your role and skills, your geographic area, and a bunch of other factors. It also depends on whether you can take a risk violating a non-compete, even a facially invalid one that makes your lawyer bust a gut laughing, because even if you’re virtually guaranteed to win in court, and even if you get your attorney fees, litigation is still time-consuming and stressful. But yes, courts are more aware of the unbalanced nature of non-compete agreements than they are in a lot of other areas of employment law…for whatever that’s worth.

              1. Johnny Tarr*

                The cynical side of me is wondering if that’s because noncompetes are more common for upper-middle-class types, as opposed to, say, wage theft or being denied mandated breaks.

                1. Not So NewReader*

                  Oh interesting point.
                  I think NCs are easier to take action because everything is in writing. Where as wage theft and denied breaks are harder to prove. I also think low wage employees are less apt to have the time or money to get a lawyer and put a case together.
                  Anytime I have been to a lawyer I have compiled a ton of documents. I mean a stack of paper inches tall. Not everyone has the time or access to the documentation to do this.
                  Reading laws is daunting. Certain phrases have particular meaning only inside the legal profession. If those phrases are read as ordinary layperson-speak, it would be easy to miss key points.
                  I think that laws and legal help are not easily accessible for many folks.

                2. Pommette!*

                  Apparently non-compete agreements are becoming increasingly common in service jobs. They are inappropriate and probably wouldn’t stand up in court, but still create a huge disincentive for people who don’t have access to legal representation.

                  (Not that that in any way invalidates your point).

                3. SusanIvanova*

                  There was a sandwich chain that made its minimum-wage workers sign a non-compete that they wouldn’t work at any place that also made things that counted as “sandwiches” in their eyes. It wasn’t really about protecting their precious sandwich secrets, it was about making people afraid to lose their jobs.

              2. K*

                “It also depends on whether you can take a risk violating a non-compete” – Yes, exactly. A couple years ago I left a software company that is a pretty big power player in its particular slice of industry. They had a non-compete that everyone quietly understood was legally unenforceable, but they would essentially blacklist you from working with (not just for — WITH) the company if they found out you’d violated the non-compete.

                Considering they’re fairly ubiquitous in their market and contact with them is inevitable without making a more distant career move, it’s effectively next to impossible to continue working in the industry if one of the biggest companies in the field refuses to answer any of your calls or emails. While I recognize just waiting out the non-compete period isn’t exactly the most just or fair outcome…it’s certainly easier.

            2. Anna*

              I think Alison has said as much. Since the US doesn’t generally work with employment contracts, it’s difficult to enforce a non-compete. It’s more professional courtesy and legal fear, I would guess.

            3. MK*

              Non-competes are generally unenforcable, but not always. Also, they can be a detterant even if they are to broad to stand up in court, because many companies won’t want to hire someone who is about to be involved in a legal battle with their previous employer and many employees can’t afford/don’t want the hassle of trying to get the non-compete overthrown.

            4. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

              Yes—they’re often invalidated. Several states don’t recognize them at all, and even in states that do recognize them, there are pretty stringent limitations on the terms. If I were OP, I’d get out before signing the new version, or I’d consult an attorney about how to get out.

          2. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

            Agreed. If you do leave this company OP, I wouldn’t worry too much about any new NCs. I’m not a lawyer so take this with a grain of salt of course, but I would leave the burden for enforcing it on them rather than limit yourself on their behalf. Companies will usually avoid going to court at almost all costs, even settling when they are definitely in the right just to avoid going through a potentially public trial and paying lawyers and court costs; and they would have to prove damages beyond just that you hurt their feelings. If this company can’t seem to pay to retain Tom, I doubt they have a ton of cash for more legal fights. I’m surprised that a former employee sued your company over the non-compete — that seems backwards.

    1. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      While Tom was very gracious about his exit and not blaming the OP, I bet he’d be once bitten twice shy about hiring her a second time on the off chance she leap frogs him again. He doesn’t have to be bitter, just wiser. But he would probably be a good reference or networking contact to keep.

      1. Diahann Carroll (formerly Fortitude Jones)*

        That’s a good point – Tom has excellent relationships and a large network full of people who trust his judgment. OP, he’ll probably be a great reference for you should you need job leads.

      2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        Maybe but probably not. He worked for a bunch of baboons who did him dirty and it’s most likely not something that would repeat itself in the end. You create the best team possible and can’t run around scared of this repeating itself.

        Tons of people rally their troops and leave together. Especially since he would work under her if they matched the money.

      3. The Tin Man*

        Eh, I feel like Tom has shown from the post and update that he isn’t that petty to not hire OP because she was promoted over him once before. If he values her he’d hire her.

        1. Autumnheart*

          Agreed. Tom said he thought OP was certainly qualified for the promotion and would be good at the job. No reason not to hire someone (again) who proved their value the first time.

      4. Jadelyn*

        Eh, I could understand if that happened, but at the same time, OP mentioned that Tom (quite rightly) is blaming the crappy upper management for this, not the OP. At a new place with better management, the situation would likely be very different, and Tom seems like the type of guy to get that.

      5. MK*

        I don’t know about that, but the OP seems to have reached a place in her career when she is overqualified (for lack of a better word) to be Tom’s report. Unless the role Tom has now is higher up than the one the OP is leaving, any job he might hire her for could be a backwards step in her career.

      6. Not So NewReader*

        OTH, Tom could say that working for him would require her to be at x level and that level is clearly beneath her skill set. He could tell her she needs to search for y level, instead. But he may offer to help her find that y level job. Or he may offer to be a reference or make another type of offer of assistance.

        I mention this because he may be able to see that the company will screw OP over in some manner. And he may help OP because of his own good fortune and paying back the universe for his good fortune. I can kinda see Tom going this way because he was so courteous about not involving OP in the all the problems. I have seen this happen often. A recent example is a manager who moved from one company to another and he made it a point to hire employees from Former Place as often as he could. They had to have the quals for the job of course. But if he saw former company on their resume he would look carefully to see if they were a good match for the opening at New Place. Some folks reach back to help former cohorts, because they DO understand.

      7. Clisby*

        I thought the same. Why borrow trouble? He seems like a really stand-up guy, so yes to reference/networking.

    2. Quill*

      If you can get around that noncompete agreement just hop on his wagon and get out of there together!

      1. RVA Cat*

        Or have him give you a reference for somewhere not covered by the new non-compete, then maybe go to his company after it expires/OldCo goes under?

  1. AnotherAlison*

    I thought I was reading a case study for a moment. What should OP do to combat this competitive threat?

    1. Diahann Carroll (formerly Fortitude Jones)*

      There’s not much she can do. Tom’s new company has a better product, and Tom’s clients, which make up the majority of OP’s company’s client base, will be following Tom. Short of OP designing a better product, her company’s out of luck (and will probably be out of business shortly).

      1. Grapey*

        Depends on how ingrained in the culture the product is. Switching legacy software at my job takes a decade at least. Startups don’t always have all the features “old” products have (including experts that can guide migration) and will certainly suffer the same feature bloat every other program eventually generates. But yeah, they will probably get new customers that much easier.

        Good for Tom though.

        1. TooTiredToThink*

          Correct – Change Management takes time, even when you have a company full of early adopters and that is highly unusual.

          1. Diahann Carroll (formerly Fortitude Jones)*

            I’ve seen it go quickly (and by “quickly,” I mean 9ish months or so) when a software product is being discontinued. OP said their product is a legacy product, which may be on its last leg, so I could easily see Tom’s new company coming in and taking away a sizable amount of his former company’s client base, especially since his clients have been nurtured largely by him for 20 years. These people trust him, they trust his judgment, it’s not a stretch to think they’ll be persuaded to take the leap even if the implementation process ends up being a PITA.

            1. MsM*

              If management doesn’t have an appealing replacement lined up for the legacy system that would outweigh the benefits of continuing to work with Tom, that strikes me as yet another mistake on management’s part.

      2. MissDisplaced*

        They may not all follow Tom. Perhaps there are other products OPs company has in addition (bundles)

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      It will depend on the client’s and how willing they are to change to a new superior but unknown product.

      You lean on your reliability and proven track record for starters. Lots of people are oddly loyal to brands and long time use products and leery of the new things.

      You amp up service and they’re probably still faster turnaround and reliability is key.

      Production is a hotbed for disasters in infancy. I’m not sure the product of course but how is their stock and availability and turnaround and how easy it is to flip each client will vary.

      If it’s made to order verses having stock. Is there a learning element involved if it’s software or machinery kind of things. Its easiest to get someone to try a new toilet paper than accounting software kind of thing. So way too many variables to truly know the threat and attack mode.

      It’s still an uphill battle to challenge a major established entity and snatch a substantial amount of their clients.

      The first thing you do is don’t panic and start circling those prized accounts with all you have.

      1. One of the Spreadsheet Horde*

        Agreed. Especially when you’re selling to business customers, there really is a huge “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. No one wants to be the person who pitched the product that accidentally took down the company systems and potentially lose their job.

        Many business customers are happier to just keep paying the bills and wouldn’t bother with changing as long as the service works and the price doesn’t increase too ridiculously.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          That’s where it depends on what you’re selling for sure.

          I switch vendors all the time because I’m looking for deals. But it’s for shop supplies verses our raw materials. I’m not changing my paint on a whim but the cleaning wipes, sure toss me a sample. Are they cheaper? Sounds great!

          I’ve had to change custom packaging vendors before and that was a nightmare. The lead times doubled so I had to order bigger quantities and it cost a ton.

          I’ll never ever change any software unless we’re doing a major overhaul.

          But if you’re selling supplies or logistics, come on down with your sales pitch and banging prices.

        2. Filosofickle*

          I remind myself “nobody ever got fired for hiring IBM” all the time. It can be a huge reputational risk for business buyers to go to bat for newer products or smaller companies, even when they’re demonstrably awesome. Even when Gartner says it’s great. Even when the “new” brand is still worth billions and is more than a decade old.

          There’s some research that shows that B2B selling is — counterintuitively — actually more emotionally driven than B2C sales, mostly because of scale. You have to make a buyer feel very very safe to fork over millions of dollars and put their job on the line.

        3. Massmatt*

          There is inertia but in many industries such as finance there is a requirement to review competitive products and justify the choice of a vs b or c. Cost is a big factor too, obviously, but so is service and in many industries especially the service has a lot to do with the relationships and it sounds like that’s the case here, and Tom took that out the door.

    3. Close Bracket*

      Combat it? She should join it! It’s not her job to combat it, it’s the company leadership’s job to combat it, and they don’t seem to be interested. Maybe after they lose another employee to them, they’ll get their heads out of their rear ends.

      1. Boomerang Girl*

        It is her job as Director to combat competition and sell the product. I agree that her leadership team made it exponentially harder for her to be successful and they probably don’t deserve her best efforts. However, she still has to come up with a plan for success or leave her role.

        1. Cedrus Libani*

          I agree; if she can’t do the job she was hired to do, she should leave, and it would be in her interest to leave before she gets pushed out. That said, her job may well be impossible.

          One of the hardest lessons I had to learn as a professional: you can’t fix stupid. Even if she works herself to the bone, doing the best job possible of selling an inferior product while dealing with an underpaid staff, she’s been set up to fail. Her management certainly doesn’t seem like they will take responsibility when she does. Nope, it’s all her fault; she has failed to execute our brilliant strategy.

          I’ve tried to be the hero that can save a project anyhow. I have some brick wall shaped dents in my head, trust me. Now I am older and wiser, and I’d rather work with people who will set me up to succeed.

    4. TootsNYC*

      She can really ramp up her team’s customer service. Her customers have already sunk money into the legacy system; buying a different one will cost money.

      If she can get her customer service to be stellar, that will stave off several departures, I’d bet.

      And if there’s any way to increase or add functionality, she can provide info on what the customers want.

      But she can’t change the product.

      and this sounds like a bunch of managers who will say, “You have to retain these customers single-handedly.”

      1. MCMonkeyBean*

        At my last job we used a software that a lot of my peers wanted to leave for a different one, but I pushed hard to stay with what we had 100% because our main client rep was so extremely helpful. Our previous software had no support so I never wanted to leave the super helpful woman lol. Most of my coworkers hadn’t had to suffer through the really bad previous software.

        (I also felt like many of our pain points with the software might be due to the size of our very large documents and therefore may not improve if we changed)

        1. TootsNYC*

          that “too-large documents” problem might be something that a savvy customer service person could help your team with. Analysis, recommendations, investigating and compiling workarounds (from all their customers) to suggest…

          By digging into the problems a company is having, and suggesting organizational ways to mitigate or avoid them, the OP’s team might be able to prolong their product’s viability.

    5. Luke*

      This is a case study- of what happens when a company’s senior leadership is penny-wise and pound-foolish. For want of a nail…

      1. Parenthetically*

        Agreed. An incredible number of major institutional problems in my observation come from being penny-wise and pound-foolish. Being from a K-12 background, what springs to my mind is school districts cutting cafeteria or janitorial staff because the staff budget is the largest line-item… and then spending twice as much on pre-prepared food or cleaning contractors in the long run. But then that sort of “money-saving” is rampant in more or less every level of government.

    6. Dust Bunny*

      Provide better product.

      Sorry, there is no easy solution: Tom’s company provides a better product. If her company wants to compete, then it needs to, well, be competitive, and right now it’s not.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        It may be possible to take the new competitors product and update yours to be at their level as well.

        Age old business practice. Gut your competitors on the creative process. The OPs company has more capital and more on staff that could probably easily revamp their product to be shinier and still less costly than New Guys.

        1. Parenthetically*

          And in the meantime, they can provide awesome, responsive, empowered tech support and customer service. I can’t be the only person who was happy to use a slightly-less-awesome version of a product because of the overwhelmingly positive experiences I’d had with CS for that product! And again, as a larger and more established company, they probably have the infrastructure to do that.

          1. Massmatt*

            True, but given what we know in the letter and update I doubt there are incentives from upper management to motivate any of that stellar service other than buzz words and empty promises. I doubt their treatment of Tom and the director blaming the OP are isolated instances.

            Excellent tech support and service require great hires, great training (both of which cost $), and a great organization. Too many companies think they can hold a meeting, put a poster on the wall, and create excellence; that’s not how it works.

            1. Parenthetically*

              Yes, absolutely. An older company CAN do it; I highly doubt that this particular older company will ever do it.

        2. MK*

          That’s a lot of assumptions there. Start-up doesn’t always mean poorly-funded or understaffed. Should they try to improve their product? Of course. But even if they are willing to invest in this (I am not very confident given the judgement the higher-ups are showing, possibly they think product quality isn’t everything and expect the OP to magnetize the clients into staying), it’s not a given that they can easily succeed.

          1. Diahann Carroll (formerly Fortitude Jones)*

            Start-up doesn’t always mean poorly-funded or understaffed.

            This. OP’s company should be concerned.

            This is also why companies should never allow one person to be the knowledge manager if you will – once that person leaves, you’re screwed if the rest of your staff can’t replace that institutional knowledge.

          2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

            I’m all in for startups.

            However the truth is they tank fast and often even with lots of powerful investors.

            I say this as someone who gets to write off accounts that went bust before they paid their bills. Also as someone who has worked for successful startups as well.

            They shouldn’t be ignored but they can be squashed if they’re going after established company’s client base.

  2. Miranda Priestly's Assistant*

    Omg this company sounds horrible (and a lot like something my company would do.) Both Tom and the OP are good reasonable people, but OP – I agree that you should also slowly start looking to make an exit. These people are willing to throw others under the bus, and they will do it to you too if it benefits them.

    1. Miranda Priestly's Assistant*

      Like, they’re already finding ways to blame the OP for Tom’s resignation when it was them who screwed him over. On top of that, they seem obtusely ignorant of the fact that Tom feels betrayed and undervalued by their treatment of him. Red flags, red flags everywhere!

    2. banzo_bean*

      I’d have to agree with you. There was that time your employer sent a much less experienced and qualified employee to Paris fashion week.

      1. whingedrinking*

        You know, I’ve always found that to be a weird twist in The Devil Wears Prada. It’s supposed to be a sign of how low Andy has fallen in her morals, that she would plot and scheme and backstab a friend to get ahead. Except she didn’t. She didn’t *try* to get Miranda to send her to Paris; Miranda made that decision on her own. And Emily and Andy weren’t friends. Emily was constantly putting Andy down and basically trying to sabotage her career. Andy even tried to refuse the assignment until Miranda said she’d lose her job if she didn’t do it.

        1. always in email jail*

          Sorry to derail, but I’ve always agreed too. The other girl literally couldn’t go anymore, so of course she offered it to the next employee! And of course the next employee accepted it!

          1. Trask Industries*

            There are so many things in that movie that bump me–Andy is constantly being punished for being ambitious and assertive. Yes, she winds up making some unfortunate choices that are at the expense of her personal relationships. But as fun as it was–did we really need another story about a woman who can’t have it all?

            1. Artemesia*

              exactly. No film would have shown a whiny girlfriend inhibiting her boyfriend’s career in the positive light they showed her whiny boyfriend. These are the sacrifices you make when you are building a high powered career.

              1. MK*

                There are plenty of films where the female protagonist is dating a workaholic jerk and end either with her dumping him for a cooler, more sensitive guy or he learns to prioritise her instead of his career. It’s pretty clichéd.

              2. Deranged Cubicle Owl*

                O God, yes!
                1. If my partner had to work a very hard job for a year so that they could start a serious career because of the connections the made and experience they got, I wouldn’t be disappointed if they didn’t come to my b-day party because of a work-event.
                2. I would never take the workphone from my friend and toss it to other friends while it’s ringing. (Especially not when I was just gifted nice accessories that my friend got from her job!)
                3. I would never accuse my friend of cheating just because I saw her being friendly with another guy for just 5 minutes. (And while yes that was a sleazeball, Andy never cheated on her boyfriend!).

                And IT WAS JUST FOR ONE YEAR!! Not the end of the world, and not years and years of setting personal relationships on hold to get a chance at a career. I mean, Boyfriend is trying to become a chef, female friend is trying to make a career in art and while I’m not sure of the job her other male friend is doing, he does wear a costume most of the time I see him, so it is safe to assume that he’s trying to build up a career as well. Why is every one else allowed to do it, but Andy not?!

                I still like the film though ;-)

                1. Mb*

                  Oh not just any work event. It was the MET gala in universe equivalent. And it wasn’t even a year she was at the job in the end of the movie when she goes for the interview they say it was only 5 months. And she didn’t just gift them accessories she gave them gifts that were worth thousands of dollars (which is actually a considerable good bonus if she’s making an extra 2000$ a week in the form of gifts)

                  In my opinion the whole movie would be drastically improved if you cut out the final scene with her entitled ex (which I hate his whole “you did it for the expensive clothes” ugh no she did it because it was her job and she was good at it) and instead replace it with a scene of Andy talking with Nigel about how she learned where here moral lines stands and while she’s a competent and ambitious she doesn’t want it to lead her down a path hurting others.

                2. Daisy*

                  That scene where they take the swag with their tongues hanging out and then toss her phone around is so vile. If I had those friends I’d work 16 hours a day just to avoid them.

                3. Autumnheart*

                  Yeah, that scene burned me up. “Hey, your incredibly demanding and famous boss, who would fire you in a heartbeat and determine the future of your entire lifelong career, is calling? Let’s play keep-away with your phone and see if she fires you.” I’ve had a crap friend or two in my life, but even they would never have done something like that. They wouldn’t even have done that if I worked at McDonald’s. That kind of stunt is right out of an AAM column.

            2. Tik*

              Right? It’s always bugged me how the movie tries to have it both ways at Andy’s expense– at the beginning of the movie, it’s “you’re entitled and wasting a golden opportunity by not taking this job seriously” and at the end it’s “you’re entitled and a bad (girl)friend for taking this job seriously.” If it was actually TRYING to make commentary on the way women are screwed no matter how they handle their careers that would be one thing, but it clearly wants us to agree with both messages at the different parts of the movie!

              1. Autumnheart*

                Not to mention reinforcing the lesson by pointing out that the extraordinarily successful and famous Miranda was also a failure because she was getting divorced. Like nothing you do matters if your man leaves? GTFO with that message.

                1. Avasarala*

                  I don’t read that scene that way at all. I thought it was showing that even Miranda had sacrificed everything in her personal life for success, and questioning whether that really made anyone (Miranda, Andy, Emily, anyone) happy. Is it worth it to put up with a toxic environment and crazy expectations in order to have a job/career you love (and does Andy really love it, remember that job wasn’t her first choice)? Can you put up with toxicity without it seeping into you and changing you? Is a successful career worth sacrificing personal relationships for?

                  BTW the same thing is explored for men in many movies. Christopher Robin is a recent one that comes to mind.

          2. Admin in Arkansas*

            Point of order: Andy was told to tell Emily she wasn’t going before she got hurt, not after.

        2. Miranda Priestly’s Assistant*

          This always bothered me, too! When Miranda accuses Andy of doing the same thing to Emily that she did to Nigel, I was like “but she didn’t? She was coerced into it!”

          But that movie (as much as I love it haha) did have some problematic, outdated messaging. Like how Andy validates her boyfriend for calling her a sell-out for what was basically doing her job.

          1. banzo_bean*

            For what it’s worth I wasn’t trying to throw shade at Andy but rather Miranda. There is no reason Andy was qualified for that trip, and I don’t think she was good at her job. Emily might’ve been mean to Andy but she was a better at her job by leaps and bounds.

            1. Admin in Arkansas*

              Why was she not good at her job? She wasn’t in the beginning because she didn’t want to work there, but when she had her CTJ meeting with Nigel she turned everything around. She was able to anticipate Miranda’s needs, desires, knew her preferences, etc. And could do it while smiling – something Emily only did with terseness.
              If we’re comparing new Day 1 Andy with Emily the only advantage Emily had was length of time in the job. Emily was not a nice person and Andy was good at her job.

              1. banzo_bean*

                She spent a good chunk of her employment scoffing at the magazine she was employed by and remarking on the frivouless nature of their work. She refused to take seriously assignments Miranda gave her because she found them unreasonable.

  3. CatCat*

    No one here will be surprised how this went down on Tom’s end.

    The executives are concerning. They wouldn’t give you the tools to retain Tom (though you repeatedly asked for them and predicted this outcome) and then turn around and blame you for not retaining him. They set you (and the company) up for failure and refuse to take responsibility for that. You told them the tools you need to retain top talent and all they’ve got is that you need to create a magnetic culture, whatever TF that is? I don’t see that blame culture in the upper echelons going away.

    1. Diahann Carroll (formerly Fortitude Jones)*

      We told OP in her original thread they were going to do exactly this. It’s a shame we weren’t wrong.

      1. Naomi*

        The comments on the original thread are downright prophetic! Commenters accurately predicted both that the company would unsuccessfully try to counteroffer Tom at the last minute, and that OP would be blamed for failing to retain him.

    2. LadyL*

      I’m guessing “magnetic culture” is code for “we’re the executive asshats who think putting a foosball table in the break room and occasional mandatory happy hours will make up for low pay and crappy work”. I’ve always wondered who those people are, now I’m getting an idea.

        1. Antilles*

          Yeah, that’s the part that makes it really laughable.
          If your company really had a magnetic and wonderful culture, you probably wouldn’t need a non-compete agreement backed by a battalion of lawyers.

      1. 2 Cents*

        Yep! I used to work for them too. “But you have a football table and we have a candy dish at in the lobby. What do you mean that’s not a good substitute for working from home or more than a 3% raise!?”

      2. Public Sector Manager*

        The “magnetic culture” comment from OP’s management threw me. Yeah, if everything is equal between two jobs, then a magnetic culture might be the tipping point. But exchange magnetic culture for a substantial pay increase, company equity, and no longer working for people who say things like magnetic culture? No way!

    3. Anon for this*

      And the COO says “Money isn’t everything.” In my experience, this is usually said by an officer of the company, whose bonus is a multiple of my salary. Well, then what secret rainbow sprinkles are keeping YOU here?

      1. Summertime*

        I generally agree that “Money isn’t everything” in a job. The issue is that bad management practices usually manifest themselves in the form of money. Tom is leaving the company due to a broken promise. His promotion would have given him a bigger salary, but it was part of a development plan the company presented that they didn’t follow through with.

        In a similar vein, lots of bad managers will think that free donuts will make up for poor pay. Or “we’re a family!” so you should be sticking around despite us never giving raises. It’s the fact that they feel fair compensation and treating employees respectfully isn’t important that drives people away.

        1. AnonEMoose*

          For me, “we’re a family” or any variant thereof in a business context means one thing: RUN.

        2. MK*

          It’s not everything, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter at all. Or that a magnetic culture is an appropriate tradeoff.

      2. banzo_bean*

        “Money isn’t everything, there’s also the free helicopter rides to work and solid gold toilet in my personal office bathroom.”

      3. KT84*

        People who say “money isn’t everything” generally have a lot of it and don’t have to think twice about paying rent, affording groceries or paying for day care.

        1. Luke*

          Reminds me of that great scene from “The Aviator” where young Howard Hughes is having a meal with Katherine Hepburn’s blue-blood, old-money family at their posh estate.

          “Oh, we never talk about money.”

          “That’s because you’ve always HAD it.”

        2. Dust Bunny*


          I mean, it’s not, literally, but it definitely is if you don’t have enough to go around.

        3. Triumphant Fox*

          This reminds me of the recent Succession episode where the two media conglomerate families have dinner together and the matriarch looks to her head cook, asking “Why don’t you have a drink with us?” and the lady looks at her like she has two heads and is like, “I have to cook dinner.” She calls their mansion “the cottage” and it’s so delightfully obvious how hypocritical they are.

          Not talking about money definitely equals you have money. How gauche to discuss your means of survival.

      4. Matilda Jefferies*

        And furthermore, money *was* everything to Tom. He explicitly said that he would have stayed if they had offered him the salary of his promised promotion. The OP says he didn’t say it to her until the exit conversation, but my guess is that he had earlier raised it with the execs and been turned down.

        It’s all well and good to say “money isn’t everything, but when you’re trying to retain an employee who specifically wants more money…well, maybe it should at least be part of the conversation!

      5. 2 Cents*

        Also usually said by the person who controls the money. The CFO at my last place said to 6-months-pregnant me (a 5-year stellar employee) that’s she couldn’t believe the company would be paying me to not work for 4 months *eye roll*

        1. Curmudgeon in California*

          Wow. That’s sexist, tone deaf and short sighted on his part. Bet that company gets sued pretty regularly.

      6. Exhausted Trope*

        Yep yep yep. Exactly this, Anon! “Everyone ought to be proud to work here for peanuts! Our mission is so worthy!” Said by someone making 20xs what most make.

      7. Kiki*

        Lol at secret rainbow sprinkles. I’m stealing that.

        I’ve taken jobs at lower pay rates before but they all offered other things that were very important to my life. My last job had excellent health insurance, which allowed me to afford my pregnancy and the birth of my child. And my current job gives me a ton of flexibility in the hours I work, which is essential because I now have a young child with medical issues and many doctors appointments.

        It sounds like this company offered nothing appealing to Tom, so of course he split.

      8. MsSolo*

        “Money isn’t everything” is a good reason not to stay in a high paying job that’s toxic and making you miserable when you have other options that won’t leave you destitute. It’s not a reason to stay in underpaid role, especially with a culture like this!

    4. WellRed*

      I wanted to bang my head on my keyboard when the COO asked the OP why she didn’t do more to keep Tom! OP, I’m sorry you were so excited about your new position only to have it blow up on you. Your company has been good to you up until now, but now you are seeing their true colors.

    5. Artemesia*

      The ‘climate’ was set when he was promised promotions and then raises and both were not forthcoming. It was magnetic in a kind of magnetic repulsion sort of way.

    6. Antennapedia*

      “You told them the tools you need to retain top talent and all they’ve got is that you need to create a magnetic culture, whatever TF that is?”

      They wanted her to be able to retain Tom’s employment on the basis of either how much he liked her or what he thought he owed her. Both of these are terrible strategies from management. I agree with everyone here, OP needs to start looking for new opportunities because this isn’t a pattern that will change.

      1. MK*

        I cannot believe any sane person would think someone would stay in a job because they like their former subordinate who is now their boss. And Tom didn’t owe anything to the OP, if anything it was the other way around.

      2. Traffic_Spiral*

        Yeah, WTAF. You tell me that and I’d be tempted to respond with “well, HR says offering blowjobs are inappropriate so…”

  4. Kendra*

    I think this came out pretty much exactly how we all expected it to, but it sounds like Tom’s going to be in a much better situation, which I’m glad for. I hope your exit goes cleanly as well, and that you’re able to find a position somewhere that values its employees more!

  5. CmdrShepard4ever*

    It sucks for you OP that you were put in this situation, but honestly this is the best outcome and resolution that you could hope for. Tom has handled this like a true champ, it seems that you can continue to have a strong relationship with Tom in the future. Who knows when you or him might be in a position to hire each other or refer potential candidates.

    It is too bad that your company operates the way that it does. But try to put in a bit of time with this promotion. Even though you have been with this company for 8 years, jumping ship so soon after being promoted to this role might give people pause on if you have been able to gain the appropriate experience. Just use this company/role as a stepping stone on to an even better position/company.

    1. Polly Hedron*

      Nah, jump ship ASAP; don’t put in more time in this toxic place. Start by asking Tom if his new company is hiring.

    2. LSC*

      I believe the reason many of us are encouraging OP to move on quickly is that Tom’s new employer is a direct competitor with (by OP’s own admission) a better product. That, added to the fact that Tom was excellent with clients, gives me the perception that OP’s department may not be around much longer. It may not be possible for them to put some time in their current position if they wanted to.

      1. CmdrShepard4ever*

        While Tom might have a better product, I doubt OP’s department would go under in less than a year. I think OP jumping ship right away would make it harder for them to find a job at an equivalent level.

        For me at least if a teapot sales manager had been with a company for 8 years and was then promoted to a Senior teapot sales manager, but they only stayed in the position for 3/4 months before changing jobs it would make me wonder why they left that position so quickly. Could they not hack it as a Senior teapot sales manager, 3/4 months to me isn’t enough time to even be fully trained in a job. If I was a hiring manager, I would be willing to hire OP into a teapot sales manager role, but I would be hesitant to hire them in a Senior teapot sales manager role. What the company did to Tom was crappy AF, and it is indicative of a greater company problem, but it does not seem to be a jump ship immediately issue. OP could start looking some job searches take a while, but OP should be selective to make sure it is the right fit.

        1. Curmudgeon in California*

          Management is already trying to throw him under the bus for Tom leaving and going to a competitor, even though he brought up the issue way before this happened. The blame culture implying that he somehow magically should have persuaded him to stay without more money even though he had been promised more money and they renegged is very telling. They are setting him up to fail.

          1. MsM*

            Yeah, if I were OP, I wouldn’t wait around and hope that more time will convince them to make productive changes or even restore the status quo prior to this, instead of acting like anything that goes wrong from this point forward is OP’s fault for not retaining Tom.

            1. CmdrShepard4ever*

              Right, I don’t think OP should try to change anything at the company for the company’s benefit. But rather OP should keep their head down, learn as much as possible in this “senior teapot sales manager” role and then move on after a year or so of experience. OP can start looking for a new job after 6 months or so of being in the role.

              I am just suggesting that OP use this new role as a resume builder for a year and then move on.

              1. Polly Hedron*

                But why shouldn’t OP ask Tom, right now, whether Tom’s company is hiring?

                > For me [as a hiring manager] if a teapot sales manager had been with a company for 8 years
                > and was then promoted to a Senior teapot sales manager, but they only
                > stayed in the position for 3/4 months before changing jobs
                > it would make me wonder why they left that position so quickly.

                No, the hiring manager wouldn’t have to wonder, if Tom knows the real story and vouches for OP.

        2. Cedrus Libani*

          It might depend on how dire the situation is. Is the competition going to eat their lunch in the next six months, or is it a longer term thing?

          I’d think the existence of an objectively superior competitor might be good enough reason. “Frankly, while I love chocolate, metal teapots are the future. I expect 95% of my teapot buyers to switch to metal within the next few years. Here at Chocolate Easter Bunnies, Inc., I could sell a product I believe in.” I would respect that, but I’m admittedly on the blunt side of average.

        3. M2*

          But the OP said the organization is writing a more narrow non-compete clause. They need to get out before the organization has people sign the new clause. It wouldn’t be a red flag to me, if you have been somewhere for 8 years that is a long time–you just need a reason. Good luck, OP. Don’t sign the non compete!

  6. animaniactoo*

    She responded that “Money isn’t everything. If you want to succeed, you need to create a team culture that is magnetic to people like Tom.”

    “Good to know. Can I take that to mean you’d be willing to never get a raise again and stay with this company until you retire? Because I think the company can use that budget elsewhere.”

    “Money may not be everything, but most employees don’t intend to retire on team culture. Or pay for their kids college educations.”

    I’m gonna stop now, just cuz I could be here all day with this…

    1. 867-5309*

      While it’s true that “money isn’t everything” and I’ve taken a job for less because the career growth or work itself was more interesting than a place that paid more, but Tom was passed over for a promotion he was promised AND under-paid AND under-titled. There’s no freakin’ way a manager can fix that within an organization like this this. Good on OP for doing her best.

      1. Diahann Carroll (formerly Fortitude Jones)*

        but Tom was passed over for a promotion he was promised AND under-paid AND under-titled.

        Yeah, and then they miraculously found money for a counteroffer, lol. Like he was going to accept yet another empty promise they would most likely walk back later on for “budget constraints.”

        1. 2 Cents*

          Where I worked two places ago, during the 2008 recession, they froze wages for 4+ years and did away with many other perks. When I gave notice, suddenly the counteroffer was what I’d been asking for money wise for, literally, years. I didn’t stay because even that increase kept me below market.

    2. 1234*

      Tom sounds like a smart and strategic guy. I wish him all the best in his new role. I also hope that OP finds herself a new role.

    3. H.C.*

      Alternatively, “If money isn’t everything to you, would you be willing to take a pay cut so I can put more into Tom’s counter offer”?

    4. The Man, Becky Lynch*


      What if we just give Tom your annual bonus and possibly the equity stakes that a COO carries? It’s not about money after all!

    5. Antilles*

      Money isn’t everything, instead we offer…um…not promotions, not equity, not honesty/loyalty….wait, what is it we offer again? Oh yeah, we offer a magnetic culture!

    6. always in email jail*

      “I agree, your company showing integrity in their dealings-both internally and externally- and recognition of your accomplishments are important, too” *dead-eyed stare back*

    7. Traffic_Spiral*

      Yeah, money isn’t everything – there’s also the disrespect involved in stringing him along all those years.

  7. Comms Girl*

    Wow, OP, that ridiculous comment from the COO would have thrown me off too! Not sure the textbook definition of “magnetic culture” includes what they did to Tom… broken promises, no money and no incentives whatsoever will make even the most committed of employees leave.

    Kudos to you for being what seems like a very good and supportive manager – I hope you manage to escape soon too as it is your wish!

    1. Diahann Carroll (formerly Fortitude Jones)*

      The COO is delusional. This company deserves whatever happens to them next.

    2. Lil Sebastian*

      Yeah, I’d think that part of a “magnetic culture” is employees feeling like they are valued and they can trust senior leadership. A manager can be great but if senior leadership is questionable, it can be almost impossible to create a good culture.

      I second the kudos for being a supportive manager who tried to get a better deal for Tom. I wish both Tom and you the best for the future!

    3. juliebulie*

      Magnets. Actual magnets. That’s the answer. Print up a batch of refrigerator magnets with your whole team’s photo on them. And the COO too.

      I’m sorry about this turn of events, OP. It was sensible to expect Tom to leave, but I didn’t think they’d try to pin it on you (when they are ALSO responsible for creating a “magnetic culture” if that’s what they want).

        1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

          That was my thought too. So they physically cannot walk out of the building. I guess that’s one alternative to paying people what they are worth.

    4. LCH*

      yup, delusional was my first thought too. because he only left because of money and not loss of trust, lack of respect, etc.

    5. Elbe*

      It’s deeply ironic that the person who is able to “create a team culture that is magnetic” is exactly the type of person that they’re pushing out the door.

    6. Marthooh*

      “Magnetic culture” is a substance stronger than steel, more precious than diamonds, that is woven from mere air and good intentions and about half an ounce of mithril.

  8. kspence1025*

    you found out early what your company is like…they screwed Tom without a second thought and their attitude towards you (snidely blaming you for not incentivizing Tom to stay) shows that they will screw you too…get out get out get out…ask Tom if hes hiring : )

    1. EPLawyer*

      They have shown you exactly what they are like. “Keep him at all costs — except giving him anything of real value.” Then when he smartly bails, you get blamed for as you say “not being a miracle worker.” Nor should you be. You did everything in your power to fix this. Too bad they didn’t actually give you any power.

      1. RC Rascal*

        The company already showed the value operations management experience over customer/client experience and relationships when the chose to promote OP and her operations expertise over Tom and his customer expertise. Companies like this tend to think they highly value customers, when they really don’t. Once they start losing the customers and associated revenue/profitability, they get really aggressive with the blame. My hunch is the next step will be to put a lot of emphasis on operational KPIs and forecasting, instead of having hard conversations about developing new product. And developing that product is going to be that much more difficult without Tom. My hunch is he is wealth of knowledge in this area due to his close client relationships.

    2. TootsNYC*

      They have absolutely presaged their response when the first customer jumps ship. It will be her fault for not keeping the client, no matter what the client is jumping too.

  9. NerdyKris*

    “my concern that Tom was a flight risk in emails at least once a week.”

    “Flight risk” implies someone is doing something wrong. It’s probably not healthy to think about employees that want to leave in the same terms you’d use for criminals or runaway children.

    1. Adereterial*

      In business terms, it’s also used to describe a high performing employee you anticipate will leave for something better (usually salary) in short order. That describes Tom exactly. It’s perfectly valid to use it in this context.

    2. Lance*

      For what it’s worth, I’ve pretty much always heard ‘flight risk’ used in the same way OP used it; not that the person in question is doing anything wrong, but that they’re not getting what they need to say, or there’ve been signs that they’re on their way out.

    3. Daniel*

      I disagree. I’ve used this phrase myself as “risk to leave,” and I don’t think implies anything wrong.

    4. Close Bracket*

      Yes, it’s a funny coincidence that corporate language mirrors that used to describe criminals, but it’s commonly used lingo with no such implications in the business world.

      1. Massmatt*

        Agreed, I have heard it in a competitive business exactly as by the OP, though the first time I heard it I reacted somewhat as the commenter above, being exposed to so many police procedurals on TV.

  10. Aurion*

    Tom is a class act, and even through the internet I feel like I can learn from Tom’s grace.

    I bet OP has signed the new non-compete, but on the off chance she did not, perhaps Tom is hiring? (His new company’s product is better and he sounds like a unicorn of an employee and manager…)

    Best of luck to you and Tom, OP.

    1. Myrin*

      Yeah, I’m super impressed by Tom – I can see his value and gracefulness just through reading two letters by the OP, I can totally understand how he would be just terrific in real life.

    2. IHerdCatsForFood*

      Tom handled the situation perfectly. He managed to pull of being both gracious and strategic. Much luck to him. I would be surprised if he would ever hire OP after all of this and cut ties with everyone who had any involvement in that company.

    3. Curmudgeon in California*

      The fact that the company relied on a shady non-compete to retain employees is another red flag, IMO. The OP needs to find another gig soon.

  11. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    I’m glad Tom is the standup guy I thought he was after your first letter and that it all shook out for him. I’m also glad you got to hear it from him that he’s not mad at you, as many of us had thought!

    LMFAO at “it’s not all about money”. Sure it isn’t. It’s also about growth and responsibility that he was being denied along with feeling lied to. The stuff you have no control over. That executive deserves that place to go down in monetary flames if the startup can catch on with their superior products.

    Seriously ask Tom if he’s hiring if you’re able to take a gamble on a startup. But yeah, get your resume out there and bounce somewhere they treat aces like the two of you correctly.

  12. The New Wanderer*

    Your executives sound hilariously awful.
    Tom doesn’t get the promotion he was unofficially promised, but executives make a point of saying how “important” he is and requiring you to retain him.
    You go to bat for him repeatedly for at least a salary bump and/or title bump, executives say no.
    Tom gets a better offer, executives put together a half-hearted counter-offer, Tom declines.
    Executives are upset that you weren’t able to retain him with some kind of non-monetary “better-culture” environment.
    Executives completely miss the point that Tom is *leaving* for a better culture, salary, and position!
    Hopefully, they will be as blindsided when you leave too.

  13. AppleStan*

    OP, your instincts are spot on—plan to make your exit very quickly, within the narrower non-compete, if you’ve signed it. If not, take advantage of not having had to sign it as quickly as you can.

    Both you and Tom sound like excellent assets any Smart company would be willing to have…

    Have you thought about reaching out to Martha (or was it Marsha) if you had any relationship with her at all to see if she could give you some advice. Sometimes the problem who have retired from/left the company have valuable insights and may keep Tom from being in the awkward position of appearing to encourage you to leave. Of course if you didn’t have any relationship with Martha/Marsha this may not be the way to go but it was a thought.

    Good luck to you both!!!!

  14. Serin*

    “I guess I wasn’t exposed to this kind of weirdness from our higher-ups before my promotion.”

    This is the sort of thing I worry about. If your grandboss or great-grandboss has these kinds of ideas. how do you find out about them before taking a promotion? (Or even taking a job with a new company at all?)

    1. Aurion*

      I’m imagining the amount of nonsense Tom shielded his reports from during his tenure, and I’m even more impressed by Tom now. To have assembled this kind of rockstar team, and be a freaking unicorn himself, in the face of that crap???

      Hot damn, Tom.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      You never know until you’re in it. Just like any job. Your boss may turn out to be batsh*t.

      My toxic boss and I hit it off. We were fantastic until he lost his GD mind and flipped on me. It went from “we trust you. You’re our biggest asset. You’re keeping us afloat.” To “you’re a traitor and an a-hole. Fall in line or we toss you off this ship. Work harder. Work faster. You’re a failure!” Within literally a week.

      People are always the variable in a company. Product comes second in the end.

      1. No name this time*

        I think we may have been coworkers. My boss pulled that on me just because I said I thought we needed to pull back on one of his ideas until we had more of a plan in place to execute it. It was over a month before he would speak to me except to berate me and my work ethic, and over a year before we were back to our old relationship – except we still aren’t, because now I know I can’t trust him to accept criticism.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          Thankfully the jackwagon no longer a boss. His business tanked thanks to his own bad life choices.

          He didn’t even start talking to me again after the threatening “review”. I quit within a month of him losing his mind. I don’t do threats. I take action if you ever say “leading up to termination” to me. (Shockingly enough, he’s the only person to ever threaten my job security… and he was shook when I dumped my resignation on his desk with a “my last day is 2 weeks from now.”)

          1. No name this time*

            I looked for a new job after my boss went nuclear at me but didn’t find any in my town doing what I do that paid close to what I’m making here. (I know I’m overpaid. It’s almost enough to make up for the incredibly shitty management.)

            1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

              Golden handcuffs are real.

              I moved to a metropolis to escape that sort of sentence.

              My threshold is much higher than most will pay me. I’ll be a punching bag for only mid six digits. I survived on much less and never upgraded from my bargain basement level because nobody owns me like that.

          2. Artemesia*

            I have been in a couple of assault situations that I extricated myself from with higher ups that left me with less fear than an old boss who continually verbally attacked me and my ideas, usually a week before adopting them. I felt physical fear when he screamed at me and threatened to have me fired that I didn’t feel when I was opening the car door and fleeing the big shot who had pulled over and started tearing at my blouse. On the stress meter only family disasters top someone who threatens your livelihood as you just do your job; I could disassociate and then do the wise thing when confronted with physical aggressors — but the verbal one just sent the adrenaline through the roof.

    3. sacados*

      It sounds like those roles also changed recently though, which likely has a lot to do with it.
      In addition to Mary who had the role OP was promoted into, the original letter also mentioned that the VP (who I assume was Mary’s boss) was also someone new to the role so I wouldn’t be surprised if Mary and the old VP were also better managers and either prevented a lot of this nonsense or shielded their teams from it.

  15. Lime Lehmer*

    Op, if you have not already signed the new non compete clause, stonewall on it as long as possible and look for greener pastures.

    1. LCH*

      i guess the worst is that you are fired for not signing and then.. you haven’t signed so you aren’t blocked from getting a new job.

      1. Artemesia*

        Slow walking signing things is an art — my husband ended up in Europe instead of Vietnam when he adroitly put off signing to re-up during the Vietnam war — waited till he got his assignment and then changed his mind, so he is not dead which is a plus in my life.

  16. Marcy Marketer*

    Maybe when you can find a new position you should mention the environment created by the COO was not magnetic enough to keep you…

    1. Mina, The Company Prom Queen*

      Bravo! I really hope OP works this in the conversation or exit interview when she leaves!

  17. Rebecca*

    Ah, the whole “Money isn’t everything” speech. Well, kudos and good team feelings don’t keep the lights on, food on the table, gas in my car, heat in the winter, clothing, you know, unnecessary things like that. And always spouted by people who are paid really, really well, and aren’t basically living paycheck to paycheck in a lot of cases. I’ve heard that from management, and I always think – you know, if you had to get by on my take home pay, you’d have a whole different perspective. Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it’s a whole lot easier to get by in life with more of it than less.

    1. always in email jail*

      Makes me want to reply “you’re right, I accept gift cards as well” in a deadpan voice

    2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      Right? “Money is not everything,” says the person with an executive-level compensation package.

      And omg don’t get me started on “magnetic culture”.

      1. Diahann Carroll (formerly Fortitude Jones)*

        “Money is not everything,”

        Every time I hear someone say this, I want to send them my student loan bills, my medical bills, my rent statements, etc., and then ask them if they still believe that nonsense to be true.

        1. ThatGirl*

          I mean, I get it in that above a certain salary level, there are other things that are more important to me in a job – the difference between $55k and $58k isn’t enough to be life-changing, but things like PTO, commute time/distance, benefits and general work culture can be. But it very much depends on the person and where they are in life, and, hell, if we’re talking $55k versus $70k, then it might matter.

          1. Diahann Carroll (formerly Fortitude Jones)*

            Ha! That’s the exact salary leap I just got back in May when I left my old (lousy) employer in the transit industry and went into tech, lol. And yes, for me, that salary leap has completely changed my standard of living and is helping me pay off debt much faster than before (it’s still not enough, though, but I can work on raises).

        2. Paulina*

          Well, money isn’t absolutely everything. It’s a start, though, and it can help with a lot of the other things that are important.
          And in this case, they weren’t offering Tom anything else either, like respect, opportunities, advancement… really, they would’ve been lucky to keep him even if they’d given him the raise, *because* money isn’t everything. Necessary but not sufficient.

    3. Decima Dewey*

      So OP was supposed to create a ‘magnetic culture”, whatever that is, out of half a box of bent paperclips, a dusty pack of pipe cleaners from a craft store, and a tube of glitter?

      Run like the wind.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        You’re forgetting the chewing gum, MacGuyver. That glitter has to stick to something. Here, have this piece the COO just spit out!

    4. Artemesia*

      The C suite makes many times what the minions make and yet it isn’t ‘money’ they are after LOL.

  18. CupcakeCounter*

    Oh My God…the COO needs a good swift kick in pants.
    Yes, there is more to work than money and a great team, contentious management, and non-monetary perks can work in a company’s favor but after the way the company already treated Tom the only thing left was money! Lots and lots of money. And that STILL isn’t a guarantee that he will stay.
    I was no where near as valuable as Tom to my organization when I left OldJob but they still made 3 attempts at a counter offer. My boss flat out refused to present it stating that it was insulting ($2,500 more per year and a “pinky swear” that they would finally back fill my old position so that I could actually focus on my new role – I was going to be making over $10k more at my new job), the controller simply walked up to my desk with a sigh and said “is there any point in trying? then walked away, but my VP did exactly what the COO of this company did. VP was why I was leaving so not sure why he thought he could do better.

  19. Alice*

    I’m glad Tom got out. OP, I hope you’re already polishing your resume. Your higher ups sound like a nightmare, they’ve already shown they’re willing to break promises, to act against common sense, and to push the blame on you. Hope you haven’t signed the new non-compete yet, but if you do it’s worth checking with a lawyer. Most non-competes are too broad and therefore not legal.

  20. Jennifer*

    Go Tom! Sounds like he handled it with grace but definitely sent the message that he wasn’t going to accept the blatant disrespect.

  21. Allypopx*

    Money isn’t everything. I’ve taken less than my market value for flexibility, opportunity, balance…lots of things.

    None of those things would keep me at a company that had screwed me over the way Tom was screwed over. This wasn’t your fault, OP (though I know you know that). This is a cost of doing business disingenuously.

  22. CAinUK*

    OP, I’d say first and foremost you should ensure the bridge with Tom remain solid. Does Tom fully understand how much you went to bat for him (and how persistently) and how self-aware YOU were through this ordeal? He may have told you his exit had nothing to do with you, but it’s a good investment to ensure he’s aware how much you understood his frustrations. Because: he will be a far more valuable resource for your future career than your current toxic company.

    tom will be taking clients. Tom’s company has the better product. Your company sounds like it’s flat-lining with talent, management, and its legacy product.

    All eggs should now go into the tom basket. He may not feel comfortable hiring you in the future and your new non-compete clause could make that moot, but he’s an important ally to have for future job opps, so I’d make it very clear how much you support his leaving and how hard you tried to get your management to realize their poor behavior.

    1. RC Rascal*

      Also–you may need Tom as a reference for many years in the future. My hunch is by the time your tenure at this company is over, you won’t be able to rely on any of them for a reference ever.

    2. Important Moi*

      I am surprised at how many people are saying OP should ask about a position at Tom’s new shop. Are they joking or serious?

      Based on the letterer, Tom is a stand up guy, but he gets to move forward and onward from everyone who worked at that place screwed him over. He has graciously told OP that he had no hard feelings, and that he thought OP was a great team leader and manager. He even said he would have been happy to work under OP if the company had come through with the money to match his promised promotion, and that he was leaving not because of OP but because of the broken promise.

      Asking why he hadn’t raised the concerns to OP before resigning? I don’t see what would have been different.

      He can be a great reference for OP, but I think OP should leave him alone beyond that. Tom is more than gracious, he is a brilliant strategist and maybe this is what OP should really take from this situation.

      (I posted this below, before I saw this comment,but I’m curious and would like some feedback, so I re-posted here.)

      1. Clisby*

        ^^^ Yes. If I were Tom, there’s no way I’d be looking to recruit OP. Great reference? Yes. Networking? Yes. Job? No.

        1. Chaordic One*

          Yeah, I agree. Super awkward situation to work with him again. It could be done, but it’s not an optimal situation.

  23. Lora*

    Cool, I’m gonna say that the next time a project goes over budget on hourly staff and the controller is hollering at me. “Jeez, money isn’t everything you know.”

    I’m sure it’ll go over great.

    Also, pro tip: when a company is trying to pitch you on their Corporate Values, ask how much they have budgeted for those Corporate Values. Every company wants Innovation, Diversity, Integrity, etc. but mostly the budget is $0.

  24. You can't fire me; I don't work in this van*

    Ugh, the COO’s snarky remark gave me flashbacks to every crappy boss I’ve ever had who tried to make me the Fall Guy for their bad decisions.

      1. MsM*

        Honestly, this company could probably learn a lot about building a supportive culture from Juggalos.

          1. Annymouse*

            Let’s be honest. Just the mere words “Insane Clown Posse” describes a lot of managers and co-workers written about on this blog.

            1. Alice*

              I am falling apart with laughter over how incredibly accurate this comment is. Insane Clown Posse definitely describes the management team I just left behind.

  25. Blessed with Flushable Turds*

    OP, you have a choice between two options:

    1. Stay, and hope that they won’t throw you under the bus during however long it takes for you to play their game long enough that you can make substantive changes for the better from the inside.

    2. Decide that’s a risk you don’t want to take or a game you don’t want to play and get out while the gettin out is good. Maybe Tom is hiring?

  26. Rainbow Roses*

    They want their cake and eat it too – they want Tom’s awesomeness without paying for it and screwing him over.
    They threw you under the bus for their mistakes. Typical.
    They made their bed and now they can lie in it – they lost Tom and may lose you too.

    Clichés are clichés because they are true.

  27. SierraSkiing*

    Ugh to OP’s company. OP, if you possibly can, don’t sign that new noncompete! Sure, they could theoretically fire you for refusing to do so… but that will push you from possibly joining a competitor someday in the future to definitely looking for a job with a competitor right now. And the world needs more people to push back against the noncompete b.s. that is getting far too prevalent in today’s economy.

  28. Heidi*

    I’m kind of loving how Tom has all of these fans and we have no idea who is and he (probably) has no idea that we exist.

      1. Elbe*

        Yes, the LW should send him the links if she wants to! He’s getting a lot of praise in these parts.

  29. Madame X*

    I’m really annoyed at the VP who suddenly remembers that “money isn’t everything. If you want to succeed, you need to create a team culture that is magnetic to people like Tom.”

    This is classic example of a company that expects loyalty from its employees while not keeping their own promises. Tom has literally turned down money to stay at the OPs company under the promise that there was career advancement for him. Of course, some of that is on him because he did make that decision of his own free will. However, they can’t be too surprised at the outcome when they decided to not promote Tom. I’m not ruling out the possibility that they may have had a good reason to promote the OP instead, but they should have predicted that once that possibility of promotion was gone there was no other incentive for Tom to stay there.

    Good for Tom and I hope things work out for the OP as well.

  30. Hey Karma, Over here.*

    — She responded that “Money isn’t everything. If you want to succeed, you need to create a team culture that is magnetic to people like Tom.” —
    You mean like promising him a job and then not following through? Yeah, I can imagine that would really piss off someone like Tom.
    Wow. Now it’s your fault? Well played, company. Well played.
    Can you not sign the non compete?

    1. Elbe*

      My jaw hit the floor when I read that line. What are these people thinking?!?

      Sure, money isn’t everything. But people don’t stick around through force of personality alone. Without a raise, Tom would likely have at least needed opportunity for advancement, which he was explicitly denied by the person who was scolding the LW. You can’t take all reasonable benefits off the table and expect someone to stay.

      Tom is a class act and I’m glad he got his promotion. The LW should try to lock him down as a reference, or even ask if he’s hiring in his new position. The comments to the original letter were spot on – these people don’t value their employees. The LW should bounce before she has to sign the new non-compete.

    2. StaceyIzMe*

      She seems to suggest that if you use the right buzz words and generate enough “rah rah” energy that people will be bedazzled by the sheer charisma of the company’s mission and forget to attend to the more mundane concerns of fair compensation, opportunity for advancement and due regard given for the quality of work one has done while employed on said company’s behalf…

  31. jamberoo*

    “Money isn’t everything. If you want to succeed, you need to create a team culture that is magnetic to people like Tom.”

    That’s the exact nonsense line I have heard each and every time I have argued my worth to people who are cheap and dumb. Best of luck, OP!!

    1. Jay*

      Agreed! The “it isn’t about money it’s about creating a culture that people won’t want to leave” is such garbage, I can’t believe there are managers that think this! Why is it that higher-ups (who likely have the highest salaries at the company) think it’s dirty and cheap that their employees, ya know, work for money!

      If you create a culture that doesn’t compensate people accordingly for their work, they will leave! I encourage OP to leave. My last boss was like this, buying a million dollar vacation home while I was not earning a livable wage and forced to work overtime for free. When I left, she was shocked, I was elated.

    2. silverpie*

      (1)It takes way more time to create a culture than our OP seems to have had in her position.

      But more significantly,

      (2) creating culture starts at the top.

  32. Workerbee*

    Share the email back-and-forth with the COO anyway. They may well be determined to blame you, but having an extra digital paper trail that’ll sit on a server for awhile even if deleted from an inbox might not be a bad thing.

    And scrutinize the terms of the new non-compete because I too immediately thought that Tom would be the person to go to for a job / people to know. Good luck!

  33. blackcat*

    The non-compete fiasco is totally part of this being a toxic environment. No wonder they want a broad non-compete!

  34. TexasThunder*

    I’m in a similar situation

    I’m underpaid at my current company. Several people have already left, joining a partner company, explicitly for more pay. The reaction has been to
    1) Make a lower counter offer, pitch the culture
    2) Send nasty emails to the partner telling them not to “poach” our staff (something that outraged me)

    I have told the management that on a scale of 1 to 10, my satisfaction with the pay is 2 (Where 1 is rage-quit), and when I think about their attempt to avoid us moving to better jobs, it goes to 1.5.
    I have been very clear that if I get another offer, it will be too late.

    I’m interviewing at other companies, and honestly if I leave this quarter, it’s going to make a huge dent in the sales.
    The attitude seems to be to close their eyes, cross their fingers, and hope *really hard* no one leaves.

    1. J.B.*

      Good luck to you! I never get why employers keep sticking their heads in the sand when person after person leaves.

  35. Anji*

    I’ll never appreciate how companies can take outstanding employees for granted. Best wishes for the OP and Tom.

  36. Gymmie*

    Just want to say, Tom sounds awesome. And OP, I think you handled this about as well as you were able given what you had at your disposal.

    1. Falling Diphthong*


      I think this was one of those “You know what they’re like based on how they act when the chips were down” that happened to come really early in her tenure.

  37. Important Moi*

    I am surprised at how many people are saying OP should ask about a position at Tom’s new shop. Are they joking or serious?

    Based on the letterer, Tom is a stand up guy, but he gets to move forward and onward from everyone who worked at that place screwed him over. He has graciously told OP that he had no hard feelings, and that he thought OP was a great team leader and manager. He even said he would have been happy to work under OP if the company had come through with the money to match his promised promotion, and that he was leaving not because of OP but because of the broken promise.

    Asking why he hadn’t raised the concerns to OP before resigning? I don’t see what would have been different.

    He can be a great reference for OP, but I think OP should leave him alone beyond that. Tom is more than gracious, he is a brilliant strategist and maybe this is what OP should really take from this situation.

    1. TexasThunder*

      Eh. If I leave my current company I would gladly work with my current boss.
      I recognize he didn’t have the power to pay me more.

      1. Important Moi*

        Does your company have a “healthy” environment? It doesn’t seem like OP’s does. In healthy environments that doesn’t strike me as unreasonable.

        1. TexasThunder*

          Well, the attitude to salaries could charitably be described as “careful”.
          But otherwise, it’s not bad.

    2. Rainbow Roses*

      I agree with you. The OP already got the promotion that Tom was promised. Maybe she’s got something Tom doesn’t which is why she got it. If I were Tom, I’d be crazy to recommend the OP for a position at my new job. What if the same thing happens again? It’s one thing if the OP applies on her own but it will be without help from me to jump start the process. Once bitten, twice shy.

      They are on good terms right now. Leave it alone. Apply without involving Tom.

      But maybe Tom is a better person than I am.

      1. Sick of Workplace Bullshit*

        I would bet you anything that what the OP has got that Tom doesn’t it a much lower salary for the promoted position. Not saying you’re not awesome, OP, but in that culture that thinks “money isn’t everything”, I’d be surprised if that wasn’t a large part of it.

  38. SimplyTheBest*

    I think the execs are correct that money isn’t everything, but at the same time, I think the magnetic culture Tom was looking for was one where he wasn’t passed over for a promotion he thought he was promised.

    1. banzo_bean*

      Yeah, it’s like “money isn’t everything” but also you broke your promised to Tom and didn’t give him a promotion. So it’s unclear what the boss thought the company was offering him.

  39. BigRedGum*

    True, money is not EVERYTHING, but it goes a long way. I’ll take money over perks I don’t need any day.

  40. Mannheim Steamroller*

    “Money isn’t everything. If you want to succeed, you need to create a team culture that is magnetic to people like Tom.”

    They already passed over Tom in favor of promoting OP, whom Tom had hired and trained. That showed Tom all he needed to know about “team culture.” The company deserves to also lose OP and any other ace performers.

  41. pleaset*

    “Money isn’t everything. If you want to succeed, you need to create a team culture that is magnetic to people like Tom.”

    Take Tom out to dinner a couple times a month. Off the clock of course, and be careful about expensing it. But that’ll show he’s really loved. That’ll show that company treats its employees like family.

    Maybe get him a mug with the company logo too.

  42. Certified Scorpion Trainer*

    “Money isn’t everything. If you want to succeed, you need to create a team culture that is magnetic to people like Tom.”

    i f***ing HATE when people say this, guilting employees (who 9 times out of 10 earn considerably less than them), out of advocating for proper compensation for their work. how DARE people work to make money??? everyone should just do it out of the kindness of their heart and live in rainbows. who needs food and healthcare when you have personal fulfillment???

  43. Agatha_31*

    “Money isn’t everything”, parrot the people who have it and won’t share it. Sheesh. Good on Tom for doing himself the favor of getting out, and I add my voice to the chorus telling OP “yyyyyyeah, you might want to think about getting out, too.”

  44. Falling Diphthong*

    Um, look, COO: A team culture that is magnetic to Tom would be one that gave him the promotion it promised for years.

    I picture the C-Suite sitting around saying “You know there are things you can do with fourth-Friday pizza, and if OP would just have done them…”

  45. Aphrodite*

    OP, I know there is going to be, at the very least, one update so would you please keep us informed.

  46. His Grace*

    Tom leaving when he did was a stroke of genius. And how the company handled this matter speaks volumes. If the COO thinks money isn’t everything, then why go forth with the counter-offer? (Rhetorical question, guys)
    OP, I know this is not how you wanted things to go, but sometimes you have to do what is best for all involved. Please keep us informed.

  47. MissDisplaced*

    “Money isn’t everything. If you want to succeed, you need to create a team culture that is magnetic to people like Tom.”

    Yeah, like it’s your fault they’re cheap bastards.
    But honestly, if I were Tom, I would’ve left too.

  48. Kat*

    I’m picturing Tom Hanks as Tom. He handled everything with such grace. I wish both of you well — please send an update when you get out of there!

  49. M2*

    From what I can read Tom is awesome. I wonder if they didn’t promote Tom because the VP and COO were worried he would be promoted above them. I have seen it time and time again, people not promoting those who deserve it because they are worried about that person outshining them. It is horrible and unprofessional, but does happen.

  50. Tiara Wearing Princess*

    I understand the poster who said not to ask Tom for a job and let him move on, but Tom doesn’t seem to have a problem with the LW.

    There would be nothing wrong with contacting Tom to ask him if he’d be a reference and to let her know if he hears of any opportunities that might be a good fit for her. If he’s willing to work with her, he’ll know what she’s asking.

  51. Thankful for AAM*

    OP, when you do arrange your own exit, I hope you let the VP know they should have created a team that was magnetic to people like you!

Comments are closed.