updates: the lip sync battle, the employee with “expectations” for his boss, and more

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

1. My employee keeps telling me his “expectations” of me

There was a development a couple of weeks ago that I would like to share. I had been out for a couple of weeks (minor surgery, all is well) and so had not interacted with this guy for a while. After I returned, there was a minor incident involving a student complaint. I sent an email to him and one other person to let them know that it had been resolved. He showed up in my office and the dialogue went like this.

Him: “My expectation was that in this situation you would do this thing.”
Me: “Why did you expect that?”
Him: “What?”
Me: “You’ve developed a habit of telling me what you think I should be doing. It’s not useful and I need you to stop.”
Him, huffing: “I’m just trying to help!”
Me: “I was hired here because I have a lot of experience in this kind of work. I do actually know what I’m doing.”
Him: “Well, I’m SORRY if I hurt your FEELINGS by TRYING to help you.”
Me: “This isn’t about anyone’s feelings, mine or yours. I treat you as a professional, and I need you to treat me the same way. That’s the best way for both of us to do our jobs and serve the college mission. And that’s what we’re here to do.”
Him, very quietly: “Um, right.”

We’ve had conversations since then and he hasn’t used that phrase again. A couple of times I could see it struggling to come out, but so far he’s held it back. He’s not being bubbly and overflowing with camaraderie, but he’s still speaking to me, not obstructing me, and he’s leaving me alone so I can do my job. And even better, he’s taken himself out of the running for department chair. I overheard something about having to be around ball-busting women all the time…but I’m sure that was just a rumor. :)

The advice from the commenters was very useful, and I appreciate that you gave me the opportunity to hear from them!

2. How do I get out of a mandatory lip sync battle?

After declining to participate in several lip sync battle practices, I just simply didn’t show up to the picnic/performance.

My “dance leader” was pretty aggressive in trying to get me to participate. I used your advice in my initial conversation with them. I simply said “I hope you all have fun but I’m simply not comfortable dancing in front of the executive team and being recorded for our peers overseas.”

That didn’t stop the passive aggressive attempts to get me to participate, i.e. group emails mentioning the fact that group participation affects the team’s points.

On the day of the event, I just scheduled as many client calls as possible. There was a PA system in the office and our admin kept announcing that “the lip sync battle has started 5 minutes ago and all staff are REQUIRED to report to the courtyard.” Fortunately none of the donors I spoke with heard what was being said. That would be an uncomfortable conversation. I just let them know that the PA system was being tested.

Things slowly got worse over the next few months as things were done and said behind my back. The final straw occurred a few months after the event took place. My current position was “eliminated” and I was offered a role that worked evenings rather than 9-5.

I left the organization and vowed to never work for an NGO again. Fortunately, I found a new job and things are looking up. I don’t regret the outcome at all. Employers sometimes act as though they’re immune to the effects of the employment market. I do know one thing though – I will never sing and dance for an employer.

3. Coworkers at my new job want to oust the CEO

I previously wrote in about being new at work and all of my coworkers want to oust the CEO. I do thoroughly appreciate your advice and the advice of the everyone that commented wishing me well.

After writing, my coworkers all had individual conversations with him about leadership in the organization and kept me out of it. It worked and he was kinder at work and more respectful, for maybe a week.

In the past month, he has been excessively cruel. I dared to try and do a task at work differently from how he did it, and he told me “you know, like a horse someday I am going to break you in too.” This is just one example in a horrific office culture that he refuses to address.

We have decided as a team that we are going to talk to him as a group and at this point about his behavior and tell him that if we do not see changes within the next 1-2 months that we will be going to the board.

I realize that I am still new to the organization, but at this point our only option is to be united as an entire team and I feel as though I have plenty of perspective on his actions as a leader during just my time.

Sorry if this is a little rant-y, I just had yet another frustrating day at work and he has finally driven me to tears after yelling at me for 15 minutes because I suggested we change our procedure on one of my tasks.

Update to the update:

As an update to the update, we have officially gone to the board and my boss is currently undergoing leadership training for the next six months.

We keep being told to “trust the process” and “things will improve” but thus far things are the same, if not slightly worse. At this point, every single person on staff is looking for a new job and there will likely be a full staff attrition within the next year.

4. Asking for six unpaid weeks off a year

I wrote to you this summer asking about whether I should propose to my boss an unusual arrangement where I would give up 15 days of PTO in exchange for 45 unpaid days off. I considered your advice and the many comments and decided to go a different route. I’m not at all worried about my job security with the company. Fortunately for me there is a shortage of workers with my particular training nationwide, and my manager has high regard for my work, so my job is safe. A concern that some of your commenters brought up was that in a corporate environment a manager might not be willing to entertain unusual proposals. That is definitely the case where I work. The company is growing and is increasingly trying to institute top-down control for the sake of consistency.

I went with the much simpler option of just working part-time. I have the option of structuring my schedule however I want (three 9.3-hour days instead of five 8-hour days). Unfortunately I will lose my current health insurance, but I qualify for a subsidy. So, I decided to quit 30% of my day job to work on my art. It’s a cliche, I know, but I’ve gotten many positive responses to my work and now I will have two more days a week to commit to it.

However, shortly after making this decision, my partner and I decided to move into a condo, and we found the right one a few months later. I delayed changing my schedule to avoid complications with the mortgage. I went part-time the day after our closing in October, which made the moving process so much easier.

{ 278 comments… read them below }

    1. BrotherFlounder*

      Yeah, that’s an excellent update – particularly with this dude taking himself out of the running for department chair. Lots of headaches to be saved.

      1. Eve's Husband's Mustache*

        YES! I remembered this one particularly because I got a bit ranty in the comments about my experiences with a horrible sexist prof putting himself up for the department chairship. Pleased to say he got shot down by all the women grad students he had mistreated over the years.

        It’s not the full comeuppance these guys deserve, but it’s better than nothing.

    2. Catsaber*

      Yes, this update was delicious! My favorite part was that the guy took himself out of the running for the dept head. It hit a little close to home for me – I work at a university and have known many people, both dept heads and otherwise, who are like this guy.

    3. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*


      I was, however, hoping to get some admission from Expectations Dude as to why he landed on that particular phraseology. Every time I see that word it’s like sandpaper between my toes.

      1. Crooked Bird*

        Try imagining him finding out people are calling him Expectations Dude (love it btw) on the internet. It’s not exactly what you asked for, but it’s kind of delicious even so.

    4. LibbyG*

      100% agree. You ARE amazing, LW #1! And it’s moves like yours that improve the culture in workplaces and beyond!

    5. Shirley Keeldar*

      Yes indeed, OP #1, you are my hero and I adore you, especially for this line: “This isn’t about anyone’s feelings, mine or yours.” So well and nimbly done to respond exactly as you should have as he attempted to undercut your authority (aw, poor baby with the hurt feelings) after you took him to task for undercutting your authority!

      (I hope the fact that I adore you is not too much about feelings.)

    6. Hey Karma, Over Here*

      “I overheard something about having to be around ball-busting women all the time…but I’m sure that was just a rumor. :)”
      Oh, your universal jackass coworker translator must be broken.
      Here, use mine:
      Jackass Coworker to Dept Chair: My expectation of you is that OP will fired for her unwillingness to work as a team.
      Jackass Coworker: Oh, I see. She’s got your balls in her pocket. That’s why you won’t support me.

    7. AnonEMoose*

      This. You are seriously amazing, OP!

      I’m not surprised he acted like a petulant toddler when called on his behavior.

    8. CM*

      “This isn’t about anyone’s feelings, mine or yours. I treat you as a professional, and I need you to treat me the same way. That’s the best way for both of us to do our jobs and serve the college mission. And that’s what we’re here to do.”

      Amazing!! I’m going to memorize this. (Without the “college.”)

    9. MistOrMister*

      Seriously!! Her response was nothing short of fabulous! I didn’t even read the other letters yet because of the fabulositu of that response!!!

    10. Miss Muffet*

      +1,000! I was so happy to see an update at all, and on top of it, one so deeply satisfying….

  1. J*

    “I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings by trying to help you.”
    Pathetic. Take your passive-aggressive nonsense somewhere else.

    1. Kris Green*

      “I’m sorry if” just means you don’t recognise you’re at fault, and you’re not sorry anyway.

      1. AnonNurse*

        I’ve actually responded with “interesting, that seems like it was supposed to be an apology but then it wasn’t” when someone did the “I’m sorry if” or “I’m sorry but” to me. So much internal eyerolling!!

      2. Crooked Bird*

        I actually just took “I’m sorry if” language out of a letter to a friend because of its wildly bad reputation–this one was actually a sincere “I’m sorry if” (I don’t know if I made her feel a certain way, she probably wouldn’t tell me if I had, but I just wanted to apologize if so) but it looked so toxic on the page I realized it needs to be retired from sincere communications…

    2. Midge*

      Translation: “My feelings are hurt because of being called on my behavior, but I am not willing to admit it so I will push it back on you.”

      1. theelephantintheroom*

        I remember seeing in her original letter that she was afraid hurting his feelings would cause him to push back. And here we are! She wasn’t even as harsh as she could have been. Such fragility.

      2. Mongrel*

        “Translation: “My feelings are hurt because of being called on my behavior, but I am not willing to admit it so I will push it back on you.””

        And I bet he’s the sort of person who likes to throw ‘triggered’ & ‘snowflake’ around as a pejoratives.

    3. Sharrbe*

      With every fiber of my being, I would have to resist the temptation to ask him why he’s getting so emotional.

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

      Ntm dishonest. If helping was the goal, he would phrase his concerns appropriately. The only times I can think it’s remotely acceptable to say to your boss, “My expectation of you is ___” is 1) in response to, “What are your expectations of me?” or the boss requesting something totally egregious like, “My expectation is that I will be reimbursed for this sales trip within a few weeks, not several months.”

      1. J*

        Same here. If I ever said something like this to my boss, I’d receive a formal reprimand at a MINIMUM.

    5. Teyra*

      Not just passive-aggressive, it’s patronising as hell. Let’s face it, he would never have said that if OP was a man. It was misogynistic bullshit, of course she’s upset, he hurt her precious feelings! Clearly when a woman complains it’s not because there’s a real problem, it’s because she’s just too darn sensitive. If he’d said that to me my response would have been a lot colder, OP did brilliantly.

  2. Diahann Carroll*

    OP # 3

    he told me “you know, like a horse someday I am going to break you in too.”


      1. FormerFirstTimer*

        I would have been back in my office banging out an email to HR and copying every single board member too.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      “Unfortunately for you, I’m a donkey and not a horse, so that won’t be happening.”

      This jackhole is a total loser and needs to be destroyed!!!!

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          Having known many people who have had horrific horse incidents over the years…this works too!

        2. AnonEMoose*

          Just make sure you put on a heavy metal shoe first. So it’s the full, authentic experience, you know.

    2. Quill*

      I stuck out 2 years at a job from hell and *I* wouldn’t have come back in the morning to personally deliver my resignation…

    3. TypityTypeType*

      It’s horrifying — I’m glad the employees went to the board, but a person who would say something like that is not going to change with any amount of “leadership training.” People who say that kind of thing are not just innocently unaware of office norms.

      1. Angwyshaunce*

        Seriously. One needs to be open to change to benefit from such training. Otherwise, it will only be perceived as a punishment, and will drive the desire to act even worse.

        1. une autre Cassandra*

          *And* potentially give him the vocabulary and tools to manipulate and punish his staff with more subtlety and efficacy—like when a committed domestic abuser goes to therapy and just learns how to be a more successful abuser by misusing the language of recovery against their victims.

          If there isn’t genuine buy-in from the offender, this kind of intervention is worse than useless.

          1. OP3*

            One of my coworkers who recently left was in an abusive marriage for years. One of the reasons she wanted to leave so badly was because my boss was beginning to trigger her PTSD.

      2. Emily K*

        Seriously. This guy’s problem isn’t that he lacks leadership skills. It’s that he treats people with contempt, almost undoubtedly because he regards them with contempt. Leadership training isn’t going to fix someone who thinks that an employee needs to be “broken in” like a horse.

    4. 5 Leaf Clover*

      Absolutely chilling. Translation: “I am going to abuse you.” I’m glad the staff all has a clear head about this and is taking action.

    5. Fiddlesticks*

      If someone told me they were going to break me in like a horse, that would be the exact moment I walked straight to HR to file a complaint!

      What the everloving HELL.

    6. OP3*

      Hello All! It is always good to get affirmation that I am not going crazy (that is how I feel at work because he will say stuff like the horse thing and leave then come back all cheery and acting like we are best friends). We had a meeting with the outgoing and incoming board president as a team recently, without my boss, and their advice was to stick with it and that things will improve as I stated during the update to the update. I felt a bit emboldened and frankly I feel like I have nothing to lose at this point so I told them that it was not a reasonable expectation for me to put my long-term career goals on hold and risk my professional reputation.

      1. Sara without an H*

        Hi, OP3 — I think you’re right. I doubt very much that management training will fix this guy, even with the board breathing down his neck. Update your resume and LinkedIn account, work your network, and checkout the AAM archives for job search advice. Here’s hoping that 2020 finds you working in a healthy organization, staffed by sane people.

      2. CM*

        Good for you.
        Classic abusive behavior — make blatant threats or do something intentionally hurtful, and then be extra-charming and sweet.
        I hope you can get out of there.

        1. Oranges*

          Ding ding ding! The abuse followed by the sweet means they aren’t gonna change.

          The two types of abuser I have seen are, people who get pleasure from your pain OR they have an extremely warped and unreasonable expectations of others (aka “other people will make my life 100% perfect. If they don’t, they have failed me. Failing me is unacceptable.” The entitlement is strong in these kinds).

      3. Observer*

        Stop discussing this with the Board and start looking for a new job.

        I WAS a good thing that you spoke to your Board. But the response you are getting is NOT encouraging at all.”Trust us” without any tangible changes? No, that’s not the way it works.

        1. Filosofickle*

          Personally, I would totally be looking, not waiting. However, we have seen a couple of situations where there WAS indeed tangible action happening behind the scenes that wasn’t appropriate to share with staffers. Wheels were in motion, and sometimes wheels grind slower than we’d like. So this doesn’t necessarily mean the Board isn’t taking real action. (It also doesn’t mean they are. We just don’t know.)

      4. Alexander Graham Yell*

        “I felt a bit emboldened and frankly I feel like I have nothing to lose at this point so I told them that it was not a reasonable expectation for me to put my long-term career goals on hold and risk my professional reputation.”

        GO YOU

      5. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        This dude is an abusive jackass, you are not crazy. He’s gaslighting the ef outta you all. It’s rarely constant abuse because then people break down and leave much quicker. It’s these quick bursts of abuse and then the “Howdy! How’s that kid of yours doing in soccer?! Go team! Nothing else to see here folks, I got my outburst in and now I’m going to skate by until I see you with your head done and get another pop in!” No. Just no.

        Keep looking to escape that place, the board sucks. Ef them and their half assed nonsense. Oh they don’t want to be dealing with day to day stuff? FUNNY STORY if you fired the jabroni and got someone in there to do the GD job, you wouldn’t be dealing with this kind of stuff. Be an adult, you’re the ones in charge.

      6. Diahann Carroll*

        As everyone said – you are not crazy. This dude, however, has lost his natural mind. I’m glad you’re committed to finding a much better place to work because this is disgusting behavior on his part.

        1. Oranges*

          He hasn’t lost his mind. He is an abuser. It’s just that we as a society think of abuse as happening in a close/intimate relationship.

    7. Chatterby*

      Is it weird I think the staff should keep their item running lists of the terrible things the CEO is saying and doing, and then consolidate them all every Friday into a regular email to the board? As a “this is not working, fire him” reminder?

      1. OP3*

        We are all keeping documentation of everything that is happening and anytime something egregious happens it is sent straight to the board president (per the presidents request, he said he will not get involved in “day-to-day skirmishes” but if something really bad happens to contact him immediately)

        1. 2 Cents*

          *eye rolling* at day to day skirmishes. I understand he doesn’t want to know if CEO stole someone’s red stapler, but all this little does points to a larger issue, which the board is ignoring.

          1. Mimi Me*

            Exactly. I once left a position because I was tired of the little things building up and nobody doing anything about it. In my case it was a toxic coworker who just made the place awful. Three people gave their notice the same day I handed in mine, and three more handed in their notice before I had finished working my two weeks. This prompted HR to do a round of group exit interviews. One of the women who was in on my exit interview said it perfectly “People here are unhappy. We report things and are told that they are small things and we should just get on with work. Well if you stack up enough small things you can eventually get to the place where you can climb out of the hell hole and that’s what I’m doing.”

        2. Anne of Green Gables*

          I’m with Chatterby, send a weekly report with everything. What you are describing is way beyond “day to day skirmishes: (are you kidding me!) and perhaps seeing the volume of inappropriateness as well as the specific content may light some fires. Or may not, but at this point I don’t think it would hurt.

        3. I'd Rather Not Say*

          I suspect the Board may be creating documentation (along with the training) to counter any lawsuit the boss may try to bring for “unjust” firing.

        4. ellex42*

          OP3, I sincerely hope that you and your coworkers are aware that “I’m going to break you” is basically an intimation of physical violence, whether this appalling person has ever actually been physically violent or even intends to be physically violent. I would interpret words like that as a credible threat and treat it accordingly.

        1. ellex42*

          Or step heavily on his feet and then *lean*. Horses are really good at that (and some of them definitely do it intentionally)!

    8. Pibble*

      “You know, only abusive jackasses try to break horses anymore. Everyone else had figured out that it’s much more effective to communicate respectfully and work with the horse several decades ago.” (I don’t have a timeline on the horse community getting in on the whole scientifically backed animal training thing, but I figured it’s about the same as the dog community.)

  3. BrotherFlounder*

    OP 2 – Am I understanding this correctly – that you were indeed punished for not going to the lip sync battle? Good grief. I’m so glad you’re in a new job because that is nutty.

    OP 3 – I hope that you’re able to get out from under this dude or find a new job. What a terrible first experience. You might want to look at some of Alison’s columns on leaving behind bad habits from toxic workplaces when you do finally get out.

    1. Myrin*

      Re: #2, yeah, I’m not sure if the worsening treatment of OP over the next months was because people felt (in general terms) that she’s an outsider or doesn’t fit in or what-have-you or if it was a direct result of nothing but the refusal to participate in the lip sync battle. Not that it matters regarding the outcome but the former case would just be petty-but-not-exactly-unusal whereas the latter would just be extremely petty, period.

    2. OP2*

      You could say that I was “punished”. Minor clerical errors were screen shot and sent to my supervisor, my written and verbal communications were overly scrutinized despite donors (who ultimately pay us and fund the mission) had nothing but praise for my work on their part. Oh well – I’m now back in the for profit reality world where my boss only cares about my production instead of asinine unquantifiable criteria like being a “team player” or “passionate”. All’s well that ends well!

      1. BrotherFlounder*

        Bleagh. Even if it had nothing to do with their nitpicking, the nitpicking and micromanagement itself was a huge issue and you’re way better off not working for those types. What a pain. And I’m glad that it’s ended well for you.

      2. Mortimer Snerd*

        OP2, I’m trying to make this comment as gently and kindly as possible, but like Myrin, I’m picking up some telltale signs that you have overreacted to things a bit, and that this, more than the lip syncing per se, may have contributed to your dismissal.

        I get that you may have felt awkward about singing in front of the non-profit’s CEO, and I’m not saying that lip syncing contests are my cup of tea, but part of the point of it was probably to create a moment of levity where everyone in an office environment can look a little silly for a moment to blow off some steam. That doesn’t strike me as being “batshit crazy” territory.

        Your comments about “OMG, what would the clients think” really come off as pearl-clutching. If I were a client and heard about the lip syncing over the phone, I’d probably think that the office was taking a short break for some kind of fun team-building activity — which is a thing that happens in offices — and I wouldn’t be any more bothered than if I overheard an office birthday party.

        And if you were genuinely concerned about clients learning about the contest, why was it essential that you make the calls then and there? Clearly the organization was willing to give you some time away from the phones. The office admin may have been overzealous in trying to corral people to the activity, but it strikes me that you overreacted as well.

        In one of your replies above, you criticized employers who care about “asinine unquantifiable criteria like being a team player.” But not all metrics are quantifiable — qualitative assessments are important, too. And teamwork is an important part of most workplaces, most definitely including for-profit companies.

        Is it possible that some of this attitude came across at your former non-profit workplace as being anti-teamwork or having a chip on your shoulder? Firing employees isn’t fun or cheap and doing so over a lip syncing contest alone wouldn’t be cost effective, but it is possible that the contest came to symbolize some deeper issues in the eyes of the organization? If there were other examples of you angrily dismissing things like teamwork rather than taking feedback to heart, I can see why the organization might have grown concerned.

        Finally, you also wrote that your new employer knows you’re “committed to the job because I show up, keep my head down, and get my work done.” But keeping your head down isn’t necessarily the path to workplace success any more than being overly opinionated. Building relationships with co-workers and such *is* important.

        It is good that you found a workplace more to your liking, but I think it would help you to participate in some of the ice-breakers now and then.

        1. thestik*

          “It is good that you found a workplace more to your liking, but I think it would help you to participate in some of the ice-breakers now and then.”

          That isn’t always the case, at least from my recent experiences. Before I joined the team I’m on now, I didn’t participate in social activities in my department. I was more the sort to take on a lot of cross training and specialty training. That training got me promoted faster over a colleague who was more socially involved. Likewise, my leaving my current team (but staying in the company) will be fueled more by acquiring skills and attending professional conferences while keeping my head down more in the team. Because of that, I think icebreakers that last all day or require a lot of organization are not that effective. A smaller icebreaker (like a solid networking question) may be better in the long run.

        2. kspence1025*

          These sorts of “team building” exercises are not for everyone. Feelings can range from mild displeasure to outright panic at the thought of being forced to participate. If team building is the goal, why separate and ostracize people who just aren’t thriving in the scenario? Opting out should always be an acceptable option.

          1. Carmela Soprano*

            Of course opting out is “an option.” The point is that all options have consequences.

            If the company runs into financial difficulties and needs to lay people off, it shouldn’t be surprising that the survivors are often those who have invested the time into building relationships with co-workers. If you’re OK with that risk, by all means opt out.

            Technical prowess of course is important too. But if you’re the best teapot designer and yet no one knows about you, then your technical skills get overlooked. Trees falling in the forest without anyone around to hear the sound, and all that.

            The best people have BOTH technical skills and smart relationships.

      3. NotPiffany*

        I hate to tell you this, but the for-profit world also expects “team players” who are “passionate.” That’s standard corporate nonsense that pops up any time they don’t want to give raises.

    3. Amethystmoon*

      #2 — That’s awful. What would the company have done if they had had an employee who couldn’t participate due to medical issues and/or being differently-abled?

      Hopefully you are in a better job now.

      1. E*

        As a disabled person, please don’t say differently abled. It’s very demeaning and childish. You can just say disabled.

        1. Sarah in Boston*

          I think you could have left out the sentence about it being demeaning and childish. Differently-abled was a correct term for awhile and Amethystmoon may not have known the current preferred term. Your first and third sentences would have informed them. The second sentence is quite likely to make someone feel defensive and stupid for not knowing it.

    4. CoffeeLover*

      #2 is so bizarro world! Who care about lip sync battle participation in the first place!? And then to continue to hold that grudge? At work?? Crazy bananas.

      My arm chair analysis: the lip sync battle was just a vessel for a major power play. They didn’t like the fact that you stood up for yourself and that they couldn’t fold you to their will. Anyway Im thrilled that you’re in a better place now!

    5. Anon Here*

      It’s not exactly surprising to me. This kind of thing seems to be popular right now. But their response was really horrible and I’m glad OP found something better.

  4. Dust Bunny*

    RE: LW1 and the “ball-busting women” comment.

    Stuff like this always makes me think, “You ain’t seen nothing yet, kid.”

    1. Librarian of SHIELD*

      Right? If he thinks the OP’s very gentle talk as “ball busting,” I’d love to sit down with a bucket of popcorn and watch him receive the real thing.

      1. NotAnotherManager!*

        Same. People who can’t handle minor correction or a request not to do something have no business doing the heavier and more difficult lifting of a leadership role, where it is expected that you will deal with much more challenging things in a much better manner.

      1. Detective Amy Santiago*

        It is so, so very true that the older I get, the less f*cks I have to give. Based on things I hear from my friends who are increasingly in their 30s & 40s, I’m not alone.

        1. Shannon*

          Detective Amy Santiago – I like to say I turned 40 and my give-a-f*ck broke. (And in my late 40s with a career under my belt, it’s GLORIOUS) <3

          1. Just Sayin'*

            I’m retiring soon. Not only is my G-A-F broke, I’m swingin’ it like a club. Stand back, assholes!

        2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          It’s the experience factor. The more you live, the more you see, the more you know that you’re not going to be destroyed by speaking up or telling someone to knock it the ef off.

          I’ve seen a lot of ugly stuff over the years, I’m not afraid of some jackhole who wants to jaw.

        3. Librarian of SHIELD*

          Yeah, I think I gave all my f*cks during my 20’s and 30’s, and am now out of stock.

        4. Sara without an H*

          I just turned 65. I used to have f*cks, but it’s been so long, I don’t remember them very well.

        5. AllTheNope*

          I’m in my 50s and have learned the main fk you need to give is for yourself. No job, no boss, no coworker, no mission, no passion is worth the abnegation involved in staying in a harmful place. In my decades of working for a paycheck, the moments I am most proud of are rage quitting situations that were absolutely fked, even when it meant going to the food bank so I could stretch what dollars I had to cover my mortgage or working 3 contract jobs at a time.
          I go into this kind of nonsense like a viking now. Or a klingon.

        6. MsChanandlerBong*

          The second I hit 37, I was DONE with nonsense. I used to be overly accommodating and never speak up about anything, and now I just do not care. It helps that I have a lot of political capital at my job, but even if I didn’t, I would not tolerate the nonsense I used to tolerate.

    2. Tangerina Warbleworth*

      Here lies the wisdom of Carrie Fisher: “There is no such thing as a ball-breaker. Just breakable balls.”

    3. Tricksie*

      I got called a ballbuster to my face once by a male faculty member at my university. I said, “Excuse me, I think you meant to say I’m a strong, assertive woman who protects her staff” and went straight to the Dean (who was horrified) and made sure everyone knew that I’d walk straight to HR and the Title IX office if it happened ever again.

      1. Dust Bunny*

        I used to work for a veterinarian. A [young, male] client made some kind of remark to me once about how nice it must be to have a job where you play with kittens all day.

        I reminded him that I more often got paid to stick needles in pit bulls.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          Yeah because it’s a kick in the pants to play with sick animals! Just like I bet those doctors taking care of sick kids love their life because cute babies!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *growl*

          1. Oranges*

            Oh gods, I was in the ER and got rolled past a room where a child was crying and had been crying for a while (the hoarsness). It was so hard not to go and comfort them like all my instincts were screaming to do (didn’t because that would have been… counterproductive for the situation). I can’t imagine having the stress of child pain day after day.

      2. Lexin*

        I once got called (though not to my face) a ‘hideous boiler with an attitude problem’ by a manager because I was a union rep trying to protect a member who was being bullied. I knew then never to trust that manager.

  5. pleaset AKA cheap rolls*

    On #2, it’s so interesting how that experience is generalized to NGOs in general.

    1. Lily Rowan*

      Yeah, I feel like that is a bad workplace or definitely at least a bad fit for the OP, but shouldn’t be an indictment of NGOs in general.

      1. Filosofickle*

        When the story is about a toxic non-profit (or NGO or government) workplace, people jump in with “this is why I never work for non-profits!” But we hear at least twice as many stories about toxic for-profit corporations and I don’t the same chorus of people saying this is why you shouldn’t work for one of those.

        1. Quill*

          Selection bias, I think. NGOs and nonprofits that are truly bizzarely toxic probably tend to last a little longer (due to “it’s for a good caaaaaaaaaaause”) than their corporate counterparts, thus, more employees and more letters.

        2. Perfectly Particular*

          In big corporations, a generous salary/benefits package can compensate for a lot of toxic BS. NGO’s/non-profits often do not have the budget to tip the scales in the employees favor in the same way.

        3. Not So NewReader*

          Different expectations?
          I know I have said this in the past and probably will say it again. I think I expected better of my non-profit. I expected them to aspire to higher levels. What I found (just my own experience) is that Corporate America does better in terms of overall ethics and principles. They are more apt to follow the rules in some manner. Eh, they are more apt to know what the rules even are.

          I was 30. I sincerely believed that we were doing good for people (we weren’t). I sincerely believed that people worked to a higher standard because of their service to others (..the most corrupt place…). And worse yet, people weren’t kind (burned out employees have nothing left to give). I was naive.

          So feeling this way, I can’t chime in with “Get out of the Toxic Corp and go the NPO sector.” I do think that overall once people find something they can make work they will stay with it a while. So it makes sense to tell a person to move from a toxic corp to try to find a better place. Each sector has its drawbacks, no doubt about it. Now I tend to think of the for-profit sector as the area with the most hope for finding a job that will last because of the diversity of settings. Just one person’s own bias/perspective. But it can go toward why people don’t chime in with ‘This is why I never work for for-profits.”

    2. Bunny Girl*

      I think sometimes once people have a bad experience somewhere they just want to write the whole thing off. I am currently working in higher education while I finish my degree, and once I graduate I will never work in higher ed. again. I’ve worked in two different departments while I’ve been here and they’ve both been horrific and I have seen waaaay too much problem behavior. It’s kind of like when you overdue it on a certain kind of liquor and you don’t drink it anymore because it tastes like the time you almost died.

      1. pleaset AKA cheap rolls*

        I have an explicit personal epistemological policy of not interpreting a single event as a pattern unless there is compelling evidence that it is a pattern.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Probably overall a good rule of thumb. But there are occasions where all a person needs is that one event and it’s enough to say, “DONE!”.

          It’s kind of like partners. I remember talking with some female relatives about things that our spouses had done. Each one of us had something that was a deal breaker for someone else, yet we ourselves chose to work through it. Differences in people, differences in load tolerances, differences in life experiences.

    3. Op2*

      OP2 here. For the record – I understand that not all NGO’s are toxic. However, in my experience many I’ve encountered share a few negatives that I’m done having to deal with:
      1) The constant “for the cause” nonsense that millionaire ED’s blabber on about.
      2) The politics – God forbid someone finds out you’re not a progressive on every single issue.
      3) The incessant need for managers to involve themselves in your personal life. I understand that this is well intentioned but I’m a very private and detached person.

      For these reasons, I’m done working in that field. The pay is generally terrible as well.

        1. Umiel*

          I work for state government, and I see some similarities to what you experienced. I work for a state health agency, and I have spent most of the time I’ve been here working in the behavioral health division. This area in particular seems prone to having managers and directors who want everyone to engage in “team building.” I recently made a radical career change by moving to IT after having been a behavioral health specialist at the same agency for 16 years. It’s completely different. We don’t celebrate staff birthdays, we don’t acknowledge Boss’s Day, we don’t have team building, etc. I love it. So I think some of the problem can depend on what your role is in an agency or what the mission is for that agency.

          One of the best team-building experiences I had in my previous role involved a contracted team-building specialist. This guy started off by asking each person in the room to say their name and tell the group something personal about themselves. The first guy he asked said, “My name is Bob, and my personal philosophy doesn’t allow me to share personal things about myself with co-workers.” Everyone in the room after that gave the same basic answer! The facilitator was visibly angry about this, but it was the highlight of the event.

          1. Op2*


            Congratulations on the radical career change. Your new situation sounds wonderful. I love being a cog in the machine as well. That is, I just want to do my work, go home and forget that my employer exists until tomorrow. No staff parties or emotional stuff may not be appealing to everyone, but it’s Heaven to me. I am not at all “tech savvy” but the culture you describe sounds wonderful. I might have to consider training in IT myself. That team builder you described is epic. I don’t know why some employers hate the very idea of separating our work from our personal lives. Like you, I don’t care about my coworkers enough to do non work related things with them. That’s what non work people are for.

          2. Glitsy Gus*

            Heh, I’m not quite as compartmentalizing as you are but I’ve had to do a bunch of those “Tell us something about yourself” games and they make me really uncomfortable, and I can’t really say why (I think it’s just the ‘on the spot’ feeling more than anything) and I usually just say “my friends think I’m Chandler Bing because no one understands what my job actually is.” It gets a laugh, keeps me from having to delve any deeper into my personal life by really being about work, and keeps the game moving along.

        2. NotAnotherManager!*

          I’m a manager and being involved in any of my employees’ personal lives sounds like hell to me, too. Outside the fact that some of them seem to (mistakenly) think that I am interested in the details of their medical maladies, I am often glad I don’t have a warm and inviting personality that invites oversharing.

        1. Op2*

          As I’ve said, I have professional and volunteer experience with various NGO’s. I understand that not all of them are bad employers but what I’ve been exposed to in the NGO vs corporate world has led me to prefer the for profit side.

        2. banzo_bean*

          On the other hand, it’s OP2’s personal decision where to work, so if they want to make a biased decision that only effects them, I’m ok with it.

      1. Observer*

        1. I’ve yet to meet a Millionaire ED. Even most of the really highly paid ED’s that I know of are not independently wealthy. Not that I think you didn’t encounter these folks, just that they are not THAT common.

        2. That one can be bit hair raising. Not unique to NPO’s but definitely more common there.

        3. This is totally not typical of NPO’s. It *is* typical of dysfunctional workplaces. (read some of the stuff in the archives here, for some hair raising examples.)

        Which is to say that you sound like you’ve have some really bad luck with the organizations you’ve worked with.

        1. pentamom*

          The millionaire ED is found in the NPO that was founded with grandpa’s money. Far from the majority situation with NPOs, but definitely a known phenomenon. I worked for one, a very long time ago.

          1. bluephone*

            I work for a nonprofit where our previous CEO (retired about 2 years ago now) made a not-small 6-figure salary AND was given an additional 7 figure bonus package to leave. Current CEO splits their time between our office and their home–several states away on Chicago’s lakefront (7-figure real estate).

            My whole career has been in nonprofits, higher education (aka nonprofit), and for-profit-but-dying (print journalism). I’d honestly sell my soul at this point to work for a soul-less for-profit sector as long as the paycheck let me clear all my debts, set aside a very nice nest egg, *and* left me with a not-insignificant amount of fun money (i.e. “buy the parents a really nice Shore house” levels of fun money)

    4. J.B.*

      I have to write a diversity statement for a library management class (working on an information science degree, not library science) and will be including a note that this is a REALLY REALLY BAD IDEA for anyone planning to work in the IT field. And I don’t feel like nice-ing up my experience. There was sexual harrassment and general dudes not listening, and I have learned from it. Most of what I have learned is to keep my eyes open and move on because management who tolerates that won’t have your back.

  6. EPLawyer*

    #1 — bwaahahahahaha. Guess he tried the “women are so emotional” route to your pushback and fell flat on his face.

    #2 — My only sorrow is you didn’t get out on your own terms. I am sorry you got fired, instead of getting a new job first and telling their face what idiots they are. Grown adults do not NEED to participate in “Spirit Week” to show committment to their jobs. If they are judging people on how well they participate in a gimmick rather than how well they do their actual jobs, that place is not somewhere you want to be.

    #3 — See above. Although, it’s not spirit week, it’s dispiriting day every day at your office. Same advice though — save yourself. It’s not your job to save the non-profit.

    #4 — Glad you found a reasonable compromise that works for you. Congrats on the new condo.

    1. Shocked Pikachu*

      #2, yes, but still, she is out of that hell hole after all :) and yes, being forced to dance while being recorded to show people not in attendance is one of my versions of hell. Lesser hell perhaps, but hell nevertheless.

      1. Jamie*

        It’s one of mine too, but Idk how much lesser. Maybe one up from the poop level, but that’s it.

        I don’t even want to know what face I would make if told I had a “dance leader” at work.

        1. PJs of Steven Tyler*

          “Chidi, good news! You’re in charge of choosing the song! Don’t ask anyone else and don’t let anyone else give you input – you need to choose this entirely on your own.”

    2. Bunny Girl*

      I also wish #2 could have quit on their own too. I would have encouraged them to do a choreographed dance for their resignation.

    3. OP2*

      My new managers know that I’m committed to my job because I show up, keep my head down and get my work done. Also, they don’t guilt trip me into doing absurd things.

  7. Shocked Pikachu*

    #2 Wow. Congratulations on getting out of there and good luck in your new job.

    PS: not dancing or singing for my employer either …. unless my employer is the royal opera or NYC ballet company…. although I seriously doubt I would get pass the auditions to work there…. ;)

    1. Quill*

      My parents had a major career upheaval the DAY that they signed an offer on a new house, and #4 is giving me thirdhand anxiety after I had to hear about all that.

      1. New Job So Much Better*

        Yes please do not change jobs or make a major purchase during mortgage processing :)

        1. Tisiphone*

          I got laid off two weeks before closing. The company I worked for went belly up and I hadn’t gotten word that my loan had gone through. I called the realtor, who told me that if I got another job – same industry, similar pay – it wouldn’t be a problem.

          Happy ending: I’m still living in the house.

      2. Joielle*

        I bought a car during mine. I asked the mortgage originator first if it would mess anything up and she said it was fine, so… *shrug*

    2. Adlib*

      I changed jobs a month before we bought our house. Since it was our first house, it wasn’t something I even thought about. Bank didn’t seem to have an issue after I submitted a letter with our application. That was in 2011 so maybe the market at the time had something to do with it, not sure.

      1. Elizabeth Proctor*

        I closed on our first house 3.5 months after starting a new job and 2.5 months after my husband started a new job.

  8. OG Kimmy Schmidt*

    Best of luck in your new job and future endeavors OP #2!

    I am appalled at how much your previous employed doubled down on the lip sync battle. Making PA announcements? That CLIENTS could nearly hear? This whole thing is so wild it sounds like it should be a sitcom plot.

    1. OP2*

      Thanks, Kimmy. I appreciate Alison’s and this community’s advice. I do miss the clients I worked with but I wasn’t going to work night shifts when the job market is this strong.

    2. CM*

      I know, it’s hilarious from a distance but if I were the OP… I mean, what do you even do in a workplace that treats a lip sync battle as a test of loyalty?? (Leave, which the OP did.)

    3. Aggretsuko*

      I’m genuinely surprised that they didn’t go in there and physically drag OP2 out the door and force them to go, if they were that obnoxious about it.

    4. WellRed*

      My god, the PA announcements alone would have driven me to drink. They obviously didn’t have any real work to do.

  9. Close Bracket*

    I know that level of bluntness (sarcasm, snark, whatever you want to call it) will just embarrass him and put him on the defensive.

    Boy howdy, you were not wrong!

  10. Midge*

    LW4, you are living the dream! I am so happy you found an arrangement that works for you and your employer. I wish I could do exactly the same. Maybe one day.

    I don’t think it’s silly or cliche.

  11. Myrin*

    On a general note, Alison: Do you have, like, a bajillion updates this year? It’s only the fourth and we’re getting several a day!

    1. Lyudie*

      I *think* she said elsewhere she had more than 100 updates?? I could be wrong but I am not complaining regardless lol. Loving all these updates.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      She did a cattle call for them awhile back too! So yeah, tons of them from that plus the ones she gets organically.

      1. Antilles*

        And along with that, there was a several hundred post thread where we let Alison know which ones we’d like her to reach back out to, so I’d guess that Alison probably got a bunch of updates from that too.
        Would actually be kind of interested in finding out the breakdown – how many updates came organically over the past few months VS people seeing the open thread cattle call and reaching out to her VS ones that she got after directly reaching out to them.

    3. A Simple Narwhal*

      The frequent update posts thus far have made me very excited about the rest of December

    4. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I have a bajillion, and they’re still coming in.

      I think we’ll be at five posts a day (weekdays) for the next two weeks (as opposed to the usual four) because there are so many!

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          Counting on some Festivus miracles within these updates…so far no luck….but they shall come.

      1. Rikki Tikki Tarantula*

        Dumb question: Is there a statute of limitations on updates? I had a letter from a few years back, and I do have an update though it’s not terribly exciting (neither was my letter, TBH).

        1. Antilles*

          I won’t speak for anybody else, but my personal vote is *always* for more updates, even the ones which are simple “hey so I took your advice, it worked, problem solves” or “so the boss left and my entire issue kinda fixed itself, but things are good”.

        2. ACDC*

          I don’t think there is. One of the updates from yesterday was 8 or 9 years after the letter if I remember correctly.

        3. EPLawyer*

          please. Sometimes we need “not terribly exciting” although that is very subjective, to remember the world is not entirely insane. Even something mundane is still nice to know. It’s know the outcome that counts.

        4. One of the Spreadsheet Horde*

          Not exciting to you may be the situation someone was wondering how it turned out because they’re experiencing something similar. Please do share.

        5. Heidi*

          Imagine we’re at a high school pep rally: Update! Update! Update! Update!

          These are giving me closure for things that never actually happened to me!

      2. EPLawyer*

        Oh shucky darn, more posts a day.

        I can be excited because Alison has said this is less work for her. So wins all around.

      3. Amethystmoon*

        Yay, something to make our days less boring (for those of us with very boring day jobs who read AAM on our breaks). :)

      4. Sal*

        I for one would welcome an end of year contest for “most satisfying update.” Along the lines of the spicy lunch and Guacamole Bob.

      5. cacwgrl*

        I’m definitely here for the updates! Right now is a challenging time for my organization and position. I still love what I do, but challenging is not an understatement at all. This site is the mental break I need. I laugh, I judge (mostly silently), I find ways to remind me how good I really do have it, and back to work I go. Bring me all the updates!!!

  12. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    I’m glad you found a way to work your schedule to benefit your desires, OP 4! I like the idea of part time over having unpaid time off, it seems a lot more fair for both sides in the end. I’m team living ones dreams, even if other people find it hokey or whatever.

    1. Jamie*

      I am team dream living, too. Not for myself as my risk averse nature would be in a state of constant anxiety, but love hearing about other people making it work.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        I’ve watched too many people choose suffering due to their fears of risk, I’d rather die saying I tried than die saying I wish I had.

        But I’m a numbers person, so I crunch them excessively, needless to say. Which is why I’m pro-part time because part time is easier to manipulate back into full time if the time comes!

    2. Environmental Compliance*

      Agreed. I would love to go PT to be able to do everything else I’d love to be doing (crafting). That would be awesome!

      1. Lexi feeling cranky*

        I was on board until she mentioned the fact that she now qualifies for health insurance subsidies. I wish you had found a way to make your passion work without being subsidized by other working people.

        1. Jedi Squirrel*

          This is how insurance in general works. If everybody else at your workplace is healthy, and you are the one who is constantly using health insurance to pay for doctor’s visits, prescriptions, etc., then they are subsidizing you.

          Quit being greedy. (It’s one of the seven deadly sins for a reason, ya know?)

        2. Dankar*

          Nope! So glad you made it work, LW4, and that you’re taking advantage of every option available to you. Congratulations on doing what’s best for you!

        3. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

          She’s still paying into the subsidy pot as are all the other working folks out there.

    3. Filosofickle*

      I’ve built my life around my desires to get up late, work only for people/orgs I like, do work I enjoy, work less than full time, and drive as little as possible. There are trade-offs in my earnings and financial stability, but it is 100% worth it to have a career on my terms.

    1. Matilda Jefferies*

      Seriously. OP1, that sound you hear is the sound of AAM readers all over the world, standing up and cheering for you!

  13. Observer*

    #1, If there was ANY doubt about his sexism, you have it on a silver platter.

    But, I love how you handled it.

    1. Cookie Captain*

      Yeah, he is absolutely dripping with it. I don’t want to think about what he’s like in his personal life.

      1. starsaphire*

        + 100.

        The random psychic vision I am currently having of this dude’s social media feed include at least one post about how much it sucks that “girls” won’t date “nice guys” like him.

        1. KoiFeeder*

          As a wise person once said, advertising that you’re a “nice guy” is like a breakfast cereal advertising that it’s asbestos-free. It’s an expectation, not a selling point.

  14. Tangerina Warbleworth*

    #2 — boy, would I love to be a fly on the wall when the dance leader tries to reopen your old position, explaining it to HR and the CEO:

    HR/CEO: “You eliminated this position, but now you wish to reestablish it?”
    DL: “YES.”
    HR/CEO: “Why did you eliminate the position if you still needed it?”
    DL: “Because the person in the role wasn’t a team player.”
    HR/CEO: “Then, why didn’t you just fire her and hire someone else for the position?”
    DL: “Because the stuff she refused to participate in wasn’t actually her job.”
    HR/CEO: “……….. then, what was the problem?”
    HR/CEO: *side eye*

      1. your favorite person*

        Absolutely. Though there’s no way anyone would be fired over something like that.

        1. Amethystmoon*

          I wonder if that was a small company. In a large corporation, there’s no way anyone would be fired for that, because they usually have ombudsmen (or is it ombudspeople now?) but in smaller companies, pretty much anything goes.

          1. Credulous*

            I have a hard time believing that LW’s refusal to lip-sync was the main cause of the firing. It may have miffed some people, but firing people and onboarding new ones costs money (usually even more so at small businesses). Businesses like to make money and are not typically going to fire people over a lip sync contest.

            LW said that she received comments about typos in her work and such above. I suspect that the problem was much more serious than minor typos, and that this problem was much more of a factor in the firing.

            1. WellRed*

              I suspect they were looking for a reason to fire her. I’ve seen these terror campaigns before trying to oust someone

    1. H.C.*

      Unfortunately, the original letter suggests the entire org is involved in said contest. Wouldn’t be surprised if CEO & HR turn a blind eye towards this…

    2. OP2*

      Yea, the way it was all handled was rather petty and passive aggressive. It worked out for me in the end though.

      1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

        Any outcome that involves escaping involuntary lip-synching is a good outcome in my book

    3. Elan Morin Tedronai*


      HR/CEO: Wtf? Good job. We can’t have someone who doesn’t believe in our company here, thanks for weeding that out. Let’s be more careful next time when we’re hiring!

      Source: Was from nonprofit.

  15. Mama Bear*

    LW#3 – that sounds like the principal at my kid’s old school. He made most people miserable and the district wouldn’t move him. I have many theories on that. The long and short of it is that there’s been horrible attrition and most teachers don’t last more than 3 years. There’s been almost 100% turnover since he arrived. I can’t blame anyone for leaving a bad situation and my bet is that the board will lose almost all your current staff before they wake up. But you can’t say they weren’t warned. I hope you find a better job/boss soon.

    1. OP3*

      Thanks for your kind words, greatly appreciated. I worry more about the staff that has been here for a long time. In the end, I have it pretty good in comparison since I am his #3 favorite. The others not so much.

      1. GrumpyGnome*

        Wait, you’re his #3 favorite and he STILL said that kind of thing to you? That’s insane! If he’s not out very soon, I hope you find something else quickly. No one should have to put up with abuse like that.

        1. OP3*

          Yup, I am the #3 favorite. #1 favorite just got a $30,000 pay raise (#1 also hates him) #2 favorite just came on board last month and is getting paid a ridiculous amount. As for me and the rest, none of us are getting raises this year and just got our health insurance policy changed as well (the four of us are the only ones on the policy)

      2. Observer*

        You’re his FAVORITE!?

        You REALLY need to get out of there. He *is* going to turn on you, and your Board is not going to do anything until they have at least 100% turnover with everyone citing the ED – and even then I wouldn’t bet on it.

        Get out before all of your norms are broken.

  16. De Minimis*

    #3–don’t let up. We were able to get a toxic manager removed at my job. If they’re abusive to one person, chances are they’re bad to everyone, and sometimes there’s a final straw.

    1. OP3*

      We were hoping that the final straw would be when one of my coworkers, lets call her Becky, put in her resignation two months ago he started swearing at her and accused her of horrible things. For the record, we are a trade association so we have members who operate healthcare facilities. And Becky is going to our largest member in a senior role.

    2. Aggretsuko*

      I did hear a happy story the other day from a girl who was being bullied at work. The bullies did it for years and others escaped by getting promoted. So when the girl I know submitted her complaint, those who read it knew darned well the bullies did it.

      So the bullies were gotten rid of…by which I mean one got transferred and one got promoted. Of course.

  17. Erykah Badu*

    OP#1: I definitely read “Well, I’m SORRY if I hurt your FEELINGS by TRYING to help you.” in Andy Bernard’s voice.


    end scene.

  18. Mbarr*

    #2 – good on you for sticking to your guns, but sad that it fell out the way it did.

    Myself, I have no problem getting up and making a fool of myself in front of a crowd. I’m also the one to encourage others to do the same. BUT, if someone told me “No” I’d respect it and defend their choice. The aggressiveness of your colleagues is insane.

    1. OP2*

      My previous employer lacked a certain voice of reason. Lots of passionate people, but they were also kool aid drinkers.

  19. Three owls in a trench coat*

    Mandatory Lip sync Battle?!

    I know there’s worst things a manager could make mandatory, but as someone who’s been down a long road recovering from social anxiety I really want to say “Calm down there Satan.”

    1. OP2*

      Yeah, I would have preferred a COLA wage increase in lieu of the whole team building week. Lesson learned in my part – never work for an employer who brags of having a “family like” workplace.

      1. Three owls in a trench coat*

        Satan = your manager, not you! I was trying to get across how much I’d absolutely hate to have to do a group performance at work.

        I’m sorry to hear that people began saying things behind your back and your position was “eliminated” because you didn’t want to participate in a rather ridiculous team-building exercise, that’s really unfair to you. Glad things are starting to look up at your new job!

    2. Budgie Buddy*

      I believe the accepted usage is “Calm down Beyoncé” or “Not today, Satan!” Both of which apply to this situation. Along with “Really, Queen?”

      For some reason I keep imagining that this company also does lip sync battles to handle lay-offs which would be the worst thing ever.

      1. Three owls in a trench coat*

        It’s time to Lip Sync for your Liiiiivelyhoood!!!

        I’ve heard both of those expressions before but I’ve also seen “calm down there Satan” on the internet when people come up with absolutely evil ideas (usually meant as a joke or theoretical prank).

    3. Damn it, Hardison!*

      I now endeavor to use “Calm down there Satan” in everyday conversation. This is gold.

  20. Lucette Kensack*

    It’s awful that LW #2 was fired over not participating in the spirit week activities. But deciding, based on that experience, that she’s never going to work for an NGO again is a frustrating reaction. “Nonprofit” is a tax designation, not a management structure or organizational culture.

    1. AnonyMouse*

      Eh, in defense of LW #2, sometimes we all have those really bad first experiences where we just say “never doing that again!” and I think that’s more what is happening here. I don’t think the intent was to generalize about all NGOs

  21. LogicalOne*

    2. I am sorry to hear that your position was eliminated because you didn’t want to take on your stage fright. That’s not right and it sounds like there may be more toxic aspects to that place of business. Any employer who pushes their staff to do things they’re uncomfortable with that really don’t affect the company/place of employment and it’s just for sport and fun, isn’t a good employer. If staff are truly uncomfortable doing something that’s out of the scope of their job duties and what they were hired to do, then staff have the right not to participate. Having your position eliminated because of this nonsense is not right and morally wrong and unethical. They sound like they got “butthurt” and are a little on the sensitive side. If were all did the same things, this world would be a boring place and having different interests is what makes this world unique. I just cant believe places like that exist and employers like that exist. It’s not right. People like that shouldn’t exist.

  22. amazed*

    When I first became a manager, I had a direct report who wanted to discuss their “expectations” of me on such a regular basis that they suggested they send me a daily email outlining the ways I wasn’t meeting their needs. I wanted to be a good manager so I bent over backwards trying to accommodate them, until their demands grew more and more unreasonable. I wish that I’d had the confidence to respond the way LW1 did here. (Thankfully, they’re no longer in my department.)

  23. Nmn9484654*

    A friend saw this and thinks LW #2 OP should have said claimed the Lip Sync and dancing was against their religious beliefs (there are religions out there that view dancing as sinful) and filed a lawsuit against the employer for getting fired due to religious discrimination. Thoughts on this idea?

    1. Clementine*

      Unless this was actually true, no one should claim this, because of all the perjury and what not that would happen with sworn/affirmed statements, etc.

      1. Nmn9484654*

        I would never condone lying or perjury. My post was meant as a “what if” scenario. So many religious beliefs beliefs in the world, someone could have a legitimate issue with it somewhere.
        I’m disgusted at the unprofessionalism in that place and happy OP found a better job.

  24. FE*

    God, #2, I hope you left every scathing detail of this in a glassdoor review. Everyone needs to run for the hills from this one.

  25. The Bimmer Guy*

    “In the past month, he has been excessively cruel. I dared to try and do a task at work differently from how he did it, and he told me ‘you know, like a horse someday I am going to break you in too.'”

    What the F?! Who are these people? How do they get jobs at all? You can’t talk to your employees like that!

  26. nuttysaladtree*

    I hadn’t read the original for number three. Partway through the update, I thought, “Ah, this is another ‘your boss sucks, and you can do nothing about it.'” I’m sorry to hear that I guessed correctly.

  27. casinoLF*

    #4 wait how are 5 8 hour days a week part time?!? I work full time and work 7.25 hours a day, 5 days a week!

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