company trip doesn’t feel like a reward, I’m dating another intern, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. Is this company trip really a reward?

Every few years, my company rewards employees ith a vacation that everybody goes on together. Which sounds great, but here are the issues:
1. Married employees can bring their spouses; single employees can’t bring anybody.
2. The trips are taken in January. The years we go on trips, we are not given Christmas bonuses like they are every year when there is no trip.
3. On the most recent trip, three employees opted out of going (two because they have travel anxiety and one because she couldn’t afford it — because these “free” trips are never completely free) and in the months leading up to the trip, they were openly chastised by the boss in front of the entire office for not going and felt they were being punished for opting out.

Half of the employees say, “Who cares? It’s paid time away from work and we can lay on a beach for two days instead of coming to work.” The other half feel it’s not fair, it’s biased, and if it were truly a “reward for hard work” then the people who opted out should receive a different reward of some kind, instead of being treated as criminals and made to work those two days. What are your thoughts?

It’s not unusual to expect people who don’t go on the trip to work as normal on those days. The reward isn’t “free vacation days to do with as you please”; it’s “company trip that we use for bonding and morale-boosting.” To be clear, not everyone’s morale would be boosted by such a trip — but that’s undoubtedly their intent, or otherwise they’d give you time off and a travel stipend to spend as you please.

But it’s BS to shame people who opt out. If people feel pressured to go, the trip stops being a reward and becomes a work obligation. It’s also crappy to let married people bring their spouses but make single people attend alone. Everyone should get a plus-one or no one should (but probably everyone, since lots of people won’t want to take leisure trips without their spouse).

2. My new coworker is the person who once quit a job with me after only a few months

Previously, I managed a sales team for a small up and coming company. I hired someone in January of 2016. Typically it takes at least three months to fully train someone. The January hires were in anticipation of May, our biggest revenue month.

The last week of April that year, this employee came in and said job not for me and left. This was a big deal as I had to drop managerial/administrative duties and cover shifts. Basically, I had to cover, manage team, and look for replacement during the busiest month. Needless to say it caused a huge strain on me and cost the company revenue.

Fast forward to 2020. I am now working for a large company and enjoy my job. A few months ago, I saw this employee in a training class. I was surprised but made no comments to anyone or acknowledged previous contact.

The conundrum is that this person is now in my directorate group. While not on my team, has the potential for direct contact. Since I no longer work for previous company, I feel if I said anything I could be held liable if perceived as negative. Up to this point, I feel I have handled this professionally by saying nothing and minding my own business. Given the potential, and probable direct contact as a manager, what would you advise?

Say nothing! There’s nothing to comment on here! This person took a job that turned out not to be right for them, and they figured it out and left. That happens.

It does suck when a new hire doesn’t work out and leaves quickly. You’ve invested time in training them, you’ve cut loose your other candidates, and now you have to start from scratch. It’s even worse when it’s a busy time of year and you hired them specifically to help with that. But it’s just part of hiring and managing people — some people will conclude the job isn’t right for them, just as you’ll sometimes conclude that about them too. All you can do is try to hire well, be clear with people about what they’re signing up for (downsides and all), and be up-front about the type of commitment you’re hoping for. But even then, some people won’t work out — or they’ll get a better opportunity, or move, or so forth. It’s just the reality of how this stuff goes.

You can’t hold it against people. I mean, you can in the sense that you can decide not to hire them again if they apply in the future — but it’s not the sort of thing you’d need to alert a new employer to (even when you work for said employer). In fact, most employers wouldn’t be terribly interested in hearing it, since the fact that their employee once had a job they left quickly won’t seem scandalous or very relevant.

3. Do I need to disclose that I’m dating another intern?

My boyfriend and I are both college students with similar interests who have been going out for about a year. This semester we have both accepted internships in our state’s legislature. We applied through different programs and I am in the Senate while he is in the House, so we rarely see each other while working. As we are both interns, there is no power imbalance. Right now, only a few other interns know of our relationship status. While we do have photos together on social media, both our accounts and private and we have no online connections with anybody in either of our offices. Is it necessary to disclose our relationship to HR or our respective supervisors?

No. To be completely sure, look at your employee handbook and see if there are any rules on relationship disclosures that would apply, but generally that kind of disclosure is for potential conflicts of interest or dating in or near your chain of command. Most likely, they don’t care at all if interns date each other, especially interns who are in separate offices. Be professional at work and you should be fine.

4. My old job wants my contact info so they can keep asking me questions

I left a position at the end of January, after giving two week’s notice. I cleaned up my Google drive, moved all the items on my hard drive to the google drive, let my staff know where things were, turned in all my keys, reset passwords, etc. My boss chose, instead of doing a normal, in-person exit interview with me, to do a 15-minute phone call instead.

I remain friends with one of the other managers. My boss has been badgering this person for my contact information to “ask me a few questions.” I don’t see that there are ANY questions to which they couldn’t figure out the answers on their own. It’s not that hard. But they keep asking the friend and don’t seem to be taking “no” for an answer. I don’t really want my boss to have my contact information as I know she will abuse it to ask me numerous questions that she should be able to determine on her own.

Am I under any obligation to give my information out? Is the persistent questioning of my friend allowable? What are some avenues of recourse for me in this situation? I know I won’t get paid for any of my time.

No, you’re not under any obligation to give them your contact information. Your friend who still works there is in a harder position because they have power over her and technically could require her to provide it. If she can’t credibly say she doesn’t have it, the best solution may be for you to let her supply an email address, and then you respond once to say, “Unfortunately I’m swamped with my new job and can’t help out, but all the info you need should be in the materials I left behind.” You don’t need to respond to messages after that. (If you want, you could even make an email account solely for this purpose and then stop checking it after the initial exchange.)

That said, if this is a manager you’ll want a good reference from in the future, there’s some benefit to answering one or two questions simply for good will. You’re not obligated to do that, but if they’re quick questions that won’t require much of your time, it might be worth it. (But after answering one or two, you can then use the language above.)

5. Can I apply for jobs now if I’m not available for months?

I’m graduating college in May and I’m starting to apply for jobs. One thing that stresses me out is that, since I’m not in any industries with a huge recruiting class (like tech or finance), I can’t normally tell from the job ads if they’re okay with people starting in May or June.

I assume some jobs run the ad for a long time, get through interviews, and are okay with transition times, and some want people to onboard ASAP. But if they don’t specify a start date, how do I know if I’m wasting everyone’s time by applying? And if they never respond, how do I know if it’s because I’m not qualified or they wanted someone ASAP?

Start applying now. Make it clear on your resume and in your cover letter that you’re available in May. (On your resume, list it this way: Soup College, B.A. in Stew Making expected May 2020.)

Some employers will be looking for someone to start more quickly than that, but lots of hiring processes take months. You can’t always tell from the outside what the start date needs to be, but this is a reasonable time to begin applying. Most employers will figure out from the fact that you’re in school that you’re not available until May, and you can also mention it when they first contact you.

To your last question, if they reject you or don’t respond you won’t know whether it’s because of your availability or not. But you almost never know why you were rejected anyway — it could be that you don’t have the qualifications they want, or you do but other people were better matches, or all sorts of other reasons. Job searching is an exercise in getting comfortable with opaque processes and limited information.

{ 489 comments… read them below }

  1. Electric sheep*

    LW2, I would also prefer a bonus that I could use however I wanted instead of a two day trip that cost me money where I didn’t get to choose the timing, company or destination. Do you do anything work related or are you all just meant to be in the same place as your colleagues at the same time?

    1. DerJungerLudendorff*

      Heck, I might prefer to do work instead of going on that trip, even without the bonus.
      It’s less stressful, cheaper, and I get more time to myself!

      1. High School Teacher*

        To be honest I would much rather just go to work as normal than take a “relaxing” vacation with my work.

      2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        I just read up to “my company rewards employees ith a vacation that everybody goes on together” and was already like “Yikes”.

        Since the “free” trip is apparently not free, to the point where at least one person could not afford it, I too feel that I would really prefer to stay behind.

        1. NGT*

          I often couldn’t afford to take trips for professional development before I got married. Doing so for me meant boarding my dog at $25 per day (minimum), paying out of pocket for food and beverages (which would be reimbursed on the other end, but I still had to pay upfront), and having MY card charged for incidentals (which would be refunded when incidentals didn’t occur, but still…). If these happened during the summer, the pay boost they would give me was sometimes worth it, but if it happened during the school year, it wasn’t worth it. It’s easier now that I live with someone because he or I can go on professional trips while the other watches the pets, but it’s still not a perfect system.

      3. Well Then*

        Same. Vacationing with coworkers sounds terrible (even if you like them, it’s not a real vacation!) and I would absolutely not want to spend my own money on that. Much better to have a couple of quiet, relaxed days in the office while everyone else is having forced work fun on a beach.

        1. El*

          Especially a beach vacation. I’m not prudish at all but I really, really wouldn’t want to wear a bathing suit and frolic in the surf with coworkers. That sounds like hell on earth. I’d much rather stay behind and go into work as usual where I would enjoy the quieter office.

      4. rayray*

        Yeah, a trip with coworkers sounds like one of the worst imaginable Hells I could think of. I’d be the first to volunteer not to go.

      5. kitryan*

        We have a similar ‘retreat’ (though we still get bonuses as well) and support staff don’t get to go until we hit a certain number of years at the company. The retreat is Sat-Mon and the office used to be open that Monday, with only the non-eligible support staff working.
        I *loved* it. It was a super relaxing catch up day where no one would bother me and I could do filing and sort email and whatnot. I was genuinely a bit sad when I became eligible for the trip.

    2. Pungara*

      As a person who has a genetic predisposition for skin cancers and has, pre-50, already had two growths removed from my face, the quintessential beach vacation is my idea of the first circle of hell. In order to opt out of it, I’d have to reveal the cancer, which is none of the boss’s business. There’s a reason I have an all-inside job.

      Plus, people can be really, really weird if you don’t do what they expect on these trips. DH is going to a conference in Florida soon. It’s paid for by one of the vendors (i.e., suppliers of software and services). They are offerings 2 ½ days of conference plus ½ day paid to “do what you want.” It’s not really free time as they have arranged excursions. He’s not going on the free golfing excursion (he doesn’t golf) it to the Everglades (been twice, mosquitos). He’s going to do what he wants with the actual “free time.” You would not believe the amount of push back he’s being given. These aren’t even his employers, it’s a vendor who wants him to go and provide feedback on their product. He’s doing them a favor by going. A huge one.

      Personally, if I were High Minister in Charge of Employment, I’d make any of these allegedly non-work events clearly work and force the employer top pay people for the time. Americans have so little free time to decompress as it is. Companies don’t need to steal even more of it under the guise of morale boosting.

      1. JessaB*

        Not just pay for the time but for all incidentals. Nobody should be out of pocket penny one for such a trip.

        1. Slow Gin Lizz*

          Agreed. I’m surprised that Alison didn’t address the fact that the “free” trip isn’t actually free. If employees have to burden themselves with some of the cost, then IMO that automatically downgrades it to “not a reward” status.

          1. NGT*

            The cost might be something like childcare or pet boarding. Both of those would be obligations of the employee and might place such a trip out of reach for an employee.

      2. Ancient Alien*

        Same here. I’ve never had to have any growths removed but i am definitely a person that “does not tan well”. As such, I really try to avoid any amount of excessive sun. A beach vacation like that Is. Not. Fun. For. Me.

      3. Kaaaaaren*

        I don’t have medical issues, but I HATE the beach and find going extremely stressful and unpleasant. I couldn’t imagine being forced to go to the beach with my coworkers and having to consider it a fun perk. It sounds hellish.

        1. Nessun*


          The beach is a hellish nightmare for me – I hate it. Wide open space, bright sunlight and sand everywhere? Not my bag at ALL. Add in coworkers? That’s a further circle down. Virgil, get me outta here.

          1. Kaaaaaren*

            I realize not everyone has the hang ups about their bodies that I do, but I find it hard to believe that ALL or even MOST of the OP’s coworkers are thrilled to have to appear nearly naked in bathing suits in front of their colleagues, and to have to see the nearly naked bodies of the people they work with. I don’t know. Maybe I’m a giant prude but this trip seems like the WORST.

            1. El*

              I’m not prudish at all and I feel the same way. Can you imagine if a coworker came up and asked if you could put sunscreen on their back? I’m dying inside just thinking about it.

            2. KoiFeeder*

              I get how you feel. I don’t even wear shorts because it’s either unwanted comments on my braces or unwanted comments on my wonky joints. The idea of fielding questions about my body from coworkers is not a pleasant one.

        2. CoveredInBees*

          I have zero related medical issues, love the beach, and am fine with being in a bikini in public and I *still* find this to be an awful concept. Vacation is to get away from work and everyday stuff. Even if we’re not talking about the new teapot models of the year, I’m still with colleagues. Also, with two young children and a special needs dog, I’d end up having to go on my own while my partner stayed with them. Sure, I wouldn’t mind solo time but it wouldn’t be on my schedule and it wouldn’t actually be solo. Yet another reason to have morale boosting trips within normal business hours.

      4. Massmatt*

        Vendors are basically paying for access to you at these kinds of events. They are hoping to continue schmoozing etc in the “free time”. Mediocre sales people will try to sell sell sell during that Everglades trip, better ones will use the time to build up their relationship and get to know their customers.

        How was this trip described/pitched, did they actually say day two was “do whatever you want” or did they say “day two: golf and an excursion to the Everglades”? If they described it as free time and are getting huffy when you treat it as free then that’s on them. If they had a plan for you and you are taking the trip and avoiding the schmooze then that’s gaming the system.

        My company has vendors come in and pitch products and buy lunch for the staff periodically, and if you eat the lunch you are expected to sit through the pitch. Attending these lunches is not mandatory, but the understanding is there is a tit for tat.

  2. Heidi*

    For LW1: I get why boss wants everyone to go; he gets to feel good about himself by seeing employees enjoy his largesse. Giving people days off doesn’t allow him to bask in it nearly as much. The failure to accept health and financial reasons for not going on the trip is way out of line, though. I would wonder if this is the kind of boss who pushes back on medical accommodations and taking sick days and the like.

    For LW4, I think the requests will taper off over time. It’s only been a couple of weeks since they left. I do recall there was a past post where an employer was calling the LW months after they left, but that is really unusual.

    1. Keymaster of Gozer*

      I’m somewhat notorious for refusing to attend company ‘holidays’ because they’re a heck of a stress on me. Not only do I have to manage my health issues, get enough medications, make sure those medications are legal to take with me.. but I also know I’ll be a wreck afterwards because it’ll remove the alone time I desperately need to deal with people.

      2 managers have in the past tried to make this hard. One declared the break would in fact help my health issues as she was going to have everyone ‘eating healthy and doing exercise’ (nope. She was a notorious fat shamer too. She hated me). The other said that if I couldn’t handle X days of socialising constantly with staff then I was unsuitable for full time employment (utter rubbish. I was promoted to manager a year later).

      Some managers seem to think any ‘gift’ offered by them MUST be accepted enthusiastically by all or else it’s a personal insult. Coping with managers like that is something I’m still trying to improve.

      1. Mary*

        >>One declared the break would in fact help my health issues as she was going to have everyone ‘eating healthy and doing exercise’

        Like, not exactly making it subtle that it’s an opportunity for management to exercise more control over you disguised as “holiday”! How horrifying.

    2. Pungara*

      Yeah, if it’s a beach vacation, that’s not what some people want to do. Some don’t swim. Some are predisposed to cancers. Some are like me, predisposed to cancer, allergic to suntan lotions (yes, I’ve tried over 100, so please no suggestions), and so light I burn after minutes in the sun.

      He is more concerned with basking in his generosity than actual being generous. He’s performing the role of a generous, caring boss without actually being one.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer*

        That’s a point I’ll borrow next time someone tries to rope me into going to the beach!

        (My meds make me very sensitive to light, so I’m pale as death and burn so very easily)

      2. Aquawoman*

        Commiserating–the smell of chemical sunscreen triggers migraines for me, so even if I use a mineral one, I’d be surrounded by sunscreen smell and it would make me ill.

        1. Keymaster of Gozer*

          I need to test this, because I thought it was just the sun causing me migraines but if sunscreen can cause them too it might explain a lot. (Sincerely, thank you)

      3. Quill*

        Some people just don’t wanna shave in order to “have fun” with coworkers.

        (Did I purposefully shave my legs on new year’s eve so I could tell people I haven’t shaved since last decade? Yes, but that’s my problem.)

        1. Simonthegreywarden*

          I promise you I would not shave and would just let my coworkers watch the wind waft through my years-long downy leg hair, the way evolution intended.

      4. Tidewater 4-1009*

        To offer some encouragement: I live near a beach and haven’t worn a swimsuit in 20 years.
        Since I currently live only a block away, I occasionally walk over to the beach with my friend who lives here. Fully clothed, usually in coats, we enjoy the scenery.
        No one has pressured me to go sunbathing in decades. It is possible to avoid this. :)

    3. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      I agree with your statement about #1 with one minor change…if this is not any type of work related activity, then boss should accept ANY reason for an employee not going – not just health or financial related. The thought of spending a weekend away with my co-workers is my personal hell. I don’t enjoy fake socializing, and I need alone time.

      1. Heidi*

        Agreed – people should be able to opt out for any reason. I opt out of work events a lot because I just don’t want to go. I think that pushing back against health or financial reasons shows a special kind of unreasonable, though. A lot of people are aggressive fun-pushers, but they will back off for reasons like this. The fact that this boss isn’t stopping is just a larger, redder, wavier flag for me.

      2. whingedrinking*

        Exactly. If it’s a reward for a job well done, then give everybody two days off, paid, with the option of going on the trip. If it’s an optional-but-encouraged team-building work activity, then it needs to be phrased as such even if some people enjoy it. I mean, I’m looking forward to going to a big teaching conference in my field this year, but my employer doesn’t pretend they’re sending me to relax and hang out.

    4. Zennish*

      I don’t think the boss’s desire to stroke their own ego should be justification for force-feeding “fun” to people who don’t find this sort of thing fun, regardless. Maybe I’m in the minority, but extra time with my coworkers, lovely people though they are, isn’t high on my “fun” list.

    5. Stormy Weather*

      I get why boss wants everyone to go; he gets to feel good about himself by seeing employees enjoy his largesse. Giving people days off doesn’t allow him to bask in it nearly as much.

      That’s how it looks to me too. Personally, I don’t want to be on a vacation where I don’t make the plans or at least collaborate on the planning. Plus, when people need decompression time it usually includes being away the coworkers and the boss.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer*

        Boss: ‘What would be a good relaxing holiday we could give you in appreciation for your hard work?’

        Me: ‘one where my email and phone are switched off, I don’t have to interact with anyone from work and I can sit at home and play video games’

        (No boss has ever taken me up on that idea though…)

        1. Heidi*

          I once told my sister that she should ask for negative 5 things as her bonus, meaning that she could take any 5 things she wanted off her plate (there were like a billion unimportant things on this plate already). She didn’t think that would go over well either. Some bosses really expect you to be thrilled to be doing all this work for them.

        2. Cinnamon*

          I’ve started putting my phone on do not disturb during holidays. I still get the call/message but no notification so I don’t hear my phone at all. The only exception are a few family members for emergencies. Granted, when there is an event going on I don’t do this and I’m still guilty of checking emails. Trying to break the habit but maybe I’ll lock my phone away for a whole weekend instead!

        3. Chinookwind*

          There is something about video games that “responsible adults” don’t see as a relaxing behaviour for other, responsible adults. I had one religious ed teen who gave me an end of year gift and apologized for it being a (nice) candle but her mom wouldn’t let her buy the Nintendo gift card like she wanted to. I looked at the mom and said that would have been an assume gift because the kids knew I referred to various video games in class as metaphors. The mom, who knew me in other circumstances, was shocked.

          In other words, it really can be relaxing spending the day causing mushroom genocide or flashing ghosts, especially since it drastically lowers the chances if sunburn (until I can figure out how to wire the system to my deck)

          1. Quill*

            I like to spend a few hours sprawled in the light from my window trying to herd villagers in minecraft when possible, but I also have the ability to withstand sunlight.

          2. whingedrinking*

            I remember reading an article a few weeks ago by someone who was ruminating on the capitalism inherent in video games – not just paying for them, but the way we sink our labour into them, or something to that effect.
            I’m as big a fan of Marxist analysis as any other academic nerd, but even this made me want to bang my head against a wall. 1, the problem isn’t the labour, it’s the alienation from the product of your labour, and 2, if you don’t like video games just don’t play them, you don’t have to make a whole thing out of it.

      2. Massmatt*

        It’s reminding me of the letter not long ago from someone whose company outing to their CEO’s estate (I believe they had a vineyard, and stables) consisted of sitting and watching as these rich executives gave each other expensive gifts. Sorry, watching oblivious douchebags exchange yacht keys is not a fun outing.

    6. Richard Hershberger*

      Yes, these mandatory fun activities often make much more sense if viewed as an opportunity for the big boss to bask in his own benevolence in front of his patrons. The other usual rationalizations are at best magical thinking, the classic being that teams that function well often socialize together outside the workplace, so forcing a dysfunctional team to socialize will improve it. This at best is confused about the direction of causation.

      1. Richard Hershberger*

        Whoops! His peons, not his patrons. Though if he has patrons, letting observe how beloved he is among his peons might be good, too.

  3. Maria Lopez*

    LW4- To get your manager friend off the hook, ask her for your former boss’s number and call boss using a burner phone or a computer generated number like Google voice, ONE TIME only. If you initiate the call you can control it better.

    1. Random IT Guy*

      I was about to suggest : create a throwaway email address (gmail or similar) just for this purpose.
      A phone call works as well – but the added benefit of a mail address is :
      – you can reply in your own time and pace (so not ‘on the spot’)
      – you can set an auto-reply with some (check out if the one you are looking at has that option) indicating that after a certain date ‘this mail address no longer is in use’.
      – you have things in “black and white” – if questions become more than just “what was the location of document XYZ again” you can push back and say that this would cost more time to fully answer, and you simply do not have the time / would need to discuss compensation etc.

      And of course – you can easily abandon / close this mailbox if it gets too much.

      1. AdAgencyChick*

        Yup. Check the special email address once a week, if that. “Oh, sorry, didn’t see this!” By then ex-boss will likely have found an alternate solution. It’s amazing how resourceful people can become when their favorite crutch isn’t there.

        1. Marthooh*

          Agree, except: be upfront about checking in once a week only; or rather, just do it, without explanation. There’s no need to make excuses! If Oldboss complains, tell her you’re focused on your new job.

          I also agree with Maria Lopez that it’s best to put yourself in control of the first contact, for the sake of your friend if not a future reference from Oldboss. And after sending the new email address, you can do a single reply to multiple queries: “Llama-soothing music, ribbon repair, and hoof ointment are all searchable in the documentation :)”

      2. Dave*

        I taught business education in a large urban public school district for over 30 years. I was forced transferred into a school who did not want me and make my life miserable and I did nothing to change their minds. I did my job and got out of Dodge at the end of the day. At the end of the year I cleaned up the hard drives on my class set of computers and reset all of the passwords. Usually there is a quick debriefing before summer break, but I was ignored. September comes and I’m getting frantic phone calls for passwords. I picked up the phone, listened to the request and answered brusquely, “youmustbekidding”. My new principal calls me to his office (he knew the back story) and nicely requests the password. He is still laughing about the irony.

    2. Goldfinch*

      This is exactly the type of thing that Google voice is great for. One-off aggravations (and resumes that get sent into cyberspace) always get my Google voice number.

      Also, CVS, because why won’t they stop calling me three times per day? No matter, they can dial Voice all damned day and I can stop plotting to throw flaming rocks through their pharmacy window.

      1. Cardsfan*

        “Also, CVS, because why won’t they stop calling me three times per day? No matter, they can dial Voice all damned day and I can stop plotting to throw flaming rocks through their pharmacy window.”

        1. That Girl from Quinn's House*

          “We noticed you are taking Drug X. Many people who take Drug X benefit from taking Drug Y with it. Would you like us to call your doctor to ask for prescription for Drug Y? If yes, text back YES.”

        2. Massmatt*

          OMG I finally managed to turn this off (I had to switch to text) but they would call ALL THE TIME. They called me during the Super Bowl!

        3. KoiFeeder*

          If the pharmacy doesn’t have a certain amount of calls/texts, refill requests, 90-day prescriptions, etc. regarding each customer, corporate penalizes them. On the other hand, one CVS got around corporate by just lying to everyone about my prescriptions, which could’ve gotten me killed.

      2. Artemesia*

        We have done everything we can to stop those notifications and yet we were awakened at 3 am in Paris by calls from CVS; after that I always turned off the ringer — but had forgotten that one night. And once they called and left the line open for 20 minutes which we had to pay about $15 or so for. One drawback of using your regular phone when traveling is that you have to pay for calls you don’t want.

    3. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      I don’t think that’s necessary. OP’s friend needs to stand firm and tell former manager that they will not share OP’s contact information. Part of giving a 2 week notice is so the person leaving can transition all work and it sounds like OP did a good job documenting everything properly. If former manager chose to not take advantage of this time, then that’s completely on them. Unless the company wants to pay them a contracting fee, OP owes the company nothing. It sucks that their manager friend is stuck in the middle, but that’s on friend to speak up and be direct.

      1. Marthooh*

        It’s quite possible that the friend has been direct about this. And if OP #4 wants to keep that friendship, setting up a new email to communicate with Oldboss is an easy favor to do. Then OP can stand firm, or send a weekly “It’s all in the documentation!” message, or whatever.

        1. valentine*

          if OP #4 wants to keep that friendship, setting up a new email to communicate with Oldboss is an easy favor to do. Then OP can stand firm
          Shifting the burden onto OP4 isn’t a friendly move.

    4. Justme, the OG*

      I transferred colleges at a university. It’s been two months and the emails have finally died down. I used to answer them right away (Pavlovian response) but then I started waiting a few hours to respond. And then I filtered them to a folder and waited even longer to respond.

  4. Daffy Duck*

    Interns: As long as you keep the PDA away from your work site and off of work hours you will be fine. Canoodling at the building during the work day (even if it is at your lunch break) doesn’t look professional. Eating lunch together is fine as long as all body parts are kept to yourself and no mushy language.

    1. CastIrony*

      And don’t spend longer than your break allows (i.e. spending an hour and ten minutes on an hour break). It’s hard, I know.

  5. Noname*

    LW2, I agree with Alison that there is no need to tell others since you aren’t their direct manager. That being said, I wouldn’t blame you if you favored working with others on inter-team assignments if given the choice. No point in wasting time and resources on them unless they show that they will stick around this time.

    1. andy*

      Thay sort of apparent favoring some will affect teamwork and culture in negative way. People will try to guess why it is so comming up with random concussion and acting on them.

      Worst, they will mimic the behavior whenever they will dislike someone for random reason – how leader seem to act is reflected on how people under act.

      I guess it does not matter if teamwork does not matter, but if it does be careful. All the other people are watching and learning.

      1. Mookie*

        Yeah, their employer has not given LW the authority to unilaterally sideline or isolate a peer, nor prioritize “resources” in this way. Doing so would immediately harm the LW’s standing once this kind of meddling is detected by others, not to mention undercut their credibility if they decide to “expose” this colleague’s (perfectly normal) professional history down the line. The LW also has no idea how well this colleague may be regarded in this organization, who her allies and supporters might be; again, this is ripe for foot-shooting.

    2. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

      This seems a bit vindictive. This person presumably tried to do the job in good faith and followed the usual conventions of leaving a job, it was just unfortunate timing from the OP’s point of view. Would the OP feel this way if they had left after two years? Six months? Because of some major life event? Trying to sideline this person because of circumstances that may no longer apply seems like holding a grudge unnecessarily.

      1. snowglobe*

        I’m not sure they ‘followed the usual conventions of leaving a job’. If I read that story correctly, the employee just left with no notice? (“this employee came in and said job not for me and left.”)

        No, I don’t think the LW should sideline the employee or take any action, but if that is really how they quit, I can certainly understand why the LW was upset with them.

        1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

          “Was upset” I understand. I don’t get the still upset. This was 4ish years ago (2016) in what sounds like an entry level/early career role in the industry. People mess up in many ways in new jobs that are bad fits for them. Now old/new coworker is now a peer, not a report, so their roles are different and hopefully both have gained additional experience and professionalism in the past 4 years. Make like Eliza and let it go, LW

            1. Marthooh*

              Eliza = typo for Elsa, character in the Disney movie Frozen, sang a song called Let It Go, which was a huge hit.

      2. Jean*

        Yes, this is 100% a personal grudge based on the LW having to do an unforeseen higher volume of work over a period of months. OP, do not let your personal grudge affect your professionalism. It’s a really bad look. And it’s probably time to just get over it altogether. LET IT GOOOOOOOO, LET IT GOOOOO

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          This. It is a terrible look, very green skin paint and hand-rubbing while you chortle that at last Drusilla has come back under your sphere of influence. No one working with you will find that a positive.

          (Anyone that does is thrilled that you and she can start the company’s chapter of the Mean Girl Club, and you should leave a person-shaped hole in the wall as you flee her delighted “Team Vengeance” T-shirt planning.)

          1. andy*

            It is terrible look for good reasons – when you are retaliating years after in new job, especially as manager, you are putting grounds for toxic culture to appear. Meaning, when I hear this I care less about how that one manager look or whether she shoot herself in the foot. I worry more about people having to work under such person and about company that is about to enter new passive aggressive drama.

      3. Jennifer*

        I didn’t read it as holding a grudge. We talk a lot here about people handling things in an unprofessional way and burning bridges. That’s exactly what this employee did. I don’t get why so many people here seem to have their hair on fire about an OP having reservations about working with someone who handled this situation so poorly.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          Having reservations inside one’s head = normal.

          Having reservations shared with a supervisor because of the gravity of the situation = strikes people as weird and not neutral or non-grudgy, and we assume the supervisor will react thusly.

          It would be one thing to weigh in pre-hiring; quite different if OP appears to have a vendetta against an existing employee based on a mild incident four years ago. People have given similar advice to someone who was about to be in contact again with a coworker who in the past had Done Them Wrong (I don’t remember what, but worse than this) and was planning to deliver the cut direct in any meeting, and people were uniformly “NooOOOooooOOOO that is going to come across as a you thing, and everyone will label you the problem.”

        2. Jean*

          OP can have all the reservations they want, but their question was about whether they should discuss the issue with their director. Is it really that hard to understand why they should not do that?

          1. Jennifer*

            Well, then I guess I should clarify my comment. No, actually it’s not hard for me to understand your opinion. I just disagree with it.

            1. Jean*

              OK. Out of curiosity, what’s your reasoning for thinking that OP sharing this information with their director is a good idea?

        3. MCMonkeyBean*

          But nothing the employee did was unprofessional. They took a job, then realized it wasn’t the right job for them. If they have not otherwise shown a history of job hopping there isn’t anything objectively wrong with that. Punishing them for it now would only serve to create a self-fulfilling prophecy where you treat them differently than everyone else because you’re worried they will leave, and then they leave because of how you treat them.

              1. Dream Jobbed*

                I also got the feeling it was a quit without notice situation, but it’s not totally clear.

                I had an employee do that once. No reason for it, he was just a bad employee in so many ways. No way would I want to work with him again. And no, I would never trust him because of behavior like that. However, if he HAD given 2 weeks notice I still would not have wanted to work with him again, because he said some scary things.

                If this was a normal person, and they gave notice, I would never mention it. Sometimes jobs don’t work out. (In fact, if they tried hard I’d probably make an extra effort to support them towards success this time. Not hold a grudge because of when they left.)

                Honestly, I think we need to know whether notice was given or not.

    3. Conundrum*

      Thanks for the advise! I am LW2.

      My current job is also a sales job. I manage a team. To explain further, the company is divided into directorate groups. Each directorate group has roughly ten teams with each team having roughly ten sales people. Each manager covers for other teams when needed. The likelihood of direct contact is imminent as the person moved to a team in my directorate group 2/1.

      The person leaving was unfortunate, but I understand a job is not for everyone. How this this person left was very unprofessional as no notice was given at all. What I did not include in original post was issues with this individuals performance. Sales is not for everyone.

      I am perfectly okay with saying nothing at all and just letting things stand as they are. I do not want this to effect any team dynamics or this individuals performance.

      My gut is telling me to inform my director of previous employment contact without any further information. This is to make sure if an issue does arise, director will be knowledgeable of situation.

      Due to the nature of my job, contact is going to happen soon. Covering for another manager means working directly with that team as a group and individual basis. It is very intense and can be hands on (not micromanaging but assisting.)

      I enjoy my job and work hard at meeting all goals.

      1. Mookie*

        Randomly saying “I knew this person, btw” mysteriously will definitely get you the attention you want. You are dying to tell everybody what his person did to you; it’d be better for you if you just admit that and then make a plan to resist the urge to do so. Convincing yourself, as you do here, that you are simply waiting for her to fail might make that decision easier for you.

        Again, the non-sequitur remark to your director is simply a more passive way of doing the same inadvisable thing; you have to know that it will pique their curiosity so that they have to ask directly for more information* and/or poison the well for this employee by insinuating she is awful or questionable but giving yourself plausible deniability about orchestrating it by having omitted details. The thing about sharing these details is that, as you’ve seen belowthread, not everyone agrees with you that what this employee did is so objectionable or disqualifying. You get to have your cake and eat it, too, if you can warn people about her but not actually let them gauge for themselves if your warnings have merit.

        *wondering how the director can be both “knowledgable of the situation” and starved of details

        1. Conundrum*

          My comment was to convey to my director that I previously managed employee. That is the context. I have no desire to warn or otherwise poison anyone with regard to this employee. I have no desire for the employee to fail. If anything, the better my directorate group does has an impact on upward potential for me and income.

          What happened in 2016 is done and over. My director is not HR, but the director does decide the make up of teams. All I want to convey is that I previously managed employee. I am not obligated to provide details of departure or performance nor would I. I left previous company in 2018.

          1. Mookie*

            And as I say, telling the director that, unprompted, is clearly an attempt on your part to solicit further inquiry, because people don’ t make such pointed comments without good reason. Your question to Alison made it seem like you intended to unburden yourself to the director and wanted advice about how to do so; now you’re rehearsing in your head an “honorable” performance, where you nobly resist your directors’s questions on the matter because you would never do such a thing. I must admit, I don’t get it.

            1. Scout Finch*

              Alison asks that we take letter writers at their word. Conundrum has stated their position. Believe them.

              1. EOA*

                Allison has also said that LW should say nothing about the new employee, which is advice Conundrum is now saying she’ll ignore.

                She may believe she is doing this to be above-board, but it is reasonable for readers to wonder why she’s so intent on ignoring Allison’s advice.

                1. TootsNYC*

                  unless something tells us different, commenters here tend to default to the universal “she” (just as in olden days, writers often defaulted to the universal “he”)

                2. Zoe Karvounopsina*

                  @wittyrepartee Site etiquette is to assume posters are women unless otherwise stated, in the same way that other sites assume posters are men unless otherwise stated.

                3. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  To clarify because this comes up a lot: there’s no site rule on this. I personally default to “she” when gender is unknown, but no one else is required to do so. Some commenters have picked it up themselves though.

              2. Observer*

                We take posters at their word when they don’t say things that immediately raise questions. So, I take the OP at their word that their former employee / current colleague was poor at their job. We also should try to avoid fan-fic type expansions of what the OP’s tell us, but sometimes there are relevant points that come up.

                I think that that’s what is going on now. The OP is saying that they want one thing, but their behavior and what they suggest is actually a fair bit different, although it’s not clear to me that they recognize that.

              3. surprisecanuk*

                The issue is that the LW doesn’t seem to realize that there will be or could be follow up questions. What will the LW do? Refuse to answer them, lie, or change the subject? What is the goal behind telling the director? Is she afraid that it will come out later? This employee will mess up again or quit without notice. The director finds out and they get in trouble? Or are they trying to punish the employee for quitting without notice?

          2. Dream Jobbed*

            If the situation was that the company was interviewing this former employee, would anyone feel that Conundrum would not have a right to bring this situation to the hiring supervisor?

      2. Detective Amy Santiago*

        Is the work that you’re doing now similar enough to the work at the previous job? If so, and if that person is relatively new to the new company, I think it could make sense to mention “Jane worked for me for a few months at Widgets Inc and found the position didn’t suit her”.

      3. Coyote Tango*

        Out of curiosity, what was the standard notice your former company gave before terminating employees?

        1. Conundrum*

          The employee was not fired. The standard for resigning was two weeks notice and was included in the employee handbook.

          1. Schnookums Von Fancypants, Naughty Basic Horse*

            But does your company also provide two weeks when they terminate employees? Or is the expectations of two weeks only on the employee and not the employer?

              1. Schnookums Von Fancypants, Naughty Basic Horse*

                I’m not unsympathetic to the LW’s situation at all, I’d like to stress. But if you don’t want that sort of thing to happen, then the solution is to lobby against At-will employment and the power imbalance therein. Well, not really the solution since it’s not likely something that will change, to be fair.

                1. Coyote Tango*

                  Absolutely, and systemic change is obviously the best.

                  However, LW is the one holding a grudge of this four years later and wrote in to ask for advice, and here we are.

                  My advice is to look at the disparity in the system and come to terms with the fact that you wouldn’t feel bad if your company had done that to this employee, but are holding a grudge because she did it to you.

            1. Conundrum*

              For termination, it depends on the circumstances. We had a performance plan procedure in place. If the question is would two weeks be given for termination, that is difficult to answer.

              I think the question you are asking is if we are obligated to give two weeks notice for termination. The answer to that question is no obligation to do.

              I understand the relevance to the question, I would add that the terms of employment and any stipulations are given to all employees as a handbook that they sign a form for.

          2. Yvette*

            But the standard for resigning was not the question. How much notice would that company give someone that they terminated?

          3. Jean*

            I think the point that commenter was making was that it’s odd to be so incredibly hung up on the previous employee quitting without notice. Was it unprofessional? Yes. But you are no longer this person’s manager. What happened in the past is not relevant to your current position vis-a-vis this person. It’s time for you to move on from this and accept that you are not going to get payback for them inconveniencing you 4 years ago. Focus on doing what you need to do to work with them effectively now, in the present. Your director will not care about what happened 4 years ago and will question your judgment in bringing it up.

          4. Ask a Manager* Post author

            For what it’s worth, when someone is very new and quitting, it doesn’t always make sense to give two weeks. If they’re still being trained, it doesn’t make sense to stay two more weeks. There are other situations where someone might rightly not give two weeks notice — harassment that the company isn’t addressing, abusive conditions, a personal emergency that requires them to leave immediately, etc. I have no idea if any of those apply here, but two weeks is a courtesy, not an absolute obligation. And I do think it’s true that if you’re holding it against her to this degree, you do need to factor in that had you fired her so early in her tenure, you likely wouldn’t have given two weeks notice.

            Those are all side issues though. The bigger issue is that this just doesn’t rise to the level of something that you need to flag for other people in your workplace.

      4. EventPlannerGal*

        I think the only team dynamic you should be thinking about, based on present information, is whether *you* can work professionally with this person as you should. You’re holding on to something that happened four years ago that really is part of your job as a manager to deal with – people quit on short notice, people get offered better jobs, people have family emergencies or health problems or just don’t like working for your company very much. You don’t have to go around telling people they’re the most wonderful committed employee you’ve ever had, but it’s odd to be so intent on raising this issue years down the line. I think that it will come across – as it does here, honestly – as some kind of attempt at payback for inconveniencing you years ago.

        1. Risha*


          The OP is acting like the kind of bad boss that people write eyebrow-raising letters to Alison about, and now I’m wondering what the employee’s side of quitting without notice was.

      5. Sara without an H*

        No, Conundrum. Resist the urge to say anything at all.

        I understand that you still feel burned about this. (And you do feel burned. It’s coming through in your original post and subsequent comments.) You really need to make sure that your dislike of this person doesn’t affect your interactions with her, because letting your resentment show in any way will do you more harm that it will do her.

        I suppose, if you must, that some remark like, “Flighty McScatterbrain? Yeah, I knew her briefly when I worked at Amalgamated Teapot Sales” would do no harm. But anything along the lines of “Flighty McScatterbrain? I managed her at Amalgamated Teapot Sales. She never got up to speed on the job, then quit without notice right before the rush season,” only serves to poison your director’s mind against this person. And it won’t make you look especially good, either.

        So keep this information to yourself. When you “make contact” with “Flighty” (and I really wonder about this choice of words), be professional. It’s been four years and who knows — this person may have matured a lot and be doing outstanding work.

      6. Observer*

        Your gut is still looking for excuses to get this former employee in trouble.

        What is useful or actionable about your “previous employment contact without any further information”? If you mean “CW worked for me in a previous position”, the answer is absolutely NOTHING. You know that. SO what’s the point? On the other hand if what you mean is “CW worked for me in a previous job, they didn’t do a good job and left after 4 months with no notice” with no additional information, what real information are you really giving them? To me it sounds like a transparent attempt to poison the well against this person, rather than a genuine attempt to provide useful information.

        This is NOT useful information. There is no way this information can actually help the Director manage this person better, or handle any issues if they do arise. The ONLY thing it can accomplish is to make the Director think negatively about this person. If you’re hoping that it gives you cover when you act unprofessionally with person or their team, DO NOT COUNT ON IT! It’s likely to backfire on you in a spectacular fashion.

        Keep your mouth shut, and make sure that all of your behavior around and with this person is TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY professional. Be more careful than with other people because your gut is already pushing you to justify behavior that is not appropriate, and which could backfire on you.

      7. Observer*

        I’d like to point something out. Based on what you say here, and your other comments in this sub thread, it’s pretty clear that you are vastly over-reacting to this person’s leaving. By your own account, they were not terribly good at the job. Why on earth would you expect them to stay on?

        Yes, it was inconvenient for you, but it’s pretty clear that you / your employer would not have worried about inconvenience to your employee if the decision to terminate had been made, even a decision to terminate without notice. Just because you stated a policy to them does not make your convenience more valuable and important than your employee’s. So the moral umbrage at the inconvenience is just out of line.

        Leaving without notice was unprofessional. But given your attitude, I have to ask what would have been the blowback to any employee who gave two weeks notice? Allison talks a a lot about appropriate notice periods. One thing that she mentions a lot is that if an employer has a habit of either pushing people out or otherwise penalizing people when they give notice, they lose standing to complain when people don’t give notice.

        Worst case, you have someone at the beginning of their career who did something unprofessional. But given how you’ve held on to the grudge and are still trying to make it matter years later in another workplace, I think there is good reason to believe that the guy was worried about your reaction so didn’t stay around for it.

      8. valentine*

        My gut is telling me to inform my director of previous employment contact without any further information. This is to make sure if an issue does arise, director will be knowledgeable of situation.
        Is your concern that, if the person turns out to be a problem, the director will blame you for not saying they previously worked for you?

        I think it’s weird not to mention you already know each other, but agree it’s just going to lead to questions.

      9. NotAnotherManager!*

        So, you had someone who was underperforming. You acknowledge sales is “not for everyone”, which seems to indicate this employee was, as the employee themselves said, not a good fit for them. What value were you going to get out of another two weeks from this person? They’re not good at their job, but having them there for a busy period was critical? That doesn’t make sense.

        In an ideal world, they would have offered two weeks’ notice, but it’s possible they saw the writing on the wall and were trying to avoid being fired, that they were younger and less mature about business norms, that they felt ill-treated by your company and didn’t feel you were owed two weeks, or some relative gave them bad advice like you don’t have to give a sales job two weeks because they’re going to walk you out before you steal the company list anyway – it doesn’t seem like we really know their reason, so it’s impossible to know if they’re flaky in a way that should cause present concern or if it was a one-off.

        As a boss, giving someone you haven’t worked with in four years AND only worked with a few month the benefit of the doubt is the best course of action. Thank goodness the people I worked with when I was young and stupid didn’t hold some of those things against me.

      10. Conundrum*

        Reading all the comments has been painful and enlightening. At first it felt very personal. After reflection, I realized each comment gave me what I was missing.

        I posted here as a way to get professional advice for my personal conundrum. Here I was able to be anonymous and ensure the employee remained so. As I previously stated, my family and friends had a negative views. Discussing the situation with anyone associated with my job has the potential of causing a negative impact.

        I thank you all for your honesty and I hope each poster realizes the impact they have. The details are only important to me and would require sharing too much information here. The dilemma is the same.

    4. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Big assumption there. OP2 didn’t say this is a training for NEW hires. For all we know, this could be where that person has been since 2016.

      1. Conundrum*

        My comment was to convey to my director that I previously managed employee. That is the context. I am not warning or otherwise poisoning anyone with regard to this employee. I have no desire for the employee to fail. If anything, the better my directorate group does had an impact on upward potential for me and income.

        What happened in 2016 is done and over. My director is not HR, but the director does decide the make up of teams. All I want to convey is that I previously managed employee. I am not obligated to provide details of departure or performance nor would I.

        I left previous company in 2018. This employee started in a training class in September of 2019.

        1. Colette*

          I don’t really see a benefit to communicating that you previously managed the employee. It’s just not relevant. How do you think knowing that you previously managed the employee would help your director?

          1. Antilles*

            Agreed. If anything, it’s entirely possible to go the other way, that it would actually be a negative for you. Leaving a job with no notice isn’t great, but it’s also common enough that there’s a decent chance the boss would wonder why you’re so hung up on this four years and at least one (or more?) job changes later.

        2. Observer*

          And? Stop angling for a way to make your colleague look bad. You know that telling the whole story is not going to make you look good. But understand that what you are thinking of could make you look just as bad. It’s quite transparent.

          You: Manager, I just want you to know that I managed CW 4 years ago.
          Manager: So?
          You: Oh, nothing. I just thought you should know.
          Manager: Why? Was there anything I need to know? And outrageous behavior?
          You: No, no! I can’t talk about it.
          Manager: Look, if this guy did something really bad, I need to know about it!
          You: No, no! I’m not trying to get anyone into trouble!
          You: >walks away< (Also, mission accomplished)

          I get it, you probably have not consciously thought it through so carefully. But really, although I wouldn't expect this exact dialogue, what else do you really expect to happen?

          1. Ethyl*

            Yup yup yup. My therapist and Captain Awkward both often ask — what’s the outcome you are hoping for with your proposed course of action? It sounds like Conundrum is not clear on their own mind about what it is they want (or not being honest with themselves perhaps). It might help to ask themselves that question.

    5. my2centsz*

      I dunno, I’m kinda with OP on this one. It’s unprofessional to leave right after onboarding, especially for a sales role. OP is under no obligation to keep this secret for the person. Agree that you can’t/shouldn’t take it personally, but no reason to conceal the facts of what happened. I think it would be fine to say to HR or their manager “I managed them in the past. Unfortunately, they left shortly after completing training.” It’s good info for the company to have to help them decide how much to invest in this person. Best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.

      1. Dust Bunny*

        Nah, it’s been four years. The LW has no idea what else may have gone on in this person’s life since then, and she only knows about one job that didn’t turn out well (and doesn’t offer explanations other than assuming the person is a flake. If the person was young and inexperienced at the time, if management was bad, or the place was understaffed/overworked, etc., for example). But she’s not the person’s direct manager so unless the person did something really worrisome–assaulted a coworker, say–it’s petty and vindictive to bring this up. Leaving without notice is, yeah, unprofessional, but hardly earth-shattering.

      2. EventPlannerGal*

        I don’t think they’re obliged to keep it a secret and they would have been justified in bringing it up during the hiring process if they had been asked, but they evidently weren’t. The person was presumably interviewed, reference-checked and seemed to be a good fit for this job. If OP is going to bring it up at this stage I think they need to be direct about why they think this is important – does OP think they make a habit of this? Were they unreliable/unprofessional in other ways? Is OP still so upset by what happened that they can’t work with this person again?

        Right now they seem to think that they can just drop “I worked with this person in 2016.” on their manager, no context no backstory no further questions, and thereby achieve… something? It’s wishy-washy. Say what you mean.

        1. Colette*

          Yes, it would have been good information during the hiring process, and could have been enough for someone else to have been hired – but it’s too late for that now.

      3. EOA*

        No one is suggesting that the LW “keep it a secret.” It’s strange to even frame it that way. What Allison and others, including me, are suggesting is that the LW’s desire to talk about it has more to do with her own feelings about what happened. But what happened wasn’t that unusual or that big of a deal – a job didn’t work out and someone left in short order – for the LW to make more of it than it is. It’s not like the co-worker embezzled money or left in an abusive blaze of glory (at least, not according to the details here). Essentially, the LW could hurt her own reputation more because she looks like she’s holding onto a years-old grudge that doesn’t really need to be a grudge.

        Sometimes jobs don’t work out. It doesn’t mean that in another role, the co-worker can’t work. If this job doesn’t work out for the co-worker, the company will probably figure that out without LW’s help. Why look like you are holding onto something and therefore look like you are holding a grudge if you don’t have to?

        1. boo bot*

          This was helpful framing for me, because I was getting stuck on “keep it a secret” vs. “tell the manager there’s a problem,” and feeling like there’s got to be a third option. I agree 100% that the LW shouldn’t talk to her manager about this the way she would if the employee had been let go for embezzlement, or harassment, or other serious issues.

          The reason “keep it a secret” was bugging me is just that it seems really strange to me *not* to say in passing, “oh, yeah, I worked with Jane a few years ago over at SkyNet,” or something, especially if she’s now going to be managing Jane. It feels like such an obvious yet trivial fact that not mentioning it at all would feel odd to me, just like in any situation it would be weird to be introduced you to someone you already know, and never say, “oh, we’ve met.”

          I re-read the post, though, and I can see how maybe there’s just nobody in management she would talk to in passing, meaning she would only mention Jane at all if there were a problem – in which case, yeah, leave it alone.

      4. mamma mia*

        I strongly disagree. Quitting a job that is not the right fit for you is not unprofessional in the slightest and it shouldn’t be treated as some dirty secret. People have the right to quit any job, at any time, for any reason, as long as they give their two weeks notice (if necessary). It sucks that OP had to pick up the slack but its beyond petty to take that out on the employee. OP should just let this go, it’s really none of their business at this point.

      5. anonymouslee*

        Maybe pre-hiring, but they’re already there.

        And no, they don’t have to “keep the secret,” but they don’t have to bring it up out of nowhere, either.

        1. nona*

          But…it’s not out of nowhere? There’s a new hire that LW#2 worked with previously. And presumably an announcement went out about a new hire. Isn’t that a pretty natural thing to say “Oh! I worked with New Person at a previous job. Our time there didn’t overlap much, though”

          1. anonymouslee*

            I very much doubt LW would approach it with the “oh, fancy that!” casual tone that would require. And presumably the announcement already went around, so that moment has passed anyway. Based on their other comments, LW doesn’t seem like they are waiting for a natural moment to mention it.

      6. Observer*

        In general that’s true. But there is just not enough information here for this to be relevant here.

        No one is suggesting that the OP *conceal* their previous relationship. If someone had asked them, I would totally say “tell them the truth – don’t embroider, but do say what happened”. But, that’s VERY different than approaching HR proactively.

    6. Observer*

      The thing is that the OP actually doesn’t have any real data to base such assumptions on. They don’t know why the employee left the first job (although I have to wonder if their management style has something to do with it). And they apparently know nothing about the hiring process that this former employee went through or why this job might be a match.

      So, assuming that this person really much more of a risk for leaving than others is just stupid. Trying to freeze someone you don’t have authority over in this way is going to make the OP look bad, not the employee.

    7. anonymouslee*

      Yikes. They didn’t do anything wrong by leaving a job that wasn’t right for them just because it was at an inconvenient time for the company, and there’s no reason to believe they’re a generally unreliable person.

    8. SheLooksFamiliar*

      ‘No point in wasting time and resources on them unless they show that they will stick around this time.’

      There is never a guarantee that an employee will ‘stick around’ for any specific time, unless they have an employment contract…and even those can be broken, under certain circumstances. Suggesting the OP ‘favor’ working with others isn’t helpful. People leave jobs and they shouldn’t be punished by being pushed aside in favor of other employees. Who, by the way, could also resign.

  6. Fikly*

    #1 – I’m surprised Allison didn’t pick up on this. It stops being a company trip when you have to pay for part of it out of pocket. That’s a huge problem, especially when combined with the shaming. Big red flag.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I didn’t get into that because it depends on what the OP means. If it means the company pays airfare and hotel but you have to pay for drinks or optional excursions while you’re there … eh, that’s not an obvious outrage. If it means you have to pay for your meals, I’d say it’s still not an outrage as long as there’s zero pressure to go (lots of people would be thrilled to have someone else pick up airfare and hotel costs for a fun destination), but once you add in the pressure to attend it’s not at all okay. But there are lots of variations and whether it’s a huge problem depends on the details. (But like I wrote in the answer, the shaming is bullshit.)

      1. Clementine*

        It also would not be a completely “free” trip if you have to get child care or pet care or elder care when you are gone.

        1. Scout Finch*

          +1000 – It takes logistics akin to invading a small country for me to take a 3 day trip to see family. Multiple creatures to be fed specific diets. I love my petsitter. She is the only reason I can go anywhere.

          1. NotAnotherManager!*

            Exactly. Until he passed away last month, my senior kitty had Special Needs, and we have never found a reliable pet sitter to handle them. (Have had nightmare experiences with pet sitters and only let a good friend or our neighbor do it after coming home to cats with no water that hadn’t been fed in days, and I would not ask either of them to pill Mr. SN nor give him SQ fluids.) I missed a few family trips to stay home with him and, before him, our other terminally-ill pet, because it was easier and less stressful than going.

        2. Guacamole Bob*

          Or if you haven’t been to the beach in years and don’t own appropriate clothing for hanging out at the beach and at a resort with coworkers. On my own I usually re-purpose gym shorts and wicking t-shirts on top of my bathing suit for sun protection along with a dorky hiking hat when I’m not actually in the water (I’m a woman who burns easily), but with coworkers I’d probably convince myself I needed to buy some more socially acceptable flowy linen beachy coverup type garment and a cute wide-brimmed sun hat. Plus my rugged sandals that were good for things like kayaking are losing their sole, so I’d need to buy a new pair. And if there’s snorkeling I need a new rash guard because my old one doesn’t fit anymore and even re-applying sunblock I got a truly awful sunburn snorkeling a number of years ago and now I won’t do it without full shirt and shorts coverage.

          Other kinds of vacation-style trips will cause similar issues for at least some participants. Not everyone has a pair of hiking boots in the closet or a week’s worth of resort casual clothing.

          1. espresso love*

            This is what I thought. When I had a sudden work event where I needed a suit (my job is business casual), I had to spend $200 with no notice at all. If I had to go to a beach or camping… I own nothing at all for that. Everything would have to be bought. That’s cash that isn’t going for my groceries.

      2. Pungara*

        Either the trip is a work event and treated as taxable compensation OR it is a taxable gift. The problem with either is that this could be thousands of dollars the recipients didn’t anticipate. For some people, even an extra $50 in taxes throws their budget. Some people do have a moral code which would require they report it. I’ve worked with people who report every cent b/c their religious faith requires it.

        Gifts like this should not be given unless the recipients know the score – the entire score – and agree ahead of time.

        Yes, it is possible that boss is not reporting this because it’s most likely below the annual gift tax exclusion. It’s still wrong.

        1. Morning Glory*

          If it’s considered a work trip, the expenses wouldn’t count as taxable compensation, only their time like normal.

          Plenty of people go on work trips in a given year and don’t get taxed for the tens of thousands of dollars the trips cost.

          1. Antilles*

            Yeah, especially since in this case, there’s an obvious business purpose of morale boosting, team communication, blah blah blah. There may not be a formal meeting or discussion component*, but in a group of co-workers, there’s inevitably going to be work-related chit chat because it’s the primary thing you have in common. So something like this falls into the work travel/work expenses bucket.
            *Though, in my experience, if nothing else, there’ll usually be some 5-10 minute rah-rah speech. Hey, since we’re all here for our group dinner, I wanted to quickly just let everyone know how much we appreciate your efforts, our employees are great and position us well for the future, really excited about where our new Chocolate Teapot Initiative, etc. Raise a glass for success in 2020!

        2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          It’s not taxable income. The company is writing it off as a business expense under employee relations. Your friends reporting this are paying taxes on something they’re not morally or legally required to do.

            1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

              It’s a misconception by some that ALL “gifts” are taxable.

              Some are, there’s a threshold as well, etc. If you’re gifted a vacation just you from the company, as an award, then that’s another ball of wax.

              HOWEVER this is not the case, this isn’t a gift. It’s a company sponsored morale booster/team bonding experience that’s covered under “stuff that is a business expense.”

              If I buy everyone lunch today, that’s a business expense. I sure the heck hope that these folks aren’t randomly adding their expensed lunches or taxis or lodging for a bona fide business sponsored trip to their tax returns.

              They mentioned religion? So I wonder if folks are also taking these things into account for their tithing and holy moley, that’s not anyone else’s business in the end.

      3. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        If OP’s coworker said she could not afford it, to me this says that she could not afford the bare bones; something that she cannot avoid spending money on during that trip. I mean it’s not like someone would be twisting her arm and force her to spend the money she doesn’t have on drinks and optional excursions.

        1. wittyrepartee*

          Or childcare and pet care during the vacation. Or drinks aren’t covered, but if you don’t drink everyone gives you side-eye.

        2. ...*

          Yeah I would love to know what is and isn’t covered. Its not totally unfeasible that they simply can’t afford a pet sitter and an uber to the airport. Hey, I’ve been there! Or is the boss asking them to pay for their hotels…More info needed…

    2. Doctor Schmoctor*

      I know somebody whose employer took all the staff to Zanzibar for a week, but only paid for flights and accommodation. The people had to pay for food and entertainment. Some of the employees were earning very low wages, so they were pretty much hungry during the whole trip, and they couldn’t do anything while they were there. Luckily this acquaintance of mine knew not to trust her bosses, so she didn’t go. She has enough stories about that place to keep this site busy for a year.

      1. WS*

        Yes, a similar thing happened to my brother – he works in tech where this kind of thing seems pretty common. They took the whole start-up on a big holiday to a resort for five days but only paid flights and accommodation (and they were dodgy about paying wages on time in the first place). Luckily breakfast was included, so at least everyone could stash a day’s food from the buffet! The final night had a big (paid for) feast and the boss was really pleased at how everyone was enjoying the local food!

        1. CastIrony*

          “everyone was enjoying the local food”.
          Some bosses. No one deserves to go hungry on a trip.

        2. Jennifer*

          Yes, people who have never been poor (or don’t remember what it’s like) forget about details like this. I don’t want to be stranded on some island with no money completely dependent on my boss’s whims for basic things like food. I don’t need a lot of entertainment. I’d be perfectly content on the beach all day with a good book. But a girl’s gotta eat.

        3. Quill*

          This place is like, the exact opposite of my ex boss, who really loved taking us to lunch so he could advise us all on how we should all eat more meat.

          (Yes, this is the same boss who got gar roe poisoning, same job that dealt with a sump pump full of pig biosamples, this job made part time vegetarianism increasingly easy.)

    3. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)*

      I think the crappiest thing here, which wasn’t addressed in the answer either, is that employees have to forego their annual bonus for this “perk”.

      In general, my experience is that about 75 percent of people see any sort of company retreat, even ones like this, as punishment homework.

      1. Amy*

        I’ve been on many of these types of trip, in addition to regular business trips. 75% seems very high to me. I’d say more like 20%.

      2. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)*

        My judgment may well be clouded by working for a number of dysfunctional organizations. Whatever it is exactly, the number of people out there who don’t want to vacation with their coworkers is significant, and my point stands that employees should still receive their normal monetary bonuses.

        1. Amy*

          All the ones I’ve been on are in lieu of regular work. I would never choose a vacation with colleagues over my regular vacation days. But when it’s instead of a work week and on top of regular vacations, it works for me.
          Though I agree, I’d rather have a bonus. At my company, there’s no connection between the two things.

          1. Washi*

            Yeah, my ranking of these would be:

            1. Bonus
            2. Company-paid vacation
            3. Working like normal

            I realize this is not everyone’s ranking! But I’ve liked my coworkers at most of my jobs and would be happy to go on a vacation with my husband where all we had to pay for was a petsitter and drinks, and it sounds like about 50% of OP’s coworkers feel the same. The big NO from me is on shaming/punishing people for not going, not for having this event happen every few years in the first place. (I also, gasp, don’t mind going to holiday parties!)

            1. Extroverted Bean Counter*

              I too am a freak (per AAM comment section standards) who likes being social with my colleagues and would be more than happy with an airfare + accommodations + PTO paid-for trip with them. I don’t get to go places ever, so an opportunity to go to a place and only have to pay for most of my food/drinks would be great. I’d even go without my husband so we didn’t have to find childcare!

              My rankings are similar to yours, if I had to choose. Bonus first. Subsidized vacation second. Regular work third.

              Shame never, of course.

        2. Richard Hershberger*

          It’s not even necessarily a matter of vacationing with my coworkers. I am very fond of my coworkers, and even my boss, and don’t consider time spent with them burdensome. But I doubt that my idea of a vacation matches well with theirs. Nothing where you might use the word “resort” interests me. I do a week at the beach with my extended family every year, but the beach is incidental to this, so far as I am concerned. We used to do it in a different location each time, then another generation of kids showed up and they love the beach, so we do it at the beach. If I were taking a vacation based solely on my interests, with would be of the museums-and-interesting-architecture variety. Send me to a “resort” with my coworkers and I get nothing out of it. I would sit and read the entire time, which is fine but I would rather do that at home and sleep in my own bed.

      3. EPLawyer*

        Yeah, no Christmas break to spend how you see fit like with family and friends. Nope, you must come on this mandatory fun trip instead. Where you hang out with your co-workers.

        Note to employers: People having no other friends than those they work with only happens on tv. The rest of us have lives outside of work.

        It’s not fun, it’s not a “bonus” if you are required to go and punished if you do not.

      4. Quill*

        Yeah, your bonus is

        “Spend money on logistics for this time off, spent with people who create stress”
        Or “no bonus, we’ve revoked some of your paid time off.”

        1. Quill*

          (The fact that people are being required to work if they don’t go is what makes me think this “vacation” is counting as PTO for some people, but it seems like that’s in addition to what they already get.)

      5. ...*

        A beach vacation with work people actually sounds fun to me, but I’d rather have the bonus. I think most people are always going to choose the cash over the trip. Not everyone. And I actually think this sounds fun! But if I am choosing, then no, I would take the $$ to help fund my upcoming wedding. Really, if they want to do the trip, they should do both on the trip year.

    4. hello*

      There’s also costs like how are you getting to the airport, who is looking after your kids, that could add up depending on the answers to those questions, that aren’t necessarily something a company would cover

  7. Allonge*

    LW4 – you are absolutely not obliged to, but if you want to, you can also set limits on how much of a task you are willing to do for your previous company. I had a request in a very similar situation to translate something. I said I am happy to revise the translation if someone else does it, but I cannot do it from scratch. They did not come back after that.

    This is not possible for all tasks, but not a bad way of making the point either, if they are at all reasonable.

    1. Gamymede*

      Plus the really classic way to discourage this sort of thing is to charge a consultancy fee upfront.

      1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        Yes! Spouse replied to this request promptly with a very cordial email setting out his consultancy rates and giving his availability over the next however many weeks. Weirdly, they didn’t get back to him.

        1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

          My dad has gotten taken up on this twice now! In both cases, he set his rates pretty high because he needed to travel to a work site out of state as a result of the consultancy, once all the way back to Alaska after moving back down to the lower 48.

          Given that I know he’s good at documenting processes and I also overheard a lot of the “emergency” evening/weekend phone calls he got while employed at these places when I was growing up, I think the moral of the story here is “anything to do with mainframes and legacy systems is full of bees”, but I could be wrong. (If you are willing to set a consultant rate, make sure the price you charge factors in taking a Leave Without Pay from your new job if it’s not something you could do outside of work hours.)

          1. tangerineRose*

            Well, anything to do with mainframes and legacy systems is probably written in COBOL or FORTRAN, which aren’t so popular with programmers now (at least COBOL isn’t). Plus, the code was probably written when space was at a premium, so there could be all kinds of kludges used to save space that would make the code harder to read. And then legacy systems have been around a long time and have usually been through a lot of changes from a lot of different people, which can make them confusing.

      2. NotAnotherManager!*

        I did this once and made some very nice extra cash hand-holding the person who took over my job for a few weeks, but I was also very clear that I would not take calls/respond to emails during the business day at my new job.

    1. MK*

      What do you mean how? Obviously they cannot be forced to do so, but it’s not illegal for a company to badger employee to tell they how they can contact a former coworker; and depending of the person’s situation at work, they might fear repercussions if they refuse.

      1. Yvette*

        But then why can’t they get it from HR, which surely has it on file? If HR won’t supply the information due to company policy then the friend being pressured might have some recourse there. Actually, why doesn’t your friend refer them to HR for the information?

            1. Observer*

              Not necessarily, especially not if they are disorganized. It’s also very possible that the OP never gave them their current number.

      2. Akcipitrokulo*

        Depends… if they are in EU or if LW4 is an EU citizen, it could well be illegal for friend to pass on details.

        1. Bagpuss*

          It wouldn’t be illegal for a friend to pass on the details. GDPR applies to organisations, not individuals

          1. Akcipitrokulo*

            But she’s doing so in her capacity as the boss’s colleague – so it could count under business.

            Agreed if it were an ex-boyfriend hassling, GDPR does not apply. But an employee passing on data to a boss could.

            1. Bagpuss*

              Unlikely, if the friend is passing on the info as part of the organisation, then the organisation already has the data, and so highly unlikely to be a breach.
              If the friend has the info in her personal capacity as the LWs friend, then she holds it as an individual and passing it on, even to an organisation she is a member of, isn’t covered by GDPR

              1. Akcipitrokulo*

                It doesn’t matter how she came by the data. She, as a member of an organisation, is passing data to another member of the organisation, who intends to use it for business purposes of the organisation.

                In any event, Boss definitely isn’t allowed to use it :)

                May not be relevant to OP though if outside EU.

              2. Mizzle*

                It’s probably not illegal for the friend/employee to provide it, but under the GDPR, I believe it would be illegal for the employer to obtain the information that way, or at least to store it without having either permission or one of the other legal bases for storing personal data.

              3. Yvette*

                “Unlikely, if the friend is passing on the info as part of the organisation, then the organisation already has the data, and so highly unlikely to be a breach.” I’m not what GDR is (US) but if HR has a policy against giving out personal contact information, than the friend might be able to take advantage of that. “Fergus, why don’t you just get it from HR? Oh, they won’t give it to you, then I don’t feel comfortable giving idst out either.”

              4. Mary*

                It’s not a question of whether it’s illegal for the friend, it’s illegal for the company. It would be illegal for them to get, hold or use LW’s contact details without LW giving her consent.

                I can’t get someone’s personal details off a third-party and use them to contact that person on behalf of my employer without their express permission: it would be an outrageous breach of privacy. This is so self-evident to me that I’m amazed it’s in question!

    2. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      There was nothing in the letter that indicates the manager friend is required to provide contact info for OP. Manager friend needs to be direct (if they haven’t already) and if former boss doesn’t stop, they need to escalate it.

      1. Yvonne*

        Nothing in the letter says the friend is required to, but Allison says they technically could be required to provide it. Unless she means that in a much looser sense than “required to provide it” suggests (as in making the friend’s life at work miserable for refusing), I don’t understand how it can be possible for a company to require that an employee pass on personal contact information for someone who no longer works there. Especially as the former employee specifically does not want that information given out.

  8. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

    OP1, does “married” include people in a long term relationship? What about same sex relationships?

      1. Terry*

        This is something that varies widely by location. In my part of the country, it’s become standard for employers to recognize both same sex couples and unmarried couples.

        1. NotAnotherManager!*

          +1 – It would be weird in my area/industry to not include a domestic partner in benefits provided to a spouse.

      2. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

        I’m pretty sure that they don’t ask you to show a marriage license when you bring a “spouse”. Mr. Gumption gets invited to spouse only work events and we are not married. I think 90% of folks think we are, despite me saying we aren’t pretty frequently. I guess 20+ years gets you in the club?

        1. Oh No She Di'int*

          I would tend to agree with you, but I wonder if there would be a difference in this case because employees are on a trip? There could be some sort of insurance coverage issue, possibly. We’re not talking about “spouses are invited to the Halloween party.” We’re talking about “spouses can get on a plane, stay in a hotel, get drunk, and possibly hurt themselves, get sick, or experience some other calamity.” I wonder if there’s a liability concern here?

          1. AvonLady Barksdale*

            I doubt it. It’s possible, sure, but I think it’s more likely an arbitrary line drawn to keep costs down. My company offered to pay for my partner’s travel to the company holiday party (we moved away from where headquarters is located) and they’re well aware we’re not married. No liability concerns of any kind.

      3. AnonANon*

        My company recognizes Domestic Partnership and whatever that looks like to you. I am in the US but work for a very large, global company.

        1. CupcakeCounter*

          Yes, my company does this as well. Their definition basically boils down to whether or not you can cover them on your insurance. If you can, they get included as the “spouse” no matter what title the couple prefers (as in they get the “perks” not a forced title).

      4. Jules the 3rd*

        This has changed drastically over the last decade, with non-‘legally married’ partnerships sometimes getting access to health insurance and survivor benefits. My employer has switched to ‘whoever you want’ on insurance, you just have to pay for them.

        1. AvonLady Barksdale*

          And I believe it varies by state, but then, I didn’t look into that closely with my health insurance. But with my car insurance, I wasn’t able to put my partner on my insurance in the state where we used to live because we’re not married, but here in DC, it cost nothing to add him to my insurance and it was very easy to do. I’m pretty sure I can’t put my partner on my health insurance– it’s based in the state where my employer is located– because our former state does not recognize domestic partnership on any level. However, my partner can include me on his health insurance policy with a few pieces of paperwork.

          That said, my workplace considers my relationship as pretty darn close to married, laws notwithstanding, and he’s explicitly invited to every appropriate work event.

          1. Massmatt*

            Interesting. My state (MA) was the first to achieve marriage equality, others had versions of “domestic partnership” which has been superseded my marriage. I suppose an employer can have whatever categories they want for insurance, etc but the wind really came out of DP’s sales when people could just get married. DP a is a bit of an ugly stepchild in the US, IMO.

            I have heard people argue that sometimes people want some marriage benefits without marrying, but exactly who this population is and why they don’t just marry is kind of vague.

            1. Jules the 3rd*

              I’ve heard some people don’t marry because they’d lose govt support (eg some of the Mormon closet polygamists have their 2nd/3rd wives on food stamps).

              I think in general, it’s so hard sometimes to get out of a marriage (1 year waiting period, for example – suckage) that people don’t want to risk getting into it.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Uh…gays can marry in many states. The IRS will let them file jointly as married if their state says it’s legally binding. So this question just sounds dated and fishing for controversy that’s not there.

      Also many cultures don’t do legal marriages but ceremonial ones. Nobody asks for your tax return or license to confirm this.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Gay marriage is legal in all 50 states, since the Supreme Court ruling in 2015! It’s just as legal as straight marriage, in the entire U.S.

        But yeah, I doubt the company is asking for marriage licenses, just like companies that only invite spouses to holiday parties (which is still a thing that happens) are taking you at your word.

        1. Pomona Sprout*

          True, MOST companies don’t ask for marriage licenses. That did happen to me and Mr. Sprout once, when the company he worked for got sold to another company and we suddenly had to produce a marriage license in order for me to stay on his company health insurance. He’d been working there for around 15 years, iircc, and I’d been on his insurance the whole time, but that didn’t matter!

          That’s the only time we’ve ever had to do that in 45 years of marriage and being on each other’s insurance plans the whole time. It was weird.

        2. JM60*

          ” in the entire U.S”

          That’s unfortunately not true! There US territories, such as American Samoa, where same sex marriage isn’t legal.

  9. Conundrum*

    I am LW2. I wrote a lengthy response above.

    I am very glad I reached out. The very act of asking the question has helped me to evaluate the situation more clearly. This is not something I feel able to discuss with anyone in my company. My family and friends mostly expressed negative opinions as they watched me go through the aftermath of the individual’s unprofessional departure.

    As stated above, my gut is telling me to inform my director of the previous contact to ensure director is aware if an issues arise. My disclosure is only that I managed the individual in 2016 with no comment on anything else.

    My current job as a manager in the directorate group will put me in direct contact with individual to cover for current manager. Managers have a direct impact on each sakes person’s ability to do their job.

    I look forward to the comments in the forum. Deciding on course of action that is professional is not always straight forward.

    1. Allonge*

      Look, if I were your manager and you told me that you knew this guy and this and that happened, I would ask you what you expect me to do about it.

      Are you uncomfortable working with him? Will you have issues trusting his work? Do you understand that we don’t bind people to the company and he could leave within 2 weeks or stay here for 10 years, and I have no way of making either happen (short of firing him in two weeks of course)?

      The thing is, if your answer is ‘well, I just wanted you to know’, I would also start watching how you relate to him, if you are giving him his fair chance etc. And I would have zero actionable intel on him – so he left a job suddenly three years ago, so what can I do now? Fire him preemptively?

      1. anonymous 5*

        Yeah, I don’t actually see how the course of action that is professional is anything *but* straightforward: say nothing. Treat this employee as someone who has all the opportunities that any employee in their position would have. If it’s been three years, you’re operating on old information anyway.

      2. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

        Yep. If a report came to me with this, I would think wonder what they wanted to do with the information and, in the back of my mind, I would be wondering if they were trying to sabotage this other coworker, consciously or unconsciously. It would, overall, be a worse look for the LW than for the coworker.

        1. Anon for this*

          No. It’s not a worse look. I run an office of people. I want to know this stuff. Especially as I expect that Conundrum is a senior person, is probably someone I trust, and someone I trust to be professional. However, humans are humans. Our internal brain weasels can get the better of us even when we don’t want them to. As her manager I want to know if there may be an unconscious bias going on.

          And as others have pointed out, if I happened to be hired at a new job and found out one of my old bosses worked there, it would be a concern on my part as a new employee.

          So, yes, Conundrum, go with your gut. Talk to your manager – or talk to one of your peers that you trust.
          It may also simply be that you need to unburden yourself of this information (of the past bad experience).

          1. Anon for this*

            Follow up: When I say “it would be a concern on my part as a new employee” – it would be a concern because I, as the new employee, may act like an idiot in trying to make up for past mistakes.

          2. Dust Bunny*

            However, the LW *also* left that job. Presumably with notice, sure, but she still left. She might give two weeks’ notice this afternoon, for all I know.

            The urge to share this information about an annoying but really pretty minor transgression tells me at least as much about the LW as it does about the new employee. One incident four years ago is not a pattern; neither the LW nor the new employer know that this is habitual behavior. Also, we only have the LW’s side of the story, so what’s the other side? Young, inexperienced worker? Bad management? Understaffed and overworked? Unfair quota system? Nitpicking supervisors?

            1. EvilQueenRegina*

              Yes, that last part is exactly what I was thinking. In the early days of my team being formed post restructure, we had an employee leave quite abruptly in an unprofessional manner. By coincidence, four and a half years later we ended up hiring her mother. I saw the daughter again at her mother’s hen party and ended up finding out that our (by this time ex) manager “Professor Umbridge” was a big part of the reason why. In the intervening years a lot had happened with Umbridge and I felt that I understood it a little better. (I still don’t think daughter handled it well but I understood why she didn’t want to stay).

              Plus, four years have passed, anything could have happened. It’s entirely possible that employee now regrets the way they handled quitting and wouldn’t do it that way again.

          3. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

            I also run an office full of senior folks and I expect them to be mature and professional. That includes letting go of the normal management frustrations after 3-4 years. Someone quit on the LW after training and left her in the lurch? Join the club and welcome to management! I understand that it sucked at the time and I could definitely understand if the LW brought this up during the hiring process, but to bring it up now? To me that shows that the LW, no matter how trusted or senior, is the person with the issue, not the new coworker.

            Shoot, LW, I have been in a very close approximation of your shoes. I ended up having to work with someone who completely screwed my team over on a project, also in a role where I occasionally would have to manage their work. However, given that it had been a few years before, this organization was different, and there wasn’t any way to bring it up without making it sound like a grudge, I didn’t say anything. Did that person ever become my favorite colleague? No. Did I internally groan whenever I had to supervise them on a project? Yes. But I let the past go and let the person’s current work speak for itself (e.g. OK for some things, meh for others, stellar in 1-2 areas).

      3. Conundrum*

        Good question. I expect my director to do nothing. My disclosure is only that I previously managed said employee. Nothing else. No grudge or ill will. Since the director makes team makeup decisions, they ought to be aware of previous management, not details as they no longer matter.

        1. Mookie*

          If you expect the director to do nothing with it, why are they in need of this information? You imply above that it will be useful for them if this employee causes problems, but I don’t see how that works. How does a piece of information divorced of detail help the director, you, or your team? Does it stop the employee from becoming a problem? How, if you expect no further action once you have imparted this useless information, would it do so? Are you imagining some kind of “told you so, you should have asked me” scenario should the employee perform poorly?

        2. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

          If you expect them to do nothing and not use the information for future decisions in team make-up, then what is the point of telling your director? Or do you expect them to use the information in team make-up decisions, i.e. do something.

          1. Willis*

            And if you do expect them to use it in deciding teams, then you obviously are anticipating giving more details than just “used to manage her,” because that doesn’t give any indication of whether you would or wouldn’t want to manage her again. It sounds like you’re fishing for a reason to bring this up, even after AAMs advice was clearly not to. This isn’t like a personal relationship that you’d need to disclose to avoid managing your daughter or ex-husband or something.

        3. Allonge*

          Ok – again, if I were your manager, I would ask: oh really, you used to manage X? How was it?

          What is your anwer to that?

          Seriously, can you work with them? The only really good reason to go to your boss right now is saying: ‘boss, I am not quite sure I can keep my previous experience out of this. I am still so angry about the whole debacle that I cannot promise not to let that color my work with X. Can you make sure this never happens?’

          1. BRR*

            That’s my question as well. LW: I used to manage Fergus. Manager: And?

            I don’t disagree with sharing as much as other commenters are disagreeing, because it’s not uncommon to share that you used to work/manage someone. But if the LW wants to disclose, it just feels like an awkward conversation.

          2. Falling Diphthong*

            And the “debacle” is a recent hire leaving with no notice. That is a dandelion of management issues, something you expect everyone to have hit a few times. It’s not like a former coworker who refused to pass on “Your wife was shot and rushed to the hospital” or “Your horse is dying and vet needs permission to operate” to cite a couple of past letters.

        4. Senor Montoya*

          If you say to the director, I used to manage this person, they are going to ask you about that. I can’t imagine a scenario in which the director says, “OK, cool, now how about those TPS reports.” They’re going to ask you about it, and then what? Will you give the details? Will you say, but I can’t really say anything more? The fact that you previously managed this person is not a fact *by itself* that’s important.

          Presumably when this person was hired, there were reference checks. Entirely possible that in the four years since you managed this person, they have gone on to be professional and competent.

          There’s no way for you to share “I managed this person four years” without giving further details; whether you give details or not, you either poison the well for your former employee, or you make yourself look bad. Or both.

          The only exception would be if the former employee did something illegal or unethical or morally repugnant. If not, you should keep it to yourself.

        5. Senor Montoya*

          I don’t understand how knowing that you previously managed this person is a fact that is useful to the director. Sincere question — could you explain *why* this info is useful?

        6. Falling Diphthong*

          No grudge or ill will.
          Please take note of how many total strangers on the internet do not feel a lack of grudge and ill will remotely comes across in your comment. This has a real potential to make you look bad.

          1. Important Moi*


            If only for the benefit of your good reputation at work, keep it to yourself. As your Director/supervisor, I would wonder if you are trying to engage in retaliatory behavior under the guise of concern for your current company and question your judgment.

          2. Gazebo Slayer*

            Yeah, the whole “I don’t bear her any ill will, I just want to let her grandboss know how she wronged me” thing reminds me of an extra stupid bit of internet drama from a few months ago. Some fairly obscure professor said something uncomplimentary about the New York Times columnist Bret Stephens on Twitter. Not tagging him or anything – but apparently Stephens was searching his name and this post came up.

            Stephens had a huge public temper tantrum, then emailed the professor’s provost (more or less his boss) about the tweet, but the provost basically just laughed about it and the internet mocked Stephens for trying to get revenge on a guy who said bad things about him.

            Stephens then disingenuously insisted that of course he hadn’t intended to get the professor in trouble with his boss, how dare you think that? He was just ~providing the provost with information~ about the professor, that’s all, which is totally different.

            He just kept digging himself deeper after that, and now he’s a laughingstock.

            Don’t be Bret Stephens.

        7. Sunflower Sea Star*

          But it is clear that you DO have a grudge and ill will.
          This reflects poorly on YOU not the new guy. You are the one not letting the past go.

        8. a heather*

          I can see this going probably the opposite of how you might want it to go.

          “I previously managed this person.” Even if the conversation ends there (which it won’t unless your director is super laconic, which is not really what I would expect from people in sales), I would expect the director to think, “oh hey cool, Conundrum would do well managing this person since they’ve already had experience doing so, I can put them together next time teams need switching up.”

          The details matter and you won’t be able to get away with not providing them if you bring them up. How do you expect that to go, honestly?

          The only reason to provide context before anything actually happens between you and this person is to CYA. To do so, you would need to actually tell the director that you had a bad experience with this person previously, not just that you had managed this person before with no details..

        9. kms1025*

          I guess my question is this…wasnt it your job to train and then fill in if said trainee didnt work out? You did your job…and trainee didnt work out. End of story. Nothing to see here and certainly nothing to be discussed with anyone.

      4. Washi*

        Yeah, I get that leaving with no notice during the busiest time is not professional, but I don’t really get the “informing the boss in case there are issues,” as if being the first to vaguely indicate that you know them means something? Is the boss going to be like “well since OP told me immediately that they knew them, I know never to side with this employee.”

        I might mention it to my boss just because I would might mention the coincidence of knowing any new hire! Like “oh that’s so funny, I briefly managed Sam at my old job a while back.” But if you can’t do this in a genuinely neutral, what-a-coincidence way, I don’t think you should say anything at all.

        1. Allonge*

          Yes, maybe as a ‘huh, I actually know Bob/Roberta, they worked under me in 2016 for a bit, funny how life goes’, if you absolutely have to – that depends on the relationship with your boss, how often you have the chance to chat etc. I would never recommend asking for a meeting about this, but it may well come up in a natural way.

          Much much more importantly though, Conundrum – try and figure out how you will be acting when you inevitably cross paths with this employee. It’s natural to have some resentment, but that cannot show in your interactions. I am the type who practices tricky conversations with myself – so I would say out loud what I will say when we meet, when we first work together, if employee asks if I remember them etc.

    2. Rebecca*

      Please give this person the benefit of the doubt. It’s been almost 4 years since they quit, and you truly don’t know what was going on in their life at that time. You’re no longer working for that company either, and you don’t supervise them, so please give them a chance. Many things can happen to us in our lives that necessitate a quick change. Yes, they could have given notice, but the result would have been the same – you still would have had to scramble to hire someone, start training again, etc. Please let this go.

      1. Conundrum*

        Please keep in mind that I will be responsible for stepping in for that team when their manager is not available. This happens whenever the manager is not on the floor. In essence I will be supervising the employee.

        1. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

          So? You seem hell bent on making sure people know you worked with them before and they abruptly quit after a short period of time at a very critical time for your company. You seem to be taking that very personally and looking for a justification to get them in trouble. They did nothing wrong, and unless you know FIRST HAND that they have a history of being unreliable, let it go because IT DOESN’T MATTER. If you speak up, you’re only going to make yourself look bad.

        2. Senor Montoya*

          I don’t understand why this makes a difference? Do you think you will not be able to manage them? Or that they will be difficult because you’re the manager?

          I’d say, you don’t need to say anything because it doesn’t have any bearing on *this* job. If the former employee is problematic when you have to manage their team, then deal with it then. Until then, I’d assume they are going to behave professionally.

          Their past behavior is a fact that might be useful to *you* (perhaps you will watch for certain behaviors or errors), but is not actually useful to anyone else, particularly since it can be harmful to the former employee for what seems to be no strong reason. (= not illegal, not unethical, not so bad that you fired them, etc)

        3. EventPlannerGal*

          But what do you want us to infer from that? Do you think this person is likely to quit again and leave you to deal with it? Do you think you will be unable to work with them because you’re still upset about the previous incident? Do you think they will not want to work under you again?

          I’m not trying to be obtuse here, these are the kind of questions I think your manager will be asking if you just drop this information on them, and throwing your hands up and saying “I’m just giving you the information!” probably will not be accepted.

        4. Rebecca*

          I suspect when the employee finds out you’re also working there, if they don’t know already, they will want to steer clear. Let it go. It’s been 4 years. If this person’s manager isn’t available, and you have to step in, just manage like you would any other employee.

        5. Falling Diphthong*

          And…? If there’s a sharknado you’ll throw them in first? If the zombie apocalypse breaks out you’ll use their body to blockade the break room?

          Pretend you’ve never seen them before. Pretend it’s a doppleganger like Meghan Markle’s. This is a textbook example of a case where mature adults let a new relationship develop–probably an extremely tepid one, as that usually characterizes employee/interim supervisor from another team.

          1. Washi*

            “If there’s a sharknado you’ll throw them in first” – thank you, that made my morning.

            Ok, let’s say this person IS just super unprofessional and irresponsible. They thought they could walk out of that job without notice with no repercussions, and surprise! That same manager is a manager at their new company. The best payback, if that’s what you want, is to be SUPER polite and professional. They know what they did, they know you know what they did. That’s all you need.

            1. Falling Diphthong*

              And if they screw up here, you don’t want your fingerprints all over it as an explanation.

              Do nothing: And the person will quickly blow themselves up unassisted, and it won’t blow back on Conundrum.
              Do nothing: And the person will act like a normal worker, and it will be dull, and nothing will blow back on Conundrum.

        6. Heidi*

          I can actually understand the OP being upset – it sounds like it was a tough time. If you’re still too angry to be able to treat him fairly as a supervisor, that’s worth telling your boss. But for a lot of people, this is going to come across as a “you” problem, not a “him” problem. Unless there was a lot of information not included in the original letter, all this employee did was quit his job. Sometimes people quit for good reasons, even without notice. It was not his responsibility to find coverage or make sure it was a convenient time for you. If you find him to be unprofessional or problematic in his current job, that’s a reason for remediation. If he quits without notice again, you can feel satisfied that you were right all along. But as it is, it doesn’t seem like you can take any action against this guy without looking unprofessional yourself.

        7. Dust Bunny*

          If you can’t manage them effectively because you’re so hung up on this, that’s on you, not them. That’s a problem with you being way too invested in a mistake they made four years ago.

        8. London Calling*

          You do realise that it’s quite possible that this person has completely forgotten that they ever worked with you and who you are and that they will treat you as a stranger they’ve never met before? why are you assuming it’s going to be awkward before it actually is?

    3. Mockingjay*

      You seem really invested in trying to control this employee. Yes they left abruptly 3 years ago. People leave for all kinds of reasons which you may never know. Managers should have contingency plans in place for coverage.

      I have to wonder how you see yourself as a manager and how your employees see you. I think you have a strong intimidating manner. Likely your style didn’t mesh with this particular person; they were uncomfortable and left.

      Move on. She’s not your employee anymore. If you do have a problem with her, refer to her manager to handle it. But right now you are all but stalking her, waiting for her to mess up so you can pounce. “See she is a bad employee! I told you so!”

      1. Daffy Duck*

        Would you feel differently if you found out your employee quit because her parent was suicidal and ended up in a hospital across the country in a coma? I can come up many reasons someone would drop a job with no notice and not give the ‘real’ reason. (Yes, there are still employers and managers out there who think you should put their low wage job ahead of family members health, and others who will discriminate against you if a family member has a taboo health issue). Yeah, it put you in a tough spot three years ago. Your other company could/ should have pulled in resources to help – did they try to rehire an experienced employee at consultation wages? Let it go and treat this person like anyone else.

        1. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

          Even if the reason was that the person was irresponsible and just didn’t feel like working there anymore, it still doesn’t matter. It’s been 4 years, the OP has zero knowledge of any other history with this employee and a million things could have happened between then and now.

        2. Grace*

          THIS! God, I am so tired of reading about managers, recruiters, and HR people who are completely rigid on things like this. Life is not black and white. People have personal issues that you aren’t privy to, and that is their right. It’s their life. Have some empathy and be a little more flexible for Pete’s sake. OP has a vendetta, whether they want to admit it or not.

        3. rayray*


          And you know what? Maybe this persons’ personal issue was that they absolutely hated life, and hated going in to that job every day. Maybe they were miserable and unhappy, and they weren’t getting things down at work. Were they supposed to be unhappy and unfulfilled just so this manager could have smooth sailing?

    4. Lynca*

      You are really determined to hang this person out to dry for actions that happened years ago and at another job. They may have developed new skills, become a better employee, etc. You really don’t know what kind of employee they are in this job yet.

      And honestly you’re leaving off the key part of the disclosure that helps it make sense. You managed them in 2016 and are pretty biased against them because of it. You need to work on dealing with that bias so it doesn’t influence your interaction with this employee. If you can’t manage or interact with this employee fairly that is a big deal.

      1. Admiral Thrawn Is Still Blue*

        Totally agree. This is payback. Even after Alison’s excellent advice, she’s still looking for permission here to go after this employee.

        1. Just J.*

          Wow. That’s cruel.

          She’s not ‘looking for permission’. She recognizes in herself that there is still bias and she’s not sure she can control it. Honestly, I would not be able to get over it either. No matter how professional I am in everything else and no matter how hard I would be aware of it and TRY to be professional with this particular person, I KNOW the previous interaction would still haunt me and it would subconsciously influence my behavior. I think OP knows this and this why she wrote in in the first place.

          IMHO I’d ask for the employee to be reassigned to another team. If that’s not possible, then having the conversation with her own manager is appropriate. As a manager, I would want to know this. Then I can monitor the situation.

          1. Senor Montoya*

            Then OP needs to include that context when they tell their director: Director, back in 2016 I managed former employee at X Company; they quit without notice soon after training and in the middle of our busy season. TBH, this makes it hard for me to manage former employee.

          2. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

            Actually it’s not cruel. OP can’t let this go and there’s really no legitimate reason why. They seem to be looking for someone to agree with them so they feel justified in their behavior. An employee left at a critical time for the company. It happens, and as a manager you need to have contingencies in place for that sort of thing. There is NOTHING to indicate this employee is an issue and if the real problem is that OP can’t be a backup supervisor for this person because of their feelings, that’s 100% on them to figure out.

          3. Roscoe*

            I don’t think its cruel. But, your statements are contradicting OPs. She thinks she isn’t still angry and that she can be fine and she is just telling her manager to be open. But, if she admitted to having animosity toward them and not being able to manage fairly, that would be totally fair. The problem is, they don’t seem to want to admit that to themselves.

          4. Falling Diphthong*

            Sometimes there are cases where it’s worth burning a bunch of political capital to say “No, I will not work with this person ever again.” People would usually reserve this for the person who bullied them throughout childhood, their horrible ex, or similar things where it’s hard to be over them when the other person is in the same room. “Quit with short notice as a trainee years ago” is a real molehill to die on here.

            Referencing a previous letter, how confident is OP that she is a Rock Star they will do backflips to keep? Even there–with a much, much higher Original Sin Tally–the higher-ranking person blocked hiring. They didn’t try to go after an old enemy they discovered lurking low in the ranks on another team.

          5. Lynca*

            But the OP needs to context it for the Director. It’s not enough to say “I managed this person.” So far they’ve been really adamant about not giving context. If they feel they need to say something, they can’t do it without some kind of context. And they also need to be doing it in order to find a fair solution. Maybe that is that they shift them but they also shouldn’t penalize the employee for this.

            That said- I wouldn’t call it payback but they definitely have not or can not let it go. It’s concerning. It wasn’t great for the employee to do that to them but frankly it doesn’t rise to the level of holding on to it for 4 years in my book.

          6. NotAnotherManager!*

            Someone who can’t “get over” what OP#2 has described in this thread and would “subconsciously” treat them differently has no business being in a management position. This person worked for her very briefly and years ago, and OP#2 has stated was bad at the job and on a PIP, left only a few month into the job – under those circumstances (and in a sales position) two weeks’ notice is a formality, not a Scarlet U for Unprofessional.

            OP#2 has no idea if this person is the star of her team at this new organization or if she’s on the way out the door. Even if she can’t get over it, she needs to stuff those feeling down and treat this employee fairly and professionally until there is cause for concern in this point of the space-time continuum and at this particular job. Reassigning the employee for quitting a bad fit job four years ago is absurd. Why should the employee be punished for OP#2’s hangup?

    5. Liddy*

      It sounds like your biggest complaint is that he put you in a difficult situation because you had to scramble for coverage right before a busy period, but addressing last minute coverage issues is just part of the job of a manager. If he was only there for a few months and had only done training, I assume he didn’t have work to document and handover. Documenting and handing over work is the purpose of a notice period, not finding a replacement. Finding a replacement almost always takes longer than the standard 2 week notice period.

    6. Carlie*

      It sounds to me that you’re more worried that the employee might accuse you of being mean or vindictive based on your prior interactions, and that’s what you want to cut off before it can start. My guess is the opposite – either they don’t remember you at all, or if they do they’re hoping you won’t recognize them! I know I’d be worried sick if my new boss turned out to be someone I walked out on in the past, no matter what the context had been then.

      They may have grown a lot, in which case their performance won’t be an issue, or they haven’t, in which case their performance problems will be obvious to everyone shortly. Your best bet is to stay above the fray altogether. In the remote chance that they have problems and do try to complain about you, then you can say “that was a long time ago and I wanted them to be able to start with a clean slate”. And you can say it to yourself until you believe it too.

    7. un-pleased*

      If I were OP’s boss at this point, I would definitely be concerned OP had it out for this employee and was laying the groundwork to go after them – which would absolutely color my ability to trust OP’s ability to manage. OP thinks they are being sneaky and doesn’t want to be responsible for what happens after that point.

      For Pete’s sake, OP, the employee actually saved you a certain amount of labor. They realized a job wasn’t for them and left, so you didn’t have to expend the energy of actually managing them out of the position. The only thing we know about the interim is that you hold a grudge and you both ended up employed at the same place again. If the employee can’t do the job, that will come out without you provoking something.

      1. Marthooh*

        “They realized a job wasn’t for them and left, so you didn’t have to expend the energy of actually managing them out of the position.”

        That’s a good way to reframe the situation. I hope the OP can use it.

    8. hbc*

      Can you explain what “issues” you’re concerned about?

      I can understand if you found out during the hiring process. As a hiring manager, I’d want that info–not necessarily to take him out of the running, but to weigh with all the other factors. If I was on the fence because he was a serial job hopper or he was tied with another candidate, finding out he left with no notice would tip the balance. Or if he was still a great candidate, I’d hire him anyway.

      But now? He’s part of the team. You certainly won’t be held responsible if he dashes the same way. Since you don’t plan to hold it against him and he didn’t leave with any hard feelings, what’s going to happen?

      At most, figure out what you’d feel obligated to do if he was a former employee you had good or neutral experience with, and then do that.

    9. Roscoe*

      I’m not trying to be unkind here, but you just seem petty. You keep trying to justify the fact that you just NEED to mention this to your boss, all the while knowing that the conversation will not just stop there. Its like if I mention to a friend that I just happened to date his new girlfriend a few years ago. Of COURSE he will ask me follow up questions.

      Clearly, you don’t like how this person left. You think he should’ve given 2 weeks. which, while I understand is convention, I’d argue at that short an amount of time being employed, wasn’t really necessary. Especially in a sales position. If he had no pending sales happening, that he wanted to finish up, there is really no reason for him to stick around 2 more weeks. You just are upset that he made your life harder by doing what was right for him.

      Let it go. I think you are thinking that you will look like you are helping your boss, but you will just come off looking vindictive here. It was years ago, in their first job out of college.

      Also, have you ever heard the term people don’t leave jobs, they leave managers? Maybe you should consider that part of him leaving that way had something to do with you.

    10. Falling Diphthong*

      My disclosure is only that I managed the individual in 2016 with no comment on anything else.

      I’m going to be the nth person to chime in and say this is not coming off as it is inside your head. The original sin may have personally inconvenienced you, but it just is not a high crime that should give any employer pause, like embezzling or setting fire to the head of marketing. Four years have passed. Judge this person on the job they do now. Leave the past in the past.

    11. Nico M*

      You are being foolish

      If the person is truly awful say so.
      It doesnt seem like they are though.

      Otherwise shut up.

      1. mamma mia*

        Exactly. The employee quit a job. They didn’t run over your dog with a car. If one new person quitting a job four months in caused that much stress on you, it’s not their fault, it’s the organization’s fault for putting you in that position. OP, you are directing your anger at the wrong person.

    12. CupcakeCounter*

      So you’ve been getting a lot of push back on this and I am curious why you feel the need to disclose? If it is just to pass along information that you’ve worked together in the past, you know that will raise some questions with your manager that you will be asked which will lead to you giving the detail and a negative impressions. Is that what you are deep down hoping will happen?
      Do you want to disclose this because you think that you won’t be able to fairly manager this person when subbing in for their manager? That would be something to disclose. Boss, I previously managed Jane at Old Job and there was some conflict that had a direct impact on my and my work so is there a way to switch which team I sub in for so I will not be managing her? I’m concerned those previous conflicts will color my interactions and that isn’t fair to her since that was a long time ago in a completely different environment.

      I get she left you high and dry but the current issue isn’t hers, its yours. You need to figure out why you feel it is so important to disclose something that happened so long ago and, in most fields, would still be considered the probationary period.

    13. Yorick*

      I don’t know why you’d tell the director that you previously managed this person and nothing else. If the director needed to know anything about this situation, it would be that the person had performance issues and left with no notice during a busy time. If you don’t feel that you need to tell the director this, then why tell her anything?

    14. Booklover13*

      I see quite a few people seeing this as potentially be about treating the employee worst or not being empathetic about why they may have left. However reading this hope you may consider this addition reason that sticks out in my mind: Could you be worried the same will happen again and you get blow-back for not ‘warning’ people this could happen? It seems like your gut is responding in self-preservation and that you don’t want to be left holding the bag and the blame if things go wrong.

      I would say it right on it unless you see the same behaviors you saw in the past. At that point it is more justified to say something as its pattern and your giving your boss a heads up. I would pair that with some kind of plan to work with the employee to help them break the pattern.

    15. Daisy-dog*

      Isn’t it really the fault of your company for not letting you have enough staff to cover for the unexpected? Unless this individual said in so many words: “I don’t like you and I hope that you have a miserable next couple of months!” – they didn’t quit this job to spite you. When someone is so disengaged from a job that they can’t even give notice, then they likely are prone to mistakes, procrastination, or just working slowly because they never caught onto the job. Or maybe just distracted for personal reasons. It was unprofessional, but I don’t want my past unprofessional mistakes to follow me forever.

    16. Allonge*

      I imagine it is not so easy to read all the comments. May I suggest that – even if you do not spell it out here – you become clear with yourself on what you expect the outcome of whatever you do to be?

      What is your optimal scenario? They are fired? Your boss watches them like a hawk every step? You never have to supervise them? They apologise to you? They live in fear for the rest of their time at your company? Your boss checks in with you / them / both after you were a step-in supervisor? Your boss guarantees that you will never have to pick up the slack even if they leave?

      Go from there. What is the best way to make that happen, knowing that you only control your actions? I do respect you for asking the question in the first place – it’s not always easy to ask for advice, nor to not hear what you wanted to hear.

      1. anonymouslee*

        I agree with this. It’s not clear to readers what the goal of disclosing is (especially without any further context), and without a clear goal, it’s not going to do anything positive for anyone involved. So it seems petty and pointless.

      2. Conundrum*

        I commented above to respond. I will paste below.

        Reading all the comments has been painful and enlightening. At first it felt very personal. After reflection, I realized each comment gave me what I was missing.

        I posted here as a way to get professional advice for my personal conundrum. Here I was able to be anonymous and ensure the employee remained so. As I previously stated, my family and friends had a negative views. Discussing the situation with anyone associated with my job has the potential of causing a negative impact.

        I thank you all for your honesty and I hope each poster realizes the impact they have. The details are only important to me and would require sharing too much information here. The dilemma is the same, but I will approach the solution better equipped with the knowledge gained here.

    17. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      You need to stop taking their quiting so personally. You’re wrapped up too firmly in the belief there was wrong doing. They quit. They didn’t steal or otherwise harm the company.

    18. learnedthehardway*

      I think you’re in a bit of an awkward situation here, and perhaps you don’t realize it.

      You won’t look good to management if you appear to have an axe to grind about this employee. And you do – you are clearly still upset about what happened 4 years ago. The individual caused you a lot of stress and extra work. On the flip side, the person was in the role for a short time, realized it wasn’t right for them (for whatever reason), and could very convincingly state that it was best for them and for the company for them to leave before the busy season had started, so you could replace them. As a manager, I would take that at face value, and figure the employee had good self-insight at that time, since you clearly agree with them that they were not good in the role. I would make sure to keep an eye on their performance (which I would be doing anyway), but it really wouldn’t change how I would handle things. Depending on how you presented the information, though, I would be thinking about YOUR judgement and professionalism (if it was apparent that you still hold a grudge about the situation of 4 years prior).

      On yet another side, if you say nothing and the person bombs their role, and/or quits again without notice – you would look badly for not saying anything now if you do say something later.

      Which leaves you with the logical conclusion – say nothing at all. If the person bombs and someone realizes you had managed them, you have a perfectly good explanation that as you were not involved in the hiring process, you did not feel it was fair to bias people against the individual for something that happened 4 years ago, in a different company, and a different situation. If you had realized before they were hired, you might have provided input, but since you only found out they had joined the company after they had been hired, you felt that it would be unfair of you to bring up. (Which it is.)

    19. rayray*

      Why are you vindictive about this?

      I get it, you felt burned. I just think this person probably realized it really wasn’t a great fit. Were they supposed to stick around for you? What did they owe you? Sure, it was crappy timing, but what if things were reversed? What if you had let them go, suddenly stripping away their income and livelihood with no warning? Work relationships go both ways. This person has the right to find a job that is a good fit for them. The previous job with you sounds like a fluke for them, and they acted appropriately. Please let it go. Try meditating or taking a deep breath.

    20. anonymouslee*

      If all you’re going to say is that you worked with the person briefly before, with no details whatsoever, how does that mitigate anything if “any issues arise” in the future?

    21. MOAS*

      @Conundrum — I get where you’re coming from. I’m in tax and we have a busy season from January-April. We have had people leave during busy season. Yes they had every right to as every human has every right to leave a job, but it really put a huge strain on the company. Case in point–one manager left in February. A supervisor was suddenly promoted to manager to manage that team, and was coached by another manager throughout tax season. That manager with seniority had to allocate resources in helping the “new guy” and it put a strain on their team–they ended up needing help from other teams. So it was a domino effect. (IMO the guy had every right to leave–he had wanted to leave in June but our bosses made a counteroffer to make him stay which is why I’m very much against counteroffers).

      I’m a manager, and if I had someone leave right in the middle of tax season, or right before a deadline (barring an emergency), I wouldnt tell their boss, but I definitely would not ever hire them again. So I’m more in line with agreeing with you. At least in our industry, leaving during a major deadline/busy season for a non-emergency/health reason is unacceptable.

      1. Schnookums Von Fancypants, Naughty Basic Horse*

        “At least in our industry, leaving during a major deadline/busy season for a non-emergency/health reason is unacceptable.”

        Do you also consider firing an employee for reasons other than malfeasance or poor performance at a time that would severely hinder the employee to be unacceptable as well?

      2. Orange You Glad*

        I agree. I don’t think OP has it out for this employee, as others have insinuated, but I also understand her fear that this employee could burn out again and leave in a less than ideal way for the company. Ultimately OP needs to look out for her company.
        Let’s say something does happen with this employee’s performance, and it comes up later that she knew this employee. I think it would look bad on OP for not sharing earlier.
        That being said, she should continue to treat this employee as any other employee in that position. People change and they may have learned some skills in the interim period.

        1. Roscoe*

          This will not come out later that she knew the employee. If it didn’t come out during interviews or reference checks, it won’t come out.

          Even if it did, its still not the OPs concern. They didn’t hire them. Also, saying OP needs to look out for her company is ridiculous. If the company asked her and she witheld this info, its very different. She doesn’t owe the company this info

      3. NotAnotherManager!*

        If you are staffed in such a manner that one person departing during busy season upsets a whole apple cart, you’re too leanly staffed. The idea that it’s “unacceptable” to leave during a busy season harkens back to the old loyal-to-the-company trope that is outmoded and rarely reflected back as loyalty from the company.

        Honestly, I have a manager right now with this mindset, and it’s absurd. It’s just part of managing. I have been through people quitting at bad times. I’ve been through multiple people on one team quitting in close succession and essentially draining the majority of the institutional knowledge from the team. I’ve been through having a devil of a time hiring someone with a particular skillset to replace a particularly hard loss. Absent a larger issue with their performance, their departure timeframe is not a consideration on their rehire potential. People have family or personal issues arise, they find a job they want to do more, they decide to go to graduate school, they decide to switch industries – none of that is grudgeworthy and holding a grudge over it is kind of petty, particularly when, as the manager, it’s your job to handle staffing and work allocation, including backup plans.

    22. Me*

      He quite. People are allowed to do that. Employment is not indentured servitude. I’m not sure what was unprofessional aside from not giving the standard two weeks. But I’m guessing even if he did it still would have been an inconvenience. That’s not his problem and there’s simply no other way to say it.

      He didn’t embezzle funds. He didn’t steal goods. He simply quit. At a time you didn’t like but ce la vie.

      Let’s not forget that people grow and change. So even if I give it that he should have given 2 weeks notice, holding that against someone YEARS down the road is a bit nutso.

      Frankly if you came to me with this as a manager, it wouldn’t’ reflect well on your judgement of what a problem is.

  10. Reality Check*

    #1 I can think of other issues possibly coming in to play as well: What if the spouse can’t get the time off? What if child care or pet care needs to be arranged? They really need to rethink this. At the very least, give the employees a choice of bonus or vacation. If it were me I’d prefer a bonus for reasons listed above.

  11. Mary*

    >> because they have power over her and technically could require her to provide it

    Could they really?! WOW! This would be a massive GDPR violation in the EU, and would have a no-no under Data Protection before GDPR came in. I’m genuinely shocked!

    1. Doctor Schmoctor*

      I was a bit shocked by that one too. I don’t know about the legal issues, but I will just refuse to give anybody this information. I often bitch about my company, but I can’t imagine them doing this.

    2. Lora*

      Yep. In 49 states, you can be fired for any reason or no reason that isn’t related to a Protected Class (ethnicity, race, gender, marital status, religion, a few others in some states). “Wouldn’t give us a telephone number that we believe very sincerely Employee has in her contacts list” is definitely any reason. It’s a ridiculous reason, but the only outcome the employee could expect is the ability to claim unemployment after a court battle – typically only 50% of your salary up to a low-ish cap, for about 6 months depending on the state. Plus, the person getting fired would now have to think of something to say about “why did you leave your last job” at interviews: “My employer asked me to give them a personal friend’s phone number and I didn’t want to” is not going to go over well.

      1. Anononon*

        That’s not entirely accurate. States also have laws to protect whistleblowers from retaliation, there are potentially implied contractual claims based on a company handbook, etc.

      2. Mary*

        I know about at will firing: what I’m shocked by is that an organisation can get contact details off a third-party and that’s not breaking the law. Even before we had GDPR that would have been a clear breach of data protection law, and any potential future employer would recognise it as “I left my previous employer after they drastically overstepped and required me to break the law.”

        1. nona*

          The US doesn’t have the same data protections laws as the EU. We have targeted legal protections like HIPAA, but that wouldn’t cover contact information. I mean, that’s the type of information that used to be printed in giant books and given to everybody.

      3. fhqwhgads*

        I mean, if I were hiring and asked why’d you leave your last job and someone said “My employer asked me to give them a personal friend’s phone number and I refused because said friend asked me not to provide it” I’m not holding that against a candidate. It makes the employer look ridiculous, not the candidate.

        1. Lora*

          It…depends on the interviewer very much. Many will read into that, “this person was fired for some other reason they didn’t understand/aren’t telling me, there’s some drama here I don’t want to touch with someone else’s ten-foot pole” and hold it against a candidate.

          People do this weird Both Siderism thing where they don’t seem to believe it’s actually possible for anyone to be objectively wrong. They will defend the hell out of a random person they never met, because they figure they’re only hearing one side of the story, and if the other side is presented to them in a manner they perceive as authoritative, they will cave in and be all, “see, 2+2 can sometimes = 5 after all!” They imagine that this makes them more fair and impartial and rational, even when they’re being completely and utterly illogical, because *they listened to both sides and gave the benefit of the doubt to the Authorities, who wouldn’t be Authorities if they didn’t merit it*. The percentage of people who do this is not small and insignificant. And as an interview candidate, you have to weigh that tendency, in an unknown interviewer you just met, against how badly you need a job.

          It’s horrifying when you actually are privy to the details of an especially unjust event and you see the victims of the event getting basically re-victimized by this crap.

      4. Sacred Ground*

        With whom would it not go over well? I would see it as a mark of integrity, that OP’s friend was willing to risk her job to protect OP’s privacy from an unethical overstepping of boundaries from their ex-mployer.

        Now, if I’m expecting my employee to put my business interest ahead of their personal moral code, or just basic human respect for others’ privacy, then yes, such would not go over well.

      5. kms1025*

        just so much easier for the friendship to give email address and google number if possible…keeps friend off any possible hook.

    3. andy*

      Practically, manager can easily retaliate even if he or she is completely in the wrong. I think that is what the sentence refers to. It can be GDPR violation, but pretty much unprovable.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Nope, it refers to the fact that in the U.S. they could legally fire her for it. I doubt they would but they can indeed require it as a condition of the job. (The U.S. does not have the same data privacy laws as the EU.)

  12. EPLawyer*

    For the interns, I would think normally you wuld not have to disclose it. But legislatures have different conflict of interest rules because of the ability to influence things long term. I realize as interns you don’t have as much influence on what legislation gets passed, but you want to be extra careful. So double check anything you have on what the conflict of interest rules are. Also talk to someone you trust.

    1. BethRA*

      I was just about to say this – the fact that you’re interning for a state legislature may complicate matters. Definitely read up on conflict of interest policy, and any sexual harassment policies in place for legislative staff.

    2. Brett*

      Reporting of relationships has been a particular focus of new ethics rules in the last few years too. Since likely both interns have future hope of being legislators or significant staffers, it would be good to stick strictly to the letter of the rules now.

        1. Brett*

          In my state, they are under the exact same ethics rules as the legislators themselves, even though they are not considered employees of the state. (We had a scandal a few years ago involving multiple legislators and interns, and, unfortunately, the state legislature passed a series of new policies that essentially blamed the interns.) Other states might consider interns to be regular merit or regular patronage employees, subjecting them to the same rules as those employees.

          1. Observer*

            Unless the rules cover relationships between people who work for ANY branch of the state government, though, this is not relevant. They are not even working for the same House.

    3. Dancing Otter*

      I’m not clear whether they work for individual legislators or general legislative support.
      If their respective bosses are from different political parties, there could very definitely be a requirement to disclose, and potential ethical issues. Maybe even within the same party.

      Imagine intern A learns something in the course of her duties that intern B’s boss would benefit from knowing. Intern A cannot discuss that topic with intern B, not even the existence of a secret. Are these interns savvy enough to recognize such subjects and steer clear of them? Or will they excitedly chatter away about everything that’s going on?

      Think of it like being trusted with trade secrets or corporate strategy while dating someone from a competing company.

  13. Kitty*

    #2 could still cause problems, if the LW still holds a bit of a grudge or annoyance towards the employee, and could be in a managerial position over them. Personal feelings can still affect work.

    1. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      But why should the employee suffer because the OP is holding onto personal grudges? You have to work with all types of people – some you may like and some not so much. I’ve had co-workers disrespect me in the past, and while on a personal level I hated them, I still had to work with them and be civil. You can’t let personal grudges affect your job, especially as a manager.

    2. CupcakeCounter*

      I agree. If LW2 was asking if they should disclose this to their director because they don’t feel they could manage this employee fairly, that should absolutely be disclosed.
      Unfortunately I don’t think that is what they are asking based on their letter and responses to other comments. Its not that uncommon to end up managing a previous direct report as people move through their careers so disclosing it just for the sake of disclosing it doesn’t really make sense. I don’t think the director is going to care that LW2 previously managed this person. Bringing it up without a reason such as the conflict they previously had or high praise such as “best trainee we ever had! We were really bummed to lose them” is pointless.

  14. Delta Delta*

    #2 – I’d move past this. It sounds like the other job was a few years ago. A) the old job might not have been right for the person at the time for whatever reason and B) the person may have changed/grown/developed in skills in the meantime.

  15. Reality.Bites*

    What I don’t understand here is why the boss doesn’t still have LW’s contact info, considering they only left 2 weeks ago? That exit-interview phone call (and number) should still be on the boss’s phone!

    Also, if I left a job 2 weeks ago I would certainly be willing to take at least one question if I had any intention of getting a reference in future. Refusing sight unseen, without even knowing what ex-boss wants to know, seems churlish at this point.

    1. Anon for this*

      I have to disagree. When I left my last job, it was a highly toxic environment and also one that was short staffed. I tried to be “nice” and be available to “answer questions”. Well……my department head abused it until I had to block all calls and emails.

      If OP feels that this situation will turn sour, then offer no help. She doesn’t work their anymore and is not obliged to “be nice.”

      OP – Please tell your friend to tell your boss the following: “OP’s contact information is private. It is not appropriate for me to hand it out. Please respect this, please respect me, and stop asking.”

      1. epi*

        I agree. I talked about it below already, but my last job was toxic and disorganized, and the requests for help were more of the same. They continued for months, usually framed as urgent while I was at my new job, came with threats that I would be denied credit for stuff I’d already done if I didn’t answer this one question *today*, or came with an implied criticism of the work I had done for them. They were often for things I couldn’t remember and that should have been changed anyway after I left, like passwords to sensitive databases.

        Personally I would let the friend give out some limited contact information though, and let the “no” come from me. The OP’s friend isn’t really protecting them here. Most people would not be so insistent about not sharing a friend’s contact information, unless the request came directly from the friend. I think OP’s boss has likely guessed that OP doesn’t want to hear from them or do whatever work this is. It’s better for OP to say that once, in the polite message of their choice, than to have their inappropriate and entitled boss associate them with this weird, drawn out battle of wills. There is no reason to have their friend’s relationships be collateral damage when the OP’s intended message is “no” either way.

    2. Observer*

      Given what the OP says – and what the boss is doing, I think it’s a stretch to call it churlish. OP’s boss seems rather boundary challenged and seriously disorganized. Either that, or VERY boundary challenged. Either is going to be a problem for the OP.

  16. RC Rascal*

    Here is why I hate company trips:

    1. My career is in sales. For some reason many firms want to reward salespeople with incentive trips. Salespeople have to make numbers, they have to build & work a pipeline. To be successful you have to work a lot & protect your mojo. Trips take you away from work & decrease said mojo. Vacation trips leave you refreshed; work trips do not. So you have taken your sales people out of the field , interrupted their work , & decreased their focus. Yet, next month you will still want numbers.

    2. I manage a bunch of men who do not need to see my 34Ds in a swimsuit.

    3. Coworkers drinking fruity drinks to the point of inebriation. Don’t want to see.

    4. Work trips are forced fun. I can’t be myself & have to spend the entire time on high filter alert so I don’t accidentally commit a CLM.

    5. Sunburn. I am super fair, sunburn easily, & don’t enjoy beaches, pools, etc. a tropical getaway is never my idea of a good time.

    1. T. Boone Pickens*

      Fellow salesperson here and I couldn’t agree more. Just give me the money. If I want to go on a trip, I’ll use that money.

    2. Third or Nothing!*

      I am so totally with you on #5. My idea of the perfect vacation involves hiking through beautiful forests, sitting by a stream and reading a book or having a picnic, and exploring all the quirky local hidden gems and hole-in-the-wall restaurants. Actually that’s what I’m doing next month for my 4 year anniversary. :D

    3. Triumphant Fox*

      Also, a big part of these trips is the all you can eat and drink aspect, which is decidedly unappealing to someone with dietary restrictions, a spouse with a deadly shellfish allergy, and an unwillingness to get drunk with colleagues (that would NOT go over well here). All the steak you can eat! So much lobster! COCKTAILS! None of those are appealing, so I’m left with my odd tower of vegetables and my third ice tea, thinking it would be great if I could just be eating from my favorite Thai place right now.

    4. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I hate even the idea of the tropics. Along with tourist destinations.

      And then I start spinning out on “you know outside this resort is poverty and suffering, right? How can you enjoy yourself knowing the people taking care of you are being paid peanuts compared to what you’re paying and would never be able to enjoy these botttomless mimosas?” [At the same time, I’m fully aware their entire economy is usually from the tourist industry so you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t, but really, it’s too much for my extremely social economics sided brain].

      I don’t do extravagance on my dime or company dime, where’s the Motel 6?

      1. Clisby*

        Yeah, I already live in a place like that. Granted, Charleston, SC is not quite tropical, but four months out of the year are unbearably hot. Now, if my husband’s company offered a summer trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains, I’d be all over that – but I never seem to hear of those kinds of trips.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          I live within driving distances of both beach and mountains, so I’m pretty much set. Unless you want to fly me to watch my sports ball teams…then we’ll chat, boss.

  17. Quickbeam*

    Letter #4: I think limit setting is the way to go. I ran a program for my state government that involved outreach and data collection. When my unit was eliminated because of budget cuts, I had 10 years worth of lectures and research. I asked my boss about how to format this to pass it on. Her boss told me to “delete everything”. In writing. I kept a copy of my lectures for my CV and deleted all the hard copy and online information.

    I got calls for years asking about this project or that. Desperate, panicky phone calls. They tracked me down to my new job. I was nice for a while but ended up going up a few rungs of the ladder to request it to stop.

    I think you can answer a few questions and then put a hard line on it. I wish I had done it sooner as in my case it dragged on far too long.

    1. Xarcady*

      #1. A vacation spent on a beach is probably last on my list of possible vacations. For one thing, skin cancer and very fair skin make tropical sun a no-no. For another, I like exploring new places. As an introvert, going on “vacation” with coworkers is exactly the opposite of a vacation for me—I’d have to be “up” and “cheerful” and “perky” all day long and never be by myself. Big fat nope. And losing the annual bonus on top of it all?

      Who in the world thinks a forced vacation is a good idea?

    2. epi*

      All of the contact after I left my last job was desperate, panicky, and reflective of the issues that caused me to leave. I eventually had to set limits, and once I set any, I never heard from them again.

      My old boss had a journal article in progress she wanted my comments on. I’d left because she’d tried to prevent me from being listed as a coauthor on anything, regardless of my contribution. All of a sudden if I didn’t respond within the day, she had my former coworkers (and friends!) contacting me to threaten to take me off the author list. The paper was so bad, I honestly would have preferred to be left off.

      My replacement, whom I’d trained, developed a habit of urgently gchatting me, on my personal email, while I was at work at my new job. Our role was the kind of thing you only succeed in by being willing to pull a solution out of nothing: too few staff, too many projects, no one’s purposeless pet project can ever just be closed. And the boss mentioned above who managed through threats. Of course she was urgently gchatting me! But she got so rude about it. She lost the password to a database she should have been updating weekly, and seriously thought I would somehow remember it months later. She’d email me questions that implied the problem was data I’d entered incorrectly, when in fact, it was right at the time and she’d changed the protocol. How is that a strategy to get someone to give you free help while they’re supposed to be at their real job? I eventually had to tell her I had no way of remembering the things she was asking me for, including who entered what data that it was now her job to clean.

      Looking back, all of this stuff was a predictable consequence of how the office and the individuals in it operated. I wish I had started saying I was unavailable a lot sooner. Or at least stopped trying to wrack my brain and do anything to remember some of that information, when it was no longer my job to never tell that boss “no”.

    1. Richard Hershberger*

      MM’s commentariat is surprisingly mixed. There is a vocal minority that finds it completely inexplicable why everyone doesn’t find this a delightful treat.

    2. Triumphant Fox*

      I think MM is right – if you require attendance at anything, it’s a work trip, not a reward, and should be taxed accordingly. It’s fine if you want to mandate dinners at this kind of thing for your employees, but now these are meetings in pretty wrapping – which is fine, but not a perk or a treat, really. It’s like a holiday party, with all the discussion the AAM commentariat have around those – part of work culture that is nice for some, agonizing for others, and generally regarded as a way to bring your employees together in a different setting. If I were attending, I would see the trip as a way to make connections, which would mean I would find it exhausting and feel like I was “on” all the time. That doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile – connections over drinks and dinner are different than at a conference or at work – but I would not see this as a treat.

  18. Mme de Poppadom*

    For #2, I’m picturing myself in a new job in 2024, excited to put trying times behind me, taking my new skills, experience and training to bear on a fresh opportunity. But strangely, my dream job is beset by nothing but professional dead ends, cryptic comments, and knowing looks from my manager. Approaching HR about this unsettling psychological environment and its mental toll on me results in making things worse and noted on a surprisingly antagonistical performance review later.
    Then the whispers start; allies who were warm my first few weeks fall silent when I pass by. I recognise a familiar face at a town-hall meeting– my boss from way back when I had just started that old job I knew I couldn’t handle and was honest as soon as I could.
    I start out to join her table, hoping for an ally no matter how distant in this chilly company, but am frozen by her steely, unblinking gaze of pure vengeance, and the unmistakable mouthing of the words “you know what you did”.

    P.S. #1 sounded like The Office. Beach Day and the Booze Cruise on Lake Wallumpaupack rolled into one. Poor, ostracized Toby.

    1. anon4this*

      +1 love this comment, very clever writing!
      It also sounded like OP#2 could not even do the sales job (1 person leaves a brand new team and suddenly there’s a loss of revenue, even after OP#2 stepped in to fill the role- what?), and left that job years ago.

    2. Cinq or swim*

      I’m not sure what you’re trying to say here? This is confusing, did you mean to post this on a personal blog? I’m not sure how this helps the OP.

      1. MCMonkeyBean*

        I think it’s fairly common on here to point out how a letter might look from the other person’s point of view. I see that a lot and I think it can definitely be a helpful exercise for the OP.

    3. Lily in NYC*

      There are so many sites where one can practice creative writing, if that’s what this is supposed to be. But in the comments section of a blog? No thank you.

      1. anon4this*

        It’s obviously supposed to be from the perspective of the coworker that OP#2 is trying to get approval to screw over because they didn’t give notice at some sale job years and years ago that OP doesn’t work at anymore.

        1. Minimax*

          Its also in violation of a lot of the site rules so deserves the guff it gets.

          Be kind to letter writers
          Dont extrapolate on facts not in the letter
          Offer advice for the OP.

          1. Giant Squid*

            Ehh, it changed my mind a bit, and I don’t think it was “unkind” to OP–I’ll definitely give you the extrapolation point though. The facts of the letter are the long amount of time and little amount of evidence OP has to bring this up. IMO the “statute of limitations” should have run up by now.

            It would have been easier to read if “Mme de Poppadom” was a little less flowery and explicitly said “Think about it from the other person’s perspective”. I think it got a little too much guff.

            1. Cinq or swim*

              It got guff because the purpose wasn’t to help the OP, it was so people would go “Gee whiz, what a good writer you are!”

              There are a hundred sites where you can learn how to write. A workblog’s comment section, meant to help LWs, is not the place to make it about yourself.

              1. Giant Squid*

                “it was so people would go “Gee whiz, what a good writer you are!”…A workblog’s comment section, meant to help LWs, is not the place to make it about yourself.”

                That’s one interpretation. Another, kinder one is that MdP comes from a forum/environment where that sort of thing is more acceptable, and hasn’t yet picked up on AAM’s comment culture. It’s a faux paus, not a moral outrage. I read it this morning, moved on to the next comment after reading 2 sentences, and moved on with my day.

                I know how this is going to sound, but you might consider doing some self-reflection about your anger. I used to have an anger problem, and found a book “The Cow in the Parking Lot” to be very helpful. This is one of the most civil comment sections on the internet, and random newbies not grasping the culture shouldn’t cause you distress.

                1. small pig*

                  I think you are taking legitimate annoyance at a weird, off-topic, and confusingly-written comment too seriously. People can think the comment is irritating without having anger issues.

  19. Senor Montoya*

    LW 3, you should just ask your manager! Or the intern coordinator — whoever is in charge of you.

    Your boyfriend should do the same with his manager or intern coordinator.

    You can put it as a hypothetical: “Manager, are interns allowed to date each other?”

    1. ThatGirl*

      Considering interns are generally at the bottom of any reporting structure and likely to be college students, I can’t imagine this is a conflict at all – but I do applaud the LW for wanting to be proactive. You’re right, it can’t hurt to ask.

    2. ThatMarketingChick*

      But to what point? If the Manager says that interns aren’t allowed to date each other, what is the LW going to do? Split up? They’re interns. They’ve been dating for a year. As previous posters have pointed out, be professional, conduct absolutely no PDA, and put gaining professional, relevant experience ahead of having to go without seeing your partner for eight hours a day.

      I think it’s great that the LW is conscientious of relationships in the workplace, and it shows they do care about perception, so good on you, LW! Speaking as someone who met their husband at work, it’s not always easy but it’s possible!

    3. MCMonkeyBean*

      I would not put it as a hypothetical–what would you do if for some reason they said no? I don’t think there’s a need to disclose but if it would make you feel more comfortable I would just be straightforward with whoever manages you with something like “My boyfriend and I each separately applied for internships and he is currently interning with the house. I don’t think we’ll be interacting much here at work, but is that something we would need to formally disclose?”

  20. East of Nowhere South of Lost*

    LW4, back in the day i was very young and had a pushy but passive aggressive boss that made me sign this thing wherein she could call me to ‘pick my brain’ (her FAV phrase ever, which is weird) at my new job. I refused to answer the phone for 2 months into the new position until i felt enough time had passed that my brain would not be ‘picked’ by her.

  21. Emily*

    LW5: I applied for my current (first post-graduate) job over winter break of my senior year, they didn’t get around to doing the interview until March, and I got the offer the week of graduation. The long timeline should possibly have been a red flag, but they seemed to know how long they were taking and even “let” me start in the fall so that I could do an internship I had accepted in the intervening months. It’s a great job, and I’m glad I was looking early on!

  22. Jules the 3rd*

    LW5: Now is a good time to start looking. Make sure you go to your school’s job fairs, with resume in hand. See if you can get a list of the companies likely to be there before you go.

    I like my employer (and the more I read AAM, the more I like them). It all started with the school’s job fair around February – the company I ended up with was one of my top three picks going in.

    1. CupcakeCounter*

      Same for me – I was a December grad and the job fair was right after the semester started.
      Although a few years in, that job became one of the bad AAM letters so glad you found a better place!

    2. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

      Definitely start applying now! Hiring processes can easily take 2-3 months (a month to receive applications, a month or two to conduct interviews/references/background checks, the expected two week notice period if you’re coming from another job) which would already put you into May at this point.

      My first job out of college wanted someone ASAP (they decided to hire right during their busiest season) but I was able to swing it because I was able to start part-time while I finished up – that allowed me to get through all the training and take on some easy tasks before diving in full time after graduation.

  23. CupcakeCounter*

    Just left a job at the end of December. Due to the holidays and scheduled vacations at my new job, I was able to negotiate a early January start date and give my old job a full month’s notice (standard is 2 weeks) and stay through a annual audit that only I had been involved in for 5+ years. I told them I was available for questions until Day 1 of my new job (2 weeks after my last day at old job) but after that, I would be pretty busy. I got a text about day 3 of new job asking if I could give them a call. I said no but if you send an email with all of your questions I will answer them that evening. I got the email with quite a few questions (they did a really good job of going around to everyone and letting the know what was up), answered as completely as I could and sent it back with a note saying that unless it was a full stop emergency, I needed to focus on new job. It worked really well and they seemed to appreciate it so I would recommend contacting your old manager and saying that you will accept 1 email or set up 1 phone call by a specific date and to compile all of their questions and you will answer (if you go the email route, I would anticipate a follow up email if any clarification is needed).
    I’ve gotten a few texts since then from 2 coworkers I was really close to (and told privately to text with any questions since I knew they wouldn’t abuse the privilege and they got sort of screwed in the whole thing…different story) and was happy to answer. I met one for lunch not long ago and when a few others found out they asked if she could take a list of questions with her. She said no. I like her a lot :)

    1. J.B.*

      I got cleared to have a phone call ONCE with the previous person in a new job. It was long and I really appreciated him helping me through some extremely important undocumented stuff. That was it forever.

  24. ProdMgr*

    OP2, why not schedule coffee with the new employee and do a fresh start? Find out what they’ve been up to in the past four years. If you can do it calmly, tell them that you’re a little surprised to be working with them again after the way they left your previous company. But mostly, try to get a new first impression of them so that when you do have to cover for them you have something more recent to work off than what happened four years ago.

    1. Jedi Squirrel*

      try to get a new first impression of them

      Even if you can’t meet with them ahead of time, I think this is still a good idea. This is really where you need to be. This is excellent advice, and a great way to frame it.

    2. Rocket Surgeon*

      “you’re a little surprised to be working with them again after the way they left your previous company“

      Sounds passive aggressive to me, but ymmv.

  25. Jennifer*

    #1 It’s honestly shocking to me that this company does not provide you with a travel stipend. Meals and other incidentals can really add up and not everyone has hundreds of dollars lying around to spend. Even if they do, they may want to spend it elsewhere, like on a vacation they planned with people they actually like (especially in the case of the non-married employees). I wouldn’t mind a free trip either, but this isn’t really “free.” Can more employees start opting out of this trip in a show of solidarity? Maybe this will get leadership to start making changes.

    #5 Mmmmmmmmmm stew sounds really good on this dreary day

    1. Colette*

      They might pay for meals – but the employees may still need to get house/pet sitters, buy suitable clothing, and other expenses that the company wouldn’t typically be responsible for.

  26. Anonymouse*

    Re: LW5, just an anecdote, but there are often job fairs aimed at graduating seniors starting around this time of year. I got my first post-college job through a series of weird events. I attended a journalism job fair in early Feb (in fact, it was the day of the Columbia disaster) and half of the editors I’d hoped to meet with had left to go back to their newsrooms, but I did meet with one editor who seemed impressed with me and told me to keep in touch. I did, and had an internship lined up to start in June, and then a couple weeks prior got a call from their smaller sister paper saying “actually we need a full time copy editor, would you be interested in interviewing?” I stayed at that job for two years.

  27. Ancient Alien*

    LW1, I’m sorry, one of my first companies pulled this exact same stunt. In lieu of a Christmas bonus, the company decided to “reward” everyone with an Alaskan cruise. But with many of the same caveats you mentioned: 1) only married partners could go, but the company would pay for the spouses to go, 2) it wasn’t really “free”, we still had to pay for our airfare to and from Seattle, and 2 nights of hotel stay in Seattle before and after the cruise. Predictably, none of us little peons could afford all the extra expense (most of us were making 25-30k per year), so it was just the higher ups and their wives that went (and the wives were paid for by the company…).

    So, yeah, that was my final straw with that particular company. When I finally realized that I was not valued at all and needed to move on.

    P.S. And, yes, all of us little people received a lot of ridicule for “not wanting to celebrate with the company”.

    1. Slow Gin Lizz*

      They rewarded you with a trip you had to pay airfare and hotel for??? That’s utter nonsense.

        1. Slow Gin Lizz*

          Haha, right! I forgot the quotation marks around “rewarded.” They did not reward anyone, they “rewarded” those who could afford to pay airfare to Alaska and two nights’ worth of hotels. I just can’t even.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      A cruise ship is no reward.

      That’s where you go to get norovirus, nope nope nope.

      I look at the cruise liners docked every cruise season from across the sound and think “These giant boats of disease and cantankerous people in closed quarters, why would you ever save up for this torture?!”

  28. Jennifer*

    #2 Reading some of the comments above, I think a lot of people are missing Conundrum’s point. It’s not the this person quit, they quit with NO NOTICE during the busiest time of the year. That CAN say something about a person’s character. It is something you would mention if you were called for a reference for someone and it’s something a lot of managers would want a heads up about. Yes, people quit jobs, yes, people find out a job isn’t a good fit all the time and no one is obligated to stay with any company until the day they die but there’s a way to go about it in a professional way. Maybe this was a one-off, or maybe this is a pattern for them.

    1. Jedi Squirrel*

      I didn’t read that in the letter. You could infer that from the writing, but it’s not explicit. Sometimes an LW’s timeline is compressed.

      Plus, the company culture or structure at job #1 made not have made it very conducive to give much notice. If I knew that I was going to be treated like garbage during my notice period, I would be tempted to just ghost.

      1. Jennifer*

        Conundrum says in his comments above that a two week notice was required at his job and that the person left with no notice.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          Which is hardly the “Set the director of marketing on fire as a distraction while they jumped out a window with the box receipts” of dramatic management challenges thrown up by an existing employee, years ago when they briefly worked somewhere else.

        2. Roscoe*

          The job didn’t require 2 weeks notice, as most companies in the US can’t “require”. They wanted 2 weeks notice. But I’m also guessing they don’t give people that same courtesy when they let them go

          1. Jennifer*

            That’s what was in the employee handbook, according to the comments above. I agree that most employers don’t give us the same courtesy.

            1. Observer*

              The company can put anything they want in the handbook, unless it’s illegal. Doesn’t mean they can “require” it, unless it’s in exchange for something such as a non-legally required vacation payout.

            2. Roscoe*

              Doesn’t matter that it was in the handbook. Its not a requirement, its a preference. Unless you signed a contract, it is a non enforceable thing. Companies can phrase it as “you are required to do this” but you can’t actually make that a reality. Now of course, that may mean a negative reference in the future, but again, that doesn’t make it an iron clad thing that any employee must comply with

            3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

              And do they give someone 2 weeks notice if they’re firing them?

              Our attorney told us that we shouldn’t even mention it as a request in our handbook because we’re ef’ing with the whole “At will” scenario if you go that route. You can’t have it just one direction if you want to keep that in place.

              But regardless, so what?

              Whomever interviewed and hired the person now didn’t dig enough to find this out? That’s on the interviewer. The only option would be to fire the person now because of a transgression in their past…

              If everyone who’s walked out of a crappy job was held to such high standards, we’d have a much higher homeless population needless to say. Even I walked out on a job once.

              1. Close Bracket*

                “Whomever interviewed and hired the person now didn’t dig enough to find this out?”

                Or maybe they did, and the person had a good enough reason that the interviewer looked past it. Now how would THAT change the story …

                I flounced out of a job whilst spraying metaphorical lighter fluid. My current employer collaborates with them.

          2. Massmatt*

            In my experience there is a big difference on notice depending on whether someone is fired or laid off, and it doesn’t help that we often confuse or don’t differentiate between the two.

            If someone is fired for cause they are usually gone that day and there’s no severance pay. If you punch a customer, steal, or call your boss an a-hole you’re not getting any notice.

            If someone is fired for underperformance there is usually (Not always) some notice in the form of warnings, PIP, etc. But usually when they give them the bad news their paycheck stops then, or perhaps to the end of the week.

            If a job is eliminated due to downsizing, generally there needs to be notice and severance though I believe it varies a lot by state. In my state it’s two weeks of severance though many give more based on tenure, etc. My company gave 2 weeks of severance per year of employment.

            I don’t know of anyplace that requires an employee give any notice, though employers can certainly damage an employee that fails to do so.

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      Were the former trainee interviewing with the new company as a prospective employee, I think most of us would find it quite fair for OP to weigh in with the hiring manager. “I managed Fergus briefly four years ago; he quit partway through the training.” That’s what a professional reputation is.

      What’s getting all the side-eye is the post-hiring drive to share “you may not have known…” especially when the thing possibly not known is so minor. It’s one thing if you want to share that they were fired for embezzling or something else big–but an existing employee, who years ago at another company quit without notice when they hadn’t been there long? What benefit is to be gained from this information? Watch him close so he doesn’t…. quit again? Drive him out? Fire him on the spot for once quitting a completely different job?

      1. Jennifer*

        Maybe they want to be careful about how much responsibility they assign to him until they are sure he’s settling in well to the job?

        1. Jedi Squirrel*

          Isn’t that true of all employees, though? Nobody gets the keys to the safe on the first day.

    3. Allonge*

      And that would be useful information for management if they were in the process of hiring still. But old-new coworker is hired already.

      Now if the problem were that they behaved inappropritely towards juniors, or women (hell, men), that may still be actionable, and something to look out for.

      What can a manager do with the information of ‘they once left a job disregarding work conventions’? Or more in general, ‘they were not always professional’? Do not give them training, as they may leave again? Do not assign them tasks that last for longer than a week? Make them promise not to quite suddenly? Any of this WILL lead to the employee leaving again.

      The only good outcome for LW out of telling is being able to say I told you so, if the new person quits. At the same time, they are risking coming off as vindictive, bad at management, holding onto grudges. Is it worth it?

    4. Colette*

      But that’s just not actionable now. It would have been a reason not to hire that person, but that ship has sailed.

    5. Roscoe*

      So, while I agree, I’d also point out a few things.

      She can’t be mad about when he quit. That isn’t fair to him. So I don’t think the “busiest time of the year” holds any weight. As Alison says, there is never a “good” time to quit.

      No onto the no notice part. First off, as people point out all the time, most companies don’t give you notice when they let you go, yet they expect it from you. I was laid off 2 months ago with no notice. But of course, an employee who does that is considered “unprofessional”, while a company doing that is “just doing business”. Furthermore, its a sales job that he was just finished onboarding. I’m in sales. Many sales jobs just tell you to leave that day when you give notice anyway. The ones that don’t basically say to finish any leads that are close to closing, but don’t start any new ones. My guess is that at 3 months, he didn’t really have leads that were close to closing. So him working another 2 weeks would have probably been pointless.

      Most importantly, it was his first job out of college and 4 years ago. I think that is an important fact. This isn’t someone who had a long work history. He realized it wasn’t great and left. I’m not saying it was the most professional thing, but I don’t think its something that needs to be brought up AFTER he was hired either. If OP realized this during the hiring process and brought it up, it would be different.

      1. Jennifer*

        I agree about the giving notice thing. It may not be fair but until things change we deal with the world as it is.

    6. a heather*

      You miss the point that what Conundrum is *saying* is that they don’t want to mention any of this, just indicate they managed this person previously, but that saying anything means it will likely come up. I don’t know what Conundrum’s motivation actually is, but at this point the person has been hired and should be evaluated solely on their behavior *in this job*.

      What Conundrum actually needs to do is prepare to treat this employee as they would any other employee when the time for “contact” arises; to be the professional they were expecting the other person to be when they resigned without notice. The only way this will be a problem for Conundrum is if they make it a problem by treating the other employee differently.

      No one knows why this person resigned without notice. We are all human, and can have situations arise that mean we might not be able to be the most professional version of ourselves. I can think of several situations where quitting without notice might be the best thing for a person, just as firing/laying off without notice (which almost always happens) could be best for the company. Maybe the person is a flake, maybe not. At this point, years later in a different job, they deserve the benefit of the doubt.

      1. Jennifer*

        Sure, I’m not saying drive the person out with torches and pitchforks. It’s just something to be aware of. Sometimes past behavior is a predictor of future behavior.

    7. anonymouslee*

      I didn’t miss that and it doesn’t change anything if all LW wants to say to their boss is, “I managed them before. Okay, that’s it! No follow-up required!” with no further context, including that the person quit without notice. If they wanted to say that, they aren’t admitting it here (in the letter or comments), and they’re certainly not being up front about what they hope to get out of it.

      And as others mentioned, if it takes a few months to train someone new, a couple of weeks’ notice would not have solved or even mitigated LW’s ensuing stress anyway.

    8. EventPlannerGal*

      I don’t think anyone missed the point, they just don’t agree with you. Those aren’t the same thing.

      As you say, it’s the type of thing that is useful to know… during the hiring process. This person has already been hired. They have passed whatever interviews and reference-checks the company have in place and are now employed there. What do you want the OP’s management to do? Fire them? Go back and re-check all their references? Watch their every move just in case they might be thinking about quitting? Not give them the good assignments in case they quit in the middle? The moment for raising this has now passed and I don’t see this rising to the level that it needs to be actively pursued now. Mentioned if someone asks, sure, but otherwise, nah.

    9. NotAnotherManager!*

      Conundrum also says that this person had performance issues and was on a PIP, so (1) it sounds like the former employee saw the writing on the wall about their future at this job and agreed it was not a good fit and (2) I’m not sure how having to PIP-level performance someone who’s not good at their job during the busiest season is helpful.

      And, really, if the issue is leaving at the busiest time of the year (despite underperforming), how much help is that extra two weeks really going to be during that time?

  29. Employment Lawyer*

    3. Do I need to disclose that I’m dating another intern?
    No. In fact, it would probably be unwise, unless you are literally 100% confident that the supervisors in both camps are friends. Perhaps you can work in Trump’s campaign and date a Pence staffer, but you run a lot of risk if you’re on even somewhat-competing campaigns because of people’s perceptions of security, leaks, etc.

    This is the equivalent of dating someone in a competing company: it can easily lead to suspicion of confidentiality breaches. It happens, but it’s usually best not to let your boss know!

    4. My old job wants my contact info so they can keep asking me questions
    Two options.

    1) HOTMAIL. Burner email addresses are great! You can even be blunt: “I only check this every now and then. I’m not willing to use my personal email for issues related to my old job.” You can use this alone or in combination with the option below (“If you want a guarantee of fast responses; more personalized attention; or for me to prioritize this over other issues; then you’ll have to hire me as described below…”)

    2) Offer to consult. Get a deposit IN ADVANCE (they’re much more likely to pay you while they need you than after they get what they want.) “I will agree to make myself available by phone from 5-5:30 PM, for the next four weeks. The total cost is $____, payable in advance. I won’t be able to go over the 1/2 hour time, and you pay the full fee whether or nor you use the half hour, since you’re paying for me to block it out of my schedule.” Set a number which makes it reasonable, stick to your schedule, and bank your profits.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      It’s super common for interns on the Hill to date interns in other offices. People aren’t concerned. (This is a state legislature, but I imagine it’s similar.)

    2. Brett*

      To add to that, it is also very common in state legislatures for staffers to move around as elected officials come and go, and merit staff has to support whoever holds the office regardless of party, especially since so many state legislatures are term-limited. Good patronage staffers, in particular, can survive through many administrations regardless of party even though they could be easily fired. (Or as grad school lecturer on environmental policy once said, “Don’t worry about the person who will come in and clean house because of party affiliation. You don’t want to work for that person anyway.”)

  30. Experienced Hiring Manager/Mentor*

    LW3, the intern: I have found that romantic relationships don’t stay secret. Co-workers figure it out. It’s not always a problem, just something to be aware of when you’re starting out, because it feels as if it should be possible to keep these matters private, but you should know that it doesn’t usually work that way in the working world.

  31. SpontaneousCombustion*

    For LW5 – in my last year of grad school, I started applying for jobs in January/February, and ended up getting a job that started in June that I applied to in February. It’s not too early!

  32. RussianInTexas*

    LW4: after I got laid off from the Old Job, my boss (he had nothing to do with the layoff), tried to ask me questions.
    I very politely explained that I am having a strong case of amnesia.

  33. Helena*

    LW1, you say spouses can go, but what about children? If children can’t go, then you’d probably end up with most of the no-kids people on the trip but the parents back at the office working. That’s probably not illegal, but it’s certainly not a family-friendly policy. It’s certainly possible to find someone to care for your small kids full-time for a week while you go on vacation, but (at least in my experience) it would be unusual.

    1. ElizabethJane*

      Most work trips, even incentive trips, don’t include children. There are a multitude of non discriminatory reasons for this….

      1. It’s likely a liability (IANAL but I’d imagine there’s some extra liability with including minors on a trip).
      2. It’s an extra expense. Sure, my toddler isn’t going to cost the company much but what about Joe’s 5 teenage boys?
      3. Not everything in the world has to be all inclusive for families
      4. If Joe gets to bring 3 kids and I’m childless do I get to bring my 3 nieces? Is it “fair”? Or are we right back at the everyone gets a plus one thing.

      I’m not saying the office’s execution of this particular trip is great (in general these things should be easy to opt out of, and everyone should get a +1) but the mere existence of it isn’t really a problem.

      1. Jennifer*

        Your three nieces don’t depend on you for care. That’s not a fair comparison. I think the point Helena is making is a good one. Most people with kids would have to pay for childcare or leave their kids with their spouse, so they wouldn’t be able to enjoy the trip with their spouse anyway. No, not everything has to be inclusive of families but if your company has a lot of employees with families, having family-friendly policies is a good idea.

    2. Orange people*

      That’s what I thought, too. If married employees can’t bring their kids with them, that’s more like a liability for them.

  34. Minimax*

    #4 I am not getting the negativity towards OP 4. His employee quit with no notice. That’s a big deal. We are clear on this forum all the time that actions have consequences.
    I think in ops position it makes total sense to disclose and discuss with the manager.

    I think its absurd people expect op to act as if he wasnt burned by the employee in the past.

    The discussion with the other manager is also best for the employee too! If employee is shining and op says – hey this happened. My last interaction with him is he quit with no notice so can you give me some context for his current work?Then the other boss can build up employee in the ops eyes.

    On the other hand if employee is struggling the context of quitting with out notice may mean his chances at the new place are stifled. Thats ok too.

    Long way to say a frank discussion, getting and giving more context, seems like the only way to go to me. I mean what if employee takes op managing him negatively then trys to present this prior interaction as proof op is out to get him? Then the other manager will wonder why op didnt disclose and question ops evaluation of the employee. Best to be up front and discuss your concerns openly with the other manager. Focus on the work impacts – your trust in this employee is low.

    1. Jedi Squirrel*

      Strong disagree. If the job was a bad fit, it was a bad fit. The employee had enough sense to get out sooner, rather than later.

      As a manager, part of your job is to give people the benefit of the doubt. The employee deserves a fresh start at the new job. It’s not like he absconded from the old job with millions of dollars in equipment; he quit. People quit all the time. People ghost all the time. Chances are he left that position off his resume when applying to this position. (I know I would.) Why would OP want to ruin it for him?

      There is a ton of background that we aren’t aware of. Try to have some empathy, folks.

      1. Minimax*

        Why do you think having a frank discussion with the other manager will ruin it for the quitting employee?

        Thats assuming the worst in the other manager. If my employee is performing great, and a manager I want to cover for my team had this negative experience, Id fill op in on the new performance and context. Not turn around and fire a good staffer.

    2. ElizabethJane*

      Hard disagree.
      The point of a notice period is to tie up loose ends and give someone time to find your replacement.

      In an hourly environment (such as a restaurant or retail store) you can reasonably find a replacement in 2 weeks and get them up to speed. In an office environment you can transition projects, create training documents, and otherwise set the new person up for success.

      But I don’t see what 2 weeks notice would have changed in this situation anyway. The LW couldn’t have trained a new person since they hired the employee in question 3 months before the busy season. The new person hadn’t actually done any busy season projects, they quit before they got started. So what exactly was 2 weeks going to do and do you genuinely believe the OP would have been less inconvenienced with notice? I don’t.

    3. Close Bracket*

      Actions at a past job don’t necessarily have consequences at a current job. Theft, sure. Quitting without notice, nah.

  35. Claire*

    The only reason I can think of for instituting a policy where married employees can bring their spouses on vacation but single employees can’t bring anyone is for rom-com shenanigans, so…LW1, have you considered legally marrying a friend (who is secretly pining away for you) so that they can come on the trip, having to fake like you’re in love with them in front of your coworkers, and then falling in love with them for real? And both of you think the other is just a really good actor, faking being in love so well, so you push each other away until the last day of the trip, when there’s a misunderstanding of some sort, and then several wacky circumstances that lead to you confessing your feelings?

    If that’s not your plan, then it’s just a bad policy and you should see if a group of you can push against it. If that is your plan, please tell us about it.

    1. Jules the 3rd*

      It needs to include some kind of wild animal (that is not harmed in the filming of this movie) for max wack.

      1. KoiFeeder*

        More rom-coms need komodo dragons, so that’s where I stand on this. Any large monitor will do, or tegu if you’re on the other hemisphere.

          1. KoiFeeder*

            Romance In The Rainforest: Love just got a whole lot lazier. Starring: sloths. it’s just a rom-com where the entire cast is sloths.

  36. Nanani*

    1. That’s strange – if it’s a team building trip or some kind of skills retreat or something, then why allow any +1s regardless of marital status? If you’re there for work, the +1s have little to do.
    I’ve worked for a company that did company trips and they were employees only because the idea was to spend time with each other.

    If you’re just there to lounge, then yeah everyone should have the option of bringing whoever they want, but also should have the option to opt out.

    1. rayray*

      I honestly do think there is sometimes a little discrimination against single adults. At my last job, we’d have a day once a year of going to a local amusement park. The company would pay for the employee and one guest, and then you had a voucher for discount tickets for additional people. One year, when a different person took over HR, he only gave the cash for two tickets to married people. He just assumed that anyone single would have no one to bring, and that we’d just slump around the amusement park alone. Thankfully, it was quickly cleared up and we single people got the cash to pay for our second ticket. I think some people just think that anyone who is single is just happy to do everything alone, and that they wouldn’t possibly have a boyfriend/girlfriend, a best friend, sibling, roommate, etc that they’d like to have as their partner for such activities.

      1. Nanani*

        Oh I totally agree that this is a factor.

        It just goes to highlight how absurd this sort of notion can be.

  37. DreadingFamilyQuestions*

    Hi! I’m OP #5! Thanks for the advice, Alison and everyone who’s commented. I’ll be on the lookout for job fairs, and I’d appreciate any other first real job search advice any of you have.

    1. Daisy-dog*

      Lol at your screen name. I graduated in 2011 and right before graduation, I posted on Facebook that I would just like to go a week without someone asking me my future plans. One of my older cousins replied, “Noted.” And then she asked me my future plans when I saw her 2 days later. She did apologize though – she was just so curious!

      Overall, forget any judgmental family members – many of whom are likely pushing Gumption on you. It is hard to get started right away. I was unemployed for 9 months and after that only found 2 part-time, low-wage jobs. I got to spend those 9 months reading and doing other activities that I never have time for now, so I am grateful for that time.

      Don’t rush into anything that you’re uncertain about.
      Be patient.
      You will mess up an interview. Or 2. Or 3. Mistakes are good because they show that the world doesn’t end.

      Also, smaller companies are less likely to hire in advance in my experience. So you may find that very large companies have hiring classes that are every few months and are often tied to graduation dates. But small companies may not be able to plan for that and will just post for jobs needed immediately. Doesn’t hurt to apply regardless. There was a case where we were hiring for a position and decided against hiring someone graduating in August (it was May), but then we didn’t actually get someone to start until August anyway.

    2. Katniss Evergreen*

      Keep combing the archives here for the ‘just starting out’-type advice. Lots of people in your position have written in to this site, including me in the past – Alison’s advice for resumes and cover letters is great, and reading other letters can give you an idea of what to expect regarding the black hole that is usually sending out resumes..

      A quick tip Alison’s talked about before – for interviews and job fairs I’d have a “Tell me about your (professional) self” answer ready beforehand that you’ve pretty much memorized. If you’ve only been a student and don’t have much/any work experience, talk about any academic or extra-curricular/volunteer experience you’ve had that would translate into the sort of work you’re doing. Bonus points if you can work your “tell me about yourself” answer into how the things you’ve done fit the specific job you may be applying for, but don’t stretch it if they don’t. A lot of early career stuff is translating yourself and your experience + soft skills into a variety of jobs, since you may not be doing exactly what you love right away.

      Don’t sweat it if you occasionally flub an interview question – it may be the thing that disqualifies you from a particular job, but I hope you’re not like me and harp on it for ages. I once answered “where do you see yourself in 5 years?” with how I hoped my boyfriend, our dog, and I would still be living in the area – that was 7 years ago. That’s another example where the subtext is “where do you see yourself (read – your career) in 5 years?”, so I should have talked about wanting to go to grad school for public health and hopefully be making a meaningful difference in government with a health focus.. you live and you learn!

    3. Bostonian*

      It’s definitely not too early to apply! You won’t be wasting their time if they’re looking to hire quicker because it doesn’t take long to look at the graduation date and know that the applicant won’t be able to start right away. (So Alison’s advice to put “May 2020” on your resume for your degree date is perfect.)

      This is actually the situation I’m in now. I’m trying to hire an entry-level position and at the moment, but I’m not looking at candidates that are graduating in May because we would prefer to hire sooner. However, if April rolls around and the position is still open, then it’s fair game because the hiring process itself may take as long as 1 to 2 months.

      Advice for “first real job search”: Make sure you have a solid reason for why you applied to the job. Llama grooming doesn’t have to be your Life’s Passion, but if you can give a thoughtful explanation as to the parts of the job that appeal to you and how the role fits into your experience/education/career goals, it shows a lot of self-awareness and maturity PLUS hiring managers want to feel confident that the person they hire will stick around long enough to contribute (generally at least 2 years). I’m often really surprised at how few recent grads can speak to this intelligently.

  38. ACDC*

    RE Letter #4:
    When I left a previous job due to a horribly abusive manager, she did this to me too. I did not answer any of the texts, phone calls, or emails (to my personal email) – but they nonetheless persisted. This was multiple outreaches a day, and after a week of this I responded with one email, “Hello X, During my notice period I left detailed documentation of all of my job duties and tasks. If you find that there are things beyond those documents that you need my guidance on, I am happy to discuss a consulting fee with you. Sincerely, ACDC.”

    They never reached out again.

    1. rayray*

      This is what I would do.

      Now, I’d maybe give some leeway and let them ask a question or two in the first couple weeks, but really no more than that. Transitions can be tough, things can get missed so it isn’t totally out of line to reach out once or twice if something urgent comes up. No more than that though. After a short grace period, or after so many questions, I’d be done.

      1. ACDC*

        Oh for sure! I think it also depends on the relationship and how things ended. In other jobs, I’ve been happy to answer the odd question here or there. This place I was referring to in my comment was a unique circle of hell so I was not inclined to continue any contact.

        1. rayray*

          I agree. If I am treated with respect, I will treat you with respect. If no respect is given, none will be given back.

  39. louise*

    LW4, a few people have suggested but I definitely want to chime in — the best way to handle would be for whenever the old boss to emails you, let 5-7 days pass before you answer each email, and when you do, you tell them where to find the info in the documentation you provided when you left. And your emails should be breezy like “Hey, I’ve been swamped with [new job]! Anyway, definitely look in Folder 1 for the answers to those questions. Hope everything’s great over there!” You want to convey that you’re a perfectly nice person and Old Job is 100% not your priority right now.

    1. Colette*

      Agreed, although I wouldn’t necessarily start with 5 – 7 days, I’d start with 2 days if it’s something they should be able to figure out with the documentation you left, and then get slower as time goes by.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Or literally just delete the email. It’s a personal email account, I have learned many don’t check theirs unless they’re waiting for something. Then they delete things as they please.

      It’s not your work email, related to your job. So delete it like you’d delete spam.

  40. Captain Awkward*

    LW #4, I have been in your shoes and if you do what Alison suggests and email them once, something like this will either makes them leave you alone forever or buy you new shoes every time they want to talk to you:

    “Hello, nice to hear from you, I hope you are well.

    Everything should be in the materials on the drive, but if you would like a quick phone consult my hourly rate is [A HIGH NUMBER THAT WOULD DEFINITELY BUY YOU SOME NEW SHOES]. Let me know if you’d like to set something up.”

  41. JacqueOfAllTrades*

    #5, my son is graduating in May and interviewed successfully in October for a job that starts in June. I think this is field-dependent (he’s in computer science and is going into defense contracting because he’s already in the National Guard).

  42. boop the first*

    2. “be clear with people about what they’re signing up for…”
    I’m sure that OP 2 is perfectly clear, but I think this sentiment bears repeating! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to train new coworkers only for them to quit immediately because management is too ashamed to be honest about the work, the timeline, the shift schedule, especially. They loved to hire kids to work the late shifts only to find out that they have no transportation at night. Or they neglect to inform them that the job is only 15 hours/week during the worst shifts. It’s such a waste of everyone’s time.

  43. Susana*

    I don’t understand why LW4’s friend could be technically required to give *someone else’s* private contact information to an employer. It’s not his or her info to provide! An employee’s own info, yes, or even an emergency contact. But how can an employer force an employee to violate someone else’s privacy?

    1. Clisby*

      The employer can’t *force* them to provide it. The employer can fire them if they refuse to provide it.

    2. fhqwhgads*

      They can do it lie this “tell me the phone number or you’re fired”.
      It’s not the most probable thing, but it’s certainly possible, especially if the OP is in the US. And it sounds like the boss was being an asshole about it, so even if it weren’t exactly that, it could still involve making work unpleasant for them in other ways.

  44. Ophelia*

    LW5, one more thing to bear in mind is that for a lot of larger orgs, there’s reasonably high turnover among entry level, associate type positions (people stay for a few years, then go to grad school, or move up or move on), so we’re kind of constantly hiring for those, so it’s totally find to throw your hat in the ring even if it might be a few months until you’re truly available.

  45. Retail not Retail*

    Op5 – yes apply now! But some positions will automatically reject you because you don’t have the degree yet. My advisor told 2 classmates to apply for a DOT job that was starting in June but their applications automatically got kicked back because they didn’t have the degrees!

    Op1 – my retail job had one for our location at a local fun park and obviously some people didn’t get to go because someone had to work! But it was also an evening playing putt putt and doing silly things. The broader chain participated in an employee day at a theme park an inconvenient distance away. I went the last 2 summers I worked there – it was just a majorly discounted ticket and there were no plus whatever limits. And since it was in the next state no one knew us!

  46. Enginear*

    #5, absolutely apply now or else you’ll be left behind. I started applying 6 months before I graduated from college and luckily had a job offer before graduating. I had classmates accepting jobs as early as 2-3 months prior to graduation.

  47. JxB*

    Long ago, I used to arrange incentive trips like this for a major company. Cruises, dude ranches, beach excursions, ski trips, etc. It would be one trip per region planned months and months in advance. Everyone knew the date, destination, and details far in advance. I would say 98% of the attendees were delighted by a free trip. Travel, hotel, and certain excursions were included. No employee leave time used.

    For some, it may not have been exactly their first choice of destination, but it wasn’t a personal vacation chosen by them. It was a corporate promotional/incentive trip – ideally a “fun” business trip. A few had conflicts, new baby, no interest and chose not to attend. However, most were truly excited by the opportunity. Once onsite, majority of schedule was completely free to enjoy as they wished, with perhaps one company dinner or reception. Sometimes we’d see someone with a partner who couldn’t attend and they instead brought a friend or family member. There was plenty of time to plan. It wasn’t that hard to make a polite excuse if no interest.

    1. JxB*

      Note – let me clarify that I absolutely don’t agree with shaming anyone for not going. That’s just not fair at all. And if it gets to the point where a significant number are not interested, then it’s time to re-evaluate.

  48. La Triviata*

    The place I used to work had vaguely similar issues. First, they ran conferences once a year; when people asked for some sort of compensation – either paid overtime or comp time – we were told that the organization flew us to various places, put us up in nice hotels, arranged for nice meals and gave us the opportunity to meet important and interesting people. The problem – as you might expect – was that we were working literally 16-hour days for three or four days in a row, many of us never got a chance to eat a meal (except before or after that 16-hour work day), only got to enjoy the hotel room for the time we got to sleep and the important and interesting people we met were usually angry because they weren’t getting something they wanted.

    Same place would have an annual picnic. It was always scheduled in the middle of the summer, when it was hottest, always took up an entire Saturday, always located someplace far away from any form of public transit and they never made any accommodation for those who didn’t have cars ( I was one … possibly the only one, so take that for what it’s worth). After a few years of suffering through these “fun” events, I started refusing to go. It didn’t go over well, but I just wouldn’t go.

    Needless to say, I’ve left them behind and am working for a much more humane organization.

  49. LogicalOne*

    1. If it’s people I don’t know well or get along with then I definitely don’t want to go on a trip and I would rather be at work away from them.

    3. One of my mantras is never to date someone I work with. If things get ugly then you will have to work with them and it just never turns out good. Always that awkward monkey poking you like “hey you used to date but you’re still together awkwardness” sort of thing.

  50. Flora*

    LW 4: I want to offer some words for your friend that is still at the company in case they might be useful. I’m not implying the following applies specifically to you, but just, it might be a way to help old-boss understand that people’s data are not all things zie has a right to.

    “You know, I’m not that comfortable with giving you this because of course, some people have really scary life circumstances that require them to carefully control their information. I’m not willing to create a scenario where people in that situation have to out themselves every time someone asks, so I like to assume it could be the case and just not share someone’s information without explicit permission.”

  51. Former Employee*

    OP#2 keeps repeating that they feel they need to tell their manager that they managed this employee previously, but not provide any details. Multiple people have posted comments to the effect that once the OP mentions this to their manager, said manager will undoubtedly ask for the circumstances, how did this employee perform, what made them leave, etc.

    Yet the OP continues to say that all they want to do is put their manager on notice that this employee used to work for them.

    What is the OP’s plan for when their manager asks for details of their prior work situation?

    Does the OP feel that as long as their only intent is to give their boss a heads up that if the boss asks questions about that previous job, it won’t be the OP’s fault if they end up telling the story of what happened because the boss made them do so?

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