update: my boss tapes people’s mouths shut during meetings

Remember the letter-writer last month whose boss tapes people’s mouths shut during meetings when she doesn’t like their ideas? Here’s the update.

Hello everyone. I am the person who made the original post regarding my boss’ tendency to cover people’s mouths with tape during meetings. I wanted to first clarify a few things that people discussed in the comment section on here because I did not get a chance to respond directly to comments during the original posting:

1. A lot of people speculated that my boss hires people who are young and without much experience. That would be accurate. In our office we have 5 guys and 3 women and I’d say the average age (not counting my boss) is probably 23 or 24ish. So yeah, it’s a young office. That makes for quite a good office vibe most of the time, I have to say, and actually that is what first attracted me to the job. My boss makes it a point of pride to only hire new college grads with no paid work experience. She claims that she feels it is her duty as a small business owner to give experience and opportunities to young people entering the world of work and I really admired that. And maybe there is some truth in that to an extent, but from all the comments I received on here I have started to realize there are probably other (more insidious) reasons for her only hiring people straight out of college.

2. In response to the insightful comments that suggested I grow a beard, that is impossible. We have a fairly professional, conservative dress code which includes a clean shaven requirement for guys (you can have a mustache but no beard and I imagine that would look pretty dorky so no one does it). I am wondering now if this may be to facilitate the taping thing…? I’m starting to look at everything through a much more cynical lens all of a sudden, I must admit!

Anyway, with the background out of the way, now for the actual update!

Although many of you probably think so at this point, I’m not a total idiot. When literally hundreds of internet comments are saying “yikes” and telling me to quit, I’m not going to ignore that. I ruminated on it a lot and clearly, this is not normal and more importantly, not acceptable. I see that now. I told my boss last week that I intend to look for other opportunities. Unfortunately, she doesn’t want to let me go yet because she likes to do her hiring in May/June, but that is kind of a long time still. So we came to a compromise and she agreed to let me start looking for a new job after April 1. (Note from Alison: I received this update on February 25.) The good thing is she says even once I start job hunting, I can still stay on as long as I need until I receive an offer of employment, so long as I continue to work diligently. That’s good for me because, you know … student loan repayments.

So yeah, just a little while longer and I’ll be on to a new adventure, hopefully. And I can file this away as an amusing anecdote for the future! It’s kind of a shame because I do enjoy some of the people I work with but having thought about it more I can now see the whole thing is kind of demeaning in a few different ways.

(Please know that as soon as I received this update, I wrote back and told the letter-writer that he gets to leave when he wants to leave, and it’s not normal to let your boss tell you that you need to stay longer! He can just give two weeks notice at whatever point he wants to.)

{ 321 comments… read them below }

        1. Candi*

          for (int i = “yikes”; i < 1000; i++) {


          *I know this is bad Java code; I'm doing it from memory, and I wasn't that great to begin with.

    1. Not a Girl Boss*

      I went with a long trailing mournful “Noooooooo” the entire time I was reading this.

      1. valentine*

        Yes, this deserves a cinematic no:
        I told my boss last week that I intend to look for other opportunities. […] we came to a compromise and she agreed to let me start looking for a new job after April 1.

        OP, she doesn’t get to say when you can start a job search. Don’t give her details or let her involve herself in your search at all. She’s thoroughly untrustworthy and every new detail about her is worse than the last. I’m thinking her choice of April Fools’ Day means something.

        I’d love to know how the pandemic affects this and whether people are still taping themselves.

        1. Nic*

          Oh yeah – also, not only is it perfectly OK for you to start a new job search without checking if it coincides with the time of year that your employer prefers to hire people, but you don’t even have to tell your boss that you are looking if you think she may respond negatively!

          Plus: it is normal for you to carry on working until you have accepted another job offer. Your employer is not doing you a gracious favour by permitting you to carry on working for her during the job search; this is the way it usually happens unless you’re fired or resign for unrelated reasons.

    2. Uldi*

      Adding my Yikes to the chorus.

      OP, you do NOT need your boss’s permission to look for another job, full stop. You don’t have to tell them you’re looking, either. Start looking now (though with the virus, you might see much happening for a while).

      1. Infiniteschrutebucks*

        Not only do you not have to tell your employer you’re looking for another job, you absolutely shouldn’t tell your employer you’re looking for another job! An employer can easily decide to use that information to let you go when it’s most convenient for them, and quite possibly before you’ve found something else. I’m concerned that you felt you had to tell her- is this something she told you to do? And as Alison said, your employer absolutely does not get to tell you when to job search. You owe her two weeks notice and that’s it. She doesn’t get to negotiate your job search. Please don’t wait, you need to get out of there

        1. Amethystmoon*

          Yes! When I was young and dumb, like 20 years ago, I lost a temp job because I was too honest about looking for a permanent job. I did not have one lined up and they let me go. So please learn from my mistake. There is such a thing as too much honesty.

          1. valentine*

            An employer can easily decide to use that information to let you go when it’s most convenient for them, and quite possibly before you’ve found something else.
            Yes. What happens if she hires someone before OP accepts (not receives!) a job offer?

          2. Like raccoons*

            Hard agree. Directly out if college, the first job(s) I got were as a store manager in retail. Two years in, when my regional manager asked me about my long-term plans, I was too inexperienced to know I shouldn’t say that I was looking for something with more regular hours. Guess who has two thumbs and got fired when our store did not meet it’s sales goals during the Great Recession in late 2008/early 2009? This girl. If I kept my mouth shut, I could have left on my own terms when I had a job lined up.

      2. Amethystmoon*

        Exactly. Though, leaving before they want to may result in them retaliating by giving a less stellar review, but they still have to verify if you worked there. I would in fact try and get someone other than your boss to be your reference for that job if needed.

      3. Anne (with an “e”)*

        Please listen to everyone.

        This is a job. This is not school. Your job search is none of your boss’s business.

        Keep your plans close to your vest. You absolutely should not be telling your boss if you are looking for another job. You especially do not need her permission to look or when to look. You do not need this woman’s input at all in your job hunt. Yes, it is true that you do not want to burn any bridges. However, you are allowed to job search whenever you feel like. Most people don’t advertise that fact to their current employer though. I wonder what else this woman has taught you about workplace norms. At this point, if I were you I would doubt anything she has told you about professional norms.

        Yikes does not even come close to encompassing what I am thinking about this situation.

      1. Jen S. 2.0*

        Heeeeee! Yikes! On several Bikes down Pikes! With Tykes using Mikes with no Likes!

        LW, you have shared waaaay too much with your boss. When you’re ready to leave a job, you look for a new position by networking and applying, you interview as quietly as you can (“I have an appointment tomorrow morning and won’t be in until 11:30,” then a long lunch a week later, and then you take a Friday afternoon off the week after that. That gets you three interviews), you accept an offer … and then you tell your boss that another job opportunity has fallen into your lap that was too good to pass up, and so your last day will be [2 Fridays from now]. That’s what the rest of us are doing when we leave jobs; it’s often a surprise to our employers or not 100% convenient for them. You don’t need — or really want — your boss’ permission or input for this process.

        When you accept a job, you don’t have to stay there forever until you die no matter how awful it is. Your boss doesn’t decide to let you leave your job when she is good and ready. You can resign any time, for any reason. Common advice is to stay at least a couple of years if you can, partly because that’s how long it takes to build real skills and be a real contributor, and partly because people who have left multiple jobs after short stints are often getting fired or leaving because problems follow them. But you’re allowed to leave a bad job quickly every once in a while in your career; people understand that you might have gotten there and it wasn’t what you thought, or it was a toxic place, or you needed to move home to take care of a family member, or the situation changed and became untenable, or whatever.

        Yikes. No sikes.

    3. Artemesia*

      YIKES. Nothing says ‘we exploit young workers with no experience’ like someone seriously thinking he has to be ‘allowed’ to leave an abusive boss when that boss dictates. What a horror show.

      1. DustyJ*

        This! This is a textbook diagram of how working for an abusive boss straight out of school can twist one’s norms right from the start! With arrows and dotted lines, for pete’s sake!

    4. Kettricken Farseer*

      So much yikes. This is what I call ‘toxic benevolence’ and it’s straight up abusive

  1. RoseBud*

    What an utterly unsatisfying update. Worried about this person’s sense of norms and how skewed they will be after leaving this workplace.

          1. Uldi*

            This is a time when being an introvert is making things easier for me for a change. I can catch up on my reading, watching, and video game playing.

          2. Third or Nothing!*

            Working from home with a toddler has made the days go by pretty quickly. Between trying to get reports out and dispensing snacks I don’t stop doing stuff from sunup to sundown. This is SO much harder than the week here and there I’ve taken vacation time to play SAHM and get some extra quality time with her.

            So yeah the days don’t feel super long but OMG each one has a week’s worth of life crammed into it.

            1. Locked Down*

              Yep, this is my boat too! Cramming 40 hrs across evenings and the weekends when my husband is at home, running after a newly walking 1 year old and a 3 year old desperately missing his nursery buddies. We’ve got this!

              1. Lemonbalm*

                Oh OP, I feel for you. But as others have said you do not have to tell your boss when you’re looking. Give them notice and that’s it.
                I hope that you are able to find something new after this is all over…
                One more thought, with everything that is going on and most people working from home now how is she going to ‘silence’ / shame them….

                1. Jennifer Juniper*

                  I’m guessing the boss may not let anyone work from home, but force them to come in. She would then frame it as her benevolently letting them stay employed out of the goodness of her heart.

              1. Agnodike*

                I think it’s probably better not to compare. Right now I wish I had a day where I wasn’t being constantly screamed at by a toddler while trying to create and execute ever-changing pandemic response plans for my job in healthcare policy/management. BUT I know it can also be soul-crushing to be staring at an endless stretch of featureless days without any objectives to guide them, and I know how lucky I am to be still employed and not worrying about how I’m going to pay the mortgage next month. I don’t think I’d rather do that, just like I don’t think you’d really rather be the kind of busy I am. I think it would be really nice if we could just hear and hold other people’s experiences, and have them hear and hold ours, without comparing.

            2. Artemesia*

              And only a week ago people were wondering if normal household noise would be a problem for WFH folks — what a difference a catastrophe makes.

              1. Third or Nothing!*

                I know right? I’m kind of hoping this normalizes kids in public places (well, not literally public right now but you know what I mean). As people get more and more used to having kids in the background maybe they’ll be more accepted in places that aren’t specifically for children. Maybe I don’t want to spend all my family time at the library or the park or a fast food restaurant with a play place, you know?

                1. Dr. Cox*

                  Nooo. Too many people already bring rowdy and ill-behaved children where they have no business being.

                2. londonedit*

                  Oh no. There seriously still need to be adult places in the world. I don’t want every pub and restaurant turned into a play park.

                3. Third or Nothing!*

                  All y’all imagining me bringing a tiny hellion everywhere I go: my daughter has always come with me everywhere I go. That’s how I’m teaching her how to behave. As soon as she starts acting up she loses the privilege of being at the fun and interesting place. If I never took her anywhere she’d never have the chance to learn when it’s appropriate to act like a silly kid and when it’s not.

                  I don’t hold her to unreasonable standards. We always go home for nap time and are home by 6:30 to start the bedtime routine. I always carry snacks and a special coloring pad and washable crayons. We’re not going to bars and fancy schmancy restaurants. We’re going to the grocery store, the plant nursery, the local nature preserve for hikes, local diners and taquerias, my 5Ks and 10Ks, festivals, etc.

        1. Róisín*

          One of my friends has just gone through a bit of a whirlwind romance that resulted in his first girlfriend in a while, and his comment on the matter was “this week has been a long month” which is my new favorite phrase for stuff like this. These last weeks have been very long months.

      1. Count Boochie Flagrante*

        Right! I read that “last month” bit and went “… did Alison mean last year, surely?”

        1. Kate*

          When you have a lot to do, a day flies past but last week was a long time ago.
          When you have nothing to do, a day stretches and stretches, but last week just only was.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        I hope to high heaven he didn’t wait until now to start job hunting. :(

      3. Meg Murry*

        No kidding. People sitting around a conference room table for a meeting? Seems like it’s been forever since this was standard business as usual and not just a month or two ago. Not to mention – putting tape on your mouth? At the time of the original letter it was just kind of “ugh” to me, but now it’s a giant “NOOOOO! Don’t touch your face! And doubly don’t with tape that someone else handled! NO!”

    1. BRR*

      Related to the sense of norms, and I think the LW will learn the norms, it’s usually not normal to let your boss know that you intend to look for new opportunities. I would strongly advise against doing that if your boss is known to tape people’s mouth’s shut on a regular basis.

      1. Mike*

        Or, ever. I had the nicest boss in the world once, but upper management mandated cuts for budgetary reasons, so my poor boss had to axe the guy who had been sniffing around for a new job, and he was a friend of mine. My boss hated doing it, Becky friend was a good guy and a good worker. But somebody had to go, so because he had been looking, it had to be him.

        I don’t know how management knew he was looking.

    2. Sharikacat*

      OP’s sense of norms are already at least good enough to voice concern with how this woman operates, so he’s not that far gone.

    1. Sam.*

      It’s perhaps a good thing I’m not at my actual office because the face I made when I got to “She agreed to let me starting looking”…

      1. sofar*

        I gasped out loud when I read “So we came to a compromise and she agreed to let me start looking for a new job after April 1.”

        1. Heidi*

          I’m picturing a world where people can’t leave their jobs unless their boss says they can. It’s pretty grim.

          Hey, LW. You can look for a job and NOT TELL your unhinged boss.

          1. Perpal*

            It’s probably the same world where you can’t stop dating someone unless they let you go? *shudder*

          2. Massmatt*

            There WAS such a world, it was the lot of serfs and sharecroppers.

            It seems we only THOUGHT it was abolished.

            As said by the immortal Bob Marley–Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, only ourselves can free our minds.

    2. Never Been There, Never Done That*

      Yeah, LW, the fact that you use that phrasing shows that you are only beginning to realize what a fucked up work environment you are in. This is your life and you are “letting” her have WAY to much power over it.

      1. Sharikacat*

        And it goes to further show how the boss preys upon young adults new to the workplace. She’s no doubt taking advantage of them in so many other ways.

      2. Pennyworth*

        It just occurred to me that OP might not know how to job search /interview etc without the boss knowing about it.

    3. Troutwaxer*

      I think that probably means “look for a job with the boss’s blessing rather than without the boss’s blessing” rather than anything else.

        1. Free Meercats*

          Going to interviews without having to lie about where he’s going is the main one in my mind.

          1. Captain Kirk*

            Eh no lying necessary. I’d just say “personal appointment” or even just “appointment.” That could be anything from a car tune-up to a home inspection to whatevs.

            1. Pantalaimon*

              when you’re working somewhere this dysfunctional, “personal appointment” could easily require a lot more detail.

              1. Alice's Rabbit*

                You have a valid point. And, while I despise lying, if someone keeps pressing about information that is none of their business, I do think it’s socially acceptable to tell a little white lie at that point. Especially with someone like this boss, who can’t handle the truth.

              2. Jennifer Juniper*

                This can be solved by telling the boss he has an appointment with his proctologist. Most people will NOT want any more details about that!

      1. Hey Karma, Over Here*

        That will be proved when OP starts sending out resumes and boss finds out he has an interview and tells him he has to cancel because now is not a good time for her.

        1. Lilian*

          I can see that happening, as well as her hiring someone in her favourite May and June, by which time OP doesn’t have a job lined up yet (because job searches may take months), and so she fires them. I bet this is what’s going to happen.

      1. Alice's Rabbit*

        I don’t know that this technically qualified as assault or battery, since she isn’t actually the one taping their mouths shut; she hands them the tape and expects them to tape their own mouth.
        Hostile work place, though. Definitely.

        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          Not a hostile workplace from a legal perspective, though, even if this is a toxic workplace.

    4. SusanIvanova*

      Well, yes, because the alternative is to just kick you out once you start looking.

      (so much sarcasm there…)

      1. Silly Season is just Beginning*

        I know, right!!?? And why did he feel the need to let her know he was looking for a new job? That’s his business, not hers. Once he gets an offer and accepts, all he needs to do is give her the stipulated notice..

        1. High School Teacher*

          I am guessing that the OP is very young. And as a millennial in my late 20s who started working in my career fresh out of college, I HATE to rely too hard on the “if they’re young they don’t understand workplace norms” but this just really seems like he doesn’t understand workplace norms, at all.

          I bet eventually he will get a new job in a normal environment and will have that moment of “ohhhh, so this is what a normal work environment is like.”

          1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

            “if they’re young they don’t understand workplace norms”

            I don’t find this to be problematic, because it’s generally true. It’s when it’s only associated to a particular generation that I think it’s a problem. To paraphrase my parents, “We were all new to everything at least once, otherwise we wouldn’t have to learn.”

              1. Quill*

                I mean, I worked at the same place (substitute tape for yelling) 5 years ago except it took me 2 years to get out.

              2. Stormfeather*

                Or to stretch it farther, not so much a matter of being young per se as being inexperienced in something (which yeah, tends to happen more when you are younger because you’ve had less chance to be experienced in things.) But I imagine a 22 year old that started working right out of high school would be generally better at this sort of thing than a 26 year old that took a gap year or two and waited to finish college to enter the work world.

              3. All Hail Queen Sally*

                And it’s not just kids. I went from 20 years in the military to a dysfunctional civilian job. The word toxic never occurred to me (I was used to doing what I was told with no questions asked). I just knew the place was weird. I stayed there eight years before I realized I had to leave. I ended up in another crazy place, and after a year, realized I needed to retire for good. Now, several years out, I can clearly see all that was wrong. When you are in the middle of it, you can’t see it.

                1. Jennifer Juniper*

                  Sounds like my first marriage (the dysfunctional part, not the doing what I’m told without question part).

                2. Candi*

                  Yeah, I was thirteen when dad got out, and one of his biggest revelations was that pushing back is different in the civilian world than the Army world.

                  He was one of those “tends to push back, picking his battles, while being really good at his assigned job” in the Army. Buuut he didn’t like playing politics and has never been very diplomatic, and unfortunately that carried over to the civilian work world.

    5. Database Developer Dude*

      I know, right? I’m so glad I’m teleworking today, because I spewed my drink at that! Nevermind what I’m drinking….

    6. Marny*

      This whole update speaks to exactly why this boss hires people right out of school who haven’t yet learned how things are supposed to work.

  2. Escapee from Corporate Management*

    OP, you don’t need your boss’s approval to quit or job search. They are not your professor. Start searching now AND DON’T YOUR BOSS!

      1. Clorinda*

        Really, any number of verbs would fit into that sentence. Don’t become , don’t tell, don’t imitate, don’t trust . . .

      2. Megan*

        Yes to this x10!! He’s lucky his boss seems to be reasonably supportive of his job searching, but he would’ve been much better off not telling her this was his plan and just starting to look outside of work for a new job and leaving whenever he gets a new one. She doesn’t get to dictate whether he decides to leave or not. She can, however, decide to push him out early or give him worse assignments etc for planning to leave though, so he would be better off not telling her that.

        1. James*

          “He’s lucky his boss seems to be reasonably supportive of his job searching…..”

          “Seems” is the operative word. Abusive people SEEM to be nice. The problem is, little by little, the re-define “supportive” and “nice”. I mean, teaching someone to do things right is nice and supportive, right? It’s HER fault you have to punish her; if she’d cook dinner right, you wouldn’t have to beat her! (No, I do not abuse my wife; I’m merely putting it in this context to illustrate the sort of mentality we’re dealing with. Were genders reversed there would be NO question about whether this behavior was appropriate.)

          And look at what the boss actually did: she made him postpone the job search (anyone believe she won’t do this again in April?) AND made him feel like she was doing him a favor for even allowing that. When you think that being granted permission to do perfectly reasonable things is “reasonably supportive”, you’re in an abusive relationship. That’s what they do. You don’t get permission to do normal things; you just do them.

    1. Anonys*

      Yeah, I’m not sure why OP felt the need to let the boss know he is searching for opportunities elsewhere? Please know that’s not an obligation and not even a norm, even when working for great, reasonable people. I know it seems to have turned out fine, and OP isn’t being pushed out but this boss has a track record of being insane and inappropriately penalising people so letting her know about the job search was an unnecessarily risky move.

      Also now if OP decides to leave earlier than the agreed upon date, as his good right, the boss will feel justified in being angry about it because he broke the “agreement” they had (however ridiculous), which could affect references.

      1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

        Maybe it’s so the boss will give OP a reference…? If this is OP’s first job out of school, that could be helpful (though still somewhat abnormal).

        1. Nanani*

          Even then, OP can tell them after interviews start being scheduled, definitely not before even sending out resumes!

      2. Escapee from Corporate Management*

        This is why I said the boss is not a professor (or a parent, teacher, coach, etc.). Many young adults come from a world where they always asked permission and wanted approval from “a grown-up”. They don’t know that they are now the grown-ups. This boss is clearly taking advantage of that. OP you are a free agent. Take control of your own life!

        1. Elizabeth Rochelle Dickson*

          … yeah, this is exactly why kids need to be less sheltered. Because we as a society do not allow them to “grow up” until some unreasonably late age, which makes it harder for them to deal with situations like this.

      3. Sam.*

        OP’s boss might seem to be ok with it, but I imagine there could be other ramifications that just haven’t made themselves known yet. At my first “real” job, I also told my boss when I was thinking of leaving. And while she was actually wonderful and we had a good relationship and she certainly didn’t *intend* for there to be any negative consequences for me being open with her, there were a few anyway. That was with my boss trying to be helpful – for OP’s boss, who’s already manipulative? I think there could still be some surprises for OP.

  3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    You are certainly not an idiot, you are young and inexperienced and being taken advantage of! I want to drive that home as well.

    Also thank God, Alison already told you that you don’t need your bosses permission to look for work elsewhere. Holy moly, this woman is a tyrant, it’s cute that she just went along with that though.

    It’s GREAT for small businesses and businesses in general to have opportunities for young inexperienced folks. That’s why they often have intern programs. Key factor here, you want somewhere that has SOME opportunities for the greenies but not a full ship of them. Why? Because you may vibe with your own age range and skill set the best in the best of times but you need us older/experienced folks to teach you things, don’t depend on just one person [aka the boss] to craft the way you think, the things you learn, the way you learn etc.

    Sources. You want many of them. Not one. Just like in school, you don’t want to learn from one old windbag, you want a variety of points of view. You’ll really shape yourself best with having lots of opinions and strategies and ways to attack projects/issues and just simply learn all the things.

    1. Third or Nothing!*

      +1 – don’t beat yourself up OP. We’ve all gone through the young and inexperienced phase. Use this experience to learn what kinds of red flags to look out for on the next job hunt, which you can totally start right now.

      1. Threeve*

        It’s also just hard for our brains to come to grips with contradictions.

        Your boss can be genuinely supportive in many ways–and ALSO be treating you terribly.

        Your workplace can frequently feel dynamic and positive–and ALSO be abusive and unhealthy.

        Having to accept an AND in what should be an OR situation is horribly difficult no matter how old you are.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          And it all goes back to the old “He says he loves me and he’ll never do it again!”

          It’s also often like the kids watching parents hurt each other. Then trying to come to terms with still feeling that connection and love for a parent who can be so abusive to someone else you love just as much.

          Human psychology man, it’s such a train wreck.

    2. MsSolo*

      I’m sure it started out as genuinely altruistic. And she’s found, as time goes by, that it’s working really, really well for her. Look at all these people who don’t object to her methods, don’t quite over them, don’t push back. They’re so much easier to work with than older staff, and obviously it’s her superior hiring policies that have dealt with all that unpleasant boundary-reinforcing she used to have to deal with!

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        I know this kind of person, they are not at all genuine! They are petty and power hungry, they seek to create their own little “kingdoms” where everyone thinks they’re fantastic.

        They take advantage of these people who think that they’re “giving them a chance” and “doing them a favor” by extending them jobs and scraps in the form of crappy pay and benefits, along with their treatment.

        I would not fool anyone into thinking this person just became this way, this person was most likely born that way. And they will not be redeemed and they will not change for the better.

      2. PollyQ*

        I wouldn’t give any “benefit of the doubt” at all to someone who thinks it’s OK to tape people’s mouths shut.

      3. MK*

        I don’t know that I would call it genuine, more like deliberately self-deluded. I imagine it is easy for this sort of person to convince herself that the older people who apply for jobs with her company are “bad culture fits”.

        1. Eukomos*

          This is it, people I know like this work as hard to convince themselves as everyone else that they just have high standards and don’t tolerate bullshit and insubordination like all those other, mysteriously more successful managers do. And they have more luck convincing themselves than other people because they want to believe they’re good people. But their abusiveness, incompetence, and inability to trust other people or treat anyone kindly is painfully obvious to most observers. The motivations were always bad, but they don’t have the insight to realize it.

          1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

            This POV frustrates the EF outta me.

            I have high standards and don’t tolerate BS but I learned years ago that it’s only applied to MYSELF. So I have to filter everything and my expectations for others through a different lens. Whereas “these people” like the OP’s boss just make stupid excuses for themselves. “Oh I’m just a perfectionist.” “Well nothing and nobody is perfect, especially not you, gurl.” *growl*

          2. AcademiaNut*

            And they’ve set up an environment where they aren’t challenged. They’re in charge and their employees are all inexperienced and unfamiliar with workplace norms. They can tell themselves any lie they want, and there’s no-one to contradict them, or impose consequences.

            Someone like this, working in a larger company, would have some chance of being smacked down by someone higher up. Any half-way competent HR or higher manager would take one look at someone taping their reports’ mouths shut and intervene.

        2. Harper the Other One*

          Exactly this. It’s like all those workplaces that just HAPPEN to hire/promote white Christian men. They’re not racism/sexist/anything like that! It’s just those folks were the most qualified, best fit for the job. Every single time.

    3. BRR*

      I hope this is an acceptable instance of piling on…WE DON’T THINK YOU ARE AN IDIOT AT ALL! If it would make you feel better LW, there are several threads of people not knowing if something is normal in an office or having misguided notions about how things usually operate in an office. I feel comfortable for speaking for the majority of us when I say we don’t think you’re an idiot, we think your boss is an awful person.

    4. Djuna*

      100% this, this is what having a diverse workplace is all about. You need a mix of young minds with brilliant ideas and cynical old farts (raises hand) to help them beat those ideas into proposals and shake out the kinks. You need a wide range of perspectives so you don’t ever have (a) an echo chamber or (b) a place where someone asks people to tape their own mouths shut in a dang meeting.
      Neither one of those is good!

      I really hope OP heeded Alison’s follow-up mail and escaped quickly because it ain’t going to be easy finding a new job next month :/

  4. EPLawyer*

    OP — look NOW. Not on her schedule, on yours. You do not need to accomodate when SHE likes to hire. You need to look out for you because she really is not looking out for yours.

    Yes, things are a bit topsy turvey right now. But there are people hiring. So start now you never know.

    1. Hmmm*

      Yes, look now. During the recession I was a new college grad and was able to land 3 jobs, each time increasing my salary by $10k. Was it a lot of work? Yes. Was it worth it long-term for my career? Very much so.

      I imagine with the state of the world the LW’s boss right now is filling their head with lies about how they can’t leave now, no one is hiring, etc. Do not listen to her. She is an abuser and abusers are liars and manipulators. Do not tell her anything else about your job plans except when giving your 2 weeks notice. With how dysfunctional this place is, you may even want to consider just leaving on the spot when you have another job (in writing, don’t leave your job before the other has put something in writing).

    2. That Girl from Quinn's House*

      Yes, and because his boss thinks she’s allowed to “give permission” and “let” people look for new jobs, he went from looking for a new job in a roaring economy (February) to now looking for a new job in an economy that’s been turned off for several months and is in the throes of a terrible recession (April.)

  5. Third or Nothing!*

    Reinforcing what Alison said at the bottom of the update: “She agreed to let me start looking for a new job after April 1.” Think about what you just typed there. You’re not a robot. She doesn’t control you. Mini lecture end.

    Good luck on your job hunt! May you find much, much greener pastures where people are treated like human beings.

    1. Yvette*

      Am I the only one giving the April 1 date the side eye? April Fools? As in “Yes you can start looking on April 1 because you’re fired?”

    2. My coworker made me sign a cast on her crotch*

      I mean…..April 1st is next week and this letter came in on 2/25.

      I really wonder how this boss handled this whole situation going on right now.

  6. Phillip*

    Oof, in future never tell your employer that you are looking for a new job. Also Sam Elliott would like a word.

    1. Captain Kirk*

      Yeah, “look dorky?” And then I think about my mustache with no beard. I’m offended! (/s)

      What about Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum??

      1. Frank Doyle*

        With all due respect, the original Magnum, P.I. was forty years ago. Fashions change.

        1. Alice's Rabbit*

          Fashions change. But Tom Selleck will always be attractive. I don’t even like mustaches, but that man makes them look good. Even now, playing a NYC police commissioner with adult grandchildren, he his still a distinguished and good looking gentleman.

      1. James*

        That hit about two weeks ago. We have it posted at the jobsite I usually work at, mostly as a joke. Of the 10 of us, 5 have facial hair, with 3 being full beards of some length. Used to be 4, but I opted to take this as a sign that I should go to “summer plumage”: goatee that allows for a respirator to seal. Doesn’t hurt that my wife prefers a goatee to a full beard.

  7. Librarian of SHIELD*

    I really, really want to emphasize Alison’s point here. You DO NOT have to have your boss’s permission to start looking for new jobs. You are under zero obligation to wait and resign at a time that is convenient for her. She likes to hire in May and June because that’s when people graduate. She wants those fresh new grads who know nothing about workplace norms so she can tyrant around the office to her heart’s content. And you don’t have to let her. You get to apply for as many new jobs as you want whenever it’s convenient for you. If you want to go home tonight and apply for 678 new jobs, you can!

    You do not have to structure your life and your future around the convenience of someone who is manipulating and abusing you. You do not.

    1. TootsNYC*

      even if they’re not manipulating or abusing you–this is your life, not their life.
      You don’t need to tell them.

      I am the kind of boss who could be told by someone that they’re looking for a new job, and it wouldn’t hurt them, but it would change things somehow; I’d be waiting for the shoe to drop. It would now be a part of every interaction. I’d rather not know.

      (the time I’d want to know is if someone was desperately unhappy for some reason, or if our employment was terribly tenuous, because then I’d feel reassured that they’re looking out for themselves. Or maybe a rookie I was fond of who was really ready to go to the next level; I could help brainstorm new opportunities; I have mentioned interns or entry-level folks to people I personally know along w/ the info that I really like them and they’re so ready to move up)

      1. Alice's Rabbit*

        You make a valid point. Unless your boss is helping with your job search, it’s better to leave him or her with plausible deniability. That way, assignments and office relationships aren’t affected.

    2. Zombeyonce*

      To add to this, if she threatens to give you a terrible reference for leaving sooner than “agreed upon”, don’t worry. As soon as you mention to anyone that you left your previous employer because you and colleagues’ mouths were regularly taped shut when the boss didn’t like your ideas, that reference will be given zero credence.

      1. TootsNYC*

        I bring this up every time someone suggests something like this:

        Do not mention this in your interviews. it directs all the attention away from you and your skills and into the drama of someone who isn’t even part of the interview.

        Especially for the jobs you are applying for right now–most interviewers will not insist on a reference from your current boss anyway, so why drag that drama in?

        If you should ever need to explain it for subsequent jobs, say something like, “It’s awkward giving her for a reference; she wasn’t happy about my leaving, so I’m not sure how accurate she’ll be.”

        Seriously: Don’t drag the drama along with you!!

        1. Zombeyonce*

          I would never bring this up unless someone had asked to speak to my former employer for a reference and I asked them to talk to a former coworker instead and they wanted to know why. I would give them the reason, though. Just saying she wasn’t happy about leaving wouldn’t necessarily make them give less credence to what she said, while telling them what she actually did would. They could also easily confirm it by speaking to former coworkers and get a real reference from them.

          1. Alice's Rabbit*

            Yeah, I would only mention it in two scenarios. First, the one you outlined. And second, if asked why I was leaving – or had left – that job. A few short sentences (“During our morning brainstorming session, if my boss didn’t like a person’s idea, she taped their mouth shut so they couldn’t talk for the rest of the meeting. I’m looking for a more collaborative workplace.”) are all you need to make it clear why your crazy boss is not a good person to work for, without coming across as a drama llama yourself.

  8. LilPinkSock*

    Oh nooooooo. OP, you are definitely not an idiot, just very inexperienced. This is not normal and it’s not ok. Please get out as soon as you can (easier said than done in this world right now, I know) before this kind of workplace culture becomes ingrained in you. You don’t need her permission to look for or accept another job.

  9. TootsNYC*

    not only do you need her permission–you do not need to warn her, and it is often VERY unwise to do so.

    A hunt for a new job is about YOU, and your well being and your advancement. It is not anything to do with your current employer.
    It is a private matter–exactly as private as breaking up with a sweetheart, buying a home, or having major surgery. It’s not “business” in any way, shape or form.

    So next time–just start looking. Never tell your boss, or even a colleague, that you’re job hunting. Just hunt.

    1. Daffy Duck*

      Yes, this is important! The norm is to NOT tell your boss you are job searching. You give two weeks notice (and in some companies expect you may be walked out when you first give notice, so have a little money saved up). You defenately don’t need permission. Some (very poor) managers will be petty and make your life miserable.
      Also, you do not have to use your current boss as a reference if you think she will give a poor one.

    2. Mama Bear*

      I’m glad that Alison wrote back to clarify that he doesn’t have to ask permission to quit. He leaves when HE wants to – maybe she needs a few people to jump ship inconveniently so she feels the pain of her actions. Also, she could fire him at any time. He has to look at it as business, not personal. Her timeframe has nothing to do with him. I strongly suspect she’ll come up with a reason to drag out her hiring if he doesn’t steer his own job hunt.

      Also, I think that almost any other job would be better for LW. Don’t let the boss have ANY input on the job hunt. She might say that it’s beneath his experience, etc. That’s for him to decide. Keep her locked out of his personal decisions from here on.

      1. boo bot*

        Yes, and please, LW, don’t feel like you’re stuck with that April 1 agreement because you agreed to it in the moment. Your boss asked something unreasonable of you, and you weren’t really in a position to say no without a lot of risk – she’s your boss; she can fire you, and she’s already shown herself to be an unreasonable person (with the tape thing. OMG the tape thing).

        If you find a job before that date, she will probably try to convince you that you gave her your word, that it’s not professional, etc. That’s nonsense, coming from someone who treats workers the way she does. Don’t let her talk you into staying.

  10. Archaeopteryx*

    The yikes heard round the world! Your boss has No Say in when you job search, and it’s not some magnanimous generosity to “let” you stay on until you get a new job. Run for the hills! (I say this advisedly given the current economic situation, but please don’t think that ANY of this is acceptable)

    1. Batty Twerp*

      “Let” you stay can easily turn into “make” you stay. Be careful OP. The AAM commentariat have a huge wealth of experience (admittedly not all of it positive), and we’re pretty much in 100% agreement – you get to leave when YOU want to leave, not when your boss says so.

      1. Alice's Rabbit*

        Also, “let you stay” can get thrown out the window the moment she hires OP’s replacement. And probably will, let’s be honest.

  11. miho*

    OP, it looks like working at this company, especially right out of college, has really skewed your sense of what is normal in a functional workplace. You do not need permission from your boss to start job searching, and you do not have to state your intentions to look around for jobs to your boss. When you’re ready to seek other opportunities, you simply just do it. Once you’ve secured a job offer, THAT is when you report back to your boss and let them know of your intentions to resign and leave in two weeks. If anything, I would say that revealing your intentions to leave before you’ve even started job hunting will most likely hurt you – Your boss might give you less exciting or significant projects, or you might be the first one to go when layoffs happen, since you’ve already explicitly declared your desire to quit.

    Best of luck, OP! It’s tough being in a dysfunctional workplace. I really hope you’ve already started your job search and that you will land something better soon!

    1. Clorinda*

      Have they consider lubing up their faces with Vaseline before meetings?
      Or faking their own deaths?

  12. Mayor of Llamatown*

    Good managers actually hire a diverse team. In general, having people with diverse experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives is almost always a good thing. The fact that she is only hiring younger people might seem like a good thing, but she is (maybe purposefully) depriving you of some valuable mentorship and learning experiences.

    If she said something like she’s committed to having a diverse array of experience represented in her staff, including newly-established professionals, I’d look on that favorably. But this whole “I’m a good person because I exclusively hire recent graduates” smacks of some problematic hiring practices, and I’d be leery that she has other reasons, as you are starting to suspect.

    Also echoing Alison: You get to leave when you want to. She wants to put off hiring so she can hire more young people to treat like crap. Find a job, and leave.

    1. RVA Cat*

      This. The fact she *only* hires new grads makes it clear it’s the inexperience and power imbalance. It’s like the creepy dudes over 40 who only date women in their early 20s.

  13. James*

    “We have a fairly professional, conservative dress code which includes a clean shaven requirement for guys (you can have a mustache but no beard and I imagine that would look pretty dorky so no one does it).”

    Maybe where I work is just wildly different from where you do, but beards fall under “professional, conservative dress code”. I mean, not Haggard-levels of scruff, but a well-groomed beard is fairly common these days among men. There may be a safety reason for it (in areas where I may have to use a rescue respirator I need to shave), but after that? This sounds like it’s either an old, arbitrary rule that was never revised–or it’s to facilitate taping your face.

    Also, to add my support to what Alison said: Your boss does NOT get to tell you when you can leave the company. Or even when you can look. Your boss doesn’t even need to know you’re looking. I know a number of people who submitted resumes to other companies just to see what happened (my dad once submitted one to his own company on accident, and got a substantial raise out of it). There is no “compromise” here; you’re giving in to another unreasonable demand. If you weren’t sure what was meant when folks said that toxic work places warp your view of normal behavior, this is a perfect example. No, I’m not saying you’re an idiot; I’m saying you’re a victim of abuse.

    1. Third or Nothing!*

      My husband is a welder and had to shave when he held his previous job that required a good seal on his face mask. This job just uses the regular weld hood so he has his well-groomed beard back. Beards are totally normal for most workplaces.

      1. Zheeeel*

        I was wondering about the facial hair thing. I guess I work in a more progressive industry but I’d think the facial hair policy would be a red flag in itself.

        1. Clorinda*

          My husband teaches at a small religious college in the South. It doesn’t get more conservative than that, and he has a beard. I wonder if the no-beard policy actually comes from above, or if it’s the boss’s own rule?

          1. James*

            I work with engineers in the South–like you said, abut as conservative as you can get. Most of the executives don’t have beards, but they’re common below that. Not universal, certainly, but no one bats an eye at it.

            In fact, when I do shave down to a goatee (for my fit test, which I always pass) people look at me funny. Had someone introduce themselves to me and ask if I needed help finding someone when I came in with a goatee and new hair cut once!

            1. Third or Nothing!*

              My husband has SUCH a baby face without his facial hair. With it, he looks like his real age of 30. Without it he looks like a college freshman. If I wasn’t living in the same house with him I probably wouldn’t recognize him after a shave.

              1. valentine*

                I wonder if the no-beard policy actually comes from above
                She’s getting away with this because there is no above.

                If only meddling kids and a dog could intercede.

          2. Clisby*

            For heavens sake, Jerry friggin Falwell Jr. has a beard. There’s nothing specifically “liberal” or “progressive” about having a beard.

    2. YIKES! AGAIN*

      We have a fairly professional, conservative dress code, but obviously no code of conduct for the behavior of supervisors….
      There are actually a lot of work places that prohibit beards. I agree it is antiquated, but the least of this person’s problems.

      1. James*

        I agree that it’s not a major problem, but I’d consider it a red flag unless there was some safety reason behind it. If it’s just “Our managers don’t like beards” I’d wonder what other micromanaging nonsense they’d do. And it looks like I’d have been right in this case.

      2. LadyofLasers*

        Do they prohibit beards but allow mustaches? Cause I feel like that’s the twist that makes this weird.

    3. Edith*

      Not to mention that some religions require beards. This doesn’t seem like the kind of boss who would allow religious accommodations to her dress code without being taken to court.

      1. Ana Gram*

        That law likely doesn’t apply to this business since it sounds like they have under 15 employees. In that case, no religious accommodations need to be offered. Weird but true.

      2. James*

        I worked at a site where a group had religious exemptions from being clean-shaven. Their response to any emergency was to immediately upgrade to Level A PPE–full body suit with supplied air. In Mississippi. I mean, it works for what they were dealing with (any emergency would have plastered us over a 100 mile radius anyway, given what we were working with, so this was all just paperwork anyway), but just the thought of going to Level A was enough to convince me to shave!

    4. PX*

      THIS. I was like, buddy, unless you work in a very specific type of job – which I know you dont because “small business owner” – BEARDS ARE FINE.

      Bees. So many bees here.

      1. Pomona Sprout*

        Lord, yes. And they’re not just flying around in lazy circles. They’re marching in formation. Goose stepping. Carrying tiny rifles with bayonets.

        1. June First*

          LOL. I didn’t think that was what you actually meant! We are rereading the books and I thought it was just my HP-colored glasses.

        2. Seeking Second Childhood*

          I didn’t even blink, picturing some of the beards Merle Haggard boasted over the years.

        3. Candi*

          That’s funny, because I had to go back and reread the comment. I totally read it as Hagar, as in “Hagar the Horrible”.

          I suspect that comic was very politically incorrect.

    5. MissDisplaced*

      Uh, yeah. Beards are generally not against dress code unless they would interfere and/or be a work hazard or something. Some of my Director and VP levels at work sport short length, well-groomed beards. And this is a large global company… very professional, where we deal with CEOs of other companies at the highest levels and business suits are worn.
      Absolutely NO ONE would consider having a short beard unprofessional. Even those who go to head office in Japan where they’re not seen quite as often on the men there (though still would not be viewed as unprofessional).

      I worry this job will really skew the OP’s view of the work world.

    6. George Clooney*

      The clean-shaven requirement set off my alarm bells again. I’ve worked at financial institutions and I’ve never seen anything like that. Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s intended as an end-run around anti-discrimination laws.


    None of this is your fault, but your boss has you conditioned to believe they have much more power than they do. That is a control method, and leads to corrupt practices. I hope you start looking right now, and tell your boss why you want to leave. If you get another position, you might want to discreetly talk to those inexperienced people being abused by this maniac. Tell them it is not normal, not ok, and they don’t have to tolerate it. Yikes, let you look for work. Yikes. Yikes. Yikes.

  15. I'm A Little Teapot*

    OP, please keep reading this site. Browse through the archives. Read old open threads. Just, keep reading. Because you don’t know what you don’t know, and you are in a LOT of weird and just thinking its normal. It’s not. Reading here will help you learn.

    Good luck with the job search!

  16. EnfysNest*

    Noooooo. Yikes. In addition to what everyone else had said, are there really places still forbidding employees from having beards? Even the Disney parks have been allowing their employees to have beards for eight years now, and they were the only company I knew of with that restriction other than for practical reasons like those who have to wear a fitted air-tight respirator mask for safety reasons.

  17. Jellyfish*

    Ahh no. This reminds me so much of my first boss. I also thought she was thoughtful and kind to hire a fresh grad and give me a chance. Nope. It was 100% calculated on her part. I watched her hire and fire a lot of people, and she wanted the ones she could manipulate and push around. Anyone who dared push back on all her petty rules and paranoid views got fired.

    I wasn’t an idiot either, just inexperienced and trusting. That’s exactly they type of person these manipulators look for, and they’re very good at holding the mask long enough to make their subordinates feel indebted to them. My ideas of professional norms were screwy for years after that job, and it definitely hurt my career.

    OP, please take steps to get out ASAP, and don’t breathe a word to your boss or other coworkers until the moment you give two weeks notice. I learned these things the hard way, but I hope you can get out more or less unscathed.

  18. CR*

    Dude…never, ever tell your boss you’re looking for a new job. They’ll just find a reason to fire you.

    1. Case of the Mondays*

      Well, if OP IS fired, he can get unemployment. Heck, last week I took a “voluntary leave” from my retail job. I’m immunocompromised and no longer want to risk getting the Coronavirus from being around crowds of panicked panic buyers. My state now says I qualify for unemployment even though my employer didn’t think so at the time.

      I also hope OP is working remotely during this pandemic. My state’s governor has ordered businesses to either close or have employees work from their homes when possible. Working from home would put an end to the duct taping, if nothing else.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        1. Please don’t forget that unemployment changes are only for those related to the pandemic though, so if the OP quit a month ago, they’re SOL and don’t fall under the new rules. You left for health reasons and they protected people who specifically are doing so.

        2. States all have different rules. Our state is simply “If you can work from home, do it. Only essential businesses [long long long long long list of those] can stay open. Still go out and get take out, that’s essential business and essential to your quality of life!” So yeah, if OP cannot do their job from home, then there’s no sudden “Well you gotta shut down” in all areas right now. In fact, most are not going to that extreme.

  19. Kes*

    Wow. Don’t know how I missed this one originally.
    I’m a little disappointed there’s no actual update on whether OP has stopped putting tape on their mouth. I really hope so. This really is something you can push back on and refuse to do, even if you have to stop contributing ideas (which is dumb, but that is something I’d just follow your boss’s direction on since they probably won’t listen anyway), and I suspect your coworkers would be happy to join you in not taping your mouths shut based on the whims of your boss.
    Agreed with the general consensus that boss is taking young employees who don’t know better and who will accept whatever is presented as workplace norms. As others have stated, this is still happening somewhat; you don’t need to tell your boss you’re planning to look for a new job at all. No approval from them is required for your job search. You merely have to inform them when you get the job that you’ll be leaving in two weeks.

  20. The Cardinal*

    Mustache without beard looks “dorky?” Dang…I always thought it was the other way ’round (just sayin’)! Google Clark Gable, Billy Dee Williams, Tom Selleck, and Snidely Whiplash then get back with me!

    1. James*

      My first fit-test I shaved everything. My wife said “You look like a 12 year old. Don’t do it again.” Second time I went with a mustache. She said “You look like a ’70s porn star.” Apparently that was NOT a compliment.

      I guess it depends on what you’re used to. If you meet someone and they have a mustache, they look silly without one; if you meet them and they don’t, they look ridiculous with one.

      1. hbc*

        My money is on the no-beard rule being about looking young. She literally wants young, fresh-faced college kids. The mustache allowance…maybe she expects no one to take her up on it, or maybe she’s thinking they don’t add as much age to a 23 year old?

        1. James*

          I honestly hadn’t considered that angle, and….yeesh, that’s creepy. Dress codes are one thing; forcing employees to comply with one’s preferences in partners is a whole other world of weird.

          And it’s not even true. A lot of college age males have beards. The upkeep is easier–trim when someone comments on being shaggy and you’re good!

    2. Frank Doyle*

      Moustaches are not what they once were (no one on that list is under what, 60? 65?). They’re starting to come back a little bit, but mostly dudes with moustaches make people think of perverts and cops.

      1. Third or Nothing!*

        Unless they’re the hipster kind with the waxed curlicues. Then it’s…well…hipster.

        1. James*

          Just history repeating. My grandfather once won an award for his beard, and his was of the “waxed curlicue” type. I could never do it; too much upkeep.

    3. Marthooh*

      But emulate Snidely Whiplash only if your “professional, conservative dress code” includes a top hat and an opera cape.

      1. Clisby*

        I can see Snidely Whiplash fitting right in with some of the manager corps we hear about on this site.

  21. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

    Is it wrong that I wanted to go make a batch of popcorn before I read the update?

    1. SheLooksFamiliar*

      Nope. Just make sure to make it in a brown paper bag and fold the top over twice. Stapling is optional.

  22. Mayati*

    You’re not an idiot, LW, you’ve just found yourself in an abusive situation without the necessary background information to know what normal is, and part of the pattern of workplace abuse is being made to feel like you’re an idiot. It can happen to anyone, and even if you DO know it’s abuse, it’s STILL hard to realize just how bad things are, because abuse distorts your understanding of reality and workplace norms regardless of who you are. It’s like being out in the rain — you’re going to get wet to some degree no matter what unless you get indoors, and once you do, there’s a period of adjustment where you have to dry off, i.e., adjust to normal life and shed the effects of the abuse.

  23. cwhf*

    “she agreed to let me start looking for a new job after April 1”

    This is such an unhealthy workplace and employer. That is literally not how any of this works. Hope you get out soon, LW.

  24. DonnaMartinGraduates!*

    For me, the most disappointing part of this update is that the OP didn’t address the mouth-taping, nor indicate if they are refusing to do any of these batsh!t crazy, abusive demands this overbearing boss insists on implementing.

    OP – please speak up if it’s still happening to your colleagues! She does sound like a vindictive boss, though.

    1. Glitsy Gus*

      Yeah, from the first letter, while I would hope OP would push back, I completely understand wanting to keep the peace and just GTFO as soon as possible instead. This woman is not a normal, rational person, as exhibited by the update as well as the original letter, and I would not be surprised if OP did not want to push her any more than absolutely necessary until he can go.

      That said, OP, you are not an idiot, you are an inexperienced worker in a bonkers situation. Others have said this as well, but yeah, start looking for a new job now. I know you are probably worried about keeping her as a reference and all that, but I have a feeling you won’t be able to trust her further than you can throw her on that front even if you walk her line up until the last moment you are in that office. You have a perfectly good reason for why her reference may be less than stellar, so don’t worry too much on that front, and look after your own future and best interests.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      The OP is in such an abusive workplace that they asked a wildly out of touch and barbaric boss if they could resign. Asked…if they could resign. And then took “Not now! Not until April!” as a response!!!

      So of course they’re not going to stand up to the boss. Nor should they be told they need to, they’re in a precarious spot and struggling.

      It’s like someone demanding you stand up to someone holding you hostage. Sure, some of us would do it regardless. Many will just drop their head and keep working on their escape plan.

  25. Alice*

    No no no No NO N O!

    Op, you’re not an idiot but you’re being very naive. Please listen to Alison and the other commenters. You don’t need your boss’s permission to look for another job. You start looking when you want another job, you don’t tell your current boss until you have accepted a formal offer, you give them two weeks notice and leave everything in order for your successor. And then you go and never look back at this weird weird place!

  26. Beth*

    Still a solid contender for Worst Boss of 2020, even though COVID is making the competition intense.

    Now I’m wondering how she’s addressing the pandemic. Taping everyone’s noses shut?

  27. June First*

    If this was a TV show/movie, the moment she said “let you leave”, you would have calmly reached over, pulled a piece of tape off the dispenser and handed it to her. That’s the expectation when one says something stupid there, right?

  28. Ellie May*

    ” … she agreed to let me start looking …. ”
    Alison stated that this work environment could mess with OP’s head and OP’s head is totally messed with.

  29. ADHSquirrelWhat*

    Also, pass word of this post and the previous one around to the other workers – they ALL deserve a wake-up that this place isn’t right! She’s very good at manipulation – but what’s she gonna do if everyone leaves? And has the AAM post about taping mouths shut set as the home page on every computer for the new hire?

  30. LadyofLasers*

    I’m sorry, I’m still trying to figure out how a mustache is conservative than a beard?! I feel like I would consider a beard more conservative these days… does anyone have a illuminating perspective on this?

    1. TootsNYC*

      well, if you consider that “most conservative” is clean-shaven (on the idea that it doesn’t express someone’s individuality), then you move outward from there in degrees (add a mustache, then a beard).

      But a mustache by itself isn’t that weird looking–a beard by itself bothers me.

    2. Glitsy Gus*

      Honestly, it sounds to me like it’s yet another weird, arbitrary thing the boss put in the handbook based more on her personal preference than actual norms of the working world. I bet you anything she just doesn’t like beards and the fact they are a ‘conservative’ industry is the BS excuse she uses to not let her staff do what they want with their facial hair.

    3. Marthooh*

      For most of the twentieth century, beards were considered eccentric in professional circles. That’s presumably when the boss’s tastes were formed.

      1. James*

        To be fair, for most of the 20th century it was considered eccentric in professional circles to not wear a suit and tie. During my last HAZWOPER refresher course we joked that laborers in the 1920s dressed better than office workers in the 2010s. Norms change.

  31. MacGillicuddy*

    OP, please, please listen to all the commenters! Never, NEVER ask your boss for permission to job hunt!!!! Your asking permission is so far outside the norms of professional behavior that I’m afraid you’ve been gaslighted by your boss. Your boss is a manipulative control freak who hires inexperienced people so she can get away with being a manipulative control freak. I am ASTOUNDED at your situation.
    She can’t hire experienced people because they would not put up with her behavior.
    You need to start your job hunt Now, Right This Minute. (and a note that even in the current situation I’m getting calls and emails from recruiters).
    I feel sorry for you because you’ve been duped by your ultra-disfunctional workplace and your evil boss.
    And for crying out loud, you and all your coworkers need to present a united front against this “taping your mouth shut” nonsense. You’re not little kids – and in fact, teachers who tape a student’s mouth shut are fired!

    1. KoiFeeder*

      Teachers who tape a student’s mouth shut are fired *if they’re caught at it.

      OP’s boss is doing this because she can. She’s targeted a group that’s easily manipulable, and may not have the resources to find a better situation. She’s constructed an environment where she has no oversight. OP needs to run away.

  32. CupcakeCounter*

    1. You obviously are not an idiot since you did a complete “WTF?” that first day and wrote to Alison. That is a very good sign for your professional future. Please continue reading AAM so that you continue to develop good workplace habits and recognize the bat-shit crazy ones…like taping people’s mouths shut or refusing to accept resignations.
    2. Since you are young and inexperienced, please listen to Alison and know that you owe your boss nothing more that professional courtesy and 2 weeks notice. She does NOT get to dictate when you look for a job and telling her about your upcoming search is generally a very bad idea. Please don’t ever feel the need to be this honest with a boss again unless you have several examples of them doing the right thing (taping people’s mouths shut is never on the right thing list).
    3. At this point in your career you do probably need a decent reference from this woman so continue to act professional (Alison’s example of professional…not her’s) and do a good job to preserve that as opposed to any nuclear options that some of us long-time readers dream of. Pushing back is absolutely the right thing to do for everyone involved but I get that you need to protect your financial health so while I think a simple “Yeah, I’m not putting that on my mouth…ever” should be said, I get that people in your position don’t always have that option.

  33. k8*

    i’m sure others have said this above but just in case: do *not* tell your boss you plan to job search/are job searching/have entertained the possibility on one or two late nights of possibly job searching; *tell your boss when you have a new job what your last day is going to be.* that is your business and your business only. there are bosses out there who would let you go the moment you even mention a new job; i am honestly both surprised and relieved that your boss isn’t one of them. going forward, play that information closer to the vest! you don’t give your employers any more power over you than they already have….

  34. almost empty nester*

    Am I the only one getting a creepy vibe of a serial abuser grooming her victims? Dear OP, please heed Alison’s advice and look for a job now.

    1. Yes Anastasia*

      Yep. Don’t want to speculate too much about what’s going on with this employer, but the “dress code” that encompasses personal grooming is creeping me the heck out.

    2. Hedgehug*

      I had the exact same vibe and nearly wrote it in my comment below but instead called her a cult leader.

  35. The Rafters*

    Yikes and yikes. Your boss does *not* take pride in hiring recent college graduates for the reasons she claims. It’s because easier to bully younger, less experienced employees. Yikes 2: She’s “letting” you apply for other jobs! Holy cow. I can’t even respond to that one. I didn’t even read most of this letter or the responses yet because my eyes glazed over in anger toward your boss and sympathy for you because you seem to be too inexperienced in the working world to know that THIS IS NOT OKAY! Please, please, please get out of there *now*, not when it’s convenient for your abusive boss (and yes, she is an abuser!).

  36. It's mce*

    OP, we don’t think you’re an idiot but please don’t tell this person anything else about your job search. Look now. Don’t wait and don’t follow her deadline. I hope your colleagues are doing the same thing. Even though it’s rough off there now, start applying. And consider, once you’re out of there, posting something on Glassdoor or other site about what’s happening.

  37. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

    Serious question…I’m curious to know what made OP think that physically putting tape on people’s mouths was ever in any way appropriate? This isn’t a “I’m fresh out of college and lacking in work environment experience” situation here. And double yikes on the fact that you and she compromised about when you’re allowed to leave for a new job.

    1. Fikly*

      Inexperienced people look to the people around them for cues, especially as to what norms are. If everyone else acted like this was both normal and acceptable, I’m not surprised OP would think it was, initially.

      1. valentine*

        what made OP think that physically putting tape on people’s mouths was ever in any way appropriate?
        It’s not that far off from washing your mouth out with soap, so if you had caregivers like that and/or were raised to think of managers as more like prison bosses or of keeping your own counsel as lying, taping yourself and asking for permission to job search make sense.

        I mostly have TV shows as a reference for workplace norms.

    2. Yes Anastasia*

      Many people have a poor sense of personal boundaries when it comes to authority figures. I think just about every young person has encountered an adult who’s abused their power in big or small ways, whether it’s a teacher who’s a bully, an employer at a part-time job who doesn’t follow labor laws, an adult family member who’s emotionally abusive. Many people learn to stay silent and tolerate bad behavior, and they bring that experience to the workplace.

      Similarly, many young people have stood by while their peers do crappy things, and when they’re new to the workplace, they don’t necessarily understand that there’s a difference between tolerating an immature friend and an abusive boss.

      1. KoiFeeder*

        Oh, for sure. If I’d had to get a job straight out of high school, I probably wouldn’t have been shocked to have a physically abusive supervisor- high school teachers really play up how much “worse” the working world/college is compared to high school, and there’s not much further to go from the way some teachers act…

    3. hbc*

      I think there’s all kinds of weird stuff that we get used to or was really a blank spot when we started, and it’s not unusual to just accept them with a lot of other reasonable stuff. I didn’t know why I was handing over my drivers license to be copied on the first day of work–I probably would have handed my credit card over if they’d asked for it. I’m not sure I’d even heard of the concept of performance reviews before I had my first one. It’s beyond weird to me that you have to buy your uniform in some industries and positions, but everyone seems to accept that, nevermind all the places that run on strict start times when it doesn’t matter a bit.

      Even two week’s notice as a standard isn’t really justifiable. You still run the risk of getting screwed over, and the employer doesn’t really have time to replace you. In some ways, what the OP has (that is, a green light to openly search and work until the next job starts) is pretty nice, if it came not from “permission” but from a mutually agreeable compromise between two parties.

    4. CupcakeCounter*

      He didn’t think it was appropriate which is why he wrote in to Alison. I simply think he started doubting himself since no ones else reacted and simply put the tape on.

      1. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

        Clearly he wasn’t sure based on his update…

        I ruminated on it a lot and clearly, this is not normal and more importantly, not acceptable. I see that now.

  38. lulu*

    “My boss makes it a point of pride to only hire new college grads with no paid work experience. She claims that she feels it is her duty as a small business owner to give experience and opportunities to young people entering the world of work ” yikes!

  39. Fikly*

    My jaw continues to drop, but that’s because my boss doesn’t tape my mouth shut, so my jaw has the freedom to do that.

  40. revueller*

    I’m glad you’re thinking about leaving, OP, but I hope you read some of the comments here and take Alison’s advice to heart that none of this is normal.

    I’d also be very, very careful about asking your boss for a reference if you’re considering that. You’ve given her a lot of power over you by telling her that you want to leave without a firm exit plan. She can absolutely keep you there by giving any potential hiring manager a bad reference.

    Please don’t trust any words that come from a person who’d rather tape your mouth shut (!!) than hear disagreement.

  41. Koala dreams*

    I’m glad you’re realizing that your workplace is toxic and that you plan to change jobs. For your information, it’s common to only inform your boss after you have an offer from the new job. You don’t need permission to job search, to take another job, or to quit.

    Also, it’s common in some industries that inexperienced workers first have to work at small companies before they get a job in one of the big name companies, but that doesn’t mean all small companies treat workers bad. Your employer is definitely on the extreme end. You have every chance of finding a better employer, whether big or small.

  42. Lorange*

    OP, this is not normal. Here’s how most you go about getting a new job when you’re dissatisfied or ready to move on to a new position. You say nothing to your boss or colleagues. You start looking and you submit applications. You reach out to your network (friends, family, professional acquaintances), using your personal email/phone etc., and tell them you’re looking for new work. When you get interviews, you take PTO and if anyone asks, you say you have an appointment. No further details are necessary. You get the job offer, you ask for more money, you sign an offer letter and if you’re nice, you set your start date to two weeks from when you got the offer so that you can give two weeks notice at your job. You don’t have to give notice in person, just in writing. Have anything personal you want saved ready to go in case they tell you leave that very day. Enjoy your life in your new non-abusive workplace.

    1. Jennifer Thneed*

      I say, set your start date out THREE weeks, so you can give 2 weeks’ notice and take a week off to start the new job refreshed.

  43. hbc*

    “I like to hire new college grads because it makes me feel magnanimous, but mainly because they don’t have a lot of other options and I don’t pay enough for experience.”

  44. Hedgehug*

    What!? No. Your boss is a psycho! She is so manipulative at making you all think she’s normal. omg. No.

    This is how I imagine her: mmmm no….you can’t quit right now because that would be like, SUPER inconvenient for me. You see, I only hire in May or June. You have to stay longer, sorry!
    You, if I were you: Oh, well, sorry, but it is SUPER inconvenient for me to continue working for you. So…bye!

    She CANNOT dictate when you leave. You can quit whenever the hell you want. You seem to think that she is being nice. She’s not. She’s “letting you” start to job hunt after April 1?? No. She has zero authority over this.
    She’s getting away with all of this awful behaviour because she intentionally hires young people with no work experience, thus, no frame of reference for what a normal, legal, ethical workplace is. By the way, her choosing to only hire college grads is ageism and discrimination. And because she feels it is her “duty” to give experience and opportunities? HER duty? She is extremely egotistical with a very inflated sense of self-importance. She’s a narcissist. God. She sounds like a cult leader. She needs Dr. Phil.

    And now because of COVID-19, you probably can’t even leave or job hunt. I mean you CAN, but in this time, probably not the most prudent and I HATE THIS FOR YOU!!! AARRGHH!
    I’m very worked up right now about this! lol

  45. Observer*

    OP, so you;re getting another pile on. It’s a good thing that you really are not an idiot (I’m not being snarky) and are capable of hearing what you need to hear.

    To repeat what everyone else has told you:

    You do not need your boss’ permission to look for a new job. There are a couple of very, very narrow exceptions, but you would have known about them if they applied to you. Even if you did not know, your boss would MOST DEFINITELY have told you. So.

    You get to leave whenever you find a new job. Start looking TODAY. Yes, TODAY, because while companies are hiring, there really are fewer jobs out there at the moment.

    If it takes longer for you to get a job, and you go into May and June, that does NOT mean that you need to continue on till next April. It just means that you keep going as long as you don’t find a new job and your boss doesn’t decide to fire you.

    Do NOT discuss this with your boss again. The fact that she tried to tell you that you “cannot” leave and is acting like she did you some sort of favor by “letting” start looking before her timeline says that she will NOT treat you with integrity, kindness or even basic decency.

    Keep your head down, do the best work you can and start looking NOW.

  46. Oxford Comma*

    It’s a good thing to work in a place that has more than one group represented. It’s harder to find mentors when everyone is in the same boat as you. It’s also harder to recognize that your working environment is not normal when everyone else is as unsure as you are.

    A boss is not a parent or a partner.

    You don’t need to consult your boss to ask about leaving. There’s no permission here to be granted and really, no reward to be gained (this could have gone, and still could go really really badly). You should leave in a professional manner and if at all possible by giving notice, but there’s no “I want to seek other opportunities, may I?”

    Nothing about your boss sounds normal or appropriate. The fact that she tries to hire young workers with no experience reminds me of how some abusers prey on people in specific circumstances. That you are all young with little work experience facilitates her to treat you badly. It sounds like her egregious behavior has been normalized.

    Most businesses allow men to have beards. They may perhaps not want you to have an unkempt mess a la Tormund Giantsbane, but a neatly trimmed beard should be acceptable most places, conservative or no. If it is something that is widely taboo in your industry (not your current job, your field), that’s one thing, but everything you have said, suggests that it’s one more thing your psycho boss has dictated rather than a rational requirement.

    Going forward, I would suggest that you look for a workplace with more diversity. Having a few coworkers who have more professional experience is invaluable. It may be fun to work with people who are exclusively your own age, but as you may learn shortly, there are reasons why it’s often better to be friendly rather than friends with coworkers.

    I also suggest you examine any advice your boss has given you with extreme scrutiny.

    I wish you the best of luck.

  47. Thomas*

    Would love another update re: what’s going on with this workplace during corona virus sheltering! Is she facilitating them all working from home? (Seems doubtful, but who knows?) Are people supposed to self-tape, or does she just mute them during the daily meeting?

    While obviously a boss can’t tell you when to job seek (and wow – that April 1 date is looking a lot less convenient now!), as someone new to the workforce, the one power your current boss does have over you is references. If the agreement is that she’ll serve as a positive reference for jobs applied to after April 1, that’s actually not super-unreasonable. Having a positive supervisor reference for your 2nd professional job can be really tough to do, since most employers of fresh grads aren’t places where you can be open about looking for your next job. And if you started last May or June, it’s not totally unreasonable of her to withhold a positive reference until you’ve got a little more tenure. Now, you absolutely can look any time you want, and if you get a new job without needing her as a reference, then all she’s got over you is any future reference checks.

    1. Batgirl*

      She’s probably had them move in with her so she can use isolation to break them that much harder, like reality television.

  48. AKchic*

    Oh honey.

    You document everything. You start your search *now*. You don’t tell her anything. Don’t even use her as a reference if you can get away with it. Talk to a trusted coworker about being your reference. Let the interviewers know that your boss does not wish you to leave and may not take your job search well, if that will help in keeping them from reaching out to *her*.

    But Grey Rock her. She needs to be on a serious Information Diet.

    1. Rick Tq*

      All that, plus the next time she tries to tape your mouth block her and ask her why she is assaulting you.

      That goes for all your co-workers: block her hands and ask WTF???????

      1. valentine*

        You document everything.
        She’s the owner and this kind of abuse isn’t illegal.

        OP would do well to investigate whether his classification, pay, OT, and taxes are correct.

        1. Observer*

          If the OP winds up out of a job, and the boss tries to block unemployment – and this boss WILL do that – documenting what was going on is going to be how the OP gets at least unemployment.

        2. AKchic*

          Whether what she is doing right this moment is illegal or not isn’t the point. This sounds like the kind of person who will do what she can to block the LW from seeking another position to keep them trapped in their job and then act like they should be grateful they still *have* a job after telling her that they were going to be job searching in the first place. I mean, she could have fired him right off the bat, but she was so gracious and allowed him to keep his job, y’know… I guess that was such a good thing since he just can’t seem to find another job… can’t imagine why *feigned innocent eyelash fluttering*

  49. Batgirl*

    I would be very, very careful about using this person as a referee, OP.
    For one thing, she’s deliberately delayed your job search by getting way too up in your business.
    If she thinks it’s acceptable to hold an employee’s life back for her convenience; why not just tank his next job offer and keep him forever!
    It’s pretty normal to not use current managers on applications (because they shouldn’t know you’re looking to leave) so just don’t.
    Not while she has the temptation of keeping you, and honestly I’d look at what other supervisors or managers you can use in the future even after you’ve gone.
    Before you say this is too distrusting; she TAPES people’s mouths shut.

  50. Ian*

    Popping in to note that OP’s boss prefers to hire in May/June specifically to *target new college grads.*

    She is beyond creepy, and none of this is normal.

    1. James*

      By itself this wouldn’t necessarily be creepy. I mean, it’s like the beard thing: a red flag, but not necessarily a fatal flaw. I’ve lived in military towns, for example, and companies tend to schedule hiring based on when new folks show up at the bases. That’s when the influx of new people is. A company near a college may do the same thing. If you know when the fish are biting, that’s when you go fishing.

      But in combination with everything else yeah, that’s creepy.

    2. Paulina*

      Hiring earlier for May/June start could be reasonable. Hiring in May/June sounds like targeting new grads who don’t have jobs yet, people who may think they have limited options.

  51. RestResetRule*

    My old boss did this too, i.e., make it sound like giving 2 weeks notice would be BAD and that I owed him. I let him swindle me into giving 2 months notice when I really should have held my ground. Pretty bummed to see that there are other awful managers out there doing this to other young professionals.

  52. Lemonbalm*

    Oh OP, I feel for you. But as others have said you do not have to tell your boss when you’re looking. Give them notice and that’s it.
    I hope that you are able to find something new after this is all over…
    One more thought, with everything that is going on and most people working from home now how is she going to ‘silence’ / shame them

  53. Librarian beyond the Shelves We Know*

    All of this. Please start looking now, but do not let your boss know. She doesn’t need to know about your search, and she certainly isn’t in charge of when you start your search or when you’re allowed to leave.

  54. Perpal*

    OP, the only reason reason I can think of to tell your boss you MIGHT look for opportunities elsewhere is as part of a bargaining attempt ie “I was really dismayed to discover people are asked to tape their mouths shut here, and will have to look elsewhere if this doesn’t stop by the next meeting” – and then only if it’s okay if you’re fired immediately after.
    And to make it clear, it’s okay to be fired/quit, it can be better than working at a horrible place, as long as you have the resources to absorb it with a bit of job searching. I would think you’d get some unemployment too, though you’d want to look up the details of that ahead of time.

  55. Flying Fish*

    This makes me think of all those other posts about how a toxic workplace can adjust your ideas of what’s normal.

    It’s awful that this boss is out there establishing normal in the minds of new grads!

  56. antigone_ks*

    I am genuinely baffled at someone who enforces a professional and conservative dress code and then TAPES PEOPLE’S MOUTHS SHUT.

    1. Beth*

      This isn’t baffling to me. Both are gestures of control. She gets to control how people dress; she gets to control how people talk. (I’m not, of course, saying that this is always what dress codes are! But in the context of someone who tapes people’s mouths shut in meetings, I would bet cash money that’s what it is here.)

  57. Antisocialite*

    Dude. Never, ever tell your (already bat shit crazy and terrible with a god complex) employer that you are looking for another job. And never, ever let said boss dictate when you “can” leave to take another offer.

    This is not said with snark, this is said because she has completely damaged your sense of what a real job, a real manager, and a real workplace, is.

    I think continuing to read this site will really help you “deprogram” and hopefully find a better job soon!

  58. Beth*

    Yikes, she’ll ‘let you’ job hunt??? OP, you’re her employee, not her child! You can look for a new job whenever you want, including immediately. You can quit whenever you want, including immediately (though the student loans thing is real, so you’re probably wise to plan on lining something else up first).

    Norms around quitting: Do not tell your boss you’re job hunting. If you need to miss work for an interview, call it a ‘private appointment’ or something similarly vague; if your boss insists on prying beyond that, they are being rude and invasive, feel free to say it’s a dentist appointment or something similarly mundane. Under most circumstances, do not tell your boss you’re quitting until you’re ready to set a firm end date. The widespread norm for giving notice is to tell your boss 2 weeks before your proposed last day. Some fields vary, but you’d probably already know if your field has a widespread standard that’s different from this norm. Most bosses will accept the date you set; they can also tell you that your last day will be earlier than what you proposed, or they can request that you stay a little longer (but this is a genuine request, you do not have to agree). Your boss never gets veto power on you quitting, and cannot force you to stay in your job with them for longer than you want to stay. Giving 2 weeks’ notice is just a way to allow for a smooth transition of your work to other people and to maintain good relationships; it’s not a sign that your boss can refuse your resignation.

    What to do in your shoes: since your boss now knows you’re looking to leave, you’re in a somewhat delicate position. If she needs to lay someone off, for example, she may well choose you since you’re leaving soon anyways. So don’t worry about the April deadline she ‘set’ (which, again, she has no power to enforce). Start job hunting ASAP. Don’t tell her you’re doing so. When you find something you want to accept, give 2 weeks notice and stick to it. Don’t let her talk you into pushing it back. If she’s upset about you ‘going back on your compromise’ or some such nonsense, you can say something like “This fell in my lap and it’s too good an opportunity to turn down” to smooth it over. She really has no right to get upset about it, but she sounds deeply unreasonable, so be prepared for the possibility; if she does, keep in mind that it’s not you in the wrong, it’s her.

  59. Overagekid*

    I honestly think that the ‘you can start looking for jobs after this date because its better for me’ is MORE of a reason to leave than the tape thing.

  60. Database Developer Dude*

    Seriously? I’d be in jail the first time someone tried putting tape over my mouth. In what universe is that acceptable?

  61. PlainJane*

    Off-topic question on facial hair in a dress code: Doesn’t it violate religious freedom? There are several religious groups that require men to grow beards. So… how does that work with legality?

    Anyway, I do get where OP is coming from in terms of just accepting ridiculous things. Student loans are terrifying, and the instinct to hold on to the source of income in the face of anything is pretty strong. There’s also the general sense of “I’m tough enough to tough it out, I’m not a quitter, etc.” The problem, of course, is that an abusive boss like this can take advantage of these instincts to run roughshod over you. That’s why domestic abusers often make sure they control the money–it’s very hard to walk out when it means you’re going to start missing payments. (And, of course, there’s the sneaking suspicion that every other place will be just as crazy, if in different ways, so really, why trade the humiliating rituals you know for new ones you’ll have to learn?)

    That’s where a site like this is super helpful–having people SAY, “No, that’s not normal.”

    1. James*

      If the workplace is sane, they CAN get around this. I worked at a plant a few times that required you be clean-shaven so that you could wear a rescue respirator. Some of their staff had religious requirements for beards. Their solution was to allow the beard–but require they immediately upgrade to Level A PPE (fully encased, the space-suit things) if there are any problems. This is in Mississippi. In the summer this would be brutal.

      This is not a sane workplace, however, so I doubt they have any sort of policies on this.

  62. ParaleGal67*

    I’m glad that OP is getting out of that situation (eventually), but I really want to know if The Boss has stopped taping people’s mouths shut.

  63. John*

    It sounds like you need to get her permission to start looking for jobs. Is that right? Maybe others have asked this already. But you know you don’t need permission or do it on your boss’s time line, right? You don’t even need to inform her.

  64. JediSquirrel*

    In general, I am a fan of being professional and giving at least two weeks notice, but this job I would honestly give notice as I walk on my last day. Or even ghost. This “manager” pisses me off that much.

    Nothing here is normal.

  65. Candi*

    Hey, you know on Toy Story 2 where the Prospector seems all nice and sweet and reasonable, and then it turns out he’s self-centered and manipulative and somewhat nuts?

    That’s this boss. She’ll only play nice as long as it suits her purposes. Sooner or later, she’s gonna crack, and crack down.

    You want to be far away when that happens.

  66. LeahV*

    Hopefully, one of the young employees will be shocked by this & Name+Shame this company on social media

Comments are closed.