update: my coworker is blackmailing me not to take time off for my honeymoon

Remember Monday’s letter from the person whose coworker was blackmailing him to try to get him not to take off the dates he wanted for his honeymoon? She was threatening to report him for faking a sick day (he hadn’t faked it) and was refusing to do parts of her job that he depends on to be able to do his.

The letter-writer met with his boss about the situation that same day and provided live updates in the comment section as the situation unfolded. IT WAS VERY DRAMATIC.

March 2, 2020 at 11:42 am
Thanks everyone — OP here and I appreciate the unanimous that “Jane” is off her rocker on this. I have worked with her for close to 5 years, and this kind of stuff has always sort of been present but it seems to have gotten worse in the past year. This episode is by far and away the worst.

I have an appointment with my supervisor right after lunch to lay all of this out for him. Just to be ahead of things, I went ahead and called the doctor’s office and they’ve emailed me a note for the day in question, so I’m bringing that along when I meet.

Also, I like the suggestion of pre-paid phone and only giving the number out to family to use for the time I’m off. Blocking numbers would be like a game of whack-a-mole due to the number of people who my number has been given out to who may have contacted me once 3 years ago or never contacted me at all (most contact me directly from their personal cells).

I should also say that I’ve always had a bit of a strange relationship with “Jane.” She has a son who is my age and has told me often that she thinks of me as her “work son.” She is also not originally from the US, and is from a culture where mothers are often a lot more “hands on” in their children’s lives than we are use to in the US. There have been behaviors in the past that I have addressed with her directly, and those HAVE stopped, but this is so over-the-top compared to anything in the past and almost seems like a build up of a few years of not “mothering” me.

I will update after my meeting with my supervisor.

March 2, 2020 at 12:11 pm
I think my boss has been frustrated with “Jane” over a number of other issues, and in fact he keeps taking responsibilities away from her because she can’t do them correctly and ends up causing more work for other people in the department when she does.

March 2, 2020 at 2:01 pm
Alright, so OP again here, and the meeting with the boss is over and done with. First of all, right before lunch, my boss asked me if I could give the main point I wanted to discuss. I just succinctly put it as “Jane is refusing to place orders for me” (that, BTW, is the main thing I can’t do — order stuff that I need to do my job, and basically the only thing she does now). He then asked if it was alright if the department chair (i.e. his boss) sat in on the meeting. I said sure. I went in with a copy of my excuse. When things got started, I said “before I get into the immediate problem, I want you all to know that Jane is claiming I abused a sick day because she happened to see me at Kroger on a day I was off. Here’s my doctor’s note.”

Both of them even refused to look at the note. My boss said “you said you were sick. You’ve been here close to 5 years and have never given us a reason to doubt that you were being untruthful for it. As a matter of principle, I’m going to note that you offered documentation, but I’m not going to look at it because I trust you.” The chair weighed in and said “Yeah, I remember seeing you the day after that and asking you if you should even be in because you looked so bad.” They both said to put that concern behind me, and that they would address it with Jane that it was none of her business.

I was then asked about the ordering issue. I said that I had sent 4 orders the past week, and that she had refused to place them unless I agreed to come in on (specific dates approved off), and that I was getting cramped on getting the stuff I needed to get my job done.

As we sat in the meeting, I forwarded the order requests to both my supervisor and the chair so that they could see, although obviously the refusal was verbal, so I couldn’t document that.

My supervisor assured me that Jane’s request was absolutely ludicrous, and that he would personally be upset with me if I even thought about work while my new wife and I were on our honeymoon. He said turn my phone off or do whatever I needed to do and also that when the time came he would make sure it was circulated to everyone to not contact me.

I was told that as an immediate solution, to send the orders to “Susan,” who also can place orders so that I can get my work done (he sent Susan an email to expedite anything coming from me, and that he’d address why later), and my supervisor would address why Jane isn’t doing it directly with Jane this afternoon.

The chair then jumped in and said “I want to ask a broader question — what all do you do that ‘Cliff’ (deceased person who immediately preceded Jane) did, and what of his work does Jane do?” I listed quite a few things I do, and he said “And in addition to that, you also do everything that ‘Norm’ (retired person who I replaced directly) did, correct?” I listed two specific tasks which Norm did that I do not do.

The chair said, “I’ve thought for a while that we honestly have you stretched too thin, and I know we’ve had this conversation in bits and pieces, but I think we need to have a serious discussion about positions downstairs. Jane has passed off enough responsibility to others that I think it needs to be decided if she needs more duties shuffled back to her, or if her position is even needed anymore.”

We discussed the fact that there’s a lack of cross-training for my duties, and my position is unique enough that it would be difficult to cross train any one person to do it. “Bob” across the hall from me can take care of a lot of things with basic instructions from me, but he needs my specific input about how to go ahead. For reference, a significant (over 50%) portion of my job is maintaining scientific instruments, something which requires that I have an advanced degree in Chemistry to even understand what’s going on and a lot of hands-on experience to recognize and know how to fix problems. Many of the things I take care of are more expensive than an average house in the area (and all are solidly at least at nice new car price), and generally are reliable but can be cantankerous. Jane has neither the background nor the inclination to acquire the hands-on experience, while Bob has the motivation but not the background. I not only maintain but consult/train on when and how to use the appropriate tool for what you’re trying to do.

In any case, to cut to the chase on that, we have a bit of a patchwork plan to cover when I’m gone, and the idea was also floated of hiring Norm (my retired predecessor) for a few days a week on a temporary basis in October. I’m supposed to have lunch with Norm next week (I’m the only person from work who is in regular contact with him) so have been asked if I would see if he was open to the idea — not as a formal offer but just to “test the waters” so to speak.

So, to sum it up — I’m completely in the clear on the feeble blackmail attempt, my bride-to-be and I can go on our honeymoon without any worries whatsoever, and Jane may have shrugged off one too many duties to make the existence of her position necessary.

Not that this is the end of the world either, but I’ve talked to my fiancé and she and I are in agreement that Jane is now off the guest list.

Also, as an unrelated note to this, I got a call while typing all of this up asking if I could come in for an interview at a job I applied for last week! So, I may be out before this is even an issue.

March 2, 2020 at 7:53 pm
As a bit of an interesting not-really-an-update-but an update thing — I should also mention that my office is right next to Jane’s, and directly below the manager and chair’s office. My manager came down about 3:30 today to look for her — presumably to talk to her about all of this — and she was already gone for the day (this is a habit of hers, but it’s not usually a half hour before her quitting time). He asked me where she was, and I said that I had no idea. “Bob” across the hall replied that she had told him bye ~5 minutes prior. My supervisor called her, and she claimed that she was at the grocery store and named something she was buying. I was asked if we needed that particular item, and I said “No, I bought it 2 weeks ago — we won’t need it again until June.” So, it seems as though she’s been caught in her own lie, especially if she comes in tomorrow and can’t produce a receipt that she was actually there.

March 3, 2020 at 1:27 pm
Alright, everyone, I’m anticipating a big update this afternoon. Jane is currently barricaded in her office apparently not taking phone calls (other people have called me directly when they couldn’t reach her…as opposed to the usual sequence of people calling her and then the call getting passed off to me to actually answer it), and my manager has called a meeting of all the support staff EXCEPT for Jane this afternoon.

March 3, 2020 at 5:32 pm
Alright, so here’s the update: The manager, department chair, and unit business manager sat down to meet with all of the support staff save for Jane. The meeting was opened by saying that as we all knew, they had discussed with all of us our actual day-to-day responsibilities — not our job descriptions but what we were doing. It was then announced that as of 3/20 (end of next pay period), the position which Jane is currently occupying has been marked for RIF (reduction in force), or put another way the position is being eliminated. The rest of the meeting was relatively short, as it was a discussion of what Jane’s description currently assigns to her, and who will do those duties. The net result of that is that I’m actually ending up with LESS work to do (not by a dramatic amount, but a few things off) as some of Jane’s duties that I’m currently doing are being assigned to others. We were informed that starting next Monday, Jane will no longer be coming in as she will be using accrued vacation time in lieu of working until the RIF is official. We were directed to “help her where necessary” to finish out any remaining business this week.

So, that’s that. It looks like Jane will indeed get to attend her cousin’s wedding in Florida.

March 3, 2020 at 7:35 pm
I’m honestly amazed at how quickly things happened too. I suspect that this was a discussion that perhaps had been happening for a while now, and perhaps this was the “straw that broke the camel’s back” so to speak.

{ 414 comments… read them below }

      1. Pomona Sprout*

        I missed them, too, and I’m SO glad I got to read them. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time I was reading these, and when I got to the end, I was actually giddy with glee. What a ride!

        Thank you, OP, for all the updates, and thank you SO much, Alison, for compiling them into one epic post!

        1. MusicWithRocksIn*

          Came here to say this! Updates like this are amazing. I’m so glad they were all compiled like this.

      2. Hills to Die On*

        Yay! Love it! Thank you OP and Alison for the fast updates – this made my day!

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Agreed, thank you so very much for compiling this here.

      Also thank you to the OP for letting us know how everything turned out – that update is quite the ride.

    2. KayDeeAye*

      This was great – real-time (almost) workplace drama. Thanks so much, Alison, and thanks to the OP, too.

    3. Massive Dynamic*

      Omg this is amazing. Thank you OP for the info and Alison for calling it out in its own post!

    4. EEOC Counselor*

      Yes, thank you, Alison! This is incredible! Thanks to the original OP for giving us the blow-by-blow updates. I wish that happened more often.

    5. Nancy Pelosi*

      Wild from start to finish. Thank you Alison and congrats on a great outcome, OP!

    6. pleaset AKA cheap rolls*

      “It looks like Jane will indeed get to attend her cousin’s wedding in Florida.”


      1. Reality.Bites*

        I think though, now letter writer should rethink the plan to not invite her to his wedding.

        What could go wrong?

    7. Engineer Woman*

      Yes, thank you, OP, for giving us practically live updates and thank you, Alison, for compiling them for an easy and enjoyable read. I know there are best boss and worst boss contenders at the end of the year, but I don’t know if I’ve seen “best update”. This would definitely be a contender for best update!

    1. Hey Karma, Over Here*

      Ha! That’s what popped into my head!
      “They’ll see how much they need me when I don’t do my work.”
      Yes, yes, they will.

    2. Double A*

      Has ever an attempt at blackmail backfired so quickly and spectacularly and appropriately?

      1. sacados*

        It wasn’t quite so quickly, but there was the letter about someone who tried to blackmail their way into a promotion they didn’t receive that also failed quite spectacularly (and predictably).
        Still I think this one’s better!

      2. MCMonkeyBean*

        Definitely a careful what you wish for scenario, in a very satisfying way!

        I want to note I find it especially hilarious that she was caught lying about being at the grocery store as a direct result of her attempt to blackmail the OP for being at the grocery store. Amazing.

  1. Lena Clare*

    Ooh wow that is very dramatic indeed, and such a satisfying conclusion OP!
    Thanks for putting it together Alison.

    1. Fibchopkin*

      Yes! I tuned in to the comments for a few of the OP’s updates, but it was just So, SO satisfying to read them all laid out like that. Bye Jane!

      1. MtnLaurel*

        That was awesome to read it as a story and in chronological order! Thanks so much, Alison!

    2. pony tailed wonder*

      I am wondering if there will be more updates to the story. I don’t think Jane was only doing odd things to the letter writer. In my opinion, when someone is so off the rails like Jane, there are more victims and now that she is gone, I bet some stories will come out about other things that happened.

      1. AKchic*

        OMGs yes. Once she is gone and people feel more comfortable sharing – more stories will certainly be shared.

  2. Destroyer of Worlds, Empress of Awesome*

    I sat here the whole time going “No…..”…..”Ohmigosh”…..”Uh oh….” and then


    OP, so glad it all worked out for you. Enjoy your honeymoon and your (now) harassment-free workplace…and congrats on the nuptials!

    And Alison, thanks for putting together this post. It was most satisfying. (And such a speedy update!)

    1. beanie gee*

      It all happened SO FAST! How interesting how this was all just the last straw.

      Well done, OP, for standing up for yourself and speaking up!

      1. Random IT person*

        Off topic a bit – but maybe it`s the other way around.
        Real life FINALLY gets close to the fiction section ….

  3. TS*

    So she lost her job? She was a jerk, but firing someone is never something I’m going to celebrate over.

      1. Mama Bear*

        Agreed. OP laid it out as she had been shirking her duties for a while and this was likely the last straw. I highly doubt anything would have happened that fast if management hadn’t been keeping tabs. They had other concerns about her. OP didn’t get her fired.

        1. Threeve*

          It sounds like she also refused to speak with her manager just as she knew she was on thin ice.

          That’s when you make an effort to redeem/explain yourself, not barricade yourself in your office and duck out super early.

          1. Bibliovore*

            It sounds like she also refused to speak with her manager just as she knew she was on thin ice. — I interpreted that one as less her refusing to speak with her manager and more her hiding in her office too ashamed to face anyone else after whatever talking-to her manager (and perhaps higherups) gave her along with the news that her position was being terminated, as the afternoon meeting was also on the schedule around then. Maybe she did indeed know she was on such thin ice before that, though; I guess someone with that awareness who nevertheless tried to blackmail a coworker couldn’t be expected to attempt redemption.

        2. Richard Hershberger*

          She made herself redundant by foisting most of her duties off on her coworkers, then refusing to do one of the few tasks remaining. That last bit brought the matter to the attention of the Powers That Be. Once they looked into it, they came to the conclusion that she was barely doing anything. So why would they continue to pay her?

      2. Antilles*

        They are also being nice in letting her use her vacation to get paid out till the 20th, because in most places of the US, you’re not required to do that when someone is let go.

      3. TootsNYC*

        It may actually BE a layoff. It sounds as though they’ve discovered a need for someone with much higher skills and credentials (to spread the workload on the instrument stuff), and also have discovered that they don’t NEED Jane to provide the support tasks (since she hasn’t been doing most of them anyway).

        1. ADHSquirrelWhat*

          It’s academia. Trust me, that’s HOW you fire someone most of the time. Actually FIRING someone is very very hard. Making the job itself disappear, and then relisting it later as a new thing if it turns out they need that role after all.

          1. bluephone*

            Word, this is probably the easiest way to get rid of Jane without her trying to sue them out of existence (no she most likely wouldn’t have a leg to stand on but just saying the word “lawsuit” is enough to make most places–especially academia–roll over). Doing an actual firing–do not pass go, you can apply for unemployment but don’t expect miracles– would likely result in Jane being promoted over the OP just to shut her up.

          2. Res Admin*

            Agreed. The documentation required to fire someone in academia makes it nearly impossible. It is much easier to just give up a position than to deal with the months and months of documentation required to fire someone.

            It takes something really stupid like making overt threats to harm a coworker, bringing in a fire arm, or (possibly my favorite) posing for photos involving graphic sex acts with non-humans that include the name of your academic institution in the caption. I should note, in the last instance, it was not the photo that caused the issue–it was associating the person in the picture with the academic institution.

            1. AKchic*

              Yep. I mean, it took a multi-year investigation and making it *public* before even putting a local professor on shaky ground for sexual harassment, quid pro quo, refusing to work with or promote female students, taking explicit photos of them (and keeping them on a *shared* computer!), and sexual acts, among other things. The male students saw it, and some of them didn’t seem to care (I side eye my youngest BIL who had him as a teacher and raves about him and calls what happened to him a “travesty” and “feminism railroading a genius”… gag)

              Academia is… a strange place.

              1. old curmudgeon*

                Indeed. My sibling is a full professor in a STEM field at a large state university. There are five full professors in this particular discipline. Two of them – including the department chair – are currently on administrative leave for sexual harassment and other transgressions, and the process is anticipated to take at least another full year to grind sloooooowly through for both of them. The university is not allowed to even start the search for their replacements until the process is complete and they have been terminated. Which leaves the remaining 3/5 of the department all carrying overloads teaching all the courses that the two idiots used to teach.

                I get that you don’t want places to be able to fire people on a whim or out of personal dislike, but this is a bit too far in the other direction if you ask me.

          3. Sparrow*

            Yep, this is by far the most effective way to “fire” someone in academia, ime. Even so, I’m shocked it happened so fast! Makes me wonder if they already kind of had this in the works and OP just escalated things.

          4. MsSolo*

            Ultimately, it’s both – Jane made the role redundant by passing off so many of the duties, which meant when they were looking at how to get rid of her, she’d already done most of the work for them (ironically).

          5. Blarg*

            In state gov, a colleague’s supervisor told her the only way to get fired was if she stood on his desk and pissed on it. And even then the union would prob insist on a PIP.

              1. Decima Dewey*

                I work in city government. There are people who manage to get fired. Falsifying a time sheet is one way to fire yourself. Another way is to disregard a residency requirement and get caught doing so. One guy lived in New Jersey and listed his sister’s address to get around the Philadelphia residency requirement. Worked fine until he handed over a sick note from a New Jersey doctor. So TPTB sent someone to follow him home, and that was the end of that.

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

        They’re being super nice, considering what she did. Lots of places would have fired her on the spot, especially after what he did to the OP.

        1. Curmudgeon in California*


          Even in academia, if I pulled shenanigans like she has, I’d expect to get fired. They’re being extremely nice making it a layoff.

          There are people where I work that I have a strong antipathy to, mostly based on technical disagreements. I will still do my job, with a smile, where they are concerned.

      5. Double you hat*

        She sounds like she’s, well, a little mentally ill in some fashion. If that’s the case, I feel sorry for her, although that doesn’t excuse her behavior towards others.

        1. Working Hypothesis*

          Behaving irrationally badly does not necessarily equal mental illness at all. Some people are just assholes — and many, many assholes are totally blind to their own assholery and therefore have a deeply distorted view of reality around the subject of their own behavior, how it is perceived, and how it is (or should be) valued.

          None of that means they’re mentally ill. Mentally ill people can, of course, also be assholes, but they don’t actually have a particularly greater likelihood of being so than anyone else does.

          1. Nic*

            Agreed. There’s also OP’s mention of her cultural background having a strong tradition of complying with your elders’ wishes + her speaking of him as a “work son”. The combination of those could certainly factor into why she felt entitled to levy pressure on him, without need to speculate about mental illness.

        2. Random IT person*

          No. Just NO.

          First off all this is deskchair diagnosing.
          Second it`s a disservice to those of us actually struggling with mental health issues.

          So pardon me for going ‘whiskey tango foxtrot’ on this one – but seriously – Stop blaming stupid acts, evil acts, malicious acts on mental health issues.

          Jane has either had some culturally different ideas, or is a maliciously stupid person – end of story.

          1. Double you hat*

            I’m hardly blaming stupid and evil acts on mental health issues. Reach much? Geeze.

        3. Sandangel*

          It sounds more like she thought her tenure in comparison to the OP made her untouchable, except that tenure doesn’t mean as much if you’re not doing anything but waste time with petty arguments. Vetinari job security only works if you’re actually vital in your role.

        4. learnedthehardway*

          No – please don’t go there. There’s nothing mentally ill about blackmailing a colleague (unethical – yes; stupid – in this case) or about passing off all your tasks to other people until your managers realize that you’re unnecessary.

      6. MCMonkeyBean*

        I mean it seems like it really is a layoff, just as a result of her proving how unnecessary her position was by refusing to do any work.

    1. MAB*

      Its not something I celebrate either but by Jane’s behavior it is clear that she was the problem in the office.

      Doing a layoff is actually the kindest thing the company could do for her in this situation. It will make finding the next job much, much easier for her. Rather than saying she got fired because she was attempting to blackmail a coworker to come back from their honeymoon early, she can say she was laid off and the company will back it up.

      1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        These are all good points. And it does look like the incident with OP’s wedding was the last straw. Jane had it coming.

      2. bluephone*

        Yeah, this is actually almost rewarding Jane for her behavior because she can say “laid off” instead of “terminated,” can probably get unemployment wages, and there’s a 105 percent chance her new employer would never find out about the blackmailing or duty-shirking.

      3. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        I made it through all the updates on the original thread, and I can’t remember where exactly it was but the OP did say “Jane” was originally in another department and was “heavily favored” in the hiring process because the people on the committee were trying to curry favor with Jane’s tenured professor husband. It’s possible the RIF is the only way the management in this department can get rid of the problem without also loosing their jobs.

      4. Anne (with an “e”)*

        So, let’s summarize. She was trying to blackmail the OP about approved days for his Honeymoon. She has been shirking her duties. She purposely has been hindering the OP from completing an essential part of his job. She has been leaving early. She lied. I feel a sort of schadenfreude towards Jane.

        1. Julia*

          Right? I’d feel bad for her if she got fired simply due to lacking skills, but she refused to work AND was a jerk to her coworker, which made several people’s jobs harder.
          Maybe in her next job, she can actually be a bit nicer to people.

    2. redflagday701*

      If someone got fired for repeated instances of sexual harassment or for threatening to strangle a colleague’s beloved pet or for routinely ignoring best practices for handling sarin gas, would you at least nod appreciatively, even if you didn’t actually break out a bottle of Champagne?

    3. Lucia Pacciola*

      That seems kind of one-sided. Jane isn’t the only human being in this scenario. There are at least a half-dozen other human beings who are trying to do the right thing. People trying to work amicably together, do their jobs, get paid. Jane is making all their lives worse, day in and day out. Ending that toxic relationship is absolutely worth celebrating.

      1. TS*

        I’m not saying she didn’t deserve it. Just saying it’s not one of those things I’m going to high-five someone over.

        1. Lucia Pacciola*

          Fair enough. Just saying I’m always going to high-five someone over getting out of a toxic relationship. Even if the corollary to that is the toxic person being left out in the cold because of their toxicity.

        2. Nancy Pelosi*

          You don’t have to celebrate Jane, but don’t shed any tears for her either. She had the option to behave professionally and she opted not to for years. This is on her.

      2. Viette*

        Yeah, there’s seriously a fallacy in conflating, “celebrating Jane’s misfortune” and “celebrating OP&coworkers’ fortune.” Jane getting laid off is bad for Jane and it is great for her coworkers. Other great outcomes include “Jane shaping up and doing her whole job and not blackmailing anyone” but Jane was the only person who could make that happen and she didn’t.

    4. PollyQ*

      She’s got paid time off to start job-hunting, and because it’s being called a RIF, she’ll probably be eligible for unemployment and won’t have to say that she was fired. Given all her behavior, I’d say she got off lucky.

      1. Diahann Carroll*

        She really did. Every place I’ve ever worked (besides Evil Law Firm, which was dysfunctional as hell) would have fired her.

    5. AnotherAlison*

      Eh, I do. It sounds like it was a long time coming, as she gradually offloaded all her duties on to others, on top of blackmailing, leaving early, and being a general pain to work with. Do people not realize no one is going to pay them to do nothing forever?

      Saw something similar happen at my work once. Someone was getting put on a PIP and instead of meeting with their manager, they ran around the building hiding like a 3 year old. By the time they located them, they decided to fire them instead.

      1. AnotherAlison*

        I also think this was the last straw and not something the manager and chair had not already discussed before.

        1. TootsNYC*

          People will say “I don’t want to get him fired,” and then the response is, “their own actions got them fired.”

          But the one thing that often gets left out is: Management has the right–and responsibility–to make these staffing decisions, and in many situations, you’re really obligated to give them the information they need.
          And management gets to decide what its response will be.

          Part of this particular response wasn’t actually “Jane is really lousy”; it was “too much is placed only on the OP, and that’s not good for US, let alone for them.” Having only one person who can deal with those scientific-instrument questions is a vulnerability for them.
          They may have felt that they didn’t want to disturb the jobs of the people who were already there, but this information has made them see just how big the scope is of Jane’s non-productivity.
          And then finding out that she was being petty and punitive toward a colleague could have removed any sense of loyalty they might have had that was slowing them down on making this re-staffing decision.

        2. irene adler*

          I concur.
          From the way management handled the OP’s situation, it sounds like they gather lots of information/input before they act. SO this wasn’t an isolated event that spurred the RIF.

        3. Mel 2*

          I think this is precisely the reason the manager wanted the chair to be there. It sounds like, knowing there was yet again another problem with Jane, the manager wanted to get the chair in immediately. If this was a new situation, the manager (who sounds very reasonable) wouldn’t have jumped to the level of bringing in the chair.

        4. CupcakeCounter*

          Agreed – that fact that both manager and the chair had very specific questions ready so quickly makes it pretty clear things were already in the works. The decisions regarding Jane are not ones that happen in a 48 hour period because of a single incident that our OP brought up. Stuff like this usually takes months of documentation, discussions, and planning.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        They ran around the building and HID?

        Did the boss actually chase this person?

        This is one of those times where I just wanna know, what was the fleeing employee thinking? Hiding prevents PIPs????

        1. Formerly Ella Vader*

          Maybe it’s like avoiding getting served with legal papers? If they can’t find you they can’t serve you?

    6. Janine*

      It wasn’t like the OP was trying to get her fired. If she was refusing to do part of her job that made it possible to do his, then he had to report it to his boss. I would guess her leaving early and getting caught in a lie did just as much to get her fired. It sucker for her, but it sounds like it’s a positive thing overall for that office.

      1. Nancy Pelosi*

        Exactly. OP never mentioned ill will towards Jane. He wanted his orders completed and to go on his honeymoon worry free. Jane got herself fired by doing everything one should not do in this situation, starting with threatening OP.

    7. CouldntPickAUsername*

      She deserved to be fired for her actions, she was attempting to blackmail a coworker, kept leaving work early, dumping tasks on other people, being petty and refusing her job functions, and more.

      She was toxic and hurting the work environment. Further time and time again we’ve seen on this site managers utterly refusing to do a thing about bad employees and sometimes punishing good employees. It’s ok if you don’t want to celebrate it but some of us are gonna go ahead and have some schadenfreude.

    8. TootsNYC*

      I agree that I’m not OK w/ celebrating. I don’t think the OP is celebrating at all (though a few commenters are).

      But the OP didn’t make this happen (and you, TS, didn’t say that he did).

      1. Threeve*

        It’s not cool to be pleased at someone else’s misfortune. But it is okay to be happy that your work life is about to get less crazy and frustrating.

        1. Colette*

          At the same time, Jane’s coworkers’ work lives improved – work is distributed more easily and someone who appears to have become a roadblock is gone – and it’s not unreasonable to celebrate that.

        2. Pomona Sprout*

          This is not a case of an “innocent” person’s “misfortune.” It’s a case of someone who behaved terribly and made a whole lot of people’s work lives more difficult for what sounds like a good long time getting their just desserts. And hell, yes, I’m going to celebrate that. Especially since it was done in the kindest and gentlest way possible.

        3. Archaeopteryx*

          Being called out and facing consequences is ultimately the best thing for Jane, too. Sometimes people need this kind of wake up call in order to do some much-needed personal growth.

        4. Fortuna*

          “Misfortune” is defined as bad luck. Blackmailing a colleague is not the blackmailer’s bad luck. Deliberately making it difficult for people to do their jobs is not the obstructor’s bad luck. If anything, a long run of her wildly good luck–and the resultant very bad luck for innocent people–has ended.

          I wish her personal growth and better times resulting from that growth. I am happy not only for her former colleagues’ lifted burden but also for her good fortune in being given the opportunity and impetus to learn to be a better person, even if she doesn’t take advantage of it.

          1. Stopgap*

            I was going to say this, too. This is an average amount of fortune considering Jane’s actions.

        5. chi type*

          It is TOTALLY okay to feel a sense of well-being when justice has been served. It’s not a given in this world by a long shot so I, for one, will celebrate when it happens.

    9. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      I mean, I’m not doing cartwheels across my LR right now as I have no personal investment in this. But it’s nice to see managers and higher ups take responsible action against a toxic employee. I doubt the decision would have been made so quickly over one incident and that this has been a long time coming.

    10. Jdc*

      Firing a blackmailer is always something to celebrate. That’s not how life works. You don’t get to manipulate people to get your way.

    11. Hey Karma, Over Here*

      she didn’t lose her job because she was a jerk to OP, though. Her position was eliminated because she had shuffled most of her duties to others and then, for a (quantifiable through OP’s emails) did not complete the only duty she retained.
      And when the situation appeared to be coming to a head (she saw the meetings) instead of, as OP did, getting in front of it and discussing issues with her manager, she literally got behind a locked door and refused to communicate with her coworkers.

    12. Annony*

      I’m always happy when the people in charge actually take performance issues seriously and take action. She outright refused to do her job. She tried to blackmail the OP into coming in during his honeymoon. I don’t see how it could be resolved by anything but firing her.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Absolutely. It’s so common for managers to be conflict avoidant or lawsuit phobic that it’s really nice to see them step up and you know, actually manage.

    13. HarvestKaleSlaw*

      I feel really bad for Jane, reading this. That is awful for her- especially if she is now out of work as an older, but not Medicare-eligible, woman.

      But at the exact same time, I can recognize that this was absolutely the right decision. And I also feel relieved for the OP, who seemed to be kind of at the end of their rope with overwork and stress. I think Jane was really getting to them, and that they will be a lot happier at work now. Hooray for that part of things! And a nice warning to all of the rest of us to not be Jane.

      1. Nancy Pelosi*

        You say you feel bad for Jane, but if she was actually doing her job, mgmt would have seen her value and kept her. Add to that her blackmailing folks and now there’s no reason to defend her. If she had minded her business and dealt with her problems above board, she’d have the Medicare she’s presumably now missing.

        1. HarvestKaleSlaw*

          I didn’t defend her. I said I felt bad for her. You know – empathy. Amazingly, it is not incompatible with recognizing the difference between right and wrong.

      2. Alton*

        This is how I feel. I have empathy for Jane even though her work behavior was out of line, but it sounds like the best decision.

      3. Hey Karma, Over Here*

        Do you feel bad for Jane because she seems to be an unhappy person who cannot function well within normal social structure or because she got away with stuff for so long it was probably a shock to her that there could be consequences to her actions?
        Because I think both are valid. The “you are like my son” is not healthy or appropriate for work.
        She’s been pushing her work off on others for years and nobody higher up did anything. She’s probably boycotted/threatened others like she did to OP and nobody did anything.
        So under those terms, I can feel a bit of sympathy.

        1. HarvestKaleSlaw*

          She sounds unhappy and self destructive. It probably is a shock to her. Yes – I feel bad for people like this.

          And no – she can’t be allowed to hurt other people or take advantage of them, so this had to happen. I just don’t think we all need to gather up the pitchforks and torches and our armor of +10 to self-righteous cruelty.

          1. Oranges*

            But…. I have a flaming pitchfork that I’m dying to use!

            I do feel sorry because Jane can’t function well in our society (I shudder to imagine a society where her behavior is “normal”). I hope she does learn and grow from this. Humans need a negative impetus to change behaviors, it’s the way our brains are wired. I do hope she has the introspection and the support necessary to examine her behaviors and face the truth that the common denominator of all the consequences of her actions is… her actions. I’m not holding my breath though.

            If she doesn’t change (and people this obtuse usually don’t change) the best thing is to limit her sphere of influence. Which her “firing” did. So, yes. I’m gonna feel sorry for Jane and celebrate that she got fired.

            1. HarvestKaleSlaw*

              Exactly! – but you said it more better-er. I don’t see those things as incompatible. Assholes absolutely have to be checked, and they absolutely have to be stopped from causing more harm – but most assholes are pretty unhappy and stuck in bad patterns. The same bad things keep happening to them again and again, and they seldom grok the why. It is frustrating as hell to watch, and it makes me feel awful – even if I also don’t want to be around them even slightly.

      4. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        I’ve seen people Jane’s age get laid off with zero minutes notice and for no apparent reason. Them, I felt awful for. Jane, on the other hand, worked hard at getting fired like her life depended on her making sure she gets fired. And I totally agree that OP’s workplace is a happier place now.

      5. mgguy*

        To be honest, I’m not SUPER concerned about her financially, though it’s really none of my business(and if she hadn’t made herself dispensable, we wouldn’t be having this discussion). For one thing, her husband is a tenured senior faculty member in another department pulling a 6-figure salary. For another, the RIF policy is pretty generous toward employees being subject to it. She has over 30 years of service, which mean that she can apply for retirement for full benefits which means she can maintain health insurance with the same contribution as she’s currently paying until eligible for Medicare. If she elects to retire rather than seek another position, I don’t think she’s going to exactly be hurting, although obviously I don’t have the full picture of her financial situation.

        1. Dragon_dreamer*

          Her husband’s position is probably why she felt she could get away with pulling this crud.

        2. bluephone*

          In a way it’s almost like she’s being rewarded for being terrible. Ugh. But at least your managers acted when they realized it was a problem and hopefully, you and your coworkers will be able to actually get work done now!

    14. Felix*

      Apparently you missed the fact that Jane refused to do her job. Also, I take it you never had to work with someone so incompetent as her.

      1. HarvestKaleSlaw*

        Apparently you did not read what I wrote. You don’t have to feel bad for Jane. You can rejoice in it, if you like. Nobody is taking that pleasure away from you.

    15. Zennish*

      I think if it gives her a reality check on her behavior that causes some self reflection and improvement, it would be a cause to celebrate. Allowing the polite fiction of downsizing instead of just firing her will do far less damage to her ability to find another job, and maybe (perhaps unlikely, but maybe) she’ll be a little more self-aware in her next position.

      1. HarvestKaleSlaw*

        I know. I was trying to basically say that I’m better than everyone. Thanks for bringing me down to earth. Other people just explained that I was wrong to feel bad for a person, but you helped me realize that my own motivations were sinister.

        1. GilaMonster*

          What a huge amount of vitriol you’re getting for recognizing that Jane is not in a good place and only expressing your personal opinion.

          1. HarvestKaleSlaw*

            I mostly actually love this site and this community. But… I enjoy it because this is a damn solid advice column that is interesting and gives very useful advice to adults in the workplace. I enjoy it because the commenters tend to be really sharp and funny and compassionate with lots of varied work and life experiences.

            Yet there’s this weird dynamic that happens with some letters where people want to turn Allison into the lead popular girl and amplify anything she says, make it meaner, make it simpler, really mark out who’s in and who’s out of the gang… And that’s, like, not what this is. She’s not Regina George. This isn’t high school. Cool it, folks.

    16. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      She straight up refused to do her job.

      She basically quit. She wasn’t fired because of some squabble or miscommunication or anything small. She literally wasn’t doing her job she was being paid to do.

      I’m not celebrating her being let go but I’m certainly not sad about it. It was a sound and swift business decision. I applaud them for finishing it so smoothly.

    17. Not Me*

      I definitely celebrate when toxic employees who aren’t performing or pulling their weight are removed from the workplace. Everyone should. The negative impact an employee like this has on the morale of the office is incredible. And the positive impact removing that person has is even more remarkable.

      I celebrate it the same way I’d celebrate a friend ending an unhealthy relationship.

      1. MJ*

        Jane’s behaviour is obviously problematic and has now been dealt with. But there is a whiff of the boys closing ranks here that I am uncomfortable with.

    18. Archaeopteryx*

      Firing someone who treats people buy them doesn’t do their job is indeed worth celebrating.

    19. Jossycakes*

      Read the earlier post. She tried to blackmail her colleague. It was really cruel.

    20. pleaset AKA cheap rolls*

      A jerk actively trying to get someone else in trouble for not bending to her will.

      Layoff is appropriate – she could have been fired.

    21. fhqwhgads*

      It sounds like they realized that between the stuff that was already officially reassigned from her to others, and the stuff she regularly passed the buck on – she wasn’t actually do any work. It also sounds like while yes she did lose her job, no she wasn’t fired. She was laid off. They’re doing a RIF. So the position no longer exists, which happened based on data they had suggesting she functionally did so little they didn’t actually need her.

    22. Observer*

      She put herself out of a job.

      When I read the update about the meeting, I immediately wondered if management had gotten other complaints from people about Jane’s behavior. What they said in the opening to the meeting makes it clear that this indeed was the case. And it turns out that SO much of Jane’s work was now being done by other people that it no longer made sense to even keep the position.

      Note that they didn’t say “We are thinking about finding someone else if necessary.” Rather, they said “We’re going to be apportioning out what’s left of her tasks” and no one seemed phased by it. Which means that she was doing very, very little. And refusing to do even the few things she’d been left with.

  4. Salsa Your Face*

    I propose that this update be added to the dictionary under “hoisted by their own petard.”

  5. EA in CA*

    Holey bananas.
    Love the play by play updates from the OP. This was by far the most interesting/entertaining update I’ve read in awhile

    1. WonderingHowIGotIntoThis*

      Is this one of the fastest question to update turnarounds on this site?! That was incredible.
      Honestly, it really did sound like Jane had been circling the job drain for a while. What a strange approach to her work though – handing off a load of responsibilities. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it also sounded like she is approaching (or had already passed) 50 – given the comments about having a work son. Maybe she’s thinking early retirement…?

      1. Been There...Done That*

        I have worked with people of all ages who hand off as much of their work as they can to others – it is their nature and how they roll. I have seen this done by bosses, by peers and those who are just beginning their jobs. It is not just limited to those who are looking towards retirement.

    2. Rusty Shackelford*

      I know, right? I’m so glad Alison posted it – it wouldn’t have occurred to me to go back to the original post and look for updates.

      1. EA in CA*

        Sometimes I go back and look through the comments to see if an OP has replied. But never had I see one that had updates this quickly or this big!

  6. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

    Props to the OP’s boss and chair, for being so open and willing to take action!!

    1. Jules the 3rd*

      Woooow – yes, this.

      LW, think hard about whether leaving this place is to your advantage. Good managers are valuable too, and these two did good.

      1. mgguy*

        Admittedly I’m torn on this. I have a great environment now, but for one thing the chair is out of rotation this summer(they only serve a 3 year term) and I don’t even know who the next person there will be and how things will change. Aside from that, my fiancée and I currently live in different cities, this job will put me close to her city, it’s a position that concentrates on the duties and responsibilities that I like most about my current position while eliminating most of the ones I don’t enjoy, and a 30-50% pay increase. So, in other words, if I do get it, taking it will be the right thing to do I think. As it is now, I don’t really have any further upward mobility, and my pay is pretty well stuck where it is aside from every few years when the upper administration(not my direct supervisors) decides they can afford a 1-2% COL raise.

        1. RecoveringSWO*

          That’s rough. In those circumstances, I’d probably take the job unless I has a good chance of getting a job in my SO’s city if I continued job searching while staying put (or that she’s got a good chance of coming to me or both of us going to a 3rd location).

        2. Jules the 3rd*

          Clearly, you have thought hard about it already. Good luck, and congrats on the wedding!

    2. No Longer Working*

      Yes! This is an excellent example of good managers actually managing! We see so many posts about bad managers, this really warms my heart.

      1. Why isn’t it Friday?*

        Yes! So decent of them to refuse to even look at OP’s doctor’s note because they trust him. That is good management.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Part of me was impressed because many bosses would pick up the paper and read it.

          But part of me thought, “That is the ONLY acceptable reaction to OP’s offer.”

          Reality is that we can’t take for granted that people will do the right thing. I am very happy for you, OP, with how the bosses reacted to the note and how they handled everything else.

    3. Green great dragon*

      I’m not so sure about the openness. I agree the firing/layoff was the right thing to do but OP got a lot of info about Jane, before Jane did.

  7. EBStarr*

    I love how OP identified the true happy ending here: now Jane gets to go to her cousin’s wedding! :D

    1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      I have to admit that, when I read it in the original letter about Jane being like “but I HAVE to be at my cousin’s out-of-state wedding and OP has to move heaven and earth to help me make that happen”, I was imagining someone maybe in their 20s, and a cousin of a similar age that they’d grown up with, the weddings currently being the biggest thing in their and their friends’ and family members’ lives. I did not expect Jane to turn out to be someone at least my age with a son OP’s age. Like, how do you even manage to go through 30 or so years of being an adult, with a job and a child, without ever having to bow out of a social obligation because work or family interfered and you are not able to make it? Why was she acting like this was a new experience to her? (And wasn’t she going to be able to make at least part of the wedding anyway due to still having the weekend off?) I am now kind of siding with the commenters on the original post that said there was likely no cousin getting married, in Florida or anywhere else.

        1. valentine*

          Given that she had OP taking her calls, I think she was delaying the crisis of having to work or lay bare how little she did. I also wonder if she thought OP caught her out in the grocery store, so she wanted to strike first, but OP didn’t suspect she was skiving.

      1. AnotherAlison*

        I think the updates said Jane wasn’t from the US. It could be more important in her culture, or it could be that she will see family from out of the country there.

        1. Perpal*

          Or she could just be a jerk. Just sayin, signs point to Jane is actually just really inconsiderate given everything else.

          1. AnotherAlison*

            Ha, yeah, that’s probably it. I had a momentary lapse and gave Jane the benefit of the doubt.

        2. Quill*

          My assumption would be that it would be the only chance to see the majority of her extended family for years, possibly due to different people being overseas in different locations. Which I sympathize with, but… you can’t blackmail someone in order to see your family. You plan ahead, you work with your bosses, and no matter what trouble you have about it you don’t try to ruin someone else’s already planned and partially paid for honeymoon.

      2. Threeve*

        I suspect that it wasn’t so much a generalized “everybody should always give what I want absolute priority” but a kind of obsessively fixated “for some reason, this specific person should always give what I want absolute priority, and I am going to make that happen.”

        1. Van Wilder*

          I’m not sure what her motivation was, but she was clearly saving that sick day blackmail and it was burning a hole in her pocket.

    2. Jennifer Thneed*

      I wondered if Jane actually had a cousin (and if she did, if that cousin was actually getting married).

  8. mli25*

    This is where an emoji would be wonderful (hands clapping, confetti throwing emojis come to mind). While I am not one to celebrate some losing their job, per se, it sounds like a lot caught up to Jane and what happened became inevitable.

    Congrats to you for speaking up. Congrats on your upcoming wedding, honeymoon, time off and all of it!

  9. Kyubey*

    I can’t believe she thought she could blackmail you with a supposed fake sick day, yet she herself frequently takes off early without telling anyone… o_O

    1. Anon (and on and on)*

      This actually doesn’t surprise me. She probably thought that letter-writer was sneaking out of work that day because she does it herself all the time. I’ve met people who justify their own bad behavior by claiming, “well, everyone does it!”

        1. ArtK*

          Well, when I think of goofing off, Kroger is the first destination that comes to mind. Not the beach, or Disneyland, but Kroger. I mean, who doesn’t get a thrill from checking the expiration dates on milk to make sure that you get the freshest carton?

          [ / sarcasm ]

          1. Quill*

            At Toxic Job I volunteered to do all the target runs because I WOULDN’T HAVE TO BE IN THE OFFICE during them.

            I didn’t exactly play hooky but I certainly was never disappointed to find that the store had been rearranged and I was in the wrong spot for filtered water or office supplies.

      1. fposte*

        Yes! I was thinking this. Like the projection of the SO who accuses a partner of cheating because *they’re* cheating.

      2. MellieB*

        Exactly this. At my last job I often felt that management did not deal with these issues for similar reasons. They were afraid if they followed through and called out XYZ person, XYZ person would clap back with whatever ammo they had about how the manager had done the same or a similar things. For example, I can’t address “Jane” for leaving early because I also leave early quite a bit. It was infuriating. Nice that management listened and took swift action.

      3. Christmas Carol*

        You don’t think of looking under the bed unless you’ve hidden there yourself.

    2. Nom de Plume*

      I was thinking this too. She saw the LW in the grocery store and assumed he was playing hookie because she herself plays hookie. Reminds me of a boss I had who would call and email me constantly on my infrequent work from home days (We all had company-issued laptops and a liberal remote work policy). I always got the feeling he was checking in to make sure I was actually working (I was), and it was especially ironic because he would often be unreachable by phone or email when he was himself working from home.

      1. WonderingHowIGotIntoThis*

        Ugh, I had the exact reverse problem – whenever my (former) boss worked from home, she would be the one phoning in *every half an hour* to make sure we were working in the office well without her!

        I’m sure there have been, if not actual studies, then enough collated anecdotal events that suggest any negative trait we are aware of in ourselves we magnify in other people as a form of mental self defence. An habitual liar will be quick to accuse others of falsehoods; the cheater will accuse his/her other half of cheating; a person playing hooky from work will accuse someone with a legitimate reason for not being in the office of skiving.
        Actually, I think it’s a recognised thing – like when the BMW driver speeds he’s being an @rse, but when you do it, its because you have a good reason. Pennies to pounds, that’s probably what was happening in Jane’s head.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          And this concept has been very helpful to me here and there. “No, I did not take your coffee mug, but I think I now know where MINE went!”

          The way I was introduced to this rule of thumb is, “When you know for absolute certainty that you did NOT do x, yet this person is accusing you of x, then it is fairly safe to assume the accuser is actually doing x.”

          The more outlandish the accusation, the more likely this rule of thumb is true.

  10. ChemistryChick*

    This is such a satisfying update and an excellent reminder that good managers are out there.

    Thanks for compiling these, Alison!

  11. Dragon_dreamer*

    Please update us again after the dust has settled! Thank you for the play by play! *grabs popcorn*

  12. agnes*

    wow, thank you so much for such a detailed update. I am so glad to hear that things are working out for you and for your company. People like Jane can really drag a group down.

  13. LanaO*

    Wow, I absolutely love this detailed update! I felt like I was along for what was a wild ride. Fantastic outcome!

  14. Matilda Jefferies*

    HOT DAMN! We can’t post gifs here, but if we could I would absolutely be posting this one from Brooklyn 99.

    OP, sounds like this has been ongoing for a while, and your speaking up was the kick that management needed to actually do something about it. Well done!

  15. CuriouserAndCuriouser*

    It’s always so wonderful when management takes these kinds of situations seriously and thanks to the OP for engaging with us and having a quick update!! I’m also so curious if management would have taken it so seriously and resolved it so well if the OP had not been a man. (I’m basing this on a comment in the original post where OP said Jane referred to him as her “work son.”) I guess there’s no way to tell, but it’s interesting to think about.

    1. Daffy Duck*

      I don’t think so. The sequence of events looks to me as if Jane hasn’t been doing much work and offloading as much as possible to others. I’m betting this was just the final straw that allowed the management to get over their squeamishness of letting go a long-term employee.

    2. TootsNYC*

      I think this had nothing to do with gender. It had to do with an ongoing conversation about how the business doesn’t have the right allocation of people’s skills, and trying to figure out how to do that with the current head count. And them sort of slowly seeing that Jane isn’t actually adding productivity but is in fact subtracting it, but maybe not being quite willing to lay her off because they feel a bit of loyalty to her.
      And then up pops our LW with information about her being an asshole AND deliberately flouting productivity, and they decide they have no desire to try to save her job anymore.
      So they go looking for serious confirmation of what they’ve been suspecting, find it of course, and now are willing to pull the plug.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      OTOH, Jane was not let go based on one MAN’s say so but rather a collection of incidents and behaviors that were observed. And for all that she did she walked away with a decent deal.

      We don’t always have to pick up every rock to see what is underneath it.

  16. Kitty Cathleen*

    It is rare to get such a satisfying update so quickly. Sounds like this was already being considered and ended up expedited because LW went to their boss about the situation. What a nice turnout for LW!

  17. Funny In Other Ways*

    Well, looks like she got that time off for her cousin’s wedding after all.

    1. Leslie Knope*

      I laughed out loud when I read that line! Good thing the door to my office was closed at the time…

    1. Dracarys*

      Wow. That happened all so quick! I’m sad to see people/jobs “eliminated”…. hopefully she learned her lesson to not blackmail co-workers or lie to anyone!

      1. Not So NewReader*

        You know that was something that worried me for a long time when I started working. I had a rule that said, “Don’t prove to the bosses that they don’t need me.”

        As I went along I developed a habit of taking on stuff that others did not want to do because it was “too hard”. I found I had a bit of a knack for making a few tweaks and turning the task into something way more manageable.
        This gave me some job security in some instances.

  18. Lemonbalm*

    This was dramatic indeed. I never like seeing someone fired. But I think Jane had it coming to her.

    1. Jedi Squirrel*

      It honestly doesn’t get any better than this, unless a unicorn went around handing out chocolates to everybody (except Jane, of course)!

  19. pamela voorhees*

    HBO dramas aren’t as nuanced and quick moving as this. Thank you to both Alison & the OP for keeping us updated real-time!

  20. RabbitRabbit*

    Sounds like a “missing stair” type of employee finally got too much to deal with – great update! (And I do believe sometimes yes, you can absolutely celebrate someone getting fired.)

  21. Grace*

    This was the best letter and most satisfying update I’ve seen on the site in the 6 years I’ve been reading it every day. Thanks for compiling all these updates!

  22. TootsNYC*

    This is proof that you don’t know all that is going on, and that you should not assume you have the power to “get someone fired,” and that you aren’t actually doing your job right when you don’t bubble information up to management.

    Management gets to decide how it wants to react.

    (It would not surprise me if they decided to add a position to the roster–maybe eliminating Jane’s spot will let them hire someone to also provide the expertise you have.)

  23. Jennifer*

    Evil cackle at “I guess Jane will get to attend her cousin’s wedding after all.”

    Going to the boss was the right call here. I was wrong earlier.

    I hate to see anyone get fired but it seems she wasn’t actually doing her job at all.

  24. Sick of Workplace Bullshit*

    AMAZING! I am so impressed with how your workplace handled that!

    Please keep us posted if you get another job!

    All the best on your wedding and future, OP!

  25. Leslie Knope*

    I appreciate this update so much! Brightened my day!

    Sending some good vibes for the upcoming interview. Good luck to the OP!

  26. LKW*

    Dude, dude dude – it’s almost like management knew that there was a problem employee, had been discussing how to best resolve and then when the next complaint came in – specifically “My coworker refuses to do her job which will impact my ability to do my job.” they took appropriate action to assess the situation, define the resolution and execute the solution.

    So not used to seeing that on these pages.

    1. TootsNYC*

      The LW makes it clear, this wasn’t really about Jane.

      It was about them relying too heavily on one person and realizing this wasn’t a smart move. (Proof: he’s interviewing elsewhere)

      But they were hesitant or unsure about how to deal with the headcount issue, and maybe didn’t want to yank Jane’s job out from under her. But slowly realizing that she isn’t actually contributing much.

      Up pops the LW with news of her asshole behavior, and they lose their desire to keep her job, and so move forward on what they want.

      They’ll hire another person, I’d bet money. But it won’t be Jane’s job–it’ll be someone who can do more of the specialized stuff the OP does. Or they’ll invest in training Bob, and hire a midrange person to do more of his stuff.

      1. LKW*

        I agree with the putting everything on one person comment, but I’m fairly sure this is about Jane:

        The chair said, “I’ve thought for a while that we honestly have you stretched too thin, and I know we’ve had this conversation in bits and pieces, but I think we need to have a serious discussion about positions downstairs. Jane has passed off enough responsibility to others that I think it needs to be decided if she needs more duties shuffled back to her, or if her position is even needed anymore.”

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Yeah, that sounds like they were already reconsidering her and were aware of at least some of her shenanigans.

    2. Happy Lurker*

      Remembering my own Jane and my confusion with my boss. I certainly did not try to get away with the games Jane would play. I couldn’t figure out how or why Jane was allowed to play their game as long as they did.

      Well, one day, after about 5 more situations more than I could understand, they were let go immediately. The written warnings, the conversations all lead up to it. When I querried the boss afterwards, they simply said “they terminated themself”.

      Boss had to give Jane every opportunity to turn it around and Jane kept making it worse. Boss’s hands were tied. Seems like a very similar situation.

  27. Elaine*

    Wow! I was reading through these and my eyebrows were going up, but it didn’t seem VERY DRAMATIC. And then suddenly it got VERY DRAMATIC!

    I am glad OP’s problem was solved so quickly. Have a great honeymoon, OP. I feel a little sorry Jane lost her job, but it is the natural consequence of her own behavior.

  28. Bunny Girl*

    It honestly sounds like OP has great upper management! They listened to the problem, took care of it, and did it kindly. Kudos to them and I’m happy that your office got rid of a problem employee! Too many are allowed to stay well beyond what’s reasonable.

  29. Not Australian*

    The best bit IMHO was the managers refusing to look at your doctor’s note because they *knew* you were on the level. These people are absolute 100% solid gold.

    1. Erstewhile lurker*

      Yeah, that was the best bit for me, to be told that you had built up so much respect in the bosses eyes that they refused to even look at the note? wow!

    2. Alpacas Are Not Dairy Animals*

      I find it interesting that so many people are saying this. Honestly, I’d be a little miffed if I went to the trouble to get a doctor’s note and they didn’t even look at it, especially when the stakes turned out to be so high! It’s nice to be trusted but it would be nicer to know that management valued solid evidence over their positive feelings about me or anyone.

  30. A Simple Narwhal*

    Wow, what a ride! Thank you LW for all of the updates, and thank you Alison for compiling everything!

    1. A Simple Narwhal*

      Also that last sentence: “It looks like Jane will indeed get to attend her cousin’s wedding in Florida.” *chef’s kiss of appreciation*

      1. ampersand*


        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          Jane was ^claiming to be^ at the grocery store instead of at work. I dunno about you, but I’m pretty sure she was probably *actually* on her way straight home, if not already there.

          1. ampersand*

            Oh, for sure! Jane is a lying liar who lies. Just…that was hilarious! :)

            I wonder if, in her mind she was like: Well, LW got away with being at the grocery store (when he shouldn’t have been*), so I’m just gonna say I’m at the grocery store…

            *per Jane and her silly conclusions

  31. Lizabeth*

    Karma happens…I hope Jane realizes what her role in her RIF was and learns from it. But that’s on her.

    Great ending and my eyebrows were off the top of my head by the end. Thanks Alison for posting this!

  32. Maria Lopez*

    A lovely bit of Schadenfreude. I have a feeling that the bosses have been looking for a way to release Joan from her duties without a lot of drama and a possible ageism claim. Your situation and her laughable attempts at blackmail were the perfect solution for them. Win-win for you and management.

  33. SM*

    I’m extremely impressed by your management team, OP- well done by your boss and grandboss.

  34. Senor Montoya*

    “It looks like Jane will indeed get to attend her cousin’s wedding in Florida.”

    Mic drop.

  35. EddieSherbert*

    Oh my gosh! I say some of the drama on Monday but totally missed OP’s additional update yesterday! Wow! I’m really glad OP’s boss was paying attention to what was going on and handling it.

  36. TootsNYC*

    Also–I’m so glad to see that when it came to the sick day, your bosses behaved as we all expected: they just didn’t effing care.
    They trusted you, and they just didn’t care whether you were really sick. (And anyway, they saw you were–but I think it’s clear that even if they hadn’t happened to see you on those days, they’d have said, “Who cares? It’s not like you’re taking so many sick days it’s a problem! I trust that you were sick.”)

    1. AnotherAlison*

      With the added context of the OP and Jane’s roles, her idea to blackmail him with this seemed even stranger. OP has a higher-level, more business-critical role, and sometimes you get more flexibility for even an actual fake sick day in those roles just because you are working your tail off at other times. Jane thought she was tattling on the intern.

      1. Goliath Corp.*

        This too! I’m even more baffled about Jane’s behaviour now that we know more about their roles.

  37. Not All*

    This. Was. Epic.

    Also, the single most satisfying thing I have read in ages. OP…thanks for sharing all this; it really helped with an otherwise depressing week!

  38. SometimesALurker*

    “Jane is now off the guest list” — was that a joke, or did I miss that she had been ON the guest list?

    1. TootsNYC*

      well, she was a close coworker, so they may have been planning on inviting her, as well as other colleagues. Some people do.

        1. OlympiasEpiriot*

          To even consider that was awfully nice of you.

          Don’t do that again! lololololol

  39. Mamunia*

    My eyebrows are so far up my forehead they are touching the ceiling of my car, from which I am reading this. What a satisfactory update! And congrats on your upcoming marriage, OP.

  40. Hey Karma, Over Here*

    Just sat down with my lunch and decided to check if a new post was on AAM. OMG. Is it my birthday? Starting now.

  41. Buttons*

    It is incredibly refreshing to hear of leaders who actually had the difficult conversations and made the difficult decisions. I am very proud of OP for having the courage to go to management with the facts.

  42. Jam Today*

    “It looks like Jane will indeed get to attend her cousin’s wedding in Florida.”

    *clutches chest*

  43. blepkitty*

    It’s good to see a workplace that deals with this level of bad behavior appropriately.

    I do hope they decide to create a position to take some of the load off of the LW, assuming they can find someone with the skills.

  44. whistle*

    My favorite part is the bosses refusing to look at your doctor’s note. That warms my heart.

    1. Other Duties as Assigned*

      Seconded, but I also loved hearing “I’ve thought for a while that we honestly have you stretched too thin,” etc. Way to go to bat for a hard-working employee! This management team gets it.

  45. juliebulie*

    It was extremely generous of them to call it a RIF rather than a firing. Wonder what they’ll say if someone calls for a reference? “She’s terrible at blackmail!”

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Purchasing. She went to the store a lot, I think she was good at purchasing things.

  46. Are you kidding*

    I can’t believe anyone is buying this fiction as truth. Everything neatly wrapped up with a big bow, a “bad” employee getting her comeuppance, OP getting a job interview. All that is missing are unicorns and rainbows.

    1. we're basically gods*

      Oh, come off it. Just because nothing as interesting as this has happened in your life doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. See rules about taking letter writers at their word, etc etc.

    2. Amy Sly*

      I just got a job from the one place I applied (after not submitting applications for almost a year) that shortens my commute by two hours a day *and* is a twenty grand raise. Bizarrely good things happen from time to time.

        1. Amy Sly*

          Thanks all. And I have to credit @allison, because I’m pretty sure the resume and interview advice were a big part of why I was so successful.

          1. Triumphant Fox*

            Congratulations! What a fantastic outcome. This always makes me so happy. I think I’ll be taking the leap to job search soon and this kind of thing makes me less apprehensive.

    3. Count Boochie Flagrante*

      Of all the letters Alison has gotten over the years, this is the one you think is fake? Please.

      1. kittymommy*

        Seriously, if I can believe boss is requiring organ donation testing to stay employed, Christmas balls, boobs stuck to a railing, and The Duck Club I can believe this.

    4. Jedi Squirrel*

      Jane, I’m sorry you didn’t have time to box up all your personal possessions while you were barricaded in your office. If you could please forward a detailed list of the items that were left behind, we’ll have them overnighted to via Rainbow Unicorn Express.


    5. Not So NewReader*

      [Shrugs] We are all free to draw our own conclusions.

      I’m choosing to believe it because it’s the only good news I have read all day.

      I also choose to read AAM because I think there is more truth going on here than there is with many, many places on the net.

      We can always choose not to read things we don’t believe.

    6. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      I can’t remember where the line comes from originally but, “truth is stranger than fiction” is something I’ve seen so many times that I believe the OP.

    7. Random IT person*

      And, why do you believe this is fake?
      Are managers not capable of using a complaint as final straw?
      Can people abuse their colleagues without any consequences?
      What exactly would be fake?

    8. Benevolent Overlord*


      People like Jane get fired every day.

      She’s been crap…but not crap enough to be fired. There’s been plenty of people in my world like Jane that I’ve had the paperwork ready to go for six months or more.

      Just waiting for them to step in the bear trap.

      They always do.

  47. Holy Moley*

    *sipping my tea while reading* YASSS!!! Thank you for the update. And Im pleased to hear that someone who was an awful coworker is getting their comeuppance. Yay karma!

    Good luck on your interview!

  48. ILoveYarn*

    If Jane finds a new job she’ll be a new hire with (probably) no vacation or PTO to use right away. Might not get to the cousin’s wedding anyway!

    1. TootsNYC*

      Do we think she’s savvy enough to negotiate those days away as part of the job offer/acceptance?

      I don’t. So, you may be right.

  49. Slow Gin Lizz*

    Thank you OP and Alison for giving us these wonderful updates!!! Cheered me up tremendously. Have an awesome wedding and honeymoon, OP.

    It’s bosses and workplaces like these that give me some hope for the future.

  50. !*

    Yay, I timed coming into AskAManager as I was eating some chips…this was RIVETING! :) I don’t even think I tasted a single one. So glad for OP, and the rest of the team who had to deal with Jain the Pain!

  51. Goya de la Mancha*

    Definitely had Michael Jackson eating popcorn gif vibes while reading this! About fell out of my chair when she barricaded herself in her office.

    I do feel bad because it reads to me as Jane has some issues (arm-chair diagnosing of course), so I hope she one day gets those worked out.

    1. Random IT person*

      If she has an issue, it`s either entitlement or considering oneself unassailable regardless of whatever antics.

      1. Goya de la Mancha*

        Or some sort of mental illness that is getting in her way of acting rationally…

  52. Daphne Moon*

    Tick tock Jane, it’s checkout time. Brilliant read!
    What the heck was she doing while she was barricaded in her office?

      1. OlympiasEpiriot*

        AAAAAAAAHHHHHHH! That song is now in my head!

        (fortunately, I like the songe, but, no, I wasn’t thinking of it until then.)

  53. LGC*

    …oh my God.

    This is amazing and I’m not sure if this could have worked out better. Congrats, LW.

  54. irene adler*

    I especially liked how management explained why they are not even interested in looking at the proffered doctor note. That warmed my heart.

  55. pope suburban*

    Oooh, this was so satisfying! It gladdens me to know that there are healthy workplaces and thoughtful, active managers out there. I love the occasional train wreck as much as the next person, but the happy stories about people doing the right thing are nice too.

  56. LawLady*

    Honestly, this is somewhat a lesson about how evading work can bite you in the tuchus. I had a coworker a few years ago who was perpetually shifting things off his plate. He couldn’t do x because he wanted to focus on y. He didn’t work well with Bob, so whenever Bob called with a project, he was busy. He didn’t like to take projects around holidays. (This was allowed, as we had a “free market” system where analysts found their own work and took or didn’t take projects at their own discretion, with an eye to getting enough billable hours.)

    Then he did something bad. It wasn’t an atrociously bad thing. I think if most analysts did it, they’d get a serious talking-to. But it sparked the conversation about him more broadly, and given that he was so limited it what kinds of work he was willing to do, they decided to just fire him and have done with it.

  57. AntiSocialite*

    Ooooooo, I love a good follow up, and this one was EXCELLENT.
    What a great outcome for a crappy situation.

  58. Glacier*

    Alison, would it be possible for letter writers to receive the same type of formatting that you do when you comment?

    Since folks use so many different names (e.g., letter writer, LW, OP, original poster, etc.), it can be tough to do a ctrl+F for them. Perhaps if they were able to leave a comment and their comment was highlighted in blue, we’d be able to follow along better.

    I imagine the logistics may be a bit complicated (i.e., do they get a password? does it change for each poster? what about posts with multiple letters?), but thought I’d suggest it either way.

    Thanks for considering it!

    1. Jedi Squirrel*

      AAM runs on WordPress, so a bit of custom CSS for a custom class, and this should be very easy.

      .aam_op {background: #e0ffff;}

      Although I have terrible color vision, so I’m quite sure there is a prettier shade of light blue out there somewhere.

      And then in the post:

      OP's reply

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        There’s no easy way to do it. It works for me because I’m logged into the back-end of WordPress. It wouldn’t work for letter writers because it would need to be limited to only that post and I’d need to set up multiple log-ins for multiple letter writers each day and somehow set it to work only on the post that contained their letter, on a site that doesn’t currently offer a login for anyone.

        1. Jedi Squirrel*

          I think I misread Glacier’s comment. I was thinking in the post you update us with. Up at the top.

    2. Dragon_dreamer*

      Some OPs might prefer to fly a little under the radar, even after identifying themselves.

    3. Betty*

      Another option might be for Alison to append the LW’s chosen comment name in italics at the bottom of the post so people can just Ctrl + F easily.

    4. carlottamousse*

      You can control+F OP* and LW* since Allison added a white star after all commenters’ names to make our Control+F lives easier.

      1. Elizabeth Proctor*

        Ah I’ve been wondering what this hack was. I saw it once but then forgot.

      2. Also Amazing*

        You have changed my life with this info. Thank you! I doubt I would have ever noticed tbh

    5. 2 Cents*

      That’s why I appreciate it when the Lw/OP chooses a related-but-unique name, like LW for this one.

  59. PMP*

    This. Is. Epic. I mean, kudos to your managers for doing the exact right thing here and then your zinger about Jane getting to attend her cousin’s wedding. Epic.

  60. Green*

    WOW. That was a great story. And … I had not picked up that the writer was a man at first.

  61. Heidi*

    It’s even more amazing considering this happened in academia, where it can be notoriously difficult to get rid of bad apples. They can coast along for years doing the bare minimum and staying under the radar. But blackmailing people to avoid having to cover for them crosses the line from bad to evil, and it sounds like it would have been more damaging to workplace not to get rid of Jane at this point.

    1. JelloStapler*

      I had a colleague like this until she finally, like Jane, pushed too far – got a PIP slapped on her and she finally chose to retire (about 5 years past her expiration date IMO).

  62. Stormy Weather*

    Wow. Just wow. OP, I’m so glad you’re cleared to focus on your honeymoon.

    Jane will be eligible to collect unemployment insurance with a layoff vs an outright firing. It sounds like your reporting her behavior was the catalyst for what was going to happen anyway.

  63. Clorinda*

    “Jane is currently barricaded in her office.”
    Truth is, that’s rarely if ever a good career move.

  64. CBH*

    OP does anyone in your office read AAM? I keep thinking that if Jane saw this happening in real time in the comments it would have been a reality hits moment that she took things a step too far.

  65. Hobbit*

    What gets me about all of this is if Jane had just been chill about the OP’s honeymoon she might have still had a job. This was the catalyst that got management to remove her job.

    1. Amethystmoon*

      Exactly. This is a perfect example of what not to do at work on Jane’s part. She could still be employed had she minded her own business.

  66. C in the Hood*

    My thought as I read that Jane left early to go to the store: “Project much, Jane?”

  67. Elizabeth West*

    Wahahahahahaaaaaa!!!!! I missed the original letter, but this update is VERY VERY SATISFYING. >:)

    Congratulations, OP, and enjoy every minute of your honeymoon.

  68. Emuroo*

    Oh yay! Thanks Alison for compiling these – I read the first one, and meant to go back for more updates, and then work got crazy…. This is very satisfying!

  69. NoLongerStuckInRetailHell*

    Here’s what strikes me as odd: in the original letter OP makes it sound like they are the only 2 people in the office and cover each other’s “essential functions” and that’s why they can’t have time off at the same time. Then later on it’s revealed that Jane is incapable of doing OP’s truly essential functions and it sounds like Bob and maybe Norm will be covering those duties. Other people in the office have taken in some of Jane’s duties. The only thing Jane does is ordering, something OP cannot do. So what’s the conflict? Why can’t they both be off? They don’t seem to overlap at all. Not questioning OP’s veracity, just seems like the whole issue stems from an outdated idea/policy that these two positions are interchangeable, while the reality is they don’t overlap at all. It seems like if Jane had been a reasonable person she could have had a meeting with OP and Supervisor to figure out coverage and all could have been worked out. Instead she went all whackadoodle.

    1. Kimmy Schmidt*

      I read it that the essential functions for their positions should have overlapped, had Jane not foisted everything off on other people already. I don’t know if OP and/or the managers knew that and so officially the jobs were still overlapping when OP requested time off.

    2. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      Well, Norm doesn’t work there anymore–this is a specific case of hiring a temp/offering a short-term contract to cover an employee’s leave.

  70. PB*

    Wow! This has been a busy week for me, so I couldn’t watch comments and had no idea this had unfolded. Thanks for compiling, Alison!

  71. SheLooksFamiliar*

    Wow! Give someone enough rope, and they put it to its proverbial use…OP, thank you for the updates. Your leadership team sounds wonderful, and it sounds like Jane was already on their radar.

    Alison, thank you for sharing all the updates. I was in a good mood already but the world makes a little more sense.

  72. Personal Best In Consecutive Days Lived*

    1. Coworker tries to blackmail OP into cancelling some vacation so she can take a vacation
    2. Bosses say that’s nuts and plan alternate arrangements for coverage during OP’s vacation
    3. This discussion leads to the realization that Coworker’s job is no longer necessary
    4. Coworker is let go. Gets to go on vacation
    Be careful what you wish for!

    1. miamivice*

      Syat tuned for Part Deux: Coworker writes to AskAManager about how she was bullied and unfairly fired!!

  73. 2 Cents*

    OP, I admit I cackled (with glee!) that Jane will now have all the time she needs to attend that family wedding. Sounds like she was the “missing stair” in the organization.

  74. Lady Carrie*

    Wonderful update!
    So proud of OP…the view must be spectacular from the moral high ground!

  75. SaraV*

    So, that’s that. It looks like Jane will indeed get to attend her cousin’s wedding in Florida.

    Savage. ;)

  76. CubeFarmer*

    Wow! I can’t believe how quickly this was handled. I wonder if the managers were both frustrated with Jane, and this presented them with a perfect reason to reevaluate her position (a lack of responsibilities combined with verbal threat to a co-worker, rather than a termination that could be interpreted as ageist.)

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      That’s what I’m assuming reading how fast the hammer came down.

      They’re all stretched thin and over it, so she just kept burying herself and they were ready to throw the last shovel of dirt on her.

  77. sparklejaffe*

    Finally, a happy ending! So often the Jane’s of the world get away with it or are protected somehow.

  78. Quill*

    Hooray LW! I guarantee you are not the only person in this office sighing with relief.

  79. Liz T*

    Man, imagine having a good scam going and then just exploding it out of nowhere. She was coasting a long with hardly any job duties, and she decided to BLACKMAIL and then STONEWALL a hard-working, highly specialized, long-term employee? Over something as paltry as seeing them in the store on their sick day?

    Sure, maybe this was already coming down the pipeline. But…what if it wasn’t and she just ruined her whole deal in one fell stroke, totally unprovoked?

  80. mananana*

    This may be one of the most satisfying updates I’ve seen here. LW, I am so impressed that 1) you spoke up to your manager about this, 2) they were so open to the discussion, and 3) they acted so swiftly.

    Good luck with your interview, and I wish nothing but the best for you and your bride!

  81. Ray Gillette*

    This is wonderful. Good for you, OP. And thank you Alison for compiling the saga for all of us to enjoy!

  82. BridgeNerdess*

    This was amazing! Thank you OP for the updates and Alison for compiling! I love a good ending.

  83. Lizzo*

    HOORAY! I am not one to find joy in others’ misfortunes, but…well, sometimes karma can be delightful to observe.
    Well done OP on addressing this professionally, and well done to the leadership on their handling of this!
    Wishing you a fantastic wedding, a beautiful honeymoon, and lots of great personal and professional adventures ahead. :-D

  84. garretwriter*

    This is one of the most satisfyingly cathartic things I’ve read in a very long time. Congrats on everything, OP!

  85. Not So NewReader*

    This is gratifying, OP. It’s like seeing someone who really needs the money win a $1M. It’s nice to see someone getting a fair shake instead of a raw deal.
    I hope you enjoy your honeymoon and best wishes to the both of you. And if you take the new job, I wish you much success at it.

  86. Reality.Bites*

    This is like CBS police drama speed of resolution. Most office situations play out over days to months.

  87. Formerly Known As*

    Alison, thank you for compiling these live updates because I would have missed them.

    LW, you’re my hero. Well done.

    And as for Jane, karma is a bitch. HAHAHAHA.

  88. Enginear*

    Dayumm!!! This went from Jane wanting to go to a wedding in Florida to now being broke and won’t be able to attend. Cray cray!

  89. ErgoBun*

    “It looks like Jane will indeed get to attend her cousin’s wedding in Florida.”

    The entire update had me cheering but THIS LINE. Perfect subtle ending. :D

  90. Sophie1*

    Oh man. What a mess. I went from “Jane is being an ass” to “Jane, honey, what are you DOING?”

    Glad it worked out for OP and uh… glad Jane gets to go to her cousin’s wedding?

  91. 2,3-acadecanon*

    All I can say is that Jane must have really messed up, because in most academic settings, you don’t give up support positions because you’ll never get them back, especially if they’re hard money (not paid by grants). That’s one of the reasons why middling performers are often tolerated until they retire or decide to move on, because sometimes getting rid of them indicates to administration that you must not really need that position anyway and they’ll use the salary for something else. If the lab ever decides that they do need another support person, they’ll likely have to fight hard to convince administration to give them the position.

  92. Thankful for AAM*

    I am living vicariously through the OP right now!!
    It was another day of banana land at my workplace and these updates are everything!!

  93. mgguy*

    So, nothing directly related to the situation(Jane went the day without speaking to me or really anyone that I could tell) but I did a bit of reading on RIF policy. I’d read it probably a year and a half ago when it was going on in large-scale due to a budget crunch and I’d heard through the grape vine(not from anyone in management/administration but from a source I trust) that Jane was at the top of the list if a RIF in our department was necessary. At time time, enough money got shuffled around that it wasn’t.

    In any case, even though the actual APPROVAL for a specific RIF can happen in a short amount of time(the policy says less than 5 days once submitted), the department needs to basically provide a complete reorganization/duty reassignment plan before for approval to consider a position for RIF. That makes me think one of 3 things happened

    a. One was submitted and for Jane’s position during what I’ll call the “mass purge”(which was a university-wide 10% budget cut for each department) and it was still considered and approved but not acted on

    b. The RIF may have been worked up in the last few months when the boss became more acutely aware of just how much Jane was slacking. Specifically, that was kicked off when I was asked to step in and take over teaching a class for a faculty member with some issues, and had ~16 hours notice-I’d fortunately taught it before and had a lot of material ready, but that’s still not a lot of notice especially for a senior-level class. In any case, as part of the agreement to do it, I said that I really needed Jane to pick up a couple of specific tasks that she’d done in the past. She claimed helplessness with them(“It’s been so long since I’ve done them that I don’t really remember anything”)-I ended up doing them anyway and put in a month and a half of 60+ hour weeks to teach and get my work done, and fortunately when all was said and done they let me take a week and a half long “off the books”(no leave charged) vacation the week before Christmas, but also made them realize just how Jane was basically refusing to do.

    c. It occurred to me that telling the rest of the staff it was a RIF may have been a white lie to save her reputation, when it may have been more of an “opportunity to resign.” Per policy, termination normally requires a PIP, but if there was one of course it would not necessarily have been known. It COULD have happened in that week and a half I was out, when of course that was partially because she’d not done what was asked of her, but I’m purely speculating. At the same time, insubordination is grounds for immediate termination(without a PIP) per the handbook, and to me what she’s been doing the last week would class as that.

    In any case, that’s just some idle musing.

    1. Cobblestone*

      I’m shaking my head at Jane’s behaviour in b.

      Thanks for the update, and good luck!

    2. Antilles*

      My guess would be on the side of (c) as an “opportunity to resign” gracefully with the air-quotes included. Basically, boss sits Jane down, says you will not continue working here and they come to an agreement:
      We’ll officially label it a RIF, record it in the system as leaving on good terms, let you work out your last two weeks of vacation, and phrase it as a planned RIF to reference checkers who call – in exchange, you agree to go quietly and don’t fight about it.

  94. Rozefly*

    Oh WOW – what an update!!!

    Don’t suppose we can get 1 more update on how Jane took the news and/or how it goes on her last day?

    Congrats OP, enjoy your well deserved, hassle free honeymoon!!

  95. yala*


    Is it weird that I actually feel kinda sorry for Jane? Just in the sense of…man, what is going ON in her life that she is doing all this?

    But mostly just…wow, what a perfect storm of awful. Glad it worked out for y’all and that your management was really receptive to this.

  96. What The Fork Is A Chidi*

    The things I miss when I forget to check the site for a few days. WOW! I think they just got to a point where they just thought “what is the point of Jane?” There are many things of her job that other people do instead of her AND she’s conflictive? Girl, bye

  97. Anonamama*

    Jane seems like a lot to deal with, but the glee people are expressing here is a little… icky… Yes, it is nice to see someone who behaved badly “get theirs” in the end. But Jane is a person, with presumably a family and financial responsibilities and to see so many people so excited about what could be a catastrophic life-changing situation for her is pretty sad. People do dumb things and make mistakes, but our tendency to annihilate someone’s life over things is a really sad and scary cultural development.

    1. J.B.*

      There was someone at a former employer who was awful. Really awful and dragging everyone else down too. If he had been fired there would have been a party. This one came out like a soap opera, and sometimes, well we can be gleeful at gossip. Jane did not handle herself well at any stage of the process.

    2. Bluephone*

      Lots of way-better-employees than Jane get fired-fired for way less than what she’s done (not done in the case of her shirking her duties). The company is going out of their way to let her leave with grace, benefits, etc—probably more than she deserves given her behavior.

  98. curious*

    mgguy – can we get an update later as to how Jane’s last day went? was it professional? did she have last words?

    1. mgguy*

      I’ll write it up before all is said and done. So far, she’s been sweet as pie today and has asked for my help on several outstanding things that she has to take care of, although hasn’t had anything to say beyond that.

  99. mgguy*

    Jane has finished out her last day at work.

    On the whole, I’d say she left on a more-or-less positive note. I spoke with her several times to help her wrap up reconciliations, and she was pleasant. Before she left for the day, she came to my office for a few minutes, asked me about how wedding planning was going, and wished me all the best. I returned well wishes to her also.

    She told me that 35 years of work was enough, and she was going to take her retirement and enjoy. She’s looking forward to getting to see her grandkids(who live ~2 hours away) more often, and is planning an extended trip to India next month to spend time with her mother and family.

    We kept our conversation light and nothing beyond that, but she seems almost relieved in a way to not be working.

    So, that’s that.

  100. jojo*

    so she was going to report you for being at the pharmacy when you where sick? that is funny because the real question should have been what was she doing at the store when she was supposed to be at work.

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