updates: the counteroffer, the bullying, and more

It’s a special “where are you now?” season at Ask a Manager, when I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past. Here are three updates from past letter-writers.

1. I accepted a counteroffer four months ago but now want to quit (#2 at the link)

I wrote to you back in January about resigning from a job when I had taken a counteroffer from them six months prior. Now that I’ve started the new job that I resigned for, I figured I’d send in this update.

After really looking through the particulars of my counteroffer and which of those benefits I’d actually received in the six months since taking it, I realized there were quite a lot of unkept promises on their end. Yes, I did get a salary increase etc.; but new company guidelines rolled out after the 2020 new year essentially took away my additional PTO, and other perks.

What I had really negotiated for was a modified/focused workload and while that did happen for a while, changes on the team (resignations, backfilled new managers, etc.) made it impossible to sustain and I was back again, stuck doing the work I was looking to get away from. It seems like they threw some money at me and told me what I wanted to hear to keep me around.

Despite the fact that I’d typically consider it my obligation to stay for at least a year upon agreeing to a counteroffer, the scarcity of opportunities in the industry of new job I was leaving for, plus the degradation of the counteroffer promises made me feel better and less anxious about resigning.

Timing worked out that I had to resign right around the craziness of COVID19 forcing us all into remote work, so my boss had much bigger problems to focus on than my resignation. It was tough to transition out during that time but I know I made the right decision in the long run, my previous industry is one of the most had hit by the Coronavirus, and my new industry is in a fantastic position to succeed and doing better than ever.

2. I’m being physically bullied at work (first update here)

I had sent you an update in December, regarding an additional promotion I had received, which drove the bullies to transfer to new teams. I’m still in my new role. The only thing that has happened since then is upper management had each of us take an anonymous survey regarding what we don’t like about working there. Several people brought up incidents of bullying and examples of the toxic environment. Shortly after that, upper management formed an improvement committee, but right after this happened, Coronavirus struck and forced all of us to work from home. We’ve been working from home since mid-March and we’ve been told that we won’t be back in the office for several more weeks. Honestly, working from home has been like a mental detox from all of the craziness that goes on in the office.

I still can’t decide if I want to stay on with this company or not. I’ll see how things turn out whenever we get to return to the office. Several of my friends have suggested that I soak up all the knowledge possible and then seek employment elsewhere, when things get back to normal, or whatever our new normal ends up being. I honestly don’t think that I’ll ever feel totally comfortable with the environment I’m currently in, especially if not much else changes or improves. The bullies are still permitted to do as they please, and have been picking on other people. I told myself that I’d give this new role about a year and see where things are at then.

3. How to answer “how are you?” when you’re grieving

So just as you notified me that my post would be published, I got told that, after 20 years of employment with the organization, my position was made redundant, and that I would have 90 days to find an internal position, after which time I would be packaged out, either through a lump sum, or through installment payments. I applied to over 30 internal positions in the 90 days, revamped my resume and cover letter, and went on interviews for 6 of the 30 positions. Unfortunately, none of them have resulted into a position, so I have opted for installment payments while I continue my job search.

Update to the update:

Literally a week after I sent you this update, I got a job offer … this time, within the same firm that I’ve been working for the past 20 years, in a different division and area. Job duties are the same, at the same salary.

I decided to take it, as I retained my pension plan, staff perks, and the commute is much more manageable (a 1hr train ride vs 1hr of driving).

I’ve been there since late February. My boss is great and very understanding (family first!), the atmosphere of the office is cool, and, most importantly, there is a defined work from home policy, so when we are no longer social distancing, I’ll be able to save on my commute costs.

I did adopt your advice for the few 1:1’s that I had with my now-former boss, which did help.

P.S. — BTW, our first Christmas without Dad was a good one. We were expecting it to be difficult, but my sister brought her family to Canada, and having all of the family here on Christmas Day did alleviate the pain of Dad not being here. We miss him horribly still, but we tell the stories about him and keep him alive in our day-to-day. And in a weird way, it’s brought us closer together (Mom, my sister, and me).

{ 5 comments… read them below }

  1. MassMatt*

    #2 congratulations on your 2nd promotion! Your former coworkers sound awful, but as they say, living well is the best revenge.

    Do you have the same manager as before (the one that refused to deal with the bullying issue when you mentioned it)? It sounds as though there might be decent managers elsewhere in the company if you are getting promoted and recognized.

  2. Clorinda*

    The bullies sill do as they please and are picking on other people . . . This is not a good place to work. If you have other options, look into them. If these bullies are protected, so are all the others, and it’s only a matter of time before you encounter them.

  3. Amethystmoon*

    As someone who was bullied verbally, leaving that department was the best thing I did. I am still with the company, but in another role and a completely different building. Also, I heard that after my departure, the bully was fired for something else. Karma does sometimes happen.


    The hall thing is so weird, but the OP never said how they reacted. If someone were repeatedly trying to mow me down in the hall, I would probably react every time with an arm out “Whoa Lucinda, you almost knocked in to me. Watch where you are going please!” Very loudly. If it continued I would say every time I saw her in the hall ” Hi Lucinda!” and if she veered towards me I would stop in her path and start chatting.
    As someone who has seen how weird workforce bullies are, and how they love to do subtle little things to get at you (so you sound crazy even reporting them), the best defense is usually a good offense.
    (does not apply to crossing the street)

    1. Rainy*

      I’ve had really good luck with settling into a balanced stance and leading gently with the inside shoulder, whether I’m still walking forward or plan to try to head it off by stopping, but I’m also tall and broad shouldered, so what’s available to me as a response isn’t always available to others. (I also get a little Hulky when I’m irritated, which is a blessing and a curse.)

      If you feel comfortable doing this, one thing you can do to ameliorate this kind of physical shoving match is to practice with a friend, whether that’s trying to avert it verbally, or letting them come at you and setting yourself so they carom back off again. I think a lot of these kinds of physical situations at work are so disturbing because they’re so unexpected and beyond the pale for professional behaviour, but once you know this ish is happening, you have to deal with it, and practicing whatever response you decide on with a friend can be really helpful.

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